Editor’s Wrapup: Stretching the Imagination
|In 1907, when there were more than seven million Jews in Eastern Europe and a mere 3,000 in Sweden, the idea that Stockholm would one day be a center for training Jewish leaders for Russia, Poland, Latvia or Croatia might have seemed like a plot from an unimaginative novel. Today it is a reality. Paideia, a Jewish studies program funded by the Swedish government and The Wallenberg Family Foundation, has hosted 100 students in the seven years since its founding. “The one major question applicants have to answer,” said Noomi Weinryb, the school’s deputy director, “is ‘How do you see yourself contributing to the future of European Jewish culture.’” Toby Axelrod’s report on this pioneering institution begins on page 54.Perhaps considering the unimaginable upheavals of 20th-century Europe—from the rise and defeat of Nazism to the collapse of the Soviet Union—imagining change in the Arab world should not be an exercise in futility. Gershom Gorenberg looks at recent behind-the-scenes talks between Israeli and Syrian representatives and provides a tantalizing scenario not only of the two nations at peace but of Syria ending its alliance with Iran and moving to the pro-Western camp. His account begins on page 10.
If European tyrants can fall and Israel can dream of peace, what can be said about the anti-Israel boycotts in Great Britain?
Alan M. Dershowitz has a lot to say (page 48). For one thing, the boycotts have been spearheaded by small groups of ultra-leftist activists within their unions and professional associations. Focusing on the British University and College Union resolution, Dershowitz notes that the boycott appears to be backfiring. “British academics,” he writes, “are on notice that if they try to isolate Israeli academics it is they—the British academics—who will end up being isolated.…” Given polls that show most Britons oppose the boycotts, perhaps it’s not such a stretch to imagine the triumph of fair play.