I was having a discussion with a reader about left and right politics with regard to Judaism and why many Jews embrace the GOP even as the GOP seems to embrace - or at least tolerate - white supremacists, antisemites, and other forms of prejudice. And for the record, white supremacists don't consider Latinos, Blacks, or Jews as "white" even as some of these minorities actually lead white supremacy groups today. They are in for a rude awakening down the road. Sadly, some Gays harbor white supremacy (or at least bigoted) opinions, and they too, will be thrown under the bus when the time comes. You can't cozy up to crazy and hope they think of you as "one of them." History has shown it simply doesn't work. These sort of groups eventually turn on each other in the end. There is no profit in it.
That is the danger for Jews who tolerate white supremacists in the GOP - it may seem innocuous now, and a way to win elections, but as soon as you give them a seat at the table, they will make their demands known - to your detriment. It's happened before. Never again!
But our reader made a good point - that the far-Left, in addition to embracing radical transgender theories, as well as beatifying "Antifa" and other violent protesters, gives a huge "pass" to radical Islam.
What's up with that? Every other religion in the world is called into account for its excesses - and mocked for its beliefs on a regular basis. "A Priest, a Minister and a Rabbi walk into a bar..." - the stuff just writes itself. But if you dare make fun of Islam, its "off with your head" - quite literally. The Charlie Hebdo comedic magazine made this point quite clearly - you can draw a caricature of the Pope, and say nasty things about him. You can poke fun at Jews - Jews are the first to do so, and it is quite an industry. You can make fun of tee-totaling Southern Baptists who are closet drinkers. But to make fun of Islam? Off limits! And sadly, many on the Left go along with this, arguing that the world's largest religion (no, really) is an oppressed minority.
But speaking of laughter - and I am getting off-topic once again - it seems to me this whole "Trans" thing is falling into the same category. It is OK to say you don't understand this, and it is OK to say you have concerns whether a "trans" athlete has an unfair advantage. It is OK to say that allowing high school kids (who are always so well behaved!) to "choose their own bathroom" might not work out well, given how high school kids - particularly boys - love to play around or, in a group, do bad things. It's OK to talk about this - or even laugh at how ludicrous some of it is (e.g., people demanding to be called by certain pronouns and demanding that folks be fired if they don't comply). And it's OK to ask whether some people are self-diagnosing themselves as "transgender" simply because they read about it all the time in the media - and that's not healthy. It is not OK, however, to be hateful, as some "comedians" end up being. Rule Number One in comedy is be funny. And "comedy" that is designed to garner "Clapter" instead of real laughs is an example of using hate and group-think instead of real introspection.
It is the same with other forms of ethnic comedy. Jerry Seinfeld can get away with saying, "Oh great, here I am in a deli watching and old Jew eating soup!" when interviewing the late Don Rickles. He can get away with it as it is an inside joke. And Black comedians can get away with using the N-word, although using profanity is often the sign of a weak comic (As Mr. Seinfeld once noted). For some reason, though, Black comedians can get away with making comments about whites (and black/white relations), usually to an all-white audience, but a White comedian cannot do the opposite without being called racist. There are weird rules here, but for the most part, I find "ethnic" humor to be a bit on the lame side. Jerry Seinfeld said that dropping the F-bomb was a sign of a weak comedian. I would also argue that doing ethnic jokes - even if you are of that ethnicity - is also weak. Jerry.
But I digress. Or did I? Because half the heat generated by this "Trans" thing is caused by many Trans people apparently having no sense of humor. The other half is generated by anti-Trans people who also have no sense of humor, making hateful comments. Neither side seems to realize this is hardly the end of the world as we know it and that there are far more important things on our agenda these days.
Getting back to Islam, there are some on the Left who seem to give a big pass to the excesses of that religion - and in fact, even if they are atheists and despise the excesses of Christianity and Zionism, will sort of shut up when you bring up how things go down in places like Iran or Afghanistan. On the right, the same applies, sadly - as they give a pass to places like Saudi Arabia and Qatar for their human rights violations (which never bother the Right very much unless it is a cover for something else on their agenda). Both Left and Right seem to have a huge blind spot with regard to Islam.
Take, for example, these protests in Iran. We send missiles and tanks to Ukraine to defend itself. We encourage and foment resistance and even revolution in places like Venezuela. But in Iran? We sit very quietly by and do nothing as the population rises up against the Mullahs. And when the Iranians realize that we will do nothing, the slaughter will truly start.
And then there is Israel. The far-Left hates Israel - even some Jews who are Leftists are anti-Israel. They argue that Zionism has caused Israel to lose its perspective with regard to the Palestinians on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Those poor Palestinians! They are being oppressed! And they are, but mostly by their own leadership.
A few months back, there was another in a never-ending series of flareups in the Gaza Strip. It was all Israel's fault, we are told by the Leftists, because the Police in Jerusalem got rough with some protesters. So that justified Hamas launching 4,000 rockets into Israel. Four-thousand rockets - let that sink in! And that was just one of a never-ending series of attacks that have gone on since forever it seems. The people in Gaza are suffering, but only because their "leadership" is using all the money they can raise for weapons and not for food. They are oppressing their own people.
And this is nothing new. Yassir Arafat kept Palestinians in refugee camps simply because it was an expedient way to raise relief money, the bulk of which went into his Swiss bank accounts. He was a horrible human being and sadly, emblematic of Palestinian leadership over the years. Peace will never come to the Middle-East until new leaders take over - and until Iran and other Arab nations get their sticky fingers out of this mess.
This is not to say that Israel is never in the wrong. Every country, including the United States, makes horrific policy choices and takes improper actions on occasion. But I am not sure that attacking Gaza in response to a 4,000 rocket attack is not unjustified.
The Left, on the other hand sees it another way. Every action by Israel is magnified out of proportion and every outrage committed by Hamas or the Palestinian Authority is muted. Something-something 4,000 rockets - it's not important! The main thing is, a teenager who was hucking rocks at the police was shot. They should come to America sometime - the Police shoot rock-throwing teens here, too. And a rock thrown with a sling can crack a skull - ask Goliath about that.
What does this have to do with Islam? Well, religion is one aspect the Palestinian leaders use to foment violence against Israel. You strap on a suicide vest, you are not doing so for a two-state solution, but to become a martyr for your religion. And oddly enough, this doesn't seem to be as popular a sport for Christians, Jews, or Buddhists. Oh sure, there was Timothy McVeigh, but that is just one event - compared to the multitude of bombings and terrorist attacks that Islamic fundamentalists have carried out on every continent except Antarctica.
Of course, some say that Christian terrorists are just getting started in our country - and maybe that is true. A lot of people today are talking about the rise of "Christian-fascism" and many of those folks are arming themselves and talking about civil war. And already, there have been a few "lone wolf" attacks on synagogues, mosques, and gay bars. The left is very vocal to condemn this, but less vocal when it comes to Islamic attacks in Paris or India.
But again, getting back to humor, it isn't right either to pointlessly mock Islam or its beliefs - that's just being hateful. It is OK, though, to argue that government by religion is not a good thing - and that punishing people for not wearing the right hat, not growing a beard, or not being pious enough, is a violation of basic human rights. There is a difference between discussing an issue and just spreading hate. Sadly, some on the Left think that even discussing such issues is being "Islamophobic" and then shut down debate - which is not a healthy thing.
It gets back to the Paradox of Tolerance - you can be "tolerant" as those on the Left try to be, but only up to a point. You can't be tolerant of intolerance. And some fundamentalist Muslims take the position that non-believers either need to convert or be wiped out. Oddly enough, that was the position of the Catholic Church at one time. Maybe in a few hundred years, Islam will mellow out as well.
So what's the point? The point here wasn't to solve the Middle-East peace problem or bring all the religions of the world together. Rather, it is to point out that just because the far-left believes a lot of nonsense doesn't mean that most Democrats do. Most mainstream Democrats support Israel, even if they are sympathetic (somewhat) to the plight of Palestinians. The radical positions of the far-left do not define what Democrats stand for, despite what Tucker Carlson says.
That seems to be the game these days - to paint the opposing party with the views of their most radical elements. The GOP is lambasted for tolerating neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and anti-Semites, as well as Christian terrorists. Of course, this is not entirely true - they tolerate them only to the extent they vote in elections and don't drive away other voters. I think in response to the last election, they are trying to change course on this - denouncing Trumpism and Qanonsense simply because the people who support those ideas don't vote, often because Trump told them not to. What's more, the far-right is driving many middle-of-the-road Republicans to switch teams, as we saw here in Georgia on January 7th, 2021, when our State elected not one, but two Democratic Senators. This wouldn't have happened, I think, if not for the events of the day before (and the month-long whining about "stolen elections" as well as Trump's laughable parade of drunken lawyers, pillow-guys, and four-seasons landscaping).
Sadly, it seems that some on the Right want to double-down on this bet. They are ignoring things like the economy (except when they can blame it on Biden) and concentrating on "Social Issues" like drag shows and trans people. Problem is, you can't eat social issues, and eventually, people realize that all the protesting and even violence isn't really helping their own bottom line. A lot of January 6th rioters are discovering this the hard way - losing money, jobs, careers, friends, family, and ultimately, their freedom. And for what? For some guy who doesn't care if they live or die?
Sadly still, it seems that some on the Left want to double-down on things like "trans rights" and "let all the criminals go free!" which are issues that don't resonate with the majority of the population. When getting your car broken into is such a daily occurrence that you leave it unlocked with the trunk open, something is wrong with society. When murderers are let go on bail awaiting sentencing, the world has turned upside-down.
Quite frankly, when I see both the Leftists and Rightists pissed-off about some action our government is taking, I feel we probably are on the right course. We shouldn't listen to extremism. It gets us nowhere but in trouble!