Thursday, April 30, 2015

Brief Note: Left and Right

Michael L.

More and more people tell me that I am "right-wing."

I am supposed to believe that this is a bad thing, something that intelligent and civilized people avoid.

"Right-winger" is basically an epithet.

I have noticed over the years - how could I not? - that merely criticizing the Left gets one docketed as a member of the Right.

Other people, more rational in my view, complain that the entire Left - Right way of viewing politics is both crude and counterproductive.  I sympathize.  The problem is linguistic and conceptual.  How does one discuss politics without reference to political standings upon a continuum?

The model within which people discuss politics is essentially a flat line.  It is crude.  It is this:


You are either on one side of this line or the other and, among many politically inclined people, just where you stand on that line tells us all that we need to know about your quality as a human being.

Of course, another more sophisticated way of looking at politics is not with a one-dimensional line, but with a two-dimensional grid.

political compass
Many of you are aware that politically inclined bloggers and activists sometimes go to this political compass test in order to figure out just where they stand on the political grid between the poles of Left versus Right and Authoritarian versus Libertarian.

I just took the test for the third time in almost ten years and yet I still end up hanging out with Gandhi.  I know that it is hard to fathom, but there it is.  Of course, I would only put so much credence into this test.  Nonetheless, if you are honest in your answers, it should probably give a broad general idea of where you stand politically according to the Left - Right / Authoritarian - Libertarian measure... which I think is as good a measure as any.

The thing of it is, though, and that which tends to irk me, is that when people call me "right-wing" it is usually not to actually criticize my views, but to marginalize them.

When I criticize the Left it is not to marginalize the Left, because I come out of the Left.

When I criticize the Left, including the Jewish Left, it is because I have honest criticisms.

The Jewish Left, as a whole, has failed to honestly grapple with the question of political Islam.

The Jewish Left, as a whole, often whips up hatred toward their fellow Jews who live in Judea and Samaria, i.e., the so-called settlers.

The Jewish Left is generally weak and, therefore, tends to mainly play defense.

The Jewish Left often buys into the "moral equivalency canard."

The Jewish Left buries Jewish history.

And so forth.

These criticisms are criticisms, and as such, they may be fair or not.  They may be true or not.  They may be worthwhile or not.  But these are among the criticisms that I have tended to develop over the years.

They are honest criticisms.  The links above go to pieces that I have written in the past concerning such issues.  Those pieces are not, and were not meant to be, full-blown academic analyses, obviously.  They are merely pointers, one might say.  Or even musings, but I believe that they are honest and worthwhile of consideration.

However, when I get lambasted as a "right-winger" it is rarely to actually criticize my views.

When I get called a "right-winger" it is because the caller wants the reader to dismiss my views.

It is not criticism.

It is defamation meant to marginalize.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pure Stupidity

Michael L.


I am sorry.

Is that an arrogant title?

We are supposed to be philosophical and sociological and understanding.  We are supposed to think that the young, black people who burned down much of Baltimore yesterday are merely responding to the circumstances of oppression that they live within.

We are supposed to believe that the United States is a highly racist country and that if we don't want well-deserved resistance from a beleaguered community then we better stop keeping them under the jack-boot of white, western racism.

As I often do, I turn to Daily Kos in order to get American left-leaning views on such things.  

Although, I have to say, this piece, entitled Powerful video interview of Crips & Bloods disputing the claims of the Baltimore Police is particularly weak and I am a bit surprised to find it on the front page.

Nonetheless, from the comments:

doroma has faith in the Crips and Bloods.
shocking....but I believe the gang over the cops (7+ / 0-)

at this point. In 2015, cops scare me ! They lie to cover up their crime.
Words in Action thinks that it's all perfectly reasonable:
When the authorities (2+ / 0-)

concede nothing and the broad middle fiddles in complacency with its dislike of conflict and discomfort, what alternatives are left?
Indeed, what else can people of good will do under such circumstances - whatever those circumstances are, exactly - other than burn down their neighbor's grocery store? 

freemark, in a different diary by a well-known user, thinks that rioting and burning down buildings and fighting the police is something akin to banging a golf club against a tree:
Have no trouble breaking a golf club (29+ / 0-)

The same people who break their own golf clubs after a bad tee shot refuse to understand why a small minority of people damage their own community after being abused and murdered by the people who are supposed to be protecting and serving them.
Because the inclination to burn down, or blow up, one's own neighborhood is psychologically akin to breaking a golf club.

Karl Rover has an interesting take:
I was disappointed by the comments (27+ / 0-)

that plainly said that the peaceful protesters were the looters.

There is more of a correlation with police riots and looting.
Got it.  The rioters are "peaceful protesters" and the cops who seek to protect the community from the rioters are themselves looters and rioters.

I have to say, as someone concerned about the long Arab war against the Jews, this kind of unjust inversion sounds very familiar to my ear.

This, however, from AKBear gets to the heart of the matter:
When all you see around you (75+ / 0-)

are the companies that take your money and only offer a pittance for a wage, then you can understand the rioting.

When all you see around you are the forgotten and underserved in the richest countries in the world, then you can understand the rioting.

When all you see are people losing their homes because basic repairs and maintenance have not been done in decades, then you can understand the rioting.
75 uprates.  That is quite a few.  In fact, that is an enormous number of uprates for a comment beneath an article.

In other words, what AKBear is saying is that the United States is such a horrible place - and the western system of liberal capitalism is so awful - that it is perfectly understandable why poor people "of color" riot and burn down their own neighborhoods.

This is what I like to call, in academic parlance, total bullshit.

My father grew up in a poverty-stricken mixed neighborhood in Brooklyn called Flatbush.

My grandmother, Sarah, carried my baby father through Ellis Island after leaving her dead husband behind in Argentina because they could not, initially, even get visas into the United States from the Ukraine.

She literally scrubbed floors at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in New York in order to take care of herself and my father before she remarried.

It never occurred to my father or his friends - despite the fact that as a teenager he was once fired from a job for observing Passover - to burn down their own neighborhood in righteous protest.

They figured that the thing to do was get into college.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Orioles - White Sox Game Postponed (Updated)

Michael L.

Just so that no one gets the impression that the United States is free of violent insanity:
BALTIMORE — Police on Monday clashed with crowds of young people who tossed rocks and bricks at officers, looted stores and damaged police cruisers, injuring several officers.

baltimore oriolesPolice said that seven officers have been hurt in incidents that began near the Mondawmin Mall in the Reisterstown Road area. Some officers suffered broken bones and one officer was unresponsive, police said in an afternoon press conference.

Throughout the evening, groups of rioters continued to move south through the city. Television images showed youths jumping on a police cruiser and smashing the car’s windows. The crowds set fire to vehicles and at least one store. At one point, a group cut a fire department hose as firefighters were trying to extinguish a blaze at a CVS, police said...

The Baltimore Orioles announced they had postponed a game set for Monday evening against the Chicago White Sox.

Someone going under the name Kip Anderson emailed to call me a "racist" for this post.

This is for Kip:

This is actually a great tune.

Checker records, man!

Terrific stuff.

This is the heart of rock-n-roll.

Thank you, Kip.

The "Linkage" Falsehood and the Riyadh-Cairo Axis

Michael L.

{Originally published at the Elder of Ziyon.}

cairo egyptThe primary political fault-line in the Muslim Middle East today is the Iran coalition versus what Jonathan Spyer, writing in the Middle East Forum, calls the Riyadh-Cairo axis.

Spyer argues that the United States left a power vacuum in the region that is being filled by Shia Iran and thereby threatening the Sunni Arab states.  This is not an original idea, but I am beginning to suspect that it is an exceedingly important one.

The absence of United States leadership is forcing an emergency alliance among the main Sunni states for the purpose of countering the Iranian coalition advancement, where it can.

Where it can, maybe, is Yemen and it is in Yemen that we are seeing Saudi push-back against the Iranian Houthi proxies.

Spyer writes:
Iran appears to be rebuilding its links to Hamas and, therefore, to the Islamist half of the Palestinian national movement. But the Ramallah Palestinian Authority is backed by Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf Arabs and the West.
It is this latter coalition that Spyer refers to as the "Riyadh-Cairo axis."

So, consider this:

We are in a situation where the EU, the US, and the UN demand of Israel that it ethnically-cleanse Jews from Judea - or, at least, force them to stop building housing for themselves and their children - allegedly in order to facilitate a negotiated conclusion of hostilities with the local Arabs.

They have also insisted upon "linkage," which is the idea that stability throughout the region depends on the willingness of the Jews in Israel to make peace with the Palestinian-Arabs... but not the other way around.  According to this notion, the other conflicts are related - ideologically or otherwise - to the Arab-Israel conflict and until that conflict is resolved these other related conflicts will fester in violent ways all around the world.

For example, Secretary of State John Kerry, at a reception in honor of Eid al-Adha, had this to say:
As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL [also referred to as ISIS or the Islamic State] coalition, the truth is we — there wasn’t a leader I met within the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to,” Kerry said. “And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity, and Eid celebrates the opposite of all of that.
Needless to say, when Jewish Israelis are thought to send Jihadis into spasms of psychotic, genocidal violence elsewhere in the world - for daring to defend themselves - it is emphatically not in the strategic interests of the Western nations, who prefer their Arabs calm and their Jews quiet.

What this suggests is that unless Israel does what it is told by the EU and the US, they can blame Israel not just for failing to bring peace to themselves and their own children, but for stubbornly refusing to help bring peace to the rest of the Middle East.  Furthermore, given that Islamists in Europe have taken increasingly to the harassment and killing of Jewish people and non-Muslims, we are finding Israeli Jews sometimes blamed for the murderous behavior of Jihadis in Europe.

However, if what Spyer says is true - and it is - what we are also witnessing, among the Palestinian-Arabs, is not merely a split between a vicious Islamist dictatorship in Hamas contending with a vicious semi-secular dictatorship in the Palestinian Authority.

It is also a brutal contest between Iran's proxy in Gaza and the Riyadh-Cairo proxy in Judea and Samaria.

As above, so below.

The larger contest wrecking the Middle East is reflected in the smaller contest wrecking the Palestinian-Arab polity... and, needless to say, they all blame it on the Jews.

Saudi Arabia is fighting the Houthis in Yemen who are aligned with Iran.  The Yemen conflict is, therefore, a proxy fight between segments of the Saudi coalition and the Iranian coalition on land largely belonging to neither.

The Islamic State, a Sunni faction not aligned with the Riyadh-Cairo axis, is fighting Shia militias in Iraq that are directed by Iran.  In Iraq we are seeing what looks to be Iran's bid to take over as much of the country as possible, which is why they are fighting the Islamic State for control.

What this means is that things are considerably more complex than we may have realized when we thought of the split among Palestinian-Arabs as being just that, a split among Palestinian-Arabs.

More and more it is looking like that split is a reflection of the larger dominant divisions throughout the Muslim Middle East and if that is the case the likelihood for reconciliation between the factions is considerably less than we may have realized.

Of course, from an Israeli perspective, they cannot make peace with a unity government that contains Hamas, nor can they make peace with a divided Palestinian-Arab polity if the other half is still seeking to murder Jews.

And what all of this means is that the notion of "linkage" is upside-down and backwards.

Peace throughout the region will not come from a resolution of the conflict between the Jewish-Israelis and the Palestinian-Arabs.  So long as the Muslim world is ripping itself to pieces along religious and sectarian lines, Israel will be used as a scapegoat by all sides, including the western-left.

It is only when Muslims make peace with themselves that they will ever allow peace with the Jews.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


Michael L.

I did not really know this woman, but I cared.

And she did not really know me.

But we were friends for a brief while.

I am sorry that she is gone.

Friday, April 24, 2015


Every Sabbath I want to honor a person or a book or any bit of art or scholarship or media that comes from the heart.

This one I love.

Those of you who are friends, your suggestions are welcome.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Don't Vote: Allah Says Not To

Michael L.

don't voteI want to thank our friend, k, from the United Kingdom, for alerting me to this story in a private email.

Apparently some of the more Sharia-minded Muslims, in protest of democracy and the coming elections next month, are putting up signage in British cities demanding:
Don't Vote. 
None have the right to legislate except Allah.
The full text beneath reads:
Democracy is a system whereby man violates the right of Allah and decides what is permissible or impermissible for mankind, based solely on their whims and desires.  This leads to a decayed and degraded society where crime and immorality becomes widespread and injustice becomes the norm.  Islam is the only real, working solution for the UK.  It is a comprehensive system of governance where the laws of Allah are implemented and justice is observed.
No one doubts that Sharia is comprehensive.  In fact, that is precisely the problem.  It is a tad too comprehensive.  Furthermore, I do not know that chopping off body parts, as a matter of punitive law, is something that people of good will can reasonably disagree upon.

The Daily Mail tells us:
Posters telling Muslims not to vote in the election were plastered across an area of Cardiff yesterday.

They read: 'Democracy is a system whereby man violates the right of Allah.'

Posters were stuck on lampposts and bus stops across the Grangetown suburb telling the Muslim electorate: 'Islam is the only real workable solution for the UK'.

Cardiff Council have begun removing the posters, dubbed 'chilling' and 'threatening' by locals.  
And once again the unspoken tension between the multicultural ideal and the ideal of universal human rights reveals its wrenched face.

Those more influenced by the noble ideal of multiculturalism will tend to shrug this kind of thing off.  Yes, a small percentage of "extremist" Muslim immigrants into Europe wish to transpose al-Sharia upon the UK and the continent.  So what?  The fact is that the great majority of Arab-Muslim immigrants into European countries are involved in no such efforts.  They just want to live their lives, raise their kids, make a few bucks and, like the rest of us, be left the hell alone to pursue their own interests.


If this were a few years ago I would have left it at that.  But it is not a few years ago.  In recent years we have witnessed the rise of political Islam, which is a pernicious, violent, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-Gay, and anti-feminist political movement throughout the Middle East.  This movement - in its current iteration as derived from Obama's ballyhooed "Arab Spring" - has given us the Islamic State (IS) or ISIS or ISIL, or whatever you want to call this heinous thing, but whatever you call it these people represent the most brutal and savage political organization that I have seen in my lifetime.

I mean, really, burying children alive??

What kind of moral monsters commit such acts and in the name of the deity, no less?

So, yes, we need to stand up against the rise of al-Sharia, like we would need to stand up against the rise of any fascist ideology that seeks the widespread murder and oppression and persecution of the despised and inferior other.

And if you think that the Islamic State does not actually represent significant trends in Islamic jurisprudence - and therefore does not in any way represent juridical Islam - have you checked the Saudi justice system lately?

The great irony of the anti-Jewish / anti-Christian / anti-Western / anti-Israel / pro-Palestinian / pro-BDS movement is that they claim to stand for universal human rights, but the fact is that they could not care less about universal human rights or social justice or civil liberties or whatever banners they fly above their heads.

If they honestly cared about social justice they would stand against political Islam.

They do not.

The tragedy of the muddle-headed western-left, in terms of this issue, is that because they allow BDS into their institutions, they thereby undermine their very ideological reason-to-be and, in doing so, chase away Jewish support and frustrate the possibility for reform within Islam.

When the western-left opposes apostates like Ayaan Hirsi Ali they oppose reform within Islam.

This is a mistake.

Amnesty International Snubs Britain's Jews

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at Jews Down Under.}

Writing in the Times of Israel, Stuart Winer tells us:
amnesty internationalAmnesty International rejected a motion to campaign against the rise in anti-Semitism in Britain, saying it battles all discrimination and would not single out individual groups, the British Jewish newspaper The Jewish Chronicle reported Tuesday.

The resolution called for the group to “campaign against antisemitism in the UK and lobby the government to tackle the rise in attacks.” It was struck down 468 to 461 at the group’s annual general meeting at the beginning of the week, the report said.

“It was the only resolution to be defeated during the whole conference,” said Andrew Thorpe-Apps, who submitted the motion in March after becoming concerned over press reports of rising anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom.
I have been warning for years that the western left is turning against the Jewish people and this is a perfect example of just the type of thing that we have been discussing.

Amnesty International claims that there is no reason for a resolution to fight anti-Semitism in Britain, because they claim to fight all forms of racism in the United Kingdom, as it is.

Mr. Thorpe-apps, who put forth the resolution, had this to say after his friends in Amnesty rejected it:
“I recently joined and I believe passionately about human rights,” he said. “I was aware that the organization has been outwardly pro-Palestine in the past but it hasn’t stood up for the Jewish population and I think it would be good if they did that.”
Yes, we here at Israel Thrives join Thorpe-apps in believing that it would be "good" if Amnesty International stood up for the Jewish people, as well.

As the western-left makes a home of itself for anti-Semitic anti-Zionists it is having a deleterious effect on the relationship of the Jewish people to the Democratic party in the United States and is kick-starting a process of driving Jews out of the progressive movement, as a whole.

In the United States we are seeing a fall-off in support for the Democrats among Jewish Americans.  We can argue about just why that fall-off is taking place, or the permanence of it, but that it is taking place is beyond question.  In 2008, almost 80 percent of American Jews voted for Barack Obama, including me.  In 2012, that number fell a paltry ten points to around 70 percent.  (Yes, I was disappointed.)  But, now, Obama's support among American Jews has dropped to around 50 percent.  Jewish support for Obama, of course, is not the same as Jewish support for either the Democratic party or the progressive movement, but it is a significant indicator.

Meanwhile in Europe some Jews are considering leaving entirely because they do not feel like being kicked around by immigrant Jihadis from Pakistan or North Africa and groups like Amnesty, despite their claims otherwise, are highly particular about the forms of racism that they care about.  They very much care about white racism toward "people of color."  But that is, essentially, where it stops.

I do not envy our brothers and sisters in Europe.  As Muslims throughout the Middle East take their knives toward one another - as well as toward their persecuted Christian neighbors - Europe is seeing desperate efforts by terrorized people to cross the Mediterranean on rickety boats.  People are drowning in an effort to get out of there and there was even a report that a bunch of Muslims on one of these boats tossed a bunch of Christians overboard.

Nick Squires of the Telegraph reports:
A dozen Christian asylum seekers drowned in the Mediterranean after they were thrown overboard by Muslim migrants in a furious row fueled by “religious hatred” on a smuggler boat sailing from Libya to Italy.
And since I am the master of beating the hell out of dead horses, I want - yet again - to remind people how strange it is that virtually no one cares about the fate of Christians under Islamic dominance.

Raymond Ibrahim is one of the very few scholars or activists focusing on the catastrophe that is being played out on a daily basis wherever Islam dominates a population.

In the mean time, Jews need to take care of themselves and that means, among other things, pressuring groups like Amnesty to either acknowledge their indifference to violent Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe - and, thus, their own hypocrisy - or to rectify the situation.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Jimmy Carter and Red Meat

Michael L.

carter peace not apartheidTamar Pileggi of the Times of Israel reports:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin have turned down invitations to meet with former US president Jimmy Carter during his upcoming visit to Israel over his “anti-Israel” views.

Both the president and prime minister declined the invitations after consulting with the Foreign Ministry and the National Security Council.

A senior diplomatic official told Channel 10, which broke the news, that Carter is “a disaster for Israel,” and that all Israeli leaders should refrain from meeting the former president, due to his “anti-Israel positions.”

The official was also quoted as saying that while Netanyahu and Rivlin refused to meet with him, Israel had approved Carter’s request to visit the Gaza Strip.
I have to say, I feel no particular desire to take a gratuitous slap at ex-US President Jimmy Carter... although it is tempting.

{Maybe you guys can pick up the slack on that front, I don't know.}

I will say, however, that the very cover of his book did much damage to the cause of Jewish self-determination and self-defense.

It put Jewish people and friends of Israel into the position of endlessly having to explain to people the myriad of ways that Israel is nothing like an apartheid state.  I have not read the book, but I have read - and perhaps someone can confirm - that the word "apartheid" actually only comes up a few times in the text and that he never makes a case that Israel actually is an apartheid state.

When I used to participate at Maryscott O'Connor's now defunct My Left Wing blog there was an anti-Zionist there who went under the moniker of Shergald.  Shergald's avatar was exactly the picture above and Shergald had the audacity to claim, before innocent liberals and left-wing radicals, that Hamas was an organization devoted to social justice for the Palestinian people.

Some people bought it and some people did not.  The majority were silent because they did not know who to believe.

That is just one semi-anecdote, but it should be obvious that if Carter did not defame Israel in the text, his publishing house most certainly did on the cover and he could easily have prevented it.

He didn't.

And it is that cover that probably had a greater influence on people's thinking than anything that he had to say in the book, itself.  This book was a significant book and this man was the President of the United States, after all.

When the book came out and people passed it by in the aisles of Borders Books and Music and saw that title it planted in their minds that Israel is an apartheid state.

So, should Israel roll out the red carpet for this guy?

Were I PM, he would not be allowed falafel in Haifa, because he would not be allowed access to the country without an apology to the Israeli people.

Good for Netanyahu and Rivlin.

If there was ever a time to demonstrate Israeli backbone, it is now.

Politicide: How the Western Left is Killing the Israeli Left

Michael L.

{Originally published at the Elder of Ziyon.}

FingerThere is much discussion, particularly after Benjamin Netanyahu's recent re-election, about Israel's continued slide politically toward the right.  Anti-Zionists and Israel-Haters generally attribute this move rightward as a reflection of the inherent nefarious nature of Zionism, if not Jews. On the left, in the United States and Europe, Jews who care about the Jewish state are sometimes tolerated, and sometimes not, but always subject to charges of racism by the element on the left that dislikes Israel and Zionists and AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League and all other Jewish organizations that are not either anti-Zionist or contemptuous toward the Jewish state.

J Street is usually acceptable, but J Street is not a pro-Israel organization.

Leftists, however, who do not share the anti-Zionist contempt for Israel, and who know a thing or two about the Arab-Israel conflict, will usually acknowledge that the failure of the Oslo process and Arafat's unleashing of the Second Intifada played a big role in moving Israel toward the political right.  Anyone who understands the history of the conflict knows that during the 1990s, when Arafat and Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton were sitting around the big table, there was considerable optimism within Israel that they would be able to broker a negotiated settlement with the local Arabs and thus bring peace to the region.

It all seemed so rational and sensible, after all.  The notion of land for peace seemed like it should work.  Give the Palestinian-Arabs 100 percent of Gaza, nearly 100 percent of Judea and Samaria in a contiguous area with land swaps, and the Arab sections of eastern Jerusalem as a capital.  When Arafat rejected this more than generous offer, refused to make a counter offer, and unleashed the equivalent of 9/11 every two weeks for over three years upon the Jews of the Middle East, those Jews became demoralized with the non-peace process and thus began to move toward the right.

Would anyone expect anything else?  It is just so easy to sit in our comfortable offices, houses, and apartments in the United States, almost completely safe within one of the largest and most powerful countries on the planet, and lecture those Jews, in that tiny beleaguered nation, on morality and politics.  The Second Intifada destroyed the Israeli left because the Oslo peace process was the baby of the western left and it led to nothing but violence, death, and a furious denunciation of Israel.  Between 2000 and 2005, the Palestinians launched a civil war against the Jews, featuring suicide bombings.

Thus it was that Israel turned away from Meretz and Labor and began to look more and more toward Likud and right-leaning political parties.  What virtually no one acknowledges, however, is that a major part of the reason that Israelis rejected the left is because it was during the height of the Second Intifada, the height of the Palestinian orgy of violence and killing of Jews in the Middle East, that the left's hatred for Israel reached toward hysteria, as Paul Berman has pointed out.  As Jews were being slaughtered in pizzerias by fools who wanted to die for their religion, western leftists were jumping up and down, pointing the trembling finger of blame at those Jews, and telling them that IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT!

Israelis, for the most part, are not stupid people.  They know who their friends are and they know who their friends are not.  When the western left turned against Israel and laid the entire blame for the conflict on the Jews of the Middle East, even as those Jews were being slaughtered in a frenzy of Palestinian violence, Israelis came to understand the international left was, if anything, their enemy.  It came to look more and more like the western left was simply siding with the Arabs in their ongoing war against the Jews.

So, naturally Israelis moved to the right.

By essentially siding with suicide bombers and Jihadis and Hamas, the western left killed the Israeli left.

The question for left-leaning diaspora Jews today is, do we side with Israel or do we stick with left?  It is, however, becoming increasingly difficult to do both.  How does one support a political movement, or a political party, that is unjustly aggressive toward one's own people?  Because, if I have to choose between the Jewish State of Israel and the western progressive-left, that choice could not be easier.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words


Daily Kos is a popular American political blog whose purported purpose is to elect Democrats.

However, certain of us familiar with the workings of that site also know that it serves as a not insignificant front-line organ in the mainstreaming of contemporary antisemitism on the left in the form of fanatical demonization of Israel, while the range of its staff's response to this unfortunate fact runs from banning those who point it out, to mostly ignoring its practitioners, or sometimes even condoning it altogether.

Daily Kos user 'subir' is a relatively new favorite amongst the antisemitic anti-Zionist masses at that site.

During a period of time in which the Arab-Israeli conflict was 'relatively' quiet -- aside from yet more car-jihadism in Jerusalem just a few days ago, in which one Israeli was killed and another remains in serious condition, as a result of another Palestinian-Arab deliberately driving his vehicle into Jews waiting at a bus stop -- yet while the Islamic State has taken over the Palestinian-Arab Damascus suburb of Yarmouk in Syria, in the process of which they have also been busy undertaking the task of liberating Palestinian-Arab heads from Palestinian-Arab bodies, you'd think that those who claim to care so much about the Palestinian-Arabs would have plenty to say on the matter.

You'd think that they'd be filled with the sort of righteous indignation and rage regarding Yarmouk that only the internet can assuage.

Well, let's just take a look at the reaction of the Daily Kos community to the six most recent diaries this gentleman has written there over that time.

One of these things is not like the others.  Let's see if you can spot the difference?

Boy, those "pro-Palestinian activists" sure have a rather unique way of demonstrating their deep 'concern' about the Palestinian-Arabs, don't they?  It's totally convincing that their curiously selectively-voiced outrage has nothing whatsoever to do with the Jews, no sir...

Friday, April 17, 2015


I am guessing that our non-American friends won't recognize the grinning face of this palooka!

But, then, I was impressed that you guys immediately recognized the young Hunter S. Thompson from a few Sabbaths back.

Do you know who is most likely to recognize this smiling visage?

Jay in Philadelphia.

If I had to place a bet, it would be on Jay.

In any case, the sun is beginning to go down and there is pasta to be boiled off and tossed with various forms of deliciousness.

Racist Heart


An old video but still catchy and true and it is important to keep Greens voters aware that there is a real issue with this party that can't be shrugged off with a few glib, comfortable, self indulgent furphies about "Palestinians" and "Settlers" as if this was a 1940's Western full of Cowboys and Indians.

And the bit players.

This video  is about four years old. Since then we've had Libya, Iraq and Syria. Tunisia, Iran, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Yemen. Gaza. Lebanon, Sudan, Darfur and Nigeria.  Again and again . Round after round. Missiles, attack tunnels and terrorism. War, murder, kidnapping and genocide. 

It can't all be Israel's fault. It is anti-Arab racism to say it is.

It also appropriate right now because the British branch of the Greens franchise has just declared as policy the cancellation of EU trade arrangements with Israel. Cool. Lift the sanctions on Iran.  No racism there.

Take any opportunity to confront Australians with what this is about. A charge of racism is a serious one. It should cause some reflection especially when it comes from people with good cause to know what they are talking about.

We know that leftists throw allegations of racism around like confetti but that is because of the type of people they are. Loose allegations of racism are contemptible.

No need for the rest of us to deprave the standard.  On the contrary it is more reason than ever to confront those who project their easy, lazy, bigotry on to the rest of us.

Who do the Greens side with in those old black and white films of theirs? Who do they hate. The Cowboys or the Indians? The Blacks, the Mexicans, the Chinese or the Jews? 

It doesn't really matter. Like the old Westerns this is racist to all. It is equal opportunity racism, perhaps the Greens most celebrated and jealously guarded  achievement. Their highest value. Back to the forties.

This is because they are progressives.

Hat tip Daphne Anson  .

Hillary on the Run

Michael L.

Hillary Clintonv2Laurie occasionally asks me how it is that I never seem to have writers' block?

My general response is that when you follow the Arab-Israel conflict there is always something horrific going on and, therefore, almost always something to opinionate about.

One of the big news stories over the last few days, however, is Hillary Clinton throwing her hat into the ring... if I may use an old cliché.

One of the things that horrifies me as an American is the prospect of yet another Clinton - Bush presidential fight to the death.  Or perhaps I should not refer to it as a "fight to the death" because the Bush family and the Clinton family never seem to actually go away.

They are like herpes, or something, they just hang on and on and on.

I noticed that on FOX News last night some blonde woman with very big eyes was complaining that Hillary is avoiding the press.  Well, wouldn't you if you were her?  I know that Rand Paul and that other schmuck from Texas have also tossed their own hats, but they have been giving lots of interviews, as has the young Floridian.  But, needless to say, they are endeavoring to introduce themselves to the American people.

We already know Hillary.  That much is certain.

I find it difficult to imagine that I will either vote for, or advocate for, any Democrat anytime in the near future.  And I say this as an almost lifelong Democrat!  However, when the Republican Party really kicks in their Attack Machine on this woman they will do more than anyone else to drive well-meaning people into the arms of Hillary Clinton.

I have a reasonably strong will - which is to say that I can be a remarkably stubborn pain in the ass - so the likelihood of me supporting Clinton is non-existent.  She was Secretary of State under Obama.  If she wants my support she will need to convince me, somehow, that under a Clinton Presidency (Mark II) that the United States will support its allies and oppose its enemies.

This is going to be a very hard sell because after helping to usher the Muslim Brotherhood into power in Egypt, and after the Benghazi disgrace, I am not sure that there is enough beer in the world to bring me around.

In any case, here in the US we have flung ourselves into another campaign season.

Oh, joy.

As it happens, however, I apparently do have writers' block, because I have nothing to say on the matter other than to suggest that the American press is going to turn Hillary's campaign into a ridiculous circus - with Saturday Night Live doing back-flips on the sidelines.

I guess that it is time to break out the popcorn and the cotton candy and the crack cocaine.

Thank G-d baseball season has arrived.

{Now, if it would only rain.}

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Never Again.


Brief Note: Israeli Forces Destroy Synagogue Near Hebron

Mike L.

Arutz Sheva reports:
The Civil Administration on Monday night evicted and demolished the Hazon David synagogue, located near Kiryat Arba.

Hazon David was built in 2001, in memory of David Hacohen and Chezi Muallem, who were killed by terrorists. Hacohen was killed when terrorists fired at his vehicle near the entrance to Kiryat Arba.

Muallem, who arrived at the scene soon after the attack to assist Hacohen, was also was shot by terrorists. Muallem was wounded and was taken for treatment at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem where he died of his injuries.

Hazon David was declared by the government an illegal outpost, and was destroyed and rebuilt as many as 33 times, the 33rd time coming in 2008.
Kiryat Arba is just outside Hebron with a population of around 7,500 people all of whom, or almost all of whom, are probably Jewish.

This is one of those evil "settlements" that we so often hear about.  Those 7,500 Jews?  It is they who we are supposed to believe are the "bad guys."

If you look at the comments beneath the article there is much complaining that if the synagogue were a mosque the government would leave it alone.

I find this kind of thing to be deeply unjust to the Jewish minority in the Middle East.

I understand, of course, that the Arab governments represent a far larger, hostile majority population with a traditional, Koranically-based dislike of Jews.  I understand that this traditional Arab bigotry inclines the government of Israel to make concessions that are intrinsically unjust toward the Jewish people, but I do not have to like it and I do not.

Just as Israeli government policy toward Jews on the Temple Mount is, ultimately, a reflection of Arab bigotry against Jews, so its policy concerning Kiryat Arba is likewise bigoted against Jews.

Those people, such as my friends Yosef and Melody, are trying to build decent lives for themselves and their families on land where Jewish people have lived since time immemorial.

It is bad enough that the surrounding Arab community is hostile, and often murderously violent, toward these folks, but to have the government of Israel demolish their synagogue is a disgrace.

If anyone thinks that I do not have criticism of the State of Israel, they should think again, because the truth is that Israel is very often unjust toward the Jewish people and I, for one, do not appreciate it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

An Insane Moment in Time

Michael L.

Kurt Vonnegut by cloudsfallThis is an insane moment in time.

I am not sure that my late friend Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. could have imagined this scenario.

I don't even think that Philip K. Dick's most twisted imagination could come up with this.

On the one hand, we have this unimaginably grotesque, brutal, and Koranically-inspired organization filling the power vacuum in Iraq, Syria, and, possibly, now Libya.

On the other hand, we have Iran.

This means that the Islamic State (IS) or ISIS or, as President Barack Obama says, ISIL, is moving into north Africa.

This is hardly surprising.  Where the heck else is this thing going to go?  And, make no mistake, before the little bastards get crushed they are going to have to keep moving in order to fulfill their 7th century Calisyphilitic ideology.  If they wish to imitate that Muhammad Fellow - from back in the day - they need military conquest as a sign of divine approval.

So long as they can keep on killing, it must mean that Allah is appreciative.

Thus they are happily going about slaughtering the infidels - which apparently include Shias - and chopping off heads and burning people alive and burying living children in mass graves.

Although the morally vacant western left turns a blind eye, this is unquestionably the most horrific political movement that I have seen as an adult.  The only thing that comes close, to my mind, in terms of sheer brutality were those humanitarians in Cambodia during and after the Vietnam War.  Of course, the Khmer Rouge did not ground their ideology in religious texts, nor did they advertise their atrocities in glossy magazines.

But, do not fear.

The Islamic State does not have a chance.

The reason for this is because the surrounding Islamic regimes want nothing to do with these horrendous barbarians.  In Iran they may hang Gay people from cranes or stone women to death for adultery or fling children to their deaths as a front-line force against Saddam Hussein's old regime in Iraq, but they are certainly not going to allow the Junior Varsity squad to eat their lunch.

Iran will take care of ISIS... at least in Iraq.

What we are witnessing is the invasion of Iraq by Iran, with the collusion of US President Barack Obama.

This insane moment in time is key because it is pointing toward an unspoken, but major, international political realignment.

What President of the United States, Barack Obama, seems to want to do is partner with Iran.  There is a certain not-entirely-unreasonable logic to this.  Obama, under the tutelage of Khalidi and Said, understands that the United States is a western imperial power that is hostile to the well-being of non-Anglos throughout the world.  Thus Barack Obama is dragging the United States away from its previous history of alleged imperial exploitation.

Obama seeks to partner with Iran because it is better to have friends in that part of the world than not, and Israel, although a stabilizing force, is also part of the colonial, imperial, western, whatever-it-is that Obama opposes.  Obama despises Israel not so much because he is anti-Semitic, but out of a scholarly loathing of white, western, imperial regimes.

He sees Israel as a western penetration of the Muslim Middle East.

He sees Israel as an interloper upon the land and lives of innocent "indigenous" peoples.  This is the main reason that Obama despises Israel and is, therefore, willing to allow Iran to get the bomb and become the hegemonic power throughout that part of the world.

He wants, in his mind, to do good.


Sar Shalom

threefaithrsI'd like to take a break from the usual pattern of blogging being about strongly stating what one says is the state of the world, whether or not one actually has the information to buttress that viewpoint, and ask a question to try to close a gap in my knowledge.

My question is, what were Jewish-Christian relations like in the Islamic world over the past century? The one thing I know is that by the time of the Israeli Independence War, there was an alliance between the Christians and the Muslims against the Jews. This pattern, of the Middle Eastern Christians both allying with the Muslims and antagonizing the Jews, has mostly persisted since then, as can be seen in Tariq Aziz being part of the late Saddam Hussein's government and Hanan Ashrawi being as strident as any Muslim associate of Fatah in attacking Israel. In recent decades, there has been a fraying of the Middle Eastern Christians' alliance with the Muslims, and more recently, fraying in the antagonism between Middle Eastern Christians and Jews, most notably in Father Gabriel Nadaf's efforts to convince his flock to throw their support behind Israel.

I have some speculations about the underlying factors of the aforementioned pattern, but they are merely speculations. Does anyone on this blog know any information that would shed some light on how this pattern emerged or any sources that might provide such information? Barring that, is there any place to disseminate this question where someone would have veritable information?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Happy Birthday to Yosef in Hebron

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at the Elder of Ziyon.}

hebron old cityThis is a note that I have been meaning to write for quite some time but little things like Netanyahu's speech to Congress, and his re-election as Prime Minister, kept getting in the way.  And, of course, there is this never-ending nonsense with Iran which is looking more and more ugly.  The EU, the UN, and the US are becoming increasingly hostile to Israel.

And, yet, the Israelis are becoming more and more prolific in their technological and economic productions.

Yosef Hartuv - who Facebook tells me recently had a birthday - is the owner / operator of Love of the Land.  Yosef and his wife, Melody, live in Hebron.  The pro-Jewish / pro-Israel blogosphere - Judeosphere? - is a small place.  If you spend some time talking with people you find that you come to know most everyone within a reasonable short order.

All I want to do on this fine Sunday morning, however, is introduce you guys to Yosef and encourage you to drop by Love of the Land.

I am someone who - after much rending of cloth and gnashing of teeth - came to the conclusion that we must support our brothers and sisters who live in Judea and Samaria.  This does not preclude the possibility of an Arab state on some of that small bit of land.  What it means is that Jews should be allowed rights to property on the land that Jewish people come from.

And, please, what could be more historically Jewish than Hebron, for Chrissake?

Yosef tells us this:
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"
According to Wikipedia, Hebron contains between 175,000 and 250,000 Palestinian-Arabs and somewhere between 500 and 850 Jews.  Yosef and Melody are two of those Jews.

One mistake that I believe that we have tended to make as a people is in the tendency to scorn the so-called "settlers" who are merely Jewish people living on the very land that Jews come from.  Some argue that these people are somehow an impediment to peace, but this only so if we buy into the racist idea, put forward by people like Mahmoud Abbas and Barack Obama, that Jews should be allowed to live in certain places but not others.

Hebron, of course, is the city of Abraham and this makes it the site of ongoing Jewish habitation stretching into antiquity.  There is, in fact, no place on this earth in which Jewish people have more legitimacy for building a community and a home then in the ancient Jewish city of Hebron.

This being the case, all I want to do this morning is wish Yosef and Melody nothing but the very best in this world and I very much hope that the Jewish community in Hebron is safe and thriving.

From my perspective, all the land from the river to the sea is Jewish land, just as all the land that comprises France is French land.  It is a small bit of land, but certainly no other people have a greater claim to Judea and Samaria then the Jewish people.  We need not be greedy, however, and should be willing to share our historical homeland with the neighbors, if they care to live in peace.  But whether they do wish to live in peace, or whether they do not, no one is going to tell me that there are places on that land where Jews should be forbidden from living.

No one is going to tell me that Yosef and Melody have no rights, or should have no rights, to live in Hebron.

The world is a very big place and the Jews are a tiny population, but there are only a few places on the planet where one can live openly as a Jew.  I live in northern California and am, therefore, blessed to be living in one of those places.  Sure, San Francisco State University might make the unconscionably stupid decision to partner with a university wherein they celebrate the murder of Jews, but it's not as if a Jew would likely get attacked walking through that campus.

Yosef and Melody, however, live in a place where it should be an honor for a Jewish person to live.

I think that they should be proud and that they should have the right to expect some support from the diaspora communities.  What we should not be doing, however, is denigrating Jews who choose to live beyond the "green line" any more than we would denigrate, say, Rosicrucians who choose to live in Walla Walla, Washington, or Presbyterians who choose to purchase land in Katmandu, Nepal.

When we do so we are justifying bigotry against our own people and that is never a good idea.

So, it is in that spirit that I wish Yosef a very joyous belated birthday and nothing but happiness and success for both him and Melody.

Greetings from the other side of the planet, my friends.

Peace to you, please.

Friday, April 10, 2015


Growing up as a Jew in Montreal

Mike Bell

{This is a guest post and was received via email.  The opinions expressed are entirely those of the writer.  -  Editor's note.}

MontrealHearing of the experience of growing up as a Jew in Paris is disturbing. I want to share my positive experiences of growing up elsewhere, i.e., in Montreal and elsewhere in Canada - and why I think that it's different. But first let's start with the bad, which really isn't so bad, when you consider the endings.

I'll start with the one physical anti-Semitic incident I did experience, shocking because it stands out for how unusual it was.

I was in high school, and was outside a Jewish institution with a
friend. Some yobs drove by, called us Jews, got out, and sprayed
us with water pistols. It felt like it might escalate. My friend
threw some juice that he was drinking on them, and I threw a rock
at their car, with the promise of more (I must have been a lot
braver/stupider back then!). They drove off and never came back.
Just for the record, these were English-speaking "white trash" yobs
of some sort. From the look of them, I couldn't imagine that they'd
have any Middle Eastern connection whatsoever.

Although I look Jewish, I don't sound Jewish in French. This
statement will make sense to people from Montreal, but for the rest
of you, you'll just have to take it at face value. As a result, I
often hear what people really think. There is "old school"
anti-Semitism in Quebec. It's not all that rare to hear anti-Semitic
commentary when people are sure that they're talking to one of "their
own". On a couple of occasions, I've arranged for the issuer of the
comments to find out that I'm Jewish, in some subtle way. They're
inevitably embarassed and shame-faced. What I'm getting at is that
while people might say these things, they won't say (or act) upon
them openly. They know that it isn't acceptable in the broader
society. As strange as it might sound to say this, it doesn't bother
me very much that people have such views as long as they have no
desire or opportunity to act upon them.

Interestingly, I have never, EVER, had any hostile reaction to being
Jewish from an Arab or Muslim person, physical or verbal. I have
heard anti-Israel commentary from those sources (but more on that
later), but never anti-Semitism as such, or personal affront. Never.
Not once. Surprising as it might seem, I'd say that the arrival of
many Muslims in Montreal has probably lowered the overall level of
anti-Semitism, as the "yobs" have another group to focus on instead.

In other words, rather than the yobs and Arab/Muslim anti-Semites
joining forces like in France, the feeling that I get is that it's
more of a case of the Jews and the Arab/Muslims joining forces
against the yobs! A key example of this was seen when the Quebec
government tried to ban religious symbols of dress among public /
parapublic employees, French-style. An image that stays in my head is
of one demonstration where hijabis, hassids and someone waiving an
Israeli flag were all demonstrating against the common enemy of
intolerance. Whatever else the Quebec government of the day achieved,
they brought this crowd together... Incidentally, they lost the next
election in great part because of this issue, and their proposed
restrictions are history.

I think that we have a society that is generally more tolerant of
difference than Europe is, but at the same time more intolerant of
extremism. There's nothing like the Front National around here.

Let's go back to elementary school. Every so often, there would be
school-offered hot dogs, for some event or other. I remember the
teachers assuring us that they would be 100% beef, not pork, so that
"everyone" could eat them (there weren't many Hindus back then). In
retrospect, the message was subtle, and probably unintentional: we'll
meet you 1/3 of the way. You get beef, but not Halal/Kosher beef.
We'll make some adjustment for you, but not change everything. If you
want more, you're going overboard and so no free hot dog for you, I
suppose.  Looking back on it, I think that the willingness to make
some - but not total - adjustment was important. Europe seems to
be very binary in these things. Incidentally, the vast majority of
the Muslims I know today, including people who pray five times per
day, are willing to eat non-Halal beef. To this day, I think that
the sensitive thing to do is to offer "no pork" and "vegetarian"
options at any large gathering. I'm happy to make what is known as
"reasonable accommodations", and I expect the same in return. The
emphasis is on the "reasonable".

There is a short strip of stores in Montreal where can be found a
Halal butcher, a Judaica store and a storefront fundamentalist
church. Somehow, everybody goes about their business. Muslims attend
the Jewish hospital for the Kosher food. It's fairly common to find
female staff wearing a veil. Nobody - other than the previous Quebec
government - seems to really care. The parts of Quebec where people
do care are the parts with almost no immigrants! Other parts of
Canada seem similar, but with even less tension. In Toronto,
synagogues often have large JNF fundraising or Israel Bonds signs
outside. I've never seen one of them be vandalised. Moncton's
synagogue is on the corner of a street named after its former Rabbi.
I've never seen any security guards around any of these places.

I often wait for a bus outside an "extremist" mosque in Montreal.
I've yet to see anyone behaving in a yobbish way. Amusingly, there is
a Chabad centre not far away from it. I've yet to hear of them having
problems with each other. As far as I can tell, they happily ignore
each others' existence. I've heard of worse ways to fix such problems.

Flying El-Al out of Toronto is pretty much like flying with any
other airline, save that El-Al has extra personnel at the check-in
desks for questioning passengers, as they seem to do everywhere.
Amusingly, the check-in desk is just around the corner from the
Saudia one. There isn't anyone with machine guns around.

While it isn't rare to hear Arabs/Muslims criticizing Israel, I
wouldn't say that it's any more extreme than what I hear from other
people. Curiously the pushback to it often comes from a surprising
source: other Arabs, typically Christian Lebanese, some of whom
have great admiration for Israel. Indeed, I've had a couple of
experiences where I've found myself telling some that while Israel
is a much better place than the rest of the neighbourhood, it isn't
as perfect as they imagine. There's one in particular that I jokingly
refer to as the "Israeli Consul". He'd have no difficulty getting
along with Liberman, but would be a little too Zionist for Tel Aviv.
I could see Bennett telling him to tone it down. He's quite happy
to share these views in public and with Muslims around, by the way.
Needless to say, he doesn't get broad agreement, but they get along
anyway. Similarly, I've heard religious Muslims heavily criticising
the Saudi Arabians for being extremists. Obviously, I agree. One
of my most bizarre experiences has been hearing a Muslim asking me
about Israel (he knows I'm Jewish and have visited) and what it's
like there. He told me that he thinks that people's rights are
better respected in Israel than in Arab countries and was wondering
if it's true. Somehow, he figured out the truth, despite being from
North Africa. I pointed out that even the Muslim Brotherhood (viz.
the Islamic Movement) fares better in Israel than in Egypt these
days. What I've also seen, many times, is many individual Muslims
becoming less religious and less traditional over time. Veils
giving way to hats. People starting to drink alcohol. Daughters
moving in with boyfriends. In short, the same trends that happened
with much of the Jewish community over the last hundred years.

So the big question to my mind is, WHY? Why do we have fewer
"problems" here? Granted, we're not perfect (just like Israel isn't),
but it's a much better situation than Europe, and as far as I can
tell, nearly everyone wants to keep things the way that they are.
There's a minority of people who want to join ISIS, surely, but they
do not dominate the discourse and would generally be perceived as
mental defectives.

Here is my analysis:

1) We have a long history of "living together". Canada has never been
a uni-ethnic country. Nobody cares that much about the natives in
reality (who have it MUCH worse than Arabs in Israel, incidentally),
so let's leave them out of the analysis. Largely because of the risk
of the American revolution spreading north, the British had to come
to an understanding with the French population, rather than a
merciless crushing as they had done in the past. A compromise was
reached. Neither side was overjoyed, and that hasn't changed, but it
has remained livable. So there's a tradition that varies from the
"all or nothing" of places like France, which have historically
crushed minority populations (Corsica would be the most obvious
example). Bad as things are in the UK, they have more of a tradition
of dealing with such things - and immigrants also fare better.

2) We don't really mean it with multiculturalism beyond anglo and
franco. In practice, we welcome any delicious food that you bring
with you and that's pretty much where it stops. Our food was really
bad, and even a reprobate racist would agree that immigration has
improved this! We'll tolerate any funny way you want to dress or
odd things that you want to put on your head - we don't really care
either way. We'll make some reasonable accomodation for your dietary
restrictions, much as we do for those with allergies. You're of
course welcome to pray in the non-denominational chapel, like
everyone else. But move beyond this, and you hit a bit of a brick

3) We DO mean it with multi-"ethnicism", multi-"religionism" or
multi-"racism" - terms that I just made up. By and large, if you
want to be like us, we don't really care what you look like or to
what God you like to pray. We'll even vote you into office. And not
just in left-wing socialist parties. The right-wingers will happily
have you too. They've got room for anyone who agrees with them. Unlike
the left-wingers, they tend to really mean it, too. It's downright
heartwarming to see, sometimes.

4) There's pressure to conform for economic reasons. You want to make
a big show of praying five times per day (Muslims) or of minimising
contact with the opposite sex to a bare minimum (ultra-Orthodox Jews)?
Sure, but don't expect that most jobs will be open to you (in
reality). You'll suffer economically. And you'll know the reason. So
will your kids, who may choose not to do the same.

5) We select immigrants. We've taken in a fairly reasonable number
over the years, but it's actually fairly difficult to be selected,
and if you don't have a reasonable education and work experience
or some business know-how, you probably don't have a chance. Chances
are that you were at least middle class in your society of origin.
And you know what? Middle class people have a fair bit in common
worldwide. That's the big open secret of successful immigration.

Geographically, we're fairly hard to get to, and airlines are fined
for inadmissible passengers. In short, that means that even if you're
a refugee, that you probably at least qualified for a visitor or
student visa at some point. There are exceptions, but they're not the
norm. And the norm is what's important - not the occasional exceptions.

Europe, on the other hand, seems to have immigration mostly from the
lower classes. It's politically incorrect to say it, but I think that
it's a HUGE part of the problem.

6) There is repression, and it's sometimes necessary. It's sad to
say, but for some people, nothing else works. You really think that
beating your daughter is the way to make her behave? Some people
try it.  Some even get away with it. But we're not going to care
less because the victim is "ethnic". A couple of trips to jail, and
you'll either lose your taste for it, or leave the country. You
think beating random Jews (or Muslims, or whoever) up is fun? The
police will come down on you like a tonne of bricks. You're better
off picking fights in bars, which may well get ignored. You want
to develop a taste of the Islamic State? The Harper government isn't
going to find it funny. Expect to have problems.

7) Finally, and specifically on the anti-Semitism issue, I think
that there's a huge unspoken factor. Anti-Semitism just isn't very
popular in the "host" society. If you go around spouting hatred
against Jews, you're going to hear about it. From your friends. From
your colleagues. You'll be a liability. Soon, you'll shut up, out of
your own self-interest. You might even start thinking differently
some day, when you discover that Jews will generally be nice and
helpful to you. But in the mean-time, it will be those of your
countrymen (or co-religionists) who feel otherwise who speak the
loudest. And, like most people, you'll likely go with the flow. And
the flow isn't to be an anti-Semite - if nothing else, it'll make you
re-evaluate your views when you meet your first Jews. You'll turn
instead to making fun of the American government, the Harper
government, or the Quebec government instead. There's lots of
material to work with, and it gets a better reception.

I'm afraid that what has happened in places like France is that
Arab/Muslim immigrants have integrated just TOO well. The underlying
"flow" of the society has anti-Semitism, and it has mixed in with
Arab/Muslim anti-Semitism to continue or become extremism. In Canada,
I've often found that immigrants are the most loyal of Canadians,
the ones who will most vehemently defend the prevailing norms of
society. Maybe the same is true elsewhere - and that's a scary
thought. If their first contact with old-stock French people confirms
their anti-Semitism, the worst can be expected, because Arab/Muslim
societies aren't in a good place to start with with respect to Jews.

(As an aside, for all its problems, I think that Israel is closer
to Canada in dealing with minorities than it is to Europe. It has
had much recent and successful experience with immigration. It's
easy to point to Ethiopians and show that they're relatively
disadvantaged. But look how far they've come in a short time. Give
it another generation... Israelis are quite loud (even obnoxious!)
about what they think, and so the problems that do exist are more
apparent. Integrating the Arab minority to the broader society has
been much less successful, and the reasons are obvious, BUT I think
that this is changing. A few years ago, I was speaking with an
Israeli Arab (in Toronto) who had left about 40 years before. It
was an eye-opening experience in terms of the progress that has
happened since. Educational achievement among Arabs in Israel is
improving rapidly. There is greater economic integration. Israeli
Arabs have a better opinion of Jews than most Arabs elsewhere [1],
which says a lot. I think that in fact, the situation of Arabs in
Israel may be better than the situation of Arabs in Europe.  At the
same time, I wouldn't give Israel all the credit. I think the fact
that a cross-section of Arab society remained after 1948, surely
has a lot to do with it.)

[1] Poll: 90% of ME views Jews unfavorably - But Pew poll finds only
35% of Israeli Arabs express bad opinion of Jews.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Reconstruction, cont.

Sar Shalom

leeIn today's "Disunion" blog at the New York Times, there is a post about how the South continued to fight for white hegemony after the surrender Appomattox Courthouse. One topic of the post was the debate over what exactly were the terms of the Appomattox surrender. A further issue was the southern notion that the result of the war was the triumph of “might over right.”

A notable passage in the post is
Trafficking in the toxic myth that congressional Reconstruction was a time of white Southern prostration and vindictive “black rule,” Gordon claimed, “our people feel that the faith which was pledged to them has been violated.” Southerners were “disturbed” by the congressional program, “deprived of rights which we had inherited — which belonged to us as citizens of the country.” If they had known what indignities and disabilities awaited them, Gordon surmised, Confederates would not have surrendered on April 9, 1865.
With changing a few words here and there, this passage would become
Trafficking in the toxic myth that Zionism is a force for Arab prostration and vindictive “Jewish rule.” “Our people feel that the faith which was pledged to them has been violated.” Arabs were “disturbed” by the Zionist program, “deprived of rights which we had inherited — which belonged to us as natives of the land.”
Altogether, that is not too off from the case that is put forward against Israel.

Returning to the point about how the American Civil War represented the triumph of “might over right,” which originates in General Lee's farewell address to his troops, I recall Einat Wilf's reflections on what led to her present views of the conflict. Among Wilf's points was her characterization of her Arab interlocutors at various “peace” gatherings. She described their position as “we get it, you're here, you're powerful,” and then over dinner they would say things like, “the people are not really a people, you're only a religion” and “your whole connection to this land is made up, it's a fabricated story that you created in order to take our land” with the conclusion that they reject any Jewish right to be in the Land of Israel.

Wilf continued on the asymmetry of moderation between the Israeli and the Palestinian side. On the Israeli side, a moderate recognizes the right of the Arab residents between the Mediterranean and the Jordan to have self-determination. However, the Palestinians considered moderates by the West “do not recognize my right. They recognize my might, but what happens the day when I no longer have might?”

When the South surrendered to Northern “might” without recognizing Northern right, the result was that as soon as that might was retracted, the South reimposed social order that had existed previously. Similarly, if the Palestinians recognize only Israeli might without recognizing any Jewish right, then as soon as Jewish might would be retracted, they will seek to overturn everything Israel has built up. This is why there can never be a just and equitable peace as long as the Palestinians reject Jewish rights to live in their ancestral land and that any notion that peace can break out by simply forcing “adequate” concessions from Israel without getting the Palestinians to recognize Jewish rights is simply fantasy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

San Francisco State Partners with Violently Anti-Jewish Arab University

Michael L.

{Originally published at the Elder of Ziyon}

edward said muralSan Francisco State University is among the most racist universities in the United States.

It is therefore fitting that it would partner with what is probably the most racist university in the world - An-Najah National University in the Palestinian Authority controlled town of Nablus.

The link above is to a Fall 2014 facebook posting by Professor Rabab Abdulhadi of the SFSU College of Ethnic Studies that I was alerted to by "Dusty" at Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers:
Today San Francisco State University's All University Committee on International Programs unanimously voted to recommend that SF State formally collaborate with An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine. This is the first time that SFSU will collaborate with any university in a Palestinian, Arab or Muslim community.

I am proud, excited and grateful to my colleagues @ An-Najah. It is my honor to be working with you. Thank you Mira Nabulsi for your amazing help in writing and producing the proposal. Thank you Dean Kenneth Monteiro and the College of Ethnic Studies for your consistent and unwavering support.
saidrockYou may recall that it was professor Abdulhadi who was the university adviser to the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) when they held up signs threatening murder during a celebration of a mural devoted to Edward Said who we actually have a photo of (above) throwing rocks at Jewish soldiers.

The ADL has this to say about An-Najah National University:
An-Najah University, in the West Bank city of Nablus, has been a flashpoint in the conflict between Israel and Palestinians since at least 1980, when violent anti-Israel protests led the Israeli military to close the school intermittently. Today the student council of An-Najah is known for its advocacy of anti-Israel violence and its recruitment of Palestinian college students into terrorist groups. The council, almost completely controlled by factions loyal to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah, glorifies suicide bombings and propagandizes for jihad against Israel. Hamas has described An-Najah as a "greenhouse for martyrs." 
Matthew Levitt, the director of the Washington Institute's Stein Program on Terrorism, Intelligence, and Policy, has this to say:
Al-Najah is the largest university in the territories and "the terrorist recruitment, indoctrination and radicalization of students for which al-Najah is known typically take place via various student groups," among them the Hamas-affiliated Islamic Bloc. "Of the thirteen members of Al-Najah's 2004 student council, eight," he says - "including the chairperson - belong to Hamas's Islamic Bloc." 
After the kidnapping of three Jewish teenagers last year the graduating students of An-Najah University held up the three fingered salute in solidarity with the kidnappers:

three fingers

Jew hiding behind tree cartoonThe Facebook page of the National University’s Islamic student group of An-Najah University in ‎Nablus, a school funded by USAID, called for murder of Jews posting this picture ‎of a religious Jews hiding in fear and the Islamic source from the Hadith that the PA interprets as ‎anticipating the genocide of Jews.

Tree: “O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a ‎Jew behind me – come kill him.”‎

Note: The Islamic belief that Jews will be killed ‎by Muslims as a precursor to the Resurrection ‎appears in the Hadith (sayings and practices ‎attributed to Islam's Prophet Muhammad).This ‎Islamic tradition asserts that as the killing of ‎Jews progresses, Jews will hide behind ‎stones and trees, but they will expose the ‎Jews and call out: "Oh Muslim, servant of ‎Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill ‎him." Only one tree, called the Gharqad, will ‎hide the Jews from the Muslims. ‎
And it was at An-Najah University that they created a "grotesque shrine" to the Sbarro pizza parlor massacre.

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Mel Alexenberg tells us:
A group of An-Najah art students constructed a replica of the Sbarro pizzeria, site of the massacre.

Visitors pushed to see realistically sculpted body parts and pizza slices strewn throughout an environment set for a performance artwork.

Wearing a terrorist’s military uniform and black mask, the performance artist entered the mock pizzeria under a sign reading “Kosher Sbarro” and set off a simulated explosion to the cheers of the crowd. Upon entering and leaving, the visitors enthusiastically wiped their feet on Israeli and American flags used as doormats.
Here is a video of the event.

And this is the only university throughout the entire Muslim Middle East that San Francisco State University chooses to partner with?

In truth, however, you cannot blame the entire university for the stupidity of the All University Committee on International Programs, headed up by professor Trevor R. Getz of the history department.

I was a little surprised to find that Getz is the chair of the committee, merely because there is an element of coincidence to the fact.  It was Getz who emailed me after the Edward Said mural celebration in which the General Union of Palestine Students publicly called for the murder of "colonizers"... by whom, of course, they meant Jews.

Getz took particular exception to a piece that I wrote for my blog at the Times of Israel calling out my old professor, Fred Astren, for not standing up publicly against this kind of thing.

On the contrary, Astren makes a point of defending the university, but this is neither surprising, nor really reprehensible, given Astren's position of leadership at the university as the head of the Middle Eastern Studies Program.

On the question of SFSU bigotry and disdain for, if not the Jewish people, certainly the Jewish state, Astren says in the university newspaper:
“We’ve heard this kind of message before – it doesn’t correspond to the reality that characterizes our campus and our campus community,” Astren said. “If you ask Jewish students or Jewish faculty, you are going to have a hard time finding people to corroborate that this is an anti-Semitic place.”
Astren is correct.

The truth is that Jewish parents should feel confident sending their kids to SFSU, because the chances of actual anti-Semitic violence are low.  As long as the kid keeps his head down, does not in any way stand up for the Jewish people or the Jewish state of Israel, he or she should be just fine.

When I was there in the late 90s and early 00s we had all sorts of student organizations rallying against the Jews in Israel.  I will never forget the surreal moment of walking past the Malcolm X Student Center and seeing an African-American student organization holding aloft an American flag with fifty little Stars of David in it.

That was fun.

There is nothing quite like watching a bunch of young students shaking their fists in a violent manner toward yourself and your own people.  I have to say, that kind of thing makes an impression.  It is certainly an impression that has stuck with me for a long time.  My inclination when it happened was to write a letter to the editor of the school newspaper.

My inclination today might be a little different.

I might be inclined to go up and say "hello."