Monthly Archives: July 2008

Jewish/Latino Relations the Next Issue?

As much as everyone is talking about Jewish/African-American relations these days, The Jerusalem Post blog presents an interesting new angle. Maybe Jewish/African-American relations in fact isn’t as critical an issue this election cycle as everyone believes.

Maybe the real issue is a reconciliation of Jewish and Latino communities.

Before Sen. Barack Obama’s trip to Israel, columnist Samuel Friedman wrote: Continue reading

Washington Post Reports On Arab States’ Unfulfilled Aid

Despite the controversial prisoner swap two weeks ago and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s ongoing trial, this has been a relatively quiet summer of Israeli news coverage in American papers.

Surely this is because of the ongoing, if shaky, cease-fire. Although we all have our own opinions of Israeli politics (and it isn’t for us at Moment to editorialize), certainly we can all agree that it is nice to see articles about anything other than acts of violence.

Without having to run around the scenes of bombings or shootouts, reporters have time to write more in-depth, wide-lensed stories. For example, the Post ran diplomatic correspondent Glenn Kessler’s article about Arab states’ unfulfilled aid to Palestinians. (Also see the graphic that ran alongside.) Continue reading

Sderot and the Negev: The Strength of the Israeli Spirit

Placing his hand on the walls of the Kotel during his short visit to Jerusalem, Sen. Barack Obama shared his hopeful spirits with the people of Israel. In Sderot, the Amar family, the same host family to welcome Sen. John McCain back in March, was impressed by Obama’s optimism and wants to see him as the next president because of a certain promise. “[He] said if he did become president, I would be among his first guests in the White House,” Pinhas Amar said, adding: “Obama has this personal charm, and it looks like it’s going to get him elected.”

Obama reciprocated the warm reception and the gracious remarks of the Moroccan Jewish family, calling them an “example of the resilience of the people of Sderot and the people of Israel.”

The resilience he referred to is unquestionable. Continue reading

World Cup 2018 in Israel-Palestine?

Guardian writer James Montague has done some serious homework in laying out the possibility of a 2018 World Cup hosted by both Israel and Palestine (see video above).

Israeli filmmaker Eytan Heller and the international NGO OneVoice are behind the bid, which proposes games in Ramallah, Tulkarem and Gaza in Palestine, and Haifa, Tel Aviv and Mitzpe Ramon in Israel.

It’s a wistful sort of bid, but its advocates believe it could help push the two sides towards peace. After all, Japan and Korea used to be enemies, and they co-hosted the 2002 World Cup.

Says Montague:

Heller is realistic that a joint Israel Palestine bid for the World Cup is a long shot, but he believes that even the slimmest of chances is still a chance. “The chances are very small, yes,” Heller admitted. “The campaign is more aimed at lighting a match and sparking a different vision. This is the end result of a long-term vision, but there are prerequisites and preconditions. Hosting the World Cup is a dream, but why not? We should be there when the decision is made [in 2011].”

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

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Obama’s Message at the Kotel

Controversy has erupted regarding Sen. Barack Obama’s recent trip to Israel, because an Israeli newspaper, Ma’ariv, published the note Obama put in the Kotel.

Many people, including the staff of Yedihot Aharonot, a newspaper that also obtained Obama’s note but decided not to publish it, feel that making Obama’s note public ruins the private, spiritual nature of placing a personal prayer in Judaism’s holiest site.

Western Wall rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz and others have criticized the note’s publicity. According to AP, Rabinovitz told Army Radio, “The notes placed between the stones of the Western Wall are between a person and his maker. It is forbidden to read them or make any use of them.” Rabiovitz also said the publication “damages the Western Wall and damages the personal, deep part of every one of us that we keep to ourselves.”

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

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Jews with Tattoos

Next time you place judgment on your old Sunday School friend who decided to get inked in college, or find it oxymoronic that your friend’s father has a Jewish star tattooed on his forearm, think again. The New York Times published an article this week on tattooed Jews, playfully titled For Some Jews, It Only Sounds Like ‘Taboo.’

The story blows the lid on a myth that has been incorporated into mainstream culture and allowed decades of parents and grandparents to condemn tattoos with the threat of exclusion from the family burial plot.

Josh Starr, a Maryland resident and a Junior at Stanford University, has always wanted a tattoo but feared religious and familial consequences. “Growing up, my parents always told me that if I got a tattoo I wouldn’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery. I guess I just accepted what they told me, I never thought to look into it.” Now that Josh and other young Jewish hipsters have read the article-don’t be surprised if you see more tattooed Jews. Continue reading

Beijing Olympics: Jewish Update

We are getting closer and closer to the Beijing Olympics next month, where all the Jews whose baseball teams have nothing left to play for will finally have summer sports worth watching again. In order to get you ready, we will have periodic updates on Israeli Olympic news.

First of all, NBC has some interesting coverage of Israel’s Olympic history and Beijing outlook. NBC says Israel “first competed in 1952 and has since missed only the 1980 Moscow Games, which it boycotted.”

Unfortunately, though, much of the most recent news has been negative.

An Israeli marathon runner was arrested earlier this week on fraud charges. He was released today. And earlier this month, U.S.-born Israeli swimmer Max Jaben tested positive for an anabolic steroid. Jaben is still hopeful the test will be disproved and he will be allowed to compete. Continue reading

F1 Chief Wins Suit Over Nazi Orgy

Perhaps you heard the vulgar story News of the World published a while back about Formula One chief Max Mosley—the son of British fascist Oswald Mosley, who was a friend of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s—and a nefarious orgy in which the participants purportedly play acted as Nazis.

Mosley sued the tabloid, and came out on top. At least one writer fears that the case represents a blow to all investigative journalism.

NPR says:

Mosley told the court he had an interest in sadomasochism going back 45 years, but said he found the idea of Nazi sex fantasies abhorrent. He said he and the women acted out a German prison scenario, with no Nazi overtones.

It certainly was a grotesque image, for everybody, and even though Mosley’s successful suit against the British tabloid was quite pricey for the media (≈$2 million), we are just happy that this whole thing looks to be over.


Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

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This Week’s Links

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

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Mob in Jerusalem Attacks Two Palestinians

Not long after Tuesday’s bulldozer attack, an Orthodox Jewish mob went after two Palestinians after a store dispute in Jerusalem, according to Ynet and The Jerusalem Post.

Click “more” to read excerpts from these stories. Continue reading