Friday, April 20, 2018

An Open Letter to Gail Simmons of Food & Wine Magazine Concerning Its Honoring of Racist Cafe Owner, Reem Assil

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Algemeiner.}

Gail Simmons
of Food & Wine
and Top Chef
Dear Gail,

Laurie and I have been fans of Top Chef since the 2006 opening-season in San Francisco. We lived in the Central Haight at the time and were recently married as I was chewing on a dissertation and she was designing a career in marketing. We also briefly talked with you at a Grapes to Glass festival in Sonoma a few years ago.

You were at the Food & Wine table and we just dropped by to say "hello" as fans.

I may have been a bit star-struck at the time.

I am also, by the way, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a PhD in American History from Penn State University.

The reason that I am knocking on your door is to sincerely request that Food & Wine not honor Reem Assil's culinary efforts in Oakland. I suppose that it is too late since it has already named Reem's among Food & Wine Restaurants of the Year for 2018.

It is not your fault, but Food & Wine is making a mistake.

By venerating the antisemitic murderer Rasmea Odeh, Reem Assil is popularizing hatred for Jewish people in day-to-day retail spaces within the San Francisco Bay Area.

Terry Joffe Benaryeh, the niece of Edward Joffe, has written about the trauma to her family and their overcoming of that trauma in the pages of the Times of Israel. She writes eloquently about moving her family beyond the very malice that Reem Assil celebrates.

Reem's flatbread and coffee-shop features a floor-to-ceiling mural of the murderer of Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner. They were just college students, barely out of their teens in Jerusalem from the Hebrew University when Rasmea Odeh shattered their bones all over the Supersol grocery store in 1969 on behalf of the PFLP. This is essentially the same group that pushed 69-year-old wheel-chair bound Leon Klinghoffer off of the deck of the Achille Lauro during a cruise with his wife in celebration of their 36th wedding anniversary.

I am closely familiar with this story because Reem Assil and her attorneys dragged me into the legal system for writing about it on my small blog, Israel Thrives.

Among the people best able to describe Rasmea Odeh's political murders is Cornell University Professor of Law, William Jacobson:

But the truth is - whatever the quality of Assil's flatbread - this woman is not only honoring an ideological antisemitic killer but is popularizing it on the local, retail-level in the name of "social justice."

I sincerely hope that Food & Wine will recognize that it has made an understandable mistake because it is not as if Assil's veneration of the murderer Rasmea Odeh is common knowledge.

I do not believe that this mistake was malicious, but it should be corrected not only for the integrity of Food & Wine but because it is simply not ethical.

But what cuts close to the bone for me personally is the fact that three times Reem Assil and her attorneys sought Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) against me and were three times denied by the courts. They sought these TROs not because I ever spoke with Reem Assil or ever came within ten feet of the woman. I do not know her. Yet Assil's attorney's sought these restraining orders to prevent me from writing about the demonstrable fact that she is celebrating an ideological killer of Jews.

What most analyses of this story miss are two crucial points.

The first is that in her legal efforts to silence our vigils for the dead, Assil also sought to push against the Western and American tradition of freedom of speech. My case was a test case. It was meant to see if Assil and her friends could not legally silence American Jews, and friends of the Jewish people, from speaking out against antisemitism.

The second is that in celebrating Rasmea Odeh in that giant floor-to-ceiling mural, Assil sought to mainstream violent antisemitism in common American retail spaces. It represents the popular cultural expression of hatred towards Jews.

I very much want you to understand that it is not in the interest of Food & Wine, or anyone else, to join such a racist celebration within living memory of the Holocaust.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Note to an Old Friend

Michael Lumish

I recently started communicating with a guy that I have known online since my days on Daily Kos and Maryscott O'Connor's defunct My Left Wing.

This gentleman is, to my mind, an intelligent person to be respected.

He is a pro-Israel Jew, an attorney, a progressive, and an epicure.

But what I fail to understand is how even highly sophisticated and intelligent people simply refuse to acknowledge the fact that the Left is the greatest purveyor of bigotry and hatred in the United States today.

I asked this question:
The American Right is giving up racism, while the Left is racializing everything.

Am I wrong?
My old friend agreed with others that, yes, I am wrong.

This is my response to the guy:
Even here I have to disagree with you.

The problem with the Left is not at the fringes - as it is on the Right - but in the mainstream, both grassroots and organizational.

{And please understand that my intention is not to be confrontational or partisan.}

The truth, as you well know, is that antisemitic anti-Zionism in the West is largely coming from the Left and political Islam.

Even just today we have the women's movement under Linda Sarsour and others dismissing the Anti-Defamation League as essentially a racist organization.

It is left-leaning organizational venues, like the NYT or the Guardian or the HuffPost or, yes, Daily Kos, that have made homes of themselves for political anti-Zionism.

And, needless to say, this constant whining and screeching and moaning and groaning about the evils of "whiteness" and "white" people comes entirely from the Western Left.

One of my fundamental criticisms of the American Left is that we do not get to pick-and-choose which ethnic groups it is OK to be hateful towards.

Progressive-left racism represents a big blind-spot for the Left.

But all racists throughout history have believed that their racism was fully justified... and, thus, not really "racism" at all.
And on a related note to a different person under the same discussion who, although highly intelligent himself, refuses to acknowledge American advancement in racial relations, I wrote:
You are misreading American history entirely.

Between Martin Luther King, Jr. and the presidency of Barack Obama the United States did more to move beyond the crusty old racisms of the past than any other country during a similar period of time and no one did more than did the American right-wing in that regard.

The right, under William F. Buckley Jr., emphatically repudiated mainstream Republican Party antisemitism and in recent decades has absolutely repudiated de jure racism of the type that typified Jim Crow.

Unfortunately - and, again, I say this as someone who comes out of the American Left - it is within the Left that we are seeing the shedding of liberalism and the rise of truly intense forms of bigotry and racial hatred.

The three fundamental types of progressive-left bigotry are anti-white racism, antisemitic anti-Zionism, and the type of "humanitarian" racism which treats people of non-European descent like children.

What seems fairly obvious, and very sad, is the apparent need of many political people on the Left to continue whipping up racial tensions after a time when we've moved so well beyond them.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Rabbi Slifkin and Ayman Odeh on Israel's independence

Sar Shalom

The New York Times carried yet another propaganda piece by Ayman Odeh decrying Israel's Independence Day as the Palestinians' "Nakba." Among the points Odeh raises is that of the 70,000 Arabs in the Haifa area before the Independence War, all but 2,000 were, according to Odeh's narrative, expelled, with his grandparents among the 2,000 who remained.

Odeh goes on to list other crimes he attributes to Israel. On one level, it would be worth fisking those claims. However, on another level, it is worth looking at an analysis of another group's response to Israel's Memorial/Independence Day by Rabbi Natan Slifkin. In describing the reasons for chareidi practice, Slifkin describes:
There are the explanations that are given for kiruv or PR or even internal purposes, and that are believed by many Anglo charedi wannabees, and sometimes even by some real McCoy Israeli charedim. And then there are the real explanations, which are well understood by astute observers of the charedi world, as well as many people within the charedi world.
One of Slifkin's examples is Yom Hashoah for which Rabbi Slifkin writes:
Explanations such as "the siren is chukas hagoy," or "we don't mourn during Nissan," or .... The real reason is that Yom HaShoah is an event created by and for the nation of the State of Israel as a whole, and charedim do not want to identify as part of that wider community.
A similar phenomenon is in effect with Arab complaints about Israeli abuse of the "indigenous" Palestinians. The public reasons are the ones that Odeh wrote and the the NY Times published today. The real reason is that the Jews have abrogated the Pact of Umar and the Arabs are angry that they cannot respond as Abu Ishaq did in 1066.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

This Week on Nothing Left

Michael Lumish

This week Michael Burd and Alan Freedman speak with Rev Fred Nile about conservative politics and his participation in a joint Jewish-Christian event in Sydney to mark Israel’s 70th birthday, and then hear an interview Michael conducted with ‘Robert’, a Gaza supporter at the recent rally in Melbourne and the holder of some very strange views.

The guys then follow up on the situation of Jeremy Corbyn and UK Jewry with British blogger Richard Millett and academic Frank Furedi.

And while Isi Leibler is taking some time off, Michael and Alan catch up on the latest in Israel with Arnold Roth.

3 min Editorial: Israel’s right to exist

11 min Rev Fred Nile, Christian support for Israel

36 min Discussion and then Gaza supporter ‘Robert’ at Melbourne rally

50 min Richard Millet, UK blogger on Corbyn and UK Jewry

1 hr 10 Frank Furedi, UK academic on Corbyn and UK Jewry

1 hr 28 Arnold Roth in Israel

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

Or its Facebook page.

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

Contact Michael and Alan at Nothing Left:

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Ruth Wisse and the Israeli "Messy House" Metaphor

Michael Lumish

{Also published at Jews Down Under.}

Ruth Wisse
Professor of Yiddish Literature, Harvard
Israel has been in for vicious criticism recently over its response to the violent Arab March of Return.

Hamas sent about 30,000 soldiers, and families of soldiers, to challenge the integrity of the fence between Israel and Gaza. They have also burned thousands of tires near that fence creating a local environmental catastrophe.

About seventeen people were killed in the first wave of this little adventure-slash-picnic and, according to some sources, about seven hundred people were shot by the IDF.

{This statistic, by the way, is difficult to believe. If the IDF shot up over seven hundred people there would definitely be more than seventeen, or so, dead.}

Simultaneously, Israelis are in an uproar over their version of the Middle East / African immigration crisis.

There are about 38,000 illegal immigrants from Africa in the country who have created their own little ghetto in south Tel Aviv. Some are calling that neighborhood "Little Africa." The high-pitched, table-pounding debate within Israel is about just what to do with these people.

The right-wing wants them deported because they are illegal immigrants and the left-wing wants them to move in with your grandmother.

In recent months it looked as if the Netanyahu government might deport them back to Africa, but a deal was struck through the offices of the United Nations wherein Western countries would take in half of those illegal immigrants and Israel would assimilate the other half. My sense is that this was a compromise that most on both sides of the argument could live with.

Needless to say, Netanyahu canceled the deal and now no one is happy. The left-wing in Israel is screaming from the rafters that this is cruel because all refugees deserve - as a friend of mine put it -"to have their specific, individual case heard by a fair system of refugee determination."

Meanwhile the right-wing is upset because of Netanyahu's unreliability and flip-flop-o'mania.

As the criticism of Israel begins to ramp-up in this current developing season of Israel Hatred, it is important to keep in mind some very wise words from Harvard Professor of Yiddish literature Ruth Wisse who, I assume, will forgive me for paraphrasing.

In a lecture a few years ago she used a metaphor to criticize the friendly critics of Israel who just wish that Israel was a more moral country. These are the kind of people who genuinely regret that Israel fails to be a Light Unto the Nations and who champion Tikkun Olam.

Professor Wisse asks us to consider the following scenario:

Let us imagine that you own a house in a particular neighborhood and one day a friendly neighbor dropped by for a beer and chit-chat on a hot summer Sunday afternoon. This is a guy who lives just down the street, who you know by first name, and who you've been more-or-less friendly with for years.

Suppose this neighbor suggested, as you're settin' on the porch, that you really needed to clean up your yard and house a bit because things are getting a little messy. He's talking as a friend to a friend and in an entirely non-hostile manner. You know, the yard needs a little weed-whacking and there is still that broken window in the second bedroom that must be replaced.

But let's say that, in truth, your house is the best-kept house in the neighborhood. The houses surrounding your house and those nearby are obnoxious wrecks. Yards are entirely overgrown like jungles. Roofs are caving in.

Neighbor kids are running around with slingshots, but no pants.

And let's say that you've always wanted to live peaceably with these neighbors, yet they throw rocks through your windows and threaten violence and death upon your family.

What would you think of your friend's advice to trim your weeds under those circumstances?

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The New York Times Celebrates Reem Assil's Antisemitic Cafe in Oakland

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Algemeiner.}

Reem Assil Grinning Before an
Ideological Murderer
Photo by: Cece Capiro
The New York Times "Travel Section" has a piece by Rebecca Flint Marx entitled, An Arab Bakery in Oakland Full of California Love.

In truth, Reem's flatbread café is not a very loving place for Jewish people because it publicly celebrates the murders of college students Eddie Joffe and Leon Kanner.

Or, at least, it is not loving towards those of us who care about our families and friends in the land of our ancestry.

The very title of Marx's piece is a form of journalistic deceit.

"An Arab Bakery in Oakland Full of California Love"?

Perhaps I am a tad biased.

I don't know how I could not be, given that I am the guy that Reem Assil dragged into the legal system for speaking the truth about the hatred she spreads through the veneration of the murderer Rasmea Odeh.

To be blunt, Reem's bakery is defined not by love but by the other side of that coin.

In a run-down section of Oakland - within spitting distance of the Fruitvale BART Station where Oscar Grant was shot dead on New Year's Eve, 2009 - Reem Assil spreads malice toward the Jewish people... but, apparently, according to the New York Times in a loving way.

The floor-to-ceiling mural of the murderer and antisemitic anti-Zionist Rasmea Odeh is the point of contention.

Marx, in an act of journalistic malpractice - even for a food writer - described Odeh as merely some  "controversial Palestinian activist" until an editor, after a response by angry Jews, no doubt, added the caveat:
In 1970, Ms. Odeh was convicted by Israeli courts for her role in the murder of two students. In 2014, she was convicted of immigration fraud in U.S. federal court and was deported to Jordan in 2017.

Yet, somehow, the New York Times still features the piece under the headline, An Arab Bakery in Oakland Full of California Love.

Furthermore, Justin Phillips of the San Francisco Chronicle tells us that Reem Assil continues meteoric rise with new fine-dining restaurant at Jack London Square.

The truth is that Rasmea Odeh is a confessed and convicted murderer in an Israeli court case observed by the International Red Cross  as William Jacobson, Cornell University Professor of Law and proprietor of the Legal Insurrection website, clearly outlines in this video.

Many years after the murder her partner, Aisha Odeh, confessed to the crime in a proud manner on Palestinian-Arab television and revealed Rasmea's role in those murders. She claims at the 1:35-minute mark, "Rasmiyeh Oudeh was more involved than I was..."

She is the convicted killer of Hebrew University students Edward Joffie (21) and Leon Kanner (20) in the 1969 terrorist attack by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The PFLP is also the organization responsible for the flinging of 69-year-old, wheelchair-bound, Leon Klinghoffer off of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985 into the Mediterranean Sea on his wedding anniversary.

Odeh was released in 1980 from an Israeli prison as one of 78 other Palestinian-Arabs in return for a single Jew.

She then lied her way into the United States where - much to my astonishment - made a name for herself as a "progressive-left feminist" organizer in Chicago and an eventual associate of that faux-icon of human liberation, Linda Sarsour.

The United States government, meanwhile, recently deported Odeh to Jordan not because she kills people, but because she falsified her papers into the United States by forgetting to the mention the fact that she kills people.

Reem Assil - with a big smile on her face and in an "Oaklandish Warriors" t-shirt in the photo above - is, thus, glorifying an anti-Jewish genocidal racist killer.

This woman is Americanizing - with the t-shirt and baseball cap - violent hatred toward Jews.

She is attaching Arab-Palestinian malice toward Jewish people onto good old-fashioned sports Americana with a young hipster look and that is a terrific tactic if what you are after is the normalization of racist bigotry.

On a culinary level, Reem's joint is a small step above your average food truck - and therefore it is hard to imagine just why the New York Times, of all places, would take notice - but her flatbread has significance on a political level because she breaks fresh ground in the San Francisco Bay Area in terms of spreading antisemitic anti-Zionism.

Reem Assil, in her reverence for Rasmea Odeh, is helping to make Jew Hatred cool and is doing so on a day-to-day retail level.

The heartlessness, within living memory of the Holocaust, is difficult to fathom.

Marx tells us that, according to Assil, social justice "has always been a core component of Reem’s."

This is false.

Whatever the quality of Assil's flatbread the very last thing that her joint has to do with is social justice.

Assil is not so much serving flatbread to the Oakland public as she is serving up violent political malice toward Jewish people.

The mural of Rasmea Odeh puts every Jew passing by on notice.

It reminds me just a tad of 1930s Berlin.

It is like walking by a giant Nazi Swastika every time that I enter the Fruitvale BART Station.

"California love"?

I certainly hope not.

The Times should be ashamed of itself.

What a disgrace.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The First Night

Sarah Tuttle-Singer

{Sarah Tuttle-Singer is the Times of Israel New Media editor. - ML}

Tonight is the First Night of Passover and as the news comes in from the Gazan border, I’m thinking about this:

Our enemies have dehumanized us throughout the centuries – they call us vermin, they call us filth.

We must not do that

We must not celebrate death.

We should celebrate life.

Because we are a people who believe in the sanctity of life – so much so that we even diminish our joy when we remember the ten plagues during Passover by pouring out wine.

We must not dehumanize and call people “animals” or “garbage.”

Not even terrorists.

No matter how disgusted or how angry we are.

We should mourn our dead together, and celebrate our continued survival as a just and moral people, together.

Because when the Egyptians were drowning in the sea, God told the angels not to sing songs of praise.

I know we are only human – but so is everyone.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

"Intelligent people constantly fall for blatant stupidity."


{I hope that Jeff does not mind if I turn his recent comment into a front page post. - ML}

He is discussing the student anti-gun march.

My criticisms of this "movement" are:

1) It portrays itself as a student-led march when it is no such thing.

2) Its goals are undefined.

3) It heavily engages in the politics of demonization of the other.

Jeff writes this:

Intelligent people constantly fall for blatant stupidity.

It's not so much a question of intelligence (although it is one factor), but rather orientation.

California neo-Nazi Tom Metzger said back in the 1970's that if you gave him a child he could make him into a Nazi. (OK, tell us something we don't already know.) Well, if you give any malevolent, fucked up do-gooder a child he/she can turn the child into almost anything.

Give them classrooms filled with children and they can destroy a society in the interest of improving all that imperfection in the lint in their navels.

Jordan Peterson had something interesting to say, in fact, several things, regarding destroying reasonably well running complex systems in the name of improving them, i.e., how hard it is to make actual improvements and how easy it is to destroy systems that work reasonably well.

As for me, I am thoroughly disenchanted with the Democratic Party and whatever the F it is they think they're doing. They get an F. An F also for a news and culture media that is simply FUBAR. I wouldn't trust them to clean my toilet. I saw a snippet yesterday of the BIG Stormy interview with Anderson Cooper. I was embarrassed for him.

I was embarrassed for us - one prostitute asking questions to another prostitute on behalf of an industry of prostitutes.

The question is not why do gun rights advocates not care about high schoolers, it's why doesn't the Democratic Party, the media and "activists" care about them. I went to high school, you went to high school, we all went to high school, and we had zero expectation of being shot in high school, even though more people had guns than now.

I thought radical meant getting to the root of a problem. You want to have a debate about gun control, then have one. But that screwed up kid, one of their own, was made in the image of those who wanted to improve the system, i.e., the product of a dysfunctional family created in a dysfunctional system in turn created with good intentions of the soft sciences built some bullshit ideological assumptions with results that speak for themselves.

Using a bunch of kids as fodder in an ideological campaign to simply acquire power is about as low as you can go.

It's the bottom.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Sarah Tuttle-Singer and the "Palestinian Narrative"

Michael Lumish

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

I find the Jewish Indigeneity Question fascinating.

I recently published an article thanking native American thinker and activist, Ryan Bellerose for advancing the importance of Israel to the Jewish people from an indigenous rights perspective.

Sarah Tuttle-Singer is the New Media editor for the Times of Israel (TOI) and is no fan of Bellerose and Bellerose is no fan of Tuttle-Singer.

That much is certain.

{When these two cross paths they circle one another like a cat facing a pit bull.}

I happen to be - for the moment at least - friendly with both.

Tuttle-Singer recently made Aliyah from Los Angeles and is now raising two children in the Old City. She has taken some pretty terrific photographs from around Jerusalem and seems to have thrown herself into the wilds of Israel with great joyousness.

{Although on certain days, like today - as news of the murder of Adiel Kolman spreads - with considerable sorrow, as well.}

She is also the author of the recently published book, Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered: A Year Spent Living in the Christian, Muslim, Armenian, and Jewish Quarters of Old Jerusalem.

This last Sunday, March 11, Tuttle-Singer, in a Facebook post, linked to her recent piece entitled, On Passover, I’ll pour out wine for Mahmoud, too

It is an interesting  piece.

She describes a dinner that she enjoyed with Muslim friends in the Arab Quarter of the Old City and notes:
Leila doesn’t speak any Hebrew, but Fadi can but he won’t.

“My Hebrew is actually good,” he told me that night we met. “But it’s the principle of the thing.”
The principle of the thing.

What troubles me is that this does not trouble Tuttle-Singer.

She writes:
“I won’t shake your hand,” he tells me when Fadi introduces us. “It isn’t because you’re a Jew or an Israeli, so don’t be offended. I won’t shake your hand because you are a woman – because I am a Muslim man, and we do not shake hands with women that are not our closest relatives or our wives. You know this custom, no? You have it in your own religion.”

We do. And over the years of living here in Israel, I’ve learned when it’s ok to shake hands and when it isn’t.
As a New Yorker and a Californian, I am happy to say that I have never learned any such thing.

As a liberal, I do not condescend to such prejudices.

This insult came from the owner of the restaurant, presumably knowing that he was speaking with a Jewish media person, who also told her with great earnestness:
We are not killers, we are not thieves. We don’t want to hurt you. But we do have a story and that story is our truth, and that story and that truth is we were here first, and you took our land and you kicked us out of our houses and we are yearning to return. (My emphasis.)
In the Facebook thread beneath her link to that post I wrote:
Well, thankfully, history as a field of knowledge does not deal in personal truths. There is no "our truth" or "it is true for me."
Sarah responded with an elegant, "Really?"

Yes, my friend, really.

A Historiographical Snippet

History as a field of knowledge resides at the crux of the Humanities and the Social Sciences and is, thus by necessity, interpretive.

This is why there is always a significant element of subjectivity within even the most scrupulously professional historical narratives. Nonetheless, for a narrative to be a historical narrative it must be grounded in something that closely resembles the truth of the past.

We do not simply get to make up our own "narratives" as the Palestinian-Arab leadership has done, and then insist that ahistorical nonsense be taken seriously.

No field of knowledge works in such a manner because the lights would not go on and the aeroplanes would never fly.

For example, I cannot claim that Richard Nixon was the President of the United States during World War II and then demand that people respect my narrative.

It is for this very same reason that Mahmoud Abbas should not stand up before the UN Security Council, and be taken seriously, as he did on February 20, 2018, and claim that Palestinian-Arabs “are the descendants of the Canaanites that lived in Palestine 5,000 years ago.”

People can say whatever they want, but we are under no obligation to take poisonous nonsense seriously and we shouldn't.

The Discussion

In response, Tuttle-Singer claimed, "narrative can determine whether there is peace or whether there isn't."

I get her point, I suppose, but I must wonder what kind of stable and lasting peace can the Jewish people hope for if that peace is grounded in falsehoods that erase Jewish history?

Furthermore, the notion that the Jewish people stole the land from the "indigenous" Arab population is so obviously false as to hardly need refutation.

Part of what made this online exchange interesting, however, was that a gentleman with significant historical credentials took the lead on Tuttle-Singer's side of the discussion.

He reminded me that the winners write the history books - which, by the way, is no longer the case in the West - and that all history is told from personal perspectives and ideological perspectives and that "Jewish history is a perfect example for a mix of historical fact - and religious-infused fiction."

I then asked this gentleman:
Does any group of people have a greater claim to indigeneity to the land between the River and the Sea than do the Jewish people?
His response is worth quoting in full:
I never participated in the silly game of "who was here first?" and "who was here longer?" Because - independent of who plays it - at its core, it is never an attempt to prove one's own roots in this soil. It is always an attempt to prove that the "other" has less rights, less roots, should be ignored, needs to leave - or at least accept the rule of his adversary. The same applies to the even sillier game of "whose side can claim to be a real people and whose side is an invented people."

What is the desired end-result of these debates? That Mohammed, whose family has been living here for 500 or 1000 years, gets the idea that Jews had a temple around 2000 years ago - and another one before that - and that he and his fellow Palestinians agree that they are not really Palestinians, hand you the keys to the Temple Mount and proceed to pack their bags and leave these parts?  
What is it for the other side? That David, whose family has been dreaming of returning to the Holy Land for 2000 years will agree that he is not really Jewish, but a colonizing occupier, that his rights here have expired long ago - and then proceed to move back wherever his parents of grandparents came from?

Honestly, it is depressingly sad to see so many intelligent minds, who could spend their time improving this country that has so many other problems - wasting it on these decade-old silly debates and attempts to win an argument.

The simple fact is that both sides feel a deep connection to this land and both sides have a right to feel it. So all those intelligent minds should get busy and develop concepts for peaceful coexistence. Those who do - and there are people here who have worked on that for decades despite all the frustrations - have my respect. The others - well - I (and I think Sarah does the same) am trying to convince them to stop being part of the problem - and become part of the solution.
Indigeneity, of course, is not about "the silly game of 'who was here first?'"

Indigeneity refers to the roots of a culture and the people who comprise that culture in all of its branches... even including New York Jews who live in California.

The Jewish people are the indigenous people to the Land of Israel because that is the place where our ancestors forged the beginnings of a multivariant culture and cultivated the Hebrew language and the Jewish religion and those other aspects that bring us together as one.

From a practical standpoint, however, this scholar asked an important question:
What is the desired end-result of these debates?
The desired result cannot be to convince Arabs that they should respect Israel as the indigenous homeland of the Jewish people.

I agree, that this is simply not going to happen... history or no history, because the "Palestinian narrative" will not permit.

However, we can stop equivocating in the face of the enemies of the Jewish people, and their congresses and parliaments and advocates... yes, including even restauranteurs like Reem Assil in my town of Oakland who venerate ideological Jew Murderers.

The truth, of course, is that the "Palestinian narrative" of pristine victimhood is nonsense.

The Jewish people are a people who remain under siege within the very home of our ancestry.

What we can do is bang that truth into the skulls of the European Union, the United Nations, the Democratic Party, and, at long last, the US Department of State.

Until we stand up for ourselves, no one else is going to do so.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Sarsour, Ashrawi, and Palazzi

Sar Shalom

A popular explanation for Arab and Muslim vitriol against Israel is that Islam, through the Koran and Hadiths, commands such vitriol. However, this explanation fails to explain certain things. To start, consider Linda Sarsour who is secular and only wears a hijab as a matter of cultural identification and because that cultural identification transformed her, as she claims, into a "person of color." Given her religious sensibilities, one would expect such Koranic injunctions and Hadiths to have as much influence on her as Leviticus 11 has on the average American Jew's diet. Yet, Sarsour is as vitriolic against Israel as any imam from Hamas. If she demonstrates a willingness to deviate from religious dictates, why would she be so fastidious to that dictate?

Yet, one could argue that she picks and chooses what aspects of sharia she observes. She might not bind herself with her religion's dictates on permitted and forbidden foods, as a possible example, but she does bind herself to her religion's dictates of holding onto Dar-al-Islam. If that is so, why is Hanan Ashrawi equally vitriolic towards Israel? For those who don't know, Ashrawi is Christian and thus any religious dictate of Islam would have no authority over her.

Yet, one could argue that Ashrawi is motivated by proleptic dhimmitude and thus indirectly influenced by Islamic dictates. However, how does Abdul Palazzi, the leader of Italian Islam, fit the claim that Islam prohibits acceptance of Israel? Palazzi is someone who unambiguously supports Israel, going so far as to interrupt a visit in New Haven in order to join Avi Weiss for a protest at the Palestinian UN Mission, support the Jewish community of Hebron, and support for Jews on the Temple Mount. He is someone who takes any religious requirement of Islam seriously, and indeed writes that Islam requires recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

I am not going to suggest an alternative theory for vitriol aimed at Israel from the Islamic world because the source of that vitriol is unimportant. Whether this vitriol stems from religious decree, culture, or brainwashing from fake news, all that is important is that it is real and that it is not based on anything that liberals would recognize as a casus belli. However, attributing it to religious dictate advertises that your objection is not to their racism directed at us, but to who they are. Doing that turns away potential allies, and for what gain? If you're not dealing with how to turn people away from opposition to Israel, just ignore their motives.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

This Week on Nothing Left

Michael Lumish

Nothing Left
SPECIAL SHOW ... This week Michael Burd and Alan Freedman feature high profile broadcaster and conservative commentator Dennis Prager ahead of his visit to Australia, and then hear from Mosab Hassan Yousef, aka the Son of Hamas who spied for Israel for 10yrs.

The fellahs then hear from American-Israeli talk show host and expert on Syria Yaron Brook, and then speak with Eran Hermoni, the Secretary-General of the Israeli Labour Party on how their policies differ from those of the current government.

3 min Editorial: The Greens  Israel Problem

9 min Dennis Prager on his upcoming visit to Australia

39 min Mosab Hassan Yousef, ‘Son of Hamas’ in Australia

51 min Yaron Brook, Ayn Rand Institute explaining Syrian conflict

1 hr 11 Eran Hermoni, Sec-General Israeli labour Party in Australia

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

Or its Facebook page.

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

Contact Michael and Alan at Nothing Left:

Friday, March 9, 2018

Acknowledging Ryan Bellerose

Michael Lumish

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


Ryan Bellerose is a friend of the pro-Jewish / pro-Israel community who, like many of us, has grown increasingly skeptical of the two-state solution.

I met the guy online when he arrived at Israel Thrives a couple of years ago for the purpose of kicking the holy crap out of one of my regulars.

Bellerose is a Métis from the Paddle Prairie settlement of northern Alberta - I want to stress northern Alberta - and a fighter for the rights and well-being of indigenous peoples, including the Jewish people.

This makes him highly unusual among indigenous rights activists because he is with the very few who recognize Jewish indigenous rights. Jewish people, for progressive-left internal political reasons, have been left out of the Indigenous Rights Club.

Instead, we are considered white, imperialist, racist, militaristic, colonialist, inhumane, apartheid-lovers.

In a recent article for Tablet, Bellerose writes:
Now, to understand indigeneity, one must also understand indigenous people, how we see ourselves, and how we see the world. At its simplest, indigenous status stems from the genesis of a culture, language, and traditions in conjunction with its connections to an ancestral land, most commonly derived from ties to pre-colonial peoples. Once a people have such a cultural, linguistic, and spiritual genesis as well as a coalescence as a people, they are generally acknowledged as an indigenous people.
Bellerose's discussion of indigeneity is grounded in a 1981 report to the United Nations Economic and Social Council written by anthropologist José Martínez Cobo.

Bellerose, it should also be understood, stands up on the street as well as in the pages of Tablet. 

I very much wish that he had been around during the vigils for Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner.

Reem Assil, of Reem's antisemitic restaurant, for reasons that defy the moral imagination, venerates the genocidal Jew murderer, Rasmea Odeh. Furthermore, she is now actually being rewarded for that hatred.

The New York Times recently published a piece concerning Assil's joint by Rebecca Flint Marx entitled, An Arab Bakery in Oakland full of California Love.

Full of California Love.

One of the hysterical things about this article is that Marx made a correction in the body of the text shortly after it was published reading:
In 1970, Ms. Odeh was convicted by Israeli courts for her role in the murder of two students.
So, the Times acknowledges that Odeh is a convicted murderer, yet the headline still reads, An Arab Bakery in Oakland full of California Love.

The only conclusion that I can come to is that the New York Times thinks that you're a bunch of idiots.

Furthermore, Justin Phillips of the San Francisco Chronicle tells us that Reem Assil continues meteoric rise with new fine-dining restaurant at Jack London Square.

Oh, joy.

{But I digress.}

The reason that Bellerose matters is because he encourages a widening of our understanding of the conflict.

By rightfully insisting upon the indigeneity of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel he forces an expansion of the conversation both geographically and historically.

This is not a fight merely between Israelis and Arabs residing within the Jewish home. This is a fight between the indigenous Jewish population and their former Arab and Muslim conquerors who have yet to give up on reinstating theo-political domination. This makes it a struggle between the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East and the far larger Arab and Muslim populations that surround them.

That is the obvious implication of insisting upon Jewish indigeneity because the very idea of Jewish indigeneity to the Land of Israel contradicts Arab and Muslim imperial ambitions within the Jewish home.

It is inescapable.

Another obvious implication is that this is not merely a modern conflict. History did not begin in 1948, nor 1967.

Anyone with even a glancing understanding of the history of the region acknowledges that between the time of Muhammad until the failure of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, Jewish people - and other such dhimmi-sorts - lived as second and third-class non-citizens.

The late professor Martin Gilbert described dhimmi status under Muslim rule as follows:
There could be no building of new synagogues or churches.  Dhimmis could not ride horses, but only donkeys; they could not use saddles, but only ride sidesaddle.  Further, they could not employ a Muslim. Jews and Christians alike had to wear special hats, cloaks and shoes to mark them out from Muslims.  They were even obliged to carry signs on their clothing or to wear types and colors of clothing that would indicate they were not Muslims, while at the same time avoid clothing that had any association with Mohammed and Islam. Most notably, green clothing was forbidden...

Other aspects of dhimmi existence were that Jews - and also Christians - were not to be given Muslim names, were not to prevent anyone from converting to Islam, and were not to be allowed tombs that were higher than those of Muslims.  Men could enter public bathhouses only when they wore a special sign around their neck distinguishing them from Muslims, while women could not bathe with Muslim women and had to use separate bathhouses instead.  Sexual relations with a Muslim woman were forbidden, as was cursing the Prophet in public - an offense punishable by death.

Under dhimmi rules as they evolved, neither Jews nor Christians could carry guns, build new places of worship or repair old ones without permission,or build any place of worship that was higher than a mosque.  A non-Muslim could not inherit anything from a Muslim.  A non-Muslim man could not marry a Muslim woman, although a Muslim man could marry a Christian or a Jewish woman.
Martin Gilbert, In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2010) 32 - 33.
The conflict is greater in scope both geographically and historically then most people realize and that is particularly true of progressive-left enemies to the Jewish people who see the conflict as a result of twentieth-century "Zionist" aggression.

By insisting upon the indigeneity of the Jewish people to Israel, Bellerose forces us to rethink dominant formulations around the conflict in two fundamental ways.

1) The Jews are the colonized indigenous population who managed to free themselves from thirteen centuries under the boot of Arab and Muslim imperialism.

2) This is not a conflict between "Zionists" or Israelis versus Palestinian-Arabs. What we are seeing, rather, is the current moment in the long Arab and Muslim war against Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East grounded in Koranic malice.

The concept of indigeneity is key and while Bellerose knows it, most Jews do not.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

"Wine-Washing" and the Question of Jewish Indigeneity

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Algemeiner and The Israel Forever Foundation.}

UC Berkeley does not like Israelis.


On Monday, February 5, professor Ariel Handel lectured at the University of California Berkeley's Center for Middle Eastern Studies on his recent paper entitled, Wine-washing: colonization, normalization, and the geopolitics of terroir in the West Bank's settlements.

One would think that since the San Francisco Bay Area, and surrounding regions, are home to some of the finest grapes in the world that an Israeli expert on indigenous levantine grapes would have been met with considerable expectation.

He was not.

In truth, he was snubbed.

If there are any colleges outside of Evergreen State in the United States that are in no mood to speak with pro-Israeli Jews, those schools most definitely include San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley... the former home of free speech.

Handel is visiting California from the University of Tel Aviv to discuss, among other things, the meaning of the grape within the contest between Arabs and Jews around questions of ethnic authenticity and indigeneity within the Land of Israel.

In that paper, Handel, along with his co-authors Galit Rand and Marco Allegra, discuss how local Israeli wine producers use the ancient Marawi grape as a site of political-cultural dispute over the question of Arab versus Jewish indigeneity.

The question of indigeneity is the sport and, along with falafel and hummus and fattoush, Marawi grapes represent a ball-in-play.

Handel, Rand, and Allegra argue that, “the usage of sophisticated wine language enables normalization of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank in a paradoxical way that is emphasizing their location and blurring it at the same time.”

Central to Handel's thesis is the vinicultural concept of "terroir."
Terroir describes a set of special characteristics of a given place - geography, geology, climate, and human agricultural traditions - that incarnates in the uniques taste of its products, usually wine.
The notion suggests that the flavor of a wine is due to the character of its natural environment and how it is nurtured by the indigenous population and thus reflects its land and people. It is because Chardonnay, for example, is native to the Burgundy region of eastern France that its quality will never be quite the same as when grown in, say, the Jezreel Valley in the Lower Galilee and, therefore, can never really represent the terroir of that region.

The Question of Indigeneity

Handel insists, fairly, that "the grape is mute" on Jewish versus Arab claims to the Land of Israel.

Nonetheless, some scholars, such as Dr. Shivi Drori from Ariel University, use the vine as a means of establishing Jewish historicity.

In a recent New York Times piece, Jodi Rudoren quotes Drori:
All our scriptures are full with wine and with grapes - before the French were even thinking about wine, we were exporting wine... We have a very ancient identity, and for me, reconstructing this identity is very important. For me, it's a matter of national pride.
Rudoren also quotes Amer Kodash, the export director for Cemisan Cellars, a monastery near Bethlehem, claiming:
As usual in Israel, they declare that falafel, tahini, tabouleh, hummus, and now jandali grapes, are an Israeli product... I would like to inform you that these types of grapes are totally Palestinian grapes grown on Palestinian vineyards.
What I fail to understand, however, is how it is that professor Mandel, as a political scientist, is mute.

History as a field of knowledge is closely related to political science and is not silent on the question of Jewish indigeneity in the Levant and the Land of Israel.

It tells us very clearly that the Jewish people are the only remaining indigenous people within the small strip of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Jebusites are gone.

The Hittites and Amorites are gone.

Even the neighboring Romans and ancient Egyptians are gone.

The Arabs who now call themselves "Palestinian" come from elsewhere.

Handel is correct that the DNA of an ancient seed of the vine cannot tell us who grew the plant.

The fact of old wine and new bottles cannot establish indigeneity between Jews and Arabs on that land.

Only history as a field of knowledge can do that.

Anti-Zionist Rhetoric within Middle East Studies

Handel's writings with Rand and Allegra in Wine-washing are riddled with the kind of anti-Zionist propagandistic language that is eroding the field of Middle East Studies because it no longer even bothers with any sense of historical justice or fair-play to non-Muslims throughout the region.

For example, in Handel’s introduction we read:
The process of growing integration between pre-1967 Israel and the West Bank has been the object of a large study of scholarship...
For millennia that region has been referred to as Judea and Samaria (or, in Hebrew, Yehuda and Shomron). It only became known as the "West Bank" after the Jordanian annexation in the spring of 1950.

So, the question becomes, why would a scholar use terminology that erases Jewish history within a question of Jewish history?

Handel refers to the "banalization of the Jewish presence in the West Bank."

What a strange phrase for an Israeli professor to employ.

Hannah Arendt famously used the "banality of evil" to describe Adolph Eichmann in Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. The idea then, as Handel knows, is to suggest that there is a normality, or conventionality, to evil.

Arendt described Eichmann as a functionary, a big cog in the big wheel.

Handel's usage is the same, except that instead of referring to the murderers of millions of Jews, he and Rand and Allegra, use it as a reference to Jews who wish to live on the traditional land of the Jewish people.

The implicit comparison is not only unjust and ahistoric, but vaguely grotesque.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Friend Stands Up

Michael Lumish

I am no longer a Democrat, but it is important for the pro-Jewish / pro-Israel community to support those Democrats who are opposing the antisemitic anti-Zionist trend growing within their party.

Susan George - who is not Jewish - was one of the speakers at the vigils at Reem's racist restaurant in Oakland.

This Week on Nothing Left

Michael Lumish

Nothing Left
This week Michael Burd and Alan Freedman speak with David Rubin, American-Israeli expert on terrorism, but who came to this subject via his personal experience, and then we hear from Canadian blogger Diane Bederman who updates us on what is happening in Canada under PM Justin Trudeau.

They also speak live with former Australian ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma to get his take on current events and then hear a disturbing report from Israeli academic Ran Porat who has been monitoring the Arab media in Australia.

(Isi Leibler is taking a couple of weeks off and will return soon.)

2 min     Editorial: Jewish Left activists on Daniel Pipes visit

8 min     David Rubin, terrorism expert with a personal story

31 min   Diane Bederman, Canadian blogger

51 min Dave Sharma, former Australian ambassador to Israel

1 hr 22   Ran Porat, ACJC academic on Arab media in Australia

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

Or its Facebook page.

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

Contact Michael and Alan at Nothing Left:

Thursday, March 1, 2018

UK "Royal" to visit Israel

Michael Lumish

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Michael Bachner and Raoul Wootliff of the Times of Israel tell us:
Prince William will travel to Israel this summer, in the first-ever official visit by the British royal family to the Jewish state, his residence declared Thursday.

While royals have traveled to Israel in the past, no member of the British monarchy has ever come to country on an official tour.
I must admit that I am of two minds on this.

On the one, of course, I think that it is very nice that William is coming to Israel this summer. Perhaps he will get his first good taste of falafel.

Also, needless to say, anything that we can do to foster friendship between the State of the Jewish People and the Brits is a good thing.


Of course, on the other hand, fuck 'em.

The British have never been friendly toward the Jews and certainly never friendly toward Israel.

They even sought to confiscate Jewish weaponry just before their departure from Israel in '48, thereby potentially leaving our friends and families at the tender mercies of a much larger, hostile Arab population that sided with the Nazis during World War II.

So, from my perspective, at least, this is a mixed bag.

It is nice that a British "royal" is coming to Israel this summer.

I just do not want to see the Jews scrape and bow.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A New York State of Mind

Michael Lumish

I think that this little blog may have lost Mr. Cohen.

I honestly feel bad about it.

I sincerely do.

But this post is not specifically about that good man.

I appreciate his participation here because I want diversity of thought and because - although I am not very religious - I have respect for my fellow Jews and to the faith that I was born into.


Nobody is going to tell me that this guy is out of line.

That cuts a bit too close to home.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

How To Avoid Israeli Brutality


"You didn't count on me when you were counting on your rosary."

Michael Lumish

Ya know what?

Fuck it.

Every time that I turn around there is more horrific nonsense going on.

The United States has been flipping its shit since before the election of Trump-Hitler.

Now, naturally, we have the Florida massacre.

Some miserable, screwed-up kid shot up his fellow students and then the politicos go immediately into high-gear.

It is grotesque.

The first bit of hatred that I saw was right-wingers trying to paint this insidious, murderous moron as a communist or a socialist or some other form of left-wing idiot.

The second bit of hatred that I saw was left-wingers trying to paint this insidious, murderous moron as a Nazi-Klansmen-Trump-Lover.

In the meantime - on the Jew Front - Israel is gearing up for a possible war in the north.

We have Sarah Silverman kissing the ass of the little Ahed Tamimimimimi Monster.

And my friend, Reem Assil, is raking in the dough from Jew Hatred in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Yes, what a beautiful morning it is.

Ya know, to hell with it.

I am going to listen to a tune about some Jewish kid who wants to have sex with a Catholic virgin.

If anyone doesn't like it, they can go screw themselves.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dershowitz on Nothing Left

Michael Lumish

Nothing Left
This week Michael Burd and Alan Freedman feature eminent US lawyer and Israel advocate, Alan Dershowitz who is shortly visiting Australia as a guest of the UIA, and then hear from a senior journalist with Ha'aretz, Judy Maltz on why young American Jews are deserting Israel.

The guys also caught up with Israeli social innovator Gidi Grinstein who has a novel way of taking Israeli know-how to the world, and hear Isi Leibler's take on PM Netanyahu's legal issues.

3 min Editorial:  NIF and illegal African immigrants in Israel

9 min Alan Dershowitz, high profile US lawyer and Israel advocate

33 min Judy Maltz, senior journalist with Ha’aretz

52 min Gidi Grinstein, Reut group, social innovator

1 hr 30 Isi Leibler in Jerusalem, on PM Netanyahu’s issue

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

Or its Facebook page.

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

Contact Michael and Alan at Nothing Left:

Friday, February 16, 2018

CA Democrats for Peace Not BDS

Michael Lumish

CA Democrats for Peace Not BDS is putting together a discussion and fundraising campaign on February 24 in San Diego.
We invite you to help fund our work within the California Democratic Party (CDP) as we foster much-needed engagement and dialogue concerning Israel and Palestine, while cultivating a narrative of collaboration and engagement in response to the polarizing and divisive global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
I am no longer a Democrat, but I have considerable respect for the people putting this thing together.

Michael Harris has been fighting the good fight for decades in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere.

Susan George and Matthew Finkelstein stand up, as well, and they were both key figures in the ongoing protest against Reem's racist bakery/cafe in Oakland.

Those of us who support the well-being of the Jewish people and the State of Israel need not always be within the same political party, but we should definitely support our friends within the Democratic Party.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

This is a (Semi) Free Speech Zone

Michael Lumish

The indigenous
Marawi Grape
from Recanati
We are a small enclave.

We are a small number of people who are having an ongoing discussion and, I have to say, I very much appreciate you guys who have been hanging around since the beginning... or even before the beginning for the Daily Kos people.

But I want it understood that I am not going to dictate how anyone should express themselves.

That is not going to happen in this tiny Jewish neck of the universe.

I will delete antisemitic anti-Zionism in a New York Minute, but I honestly do not care about foul language.

I do not want us to descend into political graffiti, but I am not going to disallow the word "fuck," either.


What's more interesting, tho - for me, at least - is that I am working on a short piece for Campus Watch of the Middle East Forum concerning the battle over the indigenous grape in the Land of Israel.

For the moment, this is my opening:
On Monday, last February 5, professor Ariel Handel lectured at the University of California Berkeley's Center for Middle Eastern Studies on his recent paper entitled, Wine-washing: colonization, normalization, and the geopolitics of terroir in the West Bank's settlements.

Handel is visiting from the University of Tel Aviv in order to discuss, among other things, the meaning of the grape within the contest between Arabs and Jews around the questions of authenticity and indigeneity within the Land of Israel.
We'll see what actually gets published, but it amazes me that a full-grown Jewish-Israeli political scientist who is looking at the question of indigeneity wanted only to discuss the varying narratives.

When I asked him about the truth of Jewish indigeneity, he said, "The grape is mute."

He is right about that, of course.

The DNA of an ancient seed cannot tell you who grew it.

But history can tell you who was there... and who was not.

This Week on Nothing Left

Michael Lumish

Nothing Left
This week Michael Burd and Alan Freedman feature Mordechai Kedar, one of the stellar commentators on the Arab and Muslim world, and then hear from Israeli political media commentator Michael Tuchfeld.

Carli Dvash, the events manager for the UIA joins us to talk about their upcoming annual appeal and the guests they have invited, and Isi Leibler is controversial as always.

3 min Editorial:  ADC focus on anti-Semitism in Australia

9 min Mordechai Kedar, Israeli scholar on Arab & Muslim world

31 min Michael Tuchfeld, Israeli media political commentator

51 min Carli Dvash, UIA events manager

1 hr 31 min Isi Leibler in Jerusalem

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

Or its Facebook page.

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

Contact Michael and Alan at Nothing Left:

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

This Week on Nothing Left

Michael Lumish

Nothing Left
This week Michael Burd and Alan Freedman feature Mordechai Kedar, one of the stellar commentators on the Arab and Muslim world, and then hear from Israeli political media commentator Michael Tuchfeld.

Carli Dvash, the events manager for the UIA joins us to talk about their upcoming annual appeal and the guests they have invited, and Isi Leibler is controversial as always.

3 min Editorial:  ADC focus on anti-Semitism in Australia

9 min Mordechai Kedar, Israeli scholar on Arab & Muslim world

31 min Michael Tuchfeld, Israeli media political commentator

51 min Carli Dvash, UIA events manager

1 hr 31 min Isi Leibler in Jerusalem

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

Or its Facebook page.

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

Contact Michael and Alan at Nothing Left:

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Poster of Rasmea Odeh

Michael Lumish

This is an image that can serve as a poster for any future vigils/protests at Reem's bakery/cafe that Oldschool was kind enough to put together. I will pass this off to some of the others this week.

Many thanks, School.


Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Glorification of Terror and Violence in Oakland, California

Michael Lumish

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

Matthew Finkelstein, in hat, and Susan George (right) from Vallejo,
and other members of Oakland United Against Hate,
 protest outside of Reem's California bakery in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, January 28, 2018.
They are protesting a mural of Rasmea Odeh located inside of the bakery.
(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
Last Sunday, on the afternoon of January 28, about fifty people arrived at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland, California, for the purpose of staring at one another across a notoriously ugly, racially-grounded, political divide.

The problem revolves around Reem's Cafe...or, as I like to think of it, Reem Assil's Racist Flatbread and Terror Joint.

For emotional reasons of her own, political activist Reem Assil has taken it upon herself to introduce Jew hatred into the Oakland culinary scene by featuring a floor-to-ceiling image of anti-Jewish murderer Rasmea Odeh in her little bakery/cafe near a major Bay Area transportation hub.

Odeh, along with her partner, Aisha Odeh and their friends within the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), killed 21-year-old Leon Kanner of Netanya, Israel, and 22-year-old Eddie Joffe on February 21, 1969, in a Jerusalem grocery.

Both were college students.

I find it profoundly disconcerting that within living memory of the Shoah - the genocide of the Jews - the very city that I live in, a city that proudly claims itself against race hate is perfectly comfortable... with race hate.

What the City of Oakland is demonstrating to the rest of the United States is that urinating on Jews is just fine and that honoring the murderers of innocent Jews in a public manner is a righteous matter of "social justice."

So on that perfectly beautiful Sunday afternoon those who despise Israel sat with Reem Assil in the cafe - in a closed, RSVP-Only event - and discussed with professor Sunaina Maira (University of California, Davis), author of Boycott!: The Academy and Justice for Palestine, how best to eliminate Jewish self-determination and self-defense from the world stage.

Jewish people and friends of Jewish people - maybe twenty of us total - stood outside in the courtyard beside the leadership of Faith Meltzer, Susan George, and Matthew Finkelstein.

Faith Meltzer and Lara Kiswani

In a video for the East Bay Times under an article entitled, Palestinian mural protesters, bakery backers face off in Oakland, reporter George Kelly gives his readership clips of statements by pro-Jewish / pro-Israel advocate Faith Meltzer, for Oakland Unified Against Hate, and anti-Zionist activist Lara Kiswani who writes for the Israel-despising online journal, Electronic Intifada.
George Kelly: Did the group begin in response to Reem's opening?

Faith Meltzer: Only in response to the mural. Reem's has had a presence in the farmers' market. My family has actually eaten there. And it is only since this mural of Rasmea Odeh that we realized that this was something that we needed to mobilize against because this is the glorification of terror and violence in our community. (My emphasis.)

Lara Kiswani: Today there is an event here that is put on by Sunaina Maira who published a book through the University of California about the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement... And so, because of the event and the subject matter is about BDS, boycott, divestment, and sanctions, Israel, and that is we are being critical of apartheid and the colonialist state of Israel at this time, the demonstrators have called for another protest today.
Kiswani also refers to the Jewish people and friends of Jewish people who object to the mural of a Jew murderer as "racist."

The fundamental difference between Meltzer and Kiswani - aside from the fact that Meltzer cares about the well-being of the tiny Jewish minority around the world and Kiswani obviously does not - is that Meltzer wants to organize against the murder and hatred of Jewish people while Kiswani, despite her best intentions, promotes it.

Kiswani favors opposing Israel (i.e., Jewish self-determination and self-defense) by any means necessary.

She calls us apartheid-enthusiasts and colonialists on the very land of our own heritage, the very land where Jewish identity was forged.

This would be like calling indigenous Métis activist Ryan Bellerose a colonist in Alberta.

George and Finkelstein Demonstrate the Failure of Liberalism
within Progressive-Left anti-Zionism

While Meltzer stood before the press directly prior to the vigil/protest at Reem's, Susan George and Matthew Finkelstein endeavored to talk to Reem's anti-liberal supporters.

The most important moment in this entire event came when Finkelstein and George requested that those who faced us actually speak with us.

They wanted to know just why it is that as progressives and Democrats and alleged liberals these folks were standing up for a retail establishment that venerates the murdering of Jewish people?

We can unpack that question... we can put it into the nicest possible terms... but we can only do so through dialogue and dialogue is the very foundation of Enlightenment liberalism.

But make no mistake, as recent polling definitively shows, the progressive-left and the Democratic Party honestly believes that the Jews in the Middle East deserve a good ass-kicking.

Look at these numbers:


According to 2018 Pew polling, 79 percent of Republicans sympathize more with Israel - by which they essentially mean the Jews - than they do with the Palestinian-Arabs.

Only 27 percent of Democrats do so.

That is a tough fact, but it is a fact that must be acknowledged.

Another fact that must be acknowledged is that the progressive-left, in the United States, is straying well beyond liberalism.

You cannot be a liberal if you refuse to engage in discourse and what Susan George and Matthew Finkelstein showed us is that the other side refuses to engage in honest dialogue.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Intellectual Dark Web

Michael Lumish

Those intelligent few who read here know that I have developed a fondness for some of the emerging voices from places like Youtube, while being exceedingly aware of the necessity for rational discrimination on the quality of ideas.

Dave Rubin is a bright and politically-savvy guy, formerly a part of The Young Turks Network, who recognizes the ways in which political sands have been shifting in the US and the West for a number of years now.

Rubin says:
 I think that the left/right paradigm of politics is becoming increasingly meaningless and the new more relevant spectrum is one of personal freedom versus state power. 
You're either for a society based on laws which treat individual people equally with minimal involvement from the government in their day-to-day lives or you prefer a society which treats certain groups differently based on immutable characteristics and thus the government must play a major role in whether they succeed or fail. 
The simplest way to say it is you are either for your own determination or you want to hand it off to someone else.
In truth, this is the same argument that we have been having in ths United States since its founding under the Constitution.

The Preamble reads:
We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The constant fight in American politics is between those who wish to "promote the general Welfare" versus those more concerned with securing "the Blessings of Liberty."

That is the American political tension in a nutshell.

The most significant, fundamental aspect of American political stress is embedded directly in the Preamble of the Constitution, but where we fall on that continuum should depend on the historical moment.

It is, after all, not always-and-forever 1932 as many of my socialist friends like to imagine.

Nor is it always-and-forever 1968 as much of the aging vestiges of the New Left continue to believe.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Latest Reem's Vigil

Michael Lumish

Matthew Finkelstein, in hat, and Susan George (right) from Vallejo,
and other members of Oakland United Against Hate,
 protest outside of Reem's California bakery in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, January 28, 2018.
They are protesting a mural of Rasmea Odeh located inside of the bakery.
(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
The latest Reem's vigil was a success.

Our numbers significantly increased so that we were not out-numbered by a factor of four to one, as has been the case in the past.

Matt Finkelstein and Susan George took point in front of the opposition while our lead organizer talked to the press.

I understand that there were concerns about staying on message, as well as organizational discipline.

I think that those are reasonable and necessary concerns depending on what we want to accomplish going forward.

But, needless to say, this should not prevent those of us with a different take from expressing our opinions.

What I found most interesting about the recent action was the fact that Susan and Matt clearly demonstrated the illiberality of the other side.

From my perspective, this is not about progressives versus conservatives.

This is about liberals versus anti-liberals and, make-no-mistake, anti-Zionism is decidedly anti-liberal.

Susan and Matt gave us a demonstration of this and the other side did not even realize it.

Not a single anti-Zionist took up the gauntlet that Matt and Susan threw down.

All we wanted was for them to justify their ideological position and they absolutely refused.

The liberal tradition, whatever else it may be, is concerned with discourse and discussion because those are the alternatives to force.

In any case, the leadership in this effort deserves kudos.

Perhaps we are building some momentum.

This Week on Nothing Left

Michael Lumish

Nothing LeftMichael Burd and Alan Freedman are back for 2018 this week, and start with an interview with Israeli activist May Golan who has been campaigning the government to address the crime problem from illegal African immigrants into Israel.

They then chat with Australian Conservatives leader Senator Cory Bernardi on how some politically correct musicians objected to him including their songs in his Australia Day favourites list, and catch up with Senator James Paterson on Australia's voting performance on contentious UN resolutions.

The fellahs also speak with Keith Buxton from Bridhes for Peace on a petition he initiated requesting that Australia moves its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and find out the view from Jerusalem from Isi Leibler on the latest happenings.

3 min Editorial:  highs and lows over summer break

9 min May Golan: illegal African infiltrators in Israel

39 min Senator Cory Bernardi & Bullying tactics from Australian Musicians

51 min Senator James Paterson , Canberra's voice for Israel

1 hr 7 Keith Buxton, Bridges for Peace, Showing the way Israel advocacy

1 hr 26 min Isi Leibler in Jerusalem doesn't Hold back as usual

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

Or its Facebook page.

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

Contact Michael and Alan at Nothing Left: