Jewish Journal

This week in power: Syria, Africans, Arquette, Sweden feed

by Danny Groner

June 14, 2012 | 4:41 am

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

Israel vs. Syria
Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz asked for world leaders to help push Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad out of power in the same way that Libya overthrew Muammar Gaddafi. “A crime against humanity, genocide, is being conducted in Syria today. And the silence of the world powers is contrary to all human logic,” Mofaz said. Bloggers sounded off. “No one can honestly justify a military solution to a foreign-instigated security crisis in Syria. The U.S. government is going against history, world public opinion, and international law in Syria. Bringing down Assad is not moral or legal,” said Saman Mohammadi at OpEd News. And, as the violence and disruption goes on overseas, there’s mounting pressure for the U.S. to do more. “Another day, another massacre. The reaction from Washington? Silence, or worse, more empty rhetoric,” said Saul Roth at The Cutting Edge.

Israel’s refugee problem
Dozens of African migrants who are also illegal aliens in Israel are being rounded up for deportation, according to reports. A recent poll found that there’s slightly more support in favor of removing them than in finding other alternatives. “Really, Bibi? We’re talking about 60,000 people. In a country of 7.8 million, that’s not exactly a complete makeover,” said Ruben Navarrette Jr. at U-T San Diego. “One wishes that Israel could take the moral high ground on this issue—even at its own material expense—as an embodiment of its founding values,” countered Micah Stein at The Daily Beast. “But when the issue of immigration becomes an issue of survival, Israel must look out for the wellbeing of its citizens first.”

Babies and herpes
A new report revealed that over a decade’s time in New York 11 newborn males were infected by the herpes simplex virus during ritual circumcisions. One of them died. The “metzitzah b’peh” process has the mohel place his mouth directly on the newly circumcised penis to suck blood away from the wound. Haredi leaders have reportedly refused to use sterile tube or gauze, which would break from tradition. But some say that the whole controversy is overstated.

Arquette’s bar mitzvah
On a trip to Jereusalem, David Arquette found his faith. His mother was Jewish, but he was not raised a believer. So when it came time to film an episode in the holy city for his “Mile High” travel show, Arquette stepped up and had himself a bar mitzvah, over 25 years after he would have had his at age 13. “Hopefully up next for the actor is a bit of rest after so much travel,” said a SheKnows writer. He deserves the time off. He just became a man.

Sweden’s social media gaffe
The country’s Twitter feed gets run by different Swedes, and that experiment went awry this week when Sonja Abrahamsson, 27, took over. She made some Hitler jokes and asked some uncomfortable questions about Jews. “Instead of demanding an apology and moving forward, Sweden and the tweeter in question should evaluate why the tweets were so offensive and how this mother of two and other ‘typical Swedes’ could learn about Jews both in Sweden and beyond,” said Bethany Mandel at Commentary. “Sweden needs education that explains antisemitism, its symbolism, the resulting demonization and its dehumanising effect,” said Dr. Andre Oboler at The Jerusalem Post. But don’t judge the country so unfavorably right away, warned Menachem Wecker at the Houston Chronicle: “Sweden has been much kinder than most to Jews.”

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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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