When my nephew was in St. Vincent’s hospital after being run over by a murderous driver, he was in a lot of pain. I went to the nurse’s station to ask if someone could come to check him out and was angrily told by the head-nurse that they were all busy tending to my nephew’s roommate, a gentleman who had AIDS. Her meaning was clear: in the hierarchy of patient needs, AIDS always trumps fractured bones. Two days later, it was the AIDS patient who was released while my nephew was dead from lack of attention to a blood clot that wasn’t caught in time.
Ankara’s seemingly shocking — but welcome — move reportedly allowing Iraqi Kurds to transit through Turkey to reinforce Syrian Kurds battling the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) for the city of Kobani, Syria, doesn’t mean the Turks are “all in” on the ISIS fight.
What are we to make of sexual behavior on campus? On the one hand, schools do their best to facilitate sexual activity between adolescent students by providing co-ed housing and bathrooms, frat parties and an atmosphere encouraging them to feel like independent and mature adults. Until the students realize that they aren’t, and that like all other relationships in the real world, sexual ones are fraught with misunderstandings, complications, differing interpretations and ulterior motives. At that point, the school steps in and attempts to act as judge and jury as to what happened between two individuals who have contrasting accounts of an experience that one calls rape.
Some folks seem to think that the threat posed by the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) is being blown way out of proportion. In other words, this violent Islamist extremist group isn’t really that big of a deal.
There are two mistaken tropes about artistic genius that suffuse the screenplay of Whiplash: one is that it is enhanced by suffering and the other is that it borders on madness. This is a movie about a young drummer determined to gain immortality through his dedication to excellence; it is also a movie about a teacher rationalizing his own sadistic psychoses by pretending that abject humiliation is an effective tool for weeding out the merely talented from the truly great. It’s Rocky meets The Great Santini within the academic halls of the best music school in America.
A black woman accuses a prominent white lawyer of rape. The anonymity of the woman is protected as is that of the law enforcement official who speaks with reporters. Allthough no charges have yet been filed, the lawyer’s name and picture are splashed across the pages of the Daily News, the New York Post and the NY Times. The headline screams rape claim, and even though this man may turn out to be the innocent one in this incident , it is the woman whose reputation is protected. The assault is said to have taken place following a birthday party for Al Sharpton at which both individuals were guests. Mr Sharpton, who came to national prominence (and disgrace) with the Tawana Brawley case, had the insouciance to state “My heart is with both of them that the truth come out.” (NYTimes 10/6)
Once again, The Jews have sparked international outrage — this time by buying homes in Arab neighborhoods.
I am continuously baffled by the reaction of so many, including the current U.S. President, to the idea of Jews living in areas “the Palestinians claim for an independent state,” but who are not the least bit troubled by Arabs living in Israel proper.
In fact, were someone to even suggest an Arab-free Israel, the international hysterical gnashing of teeth would be loud enough to wake the dead Jewish Patriarchs buried all over that area.
Yet everyone seems entirely comfortable with a Jew-free “Palestine,” as if this is the only rational way for this to go. I don’t get it.
So today, Associated Press reported that some Jewish men “moved under the cover of darkness, slipping into apartments” in the Silwan area of east Jerusalem, “œin the middle of the night and changing the locks.”
In the morning, “Arab residents of Silwan found” these young Jewish men “hunkered down inside 25 apartment units,” in what the reporter described as “the biggest settler takeover since Jews began buying up properties in the volatile area two decades ago.”
So, these Jewish people bought a building in an Arab neighborhood and they felt the need to sneak in in the middle of the night, arm themselves and “hunker down” to defend their lives from their new neighbors. Yet the reporting suggests the Jews are in the wrong for legally buying housing and moving in.
This attitude only seems to make sense in the Jim Crow south, or Nazi-occupied Europe. I can think of nowhere else where some people are outspokenly and violently unwelcome in certain neighborhoods because of their religion or ethnicity.
Actually, that’s not strictly true. That kind of in-you-face Antisemitism is the status quo in most Muslim countries and is becoming increasingly common all over Europe — at least wherever there are large Muslim communities. And it seems like Muslim communities only come in the large-and-growing variety.
And somehow, these Jews buying apartments in a neighborhood hostile to their presence because they’re Jews “has sparked yet another spat between Israel and the U.S.,” AP reports.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest condemned the occupation of the properties “by individuals who are associated with an organization whose agenda, by definition, stokes tensions between Israelis and Palestinians,” the story says.
So, to recap, Jews buying and moving into apartments in certain areas is considered “occupation,” while Arabs buying and moving into apartments in Israel, is considered perfectly natural.
According to the story, the problem everyone is having this time, is that the apartments were bought by an organization that has “settled hundreds of Jews amid an Arab population estimated at about 30,000 in an area it calls the City of David, where Jewish tradition holds King David established Jerusalem as Judaism’s central holy city.”
So, I guess, it’s the fact that these Jews are reminders of the actual, ancient Jewish history of the area that bothers everybody. It’s not as though these Jews are threatening to blow anyone up, as is the wont of some of their neighbors.
It’s because, the AP reporter says, “the Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, home to the city’s most sensitive holy sites, as the capital of a future independent state.”
That’s worth noting.
East Jerusalem is home to the sensitive holy sites for Jews and Christians, who have both been allowed, along with Muslims, access to them under Israeli rule. This was not the case when the Muslims had control before Israel wrested their traditional Holy City from them in 1967, in a war they did not start, but did finish, decisively, in just six days.
Despite the fact that Jerusalem has been cared for and open to all since its liberation, “the international community, including the U.S., does not recognize Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem,” the way they recognize Jordan’s annexation of most of what the U.N. meant to be the Palestinian Arab portion of the original two-state solution several decades ago, and which no one ever suggests be carved into at least part of a Palestinian state.
Forced to admit that “Jerusalem’s Arabs,” are “free to live wherever they want,” the reporter hastens to add that they “say they often encounter resistance or discrimination when trying to buy or rent properties in Jewish areas.”
This, I guess, is the closest the reporter could come to some sort of parity: The Arabs often encounter resistance in Jewish neighborhoods, while the Jews encounter international condemnation and armed resistance in Arab neighborhoods.
The story notes that real estate transactions involving Jews buying properties from Arabs often must be cloaked in secrecy, much like sales of homes to Jews and Blacks in “white” U.S. neighborhoods once were. If you’ve never seen the film Gentlemen’s Agreement, go rent it, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Even this reporter notes that most of the reason for the cloak-and-dagger way these transactions are done is necessary to keep not just the buyers, but also the sellers from suffering some sort of violence at the hands of Arabs who don’t what “that type” moving into their neighborhoods.
About 500 Jews live in the area, and the newly purchased homes will allow for 200 more, according to the story.
“Until residents move in, the properties are occupied by police officers, private security guards, and young volunteers packing pistols,” AP reports. “An ad on a Facebook page for religious Jewish army veterans offered 500 shekels ($140) a day to anyone willing to sit in the properties.”
The reporter describes how Israeli police officers “disappeared down a narrow concrete alleyway, bringing a box of supplies deep into the Arab neighborhood to a second-floor apartment,” and how the “Israelis peered out from windows they enveloped in wire mesh, and would not open the door to visitors.”
The reporter also describes the reaction of a young woman whose family had owned the building, when “accused” by neighbors of selling to the wrong kind of people.
“Are you crazy?” she reportedly retorted. “How would my father sell to Jews?”
Am I the only one who sees a problem here?