One of the delightful things about an expanding readership is the interesting things that come to my email. One of the less delightful things about being a part-time blogger is the length of time it takes me to read and process these materials. I thought that I'd take some time tonight, though, and use this post to share with you some of the fascinating stuff that comes my way. In no particular order:
A leftist, non-Jewish German politician is starting a center to fight anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in Europe:
When Ilka Schroeder, a non-Jew from Germany, starts talking about Israel and anti-Semitism, she says people in the United States are usually pretty astounded.
"They expect something else — I'm European and leftist," she said.
But Schroeder has defied the stereotypes of those labels — and is trying to get other Europeans to get over their stereotypes of Israel and the Jewish people.
The 28-year-old is starting a center in Berlin to fight anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, and she spent much of her five-year term as a member of the European Union Parliament trying to get the organization to reconsider its financial support of the Palestinian Authority.
Last month, a German court finally took a tiny step towards cracking down on honor killings, by imposing a pathetic 9 year sentence on a Turkish man who murdered his sister in cold blood for living the life of a free Western woman.
I'd managed to miss an incredibly moving Wall Street Opinion Journal story about a Silver Star recipient whose life took him from Pol Pot's killing fields to Afghanistan. Thankfully, a friend didn't miss it, and sent it to me, so I can now offer it to you.
A writer named Spengler thinks I'm off base when I say that, whatever J.K. Rowling's motives, the Harry Potter books support conservative thought in fighting the war the jihadists are waging against us. Rather than my optimistic view, he sees Harry Potter as a symbol of the West's decline. Why? Because he thinks Rowling's books enshrine complacency. Harry Potter is a fully formed hero from the git-go, and does not make the spiritual journey that marks the characters in great literature (Spengler cites to Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennett; Dickens' Pip; and Cervante's Don Quixote, among others). I think that Spengler is, perhaps, confusing two ideas. Yes, great literature is about personal growth, and I'm all for it. (Even outside of literature, my favorite movie is Groundhog Day, which is all about the character's development from zero to hero.) This literary genre is infinitely satisfying because the character around whom the story is centered grows and changes. The Harry Potter books are bigger than that. As I see them, they show a society growing and changing as it faces an increasing external threat. There is also nothing wrong, historically, with hero literature that is meant to inspire bravery to defend societal norms, rather than to ensure personal maturation. But that's just my view, and Spengler writes a good article.
Did you know that Dubai is planning a playland for the rich, rich, rich, in the form of personal Islands named after the countries in the world? Interestingly (and, of course, unsurprisingly, given the project's origins), Israel is not one of the countries of the world. It's existence seem to have been magically absorbed into Jordan and Lebanon.
Thanks again to all of you who send me a wide variety of eye-opening and thought-provoking materials. I do read them all. I'm just very, very slow.