In the Forward , Peter Fox writes of “What Being Gay Taught Me about Zionism.” Peter’s voice as a gay Jewish American — and connecting those aspects of his identity — is one among many. At age 68, mine is another. I don’t presume to speak for all my peers, but a history lesson (however personal) is in order here.
On April 2, the United States Supreme Court squelched the attempts of U.S. citizens, victims of the second intifada, to collect damages from the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. A decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York had dismissed the lawsuit. A jury had awarded over $200 million (x 3) in compensation to victims of Arab violence in Jerusalem, Israel. The Supreme Court, in Mark Sokolow v. PLO, refused to review the dismissal.
Whether through unforeseen circumstances or the perpetual cycle of poverty, millions of Americans depend on the modest support of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to afford food for themselves and their families. While SNAP benefits do not cover every nutritional guideline, the program provides a mechanism for families to purchase enough food to keep children, the sick, and the elderly from dying. Sadly, the basic proposition that we must ensure that families have enough to eat is not universally agreed upon. During the last several weeks, Congress has been debating the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 —“The Farm Bill” — and the proposals for the bill so far have been disturbing.
The ship sat in the waves off the coast of Miami, so close that the refugees onboard could see the lights of the city at night. Their refuge was in sight, but out of hand, as authorities turned them back to the war and persecution they fled. When the 908 passengers returned, some found safety, but 254 died in the brutal genocide that followed. This could be the story of modern-day Syrian refugees, or countless others targeted by the Trump Administration, but it’s not. It’s a scene from the frantic days leading up to World War II, as countless European Jews sought safety on our shores.
Louis Farrakhan is quite possibly the most popular anti-Semite in America. While neo-Nazis and white supremacists drummed up a mere few hundred people at their “national” rally in Charlottesville, Farrakhan’s recent rant in Chicago excited an adoring crowd more than three times that size. No antifa protesters have ever shut Farrakhan down when he calls the Jews the “synagogue of Satan” and Judaism a “gutter religion.” In Chicago, he called Jews “my enemies” and told them that “your time is up, your world is through.”