11:36 AM, May 28, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
At Tablet, French writer Marc Weitzmann explains what is behind the attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on Saturday that killed a visiting Israeli couple, a French volunteer at the museum, and a Belgian museum employee. Weitzmann is a well-known novelist, literary critic, screenwriter, and polemicist who has alienated many of his Parisian colleagues with his support for Israel, and previously the U.S.-led war in Iraq. His valuable article here lays bare the roots of Europe’s new anti-Semitism, establishing a genealogy of the massacre beginning with Dieudonné M’Bala M’bala, “the notorious anti-Semitic French comedian.”
Supporters of Dieudonné, explains Weitzmann, include a broad-range of European society. “Young adults of both sexes,” writes Weitzmann,
some coming, as expected, from immigrant working-class backgrounds, and also many white middle-class youth. There were low-ranking teachers, third-world militants, extreme right-wing fighters, regular leftists, and moderate socialists. There were militant Muslims, militant Christians, and republican souverainistes.
Most, though, had no recognizable political affiliation at all. They were freelance computer engineers, technicians, accountants, café waiters, part-time designers, would-be journalists, and what-not, who despised the indifference of the right but were even more revolted by the promises and the lies of the socialist left and by the French “elites” as a whole. It was a crowd infuriated by unemployment, or embittered by poorly paid jobs that were not to their taste. Why couldn’t they get the life they saw on their computers? Why were the best smartphones and cars and clothes out of their reach? What had happened to the France they had grown up in? Who had stolen the richness of the country in the first place?
A crowd of adults, yes, but equipped with the collective emotional brain, and the historical memory, of a betrayed little child, now magically united at the appearance of “Dieudo”—their “outlaw,” their anti-system clown on stage for his new show Le Mur. He was making them laugh together with his sympathetic references to Pétain, the chief of the collaboration with the Nazis between 1940 and 1944. He was doing his funny anti-Jewish “jokes,” like “I pissed on the wailing wall,” “the Holocaust cost us an arm.”
The French intellectual classes, as Weitzmann shows, are divided. Some have called out Dieudonné and his followers, while others “seem caught between indignation and ridicule.” Paying attention to “such ridiculous figures as Dieudonné,” writes Weitzmann, “seems at best a humiliating and very boring waste of time. Serious people want serious enemies—and French intellectuals are serious people. Unfortunately for them, though, as Chaplin demonstrated a long time ago, maturity and seriousness are not exactly what comes to mind when one watches and hears Adolf Hitler speak in public. And if the 20th century has taught us a lesson, it is that childishness and ridicule are not the opposite of danger; they can be warning signs that the danger is much greater than we are willing to admit.”
9:12 AM, Feb 14, 2014 • By EDWARD ALEXANDER
Laborare est orare: Work is worship. Once upon a time that Latin cry arose from scores of medieval monasteries. Their monks believed that—as Carlyle later put it--“all true Work is Religion: and whatsoever Religion is not work may go and dwell among the Brahmins, Spinning Dervishes, or where it will…One monster there is in the world: the idle man.” Nor were those old monks the first to believe in the religious nature of work, the blasphemous nature of idleness.
8:13 AM, Jan 23, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Obama administration is worried that Israel is riling up American Jews, according to a report in the Israeli press. The allegations are detailed in a story headlined, "'US perceives Israel as encouraging anti-Obama backlash among Jews,'" which appears in the Jerusalem Post.
5:38 PM, Jan 21, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Yesterday, THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported on the New York City human rights commission's dubious case against seven business owners in the Hasidic community Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The commission alleged that these Jewish stores were guilty of religious and sexual discrimination for posting dress code signs requiring "No Shorts, No Barefoot, No Sleeveless, No Low Cut Neckline," and the stores were facing $75,000 in potential fines. The commission had already been slapped down last year by an administrative judge for alleging that the posted dress code was an attempt by the Orthodox Jewish business owners to impose their religion on others—after all, no one disputes that similar dress codes in courtrooms and other private establishments are acceptable.
"Inadvertently caused offence."3:59 PM, Jan 20, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
In a recent issue the Economist, a British newsmagazine, published an article about the Obama adminstration's efforts to reach a deal with the Iranian government over its nuclear program. The article was accompanied by a political cartoon that depicts President Obama being chained and restrained in his effort to a seal of the U.S Congress. Included on the seal are two representations of the Star of David, a traditional symbol of Judaism.
Some gloomy reflections on the presidential conscience. Jan 13, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 17 • By EDWARD ALEXANDER
In his ponderously titled book Contributions to the Correction of the Public’s Judgement Concerning the French Revolution (1793), the German philosopher and political leader Johann Gottlieb Fichte took time out from his defense of the Reign of Terror to compose what has been called by Daniel Johnson “the most notorious footnote in history.” It warned his German countrymen of the Jewish menace in their midst. The Jews, he told them, constituted “a state within a state. . . .
1:16 PM, Dec 19, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Ruth Wisse, writing for Mosaic:
The story of the Jews was told so effectively in the Hebrew Bible that it shaped and sustained them as a people from that time to this. But what happens now?
2:52 PM, Sep 13, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
In an interview with Buzzfeed's McKay Coppins, Kentucky senator Rand Paul criticized "some" Christians who support Israel and the Jews and those Christians' "overeagerness" to go to war. Adding to sentiments he expressed in a speech earlier this year, Paul told Buzzfeed:
9:29 AM, Aug 5, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
The indispensable online magazine of Jewish life and thought, Mosaic, is featuring a spectacular contribution by our friend, the French journalist and president of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute, Michel Gurfinkiel.
10:01 AM, Jul 29, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Secretary of State John Kerry will host "an Iftar dinner for Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni," according to a copy of his schedule released by the State Department. The dinner will also be attended by "Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat."
The event will be closed to the press.
Kerry's schedule for today reads:
9:05 AM, Jun 3, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
The website Jewish Ideas Daily has been, for quite some while, a star of the web, featuring interesting original material as well as links to other worthwhile writing embodying a lively, serious, and committed approach to Jewish issues and ideas. Today, Jewish Ideas Daily has re-launched as Mosaic.
7:28 AM, May 22, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
At a Jewish American Heritage Month reception last night in Washington, D.C., Vice President Joe Biden talked about Jews, power, and influence.
12:00 AM, Jan 7, 2013 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
During the hearings on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be secretary of defense, it’s clear that the views of gay rights organizations will be heard. There the issue seems to be whether Hagel’s apology for previous remarks and beliefs was sincere, or motivated solely by self-interest. He had years to apologize publicly, but did so only when opposition from gay rights groups threatened his nomination.