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October 25, 2012

This week in power: Final debate, Iran talks, Racist tweets, Jewish Mum

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

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

Debate summary
"As anyone could have predicted, Israel was mentioned a lot," said Gal Beckerman at The Jewish Daily Forward. And why shouldn't it: Israel is a central issue for many Jewish voters across the country. But the question remains as to which candidate will better serve the Jewish people with his presidency. None of the theatrics will ultimately matter, warned Shibley Teihami at Brookings. "All of this adds up to a show that is particularly hard to take seriously for many voters, and which is puzzling to audiences around the world, especially in the Middle East. But most have come to expect that there is in the end little correlation between what is said in the heat of political campaigns, and what presidents in fact do when elected." Not so, argued Efraim Halevy in The New York Times. In the past, the "Republican White House acted in a cold and determined manner, with no regard for Israel’s national pride, strategic interests or sensitivities. That’s food for thought in October 2012."

Iran takes centerstage
But the real issues at play at the debate and on people's minds is the question of whether Iran will develop a nuclear bomb in the coming years. The topic of sanctions and what each candidate proposes to do about Iran came up and drove more questions than revelations. It was particularly relevant after The New York Times reported last weekend that Obama had initiated talks with the Iranians over the issue. The newspaper stood behind its story despite pushback from the Obama administration.

Rocket attacks
Israel's Negev was under fire on Wednesday after Gazans shot over 80 rockets at them in a 24-hour period, according to reports. Meanwhile, Sudan accused Israel of launching an airstrike that caused an explosion at a factory, resulting in two deaths. As the violence escalates, people are worrying more. "I'm angry that there is someone out there who does not know me and has never met me, yet still wants to kill me -- for no other reason than being Israeli," said Arsen Ostrovsky at The Huffington Post.

Tweets too far
After some Jewish groups protested, Twitter removed last week several tweets that were "labeled with the #UnBonJuif (#AGoodJew) hashtag," and "contained anti-Semitic jokes and pictures from the Holocaust," reported Mashable. It was a popular hashtag on the site at the time. This is just the latest move that the social-networking site has made to police its site and to keep it clean from hate groups. Some, like the ADL's Abraham Foxman, are relieved: Twitter was “fast becoming the Internet’s distribution platform of choice for bigots who use it to get their messages of hate out in 140 characters or less," he said.

Controversial show
A British show called "Jewish Mum of the Year" has sparked outrage over its depictions of Jewish mothers as they prepare for their sons' Bar Mitzvahs. "Whatever its merits as television and flaws as representation, the problem for the programme’s makers might not be the reaction from Jews but the country at-large," said The Jewish Daily Forward's Liam Hoare. Still, "I remain slightly curious, the aforementioned cultural differences, to see what an American audience would make of this bizarre British reality show." If the British reviews are any indication, American audiences would hate it, too. Not everyone thinks it's worth making a fuss over this show, though. "The danger in these shows lies not in how people view British Jews but how we regard ourselves," said Natalie Samuel at The Jewish Chronicle.

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