The following sections of the newest column by J. Zel Lurie, written for the South Florida Jewish Journal, highlight some matters of interest for this blog:
Time Magazine leads its listing of one hundred most influential people in the world with a two-page spread on Barack Obama. … graced by a studio portrait of Obama taken by a Time photographer. …
Has Time picked Obama as the next president of the USA? I wonder.
No male members of President Bush’s cabinet nor any of their British counterparts are found worthy of mention in Time’s list of the hundred most influential persons on earth, but there are plenty of women: Condoleezza Rice, the Republican Secretary of State is number 2; Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, is number 5; Ms. Clinton is number 8; Angela Merkel, the leader of Germany, is number 11; Sonia Gandhi, “the Italian who became India’s kingmaker,” is number 12; Queen Elizabeth II is number 15. And Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister and a leading candidate to succeed Prime Minister Olmert, is number 20. Her name concludes the first section of the list entitled, “Leaders and Revolutionaries.”
Most significant is the brief blurb on Livni, penned by Condoleezza Rice. She notes that they are roughly the same age and in the same job for their respective governments. Both agree that “a Palestinian state is in Israel’s greatest interest.”
“For Tzipi and me,” says Condi Rice. “ it is now the focus of our work together.”
Ms. Rice continues: “Tzipi has not just been my colleague, she has become my friend. We have sat together for hours debating ideas…. Tzipi is a woman of conviction, intelligence and peace. I deeply respect her. I like being around her. And I know that long after we have both exited the world stage, we will still be friends.” …
Jeff Halper, the founder of the International Committee Against House Demolitions and a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, who hasn’t said a good word about Israel in a donkey’s age, has kind words for the two women. He wrote recently: “For their part, Livni and Rice are proceeding very quietly in stark contrast to the bluster of their male bosses. They have even refrained from releasing a name to their plan.”
Republican Jewish leaders in Washington, who are mostly Likudniks and support the settlers, are worried that the efforts of the two women might result in peace. Elliot Abrams, her deputy, tried to mollify them. He told them that that his female boss is interested in pushing the “peace process” not peace. And President Bush, he noted, has an “emergency brake” which he will pull if the women go too far.
When Abrams pictorial remarks became public last week, Livni countered with an interview to the leading Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram that Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 will not be the last.
“We are convinced that to establish a Palestinian state we have to withdraw from other areas,” she said. “We do not want to control the Palestinians.”
Jeff Halper has been seduced into kind words about Livni. He says that she is “one of the few thinking government officials.”
He quotes her as saying: “On the one hand I want to anchor my interest in security, demilitarization and refugees. On the other hand I want to create an alternative for the Palestinians that includes a solution to their national problem.”…