Bari Weiss

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Two years ago, a 27-year-old man named Kobili Traoré walked into the Paris apartment of a 65-year-old kindergarten teacher named Sarah Halimi. Mr. Traoré beat Ms. Halimi and stabbed her. According to witnesses, he called her a demon and a dirty Jew. He shouted, “Allahu akbar,” then threw Ms. Halimi’s battered body out of her third-story apartment window.

This is what Mr. Traoré told prosecutors: “I felt persecuted. When I saw the Torah and a chandelier in her home I felt oppressed. I saw her face transforming.”

One would think that this would be an open-and-shut hate crime. It was the coldblooded murder of a woman in her own home for the sin of being a Jew.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sunset approaching at Manly Beach, near Sydney, Australia. Credit David Maurice Smith for The New York Times

When Mark Twain steamed into Sydney’s harbor in September 1895, journalists peppered him with questions before he had even stepped off the S.S. Warrimoo. “I am going to write a book on Australia,” he proclaimed. “And I think I ought to start now. You always know so much more of a country when you have not seen it than when you have.”

I imagined an exotic menagerie: animals that begin with the letter K frolicking next to shirtless Hemsworths, mostly.

Instead, I found Australia — or rather the teeny, tiny corner of this vast continent that I got the chance to experience this past month — much closer to how David Sedaris once described it: “Canada in a thong.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Heather Lee, 92, holds five world records and eight Australian ones. Credit Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

I thought I would come to Australia and learn to surf. Instead, I learned to walk.

More precisely, I lumbered, jogged, waddled and generally humiliated my way around a track as I tried — and failed — to keep up with the world’s most exceptional race walker.

That walker, Heather Lee, is 92 years old. She holds five world records and eight Australian ones for racewalking. She is the New South Wales Senior Australian of the Year. And she has big plans for 2019 — namely, breaking her own best times — so she does not kid around when it comes to working out.…  Seguir leyendo »

Yael Stone in New York on Thursday. Credit Celeste Sloman for The New York Times

Yael Stone is scared.

We are in New York City, at a ramen place near her apartment in Astoria, Queens, and Ms. Stone, who stars in “Orange Is the New Black,” has barely touched her soup. She tells me she hasn’t been sleeping for the better part of a year.

It’s not just her 6-month-old baby who’s keeping her up, but her decision to come forward for the first time and speak to me about her experiences with Geoffrey Rush, one of the most powerful actors in her native Australia.

Most women who go public with #MeToo stories are fearful for obvious reasons.…  Seguir leyendo »

Far-right marchers passed by the Reichstag in Berlin this month on the 80th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom against Jews. Credit Omer Messinger/EPA, via Shutterstock

Paris. Toulouse. Malmo. Copenhagen. Brussels. Berlin.

For most people, they are lovely cities where you might happily take a holiday. But for the world’s Jews, they are something else, too. They are place names of hate.

Paris for us doesn’t mean just baguettes and Brie but also this year’s murder of a Holocaust survivor in her apartment in the 11th arrondissement and the 2015 siege of a kosher supermarket during which four people were killed. Toulouse is the place where in 2012 three Jewish children and a teacher were murdered at school.

Malmo doesn’t call to mind the Swedish coast so much as fire bombs planted outside a Jewish burial chapel.…  Seguir leyendo »

The scene outside the Tree of Life Synagogue, where 11 people were killed, was emotional.

I want to tell you what it is like when your neighborhood becomes the scene of a mass murder.

The first thing you should know is that when your phone pings with a text from your youngest sister saying, “There is a shooter at tree of life,” your brain will insist that it is not true, that it is a hoax.

But your fingers will write back immediately, unthinking: “is dad there.”

Your mouth will turn to cotton while you wait for your mom to confirm that your father, who goes to one of Squirrel Hill’s synagogues every Shabbat morning, was not in the building.…  Seguir leyendo »

Stephen Elliott in Manhattan on Wednesday. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

What do you do if you are accused of sexual misconduct and believe yourself to be innocent?

If you’re Brett Kavanaugh, you go nuclear. But if you’re a progressive man who sees himself as a feminist ally, the politically acceptable strategy is to keep quiet and lay low. If you do anything at all, put out a statement saying you support the #MeToo movement, that it’s an overdue and necessary corrective, and that you are taking some time for self-reflection. Spend some months ordering takeout and avoiding parties where everyone is whispering about what they think you did.

Stephen Elliott, the founder of the left-wing website The Rumpus, followed that script.…  Seguir leyendo »

Lara Alqasem was barred from entering Israel because Israeli authorities claim she supported and took part in campaigns boycotting the country. Credit Alqasem family, via Associated Press

In March, the writer Andrew Sullivan described each of us as a “Zionist fanatic of near-unhinged proportions”. It was a cheap shot. The word “near” should not have been a part of the sentence.

Otherwise, we happily plead guilty as charged.

Yet even unhinged Zionists can level criticism at Israeli policies, and the story of Lara Alqasem is a case in point.

Ms. Alqasem, 22, is an American student of Palestinian descent who arrived in Israel last Tuesday with an Israeli-issued visa to study in a master’s program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. But she never made it out of the airport.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Italian actress Asia Argento at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Credit Antonin Thuillier/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Women are hypocrites. Women are opportunists. Women are liars.

They are abusers and bullies and manipulators. They are capable of cruelty, callousness and evil.

Just like men.

This obvious fact — that women are fully human — bears repeating in light of the stunning news that a figurehead of the #MeToo movement has herself been accused of abuse.

Asia Argento, the Italian actress and director, was a key figure in Ronan Farrow’s explosive New Yorker story in October 2017 about Harvey Weinstein’s predations. She was the victim who called the Cannes Film Festival his “hunting ground.” She was the one who gave that unforgettable quote about Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

North Korean defectors protested in Seoul in May.Credit Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Donald Trump is well known for liking people he thinks are tough. Not war heroes like Senator John McCain, or Gold Star parents like Khizr and Ghazala Khan, but authoritarians like Vladimir Putin of Russia, whom he’s hailed as a “strong leader,” or China’s president for life, Xi Jinping, “a good man” for whom the president has “great respect.”

Now the president has discovered a new figure of admiration.

In an interview that aired on Fox Wednesday evening, Bret Baier asked Mr. Trump about Kim Jong-un: “You sometimes call people killers. He is a killer. He’s clearly executing people,” said the Fox News anchor, all but spelling out the right answer for Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

A pin with a portrait of Mireille Knoll, at a march in Paris on Wednesday in response to her murder. Credit Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

It’s no rare thing for the Israeli prime minister to enrage the Jews of the diaspora. But three years ago, Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech that won him near-universal condemnation.

In the aftermath of several deadly attacks in European cities like Paris and Copenhagen, Mr. Netanyahu called on Jews to leave Europe. “Of course, Jews deserve protection in every country. But we say to Jews, to our brothers and sisters: Israel is your home,” he said, echoing comments he had made more subtly the month before at Paris’s Grand Synagogue.

Mr. Netanyahu’s suggestion of “mass immigration” was “unacceptable,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the European Jewish Association.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, right, receiving a soccer jersey from FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, on Thursday. Credit Iranian Presidential Office European Pressphoto Agency

Over the past few months, the world has once again been reminded of the gender apartheid long practiced in Iran — and of the bravery of Iranian women languishing under it. Late last year protesters began removing their compulsory hijabs in public and waving them in defiant protest. At least 29 women have been jailed for seeking the freedom to show their hair. Some have been beaten. All that in a country in which husbands have a legal right to bar their wives from working and in which a woman’s testimony in court is worth half that of a man’s.

So why is Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, the world soccer federation, doing his part to condone the Islamic Republic’s misogyny?…  Seguir leyendo »

Leaders of the “Umbrella Movement” Nathan Law, left, Joshua Wong, center, and Alex Chow at a rally in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Credit Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Here’s a suggestion for the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, which opens its nominating season next month: Look to the three young men who earlier today became Hong Kong’s first prisoners of conscience.

In 2014, the courageous trio helped lead what become known as the Umbrella Movement — an enormous political protest defending Hong Kong’s freedoms from an increasingly aggressive Beijing. Like Andrei Sakharov, Vaclav Havel, Aung San Suu Kyi and so many dissidents that came before them, the men were hit with a bogus charge (“unlawful assembly”), were found guilty and served out their punishments last year.

But today, Hong Kong’s Department of Justice decided that those penalties were too lenient.…  Seguir leyendo »