The Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 brought into being the existence of an office to monitor and combat anti-Semitism. In 2006, the administration of President George W. Bush appointed the first Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism, Gregg Rickman.
President Barack Obama’s appointee was Hannah Rosenthal. In this episode of Faith Complex we sat down with the Special Envoy to discuss her work as it pertains to Europe and the post-Arab Spring Middle East.
Ms. Rosenthal’s office does not lack for “business.” She describes an alarming uptick in European anti-Semitism, especially on college campuses. The degree to which the consistently pervasive rhetoric of anti-Zionism in Europe crosses over into anti-Semitsm is a subject we discuss at length.
Ms. Rosenthal also calls attention to some of the bright spots. These include the earnest efforts of the…
Today’s installment of Faith Complex features an interview with Dr. Tawfik Hamid, an Egyptian-born Muslim who in his youth joined the ranks of the radical Islamist group Jamaa Islamiya (JI). While floating in those circles in the late 1970s he made the acquaintance of one Ayman al-Zawahiri, currently the leader of Al Qaeda.
Since then Hamid has become a vocal and insightful, albeit sometimes controversial, critic of Islamism. In his discussion above with host Ghazi bin Hamed, our guest argues that the popularity of Islamic groups in the Arab world is not predicated on widespread acceptance of these groups’ radical theology. Rather, their support is based on the perception that they provide a “social justice” model concerned with alleviating the economic hardships of Arab citizens (the parallel here between JI and the Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon is clear).
Sometime in the 1980s, before the Velvet Revolution, I decided to learn Czech. I am not sure why Czech seemed like a good or useful language to know, but I was in love with Czech writers like Milan Kundera and Kundera’s translator, Peter Kussi, taught Czech at my university. As a result, I began spending huge chunks of every summer in Prague. There I started to take the work of another Czech writer, Vaclav Havel, far more seriously. I had read some of Havel’s work, of course. “The Power of Powerless” remains one of those essays that still motivates thousands of activists around the world. In the essay, Havel forces us to ask what small and seemingly insignificant acts of resistance we might commit and how their very committal might lead to something else, something bigger. The essay was inspirational. It forced us all to consider the possibility that we do not need heroes, but rather…
The Arab world is experiencing a series of convulsions resulting in the quotidian slaughter of citizens in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, and elsewhere. Yet the reaction on American college campuses is comparatively muted.
Muted compared to what, you ask? Compared to the tragic shedding of one life in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Having directed Jewish Studies programs in universities for most of my career I can assure you of this: If Israel were to inflict the type of violence on Palestinians that Arab regimes (and Iranian ones) casually inflict on their own dissenting populations in the course of one day, many colleges across America would be virtually shut down.
Remember the “Jenin Massacre”? I do. The university where I taught at the time came to a near complete standstill because of the alleged Zionist atrocities committed in the West Bank.