President Donald Trump wrapped up his term at the White House with a farewell video on his final day in office Tuesday, and President Joe Biden delivers his inaugural address and The Rambam’s Fame As A Doctor By Israel Mizrahi and Let my People go by Rabbi Yehuda Lave, my Jewish Press article and 11 delightful Israeli day trips on the train and Video: Dennis Prager—‘This Is the Reichstag Fire, Relived’
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
President Donald Trump wrapped up his term at the White House with a farewell video on his final day in office Tuesday, acknowledging the incoming Biden administration, touting his administration's accomplishments, and condemning violence in the wake of the pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
President Joe Biden delivers his inaugural address | ABC News
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Is the Coronavirus the new 10 Plagues?
Is the Coronavirus the new 10 PLAGUES?
Rivers of blood, invasions of frogs, lice, locusts, pestilence, devastating storms... The ten plagues which beset Egypt over the course of one year are horrifying to contemplate. Lives and livelihoods were being lost. People were forced to lock themselves in their houses to avoid annihilation...Wait, Is it beginning to sound terrifyingly familiar? People dying, businesses that have been open 50 years out of business, schools closed, synagogues closed, people's life savings trashed, older people losing their routines and getting clinically depressed (this happened to my Rabbi and teacher), depression from being stuck at home, divorce, child abuse, weight gain from the loss of routine, a year of a life gone in many ways. The New 10 Plagues?
For the past twelve months, the entire world has been buffeted about by one cataclysmic catastrophe after another. The Coronavirus, which has earned the infamous honor of being the most destructive of all the plagues which have been visited upon humanity over the past year, has wreaked unprecedented havoc on the modern world. But a quick review of events over the past year reminds us that not only the virus has attacked us. Natural disasters, political violence, and mob anarchy have all darkened our days and night. Governments have been toppled. Presidents have been felled. How have we arrived at this Egyptian-like nadir in history?
In this week's Torah reading, Bo, we witness the final three of the ten plagues that the G-d of Israel is raining upon Egypt. The methodical and repetitive manner in which each upcoming plague is announced by Moshe to Pharaoh, Pharaoh's dismissive response, the arrival of the plague itself, Pharaoh's plea to Moshe to remove the plague, and Moshe's agreement to do so, it itself, mind-numbing. "Let my people go!" was all that Moshe was asking. A three-day journey in the desert to make offerings to G-d! Pharaoh would not hear of it. Even when his top advisors, his necromancers, and magicians wavered, Pharaoh would not be moved. Why?
The answer is found, not in this week's Torah reading, but two weeks ago; When first confronted by Moshe with the message, "So said HaShem G-d of Israel, 'Send out My people, and let them make offerings to Me in the desert,'" Pharaoh responded with the fateful and fatal answer, "Who is HaShem that I should heed His voice to let Israel out? I do not know HaShem, neither will I let Israel out." (Exodus 5:1-2)
If Pharaoh cannot recognize the reality of HaShem, then there is nothing to talk about. One does not respond favorably to a demand made by what one considers to be a nonexisting nonentity. So for Pharaoh, there truly was nothing to talk about, no one to say yes to, No G-d.
When one doesn't acknowledge the reality of G-d, then one cannot possibly recognize the image of G-d in which we are all created. Not only does G-d not exist, but human dignity, human rights, and human freedom also do not exist. Pharaoh did have his moments of enlightenment, brought on by desperation, when he asked Moshe to appeal to the G-d that he did not acknowledge, but these moments of illumination were fleeting. Refusing to admit to the reality of G-d, Pharaoh painted himself, one plague after another, into a corner with no escape.
Here is the next step in what we are dealing with. When one doesn't acknowledge the reality of G-d, and therefore does not recognize the image of G-d in his fellow man, then his fellow man becomes an enemy, a target to be eliminated or enslaved.
If this sounds eerily familiar, well, it should. The world today is caught up in a whirlwind of delegitimizing the other - the ones who don't see it our way or look like us. We have become strangers, filled with suspicion and fear, and all because we, like Pharaoh, have become blind to the image of G-d that we all, each in our unique way, share. The United States is more polarized than it has ever been. I grew up with the two parties respecting each other. Today they are at each other's throats!
Could we all take a trip to the desert to reunite with our knowledge of G-d, our love of G-d, and our gratitude toward G-d? What a difference that would make! By worshiping G-d we will reawaken our awareness of the spark of G-d in every one of us, even in the ones who see things differently from us. The world today is marching toward a Pharaoh-like precipice, a point of no return, a very unhappy ending.
We have read the book, we know how it ends, and we still have a chance to open our eyes and our hearts, to recognize the G-d Who created us all in His image, and to put an end, at last, to the plagues that we have brought upon ourselves over the past twelve months. That is right. We have brought it upon ourselves.
The Virus was from G-d, but our response to it, by shutting down the economy as a response around the world was done to us by ourselves. Who in their right mind would believe we would shut down the world's economy without trying less Draconian steps first. I still don't believe it happened and it is still happening in Israel as we are still under a lockdown. I am forbidden from going to the beach to walk on the boardwalk on any of the beaches, as I live in Jerusalem. We can't go to each other's Shabbat tables, see our friends and live free!
G-d is calling: "Let My people go!"
Video: Dennis Prager—'This Is the Reichstag Fire, Relived'
On the heels of the breach of the U.S. Capitol, Big Tech companies have swiftly censored the President, the emerging social media platform Parler was effectively shut down, and there are growing calls for no-fly lists.
Does the assault on the Capitol warrant such a response?
"We're living in a gigantic lie that is reminiscent of the Reichstag fire," argues talk show host Dennis Prager, founder of Prager University.
This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I'm Jan Jekielek.
Jan Jekielek: Dennis Prager, so good to have you back on American Thought Leaders.
Dennis Prager: Thank you. I'm honored.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, these are incredibly, incredibly difficult times.1
While the Rambam is remembered today for his great rabbinic writings, for centuries his most-often printed works were his medical writings. This week I acquired Pirke Moshe, printed in Vilna in 1888, which is a collection of the Rambam's remedies for various ailments.
Born in Cordoba, Spain in 1138, the Rambam and his family were forced to escape the region when he was 13 after it was captured by the Almohades, a fanatical Berber Muslim group. After wandering for many years – living in Fez, Morocco and for a brief period in Eretz Yisrael – he settled in Egypt in 1168.
After the death of his brother David en route to India for business, and consequent financial difficulties for the family, the Rambam was forced to take upon himself the occupation of physician. Gaining widespread recognition, he was appointed court physician to the Grand Vizier al-Qadi al Fadil, then to Sultan Saladin, after whose death he remained a physician to the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt.
The Rambam wrote his medical works in Arabic, and they emphasize moderation and living a healthy lifestyle. They describe many ailments such as asthma, diabetes, hepatitis, and pneumonia, and the Rambam was one of the first physicians to write about treating depression. In a medical letter to the nephew of Saladin the Great in Cairo, the Rambam discusses possible remedies for depression, including alcohol.
Ten known works of the Rambam on medical topics exist, and they have all been translated into many languages, including English. A traditional prayer used by many doctors and pharmacists to this day is attributed to the Rambam and attests to his devotion to his patients. The prayer begins:
"The Eternal Providence has appointed me to watch over the life and health of Thy creatures. May the love for my art motivate me at all times; may neither greed nor miserliness, nor thirst for glory or a great reputation engage my mind; for the enemies of truth and philanthropy could easily deceive me and make me forgetful of my lofty aim of doing good to Thy children."
The influence of the Rambam on the medical field can be seen by the numerous editions of his works that were published in many languages throughout the centuries. Indeed, his fame as a healer was so great that in Egypt, as late as the 20th century, it was a custom in the Jewish community to carry ill patients to the old synagogue of Maimonides and leave them to sleep under the main prayer room.
When King Faud I of Egypt was seriously ill in 1935, the loyal inhabitants of the Jewish quarter borrowed some of the ruler's clothing and took them to the prayer room where they kept them for a week. They were convinced that the subsequent improvement in the king's condition was due to the blessing of the Rambam.
11 delightful Israeli day trips on the train
Forget your traffic and parking woes -- let Israel Railways take you and your family on off-the-beaten-track adventures in every corner of the land.
Remember the good old days when taking a train was a glamorous adventure? While we are far removed from those times, modern-day trains, especially in Israel, have become an increasingly convenient, traffic-free way to travel.
What's more, Israel Railways lines are expanding and improving every day. Now, more than ever, you can visit different corners of the country solely by train.
Here are our favorite 11 suggestions for a stress-free day trip (imagine, no parking!) out on the train.
Jerusalem Gan Hachayot Hatanachi (Biblical Zoo) Station
Get out at this station in the Malcha neighborhood of Jerusalem, far removed from the city center where most tourists roam. Here you can have two extraordinary zoological experiences: The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens (Jerusalem Biblical Zoo) and the newly unveiled Gottesman Family Israel Aquarium.
Wackier displays at the aquarium include a jellyfish gallery and clownfish bred on an Arava desert farm. There are thousands of live fish, sharks, corals and other sea animals in tanks representing the habitats of Israel's seas, as well as other features such as a stingray feeding pool and interactive water displays that allow you to feel like you are in the tank with the big fish.
Moshe Dayan Station, Rishon LeTzion
One of Israel's largest cities, Rishon LeTzion lies just south of Tel Aviv and is a heaven of beaches, shopping and entertainment.
Get off the train at Moshe Dayan Station and you're just a 20-minute walk or 5-minute cab ride from Cinema City, a bustling hub of modern stores, eateries, a stand-up comedy club (for those who know Hebrew) and one of Israel's most up-to-date cinemas.
Enjoy a VIP screening of a movie in a private room complete with snacks (we hear unlimited popcorn and coffee — and an order of nachos! — are included).
Also just a 5-minute cab ride from the station is Superland, Israel's premier theme park filled with roller coasters, an ice-skating rink, bumper cars, water rides, and other adrenaline-inducing apparatuses.
Or you can just head on over to the city's IKEA for a more tame (but no less fun) shopping outing and kosher Swedish meatballs.
Afula Train Station
A great day-trip destination in the North for families, Afula is probably one spot that missed the list of must-visit cities when you were planning your trip to Israel. However, this residential city, formerly a beacon of Israeli agriculture, has one family-friendly attraction that has the potential to keep you entertained all day long.
Get off the train in the new Afula station, and walk across the main road to Rova Izrael- the city's brand-new neighborhood in close proximity to the expansive Afula municipal park.
Inside the gates of the park you'll find entertainment for the whole family, including a skate park, shaded slides and other playground staples, a children's train ride (₪10), rock-climbing wall, amusement-park rides (for a fee), and a free petting zoo with a camel, ducks, donkeys, horses and other animals.
Afterwards it's just a 10-minute walk to Emek Center Shopping (locals simply call it "HaMitcham," "The Compound") where you can shop and lunch till you drop. Catch the train back after a quick stop at the Kfir Brigade Monument down the main road on the opposite side. There you can pay your respects to soldiers from this IDF combat unit who fell in the line of duty, before heading back to the train by foot.
Kiryat Motzkin Train Station
Take the train to Kiryat Motzkin for an unlikely outing in the Krayot — the municipalities that make up Haifa's suburbs. Although more urban than you might expect, this area is filled with beautifully landscaped traffic circles (many encompassing the works of local artists) and the prized jewel of the region, the Hai Park Zoo on Hachashmonaim Street.
Inside the entrance is a large playground followed by a zoo with exotic (some endangered) animals such as Asian elephants, giraffes, an impressive reptile collection, two newly acquired Barbary lions named Samson and Delilah, Siberian tigers named Sarah and Ana, and other predators.
Not far from the zoo are many small parks, such as Park Fromer Or Haim. And be sure to visit the "motz-etz" in Gan HaBanim — a tree dedicated to helping little ones part with their beloved pacifiers once the time comes.
Afterwards head to the nearby Kiryon Mall for an elevated meal by Israeli celebrity chef Moshe Segev at Segev Kitchen Garden North (192 Derech Akko, Kiryat Bialik), or catch the Metronit fast-track bus from outside the mall into downtown Haifa to dine at any of the many restaurants or street-food vendors on Namal Street or in the Turkish Market promenade.
5. Merkaz HaYeridim Train Station, Tel Aviv University
Get off the train at this North Tel Aviv stop, and after a small trek uphill you will be on the campus of Tel Aviv University, a great jumping-off point for exploring the newly updated posh neighborhood of Ramat Aviv or many area museums.
Head down Haim Levanon Street from the front entrance of the campus to the Palmach Museum to learn interactively about Israel's early elite Jewish fighting force, or explore the Museum of the Jewish People (Beit Hatfutsot) on the campus.
At Beit Hatfutsot you'll find a wealth of information including a permanent exhibit of replicas of world synagogues, and lighthearted exhibitions on modern Jewish heroes and global Jewish humor.
Sign up in advance, and you can even get a personal tour of the latter exhibit from Tel Aviv-based American-Israeli comedian Benji Lovitt.
Once you're done, head down the road (20 minutes by foot, or a few minutes by taxi) for luxurious lunching at one of the neighborhood's restaurants, such as Greco, which specializes in modern Greek tapas and drinks.
Herzliya Train Station
At this seaside city, we recommend you skip the crowded beach and upscale marina in favor of taking to the skies! Sky Trip allows you the once-in-a-lifetime experience of flying a plane, and its airstrip is less than a 10-minute cab ride from the train station.
From there it's just an 11-minute cab ride to Beit Hapancake ("The Pancake House") which will help you refuel with some sweet treats following your flight.
Once you fill up on pancakes, walk 15 minutes back to the train station. As you cross the Ayalon highway you will be face to face with Theodore Herzl (at least with a large artistic cutout of him) sitting atop the town's water tower just across from some of the city's top high-tech companies along the road at the Michlaf HaSira exit.
Nahariya Train Station
Get off at Israel's northern-most stop on the train, and it's just a 15-minute walk to the beachfront. There's a well-kept walking promenade extending north and south, and a newer promenade just to the south includes Promenade Challenges Park – including a new-age playground for children of all ages, a dog park, and of course the sand and sun.
Set up an introductory diving lesson with Indigo Diving Club on the southern beach, or take a reflective moment at the monument to Naval Fighters nearby, set within rocky tide pools.
On your way back up the coast to catch the train home, satisfy your appetite at one of the town's beach-side eateries, such as Mul Hayam (Facing the Sea) restaurant, which serves traditional salads and fish and meat dishes in a relaxed old-fashioned maritime setting.
Sderot Train Station
Hummus Shel Thina, Sderot. Photo: courtesy
You've all heard about the turmoil of life in Sderot, a southern Israel city just outside Gaza that is plagued by frequent rocket attacks. It is a town that serves as a testament to Israeli resilience and can only be fully comprehended by those who visit, talk to its residents, and experience daily life there. For safe travel, of course, it's best not to go during times of flare-ups.
This fortified train journey is a mere one hour from Tel Aviv, and just a 12-minute ride from the seafront town of Ashkelon, but it is certain to be a trip you won't forget. Take a guided tour of Sderot's protected playgrounds, Iron Dome battery and Black Arrow Memorial with tour guide and local rabbi Ari Katz, or explore the town's fully functioning college campus equipped with underground facilities.
But don't forget to enjoy the lighter side of the city, which can be easily experienced at the best hummus shop: Hummus Shel Thina. Have a chat with its young owner, local resident Amit Yesodi, who has spread her good will through hummus far beyond her hometown to Israel's largest cities, including Beersheva, Jerusalem and soon Tel Aviv.
Haifa Bat Galim Train Station
Get off the train in Haifa's Bat Galim station, and you'll be getting a look at one of the city's up-and-coming neighborhoods. You'll be surprised to see the rundown urban landscape next to Rambam Medical Center quickly give way to a stunning newly constructed beach promenade.
Strolling down the walkway, you will see blossoming seaside flowers and plants next to the beautiful Mediterranean coastline. Don't miss out on Haifa's cable car (rachbal in Hebrew), which takes off from Shawatina Restaurant on the Bat Galim Promenade and takes you on a 5-minute journey up Carmel Mountain to Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery from which you have a panoramic view of the Haifa Bay.
Upon your return to terra firma, walk south on the promenade to the main Haifa beach area, where you may catch a beach-side meal, cold beer or fruit shake, before riding back home from the Haifa Hof HaCarmel station (that is, if you'll ever want to leave).
Tel Aviv HaShalom Train Station
The train station's exit leads you inside one of Israel's largest malls, where you can aid Israel's economy or just window-shop or grab a bite to eat. If you're feeling fancy, skip the food court and dine at the mall's kosher gourmet restaurant 2C, which sits high above it all on the 49th floor.
Or, for the ultimate foodie experience, head over to nearby Sarona Market, where you can roam the gourmet food stalls on your own, or take a guided tour filled with small bites and historical background through the Taste of Sarona Tour led by local foodie Erez Dayan of Siyur Sipur travel company (tour available in English).
Rehovot Hadar Train Station
History buffs would be sorry to miss out on a visit to the Weizmann House on the Weizmann Institute of Science campus in Rehovot, central Israel.
Just a 12-minute walk from the Rehovot Hadar train station, the historic house affords a look into the past in one of Israel's leading research institutes. There stands the former home of scientist Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first president.
The house of the first president of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, inside the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Flash90
The house is preserved complete with all his former belongings, including his Lincoln car parked out front, flourishing gardens, and his wife Vera's bakeware in the kitchen.
Pay your respects at the Weizmann memorials just outside the house, before continuing on to discover the many corners of this beautifully manicured campus, or grab a bite not far away at Moo and Moo, a specialty beef restaurant and butchery that takes pride in aging and serving the highest quality Israeli-bred meat available.
Text of Dennis Prager video above
On the heels of the breach of the U.S. Capitol, Big Tech companies have swiftly censored the President, the emerging social media platform Parler was effectively shut down, and there are growing calls for no-fly lists.
Does the assault on the Capitol warrant such a response?
"We're living in a gigantic lie that is reminiscent of the Reichstag fire," argues talk show host Dennis Prager, founder of Prager University.
This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I'm Jan Jekielek.
Jan Jekielek: Dennis Prager, so good to have you back on American Thought Leaders.
Dennis Prager: Thank you. I'm honored.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, these are incredibly, incredibly difficult times. You're a voice of reason for many Americans and frankly, at least one Canadian [myself]. I was in the House buildings, in the Cannon Rotunda when everything happened at the Capitol on January 6. I didn't really understand what was happening at the time. I want to start off by just saying, Dennis, what do you make of this whole situation?
Mr. Prager: There are a lot of components: What was done, how it was reacted to, and how it is being used. I'll do the third one first. As I wrote in my column this week, this is the Reichstag fire relived, 1933, a month after the Nazis took over—after an election, as it happens.
In Germany, the German parliament was burned down. We're not absolutely certain who did it, but it seems that a communist did it. Anyway, it didn't matter to the Nazis who did it, what mattered was what they could use it for, and they used it for the Enabling Act, which they quickly ran through Parliament, and it enabled the Nazis to curtail civil liberties in the name of a national emergency caused by the burning of the parliament of the Reichstag.
Now obviously, we don't have concentration camps, though I'm not sure they had concentration camps then either because it was probably one month into the Nazi regime. People aren't being beaten in the streets yet, but the parallels are frighteningly accurate. The curtailing of free speech was the first thing done. Communists and anti-Nazis, whether communist or not, could not express themselves after the fire. The fire was used to say: Look at what's happening. We have to curtail free speech.
The Left in the United States is totalitarian; the Left everywhere is totalitarian. Liberals are not; liberals are just useful idiots for the Left. And I say this loving, truly loving and admiring the liberals in my life. They don't realize they're useful idiots for the Left because they are so preoccupied with fighting the Right. This is the only thing liberals really know because they don't stand for what they used to. They used to stand for racial integration, they don't care about that anymore; they used to stand for being colorblind, they don't care about that anymore; they used to stand for free speech, they don't care about that anymore.
But the Left—anywhere it has gained power, from Vladimir Lenin, 1917, Russia, to today, there has been no exception wherever the Left gains power, including our universities. It's a perfect example: the curtailing of free speech at our universities. Everywhere, there isn't an exception. The Left curtails, suppresses free speech, and there's a reason for that, because they cannot withstand intellectual argument. [Leftist ideology is] an intellectual balloon. It's just air or helium inside.
If you puncture it with an idea—that's why they hate PragerU because in five minutes, we really do undo a lot of what kids are brainwashed to believe, because we make sense. We're called conservative, but we're actually just intellectually honest, which the Left loathes.
This must be understood. There was no exception in the last 100 years to the Left taking power and suppressing free speech. They're using January 6 as the excuse to do so. That Twitter has taken down Parler—or Amazon, technically, has taken down Parler—is a perfect example.
You have people who say that the election was not fair, that it was fraudulently counted. Why can't one say that? Did they not, for three years—the New York Times, and Twitter, and all of them— say every day that there was collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, one of the biggest ongoing lies in the history of this country? Nobody was taken down for that provable lie.
I'm agnostic on the count of the election. I have not been preoccupied with it as some have, but it doesn't matter. You should have the total freedom to say, I don't think that this was counted legitimately, but you can't say that. That is now the "Reichstag burning" excuse, the fire excuse. [If] you say that, you're causing riots. So that's number one.
Number two, what happened? What happened was fools. Truly foolish people did what they did on January 6, but what is most important is every side has fools. That's just the way it works. There are foolish leftists, foolish liberals, foolish conservatives, foolish rightists—no side is free of fools. However, you don't judge a doctrine or a group by its fools. You judge it by the reaction of the group to its fools.
Within an hour, every leading Republican thoroughly condemned what happened. It took Joe Biden five days to react to the riots all over the country. That was not [just] smashed windows, but was the burning of police cars, burning of businesses all over the country. Five days before [that], he tweeted a tepid thing [like], Well, I understand what people were doing, but we don't want violence, that's not right. I don't even remember it. I just looked this up to be intellectually honest to say, yes, he said something. But were any of those people prosecuted?
The Democratic mayors and governors where [riots] happened basically cheered them on. They didn't say, Yeah-ha, ra-ha. What they said [was], We're not going to do anything about it, no arrests. The response was, Let's get rid of police, not Let's get the police in to stop this mayhem.
Our side is far more moral than their side, and the proof is our reaction to our bad guys versus their reactions to their bad guys. Six months of riots, of violent riots—that's what a riot is. By definition, it's violence. How many have been brought before a trial, let alone sentenced to anything? So we're living in a gigantic lie that is reminiscent of the Reichstag fire.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, I happened to be thinking of a tweet that I saw from Wall Street Journal journalists that I respect covering China. It said something to the tune of, I see the China hawks much more concerned about denouncing censorship and curtailment of freedom of speech than I see them condemning what actually happened on the sixth. This was the sentiment. What's your reaction to that?
Mr. Prager: The China hawks are more interested in condemning the suppression of free speech than they are condemning January 6th?
Mr. Jekielek: Correct.
Mr. Prager: Whoever tweeted that, give an example of a Republican who did not condemn January 6, any leading Republican—I don't mean their brother-in-law [who] is a Republican. Secondly, in terms of the threat to this country, they're incomparably imbalanced. The disgusting events of January 6 do not threaten this country nearly as much as the suppression of free speech does.
The whole point of America was freedom. The Left is suppressing, oppressing the greatest feature of the United States. I've said this my whole life, and most of the time people didn't take it seriously. They take me seriously—that I acknowledge—because people don't like to confront evil. People like to deny it. It's too painful to confront the evil. The Left suppresses liberty everywhere it takes power.
There is no exception in the last 100 years, and it is happening incredibly in the country of the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell, for which they [leftists] have contempt. There's no comparison. And what threatens the country—a foolish, stupid, wrongheaded, vile attack on the Capitol, which reopened for business within hours—versus the ongoing suppression of free speech. It's not symmetrical.
Mr. Jekielek: That's fascinating. Over the last few years, I've been learning about the value precisely of free speech and how it differs here, at least traditionally, from other countries and other places. Here's this question: What we saw with Parler, you mentioned, we saw in rapid succession; we saw Google and then Apple banning the app on app stores. Then subsequently, Amazon came out and said that it's removing their servers, effectively. This all happened within a day or a couple of days of each other. This isn't the government suppressing speech. This is big tech participating and doing it. Tell me what you're thinking here.
Mr. Prager: Well, it is big tech, but it's obviously done in the service of the Democratic Party. They're thrilled if there is no opposition to what they do, if there's no airing of what they do. Look, the mainstream media serves the Democratic Party and the Left. It has no other purpose. I say this with sadness.
I used to get the New York Times. I still get it. I read what I don't agree with much more than I read with what I agree. But, this is painful to say as one who has read it his whole life, it now reminds me of Pravda. And I say that because I studied Russian at the Russian Institute at Columbia. I think you and I have talked Russian, is that correct?
Mr. Jekielek: A little bit of Polish to Russian?
Mr. Prager: Oh, that's right. Exactly. Yes, right. I studied Russian, not in order to be able to order a sandwich, but in order to read Pravda. That was the School of International Affairs. I feel when I read the New York Times as I felt when I read Pravda. You read between the lines. The purpose is not to deliver news, the purpose is to deliver a case for the party. And in that case, it was the Communist Party, in this case, it's the Democratic Party and the Left.
That's the state that we are now in. Big tech—when they started putting PragerU videos on the restricted list, people would say: They're free to. It's their private companies. They don't have to allow you to speak and put your videos up.
So I've often asked people this question, and I have never gotten an answer. I've asked it on the radio. I get a lot of answers to my questions on the radio. What if Delta, American, and United announced, if you walk on with the Wall Street Journal, you cannot fly? Or if you walk on with a MAGA hat, you cannot fly our airplanes? But why can't they do that? If there is unlimited freedom of private companies to not serve the public, but only the public that they agree with politically, why can't they do that?
You can't come onto our plane with a Trump T-shirt. We will not serve you. Why is that any different from what Apple and Twitter and Amazon are now doing? Again, because as I learned, repetition is the mother of pedagogy. Everywhere the Left takes power, it suppresses free speech. So this is another example.
Mr. Jekielek: In this vein, I've seen all sorts of messaging on Twitter and elsewhere about people creating lists of people who were either challenging the election results in Congress or of Trump supporters and all politicians, with no shame, so to speak.
Mr. Prager: This is so awful. This compiling of blacklists to ruin the lives of people that you differ with—except for minimal blacklists of Hollywood communists or alleged Hollywood communists—has not happened in American history. I will tell you, I am now emoting, I hereby announce it: I've not only loved America my whole life, but I have also thought highly of the American people. They're not the exact same thing, obviously.
My disappointment in many fellow Americans is very deep. The snitches, the blacklists like you just mentioned, the Left has made a worse American, just as they made a worse Russian, or a Chinese, a worse Hungarian, a worse Pole. You're from Poland, and I know a lot about Poland because eastern Europe and the Soviet Union were my fields of study. People don't know this.
Very few people in communist countries were members of the Communist Party. It was a huge honor, and people groveled because you didn't get into it if you didn't grovel. In effect, that's what we have now: I will grovel to show how woke I am. I will be with the powers that be.
In the communist country, the power is with the communists; here it's with the Left. So look at how great I am; I will one-up my neighbor. I will get even more names of people who said something that was pro-Trump or challenged the election.
Did three years of lying about Russian collusion not challenge the election of Donald Trump? When we had power …, did we compile lists to ruin the lives of the people who believed the Russian collusion lie? It doesn't occur to us to do that. See, conservatives have a distinct disadvantage. We don't really want much power over people. The Left wants power over people. We want to be left alone. The conservative just wants to basically be left alone.
They laugh at Calvin Coolidge, president in the 1920s, because he did nothing. To many of us, Coolidge was a great president because he did so little. I want the federal government to do as little as possible. Some things it has to do. It has to protect me against foreign enemies. I recognize that. On rare occasions, it has to intervene when states refuse to [agree] on major issues of civil rights. But other than that, I don't want to think about the government. I want to think about my family, my friends, my Bible commentary that I'm writing. That's what I want to think about. I want to think about Bach and Beethoven.
But they don't let me do that. I have to think about what they're preoccupied with, and that is their power. Your question is very painful to me because I realize that a lot of my fellow Americans are not good people. No longer good people—let me put it that way. The Left has made them worse. I always ask this question on the air, "Are you a bad person and then join the Left, or are you a decent person, then the Left makes you indecent?" I think it's both. A lot of people otherwise decent have been morally corrupted by the Left to do what they're doing.
A nurse from Sacramento sent me a letter, gave me her name and everything, an RN [reigstered nurse]. It was found out that she had attended a rally with regard to counting the vote. She's now suspended from work.
There's a piece out today of a librarian—this is really something. I don't remember what city—eight years a librarian. He got an American Library Association email to support BLM in the work that he does as a librarian. He wrote back: "We shouldn't really have politics in the library. The whole point of the library is to offer all sides." And he was fired. What the Left has done to the American Library Association, the American Nursing Association, the National Association of Realtors, baseball, football, late-night television—it has corrupted every single thing it touches.
Mr. Jekielek: I don't know how else to say this, but there are probably a lot of people watching this show who would think of themselves as Left.
Mr. Prager: They think of themselves as liberal. It's a distinction that—I'm sorry to interrupt you—I'd be very interested to know, those people, are you a leftist or liberal? I have a video out and an article out on six differences, big differences, between them. That's what I would have to really know. Anyway, go ahead. Let's say they say that they're Left or liberal, go ahead.
Mr. Jekielek: I think there are a lot of good people who in their own minds will identify as Left, and will have what are commonly thought of as some left-wing perspectives, and perhaps what I'm asking you to do right now is to explain to me, why you are so categorically, basically, denouncing these people?
Mr. Prager: The Left only does horror. The liberals construct or build, conservatives build, leftists destroy—that's why. It's an irredeemably bad thing, just like fascism is irredeemably bad. Every group in history has had some nice people in it. Nice people in the micro doesn't mean that they can't be awful in the macro.
I don't know how much you would remember from communism in Poland. There was no doubt in my mind that there were nice communists in Poland. There's no doubt in my mind: people who love their families, love their friends, and were loyal to the Communist Party, which put freedom-loving Poles in prison camps and sometimes killed them. You can be nice and do incredible damage to your society.
Mr. Jekielek: I've been thinking about this: We're in this situation where a significant portion of this country and not just this country, frankly—to some extent, it works this way in Canada, and Poland, and other places—but it's almost like different parts of society are living different realities, different narratives, right?
Mr. Prager: Right! I'm sorry, go on.
Mr. Jekielek: Please jump in.
Mr. Prager: Yes, that's entirely accurate. But here's the challenge: We know their reality; they do not know ours. We read them, we study under them, we watch them, and we hear them. They don't read us, they never studied under us, they don't watch us, and they don't hear us. That's the difference.
That's one of the reasons they never debate us, one of the reasons when, on the rare occasions they do debate, they lose the debate because we know all their arguments and they know none of ours. They live in an alternate reality; we do not. We know what they believe. They know only what the New York Times and Columbia University told them. We know what the New York Times and Columbia University tells us, but we also know what The Epoch Times tells us. It's a very big difference.
Mr. Jekielek: It's a huge difference, in fact, but it's a recipe for eternal division. I don't know what else to say here.
Mr. Prager: Yes, I say this with sadness, I would like to separate from the left parts of the country. You keep the big cities, we'll take the rest of the country, and we'll see who produces happier and finer human beings in 50 years.
Mr. Jekielek: That's a huge thing to say.
Mr. Prager: I know. I don't know of an alternative. The gulf between Left and Right is greater than the gulf between North and South in the Civil War. What can I tell you? None of this brings me happiness. I have children and grandchildren. I wanted them to grow up in the same relatively happy, peace-loving, freedom-loving America that I did and that my father did.
My father was an Orthodox Jew, and he was born in the United States. He did his senior class thesis for City College of New York on anti-Semitism in America. So he really knew about the law firms that would not allow Jewish lawyers in, the country clubs that would not allow Jews in, their redlining against Jews buying homes, different places, the quota system at Harvard against bidding more Jews, and yet my father enlisted. He didn't have to. He was not of the age. He was a little older, and he had a wife and a child. He did not have to enlist.
He enlisted in World War II because he loved this country and spent the two to three years in the Pacific as an officer on a transport. My father raised my older brother and myself to believe that we were the luckiest Jews in Jewish history, to live in America—the man who wrote his thesis on anti-Semitism in America—because my father was wise enough to compare America to all other countries, not to utopia.
Does America have racists? Yes, but America is the least racist multiracial country in the history of the world. You're a lucky Jew to live here, you're a lucky black to live here, you're a lucky anything to live here. But the Left teaches everyone but whites or white males that they're oppressed. It creates angry people, and angry people are not happy, and angry people do a great deal of harm.
Mr. Jekielek: The president is being accused of inciting these riots and frankly of inciting insurrection. How do you read that?
Mr. Prager: Those are left-wing lies. First of all, they never quote. It's fascinating. Every time I read a leftist saying the president incited the riot, they never cite any line from his speech. You will find this fascinating. I'm always waiting. Did I miss it? I read every word of the speech, so I think, did I miss it? He said to them, Now after this (I'm paraphrasing), I want you to go peacefully. He says, peacefully to the Capitol. He said go peacefully. There was not a hint of rioting, of taking [the Capitol] over, or anything like that.
As for insurrection, this is what the Left does to language. It's a lie. There was no insurrection. If there were insurrections, it was when people took over downtown Seattle, or would build their own little world in Seattle or Portland or New York City and defy the government and did not allow people in. That's an insurrection.
We didn't even use the language there, but this is what they do. They manipulate language. It's like "global warming is an existential threat." Really? Al Gore said it was an existential threat [and] we had 12 years, in the 1990s.
There's a riddle I made up: What do you call a religious person who says the world is coming to an end? A crackpot. What do you call a secular person who says the world is coming to an end? An environmentalist. I don't make up any riddles, but I made that one up.
Mr. Jekielek: It's a funny thing. One of my questions was, what do you think it will take to reunite America? But I think you're already telling me that you don't see that happening.
Mr. Prager: The only way we could reunite is if we share the fundamental values of the United States, what I call the American trinity. I took it many years ago. My book "Still the Best Hope" explains it, that we have a trinity in America like Christianity has the Trinity, and it is found on every coin: Liberty, E Pluribus Unum, In God We Trust. The only way we're going to have unity is to believe in those three things.
The Left would agree with me. If you have opposite values, then you can't be united. So yes, I have very dark visions of what the Left has done, will do in the next two years. The acceptance by America of Democratic governors putting people with small businesses out of business while protecting Walmart— this was astonishing to me. The ability of people, like in my state, California, basically people who are getting their salaries are putting people who don't get salaries into the poorhouse. That's what these lockdowns were about.
When I visited Florida to see one of my sons and his family, and to give some speeches, in December, I wrote a piece—I write a column each week. People are certainly welcome to read it, and it's called, "The Sovietization of California." I dreaded coming back home for the first time in my life. I moved to California in my 20s, in the 1970s, and I was so thrilled to do so—unlimited freedom. It was just so exciting to come to California, and now it is depressing to come to California because Democrats run it.
Republicans run Florida. It's a free state—people can eat in restaurants. I took a picture of people eating inside a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Man comes over to me, recognized who I was and knew exactly what I was doing, and he said to me, "You're taking a picture of people eating in a restaurant?"
I said, "That's right." He knew I was from California. This was something to show back home: Look, people can eat in restaurants, but not where the Democrats are in charge, or at least in California, certainly. They suppress freedom, and Americans apparently are OK with it.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, in this vein, I noticed a column that you wrote that was, frankly, absolutely fascinating to me, titled "The Good German." I'm going to get you to talk about this a little bit in a moment because it spoke to something that I've been thinking, just watching the events of the last few years.
What struck me about them [the "good" citizens] is that I never realized that there's some portion of the population that can be programmed, so to speak. I just never imagined that this kind of reality existed, but I feel like I've been watching that to some extent over past years. …
Mr. Prager: That's the reason that I wrote that piece. I have changed in the last year. I have come to realize that as a Jew. I was on the Holocaust Museum board, I've written a major book on anti-Semitism, why the Jews [are]—to be honest, I can't say "obsessed" but close to obsessed with the Holocaust. How could such evil take place?
It was before I was born but not much before I was born. People always talk about "the good German," not the Nazi, not the one who beat up Jews or even snitched on Jews who were hiding, [but those who] just did nothing, and that German was held in contempt. I wrote, not just the good German, the good Russian under Stalin, not the guy who sent anybody to Gulag, not one who snitched on a neighbor for listening to the Voice of America or Radio Free Europe—just the quiet get-along guy. I don't condemn them nearly as much as I used to.
The number of Americans who have gone along with the suppression of liberty without a Gestapo, without an NKVD (that was the predecessor to the KGB, the Soviet secret police), without Gulag, without Auschwitz, without Dachau—I no longer judge the quiet German or Russian like I used to if people can be that intimidated into silence in this country without being shipped off to camps.
But of course, to be fair, they don't want to be fired like the RN or the librarian and have no job. The Left won't send you to Gulag, the left will simply make it impossible for you to earn a living. Now, I'd rather have earnings problems than death problems, but the Left is vicious.
By the way, I do believe if they have the power, they would send people like you and me to reeducation camps, not death camps—I don't believe that, but absolutely reeducation camps. They obviously cannot tolerate alternate voices, for good reason as I pointed out earlier in our interview, because everything they say is a lie and when we speak, that is made apparent.
I'll give you an example of a gigantic left-wing lie—the 1619 Project. The New York Times invented a lie— for which they got a Pulitzer Prize from the Pulitzer people who award lies of the Left—that America was founded in 1619 and fought the Revolutionary War against Britain in order to maintain slavery. That was called a lie by anti-Trump liberal historians like Sean Wilentz at Princeton. A lie—and it's being taught in thousands of schools as we speak.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, I want to go back to this example of the RN that had attended presumably a rally that had to do with challenging the election, and then was put on some kind of suspension, as I understand it. From what we're hearing, there are a lot of people out there who are concerned that there's this kind of conflation happening between people who … were in Washington, D.C., to challenge the election and the people who violently entered the Capitol, [that] all these people are the same. I just want to get you to speak to this.
Mr. Prager: Yes, of course! Of course they'll do that. Why not? A leftist, unlike a liberal or a conservative, a leftist does not ask himself, Is what I'm saying true? I think for most of us, there's a little voice that says, Wait, don't exaggerate; that's not quite true. They don't have that voice. Their voice is, How do we gain power and smash our opponents?
What we will have though, is inevitable: If you do not allow civil dissent, you will get uncivil dissent. There's a powder keg. The Wall Street Journal even called on the president to resign, and I was disappointed in a paper that I love. But anyway, it's OK, you live with disappointment as you grow up in life. Part of being a grownup is living with disappointment.
So I was disappointed in the Wall Street Journal editorial board, but be that as it may, they pointed out that all they're doing by stifling every voice is making more people realize that there is no civil way to express dissent against the Left—and they're right, there isn't. More and more, every avenue of civil discussion is being choked off, so you will get uncivil discussion.
Eighty million people, probably 100 million—not everybody voted—can't stand the Left. We believe they're thugs, and they are. I have a civil way of speaking. I have a radio talk show at PragerU. Nobody guarantees me that they won't be shut off in some way—they would love to shut us off—but I don't experience that because I can say everything I want to say. I fully acknowledge that. The average American cannot.
Who's going to fire me? My employers want me to speak out, so I don't have the same rent hanging over me that this nurse or librarian does. This cannot continue, these things explode. I fear for that. That's why I would like a civil removal of us from their society. The first thing people need to do is take their kids out of regular school, private or public.
There are some decent ones. By this very simple measure, I have two questions to ask a parent. Will the school teach the 1619 Project? If it does, the school is a left-wing propaganda seminary, and it will likely produce a kid who considers your values despicable. Why you would want to send your child to a school to learn to have contempt for what you treasure, is a riddle.
I know it's hard. It's hard to take your kids out, it's hard to start with homeschooling, it's hard to find a good school, but there is no choice. So the first thing to do is millions of Americans must remove their kids from these places.
The other question to ask after the 1619 Project is, do you have drag-queen story hours for kids here? It's a common thing now in elementary schools to have first graders see a drag queen read to them a story.
If you don't care about either—that your child learns that America is a cesspool, [that] it was not founded with slavery but in order to preserve it—then absolutely have your kids stay in school.
But if either of those things disturbs you, you have to take your kids out of school. We have to have an alternate place of decency, truth, celebration of America, celebration of the Judeo-Christian value system that made this country, and we cannot do it in any of their institutions, so we have to disengage from their institutions.
Mr. Jekielek: As you mentioned, Dennis, obviously, this is no small task that you're suggesting, probably for most people. What about a person like this nurse, in her situation? What are your thoughts to people that are in this type of a situation or potentially in this type of a situation? What should they be doing now?
Mr. Prager: I don't know what the nurse should do. I want to have her on the show and talk to her about that, but I will tell you an interesting story. I am very involved in classical music. I conduct orchestras periodically. I conducted a Haydn Symphony at the Disney Concert Hall a couple of years ago. I'm not a professional musician, but I guess [I'm] an advanced amateur.
Anyway, I'm very involved, and conservative musicians from all over the country know that, and they write to me. I'll give you an example. I won't say what orchestra it is, one of the most prestigious orchestras in the country. He's a violinist and he has been in touch with me. During the lockdown, he went through deep self-questioning: How long more can I keep quiet? My colleagues in the orchestra don't know I'm conservative. And he came out. He came out of the closet.
Six members of the San Francisco Symphony, one of the leading orchestras of the country, a couple of years ago when I gave a speech in San Jose, asked if they could have dinner with me. They were thrilled to have dinner with me, but I'm telling you, I was more thrilled to have dinner with them. They may not be able to believe that, but it's true. To be with six members of one of the great orchestras of the country, to me, that's like a kid with a baseball star, or baseball star team.
Anyway, they showed up, three of them are wearing PragerU T-shirts. So my first question: "Do your fellow members of the orchestra know about this?" They said absolutely. Of course, this is a combination of San Francisco and artists, so you're going to get left-wingers overwhelmingly. When people stop being afraid, the bullies are intimidated.
They correctly surmised that the Left are bullies—that's their forte. We don't do this to them. An orchestra that had mostly conservatives would never treat the guy on the left the way they treat us. There's no symmetry, as I said earlier.
So I'm hearing … a cellist with the Dallas Symphony, another one of the great orchestras, he's come out. He's made podcasts. Now, these people are secure because they have a sort of tenure in the orchestra, so that's important to note.
I don't know what the story is with [the person] being an RN, and obviously, the librarian didn't have tenure. But at least if you have job security, you must come out of the closet. For your own sake, or you'll eat yourself up.
A woman, a violist, in another one of the great orchestras of the country—because the New York Times covered my conducting the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra, conservative talk-show host conducting the orchestra, [in] one of the left-wing cities of the country—she wrote to me: "35 years, Dennis, I've been a member of this orchestra. No one knows I'm conservative." That's sad.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, as we're speaking, the U.S. House is preparing an article of impeachment against the president, and the president is defiant as I understand it, with eight days to go. What's next here?
Mr. Prager: I never know what's next. I can only tell you that when you lie to yourself, self-delusion, whatever the word might be, when Joe Biden says, I want to unite the country, is he supporting the impeachment of a president a week before he's leaving office anyway? Do you think that impeachment of the president is going to help unite Americans? The idea is preposterous.
I'm not a member of the Trump camp. I supported the president for four years because he did so many good things. I never particularly cared for many of his tweets. It's irrelevant. I opposed him during the primaries, wrote articles against him. They're on the internet, people can read [them]. I never met the president in my life.
The attack on the president is not an attack on the president. It's [an] attack on me and the 74 million other people, and more than that. [It says] we have contempt for you, and they do. They think we're deplorable. They show pictures of some crackpot—turns out to be a crackpot wearing a "Camp Auschwitz" T-shirt in the Capitol.
How many people saw all the burning of American flags that took place in left-wing demonstrations all of this year, much of this year, past year. If Nancy Pelosi's aim is to further alienate half the country, she should go ahead with what she's doing. This is all catharsis because another trait of the Left is they're children; they're not grownups. They emote.
I will write a piece just on my arguments for why all leftists are children—not all liberals. Always make the distinction. One of the reasons is children expect their parents to be perfect. And when they become a teenager, they realize their parents are flawed. The mature teenager, or 20-year-old or 30-year-old understands: You know what? My parent did his or her best. I'm not talking about sick parents [who] beat children and so on. But basically, the mature individual knows my mother is a flawed human being just like every other human who's lived—not a hypocrite.
Dad said to never curse, and then I heard him use the S-word. Oh, he's a phony! That's a child. They're children. With regard to life, America is not perfect. [To say] Jefferson was a hypocrite, Washington was a hypocrite, my father is a hypocrite—this is the child-speak instead of [saying] that flawed men made the freest country in the history of the world. That's the truth, but that's an adult way of looking at the Founders.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, one other thought that comes to my mind right now is that there are powers out there like Communist China. I just did an interview about a comprehensive human rights report that was put out. It chronicles horrible, horrible things, and of course, also subversion of the West by the Chinese Communist Party to some extent. These people [the communists] love to see this type of feud because, as I think you made very clear, it's tearing the country apart. I look at America as a Canadian and frankly—one of the reasons I wanted to do this show in the first place—as the bulwark for freedom and for liberty in the world, as the beacon of hope. Sometimes that's hard to see right now.
Mr. Prager: That's right. I title my book "Still the Best Hope," taken from Lincoln's statement about America as the last best hope for earth. Everything the Left touches, it ruins. There is no exception to that. I first realized that in music. Then I saw it's true for everything: art, architecture, universities, high schools, elementary schools, sports, late-night TV. Whatever the Left touches, it ruins. It's a force of chaos. It's a tsunami of destruction.
The thing they would most like to destroy is the United States. How else do you explain, Let's make 11 million people who have come here illegally [into] citizens. They basically want open borders. An open border means your country does not exist any longer as your country. It means anybody can become a citizen in any number. There's a lesson here: Liberty is a value, not an instinct.
It's been said and it's a lie: People yearn to be free. No, they don't. They yearn to be taken care of. That's the reason that the Left makes this Mephistopheles-type trade with people, this deal: Give us power, we'll give you things. You will lose your freedoms, but so what? You'll have free medical care and free college.
That's what they said about Castro: Yes, it's not a free country, but they have free medical care. That's what they would say. It's a common statement on the part of the Left. Medical care is awful for anybody who's not in the Communist Party in Cuba—awful. It's pathetic. You have to bring your own pillow, your own bedding to a primitive hospital.
People are prepared to give up their liberty in the name of safety and now, as well in the name of anti-racism, always a higher cause than freedom. If for three generations, you don't teach young Americans that it should be the land of the free and the home of the brave, you will get people who don't value freedom and who aren't brave, and that's the state we're in.
However, it's not hopeless. Look at The Epoch Times and your continuing success, which I celebrate. PragerU has a billion views a year. When I walk through airports, it's really something to see the young people who come over to me—young people. So it's sort of a race, and that's why they're shutting down everything they can because as I said, they can't handle dissent for good reason. There's no intellectual substance to leftism. It's all anger.
Anger is very powerful, and people revel in their anger. I guess there must be a joy in thinking that you're a victim. I hate it. My whole being rebels against being thought of and thinking of myself as a victim. But I would say a good chunk of humanity revels in it.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, any final thoughts before we finish up?
Mr. Prager: When I visited Normandy Beach in France, I saw thousands of graves, 20-year-olds basically. I took a vow. I did. It's the only vow I ever took. If these guys could die for America and freedom, the least I could do is live for America and freedom. I don't want those guys to have died in vain. If the Left wins with its suppression of liberty, every one of those guys died in vain.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis Prager, it's so good to have you on again.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.