In March of 2009, I was one of 100 or so Israel supporters that attended the Sweden-Israel Davis Cup games in Malmö, Sweden. The Baltiska Hallen Arena, where this sports event was held, holds 4,000 seats; however, no public ticket sales were allowed due to security concerns. This resulted in those attending being either Swedish Tennis Federation bigwigs or, people such as myself, those associated with the Jewish Community or the Israeli Embassy.
This absurd version of home court advantage may well have been a contributing factor to the Swedish team, although seen as favourites going in, ending up losing the games to Andy Ram's side. Outside the arena the tension was palpable. Hundreds of police officers besieged the surrounding area, creating an environment that is very far from what one would expect of a friendly sports event in peaceful Sweden. At the same time in central Malmö, a 12,000 people strong demonstration, where violent far-left activists, as we are well acquainted with from G8 and WTO summits across the globe, joined forces with pro-Palestinians and neo-Nazis. The common denominator was that they were all looking for a fight as well as a common enemy, and a Jewish-Israeli team playing a "white sport" such as tennis did the trick.
In recent years many young people have been getting involved in Argentinian politics. This seems to be part of an interesting process taking form which is creating a new dynamic for both politics and young people in our country.
In this framework, some weeks ago a new young Jewish political group was created. The name of this group is Jews for Deepening Democracy. As stated on its site, http://jxpd.wordpress.com/ , the purpose of this group is to debate and to take part in the political arena by strengthening relationships with those who are actually building the path to justice, solidarity and equality. The objective is to contribute to the process of widening the democratic frontiers and creating a more robust civil society.
Justice and Identity: The ‘Non-Jewish Jew’, Cosmopolitanism and Anti-Apartheid Activism in Twentieth Century South Africa (part 1)Written by Alana Baranov
Stretching back into history from the moment Moses raised his hand against the oppressive Egyptian overseer and led his people from slavery into freedom; to the instant that Abraham smashed the morally bankrupt idols of his day and opened his home to the stranger; through the modern revolutionary ideas of Marx and Freud and beyond, Jewish radicalism has emerged as a profoundly powerful force that has weaved itself through the epochs. By drawing on the great humanist and cosmopolitan notions of identity and justice within Judaism, a radical Jewish ideology and worldview has formed a tradition within a tradition. Profoundly motivated by the historical memory of the suffering of their own people throughout the ages, Jewish radicals have eternally sought to overturn the corrupt status quo of the day and transform humankind’s structures of thought.
Recently I received an email from Jason Isaacson urging me to join AJC in calling on President Obama and other foreign leaders in rejecting a unilaterally declared Palestinian state –an issue that has become increasingly important of late, particularly with Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the U.S. A unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state certainly should not occur before key issues are sorted out in a peace agreement with Israel – such a declaration would launch the Middle East into conflict, something that must be avoided given the fragile state of the region. However, I believe that for Israel’s sake, the declaration of a Palestinian state must happen soon, which means that Israel, along with the international community, must do everything in its power to quickly establish a peace accord that is agreeable to both sides (not an easy task, I know).
A very special thing happens every year in Israel, one that makes me extremely proud to be an Israeli. Just a week after Pesach, the holiday which we celebrate our freedom from slavery and the beginning of the Jewish people’s nation building-- we halt everything for a moment and remember the tragic event of the Holocaust (Yom Ha'Shoah).
Many Israelis connect to this day through the media; all the Israeli TV stations are switched to commemoration mode. Lots of movies, interviews with survivors, memorial services (Tekkes) and more are broadcast throughout the day. I personally read a lot on Yom Ha’Shoah-- trying to learn something new about the Holocaust and hear another voice of a survivor. There are so many difficult and unbelievable stories; it's hard to really understand them all. This individual process of recognizing and identifying with the past occurs throughout the country.
I remember arriving in the United States a few years ago on the day of the New York Israel Day Parade. I headed straight for Central Park where I was greeted by a mass of Israeli flags, Israeli music and an almost overwhelming Jewish presence. I had to remind myself that I was in America and not celebrating Yom Haatzmaut in Israel!
I’ve just returned from another trip to the United States, this time there were no Israeli flags, but there was no shortage of Israel supporters. I attended AJC’s ACCESS conference in Washington D.C. where the focus of my track was Countering the Campaign against Israel’s Legitimacy. Despite this sombre focus, numerous outstanding speakers eloquently made the case for supporting and defending the State of Israel. Having recently acquired my Israeli citizenship I couldn’t help but feel humbled by the profound support expressed by the American Jewish community and by high profile Americans in general for the Jewish State. Witnessing such open and enthusiastic support beyond the Jewish community is especially moving for me, having grown up in a country where the government and media is often very hostile to Israel.
Just two days before the January 25th Revolution in Egypt, I gathered with hundreds of other young and curious aspiring writers, editors, publishers and reading enthusiasts at the 6th Annual Jaipur Literature Festival, a 4-day seminar in Rajasthan’s “pink” city, dedicated to celebrating new writers and veterans of the Indian and Western literati, the arts, music and current events.
The very last session I attended, prior to my return home to Delhi, was entitled “Kashmir Kashmir.” The topic that every Western diplomat likes to avoid, the state entrapped between Pakistan to the West, India to the South and China to the East, each claiming certain rights to the lush, Himalayan terrain. The session was chaired by the prolific Indian-Muslim journalist and editor, MJ Akbar, and also featured other writers both Hindu and Muslim, mostly from what is now the Indian side of Kashmir. It is a land where people have been pushed out due to religious differences, longing to return, where the “Line of Control” has been penetrated, and conflicts have arisen, mostly between India and Pakistan on numerous occasions.
Since my teenage years I’ve been fond of Franz Kafka – it all started when I read his novella “The Metamorphosis” for the very first time. I have always been fascinated ever since by his talent of having such an unexpected and unforgettable impact on his readers. Therefore I’ve come to view Kafka not only as one of the great authors of his time, but actually more as the greatest novelist of the entire 20thcentury.
When I was a teenage kid growing up in Germany and becoming a worshipper of Kafka’s literary work, something very similar was emerging on the other side of the world; a young generation was growing up inside of Iran with Kafka as well. But those readers, unlike myself, were experiencing Kafka under extremely different circumstances-- they were reading his work secretly.
I got the call during my American Conservatism course, while discussing Schumpeter’s theory of Creative Destruction. At first, I thought it was about a credit card and my payments to my cell phone company. Apparently, I needed to transfer over to a new card, as the old one was expiring. In any case, the credit card company was calling my father, who in turn was calling me about it. I let his call go to voice mail.
After class, I checked my phone and found a cryptic message from my father: Call and report. Now he can be terse at times, but this didn’t sound like the norm. So I called him up and heard the news.
“Are you alright?”
“Fine,” I answer. “Why, what happened?”
“There’s been a bus bombing.”
Geraldine A. Ferraro, who passed away this weekend, is a symbol of women’s rights advocacy. As America’s first female candidate of a major party for vice-president, she broke barriers. But readers of IntLawGrrls may not know how actively and directly she influenced women’s rights issues in the international legal context as well.
Image courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration
Appalled by televised reports about the use of rape as a weapon of war by Serbs in the Bosnian conflict, Gerry contacted Madeleine Albright to ask what the new Clinton Administration was doing about it. She was immediately asked to join the Administration’s first delegation to the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, in February 1993, where she helped convince Member States to adopt a separate resolution addressing rape in war.