Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hijab Cool

Michael Lumish

Twenty-First Century "Hijab Cool"
When I was growing up in the outskirts of New York City in the 1970s there was hardly a hijab to be found.

Of course, when I was growing up in the outskirts of New York City in the 1970s there was hardly a Muslim to be found, either.

There were only a few more Muslims in Kingston, N.Y. or Trumbull, Connecticut than there were Jews living in Mayberry, North Carolina, ten years earlier, with that nice Sheriff Andy Taylor and his cute little boy, Opie Cunningham.

It was only long after 9/11 - as political Islam stridently re-asserted its presence on the international stage - that I focused on political Islam and its relentless hostility toward Gay people, women, and dhimmis throughout the Middle East. Christians in that part of the world have it the worst, as Raymond Ibrahim will be more than unhappy to inform you. Although neither Europe, nor the Vatican, seems to much care, there is a Christian genocide happening right at this very moment throughout much of what was the Byzantine Empire.

To the extent, however, that as a kid I even thought about Muslims I figured that they were pretty much like everybody else. I grew up somewhere in the middle of the middle class, during the early years of the Age of Sesame Street, and my friends were from all across the ethnic kick-ball court.

Irish kids. Black kids. Italian kids. Asian kids. Catholics. Protestants. Jews. It was all just part of the mix and virtually none of us gave a damn one way or the other.

Although I did not realize it at the time, I grew up during a period when the United States, in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement, was well into the process of moving beyond racial animosities. I came across the occasional antisemitic slur, because it's not as if all of my neighbors were head-over-heels in love with either Jewish people or Gay people or Black people to begin with.

Yet us kids played baseball together and went fishing together and hung out after school. Most of our parents were not particularly bigoted, and considerably less so than were their parents, and we were less so, still. The United States was shedding its prejudicial past as minority groups moved into the professional class, as women gained social and economic equality, and as Gay people, through the efforts of people like Harvey Milk in San Francisco, gained acceptance in the general culture toward the end of the twentieth-century.

Sadly, however, the ideal of ethnic and gendered diversity has been replaced on the illiberal progressive-left by multicultural fragmentation and identity politics as represented by the hijab... all of which moves in a direction entirely counter to Martin Luther King, Jr.s liberal dream of equality.

The hijab is a symbol of Muslim supremacism, not liberal diversity.

It could recently have become a symbol of liberal diversity in the United States if people like faux-feminist icon, Linda Sarsour, had made it so, but they did not. There is nothing essentially anti-feminist about any style of headscarf, so long as it is worn voluntarily, but unfortunately that is not the case for hundreds of millions of women throughout the Muslim world.

If Sarsour, and those westerners unironically adopting an Islamic patriarchal style of women's apparel in the name of feminism, had made it clear that they oppose the rise of political Islam, things might be different. If they had stood up for the 1,200 women victimized by the mass rapes in Cologne on New Years Eve, 2016, things might be different.

But they did not.

On the contrary, contemporary feminism betrayed its essential values precisely because it failed to speak up for the rights of women, Gay people, or dhimmis in either Asia or Europe. Thus it becomes difficult to see how contemporary feminism can possibly be said to stand for universal human rights.

By embracing the hijab western feminism drains itself of ideological content. It stands for everything and nothing, which is precisely why the recent Women's Marches held aloft no specific demands even as they reduced women to their sexual organs and wore pink "pussy hats." Thus, whatever anyone might say about Sarsour, she is not liberal and neither is contemporary feminism.

For most of us from the various abused ethnic minorities who lived for thirteen centuries under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperial rule, the hijab is not a cool western fashionable accessory representative of "hip" culture.

On the contrary.

For Jewish people - and other dhimmis familiar with their own history - the hijab is, along with the keffiyeh, a symbol of ethnic oppression. The keffiyeh is to many Jews what the Klansmen's hood is to most African-Americans. It represents the intention of violence towards one's own people in order to ensure racist political objectives, by any means necessary.

And the keffiyeh, needless to say, is born of the hijab.

Understand, however, that if the Muslim world had given up on its imperialist tendency to oppress all non-Muslims then I would not care about the hijab. I am no more offended, for example, at the Christian cross, or a nun's habit, then I am at the Flying Spaghetti Monster, because none of those things represent hostility toward Jews. Christianity traversed the European Enlightenment of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and came out the better for it because it heightened the value of self-criticism within Christian culture resulting in a humanistic sensibility.

Whereas Catholicism formally renounced its doctrinaire Jew-hatred in Vatican Council II, Islam has never done any such thing and God knows that they need to. 

The cultures under Islam, including most of those in the West, have simply not gone through a similar liberal reformation and couldn't give a fig about western-left liberal notions concerning the freedom of the individual. From the seventh-century until the present, most of the Muslim world treats women like chattel, murders Gay people outright, and seeks the elimination of Jewish self-determination and self-defense on the very land of Jewish ancestry.

Whatever else the hijab represents it has absolutely nothing to do with western liberalism, feminism, or universal human rights.

The corporate embrace of the hijab, much like the now-and-again corporate embrace of hip socialist iconography, is a way of co-opting cool for the purpose of making a buck. 

In The Conquest of Cool, historian and The Baffler publisher, Thomas Frank, argues that the New York advertising agencies were key in creating the 1960s counterculture and I feel reasonably certain that Mad Men's fictional Don Draper - who at the end of the series we are led to believe created the famous 1971 "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" Coke ad - would have agreed.

In the meantime, while Madison Avenue seeks to make a few bills marketing the hijab, the western-left is shedding itself of liberalism.

The primary question facing contemporary western feminism, therefore, if they wish to maintain anything resembling ideological credibility, is just how they square one of the world's foremost symbols of patriarchy, the hijab, with their alleged devotion to women's equality?

Friday, March 24, 2017


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An open letter to David Friedman

Sar Shalom

Congratulations on being confirmed as president Trump's ambassador to Israel. I have no doubt that you will be a good friend of Israel. There are no limits to the extent of which I believe you will be a good friend of Israel. However, can you be a great friend of Israel. Allow me to explain the difference between a good friend and a great friend. A good friend is someone who adopts policies that help Israel. A great friend is someone who induces others to adopt policies that help Israel. This is particularly important because your time in office will be limited and your long-term impact will be based on the effect you have setting the framework for how your successors view the region.

The narrative. As a new report from the BESA Center demonstrates, western support for the Palestinians is based on false narratives. Convincing someone to support Israel thus requires a narrative in which, under that individual's value system, Israel is the good side. In contrast, the currently prevailing narrative is that the conflict is one of Israeli Goliath against Palestinian David. This narrative would explain Obama's obsession with the settlements, even if it can't be proved that it was the motive.

The David and Goliath narrative has two components. One is the Palestinians as innocent victims. The other is of Israelis as capricious victimisers. Both components will have to be confronted explicitly as just providing the litany of Israel's contributions to society will leave adherents of the narrative saying that it does not excuse Israel's victimization of the "innocent" Palestinians.

Overall theme. The main thrust of the following sections is that the essence of the conflict is, as Einat Wilf describes it, is the inability of the Arabs and Muslims to accept the fact that those whom they have historically treated as inferiors are now claiming equality and exercising power in their midst.

The way forward. Many in the West believe that the way to move forward on peace and to help the Palestinian people is to put pressure on Israel. On the latter issue, even many supporters of Israel concur, with the response being only to limit the help given to the Palestinian people if the cost to Israel is too high. Call attention to facts that complicate this narrative. For instance, visit Israeli Arabs like Ali Salam and Gabriel Nadaf who can show what genuine cooperation with Israel can yield. Visit one of get-togethers of Palestinian leaders like Sheik Jabari with the settlers to show that the settlements are not an unambiguous hindrance to Palestinian aspirations.

Media coverage. Bring in Mattie Friedman and Mark Lavie to identify what issues are systematically buried by the media's code of omertà and devise strategies to create scenes that would force those issues onto the media radar screen.

Finally, avoid simply asserting that their narrative is wrong. Simple assertions that the narrative is wrong will be dismissed. Instead, call attention to uncontrovertable facts that challenge the narrative and force them to bob and weave to reconcile the narrative with those facts.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Alt-Whatever

Michael Lumish

I am convinced that the words "alt-right" and "alt-left" - and, my favorite, "CTRL-L Delete" - are essentially alt-meaningless.

Hillary basically conjured the New Fear out of thin air on the campaign trail in order to paint Trump as a racist. Most people never even heard of Breitbart - which, from what I can tell, is not a racist outlet, anyway - until the Clinton campaign sought to shore-up their victory. The Klan is irrelevant in the US, as are Neo-Nazis, and there is no sudden vast re-emergence of white nationalism happening anywhere in the US.

In other words, they have the country on a very dangerous witch-hunt and its mainly the well-educated and sophisticated among us who tend to buy into this politically convenient myth.

I did not advocate for Trump, nor did I vote for him. Nonetheless, I have lost friends for being insufficiently hateful toward the man, as if my lack of hatred toward Trump is partly responsible for the rise of the New American Nazism, which does not exist.

That, for me, represents this political moment.

It is my guess that future historians will note this as a period of near mass-hysteria, something akin to the Red Scares of the 20s and 50s, but this time coming out of the American Left.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Facebook Note: the Left versus Liberalism

Michael Lumish

In a comment under a post for the Rational Zionists Facebook page, Jason Paluch drew an important distinction between liberalism and the Left. I would link to that specific comment, but it is a closed group so I cannot.

Nonetheless, Jason wrote, "Just like how all conservatives are not racist members of the Ku Klux Klan, or whatever the local equivalent of that is, not all of those left of center are naive dupes and useful / useless idiots for Islamists. I'll remind you that it was classical liberals who won both world wars, and created Western civilization itself."

This is my comment in response:
The distinction between Left and liberal is crucial.

A liberal is someone who draws his political philosophy from western Enlightenment notions of social justice and thus believes in democracy, individual freedom, and equality of opportunity.

On economic matters, liberals favor western-style capitalism, although usually with a significant social safety net. For this reason socialists, democratic or otherwise, are not considered liberal.

On racial matters, liberals believe that individuals should be judged according to their individual characteristics as human beings, rather than as representatives of particular ethnic groups docketed within a hierarchy of victimhood. For this reason, identity politics is not liberal, either. Thus organizations like Black Lives Matter are Left, but not liberal.

Finally, and most crucially, liberals believe in the open interrogation of ideas and, thus, freedom of speech. The Left, on the other hand, believes in politically-correct speech codes that have a chilling effect on the free expression of ideas through tactics that run from social shunning to litigation.
It seems to me that the Left is in the process of driving out its liberals.

Am I wrong?

This Week on Nothing Left

Michael Lumish

Nothing Left
This week the first half of the program is dedicated to discussing J Street - we hear from Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) and speak with Daniel Mandel of the Zionist Organisation of America.

We then hear from journalist Sol Stern on the disgrace that is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and hear from Italian journalist Giulio Meotti on the Islamisation of Europe.

Alan Dershowitz and Isi Leibler in Jerusalem  shares their thoughts on J Street and American Jewry.


3 min Editorial: Alan on J Street

10 min Daniel   Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) on J Street

23 min     Daniel Mandel, ZOA on J Street

29 min     excerpt from a J Street supporter [ Israel should be destroyed]

43 Min     Alan Dershowitz on J Street

48 Min Alan Dershowitz comment on J Street from one of our previous interviews with him

49 min Sol Stern, journalist on UNRWA

1: 8 min Giulio Meotti, Italian journalist on Islamisation of Europe

1: 31 min Isi Leibler, Jerusalem on J Street and American Jewry


The podcast can also be found on the J-Air website:

Or at our Facebook page: 

NOTHING LEFT can be heard live each Tuesday 9-11am on FM 87.8 in the Caulfield area, or via the J-Air website www.j-air.com.au

Contact us at Nothing Left:

michael@nothingleft.com.au

alan@nothingleft.com.au

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ha'aretz Spits at the "Mensches"

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Elder of ZiyonJews Down Under and The Jewish Press.}

Lavarnway, Freiman, and Zeid (Seoul, 2017)
Japan beat Team Israel last Wednesday to eliminate the "Mensches" from the World Baseball Classic (WBC).

Nonetheless, Israel did far better than anyone thought possible. Manager Jerry Weinstein and the guys were not expected to even qualify for the tournament and the oddsmakers pegged them at a 200 to 1 longshot to win the whole kaboodle.

Israel defied expectations by not only qualifying for the series, but making it into Round 2 until the Netherlands and Japan blocked their run in the Tokyo Dome. Still, the guys did phenomenal and my poker-money says that they will do so again in 2021.

The primary question for those of us covering Team Israel, however, is just what to make of their terrific effort? Is there some larger meaning that can be culled? Does the Mensche on the Bench, as conjured by outfielder Cody Decker, really have Kabbalistic powers?

I suspect not, but what is clear is that Ha'aretz - Israel's version of the "paper of record" - is not a big fan of Team Israel.

One thing that I will always remember about this series, aside from the Mensche, himself, is the contempt of Ha'aretz for their own national ballclub. It's a bit sad, but I never much liked Ha'aretz, anyway, because I am not "post-Zionist." 

While it is obviously true that not all Jews are citizens of the sovereign state of Israel, we are part of the nation of Israel because we are part of the Jewish people. The very word "Israel" - whether Ha'aretz likes it or not - refers to both the Jewish State as well as to the Jewish people as a whole. The general policy of the State of Israel since 1948 - and of the yishuv in the British mandate - was to hold Jewish people close as brothers and sisters as those of us in diaspora do likewise.

I am not convinced that Ha'aretz is quite on-board with this old-fashioned notion, however.

"This Spit" (Sweden, 2016)
Once it became clear that Team Israel was doing well in the tournament - after their surprise upsets in the preliminaries in Brooklyn, New York, and then the amazing sweep at Gocheok Skydome in Seoul, South Korea - it was just too much for Ha'aretz.

In two articles attached to their rather flat description of Israel's victory over Team Cuba in the first game of Round 2, Ha'aretz spat at their American bat-wielding brothers.

On March 9, Simon Spungin portrayed Team Israel as comprised of foreign usurpers and on March 12, Chemi Shalev did the same.

In At World Baseball Classic, I'm Rooting for 'Team Nice Jewish Boys' Spungin wrote this:
Sure, they're Jewish and, by Israeli law, they could become Israeli if they wanted to. But they're not. They are Americans and they have been brought in as ringers, plain and simple.
This is unjust, malicious, and the title oozes condescension.

The point of the World Baseball Classic is to promote baseball to an international audience. This is why any player eligible for citizenship in any country may play for that country and that is why we see Major Leaguers from the United States playing for teams all throughout the world. In fact, Team Israel does not have a single player currently in the bigs, but this is not true for other countries who have non-national big league stars playing for their country.

In a September 28 ESPN article, How Israel made major progress at World Baseball Classic qualifyingThomas Neumann explains:
We know what you're thinking. Why is a de facto Jewish-American all-star team representing Israel?

WBC eligibility rules are more flexible than those which govern most federated international competitions, including the Olympics. By WBC rules, a player is essentially allowed to compete for a nation if he fulfills the criteria whereby he would be eligible to become a citizen of that country. Israel isn't the only country that benefits from this rule, but its religious status makes for a unique situation among WBC teams. The nation's Law of Return allows anyone with a Jewish parent, grandparent or spouse to become a citizen.

MLB established this policy with the idea of growing the game globally. After all, a tournament where a handful of established teams crush inexperienced competition would serve as an insincere invitation to nations where MLB has growth interest.
Notice how much more kindly ESPN is to Team Israel than is Ha'aretz. 

Is there any other newspaper in the world that represents itself before an international audience as the voice of that country that so fiercely attacks its own sports teams during international competitions?

I sincerely doubt it.

The WBC did not devise this rule out of some nefarious Zionist plot to rob more virtuous people from their proper baseball glory to the benefit of the Jews. Someone needs to inform Ha'aretz that the WBC created this rule because they want to promote the game and hope to see it permanently reinstated as an Olympic sport which is why the best players from anywhere in the world can play for any team so long as they are eligible for citizenship in that country.

I have never seen this before.

Why would Ha'aretz go after Team Israel if not to niggle at political divides between Jewish Israelis and their brothers and sisters in the diaspora?

In order to further delegitimize the Israeli presence at the WBC, on March 12 Ha'aretz published this gem by Chemi Shalev entitled, Why Stop at Baseball? Israel Should Also Recruit Scarlett Johansson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Bernie Sanders:
We may view it as a natural expression of the eternal link between Jews and their Promised Land, but one can hardly blame others if they take a more cynical view of a baseball team that uses God’s Covenant with Abraham as a pretext for manning their pitching roster.
Tell me, does this just not drip with arrogance and condescension?

None of this, obviously, has anything whatsoever to do with "God's Covenant" because the game - Billy Crystal's cosmic baseball dreams aside - has nothing to do with theology. I am no one's idea of a rabbi, for chrissake, but I am pretty sure that baseball does not figure highly in Torah learning.

Cody Decker hugs the "Mensche"
The pitching roster reflects the team and the team reflects Israel and Israel reflects the Jewish people.

And that is precisely what Ha'aretz cannot swallow.

We all know that Ha'aretz pays money for anti-Semitic anti-Zionists like Amira Hass and Gideon Levy to retch hatred at Jewish people who do not toe their political line. For example, Hass actually believes that stoning Jews in Israel is "the birthright and duty" of Palestinian-Arabs.

So, while many of us have long understood that Ha'aretz is the toxic little Israeli brother of the New York Times, I never figured that they would actually hurl poison at Jewish ballplayers in order to get a kitzel behind the ear from New York.

As far as I am concerned Ha'aretz can go straight to hell. 

It speaks neither for the Jews in Israel, nor for those of us in diaspora.

It speaks only for the Democratic Party which, itself, is neither a friend to the Jewish people, nor the Jewish state.

It might as well bring on anti-Semitic anti-Zionist and Democratic Party activist Linda Sarsour to decide its editorial policies.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

It ain't over til it's over

Michael Lumish

All the Mensches need to do is beat undefeated Japan in the Tokyo Dome tonight.

No problem!

Go Mensches!


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mensches Beat Cuba! (Updated)

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Elder of Ziyon and Jews Down Under}.

Team Israel Manager, Jerry Weinstein
I am flabbergasted.

They did it again!

The Mensches have taken four wins straight during the tournament, thus far, after winning three in a row in the qualifying matches last September.

Team Israel, a 200 to 1 underdog to actually win the World Baseball Classic (WBC), beat 8th-ranked Cuba yesterday after taking the Netherlands last Wednesday (4 - 2) and generally whooping ass.

The guys play under manager Jerry Weinstein who has an endearing, toothpick-chewing, Pepe the Frog quality.

{Frankly, the man scares me.}

Coming into the qualifying rounds, Israel ranked a lowly 41st among WBC participating teams but went undefeated and beat Great Britain twice to qualify for tournament play. The only thing that could have made it better would have been the opportunity to beat Great Britain a third time.

If Brazil had not crushed Pakistan (10 - 0) in the preliminaries then we would have seen Team Israel versus Team Pakistan in the semifinals.

Sadly, it was not to be.

Pakistan is the only Muslim country with representation at the WBC. Unless we are pleasantly surprised, do not expect to see any other Arab or Muslim country so much as apply for the qualifying rounds for 2021. The Middle East is a baseball-benighted land and we are all the poorer for it.

The sad truth, of course, is that only Jewish Americans truly understand the game of baseball on its purest, Kabbalistic level.

Famous Jewish actor and comic Billy Crystal insists that as a child sitting in the old Yankee Stadium he saw Mickey Mantle hit a baseball so hard and high that it went up into the clouds... and simply never returned... or, at least, that is my recollection of his recollection from the Ken Burns miniseries Baseball.

I have little doubt, however, that Mantle's baseball - lo, these many decades later - is still circling the Earth and gravity will eventually erode its orbit and deliver it to precisely the spot where the House that Ruth Built once stood.

{Will wonders never cease?}

Gocheok Skydome, Seoul
Since coming into Seoul's futuristic Gochoek Skydome in Round 1 of the tournament, Israel has been unstoppable against clubs considered far better than the mensches on the benches.

They have not lost a single game.

This is pretty amazing for an outfit that was not even expected to make the tournament when they showed up in Brooklyn's MCU Park last September for the qualifying matches.


"The Jew Crew"

Part of what I love about all of this (win or no win) is that Team Israel truly is an underdog. Many of the guys - who sometimes wear t-shirts reading "Jew Crew" - have big league experience, but unlike other teams none of them are currently playing in the bigs.

The United States, ranked number 2 behind last year's winner, the Dominican Republic, has World Series veteran, and All-Star player, Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants behind the plate.

The Mensch in his Cosmic Goodness
None of them, however, aside from Team Israel, have the cosmic assistance of the "mensch on the bench"... and that makes all the difference.

Furthermore, anyone who knows anything about baseball and American Jews knows that, as Forrest Gump might put it, we go together like peas and carrots.

Throughout the twentieth-century baseball represented one of the key methods wherein first-generation Jewish boys assimilated into American culture by involving themselves in street-lot baseball games from the Bronx to the Golden Gate.

Without baseball - and its attendant character-building baseball brawls - the Jewish-American experience would have been something very different.

This will come in handy because, as Elli Wohlgelernter quips in the Jerusalem Post, "They will have a tough battle in the next round, when they face Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq simultaneously."

Update:

Oh, and by the way, why must Ha'aretz suck as badly as it does?

It has two articles attached to their rather flat description of yesterday's defeat of Cuba and both just drip with irrationally mean-spirited condescension.

Simon Spungin, At World Baseball Classic, I'm Rooting for 'Team Nice Jewish Boys'

And Chemi Shalev, Why Stop at Baseball? Israel Should Also Recruit Scarlett Johansson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Bernie Sanders

In both they seek to delegitimize the Mensches.

What a bunch of schmucks.

Israel doesn't have a single player currently playing in the majors, while other teams do, yet they call the Mensches "ringers."

For chrissake, these guys are just trying to promote the sport and either revive their careers or make a final bow, yet Ha'aretz feels a need to shit all over them.

Y'know, I didn't think much of Ha'aretz before, but now I just see them as vile.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Mensch on the Bench

Michael Lumish

{Also published at The Jewish Press and Jews Down Under.}

Cody Decker with the Mensch
Well, I have to tell you, I am just eating this up.

The Times of Israel tells us:
Israel’s national baseball team clobbered Taiwan 15-7 Tuesday, racing off to a 2-0 start in the country’s first-ever appearance in the World Baseball Classic.

Powered by strong hitting and capped by a three-run homer by Nate Freiman in the top of the ninth inning, the Israeli team continued its fairy-tale start to the international tourney, all but clinching a spot in the next round, after beating Korea in the opener 2-1 Monday.
So, this is a baseball team comprised almost entirely of American Jews that can play under the flag of Israel because they are eligible for Israeli citizenship. The World Baseball Classic rule is that any player can play for any team so long as that individual is eligible for citizenship in that team's country.

Well, that's definitely OK with me and it also explains why the Netherlands are as good as they are.
Israel next faces The Netherlands, considered a weaker team than both South Korea and Taiwan, but still ranked way ahead of Israel, which is seen as a heavy underdog.

The top two teams from each group in the 16-team tournament will advance to the second round in Japan next week.
Jews as underdogs. Imagine that.

There are four "pools" (or divisions) of four, making up sixteen teams total.

As I write, Pool A (Israel, Taiwan, South Korea, and the Netherlands) is meeting at the very cool Gocheok Skydome - home of the mighty Nexen Heroes - in Seoul, from March 6 until March 10.

Pool B (Japan, Australia, China, and Cuba) is playing in the Tokyo Dome from March 7 until the 11th.

Pool C (Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and the United States) is playing in Marlins Park, Miami, from March 9 until the 14th. And the U.S. team is fielding two of my favorite players from Major League Baseball, Giants star-catcher Buster Posey and fellow Giant shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Pool D (Italia, México, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela) is playing at the Estadio de Béisbol Charros de Jalisco, Mexico, from March 9 until the 13th.

This tournament is only getting started and, thus far, Israel is kicking ass and will move on to Round 2 in the Tokyo Dome.

From an academic or political standpoint, however, there is one very important question.

It is this:

Who the hell cares?

Most of the world does not care about American baseball.

Although Israel's participation in the World Baseball Classic has raised a curious eyebrow for Aussie Dave of Israellycool fame, I wonder if my other Australian friends even know that they have fielded a team in this Great American Hot-Dog Eating and Beer-Swilling Endeavor? **

Do you think that Shirlee from Jews Down Under cares about the World Baseball Classic?

Ha!

That's why she's not an American, dammit!

The Babe in Japan (1934)
U.S. ballplayers and business interests have tried and failed to get others involved in this most glorious and beneficial of all human sports for one-hundred years, but no one is interested outside of Far East Asians and our brothers and sisters from Oaxaca to Caracas.

They even dropped baseball from the Olympics.

Sure, they love it in Japan, but even then it took Babe Ruth - arguably the greatest American to have ever lived outside of 1930s Detroit Tigers first baseman Hank Greenberg - to talk some sense into that heretofore baseball indifferent part of the world.

Nonetheless, it raises questions.

For example, it is possible, although unlikely, that Australia could meet Israel in round 2 in Tokyo next week. Would it be wrong for Australian Jews to root for Team Israel? Would that make them bad Australians with dual loyalty?

On the political left nationalism is bad enough, but would not this make these bourgeois Australian Jews "dual nationalists"? Uber-nationalists? Nationalists squared?

And, if so, just how do these rogue Jewish Australians reconcile their Jewish nationalism with their Australian nationalism?

Or, God Help Us, what if Israel goes up against the United States in the final game for the championship on Wednesday, March 22 at Dodger Stadium?

What then?

What am I supposed to do, huh?

Make Aliyah?

And just what about this Israel as underdog business?

Most diaspora Jews - if not Israeli Jews - are raised to think of ourselves as underdogs with a moral-ethical obligation to help other underdogs, which explains the heavy involvement of American Jews in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as earlier socialist and communist activities in New York City throughout the twentieth-century.

Underdog status, particularly in the contemporary zeitgeist, is both sympathized with and free of moral obligation... just ask anyone from Black Lives Matter.

In any case, Team Israel meets the Netherlands at 7 this evening by my clock.

The Netherlands are a heavy favorite... but so were Taiwan and South Korea.



** (A Tip 'O the Kippa to my buddy Jason Paluch.)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

This Week on Nothing Left

Michael Lumish

Nothing Left
This week Michael Burd and Alan Freedman ask three parliamentarians invited to the Netanyahu event in Sydney for their view of the function: Senators Brian Burston (One Nation), James Patterson (LNP), and David Clarke (LNP).

We then hear from author Dina Gold who wrote a book about her quest for justice in recovering her family's building confiscated by the Nazis, and speak with Israeli soldier Tzur Goldin who is leading a campaign to recover the slain body of his twin brother Hadar, which is currently being held by Hamas.

And of course, Isi Leibler joins us from Jerusalem.

3 min Editorial: J-Air’s fundraising campaign

12 min Senator Brian Burston (One Nation)

21 min Senator James Patterson (LNP)

30 min Senator David Clarke (LNP)

40 min Vox pop clip from Netanyahu event

50 min Dina Gold, author of Stolen Legacy

1 hr 7 min Tzur Goldin, brother of captured & killed soldier Hadar

1 hr 28 min Isi Leibler, Jerusalem

The podcast can also be found on the J-Air website:

Or at our Facebook page: 

NOTHING LEFT can be heard live each Tuesday 9-11am on FM 87.8 in the Caulfield area, or via the J-Air website www.j-air.com.au

Contact us at Nothing Left:

michael@nothingleft.com.au

alan@nothingleft.com.au

Monday, March 6, 2017

The answer

 Sar Shalom

 In response to my earlier post, the one answer was one of envy. This gets at part of the answer, but leaves out why exactly the speaker's envy was so extreme as to cause such a reaction. What would have been interesting would be if someone had given the liberal cognitive egocentric answer for this reaction, which would be along the lines of that the object that envy was somehow responsible for the speaker's inability to afford proper clothing for her children and through that action gained the means to afford her fine clothes. That answer is of course wrong, however, in being wrong demonstrates the fallacy of liberal cognitive egocentrism.

The correct answer can be ferreted out from the words just before the main quote:
"What!" she resumed, "that horrible, beautiful young lady, who gazed at my daughters with an air of pity,--she is that beggar brat!"
Some background for those who don't know the story of Les Misérables, early in the story, Fantine had left her daughter with the Thenardiers, innkeepers in the Paris suburb of Montfermeil, as she went to look for work in her more conservative home town. The Thenardiers accepted the money from Fantine to do so, but exploited Cosette mercilessly while doting on their own daughters. Eventually, Fantine's daughter was discovered and she lost her job as a result. But when the owner of the factory learned of Fantine's plight, he resolved that he would rescue Cosette from her situation. After Fantine's death, Valjean did so and settled in Paris with Cosette. Several years passed and the Thenerdiers lost their inn and moved into Paris where they eked by on whatever they could get from others, whether legitimately of illegitimately. During this time, Valjean distributed some of his savings from when he ran his factory to the poor of Paris, which led to his encounter with the Thenardiers as described in the quote.

Now for why this whole vignette is relevant to this blog. The motive for saying "Oh! I should like to kick her stomach in for her!" is not that far off from what would motivate one to say "Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab!," which is to say, the Palestinians. However, in the case of the Palestinians, the popular explanation in the West for their enmity is the liberal cognitive egocentric explanation that Israel is responsible for the Palestinians' misery and profiting off of the acts that cause that misery. However, a true understanding of the Palestinians' motivation would require a looking at the history of the Jews in the southwest Levant on a larger historical scale, like in Einat Wilf's and Adi Schwartz's article in The Hill. The key description of the conflict is:
As far as Muslim theology and Arab practice were concerned, the Jews were non-believers, only to be tolerated, never as equals. They should have never been allowed to undermine Muslim rule over the lands, which the Jews claimed as their homeland, but the Arabs viewed as exclusively theirs since conquering them in the seventh century.
In other words, the Palestinian national movement has historical memory of Jews living in its midst as the slave-girl Cosette lived in the Thenardiers' inn and came to believe that that state was the natural and proper order of the universe. However, their current reality is that they are like the Thenardiers in Paris and the Jews have developed the way Cosette did since the Thenardiers lost their inn. However, they capitalize on the fact that the liberal cognitive egocentrists only see that the Palestinians are in "misery" and the Israel is living well and swallow the narrative hook, line, and sinker that there is a connection between the two. We must confront those liberal cognitive egocentrists with the prehistory of the conflict.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Is it racist to oppose fascism of color?

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Elder of Ziyon and Jews Down Under.}

Charlie Hebdo Cover, Oct 2014
Many westerners seem to believe that opposition to political Islam (Jihad) is equivalent to racism.

This is why progressives - or what Dave Rubin, and others, refer to as the "regressive-left" - so vehemently oppose the vetting of Arab-Muslim immigrants into the United States.

They honestly do not care about the rise of political Islam, or Koranically-based violence against innocent people, because they tend to believe that Jews, Americans, and westerners deserve whatever beating radical Muslims are prepared to dish out.

As an American of the Jewish persuasion, however, I would very much prefer it if newly minted Americans from the most antisemitic part of the world did not think that the Jewish people were the unnatural cosmic offspring of swine and orangutan in need of a good slaughtering in the name of Allah.

Does this make me a bad, or ignorant, person?

Probably.

But if you assume that opposing political Islam is the same as opposing Muslims then you must think that all Muslims are jihadis who wish to spread Sharia by any means necessary.

They aren't.

In fact, I might even go so far as to suggest that if you think that denigrating or mocking or opposing jihadism is the same as "Islamophobia" than it is you who are the racist.

The defenders of political Islam, and mass Muslim immigration into the West, need to stop confusing Muslims with jihadis and they need to stop conflating opposition to political Islam with racism. Suggesting that western opposition to the Jihad is the same as opposition to Muslims is something akin to suggesting that British opposition to Nazism during World War II was the same as a racist opposition to Germans.

It isn't and it wasn't and the very notion is both hateful and absurd while turning history inside-out and backwards.

Furthermore, "progressives" need to stop implying that Jewish opposition to the murder of our own family somehow indicates an essentialized Zionist form of racism. They need to stop suggesting that speaking out against the rise of political Islam, from any quarter, is a form of retrograde white redneck bigotry against a perfectly innocent indigenous population "of color."

And, make no mistake, this is precisely what the Left and the Democrats say to their Jewish friends when they suggest that opposing unvetted Arab-Muslim immigration into the United States is "racist."

It isn't because it does not matter where a person comes from or the color of their skin.

It does not matter what languages they speak or what deity they worship or refuse to worship.

It does not matter what their sexual orientation is.

It does matter, however, when people from the Middle East or North Africa teach their children to despise non-Muslims as a religious imperative even as they seek immigration into the West.

These are a people with a long and proud history that predates the rise of European civilization and they should be accorded respect. In doing so, however, they should be treated as equals and therefore as responsible for their own views and behavior, including their views on Jewish people.

This matters very much.

According to Anti-Defamation League polling statistics the Muslim Middle East is absolutely roiling with hatred toward the Jews. 75 percent of Egyptians despise Jews. 78 percent of Lebanese despise Jews and a whopping 93 percent of Palestinian-Arabs do so.

And it is spreading.

Mosques emphasize Arab-Muslim innocence and western / Jewish aggression in Haifa and Malmö and Brooklyn, NY... home of our friend, Linda Sarsour.

They teach ideologically-inspired hatred toward Jews and "crusaders" in Paris and London and Berlin.

The truth, of course, is that Islam is the single most successful theocratic imperial project in world history.

muslim conquests
Early Islamic Imperial Expansion
Therefore, those of us who care about how Islam meets the contemporary secular west are watching the results unfold in Europe and most of what we see is violent and ugly.

We remember the jihadi murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, a one-time colleague of Islamic apostate Aayan Hirsi Ali in the Netherlands. We remember the fatwā placed on the head of author Salman Rushdie for daring to pen The Satanic Verses. We remember the unbelievably brutal near-beheading of Lee Rigby in the streets of southeast London in broad daylight. We are cognizant of such things as Islamic rape-gangs in Britain.

And we are well-aware that aggression toward indigenous peoples throughout world history is not the privilege of Europeans alone.


The Failure of Discussion

Thus the question of Muslim immigration into the West is an exceedingly serious matter that must be honestly discussed... but it is not.

The western-left and the Democratic Party have made any such discussion impossible via the politically-correct tactic of silencing, shunning, and de-platforming "deplorable" speakers... which is to say, anyone whom they disagree with.

And this is the reason that we end up with fascistic "anti-fascists" beating the hell out of innocent people at UC Berkeley at the mere presence of Milo Yiannopoulos who, whatever else he may be, is not a white nationalist.

The fire of progressive-left hatred toward Trump and his supporters is so intense, so polarizing, and so irrational that normal discussion on important issues, such as immigration, has become impossible.

When "progressives" and Democrats shut down discussion of Arab-Muslim immigration into the United States as "racist" they also block discussion of anti-feminist, anti-Jewish, anti-liberal, pro-Sharia influences into Europe and coming to an American movie theater near you.

This shutting down of discussion on immigration also blurs any candid distinction between jihadi immigration and the immigration of regular Muslims.

This is not a matter of "racism" against jihadis - as if there could be such a thing - but it is a matter of ideological blinkertude on the part of westerners who condescend to Muslims as little children in need of a cookie.

If mainstream and non-traditional opinionators throughout the West would look up for a moment from their incessant, self-serving, emotionally-driven Trump-bashing, they might consider honestly discussing the question of mass Muslim immigration into the West.

polling2But they don't.

Nonetheless, according to recent Pew polling, terrorism was second only to the economy in the election that brought Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States.

Along with economic issues, whether progressives and Democrats like it or not, immigration combined with terrorism top the political charts.

The reason that many of us came to the rational conclusion that we need a tightening on immigration policies is because for too long the European Union, with the assistance of globalist neo-liberals like Angela Merkel, refused to do so and we see the results.

For example, the other day Trump referenced the immigration crisis in Sweden and was roundly spit upon by media and politicians, both here and there.

The truth, however, is that Sweden and Germany are experiencing street violence and serious social consequences due to their open-borders policies and because of Muslim disinterest in European social and cultural integration.

Democrats need to understand, as philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris emphasizes, that Hillary's failure to honestly discuss the problems of mass Muslim immigration into the West is one of the reasons why she lost the recent election.

If Democrats wish to take back the U.S. Presidency in 2020 it might be helpful to be forthright with the American people concerning the immigration crisis in Europe and what that suggests for U.S. immigration policy going forward. We need not draw foregone conclusions, but we very much need to have an open and fair national discussion around the question free of partisan demonization.

It might also be helpful if the Democratic Party would let their constituency know that opposing the Jihad on American soil is not racist toward Muslims. This will have to be something hashed-out between the Bernie / Ellison semi-socialist wing and the Obama / Hillary neo-liberal, corporate wing of the Democratic Party.

However, until western-progressives affirm and honestly discuss the meaning of political Islam to western immigration policies then they are deceiving their own people and deserve whatever electoral beatings that they get.

Friday, March 3, 2017


what3

Illustration through literature

Sar Shalom

I'd like to conduct a bit of a social experiment, the purpose of which will be revealed in a subsequent post. Below is a quote taken from literature. In the comments, try to identify what induced the speaker to utter that line. Those familiar with it please refrain.
"Oh! I should like to kick her stomach in for her!"

Update: In the comments, an issue was raised about the lack of context. A few lines from before that quote would somewhat parallel what I have in mind in posing this exercise without spilling the beans.
When I think that my daughters are going barefoot, and have not a gown to their backs! What! A satin pelisse, a velvet bonnet, boots, and everything; more than two hundred francs' worth of clothes! so that one would think she was a lady!