Historical

Jewish Americans changed their names, but not at Ellis Island

A well-worn joke in American Jewish culture goes like this. A Jewish immigrant landed at Ellis Island in New York. Kirsten Fermaglich The Conversation The procedures were confusing, and he was overwhelmed by the commotion. When one of the officials asked him “What is your name?” he replied, “Shayn fergessen,” which in Yiddish means “I’ve already forgotten.” The official then recorded his name as Sean Ferguson. Today, members of many white ethnic groups – including Jews, Italians and Poles – ... Read More »

Neo-Ottomanism a myth or reality

In the treaty of Lausanne (1923), signed in Palais de Rumine, Turkey gave up the remainder of the territory held by the Ottoman Empire. M Saad ur-Rehman Daily Times In return, the Allied powers recognised the new republic of Turkey and eventually one of the greatest empires in the history of mankind came to an end. Mustafa Kemal, the founder of the modern Turkey, introduced rigorous reforms in all sectors of the country and laid down the foundation of the ... Read More »

A Peace Of Fiction: Australia Should Celebrate A National Day Of Violence

If we’re going to engage in so much violence, then why not celebrate it, ask Gideon Polya and Richard Hil. New Matilda What’s all this talk about peace? Why should Australia celebrate peace when we appear to be such a violence-prone nation? Someone recently suggested that instead of staging peace rallies, Australia should hold a National Violence Day, such is this nation’s dalliance with this most aberrant of practices. No doubt, such views will upset the Pollyannas amongst us, but ... Read More »

Israeli lawmakers move to recognize Armenian genocide amid Turkey row

Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuly and Likud MK Amir Ohana stated they would submit legislation to make Israel the 30th country to recognize the Armenian genocide. Lahav Harkov JPost Bills to recognize the Armenian Genocide by the Turks were back on the Knesset’s agenda on Wednesday, after Turkey and Israel expelled each other’s envoys. Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuly and Likud MK Amir Ohana both said they would submit legislation to make Israel the 30th country to recognize the genocide ... Read More »

Israel At Seventy: Time To Celebrate And Time To Lament

At seventy, Israel has every reason to celebrate its remarkable achievements that every Israeli can take pride in, as they witnessed the redemption of the Jews they have been dreaming of, but never though they could realize. Alon Ben-Meir – Institute Israel’s accomplishments in various walks of life have made the country a global power; it did so with one hand tied behind its back as the country fought wars, battled violent extremism, and struggled economically, while wrestling against all ... Read More »

Maria Agnesi, the greatest female mathematician you’ve never heard of

The outmoded gender stereotype that women lack mathematical ability suffered a major blow in 2014, when Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman to receive the Fields Medal, math’s most prestigious award. Authors: The Conversation An equally important blow was struck by an Italian mathematician Maria Gaetana Agnesi, born 300 years ago this month. Agnesi was the first woman to write a mathematics textbook and to be appointed to a university chair in math, yet her life was marked by paradox. ... Read More »

US embassy in Jerusalem opens amid violence: 4 essential reads

On May 14, the day the U.S. embassy in Israel moved to Jerusalem, at least 55 Palestinians were killed and 2,700 wounded by Israeli soldiers amid protest at Israel’s border, according to The New York Times. Danielle Douez The Conversation What began as Palestinian protests against economic sanctions in Gaza months ago now also includes a response to the embassy move. President Donald Trump announced the move back in December 2017, when he recognized Jerusalem as the “true capital” of ... Read More »

Gaza residents to bury dead from Israel border protest

Funerals for many of the 59 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire during the Gaza border protest will be held on Tuesday. DW – mm/aw (AFP, AP, dpa) Several countries, although not the US, have condemned Israel’s violent response. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for three days of mourning as Gaza residents prepared to bury those killed in Monday’s violence along the border with Israel. The Palestinian Authority also called a general strike in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in protest ... Read More »

Q&A: Why is the Golan Heights so important?

When Iran recently attacked the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from its positions in south-west Syria, Israel responded with a volley of air strikes that it says all but destroyed “almost all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria”. Abdulaziz Alghashian The Conversation It was a dramatic flare-up in a long-running enmity – and it was no coincidence that it happened over one of the most contested areas in the Middle East. When did Israel take full control of the Golan Heights, and why? ... Read More »

Are dictators on the way out – or on the way up?

All around the world, democracy is looking shaky. While consolidated democracies are struggling to stay healthy, many flawed ones have turned into outright authoritarian regimes – most notably Russia under Vladimir Putin and Turkey under… Natasha Ezrow The Conversation But the news isn’t all bad: on several continents over the last decade, longstanding dictators have resigned, lost elections, or been deposed. As the table below indicates, the number of dictators who’ve fallen in recent years for all sorts of reasons ... Read More »

Wlad’s worlds: Polish Resistance fighter, ‘Slavic space age’ modernist, legendary Australian artist

The relationship between art and life is tricky to navigate. But in the case of the Polish-born Australian artist Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz (1918-1999) the two seem inseparable. Christine Judith Nicholls The Conversation This is evident in the outstanding commemorative solo exhibition of his artistic career, Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz: 100th Anniversary Exhibition, expertly curated by his son Adam and currently on show at South Australia’s elegant Murray Bridge Regional Gallery. Born in Stara Sol, near Lwow, Wlad (as he became universally known) studied ... Read More »

Friends in Crisis: Anzacs and Hellenism

Across numerous conflicts in the first half of the 20th century, Australians and New Zealanders were at the side of Hellenism: World War One, the Asia Minor Campaign (1919-1922), and the relief efforts after the Hellenic, Armenian and Assyrian Genocides. Panayiotis Diamadis Beyond their battlefield record, these Anzacs and others from the Antipodes provided substantial practical and moral support for a people going through successive major crises. 2014 marked the Centenary of the outbreak of World War One, and the ... Read More »

Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade Reveals the Limits of Israeli Counter-terrorism

Israeli-Palestinian tensions are mounting, not just in Gaza and over the U.S. embassy’s move to Jerusalem, but also over Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade, known to Jews as Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. Ofer Zalzberg ICG Israeli and Palestinian leaders could take simple administrative steps to reduce the risks of violence at the holy sites. A series of momentous events in Israel-Palestine, both national and religious in character, risk spiralling into a dangerous escalation. Since 30 March, tens of thousands of Palestinians in ... Read More »

Erdogan’s visit to the UK: open letter to Prime Minister May

Lobby for Cyprus * open letter to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Dear Prime Minister President Erdogan’s visit to the UK will take place against the shadows cast by his destruction of democracy in Turkey, his government’s appalling human rights record, his country’s gunboat diplomacy and the enduring consequences of the two Turkish invasions of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974. Having ethno-religiously cleansed and colonised 36 per cent of the territory (and 57 per cent of the ... Read More »

Gaza violence: Israel defends actions as 55 Palestinians killed

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said his military was acting in self defence during violence on the Gaza border that left dozens of Palestinians dead. Some 55 were killed and 2,700 wounded by Israeli troops, Palestinian officials said, on the deadliest day of violence since the 2014 Gaza war. BBC The Palestinian Authority’s leader condemned a “massacre”. The UN spoke of “outrageous human rights violations”. The violence came as the US opened a controversial embassy in Jerusalem. The move of ... Read More »

Mad Magazine’s clout may have faded, but its ethos matters more than ever before

Mad Magazine is still hanging on. In April, it launched a reboot, jokingly calling it its “first issue.” Michael J. Socolow The Conversation But in terms of cultural resonance and mass popularity, it’s largely lost its clout. At its apex in the early 1970s, Mad’s circulation surpassed 2 million. As of 2017, it was 140,000. As strange as it sounds, I believe the “usual gang of idiots” that produced Mad was performing a vital public service, teaching American adolescents that ... Read More »