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About Eric Yoffie

Brandeis Gets it Right on Islam

Brandeis Gets it Right on Islam
Brandeis University, a Jewish-sponsored university and my alma mater, has withdrawn its offer to give an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. As reported in The New York Times and elsewhere, Brandeis changed its mind eight days after announcing the honor to Ms. Hirsi Ali, who was born in Somalia and served in the Dutch Parliament. The president of Brandeis, Fred Lawrence, said in his announcement of the change that “we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.” In this case, Brandeis got it right. Ms. Ali has referred...
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Why young U.S. Jews are drifting away from Israel

Why young U.S. Jews are drifting away from Israel
Young American Jews are drifting away from Israel, but not necessarily for the reasons that we usually talk about. The problem is not the Israel-hating proponents of BDS; Jewish groups have done a good job in defeating BDS campaigns. The problem is not ignorance about Israel and Judaism; our young people are more sophisticated than we think. And the problem is not an idealized view of Palestinian national aspirations; young Jews turn out to be a reasonably hard-nosed group when evaluating Israel’s adversaries. The problem is that when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jews on campus are...
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Israel and the One-State Solution

Israel and the One-State Solution
American Jews don’t realize it yet, but they will be spending much more of their time responding to what I refer to as the “Glick-Abbas proposal” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Abbas in question is not Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, but his son, Tareq, a 48-year-old Palestinian businessman from Ramallah. In an interview in the New York Times on March 18, the younger Abbas said that he has given up on his father’s dream of a two-state solution. Believing that Israeli intransigence makes it impossible for the negotiations to succeed, he wants a single...
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A religious scorecard for Israel

A religious scorecard for Israel
The Jewish religious world is in turmoil. This is so in Israel, and it is true throughout the Diaspora as well. Such turmoil is hardly new. For thousands of years, Judaism has been characterized by the absence of an established religious hierarchy, resulting in a significant measure of ongoing religious chaos. For the most part, this religious muddle has been a blessing for the Jews, giving rise to vigorous and creative competition in the religious realm. Still, at this moment our religious wars seem to have taken on a particular ferocity. With that in mind, what follows is my scorecard, toting up...
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Israel’s fallback plan: ‘Reducing’ the occupation

Israel’s fallback plan: ‘Reducing’ the occupation
When Michael Oren was Israel’s ambassador to the United States, he always had interesting things to say. Five months after leaving office, he is saying interesting things again. Oren, who served in Washington from 2009 to 2013, was an aggressive and effective defender of the government of Israel during that period. An American-born academic, articulate and media savvy, he was respected by American officials and popular among American Jews of all political and religious orientations. Unlike many diplomats, he knew how to listen; in addition, he brought to his job the “big picture” sophistication...
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The Pope Francis Phenomenon and America’s Yearning for Values, Leadership and God

The Pope Francis Phenomenon and America’s Yearning for Values, Leadership and God
There is much vigorous discussion about what the election of Pope Francis will mean for the future of the Catholic Church. Speculation about such matters and all matters of Church doctrine and theology are best left to Catholic believers to address. But of interest to us all is the impact that the Pope has already had on our country, and what the response to him says about religion in American society. This is a difficult time for America. Ours is a discouraged and disheartened country. Many of our citizens are experiencing what Martin Luther King called “the dark and desolate valleys of...
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