Maryland lawmakers are wading into the conflict in the Middle East as they consider legislation that would put Maryland squarely on the side of Israel against critics who would boycott the Jewish state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a political conservative in the mold of President-elect Donald J. Trump, seemingly cannot wait for what he envisions to be the dawn of a new America Jan. 20, when Mr. Trump is inaugurated. But that bodes ill for Israeli-Palestinian peace. A Trump-Netanyahu bond will mark a radical change in U.S.-Israeli relations.
The late erudite Israeli foreign minister, Abba Eban, was quoted widely for once having said "the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" for peace. The same could apply recently to the Americans.
In a shot across Israel's bow illustrative of the split in the American Jewish community and for what surely is a first in U.S. politics, Israel's marginalization of the Palestinians has been challenged publicly by no less than a popular U.S. presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Jew.
Recent events in Jerusalem have shown that the Israeli government's strategic calculations are incorrect. They apparently believe that the current status quo is sustainable, and that pursuing any serious changes would only make the situation worse. But it's now become clear that the status quo is dangerous and cannot be maintained, and that Israel's political and security situation is slowly getting worse.
I am a Jewish American and have always considered myself a Zionist. As someone born shortly after World War II, I know how great a difference the founding of Israel, an independent Jewish state embodying Jewish values, made for all Jews everywhere. We all walked a little taller, felt a little safer. The disappearance of Israel would be a disaster of incalculable proportions, not just for the Israelis, but for all of us. Israel is still fighting yesterday's war, however. It cannot win this way,
Thousands of American Jews have signed up to fight for Israel since the creation of the modern state in 1948. The Israel Defense Forces puts the number now on active duty at about 1,000, including 20 from Baltimore.
Jeffrey Low, the father of a Baltimore-born Israeli soldier who was wounded in Gaza over the weekend, was flying to Tel Aviv to see his son on Tuesday when the news came: Ben Gurion Airport was under attack, and his flight was diverting to Paris.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Monday with the teenager who allegedly was beaten by Israeli police last week, and Jewish leaders in Baltimore condemned the alleged abduction and killing of his cousin by several Israelis.
The grisly discovery Monday of the bodies of three Israeli teens who had been abducted June 12 as they hitchhiked home from a West Bank settlement yeshiva set off a week of mounting violence in the region.
Neither U.S. activism in the case of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Iran, nor U.S. inaction in the case of Syria, has yet to bring the results hoped for by the Obama Administration. While U.S. policy in the Middle East has not yet broken down, except, perhaps in the case of Syria; the U.S. remains a long way from the breakthrough in the region that the Obama Administration had hoped for.
Bills before the Maryland Senate and House would prevent the use of public college and university funds to support scholarly involvement in academic organizations that have voted to boycott Israel. The bill is a serious threat to academic freedom, and it should be withdrawn from consideration. If there is a vote, the state's legislators should take a strong stance against this attempt to shut down open discussion of U.S. policy toward the Middle East.
Sharon's passing coincides with Secretary of State John Kerry's intensive efforts to secure an Israeli-Palestinian deal. It is impossible to know whether Sharon would have been able to reach an agreement with the Palestinians had he not had a massive coma that left him incapacitated. What is certain is that if Mr. Netanyahu does not adopt Sharon's determination, another opportunity for peace will be lost.