If you think one side in a conflict is under no moral or legal obligation to send supplies to the population of the other, you have not heard what The New York Times or Human Rights Watch’s Joel Stork have been saying about Israel’s duties toward Gaza. Both have claimed Israel has been “collectively punishing” Gazans when in, recent days, Israel has not cut electrical power at all and only reduced fuel supplies.
The Israeli government’s siege of 20 young families living in Hebron’s Beit HaShalom cracked for the first time recently. Shas minister Eli Yishai, struggling to justify his continued participation in a morally bankrupt government, pressured Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who then gave the Military Appeals Court its marching orders. Shamelessly, the court “suddenly” perceived the drastic humanitarian needs of the residents and allowed them to install windows in the unfinished building.
Recent news reports identifying Robert Malley as one of Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisers took the Monitor back a few years, to the summer of 2001 when the previously obscure Malley was suddenly popping up all over the place, castigating Israel for the collapse of the Camp David talks in 2000.
It is easy to feel sorry for the Palestinians in Gaza. Televised and print images of their apparently unrelieved misery suggest Israeli cruelty in the creation of shortages and in the use of armed force. Exactly the opposite is true. The moment that flagrantly illegal Hamas rocket attacks upon Israeli noncombatants cease, no harms of any kind will be imposed by Israel.
The amazing implosion of Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign will be analyzed and argued about for years to come. The Monitor’s own take, hardly original and admittedly based on nothing more than informed speculation, is that he simply was ambivalent about the whole enterprise to begin with.
From a national survival standpoint, the candidate debates remain pretty much beside the point. Not a single presidential aspirant has answered (or even attempted to answer) a very important question: Are we Americans now involved in a merely tactical struggle against particular terror groups and individuals, or are we, instead, embroiled in something much larger? Should we now be focusing on assorted political, military and logistical issues (the effective position, more or less, of all candidates), or upon the much wider religious and cultural context from which our principal terror enemies are spawned?
Given his swaggered walk and ineloquent delivery, George W. Bush is an easy one to underestimate. But pundits and politicians do so at their own peril, cases in point being Al Gore and John Kerry, two gentlemen who like to think of themselves as high cultivated and erudite.
When President Bush recently asked the Saudis to increase their production of oil, the media reported that the request was turned down. In fact, the Saudis offered to discuss the issue only if the president would promise a waiver of visas for Saudi students, something that Americans of all political parties would find unacceptable, given the fact that nearly all of the 9/11 terrorist hijackers hailed from the oil kingdom.
WASHINGTON - The campaign to win public recognition for the Holocaust rescue activists known as the Bergson Group took another step forward recently when Hadassah became the latest major Jewish organization to pay tribute to the 1940's activists.
Assassination does wonders for a public figure’s place in history. John F. Kennedy was a president of questionable character and meager accomplishment, but his untimely and violent death, followed by decades of unceasing image control by the Kennedy family and their media apologists, has helped sustain one of the great myths of American history – a myth that there once existed in Washington a magical kingdom called Camelot, ruled by a dashing prince whose wisdom and bravery were matched only by his unshakeable devotion to his beautiful princess.
For Jews, free will must always be oriented toward life, to the blessing, not to the curse. Our binding charge is to strive in this obligatory direction of individual and collective self-preservation by using our intelligence and by exercising our essentially disciplined acts of will. In circumstances where such striving is consciously rejected, the outcome - however catastrophic - can never rise to the dignified level of tragedy.
Over the past 12 years that I have been writing this column I discussed the Ringelblum Archives numerous times.
In the past two years, the number of visitors to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi death camp in southern Poland, has nearly tripled to an unprecedented 1 million people annually. These astounding statistics comprise an international phenomenon – one that highlights the continued significance of Auschwitz as a memorial site, a museum and now a growing tour destination.
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) relentlessly grinds on. The organization and its fellow travelers just held their annual Hate Israel follies, which they dubbed “Israel Apartheid Week.” Rallies outside Israeli consulates and embassies were held in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Cleveland, Anaheim and Chicago.
African-Americans and Jews were joined in a relationship long characterized by mutual respect and shared commitment to civil rights. But it was also one that foundered on the sensitivities and resentments that both groups often could not rise above.
In 2003, Alabama Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore attained brief fame when he placed and refused to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments in the State Supreme Court building. Moore’s actions and his subsequent removal from office by a unanimous decision of Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary were just another part of the American debate about the role of religion in the United States.