Monday, April 20, 2015

Reflections on Waco and What It Means for Our Present Reality

Reflections on Waco and What It Means for Our Present Reality

by Sean Jobst

April 20, 2015

"WACO: The Rules of Engagement" -

I vaguely remember when this was happening, since I was only 7 years old when it happened. Yet, I remember watching this Waco documentary last year in a "Sociology of Religion" class and was profoundly struck by how much it seemed to have set a precedence which we are seeing now. I think in my mind of different signposts on the way, and leaving out history before that (for the sake of brevity), we see how on September 11, 1990, President Bush gave his infamous "New World Order" speech. While his government was delivering death and destruction to fleeing Iraqi troops and betraying the same Kurds and Marsh Arabs it had called on rebelling - all for the sake of propping up a repressive Kuwaiti monarchy - moves were being made domestically by the government, culminating in his successor Bill Clinton's administration and their blatant terrorist siege against Waco.

We cannot ignore the effects of racism, nor can we view history as anything other than a "boomerang", where everything you sow will be reaped. I am reminded of some of the wisdom I have heard from Native Americans, who have pointed out America itself has become one big "Indian Reservation" when it relates to the emerging Police State, the erosion of civil liberties and various other laws and the dictates of the bankers who are using government to loot the people, not to mention the looting done by foreign interests (foremost Israel).

These same Indigenous people have given us a huge piece of the puzzle which we only ignore at our own peril. That is, the same tactics which were first tried against Native people and then personified on reservations, were then exported abroad in the occupation of other countries and in the support for the death squads which murdered and repressed entire peoples in América Latina, the Middle East and other regions of the world. Those were the first two steps....

As for the third and last step, these tactics formulated against Native Americans and then "perfected" (a testament to our degraded sense of humanity nowadays that such a word is so often used with methods of death and murder of others) against peoples outside the U.S., are now a boomerang that is coming to be visited upon the American people themselves. The same elites behind this new oppression were the same ones behind the other oppression as well. Its just their propaganda that those people in whose name they claimed to fight and kill others, is now being dropped for a new, bold and blatant period of "revelation of the method," where they think their power is so entrenched they can cease with the phony "democratic" masquerades.

I call the world as I see it, as follows: Police brutality and killing black and Latino people has always been a racist reality that was ignored and tolerated by the broader society. Waco showed that now even white Americans weren't safe from indiscriminate murder (as for "white" Europeans overseas, the Allied fire-bombings of German cities, murder and starvation of German civilians and POWs after the war, and genocidal Morgentahu/Kaufman plans which all together led to the murder of MILLIONS of Germans, show "white" complexion wasn't an immediate immunity either).

So Waco in that sense was something unique, a sign of things to come. The Patriot Act that was signed into law by Bush, voted and supported by a bipartisan Congress, and consistently renewed by Obama, set the stage at the beginning of the 21st century. This was succeeded by the NDAA, which further saw drones being used on American soil which was now called a "battlefield" in the so-called "War on Terror." It was seen in the transition period between Bush and Obama, in the police suppressions of Occupy protests, the infringement on people's rights to protest at the corporate conventions of both the corporate political gangs, uh I mean political parties, symbolized by the creation of Orwellian "free speech zones" which limited "free speech" to a small area hidden away and not visible - and even this limited "right" was subject at any time to further infringement.

The war in Iraq which was pushed by the Neocons and AIPAC, domestically was the staging-ground for the further corporatization of the Pentagon, as the functions of the military were outsourced to mercenary "contractors" companies. If Randolph Bourne could warn in 1918 that "War is the health of the State," if the wise observation by Native American elders and activists about America itself becoming a reservation has come to fruition, then certainly foreign policies have become domestic policies.

This was manifested during Hurricane Katrina, when these same mercenaries shot mostly poor and black people "for fun"; black lives were cheapened and blacks dehumanized, in what was manifested last year in Ferguson (although this is ONLY one out of MANY MANY such police atrocities). These trigger-happy corporate psychopaths then volunteered their services for that evil Monsanto agribusiness, offering to infiltrate protestors and thereby make them appear as loons (similar to how police infiltrated the anti-WTO protest in 1999 Seattle and the corporate media obediently filmed those infiltrators who were looting).

These same mercenary psychopath groups hold most of the contracts for prison building and operations within the U.S. More prisons keep getting built, even while there is less violent crimes (if we don't count the legal variety committed by the State and its various goon squads). Just as there are corporations profitting from war, so too do corporations (often the very same ones) profit from building and operating prisons). Already filled with people whose very presence belies the myth of "crimes without victims" - oppressive drug laws and the return of debtors' prisons - the NDAA and other legislation is expanding the definition of "crime" and "criminal" in what would appear to be "Animal Farm" personified: Some are more equal than others.

I am an opponent of Marxist class-struggle theory; I stand firm upon a TRUE pro-free-market perspective that sees the government intervention and bankers' scams inherent to both Marxism and Capitalism (a dialectic which allowed them to merge the economic policies of corporatism with Cultural Marxism). Yet, I cannot but help observe a real class-based divide and conquer scam which has subjected people to lose their empathy towards their fellow human beings, and to lose sight of how "rights" are useless without responsibilities, until they lost even those rights:

The elites create fictitious crime "threats" and exaggerations, to strike fear into the middle-class, who consent to oppressive policies against the poor, even worshipping the State and its expanding police powers. And they seek to create a culture of dependency upon the poor, getting them to see the middle-class as their obstacle to advancement. And they get people of different races to dehumanize the other, certainly the way many white people (let's be honest here) are so willing to dehumanize black lives while supporting the Police State (and getting defensive for what police and government do) that will have its boot-heels on their own necks very soon, is very reprehensible indeed.

I can say the same about how murder against people in other countries was justified through dehumanizing them, with foreign policies consented by a people who generally blindly accepted the fictitious "threats" abroad even while not seeing the Police State in front of them. This was done by a war-profiteering media owned by a handful of corporations. Reflecting on Waco, the media was blatantly fanning the proverbial flames which ultimately led to the physical flames caused by the terrorist operation of the federal government.

The proverbial blood is dripping on the media's hands as well, even as it sought to hide the physical blood so as not to spoil the appetite for popcorn, soda pop and junk food for a public already accustomed - from the 1990-1991 Gulf War and the bombing of Iraq - to view killing as "entertainment." We ignore history at our own peril, even while our apathetic sadism - no matter WHOM it is directed against - allows us to revel in the present with ALL the murderous "entertainment" our cold hearts can desire.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Netanyahu's Disturbing Chabad Connections (Part 2)

Netanyahu's Disturbing Chabad Connections (Part 2)

by Sean Jobst

April 16, 2015

Schneerson was seventh in a line of Chabad leaders called Rebbe. The first Rebbe was Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), one of the foremost Hashidic authorities, who authored commentaries and updated versions of Halacha (Jewish law). In the first two chapters of Tanya, he claimed Jewish souls were derived from the Divine, whereas the souls of "the nations" (goyim/gentiles) are derived from evil. So "all the good that the nations do, is done from selfish motives....all the charity and kindness done by the nations of the world is only for their own self-glorification."

Rabbi Shneur Zalman

Zalman also said: "All Jews are good by nature, all non-Jews are evil by nature. The Jews are creation's crowning glory, the non-Jews are the scum of the earth." (Quoted in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 11 March 1994, p. 14) That this is a "master race" ideology, is seen by the fact that he also said in chapters 18 and 19 of Tanya that even the lowest Jew has a "spark" of the Divine. "The inwardness of a Jew....remains intact in every Jew, regardless of his outward status and whatever the outward circumstances may be." (Schneerson, Letters by the Lubavitscher Rebbe 1956-1980, Brooklyn, New York: Kehot Publication Society, 1981, p. 13)

This book is openly sold by Jewish bookstores, while the hate-filled Tanya holds such reverence among the Chabad movement that it contains the entire work on its official website. Chabad subscribes to this ideology which sees the Jews inherently as "divine," while castigating all Gentiles as inherently "inferior" solely by fact of birth and lineage: "The basic religious and social mission of Habad is thus intended to elevate the conscious choice of the individual to the level of his inner Jewish choseness, that is, to actualize his inner given holiness." (Aviezer Ravitzky, Messianism, Zionism, and Jewish Religious Radicalism, University of Chicago Press, 1996, p. 191)

Schneerson taught that Jews were uniquely "chosen" and granted innate holiness, which further entrenches an ontological barrier between Jews and non-Jews, leading to the exclusivism that really defines Chabad. Schneerson taught that each morning, Jews should give thanks to God for having restored their "Jewish souls", as "'life' is Jewish life only", so that "his entire vitality and life consist - in his being a Jew." (Schneerson, On the Essence of Chassidus, Brooklyn, NY: Kehot Publication Society, 1986, pp. 49, 73) This book is likewise taught on the Chabad website and can be openly purchased from Jewish bookstores.

"Souls of Gentiles unclean"

The following excerpts are from the text Tanya, which is a major part of Chabad's "outreach" efforts. Here is their true teachings against all non-Jews, laid bare for any honest observer:

"The souls of the nations of the world (i.e. all Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.), however, emanate from the other, unclean 'kelipot' (evil forces) which contain no good whatever." (Tanya, New York/London: Kehot Publication Society, 1973, p. 5)

"However, the 'kelipot' (evil forces) are subdivided into two grades, one lower than the other. The lower grade consists of the three 'kelipot' which are altogether unclean and evil, containing no good whatever. From them flow and derive the souls of all the nations of the world (i.e. all Christians, Muslims, etc.), and the existence of their bodies, and also the souls of all living creatures that are unclean and unfit for consumption." (ibid., Chapter 6, p. 25)

"To elucidate still further, it is necessary to clarify the meaning of the verse 'The candle of God is the soul of (neshamah) of man.' What it means is that the souls of Jews, who are called 'man', are, by way of illustration, like the flame of the candle, whose nature it is always to scintillate upwards....Now this is a general principle in the whole realm of holiness....This stands in direct contrast to the so-called 'Kelipah' (evil forces) and 'sitra achara' (the other, evil side), where from are derived the souls of the Gentiles....Therefore they (the Gentiles) are called 'dead.'" (ibid., Chapter 19, pp. 77, 79)

Thus, Chabad lumps all Gentiles with pigs, snakes, worms, and all other "creatures that are unclean and unfit for consumption." There are also comparisons to dogs: "Thus an Orthodox Jew learns from his earliest youth, as part of his sacred studies, that Gentiles are compared to dogs." (Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion, London: Pluto Press, 1994, p. 94) This serves as a theological basis behind the actions of Israel and the Zionist movement, to dehumanize the Palestinian "Gentiles" and legitimize their murder. That is why we should look within the sources of this hateful ideology.

Hateful anti-Gentile ad on back of Israeli bus

"The Gentile waits to be told what the Jew wants"

The above picture is an advertisement on the back of a Jerusalem bus belonging to the bus company Egged. A contract for its subsidiary company was lost in the Netherlands due to Egged's support for oppression of the Palestinians. The ad in the picture above says: "Statement of the kingdom. From the teachings=instructions of the rabbi [Schneerson]. The Gentile does not want anything. He waits to be told what the Jew wants!"

Schneerson on Jews and Gentiles as "two separate species"

"A non-Jew should be punished by death if he kills an embryo, even if the embryo is non-Jewish, while the Jew should not be, even if the embryo is Jewish. The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems from the common expression: 'Let us differentiate.' Thus, we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather we have a case of 'let us diffentiate' between totally different species. This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations [goyim] of the world.

"The Jewish body 'looks as if it were in substance similar to bodies of non-Jews,' but the meaning is that the bodies only seem to be similar in material substance, outward look and superficial quality. The difference of the inner quality, however, is so great that the bodies should be considered as completely different species.

"This is the reason why the Talmud states that there is an halachic difference in attitude about the bodies of non-Jews: 'and their bodies are in vain'....An even greater difference exists in regard to the soul. Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness.

"The body of a Jewish embryo is on a higher level than is the body of a non-Jew....We therefore ask: Why should a non-Jew be punished if he kills even a non-Jewish embryo while a Jew should not be punished even if he kills a Jewish embryo? The answer can be understood by the general difference between Jews and non-Jews: A Jew was not created as a means for some [other] purpose; he himself is the purpose, since the substance of all [divine] emanations was created only to serve the Jews: 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth' means that [the heavens and the earth] were created for the sake of the Jews, who are called the 'beginning.'

"This means everything, all developments, all discoveries, the creation, including the 'heavens and the earth' - are vanity compared to the Jews. The important things are the Jews, because they do not exist for any [other] aim; they themselves are [the divine] aim." (Schneerson, Gatherings of Conversations, 1965; quoted in Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, London: Pluto Press, 1999, pp. 59-60)

Bush serving Chabad

All Gentile politicians expected to serve

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ovadia Yosef's Anti-Gentilism, Racism in Israel, and the Failing Zionist Experiment

Ovadia Yosef's Anti-Gentilism, Racism in Israel, and the Failing Zionist Experiment

by Sean Jobst

April 15, 2015

[The following is a parallel study, along with the previous article "Netanyahu's Disturbing Chabad Connections", on Netanyahu's connections to Jewish fundamentalists who hate Gentiles and who wield influence over Israel's policies]:

Ovadia Yosef on Netanyahu: "I respect him."

While the Chabad movement is rooted in Ashkenazim, the Sephardic branch of Jewry is not without its own fundamentalist equivalents. This was symbolized by Shas, the political party founded by Iraqi-born Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel. He was generally well-regarded within general Haredi circles, which included the Chabad movement. When he died in 2013, Netanyahu remembered him as one of the "great halachic authorities of our generation." To invoke his "halachic authority" clearly means that Netanyahu agreed with his rulings on Jewish law.

"Moderate" Shimon Peres getting Yosef's blessing

Rabbi Yosef's influence within Israeli political circles was demonstrated by the fact that those eulogizing him also included President Shimon Peres (an alleged "moderate"), Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, and Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky. Such praises abounded among Israeli leaders, with only former Meretz leader Yossi Sarid not joining the chorus; on March 3, 2000, Yosef said in a sermon: "God will uproot him just as he uproots Amalek; that is how he will uproot him. Haman is cursed? Yossi Sarid is cursed." (Ma'ariv, March 19, 2000). So much for the much-vaunted Israeli "democracy"!

"Gentiles were born only to serve the people of Israel"

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said in his sermon on October 18, 2010: "The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews. Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap; and we will sit like an effendi [overseer] and eat. That is why gentiles were created. In Israel, death has no dominion over them....With gentiles, it will be like any person - they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one's donkey would die, they'd lose their money. This is his servant.... That's why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew. Gentiles were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world - only to serve the People of Israel." (Quoted in Jonah Mandel, "Yosef: Gentiles exist only to serve Jews," The Jerusalem Post, October 18, 2010)

"It is forbidden to be merciful to the Arabs. You must annihilate them with missiles"

In 2001, Ovadia Yosef said in a sermon about the Arabs: "It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable. The Lord shall return the Arabs' deeds on their own heads, waste their seed and exterminate them, devastate them and vanish them from this world." (Quoted in "Rabbi calls for annihilation of Arabs," BBC News, 10 April 2001; and Greg Myre, "On the Air, Palestinians Soften Tone on Israelis," The New York Times, December 15, 2004).

One wonders what the reaction would be if a nationalist leader in a European country, an extreme Christian fundamentalist in the United States, or an Islamic leader in a Muslim country uttered such genocidal statements against the "others". Yet, when it relates to Jewish fundamentalism the ties of such leaders as Peres and Netanyahu to such purveyors of hate gets a free pass. One has to wonder what could go through the minds of those who describe such hate-mongers as "moderate," such as what The Jewish Chronicle said in its obituary which memorialized Yosef as "The most significant halachic authority of the last 100 years, whose positions helped fashion a balanced and moderate Judaism."  (Joe Wolfson, "The enduring legacy of Rav Ovadia Yosef," The Jewish Chronicle, London, 11 October 2013, p. 33)

Hurricane Katrina "divine punishment of the blacks of New Orleans"

In 2005, Yosef said about Hurricane Katrina: "There was a tsunami and there are terrible natural disasters, because there isn't enough Torah study....Black people reside there [New Orleans]. Blacks will study the Torah? [God said,] 'Let's bring a tsunami and drown them'....Hundreds of thousands remained homeless. Tens of thousands have been killed. All of these because they have no God." (Quoted in Zvi Alush, "Rabbi: Hurricane punishment for pullout," YNet News, 7 September 2005; and "Shas rabbi: Hurricane is Bush's punishment for pullout support," Associated Press, 7 September 2005)

American evangelical "Christian" Zionist leader Pat Robertson publicly blamed Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans on "voodoo," much like he had previously did the same for the Haitian earthquake - both instances exhibiting his latent racism toward blacks. He was justifiably condemned for his remarks by the same U.S. media which seemed silent about Rabbi Yosef's comments (as with other Zionist hate-speech). When some Islamic leaders often idiotically ascribe blame to natural disasters as some kind of punishment, such pro-Zionist outfits as MEMRI are quick to seize upon such ridiculous, reactionary statements for their own political benefit - meanwhile, not a peep from these same "activists" when it comes to statements from the likes of Rabbi Yosef!

Racism in Israeli Society

In his last re-election campaign, Netanyahu's outreach to Sephardic fundamentalism paid off as they represented a major bloc behind his success, according to an Associated Press report. The irony is there have been questions of Netanyahu's own feelings about the Sephardic Jews, such that the former Moroccan Jewish caretaker of Netanyahu's household, Meni Naftali, sued his former employer in March 2014 over abusive and racist treatment, including Netanyahu's wife, Sara's statement: "We are Europeans. We are refined, we don't eat as much as you Moroccans. You are fattening us and then when we are photographed abroad, we look fat." (That Zionism started and grew as a rejection of Europe belies the claim of being "European", but this is another topic).

There is discrimination within Israel based on skin color and complexion even among Jews, a fact ironically highlighted recently by Jewish-American Donald Sterling, the racist ex-owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team: "You go to Israel, the black Jews are treated like dogs. Black Jews are less than white Jews. I give them cars, houses, food." This extends to the Ethiopian Falasha Jews, whose sect predates the Talmud (although many have since been adopting Rabbinical Judaism); the Black Hebrews living in Dimona; Bene Israel Jews originally from India; and even generally toward many Sephardic Jews.

The Failing Zionist Experiment

In my opinion, Netanyahu represents a vision of Zionism which has nostalgia for the Ashkenazic culture that specifically arose out of the shetls and ghettoes of Eastern European Jewry. Due to his desire to maintain this character of Israel, Netanyahu has been capitalizing on the alleged rise of  "anti-Semitic" incidents across Europe to stampede European Jews to flee to Israel, in a desperate effort both to stem the tide of (mostly Ashkenazi) Jews fleeing from Israel and provide more settlers to pursue the Zionist expansionist agenda. Demographically, Netanyahu and his ilk are desperate to attract more Jews to Israel in order to grab yet more land from the Palestinians.

Such reasons for the emigration from Israel are high prices and taxes, compulsory military service, and, as pointed out by Ha'aretz columnist Ravit Hecht, the rise of ultra-nationalist fundamentalism. Yet, even a "moderate" such as the late Yitzhak Rabin called those who left Israel a "cascade of wimps" and "fallout of cowards." The reality of Israel is that it has a poverty rate higher than Mexico and Turkey, and is a welfare state propped up by aid from other countries, most notably the United States, and "reparations" from Germany.

Little wonder that increasing numbers of Israeli youth have given up on the Zionist experiment. For example, in 2005 alone the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics announced 650,000 Israelis away for over a year hadn't returned. Some estimates show 40% of Israelis want to leave the country! As British journalist Yvonne Ridley states in a recent article, "This intellectual exodus of Jewish talent is troubling Netanyahu and the rest of the Knesset because it means that the Zionist dream is faltering. Perhaps the Israeli leadership is also worried that, in stark contrast, global calls for the Palestinians to be availed of their right of return to their homeland are growing with each new generation."

Netanyahu's Disturbing Chabad Connections (Part 1)

Netanyahu's Disturbing Chabad Connections (Part 1)

by Sean Jobst

April 15, 2015

When criticizing the fundamentalist element of a religion, criticism is always most effective coming from adherents of that religion. Being a Gentile (non-Jew) in both religion and lineage, my criticisms of Jewish fundamentalism stem from its danger to the world and the fact that, unlike certain Christian or Islamic extremist movements, it does not receive nearly as much scrutiny (I would argue due to the disproportionate control Jews have over the world's media). Just as speaking out against extremist trends of other religions doesn't necessarily mean hating all the adherents of the entire religion, so too must my criticisms of this dangerous Judaic Talmudic ideology in control of a state (Israel) be seen in the same vein.

Zionist media outlets spread alarmist fears about the alleged messianism of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, implying that his own personal belief as a Shi'ite in the twelfth imam had a direct impact on Iran's policies (even if it was true, the President has little control over determining Iran's foreign policy). Many American progressive outlets (rightly) pointed out the weird apocalyptic beliefs exhibited among the Neocons during the Bush Administration, such as how Paul Wolfowitz and intelligence leaders at the Pentagon invited Michael Drosnin, expert on the cabbalistic-derived (but contrary to Christianity) "Bible Code" to brief them in February 2003 - just a month before the bombing and invasion of Iraq on the day of Purim, March 20, 2003.

Purim at a Chabad gathering in New York, March 17, 2003. Notice both the uniforms and the timing - very significant

Netanyahu quotes self-proclaimed "messiah" Lubavitcher Rebbe in U.N. speech

Evidence of Netanyahu's own messianism and its effects on Israeli policies has also been uncovered, highlighting his disturbing links with the Lubavitch Chabad movement, as symbolized by his speech before the United Nations in September 2011. Netanyahu quoted reverently from his meetings with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, in the 1980s and 1990s. He affectionately called Schneerson "the great rabbi." Both held the same vision of an expansionist Israel that would yield no land while ethnically cleansing the Palestinian Gentiles from land which was now viewed as solely the property of Jews.

"Relying on the Lubavitcher Rebbe and his teachings in a speech that was ostensibly in favor of a Palestinian state is like relying on a racist who fervently supports slavery in a speech that is ostensibly in favor of abolition, while also making abolition contingent upon conditions that will never be met. And thus, in a speech that warned about the danger of radical Islam, Netanyahu relied upon the most radically messianic Jewish theologian of our generation." (Sefi Rachlevsky, "Netanyahu's messianism could launch attack on Iran," Ha'aretz, September 27, 2011) 

While he served as Israeli Ambassador to the U.N., Netanyahu was a frequent visitor to the Chabad headquarters in Brooklyn. Netanyahu later told reporters what Schneerson had told him during one such meeting in 1984: "Remember, you are going to the UN. There is an assembly hall there that has eternal falsehood, utter darkness. Remember that in a hall of perfect darkness, totally dark, if you light one small candle, its light will be seen from afar. Its precious light will be seen by everyone. Your mission is to light a candle for truth and the Jewish people." (Cited in Matthew Wagner, "Netanyahu: UN speech was inspired by the Rebbe," The Jerusalem Post). The speech is available on Youtube:

Netanyahu promises Schneerson to "hasten the messiah's coming"

One of the defining features of the Chabad Lubavitcher movement - unlike other sects of orthodox Judaism or even Hasidism - was that it actively sought to "hasten" the coming of the awaited "messiah" (moshiach), contrary to the other sects who were merely waiting for him rather than actively seeking to hasten his coming. In this sense, the Chabad movement is very much a modern-day version of the Sabbatai Zevi movement, the crucial (and most terrifying) difference being the amount of political influence the Chabad movement has achieved.

In a video available on the official Chabad website, and elsewhere, we see a meeting between Netanyahu and Schneerson on November 18, 1990 in New York City. For all the world to see and which no Zionist apologist can deny, Netanyahu clearly promises Schneerson that he will actively work for this messianic vision:

- Schneerson: "Much success. I haven't seen you in a long time. Blessing and success. A double portion of benediction."
- Netanyahu: "I came to ask your blessing and help."
- Schneerson: "In everything?"
- Netanyahu: "In all areas - both personal and political."
- Schneerson: "Since we last met many things have progressed."
- Netanyahu: "Many things have progressed."
- Schneerson: "What hasn't changed, however, is that Moshiach still hasn't come; so do something to hasten his coming."
- Netanyahu: "We're doing, we're doing."
- Schneerson: "Apparently it's not enough, since many hours have already passed today and he's still not here. But there are still a few hours left in the day, so try still for today."
- Netanyahu: "Yes."
- Schneerson: "Good tidings - with joy and happiness. You know that Chassidim are careful to do everything with joy."
- Netanyahu: "Yes."
- Schneerson: "Good tidings. Much success."

To serve and not to "help": The key to meaningful humanitarian efforts

To serve and not to "help": The key to meaningful humanitarian efforts

by Sean Jobst

April 15, 2015

"Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!" This is the succinct title of a lecture by Ernesto Sirolli, an Italian sustainable development expert who heads the Sirolli Institute. He cited the most important lesson he learned from his time in Zambia as to start listening to people, rather than merely assuming they want your "help."

"We Western people are imperialist, colonialist missionaries, and there are only two ways we deal with people: We either patronize them, or we are paternalistic," Sirolli says. "The two words come from the Latin root 'pater,' which means 'father.' But they mean two different things. Paternalistic, I treat anybody from a different culture as if they were my children. 'I love you so much.' Patronizing, I treat everybody from another culture as if they were my servants."

If you go to another person's country and land, you better damn well humble yourself to listen to them, rather than approaching them like you instinctively know somehow what's best for them. You may be so blinded by your paternalistic sense of superiority - even if couched in "liberal" rhetoric of "humanitarianism" - to even realize in the process you become nothing but a hubristic jackass, your own ignorance reflecting back at you through the mirror of your own self-perceptions.

One of the most life-changing experiences in my own life was my visit to the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota reservation in South Dakota. I was blessed to have been hosted by a traditional Lakota, from whom I learned so much about their own cultural traditions and worldview. I witnessed this dichotomy of patronizing/paternalism in action from the wasicu' (white people), who came there with an agenda disguised as "helping" - they were exploiting the people and either misappropriating their culture or forcing their own culture on them, or (more often) a combination of the two.

So it was that I picked up another crucial learning experience: There is a difference between "helping" and serving. It was only when I reflected deep within my own soul about the differences, that I came to better appreciate the title of Lakota scholar Vine Deloria, Jr.'s book, We Talk, You Listen. I was impressed by the Lakota tradition of the Sacred Pipe, the holder of which talks while the other people listen. The Sacred Pipe is symbolic of the connection between the physical and spiritual realms.

In the same way, I have learned by humbling yourself to truly serve people and not merely "help" them, the way you start to listen to people - and I refer to "listening" in the way of using all the senses to understand - will be a mirror into your own soul, reflecting back at you and allowing you to learn so much about your own experiences, your own culture, your own self.

Our own humanitarian relief efforts in any place and toward any people should be guided by such deeply heart-felt considerations to serve, to approach people as equals and draw upon all of our own experiences, so the wholeness of our selves and serve the wholeness in other people. There is mutual benefit here, as you learn so much about yourself as well in the process.

On the other hand, to "help" people means you're already assuming they are "lesser" and so you use your "stronger" strength in a paternalistic way that actually takes away more than gives to them. The only thing that benefits in the process is your own ego and this can never be a good thing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In Memorium: Bernd Jobst (23 August 1947 - 1 April 2014)

In Memorium: Bernd Jobst (23 August 1947 - 1 April 2014)

by Sean Jobst

It was one year today that I lost my father. His physical presence in this world ended that day, but his spirit remains ever-present and will do so well into the future. His is a spirit which instilled valuable lessons into my life, and my resilience allows me to move ahead with life in the best way - to enjoy life, to not take a second for granted, and to live it with a purpose.

He impacted my life in several crucial ways. He laid the foundations for my early curiosity of the world, nurturing the love of learning in me. The environment he laid out for his young son was one of learning and reading. From an early age, I was instilled with the importance of being open minded and to question things and investigate for myself.

This also extended to a general attitude toward life. He had a very good sense of humor and was generally relaxed about life. You could tell he enjoyed life and treasured the small things which many others often take for granted. Life to him was a joyous event to be lived according to the effort we put into life. And depending on our own efforts, those results came to us in varied ways for us to derive the right life lessons out of them.

There are two wolves in your heart: Which one will you feed in life?

He passed down several things to me. From him was passed down my own German (Swabian) and Spanish lineage, which has shaped my identity. He was a Vietnam veteran, and so a deep respect and admiration toward veterans was also given to me. I remember fondly going with him to veteran's meetings when I was young, seeing and hearing at an early age valuable insights which I hold dear to my heart even to this day. His is a story of immigration and war, of human sorrow but also the rising of the human spirit.

My father was born on August 23, 1947, in Bad Canstatt, Germany. I remember him telling me so many memories from his earliest period in Deutschland. "The sum of all my experiences made me what I am," he told me when I profiled him in 2009 for a class assignment. "Living in a war-torn country, seeing bombed-out ruins and not realizing what it was all about as a kid, but growing up those experiences help shaped who I am."

He cited several of his earliest memories: "The school, going to the park seeing ancient Roman sites, the historical statue of Kaiser Wilhelm riding a horse, walking down to the indoor swimming pool, playing in bombed-out ruins, going out to the country seeing a castle on the hill in the old family village. Also riding on the back of an apple wagon taking the apples somewhere to be pressed into cider, and crossing the bridge to go to our Catholic church."

Schloss Baldern, the castle in our old village

In 1957, he immigrated at the young age of 9 to the United States. Like many other Germans of his generation - and earlier generations - his knowledge of America was shaped by the works of Karl May, works he would often mention in conversation with me. "In Germany as a young kid I read the Westerns of Karl May, which described Indians and life in the Old West. It was an unknown place but I didn't fear it because I was with my parents."

Moving to a different environment brings many challenges, as it did with him: "I had to learn the language, total immersion into the language. I learned how to speak English within six months time. I also remember being called offensive names like 'Nazi' because of where I came from."

Recounting his life to me on numerous occasions throughout my growing up, I was continuously impressed with the living history that can be seen through his own life. "I did alot of things in those days which kids couldn't do now, and I felt very safe and secure. We moved to Alaska during the time it was being granted statehood."

The family ultimately settled in Worth County, Missouri, a humble rural farming area which formed some of my own summer memories growing up. He was immersed into this environment which further nurtured many life lessons - the value of hard work, earning an honest living, enjoying life and what you do. "Every summer I wanted to stay with my grandparents on the farm. And I learned alot farm work, how to appreciate more about agriculture. I did this every summer until I joined the army." 

In 1964, he joined the U.S. Army. "I wanted to see Europe again and joining the army was the best way to guarantee this," he later explained to me. He became an infantryman with the 9th Infantry Division, ultimately rising to the rank of SPC4. His military career took him to Germany, Norway, Greece, Turkey, and Taiwan. I remember many little memories he had here and there, as he talked frequently about them to me.

His unit was later shipped out to Vietnam and he served there. Like other veterans, he was wary of talking directly about his own experiences there and I know there was alot of traumatic memories that I was careful not to trigger either. What he did left me was some of the retrospective reflections he had about Vietnam itself. "Don't get involved with other countries' civil wars, and don't support the old colonial powers. Learn the culture of a country before you think you can run it. Know what you are actually up against."

He was wounded and soon earned two Purple Hearts. I remember he told me about his time in an army hospital in Japan in 1970, and his subsequent return back Stateside. He took some classes at Parkville Community College in Parkville, Missouri, and worked for the Social Security Administration Center in Kansas City, MO. It was there that he met his wife, my mother. Neither I nor any of his other children and grandchildren would be here today without this experience at the Social Security Administration.

Kansas City, Missouri

"The opportunity then came for me to work at the Federal Bureau of Prisons," my father recounted to me. "There was more money and advancement, and a better retirement system because it was under law enforcement."

"I worked in the administrative section, doing sentence computations by interpreting court documents and ensuring that proper sentencing guidelines had been followed by the court," he added. "We dealt with the release and admission of inmates. We were the first ones they dealt with when they came and the last ones when they left."

His work brought him to several transfers, in Kansas and California. He moved to Alabama when he received a job transfer to the Talladega facility in 1984. I was born late the next year, on December 24, 1985, in nearby Fort McClellan, Alabama. One of my earliest memories was an event at the prison which made national headlines. For an entire week, from August 21-30, 1991, twenty-three detainees took control over the prison and several hostages.

Federal Prison in Talladega, Alabama

"When the riot occurred, everyone was recalled to get everything under control again. There were still fires smoldering and you could smell the smoke from the tear gas and smoke grenades the riot control used," he recounted to me. "After the initial riot and when we took the prison back, there was alot of overtime to try to get things back to normal."

My father retired from the prison in 1997, and after that time remained active in his work with fellow veterans - helping them to navigate the paperwork of federal bureaucracy and get the benefits they earned from the VA. His main "work" - if you can call it that, because it was something he simply loved to do and he didn't see his calling as "work" - was as a service officer, serving other veterans.

He made it very clear that life should be appreciated and enjoyed. Do what you love to do and follow your passion, and you won't have to work a day in your life. He was a very wise man who imparted numerous bits of wisdom to me, which impacted my own memories. "We as a society need to read and do our own thinking," he used to tell me. "To me reading the old classics encouraged you to dream. We had to read more and didn't have much television to divert our minds."

It is in retrospect of the memories, with a heavy heart but also a passionate mind to the future, that I recount my memories of him. Let this be a celebration of his life, which is what he would've wanted. This is also a reminder to me that as I move forward, there are promises I made to him in life and after his death, that I need to keep as I forge ahead in my own life. My resilience and the passion for life that was nurtured in me from an early age, is what keeps me going with a renewed spirit.

Missed but never forgotten

We as a society often ignore death, shutting it away and preferring not to think about it. But this is a very wrong approach. For if we remember death, we can also appreciate life more - never for one second questioning what we are given. Life is like a cycle - with each death there is a life reborn, with every memory there is a life lesson to be derived. He often reflected about philosophies of death with me, which is why I now reflect on a celebration of life - a life that continues to touch other lives as it soars to even higher spirits.

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