Monday, January 26, 2015

"Fizziks" Called Me a Liar

Michael L.

In the comments at the Elder's joint, under my recent response to Jon Haber, "fizziks" called me a liar.

He writes:
Isn't there enough to take issue with in regard to Obama's treatment of Israel without having to resort to falsehoods about him "supporting" the Muslim Brotherhood?
In what universe does providing rhetorical, financial, and military assistance to an organization somehow not constitute support?

Do I actually need to dig up links from the New York Times to verify?

Or does the word "support" have some transitional meaning that I am simply unaware of?

It is as if "fizziks" lives in some alternative mathematical universe within which "A" does not necessarily equal "A."

Thus when the Obama administration advances cash and F-16 fighter jets and Abrams tanks to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt - to be used against whom? - in the world of "fizziks" this does not constitute support.

This seems to be an example of the hyper-sophisticated Obama supporter who understands the extreme flexibility and relativity of truth.

Fizziks writes, viz-a-viz the "Arab Spring":
Obama supported the attempted transition to democracy in Egypt.
Ho.  Ho.  Ho.

This is an excellent example of an intelligent person absolutely refusing to face reality.

There was no attempt to a transition to democracy in Egypt during the so-called "Arab Spring."

It's laughable.

There were western journalists and intellectuals who blithely announced it to be true - and who never admitted their mistake when it turned out to be false - and "fizziks" seems to be among them.

The "Arab Spring" was nothing more than Arab riots (and rapes) and well-meaning western delusions and apologetics.  It was pretty obvious right from the beginning for anyone with a cognitive pulse.

Nonetheless, months and years go by and, somehow, the truth cannot seep into particular skulls.  The reason for this is not due to lack of intelligence.  The reason, I suspect, is pride.   Some Jewish Obama supporters were able to recognize a mistake and some insisted on sticking with an enemy of the Jewish people no matter what.

Fizziks seems to be in the latter category.

How does one have a political conversation with a physicist who absolutely refuses to acknowledge basic facts?

Face it.

The Obama administration supported the Brotherhood and the Brotherhood called for the conquest of Jerusalem.

So, Where is the Argument?

Michael L.

{Originally posted at the Elder of Ziyon.}

Those of you who follow my writings or Jon Haber's blog, Divestthis!, know that we have been conversing about Israel, the western-left, and the Obama administration for a number of months.

I don't want to call it a debate so much as a conversation between people with somewhat differing views, but with mutual concerns.  A list of each of our contributions can be found toward the top of the right side bar at Israel Thrives.

My fundamental argument is that the Obama administration validated political Islam through supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the parent organization of both Qaeda and Hamas and if not a parent organization of the Islamic State, certainly an ideological partner in praying for the extinction of Jewish sovereignty and self-defense.

While Jon agrees that I am not a political partisan, and we both understand that partisanship is not automatically a reprehensible thing, he also acknowledges that the Obama administration has been far too friendly to the enemies of the Jewish people.

In his recent piece entitled Partisanship, Haber writes:
But there is no disagreement that the current President’s choices: from cutting endless slack to Islamist foes of both Israel and the US to picking needless fights with the Israeli government, make it a perfectly reasonable choice for Jews who support Israel (which describes the majority of us) to refuse to vote for him.
According to Haber, Obama gave "endless slack to Islamist foes."

At this point it becomes difficult to know where we actually disagree.

At the end of the day, that is my fundamental point.  It is my thesis in a nutshell, although we would need to determine just where slack ended and support began?

Jon, however, takes issue with the fact that I have sometimes characterized progressive-left Jews as people with their heads buried in the sand.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI must admit that Jon is correct and that I have resorted to my favorite ostrich image more than once.

I did so particularly in my Failures of the Progressive-Left Zionism series.

In those writings, I criticized the Jewish Left for refusing to seriously denounce political Islam.

I criticized the Jewish Left for demonizing their fellow Jews who live where neither Mahmoud Abbas, nor Barack Obama, want them to live.

I criticized the Jewish Left for constantly playing political defense, which is always an invitation for aggressors and a general sign of insecurity within one's own beliefs.

I criticized the Jewish Left for tending to support their enemies over their friends out of a misguided and self-righteous political altruism.

These are not in-depth pieces, but merely pointers to problems.  That is all.

And, in truth, there are other reasonable criticisms that I am not even bothering with for the moment on the assumption that liberal Jews, such as myself, are rethinking - just as we are all continually rethinking - as political sands shift.

My only real discomfort with Jon's analysis is that he chalks up Jewish American support for Barack Obama, despite Obama's alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, to the fact that American Jews preferred Obama over his opponent on a broad range of issues beyond the Arab-Israel conflict.

While this is clearly true, why be content to leave it at that?

Haber writes:
Jews (like all Americans) were not casting a vote on each and every issue of importance to them, but were rather making a narrow choice between two individuals.  And had the Republican candidate been more appealing in ways having nothing to do with Israel and the Middle East (as was Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984), who knows how the Jewish vote might have gone?

Even if I don’t expect to ever see a total party realignment of the Jewish public, I think it’s safe to say that the majority of Jews voted for Obama for the same reasons the majority of Americans did: they liked him better than the other guy. 
We know that the Obama administration supported the Muslim Brotherhood in a variety of ways, including material and financial support.  We also know that the Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization of both Hamas and al-Qaeda, if not the Islamic State, itself.  The Brotherhood backed the Nazis during World War II and assisted many Nazis and friends of Nazis, such as Haj Mohammed Amin el-Husseini, in escaping the consequences of their behavior upon the conclusion of that war.  In recent years Brotherhood leader, and ex-President of Egypt, Muhammad Morsi, supported calls for the conquest of Jerusalem among throngs of his supporters, both before and after his "election" and still maintained Obama administration support.

I do not know about you, but as someone who voted for Obama the first time around, I was absolutely horrified.

There is no question that Jon is correct when he notes that the majority of American Jews simply liked Obama more than the other guy.  I, too, like Obama - as a guy to have a beer with - more than that other guy.  Furthermore, on many domestic issues I very much prefer the Democratic agenda over that of the Republican agenda.

But however much I support a woman's right to choose an abortion, or however much I like Obama's idea for federal support to community college students, none of that can possibly outweigh my concern for the fact that there are 6 million Jews in the Middle East surrounded by 400 million Arabs who generally do not want them there and are often prepared to use extreme violence to make their case.

This is what I cannot get past.

The chance of any Republican administration in the United States rolling back abortion rights are virtually nil, yet such concerns are supposed to trump our concern for our own families in Israel?

I do not think so.

It seems to me that diaspora Jewry, as a group, tends to be very good about looking out for the well-being of others.  For example, no other group in American history, aside from the Black American community, stood up more for Civil Rights during the 1950s and the 1960s than did Jewish Americans... although, I am not certain that you would learn this from the recent film Selma, which I am very much looking forward to renting.

In the United States, the Jewish people were almost universally behind abolitionism and nineteenth-century American progressivism, with its workers' solidarity and early union activity.  By inordinate percentages Jews favored women's rights to suffrage, the New Deal, the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-War Movement, Women's Rights, GBLT, environmentalism, and the rights of all ethnic minorities to equal treatment under the law.

We are among the most persecuted people within record human history and this is precisely why we tend to support movements for social justice.


There must come a point wherein a violent and ongoing threat to the Jewish community becomes a primary concern.

My question is this:
In what ways do Obama administration support for political Islam, via support for the Muslim Brotherhood, advance the interests of either the American people or the Jewish people?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Weak Diaspora Jewish Survival Instinct

Michael L.

franceI sometimes wonder if diaspora Jews actually have an instinct for survival?

Given the fact that the great majority of American Jews supported a president of the United States that favored the Muslim Brotherhood, a genocidally anti-Semitic organization, it is difficult to imagine that they do have a survival instinct.

Let me give you one small example.

Over at the Times of Israel, Richard H. Weisberg, a professor of Constitutional Law for Yeshiva University and a published expert on French anti-Semitism, has a piece entitled Betting on France.  In this article the professor argues that right-wing anti-Semitism is worrisome, but that reports of anti-Semitism in France, according to a cross-section of his French acquaintances, are greatly exaggerated.

Boy, am I relieved!

Weisberg writes:
Indeed, a cross-section of my Parisian friends agreed that American talk of France having become anti-Semitic was grossly exaggerated. So in polite conversations back in the States, my wife (a French teacher in Manhattan) and I had already noted what we felt were overstatements, given our own experiences and observations during frequent visits in various parts of France. We chalked up some of the feverish American talk to the persistent Francophobia that too often marks political commentary about France in the United States. The French, after all, have long been targeted for American criticism.
Although he does make a passing reference to "sporadic" attacks by French Muslims, he gives considerably more weight to Le Pen and France's right-leaning National Front party as a source of veiled anti-Semitism and zero credit to the anti-Zionist French Left for spreading an environment of hatred toward Jews.  In fact, Weisberg is even so bold as to say:
Attitudes toward Jews are changing for the better in France. There will be tragic eruptions to the contrary. But France is not an anti-Semitic country. It remains, as it finally comes to grips with its Vichy past, a bastion of equality and hope for its Jewish population.
A bastion of equality and hope, eh?

Meanwhile, we read in the Jerusalem Post:
A report on anti-Semitism presented on Sunday to the government found that France was the most dangerous country for Jews in the world in 2014. During the past year, levels of anti-Semitism and violence against Jews in France reached new records, according to the report prepared by the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs in cooperation with the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitsm (CFCA)...

Anti-Semitic incidents in France rose by 100 percent in the last year, with half of the racially related incidents in the country being directed at Jews, despite the fact that Jews make up less than one percent of the French population, the report found. 
It is hard to imagine that someone of professor Weisberg's status could be quite as myopic as his words suggest.  This is a man who wrote a book entitled, "Vichy Law and the Holocaust in France," after all.

We are thereby supposed to believe that France is simultaneously the most dangerous country for Jews in the world while remaining a "bastion of equality and hope for its Jewish population."

And I am to believe that this gentleman does not have his head buried firmly in the sand?

I cannot help but wonder if so many centuries of cringing diaspora Jews getting kicked in the head has not trained many of us to accept the Jewish role of agreeable punching bag?

Weisberg's conclusions concerning the great love of the French for the Jewish people is not grounded in anything resembling analysis or even, given events of the day, basic common sense.  The guy's wife teaches the French language in Manhattan and he is familiar with the country and likes the people and that is that.  His French friends tell him that reports of French anti-Semitsm are greatly exaggerated as they kiss him on both cheeks and pat him on the head.

I have much more faith in the Israelis.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Moulitsas May Run for Congress

Michael L.

The New York Times is reporting that if Barbara Lee vacates her seat as congresswoman for California's district thirteen in the San Francisco Bay Area - which just happens to be my district - Markos Moulitsas, of Daily Kos fame, has told colleagues that he may run:
Markos 0363Representative Barbara Lee of California may not wind up as our woman in Havana — disputing reports that she was seeking the nomination to be ambassador — but when she does leave Congress, there may be a nationally known liberal waiting to run for her seat: Markos Moulitsas.

Mr. Moulitsas, the founder of the liberal blog Daily Kos and a Berkeley resident, has told associates that he is interested in pursuing a run for elected office.
It is difficult for me to know just what to make of this story.

A number of years ago there was a guy on Maryscott O'Connor's now defunct My Left Wing blog who went under the moniker Stu Piddy.  Stu, who was also a Daily Kos refugee, once claimed that Markos was eventually going to run for President of the United States.

I told Stu that I had taken off my right sneaker and placed it beside my keyboard.  I told him that if Markos Moulitsas ever runs for president that I would braise that sneaker in a homemade marinara and that I would eat it over penne pasta with a nice glass of Pinot Noir for my lunch.

Well, I still feel pretty safe on that bet, but slightly less safe than I was yesterday.

The main problem that Markos might get from someone such as myself is that, whatever else anyone might make of Daily Kos, there is no question that it is also a venue for anti-Semitic anti-Zionism.

This is not to say that Markos is anti-Semitic.

I have never - not once - seen any indication that Markos Moulitsas is any kind of a racist.

Nonetheless, Daily Kos is an on-line political space, more or less representative of the progressive-left, wherein the Jewish State of Israel and, implicitly, Jews in general, come in for constant defamation and ringing endorsements of contempt.

Markos has, personally, always refused to discuss the Arab-Israel conflict in the pages of his blog, because there is simply no upside to it for someone such as himself.  I don't blame him for that, at all.  In fact, I would say that it was a smart move.  He even refuses to allow Arab-Israel "diaries" space on the front page.

For Markos the Arab-Israel conflict is a remarkable pain in the ass.  That guy has probably received more email from members of his blog whining and bitching and moaning and complaining about something that someone said in the comments around the Arab-Israel conflict than anyone else in four counties.

If he runs, I wish him well... but not too well.

I've never eaten a sneaker before, after all.

{A Big Tip 'O the Kippa to JayinPhiladelpha.}

Friday, January 23, 2015


The Elder Chats with Yishai

Michael L.

yishai I do not know how many of you guys are familiar with Yishai Fleisher (pictured left) of Voice of Israel radio, but Yieshai recently spoke with the Elder of Ziyon concerning the Elder's possible role in CNN's release of long-time broadcaster, Jim Clancy.

Check it out.

I am very much a believer that pro-Israel voices must connect throughout the world.  For that reason I was pleased to hear the Elder speak directly to both American listeners and Israeli listeners on the Voice of Israel.

Fleisher, by the way, is one of those evil "settler" people that so many others despise.

In fact, worse yet, he is a religious Jew of American upbringing and education and married his beautiful bride in, or near, Hebron.

I like the guy.

I think that he's got guts and speaks well to an American audience.  He's got a twinkle in the eye, knows his material, and is passionate on the question of Jewish sovereignty on Jewish land.

He did an interview with Rabbi Golub of Shalom TV a few years ago that I found interesting and that you may, as well.