Tag Archives: Israeli/Palestinian conflict

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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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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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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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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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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The Problem with the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict Starts With the Headlines

The purpose of the media is supposed to report the facts of the news. How the viewer or reader judges the facts is based on the induvidual.

As the latest conflict between Israel and Palestine boils over into a second week, the headlines from the various media outlets around the world do not help the situation. They make it worse by inverting the truth in order to get readers attention.

A good example of this is an article that was published by Reuters yesterday. The headline is as follows:

“Israel air strikes kill 42 Palestinians, rockets fired from Gaza”

Let’s break down how the topic is presented. The first half accuses Israel of purposefully targeting civilians. The second clarifies that the airstrikes are in response to the rockets that have been from Gaza into Israel.

The writer relies on the reader’s emotion to catch their eye before letting logic to tell the whole story. As we all know, human beings are emotional creatures. Logic and thought come into play after we opened our mouths.

Reuters is not the first publication to use this model. Most news companies rely on the format. The problem is that it does not tell the whole story. If the purpose of the media is to report the details to the public, they are failing miserably.

On a final note, I would like to ask you a question. I want you to imagine that it is an ordinary day. The sun is shining above and the breeze is just enough to be comfortable without being overwhelming. Your out, enjoying a perfectly lovely afternoon. Then a siren goes off. You have 15 seconds to find shelter and have no idea if this day will be your last. Do you let your neighbor destroy you or do you fight back, knowing there will be innocent casualties on both sides?

Happy Sunday.

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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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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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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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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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