Israel’s Arabs are not America’s Blacks

stab5It is far too early to know how and when this new round of violence is going to end. At this writing, Jerusalem is still reeling from four attacks in one day.

What is around the bend, no one can say. Yet it is not too early to begin to imagine the “morning after.” When this current storm is behind us, Israel is likely to be a very different country – and the biggest change may be in the relationship between Israel’s Jews and Israel’s Arabs.

Many of the American Jewish philanthropists I know have long thought of Israel’s Arab population in much the same way that they think about African-Americans in

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It’s Too Easy to be an Anti-Semite (JPost)

AS2 - CopyThe moment I heard that Stéphane Richard, the CEO of Orange, had said on Egyptian television that he wished his company could end its licensing agreement here “tomorrow morning,” I googled three words: “Orange,” “mobile” and “Syria.”

Lo and behold, there’s an Orange store in Aleppo. Hop in for an iPhone, for accessories, whatever you need. (The store even has a Facebook page.) Stéphane Richard, it seems, has no problem having an Orange store in the country that has gassed to death hundreds or thousands of its own children, that has killed hundreds of thousands of its own citizens and has turned literally millions of its own people

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Triggers We Can Do Without (JPost)

trigger5It’s been many years since I completed my studies at New York City’s Columbia University, but I still occasionally read the student newspaper, The Spectator, to get a sense of what’s going on.

Columbia is a great place – it was then, and it is now (despite some faculty members’ reprehensible attitude to Israel) – and as I read The Spec, as we called it back then, I often grow wistful about the world I left when we moved to Israel almost two decades ago.

Recently, however, an article in The Spec reminded me not of what a great educational experience Columbia was (though it certainly was), but how much healthier Israeli

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The night Ahad Ha’am could have declared victory (JPost)

ahadEver since its inception, Zionism has been more a conversation than a political movement. A movement, after all, seemingly needs a set of agreed-upon goals. Zionism, however, was always more divided than that.

There were Labor Zionists arrayed against the Revisionists, and they disagreed on matters of the economy, how to handle the British and what sort of accommodation might (or might not) be possible with the Arabs.

There was also the famous explosion over Herzl’s Uganda Plan (the territory for which was not, technically, in Uganda) – a disagreement that so angered delegates to the Zionist Congress that Herzl feared he might have destroyed the movement. Perhaps the deepest disagreement, though,

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Beware the Universities, for They Are Barometers (JPost)

UCLA2In his early days at the University of Vienna, Theodor Herzl – the father of modern political Zionism – applied to join the Lesehalle, a student association devoted to intellectual conversation and debate. But in March 1881 (when Herzl was 21), the Lesehalle was dissolved when a discussion devolved into a viciously anti-Semitic rant.

Undeterred, Herzl joined the Fraternity Albia instead. Here too however, the academy and the intellectual world of Europe’s elite proved themselves fundamentally hostile to Jews. Two years after he joined, several of his fraternity brothers attended a Richard Wagner Memorial – which again turned into an anti-Semitic rally. Disgusted and furious, Herzl resigned from the fraternity in

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Does it make sense for Bibi to go to Congress? Here’s a variety of views

 

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The Prime Minister is not the Pope (JPost)

Benjamin Netanyahu, Joe Biden, John BoehnerWill Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu end up going to the US Congress to deliver an address on the dangers of Iran? If he does, will he end up speaking to a room largely devoid of high-profile Democrats? If that happens, will he have made Israel even more of a partisan American political issue than it already is? Or, alternatively, will Bibi figure out that though he may be right on the facts, a public tussle with even a lameduck president of the United States is never a smart way to go? Will he then look for a way to climb down from the tree on

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How Much More Will It Take? (Jerusalem Post)

Islam1In this column, just six weeks ago, I wrote the following: “Europe has turned and anti-Semitism is back in vogue… A nuclear France risks becoming Muslim. Parts of London are too dangerous for Jews to walk in. And in the Middle East, the West has still not decided to destroy what is clearly the greatest threat to Western civilization since Nazism… ” I do not believe the French will really let hundreds of years of French literature, art, music and philosophy be strangled by Shari’a. One day, the French will hear that yet another town has caved in to Muslim demands, and when they sense that Paris is next, they’ll

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Tweets, Context and History

Baskin Tweet2Every now and then, something as simple as a tweet is cause for reminder that – in life in general, but in this region in particular – context and history matter.

The tweet in question this week was by Gershon Baskin, founder of the Israel/ Palestine Center for Research and Information and self-proclaimed liberator of Gilad Schalit. The tweet was simple: “When the world supports Palestine state recognition, it is also supporting Israel on 78% of the land between the River & the Sea.”

Well, that surely makes me feel better.

Somehow, I’d felt that when Stockholm, Paris, Dublin and others recognized “Palestine” (in quotes, because Palestine does not exist), it was

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Would Menachem Begin Recognize the Likud? (Jerusalem Post)

Likud6On a week like this, many of the questions swirling around Israeli politics have to do with the Likud.

Will Moshe Kahlon really split the Likud? Will Benjamin Netanyahu end up losing control of the Likud to someone else, like Gideon Sa’ar? And regardless of who ends up leading it, can the Likud win?

There’s another question that ought to occupy us no less, however: Is the Likud still the Likud? Or, to put matters differently, would the Likud’s founder, Menachem Begin, still recognize the party he created in 1973?

To be sure, it has been more than 40 years since Begin founded the Likud, and more than 30 since he left office

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