The family of Prof. Barry Rubin just announced that he died. Though sad, the news wasn’t a surprise. Everybody who knew him also knew that he had been battling cancer for a while. He never hid his condition – on the contrary, on his Facebook page Rubin regularly updated his friends about the progress of his treatment.
He never stopped writing his Rubin Report, a series of insights and political analysis, which appeared in my mail box almost daily. Last year, when he had to undergo a serious chemo treatment, he announced that he had prepared several articles to be published while he was unable to write. A few of them were not polished in the way he would’ve liked it – they contained a few short key points, which nevertheless were provocative and insightful.
I am mentioning this, because I find his life and work fascinating – in a moment when many people would sink into a total despair in the face of imminent death, Barry kept working and writing, brushing aside the fact that he had very little time left. I guess this is a trait possessed by people who follow something bigger than themselves.
I saw him for the first time and listened to his presentation in June 2011, at an event organized by the Speakers Action Group in Toronto.
He shared his vast knowledge of the Middle East. He analyzed the recent political changes in the area and specifically covered the future role that Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon may play. Rubin also discussed the new disastrous policy of the USA under the Obama administration and its potentially negative consequences for Israel.
The hall was packed and everybody was listening carefully to what Barry Rubin had to say.
He leaves an impressive legacy of pro-Israeli activism, scholarship and books. Rubin has been a columnist for The Jerusalem Post for many years. He was also a director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA), and a professor at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya. I hope that GLORIA would continue to develop and expand the work that Rubin did.
Barry Rubin also wrote books, among which are: Israel: An Introduction, The Israel-Arab Reader, The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East and The Truth About Syria. My personal favourite is his political biography of Yasser Arafat, a brutally honest exposure of one of the founders of the Arab terrorism.
It is sad that we will never see Barry Rubin again, but on the other hand, his contributions and writings will always be with us. And that’s what matters most…