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 August 28, 2006 / 4 Elul, 5766

Something Less Than Victory

By Jonathan Tobin

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The notion of an Israeli "defeat" tests Diaspora support in more ways than one

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For generations of Diaspora Jews raised on the idea of an invincible Israel, the last month has been something of a blow.

While historians will probably have better luck sorting out the results of the recent weeks of fighting between Israel and its Hezbollah antagonists than journalists, there is little question that the result was a lot less than most of Israel's fans in this country were expecting.

From the White House on down, most Americans expected that when the Israeli government announced its intent to kick the terrorists out of southern Lebanon and to remove forever the threat of missile fire that hung over northern Israel, that is exactly what would happen.

But when the guns finally stopped firing, while far from unscathed, Hezbollah was still standing. In short, while Israel may not have "lost" this war, it has obviously not "won" it.

What does this mean both for the Jewish state and its supporters abroad?

First, it should be said right away that American Jews have no business joining in the scrum seeking to assign blame for the failures of the last month. Some of us may be wondering about the confusing strategy pursued by Olmert and his government, but if there were ever a moment for non-Israeli Jews to hold their tongues, this is it.

The proper court of public opinion to judge Israel's leaders consists of those whose children fought and died in Lebanon, and those who were forced into bomb shelters or who otherwise had to flee their homes in the face of Hezbollah attacks. Diaspora know-it-alls who've never heard a shot fired in anger have no standing to be piping up. The rising tide of angry Israeli army reservists and displaced northerners will do enough second-guessing for all of us.

That aside, will the idea of a "defeated" Israel diminish support here? The reaction from the core supporters of the Jewish state — both Jewish and conservative Christian — is an emphatic "no."

The sense of crisis and the notion of a besieged Israel — as opposed to the image of a powerful, prosperous Israel that doesn't need our assistance — is one that sends many of us to the barricades, literally and figuratively, to prove our support.

That should also mean that Jewish federations that have struggled to maintain their standing as the central address for pro-Israel philanthropy in recent years will, no doubt, gain ground, as the public rightly views the United Jewish Communities' Israel Emergency Campaign as a priority appeal.

But what about the large numbers of marginally affiliated Jews, as well as a younger generation, for whom the media-inspired image of Israel as the Goliath oppressing the Arab David is the norm?

This was a point hammered home ceaselessly as Hezbollah's responsibility for starting the war, and Israeli suffering was often slighted in favor of voluminous coverage of the suffering of the Lebanese paid for allowing a terrorist group bent on its neighbor's destruction to dig in around them.

And when the result of such action is, if not defeat, but at least a bloody nose, will that produce more sympathy?

It's true that there's nothing contemporary Americans seem to love more than a victim. And one might reason that if Israel is seen in that light because of the plight of the kidnapped soldiers or the large number of Israelis forced to live in bomb shelters like Londoners during the Nazi blitz of World War II, the result will be more understanding, not less.

That is, one supposes, a possible silver lining to the cloud hanging over Olmert. But there is also another, more negative possibility.

Americans like victims, but they don't tend to have much affection for losers. Even more to the point, as much as it is a truism that Israeli triumphs have boasted the self-esteem of Diaspora Jews, be they Zionist or non-Zionist (think of the impact of the Six-Day War on the birth of the Soviet Jewry movement, both in Russia and the United States), so, too, have public-relations debacles for Israel diminished Jewish support.

While some of us react to the notion of Israel as the bad guy — be it as winner or loser — with anger and resentment, others respond by internalizing the criticism and wrongly turning our anger on the Israelis rather than their critics. If there has been any group in the United States among whom support for Israel has diminished during the course of more than two decades of media Israel-bashing, it is the Jews — not our non-Jewish neighbors.

Seen in this light, defeat is not likely to increase the quotient of Diaspora identification with Israel.

Another troubling question is whether or not the lack of a clear victory over Islamist foes will harm the alliance with the United States as a whole.

After all, America took little interest in Israel as an ally, as opposed to a charity case, until after Israel won the Six-Day War in 1967. If ever Israeli leaders allowed their American counterparts to think that its deterrent had diminished to the point where it ceased to be the strategic asset that it is, then the rhetoric of common values notwithstanding, woe betide the alliance.

All of this is, of course, somewhat theoretical. Israel's military capabilities are still formidable and its political system, albeit flawed as all democracies are, is still capable of rebounding from the current mess it finds itself in.

That said, Israelis would do well never to put themselves in a position where they would have to find out what the foreign reaction to a real defeat at the hands of its enemies would be.

Should Hezbollah — and its Syrian and Iranian sponsors — ever get their way and inflict a genuine defeat on Israel, the answer to that question won't matter much, as this would mean the nation's annihilation.

In that case, increased international sympathy — always available for dead Jews as opposed to live ones — will be of little use.

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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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