Tag: Jews

Good for the Jews? Fourth Annual Upper West Jewish Christmas Essay

“You know, like a good Jew, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.”

-Elena Kagan at her confirmation hearing, responding to Lindsay Graham’s question, “Where were you on Christmas Day?”

Justice Kagan — Definitely good for the Jews, and a perfect introduction for the Upper West Fourth Annual Jewish Christmas Eve Diary, in which each December 24, we Torah folk huddle around a handsome piece of driftwood,* rest after a tough war on Christmas and review the year for Yids.

On Kos, in 2007, we groused about right wing Jews like Bill Kristol.  In 2008, we commiserated about Bernie Madoff. And in 2009, we kvetched about Joe Lieberman and kvelled about Bernie Sanders.

(cross-posted on Kos)

And 2010?  Well, just for starters, this year I realized that Barack Obama is a Jew.  Don’t believe me? Follow me below:

The Year in Jews:

1.  Barack Obama

The Birthers and Dunkers have it all wrong.  Obama cannot be a Muslim.   First, as we know by reading certain diaries here, he is a capitalist tool who has sold out the left.  On the other hand, to the teabaggers, he is a dangerous Marxist/Communist who nefariously wants to “spread the wealth.”

Well, there’s only one group that has consistently been denounced as being both capitalists tools and communists at the same time:  Since Father Coughlin and before, and in Hollywood, Jews have been simultaneously villains of the left and right.

So by definition, Barack Obama, marxist revolutionary and capitalist tool, must be a Jew.  

2.  Eric Cantor

An open letter to Eric’s mother:

Dear Mrs. Cantor,

    Eric seems like such a nice Jewish boy.  What is he doing hanging out with such a disreputable bunch of goniffs like  Michelle Bachman, John Boehner, Darrel Issa and Andy Harris (the “I want my government health care guy”).

Please have a talk with him.  Really, it’s a shonda.

With concern,

Upper West

3.  Jew or not a Jew?

Amar’e Stoudemaire? (21st c. Willis Reed, in my view)  visited Israel, but a long shot (farther than a three pointer).

Forever Rapper Drake.  Yes!

Pink?  Yes.  So what?

Natalie and Mila.  Of course!  Best Jewish fantasy/reality cinematic ballet stars evah!

4. Abe Foxman: Schmendrick of the year:

From the Burlington Coat Mosque to Glenn Beck on Soros, Abe has been a complete disgrace.  Just cut it out, Abe.  You’re embarrassing us.


So, nu?  Who are some other newly revealed Jews?  What were your favorite Jewish events of 2010?  New Nixon and Kissinger tapes — anti-Semite and self-hating Jew?

Discuss amongst yourselves.


* My mother, a devout Jewish Ethical Culturalist, every year actually decorated a nice piece of driftwood she got from the beach from our house in Rockaway Beach when I was a kid. Last year’s diary mentioned that she was in the late stages of Pulmonary Fibrosis.  She died a month later at 94, after a life filled with dance, beauty, music and love.

SCOTUS: How Many Is Too Many?


Pat Buchanan recently opined the near-certain confirmation of Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court will bring Jewish jurists on the court to three.  This 33% representation far outweighs the overall Jewish demographic of about 2% of the general population.

Pat Laments:

Buchanan was responding to a Washington Post story about black leaders expressing disappointment over solicitor general Elena Kagan’s record at Harvard Law, where the faculty members she hired were mostly white.

“But while leaders in the black community may be upset, the folks who look more like the real targets of liberal bias are white Protestants and Catholics, who still constitute well over half of the U.S. population,” he wrote. “Not in living memory has a Democratic president nominated an Irish, Italian or Polish Catholic, though these ethnic communities once gave the party its greatest victories in the cities and states of the North.”

What Pat fails to mention is that there are already six Catholic justices on the court.

A Few Words About Avigdor Leiberman

Something very sad is happening today, and while this subject isn’t exactly welcome here, and I don’t have anything momentous to say about it, I wanted to say a few words.  The sad thing that is happening is the elections in Israel.

Bibi Netanyahu is probably about to become the next Prime Minister of Israel, which brings me no joy.  But the cause of the bulk of my sadness about this election, other than the fact that I will not be traveling to Israel to vote, is that if the polls are correct, Avigdor Leiberman’s Yisrael Beitanu party will gain the third-highest vote total, giving him a significant increase in power, and making the Labour party the fourth-largest party in Israel for the first time in Israeli history.

I’m not going to recap for anyone why Leiberman’s ascent is a cause for sadness; if you don’t already know, so much the better for you, honestly.  I’m not surprised in the least it makes me very sad.  The idea of an Israel where that is possible is an Israel which is almost unrecognizable to me.

But I’m quite surprised by how surprised I am.  After all, there is a rich legacy of politicians like Leiberman succeeding in parliamentary governments.  Jeffrey Goldberg today calls Leiberman “the German word for Le Pen” – others have compared him to Pim Fortuyn.  I suppose it is meant to comfort us to know that the Israelis are no more awful than the French, but of course that is no comfort at all.  

But it makes me think, about how last week I saw one of my oldest, dearest friends.  He and I went to Israel together over a decade ago; now, he is in seminary on his way to becoming a Rabbi.  And somehow, our conversation turned to how utterly disturbed both of us were by the tenor of everyone we know’s Facebook status messages during the recent violence in Gaza.  And from there, somehow, we ended up talking about how one of the great taboos is to talk about how the Shoah, and anti-Semitism in general, has traumatized all Jews everywhere.  Not in the childish way that some suggest that Israelis, having been abused by the Nazis, have become the abuser.  But in how this violation of Jews not that long ago remains a violation of Jews living today.  You can’t say that.  It sounds too much like there is something wrong with us, and you can’t say that.

But then today, as I sadly watch the returns from Israel, I think about how just in the last few weeks, there have been attacks on synagogues in Venezuela.  How a British diplomat had to be arrested after going on an anti-Semitic tirade at the gym.  How Israeli tourists are getting shot in malls in Denmark, and the reaction is for Danish schools to tell Jewish kids they shouldn’t enroll in school.  Shit like this just doesn’t happen to other people.  All over the world, there is a chance you might get killed any moment if someone knows you are a Jew.  Not a very big chance, but there aren’t a lot of Jews.  There are a dozen cities with more citizens than there are Jews in the world.

And I understand a bit better how so many people can say “Fuck y’all”, and vote for a Leiberman.  It doesn’t make me any less sad, or even less confused.  But I understand, more than I’d like to, how it happens.

Quote for Discussion: Adolf Hitler

It is manifestly clear and has been proven in practice and by the facts of all revolutions that a struggle for ideals, for improvements of any kind whatsoever, absolutely must be supplemented with a struggle against some social class or caste.

My object is to create first-rate revolutionary upheavals, regardless of what methods and means I have to use in the process. Earlier revolutions were directed either against the peasants, or the nobility and the clergy, or against dynasties and their network of vassals, but in no case has revolution succeeded without the presence of a lightning rod that could conduct and channel the odium of the general masses.

With this very thing in mind I scanned the revolutionary events of history and put the question to myself against which racial element in Germany can I unleash my propaganda of hate with the greatest prospects of success? I had to find the right kind of victim, and especially one against whom the struggle would make sense, materially speaking. I can assure you that I examined every possible and thinkable solution to this problem, and, weighing every imaginable factor, I came to the conclusion that a campaign against the Jews would be as popular as it would be successful.

There are few Germans who have not been vexed with the behavior of Jews or else have not suffered losses through them in some way or other. Disproportionately to their small number they account for an immense share of the German national wealth, which can just as easily be put to profitable use for the state and the general public as could the holdings of the monasteries, bishops, and nobility.

Once the hatred and the battle against the Jews have been really stirred up, their resistance will necessarily crumble in the shortest possible time. They are totally defenseless, and no one will stand up to protect them.

~Adolf Hitler, as interviewed by Major Josef Hell

(Via Bryan Caplan)

I still haven’t managed to get my jaw off the floor after reading that.  The implications stagger me.