Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The Meretz KKK, and Why Israel needs a House of Lords
The secret is the House of Lords!
What's that, you say? The House of Lords? But they do not DO anything at
England survives politically because it can get rid of incompetent and
aging political hacks, people to whom the system "owes" favors, by dumping
them in the House of Lords. There they get all the honors the country can
bestow but where they cannot do very much damage.
If only Israel had its own House of Lords, the country would be in much
better shape! We would not be witnessing the spectacle of a government
cabinet that consists of a quarter of all the members of the parliament.
Bibi is announcing a cabinet with 30 different ministers, about twice the
maximum number that could be justified. Most do not really have any job
at all. Paraphrasing Nehemia Strassler at Haaretz, these may be described
as the Minister of Nothing with the Minister of Squat with the Minister of
Gar Nichts and the Minister of Doodly. Avishai Braverman is one of these
myriad Ministers of Nothing. His job is "Minister of Minorities," meaning
Arabs, meaning he can try to do to the government what he did previously
to Ben Gurion University.
2. I really think the time has come for Meretz to change its name to
the Israeli Ku Klux Klan.
The Klan, you recall, used to hold noisy demonstrations every time a
black family moved into an area that the Klan regarded as "white." Every
single American Jewish organization took to the barricades to protest such
The Israeli Klan is led by Meretz and is dedicated to preventing
religious Jews from moving into neighborhoods it regards as secularist.
No American Jewish organizations are taking to the barricades.
The latest battle ground is Kiryat Yovel in Jerusalem, a neighborhood
in which I lived as a student. It seems that religious and even
ultra-Orthodox black-coat Jews are moving there. The secularists claim it
is a big plot to "take over" their neighborhood. Haaretz devotes a long
article today (not on line) to celebrating the Meretz campaign to prevent
the religious from entering Kiryat Yovel. The same newspaper that could
not contain its bliss when Obama became the first black Prez is now loudly
Jim Crowing against a different sort of black (those with black coats).
They cite with approval the Meretz city councilman Papa Allo (that is really
his name), who screams, "Those who think one can get along with the
religious just do not know what they are talking about." Indeed.
Similar secularist hooliganism has taken place in other places,
including the Old Romema neighborhood in Haifa, where secularists even
invaded a neighborhood synagogue and beat religious Jews to drive them out
of the neighbohood. In a Jerusalem secular neighborhood, enraged parents
called the cops to remove a woman who was handing out sabbath candles to
high school kids on Friday near the school yard. Had she been handing out
pot there would have been no problem.
3. Jenin - a hotbed of "moderates"?
4. More Leftist First Amendment:
5. Sderot under attack in America:
6.. Yuli Tamir's last surgery:
. 7. Anti-Semitism on Stage:
. OPINION: GLOBAL VIEW
. MARCH 30, 2009, 11:30 P.M. ET
The Stages of Anti-Semitism
An avant-garde play revives an ancient hatred.
. By BRET STEPHENS
Here's a sketch for a racist play about "moral decline" in black America
since the civil rights era.
Act I: Heroic protestors gather at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma,
Ala., in 1965 to march in defiance of a segregationist state. Act II: The
scene moves to San Francisco in the early 1970s, where the radical
politics of the Black Panthers quickly give way to robbery and murder. Act
III: A New York City crack house, circa 1985. Act IV: the trial of O.J.
Simpson. Act V: The present, in which a black man on a prison furlough
goes on a murder spree.
Appalled? I hope so.
Now substitute the word "Jewish" for "black" and change the scene to
Europe and Israel and you have, roughly, the plot of celebrated British
playwright Caryl Churchill's "Seven Jewish Children," which debuted last
month to some controversy and much acclaim at London's Royal Court
Theater. It is now in the U.S., playing in small but respectable venues to
sophisticated audiences that -- judging from the performance I attended in
New York last Thursday -- are overwhelmingly disposed to like it.
Ms. Churchill's short play unfolds over seven scenes, beginning, dimly,
sometime during the Holocaust and concluding, sharply, with Israel's war
with Hamas. Characters appear as parents or older relatives of an offstage
child, and the dialogue revolves around what the girl should or should not
know about her political circumstances as they unfold over the decades.
So, for the first scene we have the line, "Don't tell her they'll kill
her" -- the "they" presumably referring to Nazis. Yet by the final scene
the tables have turned. Now it's the Jews who behave like Nazis: "Tell
her," says one of the play's Zionist elders, "I wouldn't care if we wiped
them out . . . tell her we're better haters, tell her we're chosen people,
tell her I look at one of their children covered in blood and what do I
feel? Tell her all I feel is happy it's not her." (My emphases.)
Just what is this supposed to mean? Michael Billington of the Guardian
grasped Ms. Churchill's point when he wrote that the play captured "the
transition that has overtaken Israel, to the point where security has
become the pretext for indiscriminate slaughter." Ms. Churchill herself
has written that she "wanted [the play] in some small way to reflect the
shock and enormity of what happened in Gaza. I think it does that
relatively mildly." (My emphasis again.)
All this makes perfect sense -- provided you're willing to reduce the
Arab-Israeli conflict to caricature, magnify it to the exclusion of all
others, assign blame (and moral agency) wholly to one side, and suppose
that Israelis use the memory of the Holocaust cynically or neurotically as
an alibi for gratuitous and wanton bloodletting.
In other words, if you're prepared to manipulate history as dishonestly as
our vile little "play" about black America does, then it's easy to draw a
damning moral. And if you're clever enough to cast the indictment as a
story about some blacks or some Jews, or as one of generational decadence,
then you might also acquit yourself of charges of racism or anti-Semitism,
since you can point to a few Jews or blacks worthy of your considered
Of course Ms. Churchill does just that, even as she mocks Jewish claims to
statehood ("Tell her her great great great great lots of greats grandad
lived there"). Of course she cites the authority of Israel's many internal
dissenters and Jewish critics as another method of self-justification,
thereby using Israel's own openness as a club with which to bludgeon it.
Yet if you say, for instance, that Israel is a fascist state and cite the
testimony of Israelis who freely argue as much, then you have done nothing
except instantly disprove your own premise.
But logic is not the issue here, nor, really, are the facts: Try arguing
either with someone determined to ignore them. The issue is about taboo --
a word easy to mock until you realize it often upholds what is best in
society. Racism has become taboo in American society, and that's a very
good thing. Anti-Semitism used to be taboo, but that's been eroded by an
obsessive criticism of Israel that seems to borrow freely from the classic
anti-Semitic repertoire ("tell her they're filth") while adopting the
brilliant trick of treating Jewish victimization as a moral ideal from
which modern Israel has sadly deviated.
Readers may wonder why Ms. Churchill's trite agitprop, a cultural blip on
the vast American stage, deserves a column. Maybe it doesn't; maybe it's
best ignored. But I'm reminded of what a better Churchill -- Winston --
wrote about the German decision in 1917 to put V.I. Lenin on a sealed
train to Petersburg, "in the same way you might send a phial containing a
culture of typhoid or cholera to be poured into the water supply of a
great city." Something foul has now gotten into our water, too.
8. Europeans been reading Haaretz?
9. Tel Aviv University's moral equivalent to Holocaust Deniers: