Jewish Journal

This week in power: Israel intensifies, Prospect for peace, GOP future, Thanksgiving message

by Danny Groner

November 22, 2012 | 2:39 am

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

Israeli operation
Israel and Hamas have engaged in rocket attacks over the past week that has some worried that the fighting could escalate into all-out war. Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system has been able to intercept a large number of the rockets, but more have been landing in Israel of late which has caused panic. Then, on Wednesday, a bomb took out a bus in Tel Aviv. "Unfortunately, Hamas is not rational. It targets Israeli civilians while hiding behind its own," said Michael Oren in The New York Times. "Israel will not allow its citizens' lives to be endangered. The international community must call on the Palestinian leadership in the Gaza Strip to take the same approach with its own people," added Danny Ayalon in The Guardian. A ceasefire announced later on Wednesday left some hopeful that the violence would end.

Is peace possible?
The bus bombing came amid talks led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton which only further damaged the possibility of the two sides hashing out a longterm resolution. "With that mindset among Hamas's backers, it's hard to be optimistic about the prospects for a sustainable truce. That is why Israel must pin Hamas down to an enforceable deal -- a genuine, durable peace grounded in reality, not the fantasy world of Hamas and its apologists," said an Australian editorial. And it's on Israel to start the process, said a Miami Herald editorial: "Israel would have to commit to genuine talks over the West Bank to provide Palestinians there the hope of a better life and offer a model that the people of Gaza can strive for. The United States can do its part by dragging both sides to the negotiating table. None of this is likely to happen unless the people of Gaza renounce the leadership of Hamas. By now they must surely realize that as long as they live under the rule of terrorists, they will never have a better future."

Murdoch tweet
Rupert Murdoch made headlines with a tweet over the weekend that adminished the "Jewish-owned press" for their coverage of the Israel situation. In an apology, Murdoch said "I should have stuck to the substance of the issue and not bring in irrelevant and incorrect ethnic matters." Was Murdoch so out of line? "He’s packed a remarkable amount of idiocy and nastiness into 140 characters. It will take a lot more space than that to dig himself out," said Peter Beinart at The Daily Beast. Some say it's expected with his personality. "Murdoch forthrightly speaks his mind and that's refreshing and unusual. It's a useful data-point to consider when consuming news produced by his employees," said Dan Murphy said in The Christian Science Monitor. "Twitter, free of his minders, offers a direct line to who he is," agreed Michael Wolff at The Guardian.

What's next for GOP?
Now that the election dust has settled, the Republican party is forced to reassess its values and mission as it looks ahead to 2016. One of the areas that pundits say they should consider is the Jewish vote, and their standing with Jews in America. "The GOP’s problem goes beyond candidate quality and can be summed up in a single question: What do they have to offer?" asked Jamelle Bouie in The American Prospect. "Clearly, the Republican party is in desperate need of realignment," said Gary Younge at GulfNews.com. "Today, six of the nine Supreme Court justices are Catholic (the other three are Jewish) and the Republican nomination was a contest between a Catholic (Rick Santorum) and a Mormon (Romney). The Catholic won the evangelicals; the Mormon won the Catholics." It's time to accept that "demography is not destiny."

Thankful for
"Thanksgiving is my least favorite meal of the year. The problem with the holiday is that it’s difficult to feel thankful when you’re slumped on the couch in a food coma after the meal," said Elana Horwich in the Jewish Journal. In fact, the Thanksgiving story and the Jewish tradition share many commonalities. Rabbi Laura Baum shared some insights in a Huffington Post article: "So, as we sit at our Thanksgiving tables this Thursday, and our Hanukkah tables in a few weeks, let us remember the celebration is not just about one snapshot in time that we seek to re-create. On Thanksgiving, we are free to replace the turkey with tofurkey, or the sugary pumpkin pie with a crust-less, Splenda concoction. We've welcomed a third football game to the holiday, not just watching the Lions' game and the Cowboys' game. There are many ways to be authentic."

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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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