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Oren pleads for Jewish support for peace

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

 
By J. Zel Lurie 

J. Zel Lurie

DELRAY BEACH, Florida–The story appeared in the Jerusalem Post of September 21. It was headed  “Oren urges Jewish leaders to support peace moves.” The story described a meeting Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren  held  in Washington with Israeli and Jewish reporters.
 
Ambassador Oren’s request that American Jewish leaders publicly support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was almost completely ignored.

Some background. Since 1948 American Jewish leaders have listened closely to the Israeli Embassy. The ambassador never had to ask for support. He described Israeli policy and Jewish leaders followed even when Israeli actions were contrary to American policy.

Support for Jewish settlements in the West Bank is a notable example. The United States has opposed every settlement as contrary to international law on occupied territory and a serious obstacle to peace . But American opposition to settlements, for political reasons, was  never forceful, and almost 300,000 Jews have settled in the West Bank.

Which explains why, for the first time, Ambassador Oren’s plea for support was greeted with silence. Even by  Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League. For years he has acted as the self-appointed spokesman for Israeli policies. Now he is occupied in wiggling his opposition to the Islamic center, two blocks from ground zero. Read more…

Maybe not ‘anti-Semitic,’ perhaps Time is ‘anti-semantic’

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment

By Bruce S. Ticker 

Bruce S. Ticker

PHILADELPHIA — Editors at Time Magazine may be unfairly accused of anti-Semitism, but they are reckless with their semantics. As experienced journalists, they should understand that misleading language can be dangerous.

The magazine’s Sept. 13 cover headline – “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace” – brought its editors condemnation from supporters of Israel. The Anti-Defamation League slammed the Time article for stressing Israelis’ inclination to make money. 

Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, a staunch gentile supporter of Israel, called Time “anti-Semitic” because of the headline and its accompanying article inside which contends that Israelis are apathetic toward the peace process with the Arabs.

Karl Vick, the writer, indeed succeeds in reaching this conclusion. Who can blame the Israelis?

Hostilities resulted from the offer of a Palestinian state in 2000 and withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

Personally, I long ago ceased understanding what Israel gets out of negotiating a pact with Arabs over Israel’s territories.

Vick and his editors made three mistakes. First, a Time spokesman boasted that the article is a scoop. Oh yeah? A Newsweek article reached the same conclusion last January.

The article carelessly states: “They’re otherwise engaged; they’re making money; they’re enjoying the rays of late summer.”

No doubt that claim is factually true for many Israelis, but the phrase “they’re making money” is delicate wording when applied to Jews, who have been stereotyped as greedy throughout the ages.

The most gaping blunder is the headline, which presumes that Israel is apathetic to peace.

“Peace” is not what Israelis need from Arabs in the territories. They already have a relative level of peace within Israel proper. Terrorist bombings from the West Bank ended after the security barrier started going up. Rocket attacks from Gaza and southern Lebanon dwindled after recent military confrontations with Hamas and Hezbollah.

Time would have been more factual, if tedious, had they composed this headline: “Why Many Israelis Don’t Care About Reaching Terms.”

The word “peace” is tossed around too casually in the context of this conflict, and Time is far from alone in committing this offense. “Peace” has evolved as shorthand for a process that is too convoluted to be reduced to a single five-letter word. It allows for a catchy phrase, but Time editors may disdain letting the facts get in the way of a good headline.

The only objective that seems plausible is the handover of land – namely, Gaza and the West Bank – so the Arabs can form their own society. That’s fine, but a treaty will not ensure “peace” and “peace” need not be achieved through a treaty. Even if it agrees to a near-perfect deal, Israel must still worry about Iran’s nuclear designs and the ongoing arms build-up in Gaza and southern Lebanon.

The same obstacles persist – security needs, excessive Arab demands, settler resistance, Hamas’ control of Gaza and right-wing pressures within the Israeli government.

Hawkish advocates for Israel will insist that the West Bank is not peaceful, but what do the settlers expect when they choose to live amid a hostile population? “Peace” can only be accomplished there by removing the settlers, even unilaterally; expelling the Arabs; or negotiating a pact that is fully enforced. Israelis who live in Israel proper care about West Bank “peace” when their sons and daughters in uniform are assigned to protect the settlements.

For the record, it would be valuable if an accord is reached, but it is still a feat that most Israelis can live without…in peace. Violence can erupt at any time, as was the case with riots in east Jerusalem and the murder of four settlers in recent weeks. Even if a “peace” treaty is ever implemented.

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Ticker is Philadelphia bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World

Despite flaws, ‘Prodigal Sons’ well worth reading

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Prodigal Sons by Sheldon Greene; self-published; 340 pages; no price listed.

By Norman Manson

Norman Manson

SAN DIEGO — This is a fascinating, suspenseful novel, replete with violence, intrigue and romance, but is flawed in several significant ways.

       
The main protagonist, Jan Goldberg, alias Horst Vogle, plays a variety of roles as this saga unfolds. Ostensibly an art historian and assistant curator at a major museum, he’s also a cold-blooded killer and nazi hunter, a guerrilla fighter during World War II, a soldier in the Haganah during Israel’s War for Independence and an accomplaished athlete, especially in tennis and soccer.
       
His family having been wiped out in nazi Germany’s onslaught in Poland,  Jan joins the Jewish Partisan forces as they try to sabotage German efforts on the Russian front. Surviving the war, he arrives in the future state of Israel aboard a ship that runs the British blockade. After fighting in some desperate battles defending a kibbutz against the invading Arabs in 1948, he settles briefly on the kibbutz, but finds this life not to his liking so accepts a chance to again fight nazis in Germany as a member of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence force. This means a new identity as Horst Vogle and a cover job as assistant curator of Munich’s Alte Pinakothek Museum   He had studied art history in Germany before the war. Read more…

On Stephen Hawking, genius and music

September 28, 2010 1 comment

By David Amos

David Amos

SAN DIEGO–Most of us know about Stephen Hawking. He is no less than the greatest mind in physics living today, and has done as much as Albert Einstein in expanding our understanding of the complexities of the universe and theoretical physics. He is 68 years old, and since the age of 21, has suffered from a degenerative motor-neuron disease. 

In spite of his severe handicaps and almost total paralysis, he raised three children in his two marriages, and has written several best selling books on the subjects of time, and the size and nature of the cosmos.

On September 13, Parade Magazine ran an interview with Hawking, asking him interesting questions about space exploration, his abilities to explain deep scientific concepts to the general public, and his personal life.

I have always been intrigued by his genius, and the reading of this article connected me with some of his insights and how they relate to music and the arts. At first, it may appear to be far-fetched, but, read on.

Read more…

Palestinians should realize Israel willing to withdraw for peace, settlements or none

September 28, 2010 1 comment

By Rabbi Ben Kamin

Rabbi Ben Kamin

SAN DIEGO — It’s not hard to agree that the settlement movement in Israel—a hybrid of indigenous religious zealots and immigrant fundamentalists from places like Chicago, Toronto, and Johannesburg—is something of a complication for the peace process.  This is true even though the overwhelming majority of Israelis—people making car payments, trying to keep their jobs, and maintain their health benefits—are neither settlers, would-be settlers, or even particularly observant Jews. 

The Palestinian obsession with the settlements is peculiar and out-of-touch with a) the far more urgent issue of salvaging their own state (deserved) from a smoldering splinter of terror groups and ostensibly more “moderate” factions that remain in bloody stalemate among each other (primarily Hamas v. Fatah) and b) the more cogent realization that to ask Israel to stop building communities when you haven’t even offered to stop destroying communities is absurd and disingenuous.

The Palestinians, with their funny caveats, and the Obama imposers, with their tongue-clucking demands that Israel “take risks for peace” (as if every single day since Israel was created in 1948 has not been a risk) don’t seem to grasp the bigger picture: Israel is about life and growth and science and creativity.

Over 80% of the nation consists of secularists who watch cable news, shop in trendy malls, love to linger in fashionable coffee shops, drive late-model cars across a national freeway system, and like to travel to Turkey, India, Hong Kong, and North America.  They want college, not conflagration. Read more…

The Jews Down Under~Roundup of Australian Jewish News

September 26, 2010 1 comment

Garry Fabian

Compiled by Garry Fabian

Appealing for appeal respect

MELBOURNE, 23 September – Communal organisations
have called into question the effectiveness of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s (JCCV) campaign calendar.

Despite paying a large annual sum for the exclusive right to fundraise during certain weeks of the year, groups say this schedule is not being enforced.

Magen David Adom (MDA) has accused a number of  community not-for-profits of failing to respect  its exclusive appeal period, which falls for a  week at the end of August and another at the start of October.

A JCCV affiliate, the Australian arm of the  Israeli ambulance service ­ like other organisations ­ pays to guarantee a sole  fundraising window. However, it claims some  bodies have not respected its two-week block. Read more…

La Jolla Playhouse basks in Chaplin’s ‘Limelight’

September 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Limelight's Rob McClure as Charlie Chaplin (Craig Schwartz photo)

 

 

By Carol Davis

Carol Davis

LA JOLLA, California —  Right out of the gate…don’t miss Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin by Christopher Curtis and Thomas Meehan (book) and Christopher Curtis (music and lyrics). It is now in its world-premiere production at the Playhouse, where it  is directed by Warren Carlyle and Michael Unger. I am confident that there are big things in store for it, like a Broadway run. I never underestimate the powers of a really, really good show!

Let’s start off with Rob McClure who plays the inimitable Chaplin. He was recently seen as Princeton in Avenue Q in Broadway and the national touring productions.

When you’re good, you’re good and he good as in excellent. He is talented and has just the right look and stature of a Chaplin as he weaves his way through the Chaplinesque years and more. With Warren Carlyle’s choreography and Linda Cho’s perfect costume designs, McClure is at home as Chaplin.

He is nimble and quite adept at the silent film star’s antics of falling down, and that famous rolling up and prancing about in his duck like walk-shuffle. (“Tramp Shuffle”) with a cane that is as flexible as the star himself. Read more…