It’s a sad day when three opinion leaders of the American Jewish community cannot hold a civilized debate on “what it means to be pro-Israel” without one of them storming off the podium. Yet that’s what happened when I sat down with David Harris of the American Jewish Committee and John Podhoretz, who edits Commentary magazine, this week at the 92nd St Y.
They say if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But not if you were buying tickets to Israel today on El Al Airlines, where tickets were going for as low as $350 roundtrip.
Bethany Mandel and her husband, Seth, of Washington Heights had planned on taking a vacation in February but never dreamed it could be to Israel.
“We couldn’t afford it,” Mandel, 26, said. “I have enough miles for a domestic flight, but not enough to fly overseas.”
Like many liberals, David Brooks is a conservative I can like. But every now and then he falls in with the wrong conservative crowd. And this week it was in his swooning endorsement of Charles Murray and his new book, “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.”
For the young, artistic, mostly Brooklyn-based set, JDub Records was a boon. Founded in 2001, it announced this week that it was shutting its doors because of money problems. It's a real loss to the Jewish community. To be sure, the closest JDub ever got to mainstream success was by being an early booster of Matisyahu, though if you live in New York, or L.A., Miami, or San Francisco, they've brought lesser-known (though I think much better) musicians to your town that most others probably never heard of.
It isn't the best week for Tony Kushner. Earlier this week he was waylaid CUNY's board of trustees, after a right-wing Israel supporter who sits on the board convinced the school to rescind an honorary degree because of the playwright's criticism of Israel (first, I say with admittedly churlish pride, reported by my Jewish Week colleague, Doug Chandler).
Virtually no commentators, left or right, have defended Glenn Beck's vicious attack on George Soros. Commentary called Beck's tirade "marred by ignorance and offensive innuendo"; the ADL's Abe Foxman called them "horrific" and "over the top"; and this week, The New Yorker's