Monday, October 29, 2018

Cruising the Web

My heart is breaking for the family and friends of the victims of the shooter in the Tree of Life Synagogue. There seems something especially heartbreaking when people are killed in a location where they went to pray or go to school, but all murders are so very tragic.

I guess it was to be expected that when a guy who clearly supported Trump sent devices to a bunch of Democrats who have criticized Trump, but it is truly depressing to see how many people, many of whom are in the media, jumped to an immediate anti-Trump position when news of a shooter in a Pittsburgh synagogue broke. Somehow, the murders by a man who had social posts that were full of ugly anti-Semitism plus anti-Trump posts are to be laid at the feet of Trump and conservatives.

Here are some samples of that sort of tweets that people, so blinded by their detestation of Trump, couldn't resist posting in the wake of the synagogue murders. Notes that these aren't the rantings of some isolated a**hole on Twitter, but members of the media, academia, or a woman sitting in the British House of Lords.

Jenny Tonge, a British House of Lords lawmaker with a history of making anti-Semitic statements, suggested that the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting was the fault of Israel’s policy toward Palestinians.

“Absolutely appalling and a criminal act, but does it ever occur to Bibi and the present Israeli government that it’s [sic] actions against Palestinians may be reigniting anti-Semitism?” wrote Baroness Tonge on Facebook Saturday. Bibi is the nickname of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Tonge’s text was accompanied by a link to a Haaretz article about the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pennsylvania’s second-largest city.

Julia Ioffe has a column in the Washington Post pointing to all the dog whistles that she believes Trump and his supporters have been using to appeal to anti-Semites.
The president did not tell a deranged man to send pipe bombs to the people he regularly lambastes on Twitter and lampoons in his rallies, so he’s not at fault. Trump didn’t cause another deranged man to tweet that the caravan of refugees moving toward America’s southern border (the one Trump has complained about endlessly) is paid for by the Jews before he shot up a synagogue. Trump certainly never told him, “Go kill some Jews on a rainy Shabbat morning.”

But this definition of culpability is too narrow, too legalistic — and ultimately too dishonest. The pipe-bomb makers and synagogue shooters and racists who mowed a woman down in Charlottesville were never even looking for Trump’s explicit blessing, because they knew the president had allowed bigots like them to go about their business, secure in the knowledge that, like Nemtsov’s killers, they don’t really bother the president, at least not too much. His role is just to set the tone. Their role is to do the rest.
Remember that Ioffe lost her job at Politico for tweeting that Trump was committing incest with Ivanka and then got hired right away by The Atlantic. The Atlantic is, of course, the journal that thought that keeping Kevin Williamson would violate the tender feelings of its female employees who would be shattered by his pro-life opinions. But, of course, she's the person that Brian Stelter brought on to decry the spread of hatred on social media. Well, I guess she has a great deal of expertise on the subject.

The Washington Post provides a link on the Ioffe column to this July column by Waitman Wade Beorn. a historian and lecturer at the University of Virginia, arguing why it's not wrong to make Holocaust comparisons between Trump's America.
Trump’s well-documented use of dehumanizing language is another clear similarity to the early stages of Nazi rule. He caters to a particular demographic of unhappy voters, as did the Nazis. After all, his “America First” rallying cry was “the motto of Nazi-friendly Americans in the 1930s.” Moreover, his support or, at best, toleration of modern Nazi groups in the United States, epitomized by his relativist “blame on both sides” comment after the demonstrations in my hometown of Charlottesville last August, indicates that the history of the Holocaust and the Nazis must continue to be part of our critique. The Nazis who descended on Charlottesville screamed “Blood and soil!” — the same racist slogan as their counterparts in Germany. Certainly, the Nazis and white supremacists are not statistically anywhere near the bulk of Trump’s supporters, but his apparent refusal to renounce their admiration for him must be troubling.
And so it goes.

Bethany Mandel has a good thread answering the hateful accusations that the murders of Jews at worship in a synagogue are the fault of Trump moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
To accuse Jews of not caring about the deaths of their fellow Jews because of an embassy (as if one caused another) is the lowest of lows.

The truth is this guy hated Donald Trump because he was too good to the Jews. And thus the media has decided this shooting is Trump’s fault.

It’s a no-win situation and Jewish supporters of Trump recognize that. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s disgusting to pretend they don’t.

I say this as a Jew meh on Trump. The desire to use dead Jews as yet another way to attack Trump is vile.

This is a good time to talk about online extremism. anti Semitism. mental illness. About cities and states providing security for Jews.

Instead we’re talking about big bad Donald Trump. Same as always.
As another Jew who is also meh on Trump, Mandel's words ring so true for me.

Of course, these leftists ignore the recent history of anti-Semitic violence in the United States way before Trump became president. David Bernstein has a good thread reminding us of that fact.
If you are about to make a politicized statement about the synagogue shooting, stop. There was a shooting at an LA JCC in 1999, at a the Seattle Jewish Federation in 2006, at the Holocaust Museum in 2008, and at a Kansas City JCC in 2014.
Unfortunately, there is nothing special about a shooting at a Jewish institution in 2018. The only appropriate "political" statement right now is to condemn anti-Semitism, whether it emanates from the left or the right.

And I neglected to mention the shooting at the El Al counter at LAX in 2002, and the shooting of several yeshiva boys on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1994.
Yes, Trump uses very unfortunate language sometimes that some nuts can take as dog whistles to them. But if this is true, what about Louis Farrakhan, who is still an accepted person on the left. He has been giving anti-Semitic speeches for years. For example, just his past February.
Minister Louis Farrakhan engaged in a series of anti-Semitic remarks on Sunday.

Farrakhan has led the black nationalist group Nation of Islam since 1977 and is known for hyperbolic hate speech aimed at the Jewish community.
During the speech in Chicago, Farrakhan made several anti-Semitic comments, including, "the powerful Jews are my enemy."
"White folks are going down. And Satan is going down. And Farrakhan, by God's grace, has pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew and I'm here to say your time is up, your world is through," he later said.
That's just the tip of the iceberg of his anti-Semitism. The Jewish Virtual Library has a whole collection of some of his uglier comments. Here is just a sampling.
“Satanic Jews have infected the whole world with poison and deceit.”

Sermon, 5/27/18

“The Jews have control over those agencies of government. When you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door.”

Saviour’s Day Speech, 2/25/18

“Powerful Jews are my enemy.”

....“It is now becoming apparent that there were many Israelis and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attacks. Israelis had foreknowledge of the attacks... We know that many Jews received a text message not to come to work on September 11”

Saviour’s Day Speech, 2015

"They [the Jews] are the greatest controllers of Black minds, Black intelligence. They write the scripts -- the foolish scripts on television that our people portray. They are the movie moguls that feature us in these silly, degrading, degenerate roles. The great recording companies that portray our people in such a filthy and low-rating way, yet they would not allow such a man as Michael Jackson to say one word that they thought would besmirch their reputation, but they put us before the world as clowns and as purveyors of filth. No, I will fight that."

Meet The Press interview, 10/18/98

"Of course, they [the Jews] have a very small number of people but they are the most powerful in the world, they have the power to do good and they have the power to do evil...Now what do the Jews do best? Well, they have been the best in finance that the world has ever known...They finance a lot of stuff in the world, and there's nothing wrong with that, but they are not good politicians, they are the worst politicians because they don't recognize really their friends and as well their enemies..."

Saviours' Day Speech, Chicago, 2/22/98

"I believe that for the small numbers of Jewish people in the United States, they exercise a tremendous amount of influence on the affairs of government...Yes, they exercise extraordinary control, and Black people will never be free in this country until they are free of that kind of control..."

Meet The Press interview, 4/14/97

...."They call them [Hezbollah] terrorists, I call them freedom fighters...No one asks why they would do such a thing. Why would they do such a thing? What has driven them to this point? That's what the UN, the U.S. and Europe doesn't want to deal with because the Zionists have control in England, in Europe, in the United States and around the world."

Speech at the District Council 33 Union Hall,
Philadelphia, PA, 4/22/96

"How did we get into World War II? You say Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Yes, they did, but what were the forces that created in Japan the desire or the need to force them to attack America? You don't know that. But when America went to war after the attack on Pearl Harbor, she had to borrow money. There were the international bankers again. They financed all sides. And how many millions of Americans lost their lives? Suppose Hitler was trying to destroy the international bankers controlling Europe, but he went about it by attacking a whole people. All Jews are not responsible for the evil of the few who do evil...But certain Jews have used Judaism as a shield."

Saviours' Day Speech, Chicago, 2/26/95
The quotes go on and on. Yet Bill Clinton shared a stage with Farrakhan at Aretha Franklin's funeral. As Alan Dershowitz asks, would Clinton have done the same thing if it had been David Duke on the dais?
Why would President Clinton, a good man and a friend of the Jewish people, do this? There are several possible answers. First, he was taken by surprise at Farrakhan’s presence and didn’t want to do anything to disrupt the service. But the “shoe on the other foot” question remains: Would he have acted similarly if it had been Duke rather than Farrakhan?

Second, Clinton doesn’t believe that refusing to sit alongside a bigot is the proper response to bigotry. Again the “shoe on the other foot” question remains: Would he sit alongside Duke? Third, Clinton doesn’t regard Farrakhan as comparable to Duke. But that is simply wrong. Farrakhan is a blatant anti-semite with an enormous following. Finally, Farrakhan’s anti-semitism is not considered as serious a problem as Duke’s white supremacy. But without getting into comparisons of bigotry, anti-semitism is a serious and growing problem.

Farrakhan is at least as bigoted as Duke. This is a man who only last year called Jews members of the “Synagogue of Satan” and claimed that Jesus called Jews the “children of the devil.” Farrakhan is also a homophobe claiming that Jews are “responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out turning men into women and women into men.” In the past, Farrakhan delivered similar remarks claiming that “when you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door” and calling Adolf Hitler “a very great man.” He’s also a racist claiming a few years ago that “white people deserve to die.”

It took several days for Facebookto take down a Farrakhan video bragging that he wasn't an anti-Semite, but an "anti-termite." But Twitter still hasn't taken it down. And, of course, he still has accounts on both media platforms. If these platforms are going to pretend to police against hate speech, shouldn't Farrakhan's language count? And yet, there are some conservatives who have been removed from Twitter, while Farrakhan still has an account. As Ben Shapiro wrote last week,
Still, conservatives have been banned from Twitter for unspecified reasons. GayPatriot, a popular conservative account run by Bruce Carroll, was banned from Twitter this week. He wasn’t given a reason; instead, he was sent the following missive:
Update on @gaypatriot’s suspension. He’s now permanently banned for being “hateful.” Here’s a screenshot of the email he received informing him of that fact.

— Amelia (@AmeliaHammy) October 15, 2018
Carroll was originally suspended for calling convicted traitor Chelsea Manning a traitor, and for calling Chelsea Manning by his original name, Bradley. Presumably, his failure to remove those tweets led to his permanent ban.

Twitter’s failure to evenly enforce its rules has been a significant public relations issue for the company — widespread perception remains that Twitter is willing to let anti-Semitism and violent language from Left-leaning sources go while targeting it from those perceived to be on the Right. Back in August, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged as much, stating, “We need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is more left-leaning. And I think it’s important to articulate our own bias and to share it with people so that people understand us. But we need to remove our bias from how we act and our policies and our enforcement.”

In fact, last month, Dorsey admitted that the company leans so far to the left that conservatives “don’t feel safe to express their opinions” within the company. Dorsey said:
We have a lot of conservative-leaning folks in the company as well, and to be honest, they don’t feel safe to express their opinions at the company. They do feel silenced by just the general swirl of what they perceive to be the broader percentage of leanings within the company, and I don’t think that’s fair or right.

The vagaries of free speech on outlets like Twitter are obvious and troubling. But if Twitter is going to start tossing people for hateful or degrading speech, Farrakhan should be the first to go. And if they’re not, then a bevy of former Twitter stars should be allowed back on the platform. If Farrakhan is the outer limit on Twitter, pretty much everyone should be within that limit. The fact that Farrakhan remains while far more anodyne conservatives have been purged speaks to the continuing Leftist romance with the brutal anti-Semite and racist.

And let's not forget how the Women's March, lionized by Democrats and the media, has their own Farrakhan problem.
Mass movements are sewn together from a wide variety of sources, so they often sweep in unwanted companions as they move toward their goals. No one, however, expected to discover that three Women’s March co-chairs—Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, and Tamika Mallory—had ties to Farrakhan. More mysterious and disturbing was the extended reluctance of the Women’s March, nearly a year since it became public, to acknowledge Farrakhan’s extremist views and disassociate themselves from them.

It all came to a head last week, after Farrakhan delivered his address to the annual Nation of Islam gathering for Saviours’ Day, the sect’s three-day holiday honoring its founder, Wallace Fard Muhammad. Farrakhan denounced “Satanic Jews,” said that “when you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door,” and at the climax of his speech, proclaimed, “White folks are going down, and Satan is going down, and Farrakhan by God’s grace has pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew—and I’m here to say, your time is up.”
But the leaders of the Women's March declined to condemn his language.
Naturally, this renewed interest in just what the Women’s March was thinking. Mallory further stoked controversy when a woman questioning her about Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism drew a response from a preacher asking her to condemn Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and praying for Jesus to cast out the “wicked spirit laying on her heart.” Linda Sarsour surfaced to say the man was “too blessed,” and Mallory tweeted, “If your leader does not have the same enemies as Jesus, they may not be THE leader!”
This article in The Atlantic traces the history of anti-Semitism in the civil rights movement. This is a history that many on the left don't want to face.
The perspectives of the movement’s leaders are, perhaps, clearer in off-the-cuff comments. “How can a black woman be racist?” asked co-founder Bob Bland of those challenging Mallory. “I think [Farrakhan] is a distraction,” said co-chair Carmen Perez.*

In reality, just like everyone else, people on the contemporary left pick and choose when to be practical and when to be idealistic. That there appears to be no desire on the part of Women’s March to confront Jew-hatred specifically and substantively, even as most religious hate crimes target Jews and anti-Semitism stats rise, is something that should trouble anyone of genuine antiracist sentiment. That the group refuses to be accountable for a high-level alliance with an open anti-Semite disqualifies it from ranking among today’s movements for social justice.

Here are some other Democrats who refuse to criticize Farrakhan.
The other day, The Daily Caller — a conservative news and opinion site — capitalized on the silence, and on the acquiescence of Davis, who was quoted as saying Farrakhan’s views aren’t a big deal.

The Daily Caller has called out others on their relationship with Farrakhan, from U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California to Democratic Party Vice Chairman Keith Ellison. And so far, from them and others on the left, you hear crickets.

“I’m a pretty global individual. So I know Farrakhan, I know the Middle East question, I know the Jews and Farrakhan — I know all that, but that’s not what I spend all my time focused on,” [U.S. Rep. Danny] Davis was quoted as saying by the Daily Caller. “I know Farrakhan, been knowing him for years and years and years and years and years, and every once in a while some writer or somebody will I guess try to think of something to say about Farrakhan, but nah, my world is so much bigger than any of that. I don’t have time for that. I deal with it, you know, when it comes but nah, that’s not a real part of my focus.

“That’s just one segment of what goes on in our world. The world is so much bigger than Farrakhan and the Jewish question and his position on that and so forth. For those heavy into it, that’s their thing, but it ain’t my thing,” he said.

Later, Davis issued a statement condemning The Daily Caller, saying the “ultra-right propaganda site” attempted to impugn his character and “divide and separate African Americans and Jewish Americans, by portraying me as sympathetic to anti-Semitic views. ...

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Davis said in his statement, adding that he has spent his life condemning all forms of hatred and bigotry.

It was an impressive denunciation. So I called Davis’ office and spoke to Ira Cohen, Davis’ director of issues and communications.

I asked about something I didn’t see in Davis’ statement denouncing hate:

The name of Louis Farrakhan.

There was silence. I thought he didn’t hear me. So I asked again.

Did you hear what I said about Farrakhan not being mentioned in the statement?

“I heard what you said, yes,” Cohen said.

He said he’d get back to me if Davis had anything to add. I’m not holding my breath.

Republicans quickly condemn David Duke and other haters of the hard white right. When President Donald Trump equivocated about haters on the march in Charlottesville, Va., I called him out on it, as did many conservatives.

But few, if any Democratic voices are being raised against Farrakhan. The Congressional Black Caucus certainly won’t condemn him. And white Democrats aren’t demanding condemnation either. They don’t want to risk losing votes.

This Democratic candidate is most likely going to be a member of Congress to replace Keith Ellison. I guess Minnesotans are going from one anti-Semite to another.
On November 16, 2012, Somali-born Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar (D), who’s currently running for the state’s 5th Congressional District seat, sent out the following tweet:
Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel

— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 16, 2012

Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel
In May of this year, Twitter user John Gilmore dug up the six-year-old tweet, forcing Omar to defend herself.

She responded: "Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews. You are a hateful sad man, I pray to Allah you get the help you need and find happiness."
Doesn't sound like an answer to the point does it? And these are the noble Palestinians she's defending against Israel.
Omar’s initial tweet came three days after "Palestinian terrorists in Gaza launched more than 150 rockets at Israel" from November 10-13, 2012, reports the Jewish Virtual Library.

On November 14, the Israeli Air Force killed Ahmad Jabari in an air strike. Jabari, the military commander of Hamas, was allegedly responsible for, or instrumental in, multiples terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and military personnel since the 1990s.

On November 15, another terrorist-launched rocket killed three Israeli civilians. This and other rocket launches from Palestinian militants in Gaza prompted Israel to initiate Operation Pillar of Defense.

According to Israel’s official New York consulate website, during the operation, "the IDF targeted over 1,500 terror sites including 19 senior command centers, operational control centers and Hamas’ senior-rank headquarters, 30 senior operatives, damaging Hamas’ command and control, hundreds of underground rocket launchers, 140 smuggling tunnels, 66 terror tunnels, dozens of Hamas operation rooms and bases, 26 weapon manufacturing and storage facilities and dozens of long-range rocket launchers and launch sites."

Omar defended herself against charges of anti-Semitism in a July interview with ABC News, saying: "These accusations are without merit. They are rooted in bigotry toward a belief about what Muslims are stereotyped to believe."
Here is what the Anti-Defamation League says to the commonly-heard allegation that Israel is an apartheid nation.
No such laws exist in Israel, which in its Declaration of Independence pledges to safeguard the equal rights of all citizens. Arab citizens of Israel enjoy the full range of civil and political rights, including the right to organize politically, the right to vote and the right to speak and publish freely. Israeli Arabs and other non-Jewish Israelis serve as members of Israel’s security forces, are elected to parliament and appointed to the country’s highest courts. They are afforded equal educational opportunities, and there are ongoing initiatives to further improve the economic standing of all of Israel’s minorities. These facts serve as a counter to the apartheid argument, and demonstrate that Israel is committed to democratic principles and equal rights for all its citizens.

Moreover, Israel’s acceptance of a two-state solution as the outcome of bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations belies accusations that Israel’s goal is the persecution of Palestinians.

To be sure, Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip do encounter hardships as a result of Israeli policies, including checkpoints, access into Israel, the security barrier and other issues. However, these procedures and structures have been developed to promote security and thwart potential terrorist action, not to persecute or segregate.

Finally, divestment and boycott campaigns singularly demonize Israel and designate Israel for pariah status, while ignoring other states, including many in the Middle East, which systematically abuse human rights. If anti-Israel divestment and boycott activists were truly interested in aiding Palestinians and promoting Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, they would advocate constructive initiatives between Israelis, Palestinians and others. Unfortunately, most of these activists ignore such initiatives, and focus solely on bashing Israel and promoting punitive actions against the state. Indeed, former South African Constitutional Court Justice Richard Goldstone wrote in a New York Times op-ed that accusing Israel of apartheid “is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.”
If only Jimmy Carter had such a clear understanding of the situation on the ground in the Middle East, he wouldn't have written his 2006 book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. And that's the guy the Nobel Peace Prize committee chose!

Josh Hammer reminds us that, despite all the fears of an anti-Muslim backlash, the majority of federaly religious hate crimes in the United States, according to the FBI, are anti-Semitic.
Hate crimes motivated by religious bias accounted for 1,538 offenses reported by law enforcement. A breakdown of the bias motivation of religious-biased offenses showed:

54.2 percent were anti-Jewish.
24.8 percent were anti-Islamic (Muslim).
4.1 percent were anti-Catholic.
3.1 percent were anti-multiple religions, group.
2.4 percent were anti-Other Christian.
1.8 percent were anti-Eastern Orthodox (Russian, Greek, Other).
1.3 percent were anti-Protestant.
0.8 percent (12 offenses) were anti-Hindu.
0.5 percent (8 offenses) were anti-Mormon
0.5 percent (7 offenses) were anti-Sikh.
0.4 percent (6 offenses) were anti-Atheism/Agnosticism/etc.
0.2 percent (3 offenses) were anti-Jehovah’s Witness.
0.1 percent (1 offense) was anti-Buddhist.
5.9 percent were anti-other (unspecified) religion.
So I don't want to hear that, when a pro-Trump evil nutjob sends devices to Democrats, that his crime can be blamed on Trump and the right, but when an anti-Trump, anti-Semitic nutjob shoots up a synagogue, that his crimes are also Trump and the right's fault.

There is a lot about Donald Trump's presidency that I dislike intensely. But his attitude toward Jews and Israel is not one of them. His attitude toward Israel is such a contrast to how the Obama administration openly despised Netanyahu and blamed Israel for outbreaks of terrorism against Israelis. And I'll never forgive them for how they lied to the American public to push through their useless treaty with Iran.

This Twitter thread is a good look at the reasons American Jews have to appreciate Trump's actions toward Jews and Israel. I can't think of anything similar that one could have said for Obama. Yet there are many on the left who will blame him for an evil man shooting up a synagogue. That's just horrible.

In this brief summary of American presidents and their actions toward Israel, contrast earlier presidents with Barack Obama.
Barak Obama made strong statements in his campaign for the oval office, marketing himself as an ostensibly pro-Israel candidate. He even called Jerusalem the capital of Israel: "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided. I have no illusions that this will be easy."

When speaking with Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy bewailed Israel’s PM saying, "I can’t stand Netanyahu; he is a coward and a liar." Rather than defend Netanyahu, Obama replied, "You can’t stand him? I have to deal with him more than you."

Obama also signed 38-billion-dollars in aid to Israel. The 10-year foreign aid package came on the heels of Obama’s Iran nuclear deal which Israel warned would only further empower Iran and do nothing to mitigate its funding of terrorist organizations or pursuit of nuclear weapons. Moreover, under a provision of the deal called, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Israel is barred from receiving any additional funds with the notable exception of wartime.

As one of his final actions as US president, Obama refused to exercise the United States’s veto power in the United Nations, allowing a virulently anti-Israel resolution calling for a halt to Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem (a region Obama previously stated was without question part of Israel’s undivided capital).