Michael Freund
Michael Freund
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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The NBA's intriguing Jewish history

May 5, 2023  •  Jerusalem Post

As the National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs heat up, fans around America and much of the world are once again being treated to an impressive display of athletic prowess and on-court excitement.

As a game, basketball is both elegantly simple and excruciatingly complex, easy to grasp yet difficult to play consistently at a high level.

Indeed, for anyone who has ever dribbled a ball and hurled it with a prayer and a hope toward the basket, the precision, discipline and skill demanded by the game are readily apparent.

For decades, professional basketball has been dominated by African-American players, with figures such as Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and LeBron James becoming household names.

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Remembering: Rindfleisch massacres of 1298

April 21, 2023  •  Jerusalem Post

This week marks the 725th anniversary of the Rindfleisch massacres, one of the gravest and most extensive anti-Jewish pogroms in the history of medieval Europe.

Despite the rivers of blood that were shed and the devastation that was wrought on German and Austrian Jewry, it inexplicably remains one of the least-remembered episodes in the annals of our people and their painful sojourn on the continent.

Indeed, the Rindfleisch massacres were among the first recorded attempts at wholesale genocide directed against the Jews in Germany and Austria, setting a horrifying historical precedent that would later be outdone with relish by Adolf Hitler and his regime. For that reason alone, it is worth recalling this dark chapter.

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Croatia must confront its fascist past

April 7, 2023  •  Jerusalem Post

This summer marks a decade since Croatia formally joined the European Union as its 28th member state. It was an enormous step for a country that had been riven by conflict in the 1990s, as Yugoslavia disintegrated into a fratricidal war and splintered apart.

Indeed, at the time of its accession to the EU, some observers expressed the hope that joining the larger European community of nations would have a sobering effect on Croatia, where a fierce nationalism rooted in World War II-era fascism remained strong.

Sadly, after nearly 10 years in the EU club, it seems that Croatia still has a great deal of soul-searching to do about the darker moments in its past, particularly regarding the Holocaust.

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Sham and shame at Sharm el-Sheikh

March 24, 2023  •  Jerusalem Post

Earlier this week, I made the mistake of reading the communiqué published at the end of the March 19 Sharm el-Sheikh multilateral conference.

I say "mistake" because the document, which sums up various points agreed upon by Israeli, Palestinian, American, Egyptian and Jordanian political and security leaders, is so one-sided and infuriating that it is difficult to comprehend how the government could have agreed to such shameful terms.

Thankfully, the decisions published in such communiqués are usually worth little more than the cost of the ink used to print them. But that does not take away from just how deplorable the summit's statement is.

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It's time for Israel to make a decision about Iran

March 10, 2023  •  Jerusalem Post

Nations, like the individuals who comprise them, are periodically confronted with critical choices, moments of destiny in which they must make decisions that may define the contours of their future existence.

Throughout its short history on the world stage, the modern State of Israel has already faced more such crossroads than most, with its very being under assault from the moment it was reborn in 1948.

And now we have arrived at yet another such juncture, presenting perhaps the most perilous and pernicious dilemma in recent decades, one that must be addressed head-on without further delay.

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