What is in a name?

Posted November 24, 2014 By David Pugh

Red Flag_of_Israel

What is in a name? What does it matter what we call ”things” , “events “or “people”. The “thing” is still the “thing”. The “person” is still the “person”.

We all know, of course this is rubbish. My name is David. There are associations connected to that name that influence not only what others conceive about me, but also what I imagine about myself.

The man who wakes with a stiff neck, emits smells that would close the worst latrines, whose belly has become his most defining physical characteristic and who has more dirty washing than he cares to display in this comment, walks with a straight back and a skip in his step when strolling in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv along Hamalech David.

We all know what we call someone can influence not only our own assessment of that person but also the opinion others sub-consciously attach to them.

A simple example: calling someone “Bibi” suggest a relationship of familiarity, whilst calling someone the Prime Minister of the State of Israel conveys a very different relationship and signifies a remoteness. Neither of these images created by the two names, I would suggest, are the truth. They are but swiftly delivered portrayals that often display more about the observer than the observed.

However, when naming obscenities the matter becomes deadly serious. Murder is still murder. Hacking arms off with a meat cleaver is still “human butchery”. The murder of a father is still an unimaginable atrocity. The homicide of a police officer as he tries to protect others is still a barbaric outrage.

However, the name giving began straight away. The mildest was to call these events “acts of terrorism”.

You may say, what is wrong with that? They were acts of terrorism. Perhaps, but already these obscenities are being given a justification. Behind the term “terrorism” in far too many minds lies a rationale that begins with the cliché “there is no smoke without fire”. The perpetrators must be in such an impossible (political, social, “colonialist exploitative”, “frustrated national aspirations”) situation, they had little choice.

Journalists in Israel have tried another name. A writer from Ha’aritz published an article in the Guardian, where he described these events as a “religious war” – an article using these terms in a newspaper famous for its atheism! The implications of man’s mysterious relationship to this indefinable entity called G-d and the consequent irrational behaviour that is caused, more than satisfied the readership with an excuse for murder.

Many have now begun to use the term “intifada”. I have even seen the term “silent intifada”, although what is silent about the screams of death escapes me.

Intifada” is probably the best this slaughter can achieve. Glorious associations to the time when stone throwing “Davids” reduced “Goliath” to his knees. When Yasser was a man, of whom we could be proud. :-(

A name can mean everything. Choose it well.

Nevertheless, remember a gardening tool is still a spade and a cleaver is still an instrument of butchery.

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Jews with their knickers in a twist

Posted November 7, 2014 By David Pugh
Julie Burchill. Photograph: Andrew Hasson/Rex Features

Julie Burchill. Photograph: Andrew Hasson/Rex Features

There is something profoundly sad about Hadley Freeman’s and Will Self’s attacks on Julie Birchill.

I can understand a certain animosity against someone who calls himself or herself a philo-Semitist – how can they know what it is like to be a Jew?

Nevertheless to imply there must be an ulterior motive (read: mystical, phantasy-full and implicit, sexual) behind her fascination is to take the defence of one’s owns position, a step too far.

The language used by both Freeman and especially Self would indicate not only personal animosity, but also an insecurity. Quite the opposite of the arrogant correctness of the position they wish to communicate.

One of the beauties of the Jewish tradition is the difference of opinion and the art and skill of resolving these differences. Usually these differences reach an equilibrium based upon an agreed premise. This premise is: there is only one G-d and his Laws are sacred.

However, we are not in the religious world here. We are in the secular, incestuous (all three have a joint past – if only with the Guardian “newspaper”) sphere of journalism and profiling themselves.

What particularly saddens me is that someone like Birchill is castigated in this vile manner in at least three articles, yet the real enemies of the Jew (secular or religious and philo-Semitist) are allowed, unmentioned, to propagate their propaganda incessantly throughout the media – especially the Guardian.

I wonder if Martin Luther King criticised the white men and women who marched with him against racial prejudice, because they were not black. Or that their ideas about the role of black people may have been distorted by mysticism and phantasy.

His mind was clear about who the enemy is. He marched hand in hand with any white who shared his aim to put a stop to this bigotry.

Will Self and Hadley Freeman, should you not best devote all your journalistic efforts against active and insidious anti-Semitism? The real enemy.

Or is this bigotry not as important (or as non-PC) as Julie Birchill’s attraction to Jewish culture?

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The Effendis are teaching now the new term has begun.

Posted September 9, 2014 By David Pugh


“Now then, children, or you sitting comfortably? Yes? Then we will begin.”

“Today we are going to talk about logic.”

“Do you know what logic is?”

“Yes. Logic is, for example, if we sit in our schools and fire rockets at Israel, it is logical the Israelis might hurt us when they retaliate.”

“No, no, no, no. That is child abuse and genocide, silly boy.”

“This is what logic is. When our neighbour Sisi offers to house and take care of you and what is left of your family because you have no homes, schools or hospitals – that is illogical. The opposite of logic.”

“The logical thing to do is to remain and suffer.”

“Do we have any other examples?”

“Ahmed… raise your hand higher.”

“He has no hand or arm.”

“Quick. Take a photo.”

“Another example of logic is our refusal to play football with the Israelis. They are our enemies.”

“Do France and Germany play football against each other?”

“You may think so. But I ask, did they get rid of all their Jay Eee double yous?”

“Well almost, but not enough. That is why they… illogically… play football even though they are really enemies.

“But weren’t they enemies a long time ago? In the 40’s? Haven’t they made up?”

“There you go again. More illogical thoughts.”

“You cannot forgive events and their consequences just because they happened,  for example , in 1947-48. Especially if they are our own fault.”

“However, the biggest example of illogical thought, is Sisi offering us a state in Sinai.”

“Does he think we want a State?”

“That is were he is wrong….”

“…and illogical.”

“We want to continue the suffering of our people and kill all the Jay Eee double yous.”

“This is the only logical way to peace.”

“Salaam Alechem.”

Alechem Salaam

“Please put some money in our hat.”

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Charlton-Heston-as-Moses (1)

  1. Cabinet collective responsibility is holy and must never be broken (Cabinet collective responsibility is a constitutional convention in governments using the Westminster System that members of the Cabinet must publicly support all governmental decisions made in Cabinet, even if they do not privately agree with them. This support includes voting for the government in the legislature.)
  2. Cabinet collective responsibility works both ways. Prime Ministers must not hold secrets from their cabinet colleagues.
  3. Let the Gazans have all they need (with caveats) e.g.
    1. Extended fishing rights
    2. A sea port
    3. An airport
    4. Open borders etc.
    5. International investment for reconstruction and industrial development.
    6. Gaza must be – and remain always – demilitarised.
    7. UNWRA must be phased out as soon as possible
    8. Establish an educational and social system developed, and initially administered, by the EU, in co-ordination with Arab and Israeli consultants.
    9. The overall administrative body of Gaza will be the PA and its elected representatives
    10. This body (on behalf of all Gazans) must sign a constitution wherein the phrase is included “we recognise the right of the State of Israel to exist within secure borders”.
  4. The goal is an independent Gaza within 20 years.
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UNWRA – the Mother of the Beast

Posted July 30, 2014 By David Pugh

Rockets discovered in three UNWRA schools in Gaza

UNRWA – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees – was founded as a humanitarian agency but has subordinated its role as a service provider to a political agenda.

It is the only UN agency in the world dedicated exclusively to one group of refugees and establishes its own unique and expansive standards. It defines as refugees hundreds of thousands, if not millions, who would be discounted by the UNHCR Refugee Convention’s international definition.

As the UNRWA mandate is predicated upon the notion of the “right of return”– a right that in fact does not exist within international law – it maintains a policy of keeping the refugees in a temporary situation until they can return to homes and villages in Israel left more than half a century ago (the vast majority of which no longer exist).

UNRWA will not work to find realistic solutions to the plight of the refugees and will not consider resettlement as an option. Instead, it reinforces the goal of return.

Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants, who live in “limbo,” are deprived of basic human rights. Encouraged by UNRWA to see themselves as entitled to a “return” that will never happen, and promotes the idea they are being cheated.

As a result, they are filled with frustration and rage, and often turn to radicalism.

What is more, UNRWA schools use textbooks that deny the legitimacy of Israel and promote Jihad. Solid documentation exists for programming that promotes Hamas having been permitted in UNRWA-run schools in Gaza, and teachers who were union representatives in Gaza being associated with Hamas.

Tens or even hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendents, most particularly in Gaza, have been educated in an environment that promotes radicalism and Jihadist attitudes.  UNRWA, therefore bears a measure of responsibility for the rise of Hamas in Gaza.

There are multiple instances in which a connection can be documented between terrorism and UNRWA camps – which have sometimes been centers for terrorist recruitment and manufacture and storage of weapons, UNRWA facilities and, in some instances, UNRWA employees.

UNRWA officials dissemble on these issues, claiming to have no responsibility for what is transpiring. They rarely even acknowledge the extent of the problem. The degree to which they turn a blind eye is suggestive of tacit approval if not complicity.

Read more:

Fixing UNRWA

UNRWA at 60: Are There Better Alternatives?



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Just in case you are loosing track

Posted July 24, 2014 By David Pugh


Since July 8, Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations have fired over 1,840 rockets at Israel. This rocket fire is aimed at civilians. It targets Israeli cities and communities, with the objective of killing civilians.

Hamas officials urge civilians in Gaza to act as human shields. Palestinians are ordered to stand on the roofs of houses used for terror. This tactic endangers human lives for the sake of protecting terrorists from IDF strikes.

When the IDF warns residents of an impending airstrike, Hamas urges Palestinians to stay where they are, despite the danger to their lives.

On Saturday, July 19, a squad of Hamas terrorists climbed out of a tunnel near the Israeli community of Sufa, a few kilometers from the Gaza border. The terrorists, who were heavily armed, planned to enter a Kibbutz and carry out a massacre. IDF forces stopped the infiltrators and prevented the terror attack.

On Monday, July 21, Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel through a second tunnel. They entered Israeli territory one kilometer away from the city of Sderot. Their plan was to kill Israeli civilians, but IDF forces stopped their attack.

On Thursday, July 17, a Hamas terrorist in Gaza ran into an ambulance when an IDF aircraft targeted him. The IDF called off the strike so as to not hit the ambulance. The terrorist was using the ambulance and its staff to protect himself.

On Saturday, July 19, IDF soldiers found a civilian home in Gaza rigged with Hamas explosives.

Hamas hides its weapons close to civilians. The objective is to shield its weapons from IDF strikes, making them much more difficult for the IDF to target. Hamas places weapons storage facilities, rocket launchers, and rocket manufacturing centers in the middle of Palestinian neighborhoods. Many of its assets are located inside homes, schools and mosques.

On Thursday, July 17, twenty Hamas rockets were found in a school belonging to UNRWA in Gaza. “(The incident) endangered civilians including staff and put at risk UNRWA’s vital mission to assist and protect Palestinian refugees in Gaza,” the UN commented.

On July 10, the IDF targeted a rocket launching site located in the middle of a Gaza neighborhood. The strike caused a large secondary explosion, proving that rockets and explosives were being held near civilian institutions.

Hamas fires rockets at Israel from within populated areas. This strategy is meant to prevent the IDF from striking Hamas terrorists and infrastructure. The terrorist organization also fires at IDF forces from civilian areas using short-range arms.

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Pesach – do we get it right?

Posted April 2, 2014 By David Pugh


Pesach (Passover) and its Christian equivalent, Easter, are usually celebrated as hugely positive and uplifting events. For what is more uplifting than either “freedom from captivity” or the prospects of “Eternal Life”?

Using these interpretations (and feeling the need to achieve them), folk strive to improve their lives. After all, they now have the freedom to do so. They attempt to have success in many areas: in education, in business, in their family life and in their spiritual life. They push to move upward.

This is despite the fact that in the only physical model we have for life – a human life – the lesson is different.

We begin in the dependency and captivity of our childhood, we struggle through our adolescence to eventually achieve our “freedom” as young adults – in our prime. A prime that lasts such a short time. After a very few moments of this prime, it is just downhill all the way towards our death.

For the vast majority of our life, we are in decline.

I believe that this is the real lesson taught in both Pesach and Easter.

We have our freedom. But it is a freedom to wander for 40 years in the desert before coming to the Promised Land (if you know the area and follow the North Star, it is a hike that would take about 2 weeks). During that time the Jewish people made all sorts of mistakes (not the least of them, navigational) like worshiping the golden calf, disobeying the Commandments etc. Even the great prophet, Moses, who had direct contact with G-d’s wishes, messed up in the end, and was allowed only to see, but never live in, the Promised Land.

In the Christian story: the 33 year old, the Perfect One, was captured, tortured, given His (our?) cross and crucified. Hardly a success story. His resurrection is His (our?) coming to the Promised Land.

So, IMHO, the simple teachings of Pesach and Easter are these:

  1. DECLINE leads to the truth. Jews call it Exodus and Exile. There is the entire Hebrew Scripture in two words. It is all about a people in exodus; and then, when they get over exodus and try to settle down, G-d leads them into exile. Because those are the two places where we are taught, not in being settled.
  2. DECLINE leads to the truth. Christians call it the Way of the Cross. Our failings, our inadequacies are discovered and acknowledged throughout our decline. We then bear them – not dragging them behind us like a ball and chain – and learn our lessons.

Surprise of surprises, we do not come to G-d (or see the Promised Land) by doing it right; we come to G-d by doing it wrong!

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The Tenth Commandment

Posted March 13, 2014 By David Pugh

Contentment (1)

We cannot possibly preach on “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods” because Western society is based on that. It is called capitalism.

Mass advertising tells us we need things none of us need. It sows confusion about what is important for life. The level of need has moved to such a level of illusion and sophistication that what were once ultimate luxuries have become necessities.

In our culture, people cannot feel good about themselves unless next year’s vacation is more luxurious than last year’s, unless everything is upgraded—while most of God’s people on this earth starve.

The affluent West has made happiness impossible. We have created a pseudo- happiness, a pseudo-success, a pseudo-security that will never satisfy the human heart.

Most of God’s people are forced to learn to find happiness and freedom at a much more simple level. The gospel says that is where happiness is always to be found.

Why are we this way?

The capitalist worldview is the only one most of us have ever known. We see reality, experiences, events, other people, and things—in fact, everything—as objects for our personal consumption.

Even religion, Scripture, sacraments, worship services, and meritorious deeds become ways to advance ourselves—not necessarily ways to love God or neighbour.

The nature of the capitalist mind is that things (and often people!) are there for me.

Finally, even God becomes an object for my consumption. Religion looks good on my resume, and anything deemed “spiritual” is a check on my private worthiness list.

Some call it spiritual consumerism. It is not the Gospel.

[thanks to Richard Rohr]


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Is you is or is you aint – anti-Semitic?

Posted February 15, 2014 By David Pugh

Frustrated Woman at Computer With Stack of Paper

It seems if you are in one environment and you express views supporting Israel you are accused of being a Zionist exploiter of the Palestinians. Yet if you come to criticise Israel, there are many who call you an anti-Semite. What are you? What am I?

First of all, let us get one thing straight. It is of little concern to me what your “political” views are. My only concern is to ensure your concept of yourself – and to some extent those who view you – is clear and not clouded by the propaganda that proliferates from all sides on this subject.

As authority in this matter I will not use the State of Israel, nor Jewish intellectuals, even the opinions of the Palestinians. Rather I will quote from a paper written by the US Department of State.

I will ignore the more obvious definitions of anti-Semitism. If you hate Jews then you know anti-Semitic is where you stand.

It is in discussing Israel and any relevant conflicts that the problem of cloudy, misleading and often incorrect definitions are thrown about.

What is Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?

EXAMPLES of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel, taking into account the overall context could include:


  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
  • Blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions


  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
  • Multilateral organizations only focusing on Israel for peace or human rights investigations


Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist

However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.

So, is you is or is you aint…?

[don’t forget to click on the link above]


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Living in Disney World

Posted February 12, 2014 By Simon Stylites
cartoon_giraffe_and_friend_photosculpture-r562e6d190c6c4cdbaf9105ef999ef846_x7saw_8byvr_512.jpg bg=0xffffff

Marius in the Disney world some place all animals

“It has been much more hectic than we could ever have imagined,” said Bengt Holst Director of Copenhagen’s Zoo, with a quiet voice in an office near the entrance to the Zoo.

“But there is no use in making the world into a Disney world where all animals are good to one another; in which no animal dies but is only born. It is a totally distorted world, ” he explains.

“I’m a little sad that the debate has taken this emotional turn because I think it is an important debate that should be discussed at the level where it belongs.”

However, he has an understanding of the many emotions that the situation has created in people. At the same time, he believes that one should respect the scientific data underlying all decisions at Copenhagen Zoo.

“The specialists, of course, respect the fact that it evokes emotions in people.”

For over 30 years, Bengt Holst has had his daily work at Copenhagen Zoo. He has been working his way up the system from young newly qualified biologist in 1983 to now being one of the Zoo’s prominent figures.

One of his most important errands in life is to create knowledge about nature and the animal world.

“If people get a realistic relationship with nature, then we can forget all about conservation. Conservation is not about the fact that all creatures should be preserved, but it is about maintaining healthy animal populations. And one of the ways you do so is by using these methods, ” he said, referring to the killing of Marius .

The experienced biologist has for many years attracted a significant international focus seeking to create more openness about zoos‘ procedures. Including, those people may not care to hear.

A long-time colleague remembers a conference in 1995 in the U.S., where Bengt Holst argued confidently that the best way to feed predators was with cadavers. It was at that time a controversial claim. In many American zoos, they gave the majority predators minced meat, which resulted in the animals losing their teeth.

Bengt Holst insisted then, and in the current debate, that animals in zoos should live as realistic and true to life-in-the-free as possible.

Despite international criticism, Copenhagen Zoo will not change the practices that they have gradually developed over many years; practices which are similar to those in many other zoos around the world.

It is still uncertain which animal is going to suffer the same fate as Marius.

“We do not have a death list. People envision that there is a long list of animals. We will do it again the next time it becomes necessary, “he said, explaining that this could both happen in a week or six months.

He did not feel that the fuss has weakened Copenhagen Zoo’s reputation. On the contrary, the intense debate indicates the necessity for more zoos to open out and display, or tell about, their procedures.

“It underlines to me that there is a great need to spread the word about a real understanding of nature. Fundamentally, it is fine that the killing of a simple giraffe can go all around the world as a huge event. Especially when I know that it is a normal way of managing an animal population in daily life in this world, “he said.

[thanks to CHARLOTTE MARIA HOLM PEDERSEN from Politiken]

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