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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Putting My Cards on the Table

King David seduced Bathsheba, the wife of one of his Captains (Uriah) and for this seduction he was punished. King Arthur's Guinevere had an adulterous affair with Lancelot. The story of human frailty has concerned us for as long as we have had an imagination and provided the subject for morality tales probably for almost as long. We do not deify human beings or rather we should not allow it to happen. But it does, and it places their crimes outside of morality, sanctifying evil. And then we mimic the worst aspects of our idols flawed human personality.

If our era is known for one thing it will be that we have been driven to worship without ever considering its consequences. Rock stars, royalty, footballers, big breasted women, gangsters, politicians and priests have all been objects of our adoration; the list is endless of those whom we imitate in a desperate desire to be somehow touched.

The global press by kowtowing to extremism has encouraged violence and is unlikely to be sympathetic to critical comparisons of differing histories. But a more pernicious reason for this obsequious and too often conciliatory demeanor is that commercial considerations lead to society justifying and then condoning asymmetrical morality.

I am going to put my religious cards on the table. I do not believe that I or anyone else is in some way born to possess superior ethics. The soul is a fiction that was created at a time of ignorance and fear and now exploited by those who want to separate us all into neatly defined categories so that they may condemn us and make use of the invisible and indefinable for their own greed. The soul is the Emperors new clothing for the intellectual and the theologian. We are all given choices in our life. My convictions are perhaps no better and no worse than anyone else’s religious beliefs. Unless that is, you insist on telling me that your faith, or your way of life is superior to mine. Because history has consistently demonstrated that power is a stronger driver than ethics, and religion is the perfect vehicle for intolerance, paving the road to conquest by discrimination and terror.

Respect is an absolute that we have lost. The one test that humanity has consistently failed is to put itself into the place of the ‘other’. Hillel reduced this to a simple formula, he said ‘do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you, all else is commentary.’ Perhaps it is time for the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to be reissued, replacing Jews in the fantasy with Muslims and Christians; to lose its meaning, obscenity has to be generic not specific, but human empathy is emotional, not intellectual, and we learn to respect others from fear, not principle.

Ken Stern, director of Antisemitism and extremism for the American Jewish Committee neatly summarized it this way: "One of the ways I determine whether bigotry applies in a situation is to take the same scenario, change some of the players and see if the same results apply."

We are told that we should not dwell on the aspects of God because as speculation it is unprovable and therefore a waste of human energy; time is better spent doing good deeds. But men have created gods of terrible power and brutality. Justice and mercy is consigned to followers only and denied to the ‘other’. Men may have recorded the words of their gods but they fashioned them in their human image. If God was a man we should laugh at him because one does not kill in the name of an object of fun.

I do not believe that my god is the misogynistic bigot society portrays her to be. I do not believe her to be the destroyer of worlds, the polluter of planets and the misanthrope who tortures and kills. Instead I look at the beauty around me and I am certain that God is a woman.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Egypt and Israel

People ask me what I think about the tsunami of unrest convulsing the Arab world and specifically what my thoughts are concerning Egypt.

Egypt is representative of one of a number of Aryan ideologies that in themselves pose a threat to global security and world peace in the 21st Century. Others include the ancient empires of Persia (renascent post modern Iran) and Byzantium, which after its conquest seeded the Ottoman Empire (resurgent post modern Turkey).

Sadly, the Arab world is overwhelmingly racist.

People have responded by pointing out that Hamas has moved towards a possible ten year truce with Israel thus implicitly recognising ‘the Zionist entity’.  One makes peace with ones enemy, to quote former President Bill Clinton. But historically it is more complete to say that one imposes peace on a defeated enemy.  A foe that remains theologically predisposed towards observing an Islamic truce intends to honour that truce only for as long as the advantage weighs against its conquest of infidel lands. It is a Hudna or truce that remains in force as a respite between wars, between Islamic nations (Dar al-Salam) and ‘tributary’ states (such as the UK which pays £180m per year to British Muslim institutions as a bribe to coax them into teaching ‘British values’).

I am told the Arab world is more complicated than that. That to deny the nuance in the man is to deny the humanity of the Arab nation and that I am guilty of racial stereotyping.  Actually, turn that on its head – this is the way Jews are treated (‘The Jews’ should know better).  It is the wholly monochromatic view of Israel and to a lesser extent, of the USA.  And yes that view of Israel, Jews and the USA is racist.  Only a fool believes suffering ennobles. For example, no one but a racist would tell a black person, post slavery, to turn the other cheek, or that their continued suffering will ennoble them.

But international hypocrisy is unthinkingly embraced when it is committed in the name of Palestine or in favour of the selective morality of the Green-Red alliance. It defies belief.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi is an Arab gentleman beloved of tens of millions of Arabs and hundreds of millions of fundamentalists throughout the global Muslim nation. He is also hugely admired by the former Mayor of London and current Labour Party contender for the same job, Ken Livingstone. To place Yusuf al-Qaradawi into the existential Nazi pantheon he dominates in the Muslim world, he is opposed to any reconciliation with Israel and has described the Holocaust as “punishment from heaven.”  “Inshallah (God willing), next time our faithful will do it” (murder all the Jews, everywhere) and “Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one.”  It does make one wander exactly to what kind of deity the Muslim world prays when it sanctifies genocide.

And this is someone major British politicians and the British Left admire.

al-Qaradawi is a fundamentalist Muslim who believes that it is correct to execute homosexuals and permissible to beat women. He views female genital mutilation as wholly beneficial. In a misogynistic world view this is perhaps understandable – physically, sexually and psychologically abusive, but understandable. In a world that sanitises hate as long as it springs forth from a theological fountain domination can take many forms.

In Egypt, on February 18th 2011 two million or so people allegedly greeted this fascist sheik who returned from a fifty year exile in order to participate in Egyptian celebrations of the ‘victory’ over President Mubarak.

So I return to the original question of how I view Egyptian unrest.  We complicate in order to obfuscate. The Arab world hates Israel because it hates the other. It is intolerant not because it cries for justice but because it demands injustice.

Let us not forget that the world has conveniently ignored the plight of some thirty million Kurds denied the most basic right to self-determination in order to placate today’s artificially created Arab nation states. Israel should not ever forget this lesson of human duplicity.

Egypt will retain a peace treaty with Israel only for as long as it remains beneficial for it to do so. Whether it be the USA or perhaps even China (?) that finances it or something else that drives its view of what it defines as ‘benefit’ the frigid peace Israel has with Egypt will remain in place only for as long as it is of benefit to Egypt.

Yes, it is that simple.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Zorba the Greek and the Archbishop of Piraeus

There is this ‘thing’ that does not ever go away of its own accord. It manifests itself wherever human beings gather and it is only by attacking the poisoned spring from which it emerges that we have a chance at all of defeating it.  It is hate.  We live in a world where hatred is carefully nurtured but we fail to tackle it either at home or abroad.

My view of history should help to explain the problem.  Some 2,000 years into humanities collective past a people refused to accept domination by an economic and military power whose empire stretched through Europe and the Mediterranean. This subject people were troublesome because their economic system was humane. This may seem surprising but the oil that kept Rome running smoothly was slavery. And Rome being an autocracy rested most easily on a platform of violence and repression.  Violence is an act of oppressive domination, submission by its victims indicative of inferiority, and acquiescence by those same victims the proof of individual or even a divine right to punish.

And so ancient Israel was overthrown to silence competition.  Christianity’s earliest followers also had a problem. They were associated with Jewish dissent and Jewish revolution.  It is the reason that they gradually rewrote their own history, first to exclude any discussion of Roman atrocities and then to distance their faith from its Jewish roots which by association made them also a threat to Rome.

But the Greek founders of the Christian empire took it one step further. They internalized the violence that fueled Rome and made discrimination and hate a weapon of Church expansion.

In 1965A.D.  Pope Paul VI issued a document that was named Nostra Aetate. It renounced the charge of deicide; the idea that all Jews past, present and future were guilty of killing the son of God. To quote Nostra Aetate “…. in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons…..decries hatred, persecutions, displays of antisemitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone”. Pope Paul VI (28-10-1965). Declaration on the relation of the church to non-Christian religions – Nostra Aetate (retrieved 10th February 2011)

The problem is that neither the Russian Orthodox Church nor the Greek Orthodox Church nor the Protestant churches are obligated to embark on a similar journey towards repairing the past.

In December 2010 The Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus said that Hitler was just a Zionist instrument. And that was only one of the toxic statements made about Judaism. If he had said this of Islam churches would have burned down across the Islamic world and many innocent Christians would have been murdered. In February 2011 Mikis Theodorakis, the Greek composer who wrote the music for the film "Zorba the Greek," said in a television interview that he is an "anti-Semite and anti-Zionist."  So I have a problem.

If the Ground Zero of Greek hatred is a communist composer admired by millions of Greeks and a senior Greek religious figure then what can be done to control the contagion of hate that the two sides of Greek society are loath to touch for fear of offense? Ultimately the financial and political benefits of immorality are 1,400 million Muslim punters of everything from prostitution and drugs to the non physical kind such as university places and holidays to the more prosaic material commodities such as cars and clothes.

Let us be clear of the effect the words of such venomous human specimens can have on society.  Zorba and His eminence appear on public TV and basically state that it is OK to hate me. They are saying that it is OK to kill the toddler walking with his mother because the youngster is Jewish. They do not have to say the word ‘kill.’ They and their kind have used the language of denial to mask their evil intent for most, if not all of their respective histories. Existentially they are no different to the Nazi that once tried to exterminate them to.

Be clear that I do not ever advocate violence.

Only however, the most unambiguous response to their kind of human ugliness and despair will help to inoculate humanity against them.

We must demand equal access to the same media and through the same programs to make clear the damage that their mind vomit causes. It is an unfortunate characteristic of the human psyche that we accept what is thrown at us unless we are told something to the contrary. The Archbishop and the Communist are two sides of the same coin. The devil they both worship may appear different to both of them but for me and for the child that is degraded, beaten or killed in their name they are no more than Janus faced twins.  And if they speak evil they are evil. I am unwilling to tune into their perceptions or beliefs and I refuse to bow to their demands that I submit meekly to their narrative and to their flawed and toxic history.

Do I hate this human detritus? No – Their kind lives off hate. My religion implores me to hate injustice but to also be wary of the hypocrite. Intellectual cowardice and flaccid morality is far too prevalent because of people like them. I will not turn the other cheek. And we mustn’t. They must be confronted.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Promise

Channel 4, like the British Broadcasting Corporation is not known for its enthusiasm for Jewish self-determination and so I watched with curiosity its latest excursion into historical revisionism. ‘The Promise’ Part 1 (of 4) was broadcast to the British nation at 9pm on the 6th of February 2011.

The propaganda was what one would expect of the British media: half truths, lies, distortion: superficial and deceptive, impudently casting judgement like a dark stain on a pristine canvas.

Quotes 1 and 2 “the Arabs have shared this land with the Jews since biblical times” and then a moment later “The Arabs have lived here for a thousand years.”  Well, actually, neither is correct.  The Near East is a multitude of races, tribes and belief systems.  The Arabs ethnically cleansed, raped and murdered their way out of the Arabian Peninsular in the Seventh Century AD (or CE). They swept across the continent colonizing, enslaving and destroying as they went.  The Arab conquerors captured the Holy Land and for almost all of the next thirteen hundred years they persecuted the ‘racially inferior’ inhabitants that they conquered. The Arab ‘nation’  has not seen any legitimate reason to share graciously with people of non-Arab descent. So the first and second statements in ‘The Promise’ putting Arabs before the Jewish inhabitants of ‘The Holy Land’ is meant to infer that they were somehow partners but also, there first, rather than being cultural and actual colonialists. This is therefore a physical act of rewriting history. And that act so early in the drama has the stench of Orwellian creativity rather than literary license.

Quote 3: Almost in the same breath we are told that ‘The Jews’ are coming out of Europe and stealing the Arabs land.  Actually, the land purchased from wealthy Arabs was worthless for normal cultivation or construction in Arab eyes and therefore uninhabited. It was also sold at a premium, making farmland purchased in 20th Century Palestine, some of the most expensive rural real-estate on the planet. No theft there but why should British TV be bothered by a little thing called the truth?

Quote 4: The army controls every aspect of our lives – this is a military state.  The angry anti-Zionist Israeli then lists five former generals that have been Prime Ministers of Israel. So let us first examine the Twentieth Century through history’s eyes.  Stalin was a Catholic Seminarian studying for the priesthood before he murdered tens of millions of his own people as supreme leader of the Soviet Union. Hitler the army private began a war that cost over fifty million human lives.  Churchill, long after the war was won vetoed bombing the concentration camp supply lines and is thus indirectly responsible for the deaths of over a million innocents (men, women and children).  We could of course continue with many more fine examples of civilian morality. But I am not advocating support for a military state. However, it is an inescapable fact that a nation surrounded by enemies and threatened on all sides by religiously bigoted nations theologically predisposed towards conquest will need to arm itself, maintain vigilance and even to fight the occasional war for its survival.

And the people will create a constructive tension between the need for discipline and the freedom to express opposition to authority (particularly if they are Jewish!) That is the essence of Jewish Statehood today.

To live under constant threat of attack from an enemy that respects nothing but force itself is truly a terrible thing but to explain that because we live under threat, we are therefore a military state as if there is a choice is to justify the statement that we are all of us legitimate military targets.  This is the thinking and the justification made by Islamic and Arab terrorists against everyone not like them.  Put simply, if you do not support us, you are the enemy; it is the credo of terrorists and religious fundamentalists everywhere.

That this program could make such an argument is ethically obscene.

Quote 5: The anti-Zionist Jewish protagonist states that his father is a very well known liberal in Israel; he was a famous general who once signed a petition. This glib statement barely points to the significance of the real life incident. In the 1980’s a group of 300 generals and other senior military officers signed a petition that was then made public, calling for ‘withdrawal from occupied territories’. They were very clear in stating that there was an almost complete absence of trust between Israel and its non-Israeli Arab enemies. They therefore underlined the paramount importance of security as being a prerequisite for fostering peaceful co-existence.  This was at a time when only Egypt had made a very cold peace with Israel and no Palestinian official would dare to entertain an ‘accommodation’ with the Jews. And so to return to our previous Stalin, Hitler, Churchill analogy. Only a fool would make such a comparison. Only an idiot would minimize the importance of this petition, publicly distributed, across the nation. I cannot ever envision an instance where this would happen in any other nation.  To not simply go against their livelihood, but to demand reconciliation before the politicians were prepared for it and long before their enemy had forsworn violence is almost unfathomable.

But a reductive approach is meant to justify throwing together Liberal Israeli’s along with ‘the rest’ as irredeemably flawed and therefore unworthy of saving.

The confrontation between an Israeli Arab and an Israeli soldier (who could just as easily also be an Arab, Druze or Bedouin) is entirely, unsurprisingly, in Hebrew. But all the more sinister because in the total absence of subtitles, we may only imagine the worst.

And finally, just so that we understand in whose bed the creator of this series sleeps we have a discussion of multiculturalism. The nation state at its best provides security and comfort to all of its inhabitants through shared identity and the support the State provides to its citizens.  Two key determinants of identity are place of birth and adherence to the nations’ laws. A person born in the UK is British.   Similarly, if you are born in Israel you are Israeli, or should be.

The definition of Nationality does bring up the question of identity. On the most basic level the place of birth is generally considered the basis for national identification.  That said, the only people within Israel clambering for separate development are extremist Palestinians and they have demanded separate administrative, cultural, religious, educational development as well as separate governance within the nation. The last time I looked up that particular definition of separate development it was called Apartheid.  Only the Arab nation and our friends on the Left are demanding it.   To demonstrate our film makers allegiance a final quote: “welcome to Israel – you just got a crash course in what it means to be an effing Palestinian in Israel”.

Here lies the problem. They are not Palestinians living in Israel unless they reject Israeli self-determination (sovereignty).  They are Israelis and it is time that the language of separation artificially imposed, was rejected.

A Program such as ‘The Promise” weaves a web of deceit because people watch without questioning. I repeat what I have said before, the narrative if it is not shared is owned by one side or the other. Israel has lost the narrative war and it must regain it to survive.  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Polite Conversation

I was visiting a friend who was also visited by a retiree, very active in the Church of England and a frequent attendee at Lambeth Palace (HQ for the Church of England).  Let’s call him John Bull. John is a champagne socialist. Now champagne socialists have shed loads of money and dream of a world where we all pay homage to Karl Marx.  It is a curious characteristic of the kind that they are often religiously inspired from the comfort of their gated mansions to demand an equality they are unlikely to have ever practiced. Their magnanimity is a bi-product of the inequality they themselves have perpetuated right through their careers.

This impeccably coiffured, white haired gentleman had a smile that through gleaming white teeth shimmered like a Cheshire cats’ during the meal and throughout the exchange that followed.

It began and ended in the restaurant as a discussion of the Internet progressed. I noted that history being cyclical is prone to action and reaction. As the Internet is massively abused it would one day be subjected to control that many will view as un-welcome, however the price of unfettered freedom is inevitably, censorship.

Our Church friend replied that he found the ‘Palileaks’ (the papers that Al Jazeera has fed to the British newspaper, ‘The Guardian’) far more revealing than ‘Wikileaks’.  I replied that I would always be extremely suspicious of any broadcaster that bases its programming on racist incitement and the dubious entertainment of televised decapitations.

A little further into our meal, with the other guests temporarily dispersed I added that our universities were run like a business and had revenues of thirteen thousand million pounds last year but chose as always to criticize and incite violence against only one nation. I continued, "The situation in Britain today is ethically almost unrecoverable.  I doubt there is a single institution that can accurately declare it truly maintains an ethical position”.

Over a century ago Britain had the reputation for being a smiling friend waiting patiently to stab any competitors in the back. It is no different today.  I had met the enemy and his smile was deceptively kind.

The smile radiating self assurance, this senior member of the Church of England responded with the classic fascist response. “Then it is time you left” (the country).  I replied “you change nothing by running away.”

I left it at that.