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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 […]

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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 […]

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Travel

Ho Chi Minh – A City on the Move

From the 49th floor skydeck of the sleek 68-storey Bitexco Financial Tower, Ho Chi Minh, formerly Saigon, looked very much like a  city on the move. When I was last here, in 1998, Ho Chi Minh had a uniformly low skyline, seemed ragged at the edges and was still in the process of recovering from a […]

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Arts

Woman on the Verge of Another Nervous Breakdown

Jasmine French, an attractive and pretentious middle-aged woman with a taste for Hermes accessories,  Chanel jackets and Louis Vuitton luggage, is down on her luck. Her husband, Hal, a shady businessman in the mould of Bernard Madoff, is serving a prison sentence for fraud and who knows what else. The federal government has seized their […]

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Jewish Affairs

The Cruellest Conflict

World War II was not just another destructive conflict between warring nations, but a nationalist crusade on the part of  Germany to acquire territory, attain hegemony, disseminate Nazi ideology and murder Jews on a massive industrial scale. When Germany attacked Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, touching  off an international conflagration that dragged on for six […]

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Travel

An Eco Trip to Costa Rica

My younger daughter was due to start a new job and wanted a vacation before getting down to work. I decided to join her, and we agreed on Costa Rica, which turned out to be a wise choice. In less than a week, Lauren and I visited an active volcano, rode a horse to a […]

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Middle East

Scranton Sought an “Even-Handed” U.S. Policy

A little more than a month before his inauguration as president of the United States in January 1969, Richard Nixon dispatched William Scranton, the former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, to the Middle East on a fact-finding tour of five Arab nations and Israel. His mandate was to assess the current state of the Arab-Israeli conflict […]

Categories
Arts

The Attack

The Attack is a most unusual movie, unfolding against the backdrop of a Palestinian suicide bombing in Israel and grappling with the complexities of its messy aftermath. Premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, and now playing in theatres in Canada and the United States, The Attack is unconventional because  its main protagonists […]

Categories
Travel

A Bite of the Big Apple

  I wanted to “wake up in that city that doesn’t sleep,” to paraphrase Frank Sinatra in the song New York, New York. The opportunity to do so presented itself in mid-summer, when my wife Etti and I decided to spend several days in New York City. As a couple, we hadn’t been in the […]

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Jewish Affairs

Footprints in time

They died in the last little while, leaving a lasting legacy … Robert Fogel, 86, a University of Chicago economist, shared the Nobel Prize in economic science in 1993 for his work in explaining the role of railways and slavery in the development of the American economy. His books on these topics, Railroads and American […]