Saturday, February 20, 2010

Manufacturing Basterds

"If you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? why, revenge. The villany you teach me I will execute; and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction. "

This is the threatening Jewish image manufactured by Shakespeare which real, flesh and blood Jews have had to live down for four centuries now. It reveals much more the medieval Christian paranoia and guilt than it reflects any real Jewish ambitions. But the worry is there, in every Jew, lest he or she be caught fantasizing about revenge.

Simply Jews provided the link to this critique of Purim, in which there is a report of the much agonizing that the story of Purim inflicts upon some intellectuals:

"Yet in recent years Purim has come under criticism from some Jewish thinkers in large measure because of the bloodiness of the triumph at its conclusion (the Jews kill 75,000 Persians in a single day). Elliott Horowitz of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University devoted his
Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence to the questionable claim that Purim has long been the occasion for outbreaks of Jewish animosity and even violence toward Christians. Horowitz based this bizarre thesis largely on the fact that Baruch Goldstein’s massacre of 29 Arabs in Hebron in 1994 occurred on Purim. In his review of the book for Commentary (June 2006), Hillel Halkin pointed out that the incidences of Jewish violence against non-Jews through the centuries are extraordinarily few in number and that the connection between them and Purim is more than tenuous."

Considering that the story of Purim, as it has come down to us, has only the one source, and considering the sparsity of cross references from other historical documents, I was wondering why said intellectuals are so much disturbed by its unverifiable details and the satisfaction that many Jews may derive from the fantasy that sometime in the nether past they managed to triumph over their would-be exterminators and turn the tables on them.

So there is that word "fantasy" and the idea of revenge by Jews. What do you know. Isn't it a universally acknowledged taboo for Jews to feel outrage for their millennial-long suffering and near-extinction? Aren't they supposed to have evolved into a nobler species of humanity, a super- humanity which exists nowhere else but should exist in Israel? Jews not only must be held accountable to a much higher standard of behavior, they must also be accountable for some secret longing for revenge as it is told in one of the Bible's several fairy tale narrative of near extermination and eventual redemption.

Now where did I last see those three words, "Jews", "Fantasy" and "revenge" on the same page? Where did I encounter this pathological Jewish anxiety about maintaining scrupulously clean appearances?

Let me give you a hint: the name of the redeeming Jewess in that fairy-tale is "Shoshana".

And she is the saviouress of Jews and assissinator of Hamans in this Megileh.

I have written about the modern Purim spiel here.

And what a spiel* these stare, either the Purim story or Tarantino's fantastic adventure in the la la land of alternative history.

*A spiel is a play, a game, a high-flown talk or speech, aimed at luring and entertaining an audience.

Tactless Questions

Overheard yesterday:

A woman was sharing her impressions about a trip to China with a few other women. It was , it seems, an organized tour for Canadian senior citizens, though apparently a few American couples managed to infiltrate the group and taint that Canadian purity.

The woman rushed to explain with typical Canadian magnanimity: We did not mind. Most of them were quite nice people and we all got on famously. There was one particular wonderful couple we liked very much indeed. Except for one incident. When we were visiting Tianamen Square the husband asked the tour guide about the tanks. Which side of the square did they come from. We were all terribly embarrassed. We didn't know where to look, where to put ourselves. They are like that, those Americans, even the best of them, they just don't know how to behave, and they ask such tactless questions...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On bullies and truth

My favourite Arab blogger put up a typical post in which he finds something poisonous to say about Israel. It's a way of dispelling his daily doldrums, I suppose. Buj is a sort of lotus eater. He lives in that boring place, Dubai, where the most exciting event of the last millennium was the opening of an empty and pretentious skyscraper .

Here is Buj's latest exhibition.

Despite his penchant for Americanisms, which makes him seem a very hip sort of person, in the American conception of the term, Buj does not believe in free flowing discussion. Least of all he likes it when an opinion is presented which contradicts his outlandish premises. So my comments do not make it into the comment box on his blog. I blame it on a mental disorder known by psychologists as Veritasphobia (fear of truth).

I left the following comment on his blog and as he won't publish it, I've copied it to my blog by way of keeping a record:

"To bully: To treat in an overbearing or intimidating manner. To make (one's way) aggressively"


"Tzipi Livni, leader of the main opposition party in Israel, says she will travel to London soon, specifically to get arrested.

Ms Livni describes the move as an attempt to force the UK government to fulfil its promise to take “urgent” action to protect visiting Israeli officials and military leaders from arrest on war crimes warrants obtained by Palestinian groups in British courts."

Buj's loose usage of language rules at work, again. Does he really not understand what 'bully' means, or is he just adding imaginative touches to a venomous post, on the understanding that he his readers will not dare to disagree with him?

Where is the bullying in Livni's plan? Looks like Livni is planning to force the bully to come face to face with his own bullying futility.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dispatch from Afghanistan

Via: Terry Glavin

Two paragraphs stand out:


"Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Rene Descartes, Rosa Parks, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Ali Akbar Dehkhoda, Immanuel Kant, Abraham Lincoln, Voltaire, Baruch Spinoza, Jawaharlal Nehru. These are among the faces you will find in oil-painting portraits on a wall of a classroom in Marefat High School, each carefully and thoughtfully painted by one of the high school's 2,800 students. They are Hazaras, Afghanistan's poorest people, the object of pogroms and persecutions, most brutally during the Taliban time. "


"I will be a chemist. I will be a doctor. I will be a journalist. I will be a businessman. How many Canadian soldiers are in Afghanistan? Does Canada make their soldiers come here, or can the soldiers decide? What do Canadians think about Afghanistan? If the Americans can see into our classrooms from space, why can't they find Osama bin Laden? Do you think Afghanistan will be rich like Canada one day? Does Canada like Afghanistan?

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Anti-Zionist Freak Show

Here (especially in the comments)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Comment Trail

@ Solomonia

@ Solomonia: Heckling Michael Oren

@ The Spine

@ Pajamas Media
: Iran seeks a seat on the UN Human Rights Council

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Comment Trail:

@ Solomonia

@ The Spine
: Back from Rome

@ The Spine
: Satanization of Israel

@ The New Centrist: About the NIF kerfuffle

@ Bob's: ditto

Monday, February 08, 2010

Tainted NGO

Like we didn't know...

Last year we had this scandal involving Human rights Watch. And this one, too.

Now another famous NGO emerges as ethically tainted, with this story:

This morning the Sunday Times published an article about Amnesty International’s association with groups that support the Taliban and promote Islamic Right ideas. In that article, I was quoted as raising concerns about Amnesty’s very high profile associations with Guantanamo-detainee Moazzam Begg. I felt that Amnesty International was risking its reputation by associating itself with Begg, who heads an organization, Cageprisoners, that actively promotes Islamic Right ideas and individuals.

Within a few hours of the article being published, Amnesty had suspended me from my job.

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when a great organisation must ask: if it lies to itself, can it demand the truth of others? For in defending the torture standard, one of the strongest and most embedded in international human rights law, Amnesty International has sanitized the history and politics of the ex-Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg and completely failed to recognize the nature of his organisation Cageprisoners.

I have to wonder what is it that makes these most influential of Human rights NGOs so blinkered in their choice of associations.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Conspiracies you might want to know about:

Some Canadians feel besieged after receiving a letter from an organization called "Friends of the CBC" in which the receiver is made privy to confidential information that the CBC is secretly under attack by the Conservative Government. The reason for the secret attack is that the conservative government has gotten wise to the fact that there are "nests of liberals in the CBC". The letter, apparently, did not include any details as to how exactly the secret attack upon the CBC is being waged. However, the absence of substance did not inconvenience my source from speculating, confidently, that the Conservative government will probably try to starve the CBC to death by cutting its funding and maybe forcing CBC radio to do commercials "which would completely ruin it."

Logical conclusion that flows directly from the above reported information:

The world is becoming less tolerant and the rightists are winning!

As new revelations of the conspiracy to curtail and end freedom of the media in Canada come to light, under the watchful eye of the non existent "Friends of the CBC" organization, they will be posted here.


Googling for verification of this conspiracy yielded only one comment made in 2006 by NDP MP Pat Martin in which he was actually scolding CBC thoughtlessness in spending the public money entrusted to it.

In the 100 year war
between Israelis and Arabs,
sometime a good moment.

H/T: dvar dea

God's excuse...

A howl of desperation from Selma, the blogger from Tehran.

In response to this.

Will it ever end?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Comment Trail:

Lots of fisticuffs on the Spine and some good discussion, notwithstanding, about Roosevelt and why the rail lines to Auschwitz were not bombed during WWII.

I wonder why any discussion about the Holocaust has to develop in this pugnacious manner.

More Spine discussion, here

Monday, February 01, 2010

Noamic Gnomes, Again..

@Bob: Graffittized Noamic gnome

And @ Oliver Kamm: Noam Chomsky's most illustrious student quoting him and opining on al-Jazeera:

“Noam Chomsky was correct when he compared the U.S. policies to those of the Mafia,” Al Jazeera quoted Mr. bin Laden as saying. “They are the true terrorists and therefore we should refrain from dealing in the U.S. dollar and should try to get rid of this currency as early as possible.”

Selective Threats

Via: Islam in Europe

If you watch this very short video clip played in this link, you may hear a very short dialogue, that goes like this:

An adult voice asks the child:

"What do you do with the weapon?"

And continues by way of instructing the child:

"I want to kill the infidels [non-believers]."

And then follows up with:

"You want to kill the Jews?"

The child, finally getting hold of the gun, says excitedly:

"Weapon, weapon.."

In the BBC report that follows, you will find they quote the first part of this very short dialogue:

"What do you do with the weapon?"

He answers his own question: "I want to kill the infidels [non-believers]."

One may well wonder why the editor saw fit to quote only that part of the dialogue. Maybe space constraints?

There was hardly any evidence for such a need when the report quotes this:

Anjum Anwar MBE, who works for the church as a community dialogue development officer, said the film must not be used to implicate the rest of the Muslim world.

Most of the Muslim community do not bring up their children in that way, she said.

Perhaps the BBC editor, ever mindful of Muslim sensibilities, was worried that reproducing the full quote might tarnish the rest of the Muslim world with the suspicion that Islam preaches eliminationist antisemitism. Which would be a real slanderous accusation.