A NY politician and ally of the new mayor of NYC has written a letter essentially justifying random physical attacks on Jews. Oh, she gives a disclaimer that she would never ‘blame the victim’ but then goes on to do exactly that. She wrote that members of the black community have “genuine concerns” about the influence of Jews. It is the success of many in the Jewish community that spark resentment in the black community:
“Many African American/Caribbean residents expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes,” Cumbo wrote. ”I respect and appreciate the Jewish community’s family values and unity that has led to strong political, economic and cultural gains… While I personally regard this level of tenacity, I also recognize that for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment, and a sense that Jewish success is not also their success.”
Mike noted recently in our comments here that of late he’s been hearing people make comments about Jews that it wouldn’t have been acceptable to make a few months ago — he linked it to the division between Israel and the U.S. on the Iran deal: ” It seems like this debate has changed something, like some Rubicon has been crossed and it’s now acceptable to say things about Jews that you couldn’t just a few months or weeks ago.” I’d planned to address this in the comments but I think a discussion about this is important and so I’m going to give my take here.
There are several important issues. First, Mike may be right that this newest estrangement brought about by Obama may have opened the door for his supporters to publicly express essentially Anti-Semitic sentiments. The deal is, those sentiments were there but it wasn’t PC to openly express them — they needed only some (any) event that would let that Rubicon to be crossed. It is certainly a crossing of the Rubicon when you get the rank and file jumping onto the Anti-Jew bandwagon and, once that Rubicon is crossed, getting low-information converts is easy.
Here’s the other deal. When I made Aliyah back in 2005 I wrote a number of blog posts about what influenced me to make the leap and, over the years, my political transformation from Left to Right. At the time I made Aliyah I noted that I was strongly on the Left but on the Israeli Left — a completely different beast than the American or European Left back then. Even then, being on the Israeli version of the Left was viewed by the elitists among the American and European versions as being a real right winger.
The reason I left the American Left and a strong reason that I moved countries was because I was deeply involved in the liberal movement and was deeply disturbed by the Antisemitism, not always barely couched in “I’m only against Israel’s policies and not against Jews in general” disclaimers, that I was encountering. I’m talking 1998-2003 and not interactions with your average Democrat voter.
Trickle down economics may or may not work but I had a strong feeling and stronger fear, having looked at historical examples of the psychological dynamics, that it was only a matter of time before the behind the scenes elitist policy pushers and agenda setters would have a trickle down breakthrough and one that might well cross party lines and become general consensus. I wanted to have children and raise a family and I was not willing to bet their lives or the lives of their children that I was wrong. It turns out that I can’t have children but the dynamics I see unfolding, both in the U.S. and Europe, are right on target with the fears that made me pack up my worldly possessions and move here. The only thing I was off on was how quickly things would change: I didn’t see it starting to happen this fast at all. But it is happening and has been happening and I’ve no compelling evidence to show it won’t continue.
I wrote a number of blog posts about feeling like we were re-entering the 1930s and I felt paranoid and was accused of being paranoid for them. Things today are very different from the 1930s (and the decades leading up to them) but there are some things, some dynamics, that have a neon sign blinking fast and furious ‘Warning. Repeat. Danger.” We ignored the signs way back then. Maybe, it is time, finally time, for us to pay attention and not stick our heads in the sand or look at red herring excuses and try to address those because they are straw men.
“The British government tried to cover its tracks. But a new cache of documents Robert Spencer and I have received in our battle to overturn our being banned from Britain reveal that a chief reason why we were banned from the country was because we strongly support Israel. As part of our lawsuit against the Queen of England and the Home Secretary et al, we have received numerous documents between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Office of Security and Counterterrorism, and the Home Secretary. In one of them, an official in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office whose name was redacted wrote this letter on May 7 to a recipient whose name was also redacted:”
I have received initial feedback from Post to say that they do not expect that there would be any reaction from the US Administration to these exclusions.
We do have concerns with some of the reasoning in the sub, particularly citing pro-Israeli views and. [sic] Pro-Israeli views (and also support for waterboarding) apply to a large number of Americans, including former Presidents. If, for instance, Geller and Spencer were to request details of their exclusion under FOI/DPA or other mechanism, that being pro-Israeli is cited as a reason may be problematic and they could argue publically that their exclusion is on the basis of their support for Israel.
Among the papers providing the rationale for Geller were statements such as “She strongly supports Israel and is an ardent Zionist” and “Pamela Geller’s outspoken support for Israel may also attract pro-Palestinian groups to attend, further complicating the policing operation on the ground and making it harder to keep opposing groups apart.” Check out Jihad Watch for info on the dossier they had on Spencer for barring him from entering the U.K.
Senior officials in the White House have said that Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “is desperate and weak,” in reaction to Netanyahu’s remonstrations against the deal struck with Iran over its nuclear weapons program.
Israeli television Channel 10quoted the officials as saying “His pronouncements show a lack of self-confidence,” in an unusually harsh personal attack on Netanyahu. “We are not perturbed by his vocal opposition.”
Netanyahu was also raked over the coals Sunday by he man he replaced in the prime minister’s bureau, Ehud Olmert, who accused him of bringing relations with the US to an “unprecedented” low point. However Netanyahu is showing no sign of flagging in his campaign against thepolicies of the US and the other P5+1 powers.
“As the prime minister of Israel, I warn time and time again of the dangers that are related to the Iranian nuclear program,” he added. “When I see a danger to the citizens of Israel I will not remain silent.”
For more than a year now, twice a day I open a tin of wet food and shut Little Mouse and the food in the toilet room together as the wild, jealous herd of other cats crouch outside the door. They mill, cry plaintively, and scratch at the door. After about 15 minutes, I grab Mischa and wade through the crowd of cats to open the door a crack and stuff him through so that he can eat the approximately half can that Mousie always leaves behind. He only needs about 2 minutes of private time with the food before he’s scarfed it all down. When Little Mouse’s gums get really bad between his steroid shots, I do this 3 and sometimes 4 times a day, depending on how much he can tolerate getting down and usually he only eats the juice around the food itself at that point.
In the last 2 weeks or so, however, the door has popped open after only 5 or so minutes of Mousie being shut in there. I’ll look up to see Mousie strolling across the living room floor and groan, knowing that Batya, Muffin, and Flossie at least are in there scarfing the food meant for Mischa and thinking they’d also chased the little blind Mouse away from his food. One of my cats clearly discovered how to jump up and hit the door handle to get the door open. From the outside, hitting the handle and with the press of the cats clustered outside the door would make it open quite easily.
I’ve just finished putting Mousie in with the fifth can of food today because the door was opened so quickly after getting him in there each time. This time I played goalie on the outside to keep whichever of my clever cats had learned this trick at bay. Pop, paw emerged, door opened a crack and out came Little Mouse. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I imagine it was the blind cat who figured this out. Never did I think it was not only the blind cat but the blind cat opening it from inside the room –a much trickier trick to be sure.
Mousie may be blind as a bat but he clearly has Batcat skills. My little kitty superhero is too smart by half!
We’ve lost the greatest Israeli singer and musician ever (I don’t think there’d be much disagreement with that statement): Arik Einstein. His music spanned many genres but he was also a major pioneer of Israeli rock music. He is really the voice of the nation, the voice of Israeli musical history and Israeli society over decades. His music can’t be put into any one genre — he has songs that fall into and excels in literally every musical genre except opera over his musical career.
Probably my favourite of his songs (from 1980):
Another one of my most favourite of his songs is Ani v’ Ata (Me and You):
Here’s the English version he did of Time After Time (1970, from the very first Israeli rock music album):
I love this fun one (jump up and dance!) from 1974, Cafe Turkey:
Here’s the music video for She Kshe Navo (awesome) of Einstein’s, highlighting yet another genre:
And, of course, anyone who has ever been to a Yitzhak Rabin memorial knows this 1997 song Shalom Chaver:
My list of songs of his that are amazing and that I love could go on and on and ON.
Do you have a favourite Arik Einstein song?
I bought a tablet. Two months ago the really sweet and helpful girl who works at the school’s small bookstore told me that they’d be getting in a tablet that runs windows 8 and comes with a keyboard. I can’t afford a tablet but I really need one, especially one that runs microsoft office and has a hebrew-english keyboard. The laptop I had to buy last year had both the internal speakers and the switch to hebrew function go out the first week after I bought it. Not having the hebrew typing ability has been brutal — for instance, I’ve not been able to fill in the (many) electronic forms that would have seen me get approximately 6,000 sheks of my salary from last year. So, every week I’ve been checking by to see if they’d gotten it in, just to window-shop and admire it. I’d hoped to earn enough with tutoring to be able to semi-afford it but having that fall put paid to that idea.
When I checked in yesterday, there it was: A thing of beauty –an Asus Transformer. The tablet is 10.1 inches and is so light I couldn’t believe it. It is much lighter than a paperback book! Even with the mini keyboard you can attach to the tablet to so it becomes like a tiny laptop, it is feather light compared to my heavy and bulky laptop.
How much is it? I asked as I admired it. 2010 shekels — a 500 shek discount from a regular store. It is only 84 shekels a month if you buy it on the 24-month payment plan, the shop girl burbled and there is absolutely no interest on the payments. Really? Plus, it comes with Microsoft Office for students fully loaded and functional and that is an additional 530 shekel savings. Ok, I said, before I’d even had time to think it through. But nu, I can manage to find 84 sheks that can be shaved off my budget each month, especially when the spring garden starts to produce. The baby lettuce is just a few days from the first harvest and that should save me 5 sheks a week already. I’ve got loads of green onions growing and harvestable (they cost 10 sheks a bunch at the store). The collards will be ready in another 3-4 weeks. The aubergine are still blooming and it is just possible a couple more unexpected fruit will set and there are 5 unexpected sweet peppers already growing…yep, with the help of the garden I can certainly manage to shave off 84 sheks a month.
I’m waiting until tonight to set it up as my Changiving gift to myself. How exciting!
Tomorrow night here in Israel we will celebrate the first night of Chanukah (I’ll be lighting candles with the little family next door and stuffing my face with latkes and sufganiot –homemade sufganiot, mind you, by my neighbour and that beat the pants off the ones you can get at the best bakery here if last year was anything to go by). The first actual day of Chanukah falls on Thursday, which is also the American holiday Thanksgiving. Folks in the U.S. are thus celebrating what they are calling Thanksgivvukah. Here, we have our priorities straight, rallying round the table for potato pancakes and jelly donuts (sufganiot) rather than a deceased bird, and so I’m calling the holiday this year Changiving. It definitely deserves a special name because Chanukah and Thanksgiving will not both fall on the same day for another 70,000 years. Yeah, this isn’t just a once in a lifetime experience but a once in tens of thousands of generations experiences. So enjoy your Turkey or Tofurkey and dude, definitely enjoy your jelly donuts, and consider that celebrating the miracle of Chanukah is something of a special miracle this year.
(I’ve got tons to blog about tomorrow: my new and exciting purchase that I totally can’t afford but really do need, my exciting bus ride home, politics, kvetches, and cats)