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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 August 25, 2003 / 27 Menachem-Av, 5763

Speaking Truth to Jewish Power

By Jonathan Tobin


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Are magnates who question Israel's leaders above reproach?


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | In the jumbled alphabet soup of Jewish organizations, there are some groups that most of us have heard of, but have no idea what they actually do. The World Jewish Congress is one such group.

It does have an honorable history of yeoman service on many important Jewish causes, most recently, fighting for restitution for Jewish property in Europe. But this month, the group managed to gain our attention for something else entirely.

It all began with a letter to President Bush signed by World Jewish Congress President Edgar Bronfman and former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger on the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's July visit to Washington. In it, the Jewish billionaire and the career diplomat expressed their opposition to Israel's security fence, and urged the president to pursue an evenhanded policy between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This not-so-subtle green light from a Jewish leader for American pressure on Israel proved shocking to some people.

Among them was Isi Leibler, a former Australian businessman who made aliyah and who serves as a senior vice president of the World Jewish Congress.

Leibler, who writes for The Jerusalem Post, used a column in that paper to blast Bronfman, terming it "obscene" that a Jew living in New York would "lobby the president of the United States to resist policies being promoted by the government of Israel" on a security issue.

Leibler called on Bronfman to either apologize or to resign from his position.

AN ACT OF 'LESE MAJESTE'

Leibler was right when he noted the real damage done to Israel when prominent Diaspora Jews take sides against the Jewish state. But the exchange that followed his broadside tells us a lot more about how Jewish organizations work than it does about whether the fence is a good idea. He soon learned that what he had done was considered not so much a protest as it was an act of lese majeste.

Days later, Leibler was assailed in The Jerusalem Post by David Kimche, who is a former director general of Israel's foreign ministry and who now serves as president of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, a body run by the World Jewish Congress.

Kimche, who used to excoriate Americans who criticized Israel, played dumb about the intent of the letter to Bush. He defended Bronfman's right to question Israeli decisions, but then hypocritically pounded Leibler for having the temerity to question Bronfman.

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"By your unprecedented attack on your own president, [you] have forfeited the right to the title of senior vice president of the World Jewish Congress," Kimche fumed, adding that it was Leibler who should either apologize or resign. This was echoed by other Bronfman employees in the United States. Soon, even Bronfman himself was moved to speak out, telling the New York Sun that Leibler was "an arrogant twit" and "a fool." He was even less inhibited in comments to the the Canadian National Post, which reported that he said that Leibler "can go f___ himself."

Not content with vulgar imprecations, Bronfman dug himself an even deeper hole when he discussed the motivations for his letter with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by talking about his distaste for Jews who live in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Bronfman said "a more effective" tactic for the Palestinians would have been to attack only the settlements and not Jews inside pre-1967 Israel.

"If the Palestinian suicide bombers only went to the settlements then the whole world would have had a case against Israel and there would have been a two-state solution by now," he said. "Instead, they sent them into Israel proper, which is ghastly."

While Bronfman wasn't exactly giving an okay to terror against settlers, he did draw a distinction between the murder of Jews in one place and that in another. And that, to put it mildly, is not the sort of sophistry and lack of moral clarity one expects from someone who claims the title of Jewish leader.

NOT YOUR ORDINARY LEADER

But Bronfman is not your garden variety Jewish leader.

The chairman of the Seagram Company, Ltd., Bronfman is among the richest men in the world, boasting a net worth of $2.3 billion, according to Forbes magazine's special March 2003 billionaire issue. Along with his brother, Charles (whom Forbes said had $2.2 billion), the Bronfmans have become a major force in the Jewish world and give generously to many Jewish causes. Bronfman money has helped fund just about every worthy Jewish idea that has come along in the last 20 years - from Birthright Israel trips for college students to the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education that funds day schools.

But does his philanthropy give him a free pass to say and do whatever he likes when it comes to life-and-death political issues associated with the Mideast conflict?

The answer from those who take his money at the World Jewish Congress is clearly "yes." Bronfman assumed the presidency of the group in 1979, and the post is obviously his for as long as he wants it. In the past, the group's newsletters were known to have at least one picture of him on every single page. That is the sort of leadership perk more often associated with the various African and Communist dictators that Bronfman has managed to outlast than with a Jewish leader.

To be fair, the World Jewish Congress is hardly alone in this sort of thing. All charities are forced to fawn over their contributors.

Nevertheless, for Bronfman to use his status as a Jewish leader to lobby the White House against an Israeli government is still inappropriate, even outrageous. And though he has tried to back away from his statements about the settlers, the fact that someone of his stature would even seem to be rationalizing terror in this manner is abhorrent.

Just as bad is the way Bronfman's loyalists have rallied to defend his indiscretions and to punish Leibler for pointing them out.

We all know that voluntary philanthropic groups are not really democracies; leadership inevitably depends on donations. But neither should they be totalitarian dictatorships. Purges of dissidents are actions world Jewish congresses are supposed to protest, not something they do themselves.

Bronfman's hirelings claim the issue at stake is the magnate's right to free speech.

Are they serious? Who has the ability to silence someone with that much power, no matter how harmful his statements might be? In a Jewish world utterly dependent on the generosity of a few, it's almost impossible to hold such persons accountable.

Speaking truth to power is a two-way street. Bronfman has used his access and wealth for righteous causes. But when he veers off into political stands that can do real harm to Israel, Jewish deference to his power must be replaced by defiance.

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. This past month Mr. Tobin won first places honors in the American Jewish Press Association's Louis Rapaport Award for Excellence in Commentary as well as the Philadelphia Press Association's Media Award for top weekly columnist. Both competitions were for articles written in the year 2002.

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© 2003, Jonathan Tobin