As Elie Wiesel’s Likeness Comes to the National Cathedral, Don’t Forget That He Was an Ardent Defender of Israel

Oct. 14 2021

On Monday, a carving of Elie Wiesel was unveiled at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, where it stands alongside depictions of Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, and others. While expressing his appreciation to this church for honoring his father not just as a great humanitarian but also as an “observant Jew,” Wiesel’s son Elisha voices his concern over the way his father’s legacy has been obscured or misappropriated:

[T]he hardest thing for me is when I come across people who invoke his protests, read his books, and cry for the dead Jews—then condemn in unforgiving terms the 6 million Jews living in Israel who refuse to depend ever again on others to rescue them. So I remind the world that my father didn’t advocate just for the people of Kosovo, Darfur, and Cambodia. He also supported Israel and defended her right to exist in peace and security.

My father understood what it meant to live in a world without a Jewish state, and he saw the anti-Zionist movement for what it was: an extension of millennia-old anti-Semitism, which unfortunately is becoming more common and acceptable today.

Today my father is being honored as a friend of the church. But as a child, he would cross the street to avoid one, and the beatings from the worshipers within; on Christmas Eve he knew to stay off the streets altogether. My great-grandmother sang him mournful songs about Jewish communities decimated over outrageous lies that they murdered Christian children to make matzah with their blood. How do I help our Christian friends understand that the Jewish people still face blood libels today?

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Read more at Washington Post

More about: anti-Semitsm, Anti-Zionism, Elie Wiesel, Jewish-Christian relations

The End of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and the Rise of the Arab-Israeli Coalition

Nov. 30 2022

After analyzing the struggle between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors since 1949, Dan Schueftan explains the current geopolitical alignment and what it means for Jerusalem:

Using an outdated vocabulary of Middle Eastern affairs, recent relations between Israel and most Arab states are often discussed in terms of peace and normalization. What is happening recently is far more significant than the willingness to live together and overshadow old grievances and animosities. It is about strategic interdependence with a senior Israeli partner. The historic all-Arab coalition against Israel has been replaced by a de-facto Arab-Israeli coalition against the radical forces that threaten them both. Iran is the immediate and outstanding among those radicals, but Erdogan’s Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, Syria—and, in a different way, its allies in the Muslim Brotherhood—are not very far behind.

For Israel, the result of these new alignments is a transformational change in its regional standing, as well as a major upgrade of its position on the global stage. In the Middle East, Israel can, for the first time, act as a full-fledged regional power. . . . On the international scene, global powers and other states no longer have to weigh the advantages of cooperation with Israel against its prohibitive costs in “the Arab World. . . . By far the most significant effect of this transformation is on the American strategic calculus of its relations with Israel.

In some important ways, then, the “New Middle East” has arrived. Not, of course, in the surreal Shimon Peres vision of regional democracy, peace, and prosperity, but in terms of a balance of power and hard strategic realities that can guardrail a somewhat less unstable and dangerous region, where the radicals are isolated and the others cooperate to keep them at bay.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel-Arab relations, Middle East, Shimon Peres, U.S.-Israel relationship