Jewish Journal


December 8, 2013

by Shmuel Rosner

December 8, 2013 | 4:26 am

Israeli President Shimon Peres
Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

The US

Headline: Obama defends Iran nuclear deal to pro-Israel audience

To Read: According to Andrew Bacevich, Obama is now on the verge of ending the war for the Middle East which Carter initiated-

 Now, without fanfare, President Obama is effectively revoking Carter’s doctrine. The U.S. military presence in the region is receding. When Obama posited in his second inaugural address that “enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war,” he was not only recycling a platitude; he was also acknowledging the folly and futility of the enterprise in which U.S. forces had been engaged. Having consumed vast quantities of blood and treasure while giving Americans little to show in return, that enterprise is now ending.

Quote: "He has arrived at the conclusion that it is possible to create a two-state solution that preserves Israel's core security needs. That's his conclusion, but ultimately he's not the decision maker here, Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli military and intelligence folks have to make that determination", President Obama telling about the conclusions reached by his special Middle East envoy, general John Allen (at the Saban Center).

Number: 35,000 the number of American soldiers in and around the gulf area, according to Hagel.



Headline: Peres: Willing to meet Iran's Rohani

To Read: James Traub writes about the lessons Americans could learn from the story of Israel as presented by Arie Shavit-

What would it mean for an American to apply this tragic understanding to his own circumstances? In regard to the national founding, the analogy to Israel is glaringly obvious. If the American pioneers had accepted that the indigenous people they found on the continent were not simply features of the landscape but people like themselves, and thus had agreed to occupy only those spaces not already claimed by the Indians, then today's America would be confined to a narrow band along the Eastern seaboard. No Indian wars, no America. And yet, like slavery, the wars and the forced resettlement constitute a terrible reproach to the founders' belief that America was a uniquely just and noble experiment.

Quote: "I think everybody will take it as a yes", Shimon Peres saying that he is in favor of gay marriage.

Number: 53, the percentage of Israelis who do not "think that the fact that Jews were not accepted as refugees in many places in the world before the establishment of the state should influence decisions on whether or not to accept migrants".


The Middle East

Headline: Iran nuclear crisis: UN inspectors visit Arak reactor

To Read: Walter Russell Mead explains why a Saudi-Israeli alliance might make a lot of sense-

Arguably, the two countries now have more in common with each other than either has with the Obama administration. The question is whether this common interest is enough to make both countries swallow their visceral dislike of one another and work together. Most commentators seem to think not; the champion of Wahhabi Islam cannot stand with the Jewish state.

Yet necessity has made stranger diplomatic bedfellows. From the Saudi point of view, times are grim. The Sunni Arab world is in a fight for survival against the Shiites, but without Israeli help the weak and divided Sunnis may not stand.

Quote: Today, instead of a Middle East quote, we invite you to take a look at these pictures of Iranian President Rouhani in a baseball cap and hiking clothes.

Number: $66b, the size of Iran's new proposed austerity budget.


The Jewish World

Headline: Canadian Protestant church launches West Bank settlement boycott

To Read:  A New Yorker piece by Richard Brody takes a look at Hannah Arendt's 'failures of imagination'-

Even though in “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” Arendt calls Eichmann “a clown,” the book hardly resembles “The Great Dictator,” and it’s ghoulish to imagine her reading it out loud and laughing, as Kafka did with “The Trial.” Certainly, Eichmann’s stiff and euphemistic “Officialese” (“Officialese is my only language”) and his insensitive, convoluted, and sentimental stories are ridiculous and easy to mock. But her dry derision of a serious criminal isn’t what brought angry responses from Jewish readers. Rather, they arose from exactly what Fest described, placing the “the persecutors and the persecuted” (itself a damnable bit of euphemistic Officialese that means “the Nazis and the Jews”) on the same moral footing. That idea didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings or interests—it offended them morally, as it still offends.

Quote: “When Israel’s enemies try to disrupt concerts of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra or the Jerusalem Quartet, I want them to come and make troubles at my concerts, too: because Israel’s case is my case, Israel’s enemies are my enemies, and I do not want to be spared of the troubles which Israeli musicians encounter when they represent the Jewish State beyond its borders", celebrated classical pianist Yevgeny Kissin explaining why he has decided to become an Israeli citizen and to travel the world with an Israeli passport.

Number: 5, here are five recollections of survivors saved by the Kindertransport 75 years ago.

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