Sunday, September 28th, 2008
In the end, of course, “Hair” is a Broadway musical, a superficial story with superb songs that just happen to be about drugs, dropouts and draft dodging. Some teenagers, from a yeshiva, told an old man (me) that seeing “Hair” made them wish that they were “activists,” too, like the kids in “Hair,” which is as connected to real life as wanting to be a nanny after seeing “Mary Poppins,” or a horse after “Equus.”
Spurred by a grass-roots alliance of local Jews, Latinos, labor unions and clergy, California’s state legislature is investigating the business dealings of Dr. Irving Moskowitz, a controversial sponsor of Jewish settlements in Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.
The throngs were still cheering the marching bands and flag-waving yeshiva children snaking up Fifth Avenue last Sunday at the Israel Day Parade. But at the ornate Essex Hotel on Central Park South, just blocks from the reviewing stand where he had hailed the crowd two hours earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed for just a moment uncharacteristically reticent.
Harvard University’s Hillel president was not silent last week after Zionist Organization of America leader Morton Klein attacked his center for hosting Breaking the Silence, a controversial Israeli photo exhibit.
“As a result of your actions, our students are receiving hate e-mails,” fumed Dr. Bernie Steinberg in an open letter to Klein posted last weekend. “If you intended to injure and hurt young Jews, you recent actions and words are a success.”
As Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s stand on government torture meets widespread criticism — including, increasingly, from the organized Jewish community — a former Israeli military attorney who oversaw terrorist cases is pushing for the United States to borrow, selectively, from Israel’s approach to the issue.
Since a 1999 High Court ruling mandated it, says Amos Guiora, Israel has established a “no-torture-based paradigm” that contain key elements the U.S. should adopt; but also some elements it should avoid.
Washington — Holocaust scholars this week are rallying around the appointment of John K. Roth as the first director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, the newly created scholarly arm of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
And museum officials seem to be lining up behind the embattled scholar.
Roth last week found himself under attack for a 1988 Los Angeles Times op-ed article that his attackers say “desecrates the memory” of Holocaust victims and compares Israel to the Nazis.
The Obama administration is confident it will retain strong Jewish support even as it ratchets up the pressure on Israel and offers clues that, unlike its predecessors, it means what it says about the thorny issue of Jewish settlements on the West Bank.
While the pro-Israel establishment is already reacting angrily to the administration’s shifted red lines on settlements, many analysts say President Barack Obama’s ability to soften tough positions with pro-Israel reassurances will prevent a broad Jewish backlash.
Friday, December 19th, 2008
James Besser in Washington
After his November 4 election, there was widespread speculation about which Jewish and pro-Israel groups would have access to Barack Obama’s White House – and which would be frozen out.
Thursday, August 21st, 2008
James Besser in Washington
The John McCain campaign is starting to sound a lot like the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) in its efforts to win over Jewish voters.
This week the campaign reprised a favorite ZOA them when it went after former diplomat Dan Kurtzer, a Barack Obama foreign policy adviser who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005.