Posts Tagged ‘anti-American’

Facebook’s fall: From the friendliest face of tech to perceived enemy of democracy

December 11, 2018

In 2010, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s story was the stuff of Hollywood movies. “The Social Network,” about the website and its founder’s meteoric rise, starred A-listers Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake, won an Oscar and made almost $250 million in the United States alone.

What a difference eight years makes.

Today, Zuckerberg is seen by many as a wincing megalomaniacal multibillionaire, and the personal data-mining company he created is viewed by some as an existential threat to democracy itself.

“It’s been a sudden thing. These people are not the darlings anymore and it’s been hard for them to adapt,” Lincoln Network President Aaron Ginn told Fox News. “So they’ve made a lot of unforced errors.”

Ginn, who co-founded the Lincoln Network five years ago to help technology and government work together to promote individual liberty and economic opportunity, added that “there are significant internal company responsibilities that, I think, [Facebook executives] have not lived up to.”


Indeed, in less than a decade, Zuckerberg has managed to enrage leaders on both sides of the aisle in the U.S., and around the world, as his social media network has emerged as a polarizing tool that can be politically weaponized amid concerns about algorithms issues, privacy, misinformation and bias.

‘Zuckerberg got too big for his hoody, lost track of his responsibilities to Facebook users, advertisers and employees’

— Porter Bibb

Facebook’s perceived threat has reached such a level that Damian Collins, chairman of the U.K. Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, recently took the extraordinary step of sending a sergeant-at-arms from the legislative body to use forceful tactics to seize secret documents that could contain data about Facebook’s privacy controls and potentially shady correspondence between Facebook’s top executives.

Image result for facebook, zuckerberg, photos

By  Brian Flood
Fox news

Other high-profile figures in the U.K. have also voiced their concerns about the social network. Asked in a BBC interview whether Facebook is a threat to democracy, Robert Hannigan – the former head of GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA replied: “Potentially yes. I think it is if it isn’t controlled and regulated.”

The documents, which are under seal in the U.S., are part of an ongoing lawsuit in California between Facebook and app developer Six4Three. Brits clearly think they’re damaging, as the BBC described a sergeant-at-arms being sent to nab the documents as a “highly unusual” tactic that hasn’t been employed “in living memory.”

The once-sterling company has been operating under a dark cloud of suspicion for most of 2018, with European regulators insisting to probe the tech giant’s internal communications and British regulators hitting Facebook with a fine of 500,000 U.K. pounds ($644,000) — the highest possible — for failing to protect the privacy of its users in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

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But the drama with Facebook is hardly limited to incidents across the pond – and both British and American lawmakers have mocked Zuckerberg’s lack of cooperation with empty chairs to represent where he would have sat if he actually attended various hearings that he has blown off.


“Facebook is the villain and finally people know it,” Washington University professor Liberty Vittert wrote in a Fox News Op-Ed pegged to both the British lawmaker and the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal. “If the government doesn’t get its act together and start creating and enforcing laws to regulate these powerful companies, we are in real trouble.”

As Facebook’s issues tick off lawmakers in various countries, the tech monster has also caught the attention of both liberal and conservative groups on U.S. soil.

‘Facebook has now become part of the broader ‘establishment,’ which doesn’t necessarily look out for the regular people, and thus, is now treated with suspicion’

— DePauw University professor Jeffrey McCall

Progressive advocacy groups, including MoveOn and Public Citizen, teamed up to create Freedom From Facebook – which calls on the FCC to break up Zuckerberg’s massive conglomerate. Freedom From Facebook has accused the social media network of curating the news that billions of people consume, bankrupting potential competitors, killing innovation, reducing choice, tracking users and “spending millions on corporate lobbyists.”

Liberal advocacy groups have also decried Facebook’s use of a GOP opposition firm to do some digging on billionaire George Soros.

Facebook protesters


Meanwhile, Facebook has long been accused of censoring conservative viewpoints and promoting news with a liberal bias.

Ginn said that the majority of employees who determine what is considered hate speech and oversee content have liberal political views. He feels that institutional bias, combined with data proving the majority of users lean left, has turned Facebook into “activist central,” despite the social network not being designed for political activism.


“It doesn’t remove that they have a responsibility, when 50 percent of the nation believes something different, generally speaking, to accept them on their platform,” Ginn said.

Earlier this year the conservative Media Research Center launched TechWatch, a project dedicated to exposing those kinds of incidents as they plague the tech industry.

MRC Vice President Dan Gainor, who heads up the project, feels that the mainstream media “has been looking for someone or something to blame for Trump winning in 2016 and journalists are pointing the finger at social media.”

‘The top social media, search media companies reach billions of people and have the ability to silence the right more than even a major government’

— Media Research Center VP Dan Gainor

“They are convinced that somehow the right used Facebook to win and they want it reined in or destroyed before a repeat performance in 2020,” Gainor told Fox News. “Facebook made its relationship with the media worse because it dared to work with a right-leaning group like Definers and used them to prepare ordinary research about billionaire liberal George Soros… the press has been on an anti-Facebook crusade ever since.”

Facebook Inc.’s board of directors defended the Soros controversy, saying that it was “entirely appropriate” to ask if the billionaire investor had shorted the company’s stock after he called the social-media giant a “menace.”

While the folks behind TechWatch and Freedom From Facebook don’t share ideologies, the two groups seem to agree that Zuckerberg’s company is causing people harm.


“Censorship got very bad — bad in ways that are tough to track, because all of our experiences online are personalized. People from ordinary citizens to major politicians have been censored and these firms use the vague term ‘hate speech’ to restrict any content they simply don’t like,” Gainor said. “The top social media, search media companies reach billions of people and have the ability to silence the right more than even a major government.”

DePauw University professor Jeffrey McCall told Fox News that Americans have “long suffered from the false notion that if something is technologically glitzy, it must necessarily be great,” and feels Facebook is the latest example.

Image result for Sheryl Sandberg, pictures

 Sheryl Sandberg

“Facebook emerged as a craze that led people to believe the platform was a life enhancer in terms of social connections and flow of information, broadly considered.  While many people enjoy sharing photos and updates with friends, it turns out the platform gave false hope and expectations on many levels,” McCall said. “Hanging out on Facebook doesn’t really make us happier and what we learn there might or might not be reliable. Individual privacy has been lost in many regards.”

Ginn noted that Facebook has become sort of “the middle man between the media and the customer,” and hasn’t gained many corporate friends in the process.

Among the mainstream media organizations that have attacked Facebook are BuzzFeed and The New York Times. BuzzFeed News recently quoted a number of current and former employees as saying the atmosphere at the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company is one of feeling “under siege” with a growing sense of “paranoia.”

The New York Times recently published a bombshell report that detailed Facebook’s attempt to distance itself from various controversies, ranging from Russia-linked activity on the platform to attempting to discredit enemies. The report noted that Facebook has connected more than 2 billion people, essentially creating a “global nation unto itself” that has “reshaped political campaigns, the advertising business and daily life around the world.”

“Along the way, Facebook accumulated one of the largest-ever repositories of personal data, a treasure trove of photos, messages and likes that propelled the company into the Fortune 500,” the Times wrote. “As Facebook grew, so did the hate speech, bullying and other toxic content on the platform.”

The scathing Times report painted Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg as careless regarding their company’s ability to “disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe.”

‘Legitimate concerns about the machinations behind the scenes at Facebook have surfaced now, and it is clear that big tech is not promoting individual empowerment’

— DePauw University professor Jeffrey McCall

Reporter-turned-investment banker Porter Bibb specializes in media, entertainment and technology ventures, with over 40 years of experience moving money in those fields. He told Fox News that it’s time to “bring in the grownups” because Zuckerberg is “blind to the fact that he is driving his company off the cliff.”

“Zuckerberg got too big for his hoody, lost track of his responsibilities to Facebook users, advertisers, and employees and failed to accept the fact that his inexperience does not qualify him to run the world’s largest social media enterprise,” Bibb said. “Sandberg and Facebook’s feckless board only intensified the likelihood that the roof will fall in on Facebook.”

Facebook algorithm issues are yet another concern for users on both sides of the political spectrum. The social network, for example, accidentaly tagged an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence as hate speech, and briefly censored a photo of Santa Claus.

TechWatch has only been around for three months but has faced no shortage of Facebook-related content, posting stories about the company failing to protect users from foreign scam artists, shadowbanning pro-life contentupsetting a journalists’ unionraising the eyebrows of various lawmakers and examined a potential conflict of interest over Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., — who warned a colleague to back off Facebook — because his daughter is employed at the company.

Ginn said that a lot of steps Facebook has taken to rectify the issues actually made the problems worse, pointing to Zuckerberg declaring he wanted the social media service to make people better as an example.

“Most people on the right would say, ‘That’s not your role,’ and they receive pressure from internal employees and users who say, ‘That is your role,’” Ginn said, before adding that the exit strategy for Facebook should simply be to act more “laissez-faire and Libertarian.”

In addition to displeasing users, staffers, voters, lawmakers, reporters, activists and tech rivals, Facebook could suddenly agitate investors, too.

The company’s mounting problems and newly-disclosed internal documents prompted a research firm to downgrade its stock to hold from buy last Thursday.

“Facebook has now become part of the broader ‘establishment,’ which doesn’t necessarily look out for the regular people, and thus, is now treated with suspicion. Legitimate concerns about the machinations behind the scenes at Facebook have surfaced now, and it is clear that big tech is not promoting individual empowerment, but instead exploiting the masses for profit, power and pushing of ideology,” McCall said.

Fox News’ James Rogers contributed to this article.

Includes video:

On this site, use search word: 


Teens insist social media makes them feel better: poll

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Image result for trump, google, photos

“Maybe I did a better job because I’m good with the Twitter”



Young people

The study found widespread apprehension about the future. Seeking intimacy? Or isolation?


Israel’s US ambassador slams Turkey, Qatar for attempting to ‘ruin’ Saudi-US relationship

November 4, 2018

Israel’s ambassador to the US Ron Dermer has used a recent panel discussion to slam global double standards with regard to the world’s outcry over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and criticism of the US’ decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and impose sanctions.


Israel’s ambassador to the US Ron Dermer has used a recent panel discussion to slam Turkish, Qatari attempts to ruin the Saudi-US relationship. (AFP)

Dermer said: “It is hard for me to take seriously statements of outrage that (the murder) caused and the calls for a fundamental change to the relationship with Saudi Arabia, when (the same people) supported an agreement that gave an avowed enemy of the US hundreds of billions of dollars.”



He added: “If we are outraged by the murder of one, we should be five-hundred thousand times more outraged by the murder of five-hundred thousand,” citing how the nuclear deal had “enabled” Bashar Assad to kill 500,000 innocent Syrians.

He also highlighted the external forces that continue to attempt to ruin Saudi Arabia’s relationships with the US.

Dermer referenced Turkish and Qatari moves to drive a wedge between the Kingdom and the United States in the aftermath of the murder of Khashoggi.

Dermer said: “Turkey and Qatar are pressing hard to ruin relationships with Saudi Arabia,” as he criticized Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera for spreading anti-American and anti-semitic messages.

Dermer said the US had to be careful about throwing away the important “strategic relationship” it has with Saudi Arabia, as he highlighted how the US and Iran shared “no interests and no values.”

Arab News

U.S., Russia Clash at U.N. as Lavrov Calls for Easing of North Korea Sanctions

September 28, 2018

Foreign minister cites Pyongyang’s progress in nuclear talks, as Pompeo chides China, Moscow for skirting curbs

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo chairs a United Nations Security Council meeting on Sept. 27.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo chairs a United Nations Security Council meeting on Sept. 27. PHOTO: JASON SZENES/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

UNITED NATIONS—The Trump administration worked to move ahead on its top diplomatic priority—the denuclearization of North Korea—but ran head-on into opposition to its plans from Russia, which called for the easing of United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang.

The proposal by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the U.N. Security Council ran directly counter to the U.S. demand that countries maintain strong economic pressure aimed at forcing the country to give up its nuclear weapons.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

While the U.S. could veto any proposal to lift sanctions, and most countries on the 15-member Security Council spoke in favor of strictly enforcing sanctions, the remarks undermined a united international message to North Korea at a time when the U.S. and U.N. have found lapses and leaks in sanctions enforcement world-wide.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who chaired the meeting, announced plans to travel to Pyongyang in October to set up another summit meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But while laboring to push the diplomacy forward, the U.S. has said international sanctions must remain in place to ensure North Korea’s continued cooperation.

However, Mr. Lavrov, speaking at a Security Council meeting on North Korea chaired by Mr. Pompeo, proposed exemptions that would allow joint economic projects in North Korea—such as investments in rail and road infrastructure—to commence.

Mr. Lavrov said such projects would send a positive signal to North Korea as a reward for taking steps to implement a promise to give up its nuclear weapons. He said it was unacceptable to use sanctions as a form of “collective punishment.”

“Negotiations are a two-way street,” he said, adding that Russia would work on a draft proposal to ease sanctions pressure.

A year ago, the Security Council voted to toughen sanctions, a result of months of intense U.S. diplomatic pressure to isolate North Korea for its nuclear tests.

Mr. Pompeo continued to maintain that it was critical for all nations to strictly enforce sanctions to maintain pressure on North Korea.

He used his opening address to swipe at Russia and China, both permanent Security Council members who earlier backed sanctions, over the sale of petroleum products in excess of North Korea’s maximum 500,000-barrel allowance and other forms of economic relief.

“The members of this Council must set the example on that effort, and we must all hold each other accountable,” Mr. Pompeo said.

North Korea Racks Up Diplomatic Points

North Korea Racks Up Diplomatic Points

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un hosted a friendly summit with South Korea’s president, while trying to nudge forward denuclearization talks with Washington. The WSJ’s Jonathan Cheng explains. Photo: Pyongyang Press Corps via AP

He called for an end to ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, a practice linked to Chinese and Russian entities. He also said member states should stop hosting North Korean laborers, a reference to the thousands of workers who have been granted permission to work in Russia.

“This violates the spirit and the letter of the Security Council resolutions that we all agreed to uphold,” he told the Council.

Mr. Lavrov defended North Korea’s call for economic relief, saying Pyongyang has taken meaningful steps toward implementing its promise to give up its nuclear weapons and urged the U.N. Security Council to send a “positive signal” in return.

In addition, the Russian foreign minister took aim at the U.S. for implementing secondary sanctions, which he described as “illicit practices” that undermine the sovereignty of other nations.

The U.S. this month placed sanctions on a Russian company for providing port services to North Korean ships, and Chinese companies for exporting alcohol and cigarettes to North Korea.

The Russian minister’s calls at the Security Council for a softer approach were met with opposition by U.S. allies, including Japan, France and the U.K., who all spoke out on the need for unity at the Council and the strict enforcement of U.N. sanctions.

South Korea, meanwhile, said North Korea was prepared to undertake the major step of dismantling its Yongbyon nuclear reactor if the U.S. offered a reciprocal concession. South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha didn’t specify what steps the U.S. might take.

South Korea under President Moon Jae-in has been discussing economic cooperation with North Korea as an incentive for denuclearization in talks that have been under way this year. Mr. Moon in August proposed a joint railway.

North Korea, along with Russia, wants the Security Council to lift restrictions or offer exemptions that would provide economic relief in exchange for progress rolling back its nuclear and missile programs.

Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, who led North Korea’s delegation to the U.N. this week, didn’t attend the Security Council meeting. He met separately with both the U.S. and Russia ahead of the event.

The U.S. and its allies say sanctions must remain in place until North Korea has fully implemented its promise to denuclearize. It is unclear what incentives may work as an alternative.

Mr. Trump has eased pressure in other areas of the negotiations and plans a second meeting with Mr. Kim this year.

US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in gesture after signing the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement on the sidelines of the 73rd UNGA on September 24, 2018 [Reuters/Carlos Barria]

US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in gesture after signing the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement on the sidelines of the 73rd UNGA on September 24, 2018 [Reuters/Carlos Barria]

Mr. Trump on Wednesday reversed earlier administration demands for a strict timeline for denuclearization, saying that “if it takes two years, three years or five months, doesn’t matter.”

In June, the administration said it hoped to achieve “major disarmament” of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal during his first term in office.

Mr. Moon, who has been a key force behind the nuclear talks, met with Mr. Trump on Monday. He made a fresh push for progress toward an exchange of declarations between the U.S. and North Korea, a step seen as a key trust-building exercise.

In this step, the U.S. would agree to a formal peace treaty with North Korea in return for a list of Pyongyang’s nuclear- and ballistic-missile assets. During Monday’s meeting, Mr. Moon asked Mr. Trump to support a political declaration that hostilities on the Korean Peninsula have come to an end.

Such a statement that would be largely symbolic and would differ from a formal peace treaty, which the U.S. has been insisting shouldn’t come until the end of the diplomatic process—after the denuclearization of North Korea is complete. While it would fall short of a formal treaty, Mr. Moon has asserted that it would nonetheless be an important gesture to encourage North Korea to start taking concrete steps to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.

Write to Jessica Donati at

Appeared in the September 28, 2018, print edition as ‘Russia and U.S. Clash Over Pyongyang Curbs.’

Nike’s ad with football player Colin Kaepernick creates controversy — Nike’s stock was down 2.5 percent on Tuesday

September 5, 2018

Sports giant Nike’s ad with American football player Colin Kaepernick is causing controversy on both sides of the political spectrum. The quarterback is the most prominent face of the “take a knee” protests.

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Nike’s stock was down 2.5 percent on Tuesday after the company’s controversial new ad featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was unveiled on Monday.

Nike is just the latest sports brand to face boycott calls. Industry analysts said that their position could alienate some customers, while winning over others, but that such controversy often blows over quickly.

“Nike is not a stranger to backing sporting personalities who take views and act on them. Politicizing sport is likely to result in polarizing demographics,” said John Guy, an analyst at Mainfirst Bank in London.

Athletic clothing manufacturer Under Armour faced criticism last year after its chief executive made comments supporting Trump and Adidas was urged in May to cut its ties to rapper Kanye West after he described slavery as a choice and praised Trump.

Critics of Kaepernick, who have framed his protest as unpatriotic and disrespectful to the US military, took to Twitter to hit out at the Nike deal.

Some fans have burned Nike goods, with the hashtag #JustBurnIt (a play on Nike’s “Just Do It”) trending alongside #BoycottNike.

Country music singer John Rich posted a photo of a pair of slashed Nike sports socks.

“Our Soundman just cut the Nike swoosh off his socks,” Rich wrote on Twitter. “Get ready @Nike multiply that by the millions.”

One user going by the name Sean Clancy posted a video of burning Nike shoes, which was viewed more than 4 million times.

Sean Clancy@sclancy79

First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive?

Others however showed their support of Kaepernick.

“Colin Kaepernick drew our collective attention to the problem of continued racial injustice in America,” former CIA director John Brennan wrote on Twitter.

John O. Brennan


Colin Kaepernick drew our collective attention to the problem of continued racial injustice in America. He did so not to disrespect our flag but to give meaning to the words of the preamble of our Constitution—“in order to form a more perfect union.” Well done, Colin, well done.

Colin Kaepernick


Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt

View image on Twitter

Nike’s sponsorship deal with Kaepernick is liable to further advance the issue of the national anthem and player protests against police violence during the coming season, increasing pressure on the NFL to broker a solution.

In June, President Donald Trump canceled the visit of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to the White House after several players indicated they would not attend.

NFL owners approved a new policyin May which made it mandatory for all players on the field to stand during the pre-match ritual of the US national anthem, albeit allowing them to stay in the locker room if they didn’t wish to take part.

However the new policy was shelved in July as the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to reopen dialogue to reach agreement on a new approach.

Controversy began in 2016

Kaepernick triggered a political firestorm for kneeling during the US national anthemin 2016 to protest racial injustice. He has not played in the NFL since early last year.

The new Nike ads, which were unveiled just days before the kick-off of the 2018 NFL season on Thursday, show a portrait of Kaepernick with the slogan: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Kaepernick posted the advert on his Twitter account followed by #JustDoIt.

Colin Kaepernick


Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.

ESPN has reported that Nike kept Kaepernick, who signed a sponsorship deal with the company in 2011, was on its payroll throughout the controversy of the past two years.

“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” said Gino Fisanotti, Nike’s vice president of brand for North America.

The ad’s release comes just days after Kaepernick was cheered by spectators when he appeared alongside fellow player and activist Eric Reid at the US Open tennis tournament to watch Serena Williams on Friday.

Kaepernick’s protests on the football field have become a bitterly divisive issue amongst NFL fans after President Donald Trump reignited the controversy during a campaign rally in September last year.

Trump described players like Kaepernick who knelt for the anthem as “sons of bitches” who should be fired. The US president has repeated those criticisms frequently over the past year, even suggesting at one stage that protesting players “shouldn’t be in the country”.

av/msh (Reuters, AFP)


Serena Williams praises Colin Kaepernick’s new Nike ad campaign

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Says He Supports Colin Kaepernick (Is this good for Nike?) — Al Jazeera Loves It!

September 4, 2018

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took to Twitter on Monday, to lend support to anthem-protesting former quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

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Ahmadinejad wrote:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad


The season will start this week, unfortunately once again @Kaepernick7 is not on a NFL roster. Even though he is one of the best Quarterbacks in the league.

Related image

Ahmadinejad served as Iran’s president from 2005-2013. During that time he ruthlessly suppressed all political opposition. Most notably in 2009, when he oversaw the murder and incarceration of thousands who protested his contested reelection.

Colin Kaepernick has not played football since the 2016 season, and even then, he wasn’t one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. In fact, Kaepernick lost his starting job to journeyman quarterback Blaine Gabbert just prior to the start of that season.

However, the former dictator of one of the leading terrorist states in the world, has a different take. A take that happens to be consistent with most left-wing sports media opinions.

So, apparently, while ESPN loses loses thousands of subscribers in the United States, it seems they have at least one loyal subscriber left in the Islamic Republic of Iran.



From Al-Jazeera

Athletes side with Kaepernick as Nike ‘Just Do It’ ad goes viral

NFL quarterback who sparked debate over race-based police brutality becomes new face of Nike’s ‘Just Do it’ ad campaign.

Athletes side with Kaepernick as Nike 'Just Do It' ad goes viral
Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned this NFL season, leading some to accuse the NFL of blacklisting him [Twitter/Colin Kaepernick]

Some of the biggest names in sports, entertainment and politics have taken to Twitter to show their support for civil rights activist and Black Lives Matter supporter Colin Kaepernick after the former American football player became the new face of Nike’s ‘Just Do it’ ad campaign.

Kaepernick, 30, who is currently without a team, sparked a wave of protests across the National Football League and other athletic events in 2016 after he started kneeling during the American national anthem to protest against police brutality against African Americans.

“Believe in something,” Nike’s new tagline read in a tweet posted by Kaepernick.

“Even if it means sacrificing everything”.

The tweet immediately went viral, garnering millions of interactions and the #Nike hashtag became a worldwide trending topic.

Kaepernick, who has not played football since 2017 after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers, has repeatedly been attacked by US President Donald Trump over his public stand, with Trump calling on NFL team owners to fire players like him.

Brushing aside the issue of racism, Trump attacked the protesting players last year, accusing them of showing “total disrespect of our heritage”.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, Get that son of a b**** off the field right now. Out! He’s fired”.

Kenney Stills, a wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins tweeted: “#IMWITHKAP”.

Kenny Stills


Colin Kaepernick


Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt

View image on Twitter

Kelvin Beachum, who plays for the New York Jets tweeted a raised fist emoji, which is commonly used to show support for African American and minority rights issues.

Kelvin Beachum



Colin Kaepernick


Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt

View image on Twitter

Russell Okung, an offensive tackler for the Los Angeles Chargers, wrote on Twitter: “Be like NIKE, don’t be like Papa Johns.”

Papa John’s courted controversy last year after weighing in on the national anthem protest.

The Daily Stormer, a white-supremacist website, published an article asking whether Papa John’s was the “official pizza of the alt-right”.

Russell Okung


Be like NIKE, don’t be like Papa Johns.

Samuel L Jackson, who has starred in hit films such as Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained and the Avengers franchise tweeted: “Oh s**t @Nike done stepped in it now!!! Sanctions tbd!!!”

Samuel L. Jackson


Oh shit @Nike done stepped in it now!!! Sanctions tbd!!!

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who’s been tweeting with greater frequency as of late, called Kaepernick “one of the best quarterbacks in the league”.

“The #NFL season will start this week, unfortunately once again @Kaepernick7 is not on a NFL roster,” he wrote. “Even though he is one of the best Quarterbacks in the league”.

Murtaza Mohammad Hussain


Really didn’t expect Wokemadinejad to become a thing.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad


The #NFL season will start this week, unfortunately once again @Kaepernick7 is not on a NFL roster. Even though he is one of the best Quarterbacks in the league.#ColinKaepernick #NFL

US Senator Ted Cruz used the tweet for political point-scoring and quote-tweeted the former anti-American president.

“When a radical anti-Semite, anti-American Iranian dictator emphatically agrees with you, maybe that’s a sign that Beto, the NFL, and Nike are all on the wrong side of the American people,” Cruz wrote.

Ted Cruz


US Senate candidate, TX

When a radical anti-Semite, anti-American Iranian dictator emphatically agrees with you, maybe that’s a sign that Beto, the NFL, and Nike are all on the wrong side of the American people….

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad


The #NFL season will start this week, unfortunately once again @Kaepernick7 is not on a NFL roster. Even though he is one of the best Quarterbacks in the league.#ColinKaepernick #NFL

Meanwhile, some people took to Twitter to protest Nike’s decision to pick Kaepernick.

Twitter user @Jamierodr10, who describes himself as a “lover of liberty” shared a video showing a pair of Nike shoes on fire.

“First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive?” he posted.

Sean Clancy@sclancy79

First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive?

Earlier this year, the NFL announced that it would impose fines on teams should their players choose to kneel in protest during the national anthem


Pakistan: Everyone Fears Imran Khan — But not Pakistan’s military and Not China

August 4, 2018
The country that Khan inherits as prime minister is practically run on scare tactics. The military will want its pound of flesh.

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On Friday evening I drove back home to Islamabad after covering Pakistan’s July 25 general elections from the eastern city of Lahore. As I fumbled in my purse for my keys, the front door rattled and I heard footsteps on the other side.

“Madam, is someone else home?” my driver, Shaukat, asked. I live alone.

I dialed the police emergency helpline and explained that someone was inside my house. Commandos brandishing automatic rifles soon arrived and entered my home, going from room to room, looking under beds and behind sofas.

The washington Post
August 2 at 1:34 PM

Mehreen Zahra-Malik, a former Reuters correspondent, is a journalist based in Islamabad.

Nothing was missing. In the lounge, we found one window, which locks from the inside, open. One officer said that maybe the intruder had left through that window. “Or maybe some khalai makhlooq was here,” another one joked.

He was using the Urdu word for “extraterrestrials” to suggest that I might have imagined the movements and sounds I was describing. The irony was lost on him: In Pakistan, khalai makhlooq is often used to refer to the army and its spy agencies, part of a rich political vocabulary born out of fear of openly criticizing the country’s most powerful institutions.

These “aliens” have for years been accused of piling pressure on civilian governments to tow their line, of threatening and abducting journalists and human rights defenders who speak up against them, of “disappearing” ordinary citizens on terrorism or other charges without due process and, most recently, of helping to rig a landmark general election in which cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has emerged the undisputed winner.

In the hours that followed, after the police left and friends arrived to comfort me, I thought back to the several phone calls I had received in previous days from “well-wishing” army officers warning me not to write against the army. I remembered the words of one brigadier who called me three times about a tweet in which I reported about the army’s blocking of Dawn, the country’s oldest newspaper, saying that my words had generated a lot of anger among my Twitter followers and that “if one of them takes matters into his own hands, you will have only yourself to blame.”

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Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa

But most of all, I thought about whether I had indeed imagined an intruder and whether my fear was unwarranted. But that was the point: An enduring sense of dread and paranoia at having crossed a thinly drawn red line, a fear of the unknown, is a reality for journalists who report on Pakistani politics, particularly on the power struggle between the military and civilian governments that is as old as the country itself.

The threats, as shadowy as they may sometimes feel, are all too real. Indeed, the country that Khan inherits as prime minister is practically run on scare tactics.

There is much in Khan to be afraid of. During his poison-tongued, invective-laden campaign, he pushed his supporters to the verge of war with news channels that criticized him. He has suggested that those who opposed him were “agents” of Pakistan’s archival India and the “international establishment.”

He has supported a draconian blasphemy law that has led to at least 69 vigilante killings since 1990. Day after day on the campaign trail, he started fires and fanned flames, calling upon his followers to suspend disbelief and vest faith in conspiracies. And for someone who has for decades asked Pakistan’s young people — 64 percent of the population is under 30 — to join his revolution to overthrow the corrupt old political order, he has been much too quick to partner with turncoat politicians, Islamist hardliners and power-hungry soldiers.

Many have pointed to Khan’s mild-toned victory speech of July 26 to suggest that he was capable of grace and gravitas. But the fact is that his call for a more open, responsible foreign policy, even overtures to India and Afghanistan, ring hollow in the backdrop of years of peddling isolationism. His constant pandering to the religious ultra-right during the campaign and increasing support of conservative ideals suggest there is little reason to believe he is the person to lead Pakistan out of the clutches of extremism.

If he has indeed come into power with the help of the military, and there is much evidence that he has, then it is likely that the military will want its pound of flesh. He will need its help in finding allies and cutting deals, and the military will want even more space to control foreign and economic policy (with a 1.1 trillion rupee defense budget out of a total budget outlay of 5.9 trillion, no one cares more than the Pakistan army about what happens to the economy).

But if Khan is a genuinely popular leader who has surged into office because of a truly national following built on his cricket celebrity and appeal as an anti-corruption crusader, we can expect that he might want to be his own man and possibly stand up to the military. But even then, he must be very afraid to go the way of many former prime ministers before him: removed in a coup or marginalized using a combination of media and courtroom trials over corruption and sundry charges. In both scenarios, Pakistani democracy and Khan seem to be in imminent jeopardy.

Indeed, the manner in which Khan has betrayed the trust of many of his party’s old guard across the country is proof that he is capable of intelligent, even cynical, calculations about how to acquire and exercise power. Thus it is expected that he will not butt heads with the military. And so, Pakistan’s imperfect democracy will trudge along imperfectly, the wheels of government continuing to turn on the erratic whims of the boys in boots.


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China loaned Pakistan £1.5bn following the election of Imran Khan (Image: GETTY)

British spy chief says Russia is spreading lies to undermine the West

May 14, 2018

Britain’s MI5 spy chief accused Russia on Monday on attempting to subvert Western democracies by sowing disinformation and spreading lies.

In the first public speech outside Britain by a serving head of MI5, Andrew Parker said Britain did not want to escalate tensions with Moscow but that a series of recent aggressive and pernicious actions directed by the Kremlin were unacceptable.

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Director General of MI5 Andrew Parker delivers a speech in central London, on the security threat facing Britain October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/Pool


“Instead of becoming a respected great nation it risks becoming a more isolated pariah,” Parker, who said he once studied Russian, told an audience in Berlin.

“The Russian state’s now well-practised doctrine of blending media manipulation, social media disinformation and distortion along with new and old forms of espionage, and high-levels of cyber attacks, military force and criminal thuggery is what is meant these days by the term hybrid threats.”

Parker said cooperation with EU partners was essential to guard against the threats from Islamist militants and Russia.

“We must not risk the loss of mutual capability or weakening of collective effort across Europe,” Parker said. “We owe that to all our citizens across Europe.”

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden)


Former Obama Officials Suggest European States Expel U.S. Ambassadors Over Iran Deal Withdrawal — Rooting for Iran, Europe and Not The U.S.?

May 13, 2018

Two former Obama administration officials suggested in a New York Times op-ed published Thursday that European countries allied with the United States could expel American ambassadors in retaliation for President Donald Trump withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.

“Europe Doesn’t Have to Be Trump’s Doormat,” wrote Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson. Simon served as the National Security Council’s senior director for the Middle East and North Africa, while Stevenson served as the regional director for political-military affairs.

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“After months of swaggering hesitation, President Trump finally announced the United States’ withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran, to which Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany, and the European Union are also parties,” they wrote. “This action tramples on European leaders, who urged Mr. Trump to exercise restraint in the interest of international security and multilateralism.”

The two men urged European countries to go beyond “mere words” and counter Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal with real, concrete actions.

“The European Union could, for instance, announce the withdrawal of member-states’ ambassadors from the United States,” they suggested. “Isn’t this what states do when diplomatic partners breach solemn agreements, expose them to security risks and threaten to wreak havoc on their economies?”

Simon and Stevenson went on to suggest that, depending on how the United States reacted, “European capitals might even follow up with expulsion of American ambassadors.”

As the U.S. and other world powers negotiated the Iran deal in 2015, the Obama administration was critical of what its officials described as Republican efforts to undermine negotiations. Vice President Joe Biden complained that Republicans “undercut a sitting president in the midst of sensitive international negotiations,” while Obama himself accused them of making “common cause with the hardliners in Iran.”


See also:

Jimmy Kimmel: I think people have had an ass-full of Donald Trump, and I feel like the upfront is a time to look within and make fun of ourselves.


Backlash against liberals is growing — a backlash that most liberals don’t seem to realize they’re causing

May 13, 2018

Liberals may be more effective at causing resentment than in getting people to come their way.

I know many liberals, and two of them really are my best friends. Liberals make good movies and television shows. Their idealism has been an inspiration for me and many others. Many liberals are very smart. But they are not as smart, or as persuasive, as they think.

And a backlash against liberals — a backlash that most liberals don’t seem to realize they’re causing — is going to get President Trump re-elected.

By Gerard Alexander

Mr. Alexander is a professor of political science at the University of Virginia.

Credit Illustration by Alvaro Dominguez; Photographs by ZargonDesign/E+, via Getty Images, and Renaud Philippe/EyeEm, via Getty Images

People often vote against things instead of voting for them: against ideas, candidates and parties. Democrats, like Republicans, appreciate this whenever they portray their opponents as negatively as possible. But members of political tribes seem to have trouble recognizing that they, too, can push people away and energize them to vote for the other side. Nowhere is this more on display today than in liberal control of the commanding heights of American culture.

Take the past few weeks. At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington, the comedian Michelle Wolf landed some punch lines that were funny and some that weren’t. But people reacted less to her talent and more to the liberal politics that she personified. For every viewer who loved her Trump bashing, there seemed to be at least one other put off by the one-sidedness of her routine. Then, when Kanye West publicly rethought his ideological commitments, prominent liberals criticized him for speaking on the topic at all. Maxine Waters, a Democratic congresswoman from California, remarked that “sometimes Kanye West talks out of turn” and should “maybe not have so much to say.”

Liberals dominate the entertainment industry, many of the most influential news sources and America’s universities. This means that people with progressive leanings are everywhere in the public eye — and are also on the college campuses attended by many people’s children or grandkids. These platforms come with a lot of power to express values, confer credibility and celebrity and start national conversations that others really can’t ignore.

But this makes liberals feel more powerful than they are. Or, more accurately, this kind of power is double-edged. Liberals often don’t realize how provocative or inflammatory they can be. In exercising their power, they regularly not only persuade and attract but also annoy and repel.

In fact, liberals may be more effective at causing resentment than in getting people to come their way. I’m not talking about the possibility that jokes at the 2011 correspondents’ association dinner may have pushed Mr. Trump to run for president to begin with. I mean that the “army of comedy” that Michael Moore thought would bring Mr. Trump down will instead be what builds him up in the minds of millions of voters.

Consider some ways liberals have used their cultural prominence in recent years. They have rightly become more sensitive to racism and sexism in American society. News reports, academic commentary and movies now regularly relate accounts of racism in American history and condemn racial bigotry. These exercises in consciousness-raising and criticism have surely nudged some Americans to rethink their views, and to reflect more deeply on the status and experience of women and members of minority groups in this country.

But accusers can paint with very wide brushes. Racist is pretty much the most damning label that can be slapped on anyone in America today, which means it should be applied firmly and carefully. Yet some people have cavalierly leveled the charge against huge numbers of Americans — specifically, the more than 60 million people who voted for Mr. Trump.

In their ranks are people who sincerely consider themselves not bigoted, who might be open to reconsidering ways they have done things for years, but who are likely to be put off if they feel smeared before that conversation even takes place.

It doesn’t help that our cultural mores are changing rapidly, and we rarely stop to consider this. Some liberals have gotten far out ahead of their fellow Americans but are nonetheless quick to criticize those who haven’t caught up with them.

Within just a few years, many liberals went from starting to talk about microaggressions to suggesting that it is racist even to question whether microaggressions are that important. “Gender identity disorder” was considered a form of mental illness until recently, but today anyone hesitant about transgender women using the ladies’ room is labeled a bigot. Liberals denounce “cultural appropriation” without, in many cases, doing the work of persuading people that there is anything wrong with, say, a teenager not of Chinese descent wearing a Chinese-style dress to prom or eating at a burrito cart run by two non-Latino women.

Pressing a political view from the Oscar stage, declaring a conservative campus speaker unacceptable, flatly categorizing huge segments of the country as misguided — these reveal a tremendous intellectual and moral self-confidence that smacks of superiority. It’s one thing to police your own language and a very different one to police other people’s. The former can set an example. The latter is domineering.

This judgmental tendency became stronger during the administration of President Barack Obama, though not necessarily because of anything Mr. Obama did. Feeling increasingly emboldened, liberals were more convinced than ever that conservatives were their intellectual and even moral inferiors. Discourses and theories once confined to academia were transmitted into workaday liberal political thinking, and college campuses — which many take to be what a world run by liberals would look like — seemed increasingly intolerant of free inquiry.

It was during these years that the University of California included the phrase “America is the land of opportunity” on a list of discouraged microaggressions. Liberal politicians portrayed conservative positions on immigration reform as presumptively racist; Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, once dubiously claimed that she had heard Republicans tell Irish visitors that “if it was you,” then immigration reform “would be easy.”

When Mr. Obama remarked, behind closed doors, during the presidential campaign in 2008, that Rust Belt voters “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them,” it mattered not so much because he said it but because so many listeners figured that he was only saying what liberals were really thinking.

These are the sorts of events conservatives think of when they sometimes say, “Obama caused Trump.” Many liberals might interpret that phrase to mean that America’s first black president brought out the worst in some people. In this view, not only might liberals be unable to avoid provoking bigots, it’s not clear they should even try. After all, should they not have nominated and elected Mr. Obama? Should they regret doing the right thing just because it provoked the worst instincts in some people?

This is a limited view of the situation. Even if liberals think their opponents are backward, they don’t have to gratuitously drive people away, including voters who cast ballots once or even twice for Mr. Obama before supporting Mr. Trump in 2016.

Champions of inclusion can watch what they say and explain what they’re doing without presuming to regulate what words come out of other people’s mouths. Campus activists can allow invited visitors to speak and then, after that event, hold a teach-in discussing what they disagree with. After the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that states had to allow same-sex marriage, the fight, in some quarters, turned to pizza places unwilling to cater such weddings. Maybe don’t pick that fight?

People determined to stand against racism can raise concerns about groups that espouse hate and problems like the racial achievement gap in schools without smearing huge numbers of Americans, many of whom might otherwise be Democrats by temperament.

Liberals can act as if they’re not so certain — and maybe actually not be so certain — that bigotry motivates people who disagree with them on issues like immigration. Without sacrificing their principles, liberals can come across as more respectful of others. Self-righteousness is rarely attractive, and even more rarely rewarded.

Self-righteousness can also get things wrong. Especially with the possibility of Mr. Trump’s re-election, many liberals seem primed to write off nearly half the country as irredeemable. Admittedly, the president doesn’t make it easy. As a candidate, Mr. Trump made derogatory comments about Mexicans, and as president described some African countries with a vulgar epithet. But it is an unjustified leap to conclude that anyone who supports him in any way is racist, just as it would be a leap to say that anyone who supported Hillary Clinton was racist because she once made veiled references to “superpredators.”

Liberals are trapped in a self-reinforcing cycle. When they use their positions in American culture to lecture, judge and disdain, they push more people into an opposing coalition that liberals are increasingly prone to think of as deplorable. That only validates their own worst prejudices about the other America.

Those prejudices will be validated even more if Mr. Trump wins re-election in 2020, especially if he wins a popular majority. That’s not impossible: The president’s current approval ratings are at 42 percent, up from just a few months ago.

Liberals are inadvertently making that outcome more likely. It’s not too late to stop.

Gerard Alexander is an associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

A version of this article appears in print on  of the New York edition with the headline: Liberals, You’re Not As Smart as You Think.

Next Year in Jerusalem (Part II) — Le-shanah ha-ba-a b’Yerushalayim

December 23, 2017

The U.N. reveals the depth of its anti-U.S., anti-Israel politics.

When Donald Trump made good this month on his campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it changed almost nothing on the ground: The reality is that Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital for decades.

Likewise for the United Nations’ vote Thursday to condemn the U.S. for the move. It changes nothing, because the U.N. doesn’t get to decide which capitals America recognizes and where it puts its embassies. But the resolution is a reminder of how deep anti-American and anti-Israel sentiment runs at Turtle Bay.

Only seven countries—Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, Nauru, Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands—were willing to stand with Uncle Sam and Israel and vote against the resolution. Thirty-five nations abstained, including Canada and the Czech Republic, which is at least better than outright condemnation. But 128 countries voted yes, with Britain, France, Japan and Germany joining Iran, Russia, China and North Korea to condemn the U.S.

The question is what comes next. Before the measure passed, Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., delivered a speech reminiscent of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s rebuttal in 1975 when he was the American Ambassador and the U.N. passed a resolution declaring Zionism a form of racism.

“We will remember [this vote],” Ms. Haley said, “when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.” President Trump said something similar at his cabinet meeting, that “we’ll save a lot” by cutting aid to countries that went against us.

These are welcome reminders to an assembly that has long been an embarrassment to its founding principles. Ms. Haley was joined in her reaction to this insult by some members of Congress. Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) also said the U.S. ought to reconsider the money the U.S. pays to keep the U.N. going.

The feeling is understandable, and we hope the Trump Administration finds ways to make clear its displeasure to the friends who abandoned the U.S. A complete pullout from the U.N. is unlikely, if only because the U.S. is a member to serve America’s interests, not the U.N.’s. Without the U.S. as a check, the United Nations would allow the Palestinians and others to write their own terms for the Middle East, and denunciations of America would be as common as denunciations of Israel. This is the reason Israel remains in the body, notwithstanding the routine insults from countries with obscene human-rights violations.

The best way for America to show the hollowness of this U.N. stunt is by proceeding with its plans to build an Embassy in Jerusalem—and demonstrate to the U.N. that America is one nation that stands by its friends.


Next Year in Jerusalem

Understanding the familiar phrase in light of modern realities


Traditionally, Jerusalem has been the focus of longing for Diaspora Jews who were forced from their land and the Temple of their God. Psalm 137 is the well-known lament of the Babylonian Jews who wept “by the rivers of Babylon” and declared, “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither.”

Yet with Israel a modern state, some see that longing as anachronistic, and with it the phrase that traditionally ends the seder , “Next Year in Jerusalem.” The temple was destroyed 2,000 years ago, and many Jews today feel comfortable, religiously and materially, in their Diaspora communities. Some are uncomfortable with the extremes of religious life and the ongoing political strife in the Jewish state. The issue is even more salient for Israeli Jews, residents of a country whose capital is Jerusalem, for whom “next year in Jerusalem” therefore makes little sense on its surface.

What, then, does it mean for today’s Jew to utter the words “next year in Jerusalem” at the end of every Passover seder?

Redemption, Past & Future

The most straightforward answer is that “Jerusalem” refers to the future city–and its Temple–rebuilt when the Messiah comes. Most traditional Jews feel quite comfortable expressing this messianic longing at the end of the seder, just as at the end of each Shabbat Jews recite the hope that the Messiah should come “speedily in our day.” And to clarify for Israelis, some traditional Haggadot indicate that those in the Jewish state should replace the phrase with “next year in Jerusalem, the rebuilt,” implying a rebuilt Temple.

But many liberal Jews do not accept the idea of the Messiah and the return to a Temple-based Judaism focused on Jerusalem. The phrase “next year in Jerusalem,” however, can be interpreted in many different ways. These words convey a web of meaning from concrete to abstract, and from earthly to holy.

Although the phrase itself entered the Haggadah only in the Middle Ages, it resonates thematically with ancient biblical themes of past and future redemption. On the seder night, each participant has personally experienced the physical redemption at that Red Sea. As the Haggadah says, “For it was not our forefathers alone whom the Holy One redeemed; He redeemed us, too, with them,” and, “In every generation, every individual must feel as if he or she personally had come out of Egypt.” Then, as we end the seder, we utter this phrase that reaches forward to the coming of the Messiah and to complete spiritual redemption, represented by Jerusalem.

The Challenge of Jerusalem

The first challenge is Jerusalem itself–is it a place we want to be, this year or next? According to midrash, Abraham called Jerusalem, which by tradition was the site of Isaac’s near sacrifice, by the name Yireh (“he will see [God]”). But King Malkitzedak had named the city Shalem (“complete”). Not wanting to offend either of these righteous men, God combined the two names into Yerushalayim. And still today the living, breathing Jerusalem burns with the fervor of the holiness implied by Yireh as well as with the hatreds that sunder the wholeness evoked by Shalem.

Jerusalem has acquired something of a superhuman status because of its religious and legendary status as the ancient center of the world and the site of the two Temples. The Holy of Holies within the Temples was the physical space where human and divine would meet, once a year, at Yom Kippur. The High Priest would approach the inner altar to ask forgiveness for Israel’s sins from God’s Shekhinah, or Presence. Some say the Shekhinah still dwells near the broken Western Wall of the Temple.

This sense of divine presence, which can create a powerful sense of the holy, can also go awry into the reaches of fanaticism, as recent history records all too well. Regardless of where they stand on issues of politics and how to solve Jerusalem’s problems, Jews worldwide look to the Land of Israel with sorrow at the ongoing bloodshed and hatred there. Is there a way, then, to reconcile these extremes so that all Jews can look to “next year in Jerusalem” with hope and not despair?

One possible answer is found in another midrashic understanding of Yerushalayim’s name as a combination of yerushah, or inheritance, and the plural ending, ayim, suggesting a “double” inheritance. Then add the creative imagination of the Rabbis. In a midrash they interpret Psalm 122:3, “Jerusalem built up, a city knit [connected] together,” to mean there are two Jerusalems. Yerushalayim Shel Matah is the earthly Jerusalem, which may be the object of our ambivalence but is also the source of Torah , and Yerushalayim Shel Maalah, the upper Jerusalem–a heavenly version relieved of the contradictions of human life.

For some Jews, this upper Jerusalem is perhaps the appropriate object of our longings at the end of the seder. It represents the possibility of intimacy with God that is relieved of the trappings of religious polemic. It offers us the shelemut, completeness, that often feels beyond reach in our shattered daily lives. Finally, it may represent the final peace of messianic redemption.

God in the Earthly Jerusalem

But the rabbis were wary, as we should be, of the consequences of making Jerusalem into an ideal, abstracted from the realities of its everydayness. A midrash related in The Book of Legends, edited by H.N. Bialik, asks what is meant by Hosea 11:9, which states, “The Holy One in the midst of thee, and I will not come into the city”? Rabbi Isaac related the following explanation by Rabbi Yohanan: “‘The holy one’ refers not to God but to the holy city, and God the Holy One is saying, ‘I will not come into the city of Jerusalem that is above until I first come into the city of Jerusalem that is below.’”

Perhaps, then, it is our responsibility to make the world, and the earthly Jerusalem, into a place where God can reside, and if not now, then perhaps “next year.” In every Torah service, we repeat the words of Isaiah 2:3, which proclaim Jerusalem as the source of God’s Torah and ethical teachings: “For instruction shall come forth from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” The very next verse in Isaiah offers a classic description of the messianic future: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks: Nations shall not take up sword against nation; they shall never again know war.”

One interpretation is that by implementing God’s word, the Jewish people in the Diaspora and in Israel can have a role in bringing peace to the world and to Jerusalem.

Eternal Hope

For Diaspora Jews who find it difficult to authentically recite this phrase at the end of the seder, the opening words, “next year,” offer another entry point. The uttering of “next year in Jerusalem” is a way of expressing solidarity with Klal Yisrael, the entire Jewish community, past, present and future. “Next year” encapsulates that continuing flicker of hope that has sustained Jews for centuries past in the midst of despair. It also offers hope that the Israeli nation of today will find peace and that Jerusalem will remain a potential future haven for Diaspora Jews who still live under political and economic oppression.

But our phrase also offers a more majestic sense of hope. The words “next year” suggest a sense of being on the cusp but not yet having arrived, of possibility that is ripe and alive with implication. Rabbi David Hartman, in The Leader’s Guide to the Family Participation Haggadah: A Different Night, sees a “radical futurism” reflected in the phrase, with its intimation of messianic possibility. He sees both the miracles of creation and the exodus from Egypt as pointing to the potential for revolutionary change–that things don’t have to be the way they are, that oppressive regimes can change.

Every year, he writes, Jews drink four cups of wine and then pour a fifth for Elijah. “The cup is poured, but not yet drunk. Yet the cup of hope is poured every year. Passover is the night for reckless dreams; for visions about what a human being can be, what society can be, what people can be, what history may become. That is the significance of ‘Le-shanah ha-ba-a b’Yerushalayim‘ (Next year in Jerusalem).”