Saturday, December 29, 2007

Streit's Matzo Leaving Lower East Side

from the AP: "Lower East Side matzo factory for sale" By VERENA DOBNIK

Long after most of its customers left the neighborhood to pursue the American Dream, the last matzo factory on the Lower East Side is moving out, saying goodbye to a part of town that was once home to hundreds of thousands of immigrant Jews.

Streit's, a family-owned matzo-making giant that churns out 16,000 pounds of unleavened bread a day and has been on the Lower East side for nearly three-quarters of a century, is putting the property up for sale.

It hopes to get $25 million for the antiquated six-story building in a part of New York where tenements and sweatshops have given way to fine hotels and condos, expensive restaurants and trendy nightclubs.

"We're doing this with a heavy heart," said Aaron Gross, the great-great-grandson of founder Aron Streit, an Austrian immigrant. "We're America's last family-owned matzo factory."

The red-brick factory will keep producing matzo until the family builds a new one in about a year, probably in New Jersey.

The 32-year-old matzo heir said it is just too difficult to keep manufacturing in the city. The streets are too congested for the company's tractor-trailers, and he gets regular complaints about the loud machines that mix, roll and cut the dough before it is baked in two 72-foot-long steel ovens.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Lower East Side was the very capital of immigrant Jewish life in America, a vibrant neighborhood teeming with Yiddish-speaking shopkeepers, factory workers and pushcart peddlers.

Half a million Jews, many of them fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe, were crammed like herring into the lower Manhattan neighborhood. Among those who once called it home were actors George Burns and Walter Matthau; gangsters Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel; and musicians Irving Berlin and George and Ira Gershwin.

The Jewish population dwindled after World War II as the immigrants' children and grandchildren moved up and out to better neighborhoods, replaced by Chinese and Hispanic immigrants whose influence is evident in the bodegas and noodle shops that dot the neighborhood.

Today, there are around 30,000 Jews living in the area and only scattered reminders of a bygone era, including Katz's Delicatessen, the oldest deli in New York, and the Yonah Schimmel bakery, whose slogan is: "It takes a downtown knish to satisfy an uptown craving."

While many blocks of the Lower East Side are seedy, gentrification has swept the neighborhood since the 1980s. The elegant Beaux Arts structure built in 1912 for the Yiddish-language newspaper The Jewish Daily Forward — which boasted a circulation of 275,000 in the 1920s — has been converted into million-dollar condos. (The Forward says circulation for its Yiddish edition, now a weekly, is down to just 5,000, the English-language edition to 35,000.)

Earlier this month, the 120-year-old Moorish-style Eldridge Street Synagogue was rededicated after a 20-year restoration. But in a sign of the times, the building will serve a dual purpose as an American Jewish history museum and a functioning synagogue.

"After the 1980s, you got this continual increase of property values and rents and it just never stopped or went down again," said Clayton Patterson, a local preservationist. "I think it's tragic. What we're getting now is kind of boring and mundane."

Alan Dell, co-owner of Katz's, said he has no plans to unload the nearly 120-year-old deli famously featured in the fake orgasm scene in the movie "When Harry Met Sally." But he acknowledged an outrageous offer — "stupid money" — could change his mind. "As my father said, `Money can make a blind man see.'"

As for Streit's, "we haven't found a place yet, but we want to stay close to our base in New York City," said Gross, adding that Streit's already has warehouses in New Jersey from which the matzo is shipped.

The factory doesn't appear to have changed all that much since a photograph from a half century ago that shows a group of rabbis in white coats supervising production to make sure it's kosher. Many of the 60 employees have been working there for decades.

Streit's has tens of millions of dollars in annual sales and about 40 percent of the U.S. matzo market. Its chief competitor is Manischewitz.

Customers can still walk up and buy matzo from the Streit's factory, but the retail business has slowed since the 1960s.

"With the rejuvenation of the neighborhood, a different type of person is living there. It's not an ethnic Jewish neighborhood anymore," Gross said, "and the need to be here isn't what it was."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Former Arafat aide: "Arafat founded Black September"

read it here: Elder of Ziyon: Former aide admits Arafat founded Black September

They're called "abed" (Arabic for "slave")

from the Forward: "Director Focuses on the Legacy of Muslim Slavery"

‘The Film Class” could be the most important small film that almost nobody will ever see.

Set in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Israeli Negev, the film, which was shown earlier this month at the Boston Jewish Film Festival and at The Other Israel Film Festival in New York, follows Israeli filmmaker Uri Rosenwaks as he teaches a small group of Bedouin women the rudiments of documentary making: how to load film, how to operate a camera, how to interview. It all seems as ordinary as linoleum, except for one thing: The Bedouin women enrolled in this class are all black, as in black African. We know that the Bedouin are the original nomadic inhabitants of the Middle East’s deserts, prototypical Arabs. Who, then, are these black Bedouin?

Apparently, the women themselves hardly know. They have only hazy notions of their ancestors — extremely strange, since Bedouin customarily know their lineages down to the 20th generation. But as novice filmmakers, the women begin asking questions and following stories, and the stories that engage them most are those about their own lives and history. They interview a young black man who fears for his life because he and a white Bedouin girl fell in love. A little girl tells the women she feels hurt because white children call her krembo, the local variety of the n-word. Then we learn that the white Bedouin typically refer to the black Bedouin as abed — slave.

A black Bedouin interviewee says, “They [Arabs] would steal them [her ancestors] from Sudan.” An old white Bedouin says, “They were all bought, all branded.” An old black Bedouin says that slave-catchers “used to roam the countryside,” kidnapping children.

The pre-credit opening shots are of the slave pits in Zanzibar. Later the women are shown contemporary drawings of Arab slave markets and slave caravans, with lines of black Africans chained together by the neck or yoked like animals. The women are shocked to think that the pictures might be of their ancestors, that their great-grandparents might have been kept in those pits. In its tiny, unassuming way, “The Film Class” opens up one of the greatest and most enduring tragedies in human history, one that is, incredibly, hardly known in the West at all: the slave trade of the Muslim and Arab world.

Westerners, Americans especially, tend to think that the Atlantic trade, with the horrors of the Middle Passage and the industrialized chattel slavery of the plantations, was in some sense unique and uniquely evil. Most of us are ignorant of the vast appetite for slaves in North Africa, Turkey and the Middle East that lasted for 1,300 years and swallowed untold millions from the great sub-Saharan slave pools of Sudan, Ethiopia, Chad and the Congo. We do not know about the great Zanj slave rebellion of the ninth century that killed hundreds of thousands and all but swallowed the Baghdad caliphate — by far the greatest slave revolt in history. We don’t know about the dreaded Forty Day Road and other equally horrifying caravan routes across the Sahara, littered with centuries worth of slave bones. Or about the 2,000-mile sea voyages from Lamu to the Red Sea in dhows packed as tightly with human cargo as were the slaving ships that crossed the Atlantic. We can hardly encompass with our imaginations the atrociousness of the eunuch trade, in which perhaps one in 10 or one in 20 of the children who were castrated survived the operation.

In part we don’t know these things because our sense of guilt has focused us on our own slaving history and because our historians have had rich troves of Western slave-related documents to draw on. In the Muslim world, neither the same kind of guilt nor equivalent documents has ever existed. Finally, the United States and other Western former slave-holding societies are home to a black African diaspora hungry to find its roots and trace its historical experience. In the Muslim world, for its own interesting reasons, no parallel diaspora has persisted. “The Film Class” shows us a tiny, anomalous, though not unique, diaspora community. In so doing, it opens a truly prodigious Pandora’s box whose existence most Westerners never suspected.

To learn more about “The Film Class,” visit the Web site of distributor Ruth Diskin, www.ruthfilms.com

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dana Goldstein on Ron Paul

from TAPPED Archive | The American Prospect

RON PAUL ROUND 2: THE DEFINITIVE (I HOPE) TAKEDOWN.

Dear Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald,

I don't have a problem when people with whom I sometimes agree laud Ron Paul's original opposition to the Iraq War (a position he shares with Barack Obama, of course) or his long-running stance against American imperialism (Dennis Kucinich, too, has been there, done that). What does disturb me, though, is the rather uncritical idolatry of Paul that has flowered, even among self-described moderates and liberals. Andrew, your "endorsement" of Paul lends credibility to his entire agenda, not just those parts of it you highlighted in your post. And Glenn, I am not a pro-choice essentialist who believes no other issue, including the disastrous war in Iraq, should inform one's choice of a candidate. Rather, I situate Ron Paul's anti-choice extremism -- he believes a fetus has all the rights of an individual from the moment of conception -- within his illiberal, race-baiting, anti-gay, and corporatist history. I will document this characterization, but first, bear with me while I share a personal anecdote.

Earlier this fall, after I published an article on white male voters' decreasing significance within the Democratic electorate, I was hit with several weeks' worth of anti-Semitic email and comment-thread attacks from American white supremacist groups, who posted my photograph and contact information on several neo-Nazi websites, including Stormfront. The content of those attacks is far too disgusting to post here, but suffice to say, they featured the very crudest sort of racism and sexism, as well as physical threats against me. About a dozen of the hundred odd emails I received referenced support for Ron Paul, which at the time, I brushed off as a curiosity, a case of the white supremacists wrongly seeing an ally in Paul because of his wacky ideas about monetary policy and the threat of a North American Union. I still believe Paul's ideology departs significantly from that of his white supremacist supporters. But I no longer believe his record on race can be ignored.

Though Paul has long railed against the supposed "victim mentality" of American women and people of color, he's guilty himself of rank fear-mongering among white Americans, convincing them that they are the true "victims" of "the blacks." Check out Paul's analysis of the 1992 Los Angeles race riots, from an old newsletter mailed out to his supporters. Paul has since claimed that a staffer wrote this report, but it's safe to assume the newsletters accurately reflect his own views at the time. "We now know that we are under assault from thugs and revolutionaries who hate Euro-American civilization and everything it stands for: private property, material success for those who earn it, and Christian morality," he writes. In the same 1992 newsletter, Paul outlined his ideas for a separate justice system for African American children:

We don't think a child of 13 should be held responsible as a man of 23. That's true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult and should be treated as such.

And Paul isn't a changed man. This past October, he gave a speech to the Taft Club in Virginia, a group with close ties to the white nationalist movement. But wait, there's much more -- more history that shouldn't be ignored by any person concerned with the individual liberty of women or gay people.

In his 1988 book Freedom Under Seige (you can read the whole thing online), Paul railed against sexual harassment victims. He wrote, "Why don't they quit once the so-called harassment starts? Obviously the morals of the harasser cannot be defended, but how can the harassee escape some responsibility for the problem? Seeking protection under civil rights legislation is hardily acceptable." What if a victim needs to keep working because he or she feeds their children and pays their rent paycheck to paycheck? What if quitting just isn't a viable option? For Paul, the rights of the employer not to be sued simply trump the rights of the individual. Corporations are people, too!

And Paul was no less compassionate when it came to HIV/AIDS patients. He wrote in his book that insurance companies should be free to deny care to HIV-positive individuals since, "The individual suffering from AIDS certainly is a victim -- frequently a victim of his own lifestyle -- but this same individual victimizes innocent citizens by forcing them to pay for his care."

Andrew and Glenn, I hope you'll respond to this post. We can't let Paul's history on these important civil rights issues be papered over by his opposition to the Iraq war -- opposition that other presidential candidates offer as well.

Sincerely,

--Dana Goldstein

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ron Paul group members petition to include neo-Nazi in forum

You may remember an earlier post on this blog concerning Will Williams (read here). Williams, who is also known as "White Will" has been a leading racist and neo-Nazi activist in this country for 30 years. He has played a leadership role in the National Alliance Party, the largest neo-Nazi group in the U.S., and has been associated with the Ku Klux Klan and other racist groups. His specialty has been recruitment, targeting various demographic groups considered susceptible to a racist, anti-Semitic message. He authored and distributed to teenagers an eponymous comic book ("White Will") which features its hero attacking a Jewish teenager. He's an organizer of Ron Paul internet "meetups" in his native Tennessee, and a frequent poster of bigoted commentary in forums devoted to support for Ron Paul -- comments which met little opposition other than "don't scare away non-racists with this stuff" -- not exactly righteous indignation. Williams has also organized meetings of Paul supporters at which he may be recruiting for racist groups. He has a history of staging innocuous sounding events which turn out to be neo-Nazi recruitment rallies, like the time he staged an Irish and Slavic music festival in Cleveland where the audience was subjected to multiple speeches by neo-Nazis.

Since I've posted about this, and more importantly, since this was picked up by some big league bloggers (read here), Williams meetup organizing privileges have been suspended. He is now reduced to posting racist comments as "Former Member", still listing his hometown, Mountain City, TN, and readily identifiable by both tone and content (read here: "Must Dr. Paul capitulate to our Jewish masters' demands?"). This material is still available on the Ron Paul Meetup website, as are the responses of the supposedly mainstream ronpaulians, which can be summarized as "are you sure it's a good idea to say this publicly?"

Now Williams' supporters in the Ron Paul campaign have organized a petition to restore his presence on Ron Paul forums. You can read it here: Petition to restore forum privs for Will Williams - Ron Paul 2008 Meetups.

It seems that it may be hard for Paul to distance himself from racists when they make up such a significant part of his base of support. Too decisive a distancing might just alienate those who are less overtly bigoted than Williams, but who don't really object to his views. So the Paul campaign is still on the fence about its neo-Nazis supporters who organize, petition and comment freely in his internet forums. I wouldn't expect a complete clean break any time soon.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Fact-checking Ron Paul's anti-gay anti-Clinton jibe

A reader has contacted me with respect to the following quote attributed to Ron Paul which was included in a Daily Kos post (read here) which I reposted in this space.
"How dare the Clinton Administration talk about sexual deviance! It’s officials could have had their own float in the Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Parade."
The reader says that he is a gay man who supports Paul, and that he contacted the Paul campaign who claimed they were unaware of the quote and wanted to know its source. While I relay this story with a grain of salt warning (the Paul campaign is notorious for having false representives of various interest groups comment to blogs to the effect that Paul doesn't really hate that group), I do want to acknowledge that the sourcing for the quote was insufficient and that it needs verification.

Here's what I know of the quote. The Daily Kos piece linked to a October 1993 newsgroup comment (read here) which stated that Paul made this statement in June 1993 and that it was quoted in the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor (Phoenix, Arizona; July 1993). That piece, which is available online here, actually cites the quote supportively. It states that Paul was responding to Janet Reno's statement that David Koresh and the Branch Davidians first came to Justice Department attention because of allegations of child abuse. The McAlvany piece states that Paul was arguing that Reno's statement was implausible because the Clinton administration was filled with what he would call 'sexual deviants'. (If this is true, it is a truly repugnant argument on several levels.)

Not having access to another source for the original quote by Dr. Paul, I have not been able to verify its accuracy, and I'm not comfortable relying solely on the McAlveny piece. If any readers can either verify or refute the accuracy of the quote, please post a comment to that effect including the links or citations to your source. If I can't further verify its accuracy, I'll issue a retraction. Thanks.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ron Paul: 1930's Isolationists "argued for a pro-American foreign policy"

Ron Paul advocates isolationism as he renounces it

In what is comically called "A History Lesson With Dr. Paul", the Paul campaign has reposted a Washington Post article highlighting Paul's views on isolationism (read here). Dr. Paul was rebutting John McCain's charge that Paul's anti-Iraq War stance is equivalent to those who advocated appeasement in response to Nazi aggression. This is a case where I disagree strongly with both sides in the argument, but that's not my focus here. What caught my eye was an admission by Ron Paul that he, despite numerous and constant denials of his isolationism by him and his campaign, still supports the isolationism of the 1930s that allowed Hitler to conquer most of Europe and plunge the world into chaos. Here's what he says on his website:

"'People in the 1930s who didn't want war didn't cause World War II. I think Hitler caused the war, not the Americans who argued for a pro-American foreign policy,' he said.

While it's true that Hitler and the Nazis (along with Japan) were ultimately to blame for the war, that is a long way from absolution for the isolationists who foolishly prevented the United States from making an appropriately strong response to Hitler's aggression. The original isolationists allowed the Nazis to have a free hand in expanding their military and invading their neighbors, and did their best to prevent the U.S. from preparing for the war that was to follow. Paul now admits that he thinks that the isolationists were just fine and says they were just advocating a "pro-American foreign policy". He does seem to prefer to call both himself and the original isolationists "non-interventionists", however. But now that he has associated himself so clearly with the original isolationist movement and has said that they as well as he should be called anti-interventionist, it's clear where he stands with respect to isolationist ideology and what he really means by the terminology he prefers. Paul's "non-interventionism" is just isolationism with a PR agent.

Paul's brand of isolationist "pro-American foreign policy" would surely be the undoing of the nation it purports to help. The only way it could be sold would be to call it something other than isolationist and to pray that Americans know nothing of their nation's history. That's really what Paul depends upon.

[Thanks to Deborah Lipstadt (read here) for correcting the original version of this post. The "History Lesson" was first published in the Washington Post (read here), then reposted by the Paul campaign website.]

Lou Dobbs: Short on facts, long on opinions

It seems that Lou Dobbs, not satisfied with only one hour per day on CNN and a nationwide book tour, is planning several more hours per day on CBS-TV and a syndicated radio show. Dobbs already hosts a CNN "news" program devoted largely to his anti-immigrant propagandizing. His factual distortions have been critiqued by the New York Times (read here). Media Matters uncovered his attributed use of material authored by the hate group Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), formerly known as the White Citizens Council (read here) (learn about the CCC here and here). Dobbs, undeterred, now roams the land on a book tour falsely claiming that no major errors have been found in his reporting and that his views have no connection to bigotry. Interviewers almost exclusively lob him softballs, but every so often the unexpected happens, and his feet get held to the fire. READ THIS:

from
Southern Poverty Law Center Hatewatch:
‘Democracy Now’ Takes On Lou Dobbs:

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of “Democracy Now,” a serious radio and television news and analysis program, conducted an hour-long interview with nativist CNN host Lou Dobbs yesterday, and it was a doozie. Dobbs was pounded with questions about the bogus “facts” that he regularly trots out to demonize undocumented immigrants, such as his claim that a “third of our prison population” are “illegal aliens.” (As “Democracy Now” pointed out, the Justice Department says about 6% of state and federal prison populations are non-citizens. The government does not know what percentage of those non-citizens are undocumented.)

Dobbs’ chief reaction was to attack the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), whose Intelligence Report has carried a series of reports on Dobbs inaccuracies (see here, here, here and here), his promotion of racist conspiracy theories (see here), and the appearance of hate group members and leaders on his program (see here). (“Democracy Now” relied heavily on that SPLC research to confront Dobbs, who was plugging a new book.) Bizarrely, Dobbs responded to mention of his use of a white supremacist group’s graphic by noting that he had sent producers and reporters to SPLC’s Alabama offices in late 2004 “to make certain this sort of thing doesn’t happen.” But minutes later, he described the very same SPLC as “indulging in pure BS” in order to raise money. On his own show, he has called the SPLC a “fascist” group after SPLC criticized him. The whole thing was reminiscent of the way Dobbs last spring defended his false claim of immigrant-borne leprosy in a on-air debate with SPLC officials (see here).

This morning, “Democracy Now” invited Mark Potok, editor of the Center’s Intelligence Report, to respond to Dobbs’ comments and to discuss the magazine’s new cover story, which details an apparent surge in violent, anti-Latino hate crime.

Also today, The New York Times reported that Dobbs was planning to add a three-hour daily radio program to his CNN show, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” and his post as a commentator on CBS’ “The Early Show.” Dobbs characterized his radio show in this eyebrow-raising comment to the Times: “My interest is in bringing a voice of reason, rather than the partisan and ideological poles that define talk radio right now.”

Saturday, December 1, 2007

OXFORD'S JEWS & MUSLIMS JOIN TO OPPOSE BIGOTS

from The Jewish Chronicle:

Jews and Muslims forge a bond in the Oxford mêlée
30/11/2007
By Bernard Josephs and Leon Symons Oxford
Jewish and Muslim student leaders at Oxford University have expressed hopes that their co-operation in trying to stop the David Irving-Nick Griffin debate on free speech on Monday night will herald a new relationship between the two groups.

Their members were among up to 2,000 banner-waving, chanting demonstrators who besieged the Oxford Union buildings for four hours in the centre of the university city. A sit-down protest blocked the narrow entry gate to the Union and stopped many of the sell-out audience from getting in.

The Union of Jewish Students and Oxford University’s Islamic Society carried a huge banner marked with the symbols of both organisations. Some Muslim demonstrators carried posters proclaiming “Hands off our Jews”, while the Jewish Society carried others saying “Hands off our Muslims”.

Deborah Lipstadt, whom Irving sued unsuccessfully for libel that led to him being labelled a Holocaust denier by the trial judge, said in a message read out during the demonstration: “Inviting these two men [to the Oxford Union] smacks of a stunt which gives them what they most need to survive: publicity.

“Some of those who have defended the Oxford Union have called for open minds. The problem with people with open minds is that sometimes their minds are so open their brains fall out — and that is the best that can be said of the organisers of this debate.”

Ten minutes before the scheduled start, 30 demonstrators scaled the perimeter wall and invaded the hall, delaying the debate and sparking scuffles as the student audience tried to push them out.

The organisers were forced to split the event in two. Holocaust denier Irving joined Oxford West Lib-Dem MP Dr Evan Harris and author and journalist Ann Atkins in the debating chamber while BNP leader Griffin was despatched to the OU library with two student debaters, South African James Dray and Jess Prince from Canada. The event got under way 75 minutes late against a background of shouting and chanting.

Jewish Society president Steven Altmann-Richer said: “Ironically, the first event we held with the Islamic Society was last term when someone from the Muslim Council of Britain talked to us about the dangers of the BNP. We get on well because both societies are non-political. When politics comes in, it changes people’s attitudes.”

He added: “I am upset that the event was hijacked by rent-a-yob and that people got into the hall. But when you get a crowd of that size, there will always be people looking for trouble.”

Sazan Meran, co-president of the university’s Islam Society, said: “We have had good relations with Jewish students for some time and this demonstration has definitely brought us closer together. I am sure that this experience will result in us co-operating in the fight against racism. We may have differences over politics but, at the end of the day, we have a lot in common.”

Oxford Union president Luke Tryl admitted he had been shocked by the level and ferocity of the protests but maintained that he had been right to invite the pair. He said he intended to write a full report on the event, with contributions from the society presidents, “so that the OU can learn lessons from this. I don’t want future presidents to think that this gives them licence to invite anyway they please”.

Friday, November 23, 2007

"The unknown Ron Paul" by Paul Krugman

from The unknown Ron Paul by Paul Krugman | New York Times Blog

Doing research for tomorrow’s column, I ran across a chapter most Ron Paul supporters probably don’t know about.

The quiet campaign against provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act may have had something to do with the proposal by Representative Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas, on Thursday to eliminate Section 404 entirely. In a statement, the congressman said the provision “has raised the costs of doing business, thus causing foreign companies to withdraw from American markets and retarding economic growth.”

What’s that about?

Section 404 requires companies and their auditors to assess the companies’ internal controls, which are the practices or systems for keeping records and preventing abuse or fraud.

Ron Paul, enemy of the Iraq war — and friend of corporate fraud?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Citizens for 9/11 Truth" vs. the Jews

Here's the latest from Steve Campbell, the founder and leader of "Citizens for 9/11 Truth" in the Aspen, Colorado area and a former leader of the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition. You may remember that he recently attempted to broadcast a Holocaust denial "documentary" on public access television. (read here) The board of the station wisely refused to allow him to do so, after an extensive public hearing, basing their decision on the fact that the program was hate speech. Campbell, who has a long history of promoting anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories has, in response, published a long diatribe against Jews and Zionists in the Aspen Daily News. If anyone has any doubt about the connection between anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and "9/11 truth", read this from a leader of one of their groups.

Here is Campbell's letter, from Aspen Daily News | Aspen, Colorado:

Letter to the Editor -

Mon 11/19/2007 09:00PM MST

Editor:

Alan Feldman, speaking for the board of directors of Grassroots TV, in his recent letter, (Nov. 12, “A new policy at Grassroots), states: “In fact, we would like the community to know that the proponent of the film in question (me) had been asked to come on the station and produce a civil, dialogue-based show that debates whatever issues he would like debated. He, however, rejected this opportunity; even after members of the board generously offered to underwrite the costs to produce this program.”

This is simply not true. I have never yet communicated to the board in any form that I rejected their offer. To say so is misleading and dishonest.

Feldman says: “After this prescreening (of “Judea Declares War on Germany), it seemed readily apparent to the board that this film presented patently inflammatory and obscene subject matter.” Oh, I did not see anything inflammatory or obscene. What I saw was evidence presented in a matter of fact way. Who is to be the judge? A board of directors who is mainly Jewish? And a board meeting packed with mostly Jewish reactionaries?

What could the reason be they don’t want information getting out to the general public? Obviously, if there is overwhelming evidence to support their version of the Holocaust history, they needn’t be worried about the introduction of the revisionist version. Everyone watching would just laugh at the presentation. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that this has nothing whatsoever to do with hate, and everything to do with an attempt to hide the truth. After all, you wouldn’t want indoctrinated and brainwashed Jews and “Christian” Zionists to learn that 6 million Jews were not deliberately murdered in concentration camps. According to the best information available, approximately 300,000 people died during the war in all the concentration camps from all causes. And the vast majority of those were from disease.

You wouldn’t want everyone to know that Auschwitz had a post office, a medical clinic, dental care, a theater, a symphony made up of inmates, a swimming pool, a brothel, a library and organized soccer games.

The film in question claims that there were no gas chambers used to kill anyone. This is backed up by logic and a ton of evidence, which you are afraid might get out to the public and thereby destroy the defining image of the Holocaust; that is, gas chambers. And then where would the great sympathy for the poor Jews be? And where would they ever have found the moral backing for the establishment of the state of Israel and for their ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, Iraqis, Lebanese and soon to be Iranians?

You don’t want your fellow Jews to learn that the Zionists and Hitler were in collusion and that the vast majority of the suffering of the Jewish people during World War II can be directly attributed to the Zionists who were willing to sacrifice their “lesser brethren” so that the state of Israel would become a reality.

What you, Mr. Feldman, have turned Grassroots TV into is a gatekeeper of information, not a protector of community standards. The integrity of Grassroots TV has been sacrificed because of your lame excuse of a decision based on phony allegations of hate and obscenity. You and the board and anyone else who supports your decision is afraid of a fair presentation of evidence with the ability to lay out all the facts of the matter. That’s why you support locking people up who might destroy the Holocaust myth. It just wouldn’t do, now would it? It might upset your plans for world domination and enslavement of the rest of humanity.

Wake up, everyone. You have been taken for a ride and if the Zionists have their way, it will be straight to hell.

Steve Campbell
Glenwood Springs
The hateful, lunatic aspect of this conspiracy theory is readily apparent. It is the same sort of belief in an overarching international Jewish conspiracy that motivated the White Russians, Nazis, neo-Nazis, Christian Identity movement, Islamists and other promoters of hatred of Jews.

The "9/11 truth" must disassociate itself from this lunatic world view. If they fail to do so, they lend credence to the charge that their conspiracy theories depend on having a scapegoat on which to pin their charges. Without the scapegoat, where would their movement be?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Illegal Ron Paul currency seized

I post this with the expectation that I will receive several comments claiming that the ronpaulian counterfeiters, CNN and I are all part of some grand conspiracy to make Paul look like some kind of anti paper currency nut.


from
CNN.com - CNN Political Ticker Illegal Ron Paul currency seized «

EVANSVILLE, Indiana (AP) — Federal agents raided the headquarters of a group that produces illegal currency and puts it in circulation, seizing gold, silver and two tons of copper coins featuring Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Agents also took records, computers and froze the bank accounts at the "Liberty Dollar" headquarters during the Thursday raid, Bernard von NotHaus, founder of the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act & Internal Revenue Code, said in a posting on the group's Web site.

The organization, which is critical of the Federal Reserve, has repeatedly clashed with the federal government, which contends that the gold, silver and copper coins it produces are illegal. NORFED claims its Liberty Dollars are inflation free and can restore stability to financial markets by allowing commerce based on a currency that does not fluctuate in value like the U.S. dollar.

"They're running scared right now and they had to do something," von NotHaus told The Associated Press Friday. "I'm volunteering to meet the agents and get arrested so we can thrash this out in court."

Wendy Osborne, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Indianapolis office, declined to comment and referred all questions to the U.S. attorney's office for the Western District of North Carolina. Suellen Pierce, a spokeswoman for that office, also declined to comment.

The raid comes eight months after von NotHaus filed a lawsuit in federal court in Evansville seeking a permanent injunction to stop the federal government from labeling the Liberty Dollar an illegal currency.

The U.S. Mint issued a warning this year that the Liberty Dollar violated the Constitution and warned consumers against using them unsuspectingly.

Paul's campaign said it had not authorized production of the Ron Paul dollars.

"We were aware they existed, but we didn't have any affiliation with them," said Jesse Benton, a spokesman for Ron Paul's campaign. "He didn't ask our permission to make them."

Ronpaulian webbots attack!

This blog has received more comments about Ron Paul than about any other subject. Some of these are hand crafted, while others are off the rack items that appear as comments on many blogs. Occasionally, the off the rack approach flubs and the comment doesn't mesh up with the subject discussed in the post.

One recent example of the latter was an extended attack on Michael Medved, with whom I have no connection and little political common ground. Medved famously picked up on the ronpaulian - neo-Nazi connections that I have much less famously been discussing on my little blog. Apparently, whoever's programming the attach of the killer ronpaulian webbots didn't read one of my pieces on this subject before targeting me for a comment devoted to a lengthy attack on Medved. (By the way, Medved is an easy target for a number of reasons, but the comment was extremely weak both in style and sophistication of analysis. It consisted of few facts and much name-calling). The problem was that I've never mentioned Medved on this blog. I was targeted by some automated system involving web-search alerts. Medved's piece was reposted and linked to extensively and I guess the Paul campaign simply didn't have the manpower to read all the blogs they wanted to post rebuttals on. They just sent out the bots.

Jews for Jesus for Ron Paul

"Phony, you don't look Jewish"


It seems that the group calling itself "Jews for Ron Paul" was founded by a "Jew for Jesus" who is in no way Jewish. In fact, he's a Unitarian, raised a Quaker, who now dresses in yarmulke, tzitzis and magen david pendant for his web profile photos and public appearances. That's a funny sort of fraud, impersonating a Jew in order to conceal both the problematic views your candidate has with respect to Israel and his dependence on far-right bigots for support.

So I'm wondering whether the name of the organization should be changed to "Make-believe Jews for Ron Paul" or "Jews for Jesus for Ron Paul". Your comments with alternate suggestions will be posted below.

This blog has received comments and emails from ronpaulians claiming that the group's legit and highlighting the membership of about 15 Jewish libertarians, none of whom seem to be active within the Jewish community and many of whom are longstanding libertarian activists. The other members of the group appear to be not Orthodox, Reform or Conservative, but Jews of the offensive Halloween costume branch of the religion -- a branch with which I am only now becoming familiar.

In the meantime, read the scoop on the make-believers among the true believers here:

from Sultan Knish:

Ron Paul, the Anti-Republican candidate for President and a favorite of White Supremacists like David Duke, has unveiled a new defense strategy to counter charges of Anti-semitism. The campaign of the candidate who claims to disdain ethnic collectivism now boasts an organization called "Jews for Ron Paul."

If Jews for Ron Paul puts you in mind of Jews for Jesus, you're not far wrong. Because Jews for Ron Paul is a scam.

Jim C. Perry (James Christian Perry, the C is short for Christian), the Executive Director of Jews for Ron Paul and heavily featured as the spokesman for the front group. Like many Jews for Jesus figures, Jim C. Perry claims to be an Orthodox Jew. The JTA article (read here) featured many of Perry's grandiose claims.

"
For Perry, an Orthodox Jew, there is a connection between his own religious beliefs about personal responsibility and the Libertarian philosophy underpinning Paul's candidacy.

"It's the idea that people are meant to be equal and free in a just society. Those are the same things that draw me to be an observant Orthodox Jew," said Perry. "I believe Judaism puts strong emphasis on individual meaning, personal responsibility," he said, adding that God "calls us to take responsibility for our own actions.".

Here I am a kipah-wearing, fringes-hanging Orthodox Jew..."

The real Jim C. Perry though is not an Orthodox Jew, though he makes a point of dressing up like one until he's virtually a cartoon. He's gay and is currently married to a gay man and a self-identified Churchgoing Unitarian Universalist. Here he identifies himself as a Seminarian. He has another account where he calls himself Reverend Jim C. Perry H.P., M.D.A. (he also claimed to have a doctorate in English which he apparently modestly left off here all at the tender age of 22) and a Pagan Minister. Briefly he appears to have gone Ward Churchill and began calling himself Jim FlyingEagle. (He may have also used James L. Rush and posted at Cherokee Pride as James L. Rushing River pretending to be Cherokee).

When I first wrote about Ron Paul, I noticed a burst of comments from people claiming to be Jewish and Ron Paul supporters. I suspected that most of them were fake, probably at least one of them was really Jim C. Perry who moonlights as a Jewish Ron Paul supporter, when he's not being a Pagan Ron Paul supporter, a Cherokee or a Unitarian Universalist. The JTA story on the Ron Paul campaign and Jim C. Perry or Yakov Perry needs to be changed to reflect the fact that he is not an Orthodox Jew.

The Jews for Ron Paul advisory board also features Burt or Burton Blumert, better known as the publisher of LewRockwell.com, a site named after Ron Paul's former Congressional Chief of Staff, that might be considered slightly to the left of Stormfront. Burton Blumert is not exactly the poster boy for those who would argue that Israel would be better off with Ron Paul.

Consider tidbits like this from his "essays" such as "My Palestinians."
It is obvious that Palestine under the British Mandate – an island of freedom and free enterprise as compared to rule by Istambul or Tel Aviv – led its citizens to a love affair with the gold sovereign that becomes more entrenched with time... My Palestinians haven't been calling much lately asking the price of the COIN. Their future doesn't look too bright, but they have survived horrible oppression in and around Israel, and, maybe, just maybe they will persevere."
The bulk of the "Jews for Ron Paul" board are associated with LewRockwell.com and with Mises and the Austrian School of Economics. Then there's Ilana Mercer, a WND columnist (a site which hosts pro-israel commentary but also the anti-semitic and anti-israel ravings of Pat Buchanan and Vox Day among others) who penned such articles as "Al Jazeera: Fair, Balanced & Banned"
"The only fair shake Israel ever gets in this country’s media is from Al-Jazeera. The women anchors are also beautiful and refined,”
Lovely.

The simple reality is that the Ron Paul campaign is Anti-Jewish and Anti-Israel but it is also extremely manipulative and deceptive. On the Jews for Ron Paul group, mainly non-Jewish figures hash out ways to sell Ron Paul to Jews utilizing political and religious arguments. The key one that has hit home with some is to claim that Ron Paul will "leave Israel alone."

I have no doubt that Ron Paul would eliminate foreign aid to Israel, but anyone who thinks that a bigot whom the David Duke website proclaims as their King and whose promoters include White Supremacist figures is just going to "leave Israel alone" really has not done a good job of learning from history. People like that don't leave Israel or Jews alone, whether they're libertarians, anarchists, conservatives or liberals.



Personally, I think that this character made a wise decision leaving the phony Indian gig to Ward Churchill and going the phony Jew route.

As I previously posted (read here), former Paul staffer Eric Dondero has claimed that he impersonated a religious Jew to bust up a press conference by Paul opponent "Lefty" Morris during a congressional campaign in the 1990s. (The Sultan Knish blog has more on Dondero here.) Dondero says that Morris had called the press conference to publicize Paul's connections to racist and anti-Semitic groups and individuals, and to Paul's bigoted statements and writings. So Paul's campaign advisers (which included John Birchers and other far right wing nut ronpaulians such as Lew Rockwell) came up with a dirty trick to prevent Morris from making his charges stick. Wearing a yarmulke to the press conference, Dondero says, he stood up, stated that he was a Jew, that he worked closely with Paul and that Paul was not at all bigoted. After this, his story goes, the issue was abandoned and Paul won the election.

Dondero now says that this dirty trick deceived on several levels. Although he says he has some Jewish ancestry via his father, he was not raised Jewish and did not identify as such. He also now says that Paul is a bigot and has longstanding connections to problematic groups. Dondero's assessment of Paul's harping on aid to Israel whenever discussing an end to foreign aid is right on the money. Paul never campaigns against aid to any other country by name. Dondero points to this as evidence of Paul's bias and he seems to be right. I cannot vouch for Dondero's reliability as a source of information, but his charges raise interesting questions and are worth considering. Previous Paul campaigns may have used the phony Jew tactic before.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Anti-Israel propagandist touring US churches

The traditional covered dish dinner of the small town American church has changed. Along with the pot roast and macaroni and cheese, you may now be served a helping of anti-Israel propaganda delivered by a professional propagandist. These propagandists are insinuating themselves into the mainstream via the grassroots, attending regularly scheduled suppers and meetings to deliver a carefully crafted anti-Israel message. It has now become commonplace within many churches in this country to view Israel in only the most negative terms, and to dismiss all Christian support for Israel as a form of fundamentalism. In fact, it has become difficult to discuss the issue at all within many churches unless you adhere to the views of people like Janet Lahr Lewis.

Janet Lahr Lewis is a professional anti-Israel activist who (according to her bio) worked for Sabeel's main office in Jerusalem for 10 years and has since served as the executive director of Friends of Sabeel for two years, in which position she runs their international outreach operations. She has also achieved a level of prominence within the United Methodist Church, which is the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the U.S. Her UMC profile lists her as the UMC "liaison between ecumenical groups and Israel and Palestine"... Janet is the main contact for ... United Methodist visitors who wish to follow the recommendation of the General Conference to spend a significant amount of time in the area with (Israeli and Palestinian) Christians." In other words, the United Methodist Church has installed a strident anti-Israel activist as their primary contact person for groups wishing to conduct fact-finding tours of Israel and the Palestinian territories under church aegis. (More here in this piece on Sabeel)

Lewis, who worked as a civil engineer and "troubleshooter" at a Old Cast Stone Products in Thompson, OH, says she received a calling on a visit to "the Holy Land". According to the bio she posts on the official website for United Methodist missionaries:

“After taking a typical Holy Land tour and seeing the devastating consequences of the ongoing illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, I experienced not only a ‘call’, but rather an undeniable ‘push’ to go back to that not-so-holy land and do whatever I could to help bring about ‘freedom for the oppressed,’” Janet recalls. She sold her house in the U.S. and volunteered for several years, first in the Galilee, then Bethlehem where she “lived with my neighbors under the heavy hand of injustice and military occupation.”
I'm not sure how that bio corresponds to the more than 12 years working directly for Naim Ateek at Sabeel, but, putting that aside, the main point is clear: she is the most senior United Methodist missionary in Israel and she is an outspoken partisan for the Palestinians against Israel.

I was wondering what she's been doing lately , so I googled her name and found that she's on a peculiar type of speaking tour. One targeting small town Methodists with her slick, well-honed message. Lewis has been a woman on a mission of late, going from church to church on a tight schedule, spreading her message of opposing the existence of Israel in the name of peace. On September 26, she hosted a conference with Naim Ateek in Bethlehem. (read here) After that, both his and her U.S. tour began. He went to the Sabeel conference in Boston, and she went on a speaking tour of small town America.

On September 30, Lewis spoke at the Angola, Indiana United Methodist Church, which describes her as "the missionary this church supports" (by which they must mean they send her funds).

On October 25, she addressed the Reno, Nevada First United Methodist Church: "News from Holy Land": "Lewis has served in the Holy Land since 1994, coordinating relations between ecumenical groups and their hosts. She is an educator, organizer, journalist and worship leader, working towards a peace for Palestinians and Israelis."

She was in California for a meeting with the good people of Chico, California's Trinity United Methodist Church on October 27. More here, this time featuring an "Arabic Dinner" (in a covered dish?).

On November 2, Lewis "gave the message" at a worship service and an "in-depth presentation of her work" at a potluck dinner at the St. Thomas United Methodist Church of Glen Elyn, Illinois. "Come and learn a little about one place where the church is at work in the world."

From November 2: Wesley United Methodist Church, Naperville: Announcements:

"UM Missionary in Israel/Palestine to Speak at Wesley; Friday, Nov. 2 @ 8 pm
The End the Occupation (ETO) group has invited Janet Lahr Lewis to come to speak at Wesley after their monthly potluck, at 8 pm on Friday, November 2.
Janet Lahr Lewis is a missionary with the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and is serving as a liaison between ecumenical groups in Israel and Palestine. Come and hear the story that isn’t told in the American press about life in the occupied territories and the justice of the Palestinian cause. You may wish ~ are welcome ~ to come to the ETO potluck which precedes her presentation at 7 pm."
Then this notice of another event from a local Illinois paper:

"Nov. 4: Good Samaritan United Methodist Church will feature missionary Janet Lahr Lewis at 10 a.m. Nov. 4 at the church, 960 W. Army Trail Road, Addison. She will describe her Mission of Peace in Palestine and Jerusalem. Donations for her work will be taken and a luncheon will follow. For details, call (630) 543-3725."

Then this from the Downers Grove Illinois First United Methodist Church calendar:

"Tuesday, November 6, 2007: Stories from the Holy Land: Janet Lahr Lewis
Time : 7:00pm to 9:00pm Description: Janet is a UM missionary working in Palestine, sponsored by our Conference. Location: Chapel Hall Organizer: Jonathan Dean"

Then this from Fairview United Methodist Church of Ohio's Miami Valley area:

Monday, Nov. 12 at Fairview UMC, Dayton, 7:00 p.m. Reception following.
828 W. Fairview Avenue, Dayton, OH 45406 Ph: (937) 274-2178

Tuesday, Nov. 13 at Aldersgate UMC, Huber Heights, 7:00 p.m. Soup Supper at 6:00 p.m.
5464 Old Troy Pike in Huber Heights, OH Ph: (937)-233-8151.

Janet Lahr Lewis, a missionary through the General Board of Global Ministries, serves as the Coordinator of Friends of Sabeel-International at the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, Palestine. Friends of Sabeel support the work of Sabeel-Jerusalem by promoting nonviolent solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Janet's responsibilities are numerous. She circulates updates about developments in the ongoing crisis and suggests courses of action people can take to address it. She educates visitors, organizes conferences, develops media campaigns, offers worship opportunities, hosts delegations to the area and oversees other special events.

“Christ calls us all to be ministers of justice,” she observes. “Through my work with the Palestinian Christian community, I will be able to answer this call by working for a just and lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis, so that reconciliation and healing can occur.”

A native of Cleveland, OH, Janet earned an associate degree in civil engineering and architectural design from Lakeland College and has studied theater arts at Texas Christian University. Prior to her current assignment, she worked for twelve years with
Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. She has also worked closely with Archbishop Elias Chacour, a prominent Palestine Christian peace activist.

The United Methodist Women geographic mission study for 2008 is on Palestine, so this is an excellent opportunity to receive current, first-hand information about the area. We invite you to join us for these presentations.
There was this fund-raising appeal from the November newsletter of the First United Methodist Church of Bloomfield, Indiana:

November Outreach Spotlight:
UM MISSIONARY LIAISON IN JERUSALEM
What it is: The United Methodist Church liaison in Jerusalem is a ministry established in 1987 at the request of Palestinian churches. Janet Lahr Lewis has recently succeeded Rev. Sandra Olewine in this mission, serving as Coordinator of Friends of Sabeel-International. Friends of Sabeel is a network of international organizations that promotes nonviolent solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With seemingly endless challenges in the Middle East, it is important that we continue to support this vital United Methodist mission. Please consider making a donation by cash or check in this month’s yellow mission envelope. Make checks payable to FUMC with Missionary in Jerusalem on the memo line.

What it means:
“After taking a typical Holy Land tour and seeing the devastating consequences of the ongoing illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, I experienced not only a ‘call,’ but rather an undeniable ‘push’ to go back to that not-so-holy land and do whatever I could to help bring about ‘freedom for the oppressed,’” Janet recalls. She sold her house in the U.S. and volunteered for several years, first in Galilee, then in Bethlehem where she “lived with my neighbors under the heavy hand of injustice and military occupation.” “Christ calls us all to be ministers of justice... Through my work with the Palestinian Christian community and Sabeel, I will be able to answer this call by working for a just and lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis, so that reconciliation and healing can occur.”
-Janet Lahr Lewis
And this notice of fund-raising from the ground up: The Lake Villa, Illinois United Methodist Church collected $26.85 in pennies for Lewis between April and September. (They had a collection bucket in the back of the sanctuary).



That's just what I found in a brief google search, so I assume I'm missing most of her speaking engagements. Too much information? Why am I boring you with this trivia? Grassroots organizing can shape debates and influence policy-making virtually unseen. The religious anti-Zionism of Sabeel, Janet Lahr Lewis' message, is intrinsically anti-Semitic and is aimed at delegitimizing the state of Israel. This very extreme message is working its way into the mainstream because professional propagandists like Lewis are given a forum in American churches. That's how public opinion is being shaped from the ground up.

During the Great Depression, Father Coughlin spun a yarn about Jewish bankers taking control of the world. Father Coughlin proved that a virulently anti-Semitic message can be made acceptable to millions of American Christians given the right climate. He used the mass-media to spread his hatred, so everybody knew what he was saying when he said it. Sabeel activists like Janet Lahr Lewis are largely flying beneath the radar, helping to frame the debate and shaping future generations outside the awareness of the mass media. That's how the divestment campaigns have gotten as far as they have. In spite of the fact that they haven't yet succeeded, they have become part of the mainstream debate. That is, in and of itself, a sort of success for Sabeel. They can wait for the political climate to change to see if the ideas they're planting will grow.

So now these ideas are promoted in small town churches, by people respected and liked within their communities. That is why Janet Lahr Lewis' speaking tour is important.

We must not let a new generation of anti-Semitic demagogues put a friendly, acceptable face on bigotry.


The image “http://gbgm-umc.org/biophotobank/jkl/LewisJL01.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Janet Lahr Lewis

Friday, November 9, 2007

Interpol upholds warrants for Iranians in Buenos Aires Jewish Center bombing

from AFP: Interpol warrants decision pleases Israel, angers Iran:


JERUSALEM (AFP) — Interpol's decision to uphold arrest warrants against five Iranian suspects in a deadly 1994 bombing against a Jewish organization in Argentina was welcomed by Israel Thursday but slammed by Iran.

"It sends the following message to the terrorists -- that even if takes time, they need to know that they will eventually be brought to book," Israel's ambassador to Argentina Raphael Eldad told public radio.

Iran, which had fought hard to have the arrest warrants lifted, reacted angrily to the decision taken by a two-thirds majority at the world police body's annual general assembly in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.

"Iran strongly denounces the decision of Interpol to uphold the warrants requested by the Argentine judiciary," foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said in a statement issued in Tehran.

"Although the issuing of such warrants by Interpol does not amount to a confirmation of Argentina's claims of Iranian involvement in the AIMA (Argentine Israeli Mutual Association) bombing, we were not expecting this professional body to tarnish its legal status by accepting the political will of the Zionist regime," he said.

Iran has always blamed Israel and its friends in the United States for Argentine prosecutors' allegations that it masterminded the bombing and entrusted its execution to its Lebanese ally, Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

"Transferring the pressures from the Argentine government to Interpol in order to fulfil political aims is a matter of great sorrow and is contrary to international law and utterly rejected and unacceptable," said Hosseini.

He added that Iran would continue "to fight through legal channels for the rights of its citizens" facing the arrest warrants, who include former intelligence minister Ali Fallahian and former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezaei as well as three diplomats.

Arrest warrants were initially issued against three other senior Iranians, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, in November last year but they were lifted by Interpol's executive committee in March.

The Israeli ambassador acknowledged that there was no immediate prospect of any arrest being made in connection with the July 1994 bombing which levelled the seven-floor AIMA building in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people.

"I hope that the arrest warrants will be carried out but I am not very optimistic as Iran is not in the habit of cooperation in this sort of affair," Eldad said.

In a statement after Wednesday's meeting, Interpol president Jackie Selebi insisted that the agency had treated both sides "fairly and impartially" in reviewing the arrest warrants.

Argentina's chief prosecutor Alberto Nisman rejected any suggestion that the warrants were politically motivated and also acknowledged that it was unlikely that Iran would extradite the suspects.


Rescue workers search the rubble after a powerful explosion destroyed a Buenos Aires building in 1994

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Prague neo-Nazis planning Kristallnacht reenactment?

Prague neo-Nazis plan march in Jewish quarter despite city ban - Haaretz:

Neo-Nazis are determined to march through Prague's historic Jewish Quarter on the anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass program despite a court order banning their demonstrations, the extremists said Thursday on their website.

The city is now bracing for a Saturday evening of tension and street fights as Prague's Jewish groups, politicians and human-rights activists plan to gather in the district to commemorate victims of the pogrom and bar the neo-Nazis from marching there.

"We are not afraid of them," Jewish Liberal Union deputy chairwoman Jirina Novakova said.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Czech counterpart Karel Schwarzenberg are due to privately meet with Prague Jewish leaders before the commemoration, the Foreign Ministry said.

Officials said that some 1,400 state and city police would be deployed to the streets to maintain order and break up the banned march.

"It will depend on what will happen on the spot," police spokeswoman Eva Brozova said.

The Prague Municipal Court Thursday ended a two-months legal battle over the protest registered by a group whose founders are according to police and human-rights activists "known supporters" of neo-Nazi movements in the Czech Republic.

The police detained the group's leading founder Erik Sedlacek, 25, at a neo-Nazi May Day protest this year, and he had also been charged with hate crimes involving his anti-Semitic texts, the police said.

The Young National Democrats registered their march against Czech participation in the Iraq war to pass through the historic Jewish ghetto in late August.

"In reality, Israel and the American-Israeli lobby are behind the war in Iraq. Therefore there is not a better place here for such a demonstration," the group, which communicates with reporters only via email, told the Respekt weekly.

The extremists registered their march for November 10, or the 69th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom, in which Nazis killed dozens of Germany's Jews, destroyed thousands of their homes, synagogues and businesses, and dispatched some 30,000 Jews to concentration camps.

The group, which denies having links to neo-Nazis, claimed not to have initially known that its protest was to take place on the anniversary of the pogrom.

The group's plan has outraged Prague Jews and politicians of all stripes since first reported in September.

As courts had previously revoked city bans of similar protests, city officials first asked the extremists to relocate their march. But following the uproar the city has banned all march routes registered by the group for November 10.

While lower courts had canceled earlier city bans, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled in favour of the city on Monday setting the tone for the newest ruling.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Young American Jews trending away from identifying with Israel?

from the Jerusalem Post via aish.com: "Young American Jews & Israel" by Jonathan Rosenblum

What Jews under 35 feel towards Israel goes beyond apathy to outright resentment.

Sociologists Stephen Cohen and Ari Kelman have now confirmed what everyone already knew: Young American Jews do not care very much about Israel. They are not just apathetic about Israel, that indifference is "giving way to downright alienation," write Cohen and Kelman.

More than half of Jews under 35 said that they would not view the destruction of Israel as a personal tragedy. The death and expulsion of millions is something they could live with. By those standards, they probably would not see the Holocaust as a "personal" tragedy either.

"These results are very upsetting," said Jewish Agency chairman Zev Bielski. He then proceeded to give an inane explanation for those numbers: the comfortable life of most American Jews.

Cohen and Kelman know better. And their answer is summed up in the demographic they did not interview for their study: Orthodox Jews. A survey of young Orthodox Jews would have yielded a diametrically opposed and highly embarrassing result.

Among younger Jews, those for whom their Judaism is important -- primarily the Orthodox -- will remain connected to the fate of their fellow Jews in Israel. Most Orthodox American youth will study in Israel after high school, some for many years. And almost all will visit Israel many times. Eretz Yisrael is not a mere abstraction for them, but the center of the spiritual life of the Jewish people.

The majority of young American Jews and the majority of young Israelis share in common a lack of interest in their Judaism. But that shared negativity provides little basis for a relationship. Shared gene pools won't do it either -- that smacks of racism. And ethnic identity, it turns out, cannot be passed down, or survive the breakup of ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods.

What young Jews under 35 feel towards Israel goes beyond apathy to outright resentment. Israel complicates their social lives and muddies their political identity. Only 54% profess to be comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state at all. In Europe and on elite American campuses, internationalism and a world-without-borders are the rage. The Jews of Israel, with their stubborn insistence on protecting their nation-state, are, as always, out-of-sync.

Young American Jews do not wish to be tarred with their atavisms. On campus and where enlightened folk meet, Israel is scorned as a colonial oppressor. Who wants to be identified as a sympathizer with apartheid? Young American Jews today share fears of being out of step with their enlightened peers.

Molly Umberger, whose mother is program director of the leftist New Israel Fund (NIF), told the Jerusalem Post that she views both Israel and Palestinians as having made lots of mistakes and the situation as complicated, but generally "tries not to think about [ Israel]." (No wonder when Bruce Temkin, the director of the NIF, describes Israel as a "turn-off.") Daniel Alperin, 33, describes his interest in Israel as waning when he began to hear "the bad stuff" -- probably about the time he entered college.

Already the trends lines were pointing in this direction forty years ago. In a 1965 Commentary symposium of younger Jewish intellectuals -- the least religiously identified segment of American Jewry -- only one expressed complete comfort with Israel's creation and pride in its accomplishments, and he eventually made aliyah. The rest expressed various degrees of discomfort with Israel's militarism (and this was before 1967 and the "occupation"). The only Jewish identity they acknowledged at all was that of the "Jew" as the perpetually alienated critic of those in power -- not exactly one upon which to base a connection to other Jews. Now the rest of American Jewry is catching up to those once young intellectuals.

The implications of Cohen and Kelman's findings for American Jewry are great. The historic bargain linking American Jewry and Israel since the founding of the State is coming to an end. The terms of the deal were unspoken, but clear: Israel would provide American Jews with a sense of pride and identity as Jews, and they, in turn, would shower upon Israel their financial and political support. But Israel is no longer a source of pride for many Jews, and the identity it provides is not one which they wish to share.

But the survey signals something else as well: a declining understanding on the part of American Jews of Judaism in terms of a national identity that imposes obligations to one's co-nationals.

Cohen and Kelman are wrong to argue that ethnic identity is being replaced by religious identity. For when young American Jews say that they view their Judaism as a religious not national identity, the religion they refer to is a pretty tepid affair. Precisely because it is so tepid does it fail to provide them a sense of connection to their fellow Jews, whether in America or abroad. It is a religion largely lacking connection to the Land of Israel, and even more importantly to the defining event in Jewish history the giving of Torah at Sinai. Absent the latter, there is no common mission to link the descendants of those who stood at Sinai.

The impact of the declining sense of responsibility to one's fellow Jews is being felt within American Jewry itself, not just in attitudes towards Israel. Already only 6% of giving by mega-Jewish foundations goes to remotely Jewish causes. It is hardly surprising, for instance, that non-Jewish spouses are not eager to contribute to Jewish causes. In time, funding the institutions of American Jewry will become ever more difficult.

The political implications for Israel are large as well. Fortunately, Professors Walt and Mearsheimer are wrong about an Israel Lobby comprised mostly of those with Jewish-sounding names. It is devout Christians, and not some nefarious Israel Lobby, which is the primary bulwark of American support for Israel today. That we have to rely on Christian support, rather than our fellow Jews, however, is a very mixed blessing indeed.


Ronpaulian Conspiracy Theory Madness

It's nice to quoted, or the blog equivalent: linked to. Imagine my surprise when I found myself linked to in an amusing bit of preemptive conspiracy theorizing by a Ronpaulian (newly coined phrase -- copyright pending). According to the conspiracy theory postulated by this Ronpaulian blog, the far right wing and racist supporters of Ron Paul are not true Ronpaulians. They are, in fact, part of the great neo-con conspiracy, as are all the bloggers reporting on them, including me.

Now the idea that I am either a neo-con or part of a conspiracy would be surprising to those who know me. I'm a liberal Democrat and far too contrarian to participate in any conspiracy, let alone a massive yet top-secret one of the sort imagined by Ronpaulians. I always wonder exactly why such conspiracies would be considered necessary to explain more simply explained phenomena. Occam's Razor was a rule made to broken by conspiracy theorists. It's absolutely impossible for this person to believe that far-right racist extremists support Ron Paul because they legitimately like him -- he believes they must be working for the great neo-con conspiracy. It is similarly impossible for the Ronpaulian conspiracy theorist to accept the idea that bloggers might be reporting on this support because they find it interesting or dangerous on the one hand, or, on the other, because they support an opponent of Paul, but aren't part of a conspiracy. No. Everyone involved must be part of the anti-Ronpaulian conspiracy scheduled to come to fruition just as the inevitable success of Ron Paul's campaign kicks in. That's the only logical explanation.


from the ironically-named on several levels:
Too Much Tinfoil: "Ron Paul Train Wreck Coming"

Ron Paul Train Wreck Coming

Gh0d, I hope I’m wrong. I see a trap being laid for Ron Paul.

Today on CNN, I saw a video about Hal Turner. This crazy, sad asshole has his own radio show where he says nutball white supremacist crap all day long and goes so far as to suggest that people shoot their politicians.

Here’s the rub: I remember reading on some blog that Hal Turner gave money to Ron Paul. In fact, he gave the maximum possible allowed under law, which is $2,300. They also have been talking up Alex Jones, although Alex Jones is not a white supremacist. Alex is mostly known for his abrasive, combative style of getting in people’s faces. He’s also been an ardent advocate of the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Here we come to the 5th of November, where the “money bomb” is supposed to go off. The media knows that they won’t be able to keep the lid on it. Instead, they will point out that Hal Turner made a donation to the campaign and may have urged his radio followers to give as well. Maybe Hal Turner (who would be in the back pocket of the FBI’s Cointelpro division, most likely) mentioned the 5th of November idea or even heavily promoted it. It’s guaranteed that, if he did, they’ll trot out a tape of it so as to imply that it was Hal Turner’s promotion of the November 5th event that made it so popular.

Also, it seems that a racist from Stormfront, a neo-Nazi organization, is a Ron Paul organizer in Tennessee. Other scary associations of Ron Paul with neo-Nazis, etc, are found on this website. I, for one, do not believe most of these allegations. Clearly, racists have supported Ron Paul. That’s what the opposition does: they organize counterintelligence and sabotage political movements that can be threatening. See for examples the way the Feds smashed the American Indian Movement, the Black Panthers, and the anti-war movement of the ’60s.

One thing that the campaign might do to counteract these accusations would be to leak information to a known mole in the campaign (every campaign has them) a short list of some possible candidates. Include a few sensible non-white or non-male choices to counteract the racist associations. These should be serious choices. Thomas Sowell comes readily to mind. He and Ron agree on economics and would make an excellent vice presidential candidate.

Another, more explosive choice, although very attractive to the left, would be Russell Means, a former Libertarian Party candidate from 1988, who also ran for governor once or twice. It might behoove them to verify that Russell Means doesn’t hate Ron’s guts first, of course.

Either way, the Paul campaign will become visible and target #1 for the neo-cons and their paid mouthpieces. They had better be ready for this fight.



Interesting to note that this conspiracy theorist is taking contradictory positions, saying that the racists supporting Paul are in on the conspiracy, then saying that he doesn't believe the charges about racist support at all. That's precisely the sort of internal contradiction that conspiracy-minded Ronpaulians work hard to ignore. It's a constant struggle to keep the simple truth from intruding on the Ronpaulian alternate reality.

Monday, November 5, 2007

"Peace group" to mark Pearl Harbor Day with "Pearl Harbor Truth" events, host anti-Elie Wiesel talk

It turns out that the Pacifica Forum, the University of Oregon "peace group" which just hosted a Holocuast denial, anti-Israel conference in honor of Kristallnacht (read here), is trying to one-up themselves in the marketing of bigotry as peace activism.

According to the Pacifica Forum schedule (read here) they are following up last weekend's conference featuring Mark Weber of the Institute for Historical Review, and this week's talk about Kristallnacht by Pacifica Forum leader Orval Etter, with a talk called "Elie Wiesel's HATE", which it describes as an "analysis of the doctrine of hate enunciated by the Nobel Peace Laureate".

After that the "peace group" will commemorate the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor with a video presentation concerning "
Pearl Harbor Truth" by "Gregory Douglas", a "9/11 truth" advocate, JFK conspiracy theorist, forger of historical documents, and promoter of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

"Gregory Douglas", apparently a pseudonym for someone who has called himself Norwood Burch, Peter Stahl, Brian Harring and countless other names, is associated with the Holocaust denial publication the Barnes Review, for whom he has written and produced audio tapes. "Douglas" has had such a checkered career in Holocaust denial that associates such as David Irving and Mark Weber now condemn him as a charlatan. (Their debunking of "Douglas" is so voluminous that it would take a month to read in its entirety. A taste of their views of Douglas' absurdly consistent career can be sampled -- from Irving here and here (index of 15 documents), and from Weber here and here. Amusingly, "Douglas" borrowed another pseudonym, "Karl Kolcheck", from an old TV series as the byline for a rebuttal of these charges (read here). That's more than enough to get a taste of the absurdity of a debate among professional promoters of falsehoods over what's true. They seem to take almost as much pleasure in promoting hatred of each other as in promoting hatred of Jews. WARNING -- THESE LINKS GO TO HOLOCAUST DENIAL WEBSITES.)

The Southern Poverty Law Center, whom I prefer over Irving, Weber and "Kolcheck" as a source, provides this description of "Douglas" in action promoting "9/11 truth" at the Barnes Review conference in Washington D.C. (read here):

And then there was one "Gregory Douglas," with his top-secret German document proving conclusively the Bush Administration and Israel knew about and likely orchestrated the attacks. "Israel is always involved in everything!" he said.
That certainly got the attention of the attendees. Except, as a sheepish Bill White noted on his "libertarian socialist" website later (White had initially hailed the document as revelatory), it turns out that Douglas is an accused forger.
Veteran European journalist Gitta Sereny has written that Douglas forged a document that he told her was proof that the Americans and British had helped two Nazi war criminals escape Europe in 1945. Douglas' later book on one of them, Gestapo boss Heinrich Muller, was, she wrote, "filth" that was as "fake" as the earlier document.

(A pdf of the Barnes Review's conference report listing Douglas' presentation on "9/11 truth" and advertising for sale both his audio tape on that subject, and his book of JFK conspiracy theories, is available here. Amazon offers Douglas' book, "REGICIDE The Official Assassination of John F. Kennedy", for sale here.)

In case you think that "Douglas" is a harmless amusing nutter, read the following. The Barnes Review website contains a veiled threat to burn a synagogue signed with one of the pseudonyms used by "Douglas" (read here WARNING-- HOLOCAUST DENIAL SITE):

"In passing, I note that a Rabbi in Seattle demanded that the local airport remove Christmas trees from its building unless they put up Jewish religious symbols as well. ... One also hopes that his synagogue is fireproof. Brian Harring"

It's ironic in light of the accusations against him that "Gregory Douglas" is said to be the author (under one of his countless pseudonyms) of Fakes & Frauds of the Third Reich (pictured below).

http://www.vho.org/GB/c/GR/SD1.jpg


The school of thought which "Douglas" is slated to represent at the Pacifica Forum is best summarized by the phrase "Pearl Harbor was an inside job". Proponents of this view frequently promote the myth that FDR knew of the attack before it happened but prevented appropriate defensive measures from being taken. His purported motive? To provide an excuse to enter the war against Nazi Germany at the behest of the Jewish lobby. I suspect that is the view "Gregory Douglas" espouses, although I have not seen his video. I presume that Pacifica Forum purchased it from Barnes Review or some similar group and I frankly do not feel comfortable supporting them with my cash.

There's more to come soon on the background of Professor Orval Etter's Pacifica Forum and how it has brought the extreme left and extreme right together to promote hatred of Israel and Jews. In the next installment: Etter's connection to the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a respected national interfaith peace group; and Alison Weir's connection to Pacifica Forum. Also: what does the administration of University of Oregon know about Pacifica Forum and why do they allow it to use university facilities to promote hate groups?

South Africa Fails to Sponsor UN Holocaust Resolution for 3rd Time

from It's Almost Supernatural: South Africa Fails to Sponsor UN Holocaust Resolution, Again

South Africa has once again failed to co-sponsor a United Nations resolution on Holocaust remembrance. Last month the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), at the annual general conference, passed a historic resolution calling on the organization to help combat Holocaust denial. Although the resolution was passed unanimously by consensus, 65 countries (including 4 African states) chose to show their explicit support by co-sponsoring.

Why is it that countries like Oman, who do not even recognize the existence of the State of Israel, can sponsor the resolution and not South Africa? What excuse will Pretoria try peddle this time? On the last 2 occasions, the government claimed it was an administrative oversight and regretted the mistake. Well this is now strike number 3 and pathetic excuses just are not going to cut it.

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) after their last meeting with the Department of Foreign Affairs assured us that a new understanding had been reached. The politics of influence they promised would ensure that this sort of thing does not happen again. This vote is just a further indication of the bankruptcy of their strategy.

It is interesting to contrast South Africa’s continued refusal to support Holocaust resolutions in international arenas with its dramatic policy change on Burma. Last month, the government finally agreed to allow the military Junta’s brutality to be discussed at the UN Security Council. It had previously claimed that the issue did not represent a threat to international peace and security and thus was not relevant for that forum. So what made the difference? The public outcry over its original Burma vote! If the Jewish community had mobilized the same public anger over the Holocaust issue, it is very likely that there would have been a similar change in the government’s behavior. But we did not. We chose rather to whisper softly softly our displeasure and accept lame excuses.

Teddy Roosevelt used to describe the secret to diplomacy as ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’. The key of course is the big stick. For without it, speaking softly just results in no-one hearing!

Countries co-sponsoring the resolution

The Commission recommends that the General Conference adopt in extenso with a view to its inclusion in the Records of the General Conference, Volume I (Resolutions), the draft resolution contained in paragraph 6 of the Annex of document 34 C/49 submitted by Australia, Canada, Israel, Russian Federation and the United States of America and co-sponsored by Albania, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, 34 C/78 – page 9 Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ukraine and Uruguay, as amended by the Commission.

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