Saturday, 22 December 2012

Dear R

When we last met, about a month ago, you were very angry, very very angry with me for having asked in my blog  whether Israel had the moral right to wage its [November] war in Gaza. Whatever we think, you said, we should not criticise Israel abroad.

You have now sent me an email, in which you agree with many of my arguments adding that Israel’s internal as well as foreign policy puts a fright on every thinking person. You also write that the general mood in Israel is seriously depressed. Not only Netanyahu/Liberman policies but also the fact that we are stuck like a bone in the Arab throat make you doubt that there is a future for your children’s generation in Israel.

And yet, you ask me to stop spreading my criticism – which you refer to as hatred - in the world. External pressure and isolating Israel will not change Israel’s way, you say. On the other hand, spreading such criticism, leading to external pressure will, according to you, bring about even more of the already rising anti-Semitism.

I agree, we should change from within. We would all be happier and prouder if we would become better people without external pressure. But, Israel’s demographic makeup is such that this is unlikely to happen. Israel’s population permits the current leadership not only to cause terrible injustice to others but also to kill what the founders of the state have established. This must be stopped. 

Israel is in a terrible downward spiral and it may be that only trauma will bring about the necessary change. In this case, I prefer the trauma of serious external pressure - which to be effective would have to hurt politically and economically - to the trauma of war with many casualties. Without the one, we may get the other.

As to the harmful impact of my writing, I do not think you need to worry. I wrote this about two years ago. As you can see, dear R, the world did not listen to me then and I am unlikely to have too much of an impact now.

Best etc…

PS: How do you propose to prevent the Israeli press, such as Haaretz, from publishing its often very sharp criticism in their English editions? 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

German Parliament circumcises Cologne Judge

Five months ago, a judge in Cologne ruled that circumcision was to be considered bodily harm and that religious freedom did not have priority over the welfare of a child. All hell broke loose in the Jewish community of Germany and Frau Merkel promised the Jewish community to sort it. She has. Now, the Bundestag, the German parliament, has overruled the judge.

Merkel did not need much convincing. She did not want Germany to be the one country that prevents Jews from practicing their religious practices and rituals. This is understandable. 

And yet, it is a bit of a shame, not because of the boys but because it would have been interesting to see how the supreme constitutional court of Germany would have dealt with this important question of how far you can go in the name of religious freedom.

Everyone can breathe freely again and the little boys get cut, or as some have it, mutilated. Take it from me: the trauma – if there is trauma - does not last long. 

German Sodomy

In English sodomy normally means non-vaginal intercourse between humans, whereas in the German language sodomy refers to bestiality, that is sex with animals. It was illegal in Germany until 1969 when sex with animals was decriminalised. Now, Bavarian Catholic Minister of Agriculture, Ilse Aigner, wants to make it an offense again. She considers human sex with animals to be cruel to…the animal.

I am just wondering whether killing animals isn't rather more cruel than using them as sex objects? Perhaps, Frau Aigner, who is evidently interested in animal welfare, should ban hunting or go even further and ban the eating of meat and fish? I wonder how fast she would lose her Bavarian voter base then? 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Frau Merkel - be tough with Israel

To "punish" the Palestinians for applying for UN recognition, Israel has announced the building of more settler houses in the Occupied Territories. This time they want to build in an area that is to make it even more difficult to reach a two state solution. 

Who will punish Israel for this outrageous response? The USA cannot be relied upon. But, unless Israel will be made to pay a high price for its belligerence, it will not stop. Keeping European criticism to verbal displeasure is not enough. 

There is a substantial proportion of Israel's population and an important majority in that part of the population which forms the economic power base of Israel who do not like this right-wing activism and settlement policy. And yet, many of them vote for parties that either declare their wish to hold on to the occupied land or quietly support it without fully showing their hand. This population  may not gcontinue to do so once Israel gets to pay a price for its expansionist policies. 

In two days, Netanyahu and his cabinet will be coming to berlin for their annual get together. Ideally,  Mrs. Merkel should have found a way to postpone the visit. Because of Germany's history, Merkel is unlikely to do so.  nad, six weeks before the General Elections in Israel, Netanyahu will milk this visit to the end to prove his international standing to his own population. This must be prevented. 

Mrs. Merkel believes that Germany, because of its history, shares responsibility for Israel's security. This can sometimes be accomplished by the supply of U-boats. Sometimes, other measures are called for. She should now be cruel to be kind and help save Israel from its own self destructive spiral.

The least Mrs. Merkel should do is to prevent any photo opportunities, any show of public sympathy or any cultural programme for Netanyahu and his colleagues. 

Please, Mrs. Merkel.