New Angles/Old Topics
By Symi Rom-Rymer
The recent flotilla fiasco has unleashed a torrent of articles about Jews, Israel, Zionism, and any semi-related topic. Buried beneath the information overload, it has been difficult to pinpoint articles that truly have something new to offer. But here are some that have stood out for me:
The first is an op-ed that appeared in Le Monde this week. Written by Gilles Bernheim, France’s Chief Rabbi, he explores what happens when disparate religious and ethnic groups must share the same land and figure out how to live peacefully side-by-side. While his focus is France, with little effort one can see echoes of advice for those mired in the Middle East conflict.
The second is a piece in the Deutche Welle that looks at the flotilla incident from a European geo-political perspective. The author, Bahaeddin Guengoer, explores what Turkey–and the EU–stands to lose should it join the anti-Israel chorus. I found this piece particularly interesting because it reminds us of Turkey’s important role as moderator in the Middle East—something that has often been ignored in recent weeks.
Lastly, Michael Chabon came out with an op-ed this past Sunday aimed at smashing Jews’ inflated perceptions of themselves. Because we refuse to see ourselves as ordinary mortals, he argued, we have a difficult time accepting and admitting when we act like “blockheads.” Which Chabon assures us we do–with the same regularity as everybody else. Whether or not you agree with his premise, it’s worth reading for the prose alone.
Symi Rom-Rymer writes and blogs about Jewish and Muslim communities in the US and Europe. She has been published in JTA, The Christian Science Monitor and Jewcy.