Reform Judaism’s Israeli Critique

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with his generals to discuss the offensive in Gaza in 2014. (Israeli government photo)

Israel’s nearly seven decades of repressing Palestinians has soured many ethical Jews on the idea that the Jewish state should get unqualified support for its behavior, including now Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the leader of U.S. Reform Judaism, as Lawrence Davidson describes.

A New ‘War on Christmas’ Absurdity

Starbucks' winter-themed cup.

A fairly new – and thoroughly obnoxious – Christmas tradition is for right-wing American Christian fundamentalists to detect some imagined slight and pronounce it part of the “War on Christmas,” with this year’s battle lines drawn around the Starbucks’ winter-themed cups, as Nat Parry observes.

GOP and the Rise of Anti-Knowledge

Ben Carson, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination who opposed a Muslim being elected president.

Ben Carson’s rise to the top of the Republican presidential field shows that many Republicans, especially Christian fundamentalists, have decoupled from the real world — and are proud of it. The more that GOP candidates embrace “anti-knowledge” the more popular they become, as Mike Lofgren explains.

The Lost Cause of Israeli Justice

An Israeli who  joined a public campaign in 2012 to discourage an Israeli war against Iran.

When Israel was founded, there was hope among progressive Jews that the new country could rely on the best traditions of Judaism and teach the world how to navigate the shoals of bigotry and injustice, a vision that remains unfulfilled, as Lawrence Davidson describes.

The Reckless Guns of October

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: With Official Washington’s armchair warriors demanding confrontation with Russia over Syria, the prospects for the conflict spinning out of control rise by the day. Years from now, historians may shake their heads over the failure to compromise, cooperate and deescalate, as Daniel Lazare describes.

Selling Access to Pope Francis

Pope Francis

As much as Pope Francis criticized hyper-capitalism’s cruelty to the poor and the middle class, it was business as usual for the Catholic Church bureaucracy, selling access to the Pope’s events with front-row seats going to well-heeled benefactors, notes Michael Winship.

GOP Vexed over Pope on Climate Change

Image of Planet Earth taken from Apollo 17

In the pocket of the oil industry, key Republicans continue to sow doubts about the science on climate change, an attitude that may extend to their annoyance with Pope Francis if he raises the issue when he addresses Congress, as Michael Winship describes.

Blunting the Pope’s Environmentalism

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has challenged market economics to address the human cost of profit-making, especially global warming’s threat to the future of the planet. But opponents of government regulation are set to spin whatever criticism the Pope delivers during his U.S. trip, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Frantic Fear of Islam

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The American Right and neocon activists have whipped up so much Islamophobia that this bigotry is now shaping the Republican presidential race and contributed to the arrest of a 14-year-old Texas boy who built a clock as a school project, writes Nat Parry.

A Moral Challenge for Pope Francis

Pope Francis. (Photo from Casa Rosada)

Exclusive: In modern times, the Catholic Church has made excuses for unjustifiable wars even as it has made abortion a cardinal sin, a hypocrisy that will be tested as Pope Francis visits the United States, a country immersed in all the immorality that comes from warfare, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.