'[T]he dream of every Irish-Catholic father is for his daughter to marry a Jewish surgeon.'7:17 AM, Apr 28, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Although neither the White House nor the State Department released statements or posted greetings on the 67th Independence Day of the nation of Israel last Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden did attend the annual Israeli Independence Day Celebration at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington and delivered remarks. The speech was vintage Joe Biden, beginning with his opening line:
Ron, Mr. Ambassador, my name is Joe Biden, and everybody knows I love Israel.
He then plunged into a recounting of his own family's blend of Catholicism and Judaism, telling the crowd that "the dream of every Irish-Catholic father is for his daughter to marry a Jewish surgeon."
I was thinking as Ron was saying that he doesn't know what it’s like in Catholic families -- whether we argue as much as allegedly occurs in Jewish families. Well, I settled all that. Two of my three children married Jews. (Laughter.) And you want to see what happens then. (Laughter.)
As a matter of fact, my daughter -- I -- the dream of every Irish-Catholic father is for his daughter to marry a Jewish surgeon. (Laughter.) And she did.
As the vice president turned to the subject at hand, Israel's Independence Day, he immediately landed in gaffe territory, misstating the country's age by a decade:
Look, the fact of the matter is that 77 years [sic] ago, at midnight on May 14, 1948, against all odds, in the wake of searing tragedy, defiant in the face of overwhelming military numbers massed on its borders, the modern State of Israel was born.
Biden then likened the relationship between the United States and Israel to family, alluding to the recent disagreements between Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Obama administration:
[W]e’re like family. We have a lot to say to one another. Sometimes we drive each other crazy. But we love each other. And we protect each other.
The vice president spent much of his speech recounting the Obama administration's support of Israel ("No president has ever done more to support Israel’s security than President Barack Obama") and detailing why the current negotiations with Iran and the pending deal over nuclear development is in Israel's and the world's best interests ("[I]f the final deal on the table that doesn’t meet the President’s requirements, we simply will not sign it.")
Biden drew his remarks to a close by retelling the story, which he acknowledged he often repeats, of his meeting with the legendary Israeli prime minister Golda Meir:
I’ll conclude -- and my friends kid me and I imagine Ron may, as well -- telling you the story about my meeting with Golda Meir. The reason I do it had a profound impact on me, one of the most consequential meetings I’ve ever had in my life. I think I’ve met every major world leader in the last 36 or 37 years in the world, in a literal sense.
But I remember meeting for close to an hour with her. She went through what happened in the Six-Day War, and the price that was paid. And I just had come from Egypt. They let me go to Egypt and go to the Suez Canal. And I was saying to she and Rabin that I thought that they were getting ready to attack again. And everyone including my military and Israeli military thought I was crazy.
I remember driving from Cairo all the way to out to the Suez. And you could see these great plumes of dust and sand. But none it seemed isolated. It turns out it was maneuvers taking place in the desert. And I was really worried. And we went through, and she painted a bleak, bleak picture -- scared the hell out of me, quite frankly, about the odds.
9:26 AM, Apr 16, 2015 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
This morning at 10:00 a.m., in Israel, all activity came to a halt as sirens sounded, and Israelis stood for two minutes with heads bowed in memory of the 6 million Jews, one third of the Jewish people, who perished in the Holocaust. Yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at Yad Vashem in recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Here are excerpts from his remarks:
How Jews loyal to the Union mournedApr 20, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 30 • By MEIR Y. SOLOVEICHIK
As America prepares to mark the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death on April 15, fresh insight into the events that occurred a century and a half ago can be gleaned by seeing that entire week through the eyes of America’s Jews, and especially of those Jews who attended America’s oldest and most historically distinguished congregation.
9:23 AM, Apr 6, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Eric Cohen writes about Jewish conservatism for Mosaic magazine:
Compared with the bleaker moments in Jewish history—and woefully there are many—the present age of Jewish life offers many grounds for celebration and gratitude.
12:57 PM, Mar 28, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
A member of the Virginia State Bar (VSB) passes along this email, sent along last night to the members by VSB president Kevin E. Martingayle:
Dear Fellow Members of the Virginia State Bar,
12:03 PM, Jan 9, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Reuters and Agence France-Presse report that four hostages at the Kosher market in Paris are dead.
11:18 AM, Jan 9, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
CNN is reporting that the sounds of shots and explosions were heard near the Kosher market in Paris, where a terrorist has reportedly been holding several captives.
8:01 PM, Nov 29, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Mark Strand died today at the age of 80. The Montreal-born writer, who served as U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1990-1991, was also a brilliant translator. When I was a junior editor at Ecco Press in the late 80s, Strand used to visit the editor in chief, also an excellent poet, Daniel Halpern, to work on a number of projects translating and promoting international poets, especially from Latin America and Central Europe.
5:33 PM, Aug 5, 2014 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Here, in the parlance of the times, is a “pro-tip.” When attempting to rebut the notion that anti-Semitism in Europe is largely a problem caused by young Muslim men, don’t cite two horrific anti-Semitic atrocities perpetrated by . . . young Muslim men.
9:14 PM, Jul 28, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Our friends at the admirable Italian newspaper, il Foglio, have announced a rally in front of their headquarters in Rome Wednesday night. The rally has two goals: First, to support the right of Israel to defend itself -- something that will be a useful challenge and rebuke to the anti-Israel rallies elsewhere in Europe. And second, to increase awareness of the persecution of Christians in Iraq and beyond. As a friend involved in organizing the rally put it in his email, "both the threats to Israel and to the Christians come from the same radical ideology."
One reaction to anti-Israel protesters yesterday at Zabar's.5:50 PM, Apr 23, 2014 • By KATE HAVARD
Yesterday, on the last day of Passover, protesters surrounded the doors of Zabar’s—the iconic Upper West Side grocer famous for its knishes and lox—to demand the store stop selling the carbonated beverage maker SodaStream. The roughly 40 protesters, carrying guitars and signs decrying “Apartheid Soda,” represented a coalition of volunteers from Adalah-NY (meaning “justice” in Arabic), Jewish Voice for Peace, and m
7:01 AM, Apr 14, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Here's video of the detained suspect in yesterday's shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas:
"Heil Hitler," the suspect yells from the back of a police cruiser.
The Kansas City Star has more details:
8:13 AM, Jan 23, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Obama administration is worried that Israel is riling up American Jews, according to a report in the Israeli press. The allegations are detailed in a story headlined, "'US perceives Israel as encouraging anti-Obama backlash among Jews,'" which appears in the Jerusalem Post.
4:46 PM, Jan 20, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
The New York City human rights commission is putting seven Jewish business owners on trial tomorrow for discrimination in the heavily Hasidic neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Orthodox Jewish business owners' supposed crime? Posting a dress code in storefront windows:
The human rights commission's case is so thin that one of their lead witnesses has a lengthy history of expressing anti-Israel sentiment.