Monday, February 17, 2014

On Settlements and Stupidity: A Book Project

Michael L.

I've dumped the "ZioNazi" title on the book project because it will turn off too many people and, as Randall and Jay and Shirlee point out, it could easily be used against the Jewish people.

I am therefore going with a working title of "On Settlements and Stupidity" and the image that I will use to signify the project will be this one:

The quick question is this: which of these two subtitles do you prefer?

A) On Settlements and Stupidity:  

The Progressive-Left Betrayal of the Jews in the Age of Obama


B) On Settlements and Stupidity: 

A Few Political Thoughts from a Pissed-Off American Liberal Jew in the Age of Obama

Let me know what you think.

I will choose one or the other or something else entirely.

I wonder what Stuart thinks?


  1. I don't think it's a surprise that I'd go with 'b.' Thanks for dropping the old title...

  2. My previous comment vanished? Its happened here before and also on Daphne Anson. Must be a Blogger glitch

    I am with Randall on this.

    Sorry Michael but no self respecting author, who wants to be taken seriously would use "p****d off" in a title, or indeed in a book or article.

    For a person who has a good command of the English language is is not acceptable.

    1. And, yet, somehow Al Franken became a Senator!


      I hear you, Shirlee.

      And please believe me when I tell you that I very much take your input seriously.

      Sometimes we all need a little bit of friendly nudging to stay on track.

  3. Shirlee's point is an interesting one, Mike. It brings up the question of a certain generational and / or cultural gap.

    As an American in my mid-30s who grew up in North Jersey, I do not hesitate for a second to tell anybody, even friends, to go fuck themselves, if they've gotten around to pissing me off enough,

    We're direct like that, and it's expected.

    However, I do try to keep in mind that not everybody I speak to comes from this background, and I therefore do try to keep a lid on such seemingly natural tendencies whenever possible.

    On the other hand, English (or at least American English) tends to lack... feeling?... in some ways, when it comes to possibly better ways to phrase something such as "a pissed off [whatever]."

    Angry, perturbed, teed-off, irritated, indignant, etc etc, just don't quite get the same feeling across.

    So I guess this is one more question to consider, especially if you hope to speak to an international audience?

    1. I am told that among Brits the term "bloody," as in "bloody hell," or whatever, is considered as racy as the "F Word" in the US.

      This is why I put these questions out there, because I very much value the input that you guys offer.

      If I did not want to have Shirlee tell me "no" then I would not have raised the question to begin with.

    2. Wrong Michael, wrong. I can tell you that as an ex-pat Brit.

      You guys have an issue if you cannot express yourselves adequately without the use of such vulgarities. You are all very eloquent, far more than I am and I have made it through life without ever using any such words.

      "bloody," is not anywhere near being in the same class as the "F Word"
      That's the strongest word I ever use but them very rarely.

      Don't get me going on the 'f' word please. It truly is foul language and I have even manged to convince my 19 year old, know-it-all, self opinionated grandson that.

      He saw no issue with it and I was told I have to get with, this is the way everyone speaks these days.

      Ok, if this is the way 'everyone speaks these days' how come he'd been asked to leave the class at school for using it.?

      How come the radio has a 5 second delay, so people using these words can be blocked and phone calls instantly terminated, if this is the way 'everyone speaks these days'?

      Mike and Jason you tell me.

    3. I was hoping that you would clear that up, Shirlee.

      I mean that sincerely. I was told by a professor who had spent considerable time at the London School of Economics that "bloody" in the English vernacular was more or less equivalent to the "F Word" in American English.

      You say it is not so and I am inclined to believe you.

      Nonetheless, I would say that there is a place for racy language within our conversations and certainly within art and literature.

      Y'know, I recently reread Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, a book in which the word "fuck" figures prominently, and for some reason I was not the least bit offended.

      I do not think that we need to spew vulgarities in all directions by any means, but a little bit of vulgarity now and again can be quite spicy and delicious.

      You should try it sometime!


    4. I have to admit that this is the first time I've ever been accused of being 'eloquent,' but I'll have everyone know right here and now that all credit for any such thing I've just so happened to pick up along the way goes to my multiple, fantastic, and endlessly awesome New Jersey Public School teachers.


  4. Title is not important at this point. With the subject matter there could be many titles. Trying to understand what you seek to accomplish. There are many moving parts and the complexity can overwhelm a reader.

    1. Another good point. Perhaps for now, focus on calling it "The Book Project," or something like that, and worry about the title later?

    2. It's a working title and the title will not matter at all unless it gets picked up by a publisher and if that happens they will likely choose the title themselves.

      I think that what I am trying to accomplish is a consolidation of my ideas around the long Arab war against the Jews of the Middle East and the relationship of Israel toward the western left and western left Jews.

      The outline points toward my purpose, but when I synopsize the introduction - which I have yet to do - I hope that my thesis will be more clear.

      The thesis is this:

      The progressive movement, and the activist base of the Democratic Party, creates and supports venues that demonize and defame the Jewish state, thereby also creating hatred toward the Jewish people.

      I recognize, of course, that such a statement might be considered a little provocative among some people, but the truth is the truth and the above sentence represents a truth that few, present company excepted, want to discuss.

      The book will have two major parts. The first is concerned with the general positioning of the western left toward the Jewish State of Israel and the second part will elaborate on the Obama administration in order to see how that general positioning has played itself out in actuality under the current American administration.

      I have to say, you guys are a terrific help and I appreciate it more than you probably realize.

    3. Who is your audience?

      Why are the progressive movement and Democratic activists supporting venues that demonize and defame the Jewish state, thereby also creating hatred toward the Jewish people?

      The Arab-Israeli conflict is one thing. Is the Arab-Israeli conflict for them primarily a component of a larger anti-Western movement?

      As for Jews, how do they primarily identify? Many seem to put their progressive-leftist world view at the forefront, rationalizing that these are integral to American or Jewish principles, even as most see this construct is silly and detrimental to the reality.

      Many American Jews on the left actually do not understand the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict and they resultingly see it as tit for tat or in the context of the larger conflict involving the West and anti-western forces of colonialism and imperialism, which they do not really understand either. This now includes the insidious aspect of race as a lens of understanding human interaction and international politics.

      I think many people discuss these issues, here and elsewhere, ad nauseum. To me, it is how to meld Arab-Israeli discussion and education into discussion or education on the larger matter, to those who are not activists but rely on activists that portend to occupy the moral high ground.

    4. School,

      as usual you ask good questions and make good points.

      I want to take your last and most important point first.

      "To me, it is how to meld Arab-Israeli discussion and education into discussion or education on the larger matter, to those who are not activists but rely on activists that portend to occupy the moral high ground."

      If the "larger matter" is colonialism and imperialism then we need to make it very clear that the history of Israel has very little to do with either. One of the great slanders against the Jewish state are these charges. The Jewish people are not the usupers of our own home.

      But you know this.

      As for my audience, I would hope that it would be anyone interested in the Arab-Israel conflict and the relationship between the West and the Middle East.

      As for the "larger anti-Western movement," and how it relates to Israel, I would argue that the general misperception on the Left is just what you pointed to. They often think of Israel as a colonial and imperial outpost of the west and the west, itself, as involved in an ongoing aggression against "indigenous" peoples of color. Whatever the truth of this latter notion, the former is clearly nonsense. That is, the very last thing that Israel is is a puppet regime of either Great Britain or the United States.

      But you know this as well as anyone.

      What I want now, though, is to consolidate material.

      On deck!

      Chapter 4: Multiculturalism and the Betrayal of Universal Human Rights

      The Betrayal of Women

      The Betrayal of Gays

      The Betrayal of Jews

      The Betrayal of Christians

    5. Consolidation is good. Eventually there must be segregation.

      By the way, I agree with the proposition that profanity is not appropriate to make one's point. To often it hinders communication.

      Most progressive Democrats, including Jews, seem oriented politically to an adversarial culture driven to see failure in society compared to their utopian dreams. They see Israel as an extension, and their views are reinforced by the anti-Israel activists that permeate much of the media sources these people get their information from. These activists help drive the adversarial culture against traditional Western culture, which has no redeeming qualities in their eyes.

      The moral shortcomings of those who lecture about human rights and dignity, like an Oxfam, when brought to light, should cause one to ask in what other ways are we being misled. And those that are interested to learn the answer are ready to be educated about the Arab war against the Jews that will further help them understand the larger conflict against Western individual human rights and values.

    6. School,

      One of your ongoing emphases is in the connection between anti-Jewish / anti-Israel tendencies on the left and left-wing anti-Americanism. (and, btw, I remain flabbergasted that someone like fizziks - an intelligent man - cannot seem to bring himself to acknowledge the fact that BDS is primarily a left-progressive movement in the west.)

      "Most progressive Democrats, including Jews, seem oriented politically to an adversarial culture driven to see failure in society compared to their utopian dreams."

      I was a progressive Democrat for a long time and I imagine that you were, as well, but I never thought that we had utopian dreams. What I always thought was that we were trying to bring a greater measure of social justice and human rights into communities.

      Y'know, I was born during the Vietnam War, and thus grew up in its aftermath, and for almost everyone that I knew, in New York and Connecticut, the hard-line, hawkish, right-wing, and the Republican party, represented the friggin' devil. My suspicion now is that it has become an ideological habit among our fellow liberals that the US and Israel are aggressors and the rest of the world is comprised of victims.

      Old habits die hard.

    7. The dissonance of progressive Zionists is obvious to those besides themselves. When James Fallows hosts Max Blumenthal, that about says it all. Or course BDS is part and parcel of the Democratic, progressive left.

      Some are worse than others, but as Dershowitz indicated, in this case about J Street, you rarely hear praise for Israel.

      As for utopian dreams, it is to reach an ideal type of cosmopolitan Kantian world of perpetual peace. It is ironic that, to a large degree, this view helped created the culture that now affords the luxury of adversarial studies to seek its undoing, and to seek out the failures to be perfect. Even if alternatives they align with are much further from what informs their standards. Or that, because of sanctimony, they seek immunity to be held to the perfection they expect from others.

      Perhaps that is more clear now.

  5. Great thesis and so true given what all of us have seen these many net years. I wonder just how many of us former "progressives," came around to that conclusion? Obviously, quite a few former Kossacks, some present company included, but I wonder just how many....enough to suggest a "movement?"

    Ah, the things that I wonder about fellow apostates.

    1. Doodad,

      I think that we are seeing something of a movement.

      I am not arguing that diaspora Jews should leave the Left - despite the fact that I clearly have - but that the primary challenge to the Jewish people today is the effort to delegitimize Israel.

      I still, frankly, find it amazing that someone like fizziks can deny that BDS is a movement of the Left. It's mind-boggling. How can highly intelligent people be so fucking stupid?