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Jblogs: Are You an Anti-Semite if You Have Absolutely Nothing to Say about Jews?

Gore Vidal: Mum on 1960s political Jews.

Gore Vidal: Mum on 1960s political Jews.
Photo Credit: Asterix611

We’re a seriously self-obsessed nation, goes without saying. And if we spot you even mumbling something under your mustache or into your beer – we just know it was about us and how we control things, and grab your money and all that. But what if you say nothing about us – and you’re Gore Vidal? Tricky, right? We’ll answer that and 9 more mysteries.

Is It Ant-Semitism to Say Nothing about Jews?

Judith Miller, Tablet Magazine’s theater critic, reviews Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man,” a 1960 play about “the descent of American presidential politics into gutter warfare,” and muses about whether or not the fact that there are no Jews roaming around Vidal’s stage means that the playwright is an anti-Semite, as he had been accused on occasion.

Miller doesn’t think so. In her entry titled “Gore Vidal’s Judenrein Politics,” she writes: “Jews were not nearly as well-organized or politically powerful in 1960 as they are today. While Jews were integral to party machines in the cities, they were largely confined to Jewish law firms, investment banks, and the entertainment industry. They were not integrated into America’s broader culture.”

She proceeds to offer a well written, thoroughly educational note on the emergence of AIPAC style Jewish political muscle. Enjoy.

Is the NSA the New Mossad?

Alex Joffe reviews in Jewish Ideas Daily a new book titled “Find, Fix, Finish” by U.S. counterterrorism professionals Aki Peritz and Eric Rosenbach, which “shows that the United States may be catching up to Israel in experience and understanding.”

As Joffe puts it, “Find, fix, finish” is shorthand for “Use intelligence to locate enemies, then employ the vast array of U.S. firepower to fix them in place.” His conclusion is that “Many Israeli approaches to counterterrorism and low-intensity conflict have been adopted by the United States, but on a global scale.”

Tom Clancy fans – this should be your read today.

Kick ‘Em While the Body’s Still Warm

You think men are tough on politicians? Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn of a female pol she really dislikes. Take Batya, who writes the Shiloh Musings blog and who isn’t one for understatements when she ushers out former Kadima chairperson Tzipi Livni: “Tzipi Livni Quits, Thank G-d, Not Even Kadima Wants Her.” Reading Batya, it almost appears as if even G-d isn’t interested in poor, dejected Tzipi…

Batya writes: “Tzipi’s vision was limited to just being negative. I guess she called it giving the people a choice. But the closest thing to vision she had was imagining herself as Prime Minister of Israel.”

All I can say is, if Batya is ever invited to do my eulogy, I’d like to see a draft first.

What’s Wrong with a Full-Length Friday?

Personally, I never keep the early Shabbat schedule, unless we’re staying with friends who do. As far as I’m concerned, the hectic period just before candle lighting contracts and expands according to the season, and I manage to accomplish in five extra summertime hours exactly as little as I do in a winter’s half hour. That’s me.

But do you know why doing early Shabbat is wrong according to Rabbi Ari Enkin? Because of women. There you go, add it to our list of sins starting with the fruit thingie.

Seriously, though, according to Rabbi Enkin in Hirhurim, “Some authorities frown on making ‘Early Shabbat’ due to the possibility that some women might mistakenly light the Shabbat candles before the earliest permissible time. They argue that many women do not always know what time plag hamincha is. So too, women may not understand the severity of lighting Shabbat candles before this time and do so anyway. A woman who lights Shabbat candles before plag hamincha accomplishes nothing and the blessing recited upon the candles is in vain.”

See? I was right. Better to light candles when it’s almost-almost than to do it closer to Friday morning.

In Sickness and in… Re-Education?

Daniel Greenfield, the “Sultan Knish,” argues that “The left has always been enamored of “Forwardism” or “Progressivism” which mean much the same thing. Before MSNBC had Lean Forward, Mao had the Great Leap Forward which killed some 40 million people, far more people than MSNBC can ever dream of tuning in to their programs.”

It’s a very entertaining piece of research, whether you’re left- or right-wing (if you’re a righty you’ll probably be pleased, if not you’ll at least get to see how lefty verbiage sounds across the aisle.

The article is named “The Forwardism Disease,” which totally makes the author’s point. Except that inherent in calling it a disease is the notion of what we do with sick people – and part of why the Left has been so scary historically were those re-education camps, where bourgeois minds were “healed.”

About the Author: Tibbi Singer is a veteran contributor to publications such as Israel Shelanu and the US supplement of Yedioth, and Jewish Business News.


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