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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 18, 2003 / 23 Kislev, 5764

He's No Angel

By Jonathan Tobin


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Kushner book illustrates the need for liberals to take back the left for Israel


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The image is hard to resist. One of the most loathsome figures of 20th-century America is being haunted by the ghost of someone he condemned to death as he lays dying of AIDS.


The dying man is Roy Cohn, the former associate of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who was a closeted homosexual who died of AIDS. The ghost haunting him is the shadow of Ethel Rosenberg, the convicted Communist spy who was executed in 1953 for her role in a Soviet espionage ring run by her husband, Julius. Rosenberg taunts the dying Cohn by telling him that "you could kill me, but you could not defeat me."


This scene from the new HBO adaptation of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Angels in America" is a bizarre twist on history. But to criticize the fantasies contained in "Angels" on the grounds of historical accuracy — or even for artistic shortcomings — is pointless. The play, and now the film, are no longer mere theatrical offerings; as the single most famous work that encapsulates the struggle of gays for acceptance and for the world to take the deadly threat of AIDS seriously, it has taken on iconic proportions. To argue with it on any other terms is a waste of time. But the scene in which Meryl Streep, as Rosenberg, proclaims her ultimate victory over Al Pacino, who plays the dying Cohn, remains interesting in and of itself.

A REWRITING OF HISTORY

Kushner's wrong to proclaim that Ethel Rosenberg "could not be defeated," even if one thinks that she shouldn't have been executed for her crime. The Stalinist cause for which she sacrificed her life and family was, heaven be praised, defeated. The totalitarian and deeply anti-Semitic "socialist motherland" that she loyally served is itself now in the dustbin of history, having survived Cohn by only a few years.


This is significant because Kushner has, with his revisionist version of the Rosenberg case, undermined one of the most important historical truths about the McCarthy era. And that is that although McCarthy and Cohn are remembered as the most famous anti-Communists, it was actually American liberals who were the most fervent foes of all the Communists stood for.


Indeed, it's fair to say that the conservatives of that era were largely bystanders, as courageous liberals such as Arthur Schlessinger Jr. and the late journalist James Wechsler fought the Communists in the name of a principled American liberalism.

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That's worth remembering, because another of the causes that has caught Kushner's fancy requires the same sort of response from contemporary liberals. Kushner, who was described in a recent New York Times profile as "socialist, gay and so very Jewish (according to his friend Maurice Sendak) that 'it hurts your eyes,' " is also interested in Israel.


Among those items listed in the piece as his "political preoccupations" is "a renewed and serious peace process in the Mideast, [having] the wall and settlements dismantled, and the presence of a real international peacekeeping force to patrol the borders and Jerusalem."


Not prepared to just leave it at that, Kushner has produced a book that has just been published by Grove Press that is dedicated to debunking and undermining American Jewish support for Israel's attempts to defend itself.


Titled Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the book, which was edited by Kushner and Alisa Solomon, is a collection of essays by left-wing authors that debates the legitimacy of Zionism itself. It attacks Israel's position from within the Jewish community, rather than from outside it.


From that vantage point, Kushner and his authors champion Israelis who refuse military service, debate Israel's Law of Return, scoff at the connection between anti-Semitism and the vituperation aimed at Israel, and generally write of the Jewish state as, at best, the moral equivalent of the Palestinian terrorists that seek to destroy it.


In his introduction to the book, Kushner takes particular aim at those American Jews who have rallied to Israel's defense in the past three years during the Palestinian terrorist war of attrition.


He rails at those Jewish writers — distinguished political liberals and conservatives alike — who signed an advertisement in the aftermath of the April 2002 "Passover massacre," in which dozens of Jews were killed. The ad condemned Palestinian terror, affirmed the justice of Israel's cause, and called on the international community to stand with Israel in a time of peril.


But to Kushner, the statement was "shameful" because it did not balance condemnation of terrorism with opposition to Israeli self-defense. Specifically embracing discredited lies about Israeli "atrocities" during the course of the Operation Defensive Shield battle in Jenin, Kushner can only see the Palestinians as victims. This distorted version of the truth coming at a time of continued Palestinian rejection of peace offers and dedication to the destruction of Israel is as outrageous as it is false.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE LIBERALS GONE?

But my point here is not to belabor the ubiquitous playwright; it's to point out that the people we need most to hear from refuting his stand on Israel are not those generally associated with the Jewish right. As was the case 50 years ago when liberals ousted Communists from positions of influence on the respectable left, it must be liberals who reject the idea that the left should remain a bastion of opposition to Israel.


Some liberals worry that those who defend Israel are damning them for not specifically embracing the Likud Party, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon or even President George W. Bush. They are wrong. The battle for Israel need not, indeed, should not, be one of conservatives versus liberals, nor left versus right, in either an American or an Israeli context.


Americans of goodwill — no matter what their politics — need to recognize that opposing the assault on Israel and the worldwide rise of anti-Semitism that masquerades as anti-Zionism isn't about politics. It is about the very survival of Israel and the Jewish people.


Liberals should be concerned that a recent poll showed far more Republicans than Democrats believe the United States should side with Israel in the Mideast conflict. The trend is backed up by the opinion pages of newspapers, where liberal backers of Israel are increasingly scarce.


Liberals who do not share Kushner's views on Israel need to realize that the left is becoming an increasingly hostile place for Zionists. By not speaking up loudly against leftists who have moved to a position of neutrality or even hostility toward the Jewish nation, they are abandoning their political home to a dangerous foe.


American Jewish liberals must reclaim the field from the likes of Kushner. It is their voices — and not just those of us for whom the word liberal is not a compliment — that must now be raised in defense of Israel.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here. In June, Mr. Tobin won first places honors in the American Jewish Press Association's Louis Rapaport Award for Excellence in Commentary as well as the Philadelphia Press Association's Media Award for top weekly columnist. Both competitions were for articles written in the year 2002.

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© 2003, Jonathan Tobin