JNS.org offers the latest Jewish news and commentary from the United States. To select another topic, choose from the other content “categories” in our navigation bar.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It isn’t the super-sized Jewish experience of New York City or some of its suburbs. But for observant Jews, New York State’s Mid-Hudson Valley still has plenty to offer. You could play more than your fill of Bingo, attend a weekly Torah class, immerse in a beautifully maintained mikvah or even attend a Jewish War Veterans meeting. Yet in the nearly 130-year history of Poughkeepsie’s organized Jewish community, carrying any possession in public on Shabbat—without violating the laws of the day of rest—was out of the question. Now that Poughkeepsie finally has an eruv to enable carrying on Shabbat, the community can assume its place “on the Jewish map,” says the synagogue vice president who spent six years advocating for the eruv.
Recent admissions by The New York Times and The Washington Post of errors in their coverage of Israel are rare exceptions to the “culture” of anti-Israel bias that permeates both newspapers, experts say. “If errors tend to consistently skew in one direction—and the anti-Israel skew of each of these major corrections is not a coincidence, but a trend—then newspapers need to look into a culture that seems especially indulgent with outlandish anti-Israel accusations,” said Gilead Ini, a senior research analyst for the CAMERA media watchdog group.
As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan assumed near-dictatorial powers following his dubious victory in a constitutional referendum April 16, Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor from North Carolina, was marking his sixth month in a Turkish prison over an unsubstantiated charge. What makes Brunson’s case particularly outrageous, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen, is that his imprisonment comes in Turkey—traditionally an ally of the U.S., a member of NATO and widely regarded in the years prior to Erdoğan’s rise as the ideal model for a secular state with a Muslim majority.
When Mark Rosenblatt touched down at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv April 5 and powered on his cell phone, he got the surprise of his mobile technology life. Rosenblatt received a text message from his cell phone carrier, Verizon, reading, “Welcome to Palestine.” Attempting to explain the situation, Verizon spokesman Scott Charlston told JNS.org that Ben Gurion Airport “is close to the Israeli border [with the West Bank] and there are cell sites and wireless signals from different providers on both sides. In general, customers living in or visiting border areas occasionally receive a wireless signal from a cross-border provider.” Experts dismissed Verizon’s response on the grounds that no state of “Palestine” exists under international law.
While U.S.-Israel military ties have long been known for intelligence-sharing and jointly developed missile defense technology, veterans affairs could be a major new frontier in that relationship. Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan recently met with Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, in a first-of-its-kind meeting between American and Israeli policy officials responsible for the care of injured and released soldiers. “The level of anticipated cooperation brings what has long been a productive relationship [on military affairs], in terms of the purchasing of technology and sharing of information, to a whole new level,” Idit Druyan, an adviser to Ben-Dahan, told JNS.org.
Sean Spicer’s gaffe should teach us that the “anyone I don’t like is Hitler” approach to politics or history always fails. But many of the White House press secretary’s liberal critics need to learn the same lesson. If you complain about Jew-hatred when it can be linked to false narratives about President Donald Trump, yet you don’t get worked up about what Iran or the Palestinians are saying, maybe it’s time to question your motives, writes JNS.org Online Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.
President Donald Trump’s missile strike against Syria inaugurates a new chapter in the long and controversial history of American responses—and sometimes non-responses—to mass murder around the world. Historian Rafael Medoff recounts the U.S. approach to episodes including Islamic State, Libya, Darfur, Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, the Holocaust and Armenia.
Israeli leaders welcomed President Donald Trump’s surprise military action late Thursday to strike the airbase where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was believed to have launched a chemical attack resulting in the deaths of at least 86 Syrians, including 27 children. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel “fully supports” Trump’s decision and the message it sends. Israel said it had been notified ahead of the U.S. strike, with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman calling the advance notice “further proof of the strength of the relationship and depth of the connection between Israel and its largest ally, the United States.”
What’s the one value that the Jewish community should care most about? To listen to many who run organizations and communal philanthropies, the answer is inclusion. At a time when it is difficult to engage young people, maintaining a “big tent” is close to being a sacred concept. But by hosting convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh at its recent conference in Chicago, the left-wing group that calls itself Jewish Voice for Peace seems determined to prove that inclusiveness can be a highly overrated virtue, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.
Despite owing part of its existence to the United Nations, Israel has experienced decades of bias from an institution whose stated mission includes trying to ensure international goodwill and world peace. Yet the nascent Trump administration, under the leadership of Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, is trying to chart a new course for the world body’s culture on Israel. The Israeli government claims it is already witnessing Haley’s positive influence in the international arena. “Ambassador Haley and the Trump administration have changed the rules of the game at the U.N., and the results have reverberated throughout the organization,” Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon told JNS.org.
Israel takes pride in being an oasis for gender equality in a Mideast region largely bereft of women’s rights, and this attitude extends to the Jewish state’s military. At the same time, for a nation facing ever-present security threats both internally and on its borders, gender equality has its limits. “The mission of the army is to protect and win. We need to understand that the mission of the army is not equal opportunity,” Brigadier General (Res.) Gila Klifi-Amir, who has served as an adviser on women’s issues to the IDF chief of staff, said at an April 3 event in New York.
Anti-Israel activists gathered Sunday inside the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago to hear a discussion featuring convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmeah Odeh. Unbeknownst to Odeh and the attendees of the Jewish Voice for Peace conference, while she was receiving a standing ovation, a memorial service for her victims was in progress just a few floors above.
For Molly Horwitz, it’s not the anti-Semitism itself that stings the most. The feeling that some Stanford University Jewish leaders abandoned her in her fight against discrimination is what still brings tears to her eyes. As Horwitz and a fellow Stanford alum see it, those Jewish leaders were borderline hostile toward mainstream pro-Israel students while fostering warmer relations with the campus arm of J Street, the self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby. If true, the former students’ allegations are not isolated, but indicative of the extent to which J Street’s agenda permeates campus discourse on Israel—including within Hillel, the international organization fostering Jewish life at more than 550 colleges and universities.