There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the Obama administration’s push for indirect “proximity” talks between Israel and the Palestinians, with special envoy George Mitchell serving as facilitator, referee and cheerleader, and about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reluctant agreement to participate.
You hear much less about how the Palestinians and the Arab states haven’t been much help to the administration’s faltering efforts.
American Jews, and Israel, have long taken pride in the fact that support for the Jewish state is a bipartisan issue among political leaders in this country. Whether a Democrat or Republican was in the White House for the last three decades, Israel was viewed as a strong ally in every sense of the word.
But there are cracks in the façade of late, perhaps inevitable in an age of increasing partisanship in Washington, yet troubling nonetheless and in need of attention.
Last weekend’s New York Times report on a secret memo by Defense Secretary Robert Gates warning that the Obama administration needs a better long-term strategy for dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat reflects some disturbing realities.
Once again, the American Jewish Committee’s Annual Survey of Jewish Public Opinion, released last week, reflects a mature, politically stable community that doesn’t flit from position to position based on the latest headlines — this time, trumpeting (exaggerating?) U.S.-Israel friction.
A powerful, and we think important, moment played out in Justice Patricia DiMango’s courtroom in Brooklyn Supreme Court this week. It happened at the sentencing Monday of convicted child molester Rabbi Baruch Mordechai Lebovits, who a jury found guilty of eight counts of sexual abuse. The well-known owner of a travel agency in Borough Park, over the course of nine months in 2004-2005, lured a 16-year-old boy into his car and performed sex acts on him. In an emotional statement read in court, the father of the victim spoke heartbreakingly about what his son, now 22, went through.
What is there to say about a Catholic Church that has been engaged in dialogue with American Jewish groups for decades yet, in recent months, seems shamefully unaware of Jewish sensitivities – or shamefully indifferent?