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“Atheism is a temporary condition” lol.

19 May

The other day when I was getting lunch I went out into the high street and saw some sort of protest going on. I was in a hurry because it’s been a hectic time at work. At first I thought that it was some sort of protest about workfare because it was in front of KFC. But the sight I saw would have been disturbing if it hadn’t been so funny. A group of people were standing near KFC and there was some guy on a podium ranting about hell, the bible and similar topics. One of them was holding some long biblical message on a sign, another was waving a sign around saying “Atheism is a temporary condition”.

There was a counter protest going on by some feminists who were carrying signs saying “end rape culture” and attempting to argue with the Christian protesters. At first I thought they were part of the main protest itself but then I realised that they couldn’t be. I was relieved to see them there and thought about going up to tell them i agreed with them, but I didn’t have time and the main speaker from the Christian group looked very intimidating.

I’ve got absolutely no problem with people believing in God or having a faith but it stops if they try to tell everyone how and what to believe or they try and interfere with people’s lives with stupid narrow minded ideas about “sin”, heaven, hell and so on when they are not doing anyone any harm.

I always have a bit of a love/hate thing going on with religion to be honest. When I was younger I was pretty religious and it helped me survive a lot of problems in my life, I really felt like God was helping me through a lot of things and I had stuff that I still cant fully explain but were like religious experiences. A lot of this may be due to my poor state of mind at the time. I don’t know though, and for that reason even though I am basically a non believer these days, I can’t dismiss it completely. I have kind of a love-hate thing going on with it which is probably incompatible with being a revolutionary communist.

When I was younger I used to get in arguments with Christian missionaries that I encountered on the street and completely demolish their arguments from a “biblical” point of view lol. I kind of miss having that faith and that certainty. I knew God existed and that he was looking after me and that he loved me and i was one of “his people”. But it’s almost certainly not true, if there is a god he is a complete and total bastard so what’s the point of doing all of this stuff to please him? But I miss it. I actually do. I don’t miss the other bullshit that came with it but I miss knowing this stuff was right.

But so much of it is just illogical. And I hate lots of things about religion as well, I hate how intolerant it can be, and how it can be used to justify appalling acts and horrible views such as the people I mentioned at the start of the post wanting to threaten and intimidate atheists and tell people that if they are going to have an abortion or go out with someone who’s the same sex they’re going straight to hell, or for that matter those zionist twats who think that “god told them” to go to the west bank and be a settler and displace people from their land and treat them like shit and it’s all right because “God gave them the land” yeah and so what, who gives a flying fuck, does it justify what’s going on there? I mean really?

I wish I still did sometimes. And I still observe things, I do a lot of stuff that people who are a bit more involved with me in the whole thing probably don’t do. When I am at church services with christian mates I dont sing anything to do with Jesus, like I will sing the rest of the song that goes on about God and how great he is but not the parts that refer to Jesus, turning water into wine and any of that – and of course dying on the cross haha.

For a non believer I spend way too much time thinking about this stuff. I have my own reasons for keeping some of it up which are a bit weird, let me try and explain.

I’ve got a mezuzah up on my door and that as well, I like having all that stuff around because I think it’s quite comforting. Last year I went to Yom Kippur for the first time in quite a few years and although I don’t believe in God that much really I actually thought that fasting and being in the synagogue for the most of the day thinking about what I’d done over that year and how I can like make amends and be a better person and do better was a really good thing for me to do and once you’ve been you can start over again and have a clean slate.

And it doesn’t necessarily have to be anything about believing in God or any of that, it can just be like “that year’s done and the next year’s going to be better” and that sort of stuff.

But one of the main reasons I suppose it’s because people died for the right to do all of this stuff and so now that I can do that without having to worry about it all that much except have to deal with much more than the odd stupid comment from people I might as well you know, it’s like I owe it to them. It’s hard to explain but it’s not really about god, at least not really. Perhaps in spite of god rather than because of him/her if anything. That’s why there are loads of things that I don’t do because I don’t think that if he, if he exists, that he’s deserving of that much respect, and by that I mean things like how to eat food and how to write his name, which I used to take really seriously when I actually thought that he was perfectly good and all of the things I mentioned, as well as thinking that he definitely existed.But yet I can’t just dismiss the whole possibility that God exists in some form or other entirely, so …

My feelings about it are very, very confused and contradictory as opposed to my feelings about the class struggle which are pretty coherent and clear cut these days. I’ve probably made myself look like a massive twat with this post but this is the best I can do right now.

Purim tomorrow and its revolutionary message.

23 Feb

My ideas about religion are somewhat “interesting” heh, I’ll do a more in depth blog post about it at some point. I am thinking over some ideas in my head, that may or may not make any sense at all. Religion can be at times extremely damaging especially when it promotes religious nationalism and is used to bolster up movements such as zionism but I do not always believe it has played a reactionary role, for example if you look at the liberation theologists of South America – “if I feed the poor they call me a saint, if they ask why they are poor they call me a communist”. In Judaism and Islam there are also examples of religious texts supporting popular uprisings rather than the rulers although this message has also been suppressed by the ruling class and institutions supporting official religion and the establishment. The truth is probably you can make religion what you want it to be and use it to suit any purpose you want.

I would post something long and intellectual  (and probalby will at some stage) about Marx and his views on religion and what I think of it today. And at some point I will. Briefly however I wanted to say that tomorrow is Purim. If you do not know what that is it is basically the story of how the Jews managed to stop a plot by King Xerxes’ adviser Haman to kill them all. Instead Haman ended up being hung in the town square. Of course part of it is not exactly revolutionary because the Jews Esther and Mordechai were already high up in society (esther was the king’s wife, although if you read the story she appears to have been coerced to be married into that family more for economic reasons).

The revolutionary part of it is the fact that so many people stood up against corrupt officials who were planning murder for their own gains. Of course there was no real revolution because if there was the king himself would have been overthrown by the people, but who knows how differently the biblical story would have turned out if there had been.In any case there was a significant change and afterwards the royals knew as a result of the pressure they were under that they could not use anti-semitism to consolidate the power of the throne again and were compelled to punish Haman and his six sons.

And that is a message not just for Jews but for the entire working class that if we stand up against oppression and capitalist exploitation and we need to stand together and fight together to overthrow this corrupt barbaric system.

In some Jewish communities there are “local Purims” to celebrate the community’s escape from some sort of disaster, whether it is man made or natural. Although this is in a religious context I do not necessarily see anything wrong with showing this type of solidarity as long as it’s not nationalistic/to promote hatred of others not in the group.

Certainly the Nazis were worried enough by Purim to ban it because they believed that it was about themselves, and punish anyone in possession of a copy of the Book of Esther, Jew or Christian, with death. When Streicher, the editor of Der Sturmer, was hanged in 1946 his last words on the scaffold were “Purimfest 1946!” because he thought the Jews would now celebrate his death.

Er yeah I’m tired and ought to go bed but those are my thoughts for tonight, probably confused and shit but there you go. Have a good one if your celebrating it and if your not have a good one anyway.

My thoughts on the Palestinian solidarity movement, Judaism and Marxism (part 1)

20 Dec

I am in no way a zionist and have not been for quite a few years now. I do not in any way, agree with the policies of Israels government, and will continue wherever I can to protest against them, I have long thought that zionist nationalism has corrupted what it means to be Jewish (whatever that is) and wherever I hear about Israeli atrocities against Palestinians I am filled with disgust and also shame. About what is being done in the name of the Jewish community, and the failure of various leaders of the community, to speak out about it.

but recently, i’ve been coming to realise something else.

the pro palestinian movement doesn’t represent me either and neither do I want to be “represented” by them.

now this isn’t some sort of whiney bollocks. At least it is not intended to be. I decided to start this blog because there might be some things that I’m not comfortable sharing under my actual name and this might be one of them.

I recently found this blog, and sadly, some of the individuals identified on this blog as being anti-semites, I can well believe it of them. Obviously it has to be taken with a pinch of salt and it looks like they may be a zionist site but it sits all to well with my experiences in the PSC. I will say that there are a lot of good people in it and the majority of course do not share such views. However sadly some do and these tend to be quite vocal and it has been my experience that they are not challenged effectively. There were occasions where as a jewish person I felt pretty uncomfortable, for example people saying “anti zionist” stuff that pretty much was using zionism as a code for something else, saying they had all sorts of influence, had assisted the nazis, etc. Or people saying that israelis were “savages” in meetings and that sort of stuff.

I could give alot more examples, but my main thoughts are this.

I’m not a zionist, but i’m not a self hating jew either and it seems to me that in the PSC and groups like it, that is often what you have to be. I’m deeply dubious about a lot of these boycott campaigns. I dont think we should write somebody off as a cunt, because they support Israel (or rather don’t go on demos against what it does).

I am quite simply not prepared to put up with that bullshit. I think that not only does the whole idea of portraying Jews as having some kind of “special” responsibility for what Israel has done even when its well intentioned, does alot to put off working class people who may have otherwise been sympathetic, but also is an echo of an idea of collective responsibility which puts the onus on an individual to feel guilty and go around wearing a cloth over their heads for something that they are not responsible for, something which the ruling class is responsible for. Jews are no more responsible for the crimes of Israel than all Christians are responsible for the attacks on benefits and imperialist wars started in a “christian” country and posing the issue as one of how “we” must face up to “our responsibility” totally misses the point, that it is the ruling class of many countries but primarily Israel and the US, not individual jews or christians, and not even jews or christians as a whole, who are responsible for the perpetuation of the israeli/palestinian conflict

I don’t want to apologise for doing things that have existed a long time before Israel was formed. Yes the zionist movement has meant that parts of Judaism have become completely corrupted. But there is no reason why the solution to that is to constantly define yourself and the religion in opposition to it if you know what I mean.

By that I mean, things like this, which was posted on the jews for justice for palestinians website as an alternative liturgy for yom kippur. It is worth bearing in mind, that yom kippur is for sins that YOU have done not somebody else, you don’t get to feel righteous about what other people have done that’s not what it’s about. I don’t particularly believe in this stuff myself but it seems to me that making an alternative liturgy based on the sins of zionists (and not your own sins) is a deeply flawed idea because you are not examining YOURSELF and your own actions.

For the sin we have sinned against You through the desecration of Your Name

Fulfilling the commandments how to treat our fellow human beings only with regards to Jews

And for the sin which we have sinned against You through insolence –

            Saying that only Jews have rights to the Land.

 

For the sin we have sinned against You through drunken vision

               Not seeing Israeli Arabs as fellow citizens.

And for the sin we have sinned against You consciously or unconsciously,

Not giving equal opportunity to study, work or be full members of  society

 

Who is the “we” being referred to? obviously not a group of human rights activists. So what are they repenting for? Yom Kippur is not about feeling righteous about things that other people have done and you havent.

I also found this a bit troubling.

Hundreds of Jews declare in unison at #occupywallstreet: We will hold ourselves accountable for the occupation of Palestine

Firstly zionism is not the same as judaism so why should they be “holding themselves accountable” over something they have absolutely no control over? Secondly how is this going to get other Jewish people (and other people in general) interested in the palestinian cause when this sort of bollocks is spouted, the kind of bollocks that says that they personally are guilty of what israel has done?

As life long anti fascist and a marxist I reject any idea that any group is “accountable” for the actions of a state, even a state which claims to act in the name of a particular religion. In placing “responsibility” onto a group of activists it shifts the blame from where it belongs, the ruling class and capital whose interests it is to keep the conflict going and keep the israeli and palestinian working class divided

thirdly, of course, it is an utterly facile analysis of the conflict (at best) from a marxist point of view. A working class jew in the uk (or israel) is no more responsible for Israels actions than is a working class palestinian. I dont think this kind of guilt tripping helps anyone.

You can view the JFJFP’s page here, about halfway down the page.

http://jfjfp.com/?page_id=32281#rosh

This post is probably going to be in at least two parts so watch this space