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Middle East

U.S.-Russian Agreement Empowers Assad Regime

It would be foolhardy to cast aspersions on the recent agreement reached by the United States and Russia to dismantle and destroy Syria’s formidable arsenal of chemical weapons. The accord, hammered out by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Sept. 14 and formalized by the United … Read More

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Arts

Protektor Recreates A Dark Era

Marek Najbrt’s Protektor takes place in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia as the Holocaust in Europe unfolds. Framed by the assassination of Nazi overlord Reinhard Heydrich, this Czech feature film will be screened by the Toronto Jewish Film Society on Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. at the Al Green Theatre (750 Spadina Avenue). The … Read More

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Middle East

An Opportunity to Turn the Tide in Syria

As the crisis in Syria intensifies, riveting the world, the United States appears to have painted itself into a corner. A year ago, President Barack Obama explicitly warned Syria that the use of chemical weapons against its citizens would represent an intolerable “red line” for the United States. Yet Washington has done remarkably little since … Read More

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Middle East

Yet Another Round of Peace Talks

When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry triumphantly announced on July 19 that Israel and the Palestinian Authority had established “a basis” to resume direct peace talks, he looked at PA President Mahmoud Abbas and said, “Mr. President, you should look happy.” Kerry assumed that the resumption of talks after a three-year hiatus would please … Read More

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Arts

Bollywood’s Untold Story

A century ago this year, Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harsihschandra made history, becoming the first Hindi-language silent movie to be produced in India. It was followed, 18 years years later, by Alam Ara, the first Indian talkie. They set the stage for the Bollywood film industry in India, based largely in Mumbai, formerly Bombay. Bollywood is … Read More

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Arts

Jewish Comedians: End of an Era?

As a boy, Alan Zweig, 60, wondered why virtually every comedian he watched on television, from George Burns to Jack Benny, seemed to be Jewish. It has taken him a long time to figure out the riddle, but now he thinks he has the answer. In his documentary, When Jews Were Funny, whose world premiere … Read More

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Middle East

Mufti of Jerusalem was Nazi Germany’s Ally

Two years ago, the Israeli government charged Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, the cleric in charge of Islamic holy places, with incitment after he was accused of uttering anti-Jewish comments. At a conference in the West Bank to commemorate the founding of the Fatah movement, he was reported to have said that the … Read More

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Middle East

The Origins of Israel

In 1880, decades before Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared Israel to be a free and independent nation, Palestine was a backwater in the Ottoman Empire, populated by some 25,000 Jews and about 450,000 Arabs. Two-thirds of the Jews in Palestine lived in Jerusalem and many of the rest resided in Safed, Tiberias and … Read More

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Jewish Affairs

Jews Under Islam

The 1,400-year history of Jews living under the banner of Islam has been extremely checkered, marked as it has been by periods of acceptance and discrimination. Reflecting on the status of Jews in Muslim domains, the historian Bernard Lewis adopted a balanced approach, saying it had never been as “bad as in Christendom at its … Read More

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Middle East

Erdogan’s Baseless Accusation

Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is known far and wide for plain speaking. Not one to mince words, he says what he thinks, a practice most politicians stoutly eschew. In a world of dissimulation, prevarication and half-truths, there is something refreshing and bracing about a politician who has the courage and confidence to speak … Read More