Monday, November 19, 2018

AirBNB is anti-Israel...and only anti-Israel

The following is a letter that my dad sent to AirBNB about their newly instituted anti-Israel practices.

Your one-sided decision to refuse to list locations in Israel located in Judea and Samaria (or the West Bank settlements as you reference them) is one-sided and unprincipled.
Japan seeks the return of Sakhalin Islands/Kuril Islands occupied by Russia since World War II. 

Is Airbnb going to be in the political arena of deciding disputed claims for territory?

If so, then you should consider closing down operations in many of the following areas of the world. 

If you have not already, then you should consider delisting Russian occupied areas of Crimea, Ukraine, and the Republic of Georgia.

Also, Romania has territory containing 2 million Hungarians that the victors in World War I gave to Romania.

Russia took part of Poland, and Poland took part of Germany in the arrangements after World War II.

Mexico claims a substantial part of the U.S. taken in the Mexican War in 1846, a grievance that remains fresh today among Mexicans.

Bolivia has claims against against territory wrested by Chile, dating back to 1904, which the current Bolivian President seeks to reverse by going to the International Court.

The Argentines claim the British-held Falkland Islands and even initiated a war to reclaim it in the 1980’s.

Iraq claims Kuwait and waged a war, where the United States and other countries in the early 1990’s sent troops to repel Iraq.

Forty-five per cent of Scots voted in 2014 to separate from the United Kingdom, as Scotland was conquered three centuries ago by the British. 

Northern Ireland has a population that seeks to opt out of the UK because it was conquered militarily by the UK by Oliver Cromwell and then settlers were introduced from England and Scotland. 

Finland has claims against Russian occupation of what was Finland until World War II.   

Some in Corsica want out of France, as do some in Brittany and Normandy. 

Just below a majority of those who live in the now Canadian province of Quebec wanted out of Canada in our time.  The British, centuries earlier, defeated the French and took control of Quebec. 

Does Airbnb operate in Tibet, where the Chinese have complete control and the Dalai Lama has devoted his life to secure independence for Tibet.

What do you plan to do with Aboriginal claims to Australia or Maori to New Zealand as well as territorial disputes in South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. 

Will you post sites located in Kashmir, controlled by India where Pakistan has maintained claims for 70 years? 

Oh, I forgot to mention Hawaii, where the Hawaiian of Polynesian origin make territorial and national claims.   

In fact, the Palestinians never had a country.  The Palestinian claim is for every inch of what is now Israel and Israel’s destruction. 

Airbnb is getting into a thicket where it is choosing sides based on a faulty political understanding or bias.

Reverse your decision.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

How to Give a Great Bar Mitzvah Gift

Paco got some wonderful, generous gifts for his Bar-Mitzvah, but the one from the Lichts take the cake.

Not so much because of the gift itself (which was fantastic), but because it came with self-addressed fill-in-the-blank thank you note template.

As any Bar/Bat Mitzvah will tell you...the thank you note writing part is one of the least cherished tasks.

Which leads me to conclude that the Lichts are on to something here. The best Bar Mitzvah gifts include the thank you note!

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Hockey Night in Canada...

I would not say I am the biggest hockey fan in the world, but I certainly appreciate the game. Definitely during playoff time.  I usually make it to one (at most two) Capitals games per year.

Like any sport, hockey aficionados are passionate, knowledgeable, and appreciate the  nuances of the game.

There is probably no country in the world that has as many fans per capita as Canada.

Now, I've watched a hockey game with Canadians fact, it was the Women's Gold Medal Game from the 2018 Olympics against the US.  The US won (I had to slink out of the room) and it was great. You learn a lot about a sport by watching with serious fans.

Tonight, however, I had an amazing privilege to attend a Vancouver Canucks game in Vancouver and, not only that, we had front row seats against the glass. It was crazy good. Here's a video that Google auto-made for me and some pics are below. I feel exceedingly grateful for this opportunity.

The Rogers Arena was a great venue and I was impressed by how many staff people were on hand to help...those Canadians, so nice!

Another cool thing was to see how multi-cultural the crowd was (Vancouver is that way as a city), but it seems to me that hockey has a melting pot-like effect on Canadians.

And, this may sound crazy, but since I know all the words to O, Canada! (how I became an honorary Canadian), I actually sang the entire song and got a wee bit emotional as I did.

One of my "bucket list" items was to watch a live hockey game in Canada. Mission accomplished.

Plus...the Canucks won 4-2 and now I know who "Johnny Canuck" is.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Appreciating the Nightwatch by Rembrandt

Long one of my favorite paintings, this video helps you really appreciate the mastery of Rembrandt's work.

HT: Barak Epstein for sending to me.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

A touch of class as a speaker's gift

I was recently a speaker at the MarTech event in Boston.  It's a great event and, when I arrived, they handed me a gift card in an envelope.

It's not uncommon for hosts to do that for speakers and I was grateful.

Later, however, when I got back to my room, I saw that it was actually a gift card for $100. 

With that card, I was able to put $50 towards two classes that were seeking to improve their level of Holocaust awareness. (There were many things to fund. I just chose those).  Here they are.

Making History Come Alive: Bus to the Museum of Tolerance
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale

I just thought that was a wonderful idea and a much more meaningful gift than a standard Amazon gift card.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thoughts on the Kavanaugh hearings

I have really mixed feelings about the Kavanaugh hearings.

On the one hand, I'm fairly confident that the Democrats are just using this as a "Hail Mary" pass to win the "Kavanaugh Confirmation Bowl" (and, at the moment, looks like it will work).

On the other hand, I am starting to think that, perhaps, the true Supreme Court of America (namely, the American citizens) are actually using this United States v. Kavanaugh case in a Roe v. Wade or Brown v. Board type that shakes the very foundation of American society forever.

In the People of the United States v. Kavanaugh, what is on trial here (like abortion or 'separate but equal' before) is the culture of white, male hegemony.

It will, like segregation and illegal abortions, get defeated.

Ultimately, this is a good thing. It forces a reckoning on the part of the group that was previously in a position of power. That reckoning is "I am also vulnerable."

That new awakened sense of "oh man, I'm vulnerable" is going to, ultimately and with some pushback, result in a greater sense of empathy for the victims (physical, emotional, psychological, etc.) of various types of oppression.

That increased empathy will inform a different set of actions that help us all get along just a little bit (hopefully a lot) better ... that's a good thing.

So, while I am sure there are plenty of empowered white men who are feeling pretty nervous that they could be exposed for something they have said or done in the past, I think the newfound vulnerability will make many, many men think quite differently (and be open to thinking differently) about the way they interact with women (physically, emotionally, etc.)

The only thing that jeopardizes this is if the #MeToo movement basically becomes the male equivalent to the Salem Witch Trials, in which the mere accusation is enough to convict you.

If too many men see that, they will logically choose to get extremely defensive. At that point, survival instincts kick in.

A danger from there is that the extremes create large numbers of exceedingly angry, highly aggressive, physically strong men -- that is not something that a society really wants to deal with.

If this doesn't elicit comments, nothing will.