The IDF has released footage of the Monday raid on the "Free Gaza" flotilla, which depicted the activists upon the ship attacking soldiers with various weapons. One of the IDF soldiers said that the attack "looked like the Ramallah lynch." (Email subscribers can click here)
UPDATE: a new IDF video showing the same events from a different vantage point: http://www.youtube.com/user/idfnadesk
Jews will never prove themselves moral by seeking refuge from their struggle behind the banner of liberalism. But liberalism assuredly will be judged by whether it can protect the Jews.
Noah Pollak, in his compelling COMMENTARY essay, “Peter Beinart and the Destruction of Liberal Zionism,” demonstrates that the failure of the “peace process” – which produced successive wars after successive Israeli withdrawals in the name of peace -- has been “not Israel’s but liberalism’s.” It is essential reading.
Pollak is withering in his response to Beinart’s statement that his article criticizing Jewish organizations for their support of Israel was “the hardest thing I’ve ever written:”
Please. . . . there are few postures today from which it is more comfortable and advantageous to call out one’s anguish and concern than as a Jewish critic of Israel. …
How hard it must be for Beinart to ally with his employer, the New America Foundation, and Haaretz, Americans for Peace Now, the Israel Policy Forum, the New York Review of Books, the Nation magazine, the New York Times editorial and op-ed pages, Time magazine, the American Conservative, the American Prospect, Mother Jones, the entirety of the British and European media, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, B'tselem, J Street, J Call, the New Israel Fund, Richard Goldstone, the UN Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly, the European Union, the British Foreign Office, the European Council, scores of NGOs, Walt and Mearsheimer, Tom Segev, Avi Shlaim, Tony Judt, Tel Aviv University, every Middle East Studies department, George Soros, the Ford Foundation, Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter, Andrew Sullivan, Noam Chomsky, Mondoweiss, and ... well, you get the picture.
The sad truth is that Peter Beinart isn't any kind of trailblazer or whistleblower, and he most certainly has not earned himself any trouble by coming out as an Israel-basher. … In Beinart’s work, we are not witnessing an act of courage but rather a spectacle of conformity.
He is no trailblazer; he is retracing the well-worn path that Ruth Wisse described two decades ago, and complimenting himself for doing so.
David Hartman, founding president of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, writes that Shavuot -- the celebration of receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai that begins this evening -- can best be understood through Abraham’s argument with God about the fate of Sodom:
Upon considering the destruction of the city, God asks Himself, “Can I hide from Abraham that which I am about to do?” (Genesis 18:17) This is the rhetorical question of a God who has conceived of Abraham as a full partner . . .
[W]hen confronted with God’s plan for Sodom, Abraham articulates a highly developed argument. He tells God, “Far be it for You to do such a thing. To bring death upon the innocent as well as the guilty so the innocent and guilty fare alike.”. . . The text then continues as Abraham “bargains” God down to saving the city if just ten righteous people can be found. . . . The most crucial part of this narrative . . . is that God allows Abraham to continue. . . .
The covenant is often understood as God’s promise to watch over Israel and Israel’s promise to be obedient to God’s law; that’s the final chapter in Leviticus. I propose using it in a different way. From Abraham we learn that it is the very essence of the covenant to empower us, to allow us to trust our own moral convictions – and our ability to act. The covenant tells us to stand on our own two feet and not to wait patiently for God to save us. . . .
The covenant means we follow the Talmudic precedent Lo b’shamaim hi, that the Torah is not in heaven. That is the great achievement of the Zionist revolution. . . . Zionism extended the covenantal tradition of empowerment and marked the rejection of passivity as the hallmark of religious life. . . . This Shavuot, as we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Sinai, we should pause to consider the covenantal relationship that Sinai represents. Understanding our relationship with the divine begins with understanding our covenant with Him: a covenant that presents us with a world that is waiting to be shaped by human initiative and action.
American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism) held its sixtieth annual commencement exercises today, awarding an honorary degree to Dr. Steven B. Sample, the president of the University of Southern California, who delivered the Commencement Address.
Dr. Sample began his address by recounting how he became known as the only Episcopalian shofar-player in Los Angeles, and then ventured into one of the more risky operations these days for a non-Jewish speaker: telling a Jewish joke to a Jewish audience. In contrast to General Jim Jones' unfortunate experience, Dr. Sample killed:
The rest of his speech was equally well-received. Here is its conclusion, which covers the third of the three questions he suggested the graduates would need to address in life: How do you feel about God?
Today is Jerusalem Day, a celebration of the re-unification of the city, whose holy sites have been protected and open to people of all religions since 1967 (unlike the 19 years before under Arab rule). Here is a 1:40 minute video worth watching on this day:
Email subscribers to JCI can find the video by clicking here.
The Jewish Journal live-streamed the Bloggers Panel on the New and Old Media from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles last night (click on the link for the video).
The program was introduced by Doris Wise Montrose of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, which organized the event. Jim Hoft live-blogged it while sitting on the panel and had a complete post on it at Gateway Pundit within a couple hours after the event. It was the new media covering the new media, in real time, while being live-streamed by the new media arm of the mainstream Jewish media, in an event made possible by the extraordinary efforts of CJHS, an online organization.
It was not only an interesting discussion but a demonstration of the power of the new media.
Front (Bloggers) Row: Jim Hoft, Daniel Greenfield, J.E. Dyer, Rick Richman and Omri Ceren.
Back Row: the remarkable CJHS board: Tita Dobson, Brad Smulson, Eileen Smulson, Jeff Marcus, Doris Wise Montrose.
Avigdor Arikha (1929-2010) died in Paris last week at age 81.
His painting “Summer Day, Indoors” (1991) is an example of what art critic David Cohen, writing this week at The New York Sun, calls a “poise and understatement” that produced paintings “infused with light and light in touch” -- coming out of a lifetime forged in darkness.
The following is from Cohen’s May 4 appreciation in The Sun:
Arikha was the supreme marvel of Israeli art, despite having only ever lived in the promised land for five years, in his youth. A survivor of Nazi labor camps and an arduous wartime trek to Palestine (his drawings, shown to a Red Cross delegation, secured his and his mother’s release — his father was later murdered), Arikha fought in Israel’s War of Independence and was given up for dead from injuries sustained. His reward was his cherished dream: to study in Paris.
There he excelled in an abstract idiom which brought him early success, but with characteristic obstinacy and conviction, he went against the grain and back to basics, drawing, painting, and etching still lifes, people who were close to him (including his friend and mentor Samuel Beckett in a series of penetrating portraits) and the book-lined Montparnasse atelier he made his home. Later he bought property in Jerusalem, capturing the Judean hills in charcoal studies of economy and precision.
His style was unmistakable yet free of obvious mannerism, deriving its unique stamp from frankness of vision and honesty of touch. He could capture what was specific and peculiar about such overlooked motifs as the sheen of plastic in a bag of produce as readily as the singular presence of his wife, American poet Anne Atik, his daughters, or such celebrated sitters as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Alec Douglas-Home or Catherine Deneuve. Also a scholar and curator renowned for his insights into Poussin, Ingres and others, he was a feisty critic of conservation excesses and a champion of access to natural light in museums. A rare light has gone out with Arikha though it is undiminished in his work.