Confronting European Anti-Semitism

I just completed a three day visit to Prague and the former Terezin concentration camp. I was there to speak at a conference commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps. Many European speakers talked about the efforts they are making to confront the rising tide of anti-Semitism throughout Europe. But before one can decide how to confront a sickness like anti-Semitism, one must first describe and diagnose the pathology.

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Pakistan: Between Civility and Fanaticism

The recent massacre of school children by Taliban jihadists in a Peshawar army school just lowered even further the bar of atrocities carried out under the banner of Islam in Pakistan. As authorities floundered in the face of mounting violence, with serious implications for new wars in the region, the 2014 Global Terrorism Index ranked Pakistan third behind Iraq and Afghanistan among countries most impacted by terrorism. In addition, the “failed states index” elevated the status of Pakistan to being among the top dozen failed states of the world.

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Surprising the Taxi Driver

Last Wednesday a passenger in a taxi heading for the airport leaned over to ask the driver a question and gently tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.

The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb and stopped just inches from a large plate glass window.

For a few moments everything was silent in the cab. Then, the shaking driver said, “Are you OK? I’m so sorry, but you scared the living daylights out of me.”

The badly shaken passenger apologized to the driver and said, “I didn’t realize that a mere tap on the shoulder would startle someone so badly.”

The driver replied, “No, no, I’m the one who is sorry, it’s entirely my fault. Today is my very first day driving a cab. Until today I drove a hearse for 25 years.”