On being ‘schooled’ on anti-Semitism


Last week I made the outrageous decision to tweet to someone who should know better, someone who was claiming that an article about the rising anti-Semitism on Twitter was conflating anti-Semitism with anti-Israel sentiment. I thought perhaps I was missing something. I thought that perhaps he was misunderstanding what is behind so many of the tweets and articles and protests that abound.

I was wrong. 

Obviously, what do I know about anti-Semitism? I’m only Jewish. 

But you see, he and I are both lucky. We live in cities that experience relatively little anti-Semitism. We live in a country where it is easy to pretend that the world is not racism and anti-Semitic. We travel in circles where we discuss world events rationally and where we are able to distinguish between the actions of a government vs. the actions of a people.

Where we differ is that he – and so many of those on the left, especially in Australia – sees the world at large as matching his world and as being the ideal, whereas I see the world for how it is.

The world is a fucked up place. Every day, Jews around Europe are suffering from rising levels of anti-Semitism that are not rational arguments against the Israeli government. Jews in Denmark are being told not to wear their kippot (skullcaps) in public in order to protect their children from attacks. Jewish businesses in France and Belgium are being firebombed and attacked. Protestors are shouting ‘Death to the Jews’ and ‘Gas the Jews’. Hashtags such as #Hitlerwasright are trending on Twitter.

I want to shout to the world ‘WAKE THE FUCK UP!’ This is happening. This is not your rational anti-Israel sentiment. This is anti-Semitism on a global scale. For all your believe about the Israeli government – and I’m not here to argue one way or the other, so don’t bother commenting if that’s where you’re going – this needs to be stopped. 

How does it work that the world stands up and proclaims concern for human rights but as soon as Jewish people need the attention, they are silent? Where was the world in the 1930s? Where is the world now? At what stage will they stand up with the Jewish people instead of against them? 

This situation makes me so angry because I never thought I would be living in a world that firebombed Jewish businesses, that conflated Jew with Israel and boycotted Jewish businesses and where doctors refuse to treat Jewish patients (no, I’m not making this shit up). And yet the world stays quiet because they have decided that Israel, and by extension, the Jews, are the villains once more. 

When will we have the guts to stand up and say NO MORE?

On questioning my political self, or ‘Does the the Left have an anti-Semitism problem?’


For as long as I’ve been able to hold political beliefs, I have been known as the lonely Leftie in my family. I’ve always liked to think of myself as more Centre Left than radical left but compared to my family, I’m as left-leaning as they get. Which has resulted in many a passionate discussion at the dining table when the whole family gathers, especially around election time – any election really. The last time my brother and I got into a ‘discussion’, my 9-year-old niece tearfully asked ‘why don’t you love each other anymore?’ and we had to laugh and explain that we still loved each other, we just thought the other was an idiot… in a loving way.

But now, as Israel is at war, my beliefs have started to waver. As I look at my left-leaning Twitter followers, I’ve noticed something disturbing. They all seem to be on the side of whoever they perceive to be the underdog, regardless of the situation. They also seem to only be aware and interested in trendy causes. Allow me to explain.

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Skin like sandpaper


Last week, my skin went mental and reacted to something. Almost overnight, I had skin like sandpaper – dry, scaly, itchy beyond belief. I felt like I was wearing a mask, as if I was hiding from the world. 

I figured out that it could either be my moisturiser or my foundation so I stopped using both and bought 2 new moisturisers. I pampered my skin, reassured it that it was safe the shed the scales and re-emerge into the world. It took about 3 days to feel normal again and while my skin is still a little dry, my scaly mask has definitely shifted.

I reacted super quickly because I could feel and see the effects of the irritation and I felt like the world could see the effects too. In my mind, there was no question that I would change everything to make this reaction go away.

 And yet, when I react to food or a situation, I don’t seem to change as quickly. When my stomach is emphatically unhappy at the crap I’m shoving down my gullet, I ignore it. When I’m getting stressed out over a situation I can change, I do nothing. And then I wonder why I still feel crap when it’s really no wonder. In fact, it’s more of a wonder that I don’t fall down in a heap all the time.

I have fallen down in a heap today though. It’s been a long week and last night, I slept for almost 12 hours. I got up, went grocery shopping and my back seized up, a sure sign that my body has gone ‘F you, we’re on strike’. So instead of getting ALL THE THESIS written and ALL THE FOOD cooked, I slept some more and I’m taking it easy. I’m treating this as I treated my skin reacting. Bad reaction means a change must be made, so I’m making it.

Do you listen to your body when it cries out to you?

Why are we ashamed to eat?


Today I went out for brunch with two of my Canadian friends who’ve been working/travelling around Australia (Ana and Christina) and Christina’s mother, who’s been in town visiting her. It was a bit of a farewell brunch for Christina since she’s off travelling and then back home to Canada.

Four ladies and I was the only one to order and eat a full meal.

Now, I realise this may be one of the reasons that I’m feeling fat and unfit and I am focusing on making better choices but dammit, when I’m hungry, I eat. When I order a meal, I eat it and I enjoy it. Every. Single. Bite. I try to choose something off the menu that I know I’ll enjoy because I like to eat. I enjoy good food and good flavours. Love.Them

One ordered an orange juice and a coffee, claiming to have already eaten breakfast. Another ordered a fruit salad and while she finished it and it looked yummy, it was a small fruit salad. Another ordered the same meal I did and left at least half of everything on the plate.

I cleaned the plate. The veggie hash brown? Yum. The spinach and mushrooms were perfect and the poached eggs were, again, PERFECT. I enjoyed every single bite and could have eaten more, but I didn’t.

Honestly, brunch made me sad. Why is it, as women, we’re almost ashamed to have an appetite? Ashamed to enjoy a meal and take pleasure in it. We’re taught that this is a sign of gluttony, that it’s not something to be proud of. People who enjoy their meals that much are stereotypically NOT thin and fit and healthy. And I hate this.

Last week, I caught up with an old school friend who I haven’t seen in over 15 years and she’s painfully thin. I’m sure she’s suffering from anorexia but we didn’t mention the word itself. She’s aware that she’s not healthy and she’s working on changing that but I look at her and I feel sad. She doesn’t see food as pleasure. It’s a way to get herself healthy again but it’s not something to be enjoyed.

I want to be healthy and fit and feel pretty but I also want to savour every bite of food I eat. I want to enjoy the flavours mixing in my mouth. Maybe I’ll always be a little curvaceous because of that but I’d rather that then leaving food on my plate in order to look like I have no appetite.

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A letter to Hollywood


Dear Hollywood starlets,

I don’t care what your publicist tells you to spout to the world. Perhaps it’s true that you’ve had the body of a 12-year old all your life (I’m looking at you Shenae Grimes) or you have a super fast metabolism. Perhaps you really do enjoy eating salads everyday and have no sweet tooth at all.

And perhaps pigs fly out there in Hollywood.

We all know that you diet and exercise and work frigging HARD to get that 12-year old body that shows no curves and acts like a clothes hanger. We know that the pressures you face in your day-to-day worklife are enormous. And so we know – as much as you deny it – that your eating habits are not like most.

Almost every female star in Hollywood who has been associated with anorexia claims and denied them fervently has eventually admitted to them years down the track (Portia de Rossi, I’m looking at you) so how is it still the denial of choice? Why do female actors feel the need to be seen eating all the time and even seem to be going as far as to schedule interviews over indulgent lunches, ensuring that their eating habits are featured in the pages of glossy magazines?

Personally, I respect actors like Julianne Moore who have come out and admitted that staying slim in Hollywood is hard work and eating granola bars for lunch is awful but she does it to keep working. I respect people who admit that they exercise for hours on end to get that toned I-was-born-like-this look. I respect them because they admit that this is a product of their professional lives. In the same way that I maintain my computer skills and professional development, so they maintain their diet and exercise regime in order to stay professionally active. It’s in their job description.

Because when they admit that, I know that my lifestyle does not accommodate for that and it’s not me, it’s them. That, theoretically, if I decided to work out 3+ hours a day, I could look like that. If I had a personal chef, personal trainer and personal assistant to handle my, well, personal life, I could do it. It’s a funny little thing that makes me feel normal instead of ridiculous when I look in the mirror.

Yes, there are people who are naturally slim and have androgynous bodies. There are people who are active all day and who can eat dessert every night without feeling any ill effects. I’m not saying that every person who is slim and not trying to be is lying. But not everyone in Hollywood is like that. In fact, I’m sure if I tried, I could find statistics disproving the number of “naturally slim” actors vs. the proportion of naturally slim people in the world.

So to all those Hollywood stars and starlets, admit that you work hard to look like you do. Give the rest of us a fighting chance to feel normal and to admire your hard work instead of wondering if our metabolisms are crap and our bodies just hate us.

When supposedly clever people are idiots


I logged into facebook yesterday and saw this status update in my live feed

Facebook status update

This was from someone in their 40s, well-educated and someone I consider intelligent. The comments on this update? All from similarly intelligent people and all agreeing with this update. That eating is BAD and if you don’t eat much, you’ll lose weight.

Well, duh you’ll lose weight. And yes, you’ll probably lose weight quickly initially but doing what worked for you in your 20s, almost 30 years ago, when your metobolism was different and when the information out there was different, is not an intelligent thing to do. It’s like saying that tanning was fine in your 20s, so you’ll do it again, even though you now know the dangers of skin cancer. Or smoking was fine and this whole lung cancer thing is baloney.

As The Boy says, when people are desperate, intelligent or not, they don’t always make intelligent decisions. And I understand that but seriously, I want to smack these people on the side of the head, a la Gibbs in NCIS. The poster was bragging about losing 4lbs in 3 days of this regime and I wanted to yell out

Of course you lost weight quickly. It’s water weight but this is not sustainable.

I wanted to comment about how she’s losing muscle and not fat and how this is not a sustainable way of life. I wanted to remind her that she didn’t gain the weight overnight and so losing it will take time. I wanted to ask her if she’s only relying on diet or if she’s lifting weights as well.

But after reading all the comments agreeing with her revolutionary regime and asking for tips or talking about how not eating at all during the day was the only way for them, I walked away. My comments and queries would not be welcomed and I would be pilloried as this young ‘un who know nothing.

Am I crazy or is this just, well, whacked?

I am my mother’s daughter


We’re having a couple over on Sunday for coffee and boardgames. I’m really quite excited and a bit nervous. Our place is small (cozy by real estate agent terms) and in winter, there’s not much space. In summer, we have the balcony, but I’m not going out there in winter thankyouverymuch!

(Plus I haven’t swept it in weeks, much to my upstairs neighbour’s chagrin. I keep expecting to open the curtains one morning to find her on the balcony sweeping, having rappelled down overnight. She’s 78.)

But back to Sunday. They’re coming over mid-afternoon, after lunch. It’s just an afternoon deal – no meal per se.

I’m planning cookies and dips and pita chips and what about coffee, do they drink coffee we should buy some coffee and milk and my mother would wonder about a cake.

As The Boy reminded me, it’s only 4 of us – me, The Boy, the couple.

I’m planning a menu for 12 people who are starving. It’ll be 4 with full lunch bellies.

And yet, my mother’s voice is in my head, planning a menu and emphasising that being a good hostess is about food and presentation and ohmygod, I need to clean everywhere. As if they’re going to examine the freaking SHOWER STALL. Wait, maybe they will.

Shit, I better get some gloves on.