Tag Archives: religion

So do I hate Israel?

3 Jul

I keep getting told things such as:
“You clearly hate Israel!”
“Get the fuck out of Israel if you don’t like it!”
“You’d rather see every last Jew murdered by those Palestinians”
And so on. Nazi, antisemite, self-hating Jew, angry loser, etc.

Well, wrong. Also, those Israeli residents who call me a Nazi will from now on be sued for what little they’re worth.

I love Israel. I’m born here. I love the vitamin D, I love the gazillion cats, I love the beautiful men, the blunt and loud and lively people, I love how far Israel has come in so little time and how resilient and bold it is.
I admire the obscene number of Nobel Prize laureates Israel and Jews worldwide – who are in no way obligated to identify with Israel – have produced. I admire the technological, medical, and other developments made in Israel. Israel is a great contribution to the world from an industrial and science point of view. Israel has a lot to offer. Israelis, as a people, are often friendly, emotionally open, and happy to connect. There is, despite the ugly mud fights between right and left, religious and secular, Jewish and Arab, a great sense of unity in the face of many challenges, and more empathy for the hardship of fellow citizens (if publicized sufficiently – still it exceeds what I’ve seen in other countries).

However, this is only one side of the medal. Each medal has two sides and mass in between the two. The side described above is shiny and real, but the ugly, rusty, shit-covered other side is just as real.

When you love your child, you don’t mindlessly praise them. You most cerainly don’t only praise them. You will want the child to improve and work on/correct mistakes for the child’s sake and for the sake of the world that the child will live in and help create and impact. You will want bad behavior or questionable attitudes gone. This can only be done by means of pointing them out, discussing them, and finding a solution.
You don’t go around (if you love your child) denying that (if) he is a bully, steals, or scores fail grades. You don’t ignore your child’s problems for the sake of upholding your illusion of your perfect little angel.
That is, if you’re a good parent. Then you will praise the good, correct the bad, and hope your child will develop into a well-rounded, wholesome, grounded character who lives up to their own standards.

And at the latter, Israel is failing miserably, and hence I will continue to scold her. She is like the spoilt child that throws temper tantrums, shoves the other kids and steals their lunch money, and then gets excused because of how very truly gifted and also sweet and productive she can be. However, the latter must never justify or downplay the previous, so no matter how big a child prodigy Israel may be, she must learn to behave respectfully, compassionately, and fairly. And she currently does not and never has, or at least not to an acceptable degree.

And I will not have any “But compared to Syria”. If we have to compare ourselves to the smelliest of shitholes in order to look good, we have already lost the debate. We must compare ourselves to the countries Israel (pretends to?) strives to be like – the West. We must compare ourselves to Germany, to the Netherlands, Great Britain, Australia, perhaps america though at least we don’t have this much gun violence… And most of all, we must compare and live up to our own alleged standards of moral superiority. Overall and in our government, we do not.

This criticism doesn’t make me antisemitic, it doesn’t make me anti-Zionist.
I am Zionist in that I believe that Jews get to have this homeland called Israel where they can live passionately and freely as Jews, celebrating and practicing their Jewishness to any degree that each individual one of us pleases – from secular/reform to ultra-Orthodox. I do see this merit in the state of Israel.
However, I do not believe that we require the Zionist supremacy that is currently ruling this Jewish country. We do not need to oppress or put down Gentiles in order to elevate ourselves and enjoy our Jewish homeland as Jews. If the ideal of political Zionism, ie. Israel belonging to Jews, justifies the deportation of its non-Jewish natives, then Germany’s desire to be Aryan would have justified the deportation of all things non-Aryan. The idea of one ethnicity, religious group, race or other ruling supreme by forcefully minimizing incompatible populations, is of the same vileness everywhere, be it Jews or white supremacists. Israel, for being superior to its neighbors in aspects such as technological advance, education, firepower, money etc. has a responsibility to use this power gracefully but she does not. We are, for example, right to be pissed at having rockets fired at us, but if they kill nobody, then what the hell are we bombing and hitting countless civilians for in retaliation? The emotion may be understandable – in anger, don’t we all want to react excessively? – but we have a moral obligation, due to our own standards and pretenses and due to our superior power, to be better than that. We should, and more importantly – we fucking CAN!
Contrary to popular belief, Jews used to be welcome and able to practice in Muslim majority countries until the founding of our state came about and the founders used methods that would poison this peaceful coexistence. If Muslims could be Muslims in Muslim countries despite there being lots of Jews, why can’t Jews be Jews in a Jewish country and embrace its non-Jewish populations?

I am pro-Israel. I am anti-white supremacy (she is), ultra-rightwing Zionist (she is), religion-forced-down-everyones-throat (she is), fuck-everyone-else (she is) Israel. I adore this country, so I want her to be better than this. But regurgitating glorified hasbarah/propaganda, is not the way. It is the way of the coward who would rather live in blissfull denial than to weep at the face of the ugly truth, and then get hurt trying to improve shit.

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Erin Hunter’s Irresponsibility

9 Jan

The importance of religion and politics in the Warriors universe has always worried me, from the very first book onward. I finally decided not to recommend Warriors to children below or within the target age – 9 to 12 – when it became clear that Hollyleaf was, hair by hair, modeled after an Islamic jihadist. She actually murders in order to protect the Warrior Code or at least whatever she could pretend was left of it as long as certain secrets died with Ashfur. 
And while at some points, Hollyleaf was implicitly depicted as insane, mostly when the absolute simpleton Lionblaze questioned her zeal, her attitude usually seemed to be glorified throughout the narration. Was Ashfur truly so bad for wanting to reveal the truth that the law had been broken? Aren’t those who silence the truth through murder, the bad guys? Oh, but Hollyleaf grew herbs and chased off a fox, that makes it okay.

Now I finished “The forgotten Warrior”, in which Sol turns out to be little more than a butthurt lol-cow out for revenge. He is finally demonized without any room for rationalizing his actions and attitude. He is purely bad, purely out for revenge and wreaking havoc.
However, this seems too easy. Is this really what Erin Hunter had planned for him from the beginning? And if so, what do the writers want to tell their target group, easily brainwashed children, about choice, free will, and democracy? 
I thought that when Sol first made ShadowClan question the Warrior Code and Clan life, this was a good thing. Only when informed about all options, should one pick a certain lifestyle. It was a good thing that ShadowClan – or any Clan cat – was educated on other possibilities and encouraged to question dying for another cat, or for principles that practically make little difference or bear little negative consequence, such as frequenting kittypets or interacting with humans. Shunning and deriding kittypets actually has a lot in common with racism, homophobia and other such concepts of unjustified discrimination. But while no fictional hero would get away with calling a black character “Nigger” or a gay one “Faggot”, or disadvantage a Jew for being a Jew, it is perfectly acceptable for handsome Lionblaze to snarl at a kittypet for being a kittypet, and remain the popular good guy. Clan life may be the way of life of the central characters, but that does not mean that all other ways of life need to be depicted as negative. However, that is exactly what Erin Hunter do (for those not familiar with Erin Hunter: I refer to them in the plural form because Erin Hunter is actually a pen name behind which there are four writers). And just because the heroes are cats, I guess that means that all other creatures are “crazy”, “ugly”, “clumsy”, “smelly” or other bad things. Can one concept not be glorified without vilifying all others? Are Erin Hunter such simpletons that they cannot think in shades of gray, or do they deliberately present the reader with “the only right way”?
Basically, what Sol did, was introduce the concept of independent thinking to a flock of mindless sheep. Nowadays, that is a bad thing only in radical Islam, and certain Asian societies. Right, Kim Jong Un? Oh, and Russia, and… Ah, forget it.

I had already noticed how it was not depicted as merely unusual, but actually bad, when the ancient pre-Tribe cats cast votes rather than yowling agreement like an angry mob at whatever their leader decided. One person “up there” preaching to the applauding crowd, is what Achmadinejad does, what Hitler did, what Jerry Springer does. But is it a good thing? Mindlessly following one person’s orders?  Unless you’re the teacher of a bunch of children or mentally handicapped people, bascially people who cannot be trusted to make their own sound decisions, no, usually it is not. Clan life, like it or not, is a dictatorship. Sol, in the beginning, suggested a shot at democracy. Free will, independence. That such actions would be chosen by Erin Hunter as Sol’s evil scheme of petty revenge over a rejection, what does that say about what the writers want children to think in terms of sociopolitical issues? 

Probably that a fundamentalist, absolutist dictatorship is the desirable way of life. With Islamization growing and smothering more and more of the Western ways, maybe this is a way to gently ease this generation into an oppressive way of life and not become suicidal from it. Maybe Erin Hunter are doing the kids a kindness. Or maybe, children should not be reading such crafty brainwashing bullshit.

I love the Warriors saga, but I am a 30-year-old responsible adult with an IQ that allows me to question shit. 9-year-olds are neither responsible, nor able to make up their own minds. They think they are, but that is not the same. At this point, I don’t even know if I care whether Erin Hunter infused their books with political brain bleach on purpose, or not. The message one can read not just between the lines, is very clear:

“Baaaah! Baaaaah! Let’s graze over thaaaaaaar!”

There is a reason that user-generated content networks like deviantART and Facebook want kids below 13 off their turf. This is not because a 12-year-old is an easier target for pedophiles than a 13-year-old. It is because somewhere, a line has to be drawn and children too young to not be influenced by content only mature persons should see, need to be kept off certain platforms that are likely to provide such content. A versatile art platform like deviantART, or Facebook, where everyone propagates their religious or political radicalism, are such places. Children as young as the Warriors target group, cannot yet question the actions and opinions of their idols. Meaning their idols should, if they have to be political, not represent radicalism or fundamentalism.
I know many Americans try to make democracy look bad because Obama mad a few wrong calls – or maybe because he’s black – but any regime will produce errors along the way. That does not make democracy a bad thing. Take Israel for example; it is the only democracy in the Middle East and also happens to be the only place where women, homosexuals and even animals, have rights. Democracy is not anarchy, as some seem to think and as Erin Hunter seems to depict it.

I am a very political person with a few very extreme views. But Erin Hunter have to be either evil or utterly retarded (or high?) to think such views are appropriate in books written for children.