Thursday, April 17, 2014

Donetsk, Ukraine Observes Passover By Re-Enacting Antisemitism

The embattled city of Donetsk, Ukraine celebrated the Jewish holiday of Passover this week with the ancient tradition of antisemitism. Someone, it's currently unclear who, posted notices around the city telling Donetski Jews,

All citizens of Jewish nationality over the age of 16 who live on the territory of the sovereign Donetsk Republic must before May 3, 2014, appear before the Donetsk Republic commissar for nationality affairs in Room 514 of the government’s offices. The cost of registration is 50 US dollars.
That this event coincides with Passover may not be a coincidence. Passover celebrates the legendary escape of the Jewish people from Egypt, which, if historical, is the oldest case of antisemitism. Jews celebrate passover by gathering with family, praying, and eating Matzah, a kind of bread-cracker hybrid which ancient antisemite tradition claims is made from the blood of christian boys. However, many moderate antisemites today believe that such stories are not factually correct, but merely serve to remind believers that Jews must be feared and hated. Given the long history of Judiasm, antisemitism and Passover, it only makes sense that antisemites would celebrate Passover with the persecution of the Jews.
The tradition of antisemitism seen here has a rich cultural history. Archaeologists have found evidence of antisemitism dating back to hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, and it has been continuously practiced to some extent ever since. Antisemitism can range from the banning of synagogues to clothing restrictions to restrictions on residence to outright massacres, and in extreme cases systematic murder. Some critics have condemned antisemitism for being " is prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish religion or heritage" (Source: Wikipedia), but others respond that antisemitism is a rich and diverse culture that should not be painted with one brush.
One such person is Artem Oleksiy, an official of the self-declared Donetsk Republic. "We have a long tradition of antisemitism.", he told News from Rockettopia. "This new requirement that Jews register with the government is simply an expression of our rich cultural heritage. We are proud to be bigots." When asked if the Jew Registration Drive would lead to the establishment of ghettos, voting restrictions, and laws about Jewish-owned businesses, Oleksiy dismissed such claims nonchalantly. "Absurd. Those plans are not to be released to the public for three months yet."
As a practicing Jew, I hope that the two traditions of Judaism and the irrational hatred of Jews can coexist peacefully in Donetsk.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

AGSA Should Not Have Kept Quiet About Day of Silence

The student body awoke last Friday to discover that it was the national Day of Silence. The Day of Silence, which is organized locally by the AGSA (All Genders and Sexualities Alliance), is a day on which participants keep silent to protest the social pressures that make GLBTQ teens stay silent about who they are. Unfortunately, this year the AGSA did not talk to the school beforehand about the day of silence. So when Friday 4/11 arrived, the student body was caught off-guard. Many would-be participants were forced to speak because they had not been able to fill out the paperwork in time. To be absolutely clear, yes, I am saying that at Rockettopia High School, one must fill out paperwork days in advance just to be allowed to shut up.
Although supporter badges were avalable at the doors, and many students wore them, many have spoken out encouraging the AGSA to talk to the student body about the Day of Silence next year.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ryan Proposes New Budget; Likely More Campaign Tool Than Legislation

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan today announced that he would be attempting to propose an updated version of his trademark budget proposal this Wednesday. Ryan's budget will cut taxes radically for the rich, increase defense spending, cut medicaid, and, of course, repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The budget proposal is strange in that it has no chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate, and that Ryan-Murray budget, which Chairman Ryan drafted with senator Patty Murray last year, makes a budget proposal this year unnecessary. More likely, Ryan's new budget is a campaigning tool that the GOP will use to rally their voter base in preparation for the midterm elections this November.
Source: NPR