Jewish Journal


November 29, 2012

This week in power: Ceasefire aftermath, Barak retires, Hungary list, Soccer hooligans


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

Peace this week
After last week's ceasefire in the Middle East, all is quiet on the Israel front after eight days of Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense against Gaza. In total, more than 1,500 rockets were sent toward Israel, and Israel said it shot back at more than 1,000 targets. "At the end of the day, a government or entity that wants to survive must meet its people’s psychological and tangible needs," said Jonathan Adelman in The Christian Science Monitor. "These confrontations only leave it more impoverished and keep it from taking the road to peace and global integration." How's it bode for the future? "The ceasefire can make us optimistic for a day but if we are realistic, we know that next week, next month or next year the peace will be broken again," said an Aurora Advertiser editorial.

Barak steps aside
Longtime politician and former prime minister Ehud Barak announced this week that he'll retire in January after the elections. "I want to dedicate more time to my family. I feel I have exhausted dealing with political life, which has never been a passion of mine, and I feel there is room to allow other people to serve in senior roles in Israel," Barak said. His legacy is mixed, said Eitan Haber at YNetNews: "From being the darling of the Israeli nation, with tens of thousands of people cheering for him at Rabin Square after he won the elections, Barak's status within Israeli politics gradually declined until it reached its current level. Politics may not miss Barak, but security will." Others were impressed with how he handled himself in recent years. "His alliance with Netanyahu over the past four years has been surprisingly strong, considering their divergent political leanings," said Dan Ephron at The Daily Beast. Barak has left the door open to be defense minister, some have noted...

Merkel's backing
German Chancellor Angela Merkel renewed her pledge to stand with Jews inside her country and for Israel's right to self-defense, according to reports. During the recent attacks, Merkel stated that it was Israel's duty to protect its citizens from rocket attacks. "Germany also has that right," she added. But not everyone is on board with that sentiment. "Berlin's popular BZ newspaper published a graphic of Berlin as though it were within range of rockets from Gaza," reported Deutsche Welle.

"Lists of Jews"
A Hungarian politician pushed his government to come up with a list of Jews who pose a "national security risk" which stirred debate as it brought back uncomfortable feelings tied to the Holocaust. Marton Gyongyosi, a leader the Jobbik party, insisted that they needed the list after the way Israel infiltrated Gaza. He half-heartedly apologized for the remarks, but many remain concerned. "Rhetoric like this in a country where more than half a million Jews were killed during the Holocaust are obviously disturbing. But what makes this more interesting than just another 'European far-right politician says offensive thing' story, is that Jobbik's old-fashioned anti-Semitism puts it at odds with the direction other European far-right groups are heading," said Foreign Policy's Joshua Keating.

Soccer threats
At European soccer matches of late, instances of overt anti-Semitism in the stands are on the rise, which has many people worried. So far, security has kept these individuals at bay, tossing them or banning them in other cases. “The days of English football crowds making mass monkey noises are thankfully gone, but massed anti-Semitic chanting about Hitler and gassing was clearly heard yesterday from a loud section of West Ham fans,” a community spokesperson told JTA. “We have heard such abuse against Spurs before and it risks seriously compromising the work against racism at all levels of the game.” Authorities are continuing to monitor the situation and are poised to act when it's called for.

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