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  • Archive for the 'Judaism' Category

    Julie Burchill on Margaret Thatcher, Newly Timely After Nine Years

    Posted by Lexington Green on 2nd July 2014 (All posts by )

    [A]s some smart-aleck said, we must change or perish. And who should break our long postwar consensual slumber — not with a snog but with a short sharp smack around the head with a handbag and a cry of “Look smart!” — but the Iron Lady herself.
     
    Mrs Thatcher meant, and still means, many things — some of which she is not yet aware of herself, as we are not. Only death brings proper perspective to the triumphs and failures of a political career; it is only with the blank look and full stop of death that that old truism “all political careers end in failure” stops being true. Only a terminally smug liberal would still write her off as an uptight bundle of Little Englandisms, seeking to preserve the old order, however hard she worked that look at first; voting for her was something akin to buying what one thought was a Vera Lynn record, getting it home and finding a Sex Pistols single inside.
     
    She was just as much about revolution as reaction, and part of any revolution is destruction. Some of the things she destroyed seemed like a shame at the time, such as the old industries — though on balance, isn’t there anything good about the fact that thousands of young men who once simply because of who their fathers were would have been condemned to a life spent underground in the darkness, and an early death coughing up bits of lung, now won’t be?

    Here is the original article. RTWT.

    Let’s hear that one more time:

    “She was just as much about revolution as reaction, and part of any revolution is destruction.”

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Arts & Letters, Big Government, Book Notes, Britain, Conservatism, Crony Capitalism, History, Judaism, Middle East, Politics, Tea Party, USA | 4 Comments »

    A Swedish Neo-Conservative Writes About America

    Posted by David Foster on 21st June 2014 (All posts by )

    Read her thoughts & observations, here.

    Annika has been a leader in support of Israel and against Swedish anti-Semitism.  Link

    Posted in Europe, Israel, Judaism, Leftism, USA | 4 Comments »

    Never Again

    Posted by Jonathan on 28th April 2014 (All posts by )

    Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.

    For background on the above link, see here (via The Optimistic Conservative).

    Posted in Europe, History, Israel, Judaism, Leftism, Military Affairs, Political Philosophy, War and Peace | 1 Comment »

    SWOT, One Year On

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 15th April 2014 (All posts by )

    A year ago I was dispassionately composing my analysis. Today, when I left the Sprint campus and drove east on 115th Street to turn north on Nall toward I-435, there were TV news vans with telescoping antennae lining the street at the entrance to the Jewish Community Center.

    Coincidentally the number of dead is identical. There are, however, no (physically) injured survivors, and the motivation for the attack was similar only in that it was intended to draw attention to a cause. I fear that the perpetrator is cunning enough to succeed in that; his previous notoriety was due to legally forcing some radio stations to briefly carry Nazi ads during an election campaign season. Much has been made of the gentile – and indeed seriously committed Christian – identity of the victims, but I believe that was unimportant to him. What mattered was that he seize a mechanism for dissemination of conspiracy theories, and now, given the administrative blockheadedness of the American justice system and the puerile conventions of American journalism, we are all too likely to be subjected to many hours and tens of thousands of words of exceptionally vicious, totalitarian propaganda, varying portions of which will be heard by tens of millions of people. This guy knew exactly what he was doing.

    I could tell that from the video snippets of his arrest, just as I could tell, hours before it was officially confirmed, that he would turn out to have come from rural Missouri (Aurora is nearly a 3-hour drive from Overland Park; he had to have cased both facilities beforehand) and would turn out to be a southerner with prior Klan involvement. It was completely obvious from his accent, his tone of voice, and his attitude on camera. He is now operating inside the American institutional OODA loop. Our entirely proper determination to grant a scrupulously fair trial – when we’re not piling on the charges in order to ram a plea bargain through, that is – will be roughly equivalent to giving him not airtime for advertisements, but his own highly rated nationwide radio network.

    Fortunately, he is also sufficiently sui generis that copycat attacks are unlikely, at least in the immediate future. Should an American Dolchstoßlegende catch on, however, things may deteriorate sharply. The general case is to scapegoat a relatively small, easily-identified minority: it was the “1%,” or twenty-five guys on Wall Street, or the Koch brothers – or George Soros, or Obama/Pelosi/Reid, or the leftist academics on their Long March through the institutions – or (of course) Jews, or Latino immigrants or Asians stealing our jobs. If we just expropriate, or deport, or exterminate them, and everyone like them, the story goes, our country will be purified, and Utopia ensue. The ideology may be Nazi or Communist; either will do in a pinch, as Hayek wrote nearly three-quarters of a century ago: its adherents are uncertain, and know only that they hate Western liberal civilization.

    Just to make things more complicated, tolerance can definitely be taken too far. Interviews with the perpetrator’s neighbors in Lawrence County, Missouri, immediately elicit idiotic postmodernist comments to the effect that he seemed like a nice enough guy but had some opinions that they didn’t agree with. Great. Your assigned reading is here, you nitwits.

    So when blood ran in the streets of my city, did I follow my own advice in the ostensibly-uplifting conclusion to my analysis of a year ago, and immediately redouble my efforts on whatever it is I was supposed to be doing? Well, it was a Sunday, so there was somewhat less of that, although I tend to devise more projects for my spare time than I could possibly execute anyway. But in the event, whatever it may say about me, I felt tremendously violated, as though the murders had occurred in my driveway rather than six miles away. And what I actually did was drink rather more cheap boxed red wine than usual and break down a couple of times. I don’t have any particular aversion to weeping, but I don’t need to do so very often. Turns out I needed to on Sunday evening. The question of how I will react should much larger-scale events occur in even closer proximity remains unanswered.

    The problem, of course, is that this kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen here … which is a rather hypocritical sentiment in light of the actual statistics on violent death locally. A couple-three people a week get murdered in this town, three-quarters of them in an area covering only one-tenth of the municipality of KC, Mo., and a tiny fraction of the area of the entire MSA. Assuming that the said area (34 mi²) has the same population density as zip code 64130 (of which it largely consists), a moment with a calculator establishes that the homicide rate in question – the southwestern boundary of that area reaches to within two miles of my house – is nearly 80 per 100,000 per year, making it one of the most dangerous places in the Western world, and also as dangerous as Iraq before the Surge, which the media thoughtfully informed us at the time was the Worst Thing Ever. Gallivanting off to Haïti is all very well, but perhaps I should find a more local ministry to volunteer with while I’m at it.

    But it really isn’t supposed to happen here, and not just because Overland Park is a world away from the East Side. Side-by-side, indeed inextricably mixed, with the ongoing mayhem five minutes’ drive from my doorstep is a deep reservoir of peace and contentment. God damn it, we just want to listen to jazz and eat barbecue. In its best moments, there is no gentler place on Earth. The lives of those taken on Sunday bear witness to that.

    “The new thing — the thing which we had not known — the thing we have learned now and should never forget, is this: that a society of self-governing men is more powerful, more enduring, more creative than any other kind of society, however disciplined, however centralized.” – Harry S. Truman, Radio Report to the American People on the Potsdam Conference, 9 August 1945

    “Boys, if you ever pray, pray for me now.” – Harry S. Truman, to reporters, 13 April 1945

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, Current Events, History, Judaism, Law Enforcement, National Security, Personal Narrative, Politics, Predictions, Quotations, Religion, Society, Terrorism, USA | 3 Comments »

    Seth Barrett Tillman, “Purim & My Bangladeshi Friend”

    Posted by Lexington Green on 9th January 2014 (All posts by )

    Our good friend Seth Barrett Tillman has an excellent article, part personal narrative, part meditation on the basis of conflict between Arabs and Jews, based on thoughts on the book of Esther.

    The article, “Purim & My Bangladeshi Friend” may be found by clicking here.

    On the Jewish holiday of Purim the practice is to read the book of Esther. Purim is on March 15-16 in 2014. It is not a widespread practice, but I know Catholics who read the book of Esther on Purim, and I read it last year for the first time. If you have never read it, you should. It is only about 6,000 words, the length of a long article, not a book. You can find it here.

    As Seth notes, while the story is one of survival for the Jews, it also shows the sorrow and disgrace suffered by every defeated people at the hands of their conquerors.

    Every year at Purim, my co-religionists and I read Esther. The story, as customarily explained to children, is that Esther won a contest . . . something akin to the modern beauty pageant. The prize was that she was made queen – the wife of the Persian emperor. As a result, by pleading to her husband on behalf of her brethren, she was well-situated to save the Jewish community from the nefarious Haman, who actively plotted genocide against the Jews. Esther’s courage thwarts Haman and the community is saved, although it remained in exile. The story is presented as one with a happy ending.
     
    But, that is the story as it is told to our children.
     
    By contrast, an adult, who considered Esther, would understand that the story of Purim is also an intensely sad story.

    Highly recommended. RTWT.

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Morality and Philosphy, Personal Narrative, Religion | 2 Comments »

    Could Someone Remind Me What Year This Is?

    Posted by David Foster on 30th November 2013 (All posts by )

    …because it increasingly seems that the first three digits must be One, Nine, and Three.

    Kanye West says Obama’s problems with getting things done are because “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people”…(also, “Black people don’t have the same connection as oil people.”)

    New York Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio praises Al Sharpton, who was one of the primary instigators of the Crown Heights Pogrom.

    Representative Charlie Rangel (D-NY) recently asserted that “President Obama should drop the charade of democracy and rule directly through executive orders.”

    Obama-supporting protestors demand that Obama make even more use of government by executive order than he has already done.

    Obama’s frontmen at Organizing for America told their members to propagandize for Obamacare at family Thanksgiving dinners. As Byron York notes, politicization of all aspects of life is a standard feature of totalitarian societies.

    MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is one example of those “progressives” who think patriotism is all about obeisance to the government and the Leader, rather than being about love of country.

    A third-grade textbook, said to be compliant with the new Common Core standards, portrays Obama with the kind of messianic iconography commonly used by totalitarian governments in praising their rulers.

     

     

    Posted in Judaism, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Politics, USA | 22 Comments »

    “Evangelicals and Israel”

    Posted by Jonathan on 4th November 2013 (All posts by )

    This long and thoughtful essay by Robert W. Nicholson is well worth reading for anyone with an interest in Israel and modern Christianity, particularly the relationship between American Jews and evangelical Christians.

    At a time when the state of Israel lies under existential threat from jihadist Islam, and under ideological and diplomatic assault in foreign ministries, international organizations, churches, universities, editorial offices, and other circles of advanced Western opinion—and when even some Jews in the Diaspora seem to be growing disenchanted with the Zionist cause—millions of evangelical Christians unabashedly continue their outspoken, wholehearted, stalwart defense of both the Jewish state and the Jewish people.
     
    By all rights, this rather stunning fact—the fact of a vibrant Christian Zionism—should encourage a welcoming response from beleaguered Jewish supporters of Israel. Instead, it has caused palpable discomfort, especially among Jewish liberals. Wary of ulterior religious motives, and viewing evangelicals as overly conservative in their general outlook on the world, such Jews either accept the proffered support with a notable lack of enthusiasm or actively caution their fellow Jews against accepting it at all. To many, the prospect of an alignment with evangelicals, even one based on purely tactical considerations, seems positively distasteful. Very few have attempted to penetrate the evangelical world or to understand it in any substantive way.
     
    This is a pity, for many reasons. It is also a serious strategic error. For the reality is that today’s Christian Zionism cannot be taken for granted. For one thing, not all evangelicals do support Israel. For another, more alarming thing, a growing minority inside the evangelical world views the Jewish state as at best tolerable and at worst positively immoral, a country that, instead of being supported on biblical grounds, should be opposed on those same grounds.

    Nicholson is alarmed by continued Jewish indifference or hostility to evangelical Christian support in the face of a growing pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel/anti-Jewish movement in the evangelical world that he compares to Liberation Theology in Catholicism. He makes a strong case and American Jews would be wise to heed it. Most of them probably will not do so, however. If they were smarter about their interests they would long since have embraced evangelical Christians as political allies.

    Posted in Christianity, Israel, Jewish Leftism, Judaism, Religion | 24 Comments »

    Anti-Israel Bigotry on American University Campuses

    Posted by David Foster on 10th October 2013 (All posts by )

    An Israeli soldier reports on what he has learned while speaking about Israel at universities in the Pacific Northwest:

    When I served as a soldier in the West Bank, I got used to having ugly things said to me, but nothing prepared me for the misinformation, demonization of Israel, and the gut-wrenching, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hostility expressed by many students, professors, church members, and even some high school students right here in the Pacific Northwest.

    and

    To give you a taste of the viciousness of the BDS attacks, let me cite just a few of the many shocking experiences I have had. At a BDS event in Portland, a professor from a Seattle university told the assembled crowd that the Jews of Israel have no national rights and should be forced out of the country. When I asked, “Where do you want them to go?” she calmly answered, “I don’t care. I don’t care if they don’t have any place else to go. They should not be there.” When I responded that she was calling for ethnic cleansing, both she and her supporters denied it. And during a presentation in Seattle, I spoke about my longing for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. When I was done, a woman in her 60’s stood up and yelled at me, “You are worse than the Nazis. You are just like the Nazi youth!” A number of times I was repeatedly accused of being a killer, though I have never hurt anyone in my life. On other occasions, anti-Israel activists called me a rapist. The claims go beyond being absurd – in one case, a professor asked me if I knew how many Palestinians have been raped by IDF forces. I answered that as far as I knew, none. She triumphantly responded that I was right, because, she said, “You IDF soldiers don’t rape Palestinians because Israelis are so racist and disgusted by them that you won’t touch them.”

    Read the whole thing.

    via Bookworm

    Posted in Academia, Israel, Jewish Leftism, Judaism, Leftism, USA | 12 Comments »

    Shana Tova / שנה טובה

    Posted by Jonathan on 5th September 2013 (All posts by )

    5774. A bit late to this, and recycling 5773′s photo. Best wishes to all for a sweet and healthy year.

    Shana Tova

    Posted in Holidays, Judaism | 4 Comments »

    The Media as Corrupt Kingmaker

    Posted by David Foster on 23rd June 2013 (All posts by )

    It appears that in 2008 there was considerable collusion among journalists to ensure that Barack Obama’s relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright did not receive serious attention. Be sure to read the piece at the link. I feel sure that there are numerous people who voted for Obama who would not have done so had this matter been properly covered. But these journalists–who no doubt consider themselves Your Moral and Intellectual Superiors, as Glenn Reynolds puts it–did not want you and other Americans to have and consider this information, but arrogated to themselves the power to decide what voters should see and should focus on, based on their own views of which candidate should win the election. Morally at least, what these journalists did is analogous to selling stock in a company while hiding material adverse information about the company…except that the stakes in this case were much, much higher.

    More recently, 60 Minutes performed what PowerLine calls “a  classic hit job on Israel ,” alleging that Israel is responsible for the exodus of Christians from the West Bank and Jerusalem. PowerLine notes that:

    The story was short on facts and context, particularly the context of the assaults on Christians and Christian sites in the Muslim Middle East. Anyone who has ever been to Israel knows that the authorities treat all religious sites as a sacred trust. At the American Spectator, Aaron Goldstein asks: “How many Christian churches have been burned down by Israelis? How many Christians have been murdered inside Israel?” Simon failed to “report” the answer to that question, but I’m pretty sure Power Line readers have a good bead on it.

    Watch the CAMERA video at the PowerLine link, which shows that CBS News made false statements about Bethlehem and the Israeli security fence. CAMERA also says that CBS, even after being advised of its error, has thus far failed to correct the misinformation it has propagated.

     

    Posted in Israel, Judaism, Media, Politics, USA | 11 Comments »

    Interesting Data on the Persistence of Culture

    Posted by David Foster on 16th June 2013 (All posts by )

    Suppose you had historical information from the 1300s showing in which German cities pogroms had occurred…and in which German cities pogroms had not occurred.

    Would you think this data would be of any use in predicting the levels of anti-Semitic activity in various localities in the 1920s thru 1940s….almost six hundred years later?

    This study suggests that the answer is “yes.”

    (Full paper available on SSRN, here.)

     

    Posted in Civil Society, Germany, History, Judaism | 2 Comments »

    The Middle Ages: Dark….or Brilliant?

    Posted by David Foster on 3rd June 2013 (All posts by )

    Bookworm discovered and embedded a video by Professor Anthony Esolen, in which he challenges the common belief that the Middle Ages were a dark and dreary era with few redeeming attributes. Book adds thoughts of her own, and there is a good comment thread on the post.

    Pseudodionysius posted the same video at Ricochet, resulting in an extensive discussion thread…192 comments so far…which includes significant pushback against the Esolen thesis. The thread became pretty contentious…unpleasantly so, at points, but it includes some worthwhile discussion and useful links, especially on the comparison of Medieval with Classical technologies.

    Posted in Christianity, Europe, History, Judaism, Religion, Tech | 11 Comments »

    Yom Hashoah

    Posted by Jonathan on 9th April 2013 (All posts by )

    A bit late to this. Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust remembrance day, was April 8.

    Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors has twenty questions for American Jews:

    Do you believe that the lesson we should learn from the Holocaust is one of tolerance?
    Do you believe that the mainstream media reports fairly about Middle East issues?
    Do you believe that Israel practices apartheid?
    Do you favor the two-state solution?
    Do you believe that the unrest in the Middle East would end if a Palestinian state were established?
    Do you believe that Israel should compromise more for the so-called peace process?
    Do you believe the settlements in Israel are an obstacle to peace?
    Do you doubt that Islam desires to establish global dominance?
    Do you believe that continued sanctions and negotiations will deter a nuclear Iran?
    Do you believe that the international community has the right to dictate Israel’s appropriate response to terrorism in defense of its citizens?
    Do you believe that you can be anti-Israel and not anti-Semitic?
    Do you believe that the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe is caused by Israel?
    Do you believe that Islamophobia in America is far worse than anti-Semitism?
    Do you believe there would have been no Holocaust if a Jewish state had existed in Hitler’s time?
    Do you believe Franklin D. Roosevelt was a hero to the Jews during the Holocaust?
    Do you believe that American Jewry did all they could to stop the slaughter during the Holocaust?
    Do you believe your life as a Jew would be unaffected if there were no Jewish state?
    Do you believe social justice should be taught in public schools?
    Do you believe that you are safer if only the government is armed?
    Do you believe that another Holocaust can’t happen?

    Good questions.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Holidays, Israel, Jewish Leftism, Judaism | 18 Comments »

    Two Posts Worth Reading

    Posted by David Foster on 23rd March 2013 (All posts by )

    Neptunus Lex, from 2004: Monsters

    Robert Avrech, from yesterday: Liberty, Then and Now 

    Posted in Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Terrorism, USA, War and Peace | 5 Comments »

    A Couple of Interesting Links

    Posted by David Foster on 21st December 2012 (All posts by )

    On-line content for a wide range of magazines, some of them dating back to the 1830s, also some books and videos. Via Rick Darby, who notes that Google Books also has an extensive old-magazine collection.

    The Jewish Museum has an extensive collection of medieval Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin manuscripts from the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries. Via Suzanne Fields.

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Christianity, History, Islam, Judaism, Media, Religion | 1 Comment »

    Happy Hannuka!

    Posted by Jonathan on 8th December 2012 (All posts by )

    חג שמח from the Chicagoboyz.

    Hannuka

    Posted in Holidays, Judaism, Photos | 5 Comments »

    Israel, Obama, Democrats, and Jews

    Posted by David Foster on 4th November 2012 (All posts by )

    Playwright David Mamet has published an article addressed to those Jews planning to vote for Obama.

    The Long Island Jewish Star has endorsed Mitt Romney–see the editorial by Jeff Dunetz.

    See this article from about a year ago: Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Israel, by British commentator Nile Gardiner.

    Hostility toward Israel is disturbingly common throughout the Democratic Party’s base. 25% of Democrats say the U.S. is “too supportive” of Israel, versus only 13% of Republicans giving that answer. Only 9% of Democrats say the U.S. is “not supportive enough” of that country, versus 46% of Republican who think the U.S. should be more supportive.

    A survey conducted by YouGov earlier this year indicates that 37% of Democrats believe pro-Israel lobby groups have “too much influence”…about twice the percentage that gave this response among Republicans.

    In addition to the lack of support and outright hostility toward Israel that appear among the Democratic base, outright anti-Semitism appears to be all too common. 20% of Democrats and Independents view Jews as “caring only about themselves,” compared with 12% of Republicans giving this answer. Another survey, conducted in the wake of the Bernard Madoff debacle, indicates that 32% of Democrats blamed “the Jews” for the financial crisis, while only 18% of Republicans did so. (” This difference is somewhat surprising given the presumed higher degree of racial tolerance among liberals and the fact that Jews are a central part of the Democratic Party’s electoral coalition,” said the study’s authors.)

    Obama’s clear hostility to Israel, and the disturbing opinion patterns among the Democratic base, should be of concern not only to Jews and to those who have a particular affinity for Israel, but also to all Americans who are interested in world stability and peace, and in an American polity which is not ripped apart by ethnic conflicts.

    Posted in Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Politics | 34 Comments »

    5773

    Posted by Jonathan on 16th September 2012 (All posts by )

    Shana Tova. Wishing a sweet and healthy year to all.

    Shana Tova

    Posted in Holidays, Judaism, Photos | 5 Comments »

    Bourgeois Dignity

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 4th August 2012 (All posts by )

    I was struck yesterday by a post on Ann Althouse’s blog, and by a Virginia Postrel piece that makes the same point, how wrong Obama was to say “You didn’t build that..”

    The incident, so characteristic of this leftist ideologue president, is the stimulus for theorizing about how economies work, and perhaps why this one is so stuck with Obama in the White House.

    There is an excellent analysis by David Warren printed last year in Canada and which I have saved. It is a comparison of Obama with Gorbachev and brings considerable light on the subject of success of nations.

    Yet they do have one major thing in common, and that is the belief that, regardless of what the ruler does, the polity he rules must necessarily continue. This is perhaps the most essential, if seldom acknowledged, insight of the post-modern “liberal” mind: that if you take the pillars away, the roof will continue to hover in the air.

    Gorbachev seemed to assume, right up to the fall of the Berlin Wall and then beyond it, that his Communist Party would recover from any temporary setbacks, and that the long-term effects of his glasnost and perestroika could only be to make it bigger and stronger.

    There is a corollary of this largely unspoken assumption: that no matter what you do to one part of a machine, the rest of the machine will continue to function normally.

    This brief discussion fits well with the book that was recommended by the Postrel piece.


    The Bad History Behind ‘You Didn’t Build That’
    By Virginia Postrel

    The controversy surrounding President Barack Obama’s admonishment that “if you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen” has defied the usual election-year pattern.

    Normally a political faux pas lasts little more than a news cycle. People hear the story, decide what they think, and quickly move on to the next brouhaha, following what the journalist Mickey Kaus calls the Feiler Faster Thesis. A gaffe that might have ruined a candidate 20 years ago is now forgotten within days.

    Three weeks later, Obama’s comment is still a big deal.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Britain, Business, Civil Society, Conservatism, Economics & Finance, Entrepreneurship, France, Human Behavior, Judaism, Leftism, Morality and Philosphy, Philosophy | 9 Comments »

    The Devil’s Arithmetic

    Posted by David Foster on 19th April 2012 (All posts by )

    Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. Screenwriter Robert Avrech has posted the first part of his Emmy-award-winning film The Devil’s Arithmetic, which is based on Jane Yolen’s book of the same name, for on-line viewing.

    The DVD is available from the usual sources, including Amazon and Netflix. Highly recommended.

    Posted in Film, History, Israel, Judaism | 1 Comment »

    Just Unbelievable

    Posted by Jonathan on 30th March 2012 (All posts by )

    Via Martin Kramer, who asks: “What happens to aging ’60s American Jewish radicals after the kids move out, the dog dies, and their parents (may they rest in peace), who so valued and cherished Israel, have passed on to their heavenly reward?”

    If the trailer is representative, this is a slick piece of agitprop packaged as folksy interviews with thoughtful Jewish intellectuals who just happen to have doubts about Israel, no doubt because their integrity and independent-mindedness let them see clearly the evils of Israel that other Jews (and most non-Jewish Americans) are brainwashed into overlooking. In fact this is a bunch of leftist hacks repeating buzzwords (apartheid etc.) and citing events pruned of context to single out Israel for demonization. The woman in the last interview gives the game away by blaming Israel for the “stateless” condition of Palestinian refugees, even though Palestinian Arab statelessness, to the extent it still exists, is a racket maintained by Arab governments and the Palestinians themselves, and even though the post-WW2 world has had many refugee populations that dwarfed the Palestinian Arab refugee population and that, unlike the Palestinians, were mostly resettled within a few years. The difference is that people like those in this movie couldn’t use those other refugee populations as a weapon against the Jews. You would have to be profoundly ignorant to find this movie convincing, but ignorant people seem to be the target audience. Watch it for yourself.

    I was fortunate to have had in high school a leftist, anti-Semitic history teacher, a man who was an enthusiast of Third World “liberation” movements run by kleptocrats and gangsters but who put Israel under a moral microscope. The Israeli Jews, as he saw it, had treated the Palestinian Arabs unjustly by (he would quote a particular historian whose book he always had at the ready) expelling them and this unjust treatment colored everything that Israel did subsequently. Two wrongs — an allusion to the Holocaust — don’t make a right. We should all be citizens of the world and should drop our parochialisms and be happy. Of course he mainly applied this argument to the Jews, and I was not clever enough to point out that the Jews’ enemies had often persecuted them for supposedly being too worldly. I argued, and learned a great deal in that class, and watching this movie trailer transports me right back to it. Shabbat shalom.

    Posted in Israel, Judaism, Just Unbelievable, Leftism, Middle East, Rhetoric, Video | 18 Comments »

    “I will dull his mind and he will forget that his is the just cause.”

    Posted by Jonathan on 25th March 2012 (All posts by )

    Via Martin Kramer. This is a very well done sermon by a Reform rabbi, a political liberal, against Peter Beinart’s argument that we should penalize Israel by boycott because of Israel’s continued control over the area between the Jordan River and the 1949 armistice line.

    Beinart’s Times op-ed is a monument to sloppy reasoning. He ignores the key facts underlying Israel’s reluctant continuing control over Judea and Samaria: that Israel captured the territory in a defensive war to prevent its own destruction and therefore holds it legitimately absent a peace deal, that most Israelis would be happy to return control over the territory to an Arab government in exchange for a reasonable peace deal, and that none of the Arab governments that have controlled the territory has been willing to make such a deal (which is why Israeli public opinion has shifted away from its 1990s accommodationism). The settler issue per se is a red herring, since there is no obvious rationale other than anti-Jewish ethnic cleansing for preventing Jewish settlers from remaining in their homes under Arab rule (as more than one million Arabs live in Israel), and most of the “settlers” are residents of close-in suburbs of Jerusalem that would be incorporated into Israel under any reasonable final deal. (Why is the term apartheid only used to color the perceptions of ignorant people about democratic Israel but never used in connection with the proposed de-Judeization of the West Bank?)

    Beinart strikes me as either a committed leftist or an opportunist who is trying to position himself to make hay from the BDS movement. Perhaps he is both. Regardless of his motives, his arguments are weak.

    Posted in Israel, Judaism, Leftism, Video | 1 Comment »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 24th February 2012 (All posts by )

    David P. Goldman (“Spengler”), “Memo to Jews: After They Come for the Catholic Church, They Will Come For Us“:

    Open the door to “scientific” determination of matters of life and death, and America’s Orthodox Jews — a minority within a minority — will be vulnerable to a new Inquisition. On this issue, there can be no compromise. Agudath Israel is right: Jews should stand by the right of the Catholic Church to determine what is acceptable by its standards, just as we one day will ask the Catholic Church to stand by our right to determine what is acceptable by our standards. To its credit, Britain’s Catholic Church stood by us in 2009 when the English courts shamefully and wrongly ruled that our most basic religious criteria were “racist.” Shamefully and wrongfully, some Jews have failed to stand by the Church under the Obama administration’s persecution. I appeal to these Jews: Don’t be naive. We’re next.

    Posted in Big Government, Christianity, Civil Society, Judaism, Obama, Quotations | 9 Comments »

    “The Zionist Imperative”

    Posted by Jonathan on 29th January 2012 (All posts by )

    Caroline Glick:

    Today’s principal form of Jew-hatred is anti- Zionism. Anti-Zionism is similar to previous dominant forms of Jew hatred such as Christian anti-Judaism, xenophobic and racist anti- Semitism, and Communist anti-Jewish cosmopolitanism in the sense that it takes dominant, popular social trends and turns them against the Jews. Anti-Zionism’s current predominance owes to the convergence of several popular social trends which include Western post-nationalism, and anti-colonialism.

    Worth reading in full.

    UPDATE: David Foster provides a link to a well written blog post about a BDS conference at U. Penn.

    Posted in International Affairs, Iran, Israel, Judaism, Quotations, USA | 6 Comments »

    Jesus > Religion?

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 14th January 2012 (All posts by )

    A friend on facebook posted the video below and asked for comments:

    I sent my friend the following email (proper names redacted):
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Religion | 11 Comments »