Category Archives: 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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Thoughts On the New Zealand Mosque Shooting

I’m not particularly religious, but I believe that our religious texts can speak to us. One of the most important quotes, from my perspective is the following from the Talmud:

“Whoever destroys a single life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed the whole world, and whoever saves a single life is considered by Scripture to have saved the whole world.”

Yesterday, 49 worlds were destroyed when 49 innocent people were killed in two Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Another 20 more were injured. The only reason these people were targeted and killed was because of their faith.

I am sick with disgust and sad at the same time. We are all human beings, regardless of who were are, what we believe or where we come from. This animal who shall not be named in this post, decided that because the worshipers are of the Muslim faith, that they were beneath him and had to die. No one deserves that fate.

The one good thing (if there is truly such a concept in this horrible news story) is that the country’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, vowed to change her country’s gun laws. American lawmakers should be taking notes from Ms. Arden as how to deal with gun violence.

My prayer is two-fold. First, may those who were injured heal quickly. Second, may the memory of those killed be a blessing.

Z”L.

P.S. You know who’s reaction to the shooting was not unexpected. We need to get this man out of office, now.

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Thoughts On Ilhan Omar’s Israel Comments

One of the cornerstones of any legitimate and thriving democracy is the ability to criticize the government without fear of reprisal.

That being said, there is a distinct difference between having the right to openly criticize the government and hate speech.

Representative Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minnesota) comments, in my opinion, can without a doubt be classified as hate speech.

While I agree with her that money from lobbyists urgently needs to be removed from politics, the fact that she once again spread the lies that Israel (aka Jews) are using their money to gain influence is just plain wrong.

Some argue that antisemitism and anti-Israel is one and the same. They are completely different.  Antisemitism is hatred of members of the Jewish faith for no other reason than our religion. It is possible to disagree with the actions of the Israeli government and not be labeled antisemitic. But to criticize the actions of the Israeli government simply because it is Israel is antisemitic.

A real democracy has no place for prejudice or hate. A real democracy respects the diversity of the citizens who call this country home.

Do I accept her apology? I don’t know. But I do know that I am reminded that antisemitism is still very real and very dangerous.

P.S. Am I the only one who is disturbed by you know who’s hypocrisy in demanding that Representative Omar resign?

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Thoughts On SNL’s Impression Of The Late President Bush And His Reaction

There was a time in this country when political satire was merely part and parcel of the way that the voting public viewed those who they voted into office.

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Dana Carvey portrayed then President George H.W. Bush on Saturday Night Live.

It was brilliant, it was funny and most of all, the real President Bush laughed along with the rest of America.

With his passing yesterday, the country is in mourning for not just a President, but a politician who understood and appreciated the value of political satire.

These days, depending on where you stand on the political spectrum, political satire is either a way to let off the stress one feels about those currently in the corridors of power or it is deeply offensive.

As I stated in yesterday’s post about the late President Bush, I was too young back then to have a reaction to the decisions he made while in office. But I look back now and if nothing else, I appreciate that he understood that political satire was an important aspect of the American political scene.

It would be nice if the current White House resident understood that.

 

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