Saturday, March 31, 2012


@TNR: Can Iran be deterred

@PJ Tatler: Is All Criticism of Israel Antisemitic? Put Simply: Yes

I have a rule of thumb for determining whether a criticism is antisemitic or not. If it involves singling out of Israel, slander, stalking, it can be almost certainly assumed to be antisemitic.

Antisemitism is a type of stalking. According to wiki, stalking is a term commonly used to refer to unwanted and obsessive attention by an individual or group to another person (or group). Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person and/or monitoring them.

Antisemitism is a kind of singling out. Behaviours that are allowed, ignored, or dismissed in all groups get a special scrutiny when they are carried by Jews/Israel.

Antisemitism is a kind of slander. It relies on either a manufactured fact, an exaggeration or manipulation of facts to demonize the Jew or the Jewish country with the explicit or implicit intention of delegitimizing its existence.

Let’s take this comment, for example:


“I’ve never understood why Israel, a country which provides more rights for its Arab population than almost any Arab country, is continually singled out for human rights abuses and labeled an “apartheid” state…”

The nutrition and education of Africans in 1800′s America was better than almost anywhere in the world.

I don’t know why those anti-Americans keep saying that slavery was bad.
*rolls eyes* ”

It makes an analogy between the situation of the Arab minority in Israel and slavery in the USA.

As Oliver Kamm once said, “Historical analogies are never exact but sometimes useful. If they are to be useful, then the precedent needs at a minimum to be stated accurately”.

Now, is the precedent of slavery in the USA stated accurately when Israel’s Arab minority is compared to it? Were the Arabs forcibly kidnapped and brought to Israel? Are they traded by Israeli Jews and used for slave work in Israel’s fields and industry? Are the Arabs in Israel deprived of their right for education?

If the answer is No, then we can safely assume this analogy is simply a slander. It is also a stalking since it comes from the need to pay special attention to Israel. It is also a singling out. I doubt evilpiratemunkey
pays any sort of attention to the very real slavery that takes place in Arab countries, or to very real discrimination institutionalized in law and practice, in the same Arab countries, or the very real racism and discrimination that takes place in Europe vis a vis the Roma, or the Kurds in Turkey, etc etc.. All these evils, much much much worse than anything one is ever likely to be seen as committed by Israel , are simply ignored or dismissed or whatever.

Hence the conclusion is also simple: evilmunkey is an antisemite. He actually thinks that his antisemitic analogies can pass for “legitimate” criticism of Israel. They cannot.


A good response to the theory set forth in the PJ Tatler is provided by this commenter:

"We are not talking about Israeli Jewish dissent from government policies. We’re talking a well-organized global assault on the existence of the Jewish State. This takes many forms but its mostly of an ideological character and is intended to delegitimize and discredit the Jewish State and the exact source or nature of the criticism in question is not really relevant for Jews anymore. Here is why.

Its not Israel’s responsibility to prove its a decent country. Kerstein is talking about shifting the burden of proof to Israel’s critics. They have to show they don’t hate the Jews and Israel. Until they do – Jews should presume all criticism of Israel to be part and parcel of an intensive anti-Semitic global campaign to make possible the expulsion or annihilation of the Jewish people a reality in the future.

And that is a very high bar to surmount. In short, the circumstances of our historical age requires us to have zero tolerance for anti-Semitic incitement. This may depress well-meaning friends of Israel. But anti-Semites and Israel haters have rendered ALL non-anti-Semitic criticism of Israel from outsiders impossible.

Whether or not we want to acknowledge it, it is the unvarnished truth."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Enigma of Arab Solidarity

Through the unrelenting efforts of the American academic insider in the Arab Street, Prof. Asad Abukhalil, I get to hear that "tens of thousands of people held a mass rally in Rabat" Morocco.

What were they protesting on the last week of March 2012? Perhaps the continued mass-massacring of Syrian Muslims by Syria's regime?

Not bloody likely.

We were holding talks at the parliament building in Rabat while thousands outside were protesting the presence of an Israeli representative," Saranga told Ynet." And ... "from the second-floor windows I saw swastikas and people burning Israeli flags," he said. "

What was Saranga doing in Morocco? Was he on Mossad business?

"It’s a shame that instead of receiving positive feedback, our projects, which promote peace and understanding, draw anti-dialogue demonstrations."

Shame? Apparently it is only a shame in the eyes of those who actually are interested in promoting peace and understanding and those will not be found in the Arab street. From the perspective of our representative in the Arab street, this is a good reason to rejoice: "
Ha ha ha: an Israeli chased out of Morocco" .

Who is this representative of the spirit of the Arab Street?

He is none other than Professor AbuKhalil who teaches political science at California State University, Stanislaus and visiting professor at UC, Berkeley. He is a citizen of the US and one of the first principles he is entrusted by the university and American educational authorities to teach his students is the meaning and practice of critical thinking, justice, peace, democracy, law and order.o Israelis find all this detestation for them in the Arab world overwhelming?"

Not at all. With the professor as an an exemplar of the thinking and irresistible impulses that manifest themselves in t

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A great sermon by reform Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch:

Peter Beinart's Offense against Liberalism

Satan then said:
How do I overcome
This besieged one?
He has courage
And talent,
And implements of war
And resourcefulness.
Only this I shall do,
I'll dull his mind
And cause him to forget
The justice of his cause

Then Satan Said, By Natan Alterman

About the disgrace of bigotry and hypocrisy, and a reflection on true being

Comments Trail:

@Harry's Place:
Disgraceful and disgusting

I left two comments, the first one of which did not make it through moderation (or whatever filter is used to monitor the comments). My first comment was in response to comments made by the poster Shmoo-el

( The following is an edited version of the comment I had originally submitted, as I had additional thoughts about it since it did not appear on Harry's Place's comments thread):

"Shmoeel 1: .... My first thought was “You know you are an Arab, you just happen to be Jewish” because this was a very dark skinned kid, obviously Mizrachi. In fact, most of their fans were dark-skinned Mizrachi Jews. No that this is always the case, but they tend to be more macho, less educated, poorer. At least in Israel. In any other Middle Eastern country you’d look at them think they were a bunch of Arabs. ....

shmooel 2: .... These are Arab-looking Jews from Arab lands, where they were persecuted by the majority population. Now in Israel they are poorer then the white Jews around. They take out their frustrations on the Arabs. Shit rolls downhill...."

[Correction by CC: these are second and third generation Israelis born to parents who fled from Arab lands, languished for years in refugee camps (ma'abarot) in Israel before being settled in hoods and frontier towns, like Sderot. Some historical awareness and accuracy wouldn't hurt Shmoo who probably conceives of himself as a "white" Jew. What's a "white" Jew, BTW?]

These statements triggered a memory of a chain of similar Mizrahi-loathing sentiments made by much more important persons than the said Shmoo-el:

"During a Labor Party conference in Tel Aviv's Malchei Yisrael Square in 1981, the Israeli entertainer Dudu Topaz said, "It's a pleasure to see the crowd here, and it's a pleasure to see that there are no chahchahim [a derogatory word alluding to Israeli Jews of Middle Eastern background] who ruin election gatherings. The Likud's chachchahim are at Metzudat Ze'ev [Likud Party headquarters]." (Wiki)

Peter Beinart: "Most settlers aren’t bad people; many poor Sephardic, Russian and ultra-Orthodox Jews ..."

Golda Meir, welcoming in 1970 to a group of Soviet newcomers:

"You are the real Jews," she told them. "You speak Yiddish ? Every loyal Jew must speak Yiddish, for he who does not speak Yiddish is not a Jew." (Source)

"Gal Ochovsky, on his television show, conducted a terrible racist interview with Ronen Shoval from “Im Tirtzu”.** “You are such an Ashkenazi , he told him “with blue eyes”. And that really is wrong that this young man with his Aryan looks should behave like the barbarians and the Feiglins. In the mind of the enlightened Ochovsky in order to be a dangerous racist you need to be dark skinned, dark-eyed. Though, in fact, Feiglin has blue eyes, too. This won’t do any good. Ochovsky has solid opinions about blond blue-eyed people. For him they are über alles and that was just for starters. There was no interview there, only an unleashed fulmination, cringing support for and self-ingratiating to Bakri, the great actor, and analogizing “Im Tirtzu” to McCarthyism and the benighted thirties. So said the man who loves the Aryan look." (Here)

Hannah Arendt, in a letter to Karl Jaspers, "described the Israeli crowds as an “Oriental mob, as if one were in Istanbul or some other half-Asiatic country.”[4] The Israeli police force, she states, “gives me the creeps, speaks only Hebrew and looks Arabic.”[5]

Bialik, Israel's "national" poet, is notoriously rumoured to have said that he hated the Sephardim because they reminded him of the Arabs. Whether he expressed himself as explicitly as implied in this statement is not something I'm willing swear an oath on, but clearly he had serious problems wirh Sephardic Jews.

I'm not sure exactly what this random collection of quotes says about their authors, or their subjects. But I do know there is an unpleasant smell of bigotry, xenophobia, and possibly racism, wafting about them. Apparently, dark skin and Arab-looks are fine to talk about disparagingly, and freely, in certain circumstances.

And what about the use of "Arab" as a derogatory analogy?

To quote another Arendt's famous quote:

"What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices ... except this one... only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core."


Second comment:

I googled for information of the event in Hebrew and found this the only source (so far) that was not relying on Haaretz’s report for its information. The following is the final paragraph in the report. It suggests there might be another version of the events:

“אגב, בדרך כלל כשהאירועים הללו מתרחשים מייחסים אותם ישר לאירגון האוהדים ה”לה פמיליה”. שיחות עם האנשים הבכירים באירגון הביאו למצב כי הם כלל לא ידעו על המקרה ולא מדובר באנשים של האירגון. אחרי שנעשו טלפונים מתברר כי לאוהדים יש גירסה שונה לחלוטין. אחד האוהדים, טל מזרחי סיפר: “לא היו 300 אוהדים וגם לא 100, היו כמה עשרות בכל הסיפור ואחרי זה כל הקניון בא לראות מה קורה אז זה היה נראה הרבה. אף אחד לא בא כדי לריב, היתה שמחה של האוהדים, נכון שהיו קריאות גזעניות ושירים על מוחמד אבל הדברים התלקחו רק אחרי שהפועל הערבי היכה את אחד האוהדים שהתגרה בו עם המטאטא וקראו לכולם לרוץ לשם. תכתבו על המכות שהיס”מ ומג”ב הביאו לאוהד באותו אירוע ואז תבינו למה השתיקו את העניין, פוצצו שם אוהדים בלי הכרה ואלה שנזרקו על החנויות זה אוהדים שלנו על ידי המשטרה ולא הערבים. עם הערבים זה היה בדיוק כמה דקות אבל היס”מ והאבטחה עשו את כל הבלאגן אחרי זה”.

מבית”ר ירושלים הגיבו לאירוע: “אנו מגנים כל מקרה אלימות ונותנים לגורמים המוסמכים לטפל במקרים שכאלה”.

Hasty translation by CC:

By the way, when such events occur, they are directly attributed to the fan “La Familia” organization”. However, conversations with senior people in the organization seem to suggest that they did not know about the case, and that these people[the rioters] were not affiliated with the organization. After a few phone calls it became apparent that the fans have an entirely different version. One of the fans, Tal Mizrahi, said: “There were not 300 fans, and not even 100. Throughout the altercation, there were no more than a few tens of fans, but afterwards the entire Mall came up to see what was happening so it looked like a lot more. No one came to pick a fight. The fans were overjoyed after the game. True, there were racist calls and songs about Muhammad but things flared up after only an Arab worker hit one of the fans who taunted him with a broom, and everyone ran there. Write about how the police and Mall security [acronyms Yasam and Magav which I can’t make out] beat up on the fan and you will understand why they silenced the matter. It’s the fans who were beaten up senseless by the police. They were the ones who were flung upon the store by the police and not the Arabs. With the Arabs it lasted just a few minutes and then the Riot police and Mall security personnel did all the mess afterwards. ”

Beitar Jerusalem responded to the incident: “We condemn any violent incident and expect the authorities to handle such cases.”

Having watched the youtube posted by Abunimah I also wondered about where the “hundreds of rioters” characterization came from.



I have no doubts that expressions of racism and bigotry are present in Israeli society. The quotes I provided above are proof that such negative sentiments are possible, even within Jewish Israeli society, with no history of any violence or hostility emanating from the segment targeted for the bigotry towards those its holders.

I also think that that ALL expressions (and more importantly, sentiments) of racism must be fought and eradicated. My problem is in the tendency to inflate any such event in Israel to monstrous dimensions that demonize Jews who exhibit such negativity, while similar and much much worse occurrences in other countries are regarded as no worse than business as usual, as infantile impulses only to be expected from certain ignorant, undereducated, poor, disenfranchised, classes in society. It is only when these negative events happen in Israel that they assume a magnified, special kind and quality of importance.

To conclude I would like to point out to the folly of any such sentiment as indication of genuine ethnicity and authenticity, by quoting
Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzek about true being:

"If I am because I am I,
and you are because you are you,
then I am I and you are you.

On the other hand,

if I am I because you are you,
and you are you because I am I,
then I am not I
and you are not you"

This piece of wisdom is also an ironic comment on whatever it is that motivated Shmoo-el's bizarre comments about the skin-colour and ethnicity of the Beitar rioters involved in this incident. I am, however, sceptical as to his ability to grasp the meaning of it as it applies to his own being.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

To Tehran, With love

There is not a day passes when I don't think of my cyberfriend Selma, the former, brilliant multi-talented blogger who wrote with love from Tehran. Last I heard, she had to make a choice that no human being should be forced to make these days: her future or her independent voice. She chose her future and since then her voice went silent.

There are warring calls floating about, and existential fears. I fear for my country, Israel, the target of Iran's religiously mad regime with their genocidal threats and determination. I fear for my family and friends in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa. I fear for my friend and her family and friends in Tehran.

At no time does the power of friendship seem of so little consequence in this brutal and irrational world of ours.

Selma once told us that she is a great fan of Leonard Cohen. One of her favourite is this song.

This Saturday morning I want to think of Selma and to wish her all that is good and abiding.

Friendship is round and smooth, with no ends, no sharp angles. It is also fragile. When confronted with politics, it seems small and insignificant, irrelevant. Politics forces us to make choices that in a genuinely humanistic world concerned with human rights, we should no longer be making.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Angry Arab:

"Fabrications" of MEMRI

I have gone somewhat lax on the professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus and visiting professor at UC, Berkeley. This is from the mind of a man entrusted by the American education authorities to teach young Americans about the values of truth, analysis and proper knowledge.

Here is a recent gem from his arsenal of delusions:

"So MEMRI has a childish PR ploy: they wait for any opponent of Israel, preferably in Hizbullah or Hamas, to be extending his hand high, and they put out a special bulletin to say that they are Nazi-like. Here, for MEMRI: Israeli prime minister performing the Nazi salute. Would you feature that? "

There is plenty more where these "PR" photos came from. Just google Hezbollah and Salute.