Sunday, April 20, 2014

Time to Take Back the Temple Mount

Michael L.

mount1In the Jerusalem Post we read:
Two Border Police officers were lightly injured in clashes with Arab youths at the Temple Mount on Sunday morning.

The rioters threw fireworks and rocks at security forces upon the opening of the mount to Jewish worshipers. Police responded with riot dispersal measures.

Police arrested 24 people for disturbing the peace.

The Temple Mount was again closed to visitors following the disturbance.

Prior to the closing of the facilities Moshe Feiglin and hundreds of Jewish tourists visited the mount.

The disturbances followed similar violence on Wednesday at the holy site.
Enough is enough.

Handing the Temple Mount over to the Islamic Waqf was a monumental mistake by Moshe Dayan in dire need of correction.  The Muslim custodians have actively sought to erase any trace of Jewish history within Judaism's holiest site, they destroy priceless historical and archaeological artifacts, and they get violent at the sight of a Jew so much as moving her lips in silent prayer.

And this is within the Jewish State of Israel.

This is simply unacceptable and Israel needs to declare sovereignty over the Mount and release the Waqf from any administrative authority.  The Temple Mount should be open to anyone and everyone who wishes to ascend it for the purpose of prayer.

Period.  End of story.

The Jews of Israel should not be afraid of Arab-Muslim rock-throwers.

On the contrary, Arab-Muslim rock-throwers need to learn some fear of the Jews.

Elder of Ziyon Weekly Column

lumish1The Elder was kind enough to publish my second weekly column for EOZ entitled, The Death of the Left.   This is the type of material that readers of Israel Thrives will be familiar with:
My problem with the progressive-left is not that I am either a conservative or a Republican who opposes western-liberal values, but that the western-left has betrayed its own values, as Phyllis Chesler would certainly understand.

The western Left, as a political movement, claims to believe in universal human rights. It believes that people the world over, in every society, deserve to be treated in a decent and respectful manner consistent with contemporary western ideals of human justice as derived from the political Enlightenment prior to the American and French Revolutions. Progressives also claim to believe in the ideal of multiculturalism. As alleged anti-racists they refuse to condemn social practices or ideologies of "indigenous" peoples - by which they mean anyone who is neither white, nor Jewish - because to do so represents a white imperialist racist imposition onto the natural autonomy of other peoples.
The betrayal of universal human rights by the western-left is nothing less than a betrayal of its own reason to be as a political movement.  The abandonment of women, Gays, Jews, and Christians to the violence and suppression of political Islam is perhaps the greatest unspoken political betrayal of the current century.

Anyway, read the rest.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Skunked on Passover

Michael L.

skunkI cannot believe this.

We are conducting our Passover seder tomorrow evening and I have a bunch of people coming over.

However, this morning, as Laurie was walking our sweet, new poooch Gorgie-Porgie, he got sprayed by a skunk and now the entire house reeks of it.

I may literally have to cancel because I cannot have dozens of people coming into a house for Passover that reeks of skunk!

I am simply flabbergasted and last year there was also a problem on Passover that saw me admitted into an emergency room.

I am guessing that Hashem does not want me conducting Passover seders!

I am horrified, disgusted, and dismayed and this house reeks!

Oh, for G-d's Sake, really???

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Michael L.

religion1Here is one way of thinking about the differences between the big three religions of the Levant.

As "Universalist Religions" and / or as "Political Religions."

I am admittedly painting with broad brushes here, but it is probably fair to say in this point in human history that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam take significantly different positions on the universalism of the different faiths and the political imperatives of the different faiths.

Christianity, for example, is a universalist religion in the sense that it believes itself to hold a spiritual message for all of mankind.  Ultimately, the purpose of Christianity, as it acts in the world, is to bring the faith in Jesus to all humanity.  So, there is no question but that Christianity is a universalist religion, because it is a religion that endeavors to speak to all people.

What Christianity is not, for the most part, since the Enlightenment, is a political ideology.  Following the trends of the Renaissance and the Reformation and the Enlightenment, Christianity throughout the west has generally embraced the separation of church and state.

Judaism is also not a politically-inclined religion.  Jews are notoriously political, as a people, in part because we come out of a tradition wherein debating with G-d, Himself, is part and parcel of the faith, but the great majority of Jews are not the least bit inclined to see Torah Law as the basis for the Israeli legal system or any other national legal system.

Nor is Judaism a universalist religion.  There is no notion within Judaism that all peoples throughout the world should adopt the Jewish religion for the purpose of "saving" their souls.  Christianity is universalist.  Islam is also universalist.

Judaism is not.

Islam, however, is both universalist and political.  Along with Christianity, Islamic doctrine suggests that the only possible spiritual salvation is via the one true faith.  Islam is 1.5 billion people, so it is remarkably diverse, but as a religious-political ideology it is also generally absolutist, if not fascistic.

It looks like this:

Christianity:  universalist, but generally non-political

Judaism: non-universalist, generally non-political

Islam:  universalist and political

And that is the problem.

The reason that we have a never-ending conflict between the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East and the large Arab majority is because, for religious reasons, even a small Jewish State on any land that was once controlled by imperial Islam must stay within Dar al-Islam.  The hatred and the violence and the never-ending vitriol is not because Jews are mean to Arabs, but because the majoritarian Arab culture is deeply racist toward Jews.

This is what is most infuriating about the insipid and condescending progressive-left glance at the Arab-Israel conflict.  They honestly think that 6 million Jews on the Mediterranean coast are mean to 400 million Arabs.  They fail to recognize that the Palestinian-Arabs are used as a club by the surrounding governments and peoples in order to strike at Jewish sovereignty on historically Jewish land.

Despite living under 1,300 years of Jim Crow dhimmitude, followed by a century of ongoing warfare against us, western "liberals" blame the harassed Jewish minority for the racially and religiously-based Muslim majority hatred toward us in that part of the world.

The western-left has betrayed the Jewish people and we need to wrap our brains around this notion, because it happens to be the truth.

We do not need to run to the Right - I have not - but we need to understand where we stand with the Left.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What is a Nazi, anyways?

Michael L.

fancy swastika1That word, more than any other word that I can think of, is just laden with various miserable connotations and implications and political and psychological resonances.  The word is semiotically rich.  For reasons that could not be more obvious, it resonates deeply with almost everyone.

But, when we talk about Nazis, just who are we talking about?

Among academic historians the meaning of the term is limited to people who were members of the National Socialist German Workers Party between 1920 and 1945.  No one can be a "Nazi," i.e., a member of the Nazi Party, who was not a member of the party while it existed.

Nonetheless, words are slippery.  Would one hesitate to call a neo-Nazi with a bald head and a swastika tattooed onto the back of the neck a "Nazi"?  I would not hesitate for a moment.  And presumably neither would she.

Or, let's take the hypothetical case of a businessman in the United States who believes in a biological hierarchy of races, but who keeps that belief mainly to himself because he possesses something resembling normal intelligence.  And let's say that he considers black people and brown people and Jewish people and all non-white people to be basically inferior.  And let's say, in his imagination, he would very much like to see white people organize themselves politically around "whiteness."

Would it be fair to call such a person a "Nazi"?

He is not a member of the Nazi party, because the party is long gone.  As soon as Eva - who as it turns out may very well have been Jewish - gobbled down that cyanide in the F├╝hrerbunker, the party was over.  Yet I think that any reasonable person would agree that the attribution "Nazi" is appropriate for such a person.

Now, let's take things from a specifically Jewish perception for a moment.  Prior to the Holocaust what the Nazis did was demonize and defame the tiny Jewish minority in Germany.  We represented about 1 percent of that entire population.  And, just as in the Middle East today, the hostile majority population yammered at one another that Jews have too much power and that we have nefarious plans to take over the universe and that we are secretly and maliciously subverting the health and well-being of perfectly innocent children, nuns, and bunny-rabbits.

What I would suggest is that when anti-Semitic anti-Zionists and Israel Haters in places like Daily Kos or the UK Guardian or the Huffington Post or the New York Times or the European Union malign the tiny Jewish community in the Middle East then they are acting as "Nazis."  They are behaving essentially as the National Socialists behaved prior to the slaughter.  And just as the original Nazis honestly believed that what they were doing was right and good and just, so do the anti-Zionists, BDSers, and malicious Europeans.

And this is what slays me.

It is as an alleged matter of "social justice" that the western left kicks the Jewish people in the teeth.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Return of Old-Timey Jew Hatred

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at Jews Down Under.}

klan1The news, on this first day of Passover within the American Jewish community, is of the shooting-up of a number of Jewish facilities near Kansas City, Kansas.

CBS reports:
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- An elderly man opened fire Sunday at two Jewish facilities in suburban Kansas City, killing a doctor and his teenage grandson and an elderly woman before he was taken into custody, authorities and witnesses said.

The suspect was shouting anti-Semitic slogans as he was arrested, CBS affiliate KCTV reported.

"I've been told he was yelling 'Heil Hitler' as he was being taken away in cuffs," Rabbi Herbert Mandl, who serves as a chaplain for the Overland Park Police Department, told CNN.
Three people were killed including a local physician and his teenage grandchild.
Grandfather and grandson attended the United Methodist Church in nearby Leawood. The church's senior pastor, the Rev. Adam Hamilton, broke the news to church members at a Palm Sunday evening service, The Kansas City Star reported.

Although Corporan and his grandson apparently were not Jewish, the shooter could be charged with a hate crime if he targeted him because he thought they were.
There is a certain hideous irony, I suppose, in the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center describes the killer, Frazier Glen Miller, 73, as a "raging anti-Semite" and a former "Grand Dragon" of the Ku Klux Klan... yet he ends up killing Methodists.

My experience tells me that the truly troubling anti-Semitism in the west today comes out of the Left far more so than it does from the Right, but that does not mean that the political right-wing is free from anti-Jewish bigotry.  The difference is that on the Right anti-Semitism is marginalized, while on the Left it is being maintreamed, hysterically enough, under the banners of "social justice" and "human rights."

Things have changed very much since the bad old days of mid-late twentieth-century American race hatred.  In the 1960s and much of the 1970s it was the political right-wing which could be counted on to carry the proud banner of bigotry and racism, which is part of the reason that so many American Jews identify with the progressive-left and the Democratic Party.  It is precisely because the Left took the lead in the struggle for civil rights after World War II that it earned a large majority allegiance within the Jewish community and rightly so, at the time.

Since then, however - sadly enough - the great majority of anti-Jewish sentiment comes from the Left in the west, not from the Right.  The grand hypocrisy, today, is that the political Left expresses its dislike of the Jewish people as a matter of "anti-racism."  Because the Arabs of the Middle East tell the world that the Jewish minority is mean to them, sympathetic progressive westerners have taken up their violent and genocidal anti-Israel / anti-Jewish cause as a matter of human rights.

How's that for a kick in the head?

And, yet, leftists are shocked and dismayed when their fellow Jewish leftists complain about little things like Nazi Swastikas entwined in Shields of David during anti-war protests in Civic Center, San Francisco.  Or the fact that high profile western leftists joined with actually Jihadis, who they describe as "peace activists," in an attempt to confront Jews off the coast of Israel aboard the Mavi Marmara.

Traditional right-wing racism in the United States is not dead, but it is dying.  As far as traditional right-wing Jewish animus goes, William F. Buckley, Jr., founder of the National Review, did as much as anyone on the political Right to combat that racism.  Writing in the New York Times, Sam Tanenhaus, the editor of The Times Book Review and Week in Review, tells us this:
In the 1950s, when American conservatism still bore the taint of anti-Semitism, Bill Buckley moved forcefully to erase it. One important step was banning anti-Semitic writers from National Review, the magazine he founded in 1955. Many of his allies included Jews — from Marvin Liebman, the publicist who helped organize conservative rallies and events, through his great friend Richard M. Clurman (of Time magazine) and also, as you point out, neoconservatives like Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz. Buckley was also a champion of Henry Kissinger, who remained one of his dearest friends.
I am not a huge fan of Kissinger, but that is not the point.   I am not even a fan of the political right-wing, on the great majority of issues, but that is not the point, either.  The point is that despite the old maniac in Kansas, the Jewish people in the United States, and perhaps the west, more generally, need to acknowledge that which they have been loathe to acknowledge.

We need to acknowledge the fact that the progressive-left, and significant segments of the Democratic Party, have betrayed their Jewish constituency through the acceptance of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism, and the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction (BDS) the Jewish State of Israel.

Until this betrayal is acknowledged, western Jewish leftists will continue to support, implicitly if not explicitly, a political movement that is perfectly comfortable in the defamation of Jews via anti-Zionism within progressive-left venues.

Until this unfortunate little fact sinks in to the minds of Jewish Democrats we cannot stem the tide of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism within the western-left.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Announcing My Sunday Column for the Elder of Ziyon

Michael L.

elder1 The Elder and I, happily enough, have agreed to an arrangement wherein I will write a regular and exclusive Sunday column for the popular and influential Elder of Ziyon blog and he certainly has my thanks.

The first piece is entitled, Presbyterian Aggression, and is concerned with "Zionism Unsettled," a booklet written and published by the Presbyterian Church (USA), which blames the failure of Arab-Jewish relations in the Middle East on the Jews.

Here is a tid-bit:
As people who follow the ongoing Arab aggression against the Jews in the Middle East know, the Presbyterian Church (USA) recently published a booklet entitled "Zionism Unsettled" in which the American branch of that denomination condemns Israel and Zionism for the deterioration of relations between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East.

As the JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa) author of the piece writes:
"But instead of recognizing the reality of rampant, deep-seated anti-Semitism in the Middle East & North Africa, "Zionism Unsettled" places blame on the State of Israel and presents a revisionist history of the Mizrahi refugee experience. Among many unfounded claims, the blooklet states that Mizrahis "share a history of largely harmonious integration and acculturation in their host countries. Sadly, this model of coexistence was destabilized by the regional penetration of Zionism beginning in the late 19th century." 
It staggers the imagination to realize the degree of hatred, ignorance and moral stupidity required of the Presbyterian Church for them to publish such toxic rubbish under their official seal. Whatever their reasonings or excuses or justifications or apologetics, this little "booklet" is nothing less than a true kick in the head to the Jewish people.
Read the rest at the Elder of Ziyon and drop in there regularly because it is the foremost site devoted specifically to the Arab-Israel conflict from a pro-Israel perspective.

Also, needless to say, please drop in on Sundays.

I may have a word or two.