Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Why are we so accepting of Islamic Jew-Hatred in the West?

Michael Lumish

The way that I have it figured is that the western-left generally views Arabs and Muslims as mere victims who have little in the way of actual agency and, thus, little in the way of actual responsibility for their words or behavior.

This despite the fact that they represent 1.5 billion people.

Western champaign socialists consider Arabs and Muslims pastoral victims of the violent, militaristic, "white" western, industrial techno-patriarchy.

And what that means in the fragile and guilt-ridden Euro imagination, is that any infraction of normal human decency - even when it is directed a sub-minority like Kurds or Yazidis or Copts or Jews - is to be indulged.

Islam represents the most succesful and vicious imperial exercise in human history, yet pussitudenous people of Euro descent have to scratch their navels and ponder their sins as Yazidis are buried alive in mass graves and Coptic churches are burned to the ground in Egypt and the Jews are under never-ending harassment by their malicious neighbors.

And, of course, I understand that people will say, "Jeez, Lumish. It's the NY Post? You can't trust the Post."

Well, you definitely cannot trust the New York Times either and the truth is that there are more and more jihadis in the mosques screeching for Jewish blood in the United States.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Contact for Food & Wine Concerning Their Misguided Appreciation of Reem Assil

Michael Lumish

The purpose of my last piece entitled, An Open Letter to Food & Wine Magazine Concerning Its Honoring of Racist Cafe Owner Reem Assil was to notify my friends in the Jewish community and the editors of Food & Wine that honoring an anti-Jewish racist like Reem Assil might not be such a good idea.

For obvious reasons, I think that it is an absolutely terrible idea, but we have recourse.

Food & Wine is owned by the Meredith Corporation which is home to all sorts of popular magazines from TIME to PEOPLE to Sports Illustrated.

The CEO of the Meredith Corporation is Tom Harty.  Tom Harty’s personal assistant is Toni Crosby and her email address is 

I very much hope that each and every one of you send her a quick note objecting to Food & Wine's celebration of Reem Assil and, thereby, the terrorist Rasmea Odeh.

It must be noted that there is nothing to suggest that either Gail Simmons or Food & Wine or the Meredith Corporation in any way seek to promote hatred toward Jewish people or malice toward the State of Israel.

Gail Simmons IS Jewish, for chrissake.

Below is my letter to Ms. Crosby.

I hope that you write your own.
Dear Toni,

I am the writer of a recent piece published in the pro-Jewish / pro-Israel newspaper the Algemeiner published this last April 20th entitled, An Open Letter to Food & Wine Magazine Concerning Its Honoring of Racist Cafe Owner Reem Assil.

I am a PhD in American History out of Penn State University and a regular contributor to a variety of publications around Jewish life and politics.

It is important for me to let you know that I do not believe that either Meredith Corp or Food & Wine are intentionally promoting racism of any sort.

But it also must be understood that Reem Assil's cafe at the Oakland BART Station is racially toxic.

Assil features a floor-to-ceiling mural of a genocidal Jew murderer.

How good can her flatbread possibly be that it overrides admiration for an ideological killer of Jews?

In any case, you have my sincerest appreciation for listening to my concerns and those of all of us who stood vigil for Leon Kanner and Edward Joffe, the college student victims of Rasmea Odeh's genocidal impulses.

David Frum explains groupthink

Sar Shalom

By now, we are all familiar with the Left's litany of Israel's sins. Israel is a colonialist outpost. Israel is an apartheid state. Israel responds disproportionately to minor responses to legitimate grievances. The question is, why are these notions, which collapse under the slightest knowledgable query, so widely held? One answer comes from David Frum in last week's Atlantic:
[T]he whole point of a closed information system is that the things are not believed because they make sense. Things are believed because the closed information system has ratified and repeated them.
The thing is, Frum was not writing about Israel, or anywhere else in the Middle East. He was writing about the investigations into the Don and the Right's circling the wagons to delegitimize those investigations. As Frum describes, "[t]he system generates and repeats agreed fictions, and people are rewarded according to their ability to internalize, repeat, and embellish these fictions."

While Frum wrote about the Right's response to the investigations of its hero, his words just as accurately the establishment's approach to the Middle East. For every Sean Hannity obfuscating the Don's Russia dealings, there is a Roger Cohen obfuscating Hamas' embedding terrorists within civilian demonstrators and Israel's measured attempts to restrain those terrorists while minimizing harm to the civilians. For every Wall Street Journal editor insisting that the House Intelligence Committee has the ultimate truth that will ultimately vindicate the Don, there is a Peter Beinart ever ready to make an excuse for Abbas' latest display of obstinance.

If the media wants conservatives to take a hard look at the facts rather than reflexively circling the wagons in defense of their tribe, perhaps they should do so themselves.

Friday, April 20, 2018

An Open Letter to Gail Simmons of Food & Wine Magazine Concerning Its Honoring of Racist Cafe Owner, Reem Assil

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Algemeiner.}

Gail Simmons
of Food & Wine
and Top Chef
Dear Gail,

Laurie and I have been fans of Top Chef since the 2006 opening-season in San Francisco. We lived in the Central Haight at the time and were recently married as I was chewing on a dissertation and she was designing a career in marketing. We also briefly talked with you at a Grapes to Glass festival in Sonoma a few years ago.

You were at the Food & Wine table and we just dropped by to say "hello" as fans.

I may have been a bit star-struck at the time.

I am also, by the way, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a PhD in American History from Penn State University.

The reason that I am knocking on your door is to sincerely request that Food & Wine not honor Reem Assil's culinary efforts in Oakland. I suppose that it is too late since it has already named Reem's among Food & Wine Restaurants of the Year for 2018.

It is not your fault, but Food & Wine is making a mistake.

By venerating the antisemitic murderer Rasmea Odeh, Reem Assil is popularizing hatred for Jewish people in day-to-day retail spaces within the San Francisco Bay Area.

Terry Joffe Benaryeh, the niece of Edward Joffe, has written about the trauma to her family and their overcoming of that trauma in the pages of the Times of Israel. She writes eloquently about moving her family beyond the very malice that Reem Assil celebrates.

Reem's flatbread and coffee-shop features a floor-to-ceiling mural of the murderer of Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner. They were just college students, barely out of their teens in Jerusalem from the Hebrew University when Rasmea Odeh shattered their bones all over the Supersol grocery store in 1969 on behalf of the PFLP. This is essentially the same group that pushed 69-year-old wheel-chair bound Leon Klinghoffer off of the deck of the Achille Lauro during a cruise with his wife in celebration of their 36th wedding anniversary.

I am closely familiar with this story because Reem Assil and her attorneys dragged me into the legal system for writing about it on my small blog, Israel Thrives.

Among the people best able to describe Rasmea Odeh's political murders is Cornell University Professor of Law, William Jacobson:

But the truth is - whatever the quality of Assil's flatbread - this woman is not only honoring an ideological antisemitic killer but is popularizing it on the local, retail-level in the name of "social justice."

I sincerely hope that Food & Wine will recognize that it has made an understandable mistake because it is not as if Assil's veneration of the murderer Rasmea Odeh is common knowledge.

I do not believe that this mistake was malicious, but it should be corrected not only for the integrity of Food & Wine but because it is simply not ethical.

But what cuts close to the bone for me personally is the fact that three times Reem Assil and her attorneys sought Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) against me and were three times denied by the courts. They sought these TROs not because I ever spoke with Reem Assil or ever came within ten feet of the woman. I do not know her. Yet Assil's attorney's sought these restraining orders to prevent me from writing about the demonstrable fact that she is celebrating an ideological killer of Jews.

What most analyses of this story miss are two crucial points.

The first is that in her legal efforts to silence our vigils for the dead, Assil also sought to push against the Western and American tradition of freedom of speech. My case was a test case. It was meant to see if Assil and her friends could not legally silence American Jews, and friends of the Jewish people, from speaking out against antisemitism.

The second is that in celebrating Rasmea Odeh in that giant floor-to-ceiling mural, Assil sought to mainstream violent antisemitism in common American retail spaces. It represents the popular cultural expression of hatred towards Jews.

I very much want you to understand that it is not in the interest of Food & Wine, or anyone else, to join such a racist celebration within living memory of the Holocaust.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Note to an Old Friend

Michael Lumish

I recently started communicating with a guy that I have known online since my days on Daily Kos and Maryscott O'Connor's defunct My Left Wing.

This gentleman is, to my mind, an intelligent person to be respected.

He is a pro-Israel Jew, an attorney, a progressive, and an epicure.

But what I fail to understand is how even highly sophisticated and intelligent people simply refuse to acknowledge the fact that the Left is the greatest purveyor of bigotry and hatred in the United States today.

I asked this question:
The American Right is giving up racism, while the Left is racializing everything.

Am I wrong?
My old friend agreed with others that, yes, I am wrong.

This is my response to the guy:
Even here I have to disagree with you.

The problem with the Left is not at the fringes - as it is on the Right - but in the mainstream, both grassroots and organizational.

{And please understand that my intention is not to be confrontational or partisan.}

The truth, as you well know, is that antisemitic anti-Zionism in the West is largely coming from the Left and political Islam.

Even just today we have the women's movement under Linda Sarsour and others dismissing the Anti-Defamation League as essentially a racist organization.

It is left-leaning organizational venues, like the NYT or the Guardian or the HuffPost or, yes, Daily Kos, that have made homes of themselves for political anti-Zionism.

And, needless to say, this constant whining and screeching and moaning and groaning about the evils of "whiteness" and "white" people comes entirely from the Western Left.

One of my fundamental criticisms of the American Left is that we do not get to pick-and-choose which ethnic groups it is OK to be hateful towards.

Progressive-left racism represents a big blind-spot for the Left.

But all racists throughout history have believed that their racism was fully justified... and, thus, not really "racism" at all.
And on a related note to a different person under the same discussion who, although highly intelligent himself, refuses to acknowledge American advancement in racial relations, I wrote:
You are misreading American history entirely.

Between Martin Luther King, Jr. and the presidency of Barack Obama the United States did more to move beyond the crusty old racisms of the past than any other country during a similar period of time and no one did more than did the American right-wing in that regard.

The right, under William F. Buckley Jr., emphatically repudiated mainstream Republican Party antisemitism and in recent decades has absolutely repudiated de jure racism of the type that typified Jim Crow.

Unfortunately - and, again, I say this as someone who comes out of the American Left - it is within the Left that we are seeing the shedding of liberalism and the rise of truly intense forms of bigotry and racial hatred.

The three fundamental types of progressive-left bigotry are anti-white racism, antisemitic anti-Zionism, and the type of "humanitarian" racism which treats people of non-European descent like children.

What seems fairly obvious, and very sad, is the apparent need of many political people on the Left to continue whipping up racial tensions after a time when we've moved so well beyond them.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Rabbi Slifkin and Ayman Odeh on Israel's independence

Sar Shalom

The New York Times carried yet another propaganda piece by Ayman Odeh decrying Israel's Independence Day as the Palestinians' "Nakba." Among the points Odeh raises is that of the 70,000 Arabs in the Haifa area before the Independence War, all but 2,000 were, according to Odeh's narrative, expelled, with his grandparents among the 2,000 who remained.

Odeh goes on to list other crimes he attributes to Israel. On one level, it would be worth fisking those claims. However, on another level, it is worth looking at an analysis of another group's response to Israel's Memorial/Independence Day by Rabbi Natan Slifkin. In describing the reasons for chareidi practice, Slifkin describes:
There are the explanations that are given for kiruv or PR or even internal purposes, and that are believed by many Anglo charedi wannabees, and sometimes even by some real McCoy Israeli charedim. And then there are the real explanations, which are well understood by astute observers of the charedi world, as well as many people within the charedi world.
One of Slifkin's examples is Yom Hashoah for which Rabbi Slifkin writes:
Explanations such as "the siren is chukas hagoy," or "we don't mourn during Nissan," or .... The real reason is that Yom HaShoah is an event created by and for the nation of the State of Israel as a whole, and charedim do not want to identify as part of that wider community.
A similar phenomenon is in effect with Arab complaints about Israeli abuse of the "indigenous" Palestinians. The public reasons are the ones that Odeh wrote and the the NY Times published today. The real reason is that the Jews have abrogated the Pact of Umar and the Arabs are angry that they cannot respond as Abu Ishaq did in 1066.