“Find out if your girlfriend is a feminist before you get too far into it,” Phyllis Schlafly told assembled students at The Citadel military academy in April. “Some of them are pretty. They don’t all look like Bella Abzug.” This was April 2012—not, say, 1972, a more likely year to hear the late New York City congresswoman being used as feminism’s chief bogeywoman. As another Jewish feminist, Rebecca Traister, pointed out in The Washington Post, many in Schlafly’s student audience probably had only the faintest idea who she was talking about. That’s a shame, because Abzug, who died in 1998, is worth remembering in this election season. She flouted, unapologetically and in public, everything a woman was supposed to be. These days, between the enduring paucity of women in elected office, this year’s battles over reproductive rights and...
Eetta Prince-Gibson: Israel’s No-Win African Refugee Situation
In late May, protestors rioted against the tens of thousands of African migrant workers and asylum seekers living in south Tel Aviv. They attacked passersby, smashed cars and vandalized shops. Within two weeks, the government began a brutal campaign to deport refugees from South Sudan. Interior Minister Eli Yishai, orchestrating the expulsion, was widely quoted to have declared that Israel “belongs to the white man.” Soon, he promised, he will expel all the Africans in order to ensure “the Jewish character of the Jewish state.” With tiresome predictability, liberal pundits have taken up the usual refrain in response to such rhetoric, arguing that we, the people who experienced the Holocaust, should behave more morally, should remember what it means to be a refugee, should know where racism leads. The Internet is humming with references to pogroms, Kristallnacht...
Clifford D. May: Khamenei’s Sacred Word: Destroy Israel
There’s nothing wrong with negotiating with your enemies. There is something wrong if you don’t know that those sitting across the table from you are your enemies. Too many Americans, Europeans and even Israelis still don’t grasp that Iran’s rulers—not average Iranians, but those who wield power—believe it is their sacred obligation to destroy us. This is not some misunderstanding that can be resolved through outreach, diplomacy, engagement and “confidence-building measures.” It is at the core of their ideology and theology. We know this because they tell us, clearly and repeatedly. More Americans should understand this—and keep it in mind as the debate goes forward. Recently, representatives of the United States, the four other permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany—collectively known as the P5+1—have been negotiating with representatives of Iran’s government. These talks...
Naomi Ragen: Has Israel Lost Control Over the Iranian Situation?
On the sleepy afternoon of March 21, 2012, alarm sirens went off all over Jerusalem, sending me and my racing heart lunging toward our air raid shelter. Squeezed in among my neighbors, bags of old clothes and various bicycles, I found my mind wandering back to elementary school at the Hebrew Institute of Long Island. “Get down beneath your desks and cover your heads with your hands,” Mrs. Ganeles instructed us. It was the Cuban Missile Crisis. But I remember thinking even back then: This is ludicrous. Nothing is going to save us from that great white mushroom cloud. Being a Jew in Israel as Iran’s self-proclaimed genocidal regime methodically prepares its annihilation fantasy makes me feel like the lobster in the “How to cook a lobster” recipe: “First put the lobster into a large pot...
Marshall Breger: Why Jews Can’t Criticize Sharia Law
Similarities between Judaism and Islam are easy to see. Both are monotheistic religions for whom the Lord is One. Both are religions based on revelation. In both, law is central, and personal and social existence is governed by a divinely ordained legal system. There are also many obvious parallels between Judaism’s legal system, known as halacha, and the Islamic legal order of sharia law.
David Hazony: New Israel Elections are Around the Corner
Elections are in the air—and not just in the United States. In December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for early primaries in his Likud Party, a likely indicator that he may dissolve the Knesset sometime in 2012 and call a general election. The ball has begun to roll.
Gershom Gorenberg: Israel’s Democracy Needs Your Help
One bill in the Knesset is aimed at keeping human rights groups from filing suit before Israel’s Supreme Court. Another would bar mosques from using loudspeakers for the call to prayer; the supposed ban on noise pollution says nothing of church bells, sirens announcing the beginning of the Sabbath or music blasting out of clubs. Yet another bill aims at hobbling the press by drastically increasing what courts can award in libel suits, without requiring plaintiffs to prove they’ve suffered damages. These are only a few examples. A growing tide of anti-democratic legislation has been flooding the Knesset since the start of its current term in 2009. Each Knesset member who submits a new bill aimed against the Supreme Court, free speech, political dissent or the rights of the Arab minority provokes other legislators to translate...
Whither Israel’s Grand Strategies?
Mainstream Sunni Arab countries—traditionally adversaries of Israel—are now its potential allies in the struggle against Iran and militant Islam. One of the signal characteristics of Israel’s security thinking in the country’s early decades was its development of grand strategies—concepts for coordinating the nation’s resources toward attaining its existential objectives in war and peace. It would be hard to find another country anywhere that, starting from scratch, honed its strategic thinking to such a degree in order to deal with adversity. Beginning even before independence in 1948, David Ben-Gurion and a handful of aides and advisors sought to develop a series of concepts for overcoming the hostility of the entire Arab world. Judging by Israel’s triumph and rise to prosperity through the decades, they did a good job. Yet a brief reexamination of those original grand strategies (italicized below),...
Women Get the Front Seat
Israel’s High Court agreed that gender separation on Israeli public buses violated the principles of equality, individual rights and freedom of religion. In 2004, I embarked on what I thought was going to be a simple 30-minute bus ride from the center of Jerusalem to my home in Ramot. Instead, it became a dramatic seven-year journey sparked by a humiliating and threatening verbal battering from an ultra-Orthodox man after I adamantly rejected his unreasonable demands to give up my seat and move to the back of the bus. I am happy to relate that the ordeal ended in triumph in Israel’s Supreme Court this January. But it was a bumpy ride, traversing along the way some of the most urgent women’s rights issues in Israel today. In 2007, I became one of five Orthodox women who filed suit...
Born This Way
By Steven Philp According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University College London, people may hold certain political views simply because they were born that way. The survey of politicians and students found that there are marked structural differences in the brains of people with different political viewpoints. These differences were focused in two primary areas; participants with conservative political views generally have a larger amygdala, which regulates fear and related emotions, and a smaller anterior cingulate, which is associated with courage and optimism. In a Time Magazine article, lead researcher Professor Geraint Rees explains that the results were unexpected: “It is very surprising because it does suggest there is something about political attitude that is encoded in our brain structure through our experience or that there is something in our brain structure that...