A Reporter's Notebook
Your inside scoop to the South Florida Jewish community

Iran Sanctions Act Passed

The following is an email I recently received from Tara Laxer, United Against Nuclear Iran director. This should be of great interest to all who wish for peace in the Middle East.

“Today, Florida’s House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 811, the ‘Foreign Investments’ bill authored by Rep. Bill Hager from Delray Beach. The measure now goes to the Senate for vote this week.

“The legislation mirrors a California law which makes domestic insurance companies disclose their assets with businesses that are identified on Florida’s scrutinized companies list.

“This week, the United Nations also elected Iran this week to seats on five subcommittees of the Economic and Social Council, including one on the Commission on the Status of Women, which the U.S. had condemned.

“We have a responsibility to use every tool we have to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Florida should be the model for other states to follow. To simply sit back and not do anything is unacceptable. Since 2007, Florida has helped pressure Iran’s economy by divesting pension funds from the country, divesting state charter banks, and implementing the federal ‘Iran Threat Reduction Act’ at the state level. HB 811 would go even further, and send a clear message that the people of Florida do not want their dollars going to companies that do work in Iran or Sudan. It is imperative that Florida take a strong stand now, as some parties are disturbingly starting to treat Iran as a legitimate world actor. Amazingly, Iran is even now being given a seat on the UN Women’s Rights Commission. Women’s rights should be respected regardless where she lives and Iran’s new seat on UN is beyond disturbing,” said Tara Laxer, former chief of staff to U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch, who initially led the charge on divestment with then-Majority Leader Adam Hasner.

Linda Geller-Schwartz, VP of Public Affairs of The National Council of Jewish Women in Palm Beach County concurred.

“Given that women in Iran face many gender-biased laws and restrictions, it is ironic that the country should be held up as a model of women’s rights by its selection to the UN Commission on the Status of Women,” Geller-Schwartz said.

The Senate version of HB 811, by State Senator Jeremy Ring from Broward County is quickly moving through the Senate. We urge the Senate to pass it, and for Governor Scott to sign it.

Holiday Greetings

Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Hanukkah, to all our Florida Jewish Journal readers.

This year, Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah fall on the same day, something that won’t happen again for a long time.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday – and throw the diet out the window for one day. Enjoy that second helping of turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving, coming once a year, is definitely not the day to eat rabbit food!

Time for a third party

If ever there was a time and need for the creation of a third political party, the current debacle going on in Congress proves is it now; and the wide-ranging outrage at the fiasco in Washington should be the ‘kick in the butt’ incentive to get it going.

Congressional leadership is holding our economy hostage and thousands of hard working people are taking the hit. So is the general public, not to mention the cash-spending tourists who are being turned away at national monuments and national parks. I even saw one news bite where veterans and their families were forbidden access to the WWII monument to American servicemen in Normandy, France.

However, in the past, each time attempts at developing a third political party that would give voters a choice other than Tweedledum and Tweedledee, it has been met with apathy from the electorate. Perhaps, this time will be different – maybe the message has finally sunk in. We desperately need a new, “People’s Party,” that will honestly represent the people – and, more important, keep campaign promises.

It that a possibility? Or am I just some optimistic relic who still believes in Santa Claus?

Here we go again

It looks like we’ll soon be embroiled in yet another ‘military action’ in yet another Mideast country.

Good Morning Syria!

Haven’t we learned anything in the past dozen years? How many more dead Americans have to come home in boxes (not to mention money we can’t afford to spend), before we get the message?

It’s not our job to police the world – and with no thanks for the effort.

And why now?

Nobody called for military intervention when Saddam Hussein was gassing hundreds, if not thousands, of Kurds – with the gory results brought to us in living color every night by the media. In fact, George Bush is still wearing the “Wicked Witch of the West” label for intervening in Iraq.

And what about Darfur? What about Rwanda? The world stood by silently (to its everlasting shame) and did absolutely nothing while innocent people were being butchered.

Getting involved in the Syrian civil war is a no-win situation. Whatever the outcome, we are certain to be the “bad guys.”

I say, let’s mind our own business, for once. Let somebody else take the lead. Why not use our energy and resources so solve our own myriad problems here at home – and help those Americans who really need it.

Celebrating us

All of us at the Jewish Journal just completed our very special “Double-Chai Anniversary” edition, and I’m proud to say all the hard work putting it together really paid off.

The anniversary edition, celebrating 36 years of Jewish Journal publication, not only reflects how much the community has changed over the years, but also highlights some of the people who contributed to those changes.

Actually, working on the edition was an eyeopener for me, as well. I leaned quite a bit about the Jewish Journal community and events that happened before 2002, when I first joined the Jewish Journal staff.

Much has happened during those ten yeas, and I’ve witnessed many changes in the paper itself. We have truly grown both in prestige and circulation.

Check out our anniversary edition – and see for yourself. You’ll enjoy it.