The writings of the Nobel Prize-winning Hebrew author S.Y. Agnon are replete with complex and sometimes obscure allusions to Jewish religious texts and other literary works, and expect a reader to be familiar with the traditional Jewish culture of his day. As a result, it can be a struggle to understand his fiction. Avraham Holtz, who produced a heavily annotated edition of Agnon’s novel The Bridal Canopy, and has for several years been working on annotations to another, Only Yesterday, discusses his experience deciphering Agnon, the author’s use of Hebrew, and much else about his fiction. (Interview by Jeffrey Saks. Video, 57 minutes.)
Making Sense of S. Y. Agnon’s Allusions
Close the PLO Office in Washington
In the wake of the Oslo Accords, and in order to facilitate futher negotiations, Congress carved out an exception to the 1987 Anti-Terrorism Act to permit the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—a known terrorist group—to open an office in the U.S. capital. The legislation allows the president to extend this “temporary” waiver at his discretion—which every president since Bill Clinton has done. Shoshana Bryen argues that putting an end to the policy is a proper punishment for the PLO’s continued financial support for terrorists and their families.
[The waiver] was conditional on the PLO’s meeting its Oslo Accords obligations, including refraining from terrorism and renouncing international moves that would impede a bilateral agreement on final-status issues. . . .
In 2011, a Palestinian bid for recognition as a full member of the UN failed, but the waiver remained. Over U.S. objections, “Palestine” joined the International Criminal Court in 2015 [in violation of the Accords and thus of the waiver’s conditions]. . . .
[Furthermore], worried about foreign-aid payments from the U.S. and the EU, in 2014 the Palestinian Authority (PA) claimed it stopped paying salaries [to terrorists and their familites] and that future money would come from a new PLO Commission of Prisoner Affairs. . . . [I]n 2015, a year after the PA “officially” transferred authority over Palestinian prisoners to the PLO, it also transferred an extra 444-million shekels (more than $116 million) to the PLO—nearly the same amount that the PA had allocated in the previous years to its now-defunct Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs. . . .
[T]he U.S. government should let the PLO and PA know that we are onto their game. Disincentivizing terrorism by closing the PLO office in Washington would be a good first step.