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Liberal Rabbis Shouldn’t Be Sowing Political Division in Jewish Communities

March 29 2017

In recent months, writes Karol Markowicz, the increasing concern expressed by liberal American rabbis over incidents of anti-Semitism has often become indistinguishable from their vocal opposition to the current president. She comments:

Too many rabbis and other Jewish leaders are linking the threats against JCCs and other Jewish spaces . . . to President Trump. Sure, you stand against anti-Semitism, and that’s good. But you do it under the umbrella of groups like Get Organized Brooklyn, groups with openly political leftist aims. Your fight against anti-Semitism is part and parcel of your fight against the president. It shouldn’t be. . . .

At a time when we need to stand together, you must know you are fostering an atmosphere that is working against that goal. When you infused the Purim shpil with your opposition to Donald Trump, do you know that you alienated people? I don’t mean people in faraway red states—I mean people in your own congregations. . . . Yes, though it may surprise you to learn, . . . people in your own congregations . . . voted for the man you so openly oppose. Your efforts to pretend these people don’t exist, or don’t matter, or are on the wrong side, don’t do anything to bridge any divides.

Indeed, it’s fair to ask: is your purpose to make people feel unwelcome? Certainly your emails, filled with calls for vigils and pleas for peace, as if Donald Trump were the great evil facing Jews (if not the whole world) and Jews have a duty to stand up to him, suggest that. But why can’t you live up to the values you write to me about weekly—most notably, tolerance for people with different points of view?

Yes, we need to take anti-Semitism and threats to our community spaces seriously. Being a Jew can never mean sitting back and hoping for the best. There’s a reason we’ve had concrete blocks outside so many of our Manhattan buildings, metal detectors at our doors, security guards at every entryway. But this didn’t begin with Donald Trump, and it won’t end with him. . . . It’s time for Jewish leaders to disentangle their justified concern for the safety of Jews from their desire for a different president. Weakening Jewish unity and politicizing threats to Jews won’t do anyone much good.

Read more at New York Post

More about: American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Donald Trump, Jewish community, Politics & Current Affairs

Hamas’s Dangerous Escalation in Gaza

June 22 2018

As Hamas has stepped up its attacks on communities near the Gaza Strip—using incendiary devices attached to kites and balloons—Israel has begun to retaliate more forcefully. In response, the terrorist group has begun firing rockets and mortars into Israel. Yoav Limor comments:

What made Wednesday’s rocket salvo different is that ‎unlike previous flare-ups on the border [since 2014], this time it ‎was Hamas operatives who fired at Israel, as opposed ‎to Islamic Jihad or the ‎rogue terrorist group in the coastal enclave. ‎Still, Hamas made sure the attack followed most of ‎the familiar “rules”—only [firing] at night and only at the ‎ communities in the vicinity of Gaza, and apparently while also ‎trying to minimize any casualties, to avoid further ‎escalation. ‎. . .

The first reason [for the shift in tactics] is Israel’s own change of policy ‎with regard to kite terrorism. It took Israel far ‎too long to define the incessant waves of incendiary ‎kites sent over the border as actionable acts of ‎terror, but once it did, the IDF began ‎systematically countering them, including firing ‎warning shots at terrorist kite cells and targeting ‎Hamas assets in Gaza in retaliation.‎

The second reason is Hamas’s own frustration and ‎distress in Gaza. Since the border-riot campaign was ‎launched on March 30, some 150 of its operatives ‎have been killed and the Israeli military has ‎carried out over 100 strikes on Hamas positions in ‎the coastal enclave, all while Hamas has nothing to ‎show for it. ‎In this situation, Hamas is searching for [some sort of victory] by declaring that “bombings will be ‎met with bombings,” as Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum ‎said Wednesday, in order to portray itself as defending Gaza from ‎Israel.‎ . . .

Hamas is banking on Israel opting against a military ‎campaign in Gaza at this time so as not to split its ‎focus from the [developments in Syria], but it is sorely ‎mistaken if it thinks Israel will simply contain ‎kite terrorism or shy away from action given the new ‎equation it has presented. ‎At some point, Israel’s patience will expire.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security