penguins on parade

The entire ‘penguin’ (hiloni slang for haredi, because of their drab uniform of black suits and white shirts) is parasitic. If Haredi Judaism can’t teach young men to manage their sexual feelings in an adult manner, there’s something wrong with it. For psychiatric infantilisation of haredim, see here – RB

IDF rejects request for earplugs when women sing
Jeremy Sharon, JPost, Apr 24 2012

Several religious soldiers requested last week to wear earplugs or listen to MP3 players during a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in which women were singing, as well as for upcoming ceremonies for Remembrance Day and Independence Day. The army refused the request but said that the soldiers could take a book of Psalms into the ceremony to read from if they wished. The issue of religious soldiers being present in ceremonies with women singing exploded in September last year, when four soldiers were expelled from an officers course for refusing to return to an event in which women were singing. The IDF General Staff subsequently issued a directive in January obligating all soldiers, religious or otherwise, to be present in all official army ceremonies even if they involve women singing. Jewish law generally prohibits men from listening to a woman sing in person. Initially reported by the Galei Israel radio station, the group of approximately 10 soldiers who requested to use earplugs or MP3 players are currently in basic training and are serving in a field intelligence unit. The IDF confirmed the details of the story. They enlisted within the hesder framework, through which national-religious men combine army service with yeshiva study. The soldiers who made the request are from the Or Etzion Hesder Yeshiva, headed by Rabbi Haim Druckman, a prominent national-religious figure. Separately, leading national-religious Rabbi Dov Lior, municipal rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba, ruled on Sunday that men should not attend theater performances in which women perform, even if the women do not sing and are dressed modestly. According to Lior, who was writing in response to a question on the website, attending such events are not compatible with the Jewish concept of modesty. Following the opening in September of a cultural center in Kiryat Arba, Lior said that only performances of educational merit or national values should be staged.

More than your average bear would want to know about the blabosphere’s view of Syria. This roundup via Jadaliyya, Apr 19. Jadaliyya by the way is still flaunting its left-wing academic shtick, this time with a ‘call for papers,’ which means ‘state your institutional affiliation,’ i.e. which capitalist pseudo-knowledge mill you slave for. I am not part of this academic rip-off and never have been – RB

Regional and International perspectives
Syria: First Round of a Ceasefire Nicolas Nassif has a somewhat reductionist analysis of the Syrian uprising, comparing and contrasting Syria to Lebanon of the 1970s.
Kofi Annan is Right; negotiation is key for Syria Patrick Seale argues that negotiation is key for a successful new Syrian political system.
Syria and the Usual Suspects Thomas Knapp insulting Syrian demonstrators who started the uprising (which was made in the USA according to Knapp) whilst rightly problematising the McCain and Lieberman visit to Turkey.
McCain and Lieberman Meet with the Free Syria Army bizarre and unneeded ‘support’ from the Republicans, does the FSA represent Syria?
Will more Diplomacy Save Syria Al-Jazeera guests discuss the peace plan.
Can UN Observers end the Cycle of Violence? Hussein Ibish, Hussein al-Harbi and Haitham al-Sibahie give analysis of variable quality regarding the utility of the UN ceasefire on Al-Jazeera English’s Inside Syria programme.
Who Broke Syria? James Harkin argues that the international community and the media “made things worse” for Syrians.
Cautious Hope for Syria Mark Lynch’s skeptical yet optimistic outlook on the Annan Plan.
Cross-talk: Still Syria: Diana Johnstone, Joshua Landis and Josef Olmert sharing their views on intervention and the opposition.
The Roving Eye: What’s goin’ on at the Turkish-Syrian border? Pepe Escobar discusses matters of sovereignty as Turkey’s shelters of the FSA right at the Turco-Syrian border.
The Libyan precedent is not a hopeful one for Syria Peter Feaver in Foreign Policy.
Annan’s Syria plan the only game in town Michael Wahid Hanna puts the case for Annan’s plan in Foreign Policy.

Imperialism and the Left
Syria and the Left Odai al-Zoubi takes issue with George Galloway and Noam Chomsky’s divergent approaches.
Imperialism and the Syrian Revolution John Rees argues that “the main enemy is at home” and that the opposition need to rid itself from imperial powers who want to determine Syria’s future.

The Opposition Movements
Syria Opposition Creates Tribal Assembly Daily Star notes this new development.
The Simple Truths of the Syrian Uprising Muhamad Dibo argues that it is the Syrian people who have the highest authority in deciding the future of their country.

On Syrian narratives
Syria`s Propaganda War Jess Hills on the challenges of reporting from outside Syria.
Assad`s End Exiled Syrian activist reframes the revolution and suggests an overemphasis on the SFA and militarized elements is distorting the real picture.
Does the Syrian regime fight imperialism, or is it the legacy of imperialism? Adbulhamit Bilici on Prof Şükrü Hanioğlu’s historical approach to the uprising.
Nasrallah to Assange: Hezbollah talked to Syria opposition; we want dialogue, US & Israel want civil war Predictable commentary from Nasrallah on Syria. Why is he surprised that revolutionaries were not willing to have dialogue with the regime?
One Year After the beginning of the revolution Khalil Habash with sensible analysis for International Viewpoint.
Syria: Bashar Lives up to his Name Orientalist pap from the Socialist Party of Great Britain; Alwyn Edgar attempts a historical survey before cautioning that Bashar’s successors could make him look like Little Bo Peep.
Images of our Syrian revolution: leaked in a losing gamble? Mohamad al-Attar on visual memory, its actual role and potential for the Syrian revolution.

On Sectarianism
On the Perils of Sectarianism in Syria Robin Yassin-Kassab: stick with the anecdotal beginnings for a snapshot of the historical underpinnings of sectarianism.
The Kurdish Dimension to Turkey’s Syria Policy Golol Tul in Foreign Policy; Syria putting Turkey to the test.
Will Syria’s Sectarian Divisions Spill Over Into Turkey? Soner Cagaptay seems to overemphasise the significance of the Alevis in Turkey and their position re Syria.

Policy and Human Rights Reports
Syria`s Phase of Radicalisation International Crisis’s group’s assessment of the current state of the Syrian uprising.
In Cold Blood Human Rights Watch issue report documenting summary executions by Syria’s security forces and pro-government militias.

Enough academic claptrap, let’s have some good old-fashioned WW1-style propaganda:

Hungry Syrian soldiers desert Golan defenses, prowl for food
DEBKAfile, Apr 23 2012

The wretched plight of the troops manning Syrian defense divisions defending the Golan border and Mt. Hermon was clearly visible from lookout points on the Israeli side in the last two days, debkafile’s military sources report. The regular water and food supplies to their bases, the backbone of Syria’s defense lines against Israel, were stopped and redirected to the units fighting anti-Assad rebels in other parts of the country. Large groups of armed soldiers have gone AWOL to hunt for food. For the first time in years, some have approached the border fence. They don’t ask Israeli soldiers for food, but parcels thrown across the fence vanish in a trice. According to our sources, the 5th Division posted in the Golan town of Quneitra has suffered the largest number of desertions, estimated at more than 1,500 officers and men, around 15% of the full complement. But hundreds of dropouts occur daily from the 15th, 9th and 7th Divisions stationed in central and southern Golan. The district commands have meanwhile lost control of the Syrian-Israeli border deployment. Military facilities are deserted with no one to guard against trespassers. Gangs, local and from across Syria’s eastern borders with Jordan and Iraq, were quick to realize the bases are unguarded and have begun stripping them of equipment and looting everything they can lay hands on. These gangs are working stealthily so as not to drawing the attention of Assad’s security forces which might stop the looting. But they are most likely being used by Assad’s Sunni enemies in Iraq and Jordan as vehicles to plant terrorist cells inside Syria for attacking military targets. This is what happened at the Golan village of Sahm al-Jolan near Quneitra Friday Apr 20 when a large (100 kilo) bomb blew up as a Syrian military convoy was passing through. At least 10 soldiers were killed and 35 injured. The Syrian authorities stated that a remote-controlled explosive device blew up against a bus carrying soldiers. It is believed that a Jordanian Sunni terrorist band was responsible. That day too, five Syrian soldiers were killed in another attack in the southern Syrian town of Karak near the flashpoint town of Deraa.

Girl on PA TV recites Egyptian poem: “Zion is a devil with a tail”
Palestinian Media Watch, Apr 23 2012

PA TV (Fatah) program for kids, “The Best Home”, Apr 7 2012:
Host: “Laila, what do you want to recite next?”
Laila: “When I was young I was taught that Arabness is my honor…
and that our lands extend from one end to the other,
and that our wars were for the Al-Aqsa Mosque,
and that our enemy, Zion, is Satan with a tail
Our division is by your hands [Arab rulers]. May your hands be cut off.
We are fed up with our division, while all people are uniting.'”
Host: “Bravo, bravo, bravo.”

Two-year-old mujahid

Mother & daughter suicide bomber fantasy

And now for something completely different — jobs for the penguins, hooray:

Haredim foresee growing employment rates in sector
Kobi Nahshoni, Ynet, Apr 23 2012

A recent study conducted by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry predicted that Israel will see a 6% drop in its workforce within 20 years, especially due to the growing ultra-Orthodox and Arab population shares. But activists in the religious sector dismiss the forecast, noting the growing rates of employed haredim. Attorney Yoav Laloum, chairman of the Noar KaHalacha, an organization that advocates against discrimination in the haredi sector, said:

I don’t see the pessimistic predictions coming true. The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry must increase employment opportunities for haredim instead of hiding behind gloomy statistics, which help all those ultra-Orthodox elements who do everything possible to block the welcome developments in the sector. I expect continued growth in the numbers of ultra-religious individuals who get a higher education.

According to Ariel Deri, the director of the Haredi College of Jerusalem, a sharp rise in the number of haredim who entered the workforce registered over the past five years. He said:

This trend is affected, first and foremost, by the placement system that allows the haredim to integrate in the workplace without compromising their lifestyle and world view. If the government, public agencies and education institutions maintain this trend, it would certainly increase the percentage of haredi employees in the workforce. We must remember that these kinds of processes raise many concerns, which is why much caution and forethought are required. Today we can already see a second generation of haredim who are integrating, whose kids go to quality schools from the start. All that’s left for the government is to show openness toward the population’s unique characteristics, and allow the group to take the necessary steps, at its own place. This will certainly make the forecasts much more positive.

Attorney Yechezkel Rosenblum of the Tov movement, which represents working haredim, said that the growing rates of employment in the sector deems the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry’s study irrelevant. Rosenblum noted that a growing number ultra-Orthodox individuals in their early 20s are getting jobs these days, and that it’s becoming increasingly legitimate for yeshiva students “who don’t really study” to go to work. Among women, he added, the employment rates match those of the rest of the population. He said:

More and more haredim feel a national responsibility. In my opinion, the future is ‘black’, not in the pessimistic sense, but in the sense of the haredi contribution to society.

Egypt terminates deal to supply Israel with natural gas
Lisa Goldman, +972 Mag, Apr 22 2012

According to several news reports, Egypt has terminated a deal to supply Israel with natural gas. Egyptian sources say that the deal was canceled over a legal dispute, as well as Israel’s failure to pay for the gas over the past four months; Israeli government sources, meanwhile, insist they have paid all the money they owe. Several Israeli officials, including Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, have expressed deep concern, with Mofaz calling the unilateral termination of the gas supply a “blatant violation of the peace treaty” that “requires a US response,” and Steinitz saying it was a dangerous precedent that threatens bilateral ties between Egypt and Israel. The gas deal in fact has nothing to do with the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of 1979. It is a commercial deal that was negotiated between private Egyptian and Israeli business concerns in 2005. The deal was renegotiated in 2009, in the most opaque manner imaginable. No tenders were issued and the terms of the deal were not made public. The Egypt-Israel natural gas deal is resented by most Egyptians, who view it as a sleazy arrangement that allowed Hosni Mubarak, his sons and their cronies to pocket billions of dollars by selling one of Egypt’s most valuable natural resources at a price that is now well below market value, and to Israel, which is deeply unpopular in Egypt. Egypt’s natural gas pipeline has been sabotaged 14 times since Hosni Mubarak was deposed in Feb 2011. Egyptian economist Mohamed El Dahshan does an impressive job of armchair investigative journalism in this blog post, in which he demonstrates the extent to which the natural gas deal was, as he puts it, “a barely concealed cesspool of clientelism, personal relationships and private interests, breaches of government procedure, of transparency rules, and of corporate governance.”

The name Hussein Salem appears several times in El Dahshan’s investigative piece about the gas deal. Salem, 77, is a wealthy businessman who was close to Hosni Mubarak; he was also one of the main Egyptian players in the negotiation of the gas deal with Israel. A few days before Mubarak was forced to resign, Salem fled Egypt for Spain. A month later, he was arrested by the Spanish authorities, who froze assets that included $47m in cash. This does not include his real estate assets, and this is only the money he kept in Spain. Bloomberg reports that Salem’s son has about $4b in hidden assets, according to an Egyptian judicial committee. Salem was held in custody for 11 months, pending a court decision regarding Egypt’s request for extradition. Last month Spain’s National Court ruled that Salem was to be extradited. He has already been tried and convicted in absentia on corruption charges, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He is believed to have siphoned off $714m in public money.

Israel currently relies on Egypt for about 40% of its natural gas needs. But this situation was set to change, whether or not Egypt terminated its supply of gas. In Dec 2010, the Israeli government announced the discovery of a huge natural gas field off the Mediterranean coast, named Leviathan; Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau called it “the most important energy news since the founding of the state.” The field is so big that Israel is now poised to become an exporter of natural gas within about four years. The biggest financial beneficiary of this discovery will be private interests; specifically, Yitzhak Tshuva, an immensely rich Israeli businessman who is a controlling shareholder in Delek Group, which has a 22.67% drilling interest in the oil field. Tshuva’s international real estate investments include New York’s Plaza Hotel. According to the Israeli financial newspaper Globes, Tshuva and several other companies are currently negotiating a $4b deal to supply natural gas to power plants and other companies. Drilling, which commenced in Jan 2012, is expected to yield 600 million barrels of oil. Meanwhile, the government-appointed Sheshinski Committee recently recommended a very substantial tax increase on profits from offshore drilling, from 30% to between 52% and 60%. This, naturally, upset Tshuva and the other investors in the Leviathan natural gas field. No wonder Yuval Steinitz, the finance minister who supported the Sheshinski Committee and approved of its recommendations, is rather concerned at Egypt terminating its supply of natural gas to Israel, at a price that is below market value. It is convenient for Israeli government officials to respond to Egypt’s termination of the natural gas supply by bringing up the peace treaty and making dark comments about harm to bilateral relations. This sort of thing is easy to sell to the Israeli public, with its fears of the post-Mubarak Islamist parliament and its anti-Israel rhetoric. But Yuval Steinitz and Shaul Mofaz know very well that the gas deal has nothing to do with the peace treaty. Finance Minister Steinitz is probably well aware, too, that without competition from Egypt, the Israeli companies that own the drilling rights to Leviathan have a lot more bargaining power.


  1. walter benjamin
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    re: the flicks on the PA and Hamas – as Guenon points out the word educate comes from the Latin ‘educare’ which means to take out what is already there.
    unfortunate situation.

  2. niqnaq
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I dare say that applies to the pinguinim as well. I mean, every time I become aware of a hardal rabbi who seerms to have retained some rudiments of common sense, I get disillusioned the next time I hear of his doings. This time it’s Dov Lior. There’s an attractive photo of him when he was much younger in Hagai Segal’s book. But even then (thirty years ago) his face was all screwed up as if chewing on some bitter herb.

    Also, there was a program on Israeli TV about the hilltop youth, and in one scene a group of girls were sitting under a tree with a guitar and one of them was just about to start singing and playing, and I was thinking, oh, this is just like the good old hippie times all over again, and then she said, but I can’t because you’re men.

  3. niqnaq
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I have just posted a very flickery video made in 1982, which I hope you enjoy. It contrasts interestingly with the pedantry of normality, including Jewish normality. The triple cross emblem which appears near the end is an old alchemical symbol meaning ‘very poisonous,’ and was most recently used, to my knowledge, on canisters of Zyklon B, as viz here. Not quite apt for yom ha-zichron, I know, but no matter.

  4. niqnaq
    Posted April 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    By the way, walter: it seems that in 1750 or so R Jonathan Eibeschütz wrote a Sabbatean book entitled וָאָבֹ֥א הַיֹּ֖ום אֶל־ הָעָ֑יִן (“Va-avo ha-yom el ha-ayin,” Genesis 24:42, “Today I have come to the well.”) Have you ever seen this almost Lovecraftian-sounding text?

  5. walter benjamin
    Posted April 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    The only known existing mss is in the Oxford Lib. Scholem had/has in his library a copy, an inverted white ink on black background. I assume when he received it, maybe in the ’40’s, that was what could be had. I copied it from his library in the ’70’s. it is very interesting and quite a strange composition. On the end paper it is even written ‘this is a heretical work by J. Eibeschutz.’ It is written in a difficult and not so clear ashkenazi script akin to the italian hebrew. I started years ago to put it on my computer but stopped because of the eye strain.

    There is a study by Perlmutter which was published in Schocken in 1947 which is quite thorough. Liebes also published a work on it in hebrew. Liebes’ wife is the ‘curatress” of the G. Scholem library in the HU. I have given thought about asking her if her husband had a typed out copy but I have been told he is not so friendly so I left it at that. I never asked Idel but he is always quite generous about things like this. it was it he who gave me Nathan of Gaza’s ספר הבריאה ready for publishing mss. {which never saw the ‘altar of the press’}.

  6. niqnaq
    Posted April 26, 2012 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    My goodness.


    I really like that picture of him.

    It has just struck me as interesting that R Meir Kahane never accused the top US Jews of being Sabbateans, the way the obscure R Antelman did. In “What Makes Bernie Run?” Kahane goes to great lengths to argue that the typical young ambitious US Jew is just a shallow opportunist, without a religious bone of any sort in his body, even a heretical one. On the other hand, in this entertaining essay (how nice to see it reproduced in full by Arutz Sheva), he doesn’t really mention the top US Jews at all, one way or the other. It is all about the little young rabbits, similar to Dustin Hoffman’s character in “The Graduate”. By the way, Kahane’s writings available on are limited to second-hand copies that happen to have been advertised through them. in the US, on the other hand, carries the complete catalogue of his writings, which are constantly reprinted in substantial cheap editions by the Institute of the Jewish Idea (ha-Makhon le-ha-Raayon ha-Yehudi) and the Institute for Publication of the Writings of Rabbi Meir Kahane (ha-Makhon le-hotsa’at kitve ha-Rav Kahana). Among his listed titles is “Listen, Vanessa, I am a zionist,” which one can readily imagine is a sort of sexualised diatribe. However, I notice that in 1967, Kahane wrote a book with the preposterous title, “The Jewish Stake in Vietnam”. And of course, the title “What makes Bernie run?” is just a rip-off of Budd Schulberg’s “What makes Sammy run?”, which was originally a left-wing social-realist story in the style of Arthur Miller. So this is just political rhetoric and counter-rhetoric running around in circles like dogs chasing each other’s tails.

  7. walter benjamin
    Posted April 26, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    BTW Eibeschutz had another published volume called שם עולם a sort of mixed qabbalistic/philosophical book available PDF download. He wrote an often used book of homiles on the Torah which is widely respected and used today. Aside from that he wrote books on talmudic casuistry which are widely used in yeshivot today. It seems the doubts on him have been willfully forgotten as with Luzzato.
    His nemesis was Jacob Emden who chased him without end{it also seems the the seat of the chief rabbi of Prague was also a consideration in this}. If he were alive today he would definitely have been a professor. He criticised the Zohar on philological and critical readings to the point of calling it blasphemous on certain occasions. The specific book in this genre was reprinted with new type about 15 years ago and was quickly taken off the shelves and announced that it should not be read.
    What is interesting to me is that his father the ‘Hakam Zvi’, famous in his own right, studied in Turkey at the paramount of Sabbateanism. He was called ‘Hakam’ and not ‘Rav’ because his rabbinical ordination was give to him by Sephardim. Inevitably he was involved with the SZ movement and in IMO his son’s crusade was in order to exonerate his father even though publicly his father was never accused of this.{all of this is my speculation but it seems there is no other reason why his son would be so bent on his crusade against JE.}
    Another piquant point is that the Hakam Zvi was one of the only if not the only rabbi who permitted the taking of a concubine פלגש.

  8. niqnaq
    Posted April 26, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    For several centuries it was denied that Eibeschutz was really a Sabbatean at all. After all he did sign a collective rabbinical herem banning his own (anonymous) book, which is pretty devious. Maciejko states several times, quite emphatically, that the reason the rabbis in general did not back Emden’s campaign against Eibeschutz was not that they thought Eibeschutz was not a Sabbatean, but simply that they didn’t want a scandal, which seems to me a perennial feature of rabbinates.

    I dare say you also, walter, have no desire to court controversy, but I must ask you to think about the equation I keep drawing between “international bankers” and “Sabbateans (or more accurately Frankists) who despise ‘Jews’.” This is a nice simple, tempting equation, that allows me to be anti-bankers without being anti-‘Jews’, and it fits in with the works of the eccentric Rabbi Antelman if no-one else. But is it substantiable?

  9. niqnaq
    Posted April 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a statement from Moshe Idel’s “Messianic Mystics” (p 173) which — unintentionally, I suspect — has implications just as devastating as Isaiah Tishby’s. I would send this to Dr Solomon, but I am not communicating with him again unless and until he more or less apologises for dragging Moses Mendelssohn across my path:

    According to Luria’s theory, the kabbalists were obligated to free the Divine sparks, causing the destruction from within of the kelippot, the demonic shells or the nations of the world, as a stage in the Messianic process.

    Idel gives as his basis for this claim Vital’s Sha’ar ha-Pesuqim, Shemot, fol 2 col 3, and Sefer ha-Liqqutim, fol 89a.

    According to Idel, Scholem interpreted Lurianic kabbalah reductionistically, in line with his political zionism, making the shevirat ha-kelim (the “breaking of the vessels,” which precedes the creation of the universe) into a mere metaphor for the galut (the exile of the Jews from their Land). I think that this attempt at zionist reductionism has since backfired, because the hardalim have turned the return to the Land back from a political into a spiritual exercise, so that for them at least, the real end of the Exile requires the end of the entire physical universe. I made that point quite independently to Dr S in an early email. But I am fascinated by the idea that the shells are simply the nations and the sparks are simply the exiled Jewish souls in them. I love simple ideas.

    It doesn’t surprise me at all that settler youth are celebrated for their fecundity, since this is a clear example of the return of the repressed: when it comes to peopling the Land, sexuality is automatically ‘redeemed’ and no longer ‘sinful’. This is entirely to be expected. And the connections are rational on a utilitarian level as well as on the symbolic or metaphysical, kabbalistic level: to prove one’s love for the Jewish Woman, one has to be able to present her with a spacious, secure and fertile Land to raise her children in. Some might call this fascist logic, I grant; but this just shows the extent to which ‘fascism’ has cornered the market in common sense over the last century or so.

  10. walter benjamin
    Posted April 27, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    ” I would send this to Dr Solomon, but I am not communicating with him again unless and until he more or less apologises for dragging Moses Mendelssohn across my path”

    it seems you might wind up being נטורי קרתא in the end!
    i will look up Idel’s sources later and get back to you.

  11. niqnaq
    Posted April 27, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    נטורי קרתא = Neturei Karta… No, no, no … listen, vanessa, i am a zionist…


    For the tangled way all this works out, Motti Inbari has a fascinating case: when the haredi Movement for the Establishment of the Temple began, in the late 1980s, its leader Yosef Elboim (a Belzer hassid) was subjected to a poster campaign, barred from his synagogue, forcibly removed from the minibus he normally used to go to work, had the mezuzot torn off the entrance to his home, had his front door set on fire, etc. The episode ended after a bomb was planted in the home of R Simcha Waldenberg, head of the “Modesty Guard”. It was quietly hinted to Waldenberg that the bomb was planted by members of Kach, who were on close terms with the MET. Apparently, Yoel Lerner, the first chairman of the MET, had been a personal friend of Meir Kahane.

  12. niqnaq
    Posted April 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I’ve revised my analysis of Idel vs Scholem two comments back, so that it makes slightly more sense. Here’s a terrific encomium of Luria from R Tzvi Hirsch Eichenstein of Zhidakov, an early 19th century hassid:

    … But Thou, o Lord our God, hast sent us the teacher of righteousness, the angel who descended in heavenly clouds, the celestial holy one from the high heavens, our holy teacher, the Ari, of blessed memory, and his holy disciples, chief of whom was our master, R Hayyim Vital…

    Idel has a rather irritating polemic against Scholem, which he calls “the neutralisation of the neutralisation” (of Messianism), which goes on and on. Every time I try to download either of Idel’s books on Abulafia from ScribD, my computer starts whirring alarmingly and the browser freezes up. I think it’s because they contain unusual fonts. By the way, I managed to post my theory about the international bankers being Frankists on a JPost thread.

  13. niqnaq
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I’ve been reading Yehuda Liebes; there are two short anthologies of lectures by him available in english, “Studies in the Zohar” and “Studies in Jewish Myth and Jewish Messianism,” and I am reading the latter. The lecture called “The Kabbbalistic Myth as told by Orpheus” actually raises in my mind the question of whether you could find complete parallels for all phases of kabbalistic thought (including Lurianic) in ostensibly non-Jewish, ancient Gnostic sources. Could you?

  14. niqnaq
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    by the way, walter, what does מסוחבק mean? all the auto translate machines are stumped by it.


  15. walter benjamin
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    no such word to my knowledge.
    a misprint?
    give an example of text before and after the word for foren{sics}
    it might be the name of some place etc?

  16. niqnaq
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    It’s in that Ben Kaspit article:

    מי זוכר שהשבוע הזה החל, בכלל, בסערת יובל דיסקין, שאמר ביום שישי בפורום מסוחבק בכפר סבא את דעתו על הצמד נתניהו-ברק, ישר למצלמה, בין העיניים.

    I googled it and found loads of instances in other hebrew texts, but none that gave any clue to what it meant. The gathering at which Diskin was speaking was called “The Majdi Forum” (in Kfar Saba), so what I have put is:

    Who remembers this week began, in general, the stormy Yuval Diskin, said on Friday in Kfar Saba Majdi forum his opinion on the pair Netanyahu-Barak, straight into the camera, between the eyes.

    In the case of ‘מסוחבק’ the autotranslator didn’t even make a guess, it just transliterated it. In some ways the autotranslator is excellent, I particularly like the description of Shelly Yachimovitch as “spiky-haired fox,” that really couldn’t be improved upon even by a master bilingualist.

  17. walter benjamin
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    i think it is supposed to be מוסבך meaning ‘confused’ which would make sense. it could be a spelling error which is not rare by israelis esp in subtitles i have seen gross mistakes in hebrew spelling.
    on the other hand it would seem absurd for a spelling mistake to be in a newspaper where ‘two’ letters have become ‘confused’.
    however i will ask an israeli friend this morning if a can catch him.

  18. niqnaq
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    I saw that word in my dictionary too. But it doesn’t look similar, and as I said, if you google מסוחבק, you will find plenty of instances of it. It must be slang.

  19. walter benjamin
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    i googled in hebrew and it seems to be from arabic e.g. the phrase below

    כאשר אדם מדבר על “סחבק” בגוף שלישי, הוא בעצם מתייחס לעצמו, בנוסח
    “עבדכם הנאמן”

    which translated ‘when a person speaks about סחבק in the third person he is referring to himself as ‘ your faithful servant”

    interestingly enough i may have heard this many times but israelis don’t pronounce a fair amount of the letters correctly{ in this case the ‘ח, and the ‘ק, and thus since i don’t usually read the israeli newspapers and don’t hang with israelis for the most part and usually almost any others as well i was not familiar with this.

    a common grammatical mistake made by close to 98% of israels is ‘ i want להשכיר an apt which should be לשכור which should not be in the causative.
    in university my first professor of hebrew started out by saying ‘you should know that generally speaking israelis do not speak correctly”

  20. niqnaq
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    so it’s a kind of slang, then?

  21. walter benjamin
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    i spoke to an israeli friend of mine and it is arabic slang meaning “friendly” therefore” friendly forum”.

    why they don’t write ידידותי which has the exact meaning in hebrew i do not know but as i was informed the inspiration of using a pure hebrew is slowly disappearing and slang + a lot of english, much of which is used incorrectly, has penetrated the israeli milieu.

  22. niqnaq
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Oh, no, it’s Lag Be-Omer again, in three days’ time. Watch out for pyromaniacs out there in Tzfat, walter


  23. walter benjamin
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    the pyromania is not the problem it’s the american hassidim who come and think they can do what they want. last year they made so much noise at night into the wee hours and my request for them to stop was ignored so i brought the police on שבת which totally fucked their minds and quiet prevailed.

  24. niqnaq
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Ha. By the way, the final chapter in that Yehuda Liebes book is about R Nahman of Bratslav, and it sounds as if he was even loonier than the Lubavitcher Rebbe. How did this anti-sexual mania find its way into Judaism? It’s grotesque.

  25. walter benjamin
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    it seems to be an ‘evolutionary’ phenomenon in western religion in conjunction to some Zoharic passages which were taken over seriously.
    In Magid’s book ‘From Metaphysics to Midrash” there is an interesting chapter called ‘On the sin of becoming a woman”
    The PDF is on scribd. if you have trouble downloading it i can send it to your gmail address.

  26. niqnaq
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    I’ve got that book; it”s the one I keep quoting, vis-a-vis Tishby.

    Did you know that the only thing the Leviathan is frightened of is the sardine? This is also an evolutionary phenomenon, at least loosely speaking: once upon a time, when there were two of them, the female Leviathan used to lay eggs, and the sardines used to eat them all. Don’t ask me where I read this, because like R Nahman, I would have to say, “I’ve forgotten.”

  27. niqnaq
    Posted May 9, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Dr S has informed me that he received the Tishby book, with thanks.

    Shelly Yachimovitch (“spiky-haired fox”) does not appear to be spiky-haired in photos, so that may have been another translation error, or it may have been Ben Kaspit indulging his fantasies.

  28. niqnaq
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Evidence that Jewish Gnosticism preceded Alexandrian Gnosticism:
    YAh eLohim aDonai tzABAOTH>> YALDABAOTH

    Subsequent Gnostics gave an anti-Jewish twist to this by declaring that ‘Yaldabaoth’, or YHVH, was a mere demiurge who erroneously imagined he was the supreme god, and had created a defective universe (our physical universe) to rule over, but that Jesus was the emissary of the real supreme god, come to explain the imposture of yaldabaoth to the humans and to teach them to transcend and forget about the physical universe altogether.

    I really must read Idel’s “Golem” without further delay. I have a wonderful theory that the golem is a metaphor for this defective yaldabaoth god, which can, like any other creation, be controlled if you know the right words.

    PS: I read it. He does hint once or twice that the golem might be none other than adam kadmon, seen in another context. I like the free-wheeling way he thinks in that book (especially towards the end, it’s quite funny).

    Thanks very much for the three pdf’s. “Mystical Experience” shouldn’t be 68.3MB, though; it should be maybe a tenth of that. People don’t realise they have to set the resolution on the scanner to mimimum when scanning texts.

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