The Mason-Dixon Plaid

The Mason-Dixon Line was known as the demarcation between the northern states and the southern states in the US Civil War. The line clearly separated those states in which slavery was prohibited (the Union north of the line) and the slave states (the Confederacy south of the line).

The Civil War waged from 1861 to 1865 and was the bloodiest war in American history with 618,000 killed, more than all other U.S. wars combined (WWII and WWI had 405,000 and 116,000 fatalities, respectively). The death total was roughly 2 per cent of the country, equivalent to over 6 million people today. It is remarkable to think about the millions who fought to preserve (and counter) a preferred form of government, rather than let the country divide seamlessly.

It is difficult to imagine how the Civil War would have played out if the warring parties were not delineated by the neat Mason-Dixon line but a patchwork of alternating states. Would the war have ended faster and with fewer deaths if a few surrounding states ganged up on a common enemy in the middle? Or would the destruction have been far longer and worse for each side with alternating gains and losses on multiple fronts? Imagine if the dynamics were even narrower, with alternating cities and neighborhoods which pit neighbor against fellow neighbor.

A civil war between standing armies would be nearly impossible in such configuration. It would more likely resemble a series of micro-battles in which one square of the plaid pattern attacked another rectangle. A raging riot would break in part of one city and a pogrom in another. Lawlessness would prevail as police forces fragmented between the sides.

It is doubtful such war could conclude with long-term stability and peace. The tensions would likely come to the fore every so often, much like the hundred-year battle between the Arabs and Jews in Israel. Competing visions for a single land is unsustainable as simmering feuds between neighbors and clans never dissipate as people mourn for the loss of family, friends and illusion that the past can be recreated.

The United States is an increasingly polarized society. Radical leftists are taking over the Democratic Party while the Republican Party disembowels itself under President Trump. The alt-left and alt-right visions for America are radically different as the country that once touted itself as the home of the middle class has jettisoned the political moderates. While the deep blue is mostly on the coasts and deep red is predominantly in the middle of the country, the depth of colors offends every non-zealot in every corner.

At this same moment in time, the pandemic has introduced a mindset that one’s neighbors can literally kill them. The notion of “give me liberty (to not wear a mask) or give me death” is being shouted at the man on the street, not a monarch thousands of miles away. The stresses of financial and physical health against a backdrop demanding purity of thought at the risk of losing one’s job have pushed people to the edge.

The Mason-Dixon Plaid has crisscrossed the country amid a pandemic setting the stage for a long and brutal battle pitting neighbor against neighbor. It is being launched with ostracizations and evictions, boycotts and theft, and weapons are being drawn. This civil war will not end when the pandemic eases, but with a turn towards the center where neighbors can speak and listen to jointly compromise on a shared vision for the land.


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Socialists Employ Arabs’ Four Step Battle Plan

There is a major battle underway between Socialists and Capitalists in America which is using a template that the Arab countries used to attack Israel in 1967. It is a four step battle plan, many of which have recently been effectuated by the far left.

  1. Deny the Enemy Rights and Legitimacy
  2. Gather the Masses to the Cause
  3. Remove the Enemy’s Defenses
  4. Assemble the Armies for the Battle

This is not a course for a considered debate about priorities and policies but a war of annihilation.

1. Deny the Enemy Rights and Legitimacy

An intellectual debate about approaches to a range of issues is a sign of a healthy democracy. It typically involves the push-and-pull and inevitable compromises that incorporate the spectrum of ideas.

However, a society with parties which only court the base and vilify opponents is deeply broken. It is actually not a single community but two warring parties.

Common arguments used as red meat for loyalists include that:

  • The enemy has no moral standing
  • The enemy has no rights to its ill-gotten gains
  • The narrative and history of the enemy is full of lies and denies the rights of the righteous
  • The enemy’s supporters are part-and-parcel of the problem

2. Gather the Masses to the Cause

A path to victory should not just lock in the core base but expand the circle to include additional warriors. Overwhelming the enemy with sheer numbers may look democratic in securing a majority, but in tandem with the demonization established earlier in (1), the intense firepower is ripe to engage in widespread destruction.

  • Declare a commitment to fight together
  • Shared vision of wiping out the foe and its supporters

3. Remove the Enemy’s Defenses

There is no clearer demonstration that the battle is near than when there is a direct call to remove the enemy’s defenses. It also makes abundantly clear that the intent of the battle is not simply to secure a victory but to annihilate the foe.

4. Assemble the Armies for the Battle

Lastly, when the groundwork has been laid, it is time to bring the fight to enemy’s doorstep. Readying all of the combined forces against the corrupt (and now defenseless) power, the victory and decimation of the opponent is a virtual certainty. All that is needed is the battle cry to engage.

Consider how the Arabs used this approach and how the American Socialists are following the format today.

Arab-Israeli Conflict in 1967

The Arab-Israeli Conflict emerged shortly after the San Remo Agreement in 1920 which codified the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The local and regional Arabs tried to destroy the emerging Jewish State but failed to do so from the 1920’s through 1950’s.
Deny enemy rights and legitimacy: Arabs claim Israel has no rights to the land. They call the Jews “colonialists” and “invaders.” Arabs recast history that Jews have no connection to Israel despite 3,300 years of history. They attempt to convince themselves and the world that Jews have no connection to the Hebrews of the bible and that the Palestinian Arabs are Canaanites as opposed to Arabs from Arabia who invaded the Jewish holy land.

Not only are the Jews invaders, but vile ones as well. In 1975, the Arab countries managed to get the United Nations to pass a resolution that Zionism is a form of racism, which only got overturned by the push of the United States in 1991. Even today, the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority says that Jews around the world are hated because of their “function.” The Hamas Charter claims that Jews like “shooting at women, children and old people… [particularly] “where their breadwinning is concerned.”
Gather the Masses to the Cause: Egypt and Syria combined themselves into a United Arab Republic in 1958 to fortify a pan-Arab bloc. They enlisted Jordan into a mutual defense pact in May 1967, as they readied for battle against Israel, encircling it on all sides.

Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser said in May 1967 shortly before the Six Day War, “we are not only confronting Israel but also those who created Israel and who are behind Israel. We are confronting Israel and the West as well…. If the United States and Britain are partial to Israel, we must say that our enemy is not only Israel but also the United States and Britain.” On the one year anniversary of the Arab defeat in June 1967, a Palestinian Arab assassinated US Senator Bobby Kennedy. The Arab world then created an oil shortage, crippling the western world’s economy because of their support of Israel.
Remove the Enemy’s Defenses: In May 1967, Egypt ordered the United Nations to remove all of its troops from the Sinai and Gaza Strip which had been stationed there to prevent hostilities between Israel and Egypt. The UN complied, leaving Israel to defend itself by itself from the surrounding forces of several nations.
Assemble the Armies for Battle: Shortly after the UN pulled its troops from the region, the UAR mobilized its troops closer to the Israeli frontier. As Nasser said on May 29, 1967, “Preparations have already been made. We are now ready to confront Israel.

Pave the Arab roads with the skulls of Jews. Show them no mercy.” – Hafez al-Assad, Defense Minister of Syria, June 9, 1967

This is the battle plan being used by the alt-left today.

Socialist-Capitalist Conflict Today

The alt-left has been laying the ground work for taking private property from the wealthy to redistribute to those considered less fortunate.
Deny enemy rights and legitimacy: The alt-left has been declaring a civil war against various member of society:

  • Senator Bernie Sanders who has come close to being the Democratic nominee for president twice has vilified Wall Street as being inherently corrupt sayingthe business model of Wall Street is fraud.
  • Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that “a system that allows billionaires to exist” is immoral.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that money in the United States is “in the wrong hands,” setting himself as arbiter of who should have what.
  • President Barak Obama set these sentiments in motion when he saidIf you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

The basic premise of the far left arguments is that the wealthy should NOT have their money and property. The rich either made the money via fraud (Sanders), took advantage of an immoral system (AOC) or that society has a part in facilitating that wealth, so it is entitled to take a good portion of it (Obama).

The enemy is the 1% according to Obama and it is the White patriarchy in general according to tenet of the movement. History is being recast with the sculptures of America’s founding fathers being pulled from their pedestals including Thomas Jefferson being marked as a slave-owning racist. The BlackLivesMatter is further demanding reparations for slavery of generations ago. Anyone who disagrees with the BLM platform is demonized as a racist, or as Hillary Clinton prefers, “deplorables.

Gather the Masses to the Cause: Intersectionality is not a new concept but was given credibility only recently. Progressives are using the notion that all disenfranchised people must come together in common cause with each other, as Blacks, LGBT, poor working class, immigrants and others are all suffering because of the racist and corrupt system established by the White patriarchy.

The far left is not only coming for the Patriarchy; they are coming against anyone who does not adhere to the extreme orthodoxy of their cause. Moderate Democrats are being run out of primaries by alt-left radicals. People who make a misstep or allow room for compromise with centrists or right-leaning people are run out of their jobs, whether at universities or the media.

Remove the Enemy’s Defenses: One of the demands of the BLM protests is to “defund the police.” Leaders of the movement in Seattle have demanded that the police departments be completely disbanded. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) went further and said “We are not merely fighting to tear down the systems of oppression in the criminal justice system. We are fighting to tear down systems of oppression that exist in housing, in education, in health care, in employment, [and] in the air we breathe.

The call to pull money from police departments had an immediate effect on the public. Shootings skyrocketed all over the country, with cities like Chicago and New York City each having over 60 people shot over weekends.

Assemble the Armies for Battle: Members of the far left have set up “autonomous zones” in which they declare that US laws have no authority. In Seattle, they called the area the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone or CHAZ. In St. Louis, a couple was scared of protesters coming into their private enclave and pulled guns calling for them to leave. The media has portrayed the couple as fanatics attacking a “racial injustice protest” even after a policeman was killed by protesters the week before.

The battle plan is set: declare that your coming for the rich to take their ill-gotten wealth; pull the police from the streets; assemble hundreds of people to take over sections of cities and march through neighborhoods; and vilify anyone who objects or stands to defend themselves and their property.

Police car set on fire in Chicago (photo: Ashlee Rezin Garcia, Chicago Sun Times via AP)

The Arab countries effectively followed the four step battle plan to annihilate Israel but the Jewish State preemptively attacked in 1967 and thereby avoided being destroyed. The alt-left is following the same blueprint today to tear down America’s economy and perceived hierarchy. It remains to be seen if capitalists will proactively defend themselves before being ridden into oblivion.


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Progressives Judge Past American Actions and Ignore Today’s Foreign Culture

Progressives in America have taken a liking to toppling statues of famous people who do not measure up to their views of purity. Statues of presidents like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are viewed as insulting to Black people because they owned slaves 250 years ago. They condemn their legacy and view them as racists who should be banned from the public sphere. So shall they be unwritten; so shall they be undone.

It is curious that these same progressives have no issue judging people who lived hundreds of years ago but cannot make a passing comment to criticize countries with racist, homophobic, misogynistic and antisemitic behavior, particularly those from Brown and Black societies.

Consider Iran, a country which progressives insist should have a legal pathway to nuclear weapons. The Iranians hang gay people in the streets and execute minors. No worries. Former President Obama said they will probably come around in ten years and may even drop from the leading state sponsors of terrorism list, so his nuclear deal had a sunset while it left the country’s nuclear infrastructure intact.

Think of Ghana, home of the Khente cloth worn by the most powerful Democrats in Congress as they bent a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. No, George Floyd wasn’t born in Ghana; he was American. But Ghana does imprison gay people for life. Seems like it’s a logical country to honor.

Leading Democrats don Ghana Khente cloth and bend a knee

Somalia, birthplace of Ilhan Omar (D-MN), has public executions for adultery, usually by stoning. Gays are killed by the al-Shabab terrorists who roam the land. Yet Omar has defended Somalia.

Omar gave a pass to Turkey, one of the largest jailers of journalists every year. She refused to acknowledge and condemn Turkey’s genocide of Armenians a century ago. Could it be because she wanted Turkey to provide aid to her old homeland of Somalia, as Turkey pushes its influence into the horn of Africa to confront Saudi Arabia?

Another member of the progressive wing of Congress, Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), has Palestinian parents and is proud of her heritage. Palestinian law excuses men who kill women who “shame” family honor. The Palestinians are also the most antisemitic people in the world, with 93% holding antisemitic views. They elected the terrorist group Hamas to 58% of parliament with an antisemitic charter which blends Hitler’s Main Kampf and the forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They elected a president who wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial and demands a country free of Jews. The Palestinian Authority has a law which calls for the death sentence for any Arab who sells land to a Jew. Tlaib ignores it all (or agrees with such sentiments).

Mauritania is a 100% Muslim country governed by sharia law which still has slavery. The United Nations didn’t seem to care as it voted the country to the Human Rights Council. Yet progressives still believe that the opinions and rulings of the corrupt world body should carry weight.

Uzbekistan is considered among the worst countries in the world according to Freedom House and also has slavery today – as much as 4% of the population according to some counts. Obama awarded this tyrannical country the largest military donation ever to a country in central Asia.

The Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars from foreign entities, with more than 40 per cent of the large donors coming from outside the United States. Saudi Arabia gave Clinton $10 million, that same country that doesn’t allow a woman to leave home without permission of the male head of household or to drive and that publicly beheads adulterers (including women accused of rape) and those who convert from Islam, a right guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The country hit a new record of executions with 184 in 2019, many of them religious minorities.

The South American country with the worst human rights is Venezuela according to Freedom House. No matter. The champion of progressives, Sen. Bernie Sanders, was the only Democratic candidate for president who would not condemn the far left Maduro government‘s corruption and failed socialist economic policies.

Amid the COVID pandemic, Senator Elizabeth Warren along with other alt-lefters like Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Barbara Lee singled out Iran as a country to get aid to fight the pandemic. A few days earlier Warren asked for money to be sent to the Palestinian Authority. Eventually, U.S. territory Puerto Rico showed up on her radar worthy of care.

Progressives defend and support some of the worst regimes regarding slavery and human rights abuses but cannot fathom seeing a statue of the founding figures of the United States on a pedestal. To suggest that the underlying reason is because the statues are of White men and that the offending countries are headed by Black and Brown people would let your privilege show, so no one utters the obvious.

Considering that much of the world has a human rights record today that falls short of America 250 years ago is too woke for progressives. We are in the midst of a purge, and it is not of relics and racism but the position of the patriarchy.


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WHY The Progressive Assault on Israel

On February 10, 2019, New York Times opinion writer Bret Stephens posted an article about the dangers of the Democratic Party moving sharply to the left and adopting anti-Israel positions. He used considerable ink to refute the claims of progressives that Israel is an apartheid state and generally debunked the various arguments made against Israel.

But he never touched upon WHY progressives are suddenly so ready to condemn Israel when they weren’t a decade ago. Stephens mentioned the relatively new “intersectionality” concept in which the suffering of one group is the suffering and common cause of all groups, but he offered no reasons why Israel alone was the celebrated cause of the alt-left (for example, no group attacks Iran for hanging gays in the street, Turkey for occupying northern Cyprus, Switzerland for banning minarets at mosques or Belgium banning kosher and halal meat) and why these progressives feel so comfortable cozying up to anti-Semites like Louis Farrakhan.

WHY only Israel versus other countries in the world and WHY now as opposed to ten years ago?

Underdogma

Underdogma is the notion that the downtrodden are always the victims. Not only is the cause of the powerless always right, but their actions must always be excused. Black progressives can easily defend Louis Farrakhan because he is considered powerless; he is punching up in society on behalf of poorly performing Black people. Similarly, Palestinian Arabs who rape and kill 19-year old Jewish girls in Israel are not cast as terrorists, as the Palestinian Arabs are stateless.

This is a point made by Bret Stephens and Matti Friedman. Israel is viewed as the bigger and more powerful party if one views the situation very narrowly, namely the State of Israel with a strong military, against the Palestinian Arabs without either a state or army. The Arab-Israel Conflict has become a narrower Palestinian-Israeli Conflict for progressives. However, if one viewed the situation more broadly, it is easy to see a single Jewish State dwarfed by dozens of Muslim countries, an Israeli Jewish population outnumbered 100-to-1 by Muslims, and Israel standing alone at the United Nations where 30 countries still refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Jewish State.

The Jewish State is very small, but it looms large and powerful for progressives.

Proportionality

Part of the Israeli – and Jewish – problem for progressives is specifically about proportionality. It is not only that the Jewish State appears too big in their narrow focus, it is too powerful based on the raw number of Jews globally.

Progressives want positions of power to reflect the demographics of society. With a Jewish population of less than 15 million in a global population of 7.8 billion, why should a people with 0.2% of the population have any country at all? Perhaps if there were 500 countries instead of the less than 200, progressives might be more sympathetic. Instead, this slice of the global population presents like elites, with a thriving economy and powerful military. Worse, it has these attributes abutting people who are poor and without self determination.

The Jewish State doesn’t look like an oppressed minority success story for progressives. Israel looks like “the 0.1 percent” with a disproportionate share of land and resources.  Progressives attacking these (coincidentally) Jewish one-percenters is as natural as attacking the (also coincidentally) Jewish bankers and real estate owners.

Narrative of Emotions versus Facts

Adding fuel to the fire for progressives to attack the Jewish State is the evolving philosophy which has caught hold in the far left. Progressives have advanced the notion that emotions are not only real, they are perhaps more relevant than facts. Such approach allows them to shut down debate and discussion if they feel under attack from “microaggressions,” a term coined in the 1970’s which has infected college campuses and left-wing groups today.

The counter-factual Palestinian narrative now has a natural audience in the far left. Jewish history in the holy land can comfortably be erased such as the fact the Jerusalem has been majority Jewish since the 1860’s, with the charge that Jews are changing the Muslim “character” of the city using the ominous language of gentrification. Thousands of years of Jewish history evaporate as Jews are transformed into “colonialists” seeking to expel and subjugate the indigenous Arab population and continue to steal “Palestinian land.

Falsehoods do not matter. Fighting emotional perceptions with facts as Bret Stephens did is a debate using different bases. When progressives embrace non-factual emotions of feeling wronged, is the best method of countering it using facts, fact-based emotions or non-fact based emotions? Are Israelis forced to only talk about the pain of antisemitism and the Holocaust (fact-based emotions) or conjure up something new (what can really be worse than the Holocaust to dream up? That Palestinians harvest Jewish organs like the Arabs claim Jews do?)

Progressives demand no rebuttal, just a focus on the raw emotions of those in a disadvantaged state. The tacit conclusion is that to forge a peaceful coexistence, the outrageous lies should be ignored and/or considered as though they contain morsels of truth. Pretend that Arabs did not begin to arrive in the Jewish holy land in the Muslim invasion of the seventh and eighth centuries but are descendants of biblical Canaanites. Consider that the Palestinian Arabs did not try to destroy Israel in 1948 and 1967 but were arbitrarily expelled. Honor their counter-factual emotions. Do more than shut up as the stronger party, take steps to address their pain. To do less is cruelty.

The Masses Make History

One upon a time, history was written by the victor. In modern times it is re-written by the 99.8% with smartphones and social media accounts.

Jews have succumbed to raw power for thousands of years. Judaism was crushed by the power of the Catholic church which replaced the chosen people spiritually, and by the Moslems who replaced the Jews physically by taking over the Jewish holy land and building the Dome of the Rock atop their Jewish Temples. Both religions used the sword for execution and conversion, leaving Jews a paltry sum.

Today, Jews are falling to a new power: the stories, emotional narratives written by the masses. When feelings trump facts, billions of people will be drawn to compelling narratives such as a modern day David-versus-Goliath story and will love the irony of the Jew now being slayed as the Giant. Israelis are called Nazis without consideration of the deep antisemitism of the charge. Why pause to ponder, when it completes the chapter with a curious twist, and absolves the world from its role in the Jewish genocide as it shows that all people are just as evil when they obtain too much power.

Rip power from the elites, flatten society and distribute power equally is the logical conclusion say today’s socialists / Democratic Socialists. The stories secure alt-left converts with absolution, reward and righteous smugness. Empathy can be contagious: post it online and share it with friends. Take it to the streets. It doesn’t matter that the original whisperers came from Iran or Russia, when the emotions feel so real.

Why Progressives Attack Israel Today

In short, why now and why Israel:

  • It is laudable to attack the powerful. In the past, progressives wanted to empower the weak with programs like affirmative action. Now they want to pull down the powerful. It is no longer about making sure people do not live in poverty but to focus on the “gaps” in society including wealth and income. It is much easier to strip the elites than to build a long-term sustainable economy.
  • The alt-left believes Jews and the Jewish State are disproportionately powerful. Israel’s recent battles of 2008, 2012 and 2014 were with Gaza, a small impoverished strip of land, and not with the broader Arab world as in the early days of the state. Israel’s economy sailed through the global financial meltdown of 2008-9 and continues to have multi-billion dollar IPOs and sales of its flourishing technology and biotech industries. Progressives see elitists, not a minority success story.
  • Israel abandoned early socialism in favor of capitalism. Israel’s early days were scrappy and agrarian, working the land in collective kibbutzes. The left-wing Labor party dominated the political landscape for decades from its founding days. But the country pivoted to the right and the champion of privatizing the Israeli economy, Benjamin Netanyahu, has become the longest serving prime minister in Israeli history. For the alt-left, the right cannot be right: Israel’s success must have come from theft, corruption and abuse. The fact that Netanyahu is being charged with the same is too rich for the left to ignore.
  • Perception of White European Colonial Patriarchy. Israel has long had white Ashkenazi male leaders with the exception of Golda Meir in the 1970’s, so Netanyahu is not a new phenomenon. But the objection to his background in the middle of a Middle East with Arab leaders is suddenly more offensive to Americans who had a Black president for eight years. The fact that the majority of Israeli Jews are Brown and Black from Arab and African countries is ignored or not known. The face of Israel is portrayed as one of colonialism, white privilege and the patriarchy, all unforgivable sins to the newly woke.
  • Jewish liberals give them cover. Democrats once had champions for the Jewish State like Scoop Jackson, Patrick Moynihan and Joe Lieberman and a strong Israel advocacy group like AIPAC. Today, new alt-left wing Jewish groups like J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace loudly lobby for policies against the Jewish State and donate and back politicians with anti-Israel views. They supported the Iran deal, the declaration of Jewish homes east of the Green Line as illegal, boycotting Jewish Israeli businesses, and were upset with the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem. When Jewish groups which claim to be “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace” aggressively push the US and UN to take actions against the Jewish State, it becomes easy for all progressives to endorse anti-Zionist views without appearing antisemitic.

Among Progressives, the past dozen years has seen the Arab-Israel Conflict shrink into the Besieged and Impoverished Gaza Strip-Israeli Army Conflict. There is no longer an antisemitic Hamas or Palestinian terrorists, just poor Arabs seeking self-determination in the face of a powerful and rich alt-right foreign entity. It is a story recast to elicit empathy.

Israel’s supporters on the right may get excellent scores on Middle Eastern history but fail to connect with the masses who are craving a story of empathy. Tyrion Lannister summed it up in the finale of Game of Thrones: “What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.” The alt-left gets it and has spun a tale which is being mainstreamed and going viral.

Israel is in a new war with progressives and it is clueless about how to confront it.

J Street: Home for Pro-Palestinian, Pro-Peace Americans

J Street is a progressive political lobbying group which bills itself as the “political home for Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace Americans.” It is a marketing ploy designed to sell pro-Arab propaganda to undermine the government of Israel.

Consider a current snapshot of the lobbying group’s current press releases:

J Street’s press most recent press releases from its website on April 3, 2020

Not one off the six articles which J Street felt were the most pressing of the day related to advocating for Israel. There was no support for the country’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic which has shut down the country, the successful democratically-held elections in the country or America’s recent elections for the World Zionist Congress.

Instead J Street published pro-Arab and pro-Muslim press releases:

  • Block Israeli application of sovereignty over any part of Area C
  • Give financial support to Palestinians
  • Condition US aid to Israel on its not demolishing illegal Arab homes
  • No war with the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • A push for US Democratic presidential candidates to not be too supportive of the policies of the current government of Israel
  • A call to ban Jews from living in and around the Old City of Jerusalem

This snapshot is not surprising for anyone who has followed the far-left lobbying group since its founding in 2008. This group lobbied the Obama administration to censure Israel at the United Nations and to sign an Iranian nuclear deal which the government of Israel opposed. The lobbying efforts were so extremely anti-Israel with the flimsiest Jewish veneer that even devout liberal politician Gary Ackerman (D-NY) said 

I’ve come to the conclusion that J-Street is not an organization with which I wish to be associated….America really does need a smart, credible, politically active organization that is as aggressively pro-peace as it is pro-Israel. Unfortunately, J-Street ain’t it.

There are many people who argue that one needn’t be anti-Palestinian to be pro-Israel. I would agree as it relates to Palestinian Arabs who want to make peace with Israel and respect the Jewish people’s history, dignity and security needs in their holy land. On can similarly be both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian, which is J Street’s contention.

But it shows J Street’s deliberate dishonesty to only state it is “pro-Israel” in its tagline when it is primarily focused on a pro-Arab agenda which it believes benefits Israel. Either drop the “Pro-Israel” claim or add “Pro-Arab” to be clear what the far-left lobbying group actually represents.


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The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

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The Anti-Israel Community in a Jewish House of Worship

On November 26, 2019, a progressive Reform Temple in Westchester County, New York brought together a collection of people from the far-left and anti-Israel community to talk about the situation in “Israel/Palestine.” The discussion was civil and disappointing.

The Israel Action Committee of the Temple Israel of New Rochelle put together the event with “Friends of Mossawa,” an organization based in Tarrytown, NY which claims to fight for equality in Israel, and the United Nations, an organization which claims to be a unifying agency for people all over the world. As the evening demonstrated, what unites these parties is their strong distaste for Israel.

The speakers included Laura Wharton, a left-wing, anti-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu member of Jerusalem’s City Council; Rana Abu Farha, a host on the Palestinian run Ma’an 24 news show; and Hanan Al Sanah, a representative of an NGO in the Negev which advocates for Bedouin women. It was moderated by Paul Warhit, President of the Westchester Jewish Council.

Hanan Al Sanah, Rana Abu Farha, Laura Wharton and Paul Warhit at TINR
November 26, 2019
From the outset, the tone of the two hour evening discussion was clearly not going to follow the script as laid out in the invitationThe Lived Reality in Israel and the Palestinian Territory: Current Political Developments and the Prospects for a Peaceful Settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” The members of the TINR clergy and Israel Action Committee who welcomed the fifty-person audience repeatedly referred to “Israel/Palestine,” and not the “Palestinian Territory,” upgrading the PA-ruled lands to an actual country. They also noted that one of the evenings invited speakers, Ali Ghaith, an “activist and freelance journalist” was not able to attend as he had recently written a negative piece about Netanyahu and was therefore not able to get a travel visa from Israel. Various people in the audience booed Israel’s actions.

The Left-Wing Israeli Politician

Wharton began the discussion stating that she has “complete solidarity with the Palestinian people” and would state later that she is both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. Her comments during the evening really only proved the latter.

Even though she serves as a member of the Jerusalem’s City Council, she was woefully ignorant of the city’s composition stating that only about 2,000 Jews live in “East Jerusalem,” even though the actual number is over 200,000 in the eastern part of the city.

Wharton was particularly worried about mixed Arab-Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. She said that it was “worrisome that more Israelis are moving into Palestinian neighborhoods,” especially right-wing Israelis. She said that Jerusalem will ultimately need to be divided as part of a peace agreement and the Jewish presence among the Palestinians made that separation harder. She voiced her belief that the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall should remain in Israeli hands, but the balance of East Jerusalem should be part of Palestine, with Christian holy places under the jurisdiction of the United Nations.

Wharton believed that the problems in Jerusalem paled relative to the West Bank. She commented that the settlements are illegal by international law and many are also illegal under Israeli law. She believed that all of the settlements complicated matters significantly by placing Jewish towns alongside Arab towns. Neither she nor the moderator chose to mention how Jews and Arabs get along just fine in Haifa, the headquarters of Mossawa.

Wharton ended her remarks by stating that she supported the B.D.S. movement of Israeli goods made in the West Bank but urged people in the audience to not boycott Israel in its entirety, as it silenced the voices of the dovish Israelis like herself and gave ammunition to the right-wing.

The Anti-Israel Palestinian Newscaster

Rana made Laura’s pro-B.D.S. comments look tame.

She decried the “occupation” throughout her remarks, stating that the over 130 Israeli settlements consisting of 1 million Jews pushed 2.5 million Palestinians to live in “ghettos.” (The actual number of Jews in the West Bank is half that number). She said that Netanyahu went to war in Gaza the other week because he feared he was losing the election so thought it would help to kill Arab civilians to excite the Israeli public. She added that the entire notion that Israel is democratic is a joke, and that it just holds election as a marketing ploy to the western world that it shares democratic ideals when it is really just a racist colonial occupier. The moderator chose not to push back aggressively on these libels.

The Palestinian newscaster went on that she thought that every single settler must leave the West Bank and that all 6 million Palestinian refugees (there are actually 5.5 million registered with UNRWA) should be allowed to move to Israel. When asked by Warhit how Israel could possibly allow 6 million Arabs into the country to overwhelm the Jews, she simply stated that “it’s their land so it’s their choice.” The members of the UN and Friends of Mossawa who sat in the audience grunted their approval. Warhit could only summon that he appreciated her position about getting rid of the settlements but could not imagine Israel allowing 6 million Arabs into the country. The TINR organizer of the event admonished Warhit to not share his opinion and just get the panel talking.

The Bedouin Arab

Compared to the other people on stage, Hanan was actually quite good, even while her English was the weakest. She said that she considered herself an Israeli but was frustrated by the country’s lack of investment in the Bedouin community and Israel’s refusal to allow them to live in their traditional lifestyle. At the same time, she acknowledged that she was also frustrated by her own Bedouin traditional lifestyle that kept women illiterate and as second-class citizens. She was advocating for change in the Bedouin culture to empower women, but for more of the traditional status quo from the Israelis to not force them to move into conventional cities.

End Points

The Q&A at the end of the panel discussion was mostly a repeat of prior comments. When asked about the Palestinian and left-wing Israeli poll in the summer of 2018 that showed that almost all Israeli Arabs were in favor of capping the number of refugees coming to Israel and in favor of Israel’s Nation State Law, the denials began to flow.

The questioner was first directed by the panelists to call Israeli Arabs as “Palestinian Citizens of Israel” and told that the poll figures must be wrong. Both Laura and Rana mentioned the huge protests in the streets after the Knesset passed the law which undermined the poll’s statistics. Wharton considered the poll’s point of Israeli Arabs wanting to cap refugees as perhaps stemming from Palestinian Arab viewpoint of Israeli Arabs as collaborators with Israel while they suffered in refugee camps. Rana effectively ignored the question and repeated that all of the Palestinians have a natural right to return to their homes (or more accurately, grandparents’ homes).

At program’s end, when Rana was asked how many Jews she thought could live in a Palestinian State, she repeated that every settlement had to be removed. Pushed further if she would accept a situation in which every Israeli soldier left the land, and every Jewish civilian in the West Bank opted to become a Palestinian citizen, she reiterated her stance that no settlers could remain. When challenged as to why she would take such an antisemitic stance to forbid any Jew from living in a Palestinian State, the organizer of the event from TINR jumped in and said “don’t put words in her mouth” and then tried to escort her out of the room.


Temple Israel of New Rochelle is proud of its progressive bona fides. Its rabbi serves on the board of J Street (a left-wing Israel advocacy group), Planned Parenthood, and Rabbis for Human Rights. It was therefore not surprising to see such a progressive organization give a warm welcome to people advocating for a boycott of Jews in the West Bank, expulsion of all the Jews living there, and changing Israel into a bi-national state. Such is the state of progressive views about Israel today.


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J Street is Only Considered “Pro-Israel” in Progressive Circles

J Street held its annual conference in late October 2019 where it had several Democratic presidential candidates address the left-wing crowd. The loudest applause was, not surprisingly, heard for the most progressive candidates: Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Sen. Bernie Sanders addressing J Street Conference October 28, 2019
It is interesting that J Street bills itself as “pro-Israel” when the crowd at its annual event gave a standing ovation to the most anti-Israel presidential candidate since the founding of the Jewish State. Sanders has accused Israel of war crimes, being racist and wants to divert funds meant for Israel’s security to the Arab people in Gaza who have launched three wars against Israel since 2008. Sanders may be the only Jew among the leaders of the Democratic presidential pack, but he is without question the most critical of the Jewish State.

And it is not a coincidence that Sanders if the most left-wing of the presidential contenders. It is only through the narrow prism of a progressive worldview that J Street and Sanders can be viewed as “pro-Israel.”

For most people, being pro-“fill-in-the-blank” means actively supporting that entity. It may be with words of support and encouragement to that entity. Perhaps its with active lobbying for trade and aid on that entity’s behalf. Speaking about it positively and with enthusiasm to others.

However, for J Street, being “pro-Israel” simply means believing that Israel has a right to exist and should have secure borders. I believe that Costa Rica should exist and have secure borders, but I don’t think that makes me “pro-Costa Rica.” Maybe if I associated with people who hated Costa Rica, I would be considered pro-Costa Rica for an otherwise benign point of view, but not among most of the world.

Which is precisely the J Street dynamic.

Inside the echo chambers of the progressive halls, suggesting that Israel has a right to exist is considered extraordinary and extreme. Vocalizing that it is and should remain the Jewish homeland is considered vulgar. That it has a right to defend itself against terrorism is deemed shocking.

That’s the sad reality among J Street’s peers. Groups like the New Israel Fund actively support organizations which try to dismantle any Jewishness of the Jewish State and fund global tours for people to demonize the Israel Defense Forces. IfNotNow fights to undermine Jewish presence in Jerusalem. Code Pink supports a boycott of Israeli products. Jewish Voice for Peace has supported terrorists who have killed Israelis. And the Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis on the boards of these institutions question whether Israel should exist at all.

The progressive stances on Israel can be seen in the “Women’s March” whose leaders are against “humanizing” Israelis and in BackLivesMatter which has a platform which calls Israel an “apartheid state” and advocates for B.D.S. (boycott, divest and sanctions of Israel). These are appalling statements and opinions.

With such a peer group of progressives, it should not shock people that in that narrow “coastal liberal latte-sipping politically-correct out-of-touch folks” as Barack Obama once said, J Street actually believes that saying the Israel should exist as a secure Jewish State is considered “pro-Israel.” Outside of the far-left extreme, that’s an opinion which is considered neutral – “pareve” as they would say in the Jewish community.

Actually being “pro-Israel” for groups like AIPAC means ensuring bi-partisan support for Israel, keeping trade and military cooperation intact, advocating for U.S. support for Israeli positions at the United Nations. J Street is against all of those ideas.

One could perhaps argue that it is useful for J Street to engage with their co-progressives and get them to upgrade their views on Israel. It is clear that the “Squad” of socialists in congress are not going to listen to AIPAC or the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC).

But it is horribly incorrect and out-of-bounds for the general public and media to quote J Street as the mainstream pro-Israel forum when it is nothing of the sort. It is merely the fringe “meh-Israel” segment of a radical leftist anti-Zionist ideology which is regrettably beginning to permeate the Democratic party.


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Bernie Sanders is Less Sophisticated Than Forrest Gump

The King of the Democratic Socialists, Senator Bernie Sanders, continues to show off his stupid ideas. His latest – capping pay of private companies.

The current salvo is part of Sanders’ “Stop Walmart Act” in which he wants to limit CEO’s pay to 150 times that of a typical employee. Somehow, raising the quality of life for poorest Americans is not sufficient via increases to the minimum wage and work conditions. Sanders is intent on putting the breaks on income inequality by limiting what the top brass earn. So if the average employee made $50,000 per year at a company, the CEO pay would be capped at $7.5 million.

Think about applying the logic to the movie business.

Tom Hanks earned roughly $60 million for his work in Forrest Gump. Taking his pay and dividing by 150 would mean that the average worker for that movie – including hair and makeup, lighting, sound editor, key grip (whatever that means) – would earn $400,000. Needless to say, the average worker on the movie made nowhere near that total. If the average person made $75,000, should Hanks have his pay capped at $11.25 million?

In baseball, Mike Trout earns $33.25 million a year playing for the Angels. The ecosystem in baseball is vast and includes groundskeepers, umpires, gate and parking attendants, people in concessions and advertising and marketing. Does the average person who works in Major league Baseball make $221,667? If they don’t, then Sanders believes that Tout shouldn’t make as much as he does. His perception of fairness trumps the value of his contribution as determined by the free markets.

People can readily appreciate the performances of actors and athletes, and pay money to see them perform. But the management talents of corporate executives is not easy to comprehend or see. A bad CEO could cost a company billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. Their work is not simply to amuse people for a few hours, but has dramatic impact on shareholders, employees and customers.

But for new era of American Socialists, income inequality is inherently evil. As freshman member of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saida system that allows billionaires to exist… is wrong” and “immoral.


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders

The start of this thinking in the Democratic Party can be traced to 2012, when President Barack Obama made the remark “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” While there is a kernel of truth to his broader commentary that most businesses are built with many employees and an ecosystem which enables wealth creation, the current alt-left version of that thinking is that ALL people who have a hand in wealth creation inherently deserve a good portion of that wealth. In the example above, Sanders does not only think that a grounds-keeper at a stadium should get a large raise when the baseball players get huge paydays, but Mike Trout’s Little League coach when he was ten years old should also be entitled to some of Trout’s salary.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is another presidential hopeful from the left-wing who is hyper-focused on income inequality. She has proposed forcing large companies to have almost half of the boards of directors be representatives of the employees. Such efforts are meant to curtail the efficiencies and cost-savings which companies like Amazon utilize to pass cost-savings onto consumers, and instead ensure more employees are hired and make more money relative to shareholders and management. The goal is for unskilled labor to get shielded in a world of automation while trimming Jeff Bezos’s wealth; a double win for progressives. For the people who maximized efficiencies and created new companies, not so much.

Big progressive government is trying to launch the biggest takeover ever – of the entirety of the American business community. It promises to be heavy-handed, very intrusive and punitive as it devalues the contribution of those who innovate and lead.

Bernie Sanders proudly adopted one of the mottoes of Forrest Gump, that “mama said there’s only so much fortune a man really needs… and the rest is just for showing off,” as he pushes to pass laws preventing highly skilled people from making “too much” money. In truth, the Democratic Socialist motto is “stupid is as stupid does.


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Purim 2019, The Progressive Megillah

Roughly 2,500 years ago where the patriarchy reigned,
Jewish history was made in a failed coup, bloodstained.

Far from the destroyed Temple, in the Persian vicinity
A ruffian named Haman was imbued with toxic masculinity.

He used his privileged status to easily befriend the king,
And set in motion a plan to set the palace right wing.

Haman targeted the snowflakes and anything intersectional
And demanded that every Jew position themselves genuflectional.

Yet the Jew Mordechai would not bow or quake
And later mansplained to his niece Esther the actions to take.

But Esther was already woke to Haman’s weaponized speech
And with Mordechai hatched a plan to have Haman impeached.

She asked the Jews in the kingdom to start fasting in the morning
In the first biblical example of a community trigger warning.

She burst into the king’s party, uninvited and quite disheveled
‘Attempted mass murder!’ through clenched teeth, at Haman she leveled.

The microaggression forced the king to seek a safe space in the garden.
When he returned to see Haman toppled on Esther, Haman lost his chance for a pardon.

Haman screamed in anguish in a curse filled with misogyny
And soon hanged from a tree with all ten of his male progeny.

The tables had turned and the streets were turned red
As the Jews attacked their enemies with 75,000 dead.

The Jews were not vanquished on Purim, aligned with the elites
Capped with handing money to the poor and giving each other treats.

Today’s alt-left progressives might find this ending bittersweet
And reject the story’s conclusion or find religion obsolete.

But antisemitism’s continuing roar from the extreme right and the left
Shouldn’t leave our whole community with a wide sickening cleft.

Hand your blue friends some red treats, and the conservative something blue.
Be joyous and celebrate wholeheartedly with each and every Jew.

Progressives are Stripping the Equity of Our Lives

The annual showing at the Davos, Switzerland World Economic Forum is always a spectacle. It is usually due to the who’s-who list of billionaires, celebrities and world leaders in a beautiful location. In 2019, it also featured stupid ideas led by the “progressive” views of worker protection and entitlement.

A Progressive View of Automation

One of the important themes discussed at the WEF was the consideration of the “Future of Work.” The Forum put forward three alternative views of how a world of digitization and automation could develop in the future. The considerations revolved around efficiencies, how to improve the value to customers, and how technology will require a new set of skills as it transforms the job market. The discussion sought to consider the future dynamics of competing aims of shareholders, workers and customers.

While progressives tout the concept of “fairness,” their actual concern is about a particular type of “equality,” which is the equal distribution of money. The status of “wealth inequality” and “income inequality” drives the proposed progressive agenda and thereby hijacks the definition of “fairness” to be one that reaches the conclusion of wealth and income equality.

In such an orientation, the holders of mass wealth – typically owning large stakes in companies – are afforded no leniency. If the future of automation brings an accelerated and inflamed debate of competing interests between shareholders, employees and consumers, the discussion is concluded as soon as it was introduced.

The progressive rag, The New York Times had an article written about the WEF called “The Hidden Automation Agenda of the Davos Elite.” As the title suggests, the article reviewed how the “elite” – those evil one-percenters – were hatching nefarious plans to destroy the workers of the world. The corporate titans at Davos were marketing how automation was going to bring all sorts of new inventions to the world with lower prices for consumers, however, the real goal was to replace people with robots, and hoard all of the economic gains for themselves.

“Automating work is a choice, of course, one made harder by the demands of shareholders, but it is still a choice. And even if some degree of unemployment caused by automation is inevitable, these executives can choose how the gains from automation and A.I. are distributed, and whether to give the excess profits they reap as a result to workers, or hoard it for themselves and their shareholders.

“The choices made by the Davos elite — and the pressure applied on them to act in workers’ interests rather than their own — will determine whether A.I. is used as a tool for increasing productivity or for inflicting pain.”

The progressive argument is plain: the elite / executives / shareholders will hoard the gains from digitization and automation, unless pressure (or new progressive tax and corporate laws) force the benefits to be distributed to workers.

A Progressive View of Employee/ Shareholder Protections

The progressive view of wealth is that it is essentially “immoral” as the recent progressive political star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview. It is a view shared by many progressives who view capitalism as evil at its core.

The notion that someone could build and own a business and become ridiculously wealthy – say Howard Schultz who created Starbucks – is inherently wrong according to the far left-wing. The hard work and risks which Schultz took along the way to create a company that employed tens of thousands of people and produced a product that millions of people enjoy is somehow negated by the tremendous wealth he personally amassed. According to progressives, his earnings and wealth should have been stripped along the way and passed on to the people who made and served the coffee. The salary of the workers was clearly inappropriate compensation if the company became so profitable. For progressives, the redundant task of making venti lattes all day which requires limited skills, no education and no risk – a task that will soon be automated – is not the essence of the discussion. The objection is that the person who owned the company made thousands of times more than the average worker, a conclusion, they believe that is immoral.

This progressive logic takes a bizarre turn when employees don’t help create value but destroy it.

Consider the electric utility PG&E which is being sued for causing the forest fires that killed people and destroyed billions of dollars in property value. Employees at the company are accused of committing a series of terrible errors, including not cutting the power in dry areas suffering from high winds (when the power lines came down from the wind, the electric sparks ignited the dry brush).

Who “paid” for the worker errors? Were thousands of employees fired? Was the employee pension fund stripped? Were line workers lined up before commissions and denounced in the media? No.

The executives and shareholders took the heat. Shareholders – many “women and orphans” who own utility stocks for the “safe” dividends – paid the price. On November 8, 2018, PGE stock closed at $47.80. One week later, on November 15 it stood at $17.74.

Did progressives cry fowl that the economic “windfall” wasn’t being shared equitably? Did they suggest that the workers who caused all of the death and destruction should bear the costs? No. They passed legislation meant to protect customers from rate hikes. Democrat State Senator Bill Dodd said his bill was needed because “without it, ratepayers will be left holding the bag and communities will needlessly suffer.

The Democratic Senator from California, Kamala Harris, who just announced her intention to run for president hasn’t said a word about the large corporate bankruptcy in her state. Any ideas why she would remain mum on such an enormous story? (Please don’t suggest it’s her ties to Democrats aligned with PG&E).


As the Democratic party lurches leftward, it is swaying deeper and deeper into an economic policy based on wealth redistribution over capitalism. The progressives have determined – and are demanding – that a worker whose job can be automated should not only not be fired, but be entitled to profit-sharing.

Progressives are seeking to dramatically revamp the notion of private ownership. They are advancing an economic system where we will collect fixed payouts as determined by federal officials. Workers, one and all. Equal and protected.

Private ownership will only be at the nod of the government. Strict limits will be imposed on compensation, capping salaries and demanding a set number of worker representatives sit on the board of directors. “Private” enterprise will be managed aggressively by politicians through heavy regulation and taxes, not by market forces.

The progressive aim is to strip people of the equity of their efforts and replace the return on their passions with interest payments as bondholders of the state. An “equitable” economy liberated and succored by a large government.

Such a system stymies equity investment and risk taking. It shrinks the economy and hurts innovation. No matter.

US President Ronald Reagan once said “this country is too great for small dreams.” For progressives, the great dream is a small country.


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