Pope in the Holy Land

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Pope Francis’ three-day visit to Jordan, Israel and the West Bank was not merely a religious event. He is, after all, the head of a state. And even more than the charismatic John Paul II, Francis is everyone’s pope. He came, as one commentator put it, “mostly to do what he does best — project… Read More

Ugly Muslim Bashing

As in some secret society, the thought and logic driving the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), led by Pamela Geller, are becoming increasingly difficult to understand. Certainly, the anti-Muslim message in the group’s new bus ads, which, although confined to Washington, have earned national headlines, are clear: They urge, in no uncertain terms, that the… Read More

ADL’s blurred snapshot of anti-Semitism

On its face, the conclusion reached in the ADL’s worldwide survey of anti-Semitism is chilling:  One-quarter of our species is anti-Semitic — 26 percent to be precise, or 1.09 billion adults, according to the “ADL Global 100,” released last week. ADL calls the report  a snapshot of the moment — a baseline against which future… Read More

How will Modi lead?

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A youthful nation and growing economic powerhouse, India has long been forging strong business relations with Israel. Those ties are expected to grow stronger following last week’s landslide election of India’s conservative Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and its leader Narendra Modi. As chief minister of Gujarat state in Western India, Modi, 63, oversaw a… Read More

Relying on the sensitivity of others

As a minority in every land but one, many Jews and Jewish groups expressed discomfort with or outright condemnation of last week’s Supreme Court ruling to allow sectarian prayers at local government-sponsored town hall meetings. The fact that Jews comprised three of the four justices in the minority in Town of Greece v. Galloway was… Read More

Bringing openness to JNF

American Jews have historical, idealistic views of Zionist institutions. And the Jewish National Fund is no exception. For many, JNF conjures up the warm images of placing coins in blue pushkes, planting trees in Israel and generally making the land of Israel bloom. It is this image that has sustained support of the organization for… Read More

Daylight falls

The whole world looks forward to daylight, except when it concerns the U.S.-Israel relationship. There, we have grown accustomed to the refrain that “there is no daylight” between the United States and Israel as the metaphor for the rock-solid relationship between the two countries. So, when daylight starts to appear between the public pronouncements and… Read More

Referendum on the Presidents’ Conference

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In 1956, developing American Jewish organizations were working hard to find their voice in public matters. At the same time, the State of Israel, not yet a close ally of the United States, was looking for every possible way to make its needs known to the U.S. government. And the Eisenhower administration was looking for… Read More

The Postal Service’s easy button

Think about the U.S. Postal Service and the words “bloated,” “bureaucratic” and “broke” come to mind. The agency has been in the red for years, as the age of the Internet has matured and the use of electronic mail has overtaken and largely replaced the use of first-class mail for almost everything except bill payment…. Read More

Assessing Palestinian unity

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The agreement reached April 23 by Fatah and Hamas apparently caught both the United States and Israel off guard. But with Israel-Palestinian negotiations sputtering to a disappointing ending last month, the “unity accord” gave everyone something to talk about. Under their agreement, rival Palestinian groups will form a unity government in five weeks. Since a… Read More