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History & Politics

Arab Moderates: Help, or Hindrance? Arab Moderates: Help, or Hindrance?
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

At the re-launching of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, attention will be focused on Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu. But Egypt's ailing president, Hosni Mubarak, will also be in attendance, as will Jordan's King Abdullah II. To maintain their bona fides as Arab moderates, the two men helped cajole Abbas to resume face-to-face negotiations with Israel. So did other Arab states in the U.S. orbit, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates.
World Jewish Congress World Jewish Congress
Monday, August 30, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In a show of solidarity with Israel, leaders of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) will be gathering in Jerusalem at the end of the month. Not to be confused with the American Jewish Congress, of which it was originally an outgrowth, or the World Zionist Congress, founded by Theodor Herzl, the WJC is an umbrella group of Diaspora organizations (including the European Jewish Congress, the Latin American Jewish Congress, and others) that defines itself somewhat grandly as "the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people." If you haven't heard of it, there's a reason.
It Sounds Better in Amharic It Sounds Better in Amharic
Thursday, August 26, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In his one-man play, It Sounds Better in Amharic, the Ethiopian-born Israeli actor Yossi Vassa humorously contrasts life in the old world and the new, mulling over the differences between traditional and modern ways of dating and the respective virtues of traveling by donkey or Lamborghini. He also narrates his family's 400-mile journey from Ethiopia to Sudan—from where, in 1984, the Israeli air force flew 8,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Vassa's family covered the 400 miles on foot, in three months. "Not to brag," he comments, "but it took the children of Israel 40 years."
Zionism Derangement Syndrome Zionism Derangement Syndrome
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A smoldering resentment, bordering on political paranoia, is palpable in sectors of Israel's Left these days. Everywhere, it seems, powerful enemies are conspiring to undermine the centers of cultural influence that leftists have long regarded as their own property, and as beyond criticism. Their response bears a resemblance to the left-wing American affliction that the columnist Charles Krauthammer memorably labeled "Bush Derangement Syndrome."
On Eagles’ Wings On Eagles’ Wings
Monday, August 23, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The story of Israel's determination to survive is inextricably linked to the military aircraft deployed to defend its skies and take the battle to the enemy. A new chapter is now opening with the decision by Defense Minister Ehud Barak to approve, pending cabinet ratification, the purchase from the United States of twenty F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft at a base price of $96 million each. The manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, promises the new jet will be capable of penetrating the most sophisticated air defenses. Unfortunately, the plane is only now going into production and won't reach the Israel Air Force for...
Getting Abbas to the Table Getting Abbas to the Table
Thursday, August 19, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The barrier built a decade ago to protect the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo from Fatah fire is being dismantled. Some residents are worried: today's tranquility is welcome, said one, but why tempt fate when there is still no peace agreement with the Palestinians, and not even direct negotiations?
Limited Partnership Limited Partnership
Monday, August 16, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Celebrating its Independence Day on August 15, the nation of India marked 63 years since the end of British rule in the sub-continent. In light of the two countries' more or less contemporaneous struggle for self-determination in the immediate aftermath of World War II, one might have thought that India would establish close ties with the newly born state of Israel straightaway. It did not happen.
Rank Rivalries Rank Rivalries
Wednesday, August 11, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A bare majority of Americans know that General David Petraeus commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Fewer, surely, would be able to name Navy Admiral Mike Mullen as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In Israel, by contrast, the chief of the general staff of the country's defense forces is a household name—for he is the unique individual in public life who is single-mindedly focused on military security, the reassuring figure, above the political fray, to whom Israelis can look with confidence at times of threat to their national safety.
The Conversion Conundrum The Conversion Conundrum
Monday, July 26, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Late last week, narrowly averting a looming crisis within world Jewry, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured a postponement, possibly indefinite, of prospective Knesset legislation making the Chief Rabbinate the arbiter of conversion in the Jewish state and thus of who may be eligible for citizenship under Israel's foundational Law of Return. The measure has stirred impassioned debate in and between Israel and the Diaspora, much of it a depressing if also revealing exercise in talking past each other.
Who’s Against a Two-State Solution? Who’s Against a Two-State Solution?
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 by Efraim Karsh | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"Two states, living side by side in peace and security." This, in the words of President Barack Obama, is the solution to the century-long conflict between Jews and Palestinian Arabs in the Middle East. Washington is fully and determinedly on board. So are the Europeans. The UN and the "international community" vociferously agree. Successive governments of the state of Israel have shown their support for the idea. So far, there is—just as there has always been—only one holdout.
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Editors' Picks
Roosevelt, Hoover, and the Jews Harry Stein, City Journal. While Roosevelt was resisting calls to admit child refugees from Germany (and badmouthing Jews in private), his predecessor was out campaigning on behalf of European Jewry.
Leading Germany's Jews Charlotte Knobloch, Spiegel. The 80-year-old Holocaust survivor who leads Munich’s Jews says it wasn't until the 2006 inauguration of a synagogue in the city that she finally felt at home in Germany. (Interview by Susanne Beyer)
From the Front Lines Jonathan Spyer, World Affairs. "It is quite possible that the Syrian insurgents may choose to strike back at Hezbollah in Lebanon itself at some stage . . . Hezbollah and the FSA are already at war." (Interview by Michael J. Totten)
Under A Tax Shaye J. D. Cohen, Bible History Daily. Vespasian's fiscus judaicus not only undermined the Temple by diverting tithes to the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, but may also have accelerated the break between Judaism and Christianity. 
It’s Not Libya, It’s Syria Jackson Diehl, Washington Post. Though the Libyan assassinations were a calamity, the Syrian civil war reveals a much deeper, more dangerous U.S. policy failure.
What the Islamists Get Right Michael Moynihan, Tablet. Censoring Mein Kampf, Holocaust denial, and other neo-Nazi propaganda is not only an affront to free speech but completely ineffective; and we shouldn't need Islamists to tell us so.
The Afghan Genizah Samuel Thrope, University of Chicago Divinity School. A trove of medieval Jewish documents recently found in Afghanistan promises to shed light not only on Jewish life at the time of the Mongol invasion but also on the evolution of the Persian language.  
Mossad’s Mistake Mitch Ginsburg, Times of Israel. The attack that began the Yom Kippur War caught everyone in Israel, including Golda Meir, by surprise—everyone except the Mossad.  A new look at Israel’s Pearl Harbor. 
Romania’s Final Solution Michael Gesin, H-Net. Romania’s wartime leaders were so enamored of Nazi Germany that they developed their own Final Solution. So, why did half of Romania’s Jews manage to survive?  
How Orientalism Shaped Obama Lee Smith, Tablet. Blaming the recent attacks against U.S. targets on a cheap video reflects Edward Said’s argument that Europe subjugated Muslims by distorting perceptions of their culture.