Category Archives: International News

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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Filed under International News, Thoughts On...., World News

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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Filed under Feminism, International News, National News, World News

If the Democrats Want to Win the 2020 Election, I Suggest That They Squash the Antisemitism In Their Party

For the nearly twenty years that I have been able to vote, I have voted mostly Democrat. My family has been also voting along the Democratic lines for as long as I can remember.

I hate to say it, but I may have to rethink my political affiliation. Earlier today, Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) made some comments regarding Israel, Palestine and the Holocaust are not only historically inaccurate, but they also have the capacity to inflame what is already a dangerous conflict. During the interview, she stated the following:

“There’s kind of a calming feeling I always tell folks when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors, Palestinians, who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people’s passports. I mean, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time, and I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right, and it was forced on them,” she said.

There are a number of inaccuracies that I would like correct the Representative on.

  1. The origin of the name Palestine comes from the Greeks who conquered ancient Israel and changed the name to prevent future generations from identifying Israel as their homeland.
  2. Before 1948, anyone who called the British Mandate of Palestine home was a Palestinian, even those of the Jewish faith.
  3. When Israel was declared to be an independent state, Arab leaders at the time promised a quick and easy war to remove the Jews and establish a new Arab state. The war did not go as planned. Meanwhile, no one talks about the Jews who were living in Muslim countries and had to leave everything behind to stay alive.

I am the first to admit that the actions of the Israeli government are not always perfect. I am the first to agree that there is racism is Israel, as there is everywhere in the world. But it is the only legitimate democracy in the Middle East, where all citizens are treated equally.

I don’t want to have to change my political party. I have no doubt that antisemitism exists in the Republican and Independent parties. But the fact is that if the Democrats do not excise this wound, they may lose the 2020 election. The last thing I want is to have you know who win another four years in office.

P.S. If you are interested in additional reading, Liel Leibovitz’s excellent article in Tablet Magazine hits the nail on the head.

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When Did Self Defense Become a Crime?

If you can, imagine the following: you live in a neighborhood where you are hated. At best, you experience verbal slurs and are accused of egregious lies on a daily basis. At worst, your home is attacked and you are afraid of leaving your home as you may not return home in one piece or at all.

This is life in Israel. Over the weekend, approximately 700 rockets were fired at Israeli citizens. Four Israeli citizens were killed in the process.

Of course, Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) defended the senseless slaughter of four innocents people and the destruction of property.

Protesting injustice is one thing. We all have the right to protest injustice when we see it. In fact, we should be protesting injustice when it happens.

It’s another thing to teach hate to your children and teach them that killing your neighbor because they are different than you.

I have had the pleasure of visiting Israel twice in my lifetime. I hope to go again at some point in the future. I just hope that I can visit without worrying about if I will return home alive or in a body box.

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Grow Up and Stop Blaming the Jews For Your Problems

As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that there is a major distinction between the emotional maturity of a child and the emotional maturity of an adult. A child, when accused of doing something wrong, may blame someone else. An adult, when accused of the same act, will hopefully put on their big boy or big girl pants and accept that they have made a mistake.

The issue here is that some adults have the maturity of a child and not an adult.

In Tarnow, Bishop Andrzej Jeż accused the Jews of plotting to divide the Church and claim that priests sexually abused congregants.

This accusation pisses me off for two reasons:

  1. Yom Hashoah was earlier this week. The same lies that were responsible for the murder of six million Jews are the same lies that are coming out of this man’s mouth.
  2. The cover up of the priests who sexually assaulted their congregants has nothing to do with the Jews. This was a systematic cover up by Church officials. Grow up, put on your big boy pants and admit that the mistake rests solely on the shoulders of those who covered up the crimes.

There are those who say that antisemitism does not exist. It is a thing of the past. From my perspective, this article is just another example that antisemitism is still unfortunately alive and well in this world.

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Thoughts On The Attack in Sri Lanka

I don’t know about anyone else, but it seems like terrorist attacks are unfortunately just another blip on the news cycle.

Across Sri Lanka, bombs went off in Churches and hotels that are known to be frequented by foreign visitors. As of this post, 207 people are dead.

The fact that today is Easter Sunday points to someone who wanted to send a very specific message.

My heart breaks for those who were killed. We should all have the ability to live a long, happy live. Unfortunately, some people are of the mind that unless we all agree to live by their rules, those of us who live differently have a mark on our backs.

May the memory of those killed be a blessing and may the justice system in Sri Lanka prosecute those involved in the attacks to the fullest extent of the law.

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Thoughts On the Notre Dame Cathedral Fire

Iconic is a label that is often used lightly without considering the context of what or whom is considered to be iconic. The Notre Dame Cathedral is a building that is automatically labelled iconic, for good reason.

Construction on the cathedral initially began in 1163. It ended after nearly 200 years of work in 1345. An untold number of generations of parishioners and visitors have marveled at the beauty of the architecture of this building. It is one of the finest creations that mankind has ever built. Yesterday, it was nearly destroyed by fire. Thankfully, the fire was extinguished before the cathedral could be completely destroyed along with the priceless historical and religious objects that it houses.

I’ve never been there, but I can imagine how awe inspiring this marvel of human ingenuity is.

I feel for the people of Paris and the worshipers who consider Notre Dame to be their church. Regardless of faith, this church belongs not only to the people of Paris, but to the whole country. It is theirs to love, cherish and worship under, if that is their prerogative. Ask any religious person and they will likely tell you that their specific house of worship is akin to their second home. I feel the same way about the synagogue that my family attends. I don’t attend very often, but when I do, it’s like snuggling under a warm blanket with a hot drink on a cold winter night.

It will take time to rebuild, there is no question. But this ancient and beloved house of worship will return to her former glory, that I know is certain.

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Thoughts On the Results of the Israeli Election

Democracy is not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But it is the only form of government that gives the average man or woman a voice in the leadership and direction of their country.

After a tense election season, Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected for a fifth term as Israeli Prime Minister. His opponent, former Chief of General Staff for the IDF Benny Gantz put up a good fight. But in the end, the Israeli voters chose to continue the leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

I have to be honest, I have mixed feelings about the results of the election. As the face of Israelis and Jews all over the world, Prime Minister Netanyahu has from my perspective has done an excellent job. But he has also been accused of corruption and many are wary that he is turning to the political right. Neither of those sit well with me.

One of the things that I have been reminded of over the past two years is that just because the election is over, that does not mean that the voice of the average citizen is now silent and will remain so until the next election. We still have the right to protest if we do not agree with our leaders.  I’m sure that the Israeli voters will have a thing or two to say to their elected officials in the coming years.

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Hotel Mumbai Review

On November 26th, 2008, the eyes of the world were riveted on Mumbai, India.

Terrorists were openly and brazenly killing innocent civilians. When all was said and done, nearly 200 people were killed and another 300 were injured.

The story of that day and more specifically, the terrorist’s focus on the Taj Mahal Palace is told in the new film, Hotel Mumbai.

After terrorists storm the hotel, staff and guests must come together to somehow get out of the hotel alive. Head chef Oberoi (Anupam Kher) and waiter Arjun (Dev Patel) are two of the surviving staff who are simply trying to keep the surviving guests alive. Married couple David (Armie Hammer) and Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi) have to make a tough decision. They can either stay together or split up and find a way to get to their nanny, Sally (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) and infant son.

I have mixed feelings about this film. On one hand, it’s a true and riveting story about human beings who have no choice, but to find a way to work together in the face of life or death circumstances. In this film, it would have been easy to create a 2D carte blanche villain. But the creative team fleshed out the villains in a way that makes them human, even if their actions are despicable. But on the other hand, the film teetered on boring at moments.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Hotel Mumbai is presently in theaters. 

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Filed under International News, Movie Review, Movies, World News