Forward Forum


Clues and Illusions

Now that “The Passion of the Christ” has passed the $200 million mark and moved into blockbuster territory, it’s fair to step back and marvel at Mel Gibson’s mastery of the Hollywood art of spinning illusions.There is, of course, his making of a monster hit out of a movie filmed entirely in dead languages. But that’s the least of it.Read More


Shaking Up the Arab World

By Osama Al-Ghazali Harb

It is not difficult to understand why last year’s invasion of Iraq has had the impact of an earthquake on the Middle East, with tremors and aftershocks spreading from the epicenter in Baghdad throughout the entire Arab world. In the first place, Baghdad has a unique and special significance in Arab history and culture totally unrivaledRead More


Israel’s Missed Opportunities

By Yossi Alpher

The countdown to the Iraq war was marked by grand pronouncements on the part of both its boosters and its detractors regarding its potential impact on Israel. Some backers of the war suggested that removing Saddam Hussein from power would have a transformative impact on the Middle East — helping pave the way for regime change in Damascus andRead More


Beginning Anew After Decades Of Tyranny

By Ahmed H. Al-Rahim

As American casualties in Iraq mount and suicide bombings grow ever more horrific, many Americans are asking whether the war to remove Saddam Hussein from power was worth its costs. We should remember to factor into our calculations, however, the fact that for Iraqis the war brought an end to decades of tyranny. We also shouldn’t lose sight ofRead More


Acknowledge Differences To Heal Trans-Atlantic Rift

By Guillaume Parmentier

The Iraq war marked a low point for the trans-Atlantic alliance. One year later, the rift between America and Europe remains wide. Some observers have ascribed the tensions that erupted during the Iraq crisis to the aggressive foreign policy of the Bush administration or the difficult behavior of European leaders. But in reality the roots of theRead More


Mel Gibson’s Cross of Vengeance

By Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

I have often thought but kept to myself what a gruesome thing they are, traditional crucifixes, each one with the likeness of a mangled, agonized body affixed cruelly to it. I sometimes wondered, even as a child, what kind of a religion would want children to look at an image of a suffering, dying or dead man, with nails piercing his hands. WhatRead More


The Bishops’ Cop-Out

By Michael J. Cook

I n April 2003, I was invited, along with four Roman Catholic and two other Jewish scholars, by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs to offer a confidential assessment of a script for Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” that was to be sent to the filmmaker. There was concern at theRead More


Making Trade Work for Workers

By Harley Shaiken

To the surprise of many observers, trade and its impact on American workers emerged as a central issue in this year’s Democratic primaries. The apparent Democratic presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry, would do well to carry this focus over into the general election, because when it comes to the challenges that the global economy presents toRead More


An Acquired Iraq Complex

By Leonard Fein

The history of American intervention and non-intervention abroad is rather inglorious. Within recent memory, there’s Vietnam, warranted by a flawed domino theory and a resolution (The Gulf of Tonkin) that defrauded the United States Congress, a war riddled with misinformation, disinformation and outright lies. A gunboat or two off the coast at…Read More


A Matter of Comfort or Right? Gay Marriage: An Exchange

In his February 13 column “Communal Confusion,” the Forward’s David Klinghoffer took aim at Jewish groups that back gay marriage. Klinghoffer argued that the Torah’s disapproval of homosexuality is clear, and that on gay issues these Jewish groups have privileged an alternative set of values over Judaism. “The reigning valueRead More





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  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
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  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
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  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
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