Evils of Feminism

Sarah Palin Sues The New York Times

 

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has sued The New York Times over an editorial she alleges defamed her by tying her to the 2011 shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, then a Democratic representative from Arizona.

Palin filed the complaint over an editorial the Times published this month following the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) at a baseball game in Virginia. Titled “America’s Lethal Politics,” the piece initially linked activity by Palin’s political action committee to another shooting in Arizona in 2011 that killed six people and injured Giffords and a dozen others. That link was never established, and the Times issued a correction and apologized on Twitter for the error.

Palin’s suit alleges the initial editorial defamed her “by publishing a statement it knew to be false: that Mrs. Palin was responsible for inciting a mass shooting at a political event.”

We published an editorial last night on the shooting at the G.O.P. men’s baseball team practice field in Alexandria.

We got an important fact wrong, incorrectly linking political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Giffords. No link was ever established.

Following the editorial’s publication, Palin blasted the Times’ actions as “sickening” and said the “media is doing exactly what I said … should not be done.” She had earlier said she was exploring legal options.

“Despite commenting as graciously as I could on media coverage of yesterday’s shooting, alas, today a perversely biased media’s knee-jerk blame game is attempting to destroy innocent people with lies and more fake news,” she wrote on Facebook after the Virginia shooting. “As I said yesterday, I’d hoped the media had collectively matured since the last attack on a Representative when media coverage spewed blatant lies about who was to blame. There’s been no improvement. The NYT has gotten worse.”

The Times on Tuesday told CNN’s Dylan Byers it had not reviewed the suit, but said it would “defend against any claim vigorously.”

.@NYTimes spox tells me they have not reviewed @SarahPalinUSA’s claim yet “but will defend against any claim vigorously.” Full story to come https://twitter.com/jaketapper/status/879826108941774848 

Advertisements

Haley promises to block any appointment of Palestinian official to senior UN post

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley indicated she would block any appointment of a Palestinian official to a senior role at the UN because Washington “does not recognize Palestine” as an independent state.

Speaking on Tuesday before the House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, Haley was asked about the move by the US in February to oppose the appointment of former Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad to be the new world body envoy to Libya.

“Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the US, called Mr. Fayyad a peace partner,” Representative David Price (D-NC) was quoted by the Jewish Insider as saying during the hearing. “Was Mr. Fayyad denied simply because of his nationality? Would any Palestinian have been blocked? As you know, this isn’t a state representative.”

Haley said that while Fayyad was while Fayyad was “very well qualified and is a good, decent person,” the decision was based on the fact “that the US does not recognize Palestine… and because that is how he was presented, we did oppose that position.”

“If we don’t recognize Palestine as a state, we needed to acknowledge also that we could not sit there and put a Palestinian forward until the US changed its determination on that front,” she said.

Former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, seen here when still in office, heads a cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, April 16, 2013. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

Fayyad was prime minister of the Palestinian Authority from 2007 to 2013, and also served as finance minister twice. He had been tapped by UN chief Antonio Guterres to replace Martin Kobler of Germany, who has been the Libya envoy since November 2015.

Haley said in February that she did not “support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nations,” where the Palestinians do not have full membership.

Israel welcomed the move at the time, even though Fayyad is widely respected in Israel and abroad as a pragmatic and moderate Palestinian leader.

Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon hailed “the beginning of a new era at the UN,” less than a month after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump who had sharply criticized the UN for its anti-Israel bias and had vowed that “things owuld be different” once he is in office.

Trump and Haley also criticized the United Nations for adopting a resolution in December 2016 that demanded an end to Israeli settlement building. The resolution was allowed through after the administration of then US president Barack Obama chose not to use its veto power.

Haley too has vowed to back Israel at the UN, calling on the world body to stop its bias. She’s said that there was now a new era at the UN and that “the days of Israel bashing are over.”

Bernie Sanders and his wife hire lawyers as FBI probes fraud in her $10M loan

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane, have hired attorneys in the FBI investigation of Jane Sanders’ alleged bank fraud sought originally by the Trump campaign in Vermont.

In 2010, Jane Sanders obtained a loan of $10 million to expand Burlington College while she was its president. According to Politico, Jane Sanders is being accused of having “falsified and inflated nearly $2 million that she’d claimed donors had pledged to repay the loans.”

In January 2016, the U.S. attorney for Vermont received a Request for an Investigation into Apparent Federal Bank Fraud from Brady Toensing, chairman for the Trump campaign in Vermont. The four-page letter included six exhibits and two documents detailing how Jane Sanders managed the purchase of 33 acres of land for the college.

Prosecutors are also speculating whether Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., used his political position to urge the People’s United Bank to approve the loan. Sanders himself is not under FBI investigation, according to the Washington Post.

The financial difficulties in trying to repay the loan forced the college’s closing in 2006.

Bernie Sanders has called the investigation “nonsense,” but the couple did bring in Rich Cassidy, a well-connected Burlington attorney and Sanders supporter, and Larry Robbins, a Washington-based defense attorney who has represented high-profile political clients such as I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, to represent Jane Sanders in the matter, Politico reported.

Once the federal investigation is concluded, the Justice Department must decide whether or not to bring charges. Vermont currently has no U.S. attorney, as Trump demanded the resignation of most of the country’s federal prosecutors in March, saying it was necessary for a “uniform transition,” according to The New York Times. A replacement has not yet been nominated.

The allegations did not gain major traction as Sanders was gaining influence on the campaign trail. Sanders, the first Jewish candidate to win a U.S. presidential primary, lost to Hillary Clinton in his upset bid to gain the Democratic nomination. Clinton went on to lose to Donald Trump in November.

“This was a story that just, amazingly enough, came out in the middle of my presidential campaign, initiated by Donald Trump’s campaign manager in Vermont,” Bernie Sanders told the Washington Post on Saturday night between rallies in Pennsylvania and Ohio aimed at defeating the Republicans’ health care bill.

A Jewish American who immigrated to Israel asks why refugees can’t

http://www.timesofisrael.com/a-jewish-american-who-immigrated-to-israel-asks-why-refugees-cant/

 

Journalist and author of 'The Unchosen,' Mya Guarnieri Jaradat. (Courtesy)

 

When Mya Guarnieri Jaradat arrived in Israel 10 years ago from the United States, she was supposed to have come on a one-year trip to complete her master’s thesis. Like so many others, she prolonged her stay. But what made her expatriation in the Jewish state unique were the motivations behind it.

There were two issues that caused her to prolong her initial educational and cultural sojourn: a love of Hebrew and commitment to learning it fluently, and the desire to work with the state’s marginalized communities in south Tel Aviv.

Jaradat began her work primarily with migrant workers from southeast Asian countries such as Thailand or the Philippines, as well as African asylum seekers from countries including Eritrea and South Sudan. Her initial observation was that there was massive poverty among these communities. But Jaradat also began to witness how most of the people she spoke with also had few legal, civic or labor rights.

What started off as volunteer work soon transitioned into journalism, which led Jaradat on the path to eventually becoming an Israeli citizen.

“As soon as I took on Israeli citizenship, I felt a strong sense of responsibility for what the Jewish state was doing in my name,” says Jaradat.

African asylum seekers protest on on January 26, 2017 near Jerusalem's Supreme Court against the new 'Rwanda or Saharonim' policy of the Israeli government. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Jaradat has continued working as a journalist, covering Israel, the West Bank and Gaza in a wide host of publications around the globe, including The Nation, The New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC, the far-left Israeli blog +972, and Al Jazeera.

The outspoken Jewish-American reporter claims that Israel’s policy on migrant workers and asylum seekers is shaped by what she calls a paradoxical double-sided contradiction “to maintain a particular demographic balance necessary for the state to be both ‘Jewish and democratic.’”

'The Unchosen.' (Courtesy)

“What you see in Israel is this attempt to uphold hegemony of a particular group,” Jaradat says from her home in Florida, where she is currently based.

“And so if you are not in that group — if you are not Jewish — then the state is going to be in conflict with you on some level, ” she adds.

This topic is the main theme of “The Unchosen: The Lives of Israel’s New Others,” which Jaradat recently published via the self-described “radical” Pluto Press, in both the US and the UK.

Avoiding jargon and academic theory on the subject, the book focuses instead on giving voices to the migrants and asylum seekers themselves through in-depth interviews that take the reader into a seldom-seen world — one even most Israelis don’t know exists.

She visits, for instance, overcrowded black-market kindergartens in south Tel Aviv, where she describes how toddlers are left crying for hours on their own in unhygienic conditions. In another chapter we get descriptions of middle-of-the-night raids by Israeli immigration police — whom she accuses of intimidating members of the Filipino community — to deport them with quick succession.

A Tel Aviv kindergarten used by children of migrants and foreign workers suffered damage from a Molotov cocktail Friday (photo credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Jaradat says a recent reading of Israeli history is required to understand why the state — in regard to both African asylum seekers and migrant workers — currently operates the labor and migration policies it does.

Primarily, she says, this issue ties in with the fate of the Palestinians.

Palestinians once constituted nearly 10 percent of the Israeli work force. When the First Intifada began in 1987, for example, almost half of Israel’s construction workers were Palestinian, as were 45% of agricultural laborers. But with increased distrust between the two peoples in the aftermath of the intifada, the 1990s saw Israel make a transition to foreign workers instead.

Palestinians laboPalestinian laborers ride a Palestinian-only bus en route to the West Bank from working in Tel Aviv area, Israel, Monday, March 4, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Ariel Schalitrers ride a Palestinian-only bus on route to the West Bank from working in Tel Aviv area, Israel, Monday, March 4, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Ariel Schalit)

“Israel was once dependent on Palestinian day laborers,” Jaradat says.

As Israel implemented and tightened movement restrictions on Palestinians, it needed to find a group to substitute for these people that were crucial to different sectors of the economy. So the state began to bring migrant workers to replace Palestinians, claims Jaradat.

“With a large pool of inexpensive laborers in the country, Israel doesn’t need Palestinian day laborers anymore. The state can effectively lock the Palestinians behind the wall without feeling the economic consequences they would have felt when they were dependent on Palestinian day laborers, before they had migrant workers,” she says.

Chinese foreign workers cook in a Tel Aviv restaurant, 2008. (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

“Now, there are no economic consequences to shutting Palestinians out and, further, granting work permits to Palestinians can function as a reward — a carrot and stick, if you will — rather than as something crucial that meets the Israeli need for laborers,” Jaradat adds.

Jaradat says it’s also worth noting that “it’s easier for a Palestinian day laborer to obtain a permit to work in a settlement than it is inside of Israel proper, so the presence of migrant workers inside the Green Line helped the state channel the Palestinian day laborers towards the settlements.”

Palestinian laborers work at a construction site in a new housing project in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem, February 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

The journalist claims the treatment of asylum seekers also bears a resemblance to that experienced by Palestinians — notably in subjecting both groups to detention without trial.

“I guess [one of the main concerns of this book] is about that contradiction between trying to maintain a certain demographic and being democratic at the same time,” says Jaradat.

‘This isn’t exclusive to Israel, but I’m using Israel as a case study’

“This isn’t exclusive to Israel,” Jaradat says. “But I’m using Israel as a case study of what happens when a nation is trying to uphold hegemony of a particular group. Looking at those two groups [migrant workers and African asylum seekers] is a way of getting at the question: Can the state maintain hegemony of a certain group and be democratic at the same time?”

And with regards to possible security concerns influencing Israel’s policy towards migrant workers and African asylum seekers, Jaradat claims “ there are none.”

“The state’s concern is about maintaining Jewish demographic and cultural hegemony,” she insists.

Jaradat’s book also spends a chapter looking at how loose labor laws in the Knesset are inextricably linked to a culture of companies — across Israel — making an easy buck.

A spectrum of Israeli society including Israelis, refugees, and migrant workers, stand at a bus stop in South Tel Aviv. May 12 2011. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/Flash90)

The journalist points out, for instance, that while Israel’s treatment of non-Jews is rooted primarily in demographic concerns, there are business interests representing the construction and agricultural sectors that affects public policy on this issue, too. Israeli manpower agencies have huge sway especially, Jaradat says.

“The workers pay a fee to the manpower agencies,” she explains. “And therefore a worker who stays on in the state and who doesn’t change jobs isn’t going to pay a fee. So it’s more profitable for the manpower agency to be always bringing in new workers.”

These agencies have aggressively lobbied for the Israeli government to set higher quotas of migrant workers, using bribes to officials in key ministries as one major means of achieving this, Jaradat claims.

Referencing a term used by anthropologist Barak Kalir, who has also written on labor migration in Israel, Jaradat refers to what is known as “the revolving door.” The Israeli government brings in new workers with one hand, and deports existing and older workers with the other.

The two big winners here are the state and the manpower agencies. The state doesn’t have to worry about legislating new laws on migration, and the manpower agencies make huge profits in return.

“Where this issue gets really interesting is when you bring the asylum seekers into that conversation,” Jaradat says. “Because here is a group of people — currently 40,000 in Israel — who cannot be deported legally.”

‘Where this issue gets really interesting is when you bring the asylum seekers into that conversation’

A lot of these asylum seekers are not willing to voluntarily repatriate because they cannot go back to their home countries, says Jaradat.

“These African asylum seekers are stuck in this legal limbo, so why not give a job to them rather than bringing in workers from overseas? That’s where you see the role that profit plays in all of this,” she says.

The reason that both asylum seekers and migrant workers are being exploited so consistently by both the Israeli state and by private business groups, is primarily because there is no legislation protecting them, Jaradat says.

Any laws that do deal with migration in Israel, she says, are “centered on privileging Jewish immigration, while stopping other groups from coming into the country.”

African refugees sit behind a border fence after they attempted to cross illegally from Egypt into Israel as Israeli soldiers stand guard near the border with Egypt, in southern Israel, on September 4, 2012. (photo credit: AP/Ariel Schalit, File)

The journalist cites two examples. One is the Law of Return, passed in 1950, which ensures that any Jew in the world has the right to return and live in Israel as an oleh, a new immigrant. The second is the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law — a temporary law passed in 2003, and amended several times since — which prohibits, among other ethnic groups and nationalities, the granting of any residency or citizenship status to Palestinians from over the Green Line who are married to Israeli citizens or permanent residents.

“Israel cannot pretend that non-Jews don’t exist, and that they won’t come to the country,” says Jaradat.

“It’s not sustainable to bring migrant workers, then to open one-time windows to their children while deporting some and naturalizing others. Israel needs to deal with this issue in a more humane and practical way,” she adds.

Asylum seeker Jacob Barry seen together with other representatives of the African refugee debate, seen at a discussion regarding the Immigration Authority policy towards asylum seekers and the impact on the business sector, at a meeting of the Committee on Foreign Workers, in the Israeli parliament on January 15, 2014 (photo credit: Flash90)

Another way that Israel has tried to legally deal with the issue of migrants and asylum seekers is through a government initiative called voluntary departure. This is a voluntary scheme which encourages mainly Eritreans and Sudanese asylum seekers from Israel to head to other so-called “third countries.”

Jaradat points out that many of these voluntary departures — where the Israeli government sometimes offers a cash incentive of $3,500 up front — have resulted in African asylum seekers ending up in countries like Uganda, Rwanda and Libya. Often facing considerable risk and danger.

‘I take issue with the term voluntary departure… you can either go to jail, or back to a third country’

“I take issue with the term ‘voluntary departure,’” says Jaradat. “What is really happening is that you are in a state that is depriving you of your rights and that is keeping you in legal limbo. So the state says, you can either go to jail, or we will send you back to a third country.”

“I think when Israel began deporting South Sudanese citizens, they were trying to make an example of this group and using it as a threat to the other groups, saying, ‘You have two choices: you can deport yourself voluntarily, and take the little cash incentive. Or, we are just going to deport you anyway.’ So that naturally put pressure on other groups watching the South Sundanese being deported,” Jaradat says.

While most of her book focuses almost exclusively on the rights of migrant workers and asylum seekers, the narrative is a personal journey of sorts, too — Jaradat fell in love and married a Palestinian man while living in Israel.

Illustrative: a social experiment in which actors dressed up as a Jewish/Muslim couple. (YouTube screen cap)

The journalist says Israel’s varied political and social policies, and attitudes towards Arabs — on both sides of the Green Line — in general, eventually led her and her husband to leave the country. Both chose to settle in the United States instead, where they currently reside.

“I do feel there is something incorrect about having to get married outside of Israel. My husband is a native, an indigenous Palestinian,” says Jaradat, “and according to the State of Israel, I am a returnee.”

“We had to leave Israel to live together. He is a native of the land. And then there is me who is supposed to have all of this privilege under the Jewish state,” she says.

“Well, if you step out of line and marry a non-Jew, there goes your privilege,” she says.

Saudi Arabia, Waging War in Yemen, Gives It $66.7 Million in Cholera Relief (LOL….)

The newly elevated crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who as defense minister has led the country’s bombing and blockades of Yemen, showed his charitable side on Friday with a $66.7 million donation to fight the cholera outbreak in that country.

The donation authorized by the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was announced by the ruling family’s charity, the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid, which said the money would go to Unicef and the World Health Organization in response to their urgent pleas.

Accounts in the state-guided Saudi news media said “the donation is an initiative of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and accelerates the Kingdom’s substantial humanitarian efforts in Yemen.”

In a statement, Unicef said that it welcomed the infusion of Saudi money and that “we look forward to discussing this contribution” with the kingdom’s royal charity.

Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman for the World Health Organization, said in an email: “W.H.O. welcomes all offers of support that would alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people. As with all funding we receive, these funds will be used in line with the humanitarian principles of neutrality, humanity and independence.”

The donation was among the first prominent actions of the crown prince, the 31-year-old son of King Salman, since he was abruptly promoted to first in the line of succession on Wednesday, bypassing his older rival, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and upending decades of royal custom.

It was unclear whether the money was a direct donation from the personal fortune of the crown prince, who like other members of the royal family is enormously wealthy. But $66.7 million would not necessarily be considered an onerous sum for the crown prince, who as deputy crown prince spent $550 million in 2015 to buy a yacht from a Russian vodka tycoon.

Unicef and other humanitarian groups have expressed growing alarm about the rapid spread of cholera in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, where the health care system has collapsed because of the war. A Saudi-led coalition began bombing the country more than two years ago after Yemen’s Houthi rebels seized the capital and evicted the Saudi-backed government.

The bombing campaign, which Crown Prince Mohammed has overseen as defense minister, has made only limited progress.

At the same time, the Saudis have faced growing criticism from human rights groups, which have accused them of indiscriminate bombings and air and sea blockades that have destroyed what is left of Yemen’s economy and worsened the humanitarian disaster there.

As many as 300,000 Yemenis could be infected with cholera in the coming weeks, half of them children, Unicef officials have said. Since the outbreak was declared two months ago, more than 1,265 people have died, Unicef’s resident representative in Yemen, Meritxell Relaño, told reporters in a conference call on Friday.

The Middle East regional director of Unicef, Geert Cappelaere, said last week that the agency had been so desperate to contain the cholera crisis in Yemen that it had taken the unusual step of paying the country’s doctors and nurses, who have not been paid in months.

Mr. Cappelaere said it was the worst cholera outbreak he had seen in Yemen and “just comes on top of what already was an incredibly daunting situation.”

Yemen is also facing a famine and a growing population of young children with severe malnutrition problems.

Cholera, once a common scourge of poor countries, is a bacterial disease spread by contaminated water that can cause fatal dehydration if left untreated.

Texas mom (White Idiot) left 2 toddlers in hot car to ‘teach them a lesson,’ police say

The mother of two children who died after being left in a hot car in May was arrested Friday afternoon.

Parker County Sheriff’s investigators arrested Cynthia Marie Randolph, 25, in connection with the death of her two children, a 16-month-old boy and a 2-year-old girl.

Police say she admitted she left her kids in the car to “teach them a lesson.”

CALIFORNIA BANS TRAVEL TO TEXAS OVER LGBT LAWS

Police were called to her home near Lake Weatherford on May 26 where Randolph told police she found her two kids unresponsive after being locked inside a vehicle. The incident was reported shortly after 4 p.m. when it was about 96 degrees.

Randolph initially said she was inside her home folding laundry and watching TV while her kids played in an enclosed back porch that was visible from the living room. She said about 20 to 30 minutes had passed when she realized her kids were “gone.”

Randolph told police she sent more than half an hour looking for her kids and later found them locked inside her car. She said the kids got in the car on their own and locked themselves in. Both kids were pronounced dead shortly after 4:30 p.m. She told police her kids were not in the car for more than an hour.

Throughout multiple interviews, police say Randolph changed her story several times about what lead to the death of her children.

Actress Marlee Matlin (Feminist Kike) teaches tolerance — and how to sign ‘Tel Aviv’ — during Israel tour

http://www.timesofisrael.com/actress-marlee-matlin-teaches-tolerance-and-how-to-sign-tel-aviv-during-israel-tour/

 

TEL AVIV – Actress Marlee Matlin lifted her hand beside her face in the shape of an “L” and tapped her fingers together a couple of times.

“That’s it?” a shocked reporter asked. “That’s so short.”

Matlin was giving the Israeli press a lesson in the Hebrew sign for Tel Aviv just days after arriving on her first trip ever to the Jewish state. The irony of the American teaching the Israelis wasn’t lost in translation, so to speak, but the lesson was also an example of just the kind of work the actress was in Israel to do.

Gliding around Sunday night’s venue in the Tel Aviv port where she received the Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion, Matlin stopped to snap photographs with fans, some of whom were in wheelchairs or held white canes. Sign language was as common among the hundreds of guests in attendance as spoken language.

The $100,000 prize, presented by the Ruderman Family Foundation, recognized her achievements in activism for people with disabilities — a cause she champions with distinction as the world’s only deaf Academy Award winning actor.

Matlin is the perfect advocate. Dripping a charisma not diluted a bit by her faithful sign language interpreter Jack Jason, who has been by her side for years, one walks away from an encounter with her with the feeling that she’s granted you a favor. And in a way, she has – if you had the impression that her deafness put her at any significant disadvantage, she’s given you a valuable learning experience.

‘I just never thought I can’t do things because I’m deaf’

“I just never thought I can’t do things because I’m deaf,” Matlin told The Times of Israel when asked about becoming an actress. “I just knew that I wanted to be in Hollywood. I wanted to be an actor just like everybody, everyone I saw in television or on the movie screen — I wanted to be just like them. But I didn’t let my deafness define me. I never let my deafness tell me that I couldn’t do it, I never let my deafness tell me otherwise.”

“I feel like in our society, entertainment is so powerful, and she’s the leading spokesperson on the issue. So for that reason she was a natural choice,” said the foundation’s president, Jay Ruderman.

Marlee Matlin, center, poses with Jay Ruderman, to her left, and others at the Ruderman Family Foundation award ceremony in Tel Aviv, June 18, 2017. (Yaakov Schwartz/Times of Israel)

“We recently did a white paper, and we found out that 95 percent of the disabled characters that you see on TV are played by able-bodied characters,” Ruderman said. “One of our short term goals is to get more people with disabilities on TV. A long-term goal is to reach a tipping point where there’s no more stigma, and people see others with disabilities as just people.”

‘Ninety-five percent of the disabled characters that you see on TV are played by able-bodied characters’

The event itself was a case in point, demonstrating how such a reality might look. Sipping wine and nibbling tapas on a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean’s crashing waves, the heterogeneous crowd chatted and laughed with nary an awkward sideways glance.

But unfortunately, the evening was in stark contrast to how people with disabilities are regularly treated in the outside world – one example of which the foundation was in the midst of dealing with during the event.

Recently, a 15-year-old Oregon boy who won a prestigious trip to the UN was informed he would not be going and had his prize revoked after his mother told the committee she would be accompanying him on the trip due to his autism. Upon learning that Niko Boskovic had autism, the UN program said that it was not equipped to handle his special needs. As of Sunday, after much negative publicity, the program seemed to reverse its decision.

Ruderman said that the reversal was due to widespread advocacy, with his organization and others taking to social media and writing the director general of the UN.

“I think advocacy works. I think when you point out injustice to people, things change. And that’s a lot of what the foundation is engaged in– trying to point out injustice,” he said.

‘People are automatically drawn to issues of injustice’

Ruderman explained that a majority of their work involves “rapid response” to contemporary cases of discrimination or when politicians speak in a derogatory manner about people with disabilities.

“We respond very quickly in the media with a press release and we get people to start thinking. We’ve had hundreds of other examples of this, and when you let them go silently, nothing changes. But when you speak out, and you organize the disability community to speak out, things begin to change,” he said.

During her first trip to Israel, Matlin has toured the country, meeting with other activists and people with disabilities across all sectors, including Israeli Arabs from Nazareth and representatives of Israel’s film industry. She was further scheduled to meet with over 300 people from Israel’s deaf community – in addition to trips to the Western Wall and the Knesset.

Marlee Matlin speaking to the press at an award ceremony in her honor in Tel Aviv, June 18, 2017. (Yaakov Schwartz/Times of Israel)

“The one thing, I think, about having Jewish values and a Jewish upbringing,” Matlin said, “is that whether you’re at temple or whatever, it’s always about how important it is to have inclusion regardless of whether somebody is able-bodied or not.

“I remember sitting in temple, my rabbi — who used sign language, I went to a temple for the deaf — my rabbi always said ‘Love thy neighbor, love people regardless of all abilities,’ and that always stuck with me. And so I’m fortunate to have a Jewish upbringing and Jewish values,” said Matlin.

“And to have been bat mitzvahed,” she said with a laugh, “just puts icing on the cake.”

For Israeli-Americans, Gal Gadot Is A Wonder Of Wonders

http://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/swonderful-the-gadot-effect/

 

Yonatan Gutfeld has an Israeli accent. Now that he’s singing for American audiences, Gutfeld — a Brooklyn-based, Israeli-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist — has been working hard to tone down the guttural articulation.

Or he had been, until Wonder Woman Gal Gadot came along, her Israeli accent speaking volumes. “She talks English without trying to sound American — she comes as she is,” Gutfeld observed. “It sounds so natural, so effortless, that it’s sexy.”

Gutfeld is not alone in experiencing what you might call the Gadot Effect.

“It sounds so natural, so effortless, that it’s sexy.”

Conversations with about a dozen Israeli-American actors, singers and communal leaders reveal that Gadot’s recent breakthrough is already making a small but real impact on the lives of Israeli-Americans, particularly those in show biz.

“In the circles I move in, it’s not always advantageous to identify as an Israeli,” Shira Averbuch, an Israeli-American stage actress and singer, told The Jewish Week. Averbuch, who grew up in both Israel and the U.S. and speaks both languages without an accent, normally doesn’t let on to fellow thespians that she’s an Israeli.

But now that Gadot put such a positive spotlight on Israeliness, Averbuch said, “maybe I feel a little more at ease.”

The blockbuster film — “Wonder Woman,” with Gadot as the warrior goddess, Krav Maga-kicking Diana, has grossed nearly $600 million in its first three weeks — is having an impact on Israeli-American communal life as well. The Israel American Council (IAC), the national umbrella organization for the country’s 500,000 or so Israeli Americans, is, not surprisingly, hopping on the Gal bandwagon with Wonder Woman-themed programming in the planning stages. In terms of Israeli-American pride and Israel’s often battered image, Gadot “is a gift from heaven,” said Shoham Nicolet, IAC’s co-founder and CEO, in a phone interview translated from Hebrew.

For Gutfeld as well, there’s been some divine intervention at play.

“Like A Baby Yet To be Named,” a musical play by Israeli-American educator Misha Shulman, directed by Michael Posnick and with scores composed and performed by Gutfeld, is one of Gutfeld’s first English-speaking gigs. During rehearsals, his Israeli accent — particularly his chronic mispronunciation of the word “God” — ruffled director Posnick so much that he initiated diction lessons.

“It’s like I can finally be myself.”

“So for two hours I sat there with all my attention going to saying ‘Gaawwd’ instead of ‘God,’” said Gutfeld, who is still not getting it right. But after seeing Gadot play Wonder Woman in full Sabra mode, accent and all, he began asking himself, “‘Why am I doing this?” People understand what I’m saying … they also understand that I’m not from here, that I’m an Israeli, and that this is how I talk. What’s so wrong with that?”

Recently, in a live show in Manhattan’s Lab/Shul, critics be damned, Gutfeld reverted to his Israeli natural dialect. He called the experience “liberating… It’s like I can finally be myself,” he said.

Israel reacted to Gadot’s new A-list status with a lovefest bordering on manic. A stories-tall “Wonder Woman” billboard with the words “Gal Gadot, we love you” emblazoned across it overlooks Tel Aviv’s main highway. Photos of the Azrieli Towers alight with the Hebrew message “We are proud of you, Gal Gadot, Our Wonder Woman” were circulated by news sites around the world; they were later reported by an Israeli news site to be fake, but the gesture lived on. The national fervor was fed when Lebanon and Tunisia banned the film over Gadot’s 2014 Facebook post supporting IDF soldiers in the Gaza war; Israelis rallied behind her in a truly rare show of unity.

Israel’s minister of transportation, Israel Katz, went so far as to name one of the quarrying machines digging Tel Aviv’s subway tunnels “Wonder Woman,” for being “groundbreaking.” Every American late-night talk show Gadot has been on has become Israeli primetime news; in Israeli cinemas, “Wonder Woman” audiences reportedly regularly break into cheers and tears.

Gadot’s popularity is breaking records in international markets as well. A web analysis published by the Israeli audience data company Taykey found that 95 percent of her online mentions were positive, with 4 percent neutral and only 1 percent negative — a rare public relations bonanza for Israel. That’s high on the positivity scale for any celebrity, and “unrivaled” for an Israeli.

Wonder Woman “has a distinctly Israeli fragrance to her.” – Dani Dayan

All this matters because Gadot’s Wonder Woman is not only played by an Israeli; as she is seamlessly merged with Gadot’s own Sabra persona, she is an Israeli. Headstrong, mouthy and guileless, Wonder Woman speaks English like an Israeli, argues like an Israeli, interacts with her mild-mannered American boyfriend like an Israeli and is bewildered like one by formal social niceties. Wonder Woman “has a distinctly Israeli fragrance to her,” said Dani Dayan, Israel’s consul general here. In a phone interview with The Jewish Week conducted in Hebrew and translated, he noted that “even when you watch her [Gadot] on TV, with Jimmy Fallon and what’s his name, the redhead — Conan O’Brien — her Israeliness is unmistakable. It’s just who she is.”

Gadot is a “testimony to the success of the Zionist revolution,” Dayan continued, a prime specimen of “a society of young, Israeli-born people who have the utter self-confidence of growing up in an independent, giving Jewish state … and the conviction to go out and challenge the world.” As for Lebanon and Tunisia, “in two words — who cares?” said Dayan, who is himself unmistakably Israeli.

Still, expecting “Wonder Woman” to make a dent in Israel’s image problem is taking things a step too far. “Israel is benefiting from Gadot’s acting career, but this isn’t a watershed moment,” Dayan qualified. “It’s nice, it’s something to be proud of — but it’s not a historical change for Israel.”

For Israeli-Americans, though, Gadot is huge. “I always say that the power of many outweighs the power of one,” the IAC’s Nicolet said. “In this case, Gal Gadot, without intending to and without putting in too much effort, managed to wield more influence and have a bigger impact than the entire organization.”

The experiences of Israeli-American actors and public speakers are good indicators of how the community might benefit from Wonder Woman being one of their own. But there are other things to consider too, Nicolet suggests. Part of the goal of the IAC “is to build an engaged and united Israeli-American community that strengthens the Israeli and Jewish identity.” One of the obstacles that has always stood in its way was the fact that the Israeli identity — that set of qualities which is so much a part of both Wonder Woman and Gadot, and “is exactly what defines and unites us as Israeli Americans” — is often seen here as a form of provinciality, if not outright callousness. Often, Israeli-Americans’ attempts to assimilate and “tone down” their Israeliness have resulted with them distancing themselves from their common essence, from each other and from Israel.

In this aspect, Nicolet surmised, “This movie is a gift to us. This character Gal Gadot is playing, with all her Israeli traits … she took what was perceived so far as a set of weaknesses and turned it into a set of strengths.”

Seizing on the moment, the IAC is planning a Wonder Woman-themed evening as the centerpiece of its upcoming annual national conference on Nov. 3. Showcasing Israeli-American “Wonder Women.” Potential speakers include violinist Miri Ben-Ari; Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz; co-founder of the online education platform Coursera, Daphne Koller and, of course, Gadot herself. All the invitees have yet to confirm.

Once the summer hiatus is over, Nicolet expects that “Super Woman”-themed activities will become an integral part of the organization’s programming. Also, he expects that adding Wonder Woman to the roster of influential Israeli-Americans will help push through a House of Representatives resolution, engineered by the IAC, to recognize Israeli-American heritage. Introduced in April by New York Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-Suffolk) and Grace Meng (D-Queens), the resolution would have the House affirm “that the Israeli-American community has contributed immensely to American society and culture.”

All of which leads to the question: Aren’t we making just a little bit too much of this “Wonder Woman” thing?

“We sure are,” Nicolet said gleefully. “But anytime something bad happens, anytime somebody says something bad, we overreact. When once in a blue moon something good happens, I say by all means, let’s exaggerate. Let’s take it all the way.”

Sarah Palin (White Slut, White Feminist, Zionist) reduced to running right-wing clickbait site where she writes about ‘hot’ alpha males

Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor who was once the Republican Party’s nominee to be vice president, has transformed her personal website into a shady right-wing clickbait site.

New York Magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi reports that SarahPalin.com is now a conservative content farm that features stories with headlines such as, “Alpha Males… Hot Hot Hot,” “Morning After Losing Georgia Election Democrats Receive FAR WORSE News,” and “EVIDENCE FOUND! Trump Was Right On Voter Fraud.”

Nuzzi explains that this kind of website is highly unusual for former politicians, and notes that the websites for ex-pols ranging from Mitt Romney to Joe Biden to Michele Bachmann all “are there to collect the email addresses of their supporters, information that may one day be harnessed to fundraise for a campaign.”

The website’s stories are typically aggregated from other conservative outlets such as the Daily Caller and Fox News that promote right-wing viewpoints, although it also features more shameless clickbait such as articles on celebrities who are “jerks in real life” and a drawing of what Nuzzi says “appears to be diseased feet.”

Although Palin herself initially wrote some of the stories herself — including the aforementioned article on “hot” alpha males — she has since taken a backseat to several 20-something staff writers who have worked at assorted right-wing publications in the past.

“They are appealing to the lowest common denominator of media consumer with no real editorial standards,” one person who works in the conservative media industry tells Nuzzi. “My guess is that her team believes that slapping her name on stories like this is an easy way to continue to have people reading her name, while also bringing in some money through programatic ad revenue.”

Democrats reel from another special-election loss, and some point fingers at Nancy Pelosi (White Feminist, Zionist)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/democrats-reel-from-another-special-election-loss-and-some-point-fingers-at-pelosi/2017/06/21/c2b7afbc-569d-11e7-b38e-35fd8e0c288f_story.html?utm_term=.e0dff1295ac5

 

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who unsuccessfully challenged Pelosi in House leadership elections held after the November election, said that even talented candidates cannot overcome “the toxicity of the national Democratic brand.”

“It makes it a heck of a lot harder,” he said of Pelosi’s prominent place in GOP ads. “That approach still has a little bit of punch to it. It still moves voters.”

Corry Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC that spent $7 million on the Georgia race, agreed.

“I don’t know what we’d do without Pelosi,” he said Wednesday. “I hope she never retires. Another Democratic leader would not start with that level of name recognition.”

Inside a House Democratic Caucus meeting Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill, Pelosi labeled the loss as “clearly a setback,” according to a person in the room who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting.

Pelosi noted that Trump selected his Cabinet appointees from “deep-red” Republican districts to guard against Democratic pickups. “But we gave them a run for their money,” she said, according to the source.

According to multiple attendees, Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, emphasized that the party’s candidates in the recent special elections have outperformed expectations and that Democrats have a real chance of retaking the majority — echoing the content of a lengthy memo the DCCC issued Wednesday.

“Let’s put this into context for our work ahead: there are somewhere between 94 and 71 districts more competitive depending on how you measure it,” Luján wrote in the memo. “We will take the many lessons learned from Georgia’s 6th District and apply them to the battlefield, which consists of many districts that are fundamentally far more competitive.”

But the now-familiar refrain of “close but no cigar” has worn on rank-and-file House Democrats who want to see concrete results.

“Look, we need to win. Everything else is bulls—,” said Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.), who led an independent examination of the House Democratic performance in 2016. “That’s all I’m going to say.”

Ryan said he wanted to hear more about the party’s efforts to hone an economic message and less about how close Democrats came to winning.

“I come out of the sports world, and it’s like, you either win or you lose, you know?” he said. “I am not pleased with a conversation going along the lines of, ‘Well, we had a moral victory.’ I don’t like moral victories. I like victories.”

Three Democratic leaders — Reps. Cheri Bustos (Ill.), David N. Cicilline (R.I.) and Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) — are in the midst of an effort to overhaul the party’s messaging in the wake of the 2016 election results, and Pelosi told colleagues Wednesday that the effort was accelerating.

“Attacking Trump is not enough,” a senior Democratic aide said late Tuesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly about strategy.

This aide played down the possibility of any immediate attempt to remove Pelosi but said that Tuesday’s result “doesn’t help her for the next cycle,” when she probably will face a strong challenge to her perch should Democrats fail to secure the House majority.

Despite the complaints, most of the open dissent came from Democrats who had already broken with Pelosi after the November elections. Even her doubters respect her ability to raise money and manage a fractious caucus, and she maintains a strong base of support within it.

“I don’t think people got up in the morning and said, ‘Boy, I’m going to make it though this rainstorm so I can vote against Nancy Pelosi,’ ” said Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), a close ally of the Democratic leader. “I don’t think that’s what motivates people. I really don’t.”

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said the GOP would have seized on any Democratic leader to tar one of the party’s candidates in a Republican-leaning district.

“Republicans have done the targeting of whoever is the Democratic leader from the days of Tip O’Neill, and since the speakership of Newt Gingrich, the politics of personal destruction has been a Republican hallmark,” he said. “This is what they do.”

“Obviously [Georgia’s 6th] is a deep-red district, and Republicans don’t get to pick who is the Democratic leader,” he added.

The other result Tuesday — in South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District, where Republican Ralph Norman defeated Democrat Archie Parnell by three points — generated a different kind of finger-pointing.

Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), the assistant House Democratic leader and the state’s most prominent Democratic politician, said Wednesday that he was disappointed that more was not done to turn out African American voters.

Outside commentators who saw the closer-than-expected result — Republican Mick Mulvaney, now the White House budget director, won the seat in November by 20 points — said national Democratic groups including the DCCC should have spent more in the state.

But Clyburn said he asked the DCCC “not to make it a national cause” and that he “intentionally did not want it nationalized . . . because I know how South Carolina voters are.”

Both the Georgia and South Carolina losses, Clyburn said, had nothing to do with Pelosi in his view, but he said that Republican outside spending — which largely highlighted her — “had a tremendous adverse impact, no question about that.”

“Southern voters are a totally different breed,” he added. “And Southern voters react parochially.”

But Bliss said Pelosi attacks have broad resonance.

“We have 12 offices around the country, in kind of similar swingy districts,” he said. “What works in all of them? The choice: Do you want Pelosi or [House Speaker Paul D. Ryan] to lead in Congress? . . . Pelosi means raising your taxes and cutting the military; Ryan means lowering your taxes and supporting the troops.”

Democrats argue that that is changing. In the DCCC memo, Luján said the House Republican agenda is “deeply unpopular” and that the pending GOP health-care bill “will haunt every single House Republican through Election Day.”

“This is about much more than one race: the national environment, unprecedented grass-roots energy and impressive Democratic candidates stepping up to run deep into the battlefield leave no doubt that Democrats can take back the House next fall,” he wrote.

%d bloggers like this: