Direct talks are needed to advance peace

NEW YORK (JTA) — In the history of the State of Israel, never have there been preconditions for face-to-face peace talks. While it was not obligated to do so, the Israeli government last November ordered a 10-month freeze in new building projects in the West Bank. This sign of… Read more »

Toward a broader Israeli-Diaspora relationship

Danny Ayalon (Israel Foreign Ministry)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — “Every Jew, no matter how insignificant, is engaged in some decisive and immediate pursuit of a goal,” the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote nearly 200 years ago. Throughout history, Jews have numbered disproportionately among Nobel Prize laureates, acclaimed scientists, philosophers, economists and in many… Read more »

Overcome denial in Israel advocacy

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Some people see the world not as it is but as they would like it to be. Psychologists have a term for this: They call it living in denial. Sadly, denial colors the way too many leaders of established institutions in the American Jewish community look… Read more »

Faisal Shahzad, jihadi, undercuts Obama, president

Jaw-dropping court testimony by Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square bomber, singlehandedly undermines Obama administration efforts to ignore the dangers of Islamism and jihad. Shahzad’s statements stand out because jihadis, when facing legal charges, typically save their skin by pleading not guilty or plea bargaining. Consider a few examples:… Read more »

Don’t exclude in the name of inclusion

Nathan Diament (courtesy of the Orthodox Union)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Lynn Schusterman, a passionate and impactful philanthropic leader in the American Jewish community, has called upon Jewish organizations to adopt policies that will foster greater inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Jews in the community. Specifically, in a recently published essay, Schusterman asked “all Jewish… Read more »

Embrace LGBT Jews as vital members of the community

Lynn Schusterman (Schusterman Family Foundation)

TULSA, Okla. (JTA) — Next week, as millions of people around the world celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we in the Jewish community will mark the occasion with a pivotal milestone: the first-ever Jewish LGBT Movement Building Convening, to be held June 27-29 in California.… Read more »

J Street officials harm Israel and the Jewish people

Jeremy Ben-Ami and Hadar Susskind, the executive director and vice president of J Street, were quoted in the June 18 issue of the Arizona Jewish Post as saying that Israel was not allowing food and material into Gaza. Israel sent 100,000 tons of aid to Gaza in the first… Read more »

Lamenting the gulf on Tisha B’av

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Alas, this year on the Ninth of Av, Tisha B’Av, when we darken our mood and grieve our losses, should we add a lament for what has happened in the Gulf of Mexico? On a day when we acknowledge by chanting kinot, laments, the Jews… Read more »

Tom Friedman must apologize for slandering Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) — I don’t often read Tom Friedman in The New York Times. True, he is one of the most lucid writers in America, and his crystal-clear prose helps in understanding some of the world’s most intractable conflicts. He can also be repetitive, tiresome and a little… Read more »

Repairing a world shattered by Agent Orange

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Vietnam War looms large in America’s collective memory. Yet for most of us, that’s where the war remains: in memory. Not so for the Vietnamese. Thirty-five years after its conclusion and 15 years since our countries re-established diplomatic ties, the daily lives of many… Read more »

Prosecution was overzealous in Rubashkin case

Menachem Genack. (courtesy of the Orthodox Union)

NEW YORK (JTA) — The unusually severe sentence of 27 years in prison for Sholom Rubashkin is a victory for a prosecution that from the outset pursued a win-at-all-costs strategy. But the success comes at a price, and not just to the 51-year-old man now facing a virtual life… Read more »

Only Israel making the effort toward peace

Alan Solow

CHICAGO (JTA) — Like the people and governments of Israel, the pro-Israel community in the United States has long sought a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct negotiations between the parties that would lead to a lasting peace agreement and Israel’s acceptance by all its neighbors. The Israeli… Read more »

With school controversy, secular-Haredi tensions reach boiling point

Tens of thousands of haredi Orthodox Israelis take to the streets in Jerusalem to protest a court order requiring haredi parents to send their daughters to an Emanuel school , June 17, 2010. (Abir Sultan / Flash90 / JTA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The showdown between the Supreme Court and the parents of students at a haredi Orthodox school found guilty of discriminatory practices against Sephardic girls has brought already strained secular-religious relations in Israel to a fever pitch. A remark by Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy that the… Read more »

Stopping torture needs unswerving commitment

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A recent report by Physicians for Human Rights has found that in the period after Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. government engaged military and civilian health professionals in “human research and experimentation on prisoners in U.S. custody.” Appalled by these findings, a number of religious leaders… Read more »

Visiting the family of the Hamas terrorist who tried to kill my wife

David E.H. Gershon

What should I buy for the children of the Hamas terrorist who tried to kill my wife? I’m sorry, some context is needed. Let me explain. In the summer of 2002 Hamas, targeting both Israelis and Americans, struck a cafeteria at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The blast, triggered by… Read more »

Gaza blockade serves Hamas, not Israel

Hadar Susskind

Watching the video of the Israeli Navy Commandos rappelling onto the Marmara was for me — as for many people — full of anxiety and sadness. Sadness that Israeli soldiers, in the same uniforms I once proudly wore, were put in such a terrible situation and subject to violent… Read more »

A border-crossing people living in a borderless world

NEW YORK (Sh’ma) — There is nothing that makes me feel as alive as walking the streets of a new city — with a notebook, a map, and a camera — waiting for a portrait to take shape out of color and sound, clamor and empty space, concrete and… Read more »

In defense of the blockade

Michael B. Oren

Israel’s interception of the flotilla attempting to break the Gaza blockade has been the focus of massive international attention — and condemnation. In the melee of interviews, editorials and images, the basic facts of the incident have often been obscured. Segments of the American Jewish community were rendered confused… Read more »

AZ immigration law not a copy of federal law

Two letters to the Arizona Jewish Post (June 4) are confusing, based as they are on mistaken understanding of federal immigration law. Though both writers claim the Arizona statute is an exact copy of federal law, it isn’t. SB 1070 defines a new crime; being an illegal is per… Read more »