Connect with us

Substacks

Bari Weiss: What It Means to Choose Freedom Bari Weiss

Published

on

This past Sunday, I gave a speech at the 92nd Street Y called “The State of World Jewry.” The address is a historic one. Over four decades, it has been delivered by the likes of Elie Wiesel, Abba Eban, Amos Oz, and more. 

But for a sense of the state of Jewish life in America these days, you need only to have walked by the building that night. You would’ve found that police had cordoned off the entire block—and for good reason. Anti-Israel protesters, many wearing masks, gathered to intimidate those who came to the lecture. On the way in, you would’ve been screamed at—told you were a “baby killer” and “genocide supporter” among other choice phrases. You might have even glimpsed Jerry Seinfeld being heckled and called “Nazi scum” on his way out of the talk. (Classy.)

This is of a piece with what’s happening across the country at Jewish events.

On Monday at the University of Berkeley, to choose one of so many examples, a violent mob gathered outside an event featuring an IDF reservist. The students who gathered to hear him—and never got a chance to—were forced to evacuate. One student reported being physically assaulted. Another says he was spat on. Various students say the mob yelled slurs including “Jew, Jew, Jew.” 

I am beyond grateful to the NYPD, and the entire staff of the 92nd Street Y, for making sure that everyone who attended the talk was able to do so safely. But everyone must ask themselves: Do we want to live in a country in which simply giving a speech about a Jewish subject requires serious police protection? What does that reality say about the state of our country and our freedoms?

I hope the words I delivered offer some measure of explanation about the moment we find ourselves in and how we might emerge from it. You can watch the video just below. The transcript follows.

Last: if you haven’t yet done so, please support our work by becoming a Free Press subscriber today.

Subscribe now

Thank you. I am honored to be on this stage and to be giving this historic lecture.

In this I stand on the shoulders of giants. Not literally, of course—Natan Sharansky, who once gave this talk, is five foot two. Elie Wiesel was five feet six inches tall. And Lucy Davidowicz, the great Holocaust historian, was “five foot nothing,” in her own words. 

Literally tiny, but figuratively enormous. Small but mighty—a lot like the Jewish people. 

Though it is fashionable today to turn Jews into Goliath, we remain the tribe of David, who, as a shepherd boy, said to the giant: “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a shield, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (If David were around in 2024, he’d surely be accused of disproportionate force.)

In any event, I am humbled to be here where so many of my heroes have stood, and in the presence of so many beloved friends and teachers.

For much of my adult life but especially since the earthquake of October 7, and the aftershocks that have continued daily since then, I have been blessed beyond measure in having friends far wiser and more learned than me. Conversations with Alana Newhouse, Natan Sharansky, Michael Oren, Matti Friedman, Micah Goodman, Liel Liebovitz, Haviv Gur, Michael Eisenberg, Samuel Rascoff, Ruth Wisse, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Rabbi Noa Kushner, Rabbi David Wolpe, and Rabbi David Ingber all informed this talk. The brilliant Jonathan Rosen was, as always, especially instrumental. So was someone whose voice speaks to us across time: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. 

I mention all of these names for your sake more than theirs: if you want to make sense of the moment we are in, these voices and their work should be your guide.

I also want to thank the 92Y for making sure that this event happened despite cowardly, but unsurprising threats. That this talk, originally open to the public, had to be made invite-only on the advice of the NYPD, is painfully emblematic of our moment. One in which we American Jews, having lived as if immune from history, find ourselves in the belly of the beast once more. It is a moment in which the realities that seemed reserved for Jews of other times and other places are now, all of a sudden, very much our own. 

My friend Alana likes to joke that the only thing worse than a dumb Jew is a surprised Jew. 

And yet even many of us credited with seeing it coming have been in a state of shock. 

Why? 

I can tell you why, because I’m one of them. 

I knew antisemitism had seduced educated people in other eras, but I did not expect a wave of antisemitism to originate with them in ours. 

I knew many of our sense-making institutions—higher education, journalism, even our biggest corporation—had become bloated and corrupt. Don’t forget I worked at The New York Times. But even I did not foresee how avidly so many of these institutions would actively embrace an ideology of illiberalism.

I knew people still hated Jews and that that hate was deadly. I knew that intimately. I stood inside Tree of Life as the chevra kadisha worked alongside the FBI to pick up the pieces of the 11 Jews who were murdered there that morning. So I knew that this evil existed but I could not imagine how mainstream and shameless—even proud—that hate would become.

I thought America was almost a different kind of diaspora. One where Jew-hatred surely existed, just as other forms of bigotry unfortunately do wherever humans live. But where it could never fully take root, as it did throughout history everywhere else.

And of course I thought that. 

This is a country whose first president, in 1790, wrote a letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, saying that the Jews of this country would “possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.” He went on: “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.” 

George Washington’s radical proposition was that Jews would not be, as they always had been in history, second-class citizens in the new America. Rather, freedom would be as natural to the Jews as it was to any other citizen—at least as any other American then recognized as fully human. The Civil War, fought to make America’s promise more real, was still 71 years away. 

So fully did the Founders identify with the Israelites that Benjamin Franklin wanted the image on the country’s great seal to be Moses parting the Red Sea. Lincoln, as ever, put it perfectly: Americans, he said, were the “almost chosen people.” 

All this is why, as the German writer Josef Joffe has noted, “America is dotted with biblical place names like Jerusalem, Shiloh, Zion, Canaan, and Goshen,” but “there is no Shiloh anywhere in Europe.”

For all these reasons and more I thought we were immune.

What made us immune wasn’t something permanent. It wasn’t the soil or the pedigree of our pioneers or our proximity to power. What made America immune were our ideas. The rule of law and equality under it. A God who made us all equal. Rights not granted to us by a king or a government but rights that were self-evident and endowed by our creator.

What made and makes this country exceptional are our ideas and our fealty to those ideas

If we lose sight of those principles—or worse, if we allow war to be made against them from within—then we can become like everywhere else. 

The Founders themselves anticipated that possibility.

Here’s how Alexander Hamilton put it in the first Federalist Paper: “It seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question: whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.” 

That urgent, existential question is now before us once more: Are we capable? What will we choose? 

This talk is called the State of World Jewry Address. But if there is a lesson of these past few years—and especially these past 142 days—it is that the state of world Jewry depends on the state of the free world. And right now its condition is in jeopardy. 

This is a truth known viscerally to Jews today who hail from the unfree world—those from the former Soviet Union; those who were expelled from Iran and other autocratic regimes in the Middle East. And it is a truth faced daily by Jews in places that remain unfree. Just ask the Jews of Tunisia, who in October watched as a historic synagogue was reduced to rubble by a mob driven by false reports that Israel had bombed a hospital in Gaza. 

But this is a truth that we American Jews have lost sight of on account of our abundant blessings. As our holiday from history ends, as we learn to live inside history once more, it is a truth we urgently need to revive and renew and make real for ourselves.

So that is what I want to talk about tonight. How we must become—inside and outside—free people. For the sake of America. For the sake of the free world. And for the sake of the Jews—those who came before us, and those yet to come. 

The Jewish people are in the wilderness. 

That is where we find our ancestors—the Israelites—in the part of the Torah we are in the midst of reading. This coming Shabbat we will hear one of the most iconic and troubling stories in all of the Hebrew Bible. 

You know the one.

“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered against Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make us a god who shall go before us, for that fellow Moses—the man who brought us from the land of Egypt—we do not know what has happened to him.’ ” 

They immediately get to work. 

Aaron tells the Israelites to take off their gold—the rings on the ears of their wives and daughters. They melt down their jewelry and they make for themselves a golden calf. They make offerings to it. They dance before it. And they cry out before the idol they have made: “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” 

Linger on that: they looked at a statue, which they knew they had just made with their own hands, and gave it credit for an otherworldly miracle. And not one that happened to others, but one they experienced firsthand. At the very least, they had to know the cow wasn’t there.   

So, the question is why.

Why did they do it? Why did a people who had just experienced the miracle of their liberation from slavery turn away from the God who had given them their freedom. . . and toward an idol?

The rabbis provide many answers. So does the Israeli singer Ehud Banai. These are the lyrics he sings:

We are here, in the heart of the desert,

Thirsty for living water

You’re on top of the mountain

Above the clouds

There is no sign

No signal

So many days

In a closed circuit we circle

Around the Golden Calf.

There’s no one to hit the rock

Who will give direction?

So why did they do it?

They did it because they felt anxious and vulnerable and alone.

They did it because they were desperate.

They did it because they wanted temporary pleasure.

They did it because they lost—or thought they lost—their connection to God. 

They did it because they did not have the imagination to conceive of a different future. 

They did it because they had come from a place that worshipped idols. They imitated what they had grown up with. They reverted to what they knew. They imitated the dominant culture even though that culture had enslaved them.

And was that so crazy?

Not a moment ago these freed people had been slaves.

They may have dreamed, during the long night of slavery, of being “a free people in our own land,” as the words of Hatikvah would put it 4,000 or so years later. But that wasn’t the same as waking up inside a totally new paradigm. That wasn’t the same as being asked to leave behind everything about the world they knew to become a free people with all of the immense privileges, but also the terrifying responsibilities, that freedom comes with.

So: Why did they build the calf? Because freedom is so very, very hard.

And what about Aaron?

Aaron was Moses’ right hand. Aaron knew better. 

But Aaron capitulates. He has the people hand over their gold so he can fashion the mold. He facilitates their idolatry. 

Why? Why does Aaron do this? 

Again, the rabbis offer many explanations. 

He did it because he was playing for time—trying to keep the Israelites satisfied until Moses reemerged from the mountain. 

He did it because he was afraid.

He was afraid of the mob.

He was afraid of what would happen if he didn’t accommodate their desires.

He did it because he refused to accept—or perhaps could not cope with the fact—that the world was, in fact, changing. That he and this tiny group of people could in fact be living inside of history, on the cusp of cataclysmic change—indeed, even the generators of that change. 

So when his flock yearned for the past, he allowed them to slip back into it. He allowed them to turn back down a dead end—to turn back toward a dead world—rather than push forward and insist on forging a new one.

There it all is in a few spare lines written down thousands of years ago. But it is now. And it is us. 

We modern Israelites have also been worshipping false gods.

Our American idols are prestige, power, social acceptance, popularity, elite opinion, and the Ivy League—but I repeat myself. Our idols are the coveted board seat. The best tables. Relationships with the pretty people.

We put truth on the altar, as if it were a tithable commodity, to remain insiders, to have bragging rights. 

We have been willing to sacrifice what is most precious to us—including our own children—for the sake of it. 

Why are we doing this? 

We are doing it because we are a tiny minority, and because we feel vulnerable and scared and alone. And because fitting in feels safer than standing apart.

We are doing it because we are human beings and so seek temporary pleasure and ease.

We are doing it because we feel anxious and unsure.

We are doing it because we tell ourselves that accommodation is the best route to safety. 

We are doing it because we also live in a culture of idolatry, only this time the materials are pixels and diplomas, adherence to a particular ideology and an emergent social credit system based on likes and retweets. 

We are doing it because maybe deep down we don’t believe we are capable of more.

We are doing it because freedom—real, true freedom—is so very hard.

And what of our Aarons? Why do so many charged with leading our community not offer leadership but coping mechanisms?

Perhaps they are afraid.

Perhaps in times of disruption, it can be hard to know where the worst of the danger resides. 

Perhaps, too, they are afraid of the mob.

Because they are afraid of what happens if they don’t accommodate our basest instincts. 

Perhaps because they have sincerely come to believe that erasing or playing down what makes us different is the way to prove we are inclusive.

Or perhaps they cannot come to terms with the fact that the world they were born into is very much not the world of today. They entertain dead ideas or dead paradigms or indulge in nostalgia for dead alliances because they cannot conceive of the fact that we are inside a cataclysmic change every bit as disorienting as the one our ancestors lived through when they went, uncertain, through the Red Sea and into the desert to become a liberated people. 

So let me not leave this stage tonight before saying this again, and underscoring it: we are at a hinge moment in history.

Our world is changing. 

The world many of us were born into—the world we thought we would spend our lives inside—that world is over. There is no going back. And the things we took for granted—that America would remain exceptional (not just for us but in the world); that Americans would understand this as a place and an idea worth fighting for—those are no longer certainties. 

Nor is the certainty of the free world itself, which is burning at its outer edges. 

All of it—the ideals and the architecture that have made the past 75 years of Jewish life the greatest in the history of the world—are up for grabs. 

Ask the people of southern Israel who saw, on the morning of October 7, how brittle the fence is that separates civilization from barbarism. 

Ask the people of Taiwan, who hear Beijing’s threats and wonder how soon the dark shadow that has fallen over Hong Kong might consume them, too.

Ask the people of Ukraine. 

Ask the Navalny family. 

In one of the beautiful letters Alexei Navalny sent from a prison cell in the Arctic Circle to Natan Sharansky in Jerusalem, he wrote of how strange it was to be reading Sharansky’s memoir, Fear No Evil, about his time in the gulag 40 years before. 

“I was amused by the fact that neither the essence of the system nor the pattern of its acts has changed,” Navalny writes. “In the current situation, it is not them who are to blame,” writing of the KGB, “but us, who naively thought that there was no going back to the old ways.”

Let me repeat that: us. . . who naively thought that there was no going back to the old ways.

Can the same not be said of us?

Because freedom isn’t only under siege in Russia and Iran and Hong Kong. It is also under siege here at home. 

By leftists who glorify terrorists. . . and by rightists who glorify tyrants. By technology companies that revise history and tell us it’s justice. By demagogues who point to the grocery stores and the subway system in Putin’s Russia and insist that they are symbols of human flourishing. And by an elite culture that has so lost all sense of right and wrong, good and bad, or has so cunningly transformed those categories, that it can call a massacre “resistance.” A genocidal chant, a call for “freedom.” And a just war of self-defense “genocide.”

“Human nature is full of riddles,” wrote the famous Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn. “One of those riddles is: how is it that the people who have been crushed by the sheer weight of slavery and cast to the bottom of the pit can nevertheless find strength in themselves to rise up and free themselves first in spirit and then in body, while those who soar unhampered over the peaks of freedom suddenly lose the taste for it, lose the will to defend it, and, hopelessly confused and lost, almost begin to crave slavery?”

He wrote those words in another place and time but their warning rings like an alarm across our own. Ours has been the freest country in the history of the world, and yet so many today seem to long for slavery—or at the very least have lost their ability to tell freedom from servitude. 

To say that this turn against liberty—the foundational value of this country, our new Jerusalem—is bad for Jews is as self-evident as it once was to declare that Lincoln was a hero or that Frederick Douglass was a second Founding Father or that America is the last best hope on Earth. 

Where liberty thrives, Jews thrive. Where difference is celebrated, Jews are celebrated. Where freedom of thought and faith and speech are protected, Jews are safest. And when such virtues are regarded as threats, Jews will be regarded as the same. 

In other words: when people turn against freedom, they turn against us.

So it should not surprise us that our safety—as well as our freedom—are contracting right now in real time. And not just for Jews, of course, but anyone who refuses to surrender truth.

I mean that really concretely.

There are now whole realms of American life where you cannot be free as a Jew.

Ask the terrified Jewish schoolteacher in Queens who hid in a locked room in her school as a mob of hundreds of “radicalized” kids rampaged through the halls—for almost two hours—after they discovered she had attended a pro-Israel rally.

Ask Matisyahu, who announced that two of his concerts were canceled by venues after anti-Israel activists planned protests. Or the actor Brett Gelman, whose book signings faced the same fate.

Ask Princeton University student journalist Alexandra Orbuch. When pro-Palestinian students didn’t like the questions Orbuch asked, they got the school to issue a no-contact order against her, which effectively prevented her from reporting on them. 

Go apply for a job as a curator at MOMA and mention that you’re a Zionist or have the word Israel on your résumé. See what happens. 

There’s been willful ignorance on the part of our Jewish elders to what’s happened here, in part because they have supported and funded so many of these institutions. But I promise you: if your child wants to go into the arts or music or publishing or higher education and is a proud supporter of Israel, they will face an uphill battle. At this point I’m not even sure they’ll get through the door at the Jewish Museum, whose own curator now likes “From the river to the Sea” posts on Instagram. 

I mention that last one because it’s important to notice that it’s not only that other institutions have turned against us. It’s that we have turned against ourselves. 

So what do we do?

The charge is as simple as it is spiritually difficult. We fulfill our duty and our responsibility to be free.

As my friend, the brilliant Dara Horn, has written: “Since ancient times, in every place they have ever lived, Jews have represented the frightening prospect of freedom. As long as Jews existed in any society, there was evidence that it in fact wasn’t necessary to believe what everyone else believed, that those who disagreed with their neighbors could survive and even flourish against all odds. The Jews’ continued distinctiveness, despite overwhelming pressure to become like everyone else, demonstrated their enormous effort to cultivate that freedom: devotion to law and story, deep literacy, and an absolute obsessiveness about transmitting those values between generations. The existence of Jews in any society is a reminder that freedom is possible, but only with responsibility—and that freedom without responsibility is no freedom at all.”

But that freedom, that responsibility, is a choice for us—as it has always been, including for those Israelites addicted to the fleshpots of Egypt who choose not to leave slavery.

What does this choice look like? What does it look like to be free? To practice freedom?

To be free is to tell the truth even in a world awash with lies. 

The sky is blue. Robin DiAngelo might say it’s pink. Candace Owens might say it’s green. But it’s not. It is blue. That is as true as asserting that there are good governments and evil ones. There are societies organized to generate progress and well-being and those organized around terror and debasement. There are better cultures for women and minorities and there are worse ones. There are historical truths, even if they’re inconvenient for people to know about, even if the activists running places like Google are frantically working to disappear the old facts. 

Here’s Solzhenitsyn again: “Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.” To be a free person is to refuse to tell lies, to refuse to stand by as they are told. To be a free person is to live in truth. 

To be free is to stand up for other people’s freedom, but—and this is crucial—not when it means ending your own. 

When Martin Luther King Jr. said that “peace for Israel means security, and that security must be a reality,” he wasn’t paying back Jewish supporters, or returning a favor to Abraham Joshua Heschel for standing with him at Selma. 

Heschel stood with King because it was the right thing to do: for African Americans, for Jews, for Americans. Just as King understood that depriving Israel, a small country surrounded by enemies, of the ability to defend itself like any other country would pave the way to its destruction. 

Many Jews of my generation, and old Jews too, have since October 7 felt a terrible sense of abandonment by so-called allies. But it is worth asking ourselves if the shock is the sense of betrayal. . . or the realization that we were not in fact united, like King and Heschel, by a shared set of values to begin with. 

The civil rights movement was about expanding freedom for those who have been deprived of it. It had an expansive view of equality. It argued that because our rights were God-given and because we were all created equal, that equality under the law must follow.

Many who claim the mantle as the inheritors of that movement defile it. They say progress is suspect or impossible. Instead of working to perfect the union, they argue for the abolition of it. They argue that every institution in society must treat groups of people very, very differently. The movement says: there are too many Jewish and Asian doctors—their MCAT scores should be judged against a different ledger. 

If your “allies” are subdividing people by racial category, fixing inherited qualities to one group or another, counting the representation of each group to see if it exceeded the distribution in the population. . . then they, however well-intentioned, are anything but.

To be free is to be willing to stand apart. 

Douglas Murray is free.

Ritchie Torres is free. 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is free.

My wife, Nellie, is free. Well, sometimes I have to rein her in, but you get the point.

Tiffany Haddish, who this week went to Israel to—in her words—“go see for myself, with my own eyes,” is free. “Why go?” she asked in a video she made on the plane. “Why not go?” 

The Israeli swimmer Anastasia Gorbenko, who recently won the silver at the World Championships in Qatar, was drowned out by booing when she said: “I’m here with the Israeli flag, and I’m proud of that.”

Leah Goldstein, who was disinvited from speaking at a Women’s Day event in Ottawa because she’d served in the IDF 30 years ago, said the organizers originally wanted a statement from her, no doubt hoping for a disavowal of her past. Instead, what did Leah tell the Jewish Telegraph? “If I were to make a statement, I would say that I’m very proud of my training with the IDF, being the first woman to train the commando soldiers.” 

The other day I interviewed the economist Roland Fryer—among the freest people I have ever encountered, having withstood a modern witch-burning at Harvard for his refusal to lie about facts incompatible with the prevailing narrative.

I asked him how he did it. He said something that stopped me in my tracks: “I do not covet what they covet.”

Or as Hebrew National put it: I answer to a higher authority. That is the beginning of freedom.

That brings me to another group who is free. Students like Bella Ingber, Talia Kahn, Eyal Yakoby, and others are free. They are our twenty-first-century Davids, staring down Goliaths without trembling at the knee. If you want to learn how to be free, look to their powerful example.

To be free is to stand up—and fight—for the freest country in the history of the world. 

The United States was 87 years old when Abraham Lincoln declared a “new birth of freedom.” The country was still in the midst of fighting a great war, and Lincoln was standing on a battlefield that doubled as a graveyard. Yet he was there to argue for a new beginning. That he used a biblical formulation—four score and seven years—borrowing from the book that has long made the story of the Jewish people so intimately bound up with the American republic, was no more surprising than that his name was Abraham, the first Jew, the Jew who stood alone to proclaim one God in a world of idols.

A century and a half later, no one is asking us to go to war. No one is asking us to give up our firstborn. No one is asking us to believe that a sea in front of us will split in half before it drowns us. 

What is being asked of us is to give up what feels central to our lives—but isn’t. To stop caring so much where your kid goes to college; to give up that museum board seat; to stop funding schools that treat Israel as a pariah and thus Jews who support it as the same; to detach from the friend or institution that has made clear that, to them, you are a second-class citizen. 

Do you not see how lucky we are that these are the only sacrifices we have to make?! When the bar for bravery is leaving a job at a newspaper, privilege is truly the only word to describe it. 

And it’s time to go to war for our values. 

When Apple’s diversity chief—a black woman—was forced to step down for saying that being a minority or a woman are not the only criteria for diversity, did you take her side? 

When Asian Americans were discriminated against, did you see their cause as being essential to our own? 

When American doctors were censored for questioning the efficacy of lockdowns, were you as outraged about this as you were about people who refused to wear masks in March 2020? 

When, just across town, a statue of Teddy Roosevelt was removed from outside the American Museum of Natural History, did you protest? 

We glance at these things, feel a twinge of discomfort, and then decide to move on—giving ourselves one excuse after another. But these are the moments for action, because they are wrong. They are bad for America, and because they are bad for America, they are bad for Jews. 

To be free is to be courageous even when we are scared.

On the morning of October 7, ordinary Israelis left their offices, closed their laptops, and abandoned their fields to pick up weapons, in many cases without waiting for instructions from the state or its army.

These men and women have displayed the kind of heroism that many of them belonged to the mythic past, or the generation of 1948, when the armies of five invading Arab nations turned every kibbutz and moshav, and every town and village, into a battlefield. Surely such individual and collective courage had become something to be studied in the past—not enacted in the present. Not inside the land of Israel. Not in the twenty-first century. And certainly not by them.

And yet here they were, ordinary heroes who understood that history had come knocking and knew that meant they had a critical role to play in shaping it.

The most serious thing imaginable was upon them. And the most serious men and women I have ever encountered emerged to confront it. 

Their instincts in defense of freedom were immediate, and unqualified. For this, they are and will continue to be my inspiration—and they should be yours. 

I do not know what will come next for America or for the Jewish people any more than the Israelites who left Egypt and stood beneath the fire at Sinai. 

Things are uncertain. 

What I know is that our tradition teaches us that the seal of God is truth. 

What I know is that the story of the Jewish people is the story of freedom. 

And what I know is that story rings out across space and time in a common struggle against tyranny.

Navalny knew that when he quoted the last line of the Passover Seder: “Here, I copied you it for myself from the book: L’Shana Haba’ah B’Yerushalayim.” A shared promise of freedom passed between a Christian prisoner of conscience, soon to be murdered by Putin in his Arctic cell, and a former Soviet prisoner, free as a Jew in Jerusalem.

One time a few years ago, before the pandemic and the wars and so much else that would reshape our world, these themes were already on my mind. And so when, on a trip to Israel, I met my hero and now my friend, Natan Sharansky, I really only had one question for him. I asked him if it was possible to teach courage. He paused and said this: “No. You can’t teach it. You can only show people how good it feels to be free.”

And that’s what I want to end on. Fighting the lies against us, fighting the lies against history, living in truth—it feels good. It’s relaxing to tell the truth. You’ll laugh more. Not that I’m here selling a new cure for depression, but I promise this is a start. 

What a blessing to be free to choose. I know what my choice will be. I am determined to be free.

Thank you for having me.

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Substacks

The Old Evil Chris Hedges

Published

on

By

Which Genocide Are You On? – by Mr. Fish

Subscribe now

RAMALLAH, Occupied Palestine: It comes back in a rush, the stench of raw sewage, the groan of the diesel, sloth-like Israeli armored personnel carriers, the vans filled with broods of children, driven by chalky faced colonists, certainly not from here, probably from Brooklyn or somewhere in Russia or maybe Britain. Little has changed. The checkpoints with their blue and white Israeli flags dot the roads and intersections. The red-tiled roofs of the colonist settlements — illegal under international law — dominate hillsides above Palestinian villages and towns. They have grown in number and expanded in size. But they remain protected by blast barriers, concertina wire and watchtowers surrounded by the obscenity of lawns and gardens. The colonists have access to bountiful sources of water in this arid landscape that the Palestinians are denied

The winding 26-foot high concrete wall that runs the 440 mile length of occupied Palestine, with its graffiti calling for liberation, murals with the Al-Aqsa mosque, faces of martyrs and the grinning and bearded mug of Yasser Arafat — whose concessions to Israel in the Oslo agreement made him, in the words of Edward Said, “the Pétain of the Palestinians” — give the West Bank the feel of an open air prison. The wall lacerates the landscape. It twists and turns like some huge, fossilized antediluvian snake severing Palestinians from their families, slicing Palestinian villages in half, cutting communities off from their orchards, olive trees and fields, dipping and rising out of wadis, trapping Palestinians in the Jewish state’s updated version of a Bantustan.

It has been over two decades since I reported from the West Bank. Time collapses. The smells, sensations, emotions and images, the lilting cadence of Arabic and the miasma of sudden and violent death that lurks in the air, evokes the old evil. It is as if I never left.  

I am in a battered black Mercedes driven by a friend in his thirties who I will not name to protect him. He worked construction in Israel but lost his job — like nearly all Palestinians employed in Israel — on Oct. 7. He has four children. He is struggling. His savings have dwindled. It is getting hard to buy food, pay for electricity, water and petrol. He feels under siege. He is under siege. He has little use for the quisling Palestinian Authority. He dislikes Hamas. He has Jewish friends. He speaks Hebrew. The siege is grinding him, and everyone around him, down.

“A few more months like this and we’re finished,” he says puffing nervously on a cigarette. “People are desperate. More and more are going hungry.”

We are driving the winding road that hugs the barren sand and scrub hillsides snaking up from Jericho, rising from the salt-rich Dead Sea, the lowest spot on the earth, to Ramallah. I will meet my friend, the novelist Atef Abu Saif, who was in Gaza on Oct. 7 with his 15-year-old son, Yasser. They were visiting family when Israel began its scorched earth campaign. He spent 85 days enduring and writing daily about the nightmare of the genocide. His collection of haunting diary entries have been published in his book “Don’t Look Left.” He escaped the carnage though the border with Egypt at Rafah, traveled to Jordan and returned home to Ramallah. But the scars of the genocide remain. Yasser rarely leaves his room. He does not engage with his friends. Fear, trauma and hatred are the primary commodities imparted by the colonizers to the colonized.

“I still live in Gaza,” Atef tells me later. “I am not out. Yasser still hears bombing. He still sees corpses. He does not eat meat. Red meat reminds him of the flesh he picked up when he joined the rescue parties during the massacre in Jabalia, and the flesh of his cousins. I sleep on a mattress on the floor as I did in Gaza when we lived in a tent. I lie awake. I think of those we left behind waiting for sudden death.”

We turn a corner on a hillside. Cars and trucks are veering spasmodically to the right and left. Several in front of us are in reverse. Ahead is an Israeli checkpoint with thick boxy blocks of dun colored concrete. Soldiers are stopping vehicles and checking papers. Palestinians can wait hours to get past. They can be hauled from their vehicles and detained. Anything is possible at an Israeli checkpoint, often erected with no advance warning. Most of it is not good.

We back up. We descend a narrow, dusty road that veers off from the main highway. We travel on bumpy, uneven tracks through impoverished villages.

Subscribe now

It was like this for Blacks in the segregated south and Indigenous Americans. It was like this for Algerians under the French. It was like this in India, Ireland and Kenya under the British. The death mask — too often of European extraction — of colonialism does not change. Nor does the God-like authority of colonists who look at the colonized as vermin, who take a perverse delight in their humiliation and suffering and who kill them with impunity. 

The Israeli customs official asked me two questions when I crossed into occupied Palestine from Jordan on the King Hussein Bridge. 

“Do you hold a Palestinian passport?” 

“Are either of your parents Palestinian?” 

In short, are you contaminated?

This is how apartheid works.

The Palestinians want their land back. Then they will talk of peace. The Israelis want peace, but demand Palestinian land. And that, in three short sentences, is the intractable nature of this conflict.

I see Jerusalem in the distance. Or rather, I see the Jewish colony that lines the hills above Jerusalem. The villas, built in an arc on the hilltop, have windows intentionally narrowed into upright rectangles to double as gun slits.

We reach the outskirts of Ramallah. We are held up in the snarl of traffic in front of the sprawling Israeli military base that oversees the Qalandia checkpoint, the primary checkpoint between East Jerusalem and the West Bank. It is the scene of frequent demonstrations against the occupation that can end in gunfire.

I meet Atef. We walk to a kebab shop and sit at a small outdoor table. The scars of the latest incursion by the Israeli army are around the corner. At night, a few days ago, Israeli soldiers torched the shops that handle money transfers from abroad. They are charred ruins. Money from abroad will now be harder to get, which I suspect was the point.

Israel has dramatically tightened its stranglehold on the more than 2.7 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, who are surrounded by more than 700,000 Jewish colonists housed in some 150 strategically placed developments with their own shopping malls, schools and medical centers. These colonial developments along with special roads that can only be used by the colonists and the military, checkpoints, tracts of land that are off limits to Palestinians, closed military zones, Israeli-declared “nature preserves” and military outposts form concentric circles. They can instantly sever the flow of traffic to isolate Palestinians cities and towns into a series of ringed ghettos.

“Since Oct. 7 it is hard to travel anywhere in the West Bank,” Atef says. “There are checkpoints at the entrances of every city, town and village. Imagine you want to see your mother or your fiancée. You want to drive from Ramallah to Nablus. It can take seven hours because the main roads are blocked. You are forced to drive through back roads in the mountains.”

The trip should take 90 minutes.

Israeli soldiers and colonists have killed 528 Palestinian civilians, including 133 children, and injured more than 5,350 others in the West Bank, since Oct. 7, according to the UN human rights chief. Israel has also detained over 9,700 Palestinians — or should I say hostages? — including hundreds of children and pregnant women. Many have been severely tortured, including doctors tortured to death in Israeli dungeons and aid workers killed upon their release. Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has called for the execution of Palestinian prisoners to free up space for more. 

Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, was in the past spared the worst of Israeli violence. Since Oct. 7, this has changed. Raids and arrests take place almost daily in and around the city, sometimes accompanied by lethal gunfire and aerial bombardments. Israel has bulldozed or confiscated more than 990 Palestinian dwellings and homes in the West Bank since Oct. 7, at times forcing owners to demolish their own buildings or pay exorbitant fines.

Heavily armed Israeli colonists have carried out murderous rampages on villages east of Ramallah, including attacks following the murder of a 14-year-old colonist on April 12 near the village of al Mughayyir. The colonists, in retaliation, burned and destroyed Palestinian homes and vehicles across 11 villages, ripped up roads, killed one Palestinian and wounded more than two dozen others. 

Israel has ordered the largest West Bank land seizure in more than three decades, confiscating vast tracts of land northeast of Ramallah. The extreme rightwing Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who lives in a Jewish colony and is in charge of colonial expansion, has promised to flood the West Bank with a million new colonists. 

Smotrich has vowed to obliterate the distinct areas in the West Bank created by the Oslo accords. Area A, which comprises 18 percent of the West Bank, is under exclusive Palestinian control. Area B, nearly 22 percent of the West Bank, is under Israeli military occupation, in collusion with the Palestinian Authority. Area C, over 60 percent of the West Bank, is under total Israeli occupation.

“Israel realizes that the world is blind, that no one will force it to end the genocide in Gaza, and no one will pay attention to the war in the West Bank,” Atef says. “The word war is not even used. This is called a normal Israeli military operation, as if what is happening to us is normal. There is no distinction now between the status of the occupied territories, classified as A, B and C. The settlers are confiscating more land. They are carrying out more attacks. They do not need the army. They have become a shadow army, supported and armed by Israel’s rightwing government. We have lived in a continuous war since 1948. This is simply the newest phase.” 

Jenin and its neighboring refugee camp are assaulted daily by Israeli armed units, undercover commando teams, snipers and bulldozers, which level entire neighborhoods. Drones equipped with machine guns and missiles, as well as warplanes and Apache attack helicopters, circle overhead and obliterate dwellings. Medics and doctors, as in Gaza, are assassinated. Usaid Kamal Jabarin, a 50-year-old surgeon, was killed on May 21 by an Israel sniper as he arrived for work at the Jenin Governmental Hospital. Hunger is endemic.

“The Israeli military carries out raids that kill Palestinians and then departs,” Atef says. “But it returns a few days later. It is not enough for the Israelis to steal our land. They seek to kill as many of the original inhabitants as possible. This is why it carries out constant operations. This is why there are constant armed clashes. But these clashes are provoked by Israel. They are the pretext used to continually attack us. We live under constant pressure. We face death daily.”

The dramatic escalation of violence in the West Bank is overshadowed by the genocide in Gaza. But it has become a second front. If Israel can empty Gaza, the West Bank will be next.

“Israel’s objective has not changed,” he says. “It seeks to shrink the Palestinian population, confiscate larger and larger tracts of Palestinian land and build more and more colonies. It seeks to Judaize Palestine and strip the Palestinians of all the means to sustain themselves. The ultimate goal is the annexation of the West Bank.”

“Even at the height of the peace process, when everyone was mesmerized by peace, Israel was turning this peace proposal into a nightmare,” he goes on. “Most Palestinians were opposed to the peace accords Arafat signed in 1993, but still they welcomed him when he returned. They did not kill him. They wanted to give peace a chance. In Israel, the prime minister who signed the Oslo accords was assassinated.”

 “A few years ago, someone daubed a strange slogan on the wall of the U.N. school east of Jabaliya,” Atef wrote from the hell of Gaza. “‘We progress backwards.’ It has a ring to it. Every new war drags us back to basics. It destroys our houses, our institutions, our mosques and our churches. It razes our gardens and parks. Every war takes years to recover from, and before we’ve recovered, a new war arrives. There are no warning sirens, no messages sent to our phones. War just arrives.”

The Jewish settler colonial project is protean. It changes its shape but not its essence. Its tactics vary. Its intensity comes in waves of severe repression and less repression. Its rhetoric about peace masks its intent. It grinds forward with its deadly, perverted, racist logic. And yet, the Palestinians endure, refusing to submit, resisting despite the overwhelming odds, grasping at tiny kernels of hope from bottomless wells of despair. There is a word for this. Heroic.

Share

The Chris Hedges Report is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

 

Continue Reading

Substacks

The Old Evil Chris Hedges

Published

on

By

Which Genocide Are You On? – by Mr. Fish

Subscribe now

RAMALLAH, Occupied Palestine: It comes back in a rush, the stench of raw sewage, the groan of the diesel, sloth-like Israeli armored personnel carriers, the vans filled with broods of children, driven by chalky faced colonists, certainly not from here, probably from Brooklyn or somewhere in Russia or maybe Britain. Little has changed. The checkpoints with their blue and white Israeli flags dot the roads and intersections. The red-tiled roofs of the colonist settlements — illegal under international law — dominate hillsides above Palestinian villages and towns. They have grown in number and expanded in size. But they remain protected by blast barriers, concertina wire and watchtowers surrounded by the obscenity of lawns and gardens. The colonists have access to bountiful sources of water in this arid landscape that the Palestinians are denied

The winding 26-foot high concrete wall that runs the 440 mile length of occupied Palestine, with its graffiti calling for liberation, murals with the Al-Aqsa mosque, faces of martyrs and the grinning and bearded mug of Yasser Arafat — whose concessions to Israel in the Oslo agreement made him, in the words of Edward Said, “the Pétain of the Palestinians” — give the West Bank the feel of an open air prison. The wall lacerates the landscape. It twists and turns like some huge, fossilized antediluvian snake severing Palestinians from their families, slicing Palestinian villages in half, cutting communities off from their orchards, olive trees and fields, dipping and rising out of wadis, trapping Palestinians in the Jewish state’s updated version of a Bantustan.

It has been over two decades since I reported from the West Bank. Time collapses. The smells, sensations, emotions and images, the lilting cadence of Arabic and the miasma of sudden and violent death that lurks in the air, evokes the old evil. It is as if I never left.  

I am in a battered black Mercedes driven by a friend in his thirties who I will not name to protect him. He worked construction in Israel but lost his job — like nearly all Palestinians employed in Israel — on Oct. 7. He has four children. He is struggling. His savings have dwindled. It is getting hard to buy food, pay for electricity, water and petrol. He feels under siege. He is under siege. He has little use for the quisling Palestinian Authority. He dislikes Hamas. He has Jewish friends. He speaks Hebrew. The siege is grinding him, and everyone around him, down.

“A few more months like this and we’re finished,” he says puffing nervously on a cigarette. “People are desperate. More and more are going hungry.”

We are driving the winding road that hugs the barren sand and scrub hillsides snaking up from Jericho, rising from the salt-rich Dead Sea, the lowest spot on the earth, to Ramallah. I will meet my friend, the novelist Atef Abu Saif, who was in Gaza on Oct. 7 with his 15-year-old son, Yasser. They were visiting family when Israel began its scorched earth campaign. He spent 85 days enduring and writing daily about the nightmare of the genocide. His collection of haunting diary entries have been published in his book “Don’t Look Left.” He escaped the carnage though the border with Egypt at Rafah, traveled to Jordan and returned home to Ramallah. But the scars of the genocide remain. Yasser rarely leaves his room. He does not engage with his friends. Fear, trauma and hatred are the primary commodities imparted by the colonizers to the colonized.

“I still live in Gaza,” Atef tells me later. “I am not out. Yasser still hears bombing. He still sees corpses. He does not eat meat. Red meat reminds him of the flesh he picked up when he joined the rescue parties during the massacre in Jabalia, and the flesh of his cousins. I sleep on a mattress on the floor as I did in Gaza when we lived in a tent. I lie awake. I think of those we left behind waiting for sudden death.”

We turn a corner on a hillside. Cars and trucks are veering spasmodically to the right and left. Several in front of us are in reverse. Ahead is an Israeli checkpoint with thick boxy blocks of dun colored concrete. Soldiers are stopping vehicles and checking papers. Palestinians can wait hours to get past. They can be hauled from their vehicles and detained. Anything is possible at an Israeli checkpoint, often erected with no advance warning. Most of it is not good.

We back up. We descend a narrow, dusty road that veers off from the main highway. We travel on bumpy, uneven tracks through impoverished villages.

Subscribe now

It was like this for Blacks in the segregated south and Indigenous Americans. It was like this for Algerians under the French. It was like this in India, Ireland and Kenya under the British. The death mask — too often of European extraction — of colonialism does not change. Nor does the God-like authority of colonists who look at the colonized as vermin, who take a perverse delight in their humiliation and suffering and who kill them with impunity. 

The Israeli customs official asked me two questions when I crossed into occupied Palestine from Jordan on the King Hussein Bridge. 

“Do you hold a Palestinian passport?” 

“Are either of your parents Palestinian?” 

In short, are you contaminated?

This is how apartheid works.

The Palestinians want their land back. Then they will talk of peace. The Israelis want peace, but demand Palestinian land. And that, in three short sentences, is the intractable nature of this conflict.

I see Jerusalem in the distance. Or rather, I see the Jewish colony that lines the hills above Jerusalem. The villas, built in an arc on the hilltop, have windows intentionally narrowed into upright rectangles to double as gun slits.

We reach the outskirts of Ramallah. We are held up in the snarl of traffic in front of the sprawling Israeli military base that oversees the Qalandia checkpoint, the primary checkpoint between East Jerusalem and the West Bank. It is the scene of frequent demonstrations against the occupation that can end in gunfire.

I meet Atef. We walk to a kebab shop and sit at a small outdoor table. The scars of the latest incursion by the Israeli army are around the corner. At night, a few days ago, Israeli soldiers torched the shops that handle money transfers from abroad. They are charred ruins. Money from abroad will now be harder to get, which I suspect was the point.

Israel has dramatically tightened its stranglehold on the more than 2.7 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, who are surrounded by more than 700,000 Jewish colonists housed in some 150 strategically placed developments with their own shopping malls, schools and medical centers. These colonial developments along with special roads that can only be used by the colonists and the military, checkpoints, tracts of land that are off limits to Palestinians, closed military zones, Israeli-declared “nature preserves” and military outposts form concentric circles. They can instantly sever the flow of traffic to isolate Palestinians cities and towns into a series of ringed ghettos.

“Since Oct. 7 it is hard to travel anywhere in the West Bank,” Atef says. “There are checkpoints at the entrances of every city, town and village. Imagine you want to see your mother or your fiancée. You want to drive from Ramallah to Nablus. It can take seven hours because the main roads are blocked. You are forced to drive through back roads in the mountains.”

The trip should take 90 minutes.

Israeli soldiers and colonists have killed 528 Palestinian civilians, including 133 children, and injured more than 5,350 others in the West Bank, since Oct. 7, according to the UN human rights chief. Israel has also detained over 9,700 Palestinians — or should I say hostages? — including hundreds of children and pregnant women. Many have been severely tortured, including doctors tortured to death in Israeli dungeons and aid workers killed upon their release. Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has called for the execution of Palestinian prisoners to free up space for more. 

Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, was in the past spared the worst of Israeli violence. Since Oct. 7, this has changed. Raids and arrests take place almost daily in and around the city, sometimes accompanied by lethal gunfire and aerial bombardments. Israel has bulldozed or confiscated more than 990 Palestinian dwellings and homes in the West Bank since Oct. 7, at times forcing owners to demolish their own buildings or pay exorbitant fines.

Heavily armed Israeli colonists have carried out murderous rampages on villages east of Ramallah, including attacks following the murder of a 14-year-old colonist on April 12 near the village of al Mughayyir. The colonists, in retaliation, burned and destroyed Palestinian homes and vehicles across 11 villages, ripped up roads, killed one Palestinian and wounded more than two dozen others. 

Israel has ordered the largest West Bank land seizure in more than three decades, confiscating vast tracts of land northeast of Ramallah. The extreme rightwing Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who lives in a Jewish colony and is in charge of colonial expansion, has promised to flood the West Bank with a million new colonists. 

Smotrich has vowed to obliterate the distinct areas in the West Bank created by the Oslo accords. Area A, which comprises 18 percent of the West Bank, is under exclusive Palestinian control. Area B, nearly 22 percent of the West Bank, is under Israeli military occupation, in collusion with the Palestinian Authority. Area C, over 60 percent of the West Bank, is under total Israeli occupation.

“Israel realizes that the world is blind, that no one will force it to end the genocide in Gaza, and no one will pay attention to the war in the West Bank,” Atef says. “The word war is not even used. This is called a normal Israeli military operation, as if what is happening to us is normal. There is no distinction now between the status of the occupied territories, classified as A, B and C. The settlers are confiscating more land. They are carrying out more attacks. They do not need the army. They have become a shadow army, supported and armed by Israel’s rightwing government. We have lived in a continuous war since 1948. This is simply the newest phase.” 

Jenin and its neighboring refugee camp are assaulted daily by Israeli armed units, undercover commando teams, snipers and bulldozers, which level entire neighborhoods. Drones equipped with machine guns and missiles, as well as warplanes and Apache attack helicopters, circle overhead and obliterate dwellings. Medics and doctors, as in Gaza, are assassinated. Usaid Kamal Jabarin, a 50-year-old surgeon, was killed on May 21 by an Israel sniper as he arrived for work at the Jenin Governmental Hospital. Hunger is endemic.

“The Israeli military carries out raids that kill Palestinians and then departs,” Atef says. “But it returns a few days later. It is not enough for the Israelis to steal our land. They seek to kill as many of the original inhabitants as possible. This is why it carries out constant operations. This is why there are constant armed clashes. But these clashes are provoked by Israel. They are the pretext used to continually attack us. We live under constant pressure. We face death daily.”

The dramatic escalation of violence in the West Bank is overshadowed by the genocide in Gaza. But it has become a second front. If Israel can empty Gaza, the West Bank will be next.

“Israel’s objective has not changed,” he says. “It seeks to shrink the Palestinian population, confiscate larger and larger tracts of Palestinian land and build more and more colonies. It seeks to Judaize Palestine and strip the Palestinians of all the means to sustain themselves. The ultimate goal is the annexation of the West Bank.”

“Even at the height of the peace process, when everyone was mesmerized by peace, Israel was turning this peace proposal into a nightmare,” he goes on. “Most Palestinians were opposed to the peace accords Arafat signed in 1993, but still they welcomed him when he returned. They did not kill him. They wanted to give peace a chance. In Israel, the prime minister who signed the Oslo accords was assassinated.”

 “A few years ago, someone daubed a strange slogan on the wall of the U.N. school east of Jabaliya,” Atef wrote from the hell of Gaza. “‘We progress backwards.’ It has a ring to it. Every new war drags us back to basics. It destroys our houses, our institutions, our mosques and our churches. It razes our gardens and parks. Every war takes years to recover from, and before we’ve recovered, a new war arrives. There are no warning sirens, no messages sent to our phones. War just arrives.”

The Jewish settler colonial project is protean. It changes its shape but not its essence. Its tactics vary. Its intensity comes in waves of severe repression and less repression. Its rhetoric about peace masks its intent. It grinds forward with its deadly, perverted, racist logic. And yet, the Palestinians endure, refusing to submit, resisting despite the overwhelming odds, grasping at tiny kernels of hope from bottomless wells of despair. There is a word for this. Heroic.

Share

The Chris Hedges Report is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

 

Continue Reading

Substacks

TGIF: President Putin and Vice President Trump Edition Suzy Weiss

Published

on

By

Alex Soros and Huma Abedin arrive at the Booksellers Room of the White House on May 23, 2024. (Saul Loeb Getty Images)

Apparently, aunts don’t get parental leave in this country. Here I am, babysitting a two-year-old, blowing endless raspberries, sneaking illegal candy into tiny palms day and night, putting on the Moana soundtrack again and my thanks is. . . more deadlines? 

And for my other aunts out there, who, like me, always seem to show up after the diaper change and disappear before the bedtime meltdown, I see you. 

But here I am. And for my sister-in-law Nellie, and only for her, I’ll endure the wrath of the commenters.

Let’s get to it.

 → He’s answering every question: The leader of the free world had an important task on Thursday night. It would be a decisive moment for his presidency. According to Rachel Maddow, “the fate of the world” hung “in the balance.” What did Joe Biden have to do? Answer a few questions from the press without the help of a teleprompter in a manner that suggested he was of sound mind. The bar was set very, very low.  

Did he clear it? Well, at another event a few hours before his “big boy” press conference, he introduced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as “President Putin.” That’s the geopolitical equivalent of calling the teacher “Mom.” And at the press conference itself he referred to Kamala Harris as “Vice President Trump.” 

In the end it was better than expected and worse than we deserve. But you know who thought Joe crushed it? His press guy. “To answer the question on everyone’s minds: No, Joe Biden does not have a doctorate in foreign affairs,” said Andrew Bates on X, answering a question on absolutely no one’s minds. “He’s just that fucking good.”  

When pressed on his health, Biden said his main issue is that after he broke his left foot, he didn’t wear the boot. Uh, relatable king check! A 20-year-old staffer clutched a microphone in front of each reporter’s face as they asked the president a bunch of variations of “So you’re really going to do this?” Biden says, after a few coughs and three seconds of silence: Yes. 

Best-in-Show-in-Chief: Apparently, most of the president’s movements, Cabinet meetings, public comments, and private comments—but like, only that stuff!—are being choreographed down to the minute. CNN reports that the president’s aides provide him with talking points and diagrams for where to walk and require advisers to submit questions ahead of meetings. He’s also not really having many Cabinet meetings—in fact, there hasn’t been a full Cabinet meeting since last October—and is seen less and less by staffers. 

Biden’s rare performances even come with stage direction, per Axios, which obtained pictures of an event prep document with two full pages dedicated to “Walk to podium” with pictures taken from the wings. Staffers claim this is part of their “advance work” and a sign of meticulous prep. I’m sure the latest OPEC data was right on the other side of the “Walk to podium” page. 

Meanwhile, The Daily Beast reports that the “acting chief of staff” and presidential “gatekeeper” is none other than Hunter Biden. So if you see a new executive order next week detailing penalties for hookers who steal your crack, that’s just that enduring Biden legacy of serving the American middle class. A Dem who worked for Biden said the whole arrangement “is more of a family thing than a political thing.” And I get that. It’s basically how we run TGIF. Give the crackhead Kennedys their privacy. 

Just a routine checkup with the Parkinson’s guy: Last week it came out that Dr. Kevin Cannard, a neurologist and Parkinson’s expert, has visited the White House at least eight times since last summer and met with the president’s personal physician. Karine Jean-Pierre, Biden’s press secretary, said on Tuesday that the meeting had nothing to do with the president. I guess the two doctors who treat the president just chose a weird place to hang out? Then later that same day, she confirmed that indeed the meeting was about the president and that she got confused about the dates and misspoke. 

There was a discrepancy too on whether Biden was treated by a doctor after the debate for his “cold,” which is a new word for “probably Parkinson’s.” (Tired means dementia and jet-lagged means it’s malignant.) Last Wednesday Jean-Pierre said he wasn’t checked out by his doctor, but Biden said in a meeting with Democratic governors a few hours later that he was. Jean-Pierre then corrected things and said that the appointment after the debate was not a full work up, but a “check-in,” which apparently happens a couple of times a week. A couple of times per week! That seems like a lot of times per week to go to the doctor for a routine annual checkup. 


Read more

 

Continue Reading

Shadow Banned

Copyright © 2023 mesh news project // awake, not woke // news, not narrative // deep inside the filter bubble