Tag Archives: Foreign Policy
Stop Violence Against Women

I-VAWA? WE-VAWA: We All Must Do Our Part to End Violence Against Women and Girls

One out of three women worldwide will be physically, sexually, or otherwise abused during her lifetime. In some countries, it’s as many as seven in ten. Violence against women is a human rights violation that devastates lives, fractures communities and prevents women from fully contributing to the economic development of their countries.

Take a minute to think about the things we do every day: go to work, go to school, provide food for ourselves and for our families. We generally do not equate these tasks with putting ourselves in danger. But, that’s not the case everywhere. Often, the perpetrators of violence against women and girls commit that violence while women are on their way to work or to collect food and water, or while girls are on their way to school—that is, if they are allowed to go to school at all. Read more…

ISIS militants drive through the city of Raqqa

More News in the Fight against ISIS

News broke this weekend that ISIS had killed yet another American hostage. Peter Kassig, an American aid worker, disappeared in October 2013 while making a trip to deliver medical care in Syria. He was transferred late last year to a jail network in ISIS-held territory, where he became part of the group of hostages that included now-murdered American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley. Mr. Kassig, served in Iraq as part of the United States Army before founding an NGO that gives aid to Syrian civilians. His work models the highest ideals of pursuing justice and recognizing the dignity of every human being. Read more…

Sec. Kerry shaking hands

What’s New with the Iran Talks?

Just under a year ago, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States; plus Germany) made the historic announcement that they would be starting negotiations concerning Iran’s nuclear program. The goal of the negotiations was to, within six months, reach a deal to ensure Iran’s nuclear program could only be used for peaceful purposes (such as nuclear power), and in turn, have the United States roll back some of the economic sanctions placed on Iran. As a show of goodwill, the United States decided to relent with some of the sanctions (though most have been kept in place), while Iran agreed to stop enriching uranium beyond a certain point (5%)—one that could be used for non-peaceful purposes. Read more…

Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

Israel Update: New Terror Attacks, and a Legal Battle over Jerusalem

The past two weeks have been scary ones for Israelis and Jerusalem residents, as three separate attacks on light rail stations have left three people dead and injured a dozen more. On October 23, a Palestinian man drove his car through a light rail station near Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, killing a three-month-old infant who was also an American citizen, as well as an Ecuadorean woman. And just this Wednesday, a van rammed into another light rail station in Jerusalem, killing a border patrol agent and wounding two others. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. Later that night, another van rammed into a three IDF soldiers in the West Bank, sending them to the hospital.

The attacks come in the wake of tensions over the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Temple Mount in East Jerusalem. Right-wing Israeli activist Yehuda Glick was shot there last week, prompting Israeli authorities to close Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, for a day. This in turn sparked riots near Al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount (which exists essentially on the same site), and has created diplomatic tension between Israel and Jordan.

Read more…

Netanyahu Obama

Contextualizing Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Speech at the UN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Monday, just days after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the same assembly. In the speech, the Prime Minister stated his view that “Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas” and sought to link the two groups with Iran by saying that they all fall under the umbrella of militant Islam. Netanyahu also offered an impassioned defense of Israel’s tactics in Operation Protective Edge, the military campaign

While the speech was largely a restatement of what the Prime Minister has been saying this summer and before, it launched a conversation within the Jewish community and the Israeli community. Below you’ll find what some have said about the Netanyahu’s speech:

To stay up to date on everything related to the Prime Minister’s speech and Israel issues in general, check out the RAC’s Israel page and our partners in Israel, the Israeli Religious Action Center.

military airplane bombers flying over desert

Just What is ISIS, and Why Should We Care?

Like many self-styled foreign policy wonks, I’ve found myself incredibly disturbed by the extremist group known as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. There’s no shortage of news these days on ISIS, from what we should call them to what life is like under ISIS control to why the U.S. should attack them to why the U.S. shouldn’t attack them to wondering whether all of this is legal. Read more…

Fifth Birthday and Beyond

Growing up, birthdays were an important day in my house.  The morning started with a concoction called “Birthday Breakfast,” inspired by a dessert my parents had eaten on a date together (it’s two waffles, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream—trust me, it’s amazing).  For my 5th birthday party in 1995, my parents planned a big backyard carnival, complete with games, party signs, and prizes.  I remember that birthday, as well as all the birthdays I’ve celebrated since that day, and the thoughtfulness with which my parents marked each of my birthdays. Read more…

What Does Korach Teach Us?

By Leah Citrin

When “Ken” grew up in northern Kenya, he faced many hardships. In a part of the country that is not agriculturally productive, the people in this region often felt neglected by the government. As a society of nomadic pastoralists, Ken’s community lived without internet, phones, or access to education. The culture around him viewed LGBT issues as “western” and individuals who came out as gay were met with violence and discrimination. As an LGBT activist, “Ken” must mask his name and the name of his organization to avoid imprisonment or even death. In order to express one part of his identity, he must hide a different part of it.

Like “Ken,” Korach, the main character of this week’s Torah portion, sees an injustice and calls the people to action: “All the community—all of them—are holy,” Korach challenges Moses and Aaron, “and God is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above the congregation of God?” Korach’s challenge, that each person has value and holiness, resonates with us today. We, as American Reform Jews, value each individual and his or her abilities and contributions. We believe that there are different kinds of leaders and we fight for justice in the form of equality. In living out these beliefs, we eliminated the ritual hierarchy in Judaism by erasing the distinctions between Priests, Levites, and Israelites. So we can empathize with Korach. Read more…

<