Don’t you dare call Israel racist! Or the Burmese genocidal!

Anti-Semitism

So a White House official confirmed to CNN that Donald Trump was about to sign an order declaring Judaism a nationality. That appears to be inaccurate,[1] but it sure kicked off a fuss.

That said, the order relies on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which includes “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”[4] Which is to say that Israel may engage in ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinians, but we can’t call it racist.

Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/

Veronica Stracqualursi, Paul LeBlanc, and Betsy Klein, “Trump aims to crack down on anti-Semitism on college campuses using civil rights protections,” CNN, December 10, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/10/politics/trump-order-judaism-nationality/index.html


Israel

Ruth Eglash, “Israel heading for third election in less than a year after politicians fail to form government,” Washington Post, December 11, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/israel-heading-for-third-election-in-less-than-a-year-after-politicians-fail-to-form-government/2019/12/11/d9d4818a-1ac6-11ea-977a-15a6710ed6da_story.html


Amazon

Danny Fortson, “Is Jeff Bezos’s Amazon now the ‘evil face of capitalism’?” Times, December 8, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/is-jeff-bezoss-amazon-now-the-evil-face-of-capitalism-3lxjs0k0n


Rohingya

Aung San Suu Kyi will need to do better than this. Even if she is correct in blaming “the separatist Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army” for “forc[ing] Myanmar [Burmese] forces to respond,” “mass executions, sexual violence and arson”[5] are war crimes. Executed on the scale Burma is accused of and especially at a largely noncombatant population, they amount to genocide.

The one point that she might have is that international courts do indeed try claims almost exclusively against small, poor countries.[6] But “selective prosecution” is a weak defense against crimes against humanity.

Note that until a relatively legitimate government, which has not existed there in a very long time,[7] exists to assert the name “Myanmar,” I will continue to refer to the country by its admittedly colonial name, “Burma.”

As to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and the Rohingya generally, they appear not to be separatist at all but rather, according to C. Christine Fair, seek only “to return to Myanmar with citizenship and, problematically, with government recognition as a distinct ethnic group.” Crimes against the Rohingya, including land confiscation, concentration camps, forced labor, and arbitrary taxation, appear to precede the ARSA by decades,[8] entirely undermining Aung San Suu Kyi’s argument.

So my message to the Nobel laureate is this: Get over yourself, you lying bitch.

Clyde Hughes, “Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi rejects genocide claims,” United Press International, December 11, 2019, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/12/11/Myanmar-leader-Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-rejects-genocide-claims/1061576065233/

Marlise Simons and Hannah Beech, “Aung San Suu Kyi Defends Myanmar Against Rohingya Genocide Accusations,” New York Times, December 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/world/asia/aung-san-suu-kyi-rohingya-myanmar-genocide-hague.html


  1. [1]Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/; Veronica Stracqualursi, Paul LeBlanc, and Betsy Klein, “Trump aims to crack down on anti-Semitism on college campuses using civil rights protections,” CNN, December 10, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/10/politics/trump-order-judaism-nationality/index.html
  2. [2]Jamal Dajani (@JamalDajani), Twitter, December 10, 2019, 8:49 pm, https://twitter.com/JamalDajani/status/1204578922702069760
  3. [3]Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA), Twitter, December 11, 2019, 9:20 pm, https://twitter.com/RWPUSA/status/1204586619057115136
  4. [4]International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, quoted in Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/
  5. [5]Clyde Hughes, “Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi rejects genocide claims,” United Press International, December 11, 2019, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/12/11/Myanmar-leader-Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-rejects-genocide-claims/1061576065233/
  6. [6]Marlise Simons and Hannah Beech, “Aung San Suu Kyi Defends Myanmar Against Rohingya Genocide Accusations,” New York Times, December 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/world/asia/aung-san-suu-kyi-rohingya-myanmar-genocide-hague.html
  7. [7]Lawrence James seems not to specify when, precisely, Burma fell under sway of the British empire in The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1994) but notes campaigns were fought there in 1824 and 1853.
  8. [8]C. Christine Fair, “Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army: Not the Jihadis You Might Expect,” Lawfare, December 9, 2018, https://www.lawfareblog.com/arakan-rohingya-salvation-army-not-jihadis-you-might-expect

Catalonia is still occupied territory, Daily Bullshit, December 22, 2017

Catalonia

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy loses an election he forced, after violently disrupting an election and deposing the duly elected government in Catalonia, to try to quell the secession movement. But he continues to insist on “the constitution,”[1] which probably means he is unwilling to consider revising that constitution to allow for secession.

Sam Jones and Stephen Burgen, “Catalan pro-independence parties keep their majority in snap poll,” Guardian, December 22, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/21/catalonia-election-set-to-give-victory-to-pro-independence-parties


Taxes

Yesterday, it was Masha Gessen on a cabinet meeting following passage of the tax bill.[2] But it seems there was more to come.[3] Both are writing for the New Yorker, a publication I treated as functionalist conservative in my dissertation.[4] So while I have no argument with their criticism and indeed share their disquiet, I would point out that it is part of an ongoing functionalist conservative critique of an authoritarian populist president.

John Cassidy, “The Republican Grovelling at the White House Was an Alarm Call for 2018,” New Yorker, December 22, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-republican-grovelling-at-the-white-house-was-an-alarm-call-for-2018


Katharine Graham

I don’t expect to point to a neoconservative movie review very often. This one[5] is completely unexpected for me. It’s worth a read.

Amy Henderson, “In ‘The Post’ Katharine Graham Finally Gets Her Due,” Weekly Standard, December 22, 2017, http://www.weeklystandard.com/in-the-post-katharine-graham-finally-gets-her-due/article/2010932


  1. [1]Sam Jones and Stephen Burgen, “Catalan pro-independence parties keep their majority in snap poll,” Guardian, December 22, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/21/catalonia-election-set-to-give-victory-to-pro-independence-parties
  2. [2]Masha Gessen, “The Most Frightening Aspect of Trump’s Tax Triumph,” New Yorker, December 21, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-most-frightening-aspect-of-trumps-tax-triumph
  3. [3]John Cassidy, “The Republican Grovelling at the White House Was an Alarm Call for 2018,” New Yorker, December 22, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-republican-grovelling-at-the-white-house-was-an-alarm-call-for-2018
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  5. [5]Amy Henderson, “In ‘The Post’ Katharine Graham Finally Gets Her Due,” Weekly Standard, December 22, 2017, http://www.weeklystandard.com/in-the-post-katharine-graham-finally-gets-her-due/article/2010932