Israel’s sights, sounds and tastes could be the recipe for defeating BDS

Could the taste of shakshuka or the sound of Mizrahi music be part of the recipe for defeating the BDS movement? A celebration of Israeli culture and history may not be enough to win over the hardcore anti-Zionist proponents of BDS. But a campaign that extols the beauty, diversity and goodness of Israel can be a more persuasive voice than the pro-BDS arguments whispered in the ears of those who are on the fence about the issue, writes Bridget Johnson.

Posted on May 26, 2017 and filed under Analysis.

Taking Trump seriously, but not literally, in the Middle East

For both ends of the Jewish political spectrum, President Donald Trump has been something of a puzzle. Yet it is clear that for good or for ill, Trump has taken it into his head that Israeli-Palestinian peace is possible and that he is the man with the negotiating skills to forge a deal. When it comes to trying to figure out what Trump is up to in the Middle East, it is necessary to take Trump seriously but not literally, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.

Posted on May 26, 2017 and filed under Israel, Opinion, U.S..

A military affair: Memorial Day reflections from a combat vet-turned-Jewish leader

“It’s a long road that I’ve walked and it starts before me,” says U.S. Navy veteran Jeff Kuhnreich, the new vice president of military affairs at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, reflecting on the events leading up to the latest chapter in his career. In an interview slated between the Memorial Days for fallen soldiers in Israel and America, Kuhnreich discusses his past and current work, U.S.-Israel ties and what Memorial Day means to him.

Posted on May 26, 2017 and filed under Features, U.S..

Why aren’t Muslim countries leading the charge on aid for the Palestinians?

Why aren’t Muslim countries leading givers to the Palestinian cause? The question has renewed relevance upon a United Nations agency’s recent release of its list of donors. Western countries and Japan are the most significant contributors to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), while the only major Muslim givers are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Ronen Yizhak, head of the Middle East Studies department at Israel’s Western Galilee College, told JNS.org that among Arab and Muslim nations, “there is a lot of talking, but little actual deeds” on financial aid to the Palestinians.

Posted on May 25, 2017 and filed under Israel, News, World.

Democrats, Jewish groups join Trump in protesting Palestinian terror payments

Prominent Democrats and major Jewish organizations are joining President Donald Trump in calling on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to stop making payments to terrorists and their families. All the cosponsors on the recently introduced Taylor Force Act—which would make U.S. aid to the PA conditional on the latter halting its terror payments—are Republicans. But New Jersey’s Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat, told JNS.org he “shares deep concerns” about the PA’s terror payments and believes “this practice should be stopped.” Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, wrote in a recent letter that “Palestinian leaders must understand unequivocally that the U.S. opposes…continued payments to the families of terrorists.”

Posted on May 25, 2017 and filed under Israel, News, U.S..

From Greeley, Colorado to Manchester, England

For those who’d never given any thought to Ariana Grande before the terrorist atrocity at her concert in Manchester, it took a few minutes to make sense of suicide bomber Salman Abedi’s target selection. Eventually, it dawned. In the name of a global Islamic caliphate, Abedi set out to slaughter teenage girls, Grande’s primary audience. The ideological roots of Abedi’s attack are given exquisite expression in the writings of Muslim Brotherhood founder Sayyid Qutb, who in 1949 studied in Greeley, Colorado. Qutb’s writing from his time in Greeley shows how desire, when fused with hatred of relaxed sexuality and expressions of femininity, can be devastating once it is incorporated into an ideology of conquest, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.

Posted on May 25, 2017 and filed under Opinion, World.

End the propaganda myth that Jerusalem is holy to Muslims

Upon the 50th anniversary of Israel’s reunification of Jerusalem, there is no better time to end the propaganda myth that Jerusalem is a holy city to Muslims. The Muslim fixation on Jerusalem is actually a very recent historical development—a product of political conflict, not historical truth. Far from aiding the cause of peace, this fabrication enables bloodshed, write Morton A. Klein and Daniel Mandel of the Zionist Organization of America.

Posted on May 24, 2017 and filed under Israel, Opinion.

For New York Times, the new man in Jerusalem is just as biased as the old one

Anybody who thought the new Jerusalem bureau chief of The New York Times would be any less pro-Palestinian than his predecessor was sadly mistaken. Ian Fisher replaced Peter Baker as head of The Times’s Jerusalem bureau in January. Many of Fisher’s articles in recent months have been slanted against Israel, but his coverage of the lynching attempt in the Palestinian Arab village of Hawara May 18 was the worst so far, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.

Posted on May 24, 2017 and filed under Opinion, Israel, U.S..

Two-state solution conspicuously absent from Trump’s agenda in Israel

During his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday in Bethlehem, President Donald Trump notably omitted any mention of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Member of Knesset Ofir Akunis called Trump’s omission “a big win for anyone opposed to the mistaken and dangerous idea of a Palestinian terror state in the heart of Israel.” In his meetings with Israeli leaders Monday, Trump also discussed the peace process without mentioning a two-state solution.

Posted on May 23, 2017 and filed under News, Israel, U.S..

Amid airtight security, Trump visit brings hope of ‘historic gains’ in the Middle East

In Jerusalem Sunday, as the city prepared to mark the 50th anniversary of its reunification, the airtight security arrangements for President Donald Trump’s visit the next day meant Israel’s capital felt more like a city under siege than in the midst of a celebration. Despite Trump stoking Israeli fears by signing an arms deal with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states this past weekend, many officials and experts saw Trump’s Israel trip as a new opportunity. “The burgeoning ties between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries of the Gulf with Israel represents the greatest opportunity for regional advancement….the potential for historic gains have never been greater in this regard,” said Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Posted on May 23, 2017 and filed under Israel, News, U.S..

US veterans in Israel: Memorial Day profiles in courage and healing (part 2)

About 20 veterans commit suicide across the U.S. each day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. An organization providing spiritual healing, suicide prevention and peer support programming for veterans believes Israel is part of the solution. In this second installment of a two-part series leading up to Memorial Day, JNS.org spotlights the stories of three American veterans who traveled to Israel with the Heroes to Heroes Foundation, which works with veterans suffering from mental and emotional stress.

Posted on May 23, 2017 and filed under Features, Israel, U.S..

US veterans in Israel: Memorial Day profiles in courage and healing

About 20 veterans commit suicide across the U.S. each day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. An organization providing spiritual healing, suicide prevention and peer support programming for veterans believes Israel is part of the solution. Leading up to Memorial Day, JNS.org is spotlighting the stories of six American veterans who traveled to Israel with the Heroes to Heroes Foundation, which works with veterans suffering from mental and emotional stress. This is the first installment of a two-part series.

Posted on May 22, 2017 and filed under Features, Israel, U.S..

Can Trump’s outside-in formula work?

The key to President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace push is an effort to forge an “outside-in” breakthrough, in which bilateral talks will be shelved in favor of an attempt to use the leverage of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab nations over the Palestinians to forge a pact with Israel. But the problem is that, like other peace plans, it seeks to finesse the main obstacle to peace rather than to confront it. As long as Palestinian national identity is inextricably linked to their war on Zionism, this effort will fail as miserably as its predecessors, writes JNS Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.

Posted on May 19, 2017 and filed under Israel, Opinion, U.S..

Some American backers of Hebrew University troubled by ‘Hatikvah’ cancellation

Some prominent American supporters of Hebrew University of Jerusalem are criticizing the school for canceling the singing of Israel’s national anthem at a May 18 graduation ceremony. A university official was quoted as saying the decision was made out of “consideration for the other side,” a reference to the possibility that Arab students would be offended. Yet Ira Lee Sorkin, a former president of American Friends of Hebrew University, told JNS.org he has attended previous graduation ceremonies at Hebrew University at which “Hatikvah” was played, “and the Arab students were happily participating and posing for photos with their families. I never heard of any of them objecting to the song.”

Posted on May 19, 2017 and filed under Israel, News, U.S..

Trump crisis shouldn’t mask new opportunities for Middle East peace

President Donald Trump’s domestic crisis doesn’t change the fact that there is a realignment in the Middle East between Israel and the Arab states—and potentially the Palestinians—based on shared interests, from economic development to confronting the Iranian threat. These opportunities form the basis for a meaningful peace process—one that won’t depend on the fate of a single president, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.

Posted on May 18, 2017 and filed under Israel, U.S., Opinion.