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The Wandering Jew: Addendum on America

In the comments to the post below, Liz brings up a question: Why didn't I include America in my list, as there is so much anti-Semitism on college campuses today?

The reason I do not include America, and will not include America unless things change drastically in this country, is that anti-Semitism is not a major problem here. Oh, there are Jew-haters, particularly on certain college campuses. But there has never been a pogrom on American soil. Never. The government has never sponsored Jew-hatred, and it has never sent its representatives to destroy Jewish property and beat and kill Jews. I used to think the Yankel Rosenbaum case was a pogrom, but it was not. It was the result of stupidity and criminal ignorance by David Dinkins, but it was not a case of the government deliberately targeting Jews.

America is like no other nation on earth that has had a large Jewish population. America never set a special tax on Jews. She never put us into ghettos. She never created laws affecting only Jews. She never robbed us of our property using the pretext of Jewish blood libels against Christians. And unless there is a fascist revolution in this country, she never will. Three hundred and fifty years ago, Jews fought for, and won, their rights to live as full citizens in New Amsterdam (now Manhattan).

The problems on college campuses are minor compared to the problems in, say, France. Most instances of anti-Semitic attacks are fully investigated by the authorities, and many of them result in the capture and punishment of the perpetrators. And more important, you don't see American authorities saying that Jews should not wear any outward signs of their Jewishness to avoid attacks.

But most important of all, Americans aren't Europeans. They will not stand idly by while Jews are killed on their shores. Say what you will about the internment of the Japanese during WWII, it didn't end in mass murder or concentration camps. American Muslims haven't suffered for 9/11. American Jews will never be rounded up and put into cattle cars here, not while the Constitution still reigns supreme and this is a nation of laws.

If there were a designation for a nation to be a Righteous Among Nations, it would be the U.S., for her behavior towards Jews. While Europe was massacring the Jews, America let us go about the business of being Americans. Bigots accuse Jews of dual loyalty, but the American government does not.

Three hundred and fifty years ago, Jews landed on America's shores. Unlike most of the countries of the world where Jews wound up, we have never regretted it. I don't think we ever will.

G-d bless America.

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The wandering Jew

Masked Boy: Go back to Germany! [unintelligible]. Get [the hell] back to Germany!

The world does not like the Jews. Oh no, they say reflexively, that isn't true. Some people don't like Jews, but certainly not everyone. No, not everyone. But indifference and inaction is as good as anti-Semitism, because the end result is the same: Dead Jews.

Sixty years after the Russian liberation of Auschwitz, 500 Russian journalists and 20 politicians sent a letter to their Prosecutor General, asking for an investigation into, and outlawing of, Jewish organizations in Russia. Why? Because they are "extremist." Because they are "anti-Christian and inhumane, which practices extend even to ritual murders." They even blame Jews themselves for anti-Semitic acts that have taken place in Russia, to "take punitive measures against patriots," whatever that means. It doesn't really matter what it means; the interpretation is clear: Jews are always to blame. Jews bring punishment upon themselves.

The Russians would know about things like this, because they have a long, bloody history of anti-Semitism. The Russians would know about this because they are the authors of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Czarist forgeries that have been used against Jews for nearly a century, and are even now being promoted in Muslim nations as the truth behind worldwide Jewish conspiracies. The Russians would know about this because even now, the Prosecutor General said he would not follow up on the charges because 19 of the 20 legislators withdrew their support from it—not because the charges were baseless and anti-Semitic. Because the letter was withdrawn.

The Russians do not like the Jews.

Europe does not like the Jews. Last year, the European Union commissioned a report on European anti-Semitism. When it was finished, they refused to release it. They said it was flawed. The real reason? The report showed that much of Europe's anti-Semitism was attributed to its Muslim immigrants, and the Europeans are reluctant to portray Muslims in a bad light—even when the facts demand honesty and openness. The report was released anyway, and published by many Jewish sites—but overlooked almost entirely by the rest of the world media.

In Holland, soccer fans chant "gas the Jews." Dutch soccer fans have been yelling anti-Semitic slogans for decades, but now they've added this charming phrase: "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas."

French anti-Semitic attacks have nearly doubled. And for some time, the French were refusing to admit there was a problem. Now, they're making an effort to stop the synagogue fires, physical attacks, cemetery desecrations, and nonstop anti-Semitism from Muslim immigrants in French schools.

Europe does not like the Jews.

England does not like the Jews. In 2003, the Independent published a cartoon of Ariel Sharon eating palestinian babies. The cartoonist ultimately won an award for it. Tom Dalyell accuses a cabal of Jews of running Washington, mentions that Jack Straw has a Jewish heritage, then says he's not an anti-Semite. Anti-Semitic attacks are up sharply in Great Britain, egged on by a media outcry against Israel. (Remember, Great Britain was the loudest and shrillest about the massacre-that-wasn't in Jenin.) Muslim leaders boycotted Britain's commemoration of the Holocaust. Rabbis are attacked and beaten on the streets. Synagogues are being burned down. A London community is suffering a series of anti-Semitic physical attacks. Cemeteries are desecrated. And diplomats complain that Israel, that "shitty little country," is the cause of all the world's problems.

England does not like the Jews.

Muslims do not like the Jews. Really, this category is almost too broad to enumerate. But let us use mathematics, one of the Muslim world's proudest achievements. In 1948, there were 150,000 Jews in Iraq, 75,000 in Egypt, 100,000 in Iran, 30,000 in Syria, 20,000 in Lebanon, 38,000 in Libya, 105,000 in Tunisia, 55,000 in Yemen, and 140,000 in Algeria.

Today, the total population of Jews in all of those countries numbers less than 20,000.

Muslim anti-Semitism? Yeah, we've got that.

Muslims do not like the Jews.

Palestine is not for Jews. An Israeli statesman tells an anecdote: The graffiti in Europe during the 1930s read "Jews, go to Palestine." The graffiti in Europe today says"Jews, out of Palestine."

The two-state solution is under attack, with much of the world starting to get behind the one-state solution, a "completely democratic" state, with all palestinian refugees (including, of course, third-generation palestinians who were born in different countries entirely) flooding the state of Israel and creating, in effect, a palestinian state with a Jewish minority. In other words, no state for you, Jews. No state for you.

Palestine is not for Jews.

Jews, go back to Germany. Germany's Jewish population was in danger of dying out, at fewer than 30,000 only a few years ago. Then the German parliament enacted a law that allowed generous Jewish immigration from Russian Jews fleeing persecution, and the population is now at 200,000, close to what it was before the Holocaust. That, however, appears to be the limit of Germany's patience for Jewish immigration. They don't want any more Jews in Germany.

And so the circle closes, and the Jews are left outside.

The world does not like the Jews. The Jewish philosopher Emil Fackenheim says that Jew hatred has three stages:

You cannot live among us as Jews.
You cannot live among us.
You cannot live.

The world does not like the Jews.

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The cease-fire holds. No, just kidding.

This cease-fire that is supposedly happening?

Soldiers manning the Hawara checkpoint outside of Nablus on Thursday afternoon arrested a 15-year-old Palestinian youth who tried to smuggle an explosive belt in his bag.

A home made weapon was also found in his bag, in addition to 20 bullets.

But wait, there's more!

Hours later, a Palestinian militant threw hand grenades and shot at an IDF vehicle traveling on a Gaza Strip road, lightly wounding two soldiers before the soldiers returned fire and killed the attacker, military officials said.

But wait, there's more!

In another incident near the West Bank settlement of Avnei Hefetz, policemen on Thursday apprehended two Palestinians who were found to be carrying weapon magazines and grenades.

Still not satisfied? Here's more!

Hamas's political leader, Khaled Mashal, said yesterday that Hamas would favorably consider contributing to a calming of the situation if Israel halts operations in the territories and releases prisoners, Army Radio reported on Thursday.

He added, however, that any calm could be considered temporary, and the resistance against occupation would continue.

Right. That's enough for now. I'm sure there will be more later.

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Racer Y: Once is more than enough

Do you see the shortest person in this picture, grinning like she's having a good time? That would be Racer Y, and this would be the ready room for G-Force Go-Karts, where we spent our staff training for the climbing gym. The reason why she's having a good time is because she hasn't started racing yet.

Gee, this'll be neat, I thought. Instead of the usual dry staff training, we get to do something fun. We're being rewarded by the owners for our hard work putting kids up and down walls, day in, day out, at the climbing gym. I figure I've put at least 1,500 kids on the walls since I started working there, with a lowball estimate of about 30 kids per week. And the consequences of putting kids up and down the walls is that my upper body is in the best shape it's been since I joined a gym and had a twice-weekly session with a personal trainer ages ago. Even though I haven't been climbing much at all lately, belaying is an upper-body workout in and of itself. So I'm in fine shape. Yep. My upper body is strong.

Shyeah, right. Go-karts don't have power steering. You have to muscle the wheels to turn, and I do mean muscle them. I am dying today. Dying. And to top it all off, my sadistic boss got me to fill in on a birthday party this afternoon, so, with my incredibly achy arms and back, I'm going to have to put kids up and down the walls, forcing my groaning muscles to work against their better judgment. So far, Advil hasn't done much. I might have to raise the dosage.

Oh, and you see that tall guy on the far right? That's Mike, the supervisor that used to be my favorite. On the first lap, he came up behind me and slammed me Into the wall. He said later he didn't do it on purpose. Uh-huh. There's no reverse on a go-kart. So I sat there until one of the employees finally realized he needed to get off his ass and come push me back onto the track, as I wasn't about to get out and push the thing myself, not with my crazy coworkers zipping by at speeds up to 35 mph.

You can't see squat in a racing helmet. You only know there's someone about to zip past you when they, well, do it. And the scariest driver? One of the owners. Who knew that behind that aw-shucks grin lies the heart of a man who could easily be the villain in a Speed Racer cartoon? I spent the rest of my time, frankly, avoiding the pack. I found it far more challenging to see how fast I could take a turn without spinning out.

I had a feeling I was going to be in trouble when I realized I was the only woman on the course. I was right. There was far too much testosterone in the air last night.

Oh, well. Now I can say I raced in a go-kart. Once was enough, thank you. My muscles may never recover.

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On Second Thought

The Possumblogger on Groundhog Day: Nobody can do it like Terry, and may I point out to you again that when this man goes on vacation, he counts and categorizes roadkill. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Oh, wait. Maybe there is.

Wow, this is truly bad writing: Can you say, "Metaphor overkill?" I knew you could. Y'know, I know some people think they're being really clever when they do something like this, but isn't there anyone in the newsroom who says, "Dude, this thing sucks. Let's rewrite it."

Just wondering: Howcome in America, you have parties with names, and in places like, say, Lebanon, there are the people in power, and the "opposition." Oh, wait. I figured that one out. Never mind.

Yes, this is a real headline: Haifa Wahbi denies singing with her legs. I love Albawaba, if only for the way it sounds when you say it. Albawaba. Albawaba. Albawaba. But then, you get headlines like this one. Feel free to pass this on to your friends. A headline like that deserves wide attention. Ahem.

A study in sleep: I think I should remember to bring my digital camera upstairs with me and catch a few more pictures of Tig. I've had a lot of cats in my life, but none of them that sleeps with such relaxed abandon as Tig, and none of whom was such a guy as Tig. Granted, he's only the second male cat I've ever owned, but I had his predecessor for thirteen and a half years, and he was nowhere near as much of a guy. And yeah, he's been neutered, but still—whatta guy. Sarah says all he needs in that picture is a beer and the TV remote, and he's done.

The elephant in the room: I have a secret. Well, it isn't exactly a secret, it just doesn't come up often in conversation. I love elephant jokes. I adore them. The dumber, the better. I simply don't care. I have always loved elephant jokes. One of my friends had one of those elephant joke books (which I don't own, because that would make me memorize them and that would ruin it for me), and he would tell me joke after joke after joke, and I'd never get tired of them. I have a repertoire of about half a dozen or so, maybe a dozen. The rest, I forget. So go ahead, make my day. Leave an elephant joke in the comments.

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Oh, it was one of your guys? The PA has arrested a suspect inthe killing of that ten-year-old schoolgirl that supposedly broke the wafer-thin cease-fire. And gee, he's a palestinian who came back from the Haj and was so happy, he ignored Isaac Newton's most famous discovery: What goes up, must come down. (Hat tip: Joel G.)

The Palestinians arrested a suspect in Monday's murder of Nuran Dib, on Tuesday evening. The man reportedly fired shots into the air; one of those shots hit the girl.

Say it isn't so! The IDF reports that the PA is not acting to disarm and dismantle terror organizations. No! Really?

But is this good news? Israeli security guards are losing their jobs—due to the great job the security services have done in preventing terror attacks. So here's my question: Is it wise to dump security guards before the situation is truly secure? The terrorists haven't stopped trying, exactly. Then again, even attempts are down, possibly due to the many deaths in terrorist infrastructure.

This is gonna be interesting: Israel and the PA are holding talks on what to do with the list of Israel's most wanted terrorists.

Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to set up a joint committee to deal with the cases of wanted men after a cease-fire is formally announced. The committee is to meet for the first time next week.

The Shin Bet, which has frozen its hunt for wanted men, is recommending not to include Palestinians "with blood on their hands."

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Mohammed Dahlan, acting on behalf of Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, agreed on establishing the joint committee at their meeting in Herzliya Monday night.

I seem to remember this being tried before. I'm getting a very strong feeling of deja vu. Well, who knows. Maybe it will work this time.

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I'd like to poll the audience, please

Okay, technophiles, particularly computer geeks. I have a decision to make regarding my brand-spanking-new HP Pavilion ZD-7000 laptop that was struck by lightning in December. I received word today that the insurance company is cutting me a check for the estimate I supplied them, less the $250 deductible. Here are my options:

1. Repair the computer and shell out the extra couple of hundred
2. Buy a new computer with the money, keep the shell of the one that got hit by lightning, and replace the logic board and AC adaptor at a later date, giving me two laptops, but one that has a 17-inch widescreen monitor (the one that got fried)
3. Let twenty-year-old Computer Whiz who works with me fix the computer for a couple hundred bucks. I like him, and we've worked together at the climbing gym for a while, but honestly, I don't know the guy that well.
4. Let the computer shop take the usable parts and build me one of their laptops, which will only have a 30-day parts and labor warranty.

Here's the main (sigh) stupid thing: I foolishly agreed to let the shop that checked the damages for me to open the laptop, and they're not an authorized HP dealer, so my warranty is gone. They say they can take the hard drive, the memory, and anything else that survived the lightning and put it in a new system for me that they will build, and they'll use an AMD processor, which runs faster and cooler. ("We can rebuild it. We can make it better.")

Meantime, I also really liked the Pavilion. A lot. And while a 17-inch laptop is a bit bulky, I'm going to be using it to sell my digital photography services. The widescreen really works for me with that. Of course, I can get a 15-inch laptop and it will work just as well.

But I can't figure out what to do, and I only just got the news about the insurance tonight. So. Your input—especially the computer geeks out there—would be greatly appreciated.

Update: Thanks, folks. I got answers from two of the tech people I respect the most (got an email from one of my old friends). I think I'll be replacing, and I won't get a Mac. Sorry, I need a Windows machine for another business I'm trying to get into.

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New players, same old game?

A palestinian girl is killed. The pals blame the IDF. The IDF says it wasn't their bullet, but the idiots firing off automatic weapons upon returning from the Haj, who killed the girl. Terrorists say: We will take revenge, shoot more mortars into Israeli towns. Ariel Sharon says, fine, we're not gonna pull out of the West Bank until the violence stops.

Palestinians objected to the new Israeli position on the West Bank handover.

"We will not tell them to stop if they are withdrawing from Ramallah, but we want them to implement the previous understandings, the withdrawal from five cities," a senior Palestinian official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Why the anonymity? They always used to say these things in full-blown public when Arafat was alive.

Hamas threatened further retaliation "if the crimes continue." The military took that to mean the militant group was trying to set a pattern of retaliation for perceived Israeli acts of violence, within the framework of a cease-fire, security officials said. Mofaz told Dahlan that such an understanding was unacceptable.

Mofaz said the Palestinian Authority must stop the mortar fire, regardless of the explanation, and Palestinian police, who have deployed throughout Gaza in recent days for the first time in years, must restrain militants. He said their performance in Gaza would influence the extent to which Israel would hand over responsibility in the West Bank, according to the officials.

Good for Mofaz. Because Bush seems to be showing signs of backing off from the real issue, which is terrorism. The emphasis here, which are excerpts from Condi Rice's appearance at a town hall meeting, seems to be that the statelessness of the pals is causing the terrorism:

Well, in June of 2002, the President laid out a very important vision for how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be resolved, but he said that basically the actors are going to have to make some fundamental choices, fundamental choices on the part of the Palestinians about ending terror and building democratic institutions and, at that time, finding new leadership.

He talked about fundamental choices that the Israelis were going to have to make about creating conditions in which a new Palestinian state could emerge, and, indeed, that meant that the Israelis were going to have to recognize that there was going to have to be land for -- contiguous land for this Palestinian state to exist on. And he talked about the responsibility of Arab states to end incitement and to support the peace process and for all of us to recognize that peace and security and democracy and an end to terror all go together.

The good thing about the last couple of months has been that I think you're starting to see the parties make good, fundamental choices. And as they make those good, fundamental choices, it opens up the possibility of getting back on the roadmap toward a two-state solution.

I don't think any of us doubt that without a Palestinian state that is viable, that can represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people, that there really isn't going to be a peace for either the Palestinian people or for the Israelis. And so we're going to be -- over the next several months, I'm going to Israel and to the West Bank on this trip that I'm going on. We're going to be working with the parties, now that they've begun to make those fundamental choices, to push forward toward the date when we have a two-state solution. And I think it's in our grasp, although it's still something that has to be worked toward vigilantly.

I was going to write, "And then we get an article that refutes this entirely. My head is going back and forth so fast from trying to follow this that I'm getting whiplash," but upon rereading the article, I'm starting to get it.

Although the spin you're going to see in the media is that Condi and Bush are doing the same-old, same-old, ignoring terrorism while pushing Israel to give concessions, that isn't what they're doing. Read this rather condescending article in the International Herald Tribune (if you can come away from the article without thinking that the point of the author is that Bush is stupid, you're a better man than I). Now I get it: Even for the palestinians, the Bush Doctrine stands. But this administration will not stand for terrorism at the expense of the Israelis. Watch. Wait. Give them the chance before you condemn them.

I think that the Bush emphasis on the two-state solution is due to the theory that a democratic people will not generally war on its neighbors. I mistrust the palestinian intentions as much as 70% of Israelis do, but there can be no movement without at least some baby steps. The IDF withdrawing from five West Bank towns is a start, and Israel's insistence on the cessage of violence before the withdrawal can occur is the right way to go.

Notice you aren't seeing any statements from the U.S. criticizing Israel for insisting the attacks stop. That's a positive element that wasn't in view the last time around. And even Reuters seems to be holding most of its criticism in check, (though it waited until the end of the article to present the IDF's rebuttal).

Things may be happening. I'm not hopeful, but I'm hoping for the best. | |



Today's moment of kitty zen

Don't get upset. Get kitty zen.

Gracie fluffs out
It's cold.

Tig on ice
Yeah? You think you got problems? I can't walk anywhere without getting ice in my pads.

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Just a post before I sleep

I spent a good hour this morning watching the news on the Iraqi elections, and I thought: Isn't it amazing? These people are braving bombs to vote, and here, if it's a rainy day, millions of Americans stay home.

I also spent some time today on a few anti-American Iraqi bloggers' websites, just to see what the opposition was saying. Many of them had nothing to say (no posts for days or weeks); others were posting uncited facts that I find unbelievable (I really think if the government were threatening to withhold food rations from Iraqis who didn't vote, our media would have gotten hold of that and flashed it as the first story on every newscast).

I think, people, that we're witnessing the 21st century Domino Theory in action, and the second domino has toppled (the first being Afghanistan). But this is the domino that will take down all the others with it: Iraqi democracy is the tolling of the bell. And we all know the end to that poem: Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. "Thee" being Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Syria... it won't happen all in a minute, but then, who ever thought the Berlin Wall would come down?

And one of the signs that the times are changing: An Israeli Jew of Iraqi descent presented the proper paperwork in Jordan, and voted.

Tear down that wall.

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Last week's blogs are archived. Looking for the Buffy Blogburst Index? Here's Israel vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary is also a good bet if you've never been here before.