Thursday, July 19, 2012

Anna Breslaw Hates Her Mom, Dad, Family

Jewish world is all abuzz by a pretty awful article one Anna Breslaw wrote in Tablet magazine.
My father’s parents were Holocaust survivors, and in grade school I received the de rigueur exposure to the horror—visiting geriatric men and women with numbers tattooed on their arms, completing assigned reading like The Diary of Anne Frank and Night. But the more information I received, the less sympathy the survivors elicited from me. Each time we clapped for the old Hungarian lady who spoke about Dachau, each time Elie Wiesel threw another anonymous anecdote of betrayal onto a page, I eyed it askance, thinking What did you do that you’re not talking about? I had the gut instinct that these were villains masquerading as victims who, solely by virtue of surviving (very likely by any means necessary), felt that they had earned the right to be heroes, their basic, animal self-interest dressed up with glorified phrases like “triumph of the human spirit.” I wondered if anyone had alerted Hitler that in the event that the final solution didn’t pan out, only the handful of Jews who actually fulfilled the stereotype of the Judenscheisse (because every group has a few) would remain to carry on the Jewish race—conniving, indestructible, taking and taking. My grandparents were not excluded from this suspicion. The same year, during a family dinner conversation about Terri Schiavo, my father made the serious request that should he fall into a vegetative state, he would like for us to keep him on life support indefinitely. Today he and I are estranged for a number of other reasons that are all somehow the same reason.
This is an awful, awful story. But (as sort of implied even here by the italicized parts) this woman's main motivator for her hate seems to be that she hates her family and absorbed Jew-hate through this family hate. She seems to have issues she needs to work out with a therapist. Back in 2010 she wrote about dressing as Anne Frank for Halloween
I happen to have an Anne Frank face, not to mention the following qualities: • Female • Jewish • Young(ish) • Oversharer • Uncomfortable in small quarters • Attracted to ambivalent men So for Halloween 2009, I cut a Star of David out of a yellow cereal box, wrote “Juden” on it, taped it to a blazer and carried a Moleskine notebook around ven though my mom didn’t want me to.
She was born the same year as me (per her tumblr) and so was 22 at the time and had apparently already graduated from college, so this "even though my mom didn't want me to" was more than petty childhood/teenage defiance. But she seems to have an undue focus on family issues even where the Jews don't come up. Take this piece in The New York Times:
This aversion seems to run in our genes. My extended family consists almost entirely of fatherless, brotherless and husbandless women. We’re skinny and bright, with a capacity for imagination that lends itself to paranoia and social anxiety. We all possess an encyclopedic knowledge of cinema from the classic to the terrible. Acquiring this knowledge is easier than it sounds. All you have to do is possess a terror of actual male interaction.
Under the banner of People you might not want to have casual sex With, she ends it with "That divorced friend of your father’s." While the rest may not have been personally experienced, I wouldn't be surprised if this was one she experienced (and was sparked by her daddy issues). In short, get thee to a therapist, Anna.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Nuchem Rosenberg Gets Write-In Vote in Dem Primary for Congress

New York City is one of the few places cool enough to publish write-in vote totals even though, on an electronic voting system, it takes basically no extra effort. Since New York is also the kind of place where write-in votes are probably going to be more entertaining than, say, Smalltown, Iowa. Of course, primary election write-ins are never as interesting as the general election, Nuchem Rosenberg, child advocate in New York's Orthodox community, got a write-in vote for Congress in the 7th District's Democratic primary. The 7th district takes in, among other neighborhoods most of Nuchem's home neighborhood of Williamsburg.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Romney: $60,000 a plate Fundraiser in Jerusalem on Tisha B'Av

Update: The fundraiser has been cancelled after everyone complained (or in my case, laughed their head off). But according to an oleh who apparently remains a Republican strategist, the Romney campaign knew it was Tisha B'av and still thought it would be a good idea.

Jonny Daniels, a leading Republican political strategist in Israel, told The Huffington Post that the campaign had been aware of the date of the holiday when it scheduled the fundraiser. The campaign thought it could hold the event in a way that would not offend, he said, but was taken by surprise at the ferocity of the public outcry over the timing. Apparently the now campaign is claiming such an event was never planned, while a potential donor said it was always supposed to happen after nightfall.
And I just figured someone didn't check a calendar.

Mitt Romney's holding a $60,000 a plate fundraiser in Jerusalem at the end of the month. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend. Not only because I'll be in San Diego, but because I, along with other religious Jews, will be fasting.
That's right, of all the days he could've chosen to hold a big shebang fundraiser with food in Jerusalem, he chose to hold it on July 29th, when we observe Tisha B'Av (technically the 9th day of the month of Av is July 28th, but that's a Saturday and the only fast day that takes precedence over Shabbat [when you can't fast normally and should be joyful not mournful] is Yom Kippur, so we observe Tisha B'av the next day this year)

Tisha B'av is the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, when we mourn many, many calamities that have befallen the Jewish people, from the destruction of the First and Second Temple to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain to the beginning of mass deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka. Along with Yom Kippur, it is the only full 25-hour fast day (from evening to evening; there are several minor fast days which are sunup to sundown).

Practically, this seems to be a big gaffe since religious American expat Jews won't be able to attend, and it seems especially insensitive after the last "big" (ha!) Republican, Chris Christie, davened with an Artscroll at the Kotel. However, it may be the case that Mitt will bring in some students from the Mormon Yeshiva in Jerusalem to fill the chairs. Hopefully his advisers will realize it's a bad idea to take Mitt to the Kotel that afternoon, as no doubt he'll be terrified by the black straps everyone has on and assume there's about to be a mass terror attack. I'd urge them instead to take him to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial, where I'm sure Mitt will give a great speech about all of his fellow Mormons who perished at the hands of the Nazis.

Monday, July 9, 2012

People Gay it Up in Israel; Earthquake happens

There was a 5.6-6.1 magnitude earthquake in Israel today. As the esteemed Rabbi Yehuda "I almost choked on the kosher salami" Levin would no doubt confirm, the only possible explanation is that people are gaying it up in Eretz Yisroel.

This is listed in the Talmud (or at least the Yerushalmi [Jerusalem Talmud, which is generally seen as less authoritative to Jews today than the Babylonian Talmud]) as one of the possible causes of earthquakes is indeed, gay sex.

Said R. Aha, “[The earth quakes] on account of the sin of homosexual acts. God said, ‘You made your genitals throb in an unnatural act. By your life, I shall shake the earth on account of [the act of] this person’".
Of course there's also something about circuses

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Anti-Semitic Elmo is Actually Adam Sandler

In case the anti-Semitic Elmo story wasn't already crazy enough, the New York Times found a serious bombshell about the guy's past: running a "Welcome to the Rape Camp" porn site in Cambodia, for which he was expelled and banned from the country. While he changed his legal name to Adam Sandler (one of the few people who could lower the reputation of that name), his original name was Dan Sandler. After Cambodia and before Elmo, he worked via a temp agency for Girl Scouts of the USA.

But the Cambodia thing, that just brings the awfulness to a new level and without the humorous absurdity that anti-Semitic Elmo had by himself.

If his sexual bondage show caused violence against women in the United States -- the community of the target audience -- that was acceptable, even desirable. “It might promote violence against women in the United States, but I say, ‘Good.’ I hate those bitches. They’re out of line and that’s one of the reasons I want to do this … I’m going through a divorce right now. … I hate American women”
Apparently he would have gone to Cambodian prison if not for US intervention.
Although Sandler faced up to five years in jail in Cambodia for violating the law on human trafficking and sexual exploitation, United States officials intervened with the Cambodian Interior Ministry to assist him. U.S. officials arranged that he not be prosecuted, but deported.

Oh, on a Google groups forum, he apparently referred to himself as

Dan Sandler
Cambodia's 1st internet pornographer and a number one supporter of women rights in Cambodia.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Iran "Several Years" from Nuclear Weapon

Not to downplay the danger of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon or anything, but it would be nice if intelligence agencies had a clue as to how far Iran actually is from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Because this "several years" thing is getting tiresome.

USA Today, September 1, 2004:

Iran denies that it intends to make weapons and is still believed to be several years away from having the capability to turn nuclear fuel into working bombs.

Mail & Guardian (South Africa), May 24, 2005

Chipman said that even if Iran resumes its activities, the country will still be “several years away” from being capable of making nuclear weapons.

New York Times, January 13, 2006

Fortunately, Iran is believed to still be several years away from being able to produce nuclear weapons. But it has now embarked on a course that can have no other plausible intent.

New York Times, May 3, 2006

Here are two final thoughts, one comforting, one not. First, there is time: Iran appears to be several years from making nuclear weapons. Time can bring surprises, including regime changes.

The Economist, February 8, 2007

This is a promising approach. The diplomacy at the United Nations proceeds at a glacial pace. But Iran is thought to be several years from a bomb.

Bloomberg, October 28, 2007

Still, Iran should open its nuclear program to inspections and halt attempts to enrich uranium, a step necessary to build an atomic bomb, as demanded by the UN, ElBaradei said. He said U.S. officials estimate that Iran is still several years away from being able to refine material for a weapon.

Associated Press, August 6, 2008

Israel believes Tehran will have enriched enough uranium for a nuclear bomb by next year or 2010 at the latest. The United States has trimmed its estimate that Iran is several years or as much as a decade away from being able to field a bomb, but has not been precise about a timetable.

May 21, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a Senate panel that she was concerned about a series of developments in Iran that could set off an arms race in the Middle East. She warned that if Iran obtained a nuclear capacity in the next several years, it would constitute an “extraordinary threat,” saying, “Our goal is to persuade the Iranian regime that they will actually be less secure” if it moves ahead with its nuclear program.