Filed under: opinion
What does it mean to be an Israel supporter? In these turbulent times, it is a topic that many people struggle with. There are those who back Israel subtly, and others who are more vocal in their approach; but is one more valid than the other? From a political stance, is a person who supports each policy of the Israeli government more of an “Israel advocate” than a dedicated and concerned “Israel-phile” who questions the unconditional support of certain Zionist organizations?
This has been a recent topic of debate with regard to a new Israel Advocacy organization, J Street. In an article entitled “The New Israel Lobby,” James Traub of the New York Times Magazine described the budding nonprofit as having “progressive views on Israel.” J Street’s leaders and supporters query the absolute support given to Israel by organizations like AIPAC and the ADL, expressing that, in this era, such persistence and rigidity could be detrimental to the prospects of a peaceful advancement in the region.
In recent months, The J Street approach has proven appealing to American citizens and politicians alike: over the last year alone, its budget has doubled to $3 million. Their mission appeals to the large number of American Jews that feel their support for dual loyalty is not represented in Washington DC (hence the organization’s name: J Street is missing from the city’s urban grid). While their liberal policies better represent that percentage that falls to the far left on the political spectrum – J Street supports a shared Jerusalem, a two state solution with 1967 borders and land swaps, and intermediary talks with Hamas – it sheds light on the fact that not all American Jews back Israel unreservedly. No matter how extreme you perceive their policies to be, J Street wants you to know this: their main concern is to engage diplomatically in the peace process while discouraging militaristic action in working toward compromising a solution. According to Jeremy Ben Ami, J Street’s founder and executive director, the organization is “trying to redefine what it means to be pro-Israel. You don’t have to be noncritical. You don’t have to adopt the party line. It’s not ‘Israel, right or wrong.’”
Hints of J Street’s approach began to sprout as early as the 1970s. But maybe its coming into bloom in this age will succeed in inviting more opinions and voices to associate themselves with those that back Israel; perhaps J Street will invite people to rethink the inflexibility such an association previously implied, and broaden the discussion of what it means to be an Israel supporter.
Filed under: opinion
Throughout the past 16 years, beginning with that famous handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yassir Arafat, one thing has become evident: land for a peace is a total failure. Instead of land for peace, Israel has instead witnessed “land for terror.” We cannot continue with the Oslo process. Now, before the debate begins, I would like to use a few “facts” to illustrate my point.
As we all know, the original “two-state solution” was proposed through the “UN Parition Plan” of 1947. It is through this plan that we first witness the ability of the Jews to compromise; for the originial “Balfour Declaration of 1917” had stated that the Jewish State would consist of what is today considered Israel, as well as the land east of the Jordan River (Judea, Samaria and most of what is considered Jordan). Instead all land east of the Jordan River used to establish the Arab state of Jordan. As for western Israel, it was divided up while Jerusalem, the historical capital of the Jewish people, was to remain under international control. Of course, the Jews, thankful to have anything, accepted the plan, while the Arabs rejected it, stating they would only settle until “the Jews were driven into the sea.”
From 1948 all the way until 1967, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (the name Jordan assigned to Judea and Samaria) remained under Arab control. While Gaza was ruled by Egypt and the West Bank by Jordan, there was not one Palestinian cry for independent statehood. However, after Israel rightfully won those lands in a fair fight (1967), the Palestinian
The ongoing protests in Iran not only have huge implications for Israel, but as has been mentioned elsewhere, with the use of youTube, twitter, sms and more, they have huge implications for how we organize ourselves and our various forms of media. At magnify.net they have combined all the various forms of media coming out of Iran including tweets, video and print journalism into one, easy to manage site called IrainLIVE. It’s worth a look for insight into the current conflict and how the future of information might look.
Filed under: opinion
The Forward just put out an interesting piece by Robbie Gringras about the recent religious trend in Israeli pop-Music. You can read it here and watch Shuli Rand’s “Ayeka” here:
Filed under: opinion | Tags: Ahmadinejad, Bush, Cairo, Clinton, Hamas, netanyahu, Nuclear, Obama, posted by ron
At least Clinton is being reasonable.
The world was very excited when the White House changed hands from George W. Bush to Barack Obama. I was one of those, but am no longer in that state of ecstasy, as some of his approaches have been a little questionable, especially in the Middle East.
I do not remember where I heard this, and do not know who to credit the idea, but I love it. President Obama, while dealing with Middle East, is holding diplomats with a higher degree of respect than one would in the United States.
I understand that President Obama wants to give everyone a chance, but does he really believe that EVEN IF Hamas renounced terror, they would stick to their word? Or if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised to shut down the Iranian Nuclear Program, would he follow through? We don’t even expect our OWN politicians to deliver everything they promise!
Hamas, for those who don’t know, translates to Islamic Resistance Movement; speaking Obama’s language will never matter, especially when their name implies violence.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the person who wants to “wipe Israel off the map” and uses rhetoric to deny the Holocaust constantly, will he suddenly claim he has no intention to stop funding Hezbollah, the Islamic Brotherhood, Hamas, and other terrorist groups? And if he does, how should someone believe him?
President Obama also takes a different stance on how to advise Israel. Unlike President Bush who supported Israel nearly unconditionally, President Obama is trying to force his beliefs onto Prime Minister Netanyahu.
By no means do I believe that the American President should support everything Israel does, many times it is important to disagree. However, to take a way a nation’s sovereign right to rule is in no way acceptable.
On one side, I understand President Obama’s reasoning that communities in the West Bank are detrimental to feelings toward peace. And I agree that no new settlements should be built, it obviously is counter productive. And every ‘illegal outpost’ should be eliminated as well. But can President Obama say that natural growth is not allowed? Who’s right is it to tell parents that they may not have children. As Americans, we pride ourselves on being free and having the ability to make our own decisions. Should we become like China and limit childbirth to one per couple?
I am also not ready to just give over the West Bank entire to the Palestinian Authority. Eventually, it is almost impossible to conceive a region where the Palestinians will not have full control over that area, but at the current moment, are they ready? Are WE ready right now? Can we allow the West Bank to become another Gaza Strip and be taken over by Radical Islam?
I know that while President Obama will do great things in his presidency, I am worried by what he may force onto Prime Minister Netanyahu by using the media and speeches like his recent one in Cairo.
At least Secretary of State Clinton is right next to him. When asked if the United States would attack Iran if they were to drop a nuclear bomb on Israel, she replied with, “I don’t think there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that were Israel to suffer a nuclear attack by Iran, there would be retaliation.”
No matter whether Prime Minister Netanyahu decides to employ President Obama’s plan word for word, at least we know that they highest ranking official in the United States Foreign Affairs will protect our homeland.
Filed under: opinion, religion | Tags: benedict, benedict XVI, catholic, german, holocaust, joseph ratzinger, nazi, pope, posted by elan, vatican, Yad Vashem
Pope Benedict XVI, the current leader of the Catholic Church, is currently making a high-visibility pilgrimage to the Middle East. He first met with Jordanian monarch King Abdullah II and offered mass to Catholics in Amman. The Pope then traveled to Israel, touring holy sites, engaging in inter-religious dialog and meeting President Shimon Peres. (Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is in Egypt for a conference with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.)
After briefly surveying the international media, it seems that the most contentious part of the Pope’s trip has been his visit to Yad Va’Shem, Israel’s national holocaust museum. Though not a religious or historic site, the Israeli government generally insists that all visiting foreign heads of state visit the solemn commemoration in order to appreciate and understand the necessity of a Jewish state and refuge. The Pope has been criticized for avoiding certain elements of the museum, including an exhibit that highlights the silence of the Vatican and Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust. In addition, Benedict has taken fire for his broad, general remarks at the museum and a general lack of acknowledgment and reference to the horrors of the calamity.
Whether the Pope was specific enough is a difficult call to make. Some go so far as to claim that the Pope spoke in generalities to mask his own involvement in the conflict. Benedict, then known as Joseph Ratzinger, was a member of the Hitler Youth and later, the German Army. However, it is clear that the Pope was never a Nazi. He was conscripted into the Hitler Youth like every other German teenager. As the German war effort collapsed, he was drafted into an anti-aircraft artillery group. One could hardly claim that a minor, forced against his will to fight, embraced the Nazi philosophy. Furthermore, it is dishonest to label the entire Wermacht as Nazi foot-soldiers. While the relationship between Catholics and Jews may not be particularly warm, it is disingenuous to lambast the Catholic leader.