Yesterday’s announcement that the Obama administration supports bans on “conversion therapy” for LGBT youth represents an understandable response to a deceptive and harmful practice. Since 2003, I’ve been one of the Jewish community’s most outspoken critics of reparative therapy. While I’m nervous about the government ever trying to regulate our minds, I share the president’s impulse against forced conversion therapy for gay and lesbian youth.
David Benkof | All Articles
Lost in the clamor of the recent debate over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is the fact that most of America’s gay-marriage laws have “religious freedom” in their titles – sometimes even in the first two words:
Last month, the Iranian mission at the United Nations wrote the International Atomic Energy Agency an “explanatory note” protesting resolutions by the organization had questioned Iran’s nuclear aims. The document asserts that “nuclear material in Iran has never been diverted from peaceful purposes.” In fact, it uses the word “peaceful” 11 times.
The indictment yesterday of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on eight counts of bribery raises the intriguing possibility that the blue-state seat could flip red if the GOP’s sole rock-star politician in the Garden State enters the race. That public servant, of course, is Gov. Chris Christie, who’s a little busy right now running for president.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson have reacted to the outcry over their states’ new Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) by promising a “fix” – although it’s still unclear exactly what amendments they will propose. The governors can accomplish the goals behind the laws while undermining the exaggerated objections of potential boycotters with two simple fixes:
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.
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.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Election Day exhortation of his supporters to vote since Arabs were already doing so “in droves” has become the white-and-gold dress of the American Jewish community.
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.
“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.
They are rare occasions to rally Congress and the American people behind specific, ambitious policy goals.
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.
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.
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.
To thunderous applause, President Barack Obama described himself in a March 2013 Jerusalem speech as “a man who’s been inspired in my own life by that timeless calling within the Jewish experience – tikkun olam … the work of repairing this world.”
In reporting on the recent disturbances in Ferguson, Missouri, the media has consistently violated two widely accepted journalistic guidelines: to avoid the passive voice; and to identify the race of a criminal suspect when it’s relevant to the story.
Despite last night’s Republican victories, many Democrats expect to take back the Senate and hold the presidency in 2016. So they think the future of the Supreme Court is theirs to lose.
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.
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.