What exactly is the state of the pro-Israel peace movement in America? Does the Jewish institutional establishment represent the position of the American Jewish community? And if not, why are alternate voices not being heard?
Is anti-Semitism good for American Jews? Yes; in moderate doses it may be the antidote to assimilation and declining support for Israel among American Jews, argues UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh.
Jews invariably differ on their feelings toward Israel, whether discussing its place in their hearts or the policies of the current government or the rightful borders of the nation. But nothing unifies quite like military conflict. War awakens Diaspora communities and arouses Israeli affinities.
Before a packed meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) three years ago, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) connected her political support for the Jewish state with her personal life.
Now that the Democrats have taken control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the party is expected to install Pelosi, 66, as speaker, making her the first woman to hold the position that is two heartbeats away from the presidency.
Should the United States try to reform the United Nations, or give up on it? Tough choice.
On the one hand, the United Nations is the only club that every nation can join. It has become the principal source of international law. It embodies humanity's hopes for international cooperation and world peace.
"The clear choice for president of the United States for the American Jewish community is Gov. George W. Bush of Texas." Four years ago in a similar article, I argued for our community to support then-Gov. Bush in the 2000 presidential election.
I urge you to look back at what has transpired over the past 48 months. Now, as we approach the 2004 election, the choice we must make to support our president is even clearer.
There is a gathering hysteria in the American Jewish community that is dangerously self-destructive. Life as a Jew these days may not be -- is not -- a bed of roses, but neither is it a bed of thorns. Yet to hear some in our community tell it, thorns are all there are.
Consider: George Soros, the multibillionaire and philanthropist, spoke on Nov. 5 to a meeting of the Jewish Funders Network. In response to a question about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, he responded that "the policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that."
Can there be any doubt that he is right?
Israel is on its way to becoming a back-burner issue in much of the American Jewish community. Studies show that the younger the Jew, the less connection he or she feels to what is, let's try to remember, the Jewish homeland. The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, which used to give Israel 50 percent of the funds it raised, has cut that figure by nearly half. One of the Federation's "old leaders" pointed out to me that Israel isn't even mentioned any more in Federation advertising -- it's bad for business. Israel has become a wormy apple for many American Jews -- all this unpleasantness with the Palestinians and, on top of that, a hot, fuming plateful of disrespect for Conservative and Reform rabbis and the Judaism they practice.
A curious thing happened in the pages of The Jewish Journal the week of Nov. 20. During a period when a host of issues of major importance to the American Jewish community were occuring that commanded front page attention elsewhere, The Journal chose to devote the cover story and an editorial in the Nov. 20 issue to the complaints of a disgruntled documentary director and his co-writer against Moriah Films of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. In spite of The Journal's claims that it was not "picking on the Wiesenthal Center," one wonders what the editorial staff's true motives were in giving an inordinate amount of space to the attempt by these individuals to politicize what was for all intents and purposes a dispute over the best creative approach to a film about Israel's first 50 years.
Abe Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, says that he's opening up a new front in his organization's 85-year campaign to protect Jews from defamation. This new fight is a little different from battles past, though, because its target is other Jews.
Foxman wants Jews to watch their language when they talk about fellow Jews. Otherwise somebody could get hurt. Another Israeli prime minister, for example.
The reluctance of the popular comedian and others to lend their talents to the event reflect the growing strains between large segments of the American Jewish community and Israel, centered on the legitimacy and treatment of non-Orthodox Jews in Israel.
"We're winding up our operations and terminating our relationship with the U.S. government," said Joseph DeSutter, executive director of the Washington-based organization. "For all intents and purposes, we're out of business."