eumelia: (queer rage)
In case somebody didn't know, a Lavender Marriage is term coined some time in the 1920's to describe the marriage of a gay woman to a gay man (gay being the cover all of any sexuality that isn't straight; gay, lesbian, bisexual).

For myself, I first heard the term when I got interested in Queer American History and discovered that a bunch of actors from around the 20's (and quite possibly to this day) practice this type of marriage in order to, well, appear normal.

Not surprising, considering the deviancy of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and queers in general.

This morning I opened my morning News Tab and read an article regarding a phenomena I already knew existed, but still, I'm saddened to read about it.

Israeli Rabbis launch initiative to marry gay men to lesbian women. Of the little interview materials that appear in the article, the word that jumps out more often than not is, surprise, normal.

[...]Etti and Roni, both religious, were married five years ago. Though they were honest with each other about their sexual orientations from their first meeting, to the outside world, they portray themselves as a normal heterosexual couple.
[...]
"It's incredible," [Etti and Roni] wrote. "Six years ago, we didn't think we would ever be this happy. We thought everything was black, that we'd lost our chance of a normal life.
[...]
Etti said her family still doesn't know she's a lesbian. She had one "serious" lesbian relationship, but "realized it was more important to me to raise children and live in a normal family."
[...]
[U]pholding the religious prohibition on homosexual sex was "very important" to them, as was their desire for "more or less normal parenthood," and both factors had influenced their decision
[...]
They are careful to keep up normal appearances before the children and the outside world, even sleeping in the same room, though they don't sleep together. Their children were born through artificial insemination.
[...]

All emphasis is mine, bold, underline and italics. Six times the word "normal" appears in that article, all as an adjective, a descriptor for a better life lived.
Never mind that in order to live this so-called "normal" life they lie to their children.

And you know something, the fact that the the Rabbis who enable these arrangements have the gall to say they're helping religious gays out of acknowledgment of their homosexuality rather than try and sweep it under the carpet makes me want to tear my hair out!

Really?! Requiring people to live lies, to raise children in a family that is based on a lie and keeping up appearances for the sake of, and I quote the article, "they want to establish a home, whether for the sake of becoming parents or for the social recognition". Again, emphasis mine. Becoming parents is easier when you're a relationship that is recognised by the religious-state institution, yes, I agree - still, the amount of same-sex parents is at an all time boom and the sperm used for artificial insemination in the former case of Orthodox Lavender Marriages is the same "spilled seed" that's used by single mothers, men with a low sperm count and same-sex couples (generally women).
But really.

It's the shame of being so-called "abnormal".

The shame and the fear of being social pariahs in a heteronormative heterosexist and homophobic society, all of which are compounded by the religious strictures of Orthodox Judaism, which in Israel has a specific pro-natalistic ideology (a secular nationalistic attitude as well, I might add) regarding the "Demographic Threat", so really, the political agenda of trying to "Straighten" the religious gays, who are already imbued with shame regarding their sexuality seeing as it doesn't mesh with the duties of religious life (especially for women) it's not hard to see how these Rabbis (looking out for the good of these poor suffering homosexuals) sell them this shit of lied and normality.

And you're damn right I'm judging them! To agree to this charade of life, despite social acceptance and the appearance of normality, one is signing up to a life of lies beginning with yourself - because a Rabbi gives you leave to "lapse" every once in a while, stating it's between you and the Creator... well, I'm sure the sacred institution of marriage isn't marred one little bit, when all it's there for is for the sake appearances.

At the time of the publishing of this article, this initiative has gotten 11 cuoples married, 2 of them are in the process of divorce.

I think one of the issues people (many religious people as well) is that religious law is something interpreted by human beings, that is, the so-called word of G-d, is something that needs to be conveyed via human scholars, none of whom actually know what the hell G-d may think about all this, should he exist one iota outside of our imagination.
What we have, as a religious society, is text.
Texts are written and re-written by people, none of whom are without bias! You really think the Orthodoxy of today, resembles in any way the Orthodoxy of 100 years ago?
Yeah, not so much.

Obviously, on a personal level, I don't agree with the position of keeping faith in a religious path that rejects a part of who you are, or requires that one deny their identity in the name of ethically questionable rules and laws. However, seeing as this is a path that many find that they need in order to live a Good Life, HoD (the first Religious Gay Org in Israel) published ten points of consideration for the Orthodox community.

I, for one, would just like to see society stop dumping all the phobias and anxiety on queers who, at times, don't have the fucking luxury of being "normal". Whatever the fuck that is.
eumelia: (get a job)
So yeah, I haven't been writing here that much for the past couple of weeks.

I've been doing a lot of escapism reading and a lot of activism reading, spreading information regarding the various anti-democratic laws that have passed the Knesset floor, the fact that Human Rights and Anti-Occupation groups are being investigated for absolutely no reason other than to de-legitimise them.

There's a big emergency march in Tel-Aviv today which I'll be attending.

I was also stressing over Uni, because there was some bureaucratic glitch I had no idea what to do about other than spam the head of my department with panicky emails of "Help!" to which she replied "Let it be" and passed my emails on to her dogsbody.

I'm hoping that by the end of this semester (next week) I will be able to say with confidence that next semester is my last.

Once again I'm getting the urge to return to martial arts and now that I have a job that isn't pocket money I may find myself a dojo. I'm keen on Krav Maga because while I loved Kung Fu and it made me flexible (which I'm not any longer) I never felt as though I was able to walk around and properly defend myself.

There's an uprising in Tunisia and I have to say I'm excited about it! The Middle East is never boring and seeing something of this magnitude unfold and affect us all over is amazing.

Also, there's barely been any reporting of it here, only when Former President Ben-Ali fled the country did reports start happening in earnest in local media and no one is saying anything positive. The status quo is trembling.

Meanwhile in these parts democracy, as mentioned, is straining under the crawling weight of fascist legislation and persecution of the Left. I know I've been saying this for years, but dude, it is not on!

Israeli law professor Aeyal Gross traces the decline and strain.

In related News, when I read about Sarah Palin defending her speech-acts (because words affect and like our actions they are accountable) and callously using the phrase "Blood Libel", I couldn't help but wonder - would the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) do anything about it?
Oh, they made a statement, late in the game, in which they Abe Foxeman (chairman of the ADL) said: "we wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase "blood-libel" in reference to the actions of journalists and pundits in placing blame for the shooting in Tucson on others."

Golly.

The ADL isn't willing to toe the line when it comes to Republicans, huh? Can't say I'm shocked as the ADL has always kept sketchy bed-fellows, in the interest of political capital.

Speaking of political capital, the Rabbinical court continues to infringe on freedom of and from religion when it comes to marital and family law and encroaches on divorce in civil marriages which aren't civil unions, but rather marriages that are contracted outside of Israel. Currently, Israel doesn't have a civil court in which marriages can be conducted and no civil union that come in place of marriages - the best we have is common law marriage.

You guys have no idea how much I haven't linked here.

Good luck to you all Down Under and Power to you in Tunisia.

Times they are a changing. We have to make sure they change for the better.
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
I wrote this yesterday, in fact. But the first rain deluge caught the country off guard, add a faulty high voltage wire to the mix and what you have is a five hour power outage. The power outage lasted until I was picked up for a family evening and got back just in time for bed.

So, here's what I was going to write, a day later.

Brief whine about wanting to write about Inception )

So instead of writing about sneaky, ambiguously queer, white men, I'm going to write, briefly, about the fact that fascism sneaks up on you, in a perfectly respectable democratic system.

The Loyalty Oath law has been a sword of Damocles hanging over the state ever since the election campaign that used the slogan "No Loyalty, No Citizenship". The right wing party "Yisrael Beitenu" (Our Home, Israel) has been pushing a bill for years now that will require those becoming Israeli citizens to swear allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and Democratic state - two ideas that are fast becoming mutually exclusive.

"Attempts to enforce recognition of Israel as uniquely Jewish have been deeply controversial, particularly among Israel's Arab citizens, who make up a fifth of the country's population."
The thing is, loyalty oaths to the state when it comes to naturalising citizens are nothing new. However, the draconian nature of the new draft to the citizenship law is particularly galling.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday submitted his own draft amendment to the Citizenship Law, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a snap decision to back a controversial proposal that would require any non-Jew taking Israeli citizenship to swear allegiance to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state."

Angered by Netanyahu's move to bring the amendment to cabinet for a vote, Labor party ministers said late Wednesday that they expected a new freeze in settlement building as a payoff.

Emphasis mine and Yes, really. Draconian and racist loyalty oaths ("new liberal" draft notwithstanding), Labour wants political leverage regarding the Settlement construction freeze, which officially thawed last week and never really ceased unofficially:
[...]the prime minister must perform a balancing act. Allies at both ends of the political spectrum and the Labor party hope that his latest concession is a sop to right-wingers ahead of a decision to renew a ban on settlement building in the West Bank – a key demand of the left.

"I hope that Netanyahu's support is a payoff to Lieberman, so that the prime minister will be able to extend the freeze without breaking apart his coalition," said one Labor minister, who declined to be named.

It's all rather disgusting. But, honestly, my surprise at this sort of garbage coming out of my government is not something that surprises me. After all, we asked for it. That's what's lovely about democracy and the majority vote and all that, the most "successful" fascist regimes were voted for by the Vox Populi.
The "populi" as a collective, are idiots.

It is somewhat telling that all this is coming to a head on the tenth anniversary of the October Events one of the incidents that triggered the Second Intifada ten years ago.

I think whole idea of loyalty oaths are ridiculous, but that's not the issue. The issue is the targeting of non-Jewish would be citizens to declare the Jewish ideal as supreme, because that's what is happening here. The conflation of the Jewish nation and the Israeli state is very problematic, not only for those who aren't Jewish at all, but also for those who are not Halachically Jewish (i.e. according to the Rabbanut, the Jewish religious court in Israel).
One of the platforms of "Yisrael Beitenu" went with during the elections is purporting to be the voice of that segment of the population who are Jewish enough to be citizens under the Law of Return, but not Jewish enough to be considered worthy of marriage rights, yes this is a big enough to deal to be an election platform.

To conclude, this is yet another step in a direction I'm quite sure no one in their right mind would want to take. This may, however, be indicative of the fact that the heat drives us all crazy and perhaps the October showers will help cool us off.
Just a thought.
eumelia: (oh snap!)
Does everyone know what a "Honey Trap" is?

For those of you who do not, a "Honey Trap" (according to the various books, movies and tv shows) is a when a woman uses her "feminine wiles" to seduce a man and extort the information out of him using sexual favours, or blackmailing him into giving the information due to committing unspeakable sexual acts.

It will generally be part of a sting.

In fiction, it seems to be the staple of the female spy. I'd say James Bond often worked as a Honey Trap because he always managed to get info out of the women he slept with. But the double standard works double time when it comes to good ole' Double-O.

Why am I mentioning this?

Well, if there was any doubt this country was spiralling away from rational thought and desires to sink into backward theocracy is when the News deems a report from a Rabbi regarding the conduct of female spies to be printable. A report written for a publication published by an institution dedicated to merging Halachic Jewish Law into contemporary modern life.

Let me just say, EW!

For the Love of God:
A new halachic study ruled that seducing an enemy agent for the sake of national security is an important mitzvah

You're damn right I emphasised that!
A mitzvah!
A mitzvah?!?!
Fucking hell. In case there was any confusion, the use of the word "mitzvah" means that the act falls under the notion of moral obligation.

This Rabbi has stated that female security operatives are morally obligated to seduce the enemy!

For the love of all that is unholy does no one see anything wrong with Israeli security institutions getting religious carte blanche to whore out their operatives!

The ruling, made by Rabbi Ari Shvat, was included in the latest issue of "Tehumin," an annual collection of articles about Jewish law and modernity, which is published by the Zomet Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to seamlessly merging Halachic Judaism with modern Israeli life.

*vomits*
"Naturally, an unmarried operative should be preferred in 'honey trap' cases, but if there is no other choice but to use a married women… her husband should divorce her and marry her again after the fact," the rabbi writes.

Unfortunately, Shvat also rules that if a husband was unable to divorce his wife prior to her mission, he would have to do it afterwards, since according to the Halacha she would have committed adultery – even if it was for the sake of a national cause.

Can this Rabbi please be fired and stripped of his... right to be called a human being? Like, now-ish!

The thing is, this misogyny isn't even a surprise. If you know anything about Orthodoxy, moderm or not, the hatred of women, the marginalization of the experience and the reduction of their role to brood mare is apparent in the written law, even if in practice Orthodox women have a bigger role in the social reality.

What I find disturbing is that this is published in what is the most widely distributed subscription Newspaper in the country (and the most read online News outlet, YNET) - it's little more than a thick tabloid in my mind (and actually based a lot of its design on the "Daily Mirror"... yeah), but that's beside the point. The point is, this Newspaper is secular and not officially affiliated with religion or any particular Party politics.

So what does it mean that the rulings, which legally speaking, have zero standing in the law, is published with such authority in the most widely distributed Newspaper in the country?

Oh, snap.

H/T to R, for providing the link.

Blasphemy!

Sep. 18th, 2010 10:35 am
eumelia: (coffee)
That's me.

This time of year always brings out the contemplative side of me.

Despite the gravity of it being Yom Kippur and Saturday (i.e. Shabbat), I'm feeling pretty up lifted. Such is the price of watching cartoons with my 4 year old Niece while the majority of the other adults have gone to while away the fast at synagogue.

I don't know if I mentioned this at the time, but the synagogue my family attends is a Conservative one, which is a non-Orthodox branch of Judaism, and quite possibly because of that it was vandalised by Jewligans the day before Rosh Ha'Shana.
My mom got an email from the shul's mailing list informing us that the front of the synagogue was graffitied with "יחי העם" which I can only translate as "Long Live the Folk" because that is the spirit in which it is intended and not the more democratic "Long Live the People".
Also, they threw eggs at the door.

This is very disturbing, because our area is not especially religious, I mean there are synagogues all over, but for a quorum you traditionally need ten men over the age of 13 and you can pray as a congregation so, meh.

Our town is quite secular and I doubt Settlers living 20 minutes away beyond the Green Line came in the night to deface a synagogue that doesn't do gender segregation and believes that taking into account social and technological advances are good things would take the time to inform the few hundred people who attend that they're traitors.

I think it was the kids from the local Bnei Akivah (a religious Zionist youth movement who have a branch close to the vicinity of the shul).

I contemplated attending services that day, just to show presence, but I couldn't handle the feeling of hypocrisy so I declined.
Last night I did attend, as I always do, in order to hear Kol Nidrei, as sung by the best Cantor in the world. He's very old now and there's a new Cantor in the shul (who apparently no one likes, I've never heard him so I can't give an opinion) because the Old Man is old. I was telling my dad that (may he live long and into prosperity) once the Old Man can't sing any more tradition will no longer be able to bring me to shul.
He gave me a sad look.
Guilt may still be able to drag me to synagogue once a year for half an hour.

My plans today are to walk the empty streets (because it's tradition in this country to not drive on Yom Kippur, so there are kids running around outside, riding on bikes and basically taking advantage of there being no cars) and watch Mad Men with my friend.

A good year to my Jewcy readers, have a nice weekend to my non-Jewcy readers.

Now, I'm going have a cup of coffee.
eumelia: (diese religione)
It's that time of year again.

Yep, New Year!

As it has become a tradition in this journal for the past few years, I give you...

The Muppets!



Now usually, I'd be giving you a spiel on what this time of a year means to me and all that, right?

This year, I'm feeling pretty good and don't feel any need to go on an emotional delving into the synaptic explosion we call a soul.

Maybe I'll do that for Yom Kippur, after Kol Nidrei and I go have supper with my other friends... yes, I'm terrible horrible heretical Jew.

Happy New Year to us who thing the world is a Libra!

Don't judge me for quoting Good Omens on Rosh Ha'Shana!
eumelia: (ravenclaw)
I know it doesn't make a whole lot of sense as to why I'm worked up about the fact that the Ministry of Truth Education is absolutely failing when it comes to the teaching on any kind thought in students.

Never mind critical thought, that's really far too much to expect, but simple liberal, everyone is equal and has a chance thought, the kind that has spread around the democracies of the world for the past 200 years.

Very soon after posting last night's entry regarding the axing of funds for the civics curriculum (LJ/DW) I read an update regarding the matter:
Education Ministry director general Shimshon Shoshani reversed on Sunday a decision by another ministry official to cut most of the budget for intensive 11th- and 12th-grade civics classes.

Even after this unusual change in policy, this year's civics budget will still be about half of last year's.
[...]
"This is a key lesson in teaching the students basic democracy," said a 10th-grade civics teacher at a school in the north. "The curriculum allows for a flood of questions on fundamental issues that almost never get addressed in other classes."

The money saved by the budget cuts was slated to be used for Jewish studies, including Bible, Talmud and Jewish philosophy.
Emphasis by me
All things that shouldn't be taught in public education at all in my opinion, or at the very least should be part of a non-compulsory education program.

But wait, there's more!
In his decision on Sunday, Shoshani reversed the civics curriculum cuts instituted by Zvi Zameret, who heads the ministry's pedagogic secretariat, after teachers and principals protested the reduction in classroom hours.

"We are primarily concerned about the trend led by Zameret, which represents a change in the Education Ministry's priorities regarding civics," said a member of the ministry's advisory committee on civics instruction. "There's a feeling that Zameret considers civics to be not very important."

The thing is, that civics is taught horribly.
Really horribly.
And I speak as a person who went to one of the most acclaimed secular public high schools in the country (if reports are to be believed) in the middle of fucking suburbia.

The problem is that we begin to study civics in the 10th grade. Everyone is 15-16 years old.
By that time Half of [Jewish] Israeli Teens don't want Arab students in their class, so say the polls:
Sixty four percent of Israeli teens aged 15 to 18 say that Arab Israelis do not enjoy full equal rights in Israel, and from that group, 59 percent believe that they should not have full equal rights.
Emphasis mine
Some people should not have the same equal rights as others.
Yes, liberalism has won the world over, obviously.

This is exacerbated by the fact that, and I quote:
The survey also revealed that 96 percent of the respondents want Israel to be a Jewish and democratic state, but 27 percent believe that those who object should be tried in court, and 41 percent support stripping them of their citizenship.

This is the future of my country.
I am not optimistic.

The thing is that I don't blame my civics teacher for failing, though perhaps she should have been able to tell me where I could look for answers to my questions.

Public educations mainlines kids into being obedient subjects of the Nation, they don't even need to work so hard at it like in totalitarian regimes. We're lucky, we chose the strength of ignorance willingly. Without overt coercion, while those who object aren't considered part of the greater collective that is Israel.

If that isn't fascism I don't know what is.

My next post is going to be about rape culture. Depressing, I know, but I promise there will be music and movies after that. These are serious things that need to be processed.
eumelia: (master politician)
First, The ministry of truth cut the already minuscule budget for civics studies and has shifted the focus to Jewish studies.

I had flames on the sides of my face when I read this. This is after the fact that the main civics high school book was edited this summer for being, get this, too critical of the State of Israel, because it contains this quote:
"since its establishment, the State of Israel has engaged in a policy of discrimination against its Arab citizens.

For fucking serious.

The thing is, of course, is that the book is about as useful as used toilet paper if teachers can't convey that all human beings have the right to live with dignity, freedom and quality that enables them to chose how they want to live. Yes, there needs to be an inculcation of basic liberal thought before the notion of critical thought can even be glimpsed at.

Such is the nature of the public education system. What's important isn't the state of the nation, but the nation of the state.

Disgusting.

Interestingly enough there has been talk of Arabic studies getting a bigger budget and becoming compulsory. I'm very shifty about trusting this kind of News, because I can see this sort of thing being used as a way to deflect criticism from a move like they've made with the civics curriculum.

That's just the tip of the iceberg of course. But I thought it would be worth mentioning. Just so you know what's up with the "only democracy" in the Middle East.

But hey, at least there is some movement happening on the ground here, what with various actors and performers refusing to perform in Ariel, the largest and most established settlement in the West Bank.
They have already garnered a lot of international support.

This makes me optimistic. Way more than the half assed talks I keep hearing these politicians seem to be having.

Next on the agenda, movies, music and something else entirely... telling would be spoiling.
eumelia: (not in rome)
They, whoever "they" are, that Tel-Aviv is a safe haven for QUILTBAG people.

Not so, when a young guy's family kidnapped him from his flat in the city, beat him up and threatened to kill him because he's gay.

Reading about this, especially after everything this community has been through this year, along with the blatant Pinkwashing that has happened is so tragic and so upsetting I don't even know what to say.

In related events, because really, you can't separate homophobia from racism and misogyny; remember a few days ago I mentioned the racist surveys regarding the future Jerusalem light-rail, that asked passengers whether they'd mind travelling with Arabs?
Well, they've been slammed, the Jerusalem light-rail company that is.
Municipal officials slammed the company that won the Jerusalem light rail tender for publishing a survey asking city residents whether it would bother them if Palestinians were to use the system under various conditions.

Officials from the municipality and the Transportation Ministry called the questions "racist," and said they should not have been asked, especially not by a private company.
[...]
A spokesman for [The light-rail company] CityPass responded, "The light rail in Jerusalem is supposed to serve all the city's residents and to be an important growth lever for all parts of the city. The survey's goal was to help prepare for various facets of the train's extremely complex operation, including the particular security situation in Jerusalem.
Emphasis mine.
Note that bold sentence, if you would, "serve all the city's residents". Yes, indeed. Note, as well, that they don't say the word "equally".
Public transport, according to this company, is not equal, not when it comes to nationality, race, religion, or for that matter gender. Yeah, you got it, gender segregated cars:
"The train was built to serve everyone," [CityPass CEO Yair Naveh] said, in response to a question on segregated cars. "I think it is required to create alternatives for everyone, and that option exists because of the train's division into cars. It is not a problem to declare every third or fourth car a mehadrin (kosher) car."

The mehadrin cars would serve Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox population, who refrain from mixing genders.

Rachel Azariya, a member of the Jerusalem city council and one of the opponents of the existing 'mehadrin' bus lines in Jerusalem (on which men sit in the front of the bus and women sit only in the back), criticized Naveh's declaration, saying that "Naveh is apparently unaware of the high court ruling forbidding further segregation."

The high court is a toothless lion in this country. Some precedents are approved and listened to, some are not. Arbitrarily and with accordance to interests to do with politics rather than law, justice and the ethical treatment of all people under this aforementioned thing called law.

Jerusalem... you're a beautiful city, but if your Holy Sites and the majority of your residents were gone, I wouldn't be sorry.

Sincerely,

The Atheist Jewess who is sick of the shenanigans done because people think you somehow symbolise the Force.

But wait, there's more... but that's stuff for another post, not regarding the crap that's happening here, but elsewhere, unfortunately, thing that happen elsewhere affect things here. Namely, the fact that I must make noise about a subject that, in principle, I should be apathetic about.
eumelia: (bollocks)
Via a comment on a different journal, I read that the mod of the My Chemical Romance Bandom com on LJ wrote a response to what has been going down with the aforementioned AU H/C Bingo fic, in which a depiction of the Holocaust, the camps and the treatment of gays during that time was used as a backdrop for angst of two US soldiers.

Yeah, I read the story.

It makes me fingers itch. I want to grab a red pen and mark and correct and fucking rip that story inside out until something resembling "adequate" comes out of it.

The mod, has this to say:
The story was properly disclaimed, and with plenty of warnings with regards to the themes it dealt with, therefore any comment that is not related to any possible literary criticism, should have been left alone.
I chose not to read it at first, because I am uncomfortable with the themes dealt with, and that could have been the choice of all of those people who thought, at first glance, that they were going to find it offensive.
I am not going to ban this type of stories, because I still believe in freedom of speech and because I believe that if we ban stories that refer to that particular chapter in history, we need to ban stories about incest, about BDSM, torture, rape, and in one case necrophilia.

We write FICTION.

WE WRITE FICTIONAL STORIES.


These stories are not historically accurate, these stories ARE NOT just written for sexual gratification.

These stories express part of who we are, what we feel, what lives inside our heads and our hearts.

I hope you will agree that RESPECT for your feelings as readers, should find a corresponding level of RESPECT for the writers.
Emphasis mine
In the words of George Carlin: Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits.
You know what I did there?
I executed my right to "free speech", are you offended?
Maybe.
You know what you have a right to do now?
TELL ME ABOUT IT! AT LENGTH! HOW I OFFENDED YOU WITH MY WORDS!
Yeah, really.

I find it utterly, utterly despicable that criticism of offensive material is considered more offensive than the actual subject discussed.

I hate getting personal about it, but it has to be done, because honestly, it's the only way to get it through people's heads.

I am a Queer Jewish Person.

Depictions of gays and Jewish people during the Holocaust matter to me, on a personal level. You know why? Because whole branches of my family tree were eradicated! An entire Queer European Culture was erased!
After the camps were liberated, gay men were sent to other prisons because homosexuality was still illegal regardless of Nazi legislation!
Yes.
Seriously.

Just to put that into perspective for you.

The story in question depicted horrors which happened. That is not the problem, the fact that it was used in a cavalier manner, disregarded the actual lives that lived through it, didn't bother to check the facts of what went on in concentration camps, the fact that American soldiers were sent to POW camps and of course putting the picture of the Gates to Auschwitz in order to illustrate the story.

Yes, these stories are fictional, that doesn't make them "untrue", that doesn't mean that the you can use the material available to you without considering who it affects and what it might mean if you use it. If you wanted to explore the themes and torture committed by the Nazi regime onto gays, you might want to find out what actually happened to these men, who they were, why they were persecuted and where they were sent to.
Let me give you a hint, none of them were captured POW experimented upon, mainly because non-Soviet Ally POW's were treated with the Geneva convention in mind.
Just, FYI.

Fiction does not mean "free for all". You do not write in a vacuum. You cannot say "Don't like, don't read", that's like saying "Shut up, your problems are meaningless".
Fiction, all art, is a dialogue.
You want to dialogue with history via fanfiction, by all means. That doesn't mean you, dear author, are immune from criticism when you are writing a story that depicts a period of time with gross inaccuracy and decides that any and all critical reaction to said story is illegitimate because it was "just a story".

Nothing, is "just a story".

We do not live in a vacuum, what you write will be reacted to, fiction is not a vehicle of self-expression, being accused of bad writing and bad taste is not a personal attack, it is a challenge to one's preconceived notions of what good story telling can and should be.
Good story telling does not continue the dehumanisation of people that happened during that period of time, it does not use Arbeit Macht Frei as a code for free speech (it doesn't mean what you think it means!) and saying that people should "be nice to each other" is silencing and derailing and basically tells those of us who are affected by the depictions of our history to suck it up!

When I see a story that treats a subject matter that is close to my heart for historical, personal and identity related reasons treated with utter DISRESPECT I will call on it. I will say that this author does not care, does not think about and is not informed about the subject zie is writing for "just a story", for "self-expression", for the sake of "fiction".

To conclude, if you're going to use free speech as a silencing mechanism for critical reaction of a piece of fiction that depicts controversial material... you're using it wrong.
eumelia: (exterminate!)
Things always hit you harder when they are closer to home.
Always.

I had a race fail a few days ago, in which I basically preached to a woman of Japanese descent why the casting of Avatar: The Last Air Bender was racist.
I was called on it.
And I apologised and I was told it wasn't a problem.

Still, the shame continues to linger, because my privilege fogged the way I viewed this person and the way I discussed the issue with this person.

However, you live and learn right.

Well, no.

If history teaches us anything is that we would rather forget, or even not know and you basically need a very strong lobbying group in order for things to be remembered.

The past month or so has seen so much fail in fandom, the Race!Fail, the Trans!Fail, The Abelism, I'm quite sure there were more fail I'd forgotten and seriously, even though I commented only briefly I was outraged and saddened by all of these incidences. People can (and have) asked me why do I put so much energy into issues that don't have much to do with me (yeah, I know), I mean... why get so worked up on something that doesn't directly affect me.

Well, for one, despite the fact that I'm not in the disenfranchised group of non-white people, trans people and disabled people, these issues affect me mainly because the fact that those groups are disenfranchised I can safely go about my day not thinking about it.

But you know why I really take the time to give a damn and cracks my heart wide open? Beyond it being the right thing to do and being in an ethically sound position.

I want to be safe.

I want my body and mind to flourish, and the body I currently inhabit may have a lot of privileges associated with it, but its history is also bloody, by virtue of it being cis female, queer and Jewish.

My Jewish body is very weird thing. On the one hand it is Israeli Jewish, meaning it is the default body of superiority where I live, on the other, it comes from generations of bloodshed, exile, pogroms and genocide.

The history of this genocide, like most genocides oddly enough, is well documented. The violence was recorded, photographed, duplicated and triplicates by well meaning bureaucrats who kept the train tracks clear.

The genocide of my people even has a special name, The Holocaust1, and like all historical events which linger in the collective memory of a people, a nation, a community, we tend to treat it with a deference of some kind. Even as I make Holocaust jokes, and sing "Springtime For Hitler" and make cracks about Germany blitzing its way though the Mundial and yeah, I'm waiting for Germany to serve up Spain's ass in the upcoming Semi-Final...

Still.

The Holocaust is an event that continues to shape my life and inform me of who I am, as a Jewish person in Israel and Palestine, as a queer person and as a feminist woman.

It does not, however, as a historical event, exist to be a backdrop to an AU Fanfic about American Soldiers and their love affair. What? The Battle of the Bulge was too tame?!

Yes, someone wrote a story, which has since been locked, but luckly there exists a Screencap (H/T to [personal profile] allchildren). I have not read it. I do not intend to.
I did read the Author's notes though; the warnings read thus:
Beating, abuse, non main character death, scientific experimentation, starvation, physical and emotional damage
Oh and the added disclaimer (after "nasty comments" began to appear) the gist of which is that this piece of work is NOT meant to be historically accurate. Accompanied to this Author's Note is a picture of the gates of Auschwitz, you all know the one, the one that was stolen and returned and reads Arbeit Macht Frei - "Work Makes One Free".
The... writer... of this AU fic stated that they added the picture, not for itself, but for the slogan, the meaning of the words upon the gate.

I've said it before. I'll say it again. I will probably say it for the rest of my life.

Context matters. Context, much like money, makes the world go around. That slogan cannot be removed from the gates it is attached to. Those words do not mean what you think they mean. The work they are talking about is not craft and the liberation they symbolise is not freedom.

A story, does not need to prettify history in order to make palatable for the readers. On the contrary, history should be shown in its grittiest form, it should be shown to be true and it should be portrayed with verisimilitude.

So, when you use a historical backdrop, in which you, dear author, feel the need to excuse yourself that by writing this you are no different from anyone who writes about rape, incest and domestic abuse, then you do not understand what fetishisation means.
You do not understand what treating subjects (people and events) with respect means.
You do not understand what this writing about history means.

You do not understand what context means and beyond that making you a disrespectful, blinkered and privileged fool, it also makes you, no matter your style, no matter how well written the characters are, a really really bad writer.

Personally. I blame Hollywood. And you know, bad education, entitlement and plain good ole' dehumnasation and antisemitism.

Also. No. Just. No.

This Nice Jewish Grrl needs to lie down now as she can't believe fandom sucks so hard right now.

ETA - 09/07/10: The story that is screen capped above is "1945" by [livejournal.com profile] slashxyouxup and is now unlocked. I'm not holding my breath though.

Footnotes
1) Even though we were not the only targeted people. The Roma people and other Gypsy groups were targeted and experimented in the same manner, homosexual men were castrated and murdered and many others. Still though, when you've got an entire country (Poland) set up to be an extermination station, while special Commando forces, Einsatzgruppen, are sweeping though Europe targeting Jewish Communities, you're going to feel that this is the Pogrom to end all Pogroms... in a way... it did...
Back.
eumelia: (master politician)
So many things worth writing about, so little time.

I have a huge amount of tabs, on eclectic subjects, open and waiting to be disseminated, but I have to simply linkspam, so many others do it. Also I have been told my perspective is worth something (who knew) so I like discussing the News in a post.

Like the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu (i.e. The Wannabe Master) has said things that make me laugh, for if I didn't I would surely cry:
Human Rights activists should sail to Tehran and not Gaza:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday called on human rights activists who participate in Gaza-bound flotillas to sail to Tehran instead, where he says real human rights violations exist.
"I call on all human rights activists in the world - go to Tehran, that's where there is a human rights violation," said Netanyahu during his meeting with the Austrian Chancellor, Werner Faymann, in which he discussed Israel's ease of the Gaza blockade and flotillas planning on breaching Israel's Gaza blockade.

You know what, yes, there are Human Rights violations in Iran one could argue that are Human Rights violations everywhere.

But honestly Bibi, you expect us to take you seriously when this is happening in YOUR backyard?
Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem on Wednesday threatened to forcibly evict four Palestinian families they claim are living on property belonging to Jews in the neighborhood of Silwan.
The settlers said they would hire private security firms to implement the evictions if the four families, which include 40 individuals, do not leave by July 4.

And scene.
This coming Friday there will be a big demonstration in Silwan neighbourhood, who do you think the police will beat up for being a "public nuisance"?
Yeah.

But wait! There is more... it's actually quite distressing how much more there is.

There is a troubling trend of double standard in the Religious Sector (that is, the Jewish Ultra-Orthodox sector) which eschews civil law and the court... seems to allow it.
Racism and sexism put together is the ugliest way possible.
You know, if I were ever arrested, I'm going to use this as precedence, that the court and the police can't arrest me. Why? because I don't want to be arrested that simple.
And so, racial/ethnic segregation in a religious West Bank settlement (because that's another fucked up thing to talk about!) is legitimised by default because the court is afraid to offend to poor "disenfranchised" religious people's little feelings.
Gotta love the fact that their racist convictions keep getting News, and that there is outrage (regarding what, I couldn't say, simply that there is OUTRAGE!).

This is me, gagging.

Especially because the Religious Culture War is winning and I fear that soon, the Religious will really from a Militia and I'll be dictated under a Theocracy, I mean this is just distressing:
The educational curriculum in state-run institutions for this coming school year will include a new subject: Jewish culture and tradition. Initially, the subject will be taught in grades 6-8 for a period of two hours per week, and then expanded to additional grades.

The new subject will include lessons on Jewish culture, the Hebrew calendar and "the Jewish people's connection to the Land of Israel." In addition, students in the sixth grade will be required to learn the weekly Torah portion; students in seventh grade will be taught the order of prayers in the Jewish liturgy; eighth graders will undergo instruction in Pirkei Avot (Sayings of the Fathers ); and ninth graders will delve into Theodor Herzl's novel "Altneuland."

Liturgy, yes. Battling homophobia, no.

Yeah, this is the way to democracy in the Middle East. Castes and Different Laws for Different People - there's a name for that you know, but shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it's Antisemitic to say it in this context... *cough*apartheid*cough*.

Because yeah, the Left (by which I mean, me and the other people who think about what the above means) has a distorted view of Zionism, according to ex-General and current Vice Premier and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon - because being critical and sceptical and not being spoon fed the pig shit that comes out of the mouths of Authority is the anti-thesis of the history of secular Judaism!
In case it wasn't clear, the above paragraph is me being sarcastic!

I have a bunch of other links regarding the economy of the Occupation, but I think that's a bit much after the blasting of info I put here, so here it is, linkspam style, despite the fact that it's not my method of choice:
- Turkey is still hypocritical, but we likes the monies! Spat or not, Turkey still using Israeli tech in attacks on Kurdish PKK rebels.

- Two articles about an economic boycott on the same page, "Targeted boycott and divestment pushing companies out of the settlements" and "Boycott the Occupation: The Israelis promoting the boycott on settlement products".

- And on that note: Only a boycott will persuade Israel.

And now, I'm going out! Hope your democracy is having a slow News Week!
eumelia: (queer rage)
It's time for another round of refuting the myth of "Queer Oasis in the Middle East".

There is a father of twins in India. They were born to a surrogate mother. He wants to bring them home and get them naturalised.
At the moment he is stuck in India because he's been denied the standard legal order that will enable him to start the process.
His kids have been denied entry into the Israel.

For some reason *coughhomophobiacough* the Jerusalem family court is stalling permission for him to perform the paternity test needed to start the process of making these kids citizens.

Well done family court. I just love the way you're all objective and unbiased and... wait a minute!

In the article, the Judge in charge of this case - Judge Philip Marcus - explains that he has no jurisdiction over the father - Dan Goldberg - and that in addition to that he explains his decision to deny the order thus:
In addition to the Goldberg case, Marcus has also delayed issuing decrees in two other instances involving homosexual couples from Jerusalem expecting the birth of their children via surrogacy.

In explaining his decision, and as appears in the state protocol, Marcus stated: "If it turns out that one of the [purported fathers] sitting here is a pedophile or serial killer, these are things that the state must examine."

Yes people, being gay makes you more susceptible to paedophilia and serial murder.

Because them gays just can't trusted with kids.

Dan Goldberg is obviously a wealthy (or was, seeing as he's now spending all his money on trying to make sure he and his kids don't accidentally become refugees) and is also a believer in the State of Israel, as he's quoted saying:
"This is a state of contradictions," Goldberg, a 42-year-old Jerusalem restaurateur, said via telephone in Mumbai. "I'm an Israeli citizen, I served in a combat unit during two intifadas and I still serve in the reserves. I've also volunteered with the police for years. But when I want to realize my right to be a parent, the state kicks me to the curb."

Look see, he's proven his worth as a human being to the state!

It's really quite sickening, this whole thing. Beyond the glaring bias of the judges, the fact that this guy has to do a Loyalty Test to a Newspaper in order to gain some kind of recognition as a human being.
Not a serial killer, but a loyal soldier. Not a paedophile, but a father.

Let the man come back to the country and wage his legal war from his home, at the very least. These kids are babies, what are they going to do? Take someone's job in an IT company like all the other foreign workers are accused of doing?

Oh, and Judge Philip Marcus should be struck off - painfully - from the bench, seeing as he's proven himself to be incapable of impartiality. It would be redundant to say that Judge Marcus is religious, wouldn't it.
Or maybe not. Maybe this is something worth talking about. About how the fact that Goldberg is not the first, nor will he be the last, unless he sets a precedence, regarding gay men needing to jump over hurdles and loops in family court in order to be fathers, because of a religious judge's bias.
The religious bias being, that these kids, aren't, in fact Jewish.
No, really, they're not.
How do I know? Because they were born in India to a surrogate mother - well, a gestational mother and a different donor mother - and if I understand how this economy works, the actual carrier of the babies is an Indian woman and the donor ova could be anyone (Jewish, or not Jewish). According to Jewish cosmology, a child in order to be considered Jewish has to be born from a Jewish woman, or convert to Judaism.
It doesn't make a whole lot of sense other than the fact that a matrilineal succession doesn't allow for mistakes, because more often than not, you'll know who your mother is.

With gay fathers, it's so confusing! How will we know?! How can we make sure!!!!!??? Panic and freaking out from heteronormative Jewish society erupts.

This is what a "Queer Oasis" looks like. Via Mumbai.
eumelia: (diese religione)
One of the things I continuously see, on par with being critical of Israel's policies, is accusations of antisemitism.
I love the fact that I'm a self-hating Jew.
Honestly, I try to find it funny, because how else am I going to react to such blatant antisemitism that comes from other Jewish people.

Sorry, derailing.

The thing that happens when you start using the "Look, look, they're doing it too" deflection strategy is that the main thing it does, is piss people off.

At least, if you're me.

I wasn't going to comment on the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) Child Rape case again. I really wasn't. Mainly, because I don't get why this isn't an international criminal case by now. However, when the RCC decides to deflect its atrocities by comparing the criticism as a different kind of persecution, i.e. Antisemitism, that is when I cry foul:
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher on Friday likened accusations against the pope and the Catholic church in the sex abuse scandal to "collective violence" suffered by the Jews.
[...]
"They know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms," the preacher said.

Fuck.
You.

No, seriously. I think the man needs a good hard fuck, if only to dislodge the entitlement and self-righteousness that seems to putrefy the RCC Hierarchy.
Sex isn't the answer, but it's certainly a stepping stone.

The "Jewish Connection" began the day before, along with the gay one - because some quack Catholic Defender wrote:
the focus on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is far out of proportion to the attention given by the media to the sexual molestation of minors when committed by non-Catholic clergymen. According to a report by the New York Times in October, the Brooklyn district attorney's office had filed charges in 26 cases of sexual abuse involving members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

You see, focusing on the Catholic Church is unfair when Jews are doing it too!

This article breaks down the truly vomituos diatribe protecting immoral and unethical acts in the name of a corrupt organisation, by comparing it to another.
One, I might add, that has barely an iota worth of the same following and power as the RRC. Not that that makes a difference to the victims, but if the Church is going to try and shake off it's own authoritative power, it would serve better not to try and compare themselves to a religion where there is no absolute authority on earth.

Just sayin'.

But wait, there's more!

As mentioned, it's not just the Jews, it's the Gays as well:
The Catholic League took out a full-page advertisement in the New York Times on March 30, lambasting the paper for its coverage of the crisis and declaring that, "The Times continues to editorialize about the ’pedophilia crisis,’ when all along it’s been a homosexual crisis." The ad continues, "Eighty percent of the victims of priestly sexual abuse are male and most of them are post-pubescent. While homosexuality does not cause predatory behavior, and most gay priests are not molesters, most of the molesters have been gay."

The ad drew condemnation from GLBT advocacy group Truth Wins Out, which said in a March 30 posting at its web site that the Catholic League had "served as an enabler for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and sought to deflect blame for the crisis by smearing the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

My face, it is a pissed off one.
Beyond the fact that the RCC is shirking (putting it mildly) its responsibility as an organisation towards those who support it (monetarily) and the fact that the RRC is deflecting it's own crimes and downplaying its collaboration with the paedophiles they chose to keep in positions of total authority over children and their parents - they continue to use the "scapegoat" rhetoric that infects conservative reactionary discourse.

Jews and gays seem to go in tandem when there's a need to deflect from atrocities committed by a powerful majority. Even if Catholicism isn't the majority faith, it is still far more powerful and has more affect over far more people than Jewish organisations and LGBT organisations put together.

In short.
Stop it.
Stop. It.

Claiming persecution over the fact that your crimes have been uncovered is cowardly, weak and ridiculous, more so when you're going to blame other religions and sexual minorities who have a history of religious persecution under our belt.
eumelia: (Default)
I come from a family of history nuts.

We all adore history, we have different ideas of what history means, but we all love it, learn it and think memory is one of the more important things in life.

I recall the one time I looked my history in the face, when I was 17 and went on the class trip to Poland. I don't think I would have gone without my mother, who insisted, because I seriously hated my peers.
It was an odd time, of false camaraderie and a whole lot of national zeal. I still feel weird thinking about those ten days in Poland, in which the only time we saw something "fun" was in Krakow - where we went shopping in the square and travelled down the salt mines (which is used as a wedding hall, these days... or at least back in 2002).

In Majdanek, which is the concentration-death camp next to Lublin and has a fucking huge ash mound - yeah, seriously, there are reconstructions of the housing blocks, which have been converted into museums. There is a block that has nothing but shoes in it, there's a red high heeled shoe there that I'll never forget.

One of the blocks is an information archive, it has documents, SS uniforms, prisoner uniforms (those stripy "pyjama" things), ID cards for the well known Nazi commanders who did their duty there and a wall with badges.

Badges explaining what each one meant and who wore them.

I had only ever heard of the yellow star of David. When I saw the pink triangle I was shocked. What was a symbol I associated with Gay Pride doing here!?
I read the info and discovered what it meant and why it was reclaimed by gay people.
(I was 17, in a relationship with a boy and was only beginning to understand my own queerness).
I saw the black triangle and saw that it was given to Anti-Socials - which included gypsies, anarchists, the mentally ill and Lesbians.

This confused me.

Surely the Lesbians should be with the pink triangle.

Lesbian women were "Anti-Social", not because they had sex with women, but because they refused to marry and "breed" for the Reich. This I discovered not long afterwards when I realised that my country only counts the 6 million as victims and the rest as incidental - never mind that there are, you know, Jewish queers. So I read up on the other victims of the Holocaust.

Why am I writing this?

Because history continued to rely on the fact that men are more important than women.

As many of you know, Berlin has Holocaust Memorial instillations. A huge Jewish one and across the road from it, a Gay one. It was installed in 2008 to commemorate the gay victims of the Nazi regime. It includes a continued video of two men embracing and kissing. Very sweet.
I remember back when it was installed how happy I was that this piece of history, general and gay, was being recognised and promised myself that when I was in Berlin I'd go (as though I wouldn't any way). It was also stated that every two years the image would be replaced and this year it would be two women embracing and kissing.

Woe.

This, some say, is not historically accurate:
[..]Alexander Zinn, a board member of the foundation that maintains the former Nazi concentration camps near Berlin, said such a move would distort history as there were no known Holocaust victims targeted for being lesbian.

"Historical truth must remain the focus," Zinn told AFP.

He has banded together with other Holocaust experts and fired off a letter of protest to Culture Minister Michael Neumann and Berlin's openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit.

Neumann defended the plans as true to the original concept of the memorial in addressing present-day discrimination against lesbians and gays as well as the plight of homosexuals at the hands of the Nazis.

"The option of using a lesbian film motif in the memorial is in no way meant to put on the same level the persecution of homosexual men and women under the Nazi regime," he said in a statement.

Yeah, gay women didn't suffer enough under the Reich.
That's basically what's being said.

I'm not saying that Lesbian women were persecuted in the same way. Obviously, they were not. Mainly because, women's sexuality doesn't exist without the presence of a penis. That's the crux, these "anti-social" women refused to marry, continued to wreak havoc on the ultra-masculine, misogynistic and fetishistic society that had managed to infect Germany during Weimar.

Regardless, Lesbian women were persecuted for being gay, just, as mentioned, not in the same way. To deny this, is to erase an important part of War World 2 history, the history of the Holocaust and the history of queer women, who are erased from history with fervour any way!

Lesbians Locking Lips on the memorial for the persecution of gay people during the Nazi Regime is just as important as gay men doing so. It is different. The outcome may have also been different, but the motivation was not.
How could it be historically inaccurate?

This is what happens when I read the news on Peach eve.
eumelia: (science will be okay)
I've been trying to write a post about "What is a Jew?" for a few days now.

I've read two articles about the "genetic proof" of Jewishness.

Both articles are dubious at best, being published in Ha'aretz and the Telegraph, but they show a disturbing trend.

I do not believe genes hold the proof of identity. Genes provide information regarding ancestral history, they can tell us where we come from on the geographic level, they can tell us what we have in common with other organisms... they can even tell us how we're going die.

They cannot tell us why we are, who we are.
Biology does not superimpose culture in humans. That isn't how we work. It was never how we worked.
The search for the "Jewish gene" is ultimately as Antisemitic as searching for the "homosexual gene" is homophobic.

Why is proof that some of ancestors inbred, of any or more importance, than if my ancestors mixed with other people in their surroundings? How is "proving" a tribe in Zimbabwe is Jewish of any significance?

Being Jewish is being a part of a tribe. Tribes are human groups that create and put together traditions that hold a historical memory, members of tribes are generally not requires to be familiarly related, but related by blood rite (i.e. circumcision, tattoos, piercings, scarification and other body mods).

Jews became Jewish by blood because of science being used to prove racial divides.

Race cannot be biologically proven. Ethnicity is a bunch of cultural markers shared by a bunch of people, with a shared history!

I'm Jewish, because I was raised Jewish. Because I have a history of the written language, of interpreting words, of being persecuted and of being a separatist and isolationist - is it any wonder that there is a common ancestor to many a far flung people?!

That ancestor means exactly that. A commonality of genetic markers. Because Jews preferred to marry amongst themselves there are a few diseases that can be found at a higher degree within certain population, with a certain geographical history.
Let us also remember that a great portion of European Jews were wiped out and along with them a great portion of genetic multiplicity.

What does it mean, pray, that beyond the fact that my peachy white ass has a lot in common with my classmate who has as ass of chocolate brown, I have just as much in common with my classmate who has a peachy white ass and wears a hijab?

I do not find these kinds of scientific discoveries to enlightening, because their meaning is completely forced upon by parties of interest who believe that there are different kinds of human. As I said, race cannot be biologically proven. The fact that certain ethnicities, who come from certain geographical areas, share a bunch of genes tells us absolutely nothing about what it means to be that ethnicity.

Nothing.

My body is Jewish because the history of my people is ingrained into my mind, just as much as my body is Queer and my body is that of a cis Woman.
The only thing "natural" that I can say about my body is that it is able to carry a human offspring to term within a ready made container.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in the opinion that genes hold no significance to understanding the human condition, we've changed a lot over the past centuries, especially the past two hundred years, but more than anything we've seen that genes hold a lot of potential and not so much the secrets to our existence.

This may come as a surprise to a lot of you, but I'm not a scientist (shocking, I'm sure), I'm positive many of my scientifically inclined readers can (possibly will) tell me that genes hold a whole lot more than potential, that with them humanity can achieve a great many things - eradicate a whole slew of diseases and defects that cause suffering.
That's not what I'm talking about.

Genes cannot tell us who we are. Who we are is dictated by a great number of things that cannot be quantified, or qualified. Mainly, they are made by us and our minds, because we don't actually know how much our human-manipulated environment affects our biology - because I tell you what, we certainly don't know how much our severely manipulated biological bodies affects our minds.

And so, for fuck's sake, stop trying to reassert to good ole' social Darwinism! It doesn't work when all we have to work with is made by humanity! Everything is artificial, including that dichotomy of "nature" and "culture". We don't actually know where one starts and the other begins. Trying to prove Jewish identity by way of the fact that I share my great-great-great grandmother with my Yemeni, Ethiopian, Iraqi, Irani and Palestinian classmate is bullshit.

And that's what I have to say about me having "Jewish genes".
eumelia: (diese religione)
This post contains criticism of religion and belief in god. If that sort of thing bothers you scroll by.
I do not mind or care whether anyone believes in a god (or gods, or any other deities), that isn't my business, but I have a great many issues with the way god as an idea and what religion as an institution does in the world we live in today.



I was told my previous post about religion was a tad sombre.

Let me just reiterate. I'm very happy having no soul.

I'm very happy not being religious.

I'm actually really relieved that I've come to the conclusion that I didn't need to believe anything, because I tried to be a believer, but unfortunately my scepticism and doubt are always my greater motivations towards curiosity.

I do think religion constricts thought. I think the idea of "God" (or any dogma) that relies on an ultimate absolute truth is something humanity needs to overcome.

Traditions and histories that bring "tribes" together are important, I wouldn't be who I am without the Jewish tradition and its blood drenched history.

I've been called intolerant more than once for being vehemently anti-religious. Because, I am. I think religion as a rule does more harm than good. You can call Reform as much as you like, the notion that there's some underlying law removed from this world and it somehow is a force of causality in this world just doesn't make any logical sense.

It also comes down to the fact that religion is a force of tangible law and affects people's lives in a way that doesn't mesh with the right to be free of and from religion. That some, not all, but enough, follow the "ethical" decrees of religion without any question asked is bothersome and scary.
That there are laws that apply to one subset of the population, but not to another is prejudicial and unjust.

Change can only come from questioning authority.
Religion is possibly the most tangible force of oppressive authority I can think of. Patriarchy, Racism and Heterosexism all coalesce together under religion.

Yes, there are non-Patriarchal religions, there are religions that preach against Racism. Religion has been a great tool in the fight against racism... heterosexism doesn't appear to be challenged.

I also speak from a position of great material privilege.
To me that means that the distribution of wealth, health and hope in a better world here on earth is what is needed, not religious charities that do their best to convince their followers that through their suffering, through their mitvot, through their whatever the preacher says they must do, they will be rewarded in some other world or way.

God is a way of thinking the world. It is a limiting one. It stops you from seeing other things because everything is filtered through that idea.
Humanity is a part of this world.
We've grown past the need for gods and monsters to explain earthquakes, death, life and the chrysalis.
Why are we holding on so tightly still?

Yes, I'm a heretic in the eyes of many. Those are not the eyes who matter to me, nor should they matter at all.
eumelia: (coffee)
I feel like I'm losing focus.

I'm all over the place. Writing here is a great outlet for my frustration, of which there are many, but I think perhaps it's just not that interesting for people to read about.

I haven't written about anything fannish lately and politics is nothing if not depressing, excessive and while important to me, could be really not interesting to others.

This is my space and I should write what I want, but this isn't a vacuum. I never wrote for myself. I want people to like what I write, or at the very least find it interesting. I know that sometimes you read something and you've got thinky-thoughts but don't exactly know what say about it, or even, if you have anything to add.

I'm like that, a lot.

So here's a focus.

Reading about the latest issue making the rounds, religion, I feel like I don't have a whole lot to add. It's not my issue.
But it is, as my previous entry clearly suggests, an issue I have to deal with.

I had spoken to my sister about the fact that I hate going to shul. She suggested that it's because I'm not close to the congregation. The thing is, even when I was a kid and our excursions to shul were much greater, I found it tedious. Even reading the portions that had nothing to do with the service were boring as they reminded me of my Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) lessons in school, which were a mish-mash of literature, history and mythology.

As a lover of mythology I tried to find parallels between the myths of Genesis and the Greek myths, all it did was confuse me, because Judaism is my religion and myths weren't real. But if Zeus isn't real... why is G-d real?
I wasn't taught about god from home, I had never heard my parents or siblings utter a word about a belief in a supernatural deity.
That wasn't the point.

The point is that I grew up struggling with the fact that I have no faith, in a faith based society. At first I thought the monotheistic deity just didn't suit me, so I had a pagan phase, the tendrils of which kept strong up to a couple of years ago in which I simply made the concious decision to stop trying to be something I'm not.

I can't not be Atheist. In the same way, I can't not be Jewish. I have too much history invested in that identity. Too much of why I am who I am comes from that blend of not-belonging in so many ways to so many avenues of society - being an Atheist Jewish person in Israel should have been a walk in the park.
Alas, that identity contains a large amount of frustration, anger and trauma, it makes me sceptical.

Fuck, did I mention the lack of focus?

Let me try and tighten that up.
I grew up with religion, but not religious. I grew up knowing I'm supposed to believe in god, but the gods to me are stories in a book. I grew up soul searching, only to conclude, that I have no soul. Just skin, flesh and brain matter, with billions of neurons making up the big soup that is Me.

However, as you've probably guessed, religion is an important facet of the human condition. If there's something I love, it's trying to understand things that are foreign to me. I do not get belief in the supernatural (god, monsters, demons and faeries), even when I was into paganism and its often tag-along cousin new-age, I was trying to get it and never properly did.

Being a sci-fi and fantasy reader, I'm open to the possibility that there are things I do not and cannot comprehend, that modern-science has some catching up to do... but that means that I dot not need to believe in things. You can't believe in things that really are.

All that aside. Religion has been used as a tool for destruction and I don't think religion is at all necessary to appreciate life, the universe and everything. I think religion, when it insists on categorising people as "Good", "Evil" and "Heretics", rather than as the singular beings that they are - humanity loses out.

And this is putting it mildly.

I can rant like the best of them as to why I consider faith-based ethics and the people who follow them to be less ethical than people who actually consider the law, not because "God Said So", but because they consider their fellow human, first!

But that's a post for another time, maybe in time for Pesach.
eumelia: (fight like a girrl)
...I'd tear down a bunch of oppressive and ethnocratic institutions.

Israel does not have civil marriage. All marital laws fall under the various religious institutions, the Rabbinical Court and their Christian and Muslim equivalents. The Rabbinical court is also in charge of who is Halachically Jewish, which cosmologically speaking is whether you're born of a Jewish mother, or via (in Israel) Orthodox Conversion.

It's the Nuremberg laws that apply as to whether you're counted as a Jew through secular law... no really, that is the litmus test through which Jews can immigrate and claim citizenship in Israel.

Shocking.

Now, the thing is, this wouldn't be such a huge deal (though having no proper immigration laws are a pain and help retain the "Demographic War" against those dangerous Non-Jews who live among us) is all Jews (according to "Nuremberg") were treated as equal citizens under the law and were allowed to marry who ever the fuck they wanted.

But they can't. In fact no person of one religion can marry a person belonging to another religion.
If you're registered as having no religion, as many "Nuremberg" qualifying Jews are, because they come from former Soviet countries (in which the State "religion" was Atheism).

With that background knowledge, you'd think a civil marriage bill would be a good thing.

Wrong.

The civil marriage bill, as it stands, applied only to those registered as having "no religion" and the best part is... they can only marry each other!
Unlike what the political party pushing the bill, Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Our Home) says, this bill will not help topple down the Orthodox monopoly.
It will do the exact opposite! Now the Rabbinical Court doesn't even need to deal with those sub-humans (and make no mistake, any non-Jew, i.e. a Gentile, is considered a lesser human by these people) and still be able to control who people marry!
I mean, what's the point of it?
So now, there's yet another class of people and another court which will control people's relationships.

And hey, guess who doesn't get marriage and equal rights under this new law... that's right, same-sex couples get to keep their unregistered cohabitation and have fewer rights than other couples in the Holy Land.

This is a good time to mention, I actually oppose the privileged status of marriage and couple-hood in general, seeing as the basic unit of society is the individual and two individuals who decide to create a household should not get more perks than other housing arrangements or families not of the nuclear model.

Yeah, I'm that radical.

The day marriage and the stupid contract of "serious relationships" is abolished will be a day I'll be doing my "Dance Dance Revolution".
eumelia: (master politician)
People perceive Liberal Democracies as regimes and societies in which all citizens are equal.

In which we all enjoy and adhere to the same rights and duties.

However, when asked what makes a democracy, what generally comes to mind is the right to vote. If you can vote, then you're equal.
That's pretty much a crock, the right to vote is simply that.
The right to vote. It says little about the societal position of the citizen.

We don't like to admit it, but Israel (I'm not talking about the Occupied Territories in which the different systems of law are far more distinct and entrenched in the reality of that geography) we live in a caste system.

A few bills that are on the table: #1 Making Jewish converts ineligible for Citizenship in Israel - now citizenship and immigration are already a mess here, but this... this is just anathema to a whole lot of principles a so-called secular democratic state is supposed to be based on. This is isn't democracy, it's theocracy - when the Rabbinical Court has the power to decide who can be a citizen - when previously the Law of Return acted as a "Jewish Litmus Test" - we're heading down a very slippery and scary path.

Along side this travesty, there is the "civil union bill" which, you'd think I'd be for, seeing as if you're a regular reader of mine, you're aware of how I feel regarding the religious establishment(s) and the power they have over the marriage institution(s) in Israel - if you're new just press the tage "jewish-ish" and/or "that religion thing" at the tag section of this post, that should bring you up to date.

Tangential, but related: when I read about the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Washington DC this week I was very happy for my Queer Siblings in the States.

This brings me to #2 The "Civil Union" law, which applies to people without religion. That are registered as being Non-Jewish, they could have Jewish ancestry, but they themselves are no Jewish, or Christian, or Muslim, or Druze, or any other religion that has an established court that oversees marriage.

If you read the News articles on this law, you'll see that this law is pretty vacuous, as it still requires a different institution to decide wether a couple is eligbale for marriage, even if they have no religion.

This is mind boggling and enhances the control the Rabbinical court has over Jewish couples. It's a caste and class entrenching law that will just disable truly secular civil laws from even being considered.

I suppose it's unnecessary to mention that "civil union" only applies to opposite-sex couples and that same-sex couples get to keep the common-law public knowledge "partnership".

Yeah. Secular, Democratic and Pluralistic my peachy white ass!

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Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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