Monday, October 30th, 2023


From the River to the See

It's not an easy time to be a pro-peace, pro-two state solution Jew. On one hand, you've been fighting against Bibi and his increasingly right wing, anti-peace, settler-expanding, democracy-challenging government for years, and now he's the leader at the top of the effort to protect Israel and free the hostages. On the other hand, you've had to experience the rabid, relentless rise of antisemitism, chiefly exemplified in the uninformed (and often stupid), protests of fellow progressives that have somehow progressed past calls for Israel to show military restraint to protect civilians in Gaza into the bizarro support of a terrorist organization turned death cult; a social movement that has turned Hamas into a symbol of peace fighters, instead of viewing them as what they are, a murderous, blood-thirsty organization that has worked to decapitate peace (often by decapitating Jews) at every turn, uses citizens as human shields, and is preventing people from moving to safe areas and preventing Americans from leaving Gaza. Of course, I'm thinking of this from the perspective of an American Jew whose parents survived the Holocaust. My anger and anguish is nothing compared to those whose loved ones have been kidnapped by Hamas. Many, many of the families impacted by the October 7 massacre had spent their lives working for peace and equality in a region that self-assured American campus protesters have never visited and might have a hard time finding on a map. And it's of course nothing compared to the families of innocent Palestinians who have gone from living under the thumb of Hamas to living and dying under a storm of bombs.

+ "American colleges and universities are the hotbed of antisemitism, by a liberal mob that has not taken the time to understand the issues. I love the 'Queers of Palestine' - try being Queer in Gaza ... When they chant 'From the river to the sea Palestine will be free they are calling for the destruction and massacre of Israel and Israelis. Between the river and the sea are Palestinian territories AND the state of Israel. And where were these voices protesting the Russian war crimes in the Ukraine? Where is the call to release the kidnapped Israelis as part of a ceasefire? The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complicated and has no good guys. Hamas is not part of that - it is something different." Noam Bardin: Day 24 of War.

+ David Remnick with a must-read in The New Yorker: "The victims of the Hamas attack—the dead, the survivors, the kidnapped—were not settlers or fanatics; they were, in the main, the liberals of Israel, a breed that still speaks (with caveats and shades of difference) about peace and two states for two peoples. They tend to loathe Netanyahu for his hubris and corruption, his disdain for the Palestinians, his attempt to diminish the Supreme Court, and his alliance with such lurid reactionaries." In the Cities of Killing. "The coffins were carried in and the names were read: one by one by one by one by one. At first, there was silence, but now a great communal lamentation convulsed the assembled. I have never heard such weeping as I did that afternoon. There would be many more funerals to come, many more convulsions of grief. But the sounds of lamentation never carry as far as those of rockets, missiles, artillery, bombs." (On whichever side of the border your politics lie or your tribal connections align, your heart should ache for the innocent people getting killed on both sides of it.)

+ "It's well past time for the long-suffering Palestinians to have their own state. But what we are hearing from the far left — in rallies, online and on campuses — is something else entirely. They are attacking the Jewish state's very existence. They are celebrating the mass murder of Jewish people. And they have, predictably, set off an orgy of violence and harassment directed at American Jews." Dana Milbank in WaPo (Gift Article): What a lonely time to be a Jew in America.

+ "It seems odd that one has to say: Killing civilians, old people, even babies, is always wrong. But today say it one must ... Hamas set up a one-party state that crushes Palestinian opposition within its territory, bans same-sex relationships, represses women, and openly espouses the killing of all Jews. Very strange company for leftists ... Israel has done many harsh and bad things. Netanyahu's government, the worst ever in Israeli history, as inept as it is immoral, promotes a maximalist ultranationalism that is both unacceptable and unwise. Everyone has the right to protest against Israel's policies and actions but not to promote terror sects, the killing of civilians, and the spreading of menacing anti-Semitism." Simon Sebag Montefiore in The Atlantic (Gift Article): The Decolonization Narrative Is Dangerous and False.

+ "Benjamin Netanyahu apologized on Sunday for blaming his country's security services for the lapses that led to the surprise attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7." The most deadly attack in Israel occurred and hundreds of hostages are in grave danger: But a narcissist only knows how to protect one person: himself. America, take note.

+ "A mob stormed an airport in the Russian republic of Dagestan ... Hundreds of people, some chanting antisemitic slogans and waving Palestinian flags, rushed onto the landing field to seek passengers on a flight arriving from Tel Aviv." Israel-Hamas War Sparks Wave of Antisemitism in Europe.

+ "The people in Gaza, every house has death, has a kid lost, died, or a father died, or a cousin died. It's not even one house in Gaza that they don't have death." For Palestinian and Israeli Americans, the unimaginable is now a reality.

+ "At a moment of heightened concern that the Israel-Hamas war could spiral into a broader regional conflict, Biden has begun to emphasize that once the bombing and shooting stop, working toward a Palestinian state should no longer be ignored." Biden says Mideast leaders must consider a two-state solution after the war ends.

+ 63 UN Aid workers have been killed during Israeli airstrikes, the ground incursion continues as tanks approach Gaza City, hostage videos released by Hamas, one hostage rescued, Biden presses Bibi to increase humanitarian aid. Here's the latest from BBC, CNN, and NBC.


Shock and UAW

"Details of the GM deal were not announced, but sources said the UAW won the same package of wage increases it agreed at the other two automakers, which raises top pay for veteran workers by 33%." UAW reaches deal with GM, ending strike against Detroit automakers.

+ We are in an era of building worker rights. It's been a long time coming. "The strike comes amid a wider revival of labor. Though union membership is at a historic low, in the past few years the number of striking workers has reached its highest level in decades. Recent walkouts by members of *SAG*-*AFTRA* and the Writers Guild and by workers at Kaiser Permanente have enjoyed broad public approval. According to a Gallup poll, sixty-seven per cent of Americans now support labor unions, nineteen points higher than in 2009." The New Yorker: Will the U.A.W. Strike Turn the Rust Belt Green?


Today’s P.E. Class

"In 2000, private-equity firms managed about 4 percent of total U.S. corporate equity. By 2021, that number was closer to 20 percent. In other words, private equity has been growing nearly five times faster than the U.S. economy as a whole." The Atlantic (Gift Article): The Secretive Industry Devouring the U.S. Economy.


Cereal Killer

"It wasn't always like this. Once upon a time, a cereal box — perhaps featuring a cartoonish mascot, or maybe your favorite Olympic athlete — dominated the breakfast table. But cereal's decline has been long and steep — and a table isn't even in the picture. Its demise hit an inflection point in 2016, when a study showed that millennials were eschewing it because they simply couldn't be bothered to wash the bowl and spoon. The category has fallen even further, with post-pandemic sales tanking, particularly because younger customers are no longer yoked to those milk-doused bowls." WaPo (Gift Article): Why breakfast sandwiches rise and shine as cereal keeps losing steam.


Extra, Extra

Petty Theft: "Some retail analysts and researchers, bolstered by local crime statistics, say stores may be over-stating the extent and impact of theft. Why? It's a useful deflection, camouflaging weak demand, mismanagement and other issues denting business right now. And it forces lawmakers to respond." Chains are using theft to mask other issues, report says.

+ Straight But Narrow: "The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump's 2020 election interference case in Washington has reimposed a narrow gag order barring him from making public comments targeting prosecutors, court staff and potential witnesses."

+ Losing a Friend: "He was a brilliant talent. It's a cliche to say that an actor makes a role their own, but in Matthew's case, there are no truer words. From the day we first heard him embody the role of Chandler Bing, there was no one else for us ... He was always the funniest person in the room. More than that, he was the sweetest, with a giving and selfless heart." Friends creators pay tribute to Matthew Perry. And from The Guardian: "The best thing about me is that if an alcoholic or drug addict comes up to me and says ‘Will you help me?' I will always say ‘Yes, I know how to do that' ... When I die, as far as my so-called accomplishments go, it would be nice if Friends were listed far behind the things I did to try and help other people." ‘Matthew Perry took me to AA' – why saving people mattered more to the star than Friends.

+ Heard the Good News? "During the procedure, doctors used a virus to add replacement DNA to the cells in Yiyi's inner ear that pick up vibrations, allowing them to transmit sound to her brain." Some deaf children in China can hear after gene treatment.

+ Racing for a Cure: "For decades, Chip Wilson has been facing a form of muscular dystrophy. Now the notoriously unfiltered billionaire is spending $100 million to cure it." Bloomberg (Gift Article): Lululemon's Founder Is Racing to Cure the Rare Disease Destroying His Muscles.

+ Empty Taxi: "Here in California, the whiplash from approval to ban in just two months highlights the fragmented oversight governing the self-driving car industry — a system that allowed Cruise to operate on San Francisco's roads for more than three weeks following the October collision, despite dragging a human pinned underneath the vehicle." How a robotaxi crash got Cruise's self-driving cars pulled from Californian roads. (Ultimately, we'll have to compare how the safety of self-driving cars compares to the safety of those being driven by humans.)


Bottom of the News

Nate Bargatze is a very well known touring comedian, but he's not SNL famous. At least not until Saturday night when he hosted the show. He was solid during his opening monologue, and I loved the skit about George Washington's dream for America.