Thursday, April 27, 2006

Death of the rebbe

This post is to note the passing of Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum, the leader of the Satmar Hasids. The rebbe was important for carrying on the legacy of his uncle, Yoel/Joel Teitelbaum, and his father, Moses, in denouncing Zionism and the state of Israel from a theological Jewish position. (They are the spritual leaders of the extremist Neturei Karta.) The rebbe's death has, as it often does with the great Hasidic dynasties, left a messy succession fued. But that doesn't seem to have stopped his funeral taking place in a dignified way - my son tells me it was peaceful, dignified, very farshlepped, with many hespidim. Thousands of police were present", writes Leapa.

The Satmar controll "a $1 billion real estate and social services enterprise. It claims more than 100,000 members -- in Brooklyn; Montreal; Antwerp, Belgium; and Jerusalem. An additional 19,000 live in Kiryas Joel, an entirely Hasidic town 25 miles north of New York City", according to the WP.

For more: brief blog posts from Ezra Klein and The Pecking Order, and some reference to the earlier Satmar rebbes in Ben Newman's fascinating piece on internationalist Judaism and in Reb Chaim's very interesting post on Zionism. On Neturei Karta, see My Right Word.

Previous: Hasidic Hats, Frum Teens, Little Putz, Coach Nat Holman in Madison Square Garden.

File under:


Chirac’s hubris

So Chirac wants to set up a European search engine, Quaero, as a rival to Google. Here’s a good quote from a software guy, Mike Lynch, chief executive of Autonomy: a "a blatant case of misguided and unnecessary nationalism".

Rather than Americanism, the real threat to French comes from the rampant neologisms fostered by the Chirac regime and the EU bureaucrats. Words like NeoVal and BioHub are hardly the language of Rabelais, Moliere and Genet…

(See also Does France really need its own search engine?)

Vaguely related: Chapati Mystery: Yahoo Jail

Previous posts:
Cheese-eating surrender monkeys, Google in China, On hubris, The Paris Intifada, Google-bombing 1 and 2.


George Orwell and Hannah Arendt would be turning in their graves. Liberal infoolectual Simon Jenkins takes objection to Charles Clarke’s well-founded protest against the debasement of the moral language by Guardianistas and others who call the Blair government ‘totalitarian’. I agree with Jenkins that the Blair government is authoritarian, but to compare it with fascism, as he does, is obscene. It is true that they have used the war on terror to excuse unacceptably authoritarian legislation, but that does not mean Blair is wrong to compare Saddam Hussein to Hitler and militant Islam to Nazism. Appeasing Saddam is akin to appeasing Hitler, as the Ba’athist regime was one of the most revolting in history. Only those blinded by liberal ideology would deny this. ‘Global terror’ is real – as the Dahab atrocity demonstrates; it does not need scare quotes, or diminishing as ‘the posing of some global menace’.

Jenkins calls Guantanamo Bay a ‘totalitarian monstrosity’. It is to be sure a monstrosity, which weakens Bush’s claim to the moral high ground. But even this should not be called ‘totalitarian’. It was not the gulag that defined Stalinist Russia as totalitarian. It was the fact that all Soviet citizens lived in fear of the gulag, making dissent barely possible. Despite the creeping authoritarianism of Blair Britain and Bush America, dissent flourishes, and even liberal twats like Jenkins can print what they like without fear of damaging their cushy careers, let alone getting locked up.


Here, by the way, is an extract from Clarke’s excellent article:

a pernicious and even dangerous poison is now slipping into some parts of this media view of the world. In the absence of many of the genuinely dangerous totalitarian regimes, the media has rhetorically transferred to existing democracies, particularly the US and the UK, the characteristics of those dictatorships.

So some commentators routinely use language such as "police state", "fascist", "creeping authoritarianism", while words such as "holocaust", "gulag" and "apartheid" are used descriptively in ways that must be truly offensive to those who experienced those realities.

The article, on CommentIsFree, attacks the likes of Jenni Russell, while Clarke’s similar speech picks on Henry Porter and Simon Carr. Russell, Porter and Carr: joining Mad Bunting and Jonathan Steele in the liberal infoolectuals’ corner.


By the way, just to conclude, for new readers who assume I’m some sort of Blairite monster, I think Blair cheapened our moral discourse by lying about weapons of mass destruction and that Clarke remains a ‘contemptible little turd’.

File under:

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Monday, April 24, 2006

Divestment and Sudan

The Nation: Divestment and Sudan An article about the movement in American universities for divestment from Sudan, because of the genocidal or near-genocidal events for which its government bears responsiblity. An important and good movement.

The author - who blogs here - concludes with this question: "Why have US students responded so strongly to Sudan, when closer-to-home issues like the Iraq War and cuts in financial aid have failed to produce mass movements on campus?" In other words, for the Nation liberals, it is hard to imagine that young people, left to their own devices, might demonstrate loyalty to the human race rather than promote anti-American ideology.

(And only The Nation could imagine that the Pentagon's hatred of China is a Bad Thing because... well, because China is a bad place.)

Apologies for duplicating this post. Don't know what happened. But I'm not going to delete one, 'coz last time I did that it caused all sorts of havoc with my archive!

Sudan versus Iraq

The Nation: Divestment and Sudan: This is an article about the movement among American students for divestment from Sudan, because of the genocide or near-genocide for which its government bears responsibility. An important and good movement.

The article's author, Sam Graham-Felsen, who blogs here, asks: "Why have US students responded so strongly to Sudan, when closer-to-home issues like the Iraq War and cuts in financial aid have failed to produce mass movements on campus?" An interesting question, no? The thought that students could actually act out of loyalty to the human race, rather than along the lines of anti-American ideology, seems shocking to the liberals of The Nation.

(And only The Nation could imagine that the Pentagon's hatred of China is a Bad Thing because... well, because China is a bad place.)

Apologies for duplicating this post. Don't know what happened. But I'm not going to delete one, 'coz last time I did that it caused all sorts of havoc with my archive!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Olympian anti-semitism of the LRB

A Jogo guest blog
The cover of the new LRB (Israel lobby quote) is absolutely shocking. As it sits on newsstands, this cover amounts to a broadside -- a highly compressed, unambiguous MESSAGE -- a rhetorical hammer and nail on the church door. The editors of LRB knew EXACTLY what they were doing.
I think this cover pretty much proves that LRB is not a "review of books" in the old sense of the term.
LRB is an extreme leftwing, anti-American, anti-capitalist, Marxist journal that hides inside the form of a "review of books." In fact, most of the reviews are used to promote the leftist thinking of "reviewers."
Who, by the way, are often not writing actual reviews, but polemics of their own in the *guise* of reviews.
At the same time LRB displays its ultra-refined version of jew-hatred, at the same time it gives succor to the enemies of civilization, at the same time it eats the shyt of Moslems and other anti-capitalist allies, LRB is civilizationally elitist to the extreme, as though civilization would actually survive their hoped-for Marxist revolution.
Not one person in ten thousand understands, or cares about, the content of LRB. Take a look at the little advert for Zizek's new book. Does one person in a hundred thousand understand what this book is about? Will one person in two-hundred thousand read it?
And those personal ads! They are world famous for their snobbery and elitist twittery. (Not that they aren't fun to read, of course.)
My point is that this disgustingly elitist, snobby magazine is not above pushing its political agenda in the crudest, most populist way possible. Jew-hating bastards who haven't a clue who Henry Roth, or Trollope, or Zizek are will be referring to LRB in their jew-hating conversations this month.
Curiously, along with the Jew-hating, you see in LRB an interesting philo-semitic strain (current Henry Roth article is but one of many examples). It is as though jews continue to fascinate on an esoteric plane, but on the ground (as people who shit, piss and want to survive) they have always been somewhat disgusting to the Olympian anti-semites of British academia.
I would not be surprised if a probe inserted into the secret heart of 90% of British academics would show that they *really* desire the destruction of Israel and the end of Jews.
And finally, you get an Olympian hipness in LRB when it comes to art and music and other things the average person has no idea of and no appreciation of. As though LRB readers are not only on the right side of history, not only are smarter than everyone else, but also know more about art and music than anyone else.
(You also get this art-snobbery in A. Cockburn's Counterpunch, counterpoint, actually, to the viciousness of the commentary. See Jeffrey St. Claire's jazz notes, for example. Wow, Mr. Hip.)
Well, anyway twitter, twitter, as usual, innit? Twittering all the way to the gallows. Or to the stoning wall. Or to the clitoridectomist's scalpel (or sharpened can-lid).

Monday, April 10, 2006

Deeper south

Missing from the Sarf London blog round-up the other day: lots of great posts at the Ragged School Blog (e.g. on Princelet St and dead heritage), tube trains taking a holiday in Waterloo at Zefrog, images of Elephant and Castle from TheWayWeSeeIt. To watch: ilovetheclouds.

To be added to the blogroll: Design for Diversity (under Good Causes I guess), and Southbound and (under South London).

File under:

Great big Peysakh blog 2006


At the Radical Torah Project, David Seidenberg provides a fascinating account of why the charoset isn't explained in the Haggadah. Here's Radical Torah's full pesach list, including a few nice Haggadah pdfs.

David Kelsey at Jewschool provides a great listing of progressive Haggadahs, highlighting the laziness of progressive "Jews" who want everything nice and ideologically easy - Jogo calls this "the PC makeover of Passover". Here's an extract from Kelsey's kvetch:
The Kibbutz Haggadah is perfect for so many of us, because nothing screams “fresh” and “my generation” quite like the glorification of the Labor-Zionist kibbutz movement’s glory days. But there is also the Feminist Haggadah, which offers additional rituals around Miriam’s Cup (because there isn’t ever enough weird shit cluttering the Seder table), an ancient tradition (estimated around 1976 A.C.E.) replete with preferred gender neutral blessings, perfect for the entitled American Jewess who can’t spell her own name in Hebrew but still knows everything gender sensitive person uncomfortable with the basic structure and laws of the Hebrew language.

But there is a false assumption with such an expectation. Pesach has never been about being comfortable, neither spiritually nor physically. How many of us actually look forward to Pesach? The preparation alone is a nightmare. We eat this unleavened “bread” which wreaks havoc on our digestive system. There are frequently people at the table we would not usually elect to spend hours upon hours with. The Haggadah and the Passover story itself are replete with stories of vengeance, destruction, and massive collateral damage inflicted by God himself. Many Jews were killed during the plague of darkness for the sin of having their spirits broken by slavery, and so were the lower classes of Egyptians who had little say in the policies of a brutal despot. But for some, what is more of a problem are the animal sacrifices, which the name of Pesach itself references. How do we get around that one? It’s easy, at least for readers of the Walt Disney Vegetarian Haggadah which makes a big fat Tikkun Olam with the “liberated lamb.”
Zachary prepares for a passover in China.

For the Christians out there, here's a nice Passover sermon from Ministrate.

Remember you were a stranger

Jewlicious: Because we were slaves (Avadim Hayinu):

In Exodus 12:11 we are instructed to eat the Passover meal “with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand”–in complete identification with the slave, with the moment before freedom, with the possibility of redemption and the willingness to carry out that redemption ourselves.

But this teaching has been lost on many. Instead of girding our loins or preparing our staff, many Jews come together for lavish banquets and talk about freedom without recognizing that, for many, freedom does not exist. How can we truly say that we “remember what is like to be a slave in the House of Pharaoh” when there are currently slaves not only in the House of Pharaoh, but also in our own backyards in Israel (and America)?

Hence, this piece on sex slavery in Israel (more here). (More links: TFHT, ProtectionProject, Free the Slaves, iAbolish.)

The Head Heeb
on the Palestinian diaspora and Darfur refugees forced to fight in Chad's civil war. Social Action have a haggadah for Darfur from AJWS. The Religious Action Centre also have a Darfur Passover project (more here).

And remember too the strangers in America - the immigrants being criminalized by House Bill HR 4437 the "Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act".

Full Social Action passover listing here.


Here's a great listing of Passover recipes.


The wonderful Richard Silverstein has some great Passover music links and mp3 files. My favourite is Max Helfman. Click these indexes for more:
exodus haggadah passover seder jewish music passover music.

Aviva provides some lyrics of Arbeter Ring (Workers Circle) passover songs in Yiddish. (Here
's her Yiddish directory.)

" is offering the Digital Haggadah. Free downloads of these MP3 files of essential excerpts from the Passover Haggadah", both Sephardi and Ashkenazi.

Neo-Hasid has a wav file of a lovely Stolner hasidic Passover nigun.

General Resources

provides a massive Passover link list. Shalom Centre has loads more.

Two nice Haggadahs: Velveteen Rabbi and the Open Source Haggadah, which allows you to construct your own perfect Haggadah.

Last year: 1 & 2
Tags: , Jewish, , , ,
mp3, Religion, Israel, Torah, Sudan