Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tikkun magazine publishes vicious anti-semite Israel Shamir

The Engage website has just reported that Tikkun magazine published an article this summer by Israel Shamir, the notorious anti-semite (article on Searchlight), on the the first bulldozer attack this summer in Israel, in which a Palestinian attacker killed three people.

With this paragraph, Michael Lerner justified his publication of a vicious anti-semite:
[Editor's note: Like most of what Israel Shamir writes about Israel, this article reflects a perspective that has far too little sympathy for the fate of those killed and wounded when the Palestinian named Hosam charged his huge tractor into a bus in the center of Jerusalem. We publish it here nevertheless because of our commitment to provide our readers with perspectives that they are unlikely to hear in the mainstream media and which present ideas with which we must grapple. In this case, the attempt to humanize the Palestinian is part of our discourse--a Tikkun commitment to see the spirit of God in every human being, even those who do hurtful or muderous acts. We only wish Shamir could do the same thing for Israelis as he does so well here for Palestinians. And his hatred of Judaism itself might have been grounds to simply dismiss the article, except that it represents a growing sentiment among many Israeli secularists.]
Hatred of Judaism? How about hatred of Jews? How about rank anti-semitism? Read the Searchlight article I link to learn who Israel Shamir is and what he has done.

This is also a terrible libel of secular Jewish Israelis - who like other Israelis, saw the attack in July as a terrorist attack aimed at innocent civilians, both Jewish and Arab. If secular Israelis have arguments with religious Israeli Jews (and they do) it does not lead them to the vicious Jew hatred of an Israel Shamir.

Another thing - Shamir quotes another vicious anti-semite, Gilad Atzmon, to support his case. Read about Atzmon in Harry's Place - Legacy of Atzmon.

Is this who Tikkun wants to be associating with now? Is this what they've fallen to?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Remembering September 11, 2001

This photograph is from today's New York Times, in an Dress Rehearsal in Light article about the Tribute in Light, which has been projected every year since 2001 - beams of light in the place that the World Trade Center towers used to stand.

To see 360" panoramas of previous years Tribute in Light, go to this page. There are some amazing images of the lights rising in the sky and meeting far above.

Monday, September 08, 2008

"The fish stinks from the head" revisited

I wrote about this proverb once before, but I just found an interesting reference to it in an article by David M. Bunish, "Judeo-Spanish Culture in Medieval and Modern Times," p. 65 of Zion Zohar, Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry. In the section of the article dealing with spoken genres of Sephardic culture in the eastern Mediterranean, he writes that "Today Westerners tend to shy away from the use of proverbs (riflanes) and sayings (dichas), seeing them as being trite or passe. Judezmo speakers, on the other hand, used them generously in both speech and writing. Just as 'a picture is worth a thousand words,' a proverb was felt to express succinctly what might otherwise require whole paragraphs of ordinary prose." Judezmo was the spoken language of Sephardim (the word means "Jewish"), while Ladino was the literary language.

About "the fish stinks from the head," he writes, "Other Judezmo proverbs corresponded to sayings used in other cultures of the region, e.g., De la kavesa fyede el pishkado "The fish stinks from the head" (i.e., where there is corruption, it inevitably starts at the top), variants of which are used among the Turks, Arabs, and other Mediterranean peoples."

I would guess that the expression entered Hebrew via Judezmo, or perhaps Arabic, and it has become a very handy saying in denouncing political corruption in Israel.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Jews for Jesus speech at Palin's church

Steven Waldman at Beliefnet has posted the complete text of David Brickner's speech at Palin's church. (Brickner is the executive director of Jews for Jesus).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Photos of Western Wall

And now, down from the Temple Mount, a couple of photos of the Western Wall - first the women's side (which you'll notice is much smaller than the men's) and then the men's side.

From Old City of Jerusalem

From Old City of Jerusalem

Another Temple Mount Image

From Temple Mount Summer 2007

I thought it might be nice to show another image of the Temple Mount. This is a view of the Dome of the Rock from the bottom of the steps that lead up to it.

Searches - Ayers, Cats, Temple Mount

It's always interesting to see how people get to this blog. One of the most consistent searches that ends up here is for Bernardine Dohrn and/or Bill Ayers. Another perennial favorite is my post on cats in the Bible. Another one is my photos of the Temple Mount.

So, for those interested in Bill Ayers - here are all the posts: Bill Ayers.

For those interested in Bernardine Dohrn - Bernardine Dohrn.

Cats in the Bible - Cats & Bible.

Or, on the other hand, just cats: Cats. Although you will find a truly random selection of posts in which the word appears, not only those centered on cats. Also photos of my cat, Zachary.

As for the Temple Mount - click here and you'll find all of my posts that mention it, including some photographs. If you'd like to see all my photos of the Temple Mount that are online, go to Picasa - Temple Mount Summer 2007. I didn't manage to visit the Temple Mount this summer, however.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Palin's church and Jews for Jesus

Ben Smith of Politico reports on the many reasons that Jewish voters may be wary of Palin. The reason that repels me the most is that her church recently hosted one of the leaders of Jews for Jesus, who gave a sermon that expressed classic Christian, anti-Judaic, supersessionist theology.

An illustration of that gap came just two weeks ago, when Palin’s church, the Wasilla Bible Church, gave its pulpit over to a figure viewed with deep hostility by many Jewish organizations: David Brickner, the founder of Jews for Jesus.

Palin’s pastor, Larry Kroon, introduced Brickner on Aug. 17, according to a transcript of the sermon on the church’s website.

“He’s a leader of Jews for Jesus, a ministry that is out on the leading edge in a pressing, demanding area of witnessing and evangelism,” Kroon said.

Brickner then explained that Jesus and his disciples were themselves Jewish.

“The Jewish community, in particular, has a difficult time understanding this reality,” he said.

Brickner’s mission has drawn wide criticism from the organized Jewish community, and the Anti-Defamation League accused them in a report of “targeting Jews for conversion with subterfuge and deception.”

Brickner also described terrorist attacks on Israelis as God's "judgment of unbelief" of Jews who haven't embraced Christianity.

"Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. It's very real. When [Brickner's son] was in Jerusalem he was there to witness some of that judgment, some of that conflict, when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment — you can't miss it."

Palin was in church that day, Kroon said, though he cautioned against attributing Brickner’s views to her.

Ugh - it was God's judgment on Jews for not believing in Jesus that led to the deaths of people this summer from Palestinian terrorist attacks?

If Obama endured months of attacks for his membership in his church in Chicago and had to publicly dissociate himself from it, I think that Palin should also be asked what her views are on theology like this, and whether this theology has affected her thinking on Jews and Israel.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Teaching in difficult times

I'm sitting here listening to CNN's coverage of Gustav, and also reading a website from UC Berkeley about how to improve one's teaching. They have a useful page on Teaching in Difficult Times, which was originally developed for teachers thinking about what to do after the 9/11 attacks.

From the same website is another interesting page on sensitive topics in the classroom.

Are Jews a People?

An interesting discussion by Flesh is Grass, sparked by the boycott Israel campaign in Britain. She points to a lecture by Michael Walzer on this topic: Michael Walzer. (Clicking on this brings you directly to the audio file).