A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
How's the President wind up doing on Jewish support? Not bad. In 2008, he won 78 percent of all Jewish voters, with this year dipping a bit to 69 percent. The drop showed that Romney was able to sway some voters his way, but also demonstrated that Obama was able to keep people's fears and worries in check. "It is time to bury long-held myths around the Jewish vote and for the media and political pundits to stop hyperventilating over the tiniest movement within this 2 percent of the electorate," said Jeremy Ben Ami in The New York Times. And there's no better time for the President to reassure Jews that this is the start of a beautiful friendship, said Douglas Bloomfield in the Jewish Journal. "That starts with an early trip to Israel to reassure voters in person of his continuing 'unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security,' his determination to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions and his readiness to help Israelis and Palestinians make peace when they are ready. It should be an opportunity for him also to share his vision of the Middle East and America's role in it over the next four years."
A Twitter war?
Israel killed a military commander of Hamas in an air strike on Wednesday and stood firm behind its atatcks, according to reports. But what really got people fired up was the way the IDF announced the news -- via Twitter. And the tweets didn't seem to stop all day long. "The social media and real-life assaults are ongoing and more than a bit startling, combining the strong declarations of war with the immediacy and promotional aspects of the Internet, using lingo such as 'in case you missed it' and memelike photos designed for maximum virality," said New York Magazine's Joe Coscarelli. "This is truly war in real time. We've watched war "live" before, but not like this: There are no commercial breaks, no talking heads, no ticker tape running at the time. It is as unending and infinite and microsecond by microsecond as the speaker wants it to be, limited only by Twitter's current technical limits," added Matt Buchanan at Buzzfeed.
Days of rockets
Israeli's attack this week followed several days of rocket attacks fired in the region. "Israel is literally surrounded by enemies, armed and funded by Iran, and sworn to its destruction," as Right Side News put it. "How many more civilians must be injured or killed, how many children must die before Israel realizes that it may have to put its military in harm’s way rather than its civilians?" asked Gadi Adelman in The Jerusalem Post. There's still hope to quell the Syrian uprising, said Paul Iddon at Digital Journal. "Calculated resolve and realistic encompassing outlooks are what is needed by the states of the region to nip such a catastrophic quake in the bud and alleviate the worsening of an already bleak and dire situation."
General Assembly meets
This week the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations in North America met in Baltimore without any theatrics. Some said it was more an opportunity for networking than to settle unresolved issues within the Jewish community. Elie Wiesel and Natan Sharansky were the keynote speakers at the event, and some argued that the assembly would be better off with some younger guests. "Because we’ve grown up in the age of Uzi’s and M16’s, battles like Wiesel’s and Sharansky’s—over the bare fact of Jewish survival—don’t resonate for us the way they do for our parents," said Sigal Samuel at The Daily Beast.
"What Franklin Foer and I learned in the course of editing 'Jewish Jocks' is that sports, too, is a realm in which Jewish innovations ended up influencing everyone else. The no-look passes and backdoor cuts of basketball trace their lineage to turn-of-the-century New York City, where smaller Jews devised ingenious strategems to defeat squads representing more physically endowed ethnicities," wrote editor Marc Tracy about his new book. "With so much variance in substance and style, it's hard to pick a single standout," said Sam Allard in The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Othrs agreed that the book surprises in good ways. It "becomes clear that this book isn’t just about an athletic race. It’s also about the human race," said Bloomberg's David M. Shribman.