Righting Wrongs To Sephardim

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Righting Wrongs To Sephardim.”

The initial waves of Aliyah beginning in 1882 were driven by the persecution and pogroms, and later the Holocaust, in Europe. Thus, Israeli society initially built up their institutions and power centers around these Ashkenazi pioneers. Immediately after 1948, when Sephardic refugees were expelled from the Arab countries en masse, Israel was overwhelmed with as immigration influx that virtually doubled the Jewish population in Israel in the first three years of its existence. Unfortunately, the newly arrived Sephardim were relegated to a substandard housing and economic situation, which then persisted for many decades.

In Jewish society, however, there is no room for ethnic discrimination and inequality, and the formation of a Sephardic political party in 1984 was a crucial milestone in Jewish social and economic justice. For almost 30 years, Shas was led by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former Israel Chief Sephardic Rabbi and spiritual leader, and Shas has remained one of Israel’s top political parties.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

There is a Place for Border Walls

There is a place for border walls. 


Walls are not bad. 


And neither are all people.


But some people are bad.


And we have the right to be protected from them. 


Walls help to manage the flow. 


Not everyone can just go whatever, whenever, wherever. 


Surely, some people need to move to and fro. 


But we must decide who and when and where. 


Walls define spaces and ownership.


Not every place and thing is everyone’s.


People have property rights as do sovereign nations.


Not everything is strictly defined.


There is the commons that we share. 


But also there is a mine and a yours. 


That’s how economics functions and how people give and take. 


Walls help separate and secure. 


Bridges help connect and transport. 


They are not mutually exclusive. 


I’ve never seen a house, company, organization, or government without walls. 


And neither have you. 😉


(Credit Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

Diversity Necessitates Respect

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So this was an interesting photo taken of a sticker hung in front/near the Capitol reflecting pool in Washington, D.C. 


It is one of the faces of the resistance, and while it’s not Linda Sarsour, it reminds me of her–she is the one who garnered wide attention at the 2017 Women’s March not long ago. 


Remember her rant of “Sisters and Brothers!”–whose sister is she anyway?


With her polarizing politics, support for Sharia Law and anti-Zionist rants and support for the BDS movement, she certainly is not mine. 


Note: An Israeli official even came out yesterday with like concerns about her. 


Here are some of Sarsour’s alleged sayings about Sharia Law–or is this more a complete embrace? 

While I greatly believe in diversity and strongly adhere to valuing and respecting all good people out there… 


There is something that feels wrong here. 


Generic images like the top photo with the traditional Muslim hair covering–again, I respect this.


It is overlaid with the American Flag–again nothing wrong with that–Jews wear yarmulkes with the flag too.


But look further now…underneath it states: 

“We The People 

are greater than fear”


Hmm…We the people–who is the “we” here?


Is this a group photo of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, etc.–so where is the inclusivity?


With Sarsour insertion of a Sharia ideology into American politics, perhaps, there is a subtle–or not so subtle–attack on our greater American freedom and democracy going on here.


Sharia law is being spread around the globe by:


Decree (think of the Mullahs in Iran)


Terror (think ISIS and Al-Qaeda)


Sympathy (think of the Palestinians)


Mass immigration (think of the changing cultural face of Europe), and 


Expropriating other people’s causes (such as Democracy and freedom and so called justice with Linda Sarsour).


Everyone is entitled to their peaceful beliefs, especially when there is a ethos of  mutual respect and a truthful recognition and acceptance for everyone of “Live and let live!”


But when the bounds are trampled by those who want to see only “their way or the highway”…then we need to seriously fear–who are “We the people”–and what do they really want? 😉


(Source top Photo: Andy Blumenthal and memes from Internet search)

Nuttiest Duck In DC

Just when I thought I’d met all the nuts in this town (Washington, D.C.)…


I ran into this one in the Capitol Reflecting Pool on the Mall. 


Check this out!


The duck is head first waddling away it’s feet in the air like a lost puppy.


Reminds me of too many folks who don’t want to deal with the many consequential problems that our nation faces (fortunately, there are also many good folks that do!).


From the imminent dangers of North Korea, Iran, and ISIS to our staggering national debt (all of which I wrote about yesterday) along with other critical issues such as healthcare, immigration, and jobs, jobs, jobs. 


Then there are the all too frequent projects that are out of control and funding that is flushed down the proverbial $4,000 toilet. 


A history of dysfunction, fraud, waste, abuse (along with an assortment of personality disorders) have ripened for the picking in the election famous “Swamp”–that we’ve been promised will be drained!


Maybe that’s what this duck is wading into…and what do you think he will find? 


This nation can no longer afford to go head in the sand unless we are looking to be a good-for-nothing dead duck rather than a thriving democracy and beacon of freedom to the world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal

Media Is Becoming The Biggest Loser

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So this is an interesting poll from Emerson College:

“49% of U.S. voters believe that the Trump administration is truthful, while only 39% feel that way about the news media.”


Growing up, I never thought or felt the media was biasing the news.


Frankly, it never would have occurred to me. 


Maybe, I was too innocent or naive. 


But I always thought the media’s job was to “tell it the way it is.”


The media’s job, I understood was to be a honest broker, investigate, report, and tell all sides of the issues to help inform and educate. 


What people then did with that information was up to them. 


They would be free in a democracy to form their own opinions and see things that were presented to them through their experiences and sense of identity and justice.

But now, the world is upside down, and bias, bigotry, and prejudice is embedded in the media news itself. 


The same story on a deportation case today can be told by CNN as one of racism and cruelty to immigrants for deporting a mother of two who was “a threat to nobody” or by FOX news as one of enforcing the laws and security against an undocumented immigrant with a felony conviction for social security fraud. 


It depends what colored glasses your looking through and how you want to influence or control what the masses think and do about it. 


No wonder, people don’t trust the media!


Not only were the projections based on garbage polling completely wrong in terms of who would win the election, but the reporting out of daily events is done through one-sided reporting, “alternative facts,” and “fake news.”


The Democrats and Republicans are duking it out, but it’s the media that it getting the biggest black eye on honesty and credibility, and losing the fight for influence over the American people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Great Trump Wall

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So today, President Trump signed the executive order to start the process of putting up the border wall with Mexico. 


Generally, I don’t think anyone with a heart seriously questions the need to continue robust immigration for those in need that are seeking asylum or refuge from all sorts of persecution as well as for humanitarian reasons…of course, we must continue to have empathy and be kind and compassionate to people, period. 


However, the Great Trump Wall needs to go up to secure our borders.


We have over 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and roughly 400,000 crossing the border and settling here illegally on an annual basis. 

With human trafficking, illegal drugs and weapons, criminals and terrorists, and others just coming on over willy nilly, this is not the way to secure a nation’s border or run a country. 


We have the right and responsibility to create safety and security for people. 


Running across the border, catch and release, or just illegally staying is not a policy, but rather immigration chaos. 


We and our families all came to this country seeking a better life and are so fortunate to be here, and we should and must pay it forward.


Immigration should be based on well-thought and sound policy that genuinely helps people in need and advances the interests of the nation.

In terms of freedom, equality, and human rights, we definitely want to tear down the walls the separate us!


However, for border security, catch me if you can is not a strategy or policy–just plain neglect and chaos. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal–funny pic because I was actually pretending to tear it down.)