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Liberal on everything but Israel? There’s a name for that!

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- Commentary

UPDATE: Take the Test to find out if you’re liberal on everything but Israel here.

Do you feel dovish most of the time but suddenly hawkish when it comes to Israel? Are you critical of the Democrats for being too centrist but supportive of Likud? Do your liberal ideas apply to every issue except for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

If you answered yes to the questions above, you may be a PEP (Progressive Except on Palestine).

But you are not alone! PEPism is extremely common, especially among liberal Jews. In fact, if you are a liberal Jew, there is a high probability that this syndrome runs in your family. If you aren’t a PEP, you likely have some relatives who are. Though not genetic, PEPism is sometimes, though not always, passed down from one generation to the next. Two PEPs will frequently, but not necessarily, have PEP offspring, some of whom will outgrow the condition. Conversely, occcasionally, the offspring of two PEPs will experience an adverse reaction, manifesting in hyper-keffiyeh use and fetishization of all things Arab.

The onset of PEPism varies. Children of PEPs tend to manifest symptoms as pre-teens. People who do not come from PEP parentage might experience a later onset, especially following a Birth Right trip or, in later years, after a move to Florida.

I am not a PEP and come from a PEP-free family. I have, however, seen how PEPism can affect people’s judgement, end relationships, and make social media extremely unbearable. So, I am speaking out.

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And I’m not the only one. The term PEP appears in alternative media. But it hasn’t penetrated traditional media, for the most part. Though I don’t know who came up with the term, and I can’t remember where I first heard it, I unknowingly helped raise awareness about the syndrome via The Washington Post. In a review of Laughing Liberally, a political comedy show which I co-founded and in which I perform, journalist Emily Wax-Thibodeaux wrote,

With her heavy Upper West Side accent and frequent references to Zabar’s, comedian Katie Halper often stuns the audience by giving voice to the Palestinian plight — as a Jewish liberal….

…. Some in the audience laugh. But some clearly experience what Halper, a Laughing Liberally co-founder, calls the “PEP Phenomenon,” or Progressive Except on Palestine.

Because I’m so humble (and/ or was kvelling over seeing my name and my show in print), I didn’t realize the significance of the appearance of PEP in the newspaper, until Philip Weiss wrote a blog post at MondoWeiss called “‘PEP’ (Progressive Except Palestine) makes the Washington Post.”

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Do you think you or someone you know might be a PEP? Tomorrow, I’ll have a diagnostic test for people to take. Remember, getting tested is the first step.

 

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Dear NeverTrumpers: Please quit lecturing actual Democrats about how to win

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As I write this, we are just hours away from the first debate of the presidential primary season. It's hard to believe that four years have passed since the last round of primary debates. It feels like 40. But here we are, getting ready to embark on yet another presidential campaign featuring Donald Trump. Everyone on the planet has advice for the Democratic candidates about what they need to do to beat him. It may be the most annoying conversation in all of politics, and that's saying something.

The pundits are all dully blathering on about "lanes" again, extending the horse race metaphor to ridiculous lengths, as they did in the GOP primaries in 2016. So far they've declared the lanes to be "establishment," "insurgent," "youth," "black vote" and "working class." And yes, they are meaningless, since the person who wins the nomination will have to take up big parts of all these "lanes" and more. But it makes it easy for pundits and analysts to drone on endlessly about polling, despite the fact that there is very little chance this campaign will end up going the way they predict.

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2020 Election

Joe Biden’s ‘Jim Crow moment’ was dreadful — but he may be Democrats’ best shot at beating Trump

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The Democratic Party's presidential nomination and the White House are Joe Biden's to win — unless he sabotages himself.

Last Tuesday while speaking at a fundraising speech in New York, Biden reflected on his early career in the Senate, working alongside Sen. James Eastland of Mississippi and and Sen. Herman Talmadge of Georgia, a pair of old-line segregationists:

I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland. He never called me 'boy,' he always called me 'son.' Well guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn't agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you're the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don't talk to each other anymore.

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Commentary

How the DOJ just asked the Supreme Court to essentially become a ‘branch of the Trump administration’

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With the fate of the nation's electoral maps — and thus the very basis of democracy — hanging in the balance, the Supreme Court is poised to rule on the controversial Census case. But at the last minute, Justice Department Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote new a new plea to the justices asking them to take an even more extraordinary step than simply ruling on the issue before them.

Indeed, law professor Richard Hasen wrote in Slate on Tuesday that if the court goes along with Francisco's request, it will essentially act as a part of the Trump administration.

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