Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Week on Nothing Left

Michael Lumish

This week Michael Burd and Alan Freedman hear from Jonathan Neumann, a journalist and commentator speaking about Israel’s nation-state law and other topics.

Isi Leibler then discusses a conference organised by Jewish Federations of North America where the key item for discussion was criticism of Israel.

Daniel Mandel from the Zionist Organisation of America discusses the relationship between Israel and Jordan as well as bringing us up to date on events in Pittsburgh, and Matthew M Hausman revisits the Jerusalem embassy issue and also branches into some general issues.

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

2 min Editorial:  “We were once refugees”

8 min Jonathan Neumann, journalist and commentator

33  min Isi Leibler in Jerusalem [day prior to Pittsburgh Tragedy]

50 min Daniel Mandel, Zionist Organisation of America Live

1 hr 15 Matthew M Hausman, American attorney and commentator [prior to Pittsburgh Tragedy]

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 Nothing Left at:



Sunday, October 28, 2018

Democrats and Jews

Michael Lumish

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

The Democratic Party is sabotaging its Jewish constituency and, thereby, in some measure, punching itself in the face.

It has put American Jews -- who are traditionally among the most loyal Democrats  -- into the position of having to choose between a political party and our own families... our own people.

In 2008, I was part of the 80 percent of the American Jewish population who voted for Barack Obama. In 2012, I was not part of the 70 percent who did so. The main reason that I refused to vote for Obama in his second run for office was because I deeply resented his insistence that he had every right to tell Jews where we may, or may not, be allowed to live on our own ancestral homeland.

Despite the fact that President Trump is more supportive toward Israel than any president since Harry Truman, recent polling data shows that only 6 percent of American Jews are likely to vote for him for the 2020 presidency. This is despite the fact that Trump moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is despite the fact that he is defunding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which literally teaches little "Palestinian" Arab kids to violently despise Jews. And it is despite the fact that Trump opposes Obama's "Iran deal" which assures a Persian bomb in what is now the short term.

My intention is not to make a broad argument for Donald Trump, nor is it to erect an argument for either the conservative movement or the Republican Party.

In fact, I am not mounting an argument at all. I am merely asking a question. It is this:

Why is it that of all the minority constituencies of the Democratic Party only the Jewish minority is thought to be morally obligated to sacrifice the well-being of their own children in deference to that party and in deference to progressive-left ideology?

The answer to that question has two interrelated parts.

The first is in the rise of democratic socialism on the coattails of Bernie Sanders. The second is in the rise of "intersectionality theory" within the universities and among the activists.

Democratic socialists such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Linda Sarsour are increasingly coming into prominence. These young up-and-comers tend to be friendly with the likes of racist Louis Farrakhan, much like some of their seniors in the party, and generally favor the hostile Arab majority against the Jewish minority in the Middle East.

They also tend to favor "intersectionality theory."

The fundamental idea behind "intersectionality" in practice is that the world is comprised of the oppressors and their oppressed. Thus the oppressed must join together in opposition to the oppressors who persecute them through "White Male Privilege" and cold, hard cash. They are presented as oppressed in a common fashion grounded in "white" imperial racism and various forms of gender-hate. It is for this reason that they connect Ferguson, Missouri to "Palestine" because they see their concerns about both as derived from the same malicious source... you.

Furthermore, intersectionality has created a loose hierarchy of oppression with Arab men, strangely enough, at the top. Arabs and Muslims and "people of color" and Gay people and transgender people and Black people are near the summit of the hierarchy.  White women have actually dropped a few rungs in recent years, presumably due to their unfortunate association with white men.

The oppressors are generally understood to be white people, the wealthy, and "Zionists." Much of the American-left considers the Jewish people to be all three. I like to say that we have hit the politically-incorrect trifecta!

{Good for us.}

But this leaves those American Jews who care about their brothers and sisters in the State of Israel in a serious political dilemma. Those of you who are American Jewish Democrats or "progressives" are essentially being told that you need to choose between the Jewish people and the Democratic Party and the political ideology that drives it. On the campuses, if Jewish students dare to stand up for themselves and their people, they are shouted down as Nazis and shunned by many of their peers.

The irony is that those doing the yelling and screaming like to think of themselves as the ideological children of Martin Luther King, Jr. who's foremost message was that we should judge people as individuals, not as representatives of an ethnicity or gender. Thus what we are witnessing in the rise of progressive-left intersectionality is an ironic insistence that the Jewish people cease to defend themselves in Israel out of moral consideration for minority groups. And, furthermore, we are to do so based on a blatantly hypocritical political ideology that has given up its fundamental liberal core as represented by Martin Luther King, Jr.

So, why not vote Republican?

At least it may teach the Democrats not to take the Jews for granted.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Los Lonely Boys - Heaven

Michael Lumish

I love the tunes on the right side of the screen.

That is why I put them up.

And this song strikes to my heart.

It is because of the longing for something better.

And I honestly do not care what religion it comes out of.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Michael Lumish

I am considering registering as a Republican.

Tell me why I should not.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Mobilization vs. Persuasion

Sar Shalom

One of the debates running in electioneering circles is whether campaigns should focus on mobilization, that is ginning up excitement among loyal supporters to make sure they feel compelled to show up at the polls, or persuasion, or trying to convince swing voters. For promoting support of Israel, there is a similar choice between whipping up passions on the side that of the domestic debate that currently is more favorable to Israel or directing arguments to the side that is less supportive. Bringing these options to mind are two recent articles linking the recent Brett Kavanaugh confirmation to discourse about Israel, one by Melanie Phillips and one by Caroline Glick.

Both of those articles are examples mobilization. Both take as a given that there was no substance to the accusations against Kavanaugh and thereby compare the media's treatment of Israel to the left-wing conspiracy against Kavanaugh. Earth to supporters of Israel, how many people who engage in the necessary motivated reasoning to dismiss the charges against Kavanaugh without a bona fide investigation are there who do not already support Israel? If there are not that many, what is there to gain by canonizing Kavanaugh?

On the flip slide, how many people are there who see the whole process as steamrolling Kavanaugh through who are not solid supporters of Israel? Does declaring Israel as innocent as Kavanaugh help endear Israel to such people? A persuasion approach would take an opposite reading of the Kavanaugh confirmation process. I'll give two examples.

Following a hamstrung investigation that explicitly limited who could be interviewed, the FBI failed to find any corroboration of Dr. Blasey Ford's allegations. Similarly, following a hamstrung inspection that allowed Iran to declare certain sites off limits, the IAEA failed to find any violations of the JCPOA.

During the pre-hearings stage of the confirmation process, Judge Kavanaugh gave Sen. Susan Collins that he accepts Roe v. Wade as settled law. Similarly, there is a widely held narrative that while Hamas and Islamic Jihad reject Israel's right to exist and are committed to terror, Fatah recognizes Israel and have renounced terrorism. This narrative is held solely on the basis of Yasser Arafat having said so in the 1990's and Mahmoud Abbas repeating that assertion.

If you want to convince America's liberals to support Israel, instead of justifying the steamrolling of Kavanaugh's confirmation, ask those who view the FBI investigation that failed to confirm the allegations (as opposed affirmatively finding anything exculpatory) as a sham and who excoriate Collins for her willful blindness to Kavanaugh's ruse, why do they take the IAEA's certification of Iran's compliance with the JCPOA and Fatah's recognition of Israel/renunciation of terror at face value?

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Jewish Kids Need Krav Maga

Michael Lumish

{Also published at Jews Down Under, the Elder of Ziyon, and The Israel Forever Foundation.}

When I was a tiny, little Zionist growing up in New York and Connecticut in the 1970s and 1980s, Jewish youngsters did not learn Krav Maga.

I doubt any of my friends, Jewish or otherwise, ever even heard of this martial art.

We punched a nose when we had to, just as every other boy did, but it was a regular part of growing up. We were teens and pre-teens and made of rubber.

My neighborhood was middle-class and ethnically mixed. Sometimes the kids were working on their cars in their parents' garage. We would call them "clutch-heads." They tended to be Catholic and they sometimes wore leather jackets. Tough boys, y'know. There were also the "freaks" -- the children of the Counterculture and the New Left -- who wore long hair and denim with patches and listened to the Dead and the Stones and Zep on the cusp of the New Wave and the Reagan Administration.

 And then there were the "jocks" and the "norms" and whatever.

These are the terms that we used at the time.

"Freaks" and "Jocks" and "Norms" and "Clutch Heads"... at least at Trumbull High School, just outside of Bridgeport.

And sometimes fights would break out. Almost nobody ever got seriously hurt and even the parents did not worry too much about this kind of thing, because they grew up with it, themselves. Kids have to work out their own personal relationships just like everyone else, but the parents usually did not get involved. It was always pretty much left up to the kids in the street because it was primarily harmless.

The folks were trying to make a buck and after school, we were pretty much on our own as teens and pre-teens. But it was natural as a young man growing up to learn how to throw a punch. You did not need to be Jean-Claude Van Damme, but it was definitely helpful to know how to defend oneself. You had to be willing to fight because none of us respected a kid who was too cowardly to stand up for himself. You did not even need to be particularly big and strong because, as my old hero Yankees manager Billy Martin said, "It is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog."

I was recently in conversation with a friend of mine -- an old online sparring partner -- who studies and teaches Krav Maga in the San Francisco Bay Area. I contacted him because it seems obvious to me that diaspora Jewish kids need training in martial arts.

Anyone who looks fairly at the situation in Europe can see that our Jewish brothers and sisters are under the gun. The Labour Party, with Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, is fighting off charges of intense antisemitism even as the country is grappling with Muslim gang rape issues. One of the options in response is Jewish self-defense.

In truth, I would love to see the Hillels introduce Krav training as part of their regular curriculum.

The basic criticisms that would come from the Hillels and other Jewish organizations is that the very last thing that they want is to be seen as antagonistic or militaristic or pugnacious. This is entirely understandable. The Jewish population in the United States is somewhere between one and two percent of the total. But the thing is, anyone who knows anything about martial arts knows that you learn how to fight so that you do not have to.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Jordan Peterson and the New Center

Michael Lumish

I find myself increasingly interested in the work of social media people such as Dave Rubin and academics such as Jordan Peterson around what is sometimes referred to as "The New Center."

Jordan Peterson, along with neuroscientist Sam Harris, is among the trend's most significant figures. The point of this emerging sensibility is to outline a rational political balance and to promote freedom of speech, particularly at the universities.

Peterson, out of the University of Toronto, is a clinical and evolutionary psychologist who is influenced by Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. Campbell became famous in the late 1980s through the PBS documentary, The Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers. In the last few years, Peterson came to prominence due to his opposition to Canadian legislation mandating the use of non-gendered pronouns among certain professional types, such as university professors.

Some have even accused him of being "alt-right"...  whatever that is supposed to mean, exactly.

In truth, Peterson draws much from the hippie-counterculture inspiration of the twentieth-century that goes to scholars such as Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell and Timothy Leary.

If you listen to his discussion below, concerning psychedelics, you could easily mistake his sensibilities with the early careers of 1960s counterculture academicians like Richard Alpert, out of Harvard, who later became Baba Ram Dass.

To confuse someone like Peterson with a hard-line, right-wing political viewpoint is, from any reasonable historical view, simply mistaken.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Jesse Ventura and the Maximum Wage

Michael Lumish

Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura
I have a soft spot in my heart for Jesse Ventura, the former professional wrestler and former governor of the state of Minnesota.

He went from "Jesse the Body" to "Jesse the Brain."

The video below is a few years old and in it he discusses the notion of a "maximum wage."

He uses the Walton family of Walmart fame as an example. He argues that there is something fundamentally wrong with wealth distribution in the United States. Walton family members are billionaires even as US taxpayers are forced to subsidize their employees due to low wages. From my perspective, Ventura is correct to point to the problem. Personally, I could not care less how much anyone earns or how many simoleons a person acquires over the years. It is not my business and it does me no personal harm.

However, the very notion that regular working-class Americans must subsidize the employees of gazillionaires does indicate a significant problem. So, what to do?

I do not have the answer.

The reason that the question interests me, however, is because it seems to go to a fundamental fault-line in western politics between authoritarian socialism and liberal capitalism. I never write on economic theory because I do not believe that I have the necessary education to weigh-in on that field. But I certainly think that Ventura has a point.

Socialism, if it means anything, means that the workers own the means of production. That is the most fundamental definition. But it also means, essentially, that therefore the government owns everything. It suggests an authoritarian framework that flies directly in the face of the Constitution of the United States and of western liberalism, more generally.

What I would suggest is that many of the people who currently refer to themselves as "socialist" on the American political scene are probably not. Actually, they are social democrats. The reason that I say so is that they also see themselves as anti-authoritarian. Certainly the little ideological offspring of Bernie Sanders -- a self-proclaimed socialist -- see themselves as freethinkers and anti-fascists. The problem is that socialism and anti-authoritarianism are mutually exclusive in practice.

One cannot be a socialist and anti-authoritarian simultaneously because socialism is authoritarian in its nature as a political ideology. The only way that "the workers" can gain ownership of the "means of production" is through government intervention through violence or threats of violence. This is the very definition of authoritarianism.

Thus in the United States, the primary political question is not between socialism versus capitalism, but where to draw the necessary lines within regulatory capitalism because, at the end of the day, we are all pretty much regulatory capitalists. The hard American left is mainly comprised not of actual socialists, but of regulatory capitalists who want to see more regulation. The hard American right is mainly comprised not of fascists, but of regulatory capitalists who want to see less regulation in the interest of individual liberty.

I am not putting forth answers to these fundamental questions.

I am merely endeavoring to define the questions for my personal edification and perhaps for yours.