Kill Em’ with Some Love

I had the privilege and honour of being part of the spontaneous singing and dancing as caught on camera here http://richardmillett.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/ahava-london-911-2010/

Now I don’t mean to gloat but my point mentioned here http://ruth33.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/existence-is-so-overrated/ is further strengthened. Just look at the life in those Israeli tourists! They would have sung and danced all day if the police would have permitted! So would I! I absolutely loved it!

But not only is my point strengthened but it has confirmed my suspicions about the enemies of Israel particularly the rent-a-cause-lets-bully-a-Jewish-business-called-Ahava (Don’t even get me started on the pathetic campaigns they peddle, that’s for another post)

It would seem that it’s not our handing out of powerful fact based leaflets to counter their lies that infuriates them. Nor is it us speaking to the public. Nor do they get too excited about us going into the shop to purchase the goods (this will elicit a mere “shame on you” chanting in order to intimidate). Nor is it our chanting of anything. Nor is it when our numbers of counter protestors are substantial. Sure all of the above annoys them any triumphs on our part spoils their hate campaign but the smugness, arrogance and nasty chanting never subsides.

What gets them, what really kills them and makes the fire burn in their soul and causes their eyes to darken is a group of Jews singing and dancing about love and radiating joy and peace. This it would seem, is too much to bear. Funny old world isn’t it folks?

I’m a regular at these counter-demos. I have never ever ever seen the other side appear so lost and angry about anything. For example go to the second clip on the link from Richard Millets blog. The girl who shouts “Israel terrorist state” has always been so smiley and charming. She is always very cordial and polite to the public and pretty good at engaging them. I have spoken to her before and whilst we ignore each other now she never seems the aggressive type and compared to some is fairly moderate. However look how she loses it, look at the venom being spat out of her mouth and then she looks at the floor with a face like she is going to cry (I thought I saw a tear? ;-) )

I have been told by many wise people before that the way to counter hate is with love and lots of it. I believe that is what we witnessed yesterday. Kill em with some love. Ahava is after all, the Hebrew word for love.

Those tourists were fantastic. Israelis at their best! They exported some of that “life” I was telling you about in Israel and brought it to the streets of London right when we needed it. They sang it, they danced it, they radiated it and showed the other side that in Israel we sing songs of love, peace and joy and do not stoop to chanting corny cheap hate filled blahs.

What a stark contrast eh?

Just like the state of Israel shines a little too brightly for the liking of the countries in the region almost blinding them, looks like we shone too brightly for the forces of darkness on the other side. They’d do well to bring dark UV filtered sunglasses next time to protect themselves.

Am Yisrael Chai (sing that part)
(Oh and in case anyone is wondering, we sang the Tikva at the end for good measure)

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

So What’s your Solution?

I’m often asked by visiting journalists, politicians and academics as to what my solution is. I reject “the Two State Solution” and I’m not prepared for Israel to stop being a Jewish state. I wish neither to give citizenship to all Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria, nor to expel them. I’m great at saying, “No” but rarely say “Yes”. What is my solution? How will I bring about peace and prosperity to all peoples of the Middle East in our lifetimes?

My father made ten years after his children and was already quite sick with Parkinson’s disease. It is a cruel affliction that creeps up on you slowly. Later it transpired that he may have had signs for five or more years, but told nobody. The years in which he lived and died in Jerusalem were by far the pinnacle of his life. He once told me that he would have taken them rather than any number of healthy years in London.

During that time my mother searched for a cure for Parkinson’s disease. No stone was left unturned and no doctor uncontacted. She joined and then ran a support group in Jerusalem that would meet, and where other desperate spouses would exchange information of new drugs, possibilities of surgery and so on.

After several years a change took place. While my mother never actually gave up, there did come a time when they both came to terms with the fact that at that point in time the miracle cure just didn’t exist. There were ways to slow down deterioration and even improve the quality of life, but at that moment there was no “solution”.

One might think that the realization that not every problem has a solution or in the words of Johnny Cash, “There are more questions than answers” would lead to a state of desolation or despondency, but quite the contrary. That is exactly the point where you life goes off being on hold and you begin to live again. Maybe you’ll never run again, but there are plenty of places to walk to. Maybe you’ll be forever falling over, but you’ll be forever getting up too. And there are children to reprimand and grandchildren to enjoy and there is a G-d in heaven to serve too, who waits for the prayers of the sick as he does for the healthy.

Last week Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke about the peace process and predicted that there would be no peace, “not next year and not for the next generation”. On the face of it this was a message of pessimism and gloom, hardly appropriate for the eve of our Jewish new year when we traditionally wish each other the realization of all manner of wonderful aspirations. However, I contend that Lieberman’s blessing was the blessing of hope. He was taking a cold realistic look at the neighborhood in which we live and at our neighbors. He had the courage pragmatically to look at the Arab world for what it is, not what it might be one day or what we’d like it to be.

We live in the Middle East, not the US Mid-West or even the West End. Our neighbors, for the most part, are vastly more radical than either their fathers or grandfathers were. This has come about as a result of the spread of fundamentalist Islam and because Israel has shown weaknesses on various occasions, convincing them that the only language we understand is force.

Short of the Messiah arriving, there will indeed be no peace in either our or our children’s generation. Perhaps the greatest challenge facing us today is to learn to live with the fact that this is indeed a problem without a solution.

Of course everyone has a plan, but experience has shown that all attempts over the last four decades to solve the problem either by means of war or by means of force have brought about caused a deterioration rather than improvement.

Naturally, that is not to say that there is nothing to be done, quite the contrary. Once one has come to the realization that there are no miracle cures or quick fixes, one ceases to be paralyzed in other areas of life. One’s life is no longer on hold, waiting for a solution, one can begin to live. Paradoxically, the realization that there is no solution becomes something of a solution in and of itself.

It is only the true optimist who can find life, hope and happiness in a world with many unsolved questions, problems that he knows are here to stay.

So we redecorate our houses without asking whether it will one day be given to another, we plant a tree and look forward to its fruits. We bring children into the world knowing that they too will one day don uniform. We drink wine from a local Judean vineyard read a good book or maybe write one, carry on studying our beloved Torah knowing we’ll never finish it. We teach our students to respect everyone friend and enemy alike, but secretly hope that they’ll respect at least us. We look at the old yellowing pictures in our albums of ancestors long gone, who could only have dreamt of waking up to the view of Jerusalem. We thank G-d for being the luckiest generation of Jews since the time of King David and three times a day we pray for peace too.

With broken hearts we pray to our Maker that he might send us a year of peace, acknowledging that nobody else can.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Dishonoring Honor

A friend recently commented on a poster by the wonderful StandWithUs

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

which was raising awareness of what the Muslim world call Honour Killings. You know right? When they take the brave and “honourable” decision that a woman no longer has the right to live as she has “dishonoured” the family/tribe. So “honourable” is this “honour” that sometimes she has the “honour” of being publically stoned to death. The women’s dishonourable “crimes” range from her being raped, to her husband merely accusing her of adultery to courting a man deemed unsuitable by the accusers; oops I mean her family and various other “crimes” that would not even make the gossip pages of the western media.

My good friend Aviva commented that we should not be adopting their term and calling it “honour” killings. Do you regard killing your own wife, sister or daughter as “honourable”? I certainly don’t and I don’t care about your culture, beliefs or religion. It is MURDER plain and simple. It is EVIL. Simply by parroting the terms (excuses) used by those who perpetrate such disgusting crimes against their own flesh and blood is almost akin to becoming apologists and accomplices to these heinous crimes.

Putting terminology aside a moment let’s look at this for what it is. We have established that this is murder. Seeing as this is such a primitive and barbaric practise simplifying what’s going on here is easy. It is the men killing a female relative to defend their illusionary honour that does not even exist in the first place. They are killing their female family victims for something that is a figment of their imagination. I think you will find that we are talking about their inflated egos, delusions of grandeur and superiority complexes. I have more honour in my baby toenail than all these barbarians put together.

Out of respect and honour to the victims of these crimes we must be more accurate with the term given to this act.

I would suggest the following
• Islamic Murder of Female Kin
• Islamic Egocentric Murder
• Muslim Murder of Female Kin
• Barbaric Murder of Kin
• Murder
• Killing
• Primitive Ritualistic Murder
• (suggestions welcome)

I don’t know about you but anyone who supports the murder of women as described above is a barbaric-sadistic-primitive-bigoted-narcissistic monster. With that description in mind, are we going to be dictated to by such monsters and have THEM impose their values and terminology onto us?
I reject their values with every fibre of my being. This is a sick value and I do not subscribe to sick values (you PC people get the hell out of here)

I offer my prayers to the heavens for the thousands of women who have been barbarically murdered, for the thousands who will be murdered and for those being murdered as I write this and you as you read this. May G-d have mercy on their souls and may he have no such thing for their murderers.

And finally I offer a prayer that someone, somewhere out there can solve the world’s biggest mystery of where are all the feminists on this issue? Surely they have the burn-the-bra phase out of their system by now? Some scholars out there are of the belief that the real revolution of The Middle East will come about with the emancipation of women over there. If anyone sees or hears these shy and retiring feminists, or you’re willing to gatecrash one of their self indulgent “we want equal pay to men” meetings then please take your megaphone and scream to the rooftops about their many sisters in dying (literally) need of their most urgent help.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Let the Real Arab Please Stand up

Spontaneous Celebrations

Yesterday in class I noticed one of my Moslem students who I hadn’t seen recently. I asked her how she was and she blushingly explained that she’s been absent for two weeks because her mother had been sick. She came up to me during the break and elaborated, this time explaining that she was in Ramadan. She asked whether I’d let her sit the final exam despite her absence.

I had every intention of agreeing, firstly because I don’t agree with the compulsory class attendance policy, secondly because she had only been absent one lesson too many, but most importantly because she is a bright, serious, hard-working student who deserves it. I’m aware that subconsciously, I usually try to be super-nice to my Arab students – it’s probably something to do with benevolent discrimination, but that’s for another day.

I asked her to decide whether her excuse was her mother or the Ramadan, teasingly pointing out that she had changed her hairstyle, which couldn’t be connected to either. She blushed again and explained that her hair was not connected, but that because her mother was sick and she was the only daughter, she had to cook for the evening feasts. It was a clever reply and probably truthful. I agreed to her request, still suspecting that the two-week absence and the change in look may have been more connected to matters of the heart than to health, religion or food but what the hell?

On the way home I pondered that if only all Arabs were like her, then I turned on the radio and was reminded that they weren’t. There had been a drive-by shooting in the South-Hebron Mountain area. A colleague of mine who lives there had mentioned it in the break. I called my sister Sara who lives there too, to check that everyone was okay.

She told me that my nephew Yoav was supposed to have been driving in the area. At first they were worried until it turned out that he had gone to the synagogue to pray instead. Sara had worked with the mother of seven who was murdered. She was a righteous proselyte. She was not born a Jew, but she died as one. Sara also told me that the murderers left their vehicle to finish off their grisly work at point blank range. I wasn’t shocked by their barbarism, but I was by their courage. There was a time when they’d just shoot and run.

I tried to remain rational and asked myself who the true Arab is. Is it the sweet, attractive intelligent student or the monster killing innocent civilians from zero range? Can I make life easy for myself and say that there are good Arabs and bad Arabs and she’s good while he’s bad or do I ask whether he could be her brother or her new boyfriend?

They always tell me that they just want to live in peace. They almost all want a Palestinian State, as long as they can keep living in Israel and don’t have to move there, but are they telling me the truth? If the murderers are ever caught it will probably transpire that they were also good kids from good families. If they lived in Israel we’ll be told that their parents condemn the attack. If they live in Gaza they’ll be celebrating publicly.

So who is the real Arab and what does he really want? Do the majority want peace and prosperity, but they can’t control the extremists? Or do they all secretly want to see us in a bullet riddled Subaru?

Finally, when I once spoke about the lynching in Ramallah to a group of German journalists, one of them argued, “Yes, but that’s not all the Palestinian people.”

I acknowledged that he was correct, but the truth is it’s never “all” or even the majority. What percentage of the German people were actively involved in the execution if the Final Solution? One percent? Less? Whatever number it was, it was plenty.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for some good men to do nothing

Let the Real Arab Stand up!

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

We Threw the Paint

We threw the red paint. Malcolm drove the car, Nick was there too. Before we left Edgware we made up an alibi, in the unlikely event of the police stopping us, searching the car and finding the paint. Someone said that we could say that we were going, or coming back from, a house painting party. I’d never heard of such events, but apparently they exist.

It was about 2:00am when we arrived. Nobody was in the neighborhood and very few cars passed by. We figured that even if someone saw us, he probably wouldn’t want to get involved. Throwing the paint only took a few seconds and we were back in the car. We hadn’t expected too much trouble and it all went very smoothly. Then guess what. Driving back home, feeling quite relieved that it was all over the car got stopped. A policeman held out his hand and ordered us to halt.

How could he know? What’s going to happen now? As Malcolm braked everyone was trying to remember the details of the absurd fictitious party. There was no paint in the car and supposedly no evidence. Why mention paint at all?

The policeman was young and looked tired. “Are you aware that one of your headlights is not working, sir?” He asked. Malcolm was the best man for the job. He apologized sincerely and promised to take care of the matter in the morning, which he did. As we drove off it occurred to all of us that, it could have been a scene from a movie.” We threw the red paint. The year was 1979 and the workers of Aeroflot discovered it the next day. It was part of our struggle for the opening of the gates of the Soviet Union. We left pictures of Nathan Sharansky at the scene so they would know why their window was red.

I was reminded of that night when I read about the red paint thrown over the Ahava window last week. Somebody called the perpetrators of the Ahava incident vandals, this of course is nonsense. Assuming that he was not referring to the Germanic people who sacked Rome in 455 CE and he meant that they are people who “.. willfully or ignorantly destroy or mar something beautiful or valuable”.

They are not vandals. These people are political activists carrying out an ideological struggle. When they throw red paint, or chain themselves inside private buildings, they are following in the footsteps of every serious political campaign from the Suffragettes to the Blacks’ Civil Rights Struggle to the anti-Vietnam war campaign to the Jewish struggle for the right of Soviet Jews to leave the USSR. I disagree categorically with the anti-Ahava activists’ cause, but I identify more closely with the means that they are adopting than those of the Zionist Federation etc. The ZF appear to be running the campaign as if they were advertising a jumble sale. Put out some flyers, make some posters, write a letter to the paper, have a word with the local MP etc.

The “vandals” are not ignorantly destroying something valuable or throwing paint for the joy seeing it hit the window. They intentionally break the law and by doing show incur some small personal risk to their liberty. By doing so, they demonstrate the importance of the matter in their eyes and shall rightly earn the respect of many undecided members of the public.

Vandals?

As a youth two friends and I were arrested for a similar “crime” and prosecuted the next day in court. We pleaded guilty and explained our motivations. The judge expressed understanding and even admiration for our aims, but explained that he could not find us innocent as we had admitted to the crime. He thus imposed upon us a fine of five pounds each. I remember the tears of pride in my father’s (Za”sal) eyes as he forked out the fiver. Later that morning I received a call from Herut London offering to reimburse me. My father would not hear of it, “That is my mitzvah!” he protested.

When I first met the wonderful Zionist Ahava activists I suggested a plan for the coming demonstration. It was wholly legal but a tad more imaginative (IMHO) than standing there and chanting slogans. I was amazed to hear that it was to be pitched to the ZF.

More than three decades ago there was a historical argument between the Zionist Federation and other establishment bodies, on the one hand, and a handful of tiny “activist” organizations on the other. The latter argued for using classical methods of passive resistance, being prepared to break minor laws and if need be to pay the price. The former argued for “quiet-diplomacy” which has forever been a code word for doing “bugger all”. They organized an occasional mass demonstration, carried out with police escort, that on a Sunday when there was absolutely no news might get 7 seconds of news time.

Years later I met Sharansky and asked him to adjudicate as to who had been right. He told me that in his opinion the “active” demonstrations had not only been a key driver in the opening of the Soviet gates, but were a cause in eventual collapse of the USSR. I recently encountered an acquaintance from that period and he told me that he had met a 1970s refusenik who had recognized him from a photograph. “I was being interrogated by the KGB when my questioner threw a picture of you and other activists being arrested on the table, ‘Look at how you make us look around the world. It’s a disgrace!’. From that moment I knew that we were not alone. At that moment I knew that we would win.”

After more than three decades I thought that maybe the ZF had changed, but no such thing. They are and by definition must remain a law abiding establishment body and thus by the same definition are totally unsuited to organize a campaign against creative, political activists who are prepared to take risks in the name of an ideology in which they believe.

Finally, I once read that the first nail in the coffin of the US involvement in Vietnam was when American soldiers began to feel a sneaking sympathy and admiration for the badly armed but ideologically charged Viet Cong as opposed to the corrupt North Vietnamese with whom they were allied. Rather than calling them vandals, give the anti-Ahava activists the respect they deserve.

Even better, let’s beat them at their own game.

Let’s throw some paint!

Judah (the Jew)

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Calling an Arab an Arab

I recently posted about a Jerusalem Arab that I had met. A close friend commented that he had enjoyed what I had written, but he hadn’t liked the racist part. I was shocked as I’ve never considered myself to be anything of the sort. It transpired that he was referring to my use of the word “Arab”:

“He (Yossi) assured me that we would easily find an excellent Arab who would be more than happy to drop everything and provide a solution to our predicament for a mere pittance…”

I dismissed this criticism as absurd, but a few hours later heard on the news about a car accident. The driver who had committed the crime was described as being of “Arab background (מוצא).” This seemed quite strange as it would be the kind of term that I’d use to describe someone whose ancestors had been Arabs, but he was not. The gentleman in question was clearly an Arab. For the first time I asked myself whether at some point it had become politically incorrect to call an Arab an Arab, and I had never noticed.

Before anybody asks me how I feel to be called a Jew I shall preempt that question and say that nothing pleases me more. I never particularly enjoyed being called a “Jew boy” as a child, or occasionally a “kike”, however, the word Jew never upset me, but made my heart swell with pride. Regarding the term “Yid” it usually depended who was saying it and how it was being said. Coming from an Anti-Semite with a cockney accent and a knuckle-duster I did find it offensive, but when my father and his friend Norman the watchmaker affectionately called each other “Yid”, with an Anglo-Yiddish accent, it sounded fine.

Back to the term Arab, there was an interesting incident in the last US presidential election when one of John McCain’s supporters said to him:

“I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him. He’s an Arab.”

The senator made an enormous blunder by replying:

“No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign’s all about. He’s not [an Arab].”

Rightly, McCain was criticized for thus, albeit unintentionally, implying that an Arab could not be “a decent family man and citizen”. If I had to explain what the Republican nominee for president meant, he was acknowledging the lady’s bigotry and saying that Obama had none of the negative characteristics that she apparently associates with Arabs. From a Factual point of view, Obama is simply not an Arab and has no Arab roots. He may be of part Moslem origin, but the President was born in Hawaii to a mother of German descent and to a Kenyan-born father.

It would be naïve to deny that Arabs are often stereotyped and I once heard an American Arab complaining that in movies the men are all terrorists and the women are all belly-dancers. However, is the solution to change the term being used?

Even the The ADC (The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee) seem to have fallen into the trap of identifying themselves as “..a civil rights organization committed to defending the rights of people of Arab descent..” Why not just say American Arabs? The ADL proudly say that it is there “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people” not people of Jewish descent.

Were I an Arab, I would say, “Let’s stop being ashamed of what we are. Let’s stop playing with words. Let’s call ourselves Arabs – American Arabs, British Arabs, all kinds of Arabs. Let’s be proud of our nation. And if there’s anything not to be proud of, let’s change it, not the word Arab.”

Charlie Chaplin was once asked whether he was a Jew and he answered:

“No, I am afraid that I am not so lucky that I can call myself a Jew.”

Let being called an Arab be a source of pride too. And next time a (non-Arab) US politician is called an Arab let him proudly say:

“No, I am afraid that I am not so lucky that I can call myself an Arab.”

Judah (the Jew)

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Existence Is So Overrated.

I’m in Israel, it’s swelteringly headache inducing hot, I am covered in itchy mosquito bites, I have had my customary bizarre constant sneezing and sniffling symptoms since the minute I landed here and yet I love Israel more every time I come.

There is no place quite like it.

I have been here now the first week of a two week stay and as per usual I’m pretty convinced that the overwhelming warmth that radiates from the Israeli people contributes to these sweltering temperatures.
Let me share something with you. I went to the shopping mall in Rehovot on Saturday to see the new film Inception (as sci-fi goes, this one is pretty good). The many swanky shopping centres in Israel on Motze Shabbat (Saturday evening after sun-down) are always packed and brimming with noisy bustling Israelis. It is typical to see masses of mums with big industrial size prams everywhere, families, beautiful young girls checking their reflections in every window they pass, religious families with many cute toddling children, Arabs in traditional garb and all the other colourful shades of Israeli society.

As we waited in the long queue to buy our tickets I looked around me at the sea of Israelis so full of life and exciting chatter. The easiest thing to always be mesmerised by their good looks. This is one sexy nation. Those gorgeous gals and guys are absolutely everywhere strutting around in their sprayed on skin tight jeans (gals) and walking around looking pretty damn gorgeous. Don’t take my word for it, just ask anyone who has happened to visit this country about the level of gorgeousness and watch them go all goofy and starry eyed.

Anyway, whilst looking around me at the hundreds of excited noisy Israelis I had a moment of clarity about the absurd discussion of Israel having the “right” to “exist” as a Jewish state or whatever other crap the self appointed Existence Police spout.

This nation is so very alive that they take it a step beyond existing. Existing? Ha! Maybe that’s what the Europeans do, maybe they’re satisfied just existing and they feel the need to project their own values onto us as a nation? They exist. We don’t only exist in Israel. We live. We are alive. Alive and kicking and loud and proud and so very grateful to have finally made it home after thousands of years.

Perhaps the Europeans need to get with the program! We declare and cry out in Israel “Am Yisrael Chai”, meaning The Jewish Nation lives. It doesn’t merely exist. It lives. Chaim (plural of life) being one of the most popular boys name in this country is no coincidence. I suggest anyone who is a little confused by what I write come visit here and you will see the manifestation of what it means to really live and not only exist.

Speaking from personal experience and perhaps the explanation for the many making aliyah from the richer western countries is that being in Israel is always like that feeling you get after the icy winter when the sun is out for the first time. The flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, the moths are invading your house, maybe you dust your sandals off again and you’re feeling pretty damn good to be alive. You know that feeling? Well multiply it infinitely and imagine if it was a constant. There you have it. You don’t only hear the heartbeat of the country here, you can see it and feel and you are a part of it.

So for those of you who have been short-changed and only been granted permission to exist and have fallen for the western societys’ hype of existence and not living, I suggest you come visit Israel and perhaps be inspired to take a leaf out of the Jewish nations book and learn to live a little too. We would give you our full blessing to do so and will not even need to discuss your rights on the matter! How is that for generous?

Am Yisrael chai makes more sense to me now than ever before.

Disclaimer: Yes it’s not all plain sailing in Israel and driving on the roads here is akin to going to war etc but there is no place like Israel anywhere else in the world. I guarantee it.
I also want to add that this piece has sat festering in MSWord for editing but I have been busy. However as I sit now working in a coffee shop in Jerusalem, there is a European woman sat next to me donning a keffiar (Arafat style) typing into her laptop furiously for what looks like an article. I have given myself a kick up the backside and posted this. I like to tell myself that this is the the counter argument of what she might be writing about my country :-)

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments