Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ambiguity

Michael L.

1967People despise ambiguity.

It is far more comforting when we know what we know that we think that we know.

Hen Kotes-Bar has a piece at Y-Net entitled, Iconic Six-Day War photo recreated at Western Wall.

Like most people who care about the well-being of Israel, I love this photograph.  It is, of course, the iconic photo from the 6 Day War when these paratroopers participated in the liberation of Jerusalem.

It is a terrific shot despite photographer David Rubinger's professional misgivings.

Hen Kotes-Bar writes:
47 years after three soldiers were photographed gazing in amazement upon the Western Wall, they returned to recall the unforgettable moment.

The three soldiers were Dr. Yitzhak Yifat, Zion Karasanti, and Haim Oshri, all members of the same paratrooper battalion that took part in the battle for Jerusalem's Old City. The moment they glimpsed the wall for the first time was captured by photographer David Rubinger.

The historic photo, showing the first Israelis to reach the sacred wall since it fell into Jordanian hands in 1948, has become a symbol of the Six-Day War.

Today, Yifat and Karasanti are 70, Oshri a year younger. Rubinger turned 90 this past summer. But despite his age, he lay on the ground just as he did nearly half a century ago to recreate the exact angle. Unlike then, someone quickly sounded a shofar. People gathered around, including some who were born decades after the battle for the city, and thanked the former soldiers.
And here are these same gentleman today in the exact same spot photographed by the same photographer at a similar angle.

2014I have to wonder what it must have been like to live out one's adulthood as an iconic figure?  The photo above is deeply romantic.  These are young men in their prime who just liberated Jerusalem.

I have no doubt that their mothers were impossible to live with among their friends after the publication of this shot.

The gentlemen on the right, however, are actual human beings.  These are not icons.  These are not superheroes.  These are human beings who, despite that drawback, have every right to be damn proud.

When the original photo was taken in June of 1967, I was barely born.  When my parents saw it in the newspaper, presumably the New York Times, it would have meant less than nothing to me.

Yet, like every Jewish kid from my generation, I grew up with that picture.  It was not in our faces all of the time - not by any means - but every time it showed up we knew exactly what it meant.  It meant the liberation of the Jewish people.  It meant freedom from dhimmitude or subservience to others.

There was nothing the least bit ambiguous about it.  It was, and is, pristine in a certain kind of way.  It represents both innocence and liberation and what could be more beautiful than that?

But this new photo of Dr. Yitzhak Yifat, Zion Karasanti, and Haim Oshri is human and is thus almost jarring in its juxtaposition to the original.  The reason for this is because the latter picture diminishes the former by undermining its beauty, youthfulness, and romanticism.  It is as if honesty and age and the truth of the moment somehow take something away from the iconic photo.

This is the way it feels to me, at least, for what little that may be worth.

But there is no question that the original photo is going to resonate with me until the day I die.

In a certain sense, however, nothing has changed.

The Jewish people are still fighting for our freedom.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Europeans are not to be trusted... obviously

Michael L.

Times of Israel staff writes:
The Palestinian Islamic group Hamas must be removed from the EU’s terrorism blacklist, but its assets will stay frozen, a European court ruled on Wednesday.

The move, described by the European Union as a technicality, quickly drew Israeli condemnation and praise from the Gaza-based organization.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the EU to return the group to the terror list, saying Israel was “not satisfied with EU’s explanations that taking Hamas off the terror list is a ‘technical matter.'”

“The burden of proof falls on the EU, and we expect it to permanently return Hamas to the list, so everyone will understand that it is an inseparable part of it — Hamas is a murderous terror organization that emphasizes in its charter that its goal is to destroy Israel,” he said in a statement.
Netanyahu is full of mierda. 

The problem is not just that the Hamas charter, and the hearts of hundreds of millions of Arabs, want to see Israel gone, but that it calls quite specifically for the genocide of the Jewish people.  Calling for the genocide of the Jews is apparently not quite enough for the Europeans to consider Hamas a terrorist organization.

Perhaps if they called for the genocide of the Jews twice, that might be sufficient.

Or it could be that if Hamas called for the genocide of the Jews and they really, really meant it that might be sufficient to convince the Europeans that Hamas really, really is a terrorist organization.

What the Powers That Be across the globe are telling us is this:
They do not care.
We need to absorb this truth, integrate it, and understand it.

They honestly do not care if we live or die.  If you believe that the American government, or the Australian government, or the Canadian government, or any of the European governments, give a damn about the well-being of the Jewish people, you should very definitely think again.

The Jews can only count on themselves... and even that is not true most of the time.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Standing Up to the Left: An Argument with Jon Haber

Michael L.

{Originally published at the Elder of Ziyon.}

Divest This Logo New 300x80As many of you know, Jon Haber of divestthis! and I are having an ongoing discussion around the relationship between the Jewish people, the State of Israel, and the western-left.

The heart of my argument is that the progressive-left, and the grassroots / netroots of the Democratic Party, has forsaken its Jewish constituency through accepting and encouraging anti-Semitic anti-Zionism as part of its larger constituency.

I fail to understand why this should be acceptable to any self-respecting Jewish person, most particularly any self-respecting Jewish liberal... which I proudly count myself as one.

Jon argues that just as the mid-twentieth-century Marxist-Leninist "Hard-Left" sought to impose itself on the broader American Left through ideological bullying - and the more blunt kind - so today's BDSers insist that opposition to Israel - which is, in effect, opposition to the well-being of the Jewish people - is a prerequisite for admittance into the progressive-left knitting circle.  In this way we both agree that the Left represents the political ground upon which the fight against anti-Semitic anti-Zionists takes place in the west today.

Jon writes:
So if this is the nature of the battle being fought, are we doing ourselves a disservice for condemning a Left that might include the inheritors of an anti-Communist tradition (my emphasis) that is trying to find a way to apply lessons learned in the 20th century fight against Marxism to our current conflict...
My response to Jon's question is this:
Should we not acknowledge the obvious due to fear of offending allies who are already behaving less and less like allies?  The implication of Jon's question if answered in the affirmative - that, yes, we do ourselves a disservice by condemning the Left - is that we must be careful not to offend. 
In Jon's most recent criticisms at Divestthis!, What’s Left? – Arguing with Mike, he takes two issues with my recent argument.  The first is with my usage of Barack Obama's 2011 United Nations speech to illustrate the President's overall hostility - whether conscious or not - to Jewish nationalism through his embrace of political Islam and thus, by logical necessity, of Islamic anti-Zionism.  In that speech Obama compared anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic Islamists - raping and rampaging their way through the "Arab Spring" - to the Sons of Liberty and to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and the 1960s.

I understand that this was not the President's intention, merely the case.

Jon agreed that Barack Obama's comparisons were foolish, but argues:
this was just one of many daft things said during the heyday of Arab Spring fantasies.  And while I admit that the invocation of a sacred civil rights icon to describe what was happening in the Middle East seemed inappropriate even then, I’m hesitant to use such a statement as the basis of a critique of even the Obama administration, much less “The Left” that the Obama administration is supposed to be representing in Mike’s argument.

For there are all kinds of indictments one can bring to the current President’s foreign policy...
Indeed, there are any number of indictments a person can bring, but for the moment, I am only bringing this one.

My central indictment of the western Left in the United States is that it supported an American president who not only claimed a profound respect for the "Arab Spring" but went about providing US tax dollars and heavy weaponry, such F-16 fighter jets and Abrams tanks, to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

To do what with, I wonder?  Defend against Libya?

For those of you who may not know, the Brotherhood has been around in Cairo since the 1920s and is the parent organization of both Qaeda and Hamas.  The Brotherhood sided with the Hitler during World War II and helped Nazi refugees, including the murderous Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, to escape Europe after the war.   Al-Husseini promised Hitler that once the Nazis crossed into Palestine he would implement The Final Solution to the Jewish Question on Jewish soil.

Furthermore, during the 2012 election campaign of Mohamed Morsi, the Brotherhood held a rally in Tahrir Square, with Morsi in attendance, in which tens of thousands of people, if not more, screamed for the bloody conquest of Jerusalem.



And, yet, still Barack Obama stood behind the Brotherhood.

And, yet, still American Jewry stood behind Barack Obama.

So, yes, there are any number of indictments or complaints or grievances that someone can level against Obama's foreign policy, but the one that primarily interests me, at this moment, is the fact that he literally supported political Islam and we let him get away with it.  Remember, I write this as someone who was a life-long Democrat - if that concept makes any sense - and who voted for Obama on the first go-round.

Jon's second point is this:
The other point Mike made that I take issue with is the notion that we must decide between criticizing the Left for the fact that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism dwells within its ranks (which it obviously does) or staying mum out of fear of offending potential allies within that end of the spectrum.
Jon argued that perhaps we do "ourselves a disservice for condemning a Left that might include the inheritors of an anti-Communist tradition..."

All I am saying is that we should not be afraid to criticize.

I do not "condemn" the Left.  Hell, I come out of the Left and my positions, if you go down the list, are still largely on the Left.  What I have for the Left is not condemnation, but criticism which they mainly refuse to address or consider.  The progressive-left and the Democratic Party in the United States are indifferent to the interests of its Jewish constituency.  The reason this is so is precisely because we fail to strongly criticize them when we should.  One obvious example was voting Barack Obama a second time even after he stood with the Muslim Brotherhood.

We can no longer afford to allow the Democratic Party to take American Jewry for granted.

Every generation of American Jews has given the Democratic Party its wholehearted support since FDR and FDR was not even a friend to the Jewish people.  Vice President Henry Wallace noted in his diary that FDR thought that Jews needed to be scattered around the globe so that we might be assimilated into the larger world demographic and thereby made to go away, i.e., "to spread the Jews thin all over the world."

When the Democratic delegates to the 2012 National Convention cannot even bring themselves to affirm a voice-vote recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, you know that it is at least time to stop kissing Democratic feet.

80% of Palestinian-Arabs Favor Violence Against Jews

Michael L.

childWriting in the Algemeiner, Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn tell us this:
The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research last week asked a sample of 1,270 Palestinian Arab adults in the territories what they thought of the recent wave of attacks in which Palestinians stabbed Israelis or ran them over with their cars. Eighty percent responded that they support such attacks.

Note that the respondents weren’t talking about theoretical future attacks. They were commenting on recent attacks which they know all about. Here is what they are endorsing:

—Ramming a car into a crowd at a train station in Jerusalem. The fatalities included a 3-month old infant.

—Stabbing an unarmed young woman standing at a bus stop in Gush Etzion.

—Axing and machine-gunning four rabbis at prayer in a Jerusalem synagogue.

Could the 80 percent endorsement be a fluke? A one-time aberration? A momentary lapse in good judgment, spurred by recent tensions?

Hardly. There is a remarkable consistency in Palestinian public opinion. The same polling institution surveyed 1,200 Palestinians in the territories in late September and found that 80 percent support resuming the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel.
What slays me is that racist western-leftists will give no credence to any such reports because they conceive of non-white people as little children who are not responsible for their own beliefs or their own behavior.

Israel has agency, but only because Israelis are perceived as "white" despite the fact that about half are anything but.  Thus if 80 percent of Palestinian-Arabs think that killing Jews is a dandy idea, well, who can blame them, really?  Besides, traditional Arab theocratically-based bigotry against Jews is Israel's fault.  Never mind that the phenomena precedes the creation of the State of Israel by over thirteen hundred years.

The bottom line is that no one - not the Europeans, not the Obama administration, and certainly not the United Nations - will ever hold Palestinian-Arabs (those transcendent victims) responsible for anything.  Among their many accomplishments, they gave the world the suicide bomber.  The Palestinian-Arabs invented the suicide bomber, yet we are constantly told that they "deserve" a state.

Why?

The truth is, I can think of no people on this planet less deserving of statehood than the vicious and bigoted Palestinian-Arabs who are told by their leadership that their Jewish neighbors are the descendants of apes and pigs.  Now the Tibetans, these are people worthy of a state of their own.  They are riding out an occupation far more brutal than anything Arabs have to put up with from Jews.  They are doing so without much recourse to violence and, yet, they still receive one-tenth the sympathy in the west, if that, reserved for Palestinian-Arab terrorists who love violence.

Tibet's big problem is that it has the wrong enemy.

If it were Jews occupying Tibet than it would be an entirely different story.  In that case the Tibetans would receive endless attention, endless financing, and total sympathy for any violent acts that they might wish to carry out against the Zionist Aggressors.  Of course, for the analogy to work, Tibet would have to be the traditional homeland of the Jewish people, just as Israel is.

The truth, of course, is that the Jews of the Middle East are not "occupying" anything other than their own land.  Sorry, but Judea was Judea for one heck of a long time before the Jordanians dubbed it "West Bank" and western liberal Jews passively and shamefully complied with the robbery of their own people's history.