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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 10, 2007 / 20 Teves, 5767

An Idea That Goes Way Back

By Jonathan Tobin



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New book shows U.S. involvement in the Middle East long preceded 'Israel lobby'


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In 1844, a biblical scholar and professor of Hebrew at New York University published a pamphlet urging the establishment of a Jewish state in the place then known as Palestine.


The name of this early Zionist who argued for the recreation of Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel: George Bush.


But the astonishing thing about this manifesto is not just that the author was a forebear of two later U.S. presidents of the same name. It was that his advocacy of a theological/political position known as "restorationism" — support for the "restoration" of the Jewish people to their historic homeland — was common in 19th century America.


This little-known fact is just one among many that can be discovered about attitudes toward the Middle East in what may well be one of the most important books on the subject to be published in this or any other year.


"Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present" by Israeli historian Michael Oren fills a void that has long existed in the historiography of the Middle East. Until the release of this beautifully written and meticulously researched volume this month, there simply was no comprehensive history of American involvement in the region.


Oren, who is based at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, has written a book overflowing with colorful tales of American travelers, pilgrims, businessmen, missionaries, diplomats, soldiers and sailors who weren't merely observers of this pivotal area of the globe (the term for which was actually coined by the American naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan). Americans have, from the very beginning of our own history as a nation, played a crucial role in shaping the Middle East. And as Oren illustrates, we, in turn, have been influenced by this interaction.


Indeed, the formation of the United States of America as a constitutional republic in 1789 is, in part, a result of our first encounter with the Arab and Muslim world: the long struggle with the semi-independent city states of North Africa known to us as the Barbary Pirates. It was the inability of the independent 13 American states — who had no federal government or navy — to protect shipping and sailors from the depredations of those early terrorists, that motivated many to push for the enactment of the Constitution.

THE KORAN AND THE CONSTITUTION
If that nearly forgotten war bears a strange resemblance to the contemporary conflict with Islamist terrorists, it is no coincidence. Oren recounts the shock of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams who, while serving as American ambassadors in Europe during the 1780s, met with the Abd al-Rahman, a representative of the pasha of Tripoli, a major source of anti-American terror on the high seas.


In making exorbitant demands for American tribute, Al-Rahman told Adams and Jefferson that his country was fighting under the authority of the Koran, which authorized them to make wars on all non-believers and to enslave all Western prisoners in terms that Al Qaeda would have appreciated. "Every Mussulman [sic] who should be slain in battle" with America, he said, "was sure to go to Paradise."


Oren's book is filled with a host of such encounters that may be new even to those who have been reading about the subject their entire lives.


For example, how many know that the first American arm sales to the Middle East was not to Israel or an Arab state but goes back to Andrew Jackson's treaty with Ottoman Turkey?



BUY THE BOOK

Click HERE to purchase it at a discount. (Sales help fund JWR.).


Another little known episode that Oren recounts deals with American veterans of the Civil War, both Union and Confederate, who helped found and train the Egyptian army.


Such tales are a delight for history lovers. But aside from pleasure for the general as well as the specialized reader, there is a far broader moral to be learned from this volume that speaks directly to contemporary political debate.


Although the content of "Power, Faith and Fantasy" is far too comprehensive to be neatly summarized in even a lengthy review, there is a concise conclusion that can be drawn from the book. It is that the ideas promulgated by men such as former President Jimmy Carter or scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, authors of the infamous "Israel Lobby" article in the London Review of Books, ignores two centuries of history, as well as smears Jews and other friends of Israel.


Oren illustrates throughout his book just how deep the roots of American support for Zionism run. The George Bush anecdote is but one of numerous incidents in which mainstream American Christians spoke out for the Jewish rights to Zion long before Theodor Herzl did.

DEEP ROOTS OF ZIONISM
Going forward to the 20th century, Oren illustrates that the crucial roles of Presidents Woodrow Wilson in backing the Balfour Declaration and Harry S. Truman in giving the new-born State of Israel recognition were not the result of political calculation but decisions that were based on the deeply held beliefs of these leaders.


The idea of Israel is something that has always been part of the sensibilities of American religious thinking. No lobby could possibly create the broad support for Israel that has run, and still runs, across the spectrum of mainstream America, powered by both faith and secular democratic values.


Oren shows that the contrary thesis that rejects Zionism also has deep roots in the tradition of Protestant missionaries. Those Americans came to the Middle East seeking converts, but wound up founding institutions, such as the American Universities in Cairo and Beirut, that inculcated the spirit of American democracy and nationalism in generations of Arab intellectuals.


Ironically, it was thus Americans who founded Arab nationalism. That means the notion of spreading democracy to the region wasn't invented by George W. Bush or the "neocons" but rather by the intellectual (and in some cases actual) ancestors of the 20th century Arabists in the State Department.


The late Edward Said's thesis that saw all Western views of the region as inherently racist "Orientalism" dominates the academy these days and helps spread the idea that American power is a force for evil abroad. But Oren's research stands as a conclusive reproof to this fallacy.


Though oil and profit have played their parts in forming the story of America' s encounter with the region, more altruistic motives have always tended to dominate our policies. Despite the negative view that emanates from many of our intellectuals, Oren is right when he concludes by writing that "On balance, Americans historically brought far more beneficence than avarice to the Middle East and caused significantly less harm than good."


While it will be no surprise if many in the current Middle East studies establishment attack this book, Oren's achievement is must-reading for policymakers and the general public alike. In an era in which global terror based in the Middle East is the primary challenge to the survival of democracy, Power Faith and Fantasy ought to be read and understood by as many Americans as possible.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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