May 2021

The Confusion Of American Jews

I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was the fall of 1966.

I was a new freshman at Duke University. I had taken my first trip below the Mason-Dixon line to get there and was adjusting to the food (hush puppies and Brunswick stew), clothes (alpaca sweaters and tassel loafers), and language (drawls and y’alls). I was also adjusting to being one of the only Jews on campus.

Opposing The Riot Commission

Thirty-five Republican members of the House of Representatives voted against the wishes of the party leadership and approved the formation of an independent commission to investigate the origins of the January 6 insurrectionist riot on Capitol Hill. Both Minority Leader McCarthy in the House and Minority Leader McConnell in the Senate oppose the formation of the commission claiming that there are enough investigations already on-going and that such a commission might interfere with the work of the Justice Department in bringing the perpetrators to justice. This is hogwash.


There is no such country. As such, there is no such thing as a Palestinian. What there are are Arabs living on land that used to be part of the British Protectorate of Palestine that encompassed what is now Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Palestine was segmented after the First World War and subsequently, an Arab state was created. Today that Arab state is known as Jordan. What the world refers to as Palestinians are those Arabs left in the non-Jordan, non-Israel parts of what used to be British Palestine.

Leaving Afghanistan

Is America the beacon of world order or not? If not, then leaving Afghanistan on September 11, 2021, twenty years to the day after the events that got us there in the first place, may be not particularly troubling. But if you believe that there is evil in the world and one of the goals and strengths of the United States is trying to make the world a less evil place, perhaps retreating from Afghanistan now is not a great idea.

Sheikh Jarrah

It’s a neighborhood in East Jerusalem in which Palestinian families live. It is land that was occupied by people who are now Israelis before 1948—before Israel was. Some of these Jews want the Arab occupied land back now and the government of Israel and its courts have deferred making a decision about who gets to live there. During the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, violence has broken out yet again at the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount and has spread to street fighting in mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhoods (e.g., Lod).

Ignorance Or Mistrust?

In his column in The New York Times on May 7, David Brooks makes the case that the failure of the United States to achieve herd immunity from the novel coronavirus despite having more than enough vaccine for everyone and many places to get inoculated, bodes poorly for America’s ability to triumph in the world.

The America that emerged from the Great Depression and won the Second World War was a nation of sacrificers—people willing to do what’s best for their country, even if that meant crossing an ocean and dying. Are we that people any more? As Brooks says, “we’re not asking you to storm the beaches of Iwo Jima: we’re asking you to walk into a damn CVS.”

The Big Lie

As Tom Friedman points out on May 5 in The New York Times, the key requisite position for any Republican right now is that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen and that Donald Trump really won. As ludicrous as such a stand is, it is the one that must be taken if one is to run on the GOP ticket in 2022 and beyond. It will certainly be required in any Republican primary for any office from senator to dogcatcher.