Should America Consider “Vaccine Passports?”

“Vaccine Passports” are a certification of vaccination that would allow the inoculated to gain access to places closed to the non-inoculated. While it’s not likely to be a national policy anytime soon, should Americans adopt it at the state level?

The pandemic has already inordinately affected people on the basis of race, gender, and socioeconomic status, and vaccine appointments are disproportionately being taken up by white Britons and those from more affluent areas. By making a return to normal social activity contingent on vaccination, natural immunity, or a negative COVID-19 test, those inequalities could be ingrained further.

As tens of millions are inoculated against Covid-19, officials in places as diverse as New York state, Israel and China have introduced “vaccine passports,” and there’s talk of making them universal… The vaccine passport should [.] be understood not as an easing of restrictions but as a coercive scheme to encourage vaccination.

Ensuring that a person’s vaccination status can be verifiable and visible through documentation would be an important tool for lifting quarantines and defeating COVID-19. Like the scars of the past, vaccine passports could help Americans to finally bring this pandemic to an end.

Is There a Problem with “Woke” Companies?

In response to Georgia’s new restrictive voting legislation, a number of major corporations like Delta and Coca-Cola have decided to speak out against the state.

Unless the business community puts its money where its mouth is and punishes Georgia Republicans, other states will accurately conclude that there is no consequence for stripping poor and minority voters of their rights.

This is an outrage that cannot stand.

Maybe I was wrong to think conservatives should refrain from adopting the bullying, boycotting tactics of the left… But it’s increasingly clear that the sharp increase in corporate virtue signaling after George Floyd’s death wasn’t a passing trend but a sea change. Perhaps it’s time for conservatives to boycott companies that hate us.

The Trump presidency has facilitated an era of consumer activism, coupled with conscious consumerism, that increasingly demanded corporate accountability and transparency. Under Biden, there might now be fewer outrageous national issues that require public comment, but stateside policy, as illustrated by Georgia’s restrictive voting law, still could have an outsize impact on future elections.

What’s Behind the “Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism?”

The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA) is a new working definition of antisemitism designed to challenge the commonly accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition. For the drafters and signers of the new JDA, the issue with the IHRA definition is how it labels many forms of Israel criticism as antisemitic.

…the JDA is wildly out of touch — about what antisemitism actually is, how American Jews report experiencing it, and how it has always appeared in the world: as an attack not just on individual Jews or Jewish religious observance, but on Jewish peoplehood and the Jewish collective. There is nothing more representative of that than the Jewish movement for liberation — Zionism — and the sovereign Jewish state it ultimately (re)produced — Israel.

…in practice, the JDA is being interpreted almost solely as a tool for denying things are antisemitic. It scarcely ever is cited to actually declare something antisemitic, at least in a concrete and contested case.

…the damage done by the IHRA definition of antisemitism is profound. It has restricted reasonable debates about Israel and done nothing to lessen antisemitism. It must be stopped in its tracks. Whatever its shortcomings, the JDA is the product of a long, thoughtful process of ethical dialogue between an international body of scholars and a broad range of interest groups, all of whom are deeply invested in combating antisemitism.

Why Are We Still Debating Poland and the Holocaust?

A 2018 book told the story of how Edward Malinowski, mayor of a Polish town in 1939, led Nazi occupiers to a forest where Jews were hiding. The authors of the book, Jan Grabowski and Barbara Engelking, have been found guilty of defamation by the Polish courts, reopening a long-running international debate on whether Poland was a victim of Hitler’s regime or an accomplice.

The government’s position is that any statement that connects the Polish state to Nazi murder is unpatriotic and defamatory. Even before the current memory wars commenced, the previous, pro-European Polish government objected to the use of the word “Polish” in connection with concentration and extermination camps…

As much as Poland has put itself in the wrong by attempting to deny any Polish individuals informed on or killed Jews, some of those who are attacking them are themselves forgetting the historical facts. Unlike many other occupied countries, like France, there was no collaborationist government in Poland.

… how sad that Poland’s much-criticized legislature and courts now turn away from confronting and engaging with the complexities of historical truth, in favor of a facile and fabricated new history.

Have We Now Learned the Identity of “Q”

An HBO documentary reveals Ron Watkins, who owns and operates the website 8kun (formerly 8chan), has strongly suggested that he is Q, the shadowy online figure who drops conspiracies that form the basis of the “QAnon” movement. QAnon adherents believe that Q is a senior government figure.

You might imagine that the revelation that Q is not in fact a person with top-secret government clearance but rather the administrator of a fringe website best known for boosting Gamergate and hosting white supremacist hate speech, would rock the QAnon community to its core.

But in reality, it has barely registered with them.

…the revelation has reinvigorated debate about the clues of Watkins’s role in one of the biggest conspiracy-theory movements of the Internet age. QAnon has incited violence and criminal acts, and the FBI has designated it a domestic terrorism threat.

The previously camera-shy Watkins — who runs 8kun alongside his father, Jim — has long been the key suspect for the identity of Q. In fact, anybody really paying attention all but knew it. But his accidental reveal, the slip of the mask is huge, if anticlimactic, news.

Twitter Talk: Have You Tried Duolingo’s Yiddish Course Yet?

The popular language learning app Duolingo has added Yiddish to its offerings. Here’s what Jewish Twitter is saying:

Yiddish friend: So, you started Duolingo Yiddish??

Me: Totally. Every single day.

Yiddish friend: *speaks Yiddish*

Me *in perfect Yiddish*: “The Zebra is next to the pyramid.”

My 13 year old and I complaining about Duolingo having made a fictional space language available before Yiddish *while* we are downloading and updating Duolingo to learn Yiddish together is the energy required in order to master Yiddish.

Seeing so many Jewish college students be this excited to learn Yiddish is so heartwarming to me. We are refusing to let our culture die, I’m so happy for everyone who took their first steps of learning Yiddish today! מזל טוב

Today’s Hot Issues

Should America Consider “Vaccine Passports?” Is There a Problem with “Woke” Companies? What’s Behind the “Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism?” Why Are We Still Debating Poland and the Holocaust? Have We Now Learned the Identity of “Q” Twitter Talk: Have You Tried Duolingo’s Yiddish Course Yet?