Jews: Stop being Progressive

When faced with a potentially challenging idea or ideology, there are different ways to proceed. I’m the “dive right in and deal with it” type, which makes me a minority, certainly in the Jewish community. Many Jews, particularly on the left, still think the old combo of “demonize, misstate, and ignore” will do the trick.

Enter Benjamin Gladstone, with his piece “Jews should not flee to the alt right”. This is a response to an earlier piece of mine suggesting Jews should see the political left as a greater threat than the alt right. Benjamin attempts to shut my argument down right in his title. Of course, Jews shouldn’t “flee” to the alt right, any more than they should “beg” to join it. These are strawman arguments. As I’ve said before, the alt right isn’t something one can “join”, “beg to be a part of” or “flee to”. What we’re talking about is ideology and its effects, not group membership.

Hate to break it to you, Liberal Jews, but as of now you have no “group membership” anyway. It’s time to get past worrying about what “side” we should “join”, and instead take an objective look at the policy/ideological positions we should be supporting. My argument is simple: these positions, in 2017, should be more to the right than the left.

By far.

This brings us back to Benjamin’s piece. He points out that a left which will bend over backwards because a “trans” person is offended thinks nothing of supporting the destruction of Israel. He accurately notes that the left doesn’t care about antisemitism…. And then he says:

We as Jews must be morally upstanding citizens as well as effective advocates for our own needs. That means sticking with the left.

Why is this? Because according to Benjamin, Jews need to support “progressive causes”.

Have you been asleep for the last five years, Benjamin? “Progressive” now means bashing white people, men, Israel, and the ideals upon which the western world is based. It’s now a “progressive” ideal to call the scientific method “racist”. “Progressive” groups like Black Lives Matter have made Israel their only foreign policy focus.  Are you against rape on campus? Better be against Israel, too!

And this is where, politically, Benjamin thinks Jewish people should be.

I’m just not getting it, Benjamin. It’s true that Jews should look with concern at the anti-Semitic parts of the alt right. No argument there. Do you really think, however, that the openly racist, sexist, and bigoted rhetoric of the left is somehow “better”? Is it better because they attack White people instead of Jewish people? Many on the left see Jews as White, so their attacks on Whites are also attacks on us. Is it really a Jewish historical value to attack the founding groups of the nations we live in, and their values? Like many Jews, Benjamin can’t see past Nazi Germany and the idea that Jews were persecuted simply for being another race or religion. Persecution of Jews, however, was often seen as an attack upon a privileged group allied with the nobility, which Jews in the Middle Ages in Western Europe typically were.

Sound familiar? The left’s rhetoric of hatred towards anyone seen as White, western, privileged, etc, will inevitably target Jews, and there’s as much a rich history of persecution from this angle as from a nationalist or religiously exclusive one. This is a tough fact for many Jews to swallow, but one we need to confront nonetheless.

Another question: how can Jews on the political Left effectively support Israel? The left’s race obsession, as I pointed out, puts Ashkenazi Jews into the “White” camp. Strong border security, a strong military, a cohesive society; all necessary for Israel’s survival, all seen as contemptible aspects of “White Supremacy”. How can a Jewish person on the political left argue for a “Jewish State” when the very concept is “racist”? Leftists, of course, never call Palestinian Nationalism “racist”. By moving to the right, we jettison this hypocrisy.

I’m sympathetic to Jews like Benjamin, but we need to recalibrate our political leanings. Of course, we shouldn’t be “fleeing” to the alt right, or “begging” to join them, but we do need to move away from a “progressive” movement that is becoming a real threat. Jewish people: We’re not “oppressed” and we have little in common with those who claim to be. Progressive politics is every bit as divisive on race and other identity issues as the alt right. If you reject the racist alt right, you must reject the left. Let’s find a better way.

 

Jews and Antisemitism- why do we get it so wrong?

 

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I’ve spent years arguing with anti-Semites online. I’ve argued with them since before it was called “online”, back in the days of BBS services, dial up modems; green and black monitors. They haven’t changed much, just like Jews haven’t changed much. I almost see them as a dim, monstrous reflection. A true anti-Semite is every bit the internationalist as a Jewish banker. They may cloak themselves in any number of guises, but their anti-Jewish identity is always primary. Countless times I’ve seen self-described White Nationalists and Muslim Extremists speak with ease about “the Jews”, all differences forgotten. Jewish words and ideas are extremely powerful to Anti-Semites. They believe one Jewish woman can influence the thoughts of an entire nation. If an organization contains thousands of people, and five of them are Jewish, an anti-Semite will believe the Jews are in control, regardless of their position. Jewish people saying things drive them nuts, no matter the topic. Anti-Semites will leave nasty comments under an online recipe… “That’s not REALLY a Cherry Pie, JEW!” Always we are the focus, always we are the problem. So why, after so long dealing with this, do we not respond more effectively? Why does it always seem that antisemitism, once rooted, continues to spread?

There are a lot of reasons for this, but some are under our control. As a community, we simply don’t do well when confronted with this issue.

One great example is the saga of Mel Gibson. It’s a simple story. Mel Gibson makes a movie about Jesus. Jews complain. The complaining accomplishes nothing. Jews double down. Some of the behavior was beyond cringeworthy. Wearing concentration camp outfits (Jesus was a Nazi?) to protest the premier. Going on and on. Mel, drunk one night, had something of a response. Jews were overjoyed! We’re right! He’s a real Jew hater!!!

Was he?

It seems to me one might make the argument that “the Jews” struck first, and an inebriated Mel finally responded. Not to condone his words… but is there not something to this? Would Mel Gibson EVER have become an anti-Semitic icon had Jews not protested his work, calling him an anti-Semite before he had spoken on the subject? Is it hateful towards Jews to simply make a film about Jesus? I saw “The Passion of the Christ” with a Christian girlfriend, and I can’t fathom what the issue was. Jews, quite frankly, jumped the gun.

Fast forward to the Donald Trump campaign. Against a field of mostly establishment Neo-Cons, Trump didn’t get the support of established Jewish journalists and commentators. This was quickly noted.

Trump, as I have said before, has lived in NYC for decades, surrounded by Jewish people. There has never been an accusation of antisemitism against him. This fact didn’t seem to matter, though, as the same Jewish journalists and commentators who criticized him before began using his anti-Semitic support as an excuse for more criticism. A man who has lived and worked around Jews his whole life, accused of both outright anti-Semitism and covert support of it, for no action of his own. I have questions: Why should Trump condemn people he has no connection to? Why should Trump give those people any attention by mentioning them? Many in the Jewish community were shrill in their condemnation of Trump, but few seemed to think this through. What is accomplished when someone who doesn’t hate Jews is accused of antisemitism? The Jewish community squares off, in this case, against Republican voters who have shown strong support for Israel and the Jewish community. The antisemities laugh, watching us lose genuine support. And for what? Trump won anyway, and the Jewish community finds itself with a President we openly opposed, and a DNC that’s moving away from us. What a situation!

It’s true that those on the political Right who hate Jewish people have more of a voice than they did before. It’s true that they are emboldened. Before we blame Trump for this, we need to look in the mirror, stop overreacting to internet trolls, and absolutely stop using the term “antisemitism” when what we really mean is “I don’t agree with you.” It’s that simple. The days of crying wolf must end.

Liberal Jews are Messing Up

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We all know the stereotypes. Jewish women, Jewish girls. Aggressive, demanding, pushy!

Maybe, some might say… “whiny”!!!

If you’re a Jewish man you’ve either given voice to these opinions or privately considered them; walking home after another argument, sitting in a restaurant feeling emasculated. “All stereotypes are true” Murry Rothbard once said, and we all know there’s truth to this one. What kind of non-Jewish person would DARE to give voice to the same opinion? Clearly, only Hitler.

Or Stephen Bannon.

Liberal Jews are currently freaking out, badly. They are upset, like all liberals, that the bubble they’ve been living in for the past five or so years was a lie. An absolute, outright lie, constructed by media and entertainment sources they refused to question. While non-Jewish liberals have helpfully responded to this defeat by doubling down on anti-White racism, rioting, and general cluelessness; Jewish liberals are doing all of this AND acting as though Hitler is riding into town on the Trump train.

Which brings us back to Stephen Bannon. Trump’s pick as top White House advisor has an ex-wife who claimed he didn’t want his kids going to school with “whiny Jewish girls”; In divorce proceedings no less. Otherwise his resume includes opening Breitbart in Israel, working with Goldman Sachs and some time spent in Hollywood. David Horowitz claims to be a personal friend.

But hey, his ex-wife says he hates Jews! Also, he runs Breitbart, which liberals hate. Therefore? Piece after piece in the mainstream media, claiming he’s a “White Nationalist”.

This isn’t even the worst of it. You’ve probably seen the hysterical articles claiming Jews are actually under threat. Perhaps the first prize here belongs to Mark Joseph Stern over at Slate, who wrote a piece entitled “I’m a Gay Jew in Trump’s America, and I Fear for My Life.” This article contains such gems as:

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This kind of emotional rhetoric in response to a free and fair election is unbelievable, and beyond that, it’s morally wrong. Trump has never said anything anti-Semitic either publicly, or privately where someone could recall (and you KNOW people would have remembered). The majority of Trump supporters are Conservatives who also support Israel. Aside from internet trolls and a few random individuals, Trump’s campaign hasn’t been “more Anti-Semitic” than any other. Mark isn’t just saying Trump has a problem with Jews, but that so many other Americans do that Trump will be able to overcome government checks and balances and go after the Jewish community.

What a disgusting, bigoted, and unfair way to view your fellow Americans.

It’s time for liberal Jews to stop. We know you are angry that you lost. We know you don’t like Trump, but claiming that America has become anti-Semitic, or that it’s not a friendly country for Jews, is a slap in the face to the country that, besides Israel, has been the best home for Jewish people in thousands of years. Americans have again and again expressed support for Israel, particularly Conservative Christian Americans. America remains largely free of the violent antisemitism sweeping Europe. What’s the problem?

As a postscript, it’s interesting to point out that while Trump reaches out to Israel and works with Jews on a daily basis, the DNC might put anti-Israel Rep. Keith Ellison in charge.

But hey, Bannon said Jewish girls were whiny, so I guess getting stabbed in the back by the DNC is less important… right?

Still for Donald Trump

 

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Yes, I’m still supporting Donald Trump. Of course I am! Nothing’s changed. Sure, plenty of angry Facebook messages, ultimatums. “No more sex/friendship/fantasy football/trivia nights for you!” I just smile and nod. Sure thing, folks.

 

Really though, nothing’s changed.

 

The “new revelations” concerning Trump’s personal behavior aren’t “new” in any real sense. We all knew he behaved this way. Women ask me “Is that REALLY how men talk?” It is, to a point, and it isn’t. Trump’s suggestion that he “grabs” women, perhaps without consent, takes his locker room talk to a cringe-worthy next level. It also changes nothing.

This election will have an impact on the fate of over 300 million Americans. If one truly feels Trump is better for that 300 million, what personal revelations can change the moral calculus? What if he’s a serial killer who has killed five people? Ten people? I’m not sure where we jump off this slippery slope, but we’re not close yet, not even in the ballpark.

The problems associated with globalism and the “Liberal Elite” haven’t changed one bit. Hillary still represents Wall Street excess, foreign policy arrogance and incompetence, a media/government/entertainment complex that seem to hate half of the American population; dying small towns, lack of real jobs, credentialism (needing unnecessary degrees/certifications), racial strife and violence, hateful identity politics. None of this has changed.

Trump’s racist, anti-Semitic, you say? Absolute nonsense. Pathetic, stupid, damaging nonsense. I’ve spent more time in genuine engagement with “anti-Semites” than virtually any Jewish person alive. They don’t like Jews, and they can’t hide it. Trump has spent his life around Jewish people. Every day he has intimate and meaningful interactions with Jews. The same is likely true with Hispanics, Blacks, any group you care to name. Trump, the media-hungry socialite, has led a far more diverse life than anyone reading this essay, and he did so for decades without accusations of “racism”.

Trump gives as a shot at turning back harmful trends. He gives hope to the half of our country that feels alienated, hated by the elite, and under attack. Every single day, our worldview is confirmed. Check out Lena Dunham’s latest “eliminate white people” video, then reflect on the fact that she’s a Clinton surrogate. The media has asked Trump to repudiate David Duke… will Clinton repudiate Dunham?

Liberals seem confused. Attack people based on their race and gender, and they will respond. Tell half the country they don’t belong here, and they will respond. Trump is the response. His personal behavior will never be as grave as the issues facing our country, so for those of us on his side, he’s still the best choice. Get used to it.

Why Donald Trump Won Last Night’s Debate

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After the debate, the women were mad. All up and down my Facebook feed, angry women sounded off. “How can he treat her this way?” they clucked. “I’m getting PTSD watching him shout over her” said one. “No man in my life will vote for Trump under ANY circumstances” promised another.

Better sit this one out, I thought to myself.

Indeed, some were wanting my input. I’m a rather notorious Facebook fiend, but I just didn’t have the heart to jump in. Why mansplain reality to the wounded? Why bother explaining why Trump’s manner and lack of detail won’t hurt him? They weren’t in any mood to listen.

This election has brought out intense passions. Most of us have decided who we’re voting for already. There’s little room for movement among those convinced the other side is evil, out to hurt women, flood our country with Muslims, and we’re not listening to each other. In this environment, what did Trump do that made him, in my opinion, more effective?

What Trump had to do, in my opinion, was convince people like myself that he’s not crazy, and that’s he’s focused enough for the job. Basically, does he have the personality to be President? He did this quite well, not only keeping up with Clinton, but by and large defining the terms and tone of the debate.

Right from the start Trump was aggressive and focused on Clinton’s documented shortcomings. His strategy was a smart one: keep the attacks coming while discussing his policy ideas with broad brush strokes. Trump took every question from Holt and turned it into the discussion HE wanted to have. Holt asked about the economy and how to make it better: Trump responded by talking about everything from trade policy to his own business success, while attacking Hillary’s record on NAFTA. His responses were so dense, so filled with asides and potential tangents, than Clinton couldn’t possibly respond to every assertion Trump was making. Instead, she had to lamely refer people to her own website for “fact checking”. Trump’s strategy here was brilliant: attack Clinton on specific issues, make her defend herself, while presenting his own policies more broadly, making it difficult for her to counter him on specifics. Clinton was on defense virtually the entire debate. By making his attacks early, Trump made it seem as though Clinton was merely responding, rather than coming up with unique attacks on her own, as she hit his tax and business record.

Trump used Holt’s rather hands-off moderation to his advantage. Holt wouldn’t press Trump to answer questions directly and with specifics, and as I said Trump used this to answer in the way he wished. He used old sales tricks to let Holt keep him talking, such as responding to a question with a question. “You asked me a question, didn’t you Lester?” he said at one point as Holt tries to ask a follow-up. “Let me answer”. Reminded me of my cold-calling days.

The facebook ladies are even angrier with me now. “So what if he manipulated the debate, he had no policy specifics!!!! Isn’t that what’s important???”

No, policy specifics mean almost nothing during a debate. Let me say that again, because it’s a big point: policy specifics mean almost NOTHING during a debate! Don’t believe me? Then tell me, without googling, five policy specifics from the Obama/Romney debates. Can’t? How about just ONE? Better question: If you can remember a few policy specifics, tell me how many were implemented, exactly as described during the debate, once the winner was on office. Can you think of any?

I’ve followed politics for decades, and for the life of me, I can’t think of a SINGLE specific policy recommendation from ANY debate I’ve ever watched. Not one. What do I remember? Obama talking about bayonets. Romney talking about binders of women. I remember Tina Fey making fun of Palin, I remember GW Bush’s goofy smile. But nothing really specific. What will be remembered about the Trump debate? Not much, other than that he didn’t appear crazy, and Clinton didn’t get sick. Was Trump sexist? The women who thought so before the debate still do, and the ones that didn’t, still don’t. It’s a wash.

I’m voting for Trump because his vision and his judgement are what I want in a President. I’ve got some idea of his policies, but why do I need more specifics now? We ALL know that the specifics will change once the day to day reality of being President sinks in. I’d rather know that my President is tough, smart, and good on his feet. During the debate, Trump showed that he could walk into a hostile environment in front of a much more experienced opponent, and not only hold his own but make the space his. I want that quality in a President. The specifics will come later.

Twitter

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you will see that my account is gone. I felt the need to do this because many of the comments I’ve made on twitter are simply too controversial, now that they have a wider audience. Also, Twitter was simply taking up too much time, and keeping me away from my writing. I will continue to focus on writing for this blog, and I appreciate everyone’s support!

On the Inside Looking out- A Jew among the Alt-Right

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On social media, I am often asked: “As a Jewish person, why would you identify with the Alt-right, aren’t they anti-Semitic?” I understand why people would ask, and why they see the alt-right as they do. To answer, I need to ask a question of my own:

What is antisemitism?

I favor Rothbard’s definition, slightly modified: an anti-Semite is someone who wants Jews subjected to legal sanction of some kind, as well as those who call for violence against us, qua Jews. This definition won’t help the mental tranquility of liberal Jews and Trump critics, seeing a deluge of frog-memes coming their way, but it helps me stay focused. I ask myself: Why do some Jews put so much effort into combating the Alt-Right for cartoonish memes, while ignoring systematic, institutional threats? Why are we, as a community, afraid of any reasonable engagement with people like this:

Is “Ricky” wrong? Does this dynamic indeed exist in our community? Are Jewish people not overrepresented in this great western push for “diversity”?

 

 

Again, is Ricky wrong? Mention the Holocaust this way and most Jews slam their minds shut. I can’t speak for Lena Dunham (thank G-D), but Ricky has his finger on a point here. I sometimes wonder what Jews who enthusiastically go on about “white privilege” think the endgame is. They seem to think this concept will serve to shut the mouths of middle and working class whites in flyover country, while liberal Jews hold the clipboards and direct victorious POC in a dismantling of “whiteness”. Privileges will be checked, and all will be well in the world. I don’t see it.

Consider the case of Eliav Terk, Jewish High School student in Texas. Complaining about fellow students posting anti-Semitic imagery on Facebook:

“School administrators informed him that no action would be taken. Terk was told by the administrators that the anti-Israel students must be excused for their behavior because they are part of an ‘oppressed and victimized’ people.”

This is High School! In the same national environment where saying “All Lives Matter” can lead to sanction,  posting “anti-Semitic” caricatures are part of being “an oppressed and victimized people”?

Does this look like the language and behavior of the Alt-Right? Where is the ADL to investigate? American Jewish organizations have made us look foolish, kvetching about Pepe the Frog and nasty tweets, yet when a Jewish High School student faces institutional discrimination, only the Israeli Press notices. The situation is much worse when we take a larger look at things. Jews are fleeing Europe, under constant attack by members of the Muslim community. Jews in higher education face threats, ostracism, and discrimination. Identity groups like Black Lives Matter have made Israel the ONLY overseas focus point, and this is replicated in Hispanic, Asian, and Muslim student groups. Considering the institutional fawning over identity groups representing “people of color”, this will not end well for Jews. Jewish groups remain largely ineffective in dealing with left wing intuitional and demographic threats. The Alt-Right is more observant:

 

If you’re still with me, the dopey ADL is clueless, the Alt-Right is nasty but redeemable, and left wing institutional power is the real threat. But how does any of this explain ME? Why can I swim in a sea of (sometimes genuine) antisemitism and laugh at it, while other Jews can’t stand to be called “Jew”? Why am I easily able to ignore the nasty language, stereotyping, and general hostility Jews experience from the Alt-Right?

Part of it is because I believe that what happened to young Eliav Terk is worse than a million Pepe memes. Part of it is because traditional Conservative politics have failed and offer no response to the left’s toxic identity politics.

But in the end it’s just me.

I enjoy the nasty talk in the alt-right. I enjoy spending rhetorical time with people who might otherwise hate me. The alt-right has energy, it has vitality, it’s something NEW and creative, it’s honest and forthright. It’s also the only viable political movement that is explicitly fighting for that nebulous concept of “Western Civilization”.

I have thick skin and a tolerance for others. Liberals like to imagine themselves “tolerant”, but real tolerance is in the ability to be around people who are different than you and still value them as people. I’m from a small town, and was raised around tough, rural whites who didn’t spend much time checking their privilege. I could have ended up a nice, sheltered, liberal Jewish boy, but poor choices and a wandering nature put an end to that. I’ve seen too much, experienced too much, to be bothered by memes. I’ve lived with and befriended people most Jews would dismiss, and found that the meanest and the roughest can hold forth with truth from time to time. As a community we’re quick to ignore certain speech because of who the speaker is. I focus on the speech.

Western Civilization is a good thing for Jews. Sharia Law, Political Islam, identity politics, and the collapse of reason generally are bad things for Jews. I don’t care if someone standing up to the left doesn’t talk like my mother. I don’t care if someone who wants to control European borders blames Jews for the Muslim influx. Time to grow some skin, and focus on the real threats. Pepe won’t bite.