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Steve Sheffey's Pro-Israel Political Update

Calling balls and strikes for the pro-Israel community since 2006

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April 2, 2023

Key Takeaways:

  • This year's Top 10 list is the perfect seder supplement. You can share it by sharing this newsletter using the link toward the top of this page or by sharing the list itself, which you can download as a photo for printing or sharing.

  • President Biden proved himself to be a better friend of Israel by speaking up than the Republicans who remained silent. The situation in Israel is fraught with danger but also with opportunity and a horizon of hope.

  • The new Stand Up to Jewish hate campaign is yet another vehicle to promote the IHRA definition of antisemitism. We must call attention to antisemitism but we cannot effectively fight antisemitism with ineffective, inappropriate definitions. The good news is that efforts to codify the IHRA definition in Georgia failed on Wednesday.

  • White supremacists are driving the increase in antisemitic incidents. No form of antisemitism is acceptable regardless of its source, but unless we have unlimited resources, we should and must focus on the greatest threat and the reality that only the Republican Party tolerates and embraces right-wing extremism. We have a choice: We can pretend that both parties are equally to blame or we can be realistic.

Read to the end for corrections, what you may have missed last week, fun stuff, and upcoming events.

You're welcome to read for free, but if you want to chip in to help defray the cost of the newsletter, click here to pay by credit card or PayPal. Just fill in the amount of your choice. Or Venmo @Steven-Sheffey (if it asks, the last four phone digits are 9479).

Hi Steve,

Chag Pesach Sameach! It's time for a new Top Ten. Nearly a year ago my Top Ten Signs You Might Be at a Republican Seder (here in meme form) went viral. It went so viral that some of you received the list from others as a stand-alone and did not realize that it was from this newsletter--even though I posted it on Twitter and Facebook the same day.

At some point, someone removed any reference to me or my newsletter and the list circulated with no attribution. Did they think the list fell from the sky like manna? Plagiarism for laughs is still plagiarism. But I'm glad it got some laughs, and I know that nearly everyone who shared it did so in good faith. A year later, I'm seeing it again on Twitter and Facebook, again without attribution.

A few hours after sending that newsletter last year, I posted the Top Ten as a Twitter thread with links to my newsletter. A week later, Michael Cohen--yes, that Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer--cut and pasted the thread and reposted it as his own, minus the links to my newsletter. I objected, Cohen apologized, and then actress Ellen Barkin called him out. Cohen then denied stealing it, but comedian Elayne Boosler set the record straight. Cohen never fixed it, although he did concede my comedic brilliance. Talk about trials and tribulations.

Just in time for Pesach 5783, here are my updated Top Ten Signs You're At a Republican Seder. Let's make this one go viral too!

Pesach is a festival of liberation and freedom. We can be disheartened by the Israeli government's proposals to undermine democracy and restrict freedom and at the same time be heartened by Israel's populace serving as a light unto the nations by non-violently protesting in support of democracy and Zionist values. We are not out of the woods but there is a horizon of hope.

Amir Tibon, noting that Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel for decades, writes that his "greatest act of support for Israel, in his presidency and arguably his entire career, was the short statement he made on Tuesday against Netanyahu’s plan to weaken the Israeli judicial system. By telling Netanyahu to either find compromise with the opposition or 'walk away' from the destructive plan, he proved himself to be a true friend of Israel – one that offers his support when it is needed, but can also tell a friend the hard, uncomfortable truth when it needs to be heard." A lesson many organizations that claim to support Israel need to learn.

Last week I spoke with Jonathan Kessler, the founder and CEO of Heart of a Nation. Kessler sees this as a moment fraught with danger but also a time of enormous opportunity, and he has no doubt that Israel will survive this crisis. Read my interview with Kessler to find out why.

Corrections. I'm entitled to my own opinions but not to my own facts, so I appreciate it when readers bring errors to my attention. No one brought any mistakes to my attention last week, so it looks like last week's newsletter was perfect.

In Case You Missed It:

  • Are Israeli generals more left-wing than their own government? Those who know the most about Israel's security oppose the right-wing government's authoritarian proposals. It's no coincidence that a significant portion of Israel's military and security establishment, unlike Israel's right-wing government at the time, supported the Iran Deal and opposed Trump's withdrawal from the deal. Facts have a left-wing bias.

  • White supremacists are driving the increase in antisemitic incidents. We must oppose antisemitism in all forms from all sources, but if we are serious about fighting antisemitism we must stop pretending that both sides are the same and acknowledge that right-wing extremism remains our greatest threat--and that right-wing extremism has been embraced by only one of our major political parties, the Republican Party.

Tweet of the Week. Sam Morril. I can relate.

Twitter Thread of the Week. Gershom Gorenberg.

Facebook Post of the Week. Hadar Susskind.

Chart of the Week. It's the guns.

Video Clip of the Week. Cleaning for Pesach--the Fauda way. Doesn't matter if you speak Hebrew. If you've seen Fauda, you'll get it.

This is the newsletter even Republicans have to read. If someone forwarded this to you, why not subscribe and get it in your inbox every Sunday? Just click here--it's free.

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The Fine Print: This newsletter usually drops on Sunday mornings. Unless stated otherwise, the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of any candidates or organizations I support or am associated with. I value intellectual honesty over intellectual consistency, and every sentence should be read as if it began with the words "This is what I think today is most likely to be correct and I'm willing to be proven wrong, but..." Read views opposed to mine and make up your own mind. A link to an article doesn't mean I agree with everything its author has ever said or even that I agree with everything in the article; it means that the article supports or elaborates on the point I was making. I read and encourage replies to my newsletters but I don't always have time to acknowledge them or engage in one-on-one discussion. I'm happy to read anything, but please don't expect me to watch videos of any length--send me a transcript if it's that important. Don't expect a reply if your message is uncivil or if it's clear from your message that you only read the bullet points or failed to click on the relevant links. If you share an excerpt from this newsletter please share the link to the newsletter (near the top of the newsletter). My newsletter, my rules.

Dedicated to Ariel Sheffey, Ayelet Sheffey, and Orli Sheffey z''l. Copyright 2023 Steve Sheffey. All rights reserved.