Tag Archives: antisemitism

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 the West Bank and Gaza.

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

Letters Across the Sea Book Review

War has a way to pulling us apartment, forcing us to see someone else as “the other”. It can also bring us together and remind us of our common humanity.

Letters Across the Sea, by Genevieve Graham, was published earlier this year. In Toronto in the summer of 1933, Hannah Dreyfus and Molly Ryan are best friends. Both the grandchildren of immigrants (Eastern European Jews and Irish Catholic respectively), they are friends in a time in which antisemitism is rising in their hometown. Though Molly only sees her BFF and has a crush on Max, Hannah’s big brother, other people are not so tolerant of their differences. Things come to a boil in August during the Christie Pits riot, forcing Hannah and Molly to go their separate ways.

Six years later, World War II is on the horizon. After years of toiling at any job she could get, Molly has finally gotten her dream job as a journalist. Men from across the country have enlisted. Among them are Max and Molly’s brothers. When the letters from the soldiers start to arrive, Molly must contend with the past and the unspoken truth that has been buried since that night in 1933.

This book is amazing. Graham’s eye for the historical facts while creating a fictional world is top notch. I was fully invested in the story, hoping that Molly and Max would get together while praying that the male characters would come home. It was a history lesson in the best way, learning about this time in Canadian history without feeling like the reader is sitting in a university lecture hall.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Google Hired an Anti-Semite as Diversity Chief

The job of diversity chief is to ensure that employees feel that they do not have to hide their religious or cultural identities to feel safe at work.

Yet somehow, the HR people at Google ignored this most basic job description when they hired Kamau Bobb. When it was discovered that back in 2007, he made the claim that Jewish people “have an insatiable appetite for war and killing”. Instead of firing him (as they should have), he was kept on the payroll, but was moved to another position.

Now granted, this blog post is 14 years old. One would hope that he would have learned a few things in that time. The irony in this story is that the company’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, are both Jewish. Aside from the extremely scary rise in antisemitism in the US and around the world, the fact that this man accused his employers of having bloodlust should have been a reason for immediate termination. Instead he was given a slap on the wrist and retained his employment.

The message, as I see it, is clear. Antisemitism is not something to be ashamed about and shunned for. It is acceptable and even applauded. The only way to get rid of hate and prejudice is to confront it. By not doing so, the powers that be are adding even more fuel to the fire and allowing this disgusting perspective to thrive. Adding fuel to the fire of this problem is that this company is so ingrained in our daily lives that we could not avoid it if we wanted to.

Good job, Google.

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Thoughts on Jewish American Heritage Month

The best way to combat prejudice and hatred is education and knowledge.

May is Jewish American Heritage Month (JAMH). Given the recent and scary rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes following the latest skirmish in the Middle East, perhaps this month will open the door to conversations and create opportunity for further co-existence.

My family has been in this country for over a century. I am proud of what I can say that those I love have accomplished and what my fellow American Jews have given to this nation. We are only 2% of the population, but what we have done is much more than what the census says.

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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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The Vandalization of Those Synagogues in NYC Will Not Change My Faith

Hate is akin to an insidious disease. It takes over you, changing everything about your world and how you see it.

Over the weekend, four different synagogues were vandalized in the Bronx in New York City.

Whomever these people are, if they think that this act will scare me into changing my faith, they have another thing coming. I could go on, but I am going to let two wise men speak instead. Their truths are more powerful than anything I could ever write.

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Though I am sure that the justice system will do it’s job, it may not be enough to change the perspective of the perpetrators. I say, drop them in Auschwitz for a night. Let the spirits of those who were murdered teach the ultimate lesson.

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Filed under New York City, Star Wars, William Shakespeare

Where is the Justice for Sarah Halimi?

Justice, in theory, should be blind. However, that does not mean that a murderer should be allowed to walk free.

In April of 2017, Sarah Halimi was murdered simply because she was a Jew. The man accused of killing her was acquitted because he was on drugs.

The accused, a Muslim man originally from Mali, is said to have Allahu Akbar as he took Mrs. Halimi’s life. Before I go any further, I must stress that I am not saying that every member of the Muslim faith is anti-Semitic, just as not every Jew holds anti-Islamic views. There are many in both faiths who just wants to live their lives, the faith of the stranger standing next to them is unimportant.

But the thing that bothers me is that this man got off because he was high. That is a flimsy excuse and in my mind, an easy out for the French justice system. Instead of addressing both the drug issue and the fact that this was a hate crime, they chose to ignore the fact that Mrs. Halimi was only targeted because she was Jewish. Had this not been the case, she would be alive today.

My heart goes out to her family. May her memory forever a blessing. Z”L.

P.S. There will be protest vigil today at 1PM at the French Embassy in New York City.

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Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth Book Review

The best way to learn about a new culture is to speak to a local. They have the insight and experience that an outsider would never have.

Earlier this month, Israeli actress/ producer Noa Tishby published her first book. The Tel Aviv native seeks to understand and explain Israel as it is, without relying on the flashy headlines or the half truths. Using her firsthand experience, she speaks of Israel, both past and present, as it is, and not how some see it or wish it could be.

What I love about this book is how down to earth and accessible it is. Tishby‘s voice is that of the average person, not the academic or historian who usually writes about this topic. That, I believe, provides an opportunity for a dialogue that should have happened long ago.

If you only read two chapters, I highly recommend chapters on BDS and the virulent anti-Israeli sentiment (which is really antisemitism). Even for those who are well versed on the topic, it was an eye opener.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Bernie Madoff-May You Be Forgotten

When a person dies, the Jewish response is the following: “may their memory be a blessing”.

Bernie Madoff, the Ponzi schemer who stole millions from his clients a dozen years ago, passed away yesterday at the age of 82.

I don’t normally pay attention to what is happening on Wall Street. It’s never been my thing. But I do pay attention when someone of Madoff’s stature re-emphasizes the stereotype about Jews and money. The anti-Semites make up enough lies about us, the last thing we need is validation of those falsehoods via real world examples.

I also pay attention when the economy tanks and there are more people looking for work than jobs needing to be filled. The revelation of what he did added salt to the wound of the Great Recession, creating more uncertainty and stress for those affected by his greed and selfishness.

I would normally say than when a co-religionist of mine passes, that their memory should be a blessing. I cannot say that about Madoff. I can only say that may he be forgotten.

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Was the Joke About Israel on SNL Satire or Anti-Semitic?

Satire is a beautiful thing. But it can also cross the line.

During the Weekend Update portion of last weekend’s Saturday Night Live, anchor Michael Che made a joke about Israel. To say that it did not go over well is an understatement.

The question I have to ask, is it satire or antisemitism?

I get that it was a joke. Weekend Update is not your serious local weeknight news. It is supposed to be funny and perhaps bordering on not exactly being 100% politically correct.

That being said, I can’t help but agree that it did have a slightly anti-Semitic undertone. My people have been persecuted and murdered because of the lies that have been told about us.

Unlike other countries (ahem, United States) on which the the rollout of the vaccine programs have been unnecessarily complicated or messy, the Israeli government got their shit together. As of February 4th, US News & World Report put out a story that all Israelis over the age of sixteen were able to get the vaccine. The important word in this headline is all. There was no mention of any specific group that was either pushed to the head of the line or denied access because of their religious or cultural background.

I’ve been a fan of SNL for more than twenty years, this program is usually the highlight of my weekend. I can usually laugh at anything. But this joke, I cannot and will never be able to laugh at.

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