Category Archives: International News

I Wish VP Harris Had Pushed Back on the anti-Israel Comment Last Week

We are all entitled to our opinion on anything and everything. But, that does not mean that we can spout lies and half truths. Doing a little bit of homework and having all of the information goes a long way in presenting an educated vision of how we see the world.

Last week, Vice President Harris visited a political science class and responded to questions from several students. One of the topics was the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the funds that the Israeli government receives from the United States. The student made the usual claim of ethnic genocide and displacement. Harris responded with the following:

“And again, this is about the fact that your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed, and it must be heard. Our goal should be unity, but not uniformity,” Harris said. “And the point that you’re making about policies that relates to Middle East policy, foreign policy. We still have healthy debates in our country, about what is the right path. And nobody’s voice should be suppressed on that.”

This young lady has every right to speak her mind. The problem is that Vice President’s response could be interpreted as approval and/or agreement. I have a huge amount of respect for Harris, she represents so much of what this nation can achieve when we put the bullshit and partisanship aside. But I cannot help feel disappointed in her answer. She knows better.

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The Treatment of the Haitian Immigrants is Wrong and Un-American

America is made for and by immigrants. With the exception of being Native American, most of us can say that at least one person in our family came from another part of the world. The problem is that there are many people who forget this, or even worse think that they can amend our immigration policies to fit their racist ideals.

The truth is that no one wants to leave their homes if it is not necessary. If we live in a nation with a stable economy and political system, feel safe, and have access to education, jobs, and other opportunities, there is no need to go. But there are many places around the world in which life is harder than it needs to be, forcing many to flee in hopes of finding what they did not have in the land of their birth.

Last week, as Haitian migrants gathered at the US/Mexico border, they were attacked by law enforcement on horseback. Some were whipped as they tried to get away, creating reminders of the treatment of runaway slaves who were caught before they could reach freedom.

I can’t blame these people for wanting to leave Haiti. Between multiple natural disasters and the presidential assassination of Jovenel Moïse that has resulted in chaos and lawlessness, what reason is there to stay? We have every right to protect our borders and make sure that those who we allow to enter are not going to make trouble. But at the same time, we should be treating them as human beings. We are not obligated to let everyone into the country. But we are obligated to give them a chance.

This is not the America I know. The America I know welcomed my relations more than a century ago, providing safety and the chance to thrive that did not exist in Europe. If we do not at least attempt to live up to our promises and our values by letting at least some of the Haitians at the border into the country, we will be nothing more than a fraud and a lie. That is nothing short of heartbreaking and disgusting.

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The Iron Dome Saves Lives, But AOC & Co Refuse to See That

When it comes to American politics and antisemitism, the impression used to be that only thing with a right wing ideology believed the lies. Those who defined their political views as left wing knew better and stood up against those would spew such disgusting ideas. But the truth is that it exists on both sides of the aisle.

Earlier this week, the budget was held hostage by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a handful of other Congresswomen. They demanded that unless the $1 billion dollars promised to Israel to keep funding the Iron Dome was removed as a line item, they would vote against the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forced take it out of the final bill to keep the government funded after October 1st. Her compromise was to propose a standalone bill. It’s close, but no cigar.

What AOC and company either fail to realize or don’t even consider is that the Iron Dome does not differentiate between a rocket heading toward a Jewish home or an Arab home. It’s purpose is to save lives and prevent property destruction, regardless of whose name is on the deed and what religion they practice. But as usual, they are unwilling to even consider that maybe Israel is not all bad. I am going to end this post with a couple of tweets from Daniella Greenbaum Davis and Eve Barlow because unlike other people, they are not afraid to speak the truth.

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Innocence Lost: 9/11 Twenty Years Later

There are two ways to lose our innocence. The first is the slow and gradual growth to maturity when old ideas begin to be replaced with new ideas. The second is when a single event forever changes the way we see the world.

Today is the 20th anniversary of September 11th. It was an ordinary day. The sky was blue and bright, a perfect early fall day. Offices, schools, and stores opened as normal. Then the first place hit the Twin Towers and everything changed.

I was in college back then, part of the younger generation. It’s amazing how fast two decades can go. Though it seems like it will take forever for the time to pass, it goes in the blink of an eye. Those of us who were young then are now adults with adult responsibilities. Some of the the kids who were too young to know what was going on or not yet born are now on the verge of adulthood themselves.

On Thursday, The Brian Lehrer Show asked listeners what the term “never forget” meant to them. What I remember is that for a brief time, the divisions that normally kept us apart disappeared. We were all Americans and we were all grieving. It was a communal loss that knew no boundaries or labels.

Last month, I visited the 9/11 Museum with a couple of friends. It was my second visit. Walking into the building is akin to a ten pound weight being thrust on your shoulders. There is an energy that is emotional, heavy, and sometimes difficult to bear. The energy of the day and the souls of the innocent people whose lives were taken that day are all around you, a solemn reminder of what was lost on that beautiful September day.

It was if nothing else, a potent reminder of how important it is to not only live while you can, but tell the ones you love how you feel before it is too late.

May the memories of the nearly 3000 people who were taken us from forever be a blessing. Z”L.

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Filed under History, International News, Music, National News, New York City, WNYC, World News

Don’t They Have More to Deal With in Texas Than Policing Women’s Bodies?

Abortion is more than the control of women’s bodies. It is the control of our destinies. Throughout most of human history, we have been beholden to the men around us. Now that we have been speaking up and taking control of our lives, the reaction by some (both men and women) is to pull us back via the figurative leash.

In Texas today, one of the most restrictive abortion bans became law today. One of the features of this law is that the average person on the street can sue abortion providers and anyone who helped the women (or a pregnant person) obtain the abortion. It does not matter if the person who is behind the lawsuit is any relation or knows either party that is being sued. This is on top of another heartbeat bill, which bans the procedure after six weeks. To add insult to injury, not even cases of rape or incest are given leeway.

This is a diversionary tactic. There is way too much shit going on in this country (Covid-19 being a good chunk of it) to focus on whether or not the decision to abort a pregnancy is made. This is a deeply personal and complicated decision between the woman who is pregnant, their spouse/partner (if there is one), and their doctor(s). I am all for freedom of religion, but that does not give one group the right to impose their beliefs on anyone else.

What is scary is that this bill has the potential truly damage, if not take down completely Roe V. Wade.

We need to focus of taking this nation forward and dealing with our issues. Telling a woman what to do with her body should not be on priority list to begin with.

P.S. We made a big deal about getting out as many women and young girls from Afghanistan over the past few weeks. But when it comes to the women in this country, some people still think that we live in the dark ages.

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

Throwback Thursday: To Die in Jerusalem

When we go to war, it is not the old we sent into battle. It is the young ones who put their lives on the line.

The 2007 short film, To Die in Jerusalem, is the story of two young lives cut short by hate, war, and unending conflict. In 2002, Rachel Levy was was a 17 year old Jewish girl living in Jerusalem. She died at the hands of Palestinian suicide bomber. The person who killed her was a 17 year old Palestinian Muslim girl, Ayat al-Akhras.

When we talk about this conflict, we don’t discuss it on a human level. By making the story about two families, two young girls taken at the prime of their lives and two mothers looking for answers, it becomes personal and down to earth. The audience does not see an argument that is complicated and misunderstood. They see the ordinariness of the subjects and hopefully understand they are no different than anyone else.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under International News, Movie Review, Movies, Television, Throwback Thursday, World News

Why is the World Silent about Afghani Women When They Made so Much Noise about Israel?

I would love to say that in 2021, women across the world have broken the glass ceiling. The archaic rules of what is “acceptable” for the female gender is nothing but a memory. But the truth is that for every achievement and every right that is ours to claim, there are many who still believe that a woman’s place is in the home.

Since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan last week, the fear of Afghani women is that they will be forced back into the extreme restrictions they were forced to live under in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Though the country’s new leadership has promised to not re-instate the old rules, it is a promise that seems to be more talk than action.

Their promises are akin the Women of the Wall “allowed” to pray in peace at the Western Wall by the Ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Speaking of Israel, the world’s reaction to what is happening on the ground in Afghanistan is nothing compared to crap the Jewish state received in the spring. Where is the anger, the outrage, the articles in the press and the posts via celebrities on social media? It is crickets compared to collective noise directed at Israel in May.

The fact is that the country gets shit on no matter what it does. But when there is a life and death issue the affects another nation is facing, the racket from the rest of the world is a pittance. Meanwhile in Israel, women have been free to live their own lives for decades.

Silence speaks more than any word can.

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Leaving Afghanistan: Damned if we do, Damned if we Don’t

I would hope that when someone enters the halls of power, their immediate wish is that if there is a conflict, it can be resolved via peaceful means. But when all other options run out, the only response is war.

After nearly twenty years, the United States military is leaving Afghanistan. We went there just after 9/11 to avenge the loss of nearly 3000 innocent souls and stop those who would do it again. A generation later, the United States is leaving the country, creating the opportunity for the Taliban to regain control of the country.

I listened to President Biden‘s speech earlier today and I don’t envy the choice he has to make.

If we stay, we can be accused of overusing our influence and sending additional American troops to die in another foreign war. If we go, we know the result. Though Biden tried to claim that this is different than the Fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war, the similarities are too hard to ignore.

The fact is that whoever was President, it would have been messy, complicated, and a convenient political attack on both sides of the aisle. Biden is facing a challenge that so far, meets if not surpasses Covid. He claims that he had no choice but to continue you know who’s plan, but I don’t quite believe that.

I also don’t quite believe that the Taliban will respect democracy and women’s rights. Given their history, it is only a matter of time before they return the country to their vision of what it should be.

Only time will tell what the consequences of this decision will be. Either way, we are damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

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Filed under Feminism, History, International News, Politics, World News

Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics, and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response Book Review

Hindsight is always 2020. The question we have to ask ourselves, is when the same issue comes up, is the past repeated or do we truly learn from our errors?

Andy Slavitt has spent many years within the world of healthcare. His new book, Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics, and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response, was published in June. It documents the time he spent in the last Presidential administration and the missteps that led to more than half a million Americans dead from Covid-19. Speaking to government officials, politicians on all sides of the spectrum, and medical professionals, he talks about in detail what went wrong and what could have been done to save lives.

As I got further into the narrative, I was getting angry. The United States is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. While there was no way we could have stopped the virus from entering the country, there were plenty of opportunities to minimize the damage. But due to politics, bureaucracy, and the mess that is the American health care system, we are a year and a half into a pandemic that is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Do I recommend it? Yes

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The Futility and Wasted Resources of Hate: Lebanon & Ron DeSantis

“Hate” is a word with a mixed meaning. It can be as benign as stating that you hate a certain type of food or color. Or, it can be as malicious as saying that you hate a certain group of people. We all know where this second statement can lead to.

In Lebanon, its been a year since explosion in Beirut. Instead of addressing the crisis that immediately followed the blast and healing the damage that it created, the neglect of those in power has added to the misery of the ordinary citizen. Both the government and the economy are collapsing. One might think that logic would come into play, but it hasn’t. The geniuses who lead this nation thought that the best use of their dwindling resources was to fire rockets at Israel.

If anyone can explain to me how this makes sense, I would love to hear it.

Earlier this summer, we started to believe that Covid-19 was starting to fade into history. Then the delta variant hit and the number of cases started to rise again. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has chosen to pretend that the virus is ancient history. He has removed all mask mandates, threatened to withhold funding to school districts that require masking, and is more concerned with his re-election campaign than the welfare of the people who reside within the state. He has also blamed immigrants for the increase in hospitalizations instead of looking to the fools who still refuse to get vaccinated. Covid does not care if you were born in this country or if you emigrated from another nation.

Blaming immigrants (or any minority group for that matter) has unfortunately been part of the human experience. The problem is that we never learn that this is belief is nothing but a myth. It is an easy way out instead of facing the issues that hold us back.

I know that we will never be able to answer this question, but when will we learn that hate is nothing more than a waste of time?

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