Getting Serious about Zika

In February, President Barack Obama asked Congress for $1.9 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus and prevent a major outbreak in the United States. Last week, the Republican-controlled Congress finally responded, and it looks like the Senate and possibly the House of Representatives will soon vote on their own measures. Even though… Read More

A Call for Civility in the Public Sphere

Diversity of opinion has long been a feature of Jewish tradition as well as of American democracy. Argument “for the sake of heaven” — disagreement in search of a higher truth, as opposed to disagreement for the sake of obstinacy — is a core feature of Judaism. Similarly, a robust and vigorous debate about political… Read More

Misleading With Contempt

Politics, diplomacy and warfare are not for the naïve. So we probably shouldn’t be upset to learn that the Obama administration manipulated the media to tell a narrative about the nuclear negotiations with Iran that was misleading and untrue. But we are upset. And we have a right to be. The conduct of secret, sensitive… Read More

Our Complex Relationship with Saudi Arabia

The U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia has always been complex. Founded on oil, the relationship flourished as America’s need for foreign energy resources grew and was fed by the Arab world’s seeming endless supply of oil. But the kingdom is dramatically different from Western democracy, and the alliance has made for very strange bedfellows. Saudi… Read More

Syria’s Insoluble Puzzle

“In the last 48 hours, we have had an average of one Syrian killed every 25 minutes. One Syrian wounded every 13 minutes.” That was U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura’s  assessment of the carnage, as the shaky cease-fire in the Syrian civil war collapsed late last week. In the divided northern city of Aleppo, a… Read More

The Pawns of Gaza

International focus on the well-being of the residents of Gaza is cyclical. That concern reached a high point during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, when over the course of 50 days, Gazans were held hostage by their rulers. Those rulers sent rockets into Israel knowing that any Israeli response would lead to a… Read More

Blaming the ‘Liberal-Left’

Vice President Joe Biden (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Vice President Joe Biden used his appearance at the recent J Street Gala to voice the Obama administration’s frustration with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu That was not news to anyone who has followed U.S.-Israeli relations during the Obama years. Nor is it a secret that the administration believes that “the present course Israel’s on… Read More

Vote on April 26

Along with the public school, the library and the city park, the line forming to vote on Election Day is a reminder and reaffirmation of civic life in the United States. As public spaces shrink, these affirmations become more important, with friends and neighbors meeting on neutral ground to share the common bond of citizenship…. Read More

The Dilemma of Simone Zimmerman

Simone Zimmerman’s tenure as Bernie Sanders’ outreach director to the Jewish community lasted only two days. But in the hours between the announcement of her appointment last week and her suspension, reportedly over derogatory remarks she made on Facebook last year about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one thing became evident: The organized Jewish community… Read More

Kasich Has Compassion, Competence, Experience

In a video that made the rounds last week, Republican presidential candidate John Kasich, while stumping in New York City, alternately quizzed and lectured a group of yeshiva students, who spend their days studying the intricacies of the Talmud. First he told them the biblical story of Joseph, then turned to Moses’ successor, Joshua. “Joshua… Read More