Monday, 7 September 2015

Extreme Judaism is a plague on the vast majority of  Jews

I have always had and still have great respect for Jews because of their devotion to their religion even though I am an atheist. As has often been said—different strokes for different folks.    

However as we all know, each religion has various sects such as moderates, orthodox and extremists. This article is about extremist Jews but before I get into that subject, I will tell you about an incident that infuriates me.                         

In the U.S. Orthodox Jewish men have caused numerous delays and turmoil on flights by insisting that women switch seats so the men can avoid sitting next to them. On a recent Porter flight from New Jersey to Toronto, a woman was asked by an airline attendant to switch seats to accommodate an Orthodox Jewish man who did not want to sit next to her for religious reasons.  The men in these cases present their cause as a simple request (or a demand) for religious accommodation. The women who are asked or pressured by the men and sometimes by airline attendants to move see the situation as discrimination based on sex and feel their rights are violated.  I cannot abide someone regarding gender as a reason to reject a seatmate on a plane. If someone told my wife to move so that an orthodox Jew wouldn’t have to sit next to a woman, I would tell the bastard to go to Hell. If an attendant made my wife give up her seat, I would bring that airline before the Human Rights Tribunal and ask the Tribunal to order the airline to pay her $10,000 in damages. 

Years ago, while I was walking on a sidewalk, an orthodox Jew asked me to turn off the lights in his house. At first I was puzzled but then he told me why he couldn’t do it himself. I turned off his lights in his house for him. I didn’t consider his request a form of abuse at all. However, insisting that a woman give up her seat so that an orthodox Jew doesn’t have to sit next to a woman is in my opinion, a form of extremism and discrimination against women.                

In Canada, our Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees everyone the right to be free from discrimination based on race, nationality, ethnicity, colour, sex, age and mental or physical disability. Since Porter Airline is Canadian airline, that airline could be brought before a Canadian federal Human Rights Tribunal.  This freak’s actions was an affront to the dignity of the woman he wanted removed from her seat.

What that freak should have done was call the airline first and ask them to sit him next to a man. The airline would have accommodated him. Instead, he waited until the plane was about to take off before he made his demand.                                                

I say this to freaks like that man on the Porter plane; “If your religion insists that you treat women differently or unequally, do so in your church, synagogue, temple, mosque or your home. Don’t do it where the public has the right to be unmolested such as a street, community hall, a theatre, a restaurant or in a plane or a bus.      

And now, I will tell you about extremist Jews who actually do physical harm to other people.

Israel's Shin Bet security service says that 23-year-old Meir Ettinger, grandson of the late ultranationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane, was arrested for "involvement in an extremist Jewish organization" that was seeking to bring about religious "redemption" through attacks on Christian sites and Palestinian property.

The arrest of that well-known Jewish extremist marks Israel's first concrete step in its new "zero tolerance" approach toward what the government describes as Jewish terrorism. A recent pair of attacks brought into the open long-standing fears about a radicalized and ultraconservative fringe that had been operating below the radar but now appears to be intensifying its violence against non-Jews.

The Shin Bet singled out Ettinger when it announced it had cracked the June 2015 arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, a prominent Catholic church near the Sea of Galilee. It accused Ettinger of heading a movement of young settler activists who were responsible for the torching the church and a number of other hate crimes. Two of them were indicted for burning the church.

The next day, an anti-gay ultra-Orthodox extremist stabbed six revelers at Jerusalem's Gay Pride Parade, killing one of them—a 16-year-old Jewish girl. Then, on the morning of July 31st, suspected Jewish assailants set fire to a West Bank home, burning a Palestinian toddler to death and seriously wounding his parents and 4-year-old brother.

Israel has responded with outrage. President Reuven Rivlin visited the Arab victims in hospital and expressed his shame over those who "have lost their humanity." Extremists have since threatened him and posted images of him in Nazi garb and a Hitler-like mustache, invoking memories of the kind of incitement that preceded the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Israeli authorities have now pledged to direct more resources toward domestic assailants who have been allowed to operate with relative impunity. Their threat is nothing new, but authorities indicate they can no longer overlook the violence of Israelis extremists.

No one knows for sure who exactly was behind the august 1st arson but because of the target and Hebrew graffiti found on the charred home, suspicion immediately fell on Jewish settler extremists. So-called "price tag" attacks have been used by Jewish settlers for years to avenge both Palestinian attacks and also official Israeli steps they see as favoring the Palestinians.

The suspects generally belong to a group known as the “hilltop youth” who are radicalized Jewish teen squatters on unauthorized settlement encampments on West Bank hilltops. Members of the group have been behind a series of vandalism attacks against Palestinian homes, agriculture and livestock, as well as mosques, churches and even Israeli schools and military bases.

To the credit of the Israelis, these attacks have been condemned by the entire political spectrum as well as the mainstream settler leadership. Jewish assailants have traditionally drawn their inspiration from a small group of zealous settler rabbis. Shlomo Fischer, a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute and an expert on radical Jewish extremism, said these new-age messianic attackers “conceive of themselves as having a sort of charismatic-prophetic authority and what authorizes these extreme actions is 'the voice of God' within them.” Of course that is pure rubbish.

Initially seen as a pressure tactic on the Israelis government to cease making concessions to Palestinians and support settler expansion, this extremist  movement has now taken on more of a religious bent, going so far as to call for a revolution that alters the real  purposes  of Israel to be at peace with the Palestinians.

Ettinger's group vandalized a number of Christian religious sites in the past two years and tried to disrupt the 2014 visit by Pope Francis to the Holy Land. Through a blog peppered with biblical references, Ettinger railed against Christians and other “idol worshippers” with the purpose of undermining Israel's Jewish deportment. He also attacked the country's liberal and pluralistic foundations by saying in his blog, “There are many, many Jews, many more than people think, whose value system is completely different than that of the Israeli Supreme Court or the Shin Bet.” Perhaps that is so but they are not as violent as him and his ilk.

In many ways, Ettinger is like his late grandfather who was the godfather of modern Jewish militancy. Kahane's Kach party was outlawed in Israel and labeled a terrorist organization by the United States. While the Orthodox rabbi himself mostly preached for the expulsion of Arabs from Israel, his followers took on more tangible forms of violence. The most prominent was Baruch Goldstein, who shot and killed 29 Muslim worshippers in 1994 at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. A handful of others either planned or carried out attacks on Arabs.

Until recently, Israel has been reluctant to deem "price tag" activists as terrorists. Their attacks have mostly not been deadly and they've generally been regarded as teenage vandals and thugs, an embarrassment more than an actual threat. Further, there has been an outpouring of condemnation and grief. Thousands took to the streets to protest the attacks and well-wishers have flocked to the hospital where the wounded Palestinian family is being treated. All the political parties have condemned the attack and parliament convened a special session to discuss the latest events, calling for soul searching.

The government has also provided its security services with more tools at their disposal. The Cabinet officially called the firebombing a “terrorist attack in every respect” and authorized the Shin Bet greater leeway to hold suspects without trial or charges, a tool that has been deployed against Palestinian militants. Normally, I would be against such extreme measures but when a country is plagued with terrorists, extreme measures have to be taken to protect its citizens.

I am forced to beg the question, “What is a religious terrorist?” To begin with, all religious extremist ideologies are held by their devotees to be fundamentalist. This is to say that the religious extremist believes that he possesses an unadulterated, more accurate, and likewise “fundamentalist” rendition of the holy texts. What differentiates a religious extremist from his coreligionists, who also affirm the same belief? One word will suffice—Violence.

Most ideologies are transient and subject to the will of people. Although it may seem that those ideologies that are believed to be divinely inspired could not be subject to change, the reality is that in both Jewish and Muslim circles, the human component becomes the dominating force.

The unparalleled number of attacks intended to kill Jews in Israel and the attacks aimed at Arabs have one clear thing in common: they have been classified by decent people as terrorist attacks perpetrated by religious extremists. The ultimate goal of such terrorism is to safeguard the extremist’s radical interpretations of their holy texts that have been somehow challenged by the national and/or religious activities of recognized faiths.

As motivated by Eden Natan Zada (also known as Eden Tzuberi) and other Jewish extremists, violence in Biblical Israel ((Greater Israel) is an eternal inheritance of the Jewish people and that all non-Jews should be banished. This view is extreme because it demonstrates a great departure from a Maimonidean teaching that permits monotheists, “Sons of Noah” to remain in the Land of Israel as “resident aliens.”

The State of Israel and the majority of its Jewish citizens make no such distinctions in their relations with Israeli-Arabs. However, those of religious conviction that do depart from this principle have ultimately deviated from a classical Jewish posture that has existed as a dominant position since Maimonides’ epic work, the Mishneh Torah.

It should be noted that it is this same brand of Jewish extremism that incited Baruch Goldstein to enter a mosque on Purim in 1994, and machine gun to death dozens of Moslem worshippers. It is also the same movement that declared that anyone who surrenders parts of Israel must be labeled a traitor and dealt with accordingly. As such, this is the same ideology that produced Yitzchak Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir. Instead of bringing in an era of peace, such extremism only agitates, expands, and puts off any resolution for future generations.

Israel doesn’t have the death penalty so these extremists can’t be executed but they can be imprisoned. What follows are what I think would be appropriate sentences for extremists in Israel.

Stage One offence:  Advocating violence—minimum of five years in prison.Stage Two offence:    Damaging property by arson—minimum of ten years in prison.  Stage Three offence:   Injuring a person requiring hospital treatment—minimum of fifteen years in prison for each person  seriously injured. Stage Four offence:   Killing someone—minimum of 25 years in person for each person killed.       

 Further, there should be no release on parole available for these terrorists until they have served their sentences in full. Now I realize that these sentences are harsh but who really cares if these terrorists are imprisoned. If the Israelis don’t release them before their sentences are over like they did in the past, the terrorists won’t begin their nefarious crimes again like many did. After their release, they should remain on parole for the rest of their lives so that the authorities can keep watch over them. 

To the Israelis authorities I say this. “Stop pussy-footing around and treating these extremists like wayward kiddies. They are not wayward kiddies. They are human monsters that must be caged.  

On August 9th 2015, Meir Ettinger and Eviatar Slonin another extremist were imprisoned for six months in the form of administrative detention which means they are imprisoned even though they haven’t been charged with any crime. They are incarcerated because of their suspected involvement in extremist activities. I realize that may seem unfair but when people begin acting in a manner that appears to be dangerous to society, steps have to be taken to protect society. This detention is rather minor considering that in Australia, the authorities can imprison anyone who leaves Australia to venture into countries where terrorists are committing acts of terrorism. Even though there is no proof that these people have committed acts of terrorism, for the protection of society, they can be incarcerated in prison for as much as ten years. The Canadian government has announced that they too have such a plan in mind. 

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