The story of artist Mel Alexenberg's quest along the vibrant interface between multiple fields - art/science/technology/culture, multiple roles - artist/researcher/teacher/writer - and multiple identities - Jewish/Israeli/American/Global. His artwork and writing are presented here.
14 April 2016
Bernie Meets Goldstone in the Amazon Jungle
Bernie Sanders is following in the footsteps of Judge
Richard Goldstone, a Jew whose slanderous report issued by a UN kangaroo court
that he chaired did irreparable damage to the State of Israel.
A Jew slandering his own people gave infinitely more power
than any of the usual international reports assailing Israel. Those who hated
Israel loved Goldstone.
Five years ago, when Goldstone’s libelous report was issued,
my wife Miriam Benjamin and I, two artists, were creating the “Torah Tweets”
blogart project that showed how our life and current events reflected each
week’s Torah portion.The entire blogart
project integrating photography with texts written as 140 character tweets can
be accessed at http://bibleblogyourlife.blogspot.com.
The Torah portion Metzorah/Slanderer read in
synagogues on the Shabbat before Passover proposes rehabilitation therapy for slanderers
like Richard Goldstone and Bernie Sanders.This portion is linked to Passover, the Festival of Freedom, to teach us
that slanderers undermine a free society by spreading lies that defame others. I
only have to replace “Goldstone” with “Sanders” to make our five-year old blog
BANISH GOLDSTONESANDERS TO THE JUNGLE
Metzorah/Slanderer (Leviticus 14:1-15:33)
“He shall take the live bird together with cedar wood,
crimson wool and hyssop….And he shall
set the live bird free upon the open fields.” (Leviticus 14:6, 7)
Rav Kook (Chief Rabbi of the Land of Israel during the first
half of the 20th century) reads Metzorah as Motzi Shem Ra
(to create a bad name for someone), a slanderer who defames others by his
speech (lashon hara).
The slanderer not only afflicts his own body, clothes and
house through lashon hara, but he threatens society through breakdown of
Therefore, he is banished from his community to live in
isolation and seclusion in the wild among animals and plants that speak no
Bernie Sanders should be banished to the Amazon jungle for
defaming Israel with blatant lies as it defends itself against rocket
Metzorah follows Shemini (kosher animals) to
teach that what comes out of our mouths can be far more detrimental than what
goes in.(Rabbi Yisrael Salanter)
Rabbi S. R. Hirsch explains that the mighty cedar and hyssop
weed with sheep wool and crimson bug dye symbolize all plant and animal life.
When banishment therapy has succeeded, cedar and hyssop are
bound with a red woolen thread to symbolize rising above amoral nature.
A bird flying free represents the potential to tweet
truthful words that confirm the metzorah's rehabilitation from crowing
The biodiversity of the Amazon jungle is unmatched.It is home to far more species of flora and
fauna than anyplace else on Planet Earth.
Bernie Sanders would feel at home living with Amazon
toucans, the greatest big-mouth birds in the world.
GOLDSTONE RECANTS TOO LATE
The damage Goldstone’s falsehoods inflicted on Israel’s
image and standing was beyond calculation.It made front page headlines.Buried
on the inside pages of newspapers a year and a half later, was the story that he
recanted.He admitted that Israel
deliberately killed civilians were blatant lies.Goldstone’s slander etched in the public’s
mind could not be erased.
SANDERS GIVES NO APOLOGY FOR HIS LIES
Prof. Michael Oren reacted to Sander’s lies: “He accused us
of a blood libel.He accused us of
bombing hospitals.He accused us of
killing 10,000 Palestinian civilians. Don’t you think that merits an apology?”When Jake Trapper in his CNN interview
corrected his lies, Sanders just shrugged it off without expressing any regret
that he had misinformed the public. The number according to the UN was 1,462
and Israel’s estimate is 762 people who were warned by the IDF to evacuate civilian
sites hiding rocket manufacturing and launching. Former U.S. Chief of Staff
Gen. Martin Dempsey says that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit
civilian casualties in Gaza.
Senator Sanders displayed appalling ignorance by asking,
“Who is Michael Oren?”Oren was Israel’s
high-profile ambassador to the U.S. during Obama’s first term, current Knesset
member, and author of highly acclaimed books on the history of American foreign
policy in the Middle East, a subject he taught at Harvard, Yale, Tel Aviv and
He dared not face his fellow Jews at the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington and display his
animosity towards Israel’s government and ignorance of the brutality destroying
the countries surrounding the Jewish State.His absence was conspicuous when presidential candidates Clinton, Cruz
and Trump spoke there.
Sanders chooses to ignore the U.S. government designation of
Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, as a terrorist organization that launched thousands
of rockets at Israel’s villages, towns and cities in its attempts to kill and
maim as many Israel’s as possible.
He could have googled “Hamas Charter” and learned their
genocidal aims:“Israel, by virtue of
its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the
Muslims…. The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill
them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim!
there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him….! I indeed wish to go to
war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault