Thursday, September 27, 2018

I Was Wrong about Anti-Zionists

Michael Lumish
This is a retread of a thing I wrote for Daily Kos in June of 2009 under the nom de blog "Karmafish" which I entitled, I Was Wrong about Anti-Zionists. 
It has been almost ten years, now, and what I was trying to do then was simply alert the American-Left to the fact of antisemitic anti-Zionism within their ranks.
The piece is sarcastic and ironic because I was frustrated at the failure of their ongoing refusal to recognize what was right before their faces.

In truth, the western-left does not care about racism. It is, in fact, the most highly racist movement outside of political Islam in the West today.

It simply uses racism as a political club.

And the thing of it is, these people are not being disingenuous. They sincerely believe what they say that they believe. What they do not seem to understand is that bigotry is not dependent upon the ethnicity of the target.
For a long time, now, I have been suggesting that left anti-Zionism often serves as a shroud for anti-Semitism and that the constant vilification and demonization of Israel is anti-Semitic when the people doing that vilifying ignore Darfur and Congo and Sri Lanka and the Chinese in Tibet.
I must admit that I was wrong and I hereby issue an apology.
I live in San Francisco and I love my town.  Some months ago there was a protest against Israel’s Gaza incursion and here are a few photos demonstrating just how wrong I was.
Let’s get directly to the matter, shall we?
This nice lady carried a sign reading, "Jews are terroist!"  I am not certain what a "terroist" is, but criticism of Israel is not, I repeat, NOT anti-Semitism.  By the way, aren't her daughters as cute as little anti-Zionist buttons?
Now, given the overly extreme sensitivities of
Jews "Zionists" you would think that someone carrying such a sign would be asked to leave or put it away.  Did that happen?  Not exactly.
Smile pretty for the camera!
Some of the pro-Israel, "Zionist" crowd has suggested that the left is often supportive of Hamas despite their Jew Killing agenda as laid out in their charter, which reads, in part:
The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!
But this is clearly false.  No one on the left actually supports Hamas:
No one on the left would be caught dead supporting a blood-thirsty, gay-hating, woman-oppressing, Jew-killing, theocratic organization like Hamas.  It’s just that Hamas is misunderstood.  They can’t help themselves.  Besides, it’s all Israel’s fault.
And since it is all Israel’s fault, you really cannot blame people for wanting to kill "Zionists."
Or ZioNazis, anyway.  This fine gentleman of the left has nothing against Jews, just evil ZioNazis who are legitimate military targets.  Kill the ZioNazis!  Of course, since the vast majority of Jewish people happen to favor the existence of the Jewish state (for some dumb reason) this would make them Zionists and, thus, Nazis.  And we all know what to do with Nazis.  Just what this gentleman suggests, eh?  But no reasonable person could possibly consider such a stance, the killing of "Zionists," to be anti-Semitic.  This is merely criticism of Israel and again, criticism of Israel is NOT anti-Semitic and anyone who suggests otherwise is a GIYUS Hasbara troll trying to shut down the discussion.
Here is this man’s criticism of Israel:
Smash the Jewish state?  That’s a good question.  Should Israel, or should Israel not, be destroyed?  There is something like 13 million Jews in the world, a whopping .2% of the world population, and nearly 40% of them live in Israel.  But the question of whether or not to wipe them out is not anti-Jewish.  It is a merely a question that people of good will can disagree upon.  
Now, the European Union has declared that equating Israel with Nazi Germany is anti-Semitic, but given Europe’s famous love for the Jewish people, it is not surprising that they would suggest this.  The problem is that there is just too much good will toward Jews in Europe and they are far, far too overprotective of their Jewish citizenry.  Just because Jewish schools and synagogues have to be guarded by the police from possible attack means nothing.

And just because anti-Jewish violence is rising there is no cause for concern.  National Socialism, of course, is generally considered the worst, the most vicious, political movement in world history and they had to be destroyed.  But comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is not anti-Semitic.  It is, again, merely criticism of Israel.  There is nothing wrong with criticizing Israel, just as there is nothing wrong with criticizing any other country.  And just because Israel is like Nazi Germany, and Nazi Germany had to be destroyed, Jewish people should not get so head-up about this mild criticism.
And just because Zionism, the movement for Jewish self-determination and self-defense, is just like Nazism is also no reason for Jews to object to such a characterization.
Of course, some people consider Jews to actually be worse than Nazis.  The picture below shows a Star of David, the symbol of the Jewish people, with a "greater than" symbol pointing to a Nazi Swastika.  I understand that a tiny percentage of blood-thirsty Jewish neo-cons would object to such a characterization, but the neo-cons gave us the Iraq war and thus should not be listened to.  The suggestion that Jewish people are actually worse than Nazis is nothing but criticism of Israel.  It is not meant to offend Jews and it certainly should not be taken to mean that Jews are evil and must be gotten rid of.
Never again?  It's a question, really.  Probably never again.  Perhaps.
Nonetheless, as I am sure you will all agree, the Intifada needs to be globablized.
All this person is suggesting is that people of good will around the globe must take to the streets in violent confrontation with "Zionists" wherever they might be found.  Just because the vast majority of Jews support the Jewish state and are, thus, "Zionists" doesn’t mean that they should object to a global Intifada.  
In fact, Jewish people, as a matter of social justice, should join with their anti-Zionist brothers and sisters calling for violent reprisals against... "Zionists"!
Some of you, btw, may have heard of a recent police shooting of an unarmed man in Oakland in the Oakland City BART station.  One liberal anti-Zionist protester, reasonably enough, blames this on the Jews.
The suggestion, of course, is that Israel’s recent criminal Zionist genocidal massacre in Gaza is directly connected to that shooting.  But it cannot be said enough that criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic.
Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic.
Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic.
And there was Cindy.
What a shame.
And, again, I apologize.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Labour Betrayal

Michael Lumish

Delegates wave Palestinian flags, chant ‘Free Palestine’
during Labour conference held amid widespread
anti-Semitism accusations

The Times of Israel and AP staff tell us:
Britain’s main opposition Labour Party on Tuesday passed a motion strongly criticizing Israel and pledging to halt all UK weapon sales to the Jewish state if it rises to power, as a senior lawmaker warned the party must root out anti-Semitism amid persistent scandals dogging the party.

Delegates at the party’s conference in Liverpool voted to criticize Israel’s use of force against violent protests and riots on the Gaza border, urge more UK funding for the UN agency for Palestinians, and back a freeze on British arms sales to Israel.
The British, in general, have rarely been friends to the Jewish people and it is hard to know just what they want from our lives even as it is becoming less and less clear why we would should even care. Labour is threatening to halt UK weapons sales to Israel because our brothers and sisters dare to defend themselves against those who want us dead.

Not only does Hamas and the other Islamist organizations surrounding Israel -- not to mention the Palestinian Authority -- want us gone but they want us gone from the homeland our fathers.

It is a remarkable stand for Labour to take within living memory of the Holocaust.

Many of these people, to this day, probably still believe that the recent attacks on the Gaza border represent "peaceful protest." They must feel that the burning of Jewish crops and the killing of innocent creatures on animal preserves with those incendiary balloons -- that continues to this day -- are fully justified.

It is astonishing. There is all sorts of footage of violence and chaos and mayhem and blood coming from Arabs who live on Jewish land directed toward Jews, yet the progressive-left and the Labour Party honestly believe that we deserve whatever beating that we get.

I believe that this needs to be understood within the context of the long-standing European and Arab abhorrence to Jewish self-defense. For millennia the very notion of a Jew punching back was anathema within Europe and throughout the lands conquered via Arab and Muslim imperialism.

What is ironic and sad is Labour honestly does not recognize Judea as Jewish land.

They seem to believe that Israel is somehow part of the Arabian Peninsula and that, therefore, Jews need to be confronted for our usurpation of the land of others and the persecution of the innocent, bunny-like "indigenous Arab" population.

They do not recognize the indigeneity of the Jewish people to Israel even as they claim to stand for the rights of other indigenous peoples.

In 1190 there was the massacre of the Jews at York which took 150 of us, some taking their own lives during the bloody chaos and others burned in the tower.

In the year 1290 King Edward the First issued the Edict of Expulsion to the Jewish people living within England. The edict remained in force until Oliver Cromwell dropped by the British political scene in 1657.

There is even a delightful 2011 story from the BBC of all places that notes:
The remains of 17 bodies found at the bottom of a medieval well in England could have been victims of persecution, new evidence has suggested.

The most likely explanation is that those down the well were Jewish and were probably murdered or forced to commit suicide, according to scientists who used a combination of DNA analysis, carbon dating and bone chemical studies in their investigation.
Is there an actual difference between being murdered versus forced to commit suicide?

But these little acts of anti-Jewish malice are insignificant compared to British behavior during the Holocaust in which they refused Jewish escape from Germany and Poland even as the ovens were firing. The Brits issued the "White Paper" of 1939 that kept us away from our family in Israel even as the Nazis were rifling us down or gassing our grandparents.

And now the Labour Party is standing with Hamas and the PLO and thus want to halt weapons sales to Israel.

That is A-OK with me.

Why does Israel need to purchase weaponry? Would it not help the Israeli economy to replace British manufacturing with Israeli manufacturing? My guess is that Israel has all the expertise and resources necessary to fill the gap. The more independent Israel is, the better for everyone. The Jews of the Middle East, in my opinion, do not even need the 3 billion dollars in annual aid that the United States gives to American weapons manufacturers. This hardware comes with strings.

I do not want to say that we are in this fight alone, but we may need to think of "the conflict" in precisely those terms.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Avi Abelow Picks up the Torch

Michael Lumish

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

Avi Abelow
I think that it may be fair to say that few were wounded more by the murder of Ari Fuld -- outside of his family -- than was Israeli-American social media personality and political analyst, Avi Abelow.

I like Avi because he has both strength and joy.

He analyzes the worst of the conflict while also spreading gladness in his participation in Israeli and Jewish life.

What can I say? I am an American. Any American Jew, like Avi, who makes aliyah and is an old friend of Ari Fuld and promotes baseball in Israel is a good guy in my book.

He even coaches Ari Fuld's kid as anyone with access to Facebook can see on Ari Fuld's Israel Defense Page.

Abelow, like many of us, was wounded by the murder of Fuld, but Abelow knew him personally for many years. And so when I say that he is a social media figure that is willing to face the very worst side of the conflict, this is probably the very hardest example of it for him personally. He did not need to make aliyah and stand up for the Jewish people and, therefore, face the murder of friends... but he did so.

He could easily have stayed in the United States.

I honestly do not know that it is appropriate for me to promote a media person upon the death of his friend, but I am doing so, anyway. Abelow has been around for awhile and I know him best for his live discussions with journalists and scholars like Caroline Glick and Melanie Phillips.

He is also the founder of 12Tribe Films which he describes as:
dedicated to promoting creative projects about the Jewish people and the land of Israel that connect, entertain, and inspire. As the name of the organization suggests, our creative projects address Jewish issues, with a greater focus on the Jewish values that connect us as a whole. While the projects of 12Tribe Films address religious, political, sociological, and current events effecting Israel and the Jewish people, our goal is to be an informative and educational resource that focuses on the underlying Jewish values and human experiences beneath the issues.
Abelow on left, Fuld on right
with two other gentlemen
But, again, what I most appreciate about this guy is his willingness to stare the devil in the face while also expressing the beauty and significance of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. That is quite a tight-rope. That is not an easy thing to do, especially when the world begins to expect you to get up every morning and do it again and again and again. Half the time he is calling out antisemitic anti-Zionism and the other half he is either showing us the grace of Jerusalem or tossing around a ball with the kids in the park.

There are media people, such as Gideon Levy or Amira Hass of Ha'aretz, who make their bread from spreading hatred toward their brothers and sisters in the land of the Jewish people.

What we need now -- more than at any time in recent memory -- are people like Avi Abelow who are willing to stand up for the memory and strength of Ari Fuld.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Week on Nothing Left

Michael Lumish

This week’s program is dedicated to the memory of Ari Fuld a”h, a great Israel advocate and friend of Nothing Left.

Michael Burd and Alan Freedman begin with Canadian Jewish leader Henry Roth speaking about Jewish life in Europe and elsewhere, and then hear from R’ Yehuda Glick MK, an activist for Jewish access to the Temple Mount who survived an assassination attempt.

The guys also chatted with the IPA’s Director of Policy, Simon Breheny.

Before that we spoke with Arnold Roth in Jerusalem who is relentless in bringing one of the organisers of a terror attack that killed his daughter Malki to justice.

Here is this week's episode of Nothing Left ...

4 min Editorial:  Palestinian Arab funding

10 min Henry Roth, Canadian Jewish writer and Israel advocate

34 min R’ Yehuda Glick, MK in Australia

57 min Arnold Roth in Jerusalem   

1 hr 12 Simon Breheny, Director of Policy, Inst of Public Affairs

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 Nothing Left at:

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Ari Fuld: 1973 - 2018

Michael Lumish

I don't have a lot to say about this other than that it saddens me greatly.

I was not a friend of Ari's, but I knew of him and we occasionally crossed paths in a friendly manner on Facebook. He was friends with others who I consider friends and he was just -- to my mind -- part of the larger pro-Jewish / pro-Israel network of people.

The Judeosphere.

I have to say, I am a little surprised at the tremendous outpouring for this man. I had no idea that he was so well-known. I knew he was well-liked and respected among many people, but even Netanyahu and others within the Israeli government are expressing their sadness at this murder.

And that, unfortunately, is all that I can do.

He had four children.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Unbearable "Whiteness" of Linda Sarsour

Michael Lumish

This is not her fault, obviously, but for a person who describes herself as a "woman of color," Linda Sarsour is the whitest person that I have ever seen.

I am sure that it is terrible and racist and sexist and homophobic and ageist and Rastaphobic and transphobic and antisemitic for me to mention this -- and whatever else makes you happy -- but I am pretty sure that Linda Sarsour is about as White as White can get.

She is Whitey McWhiterson. She is so white that whenever she pops up on my social network feeds I have to go get the Visine so that I am not blinded by the glare.

And whatever anyone else may make of this particularly racist idiot, the fact that as a white woman she pretends to be non-white for the purpose of railing against Euros and Jews is... odd. In fact, it is straight-up nonsense, but it serves a purpose, nonetheless.

Linda Sarsour reminds us that this whole biochromatic way of viewing American politics is not just nonsense, but highly toxic nonsense.

Highly dangerous nonsense.

And it goes directly against the very foundation of the "progressive-left" view on ethnicity as described by Martin Luther King, Jr. in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. I do not need to quote it directly because anyone likely to read this already knows the thesis. King's fundamental idea was to judge people as individuals, according to character, rather than as faceless examples of ethnic groups. It is not very complex. It means that when Linda Sarsour and her people shake their fists and scream that we must follow "women of color" it means that she and her people are throwing the legacy of Martin Luther King down the toilet, even as they claim to stand for that very legacy.

It is the hypocrisy that kills.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Young Goodman Lumish

Michael Lumish

{Also published at Jews Down Under and the Elder of Ziyon.}
Young Goodman Lumish came forth at sunset...
Young Goodman Brown by carinaka
One of the paradigmatic early American short stories is Nathanial Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown (1835). The link above goes to the 1846 edition of the story as published in his collection, Mosses from an Old Manse. What fascinates me, oddly enough, is its potential resonance for diaspora Jewry within recent decades.

Hawthorne, of course, is an icon of American letters and closely associated with his Massachusetts Puritan ancestors as a primary subject of his work. His material is often surreal and dream-like and dark and represents one source of American literary Romanticism that later gave expression to major figures such as Edgar Allen Poe.

Hawthorne's portrayal of his ancestors' sense of a pagan and morally foggish world around Boston and Salem fits nicely with historian David D. Hall's analysis of the Puritans in Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England (Harvard University Press, 1990). Hall describes the Puritan imagination as filled with "wonders" and portents and visions wherein the reality of the Devil and the anger of God is revealed in terrible storms, shipwrecks, and deformed babies born to allegedly immoral mothers.

I hope that I will be forgiven for finding enough universality in Young Goodman Brown to relate it to my own little journey into "the woods," so to speak. A brief description of his trip may resonate with others.

Goodman Brown's story begins in Salem village, Massachusetts, as he leaves his wife, Faith, for a necessary trip into the forest in the seventeenth-century.
Young Goodman Brown came forth at sunset, into the street of Salem village, but put his head back, after crossing the threshold, to exchange a parting kiss with his young wife. And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap, while she called to Goodman Brown.
We do not know why Goodman Brown must head alone into the wood, but he must and so he does.

The story is traditionally understood to have three settings. The first is that of departure from his beautiful wife and the well-ordered and morally-upstanding village of his youth. The second is the realization that the figures he discovers romping in the woods in a most devilish fashion are, in fact, his neighbors and friends. The conclusion represents Goodman Brown's gloomy disillusionment with the faith of his youth and the friends of his upbringing.

There is a reason that literary classics resonate throughout the centuries. It is the mythic universality of the story. Scholars like Joseph Campbell and Jordan Peterson -- not to mention Carl Jung -- analyze mythology because mythology and story-telling represent guidelines to human experience. A work like Young Goodman Brown is beautiful not merely because it is so beautifully written, but because it speaks to universal human themes. It is among what Peterson calls Maps of Meaning.

I hope that I am not stretching analogies too far to suggest that the story of Young Goodman Brown nicely reflects the ideological journey of many diaspora Jews.

Most "post-Vietnam" American Jews, such as myself, grew up in an environment that was not particularly antisemitic and generally decent for Jewish people. My folks raised me in Kingston, New York, and Trumbull, Connecticut and my life was filled with a hodge-podge of all sorts of different people. Black people and White people and This people and That people and we all got along pretty well.

But then, one day, for no good reason whatsoever, I just had to wander off into "the wood." And there, much to my sadness and dismay, I learned that my friends and neighbors were not necessarily who I thought that they were.

As I wrote my dissertation in twentieth-century American cultural and intellectual history for Penn State University, during the cusp between Bush and Obama, and as a former Green Party member, I got involved in Daily Kos under the nom de blog, Karmafish. Daily Kos was, at the time, and perhaps still is, the most prominent pro-Democratic Party blog in the United States. And it was within the surreal forest-like depths of emerging social media that I learned about progressive-left antisemitic anti-Zionism.

It amazed me in 2010 that when jihadis on the Mavi Marmara screamed for Jewish blood in the ancient cry of "Khaybar! Khaybar! Oh, Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!" that the western press and progressive-left political activists described them as "peace activists." The traditional "Khaybar" call among Muslims of the jihadist variety is a call for genocide. It is to remember the glory of when Muhammad ordered the beheading of hundreds of Jewish men, and the taking of their wives and children into slavery, sexual and otherwise, in the town of Khaybar on the Arabian Peninsula in 628 CE.

That response by the Western press and "social justice activists" is, in fact, very reminiscent of the recent description of environmental warfare against Israel by Hamas as something akin to peaceful protests. The attempt to burn Jews out of Israel while seeking to invade the border between Israel and Gaza was described as "peaceful."

It was the realization of the contempt for Jewish self-determination and self-defense that drove me away from them in a satiric farewell entitled, Breaking: Jew Builds Second Bathroom in East Jerusalem. What I discovered during my months of participation on Daily Kos was a toxic loathing for Jewish self-determination and self-defense residing within the heart of the progressive-left. This is not to say that most "progressives" or Democrats are antisemitic, but it is to assert that they have, nonetheless, made a home of themselves for antisemitic anti-Zionists.

And therein lies the dilemma and the problem.

For Young Goodman Brown his return to Salem village meant the end of innocence with no clear road ahead and that, in a sense, is what many American Jews are awakening to.
Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest, and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting?

Be it so, if you will. But, alas! it was a dream of evil omen for young Goodman Brown. A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man, did he become, from the night of that fearful dream. On the Sabbath-day, when the congregation were singing a holy psalm, he could not listen, because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear, and drowned all the blessed strain.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Age of Virtue Rage (Or, How to Reinvigorate Nazism)

Michael Lumish

The early part of the twenty-first century in the United States might be considered the Age of Virtue Rage. Never before in the history of this country have so many people come together in honor of hatred and self-righteous indignation for so little reason.

I did not vote for President Donald Trump, nor did I advocate for him, and yet these boring-as-hell monkey-like group-thinkers scream from the hillsides -- day and night and night and day -- about what a terrible person this guy is. It is fairly amazing, actually, because the two biggest gripes against this president are that he is allegedly racist and sexist. The burning, unquenchable hatred for Trump is grounded in these twin notions.

And, yet, the Hate Lovers enjoyed Bill Clinton. I voted for Bill Clinton twice. He also, by today's standards, committed either rape or something akin to rape, in the White House.

And, for some reason, no one seems to mind.

{It is the hypocrisy that kills.}

And, please let us not forget that Barack Obama is a stone-cold racist. Obama honestly believed that he had every right to tell Jewish people where we may, or may not, be allowed to live within the very land of our own ancestry. It does not get much more racist than that. Some people will say that former President Obama merely wanted to bring about a compromise between the Arab-Palestinians who want to murder Jews and the Jews who disagree with that proposition.

And neither side was willing to compromise.

What I say is that the American-Left and the Democratic Party is riddled with racial hypocrisy.

The rage in American hearts, today, looks like nothing so much as the USA during the very peak of the Vietnam War in 1968, by which time tens of thousands of young American men had died in combat. The passion and the screaming from the heart and the Antifa violence in the streets in places like Berkeley are very reminiscent of 1968. Of course, in 1968, aside from the War in Vietnam, there was outright sexism toward women and the Klan was still on the march.

Not today, though.

So sorry, but the bad old days are gone.

The current hysteria around White Supremacism and the Klan and the Nazis and this recent thing dubbed the "alt-right" is largely bullshit in the service of progressive-left political purposes. And the thing of it is, this is not to doubt the sincerity of these women, including those of the male variety, pissing their panties. I have no doubt that they actually do fear, on some vague level, the rise of the Old Right. But even if that fear is real it is merely a self-serving, self-righteous, political "red herring" because Americans despise right-wing Nazis and those of such an ilk.

The American Racist Right has no political presence.

The National Socialists have virtually no street presence and have not dusted off their black boots in over half a century.

They will not be real until such a time as we manufacture enough of them to make them real so that we can have something to push against for social-psychological reasons.

But if you want Nazis, here is how to create them.

Keep screaming at "white" people -- whoever exactly you take them to be -- and see how the young men eventually react.

I guarantee you this, however, if you want Nazis for psychological and reasons of political power badly enough, they will arrive.


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Julia Salazar and the Jews

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Elder of ZiyonJews Down Under, and The Jewish Press.}

NY State Senate candidate
Julia Salazar
New York State Senate candidate Julia Salazar has the pro-Jewish / pro-Israel world vaguely annoyed... while we are having a sandwich for lunch. Others in recent weeks have occasionally noted her existence with a raised eyebrow over their Wheat Chex.

There have been a few notes concerning this person including, for example, the Tablet piece by Armin Rosen.

She is a new figure on the scene, coming on the heels of Uncle Bernie, following other self-righteous political "women of color" who despise Israel.

There are, at least, three reasons why many of us find her vaguely annoying.

These are:

1) Her apparently untrue claims to be Jewish.

2) Her antisemitic anti-Zionism.


3) Her anti-democratic socialism.

The first two reasons combined represent her cocky, devil-may-care, progressive-left, anti-Zionism "as-a-Jew" anti-Israel schtick. There are few things that pro-Israel Jews enjoy more, after all, than semi-maybe-Jews using their sorta Jewishness to urinate all over the Jewish state of Israel.

The third reason is her socialism. It amazes me that after so many examples of failed twentieth-century socialist states -- not to mention the current Venezuelan misery -- that socialism is back in fashion among twenty-something hipster politicians like Julia Salazar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who describe themselves as "Democratic Socialist."

I think that we need to be cognizant of the difference between regulatory capitalism and socialism. And I recognize that these terms have different political resonances between North Americans and Europeans and Israelis. Sometimes when people in the US talk about the need for "socialism" what we are referring to is the need for a sound economic social safety-net and basic rules concerning racism and sexism in hiring and firing, as well as environmental and industrial safety rules, and so forth.

When I was a younger man this meant "social justice" and it essentially referred to the ideological liberalism of people like Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am a liberal, but we need to stop confusing the hard American-Left with liberalism.

They are not the same thing.

Given the fact that Salazar is running for a significant public office, when she refers to herself as a "socialist" we must assume that she means it in the formal definition of that term. That is Julia Salazar, who is running for a seat on the New York State Senate, believes -- according to the very definition of the word socialism -- that the workers should own the means of production.

What this requires is the government obtaining ownership of private property through violence and/or the threat of violence. There is no possible way to bring about socialism by democratic means, despite the most well-meaning claims of the Democratic Socialists of America. Theft can only be obtained through force because it is only through force that the "bourgeoisie" will simply hand over their property to the government.

My problem with Salazar is not her semi-who-cares claims to Jewishness. I honestly have no reason to doubt that she has ancestry of Jewish heritage or that her interest in Judaism as an undergraduate at Columbia University was genuine. And I have no reason to doubt that she has a sense of "Jewishness" within her own heart. And, in truth, there are not very many of us who are qualified to draw the hard theological or ethnic distinctions, anyway.

{How many of us here are rabbis or priests or geneticists?}

But it seems obvious to me that if we oppose this candidate we should do so not on religious grounds, but political ones. She is a member of the New York branch of the Democratic Socialists of America.

As scholar Paul Berman tells us in Tablet on August 7, 2017:
The national convention of the Democratic Socialists of America voted the other day in favor of the boycott-Israel movement, or BDS, and the success of the pro-BDS resolution caused the assembled delegates to break out into a rousing chant of “From the river to the sea/Palestine will be free!”
The issue is not Salazar's Jewishness. It is the antisemitic anti-Zionism embedded within the progressive-left and, thus, also within the Democratic Party.

The best grounds to oppose Salazar should have nothing to do with her personal religious or ethnic claims but on her antisemitic anti-Zionism and hard-left ideological blinkertude.