What are we to make of the latest events in Libya, where the feared and hated despot Muammar al-Qaddafi appears to be at the end of his long reign? Will the revolution there lead to unity and democracy or tribal warfare and chaos? And how will Qaddafi’s fate impact on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, whose continued defiance in spite of calls for his ouster is sure to garner even more attention now as the international spotlight turns to him?
The Crown Heights riots, one of the most traumatic events in American Jewish history, still elicits shivers and arguments as if it were yesterday, rather than 20 years ago. What was clear from the Girgenti Report, commissioned by Gov. Mario Cuomo, is that the riot was not a “race riot” but an anti-Semitic riot.
Everyone knows, even people who don’t really follow the intricacies of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, that the Obama administration and numerous journalists and academics consider the settlements and sometimes even the announcement of new Israeli housing in Jerusalem, to be obstacles to a resumption of negotiations.
The old expression “the pot calling the kettle black” comes to mind this week on learning that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has urged Syrian President Bashar al Assad to stop “the killing machines and end the bloodshed.”
In contrast to the “Arab Spring” that began last winter and spread among Mideast countries, with violent protests leading to deadly confrontations over autocratic rule, the “Israel Spring” that has captured the attention and pulse of the Jewish state is, in a sense, a reinvigoration of democracy and an impassioned call for a return to social justice.
Imagine what the world reaction would be if Israel, in order to suppress civilian demonstrations among Arabs, were to unleash its army, killing up to 150 unarmed people in a few days of fighting in Israel proper or the West Bank.
The civilized world shared revulsion at the mass murders in Norway committed by Anders Behring Breivik. It is certainly natural to wonder why anyone would commit such a horrific act, and whether the killer acted alone or was an agent for others.
Reports have suggested that Breivik was, among other things, both neo-Nazi and pro-Israel. That incongruity ought to have been a red light to speculators that his was a confused mind, with too many demons for anyone to quickly decipher.
One of the ripple effects from the phone hacking scandal that has gripped Britain is concern over whether the Rupert Murdoch media empire’s strong support for Israel would continue if the founder of News Corp. loses his clout.
The Jewish community shares the pain of the Kletzky family in the wake of the tragic death of eight-year-old Leiby. The fact that so many people put aside their daily concerns to join the search for the youngster last week is but one sign of the solidarity and compassion that was evident throughout the painful ordeal.