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Bravo, Angela Merkel

Filed in Jewish Affairs by on September 16, 2014
Bravo, Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a mensch, which, in Yiddish, means a decent and upright person. She proved it yet again on Sept. 14 at a rally in Berlin where she praised the Jewish community and condemned antisemitism.   “That far more than 100,000 Jews are now living in Germany is something of a miracle,” […]

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Love Is Strange

Filed in Arts by on September 15, 2014
Love Is Strange

Life brings abrupt and nasty surprises, as New York City gay couple George (Alfred Molina) and Benjamin (John Lithgow) discover one fine sunny day in Ira Sachs’ mellow film, Love Is Strange, which starts its run in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver on Sept. 19. The pair are resting in bed in the quiet opening scene. […]

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Obama’s Challenging Mission

Filed in Middle East by on September 14, 2014
Obama’s Challenging Mission

President Barack Obama has promised to “systematically degrade” and “ultimately destroy” the Sunni jihadist organization Islamic State, and now he must make good on his ambitious pledge. It’s a tall and complex order and it won’t be easy to fulfill. Indeed, Obama may fail. “This isn’t going to be fireworks over Baghdad,” said Obama in […]

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Better Late Than Never

Filed in Jewish Affairs by on September 13, 2014
Better Late Than Never

Belatedly, Greece has passed legislation banning the scourge of Holocaust denial, thereby becoming one of the last member states of the European Union to take this important step in reining in racists. Better late than never. More than one year in the making, the new law also imposes tougher penalties for the dissemination of hate […]

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Influential Oil Pipeline

Filed in Middle East by on September 12, 2014
Influential Oil Pipeline

Oil and water don’t mix, but business and politics do, judging by the 942 kilometre-long oil pipeline from Kirkuk in Iraq to Haifa in Palestine, construction of which was completed in the mid-1930s. Built by the Iraq Petroleum Company and operational from 1935 to 1948, the strategically important pipeline drove British policy in the Middle […]

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The Farewell Party

Filed in Arts by on September 11, 2014
The Farewell Party

Euthanasia is a huge issue that brings to mind a myriad of complex questions: Is euthanasia morally and ethically acceptable and permissible in principle? Is it inhumane? How long should a terminally ill person be allowed to linger on in pain? Should a doctor get involved? And if he does step forward, should his licence […]

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Iran And Hamas

Filed in Middle East by on September 10, 2014
Iran And Hamas

Iran maintained a relatively low profile during the recent war in the Gaza Strip, but the few public comments its ferociously anti-Israel leaders uttered strongly suggest that the Iranian government is fully behind Hamas and intends to arm Palestinians in the West Bank. As the fighting raged, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, called on […]

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Strategic Consensus

Filed in Middle East by on September 10, 2014
Strategic Consensus

p5rn7vb Testifying before a U.S. Senate committee in March 1981, Alexander Haig, the American secretary of state in President Ronald Reagan’s cabinet, said he would work to achieve “a consensus of strategic concerns” among the warring nations in the Middle East in a bid to check Soviet influence. Haig, a former army general, said his […]

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This Is My Land

Filed in Arts by on September 9, 2014
This Is My Land

One of the strongest impressions I was left with following my first and only trip to Syria in 1975 is that Arabs and Israelis hew to radically different versions of history. Objective facts are not necessarily respected and are commonly manipulated to build historic narratives and agendas that validate or debunk a particular point of […]

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Kolkata Brims With Life

Filed in Travel by on September 8, 2014
Kolkata Brims With Life

KOLKATA, a West Bengal city bursting at the seams with a population of 15 million, is a raucous showplace of British colonial architecture and history. More than 300 years ago, an ambitious British merchant, Job Charnock, established a small trading post on the banks of the Hooghly River for the East India Company. The fort became […]

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