Category Archives: Fatherland

Sanctuary of Shamelessness

The secret of a master deal-maker

I never would’ve thought Donald Trump and Mahmoud Darwish had anything much in common, but hearing Trump make his announcement this morning recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital reminded me of the same banality of holiness evoked in Darwish’s “A Soldier Dreams of White Lillies.”

Like anything—not least our 45th president—that poem has its flaws (it denies the reality of Jewish communion with the land, and suggests that a Jew disabused of vulgar nationalism can only abandon his community and quit the region.) Not incidental to those flaws, the Arab threats of violence in this matter are frivolous, narcissistic and—above all—boring, even if they’re followed through upon. 

The first Arab riots against Zionist designs on Jerusalem were sparked in 1929 by allegations that the placement of a dozen chairs and a cloth mekhitza for elderly Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall was a prelude to the destruction of the al-Aksa mosque—the rioters murdered whole families. As of 2017, fifty years of Israeli administration has entailed a great deal of covetous malfeasance, but not the slightest disrespect of the Noble Sanctuary. Yet the Muslims never tire of this pretext, and such outbreaks are veritably seasonal in Jerusalem, because—although Israel indeed steals their property and stifles their freedom to organize—the real Zionist provocation has always been assertiveness on the part of a non-Muslim minority. Political repression is par for the course in that region with or without Israel, and in almost every Muslim land, some ethnic or religious minority is constrained to know its place, and know it well.

Fortunately, Jewish non-combatants are better protected today than in 1929, because a Palestinian protest is rarely just that, and international audiences watching Israeli troops fire tear gas canisters into throngs of Arab men don’t generally realize the appetite of the Palestinian resistance for violent confrontation is not limited by scruples regarding age, gender, or non-combatant status—nor, until quite recently, has it ever been readily divisible into violent and non-violent factions.

So for Trump to be deterred by the Arab street’s predictable reaction would be pusillanimous, regardless of whether his Jerusalem decision was a wise one. But the arbitration of highly sensitive religious matters by the star of The Apprentice may not be the biggest irony here. That among all the gravely concerned world leaders opposing him in the matter (not a few of them embezzlers, inveterate liars and icky-fingered war criminals in their own right) the one whose objections carry the most moral force is the sinister pope, Francis—a gilded, pharisaical career accomplice to the foulest possible acts of sexual predation—is a commentary all its own. The conventional wisdom is that the international community indulges Israel and tolerates Palestinian suffering, but generally speaking, the extent of world outcry on the Palestinians’ behalf is greater, more sustained and less proportionate to the corollary offenses against them than any sympathy the Jews have ever managed to elicit, certainly from the Vatican, and including during the Holocaust. Massacre of Jews just feels too familiar to be condemned without nuance: a consensus that Israel ought to be prepared at all times to absorb a modicum of civilian casualties—without response, as a matter of course—exists among world bodies, governments, NGOs and news agencies that would never be so much as whispered to Muslims as a suggestion. Since the Oslo Accords went into effect not only Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP but the PLO (through its bad-cop Tanzim faction—essentially a death squad) has carried out dozens of attacks on Israeli civilians. So when PLO officials and PLO-affiliated scions of Palestinian civil society like Marwan Bishara, in his capacity as a TV host for Al Jazeera, warn that bloodshed will result from Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, they aren’t forecasting the weather—they’re making a threat. Of course they don’t mean to be understood this way by anyone but the Jews. Surely (to some degree) they don’t even understand themselves this way, because the Palestinians are always supposed, and suppose themselves, to lack agency in events. Like the dozen chairs which provoked them to a frenzy of murder of women, children and the elderly in 1929, they don’t think, they are only moved by others. Supposing we grant this premise, then when Ismail Haniyeh warns that Trump has “opened the gates of hell” with his decision: who are the demons?

But if the Muslims are evil to covet Jerusalem, the Jews are evil for clinging to it, and ought to be put in mind of an Arab proverb: “Where there is concession, there is strength.” I, for one, would take a summer night out drinking in Tel Aviv or an autumn morning strolling the hills of Haifa over an eternity ensconced in the King David Hotel presidential suite. For what is Jerusalem? It certainly isn’t worth American lives. I recall it as a dusty, mildewy disappointment, like a woman who has to be gazed at from a very peculiar angle to be thought beautiful; the Dome of the Rock as a lid rattling precariously atop a broiling, apoplectic sense of entitlement; the Holy Sepulcher as a creepy, vulgar little tourist trap akin to an amusement park haunted house. And the Western Wall? That Jews should venerate and kill and be killed for that stupid, ugly pile of bricks left behind by Herod—a sadistic Quisling—is the very definition of idolatry that Judaism once cut its teeth forbidding.

So I don’t use the word “evil” lightly. Israeli administration of Jerusalem has from the very beginning involved strategically needless property theft, selective destruction of historical sites and expulsion of innocent people from their homes. In 2007, this was ratcheted up to the worst form of desecration: the wholesale removal of medieval Muslim graves to a trash dump and their replacement by a Wiesenthal “Museum of Human Dignity” (seriously) atop the former grounds of the Mamilla Cemetery, just over the Green Line from the Old City. But Israel’s “unified eternal capital” is, indeed, an interactive museum, teetering precariously on the nape of what normal, everyday life still manages to persist there. It belongs in the same general category as Florida’s Holy Land Experience, or the Kentucky Creation Museum, but at least those institutions’ proprietorship doesn’t require recurring blood sacrifice (or grave robbery.) There is so much that is beautiful and admirable about Israel, but to the extent that the place is ugly, it’d be a lot less so without the Old City of Jerusalem and the mischief that the coveting of holy relics always inspires:

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Reductio ad Iudaeoram, Pt. IV

harvey-weinstein-serious

Comes in handy

(Part I here, Part II here, Part III here)

One upshot to the profusion of online Hitler sympathy this past decade is that it shows how brittle American liberal indoctrination really is, despite its insidiousness. Of course, it also shows that older habits tend to die harder.

To wit: every now and again some earnest little yid blogger pokes his head up on an alt-right podcast and tries to explain that we’re not all that bad—while agreeing that indeed, we are all that bad. It’s a bit like playing dead: contrition itself is supposed to be a point in the Jews’ defense.

Now, if your experience tells you that Jews are often oily, pushy, loud, verbose, solipsistic, dissembling and cheap, well…. Join the club: so does mine (although only the first five apply to me). Perhaps you live in a community somewhere back east where the ethnic fault lines are long standing, and over the decades each of the local constituencies has made a certain impression on its neighbors. Well and good. If it’s a matter of navigating daily life and real relationships, stereotype away, for all I care. But when we refer here to anti-semitism, what we mean is the kind that’s mediated through propaganda, i.e., the full-retard pamphleteering variety:

710full-seinfeld-screenshot

Again: if experience recommends wariness of a given human group, then be wary—end of story. Self-defense, after all, is a dish best served cold, and sparingly. But for the full-retard anti-ZOG pamphleteer, there’s no adrenaline in that, no hard-on, no quasi-mystical shivers. For them, the case is so open-and-shut they can never shut up about it.

Henry Kissinger once said that a people that’s been persecuted for 2,000 years is doing something wrong. A certain Luke would beg to differ that being persecuted necessarily means you’re in the wrong, but he didn’t much like Jews, either. In any case, a people that beats those kinds of odds has also got to be doing something right.

All the same, you might think it would be worthwhile for the Jews’ own sake to at least engage with our worst critics and try to learn something from them; that conceding part of their argument signals transparency and introspection that might be reciprocated, therby mitigating anti-semitism. In certain isolated cases that may be correct. But such nuanced public hesitance to fully recognize a self-proclaimed enemy as an enemy can only play as sycophancy and, as Jabotinsky once noted, a man who’s ever-willing to turn out his pockets and consent to a search is only liable to elicit suspicion and scorn. Indeed, when you reach out to full-retard anti-semites (lots of those abroad in the world nowadays) what you’re almost invariably going to find is that the burden of proof falls exclusively upon the semite. Your every overture is taken both as subterfuge and servility. Your every word short of utter self-abnegation amounts to proof of incorrigibility, no matter what you’ve conceded—and so does self-abnegation. There is literally nothing that can be proved to these types. You may share alt-right or far-left concerns about the complicity of Jews in systems of power you oppose, but that’s never how anti-semites see you, and the only effective way to deal with execration is to be stoic, or mocking—to disregard it, or hand it right back, reheated. Because full-retard anti-semitism (right or left) is not about opposing systems of power per se; rather, it is the vocation of finding fault with yidden. It’s a manichaean template that confers total absolution from shame, and earnestness is poison when you’re dealing with a shameless interlocutor. As soon as you give him the time of day, you’re taking on all the shame in the equation.

Take, for example, the following aside (~29:00-30:00) from alt-right agitator Mike Enoch on that episode of The Daily Shoah podcast I hyperlinked above (the one with the yiddle-diddle blogger guest interviewee.) Here Enoch’s talking about the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm:

We had this conversation today where we were talking about Larry David, that fucking stupid show where he runs around being Jewish…. and someone [some fellow anti-semite] was like, ‘Oh no, but it’s hilarious because he’s so Jewish [that] he’s fucking over even other Jews.‘ And I’m like, yeah, but at some point I just want to be done with this Jewish psychological shit, I don’t want to be sucked into this world of the Jewish fucking inner turmoil, I just want to be done with it.

Um…. excuse me? You guys are the ones with a three-times weekly podcast called The Daily Shoah (“shoah”=Hebrew for Holocaust) that’s going on its 200th episode at 2+ hours apiece, and in every single one, you discuss Jews at length. No schtick fatigue? I get that plutocrats and media mandarins are disproportionately Jewish, that such power ought to be accessible to satire, and I can at least respect the alt-right for its irreverence, but…. You “want to be done“? The fuck outta here. What would you even do with yourselves at that point?

Someone who claims to have caught a whiff of sulfuric old Beelzebub is liable to be reminded that whoever smelt it dealt it. Yet the self-flagellating little yid blogger guest on the podcast ends up agreeing with Enoch about yiddishkeit in showbiz: “Right, this is 2% of the population, why is this the thing that’s being constantly put in front of us?” I don’t know, why are there so goddamned many steers in Texas? In the words of the great Marshall McLuhan: if you’re seeing it, it’s for you. Someone got you straightjacketed to a theater seat? Lots of options what to watch nowadays. Last I checked, HBO is premium cable. So I’ve heard a lot of anti-semitic tropes in my day, but as these things go, “wanting to be done with the Jewish inner turmoil” that’s “sucking me in” is revealingly bizarre. Whether it’s only tortured logic, or also tortured, sub-rosa yiddishkeit, what it reveals about anti-semitism is the same. Veyizmir.

Back in the mid-aughts I was sitting around one weekend with a friend—also Jewish—smoking something stupid and watching one of the hundreds of conspiracy documentaries then mushrooming on the new-fangled YouTube. Up until that time, my conception of Jewish success was that it vaguely confirmed my far-fetched desire to believe in divine election—you know, the suspicion that there must be some truth to the stereotype about Jewish brains. But due to events like 9/11, the NSA spying scandals and the 2007 financial crisis it was starting to become painfully clear that the height of success in America is something profoundly dark, and that one’s ethnic group being disproportionately implicated in it can be a very bad thing. At one point during the documentary, my friend turned to me and asked, “How are we supposed to cope with the fact that we come from a race of deceivers?”

Privilege has always been precarious, and no clever person facing long odds is going eschew the opportunity to steel himself. Relative to the proportion of Jews who, historically, weren’t able to do so, yiddishkeit is probably an overall liability. But it’s true that a relatively high proportion of elites nowadays are Jews. Still, what evolutionary biology considers success can be very dangerous from an Epicurean standpoint. Either way, I don’t buy my friend’s supposition that Jews are exceptionally criminal, or liable for one another’s crimes.

But would you believe who might? I mean, other than the alt-right? Larry David. Here’s how David treated the Weinstein/#MeToo scandal in the opening monologue of a recent episode of Saturday Night Live he hosted (executive summary here):

What’s awkward about this performance? It isn’t the references to sex, or to genocide. It isn’t the uncouthness, or even David’s openness to discomfort. No, what’s awkward about this performance is its sincerity. It’s a public service announcement concealed behind only the most implausible veneer of comedy, because Larry David means exactly what he says: he reflexively feels that allegations against a handful of fellow Jews reflect on him, fundamentally. But what’s ironic about the tenebrous self-awareness he exemplifies is that it produces more christlike behavior than anything anti-semites exhibit.

Mihail Sebastian was a Romanian-Jewish linguist and novelist who kept a diary of life in Romania between 1935 and 1944. The manuscript was smuggled to Israel by his brother in 1961 and eventually published as a book after the Cold War. What’s interesting about it is that many fellow Romanian intellectuals whom the author maintained friendships with were vehemently pro-Nazi. According to a 2001 book review in The Irish Times, Sebastian had a remarkable tendency to make excuses for them:

Sebastian’s friend, the charismatic philosopher and teacher Nae Ionescu, who enthusiastically supported the Iron Guard, agreed to write a preface to one of Sebastian’s novels, but when he did, it turned out to be vigorously anti-Semitic.

Ionescu warned the younger man against imagining that he could become assimilated into the gentile community, asking of him “Are you . . . a human being from Braila on the Danube? No, you are a Jew from Braila on the Danube.” Sebastian, in typical fashion, continued to look upon his friend and mentor with fondness, regarding him indulgently merely as a rogue and an opportunist whose heart nevertheless was in the right place; when Ionescu died prematurely in 1940, Sebastian wept in sorrow.

He even found excuses for his friend the novelist, and fascist, Camil Petrescu. When the private houses of Jews were confiscated by order of the government, Petrescu complained to Sebastian that he would probably not be given one; Sebastian said that surely, under the circumstances, his friend would not accept a house even if it were offered to him, at which Petrescu stared at him in surprise and asked: “Why not?”

What diaspora Jew has not occasionally found himself countenancing insults in this manner and ad-libbing some conciliatory self-deprecation so as not to offend his assailants? Even Henry Kissinger (“at once an excellency and an untouchable,” in Sartre’s memorable formulation) is noted as a practitioner of this dance.

When you sell out your own kind in this manner, you mean to say, “Don’t hate me. I’m not so much like them!” but what it sounds like instead is, “I’m exactly like them, and it’s okay to hate me. I forgive you.” Kafka’s Trial is a tedious, flagellating read, but the book’s prime conceit—an inexplicable vulnerability, an affliction of inchoate guilt that can never be lived down—is the perfect encapsulation of the tortured relationship of yiddishkeit to the non-Jewish world. There has always been an uneasiness about being exposed as a Jew and, for the time being, the degrees of difference between Mihail Sebastian’s Romania and Larry David’s America can mitigate, but never extirpate it.

 

Reductio ad Iudaeoram, Pt. III

We are all Palestinians

(Part I here, Part II here; Part IV here)

Almost all Palestinians who fink on other Palestinians to the Israeli security services do so in a limited manner under some form of duress. At worst, they do it for money. Mosab Hassan Yousef, on the other hand, is the only Palestinian to have betrayed his people wholesale, and voluntarily. This is typical: most peoples can count their historic traitors on one hand. After all, betraying us won’t make you one of them. It only nullifies you.

Essential human qualities—those that come from before—are intractable. Others define them for us. The best we can do is to live out the verdict with dignity. Do Jews tend to manage this very well? I’d laugh, but there’s a stabbing pain in my ribcage (both sides.)

In our previous installment, we were introduced to one Henry Makow, a Jew who, though he isn’t exactly an apostate, feels anything but warm and fuzzy about his heritage. Mr. Makow runs a conspiracy webzine where he alleges that, because (1) prominent Jews and Jewish interests are complicit in a global Satanic bankers’ conspiracy, (2) conspicuous Jewish opposition to that conspiracy would conciliate anti-semitism. Leaving aside certain glaring matters of detail, for the sake of argument I’ll readily concede the first of his two contentions. What about the second one?

Well, we know for a fact that there is indeed conspicuous Jewish opposition to the planetary managerial class. There are Jewish journalists, activists and academics who denounce the powers that be, in part or in whole. There are mainstream Jewish authors and historians whose research provides excellent fodder for those on the fringes who are willing to draw bolder conclusions. There are Jewish conspiracy theorists of Makow’s ilk. There are even Jews who beat their breasts denouncing Zionism wholesale and condemning Jewishness and Judaism in all its forms but the most prophetical, pusillanimous and pacifistic.

Does any of this ameliorate anti-semitism? Of course not. Anti-semitism is the conviction that Jewishness itself is immutable and fundamentally odious. (Short of that, antipathy toward Jews is just harmless, garden-variety xenophobia.) From that perspective, Jewish opposition to any or all of the powers that be, and even to Zionism, is taken as strategic retreat, controlled opposition or ethnic obfuscation. For full-hilt anti-Semites (not a few of those abroad in the world nowadays) a Jew’s every word short of utter self-abnegation equals dissembling, or proof of incorrigibility—for chrissakes, that’s Internet 101.

In my lifetime, I’ve experienced anti-semitism mostly as a subdued curiosity, lurking in the form of the incorrigible ease with which Jewish culpability can be accepted in various quarters as sufficient explanation for complex and sundry events. But as I grew older and my own material for observation increased, I slowly began to realize that where Jews are disdained it is a continuation, a renewal, a habit, something latent, never a fresh perspective or a novel analysis of events. Granted, I’ve habituated to taking accusations of anti-semitism with a grain of salt, because the ancient prejudice appears to have been so throughly routed of late, and because many Jews can be quite oversensitive. But over the past decade and a half of palpable civilizational decline, the attendant profusion of anti-semitic sentiment has given me an inkling of what it must have been like for my people to weather this execration in overt form, day by day, generation after generation.

It had been many years since I read Sartre’s Anti-Semite and Jew when I saw it quoted recently in an article about the alt-right:

Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past. It is not that they are afraid of being convinced. … If then, as we have been able to observe, the anti-Semite is impervious to reason and to experience, it is not because his conviction is strong. Rather his conviction is strong because he has chosen first of all to be impervious.

For a good illustration of this behavior, I’ve dug up an article from an alt-right blog called Aryan Skynet, entitled “Global Rat-Perch: Jewish Misdirection in the Work of Michel Chossudovsky.”

Chossudovsky is an academic and the editor of an anti-war, anti-neoliberal web journal called Global Research. The authors of the article first commend Chossudovsky for his anti-war reporting, but they take him to task for his analysis of Israeli culpability in Western imperialism, which they feel is overly lax toward Israel:

Chossudovsky acknowledges the existence of Israel’s nuclear arsenal and its collusion with the U.S.; but, for him, “Tel Aviv is not a prime mover” for intervention against Iran and “does not have a separate and distinct military agenda” from that of the Pentagon. Israel, for Chossudovsky, is only “part of a military alliance” – practically a pawn – that might “be used by Washington to justify, in the eyes of world opinion, a military intervention of the U.S. and NATO with a view to ‘defending Israel’, rather than attacking Iran.”

“Israel cannot launch a war against Iran without Washington’s consent. Hence the importance,” Chossudovsky avers, “of the so-called ‘Green Light’ legislation in the U.S. Congress sponsored by the Republican party under House Resolution 1553, which explicitly supports an Israeli attack on Iran.”

“In practice,” he continues, “the proposed legislation was a ‘green light’ to the White House and the Pentagon rather than to Israel” and “constitutes a rubber stamp to a U.S.-sponsored war on Iran which uses Israel as a…. pretext.”

Of course, if events ever prove this surmise correct, the gentlemen at Aryan Skynet will immediately cease scoffing and promptly develop amnesia. Of course it’s perfectly plausible that the US inner-elite has long term plans involving the removal of the present Iranian regime, that their reasons are different from Israel’s, and that Israel is the junior—and more malleable—party to the partnership. If so, then it’s obvious that Iranian aggression toward Israel will be the most likely pretext for US action. But that’s not what Chossudovsky is alleging.

The authors are correct that Chossudovsky ignores manifest Israeli interests when it comes to Iran—that’s because he doesn’t even credit the Israelis with having their own interests. When a leftist yid doesn’t recognize Jewish power, it’s because he’s not terribly interested in Jewish power. Rather, he’s mired in moralism and victimology:

The real culprits, Chossudovsky alleges, are the “Anglo-American oil giants.”

“The U.S.-led war in the broader Middle East Central Asian region consists in gaining control over more than sixty percent of the world’s reserves of oil and natural gas.” The best the professor can produce in the way of evidence for his claim is a Clinton-era National Security Statement citing the strategic interest of the U.S. in ensuring the security of Middle East oil reserves.

Well, that’s not bad evidence, and if it’s all Chossudovsky cites, it doesn’t mean there’s no additional evidence of long-term US geostrategic designs on the Eurasian landmass and its natural resources, designs to which Israeli concerns would obviously be subordinate. But if the authors of this critique (of Chossudovsky) can’t recognize Gentile powers and the interests of those parties, it’s because they, too are mired in moralism and victimology:

Dr. James Petras and Muhammad Idrees Ahmad have already lain this lamestream liberal canard to rest. “Through its all-out campaign in the U.S. Congress and Administration,” Petras observes in his book The Power of Israel in the United States, “the U.S.-Jewish-Israeli lobby has created a warlike climate which now goes counter to the interests of all the world’s major oil companies including BP, the UK-based gas company, SASOL (South Africa), Royal Dutch Shell, Total of France, and others.” Chossudovsky is not unaware of the work of Dr. Petras; he is simply engaging in racial and ideological obfuscation.

The oil companies—victims of ethnic obfuscation! I guess that’s one industry not controlled by yids.

Clearly, the authors mistake the mere existence of a counter-argument for a refutation. But if they can detect a dearth of evidence behind Chossudovsky’s claims, why can’t they extend the same incredulity to Petras? Anti-semitism is a deeply cultural legacy. Is a scholar of Catholic background less subject to such biases than a Jew like Chossudovsky?

His blood be upon us and upon our children…. 

As for the putatively authoritative role of the U.S. Congress that Chossudovsky cites as evidence of Israel’s lack of agency in America’s foreign policy agenda, that is only a sickening joke in consideration of the fact that those in the know have for decades acknowledged that Israel’s U.S. lobby, AIPAC, grips the House and Senate.

Lemme get this straight: a whore can’t have more than one regular customer? But Chossudovsky doesn’t say Congress is authoritative, he says they gave a rubber stamp.

In any case, Israel’s total GDP was $318.7 billion last year; ExxonMobile’s net worth is $486.4 billion. If the latter’s exertions in lobbying Congress (or those of the aerospace defense industry, or any of the myriad interests behind American imperialism) are less conspicuous than Israel’s, maybe it’s because there’s no ancient, international subculture of intrepid crackpots specializing in publishing salacious broadsides characterizing them as the one sinister key to understanding global politics. But speaking of “lack of agency,” if the US enjoys effective veto power over Israel’s most sensitive defense priorities, and Congress is not authoritative, then Israeli lobbying efforts in Congress indicate a rather desperate negotiating position, and the difference between US leverage over Israel (on the one hand) and Israeli influence on the US (on the other) is the difference between a nutsack and a pubic hair.

Like all hopeless ideologues, the authors of Aryan Skynet are chafing under some inchoate sense of life’s unfairness they were never fully equipped to cope with as children. But if you get your education on YouTube and are readily reeled in by morality tales and faux-esoterica, then the party misdirecting you is not the obscure likes of a Michel Chossudovsky, nor even the Atlantic or the Washington Post—it is you. Reductio ad Iudaeoram is autonomic obscurantism. If you think the JQ is the rug that really ties the room together, you’re easily impressed. And yet, as we have seen, Jews themselves are taken in by this in a remarkably replicable manner. How can yiddishkeit be untangled from its relationship of dread—from any relationship—with this sub-species of vindictive mediocrity?

Reductio ad Iudaeoram, Pt. II

Gaydar hyperdrive

(Part I here, Part III here, Part IV here)

I would like to be wealthy, and in better shape. I certainly wouldn’t want to be homeless, or obese.

There are many things that I would like to be, and many things that I would not like to be, but to the extent that there’s anything essential in a human being, something that precedes him, what I want more than anything is to be exactly what I am.

But in the meantime I want to acquaint you, if you aren’t already familiar, with one Henry Makow, the proprietor of a ranty-ravey webzine concerned with exposing the Illuminati conspiracy, particularly its Jewish elements (Mr. Makow is a deeply conflicted Jew). Here is Mr. Makow’s take on anti-semitism:

Well, you cannot be a Christian if you’re involved in a Satanic conspiracy, but we know what Makow means by “Christian”: he means Gentiles. WASPs, to be precise, and probably also some descendants of traditionally Catholic ethnic groups. Once involved in a Satanic conspiracy, these people lose their essential (or vestigial) Christianity. The same cannot be said of Jewishness, of course, because Jews are a race. But if no one accuses Makow of being anti-WASP when he condemns the Rockefellers, it’s because Makow doesn’t conclude that the prominence of WASPs in this conspiracy implicates all WASPs—nor does he seem to view anyone but Jews as having a need to redeem their national reputation by opposing this conspiracy, even though he has said that the vast majority of Jews aren’t involved in it. Is Makow at least correct in assuming that opposition to it on the part of Jews would mitigate anti-semitism? Of course he isn’t.

Perhaps another exhibit will illustrate why not.

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of a high-level Hamas operative—a high-level Hamas operative who spent decades in Israeli prisons. He spent decades in Israeli prisons because his son ratted him out. You see, Mosab Hassan Yousef is best known for defecting to Israel as an informant, and later immigrating to the United States, converting to Christianity, and authoring a tell-all about his experience, which he has promoted on various television shows.

To give you a very precise idea of where Mr. Yousef stands when it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict, here he is speaking before the UN Human Rights Council as they deliberate about one of their monthly or weekly resolutions condemning Israel:

Now, to the extent that I am a Zionist, I badly want to relish what Mr. Yousef is telling the committee—but I can’t.

It isn’t that what he says is not true—most of it is, and the part that is true constitutes a neglected message that needs to be heard loud and clear: the PLO is indeed a retrograde kleptocracy, thuggish even in comparison with Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. But it is not “the greatest enemy of the Palestinian people,” that’s ridiculous. The greatest enemy of the Palestinian people is Israel, and Mosab Hassan Yousef may be right in every single one of his criticisms of Islam, the Arabs, and the various Palestinian factions. But when all is said and done, this is a man who betrayed his people, his family, his faith, and helped their mortal national adversaries imprison his own father. And now he lets himself be used as a marionette, because there’s no other kind of existence left for him but that of a stool pigeon.

As a Zionist, am I pleased that Yousef helped the Israeli authorities prevent attacks on Jews? Of course I am. I am very pleased by it, I’m even grateful to him. Yet when I look at Mosab Hassan Yousef, I can only feel total revulsion, because what I see is a faggot—and not just because of his textbook gayface. The simple fact is, Mosab Hassan Yousef is a worm, a complete betrayer, the type for whom Dante reserved the lowest circle of hell. We’re not talking about simple political betrayal, either—he’s not a North Korean who defected to the South. This guy betrayed his own blood, not just his family or his people but himself, his heritage, and everything that’s essential about him. To the extent that I identify with Israel, I can absolutely relate to a Palestinian irredentist who’s willing to bleed me bleach-white in the name of his worthy God and his lost homeland. I can respect that, even if I can’t tolerate it. But as much as I want to like him, a Mosab Hassan Yousef is intolerable to my soul. As is a guy like Henry Makow, who is so disproportionately mortified by any misdeed committed by a fellow Jew (as if he’s such a fine specimen himself) that, with the best of intentions and no sense of irony whatsoever, he can bring himself to pen an article entitled, “Anti Semitism is Legitimate Self Defense.” Of course, the whole history of anti-Semitism is one of massacre of disarmed, enfeebled people. Would Makow like somebody to murder him, or what? Yet perspectives like his really aren’t uncommon among Jews. What could possibly explain this extraordinary masochism? Can it be cured? On to Part III….

Crypto-fascist, Crypto-Jew

zionism-equals-nazism

Bro I wish

Part II of a series in progress….. Part I here, Part III forthcoming

I.

When I was eighteen, I beat up a white power skinhead. My late-adolescent self-seeking had taken a schlocky, Daniel Deronda kind of turn, so any opportunity to defend Jewish honor I felt I had to take, no matter how contrived. I guess I fancied myself a little like the Jewboy Schwartz in Porky’s. 

Anyway, as I was standing with a gaggle of crust punks one weekday afternoon on a downtown corner across from the bus station, a sinewy little guy with a shorn pate and narrow mustache strolled up in boots, braces, beater and bomber, drew one of my punker compadres aside and transacted a drug deal inconspicuously. Then he started back on his way—that is, until I shoved him, hard, from behind. On that day I decided I would simply refuse to accept that neo-Nazis should make themselves visible.

He turned around to face me, breathing through his open mouth, his incisors streaked a scummy, bacterial yellow. He had grimy pores and crusted-over scabs, his fingers were nicotine stained and filthy under the nails. There were little SS lighting bolt runes tattooed on one side of his neck, an iron cross on the other.

I stepped forward and poked him in the chest. Fear flashed momentarily across his eyes but he steadied his gaze, grinning as he reached into his beater and flipped out a brass swastika on a long, thin chain around his neck. That was when I hauled off.

I managed to land a solid several thumps upside his noggin as he flailed, until suddenly he surged into me at chest level, Hail Mary-like—head down, forearms up blocking. He managed to back me up a few steps, grabbing me by the shirt collar as he poked his little radish head up to bite me, square on the nose. The shock of this lent him the further momentum to bare down and take me tumbling to the pavement, back first. I almost rolled him but he bore down hard again, straddling my chest as he tried to strangle me. He overplayed his hand, though: as he wound back to clock me point blank, I availed myself of the empty space between my sternum and his groin, gripped him square in the nether region with one hand and up under an armpit with the other, then pulled him sideways into my chest and flipped him square on his back.

I mounted, I grounded, I pounded. Quite often the toughness of recidivist scumbags has more to do with the capacity to absorb a beating than to mete one out. He struggled, quivering with desperate futility, like a live fish held down for gutting.

Then suddenly I heard a crisp “snap!” I thought the sound was his nose breaking, which it was. Although I didn’t feel the pain immediately, it would also turn out to be the distal metacarpals on my mean right shattering in several places each. The pain settled in a second later, as I looked down and noticed that my opponent, though conscious, had given up, and was bleeding profusely from his nose and mouth.

Just then, someone yelled “cops!”

I looked up to see two peace officers, a man and a woman, sprinting towards us down the sidewalk some fifty yards off. I hopped up, bolted and rounded the nearest corner. Within two blocks I’d completely lost my pursuers and cut through the parking lot of a gated condo complex to a corner hamburger shack on the other side that had a pay phone booth in its back parking lot, out of view of the street. My dad was just getting off work and I called him for a ride.

II.

Awhile after that, once my broken hand had mended, I saw a member of the same local clique of white power skinheads strolling past me on the same downtown block. He was wearing a trucker hat on which he’d stenciled an iconic punk-rock anti-fascist symbol….

keepctryt

Only $12.99 on Angry, Young & Poor LMFAO

….only in his rendition, the stick figure was trashing a Star of David, not a swastika. I was so shocked by this meager display of literacy that I doubted what I had seen until he was well out of sight, but twenty minutes later he came back in the opposite direction with a slice of pizza in one hand.

As he passed by I snorted, ‘Nice hat.’ He turned to see who’d paid him the compliment and I mean-mugged him like I intended to do him harm. He froze, gazing back indecisively, whereupon I decked him in the face with my skateboard, an act I hadn’t planned nor even anticipated from myself. His pizza slice went flying as he dropped, hard, straight back. As soon as he hit the pavement he began seizing violently. I found out later that I had actually cracked his eye socket.

If you go out of your way to seriously insult strangers, you should probably be better prepared for a backlash than this guy was. But then, if you set out to harm everyone who says stuff you don’t like, you’d better know your limits a little better than I knew mine. I’d been reading a lot about the Irgun and Murder, Inc., but imitating them didn’t feel so good. I had beaten people with fists before, but this was the first time I used a weapon. In an instant I had become a more brutal creature than I realized I was, or ever had been. Frozen in shock, staring down at my victim, I experienced the disembodying sensation of a strong compassionate impulse concurrent with the realization that I had now forfeited my right to feel it. When I reemerged into linear time I heard shouting, and glanced up just soon enough to outrun bus station security.

I was less than six months out of high school then, and while I was heavily into pot and earning C grades at the local community college on my Jew-doctor daddy’s dime, my best friend Max (a goy, if you must know, and a profoundly goyische one, at that) was getting heavily into meth. He used to flop at a mutual friend’s apartment, where a female roommate was dating one of the skinheads, who also happened to be meth retailers. They would party there too, and crash on weekend nights. Word got back to me from Max that the White Power crew was looking for me and that their leader, a hardened ex-con by the nom de guerre of ‘Panther,’ had vowed to handle me personally. I didn’t know what Panther looked like, but he sounded fearsome.

III.

At that time I was also running a moderately lucrative sideline in pot (re-upping weekly by the quarter-pound), and one of my occasional customers was a six-and-a-half foot homeless high-yellow, also an ex-con, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Lawrence Fishburne—pockmarks and all—and went by a nom de guerre of his own, ‘The Reverend.’

In some visceral, sub-conscious nether region I understood perfectly well how predatory blacks can be, but at that age the psychic patina of racial pathos and Pavlovian guilt-inculcation at the hands nearly two decades’ worth of Hollywood movies and civics lessons prevented me from metabolizing this information to the full benefit of my survival instincts. If defending Jewish honor was a legacy passion project, evasion of actual danger was a work in progress.

Perhaps intentionally, The Reverend dressed a lot like Morpheus from The Matrix, in a ratty trench coat over an unwashed hoodie, with greasy cargo pants and army boots. His hustle was fortune telling for racially solicitous post-pinko granolas at a card table he used to set up in front of a health food store on the downtown strip, with a purple velvet table cloth where he’d lay out crystals for sale. Obsequious in characteristically downtrodden-black fashion, with that opportunistic malice lurking plainly underneath, The Reverend used to call me ‘Young Buck,’ and I showed my appreciation for his backhanded flattery by over-weighing his twomp sacks by a half-gram. Sometimes I’d smoke a joint with him just to be friendly. I was listening to a lot of rap music at that age.

One day as I was making my rounds on the downtown strip, I passed by The Reverend’s tarot table when he hailed me. I was carrying a bag of fruits and vegetables I’d just purchased from the health food store. He asked if I had any bud for sale, and slid a twenty spot onto the table. I snapped up the bill, slid my backpack down one arm and fished out a half-eighth (about half a gram more than I normally charged twenty for). But The Reverend gave a pensive, dissatisfied grimace and deadpanned, ‘Now why you tryin’ ta short me, homie?’ My balls dropped a bit as it dawned on me exactly what The Reverend took me for—ironically, this Morpheus-lookalike kind of redpilled me that day. As I returned the weed to my backpack and tossed his twenty-spot back onto the table I told him, “Go fuck your mother you shitty fuckin’ nigger.” It was the first (and second to last) time in my life I availed myself of that epithet in the second person.

Well that must not’ve made The Reverend’s day, because no sooner had I made my way half a block up from where he sat than I heard someone murmur, “The fuck you say to me?” and when I looked back over my shoulder, there was The Reverend in hot pursuit. I turned, snarling to face him and he stopped about three feet shy of me.

The Reverend was fairly big. He probably could have fucked me up; he probably could have fucked me. A crowd gathered ’round as we stared each other down, but this didn’t register immediately. All that was going through my head was that fight-or-flight electric slow-mo, and while (relative to his size) I might not have had the ablest fight in me, there was no flight. On that day—in spite of the stifling, kumbaya college-town atmosphere and the gaping hipsters and granolas gathered ’round to spectate—I simply refused to accept that I owed a predatory hustler anything but flagrant contempt.

The Reverend looked around at the assembled throng and decided to go for a half-measure: kicking around the back of my shins in big circular motions, trying to trip me. I jumped, took a step back, and grabbed an apple out of the grocery bag I had dangling from my wrist. My side-hand curve went ‘thwap!’ upside The Reverend’s head and dropped to the sidewalk broken open, dripping juice; then I hurled another, and another, each one landing with a ‘thwap!’ as we danced around in circles like a folk jig, him still trying to trip me, until I was out of apples.

Realizing, I suppose, that this spectacle was liable to cost him business, after a minute or so The Reverend stopped, hung his head sullenly, and skulked back to his tarot table to pack up his things. As I moved on up the strip, the atmosphere around me seemed to inflate with a laden tingling of shame. Had anyone heard me say nigger? Would word get around? Would I now be labelled a racist?

In just a few short months, The Reverend had made himself such a figure in town that at one point, about a month prior, he officiated a well-attended, interactive ‘white privilege’ self-flagellation demo organized by some intrepid sociology students at the university campus. It even got written up in the local weekly. But after our confrontation I never saw him in town again.

But the day of our confrontation, as I tender-hoofed my way up the strip and away from the scene, the strangest thing happened. A lousy, shirtless, sunburned little man with a shorn pate, wearing blue jeans, combat boots and braces came straggling along behind me. When he caught up he blurted out, breathless, ‘Are you having trouble with that nigger?’ Unsure of his intentions and leery of being judged by any proximate third-parties who might’ve seen what just happened, I replied ‘Hey man, that’s some pretty strong language right there.’ But when I glanced over I noticed that he was covered from torso to neck in Nazi tattoos. This dude intended to lend me moral support on the grounds of white solidarity. ‘Man, I hate that fuckin’ nigger. Just out here preyin’ on dumb fucks in this town. You don’t have to take that shit.’

‘I don’t know if you wanna take my part, bro. I’m Jewish.’

‘Well…..’ He paused. ‘I don’t have anything against Jews. I just have a problem with certain Zionists.’ I was taken aback, not at the note of acceptance but at the vocabulary, and not because it was impressive, but because it existed at all.

‘Name’s Panther.’ He extended a hand and we shook. Panther was small enough I could’ve picked him up and tossed him in a trash compactor. ‘Stay out of trouble, brother. Just look at me’—he was pretty haggard—‘it ain’t worth it.’ And off he went into the evening.

Requiem for an Honest Man

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shalom khaver

What if you had to choose between a bang and a whimper?

The bereaved father (Hebrew) of an only-child fallen soldier (English) committed suicide over his son’s grave. Did the comfort to be taken in sacrificing for the greater good turn out to be empty mockery? Well….

If the glib reassurances of the living don’t stick, it’s because they shouldn’t. As a father of sons I can absolutely relate to this man. Good for him. The paradox of a state that conscripts you to murder and be murdered, but forbids suicide, strongly implies ownership. With the best of intentions.

Camus said, “The only serious question in life is whether or not to kill yourself.” Either we affirm life or we negate it. Every acquiescence to hatred and fear is an acquiescence to death, a suicide in miniature.

At least actual suicide is honest.

 

One God, no Masters

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Don’t ever stop throwing punches

But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. (Luke 19:27)

But the rest of the world they confront with a contempt reserved for enemies.                                   (Tacitus, Histories 5:2-5)

‘Tis the season of Mars retrograde reactionary chic. I have only one horse in this manger and he most assuredly is not the messiah.

The Jewish sojourn lo these past couple millennia is ironic in that it mirrors the Gospel themes of stripes, stigmata, and resurrection. But while many an archetype has been cast in legend or approximated by a given personage in history—and while every nation has its spirits, gods and peculiarities—it’s rare for a literary archetype to be embodied in an entire people.

The alleged inimicality of Judaism or the Semitic spirit, on the one hand, and the Aryan or aristocratic spirit on the other, is a long-established cliché. Nietzsche called it master versus slave morality; Spengler described the Western as opposed to the Magian cultures. Conservative Catholic apologists still ascribe the insurrectionary personality of Barabbas to the Jewish people as a whole—instead prescribing Christ-like meekness (or torture, as necessary—and they’re right. I myself would indubitably have preferred Barabbas). Evola juxtaposed the emphasis on penitence and mortification inherent in primitive Semitic and Babylonian traditions with the crucible of knighthood he identified as embodying their Indo-Aryan counterpart.

But just how far are Judaism and yiddishkeit removed from the “world of Tradition” as Evola conceived it? Are the Jews merely the bearers of a fossilized culture, as Arnold Toynbee suggested? Or are we vectors of dissolutive modernity, its materialism and revolutionary ferment? If it’s the latter, this would be a sort of revenge of the nerds: the intelligentsia are the villains in any good critique of modernity. In The Cherry Tree, Chekhov even gave his ruined old nobles a sendoff by a “Jewish orchestra.”

Well, no one will deny that the Jews are a clever bunch, given to smarting disdainfully under every kind of regime—behavior that can’t be all that incidental to the biblical narrative of slave revolt. And I’ll buy the theory that yiddishkeit has a lot to do with contrarianism (“a stiff-necked people”). But envy, rebellion and cyclical decay of the social order are deeply human universals, so how specifically do the Jews factor into the erosion of the “world of tradition” and the onset of vapid, discombobulated modernity?

According to Nietzsche,

the Jews achieved that miracle of inversion of values thanks to which life on earth has for a couple millennia acquired a new and dangerous fascination—their prophets fused ‘rich’, ‘godless’, ‘evil’, ‘violent’, ‘sensual’ into one and were the first to coin the word ‘world’ as a term of infamy. It is this inversion of values (with which is involved the employment of the word for ‘poor’ as a synonym for ‘holy’ and ‘friend’) that the significance of the Jewish people resides: with them there begins the slave revolt in morals.

But which Jews are these? The Essenes, or the zealots? Of course we know which of these the Romans co-opted, and which they repressed.

When reading Nietzsche it provides crucial context to recall that he contracted his syphilis from a boy hireling. So did the Jews despise hellenistic bacchanalia because they hated life, or because they wanted to live? Did turn-of-the-millennium Jews despise wealth for it’s own sake? Of course not: they were being taxed to starvation by quislings—the Parable of the Ten Minas is not a nod to the poor, the humble or the meek, either it’s a public service reminder to pay your taxes and keep your fucking mouth shut, or it’s incomprehensible garbage.

So there was quite a bit of ressentiment of Judea on the part of Rome, was there not? “It belongs to human nature to hate those whom we have injured,” to quote the noble Roman. Somehow, slave driving just isn’t the portrait of well-being Nietzsche takes it for, and something in his cosmology smacks of reverse victimology. You got taken by slaves? I wouldn’t complain too loud about that if I was you.

As Voltaire said, a sucker plays himself:

We hold the Jews in horror, and we insist that all which has been written by them, and collected by us, bears the stamp of Divinity. There never was so palpable a contradiction.

Indeed. But how is that Harold Abraham’s problem? That I wrote the tune you imbibe to makes me neither an alcoholic nor a barkeep. If your religion of kindness is based around critiquing the moral turpitude of a far-off people fighting yesteryear for its life against debauched aristocrats—a habit Voltaire, in spite of his apostasy, couldn’t resist falling into—then I don’t know what to tell you. Next time, get your own damn fables.

In any case, the Jews inflicted more damage on the Roman military than the efforts of any subjugant people, and they managed this well after the bulk of the defeats that Nietzsche credits with providing the impetus for their supposed inversion of values. When the Jews decided “to be at any cost”, they made one helluva downpayment. How many times does your empire have to be shaken by Judean resistance before you realize the problem is you? What Nietzsche remains insufficient to explain is how so heady a brew of values-inversion as the Hebrew scriptures could have been adopted by such bloodthirsty fishers of men.

 

Logos

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freedom isn’t free

I meant to give you what’s been lost

but now you have to try and find it

Tetragramatons and old appliances

and Father David has his incense

a dusty village has its Saint

We’ll not be going back to Kansas

though roadsigns promise yesterdays

Fatherland Über Alles

Say goodnight to the bad guy

Say goodnight to the bad guy

“Military cemeteries in every corner of the world are silent testimony to the failure of national leaders to sanctify human life.” (Yitzhak Rabin)

The light in his heart blinded his sight; the longing for peace deafened his ears. And there’s something depressingly totalitarian in the notion that the sanctification of human life is the responsibility of the men in charge (=”national leaders”). A business like that could get real selective.

But since everywhere it already is and always has been, when it comes to Number One the only explanations for laxity are hubris, subterfuge or infirmity. And when it comes to the country Rabin led, you’re either for it, against it, or indifferent. There’s no moderate position that means anything.

To wit,

If Israel were to relinquish the West Bank, 80 per cent of its population and most of its industry would be within range of light artillery, mortars and even rifles positioned on the high ground of the Samarian and Judean ridges. These ridges cannot be effectively demilitarized or adequately inspected….

and

Those… who claim that modern military technology has made obsolete the need for… critical terrain…. are simply spouting ignorance. As weapons of war become more sophisticated these factors assume a greater and not a lesser importance…

Air defence radar situated on the [West Bank] affords the Israeli Air Force approximately 15 minutes’ warning time in the event of… air attack. Without these installations, the IAF would only have about four minutes in which to scramble its fighters…

[Furthermore,] no amount of electronic gadgetry could possibly substitute for control of… in-place defences against… guerrilla forces infiltrating across torturous borders. Between 1949 and 1967 the IDF devoted much of its resources against [such] infiltration. That these efforts were essentially not successful is clearly attested by the large number of Jews killed and wounded and property damage sustained during this period.

These are the expert analyses of disinterested military professionals, known to US policymakers since 1967. There’s an obvious inference to be made from them: that the moment Israel accepts a two-state solution, its viability, i.e., the lives of its people, becomes wholly dependent on feckless outside brokerage. How well has that worked out for other US collaborators? For the Jews? Consequently, Israel negotiates only in bad faith; it relinquishes territory only under immense outside pressure.

And so today, a lower-grade, more intractable intifada is upon us, the latest stage in an unresolved 1948 real estate dispute turned bitterly personal. Though Big Brother’s take on the matter rings unmistakably millenarian, machiavellian dispassion is still the best approach to it.

The standard premises run as follows: (1) The Jews are the aggressors whose bad behavior (“the occupation”) provokes these recurrent flare-ups. Redress this bad behavior and the problem solves itself. (2) The Arabs are the aggressors whose bad behavior (“terrorism”) provokes these recurrent flare-ups. Redress this bad behavior and the problem solves itself. (3) Each side has fair claims and unreasonable demands. Empower the reasonable people on each side (“civil society”), disempower the recalcitrants (the electorates), and the problem solves itself.

But all three run into each other, because nobody who has any real power is willing to endorse either of the first two (otherwise the matter would be settled), and the third can be modified to suit the purposes of any of the myriad stakeholders who appear to have real power.

A recent example, this one dressed up in IDF fatigues, appears this month in the Atlantic from the pen of one Jeffery Goldberg—like me, an American of Hebrewish provenance who as a youth served in the Israeli army only to return to the US with his tail between his legs.

Over the years, most of Goldberg’s journalistic efforts have been exerted (with preciously thin impartiality) on behalf of der judenstaat. But as a DC correspondent, a credentialed establishment man, he is innately straight-jacketed by the millenarian paradigm.

Because today this consensus so heavily emphasizes The Occupation and the Despair(TM), Goldberg wants the morally immaculate Atlantic demographic informed that in addition to its anti-colonial aspect, Palestinian nationalism is replete with dehumanization of The Other, based on decades of misapprehending (because Israel was conceived in peace and dedicated to the proposition that peace peace peace) but nonetheless egregiously insensitive sectarian chauvinism that handily predates the Jewish state in all its inadvertent excesses.

Shocking, no? Now that Goldberg has blown this thing open, will the Palestinians’ blood-curdling judenhaas cost them any street-cred? Of course not: the Jews are Franco to Orwell’s Catalonia here, haven’t you read the playbill? Only NPR granolas still think they see Israel anywhere near the progressive fold, and only glorified bloggers like the Atlantic house neocon believe that a death threat is exactly that, when The International Community(TM) is adamant it’s just a cry for help.

The Serbs were laboring under the same unwary naïveté when they went out to battle the unrepentant sons of ustashi and the traveling remnants of Charlie Wilson’s jihad, only to have The Rule of Law(TM) rain bombs on their children and old people. The slightly more sophisticated Goldberg understands that the Frantz Fannon approach to Levantine affairs is sold out, he just hasn’t figured out that there’s no return policy. Ever the sectarian partisan, ever the lamenting liberal, if he wants to keep selling himself as a moderate and conceiving of himself one of the good guys, then neither of his two conflicted faces may blurt out what they’d like, even when they’ve just said it. So he wraps up with this:

There will not be peace between Israelis and Palestinians so long as parties on both sides of the conflict continue to deny the national and religious rights of the other.

Aw, truly. And horses will not fly until they sprout wings. “Parties on both sides of the conflict”=the other guy. What we have here is The People’s Court, Uncle Sam presiding.

Thus the real hangup—of Arab, Jew and Earnest Liberal alike—reveals itself, and it isn’t tribe or talisman. For when we deploy the debate-stopping language of Rights, we whitewash our innate imperatives as creatures, not only to train up a tree in the way it should grow, but to fuck, suck, eat and shit.

Clearly, the Palestine Arabs were there first, minding their own business. They say they have the right to Palestine, to be its sole proprietors and never have this status challenged by covetous interlopers (their leaders sing different, but it’s a show tune). As rights go, this one is self-evident, devolving to the Palestinians in accordance with the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.

The only problem is that God doesn’t seem to give a shit. Neither does He seem too terribly anxious to hear we Zionists’ case regarding our putative right to pluck a fig and dig a latrine free from the capricious imperium of crescent and cross, because every time we set to digging, something explodes, and the Supreme Judge of the World admonishes us to exercise restraint. Perhaps it’s God’s silent stinkers alighting this tinderbox year after year, ha-Shem’s way of weeping over our rights and their apparent illusoriness. Though I’m disinclined to blame human foibles on the Creator, I don’t know. I’m not a theologian.

What I can declare self-evident is that the promulgation of sacred liberties, of rights, never seems to involve their simple extension, but their usurpation. It’s the greatest pretext ever devised, not for ceding power but for seizing it.

Al Pacino said it best as Tony Montana, but he may as well have been speaking for Israel:

What you lookin’ at? You all a bunch of fuckin’ assholes. You know why? You don’t have the guts to be what you wanna be. You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin’ fingers and say, “That’s the bad guy.” So… what that make you? Good? You’re not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie….

In the moral lexicon of the Milennium, Israel is a sectarian anachronism, rooted in ethnic cleansing; a gangster state that espouses no principle higher than self-interest, its own and no one else’s.

Not bad for the most neurotic people on the planet!

A year or two back I saw an illustrative exchange on Meet the Press between Andrea Mitchell and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. Mitchell played a clip of Israeli border guards kicking the crap out of a supine Arab youth, then primly asked the ambassador, “What do you say to those who cherish Israel, but who see it as potentially losing its soul?” Its soul? You’re looking at it, lady. Were they not beating the kid hard enough?

Zionism is anachronistic because Judaism itself it anachronistic. “Progress” always requires conformity. The tyrants of this world and their hapless minions have always taken it hard that the Jews maintain their insistence on special dispensation from kneeling and groveling before its idols, but at this late stage of the game neither can most Jews stomach the fact that these principles entail risk, and self-preservation requires violence. Hard choices will have to be made, but most diaspora Jews (and many in Israel) will choose not to choose—such that, in fifty years’ time, there will be no more Judaism outside Israel. The distinctive Jewish intellectualism that thrived under the pressure of interstitial cultural spaces will deteriorate in relative isolation. Meanwhile, open discussion of Israel’s dire penchant for indecision is monopolized by messianic nutjobs, while open discussion of the community’s actual responsibility for the historic situation it finds itself in is monopolized by androgynous hipsters and ivory tower moralizers. Benny Morris is the only member of that latter milieu who has faced this dilemma honestly: sometimes you have to steal a loaf of bread to feed your family. It shouldn’t be agonized over, but neither should it be denied.

Israel’s detractors accuse it of being the tip of the Western spear in the Third World’s hide, while Israel-apologists imagine it’s a forward outpost of democracy in Kipling’s orient. But the tide of democracy tends to wash over such outposts (Algeria, Rhodesia), and the whole “Who’s got your six?” gag rings tinny when Uncle Sam’s already got the Confederacy pullin’ fireguard for Pride. The difference between Israel and the West whose back it thinks it has is the difference between Futurism and Flashbacks; between New Soviet Man and 90s Man. Between cowboy morality and midnight cowboy morality, the Milennium and the God of the Copybook Headings.

Look, I’m as tormented by hypertrophied self-awareness as Franz Kafka, as sexually maladjusted as Alan Ginsburg, as gullible as Vassily Grossman, as conflicted in my affinities as Hannah Arendt. And White City Bauhaus is just the bee’s knees. But Israel without reaction (Josef Trumeldor), fascism (Vladimir Jabotinsky), pugilism (Imi Lichtenfeld) and gangsterism (Bugsy Siegel) is no Israel at all.

Of course there’s something deeply romantic about all these shades of grey, but there comes a time to put aside childish things. And the Jewish deficiencies Israel was intended to exorcise—the clannish solipsism, the conniving, the ruthless mercantilism, the sniveling refusal to bear calamity without castigating fortune—though counterbalanced by a robust militarism, these tendencies are rife among Israelis, and after five decades of police action frozen on autopilot, that now bureaucratized militarism has overtaken the gangster volatility and iconoclasm of early 20th century Zionism, until nearly all that’s left is conformity, and spite, and the swaggering, tactless lack of Talmudic scruples typified by Netanyahu. Rabin’s sin couldn’t have been greater: in essence, he acceded to a precipitous valuation of Jewish life. But at least he conducted himself with modesty, and played his cards close to his chest.

An analogous degeneration is taking place among the Arabs, who’ve gone from devout tribes of incorrigible bandits to effete, mealy-mouthed holy-rollers, hogging the airwaves with their tiresome identity crises and felching oversees lucre for their hair-trigger bloodfeuding.

Yet despite our smug superiority, throughout the past century of Arab-Jewish reprisals, from time to time a visceral disconcertion tends to arise among Jews over everything the backward old Levant (our patrimony, which will only and forever be defined by the Arabs no matter how long we persist there, just as their religion will forever be defined by us, no matter how mad our impudence drives them) has to recommend it that Christendom never did and modernity never will. There’s an odd familiarity to the Arabs that transcends the present enmity. If we’re being honest with ourselves, old habits die hard. Even at the cost of an occasional school bus making the acquaintance of an RPG, Bedouin blood feuding’s right up our alley.

So I don’t disparage the Palestinians as terrorists or any other empty epithet. Obviously their more conspicuous tactics (indiscriminate stabbings, shootings and bombings of civilian targets) are rather chickenshit, and my hypothesis would be that this has as much to do with inchoate rage of irrelevant etiology as it does with any tactical desperation born of power asymmetry. But it is also provoked, not by Israel’s putative brutality but by the acrid scent of that congenital Jewish tendency, at this late date unvanquished by Zionist instruction, to panic and duck for shelter. This is what a Rabin embodied and a Netanyahu intrinsically lacks the empathic wiles to compensate for with bravado.

But as far as any possible moral dimension to how an adversary plays the field (“terrorism”) in a zero-sum contest, it isn’t worth my time and isn’t mine to look into. As for the many US Jews who couldn’t care less about Judaism and the welfare of Israel except as an opportunity to virtue signal: that’s their prerogative. They’re no more useless to Israel than my sentiments are, and they don’t owe allegiance to their co-ethnics if they don’t feel any. A true blue Jewish state, with traffic jams and lawsuits and punk kids, kind of takes the piss out of tribal comradery anyway, and to the extent I hew to the ancient faith I do so for personal reasons, as a source of strength, and a form of oriental ancestor worship. If that strikes you as arcane or narrow-minded, well, there’s no accounting for taste. But lean forward too far and you might end up taking a dick (like this poor, dumb bastard—in the words of Milan Kundera, “He wanted the Kingdom of Heaven”). The only reason to sacrifice a thousand-odd women and children on the rancid alter of pretend International Norms(TM) every decade is to avoid the Serbia treatment. Which either tells you who isn’t really running things, or is a piss-poor commentary on the value of intra-ethnic solidarity in the aftermath of the 20th century.

Maimonides is purported to’ve said, “The messiah will come, though he may tarry.” Well, let that sanctimonious cocksucker drag his feet. It’s still more interesting down here without him.

Nazi Hussein

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“I and the public know/What all schoolchildren learn…..”*

Part I of a series in progress…. Part II here, Part III forthcoming

In an absolute sense, you never really know what’s true. In the case of second hand stories, you can only relate what you’ve been told.

The year was 2005. I had an eight hour layover in Amsterdam. It was sometime in that cleft between dawn and the start of business hours on a frigid weekday in late winter, and if you’re getting high at that hour it can only be for one of two reasons: because you have a serious drug problem and have been up all night awaiting your chance to smoke, or because you’re a tourist in friggin’ Amsterdam and this just happens to be the time of day your plane landed. Although on that particular day the latter reason was certainly true of me, I was getting high for the former reason.

After a forty-five minute stroll past shuttered storefronts, I happened upon a coffee shop that was open and operating. Beside a squat, bald, mustachioed Turk with greasy facial moles who apparently ran it, the place was empty of customers except for two guys having a conversation in Arabic, whom I sat down next to at the bar.

The one nearest me, on my right, was late-middle aged, stocky but dapper and a tad swarthy, with piercing green eyes, a bulbous nose and a five o’clock shadow. He wore a dark blue trench coat and grey slacks, assiduously polished black leather shoes and a felt fedora, and assessed me guardedly as I pulled out the stool to his left and goofily nodded my unmistakably American amiability. To his right sat a tall, gangly youth with a long, acned face and wavy, greased black hair, wearing skinny jeans, Adidas, and a beige turtle-neck. This younger Arab was adamant about something, intent on his interlocutor and bantering at length a mere inch or two from the right side of the latter’s face. Periodically this older gentleman, staring straight ahead, would indifferently muster a monosyllabic reply before taking a hit off the little green plastic house-bong that stood between them, filthier than a store-sock and giving off little whisps of stale smoke from its top-hole. When the old Arab exhaled, the Turk, stationary behind the bar and leaning against the back wall in front of us with his hands in his pockets, would grimace conspicuously, give a passive-aggressive grunt of objection and slowly, begrudgingly turn his head away from the oncoming cloud.

I paid the harried little Turk for a gram of hashish and set to mixing half of it with the contents of a Winston light, with all the ritualistic lighter-flicking and foil-oragami that entails. Enamored as I was at that age with the contrast Levantine hospitality posed to the American wariness and insincerity I had known all my life, when my mixture was complete I gestured in the direction of the bong and, when the old Arab handed it to me, packet the bowl and passed it back to him. His face registered surprise without breaking the exasperated pallor the younger man’s ranting seemed to have induced, and he lit up, inhaled and passed the bong back to me.

I packed another bowl and offered it to the younger man, who gestured refusal without a let-up in his Arabic banter. So I lit up, and as I exhaled it the older man, in unaccented American, asked “Where you from, kid?”

“From California. I’ve got a layover on my way to Tel Aviv.” That last bit of information was superfluous and intentionally provocative. I have no major objection to the basic Arab view of Israel, at least not on strictly logical grounds. If I was Arab, I’d share it. My objection to that viewpoint, such as it is, is mostly an accident of birth, and I figured that relations with an Arab who isn’t entirely determined to not get along with me are liable, ironically, to be all the more fraternal on that account.

The older man snorted an amused and oddly satisfied chuckle and glanced snidely at his compatriot, frozen of a sudden as though he’d just been slapped in the face.

“Where you guys from?”

“Palestine!” bellowed the youth, also in unaccented American, with a force he perhaps hadn’t anticipated from himself.

“He’s from Los Angeles” the older man, now in better control of his amusement, corrected him. Not being in on the joke, I was starting to feel rather like the object of some conspiratorial roast.

“Oh cool, I’m from Santa Cruz! What do you do in LA?”

The younger man glared at me with unselfconscious hostility. The older one continued, “His family owns some kind of bodega in the hood down there.”

“What brings you to Amsterdam?” I asked the youth.

“I’m on my way to Kuwait” he sullenly replied.

“What’s going on in Kuwait?”

“My uncle owns a business.”

“I see. And is this man your uncle?” I was still concealing my provocations beneath that insoluble veneer of American obliviousness. The older gent let slip a snort that broke into a chuckle.

“No, no, no, we just met in here and this kid” (he pointed with a jerk of his thumb) “started talkin’ Arab at me. I’m from Michigan. Name’s Nazee, nice to meet you.” He extended a hand.

“Likewise; Aaron” I said as we shook hands. His handshake was not lithe but firm and smothering, more midwestern than middle eastern.

“What brings you to Amsterdam?”

“Well, I’m moving to Israel to enlist in the Israeli army.” The younger man’s jaw and brow dropped an inch apiece as if he hadn’t figured his day could get any worse.

“You’re from Santa Cruz and you want to move to the middle east?” asked Nazee. “Why in the hell would you wanna go and do a thing like that?”

“Well, I think it’s a beautiful place.”

“That’s certainly true. But what are you going there to do? I mean, why join the Israeli army? Are you Jewish? Are your parents Israeli?”

“Well, my parents are both American. I’m half-Jewish. A couple years back I lived over there for a few months, and since then I just haven’t been able to think about anything except going back. So I figure, if I learn the language and enlist in the army, that would make me a part of the place. I wouldn’t just be a tourist. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an ideologue. I’ve got nothing against you people, and I can imagine how you must view an American joining the Israeli army. But I figure once I’ve become a real part of the country, I’ll stay out there and pursue peace in my own way, as a journalist and an author. So I dropped out of college and I’m on my way.”

“Well, I agree that nobody really needs college to make it.” A silent moment passed and the youth recovered from his disbelief and resumed ranting in Arabic. I took another bong hit. Pretty soon they got up, and Nazee said, “My pal and I are going to grab a bite if you wanna come.”

A bit surprised, I threw on my huge backpack and set off with them.

We meandered through the red light district and along the canals for about half an hour, occasionally passing a joint between us. Very little was spoken to me in English. Finally we came to an Arab restaurant where we sat and ordered. As their conversation continued, I got the feeling I was the butt of some joke unbeknown to me. When the food came, I dug in with my hands. “He eats like an Arab!” Nazee exclaimed. The conversation switched to English for awhile. At length we paid our tabs—separately, like good Americans—and got up to accompany the young Palestinian to the train station. As Nazee and I were leaving the platform we’d seen him off from, I said blankly, “Well, he was a nice guy.”

“No he wasn’t. He was making fun of you the whole time.”

“Well, I can understand his resentment. I shouldn’t have said anything about Israel.”

“Look, kid. I got two boys your age, that kid’s age. You’re all a bunch of fucking retards. You’re going to Israel, right?”

“Yeah, but it doesn’t mean I can’t respect other people’s feelings.”

“Respect away. But you wanna go work for Sharon and Peres? That’s no joke. Those guys are fucking gangsters, man. Gangsters. Not movie actors, not mixed up kids with silly tattoos. Mass murderers. And you’re softer than rotting fruit. You can’t think the way you do in the place where you’re going.”

Laden with that whole post-9/11 constellation of enemy-of-my-enemy stereotypes, I was still confused about something. “I thought you and that guy were friends.”

“Fuck that guy. What’s the problem with being friendly and just speaking English? All three of us speak fluent English, but he spoke Arab the entire time just to exclude you from the conversation.

“Fucking Arabs, man. They’re always trying to implicate one another in some little pissing contest. You’re suspect unless you’re pledging loyalty over and over. They need Israel though, ’cause they all hate each other. And Israel needs them, ’cause the minute there’s peace you people will be at each other’s throats. How much can a Russian and an Ethiopian really have in common, anyhow?

“That kid’s parents made good in the States”, he continued. “He’s going to make good money living in Kuwait on a US passport. People like him want all the benefits of being American, but they hate America. I live in Michigan, yeah? There’re a lot of Arabs over there. Most of them hate Americans. Not just George Bush; their neighbors, too. Fuck that. I didn’t go to America to just hunker down with my kind.

“I came to America from Syria almost thirty years ago. I was nineteen years old. Back then they took you to the army right out of high school. Still do, as a matter of fact. It was the mid-seventies and there had just been this God-awful war against Israel. I didn’t know a thing about politics, I just couldn’t see the point of dying for the asshole that was in charge over there. So I took a bus to Jordan and found my way to the US embassy. I swept floors at a bakery, slept on the street and just waited in line at the embassy for hours, every day I could get down there, for about nine months.

“By some miracle I finally got in to see this woman, I didn’t know who she was, her title, or what gave her authority to decide my case, but she asked me why didn’t I wanna go back to Syria, and I told her straight up that I didn’t wanna get drafted. She asked what I wanted to do in the US, and I couldn’t tell her, and she looks me right in the eye, something about her voice and the way she’s facing me kinda changes, and she says—I’ll never forget it—she asked me if it mattered to me to marry Muslim, or if I could marry a Christian or a Jewish or a Chinese girl, and I said through the interpreter, I said, lady, I don’t give a rat’s ass, I’ll marry who I love. And she stamped my passport right there.

“I didn’t speak a word of English. I spent three years cleaning toilets and flippin’ burgers by the beach in Miami, almost didn’t eat anything except hamburgers in all that time. But I learned English. Over the years I spoke Arabic with my parents and sisters by phone, but it got harder and harder. The truth is I haven’t really spoken Arabic in thirty years. I don’t know if you noticed that kid was doing most of the talking. I can’t speak much Arabic anymore. It’s too emotional for me.

“I been back to Syria a few times though. I’m considered a deserter, so I gotta fly through Amman, cross overland and pay a shitload of money. I can’t fly straight in or they’ll arrest me at the airport. I paid $10,000 the last time. One time, there was some kind of disturbance at the airport in Jordan, and our flight just circled and circled above Amman for like, half an hour. Finally, the captain got on the intercom and said we may just have to land in Damascus. I almost shit myself, ’cause they would’ve cut my balls off if I showed up at the airport in Damascus. But we ended up landing in Amman.

“My kids don’t have that problem. When they were old enough, I sent them to see their grandparents and cousins. They can just fly right in on US passports. But the police followed them everywhere. Fucking everywhere. That’s why I don’t understand this ghetto mentality a lot of the Arabs around Detroit have, ’cause they don’t have to put up with that over there.”

“But that’s not true!” I interrupted. “What about the PATRIOT Act and all the domestic surveillance of Muslim-Americans?”

“Look man, I got a welding business. Sheet metal fabrication. I work with my sons. All the contractors around town, we all know each other. On 9/11 I was in this lunch spot we all go, and a bunch of these guys were at the counter, they came in without noticing that I was already there at a corner table with my back turned. The World Trade Center was on the TV above the lunch counter for like, the five-thousandth time that day, and they all started talking about the fuckin’ ragheads and how we need to bomb ’em to smithereens.

“Then one of these guys pipes up, he says, ‘Wait a minute, what about Nazee? He’s Arab, ain’t he?’ And someone else says, ‘Yeah, but he’s not like that.’ And they all kinda quieted down after that, maybe they felt like they went too far with what they’d been saying. That’s just the way people are. The PATRIOT Act ain’t about Arabs. Arabs are an excuse, like the Jews used to be. You think they’re just gonna spy on Arabs now? They’re gonna fuck everyone. What you gotta be worried about is not getting fucked! But racism? Racism’s older than prostitution. Get over it. You can hate people’s guts and still get along with ’em if you’re willing to try. Most of the Arab immigrants in my neck of the woods don’t try though, they stick to themselves. They’re hostile. But they want all the benefits. Like that Turkish guy in the coffee shop giving us dirty looks every time we blew smoke. For christsake, asshole—you sell weed for a living!

“Look at this fuckin’ Arab over here” he whispered, jerking his head rightward to indicate a snowy-haired man some meters away, walking along an adjacent canal with a hijab-clad younger woman by his side. “You think they put those grocery bags on their women because they think it’s wrong for a man to stare at girls? Hell no. It’s because they’re busy looking at everyone else’s girls. They come to a place like this so they can do that. Guy probably brought his daughter to the fuckin’ Netherlands and then put a bag over her head and forced her to marry a stranger or a cousin just because the guy’s from the same country. Well stay the fuck over there if all you’re interested in is the old country.

“You got these mass murderers like Sharon—same story. He’d have fit right in at the KGB. It don’t matter for some people what to believe, as long as they can get their little hard-on. You know what they want? Approval. Behind that tough guy stance, they’re only doing what other people let them get away with. They want to be admired, be remembered. Same reason the pharaohs built those pyramids, man. It’s in our DNA to want to leave a legacy, to shape the future, especially for men. So we come up with all these bullshit rules about what’s best for other people, and pretty soon even a mass murderer thinks he’s doing everybody a favor.

“Look, I think it’s stupid for you to go fight with people who ain’t done you any wrong, but you gotta figure that out yourself. Maybe you got a point, a good reason. I can’t know. Maybe, if I’da been born in the states, I’d have gone the opposite direction. I mean, I’m not much smarter than you. But at some point you gotta worry about yourself and stop implicating the whole damn world in your bullshit, stop trying to make the whole world’s bullshit your own. It’s just a matter of making that choice yourself, or being forced to by circumstances.

“You know how easy it is to get along with people? Look, I’ll prove it. My name’s Nazee, right? Nazee Hussein. This is my business card.” He reached into his coat pocket and handed me a little white rectangle of tagboard with blue letters on it that read, “Nazi Hussein and Sons. Sheet metal fabrication.”

“You spell your name Nazi?”

“I spell it like it sounds. Politics aren’t my department.” In his fedora and trenchcoat, the Bogie quote was well played.

We continued in silence for a few minutes and eventually stepped into a little souvenir shop where there was a big glass display case full of iron-on flag patches for backpackers. The clerk sneered as Nazi reached in and took out the little Israeli flag and handed it to me. I looked at the clerk and pointed to the Palestine flag, and she started to reach for it, but Nazi laid a hand gently on her forearm to stop her. “What in the hell do you think you’re doing?” he asked me.

“I want to wear both flags to show that I’m open-minded, that I want peace, that we can all get along. Like you said!”

“You walk into the Tel Aviv airport with a Palestine flag on you and they’re gonna tear open your ass. Think, man! You gotta firm up. We all want peace, but that’s not where you’re going. You want people to be reasonable, but what’s reasonable to a guy who had the good fortune to grow up in the states is different than what’s reasonable for an Israeli kid working airport security who grew up his whole life with his neighbors wanting to kill him. If you wanna be with your people, then be with your people. America’s the opposite direction.”

I paid for my Israeli flag patch, handed Nazi a couple safety pins and turned my back to him while he pinned it on my Jansport. Then we walked back to the train station together and stood on the platform smoking a joint. When the train to the airport came I gave Nazi Hussein a big hug, stepped onboard, and made my way to Israel.

I can’t say that I really strongly countenance or object to any of Nazi’s criticisms of his people—I’ve just never walked in his shoes. But his words have been kicking around my head for over a decade now. They were there when I was living in Israel, when I served in the Israeli army and when I returned to California with my tail between my legs.