The op-ed section of a newspaper or news site should provide a forum for debate and ideas; it should be a place that serves as a sifter for the news, encouraging us to understand our times through one lens or another and asking us to go out into the world with a purpose. Herbert Swope, who is credited as inventing the first op-ed page in the 1920s claimed "it occurred to me that nothing is more interesting than opinion when opinion is interesting." Christopher Hitchens, the famed irascible writer and polemicist, related that "I became a journalist partly so that I wouldn't ever have to rely on the press for my information."
Unlike the late Mr. Hitchens, we do rely on the press for our information, but in providing a wrap up of this week's op-eds, highlighting the truly great and the major debates of the day, I hope that this column will encourage readers to discover to world of ideas that are at our fingertips. Thus you will find a below a selection of what I think were some of the most interesting highlights of this section of the newspaper from the past week, with links to the stories. If there is something you think is missing, please tell us through a talkback.
Julia Schiller made us think again this week with her visual essay
on the mountain of trash, nay, park in the making near Tel Aviv. But mostly this was a week of confrontations. Alan Dershowtiz, the famed jurist, started it off by slamming the NJDC petition
against Sheldon Adelson. Dershowtiz makes an important point about extremists attacking politicians for receiving "tainted" contributions.
There was a Pyrrhic victory of sorts at the Presbyterian Church's convention in Pittsburgh. Yitzhak Santis of NGO Monitor noted that while Israel seemed to win this round
, increased funding of BDS efforts are tainting some of these annual conventions of mainstream Protestant churches. The UN came in for critique this week as well. David Parsons of the International Christian Embassy
followed Santis with a warning about the "fiasco at UNESCO" in which the organization handed the Palestinians a victory by giving the Bethlehem Nativity church special "emergency" recognition. Well known scholar Daniel Pipes was back in the pages of the Post
, writing with Steven Rosen of Middle East Forum about how UNRWA had grown beyond its mandate and suggesting that "Washington should treat UNRWA as a vehicle to deliver social services, nothing more."
The Levy Report, by former Supreme Court justice Edmund Levy, came out this week and generated a great deal of debate. Columnist Jonathan Rosen argued
that the government shouldn't accept the report, while MK Tzipi Hotovely argued
that it was "time to apply Israeli law over Judea and Samaria." Steve Plaut
and Moshe Dann
also added their views on the subject. Khaled Diab wrote an interesting article
about the Egyptian state security file on his father.
But the week's highlight was Hayat Alvi's fascinating article
about her trip to India. An associate professor at the Naval War College, Alvi noticed that Muslim girls are increasingly being bundled up in full niqab. She asks whether this is evidence of a "growing threat of Wahhabism."
All in all it was a powerful week in our Opinion section, one that explored several fundamental issues, relating both to the continued issues Israel faces with the UN and Christian denominations, as well the county's own internal struggle to incorporate the Orthodox community into the army and sort out how Israeli law applies to the West Bank. The writer is
The Jerusalem Post's op-ed editor