Framing Putin

The past month has been nostalgic for me. The crisis over Ukraine and Crimea has felt and sounded, in the media and common conversation, very much like the halcyon days of my youth when the Cold War raged with all its mindless enmity. It’s a bit depressing to think someone like Hillary Clinton, who compared Vladimir Putin to Hitler thereby demonstrating she has absolutely no understanding of the situation and an even worse sense of global perspective, would be the person I’d be compelled to vote for if presidential elections were held today. I examine the atmosphere around Putin and the crisis in today’s Souciant. Check it out.

Faces of Transphobia

My weekly column at Souciant this time is not Mideast related at all. In the wake of Chelsea Manning’s revelation about herself, I take a look at the progress that has been made on transgender issues and the long way we still have to go, particularly in communities that should already be much farther along, in my view. More than usual, I welcome your feedback, either online or you can message me directly through the contact link on this page.

A Holocaust Double Standard

This piece originally appeared at Souciant’s new blog. Check it out for a great deal of brilliant and different progressive thought.

I wrote recently about the apoplectic reaction of some members of Russia’s Jewish community to Stephen Fry’s very accurate

Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman

comparison of the atmosphere in Germany at the beginning of Adolph Hitler’s Fascist regime and Vladmir Putin’s incitement to hate and violence against LGBT people in Russia.

Today, Israel’s very own hatemonger, Avigdor Lieberman, from the obscurity of his forced suspension from his post as Foreign Minister on corruption charges, raises the Holocaust specter, though this time on much more specious (though, I certainly grant, not entirely non-existent) grounds. Continue reading

Putin and the Jews

There is a movement afoot, with some big stars lending their names, to move the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi in Russia, or to boycott those games over the increasing volume of hate against LGBT folk in Russia. Not a few are drawing the entirely accurate comparison to the passage in Nazi Germany of discriminatory laws. It was not only that such laws led to where we all know it led, but even in the short term, it gave license to those jack-booted thugs to carry out violence, most often against Jews, but also against others. It permitted the police and other authorities to look the other way. And that’s why the comparison to Russia, where a similar dynamic is underway regarding LGBT folk, is perfectly apt. But, of course, there are always those who consider any comparison to the Holocaust off limits, unless it has the imprimatur of the “official” Jewish community. I explore all this in my latest piece for Souciant.

We Can Be Heroes

My weekly column comes out today. It is, I do believe, by far the most personal piece I’ve ever written for public consumption. It’s got nothing to do with US foreign policy, the Middle East or anything like that. It is on Jason Collins, David Bowie, and my experience of years gone by. I hope you’ll check it out.

The American Jihadist

Free speech is now a key battleground in the Israel-Palestine conflict. And, as with virtually all battlegrounds in this conflict, the debate is completely divorced from reason. The comparison of pro-BDS speakers to a hatemongering racist like Pamela Geller is absurd and offensive, and what one thinks of BDS as a tactic and a movement has no bearing on that obvious truth. I explore this at Souciant this week.