Tag Archives: anti-semitism

It will be because of the left, not the right

Thinking of sending this letter to the Economist, figured I’d post it here first.  It’s in response to two contradictory articles they posted; claiming the PEGIDA march is Neo-Nazi (“Gone Boy on the Right“), and saying Jews don’t have to fear Muslim attacks (“Be Not Afraid“). The irony was a bit much not to write about.

SIR – I have this game I like to play with PEGIDA march pictures, called “Spot the Nazi.” I pore through the dozens of pictures of thousands of people, trying to find a single person, a single sign, with some neo-Nazi sign or signal. So far, I’ve found nothing.  So I was rather amused when a tabloid picked up some obscure picture of one of the organizers in a Hitler pose and threw it all over the place like a political football. It wound up all the way on your journal (“Gone Boy on the Right”), so kudos for that.

I say this in contrast to the “Free Palestine” marches, where a child couldn’t throw a stone without hitting a neo-Nazi reference.  Really, these marches were so glutted with stark raving mad anti-Semitism that it doesn’t bear repeating. It just reminds me of what Marx said, that things happen a second time as farce.

So it is rather cute that while you take such great pains to characterize the far right parties as neo-Nazi (implying some threat to Jews), you take equal lengths (“Be Not Afraid”) to be cavalier about the plight of Jews in Europe. Indeed your tone (the Jews deserve it because of Israel, and they’re so weird looking aren’t they?) does more to reaffirm fears than assuage them.

Fear tends to anticipate the final act rather than patiently wait for it: perhaps today Jews aren’t in clear and present danger in England. But they are in France, they are leaving in droves, and already Netanyahu has plans on his desk to absorb all 120,000 French Jews into Israeli society.  England is undergoing the same demographic shift as France, and if France falls to Islamism and a flight of the Jews, England is not far behind.

And ironically, it will be because of the left, not the right.

Blood Libel in Los Angeles


I found this walking down Santa Monica Blvd. just west of Sawtelle, on the South side of the street.  I registered this with ADL and they worked with the city of Los Angeles to have it removed.  I also posted it on Facebook, but they removed it after a week without giving a reason… along with a few threads that went along with it.

I’m not sure what I can do to contest Facebook’s decision to drop this picture, but it’s either gross negligence or flat-out anti-Semitism on their part.  This was a shock to everyone who saw it, and we had a good thread going on how to deal with it.

Here’s the old link:  facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154568647330637&set=a.64370195636.141227.591625636

More later.

Open letter to The Economist

SIR – I will spare you any vitriol about your coverage of Israel last week Losing the War – I’m sure your mailbox has been full of it already. Rather I’ll say I’m disappointed. It was so focused on Israel, and whether you find it legitimate, you blinded yourselves to the real news and opportunities coming out of the entire region. Egypt is discarding politicised Islam, what seems to be a popular move and not just dictatorial fiat. They destroyed the tunnels to Gaza and are railing against Hamas in their media. Even Saudi Arabia is jumping on board. Israel is looking at its neighbors and seeing itself NOT surrounded by sworn enemies, for the first time ever.
It’s setting the stage for an entirely new politics and economy in the Middle East. To not report on this, and discuss the opportunities involved, well that’s like refusing to cash your dividend check because it was signed by a dirty Jewish banker.
Meanwhile, your analysis of people’s perception of Israel seems to only be a census of social rot. Ironic that it follows on the heels of “Tethered by History” and a rather weak defense of why the Jews should feel safe in Europe in the face of renewed anti-Semitism. It would be more interesting to see the demographics involved in this. If I am correct, classic European neo-Nazis and Muslim immigrants are getting together to bash Jews. Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed, and it’ll be a nasty hangover when they wake up from that orgy and look across the bed at each other. It calls into question the deepening decay of Europe.
A whole new world is being born out of this conflict in Gaza. The Economist’s mission is smart capitalism which is aware of political events and the economic opportunities they bring. Failing to see and analyze this would be a catastrophic failure on your part.

UN Out Of Gaza

In case you haven’t heard, Israel shelled a UN school.  It’s been on the news for two days straight.  It’s the worst atrocity since … I dunno, Fallujah?  Boko Haram?  Two weeks ago?

But I kid.  The real issue is people are trying to make moral statements about the war without any attempt to peek through the fog of war and see what’s actually happening.

So before I make my moral assertions about this war, let’s cut through that fog of war to see the events surrounding the shelling.

The basic issue is that the UN school was sheltering an alleged 3000 people.  Of those people, 20 died.

Now, if Israel were directly targeting the school with artillery fire, a lot more people would have died in that attack.  It’s pretty safe to say that entire structure and everyone in it would have been decimated in a minute.

Let’s also keep in mind that the whole compound is in a crowded neighborhood, where Hamas fighters are engaging Israeli troops all around it.

Now, I don’t make any apologies for engaging Hamas fighters with overwhelming force.  You don’t attack without it, all militaries use it.  That means softening up their hiding spots with artillery fire.

So, the likeliest explanation is that Israeli troops engaged Hamas relatively close to the school.  And a couple of artillery shells, which are “blunt instruments” exploded a bit too close for comfort to the school.

This certainly jives with what we’ve seen in videos, even from CNN’s lookout tower, where artillery shells were falling all around them.

So, for the UN to make this moral assertion without bothering to peek through the fog of war; to make this assertion that Israeli troops were targeting a UN school despite some serious contradictions: this now makes the UN the target of moral scrutiny.

Just what are they doing there?  Are they there to shelter innocents?  Or are they there to erode Israel’s moral authority for self defense?

Hamas has engaged Israeli troops in their own turf, in Gaza.  There’s no shortage of evidence showing their willingness to hide behind civilians.  This means no neighborhood is now safe from the conflict.  Gaza City is imminently an occupied city, much in the tradition of Atlanta, Dresden, Berlin, Fallujah.

Why insist on keeping civilians so close to the line of fire?  You want to tell me there’s no other way for them to keep civilians safe, if this is their mission?  How about barges on the coast?  Buildings on the border?  Something that Israeli troops can secure?

And let’s not forget the video footage being shown for two days straight.  It’s the same stock footage of Palestinian mothers screaming and crying, which cries out propaganda video.  If people were seriously wounded, mangled, killed, the footage would be a lot more grisly.

And for the UN to take it and run with it like this, this makes them sound like a propaganda arm.   Not so much for Hamas, but for the millions of anti-Semites in the streets right now, calling for death to Jews.

UN, J’accuse.  Get out of Gaza, now.  You serve no purpose there other than to foment further conflict around the world.

How not to be racist in America

It’s simple, really.  Don’t get involved with other races, ever.

The accusations against Donald Sterling have a particularly personal sting with me.  Not just because the whole town is ganging up on one guy, not just because he’s a fellow Jew, but because I too am in the property management business.

The epithet “evil Jewish slumlord” has been hurled at me quite regularly, generally as a joke, which gets an uneasy laugh out of me.  But underneath also a disturbing bit of entrenched anti-Semitism.

Not to divulge too many details about my dealings – but when you run properties, on any level, you piss people off.  It doesn’t matter how much you put yourself out for others.  You’re not Santa Claus or a miracle worker, you’re beholden to material laws, market forces and the banks.  And tenants tend to take out their aggressions on you for things you have no control over.

Sometimes, they take advantage of your legal liability, and threaten to sue you no matter how unfounded the charges.  Even on my minor level, it’s happened at least once (the threat quickly dropped once I accused the lawyer of extortion).

So I figure for a large landholder like Sterling, it gets that much worse.  And it gets even worse than that when you realize he’s lived his life surrounded by other races, holding property in racially and economically diverse neighborhoods.

I did the usual cursory Google research on his discrimination lawsuits, and pulled up this CNN article.  Not surprisingly, nobody ever won one of those lawsuits.  In a couple of the cases the charges were even dropped entirely, and yet today they’re being used in the case to strip him of his team.

You could make all sorts of arguments about this, that he’s a sneaky rich lawyer with lots of money, yadda yadda yadda.  But then you’re just making my point.  You wonder why poor neighborhoods are so run down?  You wonder why nobody invests in them?  You wonder why White Flight was a thing?  Here’s your answer.  Donald Sterling built his life on relatively poor neighborhoods.  And now he’s being eaten alive.

Who would want to invest there, in this kind of climate?  What kind of Santa Claus were you hoping for?  Did you want the government to come in and build stuff for free?  Do you want to be a photo-op for politicians who come and billoviate about the plight of the poor?  Because those same politicians just go back to the faceless corporate behemoths who take over these properties and sell them for scrap.

Why bother?  People attack Sterling, but the biggest racists in this country never actually get called racists.  You know, the really wealthy ones, who safely shield themselves from any kind of Black or Mexican, save for one or two tokens who dance to their tune.  It reminds me of Malcolm X’s preference of the Southern racist, who is open and actively deals with Blacks, over the Northern racist, who just says the flowery catchphrases while shielding their actual life from any contact with other races.

I fully realize this is a debate I’m not going to win.  The mob has the support of the town press, they will cry and howl and snowball rumors until the filthy Jew is run out of town on rails and they happily gorge on his expropriated property.  I just want to go on the record saying this will only make racial tensions, and class divisions, worse.


Donald Sterling and Anti-Semitism

So unless you’ve been living under a rock, I don’t need to explain too much to you.  His lady friend released footage of a phone conversation where she got him to question her Instagramming photos of herself with a black man, and now the world is clamoring for him to sell his team.

What’s most striking to me about all this, is the strong whiff of Anti-Semitism in all this … the utter jubilation at the thought of stripping Sterling of his team, on such shaky charges, has the ring of Merchant of Venice.

Is what he said cringe-worthy?  Of course.  Does he have a history of questionable behavior?  Of course.  He’s a capitalist.  And capitalists don’t get rich writing checks.  His behavior is quite typical of his class.

Fortunately, in LA we have a nice case study of a slimy owner who we needled to sell his team: Frank McCourt.  And regarding his situation, LA Times Business columnist Michael Hiltzik said “The history of baseball ownership is a brimming cauldron of con men, hacks, racists, cheapskates and bankrupts.”  I promise you the bell curve doesn’t shift significantly to basketball or football team owners.

Of course, McCourt was embezzling money from the Dodgers, running the team into the ground.  And yet, nobody clamored to force McCourt to sell, we had to patiently convince him to sell and pony up enough money collectively to make it worth his while.

Compared to him, Sterling looks like a pretty decent guy.  Taking a nothing team from a nothing market to a championship team that rivals the Lakers over 30 years?  I’d say that’s decent management.

But the tune is far different with Sterling.  We take a questionable phone conversation, one that would never be admissible in court for a number of reasons, and wave it around as the crowning jewel in a case to strip a Jew of his prize possession and achievement.  And we celebrate that our consciences have been cleansed, with a nice new prize to boot!  Everybody wins!

And that’s the core of Anti-Semitism.

It’s putting all our guilt and shame of the injustices of Capitalism and the innate bondage of wage labor, and transferring it into an impossible moral standard on the Jews who actually manage to claw their way into a piece of the pie.  It’s taking this opportunity to have all the players complain that they’re being bought and sold on the market, like it’s STERLING’S fault, and not the entire institution.  It’s accusing Sterling of doing all the things every other rich person does to get rich, while the rest stay conveniently out of the hot seat.   As Chris Rock says, “It’s all right, because it’s all white!”

It’s the core of Anti-Semitism throughout history.  And if I may claim an exemption to Godwin’s rule, it’s what the Nazis did.  It’s going from “bankers run the world” to “Jewish bankers run the world”.  And rather than expropriating the expropriators, as that Communist Jew Karl Marx said, they expropriate only the Jews to cleanse their guilt and live another generation.

So, if we are to make some good sense ouf of this morass, there is one question to ask both players and the other owners.  And that is, what is it about Sterling that really gets them and makes them want to get rid of him?  The fact that he’s a racist, or the fact that he’s a JEEEWWW???

But this is not a question for us to ask them in public.  It’s for their mistresses to ask them (remember, the oppressed players have mistresses too, I’m looking at you Kobe Bryant), privately, needling the answer they want out of them, while recording the conversation and releasing it without their consent.

Frankly, you could probably buy this out of any number of mistresses for a couple million.  For Donald Sterling, this would be a trifling sum well worth the vindication.

POST-SCRIPT: as if the universe were nodding in agreement, the New York Times just posted an article about the one guy who went to jail for the 2008 financial crisis.  And guess what?  He’s a Semite.  (of course there’s also Bernie Madoff…)

Is PETA anti-Semitic?

So I’ve been hearing this more and more lately – Kosher animal slaughter causes much more suffering to the animal than conventional slaughter. As a Jew, I take this accusation seriously, since the entire law of Kosher slaughter is based on the animal not suffering at the moment of death. So I did some Google searches on the subject, and I have to say the results weren’t satisfactory.
On the one side you have PETA, who has a definite agenda to go vegan, and they bring this all up to support their argument. Their one source of actual evidence was this NY Times article from 2004 detailing abuses at a kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa.
One article about one place ten years ago does not constitute a pattern, less a policy that contradicts the theory. And only a cultist would run with it straight to the conclusion that vegetarianism is the only solution.
On the other side, you have the rabbis, who insist up and down that according to Jewish slaughtering rules, the animal must not suffer. This guy gives a good explanation. I have to acknowledge what he says about this accusation being another form of anti-Semitism. Frankly this whole “Kosher animals suffer more” has about the same amount of evidence as the old “Jewish bankers run the world” canard.
And I’ve known people who’ve learned the trade of Kosher slaughter, so I know the proper practice exists at least in some places. But, as another article puts it, factory style slaughterhouses may have a completely different practice. And that’s where I see there may be a point.
So it seems like the issue is transparency at kosher slaughterhouses. Are they living up to the spirit of the law and making sure that animals are not suffering? Or are they just giving a tip and a nod to the law and, in the name of efficiency, maintain practices that result in a lot more suffering than conventional slaughter? And if that is the case, are Jews aware of this and doing anything about it?
If people really wanted to address this question, this is how they would approach it. So far I’m not seeing that. All I’m seeing are the kind of abstract debates and finger-pointing that the internet excels at. Like I said, this is a serious accusation, and if it is true, and Jews remain unaware of this, then Judaism is in need of some serious reforms. But if it is false, then the accusers can be branded as anti-Semites.