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History & Politics

Chemical Warfare in the Middle East: A Brief History Chemical Warfare in the Middle East: A Brief History
Thursday, December 13, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

At this time of Hanukkah’s memories of Syrian tyrants past, the Syrian tyrant present, Bashar al-Assad, has reportedly assembled chemical weapons for use against the rebellion.
Lincoln’s “Limp” Lincoln’s “Limp”
Friday, November 30, 2012 by Judy Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Abraham Lincoln was a transcendently great American president.  Yet Steven Spielberg’s recently released film Lincoln depicts him as a practitioner of political chicanery and manipulation.  Must an individual be calculating and deceitful in order to be a great leader?
Jacob’s Sons in the Bishop’s Palace Jacob’s Sons in the Bishop’s Palace
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 by Diana Muir Appelbaum | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The current Baron Rothschild is one of the British philanthropists backing a new museum of Christianity in Britain, built around a dazzling series of thirteen Baroque paintings, each over eight feet tall.
Can Jews Write History? Can Jews Write History?
Thursday, November 8, 2012 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In his well-known book Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality, historian Eric Hobsbawm made the remarkable assertion that “no serious historian of nations and nationalism can be a committed political nationalist.”
The Jewish Vote, Once and Future The Jewish Vote, Once and Future
Tuesday, November 6, 2012 | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

This Election Day reminds us, yet again, of the paradox of the “Jewish vote” in American politics.  Here is a series of varied snapshots of the Jewish vote as it has looked to different writers for Jewish Ideas Daily over the past two years.
Renaissance Men Renaissance Men
Monday, November 5, 2012 by Adina M. Yoffie | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Hugo Grotius. Isaac Abravanel. Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.  These are not names normally mentioned in the same breath, but taken together, their experiences with and thoughts regarding interfaith encounters are instructive.
Max Lilienthal’s Aborted Return Max Lilienthal’s Aborted Return
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 by Allan Arkush | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In Bruce L. Ruben’s new biography Max Lilienthal: The Making of the American Rabbinate, about one of the pioneers of the American Reform movement, I was surprised to learn that Lilienthal almost made a second trip to Tsarist Russia.
Promises, Promises Promises, Promises
Thursday, October 25, 2012 by Lawrence Grossman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

City of Promises, a new three-volume history of Jewish New York, is remarkable for the complex metamorphoses it explains—and for the 21st century transformation it doesn't mention.
The Portuguese Dreyfus The Portuguese Dreyfus
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 by Kevin Zdiara | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In 1894, the Jewish Captain Alfred Dreyfus was wrongly convicted of treason by an anti-Semitic French military court.  The world remembers Dreyfus.  It should also remember the Jewish military officer Artur Carlos de Barros Basto, wrongly convicted by an anti-Semitic Portuguese military court in 1937. 
Cousins: Jews and Arabs Seek Each Other Out Cousins: Jews and Arabs Seek Each Other Out
Thursday, October 18, 2012 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. So, it seems, is the rule governing Jews and Arabs: the farther apart they are from one another, the greater their mutual interest, while the greater their proximity, the more antagonistic they seem.
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Editors' Picks
Remembering Geza Vermes Mark Goodacre, NT Blog. An authority on the early history of both Judaism and Christianity, Geza Vermes, who passed away this week, translated the Dead Sea Scrolls and revolutionized the academic study of Jesus.
Defrauding Holocaust Survivors Paul Berger, Forward. Three Claims Conference employees have been convicted of fraudulently claiming $57 million meant for Holocaust survivors.  But the Claims Conference denies institutional responsibility.
Whitewashing White Supremacy Ben Cohen, Contentions. Delegates at the World Jewish Congress expected Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, to commit to eliminating anti-Semitism from public life. They were disappointed.
Hungary's New Nazism Colin Freeman, Telegraph. Instead of convening in Jerusalem, the World Jewish Congress takes place this week in Budapest to highlight mounting anti-Semitism in Hungary—which is steadily becoming institutionalized.
The Ancient Library of Alexandria J. Harold Ellens, Bible Review. "The scholarly culture of the ancient library became the seedbed of the great philosophies of Judaism and Christianity and thus has continued to influence Western culture for two millennia."
The Nazis' Forgotten Victims Götz Aly, Spiegel. 'There was no resistance to the euthanasia murders from the leftist or secular side of society.  It was and remains part of the modern age and progressive thought." (Interview by Susanne Beyer)
Of Women and Walls Elliott Horowitz, Tablet. At the Western Wall in 1842, William Bartlett saw "seated many venerable men, reading the books of the law," but also "many women . . . kissing its ancient masonry, and praying through the crevices."
In Defense of Kissinger Robert D. Kaplan, Atlantic. Despite being America's first Jewish Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger dismissed the refuseniks as "not an American concern."  But, "Kissinger’s realism was more effective than the humanitarianism of Jewish groups."
Diary of the Hitler Diary Hoax Sally McGrane, New Yorker. Thirty years ago, Stern magazine announced the discovery of Hitler’s lost diaries, which claimed that he did not know what was happening to the Jews.  Within two weeks, the diaries were exposed as fakes.
"The Myth of Mental Illness" Holly Case, Aeon. Jewish psychiatrist Thomas Szasz denounced his field as "a threat to civil liberties" and stated that "Freud and the psychoanalysts" had replaced "the totalitarian leader and his apologists."