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October 6, 2015 / 23 Tishri, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Noam Chomsky’

The New Anti-Semitism: Chesler Forces Our Eyes to See, Our Ears to Hear

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

When Phyllis Chesler first published The New Anti-Semitism more than a decade ago, it was a glowing lamp in the darkening night.

Since that time, The Jewish Press readers know that much has gotten worse. Anti-Semitism is louder, more widely and brazenly espoused, with less shame, than it had been in decades.

More people can now see what Chesler has seen all along, but far too many remain blind.

The essence of the new Anti-Semitism, Chesler explains, differs from the old in the way in which the center-to-hard left has taken up the cudgels, thereby making anti-Semitism (which includes the unalloyed hatred of the Jewish State) acceptable, even required, for those who hold themselves out as anti-colonialist, anti-racist, anti-imperialists.

The new anti-Semitism is the marriage of the evil far-right to the slavering far-left. It is ugly and it is increasingly ubiquitous.

In this brand new edition of The New Anti-Semitism (Gefen Publishing House 2014), Chesler provides answers to some of the questions her original edition raised. What is particularly welcome is her chapter containing suggestions for action by those who have begun to realize action – decisive action – must be taken before it is too late. Those suggestions won’t be found in this review, because anyone interested should buy the book and support this frontline warrior.

Much of the same ground has begun to be covered elsewhere by the few who saw the light since Chesler’s first edition came out, but here is why this book is different from the other sources now mining this essential topic: this book was written by someone who was immersed in the world that now seethes with hostility to Jews and their nation. The New Anti-Semitism is written by someone with a constellation of qualities that make her uniquely credible.

Chesler’s bona fides as a giant of the left are impeccable. She was one of the founding deans of the modern feminist movement, having served in the trenches with Kate Millet and Andrea Dworkin, among many others. Her longstanding and current commitment to feminism makes her accurate portrayal of the feminist movement’s turning on the Jewish State so important and so poignant.

And then there’s the fact that Chesler was first married to an Afghani Muslim and lived in Kabul in the family’s harem (as described in her fascinating An American Bride in Kabul). And she was later married to an Israeli Jew. Want to discuss western confrontation with the eastern Other with someone who’s really been on the line where they meet? Try to top that. No one can.

An additional reason you should read Chesler’s book is her writing. While much of the book provides historical accounts of the old and the new anti-Semitisms, all of these reflections come in Chesler’s inimitable style: conversational, dramatic, engaging.

The new The New Anti-Semitism provides readers with accounts of events in recent history which have been dramatically and dangerously misreported in the mainstream media.

Chesler as our guide through the earliest instances of (the “old”) anti-Semitism: blaming Jews for the murder of Jesus, through to Dreyfus, Herzl and Hitler takes us on a familiar path, but she combines a lens of clarity with a compelling voice.

This book also shares some of the less well-known modern-day detours, descriptions of which should be required reading for anyone who purports to care about what is happening in the Middle East.

Chesler is particularly insightful regarding the highjacking of various national as well as global conferences, hosted by the United Nations, by feminists and others, which were transformed into festivals for trashing Jews, Judaism and the Modern State.. This author had a front row seat at many of these events, and she provides an unmatched vantage point and voice of anguish. The disinvitations to even leftist, anti-Israel Jews should have been a warning; it wasn’t, other than to Chesler and very few others.

The Three Little Kosher Pigs

Monday, April 28th, 2014

It is always amusing to see the look on the faces of fellow American Jews when they discover that I am a Republican. Lacking originality, they typically say, “A Republican Jewish woman? Now that’s an oxymoron!” Well no, not at all.

Sadly, Israel has become a partisan issue. But it is the Republicans who are her staunchest supporters. Yet ironically, the vast majority of American Jews, whose progressive values are flaunted with elitist moral authority, have found a home in the Democrat party — the one whose members boo any mention of God and Jerusalem and whose policy makers formulate plans and strategies that are simply dangerous for Israel.

As we finish celebrating Passover during which time we remember our peoples’ exodus from bondage in Egypt to a life of freedom in Israel and observe Yom Hashoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day — it is an appropriate time to reflect on the state of Jewish Zionism in America.

What does it say about a people who align themselves with  political organizations that at best feign support for Israel for fundraising purposes but in reality take measures that could possibly harm that country’s long-term survival? In the face of existential dangers including growing Islamic fundamentalist death threats that are ignored around the world (including in the UN, EU and US) and growing apathy of Jews in the diaspora, perhaps a brief history of the Jewish peoples’ struggles against anti-Semitism is worth a revisit.

A modern version of Jewish history can be analyzed through the lens of the Three Little Pigs. In the Jewish version of this fable, the Jewish people are the three pigs (the kosher version, of course) looking to build a home to live as Jews in peace. The anti-Semites are the big bad wolf (of which there is no shortage) intent on ripping the pigs from their homes and destroying them.

The Jews in ancient times built houses of straw that were blown awayby anti-Semitic wolves during the Roman Empire, the Spanish Inquisition, and centuries-old pogroms. By the time they reached the shores of Europe in the later part of the 20th century, Jews built wooden homes believing themselves safe to practice their religion among the wolves in sheep’s clothing. We all know how that ended.

In the Jewish version of the story, the third pig represents two brothers that I’ll call Cain and Abel. Abel smartly moved to the land of Israel. The Jews in Israel learned their lessons of history, recognized their responsibility as God’s Chosen People, and built homes of bricks. And every time the big bad wolf attempted to climb down the chimney and destroy them, they further fortified their cities with concrete walls and missile defense systems. After thousands of years of wandering the global desert, they understood the gift – and obligation – bestowed upon them by God. To call these Jews survivors would be an understatement.

Cain moved to the U.S. and presents quite a different story indeed. American Jews have not learned the lessons of history and ignore their responsibilities to God and the Jewish people as a whole. Instead of building houses of bricks they have chosen to build a “big tent.”

They emulate their European ancestors who focused so intently on assimilating into society that they could not see the fires of the Holocaust burning around them. They worship false idols and pray at the Torah of abortion rights, environmentalism, and socialism much the way the Jewish people fell for the golden calf while waiting for Moses to descend Mt. Sinai with God’s Commandments.

Like their ancestors, American Jews may find themselves forced to wander a desert of secular empty activism in the hopes of one day returning to their homeland if they do not wake up to the dangers surrounding them. A big tent is no way to survive when big bad wolves are looking to destroy you.

Alan Dershowitz Retiring from Harvard Law School

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Alan Dershowitz, one of the country’s most prominent lawyers and a passionate advocate for Israel, is retiring from Harvard Law School at the age of 75.

Known for taking on high-profile and often unpopular causes and clients, Dershowitz taught at Harvard Law for half a century. His retirement becomes official at the end of the week. “My retirement consists of reducing my schedule down to only about 10 things at any given time,” he said at a conference in Israel last week.

Dershowitz, a Brooklyn native who has written and spoken often on his Orthodox Jewish upbringing and education, has used his prominence to defend Israel over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Among his harshest critics is Noam Chomsky, the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguist with whom he has had a long-running public feud over Israel.

In 2006, Dershowitz publicly challenged former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, for the views he expressed in his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” calling the book biased.

While “proud to be Jewish and engaged with Israel’s future,” Dershowitz also assisted Palestinian students when they sought inclusion of the Palestinian flag in a campus display, Harvard Law School dean Martha Minow told JTA.

Report: CIA Kept File on Noam Chomsky

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

The Central Intelligence Agency has acknowledged after years of denial that it kept a file on Noam Chomsky, though the file appears to have been destroyed.

Chomsky, 84, an American academic who works as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was an anti-war activist in the 1970s. He also is a vociferous critic of Israel.

Freedom of Information Act requests to the CIA over the years had not turned up Chomsky’s file, but a request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by Chomsky biographer Frederic Maxwell turned up a memo between the CIA and the FBI confirming the existence of a CIA file on Chomsky, according to The Cable blog in Foreign Policy.

An expert contacted by the blog said the FBI memo confirms that a Chomsky file once existed, though it was likely destroyed.

UC Irvine Students Vote for ‘Israel Divestment’ But Have No Investments to Divest

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Late last night, November 13, there was a unanimous vote at a California school for divestment from certain companies that do business with Israel.  Unanimous, 16 -0.

There are, however, several points militating against an uptick in alarm.

For one thing, the school at which this took place was the University of California at Irvine.  Yes, the school that allowed students to repeatedly disrupt Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, in 2010.  Eleven of those hooligans were charged and convicted of conspiracy and disrupting a public meeting.  Those convictions were obtained despite the efforts of many UCIrvine faculty members, including a large number of  Jewish Studies department faculty.

But more importantly, the vote was taken by the UC Irvine Student Government, which, in all likelihood, does not have any investments in the targeted companies, or any other companies, for that matter.

The student government also called on the UC Irvine administration to divest from the named companies, but a student group’s call on its university to take the students’ investment advice is not exactly like money in (or, in this case, out of) the bank.

While the vote was really the equivalent of a small group of children shouting at those acting in loco parentis to take its investment advice, last night’s effort by anti-Israel student leadership at UCI is noteworthy for a small shift in tactic.

Although the Resolution repeatedly compared Israeli activity to Apartheid South Africa, the student government Resolution only sought divestment from those companies it deemed to provide support for the Security Fence, the demolition of “Palestinian” homes, and the building or maintenance of  the “illegal Israeli settlements” on “occupied Palestinian territory.”  In the past, calls for divestment from Israel typically called for divestment from any company doing business in Israel, which was the South Africa Apartheid divestment model.

The nitty gritty details, that is, that it was a student group that voted to divest its own (non-existent) financial holdings from certain companies – and was not the vote by a university to divest its holdings from companies doing business in Israel – was completely lost on most other media reporting on the vote.  Professional Israel haters such as Ali Abunimeh and Noam Chomsky were quick to add their support, as were Muslim Student Associations and other anti-Israel groups across the country.  To see the misguided glee, check on twitter #IrvineDivest.

The Resolution, which was introduced by Sabreen Shalabi, and seconded by Shadi Jafari, follows:


Item Number: 16 Legislation Number (B: Bill, R: Resolution): R48-15
Synopsis: Divestment from Companies that Profit from Apartheid
Date of Presentation: November 13, 2012
 Divestment from Companies that Profit from ApartheidWHEREAS, it is UC Irvine’s duty to maintain the values of “respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment, and empathy” which includes the promotion of human rights, equality, and dignity for all people without distinction;WHEREAS, it is the mission of the UCI Foundation to “ensure the appropriate use of all funds” in order to uphold the values of respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment appreciation, and empathy;WHEREAS, students have a legacy of standing against oppression and injustice at UC Irvine and across the U.S.;WHEREAS, the role of student activists in exposing South Africa’s apartheid system and  supporting equality, freedom, and dignity sets an example for us to follow as students of global conscience;WHEREAS, as the example of South Africa shows, it is imperative for students to stand unequivocally against all forms of racism and bigotry globally and on campus, including but not limited to Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, patriarchy, and Israel’s system of apartheid;WHEREAS, the occupied Palestinian Territory is controlled militarily by the Israeli government;WHEREAS, certain companies have promoted and been complicit in these ongoing human rights violations systematically committed by the Israeli government, which have been documented by human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International, Addameer, B’tselem, Adalah, Badil, and the Israeli Coalition Against Home Demolitions;WHEREAS, according to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), “the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its associated régime are contrary to international law”;WHEREAS, according to the same ICJ decision, the establishment and expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem is also illegal by international law;

Noam Chomsky Visits Gaza

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Professor Noam Chomsky, a Jewish professor of linguistics known for staunch pro-Palestinian rhetoric, visited Gaza on Thursday.

Chomsky was denied entry to Israel two years ago, and delivered a lecture intended to be given at Birzeit University in Palestinian-controlled area in Samaria from a location in Jordan.

The Gaza visit included attendance at a conference at the Islamic University.  AFP reported that Palestinian television broadcast comments he made, including his statement – a quote of a member of Gaza’s legislative council and head of the university administration, that “The Palestinian people have a right to live peacefully and in freedom.”

Air Flytilla: Crash and Burn

Monday, April 16th, 2012

On April 15, 2012, Pro-Palestinian activists attempted to enter Israel en masse. In doing this, the organizers of the event – which is known by a few names, most notably “Welcome to Palestine” and “Airflotilla 2”– hoped to take fifteen hundred to two thousand activists from Europe and have them collectively fly to Ben Gurion airport to challenge Israel’s ‘isolation” of the Palestinians.  Assuming the activists would not be denied entry, the organizers prepared a complete plan of action for the week after their arrival involving numerous tours and activities that promise to provide participants with plenty of opportunity to be educated in the Palestinian narrative.

In spite of the stated mission, the actual desires of the organizers are suspect due to a variety of reasons. For starters, there is the timing of the “Welcome to Palestine” fly-in. April 15th comes right after the Jewish holiday of Passover, and it was guaranteed to be one of the busiest days of the year for Ben Gurion airport.

What prevents activists from coming at other times during the year? The activities specified in the plan do not need to happen specifically from April 15th-21st. Furthermore, the track record of flotilla/flytilla like attempts to breach Israel’s border is less than impressive when it comes to changing the Palestinians’ political circumstances (results range from the killing in self-defense of the activists aboard the Mavi Marmara to the over-hyped Global March to Jerusalem, a rush on Israel’s borders with an anticlimactic ending). Thus, the decision to have thousands of activists arrive within one extremely busy 24-hour period was intended to publicly promote the organizers’ interpretation of the conflict rather than to offer any real help to the Palestinians who are allegedly suffering. The scheduling of a press conference at 5pm in Bethlehem on the day of the fly-in was the icing on the public relations cake served by the participants.

Never mind that press conferences do not build the infrastructure needed to support a healthy society, the activists motivations are better understood by asking just who are the individuals involved in this epic demonstration of support for Palestinian rights?

A rough sample of endorsements for Air Flotilla 2 yields:

Noam Chomsky, a linguistics professor notorious for his belief in the 1 state solution (the one where 60+ years of Arab anti-Semitism magically disappears and everyone holds hands under a rainbow);

John Pilger, an Australian journalist who thinks Israel should not exist and denies any Jewish connection to the land;

and Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian politician, organizer of the failed Global March to Jerusalem and a boycott activist.

In addition, people like Mazin Qumsiyeh, a political activist opposed to peace negotiations, have gone out of their way to invite people to come to “Palestine” on April 15th and to encourage participation in the event.

A common theme among all these individuals and many of the other participants and endorsers is a hatred and preoccupation with Israel that borders on obsession. Consequently, it is no surprise that what seemed like a plea to support a downtrodden people was more of an opportunity to display a one sided view of the conflict. Increasing tension in a conflict situation is not known to help alleviate suffering.

On the other side, the Israeli response has been threefold:

Firstly, Israel sent a list to numerous European airlines with the names of over three hundred people that would not be allowed entry. In the days leading up to April 15th, airlines such as Lufthansa, Jet2, and Air France heeded Israel’s request and cancelled the reservations of many of the individuals on the list. Jet2 even refused to give the activists a refund. The activists greeted the actions of these airlines with the usual calls to boycott those who allegedly “sided with apartheid” and a new plan to have participants protest their denial of entry into Israel at local airports in numerous European countries.

The second aspect of the Israeli response has been to beef up security at Ben Gurion airport.  An additional six hundred and fifty police officers (with many in plain clothes) were assigned to the airport in order to minimize illegal entry. Terminal 1 in the airport was also made a sterile zone and the activists were diverted there. Lastly, the government of Israel wrote a nice letter to the activists who arrived questioning their focus on Israel while Syria continues to shell dissidents and nations like Iran oppress opposition forces.

In the end,Israel’s preparatory actions paid off. A total of forty three activists await deportation. Despite the protesters attempts to get thousands of fly-in participants to Bethlehem, only three ended up making it. This yields a success rate of 0.2% (1500 estimated activists were supposed to make the trip on the low end) – which was a victory, of course, according to the organizers.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/air-flytilla-fails-to-take-off/2012/04/16/

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