Gary Epstein
And now for something completely different . . .

Still Ambulatory, Even More Confused

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Some random thoughts during a war:

Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers have petitioned the court for a rehearing. Evidence has come to light that a number of the women he is alleged to have assaulted were Jewish, and some of them may have been Zionist. UN Women and the MeToo Movement, in accordance with their policies, have not commented.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes has announced that she is outraged at the response to her controversial Christmas message to the effect that Jesus was a Palestinian. Her new announcement reads: “To all those colonist-oppressors who have suggested that there were no Palestinians extant in Judea when Jesus was born to a Jewish mother, and that Jesus was therefore a Jew throughout his lifetime, I respond with a fact that even the haters will acknowledge: If Jesus had been a Jewish baby, Hamas would have murdered and burned him. Aha!!”

About 40% of Gaza’s population is 14 years old or younger. Their parents were born in Gaza. Their grandparents were born in Gaza. None of them are refugees, by any reasonable definition of the word. They are only refugees because Arab countries will not permit them to integrate into other societies, thus maintaining a debating point against Israel, at the price of the dignity and welfare of these poor people. If we conferred refugee status on the great grandchildren of any other displaced population, and tried to support them through UN donations, the UN would be out of funds in two weeks, a result devoutly to be hoped for.

Less than 3% of Gaza’s population is over 75 years of age. Some of them (those who were not born in Gaza and did not move there voluntarily) may actually be refugees.  Gaza receives billions of dollars in aid. I think it should all go to the actual refugees.  They can buy new dentures.

If you misgender someone, that is violence. If you call for the genocide of Jews, that is speech. It depends on the context.

When Pakistan became independent in 1947, over 4.7 million Hindus and Sikhs from West Pakistan left for India. Guess how many of them or their great-grand-children are classified as refugees? Hint: exactly as many as the 850,000 Jews who were driven out of their homes in Arab countries after Israel became a country in 1948.  Zero. Context, I guess.

And on that note, Europe provided haven for millions of Muslim refugees in the wake of the Iraq and Syria conflicts. (Arabs killing Arabs. Keep moving. Nothing to see here.) Hamas has demanded that no Arab country provide a haven for the beleaguered Gazans. They are more useful pawns if they are maintained in misery.  These Hamas people have no souls and they have no hearts. It is disgusting that they did what they did on October 7. What they did to their own people defies comprehension.

Joe Biden was born in 1942. Columbus discovered America in 1492. Coincidence? I think not.

In the 15th century, when Christianity was 1400 years old, the 100 Years War came to an end, the printing press was invented, and the Renaissance began to take root in Europe, ending the Dark Ages. It eventually led to the Enlightenment. The Hejira, customarily accepted as the beginning of Islam, occurred in 622. Islam is now 1400 years old. Who knows? Maybe the Dark Ages of Islamist terror will abate and some enlightenment will ensue. But don’t bet on it.

On the other hand, things didn’t get much better for the Jews during the Renaissance. And Judaism was about 2,400 years old.

Please pray for my wife. She is quite healthy, thank God, but she has been married to me for 53 years and I think it may be starting to get to her. I told her that God promised Adam that obedient wives would be found in all corners of the world.  Then He made the world round, and He and I laughed and laughed and laughed.

When President Biden travels to Israel to show his solidarity, does anyone call him up and ask if he has room for a small package, or whether he could mail a letter?  Before he gets on the plane, do you suppose they ask him whether anyone has given him anything? And if they do, does he take the Fifth?

I used to refrain from mentioning my degree from Harvard Law School out of modesty. Now? Shame.

I used to refrain from mentioning my degree from NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences out of shame. No change.

My degrees from Yeshiva University are looking better and better.

I am going to get through this whole thing without mentioning Donald or Melania Trump. Except there’s just one thing that eludes me. Can anyone explain to me one more time why Michelle Obama and Kamala Harris were on the cover of Vogue, and Melania wasn’t? Context? Affirmative Action? DEI? Bad taste? Myopia? Flat out acrimony, bitterness, rancor, and hatred? I mean, OK, her husband may be a . . . nope, not going there.

Not a single person grows up in Israel being taught or believing that his or her primary purpose in life is to kill Arabs. Not a single Muslim grows up in Gaza being taught or believing that his or her primary purpose in life is not to kill Jews. Two states? First address the two states of mind.

It’s so easy when your enemies are the Jewish people. You have so many natural allies, from the turkey who runs Turkey, to the adolescent who runs Canada, to the child husband who runs France, to the supporters of George Floyd who rule in urban America, to a squad of lame-brained leftists in Congress, to the idiots who tear down posters of kidnapped babies. Moreover, from a purely operational Hamas  perspective, when you kill the Jews, you win. And when they kill you . . . you win.  It’s like no matter who scores the touchdown, your team gets the points. Terrorists, 49–Decent People, 0. After a while, your opponents sort of lose their appetite for the game. And that is what Hamas is counting on.

Hamas (echoed by many of its supporters on University campuses) says that the rape and kidnapping and murder of civilians on October 7 was just resistance, not terrorism.  Historians are probably wondering how Gandhi missed that nuance.

There is a legal doctrine called disparate impact.  It refers to the application of a standard, requirement, or test that, while on its face appears neutral, results in an adverse effect on members of protected classes.  For example, if an IQ test administered for admission to kindergarten resulted in the failure to admit a proportional amount of members of a certain group, that group might demand redress as a result of the disparate impact of the test, and the test is presumed to be discriminatory and therefore prohibited.  So I had this fantasy about the NBA . . . whose admission criteria would appear to adversely affect members of my group–elderly, overweight, Jews–and many others, e.g., nuns.  Can you imagine what the NBA would look like if every group, gender, non-gender, fluid gender, age group, ethnicity, and religion demanded appropriate representation? (The answer is: Congress.)  Would the NBA’s argument that they judge exclusively on merit carry the day?  If so, why doesn’t that work everywhere else?

If Jesus was a Palestinian, why did he say in the Sermon on the Mount that he came not to abolish the law of Moses? Was Moses Palestinian too? And King David? (Notice that Psalms, attributed to the authorship of King David, and the Palestinians, a made up nationality that didn’t exist 100 years ago, have all the same letters, except for the “m,” the “e,” the “t,” the “i,” and the two “n”s.  Coincidence?  I think not.)  Seriously, do they really believe this nonsense?  Or is it just for the mush-brained Harvard students? And, of course, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes.

Mohammad Abbas is willing to step in as the moderate alternative in Gaza.  Joe Biden approves.  Now if Abbas can only win over the Israelis and the Gazans, peace will be at hand.  And he need not worry about elections.  Why should he start now?  He is still serving his 4-year term that started some 15 years ago.  Does anyone in the State Department remember when the Palestinians elected Hamas and Hamas subsequently expelled Fatah from Gaza violently?  If so, could you remind the President?  You may need to remind him again.  And again.

Pro-Palestinian protestors blocked traffic to Kennedy Airport.  They got out of their cars and formed a human chain across the highway.  I haven’t been to  New York for a few years, but I seem to recall that every time you stepped into the street when the light turned green and the sign said walk, you were taking your life in your hands.  It wasn’t just the taxi drivers.  It was the messengers and delivery persons on bikes.  Motorcycles.  Busses.  And now NY drivers trying to catch a plane are stopping for a bunch of idiots with masks and keffiyehs? Hey, New Yorkers, here’s some advice… next time, don’t stop.  Don’t even slow down. You’ve got a plane to catch. And it’s New York.  DA: Alvin Bragg.  No cash bail.  No incarceration.  Not even a slap on the wrist.  And you will become a folk hero. Gedadahea!

Hey, Washington!  The next time someone tells you that encouraging Qatar to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to Hamas will make them more moderate and encourage them to disassociate from Iran, be a bit more skeptical.  And, by the way, I remained a proud American as we lost wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan.  But I draw the line at losing a war to something called the Houthis.  I remember when they and the blowfish were just a mediocre singing group.  We have the weapons to knock the Hootie out of them.  Do it!  And then there are those Iranian oil fields.  They are not going to listen to reason.  They will, however, notice if you destroy their oil fields, one at a time.  Trust me.

No one who was in Israel for the year before the massacre will ever forget how fragmented Israeli society was and how ruinous the internecine conflict had become.  And no one who was here on Simchat Torah and for the past three months will ever forget how that community came together, with love, passion, commitment, caring, devotion, prayer, song, kindness, fellowship, generosity, loyalty, affection, allegiance, patriotism, warmth, and community.  We became a family.  I don’t know a single person, from grade school to pensioner, who did not try to assist others, encourage others, comfort others.  Of course it won’t last.  And of course the price we paid was far beyond any benefit that could possibly be obtained.  But it’s nice to know that we had it in us.  And I hope that we don’t forget it easily.

My doctor told me that I needed to lose weight.  He said that the man who wrote the brilliant “Manly Man’s Diet For Manly Men” should not be overweight.  I told him that I had difficulty following my own advice, even though others had amazing success doing so.  He advised that I run a quarter-mile daily for a week, then a half-mile daily for a week, then a mile daily for a month, then two miles daily for two months, then three miles daily for three months, and then to call him.  So six and a half months later I called him.  I thanked him for his excellent advice.  And then I said, “How do I get home, now that I’m 425 and ¼ miles away?”

And if you have heard that joke, remember:  Ambulatory.  Confused.

About the Author
Gary Epstein is a retired teacher and lawyer residing in Modi'in, Israel. He was formerly the Head of the Global Corporate and Securities Department of Greenberg Traurig, a global law firm with an office in Tel Aviv, which he founded and of which he was the first Managing Partner. He and his wife Ahuva are blessed with18 grandchildren, ka"h, all of whom he believes are well above average. He currently does nothing. He believes he does it well.