In this issue

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 July 28, 2004 / 10 Menachem-Av 5764

We may be ‘One’, but which ‘One’?

By Jonathan Tobin

Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

Israelis are assuming some unusual roles in American life tilt

https://www.jewishworldreview.com | It's been an odd week tracking the relationship between Israelis and Americans.

Most of the attention here has focused on the fact that a young Israeli man named Golan Cipel was the governor of New Jersey's alleged extramarital lover or, depending on whose story you believe, the victim of sexual harassment by the state's chief executive.

The fact that Gov. James McGreevey announced last week that he was "a gay American" who cheated on his wife wasn't the scandal in the eyes of most observers. It was the fact that McGreevey had appointed Cipel to a high-paying job as a state homeland security advisor, in spite of the fact that he wasn't remotely qualified and, as a foreign national, couldn't get a security clearance to receive classified information from Washington.

The fact that an Israeli who hadn't even troubled to become an American citizen would even be considered for such a position marks an interesting turning point in the relationship between Israel and America.

Israel began its history with citizens of other countries serving key roles in its armed forces. Most famous was U.S. Army Colonel David "Mickey" Marcus, who commanded the Israeli forces that lifted the siege of Jerusalem in 1948.

Marcus was buried at his alma mater, West Point, the only American soldier who died fighting under a foreign flag to be so honored.

But Cipel apparently was ready to return the favor. Like World War I American Gen. John J. Pershing, who landed in France in 1917 with the words, "Lafayette, we are here!" on his lips, Cipel might well have proclaimed, "Mickey Marcus, hinenei — 'I am here!' " when he entered the office that went along with his $110,000 salary.

Yet the McGreevey mess isn't the only example of Israelis becoming players on U.S. shores. In a story that hasn't even been a blip on the radar screen of the secular news media, another Israeli has been appointed to an American job, raising different though troubling questions.

It was the announcement that the American Jewish Congress was appointing Alon Pinkas as its new CEO.

Donate to JWR

Who's Pinkas? Up until a few weeks ago, he was Israel's consul general in New York, serving in one of the Jewish state's most important diplomatic posts. But if the AJCongress gets its way, he will doff the mantle of diplomat, and take up the less-exalted title of chief macher for a Jewish organization best known for its unyielding stand on the separation of church and state in the United States.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but the idea of a man who was an Israeli envoy just weeks ago taking the helm of a group that attempts to represent the interests of American Jews strikes me as more than a bit odd. Granted, maybe not as odd as the idea of the baby-faced Golan Cipel defending the people of New Jersey from Al Qaeda, but still rather strange.

Granted, too, that the future of the Jewish people probably doesn't rise or fall on the question of who heads the American Jewish Congress or, for that mat ter, who leads the American Jewish Committee or the Anti-Defamation League.

That's no insult to these mighty names in Jewish organizational life. It's just a fact that, like most Jewish institutions, they aren't quite as important as they once were.

While a lot of people, including many who detest him, know that Abe Foxman is the head honcho of the ADL, I dare say not one out of 100,000 American Jews, if that many, could have pulled the name of Neil Goldstein out of their sleeves if asked who was previously the executive director of the AJCongress. So maybe doing anything, even tapping someone who is clearly an inappropriate choice, to be its new leader wasn't such a bad idea. But AJCongress has still crossed a line.

Pinkas, previously a foreign-policy advisor to Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak, has spent the last few years waltzing his way through the complicated labyrinth of New York Jewry. By all accounts, he has done a fine job, charming both the hoi polloi and the high-and-mighty.

But while some Israelis have finished their terms in that office and fled back to Israel for a break from unending rounds of lox-and-bagel breakfasts and caviar receptions, Pinkas apparently can't get enough of it, and will get a salary from AJCongress far greater than the pittance New Jersey taxpayers shelled out to Cipel.

Pinkas does help position AJCongress a bit to the left after its recent tilt toward the center, and he may very well be able to revitalize fundraising for the group. His expertise on Mideast issues should prove invaluable. But as smart as he is, how can he possibly lead a group whose main focus has always been on domestic concerns, such as abortion rights, gun control, and the opposition to school prayer and vouchers?

As it happens, AJCongress may wind up not getting its man. Pinkas might be violating an Israeli law by landing a job in a country where he recently served as a diplomat. The appointment may be put on hiatus while Pinkas tries to mollify an Israeli foreign-service establishment that is outraged by his chutzpah. Yet it appears AJCongress is prepared to wait several months or more for the man to be free to join them.

But don't the good people at AJCongress understand that blurring the line between American Jewish leadership and Israel isn't healthy for America Jews or Israel?

The old slogan of the United Jewish Appeal was "We are one." But that was supposed to be a symbol of solidarity, not an avowal that no difference exists between being a U.S. citizen and one of the State of Israel.

Israelis carry many burdens that American Jews don't shoulder, including army service and paying confiscatory taxes. But that ought not to entitle them to be parachuted into an American organization.

When the McGreevey story broke, a few scared Jews worried that the involvement of an Israeli in a sordid affair would be a black eye for the Jews. They're wrong. Like any other people, we have our scoundrels, as well as our heroes, and nothing Cipel does should make us ashamed anymore than an Irish-American should feel responsible for McGreevey.

But when some ask who do groups like AJCongress really represent — the State of Israel or the many loyal Americans who love both nations — do we really want that question answered by a foreign diplomat?

By even contemplating the Pinkas appointment, AJCongress has stumbled badly. Their timing was also off in more ways than one. This was, it turns out, not a good week to be hiring an Israeli to fill a job better suited to an American.

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.

Jonathan Tobin Archives


© 2004, Jonathan Tobin