International News


The Life, Death and Judaica of a Russian Oligarch

By Gal Beckerman

Like everything else about his colorful life — which ended abruptly and violently in a hail of bullets on a Moscow street in early November — Shabtai von Kalmanovic’s large collection of Judaica has been both shrouded in mystery and subject to exaggeration.Read More


Tariq Ramadan Gets a Hero’s Welcome, and Cold Shoulders, at Religion Scholars Confab

By Allan Nadler

Swiss-born Muslim scholar and public intellectual Tariq Ramadan has for decades been a lightning rod for controversy. He was barred from entry to America by the Patriot Act’s “ideological exclusion provision,” and then on account of his financial contributions to two Hamas charities. Even so, he took center stage at the American Academy of Religion’s annual conference, this year held in Montreal — allowing him to attend.Read More


U.S. Eases Pressure on Israel, Leans On Palestinians

By Nathan Guttman

Relations between Washington and Jerusalem are warming, as months-long tensions over West Bank settlements and other issues have gradually eased.Read More


HIAS Still Aids Immigrants, but Most Don’t Resemble Sergey Brin

By Gal Beckerman

When Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google and now the 26th richest man in the world, left the Soviet Union as a 6-year-old Jewish refugee in 1979, it was the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society that secured American visas for him and for his family and settled everyone into a new home.Read More


Human Rights Watch Debates Its Mission With a Founding Critic

By Gal Beckerman

When Human Rights Watch’s founder took to the op-ed page of The New York Times to denounce his own organization’s record on Israel, he provided powerful validation to critics who have been stepping up their attacks on the human rights group over the past year. “I must do something that I never anticipated: I must publicly join the group’s critics,” wrote the former chairman and acknowledged father of HRW, Robert Bernstein.Read More


Arms Smugglers Into Gaza Face a New Foe: Egypt

By Nathan Jeffay

As a consequence of the military action in Gaza and to please a new administration in Washington, Egypt has recently stepped up efforts to crack down on smugglers who use a network of tunnels to transport weapons to Hamas.Read More


Wexler Leaving Congress For Middle East Job

By Nathan Guttman

A prominent Jewish lawmaker representing one of the nation’s most highly populated Jewish districts surprised his constituents and his colleagues by announcing that he is leaving Congress to head a think tank that focuses on promoting Middle East peace.Read More


Activists Skeptical About Diplomacy With Iran

By Nathan Guttman

Reports on progress made in recent diplomatic talks with Iran have left some Jewish activists playing a kind of Greek chorus, expressing skepticism on the sidelines while not interrupting the ongoing drama.Read More


'Nice Jewish Girl' at Gitmo

By Nathan Guttman

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The 21-year old Marine is the only known Jewish guard at the camp that houses Al Qaeda terror suspects. While the camp’s name is widely synonymous with U.S. abuse of power in the war on terror, Atani is proud of her mission there, and believes it reflects her Jewish values.Read More


Vatican’s New Defense on Child Molestation Charges: Finger-pointing

By Rebecca Dube

The Jews and Protestants are worse. That appears to be the Vatican’s newest defense of its ongoing child sex-abuse scandal.Read More





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  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "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?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "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?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
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