Every Jewish holiday, creative young Jewish people bring something new to the musical world:
Palestinians smear their fallen enemies’ blood on their hands, dangle bodies outside of windows, and have candy-strewn parades celebrating the bloodshed when their enemies fall into their hands. Israelis teach their enemies to walk again. (I apologize for the long commercial before the video, but you may want to wait it out, because the video really is worth seeing.)
The above video is from Time Magazine online which lately has been doing something very peculiar: publishing a handful of fair and balanced articles and videos. I don’t know what’s going on there, but I hope it’s a trend, not an anomaly.
I had lunch today with two friends, both conservative, neither Jewish. Since we were talking politics, both asked me a question I hear repeatedly from non-Jewish conservatives — How can Jews support Obama?
It occurred to me — and this is a very depressing though — that Jews are repeating an old pattern. American Jews are Jews in name only, insofar as theirs is, at best, a superficial association with the religion. I’m a bit of an anomaly, in that I don’t practice the religion, but believe absolutely in its conservative strictures.
If I remember my Bible correctly (and with my memory, that’s a big “if”), the Bible is very clear: when Jews start worshiping false idols, they are punished and they are punished horrifically.
The most false of all false idols, of course, is the type of assimilation that sees Jews claiming to be Jewish while rejecting the Jewish God. This is a type of assimilation that sees them losing all the way around. They never fully integrate with their neighbors, even though that’s their primary goal, and they also break their covenant with God.
American Jews, by worshiping Obama as a false idol have set themselves up for another round of punishment. Even worse, the consequences of their actions will fall most heavily, not on them, but on Jews in Europe and the Middle East. While most Americans (outside of Ivy League colleges) are not antisemitic, the antisemites in the rest of the world are smart enough to know that Obama gave them a free pass. As has always been the case, from the Bible through to the Holocaust, a core of true-believers will survive, and the rest are in for a hell of a time.
As you can see, Obama’s actions, not to mention rising anti-semitism around the world, make me nervous.
Whew! I just depressed myself.
If you’re a politically conservative Jew looking for intellectual food on the internet, or if you’re just a conservative (not Jewish) looking for more to read on the internet, check out The Jewish Voice and Opinion, a publication that has been promoting traditional Jewish thought and conservative politics for 25 years. Here’s how it describes itself:
The Jewish Voice and Opinion speaks out forcefully and unashamedly for the unique concerns of what we have termed “classical Judaism.” As a politically conservative Jewish publication, we take as our mission to present news and feature articles not generally available elsewhere in the Jewish or secular media.
Now in its 25th year, The Jewish Voice and Opinion has been influential in religious and political circles throughout the United States, Israel, and elsewhere. It is often quoted and reprinted. It has been admired, feared, often debated, but never ignored.
Please check it out.
A friend sent me this article by a former Israeli soldier who know works for StandWithUs, an organization that counters the antisemitic and anti-Israel bile that pours forth on American campuses under the banner of the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement. The hatred he experiences is staggering, all the more so because it is so irrational. It is pure, undiluted hatred, of the type Jews have had the misfortune to face repeatedly over too many centuries:
To give you a taste of the viciousness of the BDS attacks, let me cite just a few of the many shocking experiences I have had. At a BDS event in Portland, a professor from a Seattle university told the assembled crowd that the Jews of Israel have no national rights and should be forced out of the country. When I asked, “Where do you want them to go?” she calmly answered, “I don’t care. I don’t care if they don’t have any place else to go. They should not be there.” When I responded that she was calling for ethnic cleansing, both she and her supporters denied it. And during a presentation in Seattle, I spoke about my longing for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. When I was done, a woman in her 60’s stood up and yelled at me, “You are worse than the Nazis. You are just like the Nazi youth!” A number of times I was repeatedly accused of being a killer, though I have never hurt anyone in my life. On other occasions, anti-Israel activists called me a rapist. The claims go beyond being absurd – in one case, a professor asked me if I knew how many Palestinians have been raped by IDF forces. I answered that as far as I knew, none. She triumphantly responded that I was right, because, she said, “You IDF soldiers don’t rape Palestinians because Israelis are so racist and disgusted by them that you won’t touch them.”
Such irrational accusations are symptomatic of dangerous anti-Semitism. Yet, alarmingly, most mainstream American Jews are completely oblivious to this ugly movement and the threat it poses. They seem to be asleep, unaware that this anti-Jewish bigotry is peddled on campuses, by speakers in high schools, churches, and communities, and is often deceptively camouflaged in the rhetoric of human rights.
It seems appropriate to include here a link about the medical care Syrian civilians are receiving in Israeli hospitals that turn no one away.
Feel free to be inspired and to donate to StandWithUs, an organization that uses every penny wisely. (I just gave my mite and hope that it helps.)
Tonight marks the first night of Rosh Hashanna, the Jewish New Year. More specifically, tonight is the 5,774th year that Jews have honored this particular holiday. It is, so far as I know, the oldest continuously operating calendar in the world.
Tonight also marks a Jewish New Year that sees the world balancing delicately on a thin red line, one that Obama drew a year ago, and that he today denied. To those who point out his unequivocal words, he says “Pish tosh. Truth is now, as it has ever been, defined by my needs at any given minute.” It’s nice to own your own reality.
Because the red line at issue is in the Middle East, Israel and her Jewish subjects are always the Arabs’ first target, never mind their own ills and failures. As has happened many times in the past, some Jews, both in Israel and the diaspora, wonder if there will be a “next year, in Jerusalem.”
But while this New Year happens to fall during a worrisome time, Rosh Hashanna is be definition a time of hope and renewal. Yad Vashem reminds us of this with its collection of New Year’s cards from the years immediately before, during, and after the Holocaust.
I was particular struck by the cards the Jews created in 1940 in the Lodz ghetto (renamed Litzmannstadt after a German general). Despite the ever-tightening noose the Nazis were putting around Poland’s population, the residents still took time to observe this essential moment in the annual calendar:
I doubt many, if any, of the people in that picture taken in better times survived the war:
On September 8, 1939, the Germans occupied Lodz and renamed the city Litzmannstadt (after the German general Karl Litzmann, who had conquered it in World War I). Lodz was home to 223,000 Jews on the eve of World War II. At the war’s end, no more than 7,000 Jews from the Lodz Ghetto had survived the camps.
Seven thousand survivors out of 223,000 once vital, living people may sound like a depressing start to the New Year, but I have a point. From those 7,000, as from all the other pockets of survivors across Europe and, from the Arab pogroms, across the Middle East, came one of the world’s most spectacular countries.
Israel is spectacular by every metric: It is a thriving, pluralist, inclusive, liberal democracy that emerges like a glittering stone from a surrounding swamp of tyrannical medievalism. It grants equal rights to all citizens, has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, has an armed force that is the wonder of the world (thanks, of course, to decades of American support), and contributes to scientific, technological, and agricultural advancements at a rate far in excess of its small size. If you visit it, you find a dynamic, fun-loving people who are fiercely devoted to LIFE. Unlike its surrounding neighbors, Israel is not a death cult; it’s a life force.
Many have tried, but none, ever, whether Babylonians, or Romans, or Germans, or Muslims, have succeeded in snuffing out completely this light unto the world. And when this light in the world survives, we are all, every one of us, made better and brighter because of it.
So every year is a Happy New Year because Jews have survived for 5,773 years and will undoubtedly bring their ferocious will to live and to contribute to the world’s well-being for another 5,773 years.
Shana Tova, my friends!
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.
My old high school, Lowell, in San Francisco, was celebrating its current building’s 50th anniversary, so the school had an open house. Before this morning, I hadn’t set foot in the school since I graduated (one in a class of almost 1,000 other students), and I was curious to see whether it matched my memories and how much it had changed. I also wanted to show my children, who bask in the glory of well-funded, small, suburban public schools, what a big urban school looks like.
My children were impressed by the school’s size but, mostly, they were impressed by the number of Asian kids and adults roaming the halls. When I went to Lowell, I think the Asian population was about 40%. The year I graduated, Lowell was one of the top ten high schools in the country. A few years after that, diversity mania struck and the City Board of Education, which has always hated Lowell’s academic prowess (since it highlights the problems in the other City-run schools) imposed a quota on Asians. The school sank like a stone in national rankings. Intrepid Asians sued, the quota was struck down, and the school went back to being very, very Asian – and, it is once again, one of the top schools in the nation — and 51st in the country — although, for budget reasons, it can’t compete with well-funded public schools in the suburbs.
One of my children commented that, being Jewish, I must have stood out in this “Asian” school. In fact, I told the kids, the contrary was true. Back in my day, the two largest identifiable groups at Lowell were Asians and Jews, so much so that there was a joke in the school that, if Yom Kippur and Chinese New Year fell on the same day, they’d have to close the school. I said that I don’t think that nowadays Jews boast such academic prowess. They’ve assimilated enough to be just like all the other white middle class kids.
Jews came up again on the way home when, for reasons I don’t remember, I started telling my kids about Dan Greenberg’s classic book, How to be a Jewish Mother: a very lovely training manual. Although my mother, being half goyish and European (not all Jewish and Russian/Polish) didn’t quite have the chops for full Jewish motherness, she was close enough that I got (and loved) the book.
Greenberg took traditional Jewish jokes and wove them into a wonderful tapestry. Because I can’t find my copy of the book, I could only quote from memory, but I did tell them how a Jewish mother gives a gift (and I’m paraphrasing here): Give your son two ties. When he puts on one (at your urging), look at him sadly and ask, “What’s the matter? You don’t like the other one?”
I also remembered what a Jewish mother should say if she comes home and finds her adult daughter with her boyfriend on the couch, necking: “Leave this house now and don’t come back until you’re a virgin again!”
My kids laughed, but one commented that “being a Jewish mother gives you a license for bad behavior.” That was an interesting thought. Certainly, centuries of dealing with hardship – poverty and persecution – have shaped the character of women who have to raise their children in an unforgiving world and, moreover, to struggle very hard against circumstances the whole while. So yes, Jewish mothers can be a pain in a tuchis. More importantly, though, Jews learned to deal with everything, including motherhood, through humor. If you can laugh, you’re not dead yet.
All of which led me to a thought: when persecuted, Jews responded with scholarship and humor. Now that they’re culturally assimilated and are inextricably intertwined with the Leftist governing class, they’ve abandoned scholarship and they (in common with all Leftists) have no sense of humor.
On that disheartening note, I think I’m going to console myself by spending some time with Leo Rosten’s delightful The Joys of Yiddish. I’m reading (and recommend) the original edition because I have solid information that the updated edition too often abandons Rosten’s trademark humor in favor of a pretentious scholarly tone. Only a shnook would fail to realize that one of Rosten’s major points in writing the book is that humor is an integral part of Yiddish because, up until assimilation created cultural decay, those who spoke Yiddish survived because they could laugh.
(If you can get a copy, you might also enjoy Everything but Money — an autobiography that explains a lot about early 20th century American Jews, education, humor, and humanism.)
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.
As every Jew will tell you, in the traditional Jewish calendar Hanukkah is not big deal. It reached its present status because it happens to fall at the same time as Christmas. Jewish parents, therefore, turned it into a gift-giving holiday so that their children didn’t feel completely left out from the happy, generous, celebratory Christmas season.
The fact that it’s not a big religious holiday, though, doesn’t mean that Hanukkah doesn’t commemorate an extremely important event, one that has enduring meaning to all freedom seeking individuals. For those who don’t know it, the story of Hanukkah is as follows:
Since time immemorial, nations have fought over that small patch of land we now call Israel. Considering that nature was less than generous in endowing Israel with fresh water or arable land, there must indeed be something special about the Holy Land, some transcendent aura, that has made it such a tantalizing prize to so many nations and people.
In 168 B.C.E., Greek soldiers located in modern-day Syria seized the great Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and defiled it by dedicating it to Zeus. Jews were appalled and offended, but still passively accepted this insult, for fear of incurring even greater wrath from the Greeks. Human nature, though, is human nature, and you cannot appease a tyrant. Heartened by Jewish passivity, the very next year, Antiochus, the Syrian-Greek emperor, mandated that any Jews who observed Jewish rituals would be put to death. Just to make sure he was completely clear, he also ordered that all Jews must affirmatively worship the Greek gods.
The Jews realized that it was one thing to be barred from a building, and another thing to be barred from their faith entirely. The smoldering tinder of Jewish resistance was lit when Greek soldiers in the village of Modiin gathered Jews together, and tried to force the Jews to bow to an idol and eat pork. Realizing that where the leader goes, the others will follow, a Greek officer focused his efforts on Mattathias, a High Priest. Mattathias refused to acquiesce to the Greek demands. In fear, another villager offered to violate Jewish law on Mattathias’ behalf. Mattathias, rather than being grateful, was outraged. He killed first the appeasing villager and then the Greek officer. Mattathias, his five sons, and some other villagers then came together and killed the remaining Greeks.
Outlaws now in Greek-controlled Israel, Mattathias, his sons, and their followers hid in the m0untains and began a guerrilla campaign of resistance against the Greek occupiers. The fight was a deadly one. Mattathias and several of his sons died in battle, leaving one of his sons, Judah Maccabee to carry the fight to its conclusion. As was the case with the American revolutionaries fighting their seemingly insane battle against the might of the British Empire (the most successful military in the world at that time), it seemed impossible to believe that the Maccabees (or Hasmoneans) could win — but they did, driving the Greeks from their lands and restoring the Temple to its rightful glory.
Of course, once the Maccabees first re-took the Temple in Jerusalem, it had been completely defiled by Greek religious practices, including the slaughter of swine on the altar. The Jews believed that they could purify the Temple by burning the ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days and eight nights. To their dismay, however, they discovered that they had only enough oil left for one day and one night. Nevertheless, they lit the menorah and a great miracle happened there: the menorah burned for eight days and eight nights. It is this miracle that the Jews celebrate when they light the menorah every night for the eight days of Hanukkah.
The Hanukkah story is a wonderful story of faith, commitment, and bravery. It is also a reminder that tyrannies, despite their power, are fundamentally unstable. A committed band of people can come together to topple them.
We are blessed to live in a republican Democracy. Obama is not a tyrant, but he is creating an infinitely more powerful federal government that has the seeds of tyranny in it (as all too-powerful governments do). For many of us, the 2008 election was the equivalent of the Jerusalem Temple takeover. It was a fearsome thing, but we did not yet feel that our lives and beliefs were being fundamentally transformed.
This 2012 election, however, has made us realize that Obama can follow through with vigor on his Big Government initiatives. All too soon, we may be forced to bow down. Now is the time for us to fight. We won’t slay people and take to the hills, though. Instead, we’ll run for elected office, refuse to let our children’s public schools use our tax dollars to indoctrinate them, boycott anti-American Hollywood products, invest in conservative businesses and news sources, assert our beliefs without apology, and in every way we can, become a conservativism that’s resurgent.
We are the new Maccabees.
The editor of a Jewish newspaper — let me repeat: a Jewish newspaper — has endorsed a Republican. Because we’re discussing Jews, it may be wrong to analogize this to pigs flying, but I guess it’s okay as long as we’re not eating those pigs for breakfast.
I was at a luncheon today (see below) and was asked, as I often am given that I’m a Jewish conservative: “How can Jews support Obama?” It’s an excellent question, and an extremely tough one to answer. The easiest statement, although also the hardest to analyze, is that Jews have substituted the Democrat Party platform for Torah. They ostensibly give obeisance to the God of Abraham, but their true God is Progressive politics.
However, Jews do not forget the Holocaust, and they do not forget that Israel does what Jews have not done since Roman times: Israel fights back. To the extent that Obama seems determined to clip Israel’s wings to a fatal extent, leaving her grounded as predators circle, touches something visceral in those Jews who have not drunk too deeply from the political Kool-Aid. There is hope.
There are two constituencies on which Democrats can always count: Jews and blacks. And Jews, unlike blacks, give lots of money to their favorite party and they get out and vote. For many Jews, being a Democrat is an integral part of their identity. Voting for a Republican is anathema. It turns them into a heretic who must be shunned by polite society.
But what happens when the Democrat president repeatedly engages in conduct that is hostile to Israel, the Jewish homeland? And what if this conduct occurs at a time when Israel is facing several enemies that will have the capacity within a short time to extinguish her existence?
For those of us who have already decided that Jewish and Democrat aren’t the same word, the answer to these questions, and others like them, is easy: don’t vote for Obama. Not only are his actions towards Israel hostile, he has, in both word and deed, proven to be overly anxious to curry favor with radical Islamists. This last matters not just to Jews, but to all Americans. Radical Islamists do not wish us well. They are explicit in their desire to destroy or subjugate our people and our culture.
As I said, for us, it’s easy. But for those Jews who cannot separate their core religious and racial identity from the Democrat party, crying foul on Obama is almost impossibly difficult. Fortunately, help is on the way, in the form of a very thoughtful video, narrated by and focusing on Irina, a 23-year old New York Jewish woman and Democrat, who takes a serious look at what Obama means to Israel and the Jews and, by extension to America:
God said of the Jews that they are a stiff-necked (or stubborn) people. They certainly are when it comes to their allegiance to the Democrat party. Despite three and a half years of manifest Obama hostility to Israel, the vast majority of American Jews still support him.
I can actually understand this attitude when it comes to the younger ones, because they’ve come of age during the demonization of Israel. With that as the zeitgeist at college campuses around America, it’s not surprising that they see nothing wrong with treating Israel as a pariah nation that must be taught a lesson. The older generation — the Florida generation — should know better. These are people who witnessed the Holocaust, the birth of Israel, and the Arab wars seeking to destroy Israel. These Jews are the ones who have always been the heart and soul of Jewish support for Israel.
But still, they are a stiff-necked people. The Emergency Committee for Israel is trying to break through the stubbornness with a hard-hitting ad. Do you think this ad, or ads similar to this one, will do the trick?
The handwriting was on the wall in 2008 but Jews, despite having eyes, could not see it: Obama is not now and never was a friend to Israel. His social and political allegiances meant that any protestations of friendship were lies. And certainly his acts during more than three years in the White House have been aggressively hostile to the Jewish state, whether he’s been showing personal antipathy to Netanyahu, political antipathy to the Jewish state itself, or bizarre outpourings of love for the Jewish state’s genocidal enemies.
Perhaps too late, or perhaps just in time, some Jews seem to be catching on that Obama isn’t Moses, he’s Pharaoh:
If senior journalist David Goldman is right, the correct word for describing the way a growing number of US Jews feel about President Barack Obama is not ‘anger’ but ‘rage’ – white-hot rage, at that, and a conviction that they have been swindled.
Goldman, Senior Editor of First Things magazine and ‘Spengler’ columnist for Asia Times Online, spoke last week at a convention on intellectuals and terror at Ariel University in Samaria. In his lecture, he quoted a top Jewish campaign donor who used the word ‘sociopath’ to describe Obama. In an interview with Israel National News, he predicted a possibly dramatic ‘train wreck’ for the Democrats in the November mid-term elections, with Jewish fundraising for Democrats drying up and a possibly high turnout of anti-Obama evangelical Christians.
Read the interview with David Goldman here.
I wrote this during Iran’s Green Revolution. For the paragraphs regarding Iran, please feel free to substitute Syria, the Sudan, the economic victims of the financially decimated European Union, Palestinian children who are pawns in Hamas’ genocidal strategy, or any other group of people groaning under a tyrant’s yoke.
An antisemitic Jew I know, rather than seeing the Passover ceremony as the celebration of freedom (the world’s first and for a long time only successful slave revolt), and of justice and morality (the Ten Commandments), derides the whole ceremony as the unconscionable and immoral celebration of the genocide of the Egyptian people. What troubles him so much is the fact that, after each plague, when Pharaoh seems about to soften and let the Jews go, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, leading to the necessity of yet another plague, culminating in the death of the first born.
I know that some people have tried to explain away this part of the story by saying that it is simply dramatic license, meant to increase the tension and danger of the Jew’s escape from Egypt. After all, if it had been easy, it wouldn’t have been much of a story. You know, Moses asks, “Hey, Pharaoh, can we go?” and Pharaoh answers “Sure.” That’s not a narrative with much punch or heroism, and God’s involvement is minimal or, at least, unexciting. It’s much more exciting to have an escalating series of plagues, with the audience on tenterhooks as to whether those pesky Jewish slaves will actually be able to make a break for it.
This reasoning is silly. There’s a much more profound purpose behind the ten plagues, and that is to remind us of the tyrant’s capacity for tolerating others’ suffering, as long as his power remains in place.
What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, despite an increase in the burdens placed upon his people. A blood filled Nile River may, at first, have seemed appalling, but the red receded and life went on. Pharaoh still held together his government. The same held true for each subsequent plague, whether lice or boils or wild animals or frogs, or whatever: As long as Pharaoh could maintain his power base, he was okay with the incremental decimation visited upon those he ruled.
Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might worry about a populace starving and frightened, but that was irrelevant as long as that same populace continued to fear and worship him. The people’s suffering, ultimately, was irrelevant to his goals. It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh’s power base was destroyed because his citizens were destroyed — that Pharaoh was convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.
Human nature hasn’t changed much in 3,000 years. Think, for example, of both the Nazis and the Japanese at the end of WWII. For the Nazis, it was apparent by December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge) that the war was over. Hitler, however, was a megalomaniac in the pharaonic mold, and his high command, either from fear or insanity, would not gainsay him. Rather than surrendering, the Nazi high command was willing to see its country overrun and its citizens killed. Only when the death toll became too high, and it was apparent that nothing could be salvaged from the ashes, did the war on the continent finally end.
The same held true for the Japanese. Truman did not decide to drop the bomb just for the hell of it. Even the fact that it would impress the Soviets was an insufficient reason for doing so. What swayed Truman was the fact that his advisers told him (credibly as it turned out) that the Japanese Bushido culture would not allow Japan to surrender even when surrender had become the only reasonable option. Instead, the military warned Truman that, although the Americans would inevitably win the war, if Truman didn’t take drastic action, victory would take another year, and cost up to 100,000 American lives and at least that many Japanese lives (including Japanese civilians).
Truman therefore had two choices: another year of war, with the loss of 100,000 Americans and many more than 100,000 Japanese; or an immediate stop to the war, with no more American casualties and at least 100,000 Japanese casualties. Put that way, the choice was a no-brainer. The outcome would be the same for the Japanese, but Truman would save the lives of more than 100,000 Americans, British, Australians and Dutch. (One of those Dutch, incidentally, was my Mom, who was on the verge of starving to death in a Japanese concentration camp.) The Japanese high command was Pharaoh. No amount of smaller plagues could stop the command from its chosen path. Only a large plague would swiftly lead to the inevitable conclusion.
But what about the innocent lives lost as a result of Pharaoh’s, the Nazi’s, and the Japanese high command’s intransigence? As the Japanese tale shows only too well, the innocents were always going to die, with the only question being whether they would die quickly or slowly. The same holds true for the Germans, whom the Nazis had long ago designated as cannon fodder to support their intensely evil regime. That’s the problem with an evil regime. If you’re unlucky enough to live under that regime, whether or not you support it, you’re going to be cannon fodder. Pharaoh will let you die of plagues, and the Nazi and Japanese leadership will let you be bombed and burned — as long as they can retain their power.
Iran is no different. Although the people bleed and cry under the brutish regime, no plague, including rioting in the streets, has come along that is bad enough to break the back of that tyranny. The people continue to die by inches, and the regime threatens everyone within bombing distance.
Liberals believe that it is immoral to impose serious consequences against the Iranian regime because there are innocents who will suffer from those consequences. What these liberals fail to understand is that, when power doesn’t reside in the people, but resides, instead, in a single group that is insulated from all but the most terrible strikes, imposing small plagues against the country (freezing a few bank accounts, public reprimands, vague threats) is utterly useless. These small plagues, no matter how much they affect the ordinary citizen, do not affect the decision-making process in which a tyrant engages. The only thing that will move the tyrant is to destroy his power base. Everything else is theater.
With that, I’d like to wish all of you a Happy Passover. Whether Jewish or not, I hope that the Pesach celebration serves as an occasion for all of us to remember that, though the price may sometimes be high, both for slave and master, our ultimate goal as just and moral human beings must be freedom. So please join with me in saying, as all Jews do at this time of year, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”
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.
Long ago, in ancient Phoenicia, arose a religion reviled in Biblical as well as in Greek and Roman lore, that worshiped a deity most commonly known as Molock, Moloch or Moleck. To this deity, parents sacrificed their infant children by cremating them alive in the bronze hands of a bull-shaped statue of the deity (the golden calf all grown up?).
The religion generated revulsion among the Jews, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans and other Mediterranean peoples of that ancient time. In Judaic and Biblical lore, Molock was associated with demonology and Satan’s reign. The Romans purportedly destroyed the last vestiges of this religion in the rubble of Carthage, destroying and scattering every structure down to the last brick, so that it could never ever spring back anew. However, this rationalization for infanticide, just published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, makes me wonder if Molock isn’t stirring anew in the ebb-tide of the Judeo-Christian West.
In my lifetime, I have been witness to the normalization of promiscuous sex, throw-away children, abortion, partial birth abortion, euthanasia, and now, the open rationalization of infanticide should parents change their mind about a living baby. This is the end game of secular humanism, where there is nothing more transcendent about human beings than simple utilitarian sacks of meat. It was observed by G.K. Chesterton that when cultures (or cults) begin to kill their weakest members, their old and their children, such cultures are in the final stage of collapse.
I came to my Christianity relatively late in life. My faith in my faith is absolute. The existence and/or nature of a force for evil in the world, however, has been a more difficult concept to grasp, as there are so many other ways to rationalize evil behavior – e.g., bad upbringing, mean parents, schoolyard bullying, chemical imbalances, mental illness, hubris, etc. Now, though, I am coming to the conclusion that evil is a palpably real force in the world. Either that, or a violently real, contagious, psychic virus!
Ann Coulter’s most recent book, “Demonic”, relates the proclivity of the secular Left (Democrats) for mob violence and bloodshed, tracing its bloody trail from the French Revolution through the Nazi and Communist abominations of the 20th Century, to the social-justice proclaiming Liberal/Left movements of today (oh, heck, let’s throw in the Marxist Jim Jones Cult for good measure). The violence that our society increasingly wreaks on our weakest members is all part of the same disease and I fear that it is going to get much, much worse.
For me, it’s simple: babies are for loving, not killing — I know, I know…others disagree! The publication of such an article under the guise of “medical ethics” tells me that something truly wicked this way comes. Today, the secular Left may feign indignation at the thought that their revolution will ultimately involve killing those that do not fit their Utopian ideals, but we can see how easily they are getting comfortable with the concept over time. It will be what it will be. I hope that I don’t live to see it. But, as the New Age of Molock establishes itself, I certainly will resist it to the end. I know that you will, too.
And, now, in support of the Secular Humanist view of human kind as utilitarian pieces of meat, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius shares her policy perspective that abortion and contraception means fewer babies, ergo fewer government expenditures. Human reproduction becomes a simple government-mandated budget line item.
One would have to be a total fool not to recognize that this is Government asserting its sovereignty over reproductive rights and life and death decisions.
The Daily Mail is one of my go-to places. I love the strange amalgam of real news, crime stories, pop culture, and general miscellanea. Today, that miscellanea included an exquisite, and completely un-antisemitic, photo essay about an ultra-Orthodox wedding in Israel. The pictures are dazzling windows into a different world, a world that is rooted in a different time and place. Check it out.
Please, please, please tell me the Rabbi was writing with tongue fixed firmly in cheek:
I’ve got a Tim Tebow problem.
I want to root for the guy, but I’m afraid of what will happen if the hulky Denver Bronco quarterback continues to pull off what is fast becoming the Greatest Gridiron Story Ever Told.
If Tebow wins the Super Bowl, against all odds, it will buoy his faithful, and emboldened faithful can do insane things, like burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants. While America has become more inclusive since Jerry Falwell’s first political forays, a Tebow triumph could set those efforts back considerably.
That has to be a satire, doesn’t it? It’s all a big joke, right? If not, I’m deeply embarrassed that an MOT (member of the tribe) would be such a prejudiced idiot. He worries me. I don’t read the Bible often, but I do seem to recall that God does not take it well when his MOTs turn stupid.
I’m tired, and struggling to get beyond calling this guy, as I did, a prejudiced idiot. Fortunately, others are not tired. Duane Lester sums up the Rabbi’s foolishness thusly:
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman somehow believes the moral equivalency nonsense regarding Christians and Muslims. You see, if the Muslims will riot over a cartoon of Mohammed, then surely those football fueled fundies will go into a frenzy over one of their own beating all the odds and winning the Lombardi Trophy.
Rabbi Hammerman is a fool. If, God forbid, the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl, there might be riots in Denver, but it will be
BudweiserCoors fueling the action, not Christian fundamentalism.
Ace takes on the Rabbi with equal fervor:
Certainly there is a history of pogroms in Europe, and, in America, discrimination. Such fears are not entirely unfounded.
But the idea of a new age of pogrom based upon the Tim Tebow throwing a football seems to be a reactionary one, conceived in hatred, executed in bitterness.
It just seems to be dressing up a tribalistic hatred in some socially-acceptable clothing. Oh it’s not that I hate Christians and their false god or anything. It’s just that I fear they are monsters who will go insane in religious ecstasy if a football hero wins a big game.
Look, I really do believe in tolerance and acceptance and… well, amity, especially among Jews and Christians, who seem to be getting along pretty well.
But tolerance is a two-way street. Those who desire tolerance of the practice of their own religion are hypocrites if they do not permit others to practice their own.
And dreaming up fantastical Protocols of the Elders of Bethlehem murder scenarios doesn’t sound very tolerant to me. It seems to suggest it is inherently evil to proclaim the Christian faith.
Having read Ace, I’ll add one thing: the Rabbi is not a Rabbi as Hillel or Rambam, or any of the great Jewish thinkers would have understood. This Rabbi’s temple is the Synagogue known as Beth Liberal, a house of worship dedicated to secularism.
(Just a little reminder that I think very highly of Tim Tebow, not just as a football player, but as a human being. I hope this doesn’t mean I have to renounce my Jewishness.)
Do you remember Johnny Carson’s droll “I did not know that”? I do. And that’s precisely what popped into my head when JKB sent me a link to a post discussing the fact that 161 years ago, the U.S. Navy outlawed flogging. It’s a wonderful little story, especially because it combines three things I find interesting: our Navy, Judaism (yes, Judaism), and plain ol’ fun trivia.
Obama is having a bad week when it comes to Joo . . . janitors. After his mispronunciation faux pas (which was probably the innocent act of a mental stumble bum, but which sounded appalling coming from Obama, who has proven hostile to Israel and the Jews), he’s now issued a Rosh Hashanah message that’s sure to offend. Here’s the message:
And here’s Keith Koffler explaining why, peculiar accent aside, Obama put his foot in his mouth again:
The insult is this:
Around the world, a new generation is reaching for their universal rights.
By this he means the “Arab Spring.” Just as he did in his Passover greeting, Obama is using a Jewish holiday to tout the struggle of people who, by and large, hate Jews.
It’s a tribute to how little this supposedly worldly man understands about other cultures that he could possibly place the Arabs and the Muslims into a Jewish New Year greeting.
You should read Koffler’s entire post, ’cause it expands on this point.
I’ve said it before of Obama, and I’ll say it again: What a maroon.
Sadie sent me quite possibly the best New Year email I’ve ever received, and I share the email, and the good wishes, with all of you:
May you enjoy your applies and honey
Have a wonderful 5772!! Health & Happiness!
It’s a mistake all of us make, right? It’s just a little more compelling when it comes from a guy who seems to have . . . issues, yeah, that’s it, issues with the Jews.
Hat tip to everyone who sent me this link!
I admire my blog friends. They are people I know only through their writing, but their writing has convinced me that they are intelligent, thoughtful, informed, and that I admire and often share their moral principles. I am always happy to recommend their work.
Sometimes, though, my blog friends, who always write and think well, write something that is even more than usually wonderful. That’s the case with Bruce Kesler’s latest outing, What my grandfather taught me about honor, a post that combines Jewish values, honor, education and Leftism, all in one short, almost lyrical essay.