Posts filed under Analysis

Encouraging signs in Israel’s efforts to directly engage with Arab population

Galvanized by common threats by Iran and Islamic extremism, Israel and the its fellow Sunni Muslim Arab states have seen an unexpected warming in relations in recent years. However, despite public and closed-door cooperation, Israel still remains deeply unpopular among the so-called “Arab street," writes contributor Ariel Ben Solomon.

Posted on September 14, 2017 and filed under Israel, Analysis, News.

Israel’s sights, sounds and tastes could be the recipe for defeating BDS

Could the taste of shakshuka or the sound of Mizrahi music be part of the recipe for defeating the BDS movement? A celebration of Israeli culture and history may not be enough to win over the hardcore anti-Zionist proponents of BDS. But a campaign that extols the beauty, diversity and goodness of Israel can be a more persuasive voice than the pro-BDS arguments whispered in the ears of those who are on the fence about the issue, writes Bridget Johnson.

Posted on May 26, 2017 and filed under Analysis.

Will Iran’s looming election provide a glimpse into the Islamic Republic’s future?

Iran is scheduled to hold its next presidential election May 19, with incumbent President Hassan Rouhani seeking a second four-year term. Though he handily won the presidency in a landslide in 2013 and forged Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, Rouhani faces stiff challenges from several other candidates this time around as many Iranians have become dismayed with the country's slumping economy. 

Posted on April 17, 2017 and filed under Analysis, News, World.

US action against genocide: a brief guide

President Donald Trump’s missile strike against Syria inaugurates a new chapter in the long and controversial history of American responses—and sometimes non-responses—to mass murder around the world. Historian Rafael Medoff recounts the U.S. approach to episodes including Islamic State, Libya, Darfur, Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, the Holocaust and Armenia.

Posted on April 7, 2017 and filed under Analysis, News, U.S., World.

In era of Trump and Iran deal, AIPAC conference an exercise in managing reality

In recent years, the AIPAC lobby’s policy conferences have centered on hot-button issues such as the emerging and later finalized Iran nuclear deal, tension between the Obama administration and Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech to Congress, and the surprising rise of candidate and now President Donald Trump. For the 2017 iteration of arguably the world’s largest annual pro-Israel gathering, the issues remained sensitive, but reality set in. The Iran deal and a Trump presidency have become facts of life, albeit highly contested ones. The Obama era has come and gone. The discourse on AIPAC’s flagship issue—the U.S.-Israel relationship and its associated priorities—has shifted from changing or creating reality, to managing reality.

Posted on March 27, 2017 and filed under Analysis, News, Israel, U.S..

Orthodox Union formalizes greater roles for women in synagogue life

The Orthodox Union (OU) this week issued an unprecedented statement announcing the establishment of a far-reaching policy regarding women and leadership positions in synagogue life. Citing extensive research by a rabbinic commission, the OU concluded that its member synagogues may not employ women as rabbis, but strongly encouraged other types of leadership positions for women. In addition to stating outright that women can and should teach Torah, including on advanced and sophisticated levels, the OU statement also encourages women to lecture on Torah topics and share Torah insights; to assume communally significant roles in pastoral counseling, in bikur cholim (visiting the sick), in community outreach to the religiously affiliated and unaffiliated, and in youth programming; and to advise on issues of family purity, in conjunction with local rabbinic authorities.

Posted on February 3, 2017 and filed under Analysis, Features, Jewish Life.

What Florida teaches us about Jewish support for Donald Trump

The early returns on the Jewish vote in 2016 showed 24-percent support for President-elect Donald Trump and 71 percent for Hillary Clinton. In 2012, President Barack Obama garnered 69 percent of Jewish votes and GOP nominee Mitt Romney won 30 percent. Given the wild card of Obama’s tumultuous relationship with Israel, a more accurate understanding of the Jewish vote in 2016 is yielded by discounting the 2012 election. The new calculus reveals a potentially strong Jewish vote for Trump—and that analysis is supported by Florida, a hotly contested state that Clinton was favored to win but ultimately lost, writes Lori Lowenthal Marcus.

Posted on November 11, 2016 and filed under Analysis, Opinion, U.S..

The decisions facing Donald Trump

A Donald Trump administration embrace of Israel may gravely deepen the divide among American Jews and make it infinitely harder to sustain support for Israel as a bipartisan principle. A situation in which opposition to Israel is an integral component of the opposition to Trump should not be welcomed by anyone who cares about American-Israeli relations. These are the realities that, when the gloating stops, Trump and his acolytes will have to deal with. Let us hope, however forlornly, that wisdom will be their guide, writes columnist Ben Cohen in his analysis of the 2016 presidential election.

Posted on November 9, 2016 and filed under Analysis, Opinion, Israel, U.S..

Does the U.S.-Israel military aid deal put to rest years of strained relations under Obama?

The United States and Israel made history on Wednesday signing the largest ever military assistance package between the two allies. The agreement was hailed by many as a means to ensure the Jewish state will securely meet the challenges of a dangerous and unstable Middle East over the next decade. However, after years of seemingly strained relations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, does the deal sweep aside this history as Obama’s term in office comes to an end?

Posted on September 15, 2016 and filed under Analysis, News.

Experts: Iran’s decision to fortify Fordo nuke site with S-300 missiles is ‘very peculiar’

On Aug. 28, Iranian state television broadcast live images of Russian-made, highly advance S-300 surface-to-air missiles being transported by trucks to the Fordo nuclear facility south of Tehran. The move by Iran to further fortify one of its most secretive nuclear sites has led to questions over its intentions at the site, while also raising doubts about their commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran nuclear deal that was agreed to by Iran and the world powers last July.

Posted on September 2, 2016 and filed under News, Analysis, World.

Are Trump’s grass roots Jewish supporters the election’s dark horse?

With the Nov. 8 Presidential election just months away, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump are pulling out all the stops to win over as many key demographic groups as they can. Outside the official channels, a group of grass roots Trump supporters are seeking to make their own impact on the election and promise not to remain silent when it comes to Israel’s security and future.

Posted on August 26, 2016 and filed under Analysis, Israel, News, U.S..

Russia, Israel and Iran: Syrian conflict creates adverse strategic triangle

Russia’s unprecedented move last week of dispatching warplanes to bomb targets in Syria through an Iranian airbase may have Israeli officials worried. The move shows growing cooperation between Russia and Iran, Israel’s biggest foe in the Middle East in recent years, and a regime that, like Russia, has been working to maintain the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Could Russia’s apparent growing closeness to Iran affect its growing relationship with Israel?

Posted on August 22, 2016 and filed under Analysis, Israel, World.

Will Temple Mount tensions yet again strain Israeli-Jordanian relations?

Jordan’s King Abdullah II vowed to fight against repeated violations and attacks carried out by Israel and extremist groups on the Temple Mount complex, according to an interview in the Jordanian daily Ad-Dustour last week. The Jordanian king claimed that Israel was seeking to “Judaize” the holy site and was attempting to "violate the sanctity and compromise al-Aksa Mosque. These comments may signal a deepening strain in relations between Israel and Jordan, one of only two Arab states that has a peace treaty with the Jewish state. 

Posted on August 22, 2016 and filed under Analysis, Conflict, Israel.