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That is why both Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke as forcefully on behalf of a two-state solution as they did in Annapolis -- as, not incidentally, did Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as well. Now comes the hard part, the part so filled with trip wires. Already in Israel, the naysayers are shouting from the rooftops, and the admirable resolve that was on such vivid display in Annapolis seems to be receding. The stakes, this time around, are enormous: Failure to move responsibly toward a two-state agreement would likely consign the idea to the ash heap of history and ensure a future not less bloody than the past. That is a haunting specter; its implications should weigh heavily on the attitude of all those who hold Israel dear.
We\'re told, these days, that the situation in Darfur is not as simple as we supposed a year or two ago. There, too, ambiguity. But it is not acceptable to be immobilized by ambiguity, not when women are being raped, children starved, people driven from their homes, routinely slaughtered. Much of life is inherently ambiguous. Yet, if not now, when? Else it will never end.
Yes, El Salvador. Not exactly (or even approximately) a tourist mecca, but a mecca of sorts to delegations organized by American Jewish World Service (AJWS), a rapidly growing and growingly effective organization devoted to connecting Jews and Judaism to the developing world.
There is a gathering hysteria in the American Jewish community that is dangerously self-destructive. Life as a Jew these days may not be -- is not -- a bed of roses, but neither is it a bed of thorns. Yet to hear some in our community tell it, thorns are all there are. Consider: George Soros, the multibillionaire and philanthropist, spoke on Nov. 5 to a meeting of the Jewish Funders Network. In response to a question about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, he responded that \"the policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that.\" Can there be any doubt that he is right?
The conventional explanation for Israel\'s more controversial measures, including, in particular, the security fence under construction and the new marriage law passed by the Knesset, is that these are responses to the ongoing conflict.
What have our military expenditures to do with the state of the states? After all, we are a long way from the guns vs. butter arguments, when we used to show how many new schools or hospitals could be built for the cost of one new aircraft carrier.
The rituals are familiar by now. The sudden bulletins; the footage of chaos and shock and devastation; the anxious wait for the casualty list; the statements of condemnation; the statements of justification; the insane competition over who gets the \"credit;\" the haunting search for the tiniest bits of remains; the funerals; and the reprisal. And here, the community rallies, new missions are announced, once again we\'re told that \"now more than ever\" our solidarity is needed, we hunker down. And then the wait begins again, for though the other shoe has dropped, there is another, and another. This conflict is no two-legged monster, it is a damned centipede and we are nowhere near its end. Not for nothing is this called \"terrorism.\"
Scholars will doubtless continue to debate Franklin Roosevelt\'s actions -- and inaction -- regarding the Holocaust. What did he know? When did he know it? Didn\'t he care, or did he really believe that the best and quickest way to help the Jews was, as he repeatedly argued, to win the war?
Rose Freedman has died. Her death at 107 years of age has been widely noted, for Freedman was the last living survivor of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Co. fire, a calamity that claimed 146 lives. Just months ago, she was featured in a PBS documentary, \"The Living Century,\" which told not only of her experience 90 years ago, but also of the remarkable life she led thereafter. That life -- as The New York Times put it -- was both \"colorful and courageous,\" right up until her last days in her home in Beverly Hills.
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