In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 May 15, 2008 / 10 Iyar 5768

Finding a Reason to Do Nothing

By Jonathan Tobin

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True to form, activists and the establishment march in opposite directions on China

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Psychologists have sometimes used the Rorschach test for personality assessments. Whether or not reactions to a series of ink blots actually means anything or not is a matter of opinion.

But when it comes to politics, there are some issues that function more or less the way the Rorschach is supposed to. Like the ink blots, some topics produce a reaction that speaks volumes about who we are as individuals or as groups and how we see our place in the world.

That's the best way to understand the controversy that erupted over whether or not Jews are supposed to care about China's human-rights policy.

On April 30, a group of 185 rabbis and other leaders issued a statement calling on individual Jews to refrain from attending the Beijing Olympics to protest "China's policies regarding Tibet and Darfur, and its assistance to Iran, Syria and Hamas." The statement made specific reference to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which were used by the Nazi regime to polish their image.

This "Yom Hashoah Declaration" was spearheaded by Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, the former chair of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, and Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, a New York City educator and author, and was assisted by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.

The signatories represented a wide cross section of American Jewish life encompassing the entire religious and political spectrum, including leaders of the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and Orthodox movements. Other signees were longtime activist Rabbi Avi Weiss of New York and former New York Mayor Ed Koch.

What was most interesting about the wording of the text was the fact that it noted that Beijing's authorization of a "kosher kitchen" [operated by a Chabad missionary] at the Olympics village was a ploy to "attract Jewish tourists to the games as part of its broader strategy of improving its image and deflecting attention from its complicity in severe human rights abuses at home and abroad."

Beijing's belief that the Olympics was going to help its image was a serious mistake. The attention given to the games and the Olympic Torch run (a bit of baloney that was actually invented by the Nazis in 1936) has, in fact, afforded its critics the opportunity to highlight issues that the Communist regime wanted to sweep under the rug.

But rather than generating more support for a potential boycott or pressure on China, the rabbis' statement had the opposite effect.

Within 24 hours, much of the Jewish establishment was falling over itself to dissociate themselves from the statement. The Anti-Defamation League was joined by others, including the American Jewish Committee, in denouncing the boycott. They dismissed the initiative, and were particularly unhappy about the analogies to 1936 and the Holocaust. Their position was that any such reference was, by definition, unkosher.

What was particularly remarkable was the speed and the vehemence of the counterattack by the anti-boycotters. For the organized Jewish world to respond so quickly and definitively to an activist project of any kind is a feat in itself.

Was it to protect the memory of the Holocaust from trivialization? Hardly. No one who wants to do something about China's outrages in Tibet and elsewhere says that it is Nazi Germany whose crimes were unique. But have we now painted ourself into a rhetorical corner where anything less than Auschwitz is unworthy of protest?

To dismiss the clear human-rights imperative of protest by merely saying that "China is a complicated society," as the ADL did, is no argument. It is an obfuscation. It is true that China is far less tyrannical today than it was under Mao. But what sort of standard is that?

Are events in Tibet, Darfur and China's use of its growing power to back Iran, Syria and Hamas none of our business, as these establishment groups seem to be saying?

Back in the early 1990s, when activists sought to make the massacres in Bosnia a matter of Jewish concern, few voices were raised then to quash the push for action. At that time, some of the same arguments about a "complicated" situation could have been used to argue against the attempt to stop Serbian and Croatian depredations against people who had little in common with most American Jews.

What's different today?

For one thing, China is a lot more powerful than Serbia. In that case, many prominent Jewish business leaders and some organizations (who receive donations from these business people) did not see their interests jeopardized by the application of human-rights principles to policy as they do with China.

Groups could afford the luxury of conscience on Bosnia. That's not the case with China.

Given the vast entanglement of our economy with theirs, a stand on this issue requires a degree of courage that the calls for boycotts of the Serbs or, more recently, of Sudan did not.

Indeed, there are some, including those that we don't normally think of as being motivated by international trade, that see China as a vast market rather than as the world's largest human-rights violator.

The Orthodox Union, whose helpful O.U. symbol is the gold standard of kosher standards also denounced the boycott. But unlike others that merely issued terse statements and then clammed up, the O.U. followed up by distributing a long statement from a "marketing associate" who waxed lyrical about the joys of selling kosher food in China.

The O.U. has a long and honorable history of service to the Jewish people.

But it's clear that it now falls under the rubric of what columnist George Will once called capitalists "who love commerce more than they loathe communism."

What good can a boycott do? Perhaps not much. Even if the few who are wealthy enough to think about a two-week vacation in China don't go, Tibet won't be free. But since when have Jews regarded human rights as merely a matter of expediency? If Jewish opinion weren't that important, then Beijing wouldn't bother with that kosher kitchen.

It is no accident that the Wyman Institute was a driving force behind the boycott. It has specialized in preserving the memory of those who had the chutzpah to speak out for rescue during the Holocaust when most of the Jewish establishment thought such a protest was pointless or imprudent.

Tibet and Darfur are not the Holocaust, and Chinese leader Hu Jintao isn't Hitler. But its deplorable human-rights record and the effort to whitewash it is not a matter of dispute except for those who have a financial or political motivation for doing so.

As in the past, activists and establishment types will look at an issue and see their own agendas reflected. Those who want an excuse to do nothing and let business as usual proceed can always find one.

What a pity that this rule still applies to so much of the Jewish world.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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