Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 12 (since 2010-04-21 19:17:02)

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  • When 'Broad City' Went On Birthright, and taught us all a lesson about American Jews and Israel
    • You're wrong. They are shown being interrogated on the ground before they are sent back on another flight. And then in the last scene when they are on the flight, Abby has her precious luggage on board with her. It's clear that they landed, underwent the "Palestinian" treatment, and had their asses deported back to NYC, where they will go to Steinway to get felafel from an Arab.

  • Shocker: 'NYT' forum on anti-Zionism tilts toward equating Zionism with racism
    • RE: "Finally, Omar Zahzah’s piece. “Zionism Justifies Discrimination and Oppression.” Make way for Palestinians!" -- Sherene Seikaly is Palestinian...

  • Yale Jewish center to hold 'intellectual' panel on storm over ousted priest's comments-- without inviting the priest
    • A brief correction: "a Palestinian exception to the First Amendment" is not Corey Robin's phrase. Steven Salaita used it in his press conference last week, and Robin picked up and amplified it. I love Corey Robin's work on this issue, but for this timely concept credit should go where it is due.

  • Netanyahu delivers predictable speech fear-mongering on Iran
    • A small correction -- the heavy water reactor to which Netanyahu refers is in "Arak" (a small city in Iran) not in "Iraq." I don't know if the transliteration error was Alex's or if this was in a more official transcript, but geopolitically it's a significant distinction.

  • On collective traumas
    • Excellent piece with some important reflections... however, I was concerned to see you fall into a common conceptual trap: the conflation of personal/individual trauma with collective or social trauma. Many social theorists have begun to eloquently question the presumed link between these phenomena -- the first being a clinical diagnosis of the field of psychology, while the second being a social event with social causes and implications. The defense mechanisms of the human psyche, which are productive of individual trauma, do not map alongside the ways by which societies produce their collective traumas. While the former is ostensibly "natural", the latter is not. There are many social events that do not produce longstanding social trauma. No one speaks of the continuation of social trauma after the genocide in the Belgian Congo, nor of the social trauma of Cambodia after the autogenocide of the Khmer Rouge. This distinction allows us to better understand the institutional basis for the production of social trauma: it isn't a natural outcome of certain kinds of events, but rather is a product of certain institutional formations. In this light both Nakba and Holocaust can be seen as outcomes not simply of the horrors of war, inhumanity, and injustice, but equally of social forces mobilized to formulate and police parameters of meaning around these concepts.

  • Three questions for liberals and progressives who support the Egyptian coup
    • Yes, "it's a coup." But did those of you who are using the pronouncement of this statement a litmus test make equal sounds of dissent in Feb 2011 when the military ousted Hosni Mubarak, in what was no less a coup? Of course not. So, that's a silly basis for making a case about liberal hypocrisy (indeed there are many other better bases). Fellow commentator Bilal offers his travels in Egypt as proof that "Islamists" are a greater than 60% block in Egyptian society, although we have no definition of what "Islamists" are and anyone who has studied/lived in Egypt knows that that moniker is a permeable and shifting one. There is little doubt that the Tamarrod demos of June 30 were the biggest in Egypt's history, drawing out many who had demurred from street protest in the 2011 revolution or since (the "Couch Party"). In fact while a certain conservatism may be sweepingly ascribed to Egyptian religious identity, I have little time for those who leap from this observation to argue that large majorities in Egypt are happy with the particularities of Islamist policies/politics. Egyptians in my view are much more complex and nuanced -- one reason why the MB by June 30 had lost so much of its public support. In any case, though, the recent coup was never against "Islamists" (hence the inclusion of the Salafist Noor Party and the inclusion of amendments in the provisional constitution that were written by Islamist parties in 2012) -- this is purely against the Muslim Brotherhood. Glatzer may have a point that there are some who make hay with the language of promoting democracy and "supporting the revolution" who have uncritically cozied up to the plans of the Egyptian military in its actions over the last couple of weeks (and I have no doubt that what we are seeing is an opportunistic military-felool coup on the backs of a legitimate revolutionary backlash against the MB's horrific year in office) but those that fit this description are not the Phil Weisses or those who may have provisionally argued along with many Egyptian revolutionaries that the ouster of Mursi was legitimate, but rather the straw men of the WSJ editorial page and the David Brooks/Thomas Friedmans -- nothing too surprising there. So let's stop trying to gauge the best way to move ahead on this matter on the argument of whether it's a coup or not.

  • Former Yale official accuses Yale 'unequivocally' of anti-Semitism
    • I've written about this before here - I've seen Small in action, and he is positively small-of-mind. The gossip at Yale is not so much that what he was doing was "too political" but that he was embarrassingly unsophisticated. I think Yale would have gone along with his agenda if he had been a bit more slick and polished in how he went about it. I've seen him speak a few times and it was pretty consistent: his presentations were amateurish, childlike and insulting. He would then get worked up that his cartoonish powerpoints were not rousing the audience to tears for his claim of an impending New Holocaust of world Jewry (to be perpetrated by venomous Muslims who have always in history wished to massacre the Jews). After realizing his failure to convince, he would resort to snide comments directed at the audience, and further alienate everyone. Perhaps his shtick would work in very limited ideologically homogenous settings, but in general public/academic settings he was a disaster. I can give more detailed examples of Small's embarrassments, but the best summary would be to say that he's a real lightweight in terms of his thinking, and plus, he does very poorly at cocktail parties and receptions. Sweat on his brow, awkward banter. So again, I don't think Yale was so much antithetical to his politics as to his style.

      And just a word on Jeffrey Alexander and some of the others who are involved in the new Antisemitism initiative: these guys are real scholars. Alexander's work on cultural trauma is groundbreaking, and while he like many other trauma-studies scholars depends on the Holocaust as paradigmatic, he affords Israel no special dispensation and is (gently) critical of its abuse of Holocaust memory, as well as acknowledging Palestinians a legitimate place in the discussion on cultural trauma.

  • RIP MCA: Yauch challenged Islamophobia and US militarism in the Middle East on MTV in 1998
    • Siegfried al-Haq May 5, 2012 at 1:30 am

      Indeed RIP Yauch, the Beasties were to me a sort of soundtrack for me and my friends for several years... They began in the tradition of white appropriations of black innovations (and of course there's a fascinating Jewish presence in that history, ref. The Jazz Singer) but extended themselves into newer terrains as they went... while they played in Israel in 1995, they seemed distant if not disdainful about Israel overall, I have no recollection of them showing interest in Zionism or its American reflections...

      Of course "Shake your rump" has what could be our own Adam's personal tagline: "Suckaz they be sayin they can take out Adam Horovitz!"

  • Emma Thompson among group of prominent British actors calling on Globe theatre to withdraw invite to Israeli National Theatre
    • Interesting. Mike Leigh, who is Jewish, has been slowly shifting in his position on Israel. As of a few years ago, I have it on good authority that he was deeply against BDS, fairly hostile to the traditional UK anti-Israeli cultural activism. But in 2010 he withdrew from a planned visit to Israel and has slowly come to sit on the side of the cultural boycott and has spoken out against Israeli policies.

  • 'Commentary' covers its eyes and makes Palestinians disappear
    • The implication here is that since both major Palestinian factions have elected to eschew militant tactics in favor of civil or diplomatic ones, therefore "Palestinians are irrelevant" -- which paradoxically seems to acknowledge that the militant dimensions of the Palestinian struggle are what have made Palestinians "relevant".

      Nonetheless, this is clearly delusional talk. The majority of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the UN wish to recognize Palestine and UNESCO has given Palestine national recognition -- so tell us, o Commentary, again, how are Palestinians irrelevant?

  • Sundance Film Festival to feature doc on system of control in longest-running occupation
    • Alexandrowicz is an interesting case of an Israeli director -- his earlier doc "The Inner Tour" is a stand-out work, one that goes to the heart of the right of return. However when I asked him once if he considered the film anti-Zionist he was very conflicted with the label. When the film screened at MOMA he similarly distanced himself from the label during the Q&A. I saw him as a kind of leftist Israeli artist I occasionally run into -- able to express a critique of Zionism almost unconsciously through his creative work, but very uneasy with socially and publicly embracing the critique he had just enacted or articulating it through available political frameworks of "anti-Zionism" or otherwise. His next film, James' Journey to Jerusalem, is a nice liberal film against racism directed towards African migrants in Israel -- nothing to complain of, but plainly and safely in the realm of acceptable critique, a film that is cozy with Zionism. As I recall, it doesn't even reference Palestine/Palestinians. I was disappointed seeing it, I felt he was moving away from edge into the soft center of Israeli public discourse. But I've held out hope and this film seems more promising... I look forward to seeing it.

  • The joyful theater of Tahrir
    • i'm running late but a few translations...

      the guy with the noose has a sign reading "mubarak is a mummy, not a pharaoh... execute [him]"

      the lady in blue is holding a sign with a sura from the quran, "verily the victory of God is near..."

      the sign with the star of david says, "film of the season, 'the embassy'..." and then goes on to celebrate the attack on the israeli embassy through mimicking a film poster.

      the girl's sign says "riding prohibited" and the horse says "the jan 25 revolution"... but i can't really see what the figures are. if we had a higher-res version?

      others can fill in!

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