Thursday, 27 July 2017

Jerusalem on Fire


One of the interesting aspects of the original 1947 partition plan that the United Nations had envisaged and decided for Palestine, (UN Resolution 181) was the concept that it had for Jerusalem. It called for a corpus separatum, a special international regime, to be established for the city of Jerusalem.

As we know, this UN resolution was accepted by the Jews and rejected by the Arabs. That was the death of the boundaries set by that resolution.   

Last week there was again an outbreak of violence in the holy basin, an area that both Jews and Muslims consider to be holy. The incident was badly handled by Israel’s right wing prime minister, who is besieged by competing populists in his cabinet, whilst the Arabs managed to play their cards cleverly. Israel lost face in this latest round. It had to dismantle, sensible but not sensitively installed security measures it had put in place (metal detectors and security cameras), and return to the status quo ante, hoping to lower the flames, which the Muslim waqf, the Islamic trust that manages the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, has been fanning.

The land issues between the Arabs and the Jews in Palestine are complicated enough without the incendiary qualities of religion and sites of worship, which one or more groups consider to be sacred. It would be better to take religion out of the equation. The corpus separatum solution was a good idea.

As things seem now, Israel will not agree to give up its status in Jerusalem. It should.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Macron and the Jews


French president Macron turns out to have a knack for theatrical productions. (Any connection to the fact that his wife was his high school theatre teacher?) He persuaded the universally despised Trump, (who is on record with “I was in Paris recently, and Paris doesn’t look like Paris anymore”) to fly to Paris, just three days after he came back from the G20 Meeting in Hamburg, by inviting him to a military parade (that Trump apparently likes). As an add-on, dinner was served at the top of the Eiffel Tower. In fact, so big was Macron’s success, that Trump must have overlooked the “my tower is bigger than your tower” aspect of this part if the visit. 

Next in line was Israel’s also despised prime minister Netanyahu. To create the right atmosphere for a meeting with the recalcitrant Netanyahu, the work meeting at the Élysée palace was preceded by a Holocaust memorial event – specifically, the annual remembrance ceremony for the 1942 deportation of French Jews. The mass arrest and deportation of over 13,000 Jews to their deaths in Auschwitz was organised and carried out by French police. In his moving speech, Macron again pointed out to French responsibility for this act, in which, he said, no German was involved.

Netanyahu – who likes to present himself as the prime minister of the Jewish People, which he is not – was allowed to fit into that role by Macron. The real present, which Macron gave Netanyahu, was his statement that anti-Zionism is a new form of antisemitism. This plays right into Netanyahu’s hands. It is, however, patently NOT TRUE, M. Macron.

Macron should not have politicised this ceremony commemorating France’s shameful deportation by giving Netanyahu a stage. Moreover, Macron should not have come out with a blanket ruling on Antisemitism, as if he was an expert in this highly disputed area.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

6th Letter to Jared (or: Run, Jared, run)


Dear Jared,

It has been almost two months, since I last wrote to you. You have evidently not be listening to me and daily, we get more information about your complicity in the allegedly illegal goings on of your crime family.  

You are probably too busy and will not have noticed a remark made by a fellow Jew, who like your own father was a Netanyahu backer, and like your own father has been found guilty of various tax offences and like your father has been sentenced to jail.

“All the other accused, who fled to Israel, are sitting on the beach”, Arnaud Mimran, recently complained to the French court that would not mitigate his 8-year jail sentence. See, Jared, this bit about fleeing to Israel to evade justice, gave me the following idea:

Why wait until a prisoner swap deal is worked out (much more complicated): Let Netanyahu who is being investigated in 12 separate corruption cases, seek and be granted asylum in the USA, and in return, you can take advantage of Israel’s Law of return that grants every willing Jew the right to settle in Israel.

As an added bonus, both you and Netanyahu can decide whether you wish to take your wives with you, or whether this would be a good opportunity to open a new page.

The problem with my swap idea is that whereas you (unless you are already in jail) can make use of the right to “return” to Israel whenever you like Netanyahu does not have such rights under US laws.

Run, Jared, run, before it is too late.  

Your well-meaning pen-pal David



Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Hamburg – Context / Perspective


Demonstrations surrounding last week’s G20 meeting in Hamburg have produced more headlines than the issues discussed at the meeting itself. Is that justified?

Beyond the obvious fact that G20 meetings logically tend to discuss existing topics that have been in the public debate for some time, rather than hitherto unknown topics –  violence, hundreds of policemen hurt, looting of shops, and above all pictures of torched cars, smoke and fires burning in the streets of a rich city are what makes news.

Germany is a well-managed democracy, which tries to allow outlets for venting political and social frustration. It is in this context that the German government wished to demonstrate the ability of permitting, whilst containing, the democratic display of opposition. It went terribly wrong. But is that of any long term significance?

Unlike the Muslim world, which is undergoing a monumental internal culture war – a war that is being financed and enabled by competing powerful states, that seem to be successful in causing trouble on one hand whilst being total failures in looking after the true interests of their own populations – Germany is at peace with itself.

It is a shame (although, to be expected in an election year) that some German politicians are trying to make party political capital of the Hamburg fiasco. But at the end of the day, it was no more than out of control hooliganism together with most probably a small number of extremist political activists. It was this combined with the German government’s wish to allow peaceful demonstrations and rather unfortunate and inefficient policing. As such, it is of no long term significance.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

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Gay Marriage and German Politics


They all want a piece of the action: Three months before the elections, German chancellor Merkel has indicated that after the September elections, she would allow a free vote (that is, CDU/CSU members of Parliament would not be bound by party discipline) on the issue of gay marriage. Not to be outdone her SPD opponent, Martin Schultz, is forcing a vote this week. If you look at their faces, you will understand: she is calm and calculating, whereas the rather unattractive Mr. Schultz is after a quickie.

Homosexual marriage excites mainly heterosexuals. The number of people who will take advantage of the new law is not expected to be very high. Doubtlessly, there is no reason why the state should interfere in the bonding arrangements its citizens wish to get into. Only, the matter of personal freedom is serious and deserves a serious and honourable discussion in parliament and should not be treated as a quickie to produce immediate satisfaction.

On the other hand, sometimes quickies result in nice babies.

Merkel, Mrs Kohl and same-sex marriage


Why has Merkel decided to “allow” gay marriage? All the other political parties have been calling for it for quite some time and more importantly, opinion polls – which Mrs. Merkel, regularly is guided by –   show that Germany’s population is supportive of equal marriage rights.

The suggestion, that ex-Chancellor Kohl and his second wife have made it clear to Merkel that same-sex marriage cannot be worse than some heterosexual bonds, is being doggedly denied.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

German Gender Craze


German political correctness can be useful if one gets paid by the word. In the past, the German for teachers and pupils, used to be “Lehrer und Schüler.” Now it is: “Lehrerinnen und Lehrer und Schülerinnen und Schüler.” Alternatively, one could also write the non-words “Lehrer*innen und Schüler*innen.”

A few days ago, at a lecture in Berlin, a young male lecturer, describing his own efforts to find certain source material, used the suffix that turns a word from masculine to feminine and said “wenn, man als Forscherin…”. This is ridiculous. Later he spoke of a group of five researchers and said “alle 5 Forscherinnen.“ Does that mean that all five researchers were females, or was he just being pc?

Kohl Papers


History will tell which of the superlatives that are being heaped on Helmut Kohl are deserving. However, if Kohl’s widow will have it her own way, we may be short of some vital information: It appears that she has in her possession letters, papers and documents from the duration Kohl was head of state. This should be illegal.

Politicians should not have title, possession or control of ANY papers created during their time in office, other than their personal correspondence. They should all be the property of the state. The police should be sent with a search warrant and confiscate all the files that Kohl’s widow apparently now has.

Kohl Funeral


Kohl died an embittered man, who since the scandal surrounding his involvement with the illegal funding of his CDU party, felt that he had been betrayed by virtually everybody. His death has brought to the surface – what was no secret – that Kohl’s 34-years-younger widow, who he married right after he was hospitalised with head (brain?) damage due to a fall, totally isolated him from the outside world, including from his sons (and grandchildren) from his first marriage.

If Kohl was suffering from dementia (the press is rather kind to him regarding this), his wife’s handling of his affairs may be even more problematic. She has, for instance, decreed that there should be no German state funeral and has arranged an EU ceremony – in which she tried to prevent Mrs. Merkel from speaking –  instead.

When a head of state dies (or a former head of state), his state funeral is not a matter for the family to have a say in – it is a state ritual and not a family affair. Widows can have whatever arrangements in their churches. State funerals are a matter for the state.

PS: There may be a juicy legal side issue if Kohl’s affair with the woman he eventually married, had begun during the time that she was a subordinate of his.