Shabbat shalom! And a quick shout out this week to my globe trotting nieces, Natalie returning from another China trip, and Remi, on her way to Israel for a week before returning home from her semester in Italy. Life is Tov!
Here we are, two weeks or so away from an economic meltdown brought on by the MAGA nuts who will inflict global damage to the economy, our 401Ks and our power and prestige across the globe in order to get what they could never get legislatively. There is a pattern of behavior happening, not just in the US, but in many democracies, whereby a small minority uses the courts, locally and supremely, and other un-democratic means to impose their will on the majority. Sure, the left has been guilty of the same behavior over the past decades, but usually to advance the rights of the marginalized, not to destroy or take away rights. And Biden, who said he would never negotiate on the debt ceiling issue with the MAGA terrorists, is doing just that. No doubt they will end up compromising on something, but this MAGA version of political Russian Roulette is just one more example of extremism doing damage to our country. Tic, tic, tic, tic…..boom?
The same kind of extremism is playing out in Israel – just replace MAGA with Haredim. Israel needs to approve a budget by May 29 or the government automatically dissolves. The Haredim, which now make up over 13% of the population, are in the cat bird seat and are extracting billions in shekels from Bibi’s coalition using their leverage leading up to the deadline. There is mounting pressure in Israel to stop supporting the Haredim, who represent an idle class of Israeli citizens who are seeking exception to mandatory military service and who only study Torah, and therefore, for the most part, do not work or pay taxes. The Yeshivas where they learn, (many do not even teach core curriculum), are almost entirely dependent on tax support from the State. With their current level of population growth, the system is not sustainable and creating political havoc in a country already divided over proposed judicial reforms. We need to be respectful of the Haredim, and their honored place in Israeli society, but keeping them isolated and dependent on the State might have been ok when they were a tiny fraction of the population, but not when they are now over 13% of the population. Tic, tic, tic, tic……boom?
Schmuck of the Month – Dump your Tesla stock. As if we needed any more evidence that the Chief Twit is full of shit, Musk rolls out tweets and doubles down on the Soros conspiracy crap, which will only lead to further anti-semitic incidents and rants on his stupid social media platform. Take your blue check and shove it Elon. I recommend everyone un-subscribe to Twitter immediately, and do not buy a Tesla. The man is a brilliant engineer, and may have done more than Al Gore to save our planet, but what an a-hole. In a rambling interview with CNBC on Tuesday, punctuated with more awkward moments of silence and more bull shit than a steaming pile of poo emojis, Musk defended his anti-Soros tweets with, “That’s my opinion” and “freedom of speech.” Freedom of speech my ass. When Turkey asked Twitter to throttle the free speech of dissidents before this month’s election, Musk obliged. When India asked Twitter to censor a BBC doc critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Musk obliged. The journalists blocked by Musk for writing negative stories might as well time travel to the old Soviet Union. I like how one Canadian journalist put it, “This is now the albatross around his neck. The dumbest genius alive is coming across as a raving hypocrite with the media literacy of a North Korean tween. Musk’s priorities are baffling. Instead of perfecting autonomous vehicles or colonizing Mars, this disrupter with the DNA of a scatological troll is wasting his precious time on Twitter to score cheap retweets and likes from his global army of red-pilled fans? It’s as if Michael Jordan, in his prime, quit basketball for graffiti.” Nuf said. Rant over.
- Lipstadt to Musk: Stop invoking antisemitic tropes: “You can criticize George Soros” for his economic and political positions, the antisemitism czar Deborah E. Lipstadt said Wednesday. “But when you turn him into the Rothschild of the 21st century, then you’re engaging in antisemitism.” Referring to Elon Musk’s recent Tweets comparing Soros to a Marvel character, she added: “When you turn him into this villainous character, which has antisemitic overtures, you’ve crossed the line.” Read the story ➤ 🤦 A day after comparing George Soros, the billionaire Holocaust survivor, to a mutant villain from the X-Men franchise, Elon Musk took aim at the Anti-Defamation League Tuesday afternoon. “ADL should just drop the ‘A,’” Musk said on Twitter. Several white supremacists’ accounts praised the post. (JTA)
- 😲 On the other hand – The Israeli minister in charge of fighting antisemitism says Elon Musk is “an amazing entrepreneur and a role model.” The comments come amid widespread criticism of Musk’s tweets about George Soros as antisemitic. Israel’s foreign minister disavowed his ministry’s condemnation of Elon Musk for saying progressive Jewish megadonor George Soros “hates humanity.” Now, a second Israeli minister — this time the one in charge of the government’s efforts to combat antisemitism — has gone further in in defending Musk, whose Soros comments have been condemned by multiple Jewish watchdogs as antisemitic.(JTA)
- Montana the canary in the coal mine? I don’t know about you, but I won’t be “Moving to Montana Soon” as Frank Zappa’s weird song famously called out (“gonna be a dental floss tycoon”). Not only did the state recently pass one of the most stringent anti-abortion laws, but they also un-invited Rabbi Stafman from delivering the invocation before the legislative session and replaced him with a Christian, without the courtesy of an explanation. Some of those upset over the cancellation of Rabbi Stafman’s invocation noted that this year’s legislative session — the body meets for 90 days every other year — was particularly acrimonious. Leadership, dominated by conservative Christian Republicans, had seemed to grow increasingly hostile to Democrats like Stafman and others who pushed back on an agenda that included bills to ban abortion and limit the rights of trans and other queer people. “There’s still no explanation. They’ve just left everyone hanging at a time of rising antisemitism,” said Rabbi Mark Kula of Congregation Beth Aaron in Billings and a leader of the Jewish community at the University of Montana. “The legislature is very single-minded right now. It’s focused on a white, male, Christian agenda.” Click here for more.
- 📜 An 1,100-year-old Hebrew Bible sold for $38.1 million at a Sotheby’s auction Wednesday, becoming the most expensive book ever sold. Known as the Codex Sassoon, it was bought by the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv through a donation from Alfred Moses, a former U.S. ambassador to Romania. (JTA, Getty photo)
- 🐶 A stray puppy was found in Missouri with swastikas drawn all over its body.A local shelter posted to Facebook that it cleaned up the dog, who is three months old and now staying with a foster family. “She is heading for the tub to scrub-a-dub-dub all of this hate off,” the post said. “Only love here.” (NY Post)
- Shocked about Rudy Giuliani’s attack on Passover? Don’t be: Dov Hikind, a former Brooklyn assemblyman and ally of the former mayor, said he was “not at all surprised” when he read the comments alleged in a lawsuit filed Monday by a former staffer who also accuses Giuliani of sexual abuse and harassment. “He was a great friend of the Jewish community,” Hikind said, “but sometimes when you rub a little bit on certain people, things come out.” The Forward political reporter, Jacob Kornbluh, dug through four decades of Giuliani and the Jews – including that time when, as a prosecutor, his office reportedly forced a Holocaust survivor to face a blackboard with the words Arbeit Macht Frei — German for “work will set you free” and what was on the gate to Auschwitz. Read the story ➤
- ‘Bridgerton’ mastermind and ‘Queen Charlotte’ author also makes a mean matzo ball soup – There weren’t a lot of Jewish aristocrats in the Regency era, but that doesn’t keep Julia Quinn from drawing on her personal history. There’s something about the Bridgerton family that reminds Julia Quinn of her own. Or should we say, the characters she created remind Julie Pottinger (born Cotler) — the author best known by her pen name and the initials JQ — of her animated and affectionate Jewish family. “I come from a family of very loud, talkative people. Not to stereotype anybody, but we’re pretty typical that way,” Quinn told The Forward in a recent Zoom interview. She’d woken up to wonky internet that day, so she was speaking from her mother’s house five blocks away from her own in Seattle. “Nobody believes me when I tell them I’m the quiet one in the family — because I’m not quiet,” she said. But “it’s very difficult to get a word in edgewise when my family is together.” Sound familiar? Read the story
Enough already! Enjoy the weekend everyone! And hey, let’s all remember to be careful out there.