President Donald Trump’s foreign policy team is coming to grips with the fact that everything it hopes to accomplish in the Middle East is connected to an Iranian regime immeasurably strengthened by the Obama administration’s misguided effort to create détente with Tehran. But those who assumed the Trump administration would give up and deem the problem insoluble may be wrong. Trump doesn’t need to tear up the Iran nuclear deal to attempt to undo its consequences, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.
The Anti-Defamation League’s decision to count an Israeli-Jewish teenager’s alleged bomb hoaxes as “anti-Semitic incidents” is prompting criticism from some Jewish community officials. The ADL’s Aryeh Tuchman said the teenager’s purported actions were categorized as anti-Semitic because “when an incident has a major terrorizing effect on Jewish communities, we can’t ignore it.” Yet Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told JNS.org, “Now that it’s clear that this was a mentally unstable individual, I would not categorize these as anti-Semitic hate crimes.” Kenneth L. Marcus, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center, said it “seems highly unlikely” that the threats “were motivated by anti-Semitic animus.”
A bitter debate has raged over the character of Sebastian Gorka, a deputy adviser to President Donald Trump. There is very little evidence justifying the accusation that Gorka is anti-Semitic. Yet when it comes to Gorka’s involvement with Vitezi Rend, an ultranationalist organization founded by Miklos Horthy, the Trump adviser’s defenders should not downplay the former Hungarian dictator’s murderous and anti-Semitic record, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
An Israeli-German spat has provided a prominent platform for research that documents the European Union’s funding of BDS and terrorism. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled an April 25 meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, due to the latter’s insistence on meeting with nonprofit organizations that campaign against the IDF and alleged Israeli human rights violations. The Israeli-German disagreement comes after the April 20 publication of a report detailing European governments’ funding of Palestinian civic organizations with ties to terrorism. “In his actions, Prime Minister Netanyahu is seeking to put this irresponsible NGO funding by Europe on the agenda, and to trigger long-overdue changes,” said NGO Monitor President Gerald Steinberg.
Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon recently announced a series of tax reforms aimed at assisting the middle class, taking advantage of a surplus of tax revenue. While Kahlon’s “Net Plan” may provide relief for some Israelis having difficulty coping with the country’s high cost of living, the plan raises questions about whether the finance minister was motivated by scoring political points. Amid ongoing rumors of early elections in Israel, Kahlon may have sought to take maximum credit for the populist reforms without sharing spotlight with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “My impression is that this is perceived as a bold act on the part of Kahlon,” said Gilad Brand, a researcher at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel.
J Street, the left-wing group that claims to be staunchly opposed to Israeli settlements, has embraced an Israeli settlement. What? How can that be? Columnist Stephen M. Flatow explains.
Throughout the seven decades since it declared independence, Israel has waged a struggle for legitimacy, navigating the global arena to find its place among the nations. While many factors went into Israeli independence, the U.N. Partition Plan of 1947 and subsequent Resolution 181 laid the foundation. For Israel’s 69th Independence Day, JNS.org looks at how four countries actively involved in the historic 1947 vote not only shaped Israeli history, but have robust current relationships with the Jewish state and might play key roles in the country’s future.
With its forces vastly outnumbered by Arab armies, Israel’s victory in the 1948 War of Independence was widely considered a modern-day miracle. The Jewish state shocked the world again in 1967 by significantly expanding its borders and reunifying Jerusalem during the Six-Day War. In 2017, the perceived miracles keep coming. Ahead of the 69th Israeli Independence Day, JNS.org recounts five of Israel’s latest crowning achievements.
In the Venn diagram of intersectionality, one group doesn’t intersect the others. Skeptics argue that a coalition organized around identity-group power would eventually come to tears over conflicting grievances. So far, though, it’s mostly Jews who are getting shut out by progressives and their anti-Israel supporters, writes columnist Joshua Sharf.
Jewish leaders inside and outside France expressed alarm after far-right populist Marine Le Pen’s strong showing in the first round of France’s presidential election Sunday. Le Pen, leader of the National Front party, has previously called on French Jews to give up wearing yarmulkes as part of her initiative to ban religious symbols in public and fight radical Islam in France. She has also stated that if elected, she would bar dual citizenship with non-European Union countries, distressing many French Jews who hold Israeli citizenship.
For Holocaust survivors’ grandchildren like Beckah Restivo, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum works to anchor family stories in a historical context. Much of the museum’s resources come from the International Tracing Service, an archive of Holocaust records established by the Allies after the war. The archive boasts millions of pages of documentation. “Everything I know about my family history, besides my grandfather’s and great-uncle’s actual firsthand accounts, has been driven by the resources at the museum, and I’m so grateful,” says Restivo.
For Israelis, this year’s Yom HaShoah commemorations marked a balancing act between caring for the Holocaust survivors who remain alive and planning for the education of future generations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke Sunday of the need to “ensure quality of life and respectable existence for the Holocaust survivors in their remaining years.” Israel’s Ghetto Fighters’ House museum, meanwhile, inaugurates a new Holocaust education program that “will look at the role of the Holocaust in the collective minds one generation to two generations from now,” said Dr. Arye Carmon, board chairman of the museum.
Despite warnings from Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau to avoid Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, a hardcore of resolute Israeli tourists proceeded with plans to head to scenic beach resorts during the recent Passover holiday. In response, Israeli authorities—disturbed by intelligence of concrete Islamic State plots to target tourists in the Sinai—took the unprecedented step of shutting the Taba border crossing, thereby preventing travel to Egypt by land. Israel reopened the Taba crossing Friday, but reiterated that “the threat to Israelis in Sinai is still severe.” How did the Sinai’s current instability come to be? JNS.org correspondent Yaakov Lappin recounts a history of unheeded warnings and the emergence of Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate.
At the 2017 Evangelical Press Association (EPA) convention, the quest for “inspiration, instruction and interaction” could not escape the specter of dissension and controversy that has haunted the evangelical Christian media since President Donald Trump’s election. Political discourse aside, the conference lived up to its intended purpose of fostering unity by enabling media professionals to build relationships with representatives from Israel and the Jewish community. “I would say the majority of those who are a part of the EPA really have a commitment and a strong feeling toward Israel, in terms of supporting Israel,” said Jill Daly, Midwest director for Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, which was an EPA conference sponsor.
The New York Times ignited a controversy by publishing an article authored by Palestinian terrorist prisoner Marwan Barghouti, without mentioning that he is serving five life terms for the murder of civilians. But a more important discussion got lost amid the outrage about media bias. The question to be asked about this episode is not whether terrorism is significant enough to be worthy of mention, but why Barghouti is a likely candidate to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as head of the Palestinian Authority, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.