Mordecai Manuel Noah, the Book of Esther, and the Ambiguities of the Jewish Diaspora

Feb. 28 2020

Born in Philadelphia to a prominent Jewish family, Mordecai Manuel Noah (1785-1851) was a playwright, essayist, lawyer, and (briefly) the U.S. consul to Tunis. He also served as a New York City sheriff, founded several newspapers, corresponded with ex-presidents on the subject of Jewish rights, and, in 1825, embarked on a quixotic proto-Zionist project to create a Jewish colony on Grand Island—located in the Niagara River separating western New York from Canada. Considering Noah’s colorful career, Stuart Halpern compares him with his biblical namesake:

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More about: American Jewish History, Esther, Mordecai, Zionism

 

Israeli Sovereignty Would Free Residents of the West Bank from Ottoman Law

To its opponents, the change in the legal status of certain areas of Judea and Samaria is “annexation;” to its proponents, it is the “extension of sovereignty” or the “application of Israeli law.” Naomi Khan argues that the last term best captures the practical implications of the measures in question. Since the Six-Day War, the Jewish state has continued to uphold the Ottoman legal system in areas of the West Bank under its jurisdiction—despite the fact that the Ottoman empire ceased to exist in 1922; “annexation” would end this situation. Setting aside the usual questions of foreign policy, security, and the possibility of Palestinian statehood, Khan argues that this change would be the one most felt by those who live there:

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More about: Annexation, Israeli law, Ottoman Empire, Palestinian Authority, West Bank