Sunday, October 4, 2015

Art and Politics

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at the Elder of Ziyon.}

Cat StevensThis is a photo of Steven Demetre Georgiou in 1972.

Handsome devil, isn't he?

He is also known by his stage name "Cat Stevens" and is currently known under his Muslim adopted name of Yusuf Islam, but he will always be Cat Stevens to me.

In fact, one of my favorite albums as a kid - we're talking vinyl - was Tea for the Tillerman and particularly the tune Where Do the Children Play?

The reason that I am putting this gentleman into your face - a face that is not very welcome within the Jewish community, or so I suspect - is because I think that he inadvertently raises a very interesting question.

Can we appreciate an artist's art in distinction from that artist's politics?

This is a question that goes to the beginnings of political history.

I do not know how many of you are familiar with Camille Paglia, but she is, from an ideological perspective, a 60s libertarian feminist who got her fifteen minutes from a terrific dissertation that she wrote and turned into a book published in 1990 entitled, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson.

As she gathered something of a cult following through the 1990s, she took to writing semi-popular cultural-critical analyses, some of which came together in a 1994 collection called Vamps and Tramps: New Essays.

It has been a long time since I have read that book, but as I recall there was a segment in one of the essays in which she discusses knock-down-drag-out-fights-to-the-death with other feminist graduate students at Yale toward the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s.

{I would love to have been a fly on the wall.}

She talks about being at a particular graduate student party in New Haven, at the time, in which someone made the insidious mistake of putting Mick Jagger's Under My Thumb on the turntable thus resulting in a lesbian-feminist-graduate-student brawl!  I do not know how much actual violence there was - we are talking about graduate students, after all - but there was plenty of yelling, screaming, and pulling of hair, you can be sure.

This is what Paglia's cohort at Yale objected to and, in my opinion, for perfectly good reasons:
The squirmin' dog who's just had her day

Under my thumb

A girl who has just changed her ways

It's down to me, yes it is

The way she does just what she's told

Down to me, the change has come

She's under my thumb

Ah, ah, say it's alright

Under my thumb

A siamese cat of a girl

Under my thumb

She's the sweetest, hmmm, pet in the world

It's down to me

The way she talks when she's spoken to

Down to me, the change has come,

She's under my thumb.
You can hear that tune in your head, but the lyrics are vile.

Because these are Mick Jagger's lyrics, however, the misogynist - or former misogynist - gets a pass, which I take to be a very obvious example of politically correct left-leaning hypocrisy.

vampsI do not know that Paglia appreciated this song in particular, but what she argued is that any individual work of art must stand on its own integral virtues.  Whatever anyone might think of Mick Jagger's sexism in 1965 or 1966, when he wrote Under My Thumb, should it influence how we consider his other contributions?

Should we, for example, not enjoy Satisfaction because of Under My Thumb?

The same question, of course, goes to Cat Stevens.

Father and Son is, in my estimation, an absolutely terrific tune and one that I listened to many times long before Mr. Georgiou transmogrified himself from Cat Stevens to Yusuf Islam.  And, heck, it would not bother me in the least that he converted to Islam if he had not also justified the Iranian fatwa of death on the head of author Salman Rushdie.  In a conversation with students at Kingston University, London, in 1989, when asked about the Iranian Rushdie fatwa, Yusuf Islam said, "He must be killed. The Qur'an makes it clear – if someone defames the prophet, then he must die."

Really?  Well, OK, then.

I honestly do not give a rat's tushky about "the prophet."

But does Yusuf Islam's regressive immorality inherently detract from Father and Son?

That is the question.

The same question, of course, goes to Roger Waters of BDS fame and his hugely popular band, Pink Floyd.

The first album that I ever bought as a kid, besides a Beatles album, was Dark Side of the Moon.

For many years I adored Pink Floyd, so you can imagine how disheartening it was when I learned that lead singer and lyricist, Roger Waters, is an anti-Semitic anti-Zionist.  For so many years I had no idea, but there it is.

But does this mean that Wish You Were Here is not a great album or that Shine On You Crazy Diamond is not a great tune?

I ask these questions not because I have any particular interest in redeeming such people in your hearts, but because I want to know what you think.  I want to know what you think because, on this question, I am not certain what I think.

I do know, however, that I can never listen to such music in the same way again and that is a terrible shame.

The cliché is that you can never go home again... the cliché is true.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

More Blood, Death, and Genocidal anti-Jewish Violence

Michael L.

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Daniel K. Eisenbud and Lahav Harkov tell us:
screamA Palestinian terrorist murdered two Jewish men and wounded a mother and son in the Old City of Jerusalem in a Saturday stabbing and shooting spree, before he was shot dead by police.

The victims were Rabbi Nehemia Lavie, 41, an Old City resident who worked at the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva, near the place he was killed, and Aharon Benita from Beitar Illit.

The toddler’s mother, 22, was in critical condition.
This is directly on top of yesterday's Jew Killing Fun.
The attack comes amid heightened tension in the capital, and less than 48 hours after terrorists murdered Naama and Eitam Henkin as they drove in Samaria.

Hamas lauded Saturday’s Old City killer as a “hero.” 
I say that the Jewish people - wherever we may be found - should just lay down and take it like the good weaklings that we are.

We have 2,000 long years of experience in learning how to take a good ass-kicking, so why should today be any different?  The Jewish people may have a state, but what we do not have, as far as the world community is concerned, are any rights to self-defense.

Throughout most of the history of Jewish people living in Europe, under Christian rule, or in the Middle East, where Jews come from, under Arab-Muslim imperial rule, the Jewish people have had no rights to self-defense.  For millennia any Christian or any Muslim could smack around, or even kill, any Jew and the Jewish people had no recourse to courts or to legal means of self-defense.

From what I can tell, little has changed.

Prior to last summer's strangely named Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, Israel put up with thousands of rocket attacks into the south, threatening towns such as S'derot and Ashkelon.  Children who live in the southern part of Israel have been traumatized for life and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which we used to call "shell shock" during World War I, is rampant throughout those communities.  It was only when Israel stood up to defend itself against Hamas that the world community, led by the Obama administration, stood up as one to object to what they considered to be a heinous Israeli aggression against the innocent "indigenous" population.

The western-left thinks that the Jews of the Middle East richly deserve whatever beating they get, which is why they always object to Jewish measures for protecting Jewish children.

The lives of Jewish children mean nothing to virtually anyone outside of the international Jewish community.  We have the occasional rare non-Jewish individual, such as Denis MacEoin or Ryan Bellerose or Chloe Simone Valdery, who will stand up for the Jewish people in this historical moment of rising Jew-Hatred, but such people are gems and that makes them exceedingly rare.

In the mean time, this is simply unacceptable.

Israel MUST DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY to make this kind of thing cease.

If Israel will not do what is necessary to defend itself, how can they expect diaspora Jews to stick our necks out in their defense?

I stand with Israel because I despise the injustice of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism and crazed Arab and Muslim religious hatred toward the Jewish minority in that part of the world.

But when I look at Israeli anti-Semitic policies on, for example, the Temple Mount, it becomes harder and harder to stand for people who seem disinclined to stand for themselves.

Oh, and by the way, the Temple Mount is not anyone's third holiest anything to anyone.  Such a notion is pure political bullshit for western consumption.  If the Temple Mount was truly holy to Muslims they would have taken care of it for, lo, these many centuries.

They didn't.  They let it rot until the Jews came home in significant numbers.

Friday, October 2, 2015


How the Western-Left Drives the Arab War Against the Jews in the Middle East

Michael L.

I have been engaging in an off-line conversation with a well-educated and intelligent non-Jewish friend of mine about the Long War against the Jews of the Middle East.

The link goes to a brief piece that I wrote five years ago wherein I outlined the phases of that war.
arjeh2Phase 1, 1920 - 1947: Riots and Massacres

Phase 2, November 1947 - April 1948: The Civil War in Palestine

Phase 3, 1948 - 1973: Conventional Warfare

Phase 4, 1964 - Present: The Terror War

Phase 5, 1975 - Present: The Delegitimization Effort
In our recent conversation I may have taken him aback somewhat.  He, in a perfectly reasonable manner, suggested that perhaps some outreach to the Bay Area Muslim community might be a helpful thing.

It might very well be, but this was the conclusion of my response:
Have you ever read the Hamas Charter?  You should give it a gander.  It calls quite specifically for the genocide of the Jews.

Have you read the Qu'ran?

What's really needed is for non-Jewish westerners to understand that the Jewish minority in the Middle East are not the aggressors in this situation.   
On the contrary.

There will never be peace until the western-left grasps this truth, because it is the western-left that is driving the conflict.
The sad fact is that the western-left - or western-progressives or "liberals" as the American Right wrongfully calls them - does, in fact, back the Long War against the Jews of the Middle East because it finances it and gives it moral legitimacy.

The western-right, correctly in my opinion, despises the movement for Palestinian Nationalism because they recognize it for what it is; a violently anti-Jewish, anti-Israel, anti-American, anti-democratic, misogynistic, homophobic, political movement with Islamist leanings that, in its earliest phases, supported the Nazis during World War II.

Today the western-left tells the world that Israel is a fascist, racist, imperialist state and, via the EU, the UN, and the government of the United States, funds Arab terrorist organizations - such as Hamas and Fatah - that seeks to drive Jews out of the very land that our ancestors have lived upon for well over three thousand years.

What I find most ironic, of course, is the fact that western-left Jewry has put itself into the very strange position of supporting their own enemies out of a moral imperative.

Who does this?

Outside of morally anguished Jewry, what people believe that they must support their enemies - who would see them dead - in order to maintain moral or ethical integrity?

This is what I have referred to as The Palestinian Colonization of the Jewish Mind.