Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Is The Odd Lady With The Lisp Alone In The House Late At Night A Bunny Boiler? Or Is That Just Peter Slezak On The Run.


Australian anti-Israel public intellectual in session

The other night a back bench member of the opposition ALP used an opportunity to speak in the House afforded by the privilege to receive public petitions to deliver a speech declaring that the "official" BDS is not antisemitic and that its supporters are not urging the destruction of Israel. 

Both are old and mutually reinforcing lies of course and as usual that was just the start. The speech is a wonder of the use of language in politics by a straitjacketed or extremist mind. Orwell would have been impressed.  A speech like that is worth noting.

It is striking how little is new. The speech could be an elaborate public clockwork tower in a quaint part of Europe that escaped the extinction of such things.  It could even be charming the way it can work without any apparent human mind involved. Is there a little man in there?

Just about everyone and everything gets a mention. I think I even spottedthe pelican in the background but I could be mistaken. 

Except for this, that is new.  The "official" BDS.  Did you spot that? This MP makes quite a fuss over this but when did that come in?  I've followed this fairly closely as you do with a global movement as vile and cowardly as BDS and this has to be the first mention of the "official" BDS. This could be important. Does this mean there might now be BDS "provos"? 

Peter Slezak gets a  prominent mention that befits his status as the public intellectual whose most notable outing may  turn out to being spotted running like a wounded feral rabbit from former state and federal minister and Labor left intellectual, Peter Baldwin, in a fair and free forum organised by a casual intellectual society of which they are both a part. 

I did not cross-post the piece that included the letter  Baldwin wrote  to Slezak because of it's length and to escape having to explain the choice of an old photo of a man I have long admired. I won't do it now for the same reasons but I invite you to link and scan this letter.

To this eye it is a work of genius and it would be sacrilegious to edit it. To this eye it is a gem of precious and uncertain value found at random in a desert.  A thing of myth. A brilliant black opal perhaps. In the Blue Mountains no less. This could be a strike. Perhaps there is a rich vein there somewhere in the rocks, caves and cliffs that could bear some more mining.  

This stone needs an expert eye and the right equipment to cut it. Shirlee, Mike, Jay and all are invite to try. I could not bring myself to put up anything less than every word and tube. 

What makes it so precious and rare is not just that it is the most rigorous and comprehensive analysis of the last Gaza unpleasantness by a public intellectual out there but also it was delivered fresh, full and timely like an high street internet bouquet to one of the most prominent and outspoken critics of Israel on the Sydney scene.

From Slezak, not a word in reply. Why? What an enormous opportunity to say what he is about. It would be a certain link because many must be dying to see what Slezak is going to do about this work of art Baldwin has painted on the ceiling of Slezak's chapel. Paint over it?

The public petition was delivered to the MP with the lisp and the funny turn of phrase at night in a lonely house by  a man who has much in common with Slezak except apparently is much fitter. Another academic from an unrelated field with no particular qualification other than a university man on a mission; a sort of  Indiana Jones with a whip and a bris, one in a line, a member of a bizarre tribe that will never say exactly what they are about and will embrace enormous contortions of thought and language to avoid it.

Something else unilateral no doubt, is what they want.  A surrender of all the land without a peace deal in a framework in rock that was to supposed to be land for peace. Is this the scholarly proposal for which they parade?.What kind of Israel is to be left?  They will not say. It is hopeless asking. Just ask Baldwin. When confronted with a real expert and all else has failed to avoid this horrible accident they just turn tail and skedaddle.

The MP with the bad speech in the lonely house late at night cited a Slezak  post at New Matilda that your blog had much to say in the comment thread. Fitting as well that New Matilda is the news site that has given the MP with the impediment and the cause her best run. 

The article is unremarkable except for the virulence of the antisemitism in the long comment thread from the droves of friends celebrating the MP in the night for her courage. As if she was a Kurdish fighter in the struggle with ISIS  for Obane. 

This is always remarkable and deserves its own post. A defence of BDS as non-antisemitic, that immediately splashes a pool of antisemitism so sloppy and salty it requires a proper recording. 

Your blog inhabited the thread and took some of the shit from the cowardly and deluded. A few of the comments in reply follow. Some more posts coming.

Posted Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 22:43
geoffff  you sholud have a long hard read and watch to see why even Israelis are sick to the stomach of what they are doing to Plaestinians. INCLUDING ISRAELS OWN PRESIDENT!!!!
I know this has to be beyond you but I will take it in tiny steps so we can see at what point you fall off.
Israel is a liberal democracy where all sorts of people say all sorts of things. The reason for this is simple. It is because they are allowed.
As such, there is enormous scrutiny, comment,  skepticism and introspection of all aspects of the society, policy, history and future at all levels including in the universities, media, political groups, courts and informed public comment. Retired politicians, defence chiefs, superannuated intelligence czars and writers of anti war books and art are the least of it. Freedom is everywhere. 
Israel is no different from any other liberal democracy in this regard. It is called freedom and Israel's Arabs are the only Arabs in the whole region that have this. As such, they too can say pretty much what they like and do and some of it is way out west of Pluto. .
Most people regard this as a good thing in a country. No one would say that because Australia has former PM's and FM's who are fatuous and deluded and frequently prove it in public on TV, radio and in newspaper columns, is a bad thing.
Yet when it comes to Israel, and only Israel, you conclude that freedom  is a bad thing about Israel as a society. Or at least you cherry pick the results of a free and vigorous democracy so that you can conclude that there is something bad about Israel. You are hardly alone in this practice. I think this is sinister. 
Probably that is as far as I can go with you. You will see for yourselves how ingrained  anti-Israelism is by the hysterical reaction these simple truths about the world will attract in the right here and now.
We will not hear a single thought that has not been spewed before a thousand times over.. This is ideology we will see and the anti-Israel ideologues have only religion to guide them. For them there is only one narrative. The Arab Muslims are the victims and the Jews are their tormenters. Israel is evil. Something satanic. The left is a religion that demands a living satan on earth as much as Islamist imperialism must have theirs.
So the western left and the Islamist head choppers of Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and ISIS agree on who that satan on earth must be. The one responsible for all their woes.    .
One last thing. 
Please do not lecture me on what I need to read. I have lived and followed all of this intensively on quite a scale for nearly fifty years and there is not much I haven't read or seen.
With all due respect.
Posted Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 23:05
Posted Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 16:38

I wonder if Ms Parke is aware that she has "friends" like Holocaust denier, Kevin Charles H...?
Indeed but that is the least of it. Kevin Charles H is by no means the only Holocaust denier here and not even the worst antisemite. There are also the usual 9/11 truuffers, conspiracy mongers, moon landing deniers and assorted cranks that constitute the modern left.  All have jumped to attention with right hand held high to declare as proud friends of Ms Parke.  
I doubt if she really minds. Friends are friends. This is her natural constituency. She could be at any left stacked branch meeting of the ALP at a scout hall anywhere in suburban Perth or further abroad.
In her speech she cites Richard Falk, one of the most notorious Holocaust deniers on the trail, as her authority on Israel and the Arabs. She has been not in the slightest embarrassed about this.
Put it down to inexperience. Rhiannon and the other Stalinists will soon put her right. Keep the Holocaust denial in its place. In the branch meetings, universities and left caucus is OK but its bad politics to go too public too soon. 

Posted Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 23:31


I prefer to trust the credibility of historians like Michael Palumbo and even Israeli historians (Pappe, Shlaim, Segev, Morris, Sternal) above your well known and well quoted sources.

When did you last read The Gun & the Olive Branch? David Hirst himself describes in detail covert Israeli operations to scare Iraqi and Egyptian Jews into fleeing their homes for the "sanctuary" of Israel.
In Iraq they did so by placing bombs in areas frequented by Iraqis who were Jewish, then starting whispering campaigns that scared people into emigrating. The plan worked brilliantly, but then again, Israeli intelligence/covert operatives, had experience with such things from massacres like Deir Yassin. Slaughter 250 people and terrorize hundreds of thousands into fleeing their homes lest they suffer the same brutal fate.
You see, what we have here is an example of something insane. It can not get worse from there. It is a mistake to engage with crackpottery like this. A person capable of saying this is capable of saying anything. 
There are many fine histories and accounts of the destruction of the ancient Jewish peoples and cultures of Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon and the rest. 
Here is just one site where you may read what happened from the people themselves. 

cross posted Israel Thrives
                     Jews Downunder

Obama Administration Doubles Down on Counterproductive Racist Policy

Michael L.

Arutz Sheva Staff writes:
house The United States Monday blasted Israel for pledging to build 1,000 more Jewish homes in Jerusalem, saying any such move would be "incompatible" with peace efforts, according to AFP.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington was "deeply concerned" by the reports and American embassy officials were having high-level talks with Israeli leaders to seek more information.

"We continue to make our position absolutely clear that we view settlement activity as illegitimate and unequivocally oppose unilateral steps that prejudge the future of Jerusalem," Psaki told reporters. 
So, essentially the Obama administration is telling the world that it is "illegitimate" (whatever that means, exactly) for Jews to build housing for themselves where Jews have lived for thousands of years and where we are the closest thing to an indigenous population in the entire region.

This is racism, pure and simple and it helps fuel the very Arab and Muslim antipathy toward Jews that has driven the conflict for millennia.

Is there any other people on the planet that the Obama administration feels that it has a right to tell them where they may, or may not, be allowed to live?  I do not think so.

Of course, I have been beating this drum for a very long time now and it is clear that the administration absolutely refuses to learn from previous mistakes and thus makes those same mistakes over and over and over again.  In this way the administration's insistence that Jews building housing for themselves in Judea is an obstacle to a negotiated conclusion of hostilities makes of it an obstacle to a negotiated conclusion of hostilities.

By demanding that Jews be allowed to live and therefore build over here, but not over there, it gives Abbas all that he needs to justify his never-ending intransigence.

At this point in the game, however, does anyone honestly believe that there is any life left in the Oslo process?

I do not think so and therefore believe that Israel needs to develop alternative and practical visions for the future and to act on those visions.  Since the Obama administration is blundering around the Middle East searching for a truffle, and since Mahmoud Abbas is a two-bit dictator, terrorist, and Holocaust denier who never had any intention of making peace to begin with, Israel must act in a unilateral fashion in which the only concern should be security and well-being of the citizens of the country.

Israel basically has two broad options.  It can maintain the status quo which, by the way, can actually go on and on and on well into the future.  The status quo can be maintained indefinitely because it has already outlasted pretty much everything else around it.  It has outlasted US president after US president.  It has outlasted Israeli Prime Minister after Israel Prime Minister. It has survived wars and intifadas and literally millions of hours of people arguing with one another how unsustainable the status quo is.

And, yet, there it is.

Of course, this is not my preferred option.  As I have consistently argued, Israel needs to declare its final borders and remove the IDF to behind those borders.  What those borders should be I leave entirely to the Israelis.  If they want to annex the entirety of Judea and Samaria along lines proposed by people such are Caroline Glick and Martin Sherman of the Jerusalem Post, that is dandy with me.  If, on the other hand, they wish to annex Area C or even unilaterally pull back to something that resembles the 1967 borders, that is fine with me as well.  My main concern, naturally, is Israeli security and if such a move was consistent with that security than I would have no cause for complaint.

Chickensh*t 101


So who's the likeliest chckensh*t?

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Slow Incursion of anti-Israel Stupidity into Popular Culture... or Revisiting Anthony Bourdain in Jerusalem

Michael L.

{Originally published at the Elder of Ziyon and cross-posted at Jews Down Under.}

Kitchen ConfidentialI used to cook in some pretty good restaurants back east when I was a tad younger.

For awhile I wore a toque and reduced veal stock into glace de viande and did things like eviscerate soft-shelled crabs for evening service.

In my estimation, as a former professional cook, Anthony Bourdain is tops in the hierarchy of celebrity chefs.

This is true not because of his considerable cooking ability, but because of his cultural intelligence, otherwise I would not bother with the guy.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly - the book that allowed him to shelf his chef knives - is a memoir of a smart New York American cook who became a kick-ass sous chef and who sat up nights writing about the organized mayhem and hostile bullshit that is a busy restaurant in the city on a Saturday night.

{Speaking strictly for myself, I will never forget working a deep-fat fryer while two cooks in their twenties - as was I at the time - had a fist fight in the kitchen.  I just started hollering, "Stay the %&*# away from me!  Do not come anywhere close to here!!" as they slugged it out barely six feet from where I stood above gallons of glistening hot oil, before I simply scooted on out of there.}

Bourdain is a culinary Hunter S. Thompson and in his 2013 season two premier episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown his producers and financiers dragged him kicking-and-screaming into Jerusalem.

He began his rather uncomfortable travels around Israel by telling us this:
By the end of this hour I will be seen by many as a terrorist sympathizer, a Zionist tool, a self-hating Jew, an apologist for American imperialism, an orientalist, socialist, fascist, CIA agent, and worse.
So here goes nothing.
The man is no dope.

Despite The Jerusalem Episode I remain a fan and the thing of it, of course, is that he is absolutely correct.  I wondered for years why it was that he did not go to Israel, and I sometimes indulged my darkest suspicions, but now he tells us.  He notes in his very first breath that there is no way to discuss the place without angering people and the very last thing that someone like Bourdain - or Alton Brown or Bobby Flay or, say, Paula Deen, or any person whose job title is celebrity chef - wants to do is piss-off large parts of the viewing population and thus diminish their own value in the market.

The much maligned Paula Deen, in particular, might have something to say about this matter.

We should also remember that Bourdain and his people were in Beirut in 2006 when they found themselves in a rather unpleasant situation stuck between Hezbollah and the IDF.  We basically have Bourdain on camera from the time looking out over the city from his hotel balcony watching rocket fire and saying something along the lines of, "Well, now what the hell are we going to do?"

In any case, the reviews of the Jerusalem episode were mixed.  Writing in the Jewish Journal in September, 2013, Rob Eshman tells us this:
If you like food and you like Israel, this past week's episode of Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown was a win-win. 
And I say that despite the criticism Bourdain has received from the people who profess to love Israel. To them, he presented a biased, pro-Palestinian screed disguised as a food show.
From my perspective it is not hard to see why people who care about Israel would put forth significant criticisms of the episode, although I cannot help but notice the tone of sarcasm in Eshman's emphasized use of the word "love" in regards Israel.

Bourdain's mother was Jewish and, thus, Bourdain acknowledges his own Jewishness.  However he says, "I've never been in a synagogue.  I don't believe in a higher power, but that does not make me any less Jewish."  I agree for the obvious reason that "Jewish" refers to both a people and a religion, just as the word "Israel" refers to both a people and a country.

Bourdain, however, seems uncomfortable in Jewish shoes.  I find my Jewish shoes to be exceedingly comfy-cozy - although one needs to learn how to run fast in them - but Tony does not.

While at the Western Wall he donned a kippa, allowed an orthodox Jew to apply tefillin, and seemed entirely antsy all the way through... although not nearly so uncomfortable as when he was offered a crown of thorns for his noggin in the Christian quarter!

That he simply could not do, and I certainly do not blame him for it.  I would not put them on either!

What got Bourdain in trouble with some in the Jewish community, naturally, was politics and it is not as if the very first words out of his mouth did not suggest that he knew precisely what was coming.

If he had stuck to simply discussing the mysteries of falafel and shakshouka everything would have been just dandy and he would have flown out of Ben Gurion with nothing but well wishes and a newly found appreciation for sabih.

Unfortunately, there was no way to do that because that is not what the show is about.  It is never just about the food for Bourdain.  It is always also about culture, more generally, and thus about politics and that is a big part of the reason that I watch his stuff.  The man is intelligent, witty, charming, engaging - and an exceedingly curious and critical former degenerate - but he is emphatically not well-educated on the Arab-Israel conflict any more than I am well-educated on any number of conflicts happening around the world.

He claims:
Since 1967 half a million settlers have moved here all in contravention of international law.
Ultimately Bourdain means well, but he is simply not knowledgeable enough about the subject to think on it outside of the so-called "Palestinian narrative" which is, today, the mainstream media narrative in the west.  This is why he eyes his Jewish host in the "West Bank" with something resembling suspicion and questions him about Jewish anti-Arab graffiti.

He is, essentially, in this segment, playing "catch the Jew."

The truth, of course, is that Tony Bourdain should probably not opinionate about international law in public.  I have far more credence to speak to his cooking ability than does he does to discuss international law... as my former semi-famous ex-attorney-in-law would presumably agree.

It just makes him look arrogant... and I say this as someone who likes the guy.

CAMERA, needless to say, was having none of it.  In a piece entitled, Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown - Jerusalem" Serves up Palestinian PropagandaSteven Stotsky writes:
Asserting he is part-Jewish, Bourdian made sure to distance himself from his Jewish background and deny any attachment to Israel. He described himself as an "enemy" of religious devotion and claims to have never been in a synagogue. While Bourdain?s narrative initially avoided taking sides, his host in Jerusalem, Israeli-born expatriate, Yotam Ottolenghi, was less careful. Ottolenghi's recounting of Jerusalem?s status, "Basically, this city was divided into two until 1967 when there was the famous Six-Day War," misrepresents the city?s history. In fact, Jerusalem was only briefly divided after the Jordanians occupied the eastern neighborhoods in 1948, expelled the Jewish residents and expropriated their property. For most of the city's long history there was no division.

jerusalemLaurie and I bought Ottolenghi's book not long after our last visit to Israel.

{The basmati and wild rice with chickpeas, currants and herbs is outstanding, but if you attempt the fava bean kuku make sure to use fresh, rather than canned, favas.  It makes all the difference.  In fact, on reflection, canned favas are simply heinous and should always be avoided under any circumstances other than starvation... if then.}

What we did not know, however, upon making that purchase - of the book, not the favas - is that Ottolenghi, of Jewish-Italian descent, lost his younger brother, Yiftach, to friendly fire as a soldier in the IDF.

This may, perhaps, have something to do with Ottolenghi's apparent biases.  Or, perhaps, he did not receive a very good education concerning the history of Israel, but when he said that Jerusalem, the City of David, was divided until 1967, without any historical context whatsoever, I got angry many months later and half a world away.

The problem here, of course, is not chef Ottolenghi, nor chef Bourdain.

The problem might be us... which is, I suppose, a typically Jewish response.

Because we have been so outnumbered for so long disdain toward Jews, yet again, has incorporated itself into western culture to such an extent that even American liberal semi-Jews, like Bourdain, think that Jewish people moving into Judea is some sort-of awful crime against "the native Palestinian population."

Even American Jewish liberals think this.

In other words, what the Obama administration and the European Union and the United Nations and the larger western left is telling Jewish people, including people like Bourdain, is that we can live wherever we want with the exception of our traditional homeland because this is seen as an intrusion on "indigenous" rights.

Despite the fact that there are no more indigenous people to Judea than the Jews, John Kerry and Barack Obama want to tell us that we have no right to live on the land of our ancestors without the permission of the PLO.

What could possibly more discriminatory and "racist" and anti-liberal and just plain horrendous than that?

Within living memory of the Holocaust some schmuck living on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. thinks that he has the right to tell me where I can live?

I am sorry, but it is unacceptable and we need to stand up for ourselves and the children and grandchildren of the Jewish people.

If we do not, one thing is certain, no one else will.

And however much I appreciate Bourdain as a television personality - however much he makes me want to visit every taco truck in Oakland - I cannot allow this nonsense to go without comment.

{And, therefore, for whatever it may be worth, I have not.}

See you next week.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

sophie44 Has Some Words

In the comments under an Elder of Ziyon piece concerning anti-Semitic anti-Zionist Gideon Levy of Ha'aretz, who in the wake of the recent terrorist murder of a baby girl in Jerusalem took the opportunity to tell his readers how "tolerant" the local Arabs are.

sophie44 writes:
Israelis take care of Palestinians in their hospitals - Palestinians use theirs for rocket storage and other terror activities. 
Israel has a large Arab population - Palestinians don't want a single Jew on their land while accusing Israeli Jews of being racists. 
Israelis would choose a two state solution if Palestinians would show themselves to be ready for peace - Palestinians would want a one state solution with not a single Jew in sight. Not Israelis, Jews. 
When an Israeli Jew kills an Arab, the Israelis condemn this murder - when a Palestinian Muslim kills a Jew, Palestinians go out on the streets to celebrate. Preferably shouting that Allah is the greatest. 
Israel bans extremist groups - Palestinians establish them praise them, and then vote for them. When it doesn't turn out so well for themselves, Palestinians do not ask themselves how it happened, instead they wonder why it has targeted them and not the Jews. 
Israel's Christian population has shown an increase - the number of Palestinian continues to drop because of the forced conversions and harassment by Palestinian Muslims. 
Corrupt people go to jail in Israel - Corrupt Palestinians are openly bragging about the money they stole and will continue to steal, while complaining that nobody really cares about them. 
And so the list goes on and on. Palestinians are in fact a very tolerant nation. Tolerant towards murder, theft, incitement, religious extremism, misogyny and Jew-hatred and much much more.
I could not say it better.