Category Archives: International News

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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Filed under International News, Politics, Television, World News

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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Filed under International News, Politics, World 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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Filed under Fairy Tales, International News, World News

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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Filed under History, International News, Politics, World News

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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Filed under International News, World News

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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Filed under History, International News, World News