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President Donald Trump on Jan. 12 outlined his intentions to “fix the terrible flaws” of the Iran nuclear deal, giving the pact what he called “a last chance” and setting in motion a 120-day timetable for the U.S. to reach an accord with European nations that would strengthen the deal by imposing stricter terms on Iran. Israel and the U.S. are largely on the same page about policy towards Iran. But can Trump get Europe on board?
In “Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition,” scholar David Nirenberg argues that on the one hand, Islam regards Jews as “enemies” of Muhammad’s prophecy, but on the other, Islam realizes only too well that without the existence of Jews and their practices, there would have been no subsequent prophetic tradition and faith to follow. JNS columnist Ben Cohen revisits Islam’s “Jewish dilemma” following the recent delivery of anti-Semitic sermons of varying ferocity at three different mosques in the U.S.
Some in the so-called peace camp prefer to blame Palestinian misbehavior on President Donald Trump rather than own up to the truth about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. That disconnect between hope and reality has set up a vicious cycle in which negotiations are always undone by the reality of Palestinian politics, writes JNS Editor in Chief Jonathan S. Tobin.
A U.S. Senate staffer allegedly suggested that anti-Semitism is of lesser concern than discrimination against other minority groups, stating twice that “we don’t care about anti-Semitism in this office,” JNS has learned. The revelation has sparked concern among groups that work to raise American lawmakers’ awareness about anti-Semitism.
Some prominent Jewish proponents of the decades-long peace process between Israelis and Palestinians now claim that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s controversial speech on Jan. 14 disqualifies him as a negotiating partner, while other dovish Jewish leaders are accusing the Trump administration of provoking the Palestinian leader. In a two-hour address to the Palestinian Central Council, Abbas had called Israel “a colonialist enterprise that has nothing to do with Judaism.”
Ken Marcus, who has been nominated to serve as assistant secretary of education for civil rights within the Department of Education, has been the victim of an ugly smear campaign. In the eyes of his opponents, Marcus’s “crime” is recognizing that along with other minority groups, Jewish students in America need protection, writes columnist Sarah N. Stern.
The Trump administration’s approach to the Palestinians represents what Mideast experts and Israel advocates are describing as a paradigm shift in Washington—acknowledging that Palestinian rejectionism lies at the root of the Arab-Israeli conflict, rather than reflexively blaming the Jewish state for the impasse in negotiations. “Dozens of Congressmen and Knesset members from across the political spectrum are embracing this new paradigm for ending this conflict and these steps…are welcome aspects of a new era in relations between the U.S. and Israel,” Member of Knesset Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu) told JNS.
In his 21-year battle for redress from the U.S. Army, David Tenenbaum has enlisted some powerful new advocates. Missouri’s U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Michigan’s Sen. Gary Peters have sent a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis, urging him to provide closure and relief for the 60-year-old Tenenbaum, a Michigan resident. For the past 33 years, Tenenbaum has worked as a civilian engineer at the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command. During a significant part of that time, Tenenbaum says he was subjected to vile anti-Semitism from co-workers and from the Army itself. He recounts how he has been harassed, intimidated and accused of spying for Israel.
As the anti-regime protests wind down in Iran, the U.S. said it is “deeply concerned” about reports that Iranian authorities have arrested thousands of citizens, with some purportedly being tortured or killed. Meanwhile, the head of the Mossad intelligence agency said Israel has “eyes and ears” inside Iran and would “be very happy to see a social revolution” in the Islamic Republic. But could the U.S. and Israel more aggressively promote regime change in Iran through supporting dissident minority groups, including by arming them?
The recent moves at the U.N. by the PA and the PLO mark the latest use of rejectionism as a tool in the Palestinian arsenal of diplomatic warfare against Israel—and now the U.S. While terrorism is rightly condemned and fought around the world, Palestinian rejectionism, though equally damaging, is not. Those who want peace, stability and security for all people must fight rejectionism as they do terrorism, writes attorney Richard D. Heideman.
Leaders of several major American Jewish organizations told JNS they support the Israeli government’s decision to prevent the entry of foreign citizens who promote boycotts of Israel. Rebecca Vilkomerson, director of the barred group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), described the Israeli ban as “bullying.” But Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said JVP’s complaint “is the height of hypocrisy given their tactics,” referring to incidents in which JVP activists have harassed pro-Israel speakers.
At the start of 2018, a purportedly emboldened Israeli right initiated political measures that seemingly enhance Israel’s sovereignty in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. While the mainstream press, led by The New York Times, branded the moves as “annexation” and “apartheid,” legal expert Avi Bell told JNS that the Israeli initiatives are almost entirely symbolic and have “no meaningful legal consequences.”
You know that critics of Israel are getting panicky when they start trotting out the old “one state” bogeyman. “As a 2-State Solution Loses Steam, a 1-State Plan Gains Traction,” a New York Times headline announced on Jan. 5, above an article so palpably absurd that it can only reflect the mad panic among advocates of Palestinian statehood as they see their dream fading away. And the fact that The Times chose to make it page one news says a lot about the fearful mindset among the left-wing news media, Israel-bashing pundits and Jewish peace camp types, writes JNS columnist Stephen M. Flatow.
Many major Jewish groups are expressing support for the idea of reducing U.S. aid to the Palestinians after President Donald Trump mentioned the possibility of a cut. Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told JNS that the Palestinian Authority “has proven tone deaf to every previous U.S. warning about its actions, so perhaps some reduction in aid would finally get its attention.”
President Donald Trump has not shied away from challenging conventional stances on domestic and international issues. Will Trump’s approach extend to U.S. funding for UNRWA, the United Nations refugee agency that is solely dedicated to the Palestinians? “The original intent of American foreign policy [on UNRWA] was resettlement, repatriation and reintegration [of Palestinian refugees]. On all three accounts we have failed,” Asaf Romirowsky, executive director of the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East nonprofit, told JNS.
You don’t have to be supporter of President Donald Trump to understand that he is right to demand that if the Palestinians want U.S. money they must, at the very least, come back to the negotiating table and cease funding and fomenting terror. It isn’t so much a case of “America First” to demand that recipients of U.S. largesse cooperate with U.S. policy, as it is one of common sense, writes JNS Editor in Chief Jonathan S. Tobin.
A Dec. 30 feature in The New York Times identifies Lebanon as perhaps the “one exception” in a region hostile to its LGBT citizens. The article completely ignores Israel, the only Mideast country where gay rights are legally protected. When it comes to The Times’s Israel coverage, readers should expect neither facts nor understanding, writes Tamar Sternthal, director of the CAMERA media watchdog's Israel office.
For many, the IDF lone soldier experience is a family affair. Stacie Stufflebeam of Pittsburgh—whose four sons are a mix of past, current and future lone soldiers—says, “These kids reach a level of maturity that American kids just don’t.” Rabbi Ari Korenblit of New York, a father of three lone soldiers, says, “There is such a powerful sense of fulfillment, and still the reaction of a parent whose child is potentially in harm’s way. What helps me sleep at night is faith.”
The Reform movement has started to retreat from its opposition to the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. On Dec. 6, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) expressed “serious concern” about the recognition. But on Dec. 22, the URJ publicly denounced the U.N. for condemning Trump’s decision. Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, former executive director of the Association of Reform Zionists of America, told JNS that the Reform movement “is now supportive of what I believe should have been our position from the beginning.”
President Donald Trump’s recent announcement on Jerusalem did not happen in a vacuum or come out of nowhere. It did not happen solely because of Jewish influence, either. It happened because millions of good Christians in America urged the president to do so, writes Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.