FROM J.J. Goldberg
Who Knows What about Religion? The Pew Research Center prides itself on nonpartisan disinterest in the outcomes of its work. This week, its Forum on Religion and Public Life released a survey on religious knowledge in the United States. Some findings about one of the most religious of the developed countries are surprising. Atheists and agnostics are the best informed, along with Mormons and Jews. Evangelicals, Mainline Protestants and Catholics did not do so well when it came to the core teachings, history and leading figures of the major world religions — sometimes even their own. What does this mean in one of the most religious of the developed nations -- and one of the most diverse? What are the implications for policy and politics? When a proposed Muslim center near Ground Zero has created so much dispute what are the prospects for interfaith dialogue?
A Growing Divide among American Jews about Israel Even before Israel's bloody effort to enforce the blockade of Gaza, a lengthy article in the New York Review of Books created a firestorm with an attack on mainstream pro-Israel organizations in the United States. It reported a growing division among American Jews with potential consequences for Israel. We speak with the author of the report and others in the US and Israel.
A Rift Grows in the American Jewish Community Israel's bloody enforcement of its Gaza Strip blockade has exposed a growing division among American Jews. AIPAC , the traditional Jewish lobby, played up five Islamic "Radicals" aboard ship. A competing lobby group, J Street , focused on the blockade's impact on Palestinians. Even before Israel's defense of the blockade, a lengthy article in the New York Review of Books created a firestorm with an attack on mainstream Jewish organizations in the US, and a recent survey shows young, liberal American Jews are unwilling to support Israel right or wrong. Is Israel failing to hear an important message? What are the implications for the Obama Administration and US policy?
Middle East Peace and the So-called 'Israeli Lobby' Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in the Middle East this week, meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas . That is something Israel has said it will not do, since Abbas' Fatah faction formed a unity government with the more radical Hamas, which refuses to recognize the Jewish state. Meantime in the US, there's heated debate over the so-called "Israel Lobby," epitomized by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee . Some influential Jewish Americans contend that AIPAC and its allies are too conservative, but say that AIPAC and its allies are so powerful they have squelched debate about American policy in the Middle East. They say that's bad for both the US and Israel itself where, ironically, debate is much more open.
Trump fires FBI Director James Comey Vice President Mike Pence took the Administration's lead today in explaining why the President fired the Head of the FBI, saying, "The president made the right decision at the right time." Trump's action is being compared to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1973.
Concern deepens amid Trump's controversies President Trump delivered today's commencement speech to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. As he praised the accomplishments of the graduates, he listed some of his own… and made reference to reports that he leaked intelligence to the Russians and tried to shut down an FBI Investigation into his associates.