God’s Chosen People

Michaelangelo hands of God and Adam

There’s a guy where I exercise who’s nice, but I’ve never really warmed up to him.  He’s not part of the ownership or the management team, so it’s never really mattered to me what I think of him.  Last week, though, I discovered that my subconscious might have been sending me messages when I couldn’t make myself like him.  After a tirade against capitalism, for ObamaCare, and in favor of restrictions on all things that could affect Global Warming (yes, let’s get rid of the sun!), he said, “And another thing….”  He then started to inform me how pernicious the message is that the Jews are “God’s chosen people.”

My exercise place is wonderful, so I wasn’t about to upset the nice dynamic there by getting into a debate with a hard-core Leftist.  Those debates usually end badly:  the Leftist doesn’t change his mind, while any people in the vicinity who aren’t hard-core but are still Left (this is Marin after all), get very upset and start thinking with their navels, not their brains.  The best way for me to handle situations like this is to leave, think my arguments through, and then have those arguments ready for the inevitable round two.  This blog is where I think my arguments through. . . .

Apropos his anger that Jews think they’re special (along the lines of “Who are they to claim they’re God’s chosen people?”), it occurred to me that both the Left and antisemites are ferociously ignorant about their Old Testament.  Here is what the Bible tells (and all of you, who are more Bible literate than I, please correct me when I’m wrong):

Before he formed the covenant with the Jewish God, Abraham was polytheistic.  Ur, his original homeland, was certainly polytheistic.  God did not originally appear as a monotheistic God.  Instead, he just appeared as a divine being who selected Abraham (or, as he was initially, Abram).  If Abraham joined in a covenant with God, aligning his family with God, and circumcising all males as a sign of that covenant, God would treat Abraham and his descendents well.  Provided that all of them, through the centuries, abided by the covenant (and circumcision is a harsh demand) they would have land and good fortune.

The Bible acknowledges more than once that there are other gods swirling around in the ancient world.  For example, when Jacob and Rachel flee her father, Laban, Rachel takes her father’s “Household Gods.”  Significantly, in the Ten Commandments, God himself acknowledges other Gods.  It’s just that, as to the Jews, if they wish to keep the covenant, he must be the only God they claim and worship:

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Those words make sense only if there was competition. Otherwise, God would have said, “There are no other Gods, but for me.”

While God promised much to the children of Abraham, he also placed heavy burdens upon them in addition to circumcision.  In a time when people were comforted by a panoply of gods, all of whom were physically present and whose favors could be bought with human or animal sacrifices, the Jews had just one abstract God in whom they had to believe, regardless of his invisible nature.

During the Greek occupation in Palestine, the Jews could not partake of the physical libertinism that characterized the Greeks.  Jews could not hold on to slaves for more than seven years, and had to treat their slaves humanely, which placed them at an economic disadvantage compared to others in the ancient world.  They were prohibited from eating all kinds of foods, which may have conferred some health benefits on them (e.g., no trichinosis), but which also limited their ability to thrive.

And so it goes, rule after rule that gave the Jews a spiritual advantage, but that limited their options in the ancient world.  In exchange, absent periodic miracles, such as the exodus from Egypt, being God’s chosen people wasn’t so great:  they were isolated and often at war with the world around them, their lives were constrained by God’s stringent rules, and God was big on punishing individuals or whole groups for any failure properly to abide by His rules.

The end result was that, in the ancient world, Jews were considered everything from fellow imperialists, to slaves, to an occupied people.  The one thing that they weren’t considered to be, though, was arrogant and special.  Indeed, in the ancient world, they were considered foolish for hewing to one invisible God rather than taking advantage of the panoply of gods then benefiting everyone else.

What changed was Christianity, which looked at the Jewish God and the whole notion of monotheism and concluded that it was a good idea.  The early Christians were Jews and, when they split from Jews who didn’t recognize Christ’s divinity, they still considered themselves God’s Chosen People — only they were even more chosen because they had taken Christ as their savior.  Suddenly, the Jews’ claim to be God’s Chosen People seemed (a) wrong and (b) arrogant, considering that both Jews and Christians were claiming the same God as their own.

All of which is to say that the Leftist at the dojo was wrong when he sought to insult Jews because they somehow think they’re “special.”  That’s not the issue at all.  Jews have simply chosen, for thousands of years, to abide by a very challenging covenant that Abraham made with a God who came to Abraham and said, “If you pick me, and you play by my rules, we’ll be a team forever.”  In the beginning, everybody thought Abraham made a bad deal by letting himself and his descendents get tagged by this jealous God.  It was only with the passing of time that others began to think that they’d like to be tagged too.

Certainly now, Jews do not display religious arrogance.  They do not demand, either with words or swords, that others worship their God; and they do not enslave or tax or otherwise discriminate against those who don’t.  Yes, amongst themselves they think they’re doing the right thing, but so does every group, whether religious or otherwise.  Why bother to be a group if you don’t have special bonds that distinguish you from others?  But there’s a profound difference between thinking “Yup, I’m engaging in correct religious behavior,” and thinking “You all are evil and doomed.  You deserve to die and then go to Hell.  And while you’re on this earth, I have the right to make it a Hell on earth for you.”  Now that’s arrogant.

Yom Hashoah

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day that was once a memorial day, a day of looking back, but is now a chilling tocsin of what the future might hold.  Everywhere in the world, antisemitism is on the rise.  Nor is this the cold, clinical antisemitism that once characterized England — the kind where people would sniff at someone and say “Oh, he’s a Jew.”  Jews might be socially ostracized and subject to petty humiliations, but they were not tortured, killed, or denied civil rights by their own government.

All over the world today, including in England, Jews are facing a worldwide rise in violent antisemitism that his not just a “chill,” is a scary, furnace-like heat.  (I keep mentioning England because it has swung more violently than any other European country from an “I don’t care” view of Jews to a blood-thirsty hatred for Jews and Israel.)  I don’t have the heart or the time to detail the attacks.  I will share with you a video showing what happens to Jews when the world turns on them, with the background music being an extremely rare recording of Bergen-Belsen survivors signing the “Hatikvah.”

By the way, David Goldman (Spengler) has the good news, which is that Jew hating-societies are dying off, because off low birth rates.  Jews stand for life (“I say to you, choose life“), so it’s not surprising that these cultures embrace death, their own and other’s.  The problem, of course, is that these dying cultures can still cause a lot of trouble as they grapple with their own convulsive death throes.

“Come on, you Spurs! Come on, you Spurs!

When I lived in England, the Tottenham Hotspurs, a London based football club, was doing very, very well.  It had done very, very well the year before too.  So Chas & Dave, a popular English duo, wrote a song, which became a massive hit.  The song is undeniably catchy, and it’s been stuck in my head for more than thirty years now:

During the song, you can hear the players in the back holler “oy, oy.” When I first heard this, I thought it was a funny coincidence that the Spurs used a Yiddish word like that. I was quickly disabused of this notion. There was nothing coincidental about that. The Spurs had such strong support from London Jews that it was called “the Jewish Club.” Back in the day, that was just a fact. The Brits, who were then known for a casual, rather than venomous, antisemitism, might make slighting remarks, but that was all.

Today, though, the team’s Jewish identity is something very dangerous for the team’s fans, despite the fact that there are no Jewish players and the vast majority of its fans aren’t Jewish:

For Tottenham Hotspur’s corps of traveling fans, Thursday’s soccer game in Italy against Internazionale Milano holds many dangers—and not just to their team. When Tottenham played Lyon in a Europa League game last month, 150 visiting fans were set upon by a group of neo-Nazis, with three Spurs supporters ending up in the hospital. It was the second time in recent months that the team’s fans have been attacked by a fascist mob in Europe—in November, several Spurs fans were injured when they traveled to Rome to see Tottenham take on Lazio. Their assailants screamed “Jews” before attacking them with knives and clubs.

Tottenham’s supporters are no strangers to anti-Semitism. The North London team has been known as the “Jewish club” since the beginning of the early 1900s, when it regularly attracted over 11,000 Yiddisher supporters to home games. In 1986, it was the first big team (and the last) to hire a British Jew, David Pleat, as a coach, and a Happy Yom Kippur message has made an annual appearance in the club’s official program since 1973.

The paragraphs above come from a Wall Street Journal article about the team and its Jewish identity. Although it’s short,it nevertheless manages to be a fascinating blend of history, antisemitism, and identity in a PC age. It is, therefore, well worth reading.

Kudos to George Galloway for letting the Left’s full Israel hatred show

George-Galloway

Left-wing British Member of Parliament George Galloway, who’s always been pro-Palestinian, finally let the mask drop and showed his full Israel/Jewish hatred:

Controversial Left-wing MP George Galloway shocked an Oxford University audience by refusing to debate with an opponent because he was Israeli.

To cries of ‘racism’, Mr Galloway picked up his coat and stormed out of the hall.

The Respect MP had been booked to appear in the debate at Christ Church college and had spoken for ten minutes in favour of the motion that ‘Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank’.

But when his opponent, Eylon Aslan-Levy, began putting the opposing view, Mr Galloway took umbrage at learning he was an Israeli.

Film of the incident shows Mr Aslan-Levy, 21, a third-year philosophy, politics and economics student at Brasenose College, using ‘we’ in reference to Israel.

Mr Galloway can be heard muttering: ‘Did he say “we”?’ before interrupting his opponent.

‘You said “we”,’ said the Bradford West MP. ‘Are you an Israeli?’ ‘I am, yes,’ Mr Aslan-Levy replied.

‘I don’t debate with Israelis. I have been misled. Sorry,’ said Mr Galloway.

As he reached the door, he added: ‘I don’t recognise Israel, and I don’t debate with Israelis,’ before storming out of the room.

Galloway’s behavior is disgusting, racist, antisemitic, and anti-Israel. It’s also wonderful insofar as it rips off the gooey, sweet, PC mask that the Left uses to cover its censorship and hatred and when it comes to opposing views. This is what BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) is all about. This is what anti-Israel rhetoric is all about. The Left doesn’t want a two-state solution. The Left doesn’t want to see Palestinians and Israel reach an accord. What the Left wants is to see Israel and Jews silenced — and Galloway is no longer making a pretense that he has any other goal.

Galloway is as disgusting a human being as it’s possible to be, but he gets kudos today for being sufficiently useful to reveal the core ugliness that lies at the heart of the Leftist approach to Israel and the Middle East.

Hagel wins over Andrew Sullivan by groveling to gays and smearing Jews

Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel apologized for making a fairly nasty gay slur more than a decade ago.  The execrable Andrew Sullivan is proud of Hagel, especially because Hagel’s mea culpa wasn’t accompanied by a companion mea culpa to the Jews and the State of Israel, as to both of which Hagel has directed a boatload of smears, insults, and threats.

According to Sullivan, Hagel recited his dictated apology perfectly, and it’s a mercy that Andrew and his ilk trained Hagel so well, because it won’t be the first apology Hagel will probably be called upon to make.  Why?  Because of the Joos, whom Sullivan views in much the same way the Arab crowd does:

Antisemitic imagery from the Arab world

The rest is smears – and there will be more to come, knowing how fanatical and ruthless the Greater Israel lobby is.

Hagel need not worry too much, though. Sullivan rightly divines that, in Obama’s America, as long as you make nice to the gays, it’s okay to start preparing the pathway to a new Jewish genocide:

This [i.e., Hagel's ability to appease various Leftist victim groups] is fast becoming a litmus test of whether an American president can nominate a defense secretary without getting the blessing of the AIPAC chorus. Yes, we have sunk that far. But this could be a turning point for a saner Middle East policy.

I think the Palestinians have a phrase for a “saner Middle East policy“:  “There is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.”

It’s not just that Sullivan is ever more proudly wearing his antisemitism alongside his homosexuality.  It’s not even as if he sounds as if he’s reading out of the Cliff Notes version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  What’s so horrific is that he has a bully pulpit on the blogosphere — and, moreover, one that, to those unaware of modern media’s ideology collapse, seems respectable.

Andrew Sullivan

Sullivan is a mental slob and a moral deviant (something entirely separate from his sexual identity, which is his own business).  In a free nation, he’s allowed to be a pea brain and antisemite, but it says something just awful about America that he has a large and loyal following.

And if we want to take horrific and multiply it by appalling, what’s really astounding and depressing is that, as I know from my Leftward friends, many of his most devout followers are Jews.  Or rather, I should say that, genetically they’re Jewish and they observe the High Holy Days, but their sensibilities are shaped entirely by Leftist politics.  Like all useful idiots and appeasers, they’re pretty sure the crocodile, once it starts its attack, will pass them by for someone who forgot to grovel and pander as well as they did.

Oh, wait!  I’ve thought of something even more dreadful than horrific multiplied by appalling:  It’s not just that Andrew Sullivan approves of Chuck Hagel.  It’s that our president — reelected by 52% of the American population — does too.  Rather than leading the call for surrender of arms, smart Jews should be stockpiling.

Obama’s intellectual love affair with T.S. Eliot

Everyone is having a good laugh at young Obama’s pompous, turgid, and self-referential writing about T.S. Eliot.  My thoughts actually went somewhere else.  T.S. Eliot was a tried-and-true antisemite.  That’s why I’ve always given him a wide berth.  The young Obama apparently did not feel the same way about Eliot’s attitudes.

I’m just sayin’….

A new addition to the book of heroic failures — Gunter Grass

One of my favorite books is a tattered paperback tucked safely into my bookshelf, called The Book of Heroic Failures: The Official Handbook of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain. It’s a humorous compilation of things that just didn’t go right.

Two of the more charming chapters introduce us to the worst British and the worst American poets.  The worst British poet is William Topas McGonagall:

He was so giftedly bad that he backed unwittingly into genius.  Combining a minimal feel for the English language with a total lack of self-awareness and nil powers of observation, he became a poet.

Sitting in his back room in Paton’s Lane, Dundee, wishing he was on holiday, he was seized with a desire to write poetry.  He paced the room, saying, ‘But I know nothing about poetry.’  Thus qualified he sat down and penned his first great work:

An Address to the Rev George Gilfillan

All hail to the Rev George Gilfillan of Dundee,
He is the greatest preacher I did ever hear or see.
He is a man of genius bright,
And in him his congregation does delight,
Because they find him to be honest and plain,
Affable in temper, and seldom known to complaint.

It goes on, but I won’t torture you.  In any event, McGonagall was a piker when compared to America’s entry into the poetic fray, Julia Moore, “The Sweet Singer of Michigan.”  Mark Twain, with his appreciation for the ridiculous, was a great fan.

Her verse is mainly concerned with violent death — the great fire of Chicago and the yellow fever epidemic proved natural subjects for her pen.

Whether the death was by drowning, by fits or by runaway sleigh, the formula was the same:

Have you heard of the dreadful fate
Of Mr. P. P. Bliss and wife?
Of their death I will relate,
And also others lost their life
(in the) Ashbula Bridge disaster,
Where so many people died.

Even if you started out reasonably healthy in one of Julia’s poems, the chances are that after a few stanzas you would be at the bottom of a river or struck by lightening.  A critic of the said she was ‘worse than a Gatlin gun’ and in one slim volume counted 21 killed and 9 wounded.

Incredibly some newspapers were critical of her work, even suggesting that the sweet singer was ‘semi-literate.’  Her reply was forthright:  ‘The Editors that has spoken in this scandalous manner, have went beyond reason.’  She added that ‘literary work is very difficult to do.’

The above examples of heroically bad verse have a certain antiquated charm and strive for moral uplift.  The same cannot be said for the newest entrant into the lists, Gunter Grass — former Nazi, current Leftist, fulminating antisemite, and terrible poet.  Owing to his past fame, Gunter managed to get published a poem that simultaneously castigates Israel as a tyrannical, genocidal cesspool, while celebrating Iran’s wonderfulness:

That is the claimed right to the formal preventive aggression
which could erase the Iranian people
dominated by a bouncer and moved to an organized jubilation,
because in the area of his competence there is
the construction of the atomic bomb.

[snip]

Now, since my country,
from time to time touched by unique and exclusive crimes,
obliged to justify itself,
again for pure business aims – even if
with fast tongue we call it “reparation” -
should deliver another submarine to Israel,
with the specialty of addressing
annihilating warheads where the
existence of one atomic bomb is not proved
but it wants evidence as a scarecrow,
I say what must be said.

[snip]

And I admit: I won’t be silent
because I had enough of the Western hypocrisy;
Because I wish that many will want
to get rid of the silence,
exhorting the cause of a recognizable
risk to the abdication, asking that a free and permanent control
of the Israel atomic power
and the Iran nuclear bases
will be made by both the governments
with an international supervision.

The poem is not more melodious in its original German:

Es ist das behauptete Recht auf den Erstschlag,
der das von einem Maulhelden unterjochte
und zum organisierten Jubel gelenkte
iranische Volk auslöschen könnte,
weil in dessen Machtbereich der Bau
einer Atombombe vermutet wird.

[snip]

Jetzt aber, weil aus meinem Land,
das von ureigenen Verbrechen,
die ohne Vergleich sind,
Mal um Mal eingeholt und zur Rede gestellt wird,
wiederum und rein geschäftsmäßig, wenn auch
mit flinker Lippe als Wiedergutmachung deklariert,
ein weiteres U-Boot nach Israel
geliefert werden soll, dessen Spezialität
darin besteht, allesvernichtende Sprengköpfe
dorthin lenken zu können, wo die Existenz
einer einzigen Atombombe unbewiesen ist,
doch als Befürchtung von Beweiskraft sein will,
sage ich, was gesagt werden muß.

[snip]

Und zugegeben: ich schweige nicht mehr,
weil ich der Heuchelei des Westens
überdrüssig bin; zudem ist zu hoffen,
es mögen sich viele vom Schweigen befreien,
den Verursacher der erkennbaren Gefahr
zum Verzicht auf Gewalt auffordern und
gleichfalls darauf bestehen,
daß eine unbehinderte und permanente Kontrolle
des israelischen atomaren Potentials
und der iranischen Atomanlagen
durch eine internationale Instanz
von den Regierungen beider Länder zugelassen wird.

John Hinderaker, who was the first person I saw, not just to report on the story, but actually to look at little Gunter’s verse, provides the perfect epitaph for writing that has as it’s only virtue the fact that it perfectly exposes the Left’s creative and moral vacuity:

Other news sources have quoted somewhat different translations, but you get the picture. That isn’t poetry, it is mindless left-wing noodling with occasional line breaks.

I don’t think there was ever actually a time when patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel, but isn’t it obvious that leftism is the last refuge not only of scoundrels, but of the untalented, the over the hill, the too scared to be anything but conventional, and the depraved?

Just as a palette cleanser, because I feel pretty dirty right about now:

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meets in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress
Or softly lightens o’er her face,
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek and o’er that brow
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent;
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent.

Proof — as if we need it — that anti-Zionism sentiment is antisemitic and that Israel is not just right but necessary

Today, a gunman hunted out a Jewish school in Toulouse, killing four (three of whom were young children) and then vanishing.  Despite the unusual specificity of the targets (i.e., Jewish children), the usual suspects are very busy denying that the unusual specificity of the targets had anything to do with anything.  D.G. Myers will have nothing to do with this type of dissimulation and uses it to hone in on two very pertinent truths:

Nor have [the shooter's] ethnicity and affiliations (if any) been established. That did not stop commentators on the Washington Post’s story from issuing the standard “Israelis kill innocent children too” equivalencies. This much can be said for certain, however: the shooting at a Jewish religious school had nothing to do with Israel, except in as far as all Jews are identified with Israel, for better or worse. The gunman could not have singled out Rabbi Sandler and his two children, since according to witnesses, he “shot at everything he could see.” As Jonathan said, he simply wanted to kill as many Jews as possible.

But the fact that commentators were quick to draw a connection to Israel — Arab commentators on the Jerusalem Post story did the same — reveals an undeniable truth: Anti-Zionism is indistinguishable from anti-Semitism, precisely because all Jews are identified with Israel, for better or worse.

And there is another connection between this morning’s shooting and the Jewish state as well. If the innocent dead and wounded at Ozar Hatorah were targeted only because they are Jews, there is one place on earth where they will be protected, only because they are Jews. Perhaps there is no better justification than that for the state of Israel.

San Francisco OWS reveals its socialist, anti-American, antisemitic, anti-Israel core beliefs

Zombie has another superb photo essay, this one about the OWS protest of Shimon Peres’ San Francisco visit.  If you haven’t already checked it out, please do.  My favorite part is the bit with the San Francisco motorcycle cop.  You go, guy!

Please remember when you read Zombie that Zombie is the new media.  Part of dis-empowering the anti-American, socialist, antisemitic, anti-Leftist old media is to support the new media.  By the way, it’s no coincidence that in describing our shiny, rich, famous old media, we use precisely the same adjectives that we use to describe the violent, aggressive OWSers on the street.  Different appearance and tactics, but same ideology and goals.

“Act of Valor” cleared of antisemitism

Of the many, many things I do that irritate my husband, two are pertinent here.  First, I actually listen to what he says.  This can be frustrating for him, because he doesn’t always use his words with precision.  When we’re having a discussion and I say “But you said…” his return is usually “I know that’s what I said, but you know that’s not what I meant.”  Well, no.  If you said one thing, how the heck am I supposed to know that you meant another thing?

My other irritating habit is that I can totally read movies.  Aside from the fact that I don’t generally like what’s coming out of Hollywood, I also have a very low boredom threshold.  If I can figure out character, plot, and motive in the first ten minutes of the movie, and I don’t like where the movie is going, I’m so out of there.  This irritates my husband, although he can also find it useful:  “Why did that women get on the train?”  “But I thought those two characters were married?”  You know . . . questions like that.  If there’s foreshadowing or nuance in a movie, I get it.

These two traits are relevant to my perception of antisemitism in Act of Valor.  First, I was paying close attention to the dialog, so I heard what I heard.  Second, had there been nuance, foreshadowing, character development, etc., I would have gotten it.  The line “You’re a Jew,” was out there, and the nuance, foreshadowing, plot, or character development that would normally have explained that line’s meaning were missing, both before and after the line was uttered.  That’s my defense.

BUT — and this is a really important “but,” so please stick with me here.

I just got an email from someone purporting to be close to the SEALS involved in the production, and for the time being, I’m comfortable believing that this person is who he says he is, and that what he’s saying is the truth.  I won’t quote the bulk of the email verbatim, because I haven’t been given permission to do so.  I will, however, pass on the pertinent data, along with my apologies to the SEALS generally and the Senior Chief specifically for having misinterpreted their motives and for having done so very publicly.

First, I have been assured that the Senior Chief is not an antisemite, and I absolutely believe that to be true.  I actually never meant to accuse the real Senior Chief of being antisemitic, so I apologize for creating the perception that I did.  I didn’t even perceive his character as being antisemitic.  I perceived the movie as being antisemitic or, rather, having a rather stunningly antisemitic moment.  To the extent, though, that perception becomes reality, I apologize directly to the Senior Chief for accusing him of being antisemitic.

Second, the email writer explained to me that, in the context of the scene (and I am going to quote here) “it was a device to try to separate Christo from Shabal by appealing to the natural enmity between Jews and radical islamists.”  Further, the actor, Alex Veadov is, in fact, Jewish, so that charge against him in the movie was a form of method acting that brings together both reality and fiction that, to my mind, meshed in an unfortunate way.

I totally believe the above is true.  Indeed, in my earlier posts, I even explored the possibility that it might be true — but rejected it because the line “you’re a Jew” existed in a vacuum.  I don’t doubt that the SEALS and the other actors understood the subtext, but for the audience, the line stood there in glorious isolation.  The second, missing, line should have been “How can you make common cause with a man who is dedicated to your people’s destruction?”  Except that line wasn’t there.  As a literalist who listens, its absence was a potent force for me.  And I have to say that, as someone who reads movies, there was nothing else in the movie to help me understand that there was an unspoken line driving this scene.

My sense here is that, much as I really dislike Hollywood, Hollywood is adept at one thing, and that is telling the story at both the big, obvious level, and at the lower, more subliminal level.  When it’s doing pure entertainment, this works.  When it’s doing propaganda, this facility is irritating.  This movie bypassed Hollywood, something that I really appreciate.  It made an amateur mistake, however, which is to forget that the audience has to have things spelled out, and that’s true whether they’re spelled out explicitly or implicitly.  I can’t know what the movie’s makers intend; I can know only what they tell me.

The letter writer closed by asking me to correct my earlier email as quickly as possible lest it create dangerous risks for the men and women in the field.  He could have just appealed to my conscience, because I do have one.  If I do something wrong, I say so.  If I hurt someone’s feelings, I apologize.  And if I create the incorrect impression that a person or group has bad motives, I move as quickly as possibly to remedy that error.  I now have data showing I was wrong and created a bad impression.  This post, written as soon as possible, is meant to correct that, and I’m disseminating this post as widely as possible.  And I do most heartily apologize to the Senior Chief and the SEALS for wrongly impugning them.

 

More thoughts about “Act of Valor” and antisemitism. *UPDATED*

[UPDATE:  I received an email from someone who I have reason to believe is indeed close to the story, rebutting my charges.  I still think the film slipped up, but I am certain that the SEALS are not antisemites.  Read more here.]

In my earlier post, I accused Act of Valor of including crude antisemitism.  You can read my accusation here.  I have a few more thoughts that I want to put out here.

Readers of my blog know that I’m not someone who sees antisemitism under every rock.  Certainly, I do discuss antisemitism at the Bookworm Room, as you’ll see if you follow the category link.  I happen to believe that our President is not a friend of Israel, and I suspect that he doesn’t like religious Jews.  I also write a fair number of posts about modern Leftism’s hostility to Israel, a hostility that is hard to explain without looking to good old-fashioned Jew hatred.  If you want to see more of my thoughts on the subject, check the link.

Having said that, I don’t constantly watch movies and TV shows, or view news reports, or read books with a constant eye out for antisemitism.  People sometimes say or do things that can be perceived as offensive, but if their motives are clearly from innocence or ignorance, I just don’t care.  You’ve probably heard the expression that, to a hammer, everything is a nail.  That is not my approach to antisemitism.

One of my friends whom I greatly respect suggested that maybe I read something in the movie that isn’t there.  He pointed out that both Roger Simon and Phyllis Chesler, two other people I highly respect, gave the movie glowing reviews without any mention of that “Jewish” bit.  Taking his question seriously, I asked myself “Did I fall asleep?” or “Did I have a hammer/nail moment where I imagined that scene?”

I therefore did a reality check, asking each of my children if, in the interrogation scene, the Navy SEAL had said to the bad guy something along the lines of “You’re a Jew.”  The children (a tween and a teen) corroborated that this dialogue took place.  The older one said “It made me uncomfortable.”  The younger one said, “They had a good reason for doing it.  They wanted to show that Jews can be bad guys and work with Muslims too.”

My younger child may be right about the point the movie wanted to make, but he’s still fundamentally wrong about the point being made (as are the filmmakers, if this was their goal).  Yes, some of the worst antisemites in the world are Jews.  Yousef Al-Khattab is a Jew turned Jihadi and George Soros is, of course, Jewish. Puree these two nasty men into one individual, and you could come up with a billionaire Jewish jihadist.  But how likely is that?  Both Soros and Al-Khattab are pretty rare animals — sui generis, one might say.  There’s only one Soros, and he’s inspired by Leftism, not by jihadism, and there’s only one Yousef Al-Khattab, and he’s inspired by Islam, not by a Jewish desire to destroy capital.

The reality in this world is that the vast (and by vast I mean in excess of 99%) majority of Jews aren’t jihadists.  In the real world, Jews are Israelis who are front-line warriors in the battle against radical Islam; beleaguered European Jews who are realizing that the Europeans don’t like them any more than they did in 1939 and side more with the Islamists in the midst; and ostrich-like American Jews whose loosey-goosey Leftism blinds them to the fact that the Left’s movers and shakers are not friends to either Israel or the Jews.

The percentage of Jihadists who are Jews is incalculably small, and the percentage of billionaire, greasy-haired, hooked-nosed Jewish Jihadists is smaller still — to the point of zero.  Even Soros, bad person though he is, does not look like a Jewish caricature, nor is he a Jihadist.  He is a Leftist, which is a different beast — and Act of Valor makes no effort to put the character of Christo into that Leftist slot.

And that’s really the point:  the movie makes no effort to try to put Christo into any recognizable slot other than that of traditional antisemitic imagery.  Christo is not a Leftist who allies himself with Islamists because they share a common goal of destroying the West.  Christo is not a convert who has abandoned his Jewishness and immersed himself in the antisemitic fanaticism of the Islamists.  Christo is also not a tortured, self-loathing Jew who is at least psychologically interesting.  He’s just an ugly, greasy, sadistic billionaire, whose goal is mass murder in America and the destruction of the American economy.

Christo’s Jewishness — which is a one-liner that ruined an entire movie for me — is thrown out there for no discernible reason.  It doesn’t explain the story that preceded his being identified as a Jew, and it doesn’t affect the plot that follows that revelation.  It’s just out there.  To me, that’s antisemitism, pure and simple.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that a show that’s billed as ordinary entertainment digs deep into traditional antisemitic tropes.  Just last month, an NBC TV show called Grimm apparently did precisely the same thing.  That two 2012 productions should delve into the world’s antisemitic psyche to create their bad guys is more than disturbing.  It’s frightening.

One last thing:  I got mad at the Navy SEALS (and said so), because they star in Act of Valor and it’s billed as a Navy SEAL movie.  I understand that there are many more layers to a movie:  the creative side, the production side, the financing and, with this particular movie, presumably the Pentagon and State Department side.  I’d be deeply sorry to believe that this swipe at Jews originated with the SEALS themselves, although you can’t escape the fact that they participated in the movie.  Because of that participation, I don’t fully apologize to them for lashing out in my last post, but I somewhat apologize to them, and expand my anger to the other culprits behind this base act.

UPDATE:  Sadie has suggested that the Pentagon, fearful of angering Muslims, throw in a bad Jew as a sop to their delicate sensibilities.  Does that make it any better?

“Act of Valor” shoots self in foot with bullet packaged in a “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” label *UPDATED*

[UPDATE: I received an email from someone who I have reason to believe is indeed close to the story, rebutting my charges. I still think the film slipped up, but I am certain that the SEALS are not antisemites. Read more here.]

[I didn't want to clutter this post with endless updates, so I have further thoughts here, if you're interested.]

Let me begin by saying some nice things about the Navy SEAL movie Act of Valor.  The SEALS who star in it aren’t good actors, but they aren’t bad actors either.  None will win an Academy Award, but all managed to appear relaxed on-screen and seem like real people, not like real people struggling with a script.

The action scenes are every bit as good as advertised:  watching the SEALS glide through the jungles of Costa Rica, emerge like alligators from dark tropical waters, fire their guns from trucks while dozens of bad guys are shooting right back, jumping from planes — it’s all there, and it’s a total adrenalin rush to watch them.  It’s even more exciting knowing that the SEALS have actually done all this stuff for real.  They’re not a combination of pretty Hollywood actors and stunt doubles.  These guys have handled real guns, crawled through bug-infested jungles, and tangled with bad guys.

Throughout the movie, my kids kept leaning over to me and whispering “This is so cool” and “This is awesome.”  As the movie unfolded, I was already planning a review that incorporated their enraptured comments.  About halfway through the movie, though, cool and awesome came to a grinding halt, and I watched the rest of the movie stunned and confused.

Here’s the deal.  There are two chief baddies in the movie:  A crazed Islamic Chechen (who is actually Russian convert) and another guy who is introduced to us as Christo, a drug smuggling billionaire, presumably Slavic, who kills a CIA agent, orders the brutal torture of another (female) CIA agent, and uses his money to fund, and his smarts to facilitate, a massive terror attack on the United States.  The actor who plays him, Alex Veadov, looks like this in his IMDB photo:

He has sort of a hippie, geek, scholar look, right?  You’d see him in Starbucks, sipping a Chai Latte.

Interestingly, Veadov/Christo, despite being the chief bad guy in the movie, is absent from the trailers, something that’s rather peculiar.  Usually, part of the trailer’s allure is to show the bad guy, so that you know precisely who the good guys are going after.  It’s part of the audience’s anticipation.  Maybe the movie-makers thought that Veadov’s character was too ugly to show in a trailer.  I can’t find any pictures of him in the role but, with his beard, greasy hair, shiny face, and hook nose, I can help you out by telling you that the character looks like this:

Or like this:

Or like this:

For those who have missed my point, all of the above images come from Nazi antisemitic propaganda.

From the moment he appeared on-screen, I was struck by Veadov’s similarity to the propaganda images.  I assumed that the film-makers were trying to make him look like this, a familiar face to all of you, one that is both Semitic and one that is attached to one of America’s greatest enemies:

I was wrong in that assumption.  Halfway through the movie, in a very exciting action scene, the SEALS capture Christo and the Team’s senior commander interviews him.  Christo is oozing greasy sweat and even more greasy arrogance.  At any moment, one expects him to call his interrogator “infidel” or say “Allah is Great,” two things we hear with great frequency from those fighting against Americans in Afghanistan, those who fought against Americans in Iraq, and those who blow up Americans on 9/11.  Instead, though, what we hear the is the Senior say “But you’re Jewish!” 

Here’s the deal:  Our “brave” SEALS flinched.  Tasked with making a movie that could have shown Americans who the real heroes and the real enemies are, they chose, instead, to tear a page out of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and promote, very heavily (and especially heavily to Israel’s political friends), a movie that makes its greasy, ugly, rich, manipulative, American-hating bad guy . . . a Jew.

The other day, I saw a Newsweak headline calling the Navy SEALS “Obama’s Secret Army.”  At the time, I was incensed.  My thought was that the Newsweek team was annointing Obama king, with his own special force, answerable only to him.  The SEALS, I said to any who would listen, are America’s secret army or, at the very least, the military’s secret army.

Having seen this movie, though, my feeling is that Obama can have his SEALS.  They deserve each other, since both of them apparently feel very comfortable wallowing in the world of antisemitism.  I’m really, really disgusted.

Do not waste your money on this movie.  Hollywood movies are almost as good at portraying action and adventure and they, at least, are more subtle in their antisemitic tropes.  Or, even better, don’t see anything at all.  Take the money you would have spent on the movie and donate it to the Israeli Defense Forces — real warriors, fighting real bad guys.

UPDATE:  Turns out Debbie Schlussel noticed it too.

UPDATE II:  Just to clarify, as you’ll discover by looking at my military-themed blog posts, I am as pro-military as they come, without actually being military myself.  I support our military’s mission 100%, and greatly admire the brave men and women who put themselves on the front line.  Which makes this movie’s completely gratuitous (as in, it didn’t have any purpose) swipe at Jews all the more disgraceful.