Tag Archives: Israeli/Palestinian conflict

Aligning With Linda Sarsour Will Not Get Bernie the Jewish Vote

In any election season, campaigns and candidates will ask how to appeal to a certain demographic to ensure that they will receive their votes.

Jewish Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has decided to bring Linda Sarsour into his campaign. Ms. Sarsour is known for her very public antisemitic and anti-Israel perspective.

I understand that Bernie wants to appeal to progressive voters. However, the choice of Ms. Sarsour, I fear may backfire. Especially with his fellow Jews who are feeling anxious (myself included) about the rising antisemitism in the world.

I also understand that he wants to appeal to the Arab-American community.

However, in trying to appeal to the Arab-American community, he is forgetting his coreligionists. There are quite a few candidates to chose from. In over-appealing to one community, he may forget another, which may end up costing him the nomination next fall.

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Thoughts On the Results of the Israeli/Egyptian World Judo Championship Semifinals Match

Sports is supposed to be free from politics and international conflict. It should be about skill, talent and hard work. But that does not mean that politics and international conflict cannot get in the way.

Israeli athlete Sagi Muki met Egyptian athlete Mohamed Abdelaal met on the mat during the World Judo Championship semifinals in Tokyo. Mr. Muki was named the winner of the match. Instead of being a good sportsman and shaking Mr. Muki’s hand, Mr. Abedelaal just walked off the mat.

Mr. Abdelaal’s actions, in my mind, represents what I think is a sad mentality when it comes to Israel and Jews. Regardless of ethnicity or national origin, Mr. Muki won fair and square. But to Mr. Abdelaal and millions who think like him, he was beaten by an Israeli Jew. In their mind, it is an unthinkable act.

I wish that we lived in a world in which we respected one another as individuals. I also wish we lived in a world in which when one entered any sports arena, one only saw their fellow athlete and not their ethnicity. But wishing sometimes goes nowhere.

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Put the Blame Where it is Due and Not on Israel

When one gets to a certain age, the blame game become immature and a waste of time. It takes an adult to see that. Unfortunately, not all of us who are grown act like adults.

In the latest twist in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) blamed Israel for the honor killing of Israa Gharib. Her crime is that she was fraternizing with a man outside the bonds of marriage. In her world, this was a crime for which the only punishment is death. The men accused of killing her are her father and brothers.

I agree with Rep. Tlaib that toxic masculinity was responsible for Ms. Gharib’s death. She was not seen by the men closest to her as a flesh and blood creature with thoughts, feelings, ambitions, dreams and flaws. She was seen as an object to be used and sold in the name of marriage.

However, the blame for her death lands solely in the lap of her father and brothers. It has nothing to do with Israel.

The sooner Rep. Tlaib and the rest of the Israel haters recognize that, the sooner we will get to a legit and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.

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90 Years After the Hebron Massacre, Another Child is Killed Because She is Jewish

August 24th, 1929 started out as an ordinary day for Jewish population of Hebron. By the time the sun set, nearly 70 Jews were murdered in what would become the Hebron Massacre. As a result, the authorities (which was then the British) moved the survivors out of Hebron. After thousands of years of Jews calling Hebron home, it was Judenrein.

This week, another young lady was killed because she is Jewish. The same blood lust and hatred that killed nearly 70 people 90 years ago caused the death of Rina Shnerb. 17 year old Rina was hiking with her brother and father when they were hit by a terrorist bomb. Rina died at the scene. Her father and brother were seriously injured and are still hospitalized.

I am not saying that every Muslim who lives in Middle East or any place in the world for that matter has a blood thirsty hatred of Jews. However, there are many in that part of the world that would dearly love and would do anything to see the region become Judeinrein.

May the memories of Rina and the people killed in Hebron be a blessing and a reminder that until this blood thirsty hatred ends, Israel and Jews around the world must always be on the defensive.

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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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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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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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I Agree With AOC On Many Things, But Not About Israel

Anyone who knows me (or has read this blog) knows that as politics go, I am fairly liberal. But that does not mean that I agree 100% of the time with liberal politicians.

Earlier this week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was a guest on the Ebro in the Morning radio talk show. When the topic of Israel came up, she said somethings that I completely disagree with.

Before I go further, I need to make one thing clear. There is a stark difference between criticizing a government/country because of the governmental policies and criticizing the government/country because of the religious or cultural identity of said government/country.

I agree with AOC on many things, but not about Israel. Instead of being the intelligent woman that I know she is and replying thoughtfully, she just repeated the same lies that have unfortunately become part of our political rhetoric.

Israel is one of America’s greatest ally, especially in the Middle East. We should not be cutting of our nose to spite our face because of lies and half truths.

We have, as we all know, a Presidential election coming up next fall. Israel will be one of the many topics that will come up during the election season. The Democrats, as a political party, will need everything in their arsenal to oust you know who from office. In speaking as she did, AOC has given the Republicans an edge, especially with Jewish voters. If she is as committed to the Democratic party as she says she is, I would suggest that next time, she does her homework before publicly speaking about Israel as she did.

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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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Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel Book Review

Spying is rarely as glamorous or simple as it appears to be in film and on television. It is often dangerous, requiring those who take up the charge of spying to potentially put their lives on the line for their cause and their country.

In the new non-fiction book, Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel, author Matti Friedman tells the true story of four young men of Sephardi Jewish descent (Jews who come from the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa and the Middle East) who pretended to Muslim to spy for the newly born Israeli state in the late 1940’s.

Spy novels, whether they are fiction or based on fact are usually not my go to genre. However, this book is one heck of a read. It had the narrative of a James Bond movie combined with the true stories of four young men who put their own needs aside to protect their country and their people.

I recommend it.

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