Jews aren't among those being killed, raped and displaced in the Darfur region of Sudan, but the situation there is nonetheless a Jewish disaster.
The slogan, "never again," the redeeming lesson of the Holocaust, is turning into a farce in the African nation, as world leaders continue to find a dazzling array of excuses for inaction, including the obvious one: "It's a complicated situation," as cases of genocide always are.
President Bush and Congress talk a good game when it comes to homeland security, but the tragic truth is that the country is less able to cope with disasters than before Sept. 11, 2001. The proof is on the flood-ravaged streets of New Orleans, where an unprecedented natural disaster quickly produced violent anarchy and a flaccid government response that multiplied the suffering.
For all the money thrown at preparing for massive terror attacks and other disasters, the new Department of Homeland Security looked more like a Third World bureaucracy, as armed gangs roamed the city and people died for lack of food, water, sanitation and medical supplies.
The political brawl over the replacement for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who announced her resignation last week, could be the most bitter since Justice Clarence Thomas' 1991 confirmation battle.
And that free-for-all, which liberals and conservatives alike predict could be the "mother of all battles," could leave many Jewish groups in an awkward position.
The tenor of the debate was evident within hours of O'Connor's surprise announcement. Christian conservatives, calling in their chits from last year's presidential election, demanded that President Bush fulfill his promise to nominate judges like his favorites, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas. Just as sternly, groups associated with women's rights, civil rights and the separation of church and state warned of pitched battles ahead if the president doesn't make a "mainstream" choice.
Advocacy groups immediately hit the airwaves to sway public opinion. The nomination fight will almost certainly be the most expensive ever.
It's nothing less than a revolution; in states across the country, an empowered Christian right is changing laws, rewriting textbooks, transforming the judiciary and even redefining science.
The nation's culture wars have taken another leap in intensity. Since the 2004 elections, empowered religious conservatives have become more organized, more energized and -- critics say -- more extreme. They want action on their key issues, and heaven help politicians who defy them.
And the Jewish community, with a lot at stake, has been restrained in response. The growing entanglement of religious conservatism and partisan politics scares Jewish groups worried about keeping their tax-exempt status; so does the threat of losing new supporters of Israel and access to the political high and mighty.
But Jewish voters aren't so ambivalent, which is why the long-predicted Jewish partisan realignment remains fiction, not fact.
U.S. Mideast policy during the second Bush administration will be even more focused on the White House, with a new secretary of state who will be more directly involved in implementing the president's policies.
That was one message Condoleezza Rice, the president's choice to replace Colin Powell as secretary of state, offered to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the opening round of her confirmation hearings on Tuesday.
She was expected to win confirmation and be sworn in by the end of the week.
With the holidays and the congressional interregnum, Washington has been a quiet place in recent weeks. But that quiet belies feverish behind-the-scenes planning as political partisans and advocacy groups get set for a particularly contentious legislative session.
There's nothing as risky as end-of-year predictions, as 2004 so painfully demonstrated.
American Jewish leaders see it as a dire threat, but in Jerusalem, the current push for divestment by mainline Protestant groups eager to punish the Jewish state is a nonissue -- so much so that at a recent conference, Israel's foreign minister admitted he didn't have a clue about the raging controversy.
Israeli officials may be making a big mistake -- one more complication for Jewish leaders here who see divestment as a full-fledged emergency.
With Yasser Arafat in his Ramallah grave and President Bush promising to renew efforts to create a Palestinian state, speculation is mounting about exactly what the administration's next Mideast moves might be.
It's crunch time in the presidential campaigns. With less than two weeks to go and most polls pointing to a photo finish, both President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are pulling out all the stops -- as long as those stops are in a tiny handful of swing states.
The spin machines are in overdrive; the campaigns are pouring out ads, position papers, talking points and press releases. But they're mostly blowing smoke when it comes to some of the top issues of the day.
Hours after CBS News first reported that federal officials were investigating a possible Israeli "mole" at the Pentagon, the first analysis hit the wires claiming that the emerging scandal wouldn't damage U.S.-Israel relations.
With the Gaza disengagement plan picking up momentum and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon getting set to pitch the proposal to the Bush administration at Camp David next week, right-wing Jewish groups are counterattacking, hoping to forestall U.S. support for the plan. Their partners in this fight: Christian Zionists.
There's nothing bashful about Jewish organizations, but in 2004, many suddenly go mute if the subject involves potential conflict with the Bush administration.
The 2003 American Jewish Committee (AJC) survey of Jewish public opinion released this week was hard on the propagators of political conventional wisdom.
As a new round of Mideast peacemaking begins, U.S. Jewish leaders are putting themselves on the line for a government in Jerusalem, whose real intentions are more impenetrable than ever.
Now that his kippah is officially in the presidential ring, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) is expected to win enthusiastic support from Jews across the country. But his formal announcement on Monday has also touched off a quiet undercurrent of concern that 2004 may not be as opportune a time for a breakthrough Jewish candidacy as 2000.
Jews in more than 100 communities across the nation gathered on Sunday, March 24, to show their support for Israel -- a welcome, if hastily organized, expression of solidarity as the Jewish state faces continuing terrorism and an increasingly treacherous diplomatic climate.
The Bush administration, reeling from a week of explosive developments on the troubled Israeli-Palestinian front, is reexamining even its limited efforts to win a cease-fire in the 16-month-old intifada.
That reassessment -- that resulted in this week's indefinite postponement of a new Mideast mission by U.S. special envoy Anthony Zinni -- comes as officials here and in Jerusalem digest disturbing revelations about Yasser Arafat's involvement in a recent arms smuggling scheme and his deepening involvement with Iran.
Geneva and Ann Arbor, Mich., may be a world apart, but they now have something in common: both are settings for a reinvigorated effort to undercut the very legitimacy of Israel.
The same folks responsible for turning this summer's Durban conference on racism into an anti-Israel free-for-all are getting set for an encore performance in Geneva next week. And in college towns like Ann Arbor, Arab and Muslim student groups are using spurious comparisons with South Africa to discredit Israel.
Terrorism, a part of everyday life in Israel for decades, exploded in the face of a complacent America with the twin terror attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11 and left a gaping, charred hole in the Pentagon in Washington.
Speculation about a possible observer force in Gaza and the West Bank reached a fever pitch this week, thanks to proposals by the G-8 and the European Union, and a confused response from a U.S. administration that is foundering in the whirlpool of Mideast politics.
The Bush administration, determined to scale back U.S. Mideast involvement, is being drawn into the seething center of the conflict as Israeli-Palestinian confrontations rage.
But President George W. Bush and his foreign policy team, anxious to avoid the overinvolvement of their predecessors, are carefully calibrating their Mideast policies and pronouncements. The goal, according to sources here, is to make better use of the bully pulpit in Washington, while steering clear of day-to-day mediation.
Presidential transitions are tough even in the best of circumstances. And with the outcome of this year's political brawl delayed by weeks of legal and political maneuvering, the 2001 transition will be tougher than most.