The issue of face veils has been often in the news in the last few years. Jack Straw got the ball rolling in 2006 with his outspoken comments that covering the face can make community relations more difficult. At that time Jack Straw was Foreign Secretary and was leading Britain into the invasion of Iraq, an action based on lies and which lead to millions of deaths. Perhaps invading Iraq has had an even more devastating effect on community relations with Muslims both in the U.K. and the Middle East.
I find Mr Straw’s comments extremely arrogant. M.P.’s are elected by their constituents and are public servants to the community. Would he have found it appropriate to comment on the clothing (or lack of) that women of ther religious or ethnic backgrounds wear? When I was growing up my mother taught me not to stare nor comment just because some one looks “a little different” perhaps Foreign Secretaries would do better if they listened more to their mothers and less to those lobby groups who push for endless wars.
Once Pandoras box was opened it gave a focus to Islamophic views. Women who wear niqab, being on the whole rather deeply religious, are not likely to be out causing trouble and breaking laws therefore they are hardly a threat to society. I am sure if any British government ever got serious about banning the face veil we would be able to request they show the need for such a law based on statistics proving the criminal activities of face-veil wearers. With the rise of the far right in France and Europe mainstream parties have been trying to take back some of the votes by pandering to the kind of people that are anti immigration and Islamophobic. Sarkozy was quick to ban the veil in France, but a report in the Toronto Star says that police are ignoring veiled women in France. “French Ban on veil Turns Out to be Toothless“. That shows that there is still some common sense, and that somewhere in the chain of police command someone has had the wit to recognise that police have better things to do with their time than taking Muslim women to the police stations to uncover their faces. The French law does not allow the police to request a woman to remove her veil in public, rather they have to take her to the police station. Any person of logic would hope that police could be put to better use catching thieves and other threats to society.
Sometimes when I walk on the street, both men and women make comments about my clothes and I wonder why they feel they have a right. Islamically, the advice is that we should say “peace” and walk on, but sometimes the ignorance displayed is such that I feel myself responding and telling them it is not their business. I feel that certain people feel that they can get away with intimidating someone who they feel is from another country and culture and may be too timid to stand up for themselves. It is bullying, pure and simple and the age old problem of Jack Straw, Sarkozy and the hooligans of the E.D.L. believing it is their right to tell women what they can and can’t wear. These are misogynists, no better than the Taliban. What is the difference between the Taliban who make it mandatory for a woman to cover, and likes of Sarkozy who make it mandatory to uncover?
In the name of women’s rights, solidarity with my sisters in France, and religious conviction, I wore my niqab as I travelled all through France to Freiburg last September and nothing happened. It is my choice to wear Niqab and although I do not believe that it is mandatory in Islam to wear the face veil, I wear it of my own free will (Islamic clothing is immensely liberating).
I would like to think that if the British government decided to pander to the far right, all who believe in women’s rights and in freedom of expression would join the niqab-wearing sisters in fighting any ban. I am sure that when orthodox Jewish women came to this country wearing scheitel, they too were subject to strange looks so I would expect Jewish women to be the first to support Muslim women’s right to wear what they feel is religiously appropriate, I really hope they will get in touch.
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا ﴿٥٩﴾
We’re all agreed then, we’re all anti-Semites now but lurking underneath are the questions: What is a Jew? And, once a Jew, always a Jew?
Up till now, or at least for the last 6 or 7 years, I’ve seen Jewish specialness as a voluntary condition (albeit a pretty hard one to shake off) and I’ve noticed that it ranges all the way from the religious Jew’s ‘light unto the nations’ to the Marxist Jew’s ‘workers of the world unite’. But in the discussion around the article “We’re all anti-Semites now” some opposition was voiced – and from some surprising sources.
Gilad reminded me that my comparison of a Jew to a cauliflower wasn’t quite right. He pointed out that a cauliflower lacks consciousness and is therefore unable to relinquish its cauliflowerness but, by implication, a Jew can.
But he also noted “that Jewish culture lacks the means to restrain Jewishness – something to do with an inherent exceptionalist structure.” So, it’s in the nature of Jewishness to find it hard to give it up. I’ll buy that.
Then Dr. Mathis pointed out that Edith Stein’s conversion to Catholicism did not stop the National Socialists from assaulting her as a Jew. As Dr Mathis himself said, “You can deny your Jewishness as much as you want, but someone is always going to come along and remind you anyway”. I’ll buy that too.
But Dr. Mathis also told me that I’m Jewish because my parents were Jewish and when I asked exactly what was it I had inherited from my parents, he answered in a word: Identity.
“But surely”, I protested, “I can relinquish that identity”,
To which he answered “Ask Ernst Zundel if you can do that. Or Ingrid Rimland.”
So it seems that Ernst Zundel and his wife Ingrid, two supposed ‘Nazis’, also don’t quite see things my way.
And it’s true. In an email exchange with Ingrid some years back she reminded me of the story of the scorpion and the frog crossing the river toParadise. The scorpion tries to persuade a frog to take him on its back. ”But” says the frog, ”You’re a scorpion. If I carry you on my back, you’ll only sting me and kill me.”
“Of course I won’t sting you.” answers the scorpion, “If I stung you, you’d die but I’d also drown, so what would be the good of that?” Finally the frog agrees and the scorpion climbs aboard and off they go.
Halfway across the river, surprise, surprise, the scorpion stings the frog and, as both frog and scorpion sink beneath the waves, the frog, in his death agony looking first to heaven, then to the scorpion asks, “Why, why, why?”
To which the scorpion replies, “Why? Because I’m a scorpion.”
So, for Ingrid, just as a scorpion will never change, so a Jew will never change, simply because they can never change.
So, once a Jew…?
Now, a lot of people are now going to be jumping up and down yelling “Racist!” and “Nazi!” And certainly, when Ingrid first suggested this, I was a bit put out myself. “Are you saying that a Jew is a kind of human, like a scorpion is a kind of insect?” I asked. To which she answered ”Come on, Paul. Did I say that Gentiles are like frogs? Fables are shortcuts to facets of human nature.”
Well, I certainly don’t believe that a Jew will forever act in a certain way, but still, figuratively and allegorically there’s a lot in that tale. Jews often do seem to share certain chracteristics and they do seem remarkably resistant to change.
I suppose Ingrid and Ernst would say that different groups who have lived together for a long time will inevitably develop some shared characteristics. For example, I remember once when she claimed that, like so many Germans, she had no sense of humour (actually, she does and it’s quite delightful) and, when I protested, she asked me whether I had ever met a German stand-up comic (BTW, there is one now on the circuit in Britain but his celebrity rests very much on the fact that he’s a German) I think she also asked me if I had ever met a Jew who could write a poem to a tree.
Another time I was describing to her how, at times I found it quite thrilling to be the centre of attention. She thought that this was very Jewish indeed (I can’t disagree), but that for her, being the centre of attention was what she most disliked. She wrote how she had on so many occasions appeared before huge and rapturous audiences and each time, as they applauded, her heart was as stone. This essential difference between us was she felt, partly due to our respective Jewishness and German-ness.
Did I agree? Not entirely, but it was interesting and there is some truth in it.
I think people like her are far more subtle in their thinking than is often thought. They believe that these characteristics are the product of many subtle and interacting factors – including some biological ones. After all, people who live together, breed together.
Of course none of the above means that all Jews are funny and self-obsessed or that all Germans are dour and diffident or anything else for that matter…… or does it?
So there we have it from three totally different sources – A celebrated artist/anti-Zionist activist, a Jewish- Zionist academic/activist and a couple of ‘Nazis’ – Once a Jew, always a Jew.
What do you think?
I have never seen so many Ad Hominen attacks in the M.S.M. and such vitriol as has surfaced since George Galloway’s massive victory in the Bradford West by election. Here is one of the most vile interviews by Adam Boulton on Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News. Adam Boulton finally gets around to asking George Galloway about the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in the last three minutes of the interview. The Respect Party is anti war and clearly this was the decisive factor in their victory in Bradford West. Boulton is disgusting enough to ask “did you win because you exploited ethnic tensions at all”?
Muslims are notoriously non political and many believe it is against Islam to vote or involve themselves in a political system which is not compatible with the Shariah. Boulton keeps on trying to establish if George Galloway is a Muslim or not, one wonders where he is leading with this line of questioning until you look at rabid Zionist Islamophobia award winning blog Harry’s Place which has had two articles stating that sectarianism is back in U.K. politics . This ignores completely the fact that many non Muslims will have voted for George Galloway. If Bradford was sectarian they would have voted for the Asian Pakistani Muslim candidate which they did not. People have had enough of war and occupation and the people rejected their own brother in Islam because he is part of the war machine called the Labour Party. How more non sectarian can it be? The people of Bradford rejected an Asian Muslim and voted for a white man.
Here is a quote below from a very nasty paragraph in an article by Nick Cohen in the Guardianwhere he insists that George Galloway is a Muslim, although George has never said any such thing. Cohen says that George Galloway basically told the Muslims of Bradford that they would all be in the Hellfire if they didn’t vote for him, which is absolutely not what he said. Do not Jews, Christians and Muslims believe in judgment day, George is referring to the fact that he fears God’s retribution on judgment day for himself and that those who call for endless war should “fear God“. How low Cohen has stooped here.
Having established to his satisfaction that he was a Muslim, he told a public meeting: “I believe in the judgment day. I believe that one day we will have to answer to the Almighty.” Members of the audience were to say to their friends, “especially to other religious people”, how they would explain to Allah “on the last day” their failure to vote for him, George Galloway, God’s chosen candidate.
So the Zionist media and the pro Israel blogs are spitting out endless bile and lies against George Galloway as to the reasons he might have won so decisvely in Bradford West, which can only mean one thing “George Galloway’s return to the House of Westminster is not good for the Jews” (pro Israeli). Watch a brilliant video here which explains how sectarian pro Israel politics work in the United States to see how it is the very similar here in the U.K. by Brother Nathaniel of the Nathaniel Foundation.
George Galloway will hopefully be a strong voice against the war on Iran which Israel wants it’s proxies to fight for them. Enough war and enough pointless deaths it is time politicians concentrated in getting Britain back on it’s feet.
Israel will probably not be attending a conference on turning the Middle East into a zone free from weapons of mass destruction. On Friday, the Zionist regime’s UN ambassador, Ron Prosor, told the AFP news agency that before there is “comprehensive peace in the region … we feel that this is something that is absolutely not relevant.” Whether or not Israel attends the conference, the nuclear armed state will continue its belligerent military occupation of neighbouring territories and blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel’s intransigence is entrenched by diplomatic cover and the unconditional supply of arms and financial support from the West, particularly the United States. Thus, Israel has reason to believe itself able to keep peace at bay in the region for as long as the overriding goal of achieving Zionism’s territorial ambitions requires.
A commitment by the US and its allies to the observance of international humanitarian law, reinforced by appropriate sanctions, would achieve far more than any amount of nuclear disarmament summits or peace conferences. Meanwhile, civil society, through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, must continue to shoulder the burden so disgracefully shed by our political leaders.
Referring to Western efforts to destabilise Iran, the Israeli Ambassador unwittingly endorsed the argument in favour of BDS, saying that economic action is “much more effective than people think, and hopefully it might change behaviour patterns. . .” Amen to that – but the aim, so far, is misdirected.
The global spirit of BDS continues to provide the best hope for peace with justice in the Middle East.
Leslie Bravery – 1 April 2012