I am concerned.
If I don’t get detained at Ben Gurion Airport by Israel’s Shin-Bet, does it mean I suck as an activist?
Peter Beinart, a American Jewish pundit and critic of Israel’s current government was detained. CNN host Reza Aslan tweeted about how he was questioned. Attorney Meyer G. Koplow, the chairman of Brandeis University and famous pro-Israel philanthropist, was detained after a brochure featuring Palestine was found in his luggage (which he followed up by complaining to the Israeli Ambassador to the US). Rothman-Zecher was interrogated over his involvement in anti-occupation groups in the United States. And a year ago, the VP of the New Israel Fund was detained for special questioning. I am wondering if it is becoming a special badge to earn…
Being an activist is no picnic.
Speaking of picnics, the new issue of the Jewish Food Society newsletter features Sasha Shor on his family’s former Soviet Jewish picnics in Nashville four decades ago.
Decades ago, novelist Nathan Englander was the longhaired, Jewish writer du jour. In today’s LITHUB, Englander writes that he would like to lead the U.S. SPACE FORCE, since he is just the kind of unquialified candidate that the current U.S. President loves. He writes, “In a fully Orwellian, dystopian manner, our Secretary of Education appears to be anti-public education. According to the Washington Post, our Secretary of Housing and Urban Development recently proposed “tripling rent for the poorest households.” The Head of the Environmental Protection Agency works to roll back environmental protections. And on and on it goes, everyone busy trying to undermine the very systems of which they’ve been put in charge…. ” So why not have Englander run this new branch of the military?
Speaking of qualifications, POLITICO reports that ex-“Apprentice” featured partcipant, and former Trump supporting White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman said that she has tapes of private phone calls from Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. As she promotes her book – Unhinged – she says that the DC Power couple called her after she was fired by White House chief of staff John Kelly to say that they were surprised and saddened. While some pundits say that such a tape would be evidence that Kushner and Trump were clueless about personnel issues in the White House, I think that, if accurate, it merely shows that the couple is kind enough to offer emotional support to someone who feels hurt, even if they have to fib a little to not cause further injury.
Isn’t that the Jewish thing to do? I mean… here is a woman who wrote that hugging candidate Trump after his victory speech on election night in November 2016 was “one of the highlights of my life.” To get fired in the Situation Room was most likely traumatic for her. A couple kind words and feigning ignorance is not a sin, is it?
The Cleveland Jewish News reports on a local tragedy. A local podiatrist, Dr. Richard W. Warn, 59, was found murdered in his home, a home that his two sons were banned from visiting without advanced permission. When a SWAT Team arrived at the home of the the sons, a 12 hour standoff began. It ended with the two men taking their own lives. Beachwood Police Chief Gary Haba said that either Mark Warn, 29, or Michael Warn, 31 – or both of them – were responsible for their father’s murder.
Over in Michigan, the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA, JewishDems.org) criticized Michigan’s Congressional candidiate Rashida Tlaib’s comments that she would oppose U.S. military aid to Israel, based on her concept of justice. If elected to represent Detroit and Michigan 13th Congressional District, and replace John COnyers, Jr., who served for five decades, Tlaib will be the first Palestinian-American Muslim woman in Congress.
She could be joined by another Muslim woman, Ilhan Omar, who won the Democratic primary in her Minneapolis House district last night. Ms. Omar, a Somalia born rep in Minnesota’s State House, once refered to Israel as an “apartheid regime.” But now that she is running statewide, she is against boycotting Israel.
NOTE: The JDCA should not be confused with the NJDC (National Jewish Democratic Council). The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) was created to serve as the voice of socially-progressive, pro-Israel Jewish Democrats, and speaks out against any candidates and elected officials who do not share their positions. The Jewish Democratic Council of America replaced the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) and the Jews for Progress PAC and launched last August after President Donald Trump did not condemn the Nazis that rallied in Charlottesville, VA.
Also in Minnesota, Brown graduate Dean Phillips won a primary to be the Democratic candidate in the 3rd Congressional District. He will face Republican incumbent Erik Paulsen. When not driving around in a “Government Repair Truck,” Phillips is an entrepreneur who ran Talenti Gelato. He is a grandson of “Dear Abby (Abigail Van Buren.. nee Pauline Esther “Popo” Phillips)” and the son DeeDee Cohen and Artie Pfefer. His father served as a captain during the Vietnam War and was killed in action when Dean was just six months old. In 1972, his mother married Eddie Phillips, who adopted Dean, then aged three.
Sadly, pickleball afficionado and former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (R, Minnesota) – most recently, Chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition – posted on social media that his cancer has returned. He wrote that the spread of the cancer was “sobering” and the prognosis is not optimistic but that his physicians at Minnesota’s “Mayo Clinic remain optimistic that the beast can still be contained.” Let’s hope so. Speaking of which, the RJC will host a party on Thursday in Beechwood, Ohio with U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce (OH-14) and Anthony Gonzalez (candidate for US House of Representatives for OH-16)
In an unusual story from academia, The New York Times published some of the messages between a celebrated Israeli-born professor at NYU and her Israeli-born graduate student.
New York University suspended professor Avital Ronell, a teacher of German and comparative literature, and a feminist theorist. A former grad student from Israel, Nimrod Reitman, formally complained (before the #meToo movement began) about Ronell’s alleged verbal and physical harassment of him, which lasted over three years, and started in 2012, before he even arrived on campus. Reitman, who received his doctorate at NYU in 2017, is now a visiting fellow at Harvard. Professor Ronell, 66, identifies as lesbian; Reitman, 34, identifies as gay and married his boyfriend. Professor Ronell responded that, “Our communications — which Reitman now claims constituted sexual harassment — were between two adults, a gay man and a queer woman, who share an Israeli heritage, as well as a penchant for florid and campy communications arising from our common academic backgrounds and sensibilities.” NYU announced that it found Ronell guilty of physical and verbal harassment, but NOT of sexual assault and stalking.
In Ottawa, citizens are angry over a fashion shoot that occurred at the local Holocaust memorial. Montreal clothing designer Michèle Beaudoin and Ottawa fashion photographer Richard Tardif used the memorial as a backdrop for their rags. After being contacted about the photos, they removed them.
IN ADDITIONAL news about Michigan’s Palestinian-American congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib… prior to the election, she told J STREET – whose endorsement she was seeking – that her campaign supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and she endorsed continuing U.S. aid to the State of Israel. Now, having won the Democratic party primary, she told the media that she endorses a one-state solution and she opposes U.S. aid to Israel. She also says that Israel has apartheid policies. J STREET now has Detroit-style egg on its face for believing her pre-election statements.
In the SOCIAL Q’s column of The New York Times this week, a reader asks how to handle a NYC bank teller her makes an anti-Jewish remark. The teller says that it is mainly “the Jews” who complain. Should the bank customer tell the bank manager? The NYT columnist replies that getting a teller fired usually hardens their views, but rather than stay silent, they should… Consider going back to the teller and say… (and then tell the manager if they are not satisfied.)
And in The Daily Beast, we learn that Trump campaign staffer Daniel Gelbonovich reached out to American lobbyists in an effort to help Israel-Russian billionaire businessman and Friend-of-Putin Roman Abramovich with potential problems with the U.S. Treasury sanctions list.