Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mourn for Jerusalem

We are now entering the period of the first nine days of Av. It is now that Sephardim begin the period of mourning for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and when Ashkenazim intensify their mourning. In the spirit of this mourning, this is a clip of a chorus singing Solomone Rossi's setting of Psalm 137, "On the Rivers of Babylon," with a background of Hebrews sitting on the bank of a river with a harp hanging on a tree, as described in the Psalm.

How can we sing the song of Adonai on the foreigner's land
If I forget thee o Jerusalem
May my right hand wither
May my tongue cleave to my palate
If I do no elevate Jerusalem above my greatest joy.

This psalm also presents the start to a response to those who claim that the Palestinians are descended from the Jebusites and/or the Canaanites, that is they claim ancestry to the land from well before Joshua ben Nun conquered it. The question is, where were the Palestinians' ancestors when our ancestors were singing "On the Rivers of Babylon?" Where were they when our ancestors were composing kinot, dirges, such as Yehuda Halevi's "Tzion halo tishali?" Where were they when Dona Gracia Nasi, upon escaping from being a maranno under Christendom and finally being able to live openly as a Jew saw one of her tasks being to reestablish the Jewish community of Tiberias?

Unfortunately, we must accept some of the blame for making Abbas' claim possible. Too often, the narrative we present of our connection to the land goes, as Ruth Calderon put it, from Tnakh to Palmach. As I wrote before, this feeds the narrative that whatever connection we had to the land in the past, it was abandoned and forgotten until the horrors of Europe induced us to remember it. If that is so, that the only connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is from the Bible, then any ancestral connection the Palestinians have to the land from before the biblical conquest should trump the Jewish claim. The thing is, that we Jews have a continuous maintenance of their connection to the land at least from the time of Ezra, as is evident in our liturgy, our literature, and our ancestors' patterns of alms-giving through the centuries, which is completely absent among any Arab group.

As this is also the time to commemorate all the other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, I have included a clip of Av Harachamim, a dirge written originally to commemorate the communities that were obliterated during the Crusades. The initial custom was to recite it only on the Sabbath before Shavuot, when those communities were uprooted by the Crusades, and the Sabbath before Tisha B'Av, which is still the practice of those communities following the customs of Frankfurt D'Main. However, other communities added other occasions on which to recite Av Harachamim as additional tragedies befell their communities. Eventually, so many occasions were added on which to recite Av Harachamim that the practice in most Askenazic communities became to recite it on any Sabbath which does not have any special reason for celebration. Given the recent tragedies, it seems appropriate to include a prayer that was composed for such unfortunate circumstances.

Jews Need to Bomb More Nursery Schools in Gaza (Semi-Snark)

Michael L.

kid1And not just nursery schools, of course, but elementary schools, as well.

We need to bomb schools and hospitals.

It is exceedingly important that Israel bomb the holy crap out of hospitals... and nursing homes.

We need to bomb nursery schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.  Wherever people are the weakest in Gaza, that is what we must bomb.

And when I say "bomb" I do not mean one little bomb.  What I mean is flatten.

Of course, were it not for the fact that so many Arabs believe they have some Allah-ordained right to kill Jews then Israel would not need to bomb nursery schools and hospitals and nursing homes or any place else where Hamas uses old people and sick people and women and children as a means to defend themselves and their rockets.

Israelis uses rockets to defend their women and children.

Hamasniks uses women and children to defend their rockets.

The bottom line is this, however, if Arabs don't want war they should not wage war.

So long as the Arab majority insists upon bombing the tiny Jewish minority in that part of the world then the Jews of the Middle East are going to defend themselves and what that means is fighting back and what that means is dead Arabs, including children, because civilian populations ALWAYS suffer in war.

Furthermore, given the fact that the brave fighting men of Hamas love to hide their identities behind ski masks and use women and children to defend rockets, it is frankly amazing that there are not thousands of more dead Arabs lying around the streets and rubble of Gaza.

There are two reasons that this is so.

The first reason, of course, is that Jewish self-defense is entirely anathema to so much of the world community which always pressures Israel never to defend itself.  They do not mind when Arabs kill Arabs or Arabs kill Jews or Arabs kill Christians, but Jewish self-defense is traditionally considered unacceptable among both Arabs and secular westerners and when the Jews do defend themselves we are always accused of aggression.

The second reason is Jewish ethics, morality, and self-reflection.  There is virtually nothing in contemporary Jewish culture that justifies the stomping the hell out of anyone for almost any reason and Jews are exceedingly reluctant fighters.

Unfortunately, Israel is in no position not to defend itself.

Unless one thinks that the Jewish people are subhumans that Arabs have every right to bomb then you cannot strenuously complain about Jewish self-defense.  Southern Israel was bombed for years and our western-left friends, who claim to be the stewards of western morality and universal human rights, did not care one whit until finally the Jews stood up in our own self-defense.

I say that we drain the swamp and absolutely eliminate Hamas and if the western-left does not like it, too bad.

Latest Sunday Column for the Elder

Michael L.

Dana Bar on
The Elder was kind enough to publish my latest Sunday column entitled, Saving Dana Bar-on.

Here is a tid-bit:
To my mind, however, the most chilling part of the video is when she talks about the tunnels. This is a person who has lived most of her life under perpetual rocket fire and now the enemies of the Jewish people are crawling right up out of the ground near her house with an intent to kill her, her family, and her friends.

I can think of no more compelling reason for Israel not merely to degrade Hamas' ability to shoot rockets at Israelis, nor merely to close up those terror tunnels, but to eliminate Hamas completely.

It Is Israel That Is Bone Headed And Intransigent


A strange and astonishing attack on Israel and American Jews by an Australian academic at the Conversation who deploys the pre-emptive offensive antisemitism denial at full force.

The compulsion, and it is a compulsion, to deny an allegation that has not been made. Once they do that you have to wonder where their heads are at. 

The joint joined the conversation.

   24 July 2014, 9.47pm AEST

Eyeless, brainless and heartless in Gaza

While there is violent disagreement about who is to blame for the unfolding catastrophe in Gaza, there is less argument about its consequences. A rapidly rising – primarily civilian – death toll is difficult enough to contemplate, let alone justify. Eventually the fighting will cease and talks will begin. The only question is how many women and children will be slaughtered between now and then.
Things might have been different. When John Kerry was appointed as US Secretary of State, he nominated doing something about the ‘Palestinian question’ as one of his key foreign policy goals.
Given how many of Kerry’s predecessors have tried in vain to address this problem, it always looked likely to prove a triumph of experience over hope. Even a passing familiarity with the historical record of American engagement in this part of the world should have given significant pause for thought.
Ironically, at least part of the problems have been caused by the United States. It is not controversial to suggest that no other state exercises as much influence over American foreign policy as Israel. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s important book may not have earned them many friends, but it did a valuable service in revealing just how powerful and influential the Jewish lobby is in the US.
The possibility that any American president or Secretary of State will be able to deal even-handedly with the protagonists in this conflict is simply laughable.
There are two crucial points to make about this. First, and most importantly, it is not anti-Semitic to point this out. Israel’s lobbyists have become highly skilled at shaping the dominant discourse in this area, and the stock response is to paint critics as closet anti-Semites.
This is simply unjust and gets in the way of any reasoned debate  ...
And so on. Do read on.
My reply among hundreds. You should note that one of Australia's most notorious antisemites, most prolific Israel hating fanatics and occasional Holocaust denier has joined this "reasoned debate" ...


Human Rights Activist and Animal Protector
"John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s important book may not have earned them many friends, but it did a valuable service in revealing just how powerful and influential the Jewish lobby is in the US."
Actually Mearsheimer and Walt's thoroughly discredited book have earned them an enormous number of friends. This always does. They took the well trodden path from obscure academia to global celebrity by the time honoured method of attacking Israel and the Jews.
American Jews are probably overrepresented in neo conservative and centre or centre right intellectual discourse. Certainly they are in pro-Israel and Zionist activity of all kinds but only the blinkered and worse would draw M and W's conclusions from that. Jews are also over represented among Democrats, charity workers, left wing and revolutionary politics, the professions, universities, British conservatives, those who show up to vote in elections, until recently the ALP, Animal Liberation and for all I know the RSPCA.
So what. What exactly is your point? That a disproportionate number of Jews are activists? You really don't need to write a book to prove that.
People complaining about Jews being "over represented" and therefore having disproportionate influence is the oldest trope in antisemitism. Of course pro-Israel voices in the US are strong, there are many, but only the ignorant think of this as a monolith and only the bigoted see some kind of a conspiracy in this.
One might have hoped we had got past this sort of thing by now.
There are many lobbies in the US just like here. The "Palestinians", Arab Americans, Muslims, teachers, academics, the oil industry all have lobbies. Big Oil has had a bigger influence on American foreign policy than the Jews and it is not at all benign or pro-Israel.
The "gotcha" thesis of these academics about the Jews (remember that American and Israeli Jews are about 90% of the world's Jews) is risible and deplorable. A generation earlier and they would have been clamouring for quotas in the universities to keep the numbers in "proportion". These days I guess they would target east Asians if they could.
American Jews are pro-Israel for exactly the same reasons as most American are pro-Israel. It is because they are pro-American. It is because of the absolute moral clarity of this issue.
The Jews are a tiny minority in the US, less than 2%. To attribute to them some kind of sinister power over the US and the West should be unacceptable in the West even if it is unquestioned orthodoxy across much of the world and especially in the Muslim world.
It should be unacceptable precisely because of that.

  1. geoffff

    Human Rights Activist and Animal Protector
    Why is it that so many are so driven to so incessantly deny an allegation that has never been made?
    On the other hand,it is impossible to support Israel and her right to exist without sooner or later being accused of racism. It always happens. Always.

  2. geoffff

    Human Rights Activist and Animal Protector
    "There are two crucial points to make about this. First, and most importantly, it is not anti-Semitic to point this out. Israel’s lobbyists have become highly skilled at shaping the dominant discourse in this area, and the stock response is to paint critics as closet anti-Semites."
    The difficulty is that no critic of Israel has ever been able to produce an example of someone serious, seriously suggesting that such criticism is antisemitism. It's been a long search. there have been many appeals in a number of places for an example but with no reports of confirmed sightings that could stand much scrutiny. It's like looking for the Loch Ness Monster. Plenty of denials. The word clouds are dripping with denials of antisemitism from critics of Israel but not a single allegation that criticism of Israel is of itself antisemitism.
    An example please. Just one will do.


    Human Rights Activist and Animal Protector
    "When the UN suggests that Israel may have committed war crimes, clearly something has gone badly wrong. "
    Of course something has gone badly wrong.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Israel and what the Obama contingent stands for

originally posted at oldschooltwentysix

Interesting to see Obama's former best friend, Erdogan, reveal once again his fascist, Jew hating heart. Taking away his "Profile in Courage" award would be poetic justice.

And why is Obama trying to use the Hamas framework for an agreement?

Has he, or Kerry, ever imagined that interference can also make things worse?

And why is Obama tying funding for Iron Dome to the US border funding measure?

And why not speaking out over the wave of antisemitism in Europe?

Just what does Obama stand for? All he seems to do these days is attend functions where the audience nods in full appreciation as he spreads negativity about those who don't agree with him. He is in a bubble of adulation. When offered the opportunity to speak strongly about world conflict, he equivocates. Many are confused and many are emboldened.

Democrats increasingly do not like Israel. Far too many secular Jews, besides their overall ignorance and indifference, let their bleeding hearts reject the Jewish "Zionist" narrative, the one that is factual and based on the very liberal principles they claim to follow. Instead, they fall for the fake orientalist version where Arabs reject ANY responsibility for their fate. It is ALL the fault of the white West, as the situation deteriorates. What a canard.

Will these secular Jews ever wake up to the fact that even as they reject the Jewish religion, they will remain targeted just because they are Jews? It takes little energy for the tyranny of the majority to show its true self when it comes to Jews. Israel and Zionism and settlements are merely subterfuge for their intentions. When will they see that the people they listen to present an incomplete story that cannot see the difference between aggression and the response thereto?

I wonder what progressives have to say about this ignorance and apathy of support among them for Israel, and America, in favor of the most illiberal type of forces on Earth. Why is this growing among them and whether/how it should be confronted?

As the USA evacuates Libya, one of Obama's greatest disasters, the odd approach the Administration adopts, whether it interferes or withdraws, seems to contribute to every situation growing worse.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Bill Clinton Gets It

Michael L.

Yes, I miss the 90s.

I do not want to debate anyone of the virtues, or lack thereof, of the Clinton administration, but I was comfortable with his presidency at the time.  I certainly did not think that he was perfect, but after 12 years of Reagan / Bush his administration seemed like a step in the right direction... at least to me.