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History & Politics

Independence Day Independence Day
Thursday, April 26, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Every spring, within a single week, Israel commemorates Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron, and Yom Ha'atzma'ut. These days revisit the core drama of the modern Jewish experience.  They are also among the most controversial in the Israeli calendar.
A Room of Their Own A Room of Their Own
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 by Yoel Finkelman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The editors of B'hadrei Haredim, a website whose name could be loosely translated as Haredi "private rooms," are supposed to be the good guys—the people who are leading the Haredi community in new and positive directions. These are the individuals who turned a tiny chat room into a major news site.
Righteous Among <i>Our</i> Nation Righteous Among Our Nation
Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Chaya Glasner | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Even before visitors walk through the door of Yad Vashem, they see a powerful tribute to Holocaust heroism. Along the Avenue of the Righteous leading to the museum, thousands of trees bloom in honor of the approximately 21,000 "Righteous Among the Nations," courageous Gentiles who defied the Nazis and risked their lives to save Jews from deportation.
The Unseen Shield The Unseen Shield
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The news report hardly makes an impression on most Israelis: another West Bank checkpoint search, another discovery of explosives and weapons, and the familiar finale: "The suspect was taken in for questioning by the Shin Bet."
Peter Beinart, I Quit. Peter Beinart, I Quit.
Monday, April 2, 2012 by Yoel Finkelman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Peter Beinart's new blog on the Daily Beast titled Open Zion (formerly Zion Square) is dedicated to an "open and unafraid conversation about Israel, Palestine, and the Jewish future."  But after several weeks of Open Zion, one writer has concluded that its conversation is not, in fact, open—and is not one in which he can continue to take part. Here, he resigns his position. 
French Lessons French Lessons
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 by Simon Gordon | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The saga that captured headlines around the world last week came to an end when Mohamed Merah—who had murdered four people, including three children, at the Ozer Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, France—was shot dead by French police. Before his death, Merah told police negotiators that he was a member of al-Qaeda.
Martyr in Waiting Martyr in Waiting
Friday, March 16, 2012 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Khader Adnan, currently under administrative detention in Israel, has announced the end of his 66-day hunger strike in exchange for a commitment by Israeli authorities to set him free on April 17. His pending release raises a moral dilemma.
AIPAC and the Politics of Reaffirmation AIPAC and the Politics of Reaffirmation
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Politics is a matter of emotions as much as intellect, and rituals and ceremonies are central. The annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington, D.C. is, perhaps above all, a ceremony of reaffirmation of the relationships among American Jews, non-Jewish Americans, the American state, and Israel.
What Would Ariel Sharon Do? What Would Ariel Sharon Do?
Monday, March 5, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Biographies of father by sons are an uncertain genre. Closeness necessarily entails distortion, positive or negative. But at a time when the vast majority of Israeli and world leaders seem strikingly small, it is worth considering the portrait of Ariel Sharon provided by his youngest son.
Jazz, <i>Piyyut</i>, and Jewish Identity Jazz, Piyyut, and Jewish Identity
Tuesday, February 28, 2012 by Omer Avital and Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The Israeli-born, New York-based Omer Avital is both a world-class jazz musician and a master of classical Arabic music. He recently visited the Tikvah Fund, oud in hand, for an evening of music and free-flowing discussion about jazz, piyyut [liturgical verse], and Jewish identity.
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Editors' Picks
After Chavez Uriel Heilman, JTA. The death of Hugo Chavez brings to an end a regime that cultivated hostility toward Jews where little existed before.  But Venezuela's Jews aren't breathing a sigh of relief yet. 
What Lurks Underneath Odessa? Moses Gates, Forward. "We spend hours in the catacombs, doing several trips to various sections. . . . Then we turn a corner and see a circle about a foot in diameter with a swastika carved into it."
The Land of No Anti-Semitism Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz. Azerbaijan’s Jews, citizens of a pro-Israel nation with a venerable Jewish heritage, are sure that "there is no anti-Semitism here and there never has been."  But they depend on the president's favor.
Underestimating the Holocaust Eric Lichtblau, New York Times. New research has revealed that the number of Nazi camps and ghettos was six times greater than previous estimates—too many to have remained invisible to the German people.
Alliance of Caliphates Claudia Rosett, National Review. Kofi Annan launched the United Nations’ “Alliance of Civilizations” with the aim of “bridging divides.”  Now it provides an independently bankrolled forum for Islamist anti-Zionism.
FDR and the Jews Marc Fisher, Moment. “Roosevelt sounded at times like a Zionist, at times like a skeptic about Palestine’s capacity to absorb new settlers, and at times, when speaking to anti-Semites, like an anti-Semite himself.”
Dangerous Liaisons Meredith Tax, Dissent. Burgeoning alliances between the far Left and the theocratic Muslim Right represent "betrayals of basic socialist principle" that have "undermined struggles for secular democracy."
Five-Star Refuge Erica Lyons, Asian Jewish Life. The Peninsula in Hong Kong remains one of the city's finest hotels.  In the aftermath of the Second World War, however, it was a shelter for 283 Jewish refugees. 
Playing Politics with God Jonathan Neumann, Commentary. Examining the dynamics of Israelite society, Michael Walzer finds politics "largely missing" from the Bible.  But he ignores the politics of the Israelites' relationship with God.
What Israel Lobby? Lee Smith, Tablet. "Just how powerful is AIPAC if a man who refers to it as the 'Jewish lobby' and has defiantly claimed that he is not an 'Israeli senator' is slated to be our next Secretary of Defense?"