Jewish Journal

This week in power: Budget, WikiLeaks, Slaughter ban, Bieber

by Danny Groner

April 14, 2011 | 8:16 am

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

Government shutdown averted: Now what?
President Obama was able to strike a deal with Republicans at the deadline last weekend that kept the federal government open and operating. “But there was something deeply disturbing about the process that led the nation to the brink of a shutdown,” said a Jewish Week editorial. “Deficit reduction is essential, and it will require sacrifices from all of us.” And, with so much still in flux, James Besser worried about Jewish groups that “don’t like to dip their toes in the treacherous partisan waters of budget and taxation debates.” Where does civility get you? wondered Leonard Fein in The Jewish Daily Forward. For instance, “How in the world can a serious person not experience indignation in the face of the clownish behavior of Israel’s Knesset or the U.S. House of Representatives?” Let you your passion and outrage show.

WikiLeaks: Israel edition
A batch of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables shared with Haaretz by WikiLeaks recently came to light, according to reports. The cables, among other things, revealed that Israeli officials expect Hezbollah to fire about 500 missiles a day at Israel from Lebanon, and it could mean war. They also show evidence that Israel weighed an attack on Iran back in 2005, but “these revelations by themselves are not particularly newsworthy,” said Christopher A. Preble at The National Interest. It’s been know that Israel “lacked the firepower to definitively demolish the Iranian nuclear program.”

Bombing suspect caught
The man charged in connection with an explosion last Thursday at a Chabad House in Santa Monica, California, is heading back to California to stand trial, according to reports. Hirsch had fled to Ohio, where he had been welcomed by the Jewish community with open arms, reported the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. But one rabbi grew suspicious and reported Hirsch to police. “In a small community, someone would be noticed because everybody knows everybody,” said one community member.

Dutch slaughter ban
The Netherlands may soon pass a law banning Jewish and Muslim traditions on the ritual slaughter of animals, reported the Associated Press. Animal rights activists and the xenophobic Freedom Party have joined together to push for the ban on “methods that critics say inflict unacceptable suffering on animals.” This is an effort to “suppress the ancient and essentially humane methods of slaughtering animals that Jews have used for millennia,” said Brice Walker at the New American. They want to “abolish religious practices of Christians and Jews by imposing, in place of God’s law, man’s law.” This is an “unjust” law, said Abraham H. Foxman in a JTA editorial. “Members of today’s Dutch parliament should be guided by their founding fathers’ championing of religious freedom.”

Bieber and Bibi
A meeting between the improbable pair was called off suddenly, and each side has a different story. Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Bieber backed out after refusing to meet with children affecting by terror, while the singer cited “logistical” problems for the cancellation. The Israeli leader tried “to turn a photo op with a teen idol into a propaganda stunt for the war on Gaza,” said an Economist blogger. Now it sounds like “he won’t agree to be the boyfriend of EITHER Israel or Palestine,” joked Jack Stuef at Wonkette. Let’s just hope the “Israeli media will back off, and that the country’s leadership gets a little savvier about how to greet high-profile visitors with millions of fans,” said Nathan Burstein at The Jewish Daily Forward.

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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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