We have found Kafka’s Judge… and he thinks he’s a good one

A modern, pomo variant of Aesop’s fables:

The Frustrated Wolf, the Lamb with the Black Belt, and Kafka’s Judge (additional or variant text in bold, original from Aesop)

WOLF, meeting with a Lamb astray from the democratic fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf’s right to eat him. He thus addressed him: “Sirrah, just now you grossly insulted me by trying to pray at my third most sacred site.” “Indeed,” bleated the Lamb in a mournful, apologetic tone of voice, “That was French tourists.” Then said the Wolf, “You starve and impoverish my people.” “No, good sir,” replied the Lamb, “We send them food, but Hamas steals it, and we can’t let them have cement because they use it to build tunnels to smuggle weapons.” Again said the Wolf, “You poison my wells and sell my people shampoo that makes us bald and chewing gum that turns our daughters into sex-pots.” “No,” exclaimed the Lamb, “We actually purify the water and our shampoos and chewing gum do not have secret ingredients.

Upon which the Wolf, frustrated at his ability to convince the Lamb that he was guilty and deserved to be eaten, and unable to seize him and eat him up, began to snap at him. The Lamb, whose martial arts training was unequaled, fought back and hit the wolf repeatedly. The battered wolf, who repeatedly put his cubs in the path of the lambs blows, responded, saying, “Well! I won’t remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations.” So he turned to Judge Goldstone and said, “Condemn this Lamb for his effrontery and his crimes against my poor victimized brothers.”

And Judge who had not read the fable, but felt strongly that the strong should not beat up on the weak under any circumstance, and who had not read the rabbis warning that he who is merciful to the cruel will be cruel to the merciful, took up the cudgels for the poor wolf and hammered away at the martial-arts lamb. How dare you, sir, attack these poor baby wolf cubs. Have you no decency!

Aesop’s Moral: The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.

Pomo Moral: When people who believe in “I’m with whoever is right, my side or not” begin to embrace “I’m with the other side, right or wrong,” they destroy justice.

53 Responses to We have found Kafka’s Judge… and he thinks he’s a good one

  1. Eliyahu says:

    nice — good for aesop.

    Now he mentions that Israel sends purified water to Gaza. Indeed. But Prez Obama insinuated in a very slick way that Israel was preventing Gaza children from getting clean drinking water. This came in his UN general assembly speech. Can Obama be called a peacemaker when his spreads such lies?? See link:

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2009/09/barack-hussein-obama-slick-subtle.html

  2. E.G. says:

    THE ANIMALS SICK OF THE PLAGUE.
    (Jean de la Fontaine, trans. Elizur Wright)

    The sorest ill that Heaven hath
    Sent on this lower world in wrath,–
    The plague (to call it by its name,)
    One single day of which
    Would Pluto’s ferryman enrich,–
    Waged war on beasts, both wild and tame.
    They died not all, but all were sick:
    No hunting now, by force or trick,
    To save what might so soon expire.
    No food excited their desire;
    Nor wolf nor fox now watch’d to slay
    The innocent and tender prey.
    The turtles fled;
    So love and therefore joy were dead.
    The lion council held, and said:
    ‘My friends, I do believe
    This awful scourge, for which we grieve,
    Is for our sins a punishment
    Most righteously by Heaven sent.
    Let us our guiltiest beast resign,
    A sacrifice to wrath divine.
    Perhaps this offering, truly small,
    May gain the life and health of all.
    By history we find it noted
    That lives have been just so devoted.
    Then let us all turn eyes within,
    And ferret out the hidden sin.
    Himself let no one spare nor flatter,
    But make clean conscience in the matter.
    For me, my appetite has play’d the glutton
    Too much and often upon mutton.
    What harm had e’er my victims done?
    I answer, truly, None.
    Perhaps, sometimes, by hunger press’d,
    I’ve eat the shepherd with the rest.
    I yield myself, if need there be;
    And yet I think, in equity,
    Each should confess his sins with me;
    For laws of right and justice cry,
    The guiltiest alone should die.’
    ‘Sire,’ said the fox, ‘your majesty
    Is humbler than a king should be,
    And over-squeamish in the case.
    What! eating stupid sheep a crime?
    No, never, sire, at any time.
    It rather was an act of grace,
    A mark of honour to their race.
    And as to shepherds, one may swear,
    The fate your majesty describes,
    Is recompense less full than fair
    For such usurpers o’er our tribes.’

    Thus Renard glibly spoke,
    And loud applause from flatterers broke.
    Of neither tiger, boar, nor bear,
    Did any keen inquirer dare
    To ask for crimes of high degree;
    The fighters, biters, scratchers, all
    From every mortal sin were free;
    The very dogs, both great and small,
    Were saints, as far as dogs could be.

    The ass, confessing in his turn,
    Thus spoke in tones of deep concern:–
    ‘I happen’d through a mead to pass;
    The monks, its owners, were at mass;
    Keen hunger, leisure, tender grass,
    And add to these the devil too,
    All tempted me the deed to do.
    I browsed the bigness of my tongue;
    Since truth must out, I own it wrong.’

    On this, a hue and cry arose,
    As if the beasts were all his foes:
    A wolf, haranguing lawyer-wise,
    Denounced the ass for sacrifice–
    The bald-pate, scabby, ragged lout,
    By whom the plague had come, no doubt.
    His fault was judged a hanging crime.
    ‘What? eat another’s grass? O shame!
    The noose of rope and death sublime,’
    For that offence, were all too tame!
    And soon poor Grizzle felt the same.

    Thus human courts acquit the strong,
    And doom the weak, as therefore wrong.

  3. Zach says:

    “Everybody votes for a dictator.”
    -Number Six.

  4. Cynic says:

    The battered wolf, who repeatedly put his cubs in the path of the lambs blows, responded, saying, “Well! I won’t remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations.” So he turned to Judge Goldstone and said, “Condemn this Lamb for his effrontery and his crimes against my poor victimized brothers.”

    Seems like you have another definition of chutzpah.

  5. David says:

    It saddens me to have to say this, but I fervently hope the Israeli Foreign Ministry is compiling a thorough rebuttal of the Goldstone Report. Remember that the only real response to “evil speach” is more and better speach. I have not seen reference to such an effort, but it will not be enough for the Web to host the rebuttal – it must be formal and official.

  6. Lorenz Gude says:

    I really have trouble swallowing the conceit of the IDF as a martial arts lamb and the Pals as the wolf. To me the IDF is pride of lions and Hamas a mob of hyenas. And although I don’t know when it is best to ignore such things as the Goldstone report and when to answer them, my gut agrees with David’s comment that a formal and official fisking is the answer to the formal and official bulldust we are getting from the ‘human rights community’.

  7. E.G. says:

    Lorenz Gude and David,

    Problem is: play the game (pun intended) by the rules of those who set it in the first place so as to get you?

  8. E.G. says:

    But I definitely wouldn’t oppose the Obama administration’s compliance to His Judgeship’s latest request:

    Gaza Report Author Asks U.S. to Clarify Concerns

  9. E.G. says:

    Order in the court,
    the judge is eating beans,
    his wife is in the bathtub
    shooting submarines.

  10. Cynic says:

    oao,

    judithmiller can wail and “talk to the wall” but until such time as she realizes that the “nakbarites” are being used as pawns by their Arab brothers in their war against the Jews she is just wasting ink.
    All those questions about Egypt accepting $60 billion from Uncle Sam but refusing to accept 70,000 Arabs into their society surely must be banging on some neurons asking for a rational explanation?

  11. JD says:

    Exactly. Humor. Please tell your Israeli friends they must respond to the Goldstone Report, demolish it, and with humor. Own Goldstone. Use his words against him to show the absurdity of the report.

    As I have written before, Goldstone is a lawyer’s lawyer snake. But he feels guilt, so he cannot stop blabbing. Why is he guilty? Fashionable anti-semitism, or perhaps Iranian pressure on the South African government.

    The response needs to be comprehensive to the alleged facts, always underlining Goldstone says later it is not “evidence.” You need hard lawyers, with a sense of humor.

  12. Cynic says:

    JD,

    Did you read the article linked to in in comment #13 on the “Goldstone Backtracks to BBC …” thread?

    Well worth reading:
    Who Is Richard Goldstone?

    From the link: As a young advocate in South Africa he drew criticism for the way he privately entertained the attorneys who might bring him cases: this was seen as touting for custom.

  13. Joanne says:

    I think it’s a stretch to cast Israel as a lamb, but the point is still well taken.

  14. Cynic says:

    Joanne,

    After all that has passed one can only cast Israel as a sheep. (following the call of those claiming to be her friend).

  15. E.G. says:

    Joanne,

    This excerpt probably reflects your approach:
    Because from Goldstone to Bostrom, the State of Israel gets slammed time and again in the same way: The Palestinians lie. They realized, much before we did, that the war takes place not only on the streets of Gaza, but also on millions of TV screens. In their view, if we are allowed to use phosphorous bombs, they are allowed to use lies. This is the classic weapon of the weak: Cheap, effective, risk-free, and let’s admit it: Painful.

    (source:http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3794675,00.html)

  16. E.G. says:

    Continued.

    Well, here’s another approach, from Maariv’s Ben-Dror Yemini:

    Who’s the real Goliath?

    Only a few days ago, the following about the conflict between Israel and Hamas was published in Ha’aretz: 

”David fired rockets on Goliath, Goliath reacted violently, even a fight between Mike Tyson and a five years old child can be a fist fight – but the proportions, oh proportions. The Gaza Siege was the primary motivation for the Qassams… These wars are no more than wars of maintaining the occupation, real estate wars. Yes, to preserve the occupation, there’s a need to go to war every few years. ”

    

How many lies in a single paragraph? Let’s count.

    

First, David against Goliath, or a boy of five vs. Mike Tyson. Really? Instead of dealing with Hamas, let’s look at insurrections with similar characteristics. Rebel Chechens against Russia. Let’s start with power relations. Chechens counted 1.1 million. Palestinians in Gaza – 1.5 million.
    

Israel may be a superpowerchik, but it’s a frail child compared to the Russian superpower. Alongside Hamas hundreds of rights organizations lined up, the highest per-meter television cameras number in the world, and a regional power such as Iran. Nobody stood alongside the Chechens. 


    The Russians were free to act as they wished, and they actually operated as they wished, leaving such a devastation Israel, fortunately, can’t even dream of causing, and several tens of thousands dead in the first round. It was not a campaign of three weeks, as Israel
    against Hamas. This was a campaign of three years. And it did not work. The Russians retreated.

    In fact, this is the story of a campaign against the kind of combattants such as Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah or the rebel Chechens. The real Goliath is the one who carries the message of Allah, uninhibited, who exploits civilian population and holes in it. Israel has not won in Gaza. But relative to similar conflicts of Russia, NATO and the United States, Israel has managed a little more. And if she’s not stamped the Hamas, it’s not because of regard for the laws of war or rules of morality. On the contrary. It was because of consideration.

    Second, the argument is that the Qassams were due to the closure. Liars have no limits. After all, Qassams have been fired for years, even when there was no closure. Qassam rockets continued even after Israel left. It’s because the firing of Qassams continued that Israel has decided the closure. The closure was intended to prevent violence on a larger scale. It was a moderate measure given that the entity established in the strip loudly declares its desire to destroy Israel, fighting in partnership with Hezbollah and Iran. Only when the closure did not provide its intended effect and the shooting continued, did Israel launch the Gaza operation.

    Third, the lie-manufacturer claims that it’s “real estate wars”. But Israel left Gaza to the last millimeter. So what does the real estate story suddenly do here? Well, the illustrious writer could not resist. It is the Jews. They are money hungry. So it does not matter that that there is no one square inch of [Israeli] real estate in Gaza. It’s always easy to come up with this lie. Someone also always buys it. Especially if the incitement comes from Haaretz.

    (I rather superficially corrected the auto-translation)
    http://translate.google.com/translate?prev=hp&hl=en&js=y&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nrg.co.il%2Fonline%2F1%2FART1%2F957%2F364.html&sl=iw&tl=en&history_state0=

  17. Cynic says:

    E.G.,

    Part 2 of article to appear Sunday evening

    I’m relying on you to supply the link to part two of the article you quoted from in #16. :-)

    And the most painful part is that they placed us in the same category with the liars.

  18. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    I’m counting on you to find that second part on Ynet/English/Opinion by your own excellent self.

    I shall not even be offended if you post the link.

  19. Ray in Seattle says:

    This thread is about “Kafka’s Judge”. This may be off the main topic but it is tangentially connected. I have a question for those of you who live in Israel (or have lived there). I just read an report from the US state Dept. that lists Israel, along with several other nations, as one of the “trouble areas” in the world where religious persecution is “notable”.

    http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2009/127215.htm

    In one paragraph it states,

    Israel

    The Israeli Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty provides for freedom of worship and the Government generally respected this right in practice. While there is no constitution, government policy continued to support the generally free practice of religion. The Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty refers to the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, which provides for the protection of religious freedom. In addition, numerous Supreme Court rulings incorporate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including their religious freedom provisions, into the country’s body of law. The Declaration describes the country as a Jewish state, establishing Judaism as the dominant religion while also promising full social and political equality, regardless of religious affiliation, and the Basic Law describes the country as a “Jewish and democratic state.” Government policy continued to support the generally free practice of religion, although governmental and legal discrimination against non-Jews and non-Orthodox streams of Judaism continued.

    Governmental allocations of state resources favored Orthodox (including Modern and National Religious streams of Orthodoxy) and ultra-Orthodox (sometimes referred to as “Haredi”) Jewish religious groups and institutions.

    Some individuals and groups committed abusive and discriminatory practices against Israeli-Arab Muslims, evangelical Christians, and Messianic Jews (persons who identify as Jews and follow Jewish traditions but believe Jesus was the Messiah), which continued at an elevated level.

    Relations among religious and ethnic groups–between Jews and non-Jews, Muslims and Christians, Arabs and non-Arabs, secular and religious Jews, and among the different streams of Judaism–often were strained during the reporting period. This was due primarily to the continuing Israel-Palestinian conflict and

    the Government’s unequal treatment of non-Orthodox Jews, including the Government’s recognition of only Orthodox Jewish religious authorities in personal and some civil status matters concerning Jews.

    Tensions between Israeli Jews and Palestinians were inflamed further during and in the aftermath of Israel’s December 2008-January 2009 military campaign “Operation Cast Lead” against Hamas in the Gaza strip..

    I have never been able to get a clear picture of this. Is it true? If true, how significant? etc.

    I have defended Israel’s right to consider itself (and have others consider it) a Jewish state – based on my belief that this is grounded in Israel’s establishment as a refuge for Jews in the world (which seems obviously a good thing to me) but also that this results in no significant discrimination or loss of rights for Israeli citizens who are not Jewish.

    For example, in the second bolded charge above, if it is true, did the GOI take necessary and prudent measures to combat this private (not state) discrimination?

    Can anyone here set me straight on this stuff. Have I been wrong on this stuff or is this report just more Judeophobic bullshit from our State Dept.?

    I’m guessing there no real basis for this – that they put this in to give the appearance of even-handedness. But I’d like to know from people who live there. Is this real?

    PS – It would be so cool if we had the ability to “Preview” our comments before we “submit” them. I’ve double checked my html italics and bold tags. Hope they work.

  20. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    I cannot answer your questions and say that this or that is factual but you need to know that when it comes to funding a large part comes from the political clout the group has in the Knesset and whether it is part of the governing coalition or not to be able to blackmail the administration into more “donations”.

    Obviously the Arab communist parties with their seditious outbursts are not going to get very far and while they are free to vent their spleen about the descendants of apes and pigs they should not expect anything monetary in return.

    With the non-Jewish groups the Moslems have control over their religious and educational affairs which doesn’t prevent them from complaining about their lot.
    As an exception the Circassians and the Druse, while Muslims, take advantage of the system and generally succeed in life while generally the ordinary Arab Muslims prefer to cry victim and cast blame.
    The odd ones who take advantage of the system rise to high levels in society without any imposed constraints.
    The Christian community while having a higher standard of living generally, unfortunately suffers politically from the schisms between the various denominations whose leaders prefer confrontation with the Jewish administration. In past topics on this blog these points have been raised.
    The only interference in their lives is from having to obey civil law applied across the board.
    Israelis are generally very liberal and for example Moshavim where people from Thailand come to work in the greenhouses/hothouses, erect temples for their religious rites and provide them with their holidays.
    Some time back I was made aware of the program where during the hottest 4 hours of the day they would be given lessons on modern agricultural techniques using computers etc., and after their work term ended would go back to Thailand with a wealth of experience.

    There are of course individual cases of abusive and discriminatory practices by individuals but not from officialdom.

  21. ellen says:

    “Can anyone here set me straight on this stuff. Have I been wrong on this stuff or is this report just more Judeophobic bullshit from our State Dept.?”

    Judeophobic bullshit. BINGO! We have a bit of a problem in Israel, Ray. As a consequence of the Israel-Evangelical alliance we have been hit with a rash of missionary activity and significant fundamentalist Christian influence in the public and private sectors in Israel. And the homegrown Christian missionary community is now insisting that they’re “messianic Jews”, while other evangelical groups are so in love with Israel that they are claiming to be the lost tribes who share in the inheritance of the land and have an entitlement to aliyah (immigration rights as “Jews”).

    Meanwhile Jews for Jesus and other aggressive missionary groups are claiming the right under the International Religious Freedoms Act to cram the gospel down the throats of Jews anytime, anywhere. Daystar, TBN and GOD TV are gracing Jewish television screens and targeting the immigrant population.

    Traditional Jews in Israel, as well as secular Jews, who came to Israel to live full Jewish lives are increasingly distressed.

    But counter-missionary legislation has been buried here in Israel – lest we upset our evangelical friends who are lobbying for us in US congress and throwing billions into the Israeli economy (via tourism and philanthropic efforts). We’ve even been threatened with US trade sanctions if we dare upset the distribution of the gospel here (it’s a violation of the International Religious Freedoms Act).

    It’s a clear case of Judeo-Christian tolerance becoming tyranny.

    It’s a sort of clash of civilizations: Jewish heritage and tradition vs American-style Freedom of Religion and Democracy (with a little Christian nationalism thrown in for good measure)

    You can tell how biased the State Department report is as it cites significant protests from “The legal defense NGO, Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ).” JIJ is run by Evangelical Christian Messianic Jewish Pastor Attorney Calev Myers and enjoys the backing of Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ (also of Jews for Jesus fame).

    Pastor Attorney Myers just does not like Orthodox Jews
    http://jewishisrael.ning.com/profiles/blogs/calev-continues-crusade
    and he has a love/hate relationship with this writer.
    http://jewishisrael.ning.com/profiles/blogs/calev-myers-he-loves-me-he
    For more go to
    http://jewishisrael.ning.com/profiles/blogs/evangelical-lawyer-accuses

  22. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    Yes, there is discrimination. Since evangelical Christians and Messianic Jews are really tiny communities (and I’m not sure they’re all citizens, some may be residents), my reply concerns mainly Israeli-Arab Moslems. [BTW, I'm surprised by the absence of Israeli-Arab Christians from the discriminated list]

    The first discrimination regards a citizen’s duties to her/his country. Israeli Arabs are exempted of military service. So are Israeli ultra-Orthodox Jews. They can do some sort of other, non-military national service (e.g., teaching, para-medical assistance), but it’s a matter of personal choice and few choose this kind of voluntary activity.

    The second kind of discrimination is affirmative action, practised especially in/by Academia. And it goes beyond entry criteria. Israeli Arabs are also prioritised for dorm allocation and are entitled to “Arab only” room-mates. I’m not sure there’s a symmetric “Jews only”, choice.

    The third kind of discrimination occurs in part of the work market. Some jobs require military-service credentials. Someone may well manipulate arms but not necessarily fit other criteria for a security agent (posted outside a café/restaurant/shopping mall to prevent an attack, or the pre-boarding question-asking agent, etc.), and an engineer without military clearance cannot work for a manufacturer providing, inter-alia, the IDF.

    I’m sure Cynic can fill-in the issue of tax evasion, authorities turning a blind eye on minority communities who indulge in this practice.

    There have been few cases of Jewish localities that would not let Israeli Arabs settle among them. The High Court of Justice ruled against the localities/communities. And there are neighbourhoods in Jaffa, Jerusalem, Ramle etc., that used to be Jewish-only and are now mixed, with better-off Israeli Arabs buying or renting apartments there.

    I’ve encountered Israeli Arabs working at all levels in tourist agencies, hospitals, restaurants, academia… (I haven’t had a personal experience, but there are Israeli Arab lawyers and judges) etc. BTW, there are of course Sharia courts.

    But I’ve been shocked, last June, to meet 2 lovely little girls from Baqa al-Gharbiyye, playing on the Caesaria beach, who spoke Arabic only. Baqa is within the green-line. Their father’s Hebrew was fine.

  23. E.G. says:

    I forgot to mention journalists (in all media) and other community leaders’ op-eds frequently appearing in all MSNM, and most political parties who have their Arab activists or Parliament members, beside the specifically sectorial (sectarian) ones.

  24. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, EG: Thanks for taking the time to give me your views on this. My tendency is to believe you. I don’t think it would bother either of you to tell me of some serious discrimination if it was happening.

    But so far, it looks to me like Israel is as good or better at this than almost any other democracy that I know of and that the State Dept report is just typical anti-Israel BS.

    But then, since I want to believe that because that’s the view I’ve believed and defended previously – I must provisionally mistrust my conclusions. I know there are several of Israel’s ideological enemies who lurk here and occasionally post comments. I invite any of you or anyone else who has credible and verifiable views of Israel’s treatment of its non-Jewish minorities to make a case. I will examine them carefully and objectively. I really want to know the truth of these charges as far as I can manage to do it. Thanks

  25. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, Sharia courts? Do they over-ride the Basic Laws of Israel?

  26. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    Some issues, esp. marital ones, don’t fall under state but under religion rule/law. Hence, Rabbinical or Sharia courts. One is registered (I.D.) as married/divorced/widower by the state according to the religious document attesting the person’s status.
    (It’s a bit more complex than that, but that’s the principle)

    I’m not sure about polygamy. I don’t think there’s a state law dealing with it. Anyway, a Rabbinical court will not allow it, but a Sharia one will.

  27. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG aid, “I’m not sure about polygamy. I don’t think there’s a state law dealing with it. Anyway, a Rabbinical court will not allow it, but a Sharia one will.”

    Right. Civil customs and such. Certainly I assume honor killing is not considered a civil “custom”. I personally have no problem with polygamy as long as it takes place between consenting adults and it doesn’t jeopardize children in terms of clear child support and community property provisions in case of divorce.

    It seems that Israel is allowing marriage to be under the providence of religion in most cases. It also seems that Israel has citizens that belong to a wide range of religions of which many are some of the most ideological. I find that remarkable. It’s possibly the only place on earth where so many opposite religious beliefs live side by side in the minds of one state’s citizens. Especially when you consider that the most fervent (in some cases violent) religious believers seem to be attracted to that part of the world because of its historic connections to the three Abrahamic religions.

  28. Ray in Seattle says:

    Note: There may be some aspects of polygamy that are adverse for family members, esp. for women and children, that I am not aware of. That would change my opinion.

  29. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    It gets slightly more complicated if/when you consider social security rights and obligations. You know, medical care and allowances etc. (that go by state law).

    In Israel, polygamy and family honour traditions benefit from a kind of non-interventionist state policy/ religious independence or “freedom of belief” status quo. Minority privilege.

    Yes, Virginia. There is discrimination in Israel.

  30. Ray in Seattle says:

    This seems more like the state bending over backwards to defer to various religious laws in different communities. It seems confusing to me. But maybe its like what we call “states rights” here in the US. In this system each state gets to set policy for some of a citizens rights and responsibilities. You may be allowed to do something in Illinois that would be illegal in Alabama, for example. Right now some states allow medicinal marijuana use and in others it is still illegal to possess it for any purpose.

    I personally prefer legalization across the board. But, because some states still criminalize possession, and have people in prison for possession which is deplorable IMO, I don’t denounce my country as an abuser human rights.

    In any democracy there will be areas where someone rights infringe on somebody else’s and those will be adjusted as time goes by and people get pissed off enough to change it.

    I guess I’d tend to put Israel’s granting of religious exceptions in that categeory. I certainly don’t see the sense in accusing Israel of violating human rights because it tries to accommodate its many religions. Especially since all Israelis have equal access to vote to change things.

    Also, I assume anyone can bring suit in the Israel supreme court against the state for laws that may violate the Basic Laws, I think you call them.

    It seems like no-one out there has any evidence of clear ongoing human rights violations by the GOI – yet.

  31. Eliyahu says:

    Ray, under Ottoman law and pre-Ottoman Islamic law in Israel and throughout the Empire, the population was divided up into religious nations, with the Sunni Muslims on top of course. You’ve heard of the Ummah Islamiyya, the Islamic nation. The non-Muslim subject peoples were divided into several millets. These too were religiously defined nations, such as Jews, Armenians, Greeks [Rumi], and some others. The Rumi millet meant members of the Greek orthodox church. It included not only Greeks but Arabic speakers, maybe Serbs, Bulgars and Valakhs [Rumanians] too at one time. Each millet had its own religious-political structure which collected taxes from millet members; maintained courts for crimes and civil cases within the millet, jurisdiction over personal [inc. marital] status, etc.
    So some silly folk in the West could exult over the freedom and tolerance given to non-Muslims in the Islamic state. Why, they had their own courts, lived by their own laws, etc. This was true up to a point. But Muslims were always on top and were always deeply concerned with tax collection, that is, mezumah, just like most exploiters. Non-payment of the jizyah could mean the death penalty.

    The British basically maintained this system, if not in all details. And Israel too kept it, although restricting application to personal and marital status, inheritance, and the like.

    Now, as to Arabs in Israeli public life. There have been several Arab and Druze ministers and deputy ministers. An Arab sits on the Supreme Court. Other Arabs on lower courts. A Christian Arab is the civil service commissioner [Oscar Rizk]. There more than a dozen Arab members of Knesset. Arabs work for the state TV. A number of Druze have been generals, etc. Despite all this, Israel is accused of being an apartheid state.
    Part of the problem is peresitis, that is, Shimon Peres’ dumb notion that Israel shouldn’t bother refuting lies told about us. Prominent peresites include Nahman Shai.

    Here’s some photos of Arabs and Jews in every day life in Jerusalem.

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2009/09/arabs-refute-big-lie-of-israeli.html

    By the way, Arabs are fond of shopping malls like many other folks throughout the world.

  32. Cynic says:

    Ray with regard to your question in #26 here’s an article for what it is worth in trying to glean facts:
    From Judaism to Islam and back again

    X then converted to Islam to marry him.
    Immediately after the wedding, however, X discovered the great cultural divide between herself and her husband. She was unaccustomed to the subservient role she was expected to serve, and her husband was violent when X was uncooperative.
    Aware of her plight, X’s mother contacted Yad L’Achim, a haredi anti-missionary organization, after the man from Rahat refused to allow X to leave.
    The organization managed to get X out of Rahat while her husband was at work. An attorney obtained a divorce from the man through the Shari’a Court in Beersheba.
    X spent the following three years studying Torah.
    This week X arrived at the rabbinical court in Jerusalem and asked to declare her faith to Judaism.
    Although Judaism does not recognize conversions to other religions and someone born a Jew remains Jew for life, X nevertheless wanted to be sure no doubts would be cast on her status.

  33. Cynic says:

    It also seems that Israel has citizens that belong to a wide range of religions of which many are some of the most ideological.

    Ray,
    One needs to see the Bahai temple and gardens, in all its splendour, in Haifa to realise the freedom when compared to the abject discrimination they suffer in Iran.
    Not only are they free to run their religion as they see fit but can expose it for all to see.

    One needs to also understand that when people talk of ultra orthodox Jews they are generalizing about several different groups with different degrees of ideology, and unfortunately the more rational majority gets tarred with the extremist brush.

  34. Cynic says:

    Eliyahu,

    By the way, Arabs are fond of shopping malls like many other folks throughout the world.

    Maybe you should expound on the reaction by Majdal Shams residents when it was suggested that the cease fire line be changed and the fence moved so that the town could once more be incorporated into Syria. :-)

    By the way just have a look at the total stupidity of Colette Avital and the nonsense she wrote in Jpost;
    what she think it is the mouthpiece for Jstreet?
    Why knock the new kid on the block?

    Israel has not taken real advantage of Arab overtures or the Arab peace initiative.

    Baa waa cough cough.

  35. Eliyahu says:

    cynic, the “arab peace initiative” is one of those many gestures of unconscious humor that we are afflicted with nowadays. I never could stand her when she was in Labor, nor when she moved over to Qadimah [she did move there, didn't she?]. Anyhow, Jstreet has a lot of mezumah behind them. Maybe it’s just a PR job for Colette. Maybe Colette needs a warm place to sleep and some nice clothes like any other girl — or any guy, for that matter. She lost her seat in the Knesset. How’s she gonna eat now? She needed a job. Maybe it’s the fault of all the guys in the Labor party who didn’t want to marry her. Who knows?

  36. Eliyahu says:

    My unnamed well-informed domestic sources have notified me that Colette never went over from Labor to Qadimah, as did S Peres, Hayim Ramon, and Dalia Itzik.

    But the Labor Party went down by about 1/3 in the number of seats in the last election. So Colette lost her meal ticket. Don’t forget that for many people, He who pays the piper calls the tune. Colette is willing to dance. Just play that pipe!

  37. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    Let go poor Cocolette. She’s not relevant.

    Could you please let me know what “mezumah” is/means?

  38. Cynic says:

    E.G.,

    Could you please let me know what “mezumah” is/means?

    Doesn’t it mean MONEY! It was used a lot in ancient Hollywood gangster type movies wasn’t it?
    Where it originated from would be interesting to know.

    Nothing to do with Montezuma, by any chance, what?

  39. E.G. says:

    On Richard Richard Goldstone.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/all/5457948/who-is-goldstone-to-judge.thtml

    BTW, there’s one Bernard Bernard too…

  40. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    Oh, dough!
    Maybe the origin is Mezumanim? ;-)

  41. Eliyahu says:

    EG,
    כן, מזומה נובעת מהמילה מזומנים
    Maybe mezumah came into gangster argot from Yiddish. I’ll check it out.

    Anyway, we’re living in a never-ending gangster film, aren’t we? Threats, murder, extortion, treachery, the blue ribbon types on the take from the worst mobsters. Nothing new under the sun. אין חדש תחת השמש

    But give me some of those 1920s-1930s gangsters anytime in exchange for today’s terrorists. Dose guys was peaceful, donchuz know dat? Relatively peaceful anyhow, and they usually avoided killing those not involved in their feuds.

    Why, Al Capone and other gangsters even conducted a peace process and held a peace conference in Atlantic City, then governed by a mob mayor, Enoch [Nucky] Johnson. Capone said, “It was with the idea of making peace amongst gangsters that I spent a week in Atlantic City and got the word of each leader that there will be no more shootings.”

    Unbelievably similar to what the politicians and diplomats say. See link:

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2006/09/peace-prophets-view-of-misuse-of-word.html

  42. Cynic says:

    E.G.,

    Somebody I spoke to today mentioned that the IBA’s (Israel Broadcasting Authority) English news carried an interview this week (they don’t remember if it was Tuesday or Wednesday …) where a former South African who knew Goldstone quite well had some unflattering things to say about him.
    I have emailed them to try and get a link or transcript but don’t know if I’ll be very successful.

  43. E.G. says:

    Cynic and Eliyahu,

    Thanks for the info.
    As you know, I’m not very much into the ad hominem/ personal stuff. The nickname in this case is revealing, and I confess having had a grin thinking on Bernard-Bernard Koushner’s arrogance to even dare postulate against an African.

    שלום שלום ואין שלום.
    שלום שלום לקרוב ולרחוק.

  44. Ray in Seattle says:

    Ooops, #44 was for Cynic, but EG can read it too ;)

  45. E.G. says:

    Thanks Ray,

    I posted that link in #40.
    There’s a French expression saying “Great spirits encounter each other” ;-)

  46. Eliyahu says:

    EG, you quote “Peace, peace and there is no peace.” That and like verses appear in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, as I recall. The false prophets declaim day and night: Peace, peace. And there is no peace.

    We are living that today. True prophecy is dead, having been given over to children and fools. But the false prophets thrive and prosper and abound everywhere from Pago Pago to the Khyber Pass, on all latitudes & longitudes and in all climes. And especially on the pages of the NYT, the Guardian and HaArets.

    But I say that the NYT is a crime against the trees!! How many pounds or kilos does its Sunday edition weigh? Do those scribblers in New York, London, and Tel Aviv have no concern for the trees, for the ozone layer, for CO2 in the atmosphere, and for the mental pollution that they emit?

  47. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    I’m sure there’s some good dialectic synthesis regarding the need to alert the good people vs. the costs such good cries (however lengthy and numerous — for the good but dumb people’s attention that fluctuates too often) entail. Or else popular democracies wouldn’t have practised it.

    Renaming enemies “peace partners” doesn’t automatically turn wolves into a lambs. But some people seem to take Isaiah’s famous prophecy “And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid…” and his other one “I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel. Peace, peace, to those far and near, says the Lord. And I will heal them.” as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    But the phenomenon is not always straightforward, and may have some nasty side-effects. Especially when the wolf is used to Takkiya.

  48. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    Thanks for the link. The person in the news interview was a woman so if I get something maybe there’ll be some more savory morsels.

  49. Ray in Seattle says:

    Post the link if you find it. I’d like to see it too.

  50. Eliyahu says:

    EG & Cynic,
    I checked up mezumah. The Hebrew word mezumanim is found in Yiddish too. Mezumah is not a Yiddish word but probably just a slang American pronunciation of mezumanim.
    However, I did once see mezumah in a book as an example of a Hebrew word taken into American English. The book went so far as to print the word mezumah in Hebrew letters, although it was not a Hebrew word. That threw me off.

  51. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    Mazal it’s not Mezima!;-)
    Some melting pot, eh?

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