Book pitches WW2 as lasting part of Jewish slugger Hank Greenberg’s legacy

Baseball fans might most vividly remember Hank Greenberg for his chase of Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record in 1938 and his other impressive exploits on the field. The smaller universe of Jewish baseball fans may remember him for sitting out a crucial game on Yom Kippur decades before Sandy Koufax would do the same. But John Klima wants readers of any background to know the unsung story of Greenberg’s World War II service. “What you found out about Hank Greenberg was that he really represented everything to everyone, and he represented everything to the Jewish people before the war, during the war, and after the war. And then the rest of the country, even though they knew about him as an American League MVP and a big slugger, kind of embraced him, I think, the same way that the Jewish population had in the 1930s,” says Klima, author of the new book “The Game Must Go On: Hank Greenberg, Pete Gray, and the Great Days of Baseball on the Home Front in WWII.”

Posted on July 6, 2015 and filed under Books, Features, Sports, U.S..

Is proposal to admit 100,000 Gazans a path to peace or danger for Israel?

In 1994, Isaac Rotenberg, while fixing tiles in a floor of a Petah Tikvah building, was killed by fellow workers Abu-Moussa Ali Atiya and Shabbi Qassam Hazam, residents of Gaza who traveled to Israel each day for construction jobs. The murder of Rotenberg was cited this week in response to a proposal by a former State Department official that Israel should increase the number of Gazans it admits each day to 100,000, from the current level of 5,000. “It’s very easy for State Department officials or think tank pundits to sit in Washington and tell Israel how many Gazans it should admit,” said IDF Lt.-Col. (res.) Meir Indor, the leader of Israel’s Terror Victims Association. “But they will not suffer the consequences when their proposals explode, which happens pretty often in this very dangerous part of the world. We Israelis will be the ones who end up paying the price.”

Posted on July 3, 2015 and filed under Analysis, Israel, Features.

Europe’s crisis proves Israel is no ‘anachronism’

Back in 2003, noted European history expert Tony Judt wrote, “Israel, in short, is an anachronism.” In 2015, it is far too early to say whether Greece will reverse the course of European history by reviving the ugly political traditions that the European Union thought had been vanquished after World War II. But with the collapse of the European idea there, along with the severe disillusionment in other EU states, there is every reason to worry that both the far left and the far right will reap the rewards that will flow from Europe’s shattered consensus. In such conditions, anti-Semitism flourishes, as the “blame the Jews” chorus that invariably accompanies financial meltdown will grow louder. Yet if Europe has proved anything, it’s not that Israel is an “anachronism.” It is, rather, a necessity, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.

Posted on July 3, 2015 and filed under Analysis, Opinion, Israel, World.

Declining United Church of Christ’s Israel divestment may not pack any punch

The United Church of Christ (UCC) last week became the latest mainline Protestant denomination to approve a resolution calling for divestment from companies that do business with Israel. But given the UCC’s declining membership, coupled with prominent issues such as the growing atrocities faced by Middle East Christians at the hands of Muslim terror groups like Islamic State, some observers are questioning the relevance of this latest divestment resolution. “The UCC is the fastest-shrinking mainline church on my radar,” said Dexter Van Zile, Christian media analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. “It has lost about 50 percent of its members since its founding in the 1950s. And shrinking churches like the UCC and the Presbyterian Church USA are the most easily hijacked by anti-Israel activists.”

Posted on July 3, 2015 and filed under Christian, News, Israel, U.S..

Menschkins: The disparity between Jews and opinions

The 89th installment of Harvey Rachlin's new comic strip, "The Menschkins." Click here for more JNS.org coverage on Jewish arts.

Posted on July 3, 2015 and filed under Arts, Menschkins.

Why universities need a definition of anti-Semitism

Later this month, the Regents of the University of California system will decide whether to adopt a uniform definition of anti-Semitism. They are responding to requests from several organizations to adopt the U.S. State Department’s well-regarded definition, which uses the so-called “3D test” that says actions may be identified as anti-Semitic when they demonize Israel, delegitimize Israel, or subject Israel to double standards. Good definitions help identify what a particular problem is, when it occurs, and whether efforts to prevent it are successful, writes Kenneth L. Marcus, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and former staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Posted on July 2, 2015 and filed under Opinion, U.S..

Donald Trump says he is no apprentice when it comes to Israel

In the middle of a phone interview with JNS.org, billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump leaves his desk to scan the wall of his office for awards he has received from the Jewish community. Trump reads the text of some relevant plaques before returning to his desk. But before the reporter can move on to the next question, Trump eagerly points out that he was the grand marshal of New York City’s annual Salute to Israel Parade in 2004, in the middle of the second Palestinian intifada. There are already 13 declared Republican presidential candidates, but Trump argues—in his typically brash and blunt fashion—that his history with the Jewish people and the Jewish state can set him apart from the rest of the GOP field on the Israel issue. “The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” he says. “The rest of them are all talk, no action. They’re politicians. I’ve been loyal to Israel from the day I was born.”

Posted on July 1, 2015 and filed under Features, Israel, News, U.S..

Behind the book: MK Michael Oren on his ‘American Jewish Zionist story’

Seemingly lost in all the debate over U.S.-Israel relations is that Member of Knesset Michael Oren’s new book, “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide,” is a memoir—and the memoir covers more than the author’s four years as Israeli ambassador to the U.S. from 2009-13. “Very few people have actually read the book and seen what’s in the book, and the book is an American Jewish Zionist story,” Oren said in a phone interview with JNS.org. “It’s about a young man who grows up in the post-Holocaust generation, whose father landed on Normandy and fought all throughout World War II. It’s a total American story. I grew up in this working class neighborhood, and I was the only Jewish kid, and I experienced a lot of anti-Semitism as a kid.”

Posted on July 1, 2015 and filed under Books, Israel, U.S., Features.

Negev’s 1st class of social business entrepreneurs sets sights on Israel’s future

Under the desert sky during a recent evening in Be’er Sheva, a new initiative presented the Negev region’s first organized class of social business entrepreneurs to the public. At the Lauder Employment Center, the clinking of glasses and bustling, cheery atmosphere marked the debut of HaMeitz, a social enterprise and small business accelerator in southern Israel. The entrepreneurs of HaMeitz's first class each summarized their products and services in pitches of no longer than 20 seconds. “How do you explain to someone who can’t tell time that they should wait 10 minutes in a protected space after a rocket siren?” Ornit Avidan-Zeev of the Israeli Institute for Cognitive Accessibility, an initiative addressing a security need for southern Israelis with cognitive disabilities, asked in her pitch. “Try telling them to wait the length of four songs, instead.”

Posted on July 1, 2015 and filed under Features, Israel.

Going on offense against anti-Semitic hate groups on American campuses

The time has come for the pro-Israel community to fight fire with fire, to shift from the defensive to the offensive. With strength, determination, and unity, we must show the anti-Semites taking over America’s universities that tsunamis can travel in more than one direction, writes Israeli-American philanthropist Adam Milstein, co-founder of the “Campus Maccabees” task force with Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban.

Posted on July 1, 2015 and filed under Opinion, U.S..

As nuke deal looms, John Bolton has grim outlook on Iran and the Middle East

The setting was informal on a recent Sunday afternoon in New York City: a small-but-dry room providing a haven during a Central Park downpour that followed the Celebrate Israel Parade. But the large crowd and the weather outside were far from the mind of John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Instead, ahead of a July 7 deadline (extended from June 30) for a final nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, the vocal supporter of Israel and former official in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations honed in on a different kind of storm. “My focus is on the threat of a nuclear Iran and how close it is to creating deliverable nuclear weapons,” Bolton said in an interview with JNS.org. “That, and how serious the threat of a nuclear Iran is to Israel and the United States.” 

Posted on June 26, 2015 and filed under U.S., News, Features.

Does P5+1 = nuclear deal? Examining Iran’s negotiating partners

After more than a decade of intermittent negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, the P5+1 nations missed a June 30 deadline to reach a final deal with Iran and have a new deadline of July 7. But with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejecting several key components agreed to under a framework reached in April, such as access by inspectors to military sites, many observers fear that negotiators might agree to a weak deal with Iran or no deal at all. Against that backdrop, JNS.org examines the positions of each of the P5+1 countries as they approach of the deadline.

Posted on June 25, 2015 and filed under News, U.S., World.

Nothing cryptic: Israeli scientist works to simplify information security

You want to send a PDF to your colleague, but the information is sensitive. You password-protect the document and store it on your flash drive. To read the PDF, you share that password with your colleague, who uses it to gain access to the file. The goal is to ensure that someone who does not know the password cannot decrypt the PDF. “This is harder than it seems,” says Israeli-born computer scientist and electrical engineer Dan Boneh, who works at Stanford University. Boneh recently received the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in Computing Sciences for his technical contributions to the field of cryptography, including developing mechanisms for enhancing security on the Web and for mobile devices.

Posted on June 24, 2015 and filed under Features, U.S., Israel.

Israeli entrepreneur’s Moon-bound Torah project might not be a fairytale

“The Torah is going to the moon.” It sounds like a phrase straight out of a Jewish fairytale or children’s book, but the real-life Torah on the Moon initiative is not as pie in the sky as one might think. French-Israeli entrepreneur Haim Aouizerate is calling on the Jewish people to help fund a project that aims to send a Torah scroll to the moon to celebrate the ancient book’s innumerable contributions to morality, justice, education, and culture. “To put it in the simplest terms, we are launching a Torah to keep our society grounded,” Aouizerate tells JNS.org.

Posted on June 24, 2015 and filed under Features, Israel.

ADL vs. Oren: When is a conspiracy theory a conspiracy theory?

In defaming former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren as a conspiracy theorist, Abe Foxman and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) did more than align themselves with some of the more insidious, axe-to-grind Israel-bashers out there. Far worse, they portrayed Oren, a man who served Israel with distinction, as mentally inhabiting the same poisonous hinterland as Holocaust deniers and 9/11 truthers. It is simply—to use the ADL’s favorite word—“outrageous,” writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.

Posted on June 24, 2015 and filed under Analysis, Opinion, Israel, U.S..