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Commentary

The Year Of The Pandemic

With just a few days remaining in the year, I think it’s safe to say that absolutely no one on this beautiful planet will miss 2020, which forever will be synonymous with the dread, burden and grief of the coronavirus pandemic. This contagion started in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December or January and […]

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Commentary

Justice Denied In Pakistan

Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the¬†British-born Islamic fundamentalist charged with masterminding the abduction of American newspaper correspondent Daniel Pearl in 2002, was released from prison by a court in Pakistan several days ago. It’s a disappointing, morally repellant verdict that the international community should not accept with indifference or silence. Understandably enough, the judgment stunned and […]

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Books

Lebanon’s Jewish Community

Franck Salameh describes his bitter-sweet book, Lebanon’s Jewish Community: Fragments of Lives Arrested (Palgrave Macmillan), as a “memorial” and “act of remembrance” to commemorate what was arguably the oldest and most indigenous community in Lebanon. Fourteen thousand strong at its height in the 1940s, it was the smallest of Lebanon’s 20 legally recognized ethnic-religious groups, […]

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Middle East

A Shaky Marriage Of Convenience Breaks Up

It was a short-lived, shaky marriage of convenience both sides disliked yet endured until they could no longer stomach it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s expedient partnership with Benny Gantz collapsed on December 22 after seven months of mutual distrust and constant backstabbing and infighting. With the collapse of their national unity government, Israel was propelled […]

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Books

Jews And Human Rights

Measured against centuries of recorded human history, the concept of human rights is quite new, having emerged only after World War II as a response to the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust. Within two years of these unprecedented atrocities, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Convention, which were […]

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Books

Hitler’s True Believers: How Ordinary People Became Nazis

The American historian Robert Gellately asks and answers an important question in his magisterial work, Hitler’s True Believers: How Ordinary People Became Nazis (Oxford University Press): What impelled tens of millions of Germans to accept or accommodate themselves to a doctrine laced with racial hatred and laden with murderous implications? The reasons are clear. Germany’s […]

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Middle East

Saudi Arabian School Textbooks Need To Be Revamped

Saudi Arabia’s reluctance to normalize relations with Israel is hardly surprising. Anti-Israel and antisemitic tropes and stereotypes are so deeply embedded in Saudi society that it is hard for the government to justify a rapprochement with the Jewish state. Certainly, the festering Palestinian problem, plus the absence of a a two-state solution, also inhibit the […]

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Middle East

Morocco Takes An Unprecedented Step

Shortly before outgoing President Donald Trump tweeted that the United States had brokered a normalization of relations agreement between Israel and Morocco, the Moroccan Education Ministry issued a precedent-shattering announcement that was a fully in keeping with the spirit of Morocco’s historic rapprochement with Israel. The director of the ministry’s academic programs department, Fouad Chafiqi, […]

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Books

How Jews Changed The World

Have you ever heard of Karl Landsteiner? Paul Ehrlich? Or Rosalind Franklin? If these names don’t ring a bell, you can read all about them in ¬†British writer Norman Lebrecht’s informative book, Genius & Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World, 1847-1947 (Scribner). Landsteiner, one of the first immunologists, made modern surgery possible by developing a […]

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Middle East

A Warning From An Israeli

Israel cannot achieve genuine security unless the Palestinians can acquire statehood, says Ami Ayalon, the former director of the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret service. Drawing a direct connection between these imperatives, he said, “We have to create hope for the Palestinians so that Israel can attain security.” He made these comments in a webinar on […]