Thursday, March 01, 2012
Call to Arms!! Samizdat Now!!
It is not the most alarming news story in the country, in fact it is
in many ways rather trivial, but it illustrates a lot of what is wrong
with Israel under the helm of Bibi Netanyahu.
Israel has just formally introduced literary bolshevism into the
country, and it is part of the government's capitulation to pressures
from Israel's writers to implement market bolshevism for books. Book
prices are to be controlled by a governmental Soviet. Competition
among book sellers is to be suppressed. And pointy-headed government
regulators are to dictate contract terms between authors and
publishers. Book publishing is to be more regulated than it is these
days in Russia and other post-Soviet countries.
It is all part of a public pressure campaign by Israeli literati,
almost all of whom are also far-leftist bashers of Israel. They have
been unhappy about their royalty checks. Typical contracts with
publishers in Israel give the author a percent of sales revenues as
their royalties, although no one is forcing any writers to agree to
such contracts and no one is stopping them from demanding other
contractual terms. Anyhow, even though book retailing in Israel is a
near monopoly (controlled by the Steimatzky chain), there are some
downward pressures on prices, especially as non-print technologies
grow in sophistication and popularity. The little competition in book
sales at the margin sometimes produces price cuts and bargain sales,
and this eats into the royalties of the authors. For years they have
been demanding Soviet style price controls to prevent this from
The new bolshie law was drafted by Likudniks. Limor Livnat from
"Ministry of Culture and Sports" (talk about Bolshevik
bureaucracies!!), the Ministry of Justice (the Minister of which is
now suddenly about to be indicted for tax evasion), and even an
economist who should know better but is evidently willing to endorse
bolshevism for a price, Prof. Eugene Kandel from the Hebrew
University, Bibi's economic advisor. Amazingly, his PhD is from the
University of Chicago (as in Milton Friedman)!!
The new law sets minimum levels of royalties that publishers need to
pay authors, which will effectively price out of the market most new
and non-leftist writers. It prohibits discounts on books by
retailers, giving Israeli consumers a Likud boot up the ole toochis.
It dictates and micro-manages how retailers have to arrange their
merchandise on shelves, in order not to give certain publishers
preferential visibility. (Maybe Bibi's book about how the government
should not control markets should be required to be in all store
windows, alongside books by Stalin!)
And all this from a government that on paper is pledged to free
markets and economic liberalism!
What is one to make of all this? Well, in my opinion, this Bolshevik
assault on the Israeli consumer deserves to be met with civil
disobedience. True, there were calls for a consumer boycott of
cottage cheese producers last year when the semi-monopoly for cottage
cheese jerked up prices. But most people do not have access to milk
cows outside the kolkhoz to make their own cheese.
My proposal is that as long as this bolshevik oppression is on the
books, Israeli consumers should fight back with piracy. (Those who
recall my earlier articles about Jewish pirates of the Caribbean
should consider this a call to join that rich tradition!) As long as
book prices are being bolshevized and manipulated by Israel's central
planners, Israeli consumers should fight back by utilizing all the
considerable advanced technology, making Israeli literary works
available to others electronically and otherwise, without being
subject to the controls of the literary Soviet. In other words, just
like in the darkest days of the Soviet Union, I hereby call for a
campaign of samizdat, underground distribution of literature in ways
beyond the control of the bolsheviks. We must strike at the power of
the Literary Soviet in Israel!
2. On the day after the attempted lynching in Haifa by Arabs of two
Jewish soldiers, Haaretz, the Palestinian newspaper printed in Hebrew,
buried the story on page 10 and made it sound like a case of mistaken
identity by street criminals. So if this was page 10 news, what was
front page news? The answer is that day there was no front page.
Haaretz cancelled it. Instead it ran a sappy whiney essay by
far-leftist author David Grossman (speaking of literary bolshies). It
also had no news on page 2, which in recent weeks has been where
Haaretz places its anti-Israel Op-Eds. The good news seems to be
that lots of Haaretz readers were outraged by the stunt and there are
rumors flying of cancelled subscriptions.
Meanwhile, we wonder if the attempted lynch in Haifa has anything to
do with the politics of the Haifa Mayor. Hizzonuh is Yonah Yahav,
from the Shinui-Green left-leaning party. While running as a
reformist "clean candidate" who would clean up the sleaze of Amram
Mitzna, the Haifa municipality continues under Yahav to operate one of
the most corrupt municipal machines on the planet, one that would be
an embarrassment even in the Third World. Hizzonuh has allowed PLO
flags to fly over the "Jewish Arab Center" in Haifa, and just issued a
statement endorsing the decision by Supreme Court Arab judge Salim
Jubran (or Joubran, who is from Haifa) to refuse to sing Hatikva.
More on the Haifa pogrom follows:
The silence of the Left
by Michael Freund
The Jerusalem Post
March 1, 2012
Israel's Left is notoriously garrulous and effusive. Never ones to
hide their sentiments about the issues of the day, our comrades on the
other end of the political spectrum rarely mince words. Normally loud
and clear about where they stand, the Left seldom shies away from
controversy. And that is what makes their recent reticence so
remarkable. For despite a surge in violence between Arab and Jew,
including incidents at some of the most sensitive flashpoints in the
region, the voice of the Left has all but fallen silent.
The ubiquitous righteous indignation, the pervasive and ever-present
cries for justice and human rights are suddenly nowhere to be heard.
And just why, you might be wondering, have the would-be defenders of
decency abruptly grown inaudible?
The answer is as revealing as it is disturbing.
Put simply, it is because the victims in recent incidents are Jews.
Take, for example, the near-lynching that took place over the weekend
in Haifa, when two off-duty soldiers were nearly beaten to death by a
group of Israeli Arabs. After parking their car, the two young men
were accosted by at least seven Arabs, who asked them if they were
Jewish, began chanting, "Jews, Jews" and proceeded to pummel them with
clubs and metal bars. The culprits grabbed one of the victims, pounded
him into the pavement, and then carved the words, "you dog," in
Arabic, into his head using a sharp object.
"At certain moments I felt my end was near," one of the soldiers told
Fortunately, security guards from nearby Rambam hospital heard the
commotion and intervened, saving the two soldiers from near-certain
death. Incredibly, the police initially sought to downplay the
incident, preferring instead to label it an act of "hooliganism," as
though it were a late-night bar brawl that got out of hand.
Subsequently, however, they backtracked and acknowledged that it was a
Indeed, by all indications, this was a vicious and unprovoked
anti-Semitic attack on two young men who are giving the best years of
their lives to defend this country and safeguard the liberties that
each and every one of us take for granted.
Every Israeli, regardless of political outlook, should be outraged by
this assault, and yet not a word of condemnation was heard from the
Left. There were no denunciations of the anti-Jewish bigotry that
exists among some Israeli Arabs nor any calls for their leadership to
demonstrate greater tolerance and understanding.
Can you imagine the outcry had the situation been reversed and a group
of soldiers had mauled two innocent Arabs?
We all know how that would have played out.
But for some reason, when the perpetrators are Arabs and the victims
are Jews, the Left sees fit to hit the mute button. They seem to adopt
a similar approach when it comes to the exercise of fundamental
freedoms by Jews as well.
Consider the unrest on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem over the past
week, where the police had their hands full quelling numerous
outbreaks of Palestinian violence. On Friday, more than 100
Palestinians rioted following prayers at the Aksa Mosque and stoned
policemen. It was the fourth time in five days that Muslims on the
Mount had attacked Israeli police or groups of Jewish and Christian
In one incident, they sought to intimidate a group of would-be
pilgrims by hurling stones and shoes at the police accompanying them.
These incidents are all part of a coordinated Palestinian effort to
subvert the rights of Jews and Christians to visit the Temple Mount
and worship there.
Anyone who claims to cherish the values of tolerance and liberty
should be out in front condemning such incidents with all the passion
they can muster. The right to worship freely should apply equally to
all, regardless of whether they are followers of Moses or Muhammad.
And yet here too, the Left had nothing absolutely nothing to say, as
though breaching Jews' freedom of religion is not a human rights issue
worth fighting for.
None of this, of course, is at all surprising. Israel's Left has never
shown a propensity for intellectual consistency, let alone a penchant
to apply its principles in an evenhanded manner. But what makes this
all so ironic is that they are undermining the very liberal principles
they claim to hold dear. You can't be selectively open-minded and
expect people to take you seriously, just as you can't willfully
ignore acts of injustice simply because they run counter to your
Perhaps that explains why the power of the Left has been steadily in
decline in recent years. Disingenuousness and deceit will only get you
so far. Even in the political realm.
3. More on HAHVAHD pogrom:
4. Ben Gurion University extremist insists rock throwing is not
5. TAU extremists jihading along as usual: