Monday, December 24, 2018

The Hatred for Sarah Tuttle-Singer

Michael Lumish

I like Sarah Tuttle-Singer, social media editor of the Times of Israel.

She is a Jewish California mom and Israeli living with her young kids in Jerusalem and writing and editing for that prominent venue. Her 2018 book is Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered: One Woman’s Year in the Heart of the Christian, Muslim, Armenian, and Jewish Quarters of Old Jerusalem.

This is a young mother and writer under considerable heat for being too sympathetic to the Palestinian-Arabs in their efforts to snuff-out Jewish self-determination and self-defense on our historical homeland.

She has also been heavily accused of getting popular pro-Jewish / pro-Israel native American Métis writer and activist, Ryan Bellerose, fired from his position as an advocacy coordinator for B’nai Brith Canada. He was apparently too confrontational toward her on social media and too hostile toward the enemies of the Jewish people.

I referenced this tension in a recent piece entitled, The “Palestinian Narrative” and Sarah Tuttle-Singer.

The reason that I, nonetheless, like "STS" -- it is not everyone, by the way, that earns an acronym -- is because she stands at the crossroads between pro-Israel advocacy and pro-Palestinian advocacy and that makes her interesting "grist for the mill." This is particularly true given the fact of the fluid nature of contemporary social media in which everyone has a potential voice.

This does not mean that I agree with her overly-broad sympathies for the Palestinian-Arab enemies of the Jewish people. And it certainly does not mean that I take her side over that of Ryan Bellerose. It simply means that I recognize that she walks a tight line between those who wish to slaughter the Jewish people of Israel and the Israeli Jews who refuse to compromise on the matter.

It takes considerable guts to take that position while smiling for the camera.

The Fundamental Criticisms of Tuttle-Singer

Tuttle-Singer has become sufficiently controversial within the pro-Jewish / pro-Israel community that the malice towards her has spawned a mocking Facebook page called Sour Turtle Stinger.  It describes itself as a "Place for sharing dank memes, stories and roasting of certain rare creature." The notion of "rare creature," in this case, suggests prima donna, but I cannot fairly speak to what was in the writer's head.

The primary reason that they tend to despise Tuttle-Singer is out of a sense that she gives far too much credence to the "Palestinian Narrative" and not nearly so much credence to the Jewish experience in that part of the world under thirteen centuries of Arab-Muslim imperial rule. She also generally gives equal moral justification to Palestinian-Arab hostility toward Jews as to Jewish measures of self-defense. Her writings suggest a moral equivalency between Jewish defenders and Arab aggressors. I would not put her on the same low level of, say, Gideon Levy or Amira Hass of Ha'aretz

However, she does not emphasize that the Jewish people in her part of the world live under siege, despite the fact that she lives in Jerusalem with her own children. She acknowledges it but is more concerned with Jewish wrong-doing than the never-ending Arab assault on the Jewish people.

 I covered a bit of this in my previous piece wherein I suggested to Tuttle-Singer:
History as a field of knowledge resides at the crux of the Humanities and the Social Sciences and is, thus by necessity, interpretive.

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

We do not simply get to make up our own “narratives” as the Palestinian-Arab leadership has done, and then insist that ahistorical nonsense be taken seriously.
Nonetheless, Tuttle-Singer seems to be among those political writers who believe that the "Palestinian Narrative" of Never-Ending Victimhood needs to be given equal consideration to actual Jewish history in consideration of the conflict.

She also believes that the Jews of the Middle East are "Occupying," with "the Big O," the very land of Jewish heritage and tends to be sympathetic toward Arab-Muslim push-back against Jewish self-determination and self-defense. She thus often harps on what she sees as Jewish opression toward others, while generally giving the Arabs a pass. Much of this was previously discussed in a thoughtful January 7, 2018, piece by Paula Stern entitled, The Truth According to Sarah Tuttle-Singer.

But, again, I like Sarah Tuttle-Singer. I have a great deal of sympathy for any public figure who must face malice and hatred in the cause of dearly held beliefs.

Speaking for myself, I can only aspire to earn such hatred.

Friday, December 21, 2018

A Lebanese Canadian Friend of the Jewish People

Michael Lumish

Fred Maroun argues:

Fred Maroun, a Lebanese friend of
the Jewish people living in Canada
"It is often said that the IDF is the most moral army in the world. Personally, I don't recall ever saying it. There are several reasons for that:

- Israel is so much superior morally to its enemies that the claim is almost pointless.

- Israel shouldn't need to have the most moral army in the world. Implying that such a high standard is placed on Israel is itself immoral.

- Israel faces threats greater than practically any other country. It shouldn't be tied down to a moral standard the no one else, even countries with practically no threats against them, has to uphold.

- The moral standard that we should be talking about is the moral standard of Israel's enemies. It is abysmal. That's the moral standard that requires raising.

- Supporting Israel should never depend on that claim being true, and I don't expect Israel to uphold such an extremely high standard. Because if Israel fails as a result of trying to uphold that standard, the overall moral standard in the Middle East will suffer enormously as a result.

- Using the phrase, “most moral army” is a terrible debating tactic. Once said, it has to be proven, which it can’t. It’s a way to turn a feature into a flaw. (Thanks Dave Levin)

- Expecting Jews to uphold a far higher moral standard than non-Jews, especially compared to those who are trying to kill them, is immoral and antisemitic."

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished


  So long Jews and thanks for all that help with Civil Rights.

RIP Penny Marshall


A Wider Bridge

Michael Lumish

This was sent to me as an email, but it seems worthwhile.


Dear Friends,

With my background, I imagine I am not the type of person that leaps immediately to mind when thinking of the stereotypical Zionist or A Wider Bridge Board member. 

I am a secular Christian who grew up in a small desert town nestled between the oil fields of West Texas. I am a Gulf War veteran of the United States Navy Submarine Service, and after my 10 years in the Navy, I went to law school and ended up making a living as a corporate bankruptcy lawyer in Miami, Florida.But I am also a gay man. And that identity as a gay man, growing up in environments where my identity could (and often did) lead to my being ostracized or attacked for being gay, gave me a unique insight into the nature of bigotry and hatred and an understanding of how it feels to be on the receiving end of such hatred.

While I fight against all forms of bigotry and hatred, I recognize that the most ancient and persistent hatred humanity cannot seem to shake is anti-semitism. While anti-semitism has typically been associated with the far right, the sad reality is that theincidences of anti-semitism on the left have been increasing. Whether it's incidents such as the barricading of Israeli LGBTQ activists at the Creating Change conference by pro-Palestinian activists, or the forcible removal of a Zionist Lesbian from the Chicago Dyke March, or even the embrace of Louis Farrakhan by leaders of the Women's March, anti-semitism is not only a problem on the left, but it worsens with each passing year. There are many organizations dedicated to fighting anti-semitism as it reveals itself on the far right, but few know how to address this hatred when it comes from the far left. A Wider Bridge is such an organization and in my opinion unique in its ability to effectively counter anti-semitism in the LGBTQ advocacy and civil rights communities.

As an officer and director of A Wider Bridge, it has been my privilege and honor to support this organization's primary mission to advocate for equality in Israel, and equality for Israel. For example, A Wider Bridge brings North American LGBTQ leaders to Israel to learn what it is like to be Israeli, Palestinian or an LGBTQ person fighting for their rights. Conversely, A Wider Bridge brings LGBTQ leaders from Israel to North America to share their experiences and activism with progressive LGBTQ advocates here. When organizations or governments around the world harm LGBTQ rights, or take anti-Semitic positions or actions, A Wider Bridge is there to mobilize and galvanize opposition. A Wider Bridge regularly exposes and condemns anti-semitism, whether it occurs on the right or the left. 

We can only meet the very real challenges facing our communities with your support. I hope you’ll make an end of year gift to A Wider Bridge by visiting

Thank you for building bridges with us,

-James Moon

Board Member and Secretary of Wider Bridge

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Not Been Around

Michael Lumish

This is just a quick note to my friends and readership.

I have not been around for a while and this is due to a number of reasons.

One is because Barack Obama is no longer in office and his policies toward Israel -- whatever his personal feelings about Jews -- were clearly racist toward us. He honestly believed that he had every right to tell Jewish people where we may, or may not, be allowed to live on the very land of our ancestry.

I must have written that line a hundred times, here, there, and elsewhere, trying to drive it into people's heads.

I was not only astonished that he believed this, as a matter of human rights, no less, but that so few of our brothers and sisters objected.

Of course, I was also astonished that the 400,000 Jewish people who live in the San Francisco Bay Area honestly did not mind that Reem's Bakery / Cafe at the Fruitvale BART Station venerates a genocidal Jew murderer in the form of Rasmea Odeh.

But one thing that seems very clear is that the Jews of Israel remain under attack and that we are now seeing a new intifada.

The shooting of that pregnant woman and the killing of her child was profound and needs to be seriously addressed.

It seems obvious that the only way to teach the Palestinian-Arabs to forego the Traditional Jew Killing Policy is through teaching them the fear of God.

Were it up to me I would institute the death penalty in Israel for terrorist attacks and relocate the immediate families of the murderers to Antarctica.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A note from an old friend

Michael Lumish

{Also published at Jews Down Under.}

I have a buddy from high school who was always a bit of an intellectual rebel. He is of Irish descent and I am, of course, of Jewish descent. 

We were not trying to burn anything down or bully other people. We were not Antifa-like "fascist anti-fascists" beating the holy shit out of people wearing red baseball caps in the streets of Berkeley. We were just trying to figure out the social aspects of the world that we lived in at the end of the 1970s and the dawn of the Reagan era.

This was actually a moment in American cultural history wherein youthful radicalism was cooling off because racism and sexism were widely abhorred and because the Vietnam War was over and there was no draft. American college students liked Reagan and thought that Springsteen's Born in the USA was a tribute, rather than a criticism.

He is a creative guy and we discussed Vonnegut and Tolkien and Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson and Brautigan and Salinger and Charles Bukowski. We sat around on living room floors with books of art and wondered at what we were looking at.

We smoked a bit of pot and discussed the world around us. We were not particularly hostile to the government, but we were critical because we were born in the 1960s and raised during the Vietnam War. We grew up during Watergate and the rise of the New Left. And it is definitely fair to say that we had some contempt for mid-late twentieth-century Wonderbread Connecticutian suburban normality.

{I will never forget being absolutely mystified at something called the "color guard" at Trumbull High School.}

A few years out of Trumbull High my buddy and I actually embarked upon a Thompsonesque road trip across the United States on a journey to discover San Francisco. We even had the temerity to drive through Kansas... or perhaps it was Nebraska! It was there that the Grimace menaced my buddy after we had spent the entire night driving through the midwest before pulling into a grand-opening of a McDonalds in the middle of nowhere, practically at dawn. We were exhausted!

In any case, we have not, until recently, been in touch but when we were close friends Israel was not heavy on my mind. We were very young. We talked about art and literature and, in the manner of youthful smartasses, the stupidity of our parents and our teachers.

As we have recently been in contact, and he has taken note of my interest in the Movement for Jewish Freedom, he writes on my Facebook page:
I prefer to think I am practical and a realist, perhaps a jaded one.

The unfortunate reality is that too many people are looking at those in Gaza and the West Bank as Palestinians.

It is likely impossible that all those people can be convinced they are not a legitimate ethnic group.

So, I am saying is you can speak the Truth but while you are presenting your case people are switching you off and paying attention to the PR being advanced in the MSM.

Call these people whatever you want, what progressives are being sold is these are people who need to live somewhere and Israel is oppressing them.

They see them as oppressed maybe even innocent or righteous!

They do not recognize the poison within their culture and the genocide in the hearts of their leaders.

Their opinions are based on ignorance and emotional manipulation.

What I am trying to figure out is how do you change this narrative.

Most of the people in these polls are not studying history, issues, etc. The question then becomes what is driving the anti-Israel sentiment-especially in the last couple of years. I doubt the sentiment is driven intellectually but is being driven more by marketing if you will.
I like this comment very much because it is fair and not coming from a Jewish pro-Israel ideologue.

What I want to address, however, is this line concerning presumably the western-left and their feelings about Arabs who live in Israel:
They see them as oppressed maybe even innocent or righteous! 

The western-left views Arabs as the innocent, indigenous victims of Jewish-Euro-White "settler-colonialism." It is for this reason that the European Union and the Democratic Party, not to mention the United Nations, literally fund the murder of Jews in the homeland of our forefathers and honestly believe that they are doing so from a moral standpoint. Academic anti-Zionists have been making the same false claim from Edward Said to Rabab Abdulhadi and Hatem Bazian.

This is one of the biggest problems that the Jewish people need to overcome. Diaspora Jews are overwhelmingly "progressive" -- whatever that means, exactly -- but the progressive-left is increasingly an enemy to the Jewish people through supporting hostility to the lone, sole Jewish state.

The general trend -- since Trump had the cajones to throw his hat into the political ring -- is to draw an equivalency between "alt-right" antisemitism and progressive-left antisemitic anti-Zionism. As a liberal, I very well understand this inclination to be fair-minded and suggest that the problem lies with the fringes on both sides.

This popular analysis is false.

The greatest enemy to the Jewish people -- despite Pittsburgh -- is unquestionably the western-left because it is the western-left that supports the European Union and the Democratic Party and both, sadly, tend to support the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction (BDS) the national homeland of the Jewish people.

Cranky hard-right White Supremacist antisemitism has virtually no political support in the United States. There are no openly White Supremacist Senators or Congresspeople.

There is, unfortunately, a mainstream "progressive" contingent that is openly anti-Israel and antisemitic and we all know it.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

On public hangings

Sar Shalom

During the runoff campaign for the special US Senate election in Mississippi, many Americans were shocked when the Republican candidate, Cindy Hyde-Smith, said that if asked to attend a public hanging, she would take a front row seat. What I would like to know is, why is there any less of a reaction to this.