Red Sky Morning-Sweden

Red sky at morning, pussy take warning.I will probably stay inside today.

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Cat highly suspicious.

I find this whole political scene highly suspicious.

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Sweden’s Challenge

 

A view of a synagogue that was attacked in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Dec. 9. Three people were arrested after firebombs were thrown at the synagogue. No one was injured in the attack, which occurred during a youth event at the synagogue and the adjacent Jewish center in Sweden’s second-largest city. (Adam Ihse/TT News Agency via AP)

In the immediate aftermath of President Trump’s announcement to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Sweden was shocked by two serious cases of horrible crimes against Jews. In Gothenburg, Molotov cocktails were thrown against a synagogue. In the town of Malmö, marchers during a protest made explicit threats to murder Jews.

These events were condemned by Swedish parliament leaders and the prime minister as well as Muslim leaders of our country.

The suspects in the crimes in both Gothenburg and Malmö are all refugees from conflict-torn parts of the Middle East. Too often we have seen that some refugees bring with them not only anti-Israel but also anti-Semitic views that they have been indoctrinated with in the countries they have been forced to flee.

This is undoubtedly a serious challenge to our society, and not the only one. Sometimes the refugees come from societies where views on issues like women’s position in society or LGBT rights more resemble what we had in our part of the world a century or so ago. Their views and values don’t change immediately once they cross into Sweden.

With a far more diverse refugee population, we are unfortunately not immune to the effects of conflicts flaring up in different parts of the world. When tensions increase in the Middle East, we unfortunately feel it here as well. Today, conflicts over Jerusalem have very few geographic restrictions.

Most refugees coming to our country from Muslim countries have adjusted to the values of tolerance central to our society. The fact that many of these people have often fled different systems of intolerance helps that process.

But there are those who have not, and there are even those who seem to have no intention of doing so, inspired by the new waves of hatred we have seen during the past decade. There is no doubt that our society has to be even more vigilant and firm against groups and individuals preaching messages of hate toward other beliefs or nationalities.

That absolutely applies to those preaching hatred and mistrust against Jews, irrespective of their numbers or origins, and it naturally applies also to those preaching hatred and mistrust against Muslims. This is a serious problem, and certainly not only in Sweden.

When the Anti-Defamation League last tried to measure the support for anti-Semitic views across the world, Sweden came out near the bottom of that list. The group’s polling found that anti-Semitic views had roughly twice as broad support in traditionally tolerant countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States and 10 percent more in Australia than in Sweden.

None of this means that there hasn’t been anti-Semitism in Sweden in the past. But even in the heydays of anti-semitism in Europe, Sweden was less affected by that evil plague than most other countries.

Historically in Sweden it was the Catholics that were seen as the dangerous threat that had to be fought and restricted. The legacy of the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century and the Reformation conflicts that preceded it run deep. Up until 1951, Catholics were legally banned from a number of professions in Sweden, which Jews were not, and the return of monasteries was not allowed until much later.

But that is history. This year a Swede, Anders Aborelius, was appointed as the first Swedish cardinal since the Reformation; he has also just been selected as the Swede of the year by a prominent political magazine.

Sweden certainly has its share of far-right groups and political parties, and we have unfortunately seen the strengthening of them during the past decade or so. But like elsewhere, these groups have often turned staunchly pro-Israel, in the belief that an enemy of your enemy has to be your friend. And their enemy is clearly the Muslim world.

There was a time when our country could live in relative isolation from other parts of the world. Immigration not too many decades ago was primarily a question of people coming from Finland, either fleeing war or seeking a job. But recent decades have seen a distinct change, not only in Sweden but also throughout Europe. And there is no doubt that immigration has made our society far more dynamic, creative and interesting — Stockholm is the fastest-growing capital of Europe in terms of population, and our economy is one of the high-growth economies of Europe.

There is equally no doubt that immigration has brought new challenges that we are still struggling with — questions of immigration and integration have been at the very center of the political discourse in Sweden. The past few months have seen a decline in the polls for the populist anti-immigration political party, as the distance from the dramatic months of the autumn of 2015 increases, but the issues will certainly figure as the country approaches elections in September.

Sweden’s problems are there, including anti-Semitism. But overall I am confident that if the Anti-Defamation League were to repeat its global poll measuring support for anti-Semitic views, it would come up with the same — or an even better — result for Sweden today.

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‘Arab Street’ Comes to Sweden

When the ‘Arab Street’ Comes to Sweden

Anti-Jewish violence spreads to liberal Europe, where immigrants enjoy the freedom to protest.

by  Noah Feldman

December 11, 2017, 10:17 PM GMT+1

Photographer: Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images

It’s no surprise that U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has sparked violence in the West Bank and Beirut, or even protests in far-flung Indonesia, which is majority Muslim.

But Sweden? Yet the western Swedish city of Gothenburg, headquarters of Volvo Car AB, saw the firebombing of a synagogue on Friday. The same evening, demonstrators in Malmö, in Sweden’s far south, called for their own “intifada” and threatened to shoot Jews.

What’s going on in Sweden reflects a changed demographic and psychic reality. The “Arab street,” if that abstraction ever existed, is no longer restricted to Arabic-speaking countries. Arab and other Muslim immigrants now living in Europe increasingly play just as active a role in enacting collective political opinion as their counterparts who did not leave their home countries.

Indeed, because Western European states respect civil liberties, allow peaceful protest and punish at least some kinds of violence mildly, Arabs and Muslims living in places like Sweden may have more freedom to protest — and to go overboard into violence — than their counterparts in majority-Arab or Muslim countries.

And what’s happening today in Sweden can happen tomorrow throughout the rest of Europe.

The synagogue attack in Gothenburg didn’t come out of nowhere, of course. It’s the product of a gradual process in which Arab and Muslim immigrant and refugee communities in Sweden first grew, then developed pockets of radicalization. Several of the Sweden-based jihadis who went to join Islamic State mostly came from Gothenburg.

The story in Malmö is better known. There Muslims make up a significant percentage of the population.

The Malmö chant was reported as: “We have declared an intifada from Malmö. We want our freedom back. And we will shoot the Jews.”

An intifada is an uprising aimed at self-determination. The Malmö demand for an intifada and freedom therefore hint at ownership — and perhaps even occupation. The protesters seem to be implying, on one possible interpretation, that they own Malmö. If that is so, that would make the Swedish police into foreign occupiers.

The invocation of the fantasy of killing Jews seems to function here, unfortunately, as a unifying intifada-related theme that connects the protest to events in Jerusalem.

It’s nothing new for Arab-street protesters to use anti-Israel sentiment as a vehicle to express their own, more local concerns. What’s new is that it’s happening in Europe.

This phenomenon is a cousin to the classic Europe-based anti-Jewish terrorism, which dates back at least to the 1982 Abu Nidal group attack on a kosher deli in Paris. That form of terrorism used Europe as a stage on which to play out Middle Eastern politics.

Today’s version, however, is less the product of outside agitation and more the result of the internal dynamics of a well-established Arab and Muslim population that considers itself to be at home.

 

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Teacher Cartoon

 

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Casablanca Birthday

Interesting. Great movies made from failed plays. Meet Joe Black (One of my all time favorites) was taken from Death Takes A Holiday, and  Casablanca from Everybody Comes to Rick’s.

The movie Casablanca premiered in New York City 75 years ago today, in 1942.

This taken from Writer’s Almanac:

The movie was originally intended for release in January 1943, and that is when it came out in the rest of the country, but the producers moved up the New York premiere to take advantage of the free publicity surrounding the landing of Allied forces in North Africa.

The film was based on an unproduced play called Everybody Comes to Rick’s, by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. A story analyst called it “sophisticated hokum,” but recommended it to Warner Bros. anyway. Unlike most movies, Casablanca was filmed in story order rather than out of sequence, because the screenplay was only half done by the time filming began. Ingrid Bergman wrote in her autobiography, My Story (1980): “We were shooting off the cuff. Every day they were handing out dialogue and we were trying to make some sense of it. Every morning we would say, ‘Well, who are we? What are we doing here?’ And [director] Michael Curtiz would say, ‘We’re not quite sure, but let’s get through this scene today and we’ll let you know tomorrow.’” She didn’t know which man her character ended up with until the final scene was filmed.

The movie was filmed almost entirely indoors, because a Japanese submarine had been spotted off the coast of California and everyone was worried that Japan might attack the mainland. The production crew also had to cope with war rationing and shortages of things like rubber and aluminum. They couldn’t use nylon or silk in the costumes, so Ingrid Bergman wore cotton. Even casting was affected: refugees from Nazi Europe played about half of the non-starring roles. For such a quintessentially American film, there were only three Americans in the cast.

Casablanca received great reviews, but at the time most people just seemed to think it was going to be one of many boilerplate movies intended to raise American morale during World War II. The New York Times wrote, “Yes, indeed, the Warners here have a picture which makes the spine tingle and the heart take a leap.” The Hollywood Reporter called it “a drama that lifts you right out of your seat” and added, “Certainly a more accomplished cast of players cannot be imagined.” Variety wrote, “Casablanca will take the [box offices] of America just as swiftly as the AEF took North Africa.” Another reviewer said, “It certainly won’t make Vichy happy — but that’s just another point for it.” It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and won three of them: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Not every critic since the movie’s release has considered it a masterpiece, however. Pauline Kael said, “It’s far from a great film, but it has a special appealingly schlocky romanticism, and you’re never really pressed to take its melodramatic twists and turns seriously.”

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Postcard From Smoothy 15 November 2017

Postcard From Smoothy

Some of you may have wondered why I haven’t written much lately. I am posting these photos to show you what’s been going on.

A typical day:

I was taking a peaceful floor nap when I was attacked by Neo,  a vicious Wheaton Terrier who has come to live with us—God knows why. You would think one dog is more than enough, but now we have two.

He went for the throat, as usual, but I was able to fight him off with cat-like reflexes.

Notice the razor sharp teeth.

I finally manage to calm him down, but it’s not easy. I think he might be ADHD, but who knows. If he gets any bigger this could be a serious problem.

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