A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
"With John Kerry and other supporters of U.S. military action against Syria comparing Damascus to Nazi Germany, the Obama administration is putting extraordinary pressure on members of Congress to approve a strike meant to punish Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons," reported National Journal. Where do the people stand? "I am optimistic that Congress will follow the lead of the American people and reject the Obama Administration’s well-intentioned but imprudent plan to lead us down the well-trodden path to war in the Middle East without a clear objective," wrote Mark Paredes at the Jewish Journal. "The stakes and risks are high, but in a world where enemy despots with an eye toward Israel and us, are willing to test the boundaries of destruction, flagrantly and cunningly, the price of holding back may be higher," said a Jewish Week editorial.
The National Security Agency shares some raw intelligence data with Israel, according to a Guardian scoop this week. This news came from the documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The U.S. government gave communications "likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens," and it's unclear how Israel has used them. "Further evidence that the information includes data on Americans is a specific stipulation demanding that Israel delete any data pertaining to American government officials," said Philip Bump at The Atlantic Wire. "This is almost certainly intended to establish a legal line in the unlikely event that the NSA accidentally collects and then accidentally shares any such information."
Qatar's Foreign Minister said last weekend that construction by Jewish settlers was an "obstacle" to achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians, according to reports. "There are several obstacles to this process... We are talking about settlements," Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiya told a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris. It's left to be seen if there will be any consequences to these public statements.
Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow's incumbent mayor, was re-elected over the weekend, ending fears over nationalist candidate Alexei Navalny. "In pitching himself to Moscow Jews, Sobyanin can point to the opening of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, a $50 million institution funded by the Russian state. Hanukkah celebrations are now held at the Kremlin, and under Putin’s leadership more than a dozen Russian cities have given land and building permits to Jewish communities," reported The Jerusalem Post.
Holocaust: The video game
Nintendo rejected a Holocaust-themed game and the developer has decided to release it for smartphone users. Luc Bernard, 26, announced his plan on Indiegogo and is looking to help funding it. "I make a lot of fantasy games. My games are known for this weird art style. But when it comes to history and realism, I wouldn’t go ahead and just poke fun at it," Bernard told VentureBeat. "So when people say this is controversial, I tell them, 'This is the truth. This is what happened. Look at what this big publisher is doing. That’s what should be controversial.'"