The weather outside has that cool uncertain feel of spring that can shift with a beam of sunshine from cold to warm. Trees blossom in white and pink explosions that crowd entire streets, though the London Plane Tree, which is a common feature and bane of New York streets, is still biding its time, the naked skeletal trunks towering over pedestrians. When wide green leaves finally form on its branches, they will not last long.
It's the sort of weather that would usually make me throw on my hoodie, a relic of my college days that accompanies me on my transition from the jacket to the shirt. But the last time I wore it out, I got thumbs up and grins from people who aren't usually that friendly. It took me a while to get it, until a new neighbor toting a Whole Foods bag clued me in by breaking into a tirade about how horrible Florida and the Republicans are. Then I got it. The hoodie which predated Obama has now come to be defined by him and suddenly wearing one had become a political statement.
Wearing the hoodie would lead to the impression that I was making a statement of solidarity with Trayvon Martin, but not wearing one still meant allowing the left to control me. It was a small reminder on a spring day of how the left politicizes everything. There is nothing that the left considers apolitical. Its ambitions are unbounded by reason, law or sanity. Its singular gift is propaganda. It is terrible at the management of countries, but it is excellent at shaping their dialogue, at seizing organizations and public spaces, until everyone is forced to grapple with its agenda.
The hoodie began life as a practical garment, like jeans and other elements of working class clothing, it was hijacked as a fashion statement and then turned into high end clothing while still being marketed as dirty and dangerous. But practical things outlasts the tics and trends, they persist because unlike the 'Friends of the People' who pop up in working class wear, they are actually useful. It doesn't keep them from being politicized, but it allows them to outlast the politicizers.
With a last minute Passover purchase to make, I tossed on the hoodie and saluted a squirrel on the way out.
...and speaking of last minute things, due to the Passover holiday, this will be the last bit of writing until Sunday night.
PINING FOR THE OSLO FJORDS
The Israeli left is dead. It’s politically dead, conceptually dead and brain dead. But like the fabled Norwegian blue parrot, there is an industry dedicated to assuring us that it’s still alive and well, just pining for the Oslo peace process.
The left in Israel is one of the few in the world to exist on foreign subsidies. Without generous funds from the European Union, the State Department, George Soros and assorted members of the Shadow Party, the last remnants of the Israeli left would have packed up their suitcases, their degrees in art philosophy and their framed photos of Amos Oz and Leon Trotsky and moved to Paris or San Francisco.
You can see the rest of my piece on the idiotic Israel Loves Iran nonsense at Front Page
AND JUSTICE FOR ALL
In the music industry, it’s not about the music; it’s about the t-shirt, the poster and the songbook. In the modern politicized tragedy, it’s not about the dead body; it’s about the hoodie, the t-shirt and the keychain. At a rally in Sanford, Florida, where the whole thing began, a vendor was eagerly selling commemorative t-shirts, shouting, “I’ve got every size.”
Not to be left out of the action, Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother has applied for trademarks on “I Am Trayvon” and “Justice for Trayvon.” They say that you can’t buy justice, but if the trademark is approved then you will be able to license, “Justice for Trayvon” from her for a reasonable price.
This article is also up at Front Page, as Merchandising Trayvon Martin. Shelby Steele at the WSJ writes along somewhat similar lines that,
Before the 1960s the black American identity (though no one ever used the word) was based on our common humanity, on the idea that race was always an artificial and exploitive division between people. After the '60s—in a society guilty for its long abuse of us—we took our historical victimization as the central theme of our group identity. We could not have made a worse mistake.
It has given us a generation of ambulance-chasing leaders, and the illusion that our greatest power lies in the manipulation of white guilt. The tragedy surrounding Trayvon's death is not in the possibility that it might have something to do with white racism; the tragedy is in the lustfulness with which so many black leaders, in conjunction with the media, have leapt to exploit his demise for their own power.
The above helps explain why the left is so determined to monopolize identity, being it is determined to monopolize guilt. It's why the left refuses to address Muslim attacks on Jews, but will happily go after the right on accusations of anti-semitism.
In this week's Leftist Jewish Enunch, I wrote that,
The hijacking of Jewish history has been so comprehensive that Jews have become the new Nazis in the mythology of multiculturalism... The left imagines that it has acquired the Holocaust by virtue of its moral power and that any effort by the Jews to lay claim to their own history is vile theft. Jewish history, along with black history and Native-American history were acquired by the left when it anointed itself as the defender of the multi-cultural society. And like most copyright owners, it has a limited tolerance for violations of its intellectual property.
And from Northeast University, courtesy of Charles Jacobs who continues his invaluable fight is a story and video that affirms what goes on all the time.
Americans for Peace and Tolerance/On Campus today released a video documenting Northeastern University faculty members abusing Holocaust Remembrance events for political purposes. Northeastern professors and their invited guest lecturers are seen comparing Israelis to Nazis and denying Jewish peoplehood – on tape recordings and in internal emails. Some making these claims were invited by professors holding the Stotsky Professorship in Jewish Historical and Cultural Studies, established specifically to study the genocide of European Jewry.
You can see the video of this at the APT site and the Shame on Northeastern University site.
CRUELTY AND NIHILISM
Edward Cline took a comment of mine from the Glazov Gang interview and wrote up an interesting meditation on the nature of evil that is well worth reading.
Cruelty comes in two sizes: flaming and disinterested. They can be mixed and matched in a bewildering array of styles. All are facets of nihilism. Nihilism has meaning only if there is a good for it to erase or disfigure. It otherwise does not manifest itself. The good must be seen by a nihilist as a threat or a nemesis. Nihilism is evil. It is an evil in action.
Flaming cruelty, for example, is a Turkish or Pakistani or Somali Muslim raping, beating, maiming, and disfiguring a non-Muslim girl or woman in Europe. This also includes “honor” killings of Muslim women who flout Islamic “traditions” or “mores” or prescribed Islamic social behavior. It is a literal crime of passion, a passion for destroying the good for being the good. The offended “honor” is a self-estimate in the eyes of others. The “passion” is rooted in either a malevolent hatred of the good, or in a desperate fear of what other Muslims will think of one if one does not take “corrective” action – the destruction of a value, such as a wayward Muslim girl by her parents and relatives – to preserve one’s standing in the eyes of those others.
THE AMAZING FLEXIBILITY OF BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA
Step right up folks, it's the amazing contortionist from Chicago, Hawaii, Indonesia, Kenya and parts unknown, he'll be happy to show you how flexible he can be so long as you keep it quiet.
He responded warmly, and volunteered, “Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I’m hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.”
THE JEWBAGS BAGSTORY
This week I wrote about how Dani Gilbert, a leftist sympathetic to J Street who used an Antisemitic slur, got chosen to head up Jewish outreach for the DNC. The point I didn't address was why someone so young and inexperienced with little real life experience had been picked for the job. And here's the answer.
The staffer for DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz who posted the controversial 'Jewbag' photo on her Facebook page in 2006 is no anonymous aide -- but the daughter of Mark and Nancy Gilbert, two major Florida donors who have raised more than $500,000 for the Obama campaign.
Danielle "Dani" Gilbert, according to party sources, was tapped by Wasserman Schultz to serve as a liaison to the Jewish community, even though party officials and people close to Obama told her that more senior Democrats were already handling those responsibilities.
Not too surprising. Mark Gilbert was an early Obama backer. So Mark and Nancy's spawn got a top job, where she embarrassed the DNC, but not in a way that the media will deign to notice.
The liaison, Dani Gilbert, was hired after months of heated objections from top Obama campaign officials in Chicago and from Wasseran Schultz's own staff at the Democratic National Committee, three well-placed Democratic sources told BuzzFeed. The campaign already has a more senior a full-time Jewish liaison, Ira Forman, who had been the longtime executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Coalition.
The staffers in Washington and Chicago, the sources said, viewed Wasserman Schultz's insistence, over a period of months, on the hire as a matter of the chairwoman putting her own politics and fundraising ahead of the interests of the re-election campaign on one of the most delicate areas of politics and policy, Obama's relationship with the Jewish community. They also worried that the daughter of a powerful donor could be a difficult fit in what was theoretically a junior role.
The Democratic sources described the episode as the latest in a series of tensions between Wasserman Schultz's own agenda, focused on her Florida political career and her own broad fundraising base, and the interests of the re-elect. It was also the most recent incident in which the chairwoman, who Democrats had hoped would be a capable and visible spokeswoman for the president, has instead proved a distraction.
Ah but come on. Debbie is just acting like Obama. O doesn't put any interest above his own, why should Debbie?
This is what happens in completely corrupt organizations. Everyone is in it only for themselves.
ISRAEL DERANGEMENT SYNDROME
How do you connect the Trayvon Martin case to Israel? If you happen to be crazy and a bigot, you could write something like this.
Is the “Zimmerman killing” the first sign of the Middle East’s most secretive and shameful crime, the apartheid killings in Israel coming home? Zimmerman, of mixed Jewish and Hispanic origin is now the “poster boy” used by the ADL, AIPAC and the SPLC for the right to simply shoot African Americans down like dogs, or so it is playing out for all to see. . .
Calling Gunter Grass. This needs to be turned into a poem.
TUNISIA'S COMMITMENT TO SECULARISM GOING STRONG
Two young Tunisians have been sentenced to seven years in prison for posting cartoons of the prophet Mohammad on Facebook, in a case that has fuelled allegations the country's new Islamist leaders are gagging free speech.
The two men had posted depictions of the prophet naked on the social networking site, the justice ministry said, inflaming sensitivities in a country where Muslim values have taken on a bigger role since a revolution last year.
Sensitivity. It's such a liberal value, isn't it.
THIS YEAR IN JERUSALEM
Aarsena Air Company in Egypt launched Friday airlifts between Egypt and Israel to transfer hundreds of Egyptian Coptic pilgrims to Christian landmarks in Jerusalem for the first time. The move comes in the wake of the death of Pope Shenouda III, who banned pilgrimages to Jerusalem due to the Israeli occupation.
The airlift is the first of its kind to transport Egyptians to Israel since the signing of the peace treaty between the two countries in 1979. One or two flights will depart daily on an aircraft with 104 seats, said Cairo International Airport officials.
The sources added that two flights bound for Jerusalem left Friday carrying 104 passengers each and that no obstacles faced them.
The Coptic passengers are scheduled to spend several days sightseeing at Christian landmarks in Jerusalem, in the context of celebrating Easter on 15 April.
Pope Shenouda III banned Coptic travel to the city of Jerusalem, and said more than once: “The Copts will not travel to Jerusalem, except in the company of their fellow Muslims.”
This year in Jerusalem then as I'd say that the latter option has been quite effectively foreclosed by the Arab Spring.