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Posted in: Letters To Readers

Published on May 24, 2012 by Phyllis Chesler

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A Progress Report

Dear Friend and Reader:

Once, when I was young, New York had four seasons and each one lasted a very long time.

Or so it seemed.

Now, there are only two seasons, winter and summer, and just the merest hint of autumn and spring. The hours fly by so fast that time itself seems to be standing still. Whenever I look up from my daily writing, it is always 3pm—where has the day gone?

Although I have been relatively silent in terms of blogging, I have already generated 60,000 words for the new book. The wordsmith-warrior is wounded; I wear Tiger Balm strips on my wrist and arm. And although I read articles from at least twenty newspapers and websites daily, for now, the world has lost its third dimension; only my work is "real."

I will not be speaking at the 92ndY on June 11th. They wanted to reschedule the program for the fall and that is when I will be frenzied and meeting a deadline.

In June, a major new study of mine will appear in Middle East Quarterly. It compares Hindu honor killings in India with Muslim honor killings in Pakistan and the West. There are significant differences between the three types of honor killings which may lead to some new public policy considerations.

Honor killings continue in both the West and globally but so do arrests, trials, and jail terms. Europe is far more advanced than the United States in its understanding that these murders are cold-blooded collaborative conspiracies. European Law enforcement has charged entire families, women as well as men, for conspiring in this crime.

But something else that is new is also happening: Women are testifying against their parents and wives against their husbands—it may take as long as a decade before they gather the courage to do so, but their testimonies have led to convictions in two high profile cold cases in the UK.

As for the election, I do not like how the media and politicians on both sides of the aisle characterize each other. I am especially offended by those Republicans who viscerally despise "feminists" and by those Democrats who viscerally despise "Christian conservatives."

If I were Queen of the Known Universe--citizens would care about substantive issues, not about political figureheads.

A tireless and passionate Zionist whom I know, recently told me that "It is too hard to try and save the Jews. They get in your way. They get in each other's way. As for the Israelis, they don't get it."

I understand exactly what she is saying. I myself am tired of using the same analytic tools and template that I first laid down in 2001-2003 to continue documenting the infernal demonization of the Jews and the Jewish state. I am weary of trying to persuade Jews of…. anything.

Long ago, I was ready to join a team that would pre-empt the Big Lies, outwit them, outrun them, but there is no such Israeli Ministry in charge of The War of Ideas and the American Jewish organizations will never, ever take this on. They are fat cats, living large, and they are far too liberal and far too left. This blinds them to the danger that Israel and Jews face. I have written about this phenomenon so many times in the past. I do not like to spin my wheels—I like to move forward.

There is a listserv group that I am privileged to be a member of which does work in a team-like way in terms of defusing anti-Israel propaganda but they are a grassroots effort of bloggers without any official standing and without a budget.

And now, please allow me to share an ongoing concern. I am an opera lover. I once studied opera. Yes, I sing. But the Metropolitan Opera has shocked and disappointed me. They have increasingly "tarted" up their performances in order to please the masses (not to shock the bourgeoisie). Great divas are ever-so scantily dressed and asked to sing with their legs in the air. (I am not exaggerating). The new-fangled sets leave something to be desired although the lighting design never fails to please and amaze.

But now hear this: The venerable magazine, Opera News, will no longer carry any reviews of performances at New York's Metropolitan Opera. The young general manager, the brilliant Peter Gelb, cannot bear the withering scorn some of his performances have gotten in their pages. He wants only praise. He and our current President are of the same generation, they are addicted to the sound of applause.

Gelb does not want "criticism," which he experiences as "continuously ripping" into organization the magazine is expected to support.

Here comes Pravda.

Sigh… and now, back to writing.

P.S. The Metropolitan Opera has now, as of today, "backed away" from its decision to bar reviews of its productions in Opera News.

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