Eleven years ago, when tragedy blackened our skies, and millions of people resonated with our mission of rolling back the hatred that took our son’s life, we were quick to learn that the journalistic community is not only our strongest partner but also a special member of our extended family.
Even as the sound of “Hatikvah” reverberated in the auditorium of the American Jewish University, where Los Angeles commemorated the 65th anniversary of the historic United Nations vote of Nov. 29, 1947, another U.N. vote was casting its shadows on our consciousness — the vote for Palestinian statehood, on Nov. 29, 2012.
Daniel Pearl’s murder by terrorists was made public on Feb. 21, 2002. Author Judea Pearl is a professor at UCLA, president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation (danielpearl.org) and a co-editor of “I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl” (Jewish Lights, 2004), winner of the National Jewish Book Award.
I felt terribly guilty when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N. General Assembly: “Enough! It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.” How can we deny to others what we claim for ourselves?
Recent weeks have not blessed us with much good news.
Say what you will about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House last month, there is no question that things did not go exactly as planned. If you believe that President Barack Obama is Israel’s staunchest friend, trying his best to save it from unsustainable status quo and from the wrath of September’s proposed vote for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, you must admit that he did not expect to see a defiant Bibi receive a hero’s welcome in Israel after spelling out Israel’s final red lines. Such entrenchment does not make Israel’s position palatable to the Europeans.
By the time this article is published on May 19, President Barack Obama will be putting the final touches on his policy speech on the Middle East, scheduled for the same day. Many see it as an important speech, for it could signal a dramatic shift in U.S. policy in the wake of the Arab uprisings, the demise of bin Laden and the resignation May 13 of George Mitchell. For Israel, though, the crucial test is whether Obama will take bold steps toward a lasting peace in the Middle East or merely express his displeasure with the now-stalled “peace process.”
Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, passed away on Dec. 13 at the age of 69. He has been hailed by several Jewish newspapers as a friend of Israel, although he was not prominently involved in American-Israeli relations. Indeed, in a column in the Washington Post two years ago, he wrote something we don’t often hear from presidential envoys and State Department officials. Holbrooke wrote that President Truman should be admired for having recognized Israel as a state on May 14, 1948, and that the State Department’s attempts to undermine President Truman’s decision was not something Holbrooke was proud of. There are people whom you meet once and know you will never forget. I met Richard Holbrooke once, in Doha, Qatar, in April 2005 — a meeting I will never forget.
I have been trying hard to find an explanation for the intense controversy surrounding the Cordoba Initiative, whereby 71 percent of Americans oppose the construction of an Islamic Center and a Mosque next to Ground Zero. I cannot agree with the theory that such broad resistance represents Islamophobic sentiments, nor that it is a product of a recent “right wing” blitz against one Imam or another.
The following email was sent to Judea and Ruth Pearl in 2003 by ledendary journalist Daniel Schorr, who died last week, on July 23, at 93. It was written in response to a request for an essay for the Pearl’s book, “I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl,” edited by Judea & Ruth Pearl (Jewish Lights Publishing). The piece was later included in that collection.
What makes fog float in midair, while raindrops fall straight down to earth? Physics teaches us that it is all a matter of “surface-to-weight ratio” — a simple parameter that determines whether soap bubbles rise or fall and how many passengers a jet plane can carry. The larger the surface, so the theory goes, the easier it is for an object to lift its weight against gravitational pull.
For the life of me, I wish I could be a professional analyst — someone who makes a living telling people what world leaders think, why they think the way they do,
why what they think is not what they say and how we ought to act knowing what they truly have in mind.
In the wake of last month’s attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner, President Obama has ordered intensified airport screening of passengers from 13 Muslim countries. This move has sparked a healthy public debate about targeted screening in American airports, its effectiveness and its moral ramifications.
This month marks two monumental events in the history of the Jewish people — the Balfour Declaration of Nov. 2, 1917, the first official recognition of Jewish national aspirations, and Nov. 29, 1947, the United Nations vote for the partition of Palestine, which led to the establishment of the State of Israel a year later. I have found no mention of these two miracles on the pages of this newspaper, nor a celebration, lecture or student gathering in the Center for Jewish Studies in my university. I therefore dedicate this column to Lady History, as a token of appreciation for the two milestones she has so graciously given our people in the past century.
As Jews prepare themselves for Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe) and Americans recover from commemorating the Sept. 11 terror attack on the World Trade Center, many are conscious of another symbol of crisis — the Guantanamo Detention Center, whose fate is still uncertain. If the crumbling twin towers conjure vivid memories of America’s shock and pain, Guantanamo is a monument to our nation’s post-shock reaction after Sept. 11 — and the tough moral dilemmas that the shock brought to the surface.
Now that Arab leaders and Western pundits have expressed their disapproval of Netanyahu’s policy speech of last Sunday, it is time for peace visionaries to point out the opportunities that the speech has opened to the international community, especially to President Obama.
Universities, like religions, are often judged not by what they preach but by what they tolerate.
The song was written for Micha Shagrir's documentary film "Mirdaf", during the War of Attrition (1968-1970). It describes the military situation along the Jordan border when PLO raids against Israel, followed by IDF chases after the perpetrators, became a daily routine. The song was first performed by Chava Alberstein, to music by Nahum Haiman (this year's recipient of Israel's Prize) and can be heard on you-tube (search for Mirdaf).
Three years ago, in a column in this journal, I argued for the formula, “Anti-Zionism = Racism,” instead of the standard claim that anti-Zionism is a cover for anti-Semitism. My aim was to empower pro-Israel students with a more potent intellectual weapon to fight back the rising anti-Israel campaign on college campuses.
Last month saw the anniversary of one of the most significant events in Jewish history, perhaps the most significant since the Exodus from Egypt -- Nov. 29, 1947 -- the day the U.N. General Assembly voted 33-13 to partition Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state
Let us be frank: The current stalemate is ideological, not physical, and it hangs on two major contentions: "historical right" and "justice," which must be wrestled with in words before we can expect any substantive movement on the ground.
In sharp contrast to the birthdayof Kuntar, next month will witness another birthday celebration closerto my heart: the birthday of our late son, Daniel Pearl, who would have turned 45 on Oct. 10
The focus of my attention naturally turned to Al-Jazeera because, with its outreach of 50 million viewers from Morocco to the Persian Gulf, this pan-Arab satellite channel is considered the conscience and future of the Arab world.
Each year, in preparation for Israel's birthday, newspaper editors feel an uncontrolled urge, a divine calling in fact, to invite Arab writers to tell us why Israel should not exist.
We are often told, mostly by anti-Israel propagandists, that the early Zionists' attitude toward the indigenous Arab population in Palestine was laden with ignorance, naivete, denial, contempt, abuse and outright oppression. Afif Safieh, the PLO representative to the United States, tells audiences on campus after campus: "[Palestinians] have suffered three successive denials -- a denial of their mere physical existence, a denial of their national rights and, the most morally disturbing, a denied recognition of their pain and suffering."
First came an "Open Letter From Muslims to Jews," signed by dozens of leading Muslim scholars and intellectuals in the West, calling for "Peace, Dialogue and Understanding Between Muslims and Jews."
When The Journal asked me to write a note about the murder of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, I initially declined. I did not feel I had anything insightful or original to add to the dozens of gloomy and desperate articles we have been receiving by Pakistanis and Western analysts in the wake of that horrible tragedy.
I spent the last week of November in Israel and watched the Annapolis show unfold through the lens of Israeli TV. As expected, everyone in Israel watched that show with both nervous curiosity and cynical dismissal.
But the event that truly captured the public imagination and managed to elevate people's spirit above the mundane was one that occurred 200 miles away from Annapolis, in a place called Lake Success, and it took place 60 years ago, Nov. 29, 1947.
We are in receipt of a refreshing piece of news from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia via the New York Times:
"On a marshy peninsula 50 miles from this Red Sea port, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is staking $12.5 billion on a gargantuan bid to catch up with the West in science and technology."
This is not some humdrum investment. King Abdullah University for Science and Technology will create one of the world's 10 most endowed science centers and, if it also manages to create an environment of academic freedom, might well be what the Arab world needs at this juncture of history.
Man is a meaning-seeking animal. Hardly a second goes by in which our mind does not stop its routine activities to ponder the meaning of the input it receives from our senses or from its own activities.
A conference organized by the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute in Jerusalem last month dealt with anti-Israel attacks in the United States that constitute, according to organizers, a "long-term threat" to Israel's standing.
The political lesson of Russell's paradox is that there is no such thing as unqualified tolerance. Ultimately, one must be able to expound intolerance of certain groups or ideologies without surrendering the moral high ground normally linked to tolerance and inclusivity.
I was born in Tel Aviv, in 1936, and, quite naturally, my feelings toward Israel are suffused with the love, pride, memories, music and aromas that nourish and sustain all natives of any country. Yet, remarkably, as the years pass, I discover that these same feelings towards Israel are echoed by people everywhere, including many who have never set foot in that country.
The past few months saw rising temperatures of accusations and counteraccusations among sections of the Jewish community. Leftist Jews criticized Israel,
professor Alvin Rosenfeld criticized anti-Zionist Jews, the American Jewish Committee (AJCommittee) published Rosenfeld's article, Rob Eshman criticized Rosenfeld ("Shutting Jewish Mouths," Feb. 16) and Jewish Journal readers criticized Eshman (Letters, Feb. 23).
We are constantly being told that the ball of peace lies entirely in Israel's court, because Palestinians have no control over their destiny and Israel's economy is so much stronger. It ain't necessarily so.
Moreover, now that Hamas is recognized as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, Hamas' official stance toward Israel has given Western observers a crisp and reliable thermometer to gauge the Palestinian vision of peace, many times more reliable than the ambiguous polls and speeches we have been reading about in the past.
Why is Ahmadinejad pursuing this foolish crusade against the Holocaust? After all, even he must know that the Holocaust is one of the most documented events in human history and, hence, that denying its reality or even questioning its magnitude and significance is likely to end up in embarrassment. Why then is he so insistent?
This week marks the shloshim, the 30th day following the death of Ilan Halimi, murdered by French anti-Semites in a Paris suburb.
Dialogue between Jews and Muslims is a necessary step toward easing world tension, and we are therefore pleased that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has addressed the American Jewish Congress last weekend in New York.
The age of terror, it seems, has sprouted an era of dialogue. A host of conferences designed to bring together East and West are cropping up everywhere.
Never before, perhaps, have so many talked so optimistically about so serious a problem. But behind all the words is one unspoken disagreement that may imperil any chance for progress.
My direct encounter with this optimism took place at a high-profile get-together, the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, in mid-April. Organized by the Qatar government and the Brookings Institution, the conference was packed with more than 150 scholars and leaders from all sides who diligently discussed both the needs and the means for achieving democracy, reforms and renaissance in the Muslim world. Strikingly, there was hardly a Muslim speaker who did not tie the implementation of such reforms to progress toward settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Jewish students are currently subjected to an unprecedented assault on their identity as Jews. And we, the Jewish faculty on campus, have let those students down. We have failed to equip them with effective tools to fight back this assault.
We can reverse this trend.
What follows is an edited version of a speech that Judea Pearl, the father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, delivered upon accepting an award on his son's behalf from the Los Angeles Press Club on June 22, 2002.