Jewish Journal


August 22, 2013

August 22, 2013



France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
Reuters/Robert Pratta

The US

Headline: Syria attack prompts calls for U.S. action

To Read: Robert Satloff thinks that President Obama has done enough for now in Egypt-

‘Doing nothing” is often as important as “doing something.” President Obama sent a powerful message about US strategic priorities when he offered verbal condemnation but no meaningful punitive action against Egypt’s rulers for their violent crackdown on protesters supporting ousted president Mohammed Morsi. With the United States facing bad options in bad circumstances, Obama’s was also the right choice.           

Quote: "The people who wrote this report did not, in a timely manner, consult with people who have the information. Those people, both within the department and elsewhere are quite upset that they were not properly consulted", the Washington Institute's Matthew Levitt commenting on a controversial State Department report on Iran.

Number: 7, in seven years Bradley Manning will be eligible for parole.



Headline: Palestinians warn of UN move over settlements

To Read: J.J. Goldberg examines the affect of the Hagel battle on Jewish organizations in Washington and on the Israel Lobby-

“They overplayed their hand,” said Middle East scholar David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “And the Jewish groups did the math.”

The result was a weakening, if not a shattering, of the pro-Israel working coalition between Jewish groups and the Republican right that Netanyahu and his Likud predecessors had carefully built up over decades. The White House showed what it can do when the president has his mind set on something. Moreover, the continuing antics of Republicans on Capitol Hill has deepened the alienation of Jewish voters. Jewish lobbyists and advocates who might think of getting in bed with Republican lawmakers to pressure the administration on foreign policy are thinking twice about how their members and donors will react.

Quote: "He [Erdogan] has continued Goebbels' ways", former FM Avigdor Liberman talking about the Turkish PM.

Number: 30, the number of young Olim who began their army service on Wednesday.


The Middle East

Headline: France says force needed if Syrian chemical attack proved true

To Read: Andrew J. Tabler imagines what post-war Syria will look like if Assad wins the war-

With insurgents losing ground to the regime’s forces and succumbing to ever more infighting among themselves, it seems increasingly likely that Assad will avoid losing the war -- which will qualify, in this context, as an outright win.

For the many countries, including the United States, that have based their policies on the hope that Assad would eventually be forced from power, Assad’s resilience has probably come as a disappointment. (But given their generally indecisive interventions in the war, the outcome should not come as a shock.) Nevertheless, Washington and its allies need to reckon with the bitter trajectory that Syria is now on. The regime that emerges from the civil war will be more oppressive and more anarchic than the brutal yet stable one that existed before the war.

Quote:  "After the fall of Muslim Brotherhood rule, Mubarak’s defense will likely shift the blame to them", said Hoda Nasrallah, a lawyer at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, commenting on former President Mubarak's release from prison into house arrest.

Number: 1,300, the number of people the Syrian opposition claims were killed by chemical attacks.


The Jewish World

Headline: Top haredi rabbis decry 'worthless' ultra-Orthodox radicals in Beit Shemesh construction row

To Read: Rabbi Martin Lockshin believes that if the Rambam didn't fear biblical criticism, there's no reason for modern Jewish believers to fear it-

 Almost every methodological approach used by modern Bible critics finds a parallel in the works of the medieval “traditional” Jewish exegetes. If the study of the third part of the Guide and of the Torah commentaries of Rashbam and  ibn Ezra are Jewish Studies, then so is the study of modern biblical criticism. I would also note that in Israel today the tensions between the religious approach and the critical approach to the study of the Bible are seen by more and more Jews as bridgeable. Rabbis like Mordechai Breuer have taught their students to take the best from both approaches. I am hopeful that a similar development will occur soon here in North America.

Quote: "I was going back to base when the chronicle people stopped me and filmed me. I smiled at them because I was madly happy that we won (a battle) and that we had captured this machine gun, a precious trophy. My bag is filled with hand grenades", Witold Kiezun, 91, a Polish participant in WW2 whose after battle joy was documented in a new color film about the Warsaw uprising.

 Number: 2000, the number of Jews which Russia hopes to bring back to the historic Jewish autonomous region of Birobidzhan

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