Thursday, 23 September 2021

Hamsin

Mornings in the desert can be long, especially if you start at dawn. Lunch is the main meal of the day.
Only mad dogs and shepherds go out in the midday sun.

I took the early bus to Beer Sheva for a morning course on sheep. This is around 50 years ago, so my memories are somewhat vague.

We were a small group of people standing on a lawn. There was a man who had a goat with him. Why he had a goat and not a sheep I cannot remember.
Perhaps goats were cheaper than sheep.
He was going to cut the goat up to explain its anatomy.
The goat seemed oblivious to our presence. All it was interested in was eating grass.

He laid the goat on its side on the ground.
The goat stretched its neck, trying to continue eating grass with the side of its mouth. 
Then the man slit its throat and opened it up.
I remember noticing undigested blades of grass in the goat's gullet.

It was very hot in the bus back to the kibbutz. It was a Hamsin day and the windows were shut to keep out the hot air.
There was no airco in the bus.

After lunch I started an afternoon shift with the sheep in the Hamsin. It was a lazy afternoon because of the intense heat. The sheep were not interested in moving much and neither was I.

People can be just as stupid as goats and sheep, except we are more diverse in our stupidity.






Sunday, 15 August 2021

The power of the perception of power

I was an arrogant, bigmouthed teenager. I talked a lot because I found listening to myself less boring than listening to others.

Every now and then I had a bit of bother from these attributes. One time my big mouth got me into a fight with the school bully.
We had a verbal altercation at a bus stop; bully angry, “tomorrow, lunchtime, in the school playground”.

I had interfered with a perceived power relationship and had to pay for that. He was the bully and ruled. I was perceived to be weaker and supposed to appease not oppose him.

The next day I was in the playground at lunchtime (I may have been reciting poetry to myself or taking part in some other worthy intellectual activity, as was my want). 
He had not forgotten his threat and walked over to me, flanked by his followers.
They started chanting: fight, fight, fight. Soon all the kids in the playground were chanting the same thing.

A large circle was formed with the bully and me inside at opposite points.
I looked over at him and, surprisingly enough, he seemed somewhat apprehensive. After all, we had never met before the altercation and he usually did not have to fight people his own size.

We rushed at each other. I tripped him and then sat on him. There was not much he could do after that.
Some teachers came barging through the circle and the fight was over.
I had won.

Nobody at the school ever physically confronted me after that.
My tripping him was a fluke, but it created a perception of strength/power.

Some five years later I had a visit on my kibbutz from Dennis. He was the younger brother of a Jewish schoolfriend from my class. Dennis was three years behind us at the same school. 
I had hardly ever spoken to him before as I did not mix with the lower years.

Dennis thanked me. I asked him, why?
He said before my fight he had been bullied for being a Jew.
After I won he was left alone. They knew I was a Jew and friends with his brother, and did not want to mess with me.

What a difference a lucky trip can make.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

The woke fig leaf Jew

Arrogant, woker than woke, in a constant state of hysteria, a Dutch caricature of a smart ass, a perennial foot-stamping adolescent. 
Her name is Rosanne Hertberger, a microbiologist, writer and columnist. She is also Jewish, her middle name is Yente.
I can't stand her.

She writes a whatever comes to her mind column for a national newspaper that, since it was bought by a Flemish investment company, oozes wokeness with special emphasis on hostility towards Israel. 
And that is the one blot on her woke CV: she supports the existence of the state of Israel.
Well just about, she is always distancing herself from the policy of that country.
For her employer this is great. She is their fig leaf Jew.

I wrote a story about an old Jewish schoolfriend who wanted to be accepted so much that he ended up being buried in a Christian cemetery.
So I understand her predicament of not being completely accepted by her peers because of her "aberration" from their norm of vitriolic hate of the state of Israel.

I think it is this longing for acceptance that is behind her recent hysterical attack on other Dutch Jews.
An abysmal slander in a column with the title: "Sometimes you do have to say nasty things about Jews".

In the column she writes about child sexual abuse by a Jewish teacher in an orthodox Jewish school. The school and a rabbi tried to cover up the abuse and delayed the investigation. Eventually the court case against the abuser collapsed.

I also think the actions of the school and rabbi were beyond the pale, deplorable and unacceptable.
However, like I said, she writes in a constant state of hysteria. Therefore, she does not stop at the actual case. 
She goes farther.

Prejudice is often the extrapolation from one negative case to a whole group. An example: saying all Black people are murderers because there is one case of a Black murderer.

That is what she does to Dutch Jews in the second part of her article. She uses the case of the child abuser at the Jewish school to attack the whole Jewish community and its representative groups.

And then she crosses the line to antisemitism. She maintains that the culprits behind the cover up are also running the Jewish community. She does not use the same words, but portrays them as the "puppet masters" of the antisemitic libel. 

She must have been having a bad day, because after the attack on the Jewish community she starts scattering her hysteria around at more groups. 
From a tirade against Christian parties who are pro-Jewish she proceeds to an indictment of all politicians and elected officials who are not in her political bubble.
Then out of the blue, she interjects a sneer implying that Jews are better treated than Muslims.

Her friends are surely proud of her. Perhaps she will feel more accepted now.