Category Archives: Judaism

Downtown Abbey On West Side Manhattan

I am a native of New York City or to be exact, person born and bred in the great borough of the Bronx. My parents left Manhattan for the more open land of the Bronx which in the 1930s still contained plenty of open space and low cost housing. In my childhood, there were apartment buildings in Manhattan which had a Doorman. He checked to see if you could even stand on the sidewalk outside the citadel which had been constructed for the wealthy or our fair land. In Bronx apartment buildings which were five stories in height, few had an elevator, and one walked up and down. So, much to my surprise, the old ways have not disappeared. Developers of a new 33 floor apartment building were given a tax break if they set aside some apartments for “poor people.” Since money was at stake, developers agreed to allow 55 people who are classified as “poor” to inhabit this building.

Oh, the “poor” are people who earn less than $55,000 a year so rest assured no one on Food Stamps will be in this building. Good news for the poor folk, they will have their OWN ENTRANCE! Thank God wealthy folk will not have to ride in an elevator with one of “those people!” Imagine, being in physical contact with someone who only earns $50,000! Well, I can sleep tight today knowing that our job creators will not be forced to share an elevator with the people who got one of their jobs!

Turkish High Speed Train Slows Down

The nation of Turkey just initiated its first high speed train,and its passengers included Prime Minister Recep Erdogan. The train left the capital of Ankara and was headed to Istanbul when something went wrong, and the train had to halt for repairs. A Turkish source informed me there were “question marks” and something suspicious about this incident. This intrepid reporter decided to check with other important world figures about this alleged crime.

1. Sarah Palin informed me there was no doubt this train was sabotaged by Hillary Clinton since a passenger on the train came from Benghazi and he knew what happened in that city!

2. John Boehner informed this reporter since the train was build by the national government of Turkey rather than by private free enterprise businessmen, what else could one expect than a train that goes nowhere?

3. Governor Rick Perry asked me if this train was headed towards the Mexican border, he was prepared to dispatch members of the Texas National Guard to head off this train.

4. A Fox News panel agreed this incident was linked to the Affordable Care Act, they needed a few more hours in order to gather evidence of the connection.

5. Donal Trump offered to buy out the government of Turkey and transform its trains into mobile Casinos.

Democratization Of Violence

Violence has always been an integral aspect of life on planet Earth. From the days when Cro-magnons used stones or spears or arrows in order to kill either one another or the Neanderthals, violence has been a daily occurrence among those who term themselves to be–humans. So, it is not surprising that violence is party of our daily life, and those who employ this tactic justify the murder of other life forms. However, there is now a difference in how violence is utilized. Due to advances in technology, an emergence of small sized powerful weapons of destruction just about any group can gain possession of the power to murder large numbers of people. The recent shooting down of a plane in Ukraine by a small number of men who were given access by the Russian government of a Buk missile is a vivid example of our modern capabilities for murder.

We can expect in the coming years that such powerful weapons will become smaller in size, and more powerful in consequences. The Israel government insists that it can “destroy” Hamas. Yes, today, Hamas will be enormously weakened, but tomorrow Hamas or another Muslim violent group will gain control of some weapon which can murder hundreds of Jews some place in Israel. Eventually, biological weapons will emerge to murder on a large scale. Crazies such as Hamas do not care if they kill their own people, they are engaged in a crusade to destroy Israel.

So, what is the solution to this reality? Israel, and every other nation, must work for peace with its neighbors. This will require compromise. But, without peace, enemies will eventually have the power to murder on a large scale. Sorry, Prime Minister Netanyahu, this is REALITY!

Day Of Rage -Soon Months Of Rage!

I was born a Jew, raised as a Conservative Jew by parents who had escaped the vicious anti-Semitism prevalent in Europe in the early part of the twentieth century. At least eleven of my relatives were murdered in the Holocaust, and my uncle and his three daughters fought in the forests of the Ukraine during World War II. I have spent my life Jew in America who is horrified at actions of the Israel Defense Force in Gaza is termed to be a “self hating Jew.”I now confront the reality that any Jew in America who is horrified at the slaughter of innocent men, women and children in Gaza is termed, a “self hating Jew.” So, be it. It was a horrible act by some group of Palestinians to murder three innocent Jewish boys in Israel. But, as of this date, at least 840 people in Gaza have also been murdered, some are vicious terrorists, but the majority are simply innocent civilians caught in the middle of a war that will go on and on and on. The UN had established the Beit Hanom School in Gaza, UN officials informed the IDF of the coordinates of the school, but Israel forces bombed the location and murdered innocent children.

The word is “murdered,” not “killed.” Israel forces continue to destroy homes and businesses of innocent people in their quest to end the power of Hamas in Gaza. Yes, Hamas is composed of ruthless murderers who have placed innocent people at risk due to their hatred of Jews. Yes, the tunnels have to be destroyed. But, the murder of innocent people will have but one consequence– hundreds of new terrorists are being born in the world of Gaza and on the West Bank. Palestinians had a “day of Rage” on the West Bank and five were killed, including one by a Jewish settler. Dozens are wounded. Today a day or rage, tomorrow years of rage.

There is only ONE solution. A COMPROMISE agreement between Palestinian leaders and Jewish Israel leaders. It must be based on the following:

1. The end of further West Bank settlements.

2. The establishment of a Palestinian government on the West Bank.

3. A compromise settlement of the refugee issue. Most probably, this would entail (a) some form of financial settlement, (b) return of X number of refugees to the West Bank.

4. Establishment of a joint Educational Commission to foster a peace and reconciliation curriculum in Israel and Palestinian schools. We must look to youth to create a new world of peace. After all, Jews and Germans now work together -even after the murder of SIX MILLION JEWS.

Hey America-Let’s Fight With Turkey!

The Gaza war continues to ripple across the Middle East creating one new conflict after another. For some strange reason, Muslim Turkey has been upset at the invasion of Gaza and death of hundreds of fellow Muslims. Unlike, George Bush who didn’t give a damn that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians were being oppressed by an Iraq government placed in power by the United States, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan is furious at the death of civilians in Gaza. Let me make clear that Recep Erdogan is a petty tyrant who has been active in crushing democratic forces in his own nation, but he certainly is correct in fighting to protect the lives of innocent civilians in Gaza. Yes, he did employ harsh words towards Israel, why is this a surprise to anyone? What else should the leader of a Muslim nation do other than seek to save the lives of fellow Muslims? In fairness to him, Erdogan has been working with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in an effort to obtain a cease fire.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutogu is upset at comments made by a State Department spokesperson who said: “the U.S. believes Erdogan’s statements were offensive and wrong.” What else could Erdogan say but, “If America is still saying Israel is using its right to self-defense, then it should be critical of itself. It is America that is offensive.”

Perhaps, it is time for American diplomats to, while acknowledging the right of self defense, to also acknowledge the right of civilians to be able to live. A civilian certainly has the right of self defense, and that includes still being able to live.

Gasps Of Death Finally Conclude

Throughout my life the issue of our death penalty has been a difficult one for me to resolve in my mind. I do understand how someone whose wife or daughter was raped or killed or someone whose husband or wife was murdered for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time would seek revenge against the killer. I suspect if this happened to a loved one in my family, the desire for vengeance would be strong. In other words, having thoughts of a violent revenge against someone who has done terrible wrong to your loved ones is normal. However, there is simply too much actual evidence that in X percent of murdering convicts, the person executed was really innocent. Thus, one is left in the position of either supporting the concept that it is OK for one innocent person to die in order to exact vengeance upon an evil doer or one is confronted with the concept that if one innocent person must die to satisfy our desire for vengeance it is OK.

Joseph Wood was convicted for being a double murderer. He was sentenced to be executed in the state of Arizona. Last night he was given a drug execution. Something went wrong with the drugs. He was given them, and then over the following 1187 minutes gasped and snorted in agony before death finally ended his torment. Our Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment. That is the 8th Amendment. As one who believes in the Constitution, I cannot support any punishment which violates its basic tenets. Therefore, I must oppose the Death penalty.

Death Takes No Holiday

There are moments when one longs for an old fashioned war that has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with power or wealth or prestige. Adolf Hitler sought power, and the Allies combined to defeat his armies, conquer Germany, and assist Germans to renew their lives in peace and prosperity. Heck, the US and England defeated Japan in a war that led to millions of deaths, the war concluded, Japan signed on the dotted line, they were occupied, and since then Japan has known only prosperity and peace. But, wars in the Middle East are intertwined with religion. Sunni vs Shiite, or Jew vs. Muslim. You can also throw in Christians in either of those equations. Muslim Hamas decided to send rockets into Israel or if it was not Hamas, then the honor of this stupidity belongs to any of an assortment of local Gaza terrorists. Three innocent Jewish boys were murdered which resulted in the murder of an innocent Palestinian Muslim boy, and from that point on, the race to see which side could murder more innocent people began.

I understand that Hamas and its affiliates have been sending rockets into Israel. It is clear that Israelis can not accept a world in which rockets zoom over their skies. BUT, it is also clear that Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been seeking an excuse to invade Gaza, and blast away. Does one evil equal the other? Who cares? Palestinians have been seeking for years to get Israel to halt West Bank settlements. If President Abbas had been empowered to create an independent Palestinian state, the current war in Gaza may or may not have been. Certainly halting West Bank settlements is not the end of the world for Israel. The people of Israel-Jews and Muslims and Christians have been engaged in war for half a century.

The latest count is 700 dead Gazans including children murdered while in a UN school. 29 Jewish soldiers are dead. Peace and the end of violence not only impacts Jews in Israel, it also impacts Muslims in Gaza or the West Bank. It is now time for peace.

Step One: End further West Bank settlements and get down to the issue of how other issues can be resolved.

Israel -Hamas Redeux

During the past few weeks a few million words have been written regarding the current crisis in the Middle East. There are times when words are a weapon of war, unfortunately at this moment, actual weapons of war are in action. The entire issue of conflict between Israel and Middle Eastern nation has been on the world’s agenda for over sixty years. Yes, there have been a few examples of peace such as the agreement between Egypt and Israel or the agreement between Israel and Jordan, but the winds of war continue to blow. There IS a Palestinian government led by President Mahmoud Abbas, and he DOES desire peace between Palestinians and Israel. If we take a step back from the current slaughter of people in Gaza and ask: how did this war get started,? we are left with a degree of uncertainty. Or, are we left with a sense that both Hamas and Israel literally needs a conflict?

Let me make clear there are no innocent parties in this conflict. Hamas leaders are besides themselves with joy as thousands of Gazans are wounded and hundreds are killed. The more innocent people die in Gaza, the more Hamas leaders can seek more money, more support, and more arms from outside groups. The leaders of Hamas are trapped in a vicious cycle of war and death. They lack any political plan for the future of Palestinians other than war and death. If war halted tomorrow in Gaza, what would Hamas leaders do? The answer is simple-build new tunnels!

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also lacks a plan for the future other than build new settlements in the West Bank. Reality check: What if the Palestinian Authority unilaterally disbanded and told Israel that it is now in charge of all Palestinians? That would result in an Israel in which at least 30% of the population was Muslim or Christian. Since these groups have a higher birth rate it means by 2050, Jews are the minority in Israel. This IS REALITY. So, what is the response of Netanyahu-invade, kill, destroy tunnels. One Israel bomb hit a family of 25, at least 18 children died.

Eventually, fighting will cease. Death will take a temporary holiday. Eventually, hundreds of children will die. But, Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to refuse accepting reality. The ONLY hope for a peaceful Israel is negotiating with President Abbas. Negotiating requires COMPROMISE. And, in Israel that means desires of the state of Israel take precedence over the desires of West Bank settlers.

No Fly, No War?

The killings continue in Gaza as the Israel army continues its campaign to wipe out launching facilities that send rockets into Israel. A new twist on this story concerns decisions by most major airlines to cease any flights in or out of Israel. After all, if rockets are in the air, the last thing desired is to have planes up in the sky. One suspects this ban was never anticipated by those planing the invasion of Gaza. Then again, has the Israel government a plan to end death for its citizens that goes beyond the present moment in time? UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reflects the feelings of many nations in demanding that Israel halt its current attacks in Gaza. Each minute, each hour, each day, the number of deaths grows higher and higher.

Let me make clear, that every nation in the world has a right to respond to military attacks upon its soil. No nation has to sit idly by while rockets descend upon its people. The right to employ force against violence is NOT the issue. The issue, and it will continue to be the issue is: what is the future of Israel as a society? Is the goal seizure of the entire West Bank and removal of Palestinians from the area? Is so, then the current invasion of Gaza makes some sort of sense. BUT, if the issue is: how does the Israel government develop a policy which enables Palestinians to have their own government, then the invasion makes scant sense. Why? Because after the guns grow silent in Gaza, thousands of young Palestinians have only one dream– to revenge the deaths of family and friends. Perhaps, it takes a year, perhaps two years, but in the future there will be other rockets.

What then? Another invasion?

A Ukrainian Dialogue

We offer a dialogue that readily could have taken place in eastern regions of Ukraine. This is an alleged dialogue between the author of this blog and a Ukrainian separatist.

M: I gather your group had nothing to do with that missile?

S: We simply want to separate from the Fascists in Kiev.

3: Why do you call them “fascists?”

S: Let me point out: these Fascist leaders are in Kiev, they do not like to speak Russian, and everyone knows that Ukrainians are Fascists.

M: What do you mean by, “Fascist?”

S: I mean anyone who lives in Fascist Ukraine is a Fascist and they want to kill loyal Russians as they did in WWII!

M: But, Ukraine fascists in WWII were found in just about every region of the Ukraine.

S: But, it was the Russian army which drove out the Fascists. And, today, it is the Russian government which opposes the Fascists in Kiev, so that should make clear who are the Fascists.

M: But, what about those photos showing BUK missile launchers going through a village in eastern Ukraine?

S: In reality, the photo was changed from going through the streets of Kiev,which is controlled by the Fascists, and shifted to a site in eastern Ukraine.

M Are you saying that no missile was fired?

S: All I am saying is that IF a missile was launched, it could only have come from the Fascists!