Sunday, October 24, 2004

Via Bloghead, an anti-semitic editorial from the Duke University student newspaper, The Jews . The author, using classic anti-semitic tropes, objects to Jews and others organizing on the Duke campus against the latest conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement.

One part of his argument seems to be calling, in an underhanded way, for the return of the "Jewish quota" for American elite colleges and universities:

It is well known that Jews constitute the most privileged “minority” group in this country. Among the top 10 universities, Jews enjoy shocking overrepresentation: Only the California Institute of Technology has an undergraduate Jewish population below 10 percent, and four schools have particularly stark Jewish advantages—Harvard (30 percent), Yale (23 percent), UPenn (31 percent) and Columbia (25 percent). Keep in mind that, at best estimate, no more than 3 percent of all Americans are Jewish.


Another part condemns Jews for gaining acceptance in the United States because we are now seen as "white":

While Jews undoubtedly lay claim to a long history of racism and genocide that continues across the world today, this characterization does not transport perfectly to the United States. After World War II, overt anti-Semitism gradually subsided, in part because of American response to Hitler’s murderous regime, but largely due to Jewish association with whiteness and the privileges white skin affords. In short, Jews can renounce their difference by taking off the yarmulke. Clearly, this is not a luxury enjoyed by all minority groups.


He continues by condemning President Clinton for appointing two Jews as Supreme Court Justices, and to argue that Jews "have the right to move seamlessly between the majority and minority."

When former President Bill Clinton nominated his first two judges to the Supreme Court, both were Jews.  Remarkable in the slightest? No, of course not. But the American public still can’t get over Clarence Thomas’s cultural heritage, after being appointed by Bush 41. To be Jewish is to have the right to move seamlessly between the majority and minority, without constraint. Thus, Jewish-American appropriation of the “oppressed” moniker is disingenuous, belying the reality of America’s social hierarchy.


This vile editorial, which displays some of the classic arguments of both rightwing and leftwing anti-semitism (right: there are too many of those Jews in our universities; left: how dare those Jews pretend they're oppressed?), is a depressing example of the entrance of classic anti-semitism into the elite American university. I haven't followed this controversy in detail, but this certainly is a mournful sign of the times.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Another chilling Nicholas Kristof op-ed on Darfur - As Humans Are Hunted. He says that the Sudanese government was unwilling to give him a visa, so he snuck over the border from Chad.
The area is desolate and throbs with malevolence, with villages burned and abandoned and survivors hiding from the Janjaweed and the Sudanese Army. Tearing across the desert in a pickup truck, I see more gazelles than humans. When survivors see my vehicle, they tend to hide. And, frankly, when I see a man, my impulse is to hide as well. That makes interviews difficult....

It's progress that the world has denounced the genocide without waiting the customary 10 years before wringing its hands in regret. But there are many other steps the United States could take: a no-flight zone, an arms embargo, an asset freeze on businesses owned by Sudan's ruling party, and greater teamwork with African and Islamic countries to exert more pressure on Sudan.

President Bush is already in the forefront of the world leaders who have addressed the slaughter in Darfur, and he has done far more than President Clinton did during the Rwandan genocide. But there is so much more the United States can still do.

Mr. President, you pride yourself on your willingness to stand up to evil - so why do you remain so passive in the face of such evil?
Here in Ithaca I see the first public stirrings of concern. Professor John Weiss of the History Department at Cornell made a documentary over the summer about the genocide in Darfur, which will be shown next Tuesday, October 19, at 4:30 in the Willard Straight Hall Cinema. Cornell Hillel is also exhibiting photographs at Cornell next week "to raise awareness and promote discussion."

At the same time, there will be a panel discussion sponsored by the Institute for African Development: Ali B. Ali-Dinar, African Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania will speak on "Genocide in Darfur and the Crisis of Governance in Sudan". The web site says that he is the 'the founder of "Darfur Information Center', an on-line source for information about Darfur region of western Sudan." This will be in Auditorium D, Goldwin Smith Hall at Cornell.

Our intrepid Secretary of State makes his views known: Powell Says Saudi Women Should Have Vote. He says: "It is a decision for the Saudis to make, Powell said, but 'in every society in the world women have to be able to play their full role.'"
I am struck by this story, in which the Saudi government claims it can't organize local elections with women participating,
Saudi Women Can't Vote, Run in Elections
, while in Afghanistan many women voted in the Presidential election (about 40% of the voters were women, apparently). When watching the news story yesterday, there were many shots of long lines of women voting, or of women officials dealing with the ballot boxes. If the Afghans, living in a poor, still war-torn country, where women are definitely not equal to men, can manage to organize women's voting, then what excuse do the Saudis have? And these people are our allies!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Via another Jewish blog, I just found a new and very delightful blog by a Renegade Rebbetzin. For obvious reasons she's anonymous, but she writes beautifully and is also very funny!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The sad cost of Israel's attacks in Gaza: The High Cost of Israel's Gaza Mission: Innocent Victims. And why does Sharon not evacuate all Israeli settlers and soldiers as rapidly as possible from Gaza? Why must the withdrawal happen next summer? And how many more people, Israelis and Palestinians, will have to die before Israelis leave Gaza?

Friday, October 08, 2004

And obviously, this is not the first attack on Israelis abroad, as the New York Times reports: A Bleak History: 3 Decades of Attacks on Jewish Targets and Israelis Abroad.

1008MIDEASTmap


1008MIDEASTmap
Originally uploaded by reb-lesses.
These maps, from the New York Times, show where the attacks in Egypt were.
One of the stories on Israel Radio was about the hundreds of people who showed up to donate blood for the wounded from the terror attacks in Egypt. One young man was quoted saying that he had to go to donate blood because he had himself visited the places that had been attacked - it could have easily been him or his friends who were victims. The Sinai desert, especially the beach resorts, are favorite places for Israelis to go on vacation. On one trip I made to Israel a friend convinced me to go to Sinai with her. We stayed at a rather run-down resort at Nuweiba, in a hut by the sea, and went snorkeling together. It was beautiful but the accommodations were rather uncomfortable. Also, it was during Passover (a favorite time for Israelis to visit Sinai, paradoxically enough), and I had to carry a lot of matzoh with me. Apparently one of the attacks last night was near Nuweiba, at a place called Ras al-Shaitan.

It's not known yet who the attackers were - some organization called the "World Islamic Organization" took responsibility, but this organization is not known. The Israeli newspapers were raising the possibility that Hamas or possibly Al-Qaeda were responsible for the attacks.
I've been listening to Israeli Radio's "Reshet Bet" (their news and music station) for more news on what's happened in Egypt - if you want to listen, go to Reshet Bet and click on "Bet Live" - it will make a connection via Windows Media Player.

Note: of course, it's in Hebrew. There are English broadcasts from Israel Radio available on line, but you couldn't get them live because they are much less frequent.
I was about to go to synagogue tonight for the Simhat Torah service when I heard on the radio that there had been a terrorist attack at the Taba Hilton Hotel - At least 35 dead in three Sinai explosions. I watched the ABC television news and saw a rather disgusting report that attempted to blame this attack on the current fighting in Gaza - despite the fact that an attack like this would have taken quite a lot of planning and that on September 9 the Israeli security services "published a severe terror threat, warning Israelis against travelling to Egypt and Sinai."

Perhaps the ABC bureau chief in Jerusalem was getting his opinion from the Egyptian government spokesman, who "linked the blasts to the Israeli military operation against the Palestinians in the neighboring Gaza Strip, where 84 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli offensive that began on Sept. 29 to stop militants from firing homemade rockets into Israel. 'I think the explosions are very related to what is going on in Gaza,' Rady told AP. 'We condemn these attacks, which have harmed many people...I think it is very probable that there is a link between these three explosions.' he added. 'It is very unlikely they happened by chance.'" This, of course, completely ignores the fact that the Israelis had warned long before the Isareli offensive in Gaza.

The terrorist attack definitely put a damper for me on the Simhat Torah service - I kept thinking about the people who had been killed and injured in Egypt. It made it harder to have the proper spirit of celebration.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

I found another interesting Saudi blog (via Mahmood's blog) - Saudi Jeans. It's written by a college student in Riyadh. Thus far, highly recommended.

On another topic - I didn't watch the Kerry-Bush debate, but I did listen to much of it - and it certainly sounded to me as if Kerry was speaking better and more clearly than Bush. And now Newsweek is reporting that he's gained back his losses in the polls since the Republican Convention. May this continue to be true!