Campus battles over the Middle East conflict and rising anti-Semitism are heating up on several fronts:
# A national pro-Palestinian student conference declaring that “Zionism is racism” is slated for Oct. 12 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with plans to increase pressure on college officials to drop investments in Israel.
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.”
When Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb rose to speak before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here last week, “You could hear a pin drop,” she said.
The only rabbi, and one of just a handful of Jews to attend a dinner dialogue between Ahmadinejad and a coalition of religious peace groups during his visit to address the UN last week, Gottlieb knew her words would weigh heavily in the air — not least with the Quakers, Mennonites and other peace churches that sponsored the gathering.
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.
As Pakistan’s prime minister in the mid-1990s, Benazir Bhutto sponsored the fundamentalist Taliban insurgency in neighboring Afghanistan — thereby bringing to power the force that would shelter and defend Osama bin Laden.
Bhutto also unstintingly backed Pakistan’s covert nuclear weapons program as a response to the program of arch-rival India, including her country’s decision, while she was opposition leader, to conduct Pakistan’s first nuclear bomb tests in 1998, bringing to fruition the world’s first "Islamic bomb."
Washington – The specter of the 1930s overshadowed the Convention Center here as the pro-Israel lobby this week decried Iran as an existential threat to Israel and the West unseen since World War II.
In comparison, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s three-day annual policy conference largely played down the Jewish state’s longstanding conflict with the Palestinians.
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.
Two weeks ago marked the 20th anniversary of the worst man-made environmental disaster the world has ever experienced. Beginning on April 26, 1986, the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, near the border between Belarus and Ukraine, experienced several explosions and a meltdown said to release 300 times as much radiation as was released in Hiroshima.
Hazon, the New York-based Jewish environmental organization, is using a yellow school bus to send a green message.
Actually, 11⁄2 yellow school buses.
In a kick-off ceremony last week outside the United Nations, in honor of Jewish Social Action Month, a “Topsy Turvy Bus,” two chassis fused together, began a three-month journey across the country. The biodiesel-fueled bus, staffed by a few Hazon members, will stop at synagogues and Jewish schools and other Jewish institutions between New York and California to deliver its environmental message.