Friday, August 12, 2005

More Musings On Media Musings

Once again, it’s time to rip apart Media Musings, the weekly column appearing in the Shephard Express written by Dave Berkman, a crusty old self-hating Jew. There’s only one problem: I happen to agree with his column this week. Fuck.

The truth is, I don’t really hate Berkman. In a strange kind of masochistic way I sort of… like him? That might be going too far. But every time the Shepherd comes out, the first thing I do is flip to his column. I also enjoy listening to his show on NPR, when I can catch it.

About four years ago I interviewed Berkman for an article in the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle examining why the left hates Israel. Dave was happy to cooperate and answered all of my questions forthrightly and honestly. In fact, he actually told me that when he hears non-Jews making some of the arguments that he often makes against Israel, his “antennae go up.” My first thought was: If that’s the case maybe your arguments against Israel are unduly harsh and unfair.

A little over a year ago Berkman was interviewing Alex Safian of CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Mideast Reporting in America, on his radio show. I called in, shaking with excitement—here was my chance try to embarrass Berkman on air on his own show! As soon as I got on the air I went on the attack:

“Alex, if you are concerned about bias against Israel in the media, look no further than the host of this show—Dave Berkman. That man has never had a nice thing to say about Israel in all the years I’ve been reading his column. What’s worse, I interviewed Berkman for an article, and he even admitted to me that when he hears non-Jews make the same arguments he makes against Israel, he is forced to wonder whether they are motivated by anti-Semitism.”

Ha! Take that, Berkman! CRUNCH! Owned! Yeah! Uh!

But then Berkman calmly chimed in, “Ah yes. I remember your article, it was a very good article…”

I don’t really recall the rest, because I was so stunned that my plan backfired. Instead of being embarrassed and angry at me, he complimented me. WTF?

So, I was a little disappointed this evening when I read Berkman’s column and realized that not only did I agree with him, he actually shared my complaints about about the shooting of the Brazilian who was killed in London by undercover “bobbies.”

Berkman wrote:
(1) There are varying degrees of journalistic misreporting: There is the out-and-out lie—rare, but not unknown. There are omissions of key details; and there’s the placement of an event’s key finding way down in the story—a practice known as “burying the lead.”It’s the degree to which the last two have predominated in the accounts of the Brazilian electrician who was shot dead by London police after erroneously being identified as a terrorist that constitutes one of the most serious instances of journalistic malfeasance I’ve encountered in a long while.Virtually all of the reports I read or saw focused on the misidentification of the victim. But as wrong as that was, it was not the most horrific element of this story. That element, which in most reports was either omitted or buried deep inside, is that he was shot eight times—seven to the head—only after he had been overpowered and lay helpless, face down on the floor.Even had he been a terrorist, shooting someone in the head while lying prone and face down is murder! But that’s a fact that the media—always eager, whether in Britain or Milwaukee, to win favor with the police—chose not to emphasize and, in many cases, even to report!

His other two pieces had to do with porn on the Internet and another with Berkman admitting an error from a previous column he wrote.

If you want to hear Berkman’s radio show, Media Talk, check out WHAD 90.7FM on Fridays at 5pm. His voice sounds like Kermit the Frog with a New York accent. But, he’s a decent host and keeps most of his leftist political views to himself, at least from what I’ve heard.

Drink Liquids

As I left the blood center today one of the workers there reminded me to "drink lot's of liquids today!"

Gee, thanks for telling me. I was going to go home and try to drink solids.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Vampire Factoid

Here’s an interesting vampire factoid (BTW—I love words that end in “oid”) I learned last night whilst reading Memnoch, The Devil by Ann Rice: A vampire will perform cunnilingus on a human female, under certain conditions...

"Her menses. It was being neatly collected by a pad of white cotton between her legs. I let myself think of it now because the menses was heavy and the smell was overpoweringly delicious to me. It began to torture me, the thought of licking this blood. This isn’t pure blood, you understand, but blood is its vehicle and I felt the normal temptation vampires do in such circumstances, to lick the blood from her nethermouth between her legs, a way of feeding on her that wouldn’t harm her."

Vampiric cunnilingus—who knew?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

On Being Intolerant Of Intolerance

I like tolerance. Tolerance is good thing. It is essential to be tolerant, especially if one lives in an open, democratic society. I don’t like intolerance. I don’t tolerate those who are intolerant of people just because those people might be of a different race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Does being intolerant of intolerance make me intolerant? A moral relativist would say “yes.”

Let’s examine this further. The Netherlands is one of the most liberal, relaxed countries on earth. Because of that, homosexuals in the Netherlands have it better than homosexuals any place else, except for perhaps those living on the Greek Island of Lesbos (just kidding). The Dutch, tolerant as they are, threw open their gates and welcomed immigrants from all over the world, but particularly people from the Arab and Islamic worlds. The Arab and Islamic worlds are not exactly known for their tolerance. When a certain outwardly gay Dutch politician—the late Pim Fortyun—began raising alarm bells about the intolerant views of many of these new immigrants and their unassimilated offspring, most of the tolerant multi-culturalists in the Netherlands condemned Fortyun as an intolerant bigot.

Only in the moral relativist universe could a gay man be deemed a bigot for objecting to the homophobic views of certain segments in society.

Moral relativists are idiots.

Semite1973 Circa 1975

NYT Article With Scary Implications

I read the NYT article that Rubin writes about in the following article. Suffice to say, I was appalled by it. Thanks to Rubin for articulating my sentiments. –Semite1973

New York Times Bashes the Jews
By Barry Rubin August 10, 2005

For several years I have watched the revival of antisemitism with growing dismay. Then along comes Steve Erlanger’s article in the New York Times, regarded by itself and many of its readers—especially Jewish ones—as the world’s greatest newspaper. He writes about an Israeli archaeologist who has uncovered the ruins of an important two-thousand-year-old building which, she asserts, was part of King David’s palace.

Maybe she is right; maybe not. Archaeologists are not certain; more evidence and study is no doubt necessary. That is how science works. We are then informed, accurately, that archaeologists are debating whether David’s kingdom was a great power or merely a tiny chiefdom. While not all her colleagues agree with her conclusion about the building, all those quoted respected the importance of the find.

But under the new post-rational ideology, the author tries at the very start to discredit the archaeologist in advance. Despite the fact that she is a respected scholar, the framework for the article is set by a claim that she is working for an institution partly funded by a “conservative” businessman who supposedly wants to prove a Jewish connection with Jerusalem for political purposes.

In other words, there is something supposedly shady about the whole enterprise, an assertion merely based on the fact that one of the donors also gives money to a conservative Israeli think tank. Thus, there is no such thing as professional ethics or a search for truth but merely hirelings for some cause making propaganda. Such things do happen but some real evidence is supposed to be required for such charges.

This kind of reasoning is often employed nowadays by people who should know better. The scientific method which puts the emphasis on examining evidence is thrown out the window in exchange for the crude radical concept of “who benefits.” This, incidentally, is the foundation of the conspiracy theories that bedevil the Arab and Muslim worlds.

It is also the crudest form of Marxism, arguing that consensual reality is only a construct created by ruling classes to remain in power, merely one narrative among many. Out of such thinking comes a paragraph in the article that should live in infamy as a prime exemplification of this kind of intellectual malpractice. Let me quote it in full:

“The [archaeological] find will also be used in the broad political battle over Jerusalem—whether the Jews have their origins here and thus have some special hold on the place, or whether, as many Palestinians have said, including the late Yasir Arafat, the idea of a Jewish origin in Jerusalem is a myth used to justify conquest and occupation.”

Do the Jews have any connection with Jerusalem and the land of Israel? Well, according to the Times, it is just a matter of political debate now, in which the views of Palestinian propagandists have equal weight. (This is just sick. Whatever happened to objective truth and objective reality? If we follow Erlanger's style of reporting, maybe we should doubt the Holocaust happened? After all, Arafat and Mahmud Abbas doubt it took place.) While the statements or findings of Western, democratic, or moderate sources are subjected to the highest degree of cynicism and challenge, those of radicals are treated with the utmost respect.

Let us ponder the awesome implications of this paragraph. Whether or not Jerusalem should be partitioned as part of a political solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is a valid subject for discussion. It should be noted that in 2000 Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered such a deal at Camp David and it was extended further in the Clinton plan. Nevertheless, the Jewish connection with Jerusalem cannot be in doubt, attested to not only in Jewish writings but also in Christian and Muslim writings. (And archae-fucking-ology!)

Whether or not King David’s palace is found will have no effect on the contemporary political debate. We already know and take for granted this historical connection, which is accepted by every real archaeologist who has dealt with that subject. One might reject giving up (east) Jerusalem because of its overwhelmingly central historic and religious importance to the Jewish people for 3000 years—or favor it as a necessity based on what is needed to attain peace, international attitudes, and the large Palestinian population in the eastern part of the city.

Yet now Erlanger gives equal credence to the “expertise” of Arafat who, let’s face it was no archaeologist but the most important terrorist of modern times and a proven serial liar. {Having written a biography of Arafat I am well aware that even the statement that Arafat was a terrorist is highly controversial among the West’s cultural ruling class.} After all, Arafat also claimed that Israel carried out most of the terrorist attacks on itself, poisoned Palestinians with gas, water, and chewing gum, and aimed to rule the entire Middle East. Why should he only be given credence on the Jerusalem issue?

In contrast, when Arafat tried that nonsense about Jerusalem at the Camp David summit, President Bill Clinton rightly called him on it, saying, “I’m not a Jew, I’m a Christian. It’s well known this is where the Temple is.”

On the basis of this latest article, though, one can imagine a parallel Times article from an equivalent controversy of the previous century: “The claim by a Jewish writer, financed by those trying to prove this case, that his people have accurately recounted their history will become part of the debate over whether, as many Germans have said, including cabinet minister Joseph Goebbels, this story is a myth used to justify conquest and occupation.”

That example was not meant as a joke or exaggeration. Such things are the precise historical equivalent of the kind of ideology far too often prevalent nowadays. For the assumption behind the post-Marxist, pre-Enlightenment ideology is that truth is merely a question of (political) faith. Fascism, as the Soviet foreign minister said in 1939 is a matter of taste. Or as a British reporter sneered last month at his country’s ambassador who was demanding the UN act strongly against terrorism, but isn’t one man’s terrorist another man’s freedom fighter?

Don’t the purveyors of such ideas understand how this type of thinking has always been responsible for the worst type of prejudice, racism, and anti-rationalism throughout history? What we have here is the return of medievalism in its worst guise. One can almost hear in many reports today the equivalents for what the BBC would have sounded like in the eleventh century: “The body of a young boy has been discovered in Lincoln, England, apparently murdered by local Jews to make Passover matzo. Film at eleven.”

Even the true life story of Hugh of Lincoln—which led to massacres of Jews at the time—is not far-fetched when one recalls recent such lies that justified bloodshed of the same sort: a widely reported but non-existent massacre in Jenin; continuing claims of ritual murder to make matzo in the Saudi press; and the case of a young Palestinian turned into a global martyr after the world media falsely reported he was killed by Israeli bullets.

How then can one be surprised that many Europeans, much less Arabs and Muslims, believe the September 11, 2001 attacks were carried out by American or Israeli intelligence and similar nonsense? In the same vein, many British writers responded to the London terrorist attacks by attacking their own country. Suicide blamers act as apologists for suicide bombers.

Here, for example, are some of the things I learned about the Middle East in just 24 hours of listening to National Public Radio:

--A discussion of terrorism: in 1972, “extremists” attacked the Israeli Olympic team in Munich according to an “expert” and the segment’s host, who took almost excruciating care to avoid mentioning that these were PLO terrorists in an operation directed by that organization’s top leadership.

--Daniel Pipes and Bernard Lewis are “barbaric” people claiming all Muslims are terrorists, according to a Muslim-American “liberal reformer.” whose words were not challenged by the interviewer. (OMG! It drives me crazy when interviewers allow their guests to spew obvious lies without challenging them. I hear it all the time.) This is despite the fact that both have repeatedly acclaimed moderate Islam and the latter is the main champion of the argument that Islam is in no way intrinsically anti-democratic.

--Terrorism is only a typical tactic used by Europeans and Asians faced with occupation armies, according to an “expert” on comparative culture. I don’t seem to remember even the much-provoked French or Italian resistance deliberately murdering German children and exulting at their successes in doing so. As I recall, it was the Nazis who were the terrorists. That’s why they are so reviled, remember?

What we have here goes beyond merely passionate political debate or different points of view. It is a profoundly anti-intellectual, anti-rational, and anti-liberal mode of thought alongside an abandonment of professional standards. Every such instance should be challenged.

Well Barry, I'll do my little part!

Barry Rubin is Director of the GLORIA Center of the Interdisciplinary Center. His co-authored book, Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography, is now available in paperback and his latest book, The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East, will be published by Wiley in September. Prof. Rubin's columns can now be read online at

Irshad Manji Article, NYT

More erudition from Irshad Manji, a very brave lesbian Muslim reformist.

Why Tolerate the Hate?
By Irshad Manji

For a European leader, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain has done something daring. He has given notice not just to the theocrats of Islam, but also to the theocracy of tolerance.

"Staying here carries with it a duty," Mr. Blair said in referring to foreign-born Muslim clerics who glorify terror on British soil. "That duty is to share and support the values that sustain the British way of life. Those who break that duty and try to incite hatred or engage in violence against our country and its people have no place here."

With that, his government proposed new laws to deport extremist religious leaders, to shut down the mosques that house them and to ban groups with a history of supporting terrorism. The reaction was swift: a prominent human rights advocate described Mr. Blair's measures as "neo-McCarthyite hectoring," warning that they would make the British "less distinguishable from the violent, hateful and unforgiving theocrats, our democracy undermined from within in ways that the suicide bombers could only have dreamed of."

But if these anti-terror measures feel like an overreaction to the London bombings, that's only because Britons, like so many in the West, have been avoiding a vigorous debate about what values are most worth defending in our societies.

As Westerners bow down before multiculturalism, we anesthetize ourselves into believing that anything goes. We see our readiness to accommodate as a strength - even a form of cultural superiority (though few will admit that). Radical Muslims, on the other hand, see our inclusive instincts as a form of corruption that makes us soft and rudderless. They believe the weak deserve to be vanquished.

Paradoxically, then, the more we accommodate to placate, the more their contempt for our "weakness" grows. And ultimate paradox may be that in order to defend our diversity, we'll need to be less tolerant. Or, at the very least, more vigilant. And this vigilance demands more than new antiterror laws. It requires asking: What guiding values can most of us live with? Given the panoply of ideologies and faiths out there, what filter will distill almost everybody's right to free expression?

Neither the watery word "tolerance" nor the slippery phrase "mutual respect" will cut it as a guiding value. Why tolerate violent bigotry? Where's the "mutual" in that version of mutual respect? Amin Maalouf, a French-Arab novelist, nailed this point when he wrote that "traditions deserve respect only insofar as they are respectable - that is, exactly insofar as they themselves respect the fundamental rights of men and women."
Allow me to invoke a real-life example of what can't be tolerated if we're going to maintain freedom of expression for as many people as possible. In 1999, an uproar surrounded the play "Corpus Christi" by Terrence McNally, in which Jesus was depicted as a gay man. Christians protested the show and picketed its European debut in Edinburgh, a reasonable exercise in free expression. But Omar Bakri Muhammad, a Muslim preacher and a judge on the self-appointed Sharia Court of the United Kingdom, went further: he signed a fatwa calling for Mr. McNally to be killed, on the grounds that Jesus is considered a prophet by Muslims. (Compassion overflowed in the clause that stated Mr. McNally "could be buried in a Muslim graveyard" if he repented.) Mr. Bakri then had the fatwa distributed throughout London.

Since then, Mr. Bakri has promoted violent struggle from various London meeting halls. He has even lionized the July 7 bombers as the "fantastic four." He is a counselor of death, and should not have been allowed to remain in Britain. And thanks to Mr. Blair's newfound fortitude, he has reportedly fled England for Lebanon.
The Muslim Council of Britain, a mainstream lobbying group that assailed Mr. Blair's proposed measures, has long claimed that men like Mr. Bakri represent only a slim fraction of the country's nearly two million Muslims. Assuming that's true, British Muslims - indeed, Muslims throughout the West - should rejoice at their departures or deportations, because all forms of Islam that respect the freedom to disbelieve, to go one's own way, will be strengthened.

Which brings me to my vote for a value that could guide Western societies: individuality. When we celebrate individuality, we let people choose who they are, be they members of a religion, free spirits, or something else entirely. I realize that for many Europeans, "individuality" might sound too much like the American ideal of individualism. It doesn't have to. Individualism - "I'm out for myself" - differs from individuality - "I'm myself, and my society benefits from my uniqueness."

Of course, there may be better values than individuality for Muslims and non-Muslims to embrace. Let's have that debate - without fear of being deemed self-haters or racists by those who twist multiculturalism into an orthodoxy. We know the dangers of taking Islam literally. By now we should understand the peril of taking tolerance literally.

Irshad Manji is the author of "The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Land for Violence

Israeli Left-Wingers Warn Against Disengagement

(As far as disengagement goes, Israel is damned if she does, damned if she doesn't-sem1973.)

Yossi Beilin, Shlomo Ben-Ami, Ami Ayalon and others warn of the dangers - security and diplomatic - that the unilateral retreat/expulsion from Gaza/northern Shomron will create for Israel.

Former Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, currently not a Knesset Member but the chairman of the extreme left-wing Yahad/Meretz Party:
"If the disengagement does not lead to an immediate permanent status arrangement, it will bring a catastrophe upon both Israelis and Palestinians... It is liable to bring a renewal of violence [that] is liable to bring down the moderate Palestinian leadership... There is a concrete danger that following the disengagement, the violence will greatly increase in [Judea and Samaria] in order to achieve the same thing [i.e., withdrawal - ed.] as was achieved in Gaza... A retreat from Gaza with nothing in return and with no agreement will strengthen Hamas."

Former Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami of the left-wing of the Labor Party:
"A unilateral retreat perpetuates Israel's image as a country that runs away under pressure... In Fatah and Hamas, they will assume that they must prepare for their third intifada - this time in [Judea and Samaria]... If we continue these unilateral steps, we will find ourselves establishing an enemy Palestinian state."

Former General Security Service chief Ami Ayalon:
"The captain of the disengagement can be compared to the captain of a ship who takes it from port to a very stormy sea, without knowing at all where he wants to lead it. And possibly even worse: He knows where he wants to lead it, but is hiding the information from his crew... Retreat without getting anything in return is liable to be interpreted by some of the Palestinians as surrender. The plan is likely to strengthen extremist forces in the Palestinians society... There is a high chance that shortly after the disengagement, the violence will be renewed. 2006 is liable to be a year of another round of violence." Ayalon said that the retreat from the northern Gaza communities - Dugit, Elei Sinai and Nisanit - is a "grave error. It has no demographic or security justification, and the price that it is liable to exact from us is not justified."

Former Air Force Commander Gen. Eitan Ben-Eliyahu:
"There is no chance that the disengagement will guarantee long-term stability. The plan as it stands can only lead to a renewal of terrorism (I wasn't aware it ever stopped- sem1973)... If there is no quick progress from the disengagement to a comprehensive retreat, [this will lead to] the one-state solution - bringing to an end of the Zionist dream, and the Jewish State will be lost."

Former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Uzi Dayan:
"Retreat from Nisanit, Dugit and Elei Sinai is a double mistake: Security-wise, it unnecessarily brings the Kassam rocket threat closer to Ashkelon, and diplomatically, it creates a dangerous precedent of unilateral withdrawal to the 1967 lines, which strengthens the PA demands to return to the June 4, 1967 lines."

Former IDF Chief of Intelligence Gen. Shlomo Gazit:
"It is reasonable to assume that within a short time, we will face mortar shelling and Kassams from [Samaria and Judea]. These rockets and shells will hit Kfar Saba and maybe even reach Netanya."

Former Mossad head Ephraim HaLevy:
"After the disengagement, Israel will face a diplomatic crisis the likes of which we have not known for years."

Former Mossad head Shabtai Shavit:
"The disengagement plan sabotages itself, creating a situation of instability. The plan does not create the necessary minimum of balance that would enable long-term coexistence... Immediately after the disengagement, Israel will find itself on a crash pattern with the United States."

Here We Go Again: Ebonics

Ebonics suggested for district
By Irma Lemus Staff Writer
SAN BERNARDINO Incorporating Ebonics into a new school policy that targets black students, the lowest-achieving group in the San Bernardino City Unified School District, may provide students a more well-rounded curriculum, said a local sociologist.

Hey African-American community!—with liberal friends like these, who needs the KKK?

Stupidity from… the Right

In the following article, syndicated columnist David Limbaugh examines the debate over teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution and intelligent design in public schools. Limbaugh’s arguments, however, distort the true nature of the debate.

Our secular popular culture is throwing a fit over President Bush's endorsement of teaching in public schools the controversies surrounding Darwinian theory. Note that the president did not recommend that the teaching of Darwinism be banned in public schools, merely that the theory of intelligent design (ID) ought to be taught as well. Mr. Bush said, "I think part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought."

Darwin’s theory of evolution, however, does not preclude the possibility of ID. “The narrow or specific interpretation of Darwinism sees evolution as the result of selection by the environment acting on a population of organisms competing for resources.”

Even in this narrow interpretation of Darwinism, there is nothing that counters the idea of an intelligent designer that might have created the rules and laws that govern the development of life on earth. When pondering the seeming contradictions of quantum mechanics, Albert Einstein declared: “God does not play dice.” Einstein believed in God. When Einstein looked at the universe, he saw a place that operated according to very specific laws; laws that he believed were created by a higher power/intelligence. Quantum mechanics seemed to contradict the superb logic of physics, hence the “God does not play dice” declaration.

Intelligent DESIGN.

“Design” is the operative word. The theory of evolution explains how and why organisms are designed in certain ways without making any value judgments about who or what—if anything—started the whole evolution ball rolling. For some reason, Limbaugh distorts this key distinction.

The main players in the ID movement are not even insisting on that much. Discovery Institute, for example, opposes the mandatory teaching of ID in public schools but favors requiring students to be exposed to criticisms of Darwin's theory. But whether you believe ID theory ought to get equal billing with Darwinian theory, some lesser treatment, or that students should at least be apprised of alleged chinks in the Darwinian armor, what's all the fuss about? Don't academics purport to champion free and open inquiry? What, then, are they so afraid of regarding the innocuous introduction into the classroom of legitimate questions concerning Darwinism?

What “academics” are worried about is not that the theory of evolution will be critically examined, but that public school teachers will put the belief in creationism on equal par with the theory of evolution. Remember: We are not talking about the hypothesis of evolution, but the theory—meaning that there is A LOT of scientific evidence that backs-up the theory. Creationism, on the other hand, is not a theory or a hypothesis—it’s a religious belief. And in light of all the empirical scientific evidence available to us today, it’s a pretty silly one at that.

Their defensiveness toward challenges to their dogma is inexplicable unless you understand their attitude as springing from a worldview steeped in strong, secular predispositions that must be guarded with a blind religious fervor.

No, it’s more an issue of rational people who want to guard against actual blind religious fervor creeping into our public schools under the guise of science. Who are the proponents of creationism? They tend to be tongue-speaking, venomous snake charming religious folks who take the bible literally. Consider: Even the Catholic church accepts the theory of evolution. This is not an anti-Christian crusade on behalf of the secular; it’s a battle to keep religious fundamentalism out of public schools.

Limbaugh’s article is simply dishonest. Like I said, he distorts the issue because even he knows he can’t rationally argue in favor of creationism, lest he look like an idiot. So, instead he distorts the issue in order to make his opponents—whoever we are—look like dogmatists.

The bottom line is this: For one, religious beliefs of ANY kind should not be taught in public schools (unless it's a comparative religion class or the like). Two, while the theory of evolution is just that—a theory—there is no way that creationism can be correct. We know for a fact that the earth is billions of years old, not thousands of years old. We know for a fact that humankind is much older than the Bible suggests. So why on earth do we want to teach our children “scientific theories” that we are know are wrong?

If you want to read the rest of Limbaugh’s stupid article, click

Monday, August 08, 2005


This posting is going to make me unpopular, but I don’t care. I’m gonna say it: Fuck Brooklyn. Yeah, fuck it.

Every time I turn on the TV, so many rappers, and artists, and comedians, and celebrities, or whatever, are always giving their “props” to Brooklyn. Brooklyn is always "in tha house." We always have to “give it up” for Brooklyn. Brooklyn can you hear me? What? Aight. What? Yo. Where it at? Brooklyn. Beastie boyz? Brooklyn. Where is J-Lo from? Brooklyn. Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn.

I say, Fuck Brooklyn! Brooklyn can kiss my ass. And if you think Brooklyn is the end all-be all of cool places on earth, then fuck you too!

In fact, I’m getting sick of New York City in general. Scratch that. I’m not sick of NYC so much as I’m sick of a lot of the jackasses that live there. Listen up, New Yorkers: Merely living in NYC does not imbue you with some sort of coolness that the rest of the country lacks, even the Midwest.

We have ethnic restaurants here, too. We have Puerto Ricans here, too. We watch the same crap on TV that you do, too. We see the same movies, albeit a day or two later, that you see, too. Okay, so you have Broadway plays. But when was the last time you saw a Broadway play, Mr./Mrs./Ms. Sophisticated New Yorker? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Get off your high-horse.

Let's be clear: New York City or Brooklyn or wherever does not produce talent. Merely being from there does not make you more talented or more of an epicurean than the rest of us. No, the reality is that talented people are forced to migrate to NYC. Both the East and West coasts would be NOTHING were it not for the steady infusion of talented “heartland” people who have had to relocate to the coasts in order to further their careers. (or because winter in Wisconsin SUCKS!)

So, native New Yorkers, stop acting like you’re the trend-setters of America, because you’re not, despite what you think. And former Midwestern “heartlanders” who have moved to NYC, when you come back home to visit, get off your fucking high-horses because we are not impressed. We too could move to NYC, but we don’t feel like living in a closet for $3,000 a month. But hey, there’s Broadway Plays that we can’t afford to go watch, so that makes it worth it! (Count-down to when you move back home with your tail between your legs.)

P.S. To my cousin who lives in Brooklyn and my few other friends who live there: this message was directed at the other 2,465,326 people who live in Brooklyn, not you.

P.S.S. The truth is, I LOVE NYC and I love visiting!

Jewish Men: What A Catch!

By Saul Singer (and Semite1973)

If you are, counter to type, a Jewish man suffering from low self-esteem, listen up. Read Boy Vey! The Shiksa's Guide to Dating Jewish Men by Kristina Grish, and you'll feel like God's gift to humanity. Or maybe not.

Grish is a 29-year-old non-Jewish New York journalist who looked back over the past six years, realized that all the 15 men she had dated were Jewish, and decided to write a book about it.

"Non-Jewish women look for Jewish men not because of their religious background," Grish explained in a recent interview. "Jewish men, as a whole, have a sense of humor, a passion for life, they're generous, they like to have a good time, they like to eat, they have strong family roots, they care a great deal about their society. In many cases, they're attractive and successful men."

Yeah, I’d say that’s me in a nutshell—except for I’m still working on the “successful” part, if successful means having a satisfying career and earning a solid middle class salary. But I’ll be there soon, just gotta get my M.A.

In the book, Grish reports that it is very important for Jewish men to make women laugh (I love to make women laugh!), that they are energetic in bed (I’ve never had any complaints! If she says other Jewish dudes are energetic too, I’ll take her word for it.), they examine the relationship no less than women (Oh this is true. The way I examine relationships would put a teenaged girl to shame.), they pay great attention to women without a hint of machismo (Who needs machismo when you can make them laugh and you're energetic in bed?). Finally, because they come from a matriarchal culture, they appreciate women (Well, more like we don’t want to disappoint mom and grandma.)

Though many seem to find the book funny and perceptive, not everyone's laughing (Let me guess whose not laughing: Jewish women.). At one reading, Grish said, a young, presumably Jewish, woman said "I think you've written a poisonous, irresponsible book... You're anti-Semitic, and you behave toward the Jewish religion like the Nazis did to the Jews." (Oh calm down. You're just bitter because you have to compete with non-Jewish girls for the Jewish boys. It’s not your parents' or grandparents' generation anymore. Get with the program!) Among the fair number of negative comments on the publisher's Web site was this: "This book traffics in disgusting stereotypes: 'you [will] notice [he] has more body hair than a yak,'... (Girls like my chest hair…and besides, Italians and Greeks and Arabs and Iranians are hairy too. Stop whining.) his 'mom has worked very hard to mold him into the cutest little Oedipus complex... What's worse is this book is a guide on how to intentionally snag a Jewish guy, including state-by-state population statistics!" (Some people are never satisfied. When gentiles hate the Jews, we rightfully complain—but when they LOVE the Jews and want to date us we… complain? Talk about neurotic.)

IS IT anti-Semitic to write an ode to Jewish men while advising non-Jewish women on how to attract them? (Anti-Semitic? I'd say it’s the opposite—it’s philo-Semitic! Now what, we have to combat philo-Semitism? Well, this is one Jewish cause that won't get my support.)

It is true that anti-Semitism is perhaps unique among all forms of bigotry in that many of the stereotypes it includes are normally positive characteristics strangely twisted into insults: Jews are smart and powerful, for example. Stereotypes of any kind, even positive ones ("black men are athletic") can be on some level offensive, because they separate people out for scrutiny as a group.

At the same time, however, Jews can't have it both ways. They can't quietly nod in agreement and pride as they read Grish's compliments, while being offended at being stereotyped. Further, it is mindless and dishonest to pretend that cultural differences do not exist, and to refuse to examine them.

But what about Grish openly advocating the "poaching" of Jewish men? Poaching, as far as Jewish women are concerned, may be an apt word in the sense of illegally hunting an endangered species. It is fairly clear that the real resentment is Grish's dig at the soft Jewish demographic underbelly, and at her - perhaps inadvertent - piling on the formidable obstacles imposed on Jewish women by the popular culture.

In her book Double or Nothing?, Sylvia Barack Fishman notes that, starting as early as the 1927 film The Jazz Singer: "A non-Jewish love interest is repeatedly presented as the implement and symbol of American success for the American Jewish man... Jewish women were increasingly pictured both as the repositories of (Jewish sperm?) Jewishness (Oh, Jewishness, my bad.) and as obstacles to Jewish men's achievement... (What?! Jewish women are "obstacles" to Jewish men's achievement? What crap. Every Jewish boy knows that if he doesn't "achieve" and “succeed”—i.e. become a lawyer or doctor—he’ll never get a Jewish wife. It's the other way around, I tell ya.) Depending on the decade, Jewish women were portrayed as too loyal to tradition, too materialistic, or too selfish, or too controlling." (Well, if the shoe fits…)

The rates of marrying out used to be skewed toward men, but no longer: In 2000, 27% of Jewish men over 50 were intermarried, compared to 19% of women, while in the 19 to 49 age group the rates had risen and equalized to 40%. Still, Grish's book is the last thing Jewish women needed or deserved, given the culturally reinforced prejudices of Jewish men.

Let's set aside for the moment whether Grish's book is "good for the Jews" and look at the subjects of her adulation. As a Jewish man, I can't claim to be objective, but isn't Grish right? (Yeah! And let’s not scorn this intelligent young woman who obviously has great taste in men.) Don't Jewish men, on average, have something to offer a world that values educated, successful, socially responsible, family-oriented, funny, emotional and only slightly neurotic people? (Dude, be quiet about the neurotic part—shhhhh.)

Who says the "poaching" has to go from the Grishes to the Goldmans? Why can't the attractive power of Jewish men (and women, for that matter) be a force for good, for growing instead of shrinking the Jewish people? (Right, as Larry David said regarding intermarriages: “We’re not supposed to join their club, they join ours.)

When asked if she had ever thought of converting to Judaism, Grish said: "In my conversations with Jewish men, even those who don't attend synagogue, the subject has come up... but I wouldn't feel comfortable about leaving Christianity. At the same time, I have no problem raising my kids as Jews." (That's cool, I can live with that. What’s fair is fair: There are many more Christians than Jews, our numbers are dwindling, so is it too much to ask that the kids be given a basic Jewish upbringing?)

Grish doesn't seem to draw much of a connection between what she likes about Jews, what Jews like about themselves, and Judaism itself (Huh?). But both she and the men she dates should. None of the positive traits Jews have is a coincidence. All are derived from 3,000 years of Jewish tradition and practice.

Jewish men and women, even secular ones who readily date non-Jews, should set themselves this simple rule: If I end up considering marriage to a non-Jew, I will grant the tradition that produced me the courtesy of a hearing. Before writing it off, or adopting some hybrid religion in my family life, I will require that my beloved and I seriously consider Judaism - converting for my spouse-to-be, discovering my own roots for me.

If Jews are as thoughtful as they are made out to be, they will see that such a policy does not violate their values. It is, on the contrary, an opportunity fully consistent with living an examined, modern life.

Who knows? Even Kristina Grish might find that what she loves about Jewish men might recommend leading a Jewish life.

Kudos to Saul Singer for examining this delicate issue with sensitivity and understanding. And kudos to me for my snarky ass-holish comments. And Kudos to Grish for being such a philo-Semite!

Update: To learn more about Grish and her book, visit her website at:

Interfaith Delegation Visits Shfaram

I'm saddened by the terror attack, but I am heartened to see Israelis of all faiths coming together in the aftermath of this tragedy.

More than a dozen Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious figures visited bereaved families in Shfaram on Monday night, showing solidarity with the victims of last week's shooting by a Jewish soldier.

"Even right-wing rabbis called to convey their condolences, or came in person," said Father Nadim Shakour of Shfaram, who received the group. "It was beautiful."

The group represented Kedem, a project of the Inter-religious Coordinating Council in Israel, which itself is an umbrella organization of numerous coexistence groups.

The visit was the first by a group from Kedem, which is in its third year of activity, to families of a violent attack. However, said ICCI director Rabbi Ron Kronish, it was "almost an instinctive reaction" to the murders of Muslim and Christian residents of Shfaram by Eden Natan Zada.

"That despicable act defied the laws of man and the laws of God, not just the laws of the state," Rabbi Shlomo Brinn of Yeshivat Har Etzion told The Jerusalem Post on Monday night.
"As rabbis, we felt absolutely terrible about it. And for all of us, who believe that man is created in the image of God, it was especially reprehensible."

The Kedem members visited the families of Christian and Muslim victims alike. At the Christian school where one of the mourning families was receiving well wishers, Kadi (Muslim religious judge) Muhammad Zibdi told all those gathered that they had the opportunity "to turn all our schools and places of prayer into institutions that teach the principles of tolerance, understanding, peace and love."

All the participants were well received and treated with great respect by the Shfaram residents, Brinn, Zibdi and Shakour agreed.

Shakour, a Melkite priest who lives and ministers in Shfaram, said the residents "are in a constant state of grief and shock.

"This kind of thing [the murders] doesn't help ease the tension between Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims, Druse and Circassians, etc. But the visit has strengthened the relationships between us.

"Our unity is the answer to all those who would divide us and harm us," he said. "Love always conquers in the end."

Gym Etiquette

Here are some simple gym etiquette rules not normally mentioned on the “Do’s an Don’ts lists at most gyms:

Basic bubbler (that’s water fountain for all you non-Wisconsinites) etiquette

*If you are about to fill up your big-ass water bottle at the bubbler but there is somebody behind you without a bottle, let them go first—especially if that person is panting and sweating profusely.

*Don’t spit in the bubbler—it’s disgusting.

*Don’t spit your gum into the bubbler.

*Finally, don’t urinate in the bubbler; do that in the restroom.

Basic locker room etiquette

*Don’t spread all of your stuff out on the benches. Other people need to use the bench too.

*If you are naked, put a towel on the bench before sitting. Nobody wants your raw ass germs/stench on the bench.

*When not showering, wrap your towel around your waist. Don’t strut around the locker room with your towel slung across your shoulder so that everything is showing.

*You’re not at home, so don’t pee in the shower. Even if you think you are alone, just don’t fucking do it.

Hygiene etiquette

*We are human, we get B.O., but if your B.O. is palpable within a one foot radius of yourself, you need to use more deodorant, you stinky motherfucker.

*If you sweat in your workout gear and then stuff it in a gym bag, leave the bag in your car to marinate, and then wear the same gear again—it’s gonna stink. Wear fresh workout gear every time you workout. Duh!

*When you exert yourself it is helpful to exhale. There are ways to exhale, however, without blowing your putrid breath into the face of the person nice enough to spot you. Learn how to do it.

Equipment use etiquette

*If you are using a machine, or some dumbbells, a bench, etc. and somebody asks you how many sets do you have left, offer to let them work in with you.

*Don’t use multiple weights and or machines for supersets when the gym is crowded. Who do you think you are to hog up all the equipment?

*If you are muscular and or in great shape, it doesn’t mean your workout is more important than somebody else who is not in good shape or doesn’t know his/her way around the gym.

*If you are, say, using the squat rack to hold a barbell so that you can do bicep curls and somebody wants to use the squat rack for squatting, move your ass—you can do curls anywhere, but the other person can’t squat anywhere. This rule applies to other types of equipment and exercises.

Miscellaneous etiquette

*Don’t give unasked for workout advice to complete strangers (unless they are doing something that could result in serious injury).

*If you are male and you do it to a female, it’s akin to using a cheesy pick up line. Don’t think you’re slick, because she’ll know what you’re up to, Mr. Good Samaritan with an ulterior motive. If you’re a big enough dip shit to give unsolicited advice to pretty women at the gym, you might want to try this pick up line, tailored made for an ass-hat like yourself. Ask her, “Do you sew?” When she asks “why,” say, “Cuz I’m ripped” and then flex your muscles. What? You think that line is cheesy? Well, it’s no worse than sauntering over to the lone girl in the weight room and giving her your unsolicited advice.

*If I have seen you at the gym regularly for over a year and one day I nod and or say “Hi,” it doesn’t mean I’m hitting on you—it just means I’m friendly. Sheesh, it’s almost more awkward to NOT acknowledge the existence of somebody you have seen on a regular basis for a long period of time. Don’t flatter yourself so much. I say “Hi” to a lot of people; fat people, thin people, short ones, tall ones, male, female, old, young, gay, straight, even trans-fucking-sexual! If I say "Hi" it doesn’t mean you are special, it just means I've seen you a zillion times and you happen to be there.

If I come up with more etiquette guidelines, I’ll update this post.

Have great workouts!

More Clear Thought From Academia

Here’s yet another example of an academic who is so smart he’s stupid. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mark Crispin Miller, professor of Media Studies at NYU.

According to, Miller thinks "The [Bush] regime represents some dark old strains in U.S. history: nativism, white supremacism, theocratic tyranny. . . . They're neo-Calvinists, quite clearly working toward the imposition of theocracy on the United States, and then on the whole world."

If the Bush ADMINISTRATION (not “regime” you ass-wipe) are white supremacists, they are clearly very bad at it. Let’s see, the racist Bushies have: appointed a black woman to be National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State; appointed a black man to be Secretary of State; appointed an Hispanic man to be Attorney General. Yeah, that sure sounds like the actions of a white supremacist to me, to appoint minorities to the most powerful positions in government. Idiot.

Then, like a good Leftist Crispy Miller conflates all “conservatives” with Christians and attacks the later, claiming they "want to take us back to an imaginary Manichean age when you were either with us or against us, which means you either are us, or we'll exterminate you, because we can only tolerate ourselves, we can only tolerate those who share our values."

As an agnostic Jew, I don’t go to bed worrying about fundamentalist Christians. At worst, fundamentalist Christians are annoying. Fundamentalist Muslims want to saw off our heads! If I was a student in one of Crispy Miller's class he'd hate me because I'd be on him like a pit bull.

Gaza Pullout

Although I am for the pullout from Gaza, I don’t begrudge Bibi for quitting the government because of it.

"The moment of truth has arrived," Mr. Netanyahu said. "I know that I can't be a partner to a move that I believe is mistaken and that is leading blindly toward the establishment of an Islamic base that endangers the state of Israel."

Anybody who thinks this pullout will advance the cause of peace has been smoking crack. Gaza will become dominated by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Islaminazi terror groups like Hezbullah and al-Qaeda will probably find a comfy home there as well. Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas hasn’t lifted a finger to disarm Hamas, et. al. In fact, he’s co-opted them into his government. The only difference between the Islaminazi groups and the PLO and its constituent terrorist proxies is that a) the PLO groups are “secular” (although the Arab idea of “secular” is more akin to the Jewish or Christian idea of pretty-fucking-religious-nevertheless); and b) the Islaminazis are vocal about their intentions to kill the Jews and destroy Israel, whereas the PLO groups still mouth platitudes about peace, but only in English.

Still, the pullout has certain benefits for Israel which hopefully will outweigh the costs. Then again, the idea of withdrawing under fire seems like a sure recipe for more and more and more fire in the future…There are no good options.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Iran Rebuffs EU On Nukes

Tehran rebuffs EU on nukes

TEHRAN -- Iran yesterday rejected the European Union's offer of incentives in return for a suspension of its nuclear-fuel work, paving the way for a confrontation that could lead to U.N. sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The EU said its proposals aimed to allow Iran access to nuclear technology, but block work that could help make an atomic bomb. If Tehran resumed nuclear work, the EU said it would back U.S. calls to refer Iran to the United Nations for sanctions. "The proposals are unacceptable, and we reject them," senior Iranian nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian said.

Bottom line: The Islamic Republic cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon—period. They are determined to do so. Iran is on a collision course with the West.

Left, Right And Jews

Anybody who has taken the time to read my blog will notice that I often attack leftists, but not the far-right. The reason is because the far-left annoys me much more than the far-right. I’ll try to explain.

Leftist purport to be anti-racist, pro-equality, open-minded, liberal, and progressive. But are they? Not necessarily, but more on that later. Additionally, leftists ignore all of the good things that America has done in the world, and they magnify and harp on the bad. Despite their protestations to the contrary, they seem to hate their country.

The far-right—the neo-Nazis, KKK, etc.—also hate their country, but for different reasons. They hate America because of the freedoms afforded to the citizenry; because black people can vote, and Jews are well-integrated, and lot’s of brown people call America home. The far right has no compunction about letting the rest of us know how they feel—they often shout their hate loud and proud. We know exactly what they stand for.

Left, Right And Jews

The far-right hates Israel because they hate Jews. David Duke and his ilk champion the Palestinian cause because it’s a convenient cudgel to use against Israel—not because Duke really cares about Arabs (who, in the neo-Nazi lexicon, are “mud people”). Thankfully, most Americans are turned off by the histrionics of the racist far-right. You won’t hear far-right thought espoused in any Humanities departments at any universities.

The hard-left also hates Israel. There are many reasons for this: They hate America, and Israel is a close ally. Since the far-left interprets international events through a reductionist knee-jerk anti-American prism, a close ally like Israel will be painted with the same brush. Likewise, all of Israel’s faults are magnified (or invented), and anything good about Israel is ignored. Leftist like to believe they are supporting the underdog, and anybody allied to America can’t possibly be an underdog in their eyes. Leftists also like to support any supposedly “oppressed” people who make a few perfunctory statements about “national liberation” in their communications, and the Palestinians do that. The left loves the idea of supporting brown indigenous people who are struggling against an evil white Western country, and they imagine Israel fits the bill. Finally, unlike far-right thought, you will hear a lot of far-left thought espoused in Humanities departments at any university.

The image of Israe in the minds of leftists is completely flawed. Let’s deconstruct leftist reasons for hating Israel:

*Although not perfect, America is not evil, ergo any country closely allied with America, like Israel, is not necessarily evil.

*Israel is not a bully, and in fact is the underdog. There is no “Israeli-Palestinian” conflict. It’s the “Israeli-Arab” conflict because from day one Israel was attacked by the entire Arab nation. It’s not little Palestinian versus big Israel. Rather, it’s tiny Israel (without the West Bank Israel is ten miles wide along the coast) against the Arab world. Even non-Arab Muslim countries (like Iran and Pakistan) have joined in the “death to Israel” fun and are now vicious enemies of the Jews. Thus, it can be argued that Israel, pitted against the billion-strong Islamic world, is the true underdog.

*Most of the Jews that leftists in America will encounter are Ashkenzi (European) Jews, who are considered to be “white” (although not white enough for the Nazis—and a fair number of Ashkenazi Jews have Mediterranean features). Because of that, leftists imagine that Israelis must be a white European people who are “oppressing” a brown non-European people. Except for ethnic apparel worn by some Arabs and Jews in Israel, the average American would be hard pressed to differentiate between the two. This is partially because over half of Israel’s population is comprised of Jews who fled or were expelled from Middle Eastern lands upon Israel’s creation. Although champions of the Palestinians shed crocodile tears over the 650,000 Palestinian refugees of 1948, created as a reult of a war Arabs started, nobody seems to be aware that there were over 900,000 Jews who fled their homes from 1948 on. Most of them fled to Israel.

Leftist Hypocricy

Here’s where the far-left’s hypocrisy gets really bad. The Left purports to support women’s rights, gay rights, secular society, etc. In Arab/Islamic society, however, women are treated like property; homosexuality is often punishable by death; and civil society is completely infused with Islam.

Meanwhile in Israel, women have equal rights and Israel had a female Prime Minister—Gold Meir. Girls can wear whatever they want—which often times isn’t much—and nobody makes a stink. Gays serve openly in the military. Jerusalem hosted a gay pride parade. And here’s a dirty little secret: There are a lot of gay Palestinians who have fled the Palestinian territories and now reside in Israel. Finally, although Israel is called "The Jewish State," Judaism is both a religion and a culture, and in actuality Israeli society is secular. In light of all this, how can a person on the Left continue to champion the Arabs and despise Israel?

It’s not so much that the Left doesn’t support Israel, but they are Israel’s most dangerous enemies, intellectually speaking. It is common for a leftist to promote the destruction of the state of Israel, sometimes via violence, sometimes not. But peacefully or violently, supporting the destruction of Israel—the last refuge of Hitler’s victims, the safe-haven for oppressed Middle Eastern Jewry—should hardly be a progressive ideal—but apparently it is.


I grew up in a staunchly liberal democratic household. All of my life I’ve felt myself to be a part of the Left. I grew up listening to the soundtrack Hair for crying out loud! Thus, I feel betrayed by my erstwhile political allies. It is this sense of betrayal that makes me so utterly disgusted with the far-Left.

I’ve long been aware that the David Dukes and KKK were bastards. It was quite a shock when I began to realize that the far-Left were also bastards. What’s worse, whereas the David Dukes are proud to be anti-Semites, Leftists go to bed thinking they’re on the side of anti-racist progress, despite the fact that when it comes to Jews and Israel, they always take positions that are completely inimical to Jewish concerns. This realization was hammered home sometime back in 1994 when I attended an Arab-organized event about the Oslo peace process. I must have asked a question that indicated I was a supporter of Israel, because as I was leaving a group of young Arab men were shouting “Fucking Jew” at me. At the same time a well-known leftist lady was hissing that I was a "racist." Surreal, I know, but I kid you not.

When it comes to Israel the far-left ignores the good and harps on the bad, often inventing the bad in order to make Israel the villain (switch “Jew” for “Israel” in that sentence and it sounds like pure anti-Semitic bigotry). When it comes to Israel they swallow the Arab narrative hook, line, and sinker, instead of examining the conflict objectively. When it comes to Israel they oppose every action Israel takes to defend its citizens from, both military and passive. The message seems to be: We might stop criticizing you if you lay down and die. The hard-left views Zionism and Israel as illegitimate, thus any actions Israel takes to defend itself are considered illegitimate.

To wrap it up, I suppose you could say I have more “respect” for a David Duke right-wing racist than a conniving Leftist. The David Dukes spew their anti-Semitism loud and clear; Leftists wrap their anti-Semitism in a veneer of self-righteous blather about human rights. At least the David Dukes are honest.

see web stats