Religious Extremism And International Legal Norms Perfidy, Irrationality And Preemption (First of Three Parts)
The French dramatist and diplomat, Jean Giraudoux, inquires in one of his plays (Sodome et Gomorrhe): "C'est beau, n'est-ce pas, la fin dumonde?" ("It is beautiful, isn't it, the end of the world?")
Rabbi Pinchas M. Teitz, who eventually became rav of Elizabeth, New Jersey, visited America from 1933-1935.
Last week the Monitor considered the matter of radio host Don Imus’s firing and the hypocrisy that infused the affair throughout its eight-day life. Ironically, Bernard Goldberg – the veteran television newsman who with his 2001 surprise bestseller Bias blew the whistle on how liberal journalists routinely slant their reportage – has a new book out, Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right, that includes an amusing, counterintuitive, anecdote about Imus.
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.
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.