Saturday, September 23, 2017

From Exodus to Munich: A Response to Forest Rain

Michael Lumish

Forest Rain has written a smart piece published in Israellycool entitled, From Exodus to Munich: How Did We Get Here?

This is an interesting bit of cultural inquiry that wonders how the Jewish people in Israel went - in the popular Western imagination - from plucky and outnumbered victims seeking sovereignty (Exodus, starring Paul Newman in 1960) to what is, essentially, the "galut" mentality of semi-neurotic self-doubt in Steven Spielberg's Munich.

Concerning Exodus, Forest Rain writes:

"This is the first, the only movie I have ever seen that has empathy (rather than sympathy), not for the Jewish victim but for the Jewish survivor – admiration for the people who had been to hell and back, that had more spirit than anything else and were willing to do whatever it takes to be free in the land of their ancestors."

Forest Rain is, for very good reason, a tad more skeptical of Steven Spielberg's Munich.

She writes:
Steven Spielberg did a deep service to the preservation of Jewish heritage by creating the Shoah Foundation and documenting the testimonials of Holocaust survivors. His movie, Schindler’s List, has become a staple in teaching children about the Holocaust. I’m sure, when he chose to create Munich, he did not intend to create a film filled with poisonous, anti-Israel propaganda. And yet, shockingly, that is exactly what he created.
In Exodus, the Paul Newman character (Ari Ben Canaan) is a proud, strong Jew and military commander, fighting unapologetically for the establishment of the State of Israel and for the well-being of the Jewish people in our continuously conquered homeland.

Spielberg's Munich, on the other hand, according to Forest Rain:
show conflicted Jews. Jews (especially Israelis) who are strong but feel bad about it. The IDF soldier that does not want to fight, is afraid or doesn’t want to “hurt the poor Palestinian” is a particularly popular character.
Spielberg's emotive standpoint is close to Ari Folman's 2008 Waltz with Bashir wherein the main character is so horrified by whatever role he thinks that the Jews played in the 1982 Lebanese Christian massacre of Arab-Muslims in Sabra and Shatila that he cannot even remember it.

He psychologically blocks it out.

He cannot emotionally face the idea that while he was a soldier in Lebanon Jews may have been complicit in the Christian murder of Muslims. Or, at least, that he - himself, personally - may have been complicit.

Ultimately, Forest Rain and I wonder along similar lines.

She concludes:
From Exodus to Munich, how did we get here? More importantly, how do we go back?
I do not know that I believe in the notion of "national characteristics" but if there is such a thing ours were forged, in part, through the continual irrational malice of larger powers, both European and Muslim.

And while we can never go back to the Western sympathies pre-1967 what we can do is stand up unashamedly for ourselves as did Ari Ben Canaan in Exodus.

The popular sensibility among "soft" anti-Zionists on the western-left is that we are well-meaning murderers.

The friendliest among them tend to be vaguely sympathetic, but ultimately come down on the side of the enemies of the Jewish people.

They honestly believe that Arabs seek to murder Jews because we are mean. Israel is mean. The Jews, as a matter of schadenfreude, are the New Nazis.

Although they understand about the Shoah, they also consider Israeli Jews to be persecutors of the bunny-like "indigenous Arab population" and this is why "one person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter."

The Jewish people will not retrieve western-left sympathies anytime soon. That is simply out of the question. It is not going to happen and it eludes me why we should continue to try.

What we should do is send our young people to Krav Maga training because there is pretty good chance that they might need it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Today on Nothing Left

Michael Lumish

Nothing Left

Today's Rosh Hashanah show with Maurice Klein filling for Alan on holiday.

Special guest today, practicing orthodox Muslim Raheel Raza with a powerful message for our Jewish community, with Muslim Scholar Rev Dr Mark Durie explaining the connection between Islam and AntiSemitism. As always Isi Leibler from Jerusalem talking sense.







Raheel Raza 2.50

Rev Durie 22.45

Isi Leibler 41.00

The podcast can also be found on the J-Air website.

Or its Facebook page.

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

Contact Michael and Alan at Nothing Left:

michael@nothingleft.com.au

alan@nothingleft.com.au

Monday, September 18, 2017

Reem’s Cafe Owner Has a First Amendment Problem

Susan George

{This concise and incisive piece was originally published in the Times of Israel. - ML}

Reem’s Café owner, Reem Assil, claims to be an advocate of free speech.

When you enter the front door of Reem’s Café in Oakland, California the first thing you see is a giant floor to ceiling, colorful mural of terrorist and murderer Rasmea Odeh. It’s clear that Assil wants this image of Odeh front and center.

While we detest the glorification of terror the mural on her wall epitomizes, we recognize this is her right under the First Amendment. Does she recognize our right for peaceful protest? Apparently she doesn’t.

But first some background. Rasmea Odeh, a member of the terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was convicted in Israel and sentenced to life in prison for the bombings of two Jerusalem locations in February 1969. The first at a crowded supermarket took the lives of two Hebrew University students, Leon Kanner, 21, and Edward Joffe, 22, and injured nine people. The second bombing at the British Embassy had no injuries.

The evidence of Rasmea Odeh’s guilt is conclusive. Not only did she confess a day after her arrest, bomb-making materials were found in her room. Her co-conspirator, Ayesha Odeh, in a documentary interview willingly offered up how Odeh was directly involved in the bombings.

A few of us have been holding peaceful vigils at Reem’s to honor the memories of Kanner and Joffe. Assil is degrading their memories by grotesquely honoring their killer. We cannot let this stand.

We are also asking that Assil take down the mural. Though she said Reem’s is a place where people can “speak their mind and maybe have the hard conversations” she refuses to speak with any of us.

Instead, Assil wants to silence us. She repeatedly calls security and the Oakland Police Department to monitor our every move. Initially law enforcement even asked us to leave. But we know our rights.

Now Assil has gone much further. She has sued three of the protestors to obtain temporary restraining orders. The Alameda County Superior Court has twice denied Assil’s requests. Yet she perseveres with lawsuits aimed at quashing the voices of conscience about Odeh’s many crimes.

Why would Assil choose to lionize a convicted terrorist in a larger than life mural and not expect people to respond? And when they do, she quickly calls for cover from law enforcement and applies for restraining orders?

It is safe to say that Reem Assil only values free speech when it agrees with her own biased views.

A few days ago, we returned to Reem’s to again honor the memories of Leon Kanner and Edward Joffee. You can watch our brief video account here.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Reem's Oakland Protest of Rasmea Odeh Still Strong (Updated)

Michael Lumish

Update:

Some of you guys have asked who created the video below.

Matthew Finkelstein takes considerable credit as an organizer, inspiration, and a man speaking out on the scene at Reem's.

Susan George, who is a district delegate for the California Democratic Party, an actress, a non-Jewish supporter of Israel, and a Bernie Sanders supporter, wrote and delivered the narration.

Marc Garman edited video and was both tech and production.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Moral Panic of 2017

Michael Lumish

{Also published at Jews Down Under and The Jewish Press.}

This is a moment of "moral panic" in the United States.

All this yelling and screaming and crying and whining about Nazis and Klansmen and White Supremacists is like nothing so much as the Red Scare of the 1950s.

As you will remember from either personal experience or from the classroom, the early Cold War is often understood and discussed as a period of anti-Communist "witch hunts."

Even Lucille Ball, of all people, was dragged before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1953 to answer for her Communist grandfather and her brief moment in the Party in the late 1930s.

Both Democratic and Republican politicians followed "Tail Gunner Joe" McCarthy into scaring the holy hell out of the American public to such an extent that hard-right Republicans were able to challenge no less a revered figure than President Dwight Eisenhower... former Supreme Allied Commander for the invasion of Europe in 1944... who they considered soft.

Of course - as it turns out after the fall of the Soviet Union and the opening of their archives in the early 1990s - there was a bit more truth to the notion of Communist infiltration than anybody who grew up within the American Jewish Left is eager to admit.

What I suspect, and what professional historians tend to believe, is that Joe McCarthy, more than anything else, was a politician with his finger to the wind.

He saw the early Cold War political zeitgeist and recognized a terrific opportunity. This is not to say that he was insincere but the hour was there for the taking and he absolutely took it.

In doing so, he and the political establishment more generally - Democratic and Republican - whipped up fear and hatred in the heart of the American public toward the Russians and the "Commies." They did so in some measure for political gain and in some measure because they honestly believed that by staring down the Soviets they were serving the American people.

It must be noted, obviously, that the Soviet Union was an honest threat to the lives of the American people. Although we chuckle at it in retrospect when the new, post-war suburbanites built bomb shelters in their backyards (in lieu of swimming pools) it was not entirely out of irrational fear.

Nonetheless, Cold War architects from Truman to Reagan used the "bully pulpit" to drive that fear into the minds of as many Americans as possible.

And this - 2017 - is just such a moment.

{Here we are again.}


"The Race Scare"

The irony, of course, is that instead of searching beneath every bed sheet for a Communist Infiltrator we are now conducting an American "witch hunt" for Nazis.

It is a Race Scare.

We gather in great numbers to pat ourselves on the back, marching against HATE and congratulate one another for our virtues of tolerance as we encourage fear and loathing toward an insidious green fascist frog man.

The truth is that we hate hate so much that some of us feel a moral imperative to dress up in black and hide our faces for the purpose of beating the holy shit out of anyone bold enough to listen to a Gay Jewish Conservative speak at UC Berkeley or, say, a traditional religious conservative like Ben Shapiro.

That is how much we hate hate.

Even well-meaning, upwardly-mobile, Champaign Socialists - who would never dare physically confront a man on the street merely because that person was wearing a red baseball cap - generally support such good, old-fashioned ass-whoopins' in the name of "anti-fascism" by the Kids in Black.

{Nothing, after all, suggests a political attitude opposed to fascism so much as clobbering people in the streets like it's late 1920s Berlin.}

And, now, following the lead of those "progressives" in ISIS and the rest of political Islam, we are ripping down historical monuments that remind us of a past that we want nothing to do with and we are signaling our virtue and goodness and progressive-left social inclusion by donning "pink pussy hats" and encouraging Black Lives Matter to call for the murder of cops.

{"Fry 'em like bacon! Pigs in a blanket! Fry 'em like bacon! Pigs in a blanket!"}

And, so, yes, this is the most insidious political moment in my lifetime.

One would have to go back to 1968 to find this level of vitriol.

The difference is that over 58,000 young American soldiers died in the Vietnam War.

The draft yanked young American men out of their lives for the purpose of killing the Viet Cong... who they did not know from a hot pastrami sandwich.

What the counterculture and the New Left wanted was to end that war.

What Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted was the franchise for African-Americans and to promote anti-racism.

This, unfortunately, is in direct opposition to the contemporary progressive-left which worships ethnicity above all.

So, my question to the progressive-left today is, just what the hell do you want?

But, in the meantime - after you figure out how to specifically articulate the answer to that question - please stop scaring Jewish people with the ghosts of Nazis, if you do not mind.

It is one of the smaller, but uglier, aspects of this obnoxious political moment.