Monday, May 23, 2016

Facebook and anti-Semitism

Michael L.

Jewish Ritual MurderI have been avoiding this ongoing controversy concerning Facebook and Zuckerberg.

As far as I am concerned, Facebook is an Internet Golem that has bullied its way into our lives.

Zuckerberg, however, is not a wizard, but a businessman.

My friend, Nachman, recently sent me this in an email:
Mike,

I’ve complained numerous times and still they refuse to admit its a classic anti-Semitic blood libel.

https://www.facebook.com/truthaboutjews/
I want to thank Nachman for alerting me to this Facebook page because this is old-school stuff.

Classical straight-forward anti-Semitism, which that link goes to, has become more rare in recent decades as hypocritical left-leaning, BDS, anti-Semitic anti-Zionism has grown in popularity. They both claim to stand for social justice. Even the Nazis claimed to stand for social justice in the sense that they honestly believed that the Jews are evil and that sparing the world from us is in the best interest of all humanity.

In any case, facebook.com/truthaboutjews goes to a Facebook page entitled, Jewish Ritual Murder.

Catchy, dontcha think?

The following text is front-and-center:
Born March 22, 1684 - Died 20 April 1690

Saint Gabriel Belostoksky Гавриил Белостокский Born in family of pious Christians Peter and Anastasia, baptized him with the name of Saint Archangel Gabriel in the temple of the Holy Dormition in Zabludovskii Monastery.

One day mother left from house to bring lunch to her husband, jewish tenant use opportunity to abduct little Gabriel as soon was feast of Passover. He secretly tuck him in Bialystok lock up in basement where they torment little Gabriel, occult jews crucified him, with sharp instruments stabbed his body to release blood after nine days of torture Gabriel died in his six year of life.

Occult jews throw Gabriel body into a field at the edge of the forest near the village Zverkov in expectation that dogs will eat his body on their misery the dogs who found body they didn’t rend it but on their barking villagers found the body of a martyr.

Occult jews where found and punished and people deeply moved by such atrocities buried body of martyred baby in church graveyard after many miracles on his grave church pronounce him in saint. Today his incorruptible body lying in the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Bialystok his day of celebration is 20 April (3 May at Julian calendar)
"Occult jews"?

Now, this is great stuff because it is right out of the Middle Ages. The guy who runs this Facebook page - bless his soul - is spreading the word that Jews like to torture and murder innocent Christian children and is doing so straight out of the fourteenth-century.

Jewish people in the West have not heard much of this kind of wacky and dangerous jibber-jabber in quite awhile.

So, Nachman has been banging on Facebook's door and this is the response that he received:
Thanks for your feedback

Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards.

Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment.

We reviewed the Page you reported for displaying hate speech and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards. (Emphasis my own.)

Please let us know if you see anything else that concerns you. If you want us to look at something specific on a Page, be sure to report the content (ex: photo), not the entire Page. We want to keep Facebook safe and welcoming for everyone. 
The ignorance and callousness of the digirati could hardly be more obvious.

What Facebook is telling us is that even the most classic forms of Medieval anti-Semitism do not violate their community standards.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Nothing Left at 100

Michael L.

{Also published at the Elder of Ziyon, Jews Down Under, and The Jewish Press.}

Nothing LeftI do not know how many of you are familiar with Michael Burd and Alan Freedman's radio show, Nothing Left, from J-AIR out of Melbourne, but you definitely should be.

I say this, of course, because they have been foolish enough to put me on the show a few times and therefore my ego impels me to write this.

The thing of it is, J-AIR is a niche station and Nothing Left is a niche show within a niche station.

Our little band of pro-Israel / pro-Jewish bloggers and commenters definitely know what this is like.

The Tradition of the "Little Magazine"

We are provoking small-scale conversations among one another in much the same way that the so-called "little magazines" in New York City throughout the twentieth-century did so.

Nothing Left is a part of our greater international network and we are the "little magazines" of our day.

In fact, Jonathan Tobin, of Commentary has spoken with the guys on-air at Nothing Left and Commentary is one of the few "little magazines" still in operation.

{Somebody beat The New Republic to something resembling death once Marty Peretz retired, made aliyah, and was no longer their to defend the magazine. The Nation, of course, while derived from the noble Abolitionist tradition, has clearly lost its way and tends toward sympathy with political Islam. And, needless to say, Mother Jones staggers on across the Bay, but does anyone care?}

The analysts that Michael and Alan have attracted to the show represent a "who's who" of the pro-Israel / pro-Jewish community from all over the world.

They include famed attorney Alan Dershowitz, Isi Leibler on a weekly basis, my friend Shirlee Finn of Jews Down Under fame, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin of AMCHA, Dr. Michael Harris of Stand With Us, analyst Dr. Martin Sherman of the Jerusalem Post (maybe!), political radio personality Dennis Prager, Lori Lowenthal-Marcus of The Jewish Press, Professor Mordechai Kedar, Professor Mathias Küntzel, Professor Denis MacEoin, Dr. Robert Spencer, MK Moshe Feiglin, journalist Daniel Greenfield, activist Pamela Geller, journalist Melanie Phillips, Abe Foxman of the ADL, and on and on and on.

I tell you guys, it is an impressive list and I only touched on some of the people that I am familiar with. But, as you can see, these are all formidable individuals within the Jewish community and any of the pro-Israel political blogs would be proud to gather such an esteemed line-up.

The latest episode, number 99 from May 17, features Prof Alan Johnson, Pat Condell, MK Sharren Haskel, Isi Leibler, and guest host Mary Werther, with a brief editorial from yours truly.

Those of you familiar with this blog are probably familiar with Pat Condell. Pat, I believe, has about had it with political Islam, if not Islam, more generally. Speaking as a member of a tiny ethnic minority that was persecuted for thirteen long centuries under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperial rule, it is not difficult for me to see why. Condell's contribution, however, is not an interview, but a piece concerning the latest Gaza war.


Professor Alan Johnson

The discussion with Professor Alan Johnson was, however, brilliant. I was not familiar with the gentleman but he is a political theorist, the editor of Fathom, and a current member of the UK Labour Party.

He is, thus, in a perfect position to discuss the manifold ways that Labour is ripping itself to pieces over anti-Semitism... as those of us from "across the pond" break out the popcorn.

Burd and Johnson discussed "open warfare" within the UK Labour party, the heinous former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and his equally heinous colleague Naz Shah who suggested that the Jews of Israel should be transplanted into the middle of the United States someplace, perhaps Nebraska.

They discussed holocaust inversion, the fact of rampant anti-Semitism within the British Muslim community and the exportation of classical anti-Semitic tropes into contemporary anti-Zionist discourse through that community and their allies on the progressive-left.


MK Sharren Haskel

Sharren HaskelWhat was equally interesting to me, however, is Michael's discussion with Israeli MK Sharren Haskel. Haskel is the youngest seated member of Likud and perhaps the youngest member of the Knesset, period.

With luck she represents the coming leadership within Israel, itself, if not merely within Likud. She has got something very fresh and very straightforward, while maintaining both compassion and clarity of thought on the issues... or so I thought as I listened through her segment.

She was a combat soldier in the IDF during Intifada Number 2 and experienced the pain of the field on "my body and on my soul."

She is working on Israeli / Arab-Muslim diplomatic relations in the Middle East and actually sounds rather optimistic. This is hardly surprising because she cannot enter into conversations in the hopes of easing tensions within a spirit of pessimism, now can she?

She talks with Michael about the ways hard-left groups within Israel undermine Israeli well-being and the fact that Israeli Arab MKs stood with murderers in Intifada Number 3, the Car Ramming / Stabbing / Knife Intifada. She also supports a potential new Israeli law that would curb the ability of traitors within the Knesset to support violence against Jews.

She is friendly to the rights of Gay people and even supports the use of medical cannabis. In fact, although she claims not to use that substance, she is the Chairman for the Medical Cannabis Caucus in the Knesset.

"Medical Cannabis Caucus in the Knesset"?

Just roll that around your tongue a few times!

Most importantly, however, she recognizes that the Arab-Muslim war against the Jews in the Middle East is not a land dispute, but a cultural-religious conflict by a much larger hostile and foreign national group (the aggressors from the Arabian peninsula) versus the much smaller indigenous population from Judea and Samaria.

This is a concept that we need to bang into the heads of western authorities.


Isi Leibler

The last thing that I want to do is give Isi Leibler short-shrift. 

The guy was a primary leader within the Australian Jewish community for decades who made aliyah and is now writing for various outlets, including the Jerusalem Post.

Leibler drops in to Nothing Left on a regular basis and he is one of those old-school, no-nonsense Jews who want for the Jewish people, not to mention the Jewish State, to stand up strong for itself.

His conversation with Michael revolved around the fact that that there is no other country in the world whose very existence is called into question other than Israel; this, despite the fact that, as Leibler says, "we are the most successful resurrection of a nation that has ever taken place."

Nothing Left and Michael Burd and Alan Freedman should be congratulated for airing their 100th show this Tuesday.

I bet Leibler will have some interesting words.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Asteroid Belt

asteroids

Enough with the astronauts for the moment, let's get back into space... and G-d knows that I need it!

This is a computer enhanced model of the asteroid belt as it circles between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars.

I am a novice to astronomy, but I love it and did, in fact, do some research for the Johnson Space Center Oral History Project in the summer of 2000.

But, when I look at history, in general, and when I look at modern Jewish history, in particular, the misery is just grinding.

But when I think about the field of astronomy and when I go to the Chabot Space Center, just up the hill from me, and look through those amazing scopes, it expands my heart.

This is Leah and she is the first:

From the website:
Leah
Chabot's historic 8" Alvan Clark refractor telescope is the original 1883 instrument donated by founder Anthony Chabot.

In 1883, Anthony Chabot, a successful hydraulic engineer and provider of water to the City of Oakland, agreed to fund an 8-inch telescope. Mr. Chabot subsequently funded the new observatory as well, which opened in downtown Oakland on November 24th of the same year.
Leah is a classic old telescope.

It is a refractor, which means that it is the kind that Galileo looked through.

He was not the first and he did not invent the instrument.

Ship captains had them before he did.

But he was the first, in any meaningful way, to point one toward the heavens.

University Administrators and Calls for "Intifada"

Michael L.

Some Jewish leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a tad of my encouragement, were (or are) considering meeting with San Francisco State University President Les Wong to discuss our community's concerns over hostility toward Jews and the Jewish State at that university.

SFSU has been among the most anti-Semitic universities in the United States for many years, but I am sure that the administration does not much appreciate me pointing out the obvious.

But there is simply no getting around the fact that when students gather on the Malcolm X Student Plaza and cry out "Intifada! Intifada! Long live the Intifada!" that they are calling for the murder of Jewish people.

President Wong seems to be OK with this.

In fact, just last year he praised the General Union of Palestine Students as representing what the university is all about.

Now, I presume that SFSU has no particular desire to drive away Jews.

On the contrary, I am certain that they see their political mission as representing the very highest moral ideals as derived from the political Enlightenment of the 17th century, through American Abolitionism, 19th century Progressivism, the New Deal, the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-War Movement, GBLT Rights, Environmentalism, and so forth.

What I fail to understand is how calling for the murder of the Jews of the Middle East, if not Jews, more generally, fits into the larger pattern of an ongoing western desire for social justice?

The only way that it makes sense for the president of a significant American university to pat Arab kids - who want to see dead Jews - on the head is if he agrees that those Jews have it coming.

It would be something akin to President Wong telling the world that the Ku Klux Klan represents the very best of SFSU when they call for the lynching of Black people.

It's a disgrace.

The only explanation that makes sense is that the SFSU administration honestly does believe that ramming people at bus stops in Jerusalem, or chasing old Jewish ladies down the streets in Haifa with hand-axes, is a matter of righteous resistance.

I do not know if the people who I have been in contact with, each of whom represent an aspect of Bay Area Jewish leadership, will move forward to let Wong know that there is nothing progressive about the call for the murder of Jews, but I am beginning to have my doubts.

They will either dump the idea or go forward with me or without me.

I do not care if they go forward without me, so long as they go forward.

They may very well decide to go forward without me because I did, in fact, refer to SFSU as among the most racist universities in the country because - ya know - it is among the most racist universities in the country.

We shall see, but I am counting on nothing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Nothing Left on J-AIR 87.8 FM Melbourne

Michael L.

Nothing Left May 17 The latest episode, number 99 from yesterday, May 17, features Michael Burd behind the microphone, Mike Lumish filling in for Alan Freedman with a brief editorial on Dershowitz and Obama, as well as conversations with Prof Alan Johnson, Pat Condell, MK Sharren Haskel of Israel, writer and Jewish leader Isi Leibler in Jersualem and guest host Mary Werther.

My segment, which is only about 5 minutes long, begins around the 3:45 mark.

You guys should check out this material, not just my stuff, of course, but Nothing Left, in general.

One of the great things about Nothing Left is that Burd and Freedman have managed to attract the biggest hitters within the pro-Israel / pro-Jewish community.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Ben Rhodes

Sar Shalom

While plenty of others have laid out the know-it-all attitude of President Obama as conveyed by the New York Times Magazine profile of his communications director Ben Rhodes, there's another angle I would like to cover. To get at my angle, it would help to look at Nicholas Kristof's column from last week about Obama's responses to the Ebola crisis in 2014 and the Zika crisis now. During the Ebola crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted that without intervention, the epidemic in Liberia could mushroom to 1.4 million cases. An epidemic of that scale would have been a vastly greater threat to us than a handful of medical experts traveling there, coming back, and monitoring themselves during the potential incubation period for the disease.

However, the balance of risks did not stop the self-appointed experts like Phyllis Schlafly, Donald Trump, and the Republicans in Congress from declaring that America had to be "kept safe" by stopping all flights to Africa. In actuality, the intervention by western medical crews brought and end to the Ebola epidemic in western Africa and there was not a single fatality from western-contracted Ebola. What this episode demonstrates is that there is such a thing as expertise and that those crafted Obama's response, presumably from the CDC, knew what they were doing. However, until the epidemic was contained, to the self-appointed experts, the public health community was simply what one might call "The Blob."

Just as there is such a thing as expertise in public health, there is also such a thing as expertise in international relations. Unfortunately, as David Samuels' profile of Ben Rhodes demonstrates, Obama's attitude towards international-relations expertise is the same of the self-appointed experts' attitude towards public-health expertise. There are legitimate reasons to challenge the community of experts. For instance it would be useful to call attention to facts that most experts ignore and there is nothing inherently wrong with having values (that is, view of what ought to be) that differ from those of most experts. However, there is a difference between an experts' professional assessment (that is, view of what is) and the application of that expert's values (what ought to be). Spurning the experts' advice, in effect dismissing their analysis because you dislike their conclusions, and treating their assessments of what is as if they were their assessments of what ought to be, creates a substantial risk for disaster. That is what Obama and Rhodes have done.