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Saturday, May 31st

How not to popularize Israel and Zionism

Suppose that you are a Jew, and that you were asked to view a movie in support the national cause of some Eastern or Central European state, newly freed from Russian domination. Suppose the movie greeted you with this accusatory harangue:

Dear Jews, we are going to keep our independence and our Christian religion despite your opposition. Your bigotry killed our Lord and savior. Your greed caused you to come here as tax collectors sent to exploit our people by kings. Your capitalism robbed our poor. Your power lust brought you here as officials of your Communist government to carry out purges, but you cannot take our country away from us now.

Would such a hypothetical appeal move you to support the independence of Belarus, Poland, or the Ukraine? Not very likely. It would probably make you feel you are an enemy of whoever wrote that text. Those who want to solicit the support of Jews and other outsiders usually have the sense not to reason in that way.


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Ami Isseroff on 05.31.08 @ 06:07 PM CST [link]

Hezbollah and Lebanon: Hope against hope.

Hope is an admirable quality and a vital ingredient in human life. The Zionist movement recognized the importance of hope when they made Hatikva - the "hope," their song, a song that was later adopted by the state of Israel as its anthem. In the depths of concentration camp despair, our people sang "Do not say this is your last trek, that daylight has been overcome by the clouds for the day that we have yearned for will arise and come..." and "Ani Ma'amin" - I believe. Soldiers fighting the desperate battles of 1948 sang "Believe me, a day will will come when it will be good - I promise you" - the promise of a big brother to his sister.

Eventually, for many, it really was good - but not all stories have a happy ending, and wishful thinking is not what made it good. The need to maintain hope should never be confused with, or subservient to, the need for a realistic understanding of every situation.


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Ami Isseroff on 05.31.08 @ 04:54 PM CST [link]

Wednesday, May 28th

Marriott Cairo and the lost Jews of Egypt - an update

Yesterday I reported about the cancellation of Marriott Cairo hotel reservations for elderly Jews of Egyptian origin. (see also: here) Several readers asked for more details.

I asked you to write to Marriott hotels and some of you did. In response, many of you received, as I did, a standard letter that Marriott had prepared, insisting that they had made satisfactory arrangements with the group and claiming that Marriott hotels have a policy of "zero-tolerance of discrimination." A part of one such message was posted as a comment here. These letters are all marked "confidential" and those who post them in a public venue do so on their own responsibility. The messages originate from various Marriott organization addresses.

The information that we have does not seem to support the claims of the Marriott chain.


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Ami Isseroff on 05.28.08 @ 08:35 PM CST [link]

Ehud Olmert's $150,000 misunderstanding

No one can ignore the scandal rocking Israel's government, though it is surely not the first of its kind or the biggest. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stands accused of receiving over $150,000 in funds transferred by American millionaire Morris Talansky. Some of the funds were used to finance election campaigns, some were used to pay travel expenses according to Talansky's testimony. Additional "loans" for various purposes are also mentioned. Without regard to the outcome of the judicial process, most Israeli political leaders seem to be united in insisting that the Prime Minister cannot continue to serve until the issue is resolved.


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Ami Isseroff on 05.28.08 @ 02:32 PM CST [link]

Tuesday, May 27th

Marriott: No Jews Need Apply

In the United States, discrimination against hotel guests based on race, religion or ethnic origin is against the law. In the Middle East, it is not evidently. A group of elderly Jews who had many years ago been expelled from Egypt wanted to visit the old country. They booked reservations for the Cairo Marriott hotel. Everyone's reservations are safe at Marriott it seems, unless they are Jewish.


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Ami Isseroff on 05.27.08 @ 03:37 PM CST [link]

Obama, Clinton McCain: Unbearable vacuity of election drivel

Against my better judgment, which is admittedly none too good, I feel impelled to write yet another column about the USA elections. They really are not about Israel and should not be, but everyone seems to be trying so hard to make them so.


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Ami Isseroff on 05.27.08 @ 01:43 PM CST [link]


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