Category Archives: International News

Was the Joke About Israel on SNL Satire or Anti-Semitic?

Satire is a beautiful thing. But it can also cross the line.

During the Weekend Update portion of last weekend’s Saturday Night Live, anchor Michael Che made a joke about Israel. To say that it did not go over well is an understatement.

The question I have to ask, is it satire or antisemitism?

I get that it was a joke. Weekend Update is not your serious local weeknight news. It is supposed to be funny and perhaps bordering on not exactly being 100% politically correct.

That being said, I can’t help but agree that it did have a slightly anti-Semitic undertone. My people have been persecuted and murdered because of the lies that have been told about us.

Unlike other countries (ahem, United States) on which the the rollout of the vaccine programs have been unnecessarily complicated or messy, the Israeli government got their shit together. As of February 4th, US News & World Report put out a story that all Israelis over the age of sixteen were able to get the vaccine. The important word in this headline is all. There was no mention of any specific group that was either pushed to the head of the line or denied access because of their religious or cultural background.

I’ve been a fan of SNL for more than twenty years, this program is usually the highlight of my weekend. I can usually laugh at anything. But this joke, I cannot and will never be able to laugh at.

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Filed under International News, Television, World News

What Happened in Myanmar Can (and Did) Happen in the US

For nearly three hundred years, the American democracy has been a shining light in a world in which dictators and autocrats still rule.

As we all know, on January 6th, there was an attempted coup to overturn our democracy. Thankfully, it was stopped before any real damage could be done.

In Myanmar, there was also a revolt by the military after an election. But this revolt was a success. The leaders of the democratically elected government have been imprisoned. General Min Aung Hlaing is, for all intents and purposes, in charge.

I don’t know about anyone else, but this is another reminder that a democratic government does not exist on thin air. It requires that both lawmakers and citizens fully participate. Only then will it last for generations, if not centuries.

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Filed under International News, National News, Politics, World News

If Israel Can Vaccinate Their Population in a Quick and Orderly Manner, Why Can’t the US?

The evidence in regards to controlling Covid-19 is obvious. Approximately half to a third of the population needs to be vaccinated (otherwise known as herd immunity) for the virus to lose it’s potency. The question is, what measure are governments around the world taking to stop it in its tracks?

While the United States is floundering in its attempt to get the shots into the arms of Americans, 20% of the Israeli population has received the vaccine as of last Wednesday.

Granted, Israel is a much smaller country in both population and size. That being said, it comes down to planning, coordination with the government at every level, and assistance of the medical industry. The problem in the United States is two fold. Thanks to you know who, the system that is supposed to transfer the vaccine from the federal government to state and local governments can only be described as a hot mess. The issue compounded by the American healthcare system, which has been problematic for many years.

Back in 1947, a smallpox outbreak hit New York City. Via a coordinated effort between the city and the Public Health Service, millions were vaccinated in less than a month. Only twelve people were infected and of that number, only two people lost their lives.

The fact is that it is possible to end this plague and return to some semblance of normalcy. But we can only do that if those in the halls of power work together.

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Filed under International News, National News, New York City, Politics, World News

RIP Esther Horgan

This time of year, there is talk of peace on Earth and goodwill to all.

The problem is that is merely talk.

On Sunday afternoon, Esther Horgan went for a run. She never returned home. Her body was found the next day.

Mrs. Horgan, aged 52, and a mother of six children, was murdered because she was an Israeli Jew. Thankfully, her accused killer has been caught.

If we really want peace, it starts with conversation. Not with guns, not with bombs, and not with threats of war. What those (whose names I shall not repeat) have repeatedly failed to understand is that the murder of ordinary citizens is a fruitless effort. The loss of numerable lives, the destruction of property, and the lack of trust does not create conditions in which peace flourishes.

Unfortunately, that truth is lost on them.

May her memory be a blessing. Z”l.

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Flashback Friday: The Brian Lehrer Show (1989-Present)

The game of politics has always been contentious. It takes a cool head to let everyone share their opinion without getting into a verbal or physical argument.

The Brian Lehrer Show has aired on WNYC since 1989. Hosted by Brian Lehrer, the program airs every weekday morning from 10:00 to 12:00. Hosting politicians, journalists, and other newsmakers, the conversations revolve around politics and news from the around the block and around the world.

Brian one of the mainstays of NYC media personalities and a local legend. Attempting to do the impossible, he allows all voices from the political spectrum to be heard, regardless of how the listener feels about the topic. His show is my weekday morning fix and one of the few journalistic voices that is truly trying to be objective.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, International News, National News, New York City, Podcast, Politics, World News

The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories That Carried Them Through a War Book Review

Books are more than words on a page. They can educate, inspire, and provide hope in a time when all seems lost.

The Syrian Civil War will be a decade old next year. As of 2015, 3.8 million Syrians found refuge outside of their home country. 380,000 souls have been lost since 2011. Once thriving cities and towns have been destroyed beyond recognition. And yet, those who stayed found light and life via books.

The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories That Carried Them Through a War was published last month. Written by Delphine Minoui and translated by Lara Vergnaud, the book follows the conversations Minoui had with a group of resistance fighters who kept a secret library in Daraya during the war. As government forces pounded the city, these young men came upon a small library. Within a month, they created a sanctuary that contained 15,000 books. Containing literature of every genre and subject, they found a brief respite from the destruction that was their new normal. Speaking to journalist Delphine Minoui via social media, they told the story of survival, hope, and faith.

I found the concept to be compelling. Beyond my love of books, I was drawn to the idea that the medium is able to give us something to hold onto when all seems lost. The problem is that the story does not live up to the hype it creates.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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

Totally Under Control Review

When Covid-19 first appeared on the scene at the beginning of the year, no one knew what to make this virus that seemed to come out of nowhere. Looking back, we know now that a little common sense would have saved lives and saved the economy. But there is no going back.

Totally Under Control premiered last month on Hulu. This 2 hour documentary tells the story of how mismanagement and partisanship led to the mess that we are currently in. The film also compares the response of the United States to that of South Korea.

I couldn’t help but get angry as I watched the movie. There were so many opportunities to control the outbreak, but due to a number of circumstances, those opportunities were not taken. The lost opportunities and the missteps created opened the door for the destruction of our economy and the loss of 225,000 Americans.

If nothing else, this is a warning and a lesson learned in a painful way. There will be another virus in the future with the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of people. If we do not take logical and non-partisan steps to control it, we will only repeat the same mistakes that has led to our current predicament.

I absolutely recommend it.

Totally Under Control is available for streaming on Hulu.

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RIP Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

It takes a special person to join the clergy of any religion. It is more than leading prayers and being the layperson at various stage of life events. That person has to be able to speak of that religion and its tenets in a way that connects to everyone, regardless of any specific faiths.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was one of those special people. Cancer took his life today.

I had the pleasure of seeing him speak in person a few years ago. It was nothing short of inspiring. It was just before the High Holidays. Those who have attended High Holidays services can attest that as important as those days are, they are quite frankly, difficult and not exactly fun. But they shouldn’t be fun.

Rabbi Sacks was able to explain in very simple terms the emotional and psychological importance of those days. I’ve been attending High Holiday services since I was very young. But that was the first time I was truly able to understand the meaning of the High Holidays.

He recently was a guest on the Unorthodox podcast. Though he was there to publicize his latest book, he also spoke about current events and how morality is as important as it ever was.

May his memory be a blessing. Z”L.

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Filed under Books, International News

80 Years After the Holocaust, European Jews Still Have a Target on Their Backs

Among the major cities in the world, Vienna ranks among the most beautiful. The city is elegant and timeless, attracting visitors from around the world.

But there is another side to this city that came to the forefront during World War II. Only 130,000 Jewish residents were able to leave Europe before the borders closed. Of the 650,000 people that remained, approximately 2,000 were alive at the end of the war.

80 years later, European Jews (and Viennese Jews to be more specific) still have a target on their backs. At 8PM local time, six gunmen spread across the city. Their first target was the Seitenstettengasse synagogue. As of the most recent news reports, fifteen people were injured and one person is deceased.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am getting tired of seeing headlines like these. At the end of the day, we are all human beings. We all deserve the same respect, opportunities, and rights, regardless of who we are as individuals.

Humanity is better than this. We know that. We have seen what happens when we start to love one another. Unfortunately, there are still far too many who believe that their faith/culture is better than all others. I don’t know what it will take, but its time to stop this foolishness.

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Filed under History, International News, World News

Is the Newfound Peace in the Middle East Enough to Sway the Election?

Peace in the Middle East has been the wish of many for generations. The problem is that it is not as simple as it sounds.

In the past two years, you know who declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Then there were peace agreements with the UAE, Oman, and Bahrain.

Now it seems that is maybe a reality, thanks to you know who. But two questions come up. Does he genuinely believe in what he is doing? Or, is this just another ploy to win votes?

A part of me would like to believe that these peace deals were achieved because he genuinely wanted to see these countries work with one another. But I know better. After nearly four years in office, he has yet to prove that he can see beyond number one. He has even admitted that the move to Jerusalem was only to gain support from the Evangelical Christians.

Only time will tell of these peace deals will help in November. The only thing that I know is that I don’t trust him and will not be voting for him.

#BidenHarris2020

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Filed under International News, Politics