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Added 30/1/24 – this is NOT final draft or formatting.
Polina, Molotov’s Jewish Wife
Hitler needed it, to pave the way for his powerful Wehrmacht to attack Poland. Stalin needed it, to buy time to bulk up his Red Army.* On 23 August 1939, their foreign secretaries delivered it: the non-aggression Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.
Bitter enemies—Communist Soviet Union and Fascist Germany—instantly became allies.
A week later, on 1 September, Germany invaded Poland. The Second World War in Europe had begun.
[20 January 2024: This post is still being tinkered with.]
[27 January 2024: The tinkering is just about done.]
Nobel Prizes for Literature: Explosive
In literature as in the sciences, a disproportionately high number of prizes have gone to Jews.
This particular collection is a bit meshuganah.
Shot by a Jew
By Robert Liebman
A gaggle of American GI’s (Government Issue = soldier) raise the Stars and Stripes on a bomb-damaged hilltop.
A sailor and a nurse enjoy a passionate kiss in Times Square.
General Douglas MacArthur returns, knee-deep, to the Philippines.
The truly iconic photographs from the Second World War are instantly familiar. We can picture them from a brief description alone; we do not actually need to see them. Continue reading
[20 January 2024: This post is still being tinkered with.]
By Robert Liebman
The movie industry was launched a little over a hundred years ago by entrepreneurs who are household names today, such as Szmuel Gelbfisz, Karl Laemmle and Adolf Zukory.
Gelbfisz? Laemmle? Zukory? Household names? In whose house?
Szmuel Gelbfisz became Samuel Goldwyn, and MGM became MGM. Zukory dropped his Novelty Fur Company and the last letter of his surname to oversee, as Adolph Zukor, Paramount Pictures. Continue reading
Schemers and Dreamers, Ids and Yids
In October 1947, a Jewish-American writer, grandson of a Russian rabbi, completed page 721 of his 721-page novel and set off for a year in Paris with his wife. First novel. First wife.
His novel, published while he was in the French capital, met with widespread acclaim and he started a new novel, which he completed after returning home to New York. Short where his first novel was long, symbolic instead of realistic, and with a skimpy contrived plot, novel number two fell flat on its face.
When he died at the age of 83, his totals were ten novels, six wives and numerous awards—but the gong he yearned for most eluded him.
In September 1948, another young Jewish-American writer (the born-in-Canada variety), also the grandson of a Russian rabbi, went to Paris with his first wife. He already had two accompished but modest novels under his belt and was well into his third. He never finished it. Instead, he abruptly ditched it and started an entirely new work which he completed after returning to America several years later.
His original third novel, the one he jettisoned, would have been in the same competent but dreary league as his previous novels. His new work was a different species altogether, stylistically as well as in subject matter. It provided him with a lush new vein and he mined it to the hilt. When he died, aged 95, his tally was 13 novels, a mere five wives, and one Nobel Prize.
The futures for both writers turned on the novels they started in Paris, but why did this most inspirational of cities prove poisonous for one of them and utterly magical for the other? Continue reading
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ilhan Omar. Rashida Tlaib. Three new American congresswomen, a shedload of mistakes.
Roger Waters, Richard Falk, chronic hatred and a dose of reality.
“As a Jew…” v “We the undersigned….”
Mirror mirror on the wall/Who is the smarmiest of us all?
“As a Jews” have an at-best tenuous link to the Jewish religion but invoke it cynically and dishonestly in political discussions. (On questionnaires I suspect most of them fill in the Religion line with ‘none’ or ‘atheist’)
“We the undersigneds” are superficially secular but are actually as faith-based as the “As a Jews,” maybe more so.
Obediently following the progressive line—”No enemies on the left”—they demand ‘rights’ and ‘justice’ for the Palestinians.
If, once, they could actually provide rational and compelling evidence—which rights, which injustices, and crucially, who is truly culpable?—instead of periodically repeating, mantra-like, these buzz words, the case would be closed. They could declare victory, and spare us their blooming letters.
Anti-Israel leftists insist on key emotive words—rights; justice; ethnic cleansing; pinkwashing—and the self-styled progressive flock intones them, in letter after letter after letter. Their obedience is sheep-like, and why not: they have much to lose. Express one doubt, make one false move, and your fellow progressives label you a ‘fascist.’ You are drubbed out.
Mirror Mirror Contest result: Dead heat.
Next contest: Big prizes for anyone who correctly guesses tomorrow’s new progressive buzzword.
Oopsday at Rancho Perry
Hendrik Hertzberg gathered a pile of Perry poop for his New Yorker magazine article (January 30, 2012)
At Rancho Perry, every day was Oopsday. Along the trail, he forgot how many Justices the Supreme Court has (eight is not enough); forgot the name of one of them (Sonia Sotomayor); placed the American Revolution in the sixteenth century; identified the voting age (fixed at eighteen four decades ago by constitutional amendment) as twenty-one; and suggested that the chairman of the Federal Reserve is a traitor, that Turkey (a nato ally of sixty years’ standing) is governed by Islamic terrorists, and that Social Security is not only a Ponzi scheme but also a criminal enterprise, a monstrous lie, and unconstitutional. And there’s this whopper, from his farewell speech: “As a former Air Force pilot, I don’t get confused.”
Gaffe Collection Gaffe Gumbo: A U.S.A. Miscellany
What is the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?
Sarah Palin’s single-word answer to her own question—“lipstick”—propelled her from relatively obscure Alaska governor to political superstar. A superstar that fizzled out fast.Continue reading
Vote for my party and, if elected, we will put 10,000 more police on the streets. What’s not to like?
Vote for my party and, if elected, we will build 50,000 social homes. Sounds good to me.
Wait a minute. How much will these initiatives cost?
In 2017, after Britain’s Labour Party announced that it would hire an additional 10,000 police, radio interviewer Nick Ferrari asked Labour minister Diane Abbott how many coppers these new coppers would cost.
£300,000, she replied.
Wrong answer. £300k would suffice to pay each policeman a few pennies per hour. She tried again, upping the total to £80 million. Wrong again. The real cost would be about four times that amount.
A similar gaffe-by-number felled Green Party leader Natalie Bennett a few years earlier when the same interviewer asked her about the price tag for those 50,000 homes.
£2.7 billion was her prompt – and incorrect – answer.
A Christian, a Muslim and a Jew host a panel discussion on America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The punchline: the Jew is a critic, not a supporter, of Israel.
The University of Winnipeg’s “My Jerusalem” event was a bit of a joke, as I explain in my TOI blog: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/whose-jerusalem-is-it/
What if a Noam Chomsky-like figure, or Chomsky himself, did an ideological u-turn and stated openly that he had been far too critical of the Jewish state, and too forgiving of the Palestinians?
Would many—indeed, any—anti-Israel radical leftists follow suit and change their own minds?
When Soviet leader Josef Stalin said “Dance!”, Nikita Khruschev danced. Continue reading
Gaming the Blame Game
Old news: When Syrians kill Palestinians, America’s radical left neither notices nor cares—even when hundreds, even thousands, are killed.
When an Israeli kills one Palestinian, the left becomes apoplectic with rage.
Man-bites-dog: When blacks kill blacks, America’s radical left has little to say—even when the death toll is tragically high and many victims are children. When a policeman kills a black, the left erupts in anger and indignation. Continue reading
Demonizing Israel—“A Leftist Project”?
When Israel emerged victorious from the Six-Day War in June 1967, the anti-Israel left in America, Britain and other western countries immediately pronounced judgement: the Jewish state was guilty of, among other things, “colonialism.” The main “other things” were “fascism” and “militarism.”
Israel did not plead guilty to these charges. Continue reading
A new anti-Israel slogan recently rode into town: “racist endeavour,” as in: “Israel is a racist endeavour.” Anti-Israel activists get a good bang for their buck with this compact phrase. “Racist” accuses Israel of being, well, racist.
“Endeavour” suggests that this racism is not accidental or incidental but is intentional, an integral part of Zionism. Continue reading
Leftists Marching Backwards
By Robert Liebman, timesofisrael.com, August 7th, 2017
Notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. Fugitive terrorist murderer Assata Shakur, a.k.a. Joanne Chesimard. Would-be police killer Baba Sekou Odinga.
America’s top feminists—leaders of several well-attended progressive, gay and anti-Trump marches—openly and unapologetically admire the unadmirable.
“Will progressives have more spine than conservatives in policing hate in their ranks?,” asked Bari Weiss in a recent [August 1, 2017] New York Times op-ed.
My answer: “No!” It’s too risky. Continue reading
Bias of the Myopic Left
By Robert Liebman, Jewish Chronicle (UK), March 10, 2016, slightly modified July 2018
The radical left can chew gum and protest two or more causes at the same time. In fact, as self-proclaimed humanitarians, they should cast a wide net. Why, then, in a wicked world, do western boycott activists focus only on Israel? Continue reading
The Gaffe Collection: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
On June 26, 2018, 28-year-old political novice Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez soundly (57-43 per cent) defeated ten-term Democrat incumbent Joe Crowley in the primary contest for a seat in Congress. Continue reading
Poor Aim, Wrong Target
By Robert Liebman, originally published in Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), January 10, 2015
Several recent initiatives reveal the deep intent of many academic BDS supporters to attack Israel at any price, even if their own credibility and integrity foot the bill. Continue reading
Garden Variety Israel Bashing in the Garden State
By Robert Liebman, originally published by SPME (Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, December 10, 2014; this version slightly modified and images added, August 2, 2018.
More than fifty tenured Princeton academics recently signed a petition urging divestment from companies which supply military-related equipment to Israel. The organizers hope that many more of their colleagues will join them. The petition threw the local Jewish community into uproar. Continue reading
The Biased Article that Send my Oy-ometer off the Scale
By Robert Liebman, Jewish Chronicle, May 9, 2014, this version slightly modified, and images added, August 1, 2018.
Alongside notifications of jumble sales and concerts, an article in the newsletter of my local church propelled the needle on my Oy-ometer off the scale.
Israel, this article proclaimed, was cruelly and arbitrarily mistreating the residents of a Palestinian Christian village. The writer supported her contentions with evidence that was weak (where it was comprehensible) and blatantly biased. Continue reading
The Left’s Hate Affair with Israel
By Robert Liebman
This is a slightly modified version of an article that originally appeared in algemeiner.com, June 10, 2015.
June 10, 1967 marked the end of the Six Day War and the beginning of the radical left’s hate affair with the Jewish State.
Although Israel neither welcomed nor wanted this conflict, the Left declared that Israel, not the invading Arabs, had been ‘militaristic,’ ‘colonialistic,’ and ‘fascistic.’ Continue reading