Monthly Archives: August 2015

The dark side of community organizing

I’ve had a long simmering suspicion towards “community organizers”.  Might have been since college.  While I preferred to listen to people, I watched career minded organizers come in with their own agenda, rally people around it, and kick out anyone who disagreed.

Then came the Iraq War.  I was opposed to it – even though I’m not a pacifist, I didn’t like being lied and manipulated into a war.  I organized MoveOn movie nights because it was a great way to find like-minded people and try to amplify our opposition that way.  But MoveOn quickly became an organizing agent for the Democratic party, and when our discussions were replaced with “Bush as an Idiot” slogans, I backed off and dropped out.

Now, it seems, such “community organizing” has taken a toxic turn.  In the past few years I’ve seen first J-Street appear, and then Jewish Voice for Peace.  These groups have no organic connection with the Jewish community.  Their only real connection is with the Democratic apparatus, their only unifying factor a desire for Democrat coattails.

I’ll leave J-Street alone for another day, I’d like to focus on JVP for now.  The articles about them are damning, and yet I wonder how long they’re going to last.  Their own website looks like they’re a bunch of slick internet hacks.  First of all, it’s only available in HTTPS, which means you can’t track or verify any of their traffic.  But it looks like they’re disputing their Wikipedia page, which points out that their only claim to fame is giving the anti-Israel lobby some cover against the charge of anti-Semitism.

Of course, that doesn’t stop other groups from revealing who they are.  The ADL has a whole page devoted to their tactics.  Forward magazine also has a great article about them.

And if they were recognized as such, that would be one thing.  But Democrats like Karen Bass are starting to give them an air of legitimacy.  And that’s what concerns me.  Note:  she originally posted this on her Facebook page, but once I commented with the ADL link, she took it down.  Luckily, the internet loves to archive pages.  And so do I.

Overall, my IT pro analysis is that they’re great at overinflating their numbers and influence, claiming to not only speak for Jews, but questioning whether established groups like AIPAC, ADL, etc. actually represent them.  This is what makes them valuable for the Democratic party, and why the Obama campaign has been really pushing them to the forefront as an alternative to those pesky established Jewish organizations with their pesky demand that Israel remain a safe haven for Jews.

And see, here’s the ultimate difference between a “community organizing” group like JVP and an established community group like ADL.  It’s the daily advocacy and work that groups like ADL, AIPAC, Hillel, Chabad, do on a daily basis for Jews.  Charity work, research work, going out of your way for other Jews, taking complaints about slurs and hate crimes against Jews, taking them seriously, advocating on different governmental levels.  The political programs are only an extension of this daily work.  And that’s why all these Jewish groups are tireless advocates for Israel.  They know how desperately Jews need a safe haven in this world that so quickly aligns against them.

I can tell you without any more than a peek at JVP that they do NONE of this.  That’s what makes them a fraud.  That’s what makes them toxic to this country, and why they need to be outed.

We don’t even need to make this about Jews, either.  I’m sure other races and people have similar issues.  Whereas the organic community has their own organizations and culture, ruling class representatives go in with foundation money, not to advocate for that community, but to push their own agenda on them.  The community is just a stepping stone to a political or intellectual career.

Appropriating #BlackLivesMatter

I’ll be honest.  Cultural appropriation and #BlackLivesMatter are two issues that, taken separately, I couldn’t care less about, or I at least can’t be bothered to debate on.  Both are issues that have nothing to do with me.

But a video crossed my feed that raised my eyebrows, as it was an interesting intersection of the two, and quite honestly, it marks the prime reason I got out of politics.  It was this latest video of a “harsh arrest” at the Ferguson protests (action starts around 0:32):

Now, let’s review.  It starts as an ordinary civil disobedience.  The cops uneventfully usher the kids off the freeway.  But a white kid breaks loose and runs around, provoking the cops.  By not following the cops’ orders, they now have to use force.  He gets body-slammed.

And the video gets passed around the internet as an example of police brutality.

I’m sorry, but exactly what is #BlackLivesMatter about here?  Is it about how you want cops to be nice to you when you provoke them?  Because I’ve seen quite a few videos trying to show police brutality, and they generally start with some kind of obvious provocation.

Because I can tell you, no.  No it is not.

#BlackLivesMatter , at least if it’s an issue that is anything serious, is about how black people face a different standard for cops than other people do.  I mean, if this is what it’s about, good luck.  But I think I’ve seen enough statements from well-spoken people like Kareem Abdul Jabbar that it’s about the racial divide.  Dave Chappelle also explains it really well.

And this is where cultural appropriation takes place.  You’ve got white kids running around acting out their anarchist fantasies and trying to speak for others.  You’ve got media channels picking up on these kinds of provocations like that’s what it’s about.

Well, is it?


I’ve written about this issue before in my gut review of 99 Homes.

Like I said, in the end I don’t really care about either of these issues.  So I’m not interested in a debate.  I just want to point out how this #BlackLivesMatter issue is going to be framed.  If it’s to be an issue where some people get treated much more roughly than others based on the color of their skin, great.  That’s an issue people could get behind.

But if this is an issue about wanting the cops to be nice to you when you provoke them?  Most of us, myself (and Chappelle) included, like the cops.  We think they fulfill a necessary function.  And if they get a pass, it’s because we know how rough a job they have dealing with punks like you.  In the end, people will take that video and enjoy watching you get bodyslammed on repeat.

And then it’s not just the pigs who are your enemy, but all mainstream society, blacks included.  So good luck with that, I’ll go get the popcorn.

Economist toys with Blood Libel

The blood libels keep pouring in.  I wrote this letter to The Economist based on their recent article on the Cracking down on Settlers:



“Jew kills baby” is a tagline that should be raising red flags at any respected journal, as it provokes the medieval Blood Libel slur.  And yet, the number of times the press rallied around dead Arab children they hoped to pin on Jews in the past year is staggering.

Which is why I was quite disappointed to see you running the story “Cracking down on the settlers”.  It remains to be seen whether a Jewish settler even committed the arson – forensic evidence actually points to the contrary.

But to take a crime still under investigation, rush to pin it on Jews, and run with it to a criticism of Israeli policies in general, well it only delegitimizes any authority you have on the issue.

Some points I’d like to make:

Settlements aren’t “illegal”.  People like to claim it is so, but the area was never a country, and continues to be under dispute.

Gaza 2014 drove the point, at least materially, that evacuating disputed terriroties to Arab rule only exacerbates this situation.  Old dogmas die hard, but the fact is the best hope for peace isn’t a Judenrein West Bank – it’s making Arabs and Jews live among each other.

Despite your massaging your wording to even out the casualties, one dead Arab baby makes world headlines, while Jews are quite unceremoniously under constant Arab attack.  And it doesn’t matter whether Jews live in disputed territories or well within the confines of Israel.  If an Arab is killed, it’s soldiers stopping them from a murderous terrorist rampage, not any sort of Jew vigilante murder.

Finally, suppose the attack were actually caused by Jews.  A more rational mindset would understand that, under such a tense situation, blowback is inevitable.  Some certainly use it to justify the World Trade Center attacks.