Friday, May 30, 2014
A.B. Yehoshua is one of the two chiefs at the head of the tribe of the Israeli Literary Left. The other chief is Amos Oz. Both are clueless leftists. In the case of A.B., he is not limited to cluelessness. He is also a barbarian bully, as we will see in a minute. As it turns out, A.B. lives a few streets from me and I see him all the time in the hood. One day I was driving behind this really ugly French Citroen car covered with leftist bumper stickers not limited to the bumper. Think I to m'self, who the hell drives such a stupid car? The car then pulls over and out hops A.B.
A few years back a mathematician, one Dr. Baruch Ben-Yehuda, had a run-in with A.B.. Yehoshua, proposed that none of the more "nationalist" parts of the Bible be taught in Israeli schools, and that in particular the sections that refer to Jews as a chosen people be deleted. Ben-Yehuda dismissed A.B. Yehoshua's idea as "self-abasement bordering on mental illness."
This week a conference of Jewish writers from all over the world took place in Jerusalem. The following article, published in Haaretz no less, is highly instructive about the nature of A.B. Yehoshua. It speaks for itself:
When Nicole Krauss was bullied in Jerusalem for being a U.S. Jew
What passes through Israel's head when it lets the likes of author A.B. Yehoshua to represent it, taunting and insulting and pushing away any remaining friends in an increasingly alienated world?
By Reuven Namdar | May 30, 2014 | 3:47 AM
Last week I had the privilege and pleasure of participating in the International Writers Festival, held in Mishkenot Sha'ananim in Jerusalem. The festival was enriching and exciting, but overhanging it was a cloud that dampened the enjoyment, in the form of the international boycott that is slowly solidifying around Israel's cultural life. Several of the international participants related to the boycott as an established fact that everyone except us, the targets of the boycott, is aware of and accepts as part of the new global reality.
Among the numerous pleasant encounters between Israeli writers and their overseas counterparts, an ugly interaction stood out. This was a conversation between A.B. Yehoshua and the young and successful American Jewish writer Nicole Krauss. Yehoshua let loose, without any provocation from the smiling and mild-mannered Krauss, with a blustering and surprisingly rude frontal assault on his interlocutor. Krauss is a thoughtful and interesting writer who, despite a busy schedule, made time to attend and assist the festival, in addition to her vigorous efforts to counter the international boycott that threatens us.
Yehoshua's attack was confused and his arguments unfounded, and I cannot restate them in full here. He totally rejected the possibility of leading an authentic and significant Jewish life outside the borders of this country and the Ben Gurionist-Zionist paradigm which he espouses. He rejected in one sweep any non-Israeli Jewish literature, taking particular aim at the giants of American Jewish literature of the previous generation, such as Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth and Saul Bellow. Yehoshua claimed that he was "unimpressed" by them since they failed the test by not comprehending the grandeur of political Zionism by not opting for it as the sole path for a continued Jewish historical existence.
Yehoshua's strange behavior demonstrated an unpleasant mix of a threatened and weak yet overblown ego, of provincial feelings of inferiority together with an unjustified sense of superiority, also provincial in nature. To Krauss' credit she was not drawn in by this ugly and needless provocation, made by the Israeli writer she admires most (it was said at the festival that she initiated this dialogue out of respect for his work). She insisted on talking about other topics, making interesting and complex arguments while maintaining her dignified pose, which stood in increasingly stark contrast to the tasteless aggressiveness of her partner in dialogue, which only became worse as the conversation continued.
I was shocked. I had never witnessed such behavior on a public stage. Israelis around me giggled forgivingly. They are used to this kind of behavior by Yehoshua, whom they insist on calling by his childhood nickname "Buli." Unfortunately, this sounds close to the English word bully, the neighborhood thug who bothers helpless children during school recess and on the playground, threatening and striking them for no reason. Apparently his behavior is a well known phenomenon. Jewish organizations in the United States invite him to conferences and events supporting Israel and he attacks and slanders his hosts, declaring their Jewish lives incomplete and inauthentic, negating their efforts to live a significant Jewish life and to maintain the increasingly eroding affinity they have with Israel.
The masochism that makes these organizations continue inviting the neighborhood bully to their identity-searching playground is a topic for another article, but one must question what passes through Israel's head when it allows him to represent it abroad, taunting and insulting and pushing away any remaining friends in an increasingly alienated world? Perhaps the problem is larger and more worrisome than that of the irrational lashing out of this unmannered writer? Maybe the show put on by Yehoshua truly reflects the new face of Israel, whose complacent and thuggish insensitivity has caused its long-standing friends to express reservations, to distance themselves and finally to boycott it?
(For anyone not familiar with it, the yarmulka is the sort typically worn by Bratslov Chassidim)
[Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!]
Monday, May 26, 2014
The radical Left in Israel has invented a new nonsense word to capture the essence of its agenda and ideology. The term is "Nakba Denial." It is not accidental that it strongly resembles the term "Holocaust Denial," for the radical anti-Israel leftists seek to create a clear moral parallel between the Holocaust and the "Nakba." The term, Nakba, of course means catastrophe in Arabic and is tossed around by the radical Left to refer to the "catastrophe" of the creation of Israel and its victory over the genocidal Arab fascists who attempted to destroy Israel in 1948-9.
The Left insists that Nakba Denial proves that non-leftists are living in denial and are heartlessly indifferent to the "sufferings" of Arabs when they were on the losing side of their war of genocidal aggression against the Jews in 1948-49.
So having coined this new nonsense term and converted it into their banner, we thought we would suggest to the Non-Left a number of new terms that should be introduced into political discourse, terms to be used by those who are NOT seeking the extermination of Israel or a second Holocaust of Jews, to describe the real agenda of the enemies of Israel.
The first of these is Treason Denial. This is the term that must be applied to many of those who insist that the radical Left inside Israel is seeking human rights and peace. It is also the term that must be used to describe those who characterize picayune overseas-funded anti-Israel propaganda NGOs as "human rights groups" and "peace groups."
Then we should also encourage the use of the term Leftwing Fascism Denial. It is the term that describes those who refuse to recognize that the radical Left in Israel (and elsewhere) is fundamentally opposed to freedom of speech for non-Leftists and completely opposed to democracy. It is also the term that should be applied to all those justifying the people who accuse all critics of the Radical Left of being "McCarthyists" and "fascists."
The term Stalinism Denial should be applied to all those people who pretend that they are not aware of the fact that some of the most prominent members of the Tenured Left in Israel are lifelong hard-core Stalinists. A number of faculty members posting on the Israeli Social Sciences chat list are card-carrying members of the Israeli (Stalinist) Communist Party, but any attempts to mention this fact are censored by the administrators of that list.
But of course the most important term of all that must be introduced is Anti-Semitism Denial. This is the term needed to refer to all those who insist that members of the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement and of similar anti-Israel initiatives and movements are motivated by anything other than gutter anti-Semitism. This is the correct term that needs to be applied to all those proclaiming that they hate and oppose Israel but not Jews as such. And, come to think of it, this is also the term needed to describe anyone bandying about the term "Nakba Denial."
Thursday, May 22, 2014
The following was posted to a list of University of Haifa professors, after several members of the tenured Left posted messages there insisting that there was no nefarious agenda behind the holding of "Nakba Day" mourning events:
The Arab nationalist anti-Israel radicals and their fellow travelers from the Jewish radical Left are insisting that everyone commemorate "Nakba Day," where Nakba means catastrophe. On that day they want the world to mourn the victory of Israel over its genocidal enemies and also to mourn the very existence of Israel. Apologists for the Nakba nuts are claiming that they simply want everyone to commemorate all forms of suffering, including the "suffering" of the genocidal Arab militias, gangs, and armies that unsuccessfully attempted to annihilate the Jews of Israel in 1948-9. There is no political agenda to be read into those taking this position, argue the apologists for Nakba Day events with a straight poker face.
Well, it behooves us to make a list of OTHER completely apolitical and neutral positions regarding human suffering that demonstrate that there are no political agendas behind the choice of which "tragedies" are selected to be commemorated and mourned.
First, we must all agree that a day of commemoration for the tragic losses in property values by white slave owners in the American south, stripped of their slave assets, as a result of the loss of the Confederacy in the American Civil War would be a great step in the direction of neutral apolitical honoring of human rights and dignity. Clearly there would be no political agenda behind such a position.
Then we should be holding special campus days of commemoration and empathy for male rapists who have been injured while violently raping women. Their bruised knees and knuckles and scratched faces are human tragedies that all compassionate members of society must honor and respect in the name of neutral human rights and apolitical dignity. While we are on the subject, members of the Boko Haram group in Nigeria who have ever been insulted or called names by Christian girls should also be specially honored and empathy expressed for their plight. Clearly there would be no political agenda behind those taking such a position.
After that, we need to hold a special day of remembrance for the guards at Gulag facilities in the days of Stalin who suffered terribly and at long distances from their homes and families in order to man and staff the gulag internment camps. Clearly there would be no political agenda behind those taking such a position.
Then a special day of sympathy should be held on September 11 each year to remember the sufferings of the Al-Qaeda hijackers who died such terrible deaths that day in 2001.
A much more important even would have to be the day in which the German and Japanese victims of Allied bombing raids are remembered and honored, and there of course should be no need to mention any other people who suffered during World War II, since there is no need for proportionality or inclusion of unrelated cases of human suffering. Clearly there would be no political agenda behind those taking such a position.
To top it all off, we would of course want the Law School at the University of Haifa to operate special clinics for prisoner rights that only provide free legal counsel to convicted Arab terrorists. Why confuse the issue by bringing up unrelated cases of prisoners, which would only make people think there is an ideological agenda behind the choice?!
And after all of that, then by all means, do hold completely apolitical Nakba Day mourning events that have nothing at all to do with any ideological agenda. Clearly there is no political agenda behind those engaging in such behavior.
The Left's Hatred Of Israel Has A Rich History
Published: May 22nd, 2014
Anti-Semitism and the American Far Left
Photo Credit: Book Cover
In a previous book, The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower (Cambridge University Press, 2009), I examined anti-Semitism in the American mainstream during the 1930s, showing how American universities helped Nazi Germany enhance its image in the United States. I have been struck by how the far left's virulent anti-Zionism – laced with anti-Semitism – has been given a platform and increasingly legitimized on contemporary American campuses, just as many American universities proved receptive to Nazi apologetics and anti-Semitic propaganda during the 1930s.
Both the far left and the far right have drawn on anti-Jewish concepts that were long taught and emphasized in Christian theology. For example, the far left, with occasional exceptions, denied Jews' legitimacy as a people. Like the Christian Bible, which portrays the Temple as permeated with money-changing, the far left characterized Jews as parasites devoted to materialism. It saw Jews as concentrated in a dying social class, the petty bourgeoisie, which relied on illicit methods to squeeze out profits.
In his 1844 essay On the Jewish Question, Karl Marx himself mocked Judaism and Jews in the manner of many Christian theologians, declaring that "money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist." He claimed that "huckstering" was the Jews' "worldly religion." Christian theological antisemitism was so deeply embedded in Western culture that the secular far left never escaped its influence.
Antisemitism and the American Far Left is the first systematic study of the American far left's role in promoting anti-Semitism (and at times combating it). The book covers the Communist Party (CP) from 1920 onward, tracing all of its often sudden and dramatic shifts in approach and response to anti-Semitism and Israel; the role of Trotskyists; the new left and its black nationalist allies; and the contemporary remnants of the new left.
I analyze the deficiencies of the far left's explanations of Nazism and the Holocaust, marred by its commitment to a simplistic class analysis. The far left ignored anti-Semitism's deep roots in Christian theology and culture, claiming that the ruling class merely propagated it to deflect working-class anger and undermine unity among the masses.
The American CP depicted inherently progressive German workers recoiling in shock at the murderous rampage against the Jews on Kristallnacht. During the period of the Molotov-von Ribbentrop Pact (1939-41), which opened the way for the German invasion of Poland, ghettoization, and mass slaughter of Jews, the CP knowingly backed Soviet assistance to Germany's military and economy, thereby helping the Nazis carry out their war against the Jews.
The Trotskyists, for their part, universalized the Holocaust, denying the uniqueness of the Jewish experience, and claimed a moral equivalence between Allied bombing of the Germans and Nazi atrocities against the Jews. Alarmingly, these views have been absorbed by the mainstream and appear as fact in many leading American history textbooks and newspapers.
My book also explores far left attitudes toward militant Islam; how, for example, the CP's support for the horrific Arab pogroms against the Jews across Palestine in 1929 set a precedent for the new left's endorsement of Palestinian terrorism in the late 1960s.
During the 1930s and after World War II, the CP did at times condemn Arab anti-Semitism. The later new leftists, however, products of a school system that gave almost no attention to anti-Semitism or the Holocaust, showed no interest in the persecution of Jews in Arab lands. Like the earlier Communists who claimed there was no anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union, these younger radicals, following the lead of the Palestinian guerillas, denied the existence of Arab anti-Semitism in the Middle East.
I also document the strong Communist support for Israel during the War of Independence in 1948. Some party members continued to back Israel even as the Soviet Union abruptly shifted to an anti-Israel position soon after the war ended. I show that the mass departures from the CP in 1956-57, generally attributed to Khrushchev's secret speech and the Soviet invasion of Hungary, were also influenced by dismay over revelations of Stalin's execution of Soviet Yiddish writers, and over Soviet support for Egypt during the Sinai campaign in 1956.
The recent far left, much reduced in size since the early 1970s, has never expressed any ambivalence about Israel. Instead it has demonized Zionism and called for Israel's destruction. The far left fully accepts Palestinian claims that the Jews are merely a religious group, not a people. Its virulently anti-Zionist propaganda, replete with longstanding and barely disguised anti-Semitic accusations and images, has now been embraced by many in the mainstream, especially on the campus and in the mass media.
About the Author: Stephen H. Norwood is professor of history at the University of Oklahoma and author, most recently, of "The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses" (Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
1. Moshe Zimmerman is a radical anti-Israel leftist professor of German history at the Hebrew University. He has a long track record of denouncing Israel and all Israelis who are not of the radical anti-Zionist Left. He loves to denounce all who do not agree with his radical leftism as Nazis. He was quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying: "There is an entire sector of the Jewish public which I unhesitatingly define as a copy of the German Nazis." (http://isracampus.org.il/third%20level%20pages/Israeli%20extremism%20-%20Academics%20Equating%20Zionism%20with%20Fascism.htm ) He led the campaign to denounce the Im Tirtzu student organization as "fascists" because they are Zionists. He mocked them when they lost a defamation suit they had filed against a leftist blogger, forgetting to mention that Zimmerman himself had lost a famous harassment SLAPP suit he had filed against the Yediot Ahronot daily (http://isracampus.org.il/third%20level%20pages/HebrewU%20-%20Moshe%20Zimmerman%20-%20Judicial%20Terrorism.htm). Yediot's sin? It had reported truthfully that Zimmerman had denounced Israeli soldiers and settlers as being Nazis. Zimmerman has also lost other SLAPP suits he filed (http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/1728 ). Elsewhere Zimmerman has compared the Torah with Hitler's Mein Kampf (http://www.isracampus.org.il/third%20level%20pages/Editorial%20-%20Phyllis%20Chesler%20-%20hate%20and%20criticism.htm ). He demands Israel accept countless millions of African infiltrators as residents, while denouncing people who try to learn from history by making historic comparisons (http://zioncon.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/prof-zimmerman-finds-some-insensitivity.html ) He thinks the real tragedy of German Jews is that anti-Semites force them to be Jews rather than nice assimilated Germans (http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/.premium-1.550556 ).
Well, Herr Zimmerman is back in the news this week. He is all upset. What is he upset over? It seems that the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team won the European tournament and Zimmerman took this as a personal affront to his anti-Zionism.
It is not that he finds sports uninteresting. I myself am one of the few Israelis who failed to get worked up over the victory, mainly because I have no interest in sports and so do not really care which basketball team gets the most home runs or touchdowns or whatever it is they get in basketball. I think it is nice that Israel won something and even nicer that it makes so many other Israelis happy. My only real contact in my life with anything related to basketball was when the mother of my friend flunked Wilt Chamberlain in high school English (Wilt and I both being from Philadelphia, where I passed English).
And happy they were. Crowds filled the streets in celebration and the newspapers and electronic media spoke about little else for a couple of days. But what upset Herr Zimmerman is that the outpouring of celebration interfered with the plans of the Radical Ultra-Left to convince Israelis they are a pack of racist Untermenschen who need to mourn their very existence.
Zimmerman denounced the celebrations (story in Hebrew here: http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4521291,00.html) as an "obscene orgy over the failure of Jewish muscularity." Huh?
Zimmerman claims to have some knowledge of sports (unlike me) and insists that the victory of the Tel Aviv team actually proves that Zionism is a failure. He proclaimed, "The vision was for Zionism to create Jews who would excel in sports. But the fact that the basketball team recruits mercenaries from America to do the work is fraud and pretense. It is the very opposite of the Zionist vision."
Zimmerman I guess is referring to the fact that the basketball team recruits professional athletes from outside of the country. They are his mercenaries. Of course far leftists from the ISM and other anti-Israel groups who come to Israel to demonstrate against Israel are Zimmerman's mercenaries.
The other thing is that it is amusing is seeing Zimmerman pout about the "Zionist vision" and the failure of sports fans to live up to it. Zimmerman is a dogmatic anti-Zionist.
2. While we are on the subject of Israeli academic atrocities, let me say that the Technion is not ordinarily on our radar screen for such. However, even at the Technion there is a small minority of anti-Israel moonbats. One or more of these supervised a design project by an Arab woman student of architecture that depicts Orthodox Jews as apes. The story in Hebrew is here http://www.inn.co.il/News/News.aspx/276627 but you do not need to understand Hebrew. The art work at the top of the page speaks for itself and shows what the student submitted. Draw your own conclusions.
Monday, May 19, 2014
Try to imagine, if you would, what would happen if groups of anti-British faculty members at British universities held days of mourning in 1943 and 1944 to express their sorrow over the fact that Britain had not been defeated in the Battle of Britain in the early stages of World War II. Imagine protests at major British universities against the fact that Britain had successfully defended itself from Nazi invasion. Imagine demonstrations at British schools to express solidarity with the German soldiers who had attempted to annihilate the British soldiers on the beaches of Dunkirk. Imagine rallies on campus to show solidarity with the sufferings of the German sailors on the Bismarck and on U-boats that had been sunk by the Royal Navy.
Well if you can imagine all that, then you will have a pretty good idea of the mindset of the Israeli tenured Left these days.
Every year the Left attempts to hold "Nakba Day" mourning events, in which participants express their sorrow at the fact that the Arab armies invading Israel in 1948 were unable to defeat and annihilate the country. To their great sorrow, Israel survived. Its survival meant of course that its enemies were defeated. And that defeat is what the "Nakba Day" mourners want the world to sob over. How terrible must be the suffering and frustration of those who failed to exterminate the Jews of Israel in 1948!
This year a group of Arabs and Jewish communists sought to hold Nakba Day mourning events at the University of Haifa. In uncharacteristic good sense, the University administration vetoed the idea and forbade holding the events on campus. That upset the Fascist Left. A group of 90 professors and lecturers at various universities in Israel, including quite a few at the University of Haifa itself, signed a petition denouncing the University of Haifa for "violating academic freedom." (News story here: http://www.haaretz.co.il/news/education/1.2324807 ) Many of the signers were the same people who celebrated the decision by the same University to refuse to grant an honorary PhD to Prof. Robert (Yisrael) Aumann because he holds non-leftist opinions.
As usual, the fascist Left only wants freedom of speech for other leftwing fascists, but never for anyone who is not a leftist.
One of the initiators of the petition is one Micah Leshem, the most openly anti-Semitic professor at the University of Haifa. You may recall him as the fellow who churns out Der Sturmer-style anti-Semitic caricatures of Jews. Well, he has a new masterpiece of art this week. He published a cartoon showing the University of Haifa as a large guillotine being used to murder Arabs. You can see it here:
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Today is "Nakba Day" according to the secular calender, the day on which the Islamofascists, the Hitlerjugend, and the mindless Left mourn the "catastrophe" of Israel's creation and victory over its enemies in 1948-49. So I would like to invite you all to sing a song of merriment and celebration, "Happy Nakba Day," to the tune of the classic "Happy Days are Here Again." Here goes:
To the Tune of "Happy Days are Here Again"
Nakba Day is here again
Altogether shout it now
Your cares and troubles are gone
Nakba Day is here again
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Well, as you know, Amos Oz, the leader of the Israeli Literary Left, has proclaimed that he considers the handful of ragtag teenage graffiti vandals calling themselves "Price Tag" to be "Neo-Nazis." He issued a clarification that he calls them "Neo-Nazis" and not "Nazis," after which I issued my own clarification that I consider Oz to be a Neo-Moron and not a Moron. Amos Oz is now the Israeli Gunter Grass. Oz had dedicated one of his books to the Palestinian terrorist and mass murderer Marwan Barghouti, in Israeli prison until the next wave of cowardice afflicts the Israeli cabinet.
Anyway, in light of the outpouring of literary and artistic creativity by our beloved Oz, and especially in response to his new campaign against Price Tagger "Neo-Nazis," I thought the time might be right to compose some new lyrics to the famous song from the show/movie The Producers about Springtme for Hitler. Now if you have not seen the show or movie, and even if you have, take a look first at this video clip to refresh your memory of the original out-of-date lyrics and the melody:
After you have done that, then imagine the same exact show, with same exact dancers and costumes, but with a new updated cast and song lyrics. Imagine Amos Oz stepping out on stage and singing out the following:
Palestine was having trouble
Amos is happy and gay!
Hamastan a fine land once more!
Springtime for Amos and Barghouti
Hamastan a fine land once more!
Saturday, May 10, 2014
The leader of Israel's Literary Left, Amos Oz, also known as the Scarecrow of Oz due to the straw between his ears, has a very long record of saying stupid things (see below). Well now he has proclaimed that the Price Tag teenage graffiti vandals are Neo-Nazis. Really! This in a country where it is supposedly illegal to use the word "Nazi" in political discourse!
Leftist Author Compares 'Price Tag' Vandals to Neo-Nazis
Leftist author Amos Oz, who dedicated a book to arch-terrorist, says the perpetrators of so-called "price tag" attacks are "neo-Nazis".
Elad Benari, Canada
Leftist Israeli author Amos Oz on Friday launched a scathing attack against the perpetrators of so-called "price tag" attacks and referred to them as "neo-Nazis".
Oz was subsequently answered by a bereaved father who reminded Oz that he has in the past dedicated a book to arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti.
"I cannot stand to hear that term 'price tag', and even more so I can't stand to hear the term 'hilltop youth'," Oz said at his 75th birthday celebration, according to Channel 2 News.
"It's time we look at this monster straight in the eye. 'Price tag' and 'hilltop youth' are just are sweet nicknames for a monster that is time to call by its name," he continued, adding that those who carried out these vandalism attacks were "Jewish neo-Nazi groups."
"There is nothing that the neo-Nazi in Europe do and these groups do not do," charged Oz. "Time to call them by name. Perhaps the only difference is that the neo-Nazi groups enjoy the backing of quite a few nationalist, even racist legislators, as well as rabbis who have give them a pseudo-religious basis."
It did not take long for a response to Oz's remarks, and they came from Tzion Sviri, who lost three family members in a terrorist attack in 2001.
"Amos Oz is the last who can preach after he went to visit Marwan Barghouti, the murderer of my loved ones, in prison and another time sent him a book with a personal warm dedication," said Sviri.
"With all the seriousness of price tag acts, one cannot compare them to the Nazism that murdered six million of our people, and dedicating a book to this murderer is much more serious than drawing graffiti on a wall," he added.
Barghouti, a member of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, is serving five life sentences for his role in planning suicide terror attacks. He was behind some of the deadliest terror attacks against Israel during the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War.
Oz was among a group of leftist Israeli authors and poets who last year wrote a letter to Samer Issawi, a terrorist who was arrested by Israel and launched a hunger strike, urging him to call off his hunger strike.
Oz's remarks come amid the recent uproar in Israel over the rise in the so-called "price tag" attacks.
While these attacks are mostly blamed on Israelis from Judea and Samaria, an Arutz Sheva report in January revealed that in at least some of the cases, anti-Arab "price tags" were being systematically staged by Arab activists.
You can read here about some previous bons mots of the Scarecrow:
Good Morning, Elijah: Amos Oz Does The Peace Tour
By: Steven Plaut
Published: May 21st, 2008
I have long believed the world would be much better off if Hollywood airheads would stick to entertainment and never pretend to be intellectuals, spouting off with their "ideas" about politics, diplomacy, etc. I am no less convinced that popular literary figures do little more than embarrass themselves when they attempt to serve as political commentators.
Amos Oz is arguably Israel's best-known writer and at the same time the leading member of Israel's Literary Left. Proudly declaring himself a major thinker in the "peace movement," Oz celebrates his political biases openly.
I am in the large hall of a Belgian university to listen to a speech by Oz, who is to receive an honorary doctorate and meet with students and faculty. Oz's books have been translated into many languages and he is well known in Europe. He has been invited to speak about literature to the university audience, but devotes the entire speech to politics, without mentioning literature even once. Oz is an eloquent speaker, but there is an enormous gap between his command of words and images and the depth of his understanding of political reality.
There is an old saying that a shallow moral symmetry is the hobgoblin of small minds. Oz is the master of shallow moral symmetry. The Arab-Israeli conflict (which he invariably calls the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which it is not) is neither black vs. white nor good against bad, he tells his listeners, but rather a conflict between two goods, even if the behavior of both sides is often that of two bads. He condemns Israeli "oppression" and mistreatment of Palestinians as morally symmetric to Palestinian terrorism and xenophobia.
Oz is at his silliest when he tries to distinguish between stark unequivocal moral choices and complex ambiguous ones. "You Europeans have a tendency to frame everything in simplistic good vs. bad terms," he says. "This is OK for some conflicts, like that between fascism and anti-fascism, or that between colonialism and anti-colonialism, or that between the U.S. and Vietnamese, but the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not that."
Of course, the allegedly simple moral conflicts offered by Oz tell us more about him than about the conflict. Anti-fascists have at times been worse than fascists; anti-colonialists generally were far more savage and brutal than European colonialists; and Oz's insistence that the U.S. was the unambiguous evil power in Vietnam is little more than the attempt of an Israeli leftist to pander to fashionable anti-Americanism, to ingratiate himself with those who imagine Europe is the moral superior of the U.S. - something Oz tries to do repeatedly throughout the evening.
The other problem with Oz's silly characterization of moral clarity vs. ambiguity is that the Arab-Israeli conflict is actually as morally unambiguous as was World War II. Yes, Allied troops sometimes conducted acts of injustice and, yes, German and Japanese civilians were often killed as the war was fought out, but that changes nothing about the moral unambiguousness of that conflict.
The Arab-Israeli conflict exists because the Arab world, controlling 22 states and territory nearly twice that of the United States (including Alaska), is unwilling to allow the Jews to enjoy any self-determination or control over even a tiny piece of territory. Ultimately, the tremendous damage that Oz and his kind have done has been in muddying what should be a clear moral understanding of the Middle East war, all in the name of the sanctity of moral symmetry, and this muddying has undercut Israeli willingness to resist and fight.
Oz devotes his entire speech to promotion of the "two-state solution," by which Israel will withdraw to the pre-1967 borders, removing nearly all settlements, making way for a Palestinian state. This solution is not liked by either side, says Oz, but perhaps 80% of those on both sides declare they expect that this is what in fact will happen. That of course is not exactly the same as accepting a plan or policy as legitimate, and Oz diplomatically skips over the inconvenient fact that nearly all Arabs see this "solution" as a temporary stage in the process of destroying Israel. Oz declares over and over that the bulk of Palestinians understand that Israel is "here to stay" - something that would come as a great shock to them.
In reality, Israel's decades-long pursuit of a national policy of surrender, cowardice and weakness has convinced virtually all Palestinians that the Jews are on the run and that achieving their dream of exterminating Israel is now within their grasp. Oz declares that less than 30% of Palestinians support Hamas, and the audience smiles approvingly at this complete lie.
Very few in the audience know that two partitions for the purpose of creating "two states for two peoples" have already been attempted. The first was the detachment of Eastern Palestine in 1921 to form Transjordan, a step that was supposed to make a Jewish homeland in all of Palestine west of the Jordan possible. Then, in 1947, the UN proposed a new partition of Western Palestine, creating an Arab Palestinian state in one half and a Jewish one in the other. The Arabs reacted by attempting to commit genocide against the Israeli Jews.
No one in the audience thinks to ask Oz about the total failure of his "ideas" in the Gaza Strip (in a sense, a third partition). Almost immediately after Gaza's Jews were expelled and the territory turned over to the Palestinians, Sderot became the first Israeli Guernica, bombarded daily by rockets; Ashkelon is now well on its way to becoming the second. In other words, Oz's lovely "two state solution" was already implemented in part in Gaza, and it produced the worst terrorist bombardments of Israeli civilians in history.
Oz is at his most "Peresian" (Peres-like) when he insists over and over that history is irrelevant, that there is nothing to be gained by trying to dredge up the past, to draw lessons from it. An inverse of George Santayana, who wrote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,"Oz tells the audience that his dream is to disconnect all the microphones whenever Arabs or Jews start to mention the past.
"I refuse altogether to look at history," he says. Of course, learning from the past might allow na?ve audience members to pick out Oz's factual errors or to understand how his "two-state partition" will achieve nothing more than a new all-out Arab war against Israel.
A few years back, a group of Israeli Jewish literary figures met in Haifa with Arab writers to discuss politics. Each of the Jewish writers - good doves all - got up and declared that he accepted the legitimacy of the Palestinian people, supported their right to a state, and acknowledged their having as much moral right to independence as that of the Jews. (I believe Amos Oz was one of the people present.) They waited for the Arab writers to get up and make similar statements about the legitimacy of Zionism and Jewish self-determination. Not a single one did.
A slang expresion among Israelis is "Good Morning, Elijah." It is a sarcastic statement, roughly analogous to the American "Well, duh!" It is a wonderful literary summation of Israel's obtuse literary leftists.
Thursday, May 08, 2014
The madness continues. The Israeli media and a growing number of politicians are screaming at supersonic-jet decibel levels against the "hate crimes" of the "Price Tag" delinquents. Tzipi Livni and another cabinet minister called for declaring "Price Tag" members to be terrorists because they engage in mischief and write anti-Arab graffiti on walls. Think they are bluffing? Many years back the Israeli government declared the Kahanists to be a terrorist group, and their main activity back then was also writing tasteless graffiti!
Livni's call to proclaim the Price Taggers terrorists is amusing. Since her anti-terrorism policy is basically to make concessions to terrorists and capitulate to them, then perhaps this is really her call for a full capitulation to the Price Taggers? Politics in Israel are so confusing.
Another newspaper "report" yesterday here spread the rumor that the Price Taggers consist of 100 people who are led and inspired by the radical Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburgh (see http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.589469 ). He is a controversial character who makes statements that the Left and some not on the Left dislike. I certainly hope he will file defamation suits against all the newspapers who claim that he commands the Price Taggers. The proof that they are wrong? Clearly Price Tag does not have 100 members. In Israel no group of 100 people can possibly keep anything secret, and anything known to 100 people is leaked into the media within minutes. If there were 100 Price Taggers, the cops would have busted them months ago. My guess is that Price Tag has 3 teenage members, but to be cautious I suppose I could be convinced there are as many as 5 members. That is what all the ruckus is about.
Almost every page at Haaretz, the Palestinian newspaper printed in Hebrew, screams out against the "hate crimes" of Price Tag. Well, let me tell y'all a little story, When I first came to Israel for an extended stay in the 1970s, all of Jerusalem and some other places were filled with leftist graffiti demanding that Giora Neuman be freed. Neuman was a member of the ultra-anti-Israel Maoist organization "Matzpen." He was arrested for refusing to serve in the military in 1972. His Maoist friends turned every wall in Jerusalem into a pro-Neuman billboard. It turned out soon after this that five members of this very same Matzpen organization were involved in anti-Israel espionage and had even undergone terrorist training in Syria. They were led by a kibbutznik named Udi Adiv who is today a lecturer in Israel's "Open University." Other Matzpen alumni today star in the Israeli media and have professor jobs.
That of course was not the only time that far leftists engaged in graffiti incitement. And anti-Jewish graffiti by Arabs has long been so common that it almost never makes the evening news. In recent days lots of anti-Jewish graffiti has sprung up, probably partly in response to Price Tag mischief, and swastikas on synagogues and Jewish shrines are common vandalism in Israel. The shrine of a sage from Mishnaic times was desecrated with a swastika yesterday. There have been a few cases where it was discovered that vandalism apparently by Price Tag was in fact provocations done by Arabs and leftists, although I do not buy the paranoid conspiracism of some on the Israeli Right that all the Price Tag vandalism is being done as Black Ops by the section of the General Security Services that persecutes right-wingers.
The remarkable thing to note is that not a single one of the big mouths denouncing Price Tag vandalism as terrorism and hate crimes has ever denounced leftist or Arab graffiti and vandalism in the same words. Haaretz has never called for making apprehension of the anti-Jewish graffiti vandals or swastika painters the highest national priority.
Oh, and the selective assault against speech also continues. Consider this news item from today's Jerusalem Post: "A 22-year-old woman – who was detained on Wednesday and then freed to house arrest – wrote: 'I am in favor of throwing stones, even if it would cause the death of a soldier.'" She had posted that on Facebook. That is right - she was arrested. Now I happen to disagree vehemently with her words and would like to see fire hoses turned on people who throw stones at soldiers. SO guess who has never been arrested? The countless Arabs, including Arab politicians, who call for throwing rocks at soldiers and Jewish babies and doing far worse things than that. Neither have the leftist professors calling for settlers to be murdered by terrorists. Neither have the "anarchists" who regularly assault Israeli police and soldiers violently and not just with rocks.
2. One of the more amusing stories at Haaretz concerns an African who had illegally entered Israel and then agreed to leave voluntarily in exchange for a fat payoff from Israel. For months Israel has been repatriating illegal infiltrators back to Africa, mainly to Uganda, rewarding them with an exit cash grant when they leave, paid for with my tax shekels. Now it turns out that a man from Sudan signed up for the program, was indeed sent to Ethiopia, possibly on his way to Uganda (there are no direct flights there from Israel), but when he got there - for reasons that are not entirely clear - he was deported from there to the Sudan.
Such a heart-wrenching tragedy, sobs Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.589314 ).
So let us get this straight. The criminal infiltrated Israel illegally, was sent back to Africa with cash in his pockets, and Ethiopia sends him to his home rather than putting him on a plane to Uganda or some other place. And somehow all of this is a tragedy, one that all Israelis need to rend their frocks over in sobbing guilt.
As a side note, let us remind you all that no country in Africa allows unrestricted entry to people from Sudan or Eritrea seeking refuge or employment.
Monday, May 05, 2014
Our deepest condolences to the Israeli Left for their tragic sorrow at the fact that Israel has survived one more year and is celebrating its 66th birthday. We all know how heartbroken you in the Left are at this sad turn of events. We are sure you will find the courage in spite of your grief to continue to battle against the continued existence of Israel.
And for everyone else, Happy Israeli Independence Day!
Sunday, May 04, 2014
1. The Israeli media, led by Haaretz (the Palestinian newspaper published in Hebrew) is suddenly filled with articles decrying "hate crimes." Columnists call upon Israeli leaders to crack down on "hate crimes." Israeli cabinet ministers have issued calls to deal with "hate crimes" and in at least one case have called for suspending habeas corpus to deal with "hate crimes." Media people and politicians are also denouncing these same acts as terrorism.
You will not be surprised if I tell you that the use of the term "hate crimes" by the leftist media and their fellow travelers has nothing at all to do with Arab terrorists murdering Jews. Indeed, a young woman from Afula was murdered a few days ago and the police believe it was a political murder by Arab terrorists. You would only learn about that murder in the back pages in small font in Haaretz, although headlines on the front page and throughout the "newspaper" decry "hate crimes." Let us note that Haaretz NEVER denounces Arab terrorism as "hate crimes." And it refuses to use the "T" word (terrorist) to label these folks. Instead, following, CNN and MSNBC, they are always "activists" or "militants."
The "hate crimes" over which the media and politicians are all up in arms consist of teenage mischief and graffiti. Really. The Obama people have also called for action against these "hate crimes." Small groups of Jewish teenagers have gone running about the country and engaging in petty vandalism and graffiti. They call themselves "Price Tag." Their mischief is usually directed against Arab property (although in a few cases they have vandalized police and army vehicles). Their graffiti is anti-Arab and they have targeted churches and mosques. In a few cases, vandalism was in fact carried out by leftists and Arabs as provocations to be blamed on the Price Tag urchins.
Now I am the first to demand that these teenagers by apprehended and spanked thoroughly. Yes they are an embarrassment and yes they are up to no good.
But hate crime?
"Price Tag" urchins are petty juvenile delinquents. While most have gotten away with their mischief and have not been apprehended, this may be because the police and army have real hate crimes to deal with, like genocidal terrorists. The Price Tag punks are as much involved in "hate crimes" as are the subway graffiti vandals in any large city in the world.
Almost no one in Israel justifies the vandalism and graffiti of "Price Tag." But almost no one in Israel sees it as anything more than a mild nuisance and petty mischief.
No one, that is, except for the Leftist Establishment.
Oh, and you know what ELSE is NEVER a hate crime in Israel? Arabs burning or vandalizing synagogues. You have not heard of such cases recently? It is not because such incidents do not take place in Israel. They occur all the time. It is because the media do not report them, certainly not on page one. After all, it is only news when the postman bites the dog.
2. For years, the Israeli government has imposed a policy on Israeli soldiers of dealing with violent Arab thugs by running away. When targeted by rock throwing guttersnipes, Israeli soldiers are supposed to flee. They are not allowed to throw rocks back or use more effective means. There are no "Stand your Ground" rules for Israeli soldiers, in contrast with the rules for ordinary citizens in much of the US.
All this became an interesting focus for Facebook activists and internet heroes this past week. A soldier named David from the Nahal brigade was jailed after he was threatened by violent threatening Arab guttersnipes in the West Bank, and he cocked his rifle in a warning. Israeli soldiers under attack are not allowed to behave that way with violent Arabs. They are ordered to flee instead. SO David was jailed.
Within days, countless messages of solidarity with David The Nahlai (Nahal Soldier) filled the social media, many from other Israeli soldiers, and drew international attention. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/01/israeli-soldiers-online-campaign-support-jailed-david-nahal
The Israeli government policy of fighting Arab violence with cowardice was suddenly under massive grassroots attack. David's cause has gone viral: http://www.debka.com/article/23880/%E2%80%9CDavid-the-Nahal-Soldier%E2%80%9D-goes-viral-Army-chief-Facebook-is-not-a-tool-of-command The soldier's real name has been leaked - it is David Admov.
You can see the Facebook campaign page (in Hebrew) here https://www.facebook.com/Israelijustice and you are invited to Like it. Numerous Israeli soldiers have come out in support of David the Nahal soldier - see the photos on this page: http://news.walla.co.il/?w=/550/2742626 .
The Israeli government is handling the entire affair by playing the part of Goliath, battling against poor little heroic David. It has announced plans to investigate and possibly indict those involved in the media campaign of support for David the Nahal soldier: http://www.jpost.com/Defense/IDF-to-investigate-social-media-protest-over-Nahal-soldier-incident-in-Hebron-351005
Count me in as one of his cheerleaders!
Friday, May 02, 2014
The PC Hijacking of Hillel the Elder
By Steven Plaut
I have long had a pet peeve about the hijacking of the words of Hillel the Elder (renowned first century BCE sage) by the assimilationist liberals and leftists in the United States and in Israel. The simple fact of the matter is that, with the exception of "Tikkun Olam," there is nothing in all of Judaism that is so intentionally distorted and manipulated by the assimilationist liberals and Political Correctness hucksters, misappropriated by them to serve as supposed Judaic basis for their pseudo-theology of "Political Liberalism as Judaism." A simple Google search points to around 69,000 web pages that allege that the real meaning of the proclamations of Hillel is that Jews must pursue "social justice" and the wellbeing of the underprivileged in general society. Of these, around 17,500 web pages explicitly misuse the term "Tikkun Olam" as part of their misinterpretation of Hillel. In their "politically-correct" pseudo-theology, "Tikkun Olam" is defined as pursuit of fashionable liberal political trendiness.
To remind you, there are actually several sets of proclamations by Hillel in the tractate "Sayings of the Fathers," which is an unusual and intriguing segment of the Talmud that contains folk wisdom, bons mots, and pithy short sayings and proverbs attributed to the early sages in Mishnaic and Talmudic literature. The particular statement by Hillel that is recited with obsession by the assimilationist liberals (I prefer to call them asslibs, by the way) is this: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?; If I AM for myself, then what am I?; and, If not now, then when?" Curiously, the assimilationist liberals ignore the proverb that follows a few lines after this, in which Hillel tells the skull and soul of a drowned man that he was condemned to drowning because in his lifetime he himself had caused others to be drowned. This bit of capital punishment as comeuppance is something the liberals prefer that we not read.
So just what does the proclamation of Hillel above really mean? Well, if you were to consult any of those web pages I mentioned above or ask the various representatives of the Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative synagogue movements (I use the term "Reconstructionist synagogue" in the loosest possible sense), then you will be told that the Hillel proverb is a call for the Jewish community to adopt the causes and interests of the "underprivileged" as its own. Hillel, they insist, is demanding that the Jews stop being insular and get out and serve the needs of the "Other." Promoting and protecting the "Other" is thus the true calling for practitioners of Judaism.
Hillel tells Jews in the first segment of the three-sentence saying that they must be for themselves, and the asslimilationists would prefer that Jews simply skip over this segment as fast as possible in order to get to the second segment. In that second segment, or so the liberals insist, Hillel is telling Jews that if they are ONLY for other Jews and not for other groups, then what in the world are they. Indeed, the word ONLY, which does not appear in the Talmudic text, is often inserted by the liberals here. The third segment about "If not now, then when?" is interpreted as an admonition for Jews to get cracking and take up the causes of "The Other" with a sense of urgency.
So what exactly are we to make of all this?
Let us begin by noting that the assimilationist liberals are simply wrong when they interpret the Hillel sayings as calls upon the Jewish community as a whole or upon the Jewish people as a whole to do anything at all. This is a complete fabrication by the liberals and is not present at all in the text. The Hillel admonitions are not addressing the Jewish PEOPLE as a whole at all, but rather are addressed to Jewish individuals. Hillel's statements do not serve as policy guidelines or principles for the community about anything. Thus the PC-hijacked assimilationist interpretation of these is simply wrong. Hillel is NOT saying to the Jewish PEOPLE that, while they may legitimately place their own narrow interests ahead of other causes, they must not abandon the need to defend the downtrodden, the underprivileged, the "Other." Hillel is not addressing the community at all about anything. Certainly not about any non-Jewish "Other."
As is clear from reading the text and from all commentaries on the tractate, Hillel is addressing individual Jews. Each individual Jew is of course entitled to place his own interests ahead of those of others. He is also expected to remain a member and part of the community as a whole (as Hillel himself says in a different verse), the Jewish community. Nothing at all here points to any expectation that Jews should adopt or even take cognizance of the interests of non-Jewish communities, and certainly nothing suggests that they elevate these interests to parity with Jewish self-interests. Non-Jewish communities are simply not being discussed (here, or anywhere else in the tractate). Hence, even if we interpret Hillel's comments as admonitions about which interests must be protected and pursued, then - at most - Hillel is calling upon Jews to maintain their presence and membership within their Jewish community.
In much the same way, while the Torah and Talmud are filled with admonitions for Jews to give charity or tzedakah, NOWHERE IS THIS A CALL FOR JEWS TO TRANSFER WEALTH AND RESOURCES TO THE UNDERPRIVILEGED OF THE NON-JEWISH NATIONS. It is a "social justice" mechanism that is intended as a safety net for underprivileged Jews within the Jewish community, not a welfare mechanism for underprivileged non-Jews. And even here, self-interest trumps "social justice." For example, the "tithe for the poor" that Jewish farmers are commanded to grant in two years out of seven, the tithe made to Levites, and the gifts made to Kohanim (priests) may all be given to relatives and friends of the donor. This is not considered nepotism, and in fact is looked upon FAVORABLY! It is considered to be a continuance of the admonition that one is expected to watch out for oneself (and one's close relatives and friends) AHEAD of the general community of Jews. And the interests of non-Jews are simply not a factor that Jews are commanded to consider at all (although they may do so voluntarily if they so wish).
But no less objectionable in the assimilationist liberal misinterpretation of Hillel is the assumption that the sayings are referring to interests at all. According to Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura, a 15th and early 16th century sage from Italy, whose commentary on the Sayings of the Fathers is considered authoritative and popular, Hillel is not speaking at all about anyone's interests, neither self-interests nor community interests. Rabbi Ovadiah says that Hillel simply means this: if you do not make yourself worthy of God's approval by means of your own deeds and actions, then who can make you worthy? And if you DO make yourself worthy by your actions, then "What are You?," meaning what have you really accomplished when compared with the total set of obligations and expectations that God has imposed upon you? What do your humble achievements count when placed in the context of what you are really expected to accomplish? And the last part of the saying, "If not now, then when?" is referring to your actions in this world. If you do not make yourself worthy of God during this lifetime on earth, then when exactly do you think you will be able to do so? Most other commentators make pretty much the same points and have a similar "take" on Hillel's words.
Rabbi Ovadiah's comments suffice for us to see that the presumption that Hillel is even speaking about interest at all is highly dubious. The "asslib" dogma that holds that Hillel is calling upon Jews to adopt the political agendas of black Americans, Hispanics, Tibetans, and Palestinians is beyond the ridiculous.
Yet for 60 years, the assimilationist liberals have conjured up Hillel as the pseudo-theological underpinnings for their dogma, which insists that all of Judaism is the pursuit of liberal political trendiness. The misinterpretation of Hillel is also growing in Israel, where journalistic leftists like to cite the Hillel sayings as basis for the need for Israel to grant the "Palestinians" lands and statehood. After all, if we are ONLY for our own interests and not for the interests of "The Other," then what are we? And if not now, then when will the "Palestinians" be "liberated"?
Finally, we can see the effects of the intentional distortion of the sayings of Hillel in other arenas as well. As you know, the main Jewish presence on most North American campuses is in the form of the "Hillel House." The choice of the name for these houses no doubt is based upon the veneration for the rulings, sayings, and wisdom of Hillel the Elder and his school of followers. And as you also know, many of these Hillel Houses are today being converted into anti-Israel propaganda centers by Jewish assimilationsist campus leftists. Those are the people who insist that Hillel wants Jews to place the interests of "The Other" at the top of their agendas, certainly well ahead of Jerusalem. Can there be anything more dishonoring of Hillel?