Nobody asked me

“I read your post and as a result I’ve totally changed my mind on the subject,” said no one ever.

Occasionally, I write something personal that does resonate with people and I get positive feedback. Much of the time I feel as if I post just to bring out the ideological robots who challenge my views using talking points from whatever interest they espouse. It’s all good; open, intelligent debate never hurt anyone, if anything, it strengthens us.

It has been a while since I’ve posted on this forum. A lot has happened and I have so much to say. Rather than focus on one issue I’ve decided to list some observations I’ve made over the past six weeks. Nobody asked me, I don’t expect to change any minds but the Internet is the great equalizer — we all get a soapbox.

  • Now that same sex marriage has become the law of the land in the US, it’s time for the Western World to come to the realization that religion has only three places, the home, the parochial school and the house of worship. Stay out of everything else.
  • The election and reelection of Barack Obama as president of the USA did not usher in a post racial era. If anything, it slowed the progress of civil rights as white America patted themselves on the back for voting for a black man while continuing to incarcerate men of color for petty crime at ten times the rate of whites. We have so much work ahead of us.
  • Benjamin Netanyahu has staked his career on fear mongering, challenging President Obama and preventing a deal with Iran; he lost.
  • It’s become routine to bash the Haredi world for their ideological excesses. It’s time to give them props when due. Most Haredim in Israel that were required to show up to serve in the IDF when drafted did. Those against serving have been for the most part sidelined. In the US, I attended a business networking conference where 90% of the participants were ultra-Orthodox and included women. The stereotype of the Haredi who does not work and refuses to interact with women is slowing giving way to a much different reality.
  • Whether you are against the deal with Iran or not, it was a breath of fresh air to hear a president give a coherent and detailed argument as to why he supports it. In his interview with Tom Friedman of the New York Times after the deal was finalized, the president showed a mastery of the details and was able to articulate why he chose this route. As of today, not one opponent of the deal, including the Israeli prime minister, has put forward a plausible alternative. I don’t trust Iran either, but I’ve yet to hear an alternative to the deal that doesn’t involve war, Iran getting the bomb anyway or convincing all the participants (see China, Russia) to continue sanctions.
  • I would not want to be Senator Charles Schumer of New York right now. He’s next in line to become the Democratic leader of the senate when Harry Reid retires in 2016. However, Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local.” If Schumer backs the Iran deal and bucks his base, especially the congressional district that elected him multiple times before he was elected to the senate and that is overwhelmingly against the deal, he faces a possible backlash from a coalition of downstate conservatives (including blocks of Orthodox Jews) and upstate rural Republicans that have elected Republicans statewide before; see, Rockefeller, Javits, D’Amato and Pataki to name a few. New York voters can be very unforgiving. I do not expect a profile in courage here, I anticipate Schumer will vote against the deal once he is assured there are enough Democrats voting in favor of it to sustain a presidential veto.
  • I remember it taking me quite a while to absorb and believe that OJ Simpson was a murderer, I have no such struggles with the Bill Cosby rape allegations. It might be too late to prosecute him, but if we can keep Pete Rose out of the Baseball Hall of Fame, we can move on from idolizing Cosby for anything.
  • Ignoring Donald Trump on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side in the presidential primary race or downplaying their resonance to key voting blocs in their respective parties will come at the detriment of the eventual nominee.
  • It certainly looks like President Obama has sidelined allies while cozying up to pariahs like Cuba, Myanmar and Iran and effectively pivoting America’s geopolitical outlook. To some, this is his “Nixon in China” moment, to others he is naïve. My hopeful side is at odds with my pessimist side here.
  • The most important factor in the next US presidential election is that the winner will likely nominate three or four Supreme Court Justices, thereby influencing the direction of the country for a generation plus. Hillary is starting to look better and better to me.

But nobody asked me.

About the Author
Joel Moskowitz is a businessman and writer who finally made it to Jerusalem. He is currently chronicling this move in an Aliyah Journal posted on this site.