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.

CA_Democrats_for_Peace_Not_BDS

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 www.j-air.com.au

Contact Michael and Alan at Nothing Left:

michael@nothingleft.com.au

alan@nothingleft.com.au

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 www.j-air.com.au

Contact Michael and Alan at Nothing Left:

michael@nothingleft.com.au

alan@nothingleft.com.au

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.

Odeh

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.}

reems_jan_28_2018
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:

Pew_Polling_Graph_2018

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

reems_jan_28_2018
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 www.j-air.com.au

Contact Michael and Alan at Nothing Left:

michael@nothingleft.com.au

alan@nothingleft.com.au

Monday, January 29, 2018

Dangerous Jews

Doodad


Evidently, according to Arab Resource and Organizing Center spokeswoman Lara Kiswani, a security team was needed to protect Reems from these dangerous Jews. (Excuse me while I wipe the coffee from my monitor.) Kiswani, of course ripped posters from the hands of at least one of these dangerous Jews last time. Probably thought the posters contained Ricin or something.

Evidently the security team worked since from all reports the event was peaceful and not one of those dangerous Jews set off a suicide bomb in the hopes of getting their own mural in some Dangerous Jew Kosher restaurant someday.

And now I need to go pop a few Advil because of all the head shaking I have been doing.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Oakland Stands United With Hate

Michael Lumish

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

A poster in my neighborhood
As many of you know, Reem's bakery at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland, California - the very spot where Oscar Grant was famously shot dead by police in the early hours of New Year's Day, 2009, touching off local riots - continues to display a mural of Rasmea Odeh, one of the murderers of college students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner in Jerusalem in 1969.

On Sunday, January 28, 2018 - perhaps as you read this - a few pro-Israel / pro-Jewish people will stand outside of this anti-Israel / anti-Jewish politicized bakery that all Jewish people must pass by if we wish to get onto the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) on our way into San Francisco or anywhere around the Bay Area.

Whenever I pass through those turnstiles it puts my mind to nothing so much as 1930s Berlin.

Can you imagine what it is like for any Jewish person in the SF Bay Area to have to walk past a restaurant that celebrates the murder of your own people if you simply wish to take public transportation? And what is even worse is that, in this part of the political universe, if you so much as dare to object you are smeared as a racist and an Islamophobe and a sexist and a transphobe and God Knows What All.

I recently received this note in an email from friends:
COME TO THE VIGIL:  Reems Bakery: Sunday, January 28, Reems Bakery Will be Hosting a Book Signing Promoting Academic Boycotts Against  Israel. -  San Francisco Voice For Israel

ACTION: Please come and join our vigil against this book signing.

In one of the most egregious examples in recent memory of the normalization of anti-Semitism and violence in our community, Reem Assil has decorated her Oakland bakery with a floor to ceiling mural honoring convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh, who murdered 2 and wounded 9 others when a bomb she placed  in a Jerusalem grocery store exploded.  On Sunday January 28, the bakery will be hosting a book signing  promoting  academic boycotts against  Israel.

In response, there will be a vigil in front of the bakery, exposing the hate and intolerance, not only of the BDS movement, but of Reem's Bakery.

We'll be gathering at 3:30, Sunday January 28  3301 E 12th St #133, Oakland.  Reem's bakery is steps away from Fruitvale BART.  Please consider joining us, and  pass this information on to any one you think might be interested in coming
Obviously, I am not expecting you guys to leap from your chairs and run down to Fruitvale BART.

I am just letting you know that there are still a few people who give a damn.

StandWithUs did, in fact, stand with us.

But where are the synagogues and other local pro-Jewish / pro-Israel organizations?

And how is it that the city of Oakland does not seem to care one way or the other?

I feel reasonably sure that if Reem's was "Ariel Sharon's Joint and Whiskey Bar" and featured a worshipful mural of Baruch Goldstein the people of Oakland would have arisen as one and shut that place down in a New York Minute with the full support of city government.

As always, it is the blatant hypocrisy that is too much to take.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Social Psychology of Leftist Mass Hysteria

Michael Lumish

Aydin Paladin is an interesting figure within the New Center.

{And, yes, she scares the holy hell out of me.}

Nonetheless, I have been following her for maybe a year, or so, and I think that she is an exceedingly intelligent rogue academic.

She is "rogue" in the sense that unlike many professors from earlier generations she is pleased to speak with everyone in a manner that is both colloquial and academic, simultaneously, in a public manner.

She is among a small number of people building from the ground-up who have used Youtube to create a following, if not a career, out of simply speaking their minds.

Those that I follow most closely include Dave Rubin, Carl Benjamin (Sargon), Jordan Peterson, Gad Saad, Mark Steyn, Sam Harris, Douglas Murray, Candace Owens, Ami Horowitz and the old Carol Burnett Show!

And what is best about the so-called New Center, for the moment at least, is the disinterest in promoting ideological partisanship.

In any case, give a listen to "The Social Psychology of Leftist Mass Hysteria."

I have been arguing since shortly after the last presidential election that the US has been going through what sociologists technically refer to as a "moral panic."

"So prepare yourself lads because we are about to go balls deep."

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Many Faces of the Sexy Hijabi

Michael Lumish

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

An American Hijabi
as given to us by Madison Avenue (2017)
The sexy hijabi is new to American popular culture.

Due to the rise of contemporary political Islam, and mass Muslim immigration into the West, the hijab is now a highly-charged cultural symbol.

For many American and western Muslim women, it is simply a matter of ethnic identity and faith. In that way, it is not so different than a Jew wearing a kippa or a Shield of David pendant on a silver chain.

Among hip and hypocritical, white, western-progressives, such as Linda Sarsour, the hijab represents freedom, because it represents resistance to the wrong kind of "white" people.

For Iranian feminists, on the other hand - those who are facing true totalitarianism and who are putting their lives on the line in the face of actual oppression - the hijab represents the very misery that western-feminists see as benign inclusivity.

Jewish people - given our history under centuries of Arab and Muslim oppression - sometimes think of the hijab as a symbol of hatred toward us and the submission of women

But for Madison Avenue, it is just pure gold.

If you Google Image the word "hijab" - at least on my laptop, on this day - the first page is filled with pictures of beautiful women, such as the sexy American hijabi on the upper left of your screen.

{Now that is one hot hijabi mama.}

The Nike Hijabi
There is also the Nike Hijab... "a performance hijab for Muslim women athletes"... for when you want to go running in Central Park or the Golden Gate Park Panhandle.

The inspiration for the Nike Hijab came from US fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad who is the first Muslim American woman to wear the traditional patriarchal head-covering during Olympic tournament play and who earned a bronze medal for Team USA.

She is also the inspiration for the Hijabi Barbie doll as Christine Hauser informs us in the New York Times.

This is interesting from a human rights standpoint because the hijab, whatever else it may be, is a symbol of oppression to millions of women around the world.

The reason that women throughout Iran are waving their hijabs before western cameras is in the hope that European and American and Australian feminists will stand up with them against a sexist, theocratic regime.

Iranian women remove their hijabs in defiance
But the western-left simply does not see it that way because western-feminists do not care about non-western patriarchy.

What they seem to care about are "pussy hats" and safe spaces and trigger warnings and gender-neutral pronouns.

So, no such luck, Iranian women.

Western women, particularly western feminists, do not stand with you.

That is, western-feminism is no longer about feminism at all, nor about universal human rights.

In the 1990s, the feminist-left stood up against the Taliban in Afghanistan, but those days are long gone.

During the Women's March, from last year, directly after the election of Donald Trump, American women donned the hijab as a symbol of solidarity with their Muslim sisters throughout the world.

Perhaps the foremost symbol of that march is an image of a young woman, possibly based on Linda Sarsour, in a hijab comprised of stars and stripes.

Women's March Poster (2017)
The basic, most sincere idea behind those who waved that USA hijabi symbol is that all Americans are Americans.

The hijab can easily be thought of as representing the American ideal of inclusivity.

The United States is a nation of nations.

And the most forward-thinking of us - the most progressive of us - want greater inclusivity because, unless we are indigenous to the Americas, all of our ancestors came from elsewhere.

This is Basic USA Thinking 101.

But what does it mean when, in the name of inclusivity and diversity, western-feminists embrace a symbol like the hijab which Iranian women are ridding themselves of as an act of defiance against an oppressive and patriarchal system?

How is it that the western-left - which tells the world that it stands for social justice and universal human rights - embraces a symbol that represents the opposite of those ideals?

In the United States women who don the hijab, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, often do so as a matter of choice. For many devout Muslim American women, the hijab is not so much about submitting to a decrepit theocratic-patriarchal system as it is about human modesty and respect for the deity. Some Jewish women, after all, wear headdresses and for much the same reasons.

Nonetheless, the hijab has now become a fashionable symbol that stands at a cultural crossroad between the American ethos of ethnic inclusivity and the illiberal ethos of female oppression as generated by the Islamic faith.

Thus the sexy hijabi has many faces.

She is simultaneously an image of western openness to people from other cultures while also representing, and thereby promoting, the oppression of women within an Islamic context.

Furthermore, of course, for many people, the hijab represents a symbol not only of oppression of Muslim women but also of the oppression of Jews under thirteen centuries of Arab and Muslim imperial rule in the Middle East from the time of Muhammad until the demise of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

The hijab as a symbol of oppression is concretized for Jewish people when hijabis screech "Alahu Akbar!" at Jewish people visiting the Temple Mount for the purpose of driving us away.

But the hijab as a contradictory and even malicious symbol in western cultural politics is perhaps no more on display than it is in the current Revlon kerfuffle.

Revlon, of course, is a well-known western corporation that sells makeup and other beauty and skin-care products.

The company recently offered the semi-hip American blogger Amani Al-Khatahtbeh their "Changemaker Award" - whatever that is, exactly - but the hijabi hipster refused the honor due to the fact that Revlon also employs Israeli actress Gal Gadot, of Wonder Woman fame, as a corporate spokesmodel.

Gal Gadot, of course, is a Jewish Israeli who served in the IDF, as do almost all Jewish Israeli kids, because their Arab neighbors force them to do so. Unlike western college students, if young Jewish Israelis wish to see their future children survive they must defend themselves and their families and their country in national service... and that goes for Wonder Woman as much as it goes for any other Jewish Israeli girl.

Unlike their soft and spoiled and obnoxious college-aged western critics, Jewish Israeli kids have to put their necks on the line in defense of their families and friends.

When I was growing up among the pugnacious, skateboarding, late twentieth-century East Coast American middle-class kids in our Keds and Adidas, we called antisemitism racism and the American left hated it.

Now it's called cool, in the anti-Zionist frame, and they love it.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Michael Lumish

When Cal Abrams became a Brooklyn Dodger in the early 1950s he took the number 18 for his uniform.

In Gematria 18 represents Chai.

Chai means life.

I did not know this man, but his brother Artie Abrams was a good friend of my father.

I have to tell ya, strange as that may seem, this matters to me.


abrams3

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Responding to Abbas' rant

Sar Shalom

Much has been written about Mahmoud Abbas' recent rant attributed as a response to Trump's declaration about Jerusalem. Much has been made about how that rant proves that Abbas is not serious about peace and about how the media systematically ignore the parts that most directly make that point. However, I would like to suggest that Abbas' speech demonstrates the point I have made in the past about why our demand should be for for a three-part declaration:
  • The Jews are a people
  • The Jewish people are deeply connected to the Land of Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular
  • The Pact of Umar has no place in the modern world
It is an open and shut case that Abbas' recent rant contradicts any acceptance of the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. Therefore, if we present the three-part declaration as our demand to talk, the only justification one could offer for decrying Israel's cutting off talks in the wake of Abbas' rant would be that the three-part declaration is an unreasonable demand.

Countering the notion that it is an unreasonable demand could take some work. The major point in doing so is that failure to make the three-part declaration, or making it and then contradicting it even if less egregiously than in Abbas' recent rant, is demonstration of a belief that Israel's simple existence is an injustice and that any concession to reality is only momentary until reality would not hinder addressing that "injustice." However, the most important part in gaining acceptance for that demand would be to present it.

Many people would say that there is no need to bother with any of that. All that is needed is to look at the Koran and the Hadith and that all the proof is there that the Muslims are unable to accept the permanence of Israel. However, the three-part declaration dispatches any need for essentialist assessments of Muslim beliefs. If someone is unable to make the three-part declaration, it is good enough proof for me that that person will not except Israel's right to exist, and it doesn't matter whether that inability stems from one's interpretation of religious tenets or belief that a visiting alien said to deny it. By the same token, if someone were to make the three-part declaration, and not follow up with any form of contradiction, it would show that whatever religious doctrines exist, they are not an obstacle for that individual to accept Israel's right to exist.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Dave Rubin's Latest

Michael Lumish

Rubin is spot-on in his analysis of Martin Luther King, Jr.

He points out, as I have been pointing out, that western-left identity politics and its attendant "intersectionality theory" are deeply bigoted because they divvy-up the political sphere into degrees of deserving or undeserving based on a racialized and entirely prejudicial worldview.

As for socialism, very few Americans who are inclined toward it have the slightest clue what it means and there has yet to be a historical example of it that has worked and that has not resulted in slaughter, poverty, starvation, and misery.

My focus, as the readers here know, is on the unfortunate relationship between the western-left and pro-Israel Jewry.

I generally avoid advocating for broad economic regimes because I do not believe that I know enough about macroeconomics... or, even, microeconomics, for that matter - but if by socialism we mean that workers own the means of production then we are obviously talking about a form of authoritarianism.

Well-meaning, left-leaning, western socialists may argue strenuously to the contrary, but if legal enforcement of the workers' possession of the venues of production means that the government owns those venues that means blood, repression, and the stamping out of the individual.

Today's western-left has lost its way because it has given up on the liberal (and countercultural) ideal of the rebel. It values conformity and group-think over argumentation. It values ideological blinkertude over Abbie Hoffman.

Socialism has a dull appeal and the left has become as boring and mainstream and restrictive as Big Nurse is over Randle McMurphy.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Rabbi Shot Dead

Michael Lumish

Rabbi_Raziel_Shevach
Rabbi Shevach in a recent photo with his family.
On Tuesday, January 9, Rabbi Raziel Shevach (35) was shot dead near his home in Havat Gilad, Israel.

Jeremy Sharon, writing for the Jerusalem Post, tells us:
A resident of the Havat Gilad outpost in central Samaria was killed on Tuesday night close to his home, in a drive-by shooting attack on Route 60.

Rabbi Raziel Shevach, 35, a mohel, was married with six children, four daughters and two sons, ages 11 to eight months.

Shortly after 8 p.m., Magen David Adom received a report of the shooting and dispatched paramedics and an MDA team to the site of the attack. The victim had several wounds to his neck and upper body from a reported spray of 22 bullets, and was taken to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba.
22 bullets.

An Israeli Jewish acquaintance in response to this recent attack has some ideas on "What is going to happen" and "What would happen if I were Prime Minister with a cooperative cabinet."


What is going to happen, he writes:
1.) The killer(s) will be found and tried for murder or will die in a blaze of glory firefight with the authorities.

2.) They will become overnight heroes in Palestinian society. Streets and parks will be named after them. Kids will trade cards with their pictures on them.

3.) The killers and their families will receive a lifelong stipend from the Palestinian Authority.

4.) The killers will be traded in another prisoner swap 10 years down the road.

5.) Rinse, wash, repeat.
The writer is likely correct.

If the killer(s) are found - which is possible by the time that you read this  -  they will become heroes throughout much of Palestinian-Arab territories. The veneration of Jew murderers, after all, is a very old story within Arab culture on Jewish land.

Their families will receive a generous stipend, courtesy of the United States government and the EU and the UN via Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, and Jewish citizens of western countries must wonder how it is that their own governments are financing the murder of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East.

That is, Jewish people must wonder how it is that our own tax dollars go toward the murder of our own people by our own governments within our own ancestral homeland.

And it is also a not unreasonable wager that sometime in the future - much like Reem Assil's friend Rasmea Odeh - the killer(s) will be freed by the Israeli government in exchange for a single Israeli Jew.

What I think is that Jewish people, particularly those of the Israeli persuasion, have about had it.


What would happen if I were Prime Minister with a cooperative cabinet.
1.) Any and all domestic and foreign media will be banned from Judea and Samaria.

2.) When the perpetrators are found they will be summarily executed on the spot in front of their families.

3.) Their remains will be buried in unmarked graves and their names will never be reported. They will not be heroes. Threaten the families that if they ever speak to anyone about their identities that they'll be next.

4.) Go through the village the perpetrators are from and in every house you find a Hamas flag, an ISIS flag, Jihadist literature, or a weapon, shoot the oldest male member of the household.

5.) Deport the survivors to Gaza with whatever they can carry.

6.) Burn the village to the ground and on top of the ashes build a new Jewish settlement called Har Raziel in honor of the murdered.

7.) Make this the official government response to any terror incident going forward.

8.) Watch peace break out quickly.
Damn, that sounds harsh.

I would recommend no such thing, but I am a diaspora Jew living a not-uncomfortable life in the American Pacific Northwest.

The notion of burning villages to the ground or shooting terrorists in front of their families without due process of law is savage to my ears.

The reason that I am pointing to this, however, is not a matter of advocacy. I am not recommending anything written in the blockquote above.

I am, however, beginning to suspect that Israeli Jews - if not Jews, in general - are becoming increasingly tired of simply accepting their lot in life as targets of genocide.

Thus, the Day of the Dhimmi is Done.

The Jewish people have a dual reputation. Sometimes, particularly in diaspora, we are thought of as wimps. Sometimes, particularly in Israel, we are thought of as vicious brutes.

What I would suggest to our neighbors of European and Arab descent - who are sitting with their bowls of popcorn watching the drama play itself out - is that despite two-thousand years of getting our asses kicked even the Jewish people have limited patience.

The blockquote above reflects that.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

This guy is fresh

Michael Lumish

Nuseir Yassin is a mid-20s Israeli Arab making a big splash.

I am only now gaining some familiarity with Nuseir, but he's an easy guy to like.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Biblical Violence versus Koranic Violence

Michael Lumish

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

As the West gradually awakens to the rise of political Islam and the immigration crisis in Europe, the question of Koranic violence versus Biblical violence is sometimes referenced.

The reason for this is because of the confusion around the sources of the jihadi aggression against the West. Is it due to western imperialism or to essential Islamic theological sources?

Or a combination of both?

When jihadis blow people up or burn them alive are they acting Koranically or out of righteous indignation toward the imperial advances of the rapacious West?

Whatever the answer to that particular question, what I would like to briefly suggest is that Biblical violence is generally descriptive while Koranic violence is generally prescriptive.

If you Google "violence in the quran vs violence in bible" you come up with a variety of discussions around the question of which books are most violent, the Hebraic Bible, the New Testament, or the Koran.

The very first result that pops up on my screen is from a sociological-statistical piece in the Independent by Samual Osborne entitled, 'Violence more common' in Bible than Quran, text analysis reveals.

Osborne writes:
An analysis into whether the Quran is more violent than the Bible found killing and destruction occur more frequently in the Christian texts than the Islamic.

Investigating whether the Quran really is more violent than its Judeo-Christian counterparts, software engineer Tom Anderson processed the text of the Holy books to find which contained the most violence.

In a blog post, Mr Anderson explains: "The project was inspired by the ongoing public debate around whether or not terrorism connected with Islamic fundamentalism reflects something inherently and distinctly violent about Islam compared to other major religions."
Mr. Anderson concludes his analysis by noting:
Comparing our three religious texts across the eight major emotions we find that the Old Testament is the ‘Angriest’ (including most mentions of ‘Disgust’); it also contains the least amount of ‘Joy’. 
When the question of Biblical violence versus Koranic violence is raised it is almost always done for the purpose of clearing Islam of any culpability for the results of its own theocratic-ideological inclinations. Thus statisticians like Anderson run the texts of the Bible, the New Testament, and the Koran through computer programs which tabulate violent references within those texts.

The results demonstrate that the Bible depicts more acts of violence than does the Koran.

This is hardly surprising given the length and ancient nature of the Bible, however, this misses the point entirely.

While the Bible and the Koran are filled with violence, Biblical violence tends to be descriptive, while Koranic violence tends toward the prescriptive.

The significance of this distinction is key to the nature of the different sources.

For example, in 2 Kings 2:23-25, concerning Elisha the successor of Elijah, we read:
23 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” 24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number. 25 And he went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.
Now, that is quite an image.

According to the Bible, God sent a couple of she-bears out of the woods to murder, or otherwise maul, forty-two children for daring to mock a prophet of Judea.

In Koran 5:33, in the Surah Al-Ma'idah, however, we read this:
Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,
Although the chopping of hands and feet from opposite sides of the body is a mighty interesting and disgusting touch of Islamic jurisprudence, it is merely one example of the many, many violent descriptions in these books. 

One cannot draw definitive conclusions on the nature of the texts from a single example, but I feel reasonably certain that my tentative conclusion concerning the descriptive / prescriptive difference between Biblical versus Koranic texts would hold up under scrutiny.

At the very least it represents a fair point of exploration in reference to the scholarship.

So, the first question to ask is not the quantity of violence in the Bible or the New Testament versus the Koran, but the intent and nature of that violence.

From what I can tell, biased as I am, the Koran calls for the submission or murder of the infidel.

The Bible of the Jews does not.

Lesson from deprogramming a white nationalist

Sar Shalom

Some background about Derrick Black. He was the godson of David Duke and was brought up in a controlled environment of white nationalism. His father, Don Black, founded the website Stormfront to which he contributed a kid's page as a teenager. As he built his following, Don recognized in him a future leader in the white nationalist movement. All of this came crashing against reality when he went to college and studied medieval history where he learned that white Europeans were not always as prominent in global development as he was led to believe by his upbringing. He was helped along in making this conclusion by the ostracism he encountered on campus when he was outed for his white nationalist activism. I would like to convey some lessons from Black's experience to landscape surrounding discussion about Israel.

A start would be the specifics of how Black came to renounce his past white nationalism. It began shortly after he was outed for his activism. For his safety he moved off campus and only came onto campus for classes. However, someone on campus decided that a better way to convince of his errors would be to engage him. This was done by inviting him to Friday night Shabbat dinners hosted by the one Orthodox Jew on campus. Faced with the prospect of having no other social outlet, he accepted. There he came face-to-face with some of those who were on the receiving end of the anger he had stoked as white nationalism activist and learned things about them that contradicted everything he had taught by white nationalist compatriots.

Unfortunately, this does not provide much guidance for how to deprogram those who have swallowed the Palestinianist narrative because Black's willingness to enter an environment where he would see the targets of his hate as human beings was facilitated by the ostracism he experienced for his promotion of that hatred. In contrast, the purveyors of hatred against Jews, or at a minimum against Jews who refuse to make their backs available to Arabs who would flog them, face no such censure from polite society.
On the air, Derek helped popularize the idea of a white genocide, that whites were losing their culture and traditions to massive, nonwhite immigration. “If we say it a thousand times — ‘White genocide! We are losing control of our country!’ — politicians are going to start saying it, too,” he said.
Most people, even those claiming that whites are now the victims of reverse racism, would probably find the notion of whites being victims of racism to be laughable. However, the laughability of a claim is not an obstacle to anyone making it. This is the case with the Palestinianist claim of a Palestinian genocide perpetrated by Israel.
The white genocide idea he had been championing had finally become a fixture of conservative radio. David Duke had started trying to build a relationship with “our friends and allies in the tea party.”
Just as Black's characterization of Blacks gaining civil rights as a white genocide caught on in the white nationalist movement, so did the characterization of Jews gaining civil rights as a Palestinian genocide gain traction among the Palestinianists. If we can ever equate the Palestiniasts' placards declaring "Zionism=Apartheid" and "Zionism=Genocide" with the alt-right's "Diversity=White Genocide," we will make a large step in discrediting Palestinianism.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Mister Cohen, my brother

Michael Lumish

Readers of Israel Thrives know that "Mr. Cohen" is a regular contributor and friend, but one who may be bowing out.

Given the modesty of IT, the loss of any significant voice is a blow.

Mr. Cohen's comment from beneath my recent piece entitled, Heritage Theft: A Response to Dani Ishai Behan, took me a bit off-guard.
Michael Lumish, you correctly accuse Muslims of heritage theft against the Jewish people.

But you are just as bad as they are, when you falsely slander the Jewish people by saying that they “emerged out of a mish-mash of competing peoples”.

This super-ignorant remark totally ignores and denies everything that is written in the Jewish Bible, also known as the Tanach or the OT (Only Testament)
This was my initial response, which I am only publishing now:
Mr. Cohen, my brother.

I want you to know that your contribution here has been greatly appreciated and I very much hope that it is not over.

Your links and commentary matter to me and to Israel Thrives.

I have respect for religious Jews, although I do not happen to be very religious, myself.

In truth, I am an agnostic when it comes questions of God.

I am perfectly comfortable knowing what I do not know.

The deity is unknowable.

My focus is on doing what little I can do to help stand up for the Jewish people and for the Jewish State of Israel.
The main source of the difference between us is that Mr. Cohen is more religiously devout than myself which is why he took exception to the aside wherein I mentioned that the Jewish people “emerged out of a mish-mash of competing peoples.”

I fail to understand, from a historical perspective, how such a notion could possibly be the least bit controversial.

And I hope that Mr. Cohen will be open for discussion.