Friday, October 14, 2016

Sticks in his Craw:
Bob Dylan, the Nobel Prize and  Arab displeasure



Even if the Jews have not all been geniuses,their general average of intelligence and intellectuality is far above our general average--and that is one of our reasons for wishing to drive them out of the higher forms of business and the professions.
It is the swollen envy of pygmy minds--meanness, injustice.

(Mark Twain)

 

Asad Abukhalil, "Angry Arab News Letter",  professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus, has a different theory as to why Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel prize for Literature this year:

"Did Bob Dylan win the Nobel Prize in literature for this poem [The Neighborhood Bully]?

He wrote this after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, when Dylan--who admired Meir Kahane--supported Israeli war crimes and massacres."

I'd also have liked to believe this song played a pivotal role in the decision of the Nobel committee but it's unlikely. However, I do derive a certain perverse pleasure  from imagining that this selection sticks in Angry Arab's craw to the point of incontinent vomiting.

This walking incarnation of ugliness, Arabofascism, and implacable irredentism, teaches young students on how to read texts and historical events. And then you wonder about the condition of American society these days.






Monday, October 10, 2016

Obama prepares to honour his Promise to Palestinians

Is anyone really surprised that Obama is making good on his promise to Ali AbuNimah*?

Is anybody really surprised that the bottom line of Obama's "diplomatic" assault on Israel is: It's the Jews ' fault, for wanting to live where they are not wanted?

Is anybody really surprised that Obama shares Black Lives Matter's ethos, according to which the darker the skin colour, the more virtuous you are?

"The Obama administration is manufacturing a crisis with Israel in anticipation of a post-election diplomatic push targeting the Jewish state, and this past week launched a series of broadsides criticizing the Israelis through the media and in press briefings, according to congressional sources and Jewish-American officials who spoke to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

The White House and State Department lashed out after the Israelis advanced plans to build in areas the administration considers to be off-limits to new Israeli construction, using language that reporters noted is usually reserved for terror attacks.

Asked by journalists why the administration stated that it "strongly condemn[ed]" Israel's plans to advance construction, a phrase ordinarily used "to denounce acts of terrorism," White House spokesman Josh Earnest replied that the construction "provoke[s] strong feelings in the administration." In that briefing, Earnest also suggested that Israel betrayed commitments to Washington, while a State Department official separately said Israel would be "cementing… perpetual occupation" if it built the houses."

________

 * By Abunimah's own testimonial, this is what Obama said to him in

"the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies.
As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, "Hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when things calm down I can be more up front." He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, "Keep up the good work!"

Monday, September 26, 2016



Hannah Arendt, on Intellectuals:
 


(On October 28, 1964, a conversation took place between Hannah 
Arendt and Gunter Gaus. Here is the relevant excerpt. 
Note the passages I highlighted):

 
Gaus: You mean that the shock in 1933 came from the fact that 
events went from the generally political to the personal? 
 
Arendt: Not even that. Or, that too. First of all, the generally 
political became a personal fate when one emigrated. Second . . . friends 
"co-ordinated" or got in line. The problem, the personal problem, was 
not what our enemies did but what our friends did. In the wave of 
Gleichschakung (co-ordination),* which was relatively voluntary — in any 
case, not yet under the pressure of terror — it was as if an empty space 
formed around one. I lived in an intellectual milieu, but I also knew 
other people. And among intellectuals Gleichschaltung was the rule, so 
to speak. But not among the others. And I never forgot that. I left 
Germany dominated by the idea — of course somewhat exaggerated: 
Never again! I shall never again get involved in any kind of intellectual 
business. I want nothing to do with that lot. Also I didn't believe then 
that Jews and German Jewish intellectuals would have acted any dif
ferently had their own circumstances been different. That was not my 
opinion. I thought that it had to do with this profession, with being an 
intellectual. I am speaking in the past tense. Today I know more about 
it. . . . 
 
Gaus: I was just about to ask you if you still believe that. 
 
Arendt: No longer to the same degree. But I still think that it 
belongs to the essence of being an intellectual that one fabricates ideas 
about everything. No one ever blamed someone if he "co-ordinated" 
because he had to take care of his wife or child. The worst thing was 
that some people really believed in Nazism! For a short time, many for 
a very short time. But that means that they made up ideas about Hitler, 
in part terrifically interesting things! Completely fantastic and interesting 
and complicated things! Things far above the ordinary level lf I found 
that grotesque. Today I would say that they were trapped by their own 
ideas. That is what happened. But then, at that time, I didn't see it so 
clearly. 
 
Gaus: And that was the reason that it was particularly important 
for you to get out of intellectual circles and start to do work of a practical 
nature? 
 
Arendt: Yes. The positive side is the following. I realized what  
I then expressed time and again in the sentence: If one is attacked as a 
Jew, one must defend oneself as a Jew. Not as a German, not as a world- 
citizen, not as an upholder of the Rights of Man, or whatever. But: 
What can I specifically do as a Jew?"

Thursday, September 08, 2016

An ever abiding hostility of Muslims towards the Jews

Excerpt from: Misunderstanding Islamic Antisemitism By Andrew G. Bostom

"Al-Jahiz offers two primary explanations for this abiding hostility of the Muslim rank and file towards the Jews. First was the "rancorous" relationship between the early Muslim community, exiles from Mecca, relocated among Jewish neighbors in Medina.

When the [Muslim] Emigrants [from Mecca] became the neighbors of the Jews [in Medina]...the Jews began to envy the Muslims the blessings of their new faith, and the union which resulted after dissension. They proceeded to undermine the belief of our [i.e., the Muslim] masses, and to lead them astray. They aided our enemies and those envious of us. From mere misleading speech and stinging words they plunged into an open declaration of enmity, so that the Muslims mobilized their forces, exerting themselves morally and materially to banish the Jews and destroy them. Their strife became long-drawn and widespread, so that it worked itself up into a rage, and created yet greater animosity and more intensified rancor. The Christians, however, because of their remoteness from Mecca and Medina, did not have to put up with religious controversies, and did not have occasion to stir up trouble, and be involved in war. That was the first cause of our dislike of the Jews, and our partiality toward the Christians.

However, al-Jahiz then identifies as "the most potent cause" of this particular animus towards the Jews, Koran  5:82 ["Thou wilt surely find the most hostile of men to the believers are the Jews and the idolaters; and thou wilt surely find the nearest of them in love to the believers are those who say ‘We are Christians'; that, because some of them are priests and monks, and they wax not proud."], and its interpretation by the contemporary (i.e., mid-9th century) Muslim masses.  It is important to note also that the gloss on Koran 5:82 in the classical Koranic commentaries by al-Tabari (d. 923), Zamakashari (d. 1143), Baydawi (d. ~ 1316), and Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), demonstrate a uniformity of opinion about the confirmed animus of the Jews towards the Muslims, which is repeatedly linked to the central Antisemitic motif in the Koran (verses 2:61/ 3:112) -- their eternal curse for transgressing the will of Allah, slaying Biblical prophets, and resultant condemnation to permanent humiliation. Tabari, for example, states:

In my [Tabari's] opinion, [the Christians] are not like the Jews who always scheme in order to murder the emissaries and the prophets, and who oppose God in his positive and negative commandments, and who corrupt His scripture which He revealed in His books.

Moreover, the basic contention in Al-Jahiz's  essay that the Muslims harbored greater enmity towards the Jews than the Christians is supported by the independent observations of another Arab author active during the beginning of the 9th century in Iraq, the Sufi theologian al-Harith al-Muhasibi (d. 857). He maintained that because the Jews stubbornly denied Muhammad's truth, they were "...in the eyes of the Muslims worse than the Christians."

The impact upon Jews of such distinctly Antisemitic attitudes by Muslims in the specific context of the Arab Muslim world during the high Middle Ages (circa 950-1250 C.E.) is evident in S.D. Goitein' s seminal analyses of the primary source Geniza documentary record. Goitein's research caused him to employ the term Antisemitism,

...in order to differentiate animosity against Jews from the discrimination practiced by Islam against non-Muslims in general. Our scrutiny of the Geniza material has proved the existence of ‘antisemitism' in the time and the area considered here...

Goitein cites as one important concrete proof of his assertion that a unique strain of Islamic Jew hatred was extant at this time (i.e., up to a millennium ago) -- exploding the common assumption of its absence -- the fact that letters from the Cairo Geniza  material,

...have a special word for it and, most significantly, one not found in the Bible or in Talmudic literature (nor registered in any Hebrew dictionary), but one much used and obviously coined in the Geniza period. It is sin'ūth, "hatred", a Jew-baiter being called sōnē, "a hater".

Incidents of such Muslim Jew hatred documented by Goitein in the Geniza come from northern Syria (Salamiyya and al-Mar‘arra), Morocco (Fez), and Egypt (Alexandria), with references to the latter being particularly frequent.
One thousand years later, various eyewitness accounts written throughout the 19th century illustrated the prolonged historical continuity of this theological Islamic Antisemitism. Edward William Lane, the renowned Arabic lexicographer, recorded his observations of Egyptian society in 1835. Lane's testimony on the difference between the attitude of Egyptian Muslims toward the Jews and the Christians again highlights the influence of Koran 5:82:

They [the Jews] are held in the utmost contempt and abhorrence by the Muslims in general, and they are said to bear a more inveterate hatred than any other people to the Muslims and the Muslim religion. It is said, in the Koran [quoting 5:82] "Thou shalt surely find the most violent all men to those who have believed to be the Jews..."

Lane further notes,

It is a common saying among the Muslims in this country, "Such one hates me with the hate of the Jews." We cannot wonder, then, that the Jews are detested far more than are the Christians. Not long ago, they used often to be jostled in the streets of Cairo, and sometimes beaten for merely passing on the right hand of a Muslim. At present, they are less oppressed: but still they scarcely ever dare to utter a word of abuse when reviled or beaten unjustly by the meanest Arab or Turk; for many a Jew has been put to death upon a false and malicious accusation of uttering disrespectful words against the Koran or the Prophet. It is common to hear an Arab abuse his jaded ass, and, after applying to him various opprobrious epithets, end by calling the beast a Jew. 

Subsequent 19th century accounts validate and expand upon Lane's narrative. For example, the French surgeon A.B. Clot who resided in Egypt from 1825 to1848, and served Muhammad Ali as a medical adviser, earning the honorific title, "Bey," made these confirmatory observations written in 1840, five years after Lane's travelogue first appeared in 1835:

The Israelite race is the one that the Muslims hate the most. They think that the Jews hate Islam more than any other nation...Speaking of a fierce enemy, the Muslims say: "He hates me the way the Jews hate us." During the past century, the Israelites were often put to death because they were accused rightly or wrongly to have something disrespectful about the Koran.

A mid-19th century eyewitness account from Jerusalem by the missionary Gregory Wortabet, (published in 1856) captures these routine sentiments, which Wortabet attributes to Koranic verses referring to the Jews as apes and pigs (Koran 2:65, 5:60, and 7:166), as well as the canonical hadith about Muhammad's reputed poisoning by an ancient Khaybar Jewess:

The Jew is still an object of scorn, and nowhere is the name of "Yahoodi (Jew)"more looked down upon than here in the city of his fathers. One day, as I was passing the Damascus gate, I saw an Arab hurrying on his donkey amid imprecations such as the following:"Emshi ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Walk, thou son of a Jew)! Yulaan abuk ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Cursed be thy father, thou son of a Jew)!"


I need not give any more illustrations of the manner in which the man went on. The reader will observe, that the man did not curse the donkey, but the Jew, the father of the donkey. Walking up to him, I said, "Why do you curse the Jew? What harm has he done you?"

"El Yahoodi khanzeer (the Jew is a hog)!", answered the man.

"How do you make that out?", I said. "Is not the Jew as good as you or I?"

"Ogh!", ejaculated the man, his eyes twinkling with fierce rage, and his brow knitting.

By this time he was getting out of my hearing. I was pursuing my walk, when he turned round, and said, "El Yahoodi khanzeer! Khanzeer el Yahoodi! (The Jew is a hog! A hog is a Jew!)"

Now I must tell the reader, that, in the Mahomedan vocabulary, there is no word lower than a hog, that animal being in their estimation the most defiled of animals; and good Mahomedans are prohibited by the Koran from eating it. The Jew, in their estimation, is the vilest of the human family, and is the object of their pious hatred, perhaps from the recollection that a Jewess of Khaibar first undermined the health of the prophet by infusing poison into his food. Hence a hog and a Jew are esteemed alike in the eye of a Moslem, both being the lowest of their kind; and now the reader will better understand the meaning of the man's words, "El Yahoodi khanzeer!"

Such hateful attitudes directed at the Jews specifically, persisted among Egyptian Muslims, as recorded in 1873 by Moritz Lüttke:

The Muslim hates no other religion as he hates that of the Jews...even now that all forms of political oppression have ceased, at a time when such great tolerance is shown to the Christian population, the Arabs still bear the same contemptuous hatred of the Jews. It is a commonplace occurrence, for example, for two Arabs reviling each other to call each other Ibn Yahūdī (or "son of a Jew") as the supreme insult...it should be mentioned that in these cases, they pronounce the word Yahūdī in a violent and contemptuous tone that would be hard to reproduce.

Jacob Landau's modern analysis of Egyptian Jewry in the 19th century elucidates the predictable outcome of these bigoted archetypes "constantly repeated in various forms"-the escalation from rhetorical to physical violence against Jews:

...it is interesting to note that even the fallāhīn, the Egyptian peasantry (almost all of them Muslim) certainly did not know many Jews at close quarters, but nevertheless would revile them. The enmity some Muslims felt for the Jews incited them to violence, persecution, and physical assault, as in 1882...Hostility was not necessarily the result of envy, for many Jews were poverty-stricken and even destitute and were sometimes forced to apply for financial assistance to their co-religionists abroad.

Thirty-fours years ago (1974) Bat Ye'or published a remarkably foresighted analysis of the Islamic antisemitism and resurgent jihadism in her native Egypt, being packaged for dissemination throughout the Muslim world. The primary, core Antisemitic and jihadist motifs were Islamic, derived from Islam's foundational texts, on to which European, especially Nazi elements were grafted.

The pejorative characteristics of Jews as they are described in Muslim religious texts are applied to modern Jews.  Anti-Judaism and anti-Zionism are equivalent -- due to the inferior status of Jews in Islam, and because divine will dooms Jews to wandering and misery, the Jewish state appears to Muslims as an unbearable affront and a sin against Allah. Therefore it must be destroyed by Jihad. Here the Pan-Arab and anti-Western theses that consider Israel as an advanced instrument of the West in the Islamic world, come to reinforce religious anti-Judaism. The religious and political fuse in a purely Islamic context onto which are grafted foreign elements. If, on the doctrinal level, Nazi influence is secondary to the Islamic base, the technique with which the Antisemitic material has been reworked, and the political purposes being pursued, present striking similarites with Hitler's Germany.
That anti-Jewish opinions have been widely spread in Arab nationalist circles since the 1930s is not in doubt. But their confirmation at [Al] Azhar [University] by the most important authorities of Islam enabled them to be definitively imposed, with the cachet of infallible authenticity, upon illiterate masses that were strongly attached to religious traditions."

***



The selfie


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The meaning of BDS:

Some people take issue with characterizing  BDS as a fascist movement. Fascists, when they appear in democratic societies, prefer to use non-violence means, such as poisoning and perverting the contents and methods of public discourse, such as intimidating academics and academic institutions to impose an embargo on Israeli scholarship, Israeli academics, authors, artists, film makers, intellectuals, singers, actors, plays. Because Truth, its accurate presentation, dialogue, free debate, are not their suit, but rather, they seek to abuse facts and pervert actual realities in order to create a false perception, to deceive those who listen to them into empowering the movement and to create a hostile environment for those who remain loyal the existence of the state of Israel.

Always fascism will involve antisemitism.

"Because anti-Semitism is the godfather of racism and the gateway to tyranny and fascism and war" said Christopher Hitchens... "it is ..the common enemy of humanity and of civilization, and has to be fought against very tenaciously for that reason, most especially in its current, most virulent form of Islamic Jihad... Many pogroms against Jewish people are being reported from all over Europe today as I'm talking, and we can only expect this to get worse, and we must make sure our own defenses are not neglected. Our task is to call this filthy thing, this plague, this—this pest, by its right name; to make unceasing resistance to it... "

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Dante's catalogue of horrors in the "Inferno" "pales in comparison" to a new collection of stories by Tadeusz Borowski , an Polish Auschwitz survivor who put an end to his life six years after liberation. The stories are told in a morally-neutral manner, bereft of both empathy or an attempt to affect the reader.

Arno Lustiger, Borowski's Auschwitz comrade No. A 5592, reviews the book in a somewhat similar attempt to keep it free of sentiment or judgement:


Every day, the Kapos played football on a pitch surrounded by flowers within sight of the unloading ramp where Jews were constantly arriving by train. Borowski, who played in goal, writes: "I walked back with the ball and passed it to the corner. Between two corners, three thousand people had been gassed behind my back."

To see his fiancee more often, he had himself assigned to the roofing unit, whose members were able to move freely within the whole of the camp, including the women's section. Tadeusz Borowski and Maria Rundo saw each other every day, often even able to be alone together. As a roofer, he also worked in the section of the camp known as "Canada" where articles taken from murdered Jews were kept, including clothes, jewellery, and other valuables, including 7.7 tons of human hair. Here he had contact with the prisoners who belonged to the Sonderkommandos or Special Units, whose horrific tasks included moving the dead from the gas chambers to the ovens of the crematoria. He enjoyed privileges which normal, insignificant inmates could not even dream of.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Jews and Muslims in 19th century Palestine 
 (known as Southern Syria under the Ottoman Empire system):
 

"A mid-19th century eyewitness account from Jerusalem by the missionary Gregory Wortabet, (published in 1856) captures these routine sentiments, which Wortabet attributes to Koranic verses referring to the Jews as apes and pigs (Koran 2:65, 5:60, and 7:166), as well as the canonical hadith about Muhammad's reputed poisoning by an ancient Khaybar Jewess:

The Jew is still an object of scorn, and nowhere is the name of "Yahoodi (Jew)"more looked down upon than here in the city of his fathers. One day, as I was passing the Damascus gate, I saw an Arab hurrying on his donkey amid imprecations such as the following:"Emshi ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Walk, thou son of a Jew)! Yulaan abuk ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Cursed be thy father, thou son of a Jew)!"


I need not give any more illustrations of the manner in which the man went on. The reader will observe, that the man did not curse the donkey, but the Jew, the father of the donkey. Walking up to him, I said, "Why do you curse the Jew? What harm has he done you?"

"El Yahoodi khanzeer (the Jew is a hog)!", answered the man.

"How do you make that out?", I said. "Is not the Jew as good as you or I?"

"Ogh!", ejaculated the man, his eyes twinkling with fierce rage, and his brow knitting.

By this time he was getting out of my hearing. I was pursuing my walk, when he turned round, and said, "El Yahoodi khanzeer! Khanzeer el Yahoodi! (The Jew is a hog! A hog is a Jew!)"

Now I must tell the reader, that, in the Mahomedan vocabulary, there is no word lower than a hog, that animal being in their estimation the most defiled of animals; and good Mahomedans are prohibited by the Koran from eating it. The Jew, in their estimation, is the vilest of the human family, and is the object of their pious hatred, perhaps from the recollection that a Jewess of Khaibar first undermined the health of the prophet by infusing poison into his food. Hence a hog and a Jew are esteemed alike in the eye of a Moslem, both being the lowest of their kind; and now the reader will better understand the meaning of the man's words, "El Yahoodi khanzeer!"