In Defense of Cory Booker


To Peter Beinart, it is inconceivable that a liberal Democrat could share the views of AIPAC. That says more about Beinart than about Newark’s mayor or many other liberal Democrats.

Read more at Huffington Post

More about: AIPAC, American Jewry, Cory Booker, Democrats, Peter Beinart, Republicans, Shmuley Boteach


European Jews Are Tied to a Declining Political Class


One of the major differences between now and the 1930s, writes Ben Cohen, is that today most European governments are neither anti-Semitic nor unsympathetic to their Jewish populations. But Europe is in the midst of a growing social and political crisis, and there is an increasing possibility that the current political class will lose power. Cohen writes:

An important aspect of the threat that Jews in Europe face lies in the fact that they are closely associated with the political class that . . . is now in danger. Over many decades, their communal representatives have cultivated the leaders of the main parties; they are consulted by ministries and think tanks; they have advanced relations with Israel in culture, business, and politics. They share the foundational conviction that the disaster of Nazism can never be repeated. That is why the current French prime minister and the current British home secretary speak as they do. That is why Frans Timmermans, the European Commission vice president, said this week that Jewish fears pose “a huge challenge to the very foundations of European integration.”

But we have no certainty, even ten years from now, that their successors, of potentially very different political stripes, will say the same.

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Jewry, European Politics, Greece, Jewish world


Human Rights Watch Does Its Hypocritical Thing—Again


Egypt has forced more than 1,000 people out of the town of Rafah, which sits astride the border between Sinai and Gaza, is planning to expel thousands more, and is blowing up homes, all to create a buffer zone against terrorist infiltration. How has a leading human-rights organization responded? Elliott Abrams writes:

Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has put out report after report criticizing Israel for its conduct along the same border and near Rafah, and which never misses a chance to smack Israel, appears to be dead silent about the same conduct when Egypt undertakes it. A search of the HRW web site produces no criticism, no report, on Egypt’s destruction of homes in an apparent effort to stop terrorism and defeat smuggling tunnels. . . .

HRW’s pattern of bias toward Israel is seen in what it says, and here in what it does not say. Destruction of homes by Israel for security reasons: a violation of international law that must be denounced at length and repeatedly. Destruction of homes by Egypt in essentially the same location for essentially the same reasons: silence. Maybe a new twenty-page HRW report on Egyptian Rafah is in the works. Maybe there are dozens of statements by HRW about “Razing Rafah” on the Egyptian side of the border and I just haven’t been able to find them. Maybe there really is no bias in HRW’s coverage of Israel. But it doesn’t look that way.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Human Rights Watch, Idiocy, Israel & ZIonism, Rafah crossing

Who Killed Alberto Nisman, and Why?


Argentinian authorities are now admitting that the death of Alberto Nisman, a day before he was due to testify about the Argentinian government’s role in covering up evidence of Iranian involvement in the horrendous 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center, was not a suicide. Although there is reason to believe that Argentinian officials themselves ordered the hit, there is also reason, according to Lee Smith, to believe Iran itself arranged for his murder:

Nisman’s investigation concluded that Tehran was responsible for both the 1994 bombing and the 1992 attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people and wounded 242. Analysts, journalists, and Western intelligence services have long believed that Iran was behind the two bombings. However, what distinguished Nisman’s investigation was the motive he attributed to the Iranians—to punish Buenos Aires for first stalling and then canceling bilateral agreements on nuclear technology. . . .

If, in Nisman’s understanding, the purpose of the 1992 and 1994 attacks was to punish Argentina for reconsidering its bilateral relationship with Iran on its nuclear file, then killing the special prosecutor into the two bombings simply underscores that Tehran considers its nuclear program a vital interest.

Read more at Tablet

More about: AMIA bombing, Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs

Avraham Sutzkever: Poet, Partisan, Preserver of Jewish Culture


Avraham Sutzkever, one of the greatest Yiddish poets of the 20th century, began his literary career in Vilna in the 1930s. After the arrival of the Nazis, he continued to write poetry in the Vilna ghetto, where he participated in a monumental project to rescue Jewish books and manuscripts. He later escaped to the forests to join a Jewish partisan unit. After the war, he settled in Tel Aviv and resumed his literary vocation. Marking five years since his death, Ruth Wisse speaks about both his poems and his idea of poetry.

Read more at YIVO

More about: Arts & Culture, Avraham Sutzkever, Holocaust, Poetry, Vilna, Yiddish literature

Yemenite Jewry’s Final Chapter


One of the oldest Jewish communities in the diaspora, having survived successive waves of persecution, mostly departed for Israel following its independence in 1948. But several dozen Jews still remain. Now that Iranian-backed rebels have seized control of the country under the motto “Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam!,” these holdouts, too, are making plans to leave. Tom Finn and Tik Root write:

Most of the twenty or so [Jewish] families that remain . . . live behind the walls of a government compound for expats near the U.S. embassy in Sana‘a [the Yemenite capital]. . . . The elders never leave. Now and again the younger men venture out to sell jewelry at a nearby market.

Reels of razor wire, soldiers, and German shepherds make the entrance look like a prison. Inside it is quiet and leafy. With a playground, two ATMs, a restaurant, pharmacy, and a bus to shuttle them around the compound, it has the sleepy feel of a retirement community in Florida.

The Jews, who raise goats and chickens on plots of land next to the homes of Russian oil barons and aid workers, rarely leave the compound. Instead they rely on a monthly stipend for food and rent provided by the government.

Read more at Time

More about: Aliyah, Anti-Semitism, Jewish world, Mizrahi Jewry, Yemen, Yemenite Jewry