Opinion

JNS.org offers opinion and commentary on a variety of news and lifestyle topics. Shillman Analyst for JNS.org Ben Cohen is a regular contributor. To select another topic, choose from the other content “categories” in our navigation bar.

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In Qaraqosh, Iraq, international agencies have repaired a significant amount of the damage done to schools during the Islamic State occupation. Schools are ready to welcome students to the new academic year. But the great challenge is that many Qaraqosh families’ homes still await repair or rebuilding. Iraqi Christians are hoping for a new life marked by peace and stability, but Western powers must make a major contribution to make their aspiration a reality, writes Joop Koopman, communications director for Aid to the Church in Need-U.S.A.

Those who refuse to listen to or to associate with political opponents are at the core of our society’s current political illness, in which we have been divided into two warring camps that have lost the ability to listen to each other. That’s why if you think Dennis Prager must be boycotted or believe Morton Klein is as much of a threat to American Jewry as Islamist terrorists, then don’t bother the rest of us with hypocritical complaints about President Donald Trump, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.

David Satterfield, the newly appointed Middle East director at the State Department, has demonstrated that he does not fully appreciate the difference between Palestinian aggressors and Israeli victims, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.

Compelling the Palestinian Authority to reject a culture of violence that ensures the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue indefinitely is the only hope for the conflict’s resolution. No matter where your political sympathies lie, it’s time to realize that opposing the Taylor Force Act undermines any hope for peace, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.

The darkness around President Donald Trump, his character and his intentions should not obscure the occasional rays of light emanating from his administration. Yet the rays of light do not tell us a great deal about how Trump thinks the world should be organized—assuming he thinks about that subject at all, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.

When presidential adviser Jared Kushner said in a private discussion that “there may be no solution” to the conflict between the Palestinian Arabs and Israel, he was just stating the obvious. For nearly a century, self-appointed wise men have claimed to have the solution, but every such proposal has proved to be a mirage, writes columnist Stephen M. Flatow.

As a child, Eliana Rudee spent her summers at Camp Solomon Schechter, a Conservative Jewish camp in Western Washington. The camp was founded on Zionist principles and served as a safe haven to build Jewish community for many campers who might be the only Jews in their schools and hometowns. But this safe haven was shaken last week when the Palestinian flag was raised over the campgrounds, writes Rudee, a fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center.

A series of unfortunate events during the Temple Mount crisis led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make decisions that wound up being blasted from both the left and the right. Though Netanyahu deserves criticism, the most important conclusion to be drawn is that his nation’s security dilemma may be managed—but it cannot be solved. In such a situation, the options available to any Israeli leader will always range from bad to worse, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.

All those fighting for French society to stand up against anti-Semitic violence find themselves in the same position as the mythological hero Sisyphus, condemned for all eternity to perform the impossible task of pushing an immense boulder up a steep hill each day. Yet after weeks of indifference by media outlets and politicians, French President Emmanuel Macron demanded that France’s judiciary shed light on the nature of April’s brutal murder of Jewish woman Sarah Halimi. Macron has, in his own way, advanced the boulder of Sisyphus, writes Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Paris-based Europe branch.

The State Department’s “evenhanded” statement. The U.S.-backed Middle East Quartet’s call for “restraint.” President Donald Trump sending his international negotiations representative to the region to “mediate.” It all adds up to one thing: American pressure on Israel to make concessions. The July 14 terror attack that killed two Israeli policemen is a clear-cut case of Palestinian aggression if ever there was one, and the Trump administration should have been clearly on Israel’s side from the beginning, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.

Arab riots and terror attacks in response to Israel’s now-removed metal detectors at the Temple Mount were just one more power play intended to remind the world that the only solution Palestinians will ultimately accept is one in which the Jews are excluded. So long as this is their goal, it isn’t the Al-Aqsa mosque that is in danger, but any hope for peace, writes JNS.org columnist Jonathan S. Tobin.

George Soros, the Hungarian-American billionaire, has all the makings of a character in a Hasidic fable. He sees no moral contradiction in funding the forces for an “open society” in Eastern Europe, while giving at the same time to left-wing lobby groups advocating for a diminished relationship between the U.S. and Israel, the single sovereign open society in the Middle East. He values the “universal” in Judaism and cares little for the “particular.” Yet Soros is the target of anti-Semitism in his native Hungary. Is Soros being targeted as a man or as a symbol? Even if there is a trace of the former, it’s the overwhelming presence of the latter that should keep us healthily skeptical, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.

Egypt’s indigenous Coptic Christians are being systematically persecuted and slaughtered by Islamic terrorists. Jews know all too well this pattern in history and have vowed never to let it happen again. In a time when the Christian community has been the staunchest supporter of Jews and Israel, Jewish organizations should take tangible steps to give Egyptian Christians aid, support and protection, writes Yael Eckstein, senior vice president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

To get a sense of what really lies beneath the campaign to boycott Israel, it can be helpful to see how this issue plays out in the Arab world. The prestigious international culture festival in Carthage, Tunisia, opened July 13 under the shadow of a call to boycott French-Jewish actor Michel Boujenah—a vocal supporter of Israel, but not an Israeli citizen or resident. If the campaign against Boujenah is a reminder of how crude Arab anti-Semitism can be, the events that followed the call to boycott him are an even more important reminder that there are some very courageous individuals in the Arab world, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.

Jewish Voice for Peace’s (JVP) recently launched “Deadly Exchange” campaign opposes initiatives that promote joint training programs between U.S. police and Israeli security forces. JVP is claiming African-Americans are being murdered because of Israel and its Jewish supporters, engaging in a new version of the old anti-Semitic blood libel. While the Jewish communal tent should be as large as possible, there is no place in it for those like JVP who encourage hatred against Jews, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.

The U.S. consul general in Jerusalem recently set off on the first leg of a 200-mile hike that will simultaneously promote one pro-Palestinian myth while inadvertently exploding another. Consul General Donald Blome is ignoring Israeli hiking trails in Judea and Samaria, and instead is making his way across the Ibrahim Path, which runs from northern Samaria to southern Judea. Thousands of Palestinian hikers each year traverse the Ibrahim trail without interruption—there are no Israeli “occupation” troops along the journey. Perhaps that is something for Blome to contemplate while he hikes, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.

Whereas British Jews made a strategic decision decades ago to take their own security seriously, American Jews lack a similar commitment. This failure to make security a core component of communal life leaves Jewish institutions vulnerable. The time has come for a complete change in attitude, write security experts Stephen Bryen and Andrew Apostolou.

Though Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s embrace of Israel represents an enormous shift in policy terms, one can argue that it’s also the maturation of an emotional bond between Jews and Indians that goes back centuries. Those who still cling to the belief that Israel is some sort of colonial implant might want to reflect on Modi’s historic visit to the Jewish state, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.

It isn’t easy for some Jewish liberals, but many of them are waking up to a world that doesn’t neatly conform to their existing prejudices. That doesn’t obligate them to abandon their political principles, but they need to understand the world is a complicated place where Jewish safety can be endangered by solidarity with the left, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.

Why do half of French Jews want to leave France? The rise of violent anti-Semitism beginning around the turn of the century has made French Jews justifiably concerned about their personal safety. A University of Oslo study published in June is one of the most methodologically sophisticated and comprehensive reports in dissecting the growth of Europe’s anti-Semitism problem. The future for European Jews who want to maintain the distinct characteristics of Judaism in public is not bright, writes columnist Abraham H. Miller.