United Nations

Is Lemkin’s Legacy Going Unheeded?

01/22/2010
Staff Writer

The Center for Jewish History is currently showing an exhibit dedicated to the life and work of Raphael Lemkin. If his name isn’t quite familiar to you, rest assured, you’re not alone. In any event, you certainly know the one word that’s become synonymous with him: genocide. In 1943, Lemkin invented the term. And in 1951, he saw to it that the United Nations make it a punishable crime.

Haiti: Our Disproportionate Response

01/21/2010
Staff Writer

In a world of rather frequent natural disasters, the earthquake in Haiti and its eerie, hellish aftermath retains the ability to shock, reminding us of the fragility of life and even civilization itself. And yet, if we will call earthquakes “acts of God,” there is some solace in seeing how so many of us have responded in a way that ironically can only be called the image of God and all that’s holy.

Darkness After ‘Noon’

As a new biography shows, the second half of Arthur Koestler’s life, marked by a peculiar mix of Zionism and Jewish self-hatred, was one of steadily declining reputation.

01/22/2010
Staff Writer

If you were Jewish and lived in the 1940s, to say that Arthur Koestler was on your side was no small thing. Then at the height of his renown, Koestler, born in Budapest in 1905, had become one of Western literature’s most revered figures. His anti-Stalinist novel “Darkness at Noon,” published in 1940 and still his most famous, made him one of the first liberals to come out against Communism. The book would partly inspire George Orwell, an author whose reputation today far eclipses Koestler’s.

The new biography of Arthur Koestler by Michael Scammell, bottom, revives an overlooked thesis.

Gaza: Can We Possibly Be Right?

01/16/2009
Special to the Jewish Week

As Israel’s war against Hamas continues in its third week and casualties among the Palestinian population of Gaza mount, it is getting awfully difficult to find people outside the Jewish community- except for a select few politicians running for office- who are genuinely supportive of Israel’s cause.

Israel: Sixty-One, with No Apologies

04/24/2009
Special to the Jewish Week

The State of Israel celebrates its sixty-first birthday this coming week.  I find myself wondering whether there exists another country in the world that has to apologize for its existence in order to celebrate, as Israel does.

Sharing a Painful Message: Needed - Sane Voices for Israel

09/24/2009
Special to the Jewish Week

In lieu of a regular posting this week, I am sharing with you the message that I delivered in my own congregation in Forest Hills on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.

I do so because it speaks to a subject that I think needs to be on our communal agenda, and about which I feel passionately: how and about what we in the Jewish community disagree, and its implications for our relationship with the world as a whole, and particularly with Israel.

I wish you all a g’mar hatimah tovah…

Two Papers, Two Stories; One Paper, Two Stories

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 Two papers tells a different story, or rather the same story in different ways. “Israeli Shells Kill 40 At Gaza U.N. School” (New York Times headline, Jan. 7).   Or was it, “Hamas In Human Shield Atrocity: Uses School As Mortar Lair Where Children Die” (New York Post headline, Jan. 7).

Israel Didn’t Leave, It Lost - Like Blanche DuBois

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009 The first rule of pride is this: When they run you out of town, walk like you’re leading the parade.   I’ll give Israel this: When international pressure got to be too much, Israel left Gaza as if it was Israel’s bright idea, “a unilateral ceasefire.”  

Time’s Excellent Coverage Of The Shoah - 1943

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 Despite all the apologists, anyone in the United States during the 1940s, particularly a Jew, who said that he or she had no idea about the Holocaust was either an idiot or illiterate. Despite all the attacks on the media for not telling everything, and for not telling it on the front page, any person who read Time magazine, the number one newsweekly in 1943, was given all the information required to know that an extermination was underway that was unparalleled in history.  

Olympic Gadfly

07/30/2008
Staff Writer
A year ago, Jill Savitt found herself in a scorching refugee camp in northern Africa, holding the hand of a boy whose family had lost its home in the Darfur genocide, and thinking of her own 9-year-old son who was safe at home in Brooklyn. Savitt’s visit to the camp in Chad, her first on-site encounter with the victims of the five-year campaign of murder and enslavement conducted by the government in neighboring Sudan, was another step in a mid-career change that brought her from nonprofit communications consultant to advocate for genocide victims.
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