Category Archives: International News

Good on Simone Biles for Taking Care of Herself

Within the worlds of mental health and mental illness, the concept of self care is important. It is one of the tools in our toolbox that allows us to relax and take a break from the havoc that brains are wreaking on us.

In the world of sports, gymnastic superstar and Gold medalist Simone Biles is stepping back from competition for a few days from the 2020 Olympics. Stating mental concerns, she is withdrawing from tomorrow’s women’s all around finals. Whether or not she competes next week in the four individual finals is up in the air.

The most important thing about living with mental health is knowing when you have to step back. I admire her for not just doing what needs to be done, but being open it. It also helps that USA Gymnastics is completely supportive of her decision, which is a nice change from the way Naomi Osaka was treated recently. The response to Biles’s decision is how we should all be treated in cases like this. Unfortunately, that does not always happen.

Regardless of whether or not she leaves Tokyo with additional hardware, she is still a hero in my eyes. Her legacy as a gymnast will live on for decades to come, as will her honesty of how important it is to take care of ourselves physically and mentally.

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Filed under International News, Mental Health, World News

Ben & Jerry’s Has Chosen to Boycott Israel. I Choose to Boycott Ben & Jerry’s.

In a living democracy, we have the right to protest when we disagree with a government or a private entity. But the key is knowing all of the facts.

The latest tactic by BDS is via the ice cream company Ben and Jerry’s. As of this week, the company will no longer be selling its products within Israel.

I’m sure that the people who made this decision are not dumb. However, they made a dumb decision. Now granted, the company has been left leaning politically since its founding in the late 1970’s. But that does not mean that they are exempt from doing their homework before making such statements.

What people who support these anti-Israel boycotts don’t even consider is who is affected. Six years ago, the pressure go to the point in which a SodaStream plant had to close and remove hundreds of Palestinians from their payroll. These were good jobs with good pay. But because of anti-Semitism and the sheep like mentality of some people, these 500 employees had to find another way to earn a living.

We were given working brains for a reason. I wish that we use them before opening our mouths every once in a while. The next time I want ice cream, I will buy another brand.

P.S. If you would like to tell Ben & Jerry’s how wrong they are, the petition is here.

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Filed under International News, World News

Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury Review

In the Jewish faith, Psalm 137 has the following lines:

“If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget [her cunning]/ If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.”

The new six part CNN miniseries, Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury premiered last night. Over the course of the six episodes Sundays, the program tells the story of the city of Jerusalem via six key battles that changed the fate of the city and the region. Combining re-enactments with interviews with historians and Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars, the viewer is given a 360 degree picture of it’s past, it’s present, and perhaps, a glimpse of its future.

The first episode focused on the glory days of King Saul, King David, and the downfall of ancient Israel after the death of King Solomon. I enjoyed the first episode. If nothing else, it proved that humanity has not changed one bit. Externally, the world may look different, but inside, it is the same as it ever was. It is also, I think a pathway to understanding what has come before us so we can create a better world for future generations.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury airs on CNN on Sunday night at 10PM.

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Filed under History, International News, Television, TV Review, World News

The Palestinian’s Covid Vaccine Loss is South Korea’s Gain

At the end of the day, hate is foolish and wasteful. It blinds us to our common humanity and keeps us from supporting one another in challenging times.

Covid-19 has taken the lives of millions around the world. But while those people will never be forgotten, millions of others have been saved via the vaccine. In Israel, the government offered offered 1 million doses to the Palestinian authority. Claiming that the doses were too close the expiration date, the offer was rejected.

Instead of the shots going into the arms of the residents of the Gaza and the West Bank, 700,000 of them will sent to South Korea at at the end of this month. In return, the Israeli government will be receiving the same amount of doses sometime in the fall.

We have a common enemy here. It is this virus that takes no prisoners and has no respect for the cultural, religious, or national boundaries. Until humanity realizes this, we will continue to see our loved ones taken from us and the world as we know it to be changed for the worst.

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Filed under International News, World News

I Stand With Naomi Osaka

Mental health is not a joke. Millions around the world suffer and live with it every day. The problem is that it does not get the same respect or treatment that physical health does.

In recent sports news, tennis player Naomi Osaka had to bow out of the French Open due to ongoing mental health issues. Instead of receiving the peace and the privacy that she needs to face her demons, she was attacked in the press and fined by the French Tennis Federation for not doing the expected interviews with the media. Among those who felt that they had the right to put their .2 in is Piers Morgan.

Does anyone notice that his response to Osaka’s decision was similar to the way he reacted to the interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry a few months ago? I think it says something about this man that he feels that he can publicly and verbally attack two women of color without getting any blowback.

I am grateful to those who have stood up for Osaka. If she has twisted her ankle and was laid up on the couch for a week, there would be crickets. But because she has chosen to step back and deal with her mental illness, everyone has an opinion. I have spoken frequently of my own mental health battles over the years on this blog. From my perspective, she made the right decision. As important as work is, we cannot function if we are unable to deal with what is holding us back.

I applaud her for being honest with herself and acknowledging the need for self care. My hope is that she will inspire others in a similar situation to do the same.

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Filed under Feminism, International News, Mental Health, World News

This Latest Round of The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict is Starting to Scare Me

As a third generation American Jew, I’ve grown up in the safety and security of the United States. I’ve always known that antisemitism exists, but it has hit me in the face this week with the latest round of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

For the first time in a long time, I am scared.

I am scared that there are too many in this world who believe the lies that Hamas (and Iran by extension tells the world). Human rights are universal and always important, but they can also be twisted to fit one’s perspective.

I am scared that some of my Jewish brothers and sisters are falling for the falsehoods that could kill them. Across the United States, Jews have been attacked by pro-Palestinian mobs. In Los Angeles, a mob screamed at customers and threw glass bottles as they eat outside a restaurant. I am all for peace, but how does one make peace with a neighbor who constantly agitates for your death?

I am scared that the Israel I know and love will cease to exist. Not just due to the violence within the region, but due to the silence and the complicity (again) by the outside world. I am scared that both Palestinian and Israeli children will grow up not only psychologically damaged, but also unable to see past the fears and hatred that they were taught by the adults around them.

If you listen to only one thing today, listen to last week’s episode from the podcast Us Among the Israelis. I cannot imagine what it is like to not be able to function normally, not knowing when a rocket may fall on your home or place of business. It’s akin to living during the Blitz. But instead of this happening during a specific time in history, it becomes a common occurance.

I am a Jew and proud of it. I have yet to move away from my faith and will likely never. But that does not mean that it scares the shit out of me.

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Filed under History, International News, Podcast, World News

Thoughts On Noa Tishby Calling Out John Oliver

The accusation of war crimes is not to be taken lightly. The problem is that the phrase can be co-opted to misrepresent the truth in a conflict.

During a recent episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Oliver towed the media line and continued to spread the same old lies about the Israel/Palestine conflict. I could show the video, but I would like to be able to sleep tonight. Normally, I love John Oliver. He presents the news in a way that includes much needed common sense but a few drops of comedy.

But on this subject, I cannot stomach the lies he and other media outlets/personalities have shared. Nor can I be silent.

For the rest of this post, I am going to let author, actress, and activist Noa Tishby speak. She is far more eloquent on than I could ever be.

Am Yisroel Chai.

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Filed under Books, International News, Television, World News

Trevor Noah is Right and Wrong about the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

Everyone has an opinion about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

During last night’s episode of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah shared his thoughts on the topic.

I agree with him and I don’t agree with him. I agree that this is a generations old argument that cannot be so easily solved. But if there is one point in which he is wrong about, it is power.

The issue is not the power itself, it is how it is used. In the 70+ years of Israel’s existence, the country has grown from a backwater desert to a thriving democracy with an solid economy and a drive to create. The list of inventions that have come out of the Jewish state are nothing to sneeze at.

If the Palestinian leadership would use their resources to build up their country and help the people, they wouldn’t need to blame Israel or anyone else. Instead, they focus their financial, physical, and people resources on building tunnels and putting their own children in harms way.

I’m going to end this post with a quote from the late and brilliant Golda Meir.

“We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us”

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

Rockets Were Fired at Israel Today

I want you to imagine the following: you live in a neighborhood in which your neighbors at best tolerate you and at worst, call for your death. When you are attacked and you defend yourself, you are accused of being a bully.

This is the situation today in Israel. Rockets were fired into civilian populations in Jerusalem and Southern Israel from the Gaza strip.

I could write about this topic until I am blue in the face. I could write a dissertation if I was so inclined. Instead, I will let Hananya Nafatali explain why real peace in this region of the world has yet to exist.

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Filed under International News, World News

Throwback Thursday: Israel Story (2013-Present)

When it comes to certain countries, it is easy to get caught up in the flashy headlines and the soundbites on the news. What is harder, but ultimately worth the effort, is to get to know the people and the details behind the headlines.

The podcast, Israel Story, started in 2013. Broadcast across Israel, it was produced by Galei Tzahal, Israel’s national Army Radio Station. In 2014, it premiered in the English speaking world. Hosted by Mishy Harman, it can be found on all podcast platforms and on the Tablet magazine website. Each episode takes the listener on a ride through the country, introducing them to people, places, and events that reveal a deeply nuanced and human view of Israel.

I love this podcast. It is intelligent, thoughtful, and stimulating. If nothing else, it has the ability to open minds and show that the Jewish state is much more than many people would make it out to be.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under International News, Podcast, Podcast Review, World News