sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

July 9, 2015

It’s Not That Jews Are Fleeing Russia

Filed under: politics, Russia, Ukraine — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:00 am

But the Russian intelligentsia is.  Radio Free Europe reports:

Just a year ago, Russian journalist Vladimir Yakovlev [Note the typical Russian surname, — EOTS] was one of Moscow’s most influential media figures.

Today, he lives a quiet life in Tel Aviv and has swapped his Russian passport for an Israeli one.


“The big problem with Russia, and the main reason why I left, is the fact that our value system was destroyed,” he says. “Life in Russia has turned into Russian roulette. Every morning you turn the roulette wheel, you never know what is going to happen to you.” [The game is known as American roulette in Russia, – EOTS.]


Spooked by Russia’s actions in Ukraine and by the increasingly stringent punishments for anyone deemed critical of the Kremlin, Russians of Jewish descent have been fleeing in droves over the past 18 months.


The nongovernmental Jewish Agency for Israel has released figures showing a 40-percent surge in immigration to the country between January and March of this year, compared to the same period in 2014.

The study suggests that while the majority of immigrants still come from Western Europe, Russians and Ukrainians are responsible for this increase. The number of Jews migrating from Western Europe has remained largely the same.


[Zeyev Khanin, an official at Israel’s Immigrant Absorption Ministry] says newcomers from Russia are significantly younger, more educated, and, as a rule, hail from Moscow or St. Petersburg.

“The average education level is on the rise and the number of people with degrees in humanities has increased massively,” he tells RFE/RL. “Today’s repatriates are mostly the creative intelligentsia.”

Mikhail Kaluzhsky [Note the typical Russian surname, — EOTS]  was among the 4,685 Russians who moved to Israel last year.

A journalist and playwright from Moscow, he is typical of the new wave of Russian immigrants described by Khanin.

Kaluzhsky says his decision to leave Russia is “directly linked to politics.”

The overwhelming majority of Soviet Jews left Russia, Ukraine and other “republics” in the late 80’s-early 90’s.  There was an ebb in emigration starting in the late 90’s after the countries emptied out of Jews.  Those remaining were often involved in creative professions — actors, journalists and so on — who would almost certainly not find professional employment abroad.  With the intermarriage rate was up to 75%, this demographic didn’t so much think of themselves as Jews as members of the Russian intelligentsia.  The topic of non-ethnic Russians being on the forefront of Russian cultural life is a rich one.  Suffice it to say that the creator of the first Russian language dictionary Vladimir Ivanovich Dahl was a child of a Dutch father and a French-German mother born in what is now the Lugansk region of Eastern Ukraine. and Alexander Pushkin, long considered Russian national poet, is part black.  After the Bolshevik revolution, when the old intelligentsia left, Jews came out of the Pale and merged into the Russian cultural life.

In the 90’s many Russian nationals, often of mixed ethnic origin, hoped to make Russia into something like a Western capitalist democracy, and they held on to that hope as Putin was consolidating power.  A few years ago they saw the writing on the wall and started packing, a trend noted by this blog in 2011.  The big picture here is that the Russian intelligentsia, some of whom have Jewish roots, is in despair.  I’m glad that the Jews are packing their suitcases because a Russian (or Ukrainian, for that matter) nationalist does not care if a public figure has three Slavic grandparents.  And if he’s married to somebody with a Jewish grandpa — hey! that explains everything, and it will serve as a sufficient explanation for centuries to come.

Well educated Russian-speaking Jews, their descendants and spouses make a wonderful addition to Israeli society.  They are patriotic and industrious; I know quite a few of them.  And may I suggest that the United States, too, make it easier for “Russians” to come to this country.  And may I mention that this cohort tends to vote R?

That being said, I had a conversation about this essay with the Mad Jewess on tweeter in which she insisted that [the media] loves using Jews to make talking points.  What does Radio Liberty know or care about Jews?  A few months ago the outlet featured the cartoon below in their Russian language article:

Meet the Kharkov mayor Gennady Kernes formerly of the pro-Russian Party of Regions

I have to say that while I like the US taxpayer funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty most of the time, their hiring of Ukrainian nationalist editors is suspect.

A feature about the disillusioned Russian intelligentsia addressed to the English-speaking audience sounds like a snoozer, so lets try to get the Jews involved.  But why?  The article does not claim that Russian Jews are fleeing because of rise in anti-Semitism.  I kind of doubt that the agencies in charge of aliyah have anything of value to learn from it.  And may I point out that Jewish agencies are staunchly neutral on the issue of Jews leaving Russia and Ukraine (note that the article briefly notes that aliyah from Ukraine is also up).  Their mandate is to help Jews everywhere, not to take sides in an intra-Slavic dispute.  It’s also worth noting that sometimes Ukrainian Jews fleet to… Russia.

I can tell you anecdotally that anti-Semitism in the east Ukraine is up.  I suspect this is also the case in the historically more bigoted west as well as in Russia. No surprise there — when things go south you know who gets the blame, and there is plenty of anger and uncertainty in both countries.  Perhaps it’s time to leave both countries.

UPDATE 07/14/15: For comparison’s sake: Israel gives us the total of both Russian and Ukrainian Jews coming to this middle east nation (translation mine):

It’s being reported that , что с января по июнь нынешнего года репатриацию совершили 2435 Citizens of Russian Federation and 2938 Ukrainian citizens repatriated between January and June this year.  Note that the number of Russians repatriating grew by 51% compare to the same period last year, at the time that aliyah from Ukraine grew 82%.

No word on Belorussian repatriants who might just be a good control group.

March 27, 2015

The Remnant of Ukrainian Jewry

Filed under: politics, Ukraine — Tags: — edge of the sandbox @ 9:15 am

When last September “far right” Ukrainian groups swarmed Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city, and toppled the ginormous Lenin statue on central city square, Chabad reported that local Jews “watch and wait”.  Wait for what, an airlift?

In the 1880s the largest Jewish community in the world was in the Russian Empire’s Pale of Settlement with what is now Western Ukraine being the region with the highest density of Jewish population — up to 20%.  After more than a century of (and your Ukrainian nationalist friends will be able to fill you in on some of the detail) pogroms, segregation, breakdown of Jewish communal life and abolition of the Pale that followed the 1917 revolution, the Holocaust, official and unofficial Soviet anti-Semitism and the chaos that followed the USSR breakdown, Jewish communities in Ukraine are all but gone.  According to JDC 300,000-350,000 Jews were left in all of Ukraine as of February 2014, albeit the number is up for dispute because of the sky-high intermarriage rate.  The map of Ukrianian Jewish population looks very much like an ethno-linguistic map of the country.  Jews continued living in urban areas, primarily in the South-East, the capital of Kiev and, to much lesser extent, the city of Lviv.

The South-East is claimed for Novorossiya, so all Jewish communities there are potentially in the line of fire.  At the moment the hostilities between the Russian-led separatists and Ukrainian forces are down.  Yet both sides are said to be rearming and regrouping, so expect the next round of fighting to commence in… April?  The fighting might be a bit complicated this time around due to a feud between President Petro Poroshenko and the former Dnepropetrovsk governor Igor Kolomoisky — the latter “does not rule out” an anti-Kiev insurgency in his city.

Kiev, home to the largest Jewish community in Ukraine, is, like many other Ukrainian urban centers, going through reshuffling of police forces.  When on October 31, 2014 interior minister Arsen Avakov appointed Vadim Troyan the chief of regional police in the capital:

[t]he Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) has objected to Troyan’s appointment, describing him as a leading member of the Patriot of Ukraine organization, which some have described as neo-Nazi. Patriot of Ukraine is linked with the Social-National Assembly of Ukraine and has displayed symbols reminiscent of those used by the Nazis on its banners and other materials.

Troyan, who ran for parliament on the ticket of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front, is described on that party’s website as a member of the organization.

KHPG says Patriot of Ukraine espouses “xenophobic and neo-Nazi ideas” and engages in violence. It based its opposition to Troyan’s appointment on allegations by anti-Semitism researcher Viacheslav Likhachev, who is connected to the local Jewish community.

Both KHPG and Likhachev have admitted that there is no specific evidence pointing to anti-Semitic views on the part of Troyan, but both believe his links to the group make his holding such a sensitive position worrisome.

For some reason the last sentence is not very reassuring.

Tiny Jewish communities remain scattered through western Ukraine, the most numerous one is in Lviv.  Throughout the 1930’s Jews comprised over 30% of the city’s population, and after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the area was flooded with Polish Jews, many of whom were immediately deported by the Bolsheviks.  When the Soviet Army hastily retreated in 1941, about 10,000 managed to escape with them*, the rest were attacked in the pogroms, known as Petlura Days, that immediately followed the invasion, and perished in the Holocaust.  After the war some Soviet Jews returned to the city; a year ago 11,000 resided at this once important Jewish cultural center.

In happier times of Ukrainian neutrality unpleasant things were said about the city in mainstream media in the West.  For instance:

The Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned a statement by the mayor of Lviv, Ukraine, in which he said that in his city “there has never been anti-Semitism and there will never be.”

Efraim Zuroff, Israel director for the Wiesenthal Center, told JTA on Monday that Mayor Andriy Sadovyi’s statement was “a hopeless attempt to cover up very strong manifestations of anti-Semitism.” Sadovyi made the statement Sunday at a news conference.

Zuroff noted a restaurant in Lviv that encourages patrons to dress up like haredi Orthodox Jews and haggle over prices. Another restaurant celebrates the legacy of the Ukrainian Nazi collaborators led by Stefan Bandera who participated in the murder of thousands of Jews in 1941.

The Lviv municipality on June 30 is set to award a prize named for Bandera to individuals who “helped develop Ukrainian statehood.” Many Ukrainians view Bandera and his troops as anti-Soviet freedom fighters.

Nowadays Lviv mayor Andriy Sadovyi scolds the French on anti-Semitism.  You see, France has a “larger” problem than Ukraine.  Not exactly a high bar, and not true to begin with.

The monument to Stepan Bandera in Lviv was erected on the anniversary of creation of Ukrainian Insurgent Army in 2007.  Appropriately brown in color, the sculpture is made in best traditions of socialist realism.  Tourists and residents of this eastern Galicia town can flock downtown to admire the romanticized Nazi of Stalinist proportions — the arches of the architectural ensemble reach 100 feet in the air.  As you can see, western Ukrainians know what to build in place of their Lenins.

Surely on Novorossiya “to topple” list: Stepan Bandera monument in Lviv city center

Ukrainian nationalists like to point out that so far there had been no verified anti-Jewish pogroms in their country, and that Jews serve in the current government.  Just who Ukrainian nationalists are is no secret.  For a source of anti-Semitic sentiment during the Miadan riots one can look at this entry at Gates of Vienna.  Maidan alumnus (he was the coordinator of “self-defense” units) and co-funder of what was once called Socialist-Nationalist Party of Ukraine Andrey Parubiy has an impressive “far right” resume that includes translating of Goebbels into Ukrainian.  He is now a Rada member on Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front ticket.  Either Parubiy is going “mainstream” or “mainstream” is going Parubiy.

On the subject of Jews in Ukrainian governments, it’s worth remembering what happened during the pogroms in the 1918-1922 Civil War.  Back then Jews served in the very Ukrainian governments that were perpetrating and/or ignoring the pogroms and were more than ready to vouch for their comrades.

Some Eurointegrationist Jewish intelligentsia made an alliance with nationalists calculating that as long as the promise of the entry into EU is dangled as a carrot in front of Ukrainian people, everyone can get along.  But the European dream will remain a dream simply because a country as large, as desolate and as corrupt (and as Soviet mentality-wise) cannot be admitted into EU.  Then what?

The most prominent Ukrainian Jew who, until a few days ago was on the side of this current government, is the above-mentioned Igor Kolomoisky.  Ask the European Council of Jewish Communities what kind of Jew he is.  When in 2010 the oligarch decided to make himself the head of the organization, three members resigned calling his ascension “hostile takeover” eastern European style.

Kolomoisky is a populist demagogue, a proud self-proclaimed “Jidobandera”, who owns a of a large share of Ukraine’s mass media.  He is said to be one of the financiers of the Kiev riots and sugar daddy of Ukrainian National Guard as well as paramilitary units that until recently were patrolling the streets of Odessa.  He is widely believed to be behind Odessa massacre a year ago.  This former governor of one of Ukraine’s richest regions and helped keep the south-east in line since Maidan victory.  He is a chief benefactor of the IMF (umm, US taxpayer) Ukraine bailout, but was fired in a feud with Poroshenko over the ownership of a utility company.

A still from Kolomoisky’s “Turn in A Separatist [for A Bounty]” advert that went viral April last year. I first thought the video was an anti-Semitic fake, but no, it’s “Benya’s” sense of humor

With majority of Jews being Russian speakers who live in Party of Regions strongholds, one can find more than a fair share of prominent Party of Regions Jews.  For instance, in the last decade Kharkov was run by the Jewish governor and mayor Gennady Kernes and Mikhail Dobkin.  Last year Maidan-minded Kharkovites were circulating a video about Kernes’s criminality and corruption that was also oddly fixated on his ethnic origin.  On the issue of corruption the video didn’t exactly reflect the opinion of ordinary Kharkovites who agree that while Kernes is, like all other Ukrainian leaders, a thief, still, “he did so much for the city”.

A short survey of prominent Ukrainian Jews leaves an impression that perhaps Ukraine is left with the Jews it deserved. Or maybe it got the leadership it deserved, and as it always happens, upwardly mobile Jews are terribly conspicuous.  When the situation will become impossible they will walk into their private helicopters and head for Cyprus.  It is the ordinary Jews living in Vinnitsa and Odessa who are in danger of being turned into scapegoats for their country’s failings.

Right now the pro-Russian and nationalist sides in Ukraine are most concerned with fighting each other.  However, this will not last forever, and Slavic brothers will kiss and make up, like they always have.  In the meantime, the country is in a multi-party civil war vortex, just like 1918, and anti-Semitism is on the rise across the board.

If I were a Jew in Russia, I’d leave too.  Putin likes to sell himself as a protector of minorities, but I wouldn’t count too much on his protection.  Yes, he grew up among Leningrad intelligentsia, many of them Jewish, and is not an anti-Semite.  But he stays in power by pandering to anti-Semitets, most notably to those in the Russian Orthodox Church.  Russia will see some tough times in coming years, so things are not looking good.


*My last entry was about the Soviet Jewish crooner Iosif Kobzon.  Kobzon’s biographers like to explain his loyalties by the fact that he was born in Russian-speaking Donetsk region of Ukraine.  Equally important, I think, is his lesser known his Lviv connection.  Kobzon’s parents moved to Lviv shortly before the war and managed to escape as soon as it started.  The singer narrowly cheated death at the hands of Wermacht and their Ukrainian henchmen.

July 31, 2012

A Lovely Conference

Filed under: Israel, politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 7:15 pm

Guy Herschmann is a recent graduate of U.C. Santa Cruz.  What’s nice Jewish boy doing in a place like UC Santa Cruz?  Evidently, he was a campus coordinator for the Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs.  He recently went to a scary event held here in the Bay Area:

One might have expected the Birzeit Society’s 11th annual convention in Burlingame, with its schedule of family outings and festivities, to be a pleasant family affair. The society, established 25 years ago for Palestinians from the village of Birzeit who now live in the U.S., attracted approximately 700 people to its five-day gathering in early July.

But instead of a warm family atmosphere, I witnessed chilling anti-Israel extremism. Children were indoctrinated with anti-Israel and intolerant rhetoric. An emerging generation of activists was trained to proudly use deceit and manipulation to promote a “one-state” solution that has no room for Israel.

At the panel “Palestine: One State vs. Two State Solution,” criticism was heaped on the Palestinian Authority, not for its corruption but rather for normalizing relations with Israel. Mai al Kaila, the P.A.’s ambassador to Chile, tried to win over the crowd by commiserating about the difficulty of establishing Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, and by emphasizing that the P.A.’s goal is that “all refugees living in the diaspora have their lands in Haifa, Jaffa and everything.”

She tried to justify the P.A.’s promotion of a two-state solution as a necessary compromise. “What can we do when we don’t have a military power … or a nuclear power?” she asked. The crowd grumbled. “Our strategy now … is nonviolence.” The grumbling grew louder. The audience seemed unable to tolerate the idea of two peaceful states for two peoples. When she sat down, a man declared that “we need an intifada.”

The panel’s featured speakers were the Rev. Naim Ateek and the Rev. Don Wagner, both from Sabeel, a Jerusalem-based ecumenical Christian group known for its hostility to Israel. Panel moderator Ramiz Rafeedie called all supporters of Israel “your enemies.” He warned that advocating a one-state solution could alienate potential allies because it attacks the legitimacy of Zionism, so he advised audience members to refine their arguments to win supporters.

Ateek described a future Palestinian confederation with Jordan and Lebanon as a remedy for a two-state stalemate. “We need to have a third intifada,” he stated, adding that it should be “totally nonviolent.” Wagner contributed classic anti-Semitic canards, saying that Congress is “sewn up” by Zionists. Ateek’s closing statements summed up the tone of the convention: “We say no. We adamantly reject the two-state solution at any price.”

The audience response to these statements was the most disturbing aspect to me. The panel attracted an audience of more than 200, primarily families, including youngsters. They responded enthusiastically to calls for a third intifada, with children as young as 7 applauding with their parents.

I don’t suppose it’s very different from what’s your average Palestinian Authority meeting/public school function looks like.  But look at the persons of Jewish heritage in attendance:

A second panel, “BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) on American Campuses,” was equally extreme. Dina Omar, a Berkeley graduate and student at Columbia, joined Nora Barrows-Friedman, who writes for Electronic Intifada and al Jazeera, in laying out BDS strategies and goals.

‘Omar urged the audience to get BDS branded as “just one piece of a larger question of social justice.” She advocated outr each to any and all religious, racial and ethnic groups, economic justice groups, and environmentalists to insert BDS — thme collective punishment of Israel — into all progressive causes. Displaying Occupy Wall Street and Free Tibet flyers emblazoned with BDS slogans, Omar urged students to “use your institutions’ symbols, rhetoric, and propaganda … to turn or flip the message or to insert your message in however subversive a way you can.”

Barrows-Friedman called the message that “people just … need to get along” an Israeli plot against Palestinians.

The speakers advised against reaching out to pro-Israel students, especially if they are Jewish. When asked whether there are any Jewish groups with whom BDS activists can work, Barrows-Friedman, who is Jewish, responded, “It depends on your level of tolerance.” After a pause, Omar answered that the group Jewish Voice for Peace may be acceptable.

In fact, the BDS movement frequently uses token Jews to make its case and deflect charges of anti-Semitism. Barrows-Friedman awkwardly sidestepped an anti-Semitic comment from an audience member, making light of a canard about the “Jewish-controlled” global financial system.

For bonus, remember how the media declared that Romney was somehow wrong to point out the differences between the Israeli culture and that of their neighbors.  Well, shortly before it, World Bank issued a report saying that Palestinian economy can not support a state:

“The Palestinian Authority has made steady progress in many years towards establishing the institutions required by a future state, but the economy is currently not strong enough to support such a state,” economist John Nasir said in a statement accompanying the report, which was released July 25.

The P.A. says it is facing its worst financial crisis since it was founded in 1994, with debts of $1.5 billion and an immediate cash shortfall of $500 million, the French news agency AFP reported. Donor countries have propped up the Palestinian economy with billions of dollars in assistance.

In the report, the World Bank said the aid has led to 7.7 percent gross domestic product growth between 2007 and 2011, but only in government services, real estate and other nontradable sectors.

Oh.  There are two lessons for the Obama Administration in that news item.

June 4, 2012

Into the Basement We Move!

I’ve been doing a lot of non-virtual stuff lately, like going to Anthropologie.  DH, on his part, went to the track.  A few years ago, hipsters discovered horse racing, which was about time.  What else is there to do on a Sunday afternoon that involves light drinking?  So now they hang out at the track, semi-awkwardly, wearing big hats and having whatever fun hipsters are wired to have, which is to say not much.  On the way to the track we stopped by a bicyclist cafe in Berkeley where they don’t have Coke, only cola, and a huge stylized portrait of Anonymous hangs on the wall.  The bathroom walls are made of blackboard, and the establishment provides chalk, but there is still graffiti on the door.  The food is good, but if the anarchists who run the place would only know who they are serving, they’d have beat us out the door with a baseball bat.

After spending an hour at Anthropologie, I decided I wanted to wait for this blouse to go on sale.  There was a point I was trying to make, and it’s that I was planning on writing responses to several posts I read, but they came out a bit short.  So I’m putting it all in a single post.

In the future, everybody will be a minority for 15 minutes.  City University of New York now has White/Jewish category for its faculty.  And if CUNY decides to break off Jews into a separate category — uh-oh.  Considering that we are already overrepresented in pretty much every profession, including figure skating and, I’m sure, organic farming, today’s Jewish children will have nowhere to go.  I’m a bit puzzled by the fact that so many American Jews have embraced affirmative action.  Most of their grandparents fled state anti-Semitism in Russian Empire, and the list of their grievances included quotas (although that obviously wasn’t the biggest concern).  Racial discrimination was wrong then; it’s wrong now.

Speaking of anti-Semitism, there’s the newly redistricted NJ-9 Democratic primary race (via Maggie’s Notebook). Representative Steve Rothman, who is  Jewish, is accused of dual loyalties by supporters of Bill Pascrell, who, being neither Arab nor Muslim, is not accused of any kind of dual loyalties:

The race took an unprecedented turn on Monday when an Arabic campaign poster supporting Pascrell surfaced. It urged the “Arab diaspora community” to “elect the friend of the Arabs” and billed the race as “the most important election in the history of the [Arab] community,” according to a WFB translation of the sign.[…]

Observers such as Susan Rosenbluth, publisher of the New Jersey-based Jewish Voice and Opinion, say the race took an anti-Semitic turn in late February, when a prominent Arab supporter of Pascrell accused the state’s Jewish voters of being more loyal to Israel than America.

“Unquestionably, this primary election is pitting two otherwise harmoniously coexisting communities: the Muslim and Jewish communities,” Aref Assaf, president of the New Jersey-based American Arab Forum, wrote in a New Jersey Star-Ledger column headlined “Rothman is Israel’s man in District 9.”

“As total and blind support for Israel becomes the only reason for choosing Rothman, voters who do not view the elections in this prism will need to take notice. Loyalty to a foreign flag is not loyalty to America’s,” Assaf wrote.

Translation: “Shut up you Jew!  Or we won’t coexist in bumper sticker harmony much longer.”  Pascrell has some interesting supporters:

Pascrell in recent weeks has waged a charm offensive in the Arab community, campaigning alongside a Hamas-sympathizer and many who have expressed hostility towards Israel.

James Zogby, president of the American Arab Institute, recently helped Pascrell collect more than $50,000; Zogby is a longtime critic of Israel who has accused the U.S. of “being the coat holder and cheerleader” for the Jewish state.

Pascrell also has embraced Imam Mohammad Qatanani, a controversial Passaic spiritual leader who stands accused by the State Department of hiding a conviction in Israel for having ties to the terror group Hamas.

Last Friday, Pascrell held a high profile event at a local mosque where he was joined by Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn), a prominent ally of the fringe group J Street and the first Muslim member of Congress.

Pascrell, too, has come under fire for his association with J Street. In 2010, the lawmaker endorsed the so-called “Gaza 54” letter, which demanded that President Obama force Israel to end its “collective punishment” of those living in the Gaza Strip. It is a vote that Pascrell has said he “doesn’t regret.”

“By campaigning so hard with one group, were Congressman Pascrell to win reelection, it seems that his marginally supportive voting record on Israel may take a turn for the worst and become openly hostile,” said the New Jersey-based political operative.

Meanwhile in Israel they invented high-free medical pot.  According to inventors at Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for repairing the world), the new pot can be used by diabetic patients and those suffering from psychiatric disorders.  While they don’t claim that the herb will cure all conditions marihuana is thought to alleviate, discoveries like this one are sure to take steam out of the  medicinal marijuana movement.

Back in the US, King Shamus notes that while the US economy added 69,000 jobs in May, the same month about 1.7 million young people graduated from colleges.  Considering that the 85,000 H1B visas slated to be issued to foreign workers this year will eat up all job gains made by the economy this months, I’m not sure what it is that college grads are expected to do.  Given how #Occupy is all but dead, they will not be camping out in parks this summer, so I guess they’ll have to make do with mom and dad’s basement.  I saw the best minds of their generation destroyed by public education, starving hysterical by Ethnic Studies departments.

On a more positive note, everybody appears to play guess when PJ Mom’s next baby will be born game.  I hope not before she arrives at her destination.  I don’t know how military moms do it.

March 23, 2012

Free Speech Bay Area

Last night DH was looking over one of the two free local papers we still get delivered to our door.

“Is there anything I need to read?” I asked.

“Meh.  If you want to, you can check out the letter here about a “free speech” event for Jew-bashers.”

Under the heading Breaking Down Barriers I read the following:

For more than a year, visitors to the Saturday Alameda Farmer’s Market encounter bright orange traffic cones with notices proclaiming one small place at the very end of the vendor area a “Free Speech Zone” — all this fuss with signage and color that shouts “caution,” for one citizen’s effort to talk about matters of peace in Palestine and peace in the Middle East.

For those who desire to know more about the situation in Palestine, non-violent efforts to resist the military occupation and the international boycott; divestment and sanctions movement that is gaining steam around the world, I would like to extend an invitation to the Sabeel Conference tomorrow and Saturday, March 23 and 24, at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church, 732 West Fremont Ave.

The conference will offer an opportunity to hear many voices of conscience — American, Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Christian and Muslim.

You won’t be put off by seeing “caution” cones or feel yourself restricted to talk “freely” in a small designated area. Instead you will be greeted with invitations to talk with people who live and work in Israel and in the Palestinian territories You will have the opportunity to learn to challenge the status quo, and act to promote freedom, justice and equality.

You might even find yourself challenged to hold onto this issue and join the ever growing call for peace in the Middle East here in the streets of Alameda! Additional information can be found at

— Paula Rainey

I’m curious about these orange cones: did I missed something entertaining a year ago?  Ms. Rainey is a local proponent of the boycott, divest, sanction effort currently in vogue with Israel’s enemies, and she did have an event planned at the Farmer’s Market at some point.

Not sure what boycott of and divestment from a besieged tiny nation has to do with  “peace in the Middle East” or “breaking down barriers,” if by barriers we mean barriers towards peace or at least  security, and not the defensive wall Israel had erected to protect her citizens from terrorists attacks in 2004.  Most of the said barrier is actually a fence, and it did effectively end the “Second Intifada”, or the wave of terror that swept Israel in the second half of the last decade following Yasser Arafat’s rejection of a generous Israeli land offer.  Those opposed to the Jewish state have been railing against Israel’s non-violent defense (which is what the said wall/fence has been since it was built).  The wall part of the construction is prominently pictured on the conference’s website.

The conference will feature a variety of speakers with consistent anti-Israel bias.  Who else signs on to promote the boycott of the sole democracy in the Middle East?  This event is being billed as some sort of an open mike.  Interesting that they feel censored, scary orange cones and what not, because there is another free speech twist.

In May 2010, the Turkish Islamist government sent a ship called Mavi Marmara, loaded with weapons and unusable medical supplies, to break the legal blockade Israel imposed on Gaza Strip in lieu of Hamas terrorists regularly firing rockets on Israel.  The IDF boarded the ship, were attacked and killed several armed crew members.  International outrage ensured as the media outlets the world over had the public convinced that Mavi Marmara was carrying peace activist with humanitarian aid.  Since it is Friday, here is the terrific Caroline Glick and Latma TV with “We Con the World,” a parody inspired by the incident:

Paula Rainy, who at least at one point was a member of the ultra-left Green Party, has long been obsessed with the Jewish State.  She was signing anti-Israel petitions as far back as 2001.  When, following the Mavi Marmara incident, lefties everywhere called for retaliatory boycotts of Israeli ships, Ms. Rainy participated in the East Bay Area efforts.  She wrote letters to local papers about the “historic achievement” of hers: together with her buddies she picketed a ship of Israeli Zim line, preventing it from docking in the Port of Oakland for 24 hours.

We read her letter in the Alameda Journal, another free local paper delivered unsolicited to virtually every household, and DH was pissed enough to write a response.  He did express some doubt before hitting that “send” button (“Basically, I am giving my name and address to every leftist organization in the country”), but mailed the letter.  Not surprisingly, Alameda Journal didn’t print it.

A week later we stopped receiving the paper at our door.  It is still delivered to all our neighbors as well as the empty, abandoned and foreclosed property in the vicinity.  Evidently, defense of Israel around here is beyond the Pale (pun intended).  Needles to say, the local papers and people writing letters to editors had no problem with Assad slaughtering his own people or the Muslim Brotherhood seizing power in Egypt.

Oh well, it could have been worse, we could be living in a real life people’s republic.

March 12, 2012

Jewish Liberals, We Need to Talk

A few days ago released the video of Barack Obama, then pushing thirty, embracing an anti-Semitic basket-case and all-around race-baiter (via Legal Insurrection) by the name of Derrick Bell.  Derrick Bell is the mind (or is it “mind?) behind a blaxploitation masterpiece about white Americans selling off their black compatriots to aliens — with a subplot of scheming cowardly Jews.

At the time of their embrace, Derrick Bell was a law professor in Harvard, so, I suppose, the authority he commanded explains why impressionable minds, like our future President in his early middle age, might had fallen under his spell.  Or else Barack Obama shared Bell’s views.  The later would explain why Derrek Bell got to visit the Obama White House twice in 2010 (via Capitol Commentary tweeter feed).  In 1994, between the Harvard bear-hug and the White House visit, the New York Observer interviewed Bell, and, of course, it’s racist creepiness galore.  Check out some exerpts at Commentary (via RS McCain).

The Breitbart tape shouldn’t had surprised anyone because we all know that Obama allowed Jeremiah Wright, another deranged race-baiter, to officiate his wedding and baptize (or is it “baptize”?) his daughters.  I happen to be of the opinion that Obama rarely went to his chosen “church”, but he heard of his pastor’s sermons and liked their tone and substance.  He probably admired Wright for being a part of Louis Farrakhan’s entourage when the latter went to visit Gaddafi in 1984.  (In a spirit of shameless self-promotion, check out my obituary of the late dictator.)

I’m sure Obama’s heartbeat didn’t go up in anguish every time he passed the house of Louis Farrakhan, another one of these random men in his great neighborhood, because he evidently collaborated with that race-bating anti-Semite on at least one occasion, when he helped him with the second Million Men March.

Sarah Palin caught a lot of flack for welcoming Pat Buchanan to Wasilla in 1999.  Me, I wouldn’t welcome Buchanan anywhere, but I understand that the mayor of Wasilla was flattered to have a one-time major party Presidential hopeful pass through her town.  I don’t expect a young mayor from a state that few Jews call home to be well-versed in politics of Holocaust denial and other forms of Jew-hatred.  Obama, on the other hand, lived in cities with large Jewish populations — New York, Chicago, Boston — and found it possible to collaborate with hard-core anti-Semites.

One hopes that the tape of Barack Obama toasting a PLO terrorist Rashid Khalidi would be truly damaging to the President, at least in our community.  The tape is in possession of the LA Times, and the paper won’t release it.  Mere existence of this tape should give pause to any Jew intending to cast his vote for Obama.  Do we know about it?

J Weekly, my local Jewish paper, didn’t cover the Khalidi tape story in ’08.  The Obama-Khalidi connection was mentioned twice — in an opinion piece and in a letter to the editor (go Russikies!).  That Obama hob-nobbed with the PLO should had been a major area of concern to the Jewish press, no?

During Netanyahu’s 2010 White House visit, Obama presented the Israeli Prime Minister with a list of demands and left for dinner.  ““Let me know if there is anything new,” he said.  There is something sadistic about it.  I can’t think of another international incident where the current White House occupant was doing something other than his usual “leading from behind”.  Did Barack Obama dream of treating the Israeli head of state this way when he was running for President, and what would another four years of his Presidency be like for the only democracy in the Middle East, considering that in his final term he will not have to worry about reelection?

Pro-Israel liberal Jews are fooling themselves if they think that Barack Obama has some sort of sympathy for the besieged Jewish state.  While I understand that many if not most American Jews are not particularly Zionist, I still think they need to consider what would happen if Israel ceases to exist.  Anti-Semites worldwide will be emboldened, and that includes anti-Semites in the United States.  And even if Israel’s destruction were not in question, I find it a bit icky to vote for an individual with Obama’s history.

Curiously, one American Muslim and most of her friends think of our forty fourth President as Muslim, if only in the same sense Bill Clinton was our first black President (Via I Own the World).  Could it be because of something Barack Obama is doing?

March 7, 2012

BREAKING: Barack Hussein Obama’s Favorite Law Prof Kidnapped by Aliens, HBO Not Involved

Filed under: film, politics, tv — Tags: , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:21 pm

I assume by now everyone heard about Derrick Bell, the Harvard’s racialist prof praised by the law student (not some undergrad) Obama at a rally in the 80s. Big Hollywood has more.  Turns out, after resigning from Harvard the distinguished man of letters penned a blacksploitation story, later turned into a mid-high brow (or is it high middle brow?) film by HBO.  And oh, what a story:

Imagine, if you will, that space aliens land in the United States and offer ”untold treasure” in exchange for surrendering all black citizens to them. What does white America do? It votes to accept the deal by overwhelming margins. So says the law professor Derrick Bell, who poses the question in an allegorical tale he calls ”The Space Traders.”

There is opposition, however. Jews condemn the trade as genocidal and organize the Anne Frank Committee to try to stop it. Empathy from another group that has suffered oppression? Not according to Bell. Instead, Jews worry that ”in the absence of blacks, Jews could become the scapegoats.”

Such parables pass for legal scholarship these days…

Fellow Americans, this is embarrassing.  This is the man our President held in high regard.

How did Derrick Bell get to teach in Harvard?  I’m beginning to believe law schools are a scam.

And, yes, I need to call my rabbi.

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