Sunday, November 1, 2020

Joe Biden: Gaffes, Lifelong Stutter, Or Cognitive Decline?

Joe Biden’s on-air jumbled utterances and odd behavior were first termed “gaffes,” now they are a lifelong struggle with a “stutter.” It appears, however, to be just another gambit to get the Democratic nominee elected. How do we know? 

A google search for “Joe Biden stutter” brings up lots of hits, for instance here and here, but none of these articles mention Biden’s aneurysms and how they are likely to have affected his speech. The word “aneurysm” does not appear, for instance, in the Atlantic article or in the New York Times article on Joe’s “stutter.” And when Lara Trump dared to mention Biden’s “cognitive decline” on the air, Jake Tapper ended the interview

Joe Biden’s mental deficits, it seems, must be hidden from view. Especially this close to the election. He’s almost there, that much-desired event, a Democrat in the White House. Let’s keep Hunter Biden’s laptop out of this. And any damage to Joe’s Broca area, of course.

The suggestion that Joe Biden may have brain damage is not new. Nor was it cooked up by desperate Republicans anxious to win the election. Jill Biden, in fact, makes reference in her autobiography to that scary time after Joe’s second berry aneurysm:

"Our doctor told us there was a 50-50 chance Joe wouldn't survive surgery," she wrote. "He also said that it was even more likely that Joe would have permanent brain damage if he survived. And if any part of his brain would be adversely affected, it would be the area that governed speech."

It is certainly plausible that Joe Biden battled a stutter from childhood. But it is a fact that Biden suffered two berry aneurysms in adulthood for which he underwent two separate brain surgeries that may well have affected his speech. So why not mention that fact in articles covering Joe’s speech issues during this presidential campaign?

It may be because Joe’s word hiccups aren’t the sort of hiccups that bear any obvious connection to a stutter. Not remembering Obama’s name, or the year he, Biden, served as vice president, would not appear to have any connection to a stutter. 

Nor would a stutter appear to be responsible for Joe Biden falling asleep (!) while being endorsed by Hillary Clinton.

Is it a stutter that made Joe Biden refuse to share the results of his most recent cognitive assessment tests? Was it a stutter that had Joe Biden regaling the public with tales of nurses blowing into his nostrils? Or strangely, calling a college student at a campaign event a “lying dog-faced pony soldier?” 

Now, in the final countdown, with only days to go, Biden's ability to string words together seems to be deteriorating rapidly, for instance when he spoke about healthcare, here.

Here, the slip occurs at about 10 seconds in. It is impossible to make any sense of his words, though the words themselves are clear and there is clearly no stutter.
No "stutter" here, but one long run-together nonsense word, that was probably supposed to have something to do with "international pressure" but in what context, no one will ever know. It's buried in the nonfunctioning recesses of Joe Biden's gray matter.
The words come out all right. There's no stutter. But what does any of it mean?

And this? This is not a stutter but a TIME WARP! He's back in the Bush era. But no. He knows it's wrong, but for the life of him, cannot put his finger on Donald Trump's name. It's escaped!

For all we know, Joe Biden may indeed have a stutter, but that does not explain the various issues we see and hear during his public appearances. Biden very clearly has cognitive deficits. This is understandable after two aneurysms and subsequent brain surgeries. All the things we see and hear in relation to Joe Biden are well-explained by mental deficits. But not by a lifelong stutter. Nor does it pass muster that the many articles explaining away his frequently odd behavior would fail, at least in passing, to mention his brain incidents and subsequent surgeries.

Why does the media hide these important facts about the state of Joe Biden’s brain from the voting public? There can be only one reason: they don’t want you to know. Because if the voting public suspected the presidential candidate had cognitive deficits, they might not vote for him. And the thing is they are so close! They just need Biden to win the election, and then they will be free to push home their radical, pro-Communist, Muslim-loving, anti-Israel agenda.

It’s not good when the media hides basic facts about a presidential candidate. That holds true whether the facts are in regard to the contents of HunterBiden’s laptop or Joe Biden’s cognitive deficits. These efforts to hide the truth tell us that American democracy is at stake.

We can only hope that when it comes to telling us which candidate is ahead in the race for president, here too, the media is simply a lying, dog-faced pony soldier.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Btsalmo Demands Firing of Sabado Cartoonist After Antisemitic Cartoon

Btsalmo, a human rights organization based in Israel, has written to the editor of Sabado Magazine, demanding the dismissal of cartoonist Vasco Gargalo for his cartoon of a “Palestinian” Holocaust. The cartoon depicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shoving a PA flag-draped coffin into an oven bearing the infamous slogan from the gates of Auschwitz, Arbeit Macht Frei, “work will set you free.”

The letter to the executive editor of Sabado was copied, among others, to the Portuguese Prime Minister, the Ambassador of Portugal to Israel, Israel’s prime minister, and the Israeli Ambassador to Portugal. Btsalmo CEO Shai Glick, notes in the letter that the cartoon qualifies as both Holocaust denial and minimization according to the official International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Israel: No Need for a GA Makeover

The General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of America, to be held this coming week in Israel, has created a bit of a ruckus here in Israel. For one thing, the Tel Aviv venue is thought to betray an agenda. Important gatherings like this should be held in Jerusalem, in order to underscore the idea that the Holy City is the capital of the Jewish State. There’s a feeling that the choice of Tel Aviv over Jerusalem is meant to be “in your face” to President Trump, who moved the United States embassy in the opposite direction, something much desired by both Israeli and American Jewry up until now. Writer Caroline Glick believes the entire event is meant as an anti-Trump protest.

But there are other concerns. The GA has billed the event as “Israel and the Diaspora: We need to talk,” going on to describe what the organizers apparently see as a rift between Israeli Jews and American Jews. This rift, as they define it, seems to be about the liberal views of American Jews versus the conservative beliefs of most Israelis; the religious pluralism of American Jewry versus the Orthodox status quo in Israel; and finally, the desire of American Jewry for a two-state solution, something both Israelis and Arabs have rejected.

Do these issues really need discussion? If American Jews are liberal, believe in religious pluralism, and tolerance, why should there be any rift at all between the two communities? In a tolerant, liberal culture, is there not room for other beliefs, conservative or otherwise? And if not, is it really a tolerant, liberal culture that shuts out all other viewpoints?

If one believes in religious pluralism, shouldn’t that person believe that Israelis have a right to choose how they wish to run their religious affairs? If the shul that Israelis do not attend is Orthodox, is this something that liberal American Jews are unable to tolerate? Israel provided an egalitarian prayer space at American Jewry’s request/demand. The space is almost always empty of people. But the regular Western Wall Plaza, with its separate spaces for men and women, is packed, day and night, with prayerful Israeli Jews.

Would the organizers of the GA have us believe there is something wrong with Jews coming to the Wall in throngs, and praying according to Orthodox custom? We aren’t stopping them from praying as they wish. So why are they so bothered by our pervasive orthodoxy by choice? Do they wish us to be more religiously diverse? If so, is this not a form of coercion? Are we incapable of making our own religious choices that we need to be Big Brothered by American Jewry?

As for the two-state solution, none of the actors in the region want this. It’s an unworkable idea. Yet American Jews keep telling us we need to do this, as though we are incapable of formulating our own ideas about the things that directly affect our quality of life and security. It’s paternalistic. And simplistic. Because they are unable to even adequately explain why they demand we do this thing, since it makes no sense. Adherents of the two-state solution would seem to be ignorant of the fact that no one in the region wants this “solution.” And they just continue to repeat the idea wherever they are presented with a platform.

Why can’t the Federation come to Israel and appreciate that we have our own society and say vive la difference and live and let live? Are we not a sovereign nation to which they have pledged their support? And speaking of support, my personal bugaboo with the Federation is its refusal to fund projects in areas over the Green Line that Israel won in a defensive war in 1967.

Judea and Samaria are indigenous Jewish territory. Judea, where I live, takes its name from the Jewish people. The territories are our ancestral heritage. How can a major Jewish organization take the stance that Jews have no right to settle in their indigenous territory? It’s not only an affront to history and our biblical narrative, it’s the complete opposite of what it means to be a liberal.

Liberals are supposed to fight for indigenous land rights, are they not? Instead, liberals tell Israeli Jews they are somehow in the wrong for building homes in these areas. They tell them that the area must remain Jew-free, because settling the area is a provocation to Arabs, or unhelpful to a nonexistent peace process with a declared enemy.

How does it conform to the liberal standards to tell any group of people that it is wrong for them to live in this place or that? Would you tell Baptists they have no right to live in Ohio? Or blacks that they have no right to live in Boro Park? These directives would be deemed politically incorrect, intolerant, illiberal. Yet the Federation has no trouble telling Jews that they have no right to live in Judea. That it is somehow evil for them to build homes and lives on land that belonged to their ancestors.

The truth is, there is no rift, and nothing to talk about. American Jews must realize that in order to be true to their liberal ideals, they must support Israel not just with money, but for its views in all spheres, especially those that are at variance with their own. This is the truest expression of liberal values: to appreciate that at 70 years old, Israel is quite capable of deciding its societal norms and beliefs.

We’ve grown up. And we’ve earned the right to live our truth.

Come to Tel Aviv instead of Jerusalem if you must. But note that Israel is in no need of a makeover. We ask you instead, to open your (liberal) hearts and minds to the reality and beauty that is Israel, and like us just the way we are.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Grieving Ari: A Journal

Many people said that reading my Facebook posts cataloging my grief after the tragic murder of Ari Fuld, HY”D, helped them to process their own feelings of loss. The feelings slowly came out, and as they did, I had nowhere to put them but Facebook. It was a strong need to talk about the grief process.

I decided to gather these posts here together in one spot so that even people outside of Facebook might read them. (I am omitting some of the first angry posts that yell at Ari’s enemies, as I’m not sure these outbursts are helpful to anyone.)


View this post on Instagram


Normalcy after tragedy. Baking cookies. Too soon.

A post shared by Varda Epstein (@epavard) on

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Mudar Zahran Plays Hide the (Israeli) Flag

Mudar Zahran recently addressed a conference of the Friends of Judea and Samaria in the European Parliament.

The Friends of Judea and Samaria is a tiny lobby comprised of just 14 of the 715 members of the EU Parliament. The aims of this miniscule group are noble: they want the EU to stop funding Arab terror and to “abolish trade barriers of the European Union imposed on Jewish goods from the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).” But what on earth does any of this have to do with Mudar Zahran, the man who has duped the Jews into thinking he is the future ruler of Jordan?? And why did Zahran, after the fact, remove the Israeli flag and the sign that says Friends of Judea and Samaria from his own photos and video of the event?


Zahran’s name is nowhere to be found on the list of speakers for the event. Attendees instead, are vaguely told they will be addressed by Jewish and Arab businessman about their cooperation in Judea & Samaria.

Zahran is not a businessman and has no ties to Judea and Samaria. Mudar Zahran is a welfare recipient living in the UK.

Here is Mudar, claiming he spoke to the EU Parliament.

Our speech in the European Parliament – Foreign Relations Committee – 4 September 2018

“This is our last communication to the European Union, either stand with us and renounce the regime of Abdullah and Abbas, advocates of extremism and terrorism and anti-Semitism, otherwise you will go out

“We want peace and cooperation with Israel, the interest of our people and Israel is shared, and Israel is blessed only when we thrive and we thrive when Israel thrives.”

Fact check: Zahran didn’t speak to the EU or its Foreign Relations Committee. He only spoke to some 20 people, specific to the Friends of Judea and Samaria in the EU Parliament.

Here is a photo of him speaking at the conference in which you can clearly see the Israeli flag and the identity of his host: Friends of Judea and Samaria in the European Parliament.

Here is Mudar Zahran’s doctored photo in which the flag and all mention of the host organization is removed.

It is very sad that Jews continue to promote a fraud who doesn’t even acknowledge or appreciate their hosting him. That fraud now extends to members of the European Parliament, who have been exploited and lied about in this small man’s quest to gain legitimacy.

Perhaps the worst part of this is that now the Friends of Judea and Samaria in the European Parliament, this very small lobby of MEPs willing to work on behalf of Israel, now think that Mudar Zahran is a credible entity. One can only hope they will not fund his lifestyle.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

WATCH: Tawil Fadiha, Minister of Uncontrollable Lies

Tawil Fadiha, was probably the late, lamented Latma’s most popular character. And that’s no small thing. For those of us in the trenches fighting the media bias against Israel, Latma was everything. It was our comic relief amidst the terrible frustration of not being heard, though we were telling the truth. We waited with eagerness for each new installment and we were downright crushed when the show lost its funding (in a really sneaky way).

So it’s a big deal that our beloved Tawil Fadiha, Palestinian Minister of Uncontrollable Lies is back with a new song on behalf of the Legal Grounds Campaign organization, an Israel advocacy group. Could this be the beginning of a serious Latma comeback? Doesn’t seem so, but let’s just enjoy this rare gem for what it is–a delightful takedown of the fake Arab narrative. (When is the last time you heard satire reference the San Remo Conference or the Temple Mount?)

Wish you could see some more Latma? “We Con the World” was the Latma clip that went seriously viral, satirizing the Mavi Marmara incident and garnering some 6 million views. Youtube took it down for copyright violation, even though there is no copyright issue in borrowing songs for satire. Caroline Glick, the journalist who founded Latma (and appears in the clip), fought like a lioness until they put it back up.

h/t Aharon Epstein

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It Came So Close: The Halamish Massacre

After a terror attack, the connections come out. Israel is a small country. You almost always have some sort of connection to the victims.

With the Salomon family of Halamish, a friend I think of as a brother informed me that the young soldier who neutralized the terrorist through the kitchen window, a hero by all accounts, was his wife’s cousin, as is the young hero’s mother.

That was a nice connection, so to speak. One to make me feel pride by association. A comfort in the midst of grave horror.

But then a friend messaged me on Facebook. She wrote:

“Varda. Friday night, after we finished our Shabbat meal, some kids came to pick up our 12-year-old son Micha on their way to the youth gathering. One of those kids was Nitzan Davidi*, the niece of Michal Salomon. The Davidi* family lives not far from us.

“Later we heard there had been a pigua, a terror attack, but there were no details yet. Not until after Shabbat, when my husband came home from the synagogue and announced, “The Davidis have a new widow and her children in their home.”

“Nitzan’s mother is the sister of Michal Salomon.

“I was sick to my stomach, hunched over with terrible stomach cramps all that night. I know it’s not about me but—it came so close. Nitzan in our home while her uncle was being slaughtered.

“I went for a walk with my husband Saturday night, the night after the slaughter, to get some fresh air. We passed the Davidi home. People were milling about. Like a house of mourning. Then I saw the double stroller. I don’t know why that stood out for me, the stroller, but I was thinking: ‘Why a double stroller? Who, in the Davidi family, needs one of THOSE.’

“Later that night I read that the Salomons had one-year-old twins. One-year-old twins! What kind of monster kills a father! Sick. Just SICK.

“The whole thing was just so very close to home. I was consumed with the thought that Nitzan was in our home at the time of the slaughter, completely unaware. Just a normal kid on a Friday night, picking up her friends for a get together.

“I kept imagining Nitzan coming home happy and tired, going to sleep, and then waking up to the phone call and the keening.”

We both contemplated that for a minute. A young girl being woken from her Shabbat sleep with the worst possible news. Her home transformed to one of deep mourning.

My friend’s experience seemed to touch me by association. The murders in Halamish, the plight of the young widow and her children were more real than ever. I began to imagine the kids hearing their father, grandfather, and aunt being slaughtered, the screams. How would they ever be normal?

It was setting in, the horror, in a new way. There was a new association now. I felt like I knew the family. I could picture the Davidi family. The house. The stroller.

On Tuesday my friend had more to tell me. She eased into it with small talk about diet, mine and hers, working her way around to the terror attack.

“Nitzan’s father, the brother in-law of Michal Salomon? We were chatting and got to talking about the massacre, of course. It’s hard to think about anything else. Yaron* said that terrorists dope themselves up with drugs before they do their thing. They have to be high to do it.”

I shrugged, “Everyone knows that.”

“Well, I didn’t,” she said.

“Anyway, Yaron described the attack to me! He said that Elad [Salomon, Michal’s husband] had the terrorist in a bear hug as the terrorist was stabbing him. Thirty times the terrorist stabbed him in the back. Then he went to work on his face.

“I managed to ask Yaron about Nitzan. ‘When did she know?’

“‘Oh, she was already in bed and sound asleep when we got the call,’ he said.”

There was a pause while my friend let that sink in for me. Observant Jews don’t use the phone on Shabbat. There is only one reason a phone rings like that. It was Michal calling, telling them what had happened.

It’s good that Nitzan was able to sleep through that night, I thought. One more night of childhood innocence before learning of the evil that had hit her aunt and uncle, HY”D, may Hashem avenge the blood of the Salomons.

I know that all Jews are related to each other multiple times. We’re a small nation that was forced to marry cousins in the Diaspora. So I knew in theory that I was related to Michal Salomon, to her husband Elad, his father and sister, and to Nitzan and Yaron, too.

Now I felt it, as well.

These are the details you don’t see in the news. These are the quiet, intimate, awful details that are whispered, that almost aren’t whispered, so painful are they to speak of.

Most of us have been thinking about the brave soldier, thinking of Michal Salomon, her courage and strength in taking her children upstairs to the bedroom, locking the door, calling the police.

But now I am thinking of something else: there’s a different picture in my mind, the one that explains all that blood on the floor that we saw in the photos. I’m thinking of Elad, holding the terrorist in a bear hug with all his might, trying to keep him from hurting anyone else, taking all that pain, being stabbed thirty times in the back, and then finally, as his strength ebbs away, being stabbed repeatedly in the face, his final memory one of a knife coming much too close, so close, so many times.

And we don’t even know how it went with Elad’s father and sister.

It’s personal, you see. This massacre of a Jewish family. It hurts.

This is my family, even if I never knew them. This terrorist that came to hurt this beautiful family? He acted out of pure evil. His soul is black as tar. A monster, not a human being.

And now there is a new widow who must try to heal children who heard their father, grandfather, and aunt being slaughtered. Michal must try to make their nightmares go away while mourning the love of her life. But the nightmares will never disappear.

That is who they will always be, the Salomon children, from here on in. They and their mother: they will always be those nightmares. The massacre of Halamish.

And it all feels much too close.

*Names changed