Is Anyone Convinced by Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Test?

The controversy of Elizabeth Warren’s claims to have Native American ancestry could become a damaging factor if she indeed runs for president in 2020. But now Warren is taking control of the story. Having submitted to a DNA test, Warren is now brandishing proof that she is partly descended from Native Americans. But will this put the story to bed or just stir up new issues? More at Boston Globe.

If Elizabeth Warren wants to point out to the American people that she’s never lied about her Native American ancestry, she is well within her rights to do so. And she has been grievously provoked. But she’s mistaken if she thinks Trump’s America is a place where an emotively scored promo video can change the tenor of a racial debate. If she thinks she’s the best Democratic candidate to take on Donald Trump in 2020, she’s even more mistaken.

Never during her 2012 Senate candidacy nor during her term in office did she ever submit to a DNA test to assuage the concerns of her Massachusetts constituents.

We are just weeks from Election Day and Elizabeth Warren is a candidate for Senate, again. She owes the voters of the commonwealth an explanation as to why the DNA test occured now. If what we’ve just witnessed was the beginning of her presidential campaign she should come clean. Claiming to be a Native American when one is not is fraudulent. So is claiming to be a legitimate candidate for Senate when one is not.

The white working-class voters who are such an important part of Trump’s base are extremely receptive to the idea that not only does their race confer no privilege upon them, but their struggles are happening precisely because racial minorities (and immigrants, and women) are being given unfair advantages at their expense. This idea is drummed constantly into the heads of regular viewers of Fox News or listeners to conservative talk radio. That racial grievance is what Trump is trying to activate with the “Pocahontas” insult… We have no idea whether it’s going to work…

How Do Israelis Feel About Interfaith Marriage?

For many Jews worldwide, intermarriage is seen as an existential threat to Jewish continuity. For many Israeli Jews, marrying a Muslim Arab is so rare as to be almost unheard of. Perhaps this explains the media uproar over the wedding of two Israeli celebs, one Jewish and one Muslim. Fauda star Tzachi Halevi married Lucy Aharish, a Muslim TV anchor, in a surprise ceremony on Wednesday. The new couple has been subjected to vitriol and condemnation from politicians and religious leaders, leaving some Israelis concerned about the hostility faced by interfaith and interracial couples who fall in love.

Israel’s Jewish sectors show a clear distinction between a relative marrying an Arab and the other scenarios of marrying someone of a deeply different background or identity, with marrying an Arab the least desirable scenario. The Haredim, uniquely, do not make that distinction. Rather, they view all the scenarios involving relatives marrying non-Jews as equally disturbing. The results also suggest that among the Totally Secular, the younger cohorts are not as disturbed as the older cohorts by a relative marrying an Arab scenario.

A warning was heard about the problems facing the children of interfaith spouses. The role of the state is to ensure that such problems are avoided, and that a child born to a mixed couple will not be harmed because his parents do not practice the same religion. But even if the state does not act, we must hope that the liberal public in Israel remains strong enough to protect these families from facing such problems. Finally, the wedding of Aharish and Halevi, like many other examples, shows the fact that Israel does not uphold the right to marry—and lets the religious-Orthodox stream have the final say in this matter—does not achieve its goal.

Opposition to intermarriage is nothing new. It’s a key tenet of the Jewish faith, and it’s a view held by the majority of Israelis. Most Jewish Israeli parents want their children to marry Jews. But none of the people speaking out this week are the parents of Halevy or Aharish. Neither are they the couple’s brothers or sisters or cousins. They’re strangers who are publicly attacking two people who happened to fall in love.

Can Theresa May Survive Brexit Negotiations?

The possibility of achieving a Brexit deal that will be satisfactory to the EU and to the UK seems more remote than ever. Some think that Theresa May’s grace period is nearing its end. If she can’t secure a deal soon, her government may fall apart. But even if she does secure a deal, there are bound to be discontents. In any scenario, can May survive the Brexit negotiations? More at BBC.

For all the bluster of May’s opponents at home, analysts suggest that there would be a widespread reluctance to bring May down and chance a general election that could easily bring the Labour Party to power. “The one thing to keep in mind is that this is a negotiation process and anyone who knows anything about negotiations will tell you it’s all about signaling — signaling to your own side, to your interlocutors, and to your opposition,” Houghton said.

Alternatively, May might keep playing the waiting game with the EU in the hope that the trading bloc offers an improved deal that she can sell to Parliament. But if Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn senses that May cannot unify Conservatives around her government, he will attempt to destabilize the prime minister by blocking her Brexit plan and effectively forcing her to resign. That could even bring pressure on May’s successor – perhaps Boris Johnson – to call an election.

If May returns brandishing an agreement next month, she will face a moment of profound paradox: having achieved a historic deal, she may be rewarded by political annihilation. Under section 13 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, parliament is entitled to a meaningful vote on the outcome of the negotiations. If MPs reject that deal, the government has 21 days to make a fresh statement to the Commons about its intentions. Next, the prime minister has until 21 January to present an amended agreement. And after that? Well, then things start to get really vague.

Have Liberals Devolved Into an “Angry Mob?”

Accusing liberals and leftists of “mob tactics” is a new talking point for Republicans ahead of the midterms. But has the American left really devolved into an angry mob?

This current chest-beating about “the angry left-wing mob” may morph into something more threatening as we move into the presidential campaign next year and Trump and his followers start to feel the heat of possible defeat. The NRA certainly seems prepared to take it to the next level. Sure, the Republicans hope to keep their base riled up by pretending that the “angry mob” of women in pink hats and protesters embarrassing Republican officials in public presents a threat to the nation. But Trump voting right-wingers are not actually afraid. They’re playing the victim to own the libs.

Campuses started setting up “safe spaces” well before 2015, when the news hit our media in earnest: College students were literally taking shelter from the possibility of hearing opinions they might disagree with… Never learning to argue out their political beliefs, these people have graduated and now expect their opinions to always be shared and their favored political outcomes to always occur. Instead of being told to grow up, they’re encouraged to express their fury by people who should know better. Better for everyone if they had their rude awakening sooner rather than later.

Not all mobs are equal, apparently. There was a time, less than a decade ago, when the sound of red-faced protest was music to Republican ears. That, of course, was when Barack Obama was president, and the tea party movement was hijacking congressional town hall meetings with shouts of “Tyranny!” There were plenty of shoving matches, and Democratic lawmakers were burned in effigy. The police were regularly called in to bring a semblance of order.

Was the UN’s Climate Report Overly Alarmist?

The UN Climate report was met in some circles with horrified panic and fears for the end of the world. Others are less concerned with the findings. Was the UN Climate report overly alarmist?

The U.N. panel says the apocalypse is nigh—literally. According to its calculations, global carbon emissions must fall 45% by 2030—twice as much as its earlier forecasts—and the world must wean itself entirely off fossil fuels over three decades to prevent a climate catastrophe that will include underwater coastlines and widespread drought and disease. These reductions are “possible within the laws of chemistry and physics,” said the report’s co-author Jim Skea, and that’s a relief. But he added: “Doing so would require unprecedented changes,” and the report said some methods “are at different stages of development and some are more conceptual than others, as they have not been tested at scale.”

But there are fault-lines in the IPCC report. Among them is that its dire warning of coming catastrophe, though devastating, could well be conservative… The UN report offers a wake-up call on the urgency of taking action. At stake is the prosperity—and survival—of generations to come. And there’s no time to lose. So if politicians aren’t paying attention, it’s up to citizens to make their voices heard louder than ever.

The solution to climate change isn’t to panic and double down on a flawed approach. What’s needed is a vast increase in spending on green energy research and development. Instead of trying to force people to replace cheap, efficient fossil fuels with inefficient technology, we need to ensure that green energy is the first choice for all.

Who Will Be the Next UN Ambassador?

Nikki Haley was loved as US Ambassador to the UN. She’s been seen as a rare model of a functional working relationship in the Trump administration and an even more rare model of a Trump staffer with bipartisan admiration and support. In Israel, she is thought of as a loyal friend and defender. Now that she’s leaving, who will be able to replace her?

My advice? There is none better than the assistant to the president and special representative for international negotiations – in which role he serves under Jared Kushner – as the President’s chief Middle East negotiator Jason Greenblatt. Jason is a friend of mine. That my opinion of his character is gleaned not only from the headlines but from real experience. Jason is a truly principled, God-fearing man with a genuine humility, a deep moral center and an outstanding command of international diplomacy. In his role interfacing between the Gulf states, the Palestinians, Israel and the United States, he has earned the respect of all parties involved and has the strong and fervent backing of the American pro-Israel community, both Jewish and Evangelical Christian.

The White House is adding two high-profile women, both confirmed ambassadors, to the list of candidates to succeed Nikki Haley at the United Nations, according to two senior administration officials: Jamie McCourt and Kelly Knight Craft. White House aides have said the president is inclined to select a woman for the post, and — while they stressed it’s still early in the process — that they are looking to tap somebody already in the administration.

White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump would be “incredible” serving as the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, and “everyone” wants the first daughter to replace Nikki Haley, but “chants of nepotism” made it unlikely, according to President Donald Trump on Friday. The president was referring to speculation over his eldest daughter leaving Washington and heading to New York to take over after Haley leaves at the end of 2018. It’s unclear exactly who he meant by “everyone.”

Roundtable Extra: Interview with Dr. Shlomo Fischer

In the new “Rosner’s Domain” podcast, Shmuel Rosner has a discussion with Dr. Shlomo Fischer, a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute. The two discuss the unique challenges facing the Haredi population in Israel. Click here for the full discussion.

Dr. Fischer: Being registered in Yeshiva gets you so much economic advantage.. now the point is you have to stay inside the system to get the economic benefits. In other words, you have to tow the line religiously. You have to at least make believe that you go to Kolel in the morning to study.. If you don’t do that there can be severe economic sanctions against you. Now remember, the Haredi school system does not equip people to work in the modern economy..

Shmuel: Basically, what this community is doing to making sure that youngsters who reach the age of eighteen have no choice but to stay in Yeshiva.

Dr. Fischer: What’s amazing is that the Israeli state actively participates in doing this.

Dr. Fischer teaches sociology in the School of Education at Hebrew University and at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is also currently a research fellow at the Van Leer Institute.

Along with his extensive academic research, he was the founder and Executive Director of Yesodot – Center for Torah and Democracy which works to advance education for democracy in the State-Religious school sector in Israel. He was also one of the founders and is on the Board of the International Summer School for Religion and Public Life which is based in Boston, Mass.

Today’s Hot Issues

Is Anyone Convinced by Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Test? How Do Israelis Feel About Interfaith Marriage? Can Theresa May Survive Brexit Negotiations? Have Liberals Devolved Into an “Angry Mob?” Was the UN’s Climate Report Overly Alarmist? Who Will Be the Next UN Ambassador? Roundtable Extra: Interview with Dr. Shlomo Fischer