Standing Up for the Little Guy

Unlike most entertainers, even the political ones, activism was very much a part of Theodore Bikel’s everyday life. So was his Jewishness and his love of Israel. He was an activist with a commitment to social justice. Whether it was an insistence that benefit shows be a part of his performance contracts, publicly protesting Chicago… Read More

Signs of Frustration

An EU recommendation played havoc with  Israel’s stock market.

A European Union think tank last week recommended that the EU restrict its dealings with Israeli banks in order to differentiate Europe’s relations with Israel from that of the settlements. While the Israeli foreign ministry played down the recommendation and the EU quickly clarified that it had “no intention of imposing restrictions on Israeli banks… Read More

How Not to Save Greece

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

This is not the golden age of Greece. After winning a parliamentary election in January by vowing to fight the draconian austerity imposed on his country by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, followed by his successful efforts to defeat a national referendum that included dramatic fiscal compromise, austerity and economic discipline, Prime… Read More

End Run Around Congress

On July 13, the day before the nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers was reached, the Obama administration began circulating a resolution at the U.N. Security Council calling for the chamber’s approval of the deal. That vote took place Monday, with the council backing the agreement on the heels of the European Union… Read More

Sobering Thoughts about BDS

In its annual survey of the Jewish world, the Israel-based think tank Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) considered the de-legitimization threat posed against Israel by the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The think tank, which is chaired by longtime U.S. diplomats Stuart Eizenstat and Dennis Ross, submitted its assessment last month to the Israeli… Read More

An Untimely Objection

State Department  spokesman John Kirby (DoD Photo by Glenn Fawcett/Public Domain)

Why did the State Department move from celebrating President Barack Obama’s legislative victory a day after the passage of the Trade Promotion Authority bill to “clarifying” a provision in the legislation that treats Israel and “Israeli-controlled territories” as a single economic entity? The provision in question, spearheaded by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman… Read More

Order in the Court

It is one of Israel’s paradoxes that, while the country accepts any conversion made abroad for purposes of aliyah, not even many Orthodox conversions made abroad are sufficient to render a future Israeli Jewish for personal status purposes. That’s because only Orthodox conversions made in the country under the auspices of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate —… Read More

Symbols Matter

The Confederate battle 
flag flies outside the South Carolina State House

The racially motivated shooting of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston has added new focus to the national conversation on the question of what it means to be an American. That we are inheritors of dual legacies of freedom and slavery makes this Independence Day weekend a good time to consider issues… Read More

One for the ‘Nones’

First the good news. The American Jewish population has stabilized in size after decades of decline. That’s the positive glimmer from the recent Pew Research Center survey that found American Christianity is shrinking, but that the number of those who identify as Jewish in the United States is growing slowly. But Steven M. Cohen of… Read More

Oren’s Un-Diplomacy

Michael Oren’s op-eds haven’t been kind to President Obama.
(Astrid Riecken/Getty Images

American-born oleh Michael Oren, author of the critically acclaimed “Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East,” removed his historian’s hat in 2009 when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed him ambassador to Washington. Upon returning to Israel in 2013, Oren donned a politician’s hat and was elected a… Read More