New Role For EuropeansIn Mideast Peace Talks?
This week’s flurry of Mideast diplomacy, which came during a visit to the region by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, reflected a decision in Washington to continue its mediation role and to avoid an all-out confrontation with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at least for now.
Jerusalem — How do you explain to an American Jew who hasn’t visited Israel how safe one feels being there? Or that many Israelis really do enjoy their lives, despite the constant tensions they live with every day?
And how do you make an Israeli who has not spent much time abroad understand what “Jewish identity” means to an American Jew? It’s an alien concept to large numbers of people in the Jewish state who have no need to parse the Jewish and Israeli aspects of their DNA, and see themselves simply as Israelis.
Jerusalem — North American delegates to the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities, meeting here this week, got a preview of the substance and styles of the three main candidates for prime minister in Israel’s upcoming elections. And the candidates had a chance to see how their appearances were received by the leaders of diaspora Jewry.
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It’s been a week of death and foreboding. Israel is on the verge of a three-front war: against the Palestinians, against Iraq and against itself.
While 13 Israelis are sitting shiva after Monday’s bus bombing, the rest of the country is debating the violent settler resistance against soldiers closing down the illegal settlement of Havat Gilad — illegal not only by international standards but by Israel’s.
This week Israel enters its third year of a war with no name, with nary an ally, and with no objective more glorious than a lull.
It’s been a war plagued by indecision and misdirection. The enemy’s leader is harassed and reviled but not erased. The country is said to be safe for tourism yet the danger is compared to the 1930s. Israel claims impending victory but has surrendered the messianic dreams and borders that thrilled us in 1967.
Israeli political arguments can be crude but are they criminal?
After the Rabin assassination, conventional wisdom insisted that Yigal Amir was the “Manchurian Candidate” of Israel’s right. Rallies in the weeks before the murder would sometimes feature photos of Rabin dressed like a Nazi, while fringe rabbis cast spells amounting to a death sentence in retaliation for Rabin’s refusal to slow the peace process even as Israeli busses were exploding with regularity.
Talk about hitting a sour note.
The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra's eight-city American concert tour that was slated to begin Aug. 20 has been canceled, but the reason why remains unclear.
Some reports quoted orchestra officials in Israel as saying that no security firm could be found to protect the orchestra and its patrons for fear of a terrorist attack. Other reports attributed the cancellation to the orchestra's inability to find an insurance company willing to provide coverage because of what was called "terrorist problems."
Even as Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza grinds on, attracting headlines around the world and support among pro-Israel advocates, I have the disturbing but distinct sense that the Jewish state is on the way to becoming increasingly irrelevant to the majority of American Jews.