Category Archives: International News

Should a 101-Year-Old Former Nazi Spend His Final Days in Jail?

There are always opportunities to learn from the past. But, in order to do so, we must be willing to open our eyes to the mistakes made by our forebears.

On Tuesday, a 101-year-old former Nazi in Germany was found guilty of the murders of 3,518 innocent people in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He will spend the next five years in jail.

There are two arguments that come from this case. The first is that he is an old man who has breached the century mark. At his age, he might not last five months in prison, much less five years.

The second is that he, like his cohorts, has blood on his hands. Though he was not responsible for everyone who died at Nazi hands, this conviction is still justice served. In my mind, five years is nothing compared to the persecution, starvation, and torture that the victims experienced, it is still something.

This man (whose identity is being kept from the public) was able to live a long and full life. The people he had a hand in killing were denied that opportunity simply because of who they were and what they believed. The message from this conviction is loud and clear. Anyone who participated and is still alive will get their day in court.

Though we cannot go back in time and prevent the death of millions, we can ensure that they are never forgotten and their murderers are seen for what they are.

May their memories be a blessing. Z”L.

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Filed under History, International News, World News

Can We Talk About Israel?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted Book Review

If there is one thing we can hopefully agree on, it is that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is not as black and white as it appears to be on the surface. The truth is that there are grey areas that are not often explored or given time in the spotlight.

Can We Talk About Israel?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted, by Daniel Sokatch, with illustrations by Christopher Noxon, was published last fall. This premise of the book is to answer as many questions as possible in a concise, readable, and understandable manner in regard to one of the world’s longest modern disputes. Starting in the distant past and ending in today’s world, Sokatch explores the history of the region, the people who have called it home, and the arguments that have lasted generations.

I have mixed feelings about this book. While he highlights the antisemitism that has, unfortunately, been part and parcel of Jewish history, I think he gives the haters too much latitude. While I am again hoping that the consensus is that there has been too much destruction and loss on both sides, I am disheartened that the author ignores the many times that real attempts for peace have been shot down by the Palestinians.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Can We Talk About Israel?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted is available wherever books are sold.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, International News, Judaism, World News

The Lies About the Death of Shireen Abu Akleh Will Only Lead to More Violence and Death

The basic purpose of journalism is to provide the public with the following answers to a specific news story: who, what, when, where, and how. After all of that information is provided, the viewing and listening audience should be allowed to make their own mind up about the story.

On Wednesday, Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in a clash between IDF soldiers and Palestinian extremists. As usual, the worldwide mainstream press does not report the whole truth.

The truth is that she was likely killed by one of her own people. While the Israeli government promises a thorough investigation, there is the usual silence and lies from their Palestinian counterparts.

I am going to end this post with the truth from Bassam Eid and Noa Tishby. This is antisemitism, pure and simple. The sooner the world realizes it, the sooner that real peace is possible.

May the memory of Shireen and every journalist who has been killed in the line of duty be a blessing. Z”L.

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The World Didn’t Care Then & They Don’t Care Now: The Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Destruction of the Al Aqsa Mosque

Silence speaks volumes and actions speak louder than words. People can say whatever they want, but words mean nothing.

Tuesday was the 79th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. When the world turned its back on Europe’s Jews, it gave the Nazis carte blanche permission to persecute, starve, torture, and murder my Jewish brethren. The only way we could survive is if we saved ourselves. It was a f*ck you to those who decided that we were not worth fighting for.

In the years since then, Jews (and Israel by extension) have had to keep the figurative middle finger raised. Because once again, we have been told by actions that we should remain sheep to the slaughter.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I believe in the sacredness of the sites and the holidays within my faith. Earlier today, militant Palestinians decided that one of the holiest sites in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, was to be used not as a site of prayer, but of a battle. This is during Ramadan, which I think deserves a little more respect. Not only did they attempt to physically destroy the building, but they used it as a base to attack innocent people.

In my mind, that is akin to Jewish worshippers destroying the Western Wall during Yom Kippur to spite our neighbors. It is something I cannot comprehend.

Given that the basic concept of Jewish history is that we are still here despite many attempts at assimilation and extermination, I personally think that it’s time to not give a shit. If living means fighting for ourselves when no one else will, so be it.

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11 Israelis Were Murdered This Week. No Gives a Shit

After the Holocaust, the phrase “Never Again” was heard around the world. As usual, the words ring hollow.

This week, 11 Israelis were murdered in three separate attacks. The murderers claim to be a part of Hamas and ISIS. Adding salt to the wound was a protest in Brooklyn in which the participants cried out “Globalize the Intifada“.

I am so tired of this shit. When will the rest of the world wake up? Will it take another six million to make people care?

Or are we just Jews, who are only good when we are dead?

May the memories of those killed be a blessing. Z”L.

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The Comparisons Between Israel and the Conflict in Ukraine is Both Wrong and Dangerous

Comparisons during any international conflict are inevitable. What we have to remember is to ask ourselves if this correlation is being backed up by facts or lies?

The war between Russia and Ukraine is nearly a month old. Too many have been killed, millions have been displaced, and a generation has been forever changed due to the ego of one man. Instead of doing what they can to stop Vladimir Putin from doing any more damage, some people have decided to distort the truth to fit their perspective.

Antisemitism is being used once more to twist what we know to be true. The claim is that Israel is to Russia as Palestine is to Ukraine. In other words, Israel is (again) the big bad and Palestine is the little person trying to defend themselves. As usual, the reality is being ignored. Not only is humanitarian aid being sent, but both the Israeli government and its citizens have welcomed refugees of all faiths and backgrounds.

Truth is powerful. It transcends disinformation and forces us to face facts. But, in order to do that, we must be willing to put aside our prejudices and what we think we know. The problem is that too many are unwilling or unable to see the truth.

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Cramm This Book: So You Know WTF Is Going On in the World Today Book Review

When we get to a certain age, it is not uncommon to see the younger generation as lazy, entitled, or selfish. While this may be true for some, the truth is that young people are not always what their elders think they are.

Cramm This Book: So You Know WTF Is Going On in the World Today was published last month. Written by The Cramm founder Olivia Seltzer, this book takes both historical events and news headlines and explains them in a way that Gen Z would understand. Diving into contemporary issues (Black Lives Matter, Me Too, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, climate change, etc), she explains the history behind each and how that history has impacted its current status.

Reading this book gives me hope for the future. Though it is written for a certain audience, the appeal does not stop beyond the age of 25. Her ability to translate the past into understandable chunks is the key to its success. Its the type of book that if used in an academic setting, has the potential to make history come alive and feel relevant.

My only issue is that the section on what is going on in the Middle East (with Israel in particular) is missing some important facts that complete the story.

Other than that, do I recommend it? Yes.

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The Little Girl Singing “Let It Go” in Ukraine Gives Me Hope

It is easy to go down a dark rabbit hole when war is knocking at your door.

The war in Ukraine has been going on for more than two weeks. The images of death, destruction, and millions of refugees leaving the country are enough to make one believe that the future is bleak.

Then hope arrived in the most unlikely of ways.

Earlier this week, a video was released of a young girl in an air raid shelter singingLet It Go” from the Disney movie Frozen.

Her innocence is the light in the darkness that we all need right now. There is obviously no way to know when this war will end. But even with all of the heaviness, there is something to fight for and someone who believes in the possibilities that the future holds.

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Filed under Feminism, International News, Movies, Music, Star Wars, World News

More Republican Fuckery: FL’s “Don’t Say Gay” Law, TX’s Anti-Transgender, Cowardly Kevin McCarthy, and MI’s Banning Contraception For Married Couples

It says something about a nation when one political party is focused on the future and bringing people together while the other one is focused on the past and pulling people apart.

In both Texas and Florida, laws against the LGBTQ community and LGBTQ kids have created a dangerous precedent that puts lives at risk. As of Monday, the “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida is one step closer to becoming law. The details of the bill are as follows:

Should the bill become law, Florida educators would be barred from speaking to primary school students about certain LGBTQ+ topics that are not considered “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

Under the bill, parents would also have greater authority to take legal action against school districts they believe to be in violation.

In Texas, parents of transgender children who seek out hormone therapy to help their offspring become their true selves could be characterized as child abusers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to foresee the potential mental health issues that may have a hugely detrimental effect on an entire generation. If we lose young lives due to these laws, the blood will be on the hands of those who wrote and supported these pieces of legislation.

Several weeks ago, Kevin McCarthy was asked by a member of the press about January 6th. Instead of answering her question, he ran away.

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Contrast this to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. When asked by the US if he wanted to get out of the line of fire, he said no and asked for ammunition. We should all be so lucky to have a President like him.

Finally, in Michigan, the three Republican candidates for State Attorney General were asked about the 1965 Supreme Court decision Griswold vs. Connecticut. The ruling states that married couples can buy contraception without the government stepping in. All three of them (who are all men, if it was not already obvious) state that they believed it was up to the state and not the federal government.

Who are they to make these decisions? When Roe V. Wade was ratified as the law of the land in 1972, it came down to privacy. That same concept applies to married couples. The choice to end a pregnancy and/or use contraception is one that belongs to those who are involved in that process and no one else.

Just another day of Republican fuckery.

P.S. I hope I was not the only was one who was offended and horrified by the outburst by Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene during last night’s State of the Union. It was akin to drunken idiots insulting the opposing team during a baseball or football game. What is worse is that they chose to do this when President Biden was speaking about his son who he lost to cancer. How much more disrespectful can they get?

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Filed under Feminism, History, International News, Mental Health, National News, Politics, World News

The Ukrainian Invasion is a Both a Premonition and a Warning

It’s easy to take democracy for granted. It is only when it is on the brink of destruction that we remember how fragile and important it is.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday morning. The estimated number of casualties as of Thursday night was 137. While the rest of the world sanctions, condemns, and protests the actions of the Russian military, Putin acts as if he has every right to take over a sovereign nation.

In a previous post about this topic, I compared the invasion to when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. A more appropriate comparison is the German takeover of Poland in 1939. This event, as we all know, was the opening salvo of the European theater of World War II.

As both a Jew and an American whose family left Eastern Europe more than a century ago, I am scared and horrified on two points. The first is that Putin claims that he needs to “de-Nazify” Ukraine. Putting aside (momentarily) the continued misuse of the Holocaust-related language and imagery, he ignores the known fact that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also a member of the Jewish faith. Anyone with half a brain can easily see through what is nothing more than a flimsy excuse.

Among the many pieces of video that have been released, the one I find most heartbreaking is the man saying goodbye to his wife and daughter as he prepares to fight for his country. I don’t know about anyone else, but seeing this exchange was nothing short of gutwrenching.

I am equally horrified that several prominent members of the American right (i.e. Republicans) are loudly and proudly flying their pro-Putin flag. What was that about America First? More like Russia First.

I believe that this is a turning point in world history that cannot be ignored. We have two choices. We can pull a Neville Chamberlain and let Putin steamroll over Europe. Or, we can fight back and ensure that our children live in a world in which democracy is respected and protected.

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