Did Sanders Say a Woman Can’t Win?

Elizabeth Warren has confirmed that Bernie Sanders told her in 2018 that a woman would never be elected president, though Sanders denies this. Some are outraged at this news. Others, worried about sexism, think he was right. More at Vox.

If Sanders did in fact tell Warren that a woman couldn’t win, he was both sexist and giving voice to what a whole lot of Americans seem to believe: That Hillary Clinton’s presidential fate was proof of women’s electoral weakness.

…it is about time someone directly took on the notion that because Hillary Clinton lost, women are more risky this time around. That would have us avoid all of the external challenges (e.g., then-FBI Director James B. Comey) and internal errors. It also skips over 2018, when women won up and down the ballot.

It’s infuriating, but I’ve spoken to more than a few women who share such doubts. In my darkest moments, so do I.

After Booker, Is the Democratic Field Lacking Diversity?

Now that Senator Cory Booker and Julian Castro have dropped out of the race for 2020, some are noting that the Democratic field is becoming less diverse. Here are three takes on this issue:

The Democratic Party is about 40% people of color, but its top tier presidential candidates are 100% white. A diverse party needs diverse representation.

The departure of Mr. Booker, 50, from a crowded Democratic field, heralded at the outset as the most diverse in history, leaves just one African-American candidate, Deval Patrick, vying for the nomination, in a party where black voters are an essential bloc of the Democratic base.

By a literal interpretation of identity politics, the debate ended up as quite diverse by any empirical standard when compared to recent history: two women, two men of Jewish ancestry, the son of Taiwanese immigrants and one Roman Catholic. But as the Post says of Booker and as Booker said of Harris and Julian Castro before him, some diversity is more diverse than others.

Will Malka Leifer Ever Face Justice?

Accused of sexual abuse during her tenure as principal of a school for Orthodox girls in Australia, Malka Leifer fled to Israel. For years she has avoided extradition by leaning on the advocacy of Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox community and arguing that she is not mentally fit to face trial. An Israeli panel has now ruled that she is mentally fit and extradition could be imminent.

…it is in the nature of insular communities that the victims of crimes sexual and otherwise feel that there is no support, can never be support. When they reach out to a relative or trusted teacher in the community, they are accused of wrecking shalom bayit, peace in the home; when they reach out to secular authorities, they are something worse, informers. It’s the tragedy of the sisters Erlich, Meyer, and Sapper that they overcame all those reasons to say nothing, told everyone, and still have not had their day in court. Although, given their optimistic nature, on such a day as this, they might add, “yet.”

The psychiatric panel’s findings that Leifer is fit for trial is a huge boost for the prosecution, her alleged victims and the campaign to extradite her back to Australia to stand trial. But there is still a way to go before she might be seen on the docket in an Australian court.

Leifer has been fighting her extradition ever since, claiming that she is not psychologically fit to stand trial. However, the international affairs department of the State Prosecutor’s Office, which oversees extradition proceedings, says that the question of Leifer’s fitness to stand trial should not be a factor in the decision, because Leifer can undergo the tests needed to determine this in Australia.

Should California Pass SB50?

Senate Bill 50, which would rezone residential areas in California in order to alleviate the state’s housing crisis, has been controversial since introduced. Are Californians ready to pass this legislation?

Senate Bill 50 is back — new, improved, still controversial and definitely worth consideration… It should be abundantly clear by now that California has a drastic housing shortage that is exacerbating poverty and homelessness and driving up costs for all California residents.

All that these bills [change] is zoning, and there’s no evidence that zoning can close a gap that produces jobs six times faster than housing. Why would anybody think SB 50, another zoning bill, will magically get there?

If the bill passes, California would become denser, cheaper, greener, and more affordable—a state less centered on car culture, and more centered on walkable neighborhoods; less responsive to the aesthetic complaints of longtime property owners, more responsive to the needs of young families. The central economic crisis of the Trump years—high inequality, a shrinking middle class, and an excruciatingly high cost of living—would become less daunting. And California would be a lesson to other states whose residents are facing jumping rents and long commutes.

Is There a Problem with the Law of Return?

Last week, the Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Israel, Yitzhak Yosef, caused controversy when he called immigrants from the former Soviet Union “religion hating gentiles,” and made a call for the Law of Return to be amended to prevent non-Jewish immigration. This has prompted a discussion about the future of the Law of Return, which allows for Jews (or those with one Jewish parent or grandparent) to become citizens of Israel.

These recent comments by the Sephardic chief rabbi and the approaching centennial of the arrangement that led to the creation of the Chief Rabbinate should be grounds enough to end Israelis’ dependency on the Chief Rabbinate for all matters relating to who is a Jew, as well as marriage and divorce.

Given that the percentage of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not Jewish according to Jewish law will increase in the coming years, it appears there is a need for a reasoned, open and respectful debate on the nature of the Law of Return in Israel in the second decade of the 21st century.

The chief rabbi has a definition he deems the only legitimate definition of Jewishness. The Israeli public’s opinion — outcry and fury aside — is closer to the rabbi’s definition than you might think. Although the Law of Return largely is supported as a concept, the details make it less consensual. Nine out of 10 Israelis want Jews to make aliyah and get immediate citizenship and rights, but only about half (53%, according to the Guttman-Avi Chai survey) support this option for non-Jewish spouses of Jews; even fewer Israelis support a law that benefits the non-Jewish grandchildren of Jews — the current law.

Are the Oscars Worth the Outrage?

The announcement of the nominees for the Oscars has generated a familiar debate about the whiteness and maleness of the line-up. Is the outrage worth it?

The films that racked up the most Academy Award nominations on Monday morning have remarkable qualities worthy of praise and attention. But taken as a group, particularly when so many films with vital new voices and perspectives were overlooked, they highlight the Academy’s worst habit: celebrating derivative and self-referential works by established white men above all else.

The thing is: It wouldn’t have taken much to lighten this slate up a little. Nominating “Dolemite is My Name” for Best Picture, for instance, would have been a nice grace note. So would nominating Eddie Murphy for Best Actor for “Dolemite” Akwafina for Best Actress for “The Farewell” or Jennifer Lopez for Best Supporting Actress for “Hustlers.”

This year’s Oscar nominations were released Monday morning, which means the internet was immediately filled with unnecessarily outraged opinions… There’s one thing about the Oscars that you can always predict, though. Moviegoers will find plenty of reasons to be upset, and these days, those reasons usually center not on the content of the film, but on identity politics.

Today’s Hot Issues

Did Sanders Say a Woman Can’t Win? After Booker, Is the Democratic Field Lacking Diversity? Will Malka Leifer Ever Face Justice? Should California Pass SB50? Is There a Problem with the Law of Return? Are the Oscars Worth the Outrage?