Will American Jews listen?

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.)

Pet Shop Boys make a principled stand against the BSD movement

I’ve always liked the Pet Shop Boys, an 80s band that was part of the background soundtrack to my early 20s. I especially liked this song:

The Pet Shop Boys just went up enormously in my estimation by taking a principled stand against the fundamentally antisemitic Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel, whose proponents pretend Israel is the new South Africa. Although, I agree with Evelyn Gordon that Neil Tennant, the half of the duo who wrote the post, is off the mark in claiming the Israel engages in”crude and cruel” policies, I also agree with her that the core statement — that Israel is nothing like South Africa — is an important one and cannot be sufficiently emphasized:

I don’t agree with this comparison of Israel to apartheid-era South Africa. It’s a caricature. Israel has (in my opinion) some crude and cruel policies based on defence; it also has universal suffrage and equality of rights for all its citizens both Jewish and Arab. In apartheid-era South Africa, artists could only play to segregated audiences; in Israel anyone who buys a ticket can attend a concert. Neil x

I wish more entertainers had the moral courage to call out the BDS movement for what it is:  a hopelessly biased cause that tries to frame the only true liberal democracy in the Middle East (and it is a true liberal democracy by any measure, not just Middle Eastern) as a tyrannical apartheid state.

(As an aside, although I like them, I had no idea that Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are “the most successful duo in UK music history.”  Maybe part of why they’ve done so well is because they’ve got their heads screwed on the right way.)

Alice Walker — a vile antisemite whose books are read in schools throughout America

I never liked Alice Walker’s writing.  The Color Purple was a poorly written pulp novel that got traction because it was marketed as a black woman’s rising up from the chains of racism.  Others have written the same, only better.

Walker has now confirmed that her bad writing comes about because she’s got an evil soul.  When Alicia Keyes planned a trip to Israel, this is the letter Walker penned this marginally literate screed to her (emphasis mine):

Dear Alicia Keys,

I have learned today that you are due to perform in Israel very soon. We have never met, though I believe we are mutually respectful of each other’s path and work. It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists. You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the US South to end an American apartheid less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people. Google Montgomery Bus Boycott, if you don’t know about this civil rights history already. We changed our country fundamentally, and the various boycotts of Israeli institutions and products will do the same there. It is our only nonviolent option and, as we learned from our own struggle in America, nonviolence is the only path to a peaceful future.

If you go to my website and blog alicewalkersgarden.com you can quickly find many articles I have written over the years that explain why a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major “crime” is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own. Under a campaign named ‘Brand Israel’, Israeli officials have stated specifically their intent to downplay the Palestinian conflict by using culture and arts to showcase Israel as a modern, welcoming place.

This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: that our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil. You can spend months, and years, as I have, pondering this situation. Layer upon layer of lies, misinformation, fear, cowardice and complicity. Greed. It is a vast eye-opener into the causes of much of the affliction in our suffering world.

I have kept you in my awareness as someone of conscience and caring, especially about the children of the world. Please, if you can manage it, go to visit the children in Gaza, and sing to them of our mutual love of all children, and of their right not to be harmed simply because they exist.

With love, younger sister, beloved daughter and friend,

Alice Walker

Walker is incapable of opening her mind to reality, which establishes that Israel is the only representative democracy in the Middle East, allowing all races, faiths, and sexual orientations to live there in freedom, while the Palestinians are a totalitarian state that work hard to be Judenrein, as well as Christan-free; that terrorizes its own citizens; that routinely slaughters women, gays, and those deemed to be “traitors” supporting Israel; that targets Israel’s children; and that teaches its own children to seek Israel’s destruction through conquest and genocide.

Here’s the truly nasty thing about Walker.  Our American public schools teach children to revere her.  They’re not reading Shakespeare or Faulkner or Dickens, they’re reading Walker’s slopping, bathetic, ill-informed, badly written insult to English and American literature, and are being told that it’s worthwhile and says important things.

The only saving grace in all of this is that so many of America’s English teachers are boring, ill-informed pendants (that’s what Leftism does to academics, with the most Leftist gravitating to English and social studies).  Their students routinely conceive a life-long hatred for the books imposed upon them in English class.

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.

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.

Steve Crowder on Israel hatred (and ignorance) on the Left

In a sane world, Steve Crowder would have his own TV show, rather than three-minute segments.  Of course, the discipline of a three-minute segment means that every word he says is worthy.  There is no useless, time-consuming filler.  Watch and learn.  (Ah, heck, you guys already know this.  But watch to get talking points for the next time you find yourself talking to someone who prefers gay killers to humanists.)

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’….

Are Jews finally figuring out that Obama isn’t Moses, he’s Pharaoh?

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.

My annual Passover post — Pharaoh’s hard heart and the nature of tyranny

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.”

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.