From the Editor
Epstein, Nadine, Moment
As I write, thousands of barrels of oil gush out of the BP well each day in the Gulf of Mexico. The war against the Taliban in Afghanistan grinds on and car bombs explode in Iraq, as extremists try to undercut a political solution to the country's sectarian strife. The fallout from the confrontation between Turkish and other pro-Palestinian activists and Israeli soldiers on the Mavi Marmara off the coast of Gaza continues to dominate the news. Still, amid the morning's headlines are reminders that we humans are capable of solving our problems: Not too many years ago it would have been unimaginable that the 2010 World Cup would take place in a post-apartheid South Africa.
Where are Jews in the march of humanity? When I walked into the office this morning, senior editor Nonna Gorilovskaya was on the phone, smiling. She handed over the receiver without identifying the caller. On the line was Steve, a reader.
"Moment is a bird's-eye view of the Jewish contributions to society," he told me unbidden when I took the phone. "It is about what the world would miss if there weren't any Jews." Moment, he continued, "is the most interesting conversation I've run across, reaching back 5,000 years and across cultures" and should be read by everyone, not just Jews. Steve told me some of his favorite articles, including our 2006 profile of Beatles manager Brian Epstein. "I had heard of Brian Epstein, but I had no idea that he played such an important role in shaping The Beatles." He asked if we would consider publishing a collection of articles in book form to highlight the positive impact Jews have had on the world.
It made my day to talk to a Moment fan and hear the mission of the magazine articulated so well. I forgot about the looming magazine deadline and all the work that goes into it. For a few minutes, I even forgot about the world's problems, several of which appear on the pages of this issue.
We have two opinion columns from completely different perspectives about the Gaza flotilla clash. I hope you read both. The incident highlighted the growing rift between Turkey and Israel. The alliance between these two countries is vital to Israel, which has few friends in the region. "The Rise and Fall(?) of the Israel-Turkey Alliance" goes beyond superficial analysis. We talk with Anat Lapidot-Firilla, a senior research fellow at the Van Leer Institute in Jeruslalem, and Ilker Ayturk, assistant professor of political science at Bilkent University in Ankara.
Farther to the east is another country with which Israel shares history: Burma, now known as Myanmar. The military junta that rules over 50 million people is notorious for its repression of ethnic minorities and its Orwellian control of information. …