When a people is under siege it matters more, not less, how the besieged treat each other. Perhaps I am wrong, or only partly right, but it seems as though too many Jews are treating each other in a manner that is hardly loving, ethical or even minimally civil.
As a matter of principle, it is not the business of American friends of Israel to tell Israelis who should, or should not, be their prime minister. That is, unfortunately, a proposition that has been observed largely in the breach over the course of the last 30 years.
When my grandfather left Poland in 1930, he refused to speak Polish again. Perhaps he foresaw what many would not. When he learned of the Shoah, he discovered that his remaining family members were among those whose lives were snuffed out by their European neighbors.
Amos Oz never tires of finding ways to blame Israel for the absence of Arab-Israeli peace, no matter how clearly the voices on the other side, in Palestinian and broader Arab media, mosques, and schools, declare that their idea of peace is the annihilation of Israel and the destruction of its people. Nor does the celebrated Israeli novelist tire of grossly rewriting history to serve his blame-Israel narrative.
With the release of the Winograd Commission report, the question whether Prime Minister Olmert will resign has dominated Israeli news. A large rally of his opponents took place in Tel Aviv demanding that he accept the report’s critique of his conduct of last summer’s Lebanon war and step down. Some ideological leaders from both the Left and the Right did not participate in the demonstration – the rightists arguing that the organizers of the rally were not against Olmert’s ideology, the leftists fearing his successor would not share theirs.
There is a kind of obsessive national pastime among certain mainstream and left-of-center German dailies that involves, wittingly or unwittingly, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments. The charged debates within American Jewry, ranging from the role of American Jewish organizations to the controversy surrounding intellectual provocateurs like Tony Judt, serve to provide new fodder to those looking to exploit the anti-Israel card in central Europe.
Today, America faces a number of critical challenges. At the top of the list are the threat of radical, violent Jihad and the associated threat of nuclear proliferation. I think many of us fail to comprehend the extent of this threat. Take former president Jimmy Carter. Carter thinks Israel’s security fence is the thing that keeps peace from coming to the Holy Land. Having just been to Israel, I came to the opposite conclusion: the security fence keeps peace in Israel – that fence is helping prevent bloodshed and terror and violence.
“To this day, every Friday night I bless candles in memory of my mother, and there isn’t one Friday night that I don’t see her in my mind, blessing our candles at home…” My gaze is riveted to the television screen as I watch my mother speaking. She begins weeping quietly, remembering the large family she lost in the Holocaust. “I had a beautiful childhood, a warm, close-knit, loving family, and I think it’s what sustained me through everything.”
For centuries, the question of Jewish intellectual superiority has been quietly discussed and debated. How could such a tiny, numerically insignificant group produce so many of the world’s smartest, most accomplished, most influential people?
Forty years ago, the teshuvah movement was in its infancy. Since then, due to the efforts of some determined individuals, the phenomenon has blossomed, positively impacting Jewish communities worldwide. It would be beneficial to take a step back to see where we are today and what the trends are for the future.
American policy and the global war against Al Qaeda and the associated groups and nations that support them – i.e., Iran and Syria – are collapsing. Blame goes beyond liberal politicians intent on destroying the Bush administration, a pernicious press and the radical left which rules academe, mainline churches and the media.
Amid all the recent bad news about our child sex abuse problem in New York, Baltimore, and elsewhere, permit me to be so bold as to suggest there is a glimmer of good news and hope.
Nowadays many people claim our situation In Iraq is becoming more and more like it was in Vietnam. One major criticism of our effort in Vietnam was the absence of an exit strategy. In war planning the term “exit strategy” doesn’t necessarily mean cut and run, as some mistakenly believe. Rather, it is simply defining how you plan to bring the war to an end. In Vietnam, it was beyond the capabilities of both the Johnson and Nixon administrations to devise such a strategy.
At first glance, the question posed by our title appears ludicrous. After all, the Jewish people have a state, and went to great lengths to establish it. Israelis continue to sacrifice themselves in its defense and pay the highest income tax in support of the highest per capita military expenditures in the world. Jews in the Diaspora volunteer their treasure and energy defending Israel’s right to exist.
Our flags fly at half-mast in memory of 32 souls whose lives were taken at Virginia Tech. That day we saw horror, but we also saw acts of quiet courage. We saw this courage in a teacher named Liviu Librescu. With the gunman set to enter his class, this brave professor blocked the door with his body while his students fled to safety.
It’s a given that television networks put profits above pride, but ABC has reached a new low in its sponsorship of Rosie O’Donnell. The daytime talk show host recently joined the world of “truthers” – people who believe that 9/11 was an attack staged by this country’s own government.
According to a growing number of academics and political extremists, Jews have too much power in America. This backlash against the so-called Israel Lobby has predictably caused many to wonder whether the assertive voice of contemporary Jewish political activism is too loud, too brash and, most of all, too pushy in making its case.
On Oct. 21, 2003, in a corridor on the campus of UCLA, Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, the director of UCLA’s Hillel chapter, suddenly assaulted me when I merely asked him a reasonable question. He kicked and scratched me while trying to throw me down a flight of nearby stairs.
While there’s no inherent relationship between “progressive” thought and Israel-bashing, one-sided attacks on Israel and its legitimacy are a staple of some self-styled progressive publications. The New York Review of Books, for example, was cited in Alvin Rosenfeld’s essay implicating “segments of the intellectual left,” including some Jews who call themselves “progressive,” as sharing with the far right and radical Islam an “emphatic dislike” of Israel. Rosenfeld, a professor of English and Jewish studies at Indiana University, was referring specifically to an article by Tony Judt, whose “emphatic dislike” drove him to call for the end to the Jewish state.
When the history of the whole Don Imus affair is written, we’ll see that the biggest mistake the radio talk-show host made, other than uttering his ridiculous comment about the Rutgers women’s basketball team in the first place, was to add to Al Sharpton’s aura of legitimacy by groveling before him on his radio show.
For all of the difficulties Israelis encounter these days, the greatest sometimes appears to be the implacable nature of this conflict in which they find themselves still embroiled. Despite the best intentions of a generation of would-be peacemakers and a host of concessions on the part of Israel, Arab opinion seems even more set in its determination to depict Israel as an evil oppressor. Indeed, the long record of Israeli peace offers and concessions since the signing of the Oslo peace accords in 1993 has, if anything, seemed to encourage the demonization of both the Jews and their state.
Commentary on Israel never ceases, and yet most of it seems to miss the point entirely. To gain an accurate understanding of any culture, one must begin with a point of reference, a so-called cultural perch, enabling the spectator a broader picture.
Day 1 The New York Times reports that President Bush regularly holds clandestine gatherings among his hand-selected cronies, who devise federal policy in secret, as a sort of “shadow government.” The White House issues a press release explaining that those gatherings are merely cabinet meetings, that every administration has them, and that the cabinet secretaries have all had their nominations confirmed by the Senate.
One of the many crises facing the Jewish people today is the phenomenon of “at-risk” youth. A child who is “at-risk” is generally defined as one who rebels against authority figures, demonstrates antipathy toward Jewish rituals, performs poorly in yeshiva, and is experimenting with delinquent or self-destructive behavior.
Mark Twain once said there are three sorts of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.