header 1
header 2
header 3

Message Forum - GENERAL

Welcome to the Bethesda Chevy Chase High School Message Forum.

The message forum is an ongoing dialogue between classmates. There are no items, topics, subtopics, etc.

Forums work when people participate - so don't be bashful! Click the "Post Message" button to add your entry to the forum.

go to bottom 
  Post Message
    Prior Page

12/02/23 07:44 AM #16699    


Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Jack, thank you for reposting your writing about the little girl. It is moving and honest and I am going to save it. Thank you. I'm glad you can go into the woods now for itself and not just to escape. I'm drawn to the outdoors to capture beauty with painting. We get to enjoy your gift at the camera. Thank you. Love, Joanie
Nora, I have always felt safe as a Jewish woman in America but now I wonder if the Jewish star I continue to wear will make me a target for someone. Love Joanie and love to all our classmates♥️

12/02/23 11:26 AM #16700    


Joan Ruggles (Young)

Thomas and Jim, I trust that you are again receiving the latest flurry of posts? If so please let me know so I don't have to look into the matter any further.

12/02/23 02:11 PM #16701    


Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Jack, I felt the heartbreak expressed in your writing of the little perished girl. You kept her memory alive.
Love, Joanie

12/02/23 02:15 PM #16702    


Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Nora, thanks for understanding and caring about Israel who has no friends in the region and since her inception has been under attack, in 1948, 1967, 1973, and Oct 7 and many times in between. Love, Joanie

12/05/23 09:24 PM #16703    

Clifford Elgin

It's Kip.  I apologize, my computer was hacked and I basicaly had to start over.  That combined with family travels, health issues (not mine), etc. have kept me off of the forum.  I missed it.  I have been reading to catch up.  I, like many people, am distressed over the war in Gaza and all the horrors involved.The Jews vs. the Palistinians is truly terrible, but something that horrifies me even more is that the world is ignoring what was going on in the Middle East when Hamas initiated its attack.  The world was on the verge of a treaty between Isreal and Saudi Arabia which would have further normalized relations in the Middle East when Hammas attacked.  This is something that Hammas has done before when Israel was on the verge of signing a treaty with one of its neighbors.

Changing to a different subject, I appreciate the many posts from Jay  --- always informative and thought provoking especially in this era of so many news and non-news stories.  Thank you Jay.

Switching subjects, I have enjoyed the many nature pictures posted and have some I'd like to share.  I refer to my pictures as nature "portraits" and, unfortunately, they have been taken overe many, many years with different cameras, some before the digital age, so I don't know how to share them other than via email.  If you have any suggestions on how to do this, please let me know.

Finally, I got the `64 year book out the other night -- brought back a lot of memories.

I hope all is well with all of you and best wishes for a wonderful and safe holidays,












12/05/23 10:16 PM #16704    


Nora Skinker (Morton)

I believe that Israel's largest source of bitter anger is being put in a position to HAVE to kill innocents, in order to survive. As most of us, I am acutely aware (from eyewitness reports and even film footage) of the evil HAMAS attackers have displayed in its TARGETING of innocents...raping of women, barbaric slaughters of babies, use of human shields. Jack seems to be indicating that militarily campaigning against THAT kind of evil is equally AS evil?  Matter of fact, I believe it is Israel's downright responsibility to Jews and Palestinians alike, who are living within its borders, to protect them from HAMAS by eradicating HAMAS.

As an American, I am horrified at the fact that many students attending (supposedly) stellar US colleges and universities are not only feeling unsafe....but ARE unsafe. Some are grandchildren of Holocaust victims! And the harrassment is evident not only among fellow students but professors, administrators!  Where is the outrage? To quote Jack, WTF??? 

(I noticed that Jack has decided that Jimmy Carter is a better (real?) Christian than (unreal?) Donald Trump.  Thank God I've learned long ago that we are all God's children and sinners, to boot!  Am happy to leave those kinds of judgement calls up to God). 


12/05/23 10:31 PM #16705    


Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Thanks for your nice note Kip. I agree too that Hamas was extremely motivated to attack because of the possibility of Israel making a pact with Saudi Arabia. Glad you wrote in and hope we can see your pictures sometime. Love, Joanie

12/06/23 05:58 AM #16706    


Jack Mallory

Nora, go back and read my last post. "Military campaigning" is a euphemism for war and the atrocities of war. It is a euphemism used to allow us to close our eyes and put our fingers in our ears and not experience the evils of war, which I regard as evil in itself. An easy way out, perhaps, for those fortunate enough only to have sent their tax dollars and their fellow citizens to war without seeing it themselves. Lucky you, Nora, and the hundreds of millions of others who can think of wars as consisting of vague "military campaigns" between the good guys, us, and the bad guys, them.

But lucky me, too. I saw it, I deal with it, I know it. I can say I've done my tiny little bit to condemn wars ever since. At the very least, I open my eyes and ears to understand that the deaths of the innocent are evil, even when masked by euphemism and regardless of the flag carried by those who kill them. Appreciate your euphemisms, Nora. Ignorance makes life much easier, even as it makes the killling of innocents easier. 


12/06/23 05:34 PM #16707    


Nora Skinker (Morton)

It would seem that YOU are the lucky one, Jack: how very safe to say you have no idea what Israel should do about HAMAS. Enjoy that perch on which you can shout out the beauty & value of peace. Is that not you calling for a ceasefire?  Do enlighten this poor ignorant soul. Oh, and address the issue of our campuses scaring the bejeezus out of Jewish teachers and students these days, not to mention how sad it is that our friend, Joanie, feels she cannot wear her Star of David without attracting unwanted attention. Lemme guess: if I call for outrage, I guess that doesn't include you. 

12/06/23 07:54 PM #16708    


Jack Mallory

I appreciate greatly my luck in living a safe and privileged life, Nora, having seen other kinds of lives and deaths. That's why I will shout out the beauty and value of peace, and the ugliness and moral/psychological costs of violence. I will not claim to prescribe what Israel should do--as I said, I have no expertise in that area. 

If you hear no outrage in my postings, I'll try to clarify. I'm outraged, horrified, revolted by the killing of innocents. I condemn the targeting of innocents, regardless of who does the targeting and who the targets are, and I am outraged, horrified, and revolted by the use of euphemisms like "military campaigning" to obfuscate that targeting and those killings. Reality is replete with outrageous things; I will concentrate on those that my life experiences compel me to confront.

All wars, military campaigns, are accompanied by the flags, drums, bugle calls, and slogans of  justification--from all sides involved. From my perch as a combat veteran and a history teacher I'm familiar with the justifications and informed enough to look for the realities. 

Just a little over 100 years of justifications for wars and "military campaigning" has brought us realities like these:



The realities of World War I, World War II London, World War II Hiroshima, Vietnam My Lai, Ukraine, Israel, Gaza. Uncountable similar realities. 

From your perch you may see something else, Nora. I see evil. 

12/07/23 11:07 AM #16709    


Jay Shackford

The New Moses

By Heather Cox Richardson

Dec. 6, 2023

In the Washington Post today, Marianne LeVine, Isaac Arnsdorf, and Josh Dawsey reported that the Trump camp is eager to get people to stop focusing on Trump’s authoritarian talk, noting that Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says the presidential candidate was just joking when he said he would be a dictator on the first day of a return to the White House. While the Republican base appears to like Trump’s threats against the people they have come to hate, two Trump advisers told the reporters that “recent stories about his plans for a second term are not viewed as helpful for the general election.”

Republicans have also moved quickly to cut ties with Florida Republican Party chair Christian Ziegler, who is under police investigation for rape. Ziegler’s wife, Bridget Ziegler, co-founded Moms for Liberty, an organization that has focused on removing from schools books that they find objectionable, generally books by or about racial or ethnic minorities or LGBTQ+ people. Often Moms for Liberty members have implied, or even claimed, that those trying to protect school libraries are sexual predators or “groomers.” Ziegler herself has been active in shaping anti-LGBTQ+ policies in the state.

But the police and court documents about the case revealed that the Zieglers and the woman Ziegler allegedly raped had participated in a three-way sexual relationship in the past. The rape allegedly occurred after they had set up another encounter that Bridget could not make. The woman then canceled, telling Ziegler “I was mainly in it for her.” He went to her home anyway.

The story of a key anti-LGBTQ+ activist engaging in same-sex activity as part of a threesome sent Moms for Liberty hurrying to say that Bridget Ziegler was no longer on their board (although both Zieglers were still on their advisory board) and purge her name from their website. And though no charges have yet been filed, Florida governor Ron DeSantis has called on Christian Ziegler to resign from his position at the head of the state Republican Party. 

The Zieglers helped to tie the Republican Party to Moms for Liberty shortly after the organization formed in January 2021, and DeSantis was very much on board, apparently seeing their message of taking the war against “woke” to the schools as a political winner. But, as Amanda Marcotte pointed out in Salon, the 2022 midterms revealed that most voters did not like the extremism of that group and that it was a political liability. 

The fact that DeSantis is dropping his former ally Ziegler so fast suggests that DeSantis is eager to divorce himself from both the story and from the extremism of Moms for Liberty. 

The Trump Republicans took another hit today as well, when a grand jury in the state of Nevada charged six people who falsely posed as electors in 2020 in order to file fake electoral votes for Trump to replace the state’s real votes for now-President Joe Biden. The six Republicans charged with filing false documents include the chair and the vice chair of the Nevada Republican Party. If convicted, they face up to nine years in prison and $15,000 in fines. 

Nevada is the third state to charge the fake electors with crimes. Georgia and Michigan have also done so. 

Ten fake electors in Wisconsin today settled a civil lawsuit over their own participation in Trump’s false-elector scheme. The settlement involved correcting the historical record. The ten agreed to withdraw their paperwork with the false information, explain in writing to the federal offices that the filings had been “part of an attempt to improperly overturn the 2020 presidential election results,” and acknowledge that Biden won the 2020 election. Going forward, they agreed never again to serve as presidential electors in an election in which Trump is running. 

But while there are signs that even leading Republicans recognize that the extremism of the Trump Republicans is unpopular in the country, Trump Republicans are tightening their hold on Congress. Today former House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced that he will resign from Congress at the end of this month. Far-right MAGA Republicans ousted McCarthy from the speaker’s chair in October.

Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC), a McCarthy ally who took over as acting House speaker after McCarthy’s removal, announced yesterday that he had changed his plans from earlier this year and will not run for reelection.    

While hardly moderates—both refused to work with Democrats either to pass legislation or to elect a speaker—they appear to be ceding ground to the MAGA Republicans. 

Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone reported today that one of those MAGA Republicans, House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), spoke freely Tuesday night at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., at a celebration for the National Association of Christian Lawmakers. Although the address was being livestreamed, Johnson apparently believed he was speaking privately. He told the audience that the Lord called him to be “a new Moses.”

Johnson, an evangelical Christian, told the audience that the U.S. is “engaged in a battle between worldviews” and “a great struggle for the future of the Republic.” He said he believed far-right Christians would prevail. 

The influence of Trump is also evident in the Senate, where there is broad, bipartisan support for supplemental funding for Ukraine, but where Republicans are refusing to pass such a measure without attaching to it an immigration package that overrides current law, replacing it with Trump’s immigration plans. Such plans could not pass on their own, as Democrats would stop them in the Senate. But by attaching them to a bill that is imperative for national security, Republicans hope to force Biden into it.

Democrats have repeatedly called for new immigration legislation, but their refusal to remake immigration policy as the hard-right wants has made Republicans balk. Now Democrats are still offering to negotiate a reasonable package, but as Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said earlier this week: “I think there’s a misunderstanding on the part of Senator Schumer and some of our Democratic friends…. This is not a traditional negotiation, where we expect to come up with a bipartisan compromise on the border. This is a price that has to be paid in order to get the supplemental.”

In a speech this afternoon—just a day after Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) finally permitted the Senate to fill 425 senior positions in the U.S. military and while he is still preventing 11 top-level positions from being filled—President Biden called it “stunning that we’ve gotten to this point…. Republicans in Congress…are willing to give [Russian president Vladimir] Putin the greatest gift he could hope for and abandon our global leadership not just to Ukraine, but beyond that.” 

“If Putin takes Ukraine, he won’t stop there,” Biden warned. “It’s important to see the long run here. He’s going to keep going. He’s made that pretty clear. If Putin attacks a NATO Ally—if he keeps going and then he attacks a NATO Ally—well, we’ve committed as a NATO member that we’d defend every inch of NATO territory. Then we’ll have something that we don’t seek and that we don’t have today: American troops fighting Russian troops—American troops fighting Russian troops if he moves into other parts of NATO. 

“Make no mistake: Today’s vote is going to be long remembered. And history is going to judge harshly those who turn their back on freedom’s cause.”

“Extreme Republicans are playing chicken with our national security, holding Ukraine’s funding hostage to their extreme partisan border policies,” he said. 

Biden reiterated that he and the Democrats are eager to pass new immigration legislation, but “Republicans think they can get everything they want without any bipartisan compromise.  That’s not the answer.... And now they’re willing to literally kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield and damage our national security in the process.” He begged Republicans to get past partisan divisions and step up to “our responsibilities as a leading nation in the world.” 

Hours later, Senate Republicans voted against the supplemental aid package.




















12/07/23 02:48 PM #16710    


Jack Mallory

For a more informed look at the situation in the Middle East than I can offer, I recommend the thoughts of Nicholas Kristof (https://www.nytimes.com/column/nicholas-kristof). I have italicized the passages I find most notable.



Consider this: The most dangerous place to be a child in the world today is Gaza.

That’s the assessment of Catherine Russell, the executive director of UNICEF, who is not a bleeding-heart radical but a former ambassador and veteran lawyer who worked for Presidents Biden and Barack Obama.

Already it appears that more than twice as many children have died in Gaza just since the war started on Oct. 7 as in all the conflicts worldwide in 2022, according to United Nations figures.

“Almost one out of every 150 Palestinian children in Gaza have been killed in just two months,” noted Dr. Zaher Sahloul, president of MedGlobal, an aid group working there. “That is the equivalent of half a million American children.”

Dr. Sahloul warned that many others may “die from infections, waterborne diseases or dehydration,” while others will suffer from lifelong physical disabilities.

We can and should despise Hamas, a repressive, misogynist and homophobic force that uses Palestinian civilians as human shields. And we can understand how Israel, traumatized by savage killings and rapes by Hamas, is determined to strike back. But just because Hamas is indifferent to the lives of Palestinian children does not mean that Israel or the United States should be reckless as well.

The Biden administration has continued to periodically defend Israel not only when it is attacked, which is right, but even when it causes enormous numbers of Gazan civilian deaths. Contrary to Biden administration claims that Israel is getting the message to show restraint, the United Nations reports that this week “saw some of the heaviest shelling in Gaza so far” and that “If possible, an even more hellish scenario is about to unfold.”

“Nowhere is safe in Gaza,” said Martin Griffiths, the top U.N. official for humanitarian matters. “Such blatant disregard for basic humanity must stop.”

The United Nations commissioner for human rights, Volker Türk, has suggested that war crimes have been committed by both Hamas and Israel, yet too many Americans decry some deaths but not others. We tell the world that we are supporting Ukraine because of our belief in the “rules-based international order,” and then we provide weaponry that ends up killing children on a huge scale in Gaza.

Too many see events through a prism in which lives are invaluable on one side while deaths on the other are regrettable.

The Gaza health authorities say that 16,248 people have been killed in the enclave so far, about 70 percent of them women and children. It’s impossible to verify the figures, but human rights monitors say the figures are credible and have proved reliable in the past. A senior Biden administration official told Congress that the reported figures may well be an undercount (presumably because of bodies unrecovered under the rubble).

If those figures are right, that means that a woman or child has been killed on average about every seven minutes around the clock since the war beganSome have been babies in incubators.

The savagery of the Oct. 7 attacks precipitated the bombardment, of course, and Hamas continues to hold hostages. Every bit of diplomatic pressure should be applied to Hamas to free those hostages and, in the meantime, to allow them visits by humanitarian workers. The penchant of some American progressives to tear down posters for hostages is nauseating, as is the wave of antisemitism that we’ve seen in both the United States and Europe.

There is a distinction: Hamas deliberately killed and kidnapped children on Oct. 7. Israel is not deliberately killing Palestinian children; it is simply bombing entire neighborhoods with far too little attention to civilian life. There is a moral difference there, but I wouldn’t want to try to explain it to grieving parents in Gaza.

While recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself, how is it advancing its security by flattening large areas with 2,000-pound bombs? The United States has repeatedly counseled Israel to use smaller bombs and more surgical strikes, in part to avoid turning tactical victories into strategic defeat.

As best we can tell, these are the results of its operation so far:

Israel appears to have modestly degraded Hamas’s military capacity. An Israeli military spokesman estimated that several thousand Hamas fighters had been killed, which might amount to 10 percent or lessof the Hamas force.

Hamas has gained popularity and credibility in the West Bank (Hamas flags were everywhere when I visited recently).

Israeli hostages have been placed at risk and reportedly killed.

The initial global outpouring of support for Israel has been replaced by a flood of sympathy for Palestinians.

Hamas has succeeded in one of its aims, putting the Palestinian cause back on the global agenda.

Revulsion at the Palestinian loss of life has jeopardized the stability of neighbors like Jordan and put off any hope for now of an accord between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The risks of an uprising in the West Bank have increased, along with those of a wider war with Lebanon.

So has this made Israel safer? Enough to justify killing a woman or child every seven minutes around the clock?

I’ve covered lots of conflicts, and one of the striking things about the bombardment of Gaza is how intense it has been. About half of buildings in northern Gaza show structural damage, according to analyses of satellite images.

The pace of killing of civilians has been much greaterthan in most other recent conflicts; the only one that I know of that compares is perhaps the Rwanda genocide in 1994. Far more women and children appear to have been killed in Gaza than in the entire first year of the Iraq war, for example.

“It has condensed the suffering usually acquired over several years into six weeks,” said Dr. Annie Sparrow, a pediatrician with long experience practicing in war zones and an associate professor at the Icahn School of Medicine. “For the babies born into this war, many pre-orphaned, it is as if they inherit a congenital affliction — a destiny to suffer, to live a constrained life, due to events that they have no ability to affect.”

By pulverizing entire neighborhoods and killing huge numbers of civilians instead of using smaller bombs and taking a much more surgical approach, as American officials have urged, Israel has provoked growing demands for an extended cease-fire that would arguably amount to a Hamas victory. In short, I fear that inflicting mass casualties is a strategic error as well as a moral one; while parts of Gaza were flattened with the goal of destroying Hamas, that might be what rescues Hamas.

We should be particularly pained that children are dying from American bombs and missiles. I’m glad that Biden administration officials are finding their voice and speaking up to try to slow the killing, but I wish it hadn’t taken so long

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is wading into a quagmire, President Biden is doing Israel no favors by biting his tongue in public. He should speak up more forcefully on behalf of the children in whose deaths I fear we are complicit.

Look, it’s hard to have a conversation about the Middle East, because people quickly divide into sides. But the side we should be on is that of children dying pointlessly in Israel and Gaza alike without advancing anyone’s security. The lives of Israeli, American and Palestinian children all have equal value, and we should act like it.


12/07/23 09:31 PM #16711    


Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Jay, Thanks for that very good synopsis of recent events by Heather Cox Richardson.
Jack I can't read the Kristoff article unless I'm a subscriber to the New York Times.. The article disappears once you click on it.
Yes antisemitism is rampant worldwide. To think the UN didn't comment on the torturous rape of Israeli women at the start of the Hamas attack where they were violated and shot up like garbage. I never thought that college campuses would have marchers in support of Hamas. And what about that little six year old Palestinian boy that a landlord shot. It's heartbreaking that he was shot.
Love, Joanie

12/07/23 10:07 PM #16712    


Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Now I see that I can read the Kristoff article. Thanks Jack. Love, Joanie

12/08/23 06:01 AM #16713    


Jack Mallory

Glad you could read it, Joanie. I'm sure you agree to the truth of Kristoff's argument that one evil, like anti-semitism, can't possibly justify another evil, like the killing of innocents--nor vice versa.


Last night in NYC, on the first night of Hanukkah there was a demonstration lead by Rabbis for Ceasefire and Jewish Voice for Peace calling for an end to the fighting and a ceasefire. Not clear to me why that idea upsets Nora so much.




12/08/23 07:26 AM #16714    


Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Jack, Kristoff makes some profound points but he also does say in answer to your equating evil of antisemetism with the deaths of civilians caught in the crossfire of the October 7 war...  "There is a distinction: Hamas deliberately killed and kidnapped children on Oct. 7. Israel is not deliberately killing Palestinian children; It is simply bombing entire neighborhoods with far too little attention to civilian life. There is a moral difference there, but I wouldn't want to try to explain it to grieving parents in Gaza."  I think Israel is trying to protect civilian life but the reality is that with the jam packed gaza strip they are not safe and tragically many have died. I wish Egypt would open their border to Gaza. Refugees the way Poland did for the Ukrainians to escape the war. Love, Joanie

12/08/23 10:38 AM #16715    


Jack Mallory

Yes, I italicized that passage, Joanie. Perhaps I also should have bolded the last phrase: Israel is not deliberately killing Palestinian children; it is simply bombing entire neighborhoods with far too little attention to civilian life. 

The reality is that dropping 2000 lb. bombs on one of the most densely packed urban areas of the world IS a deliberate act, intended to destroy and kill. Bland generalities like "simply bombing entire neighborhoods with far too little attention to civilian life" need to be made more explicit. Especially since most Americans have never seen high explosives used in their neighborhoods; and since our tax dollars have payed to produce those 2000 lb. bombs. 

Another picture from the call for a ceasefire from the Rabbis and others last night:


12/08/23 12:06 PM #16716    


Joan Ruggles (Young)

Excellent piece by Kristoff. Thank you. I wonder if Nori will criticize him too for claiming not to have a solution to the Hamas-Israeli war from his "safe place." Maybe Nori does? From her "safe place"? It has puzzled me why anyone calling for a cease-fire is considered by definition a supporter of Hamas. The photos of the demonstrations in NYC should settle the matter. We're all tired of the killing - on both sides. As Kristoff points out, so far this death and destruction hasn't resulted in gains for either side. "But the side we should be on is that of children dying pointlessly in Israel and Gaza alike without advancing anyone’s security."

12/08/23 01:07 PM #16717    


Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Regarding the pluses not adding up for either side,. I suspect the October 7 massacre was the biggest plus for Hamas and their determination to commit more Oct 7's would be the additional plusses they said they would strive for.. The other plus for Hamas is to draw Israel in knowing they would enter Gaza after Hamas committed the atrocities on Oct 7 and create a regional war against Israel and a world revolt as they used civilians as human shields where their weapons were. They are getting those pluses they wanted.The plus for Israel would be to never have Hamas be a threat again and to get back the hostages but tragically defending against what happened causes so many to die in the crossfire. Love, Joanie

12/08/23 02:38 PM #16718    


Joan Ruggles (Young)

One more thought. Nori tells us "I look around and seriously doubt enough American sons and daughters will show up to fight for our democracy, if and when war comes to our shores." I wonder if she's been asleep. The threats to our Democracy are on our shores and staring us in the face. Just listen to the plans Donald Trump has for a second term.  I wonder if our sons and daughters will do whatever they can to stop that threat. I know my sons will. 

12/08/23 02:49 PM #16719    


Jack Mallory

Just got off the phone with my old grad school friend Bassam, an American citizen born in the West Bank. Bassam has lived most of his life in the U.S., teaching at NYU. He has four cousins currently living in Gaza, whose safety/well-being changes daily.

Bassam is as baffled as I am by our (American) refusal to think of the death and destruction imposed by Israel as somehow morally connected directly to us. But it is OUR tax dollars that fund the Israeli war in Gaza. We, you and I, purchased the bombs and the planes that drop them; we gave them to the Israelis who have used them to kill so many innocents. The moral burden is on us as well as the Israelis who use our gifts. 

The Nation describes the importance of our contribution to the war well:

"There’s no question that US aid provides a substantial share of Israel’s war costs . . . if the $14 billion in proposed US aid is approved and disbursed over the next year, it would account for just over one-quarter of the total cost of the war to Israel . . . If US aid is compared only to the estimate of direct military costs of the war, it would amount to more than half of relevant expenditures . . . 

"The role of US-supplied weapons may be even more important than the question of how much of the costs of the war would be paid for with American tax dollars . . . Washington is currently in the fifth year of a 10-year $38 billion military aid commitment to Tel Aviv, or $3.8 billion per year. This annual figure will be dwarfed by the $14 billion in military aid contained in the administration’s pending emergency aid request. The types of weaponry in the package include large quantities of bombs and tens of thousands of 155mm artillery shells that can be put straight to use in the Gaza war. A recent policy brief by Oxfam noted that the supply of artillery shells is particularly problematic:

'155mm shells are a weapon of choice in Israel’s ground operation in Gaza, which will cause untold harm to civilians as it intensifies further. Israel’s use of this munition in past conflicts demonstrates that its use would be virtually passured to be indiscriminate, unlawful, and devastating to civilians in Gaza.'"

Link to the whole article here: https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/us-aid-israel-gaza/

If you like the way your money is being spent, turning Gaza into the most dangerous place in the world to be a child, that's your moral call. As long as we understand that it IS on us, morally, because we're paying for it. 

12/08/23 05:15 PM #16720    


Jack Mallory

A loud second to Joan's identification of the greatest threat to our democracy today. Not from anywhere overseas, not even from Putin, but from Mar a Lago or wherever Trump lays his coiffure tonight. 

My memory gland doesn't seem to store as well as it once did, and his attacks on our democracy are so numerous that I can't begin to keep track. So I retain one in the forefront of my shrinking brain, the clearest expression of the nature and severity of his contempt for the Constitution I swore three times to defend.

Trump has claimed that he is allowed to terminate ". . . all of the rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution." (Emphasis mine)


No. The Constitution cannot be terminated by the President or anyone else. It was established and maintained by Americans who fought and died to create it and protect it (Donald probably thinks of them as "suckers" and "losers," as he has characterized other Americans soldiers). I and my children, like Joan and hers, will do everything in our power to protect that Constitution, starting with voting against him and his demagogic politics. 

12/09/23 09:03 AM #16721    


Jay Shackford

The Ivy League Flunks Out


By Maureen Dowd

New York Times Opinion Columnist, reporting from Washington.

December 9, 2023


I was still kvelling about earning my Ivy League degree when the glow of that parchment dimmed.

On Tuesday, the presidents of Harvard, M.I.T. and the University of Pennsylvania put on a pathetic display on Capitol Hill when they were asked if calling for genocide against Jews counted as harassment.

It depends, they all said. Penn’s Elizabeth Magill offered a chilling bit of legalese. “It is a context-dependent decision,” she told Representative Elise Stefanik, a Republican from upstate New York.

Not since Bill Clinton was asked about having sex with Monica Lewinsky and replied, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is,” has there been such parsing.

It’s hard to be on Stefanik’s side, given that she epitomizes the grotesque transformation of the Republican Party to an insane Trump cult, but she was right to pin down the prevaricating presidents.


Citing a Washington Free Beacon report, Stefanik noted in The Wall Street Journal that Harvard has cautioned undergraduates that “cisheterosexism” and “fatphobia” helped perpetuate violence and that “using the wrong pronouns” qualified as abuse.

When Stefanik asked Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay, whether calling for the genocide of Jews constituted bullying, Gay said it could, “depending on the context.”

I felt the same disgust with the Catholic Church sex scandal, seeing church leaders who were charged with teaching us right from wrong not knowing right from wrong. University presidents should also know right from wrong. As left-wing virulence toward Jews collides with right-wing virulence, these academics not only didn’t show off their brains, they didn’t show their hearts.

“I think the inability of these individuals to articulate a simple, straightforward answer to what should have been the easiest question in the world was mind-boggling,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the director of the Anti-Defamation League, told me. “It’s like a hurricane of hate in the last few months. You ask yourself, how is this happening? Now we know.” He added, “The truth is that these presidents are not committed to free speech. They’re committed to favored speech. They selectively enforce the codes of conduct when it works for them or their friends in the faculty lounge.”

Leon Wieseltier, the editor of Liberties, a humanistic journal, has an essay on antisemitism in the next issue, echoing Greenblatt with a complaint about the “selective empathy” that made kaffiyehs “cool.”


“I think this is still America,” Wieseltier said, “but what is so wounding and intolerable is how we went from spending four years intensely and rightly focusing on one class of victims in society, and now are prepared to make light of the troubles that another class of victims are experiencing.

“The culture on campuses is a culture of oppressors and oppressed. Israel is now Goliath and no longer David — though God knows it has mortal enemies capable of the most astonishing savagery. The Jews were long ago stricken from the rolls of the oppressed because they are seen as white and privileged. We are a culture which loves victims and worships victimization and gives great moral authority to victims, but we don’t treat all victims equally.”

The U.N. women’s rights agency and social justice groups grossly delayed condemning barbaric sexual attacks on women by Hamas during its Oct. 7 massacre.

Wieseltier also put blame on the authoritarian Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. “One of the reasons for this war is the Israelis’ decades-long neglect and humiliation of the Palestinians,” he said. “They thought it would never come back and bite them. Netanyahu plays right into the left’s false analysis of Israel as a colonial settler state.”

As James Carville told Bill Maher: “How the hell am I still looking at Netanyahu’s stupid, crooked, ignorant, negligent face? This guy’s still in power after the greatest intelligence failure at least since 9/11?”


Roger Cohen wrote in The Times that Netanyahu let Hamas grow stronger while taking a “‘kick the can down the road’ approach” on a two-state solution. As the Palestinian issue vanished from the global agenda, Palestinian fury grew.

That is no excuse for what Hamas did on Oct. 7, but Oct. 7 is also no excuse for Israel’s relentless bombing in Gaza.

I think this is still America. But I don’t understand why I have to keep making the case on matters that should be self-evident.

Why should I have to make the case that a man who tried to overthrow the government should not be president again?

Why should I have to make the case that we can’t abandon Ukraine to the evil Vladimir Putin?

Why should I have to make the case that a young woman — whose life and future ability to bear children are at risk — should not be getting persecuted about an abortion by a shady Texas attorney general?

Why should I have to make the case that antisemitism is abhorrent?

12/09/23 10:20 AM #16722    


Jay Shackford

(Editor’s Note:  Heather Cox Richardson is an American historian who teaches at Boston College.  A native of Maine and graduate of Harvard, her new book is titled, “Democracy Awakening.”  You can get her almost daily columns from her website: Heathercoxrichardson@substuck.com.  I’m sure Jack and Stephen will like Richardson’s columns because, unlike my own columns, she provides footnotes. Just kidding. Actually, Jack has posted a few of her columns on the forum in the past couple of months. )

My good friend Dr. Alan Wanderer started sending me Richardson’s columns over the last couple of months.  A native of the Big Apple, graduate of Columbia Medical School, Vietnam veteran and now a retired physician but still active medical device inventor living in Bozeman, Montana, Alan  operated  his own asthma clinics in Bozeman and before that in Denver for decades before retiring a couple of years ago. Among other things, Alan invented the prick-less proof needle during the AIDS crisis in the 1990s, which he later sold to one of the Big Pharma companies. Needless to say, selling out too soon was a decision Alan really regrets. )

“We Are Alone”

By Heather Cox Richardson

December 2, 2023

On Wednesday, November 29, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) delivered a landmark speech on American antisemitism, inspired by the fact that protests against Israel’s assault on Gaza after the October 7 attack by Hamas have descended into an embrace of Hamas’s stated goal of the complete destruction of Israel. From there it has, for some people, been a short step to attacking Jewish people in general. 

“I feel compelled to speak because I am the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in America; in fact, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official ever in American history,” Schumer said. “And I have noticed a significant disparity between how Jewish people regard the rise of antisemitism, and how many of my non-Jewish friends regard it. To us, the Jewish people, the rise of antisemitism is a crisis—a five-alarm fire that must be extinguished. For so many other people of good will, it is merely a problem, a matter of concern. Today, I want to use my platform to explain why so many Jewish people see this problem as a crisis.”

Schumer anchored his speech in the long history of civil rights advocacy on the part of American Jews. In 1909, New York Jew Henry Moskowitz was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Jack Greenberg, whose family fled pogroms in Europe, served 23 years at the head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund after its founder, famous Black jurist Thurgood Marshall, stepped down.

In 1958, in a speech to the American Jewish Congress, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “My people were brought to America in chains. Your people were driven here to escape the chains fashioned for them in Europe. Our unity is born of our common struggle for centuries, not only to rid ourselves of bondage, but to make oppression of any people by others an impossibility.” 

Five years later, the president of the American Jewish Congress, New Jersey rabbi Dr. Joachim Prinz, spoke before King at the March on Washington. “I speak to you as an American Jew,” he told the crowd. “As Americans we share the profound concern of millions of people about the shame and disgrace of inequality and injustice which make a mockery of the great American idea. As Jews we bring to this great demonstration, in which thousands of us proudly participate, a two-fold experience—one of the spirit and one of our history…. It…is not merely sympathy and compassion for the Black people of America that motivates us. It is above all and beyond all such sympathies and emotions a sense of complete identification and solidarity born of our own painful historic experience.”

It was that painful historic experience and an attempt to make oppression impossible that led Jewish activists to support the civil rights movement. In the Freedom Summer of 1964, half the civil rights workers who traveled to Mississippi were Jewish, including Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, murdered alongside Black activist James Chaney outside of Philadelphia, Mississippi. 

That history of Jewish support for civil rights is written across the landscape of our country: the main bridge dominating the Boston skyline is named for civil rights worker Leonard P. Zakim in memory of his work to “build bridges of understanding between different ethnic, racial, and religious groups,” as his wife said at the bridge’s dedication. 

In his speech, Schumer tied into that history, saying that “bigotry against one group of Americans is bigotry against all” and noting that he had worked to protect Asian-Americans and Arab-Americans, as well as to protect houses of worship for all religions from extremists. He also noted, at some length, that it is possible both to abhor Hamas and to deplore the destruction that has rained down on the Palestinian people. 

But Schumer expressed dismay that as hatred toward American Jews is rising dangerously—the Anti-Defamation League estimates that antisemitic incidents have increased nearly 300 percent since October 7—some Americans, people that Jews believed were “ideological fellow travelers,” are celebrating the October 7 attack as an assault on “colonizers.” 

“Not long ago,” Schumer said, “many of us marched together for Black and Brown lives, we stood against anti-Asian hatred, we protested bigotry against the LGBTQ community, we fought for reproductive justice out of the recognition that injustice against one oppressed group is injustice against all. But apparently, in the eyes of some, that principle does not extend to the Jewish people.”

“Many, if not most, Jewish Americans, including myself, support a two-state solution,” he said, “We disagree with Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and his administration’s encouragement of militant settlers in the West Bank, which has become a considerable obstacle to a two-state solution.” But “the most extreme rhetoric against Israel has emboldened antisemites who are attacking Jewish people simply because they are Jewish.”

These attacks, Schumer said, conjure up the history of millennia in which Jews were slaughtered. “[W]hen Jewish people hear chants like ‘From the river to the sea,’ a founding slogan of Hamas, a terrorist group that is not shy about their goal to eradicate the Jewish people, in Israel and around the globe, we are alarmed.”

“More than anything, we are worried—quite naturally, given the twists and turns of history—about where these actions and sentiments could eventually lead. Now, this is no intellectual exercise for us. For many Jewish people, it feels like a matter of survival, informed once again by history.”

“Can you understand why Jewish people feel isolated when we hear some praise Hamas and chant its vicious slogan?” Schumer asked. “Can you blame us for feeling vulnerable only 80 years after Hitler wiped out half of the Jewish population across the world while many countries turned their back? Can you appreciate the deep fear we have about what Hamas might do if left to their own devices? Because the long arc of Jewish history teaches us a lesson that is hard to forget: ultimately, that we are alone.”

Schumer begged the American people “of all creeds and backgrounds” to defend the “pluralistic, multiethnic democracy” that has enabled Jewish people in the United States “to flourish alongside so many other immigrant groups.” 

He asked them to “learn the history of the Jewish people, who have been abandoned repeatedly by their fellow countrymen—left isolated and alone to combat antisemitism—with disastrous results,” and to “reject the illogical and antisemitic double standard that is once again being applied to the plight of Jewish victims and hostages, to some of the actions of the Israeli government, and even to the very existence of a Jewish state.”

Schumer asked all Americans “to understand why Jewish people defend Israel.” They do not “wish harm on Palestinians,” he said, but instead “fear a world where Israel is forced to tolerate the existence of groups like Hamas that want to wipe out all Jewish people from the planet. We fear a world where Israel, the place of refuge for Jewish people, will no longer exist. If there is no Israel,” he said, “there will be no place, no place for the Jewish people to go when they are persecuted in other countries.”

In view of history and of rising antisemitism, Jewish Americans are afraid of what the future might bring, Schumer said. “And perhaps worst of all,” he said, “many Jewish Americans feel alone to face all of this, abandoned by too many of our friends and allies in our greatest time of need.”

He implored “every person and every community and every institution to stand with Jewish Americans and denounce antisemitism in all of its forms.”

“We are stewards of the flames of liberty, tolerance, and equality that warm our American melting pot, and make it possible for Jewish Americans to prosper alongside Palestinian Americans, and every other immigrant group from all over the world,” he concluded. 

“Are we a nation that can defy the regular course of human history, where the Jewish people have been ostracized, expelled, and massacred over and over again?” he asked. Then he answered his own question: “Yes. And I will do everything in my power—as Senate Majority Leader, as a Jewish American, as a citizen of a free society, as a human being—to make it happen.”

Ken Y-hi Ratzon,” he concluded. “May it be his will.”









12/09/23 11:24 AM #16723    


Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Jay thank you for that wonderful piece with quotes by Schumer. I feel like Israel is my homeland and a refuge. Thank you as it explained the isolation of Jews in this country and worldwide with the rise in antisemitism. Love, Joanie

go to top 
  Post Message
    Prior Page