Locham Yisrael - לוחם ישראל
Random thoughts about current events with an emphasis on the Middle East.


      Name:     Michael L. S.   [E-Mail]
      Location:  Earth
      Website:  Middle East Resource Center

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SWC, Squatters and... - Welcome Back!

Posted on: Friday, August 24, 2007

Shalom rav!

I'm back after a glorious month's vacation in north Africa. It's been my second time to visit the region and I ADORE the place, especially Morocco and--my all-time favorite--Tunisia.

Now, a couple of months ago I received an email from the Simon Wiesenthal Center whose sponsor, incidentally, I am. For reasons of brevity, I won't quote the text here but you can find it verbatim here.

I don't make a practice of taking issue with such a noble organization in public, but I felt compelled to respond to the original email and hereby share with you what I told harav Hier:


"Dear R” Hier:

"I write in response to the latest SWC communiqué dealing with the allegation that Israel is an apartheid state and that we engage in crimes worse than those of the natzim.

"While Israel is certainly NOT an apartheid state, while attempts to draw parallels between the actions of our armed forces and the natzim are abhorrent, and while the pro-Palestinian rhetoric is all too frequently laden with flagrant lies, it is a fact that our policies in the occupied territories ARE based on national/ethnic segregation.

"There is perfectly no legal or moral justification (religious perhaps but, then, religion can be used to justify just about any perversity) for colonizing those lands and corralling the “other” people living there in ghettos with only very restricted ability to travel among those ghettos, never mind anywhere else.

"The SWC has been doing sterling work in bringing natzi beasts to justice but memoranda of this sort threaten to undermine your credibility and cast an indelible shadow on your previously morally-impregnable campaign and accomplishments.

"Since most of the natzi criminals are now dead, may I suggest that the SWC transform itself into an organization combating injustice and racism generally? Of course, that includes the injustice and racism we ourselves perpetrate. For any endeavor, which accuses our enemies of a wrong but is blind to those of us who similarly wrong others is ab initio bankrupt. So, therefore, is your latest email.

"I do hope you consider this email and thank you for taking the time and trouble to do so.

"Kol tuv uvhatzla7ah rabah,

"Michael Steiner"

Doubt he read it... - but I guess it's the thought that counts.

I know some will see my riposte as that of a "self-hating Jew" or even "self-loathing Jew" (the latter, of course, far more a sign of how much THEY loathe me than how much they think I supposedly despise myself--always bear in mind that I wear a kipah proudly on my head whereas they hide it beneath ridicuous-looking baseball caps). But isn't it funny, in a very perverse sort of way, whence such broadside typically emanates? You see, whereas once survivors of the Shoah and their descendants were seen as the epitome of human suffering worthy of all respect and deference, we are now increasingly being reviled. Why? Because we recognize that suffering is not exclusive to an ethnicity and that tears of a Palestinian are no less real than those of a Jew.

Indeed, our detractors go so far as to dismiss us as "bleeding heart sentimentalists" and "confudes [sic] Jew-haters" who "think all suffering is the same." (These are quotes from actual messages I've personally received specifically in the context of being the child of a Holocaust survivor.

That some prick from Brooklyn who came to the West Bank to play cowboys and Indians (or, some prick from Brooklyn, period) should assail on those of us who fight for our right to realize our 2000-year-old dream to exist as a "free people in our land of Zion" while concomitantly being acutely aware of our moral and ethical reponsibilities is outrageous.

But that's the perennial problem with religious freaks: there is no truth but their worldview, and those who dissent... - well, we all know what happens or should happen to us. That's why I always say that 7amas and the squatters would become best buddies very soon if they lived with each other. Forget evacuating the squatters from the West Bank; leave them there: betimes they'll be playing checkers and smoking shisha with their Islamic counterparts. Heck, if you hear the religious squatters talking about their vision of Israel, you realize it mirrors the political and social arrangements of the illustrious Islamic Republic. (For enhanced authenticity, compare ayatollah Yosef's apparel with those of harav Khamenei.)

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Freak Show

Posted on: Sunday, August 05, 2007

Found out about this "White Nationalist" (own description) website today from the Guardian and just had to have a look. I do this kind of thing now and again but what made me want to mention this particular site here is the fact that it is laden with photographs--I like looking at people's photos--and, in particular, pictures of socialists, anarchists and other assorted pieces of work taking part in various protests and demonstrations in London.

Now, I wholeheartedly support a number of their initiatives (e.g. their loathing of Bush and his neoconservative dogma, their opposition to the war in Iraq, their uncompromising approach to racism, etc. However, as is visible from the photographs, such organizations invariably co-opt other "causes," too, for instance "Freedom for Palestine." (One notes that no freedom is called for the people of Western Sahara, Kurdistan, Chechnya, Tibet, ... - oh, you know the spiel.)

Then there are a few pictures denouncing the apparent kidnapping of "illegal" immigrants in Britain by the News of the World ("Kidnapping is a crime!" yells one). Ironically, these pictures are flanked by shots of protesters screaming against last summer's war in Lebanon. (Does one need reminding what/who, exactly, started that war?) It's such a pity that organizations founded for a noble purpose (such as the United Against Racism outfit) should have been adulterated by hypocrisy, anti-Semitism and espousal of discredited socioeconomic systems...

Anyway, the photos are endlessly funny, replete as they are with all manner of weirdoes, mutants and other freaks of nature. Apart from a few cute Middle Eastern chicks, the characterized are deformed, slovenly and repulsive. The presence of a "Women Against Waxing" activist does little to dispel the nausea. It made me feel as though I was in the audience at a Jerry Springer show!

See the lot here. (The site may be down so keep trying.)

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