Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Monday, December 30, 2013
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
It sounds like another cracked, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory dredged up from some Truther website, but it’s the thesis of a recent book from Harvard University Press, The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact With Hitler, written by a freshly minted young Berkeley Ph.D., now Harvard Junior Fellow, Ben Urwand, and supported by documents culled from German archives, pages of supplemental notes, and back-cover bona fides from respectable historians like Richard Evans, who also reviewed the manuscript for the Harvard Press. “It is time to remove the layers that have hidden the collaboration for so long,” the author writes in his prologue, “and to reveal the historical connection between the most important individual of the twentieth century and the movie capital of the world.”
The Collaboration, however, reveals nothing of the sort. The book’s astounding claims are not only flatly contradicted by more credible accounts the author inexplicably ignores, but his thesis is undercut by evidence, old and new, he himself provides. The author misunderstands classic films, not to mention the social and political history of the period. One can’t help wondering why the Harvard Society of Fellows thought this book worthy of support and what Harvard University Press intended by publishing it.
More on this topic here, from Alicia Mayer: http://hollywoodessays.com/2013/12/18/face-to-face-with-ben-urwand-the-question-i-asked-and-his-reply/
The vote by the 5,000-member American Studies Association to support the academic boycott of Israel, reportedly by a 2-1 margin, has evoked many responses, but none so far has identified the irony at the core of the matter. To show that irony, and the deeper problem it illustrates, you need to know that a couple of weeks before the ASA vote, the ASA’s 20-member National Council, which administers the ASA and is elected by the ASA membership, pre-voted in favor of the Israel boycott—and did so unanimously.Can you imagine twenty serious scholars in any discipline voting unanimously on any controversial issue? I can’t, so I thought it worthwhile to examine the composition of the ASA’s National Council and to peruse its members’ academic profiles, as described on the webpages of their home institutions. This simple exercise reveals a stunning lack of diversity of intellectual interests and perspectives in a sector of American society, the university, that explicitly places a very high premium on “diversity.” The apparent obsession with gender, gay and race studies (or of U.S. imperialism) among the members of ASA’s National Council seems to come at the expense of scholarship on just about everything else.You don’t have to take my word for it. See for yourself or, if you like, scan through the abridged academic profiles below of 18 of the 20 members of ASA’s National Council. All the information is drawn from the faculty profiles as presented on university webpages; none of the language is mine.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Read my column today in The Jerusalem Post.
Just as the sniveling American Jewish diaspora failed the Jews of Europe, we again witness these swashbucking cowards failing the Jews of the 21st century.
The above 3/4-page ad appeared in the New York Times in 1943. The ad was placed by the Committee for a Jewish Army of Stateless and Palestinian Jews (CJA), a pressure group founded by Peter Bergson, Broadway impresario Billy Rose, and Ben Hecht, among others, and was in response to an offer that had been made to the Allies by upper-echelon members of the Romanian government to assist in the transfer of some 70,000 Jews from their fascist state to Palestine or elsewhere.
CJA was denounced by mainstream Jewish organizations as alarmist, unethical, and overly militant.Much the way my work, in particular my savage ads, were denounced by American Jewish leaders. Inaction, submission and cowardice. History repeats itself.
... Israel has not violated international law or UN resolutions, and if these so-called academics had even a rudimentary knowledge of history -- the San Remo resolution, Balfour, the White Paper, and Islamic Jew-hatred -- they would apologize and retreat with their heads hung in shame. The ASA ought to issue a resolution that Islamic anti-Semitism is a violation of human rights, and that calls for a Jew-free “Palestine” are a human rights violation, and the repeated “Palestinian” calls for the destruction of Israel are a monstrous human rights violation.
This boycott should also be a grim wake-up call for those swashbuckling Jewish philanthropists who give over their wealth to colleges and universities -- families like Tisch, Stern, Steinhard, Silver, Kimmel, Wasserman, Levy. What is their legacy? They have built the structures and the machinery that are serving the agenda of the annihilationists and Goebbels-inspired hate propaganda...
Every day along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, one can watch the passage of vast oil tankers and towering cargo ships arriving from all over the world. These stately colossi are loaded, steered and off-loaded by men. The modern economy, with its vast production and distribution network, is a male epic, in which women have found a productive role — but women were not its author. Surely, modern women are strong enough now to give credit where credit is due!
Read more: It’s a Man’s World, and It Always Will Be | TIME.com http://ideas.time.com/2013/12/16/its-a-mans-world-and-it-always-will-be/#ixzz2nvsFmyfK
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Last week, the American Studies Association’s (ASA) national council, unanimously passed a resolution calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The ASA, which bills itself as the “oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history,” then took the unusual step of asking its reportedly 5,000 members to cast their own votes on upholding the anti-Israel policy. While the deadline to reject the resolution runs out today, Sunday, December 15, the ASA scholars, which fancy themselves as the leading authorities on all things American, seem to have overlooked one small matter – a boycott resolution of this nature violates international, federal and state law in the United States. They leave the ASA and its membership open to both civil and criminal liability.
It is ironic that while Abbas is saying no to a boycott of Israel, the American Studies Association, an association of U.S. professors with almost 5,000 members, voted to endorse an academic boycott of Israeli colleagues and universities.The U.S. professors obviously do not care about what the Palestinian Authority president has to say about the boycott of Israel. The professors, like BDS supporters, apparently believe that Abbas is a "traitor" because he is conducting peace talks with Israel.Abbas's attack on the BDS movement is a serious embarrassment for the anti-Israel activists, many of whom are not Palestinians.The statements have enraged BDS activists worldwide, with some calling into question Abbas's right to speak on behalf of the Palestinians.Prominent Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab noted that Abbas's statement in Johannesburg "naturally has angered many Palestinian and international supporters of the BDS movement."Kuttab wrote that Abbas's statement "reflects the absence of any clear strategy from the Palestinian political leadership except for negotiations. It is unclear whether the reason behind the Palestinian leader's public attack at the BDS movement is a result of trying to protect the Palestinian elite or not wanting to anger the Israelis and their US allies."Abbas did, however, call on people around the world to boycott products of settlements. "No, we do not support the boycott of Israel," Abbas said. "But we ask everyone to boycott the products of settlements because the settlements are in our territories. It is illegal."
From the comments section:
Like any parasite, the far left can only be controlled by cutting off its source of feeding. Get federal money out of higher education, and the political nonsense theater the left has been putting on the last 30 years or so will no longer seem so amusing when institutions have to fund it themselves.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Saturday, December 14, 2013
An insult to the dead.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Monday, December 09, 2013
I was briefed off-the-record by her foreign affairs adviser on several occasions, but when he told me that she had called on the then president, PW Botha, to release Nelson Mandela, I found it difficult to believe. I did not report it as I could not source it. But it was true. In a letter to Botha in October 1985 she wrote: "I continue to believe, as I have said to you before, that the release of Nelson Mandela would have more impact than almost any single action you could undertake."
When Botha stepped down after a stroke in 1989, he was replaced by FW de Klerk, who met Thatcher at Downing Street in June. I was among a group of journalists waiting outside No 10 with the promise that he would give a press conference straight after. We watched him leave then ran up Whitehall to the South African embassy where he had promised to speak. He did not turn up. We were told later that he had been too shocked by Thatcher's vehemence.
Mandela was released on 11 February 1990 (I was at the gates of the jail but to my eternal chagrin I failed to spot him). That evening he made a speech from the balcony of the town hall in Cape Town which was televised, live, world wide. The speech was written by the hard-liners and communists in the ANC and was full of Marxist jargon. "Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960… was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid. The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue." Thatcher was appalled. She picked up the telephone to Robin Renwick, the British ambassador in South Africa, and demanded to know why she had ever bothered to battle for Mandela's release if this was the result.
Sunday, December 08, 2013
As it turns out, I was right and wrong. The ANC was a lost cause; they did not believe in democracy, and had a large element of thuggery in their ranks. Many were terrorists who had received training in Libya, and were out for revenge and blood. Mandela, however, was more complicated than I had thought. He had had his violent phase, but only after trying peaceful opposition to apartheid. Both in and after coming out of prison, he proved an extremely intelligent negotiator and compromiser, reaching understandings with Botha and De Klerk, and turning down the volume of the anti-white message of the ANC. He seemed to have an understanding that whites and other non-blacks were essential for a peaceful and prosperous South Africa. He also, surprise, did not go full Mugabe. He won election--although the vote counting was suspicious--served his term, trying to unite blacks, whites, Asians, and others into accepting the new post-apartheid South Africa. He did not try to drive the whites out, and did not go around confiscating farms and businesses. He did not encourage revenge against whites and sought a reconciliation of the races. A practical politician, he turned a blind eye to the rampant corruption among the ANC, finding it better to let the party members expend their revolutionary fervor making money. At the end of his term, he stepped down. Yes, he stepped down. That is an amazing thing in Africa; he stepped down on completing his term of office. It does not happen much on that continent. He, however, never got over his deep mistrust of the USA, and despite his credentials as a victim of human rights abuse, refused to criticize Qaddafy, never gave up his fervent admiration for Castro--who, ironically, runs a racist regime in Cuba--and remained very anti-Israel.
Was he a great man? I think the answer is yes. He had great flaws, but great courage, drive, and commitment to his cause. He showed that a determined person can make a difference. He also showed that an African president can play by the rules and try to be president for all the people of his country. For that he deserves kudos and respect. He, nevertheless, did not establish a viable democratic political system in South Africa, and proved unable to stop the escalating criminal violence that has turned Johannesburg into one of the world's rape and murder capitals. His successors have proven notably less "great" than Mandela, and ANC corruption has gone into the stratosphere--including by Mandela's gangster ex-wife, Winnie. The white and other middle class flight he wanted to avoid proceeded and has grown. I think the jury remains out on whether South Africa can avoid the fate of Zimbabwe in the medium to long run. If I had to place a bet it would be that South Africa will not avoid that fate. Mandela's time in office, unfortunately, likely will prove a brief glorious moment of "what could have been but was not."
Nelson Mandela, RIP.
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
American Studies Association Calls for Boycotting Israel Academia for Academic Freedom | FrontPage Magazine
UPDATE: IMHO, the organization should change its name to the American Nazi Studies Association, as it objectively employs Nazi anti-Semitic tactics like the Jewish Boycott in order to make regions Judenrein, based on a Big Lie.
Monday, December 02, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
...Second, Kennedy's assassination profoundly impaired American liberalism. James Piereson's 2007 book Camelot and the Cultural Revolution (Encounter) establishes how liberals could not cope with the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald, a communist, murdered Kennedy to protect Fidel Castro's control of Cuba. Kennedy died for his anti-communism; but this wildly contradicted the liberals' narrative, so they denied this fact and insisted on presenting Kennedy as a victim of the radical Right, reading Oswald out of the picture.
Piereson ascribes much of American liberalism's turn toward anti-American pessimism to this "denial or disregard" of Oswald's obvious role in the assassination. "The reformist emphasis of American liberalism, which had been pragmatic and forward-looking, was overtaken by a spirit of national self-condemnation." Blaming American culture writ large for Kennedy's demise changed liberalism's focus from economics to cultural equity (racism, feminism, sexual freedom, gay rights) and that led them to identify with the countercultural movement of the late 1960s. The result was what Piereson calls a "residue of ambivalence" toward the worth of traditional American values.
Liberals remain trapped by this distortion, as manifested by, for example, Michelle Obama's 2008 remark that with her husband's ascent, "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country," or by a New York Times article this week that blamed Dallas conservatives, rather than a hard-Left drifter, for the JFK assassination.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Monday, November 04, 2013
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
This month in Washington DC, Federal police riddled with bullets a woman suffering from post-partum depression who, had she been allowed to live, might have been convicted of reckless driving, at most. She had careened too close to the White House and Capitol, but had harmed no one and her car had stopped. In the same month, California sheriffs’ deputies killed a 13 year-old boy who was carrying a plastic toy rifle. It is not illegal to carry a rifle, never mind a toy one. America did not blink. A half century ago, Alabama sheriff Bull Connor’s use of a mere cattle prod to move marchers from blocking a street had caused a national crisis.In a casual conversation, a friendly employee of the US Forest Service bemoaned to me that he was on his way to a US Army base, where he and colleagues would practice military tactics against persons who resist regulations. A forester, he had hoped to be Smokey the Bear. Instead, he said, “we are now the Department of Provocation.” In fact every US government agency, and most state and local ones now police their ever burgeoning regulations with military equipment, tactics, and above all with the assumption that they are dealing with people who should not be dealt with any other way.Modern militarized government stems from the Progressive idea that society must mobilize as for war to achieve “the greater good.” Hence we have “wars” on everything from hunger and drugs and ignorance and global warming. Reality follows rhetoric. Since the health of “the environment” is a matter of life and death, the Environmental Protection Agency must deal with “enemies of the planet” with armored cars, machine guns, and home invasions. Apparently, even the Department of Education has SWAT teams.The general population is increasingly inured to violence. The latest “Grand Theft” video game, for example, involves torturing a prisoner. Fun. That is only one step beyond the popular TV show “24” in which the audience cheered the hero’s torture of terrorist suspects. Contrast this with Dragnet, the most popular TV cops drama of the 1950s, whose Sergeant Joe Friday knocked on doors and said “yes ma’m, no ma’m.”
Sunday, October 20, 2013
ONE evening I was getting into the crowded lift at my local tube station in Central London, to go down to the train. As the doors closed a middle-aged gentleman squeezed in. I recognised him as a fairly distinguished professor of history from the University of London School of Advanced Study, where I directed the philosophy program. As we descended he suddenly blurted out to everyone and no one: ‘That's it; I've had it. What they're doing to our arts faculties is a complete disgrace.' We looked at our feet as he went on about the government, university administrators and the general ruin of intellectual culture.
I don't know what made him snap at that moment. But the professor in the lift has for me become a symbol of the view that the humanities are hard done-by and that they are in decline – or at least in an extended period of trouble – through no fault of their own, but because of bad decisions by others.
In less dramatic ways I have heard this analysis restated many times during my years in Australia: the academic humanities are doing a good job; they are fine, serious and important disciplines, staffed by able and sincere people. But governments and university administrators set impossible targets, demand crazy workloads, cut budgets, reducing staff numbers and imposing a stultifying managerial regime, and generally forcing the humanities onto the defensive.
There's a simple and morally necessary solution, according to this view: increase our funding, then leave us alone.
When I arrived in Australia, in 2001, this analysis seemed to cohere with a political assumption, even a political blindness. In the years during which John Howard was Prime Minister many humanities academics assumed that he was personally responsible for their situation. A Prime Minister is a terrifying adversary, but also cause for submerged optimism. Howard would (eventually) be defeated and – the thinking went – because he was the sole cause of the troubles, the good times would roll again.
There was in the humanities a generalised, and very honest, inability to imagine John Howard as anything other than an aberration, sustained by deceit and media manipulation, rather than as a man who was exceptionally adept at expressing widespread opinions.
Consequently, there was no self-examination: there was no hint that the humanities might themselves have contributed to their troubles, that they may have failed to win sufficient public respect and admiration to carry weight in national life.
I BELIEVE THE academic humanities require radical reform – not just in their institutional framework but in their intellectual self-conception, their sense of purpose, of mission even; in their habits of mind, their modes of admiration and the direction of effort. Ironically, such reform is needed to return the humanities to their grandest, most longstanding ambitions. Wisdom should be powerful in the world: that is why we teach, research, and engage the public.
And that is why this essay is called ‘Reformation and renaissance'. I want to show how reform is needed in order to accomplish something magnificent and serious. There is a tendency in the humanities to hear a call for reform as a threat. Calls for reform always seem to come from people who don't especially care about the humanities. I want to change that association and to connect the idea of reform to the pursuit of great educational endeavours.
Monday, October 14, 2013
The standard meme in a typical American history class or book, and in the media, holds that so-called third parties have no realistic prospect for success in the USA. The leadership of both major parties, naturally, agree with this interpretation and are eager to stifle any moves to create a party outside of the long established two party system--the Democratic party, by the way, has a legitimate claim to be the world's oldest political party. A quick glance through American political history would seem to support the conventional wisdom's argument against a "third" party. We have several examples typically served up to us as part of the cautionary tale. One of the most famous efforts was Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party, aka Bull Moose Party, which he launched in 1912, after becoming upset with Republican President Taft's failure to pursue TR's "progressive" agenda. TR's party succeeded in knocking the Republicans out of the White House for one of the few times since 1861, and putting in place the calamitous Woodrow Wilson. While the Bull Moose Party crumbled away within a few years, many of its platform planks eventually became accepted, e.g., women's suffrage, eight hour day, a form of social security. Another notable "third" party effort came in 1948, with the States's Rights Democratic Party, better known as the "Dixiecrats." Headed by Senator Strom Thurmond, this party argued, inter alia, for the right of Southern states to maintain racial segregation. Former two-time FDR Vice President Henry Wallace's hard left, pro-USSR Progressive Party--another "third" party effort in that same election-- also syphoned off Democratic votes in some key constituencies. Between these two "third" parties eating away at Democratic votes, Truman almost lost the 1948 election to Dewey, but managed to eke out a win. Both of the 1948 "third" parties quickly disappeared. There are other examples, of course, such as George Wallace's American Independent Party, John Anderson's Independents, Patrick Buchanan Reform Party, H. Ross Perot's Independent Party which also failed to win the White House but, nevertheless, had considerable impact on their respective elections and on post-election political developments. There are, of course, other examples of "third" parties.
Oops! Missing, of course, from this history of "third" parties is none other than the Republican Party, itself. Without going into a detailed history, widely available (see for example, Eric Foner's, Free Soil Free Labor, Free Men), the Republican Party began in 1854 with a mix of anti-slavery Whigs and Democrats appalled by the perceived collusion of the Whigs and the Democrats in allowing slavery not only to remain but to expand westward. The Republicans ran their own candidate, explorer and war hero John Fremont in 1856. Although the campaign lost to Democrat Buchanan, it succeeded in destroying the ossified Whig party and lining up the Republicans for victory in 1860 with Lincoln.
I am not saying--necessarily--that we are at the point of seeking the destruction of the GOP a la the Whigs. I think, however, that the GOP establishment needs reminding of their own party's origins. My gut feeling is that the Tea "Party" cum movement has been growing, despite the media's repeated announcement of its death and attempts to throw it in a grave. This movement still, as noted, is somewhat inchoate; that some might argue is a source of strength in that there is no single Tea leader who can be disgraced by the media, and, hence, bring down the movement. At various times the media seek to name a politician or another as leader of the Tea party, and go gunning for him or her. They fail to understand that unlike the Bull Moose, the Dixiecrat, or most other "third" parties, this is a movement driven not by a dominant personality but by everyday working and tax-paying Americans fed up with the state of the country and the quality of leadership and thought dominating our political discourse. I would like to see the Tea movement take over the GOP and turn it into a genuinely conservative alternative to the progressive Democratic party, rather than have to go through setting itself up as a "third" party. That option, nevertheless, should not be discarded all too quickly.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
We were there last night for opening of The Washington National Opera's La Forza del Destino (The Force of Destiny) -- more like "The Twerk of Destiny" in a Crunkfest-style production featuring strippers, pole-dancers and Pulp Fiction gangstas...Don't know what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, sitting a few rows in front of us, thought of it, though in my youth it was the kind of show the National Organization for Women routinely protested as "degrading to women." But burlesque has somehow become politically correct, don't ask me why...Had to be, as one scene featured a waving red banner, and you don't need a Ph.D. in semiotics to tell you what way that wind was blowing...
In any case, back to the shutdown angle: Lots of swells ogling the strippers, squeezed in their tuxedos, all dressed up for the opening night reception...even saw super-lawyer Kenneth Feinberg in a tuxedo...a true convention of the 1 percent...subsidized by US Taxpayers locked out of the National Zoo, National Mall, and WWII Memorial.
More from the Washington Post, here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/reliable-source/wp/2013/10/14/politicians-a-no-show-at-washington-national-operas-opener/