The U.S. is always in the news in other countries. Here’s what the foreign press is saying about America today.
American Jews, make up your mind
In the Israeli paper Haaretz, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie calls on American progressive Jews to stand with Israel as it embarks on a new campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
On Wednesday an Israeli airstrike killed the terrorist leader Ahmed al-Jaabari. Continued bombing also led to the death of 14 other people, including eight civilians, three of whom were infants. In retaliation, Hamas launched rockets into southern Israel, killing three civilians.
Yoffie calls the Israeli operation, known as Pillar of Defense, “justified, and in fact overdue.” He argues that liberal Jewish Americans should support Israel’s actions, despite their historical aversion to violence:
The communities [of southern Israel] have been subjected to missile fire from Gaza for 11 years. With sickening regularity, rockets fall on civilian centers and hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens flee to shelters . . . no other civilized country in the world would tolerate for a week what Israel has tolerated for a decade; a single rocket aimed at an American city would call forth a far more drastic response than anything that Israel has attempted or even contemplated.
Should American Jews really take a side, despite the fact that innocent civilians are dying on both sides of the border? Tell us what you think.
In Africa, Obama should act more like China
An editorial in Nigeria’s Daily Trust calls on President Obama to turn his “flowery words” into concrete policies towards Africa.
While Obama raised hopes on the continent after visiting Egypt and Ghana in 2009, the paper writes, his actions since have paled in comparison to the initiatives of Bill Clinton, who championed free trade initiatives between Africa and the U.S. In fact, Obama’s only major accomplishment in Africa thus far has been the removal of Muammar Gaddafi from Libya, says the Trust.
If the U.S. wants to regain its fading influence in Africa, the argument continues, then it will have to emulate China, which has replaced America as the continent’s biggest trading partner.
Washington has long criticized China’s policy of ‘speak-no-evil; see- no- evil’ in engaging with African states. In a speech in Dakar, [U.S. Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton said that the U.S. offered Africa “a model of partnership that adds value, rather than extract it” . . . [But] African countries have long resented Washington’s attempts at forcing them to adopt policies that suit its own interests. By considering its own values and mores as being, falsely, of universal application, to which every country must subscribe, the U.S. undermines its message of the essence of democracy.
Senate to recognize the Hindu festival of light
Two U.S. Senators have introduced a resolution recognizing the “religious and historical significance” of the festival of Diwali, reports the Times of India.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) sit on the Senate’s bipartisan India Caucus. Diwali, the festival of lights, marks the New Year, and is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and other sects. Observers celebrate the holiday by decorating their homes with small oil lamps, called diyas, and praying for health, prosperity and wisdom in the coming year.
Cornyn released a statement explaining his support for the resolution:
India is the world’s largest democracy, which makes our countries and our people natural partners. . . .Diwali’s message of tolerance, compassion, and the victory of good over evil resonates with the American spirit. As Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and others come together to celebrate this festival of lights, let us all be reminded, as Americans, of one of our most cherished freedoms: the freedom of religion.
To all those celebrating Diwali, we wish you a very happy new year.