Last week Labour MP Kim Johnson offered an apology for calling the new coalition, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, above, ‘fascist’. It’s now reported that a New York rabbi used the same word in reference to a cabinet that he claimed was made up of ‘Jewish supremacists, fascists and racists’.
They would all sell their birthright for a mess of pottage!
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RABBI Jeremy Kalmanofsky, of New York’s Ansche Chesed Synagogue, described the coalition as “is “beyond awful.”
He wrote in a blog post shortly before Israel’s new right-wing government was sworn in late December:
It deserves whatever small protest we can offer from afar. The appointment of racists, fascists and Jewish supremacists as ministers in the government of the state of Israel is a red line no Jew should cross.
According to Religion News, Kalmanofsky made clear he was not protesting Zionism, to which he said he is still committed, but a government that includes far right cabinet members
Then, at the weekend, Jewish News reported that around 300 people joined a pro-democracy protest staging outside the Israeli embassy in central London on Saturday afternoon.
Image via Twitter
The London protest on Saturday was one of 20 across the globe that day organised to voice opposition to Netanyahu’s far-right administration and its assault on the country’s legal system.
The protesters—mainly Israeli expats now residing in London—held aloft placards issuing stark warnings about the influence of Religious Zionism in the Israeli government.
‘No to Racist Theocracy’
Many at the London demo held aloft Israeli national flags, while others—such a man who identified himself by the name Aviv— held up a sign reading:”Yes to Tolerant Democracy—No to Racist Theocracy.”
Aviv told Jewish News:
I am Israeli now living here who is very concerned about democracy, and all the legislation that’s being proposed in the next few weeks. I think that’s going to be terrible.
One of the protest organisers Karen Shefet told Jewish News:
We are part of a global protest movement. There are a lot of Israelis and Jews who care about Israel’s future. The idea is to make impact all over the world.
Shefet said the protests had concentrated on opposing the proposed judicial changes in Israel which threatened the very “character of Israel” and the protection of minorities.
She said another goal of the protests to make the Israeli government take note about the damage to the country’s image that was taking place as a result of the ideology of the new government.
Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, writing for The United States Institute of peace, said:
This is the most right-wing and extreme government in Israel’s history. It has already brought Israelis to the streets in protest and prompted strong statements of concern from former Israeli diplomatic and security officials.
Even the current chief of staff of Israel’s Defense Forces has weighed in with security concerns. This is no mere speculative handwringing. Those in senior positions have been explicit in word, and deed, about their positions and intentions vis-a-vis the ‘Palestinian issue.’
Image via YouTube
She pointed out that among new members of the coalition are Itamar Ben Gvir, above, a routine provocateur and a convicted supporter of terror and inciter of racism against Palestinians, and Bezalel Smotrich who has consistently called for territorial expansion and Palestinian Arab expulsion. He is also deeply homophobic.
Ben Gvir is now National Security Minister, a newly defined role that gives him policy- and priority-setting power over Israel’s police operating within Israel, and also a border police unit that operates within the West Bank.
Image via YouTube
Smotrich, above, will be a minister within the Ministry of Defence with authority over policy related to Israeli settlements.
Already, coalition agreements have been inked to legalize settlements previously illegal under Israel’s own law, and to commit to annexation of the West Bank, albeit on no clearly stipulated timeline.
Beyond, the proposal by Justice Minister Yariv Levin to overhaul the justice system, if enacted, would include an override clause effectively removing any check on legislative action.
Among other interests, this would serve the agenda of those in the governing majority who wish to pursue retroactive legalization of settlements or other steps in the West Bank, such as demolitions, upon which the courts have previously served as a restraint.
A common sign in Johannesburg in the 1950s. See others here.
As someone who experienced the full horrors of living under apartheid in South Africa it always irked me when—after I fled to the UK— I heard people drawing parallels between SA and Israel.
During a discussion over the issue with a neighbour of mine, a schoolteacher named David Smith, he pointed out that such parallels were fully justified, especially given that, in 1975, Israel had become SA’s strategic partner, establishing strong economic and military relations with the 1975 Israel–South Africa Agreement, which included alleged nuclear collaboration.
This was at a time when the SA regime was facing world-wide sanctions.
Smith argued that, as I was devoting much of my time supporting the Anti-apartheid Movement, I should at least be aware of the plight of Palestinians under Israeli rule.
So I made it my business to do just that, and in subsequent talks I gave to schools in London and secular groups I made sure to include comparisons between SA and Israel.
I was attacked for my anti-apartheid, pro-Palestinian activism by a leading atheist
This led to a vicious attack against me by philosopher Professor Anthony Flew, then a member of The National Secular Society. At one of the Society’s AGMs, Flew, a staunch supporter of the South African regime, accused me of being a “communist” and a “terrorist.”
When I told him to sit down and stop making a horse’s arse of himself, he threw a bunch of papers he was carrying into the air and stormed out of the room.
In 2004 he stopped being an atheist, saying he now believed in the existence of “an intelligent designer of the universe.”
In 2007 Flew, in collaboration with Roy Abraham Varghese, wrote entitled There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.
Image via Amazon
According to Wikipedia the book (and Flew’s conversion to deism) had been the subject of controversy, following an article in The New York Times Magazine alleging that Flew’s intellect had declined due to senility, and that the book was primarily the work of Varghese.
Flew died aged 87 in 2010.
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