Category Archives: International News

Thoughts On the Results of the Israeli/Egyptian World Judo Championship Semifinals Match

Sports is supposed to be free from politics and international conflict. It should be about skill, talent and hard work. But that does not mean that politics and international conflict cannot get in the way.

Israeli athlete Sagi Muki met Egyptian athlete Mohamed Abdelaal met on the mat during the World Judo Championship semifinals in Tokyo. Mr. Muki was named the winner of the match. Instead of being a good sportsman and shaking Mr. Muki’s hand, Mr. Abedelaal just walked off the mat.

Mr. Abdelaal’s actions, in my mind, represents what I think is a sad mentality when it comes to Israel and Jews. Regardless of ethnicity or national origin, Mr. Muki won fair and square. But to Mr. Abdelaal and millions who think like him, he was beaten by an Israeli Jew. In their mind, it is an unthinkable act.

I wish that we lived in a world in which we respected one another as individuals. I also wish we lived in a world in which when one entered any sports arena, one only saw their fellow athlete and not their ethnicity. But wishing sometimes goes nowhere.

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Put the Blame Where it is Due and Not on Israel

When one gets to a certain age, the blame game become immature and a waste of time. It takes an adult to see that. Unfortunately, not all of us who are grown act like adults.

In the latest twist in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) blamed Israel for the honor killing of Israa Gharib. Her crime is that she was fraternizing with a man outside the bonds of marriage. In her world, this was a crime for which the only punishment is death. The men accused of killing her are her father and brothers.

I agree with Rep. Tlaib that toxic masculinity was responsible for Ms. Gharib’s death. She was not seen by the men closest to her as a flesh and blood creature with thoughts, feelings, ambitions, dreams and flaws. She was seen as an object to be used and sold in the name of marriage.

However, the blame for her death lands solely in the lap of her father and brothers. It has nothing to do with Israel.

The sooner Rep. Tlaib and the rest of the Israel haters recognize that, the sooner we will get to a legit and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.

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90 Years After the Hebron Massacre, Another Child is Killed Because She is Jewish

August 24th, 1929 started out as an ordinary day for Jewish population of Hebron. By the time the sun set, nearly 70 Jews were murdered in what would become the Hebron Massacre. As a result, the authorities (which was then the British) moved the survivors out of Hebron. After thousands of years of Jews calling Hebron home, it was Judenrein.

This week, another young lady was killed because she is Jewish. The same blood lust and hatred that killed nearly 70 people 90 years ago caused the death of Rina Shnerb. 17 year old Rina was hiking with her brother and father when they were hit by a terrorist bomb. Rina died at the scene. Her father and brother were seriously injured and are still hospitalized.

I am not saying that every Muslim who lives in Middle East or any place in the world for that matter has a blood thirsty hatred of Jews. However, there are many in that part of the world that would dearly love and would do anything to see the region become Judeinrein.

May the memories of Rina and the people killed in Hebron be a blessing and a reminder that until this blood thirsty hatred ends, Israel and Jews around the world must always be on the defensive.

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The Jexodus Is Not Happening

For generations, most of American Jews have voted and stayed firmly within the Democratic party.

You know who made the following statement today about American Jews and who they may vote for in next year’s Presidential election:

“Any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,”

Americans have unfortunately become accustomed to his off the cuff remarks, dog whistles and half truths. The statement above is all three and much more. I find it to be personally offensive.

When one speaks of loyalty and the Jews, it smacks of antisemitism. The question of whom the Jewish community is loyal to has led the persecution, destruction and murder.

If he thinks that the whole Israel debacle from last week will make American Jews jump ship to the Republican party, he is dead wrong. Most American Jews that I know of still openly and proudly vote Democrat.

If nothing else, this statement may have the opposite effect and it I hope it does. This Democrat is not jumping ship anytime soon.

P.S. If he thinks that Ivanka converting to Judaism and raising Jewish children gives him cred with the Jewish community, he is wrong.

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

Bill Maher is Right About BDS

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is one that can be construed as simple or complicated, depending on one’s point of view.

While I certainly recognize the shades of grey in this conflict, my perspective is that Israel is trying to defend herself and her people from neighbors who would love to her wiped off the face of the Earth. The BDS movement is just one of those complicating factors that makes this issue even murkier.

Last week, Bill Maher blasted the organization on his weekly HBO politics talk show, Real Time with Bill Maher.

Aside from the implications for our political future, this statement I believe speaks the truth. It is a truth that many either refuse to hear or if they hear it, refuse to believe.

Speaking of Israel, the ban on Reps Tlaib and Omar entering the country last week were lifted after a fair amount of controversy. Representative Tlaib decided to turn down the invitation and not visit her grandmother. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I was kid, my grandparents were my world. They are all long gone, there are days when I wish I could still see them and talk to them.

Others have said and I agree that she hates Israel more than she loves her grandmother. If I was in her shoes, I would be on the next flight out. Family is more important than politics will ever be.

I wish there was a way out of this conflict. I wish both sides would see each other as fellow human beings, instead of labels and political/historical baggage. But wishes don’t often become reality.

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A Pure Heart Book Review

The relationship between sisters is often complicated.

The new novel, A Pure Heart, by Rajia Hassib, is set in New York City and Egypt. Rose and Gameela are sisters. At one time, they were very close, but their adult lives are completely different. Rose is married to Mark, an American journalist and living in New York City. She works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is studying for her Phd.

Gameela is much more devoted to their mutual faith than her sister. Unlike her sister, she is still living in their hometown of Cairo. In the chaos and violence after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, she is killed. After her sister’s death, Rose returns to Egypt and is trying to figure out who Gameela was and what secrets she was keeping.

The premise of this novel was interesting. I appreciated that the driving force of the narrative was the sisters and their relationship as adults. Like many sisters, they disagree on quite a few topics, but when push comes to shove, they are sisters and forever bonded as sisters. Though the ending was not as dramatic as I hoped it would be, this book overall is not a bad book.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, International News, New York City, World News

Reps Tlaib and Omar Should Be Allowed Into Israel

There is nothing like a first hand experience to change hearts and minds. But unless one has that experience, it is unknown if hearts and minds can be changed.

Over the years, Israel has been a regular destination for members of the United States Congress. She has also experienced more than her fair share of criticism, prejudice, lies and half truths.

The latest news regarding Israel is that Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) have been banned from visiting the Jewish state with their colleagues.

The reason, as per the Israeli press is as follows: “Israel has decided. We won’t enable the members of Congress to enter the country,” Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Kan News. “We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle, this is a very justified decision.”

This decision, in short, is a huge mistake. While I disagree with both Representatives’s opinion of Israel, I also strongly disagree with this ban.

The ban feels like it was more than the decision of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his cabinet. The invisible hand of you know who also played a role in choosing to ban the Representatives.

I want Representatives Omar and Tlaib to see the Israel that I know and love. My Israel is a beautiful, thriving and vibrant democracy. My Israel is a land that is both ancient and modern. My Israel is a nation in which one can walk in the footsteps of the Bible while experiencing modern technological breakthroughs.

Like any nation, Israel has her fair share of problems. However, she deserves to be seen for what she is without relying on momentary news bites or flashy headlines.

I believe that it would be a wise decision by Prime Minister Netanyahu to lift the ban. But that may not happen and if it is does not, I am concerned that it may negatively impact both the United States and Israel for years to come.

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Thoughts On Reps Tlaib and Omar’s Visit to Israel

There is an old saying: Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes.

I firmly believe that this saying not only applies to an issue on the personal level, but it also applies to an issue on a political or cultural level.

Israel has been one of the go to countries for American politicians to visit over the years. Rep Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) and Rep Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) will be the latest American politicians to visit Israel, in spite of their openly antisemitic and anti-Israel comments.

When it comes these two members of Congress, I have to admit that I have two distinct feelings. I was appalled by you know who’s comments on Twitter last weekend. These women, both as citizens and members of the political class, have every right to speak their minds. However, I was hurt and disgusted by their public statements regarding Israel and the Jews in general.

Israel, like any country is imperfect, both at the government level and the personal level. This country, like all other countries, must face head on the racism that exists within her borders.

That being said, I have been to Israel twice in my life. I saw a country like my own. I saw a multi-cultural country in which most citizens (hopefully) don’t care about the religion or background of their fellow citizen. They just go about their business.

I challenge anyone who believes that Israel is an apartheid state to visit Israel. Ignore, for a short time, what the peanut gallery is saying. Make a decision based on what you are seeing, thinking and feeling.

I am not in the minds of Reps Tlaib or Omar. Nor can I influence what they are thinking or feelings. But I can hope and wish that their visit opens their eyes and convinces them to see the truth about Israel.

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Harry and Meghan: Privacy or No Privacy, That is The Question

When one is a part of a royal family, one’s life is not your own. You have responsibilities to the people whom you rule. A private life is a concept that is nearly foriegn to you.

When Prince Harry married American actress Meghan Markle last year, it seemed like a fairy tale. That fairy tale was completed two months ago with the birth of their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Last week, the baby was christened in a private ceremony in front of family and friends.

Unlike his cousins, Archie was not presented to the press and royal fans after the christening. Many in Britain are not happy, claiming that because their tax dollars fund the royal family, they are entitled to some access.

I am honestly torn on this topic. As a taxpayer, I understand the average Briton’s frustration about not being able to see the fruits of their hard earned tax dollars. However, I also understand that Harry and Meghan are looking to protect their son, like any good parent.

Harry grew up in the spotlight, I am sure that he understands it’s pitfalls. In her former line of work as a performer, Meghan was in the spotlight because it was part of her job. Archie, like his father, did not ask to be born into the British royal family. He did not ask to be world famous the moment he entered this world. He did not ask for the spotlight. But it is on him and it is up to his parents to make sure that their son grows up healthy and happy.

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Did You Hear the One About the Women’s Soccer Team That Won Their 4th World Cup and are Still Being Paid Less Than The Men’s Team?

One of the myths of the United States is that unlike other countries, one is only limited by the scope of their dreams and how hard they can work.

But the reality is that many of us are limited in our potential. This limit is not because we don’t work hard or we don’t dream about what we would like to accomplish. This limit is based on factors such as race and/or sex.

Yesterday, the U.S. women’s soccer team won their fourth World Cup. And yet, their salaries lag well behind the members of the men’s team.

It’s time that these women are paid what they are due. It’s time that all women are paid what we are due. If we have the skills, the experiences and the background to successfully do a job, there is no reason why we should be paid less than our male colleagues who do the same job and have a similar professional background.

Change, both political and cultural, comes when we open our eyes to the reality of our world. This win is not just a win for the team, it is a reminder that there is still a pay disparity between men and women that should finally be addressed once and for all.

Congrats to women’s soccer team. I hope their victory inspires young people (and young women in particular) for generations to come.

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