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Trump’s Celebration of an Exclusionary Vision of Freedom

July 3, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

On Saturday night, roughly 12 hours after tweeting that Mika Brzezinski was “dumb as a rock” and 12 hours before tweeting a video of himself side-slamming CNN, Donald Trump spoke at a “Celebrate Freedom” Concert at Washington’s Kennedy Center. Journalists covering the event focused on Trump’s jabs at the media. But they missed his veiled attack on another group of Americans whose First Amendment rights he threatens: Muslims. Read more…

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Trump’s Grudges Are His Agenda

June 30, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The least convincing Republican defense of Donald Trump’s attack on Mika Brzezinski surely belongs to White House principal deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who declared that Americans “knew what they were getting” when they elected him. The implication is that because Americans understood that Trump was a vulgar misogynist during the campaign, there’s nothing wrong with his vulgar misogyny today. Read more…

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The Logic of Trump’s Sexist Attacks

June 30, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

On Thursday, Donald Trump tweeted that MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski had been “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when she visited Mar-a-Lago last December. On Tuesday, in the Oval Office, he interrupted a phone call with the Irish prime minister to call over a female Irish journalist, Caitriona Perry, while referring to her “nice smile” and “this beautiful Irish press.” Read more…

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The Chicago Dyke March And The Israel Project: Guilty Of The Same Intolerance

June 28, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Watch the American debate over Israel closely and you notice an intriguing symmetry.

In official Washington, where establishment Jewish groups wield power, they erect a de facto litmus test for Palestinians: Endorse Zionism or we will bar you from the halls of power. Earlier this month, for instance, Nadia Ben-Youssef, a representative of Adalah, which advocates for Palestinian citizens of Israel, said at a panel on Capitol Hill that Zionism privileges Jews. The Israel Project, which is run by AIPAC’s former spokesperson, responded by implying that Youssef was anti-Semitic, calling the panel a “hatefest,” and demanding that the congressman who sponsored it “condemn the event.” The purpose was clear: Ensure that critics of Zionism don’t receive a platform in Congress again. Read more…

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How the Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration

June 26, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The myth, which liberals like myself find tempting, is that only the right has changed. In June 2015, we tell ourselves, Donald Trump rode down his golden escalator and pretty soon nativism, long a feature of conservative politics, had engulfed it. But that’s not the full story. If the right has grown more nationalistic, the left has grown less so. A decade ago, liberals publicly questioned immigration in ways that would shock many progressives today. Read more…

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Why Is One Pro-Israel Group Desperate To Keep You From Watching This Video?

June 21, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

When it comes to Palestinians, the American Jewish establishment is in the ignorance business. The average American synagogue has never hosted a Palestinian speaker. The average “pro-Israel” activist has never read a book by a Palestinian author. The American Jewish philanthropists who fund Birthright send thousands of young American Jews to Israel each year, on a program that systematically excludes the voices of 50% of the people who live under Israeli control.

But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that for major American Jewish organizations, ignorance is an export. It is not enough that American Jewish leaders never hear from Palestinians themselves — they do their best to ensure that American politicians don’t, either. Read more…

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The Blurry Line Between Violent Talk and Violent Action

June 14, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Now it’s the GOP’s turn. “I can only hope that the Democrats do tone down the rhetoric,” said New York Republican Congressman Chris Collins after the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and five others at an Alexandria, Virginia baseball field. “The rhetoric has been outrageous—the finger-pointing, just the tone and the angst and the anger directed at Donald Trump, his supporters. Really, then, you know, some people react to things like that.” Read more…

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When The Rules Of Shabbos Clash With The Modern World

June 14, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

A plastic curtain separated my father from his neighbor in the geriatric emergency room. The man, who wore a velvet yarmulke and sported a beard, lay on a gurney. His wife talked on the phone in Yiddish. Then she began speaking to me: “We came here last night from a wedding, our grandson.” I said “Mazel tov.”

Why didn’t I just say “Congratulations”? Her external appearance marked her as Jewish. Mine did not. Had I said “Congratulations,” I would have kept my anonymity and my distance. But I wanted to signal that I was part of the club. Read more…

The Atlantic »

There’s No Such Thing as ‘Honest Loyalty’

June 8, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The way James Comey describes it in his statement to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, you can easily imagine the movie. On January 27, Donald Trump invites Comey over for dinner. Expecting there will be others, Comey is unnerved when he realizes that he and the new president are dining alone. Worried that Trump is trying to “create some sort of patronage relationship,” Comey makes a point of saying that he will not be politically “reliable” but will always tell Trump the truth. Trump is not mollified. “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty,” he declares.” Comey says nothing and the conversation moves on. Read more…

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The Big Tent: What Camping Can Teach Us About Israelis And American Jews

June 7, 2017 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Every year for the past six, I’ve spent an early summer weekend camping with several dozen Jewish parents (mostly fathers) and their elementary school aged kids. We all live in the New York area, but roughly one-quarter grew up in Israel. The other three-quarters hail from the United States or other parts of the Diaspora. Read more…