‘Everybody is right,” my Israeli friend Herb Aber said when we met for dinner the other night. He was responding to my question about his opinion of the Gilad Shalit saga, and he gave a good answer. Everybody was right: the persistent parents who kept their boy’s imprisonment in the public eye for five years; the prime minister who grabbed a tiny window of opportunity to negotiate a deal for his release; the Israeli people who tearfully welcomed the young soldier home with the intensity of emotion that had made him “everybody’s son.” They were all right.
Most American Christian leaders strongly condemned the Kristallnacht pogrom that the Nazis carried out against Germany’s Jews 73 years ago next week, when hundreds of synagogues were torched on the night of Nov. 9-10, the windows of thousands of Jewish businesses were smashed, 100 Jews were murdered and 30,000 more were dragged off to concentration camps.
The Oct. 28 Jewish Week column by Gary Rosenblatt on a recent conference of Jewish demographers (“How Many U.S. Jews, And Who Cares?”) sheds some light on one of the greatest challenges that has faced the Jewish people throughout our history — our tendency to fragment rather than coalesce. Given the fact that however one counts, we Jews are a miniscule fraction of the 7 billion human beings on the face of the earth, it is a sad fact that more often than not, we squander the resources we have at our command by bickering, rather than finding better ways to work together.
In a laudable effort to tone down the rancorous political rhetoric that has made Israel a wedge issue between Republicans and Democrats, and to rally bipartisan support for Israel, the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League announced a “National Unity Pledge for Israel” last week. They were unfortunately lambasted by right-wing groups committed to using Israel as a political football in the presidential election, even at the expense of the solid bipartisanship that has characterized U.S. support for Israel for decades.
On Monday, the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will take a rare excursion into the realm of foreign policy and the fraught issues surrounding the Israeli-Arab conflict. The case of Menachem B. Zivotofsky v. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, concerns a decades-long dispute over American policy toward Jerusalem, with Congress passing laws designed to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the holy city and the executive branch refusing to implement those laws out of diplomatic concerns.
The Emperor needed new clothes. His wardrobe was not garnering admirers either on the Left or on the Right.
So his tailors pretended to stitch a stunning outfit that could only be seen by “good citizens”.
Flashy accessories were added – slick, emotional hype: "This is the last window of opportunity." "Gilad will be killed if we don't free him immediately." "This is the best deal that Hamas has offered." "The worst offenders will be 'exiled' to distant lands."
On Dec. 17, 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Order No. 11 expelling “Jews, as a class” from large parts of Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee “within twenty-four hours.” A few weeks later, following protests from Jewish groups, President Lincoln had this order rescinded. When Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise of Cincinnati met with the president on Jan.
Editor’s Note: This essay, in the form of a letter, was prompted by the author’s decision to give up his U.S. citizenship so that he could take up a key diplomatic post for Israel in Washington.
Because I love America, it is with hesitant hands and a heavy heart that I am writing these words. I never expected to request revocation of my citizenship, and, while I certainly understand the circumstances requiring me to do so, it is important for me to share with you why I have decided to take this step.