President Barack Obama at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sept. 24. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters
A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
Obama at the UN
President Obama had some harsh words during a speech this week at the United Nations for all parties involved in the Middle East conflict. "I believe that there is a growing belief in Israel," Obama said, "that the occupation of the West Bank is tearing at the fabric of Israel's democracy." It sounds like leaders are pushing more for a two-state solution. "The path to peace is not as simple as merely saying both sides have rights–though any formulation that accepts that Israel has rights in the dispute over Jerusalem and the West Bank rather than just security concerns, as Obama indicated, would be an improvement," wrote Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary.
"There was no such mass walkout this time," reported The New York Times, as had been done in the past for Ahmadinejad's. "Mr. Rouhani’s visit to the United Nations has been widely anticipated for any signs of the moderation and pragmatism that he said his administration was bringing to Iran. But his speech still provoked skepticism and criticism." And some advocated taking a strong stand against it. "Despite the charm offensive of the new Iranian president, the policies of the regime have not changed at all," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Another Virginia race uproar
Jewish groups were upset after reports E.W. Jackon, a Republican candidate for Virginia’s lieutenant governor, publicly said that non-Christians are engaged in a “false religion.” “Any time you say, ‘There is no other means of salvation but through Jesus Christ, and if you don’t know him and you don’t follow him and you don’t go through him, you are engaged in some sort of false religion,’ that’s controversial,” Jackson said. "Jackson forgets that the state he is aspiring to lead has plenty of atheists, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus and Muslims," said a blogger at God Discussion.Heb
Netanyahu announced this week that Jewish families will be permitted to move into a contested house in a Palestinian neighborhood of Hebron, just hours after an Israeli soldier was fatally shot by a Palestinian sniper, according to reports. Netanyahu said, “Those who attempt to uproot us from the city of our forefathers will achieve the opposite effect. We will continue on one hand to fight terror and to harm terrorists and on the other hand to strengthen settlements.” Some worry about the future. "The chilling affect it would have on the peace process scarcely bears mentioning. Netanyahu thinks letting settlers back into Beit Hamachpela won’t escalate tensions in the West Bank. Let’s hope that his assessment is based on more than wishful thinking," wrote Barak Ravid at Haaretz.
Israel created a fake page on LinkedIn for Iran’s new president, Rouhani, and listed it on their official Washington embassy web site. “I’m a career politician, expert public relations professional, leading international salesman and longtime advocate of nuclear proliferation,” the Rouhani page says. "Who needs to encounter new developments in international relations with patience and diplomacy when you can leverage pre-existing brand associations to capture eyeballs in a truly epic way?" joked Max Read at Gawker. Some weren't as amused. It's a "sophomoric move that surely could alienate some supporters," wrote Philip Weiss at Mondoweiss.