There is a tendency in some
publications for the Oped section to become the ‘complaint and critique’
section of a newspaper; a space to bash politicians and rag on whatever
the commentator doesn’t like in his or her daily life. This is an
unfortunate tendency since an idea is not a euphemism for a critique.
That trains don’t run on time is a problem, pointing it out without
proposing a solution is simply stating the obvious. At the Post we
strive to provide a section that is more than just stating the obvious,
hopefully we are living up to that goal.
Ryan was the name to watch last week, especially for Americans. Mitt
Romney’s vice-presidential running mate became a lightning rod for
debate. A reader of Ayn Rand and a fan of ‘Rage Against the Machine’ we
ran a page debating the pick. Columnist Michael Freund argued that “he
is a strong and dependable supporter of Israel.” Douglas Bloomfield
played down attacks on Romney. That didn’t stop Senator Frank
Lautenberg from writing a scathing indictment of the GOP for ‘playing
politics with Israel’.
came in for a lambasting as well. In the West the word ‘civics’
conjures up people in smoking jackets with pipes because it seems like a
word that belongs alongside “rhetoric” in an old Oxford classroom. But
in Israel what is called civics is actually translated as
“citizenship.” It is supposed to teach people about government and the
citizen’s rights, but in recent years it has become the political
playground of interest groups who seek to dominate education in high
school and foist opinions, about such things as the ‘Nakba’ or army
service, on impressionable minds. Susan Hattis Rolef and David Newman,
both columnists, wrote about how the right is attempting to control
civic. On the other side of the coin was Knesset member Alex Miller and
writer Michael Widlanski, arguing that left wing notions are attempting
to re-write Israel’s history.
foreign friends were also in the pages of opinion. Rafael Medoff of the
David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust studies wrote about a return to
the bad old days of American critique of Israel’s policies, when James
Baker famously said “f… the Jews, they don’t vote for us.” Ben Levitas,
a community leader in South Africa wrote about how South Africa has
become “unabashedly one sided” in its anti-Israel stance in recent
years. Ilya Meyer, deputy chairman of the Sweden-Israel friendship
association chimed in about the latest “Scandinavian stunt” in which
some Nordic do-gooders are sailing a ship to Gaza. The story here comes
amidst a backdrop of mass state-sponsored killings in Syria. If, in
past year, one wondered why human rights abuses in the region don’t’
merit European attention, now one can see that even when tens of
thousands are dead in Syria, that the ships of “human rights activists”
still set sail for Gaza. It also comes against the backdrop of a
“kippa-walk” in Malmo where Jews are marching with yarmulkes to protest
anti-Jewish discrimination and attacks.
week that was also had a well written oped by Danny Ayalon, Israel’s
deputy minister of foreign affairs, writing about the continued ham
handedness of the International Olympic Committee towards Israel’s
Munich athletes, who were massacred in 1972.
a new week begins it is worth remembering that Ramadan ends this Sunday
night. Khaled Diab, an Egyptian journalist based in Jerusalem, wrote
an interesting contribution about the benefits of fasting. At the same
time Richard Schwartz explained that Jewish law also includes a
celebration of the life of animals, which might make us consider
becoming vegetarians. For those of us who love meat, the
“meatetarians”, it goes without saying that a life without meat is akin
to a life of fasting. Healthy living, to be sure.