Thursday, April 30, 2020

Meat Shortages in US and an Old Joke

I did not take this photo. This was what my supermarket looked 
like yesterday, though. 

There are now meat shortages in the US. 

Meat shortages in the US? How did that happen? 

For an idea of how all this looks from abroad, you must read Fintan O'Toole's April 25, 2020 editorial in the Irish Times. You can read O'Toole's searing analysis here

But, the meat shortages. 

Yesterday there was no fresh, uncooked chicken of any kind to be had in my supermarket. Ditto turkey. There were some packages of beef, a limited selection, with rationing. One could purchase, for example, only one one-pound package  of beef. 

All this while farmers are slaughtering and burying their livestock and plowing  their crops back into the soil. 

These new conditions in America under Donald Trump bring to mind an old joke. 

I do not tell this joke to approve of it. Clearly, it is anti-Polish AND anti-Jewish. 

Jokes are data. And  they are not politically correct. 


A Russian, a Pole, an American, and an Israeli are sitting on a park bench in Moscow, USSR.

A reporter approaches them with a microphone.

"Excuse me, folks, I'm from CNN and I have a question for you. What do you think of the meat shortage?"

The Russian replies quizzically, "What is 'meat'?"

The Poles asks, "What is 'think'?"

The Israeli asks, "What does 'excuse me' mean?"

And the American is confused. "What is a 'shortage'?"

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Barbara Engelking Quote

There's been some back and forth in the comments section re: a quote by Barbara Engelking, a leading Polish Holocaust scholar. 

Lukasz submitted the video below, and this transcription of the quote, 

"Dla Polaków to była po prostu kwestia biologiczna, naturalna – śmierć jak śmierć, a dla Żydów to była tragedia, to było dramatyczne doświadczenie, to była metafizyka, to było spotkanie z Najwyższym," 

and this translation, 

"For Poles it was simply a biological, natural issue - death like death, and for Jews it was a tragedy, it was a dramatic experience, it was metaphysics, it was a meeting with the Highest." 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Janusz Korwin-Mikke: Pogroms Were Good for Jews

Sejm member Janusz Korwin-Mikke said that pogroms were good for Jews. 

Pretty vile, no? 

Get a load of his other statements. I'm just cutting and pasting from Wikipedia

The man is a disgrace and an embarrassment. 


During the 2000 presidential campaign in Poland
Mikke gained fleeting notorierity in Polish mass media due to his populist claims. He believes that women are generally less intelligent than men, citing chess results to back up his claims.[9] [10] At the same time he names Margaret Thatcher as his political guru.[11][12][13]
Other provocative statements include his claim that there is no written proof that Adolf Hitler was aware of the Holocaust.[14] He also stated that the difference between rape and consensual sex is very subtle[14], even going as far as saying that "Were you to understand woman's nature, sir, you would know that there is an element of rape in every sexual intercourse".[15] He further claimed that: "there is a hypothesis that the attitudes of men are passed to women by way of the semen which penetrates the tissue... now when contraceptives are much more in use, the women become much more independent".[6] During the 2012 Summer Paralympics, Korwin-Mikke wrote that the general public should "not see the disabled on television".[16] In 2007 he set up the "Individual Development Foundation" which helps disabled people develop their skills in chess.[17][18] He proposed that the European Commission's Berlaymont building would be better used as a brothel.[7][19] In regard to welfare, he believes that "if someone gives money to an unemployed person, he should have his hand cut off because he is destroying the morale of the people".[6]
In 2014, Korwin-Mikke was fined by President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz for 'expressing himself in a racist manner'.[20] The decision was taken due to Korwin-Mikke's speech given during the plenary session on 16 July, when Korwin-Mikke had compared the EU employment policy to the policy of John Kennedy's administration and concluded that: 'we have 20 million Europeans who are now negroes of Europe'.[21][22] According to Korwin-Mikke the word 'negroes' was not meant as an offence, but rather referred to the song by John Lennon and Yoko Ono 'Woman is the Nigger of the world'.[23]
At the plenary session of the European Parliament held after the assault at Charlie Hebdo, Korwin-Mikke expressed his dissatisfaction with the public reaction to those events by typing at his laptop 'I am not Charlie. I am for death penalty' and presenting it to the public instead of a sign 'Je suis Charlie' held by the other MEPs.[24]
Korwin-Mikke during a press conference in the Polish Sejm, 2015
On 15 April 2015 the Polish news outlet Wiadomości quoted Korwin-Mikke that the snipers that shot civilians and police officers during the Maidan protests were trained in Poland and that they acted on behalf of the CIA to provoke riots.[25]
In July 2015, Korwin-Mikke was suspended from the European Parliament after giving a Nazi salute and saying "ein Reich, ein Volk, ein ticket" during a speech to protest against a uniform EU transport ticket.[26]
On 8 September 2015, Korwin-Mikke was giving a speech in European Parliament about the European migrant crisis, during which he described immigrants unwilling to work and only interested in welfare as "human garbage".[27] His opinion met with critical reaction of other MEPs. As a result of this, Korwin-Mikke was once more suspended from the European Parliament for 10 days and fined €3062.[28][29]
On 1 March 2017, Korwin-Mikke sparked controversy by stating that women were paid less than their male counterparts due to them being "smaller, weaker and less intelligent", during a debate in the European Parliament regarding the gender pay gap.[30][31] Two days later, Korwin-Mikke would make further comments stating that there was a stereotype that "women have the same intellectual potential as men,” with a follow up that it “must be destroyed because it is not true.”[32] Later Korwin-Mikke was suspended for 10 days from the plenary sessions as MEP of the European Parliament.[33] In May 2018 European General Court canceled all sanctions and ordered European Parliament to return the money.[34] In February 2018 Korwin-Mikke resigned as MEP to return to Polish politics.


Korwin-Mikke has a history of anti-semitic stunts and statements.[1] He promoted a conspiracy theory on Jews in conjuncton with reporting on the residents of Pruchnik beating up the effigy of an Orthodox Jew.[1] In 2020, while making comments on the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic, he stated that anti-Jewish pogroms made Jews powerful via natural selection and that rabbis may have engineered this.[1][35] Korwin-Mikke denies being an anti-Semite.[10][36]

Coronavirus and Hasidic Jews

Spencer Platt Getty Images Source

Numerous news accounts report that some groups of Hasidic Jews, both in the US and in Israel, are flouting requests to wear face coverings in public and to practice social distancing. 

Perhaps the most shocking story: three Hasidic Jews are accused of sneezing, and, in some accounts, spitting, in the face of a Muslim American firefighter who was later diagnosed with covid-19. 

It's hard to understand this behavior. 

Some say the idea is that studying Torah guarantees God's protection against disease. Clearly that is not working. Reports are that five rabbis have died of covid-19 in Lakewood, NJ, alone. 

Of course Hasidic Jews are not the only ones defying social distancing guidelines, and paying a price in high infection rates. African Americans have also been described as doing so, as have some Christians. But this blog is devoted to Polish-Jewish relations, and how they are covered in the media. 

Read more about the firefighter here

New York Times coverage here

Forward coverage here

Daily Mail coverage here

Washington Post coverage here

NPR here here

Friday, April 10, 2020

Offer for a FREE Copy of Bieganski

I am grateful to the Polish American Journal for coverage of my book God through Binoculars

I have a handful of Polish-language copies of Bieganski. If you order an Amazon copy of God through Binoculars, I'll send you a free copy of the Polish-language version of Bieganski. 

Monday, April 6, 2020

Bieganski, Hollywood, and Japanese War Crimes

Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype is a hard book to describe to people.

"It's about stereotypes of Poles and other Eastern Europeans as the world's worst anti-Semites, and maybe the worst haters in history. Stupid, brutal, backward."

"But, Poles are terrible anti-Semites. Look at all the crimes committed by Poles during and after WW II. Jedwabne. Kielce. Are you denying that those horrible crimes ever happened?"

"No, Bieganski is not about denial. It's about stereotypes. It's about treating the crimes committed by Poles and other Eastern Europeans differently than crimes committed by members of other ethnic groups."

"So your book is all about denial, then."

How do I get through to such people?

Maybe this way.

Maybe by inviting them to read something as simple and relatively brief as the 42-page Wikipedia entry entitled, "Japanese War Crimes."

Or, if I wanted to demand more of my interlocutor, I could invite him or her to read Iris Chang's bestselling 1997 book, Rape of Nanking, a project that contributed to Chang's ultimate suicide.

WW-II-era Japan was a racist, imperialist nation that committed mass murder and unspeakable war crimes.

Included, at the end of this blog post, is a New York Times description of one such Japanese war crime. I place it at the end of the post because it is so disturbing that you may not want to read it, or, if you do read it, after you are done, you may not want to read anything else.

Again, I invite my interlocutor to read the Wikipedia page on Japanese war crimes, or Iris Chang's book, or even just the excerpt from the New York Times article included below, and then, after that, watch the 2012 film Emperor, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Matthew Fox.

The film is based on the true story of American General Bonner Fellers' (Matthew Fox) work in Japan after WW II. Tommy Lee Jones plays General Douglas MacArthur, but he isn't given much screentime. The movie is mostly about Fox's Fellers. The entire film is available on YouTube.

The film provides Fellers with a fictionalized backstory. He is, of course, in love with an exquisitely beautiful Japanese virginal fairy queen, Aya (Eriko Hatsune). Aya is shown drifting wistfully and laughingly through swaying bamboo. She's more sprite than human. She speaks little. Ethereal, beautiful, gracious Aya is blown to smithereens by an American bomb.

Indeed, Emperor begins with images of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. America, in Emperor, is the bad guy, the aggressor, the bully who goes around bombing charming people who live behind bamboo screens and drink cute cups of tea while kneeling humbly on the floor and cultivate Zen gardens. America Bad. Japan Good.

Japanese in the film are depicted as exquisitely dressed, calm, quiet, obedient, long-suffering, and the tutors in civilization. They have to teach dumbass Americans how to behave in a civilized manner.

In one brief scene, some toughs punch out Fellers in a noodle shop. Those are the only mean, violent Japanese in the entire movie. In another brief scene, a character that is depicted as otherwise protective, honorable, and sympathetic admits that he did bad things during war. What those bad things were, we never hear.

There are multiple scenes of Japanese quietly attempting to go about their daily lives in their American-bomb-wrecked cities.

This isn't the first Hollywood movie to invite Americans to embrace Japan and never focus on its war crimes. Back in 2011, on this blog, I wrote about the 1961 Rosalind Russell and Alec Guinness film, A Majority of One. You can see that blog post here.

This isn't the first film to use sex to whitewash Axis crimes. Sexy Nazis are a recurring them in popular culture and on this blog. You can read numerous blog posts about sexy Nazis here.

Below find an account of Japanese war crimes that you may not want to read.

From the New York Times

Unmasking Horror -- A special report.; Japan Confronting Gruesome War Atrocity

By Nicholas D. Kristof

March 17, 1995

He is a cheerful old farmer who jokes as he serves rice cakes made by his wife, and then he switches easily to explaining what it is like to cut open a 30-year-old man who is tied naked to a bed and dissect him alive, without anesthetic.

"The fellow knew that it was over for him, and so he didn't struggle when they led him into the room and tied him down," recalled the 72-year-old farmer, then a medical assistant in a Japanese Army unit in China in World War II. "But when I picked up the scalpel, that's when he began screaming.

"I cut him open from the chest to the stomach, and he screamed terribly, and his face was all twisted in agony. He made this unimaginable sound, he was screaming so horribly. But then finally he stopped. This was all in a day's work for the surgeons, but it really left an impression on me because it was my first time."

Finally the old man, who insisted on anonymity, explained the reason for the vivisection. The Chinese prisoner had been deliberately infected with the plague as part of a research project -- the full horror of which is only now emerging -- to develop plague bombs for use in World War II. After infecting him, the researchers decided to cut him open to see what the disease does to a man's inside. No anesthetic was used, he said, out of concern that it might have an effect on the results.

That research program was one of the great secrets of Japan during and after World War II: a vast project to develop weapons of biological warfare, including plague, anthrax, cholera and a dozen other pathogens. Unit 731 of the Japanese Imperial Army conducted research by experimenting on humans and by "field testing" plague bombs by dropping them on Chinese cities to see whether they could start plague outbreaks. They could.

A trickle of information about the program has turned into a stream and now a torrent. Half a century after the end of the war, a rush of books, documentaries and exhibitions are unlocking the past and helping arouse interest in Japan in the atrocities committed by some of Japan's most distinguished doctors.

Scholars and former members of the unit say that at least 3,000 people -- by some accounts several times as many -- were killed in the medical experiments; none survived.

No one knows how many died in the "field testing." It is becoming evident that the Japanese officers in charge of the program hoped to use their weapons against the United States. They proposed using balloon bombs to carry disease to America, and they had a plan in the summer of 1945 to use kamikaze pilots to dump plague-infected fleas on San Diego.

The research was kept secret after the end of the war in part because the United States Army granted immunity from war crimes prosecution to the doctors in exchange for their data. Japanese and American documents show that the United States helped cover up the human experimentation. Instead of putting the ringleaders on trial, it gave them stipends…