Saturday, 22 December 2012
Thursday, 13 December 2012
Monday, 3 December 2012
To "punish" the Palestinians for applying for UN recognition, Israel has announced the building of more settler houses in the Occupied Territories. This time they want to build in an area that is to make it even more difficult to reach a two state solution.
Who will punish Israel for this outrageous response? The USA cannot be relied upon. But, unless Israel will be made to pay a high price for its belligerence, it will not stop. Keeping European criticism to verbal displeasure is not enough.
There is a substantial proportion of Israel's population and an important majority in that part of the population which forms the economic power base of Israel who do not like this right-wing activism and settlement policy. And yet, many of them vote for parties that either declare their wish to hold on to the occupied land or quietly support it without fully showing their hand. This population may not gcontinue to do so once Israel gets to pay a price for its expansionist policies.
In two days, Netanyahu and his cabinet will be coming to berlin for their annual get together. Ideally, Mrs. Merkel should have found a way to postpone the visit. Because of Germany's history, Merkel is unlikely to do so. nad, six weeks before the General Elections in Israel, Netanyahu will milk this visit to the end to prove his international standing to his own population. This must be prevented.
Mrs. Merkel believes that Germany, because of its history, shares responsibility for Israel's security. This can sometimes be accomplished by the supply of U-boats. Sometimes, other measures are called for. She should now be cruel to be kind and help save Israel from its own self destructive spiral.
The least Mrs. Merkel should do is to prevent any photo opportunities, any show of public sympathy or any cultural programme for Netanyahu and his colleagues.
Please, Mrs. Merkel.
Thursday, 29 November 2012
Sunday, 18 November 2012
Tuesday, 13 November 2012
Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Tuesday, 25 September 2012
19:30 at the Stadtbibliothek Magdeburg
Sunday, 9 September 2012
Thursday, 23 August 2012
Wednesday, 1 August 2012
Friday, 29 June 2012
A few days ago, a German court ruled that male circumcision was equal to grievous bodily harm and could only be permitted for medical reasons. Germany is a federal country and the state court ruling is not binding in the other German states. In all likelihood, however, it will be tested in the other states and probably also go up to the High Court.
Four million Muslims and about 100,000 Jews who live in Germany may have a problem. How many 18-year-old men would voluntarily undergo circumcision? The speaker of the Jewish community has already reacted with anger: "Circumcision of newborn boys is a fixed part of the Jewish religion and has been practised worldwide for centuries. This religious right is respected in every country in the world."
For many, circumcision is a cultural ritual that is almost as powerful as a religious command. A thirtsomething year old friend of mine told me that when his wife had announced to him that she was not having her son circumcised, he at first found it hard to accept. They are both Israeli Jews and atheists and he told me "I found it difficult to even consider that my son should not have the same kind of dick as I."
But are we to allow grievously bodily harm to our children just because it is a religious ritual that has been practiced for centuries? In addition to the human rights question, this could also add to the friction and issues with the growing Muslim population. This exciting decision might force the courts to define religious freedom in an ever less religious Europe. I am looking forward to it.
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Thursday, 31 May 2012
My next Mafia meet was at the Temple of Concordia in Agrigento. This 5th century BC Greek temple, that was turned into a church in the 6th century AD (and thereby preserved) was taken over by the Sicilian State Police for a ceremony in which certificates of merit were handed out to policemen who have shown special valour.
Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Monday, 28 May 2012
Saturday, 12 May 2012
Sunday, 29 April 2012
Wednesday, 11 April 2012
The Dutch coffee shop owner told me that as he has never heard of Gunter it couldn’t be high quality. Whatever the quality, Günter Grass’ anti-Israel stanza has caused much excitement, especially in Germany and in Israel.
Grass may be a fading old writer hankering after publicity. Maybe anti-Semitism has also played a role. Stupidly or maliciously he suggested that in a pre-emptive strike, Israel would annihilate the Iranian population. This is an outrageous accusation. He could have posed a morally tougher question:
The purpose of Israel’s nuclear weapons is for its enemies to believe that under certain circumstances they would be used. If Israel’s existence would be at risk, it would make use of these doomsday weapons.
For that to be an effective deterrent, it must be understood that an attack on Israel could lead to mutual destruction.
I expect that Grass, like many other non-Israelis if asked whether Israel should use its nuclear weapons AFTER it was attacked – would say NO. They would condemn the country that destroyed Israel, they would offer condolences to the bereaved, but they would not accept a counterattack.
Grass’s moral issue should have been the possible use by Israel of U-boats supplied by Germany to accomplish such an eye-for-an-eye.