Friday, 7 December 2018
Tuesday, 4 December 2018
There are 120 seats in the Karmiel Municipality auditorium and today each one was filled, with more people sitting on adjacent steps facing the stage.
It was gratifying to see a full noon-time house of local women along with some men, including new Mayor Moshe Koninsky, helping to protest against apparent government indifference to the current, unprecedented and ever-escalating violence against women throughout Israeli society.
But those present wasted a golden opportunity. Today's Karmiel town hall crowd was like a metaphor for the 120 Members of the Knesset who enjoy the sound of their own voices bouncing off the four walls of the debating chamber, but have delivered barely 10% of a promised NIS 250M towards women’s shelters, extra help hotlines, additional manpower for police investigations into domestic violence and generally heightened public awareness of the ever-worsening problem.
This was an official timed strike, protesting most immediately against the 24 murders in 2018 - an average of two per month - of women in circumstances of extreme domestic violence and abuse.
Naila Awwad, head of the Association of Women Against Violence, has said that the proportion of Arab women murdered is double that of the general population and that ten of the slain women were Arabs.
But for those left to grieve, the phenomenon is simply a matter of degree and many reading this will surely confirm that the same inherent evil bedevils all strata of every society, be it here in Israel or anywhere else on the globe.
So why did the Karmieli protestors venture onto the municipality concourse only for a hasty photo-call? Why did they meet indoors away from public view unlike those publicising the same issue some weeks ago, who met outside the busy Lev Karmiel shopping mall on Sderot Nesei'ei Yisrael?
As we left the auditorium well before the meeting ended, a fellow Anglo retiree voiced a general feeling when she commented that a demonstration should always be outdoors, not only to publicise the relevant cause but to educate other people to its value.
How can that be achieved behind closed doors?
I - we - returned home very disappointed.
Natalie Wood (04 December 2018)
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
People who have been astounded and appalled by what happened this week to Anglo-Jewish media lawyer, Mark Lewis will be confounded further by the experience of US historian Audrey Truschke who has been similarly bombarded by online anti-Jewish attacks. The difference is that she is not Jewish!
While Lewis was heavily penalised at a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing for responding in kind to several years of the vilest possible antisemitism on social media, Professor Truschke, an expert in South Asian history has been the “target of vicious personal attacks on the basis of my perceived race, gender, and religion”.
As the assistant professor of South Asian history at Rutgers University–Newark, New Jersey and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University, California, Professor Truschke says:
“Two years ago, I awoke to the following tweet, “I hope another Hitler comes back and finishes off your people”, accompanied by a picture from 1945 of the bodies of dead Jews piled outside a liberated concentration camp. Since then, I have been regularly attacked with antisemitic language and tropes on social media, especially on Twitter”.
The reasons for the two sets of attacks appear to be poles apart.
Lewis, who is soon to emigrate to Israel, is a high-profile lawyer whose work against ‘phone-hacking’ helped to close the long established News of the World newspaper. Truschke, however, believes she is a victim of India’s contemporary ‘cultural wars’ between Muslims and Hindu nationalists and that the unwonted attacks stem in part from her work about the 18th century Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Truschke labours under an added burden that would resonate with Lewis and all lawyers anywhere. She claims that there is little freedom of speech in Indian law compared to that in the US and writes that the “Indian government bans books, on both federal and state levels.
“In addition, in the last few decades, American scholars have been subjected to lawsuits on the basis of their academic work and vigilante campaigns of violence. A chief concern, legally, is section 295(a) of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises insults to religious feelings done with deliberate and malicious intent”.
Here I add my own layperson’s view: The sort of deep down dirty racial hatred experienced by both Lewis in the UK and Truschke in the US and India is often used as leverage – and a cover - for something yet bigger and still more nasty.
As a schoolkid I once opened my (old-fashioned) desk to find the words ‘Go Home Jew’ scrawled inside the lid. I knew who wrote the words. They were not about antisemitism but personal animus.
So I conclude by asking both Lewis and Truschke to reflect on what professional jealousies their respective work and achievements may have engendered and who and what is really behind those hideous attacks.
Who, for example, would envy Audrey Truschke enough to engineer the cancellation of a public lecture in India?
Further, which individual would point the UK Solicitors Regulation Authority in the direction of Mark Lewis’s social media activity over a period of several years? Surely not notorious neo-Nazis, more likely those who had hoped this week’s hearing would have resulted not simply in a fine but a total ban, thus preventing his involvement in major pending cases.
I now await all developments in the above matters with concerned and sympathetic interest.
** At the time of posting this piece, neither Professor Truschke nor Mr Lewis had responded to my attempts to discuss the above.
© Natalie Wood (28 November 2018)
Saturday, 24 November 2018
Tuesday, 20 November 2018
AIRBNB, the international short-term homes’ rental giant appears to have caved into pressure from the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions lobby.
But I suggest we waste no time, not one en of space bleating about this nonsense. Let's instead recall what happened when French telecoms giant Orange tried the same trick a few years ago.
Mouldy Orange soon morphed into Partner (formerly Orange) - Cellular Israel. So I suggested that any and all Jewish Israelis offering accommodation wherever they may live simply ignore AIRBNB and reinvent themselves under a new trading name like 'Avir Bayit M'Bayit' - ‘Air Home from Home’.
Like my idea?
Please share it!
© Natalie Wood (20 November 2018)