What Should Be Done About University Protests?

Universities like Columbia and Yale were cast into chaos as anti-Israel protests led to arrests of protesters and acts of physical violence against Jews. More at Jewish Journal.

…is there a silver lining to this madness?

Only one that I can see: The masks are completely off and the truth is completely naked. This kind of truth brings clarity… we need Congress to take the gloves off and step in with the power of the law.

Students—all of us—have a right to protest. We have a right to protest for dumb causes and horrible causes… It is not, however, a First Amendment right to physically attack another person.

For the students I spoke to, the invocation of safety was especially galling because the arrests themselves were an act of violence, and the fact that many students reported receiving emails informing them that they were suspended and temporarily barred from their dorms, effectively rendering them homeless.

What Are the Implications of America’s Aid Bill?

Despite opposition from some Democrats and a number of Republicans as well, the House managed to pass a $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. More at New York Times.

The Senate will vote — and very likely approve — the Israel aid, at which point Biden will immediately sign it into law. Israel will get its money and weapons, but should not settle for the peace of mind that its standing in Washington is sure-footed.

America’s allies and enemies have started to wonder if the U.S. is too consumed with infighting to defend itself and its interests. So put down a marker: Even a dysfunctional and narrowly divided Congress perceives the world’s dangers and has decided to meet the occasion.

If rank-and-file Democrats continue to register their discontent in the months to come, the Biden administration might feel compelled to bend, not out of principle but for the more practical reason that a party leadership cannot afford to ignore its members on such a charged issue.

Is Israel’s Iran Strike the End of the Story?

Israel’s response to Iran’s attack was notably muted, signaling an unwillingness to escalate the conflict further. Does this mean that Israel’s war with Iran has been averted for now?

There is much to read between the lines of the latest flare-up. But it is clear that both sides of the regional battle have decided that they have too much to lose in all-out war.

The signal sent by the decision to hit a conventional military target in Isfahan was clear: Israel demonstrated that it could pierce Isfahan’s layers of air defenses, many of them arrayed around key sites like the Isfahan uranium conversion facility.

Israel is behaving like the leader of a regional coalition against Iran. In its measured response, it appeared to be weighing the interests of its allies in this coalition — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan — which all provided quiet help in last weekend’s shoot-down. It’s playing the long game, in other words.

Is a Ceasefire Deal the Best Way to End the War?

Those calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza war present themselves as anti-war activists, but is a ceasefire actually the best way to end the war?

A ceasefire will provide some relief for Gazans today, but a prolonged ceasefire will preserve Hamas’s bloody oppression of Gaza and make future wars with Israel inevitable.

Israel needs to bring a swift end to the protracted war in the Gaza Strip.. After a cease-fire is reached in the south, the north will also simmer down, and only then can Israel build up its military power according to the reality, which has changed since October 7.

Now – to use the words of the assassinated peacemaker Yitzhak Rabin after he signed the Oslo peace accords in 1993 – the world is telling Israel: enough of blood and tears, enough!

How Will Current Events Be Felt on Passover?

Should our seders make reference to the war between Israel and Hamas? Or, for the sake of peace, should we leave politics and current events aside.

I hope that as different generations of Jews with sharply contrasting viewpoints gather to retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt there will be a chance to talk about the ties that bind Jews together, the need to protect and support our community, the centrality of freedom for all, and the fact that Israel is the Jewish homeland and has a right to defend itself.

Don’t be afraid to speak about the hostages or the suffering in Gaza. Just skip the moral one-upsmanship and the hot takes. Instead, employ the ancient, challenging and enduring language of our shared tradition.

It has been said that the proverbial “Four Sons” are actually four different personality types of people who may be attending the Seder. They could be curious, contrary, simple or passive.

But this year there is a fifth person we should be thinking about. It is a hostage who may have one of those personality traits, but they are not present because they are trapped in an unimaginable place.

Can Taylor Swift Keep Riding Her High?

On the heels of her “Eras” tour, Taylor Swift has reached heights that few musicians have even dreamed of. With her new album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” does she keep up her momentum?

This album is okay. I understand that Taylor Swift is not someone you’re supposed to feel okay about—she is either the great redeemer of English-language arts and letters in the 21st century, as her fans have it, or a total cornball foisted upon the public by the evil record industry, as the haters say.

Great poets know how to condense, or at least how to edit. The sharpest moments of “The Tortured Poets Department” would be even more piercing in the absence of excess, but instead the clutter lingers, while Swift holds an unlit match.

“Tortured Poets” comes during an unprecedented moment of success for Swift that is the result of both intentional and accidental circumstances. The album’s performance will answer whether there’s any ceiling to Swift’s accomplishments, or prove that for an artist of her caliber, there is such a thing as flying so high you can’t really see the top.

Happy Passover

The Roundtable wishes you a happy Passover and will see you on May 1st.

Today’s Hot Issues

What Should Be Done About University Protests? What Are the Implications of America’s Aid Bill? Is Israel’s Iran Strike the End of the Story? Is a Ceasefire Deal the Best Way to End the War? How Will Current Events Be Felt on Passover? Can Taylor Swift Keep Riding Her High? Happy Passover