Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Week on Nothing Left

Michael Lumish

This week’s program is dedicated to the memory of Ari Fuld a”h, a great Israel advocate and friend of Nothing Left.

Michael Burd and Alan Freedman begin with Canadian Jewish leader Henry Roth speaking about Jewish life in Europe and elsewhere, and then hear from R’ Yehuda Glick MK, an activist for Jewish access to the Temple Mount who survived an assassination attempt.

The guys also chatted with the IPA’s Director of Policy, Simon Breheny.

Before that we spoke with Arnold Roth in Jerusalem who is relentless in bringing one of the organisers of a terror attack that killed his daughter Malki to justice.

Here is this week's episode of Nothing Left ...

4 min Editorial:  Palestinian Arab funding

10 min Henry Roth, Canadian Jewish writer and Israel advocate

34 min R’ Yehuda Glick, MK in Australia

57 min Arnold Roth in Jerusalem   

1 hr 12 Simon Breheny, Director of Policy, Inst of Public Affairs

NOTHING LEFT can be heard live each Tuesday 9-11am on FM 87.8 in the Caulfield area, or via the J-Air website www.j-air.com.au

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Ari Fuld: 1973 - 2018

Michael Lumish

I don't have a lot to say about this other than that it saddens me greatly.

I was not a friend of Ari's, but I knew of him and we occasionally crossed paths in a friendly manner on Facebook. He was friends with others who I consider friends and he was just -- to my mind -- part of the larger pro-Jewish / pro-Israel network of people.

The Judeosphere.

I have to say, I am a little surprised at the tremendous outpouring for this man. I had no idea that he was so well-known. I knew he was well-liked and respected among many people, but even Netanyahu and others within the Israeli government are expressing their sadness at this murder.

And that, unfortunately, is all that I can do.

He had four children.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Unbearable "Whiteness" of Linda Sarsour

Michael Lumish

This is not her fault, obviously, but for a person who describes herself as a "woman of color," Linda Sarsour is the whitest person that I have ever seen.

I am sure that it is terrible and racist and sexist and homophobic and ageist and Rastaphobic and transphobic and antisemitic for me to mention this -- and whatever else makes you happy -- but I am pretty sure that Linda Sarsour is about as White as White can get.

She is Whitey McWhiterson. She is so white that whenever she pops up on my social network feeds I have to go get the Visine so that I am not blinded by the glare.

And whatever anyone else may make of this particularly racist idiot, the fact that as a white woman she pretends to be non-white for the purpose of railing against Euros and Jews is... odd. In fact, it is straight-up nonsense, but it serves a purpose, nonetheless.

Linda Sarsour reminds us that this whole biochromatic way of viewing American politics is not just nonsense, but highly toxic nonsense.

Highly dangerous nonsense.

And it goes directly against the very foundation of the "progressive-left" view on ethnicity as described by Martin Luther King, Jr. in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. I do not need to quote it directly because anyone likely to read this already knows the thesis. King's fundamental idea was to judge people as individuals, according to character, rather than as faceless examples of ethnic groups. It is not very complex. It means that when Linda Sarsour and her people shake their fists and scream that we must follow "women of color" it means that she and her people are throwing the legacy of Martin Luther King down the toilet, even as they claim to stand for that very legacy.

It is the hypocrisy that kills.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Young Goodman Lumish

Michael Lumish

{Also published at Jews Down Under and the Elder of Ziyon.}
Young Goodman Lumish came forth at sunset...
Young Goodman Brown by carinaka
One of the paradigmatic early American short stories is Nathanial Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown (1835). The link above goes to the 1846 edition of the story as published in his collection, Mosses from an Old Manse. What fascinates me, oddly enough, is its potential resonance for diaspora Jewry within recent decades.

Hawthorne, of course, is an icon of American letters and closely associated with his Massachusetts Puritan ancestors as a primary subject of his work. His material is often surreal and dream-like and dark and represents one source of American literary Romanticism that later gave expression to major figures such as Edgar Allen Poe.

Hawthorne's portrayal of his ancestors' sense of a pagan and morally foggish world around Boston and Salem fits nicely with historian David D. Hall's analysis of the Puritans in Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England (Harvard University Press, 1990). Hall describes the Puritan imagination as filled with "wonders" and portents and visions wherein the reality of the Devil and the anger of God is revealed in terrible storms, shipwrecks, and deformed babies born to allegedly immoral mothers.

I hope that I will be forgiven for finding enough universality in Young Goodman Brown to relate it to my own little journey into "the woods," so to speak. A brief description of his trip may resonate with others.

Goodman Brown's story begins in Salem village, Massachusetts, as he leaves his wife, Faith, for a necessary trip into the forest in the seventeenth-century.
Young Goodman Brown came forth at sunset, into the street of Salem village, but put his head back, after crossing the threshold, to exchange a parting kiss with his young wife. And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap, while she called to Goodman Brown.
We do not know why Goodman Brown must head alone into the wood, but he must and so he does.

The story is traditionally understood to have three settings. The first is that of departure from his beautiful wife and the well-ordered and morally-upstanding village of his youth. The second is the realization that the figures he discovers romping in the woods in a most devilish fashion are, in fact, his neighbors and friends. The conclusion represents Goodman Brown's gloomy disillusionment with the faith of his youth and the friends of his upbringing.

There is a reason that literary classics resonate throughout the centuries. It is the mythic universality of the story. Scholars like Joseph Campbell and Jordan Peterson -- not to mention Carl Jung -- analyze mythology because mythology and story-telling represent guidelines to human experience. A work like Young Goodman Brown is beautiful not merely because it is so beautifully written, but because it speaks to universal human themes. It is among what Peterson calls Maps of Meaning.

I hope that I am not stretching analogies too far to suggest that the story of Young Goodman Brown nicely reflects the ideological journey of many diaspora Jews.

Most "post-Vietnam" American Jews, such as myself, grew up in an environment that was not particularly antisemitic and generally decent for Jewish people. My folks raised me in Kingston, New York, and Trumbull, Connecticut and my life was filled with a hodge-podge of all sorts of different people. Black people and White people and This people and That people and we all got along pretty well.

But then, one day, for no good reason whatsoever, I just had to wander off into "the wood." And there, much to my sadness and dismay, I learned that my friends and neighbors were not necessarily who I thought that they were.

As I wrote my dissertation in twentieth-century American cultural and intellectual history for Penn State University, during the cusp between Bush and Obama, and as a former Green Party member, I got involved in Daily Kos under the nom de blog, Karmafish. Daily Kos was, at the time, and perhaps still is, the most prominent pro-Democratic Party blog in the United States. And it was within the surreal forest-like depths of emerging social media that I learned about progressive-left antisemitic anti-Zionism.

It amazed me in 2010 that when jihadis on the Mavi Marmara screamed for Jewish blood in the ancient cry of "Khaybar! Khaybar! Oh, Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!" that the western press and progressive-left political activists described them as "peace activists." The traditional "Khaybar" call among Muslims of the jihadist variety is a call for genocide. It is to remember the glory of when Muhammad ordered the beheading of hundreds of Jewish men, and the taking of their wives and children into slavery, sexual and otherwise, in the town of Khaybar on the Arabian Peninsula in 628 CE.

That response by the Western press and "social justice activists" is, in fact, very reminiscent of the recent description of environmental warfare against Israel by Hamas as something akin to peaceful protests. The attempt to burn Jews out of Israel while seeking to invade the border between Israel and Gaza was described as "peaceful."

It was the realization of the contempt for Jewish self-determination and self-defense that drove me away from them in a satiric farewell entitled, Breaking: Jew Builds Second Bathroom in East Jerusalem. What I discovered during my months of participation on Daily Kos was a toxic loathing for Jewish self-determination and self-defense residing within the heart of the progressive-left. This is not to say that most "progressives" or Democrats are antisemitic, but it is to assert that they have, nonetheless, made a home of themselves for antisemitic anti-Zionists.

And therein lies the dilemma and the problem.

For Young Goodman Brown his return to Salem village meant the end of innocence with no clear road ahead and that, in a sense, is what many American Jews are awakening to.
Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest, and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting?

Be it so, if you will. But, alas! it was a dream of evil omen for young Goodman Brown. A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man, did he become, from the night of that fearful dream. On the Sabbath-day, when the congregation were singing a holy psalm, he could not listen, because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear, and drowned all the blessed strain.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Age of Virtue Rage (Or, How to Reinvigorate Nazism)

Michael Lumish

The early part of the twenty-first century in the United States might be considered the Age of Virtue Rage. Never before in the history of this country have so many people come together in honor of hatred and self-righteous indignation for so little reason.

I did not vote for President Donald Trump, nor did I advocate for him, and yet these boring-as-hell monkey-like group-thinkers scream from the hillsides -- day and night and night and day -- about what a terrible person this guy is. It is fairly amazing, actually, because the two biggest gripes against this president are that he is allegedly racist and sexist. The burning, unquenchable hatred for Trump is grounded in these twin notions.

And, yet, the Hate Lovers enjoyed Bill Clinton. I voted for Bill Clinton twice. He also, by today's standards, committed either rape or something akin to rape, in the White House.

And, for some reason, no one seems to mind.

{It is the hypocrisy that kills.}

And, please let us not forget that Barack Obama is a stone-cold racist. Obama honestly believed that he had every right to tell Jewish people where we may, or may not, be allowed to live within the very land of our own ancestry. It does not get much more racist than that. Some people will say that former President Obama merely wanted to bring about a compromise between the Arab-Palestinians who want to murder Jews and the Jews who disagree with that proposition.

And neither side was willing to compromise.

What I say is that the American-Left and the Democratic Party is riddled with racial hypocrisy.

The rage in American hearts, today, looks like nothing so much as the USA during the very peak of the Vietnam War in 1968, by which time tens of thousands of young American men had died in combat. The passion and the screaming from the heart and the Antifa violence in the streets in places like Berkeley are very reminiscent of 1968. Of course, in 1968, aside from the War in Vietnam, there was outright sexism toward women and the Klan was still on the march.

Not today, though.

So sorry, but the bad old days are gone.

The current hysteria around White Supremacism and the Klan and the Nazis and this recent thing dubbed the "alt-right" is largely bullshit in the service of progressive-left political purposes. And the thing of it is, this is not to doubt the sincerity of these women, including those of the male variety, pissing their panties. I have no doubt that they actually do fear, on some vague level, the rise of the Old Right. But even if that fear is real it is merely a self-serving, self-righteous, political "red herring" because Americans despise right-wing Nazis and those of such an ilk.

The American Racist Right has no political presence.

The National Socialists have virtually no street presence and have not dusted off their black boots in over half a century.

They will not be real until such a time as we manufacture enough of them to make them real so that we can have something to push against for social-psychological reasons.

But if you want Nazis, here is how to create them.

Keep screaming at "white" people -- whoever exactly you take them to be -- and see how the young men eventually react.

I guarantee you this, however, if you want Nazis for psychological and reasons of political power badly enough, they will arrive.


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Julia Salazar and the Jews

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Elder of ZiyonJews Down Under, and The Jewish Press.}

NY State Senate candidate
Julia Salazar
New York State Senate candidate Julia Salazar has the pro-Jewish / pro-Israel world vaguely annoyed... while we are having a sandwich for lunch. Others in recent weeks have occasionally noted her existence with a raised eyebrow over their Wheat Chex.

There have been a few notes concerning this person including, for example, the Tablet piece by Armin Rosen.

She is a new figure on the scene, coming on the heels of Uncle Bernie, following other self-righteous political "women of color" who despise Israel.

There are, at least, three reasons why many of us find her vaguely annoying.

These are:

1) Her apparently untrue claims to be Jewish.

2) Her antisemitic anti-Zionism.


3) Her anti-democratic socialism.

The first two reasons combined represent her cocky, devil-may-care, progressive-left, anti-Zionism "as-a-Jew" anti-Israel schtick. There are few things that pro-Israel Jews enjoy more, after all, than semi-maybe-Jews using their sorta Jewishness to urinate all over the Jewish state of Israel.

The third reason is her socialism. It amazes me that after so many examples of failed twentieth-century socialist states -- not to mention the current Venezuelan misery -- that socialism is back in fashion among twenty-something hipster politicians like Julia Salazar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who describe themselves as "Democratic Socialist."

I think that we need to be cognizant of the difference between regulatory capitalism and socialism. And I recognize that these terms have different political resonances between North Americans and Europeans and Israelis. Sometimes when people in the US talk about the need for "socialism" what we are referring to is the need for a sound economic social safety-net and basic rules concerning racism and sexism in hiring and firing, as well as environmental and industrial safety rules, and so forth.

When I was a younger man this meant "social justice" and it essentially referred to the ideological liberalism of people like Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am a liberal, but we need to stop confusing the hard American-Left with liberalism.

They are not the same thing.

Given the fact that Salazar is running for a significant public office, when she refers to herself as a "socialist" we must assume that she means it in the formal definition of that term. That is Julia Salazar, who is running for a seat on the New York State Senate, believes -- according to the very definition of the word socialism -- that the workers should own the means of production.

What this requires is the government obtaining ownership of private property through violence and/or the threat of violence. There is no possible way to bring about socialism by democratic means, despite the most well-meaning claims of the Democratic Socialists of America. Theft can only be obtained through force because it is only through force that the "bourgeoisie" will simply hand over their property to the government.

My problem with Salazar is not her semi-who-cares claims to Jewishness. I honestly have no reason to doubt that she has ancestry of Jewish heritage or that her interest in Judaism as an undergraduate at Columbia University was genuine. And I have no reason to doubt that she has a sense of "Jewishness" within her own heart. And, in truth, there are not very many of us who are qualified to draw the hard theological or ethnic distinctions, anyway.

{How many of us here are rabbis or priests or geneticists?}

But it seems obvious to me that if we oppose this candidate we should do so not on religious grounds, but political ones. She is a member of the New York branch of the Democratic Socialists of America.

As scholar Paul Berman tells us in Tablet on August 7, 2017:
The national convention of the Democratic Socialists of America voted the other day in favor of the boycott-Israel movement, or BDS, and the success of the pro-BDS resolution caused the assembled delegates to break out into a rousing chant of “From the river to the sea/Palestine will be free!”
The issue is not Salazar's Jewishness. It is the antisemitic anti-Zionism embedded within the progressive-left and, thus, also within the Democratic Party.

The best grounds to oppose Salazar should have nothing to do with her personal religious or ethnic claims but on her antisemitic anti-Zionism and hard-left ideological blinkertude.