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August 25, 2011

This week in power: Eilat shooting, Glenn Beck, Obama’s choice, Facebook

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/this_week_in_power_eilat_beck_obama_something_20110823/

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

Eilat shooting and counter-attacks
A terrorist attack last Thursday near Eilat led to Israeli retaliation on Egypt, raising concerns over whether the two countries can truly achieve peace. “I used to joke that I felt safer going to my Army base than being home,” said Ruth Margalit at The New Yorker. “Now, after a period of relative calm, marked by Israelis’ newfound preoccupation with domestic and social concerns, there is a frightening sense yet again that the quiet was only an illusion.” Only further clouding the issue, said D.L. at The Economist, is the “turbulence and uncertainty still shrouding Egypt’s future.” And the rift extends well beyond just Egypt, warned Frida Ghitis in the Miami Herald, as Palestinians seek their independence. “It’s a depressing and dangerous scenario, but it’s worth remembering that three years ago peace seemed within reach. In this era of unexpected changes, the wind could shift again.”

Glenn Beck’s rally
Glenn Beck hosted his much-publicized rally in Jerusalem on Wednesday with hundreds of supporters, including Israeli politicians, in attendance.
. Even before Beck arrived, his presence had already stirred debate. While Beck has been a staunch supporter of Israel’s, “this is not the kind of help Israel needs,” said Noam Sheizaf in The Jewish Daily Forward. ” Beck claims to stand by Israel but his views are similar to a small, extreme minority in this country.” But not everyone sees him that way. Beck’s “activism has shown up one of the greatest Jewish failures of our time: our crisis in identity and definition,” said Dovid Efune at The Huffington Post. His rally is a “call for courage send a strong message to Jewish leaders of tomorrow: It is time to take the lead and convey the positive Jewish message to the world.” Yet, some say all Beck did was get two extremes to both side against him.

Obama picks Forman
The president chose Ira Forman, former head of the National Jewish Democratic Counci, as his Jewish outreach director earlier this month, in what some believe is part of a plan to secure the Jewish vote in 2012. “Forman has his work cut out for him as the President’s approval rating is sinking on all fronts, including the Jewish community, which has been his strongest constituency after African Americans,” warned Douglas Bloomfield at The Jewish Week. And heading into election season, the issue of Israel is only becoming ever more contentious...

Tax the rich?
Warren Buffett rubbed some people the wrong way early last week with a New York Times op-ed that suggested the U.S. should heavily tax the wealthiest American citizens. “What do rich Jews think of Buffett’s analysis and his proposed solution?” asked a Jewish Daily Forward editorial. But it’s not as simple as having them write a large check. “We have a communal responsibility to provide resources so that government can protect us, provide for us when necessary, and maintain all the services and privileges that are taken for granted, from street cleaning to farm subsidies. It’s not about me. It’s supposed to be about us.” But some were critical of this position: “The Forward is just like Mr. Buffett — going around calling for higher taxes, while at the same time organizing its own affairs with extensive care so as to pay as little as possible themselves,” responded an editor at the Future of Capitalism.

Facebook’s handling of Holocaust denial
A group is calling on Facebook to treat Holocaust denial as incitement to hatred. “The irony, of course, is that Zuckerberg and many of his employees are Jewish,” noted Lloyd Grove at The Daily Beast, who investigated how widespread the Holocaust hate speech is on the social-networking site. And, to no one’s surprise, he found a lot of it. What do we make of this? asked The Cajun Boy at Uproxx. “The slack-jawed, mouth-breathing Jew-haters on the site probably have no idea that the platform they’re using was designed, created and still operated by a Jew and many of his Jewish friends, who have the ability to monitor their every move online. In addition to irony, there’s some humor to be found in that, I suppose.”

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