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?

33 comments:

  1. The concept of refugee now covers migrants so that it has lost meaning.

    Not sure how the Africans entered Israel. Resettlement is a valid solution available for refugees and the receiving state.

    The world may not think picking on Israel as it does is antisemitic, but maybe that thinking is incorrect. Disparate treatment is discrimination by any means.

    Israel is also a scapegoat, to deflect and escape guilt. An easy target, a safe target. No bravery attacking Israel, just as no bravery attacking Trump. Elsewhere people are at far more personal risk for speaking against power.

    Ironically, there is little hesitancy for most critics to accept Israel's benefits as they lecture on.

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    1. They entered through Sinai in the wake of the last intifada when Israel eliminated thousands of day work permits for the 'palestinians'. At first the Israeli government shrugged and considered it a non problem because of their small numbers. But like all such migrants they take their countries and their cultures with them and they generally made a nuisance of themselves. They turned parts of Tel Aviv into a dump. Eventually the government was forced to deal with them.

      Delete
  2. Not only is not every foreigner a 'refugee' it is not the duty or the problem of whichever country they land on to make it THEIR problem. Israel can and should send them home or to western Europe. Either option sounds equally good.

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    1. People do not seem to understand the implications of open borders. It could hardly be more obvious that open borders means the demise of the nation-state as an organizing human principle and, therefore, something would need to replace it.

      The most likely of such possibilities would be a centralized international government, probably derived from the EU.

      Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to be more a fan of liberal democracy.

      Delete
    2. Mike,
      We're living in interesting times and are bearing witness to people's great capacity for incredibly stupid ideas.
      We need open borders. We need to destroy the country. Why? Because Trump won. I'm sure of this because I was on Facebook tonight.

      Delete
    3. If Trump were to call for open immigration from Latin America because we need people to do all those jobs too lowly for Americans to do, he'd be called a racist.

      Delete
  3. Of course, the media could clear all this up, and I mean EVERYTHING from this latest lethal propaganda stunt on behalf of the would-be genocidal maniacs of HAMAS, to the entire war for Israel's annihilation on, let's face it, on the most trumped up of faked pretenses, but they don't.
    Once you've accepted the "Palestinian narrative," that Israel is just plain wrong for existing, that its birth and existence is the "sinfulness" of western culture distilled, and get that taste of blood, all the facts in the world don't matter - they're not even known to later generations including the current crop of journalists. As Mike's example demonstrates, the claim of over 700 hundred shot, yet only 17 dead, and mostly members of proscribed terror organizations. Sure, let's take the word of genocidal maniacs for that over a democratic country, because the West is generally considered "wrong" and "white," and the Jews must be even "wronger" and "whiter" in order to wipe all those western sins away - our own salvation becomes dependent on vilifying and demonizing the Jewish State. What's new about that? Only the state. And all this only 70 odd years after the Holocaust, which itself was the culmination of centuries of uncorrected slanders against Jews.

    Hamas' latest stunt is a war crime. For all those out there who get off on labeling such things, it is what Coke is to soft drinks - the real thing. It is an aggressive act of war using civilians as fodder. It breaks all those humanitarian conventions everyone loves to pontificate about and find Israel guilty of - kangaroo court style - but no one will call it that because this is the birthplace of the destructive and racist farce known today as intersectionality.
    The Western media is shilling for its own enemies. And as the fellah once said, ain't that a kick in the head.

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    1. Ayup.

      What a lot of us have a difficult time getting beyond is the progressive-left notion that when Arabs seek to murder Jews they are doing so as a matter of "social justice."

      It's just so perverse...

      Delete
  4. Israel needs a minefield between Gaza and Israel. And a fence of course, but def a minefield. And a second layer fence on the other side of the minefield, electrified.

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  5. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has the scoop, as in info, that's a must read over the Gaza peace movement.

    A Nazi-Palestinian flag. Imagine that. Gershon-Harris doubted it. Why is this not surprising?

    People who support the Palestinian movement as it exists today need a morality check!
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    1. And a brain scan when they repeat the peaceful demonstration lie.

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    2. Gershon-Harris needs proof of a flag to see what is obvious. Having your head up your ass is no way to go through life.

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    3. Paint swastikas on their windows. They seem to love that sort of thing.

      Delete
    4. Gershon-Harris. That's a name that I have not heard in awhile.

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    5. I actually wrote a book review of What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife? by
      David Harris-Gershon.
      in 2014 for the Elder of Ziyon.

      I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt.

      Delete
  6. The USA and Europe and Israel cannot be saved without breaking the monopoly that the extreme-Left has over the entire mainstream news media and the entire academic world.

    I do not know how this can be accomplished; I just know that it must be accomplished, otherwise the entire free world will lose its freedom and become an authoritarian Hell-hole, dominated by the extreme-Left and Radical Islam – may the Supreme Being of the Universe save us all from that dreaded fate.

    =========================================
    Basic Middle East Facts:

    https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2018/04/basic-middle-east-facts.html

    =========================================
    If Daniel Were Alive Today:

    https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2018/03/if-daniel-were-alive-today.html

    =========================================
    If Isaiah Were Alive Today:

    https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2018/03/if-isaiah-were-alive-today.html

    =========================================
    If Ezekiel Were Alive Today:

    https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2018/03/if-ezekiel-were-alive-today.html

    =========================================
    If Jeremiah Were Alive Today:

    https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2018/03/if-jeremiah-were-alive-today.html

    =========================================
    If Ezra Were Alive Today:

    https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2018/03/if-ezra-were-alive-today.html

    =========================================
    If Nehemiah Were Alive Today:

    https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2018/04/if-nehemiah-were-alive-today.html

    ReplyDelete
  7. Seizing the confidential files of a sitting president's lawyer just before he decides whether to attack Syria and before he meets Kim Jong Un? Not sure what the urgency was given the suggested charges. Wow. Constitutional Crisis?

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    1. It's the kind of thing you typically see when a junta tries to topple a president. Expect to see Mueller try to arrest and detain Trump's family and hold them hostage until Trump resigns. Then of course Mueller will decide the entire election was fraudulent. I guess we'll be left with some sort of people's committee of revolutionaries to run the country. Maybe a few left wing army officers. Who knows.

      Delete
    2. Heh. But it sure seems like a coup. Some are predicting Mueller will likely go after Trump's family and I can definitely see that happening. The swamp doesn't drain easily.

      Delete
  8. Consider that apart the usual gaggle of assholes and retards the 'world' response to the IDF activities on the Gaza border were and are muted and not gaining the attention one would normally expect. We can of course ignore the PLO, Hamas, the UN and the obligatory Nazi ravings of the New York Times, the Guardian and the BBC. That never changes, but on the whole, it's clear, that this time, at least the 'world' is bored and indifferent with the 'palestinians'. Not even the usual left wing bodies that purport to represent journalists are that upset about the terrorist wearing a PRESS vest and getting shot while operating a surveillance drone over the IDF's deployment. A day or two and then poof. Israel's increasingly more significant success with this and future actions can be seen not in tactical success but the lack of hysterical psychotic responses that used to be normal.

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    1. I keep hearing that the Arab and Muslim Middle East is caring less and less about the Arabs in the Land of Israel. There seem to be two reasons for this.

      One is that the insidious, violent, and ignorant schmucks have overplayed their hand.

      The other, of course, is that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are concerned about the rise of Shia Iran as enabled by that great friend of the Jewish people, Barack Obama.

      Delete
    2. Well, that and Trump as strong horse. Sauddi Arabia and Egypt wouldn't have dared take such a position under someone like Obama who would have cut their feet out under them.

      Delete
    3. Doodad,

      I am with ya.

      As you know as well as anyone in this world, I have been highly critical of the Obama administration because I think it was toxic for Israeli relations with the western-left and hampered any possibility for the Holy Two State Solution by insisting upon restrictions on Jewish migration into Judea and Samaria.

      But there was one good thing that inadvertantly came out of the Obama administration and that is the slow, quiet, careful alliance between Israel and Jordan and Saudi Arabia and Egypt in their contest with Iran.

      I say, a toast to Barack Obama!

      He did not mean to do good, but it may have worked out that way, anyway!

      Cheers!

      {Good for him.}

      Delete
    4. No, Mike, you are wrong. Obama is such a genius that you can forget everything about war and peace we've learned since the Greeks. He really did it all for Israel and the Jews. (I can't stop laughing.)
      And if I could sum up the content of this comment with the perfect sound, that sound would be that of a gigantic fart.

      Delete
  9. Comey says Trump was "obsessed," about the pee tape. Well, duh. Imagine the nerve of someone elected President being upset about such a thing and thinking the FBI might be able to do something about it. They can't even prevent Terrorists and school shooters they are WARNED about beforehand.

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    Replies
    1. Is that the footage of the sacred bed being ritually defiled?
      This idea could only have come from the brain of Obama worshipper.

      Delete
  10. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5609915/In-new-book-Comey-says-Trump-untethered-truth.html

    Excerpts from Comey's book convince me Comey is a petty vindictive SOB. He has every right to be of course BUT he could have chose otherwise. Ya know what I mean?

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    Replies
    1. He told Trump it was unverified and then it was used to to get a FISA warrant.

      There's no right to be vindictive. One just is or isn't. Comey dug his own hole, especially with the holier than thou act. If he violated the law, may justice be served.

      Delete
    2. "Ex-FBI Director James Comey said “it’s possible” President Trump was with hookers “peeing on each other” in Moscow, according to excerpts of a new interview released Friday.

      “I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” Comey said in a “20/20” episode set to air Sunday. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”

      The former top G-man recalled the moment Trump floated the idea of investigating the pee-tape allegations during a private dinner Jan. 27, 2017 — saying it would bother him if there was “even a 1 percent chance” that wife Melania believed them.

      “And I remember thinking, ‘How could your wife think there’s a 1 percent chance you were with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow?’” Comey said. “I’m a flawed human being, but there is literally zero chance that my wife would think that was true. So, what kind of marriage to what kind of man does your wife think [that] there’s only a 99 percent chance you didn’t do that?”

      https://nypost.com/2018/04/13/comey-its-possible-trump-was-with-hookers-peeing-on-each-other/

      Trump's right. Comey is a slimeball. I hope he goes to jail.

      Delete
    3. “I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth,..."
      Oy vey what an asshole.

      Delete
    4. RE: the sainted James Comey

      https://www.frontpagemag.com/point/269874/fact-check-yes-comey-slimeball-daniel-greenfield

      It reminds me of kind of "service" political pundit Chris Matthews has given to this country. Oh, the sacrifice!

      Delete
  11. FFS. You KNOW what the inference is on this don't you.

    "#Mueller's evidence includes @MichaelCohen212's #Israeli passport, which the #FBI found in Cohen's safe deposit box.Btw. Cohen denied having an Israeli passport while under oath in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee"

    https://twitter.com/noclador/status/984950958970015744

    ReplyDelete