Jewish Journal

This week in power: Palestinians, Helen Thomas, Black Panthers, Kiryas Joel

by Danny Groner

April 28, 2011 | 6:47 am

A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

Is a Palestinian state coming?
“Will a Palestinian state be born this fall,” asked a headline on CNN.com on Wednesday. Whatever happens, Obama has to act, said The Jewish Daily Forward in an editorial, because, as it stands, the situation is “unsustainable, especially now when the region is engulfed with democratic fervor.” But it may not be fixable, warned A.B. Yehoshua in Haaretz. Not only don’t we know how large either of these sides are, this is “a fundamental conflict that constantly creates primal and profound mistrust between the two peoples, preventing a possible solution.”

Helen Thomas bows out
Thomas backed out of her appearance at a pro-Palestinian conference called “Move Over AIPAC” to take place from May 21 to 24, according to JTA. “I understand why pro-Israel groups wanted to lash out at Thomas when she was still a major figure in journalism. But isn’t there a point when it simply pays to say, ‘look, she’s an old lady, nobody’s paying attention to her, let it rest?’” asked James Besser at The Jewish Week. This is about something bigger, though, said James Abourezk at Counterpunch. It’s an effort “to make the Helen Thomases of the world disappear, along with their views opposing what Israel is doing to those under its occupation.”

Death at Joseph’s tomb
Palestinian Authority officials are investigating the fatal shooting of Ben Yosef Livnat, 24, who was killed on Sunday after Palestinian police opened fire on their vehicle after he and others snuck in to pray at Joseph’s Tomb, according to reports. “By repeatedly and blatantly violating this so-called peace agreement, Palestinians have shot themselves in the foot—big-time,” said Peggy Shapiro at American Thinker. This also might indicate that “we are not on the cusp of a new era of Middle East peace,” said Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post. “Could it be that building mother-in-law apartments in East Jerusalem isn’t the root of the problem?”

Black Panthers’ rally
The New Black Panthers’ held a “National Day of Action and Unity” last Saturday in over 60 cities worldwide, which turned out to be “a fantastic dud,” said James M. Simpson at BigGovernment. In the days leading up to the rally, the ADL denounced the group, which “feeds directly into the media-hungry hands of NBPP leaders that are organizing the events,” said Ryan Dube at TopSecretWriters.com. “As they say – any publicity is good publicity.” Still, there is a lesson here: Instead of focusing on the Tea Party’s language and message, said Raven Clabough at The New American, worry about the “prevalent among the New Black Panthers, an indisputably violent, racist, and anti-Semitic group.”

The poorest place
A higher proportion of people are living in poverty in Kiryas Joel, N.Y., than in any other community in the country, according to The New York Times. “Those in the community are, unsurprisingly, not very interested in talking about their finances,” said Garth Johnston at Gothamist. But there’s something fascinating about these people, said Matthew Continetti at The Washington Post. “As you read stories like these, you begin to wonder whether poverty is more a spiritual than economic condition. And if that’s the case, the residents of Kiryas Joel are as rich as Croesus.”

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Danny Groner is a contributing writer to the Jewish Journal. He has worked in journalism since he was a teenager, starting off as an intern for a local publication. During his...

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