No, Lolita Bar isn’t becoming the U.N. for a night (that’s up in the East 40s, we’re on the Lower East Side), but next week we are broaching one of the most controversial geopolitical questions, “Is Zionism Racism?”:
Wednesday, June 3 (8pm):
Blogger at SaifHouse Saif Ammous argues yes.
Blogger at Commentary Abe Greenwald argues no.
Hosted by Todd Seavey and moderated by Michel Evanchik.
Free admission, cash bar. Basement level of Lolita Bar at 266 Broome St. at the corner of Allen St. on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, one block south and three west of the Delancey St. F, J, M, Z subway stop.
The debate should be made extra-interesting by the participation of Saif and Abe (who, in addition to having debated other topics at Lolita, also used to attend the Manhattan Project social gatherings I host, noted in my right margin). They are not mere left-vs.-right stereotypes. Abe’s got too decent a sense of humor for that, and Palestinian-American blogger Saif is a libertarian not so unlike myself — though my vague moderate-conservative impulse has always been to lean Israel-ward on this issue. Saif notes, though, that one of the most influential libertarians of all, Murray Rothbard, took the anti-Israel position, as he explained in this essay. (Despite being called a Rothbardian a couple times, I don’t always agree with him, though — and I’ll stay neutral during the debate.)
Meanwhile, in keeping with this blog’s “Month of the Nerd II” theme, I must note that Saif’s pal Richard Spencer (who’ll be one of our July debaters on a different topic, as it happens) compares Star Trek’s Vulcans to the Jews in a new article for TakiMag, of which he’s managing editor. (I wrote an article contrasting Star Trek’s U.N.-like streak with Star Wars’s more rebellious tone myself in Liberty back in the mid-90s, suggesting as a nice compromise the show Babylon 5 — about a space station that was called humanity’s “last, best hope” in the show’s opening narration.)
Richard might have added that there is an interesting (whether planned or not) generational divide between the self-descriptions of old-Spock and young-Spock in the new Trek movie. When the Vulcans appear doomed, Nimoy says: I have been a witness to genocide. Zachary Quinto, playing the young Spock, says: I am a member of an endangered species. I imagine some folks at our last debate, on animal welfare, would find the latter more alarming, though I think most of us were more moved by Nimoy’s line.
In any case, we will resolve all outstanding conflicts related to these matters to everyone’s satisfaction, bringing about en era of unending peace, next Wednesday, so you have to be there.