For all of us in MERIP — the staff, the editorial committee, the board of directors — the past few months have been a poignant and exciting time, a mix of fond regrets and great anticipation. With this page, in this issue, we make it official: Jim Paul, who has worked with us on staff for more than 13 years, is leaving MERIP to pursue other interests.
We will miss Jim very much. He brought an uncommon blend of talent and commitment to the work of this organization. MERIP has been and remains a truly collaborative project, one whose achievements reflect a range of personalities and resources and areas of knowledge. More than this, the health of the organization and the growing impact of the magazine owe to the generous efforts and contributions of many, many people. Still, it is accurate to say that no person has been more responsible for this record of achievement than Jim Paul. As executive director and publisher, he charted MERIP’s transition from a loosely organized collective to a staff and board structure that could develop and implement critical strategies for financial management and fundraising. As an editor, Jim pushed hard to make Middle East Report a lively and accessible magazine in content and design, one that challenged readers with provocative ideas rather than impenetrable prose.
Jim will continue to serve as a contributing editor of the magazine, and as an informal adviser for organizational development. We appreciate all he has contributed toward MERIP’s survival and growth through a period that has been difficult, often fatal, for projects of the left in general and projects that support Palestinian rights in particular. We send him off on his new ventures with our very warmest wishes.
It is next to impossible to replace someone who has been so vital a force as Jim Paul has been for MERIP. With Robin Madrid, though, we have found a new executive director and publisher who brings a range of experiences and skills that will ensure that MERIP continues to grow on the base that Jim has provided. Robin comes to MERIP after several years with the Arab American Institute. One of her recent projects there was organizing Arab Americans to run as delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Robin’s good work was no small factor in raising US Middle East policy as an issue at the convention. With this issue, Robin also joins our masthead as an editor. Her background in many facets of organizing and political outreach will enrich MERIP’s work in many ways.
The transition from Jim to Robin has involved more than a change of one person for another. It also involved a new address, as we consolidated our editorial and business operations in one office. We found a new, larger space in Washington and moved the editorial offices there in late February. A few weeks later we moved the contents of the New York office down. Leaving New York City meant leaving Joan Cullen-Kadhim and Linda Jones, who worked there as circulation manager and assistant publisher. We take this opportunity to thank them warmly for their good work over the past few years, along with the many others who have worked in the New York office in the past, and to welcome Marisa Tamari as our new circulation manager.
Thanks also to all of you readers. Your interest in our work and support over the years are the real base of this magazine. We hope many of you will be interested in the two new joint ventures we are introducing in this issue — the MERIP/South End Press book on the Palestinian uprising and the MERIP/Pax World tour of Palestine, Israel and Jordan scheduled for December. And we are counting as always on your generous response to our annual readers’ appeal which will be going out to you in a few weeks.