Less than a year into new administrations in Washington and Jerusalem, diplomatic relations between the United States and Israel are bleak, but not that bleak, Middle East experts in an academic conference here agreed this week.
The participants in “U.S.-Israel Relations: In the Era of Obama and Netanyahu,” held at the Schottenstein Cultural Center in Manhattan, said the continuing pressure on Israel by the Obama administration to halt the expansion of settlements in the Palestinian territories is not likely to improve the relations.
Monday, November 2nd, 2009
If anybody has a clue what the Obama administration is really up to on the Israeli-Palestinian front, I wish they’d send me the memo.
Over the weekend pro-Israel groups here were crowing about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s claim that Israeli offers on limiting settlement construction were “unprecedented.”
Despite the 1,800 miles that separate Paris from Tel Aviv, Jews in France say they face ongoing repercussions from the ongoing Middle Eastern tensions. And it’s not only from the country’s large Arab population but perhaps even more so from na
Paris — Nestled among Parisian gefilte fish proprietors, pickled herring vendors and boulangeries stocked with chocolate rugelach, an Israeli restaurateur yanks otherwise oblivious customers into his teeming falafel palace while Chabad boys sell palm fronds for Sukkot across the cobblestone Rue des Rosiers.
In the Marais, the traditional Jewish quarter of the French capital, neon leaflets advertise Hebrew classes and nearly every shop window has a stamp of approval from the Beth Din of Paris.
British writer James Montague spent three years traveling throughout the Middle East watching soccer games in order to understand the region’s societies — Jews and Arabs in Israel, Arabs and Muslims in the rest of the countries — through the prism of the world’s most popular sport. The result is “When Friday Comes: Football in the War Zone” (Mainstream Publishing), 288 pages of humor, surprises and cultural insights. His chapter on Israel focuses on the interplay of sports and politics, integration and discrimination.
During the reign of King Hussein, Jordanian currency would be printed with an empty space next to the image of a prominent site or prominent citizen. Hold the dinar up to a light, and a faint picture of the king would appear.
Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
I was wondering how long it would take for Obama administration opponents in the Jewish community to respond to today’s announcement that former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) will co-chair the Intelligence Advisory Board, an independent panel that provides recommendations to the President on key intelligence matters.
1948: The First Arab-Israeli War,
by Benny Morris. (Yale University Press,
524 pages, $32.50.)
Of Israel’s first 60 years, its most important ones were arguably 1948 and 1967. Those were the seminal years that established the country’s existential viability, its collective attitude, its national borders, its dangerous demography and the problems that would shape it in the 21st Century.
Sydney: A nearly capacity crowd filled the sanctuary of North Shore Temple Emanuel on a recent weeknight. In the seats were Jews, Christians and "a few Aborigines," said Rabbi Allison Conyer. As part of a forum, "The Aboriginal Challenge: Where To Now?" sponsored by the congregation's Social Action Group, a series of Aboriginal speakers discussed the native Australians' history and current social problems, and the event's Jewish moderator urged the Jewish community to get involved.
Hillary Clinton, testified in confirmation hearings Tuesday. She said the U.S. “must actively pursue a strategy of smart power in the Middle East that addresses the security needs of Israel and the legitimate political and economic aspirations of
The fierce fighting in Gaza could push the incoming Barack Obama administration to accelerate its promised plunge into Middle East peacemaking and possibly expand back-channel contacts with Hamas. With the Obama administration set to hit the ground running after next week’s inauguration, a broad spectrum of observers predict a sharp increase in the intensity of U.S. diplomacy in the region — both a fulfillment of Obama’s campaign promise and a response to the ongoing Gaza crisis. But few expect radical changes in the content of that diplomacy.