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.
The evidence in regards to controlling Covid-19 is obvious. Approximately half to a third of the population needs to be vaccinated (otherwise known as herd immunity) for the virus to lose it’s potency. The question is, what measure are governments around the world taking to stop it in its tracks?
While the United States is floundering in its attempt to get the shots into the arms of Americans, 20% of the Israeli population has received the vaccine as of last Wednesday.
Granted, Israel is a much smaller country in both population and size. That being said, it comes down to planning, coordination with the government at every level, and assistance of the medical industry. The problem in the United States is two fold. Thanks to you know who, the system that is supposed to transfer the vaccine from the federal government to state and local governments can only be described as a hot mess. The issue compounded by the American healthcare system, which has been problematic for many years.
Back in 1947, a smallpox outbreak hit New York City. Via a coordinated effort between the city and the Public Health Service, millions were vaccinated in less than a month. Only twelve people were infected and of that number, only two people lost their lives.
The fact is that it is possible to end this plague and return to some semblance of normalcy. But we can only do that if those in the halls of power work together.
This time of year, there is talk of peace on Earth and goodwill to all.
The problem is that is merely talk.
On Sunday afternoon, Esther Horgan went for a run. She never returned home. Her body was found the next day.
Mrs. Horgan, aged 52, and a mother of six children, was murdered because she was an Israeli Jew. Thankfully, her accused killer has been caught.
If we really want peace, it starts with conversation. Not with guns, not with bombs, and not with threats of war. What those (whose names I shall not repeat) have repeatedly failed to understand is that the murder of ordinary citizens is a fruitless effort. The loss of numerable lives, the destruction of property, and the lack of trust does not create conditions in which peace flourishes.
Though sex and sexuality is part and parcel of human nature, it is often viewed as something dangerous and wrong.
For decades, Dr. Ruth Westheimer (aka Dr. Ruth), has been America’s sex therapist. The 2019 Hulu documentary movie, Ask Dr. Ruth, tells her story. Born in 1928 to an Orthodox Jewish family in Germany, everything was normal for the first ten years of her life. When it became clear that being a Jew in Germany was dangerous, Ruth (then known by her first name, Karola) was sent to Switzerland on the Kindertransport.
At the age of 17, she emigrated to what was then British controlled Palestine (pre-Independence Israel) and joined the Haganah. Years later, she again emigrated to the United States. Living in New York City, she married, raised her two children and became the woman we know her to be today.
The thing I love about her is that at nearly 100 years old, she has the energy of a woman half her age. She represents hope, life, change, and that a woman can never be limited to what she can do because she is “female”. Her presence first on the radio and then on television, helped to open the door to long overdue conversations about sex and sexuality.
There is a myth that the overall Jewish community hold some sort of secret control over the world.
In 2007, writer and Professor Ruth R. Wisse corrected that fallacy in Jews and Power. In the book, Professor Wisse examines both the historical and religious aspects of Judaism as it reflects on military and political power. She also talks about modern day Israel and how her leaders are able to balance both democracy and security.
Needless to say, this book is not exactly a light beach read. It is not completely dry, but the writing has an academic feel and it is written for a very specific audience. I enjoyed it and learned a few things, but it will never land on my own top ten lists of books that I have read.
Now it seems that is maybe a reality, thanks to you know who. But two questions come up. Does he genuinely believe in what he is doing? Or, is this just another ploy to win votes?
A part of me would like to believe that these peace deals were achieved because he genuinely wanted to see these countries work with one another. But I know better. After nearly four years in office, he has yet to prove that he can see beyond number one. He has even admitted that the move to Jerusalem was only to gain support from the Evangelical Christians.
Only time will tell of these peace deals will help in November. The only thing that I know is that I don’t trust him and will not be voting for him.
For most of the world, Auschwitz is the most well known of the Nazi death camps. Millions of people were starved, tortured, and murdered simply because of who they were.
But the residents this unfortunately infamous town know it as Oswiecim.
Recently, Israeli Ice Hockey star Eliezer Sherbatov signed on to play for Unia Oswiecim. Unia Oswiecim is the local hockey team for Osweicim. The reaction to his decision was both positive and negative, depending upon who one spoke to.
Defending his choice, Sherbatov stated the following:
“I tell them, what happened 80 years ago will never be forgotten. That’s why, 80 years later, I want to show young people that they should be proud of their heritage and that now anything is possible.”
I agree with him. Though I fully understand the criticism, I feel like this is a sign of hope and the ability to triumph over tragedy. While the we must never forget what happened with the borders of the death camp, we must also live. The fact that the Jews and Judaism is alive and thriving nearly 100 years later is sweet revenge on it’s own.
While we cannot go back in time and change history, we can remember those who were taken from us. Eliezer Sherbatov joining Unia Oswiecim is in itself a memorial to those who were murdered and a reminder that love and humanity still exist.
In our modern world, the nearly century long conflict with Israel and her neighbors (and Palestine specifically) is just another part of the news cycle.
Earlier this week, Israel reached what many have described as a historic deal with the UAE.
I believe that this deal is a good one and a necessary step toward a reasonable peace in the region.
That being said, I am not surprised about the responses. Both Iran and the Palestinians are displeased, to say the least. You know who thinks that he actually solved the problem as a whole. While this is a positive step in the right direction, it will not create a peaceful utopia. There is still a long way to go.
I am also not sure that temporarily stopping the so called “West Bank Settlements” will create the necessary change. Though this another topic for another blog post, when Israel goes back to building what is essentially Israeli land, she will be met with the same criticism and damnation. But in the meantime, putting the settlements on hold is imperative.
But overall, my gut reaction is that the agreement is one to celebrate. Only when we put aside our prejudices can we see the common goals that exist between us. By putting hate aside, both Israel and the UAE are demonstrating that it is possible to live with your neighbor. It just requires the ability to listen and compromise.
There are two sides to humanity. There are ways in which we are different (which is not all that bad). There are also ways in which are we similar.
One of the ways in which we are similar is how we are instructed to treat one other. The Golden Rule aka “Do to no one what you yourself dislike.” exists in multiple religious texts from a variety of belief systems.
Yesterday, a building filled with chemicals exploded in Beirut. As of tonight, 100 people died from the explosion, thousands are injured and many more are homeless.
In response, other countries have sent humanitarian aid and support. Among those countries is Israel. Yes, Israel.
“as a Jewish person,..I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel…You know, they never tell you that […] there were people there. They make it seem like it was just sitting there.”
Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows how I feel about Israel. I have visited twice and hope to visit a third time at some point in the future. It is a beautiful country with warm people and delicious food. However, that does not mean that I agree with everything that is said and done over there.
The issue I take with Rogen’s comment is that it gives those with antisemitic views the permission to make a similar statement.
If Rogen does not agree with the decisions made by the Israeli government, that is one thing. He is, like all of us, entitled to his opinion. But to publicly make a general assertion without consideration of the facts is another thing entirely and just plain wrong.
We live in a world in which hate and racism have a firm hold on us. The only way to break that hold is to speak the truth and be willing to listen to one another. Unfortunately, Rogen’s declaration only added fuel to the fire that is hate and racism.
This hobby blog is dedicated to movie nerdom, nostalgia, and the occasional escape. In the late 90s, I worked at Blockbuster Video where they let me take home two free movies a day. I caught up on the classics and wrote movie reviews for Denver 'burbs newspapers and magazines. Today, I continue to revisit the old and discover the new on the screen. Comments and dialogue are highly encouraged. This year, I'm excited to collaborate with other writers via SLICETHELIFE in which we will share our movie genre favorites in our 2021 Movie Draft!