October 24, 2018

Sunday Reads: Trump’s ‘oh, never mind’ foreign policy, Gaza close to breaking point, On Jews & the word ‘Jew’


Patrick Smith discusses Trump’s alternatives (or lack thereof) to accepting the Iran deal:

The nuclear deal’s most committed advocates never argued it was perfect. It isn’t. But it’s there for a long time, and Tehran’s sticking to it. Is it in U.S. interests to tell Iran it can restart a program with the potential to make nuclear warheads? Where’s the gain in such a move?

The only move that could be made with impunity is to renew the sanctions. But why would Trump play a bargaining chip this early in the game?

George Will takes a look at Trump’s “oh, never mind” foreign policy:

The notion that NATO is obsolete? That China is a currency manipulator? That he would eschew humanitarian interventions featuring high explosives? That the Export-Import Bank is mischievous? That Obamacare would be gone “on Day One”? That 11.5 million illegal immigrants would be gone in two years (almost 480,000 a month)? That the national debt would be gone in eight years (reducing about $2.4 trillion a year)? About these and other vows from the man whose supporters said “he tells it like it is,” he now tells them: Never mind.


Mazal Mualem explores the Israeli Labor party’s shift to an unapologetic leftist agenda:

On July 4, Israeli Labor will elect a new leader to take them to the next election. The most interesting and important phenomenon in this race is that each candidate is highlighting a diplomatic agenda based on that of former party chair and assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. For the first time in years, they are not trying to run away from attempts to brand them as “left.” In fact, quite the opposite is true.

Ariella Ringel-Hoffman takes a look at a disturbing showdown that took place this week between parents of fallen soldiers and Knesset members:

It looked like a street brawl, sounded like a street brawl and yielded the exact same fruit yielded by such brawls—great astonishment in light of what was going on, a heavy embarrassment, and mainly a bitter feeling of a missed opportunity. Zero achievements in an appropriate battle, which got lost in the commotion, even if the wild show ended with Ilan Sagi—the father of Sergeant Erez Sagi, who was killed in the operation—embracing Coalition Chairman David Bitan, who had screamed at him and called him a liar just an hour earlier.

Middle East

Former US ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman examines the anatomy of Erdogan’s counter-revolution:

Turkey is showing the world Hegel’s “cunning of reason” at work. Erdogan campaigned for a strengthened presidency on the grounds that he alone could provide stability for the country wracked by terror attacks, post-coup jitters, and the blowback of Syrian conflict. Instead, he has thrown into relief the deep divisions of a society riven by ethnic, confessional, and cultural differences. If he pushes too hard and too fast to implement his post-Kemalist vision in the months ahead, he may simply succeed in bringing the country to the brink of civil war. And that would make what is happening next door in Syria seem like a Sunday picnic in the park.

Avi Issacharoff believes Gaza is close to breaking point again:

All of this underlines why tension and frustration are growing in Gaza. Unemployment is sky high — 41.7% in Gaza as compared with 18.2% in the West Bank (Israel’s unemployment rate is approximately 4.3%). Monthly salaries for those who do have a job are low — 1,600 shekels (a little over $400), compared to 2,000 shekels ($550) in the West Bank. Poverty is everywhere. And now the power is down again.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what is going to happen, eventually, to this barrel of gunpowder.

Jewish World

Mark Oppenheimer writes about how Jews, in general, have an aversion for using the word “Jew”:

Like our non-Jewish friends, we Jews have been conditioned to think of a “Jew” as something bad. We will say, “Some really nice Jewish people moved in next door,” rather than, “Some really nice Jews moved in next door.” Trying to discern if someone is suitable dating material for a single, religious friend, we’ll ask, “Oh, is he Jewish?” but not, “Oh, is he a Jew?” To be “a real Christian” is a compliment, but to be “a real Jew” is considered an insult. “A real Jew” may be stingy, crass or pushy — whatever she is, it’s not good.

The Israel Story podcast talks to Israeli author Lizzie Doron about her experience growing up with parents who are Holocaust survivors:

For Yom HaShoah, Israel Story brings us the story of Lizzie Doron, an Israeli author who was born in Tel Aviv in the early 1950s. Like many others of her generation growing up with parents who were Holocaust survivors, Doron had a childhood filled with silence. Her questions about the family’s past were, more often than not, left unanswered or ignored. So, in a neighborhood where traumatic memories were relived on a nightly basis, she had to fill in the blanks of her own story imaginatively. And in her mind, Doron wasn’t alone. There was always someone there, looking out for her, looking at her.