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  • Good news post


    by Sunny
    1st February, 2007 at 11:32 pm    

    This story in today’s Independent is cute:

    King David is a strictly Jewish school. Judaism is the only religion taught. There’s a synagogue on site. The children learn modern Hebrew - Ivrit - the language of Israel. And they celebrate Israeli independence day.

    But half the 247 pupils at the 40-year-old local authority-supported school are Muslim, and apparently the Muslim parents go through all sorts of hoops, including moving into the school’s catchment area, to get their children into King David to learn Hebrew, wave Israeli flags on independence day and hang out with the people some would have us believe that they hate more than anyone in the world. (via El Cid)

    As is this story about an Indian Hindu family who funded an Indian Muslim’s trip to Hajj (via Svend). And in more interfaith goodyness, someone sent me a link today for SalaamShalom, a Muslim-Jewish radio station in Bristol.
    Not such a good chap is Abdul Saleem, who has been convicted for “cheerleading” at the Danish cartoons protest last year. I particularly loved his line of defence. I’ll be discussing free speech and inciting violence tomorrow morning (9am) on Asian Network with Ahmed Versi of Muslim News.


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    1. Riz — on 2nd February, 2007 at 12:22 am  

      Surely 9am is a little early to be inciting violence?

      : )

    2. Bert Preast — on 2nd February, 2007 at 12:34 am  

      And we also have the head of Bournemouth Islamic Centre speaking out:

      “”But Mr Yasin said: “Many Muslims bring their own traditions here from their home countries.

      “But if people are living here they should respect this society and this country and not try to create a different society or culture.

      “Some people use the freedom here in the wrong way. By all means respect your traditions, but not by force.

      advertisement”For example, there is no specific Muslim form of dress, simply that women should be modestly dressed.”

      He added: “If people don’t like this society, they should go back home to their own country. There are plenty of airports.”"

      Source: thisisdorset.net / Dorset Daily Echo

      But on the other hand we now have soldiers who if hailing from areas with a significant muslim population, cannot let down their guard in their own towns. Which is disgusting. Hopefully some good will come of it in the reopening of military hospitals.

    3. Sid — on 2nd February, 2007 at 12:49 am  

      If those Muslim kids at King David grow up to be nice violin playing lawyers with that endearing self-deprecating sense of humour then I’m sending my kids there too.

    4. Sunny — on 2nd February, 2007 at 1:03 am  

      ha ha, good point Riz. I’m going to try and avoid inciting violence that early… as long as they being me some nice hot tea… mmm….

    5. Clairwil — on 2nd February, 2007 at 1:54 am  

      What good eggs!
      That’s fair put the spring back in my step. Also good point BP.

    6. Refresh — on 2nd February, 2007 at 2:08 am  

      Excellent! More good news please.

    7. Desi Italiana — on 2nd February, 2007 at 8:06 am  

      “King David is a strictly Jewish school. Judaism is the only religion taught. There’s a synagogue on site. The children learn modern Hebrew - Ivrit - the language of Israel. And they celebrate Israeli independence day.

      But half the 247 pupils at the 40-year-old local authority-supported school are Muslim, and apparently the Muslim parents go through all sorts of hoops, including moving into the school’s catchment area, to get their children into King David to learn Hebrew, wave Israeli flags on independence day and hang out with the people some would have us believe that they hate more than anyone in the world. (via El Cid)”

      Religion, education, politics, indoctrination of patriotism, and flag waving all rolled into one.

      Cute, isn’t it?

    8. Katy — on 2nd February, 2007 at 9:36 am  

      Don’t you like it when Muslims and Jews get on, Desi?

    9. Katy — on 2nd February, 2007 at 10:05 am  

      Sorry, that sounds rather abrasive. All schools involve political and patriotic indoctrination, certainly the schools I went to - I remember one Christian teacher saying to me “you may be Jewish, Katy, but you still have to obey the Ten Commandments, you know” because I had said “oh god” in one of her classes. But the point the article is making is that, contrary to popular opinion, it is entirely possible for Jews and Muslims to co-exist happily and peacefully in the same space, and that’s cause for celebration, not sniping.

    10. Michael P — on 2nd February, 2007 at 10:17 am  

      I’ve only just realised how similar in rhythm those chants actually are to cheerleader choruses. They’ve lost a certain edge now.

      ‘Ta-li-ban - Ta-li-ban - If they can’t do it NO ONE CAN!!.’

    11. Refresh — on 2nd February, 2007 at 10:25 am  

      Katy, I have a feeling Desi is referring to the flag waving and celebrating the independence of another country (although flag waving even for your own, overt patriotism, is an issue for me, and usually a sign of insecurity).

      That aside, I am all for it. Lets have jews in muslim schools.

    12. Katy — on 2nd February, 2007 at 10:34 am  

      I’m all for it too, and both ways round. I don’t approve of religious schools or of political schools. I just found it bizarre that Desi immediately saw all of the bad and none of the good.

    13. sonia — on 2nd February, 2007 at 10:43 am  

      i thought Desi wasn’t referring particularly to either the fact of muslim or jewish kids doing stuff together but rather the general issue of adults ( of any race/ethnicity/religion whatever) forcing norms on kids - ya know - the whole institutionalization thing - and social indoctrination in general.

      anyhow - i think one of the nicest things was daniel barenboim and edward said’s musical collaboration.

    14. sonia — on 2nd February, 2007 at 10:50 am  

      just read what refresh said. is flag waving for another country a problem if you’re happy to flag wave for “your own” country? i assumde that it was flag waving + patriotism in general that desi was pointing at -> ah well desi - ball’s in your court :-)

    15. sonia — on 2nd February, 2007 at 10:56 am  

      i guess some of us are cynical about institutions Katy… i think it’s a nice bit of news but i get desi’s point of view as well. as you say though - sometimes it’s good to focus on the good!

      still i must say i didn’t realize that people thought the “interfaith” situation is so dire generally - i know if we go by the media sure - but in real life - there is so much to celebrate.

    16. bananabrain — on 2nd February, 2007 at 11:11 am  

      sonia,

      the interfaith situation *is* dire. those of us who have worked in it for years don’t remember a time it has been this bad. previously we were thought of as cranks, or just ignored. now, suddenly, there’s this big issue and people are surprised that everyone hates each other because they never did anything about it before. and it’s still not properly funded, either.

      the said/barenboim thing had its upside, but on its downside, it was spun two different ways. to the israelis and the west, basically, it was spun as hey, you know, isn’t it, great, israelis and palestinians getting together and playing some tunes, whereas in the arab press, it always looked like barenboim was basically conceding the whole issue, “yes, we are western” (HAH!) and accepting said’s narrative.

      as for the school in question, i think it’s great that muslims go there - every little helps. we need more faith schools like that, including pupils not from the faith that run the school, as well as explicitly multi-faith schools. desi probably thinks celebrating israeli independence day means building palestinian villages out of papier maché so they can be trodden on. tush; don’t get your knickers in a twist. it always used to be all about falafel, oranges and kibbutzim as far as i know, but if there are muslim pupils then so much the better as it will force them to teach some context and consider the audience.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    17. Sunny — on 2nd February, 2007 at 11:22 am  

      BB, well the govt is slowly but surely getting its act together. Mr Versi from Muslim News told me this morning the SS interfaith radio station in Bristol is funded by the home office.

    18. bananabrain — on 2nd February, 2007 at 11:29 am  

      i think you could be right, sunny. that’s how i heard about them, on radio 4 yesterday. i am sending them a cd of my band for their playlist and have emailed my buddies in other jewish music bands to do the same. good on them i say.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    19. Chairwoman — on 2nd February, 2007 at 11:59 am  

      bananabrain - I hope everybody enjoys your cd as much as I have done. Katy was playing it the other day, and I found it really evocative.

    20. Arif — on 2nd February, 2007 at 12:05 pm  

      Like Desi suggests, there are lots of perspectives to choose from when we think about the school, as there are for almost any social phenomenon, I guess.

      On this site, at the moment, it is generally seen as a heartwarming story of interfaith harmony.

      Elsewhere it is probably seen as an example of faith schooling undermining secular harmony.

      In another context I might see it as a typical example of schooling and indoctrination which is the opposite of a meaningful education.

      In other places it might be seen as an example of multicultural hell where young people are being given a pick and mix identity at odds with any pure tradition, and the pupils will forever be suspected of mixed loyalties.

      But from the perspective of here, now, me: Aaah, innit nice? Pity about the patriotic indoctrination, but that doesn’t make it all bad.

    21. sunray — on 2nd February, 2007 at 7:47 pm  

      Hindu family who funded an Indian Muslim’s trip to Hajj

      Heres some Good News

      Haj subsidy is subsidy in airfare given to the Indian Haj pilgrims . It is paid by the Government of India to the Air India. No Islamic country offers any subsidy for Haj pilgrims.

      I cant see what the big hoo ha is over one friend helping another, when millions of Muslims before him have already been helped.

    22. Desi Italiana — on 2nd February, 2007 at 8:05 pm  

      -”Don’t you like it when Muslims and Jews get on, Desi?

      - “I just found it bizarre that Desi immediately saw all of the bad and none of the good.”

      - “desi probably thinks celebrating israeli independence day means building palestinian villages out of papier maché so they can be trodden on. tush; don’t get your knickers in a twist.”

      See, this is why posting comments on PP can be trying. I’m tired of people putting words into my mouth and commentators getting defensive about things I never said. The comments above are ridiculous. Tell me where the hell I said: Judaism, Jews, Islam, Muslims, Israel, Palestine.

      Sonia gets my point: the issue isn’t that it’s Jews, Muslims, and Israel. And Refresh, I am not referring to the notion that pupils are waving the flag of another country. The issue is when a flag becomes a totem representative of a country, the worshipping of a state is unquestioned. The idea of thinking just how much state, politics and ideology are intertwined is dissipated. Gone are the abilities of sound, critical thinking. In the US, everytime I see flag waving dolts, I get irritated. People look drugged. Patriotism seems like national masturbation: people get off on it for themselves for a quick fix, and it doesn’t need to involve anybody else or much else.

      What I meant to is exactly what I said: Religion, education, politics, indoctrination of patriotism, and flag waving all rolled into one.

      I can certainly understand the tendency to think, “well, it’s better than nothing” (I myself have fallen prey to that). But I disagree. First, the solution presented here is that everybody can get along if they wave the same flag, speak the same language, and venerate the same state- ie if they believe in the same ideology. There’s no need to understand and think about critical issues, have an informed dialogue and even disagree. And you might say, “They are kids, after all!” But especially at the young age, when people are more susceptible to absorbing such indoctrination, is a problem for me. I don’t see it as good news at all.

      And another thing about the “interfaith dialogue”: more often than not, I see this as another distraction from the real problems. Most wars- not all, but most, I think- are not because people don’t understand each other’s religions. What’s at stake are the political dynamics, even when they are clothed in religious dressing. So in the US, “interfaith dialogue” has mostly led to this idea: that if “Muslims” (as if they are a coherent “community”), “Jews,” and “Christians” understand one another’s religions, somehow military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Occupied Territories, and so on will magically roll up. This is averting people’s attention: We don’t need to think about the other dynamics and complexities.

      To make myself clear, I do not think that it’s bad at all to learn about someone else’s faith. What I am saying is that I hesitate in embracing interfaith dialogue as the all around solution to problems.

      “On this site, at the moment, it is generally seen as a heartwarming story of interfaith harmony.”

      It is NOT interfaith harmony. It’s not about Muslims, Jews and whoever else learning about each other and left simply at that. It’s faith, state and flag wedded, with everybody agreeing to it. What’s harmonious about that?

      In the end, I don’t think it’s all that great when the only alternatives presented are: 1) hate each other in a rabid fashion or 2) everybody believe in the same thing. The latter may SEEM marginally the better option, but I just see it as equally flawed as the former.

      Sorry to poop on everyone’s cute parade.

    23. Katy — on 2nd February, 2007 at 8:14 pm  

      I retracted my first comment because I thought it was too abrasive. You tell me how saying that you saw all of the bad and none of the good was twisting what you said in your first comment.

    24. Katy — on 2nd February, 2007 at 8:17 pm  

      By the way, I agree with you that people tend to confuse religious problems and political problems, but the line is very very blurred. Religion is frequently used politically and vice versa. The point of interfaith dialogue is to get people to see past the superficial differences of custom, religion and religious dogma, if you will, and try to work on the genuine issues. What I like about the King David school is that the Muslim pupils are still Muslim, the Jewish pupils are still Jewish, the Sikhs are still Sikh and the Christians are still Christian, but they’ve all had an opportunity to learn that the fac that they are different religions doesn’t mean that they have to form opposing teams along those lines.

    25. Desi Italiana — on 2nd February, 2007 at 8:35 pm  

      “I retracted my first comment because I thought it was too abrasive. You tell me how saying that you saw all of the bad and none of the good was twisting what you said in your first comment.”

      Apparently I’m not making myself clear. Did you not say that I don’t like seeing “Muslims and Jews get on” and that is why I was seeing none of the “good”?

      Here’s a little something about my comments: I mean exactly what I write. If I say I have a problem with religion, state, patriotism, and flag waving without specifying Jews and Muslims, than that is what I intend: it’s a problem that IN GENERAL- whether they are Muslim or Jewish- that religion, state, patriotism, and flag waving is just as flawed as everybody hating each other’s guts.

      Shall I repeat myself again?

    26. Katy — on 2nd February, 2007 at 8:43 pm  

      No, please don’t repeat yourself again. I freely admit that my first comment was facetious and I’m sorry that you were offended by it, but, leaving aside any Muslim/Jewish thing, I still found it bizarre that you were so dismissive/disapproving of what is happening in that school.

    27. Desi Italiana — on 2nd February, 2007 at 8:49 pm  

      BTW, I was also referring to bananabrain’s ridiculous insinuation that my comment meant that ““desi probably thinks celebrating israeli independence day means building palestinian villages out of papier maché so they can be trodden on. tush; don’t get your knickers in a twist.”

      WTF, I never even said anything about Israel in my comment #7.

      You got your own knickers twisted, and you twisted them all by yourself for no reason.

    28. Katy — on 2nd February, 2007 at 9:02 pm  

      BB observes Shabbat, so he won’t read this before Sunday at the earliest. Look, Desi, I may not agree with you often but I don’t want you to think that it’s out of spite or that I’m deliberately trying to read things into what you say that aren’t there. Since my outburst last year I’ve learned not to take things too personally on this site. The fact is that when people write anonymously they are much blunter, or ruder, than they are in person and they don’t always think before they type. That includes me. People often misunderstand each other on this site, but I don’t deliberately twist what anyone says and I don’t think that anyone else on here does that either.

    29. William — on 3rd February, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

      Waving flags is not as bad as bashing people over the head with them.

    30. Chairwoman — on 3rd February, 2007 at 4:51 pm  

      ‘religion, state, patriotism, and flag waving is just as flawed as everybody hating each other’s guts.’

      No, it isn’t.

    31. Anas — on 3rd February, 2007 at 5:50 pm  

      desi probably thinks celebrating israeli independence day means building palestinian villages out of papier maché so they can be trodden on. tush; don’t get your knickers in a twist. it always used to be all about falafel, oranges and kibbutzim as far as i know, but if there are muslim pupils then so much the better as it will force them to teach some context and consider the audience.

      Do you seriously think they’re going to cover the Nakba, and the extent of the ethnic cleansing and the genocide that went on in order for a Jewish state to exist in the first place? — or some measure of what’s gone on under occupation? And I’m not just picking on Israel. Do native American children get the full story about the extent of the bloody genocides that took place in order that American exist? So these little children at King David, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, whatever, get their fill of Imperialist/Colonialist lies from the get go. In its way not so different from Abdul Saleem.

    32. Anas — on 3rd February, 2007 at 5:51 pm  

      In order that modern America exist, I mean.

    33. Chairwoman — on 3rd February, 2007 at 6:16 pm  

      If you read the original piece, you will see that the Muslim children go to ‘Mosque School’ (I put it in quotes because it’s the phrase used in the article, and I don’t know if it’s the correct term). I have no doubt that the teachers there will give them the Muslim view.

      These children will have the advantage of hearing the story from both sides as opposed to one side and the Guardian, and will be far better equipped to make a fair informed decision. But more important than that, will be able to build the bridges that can influence their peers, and by default their communities.

      Ripples in a pool. Don’t knock it.

    34. William — on 3rd February, 2007 at 7:11 pm  

      I go with the view that any bridge building is worth being optimistic about even if it might have alterior motives (eg the kids getting a good education). Connecting and mixing with people is one of the best ways to do this. It is true that patriotism etc can be problematic but then it has its moderation and extremes like many other things.

      There are bad things in history but could they be avoided or mitigated if people had more human contact. Most concepts of the enemy have ideas of otherising within the language and notions of the beholders. Does human contact contradict this. In my own observation and experience sometimes it does.

    35. Sunny — on 3rd February, 2007 at 7:46 pm  

      Sorry to burst your own bubble Desi but I disagree with most of you what you say too, and unfortunately it sounds like standard socialist discourse without taking into account people’s behaviours.

      And another thing about the “interfaith dialogue”: more often than not, I see this as another distraction from the real problems. Most wars- not all, but most, I think- are not because people don’t understand each other’s religions.

      Rubbish - the state, the media and military all have a part to play but if there are suspicions on the ground and inter-communal violence then it doesn’t matter how the state behaves.

      India is a good example of this, where the state tries almost everything to avoid talking about religion in a good/bad way even more than the UK. People on the right there have for decades complained about the govt obsessive secularism to the point the intelligensia want to avoid talking of religious fanaticism amongst Muslim and Hindu groups.

      And look at the state of inter-communal violence, especially in places like Maharashtra. I’ve met Hindus who believed the Muslim like of the number 786 was because it was the year the Mughals invaded India and brought Islam. These sorts of paranoid theories are what encourage localised riots. And guess what stopped the riots in recent years? Inter-faith dialogue and getting Muslim/Hindu religious leaders getting involved to make sure a terrorist attack wasn’t followed by inter-communal rioting.

      I think inter-faith dialogue is underrated. The problem is that in the UK, despite some middle-class groups doing it, there isn’t enough of it to make a wider impact.

      As for the school story - I like it because I think the focus is that Muslims are not rabidly anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli as many people on the right and the left make out. This story would be an embarassment here not only to the Daily Mail / Telegraph types, but also the SWP and Muslim Brotherhood types.

      Lastly, on flag waving and patriotism. I’m sorry but the existence of these activities doesn’t automatically mean hating those who are different or of other countries.

      Americans in general are less fussed about world events and other countries, regardless of whether they are patriotic or not. The close adoption of one identity doesn’t have to mean the hatred of people with rival identities providing it is taught with the right values.

      Does being more religious make you hate people of other religions? It would if you were taught your religion with a sense that it was superior and that other people were stupid or naive for not taking up your way of life. If on the other hand you embraced it with values of compassion and loving other creations of god, the hatred would not be there.

    36. Desi Italiana — on 3rd February, 2007 at 8:34 pm  

      Sunny, forgive me, but for a “progressive” blog, I’m surprised you think that the story you linked to was “cute.”

      “Rubbish - the state, the media and military all have a part to play but if there are suspicions on the ground and inter-communal violence then it doesn’t matter how the state behaves.”

      Rubbish to what you say, too. You evoke India, but you fail to mention how much allocation of political priveleges play a part in much of the Hindu fundamentalist movement. Those political handouts are distributed by the state. I’m not discounting the purely religious factor, but what I am saying is that it is equally facetious to assert that religion can be a sole motivating factor in explaining conflict. If you seriously argue that religion solely drives conflicts, than I’m sorry, but I disagree. It’s not about being a “socialist,” (I don’t see what’s so socialist about what I’m saying), it’s about taking other factors into consideration.

      “I like it because I think the focus is that Muslims are not rabidly anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli as many people on the right and the left make out.”

      It’s interesting you point out that “Muslims are not rabidly anti-Jewish and anti Israel” yet you say nothing about the potential positive aspect about flag waving Jews who can learn not to be anti Muslim.

      You say that this school is interfaith. Interfaith in my mind would be learning about each other’s faith, and no one religion is priveleged over the other. In this school (and yes, I’ve read the article), the religion is Judaism. Naturally- since this is a faith based school. But you’ve held up this article as an example of not interfaith, but incorporation via patriotism, state and religion. It’s nice and considerate for this school to set aside a prayer room and supply Muslim teachers for Eid (that’s more than you can say for most faith based schools). But that doesn’t take away the fact that children are being indoctrinated into one ideology. You can only achieve harmony if people start singing the hymns of another religion in the bathtub? Or because you adopt their attire?

      “Lastly, on flag waving and patriotism. I’m sorry but the existence of these activities doesn’t automatically mean hating those who are different or of other countries.”

      Who said anything about that? But since you bring it up, I do think there is a tendency for that. Patriotism definately has the characteristic of exclusivity and insularity. It’s not always bad, but you tell me- is it better to wave flags or have an informed dialogue?

      “Americans in general are less fussed about world events and other countries, regardless of whether they are patriotic or not. The close adoption of one identity doesn’t have to mean the hatred of people with rival identities providing it is taught with the right values.”

      Sunny, America is one of the most patriotic countries that I know of, out of my experiences. And on a whole, we are one of the most insular people. It is true that it doesn’t necessarily follow that there is a direct correlation.

      But what I see is that it is so, in the case of the US, and other countries as well. I disagree with this for reasons that I’ve stated in my comments above (do not have time to reiterate and expand right now).

      “Does being more religious make you hate people of other religions? It would if you were taught your religion with a sense that it was superior and that other people were stupid or naive for not taking up your way of life. If on the other hand you embraced it with values of compassion and loving other creations of god, the hatred would not be there.”

      This is lovely. And how does flag waving and so on figure into this equation…..?

      *******

      Anas:

      “Do you seriously think they’re going to cover the Nakba, and the extent of the ethnic cleansing and the genocide that went on in order for a Jewish state to exist in the first place? — or some measure of what’s gone on under occupation? And I’m not just picking on Israel. Do native American children get the full story about the extent of the bloody genocides that took place in order that American exist?”

      Don’t ask that, love! Shame on you for raining on everyone parade about how cute this story is. What’s important is that everybody is venerating the same flag, speaking the same language, and accepting the same ideology. There’s no need to address the things such as those stated above. It’s just important to teach everybody about “love and compassion.” Who cares about addressing serious injustices (and just to anticipate Bananabrain et al, no, I am not picking on Israel only. Almost every single nation does this. Which is why I have a problem with the idea and principle of such schools.)

    37. Desi Italiana — on 3rd February, 2007 at 9:07 pm  

      “India is a good example of this, where the state tries almost everything to avoid talking about religion in a good/bad way even more than the UK. People on the right there have for decades complained about the govt obsessive secularism to the point the intelligensia want to avoid talking of religious fanaticism amongst Muslim and Hindu groups.”

      Do you really believe the claim of fanatics in India that the Indian state has been “secular”? There is a difference betwween being secular in principle and in practice, no? There are various instances in which the Indian government has been anything but secular. And even the Hindu fanatics are inconsistent on this. On the one hand, they will rant and rave that the state has been “too secular” and neglected the interests of Hindus. On the other hand, they’ll point to instances whereby the Indian state gave special priveleges to one religious community over the other- not being secular at all.

      “unfortunately it sounds like standard socialist discourse without taking into account people’s behaviours.”

      Right. And institutionalization, indoctrination and so on by the state and its various institutions as well as educational spheres play absolutely no part in how people behave, and vice versa.

      I’m unsure as to why a critique of patriotism, religion, politics and state being intertwined has elicited so much “nooooooo!” from people. The message of this article is this- just assimilate everybody, and everything will be lovely, nice and cute. No need for preparing young, impressionable minds with the ability for informed dialogue, which could even include critiquing the policies and ideologies of a state and lead people to disagree. There isn’t even an emphasis on equally discussing all faiths (BTW, there are Sikhs at that school- why no little Gurudwara? Why no Sikh teachers supplied for major Sikh celebrations? How much are people learning about the faiths that are not represented there, such as Parsis, and Hindus? And apart from Muslims being confined to their own sphere for their own Muslim activies such as praying in the prayer room and being furnished with Muslim teachers for Eid, how much are the other students learning on a whole learning about Islam? But then again, this is an explicitly faith based school, and so I can’t really say anything about the fact that only one religion is being emphasized. I just have an issue with faith based schools in general).

    38. Katy — on 3rd February, 2007 at 9:12 pm  

      Oh Desi, lighten up. In this country there are plenty of Roman Catholic and Protestant schools in which non-Christian children are forced to swallow Christian dogma and non-English children are forced to learn British history with a pro-British spin and they seem to survive it all right. Leaving that aside, don’t you think it’s nice, given that the media loves to portray Jews and Muslims as constantly at each other’s throats, to see some evidence of the fact that actually Muslims and Jews get on perfectly well together day to day?

      It comes as no surprise to me. Historically, Jews tended to get on far better with Muslims than they did with Christians day to day. I think it’s because so many Jewish and Muslim customs are the same.

    39. sonia — on 3rd February, 2007 at 9:45 pm  

      hey desi your comments make a lot of sense to me. it seems to me that the implications of patriotism are often overlooked.

    40. Sunny — on 3rd February, 2007 at 10:45 pm  

      Desi, in response:

      1) Example of India.

      such allocation of political priveleges play a part in much of the Hindu fundamentalist movement. Those political handouts are distributed by the state.

      How so exactly? The BJP came up only in the last 15 years or so… the Congress may have been corrupt and handed out goodies but I’d like you to show me how pro-Hindu corruption by Congress contributed to the anti-Muslim progroms, if that is what you’re insinuating.

      it is equally facetious to assert that religion can be a sole motivating factor in explaining conflict

      Now you’re trying to put words into my mouth. Consider the fact that I’ve already pointed out the state and military and political considerations play a part. For example, I don’t even see the Israel/Palestine conflict about religion but a fight over land with religion used to exacerbate the problem.

      My point was only that inter-faith dialogue, and to that extent you’ve completely ignored my points about how it has impacted events in the state of Maharashtra.

      yet you say nothing about the potential positive aspect about flag waving Jews who can learn not to be anti Muslim.

      I didn’t know I had to state every assumption, but let me point out that here in the UK, while attacks on Jews by ‘Asian youths’ are well noted, I haven’t yet heard of one attack on Muslim youths by Jews.
      I think there is a bigger problem with anti-semitism by British Muslims than Islamphopbia by British Jews in the UK.

      But that doesn’t take away the fact that children are being indoctrinated into one ideology.

      I didn’t say I’m pro-faith schools. We’ve stated our position lots of times here. But within the faith schools that do exist, its nice to see people examples of people of different faiths in a very religious environment still studying/working together. I didn’t know this was a crime.

      It is true that it doesn’t necessarily follow that there is a direct correlation.

      But what I see is that it is so, in the case of the US,

      So you can’t show there is a direct correlation, and neither does it follow, but you see it… so therefore I must accept it? Incidentally I ised to be quite patriotic, jingoist even, of India, and never did I hate other countries (ok we did dislike America because it sided with Pakistan during the Cold War but thats rather irrelevant) just because I liked India.

      The left in America… say the Daily Kos, Escheton, MyDD crowd are quite patriotic but I don’t see vitriol directed at other countries just because they’re not American. Maybe you’ve been reading too much Michelle Malkin?

      This is lovely. And how does flag waving and so on figure into this equation…..?

      Patriotism is an ideology of identity, as is religion when its a form of identity (not something that governs your every move). Either way, the problem isn’t the acceptance of any identity and ideology, but how you teach and what you teach.

      BTW, there are Sikhs at that school– why no little Gurudwara?

      Maybe there is, but the article didn’t concentrate on them? Btw, Sikhs don’t need a “little Gurudwara”… in the way Muslims need a prayer room.

    41. Sahil — on 3rd February, 2007 at 11:58 pm  

      Great post Sunny.

      Desi, i think you need to step back and just take in the fact that people now can support a muslim going to a Jewish school! Even the ritual does not matter, the fact that people can do that, shows progress, so what’s the problem.

    42. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2007 at 10:48 am  

      Sorry, my post above was a bit scatty and incomplete, on account of uncle standing in the doorway and chit chatting with me for about a full 15 minutes and then upon seeing me furiously typing in between distracted replies to him, ask “Beta, what are you doing? Are you busy? What are you typing?”

      Sunny:

      “How so exactly? The BJP came up only in the last 15 years or so… the Congress may have been corrupt and handed out goodies but I’d like you to show me how pro-Hindu corruption by Congress contributed to the anti-Muslim progroms, if that is what you’re insinuating.”

      No, I am not insinuating that. What I am saying is that political allocations and privelegs as distributed by the state play a part in religious politics, ie groups vying for a monopoly on that distribution or at least a substantial claim to it. I used Hindu fundamentalism as an example (I didn’t specify that, sorry, my bad).

      Furthermore, the BJP is not the sole embodiment of Hindu fundamentalism; and Congress did not play the pro Hindu card, but played with religious politics in general for securing their own power.

      “and to that extent you’ve completely ignored my points about how it has impacted events in the state of Maharashtra.”

      Again, my bad, I simpy didn’t have time to dwelve into this (where the heck do people find the time to write out in depth posts?!)

      Communal rioting in Maharashtra is interesting. There is a strong presence of Sindhi re-settled Paritition refugees, whose own stories involve Partition. Again, I see the political strands in this interfused with religion, in that displacement from a state founded on a religion (again, state and religion intertwining) inculcated anti Muslim sentiments (which instead of taking issue with the political dimensions, they have created an easy “enemy”).

      It is totally possible that interfaith dialogue has helped the situation in Maharashtra- my knowledge of the sitation there is not deep, so I can’t really comment on this aspect. But again, does this interfaith dialogue involve patriotism? Worshipping the Indian state? I’m not entirely dismissing inter-faith dialogue; but at the same time, I mean what I said in my post: I hesitate to embrace interfaith dialogue as the all solution.

      “So you can’t show there is a direct correlation, and neither does it follow, but you see it… so therefore I must accept it? ”

      No, I just didn’t have time to give an example. I was hoping that with that sharp observant eye of a journalist, you’d have picked up on certain things while you were here in Los Angeles, CA (NOT all of the US, mind you) :)

      Patriotism has been an enormous force since Sept. 11. Just days after the event, we were told that either we were “with us or with the terrorists.” Any indication that you were questioning something was immediately branded as being “unpatriotic”.

      In case you didn’t notice, people of South Asian descent or anybody who looks “Muslim” (whatever that is) have been either put to a loyalty test or has felt impelled to demonstrate their patriotism. Many of us were told to get the fuck out and go back to “where we came from” even if we were born and raised here. Surely you have followed the hate crimes against Sikhs in the US, and the response of numerous Sikhs? Most of the patriotism test is symbolized by waving the American flag. I am hoping you also noticed the ubiquitous presence of flags everywhere (though, on the well manicured streets of LA, there might have not been).

      Problem is that the loyalty test- demonstrating patriotism- often meant that you didn’t question the actions of the government, because as a patriotic American, you are either with us or against us. You remember how any critism about the war in Iraq were branded as “anti American”, right? So if a person of South Asian immigrant said, “I totally disagree with what’s going on,” is it that they are unpatriotic? Maybe, if the definition of patriotism is that you either fully accept what is being done and fly that flag high or you don’t. And then, they can be told to get the fuck out if they don’t like it here.

      “Incidentally I ised to be quite patriotic, jingoist even, of India, and never did I hate other countries (ok we did dislike America because it sided with Pakistan during the Cold War but thats rather irrelevant) just because I liked India.”

      Come on, Sunny, don’t make this too easy… you do see what you have written here, right….? You were a nationalistic India who didn’t “hate a country” but you disliked the US because it sided WITH PAKISTAN during the Cold War…. which, as a nationalistic Indian, you disliked Pakistan, otherwise why would it have irked you that the US sided with Pakistan in the first place?

      And this is what I’m pointing at: a dislike for a country and its people simply because you are patriotic of your own country (or one that you identify with).

      “Maybe you’ve been reading too much Michelle Malkin?”

      Who the heck is that?

      “Patriotism is an ideology of identity, as is religion when its a form of identity (not something that governs your every move). ”

      Patriotism is also an ideology of the state, military, citizenship, and ideology itself.

      “Btw, Sikhs don’t need a “little Gurudwara”… in the way Muslims need a prayer room. ”

      Er… as far as I know, Muslims don’t need a prayer room to pray. I’ve seen Muslims roll out their prayer mat in any place that they find themselves when the muezzin (sp?) beckons.

      *******

      Sahil:

      “Desi, i think you need to step back and just take in the fact that people now can support a muslim going to a Jewish school! Even the ritual does not matter, the fact that people can do that, shows progress, so what’s the problem.”

      The fact that they are Muslims and Jews is not the point I am making; see preceeding posts. I have a problem in general with this kind of school; again, see my posts above.

      ****

      But all of you seem so enamoured by the idea of what you are choosing to see- that it’s Jews and Muslims “intermingling,” ie ASSIMILATION VIA EMBRACING AND FOLLOWING PATRIOTISM OF A STATE IN A RELIGIOUS SETTING while the whole world says that “they hate each others’ guts” (who is the “whole world”, btw?)- rather than the principle and fundamental issue of it. Try inserting other religious groups into this idea. If there was a, say, Muslim school in India that indoctrinated Pakistani nationalism and all students- including the Hindu ones- waved the Pakistani flag, what would the response be?

      Some would say, “what’s wrong with that?” I’ll tell you: what is the purpose of the flag waving and veneration of a specific state? In other words, the association of the religion with that state (even if the state was explicitly founded on that particular religion)and then teaching children this? And if things were “interfaith”, why does a state need to figure into it, especially when you can find people of a certain faith that do not live in country that has been associated with that faith? Furthermore, if it is a faith based school, wouldn’t the ideals and values of that particular faith be venerated? And if those ideals and values are above everything else, wouldn’t they be above anything like a state?

      Anyway, I respect ya’ll’s opinion. I disagree, and I’ve tried to lay out what I think. If I don’t reply to the responses to this comment, sorry! I’m starting my internship Monday (!) and sadly, I will not have as much time on my hands as I used to to write comments on PP.

      *****

      Sonia:

      “hey desi your comments make a lot of sense to me. it seems to me that the implications of patriotism are often overlooked.”

      If I ever open a school, I’ll calling you in as co-director and you and I will put together the curriculum… :)

    43. Desi Italiana — on 4th February, 2007 at 11:35 am  

      Oh, I forgot to add:

      Speaking of patriotism and demonstrating it as an indication of a model individual and exemplar “harmony” and co-existence, the question should be: why should people feel impelled to demonstrate patriotism in order to illustrate that they can co-exist with others, appreciate and respect those that may nominally be different from them? Take for instance how some Indian Muslims feel the need to demonstrate that they are “patriotic Indians.” And if they don’t, there’s always the suspicion that they are “anti national” and “unpatriotic.” Patriotism and nationalism- for better and for worse- involves including some and excluding others. This is the force of patriotism, often solicited and nurtured by the state, that incites such a need. How can interaction, engagement, and being an individual be reduced to trumpeting how much you love a country and saluting its flag?

      So to relate this to the school in question: why is it that this school is an example of “interfaith” socialization when:

      1. religion is associated with a specific state
      and

      2. reverence of that state is seen as interfaith socialization

      What if you respect and revere the ideals and values of that religion, but do not demonstrate an allegiance to the state that has been associated with? Or the other way around?

      BTW, those kids are missing out on making potentially long lasting and remarkable friendships with very nice people of Hindu background (or Ba’hai, or Parsi, etc or just nice folks from none of the above).

      **************

      Anyway, before I forgot: for those of you who are Sikh (and not Sikh) and you are going to celebrate Guru Ravi Das’ B-Day, have fun! Contemplate and revel in the spiritual aspect of it; make sure you do seva; help make lots of rotis so that there will be enough for everyone to eat; and do eat some of that prasad, even if it is way too sweet and it is hard for you to finish the whole handful (maybe this just happens at the gurdwaras that I frequent, but the portions of prasad are just way too big. Or maybe the portion is fine but my hand is too small).

    44. Chairwoman — on 4th February, 2007 at 11:58 am  

      Desi Italiana - It is not unusual in this country for Jewish people to be friends with Hindus or Ba’hai or Parsi or Jains. It is less usual for Jews and Muslims to be friends. That is the whole point.

      And as to how the Nakba is, or is not, taught. Would you both be satisfied for it to be taught with the same enthusiasm and veracity as the Holocaust is taught to Muslim children? No? Didn’t think so.

      And Signorina Italiana, I wish you well with your internship, but may I offer you a word of advice. You have very strong opinions. Your new quasi-employers don’t want to hear them. I know that they’ll tell you they do, but it’s a lie. What they want to hear is you agreeing with them, and if you don’t, they don’t want to hear you say anything.

    45. Katy — on 4th February, 2007 at 11:59 am  

      How can interaction, engagement, and being an individual be reduced to trumpeting how much you love a country and saluting its flag?

      It isn’t. I think my problem with your approach to this is that you seem to have taken one small part of what happens at the school and fixated on it to the exclusion of everything else. You’ve taken “they all wave flags on Israeli independence day” and turned it into “this school ceaselessly indoctrinates these children into mindless pro-Israeli Hebrew speaking yamulke-wearing robots”, which I think is unfair. Perhaps it’s because American schools actively instil patriotism at an early age in a way that just doesn’t happen here; I mean, there is no English or Israeli equivalent of the American Pledge of Allegiance for example, or at least if there is I haven’t come across it. And then I’m not against patriotism anyway; I think it’s a natural human urge - humans tend towards forming groups, as do most animals, and like Sunny I think it’s not patriotism that’s the problem, but the way it sometimes manifests itself.

      But as you say, we can respect each other right to an opinion and agree to disagree.

    46. Anas — on 4th February, 2007 at 1:48 pm  

      Personally I’m deeply in favour of Muslim-Jewish interfaith efforts — and faith schools if they’re regulated properly, I might add. And, I would have loved the story about the Jewish school and its Muslim pupils if it wasn’t for the presence of the “Israeli flags”.

      The thing that really bothers me relates to what those Israeli flags represent in a Jewish school. Why are British kids waving Israeli flags and celebrating Israeli independence day? They represent the fact that any British person of Jewish descent can by the law of return immigrate to Israel whenever they choose. Fine, nothing wrong with that, right?

      The problem is that Israel has been and currently is in the midst of actively ethnically cleansing Palestine, and encouraging settlement in the West Bank from immigrants across the world. Setting up a system of laws and rules that are designed to force the Palestinian population to leave, actually preventing Palestinians who’ve left from ever returning. And what about the 5 million refugees of the Palestinian disapora, who are guaranteed right of return by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? They’re fucked basically.

      That’s what the little kids waving Israel flags in the UK represents to me. It’d be like having little black kids waving South African flags under apartheid. Again, in a supposedly “progressive” site, that was something that should have been a major topic for discussion.

      And CW, it’s ironic that my knowledge of what you call the “Muslim view” of the Nakba was not gained through listening to Imams or in a Muslim context, it was gained through reading Jewish scholars like Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappe and Noam Chomsky. And from what I’ve heard there’s less and less denial of the facts nowadays from even mainstream Israeli historians.

      And I didn’t single out just Muslim children, I think Jewish children especially should learn about the Nakba, because I think it will help them appreciate better the situation Israel is in now.

      BTW, Holocaust denial disgusts me, it just seems like a failure of humanity that someone could deny that. I think Muslim children should be taught properly about the Holocaust.

    47. Sid — on 4th February, 2007 at 1:58 pm  

      Muslim kids should also be taught about Muslim-on-Muslim genocide such as in Turkey, Iraq, East Pakistan (Bangladesh) and most recently, Darfur.

    48. Anas — on 4th February, 2007 at 2:01 pm  

      Undoubtedly, Sid.

    49. Chairwoman — on 4th February, 2007 at 2:09 pm  

      That’s exactly what I meant Anas, that you wouldn’t want either sets of children, or any, BTW, taught any kind of denial. And I didn’t call it the Muslim view of the Nakba either. The Muslim view I was talking aboutwas that of the Holocaust.

      As for the ethnic cleansing, yes there has been some, but not everywhere, and as for ‘genocide’, well it’s not been very successful has it.

      Actually, I agree with Sunny’s take on I/P, which I must admit is one that I haven’t considered previously, a dispute over territory with religious overtones.

      As for the 5 million you quote, which is 5 times as many as those Islamic sites actually say were displaced (obviously Jews are crap at genocide), how does that compare with the numbers of descendents of Jews ethnically cleansed from Muslim countries? It seems that Muslim Palestinians are rather better at keeping up their numbers than Jewish Israelis.

      Would you be in favour of all the countries identifying themselves as Islamic States becoming secular and allowing people of all creeds to live there as equals and practice their religions freely?

    50. douglas clark — on 4th February, 2007 at 2:21 pm  

      Anas,

      I can see why people think that the King David school story is good news. The idea that Muslims would beat a path to a school with high educational attainments despite it’s ethos, is good news. It suggests that some Muslims see other factors in life as more important than religious ghettoisation.

      Yeah, you could say it is good news.

      But there is probably some other reality underpinning this. The chances are that the school cannot fill itself from folk of the same faith. We have had that situation with Catholic Primary schools up here, where Muslim parents preferred to send their kids to Catholic Primaries rather than non-denominational schools, on the assumption that they’d at least be taught in a god fearing as opposed to godless environment.

      Which suggests to me that there was much biting of the bullet on both sides, up here at least. The Catholic schools could be closed through declining scool roles, the Muslims would prefer their own schools but didn’t have the numbers to justify them. A sort of Hobson’s choice, if you like.

      But even that is quite good news, I think.

      I’d prefer to keep religion out of education completely, but if we can’t, yet, do that, it has to be good that economics and ambition are making strange bedfellows. Certainly not a sexy headline, though, is it? (On re-reading that maybe the Sun could do some work on it)

      And I’m kind of averse to flags, of any stripe, or cross or crescent in any school. And that includes the Union Jack and the Saltire, on the basis of imbibing with my mothers milk that ‘patriotism is the last resort of the scoundrel’ *. But, there you go, that’s just me.

      *Samuel Johnson apparently. Google is my friend.

    51. Anas — on 4th February, 2007 at 2:29 pm  

      Hey Chairwoman.

      And I didn’t call it the Muslim view of the Nakba either. The Muslim view I was talking aboutwas that of the Holocaust.

      I thought that was what you were referring to in post 33. Anyway, my personal feeling is that only a small minority of Muslims are Holocaust deniers, so I don’t know exactly what the “Muslim view” is.

      Genocide isn’t just killing. It’s actually defined as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. By that definition, given the current demographics of the region compared to say 1947, you have to agree its been pretty successful.

      As for the 5 million you quote, which is 5 times as many as those Islamic sites actually say were displaced (obviously Jews are crap at genocide), how does that compare with the numbers of descendents of Jews ethnically cleansed from Muslim countries? It seems that Muslim Palestinians are rather better at keeping up their numbers than Jewish Israelis.

      The 5 Million figure was from Stephen Lendman’s article on the current situation in I/P. I’ve said it before I’m against all forms of ethnic cleansing. And I believe in right of return for all refugees.

      Would you be in favour of all the countries identifying themselves as Islamic States becoming secular and allowing people of all creeds to live there as equals and practice their religions freely?

      It doesn’t matter if a state identifies itself as a Jewish state, or an Islamic state, or whatever. It’s how this is implemented in law that is usually problematic. And of course the measures put in place to maintain the state’s status as Islamic or Jewish. I have no problem with there being a Jewish state per se. I do have a problem with the reality or course. Just as I have a problem with Saudi Arabia’s treatment of religious minorities.

    52. Chairwoman — on 4th February, 2007 at 2:49 pm  

      Anas, do you seriously beleive that the Israelis intend to ‘bring about the destruction in whole or in part’ of the Palestinian people. As for preventing them from conceiving and giving birth, the figures of 1 million 60 years ago and 5 million today somewhat put paid to that theory.

      Now, think carefully before you answer that. I am not for one instance being in favour of ethnic cleansing per se. But it is not the same as bringing about the destruction of a people in whole or in part.

      I also think that if all Israelis and Palistinians were asked anonymously, under the cover of darkness, whether they would be willing to make territorial and political concessions for peace, the majority would be in favour. I truly believe that in both countries it’s not so much a silent majority, but a being careful what they say one.

    53. Chairwoman — on 4th February, 2007 at 3:31 pm  

      OK, I’m off to do the Samurai Sudoko in The Times. I may be some time.

    54. Sunny — on 4th February, 2007 at 3:54 pm  

      Sudokus give me a headache… well the difficult ones anyway.

      It is totally possible that interfaith dialogue has helped the situation in Maharashtra– my knowledge of the sitation there is not deep, so I can’t really comment on this aspect. But again, does this interfaith dialogue involve patriotism? Worshipping the Indian state? I’m not entirely dismissing inter-faith dialogue; but at the same time, I mean what I said in my post: I hesitate to embrace interfaith dialogue as the all solution.

      Desi - yes there is a lot of patriotism involved too. Indian Muslims were, for a long time, assumed to be still hankering for Pakistan. But in recent years with the greater involvement of Muslims in Indian life (cricket, politics), even that sentiment (that Indian Muslims hanker for Pakistan) is being slowly but surely killed off.

      No one ever said inter-faith dialogue was a total solution. But the point is this: the only sure way to prevent sectarian strife is to have lots of interfaith dialogue, because govts are liable to use differences between people for political gain. They have the incentive to do that.

      I would rather it existed than it didn’t. It seems to me that you’re fixated with the flags, and thus have it in your head to rain down on the interfaith dialogue aspect - when that (solidarity) is a solid bedrock of any progressive discourse.

      Btw, on the issue of Pakistan. Indians don’t hate Pakistanis just because they’re Pakistanis, it happens because the implication is Pakistanis want to destroy India. But as dialogue and communication between the two countries has improved, so have relations. When Pakistanis came to Chandigarh for the Cricket tour a few years ago, they were very warmly received. Patriotism in itself is no reason to hate others, please try and understand that.

    55. Katy — on 4th February, 2007 at 4:04 pm  

      Btw, on the issue of Pakistan. Indians don’t hate Pakistanis just because they’re Pakistanis, it happens because the implication is Pakistanis want to destroy India

      I think that’s the same on both sides of the I/P conflict.

    56. Anas — on 4th February, 2007 at 5:00 pm  

      CW,

      I’d say Israel has been and currently is guilty of the following:

      killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

      If you read Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle, especially the chapters on the Lebanon War and Israel’s indescriminate massacres of Palestinians in Lebanon, especially the bombing of refugee camps, you’ll understand what I mean. In fact, quite a few commentators (see here ) argue that what is going on in Gaza at the moment constitutes a genocide.

    57. ZinZin — on 4th February, 2007 at 5:10 pm  

      Anas
      Ever considered extending your reading list beyond Chomsky?

    58. Anas — on 4th February, 2007 at 5:14 pm  

      Oops. Cocked up the last post.

      Erm, yeah.

    59. Chairwoman — on 4th February, 2007 at 5:14 pm  

      What’s that Anas, Fatah and Hammas kicking the excretia out of each other?

      Ok, I genuinuely do not believe that Israel is trying to bring about the physical destruction of Palestine as an entity. I do however believe that they are trying to remove those members of it that it considers are trying to do that to them.

      I apologise for the worst constructed sentence I have ever written. Sudoku has addled my brain.

    60. Chairwoman — on 4th February, 2007 at 5:15 pm  

      He also does Finklestein :-)

    61. Anas — on 4th February, 2007 at 5:35 pm  

      We’ll agree to disagree CW. But I still think even if you overlook the contentious issues we’ve just discussed I think most of post 46 holds up.

      Actually, ZZ, I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like, recently, Chomsky included. I’m thinking of cutting back my posts in here(*huge collective sigh of relief from PP regulars*), and cutting back on the internet as a whole so I can catch up.

    62. Anas — on 4th February, 2007 at 5:37 pm  

      Heh, this might really be a good new post.

    63. Anas — on 4th February, 2007 at 5:38 pm  

      I mean, good news post, and I should have probably written good news thread anyway.

    64. Chairwoman — on 4th February, 2007 at 5:56 pm  

      Anas - agreeing to disagree is good :-)

      BTW I’ve just read Brian Klug’s piece in the Nation, I followed Sunny’s links, and I recommend it to you.

    65. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2007 at 12:07 am  

      Anas,

      I actually like watching you develop on here. I’d miss it.

      Chairwoman and you showing mutual respect is about the most touching thing I’ve ever read on t’internet. And that is not a flippant comment.

    66. Refresh — on 5th February, 2007 at 1:03 am  

      Some astonishing stuff on this thread. Its almost as if people were beginning to venture out again (metaphorically speaking) - and bang. Back to their caves.

      Desi, good luck with your internship. Sorry if I added to the confusion early in the thread. Excellent contributions by the way - raising some serious issues. Don’t stay away too long.

    67. Refresh — on 5th February, 2007 at 1:28 am  

      Anas, there would be no collective sigh of relief. I like your arguments and the patience that goes behind backing them up.

      Douglas, Sonia, I dislike the concept of patriotism. I much rather support the concept of justice. Patriotism is a political concept almost always harnessed by the right.

      I am much more for people to people solidarity.

      Flag-waving patriotism tends, in my opinion, to be most prevalent amongst the insecure.

      Newly formed countries are more likely to rely on it and pride in their military (almost always misplaced).

      Inter-faith dialogue is not a bad thing but its only a small component. Fair trade is the best form of communication between nations.

    68. Refresh — on 5th February, 2007 at 1:54 am  

      Chairwoman, I am very keen to ensure that the common heritage of the two faiths are centre-stage again. Bananabrain gave quite a few examples of how similar the two are.

      There are plenty of people out to prove otherwise, but the whole holocaust denial affair is not a muslim thing.

      Muslims did not view the jews with the extreme prejudice that became the hallmark of european anti-semitism. It has been the creation of Israel that poisoned that well.

      The problem we face is that zionists behind the project were determined to use the post-war guilt to achieve their goals. Its politics and that’s what politicians do. They play their cards to get what they want.

      But the continued reliance on ‘existential threat’ as a rallying point for Israelis can only mean that the Israeli people have to be motivated to support such agressive policies - and you do that by demonising your enemy.

      What’s needed now is the reversal of that on both sides. Sadly that is going to be harder after the disaster that is Iraq and Lebanon; and soon Iran.

      Whatever the intellectual machinations, the outcomes of war makes the going tougher.

      But I will take any sign of engagement between people as a positive step.

      As for governments, I despair at Bush funding and Olmert arming Abbas to fight a civil war in Palestine (against an elected government).

      I do not forget how Oslo allowed for the Palestinian police to be armed only for it to be challenged militarily by Sharon and Natanyahu.

    69. Chairwoman — on 5th February, 2007 at 7:18 am  

      Refesh actually I gave the initial similarities and bb expanded on them. His intellectual take on Judaism is far greater than mine, as I grew up in an observant family and know things automatically, if that makes any sense at all, whereas he became more religious (as I admittedly became less so), and studies it, so-to-speak.

      I think that you are incorrect in two things. The decision to partition Palestine was made a long time before the second world war (Balfour declaration), and it wasn’t so much ‘Zionists’ taking ‘advantage’ of the Holocaust (taking advantage of having 6 million killed is, I hope, not what you meant to imply), as there being a total fear and hopelessness amongst the Jews of Europe. A little of the research that everyone here loves to do would show you what happened to Jews who went what they had previously called home after their liberation from concentration camps.

      Even here, there was a climate of despair. I remember my grandparents had a record sung in Yiddish on one side and English on the other called ‘Where shall I go’, of which the first lines were, ‘Tell me where shall I go, Is there no place left for me’. I appreciate that this probably sounds like sentimental claptrap to you, but it sums up how the whole remnant of a people felt.

      To a degree I still feel like that. I have no real desire to live in Israel for two reasons, the climate does not agree with my condition (I am supposed to avoid places where I might be bitten by insects) and I feel that as I am mainly housebound these days, it would be difficult, at my age, to get to know people and have any kind of a life. However, I would go like a shot if things got hairy for Jews here.

    70. Arif — on 5th February, 2007 at 11:06 am  

      Although I’m not so condemnatory, I have a similar general perspective to Desi Italiana, I think that interfaith schools might do some good, but there might be more harm done by patriotism and other ideological messages that people have to be the same to get along.

      Sunny, you are looking at it more tactically, I think, that the interfaith school apparently working so well undermines the ideological messages that people have to drop their religions to get on, or that there is an inevitable clash of civilisations. And I appreciate that side of it too.

      Maybe I’m not so bothered, because I don’t think schools are a good thing in the first place. They are variations on a kind of abuse, which most people seem to accept, but depresses me. That’s even before we get to the issue of expecting patriotic displays with all the petty sanctions against anyone with the humanistic sensitivity to want to opt out of it.

      That’s school. Some people enjoy the experience of institutionalisation and even get hooked on it. Some people get involved in setting them up and filling them with their own well-meaning ideas. And other people object to those ideas. The kids just have to go through it whether it is patriotic, religious, secular, competitive, liberal, militaristic or whatever.

      On the bright side. I managed to get through schooling without taking on any of the values expressed in assembly, and yet I think I’m one of the most conformist people you could meet - so maybe not….

      I hope most people manage to get through school disrespecting the values the governors are trying to foist on them. But I also hope we can get through life at least respecting people who respect us. Even at school. Even if I’m not patriotic or secular or fond of chemistry.

    71. Anas — on 5th February, 2007 at 12:27 pm  

      Thanks Refresh and DG. I think I’ll still read PP, and the comments threads but perhaps be a little choosier about where I post.

    72. Chairwoman — on 5th February, 2007 at 1:09 pm  

      Anas - Don’t you dare go! Or stop posting. Right?

    73. Bert Preast — on 5th February, 2007 at 1:13 pm  

      Keep the comments coming Anas. The more points of view, the better the balance achieved.

      Blimey that was difficult. For my next trick I shall admire a van that ain’t white. *cringe*

    74. Chairwoman — on 5th February, 2007 at 1:17 pm  

      Bert - I have it on good authority that silver is the colour du jour for vans.

    75. Bert Preast — on 5th February, 2007 at 1:30 pm  

      *froth*

    76. William — on 5th February, 2007 at 1:32 pm  

      Anas

      Carry on posting. Although I am on the side of interfaith stuff from the woolly trustafarian perspective you made some good points. Sure it’s
      also true that there is a hard political reality to all the issues that are discussed here and we need differing perspectives.

    77. Anas — on 5th February, 2007 at 2:44 pm  

      Heh thanx everyone. I’m not going to stop posting just cutting down a bit so I can get some more reading done.

    78. Refresh — on 6th February, 2007 at 12:42 am  

      Chairwoman,
      I really don’t know how to respond to your point about my understanding of how Israel came to be created, for the simple reason we could end up in a circular argument.

      What I do know is that given the situation jews found at the time - I too would have been on the first boat out.

      And yes if the situation got hairy I too would expect to look for a haven. Problem is Israel isn’t proving to be a haven for anyone.

      There is a view that it is a massive militarised base with every citizen at the beck and call of the military. That is a very sad state of affairs. From what I have read of Israeli history one of the primary motives for having military service (calling it national service would hide reality) was to pull together a disparate people into a state that the citizens would not only have loyalty to but be able to physically defend. And being in a permanent state of ‘preparedness’ has left it a highly nationalistic militant state.

      Getting out of that is the big question for Israel. Lasting peace isn’t possible without it. Regime change is what it will take.

      For me I would wish for the WHOLE of the middle east to be a haven for jews as it once was. And I think we have already agreed what the way forward is beyond that.

    79. Refresh — on 6th February, 2007 at 1:01 am  

      Chairwoman, Sorry forgot to say, yes it was you who pointed out the similarities between the faiths. I’ve often wondered whether I should point them out especially when the poster is hostile, but I diligently avoid it.

      I always think it is unlikely it would make any difference - that’s from “the world will come to its senses” school of philosophy (founded by my wife).

    80. Chairwoman — on 6th February, 2007 at 10:12 am  

      Refresh, Dear Friend - When I was talking about the creation of the state of Israel after WW2 I didn’t want other people to think that you were implying that there was a great rejoicing in the ‘Wey Hey, we’ve lost 6 million. now they’ll give us a country’ kind of way.

      One hears people like David Irving say that, and it makes one sick.

      I am actually feeling quite hopeful at the moment, goodness alone knows why, but I feel that there’s some sort of covert movement afoot, that people are starting to tire of perpetual conflict. I read a lot of ME bloggers, and although, of course, all countries have their fight-to-the-deathers, there appears to be a groundswell of opinion where people are reaching out to each other and actively listening. In particular these are young people, the people who the older ones send out to do the dirty work. They want to stop. They want to visit each others countries. They want to become friends.

      They should be listened to.

    81. Refresh — on 6th February, 2007 at 11:34 am  

      Chairwoman - yes they are definitely the ones that are truly sick.

      I am glad you are hopeful. To tell you the truth, I was feeling quite the opposite as I wrote my post last night.

    82. Chairwoman — on 6th February, 2007 at 12:03 pm  

      I must admit that hopeful and I are strange bedfellows.

    83. Leon — on 6th February, 2007 at 12:08 pm  

      I read a lot of ME bloggers

      Links?

    84. Chairwoman — on 6th February, 2007 at 12:37 pm  

      I don’t do links because my computer skills are non-existent. Will do a list in the next couple of days.

    85. Chairwoman — on 6th February, 2007 at 1:17 pm  

      Should have said ‘will labouriously do a list’.

    86. Chairwoman — on 6th February, 2007 at 1:24 pm  

      http://gnblog.com

      Leon - try this for starters.

    87. Leon — on 6th February, 2007 at 1:28 pm  

      Cheers, much appreciated.

    88. Sid Love — on 6th February, 2007 at 1:38 pm  

      hmmm, if I read blogs like that, I’d feel optimistic and hopeful too, Chairy aunty. Unfortunately I only read the comment threads on CiF. Which is why I’m on prozac.

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