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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘americans’

Annals of Obesity: Israeli Kids Drink More Soda than Americans, Arabs More than Jews [video]

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

At least 50% of the world population suffer from overweight and obesity, compared with the situation in the 1980s, when only 10% of the population was obese, according to worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. If the rate of weight gain remains as it is today, close to half the people on planet Earth will be obese by the year 2030. Israel’s figures are relatively good compared with the rest of the OECD countries, but still, according to the Israeli Health Ministry, 1.7 million Israelis, or 25% of adults and 14% of children, are obese, and out of those 700 thousand are considered pre-diabetic, and 500 thousand already suffer from type 2 diabetes. Also, adding those who are overweight (BMI of 25 and up) to the 25% who are obese, shows that almost half the population in Israel is overweight.

To illustrate, according to The Marker, in one of the meetings of the commission to promote a healthy diet, Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov said ironically, “We fail to understand how come 50% of the population are not overweight, considering the current consumer culture.”

The Health Ministry has recently launched a campaign against the consumption of soda drinks, which are a kind of statewide plague. A survey conducted in local schools has shown that Israeli children are at the top of the world average in their daily consumption of sweetened drinks. The world average for consuming sweet drinks is 25% of girls and 32% of boys. The average in the US is 30% among girls and 37% among boys.

In Israel the average is 41% for girls, 45% for boys — while for Israeli Arab children it is even higher, as 51% of Arab children ages 11 to 15 consume a sweet drink at least once a day.

© JNi.media

© JNi.media

It is well-known today that an overweight child will likely suffer from obesity in adulthood. In Israel every fifth first grader (20%) is overweight, and by the seventh grade 30% — one in three children — are overweight.

Among Arab children the situation is even worse, with close to 40% of Arab seventh graders suffering from overweight.

In Israel, some 70% of the food being consumed is processed, which is why Israeli children and teens consume 12 grams of sodium daily, easily double the recommended amount.

Diabetes in Israel harms the weaker population strata, most notably the Arabs. The rate of diabetes among the poor is three times higher compared with middle and upper class Israelis. An estimated 25.5% of Israeli poor are diabetic, compared with 7.1% Israeli middle and upper class. The rate of the rise of diabetes among the poor in Israel is swift and alarming, jumping in 12 years from 7.8% in 2002 to 25.5% in 2014.

According to the Health Ministry, the cost of obesity is estimated at $1.55 billion annually, with a third of the cost coming from direct care for obese patients and two-thirds from indirect losses, such as reduced earning ability, sick days and nursing care. Israel’s largest HMO, Maccabi Health Services, has submitted to the Health Ministry data suggesting it spends on diabetic patients 53% more than it does on the average insured member.


Israeli Health Ministry’s anti-soda drinking campaign

JNi.Media

We’re Not All Americans Anymore

Monday, June 13th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Liberty Unyielding}

Let’s get this straight.  It’s un-American – in fact anti-American – to do what the City of San Jose’s leadership did during the Trump rally on 2 June.  The police department made no effort to prevent attacks on the Trump supporters — the mayor and police chief basically justifying their selective law enforcement on the premise that they just don’t like Trump and what he represents.  (See here, here, here, and here as well.)

It’s equally un-American to do what the anti-Trump mob did.  These were not “protesters”; they were a violent mob, full stop, committing acts of terrorism against peaceful rally-goers.

The mob was not waving the American flag.  It was waving the Mexican flag and the “no borders” and “anarchy” flags.  That matters too.  It’s un- (and anti-) American.  Essential to Americanism is the idea that a specially-covenanted nation – one that is not breachable by outside forces, one that is consciously different from all the nations that are less free and have less respect for their people – protects our rights and liberties.  If you don’t agree with that idea, you can’t call whatever ideas are rolling around in your head American ideas.  They’re something else.

More than un-American, it’s vicious, immoral, unethical, lawless, and anti-human to do what was done by the anti-Trump forces in San Jose last week – both the city leadership and the mob.  But all those things make it un-American too.

Leaders on the right oddly muffled

There’s something else that’s un-American.  On the right, official and establishment voices have been, to all intents and purposes, silent about this ugly development.  It’s as though they can’t focus sharply enough to make a meaningful point.

The supreme point is that there can be no excuse for law enforcement to assemble, and then stand by watching peaceful citizens be attacked and do nothing.  No political antipathy justifies that.  Worse, policing in that manner is the pattern of banana republics, petty autocracies, dazed and confused Weimar Germanys – regimes that are about to fall to brutal, mob-driven dictatorship.

If you think it’s too incendiary to mention that last aspect of the problem, remember Reagan in 1964.  He didn’t fear to be very clear about what America faced if she did not fight back against the predatory global campaign of Soviet Marxism.  He didn’t fear to define the emergency.

But who in the upper ranks of the political right has managed even to focus audibly on the immediate point about citizens being mistreated during a rally?

It’s as if the right’s own leadership is dithering, unable to decide what it wants to say.  “Should we agree with the MSM that this is what happens when you elevate Donald Trump?  Or is it dumb to attack the guy who apparently will be our candidate in November?”

You don’t even need to answer those questions to say the right thing.  Which is that San Jose did it wrong no matter what.  On principle, the side of law and order was obvious in this situation.  And San Jose didn’t take it.

San Jose acted on the notion that law enforcement can be justified in being politically selective.  And the political right’s leadership has failed to define its own position clearly.  The silence from these people suggests they themselves are influenced by the un-American notion of law enforcement sometimes being, understandably, a selective tool of situational politics.

Admitting that little “understandably” to your mind – because, hey, it’s that ridiculous bozo Trump, after all – is the decision-matrix burble that paves the road to hell.  And it looks a lot like our political leaders on the right have admitted it.

From Democratic (and socialist) leaders, of course, I expect nothing principled on this matter.  Sadly, all of them — the leaders — are already ranged with the city officials of San Jose.

I don’t believe the most-visible people here – San Jose’s officials, the anti-American mob, the Republican or Democratic leadership – represent a majority of Americans (of any race or ethnicity).  I think there are still plenty of people in this country who hold the American view on principle, even if they hold it with different degrees of courage and urgency.  They don’t think any amount of political opposition to someone else justifies the forces of public order in leaving him to be attacked by a mob.

Reality bites

But it’s increasingly clear that we no longer have ideas and loyalties in common with some of our most prominent and politically active citizens.  Not just Obama’s true believers, not just Soros-bribed rent-a-mobs, not just “white-power” psychos, but elected officials and mainstream opinion leaders have a literally un-American view of the controlling principle for the San Jose situation on 2 June.

It’s reached the point where, too often, this lack of common purpose is the most noticeable aspect of our interactions as a people.  It can’t be papered over.

No matter who is elected in November, all those un-American ideas will still be out there, not just lying about their compatibility with everything it means to have an “America” and be American, but riding our apathy and ignorance to positions of public authority, and producing anti-American decisions.

Americans are in various stages of waking up to this.  It’s been latent for a long time, but now it’s being manifested in the actions of public authorities that affect our daily welfare: our safety in the streets, our ability to exercise our rights and liberties.  Those public authorities, and the mobs that make it convenient for them to treat the people unequally, are not “American” actors with whom we have purposes in common.  There is no compromise possible with them, because they don’t have any of the same goals as the people who live by American ideas.

(Trump can’t fix this, by the way.  He couldn’t really even define it; he’s impatient with political-principle talk.)

If you’re still ambivalent about the question of whether Trump supporters “brought this on themselves,” you are part of the problem.  You’re in for a dreadful, and probably fatal, awakening at some point, when you find out that there is no refuge from the mob mentality unleashed by your ambivalence.  You can never fear-grin enough to ensure that the mob doesn’t come after you.  If human history has taught us anything, it’s that.

This is a deeply sad and terrible situation for Americans, but it’s real.  The key to not despairing is to first acknowledge its reality.  My own view is that God doesn’t want to condemn us to this fate.  If the great story of God and man were summed up in one word, it wouldn’t be “condemnation” or even “justice.”  It would be “redemption.”

But only if we see clearly where we’re starting from, and make heroic decisions, can we get to a better future.

J. E. Dyer

Ipsos Survey: One Third of American Students Support Boycotting Israel

Monday, May 30th, 2016

One third of American students believe boycotting Israel is justified and constitutes a legitimate means of applying political pressure on the Jewish State, according to a yet to be released Ipsos survey, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported. Ipsos is one of the world’s leading market research firms for hire, managed and controlled by research professionals, offering comprehensive global research programs in 87 countries.

The original Channel 2 story mistakenly assigned those statistics to the US population at large. It was later corrected.

The survey, which will be officially released in advance of an International conference on the struggle against BDS to open on Tuesday, polled a sample of 1,100 American students. It suggests that 33% find a boycott against Israel to be justified. A similar survey conducted in the UK found that 40% of the students there agree that boycotting Israel is legitimate.

The good news is that a 62% majority of US respondents believe that the BDS movement is a form of modern anti-Semitism. About 50% of Briton students also condemn the BDS as being anti-Semitic.

The anti-BDS international conference, titled, “Building Bridges and Fighting Boycotts,” is organized by Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon, in collaboration with the World Jewish Congress, Keren Hayesod, the American Center for Law and Justice, the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America, Israel Bonds, StandWithUs, B’nai B’rith International, Hillel, and CAMERA. More than 1,500 are expected to participate, including students, representatives of anti-BDS organizations, Jewish American organizations, and opinion makers.

JNi.Media

Goodbye Columbus, Goodbye America

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Columbus may have outfoxed the Spanish court and his rivals, but he is falling victim to the court of political correctness.

The explorer who discovered America has become controversial because the very idea of America has become controversial.

There are counter-historical claims put forward by Muslim and Chinese scholars claiming that they discovered America first. And there are mobs of fake indigenous activists on every campus to whom the old Italian is as much of a villain as the bearded Uncle Sam.

Columbus Day parades are met with protests and some have been minimized or eliminated.

In California, Columbus Day became Indigenous People’s Day, which sounds like a Marxist terrorist group’s holiday. While it’s tempting to put that down to California political correctness, in South Dakota it was renamed Native American Day.

The shift from celebrating Columbus’ arrival in America to commemorating it as an American Nakba by focusing on the Indians, rather than the Americans, is a profound form of historical revisionism that hacks away at the origins of this country.

No American state has followed Venezuela’s lead in renaming it Día de la Resistencia Indígena, or Day of Indigenous Resistance, which actually is a Marxist terrorist group’s holiday, the whole notion of celebrating the discovery of America has come to be seen as somehow shameful and worst of all, politically incorrect.

Anti-Columbus Day protests are mounted by La Raza, whose members, despite their indigenous posturing, are actually mostly descended from Spanish colonists, but who know that most American liberals are too confused to rationally frame an objection to a protest by any minority group.

About the only thing sillier than a group of people emphasizing their collective identity as a Spanish speaking people, and denouncing Columbus as an imperialist exploiter is Ward Churchill, a fake Indian, who compared Columbus to Heinrich Himmler. Ward Churchill’s scholarship consists of comparing Americans in past history and current events to random Nazis. If he hasn’t yet compared Amerigo Vespucci or Daniel Boone to Ernst Röhm; it’s only a matter of time.

The absurdity of these attacks is only deepened by the linguistic and cultural ties between the Italian Columbus Day marchers and the Latino Anti-Columbus Day protesters with the latter set cynically exploiting white guilt to pretend that being the descendants of Southern European colonists makes them a minority.

If being descended from Southern Europeans makes you a minority, then Columbus, the parade marchers, the Greek restaurant owner nearby and even Rush Limbaugh are all “people of color.”

Italian-Americans are the only bulwark against political correctness still keeping Columbus on the calendar, and that has made mayors and governors in cities and states with large Italian-American communities wary of tossing the great explorer completely overboard. But while Ferdinand and Isabella may have brought Columbus back in chains, modern day political correctness has banished him to the darkened dungeon of non-personhood, erasing him from history and replacing him with a note reading, “I’m Sorry We Ever Landed Here.”

But this is about more than one single 15th century Genoan with a complicated life who was neither a monster nor a saint. It is about whether America really has any right to exist at all. Is there any argument against celebrating Columbus Day, that cannot similarly be applied to the Fourth of July?

If Columbus is to be stricken from the history books in favor of ideological thugs like Malcolm X or Caesar Chavez, then America must soon follow. Columbus’ crime is that he enabled European settlement of the continent.

If the settlement of non-Indians in North America is illegitimate, then any national state they created is also illegitimate.

It is easier to hack away at a nation’s history by beginning with the lower branches.

Columbus is an easier target than America itself, though La Raza considers both colonialist vermin. Americans are less likely to protest over the banishment of Columbus to the politically correct Gulag than over the banishing America itself, which was named after another one of those colonialist explorers, Amerigo Vespucci. First they came for Columbus Day and then for the Fourth of July.

The battles being fought over Columbus Day foreshadow the battles to be fought over the Fourth of July. As Columbus Day joins the list of banned holidays in more cities, one day there may not be a Fourth of July, just a day of Native Resistance to remember the atrocities of the colonists with PBS documentaries comparing George Washington to Hitler.

These documentaries already exist, they just haven’t gone mainstream. Yet.

We celebrate Columbus Day and the Fourth of July because history is written by the winners. Had the Aztecs, the Mayans or the Iroquois Confederation developed the necessary technology and skills to cross the Atlantic and begin colonizing Europe, the fate of its native inhabitants would have been far uglier. The different perspectives on history often depend on which side you happen to be on.

To Americans, the Alamo is a shining moment of heroism. To the Mexicans who are the heirs of a colonialist empire far more ruthless than anything to be found north of the Rio Grande, the war was a plot to conquer Mexican territory. And neither side is altogether wrong, but choosing which version of history to go by is the difference between being an American or a Mexican.

A nation’s mythology, its paragons and heroes, its founding legends and great deeds, are its soul. To replace them with another culture’s perspective on its history is to kill that soul.

That is the ultimate goal of political correctness, to kill America’s soul. To stick George Washington, Patrick Henry, Jefferson, James Bowie, Paul Revere, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and all the rest on a shelf in a back room somewhere, and replace them with timelier liberal heroes. Move over Washington, Caesar Chavez needs this space. No more American heroes need apply.

This is how it begins. And that is how it ends. Nations are not destroyed by atomic bombs or economic catastrophes; they are lost when they lose any reason to go on living. When they no longer have enough pride to go on fighting to survive.

The final note of politically correct lunacy comes from a headline in the Columbus Dispatch about the Columbus Day festival in the city of Columbus, Ohio. “Italian Festival honors controversial explorer with its own Columbus Day parade”.

Once the great discover of America, Columbus is now dubbed “controversial” by a newspaper named after him, in a city named after him .And if he is controversial, how can naming a city after him and a newspaper after the city not be equally controversial?

Can the day when USA Today has a headline reading, “Some cities still plan controversial 4th of July celebration of American independence” be far behind?

Daniel Greenfield

False Advertising, Jewish Morality and the Tobacco Industry

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Advertising and marketing are everywhere we look: on billboards and blimps, on television and film, in our newspapers and magazines, on the food boxes we eat from, even on the clothes we wear. This is a far cry from our society 50 years ago – have you ever seen an old film or television show with product placement? These advertisements often increase and shift our desire and even tell us how we might feel and act. Consumer behavior shifts based not on personal needs, economic considerations, or ethical concerns, but on the power of gimmicks and social branding.

For better or worse, the United States has become the advertising capital of the world. Total U.S. advertising expenditures reached nearly $140 billion in 2012, more than a quarter of world advertising expenditures. These can range from the sponsorship of valuable cultural activities or messages urging a more healthful living style to deceptive ads from businesses that endlessly claim to be going out of business and holding one final sale.

One example of an industry full of deceptive advertising is big tobacco, which promotes one of the most addictive and life-threatening substances known to humanity. From top to bottom, it issues false propaganda. For example, in 1994, executives of seven tobacco companies testified before Congress and lied by saying that smoking tobacco was not addictive. Significantly, however, when pressed, the executives added that they hoped that their children would not become smokers.

Tobacco advertisers have proven extraordinarily resilient and successful in promoting their products. While tobacco ads have been banned from radio and television for more than a generation, they have discovered other ways to advertise. They have learned to increase their messaging through sponsoring sports and social events where people cannot avoid exposure to their logos. In addition, cigarette companies target specific populations using various tactics:

Fortunately, society can take steps against such harmful advertisements and promotions, and we can resist false messages. We no longer have to contend with smoke-filled restaurants and theaters, or feel obligated to have ashtrays in our home ready for anyone who chooses to come in and smoke at will. Also, the percentage of American smokers has declined from about 42 percent in 1965 to 19 percent in 2011. In addition, the federal government passed legislation in 2009 that empowered the FDA to regulate tobacco products and gave states the right to restrict cigarette advertising and promotion through means such as restricting the time and place where these activities could occur. Thus far, 20 states now restrict or prohibit places where free tobacco samples can be distributed. Still, today nearly 44 million Americans smoke tobacco, and in 2011 cigarette companies spent $8.37 billion on advertising and promotional activities in the United States. Advertising has the power to persuade, and to deceive.

As religious Jews, one pertinent question about advertising and its relationship to deception and promoting harmful decisions and habits is, what is halacha’s view of this?

In “The Impact of Jewish Values on Marketing and Business Practices,” Hershey Friedman, a professor at Brooklyn College, argues that while Jewish law may not explicitly forbid the influencing of consumers, it clearly violates the spirit of the law. (Specifically, it is geneivat data, deception, which is a Biblical prohibition).

The Talmud (Chullin 94a) gives an example of how business must not include any deception, towards Jews or non-Jews: “A person should not sell shoes made of the leather of an animal that died of natural causes (which is inherently weaker) under the pretense that it was made from the leather of an animal that was slaughtered.” The Shulchan Aruch bring this as halachah (CM 228:6).

Businesses need to compete, and advertising is the norm in commercial life. It is not an option to stop advertising. Further, Jewish law does embrace the notion that a reasonable person’s expectation can be assumed. One Talmudic passage gives an example:

Mar Zutra was once going from Sikara to Mahoza, while Rava and R. Safra were going to Sikara; and they met on the way. Believing that they had come to meet him, he said, “Why did you take the trouble to come so far to meet me?” R. Safra replied, “We did not know that you were coming; had we known, we would have done more than this.” Rava said to him, “Why did you say that to him? Now you have upset him.” He replied, “But we would be deceiving him otherwise.” “No, he would be deceiving himself” (Chullin 94b).

Rav Safra argues that one may not gain from the false perception of another. Rather one must proactively correct that misunderstanding to ensure an unfair moral debt is not created. Rava, on the other hand, believes there is responsibility from the other not to be self-deceived. Aaron Levine, author of “Case Studies in Jewish Business Ethics,” explains that one must not only avoid wrong but proactively assure consumers of the truth. “The seller’s disclosure obligation consists not only of a duty not to mislead in an affirmative manner but also of a requirement to disabuse the customer of his reasonable misperception about the product.”

We see from these sources that Jewish law demands that we be extremely cautious in protecting and promoting the truth. We should take note of and observe these principles in our daily interactions with our fellows on the street, in the beit midrash, in workplace, and in the voting booth and when we talk about creating regulations for advertising.

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

American Pride Undermined by Inaction in Syria

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

I’ve heard many people say that America has no vital national interest in Syria. Well, how about this.

When I was an American living in England for 11 years it stuck me that one of the principal differences between my country and the UK was the lack of Union Jacks flying from people’s homes and businesses. In America countless homes have the stars and stripes flying as do many stores. It’s ubiquitous.

Why the difference? I always believed it was the fact that Americans have immense pride in being American while other countries don’t celebrate their national heritage as much. Yes, the British do so on special occasions like a royal wedding. But we Americans do so on ordinary days as well.

The reason: because America stands for something. It was the world’s first modern constitutional democracy. It threw off the yoke of a tyrant and established the people’s rule. More recently it liberated Europe from the tyranny of Nazism, liberated Iraq from the mass murderer Saddam Hussein, and was instrumental in purging Libya of the butcher Gaddafi.

Americans are justly proud of how we embody human liberty. Europe was once part of this alliance, especially in the Second World War where Britain, especially, was exemplary. But since them, the Europeans have taken a cynical approach to liberating incarcerated peoples and the prevention of genocide.

But what happens to American pride when we begin to watch bodies of gassed children and choose to remain innocent bystanders? What are we to be proud of then? A lofty standard of living? High speed internet? Cheaper gas then Europe?

Americans are driven to advance their country because they believe in their country. Our national promise is predicated on an affirmation of our values.

I cannot imagine loving America with the same passion that courses through my veins if America doesn’t use its righteous might to protect the innocent and the weak. I will always be a proud American. But that pride stems from the values we espouse and promote.

Yes, I realize we can’t be the world’s policeman. Even our strength and resources are limited. But I come back to a famous Rabbinical teaching in Ethics of Our Fathers that says, “It is not for you to complete the work, but neither can you wash your hands of it, either.” We’re not obligated to intervene in every atrocity. Nor are we capable. But neither can we turn a blind eye to the most egregious violations of human rights. If we do so then we are misusing the wealth and strength of our nation.

The Rwandan genocide, whose twentieth anniversary is this coming April, was all coordinated from a single radio antenna. The United States was asked to fire a single missile that would have destroyed the transmitter. The Clinton Administration refused because it was spooked by the events of Black Hawk down that had transpired a few months earlier in October, 1993. But that one missile could have largely prevented a mass atrocity that claimed the lives of nearly one million people.

We are not the world’s policeman. And our national debt is becoming a crisis of its own. But we can afford a few cruise missiles fired at Bashar Assad’s air force and presidential palaces, which will force the tyrant to live in the underground bunkers that should be the abode of monsters who gas their people.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Poll: Americans Not Eager to Attack Syria

Monday, August 26th, 2013

While some lawmakers, including Sen. Bob Corker, republican of Tennessee, senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, are pressuring President Barack Obama to take military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad, Americans are not excited about the prospect of a new war.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Aug. 19-23 and released Sunday, about 60 percent of Americans said Obama shouldn’t intervene in Syria’s civil war, while only 9 percent favored action.

More Americans would support U.S. intervention if the use of chemical weapons were to be confirmed, with 25 percent in favor, 46 percent opposed. But an Aug. 13 Reuters/|Ipsos poll asked the same question and got responses of 30.2 percent in support of intervention to 41.6 opposed.

U.S. military assets in the region are being intensified, but no decisions were announced after an emergency White House meeting that included Vice President Joe Biden and top defense, intelligence and diplomatic officials.

Jewish Press News Briefs

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