Alternative universe

February 5, 2021 by Michael Kuttner
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“We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusions. The great task in life is to find reality.”

Michael Kuttner

This quote which I unearthed recently perfectly encapsulates the situation we currently find ourselves facing.

As daily headlines and news reports attest, the gap between illusory flights of fancy and hard cold reality grows ever wider.

Some latest examples of reality and alternative universe reactions should hopefully suffice to demonstrate the challenges ahead.

The antics of our main “peace” (non) partners provide more than ample proof that no matter how many times they demonstrate their real agenda for all to see there will still be those for whom endless incitement against Israel and Jews passes without any reaction.

The Palestinian Arabs and Hashemite Jordan have recently called on the United Nations Security Council to “halt the crimes of the Israeli occupation forces for Judaizing the Western Wall plaza area. As part of their ongoing campaign to demonize Israel and no doubt demonstrate their warped understanding of “peace” the Palestinian Arab Authority has complained to the UN, Arab League and Organisation of Islamic Co-operation against companies doing business with companies situated over a non-existent “green line.” In a direct challenge to the United Arab Emirates which has embraced a warm peace with Israel which includes trade ventures, the PA stated that importing “settlement” products is a war crime and that the UAE should be punished.

Alternative universe response: The Methodist Church in the United Kingdom decides to divest from Israel businesses “to show concern over Jewish settlements.”

Amazingly or more likely unsurprisingly they remain unmoved by daily outbursts of poisonous libels against Israel whether it emanates from Ramallah or Tehran.

Despite refuting any Jewish legitimacy to the Temple Mount by the PA our Israeli Government has once again surrendered to Jordanian extortion and allowed the Wakf to “renovate” the area. In effect, this means giving carte blanche to the deniers of Jewish history to destroy and dispose of any archaeological finds proving the presence of Jews and the Temples themselves. Hopefully, voters will remember this when election time rolls around in March.

Amidst great fanfare, the President of the PA, now in his 17th year of a four-year term has announced elections for the Presidency and the legislative council. Designed to impress and fool the international community (not a hard task) that democracy and democratic values are alive and well, the wheels of the PR machine are working overtime. Amidst the hosannas of praise issuing forth from all and sundry is a deafening silence of the fact that one of the main rivals for the job of President has already been banned from standing. Abbas, who is 85, is standing again together with all his corrupt cronies which gives you an idea of how free and fair this farce is likely to be.

Not to be confused by any sort of logic, the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Germany & France met recently and declared that the only way to bring peace was to endorse the two-state solution on pre-1967 lines and the infamous UN Resolution 2334 which denies any Jewish connection to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. What caught my attention was not the absurdity of this demand which in the light of real developments is redundant, but the name of those who issued this nonsense. They are called the “Munich Group” which anyone with a sense of history would immediately recognize as a fatal name to be associated with. Of course, alternative universe practitioners are oblivious to such obvious omens.

Iran continues to exemplify how woolly thinking and a lack of moral backbone on the part of the international community can once again be manipulated in order to achieve particular nefarious ambitions. Sensing that they can get away literally with murder is the revelation that yet another athlete, this time a champion boxer, has been executed after enduring torture. In the same vein, Tehran has brazenly announced that installation of more advanced centrifuges is proceeding at a rapid pace as the Mullahs and their willing enablers race towards obtaining the means to fulfil their fervent desire of wiping Israel from the face of the earth.

True to form the responses have been predictable. Affirming by its silence a long history of ignoring human rights violations the International Olympic Committee remains mute and takes no action to bar Iran from the Olympic movement. Likewise, the UN refuses to get involved by suspending Iran’s membership of the world body. Obviously, the fact that Tehran is plotting to murder Israelis is irrelevant. In actual fact, the Secretary-General issued a statement the other day which unbelievably said: “I see hope for Middle East peace progress.” No doubt concentrating every Monday and Thursday on crimes committed by the Jewish State has blinded him and the organization he heads to what is being cooked up elsewhere. So much for hollow declarations of “never again” trotted out at suitable occasions.

Finally, something entirely different but still a perfect example of how reality can be subverted by weak leadership and craven surrender to political expediency.

All law-abiding citizens whether in Israel or elsewhere have watched with increasing frustration and mounting anger how certain groups ignore health instructions and instead flout every rule in the book thus expediting the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Despite lockdowns here and mass vaccinations, the numbers of infected individuals are at higher levels than predicted. The reason is not really hard to ascertain. In Israel, there are mass gatherings at weddings and funerals by Haredi and Arab citizens where social distancing and mask-wearing is rare. Yeshivot, Shtibels and schools are open and rave parties and demonstrations among the secular sector contribute to a continuation of the pandemic. In the UK and the USA as well as other assorted countries deliberate defiance of elementary precautions by many Hassidic sects not only means high rates of infection but also generates waves of resentment.

The sight of police in Israel throwing their hands in the air as ten thousand men march together at funerals of deceased Rabbis illustrates the extent of the problem. What has been the response of the official Rabbinical Establishment? The Chief Rabbinate which slowly but surely is losing any sort of respect among mainstream Israeli Jews and is totally ignored by the Haredi leadership came up with a day of Fasting and recitation of Tehillim (Psalms). They were joined by an assorted group of Diaspora religious luminaries and this event was touted as the answer to the crisis we face. Obviously, there is nothing basically wrong with petitioning the Almighty to intervene but unless those nominally in charge are unable to alter the mindset of those flouting the rules no amount of prayers and wailing will help.

Haredi leaders and their unquestioning followers have mired in the ossified thinking of the Shtetls of Europe which pre-war doomed them to disaster. At that time followers of the various sects were told by most of their Rebbes not to flee to treif Palestine and America and instead to remain in Europe. They were guaranteed protection by virtue of their full-time studies.

Well, we all know how that ended up.

Unfortunately, too many present-day Rebbes are following the same dead-end trajectory by ignoring medical advice plus secular Government instructions and dooming their followers to death by Covid. A total lack of will by politicians to confront this situation combined with a gutless and irrelevant response by others in leadership roles is the reason we are still floundering despite being touted as the vaccination nation.

As a commentary I recently read succinctly puts it: “In order for the good Lord to come to our aid, we need to follow the example of our Biblical ancestors and first take serious personal responsibility. After we have done everything we can then that is the right time to seek Divine intervention.”

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.

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