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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 Nov. 29, 2007 / 19 Kislev 5768

A few good people

By Victor Davis Hanson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the last few years, it has become popular to say that history is determined largely by sweeping inanimate forces of technology, the environment, gender, class or race. We play down the role of individuals — as if the notion that one person can shape history is old-fashioned. But that's hardly the case.


Take Nicolas Sarkozy, the new president of France. For 60 years, the power of the state in France had steadily increased. Government workers were handed lavish entitlements and retirement packages while French competitiveness diminished in a new globalized world.


Abroad, traditional French foreign policy cynically tried to have it both ways: staying within the protection of the Western democratic alliance but at the same time opportunistically backbiting the United States to gain special commercial and diplomatic favor with authoritarian governments in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.


But this spring, a reformer arrived on the scene with visions of France as a world diplomatic player that would be known for its principled behavior and defense of Western values.


Sarkozy almost single-handedly has restored France's friendship with the United States, begun to reform the economy at home and sought to bring back French entrepreneurship and creativity critical for a free, expansive economy.

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The more the unions, the French intellectual elite and entrenched socialists slur Sarkozy as a reactionary and American puppet, the more he has vowed that he won't relent until a reformed France can recapture its former commercial and geopolitical prominence.


Sarkozy isn't the only one defying the odds and questioning conventional wisdom.


By early 2007, critics swore that the American effort in Iraq was doomed and the war lost. But Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander there, outlined a different, risky path of sending more Americans into Iraqi communities while radically changing tactics to ensure better security.


In response, prominent members of Congress suggested that his testimony about the surge's good progress was neither candid nor credible ("creative statistics," a "Petraeus village," "facade," "fiction," and "a suspension of disbelief.")


No matter. He kept with the surge strategy when casualties spiked as Americans took the offensive against al-Qaida and reclaimed urban centers. The verdict is still out on whether the new calm and optimism in Iraq will prove permanent. But the highest compliment now given to Gen. Petraeus is the growing consensus that if he cannot secure Iraq, then there is no other military commander around who can.


Shaping history in a different, more subtle way is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Dutch feminist and politician.


She grew up a Muslim, but ultimately rebelled at the fundamentalist practice of arranged marriage and gender apartheid — and the threats directed toward anyone who questioned such seventh-century intolerance.


When Westerners, especially conservatives, criticize radical Islam on these grounds, they are often libeled as Islamophobes or written off as illiberal. But Hirsi Ali has shown the world that a liberal woman can teach us first-hand about Islamic extremists — their intolerance of religious diversity, subjugation of women, and bullying of moderate Muslims in their midst.


Hirsi Ali has been attacked from every direction, and yet still won't keep quiet. Traditional Middle East fundamentalists, of course, have tried to bully and threaten her. But many secular, liberal Dutch haven't been much better. At first, they thought that this third-world celebrity fit their ideal of the black emancipated feminist. Now, even as she's damned by radical Islamists for being Westernized, she's equally damned by liberals in her country and elsewhere for acting as if she were some conservative cheerleader of Western values.


Hirsi Ali demands from Muslims the same scrutiny of their religious brethren as other religions do of their own. Theo van Gogh, director of "Submission," a documentary film about women in Islam that Hirsi Ali wrote, was murdered by an Islamic terrorist. Yet Ali has not let threats on her own life impede her mission.


What do all these mavericks who have changed the status quo have in common? First, they not only followed their beliefs with action, but also were willing to endure the inevitable criticism to follow. Second, although they have strong beliefs, none are overtly partisan; all instead seek a common good.


The conservative Sarkozy appointed a socialist as his foreign minister. To this day, partisans can't figure out whether Gen. Petraeus is a Republican or Democrat. Hirsi Ali wants equality for women and greater tolerance of diverse opinion in the Muslim world — and thereby a better understanding between the West and Islam.


Fearless iconoclasts like these three really can make an enormous difference. They remind us that history is not faceless, but can still be changed by just a few brave people after all.

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

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and military historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Comment by clicking here.


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