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Modern Times


A Convenient Hatred A Convenient Hatred
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

With some 1,000 books currently in print on the subject, does the world desperately need another tome on anti-Semitism? What difference will it make, when anti-Israelism provides only the latest justification for Europe's persistent prejudice against Jews and anti-Semitic views are shared by 15 percent of Americans and 90 percent of Muslims worldwide?
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.
Jews, Damned Jews, and Sociologists Jews, Damned Jews, and Sociologists
Thursday, March 1, 2012 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

What is this thing called Jewishness? What does it look like? What are its boundaries? Even the most neutral-sounding answer reflects some position on one side or the other of the crazy-quilt of conflicts that have defined and continue to define Jewish life over the last 200 years.
Gertrude Stein, Fascist? Gertrude Stein, Fascist?
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 by Eitan Kensky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Does it say something that the most indelible portraits of Gertrude Stein come from the outside? Or, to frame the question a different way: what does it say when our most lasting impressions of a writer are based not on her words, but on the visions and appropriations of others?
Order in the House Order in the House
Monday, February 27, 2012 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On a bad day, Israeli parliamentarians have been known to hurl water at political adversaries, denigrate immigrant MKs' Hebrew accents, and even bow their heads in the memory of Palestinian suicide bombers. On a good day, they mostly go about the nuts-and-bolts crafting of bipartisan legislation for the benefit of all Israelis.
Evil Genius Evil Genius
Thursday, February 23, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Very little anti-Semitic literature is new; most of its tropes seem ageless, continually recombined and updated by haters reacting only dimly to their actual circumstances. Few anti-Semitic works exhibit literary or lesser, sociological gifts. The one exception is The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Do Jews Have a Mormon Problem? Do Jews Have a Mormon Problem?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The religious values of presidents seldom satisfactorily explain their attitudes toward the Jews. Franklin Roosevelt's Episcopalian faith could not have foretold his hard-hearted policies during the Holocaust.  Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter, both Baptists, went in opposite directions.
Rose-Colored Glasses Rose-Colored Glasses
Monday, February 20, 2012 by Allan Arkush | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Jacqueline Rose, a noted professor of English in the United Kingdom and the author of many works of literary criticism, has stepped beyond the academic precincts where she first made her name to produce, over the past decade or so, a substantial opus dealing with Zionism and Israel.
Mensch in the Moon Mensch in the Moon
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 by Josh Gelernter | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Right now there are two Americans aboard the International Space Station, and their only way home is to hitch a ride in the Russians' Soyuz capsule, a ramshackle remnant of the 1960s. There's no space shuttle to bring them home because the shuttle's been retired; also retired are plans for an American return to the moon.
Jewish Ethics, from Ancient Bible to Modern Bus Jewish Ethics, from Ancient Bible to Modern Bus
Monday, February 13, 2012 by Lawrence Grossman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The next time someone tells you that ethical behavior doesn't need a foundation in religious teaching, step onto an Israeli bus (it doesn't have to be the gender-segregated variety) or open a mass-circulation Israeli newspaper and see how religion puts Jewish ethics on steroids.
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Editors' Picks
Turkey, with a Slice of Humble Pie Paul Alster, Times of Israel. As his attempts to build an alliance with Syria and Iran have ended in disaster, the Turkish prime minister is trying to rebuild ties with Israel. And Israel should welcome him back.
The Battle for Jerusalem Abraham Rabinovich, Times of Israel. Israel's 1967 conquest of the Old City, as celebrated yesterday, has become part of the religious Zionist narrative. But whether or not it was divinely preordained, it was never planned by Rabin.
Returning to Tunisia Gil Shefler, Wall Street Journal. When last year's Lag BaOmer pilgrimage to Djerba was cancelled, many doubted the future of Tunisia's Jews. But the new Islamist government just passed a test of religious freedom.
With Friends Like These Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post. While the prevalence of overt anti-Zionism across Europe is notorious, it is less well known that even Europeans who claim to be pro-Israel are invariably hostile to the Jewish state.
No Quarter Matti Friedman, Times of Israel. For its two million tourists, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City is the historical and spiritual center of Judaism. But the only Jews who lived there before 1948 were those too poor to leave.
The Spirit is Unwilling Mary Pilon, New York Times. Why won't the president of the International Olympic Committee allow for a moment of silence, in "the Olympic spirit," on the tragic anniversary of the 1972 murder of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches?
Masonic Rites in the Holy Land Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom. Below Jerusalem's Old City, a Freemason "laid my pocket Bible atop the stone in the middle of the cave and three candles around it which shower light . . ."
The Nakba that Almost Was Robert Werdine, Times of Israel. What would have happened to the Jewish towns of nascent Israel were the invading Arab armies successful?
Dragoman Eric Ormsby, Wall Street Journal. Though Bernard Lewis is firmly opposed to historical relativists, he is keenly aware of the sheer slipperiness of historical terrain.
Wadiya Doin'? J. Hoberman, Tablet. Chaplin's Great Dictator ends with an anti-fascist speech; Sacha Baron Cohen's Dictator breaks the proscenium to make a blunt political statement—about the inequities of American society.