A group of Jews endeavors towards total domination of the blogosphere.

Friday, October 17, 2003  

One thing Jarvis mentioned on Wednesday was that his sister, a Presbyterian minister in Philly, is fighting a Presbyterian missionizing effort in her city. The Jewish Week has the story.
There seems to be some family resemblance:

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 4:19 PM |

11 a.m. -- A federal judge hears oral arguments by attorneys for Amcha - The Coalition for Jewish Concerns and The American Jewish Committee regarding a lawsuit to stop the construction of a trench in the Belzec death camp in Poland; Courtroom 705, U.S. District Court, 40 Centre St.
How on earth did they get the court to assume jurisdiction over a property dispute in Poland?

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 2:59 PM |

Update to Elder Avraham's post on the Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's statements. Apparently, the Foreign Minister, Syed Hamid Albar struggled to control the damage done to his countries reputation after the remakrs were met with severe critism from the Western world.

The humorous portions of Mr. Albar's 'retraction' and clarification' are too numerous to mention. Here's just a part:

"The intention is not to create controversy. His intention is to show that if you ponder and sit down to think, you can be very powerful... The only problem with the Jews is when the State of Israel was created... Please forget about anti-Semitism... The PM's message is to stop violence, which is not the answer for us to succeed in our struggle. People may not be very happy but this is the reality: the Jews are very powerful... How can we be anti-Jew?"
He's right, I have no idea where everyone is getting that impression from.

posted by Pinchas | 1:33 PM |

Killing Arafat, or Maybe Not

A short time ago, those who expressed opposition to the call for Israel to assassinate Arafat were called insane, anti-Zionist, non-Jewish, and other friendly epithets. It seems now that the ultra-liberal Ariel Sharon has jumped on the bandwagon of the crazies and is himself admitting that Arafat's removal would not be in Israel's best strategic interests.

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told a leading newspaper that expelling Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat "would not be good for Israel...

"The opinion of our intelligence services is that expelling him would not be a good idea."
At least one country in this world has sound intelligence services.
Sharon added that Israel's position not to expel Arafat is not new. "Our calculations for years have been that expelling him would not be good for Israel."
So that whole 'let's kill him, let's throw him out' episode was just for shock value, to rile up the righties, to position the current government as moderate, to refocus the world's attention on Arafat?

I encourage readers to jump to the complete CNN story because the Palestinian Authority response to Sharon's statement is classic PA spin. I specifically appreciate the part where he says that settlements, not exploding buses and cafes are the main impediments to 'peace.'

posted by Pinchas | 1:08 PM |

Since everyone else is writing about their experiences at the Gizmodo party, I figure I'll contribute my part, from the Protocols perspective. The only Jew I met at the event was Beth Pinsker, but man, were the philo-Jews ever out in force.
I finally met Anil Dash in person, as he was talking with Nick Denton and Grant Barrett. Soon after Denton left that circle, Barrett's first words to me are, "I can bore you for hours about the Cairo Geniza." At any Protocols gathering, that'd cause everyone to gather round, but this was a Gizmodo gathering, so Anil said, "And that's my cue to leave," and vanished so Barrett and I could discuss all manner of things relating to the Geniza and Judaism in general. I mentioned, of course, that my newly-minted future brother-in-law's father is a major player in the whole Cairo Geniza thing, endearing me to Barrett for life. He works as a lexicographer at Oxford University Press. I discussed some of my thoughts relating to text, digitalization and Jewish heritage, and we shared some laughs about New York Jews.
On my way in, I ran into Jeff Jarvis, who summarized his experience this morning. It was a good sign, I think, that he remembered me, but I guess it's not a good sign that he didn't link my name in that post. I keep wondering, but never get around to asking, what a lot of the non-Jewish bloggers think about Protocols, especially regarding the name and the categories on the right, etc. Jarvis is a big fan of Jewsweek, and suggested I write a story about his sister, which I just may.
Met Aaron Bailey, who is a liberal who actually works for National Review Online, which makes for great conversation, especially about Jews who reliably disagree with everythin in NR except for the stuff about Israel. He's currently on a media diet of only amNewYork, which of course we don't get in Washington Heights. I expressed my opinion that the content of NRO seems to be worse since Jonah Goldberg handed the editorship to Kathryn Jean Lopez, and I won't tell you what he said, 'cause who knows, he might get fired or something. Anyway, the site there is definitely great, even if the content isn't as great anymore.
Rick Bruner's first comment when I told him I run a religious blog was to mention Hasidic Rebel, which is always fun. He said he doesn't know why HR has a link to him. Then he asked me if I know Pearl Gluck, which let me put 2 & 2 together -- Pearl told HR about RB. Buzz is a nifty thing.
Overall, my conversations with bloggers about religion and religion coverage in mainstream press are pretty satisfying, since they feel the same way about coverage of other issues, and are generally polymaths who're at least somewhat interested about religion, too. Much more so than when I'm in a more mainstream-media crowd. I don't think I had a single political conversation the whole night, which is an anomaly.
I was either the youngest, or close to youngest, person there. Again, the blogging crowd was much less discriminating.
The honoree, Peter Rojas, was very nice and very cool to everybody. He's a great guy. Congratulations.
Oh, and as Jarvis mentions, David Byrne was there. Except, I just thought he was a guy who looks curiously -- even dangerously -- similar to David Byrne. Now I know better.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 12:49 PM |

This is ridiculous. The NYT has a story on the Easterbrook brouhaha in their "A" section. And then there's the lates Easterblogg post, an apology. Both of these upset me, the NYT story because it doesn't let anyone defend Easterbrook other than himself, and Peter Beinart hangs him out to dry. Easterbrook's apology is just stupid because he's apologizing not for what he said, but for possible inferences from what he said -- which is precisely when you know that his critics were being hypersensitive. Those hypersensitive critics, of course, graciously accept his apology.
So, to summarize: Easterbrook writes something that's not anti-Semitic, and then apologizes for the inferences people (not anti-Semites) might have drawn from his choice of words. Various hypersensitive Jews criticize him for his initial statement, and then indicate they had no honest gripe by accepting his apology.
Meantime, those hypersensitive Jews have indicated that they won't accept non-Jews' criticism of Jews based on Jewish values or history -- an astonishingly bigoted view.
Jews came out the worse for this, even if many are too self-righteous to realize it.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 12:12 PM |

Finally, I get a chance to peruse the Jewish Press Letters Section. There are a bunch of solid letters this week, including the return of Rachel Weiss, who decries those who want Tashlich to become a social event (presumably because in a pro-socializing context some strange woman might come to say "Gut Yom Tov" to her husband). Still her overall point is solid. Stupid Letter Of the Week honors go to Chavah bat-Avraham. First she defines Judaism as the opposite of tolerance, multiculturalism, and the Democratic party. Then she says:

I`ve been a Roman Catholic, an agnostic, and an Evangelical Protestant. I can tell you that there are vast numbers of people who would eagerly become Bnei Noach, and some who would convert to Judaism (yes, I mean Orthodox Judaism) if they knew what it was about and that it were possible. But then we would have to enlarge our tents and our little club would not be so exclusive.
I hope that those who read this letter will open their eyes and hearts a little to the vast potential we have in this new year. The potential to shift American culture back toward traditional values by voting for conservative candidates, to prioritize Jewish funding, and to be "a light unto the nations.
Thats right. We should abandon our fellow Jews who have liberal tendencies (like me?) and be focusing our attention on converting non-Jews to Noachism, which somehow means conservatism. Disturbing, no?

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 8:41 AM |

So what of the general leading the hunt for bin Laden?

Gen Boykin has repeatedly told Christian groups and prayer meetings that President George W Bush was chosen by God to lead the global fight against Satan.
He told one gathering: 'Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. He's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this.'
In January, he told Baptists in Florida about a victory over a Muslim warlord in Somalia, who had boasted that Allah would protect him from American capture. 'I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real god and his was an idol,' Gen Boykin said.
He also emerged from the conflict with a photograph of the Somalian capital Mogadishu bearing a strange dark mark. He has said this showed 'the principalities of darkness. . . a demonic presence in that city that God revealed to me as the enemy'.
Wonderful. Christian Jihadists. Just what the Dr. ordered.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 8:25 AM |

Evan Coyne Maloney's full dispatch from the Rutgers conference is up. Will there be another one of his masterful documentaries? I hope so.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 1:29 AM |

This UK Sun story from Dani:

POP star Prince is banging on people’s front doors — after becoming a Jehovah’s Witness.
The pint-sized singer tries to recruit people to the religion by calling on homes in his spare time.
But some stunned homeowners have not welcomed unannounced visits from the star, who had hits with Let’s Go Crazy and Purple Rain.
A Jewish housewife in Eden Prairie, Minneapolis, told how Prince and his religious sidekick — former Sly and the Family Stone bass player Larry Graham — asked to be let in.
The woman, called Rochelle, said: “Door bell rings. My husband runs upstairs and says, ‘Prince is at the door!’
“I say, ‘No way!’ It was so bizarre. This is Sunday and it’s the night of Yom Kippur.
Yeah, I know. My mouth's agape too...

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 1:00 AM |

Thursday, October 16, 2003  

It's finally happened. Someone got here by searching for sex between the sheets hasidic jew.
For the record, one of my teachers in middle/high school had a theory for this persistent rumor: One time, a non-Jew was passing by a Jew's house, and the beged for a pair of tzitzis was hanging on the clothesline -- i.e. a sheet with a hole in it.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:13 PM |

The Food Network's "How to Boil Water" has changed a lot...including getting rid of its ditzy Jewish co-host for what appears to be a ditzy non-Jewish co-host.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 6:18 PM | will be going offline soon.
I'm doing this for a bunch of reasons. First of all, the amount of anti-Semitic e-mail I've been getting has, in recent months, increased 3-fold.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 6:03 PM |

Naomi Chana finally gets around to her Unesaneh Toqef post. As usual, its well worth the wait and she footnotes protocols!

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 5:37 PM |


2 p.m. -- Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean tours the sukkah outside Lincoln Square Synagogue; 200 Amsterdam Ave., at 69th Street.
UPDATE: Ms. Kessler had this on Tuesday:
Former Vermont governor Howard Dean is visiting a sukkah in the Empire State. The Democratic frontrunner will spend some time October 17 at the sukkah of Lincoln Square Synagogue, a modern Orthodox synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, mingling with Rabbi Adam Mintz and students. Afterward, he will repair to a room in the synagogue with a raft of Jewish communal leaders including Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman and Jewish Council for Public Affairs chief Hannah Rosenthal.
“It’s an opportunity for him to hear from Jewish leadership,” said Dean’s Jewish affairs adviser, Matt Dorf. “He’s going to be listening.”
The meeting, which comes a day before most of the presidential candidates are to appear before a national conference of the Arab-American Institute, is being sponsored by Dean’s chief supporter in New York, Rep. Jerrold Nadler. Others expected to attend are Dean national campaign chairman Steve Grossman and former Clinton adviser Sara Ehrman.
One more reason to keep visiting Campaign Confidential!

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 4:05 PM |

GOP turns to Israeli lobby for support

For all those readers who insist they are always right, here's a story about a Jewish group standing up and defending their man (GWB, not JL) - truly something to smile about:

The powerful pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has a long tradition of partisan neutrality. So some eyebrows were raised on Capitol Hill last week when Roll Call published an article titled “GOP turns to Israeli lobby to boost Iraq support.”

“AIPAC’s initiative is part of an intense public and private campaign by the White House,” the newspaper reported. Among the group’s targets: none other than Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.), an orthodox Jew who is a Democratic presidential candidate.

posted by Pinchas | 1:13 PM |

Steven Waldman handicaps the papal election at Slate. Our dark-horse candidate, Jean Marie Lustiger, comes off okay. Boy, if a Jew becomes pope...that'll reveal the whole "Elders of Zion" thing isn't a joke.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:58 AM |

10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. -- Jordan's Queen Noor speaks at the conclusion of the Seeds of Peace ``Breaking News, Making Headlines'' International Youth Conference; UA Theatre at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 102 N. End Ave., Battery Park.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:37 AM |

This from the AP:

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday told a summit of Islamic leaders that "Jews rule the world by proxy" and the world's 1.3 billion Muslims should unite, using nonviolent means for a "final victory."...
The prime minister, who has turned his country into the world's 17th-ranked trading nation during his 22 years in power, said Jews "invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy" to avoid persecution and gain control of the most powerful countries.
What is especially interesting to me about this is that Malaysia happens to be the country that produces the crayons that find their way to Dougies tables. You would think a country so concerned about Jewish hegemony would think twice about that, wouldn't you?

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 9:50 AM |

Addendum to my earlier post on Easterbrook vs. Harvey Weinstein and Michael Eisner. I find, via Instapundit, some other prominent bloggers chiming in. My reading of Easterbrook relied upon a careful and close reading of precisely what the man wrote; as a yeshiva-educated Jew and a blogger I'm at least twice-trained to do. It's weird to see other respectable bloggers, some of whom are Jewish, pounce on Easterbrook with all the vitriol and lack of coherence usually reserved for that kid who just found a new sect to adhere to. What's weirder, I think, is the near-uniform disagreement with the final point of my post, "It's okay to accept rebuke from a non-Jew about moral issues particularly relevant to us as Jews." Disagreement with this seems to permeate most of the posts I'll be disagreeing with here. I'm surprised that there isn't universal agreement about this, since thinking otherwise is quite bigoted.
The critiques of Easterbrook rely on fundamental misreadings of what he says -- go back and read his post again, more thoroughly.
We'll start with Meryl Yourish's take. She writes, addressing Easterbrook:

First you slam the Jews for worshipping money above all. Then you say that they should know better than to produce films where whole families are slaughtered, because whole families were exterminated by the Nazis, thereby drawing a parallel between, gee, fact and fiction.
Key problem: Easterbrook doesn't address "the Jews," he addresses two Jews. Yourish goes further:
That is one unbelievable ethical standard to hold Jews up to. That's right, the Jews have to be the most righteous among all nations, because six million of ours were slaughtered.
He's not asking for Jews to be the most righteous, he's reminding two Jews that they're glorifying senseless violence.
Which segues well to Roger Simon's argument that -- rather oddly -- relies on an artistic argument.
But clearly much of the world thinks a lot of Tarantino's work. He has won Academy Awards, the Cannes Palme d'Or, British BAFTA Awards and Japanese Film Awards, among others. His films are not just commercial successes, although they are clearly that.
Whether artistic merit can be separated from moral merit is a discussion for some other time, but clearly Easterbrook is not swayed by Tarantino's supposed artisanship, and is concerned only with what he sees as the glorification of violence that he thinks will harm our society. This is a red herring, and Roger's got a couple more to add on, such as
As the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter of a movie about the Holocaust, Mr. Easterbrook, I think I have earned the right to say this: You're an asshole.
Huh? That doesn't earn him any more right than I or anyone else has.
Roger points to some other people that are angry at Easterbrook:
Michael Totten, who isn't even sure he thinks it's anti-Semitic, though he emphasizes Easterbrooks' statement regarding the "worship [of] money" by "Jewish executives" Weinstein and Eisner. Yourish emphasized this, too. Thing is, the point agrees with Easterbrook's general moralizing position. Do Yourish and Totten actually disagree that Eisner and Weinstein care a lot about money and very little about keeping violence out of films?
Adam Sullivan is generally incoherent, and mentions:
Somehow the holocaust has been turned into an event in history that careless minds find as instructive for Jews when discussing Jewish morality.
Is there any reason why someone can't?
Eric Dreamer basically channels Yourish.
LGF says
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised after their recent turn toward idiotarianism with Jonathan Chait’s article glorifying Bush hatred; but this is another huge step in a very wrong direction.
So I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see equation of anti-Semitism with Bush-hatred in LGF in the future.
Of course, in the light of Mobius' idiocy, these previous comments are relative genius. Proving once again that he is too stupid to engage in public discourse, he asks me to meet him in the schoolyard to have my ass ceremoniously whupped. Of course, there are other stupid people in this world who read what he writes and think there's something to it, so I'll respond.
First, he thinks that because "neocon" has been used as a slur against Jews, and he only realized this fact later than the rest of us, his previous defense of blatant anti-Semitism should be reconsidered. What Mobius is too thick-headed to realize is that James Moran and Tam Dalyell didn't use the term "neocon," they spoke rather explicitly about "Jews" in a way that was clearly anti-Semitic.
Again proving he barely knows how to read, Mobius contrasts his prior comment:
because these people are anything but religious, a) who gives a fuck, and b) why is their cultural heritage relevant? if they were doing business under the auspices of promoting judaism or just being jewish, it would count. but because it's likely these men barely identify with being jewish, why (sic) does their jewishness have to do with anything?
Answer: because Easterbrook is referencing the Holocaust, you idiot, and that's relevant to all Jews whether or not they want it to be, just as it was when it took place. I related to this in my prior post, which Mobius quoted but is apparently having trouble understanding:
The interesting thing is that his moral argument doesn't simply appeal to a traditional Jewish moral sensibility based on, say, Bible and rabbinic texts, it appeals to Jews as victims of senseless violence -- who therefore should reject glorification of senseless violence.
Man, what an idiot.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 12:57 AM |

Wednesday, October 15, 2003  

This might be the most interesting Jewish scandal in a long time:

11 a.m. to Noon -- The National Federation of Blind in Judaism holds press conference to discuss charges of discrimination against the Jewish Braille Institute of America; Midtown Holiday Inn Hotel, Renaissance A Room, 440 West 57th St., between Ninth and Tenth avenues.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 4:11 PM |

Ex-Aide: Powell Misled Americans

(CBS) The person responsible for analyzing the Iraqi weapons threat for Colin Powell says the Secretary of State misinformed Americans during his speech at the U.N. last winter.

Greg Thielmann tells Correspondent Scott Pelley that at the time of Powell’s speech, Iraq didn’t pose an imminent threat to anyone – not even its own neighbors.
When Colin Powel took the US case for war in Iraq to the UN, I ceased my months of nay saying. I argued that if this real American hero, who for months was the lone administration holdout, was using his credibility to make the case to the world that there was likely some validity to the assertions of the Bush White House.
“…I think my conclusion [about Powell’s speech] now is that it’s probably one of the low points in his long distinguished service to the nation,” says Thielmann.
Where I have thought poorly of the Bush administration for some time, I always held General Powel in the highest regard. If the claims made by his former intelligence aid are true, I am truly, unpartisanly disappointed.
“…The main problem was that the senior administration officials have what I call faith-based intelligence,” says Thielmann. “They knew what they wanted the intelligence to show. They were really blind and deaf to any kind of countervailing information the intelligence community would produce. I would assign some blame to the intelligence community and most of the blame to the senior administration officials.”
I suppose this administration which promised to “restore honor and dignity to the White House,” while always being “honest with the American people,” even managed to corrupt one of the most honorable men of our generation. It makes me sad.

posted by Pinchas | 3:01 PM |

Judge Orders Reporters to Reveal Sources

4 News Organizations Told to Identify Officials Interviewed in Wen Ho Lee Reports
Guess they should have been using my lawyers... Prediction: Judge Jackson's ruling will be overturned.

posted by Pinchas | 11:13 AM |

American's Ordered to Leave Gaza

JERUSALEM - U.S. citizens were ordered to leave the Gaza Strip following a deadly attack on a convoy of U.S. diplomats...

Several hours after the bombing, U.S. investigators were attacked by Palestinian stone throwers and sped away as their cars were pelted by rocks.

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. citizens were asked to leave the volatile strip, but details of the order were not immediately available.

posted by Pinchas | 11:07 AM |

Tuesday, October 14, 2003  

TOM HARPUR rants and raves about American apocalyptism (if it isn't a word, it should be).

What scares one most about all the ignorant but lucrative nonsense being spouted about Revelation just now is that a recent Time Magazine/CNN poll found that 59 per cent of Americans actually believe the "end-of-the-world prophecies" in the Book of Revelation will come true. About 25 per cent believe the attacks of Sept.11, 2001, were predicted in the Bible. About 17 per cent believe the world will "end" in their lifetime.
This kind of belief creates the conditions to bring about the very thing supposedly most feared. It makes it easier for Bush and the Pentagon to conjure up nightmare possibilities and to persuade the masses to countenance any measures deemed necessary to win. If you convince enough people that an Armageddon is coming, it's simple to prod them towards it. Self-fulfilling prophecies become the order of the day.
His solution, explained over the rest of the article is to "disprove" and discredit the book of Revelation. I dunno. I mean, Jews have apocalyptic strains as well, but nobody's out to burn the book of Zecharya, Habbakuk, or Daniel.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 8:25 PM |

Kudos to Rabbi Yuter II for being online when I read this Dr. Laura article on forgiveness. She seemed, at least at first glance, to be anti the whole concept. Forgiveness has been on my mind recently as I've been reading Healing into Life and Death for Kavvanah (more thoughts on that later). Yuter and I engaged in a lengthy AIM discussion about it, which he was kind enough to summarize on his blog. Basically, I was coming at forgiveness as a way for the injured party to come to terms with the injury and move on, while yuter was coming at it from the perspective of the injuring party asking/demanding forgiveness before the injured party is ready to grant it. Somehow, though, we ended up in the same place.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 8:15 PM |

This is almost over, but maybe someone knows someone who went and we can get a first-hand report:

Noon to 2 p.m. -- PETA's animal rights touring exhibit, ``Holocaust On Your Plate,'' showing photographs of slaughterhouse scenes side by side with Nazi death camp scenes; Duffy Square on Broadway, between 46th and 47th streets.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 1:40 PM |


LG's new G5300 cellphone has a feature aimed specifically for the Middle Eastern market: a compass that can automatically point the user towards Mecca when it's time for prayer. They eventually plan to expand sales of the phones to countries like Indonesia and Malaysia which also have large Moslem populations.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 1:05 PM |

Pat Robertson clarifies his previous statements. When he said:

If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that's the answer
He really meant:
We’re not going to nuke it, we’re going to gut it
Phew, we were worried there for a second. Conventional arms only, I guess.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 1:00 PM |

A lot of people have been sending me the link to Easterbrook's hit job on Hollywood, which takes the time to mention our co-religionists in the movie business:

Set aside what it says about Hollywood that today even Disney thinks what the public needs is ever-more-graphic depictions of killing the innocent as cool amusement. Disney's CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice.
Oddly enough, Mobius is all atwitter. For those of you who don't recall, be sure to check out Mobius' previous idiocy on anti-Semitism here, here and nearly everywhere (follow the other anti-semitism links on the right for more). But, of course, Mobius being unable to think for himself, he lets Atrios speak for him:
Collective responsibility is just the flip side of collective blame. Both poisonous. Both bigoted.
This was the kind of thing that got Congressman Moran in trouble, but with Moran it was more just clumsy expression of what could have been a valid observation. Easterbrook runs right out and says that those rich money-grubbing Jews shouldn't be promoting violence because as Jews they have a greater responsibility. Or something.
The joys of being a religious, racial, or ethnic minority - always open to this kind of criticism by idiots like Easterbrook.
Shorter Easterbrook: I don't like Tarantino, and I blame the Jews.
Where to begin? Probably with Atrios' defense of Moran -- something I addressed in the posts linked above. Then there's Atrios' characterization of Easterbrook's post, which is a blatant mischaracterization. Easterbrook is not talking about Jews as a group, so "collective responsibility" doesn't come into play, and the rest of Atrios' comments are only hyperbole heaped upon the initial incorrect assumption.
What Easterbrook is getting at here is what he perceives as a serious moral vacuum on the part of Hollywood types, but especially the perceived hypocrisy of Disney exemplifying that immoral stance. And so he appeals to what he thinks should be the moral sensibilities of the Jewish executives distributing the film. The interesting thing is that his moral argument doesn't simply appeal to a traditional Jewish moral sensibility based on, say, Bible and rabbinic texts, it appeals to Jews as victims of senseless violence -- who therefore should reject glorification of senseless violence.
It's a cute, and pretty weird, argument. But it's certainly not anti-Semitic.
Yudel, who is unable to post this week, IMed me about this, concluding "Don't cry "Jews" in a crowded moral argument." Thing is, Easterbrook isn't polemicizing against Jews here, he's sermonizing to a couple of them. It's okay to accept rebuke from a non-Jew about moral issues particularly relevant to us as Jews.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:55 AM |

The wonderful folks at Landover Baptist are at it again:

Friends, we learned again last month what we’ve been taught the last 40 years – Alabama is way ahead of the times. While the rest of the country (save Freehold) remains mired in all this liberal nonsense about democracy, freedom and equality, Alabama has long recognized what heathens will soon learn when an angry Jesus returns to draw a blood bath of holy terror for those who emphasized the carefree smile of individual liberty over the brass knuckles of religious control – the only law that matters is God’s law. (That is, those erstwhile immutable moral imperatives of the Lord that Jesus or that Paul fellow didn't tell us to go ahead and ignore.)
I always enjoy how they manage to skewer both the religious right and themselves at the same time (intentionally or not). We need a Jewish version of this. Who's in?

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 11:19 AM |

Supreme Court grants cert to 9th Circuit "Pledge of Allegiance" case. Check Howard Bashman for some instant analysis. (via Volokh)
I would really love to get together with some people and file an amicus brief.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:04 AM |

Monday, October 13, 2003  

(via Kos)

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 7:19 PM |

The second installment in Beliefnet Founder Steven Waldman's "Faith-Based" column for Slate, discusses "myths about the religious right." Some interesting statistics to go along with what he's got.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 6:25 PM |

What restaurants have succos for Succos? List them in the comments.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 1:12 PM |

Engagement of Sharon L.I. Weiss and Hayyim Danzig.

So I'm now, like, kinda related to Blogger David Danzig, or something like that.
UPDATE: OnlySimchas

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 1:11 PM |

Evan Coyne Maloney gets treated not-so-nicely at Rutgers' Pro-Palestinian rally, part of the conference we'd been discussing. (via Instapundit)
See my interview with Evan from this past spring.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:31 AM |

For those of you who aren't still paying attention Mordechai Levovitz has officially entered the fray, with comment to the very popular post about him.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:37 AM |

ivyJew Yedidiah wonders whether pre-emptive shootings of hijacked civilian airliners could be considered halachically sound:

Simplifying a complex Halakhic discussion, Jewish law forbids actively killing someone in order to save another person, or even another group of people. The Talmudic logic is, "who are you to know whose blood is redder?" Notice that this logic can be interpeted either as a revolt from the very notion of utilitarian calculations of human life, or a less fundamental disagreement with the utilitarian that claims that on a practical level the calculations are simply too difficult to make, and are best left in God's hands whenever possible.
But in the case of the airliner, your primary target is the hijacker, and the passengers are what we'd call "collateral damage."

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:11 AM |

BeliefNet explores the apocalyptic traditions behind sukkot

The suburban, liberal Judaism that's common in the U.S. generally tries to take the hard edges off the ancestral religion. The more philosophically or emotionally challenging a particular Jewish observance might in reality be, the more likely it is to be downplayed or turned into a children’s activity. So the holiday of Sukkot, the Jewish harvest-time festival that also commemorates the temporary shelters the Israelites dwelled in during 40 years in the desert, is typically reduced to one afternoon each year in which the Hebrew school kids get together to decorate a wood-framed booth with bananas, corncobs and zucchinis.
Little do most Jews know that this innocuous celebration of supermarket produce is, in the classical liturgy and literature, actually a rather edgy encounter with the apocalyptic strain in Judaism.
It's a good article for what its worth, and there is lots of cool apocalypse stuff associated with Sukkot. Still, that first paragraph sort of glosses over the fact that virtually all of Judaism has or had some apocalyptic or mystical connotations at some point. That's just the nature of things. Also, I don't understand why religion has to be fire-and-brimstone apocalyptic to be "philosophically or emotionally challenging" or why that must be the only "real" interpretation of it.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 9:59 AM |

Sunday, October 12, 2003  

BTW: We're now the seventh hit when Googling "protocols." Pretty nifty, given how popular the word is, especially on the 'Net.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:42 PM |

Reader Zev sends in this snippet from WaPo that suggests AIPAC might be taking a more Republican stance...and offers no justification. Yet another piece on how more Jews are becoming Republicans when there is no solid indication that's the case.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:27 PM |

Tomorrow's 7PM Law & Order on TNT:

Monday, October 13th @ 7pm(ET)
"Blood Libel" TV-14-L, DVS, CC
An art teacher's murder leads the detectives to an anti-Semitic student and exposure of a pay-for-grades scandal. Chris Cooper guest stars.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:19 PM |

There are lots of tropes in arts and literature of late regarding superheroes and the supernatural, often coming with some comment like "we live in mediocre times" (Unbreakable). Anyway, this is the first instance I've seen of someone actually outfitting and characterizing himself as a superhero: "Car-Owners' Hero Dresses for the Job", with a letter in response addressing the comedic aspects more than the superhero aspects of the story, but nonetheless indicating the need for speciality. Like many good superheroes (Spiderman, Batman), he runs afoul of the police for his vigilanteism, though with far more reason in his case.
This scheming for the supernatural obviously raises reasonable comparisons with a longing for Biblical time and culture, etc.
BTW: His website is here.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:06 PM |

Reader Meredith points us to "Bris of Michelle Lauren Sarium (Lennox, VA)". Hmmm. So, either it really is some kind of "Brit Bat" service, or it's listing the mother's name instead (admittedly, an odd thing to do for a child-naming ceremony), or it's a joke entirely. If the comment currently there is given by someone who knows the original poster, it really seems like a joke. Your call.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 9:57 PM |

Earlier today:

Noon -- St. Thomas the Apostle parishioners protest the closing of their church with a prayer vigil and rally, joined by parishioners of other churches threatened with closure; front of the church at 262 W. 118 St. (corner of St. Nicholas Ave.)
Any chance we'll see something similar over at Young Israel?
In other Catholic news:
2 p.m. -- Communion and Liberation, a Roman Catholic lay movement, invites New Yorkers to a day of fellowship and friendship with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations, followed by testimonies and music in Bryant Park; Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 9:25 PM |
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