Jewish Journal

This week in power: Israel issue, Turkey quake, Tunisia election, OWS anti-Semitism

by Danny Groner

October 27, 2011 | 6:40 am

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

Israel: Wedge issue?
The ADL-AJC’s initiative called the National Pledge for Unity on Israel encouraging people to put Israel ahead of politics as we ramp up to election season came under fire from conservative groups, forcing the ADL to walk back and explain the pledge is aimed at organizations and politicians. “I sense the pledge is a warning shot: At some point, it says, politicization of Israel could cross the appropriate line,” said Marc Tracy at Tablet. But some say that it conveys the wrong message. “We should welcome not only pledges of support for Israel from office seekers but accountability on the issue from those in power,” said Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary. “The clear intent of the petition’s backers to shut down the latter means this doesn’t pass the political smell test.” These organizations just don’t like where the conversation is right now because it’s not politically in line with their interests, said Jeff Dunetz at Big Government. “Jewish Americans, indeed all Americans are not as stupid as these groups think, they will see through the ADL and AJC attempts at stifling debate and putting their partisan progressive politics in front of the safety of Israel.”

Aiding Turkey
After initially turning down Israel’s offer of assistance after an earthquake rocked Turkey last weekend, Turkey requested help with temporary housing structures from Israel. More relief will be sent in the coming days.While diplomatic ties between the two nations remain poor, Israeli officials said humanitarian aid comes first. “I’m not talking about a warming of relations. I’m talking about trying to identify where the common interests are,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said. It could be short-lived though, with another flotilla set to depart, warned Roee Ruttenberg at 972Mag.com: “Whatever diplomatic progress it may achieve, if any, will be tested should another confrontation-at-sea occur.”

Tunisia’s Jewish candidate
Jacob Lellouche called in a win despite failing to win a parliament seat during Tunisia’s elections this week. He achieved his goal of showing that non-Muslims can run in the country’s first democratic elections. What’s this mean for Tunisia’s Jews? “There isn’t an atmosphere between Jews and Muslims in Tunis,” one resident told Britain’s Independent. “We are brothers and big friends. We celebrate each other’s festivals, we hug. We hope that this will not change.”

OWS and Jews
Debate is hot over whether anti-Semitism is rampant at Occupy Wall Street in downtown New York. These accusattions “produced alarm on the Internet, Jewish smoke signals alerting the ethnically twitchy to the presence of enemies and the demand that Obama, already suspected of harboring furious anti-Israel sentiments, do something,” said The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen. “But there is nothing to be done — except to condemn anyone who uses anti-Semitism to advance a political agenda.” But some believe its more than just hype, including Jeff Dunetz at Big Government. “It is not just a few nuts within the Occupy Wall Street Movement who are bashing Israel and Jews; it is the leadership and founders, yet our President and the rest of the Democratic Party are practically tripping over their underwear in a rush to embrace these haters,” he said. No matter, more Jews seem to be signing up for the movement.

Rich Jews
How did Jews get so influential in politics and elsewhere? Thanks to their money, a Ynet News article reported. “More than 100 of the 400 billionaires on Forbes’ list of the wealthiest people in America are Jews. Six of the 20 leading venture capital funds in the US belong to Jews, according to Forbes,” it stated, among other stats and details. But it may not last for long. Tablet’s Marc Tracy summarized the message this: “Stateside, dissatisfaction with Israeli politics—some of which, of course, is the result of the American right-wing-ification of Israeli politics—as well as higher rates of intermarriage, the receding memory of the Holocaust, a down economy, and other factors are likely to lead to less money.”

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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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