• A blogger compares the kerfuffle over President Barack Obama’s bow to Japanese Emperor Akihito with the tale from the Book of Esther in which valiant Mordechai refuses to bow to evil Haman, which Talmudic rabbis felt was “a needlessly obstinate decision to make a point in public” and had to justify it by explaining that the Persian minister wore an idol around his neck. [Beliefnet]
• A writer for Religion Dispatches takes issue with a recent Forbes commentary on the Fort Hood shooting titled “Going Muslim,” a play on the phrase “going postal”: “If a fanatic fundamentalist Christian kills an abortion doctor, is he ‘going Christian,’ or should an Israeli soldier who loses it be considered as ‘going Jewish’?” [RD]
• White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that Israel’s plan to construct 900 new housing units in Jerusalem will make peace efforts “more difficult,” which is hard to imagine. [AP]
• U.S. Orthodox groups are miffed at the State Department’s latest International Religious Freedom Report, which declares that Israel “discriminates” against non-Jews and non-Orthodox Jews, and “appears harsher” than past years’ assessments. [JTA]