Is Israel a Democracy or Not?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prohibiting Congressional Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) from visiting Israel during a trip scheduled to start Sunday. Netanyahu reversed an earlier decision on Thursday.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely announced on Israel’s Reshet Radio, “The decision has been made; the decision is not to allow them to enter.”

President Trump On Twitter: “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.” Trump added: “Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!” These are Trump’s autocratic characterizations of these members of Congress, not the truth, not even reality. Trump’s statements, behavior and actions are outrageous, un-American, and not those of someone who believes in freedom of opinion and speech, certainly not those emblematic of an American President. But his supporters live for and love the sadistic, mean, ruthlessness of Trump’s warped, hateful mind and his vengeful impulses, for they fulfill their own desires.

This action by Netanyahu is unprecedented and inconsistent with Israel’s claims of tolerance and openness. Is free speech, freedom of thought and disagreement only allowed in Israel when it’s State sanctioned, or when it is aligned with Trump’s opinions and policies. Which tail is wagging which dog?

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen

More Has To Happen

Ray Harryhausen died yesterday, the visionary responsible for the animation in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts, among many others.

Even before I knew or much cared to know his name, he inspired and touched me. If it were ever raining on a Saturday afternoon when I was a kid, we would tune in to Chanel 11 hoping that the Yankees were rained out, and the station would show an emergency double feature of films from Hammer Studios, maybe the B-list of Universal’s classic monsters, or the golden fleece itself: those garishly colored stop motion Greek myths.

To this day, I love showing friends the skeleton fight from Jason and the Argonauts, but it’s worth remembering that Harryhausen kept making films into the Star Wars era. This film from 1973 made a huge impression on me, especially Kali wielding swords in all her arms.

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