Just in case you are loosing track

Posted July 24, 2014 By David Pugh

shame

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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]

Spear_3587

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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:

DEMONIZE ISRAEL:

  • 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

DOUBLE STANDARD FOR ISRAEL:

  • 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

DELEGITIMIZE ISRAEL:

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
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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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Red herrings and elephants in the room

Posted February 1, 2014 By David Pugh

redherringWhilst listening to Barry White, closing my eyes and sipping my SodaStreams, I thought of the lovely Scarlett Johansson. Unfortunately, the images that came to mind were red herrings and elephants.

Call it an age thing.

Beautiful as Scarlett is, and without doubt fully capable of making me go viral, those fishes and fat asses dominated my vision.

It is the diaspora of dunderheads in the BDS who are responsible. They, together with their flag waving, coat holders have destroyed my erotic phantasies.

A crime almost as serious as their fallacies. They are waving the red herrings and ignoring (or denying) the elephant in the room.

Not only have they scuppered my sensuality, they are also doing their best to shipwreck the peace negotiations that are now taking place.

Anyone on the ground knows the principle problems are ones of security, territory and balances of economy and resources. The President of IsraelShimon Peres once said, “if the people of the Levant could combine their initiative, resources and business savvy, the area would become one of the prime forces in the world economy”. This is what is being negotiated now. It will take time. It will be hard. Many compromises will need to be made. However, if any group of peoples know how to make good deals, it is the Arabs and the Jews.

There are idiots who think they can bomb and bully to get their own way. Considerations need to be made to ensure their lack of success. I am convinced the negotiators on both sides are fully aware of the dangers they pose to peaceful co-operation.elephantintheroom

Nevertheless, the BDS’ers do not want co-operation. They want confrontation and boycott. Their excuse, apparently, is “International law”. Again and again, this concept of “International Law” is produced with the solemnity of an 11th Commandment.

Yet it is not.

There is no agreement on what exactly constitutes “International Law”. Even the conventions various nations have to sign in order to accept the rule of “International Law” are not all agreed upon. International law is an interpretation – an opinion – un-proven in a recognised court of law, where both sides of an argument can be debated and judgement given.

To use “International Law” as a premise for an argument to oppose e.g settlements on the West Bank, the wall between Israel and the PA’s territories, or check-point searches etc. is to take a political position not a legal one.

The question is, why is this misinterpretation and misuse of  “International law” only used against Israel? Why, since the beginnings of Zionism, has it not been applied to California, New Mexico and Florida – to name but three states in the USA? Or, Wales, Scotland and especially Ireland. Or, in more recent times, Cyprus and Morocco?

Or, even more importantly, terrorist actions against, and the firing of rockets into, the State of Israel?

The answer to this question is as old as witch-hunting and scapegoating. I will not name it. But you can find it written on the backside of the elephant in the room.

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Boykott OXFAM – could I?

Posted January 30, 2014 By David Pugh

sodastream

My whole life has been formed in reflection of NGO’s. I was a starter member of CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). I went on the first Aldermaston marches.

When I became aware through my local youth club of OXFAM, it seemed only reasonable I would spend my vocations working for free in their second hand shop.

Later, when I became an adult, I was lucky to gain full-time employment in the Red Cross. My job was to open and administer refugee camps. Several of these (as a point of information) were populated by folk who described themselves as Palestinians.

As time has gone by, many NGO’s have become soured by political agenda’s that far exceed their original practical purposes. Communists and others whose motives extended beyond the call for Nuclear Disarmament dominated CND. War on Want has become so politicised that every press release confirms my suspicion it is just a surrogate for the PLO.

Thank God, Red Cross maintains its political neutrality. It is after all a raison d’être for the ICRC.

Why has this situation developed?

Perhaps it has something to do with size. When an NGO is relatively small those involved get their “hands dirty” with the practical work of the NGO’s prime function. “Doing the job” is more important than “thinking about doing the job”. However, as time goes by more third sons and daughters with third class degrees gain status by joining these organisations. High moral standing is freely given to them at those difficult dinner parties when they could feel inadequate over for their more accomplished contemporaries. In order to achieve this status, they must have a function.

They then find that all they ever do with their limited intellect is “think about the job” and pontificate.

Am I being too harsh? Then tell me:

  • What is not third-rate about an academic organisation that bans academics from a particular country because they disagree with aspects of that country?
  • What is not third rate about War on Want who use disproportionately so many resources promoting one side in a minor Middle East conflict?
  • What is not third-rate about OXFAM who are unable to accept an ambassador who has her own political views? Views, which would appear to be contrary to the received truths of the third sons and daughters in the organisation?

Fortunately, in our village we have a second hand shop run by the local church. The proceeds provide help to those in financial difficulties.

I know where I will be buying my next sweater.

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Not just a pretty face

Posted January 28, 2014 By David Pugh

scarlett

“I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine,” she added in a statement released  on Friday.

“SodaStream is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbours working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.”

She added that she was also proud of her work with Oxfam.

SodaStream have countered Oxfam International criticism by confirming that their West Bank factory employs nearly 550 Palestinians and gives them equal benefits to Israeli workers.

Meanwhile, Iranian-American writer and academic, Reza Aslan, compared Israeli company SodaStream to Adolf Hitler and implied that its newly minted spokesperson, actress Scarlett Johansson, was a Nazi supporter in a tweet on Friday afternoon that he quickly deleted.

Choose your bedfellows well. I have.

Fox, on the other hand, is in the pocket of the big soda producers (and the boycotters?)

See for yourself. Watch the uncensored advertisement here.

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Attacking anti-Semitism

Posted January 23, 2014 By David Pugh
French Muslims and Leftists demonstrate at the Place de la République, Paris, 2000. Cries of “Death to the Jews” were heard in a European capital for the first time since the Nazi period.

French Muslims and Leftists demonstrate at the Place de la République, Paris, 2000. Cries of “Death to the Jews” were heard in a European capital for the first time since the Nazi period.

Allan Arkush professor of Judaic studies and history at Binghamton University in his criticism of The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, concludes thus:

>>A hundred years ago, those who sounded the alarm about anti-Semitism usually proffered solutions-either ameliorative or, we might say, escapist. They sought to combat anti-Semitism through legal action and education, or by dodging it, by migrating to Zion. In an age of anti-Semitic anti-Israelism, the latter solution is no longer available.

Can we still employ the former? Goldhagen himself offers little reason to hope that it will prove efficacious in uprooting or weakening the “foundational antisemitic paradigm” that remains “deeply and broadly entrenched in European culture” and has become thoroughly pervasive in the Muslim world.

He concludes his book with a short exhortation. “People of good conscience unite: Combat the devil that never dies, he who is named antisemitism.”

But he leaves us hoping, more than anything else, that the United States will continue to be the rock on which Israel, in the broadest sense of the term, can rely.<<

Fighting anti-Semitism is different now.

In my opinion, the three-pronged approach outlined above is defeatist: amelioration, avoidance or reliance on the USA.

There are two fundamental differences to a hundred years ago:

1. The State of Israel. The Jewish people has a state with its own enterprise, initiatives, industry, institutions and most importantly…
2. The Israeli Defence Force.

With these foundations every Jew (and any reasonable non-Jew) can, and must become a “Michael” (מִיכָאֵל‎) attacking and fighting the “devil who never dies”.

In the full knowledge and security that if we do not succeed the boys and girls in the IDF will have to.

Therefore the most effective manner in which anti-Semitism can be defeated is, not only to take up a direct confrontation with this evil, but also to strengthen our support in every manner we can, of the State of Israel and the IDF.

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SEX, SEX, PLUS MORE SEX… AND WE LIKE IT.

Posted January 21, 2014 By David Pugh


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It would seem as though we are yet again being examined on our attitudes to the “nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more, say no more!” aspects of our libido.

Are we astonished that the French President Francois Hollande has a mistress?

Can we believe that the British Lord Rennard sexual harasses women and never apologises?

Could it be possible a (world?) famous DJ, Dave Lee Travis, sexually molested women in his past?

Is it thinkable the longest surviving member of the cast of the oldest soap in the UK (81 years old William Roache) is a sexual predator who has molested underage-girls?

Is it probable Chris Huhne MP, who has been to prison for perverting the course of justice, not only sacrificed his marriage because of extra marital affairs, but also has given his ex-wife an STD contracted when his tastes ran to his own sex?

Are we to be dumbfounded when we learn that a, now dead, television presenter, media personality and charity fundraiser, Jimmy Savile, was not only a paedophile, but the worst paedophile in history, with thousands of victims (crimes committed under the watchful eyes of his BBC minders)?

And when, oh, when, will we come to realize, as Polly Toynbee has written, sexual harassment is all about who has the power?

The answer to which, women hear – all the time – is ‘not you!!!’.

Perhaps our preoccupations and attitudes might change when we all take some responsibility and stop going “nudge, nudge, wink, wink”?

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