Eyal Press

Eyal Press is a writer based in New York. His work has appeared in the New York Review of BooksThe New YorkerThe Atlantic, and The Nation. He is the author of Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times and Absolute Convictions.

Recent Articles

Meanwhile, Back on Most Campuses

The focus on extreme political correctness at Oberlin and other elite colleges risks obscuring what less privileged undergraduates are dealing with.

(Photo: AP/Carol Lollis/Daily Hampshire Gazette)
This article will appear in the Summer 2016 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here. Last September, The Atlantic published a disquieting cover story about the current generation of college students. According to the article, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, young people raised by overindulgent parents increasingly come to colleges and universities demanding protection from ideas that might challenge them. Instead of learning to think critically, students police the air for “microaggressions”—offhand comments that may reinforce stereotypes—and insist that "trigger warnings" be placed on potentially disturbing texts, including classic works of literature such as The Great Gatsby . Entitled, hypersensitive, quick to take offense: This is the new normal among undergraduates, the article warned, fostering a vindictive atmosphere of political correctness “in which everyone must think twice...

Can Block Clubs Block Despair?

Why do some poor communities fall apart while others cohere? Community organization can help -- up to a point.

There's a stark difference between two Buffalo, New York neighborhoods -- one with a strong community organization and one without. (Photos by Peter K. B. St. Jean)
One bright spring morning, Peter St. Jean set out on an unusual scholarly expedition. St. Jean is a sociologist at the University of Buffalo who studies the relationship between concentrated poverty and crime. He drives a maroon Nissan Pathfinder, which that morning he'd loaded up with video cameras, two mounted on tripods and pointed out the rear side windows and one more up front, fastened with Velcro to the center of the dashboard. "This way we'll see every angle," explained St. Jean, a 39-year-old man of Caribbean origin with a shaved head, thick, muscular arms, and the compact build of a wrestler. St. Jean wasn't at work on a documentary. He was doing field research, and had invited me to tag along as he gathered footage on an SSO run, or "systematic social observation," a method of capturing on hidden camera the physical characteristics and social activities in a neighborhood. He pulled out of the driveway of his ranch house in Williamsville, a suburb where he lives with his...

The Strange Case of Hany K

On October 26, some two dozen reporters crammed into a conference room on the 18th floor of a concrete high-rise in downtown Newark to await the arrival of Hany Kiareldeen, a 31-year-old Palestinian man who, shortly before midnight on the previous day, had been released from the nearby Hudson County jail. An immigrant's release from prison does not normally occasion a press conference. But this case was far from typical. Kiareldeen, for one thing, had been incarcerated for 19 months without ever being formally charged of any crime. He had been separated from his family and deemed a threat to national security—on the basis of evidence he was not allowed to see. Kiareldeen endured this ordeal because the FBI, for reasons that remain shrouded in secrecy, came to consider him a terrorist. Were Kiareldeen a U.S. citizen—like, say, Terry Nichols or Timothy McVeigh—the government would have had to prove this under normal standards of jurisprudence. Because he is an immigrant,...

Lead Us Not into Temptation

Shortly after George W. Bush announced the creation of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives--launched on January 29 to facilitate a new era of partnership between the government and religious groups--the nation's airwaves were filled with assertions about the unique capacity of religious organizations to solve our most intractable social problems. "Study after study shows these faith-based initiatives work better, much better in most cases, than government ones," declared CNN's Tucker Carlson on The Spin Room that night. William Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, told The Washington Times , "Faith-based initiatives not only work better than their secular counterparts, they do so at a fraction of the cost." It's a claim many politicians have come to embrace. "We will look first to faith-based organizations," President Bush has promised, "because private and religious groups are effective. Because they have clear...

Smart Bomb?

Were it not for the butterfly ballots in Palm Beach County and the Democratic Party's failure to insist on a statewide recount of the Florida vote, the crisis that has engulfed America since September 11 would be unfolding in a vastly different political landscape. Both houses of Congress would still be controlled by Republicans. Attorney General John Ashcroft would likely be in retirement. Tom Ridge, head of the new Office of Homeland Security, and Tommy Thompson, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, would be, respectively, the governors of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And, of course, the U.S. commander in chief would hail not from Texas but from Tennessee. For the narrow majority of voters in the 2000 election who selected Al Gore to be their president, everything about such a scenario would seem to be welcome. The nation's fate would, after all, be in the hands of an experienced Democrat with ample knowledge of foreign affairs. Gore's inner circle would...