Many in the chattering classes in the United States recently devoted their energy to the controversy about ABC's television film "The Path to 9/11." Partisanship seems to dominate virtually every discussion these days. So it was no surprise that, just as Republicans have sought to minimize the lack of attention paid to the terror threat by the Bush administration, so, too, have Democrats resisted the notion that the failures of the Clinton administration be highlighted, as the film did with some respects.
Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair is Israel's best friend in Europe. And he's not a very good friend. Immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., Blair was instrumental in convincing President Bush to view the Palestinian jihad against Israel as a conflict completely separate from the global jihad. His success in convincing Bush of this distinction turned the anti-Semitic - not to mention strategically disastrous - view that terrorists who kill Israelis should be treated differently from terrorists who kill anyone else into one of the cognitive foundations of the U.S. war on Islamic terror.
One of my readers recently asked me a probing and rather disturbing question: "Do you think we are still the people of the book?" Like a good Jew, I need to answer a question with a question - more than one, actually. First, what is meant by "we"? Readers of The Jewish Press? The young people I saw in Tel Aviv last week with tattoos - girls with bare midriffs and silver studs in navels, noses, tongues, even eyebrows?
Fifteen-year old Tirtza Sariel from the Jewish community of Elon Moreh has been held in the Russian Compound, a maximum security prison, for almost two months. The charge: throwing olives at Arabs. In order to protest her arrest and imprisonment she refused to sign court documents; Judge Uri Ben Dor held her in contempt and ruled to keep her in prison until the end of proceedings, which may take many months.
In an August 21 Jerusalem Post column, Elliot Jager, that paper's deputy editorial page editor, asked whether "maybe we Jews shouldn't put all our eggs in one basket. Maybe - for lots of reasons - Theodor Herzl was wrong in advocating the negation of the Diaspora."
For years I have been urging the greater Torah-observant community to discard the sort of questions that are typically asked of singles in the shidduch scene. (By now it is probably unnecessary to elaborate and provide copious examples of these questions; we all know what I'm talking about.) Indeed, it has been gratifying to see it become more mainstream for people to speak out about "crazy questions" and for popular opinion to begin to shift accordingly. But I made a mistake.
The singer and political activist Bono recently caused a stir when word got out that his California-based venture capital firm, Elevation Partners, invested around $300 million in Forbes magazine, and, more significantly, that his band's company, U2 Unlimited, which holds the rights to U2's master tapes, moved to the Netherlands to pay a lower corporate tax rate.
Israeli public opinion polls taken in the aftermath of the war in Lebanon reveal a dramatic erosion of popular support for the Olmert government and its policies.
A few weeks ago, Jimmy Carter gave an interview to the German newspaper Der Spiegel, mostly on the recent Lebanon conflict. It was classic Jimmy Carter - at once moralizing and morally confused, ill-informed and preachy - illustrating why the American people voted him out of office after just one term and the politically partisan Swedish Academy awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize.
A drama is slowly but steadily unfolding in Israel that is rare for that nation or any other civilized country. Fresh from the Lebanon battlefield, Israel's citizen-soldiers, joined by families of the fallen as well as ordinary citizens, are mobilizing again - this time for a campaign of marches, letters, petitions and other public activities in regard to the recent unpleasantness up yonder.
Why do so many Americans refuse to face the fact that our country is at war with international terrorism?
Many readers no doubt took issue with the relatively optimistic tone of my recent op-ed column ("Things Worth Remembering," Aug. 18) on the war between Israel and Hizbullah. Make no mistake: The outcome of the fighting upset me as it did all of us who love our State of Israel and our Jewish People.
Most Israelis feel the cease-fire was imposed on us before we finished the job. Hizbullah is not disarmed, our kidnapped soldiers have not been returned, and Iran and Syria seem to have been let off the hook.
For generations of Diaspora Jews raised on the idea of an invincible Israel, the last month has been something of a blow. While historians will probably have better luck sorting out the results of the recent weeks of fighting between Israel and its Hizbullah antagonists than journalists, there is little question that the result was a lot less than most of Israel's supporters in this country were expecting.
Clichéd postmortems analyzing Israel's failure to deal Hezbollah a clear defeat miss the point in blaming Prime Minister Olmert's lack of military experience or native ineptness. The key reasons for Israel's poor performance are deeper and far more ideological.
It pains me to write this. But it is becoming increasingly clear to me that Israel, in so many ways on the front lines in the fight against Islamo-fascism, is actually a force promoting it.
If a truly independent Israeli government inquiry is commissioned to scrutinize all aspects of the Jewish state's recent war against Hizbullah, the two Israeli political leaders most likely to undergo the most severe grilling are former prime minister Ehud Barak and the current premier, Ehud Olmert.
It was a war Israel was more afraid of winning than of losing.
Here's a syndrome for the books: A renowned filmmaker gets stinking drunk. Angry and bizarre words then spew forth - from the lips (or pens) of others.
Undeterred by the Heathrow shutdown, I turned up for the Aug. 10 night flight to Israel. I had no business there and no formal holiday plans. I just felt I needed to be there, perhaps to help out friends and family whose breadwinners had been called up for reserve duty.
As the Hizbullah-Israel war wound down last week, pundits were quick to label winners and losers. Some said Hizbullah won because it survived, bombed Israel with 4,000 rockets, and earned the applause of the Arab "street." Others maintain that Israel won because Hizbullah was partially crippled, its leadership is in hiding, and the Lebanese will emerge from the dust furious at Hizbullah for a war they did not seek.
Our beloved Israel is engaged in an existential fight for survival. From the moment of its birth in 1948, Israel has been under constant siege. This latest war, however, feels different. It comes upon Israel after decades of non-stop terrorist attacks, large-scale military battles, and endless international boycotts and condemnation.
A general mood of depression has gripped Israel since the cease-fire in Lebanon came into force on Monday, August 14. It is unjustified. True, we again lost many precious sons in the quagmire of Lebanon. A large number of our soldiers and civilians are still crowding the hospitals, some of them seriously wounded. Our cities and settlements in the North suffered gaping wounds that will require months of rehabilitation.
It is as unpleasant as it is impolitic to point out - in wartime, especially - that, despite all protestations to the contrary, the emperor indeed has no clothes. Neither spin nor sloganeering can conceal from the Jewish public and world opinion the obvious deterioration of Israel's security situation.
One night last week I heard a bloodcurdling scream coming from upstairs. "Mommy!" Cries at that level of urgency, panic, and volume can mean only one thing: My children had seen a cockroach that had wandered out of a newly-formed hole hidden behind the bathtub.