For Love of Country: Bloomberg’s Peer Review of Trump—by Ayala Emmett

Reviewing Trump
Reviewing Trump

Michael Bloomberg spoke last night at the Democratic National Convention about patriotism, leadership, and hope and found Donald Trump failing in all categories.

Bloomberg’s message was one of several eloquent, compelling, and significant speeches, each deserving attention and admiration.

I single out Bloomberg because he offered what few could, a peer review of Trump.

Bloomberg, who by all accounts is far wealthier than Trump, did not speak about his own fortune; instead he reminded Trump of the riches of the American legacy. Bloomberg called on the American Framers to spell out the nation priorities, “When the Founding Fathers arrived here in Philadelphia to forge a new nation, they didn’t come as Democrats or Republicans, or to nominate a presidential candidate. They came as patriots who feared party politics.”

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Vigilante Justice and Mob Violence—by Ayala Emmett

Crowd turns Mob
Crowd turns Mob

Since Monday, the Republican National Convention has featured a historic spectacle of vigilante justice.

In a mere two days it has demonstrated how in an instant an ordinary crowd could become an ugly screaming mob. Each day of the convention has been punctuated by mostly law-abiding and mostly nice people morphing into a mob screaming with hatred and glee, “jail Hillary.”

A Former Prosecutor
A Former Prosecutor

Whatever people may think of Hillary Clinton’s use of email, last night’s mob at the convention didn’t sound like the Law and Order slogan the Republicans keep claiming as their property. The convention sounded more like the French mob screaming outside the Dreyfus trial, like the mobs that attacked Jews in pogroms in Europe and like the historic mobs breaking into prisons to lynch black Americans.

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Did the Color of His Skin Kill Philando Castile? How not to talk about racism*- by Barbara J. Fields & Karen E. Fields

Outside the Minnesota Governor's Mansion in St Paul following the killing of Philando Castile. Fibonacci Blue / Flickr
Outside the Minnesota Governor’s Mansion in St Paul following the
killing of Philando Castile. Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

This time it was President Barack Obama who used the formula “because of the color of their skin,” after a police officer killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop for a broken taillight: “When incidents like this occur, there’s a big chunk of our citizenry that feels as if, because of the color of their skin, they are not being
treated the same.”

He was not the first and will not be the last to cast matters in that topsy-turvy way. Martin Luther King Jr’s reference to “the color of their skin” in his “I Have a Dream” speech has normalized the formula in Americans’ ears, though King probably considered it a reductio ad absurdum rather than an explanation.

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Courage Comes After Mourning—by Ayala Emmett

Grief and Mourning
Grief and Mourning

Our 4th of July flags were still flying high when seven people died leaving behind bereaved parents, children, relatives and friends. Families and friends from now on will have to celebrate births, confirmations, graduations, and marriages with tears, memories, and pictures.

The chronology of the tragic events took place in front of our eyes. In real time we saw Alton Sterling a black man shot and killed while pinned down on the ground by police officers in Baton Rouge America. On the scene was Muflahi the owner of the convenient store who kept repeating, “It was a nightmare,” contradicting the police version, “there was no altercation,” he said.

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Law and Order—by Peter Eisenstadt

26 Nov 2014, London, England, UK --- London, United Kingdom. 26th November 2014 -- People hold candles, posters and placards at the candlelit vigil for Michael Brown, calling for justice and stressing that 'Black Lives Matter'. -- Over a thousand people, angry at the decision not to charge Darren Wilson with murder, attended a candlelit vigil at the US Embassy calling for justice and an end to the racism that allows police in the US and UK to shoot black people. --- Image by © Peter Marshall/Demotix/Corbis
Image by © Peter Marshall/Demotix/Corbis

First, the good news: Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton today, to the discomfiture of some diehard Bernie or Busters, and the gratified relief of everyone who wants to see Donald Trump defeated in November. Extended political campaigns tend to bruise feelings, and this was no exception, but the Dems will be united, behind a strong platform (wish it could have mentioned the occupation, however) and should be well positioned to win, with the backing of liberals and progressives, whites, blacks, Latinos, and Asians, and everyone who is serious about not wanting Donald Trump as the next president of the United States.

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The Train Left the Station—by Jonathan Adereth

Jonathan AderethOn the eve of Israel’s last election, we strongly believed that in order to ensure the future of the state as Jewish and democratic we must change the regime.

We had known that a new coalition with Netanyahu at the helm would not be able to achieve a separation from the Palestinians and a two-states agreement.

To bring about political change we forged a number of alliances to win in the voting booth, but we failed to bring about change and the results of the election confirmed our worst fears.

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The Pulse of America—by Ayala Emmett

images-102Joy turned into mourning
A celebration became a funeral procession.
Gone are you beautiful people
Life interrupted in the spring of your time.

The Pulse was a place for America-
All are created equal with unalienable rights
To life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness:
To hold hands in broad daylight,
To love and to cherish at weddings.

In the Pulse last week
A murderer was among you
And you didn’t know.

Life-Shattering Shots
And the breath of life left forty-nine
People created in the Image of God.

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What Is the Paris Middle East Conference All About?—By Yonathan Shapir

Ayrault and KerryMany politically minded people are asking, “what is the upcoming Friday Paris Conference good for?” In the face of Israel’s total rejection, tepid US participation, and an anticipated plain declaration many wonder why go through all the trouble of having a conference.

The French initiative is essentially about delivering a very simple message: the West Bank future is not an internal Israeli matter; rather it is of great concern to the International Community. Thus, it is prepared to intervene, actively if necessary. No wonder that PM Netanyahu is so forcefully opposed to this initiative. He clearly understands that this is the beginning of a process over which, ultimately, he might have no control.

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A Friendship Remembered—by Ayala Emmett*

IMG_0587Today May 23, is a beautiful spring day that B.J. would have loved, blue skies, sunny and warm.  It is today on her birthday that I feel B.J.’s absent presence in the space where friendship is of the essence.

We were introduced two years ago on a Friday night as we both leaned carefully on a counter loaded with Sabbath food and B.J. spoke Hebrew to me immediately right there, in the kitchen.

The rich aroma of spices filled the air, and somehow we skipped the formal conversation of people who have just met. We talked about writing. She wrote, I found out, mostly creative non-fiction and poetry was not her favorite genre. She was about to publish her memoir.

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The Clinton/Sanders Conundrum—by Peter Eisenstadt


What should the Dems do? Should Sanders fight until the convention? Should he graciously concede if he has no chance of winning the nomination? How and in what form should Clinton reach out to Sanders and his supporters? These are some of the most pressing issues of the day.

I raise these issues because recently some of the friends of The Jewish Pluralist have complained that there is a pro-Clinton bias in our coverage in the US elections. They’re correct, just as there has been a consistent anti-Netanyahu “bias” in our coverage of Israeli politics.   The two American editors, Ayala and myself, both supported Clinton in the primaries.   This is accidental. It just happened that both of us, independently, and without consultation, after carefully looking at the alternatives, decided to back Hillary Clinton in the primaries. I won’t speak for Ayala, I did so because, tactically, I believed and still believe that she has the best chance of winning in November.

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