“All Aboard!”

I asked a bunch of New Jersey state legislators–Andrew Zwicker, Roy Freiman, and Mitchelle Drulis–where they stood on S.1923, which “[p]rohibits investment of pension and annuity funds by [the] State in companies that boycott Israel or Israeli businesses,” and A.3882, which establishes the State’s official definition of anti-Semitism. I also asked each of them for an explanation of why they hold the view they hold. Never got an answer from any of the three, so I’ve decided to return the favor in the upcoming primary election by voting against them, even if they’re the only choices on the ballot. Hard to vote for people who insist on turning the state legislature into a forum for the defense of an apartheid state, but can’t be bothered to explain what they’re doing or why. Continue reading

Three Passings, Three Losses

Sometimes people you come to know in passing leave a more-than-passing memory. Three such people have recently passed away in quick succession, and I wanted to mark their passings. 

Many readers of this blog may know, or know of, Chris Sciabarra, The Famous Dialectical Libertarian of Brooklyn, but far fewer have had the privilege, as I have, of meeting his late sister Elizabeth (1952-2022). To the best of my memory, I met her only twice; it may in fact only have been once, but she was the kind of person who would have left a double impression from a single encounter. Continue reading

Crazy Like a Foxman: The ADL’s Descent into Racist Sociopathy

Abraham Foxman was for decades the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, and is currently its National Director Emeritus. Paul Surovell, a Facebook friend of mine, is a peace activist and Chair of South Mountain Peace Action in Maplewood, New Jersey. The exchange between them (below the fold) is both revealing and astonishing.

Revealing because despite using them all his career, Abraham Foxman literally has no idea what the word “libel” or the phrase “blood libel” actually mean. Astonishing because Surovell’s final accusation really is as obvious as he says it is: Foxman’s aversion to the very acknowledgement of Palestinian suffering seems to suggest either that Palestinian suffering doesn’t exist, or that it’s deserved even in children, or that even if it exists, it doesn’t merit acknowledgement. Why else would that be, except on the assumption that non-Jewish suffering by definition takes a back seat to Jewish suffering? How much clearer could the sheer dehumanization of Palestinians get?

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Anti-Semitism: A Pro-Palestinian Rejection

In case anyone had missed the message, the cause of and movement for Palestinian rights is flatly incompatible with anti-Semitism. Put differently, there is no justifiable way of being in favor of Palestinian rights on anti-Semitic grounds or for anti-Semitic ends. When anti-Semites try to appropriate the Palestinian cause for their own purposes, or hijack the cause by attacking innocent Jews, consistent defenders of Palestinian rights are among the first–and loudest and clearest–to call them out. Here’s a piece from CommonDreams for anyone who still has doubts about the supposed “connection” between anti-Semitism and Palestinian rights (ht: Kevin Carson). There is no connection, just the wholehearted disavowal of one.

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Notes on the Jersey City Shooting (2)

In an earlier post, I took issue with the widespread but premature tendency to “link” the recent Jersey City shooting to the Black Hebrew Israelite (or Black Israelite) movement. From what I’ve read, the tendency takes the form of inflating the shooters’ interest in the group into a “link to” the group (suggesting something like membership), the implication being that the group’s ideology helps explain the shooters’ motivations, hence explains the shooting (suggesting something like complicity by the group itself).

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Statement on the Jersey City Shooting

We’re still reeling here from the Jersey City shooting, along with the string of anti-Semitic attacks that have come in its wake–eight nine in the last few weeks,* and then another one yesterday. Here’s a nice statement from Jersey-area religious leaders of various faiths. I wish there was a secular one going around, but I don’t think there is. If anyone hears of one, please mention it.

*I miscounted. Eight of the attacks were in New York City (excluding the Jersey City attack); adding the Jersey City attack makes nine. The Monsey attack makes ten.

The Guardian Angels: High Noon in Brooklyn

Diligent readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of Curtis Sliwa and his much-maligned organization, the Guardian Angels. So, depressing as the recent rash of anti-Semitic attacks in the NYC metro area has been, I was pleased to encounter this item online (ht: Chris Santo):

The Guardian Angels, a private, unarmed crime-prevention group, said it would start patrolling New York City’s Brooklyn borough on Sunday following¬†a series of anti-Semitic attacks.

Curtis Sliwa, who founded the organization in 1979 in New York City, said the patrols would start at noon in the Crown Heights neighborhood and expand to Williamsburg and Borough Park later in the day.

There’s a lot of bad blood between the Guardian Angels and the NYPD, and between the Angels and the press, or at least the left-leaning press. A huge heap of horseshit has been written about the “vigilante” character of the Guardian Angels, or going to the other extreme, about its hapless ineffectiveness as a crime fighting organization. It all seems pointless to me. I don’t get the hostility. Continue reading

Are Equal Rights Anti-Semitic?

Considering how frequently the “anti-Semitism” card is used against the campaign for equal rights for Palestinians, I thought it’d be useful to reproduce an ordinary donation letter I got the other day from the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), an organization blacklisted by the Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry. If these demands are your idea of “anti-Semitism” (not that I necessarily agree with them all), maybe it’s your conception of that concept that needs revision, not the demands of USCPR or its allies.¬† The idea of a “racist campaign for equal rights” is a contradiction in terms. The only question worth asking in this context is which party is guilty of the contradiction involved.

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