Don’t free yourself of all moral redlines.

One thing that captures my attention about this war is the report that babies were gathered and beheaded. This appears to be untrue, but how can I know for sure since I am not there? And people rejoin, Who cares If they were beheaded or not? Israelis were slaughtered! Well, I guess you care if indeed there were no beheadings and as horrible as this slaughter was, somebody felt the need to sensationalize even more.

Let us focus as much as we can on facts, on truth, on accurate information. And as David pointed out, President Biden said the right things: Extolling Israel, yet courageously humanizing Palestinians. “Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, and innocent Palestinian families are suffering greatly because of them.”

And Connie, you mention that progressive lunkheads have argued that because Israel can afford security, they are not true victims. I’ve long noted that there are compromised Christians who embrace Jews because they are perceived as key to Christian salvation (as you said in the first half), leaving unsaid that they are not key to their own salvation. And I have heard Jews reluctantly accept this odious embrace.

Not facts, not truth, not accurate. Just emotions running sky-high.

Yet, here’s the thing: I often hear arguments of, “Well, how would you feel if you or your loved ones were victims of a rocket attack?” How about this argument, as well: how would you feel if you and all your family are canceled, driven from your jobs and rendered unhireable, vilified on social and legacy media so that you can’t even walk in the street without being jeered, and made into a non-entity with no recourse for dignity other than the scornful largesse of the ruling government, so that your entire life is reduced to filth and poverty and unending surveillance? Would you then want to strike back, and strike back hard?

Anyone desiring an honest dialogue needs to be open to this query.

Regarding the prevalence of Jews in many cultural spaces, well, that’s a testament to the resilience and talent of Jewry. Many conservative and classically liberal Blacks have made the very public observation that Jews by and large have succeeded where many proudly self-identified oppressed peoples have given up and done nothing more than blame others for their travails. Norm MacDoanld delivered one of the best jokes I've ever heard when he said that outraged Jews protested being characterized as controlling Hollywood by making it snow in April in New York. Now, will that inspire others to double down on their true antipathy toward Jews? Hell, yes. But everything we pitiful humans say can be used as justification to hate someone and something. In reality, Norm celebrated Jewry, and invited us all to laugh along at their extraordinary competence.

Which reminds me of perhaps the funniest joke I have ever heard: Didja hear about the Jewish man who called his mother from his office to say, “Mom, I’m very sorry. I know you spent the day preparing a great dinner for me, but I just can’t make it. I have too much to do here at work.” And she replied, “That’s okay, son. I love you! I’ll let you get back to work now.”

As you say, David, no one should be degraded. But for people to assume degradation where there is none offered does no one any good. You mentioned Chapelle; he never disparaged transexuals, at least not to my understanding. He has been very respectful, especially to his transexual friend who committed suicide. But at the same time he is extremely critical of the transexual and gender identity movement that seems only to want to increase its numbers at the risk of the health of its members. And in those criticisms, he makes some hilarious observations. He invited us all to laugh.

Laughter is universal. It is redemptive when no one is being degraded.

On the other hand, as you point out, David, there are a distressing abundance of people who really, really want to be bullies. They will often be bullies by hating on people they wrongfully accuse of bullying.

I am a HUGE fan of how open you are to dialogue, David, and your refusal to simply label people as bigots or anti-Semites because of the views they espouse or more pointedly, the words issuing from their mouths. I often challenge people on what they perceive as casualty. As you say, look for other possibilities.

You also said we should reinstill values of freedom of speech. I am also a HUGE fan of reinstilling, for I hope obvious reasons. :)

… And Connie, I absolutely loved Howard the Duck when it first came out. Although I watched it again rather recently and I have to say, I have no idea why I even liked it the first time out.

Connie, I would like to submit my participation in a podcast with you. Maybe even in a conversation with you and David or someone else like Dumisani. I am committed to Truth, and I recognize that the only way I strengthen my own journey in this world is to always seek and pursue Truth. And to me, Christ is Truth. This journey is my throughput throughout every statement I make, every principle I cherish. I have come to amass a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. I would love the opportunity to expound on this to you and your audience.

Just a thought…

Peace, Be good to yourselves.

Expand full comment

(1) Hi.

I sense a cause. Obviously, there is a great deal of love for Israel and Judaism from the creators of Free Black Thought. So I will endeavor to show the same love and thoughtful consideration with my comments here. We will see if I am successful. I’m even taking this piecemeal, as so far I have listened only to the first half of the podcast with David Bernstein. I want to get my thoughts down before I listen to the second half, and then I’ll comment anon.

Thus far I agree wholeheartedly with everything David said. It is incontestable that Israel has a right to exist. I will go further, echoing the sentiment of Dumisani Washington: Israel is necessary, not only to the (somewhat inaccurately defined) Middle East, but to the world. Jewry taught the world the stabilizing influence of monotheism and the importance of seeing the world as a whole rather than a cacophony of contentious tribes. Abraham was called to be “the father of all nations.” Jews gave us the gift of universal laws, or principles. Perhaps chief among these is caring for the less fortunate among us. They taught the world the significance of honoring the past to celebrate the present while guiding us toward the future. They were the first to grasp the sacred truth of the unity of all life, leading us all towards individual destiny and social justice.

Thus, God’s chosen people were chosen to be a light unto this weary world. Thus, Abraham and the nation Elohim founded through him is truly the father of all nations. And as such its obligation to this world is truly awesome in every sense. Forget about how tired and overused this word is used to describe every mundane thing that grants us flawed humans with fleeting pleasures. Israel’s unique status of chosenness is truly, irrevocably, eternally awesome.

I appreciate David’s incisive observation that anti-Semitism cannot be simply “racist” because the Jews are not a “race.” It is, however, a form of bigotry. I have explained elsewhere in this forum how I reject the term “race” and all its cognates because it is a socially constructed term coined by unapologetic bigots to justify their bigotry. But yes, I see now how it differs from “racism” and why a separate term had to be devised. Thanks for that.

It has been truly abhorrent to see how so many throughout the progressive camps have eagerly championed the actions of Hamas. It is abhorrent to see how these same people are blaming Israel for the slaughter of their people by Hamas. These arguments are nonsensical and have no moral basis.

Yet, I decry the treatment of Gazans by Israel. There is no justification for the appalling way they are treated. Netanyahu has stated that he wants the world to see no difference between Hamas and what I will call ordinary Gazans. This ideally would make his objective easier to obtain, of the eradication of not only Gaza but all of (the geopolitical) Palestine. So bereft of all difficulty, I can see how Gazans could nurture deep, abiding anger toward Israelis. I can see how that anger can metastasize into rage, even hatred. This in no way justifies murder - in no way, shape or form. But to not appreciate how Israel’s treatment of Gazans can become this rage is naivete.

There are those among the supporters of Israel who will say that I am merely being inartful in my language and am truly a hater of Jewry. No one has ever labeled me such, but when my arguments are reduced to clumsy summaries and my opponents stop talking to me altogether in lieu of stating that I have offered substantive commentary, well… it’s apparent how they feel. In fact, maybe this alone explains why so many conservative talking heads on social media have ceased all communication to me: because of the perceived and highly wrong notion that I hate Jewry. I have made tremendously few comments about Israel throughout my years, but I guess all it takes is one.

(By the way, I trust anyone reading this will tell me if he or she objects to my use of “Jewry.” I find the word not only accurate but also poetic. I have scoured the Web to see if it is offensive, and this good faith search has come up empty. Of course, once I described a young girl as “prepubescent” on Facebook and a progressive Christian lady pastor wrote to me, “Ewww. Delete that word.” I’m sure there aren’t enough hyperlinks in all the world wide web to categorize all the many things over which people chose to assume offense.)

I am very critical of Israeli policy toward the Gazans. Not only as a sapient, sentient traveler occupying this earth, but as a spiritual disciple. Jews, as I have stated, have a sacred obligation to the many peoples of this world. To believe otherwise or abrogate this responsibility is dishonest and no less than blasphemy. No one who has sided and engaged with Jews should elect to not speak to and read the works of Palestinians. We cannot demonize those whom we do not know. Christ Himself said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)

The Israeli government looks monolithically at Palestinians with a lens of historical grievances. Christ Himself enjoins us to do much better.

So anyway, on to the second half of the podcast…

Expand full comment

Great book, Woke Antisemitism -- highly recommended, especially for now!

Expand full comment

In our polarised age, too many of us infer our opinions from our political allegiance rather than the other way 'round.

Expand full comment