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The photo was posted by a friend on Facebook.  It represented as having been taken in Germany in 1931 – from the window of a German Rabbi looking across the street at a local Nazi headquarters.  I don’t know the town.  I would like to know more about the photograph.  Does anybody have any information?

Happy Hanukkah.

Germany, 1931

Csanad Szegedi was the leader of one of Europe’s most overtly antisemitic groups with actual political representation.  This guy was particularly rabid.  NPR reports:

Csanad Szegedi had in the past railed about the “Jewishness” of the political class. According to the ADL, his party’s presidential candidate referred to Israeli Jews as “lice-infested, dirty murderers.”

The Hungarian group is named “the Jobbik Party.”    They are a far-right party and earned 17 percent of the vote in the most recent election.  They are now the country’s third largest party.

This guy is Jewish.  He didn’t submit blood to some ancestral divination outfit which makes money convincing gullible customers that they are related to Abraham Lincoln and Jessica Lange.  He didn’t hear some rumor that his great-grandfather had a name ending in “stein.”  It turns out that his grandparents, on his mother’s side, survived the death camps, and had an Orthodox Jewish wedding after the war – but decided to keep their religion a secret from their children.  550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the camps, but for whatever reason, they decided to stay in the country and exist in secret.

The last three paragraphs of the NPR article linked above hint at potential redemption.  I’m sure a book deal is in the works.

Whether it’ll amount to anything remains to be seen, but overt white supremacists want to see the Tea Party less “apologetic” about racism. They are clearly involved with the Tea Party, but who knows how much influence they really have?

In any case, David Duke, who was last in the news when he attended an anti-Semitic conference in Iran,  is considering a run for President.  Normally I would say that it’s bad news for the Republicans, but privately many Republicans have been looking for an out and a reason to buck the Tea Party.  If Duke is perceived in any way as running with the support of a significant portion of the TP, it’s over.  In fact, I would expect the conspiracy theories to fly.

Is Mike Huckabee burning bridges, or is the Anti-Defamation League?  After a speech in front of the National Rifle Association in which Huckabee likened the “silence” around national debt (seems like not only is there plenty of noise about it, but it has eclipsed the concern for jobs) to the silence of good Germans towards the Holocaust during WWII, he was criticized by ADL head Abraham Foxman who said, “It is highly inappropriate to use America’s mounting debt crisis as another occasion to invoke Nazis and the Holocaust, particularly on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time dedicated to memorializing, not trivializing, the 6 million Jews and millions of others who perished at the hands of the Nazis.”

Huckabee then responded with anger: “Israel and Jewish people need to make friends, not insult the ones they have.”  He has demanded a retraction and an apology from Foxman.  So far, no retraction and no apology.

Some of Huckabee’s best friends are Jewish after all.  Oh, you think he didn’t actually say that?

“Foxman’s remarks are not only factually wrong, but they are hurtful to me personally in light of my unequalled friendship with members of the Jewish community, and I ask Foxman to retract his statement as publicly as he issued it, and apologize for his lack of accuracy in issuing it and for the harm done by attacking the very strongest advocates for the Jewish people and Israel.”

You see, if you support Israel, it should exempt you from criticism from Jews about anything.

In her column linked above, Michelle Goldberg explains:

After all he’s done for Israel, Mike Huckabee does not appreciate being criticized for comparing American debt to the Holocaust. Thus on Tuesday, when the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman chastised him for doing just that, he responded with anger and a hint of menace, saying, “Israel and Jewish people need to make friends, not insult the ones they have.” Such words are unlikely to convince many Jews that Huckabee is their ally. The statement should serve as a reminder that the aggressive Zionism of the Christian right does not translate into sensitivity toward broader Jewish concerns.

Do you think?

There are too many of them on the Supreme Court and some other choice opinions.

I don’t even know what to say.

There’s been a little bit of a stir over the tea bagger signs on the Capital steps yesterday comparing the anticipated victims of health care reform to Dachau victims, complete with photos of bodies found in the famed death camp.  Republican after Republican scrambled to speak in front of the crowd, but nobody bothered to comment on the sign until today, following pressure from Jewish groups.  Senator Eric Cantor has now deemed the sign “inappropriate” and even gone so far as to criticize Rush for inflaming the debate by comparing Obama to Hitler.

It’s in the Friday afternoon dump, but tea baggers don’t take kindly to criticism of their icons or the perceived weakness of apologies (to liberals).  Anybody want to start a pool on how long it will take Cantor to recant his anti-Rush heresy?

TPM has put together a list of the ritual apologies made to date, entitled “Forgive me Rush for I have sinned.”

Meanwhile, some Democrats are seizing the moment to make the wingnuttiness the story of the protest.  Fair game?  You decide.  Rep. Steve Israel:

“I can’t believe that Congresswoman Bachmann would stand where she stood, and see those images, and not have the common decency to say, ‘I disagree with the use of those images.’ I think that she owes the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust an apology. She owes us all an apology. And I’m waiting. We’re all waiting.

Don’t burst former Rep. Tancredo’s bubble!  “You bet it’s appropriate” he says.  And he blames anti-Bush demonstrators.  As previously noted, the right wing approach these days is:  Don’t apologize.  Always attack.  Don’t worry about how lame it sounds.  They’ll praise you for “straight talking.”

In response to this Nation piece entitled Feeling the Hate in Tel Aviv, which includes a rather disturbing video (includes racist remarks directed at Obama); a long time friend of mine who has lived in Israel and is an expert on Israeli culture and the Middle East conflict threw together some thoughts.  She is very much a left winger.

I saw it. You can see the contradiction in the Kikar scene where one of the young guys pointed to himself and talked about not liking people who are dark skinned. One thing that the video does not do a good job is showing the context for these ideas, which are very complicated. Part of it has to do with the lack of international education and awareness, part of it has to do with the attacks that Israelis have suffered from since the beginning of the Second Intifada. This is a big factor. I remember being in Tel Aviv during the First Intifada and even in 1993 – when most Tel Avivis were of the mind set – the Intifada isn’t against me and I’m not against the Intifada.

Also I don’t think that Max Blumenthal knows Arabic. I was on the web just last night and I was watching a youtube video of a Yemeni Jewish dance and the comments in Arabic were completely anti-Semitic, stating that the Jews weren’t real Yeminis and that they were Zionists, that the women were whores. Last December one Rabbi in Yemen was murdered and it now looks like the very last Jews in Yemen are leaving. There were also anti-Semitic attacks in Europe, in Spain, in France, in Holland. One guy was tortured for 3 weeks and then murdered. This is not being reported by the mainstream international press, but it is being reported in Israel. South Africa is a leader in the Boycott Israel movement and calling for the replacement of Israel with a secular Palestinian state. There was a record number of immigrants to Israel from there in December. The economy in Israel is really awful 1/3 of Israeli children go hungry. The welfare state has been almost destroyed, but people are still immigrating because of this rise in anti-Semitism. What you are seeing is a cycle of anti-Semitism fueling racism, extremism fueling extremism. All of this on top of the on-going Israeli Occupation, and that is also on top of a general feeling that Israel’s right to exist is being attacked, and Israelis are in danger of having bombs dropped on them and the rest of the world doesn’t care. Such a situation is not one conducive to promoting liberal enlightened ideas.

I have been trying to continue this post and facebook is really annoying so I will try to be as brief as possible despite the fact that this is not a good format for dealing with this issue.
The west’s relationship with the Middle East continues to be exploitative – sell weapons of mass destruction and buy oil. Talk of the Nation had some guy on a couple of weeks ago wishing that someone would drop bombs on Israel after having read Carter’s book. There is your stimuli for Israel’s current hatefest.

10 years ago there was not massive popular support for the Occupation, but Israel was able to continue that Occupation with US support. Now the US has finally changing its policies but it is doing so at a time when Israeli cities have seen bombs drop on their civilians, when there is a regime in Iran that threatens to destroy Israel and is close to having a nuclear bomb and sponsors right wing Islamistists who try on a regular basis to infiltrate Israel and do in Israel what is being done in Iraq on a daily basis. Israel is not in the US it is in the Middle East and it is becoming like any other shitty Middle Eastern country. Americans and American Jews need to face the facts and deal with reality. And it is an ugly reality. The whole Middle East is an ugly reality. Cakha ze ha haim sham!

I realize some of these thoughts may fall on deaf ears as the American political approach to the issue pretty much breaks it down to an oversimplified black and white.  But the end result of the progressive communities’ Arab good-Israel bad approach is pretty much guaranteeing a perpetual cycle of violence.

An 88 year old white supremacist shot and killed an African-American security guard at the Holocaust Museum.  The shooter had previously communicated to his fellow desperadoes as follows:

There are many, many informed patriots such as YOU who know the score! The question then is why don’t the INFORMED, such as YOU, take action? If YOU won’t take action, if the INFORMED don’t take action who the hell will – certainly not the UN-informed.

Moving to Montana is a cop-out. The ENEMY is at the FED, the networks, Wall Street, Congress; at “Holocaust” memorials, at synagogues, not in some sylvan mountain retreat.

Here’s an article about the victim, Stephen T. Johns “Big John.”

Sometimes the apology is as bad as the act.  Arkansas Republican Senate candidate Kim Hendren explains his reference to Senator Chuck Schumer as “that Jew.”

Hendren told me, “At the meeting I was attempting to explain that unlike Sen. Schumer, I believe in traditional values, like we used to see on ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’  I made the mistake of referring to Sen. Schumer as ‘that Jew’ and I should not have put it that way as this took away from what I was trying to say.”

As usual, the Republicans downplay it as a “plain talking” virtue rather than an underlying antisemitism.

Addendum: Senator Chuck “that Jew” Schumer has accepted the apology.

I just got finished deleting a post which attacked generically “the Jews” as opposed to “Israel” or “Zionism.” We’ve had this discussion in the past about distinguishing between the concepts and whether the conflation is proof positive by some Anti-Defamation League types that the latter two words are often code for the former, much as “affirmative action” is often code for more racist concepts.

Then I checked my email. Here’s a video of a Ft. Lauderdale demonstration and a referencing L.A. Times Column.

I know, I know. They’re oppressed. They can’t help themselves. They have a right to say those things.

Addendum: Yes, I know they’re angry.  And these photographs justify the anger.  It’s not the anger I object to.  It’s the hate.

Here’s a brief editorial entitled “the Ignored Choices in Gaza.”  It lays out some missed opportunities by both sides of the conflict.  Unfortunately, hundreds of Palestinians and a handful of Israelis pay the price.  And the outcomes for either side look bleak:

Now, inside war, the options look even more limited. Hamas wants some accomplishment to show for the conflict. It is desperate enough to consider Egypt as a diplomatic intermediary, though Egypt has no interest in the Islamic movement claiming a victory. When they decided to use force to stop the rocket fire, Israel’s leaders did not seem to have defined a way to end the war. The exit strategy was outside the narrow frame.

Reconquering the Strip would be a tactical victory and strategic disaster, turning the Israeli army into a daily target for guerrilla warfare. Shattering the Hamas regime would leave Gaza in chaos. According to the annual report of Israel’s Shin Bet security service (Hebrew report here), there’s been an increase in activity in Gaza by groups that identify with al-Qaeda and other forms of world jihad. Israel could find itself nostalgic for Hamas exercising a monopoly on force.

Reportedly, Israel seeks an international agreement to crack down on arms smuggling to Gaza, with foreign forces deployed on the Egyptian-Gaza border. But will foreign troops really engage in gun battles with Palestinians? The experience with international forces in Lebanon doesn’t lead one to think so. Yet to avoid conquering all of Gaza, Israel may have to accept a ceasefire that contains only the façade of a solution.

Second Addendum: People keep sending me depressing material. I’ll post this one, but enough already.  For some reason the embed function isn’t working, but it’s a horrific video ostensibly of Hamas soldiers using a child as a shield.  There’s no way to verify that’s what we’re looking at, but there it is.

And this one: “My father was no militant, but Israel’s bombs reduced him to a pile of flesh.”


July 2020