Archive for November 2nd, 2007

“A Swastika is not as Important as a Noose: Politics As usual at Columbia and at The New York Times” by Dr. Phyllis Chesler

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

I have just been told that the New York Times described this incident in their online edition today—not at length, not in any depth, but the swastika has definitely made it onto their radar screen. My informant happens to be my son—and therefore we both agreed that it would be safer and wiser if he sent it to me for a final, maternal inspection. What can I say? I am relieved, my faith redeemed, etc. I look forward to their in-depth hardcopy coverage of the many ways in which Israel and Jews have been demonized on American college campuses.

Just when I think I’ve seen it all—there is always more to see.

I am talking about my favorite newspaper: The even-handed, totally objective, fair-minded , high-stepping Grey Lady aka The New York Times and their unwritten policy about the Jews and Israel.

I know, I know: My standards are impossibly high and to boot, I am allegedly “paranoid” on the subject of the Jews and Israel. That’s precisely the word that their managing editor, Bill Keller, used to describe me in a note he sent my way. (I had asked why the Book Review and the paper itself had decided not to review my book about anti-Semitism or to interview me about the issues the book raised or to allow one of their own reporters to continue working on a story about anti-Semitism and the demonization of Israel on college campuses way back in 2003-2004).

Fast forward to 2007. When the noose was found outside Professor Madonna Constantine’s door at Columbia University Teacher’s College, the Times published not one, not two, but three stories about it with many accompanying photos. As well they should have. As I recall, they may even have published a fourth story exonerating another female professor who was implicated in a rivalry with Professor Constantine.

On October 10, 2007 Sewell Chan wrote a piece titled “Noose Puts Columbia at Center Stage Again.” On October 10, 2007, a second article also appeared in their pages, (perhaps only online, I am not clear about this), written by Anahad O’Connor and titled “Hate Crime Investigation at Columbia.” On October 11, 2007, a third article, written by Elissa Gootman and Al Baker appeared, titled “Noose on Door at Columbia Prompts Campus Protest.”

This morning, in the New York Sun, I read that a “Swastika Is Found at Columbia.” The article, written by Sarah Garland, tells us that Professor Elizabeth Midlarsky, of Columbia’s Teacher’s College, found a swastika painted on her office door. Professor Midlarsky is Jewish and she researches the European Holocaust against the Jews.

I dutifully scanned each and every page of the New York Times’s main and metro sections. I held the newspaper up to the light and looked at it in my bathroom mirror (just in case it was written in invisible ink or backwards). I even considered calling upon Harry Potter or Nancy Drew to help me out.

Perhaps the Times is working on a longer story. As well they should. But still: I wonder what they said at their editorial meeting about whether to cover this story or not. When the Times finally does the story I hope they research it fully. Why? I have been told, very confidentially, that similar swastikas have recently appeared on the doors or in the offices of two other Jewish professors at Columbia, both of whom decided to keep it quiet. Perhaps they wanted to demonstrate that their greater loyalty was to the university and not to any “narrow” Jewish interests; perhaps they felt that the media can only make things worse and that publicity might lead to more copy-cat incidents.

I have not been able to confirm these incidents. Perhaps they never happened. But surely, the Paper of Record will get to the bottom of this. IAnd when they do, I will be the first to congratulate them.


Dr. Phyllis Chesler is the well known author of classic works, including the bestseller Women and Madness (1972) and The New Anti-Semitism (2003). She has just published The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom (Palgrave Macmillan), as well as an updated and revised edition of Women and Madness. She is an Emerita Professor of psychology and women’s studies, the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969) and the National Women’s Health Network (1974). She is currently on the Board of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and lives in New York City. Her website is
We are delighted to have Dr. Chesler as a contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

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Israel Hopes For Peace Deal With Palestinians Before Bush Leaves Office

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 “Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape”.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is seeking to reach an agreement on key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a year, while President Bush is still in office, a top Israeli paper said Friday.

Despite his opposition to a rigid timetable for implementing any future peace accord, Olmert believes the support of the Bush administration will play an important role in striking a peace deal on Israeli terms.

Israel wants to retain control over East Jerusalem and key settlements in the West Bank as part of the agreement. Tel Aviv is also demanding that the Palestine National Authority (PNA) disband all terrorist organizations before a Palestinian state can be established.

“We’ll never have a more comfortable administration,” Haaretz quoted Olmert as saying. “And the next administration will not be committed to these principles to the same degree.”

The Bush administration is sponsoring a Mideast peace conference scheduled for November-December in Annapolis, Maryland, which is expected to result in a framework agreement outlining the principles for a peace settlement.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians have called for a detailed agreement specifying each party’s commitment on key points, such as borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and Israeli settlements. They are also seeking a rigid timeline for Palestinian statehood.

“I will make no concessions [to Israel] at the conference in Annapolis, but will demand that UN Security Council resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the road map be implemented,” PNA leader Mahmoud Abbas told the Egyptian MENA agency on October 30.

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Catholic League Issues Warning Over Golden Compass Movie

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

After reading information on about this movie, I think the Catholic League is right in their concern over this movie. The Snopes information can be found at

The Catholic League has kicked off a two-month campaign against a children’s fantasy film that features a young girl on a mission to kill God.

Next month, The Golden Compass opens in theaters nationwide. The movie is based on the first novel in a series called His Dark Materials by British author Philip Pullman, an outspoken atheist. The film is set in a parallel universe, where people’s souls are manifested as demons — in animal form.

New Line Cinema officials said they did not include many Godless themes, found in the books, in an effort to not offend Christians. In the original books, the plot of The Golden Compass centers around a mysterious substance called “Dust.” Church-controlled scientists believe that this substance is evidence for Original Sin. In an effort to understand the substance, the scientists begin kidnapping children, experimenting on them with the Dust. However, it is the goal of the heroine Lyra to save the substance from being destroyed by the church, referred to as the “Magisterium.”

Bill Donahue of the Catholic League is concerned that the movie could cause unsuspecting parents to get the books for their children.

“The protest is not because the movie is going to be so shocking,” Donahue explains. “The protest is this: it comes out at Christmastime, it’s all done deliberately, it’s all calculated. If unsuspecting Christian parents bring their kids to see this movie, they might find it not troubling,” he says. “All the more reason then they may want to buy the trilogy [of books] for their kids as a Christmas gift.

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Supreme Court To Decide If Child Porn Law Is Constitutional

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

The fact that the Supreme Court is wasting their time with this boggles my mind. If something remotely resembles child porn then it is wrong and those who promote it should be punished.

A child pornography case pending before the Supreme Court highlights the tension that exists between freedom of speech and the state’s interest in protecting its most vulnerable citizens — children.

Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a challenge to a law enacted by Congress in 2003 that criminalizes the advertisement or promotion of child pornography. A federal appeals court last year struck down the ban as an overly broad violation of free speech, arguing the law could cover fake or non-existent porn offerings.

Mario Diaz is the policy director for legal issues at Concerned Women for America, which wants the law upheld. Diaz says he is concerned Solicitor General Paul Clement may have inadvertently bolstered the defense of a convicted Florida man who is being backed by free-speech groups.

“He argued with Justice [Stephen] Breyer and Chief Justice Roberts that the law was broader than they thought and than what I thought when I read the government’s brief,” he shares. “He basically said that it would cover somebody showing illegal child pornography to another person — and that would be a little bit more troubling in terms of the definition of promoting or distributing this material,” says Diaz.

On the other hand, Diaz says if the high court is sincere, there is no way it can say that protecting children from being exploited by child pornography is not a “significant compelling state interest.” He agrees with Justice Anthony Kennedy who said that the Florida man contesting the law was not the best person to challenge the law. According to Diaz, the convicted Florida man was sharing illegal child pornography that included his own children.

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