Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Back in Black Roundup: 2/24/16

I've returned from a very pleasant vacation in Las Vegas. If my gambling record is any omen about how my thirties will proceed, I'm in good shape -- I actually finished up on the trip. The New Jersey Devils, by contrast, will never win another hockey game. Other highlights of the trip include eating at a Michelin-starred restaurant, watching Cirque du Soleil Zarkana before it closed, and reading "The Communist Manifesto" at the Bellagio Hotel (a decision which seemed insulting to both Marx and the Bellagio).

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A Rabbi wins a parliamentary seat ... in Uganda. Putting aside the important symbolism for Uganda's tiny Jewish community, the Rabbi in question has stood out for being openly favorable towards gay rights.

A bizarre story out of Canada got an even stranger (but happier) ending. The Jewish National Fund of Canada pulled its sponsorship of the Jewish Federation of Vancouver's Israeli Independence Day celebration, citing the participation of Israeli singer Noa. JNF-Canada (wrongly) alleged that Noa was a supporter of the BDS movement. JF-Vancouver refused to budge, and guess who stepped in to replace the JNF as sponsor: the Israeli embassy! I hope the folks at JNF-Canada are duly humiliated, and have learned a valuable lesson about listening to right-wing trolls.

Protesters disrupted planned speeches by Palestinian human rights activist Bassam Eid at several Chicago-area universities. The protesters objected to Eid's opposition to BDS and his focus on both Israeli and Palestinian rights violations, and questioned his legitimacy as a Palestinian voice. Remember, though, BDS targets institutions, not individuals.

On the one hand, I find the argument that "I'm not voting for either Clinton or Sanders because neither one of them makes feel fuzzy about myself" to be ludicrously self-indulgent. On the other hand, if someone really is far "left" enough such that neither Sanders nor Clinton is more meaningfully attractive than Trump or Cruz, I can't really object to not voting for them. Merging those two arguments together, though, I think people who style themselves so far left that there's no meaningful difference between Sanders or Clinton versus Trump or Cruz are ludicrously self-indulgent.

I'm always interested in legal interpretations which (properly, in my view) cast blanked boycotts against Israel (or any other country, for that matter) as a form of national origin discrimination.

Intersectional discourse has its failings when it comes to Jews (stayed tuned for more exciting information on this!), but James Kirchick really needs to stop writing on a topic he knows nothing about.

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