The election of the first Jewish director-general of the United Nations cultural body UNESCO, French politician Audrey Azoulay, is raising hope that with her background and political experience, she could return the organization to its original mission. UNESCO in recent weeks has seen announcements from the U.S. and Israel of their plans to withdraw from the agency over its anti-Israel bias. Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, director of the American Jewish Committee’s European offices, said Azoulay “is generally regarded as a true professional and expert in the field of culture and was a very respected [government] minister.”
Iran is unlikely to halt its drive towards nuclear weapons following President Donald Trump’s refusal to recertify the Islamic Republic’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, experts say. “Iran just keeps threatening to do what it’s already been doing—continuing its path to nuclear weapons,” said Emily Landau, director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. “The most it changes is the pace of progress and that’s precisely the problem with the [nuclear deal]: it doesn’t stop Iran.”
Recognizing it is easier to influence those who are prone to be natural supporters of the Jewish state than it is to sway journalists who cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a perceived anti-Israel bias, the Israeli government this week offered Christian media professionals from around the world a crash course in advocacy and diplomacy during a first-of-its-kind summit. Brian Schrauger, a Christian journalist for the USA Radio Network, said Israel “is doing something very, very smart. It’s catering to a group of journalists that don’t often get attention, and it’s educating them. And these are by-and-large friendly journalists that generally support Israel.”
The Gaza-controlling Hamas terror group’s recent decision to sign a unity deal with the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) ruling Fatah party may have been motivated by more than just a desire to reconcile after years of bitter rivalry. A cunning plan to pave the way for senior Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to win the PA presidency could be the true aim of the terrorist organization’s willingness to compromise, Israel Hayom reports.
The Stanford Israel Association—a student group at the California-based university that claims it “aims to engage Stanford students with all that the Jewish State has to offer, through culture, politics, and identity”—pulled its support for a program highlighting the stories of Israel’s minority populations.
As a part of the new Big Idea gap year program in Israel’s de facto cyber capital of Be’er Sheva, tech-savvy young adults can learn from the Jewish state’s “start-up nation” culture. Yael Sahar, director of the program, says she hopes participants will return home with a stronger Jewish identity and “become ambassadors for Israel on their college campuses and in their communities.” The program’s participants hail from the U.S., Colombia and South Africa.
“Today no one talks about Israel in synagogue, because the Jewish leadership doesn’t want to approach a point of conflict,” Shoham Nicolet, CEO of the Israeli-American Council (IAC), says with regret. The IAC, which Nicolet founded with other Israelis a decade ago, describes itself as the fastest-growing Jewish organization in the U.S. It is active in 27 states and serves more than 250,000 Israeli Americans. Nicolet argues he and his team are in a unique position to make Israel a natural part of Jewish life in the U.S. because they are an integral part of the community, but at the same time they represent Israeliness outside Israel in the fullest meaning of the term.
European countries are not exactly known for their love of Israel. Yet recent actions taken by the governments of Norway and Belgium suggest that, in at least one important respect, those two nations have gone much further than the U.S. in confronting the problem of Palestinian incitement against Israel, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.
In an article about Harvey Weinstein for the Jewish magazine Tablet, Mark Oppenheimer argued that the disgraced Hollywood producer’s unwanted sexual advances upon women were indicative of a “specifically Jewy perviness.” While Oppenheimer issued an apology for floating this nasty caricature, his piece remains online and serves as an arch-example of why ill-informed chatter steers us towards prejudice instead of reason, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
President Donald Trump’s decision to throw out the ObamaCare contraception mandate as well as to largely exempt religious groups from non-discrimination statutes has drawn criticism from most liberal Jewish groups. But Trump is standing up for a principle that Jews should be defending. Religious liberty for me but not thee is the sort of hypocrisy we shouldn’t accept from those who purport to represent a Jewish community that knows only too well the importance of defending our first constitutional right, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.
Jews around the world view Sukkot as a time for gratitude. Yet for several at-risk Israeli teenagers, there hadn’t been much to be thankful for—until this year, when they’ll take their first steps toward a productive career, and a life off the streets and away from crime, by working at Liliyot. The upscale Tel Aviv bistro was founded as Israel’s first social business, training young people ages 16-19 as chefs while giving them a new start in life—a mitzvah perfectly suited to this festival, writes Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod.
Stephen Walt, co-author of “The Israel Lobby,” claims “history proved us right” in his book’s smears of the pro-Israel community. Pointing to the growing anti-Israel sentiment on the left, Walt thinks his stand is somehow vindicated. Yet those who want to besmirch Israel’s supporters as undermining U.S. interests without being rightly labeled as anti-Semites are fooling no one, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.
By highlighting that the amount of land on which Jewish homes and buildings sit in the territories is barely 2 percent of all of Judea and Samaria, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman conveyed a powerful and relevant fact. It’s an important reminder that the settlements are not the obstacle to peace, and that the critics of the settlements engage in wild exaggerations and demonization for political purposes. They proved that again this week with their absurdly unfair and disingenuous response to Friedman, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.
The good news surrounding the Palestinian Authority’s latest diplomatic success is that it turns out Interpol isn’t the international police agency that movies and television shows have led us to believe. The bad news is that the international community just gave the Good Housekeeping seal of approval to those who traffic in terrorism, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.
(JNS.org) The city of London has rejected a Palestinian anti-Israel ad campaign claiming that the 1917 Balfour Declaration was the “harbinger of the Palestinian disaster.”
(JNS.org) Yahya Sinwar, chief of the Palestinian terror organization Hamas, said Thursday it will not disarm or ever recognize Israel and vowed to get rid of the Jewish state.
(JNS.org) Following announcements in July that Japan’s Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC) would acquire the Israeli pharmaceutical company NeuroDerm for $1.1 billion, the companies announced the deal’s finalization Wednesday.
(JNS.org) In the wake of Israel announcing its withdrawal from United Nations cultural body UNESCO due to anti-Israel bias, Israeli representatives walked out of the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) gathering in St. Petersburg this week after encountering severe harassment from Arab and Muslim parliamentarians.
(JNS.org) President Donald Trump’s international negotiations representative, Jason Greenblatt, Thursday called on the Gaza-ruling Palestinian terror group Hamas to disarm and renounce violence amid new attempts to form a unity government with its longtime rival Fatah.
(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday to discuss the conflict in Syria, just days after Israeli jets hit a Syrian anti-aircraft battery.
(JNS.org) U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley urged the U.N. Security Council to consider all of Iran’s “destructive conduct,” not exclusively the 2015 nuclear deal.