To catch a glimpse of Medieval xenophobic rage, simply google ‘Russia elections Jews’ (in Russian, of course). Hundreds of blog posts, YouTube videos, forum discussions and more offer the following unlikely story: the Jews are out to destroy Russia’s peace and stability by preventing Vladimir Putin’s reelection. Moreover, you will find people saying that in conjunction with vicious liberals from the EU and US, Jews are threatening Russian prosperity by imposing detrimental values on Russian society. While this is certainly not the position of the Russian majority, the mere presence of such a group within Russian society should be extremely disconcerting.
In Africa, natural resources have always been both a blessing and a devastating curse. For hundreds of years, Europeans were colonizing African land and making profits from its wealth, as well as forcing indigenous populations into slavery. The second half of the twentieth century raised the hope that after reaching independence, the situation of African countries would change for the better. However, it wasn’t about to happen, not at all.
Nowadays Africa is mostly governed by dictatorships. African people cannot fully benefit from their goods just for themselves. Africa has many opportunities in the economic field to join the leading and outstanding world powers. Despite the wide range of natural resources, Africa’s most important resource is their youth, who want to work and explore the continent. However, children usually do not have the chance to grow up in loving and caring families that could shape them into the strong minded society. Instead of books they too often are given guns. One of the most horrific examples, not the single one though, is the Lord’s Resistance Army – the rebel group of Joseph Kony that since 1987 “stole” around 30,000 children. Young boys are trained to kill in cold blood and turn girls into sexual slaves.
When discussing Polish attitudes towards potential Iranian nuclear capabilities, it is important to distinguish between two components: official diplomatic responses and the nature of public opinion. Diplomatically, Poland maintains a strong relationship with Israel and, as a member of the EU, generally advocates a position in concert with other EU members such as Germany and France. Additionally, the Polish government strives to cultivate a close diplomatic relationship with the United States, and has actually been accused in the past of being overly deferential to US interests as opposed to the interests of fellow EU members. In tandem, both of these factors would indicate the Polish government has a strong interest in joining efforts to prevent Iranian nuclear development.
If Iran were to attack Israel today, the Polish Jewish community would be deeply saddened. Most of us have family and friends currently living in Israel, and have been fortunate enough to develop a strong appreciation for Israel over the course of our lives. Moreover, for my age group, this would be the first war of our lifetimes in which we felt emotionally involved, adding to the potential impact of this war.
Jon Schweitzer, a Jewish young professional in Chicago, blogged from the Chicago Young Atlanticist Summit, the premier public diplomacy event that took place alongside the NATO summit. The Young Atlanticist Summit was organized by the Atlantic Council and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. In total, over 60 young professionals from 35 nations gathered for three days to hear from NATO officials, Presidents and Ministers of NATO nations and leading foreign policy analysts.
The following is a reflection from a recent AJC and Germany Close Up trip to Berlin. To take part in our next Germany experience this August, click here to apply!
As we passed one of the numerous stores that sold “I Love Berlin” t-shirts, I turned to a few other participants in the group and joked, “They should sell shirts that say ‘I visited Berlin and I’m still sorting out my feelings.’” I received a few empathetic laughs, or maybe my new friends were just trying to humor me.
Several months have elapsed since I returned from the week-long trip to Berlin, and I continue to sort out my feelings. The trip was organized by the AJC and a program called Germany Close Up. As a group of young Jewish professionals, we spent the week exploring the city and its history trying to find out how the country has dealt with its past while also learning about Jewish life in modern-day Germany and Germany’s current relationship with Israel.
I dedicated much of my time as an undergraduate student in university studying the Middle East for many reasons. Growing up, I was surrounded by stories and photographs of my father’s travels throughout the Middle East. As a child, I would flip through albums full of photographs capturing the simple beauty of a marketplace in Peshawar, my father lounging in a tent with Israeli Bedouins, a group of ethnic Hazara children in Herat, the Buddha statues in Bamiyan. As the daughter of a non-Jewish Englishman and a Jewish American mother (who happened to meet on Kibbutz Revivim in the 1970s), I was raised to be aware, appreciative, and celebratory of my two cultures. I hung dreidel ornaments on our Christmas tree. I ate latkes and Christmas pudding in the same meal. The shining moment of my Bat Mitzvah was my report on the history of English Jews. Religion was not particularly emphasized in my childhood, but the importance of culture, holidays, history, and family certainly was. I believe it is this upbringing that made me so curious about other religions, cultures, and histories. This interest began in the Middle East and hasn’t waned yet.
It seems to me that some of the keys to becoming a successful businessman are optimism, perseverance and ingenuity. If life hands you lemons, start a lemonade stand. If your pipes leak, then you’ve got yourself the makings of a drip-system irrigation business. And if all you’ve got is manure, well then, start selling fertilizer. You know how it is, take what you’ve got and make the best of it.
So what do you do when you’ve got a regime in possession of an arsenal of long-range weapons, making no effort to hide their malintent towards you, hard-charging toward nuclear weapons capabilities? This is the current dilemma facing Israel.
Israel's survival depends on its military hegemony in the Middle East to keep it safe. A nuclear Iran changes that calculus, and not necessarily by threatening Israel with nuclear annihilation. It is the prospect of an Iran that is emboldened, emboldened to use its proxies in Lebanon and Gaza to terrorize Israeli civilians in the North and South and an Iran that is emboldened to threaten America's Arab allies in the Gulf, which will lead them to pursue their own atomic weapons. The prospect of a power shift in the Middle East and the arms race that might ensue in the Arab world has the international community most frightened.
For Americans who are burnt out by the negative and aggressive public dynamic between opposing political factions on Palestine-Israel peace, hope lives! I am thrilled to introduce you to some incredible people with their priorities in order who are coming from the Holy Land and speaking sanely about how to move forward. These people have already demonstrated the ability to reach a diverse political spread of people, and they are only in the earliest stages of their work.