• Fancy Names for Left-Wing Anti-Semitism (my latest at Real Clear Politics)

    The celebrations in this weekend’s Chicago Gay Pride festival were marred by one mean-spirited moment. The organizers of the “Dyke March” blocked Jewish women from participating because they carried a gay-pride banner that included a Star of David.

    “It made us feel unsafe,” the organizers actually said, before launching into their rant against Israel and those who support it.)

    This episode is not only noxious in its own right, it highlights several problems that are now pervasive on the left and increasingly pollute America’s public life.

    The most important is the growing public expression of anti-Semitism, much of it fueled by the strange alliance between progressives (such as the Dyke March organizers) and rabid anti-Israel activists, led by Palestinians.

    In this column (link here), I

    • explain the logic behind this alliance,
    • decode the fancy words used to hold it together (such as “intersectionality”), and
    • highlight their penchant for suppressing dissent rather than engaging it.

    These larger problems deserve exposure.

    They deserve censure, too, when they violate our democratic norms of tolerance, free speech, and open debate. That’s what this column does.

    To continuing reading at Real Clear Politics, click here.

  • He heard an old man speak to students–and he did something wonderful for him

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    Drew Principe, 17, was one of the California high school students who recently heard Henry Oster’s talk about surviving the Holocaust. They listened as Oster described the depths of despair, his fear and loss, and finally his survival.

    Dr. Oster, who is now nearing 90, explained that he had been on the eve of celebrating his Bar Mitzvah when the Nazis rounded up–and killed–his family at Auschwitz. (His father starved to death in the ghetto.)

    Somehow, he alone survived.

    After the war, he moved to California, became a doctor, and lived out his life there.

    That’s the story of loss and survival Dr. Oster told the high school students.

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    Reaching out to help

    Then, young Mr. Principe did something extraordinary:

    When Principe learned that Oster had never been to Israel, he started a fundraising effort for the once-in-a-lifetime trip [to visit Oster’s last living relative there]. –Daily Mail

    Principe raised $15,000 to fund Mr. Oster’s trip.

    On Monday, 89-year-old Henry Oster left for that dreamed-of trip to visit his last living relative.

    Drew Principe and his family are tagging along to share the joy.

    The story and picture of Principe and Oster are here. (Daily Mail)

  • Welcome News: German TV will finally air a documentary on Anti-Semitism in Europe. It had been withheld

     Good News: Germany’s widely respected public television broadcaster, WDR, will finally telecast this documentary on Wednesday night.

    The film, entitled, “Chosen and Excluded – The Hate for Jews in Europe” had been withheld, allegedly on the grounds that it was factually incorrect or not up to professional standards.

    It had been commissioned by ARD and the French-German ARTE.

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    Why Was the Documentary Withheld?

     The official grounds for withholding–that the film was inaccurate and unprofessional–do not hold water.

    The more plausible explanation was the kind of fear of stemming from the terrorist massacre at Charlie Hebdo and other radical Islamist attacks on outspoken journalists in Denmark, the Netherlands, and elsewhere.

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    Short article on the controversy at the Jerusalem Post (link here) 

    The JPost includes this important comment from Volker Beck, a Green Party deputy in the Bundestag:

    Beck also said that on Wednesday, the Bundestag will discuss a report on antisemitism from an independent expert commission that revealed that “40% of Germans hold modern anti-Israel, antisemitic views. We must face this problem.” –Volker Beck, German Green Party, quoted in the Jerusalem Post

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    Robert Lieber, a professor at Georgetown, is one of the country’s leading analysts of US foreign policy, with special interests in the Middle East, Europe, and energy.

    His most recent book is Retreat and Its Consequences: American Foreign Policy and the Problem of World Order (Cambridge University Press).

  • More terror in London. More handwringing. A Comment

    Another major attack in the UK, only twelve days after Manchester

    This one resembled the attack on the bridge near Parliament–and has two similar qualities.

    First, this attack looks to be low-tech, low-sophistication, low-cost.  Manchester was more sophisticated, required more planning, and needed a bigger support network. For this one, simply get a van, get some fellow Islamists, and get some long knives. Then pick a very soft target, filled with people, and kill as many people as you can. (Same idea as driving into Israeli bus stops to kills people standing there, defenseless.)

    Second, it terrorizes because it is virtually random. (In this respect, it is similar to Manchester.)

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    In one way, I suspect we will soon discover a similarity to Manchester. We’ll probably find the police already knew about these potential killers.

    As Britain and others think about counter-terrorism going forward, how to handle that vexing problem will be a major topic of debate. It’s easy to say we need more police and perhaps more lenient rules for surveillance. But in democracies, we have laws for very good reasons that prevent anyone from being sanctioned for crimes they might commit but have not yet commenced. That, plus restraints on surveillance, are why Western democracies are such soft targets.

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    The British police responded immediately to the London Bridge attack, but the British broadcasters were extremely delicate, lest they call it for what it obviously was until the police had told them it was okay. Maybe it’s the Amish.

    Actually, people heard open outcries from the attackers so they source was known immediately.

    The mayor of London, another weak-knee’d figure, praised the police but didn’t speak clearly and honestly about what was happening in his city, his country. He never named the source of the terror. Touchy subject, I guess.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    This political–and human–tragedy has been decades in the making, with major politicians and virtually all intellectuals sticking their heads in the sand.

    Who saw this threat first? The Jews of London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and other European cities saw it because they were under attack. So were gays and independent women, who walked around uncovered. They have been sounding the alarm.

    They were canaries in the coal mine: early signs of what’s coming for everyone.

    Nobody paid attention. Many attacked those who signaled the threat, calling them “Islamophobes” and “racists,” name-calling in place of intelligent arguments.

    And the attacks did come.

    Few would say it clearly, certainly not university professors, TV commentators, or mainstream politicians. They knew the danger came from radical mosques and unassimilated Muslim immigrants, often in their second and third generation in Europe.

    They would impose their version of Islam on Europe and find anyone who would not repulsive and worthy of death.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    The strategy of appeasement and ignorance worked as well here as it did for Britain in the 1930s.

    True evil, left unconfronted, metastacizing.

    How clueless is Britain? Half the country (according to polls) favors a loony left candidate who thinks appeasement has not gone far enough. If they think that will staunch attacks on their pubs and concerts, they are sadly mistaken.

    What’s worse? If mainstream parties fail, then voters will look for more extreme, anti-democratic candidates who promise safety.

    That’s a terrible prospect.

     

  • ZipDialog Roundup for June 1

    Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple

     Oddly, no new scandal today.

    No terrible new allegations or fierce rebuttals.

    No new leaks from the intelligence agencies.

    Makes me wonder if the internet is down in Washington.

     House Intel Committee Issues Subpoenas to Unmask Obama’s Unmaskers (Real Clear Politics)

    Some familiar names, but one new and important one: Samantha Power, Obama’s UN Ambassador who previously served on the National Security Council.  No one had mentioned her before, though Trey Gowdy may have hinted at her in a cryptic question last week.

    House investigators told [James Rosen at] Fox News they are now devoting more scrutiny to Power, and they have come to see her role in the unmasking as ‘larger than previously known.’ Allegedly eclipsing the others named. –Real Clear Politics

    Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, was also named in the subpoenas.

     Comey will testify in public next week.

    The Democrats think of him as a White Knight, riding to the rescue.

    Republicans think of him as the Knight Who Says Ni. 

    Comment: Comey thinks of himself a

    • a white knight
    • who has done absolutely everything right and nothing wrong in his public life, and
    • is now in the fight to redeem his reputation, which, he thinks,
    • will require him to destroy Trump
    • without saying that he, Comey, failed to report obstruction of justice, as he was required to do.

    This is going to be nasty, very nasty.

     Paris Climate Discord: Trump could pull US out of it this week, as he promised during the campaign.

    The New York Times has a primer on the accord itself.

    The opposition is well framed in the op-ed in the WaPo: If Trump quits the Paris climate accord, he will lead the U.S. into the wilderness

    If the United States withdraws from the accord, it would find itself in farcically lonely company. The pact was signed by 195 countries, with only Nicaragua and Syria bowing out. . . . Some climate experts actually suggest that, given Trump’s steady dismantling of environmental protections, it’s better for the United States to leave the pact altogether than to undermine it from within.

    The other effect of a withdrawal: the disappearance of U.S. leadership on a fundamental issue affecting the future of the planet. –Washington Post op-ed

    A pro-Trump take, from the Washington Examiner: “Trump could rally GOP, reward voters with Paris Agreement exit”

    Comment: There has been a ferocious fight among Trump’s White House advisers, but it looks like the “pull out” side won.

     China sees an opening in relations with Germany after Merkel’s spat with Trump  (New York Times)

    India is also visiting Berlin.

    Comment: Germany is playing a larger global role these days. But that role will be limited unless it can round up support from other Europeans for a collective effort.

    Robert Lieber has just published a brief post on ZipDialog voicing skepticism that the Europeans really can come together. (Lieber post here.

     Solar Energy Storage systems are getting smaller, cheaper, better, allowing some solar homes to begin disconnecting from the grid (Deutsche Welle)

    Comment: Batteries and storage have been the bottleneck for a long time, and a major focus of research. Progress has been steady, but still far short of consumer needs.

     Lebanon bans new Wonder Woman movie because the lead is an Israeli actress (BBC)

    Lots of Lebanese viewers want to see it but, as one upset potential customer puts it, “a vocal minority” was against.

    Comment: Yep. The kind of vocal minority whose movie critic blows up the theater.

     

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  • ZipDialog Roundup for Tuesday, May 23

    Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ My comment on the vile terror bombing in Manchester is posted separately (here).

    May the innocents rest in peace.

    May the wounded recover fully, in body and mind.

    May the police be safe as they root out the terrorists who prepared and executed this heinous act.

    These prayers have been said far too many times. And we fear this will not be the last time.

     Academic malpractice: Highly-esteemed professor at Duke Divinity School resigns after being attacked for not attending the university’s re-education and training camp for diversity.

    The story is here at The Weekly Standard.

    When Prof. Paul Griffiths refused to attend the “Racial Equity Institute Phase I Training” (it must have been named by Orwell) and explained his reasons, the Dean of the Divinity school attacked with full fury. According to Griffiths, Dean Elaine Heath

    initiates financial and administrative reprisals against Griffiths. Those reprisals ban him from faculty meetings, and, thereby, from voting in faculty affairs; and promise (contra the conditions stated in his letter of appointment) to ban him from future access to research or travel funds. –The Weekly Standard

    The faculty member who runs the re-education and peasant labor camp “launched her own disciplinary proceeding against Griffiths with Duke’s Office of Institutional Equity (OIE).”

    Griffiths’ refusal to attend and his explanation made her workplace “hostile,” naturally. If the PC deans and faculty had their way, Griffiths would be sent to the countryside to plant and harvest rice and learn from the honest peasants.

    The article concludes with a powerful comment by the author, Charlotte Allen:

    It’s hard to figure out what’s more appalling about this episode: the ease with which powerful faculty members can strip their colleagues of their ability to do their jobs just because those colleagues exercise free speech and don’t sign on to their ideological priorities—or the increasing power of bloated university bureaucracies, especially “diversity” bureaucracies over every facet of existence at a university that is supposed to be devoted to the life of the mind. –Charlotte Allen in The Weekly Standard

    Peter Berkowitz, another acute observer of academic follies, has an excellent piece on this Duke fiasco at the Wall Street Journal.

    Comment: Shame on Duke, a school repeatedly cloaked in politically-motivated misdeeds. They seem to learn nothing from their mistakes.

    Bravo to Paul Griffiths, distinguished professor of Catholic theology, who deserves a badge for his intellectual courage. I hope he retains counsel and goes after the malefactors.

     At Dartmouth, somewhat better news

    First the bad news: the university selected as its new dean of the faculty a professor (N. Bruce Duthu) who helped lead his professional association to boycott and sanction all Israeli universities and the professors who work there.

    This sort of thing passes virtually unnoticed among university administrators, who probably missed it when they reviewed Duthu’s qualifications.

    But outside the ivied walls, people did notice it. The university defended him, said he was a swell fellow, and, after some hesitation, he eventually said he had changed his mind about boycotting and sanctioning everything from Israel.

    The good news: after national publicity about his anti-Israel views, Duthu has decided that he shouldn’t take accept the Deanship after all.

    Here’s the story at the Observer.

    Comment: Kudos to Paul Miller and Haym Salomon Center for publicizing Duthu’s role in the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement. Ultimately, what Prof. Duthu did behind closed academic doors couldn’t be justified to a larger audience of Dartmouth faculty, alums, trustees, donors, and others. 

     World’s first operational robot-cop has started work in Dubai. They want them to make up about 1/3 of their police force by 2030. (Daily Mirror, UK)

    Fox News also has a report:

    The Robocop, five feet five inches tall and weighing 220 pounds, speaks six languages and reads facial expressions.

    “He can chat and interact, respond to public queries, shake hands and offer a military salute,” Brigadier-General Khalid Nasser Al Razzouqi, Director-General of Smart Services with the Dubai Police told the Mirror.

    Residents can use the Robocop to pay fines or report crimes, and it also can transmit and receive messages from police headquarters. –Fox News

     Chicago clinches spot as great food city: America’s first Nutella Cafe to open in City of Big Stomachs next week  (Chicago Eater)

     Metaphor alert: Huge sinkhole forms near Trump’s Mar-A-Lago (Forbes)

     The headlines about Betsy DeVos’ speech focused on her promise that “more school choice is coming.” That’s big, if vague.

    But she said something equally important: education should not be run from Washington (USA Today)

    Comment: Exactly right, she, Trump, and the Republicans are beginning to turn around decades of increasing centralization of educational decisionmaking in DC.

    Washington can help by allowing all kinds of experimentation. Let cities and states figure out what works and what fits best in different locales.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

     

     

  • Dartmouth thinks it’s a good idea to appoint a virulently anti-Israel prof as Dean of the Faculty

    Now, some at Dartmouth are speaking out against promoting Prof. Bruce Duthu to such a prestigious position

    Duthu checks all the right boxes for diversity and inclusion. He comes from one of those “very special” departments, Native American Studies, where there is little critical peer review and leftist ideology rules the roost. It brooks no dissent among students or faculty. To dissent from the approved view is to side with the oppressors, the white supremacists, the colonialists, the capitalists, and so on. It was at such at department (at U Colorado-Boulder) where Ward Churchill spewed his venom until the wider world discovered him and his faux scholarship.

    Departments like Native American studies, Gender Studies, and Black Studies are all firmly on the left–the very far left.

    They uniformly loath Israel, praise the Palestinians, say nothing about terror attacks, and maintain a discreet silence about the vast violations of human rights across the Muslim world. If they need ideological support, the centers for Middle East Studies are always on campus to provide it.

    It is no surprise that Duthu thrived in such a hot-house and did his best to raise the temperature. He

    coauthored a statement in support of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions as follows: “The NAISA Council encourages NAISA members to boycott Israeli academic institutions because they are implicated with the Israeli state and we wish to place pressure on that state to change its policies.”

    –Dartmouth Prof. Alan Gustman, a senior economist, writing publicly to denounce Duthu’s elevation to Dean of the Faculty

    The noxious statement Duthu authored is available online, here (scroll down to the bottom of their web page).

    What Duthu and his association want to do called BDS, or Boycott, Divest, Sanction all Israel institutions, including its universities and their students and faculty. The BDS movement wants sanctions imposed on Israel, wherever possible, and divestment from any investments there. They do not advocate these policies against any other country in the world, as far as I know. Just Israel, which they consider uniquely evil.

    As Prof. Gustman explains:

    In advocating the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, BDS is anti-Semitic. The chant of the BDS movement, from the river to the sea, is anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and profoundly anti- Jewish. It refers to sweeping the Jews out of Israel. . . .

    This movement has become a cover for many anti-Semites who like nothing better than to once again be free to exercise their prejudices. It also is important to understand, especially when evaluating the significance of appointing a BDS advocate as the Dean of the Faculty, that BDS is not just a statement of beliefs or a philosophical movement: it is a statement of action. –Alan Gustman

    Gustman is not making any accusation about Duthu personally. He says so clearly in his public letter.  What matters is his prominent public advocacy of BDS:

    What is relevant here is that he is supporting a movement that is substantially anti-Semitic, and that he has taken a position with regard to the BDS movement that is in opposition to the position and responsibilities he will have as Dean of the Faculty. Most importantly, he has not publicly renounced his public NAISI statement on the BDS movement. –Alan Gustman

    If this problem were limited to Dartmouth, it might not be worthy of national attention. Alas, it is part of a long-term, international movement by the left and their Palestinian allies to delegitimate and isolate Israel. In their dream world, Israel would be swept away and Palestine would occupy the entire land “from the Jordan River to the (Mediterranean) Sea.”

    And then, as we know from experience across the region, peace, love, friendship, human rights, and religious toleration would take root and cover the land.

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    You can read more about the Duthu case at

    On a personal note . . . the outgoing Dean of the Faculty, Michael Mastanduno, is a truly outstanding scholar and a model of intellectual probity. I know him and hold him in the highest regard.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    Thanks to Richard Baehr, Paul Miller, and Haym Salomon Center for letting me know about his Dartmouth case.

     

  • ZipDialog Roundup for Saturday, April 29

    Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple

     North Korea responds to US criticism at United Nations by launching a test missile. It blows up, their 4th straight failure

    The Reuters headline has it exactly right: North Korea test-fires ballistic missile in defiance of world pressure

    North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile on Saturday shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that failure to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs could lead to “catastrophic consequences”.

    U.S. and South Korean officials said the test, from an area north of the North Korean capital, appeared to have failed, in what would be the North’s fourth straight unsuccessful missile test since March. –Reuters

    Comments:

    • If someone is hacking these launches, they are doing a good job.
    • China’s reaction here is crucial. If Kim did this after he was warned by Beijing, he will pay for it.
    • Trump is playing the China card correctly. His public position is “China and the US are working together on this.” That does more than save face for China. It says, subtly, that if China cannot stop North Korea, it is Pyongyang that is showing up Beijing, and Beijing won’t want to let that happen.
    • Sending Tillerson to the UN was important. It says to the world: “This is on our front burner.”
    • At some point, the US will have to decide whether to include Chinese entities in any sanctions aimed at North Korea. All North Korean connections to the world, meager as they are, go through China. Any sanction against Chinese entities, even a small move against a small bank, meant as a signal, would risk future collaboration with China on the North Korean issue. So, the US will probably hold off on that for a while.
    • What has been missing in the analysis: those missiles aimed at South Korea and Japan could also hit China, and Beijing has to worry about that if North Korea continues its nuclear program.

     Despite all the happy talk, the US economy grew very slowly in the first quarter. Under 1%.  (New York Times)

    The reason: a sharp, unexpected slowdown in consumer spending. The NYT offers a sensible explanation of the political and economic consequences of the 0.7% growth number:

    The softness last quarter also provides crucial ammunition for the Trump administration’s arguments that big tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks are necessary for the economy to grow the way it did in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Tax cuts, regulatory relief, trade renegotiations and an unfettered energy sector are needed “to overcome the dismal economy inherited by the Trump administration,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “Business and consumer sentiment is strong, but both must be released from the regulatory and tax shackles constraining economic growth.”

    The first-quarter fade is also sure to be noticed by the Federal Reserve as it contemplates whether to proceed with two more interest-rate increases planned for this year. –New York Times

     MS-13 Murderous Drug Gang targeted by DOJ. Jeff Sessions tells them: “We are coming after you”  The South American drug cartel has spread across the US, branched into other criminal enterprises, and committed a string of murders recently on Long Island. (Fox News)

    Comment: They are major profiteers from the opioid epidemic and were among the targets of candidate Trump’s famous “bad hombres” comment.

    Politically, the Trump Administration is wise to focus on gangs like this. US citizens are being victimized, and even the staunchest defenders of open borders don’t want to defend the entrance of criminal gangs like MS-13.

    Bernie calls Barack’s Wall Street paydays “distasteful”  (CNN)

    Comment: Sanders made the comment from his office, not one of his three homes.

    Elizabeth Warren has made similar comments about Obama’s high-priced speeches to financial executives.

    Pres. Obama’s spokesman, Eric Schultz, responded,

    Obama will continue to focus most of his post-presidency on writing a book, giving speeches and “training and elevating a new generation of political leaders in America.” –CNN

    Comment: Neither Sanders nor Warren will want to go too far here. They want to keep up the heat on Wall Street for their progressive base, but attacking the former President, who is very popular among Democrats, is not a game with much upside for them.

    Comment: Democrats certainly need a new generation of political leaders, the ones Obama’s spokesman is promising.

    • The most popular Democrat is not even a member of the party. He is a Socialist.
    • The current, elected leadership is all drawing Social Security
    • Rising D’s in their 40s and 50s were wiped out en mass during the Obama presidency. His record of grooming future leaders is, ahem, not strong. 

     Marine Le Pen, in the runoff for France’s presidency, faces more stench from her political base, the National Front

    After Le Pen advanced to the runoff last Sunday, she resigned her leadership of the National Front. Her successor was Jean-François Jalkh. In on-the-record interviews in 2000, he denied the Nazis used poison gas to kill millions in concentration camps. When those comments were publicized this week, Jalkh denied making them. But they were on tape. So, now, Mr. Jalkh has decided to spend more time with his family and has been replaced by the mayor of a northern industrial town. The search is undoubtedly on to see if he said what he really thinks to anybody who recorded it.

    The story is in the Washington Post.

    Comment: Le Pen is an underdog in the runoff, but her presence at the top of French politics is a very disturbing sign.

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