Thursday, March 11, 2010

Read on

In political news Congressman Eliot Engel is unhappy with President Obama reappointing Robert Ford as ambassador to Syria.
New York Rep. Eliot Engel called Obama's appointment last week of Robert Ford a "mistake."

"Unless Syria has agreed to something I am not privy to behind the scenes -- making themselves helpful, ready to take some steps away from Iran, ready to cooperate in the region for peace and stability -- then there is some rationale for the move," Engel told The Jerusalem Post this week. "But short of that, I don’t see any rationale in it at this time."

Engel, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was one of the first Democratic congressmen to break with Obama's Middle East policies dealing with Israel and Iran, though he has said he is heartened by new policies geared to isolate Iran and shore up Israel's military capabilities.

Engel was a lead sponsor of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, signed into law by former President George W. Bush in December 2003. The act gave the president tools to form sanctions against Syria.
Why is there no Jewish-themed version of Narnia, or other fantasy adventures in the literature world. Good question. Michael Weingrad has the answer.
Needless to say, C. S. Lewis wasn’t Jewish either, though he did marry a Jewish convert to Anglican Christianity (played by Deborah Winger in the film Shadowlands). In fact, when one of her two sons from a previous marriage became increasingly observant, Lewis turned to the great Jewish historian Cecil Roth for advice on finding kosher food and shabbat hospitality for his stepson. But of course no one would suppose the author of Mere Christianity and the Chronicles of Narnia to have been Jewish himself. Tolkien had famously converted his friend and fellow Oxford don from skepticism to Christianity through a series of conversations that led Lewis to the realization that “the story of Christ is simply a true myth.”

Tolkien and Lewis’s gentility would hardly bear comment were it not for the fact that they are not isolated examples in this regard, but only the most well-known figures within an entire literary genre—perhaps the only such genre—in which Jewish practitioners are strikingly rare. I cannot think of a single major fantasy writer who is Jewish, and there are only a handful of minor ones of any note. To no other field of modern literature have Jews contributed so little.

So why don’t Jews write more fantasy literature? And a different, deeper but related question: why are there no works of modern fantasy that are profoundly Jewish in the way that, say, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is Christian? Why no Jewish Lewises, and why no Jewish Narnias?[...]

To answer the question of why Jews do not write fantasy, we should begin by acknowledging that the conventional trappings of fantasy, with their feudal atmosphere and rootedness in rural Europe, are not especially welcoming to Jews, who were too often at the wrong end of the medieval sword. Ever since the Crusades, Jews have had good reasons to cast doubt upon the romance of knighthood, and this is an obstacle in a genre that takes medieval chivalry as its imaginative ideal.[...]
The article is really lengthy.

It turns out that Crazy Red Head Lady from the Oscars is actually wrote a biography of Golda Meir.

May Arnold Forster rest in peace.
Arnold Forster, an attorney who had a nearly 60-year career at the Anti-Defamation League, has died.

Forster fought against anti-Semitism and extremism, and advocated for civil rights and the State of Israel. He was 97 when he died Sunday night.

In 1938 he organized a team of lawyers to serve as the volunteer legal arm of the Anti-Defamation League. He joined the staff of ADL in 1940, and as associate national director was primarily responsible for building ADL’s law department and civil rights program. In January 1946 he was appointed general counsel, a position he held until 2003, though he retired from the ADL in 1979.
Vice President Joe Biden's speech in Israel is broken down. Of course, there are the reactions.

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