Saturday, August 24, 2019

Rashida Tlaib’s ‘Calming Feeling’

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Algemeiner.}

I must admit that I was probably wrong when I have suggested that the Tlaib / Omar Israel fiasco was likely just a light thunderstorm that would quickly pass. I am coming to the conclusion that I was mistaken.

This story appears to have stronger legs than I thought. It could even surpass the hysteria surrounding Netanyahu's 2015 address to the US Congress concerning Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran.

Many people who care about Israel are scratching this story like it is a deep itch, including me. And that means we are looking at various side issues related to the primary one. The primary issue, in my view, is around the question of why the Democratic Party would side with antisemitic anti-Zionists, such as Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) against their Jewish constituency and in opposition to Israel following its own laws. Israeli legislation from 2017 requires the government to disallow entrance into the country for those who promote BDS.

One curious aspect of the story, however, is Rashida Tlaib's claim that she got a "calming feeling" when she thought about the Holocaust. What an unusual thing to say. Given that Tlaib is, in fact, an anti-Zionist it is very easy for Jewish people, and friends of Jewish people, to take that statement in the wrong way. Tlaib was not suggesting that she got a cozy feeling inside thinking about the misery of the Jews. On the contrary.

Tlaib said this:
There’s always kind of a calming feeling I tell folks when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors — Palestinians — who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people’s passports.

And just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away and it was forced on them.
It is true, obviously, that many Arabs of the Mandate suffered because of the 1948 War of Independence. Many lost their homes and jobs and lives and loved-ones. The problem is that Tlaib's interpretation is ahistorical. She pretends that the Arabs were innocent in the unfolding of events when they were not. She also pretends that the Arabs were not aggressive when they most certainly were. The Jews had no nefarious intentions toward the Arabs, but Arabs could not stomach Jewish sovereignty on historically Jewish land.

It should be noted, nonetheless, that Tlaib's "calming feeling" is not coming from gratification at Jewish loss, but in her belief that her grandparents relinquished their freedom to help Jews directly after the Shoah.

I cannot know if Tlaib is deceiving herself or if she is outright lying. The historical record does not reflect the notion that the Arabs in the British Mandate struggled to "create a safe haven for Jews" at great cost to their own well-being during World War II. The very idea of it is laughable. This is a falsehood so gross in its distortions that it is amazing that Tlaib could utter these words without her tongue falling out of her mouth.

The truth is that the Arabs in the mandate did everything they could to keep Jews out of the Jewish ancestral homeland even as the Holocaust was happening. Between 1936 and 1939 the Arabs launched the "Arab Revolt." These ongoing Arab riots concluded with the British issuing its infamous "White Paper" agreeing to Arab demands and thus keeping hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Jews trapped in Europe. These Jewish semi-Holocaust survivors were caught between the Nazis who were determined to kill them and the British who wanted to lock them up in camps.

And who among us can possibly forget the participation of Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during World War II, who went to Berlin to strategize with Adolf Hitler on how best to bring the Holocaust to the Holy Land.

So, Representative Tlaib please do not deceive yourself into thinking that the Arabs of the mandate helped the Jews during the Holocaust. You are spreading what can be fairly described as a self-serving historical falsehood for the purpose of creating sympathy for the Palestinian-Arabs at the expense of the indigenous Jewish population. And if you are not aware of this perhaps your time would be better spent tending to the needs of your constituency rather than making life even more difficult for Israelis.

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Eyes of Earth

Michael Lumish

Chabot Space Center's original 1883 refractor scope.
Oakland, California
I tend to have a different view of humanity than many. Most people do not know what to make of our role on the planet and are simply living their lives and taking care of their families, without worrying about such an arcane issue.

Some, however, tend to think of humanity as a sort-of virus on the planet. We are undermining the health and well-being not only of people but of Earth, itself. We do so through climate change, and pollution, and war, and the ruining of the oceans by over-fishing, toxic waste, spilled oil-tankers, and the unintended creation of great islands of plastic swirling about the oceans, which further contributes to the decline of the fish population.

I have a different view.

While it is obviously true that we have the ability to ruin life on the planet, we are also the eyes of Earth through the development of the scientific method. Despite our worst inclinations and most hideous potential, we are also the way in which Earth comes to know itself. We are not, somehow, separate from nature. We are not separate from Earth but emerged out of Earth via the evolutionary process.

So, while humanity can be absolutely awful, we also, on a macro-level, look toward the stars and on a micro-level examine neutrons and protons and electrons. We are the means by which the Earth comes to know itself. We are the ones who orient our home planet within the solar system and within the galaxy and thus begin the process of understanding Earth's position within the universe.

We are the ones who examine the natural world around us. As much as we may be the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or the spiritual children of Jesus or Muhammad, we are also, nonetheless, the children of Aristotle, the "Father of Biology." We are also the children of Leonardo da Vinci who designed (but never built) a flying machine, called an "ornithopter," in the fifteenth-century.

I, therefore, recommend giving humanity a small break. We should not look upon ourselves with the kind of toxic cynicism which is far too common. We are but children. We are only now beginning to understand the human potential in fulfilling our role as the eyes of the planet. We are only now beginning to understand the human potential as the cognition of the planet in its most sophisticated form.

It should be understood that there is nothing in such a view that automatically contradicts the teachings of the world's major religions.

{If in your opinion I am wrong on this, please tell me why.}

It is, however, to acknowledge a certain nobility at the heart of the human experience and -- as difficult as it may be to imagine -- at the heart of world history, as well.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The anti-Zionist "Dynamic Duo" and the Brazilian Toxic Cartoonist

Michael Lumish

{Also published at The Jewish Press.}

Carlos Latuff is the most prominent antisemitic anti-Zionist cartoonist in the world and has recently done a scribble lionizing everyone's favorite American racists, Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota). For at least a decade his work was (and is) featured in various publications including The Globe Post, Le Monde diplomatique, The Toronto Star, the Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance (JAMI) magazine, Mondoweiss, and even the Brazilian version of Mad magazine.

As a Lebanese-Brazilian proponent of BDS and Jew-Hatred, his scratchings persistently equate Israel with Nazi Germany. The overall body of his work suggests that Nazi Germany is to Israel as Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II are to contemporary Palestinian-Arabs.

A piece by Yaron Steinbuch for the New York Post quotes Latuff directly defending this malignant comparison:

“'Of course Israel isn’t building gas chambers in the West Bank, but surely we can find some similarities (my emphases) between the treatment given to Palestinians by the [Israel Defense Forces] and the Jews under Nazi rule,' Latuff said, according to Fox News."

“'My cartoons have no focus on the Jews or on Judaism. My focus is Israel as a political entity,'” he said without explaining why it was necessary to use anti-Jewish tropes to attack the Jewish state."

Yes, surely we can find some similarities between Nazi Germany and Israel and if there are none we can just manufacture whatever malicious nonsense we want.

As an anti-Zionist, needless to say, Latuff does not believe that the Jewish people deserve a state.

It is fine for Italians to have Italy or the French to have France -- to the extent that they still do -- but Latuff considers a Jew building housing for himself and his family in Judea, beyond the so-called "Green Line," if not within the so-called "Green Line," an abomination before humanity.

Ilhan Omar, the Cutesy anti-Zionist -
Credit Fox News
His most recent cartoon comes directly on the heels of Tlaib and Omar's Israel fiasco, wherein Tlaib actually refused to visit her 90-something-year-old grandmother in a town just west of Ramallah if the Israelis insisted that she could not take it as an opportunity to kick Jews in the teeth by promoting BDS. This particular cat-scratch shows Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, putting a forefinger on his lips while covering Tlaib's mouth with his other hand. Beneath that we see the exact same posture but with Donald Trump endeavoring to silence the cute-as-a-little-anti-Zionist button, Omar. Above the image are the words of Tlaib from a tweet reading, “The more they try to silence us, our voices rise. The more they try to weaken us, the stronger we become. The more they try to discredit us, the truth prevails.”

Oh, sure.

The basic message of the cartoon is that Tlaib and Omar are honest actors who represent truth, justice, and the Palestinian / Somalian way, while Netanyahu and Trump are covering for the heinous crimes of the Jews. I would suggest "Israeli Jews," but we all know that antisemitic anti-Zionists, such as Latuff, Tlaib, and Omar, hold the pro-Israel Jewish diaspora as complicit in the supposed crimes of our brothers and sisters in Israel.

Among other such gems, we have a 2007 thing showing a tremendous American Bald Eagle straddling Africa. The claws of the monstrous bird bleed that continent while its enormous beak rips a gaping crimson hole out of north-eastern South America around the location of Venezuela. This obviously shows us what he thinks of the United States.

A recent 2019 scratch shows Israeli soldiers off-boarding a jet in Brumadinho, Brazil in order to assist in the saving of Brazilian lives after a toxic waste dam collapsed killing at least eighty-four people and displacing hundreds of others in January of this year. The Israeli soldiers are greeted on the tarmac by a figure representing Jair Bolsonaro, the President of that country, saying "Welcome to Brumadinho!" In response, a smiling Israeli soldier says, "Sorry for our delay! We're busy killing Palestinians!" The headline preceding the scratch reads, "Brumadhinho: Israel's Publicity Stunt in Brazil." Thus, when Israel undertakes a humanitarian operation within Latuff's country, he uses it as a cynical opportunity to defame the Jewish State, if not the Jewish people of Israel, more generally.

In a blurb directly above the malicious scratch, Latuff wrote:

"Now this contingent of the Israeli army (IDF) was sent to Brazil as “humanitarian aid”, coming from an army which routinely oppresses, brutalizes and kills Palestinians in the occupied territories. It may sound like a joke. A joke in bad taste! Like “pinkwashing” and other PR strategies, this is just another stunt in order to whitewash Israel’s gross human rights violations in the occupied territories of Palestine."

Carlos Latuff (2012)
Credit Wikipedia
Latuff, it must also be noted, came in second place with a scratching for Iran's International Holocaust Cartoon Competition equating Palestinian-Arabs with Jews in Nazi concentration camps, a theme which is a specialty for Latuff. It should not, therefore, surprise the fans of the Democratic Party's anti-American, anti-Zionist, antisemitic "dynamic duo" that they were proud to share the recent defamatory Latuff cartoon with the world on their Instagram accounts.

Ronn Blitzer, of FOX News, tells us, "It is unclear whether Tlaib or Omar were aware of Latuff’s history when they shared the recent cartoon. Fox News reached out to both lawmakers, but they did not immediately respond."

Perhaps by the time you read this they will have responded, although it is highly unlikely that they would do so on or for FOX. Nonetheless, there is no possible way that people as up to their necks in the antisemitic anti-Zionist cause could possibly have been unaware of Carlos Latuff. He is famous for delicious hatred in their circles.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Is or Isn't Israel A Democracy?


In the wake of the Omar/Tlaib visit to Israel flap, Omar just today said

"We give Israel more than $3 [billion] in aid every year. This is predicated on them being an important ally in the region and the only democracy in the Middle East. But denying a visit to duly elected members of Congress is not consistent with being an ally, and denying millions of people freedom of movement or expression or self-determination is not consistent with being a democracy,"

 Now that, to me, sounds like she is saying that Israel is NOT a democracy. She also seems to be asking her colleagues, Democrats, to agree and perhaps revisit aid to Israel until it becomes a Democracy. Becoming a Democracy would entail, as far as I can see, allowing her and Tlaib entry despite their BDS and stopping the expansion of settlements on Palestinian lands and ensuring full rights for Palestinians. IOW, following the far left position on I/P which holds Israel at fault and Palestinians as innocent victims driven to killing Jewish babies, teenagers, pregnant moms, etc. through no fault of their own.

I wish Democrats luck in convincing the American public that Israel is not a democracy. This should be some ride.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Spoiled ass, western, Netflix and chill watching posers.

Josh Johnson

{This was written by a Facebook acquaintance who is a bit more straight-forward than I am - ML}
Fake ass poser lefties feigning to care about “Muslims” cuz two anti Semitic bigots got barred from visiting a country they want to boycott. Die mad assholes.

I’ll wait until you REALLY care about how Muslims are treated like shit in Muslim majority countries. Literally every Arab state. Censorship. Repression. Oppression. Apostasy laws. Blasphemy laws. Cutting off hands and feet for theft. Stoning. Honor killings. Torture for dissent. Laws against homosexuality. Mistreatment of Christians and Coptics, and black African immigrants and maids in the gulf states. Liberal Muslims for promoting secularism. Women. Palestinians who are 10th class citizens in nations like Lebanon, including Palestinians IN PALESTINE by their own leaderships.

You’re fake. You’re posers. You’re privileged ass spoiled ROTTEN westerners who take the path of least resistance: to harp on the only j*wish state. The only democracy in the Middle East. The only guarantor of LGBTQ rights in the Middle East. The nation with the longest life expectancy of Arabs of the whole Middle East. The only nation that guarantees them free healthcare (and that includes Palestinians living in area C of the West Bank you dumb Bernie bros hint hint). The literal only pluralistic society in the Middle East that lawfully guarantees civil liberties to all of its citizens, Arab Muslims (who occupy all tiers of social life), and the rest of its non j*wish minorities.

STFU. And stop pretending to care about Muslims because you don’t. You know that you don’t. Because you don’t bat an eye, raise an eyebrow, say one fucking WORD about the hideous, illiberal, oppressive, repressive culture of Arab Muslim majority states and terror states. The victims of which are mostly MUSLIMS.

Spoiled ass, western, Netflix and chill watching posers. You’re not liberal. You’re demented and morally confused. Shut...the fuck...up.

Come back when you actually decide to be a liberal. And not a performative faux liberal. Bitch.

Tired of bowing and scraping

Mike Williams

{This was written by a Facebook acquaintance and a true friend of Israel.}
There is a long history of just getting along and not making waves. The Jews of Germany thought that in 1940, and very few of them survived. I think Jews would be far better off not looking for a fight, but don't back down from one either.

When it was announced that these two were coming, I sincerely hoped that the government would say no. Much to my surprise they finally said, not only no but no thanks you can spread your antisemitism elsewhere. Then instead of backing Israel many of our Jewish organizations backed the Jew haters rather than the Jewish State. That's OK, those of us who live here know that diaspora Jews still fear disapproval from their neighbors, and only want to get along.

Go ahead say the PC things that you think will help you survive, it won't but it might make you feel better. But, when your tired of bowing and scraping to non-Jews just remember that the door is open over here....