Arab Reform Initiative

In 2005 and 2006, the U.S./Middle East Project joined in consultations among leading policy institutions in the Arab world in the formation of an international consortium that focuses on issues associated with democratization and regional reform. The purpose of this network is to mobilize Arab research capacity in support of reform in the Arab world that is realistic and home grown. In September 2005, the Arab founding members of the initiative jointly chose Dr. Bassma Kodmani to be the full-time director for the program. From October 24-25, 2005, the Secretariat of the Arab Reform Initiative convened in Cairo to discuss the organization’s work plan for 2006. The Arab Reform Initiative’s website is accessible to the public (in both English and Arabic) at www.arab-reform.net



General Brent Scowcroft, Eric Melby and Henry Siegman

General Brent Scowcroft, Eric Melby and Henry Siegman

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Does America really ‘share values’ with today’s Israel?

In the late sixties or early seventies, when I served as the executive head of the Synagogue Council of America, the coordinating body for certain social action and interreligious activities of the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform national rabbinical and congregational organizations in the United States, I had a private conversation—one of many—with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who was considered the leader of modern Orthodoxy in the United States, if not the world.

Rabbi Soloveitchik had just completed a high-level seminar attended by a select group of rabbis and Christian ministers. I asked him if he would agree to lead another such a seminar on the Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel and the concept of “kedushat haaretz” (the holiness of the land), and how these are to be differentiated from concepts such as “blut und boden” (blood and land) at the heart of German fascism and other totalitarian regimes.

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