David Benkof | All Articles

David Benkof
David Benkof
Senior Political Analyst

Black-On-White “Michael Brown” Train Attack Was Terrorism

Last week, when three African-American men in their early 20s asked a white man riding home on a St. Louis train what he thought of “the Michael Brown situation,” he declined to respond, saying he was too tired. In response, they viciously attacked him, landing at least a dozen blows until the lead attacker kicked him in the head and exited the train, laughing and smiling.

Indiana’s New Seinfeld Law Is About Nothing. So Why The Boycott?

4:25 PM 03/27/2015

Companies and organizations have begun to boycott Indiana over its new Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The New York Times announced in a headline: “Bill Signed Allowing Denial of Service to Gays.” Gay-rights organizations are calling the law a “license to discriminate.” And celebrities from Miley Cyrus to George Takei have been hyperventilating.

Israel’s Coming Arab Surge

2:40 PM 03/06/2015

Between now and March 17, the day of the Knesset election, followers of Israeli politics will hotly debate which party and prime minister should and will guide Israel’s next phase. But another elections story, less discussed so far, may have just as far-reaching implications for the future of Israel’s democracy, identity, and history. Most polls suggest the representation of Arab parties in the Knesset will grow from the current 11 seats to 13, although I believe the number will be even higher. But even if the apparent growth is modest, the change will matter.

Republicans Must Stop Calling Keystone XL Approval A ‘Jobs Bill’

11:07 AM 01/23/2015

“Jobs!” appears to be the one-word Republican slogan promoting the Keystone Pipeline bill – or at least since November, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell began promoting “the Keystone jobs bill." That’s the same term Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) used Tuesday night in her response to the State of the Union.

The LGBT Community’s ‘Suicide Strategy’ Killed Leelah Alcorn

4:14 PM 01/07/2015

Over the last several days, candlelight vigils throughout the world have protested and memorialized the death of Leelah Alcorn, the 17-year-old transgender girl whose suicide on December 28, 2014 galvanized the LGBT community to object to the conditions that lead to such tragedies.

UN Security Council Vote Means Israel Can’t Choose Democracy

4:50 PM 12/31/2014

The conventional wisdom assumes that if Israelis and Palestinians cannot work out a two-state solution, the Jews will someday have to choose between democracy and independence. The specter of that choice has upset many of my fellow center-right, centrist, and left-of-center Zionist friends, since it means to them the end of Jewish statehood. But yesterday’s vote in the United Nations has convinced me that when that dreadful day comes, I’m going to choose independence over democracy.

Into The Freudian “Woods”

3:49 PM 12/26/2014

The movie version of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway classic "Into the Woods," which opened in theaters on Christmas Day, is much more than several interwoven, fractured fairy tales. It’s a thicket of symbols and themes that draw directly on the ideas and Weltanschauung of Sigmund Freud.

Colorado And Iowa Are More Important Than You Think

10:32 AM 10/31/2014

The Senate races in Colorado and Iowa are key contests in Tuesday’s midterms, say reporters and pundits alike. Indeed, if one party wins both elections, it will very likely control the Senate in the 114th Congress.

How MIT Grossly Overestimated Campus Sexual Assault

6:14 PM 10/28/2014

The MIT survey released yesterday with the alarming statistic that more than 17 percent of campus undergraduate women say they have been sexually assaulted is so poorly designed, analyzed, and reported that no reasonable person who examines it carefully can give any credence to its results.

Is Pope Francis A Model For Our Rabbis?

3:08 PM 10/14/2014

The shift in tone that Pope Francis is bringing to the Catholic Church has serious repercussions for people who follow that religion – but also those of other faith systems. As the most prominent religious figure in the world, the actions, ideas, and approach of the pontiff (literally, “bridge builder”) deserve attention, including among Jews. In fact, I think even our most outstanding rabbis could learn from Pope Francis.

Actually, The Court Just Undercut Gay Marriage’s Inevitability

5:52 PM 10/07/2014

Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced it will not review rulings from several lower courts that had found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The news has been widely interpreted as an auspicious signal for gay marriage – if not the nail in the coffin for man-woman marriage in America.

The Conservative Case Against Voter ID Laws

11:28 AM 09/16/2014

Friday’s decision by a federal appeals court to uphold Wisconsin’s voter ID law requiring proof of identification at polling booths has pleased many of my fellow Republicans who feared the measure would be declared a violation of federal law or even the Constitution.

Demagogue Ted Cruz Is A Danger To The GOP

1:44 PM 09/12/2014

For 48 hours now, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been celebrated as a gutsy hero for walking out of a Christian gathering after some attendees booed his pro-Israel remarks. His comment, “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you,” drew widespread attention and admiration.