For many weeks, thousands of people have massed in public squares across the Arab world, protesting for democracy. Many of the largest gatherings have occurred on Friday, Islam’s day of public prayer, sometimes stretching past sunset and continuing the following day.
The protests have drawn young and old, religious and secular, men and women. But if an observant Jew wanted to attend a protest on Friday night or Saturday, what would halakha and Jewish values have to say?
Another day, another Jewish conspiracy.
And another smear campaign against Julian Assange?
It is a tradition of Washington advocacy conferences: After hearing from experts, debating with activists and getting pumped up — it’s time for participants to take their message to Capitol Hill.
This morning, J Street conference participants mounted the buses and left for more than 200 advocacy meetings in congressional offices. Some will get to meet their representatives, while others will sit with staff members and convey to them the J Street message.
Here’s a look at what else is going on in politics, culture and media.
Who gets to make Nazi comparisons? Billionaire George Soros, while slamming Fox News during an interview, used Holocaust imagery to warn of the dangers of the network. “They succeeded in — in Germany, where the Weimar Republic collapsed and you had a Nazi regime follow it,” Soros said of Fox News’ influence. Fox has been under pressure from the group Jewish Funds for Justice to prohibit Nazi comparisons or Holocaust imagery on air. But the group defended Soros’s comments, contending that his comments were misinterpreted and made a legitimate point. Not everyone saw this distinction. They “would rather play the hypocrite than to take on Soros for the same offense,” argued Jonathan S. Tobin in Commentary Magazine. Let’s just cut out these comparisons altogether, said Glynnis MacNicol at Business Insider. “I think we can safely say that much like none of these other things are like Nazis, neither is Fox News. Nazis are like Nazis.”
Officials from Comcast, which provides cable service to one-fifth of the homes in the United States, met today with representatives of Al Jazeera English (AJE) to discuss the possibility of adding the channel to the Comcast cable lineup. Currently, the 24-hour AJE is not available in most U.S. cable television markets. It is only offered in the United States through MHz Networks multicast channels on Comcast, Verizon Fios, and Cox to 2.4 million subscribers in Washington, D.C., Toledo, Ohio, and Burlington, Vermont.
Al Jazeera came to the meeting with momentum: The channel’s strong reporting on the protests in Egypt and Tunisia has resulted in more than 10 million people, including 3.5 million Americans, viewing the live feed on the AJE website in recent weeks. To boost support, the network is running ads in major newspapers including the New York Times and New York Post encouraging readers to “call your local cable operator to request AJE.”