“Written to enlighten, guaranteed to offend”
A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
April 1st, 2009
1) Neo-colonialism and condoms: The Pope went to Africa and in a relatively obscure interview he noted, what has always been the Church’s stance, that he opposed condoms and was not sure they actually help stop the spread of AIDs. He was not given the chance to elaborate before the wires were hot with controversy and voices from throughout the western world were condemning him for his ‘primitive’ view. Oddly enough the Africans themselves weren’t offended. Millions mobbed him in Angola and throughout the continent all the while that white NGO workers were condemning him for ‘offending Africa’. Africans are more grown up than the Western world apparently. They understand that condoms are, at best, a stop gap against AIDS, not a ‘solution’.
2) Josef Fritzl and the evils of Europe: Josef Frizl, the Austrian who raped and imprisoned his daughter in a cell for two dozen years was sent to prison. He will be eligible for parole because of a European system where a ‘life sentence’ is just a doze years and where one cannot receive more than one sentence for multiple crimes. This is ‘justice’. He may spend less time in prison than his daughter was forced to spend in the cell her constructed for her. Welcome to Europe.
3) Belonging, the Jews and the Europeans: The British writer who wrote ‘Seven Jewish children’ included a line in which the Jewish parent admits that she doesn’t ‘belong’ in the Holy Land. Some leftist Europeans don’t believe Jews belong in the Middle East, just as their ancestors didn’t think Jews belonged in Europe. Oddly enough these same leftists think that most of the Middle East belongs in Europe. But it is not just the leftist Europeans who are to blame, Jews themselves are ambivalent about where they ‘belong’. Some of them would prefer rootlessness and the chance to critique the entire world than the belonging to one specific place. The irresponsibility of being a worldly ‘humanistic’ critique monger is easier than the responsibility of citizenship and belonging.
Neo-colonialism and condoms
Seth J. Frantzman
March 22nd, 2009
On March 17th, on his way to Cameroon, Pope Benedict XVI made a comment to a journalist while on the flight to the begin his tour of Africa. He said, in Italian, “Se non c’è l’anima, se gli africani non si aiutano, non si può risolvere il flagello con la distribuzione di preservativi: al contrario, il rischio è di aumentare il problema.” The English language press translated this as “[AIDS] is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems” of the spread of AIDs.” Despite questions about the translation, the reporting of what the Pope had said set off a media firestorm.
Suddenly the Pope’s mission to the Dark Continent was of interest to the lighter skin continents. No one had expected this. Those who report on Catholic Affairs, such as John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter had pleaded just a day before, on March 16th, for people to care about the Pope’s mission. He wrote about “five reasons why the papal trip to Africa is important.” Allen noted that “In general, news about Africa doesn’t ‘sell’ unless there’s a calamity -- genocide, mass starvation, and the like.” But he stressed that Africa is the future of the Church and that the Pope had the opportunity to speak on Muslim-Christian relations and to reach out to Africans during the ‘age of Obama’ and make ‘old Europe’ relative to them. Allen’s comments were a little playful and low brow but he also seems to have made a prediction; “If there’s no hint of controversy, the sheer pull of Benedict’s personality isn’t enough to galvanize interest.” And the next day, right on schedule for the Pope, who has, according to the media, offended Muslims (alluding to their ‘violence’ which made them become violent) and Jews (de-excommunicating some recalcitrant priests, one of whome denied the Holocaust), there was someone to be offended. This time it was the AIDs-condom mafia.
Of course the Pope wasn’t exactly reflecting on some new radical doctrine. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now the Pope, had been Prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine of the which is tasked with “promoting and safeguarding the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world.” He served in this position from 1981 to 2005, basically the entire time that the former Pope, John Paul II, was Pope. So he helped construct John Paul II’s more conservative or traditional approach to Catholic views on such things as condoms.
But the media has an interest in flagging controversy and ‘scandal’ around the Pope and its members have misquoted him in the past. They did so most famously when it turned an academic, and mostly ponderous, lecture about the Byzantine emperors and Islam into a ‘Pope calls Islam violent’ headline which set the flames of violence alight across the Muslim world and resulted in the murder of at least one nun and a priest and the sacking of several churches.
The controversy over the Pope’s condemns reached fever pitch within a few days. One writer from the International AIDS Society noted that “Pope’s comments could fuel HIV/AIDS.” Other AIDs groups condemned the comments. The Government of France expressed outrage, an oddity for a secular regime. But while the Pope’s comments created rage in the West they went almost unnoticed in Africa. Basmah Fahim of Reuters claimed that “Africans chide Pope” on his comments but her report only noted that “politicians, activists and doctors have criticized the pontiff for being unscientific and dangerous.” Actual mainstream Africans didn’t protest. In the final stop of the Pope’s visit, in Angola, over a million, out of a population of 13 million in the country, turned out to hear him speak. No protests were reported.
There are 33 million people infected with AIDs globally. The Pope’s comments reflected the official view of the Catholic church which, while controversial in certain circles in the West, has not seemed particularly controversial in Africa itself. The truth of the ‘scandal’ and ‘controversy’ about the Pope’s comments is that it reflects a form of neo-colonialism by ‘activists’ in the West who intend that their values and judgments about the use of condoms should be imposed on Africa because ‘we know best’. But the Africans themselves disagree and they showed the depths of their disagreement by turning out in record breaking numbers to show their support for the Pope and the Church. Activists and doctors should distribute condoms in Africa but imposing the Western solution for AIDs should go no further, otherwise it is soaked in arrogance and the idea that only the West can ‘solve’ Africa’s problems. Not all of Africa is marred by AIDs. Particularly Muslim Northern Africa and Uganda have dramatically different infection rates than the rest. They have dealt with the AIDS epidemic in an African way, one that may not walk hand in hand with the West’s solution, but one that has much in common with the Pope’s actual condoms in Italian.
Josef Fritzl and the evils of Europe
Seth J. Frantzman
March 19th, 2009
The case of Josef Fritzl exposes an evil of Europe, the evil underside of liberalism and Nazism that lurks behind dark corners of that continent. Nazism is what allowed Fritzl to get away with his crime. It was the town of people who ask no questions, who accept stories about noises. Nazism is what allowed him to live the double life and show no remorse, much as the Nazis showed no remorse and were able to morph themselves into new men in the New World. Nazism and Austrian Collaboration were what enabled Frizl.
To recount his evil is almost too hard to bear. He imprisoned his own daughter for 24 years. He raped her some 3,000 times. He forced her to act in pornographic scenes in front of a camera for his enjoyment. He took three of the children he fathered with her above ground to live with his family which adopted them. How did she give birth in the basement? How did medical professionals and no one else notice this elaborate evil? He chained his daughter up for 9 months, the first nine of her enslavement. He fathered three more children with her and forced them to remain in the basement. One grew to be a teenager having never seen sunlight. He fathered a seventh child which he then allowed to die in the cellar prison. And it all happened underneath the house shared with his wife and another lodger.
But European ‘justice’ caught up with him. He is to be sentenced to ‘life’, which is 20 years in Austria, in a medical asylum. He will enjoy walks everyday outside. During his time in prison so far he has been visited daily by a friendly psychiatrist who expressed understand of his crimes. Now he will have teams of people waiting on his every need at a top notch psychological institution. No solitary confinement for this man. He will not even remain confined for the same he confined his daughter. No chains for this beast.
In Austria, as in most of Europe there is no justice. Those tried for crimes may only receive the harshest sentence for the worst crime. Thus Frizl was charged with 11 counts of manslaughter, rape, imprisonment, incest, coercion and enslavement among others. But he can only be sentenced for the neglect and manslaughter of his son who he allowed to die in the prison. That is European ‘justice’. If a person were to murder twenty people in Europe the most they could be sentenced for is one murder and in Europe that means between 16 and 20 years in prison, which is what Europeans call ‘life’. It is interesting that in Europe 20 years is ‘life’. That means a person who lives a full life span, 80 years, actually lives four lives.
But European justice gets worse. If judges decide he is “no longer a danger to the public” he can be freed in fifteen years. That is the logic behind release in Europe. A person can murder and murder and rape and murder and rape and terrorize and enslave and once they claim to no longer be a ‘danger’ they can be released. European justice does not envision actually punishing people. The idea is simply to make society safe from them. This is the evil that lurks beneath Europe. The evil of liberalism, in not punishing the beasts the lurk among us, is related to the evil of Nazism, for Nazism lurked in many places outside Germany among the collaborators in Austria and Croatia, and yet there was no remorse in those places for the Nazi past. Europe is a dangerous place to be a civilian. People are under constant threat because there is no justice in that place. On this account the ‘progressive’ justice system has lost all sight of justice. In other societies justice is connected to compensation. A hand for stealing. A life for a life. And that is logical. Enslave people, rape them, commit incest, murder your children; the remedy should be solitary confinement and then death. There can be tolerance in the world for the Frizls or anything like them. Unfortunately the ‘most advanced’ society in the world allows these beasts to roam free, from Frizls to terrorists to Nazis to rapists and child molesters, they all roam free because of a liberal society that grants them creature comforts in prison and endless compassion.
Belonging, the Jews and the Europeans
Seth J. Frantzman
March 19th, 2009
In Caryl Churchill’s recent play, ‘Seven Jewish Children’ one of the characters says to another “Don’t tell her she doesn’t belong here.” This encapsulates how the European thinks about the Jews in Israel. They don’t belong. They certainly don’t belong to the land (one Palestinian book is actually titled We Belong to the Land). The question of where the European feels the Jews belong, and by extension where the European belong and where other people ‘belong’ is important. What is also important is to see how some of the Jews think about the issue of belonging to a place.
For almost 2,000 years the Jews didn’t belong in Europe. They were massacred, expelled, harassed, confined to ghettos, forced to wear special clothes and finally gassed en masse by the Europeans. Not all the Europeans hated them all the time. Each European nation had its own special period of hatred for the Jews and demanding that they remove themselves because they didn’t belong. It was in Europe that the Jew stopped farming and living in isolated rural settlements and confined himself to the cities, out of fear of being assaulted in the countryside. But his dwelling in the city made him more of foreigner, since foreigners congregate in cities, they are obviously not part of the land. It made him easier to remove as well, city dwellers are not an essential part of the economy in countries that at the time were mostly rural. So the Jew didn’t belong. But then, after the Germans and their collaborators, the Austrians, Croats and others, destroyed European Jewry between 1933 and 1945 something changed. The Europeans, like Caryl Churchill decided that the Jews belonged in Europe, now that none of them were left. Country’s such as Spain even invited them back, after 500 years of being without them.
The Europeans have an interesting sense of belonging. They take it for granted that all of them belong where they are and that they can tell their children they ‘belong’ in their countries. In fact even if Europeans move from place to place or country to country they don’t seem to feel that their children don’t ‘belong’ in that place. If Caryl Churchill raised children in the U.S she would have no qualm telling them they belong as citizens of their new country. Furthermore the Europeans of the ideology that claims the Jews don’t ‘belong’ in Israel are the same ones who struggle on behalf of the rights of foreign immigrants to Europe. For the Europeans any non-European who has arrived in any form, legal or illegal, ‘belongs’ in Europe. They would not tell an Algerian immigrant to not tell their children “she doesn’t belong here.”
The Jews themselves are ambivalent about their belonging. Numerous Jewish voices, especially the Jewish elites of Israel, the German Yekkee Jews, and the leftist Jews in the U.K and the U.S, are not sure they belong anywhere. Haim Beresheet, a U.K lecturer who calls himself ‘Israeli’ penned a protest letter with hundreds of other Jews describing the Palestinians as ‘indigenous’. When asked if he was indigenous, he and other signers, noted that only the Palestinians can be ‘indigenous’ to Israel and that “not every nation has a corresponding place it is indigenous to.” So the Jews are not indigenous and by extension those Jews such as Beresheet are not indigenous to anything. They need the exile. It is no surprise, the exile is part of their identity, being outsiders looking in with a ‘worldview’ and an ‘international humanist’ viewpoint is important to them. One sees this in the endless writings of anti-Israel types such as Avraham Burg who tell us that the Jews must be a “light unto the nations” who must roam around the world supporting causes and being the ‘moral center’. Those Jews want this position for themselves, a sort of Cohanim for the world, a sort of Braham elite that determines the morals of the world, always expressing outrage in shrill causes.
Take three simple more examples. The Israel Religious Action Center in Israel, which is the “legal arm” of the Reform Jewish movement in Israel, has started a campaign to end the building by the Simon Wiesenthal center of a Museum in the city. Einat Horowitz, a director of the organization noted “We should use further legal action to gain time to create enough public pressure to stop the project.” Ostensibly the movement claims that their decision is based on “our values are ones of equality, tolerance, and pluralism and that is clearly why we have taken this position.” However the movement has never taken a similar position to protect Jewish sites, such as the Temple Mount or Mount of Olives from destruction. Rachel Canar, Director of Development and Overseas Communications only response when queried was “I personally as a teenager helped to restore an abandon Jewish cemetery in Placerville, California that my Reform summer camp had taken on as one of its tikkun olam projects.” The truth is that the Reform Movement’s legal arm and thus the movement itself spends most of its time condemning Jews, Israel and Judaism and spending money to “Tikkun Olam” everywhere. Its website, which although it has the word ‘Israel’ in the title is entirely in English lists its ‘issues’. Its ‘issues’ are about Africa and AIDs and a ‘living wage’ and ‘lesbians’ and fixing everything wrong with the 6 billion people in the world. Nothing about Jews.
But it doesn’t stop with the Reform movement. A recent book review in the Economist called “Palestinian Poetry on the Wasteland” Now Adina Hoffman has published ‘My Happiness bears no relation to happiness: a poet’s life in the Palestinian century’. It is the story of “Taha Muhammad Ali was born in 1931 in the Galilee village of Saffuriyya and was forced to flee during the war in 1948. He traveled on foot to Lebanon and returned a year later to find his village destroyed.” Who is Adina Hoffman. She is “Adina Hoffman is the author of House of Windows: Portraits from a Jerusalem Neighborhood. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the Nation, the Washington Post, and the Times Literary Supplement and on the BBC. One of the founders and editors of Ibis Editions, she lives in Jerusalem.” Hoffman joins the ranks of others such as Joel Migdal, Baruch Kimmerling, Noam Chomsky, Joel Kovel and a virtual army of Jewish intellectuals who have devoted their lives to telling the story of Palestinians, even the most obscure stories (who can forget The Lemon Tree or Five Palestinian Walks, if the Palestinians aren’t careful there will be more books on them than there are Palestinians, there is bread and butter in the publishing industry like the story of some obscure Palestinian and his ‘hard’ life). It is these writers who have even encouraged greater Palestinian nationalism and encouraged the concept not only of bi-nationalism but of a ‘Greater Palestine’ (including Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Of course they weren’t too happy when the Greater Israel voices wanted this for the Jews). It is they who claim things like “In fact, notes Adina Hoffman, it was not until after the 1967 war reconnected them [Palestinians] with their brethren in the West Bank and Gaza that they fully understood that, despite 19 years as citizens of a country that still prefers to call them “Israeli Arabs”, they were still just as Palestinian as those “outside”. Until then, they had been (and, to some extent, still are) viewed as collaborators with the Jewish state.” So the Jew defines the Palestinians in Israel as ‘collaborators’ and loves their ‘reconnection with their brethren’. It is odd that the same Jews when they lived in Europe did not appreciate being called ‘collaborators’ and ‘traitors’ for living among the Europeans but having connections to ‘their brethren’ abroad. But who else should have created Palestinian history if not intellectual Jews in Israel, creating Palestinians where none existed so as to create a national movement that they argue should displace Israel, creating a bi-national state so that they, intellectual Jews, can be a minority in it.
The insidiousness of all of it can also be seen in the story of Daniel (Danny) Abebe. According to a report entitled ‘breaking the silence’ we learn that “Danny Abebe exposes some ugly truths about Ethiopian aliya, over his community's vehement objections.” He is a journalist for Yideot Ahronot. He came to Israel in 1984 from Ethiopia. It didn’t take long for him to learn what it means to be an upper class intellectual Jew. Accepted into the elite of Israel’s intellectual leftist society he quickly realized that popularity and fame come from self hate. He realized that self-critique is the god of this culture. “I know this [Ethiopian] community very well and one of the problems is that it kept all the problems inside, focusing instead on building a new life here," So he became the pet of the white Ashkenazi elite in Israel, paid by the newspapers and given awards by intellectuals, to condemn and spread hate about his community. Like those who turned Ben-Gurion into a racist ethnic-cleanser, Abebe set out in a documentary to prove that the Ethiopian leaders of the Ethiopian Aliya, known as the ‘Committee’, were in fact all rapists who traded sex for transport, sort like a cabal of Kastners (the famous Jewish Hungarian who helped family connections flee Hungary). Abebe paints himself as a crusader “raising some very ugly ghosts and perhaps even causing a rift within an already trouble-ridden community.”
Ababe claims “I think it will only be good for the community to discuss this issue. Before we can solve the problems of our community, we must look inside ourselves and note what mistakes we made.” He points out he is not looking at it from an ‘Ethiopian perspective’. This is a perspective he abandoned long ago into order to join his western brethren in their self hate. He learned fast how to become western. So he has set about in Israel, in the Hebrew press (not of course in his own Amharic language…like all self-haters his hate is published for the consumption of others, sort of like Hoffman’s Palestinian story is for English language readers, not in Arabic for Arabs even thought its about them), to tarnish and destroy his community. Its not the only story he is involved in. He has opposed the immigration of the Falash Mura community and heaped scorn and the on American Jews for their assistance in this operation and others. He has accused his own people of being slave owners, claiming that the Ethiopian Jews owned slaves in Ethiopia. Whatever the western leftist self-hating press wants he can provide, from lurid stories of rape to laughing about his ‘primitive’ people at cocktail parties. He is a case study in self-hatred. It didn’t take long, not even one generation, for the self-hatred of western Jews to become part and parcel of the Ethiopian Jewish community, for the desire to destroy, crush, and tear down in the name of ‘breaking the silence’. It didn’t take long for the money earned from lurid journalism and the approval of the cocktail party and the flaccid intellectual to bring in the self hate.
They can’t abide the existence of Israel, the degrading of the Jewish people to a mere state with bus drivers and sewage workers and soldiers and beggars, no that is not the role they envision for themselves and because of their own arrogant self centered vision of rootlessness they condemn the entire Jewish people to being non-indigenous and not belonging. The tragedy of these Jews is as tragic and disgusting as the way the European who suppressed the Jew now arrogantly decides the Jew does not belong anywhere, certainly not Israel.