Eat an Animal for PETA: This time, it's a Monday?
March 15th falls on a Monday this year. Good enough. Several of you have
emailed me asking if we're going to have a second International Eat an
Animal for PETA Day.
Why the hell not? Especially since Michele
has pushed me into making up my mind.
Chicken, beef, fish, seafoodit's all good.
Nothing in particular this time. Just general "In-your-face-PETA!"
Perhaps I'll find a friend in the area and go to a local steakhouse.
Mmm, steak. permalink
I got nuthin'
I simply cannot think of a thing to write about right now. Perhaps it's
because I've just done a boatload of bills and can't think of anything
except numbers and dollars and balancing my checkbook (all I can say is,
thank goodness for overdraft protection). Maybe it's because Richmond
is having another gorgeous day. Mid-eighties yesterday, mid-seventies
right now, windows open, patio door open, cats going in and out, a nice
breeze flowing through the house... yeah, maybe that's it. I've got spring
Plus, I'm so tired of writing about things that piss me off. Sometimes,
I want to change this completely into a fluffy kitty blog.
Then again, it's Friday. My traffic tails off on Fridays as you all gear
up for the weekend and get cracking on the work you were supposed to be
doing all week long while you were reading this blog instead.
Maybe I'll just go outside and take some more shots of the cats in preparation
for the changeover to FluffyKittyBlog.yourish.com. permalink
The cat came back
is back. If you have no idea who Jeff is, that's because the bastard quit
blogging over a year ago. He's back now, and is back on my must-read
list. Hell, I even put him on my links page.
Say something intelligent, Jeff, or my new readersthe ones I've
gotten since you left nineteen effing months agowill all
think I'm nuts.
And, like, I stopped swearing on my blog. Mostly. But I'm happy to do
it on yours. Welcome back, Jeff. You were missed. permalink
Ignorance is an excuse
Interesting. An Israeli bank created an ad campaign directed at Russian
speakers, which unwittingly used a phrase made famous at Buchenwald.
In a colossal commercial blunder, Bank Hapoalim was
forced to terminate an ad campaign directed at Russian speakers last
week, after an unfortunate choice of words conjured up memories of a
Nazi concentration camp.
Young ad agents from the Adler and Chomsky advertising
firm, immigrants from the former Soviet Union, used the Russian translation
of the German "Jedem das Seine" ("to each what he deserves"),
which was written in the entrance to Buchenwald, to promote Bank Hapoalim
among about 1.2 million Russian speakers.
Because of a generation gap, the ad men were not aware
of the saying's infamous history. However, for the older generation
of immigrants from the former Soviet Union the saying was a blasphemy.
I wouldn't label it blasphemy. But perhaps the Post translator didn't
get the right word. So, how was it handled?
MK Roman Bronfman (Shinui), who revealed the bungled
ad campaign to The Jerusalem Post, sent a letter to Bank Hapoalim CEO
Tzvi Ziv warning him of the campaign's negative ramifications.
"In the past few days Bank Hapoalim has unveiled
a campaign aimed at the Russian speaking population entitled 'to each
what he deserves' (kazhdomo svoio, in Russian). This saying has tremendously
problematic connotations and is connected in the minds of the veterans
of the Second World War and Holocaust survivors with the Buchenwald
concentration camp. This aphorism, posted on the entrance to the camp,
"I am sure the campaign is an innocent
mistake, but I ask you to halt it immediately. It is an affront to thousands
of Holocaust survivors."
In response, Ziv wrote, "Thank you for bringing
my attention to the problem created... I am sorry for the campaign's
lack of sensitivity. The campaign was terminated on Thursday February
That was easy. Gee. An admission of error, an apology, and a correction.
That wasn't very hard, was it? Of course, the fact that all involved were
Jews might have had something to do with it. None of that bullshit "I
didn't think it would offend anyone" excuse going on. You know, that
blaming-the-victim mentality so prevalent after an offensive remark is
Whatever happened to actions like the above? Accept responsibility for
the problem, fix it, move on. It's not a terribly difficult concept. permalink
Accentuate the positive
Last Sunday, our religious school held a program on immigration. The
Education Director drafted all of us teachers to be in (sigh) a play.
I was Venta, a Polish immigrant, who I thought was Russian. We have a
Kiwi teaching sixth grade, and he went first, and he did a phenomenal
yiddishke accent. Sounded like he came from the old country. So
that encouraged the rest of us to try to sound like we were just
off the boat.
After the program was over, one of my students from last year came up
to me and said, "Ms. Yourish, what kind of accent was that supposed
to be? You sounded like Apu." His sister, who is all of fourteen,
also cracked wise on my inability to affect a perfect accent. Twice. Once
then, and again at the schoolhouse when she saw me there. When I told
Heidi about this traumatic event, instead of the full support your best
and dearest friend is supposed to show, she howled with laughter. And
she laughed again yesterday when I told her the following:
On Tuesday, at the beginning of class, I'm quite sure that two of my
students were making the same statement when they read the word "America"
in the same way I had pronounced it in the play. And the reason I am so
positive is because they paused, looked at me, and snickered.
Yeah, I know. The message was clear: Don't give up your day job. permalink
How stupid do they think I am?
Got a letter from "administration-at-yourish.com" in my mailbox
today. Here's the text:
Dear user of "Yourish.com" mailing system,
Your e-mail account has been temporary disabled because
of unauthorized access.
For details see the attached file.
The Yourish.com team
The attached file, of course, was a virus. Lair
got one, too. Really, how stupid do they think I am? If my email account
has been disabled, how did I get that email?
Anyway. Just added a new rule to my server rules: Any email message containing
.exe, .scr, .pif, or .vbs will be shunted to the viruses folder for my
perusal and eventual removal. Grrrr. Ah hates spam. permalink
Reuters could turn finding a
dollar on the street into stealing from the poor
I haven't visited my least-favorite news service in quite some time.
Let's take a look at their
latest anti-Israel piece:
Israel air strike kills three militants in Gaza
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
Yep, there's that unbiased source reporter, our buddy Nidal.
GAZA (Reuters) - Israel killed three Hamas militants
in an air strike that tore apart their car in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday,
Palestinian witnesses and medics said.
The Israeli military confirmed that operatives of the
powerful Islamist faction had been targeted in a missile attack not
far from the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in Gaza. Hamas leaders vowed
"The Israeli air force attacked a vehicle transporting
senior Hamas terrorists who were recently involved in numerous terrorist
attacks on Israeli targets and were planning additional attacks,"
the army said in a statement.
So far, so good. Fairly unbiased, though "tore apart their car"
is a little sensationalistic, don't you think? But just wait, the bias
Persistent violence has sidelined a U.S.-backed "road
map" peace plan. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon plans unilateral
moves to evacuate most settlements in Gaza and retrench behind new "security
lines" in what he calls a bid to defuse conflict.
Okay. Let's see if I get this straight. If Israel has settlements in
Gaza, they're stealing the palestinians' land. If Israel removes these
settlements without palestinian permission, then they're creating
"security lines" (I could double quote, but that'd look stupid)
in order to "defuse conflict," and this is a bad thing?
What kind of morons write for Reuters, anyway? (Don't answer. Rhetorical
Witnesses said at least two missiles shredded the car,
which was hit on a dirt road in a desert tract.
"Shredded the car"even more sensationalism. Dudes, you're
a news organization, not Mel Gibson making a movie. And hey, they weren't
targeted in the midst of a citywhat, no points for not injuring
Palestinian bystanders threw fistfuls of sand into
the vehicle to douse the blaze.
Oh, bystanders! It was a valiant, but doomed, effort. The IAF blowed
'em up real good.
Medics pulled out three charred bodies, one headless.
People were forced back as burning oil ignited smaller explosions.
There we go with the lurid details again. Then again, a thought just
struck me: I wonder what happened to the guy's head?
Palestinian security sources said the three dead were
operatives of Hamas, at the forefront of a suicide bombing campaign
Israel has killed a number of Muslim militants in lightning
air strikes that it describes as self-defence but which Palestinians
condemn as state-sponsored assassination.
This is why I hate them. In one paragraph, Reuters describes Hamas' terror
goals, and in the next, ridicules Israel's response to that terrorism.
PALESTINIAN PREMIER SAYS ATTACK COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE
Israel says that the palestinian premier is counter-prouctive. The successful
assassination of three mass murderers, however, is extremely productive:
Those three will never kill again.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie condemned the
And yet, he does not condemn suicide attacks that kill innocents on buses.
Or he qualifies them with "bad for the palestinian cause."
"The Israeli government's aim is to kill any attempt
to restore quiet and revive the peace process," he told Reuters.
No, the aim is to restore quiet and revive the peace process by getting
rid of the terrorists who keep on trying to sink that process. Hope your
hands are clean, Qurie.
Israel blames the Palestinian leadership's failure
to rein in militants hostile to peacemaking for the Middle East impasse.
The most recent previous missile attack killed three
Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza's Jabalya refugee camp on Saturday.
The latest spate of air strikes followed a suicide
bombing on a Jerusalem bus on February 22 that killed eight people.
Those three grafs were almost balanced. What? What?
In Gaza, 1.3 million Palestinians are squeezed into
teeming urban slums alongside 7,800 Jews in spacious fortified enclaves.
Oh, okay. There's the yellow journalism back. Hey, Gazans, here's a thought:
Sharon wants to uproot most of the 21 exposed settlements
and several more in the West Bank under his "disengagement"
plan, which has inflamed Palestinians because it would strip them of
land they seek for an independent state.
Wait. Explain to me how leaving Gaza strips the pals of their land.
But Israel's building in Jewish settlements rose 35
percent last year despite the peace plan's requirement for a freeze
in construction on territory Israel seized in the 1967 war.
I notice how you don't mention the road map's requirement that palestinians
cease terror operations. In fact, I never see that equated with the failure
of the road map. Apparently, only Israel is to blame. Ever. Even when
That trend could complicate Sharon's efforts to win
U.S. approval for unilateral "disengagement", given Washington's
concern that it could dash the road map's vision of a viable Palestinian
state co-existing alongside Israel.
Now that the Kerry nomination is assured, I'm betting on W.'s re-election.
I don't think Washington is overly concerned over the "rights"
Well, that was our latest Al-Reuters anti-Israel article, written, no
surprise there, by an Arab reporter. Hands up, anyone who was surprised.
Yeah, I thought not. permalink
The Dickens you say!
Alex Bensky, who has long been absent from these pages, has this to say
about Charles Dickens:
It's worth noting that Dickens was upset at charges
that portraying Fagin as Jewish was antisemitic. He said, if I recall
correctly, that he hadn't meant a specific smearing of Jews but just
wanted to give the character a nationality, make him less generic.
He tried to make amends, as you may know, by the character
of Riah in "Our Mutual Friend," who is almost saintly. I find
Fagin a much more interesting character.
I did not know that. Well. Thanks for that information, Alex. permalink
Elizabeth D. from the UK says she thinks that McCartney was thoughtless
and stupid, but not intentionally anti-Semitic in his remarks below:
Much as I hate Labour politicians (damn socialists!),
I honestly think McCartney's comments weren't supposed to be anti-Semitic.
Fagin is just a character in a story, who was well-known to be a thief.
Very few people in this country are actually aware that Fagin was supposed
to be Jewish (now if he'd called Letwin "Shylock" it would
have been a different matter and I too would have been up in arms!).
Dickens isn't studied much in schools and colleges: the only time people
are really exposed to Fagin is if they see 'Oliver' in the theatre or
on the TV.
McCartney is simply thoughtless and stupid, as are
most politicians, Labour or not. (People like Jenny Tonge are in the
minority in our Parliament, honest guvnor!) The "Slasher Letwin"
remark was seemingly a reference to Oliver Letwin's proposition of tax
cuts/Civil Service reductions if the Tories get in.
I'm glad to hear that. Well, actually, nonot the part about not
studying Dickens. Granted, his portrayal of Jews was reprehensible, but
he's actually one of my favorite authors, Oliver Twist aside. Or he was.
Haven't read him in quite some time. Please don't tell me the U.K. has
also succumbed to the "no dead white men" theory of teaching
British anti-Semitism watch
Apparently, Tom Dalyell's ability to sling anti-Semitic remarks without
any punishment has inspired other British politicians to follow
in his footsteps.
Addressing delegates at the annual conference of the
Scottish Labor Party, chairman Ian McCartney described the Conservative
Party's economic spokesman, Oliver Letwin, as a "21st Century Fagin,"
a reference to the despised Jewish character in the Charles Dickens
novel Oliver Twist.
McCartney labelled Letwin, the descendant of Jewish
refugees from Latvia and a former director of the London-based bank
NM Rothschild, as "Slasher Letwin." And he asked delegates
at his party conference: "What would life under 'Slasher' Letwin
look like? No Oliver Twist this man, more of a Fagin.
"This 21st century Fagin will pick the pockets
of Scotland's pensioners by abolishing the pension credit, and then
plan for a new generation of poor pensioners by abolishing the second
But no, I exaggerate the rise modern of anti-Semitism. And how was this
Commenting on McCartney's remarks, a spokesman for
Letwin said it is "sad that Labor have used this character in such
a way and refuse to debate our policies in a more serious manner."
Lord Greville Janner, a veteran Labor Party legislator
and chairman of the Holocaust Education Trust, said he was "amazed"
by the remarks, adding that he is confident McCartney is not anti-Semitic,
"but comments like this do sound anti-Semitic... I am astonished
by the fact that he should make a comment like this."
Rabbi Jonathan Romain, the spokesman for the Reform
movement in Britain, described the remarks as "highly offensive...
It is a throwback to the worst kind of stereotype from a bygone age."
Ron Moody, who portrayed Fagin in the 1968 Oscar-winning
musical, Oliver, was outraged by the remarks.
Ah... Ron Moody is irrelevant in this issue, frankly. What about the
author of the remarks?
In a statement on the affair, McCartney said it is
"absolute nonsense" to describe his remarks as racist. "I
have spent all my life campaigning against racism and anti-Semitism,"
he said. "No one who reads the remarks in context could interpret
them in that way.
It is simply a reference to the Tory policy on scrapping
the pension credit. This was a comment about Oliver Letwin's politics
and the Tory Party's policies."
Of course it wasn't anti-Semitic. It was simply misinterpreted. It was
a comment about politics. The fact that he called a Jewish politician
an example of a fictional Jewish stereotype has nothing to do with the
fact that the politician was Jewish. I'm surprised McCartney didn't mention
anything about a pound of flesh. permalink
Happy birthday, Dave
My brother turns [cough] [cough] years old today. Here's a typical Dave
story: Last week, I went to my favorite hairdresser during my quick trip
to NJ. Dave met me over at Mom's, went with me while I restocked on kosher
meat, and then we split up to run separate errands and meet at Rockaway
Mall, where Rocco's salon is located. I got my hair done, and Dave showed
up as I was paying the bill.
"I'd like a trim," he told the woman who was giving me my receipt.
Dave's head is completely shaved.
That's my brother.
We got caught by the MPs at Fort Wadsworth one year, a very long
time ago. Dad was running in the New York Marathon, and Dave and I wanted
to watch the runners go over the Verrazano Bridge. That was the first
year it got too big to let family members watch the start of the race.
We saw a hole in a fence nearby, and had no idea we were trespassing on
military property. We got picked up quickly. I was extremely worried,
as I was over 18. Dave wasn't worried at all. While we were giving our
names and addresses to the MPs, he told them we lived in Hillside, NJ,
and added, "But we have a summer home in Newark." One of the
MPs, obviously from the area, laughed his ass off. The other one, a young
woman from the midwest, looked at us blankly. "David," I hissed,
"shut up! We can get in real trouble here! We trespassed on
We didn't. The MPs drove us to the entrance and told us to stay out of
the fort next time.
Anyway. Happy birthday, Dave, and stay off government property. permalink
May I have your attention please,
especially Angel fans
Mac Thomason posted
the details of who to send postcards to if you want to try to save
the series. Online petitions and email don't do squat. Here are some quick
addresses. The rest are in Mac's post:
TNT is the best possibility to pick up Angel since
theyve gotten good ratings with the reruns and do some original
Turner Network Television
Attn: Robert DeBitetto (pres, original programming)
1888 Century Park East, 14th Fl.
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Turner Network Television
Attn: Julie Wietz (exec vp. original programming)
1888 Century Park East, 14th Fl.
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Turner Network Television
Attn: Attn: Mr. Jamie Kellner, Chairman and CEO
1050 Techwood Dr. NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
Turner Network Television
Attn: Garth Ancier, Executive Vice-President, Programming
1050 Techwood Dr. NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
rest of the post for tips on what to say (and not say) in your postcards.
Here's a hint: Swear words would be a very bad thing.
If you've been wondering how you can show your appreciation for this
weblog without hitting my tipjar or wishlist, send out one postcard. Just
one. If just ten percent of my regular readers did that, that would be
about 150 postcards. C'mon. One lousy postcard. And I'd concentrate on
TNT. Because then I could watch Angel when everyone else in the country
is watching it, instead of 2:30 a.m. on Fridays. permalink
Israeli news roundup
This is why I like Israeli newspapers better than most U.S. papers. Get
a load of this
IAI tests new shell, in secret this time
It's a snarky comment on the fact that the last test of a secret
new weapon was inadvertently broadcast to the entire world. And the article
is so snarky, you'd think a blogger wrote it.
Without the glaring security breaches this time, Israel
Aircraft Industries said Monday it successfully tested a special long-range
artillery rocket from a navy vessel.
Known as LORA, the quiet test launch contrasted with
last November's failed launch which had been inadvertently broadcast
to the world, including Syria, Iran and Libya.
Then, technicians at Channel 10 picked up the transmissions
of the launch control room showing foreign guests, secret codes and
details of the system.
That incident severely embarrassed IAI as well as the
army whose generals were seen chatting with the foreign guests during
the failed launch.
"We learned our lessons from that event and this
time there was no security breach, as far as we know," said Doron
Suslik, deputy vice president of corporate communications at IAI.
Nope, just Arieh O'Sullivan. (Whose last name, come to think of it, has
only just struck me. O'Sullivan? Now there's a nice Jewish name for you.)
EU is trying to make changes to the moribund Road Map in an effort
to get it going. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't one of the biggest
criticisms leveled against Israel that it refused to accept the Road Map
"as is"? Eff off, EUnuch hypocrites.
The palestinian civil war seems to be a bigger and bigger possibility.
There's a report in the Washington Post about how the
PA is broke and in disarray. (Millions cheer.)
Three years and five months after Palestinians began
their second uprising against Israel, the Palestinian Authority is broke,
politically fractured, riddled with corruption, unable to provide security
for its own people and seemingly unwilling to crack down on terrorist
attacks against Israel, according to Palestinian, Israeli and international
The turmoil within the Palestinian Authority is fueling
concern that the agency -- created almost 10 years ago to govern the
West Bank and Gaza Strip -- is disintegrating and could collapse, leaving
a political and security vacuum in one of the Middle East's most volatile
regions, many of those officials said.
At a time when Israel is constructing a massive barrier
complex through and around the West Bank and planning for the possible
withdrawal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip, Palestinian leaders
have offered no political strategy to prevent the authority from becoming
marginalized or obsolete, officials and analysts said. Prime Minister
Ahmed Qureia's chief of staff, Hassan Abu Libdeh, said the collapse
of the governing authority was "a real possibility" and could
lead to "a lawless situation" that would play into the hands
of radical Islamic groups already competing with the Palestinian Authority
None of the analysts or officials interviewed said
they believed a collapse was imminent, and many noted that the key players
in the Middle East, including Israel, the United States, the European
Union and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, have a strong interest in
preventing the Palestinian Authority's demise. However, most agreed
that the key issue affecting its survival is a lack of money, and they
noted that even on the verge of bankruptcy, the authority has not imposed
many of the reforms that frustrated donors are demanding.
At the same time, support for the authority among Palestinians
has also plunged. In a recent poll by the Jerusalem Media & Communication
Center, a Palestinian research organization, 54 percent of Palestinians
surveyed said they believed the authority, commonly referred to as the
PA, effectively no longer exists. More than 30 percent of respondents
said it would be in the "national interest" to abolish it.
"I think the presence of the PA is not justified
-- I think it should dissolve itself and leave us to confront the Israelis
alone," said Ragdah Azzah, 24, a student at Bethlehem University
who complained that elections for new Palestinian leaders were long
overdue and corruption within the authority was rampant. "I would
say the PA is not even legitimate," Azzah said.
What? Whatever happened to the PLO being the "sole, legitimate authority"
of the palestinian people? How quickly they forget. But here's the cherry
Edward G. Abington, a former State Department official
who is now a Washington consultant to the Palestinian Authority, said
he told Arafat during a meeting at the Palestinian leader's bombed-out
compound here recently that the governing body was in danger of collapse.
"Let it collapse," Arafat said, according
to Abington. "It will be the fault of Israel and the Americans."
No, you're going to blame the Israelis and the Americans. You
shouldn't telegraph your PR campaign, it might come back to bite you in
The good news in all of this is that Arafat if feeling quite beleaguered.
And those around him wanting him to share power are feeling stronger.
Now, if only Sharon doesn't do anything stupid, like declaring that Arafat
is a target again, the old bastard might really lose his power.
An interesting comparison: Ha'aretz
on the Fatah Revolutionary Council meeting:
By the end of the meeting it was clear Arafat had managed
to preserve the ambiguity that cloaks the Al-Aqsa Brigades and also
managed to protect the Fatah military wing's freedom to act as it sees
"Speeches but no discussions" was how one
senior Fatah figure described the revolutionary council meeting at Arafat's
"muqata" compound in Ramallah. Most participants at the meeting
chose not to confront Arafat openly.
Jerusalem Post on that same meeting:
The 126-member revolutionary council and the Fatah
central committee another key decision-making body are
largely dominated by veteran Fatah officials who returned with Arafat
to the West Bank and Gaza Strip from Tunisia in 1994.
The young Fatah activists are demanding 60 seats in
the revolutionary council. Arafat has agreed to 25.
The three-day meeting was marred by a number of heated
exchanges and bad-mouthing between Arafat and some senior officials.
During one of the altercations, Arafat tossed a microphone at former
security minister Nasser Yousef when the latter accused him of blocking
reforms in the PA security forces.
Arafat then stormed out of the meeting, hurling abuse
at Yousef and accusing him of collaboration with the enemies of the
Palestinians. In return, Yousef threw a pen at Arafat, but missed him.
That's not the full text, either. Here we have another, more
colorful description of the fight.
At a meeting late Thursday, Arafat was angered when
Nasser Yousef - a veteran Fatah member - questioned the unification
and efficiency of Palestinian security bodies, an official, who attended
the meeting, said, according to The AP.
"You traitor, spy, shut your mouth, you have no
right to talk," Arafat was quoted as shouting to Yousef before
hurling a microphone at him.
Yousef chucked a pen at the veteran Palestinian leader
before other members of the Fatah Revolutionary Council intervened and
calmed down the two.
And that last paragraph is missing a word or three. From yet
Yousef chucked a pen at the veteran Palestinian leader
before other members of the Revolutionary Council intervened and calmed
down the two septuagenarians, the official said.
This is why I read so many news sources. Besides finding the full story,
sometimes, the full story is an absolute hoot. Too bad they didn't have
guns instead of microphones and pens.
By the way, the council is supposed to meet monthly. This was its first
meeting in three years. But it's Israelis who are stepping on palestinian
civil rights, not Arafat. Right? Uh-huh. permalink
Monday's moment of kitty zen
Per April's request, and hot off the presses: This photo is a mere two
The wary look is for the Australian cattle dog two apartments over. Not
for me. permalink
Once more, the Passion
The news media have been busy writing news
and analysis on the Passion. There are a few articles I've found that
resound with many of the same thoughts I've been having. Here's an
example of one that doesn't in, of all places, the SF Chronicle:
Another attack on "The Passion" is that it
will fuel anti-Semitic attitudes. Leaders of the Anti-Defamation League
have led this front of criticism, although they have recently stopped
calling Gibson anti-Semitic and have said they are merely fearful the
movie will whip up such sentiment.
But Gibson agues that anti-Semitic attitudes run counter
to Jesus' teachings.
"For me, it goes against the tenets of my faith
to be racist in any form," he said on "Primetime Live."
"To be anti-Semitic is a sin. It's been condemned by one papal
council after another."
There is no doubt that in the film, the Jewish high
priests come off as pushing the crucifixion. But there are many sympathetic
Jewish figures. My personal reaction was that the film showed that the
religious leaders of the time were threatened by Jesus. It would be
only a little different today if someone claimed to be the Son of God.
Instead of calling for a crucifixion, some religious leaders would launch
a campaign of personal destruction, buying television ads and writing
opinion articles for The New York Times.
I don't remember critics arguing that Steven Spielberg's
"Schindler's List" would stir up racist attitudes toward Germans
when it was released. While that powerful film was not as graphically
violent as "The Passion," it was painful to watch the cruel
and inhumane behavior of the Nazis. But Spielberg had an important story
to tell and knew that audiences could differentiate between the Nazis
and modern-day Germans.
That last paragraph is the one that floors me. It's an argument I've
heard from more than one corner. It's not even comparing apples and oranges,
it is a completely false analogy. At its very root, it's a disgusting
transposition of the Jews of Jesus' time to the Nazis of our time. Jews
have been persecuted as "Christ-killers" for two millennia.
The reason critics never argued that Schindler's List would stir up anti-German
attitudes is because the Germans are not minorities in every nation of
the world in which they live (but one). The Germans were not persecuted
for their beliefs. The Germans were not innocent bystanders in, gee, let's
take WWII for an example, rounded up and sent to concentration camps,
where they were then murdered for being German. Perhaps that might be
a few of the reasons why there was no outbreak of anti-German violence.
Or perhaps it was because the Germans were guilty of the atrocities
of the Nazis, and that some of them who committed those atrocities still
live today, and still spread their hate. Or perhaps it was because we
know that the heirs of the Nazis are not the ones who murdered
the Jews in the 1930s and 40s.
Do you see how ridiculous, and how loathesome, and ultimately, how anti-Semitic
this comparison is? "Well, this big important Hollywood Jew made
a movie about the Nazis, and nobody complained he was being anti-German!
So shut up, Jews!"
That's what I'm hearing every time I read that reprehensible Schindler's
No one can seriously believe mainstream Christians
hold modern-day Jews responsible for Christ's death. In truth, most
Christians are taught that Jesus himself was responsible for his death.
He did nothing to prevent it. He knew he was a threat to the political
and religious leaders of his time, but he did not change his behavior
or try to escape.
Of course not. We can't seriously believe that. Why, it's not like a
church in America today would put up a sign saying exactly that, or
has been interviewed (but the interviewer is Jewish, so it probably
doesn't count as the interviewer is obviously biased) and proclaimed the
Gibson film to be disturbing.
Pagels explained that the four gospel writers of the
New Testament probably wrote between 70 and 100 A.D. These were the
years following the Roman defeat of the Jews, which left the Temple
and the center of Jerusalem in ruins. Acts of sedition by the Jews against
their conquerors were met with swift execution. As a result, Pagels
said, the Gospels, which were intended not as history but as preaching,
as religious propaganda to win followers for the teachings of Christ,
portrayed the conflict of the Passion as one between Jesus and the Jewish
people, led by Caiaphas. And, though it was the Roman occupiers, under
Pontius Pilate, who possessed ultimate political and judicial power
in Judea, they are described in the Gospelsand, more starkly,
in Gibsons film--as relatively benign.
[...] Mel Gibson denies any anti-Semitism, and
I cant speak to his motives, Pagels went on, but there
are narrative devices that are clear. The more benign Pilate appears
in the movie, the more malignant the Jews are. To deflect responsibility
from the Romans for arresting and executing Christ, which Gibson takes
from the Gospels and makes even more extreme, is contrary to everything
we understand about history. It is implausible that the Jews could be
responsible and Pilate a benign governor. There are many examples in
the film of a preposterous dialectic: the bad Jews and the good Romans.
When the Temple police arrest Jesus, Mary Magdalene turns to the Romans
as if they were the policemen on the block, benign protectors of the
public order. But the very idea of a Jewish woman turning to Roman soldiers
for help is ridiculous.
That one gets a "read-the-rest" review.
Science Monitor article reports this:
Mr. Gibson has touted his film as presenting Jesus'
last hours before death as the Gospels depict them. Yet it goes well
outside the Gospel presentations (drawing heavily on the visions of
a 19th-century Catholic nun), including its depiction of the role of
Jewish leaders. For instance, none of the Gospels says Jesus was harmed
by the guards who brought him from Gethsemane to the Jewish high priests.
Yet in the movie, he is so severely beaten that one eye is closed by
the time they question him.
Annie Modesitt, a Christian from South Orange, N.J.,
whose husband is Jewish, found the movie "very troubling, because
unless they were Jews supporting Jesus or helping further his mission,
it was like they were right out of central casting from some 1930s movie
about Jews. The movie has a lot of passion," she says in a phone
interview, "but it doesn't have a lot of love."
Ken Jacobsen of the Anti-Defamation League in New York
- the Jewish group that most actively sought changes in the film - says,
"What struck me was that the Romans were basically seen as stupid
and the Jews as evil, and there is a big difference because, as you
saw in the end, the Romans began to wake up to Jesus. The only good
Jews were those that were about to become Christians."
And finally, this
one is funny:
I do not know whether Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite
or not. All I know is that The Passion of the Christ brings up many
important religious and historic questions for individuals to consider.
Most importantly, I was shocked that Mel Gibson had
Jews in a movie set in a period two thousand years ago. Why, for at
least one hundred years, the Arabs and Moslems have been telling the
world that the Jews don't come from Israel and have never lived there.
They have been telling everyone who will listen that the so-called "Palestinians",
or Arab inhabitants of the Land of Israel, are the genuine inhabitants
of Israel and that the Jews are nothing more than foreign invaders,
or as they like to call them, "colonialists."
Furthermore, the movie is completely bereft of any
Arabs, who, after all, have been the real inhabitants of the Land of
Israel since time immemorial. How could this be? Strangely, there is
not one shot of the Al-Aqsa mosque or discussion of it in the entire
film. This must be an oversight, as it has always been there and the
Temple Mount is a Jewish fabrication. The absence of Arabs in the story
of Jesus is an important omission that must be questioned. After all,
why would the Arabs want to be omitted from such an important part of
Well, it's funny to me, anyway. (I think one of my readers sent me that
link last week. If so, email me and you'll get the hat tip.) permalink
Lord of the Oscars
Peter Jackson and crew must have one hell of a hangover today. They won
all eleven awards that Return of the King was nominated for. And as
a Tolkien geek, I must say, I'm quite happy. Plus, the DVD is due out
A quick perusal of the
Google News article collection show a lot of reviewers who thinkhold
onto your hats here, folksthat the Oscars show was overlong and
boring. Many of them thought Crystal wasn't as good as he used to be.
Maybe not, but he's not the one who, year after year, insists on including
all the nominated songs (most of which are rather pedestrian), the short
films, documentary films (like anyone outside the industry or some poor
high school class is ever going to see them?), and other minor awards
that no one outside Hollywood really cares about. And a Canadian
film won for foreign language? What, they used "beauty, eh?"
and "you hoser!" a lot? (Although the director immediately won
my forgiveness by thanking LOTR for not being nominated in that category.)
((Yeah, I know some Canadians speak French, and the film was probably
in French. Spare me the email. It's a humor bit. Go with it.)) (((Look,
nested parenthetical statements! Haven't done that in ages!)))
I swear, someday we're going to have "news" articles proclaiming
that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
One last note: When they showed the clip from Return of the King, where
King Elessar stops the hobbits from bowing to him and says, "No!
You bow to no one!", I remember thinking "That's it? That's
so lame, it does nothing to show how great the movie reall was."
Little did I know that the Academy itself was foreshadowing the victory.
Palestinian child abuse
Palestinian teens caught on terror mission
Three Palestinian teenagers dispatched by Islamic Jihad and Fatah's
al-Aksa Brigades to shoot Israelis in Afula were arrested by security
forces at Jalame near Jenin last Thursday.
They were identified as Tarek Abu Mahsen and Yaffer
Hussein, both 14, and Ibrahim Suafta, 16. Judea and Samaria police said
the youths are all residents of Tubas, northeast of Nablus. The two
younger boys were sent by Islamic Jihad and Suafta by Fatah.
The three told investigators they were willing to be
killed for the sake of the cause. They were armed with homemade rifles
they were to use in the attacks when they were apprehended.
Sure. The wall is what's causing the problem. Not the sickness of the
palestinian society that allows these monsters to take boys and turn them
into murderers. permalink
We had a program dealing with immigration in religious school today.
The upshot of the program is that I spent most of the morning on my feet.
Then we had a staff meeting at 12:15. At 12:45, I left the unfinished
staff meeting to go to my job at the climbing gym. Where I spent the next
five hours on my feet.
I am currently sitting down with my feet on the Brookstone foot massager
that I bought with income tax refund money several years ago. Then there's
going to be dinner.
Posting will be delayed. permalink
Last week's blogs are archived.
Looking for the Buffy
Blogburst Index? Here's Israel
vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon.
Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try
solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser
Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin
Laden's diary and The
Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.