Jewish Journal


July 17, 2013

House Cleaning: Tisha B’Av, Dermer, Caricature



'Tisha B'av 1887' by Leopold Horowitz
(public domain)


Tisha B'Av is over, but we still have two related items to share. One is the weekly Torah-Talk. Our guest this week is Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, and our conversation – it will only be available on Friday – focuses on the Parsha and Tisha B'av.

There's also the article I wrote for the IHT-NYT this week, from which you get a paragraph. While we constantly talk about "sinat chinam" as the common theme for Tisha B'Av…

the holiday is intrinsically divisive. On the occasion of Tisha B’av three years ago, a pollster asked a sample of 500 Jewish Israelis, “What, in your opinion, is the worst source of tension in Israeli society?” Forty-one percent answered the “Jewish-Arab issue,” and 42 percent said the “religious-secular issue” — two great problems symbolized by the site honored on Tisha B’av.:

The rest of it is here.


Laura Rozen is trying to understand why Ron Dermer might not be such bad idea for the peace process – here's part of the answer I gave her:

“It is customary to say in Israel that it is easier for left-wing governments to make war, and right-wing governments to make peace,” Rosner said. “If you think about the Israeli ambassador to the US, and …the case in which the Obama administration attempts to advance some sort of peace process or any other controversial policy with the right wing, if Dermer stands behind the policy and endorses it, it will be much easier both for the government of Israel and for the [U.S.] administration to let this policy pass in the Congress.”… “For the Obama administration, this makes Dermer  more important,” Rosner said. “It also makes him a tool with which to devise a policy that Congress and the opposition cannot truly oppose.”


I should thank Gil Troy, both for some questionable compliments ('thoughtful', 'subtle') and, more importantly, for defending me from an attack by two Open Zion writers.

More outrageous was the article accusing the thoughtful, subtle writer Shmuel Rosner of “Justifying Segregation in the New York Times?” That headline caricatured Rosner’s analysis of the Superland amusement park, whose policies of separating Jewish and Arab student groups on trips was widely denounced in Israel, including by Dermer’s boss Netanyahu. Rosner ended his article, which acknowledged the problem of occasional violent clashes between Arab and Jewish groups on outings by saying the policy “had to be condemned. That official Israel did just that is the single bit of solace to be found in this depressing situation.” Actions that a writer deems “depressing” and contemptible have not been “justified” by him or his publication.


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