Monday, August 25, 2014

"Great Ideas" is discussing "Zionism--Implementation in Israel" on Thursday, August 28, 2014. We meet at the Northbrook Village Hall.

Here is a link that will allow you to review, download and print the slides we will show and discuss at each session: IsraeliHistory

On Thursday August 28 we will continue discussing internal Israeli politics, inter-Arab relations, the effect of the U.S. & U.S.S.R on the region and the run-up to the 6-day war of 1967 beginning with slide 266. Also added to the bibliography is Michael Oren’s book Six Days of War : June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, which is highly recommended. Below is a link to an article, “In Defense of Zionism” by Michael Oren that appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Note: Thursday, September 25 is Rosh Hashanah. While Mark will not conduct "Great Ideas", Ron will conduct an extra "Current Events" discussion on 9/25. Also, please note that for the remainder of 2014 "Great Ideas" meets only once each month on the 2nd Thursday due to Holiday closings and voting in Village Hall.

Below is a list of books mentioned during our sessions:

  • "The Making of Modern Israel 1948-1967" by Leslie Stein
  • "Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict" by Charles D. Smith
  • “The Iron Wall: Israel & The Arab World” by Avi Shlaim
  • “Transformative Justice: Israeli Identity on Trial” by Leora Bilsky
  • "Six Days of War : June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East" by Michael Oren
  • “The Secret War Against The Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People” by John Loftus and Mark Aarons
  • “A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel” by Allis Radosh and Ronald Rados
  • "Truman" by David McCullough
  • “Louis D. Brandeis: A Life” by Melvin Urofsky
  • “The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership” by Yehuda Avner
  • “George C. Marshall” by Forest Pogue (a 4 volume work- the most definitive biography)
  • “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War” by Benny Morris
  • “Woodrow Wilson: A Biography” by John Milton Cooper, Jr
  • “A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East” by David Fromkin
  • "Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews": A History by James Carroll
  • “In the Garden of the Beasts” by Erik Larson
  • “My Promised Land - The Triumph & Tragedy of Israel” by Ari Shavit
  • "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide" by Samantha Power
  • "The Physician" by Noah Gordon
  • "Start-up Nation: the Story of Israel's Economic Miracle" by Dan Senor and Saul Singer
  • "Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil" by Hannah Arendt
  • "The Eichmann Trial" by Deborah Lipstadt
  • "The House on Garibaldi Street" by Isser Harrel
  • "Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices" by Mosab Hassan Yousef

                "Current Events" topics for Thursday, September 4, 2014. We meet at the Northbrook Village Hall.

                Note: Thursday, September 25 is Rosh Hashanah. While Mark will not conduct "Great Ideas", Ron will conduct an extra "Current Events" discussion on 9/25.

                “We're in the most dangerous position we've ever been in as a nation,” says Senator Inhofe, a position echoed by others. Yet others say ISIS is a great risk only to the immediate area. Who is right?

                If America goes after ISIS in Syria, we could be helping Assad. What’s the greater risk—helping Assad by degrading ISIS…or staying out of Syria?

                Regardless of what actions President Obama takes in the Middle East, he is criticized by Republicans…even when he follows their suggestions on “toughness”.  Given the upcoming elections, are Republicans giving more support to their Party than to our Country? How are Democrats equally guilty of being only self-serving? 

                President Obama made his strong statement against the ISIS beheading…and then went golfing. Critics decry the optics saying it's a terrible mistake and proof that Obama is disengaged. The President believes the message to everyone--including terrorists—is that we will not let you change America with fear tactics. Who is right here?

                Why have most Americans lined up to either support the young man who was killed…or the policeman who did the shooting? Do we have enough information to know, for certain, who was wrong? What are the bigger issues that this incident has brought forward?

                What is the status of the war—and potential for peace—between Israel and Palestinians?

                Is Gov. Perry’s indictment pure political theatre, or something of substance?

                What significant changes do you see happening if the Republicans win the Senate?

                What might be the ramifications if President Obama uses executive action to allow a form of “amnesty” to illegal immigrants in America?

                Why have IRS, Beghazi and Obamacare dropped off the radar screen? Do Republicans have better opportunities to attack Democrats through Obama’s record low approval ratings?

                Is the issue of teacher tenure a winning issue for Republicans?

                What is your opinion of Quinn's campaign strategy to attack Rauner's wealth more than attack his issues? Is Rauner more vulnerable to such attacks because his campaign is currently light on issues?

                What’s your opinion about the House race in the 10th Congressional District?

                The typical American family is about 1/3 poorer than a decade ago. Net worth was $88,000 in 2003 vs. $56,000 in 2013, primarily due to the dramatic decline in housing. What are the ramifications?

                The Supreme Court says police must obtain a warrant to search your cell phone. What do you feel was the greater risk--to your personal freedom, or to your personal security?

                Recently the U of I fired a professor , Steven Salaita, because of his comments regarding the Israel/Hamas conflict . In the opinion of the university, his comments were extremely overboard . Was this firing an affront to academic freedom or the words of Salaita a violation of school policy which allowed the firing? Compare this to the recent writings and orations by a Northwestern professor regarding the holocaust.

                What are the ramifications of America's birthrate having dropped from just under 4 in 1957 to just over 2 today? (2.1 birth rate is considered the right number to replace both parents over their life).

                An Orthodox Jew who had his leg amputated may sue the Hospital that cremated his leg contrary to Jewish law requiring that the leg be buried with the body. Your thoughts. Is Diversity America's strength...or is it our weakness? Who, ethnically, is a "typical American"?

                Why do many Americans consider Islam itself, and not just radical terrorists, dangerous to America?

                There are futurists who believe that by the year 2045, technologically, we will achieve a "singularity" event where artificial intelligence reaches a tipping point and begins to exceed human intelligence--to a point of replication and self-expansion without human assistance. If this is possible, should we embrace the opportunity...or be fearful of the risks?

                Germany's Merkel said spying on allies is a waste of time as she promptly kicked out America's top spy. What's the point of spying on Germany? Are our relations with Germany more important than any secrets gleaned by spying?

                The First Lady is taking on Republicans who want to walk back school lunch guides. Michelle Obama lobbied for the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which requires more fruit, vegetables and whole grains in school meals, along with less sodium, sugar and fat. It was designed to make school meals more nutritious. The School Nutrition Association originally supported the standards, has now turned against them. The association says it fully supports getting kids to eat healthier but says many districts are losing money because students aren't buying the healthier lunches. Your thoughts.

                Thursday, August 21, 2014

                "American Politics" discussion topics for Monday, September 8, 2014 at the North Shore Senior Center

                NSSC is closed Labor Day, September 1.  Our next session is Monday, September 8

                Topics with be posted several days before 9/8.

                Thursday, March 6, 2014

                Northbrook Library Discussion Groups have moved to Northbrook Village Hall during Library Renovation.

              • Renovation of Northbrook library meeting rooms began in March 2014 and will continue for approximately one year. The Library will remain open during this renovation.
              • Click this link to visit the Northbrook Library website, take a short "virtual tour" and see details about the renovation:
              • During this time, "Current Events" and "Great Ideas" will be held next door at the Northbrook Village Hall at the usual 10-11:30am time.
              • We meet in the Village Hall Board Room on the first floor
              • Please do NOT park in front of Village Hall. Park at the Library or across the street If you have a handicap sticker you can park in the south lot in back of Village hall for better access to the board room.
              • Coffee will NOT be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own in a covered cup

              • Thursday dates when we will NOT meet...or discussion topic changes:

                September 25 - Rosh Hashanah - While Mark will not conduct "Great Ideas", Ron will conduct an extra "Current Events" discussion on 9/25.

                October 23 - No "Great Ideas" - Early Voting taking place in Village Hall

                October 30- No "Great Ideas" - Early Voting taking place in Village Hall

                December 25 - Christmas Day - No "Great Ideas" - Library Closed

                January 1 - New Year's Day - No "Current Events" - Library Closed