Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Universality and Politics in the Religions of the Levant

Michael Lumish

Three_main_Abrahamic_ReligionsI would like to propose a way of viewing Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the three major religions of the Levant, that may be helpful in understanding the fundamental differences between the three.

I propose that we examine each according to two criteria, universality and politics.

Although I suspect that this is not an original analysis, I have found it helpful in my own understanding.


Judaism is neither universal, nor is it political.

Judaism is not universal because there is no insistence that everyone everywhere must adopt the Jewish faith in order to receive some sort-of extra-special reward in the afterlife. If Muslims throughout history have often forced conversion of the vile infidel at the point of a scimitar, rabbis generally do their best to discourage conversion into the faith. There are a number of good reasons for this, of course. One good reason is that the rabbinate wants to make sure that any potential converts are entirely sincere, thus they make conversion into the Jewish faith a difficult matter. 

Another good reason for this, of course, is that it is not so easy being a Jew. The persistence of irrational Jew Hatred among the majority populations where Jews tend to reside makes being a Jew very interesting because you never know when you are going to get clobbered merely for being a Jew, although this is far less true in the United States.

At this point in history there are only a relatively small percentage of Christians that despise Jews and, today, it is mainly due - or allegedly mainly due - to the perceived mistreatment of the innocent bunny-like Palestinian-Arabs who want nothing more from this world then to tend their Sacred Olive Groves in peace. To the extent that western Christians, or westerners of Christian derivation, despise Jews it has much less to do with supersessionism (replacement theology) or the joyous killing of Christ than has to do with the idea that the cruel Israeli Jews like to rip up those "sacred" olive groves with their bare fangs and otherwise treat the "indigenous" population like mierda.

Nor, of course, is Judaism political. That is, outside of a few highly Orthodox Jews in Israel, no one is suggesting that any government should operate according to Torah law. In Biblical times the faith was political because prior to the European Enlightenment religion was the organizing principle in all aspects of human life, including politics, but today this is no longer the case. In fact, the only modern Jew that I know of who called for Israeli law to be entirely grounded in Torah is the late Meir Kahane and we all know how well Israel suckled Kahane to its breast. They charged him with racism and booted him from the Knesset.

So, Judaism is neither universal, nor generally political.


Christianity is universal, but no longer political.

Christianity is universal because the only way, according to the faith, that the individual can attain Eternal Life is through communion with the Son of God, Jesus. Anyone who dies without first having pledged their love and devotion to Jesus Christ will not attain Heaven. This is a primary tenet of the faith. Contemporary western Christians tend to tread lightly around this idea, but it still holds as a primary ideological foundation of the Christian faith for both Protestants and Catholics. It is incumbent upon the highly devout to spread the Good News in order to save souls, however it is entirely up to the individual to determine if they have the capacity to open their hearts to the truth of Jesus. 

There is, today, virtually no forced conversion into the Christian faith.

Christianity, however, is today no longer political. That is, there are no Christians in Europe, and virtually no Christians in the United States, that believe the government must formally operate according to the precepts of scripture. Such a proposition, of course, would directly violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution of the United States of America. Even the most hard-core, right-wing, Evangelical, Tea Party, Sarah Palin-voting, southern rednecks do not believe that the government of the United States should be grounded entirely in the Bible and the New Testament.

So, while Christianity is universal, it is generally no longer political in the meaning of that term as I am using it here. Certainly Christians, themselves, are often political and very often their political views, such as Evangelical views on "the Gay life-style," are based on their understanding of their faith, but that is not the same as wanting law based on Deuteronomy or, somehow, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.


Islam, needless to say, is both universal and political.

The universality of Islam, unlike Christianity, is not merely transcendental, it is worldly. Muhammad taught his followers that it was incumbent upon them to spread Islam to the four corners of the Earth by any means necessary, including violence. "The Prophet" taught his followers to spread the faith through terror if need be and our friends in the Islamic State are taking him at his literal word. 

This is what is known as Jihad and it is becoming more and more evident that this is what we are seeing in Europe and to a lesser extent, the United States. The purpose of all the blood and mayhem in places like Nice or Orlando or San Bernadino or Boston or New York or London or Paris or Berlin is to strike fear into the hearts of the Kufar in order to make us conform to al-Sharia.

Islam is universal and via al-Sharia it is also highly political. Unlike Judaism and Christianity, Islam never went through an Enlightenment that drew a division between the secular world and the world of faith. In the world of Islam it is all about the faith and the faith is all about al-Sharia, Islamic law.

When jihadis shot up the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris it was not out of irrational malice. It was in order to enforce al-Sharia. It was in order to make it very clear to the infidel that Muslims would simply not put up with non-Muslims breaking Muslim law by depicting Muhammad in any manner and particularly not a disrespectful one.

And the thing of it is, these bully-boy tactics are working brilliantly. The jihadis now have western publications and news outlets, and other forms of media, exceedingly reluctant to anger Muslims by doing anything that Muslims do not like because it violates al-Sharia.

This is why some young women in Europe are becoming more and more reluctant to even leave their homes, depending upon the neighborhood. Western styles of female dress are immodest by the standards of al-Sharia and therefore marks them as sluts or whores in the minds of these North African and Middle Eastern Muslim immigrants. Because they are disregarding Allah's Law they are fair game and deserve whatever beatings or rapes that they get.

This is also why Muslims tend to despise Israel with a white-hot passion. The very existence of the Jewish state is an abomination in the eyes of Allah. According to Islamic law any bit of land, however large or small, that was ever part of Dar al Islam must always and forever remain a part of Dar al Islam.

One thing is certain, if Israel were a 23rd Arab-Muslim state, the world would look upon it as a miracle and the rest of the Arab world would probably admire it.

Instead, they hate it because Israel is the Dhimmi that Got Away.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Why American Muslims are Different

Michael Lumish

I've been on a Mordechai Kedar kick lately and he has some interesting ideas on the difference between "radical Islam" and "moderate Islam." Kedar, who is a scholar of Arabic Literature at Bar Ilan University in Israel, suggests - along with Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan, by the way - that Islam is Islam.

There is no "radical Islam."

There is no "moderate Islam."

There is only Islam.

There may be divisions within Islam between Sunni and Shia and (my favorite) Sufi Islam, but there are no hard separations between anything that can reasonably be called "radical Islam" and that which we call "moderate Islam."

Think of it as more of a continuum of violence, all of which has a home within Islam.

An Islamic State (IS) murderer of children and raper of young girls is just as Islamic as a peaceful, mystically-inclined Sufi.

So, what accounts for the differences? Why are American-born Muslims, for example, generally, although obviously not always, peaceful, hard-working, and well-educated - what we would call moderate - while other Muslims, particularly some of those in the Middle East, and increasingly those in Europe, entirely out of control?

Kedar, who obviously well-knows the Koran in the original Arabic, suggests that it is an exceedingly contradictory book - I found it incomprehensible, myself. There is no coherent narrative. - and therefore one is likely to take from it what is encouraged within the culture one is raised in. There are parts of the Koran that are downright liberal, such as the idea that there should be no compulsion in religion. Although, you turn a page and suddenly there is compulsion, unto death, to submit to the authority of Muhammad.

In the Koran, there are other gentle suggestions such as the punishment which calls for the chopping off of one foot and one hand from opposite sides of the body. (Try not to think about it.)

However, if you were born and raised Muslim in, say, San Francisco there is an excellent chance that you would simply be another guy on a commute into the office downtown or to Silicon Valley. If you were a devout Muslim, having been raised in an open-minded part of the world within a local Muslim culture that reflected that, chances are your style of Islam would also reflect that.

You, in other words, would not likely be screeching for Jihad in the streets. You would not burn down churches merely because they are churches.

However, if you were born in a part of the world where people are killing one another over family honor or burying women accused of adultery up to their necks for the purposes of a good stoning, your interpretation of the Koran and the Hadiths and the Sira would reflect that.

It is not that, as Obama claimed, the Islamic State is un-Islamic. On the contrary, if anything those boys are uber-Islamic. They are going all the way back to the 7th century and it doesn't take much imagination to figure how much fun the Arabian Peninsula was in the 7th century. But this is not "radical Islam" because the Islamic State ideology is fully consistent with the historical behavior of Muhammad, the allegedly perfect example for all Muslims.

If anything it is a more orthodox, traditional form.

But the Muslim in the office next door in downtown San Francisco, if he is devout, is also a Muslim.

Then the question becomes, if the cultural environment is such a key factor in determining what type of Muslim one will emerge as, what accounts for all those French and German and British jihadis?

Well? Europe screwed up and is getting more and more screwed up by the day.

By allowing, or encouraging, these enclosed Muslim enclaves in their major cities they ensured that the next generation of European Muslims, who come out of those ghettos, are far more likely to interpret the Koran in jihadi fashion.

That was a big mistake and one that I bet we are well on our way to repeating in the United States.

And, needless to say, by flinging open the doors of Western Europe to violently dysfunctional Middle East Muslim cultures, European political leadership guaranteed the rape and murder of their own people.

Angela Merkel, as it turns out, should never have been let anywhere near public office.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Raw Material Podcasts # 2: Palestinian Emirates

Michael Lumish

The Raw Material

Heya guys, this is Michael Lumish coming atcha from the beautiful Oakland hills just across the bay from San Francisco the land of pokeymon go.

I don’t know if you guys know what this is, or not, but it’s essentially a game in which you use the optics on your cell phone to augment natural reality as you search for little pokeymon monsters.

What it really means is that you have idiots wandering around the bay area tripping over curbs, walking into passing bicycles, knocking people down in the street, and occasionally getting smashed by a MUNI bus.

But what I want to talk to you guys about today is an alternative to the two-state solution being promoted by professor Mordechai Kedar – who is a very well known figure among those of us follow Israel – and who is well-respected scholar of Arabic literature at Bar Ilan University in that country.

Kedar, and others, have been working through this idea of quote unquote Palestinian emirates.

In fact, you can read more about the proposal at

Kedar’s idea is that the nation-state, as it was imposed upon the Middle East by such little matters of the Sykes Pico treat of 1916 in which Britain and France, with some mutual cooperation with Russia, divided up the Middle East into spheres of influence and then into the various mandates, including the mandate for Palestine, and then into artificial states which, for the most part, have since failed.

Kedar reminds us that the major points of identity and realms of loyalty within the Middle East traditionally revolved around family, clan, and tribe with power exerted by a strong man who we call a sheik, and of course, with the entire system under the umbrella of Islam.

This is more or less the way things operated for 13 centuries before the Christian Europeans finally beat back the Muslims and won that contest, at least temporarily.

We’ll see what the future holds.

But as Kedar also reminds us, following the misnamed Arab Spring – which, btw, Barack Obama compared to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

I love this quote.  Obama said on May 19, 2011

"There are times in the course of history when the actions of ordinary citizens spark movements for change because they speak to a longing for freedom that has been building up for years. In America, think of the defiance of those patriots in Boston who refused to pay taxes to a King, or the dignity of Rosa Parks as she sat courageously in her seat."

Rosa Parks, really? Because what the Arab Spring really brought the world was the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the disintegration of any number of Middle Eastern countries the following of which may be entirely unsalvageable.

These include Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya and Yemen and Syria, which, from what I can tell, is the worst of them all.

It’s difficult to know if these countries are reverting back to pre-European state model, but given the strength of 1,400 years of Sharia, it seems quite likely.

Furthermore, even if Middle Eastern states based on the European model were thriving, why would the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East allow a Palestinian-Arab army, vowed for its destruction – and thus essentially the genocide of the Jews – on its border?

Some would argue that any such state would be demilitarized via international law.

But as Louis Renee Beres argues over at the Gatestone Institute, there will be no demilitarized Palestinian-Arab state under international law, because such law are swiss cheese.

In short order, the Palestinian-Arabs would circumvent such laws either legally, via loopholes, or illegally via deception.

This being the case perhaps Israel should go with the “Palestinian Emirate” model.

Thus Israel, and perhaps western countries, would approach a number of the local sheiks - where there are significant Palestinian-Arab populations – and offer them sovereignty in a model not entirely dissimilar from the United Arab Emirates.

If it’s good enough for them and if they can make a go of it there is no reason why the Palestinian Arabs can’t.

It sure beats endlessly banging our head against the two state solution for murder in return.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Palestinian Nationalism

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Elder of Ziyon and Jews Down Under.}

PalflagAlmost everyone recognizes the "Palestinians" as a nation, but the main question is whether or not they will ever create a state?

The general idea among most westerners is that peace can only be achieved via the two-state solution (TSS). There are prominent voices that disagree, such as Caroline Glick and Martin Sherman, both of the Jerusalem Post - Sherman, it should be noted, is also a prominent contributor to Jews Down Under - but the general consensus among western governments, including, of course, the Obama Administration, is that the only viable solution is the creation of a Palestinian-Arab state to represent the "Palestinian" nation.

In a recent piece for the Gatestone Institute, Louis René Beres discusses the fact that Israel will only accept a Palestinian-Arab state on its borders if it is demilitarized. Anyone who thinks that such an Israeli requirement is unreasonable can simply go beat sand because there is no way that the Jews of the Middle East are going to live under the threat of a Palestinian-Arab army on their border.

However, he also points out that even if such a provision were agreed to by Abbas and his people it would never hold up. As an Emeritus Professor of International Law at Purdue University, he probably knows what he's talking about. The take-away is that under international law - whatever that is, exactly - there are all sorts of means and methods by which the Palestinian-Arabs could bypass anti-militarization provisions.

When, and if, the Palestinian-Arabs ever agree to a state for themselves it will not be demilitarized.

On the contrary, its primary function will be that of a big Arab club against the Jewish minority in the Middle East.

This being the case, it raises the question of why Jewish people are under any ethical or moral obligation to recognize "Palestinian" nationhood to begin with?

This is why more and more of us are putting the word "Palestinian" in quotation marks.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for Jewish people, and friends, to recognize an alleged nation that only came into existence within living memory for the specific purpose of undermining Jewish sovereignty on traditional Jewish land.

The "Palestinian" nation is distinct from the rest of the Arab world in only one significant way.

Its purpose is to kill Jews.

That's it and that is all.

Benedict Anderson, who was a highly regarded political scientist and historian at Cornell University (just recently deceased) suggested that nations are "imagined communities" i.e., social constructs.

If this is true - as in historically accurate - then there is no more obvious case than the Palestinian-Arabs.

The bottom line is that the Jewish people, anywhere in the world, are under no obligation to respect a people who came into existence "as a people" for the sole purpose of destroying the Jews.

In my view, this is what the Israeli government needs to tell the West in a direct and forthright manner.

Given Israeli intellectual clout, economic significance, and military strength, maybe it is time for Jerusalem to tell Washington D.C., Paris, and London to respect their Jewish neighbors and friends.

The truth is that because of Jewish talent, concentrated in Israel, we are developing friends throughout the rest of the world, including Africa and China and Japan (and the rest of south-east Asia) and even Russia and other countries.

"Palestinian Nationhood" is an Arafat legacy and an artificial construction from the long-dead Soviet regime.

Perhaps it's time to bury it.

Friday, August 26, 2016

the wing of small magellanic cloud

Dershowitz Awakens

Michael Lumish

I actually do not mean to give him too much of a hard time - not that he would notice, anyway - but in his most recent bit, published in The Algemeiner and G-d knows wherever else, Alan writes:
eyeOver the past several years, progressive Jews and supporters of Israel have had to come to terms with the reality that those who do not reject Israel and accept the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s unique brand of bigotry are no longer welcome in some progressive circles. And while both the Democratic and Republican parties have embraced the importance of the U.S. alliance with Israel, that dynamic is under threat more so than at any point in my lifetime.

You don't say!

The progressive-left and the Democratic Party have been increasingly pissing on the Jews of the Middle East since they had the temerity to win the 6 Day War in 1967. That was the year that "David" became "Goliath" in the entirely unoriginal progressive-left imagination.

But Dershowitz knows this.

He speaks as if this is some sort-of recent revelation.

It isn't.

Those of us, like the good professor, who follow the haranguing of Israel on a daily basis have known about this progressive-left tendency for decades, now.

The only real question is just what the hell we want to do about it?

My suggestion, as an American Jew, has been to tell the progressive-left, and the Democratic Party, to go screw. I know that is rather crude, and I have friends from Hebron to Sydney that would not approve of such language, but the point stands.
The self-described “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party — represented by radical and often repressive organizations such as MoveOn, CodePink, Occupy Wall Street, and Black Lives Matter (BLM) — has become openly opposed to the nation state of the Jewish people.
Well, thank Christ someone who matters noticed.

For decades, practically, I thought it was just me.

In any number of venues, for years now, I was saying, "Hey, if you continue to kick the crap out of the Jews we're likely to take off." And then, y'know, they would call me a racist and I would shake my little fist and leave.

What continues to astonish me, however, is the tenacity with which American Jews continue to grasp at the Democratic Party. I have never seen a people so kicked around who continue to kiss the feet of their abusers.

It's disgusting, really.
Using the pretext of intersectionality — a pseudo-academic theory which insists that all social justice movements, except those supportive of Jews or Israel, are inexorably linked — anti-Israel activists have successfully made opposition to Israel and support for BDS a litmus test, especially for Jews, to belong to “progressive” movements focused on a wide range of issues.

I will never forget the surreal moment of passing by the Malcolm X Student Plaza at San Francisco State University as a graduate student in the Department of History and seeing a bunch of black students on a platform featuring an American flag with 50 little Stars of David.

That was interesting, I have to say.

It certainly made an impression.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

On acknowledging the enemy

Sar Shalom

One of the images from the Rio Olympics that captured international attention was that of a North Korean and a South Korean gymnast posing for a selfie. It is truly the spirit of the Olympics in which athletes disregard the fact the leader of a fellow athlete's leader regularly threatens to incinerate one's home country, or from the other side embracing the embodiment of American imperialism. According to the BBC, some viewers have asked whether the North Korean gymnast will face consequences from her government when she returns home. The answer, according to the BBC, is that North Korea views such events present "one of the few avenues of public affairs diplomacy available to it," and actually encourages such actions.

This raises the question of why people could think such notions to begin with. Could it have something to do with Arab reactions to Team Israel, such as Lebanon refusing to let the Israelis on the bus it was riding or the Egyptian snubbing of the Israeli judoka's offer of a handshake? In the Egyptian case, if there was any censure at home for the Egyptian judoka, it was for participating in the match against the Israeli at all rather than forfeiting as has so often been done by Arab athletes.

This raises the question as to what is different in the dynamic between the Arabs/Muslims and Israel from that between North and South Korea. It would seem that the difference is in such interactions representing a rare "avenue of public affairs diplomacy" for North Korea whereas the Arabs/Muslims enjoy 24/7 a coddle, coddle, coddle approach all over the world. Perhaps if the Arabs were ostracized like North Korea for their judeophobia, they wouldn't be so punctilious about conforming to that stereotype. Would the Global Progressive Left give that a try? Doubt it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Raw Material Podcasts # 1: Sar Shalom

Michael Lumish

The Raw Material

Heya guys,

this is Michael Lumish talking to you from high atop my mountainous perch in the Oakland hills.

It is cloudy and cool again this morning, tuesday august 24, 2016.

Sar Shalom, at Israel Thrives, I am proud to say, wrote a very interesting and well-received piece entitled Surprise, surprise. JStreet U officer supports Black Lives Matter platform on Israel

Indeed, I'm shocked

Ian, at the Elder of Ziyon noted it in his daily list of links and Shirlee of Jews Down Under fame republished it, as did my friend, Yosef, at Love of the Land out of Hebron.

I want to take a few moments to discuss it because I think that it's central theme matters.

Sar Shalom is, in my terminology, acknowledging the obvious.

And that's not always easy to do.

Sometimes the obvious is the very last thing that people want to receive.

If that were not the case then people throughout the US and Europe and Australia and New Zealand (sorry, we tend to forget you guys - despite the lord of the rings) would stand up and say no to the Arab and Muslim re-creations of Jewish history

Sar Shalom writes,

"The important takeaway is what George Orwell taught decades ago, quote "He who controls the past controls the future." unquote.

That's absolutely correct.

I've been beating that drum for years, but we need intelligent and caring people like the guy who goes under the moniker, Sar Shalom, to stand up whatever their circumstances and whereever they may be.

In a certain kind of way I see people such as myself and Sar Shalom and all the men and women at Israel Thrives, like Trudy and Geoff from Australia and Jeff from the US and k - who is apparently on sabbatical - and oldschool26 who have great respect for, not to mention doodad who goes back farther than probably anyone else, from the old hideous Daily Kos day,

and Shirlee, the Elder of Ziyon and Ted Belman (of Israpundit) and Aussie Dave of Israellycool - a terrific blog that also features Ryan Bellerose.

I don't know what Bellerose thinks of me, but I love the guy.

I mean, look at this individual.

He's a big strong intelligent football playing Canadian native American Metis zionist.

How many people can say that?

I think that he is the only one in the universe!

But the point is that we have a small on-line community of people from throughout the world that care about the survival of the Jewish people and we need to connect with one another in a spirit of friendship, tactics, and coordination.

The new small vital groups include Stand With Us and I have had the priviledge of sitting on two panel discussions with my neighbor, Michael Harris, of that organization with Jon Segall who is a passionate advocate for Jewish rights to self-determination and self-defense, as well as a student and teacher of krav maga.

There are ladies and gentleman over at CAMERA and the algemeiner and the times of israel who are standing up

Professor Richard Landes of Boston University and the Augean Stables blog does so.

Professor Andrew Pessin who wrote The God Question: what famous thinkers from plato to dawkins have said about the divine

and my sincerest apologies to all you folk who are part of this fight, that I failed to mention

like Laurie, for example

At the end of the day, the purpose of pro-Israel / pro-Jewish advocacy is to defend the well-earned rights of the Jewish people going forward into the future and into the world.

This does not mean that we should neglect our friends in other communities, such as the African-American or Latino communities, but I do very definitely think that we should defend ourselves.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Surprise, surprise. JStreet U officer supports Black Lives Matter platform on Israel

Sar Shalom

{Also published at Jews Down Under.}

Tablet Magazine ran a few great takedowns of Black Lives Matter's platform as it concerns Israel. Unfortunately, they were followed by an article by Daniel May, a past Director of JStreet U, essentially saying that Israel's occupation policy is responsible for BLM's platform. While nearly every paragraph of May's deserves criticism, in particular his parroting of Haaretz's lies, I'd like to focus on his original sin. In the final paragraph, May writes:
Palestine will never advance so long as Jews deny the cost of Zionism. The Jewish nation’s independence was won only through the dispossession of another nation.
Everything in the case against "the Occupation" stems from the accusation the Jewish sovereignty was won by dispossessing another nation. From the dispossession narrative comes the "right to resist" which justifies Palestinian terror and, with such actions being justified, delegitimizes Israel's countermeasures. Hence we see the one-sided description from JStreet and their ilk.

To understand dispossession as it pertains to the "Palestinians," consider a counterfactual from American history. Suppose that when the Pilgrims came to Massachusetts (for simplicity, I will be using present-day names for places), the population of Indian tribes native to Massachusetts was small. However, just before then, a handful of tribes from Quebec had started migrating to Massachusetts and accelerated during the Pilgrims' lifetimes. Subsequently, the Pilgrims' descendants stopped the inflow from Quebec and imposed population controls on the Indian population in Massachusetts, affecting the Quebec tribes because they were the larger presence. Would such an action constitute dispossession for the Quebec tribes? Such is the case with the Palestinians.

While it is true that Arabs were the majority of the population of the southwest Levant before the advent of Zionism, it does not follow that all non-Jewish population change was the result of natural growth. In the decades before the first Aliya, the Ottomans started moving population from other parts of its empire to the southwest Levant. A larger impetus for immigration was the economic development created by the Zionists. The result is that as the Jewish population rose due to Zionist immigration, so did the Arab population due to Arab immigration. Neither the Ottomans nor the British attempted to document how many Arabs thus entered Palestine. Thus, we have no reliable numbers for how many entered or what percentage of those claiming to be Palestinian have actual ties to the southwest Levant from before the first Aliya. Thus, the dispossession narrative claims that denying sovereignty to immigrants from Arabia and Egypt is dispossessing those immigrants.

A larger flaw in the dispossession narrative is common accounts miss in how the conflict started, where "how the conflict started" means what changed from when there was relative calm. An example of the politically correct understanding of what changed between then and now comes from Vox's explanation of the conflict from back in January. According to the narrator of that clip, prior to 1870, the population was mostly Muslim and Christian with a small Jewish minority. Feathers were ruffled as Zionism, responding to issues in Europe, sent a large influx of European Jews to Palestine, fundamentally changing the nature of the land to those who had been living there previously.

The facts included in that narrative are accurate, however, it excludes other facts which are critical to understanding what changed. As mentioned above, one of those facts is Arab immigration. However, there is also the matter of relations between Jews and Muslims prior to the advent of Zionism. To understand this, it is necessary to go back to the 1830's when the Ottoman Empire sought European help to reclaim Palestine from Egypt. The condition for that help was an end to enforcing the Pact of Umar. After the Ottoman Empire regained Palestine, the Christians went about their lives ignoring the restrictions of the Pact, confident that Europe had their backs if the Ottomans would seek to impose consequences while the Jews voluntarily submitted because they had no major power backers. The Muslims thus loved the Jews because they gave the deference due to the master faith while hating the Christians for spurning the deference with impunity. A few decades later, Zionism introduced European and other Jews to the southwest Levant. The European Jews brought with them the ideals of the Enlightenment, ideals which they felt Europe failed to uphold towards them, and thus refused to abide by the humiliation engendered by the Pact. With that, any warm feelings the Muslims had for the Jews evaporated. While not all Arabs, or even all Muslim Arabs, in the Levant valued having the Jews display "proper deference" over economic opportunities, that began to change after the British appointed Amin al-Husseini as mufti of Jerusalem. Husseini used that position as a platform from which to promulgate that not doing so was treason to the Muslim umma, which combined with the honor-shame culture of the Arab world led to positions we see today.

The important takeaway is what George Orwell taught decades ago, "He who controls the past controls the future." If we ignore insinuations that Israel was created through the dispossession of the Palestinians, then we are ceding control of the past to the post-Zionists and the Palestinianists, and therefore we cede to them the future, that is the litany of "Occupation" perpetuating the dispossession from a century ago.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Big O (Updated)

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Elder of Ziyon.}

big oJeffwithaJ mentioned The Big O over at Israel Thrives in reference to a Tablet article written by Daniel May, a doctoral candidate in Religion, Ethics and Politics at Princeton University and a former director of J Street U entitled, "The Problem Isn’t Black Lives Matter. It’s the Occupation."

I responded as follows:

"The Occupation with the Big O.
What is the significance of the Big O?

It is the Big Daddy of all Occupations.

It is the means by which some Jews, particularly in diaspora, make themselves feel superior to Arabs and Muslims.

After all, if 6 million Jews in the Middle East can defeat the Palestinian-Arabs, via the Big O, despite the serious objections of 400 million Arabs and 1.5 billion Muslims, what does that say about Jewish strength?

It says that, # 1, Jews kick ass and, # 2, we're humble enough to regret it. 
It's a means by which goodhearted and intellectually-inclined Jewish boys and girls get, on the one hand, to feel powerful even while, on the other hand, they burnish moral credentials. There is a kind-of arrogance to the use of the Big O by Jews when discussing those few of us who choose to live in the lands of our heritage. 
It raises us and diminishes us, both, at the same time."
The first time that I came across the term was in a children's book by Shel Silverstein called The Missing Piece Meets the Big O... which, although it has been awhile since I read it, I am pretty sure had something to do with sex.

(Update: According to a highly respected reader the above claim, that the book has something to do with sexuality, is false. I suspect he may be reading this little book a bit too narrowly, but certainly anyone unfamiliar with Shel Silverstein should know that his work is perfectly innocent. )

Today, however, when I think of The Big O, sadly, I tend to think of the capitalized word "Occupation."

As any linguist - including Noam Chomsky - will tell you, the terminology within which we discuss any topic, particularly highly charged topics, like political topics, gives away our biases. When people use "The Big O" to discuss the presence of Jewish people in Judea (and Samaria) it indicates something more than disdain for Jews.

It indicates an off-handed contempt for the Arabs, who are wrongly thought of as weak, and a true dislike for the Jews of Israel who are thought of as racist imperialists.

The very first thing that must be acknowledged is that Jews cannot "illegally occupy" the very land where Jews come from. It is as if they want to bring us back to Medieval wandering status. The Wandering Jew. 

Jews occupy the Land of Israel in the ways that the French occupy France or the ways in which Czech's occupy the Czech Republic.

Arabs, and many Muslims, may despise Jews for traditional religious reasons - embedded in fourteen centuries of hostile Islamic theocratic doctrine and dogma - but that does not mean that we are going to surrender the only small place that we have, as our own, on this planet.

The problem, however, is not just the Arabs.

It is the Jews who swing around The Big O.

Progressive-left, Democratic-Party-Leaning, navel-gazing, guilt-ridden, white-western, upwardly-mobile, American and European Jews, are so riddled with humanitarian racism that they cannot even begin to imagine that non-Jews "of color" have agency. It seldom occurs to them that non-white people should not be reduced to mere victims of the progressive-left imagination. It seldom occurs to them that by insisting that people "of color" are merely victims of Whitey that they are robbing these people of their dignity.

In the meantime, many will point the trembling finger of blame toward their fellow Jews on the other side of the planet and accuse them of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and The Big O.

Is This the New Europe?

Michael L.

So, what we see in this clip - uploaded to Youtube on August 17 of this year and beginning around the 30 second mark - is apparently a gang of young Muslim immigrants, possibly on their way to Germany and Sweden, robbing and vandalizing a restaurant somewhere in Italy.

You know, I grew up with dogs.

From the moment of my birth in the mid-60s to the present I've almost always had pooches. I love dogs despite the fact that mine defecate on my lawn and drool on my pillows.

It's disgusting!

Would you allow a friend into your home knowing that he is going to defecate on your lawn, in front of the entire neighborhood, and will then come into your house, crawl into your bed, and start salivating?

I do not think so.

The difference, of course, is that no friend of yours would ever do any such thing. In fact, even your worst enemies would never do any such thing, if only to maintain their personal dignity. But dogs, of course, are cute and loyal and perform a host of jobs for their human companions because, indeed, they are "man's best friend."

What is the excuse, I wonder, of the violent idiots in the video?

By the way, my favorite comment under the video is this:
OctoB 5 hours ago

they didn't even leave a tip

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Arab-Israel Conflict in a Nutshell

Michael L.

Or Sasson
I am astonished, and vaguely disgusted, to find myself in praise of Ha'aretz.

Given the prominence of anti-Zionist Jewish journalists on the payroll, such as Gideon Levy and Amira Hass, it is not very often that I drop into that little neck of the universe.


There it was.

A pro-Israel / pro-Jewish article in Ha'aretz - of all places - discussing anti-Jewish Arab racism in the Olympics.

As anyone who follows the Long Arab War Against the Jews knows, the basis of the conflict is centuries' long, Koranically-based Arab-Muslim contempt for the Jewish people.

And just a little bit of that contempt was expressed by Egyptian judoka, Islam el-Shehaby, when he refused to shake the hand of the victor in his match, Israeli-Jewish judoka, Or Sasson, or even bow to him at the beginning of the match.

Here it is:

Writing in Ha'aretz, David Rosenberg tells us:
For the IOC, Shehaby's bad behavior was “contrary to the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic Values,” but nothing more. For the media, the affair was another instance of Middle East tensions boiling over into the Olympics, like the Lebanese team refusing to let Israeli athletes board the same bus, and unconfirmed reports that Saudi judoka Joud Fahmy forfeited a match to avoid fighting an Israeli in the next round...

a search of Olympic snubs comes up with zero incidents apart from Arabs dissing Israelis... 
There are no cases of Israelis dissing Arabs, and none of Yemenis insulting the Saudis who are bombing their country. There are no protests against the Syrians who are, with the help of their Arab brothers, slaughtering each other. Nor are there incidents between Iran or Russia, who are both playing a key role in the Syrian bloodbath, with anyone in the Arab world.
The Egyptians, the Lebanese, and probably the Saudi athlete, as well.

People seem to believe that the grounding of the conflict between Arabs and Jews (or is it Muslims and Jews?) is due to Jewish misbehavior toward Arabs within, and around, Israel.

This is false.

A single honest glance of the history of the Jewish minority under thirteen centuries of Arab-Muslim imperial rule in the Middle East would automatically rule out such a conclusion by any fair interlocutor.

This Week on Nothing Left (August 16, 2016)

These guys are a breath of fresh air.

Nothing Left - Episode 112 - 8/16/16

Rev Willem Glashouwer & Andrew Tucker (Christians for Israel)

Aussie Dave (Israellycool)

Julie Nathan (Executive Council of Australian Jewry)

Michael Kuttner (The Israel Resource News Agency)

 Isi Leibler (Jerusalem Post)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Podcast: the Demonization of Israel

The Raw Material

Heya guys, this is Michael Lumish coming to you from Oakland California, the land of Mexican food trucks, the Hells Angels and medical cannabis.

Y'know, the guys over at J-AIRs Nothing Left, Michael Burd and Alan Freedman, were kind enough to allow me to express myself on their venue and I appreciate it very much. It all goes back to Shirlee Finn of Jews Down Under. Were it not for Shirlee Michael and I would never have met.

So, what I think that I want to do are regular podcasts - once a week - maybe five minutes or so.

My previous bits were under the heading of quote The Failure of Progressive Left Zionism unqote. And I ran through my critisms on that topic over at Nothing Left with the felahs in Melbourne. And, of course, its on the right sidebar here at Israel Thrives.

And, I have to tell ya, when a number of years ago I first drew up that list it seemed to me that these were criticisms very much in need of making. I knew that it would piss off certain people and it did. And the thing of it is is that this is not scholarly material, this is not academic work, these are merely my impressions and understandings put forward in a casual manner about a topic - the Arab-Israel conflict - that is important to me.

And the only reason that you would even be listening to this is because it is important to you, as well. I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone else would listen to this stuff. Can you???

So this format - podcast - or whatever the hell it is - is a kind of new start. And, I have to tell ya, that I am not the least bit comfortable with it. I am someone comfortable with producing text, not audio.

I think, tho, that my core message is that the demonization of Israel by so many on the progressive left is both unjust and a betrayal of the Jewish people and that Jews who care about the well-being of their fellow Jews should object!

Stand up.

Fight back.

Y'kno, this weird historical inversion that is so often employed wherein Jews are the New Nazis and Palestinian-Arabs are the New Jews is an ideological club used by anti-Jewish racists to smack the holy crap out of the Jewish people employing the very worst catastrophe that has ever happened to us.

In other words, progressive-left anti-Semites use the Holocaust as a bludgeon upon contemporary Jews.

And these are the people who think of themselves as anti-racist!

The hypocrisy is profound.

Saturday, August 13, 2016


Michael L.

{Also published at Jews Down Under and the Elder of Ziyon.}

Death-and-taxesI was going to name this piece "The Death of American Politics" but American politics has been dying since it was born.

That is, American politics has been so partisan and so toxic for so long that it has become virtually impossible to separate fair assessments of truth from media-driven propagandistic bullshit which, today, almost always favors the Democratic Party.

The gang rape of Donald Trump makes for an interesting case in point.

It no longer matters much what Donald Trump says because even if he says "boo" the media will clobber him on behalf of the Clinton campaign, which is to say, on behalf of the dysfunctional Democratic Party status-quo.

No matter what Trump says the progressive-left and the Democratic Party will defame him as a racist and a sexist.

The great irony, of course, is that the progressive-left is the most racist political movement in the West today, outside of political Islam, and a great enemy, along with political Islam, of the Jewish people. Even as progressives and many Democrats decry the lone, sole Jewish state as a racist, colonialist, imperialist, militaristic monstrosity - despite its democracy and liberalism and general decency compared with so much of the rest of the world - they perpetually whitewash and make excuses for the very worst aspects of political Islam.

A Muslim slaughters 49 people in a Gay nightclub in Orlando in the name of the Islamic State?

Blame the Republicans or blame Trump or blame generalized American bigotry and homophobia or some alleged violent American "gun culture." But whatever you do, do not blame political Islam because that would make you a "racist." The progressive-left and the Democratic Party consider "people of color" to be something akin to little children that must be protected from the foreseeable consequences of their own behavior. It is the twenty-first century version of "White Man's Burden."

And it is the most prominent form of bigotry today among westerners.

This form of bigotry - otherwise known as humanitarian racism - like all prominent forms of bigotry, has wide-ranging consequences. Because white western "liberals" consider non-white-westerners to be naturally inferior and, therefore, in need of protection, they refuse to criticize political Islam. This means that the hard-core boys in the Islamist organizations (like ISIS and Hamas and Boko Haram and on and on and on) flourish, while the true Muslim moderates and secularists are shunted aside by the West even as under physical threat from their Islamist brothers.

{They embrace Islamists like Tariq Ramadan as they spit hatred toward reformers like Ayaan Hirsi Ali.}

It means that Arab and Muslim homophobia, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and generalized anti-non-Muslim bigotry and persecution, are given a pass because to do otherwise opens oneself to charges of racism and, therefore, to social ostracism (among the political and intellectual sectors) and potential loss of employment.

It means that ISIS gets a pass even as it buries Yazidi kids alive in mass graves and beheads Christian Copts by the dozens and blows priceless antiquities (the very birthright of humanity) to smithereens.

Donald Trump is not a racist for wanting to hold back Islamic immigration until we develop effective screening methods. Political Islam - like Nazism or Soviet Communism - is an ideologically violent political movement and we know that a certain percentage of emigres will be Jihadis. Thus any normal functioning intelligence would conclude that holding back Arab and Muslim immigration into the United States is merely common sense. This does not mean that we keep a Muslim grandmother from Manchester from seeing her grandkids in Michigan. Nor does it mean that we prevent a Muslim physician from Toronto from traveling to Manhattan to perform a surgery.

What it means is necessary due diligence so that San Francisco does not start looking like Paris with blood running in the streets.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

This week on NOTHING LEFT (9 Aug 2016)

Michael L.

This week Michael Burd and Alan Freedman, from Nothing Left of mighty J-Air, out of Melbourne give us:

3 min Editorial: World Vision /Gaza scandal

10 min Noni Darwish, former Muslim talks about Interfaith,Muslim immigration, Sharia Law & the Jews

38min Michael’s view on interfaith (inc R’ J Hausman's view on why his colleagues are not doing their homework/ clip)

46 min Mike Lumish, Israel Thrives blog, USA

51 min David Bedein, investigative journalist

1 hr 14 min Ron Jontoff-Hutter, Berlin based writer

My piece is the final in my Failures of Progressive-Left Zionism series and is concerned with the tendency, which we also see from the Obama administration and the progressive-left, more generally, is the tendency to join with enemies (such as, for example, Black Lives Matter) while spitting hatred at friends.

Finishing Evelyn Gordon's thought

Sar Shalom

Evelyn Gordon has an excellent post up about the threat posed by the Joint List in Israel. If I were to raise one objection, it would be the premature ending of her post. She finishes with,
What Israel desperately needs is a truly moderate Arab political leadership. But it will never have one as long as people who favor coexistence insist on embracing radicals rather than shunning them.
She is right that the pseudomoderates who pursue their radicalism under cover of participating within the system should be shunned rather than embraced, she neglects that there is a truly moderate Arab political leadership. Ali Salam, mayor of Nazareth.
Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam took a bold step in expelling the chairman of the Joint List, Knesset member Ayman Odeh, from his town Oct. 11, even if it caused a ruckus in front of the TV cameras. ... Salam is a popular, well-respected mayor who spends his days managing Israel’s largest Arab city. As part of his job, he is intimately familiar with the crises facing the Israeli Arab sector and knows exactly what it needs. In the 2013 municipal elections, he easily defeated Knesset member Haneen Zoabi for the post. Zoabi believed that since she was a well-known figure and the "star of the Gaza flotilla,” she would win handily. But even the young people weren’t very excited by her candidacy, and she suffered a humiliating defeat with barely 10% of the vote. The elections in Nazareth showed the real priorities of the local population.
The only problem with Salam is that, for now, he is only mayor of Nazareth and not a national figure and as such is largely ignored by the international community. Yes we need to stop embracing the pseudomoderates and shun them. However, we also need to stop shunning the genuine moderates like Ali Salam and embrace them.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

"GUPS is the very purpose of this great university." - San Francisco State University President Leslie Wong

Michael L.

{Also published at the Elder of Ziyon and Israpundit.}

I remain dismayed at what looks to be a sincere disregard for the well-being of Jewish students on the campus of San Francisco State University.

This may come as something of a surprise to SFSU President Leslie Wong because I have no doubt that he thinks of himself as just as much a friend of the Jewish community as he is with every other ethnic group at the university.

Well, sadly, he isn't.

Let's look at two very simple facts.

1) Wong praised the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) and their advisor, Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, as representing the best values of the school in April of 2015.

2) GUPS calls for violence against Jews within Israel, if not elsewhere.

What I fail to understand is how he can possibly square this circle.

In a video created during a reception to celebrate the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) initiative, and the creation of an undergraduate minor in that sub-field, Wong said:
"I want to offer my personal congratulations to the student leadership of GUPS. They have been an inspiration for me. And they have helped me when I have to tell other community groups to mind their own business. GUPS is the very purpose of this great university."

The student leadership of GUPS?

Would that include this former president of GUPS, Mr. Mohammad Hammad, and his famous blade from 2013?


In case anyone has any difficulty reading Mr. Hammad's sentiment, he claims:
"I seriously can not get over how much I love this blade. It is the sharpest thing I own and cuts through everything like butter and just holding it makes me want to stab an Israeli soldier."
The case of Mohammad Hammad, from 2013, when he posted his violently-inclined social media bit, was well-known to President Wong long before he praised GUPS leadership as a personal inspiration in 2015. This story was well-covered and we know for a fact that Wong was well aware of it.

As I wrote at the time:
Tammi Benjamin, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the ACHMA Initiative seems to be taking the lead and "Dusty" at Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers put up a website devoted entirely to SFSU and its ongoing reputation for hostilities toward the Jewish State of Israel.  The Elder of Ziyon has also showed considerable interest and linked to one of my posts at the Times of Israel with the exceedingly sad title, "Canned Palestinian Children Meat."

Israellycool is covering it.

The Jewish Press is covering it.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is involved.

The Times of Israel has taken notice.

The Jewish Journal Says Hello.
Furthermore, it must be noted that when the students of GUPS stand on the quad at Malcolm X Plaza and chant "Intifada! Intifada! Long live the Intifada!" they are quite literally calling for the murder of Jewish people.

What does SFSU President Wong think that "Intifada" means?

This material is largely a rehash, of course, but the issue hangs in there - as we see from this recent piece by columnist Cinammon Stillwell, published in the Independent Journal Review entitled, "Why Is A San Francisco University Secretly Partnering With An Arab College That Promotes Jihad?"

It is precisely because so many at San Francisco State University honestly believe that Arabs have good reason to seek the murder of Jews that Wong has little problem with student cries for Intifada.

In the mean time, I would recommend that Jewish students take up a martial art, perhaps Krav Maga.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Skokie, and lessons for today

Sar Shalom

In 1977 and 1978, the National Socialist Party of America (NSPA) attempted to march through the Chicago suburb of Skokie, home to numerous survivors of the Holocaust. Acting much like today's university administrators presented with proposals for controversial presentations, the village government refused the NSPA permission to march. The NSPA responded by suing the village, the proceedings of which, both in court and in public, became the subject of the 1981 film Skokie.

If there is any group which is deserving of safe space, it would be the survivors of the Holocaust who traveled thousands of miles from the horrors they experienced, and sought nothing more than to rebuild their lives. Yet, the courts ruled that the neo-Nazis' right to free speech overrode the Holocaust survivors' right to a safe space. The message for today's activists on campus is that there is no right to a safe space on campus that overrides otherwise protected free speech. If someone does not trespass an accepted limit for free speech, then such speech's violating a "safe space" cannot serve as a basis to prohibit it.

A final point is the message delivered by Aryeh Neier to an audience in the synagogue about the difference between the NPSA's planned march through Skokie and the Nazis' original marches through Germany. Neier's point was that the Nazis' ability to march was not what enabled them to grow, rather, it was their ability to restrain anyone who would speak or act against them, and the inability or unwillingness of the Weimar government to protect the rights of those who opposed the Nazis. Such is the case today with Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP) and allied groups on campus today. They freely disrupt presentations by pro-Israel speakers, denying them their right to peacably conduct their talks. The university administrations, as did the Weimar goverment 86 years ago, allows SJP to do so. That is where we must push for a change.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

ISIS as a Strategic Tool?

Michael L.

{Also published at Jews Down Under.}

isisProfessor Efraim Inbar of Bar-Ilan University, in Israel, and the Director of its Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies has a piece for Israel National News entitled, "The destruction of ISIS is a strategic mistake."

When I first glanced at that headline I thought, "Good lord, man, you must be joking."

ISIS is the foremost Islamist organization operating in the world today with the possible exception of the Muslim Brotherhood who they make look like a bunch of pansies.

ISIS has buried Yazidis - men, women, and children - alive in mass graves.

ISIS sells prepubescent girls into sexual slavery.

ISIS is committing a genocide against the Christians of the Middle East and it does not take much imagination to understand what they would likely do to the Jews in the region if they could get their claws on them.

ISIS bulldozes, and otherwise destroys, priceless antiquities that represent the very birthright of humanity, such as the ruins at Palmyra.

Palmyra, Syria, before ISIS: (Reuters)

Palmyra, Syria, after ISIS: (Reuters)

So when Professor Inbar suggests that "a weak IS is, counterintuitively, preferable to a destroyed IS," I certainly agree that it is counterintuitive. In fact, I thought that it was nuts! Political Islam is to the twenty-first-century what Nazism was to the twentieth. The analogy, obviously, is far from perfect, however both movements are (or were) racist, fascistic, violent, and very much in need of going away.

If the global struggles of the last century were the struggles between the liberal west and early twentieth-century fascism, and then Soviet Communism, the primary global struggle today is between the secular west and political Islam, of which ISIS is merely one main branch.

I have been arguing for a few years, now, that the West needs to crush ISIS in the way that it did Nazi Germany. These are the very worst actors in human history since Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were joyously romping through Cambodia, slaughtering as they went and putting college professors to the digging of ditches.

Professor Inbar notes that "US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently gathered defense ministers from allied nations to plan what officials hope will be the decisive stage in the campaign to eradicate the Islamic State (IS) organization."

However, he considers this to be a strategic mistake.

He argues the following:

1) A defeated ISIS will create a terrorist "diaspora" that will spread murder and mayhem elsewhere in the world. He writes:
If IS loses control over its territory, the energies that went into protecting and governing a state will be directed toward organizing more terrorist attacks beyond its borders. The collapse of IS will produce a terrorist diaspora that might further radicalize Muslim immigrants in the West.
2) An ISIS that is reduced to a pathetic shadow of its current self would not very well inspire the longings of potential Junior Jihadis, either in the Middle East or elsewhere.

But his primary argument is, number 3, the following:
The continuing existence of IS serves a strategic purpose. Why help the brutal Assad regime win the Syrian civil war? Many radical Islamists in the opposition forces, i.e., Al Nusra and its offshoots, might find other arenas in which to operate closer to Paris and Berlin. Is it in the West’s interests to strengthen the Russian grip on Syria and bolster its influence in the Middle East? Is enhancing Iranian control of Iraq congruent with American objectives in that country? Only the strategic folly that currently prevails in Washington can consider it a positive to enhance the power of the Moscow-Tehran-Damascus axis by cooperating with Russia against IS. (My emphasis.)
So, the professor's fundamental idea is that the West can, essentially, use ISIS as a strategic tool in its contest with Russia, Iran, and Syria.

For a moment I thought that maybe Professor Inbar was on to something until I detected a clear flaw in his logic.

The essential idea seems to be that eliminating ISIS would "enhance the power of the Moscow-Tehran-Damascus axis...".

Given the fact that ISIS is an enemy to all three there is logic to the argument.

What fails to convince, though, is how it is that a weak and pathetic ISIS could possibly represent a strategic tool in holding back Russian or Iranian expansion within the Middle East?

If the West staggers ISIS, but fails to kill it, how can it possibly function in a manner that could in any way serve as a bulwark against the Russians or the Iranians?

My suspicion is that the professor is being a tad too clever, but that is what he gets paid for... to think in original ways concerning difficult and important matters.

As an American, though - and as a Giant's fan - I would suggest that the professor's pitch is a bit off the plate.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Brief Note: "Long Live the Intifada!"

Michael L.

briefnotesIt has to be understood by politicians and educators that when Arab students, and their white western allies, gather in quads in Europe and the United States, within their respective universities, and wave around Palestinian flags and chant "Intifada! Intifada! Long live the intifada!," that they are quite literally calling for the murder of Jews.

This latest intifada over in Israel has been particularly fun. They call it "the stabbing intifada" or "the car ramming intifada" but whatever they call it, it means killing Jews.

Now, it could be that university administrators tend to think that the effort on the part of Israeli Arabs to kill Jewish people is a good thing because it represents righteous resistance to the "Occupation"... with the Big O.

Or, it could be that, as university administrators, they're just stone-cold ignorant.

It is hard to know.

One thing is certain, however, Arab students throughout the United States and Europe are screeching for the blood of Jews and university administrators, such as professor Leslie Wong at San Francisco State University, could hardly care less.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Today's Nothing Left Podcast

Michael L.


a fantastic speech on Israel at the Republican Convention 0: 10

David Singer 14:40

Mike Lumish 45:00

Richard Millett 50:00

Stan Goodenough 1:12:40

Isi Leibler 1:29 00

As usual Michael Burd and Alan Freedman are the hosts and this represents my second to last piece for these guys.

If you care about Israel, or the well-being of the Jewish people, and if you are sick-to-death of politically-correct authoritarianism of the sort that they continue to dish out in places like Daily Kos or the Huffington Post or the Guardian, then you should definitely give these guys a listen.

My brief piece is part of my larger series which I call The Failures of Progressive Left Zionism, links to which can be found on the right sidebar of this blog.

Basically, I discuss how the failure to place the conflict within the longer history of Muslim persecution of the Jews - as second and third non-citizens under Islamic imperial rule for thirteen centuries - completely undermines any case that they can possibly make.

In any case, next week will be the last of the series, concerned with frenemies, and that might represent my last bit for the fellahs down in Melbourne.

What I may do, however, is maintain a 5 minute weekly podcast here at Israel Thrives.

We shall see.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Suzanne Nossel condemns GONGOs, except when she supports them

Sar Shalom

The current issue of Democracy Journal has an article by Suzanne Nossel, described in the byline as a former COO of Human Rights Watch and former Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, dealing with confronting efforts of authoritarian regimes to suppress civil society. This is an altogether important issue. However, in the second paragraphy, Nossel writes, "... as well as democracies like Israel, India, and Turkey, have gone on the attack, aiming to discredit and harass local groups," thus likening Israel to the pseudodemocracy of Turkey where the opposition is free to run whatever candidates it likes, but is restricted by government decree in disseminating why the public should support it. While it is unsurprising that a former executive from Amnesty and HRW would seek to leverage any legitimate issue in order to bash Israel, there is a part of her article that is worth a look.

Later on in the article, Nossel writes:
For all these reasons, civil society has become both more important and more dangerous in the eyes of governments. So much so that authorities in China, Azerbaijan, Russia, and elsewhere have constituted government-controlled entities that pose as NGOs (so-called GONGOs or government-organized NGOs) with the objective of claiming the mantle of citizen-based credibility in order to defend government positions.
So it would seem that Nossel opposes governmental use of NGOs in order to give a civil society-veneer for the government's agenda. However, previously we read,
serious concerns with a proposed Israeli law that would require NGOs receiving substantial foreign funding to announce the same at any public gathering where they appear.
One factual point that must be made clear, Israeli-staffed NGOs receiving their budgets from foreign private entities will face no new disclosure requirements. The entities that will be required to disclose their funding sources will be those receiving their funds from foreign governments, in other words the GONGOs.

This raises the questions, when does Ms. Nossel, and her fellows at HRW and Amnesty, consider public endowment of GONGOs to be a perversion of civil society that simply provides an astroturf fig leaf for governmental action and is support for GONGOs to be praised with every attempt to expose it to be condemned? Could it be that when GONGOs are a weapon in the war to delegitimize Israel that everything about their perversion of civil society should be ignored in order to fulfill the world's most pressing priority, putting uppity Jews in their place?