Monday, January 30, 2017

Israel is seeking clarification on Trump's travel ban

Further consequences of Trump's ban on entry for people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan:
From Ha'aretz:
Israel is awaiting clarifications as to whether an executive order  barring entrance to the United States to travelers from seven Muslim countries will apply to Israeli citizens born in these countries, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday. 
“We are waiting for the details and the ramifications for Israeli citizens before deciding what our next move will be,” said spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon. 
Many Israelis who immigrated during the early years of the state were born in Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Syria – four of the countries whose citizens have been denied entry into the United States under the highly controversial executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Friday.

But Israel has yet to issue a travel advisory warning them that they might be turned away when entering the United States. The executive order could be interpreted as applying to all individuals from countries on the list, even if they have since left those countries and been naturalized elsewhere, a prominent U.S. immigration lawyer told Haaretz. That would include Israelis, he said. 
Illustrating the uncertainties that some Israelis could face under the new restrictions, a Jew of Yemenite origin who has lived in the United States for many years expressed fear that he might not be let back in before boarding a flight from Tel Aviv to New York on Saturday night.  
In an emotional post on his Facebook page, Manny Damari wrote: “There is a possibility I won't be able to get on that plane back home. This is truly a nightmare. I never thought Mr. Trump's decisions would affect me in any way. 
"I have been living in the United States for almost 11 years. I've waited many years and spent thousands of dollars to obtain my green card and in a few months, I'm supposed to be getting my citizenship. I have done everything legally!
“Many of my friends have contacted me asking what's going to happen. To be honest, I don't know what to expect and I'm a bit nervous. I escaped 'my country' as a kid because of religious persecution to seek refuge in a country I never thought would turn its back on the people who need its help. A country that has opened its doors to immigrants and refugees from across the globe.” 
In a direct appeal to those of his friends celebrating the new restrictions, Damari wrote: “You should know this does not only affect Muslims, but it also affects thousands of Jews and Christians escaping war and religious persecutions. I hope you take a moment to think about it.” 
Dr. Shimon Ohayon, executive director of Bar-Ilan University’s Dahan Center for Culture, Society and Education in the Sephardic Heritage, said: “We are waiting to see what, if any, implications this has for citizens of Israel who come from the countries on the list. Right now, as I understand it, it does not apply to us.”

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Everybody's suffering in the Holocaust.... Reince Priebus; Sean Spicer: Pathetic

Original Post

I have the feeling that the White House didn't expect the negative reaction to Trump's statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day (see CNN story:

Reince Priebus was just as ridiculous today as Hope Hicks was yesterday in defending the statement.

Hicks yesterday: "Administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks said that the statement did not specifically mention Jews because 'despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,' as quoted in a CNN report published Saturday."

Priebus today: "'I don't regret the words, Chuck. I'm trying to clear it up for you,' Priebus said. 'I mean, everyone's suffering in the Holocaust, including obviously all of the Jewish people affected, and the miserable genocide that occurred is something that we consider extraordinarily sad and something that can never be forgotten and something that, if we could wipe it off the history books we could, but we can't and it's terrible. I mean, I don't know what more to tell you.'"

If Trump is really as close as he says he is to his Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, why didn't he consult Kushner on the wording of this statement? He's handed over negotiating between Israel and the Palestinians to Kushner - didn't he trust him to write a statement about Holocaust Remembrance Day? I wonder who actually DID write this statement.

Update - response from Sean Spicer, Trump's press secretary:

Spicer: “It was written with the help of an individual who is both Jewish and descended from Holocaust survivors [RL: presumably Jared Kushner]. To suggest that remembering the Holocaust and acknowledging all of the people – Jews, gypsies, priests, disabled people - It is pathetic that people are picking on a statement.”

He's saying the same thing as Hicks and Priebus - this is the White House line. Trump's statement, however, didn't actually say anything about Jews, gypsies, priests, or disabled people - it was incredibly vague. Libby Nelson from Vox writes: "Trump’s statement, on the other hand, is so vague that it could apply to nearly any tragic event. Substitute the name of a terrorist attack or mass shooting for 'the Holocaust,' and 'terrorism' or 'gun violence' for 'Nazi terror,' and it wouldn’t seem out of place."

It appears now that Jared Kushner was involved in writing the statement - and if so, why didn't he insist on including the Jews in it? Trump defenders keep telling us that Trump is a friend of the Jews because his daughter and son-in-law are Jews. I don't see any evidence that that helps.

PS. I just read a Vanity Fair article about Kushner - it seems that he's not exactly getting his way in the White House. Perhaps Spicer was lying and Kushner had nothing to do with writing the statement.

PPS, from February 1 - it turns out that the Jewish person descended from Holocaust survivors on the White House staff is not Kushner, but another guy named Boris Epshteyn, according to Talking Points Memo:
Boris Epshteyn, special assistant to President Donald Trump, reportedly wrote the White House's statement commemorating International Holocaust Memorial Day that failed to mention the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis.

Epshteyn wrote the much-maligned statement, according to a Politico report that cited an unnamed source with knowledge of the situation.

Society of Biblical Literature statement about the ban on entry from seven Muslim countries

Statement on the travel ban from seven Muslim majority countries from the Society of Biblical Literature:

Statement on the 27 January 2017 U.S. Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”

The Society of Biblical Literature’s mission is to foster biblical scholarship in accordance with our core values, which include scholarly integrity, critical inquiry, respect for diversity, inclusivity, and tolerance. This mission of fostering biblical scholarship rests on the firm belief that the study of sacred texts and traditions involves unhindered intellectual exchange among scholars. Such open, scholarly exchange serves the common good by contributing to a broad public understanding of religious texts, traditions, and practices in the modern world. It is for these reasons, for example, that SBL does not endorse academic boycotts.

In 2012, SBL received a grant to explore the establishment of an international and independent network of scholars of the Qur’an. That grant led to the formation of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) in 2014, now an independent affiliate of the SBL and an invaluable partner in the study of sacred texts. As a learned society, IQSA, like SBL, seeks to promote peace through understanding. We thereby stand with our colleagues in Qur’anic and Islamic studies to protest the ban on immigrants and refugees from Muslim countries.

Moreover, the ban encourages discrimination and promotes misleading and sometimes dangerous caricatures of religious people, practices, and texts. It also places obstacles to the travel of Muslim scholars in and out of the United States, and threatens the free exchange of ideas among the Society and partnering and affiliating organizations that advance learning and help make peace and understanding possible. Thus, the Society strongly opposes the ban and its implementation. 29 January 2017

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Green card holders from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen forbidden to enter US

Ban on Muslims from 7 countries

Washington, D.C. | | January 27, 2017 – Earlier this afternoon President Donald Trump signed Executive Order (EO) Protection of the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, which essentially implements an Arab and Muslim ban. The EO also puts an immediate ban on refugees entering the United States. 
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has already received reports that green card holders and other visa holders have been denied boarding and admission into the United States at the airport. The EO bans nationals and U.S. legal permanent residents (LPR’s – green card holders) from seven countries from entering the United States. The seven countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Additional countries can be added to the list in the future. Specifically, the ban prevents green card and visa holders from those countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days possibly more. 
ADC has developed a toolkit with information about the ban, and the impact on community members. The kit also includes actions you can take. Click here to view the toolkit
ADC is advising nationals in the U.S. who are from the above referenced countries to not travel abroad. You will not be allowed to re-enter the country. ADC will be hosting a Live Discussion on the EO and its ramifications on Monday, January 30 at 2:00 P.M. EST via Facebook Live
ADC’s team of lawyers is reviewing the language of the orders to get a complete and better understanding of the EO in its entirety. We are working on a number of community town halls and forums across the country discussing the orders and there implications on visa holders and refugees. We are also providing regular updates on our official Facebook Page and Twitter feed – be sure to follow both to stay up to date. 
For green card holders (LPRs) and student visa holders denied entry at the border or airport, contact ADC immediately at 202-244-2990, via email at, via Twitter @adctweets, and through Facebook Messanger
ADC has been diligently working on this matter and doing our best to keep the community informed regarding the possible implications of the EO. The EO demonstrates the Trump Administrations clear agenda to criminalize all immigrants, asylum-seekers, refugees, and persons of Arab ancestry and/or of the Islamic faith. The Trump Administration is manipulating current immigration mechanisms to authorize mass blanket discrimination against entire populations based on national origin, religion and/or ethnicity. 
Make sure to rise with us and make your voice heard. #NoBanNoWall

It's not only refugees from Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan who are currently banned from entering the US. Citizens of those countries who have received visas to enter the US are not permitted in. This extends even to those who hold the green cards of permanent residents of the US who are from those countries. If they leave the US they cannot reenter. There are already reports that visa-holders who arrived in the US tonight will be sent back.

Trump, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Syrian Refugees

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On the 27th of January, 1945, Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz. At least 1.1 million Jews were murdered there, plus thousands of other victims - Poles, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, Soviet prisoners of war, Jehovah's Witnesses, Czechs, White Russians, Germans, French men and women, Russians, Yugoslavians, Ukrainians, and people from several other countries.

Of course, millions more Jews were murdered in other death camps by the Nazis; about 1.5 million Jews were killed in mass shootings in parts of the Soviet Union captured by the Nazis; and hundreds of thousands died in ghettos, to mention only some of the methods of death.

As I have written on this blog before, relatives of mine were also caught up in the Nazi machinery of death. Mordechai Falkon and his wife Dovra Falkon, who lived in Liepaja, Latvia, were murdered in 1941, when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. Mordechai was probably murdered with other men in the summer of 1941, while Dovra was probably killed on the beaches of Skede, just north of Liepaja, in mid-December 1941. Other members of the extended family, Sima Schlosberg and her family, from Jelgava, Latvia, fled further east into the Soviet Union when the Nazis came. Sima, her sister Miriam, and one of their parents survived the war.

Mordechai was the uncle of my grandfather Mark Falcon Lesses (born in the United States). Mordechai and his sister Gittel remained in Europe when my great-grandfather Jacob Morris came to the US in 1893. By the mid-1930s Gittel was living with her family in Moscow.

In the years before WWII started, Mordechai, Gittel, and their cousin Sima corresponded with my grandfather.

Mordechai and Sima requested that he furnish them with affidavits to help them immigrate to the United States, which he did. Affidavits were needed to enter the US in addition to immigration visas - which the US was very stingy with for those who wanted to enter from eastern Europe. The 1924 immigration act severely restricted immigration from eastern and southern Europe. Neither Mordechai, Dovra, nor Sima and her family received visas for the US.

The US reluctance to grant visas to desperate Jews trying to escape from the Nazis is well-known now. Jews were not well-liked in the US; the State Department was institutionally antisemitic; President Roosevelt did not go to Congress to try to raise the quotas for central and eastern European countries because he was afraid that would lead to further restrictions.

President Trump chose to commemorate this day in two ways.

First, he issued a generic statement that failed to mention either Jews or antisemitism. Other presidents before him, both Democrats and Republicans, have specifically mentioned Jews. Last year, the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, also omitted mentioning Jews in his address on Holocaust Remembrance Day. (His statement today does specifically mention Jews and antisemitism).

Second, Trump suspended the entry of any refugees into the US for 120 days, banned entry for 90 days for people entering the US from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, and forbade any Syrian refugees from entering the US from this time forward. Even those who already have visas from the seven countries will not be permitted to enter the US. These are all Muslim-majority countries, so this is obviously a partial implementation of the "Muslim ban" that he called for during the election.

The executive order will permit the entry of refugees from the above countries who belong religious minorities - in effect giving Christians and others priority above Muslim refugees. The order says that entry of refugees from the above countries should "prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality."

From the Washington Post:
The annual intake of refugees for fiscal 2017 would also fall to 50,000 from more than 100,000 authorized now, according to the order. 
The order also included a new policy that states and localities should have a say in determining whether refugees can resettle there. It calls for the secretary of homeland security to propose a way to make their involvement routine. Governors and mayors, mostly Republicans, have objected to refugees, once they are admitted to the country, being resettled in their jurisdictions, often in small and medium-size cities where the cost of living is lower than it is in big coastal cities.
The US is now committed to keeping out refugees from one of the most hideous conflicts currently occurring - the Syrian civil war. We wasted several years either doing nothing to stop the slaughter or engaging in incompetent measures to stop it. Our inaction gave a green light to the Russians to enter the battle on the side of the murderous Assad regime. We have now officially handed the Syrian people into the hands of their enemies. And Trump's most peculiar affection for Putin and the Russian regime may bring us into an alliance with the murderers.

The most vulnerable refugees - women and children - will now be forbidden to come to the US. Bana Alabed, a young girl who tweeted from besieged Aleppo (with her mother's help), is now prevented from coming to the US.

At least the United States eventually entered the Second World War against the Nazis, even if we were hostile to Jewish refugees and acted very late to help them (1944, when the War Refugee Board was established). By contrast, we are now an enemy to the Syrian people.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Trump's ambassador to Israel and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem

Two good recent articles by Gershom Gorenberg, the first on Trump's dangerous pick for American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and the second on the dangers of Trump's plan to move the American embassy to Jerusalem.

Trump’s reckless choice of ambassador is a gift to Israel’s radical right
Trump’s choice of ambassador is a drastic intrusion into Israeli politics on the side of a radical, anti-democratic fringe. The pick signals that Washington is abandoning the goal of a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two states. It signals American assent, even support, for permanent denial of basic rights to Palestinians. In parallel, it undermines moderate Palestinians and empowers extremists. 
Friedman’s tightest personal connection in Israel, by all accounts this week, is Ya’akov Katz, a founder of the settlement of Beit El near Ramallah and of the yeshiva (Talmudic seminary) there. Friedman is president of the U.S. fundraising arm of the Beit El yeshiva. In a radio interview Sunday, Katz said that he and Friedman were “like brothers … it’s a friendship that goes back decades.” Under the yeshiva’s auspices, Katz helped create Arutz 7, originally a pirate radio station, now a digital news platform feeding the echo chamber of hard-line settlers. A couple of terms back, Katz served in the Knesset as head of the National Union, a collection of ultra-nationalist splinter groups. In elections since then, afraid of not getting enough votes to make it into parliament on its own, the party has run as part of Jewish Home — and has put pressure on Bennett at signs of what it regards as ideological compromise. 
Some of Friedman’s own most outrageous statements have been made in articles he wrote for Arutz 7 — his description of supporters of the dovish pro-Israel lobby J Street as “worse than kapos,” his accusation that President Obama emanates “blatant anti-Semitism,” his portrayal of Israel’s Arab citizens as disloyal freeloaders on its health system and universities. But he talks to the mainstream press as well. It was in an interview to Haaretz that Friedman said that “nobody really knows how many Palestinians live there,” meaning the West Bank. That’s not a throw-away line; it’s a pledge of allegiance to the demography-denial school of the Israeli right, which reduces Palestinian population figures to “prove” that annexation of the West Bank won’t create a binational state.
Capital Offense
Among experts, the most optimistic estimation is that the diplomatic and security impact on Israel and the United States [of moving the embassy to Jerusalem] will be merely awful, not apocalyptic. I do not take comfort even from such “upbeat” assessments, perhaps because I live a few hundred meters from the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem—which, with the switch of a sign, will become the embassy, and quite possibly the focus for violent protests....

Now, to acknowledge the obvious: Jerusalem is, in fact, Israel's capital. It's where the parliament, the prime minister's residence and the supreme court are located. Israel doesn't put its embassy to the United States in, say, Philadelphia. Why shouldn't America recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital? 
The answer to this is another question: Precisely which Jerusalem does the Trump regime intend to recognize as Israel's capital?...
....Several years ago, the United States built a large new consulate in Jerusalem. City planning officials have said that it's intended to be the embassy, if and when America makes the move. A change of sign is all that's needed. In 2014, the U.S. also bought the neighboring plot, the site of the Diplomat Hotel, now a senior citizens' home.
As I mentioned, the new consulate is near my home. I live inside the Green Line. The consulate grounds, on the other hand, straddle the line. Part is in the pre-1967 no-man's land. The Diplomat plot is mostly or entirely in no-man's land.

If the consulate was planned to serve as an embassy—perhaps to Palestine as well as Israel—after peace, the location would be nicely symbolic. If turned into an embassy today, it will be a declaration in concrete that the United States accepts de jure Israeli rule beyond the Green Line. In turn, that's recognition of Israel sovereignty over the Islamic and Christian holy sites....

If the embassy is moved, “The Palestinian Authority is certain to boycott the U.S. administration,” says Professor Samir Awad, a political scientist at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank and an expert on relations with America. “It will jeopardize relations with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world, and ... in Latin America.” Awad cautiously estimates that a new Palestinian uprising is unlikely, but “violence will escalate. Whatever exists now will double.”

Nor will the United States be immune, in Kurtzer's assessment. “The Muslim community in Islamabad might just take aim at the American Embassy, or in Jakarta or somewhere else. ... The best case scenario is that the world doesn't fall apart, it just gets ruined in significant ways.”

If Trump asks for briefing papers, if he meets with policy professionals, if he even talks to the men he has chosen to be the secretaries of defense and state, he'll hear that moving the embassy will cause a blow-up. We live wildly unpredictable times, so it's even possible that Trump will take advice. It seems, though, that he likes defying advice and making things blow up. But for the sake of all that's holy, Mr. Trump, things blow up in Jerusalem too often. Please go cause trouble somewhere else.

One possible reason Trump is aligning with Putin

An alarming analysis from Josh Marshal of TPM:
My own view is that Trump and Bannon greatly overestimate America's relative economic power in the world. Their view appears to be that no European country will feel it is able to be locked out of trade with a US-UK trade pact. An America eager to break up the EU seems more likely to inject new life into the union. However that may be, Trump and Bannon clearly want to create a nativist world order based on the US, Russia and states that want to align with them. The EU and NATO are only obstacles to that goal.

Meanwhile, from the far left.....

New levels of conspiratorial idiocy are continually being reached: a new tweet from Code Pink, referring to Reverend Graylan Hagler.

And Reverend Hagler, once again displaying his ignorance about Israel. Israel is a democratic state (still, despite Netanyahu & the settler right-wing) and a Jewish state where many non-Jews are citizens and even have seats in the Knesset. (20% of the population is not Jewish; almost all are Israeli-Palestinians).

Also a fan of Fidel Castro. I'm sure the Cuban dissidents still sitting in jail regard him as a hopeful figure.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Public Service Announcement

I started this blog in order to express my own opinions. If readers wish to enter into conversation with me by commenting on my posts, you may do so, subject to my discretion. If I do not like your comments, for any reason whatsoever, I may delete them. Do not complain to me that I am taking away your right to free speech, since you are you are free to start your own blog and express your opinions there.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Judenraten? Kapos? Why are people using this language in relation to Israel/Palestine?

Legal Insurrection caught a particular revolting comment by a pro-BDS speaker during the MLA debate:
I am sick to death of hearing the divisive politics of those members of my ethnic group who would use that against those of us who speak out in favor of human rights. We know what you’re doing. It’s the same thing that people like you did back in the days of the Judenraten in World War II, where you spoke up for yourselves against your fellows. It’s the same thing as those of you did who in the 1950s made apologies for the McCarthyists.
So this guy on the extreme left thinks that Jews who oppose BDS are like members of the Judenraten (Nazi-appointed Jewish councils in ghettos who had to collaborate with the Nazis, up to and including finding Jews to be sent off to the death camps), while some people on the right condemn Jews who are opposed to the settlements as "self-hating Jews" or "kapos."

Why are people resorting to this extreme comparison when discussing a situation which HAS NO LIKENESS to that of Jews faced with extermination by the Nazis?

For the pro-BDS people: However miserably Israel has treated the Palestinians, Israel has not put any Palestinians into death camps, nor is Israel committing genocide against Palestinians.

For right-wing Zionists: supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state to exist alongside Israel is not the same thing as supporting the genocide of the Jewish people! I have many friends in Israel and certainly don't want them to die.

MLA delegate assembly rejects motion for boycott of Israel

Today the MLA delegate assembly voted against the academic boycott of Israel, 113-79. 

From Haaretz:
The resolution was proposed by a group called MLA Members for Justice in Palestine. A decision on the initiative has been postponed for several years.

The vote followed a dramatic discussion. Rebecca Comay, the author of the boycott proposal, told the audience that "Palestinians are stripped of the rights we ourselves take for granted."

One member arguing against the boycott said: "It's not only racism and anti-Semitism, it smacks of McCarthyism." Another argued that it is "the same as boycotting those in this room for actions of Cheney and Bush."

Gabriel Brahm, of Northern Michigan University, said: "Institutions are like Soylent Green in the old  Charlton Heston movie, they're made of people. You can't target the institutions of a nation and not discriminate on the basis of nationality. That is certainly not our mission as MLA members, scholars or humanists."

Peter C. Herman, a San Diego University professor who opposes the initiative, told Haaretz: “A vote against the boycott is not a vote for the Netanyahu government. However, this boycott targets exactly the people who speak for dissent."

In addition to rejecting the Israel boycott resolution, the 300 members of the MLA's delegate assembly adopted a resolution to oppose all boycotts, and voted to indefinitely postpone a motion to condemn the suppression of academic freedom in Palestinian universities in Gaza and the West Bank.

Pulitzer-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen was in favor of the boycott, as were renowned philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler and Israeli Talmud scholar Daniel Boyarin. 
Israeli scholars opposing the boycott released a plea to MLA members to reject the resolution. 
MLA Members for Justice in Palestine haven't yet published anything about their defeat on their website.

Update: New York Times article on the MLA vote:

Friday, January 06, 2017

To my readers: No antisemitism on this blog, no calling people "Kapos" or "self-hating Jews"

I recently got insulted on Facebook and got called a "self-hating Jew" by someone who was cowardly enough to send me a personal message (rather than posting publicly in a comment thread), and then blocked me so that I'm unable to send a reply.

Here on my blog, some commentators openly indulge themselves in antisemitic remarks.

I have no problem if people comment on my blog posts and disagree with me.

I do have problems if someone writes antisemitic remarks on my blog or insults people on Facebook as "self-hating Jews" or "kapos." I have read both insults several times on Facebook threads condemning those Jews who supported the US abstention from the recent UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements and Palestinian violence.

To those who call other Jews "self-hating" because you don't agree with them about Israel/Palestine - what on earth do you mean? If I favor a withdrawal from most of the settlements in order to allow the creation of a Palestinian state - how does that make me "self-hating"?

To those who call others Jew "kapos" - your remark is beneath contempt. "Kapos" were concentration camp prisoners who were appointed by the SS to control the other prisoners. They were often ordinary criminals in the camps, and sometimes political prisoners. Elie Wiesel writes about them in his book Night, as does Primo Levi in If This is a Man (both were imprisoned in Auschwitz). According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, "Jews were appointed Kapos only in those camps which were all Jewish." The kapos cooperated with the SS in the oppression of their fellow prisoners because of privileges they were given, such as more food to eat, easier work, rest, etc. Some Jewish kapos tried to help their fellow Jews, but many others were cruel and violent - Wiesel and Levi write about kapos who acted in these ways. 

There is nothing and no one comparable in Jewish life today to the kapos in the concentration and death camps, which thank God do not exist any more. A person who advocates a two-state solution, or on the other hand believes that Israel should keep building more settlements in the West Bank is not a kapo collaborating with a nation that wants to destroy the Jewish people. He or she is expressing his/her sincere political belief.

If you make antisemitic remarks, or call other people "self-hating Jews" or "kapos" on this blog or on my Facebook page, I will delete your remarks and I may block you from commenting at all.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Daniel A. McGowan, again

I just came across a post on Holocaust Controversies that discusses our local (Geneva, NY) Holocaust denier, Daniel A. McGowan. I haven't heard much about McGowan lately. Apparently he is now on the board of the Council for the National Interest, an anti-Israel organization founded by two former Congressmen, Paul Findlay and Pete McCloskey. The president of CNI is Alison Weir, who founded another anti-Israel organization called If Americans Knew; Paul Findlay also serves on the board of IAK. McGowan and Paul Eisen founded Deir Yassin Remembered, an organization ostensibly founded to memorialize the Deir Yassin massacre, but which has become a home to antisemitism, Holocaust denial, 9/11 Truthism, etc. Paul Findlay is also on the Board of Advisors of DYR.

Andrew E. Mathis, author of the post, writes:
Since 2010, Weir has been president of the Council for the National Interest (CNI), which was founded in 1989 by former U.S. Representatives Paul Findley (R-IL) and PeteMcCloskey (R-CA) -- the latter who addressed the IHR in 2000. Browsing the CNI Web site the other day, I found a familiar name among the directors: Daniel McGowan. A bit more digging found that McGowan provided the voice for the audio version of Weir's book Against our Better Judgment. Clearly the two are well acquainted. The presence of McCloskey and McGowan would bring to two the total of people with questionable associations with Holocaust denial organizations on the board of CNI.
Mathis then contacted Weir about McGowan:
I contacted Weir (CC'ing McGowan) and asked her to clarify her relationship with McGowan. I heard back from McGowan but not Weir. Among McGowan's revelations in our conversation was that he, like myself, is a convert to Judaism, although my question regarding when he converted and under what auspices went unanswered. Moreover, in debating the point of whether Jewish children were thrown alive into burning pits at Birkenau, as alleged by Elie Wiesel in Night, McGowan stated that he believes that bodies were burned in pits in Birkenau in 1944. Whether that means he accepts the standard history of Auschwitz specifically or the Holocaust generally I cannot say, since he has not responded to me since the weekend.

A walk in the neighborhood

Business is Blooming, a florist.

Black Lives Matter. Many people have put the signs in their windows. Our local chapter of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) has been selling them as yard signs, but unfortunately vandals tend to take them down and throw them away, so people have put them in the windows instead.

The owner had just left the house, and the dog looked through the window at him.

Two birds on a wind chime.

"Love grows in the garden of your heart"

Cat, asleep

Curled up cat

Sunday, January 01, 2017

[Updated] More on Mircea Eliade, Fascism, and Antisemitism

One of my old posts that still gets readers is Mircea Eliade's Fascism.

I was just reading the latest comment to it, and thought to do a little Google searching. I came across the Journals of Mihail Sebastian, a Rumanian Jewish intellectual who was a friend of Eliade and traveled in the same intellectual circles as he did. In Journal: 1935-1944; the Fascist Years (with an introduction by Radu Ioanio, published by Rowman and Littlefield, in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum), he mentions Eliade frequently.

From the introduction to the English publication of his diaries (2012), p. xiv:
One of Sebastian's closest friends, Mircea Eliade, became rabidly anti-Semitic under the influence of the Iron Guard. A well-known journalist and novelist in Romania between the wars, After World War II Elliade made an exceptional career for himself at the University of Chicago as a historian of religion. Unlike other famous representatives of his generation, however, Eliade never acknowledged has past as an Iron Guard ideologists and is not known ever to have expressed regret for his involvement with this fascist organization.
In the Romanian press Eliade published stridently anti-Semitic attacks. "Is it possible," he asked, "that the Romanian nation will end in the most miserable disintegration in history, eaten by poverty and syphilis, invaded by Jews and torn by aliens, demoralized, betrayed and sold for a few million lei?"  This outburst from December 1937 was characteristic. About two months earlier, Eliade had plunged into a long xenophobic exhortation, reproaching the authorities for their tolerance toward the Jews, writing, "We didn't lift a finger while we watched the Jewish element strengthening in the Transylvanian towns.... Since the war the Jews have invaded the villages of Maramures and Bukovina and have obtained an absolute majority in all Bessarabian cities.... I very well know that the Jews shout that I am an anti-Semite and the democrats that I am a hooligan or a fascist.... I am not a bit annoyed when I hear the Jews shouting: 'anti-Semitism,' 'fascism,' 'Hitlerism.'" 

Update: I've just posted as a page an article by Joseph Frank on Eliade, Cioran, and Ionescu, published in the New Republic on November 20, 2006 - Thinkers and Liars.

Gerry Adams: Jesus is a Palestinian

According to Gerry Adams, president of the Sinn Fein party in the Republic of Ireland, Jesus is a Palestinian.

He writes, in a nauseatingly sentimental tone:
I like the story of Christmas. A homeless pregnant single mother and her older kindly partner looking for a place to stay. They famously end up in a stable. Probably a smelly little cave. That’s where baby Jesus was born. No grand palace, big mansion or fancy castle. 

And Jesus was not blue eyed or blond haired. Jesus is a Palestinian. So, he probably was a little swarthy skinned black haired wee lad. Just like three year old Aylan Kurdi lying drowned on a beach in Turkey or other wee kids we see on television fleeing war and poverty and being rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, or scrambling for food in a refugee camp or playing in a bomb site in Gaza city.
Where did Adams get this peculiar idea from? Probably from the Palestinian national leadership, which has been propagating it for a while.

The president of the Palestinian Authority has claimed Jesus for the Palestinian cause. Mahmoud Abbas has described Jesus as a "Palestinian messenger" and Saeb Erekat, the PA's chief negotiator, called Jesus "Palestine's first martyr" and said that he was "the first Palestinian after the Canaanite Palestinians."

Erekat's strange theology therefore separates Jesus from the people that he actually came from, Jews, and claims him for the contemporary Palestinian cause - even though the land in which he was born was only named Palestine by the Romans long after the death of Jesus.