From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/opinion/trump-jews.html
A president loyal only to himself uses my community as a political weapon.
The major debate tearing apart the American Jewish community on this particular Wednesday is whether or not the 45th president of the United States just accused them — us — of disloyalty to Israel and the Jewish people or of disloyalty to the Republican Party and the man who has remade it in his image.
“Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they are defending these two people over the state of Israel?” President Trump said on Tuesday, referring to Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, Democratic congresswomen who support the boycott movement against Israel. “And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
As my people say: Nu?
What do you hear in the president’s statement, which, like many things he blurts out, manages to be both opaque and outrageous at once? If you’re pro-Trump or Trump-curious, you’ll generously hear an assertion that Jews should be loyal to Israel. If you’re anything like me, you can’t help but hear echoes of the sinister charge of dual loyalty.
I’ve been around enough tables with pro-Trump Jews to strongly suspect that this is a riff on a theme Mr. Trump himself has overheard at many dinners with Ivanka and Jared, the favorite daughter and dauphin: dismay that even those Jews who have appreciated the president’s Israel policies — moving the Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, cracking down on Iran — will never pull the lever for him.
It’s easy to imagine what they say: Look how much you’ve done. More than any other president. They should be grateful. Why can’t they see that? Why can’t they see that the Democratic Party has abandoned them? Meantime, you’re more pro-Israel than most American Jews! Indeed, on Wednesday afternoon at the White House, Mr. Trump clarified as much: “If you want to vote Democrat, you are being very disloyal to Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel.”
Brace yourself for further presidential Twitter rants on the matter because I do not believe that Mr. Trump is capable of higher-order thoughts about loyalty — loyalty to the office in which he sits, loyalty to the Republic, and, above all, loyalty to the idea of keeping America united. Fealty to him is the only litmus test.
Indeed, if we have learned anything about the former host of “The Apprentice,” it is that he looks at the world in the exact way he looked at those contestants. You’re a winner or you’re a loser. You’re for him or you’re a turncoat. In his small mind, if you’re on Team Jew, you vote for his party because Republicans are pro-Israel and, therefore, pro-Jew. If you’re on Team Anti-Semite, well, then you vote for the other guys.
All of which is why I have zero doubt that if the prime minister of Israel criticized Mr. Trump on the wrong day or in the wrong way, the president would dump Israel at that very moment. And it is why anyone with a shred of knowledge about Jewish history should be extremely concerned.
If 2,000 years of diasporic living has taught the Jews anything, it’s that an existence that is contingent upon the kindness of strangers is never too safe or too long lasting. A president with authoritarian tendencies who cares about nothing more than lock-step loyalty is not one American Jews, let alone anyone, can rely on.
Continue reading at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/opinion/trump-jews.html
Mon 17 Jun 2019
When Ashton Applewhite hit 55 years old, she dyed her hair. So what? That’s what women the world over do, you might think: dye grey hair to hide their age. But what Applewhite did was different: she dyed her hair grey. Not Kim Kardashian-platinum grey, but defiantly uncool, bog-standard grey.
“I went to a matinee, so it was all old people,” she says, grinning widely as she absentmindedly tousles her hair, the brown roots showing. “When it finished, everyone left via an escalator. I looked down and there was not a grey head to be spotted. I suddenly thought: ‘This is one way we collude, en masse, in making ourselves invisible as older women – and that’s a real problem, because when people are invisible, so are the issues that affect them’.”
When Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, gave a TED talk titled Let’s End Ageism in 2017, it was an unexpected hit, with 1.5m views to date. In the video, the audience gives Applewhite repeated standing ovations as she talks about how it is not the passage of time that makes it so hard to get older, it’s ageism: a totally illogical prejudice that pits us against our future selves. “Ageing is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured,” she exhorts from the TED stage, to shouts of support. “It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all.”
But back to the matinee: “I stood at the top of that escalator,” Applewhite, now 66, says, “and I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing to have the year of letting our hair go grey, so the world can see how many of us there are and how beautiful we are and how diverse we are?”
Applewhite, who is based in New York, inherited her mother’s no-grey-hair gene. But she decided that if she was going to talk the talk, she needed to walk the walk: “The big, if shallow, surprise is how much I liked having grey hair, because I didn’t expect to,” she says. “But other people’s reactions varied. My manager at work said: ‘You don’t look older’; my friend Mer said: ‘You look older’; and her husband Josh said: ‘You look hot!’”
“But what was most interesting was a contributor to my blog, who said: ‘Fine for some, but my hair doesn’t look good grey.’ OK, no judgment, but I wonder how much of her opinion is coloured by what the grey signifies to her – because that’s what we need to work on, in ourselves and in the culture: decoupling ‘older’ from ‘undesirable’ and ‘old’ from ‘ugly’.”
This is the elevator pitch for Applewhite’s exuberant, thoughtful and surprisingly entertaining book. “My call to action skews towards the first and foundational step of confronting internalised ageism,” she says. “But that is only the first step. It is clear that upending discrimination on the basis of age will require fundamental changes in the way society is structured.”