Despite President Bush's insistence that the war on terrorism is not a religious conflict pitting the West against Islam, prominent members of his administration and leaders of Islamic countries are pushing inexorably in that direction.
And as the president came to the defense of the Jewish community this week, Jewish leaders were warning of dire long-term consequences in the wake of the anti-Semitic tirade unleashed last week by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Carole Basri stood in the bright sunshine in front of the Isaiah Wall, only blocks from the United Nations headquarters. She clutched a black-and-white picture of her white-bearded great-grandfather — the former chief rabbi of Baghdad.
“I come here as a Jew and an Arab,” she told a small gathering of reporters and Jewish officials Monday. “My family had lived there for 2,500 years, before the rise of Mohammed and Islam. I want to see Iraq someday, see the home of my parents and my legacy.”
For Israel this week, the outbreak of war between Georgia and Russia has been all about Iran.
As Tblisi and Moscow agreed to a cease-fire Tuesday in their five-day conflict over two disputed territories, Russia was still bristling with anger over U.S. policies and statements on the issue. But thanks to Israel’s decision to limit its arms sales to Georgia, the Kremlin had only kind words for Israel, Washington’s closest ally, as the guns of war died down.
Pro-Israel money will help give Joe Lieberman the ability to run a serious race if he sticks with his vow to make an independent bid to keep his Senate seat, according to political insiders and some pro-Israel donors themselves.
This support, they said, will counterbalance the evaporation of political backing Lieberman will now likely experience from his Democratic Party colleagues with the victory Tuesday of his primary opponent in Connecticut, Ned Lamont.
Washington — If Iran was the issue that united delegates at this week’s annual conference of the pro-Israel lobby, Iraq proved the one that divided them when an American vice president and — more surprisingly — an Israeli prime minister pushed the issue.
In his speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Vice President Dick Cheney barely mentioned the nuclear threat from Iran, which otherwise dominated the lobby’s three-day conference. He dwelled instead at length on the danger the United States would face if it withdrew from Iraq.
President Bush is risking a backlash that could injure the Jewish community — and his own cause — by repeatedly citing Israel as his top rationale for possible U.S. military conflict with Iran, Jewish leaders and Middle East analysts warned this week.
Bella Zuzel is Sabbath observant but plans to break tradition to march in Saturday's rally against the war in Iraq.
"For me this is pikuach nefesh, with many lives at stake," she said, referring to the Jewish provision allowing one to break Jewish law in order to save a life.
Rabbi Peter Knobel is on a mission: to propel his colleagues in the Reform rabbinate to exercise moral leadership and speak out with conviction on public issues. According to Rabbi Knobel, president of the 1,800-member Central Conference of American Rabbis, which met for its annual convention this week in Cincinnati, fear of controversy and an over-emphasis on internal spirituality has caused his colleagues to draw back from the prophetic tradition that they once proudly wore as their mantle.
These past few weeks have underlined the power of the gruesome visual image.
For months there were news briefs about prison perversity in Iraq, but the story would not have vaulted to the top of America’s agenda without the photographs with which we are now so familiar. In the Middle East, the Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera news stations showed footage of Palestinians playing catch and soccer with Israeli body parts, and Palestinians displayed bits of flesh and a severed Israeli head as some sort of trophy testifying to Israel’s weakness.
A few hours after a U.S. Army base in Iraq came under Iranian-backed Shi’ite rocket attacks the other day, Dave Rosner and a few friends showed up. Rosner, a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves, wasn’t there to fight. He went to tell jokes.
Rosner, a wiry, wisecracking native of New Mexico who now lives on the Upper East Side, was part of a stand-up show that entertains troops in war zones. This one was especially tense after the rocket attack, one in which an injured soldier had to be airlifted away for medical care.