For more than 10 years, the United States has served as a gracious host to thousands of Iraqi Jewish artifacts discovered by the U.S. military in Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters during the Iraq War. The trove, which includes 2,700 books, Torah scrolls and prayer books, and thousands of documents dating to the 1500s, represents the lost history of a once thriving, two-millennia-old Jewish community in Iraq.
Despite the U.S. government’s valiant effort to preserve and restore this treasure, the State Department is preparing to return the artifacts to Iraq in September 2018 in accordance with an agreement made with the Iraqi government under the Obama administration.… Seguir leyendo »
Once again, Israel stood up to its nickname, Startup Nation, when two weeks ago Intel paid the awesome sum of $15.3 billion to acquire Mobileye, an Israeli company leading in computer vision for autonomous driving technology. While I’m proud of this accomplishment of my country, it nevertheless leaves me with mixed feelings.
On the one hand, it is good to know that, like Waze before it, the Israeli GPS that made driving much simpler for millions of people, Mobileye will enhance safety on the roads and guide future autonomous and driverless cars, the next quantum leap in transportation.
On the other hand, perhaps Israel itself is some kind of an autonomous car.… Seguir leyendo »
March is the month of “La Francophonie”. It is an opportunity for all the countries that share the French language, including Canada, France and Haiti, to celebrate this great family.
We belong to one of the largest linguistic communities in the world. Today, French is spoken by more than 274 million people on all continents. This number is expected to reach 700 million by 2050. French is the second most learned foreign language in the world, after English.
French is a great language of communication. It is the fourth most common language used on the internet. Four international radio stations and six international television stations broadcast in French, reaching 243 million households.… Seguir leyendo »
A time-bomb called Gaza is sitting Israel’s back yard. The question is not whether it will explode, but when.
Caught between Egypt and Israel, and ruled by an oppressive terrorist organization, Hamas, the 1.85 million Gazans are in a dire situation. One third of the population is under 30, and two out of three of these young people are unemployed. With no hope over the horizon for this generation, an explosion is only a question of time. And we know from past experience what form this explosion might take: attacks on Israel. These attacks have already invoked three major counter-attacks by Israel — Operation Cast Lead (2008), Operation Pillar of Defense (2012) and Operation Protective Edge (2014) — which brought devastation to Gaza, but couldn’t stop the cycle of violence.… Seguir leyendo »
One year ago, we awoke to the shocking news of the murder in Honduras of Berta Cáceres, recipient of the 2015 Goldman environmental prize, in response to her campaign to stop the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam being built on indigenous Lenca territory.
Cáceres had received more than 30 death threats during her campaign. Foreign backers of the Agua Zarca dam have suspended lending. But threats to those opposing development projects have never been higher.
Over the past year, at least six more campaigners have been killed in Honduras including, just over two weeks ago, José de los Santos Sevilla, the leader of the indigenous Tolupán people.… Seguir leyendo »
In his last press conference before leaving office, President Obama reiterated his support for a two-state solution as the most viable way to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “I don’t see how this issue gets resolved in a way that maintains Israel as both Jewish and a democracy if there are not two states,” he said.
Then, with his subtle sarcasm, he added: “We’ll see how Trump’s approach plays out.”
On Thursday, at the joint press conference of President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, we were treated with a taste of the Trump approach. “So I’m looking at two-state and one-state,” Trump quipped between smiles, “and I like the one that both parties like.… Seguir leyendo »
Here is an interesting question for President Donald Trump: Who deports more Central American migrants, the United States or Mexico? The answer is Mexico by a long shot.
In 2015, Mexico, without a wall — but with better surveillance in collaboration with the U.S.-deported 165,000 migrants from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The United States deported 74,478 Central Americans the same year.
So antagonizing the people of Mexico and the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto with a constant refrain of, “You will pay for the wall” may not be the best way for Trump to lower the number of migrants crossing the southwest border into the U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
My father, Bernard R. Wieder arrived in America in 1923, 18 years old with plans to bring his entire family here from Maramoros Szighet, the same small Hungarian town where Elie Wiesel was born.
My father worked in Miami Beach as a busboy and then as a waiter in 1923 at the Nemo hotel in the winters and gambled at the dog track and horse tracks. He bought some striped pants and promoted himself to headwaiter. He said that Miami Beach had only two policemen then, and one of them was let go in the summer. “Nothing for them to do,” he said.… Seguir leyendo »
Seven months after the leak of 11.5 million documents from a law firm in an incident that has come to be known as the “Panama Papers”, the world is right to ask what has been done since to fight global tax evasion and promote financial transparency.
As president of Panama, and in particular through my interactions with the international community, it is clear that the affair shined a light into the dark corners of global finance and sparked a worldwide reform agenda. Despite the unfortunate name, The Panama Papers has been good for Panama as well as for the world.
Panama was well on the path of reform long before the scandal broke.… Seguir leyendo »
Who could have imagined that the final weeks of President Obama’s tenure would bring a flurry of mutual recriminations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama administration?
Who? Anyone who was paying attention.
For months we have been hearing that Obama planned a parting shot, perhaps allowing an anti-Israel resolution to pass without a U.S. veto at the U.N. Security Council. I heard about it as far back as last summer.
But as Obama wounded feelings in Israel and enraged Netanyahu, the paradox behind this unseemly quarrel between two good friends, the United States and Israel, is that the biggest losers here are the Palestinian people and their hopes for the establishment of a Palestinian State.… Seguir leyendo »
The terrorist who hijacked a truck in Berlin, then ran over and killed 12 people, maiming and wounding 48 more, in that massacre in the Christmas market, has done more damage than he could imagine.
If the perpetrator is the jihadist from Tunisia who had no right to be in Germany, and had been under surveillance, the bell could begin to toll not only for Angela Merkel but for the European Union.
That German lassitude, and the naivete behind it, allowed this outrage validates the grim verdict of geostrategist James Burnham in ”Suicide of the West”: ”Liberalism is the ideology of Western suicide.”… Seguir leyendo »
It is extremely unlikely that President Obama will be able to fulfill his promise of closing Guantánamo before leaving office, but he can still take action to mitigate this national stain. Torture causes profound harm to human beings, families, and communities. We cannot undo the torture that was committed on scores of men — but we can do the right thing now: We can provide the medical, psychological, and social supports these survivors need to heal.
This positive step will not only protect our national security by reducing the likelihood that released prisoners will act against our interests, but also will begin to restore the reputation of our country as a human rights protector — a distinction that has been shattered by our use of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in the war on terror.… Seguir leyendo »
In the past five years, Syria has become many things: a refugee crisis, a regional quagmire, a Western nightmare, a terrorist haven, a Russian power play and the core of Iran’s ambitions.
To the international community, however, it’s a civil war. The United Nations, Western governments, media and European Union all refer to the Syrian conflict this way.
These simplifications are inaccurate and dangerous. They absolve the international community of responsibility, and give Bashar Assad a veneer of legitimacy. They liberate Russia and Iran — actively involved with troops in the conflict — from culpability. And they allow internal terrorist groups to justify their involvement and violence.… Seguir leyendo »
Back in March 2014, with Russian-speaking forces patrolling the streets of Crimea, until then a part of the sovereign country of Ukraine, I wrote an article arguing that, “We have entered a new Cold War.” Fast-forward to this surreal moment in American — and global — history, and it appears that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is handily winning this Cold War 2.0.
This is no longer a battle between Communism and capitalism/democracy. This is Putin against the West, against democracy, and Putin is winning.
It’s no secret that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted Donald Trump to win. He also wanted Hillary Clinton, whom he despises, to lose.… Seguir leyendo »
For years I have been warning that the ongoing Jewish settlement in the predominantly Arab West Bank will lead to one, bi-national state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, where Jews might eventually become a minority. In that case, Israel might either lose its Jewish character or its democracy.
In theory, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his speech in 2009 at Bar Ilan University, seemed to have recognized that, when he said that he endorsed a two-state solution. Except that the current Israeli government under his leadership, pressed by the ultra-right wings of his coalition, is leading us in the opposite direction.… Seguir leyendo »
Last week, I addressed the U.N. General Assembly to outline a new approach to tackle cholera in Haiti — a disease that has afflicted nearly 800,000 people and claimed the lives of more than 9,000 Haitians over the last six years.
This tragedy has cast a shadow upon the relationship between the U.N. and the people of Haiti. It is a blemish on the reputation of U.N. peacekeeping and the organization world-wide.
I began my speech to the General Assembly with a message to the Haitian people:
The United Nations deeply regrets the loss of life and suffering caused by the cholera outbreak in Haiti.… Seguir leyendo »
For centuries Jews co-existed for the most part peacefully with their various neighbors across North Africa and the Middle East. Jewish communities thrived from the Atlantic Ocean to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, from Casablanca to Alexandria and Baghdad.
Today, they all have been virtually driven to extinction. Within one generation, from 1948 to 1973, nearly 1 million people were displaced, many becoming refugees.
In the wake of the Holocaust, the establishment of the state of Israel and the rise of Arab nationalism, the Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews in North Africa and the Middle East were increasingly subjected to pogroms, riots, arrest and detention.… Seguir leyendo »
To be a political prisoner is one of the worst things that can happen to a person, a family, or even to a larger metaphorical family, a country. However, it is an experience that grants dignity to the person imprisoned and debases those responsible for the injustice; an injustice that inspires indignation in those who were previously indifferent and those who simply looked away.
Every political prisoner in Venezuela pains me. Those who have at some point been denied medical treatment; who are imprisoned because they sent a tweet, or because they used drones during a protest, or who were tortured; those who have not been accused of anything, or are accused of crimes that do not exist; even those who risked their lives to leave the country and who face permanent political persecution wherever they go.… Seguir leyendo »
Hurricane Matthew devastated much of Haiti. The storm killed more than 800 people and leveled entire communities. Those who have visited have described scenes reminiscent of when the earthquake hit the island in 2010. There are food shortages, and a cholera epidemic has reached an alarming level. The World Health Organization has sent 1 million doses of cholera vaccine in response. The Haitian Ministry of Health was to begin a mass vaccination program last week.
It will take time to recover from this latest disaster. Then Haitians and the international community will once again embark on a rebuilding program.
After the 2010 earthquake destroyed much of Haiti’s urban society, the international community committed more than $1 billion to a rebuilding effort that was intended to set Haiti on the path toward sustainable development.… Seguir leyendo »
Pope Francis is continuing along his remarkably liberal path, most recently by praising Martin Luther at a ceremony in Sweden beginning a year-long 500th anniversary commemoration of the Reformation. Yet despite the pope’s openness, and the corresponding good faith of the Lutherans, the two sides were unable to effect a reconciliation.
The episode raises two questions: Why try? And how is it that, in this post-theological age, not even Christian believers can get past their own wars of religion?
To start with the obvious, it’s moving that the pope would speak positively about Martin Luther, who is technically speaking still under a ban of excommunication issued by Pope Leo X in 1521.… Seguir leyendo »