Saturday, December 29, 2007

Union solidarity declines in Germany

A Germany union of train engineers has broken away from the larger union representing all employees in the sector.
GDL, the small but powerful union representing train engineers that has until recently played no role in trade union politics, has paralyzed Germany's passenger and railroad system over several months with a series of strikes.
This is apparently representative of a changing system that will be annoying for employers (who will have to negotiate with multiple unions in the future rather than with one representing their entire workforce) but may be devastating for less skilled workers.
It was a system imbued with a spirit of solidarity and egalitarianism in which the part of the work force that was less well paid and less qualified tended to come out especially well...

Now this economic order is under siege from a second front, said Holger Lengfeld, a sociologist at Hagen University. Lengfeld argues that what Schell and a few other union leaders are trying to do is to break away from the system of collective bargaining in order to forge their own deals for better-qualified employees who they say have been neglected by the big unions.

Via LabourStart.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Dhamma Banned in Burma

The Burmese military government has ordered a ban on Buddhist dhamma talks and seminars in Rangoon, according to monks in the former capital.
via Precious Metal

Sari Nusseibeh

It has come to my attention, through the Engage website, that there are a number of websites asking if Sari Nusseibeh is an antisemite. Among them, Campus Watch posts this as a message from James Russell:
I, James Russell, Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University, have read the statement by Sari Nusseibeh in his official capacity as President of Al Quds University: "No Jew in the world, now or in the future... will have the right... to live... in East Jerusalem" and so on. In response I declare that I refuse to teach or collaborate in any way professionally with any person having any connection whatsoever to Al Quds University, which must be regarded as an anti-Semitic and racialist entity. Furthermore I will oppose by every possible means, including prosecution under the laws of the United States, any association or cooperation of Harvard University with Al Quds. I urge all scholars and teachers of good will to join me.

I find these words deplorable. Many people would disagree that Nusseibeh said anything questionable. Even from the abbreviated transcript from MEMRI, it is clear that Nusseibeh challenges the Palestinians to understand that the Palestinian Right of Return is an obstacle to peace. He has been one of the few Palestinian leaders pushing the Palestinian people to accept compromise.

I certainly support Russell's right to characterize Nusseibeh's words however Russell sees them, but to take the further step of refusing to work with anyone having any connection to Al Quds University is an outrageous overreaction. It is clear from Nusseibeh's history that he is not an antisemite but an admirable man striving to make peace. In a conflict where too few on either side are willing to take the necessary and difficult steps, he stands out for his opposition to the Palestinian Right of Return.

To characterize Nusseibeh as someone with whom you could not work would be to misjudge his character on the basis of a misjudgement of a single statement. As an academic, Russell should be sensitive to the academic freedom of all at Al Quds University, including Nusseibeh, regardless of their positions on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. To declare that Al Quds University is "an anti-Semitic and racialist entity" is not only Manichean but McCarthyist. But Manichean and McCarthyist, "You're either with us or against us," is typical of the right-wing in America these days, isn't it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Don't you dare!

I am not alone in my assessments of the Left online.
I never thought it would come to this. I was a fan, an admirer, I thought even a friend of Maryscott O'Connor. I was also one of the original posters at My Left Wing. No longer. But it's worse. If it were just a disagreement, I would go quietly. But My Left Wing has embraced the very ugliest edges of the left wing, going so far it meets itself at the other end. My Left Wing is an absolute hotbed of virulent anti-Semitism.
What's interesting is this:
In my own opinion.. it was prophylactic demands "don't call me an anti-Semite" to run cover for hatred.
It was someone making that demand who got me banned from Newsvine. Free speech for bigots, not for Jews. I think it's time we're unequivocal that the notion that Jews stifle debate is antisemitic. It contains within it a powerful mix of anti-Jewish myths and stereotypes and deliberately directs any debate to the character of a Jew, grounding all discussion in an ad hominem attack.

Jews are first seen as whining complainers. Often seems a relatively harmless stereotype, or at least if someone's complaining about the quality of a bagel, but it's the first basis for ignoring the actual content of whatever a Jew says. A more vile form is that Jews are manipulative schemers - or at least the ones involved in the debate are. In my experience, the modest antisemite will begin with the first claim. If I continue in insisting, "yeah, Holocaust Denial like that really is antisemitic," then the second claim comes out. The more insistent I am, the stronger -and more antisemitic- the excuse to ignore me.

Jews are seen as maliciously powerful, controlling the terms of discussion and creating great risks for others who even enter into the debate. Well, sometimes known antisemites should be discriminated against in hiring. Most people would agree that Jean-Marie Le Pen, for example, ought to be discriminated against in hiring for a journalist's position. But here the claim is that a random Jew like me can seriously affect someone's job prospects even when they're not antisemitic or saying anything antisemitic. That "even when" is always left implicit to prevent rebuttal - Le Pen would be allowed the same defense as anyone else.

Or even that a random Jew like me has great power to "criminalize debate" (I've heard that) with someone over in Europe where there are hate speech laws. The emphasis is that I'm the one taking action - never that someone's speech might be antisemitic in the first place, but that I create the situation by pointing that out. That I haven't been to Europe in decades, don't hold a seat in the EU parliament, etc. plays no role in describing my role in "criminalizing debate." That the other person might have said something genuinely antisemitic is beside the point.

In a recent New Yorker article about the antisemitic, French comedian, Dieudonné, a random bigot ("As if on cue") put it this way:
"Gentlemen, I just want to say that for the last hour you have been saying what so many of us feel in our bones but are afraid to say. There is a secret force occupying this land—it’s why I left for Quebec." The man had long, graying hair and was carrying an expensive-looking briefcase. When I asked him his name and profession, he said, "No, no, there are hidden cameras everywhere! They get it on tape and they can sue me, sue you, the new laws." As we left the café, Soral said, "Well, who knows who he was. Anyway, he’s gone to Canada—I know a lot of people who are leaving."
These are not a reasoned responses to the reasonable threat of being perceived (perhaps accurately) as a bigot but mendacious claims of Jewish power that lay all responsibility at the feet of Jews. The claim that Jews stifle debate, the righteous outrage of "Don't call me an antisemite," these are no more tangible than the claim of "a secret force occupying this land." This isn't debate, it's an insistence on antisemitic rules of debate that preclude anything at all from being considered antisemitic. These charges that Jews stifle debate seem relatively plain, and might be picked up easily by some who don't mean any harm, but they are plain dangerous.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Safe Treyf

Jeff Weintraub has a pretty neat post on the role of Chinese food in Jewish-American culture. The .pdf he links to even touches on my aunt's favorite ritual of skipping Hebrew school for pork egg rolls at the Chinese restaurant across the street. (My mother, on the other hand, found Hebrew school a fine place to meet boys.) Culture is complicated!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Forward on contemporary antisemitism in America

From The Forward, which feels that antisemitism in the American political discourse has reached a disturbingly mainstream vantage.
If events continue on their current course, it’s not hard to imagine Jews in America finding themselves one day facing the same dilemma that confronted Jews 80 years ago: suspect in their neighbors’ eyes as an alien, threatening force, yet ironically helpless to defend themselves.
What's of note is the argument people are using against Jews, including the claim that Jews are bullying their opponents and stifling criticism. I've heard that one before, and I can tell you definitively that it's not true.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Two posts ago, I waded into the waters past my height with, curious about some light in the distance. I wondered whether the right way to deal with Jonah Goldberg was to ridicule him mercilessly.
But, at the same time, I do think Healy could do a lot better than to punt the football back to the other side. There are serious arguments that Goldberg's book probably almost touches upon, and I think it would be better to draw a distinction in that same post to provide a bit of perspective.
After I had written that, Micheal Bérubé (who's book Rhetorical Occasions I liked a lot and whose What's Liberal about the Liberal Arts I liked only slightly less), wrote a third post about Goldberg. Three posts ridiculing a single new book in such short time is a lot. In the course of discussion over there, Micheal Bérubé pointed me to this post of his from some time ago:
Meanwhile, over at David Corn’s place, I find that Mark Crispin Miller seems to have passed along to his friends some very strange Internet material alleging that Corn is a mole or a space alien of some kind, and David is justifiably pissed. Well, you know how it is, David-- you say a few smart, pointed things about some neo-Stalinists here and some 9/11 conspiracy theorists there, and before you know it, you’re being denounced for your “excessive skepticism.” Look on the bright side: you weren’t accused of deviationism. Besides, you have to admit that the charges have some merit: the American hard left was doing just fine until you criticized it, and now they’re in all kinds of trouble, and it’s pretty much your fault. The only problem, as I see it, is figuring out whether the folks claiming that you’re a mole are themselves moles. Personally, this sort of thing keeps me up at night, which is why I prefer to distance myself from those who distance themselves from those whose distance themselves from those who claim that those who claim that independent lefties like you and me are moles are moles.

Ah, what to do? In any case, I will stand by my assessment that ideas similar to Goldberg's ought not to be dismissed as readily as Goldberg's. Because I have said so does not imply in any way that I am, as I've so often been accused, a right winger of some sort in sheep's clothing. But then, when people make that assumption...

Help me out folks.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Korean election

Conservative Lee Myung-bak wins presidential election in Korea.

A bit of analysis:
There may be many reasons behind the landslide victory achieved by Lee Myung-bak of the main opposition Grand National Party in yesterday’s presidential election. Experts attributed the win to his campaign slogan, which promoted him as the “President of the Economy,” a solid base of support in the Seoul metropolitan area and the lack of a concerted effort by the pro-government political parties, among other things. In short, Lee was elected president as many voters, disillusioned with the liberal parties, favor his background as a successful businessman, believing that he will be able to turn the struggling economy around.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I don't want to be a football

Being a left-wing or progressive Zionist (phrases describing most Jews) can a bit awkward these days. Neither the anti-Zionist left nor the pro-Israel right like to remember that you exist, both prefering to lump you in somewhere around Vladomir Jabotinsky, and it's easy to become a political football in the culture wars. Even, so it strangely seems at the moment, when the principles aren't thinking about Israel, Zionism, or Jews. Probably something to do with the structure of antisemitism, which posits powerful Jews and therefore paints antisemitism as counterhegemonic, that it's right-wingers taking antisemitism more seriously these days. Well, seriously may not be the right word..

Today, Crooked Timber has two posts by Kieran Healy mocking Jonah Goldberg's new book Liberal Fascism. It is, by all appearances a book that uses the history of fascism to criticize everything from Whole Foods to Hillary Clinton. I've never thought much about the debates over whether the "Soup Nazi" episode of Seinfeld "trivializes" the Holocaust. It never bothered me much, but I couldn't say that I understood the views of those who were offended well enough to pass judgment on their feelings. Well, this book kind of bugs me. I don't know if it's because it appropriates the moral weight of the memory of the Holocaust, which tends to come as a package deal with the word "Fascism" for partisan effect, or just because the book looks to be an insult to the intelligence of all sentient beings.

But, at the same time, I do think Healy could do a lot better than to punt the football back to the other side. There are serious arguments that Goldberg's book probably almost touches upon, and I think it would be better to draw a distinction in that same post to provide a bit of perspective. (I don't know quite to what extent, but it appears that CT has addressed these more serious ideas at least to an extent. I read the site sporadically, first drawn by the wit and wisdom of Michael Bérubé, who hasn't put up much in a while. As near as I can tell, Healy doesn't consider that Goldberg's book may have aspects relevant to another debate than the one with which he is concerned.) Let me put forth this post as a warning for people tempted to reject out of hand every idea superficially similar to Goldberg's - using Goldberg as a strawman.

The first such argument that ought not to be ridiculed is that people didn't take Hitler seriously when they should have. In his article "Did Hitlerism Die with Hitler?" historian Omer Bartov writes:
When Hitler wrote it, no one could tell whether his plans and fantasies would ever be transformed into reality. Much of what Hitler put together in this book could already be found in Mein Kampf, if anyone had bothered to read it, and other ideas were expressed unambiguously in his speeches. Yet it was difficult to believe that anyone in his right mind would try to translate such rhetoric into policy. It was generally thought that in power Hitler would be constrained by the realities of diplomacy, the limits of Germany's power, the national interests of the Reich, and the military, economic, and political partners with whom he had to make policy.

That refusal to discuss the actual threats being made against Jews is the same sort of non-argument, jumping the gun to discuss whether military action is the right response, many leftists and "realists" are making today about Ahmadinejad (and, to a lesser extent for the simple reason that Ahmadinejad is so much more public, the rest of the Iranian regime). It's the same sort of argument plenty of people seem to be making about the genocidal aims of Hezbollah and Hamas. Here, even, Healy derides Norman Podhoretz in a post titled "Hitler Hitler Hitler," (echoed by today's "Fascism, Fascism, Fascism"). Granting that Podhoretz is generally deserving of ridicule, in the video clip he made the perfectly reasonable argument, the same that Bartov does, that we shouldn't dismiss Ahmadinejad's rhetoric for the simplistic reason that it's so difficult for us to accept that someone could believe such things. The uses in my experience online of such "sophisticated" derision of those who are naive enough to take hateful rhetoric as sincere, are too often to paint Israelis and Jews worldwide as paranoiacs screaming "Fascism, Fascism, Fascism" or "Hitler Hitler Hitler" for political gain to manipulate and control American foreign policy.

Secondly, and perhaps more significant here because it seems closer to the point of Goldberg's book, is that the politics of fascist and Nazi antisemitism was indeed a bit more complicated than is connoted by the modern use of the word fascist, which has come to mean little more than "right-wing evil."

According to Shulamit Volkov's Germans, Jews, and Antisemites (reviewed here), the birth of modern, German antisemitism was not a strictly right-wing affair, but a time of political turmoil where political lines became confused and antisemitism came to dominate as a cultural code even before it became a more widely held political position. (I wrote a bit about that here on Newsvine.) Wilhelm Marr, who wrote the influential pamphlets "The Victory of Jewishness over German-ness" and "The Way to Victory of German-ness over Jewishness," and also formed The League of Antisemites, all in 1879, began his political career as a left-liberal. Heinrich von Treitschke was also known as a liberal. Paul de la Garde, though conservative, was notably opposed to racism. In Britain at about the same time, the left character of the antisemitism in the movement opposing the Boer War was even clearer. There were good reasons August Bebel famously called antisemitism the "Socialism of Fools."

As time went on and German antisemitism grew in response to the loss of WWI, the Nazi's rise to power was not based on a strictly right-wing platform in the way that Bush is right-wing but as a right-populist movement. The Nazis undertook great public works programs, opposed capitalism, and spoke publicly about socialism in ways that are forgotten. The point is often made these days that fascism was corporatist, but as is rarely acknowledged by those who make that argument, corporatist fascism was in opposition to "Jewish capitalism" and "International Bankers." The corporate analogy fascists loved was distinct from Capitalism guided by the invisible hand, and the corporate giants the Nazis allied with were those who could be subordinated under Hitler's direction. Fascists argued that, as every corporation had a head, so did the overall economy need to be under the direction of the nation's strong leader.

And even today, fascist movements are often to the left of mainstream-liberal, political parties when considering only economic issues. While the Political Compass website places Hitler as center-right on its economic dimension, it puts the British National Front to the economic left of both New Labour and the Liberal Dems. And, of course, there's plenty of indications from Chavez that he doesn't know the difference between socialism and fascism. And why are most Trotskyists these days repeating Stalinist anti-Zionism that was never more than thinly veiled antisemitism?

However you want to put it, as a deluded socialism or anti-imperialism of fools, or as a right-wing tendency presenting itself as leftist (as David Duke appears repeatedly at Palestinian Solidarity events), there are serious reasons to make analogies between segments of the contemporary left and fascist history. Just not, as Goldberg has done, between Hillary Clinton and fascism. Goldberg has certainly done a disservice to the discourse with what's certainly a ham-fisted book, but that doesn't mean the rest of us should respond any less seriously. If we are to learn from the Holocaust, as so many people would like us to do, perhaps Godwin's Law needs an escape clause?

Monday, December 17, 2007

2nd email from Korea

Following up on the first email I had sent, here is the second. I've not been back in New York for just over two weeks, but I'm still working with these to try to put them together for something else. I still have a couple to write, even. But here's it is:


Seoul was not like Inchon. The places we went were all shopping districts, so I'm not sure how they fit in with the rest of the city. Soon, we'll probably undertake a more thorough exploration of the city, perhaps after the memorial service at Hwa Gye Sa.

Everything seemed really chaotic, but I didn't notice anything that could have been residential. All of the buildings looked to have businesses on every floor. At least, they had signs on every floor, often in Hangul (the Korean language) and English. Sometimes, understandably flawed English; sometimes truly mangled. A lot of Koreans speak (or at least read, or at least have spent years learning but are afraid to actually use) English, so it's not quite like those Chinese character tattoos so many Americans have that don't mean what they're supposed to. People understand this mangled English, and treat it as normal. None of the individual signs were brightly lit or outrageously ostentatious, but it was otherwise a lot like Times Square.

It's a place that grew up overnight economically, from the Korean war becoming, from what apaneem says, the tenth largest economy in the world (I checked Wikipedia - 13th largest GDP in 2006) despite being pretty small. One intersection had what seemed to have been at least seven crosswalks going in all directions. Several stores were off the main road on alleys. Chogye Sa, the Temple we went to visit was right in the middle of everything.

Most Korean temples are pretty deep in the mountains. The monks fled during the Japanese occupation so that they could continue to practice without interference while the Japanese were remaking the Korean orders to be like Japanese Buddhism. In Japan, monks can marry and even manage to hold down full-time jobs. Seung Sahn, actually, had a lot to do with returning Korean Buddhism to the more austere version in Korea before the occupation. (Though the Buddhism he introduced to the West was remarkably liberal, and most of our Zen Masters are lay people. He understood both "form is emptiness" and "form is form" very clearly.) But Chogye Sa was right in the middle of everything. Not glaringly so, as if the rest had been consciously built in relation to it, but haphazardly so, and we had a bit of trouble finding it.

On the way, we saw a monk, chanting, banging a moktak - a percussion instrument used in Buddhism - with a sign around his neck. Soo told me he was protesting the involvement of Christian churches in the upcoming elections. The leading candidate (for now, anyway, as there's a major scandal going on with stock-price fixing) is Christian, and the churches are pushing for him because of his religion. He's also very conservative. Btw, the 5 of the world's 10 largest megachurches are in South Korea, according to a recent article in the Economist.

[Editorial note: The election is in just a few days now. To follow the election, the Hankyoreh newspaper publishes in English and online from a center-left perspective. Today, a story about to the scandal is subtitled, "True or not, new evidence is unlikely to change outcome of election." It appears the conservative Lee still has a strong lead in the polls.]

We also saw about 4 people who were homeless or panhandlers. A surprisingly small number to me, but (even aside from the social prohibition against such obvious displays of need that I imagine exist) I can't seem to figure out where everyone comes from. It's a huge place, with tons of people, but many of the residential/shopping/business districts are so completely separated, it never really feels densely populated (for the tourist, maybe) except during rush hour. Two had heads bowed so they didn't show their faces. The other two lay face down on the sidewalk.

The Temple itself is gorgeous. There are three huge Buddha's on the front alter, in slightly different poses. The side alters would have been impressive in any temple I'd already seen. There were an incredible number of lotus lanterns (like these). The tags hanging down have prayers written on them. At this time of year, they're all from parents praying their children do well on college entrance exams.

After the temple, we ate a an Italian restaurant in a nearby area. (I'm already very familiar with Korean food, so I didn't feel like I was failing to take in the culture by not eating rice and kimchi three times a day.) Most of the food was reasonably authentic Italian, except they put peanuts in all the cream sauces. Shopping was fun. One souvenir store, though, I couldn't get the staff to stop following me around. I was assured by my companions that they were just trying to be helpful and not concerned about me stealing anything. Along with the huge number of signs, I took it to be a place unembarassed by crass commercialism. I stayed with someone who lives in an apartment complex called "i want." Even if someone couldn't read the English because of the way it's stylized, there's a Korean transliteration.

Maybe naive would be a better word than crass, but still the effect was remarkable. This seems to be what happens when a country grows rich quickly. Perhaps in 10 or 15 years, the nascent anti-consumerist and environmental movements will have a strong effect.

Next message I'll try to write about Soo's family some and the restaurants. Most of them speak some Enlgish, but are too embarrased to try to use it with me. Turns out, apaneem, who hasn't even hinted at knowing English, has a degree in English literature. He reads the extremely conservative Korean Herald (though not chart-breakingly, Rupert Murdoch-style blindly conservative) and lately, perhaps for me, has been buyng the English version. When I asked Soo about some Hangul written on it, apparently notes on a few words, she told me it was his handwriting. I've yet to raise the question to him to try to figure what that's all about. Maybe he doesn't think he can speak English; maybe he refuses to speak English with me while I'm supposed to be taking in Korean culture. Everyone else is being encouraged to speak English with me so they can learn. So I don't know. But more in the next message.

Still enjoying it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Links for the day

This interview (links to .mp3) with David Hirsch on the relationship between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is smart. In particular, when Hirsch attacks the defense that "Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism." While it's true that they're not the same thing, it's just bad logic to assume that therefore no anti-Zionism is antisemitic. I've seen such sophistry presented in two ways. Sometimes it's like saying that not all dogs are dachshunds, therefore dachshunds aren't dogs. Sometimes it's worse, like saying cats aren't dogs, therefore Dachshunds aren't dogs. Talking about a Jewish conspiracy with a "stranglehold on Congress" (M&W's words there in quotes) is not legitimate criticism of Israel because it isn't criticism of Israel at all.

Day in and day out, FAIR is taken seriously as a mainstream commentator on the immigration debate.

It shouldn’t be. The founder, chief ideologue and long-time funder of FAIR is a racist. Key staff members have ties to white supremacist groups, some are members, and some have spoken at hate group functions. FAIR has accepted more than $1 million from a racist foundation devoted to studies of race and IQ, and to eugenics — the pseudo-science of breeding a better human race that was utterly discredited by the Nazi euthanasia program. It spreads racist conspiracy theories.

dnA at Too Sense deconstructs a peculiar bit of contemporary, Christian antisemitism:
The reason the above excerpt makes my skin crawl is because when someone says they *love* Jewish people, or black people, what they're really saying is they love the racist shorthands that have come to represent us in public consciousness. They don't love you; they don't even see you as a person. They see you as a cartoon, a caricature, a cosmic joke to which your ethnic or religious background is the punchline.

Via the left-wing, Evangelical magazine Sojourners, comes the Burger Scrooge campaign and this editorial from Eric Schlosser:
THE migrant farm workers who harvest tomatoes in South Florida have one of the nation’s most backbreaking jobs. For 10 to 12 hours a day, they pick tomatoes by hand, earning a piece-rate of about 45 cents for every 32-pound bucket. During a typical day each migrant picks, carries and unloads two tons of tomatoes. For their efforts, this holiday season many of them are about to get a 40 percent pay cut.
Growing up, my mother wouldn't let me eat grapes because of Cesar Chavez's boycott. These days, I don't eat meat (except in peculiar circumstances, like meeting apaneem), but I still support unions. I've been known to spontaneously sing Billy Bragg's "There is Power in a Union." And if you find it odd that a more-or-less atheistic BuJu gets emails from Sojourners, maybe it is.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

attack on the Q train

This news story on CNN came to me via Jewlicious. CNN plays up the angle that a Muslim man helped to defend against an antisemitic assault. Great thanks to him, but I noticed that the attack was on the Q train in Brooklyn. (I have Jewish friends who take that train, but then again a lot of people take that train. It would take a few more attacks before I start to worry for my friends safety in an immediate way.) But Brooklyn is not the sort of place that jumps to my mind when I hear about an antisemitic attack. (On reflection, I remember that there has been a lot of tension between Jews and Blacks in some parts of Brooklyn. Maybe if I'd grown up in Brooklyn that might be an easier assumption, but I assumed either white supremacists or "anti-zionists.") Also, I'm always curious about the perpetrators of antisemitic attacks. News stories rarely tell us anything about them, though an important discussion about how antisemitism appears today revolves around precisely that, as the most prominent antisemitic ideology comes from the left.

I went looking for a little more information. A google search revealed
One of the suspects, [I'm not displaying the name], 19, was previously charged with a hate crime, according to court records.

And a search on that name turned up something strange:
When cops questioned [him] about his alleged role in an attack on four black youths in Brooklyn's mostly white Gerritsen Beach neighborhood last summer, he offered a highly unusual defense: membership in the Bloods gang.
Here's more:
The gang could face hate crime charges stemming from the Friday night fight on the Qtrain, but [he] denied it was anti-Semitic, saying his mother is Jewish. "We didn't even know they were Jewish at the time," said [the guy], 19, who took prosecutors' plea deal in September in exchange for admitting he assaulted two black men in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn.

"The whole hate-crime talk is ridiculous," said [the guy], who claimed two of the friends arrested with him are Jewish.
Uh, yeah...

Mahakashyapa Smiled, everyone else wriggled nervously

I wasn't particularly happy with the way I ended of the last post:
The failure to treat marginal ideas as truly marginal can lead to their seeping in if they're repeated often enough. But I'm also concerned that some Jews - like me, I have to admit - desperately long to feel camaraderie from people who can see clearly what's going on.
These points are both true and important. However, there are also other considerations. Calling out Mearsheimer and Walt harshly isn't going to be the right way to convince them just how wrong they are. And it isn't going to convince a lot of people who think M&W are part of a legitimate and informative debate.

This is something I think about a lot on the cushion. I had wanted, last night, to include a reference to a time I tried to ask my Zen Master about something similar, but I couldn't find the words before I had to go meet a friend in Astoria. Hopefully, I can do a little better today, but I worry that this is still incoherent. The Buddha gave a dharma talk on Vulture Peak Mountain. As the crowd grew more and more anxious, waiting, the Buddha just kept silent. Eventually, the Buddha held up a flower, and Mahakashyapa, alone, smiled. This is called the second transmission from the Buddha to Mahakashyapa, the second time their minds met silently and they understood each other perfectly. I have a problem with this story, one thing I just don't get - when it starts talking about transmission, I start to ask, "What about all the other people there? Did you forget about them?" You always try to tailor your teaching to a particular audience, but sometimes there's a diverse audience that can be thought of as more than one audience. There's Mahakashyapa and there's everyone else.

I think (and I can't stress enough that this is just my present thinking and I'm still fairly new to Zen, given that most people qualified as teachers have at least 20 years of experience behind them) part of the answer is that you tailor your speech to one group by offering a model of interacting with another. The Buddha and Mahakashyapa both were teaching everyone else there through their interaction. Or, to take a different sort of example, my girlfriend and her sister could (at least, if I knew how to say more than, "I don't speak Korean well") teach me about the Korean language while talking about something entirely different by using clear and proper Korean.

I was reminded that I wanted to elaborate on that last post, that our speech serves multiple purposes for different listeners and that we can become more effective, when I read this in a description of April Rosenblum, who made The Forward's list, the "Forward 50."
In recent years, many Jews have been alarmed by an apparently rising tide of antisemitism on the left. April Rosenblum, 27, a Philadelphia-based progressive activist, is also concerned about antisemitism. But she's skeptical of the community's response. While studying at Temple University, she saw fellow Jews responding to antisemitism in ways she thought were ineffective and counterproductive, circling the wagons and alienating potential allies.
The meaning here isn't to be dishonest or play down Jewish oppression, though. In her pamphlet, where she combines pretty standard lessons of anti-racism to the problem of anti-Jewish oppression with a genuinely radical perspective, she writes:
If people use opposition to the term 'antisemitism' to shut down discussion, by all means, speak of anti-Jewish oppression. But speak of it. Don't let fellow activists silence conversation about antisemitism by complaining that the word is wrong, and blaming Jews for the problem.
When we're angry or frustrated about antisemitism - and it shows - hopefully people will recognize that for what it is. But my desire to see others speak more clearly about what is and isn't antisemitism wasn't a call for allies to be angrier. Speaking clearly and speaking angrily are different things. And, as Rosenblum notes, the Left has struggled with these ideas of suppressing dissent in order to preserve unity before.
The Old Left's perspective that all struggles were second to the class struggle meant all kinds of groups were shut up, dismissed and disrespected... all in the name of unity for the revolution.
It was a mistake then, and it would be a tragedy to repeat that mistake today. We've already learned that we can't prioritize one struggle against oppression to the exclusion of another without reinforcing the structures of oppression against us all, but too often wannabe radical leftists refuse to understand that.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Why are people so soft on M&W?

There's a great passage from a Martin Kramer article I found through a posting at Engage:
Frankly I'm astonished when even skeptical reviewers of the book preface their criticisms by saying that the authors have done us some sort of service by opening the discussion. Can you imagine them saying the same thing about a book on intelligent design? That the details are preposterous, but the basic proposition deserves to be discussed seriously by serious people? Yet here we have a thesis, insisting that U.S. foreign policy is run by Zionist intelligent design, and Mearsheimer and Walt have made it a perfectly legitimate subject for academic discussion and tony dinner party conversation. If you say otherwise, you're accused of "stifling debate."
I'm astonished, too. And with a number of other things critics have said of M&W to avoid being accused of "stifling debate" as well. Also via Engage, this article from The Daily Princetonian includes one such reaction:
In an open letter sent to the event's organizers on Monday, Wilson School professor Aaron Friedberg cast aspersions on the book's academic merit. "[T]his is not a work of objective academic analysis but rather a one-sided and tendentious polemic," he wrote, also questioning the broader implications of the authors' portrayal of a large, unduly influential Israel lobby in the United States.

"Much attention has been paid to the question of whether the authors or their work are in any sense anti-Semitic. I do not believe that this is relevant," he said. "Whether out of ignorance or a desire to court controversy, the authors have chosen to make use of language and imagery similar to that deployed in the past by avowed anti-Semites."
I am truly grateful to Professor Friedberg for the strong language he does see fit to use, but I wonder how one can characterize a "one-sided and tendentious polemic" that "make[s] use of language and imagery similar to that deployed in the past by avowed anti-Semites" as anything but antisemitic. Friedberg uses bizarre, rhetorical acrobatics to avoid that precise formulation. It would be one thing to temper criticism by noting that M&W do not evidence any personal animosity toward Jews (I haven't seen any evidence that they do), but history includes plenty of blatant racism that was not characterized by animosity. Rudyard Kipling's "White Man's Burden" expressed anything but animosity. On the right, there is still an unwillingness to acknowledge that racist topoi are racist per se regardless of intention, but the left is uniquely reluctant to accept this when those topoi target Jews.

This is another example of what I complained about with the Amis affair - the attempt to characterize what people say by who they are rather than by what they actually say - the circular definition of racism as that said by racists, which precludes any meaningful discussion of what racism is.

The failure to treat marginal ideas as truly marginal can lead to their seeping in if they're repeated often enough. But I'm also concerned that some Jews - like me, I have to admit - desperately long to feel camaraderie from people who can see clearly what's going on.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hyon Gak Sunim

Hyon Gak Sunim is something of a rockstar in Korea, ever since his book From Harvard to Hwa Gye Sa (only available in Korean) . Despite that status, he does give good talks. Here, he's interviewed by Dennis Wholey for the program I Believe.

A little out of date, here's his bio from KUSZ:
Hyon Gak Sunim JDPS is guiding teacher of the Seoul International Zen Center, Hwa Gye Sah Temple. A graduate of Yale College and Harvard University, Hyon Gak Sunim JDPS received novice monk precepts in 1992 at Nam Hwa Sah Temple, China, and received Bikkhu precepts in 1996 on the Diamond Precepts Altar at Tong Do Sah Temple, South Korea. He has been doing meditation training in remote mountain places, including three intensive 100-day solo retreats. He has compiled and edited several of Zen Master Seung Sahn's books, including The Compass of Zen (1997) and Only Don't Know (1999). He is author of the bestseller, Man Haeng: From Harvard to Hwa Gye Sah Temple (1999), as well as several bestselling translations into Korean of Zen Master Seung Sahn's English-language books.
Hat tip to The Marmot's Hole for the video.

Double Bind Antisemitism

Denial is buttressed by the claim that these accusations of anti-Semitism are themselves evidence of a Jewish conspiracy to silence critics of Israel and close down debate on the Middle East. That charge, of course, reanimates another traditional anti-Semitic theme - that of the Jew who whines about his sufferings less because he is really injured than because he hopes to draw some hidden advantage from complaining.
This post from Engage gives me reason to repost something that was on Newsvine. It's worth reading the comments from there, perhaps. As noted there, it was inspired by this post from Boycotted British Academic.

The standard charge of the antisemite is that the Jews have too much power. How does a Jew go about confronting such a claim? By being powerless? By being actively discriminated against? By not fighting against bigotry, no matter how blatant? When the charge is that Jews are lousy athletes, that is a very different sort of claim that can be contested on fair ground. No Jew need tolerate further bigotry based on demonstration of their athletic prowess*. But how can Jews go about disproving the claim that the Jews are too powerful?

It's common to hear the antisemite, frothing at the mouth about Jewish power, combine their attack with a subtler charge. The Jews have power, so the bigot claims, over more than just the government - the Jew is charged with controlling the terms of debate. Beyond alleged control of the media (an antisemitic staple), the Jew leverages power to exclude opponents from debate. Some time ago, that charge might have looked like this:

I don't want to speak against the Jews, but when one reads the Jewish press, Jewish publications, and Jewish defence organs, one cannot escape the conclusion that in criticising them, one invites instant rebuke and disapproval. In doing so, you are either a reactionary, an obscurant, or a member of the Black Hundred. Having monopolised the press, they've become so arrogant as to believe that no one will dare level such an accusation against them

The quote is from the prosecutor of a Blood Libel trial in the Ukraine in 1903. The prosecutor, arguing that Jews murdered a Christian child for blood for ritual purposes, was far more than mildly antisemitic. And his charge that Jews supposedly monopolized the press created a double bind. How can one answer such a charge?

If someone points out the obvious - that this prosecutor is a bigot retelling hateful myths that have been around for far too long - then what happens? If the Jewish community doesn't fight the charge, then it gets taken for granted. But if the Jewish community is successful in fighting the charges leveled against it, then this prosecutor takes that success as proof that the Jews are powerful. This is a double bind.

Today, the prosecutor's charge is more likely to look like this:

No discussion of the Lobby would be complete without an examination of one of its most powerful weapons: the charge of anti-semitism. Anyone who criticises Israel’s actions or argues that pro-Israel groups have significant influence over US Middle Eastern policy – an influence AIPAC celebrates – stands a good chance of being labelled an anti-semite. Indeed, anyone who merely claims that there is an Israel Lobby runs the risk of being charged with anti-semitism, even though the Israeli media refer to America’s ‘Jewish Lobby’. In other words, the Lobby first boasts of its influence and then attacks anyone who calls attention to it. It’s a very effective tactic: anti-semitism is something no one wants to be accused of.

That, of course, is from Mearsheimer and Walt. It is substantively not different from the charge made by the prosecutor in 1903, and it's not substantively different from charges being made by numerous less visible attackers, even on the Vine. Most notably, it does not, in any way address whether the speech accused of being antisemitic is or isn't. In this particular case, few people have claimed that M&W are anything like the bigot that prosecutor was, but too many people have been pussyfooting around in their criticism of their thesis. That charge of Jewish power is as antisemitic as every other exaggeration of Jewish power.

"Jewish power" has been the central claim of antisemitism for probably a thousand years. Here is talk about Jewish power, and there's nothing to distinguish this talk of Jewish power with other talk of Jewish power. This is a double bind. If the Jewish community manages to survive this charge of Jewish power - through, for instance the numerous articles that demonstrate just how shoddy M&W's scholarship is - the antisemite takes this "victory for the Jews" as proof of Jewish power. Or, the Jewish community can leave bigotry uncontested.

That is the intention of the double bind. It is meant to give the attacked no way to respond.

[* The wording of that sentence was changed slightly from the original post for clarity.]

Monday, December 10, 2007

Not really about the Amis Affair

From Shiraz Socialist, which I've at other times found insightful, I came across this article by Martin Amis, entitled "No, I am not a racist." I'm afraid I'm not as up on the Amis/Eagleton affair as a lot of others. Perhaps because it's played out mainly in the British press, or perhaps because I'm not well read enough. In any case, at least one aspect of the article is worth discussing.

What I found most striking about Amis's defense is that he tells an anecdote about how his father first introduced him to a black man, how he first learned about diversity. He goes on to quote himself on his anti-racist views. Given that Amis (along with his father!) has been, as I understand, characterized as a racist this story and those quotes weigh in as evidence of his overall character. But he precedes them with, "Well, this is what's new about the new racism: it isn't racist." If his story is a defense of the statement he's been criticized for, then it's rather strange that it has nothing to do with what he said in that statement:

There’s a definite urge – don’t you have it? – to say, ‘The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order.’ What sort of suff­­er­­­ing? Not letting them travel. Deportation – further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan… Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children.
Amis is right to point out, that statement doesn't actually advocate discrimination, and anyone who has said that he has advocated that (based on that statement) is clearly wrong on a simple factual matter. The honesty is admirable, even, given that some people are sure to take the statement for more than it is. And since I can't honestly claim to having gone through my life without ever having said or thought anything racist, I'm not certainly going to criticize Amis for his honesty. The urge may well be there. I'd be surprised if only a few people shared Amis's urge, and we certainly ought to acknowledge such impulses so that we can address them. But it does strike me that the statement ties Islamism (or Jihadism, or terrorism masquerading as Islam, or takfirism, or whatever you want to call it) to the whole of Islam in a damaging way. I do think it's racist. He writes that his urge "not racist but simply retaliatory," but I'm curious how he selects the group (which is not limited to radical, violent fundamentalists) to retaliate against.

If Amis is opposed to racism (in principle), if he's written and worked against racism (as he understands it), if he's opposed to Islamophobia even (strange that his proof that he isn't Islamophobic is about how he learned not to hate black people) that doesn't make his statement less racist. It's completely backwards to characterize a statement by who utters it. I'm sure many awful racists have uttered, "My, what a wonderfully blue sky" during their lives - such a statement isn't racist, regardless of who says it. And Amis's statement is racist regardless of who said it.

Rather than looking into the hearts of people to determine what it is that they've said, as if our ears weren't sufficient, we ought to look simply at and debate what people have actually said. When we assume that such a discussion revolves around someone's character, as if each of us were so one-dimensional that everything we've ever done or said must be equally racist/anti-racist, we lose sight of a far more important discussion of what sort of statement actually hurts people.

In this world, as a Jew, I've increasingly found myself trying to explain to various people that something they said hurt me because it echoes the same lies that have led to the deaths of too many Jews in history. Too often the response has been that I must be lying since that other person "isn't a racist." Of course, how could they understand what's hurtful to Jews - how could they even know if they're racist - if they start exclude everyone who disagrees (especially Jews, who are the ones most likely to express their disagreement) with them from the discussion on those grounds.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

First email sent from Korea

Busy today, moving from West to East Manhattan, plus it's my birthday, so here's the first of some emails I had planned on posting. I went to Korea to meet my fiancee's family.

Met apaneem (father) and awmaneem (mother). All the difficulty apaneem has been causing seems to be a case of something I hadn't considered - apaneem knows it was never his choice, but he was determined that everyone would pretend it would be. (Kind of typical of more patriarchal cultures, though he seems to think it's
peculiar to Korean culture, but it's not too bad, really.) I figured that out when Soo's sister Jeehee, who lives in New York but has been visiting Korea for a few months, told me that her father had instructed her to make sure I learn about Korean culture.

Soo didn't even know this, but apparently I'm marrying into Korean royalty. [Editor's note: Apparently every Korean family claims to be royalty.] Or, I would be if marrying her meant I'd become part of her family. They think of it much more as she's joining my family and leaving hers.

He took us, including all of Soo's sisters and two brothers-in-law, to lunch at a place where they brought us tons of different stuff. He kept telling me to try different things. (I did taste [though I'm pescatarian] the meat dishes, after discussing it a bit with Soo. The ground beef dish tasted just like a very juicy hamburger.) Most of it was really good, though there were a couple dishes I didn't like at all. The salmon sushi on pumpkin with a pickle slice and a dab of French dressing, though, was really good. And they had these shrimp and mushroom balls that looked like meatballs that were great.

Soo's mother is coming with us to the three-year ceremony at Hwa Gye Temple to comemorate the death of Zen Master Seung Sahn who brought Korean Zen to America. She'll meet Myo Ji Sunim, the abbot of the Manhattan temple I go to, and I'm sure Sunim will exaggerate about how wonderful I am, like she always does.

So things are going well. I'm tired, though. It's 4:20 pm here, but I've been up since about 2:30 local time after sleeping through most of the flight here. 14 hour flight, and 14 hour time difference. If I can just not go to bed too early, I think I might be able to adjust well to Korean time. Going back, though, might be twice as hard as ordinary jet lag.

Everything that I've seen of Korea so far is really ugly. Lots of tall apartment buildings scattered about. There's tons of space, and no apparent need for such tall buildings. And no apparent need to build them so spread out. It's purest urban sprawl, I guess, much like what I'd imagine LA to be. Except that everything has a modern, blatantly functional design. Inchon is an industrial town. We passed
a steel refinery, and I'm told there's an oil refinery somewhere. Part of the trip from the airport smelled a lot like Newark.

Tomorrow we'll go to Seoul to see an exhibit about Seung Sahn Sunim at Chogye Temple, and I'll get to see whether Seoul is the same. At least the temple will probably be very different, but I think you have to go to the south to really get away from that.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Culture is a funhouse mirror

Well you can lie to me, and I imagine you do.
If nothing's right, what's wrong?
That's what I like about you.
-David Byrne

This interview (audio) with Diane Warren on Weekend Edition is amazing. She writes a ton of popular love songs that make the rest of us think love is something where you can't sleep because you just want to watch your lover breathe in their sleep. (If lovers everywhere are watching each other sleep, who are these cads who are just sleeping while they're being watched?) She admits to having never been in love like that and is just on the cusp of admitting that she does not know whether love is like that. But the rest of us love her music because it expresses the kind of love we wish we had, too, that she never had and that few of us have ever had beyond a brief period of infatuation with someone we might or might not have later actually fallen in love with. Her real love is for music. She's found great passion in her life, which is absolutely wonderful, but wouldn't it be nice if she wrote about the feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty surrounding her love life and her running away from home at age 14? Lying to us will always be more profitable.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A few links to substitute for substance

Marko Hoare accuses Western Leftists of stupifying moral relevance. It would seem that, in the face of brutal repression from the state in West Bengal, Chomsky, Zinn, et al. have decided to blame the oppressed for disrupting the unified front of anti-imperialism by being beaten so loudly.

It's been wonderful to hear lately that the latest intelligence estimate suggests that Iran probably does not have an active nuclear weapons program. Judeosphere points out something some may overlook though. Iran did have an active nuclear weapons program. (Actually, from what I understand, Iran's continuing enrichment program can be seen as part of a disjointed, semi-active program.) So, there's much greater likelihood that there's time for negotiations to prove fruitful. Iran is now to be viewed as a slightly less immediate threat. But for all the people who said there was never such a program, perhaps because it was consired haram - you're the one's who have been proven to be the most wrong.

On the other hand, Norm Geras points out that some view this latest National Intelligence Estimate as a continuation of the idiocy of politicized intelligence.

Sepia Mutiny has a discussion of hate crime statistics in the US. Unfortunately, such statistics so far rely on the Uniform Crime Reports, in other words on crimes actually reported to the authorities. Since some groups, such as illegal immigrants, may not be as trusting of authorities as other groups, the statistics are rather hard to read. The National Crime Victim Survey, especially when used in conjunction with other means, is somewhat better but started tallying hate crimes only more recently. In that context, it's interesting to note how the readership responds to the surprisingly (to them - I've come across this before) high rates of antisemitic hate crimes.
And what to say to those who think it's a plot organized by the ADL?

And, if you haven't seen Mitchell Cohen's article on "Anti-Semitism and the Left that Doesn’t Learn," check it out now. But also see Judeosphere's post on the article. When it was the Stalin disguising antisemitic propaganda as "anti-Zionist," the Guardian got it right. Well, the people quoting Stalin are a bit different today, but the propaganda isn't. The Left hasn't merely failed to learn; it has regressed.
For the first time since the anti-Zionist campaign began, the Kremlin has seen fit to categorically deny that anti-Zionism can be equated with anti-Semitism. The denial was made in a leading article of the Soviet Army newspaper, Red Star, on Friday. And the choice of vehicle is significant since it is in the Soviet Army that latent anti-Semitism has always been most strong. The struggle against Zionism, Red Star declares, has nothing to do with anti-Semitism: Zionism is the enemy of the working people all over the world, of Jews no less than Gentiles.

Certainly Stalin has only himself to blame for the common Western assumption that he has taken over Hitler’s mantle as the chief persecutor of Jewry. Although Zionism, as distinct from Jewry, has consistently been made the chief scapegoat of the new terror, the constant stress laid on the Jewish origin of nearly all those individually indicted has given the impression in the Soviet Union, no less than in the outside world, that the Jews as such are the target.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

How we got here

This is me, for the moment: I might touch on the ongoing struggle that keeps me from posting where I'd prefer, but it's a matter in process, so I'll be reasonably polite and stick to bare facts. For now. But I still have things to say about the rest of the world. Chavez isn't going to get away with his raid of a JCC in Caracas without me calling him a fascist. And I have tales of my trip to Korea that some people might like to hear.

A word about the moment: There was once in China a great master of the Diamond Sutra by the name of (as Koreans remember him) Dok Sahn. When he heard that there were Buddhist monks who didn't study the sutras, he set out to challenge them. Along the way, he stopped into a humble spot for lunch. The woman who ran the place promised him his lunch for free if he could answer one question. The Diamond Sutra says that the past is past, the future hasn't happened yet, and the present is so fleeting that it's already gone. So, the woman said to Dok Sahn, "The Diamond Sutra says that past mind, present mind, and future mind don't exist. With which mind will you eat your lunch?"

So, the bare facts before I eat my lunch. I was a regular poster on Newsvine. The site contains a great deal of what I would call blatantly antisemitic hate speech, despite terms of service that explicitly forbid "hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable" material.

One example I pointed out to the staff of the site:
But the average (so-called Christian) American merely echoes the mantra of his Zionist masters as he has been trained to do all his life.
In response to the longer message to the staff which included that example among others, I was told:
If [name of someone who regularly posts Holocaust denial, antisemitic conspiracism, and other hate speech] honestly does believe that the holocaust did not occur, then it is up to him to provide evidence to support that view without violating our TOS. In that respect, I think he is doing a relatively good job of heading up a controversial view without regularly crossing the line. He has crossed the line and we have contacted him and asked him to make some changes, to which he has done accordingly.

The best thing to do, if you are offended by or do not agree with [name of someone who regularly posts Holocaust denial, antisemitic conspiracism, and other hate speech]'s postings, is to either ignore them altogether or to provide alternative sources of evidence and opinion to those discussion threads or to your own column. Having multiple points of view represented is a part of what makes Newsvine a good place to learn.
I and many other users feel that this is a pretty shallow response that demonstrates a gross ignorance of just what the major tropes of antisemitism are, but the main thrust of the message is something I can live with. Let ideas win out over other ideas. So I did what I could to explain what antisemitism is. When I came across something I felt was antisemitic, I was appropriately polite but honest about it. Well, not so polite with some people as with others, but in each case appropriately polite to the situation. Until I was told:
However, if I find even the slightest trace of you referring to, implying or otherwise painting someone - anyone - as an anti-Semite again, your account will be terminated permanently and without prior notice.

I don't have time to research and debate the intricacies of your discussions with Tom and other users about neo-Nazis, anti-Semitism and such. So, purely as a matter of conservatism I am erring on the safe side and saying that you cannot accuse Newsvine users or staff of anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred toward specific groups of people.
There is no "if I honestly do believe" clause for me. No possibility of "heading up a controversial view without regularly crossing the line." (Even though my view is hardly controversial in most circles.) So, they've refused to deal with the problem themselves, and now they refuse to let me even address it. Their reasoning at all times includes a disinclination to understand the issues. I can hardly blame people whose expertise is in computer science rather than, say, minority studies, Jewish history, or journalistic ethics for failing to already have a well-formed understanding of the issues. But I can blame them for censoring me. [Update: They banned me, without me having written anything on Newsvine at all, let alone "the slightest trace" of anything. I originally left this out because it wasn't clear if they had banned me or merely suspended my account.] Hey, it's not a problem if there's nobody pointing it out, right?

This is just for people who want an explanation of what's going on. It is, of course, my view, though I've tried to be pretty fair. There's a lot more I could say, but I won't on this forum at this time. It is actually a fairly important matter - with Newsvine being a fairly large site, owned by MSNBC, a major news outlet - that ought to be openly debated on Newsvine.

I've posted it here, for now, since I can't post it there. Now, for lunch.