Myopic American Jews Ignore the Dangers Facing Their European Cousins

March 10 2017

In recent weeks, American Jewish communities have been beset by a rash of bomb threats, acts of vandalism, and the like aimed at Jewish institutions. Responding to a rabbi who urged American Jews to see the threats they face in light of the (supposedly) far more severe dangers faced by other groups in the U.S.—like Muslims and homosexuals—Bethany Mandel suggests consideration of what their fellow Jews in Europe are undergoing:

[I]n the last two months the Anti-Defamation League has issued two press releases about “transgender” issues and three in response to President Trump’s executive orders on immigration, yet it rarely highlights its support for the European Jewish community.

Just in the month of February, two brothers wearing yarmulkes in Paris were ambushed and abducted, with one having his finger sawed off in the attack. Meanwhile, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen warned French Jews in possession of Israeli citizenship that they’ll have to relinquish it. And this week started “Israel apartheid week” in France. . . . And that’s just the bad news for Jews out of France!

Loving our fellows is a key component of Jewish tradition, found in Leviticus 19:18, and it continues to inform how the Jewish community is structured in the present. Of late, an obsession with liberal politics has changed the way we identify who is worthy enough of being a victim for many Jewish organizations and individuals. Is it so much to ask for Jewish communities and organizations to take the position that Jewish lives matter as well?

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More about: ADL, American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, European Jewry, Jewish World

The Reasons for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Staying Power

Nov. 20 2018

This week, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have narrowly avoided the collapse of his governing coalition despite the fact that one party, Yisrael Beiteinu, withdrew and another, the Jewish Home, threatened to follow suit. Moreover, he kept the latter from defecting without conceding its leader’s demand to be appointed minister of defense. Even if the government were to collapse, resulting in early elections, Netanyahu would almost certainly win, writes Elliot Jager:

[Netanyahu’s] detractors think him Machiavellian, duplicitous, and smug—willing to do anything to stay in power. His supporters would not automatically disagree. Over 60 percent of Israelis tell pollsters that they will be voting for a party other than Likud—some supposing their favored party will join a Netanyahu-led coalition while others hoping against the odds that Likud can be ousted.

Opponents would [also] like to think the prime minister’s core voters are by definition illiberal, hawkish, and religiously inclined. However, the 30 percent of voters who plan to vote Likud reflect a broad segment of the population. . . .

Journalists who have observed Netanyahu over the years admire his fitness for office even if they disagree with his actions. A strategic thinker, Netanyahu’s scope of knowledge is both broad and deep. He is a voracious reader and a quick study. . . . Foreign leaders may not like what he says but cannot deny that he speaks with panache and authority. . . .

The prime minister or those around him are under multiple police investigations for possible fraud and moral turpitude. Under Israel’s system, the police investigate and can recommend that the attorney general issue an indictment. . . . Separately, Mrs. Netanyahu is in court for allegedly using public monies to pay for restaurant meals. . . . The veteran Jerusalem Post political reporter Gil Hoffman maintains that Israelis do not mind if Netanyahu appears a tad corrupt because they admire a politician who is nobody’s fool. Better to have a political figure who cannot be taken advantage of than one who is incorruptible but naïve.

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More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics