Opinion

JNS.org offers opinion and commentary on a variety of news and lifestyle topics. Shillman Analyst for JNS.org Ben Cohen is a regular contributor. To select another topic, choose from the other content “categories” in our navigation bar.

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While some hope remains for preventing Iran’s nuclear weaponization, the case that Iran’s nuclear ambitions have essentially remained unaltered needs to be stated with absolute clarity. In that sense, a timely example arrived this week, in the form of testimony by a former Argentine intelligence operative to a court in Buenos Aires, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.

Liberal critics constantly say mainstream pro-Israel groups are toadies of an Israeli government that pursues policies American Jews abhor. Yet the Israeli consensus—which is embraced by the government’s rivals on the center and left—considers Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies the only response to a Palestinian political culture that still refuses to accept a Jewish state. It’s time for American Jews to show some humility regarding their knowledge about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any messier over at the Center for Jewish History, a New York Times columnist who was invited to speak at an event there unleashed a barrage of verbal attacks on Israel. The columnist, Roger Cohen, who was invited to deliver this year’s Leo Baeck Memorial Lecture, said in a pre-lecture interview with the Leo Baeck Institute’s newsletter that Jews “now find themselves in a semi-colonial situation in which they subject the Palestinian people to much of what we once suffered.” The institute should acknowledge its grievous error in judgment, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.

European countries are not exactly known for their love of Israel. Yet recent actions taken by the governments of Norway and Belgium suggest that, in at least one important respect, those two nations have gone much further than the U.S. in confronting the problem of Palestinian incitement against Israel, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.

In an article about Harvey Weinstein for the Jewish magazine Tablet, Mark Oppenheimer argued that the disgraced Hollywood producer’s unwanted sexual advances upon women were indicative of a “specifically Jewy perviness.” While Oppenheimer issued an apology for floating this nasty caricature, his piece remains online and serves as an arch-example of why ill-informed chatter steers us towards prejudice instead of reason, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.

President Donald Trump’s decision to throw out the ObamaCare contraception mandate as well as to largely exempt religious groups from non-discrimination statutes has drawn criticism from most liberal Jewish groups. But Trump is standing up for a principle that Jews should be defending. Religious liberty for me but not thee is the sort of hypocrisy we shouldn’t accept from those who purport to represent a Jewish community that knows only too well the importance of defending our first constitutional right, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.

Jews around the world view Sukkot as a time for gratitude. Yet for several at-risk Israeli teenagers, there hadn’t been much to be thankful for—until this year, when they’ll take their first steps toward a productive career, and a life off the streets and away from crime, by working at Liliyot. The upscale Tel Aviv bistro was founded as Israel’s first social business, training young people ages 16-19 as chefs while giving them a new start in life—a mitzvah perfectly suited to this festival, writes Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod.

Stephen Walt, co-author of “The Israel Lobby,” claims “history proved us right” in his book’s smears of the pro-Israel community. Pointing to the growing anti-Israel sentiment on the left, Walt thinks his stand is somehow vindicated. Yet those who want to besmirch Israel’s supporters as undermining U.S. interests without being rightly labeled as anti-Semites are fooling no one, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.

By highlighting that the amount of land on which Jewish homes and buildings sit in the territories is barely 2 percent of all of Judea and Samaria, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman conveyed a powerful and relevant fact. It’s an important reminder that the settlements are not the obstacle to peace, and that the critics of the settlements engage in wild exaggerations and demonization for political purposes. They proved that again this week with their absurdly unfair and disingenuous response to Friedman, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.

The good news surrounding the Palestinian Authority’s latest diplomatic success is that it turns out Interpol isn’t the international police agency that movies and television shows have led us to believe. The bad news is that the international community just gave the Good Housekeeping seal of approval to those who traffic in terrorism, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.

The Trump administration is pressuring Israel for further delays in the construction of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria, according to apparently reliable media reports. If true, friends of Israel have good reason to be concerned, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.

To date, only Israel has publicly backed the independence referendum in Kurdistan. The rest of the world has lined up behind the demand of Turkey, Iran and the Iranian-proxy regime in Baghdad that Kurdistan can never claim its right to be recognized on the map of the world. Most shameful of all, though, has been the response of Washington—because, quite frankly, we are entitled to expect much better, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.

Most Jews look on the fragment of our community that hates Israel and Zionism with a mixture of disdain, irritation and puzzlement. Now, that fragment has decided to attack Birthright for offering free trips to Israel to young Jewish adults. It would be a good time finally to get serious about a response, writes columnist Rabbi Jonathan Greenberg.

Is there anything that would entice liberal Jews to stand with President Donald Trump or to join with him in trashing former President Barack Obama’s legacy?, writes JNS.org's Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.

This week, I became an American citizen. As I intently studied my naturalization certificate after the oath-taking ceremony, it struck me how fortunate I am to be accepted into this nation on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, of all occasions, writes JNS.org Columnist Ben Cohen.

A little-reported stabbing incident, coupled with a large dose of Palestinian Authority-generated fake news, have revealed pretty much everything you need to know about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, writes JNS.org's Columnist Stephen M. Flatow.

When researchers at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) reported earlier this year that public school history textbooks and curricular materials were indoctrinating students against Israel, some high school officials were dismissive, writes CAMERA's Jonah Cohen.

For Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s political opponents, his government’s woes aren’t just an opportunity to score political points at his expense. They also provide easy-to-understand explanations for the question that nags at the margins of every debate about American Jewish attitudes toward Israel. Every negative development or unpopular decision associated with the prime minister is used to rationalize and sometimes even justify the growing chasm between American Jews and Israelis, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.

Should American Jewish leaders speak to the rulers of a petrostate that finances Hamas terrorists to blow up their fellow Jews in Israel, asks JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.

The Jewish left, the United Nations, and the international news media have been telling us for years that illegal settlers in the “occupied territories” are the main obstacles to Middle East peace. So they all should have been rejoicing at this week’s news that a group of settlers were evicted from their home, writes JNS columnist Stephen M. Flatow.