Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Friday, 24 July 2009

Please Pass the Barf Bag

It's a good thing the Chareidi community continues to fail to live up to its self-proclaimed status as the true expression of Torah observance today. If they ever started succeeding, Rav Avi Shafran might actually not having something to write about for a change.
From the man who denied that spousal and child abuse of any significance exists in the frum community, who holds that the Rubashkins are really decent guys who have been unfairly smeared, who thinks a former African dictator makes a splendid candidate for conversion to Judaism while tens of thousands of well-meaning Israelis don't, and who thinks that Bernie Madoff is a better man than an airline pilot who saved hundreds of lives, we now have the following statement of moral relativism:
And so, when thousands of Iranians poured into Tehran’s streets in protest of what they saw as a fraudulent presidential election, the press emphasis was not on the protesters who threw rocks, set trash bins aflame and vandalized public property. The focus, rightly, was on the bulk of the crowd, peaceful protesters of what they believed to be a fraudulent election.
When tens of thousands of haredim, though, demonstrated in reaction to a decision by the Jerusalem municipality to open a public parking lot on the Jewish Sabbath, increasing traffic in the heart of the Holy City and disturbing the peacefulness of the day of rest, the main coverage was not of the overwhelming mass of the crowd, peacefully standing up for the sanctity of the Sabbath – but rather of the tiny fraction of the crowd that… threw rocks, set trash bins aflame and vandalized public property.

Get it? To Rav Shafran there is no difference between the Chareidi public in Yerushalayim under a democratically elected government and the long-suffering victims of the Iranian revolution under a bunch of murderous thugs. It's really all the same thing!
Never mind that the hospital they were protesting against was trying to protect a child from an abusive mothe whose acts were caught on film. For Rav Shafran, she's really the innocent victim in a horrible power play by nasssssty secular authorities:
The hospital video footage, moreover, that authorities said showed the mother removing the child’s feeding tube 20 times has yet, at least at this writing, to be released. And why did the hospital not act after the first tube removal? Or the tenth?
Why, further, if the woman is in fact mentally ill, was a simple restraining order not obtained, barring her from contact with the child? Why did the police choose instead to slap handcuffs on the five-months pregnant woman in public (and in front of a summoned press) and place her in a jail cell (with an accused spouse-killer, an Arab woman, as a cellmate)?
None of us can know with certainty at this point the answers to those questions – or whether the woman at issue is a would-be murderess, a sufferer of mental illness or a caring mother wrongly accused.

Right. So the hospital acted cautiously to avoid a legal problem later on and for Rav Shafran it's proof of... what? Who cares if it was the tenth or the first time she had removed the tube? Isn't once enough? Wouldn't a decent person ask: Why didn't they do it after the first time? What were they waiting for?
And while he remains clueless as to the behaviour of the police, perhaps I can enlighten him. There is a Jewish value that transcends divisions within our people. Religious or non-religious, traditional or modern, there is something that almost every real Jew feels and that is the supreme value of the life of our children. No other people worries so much about their children. No other people are willing to protect them from any danger possible. No other people places so much values in their happiness. This isn't written anywhere in the Gemara or Shulchan Aruch but it doesn't have to be. It just is.
So imagine Israeli authorities, who have a little more Jewish feeling than their Chareidi antogonists generally give them credit for, seeing a child suffering? Imagine how they must have reacted to discover that the child's community was not only denying the suffering but demanding that the child be returned to the same dangerous environment? Imagine what must have gone through their minds when this same community which preaches its purity in Torah threatened violence against the hospital for trying to protect the child?
Do you think only Chareidim get upset about things?
Rav Shafran has scraped the bottom of the barrel before. With this column he is licking its underside. Pass the barf bag.


Manya Shochet said...

"So imagine Israeli authorities, who have a little more Jewish feeling than their Chareidi antogonists generally give them credit for, seeing a child suffering?"

Excellent diagnosis, Dr.Garnel. And let me add that the damage the riots have done to the non-dati staff's connection to Yahadut is even greater than the mortification the riots have caused dati staff.

And I was appalled by the inability of the press to distinguish between a gastro tube and an NG tube.

Shavua tov,
Manya Shochet, RN

David said...

Yes, Shafran is a clown. By and large, I'm in agreement with your point here, but will take exception to one minor detail:

"No other people worries so much about their children. No other people are willing to protect them from any danger possible. No other people places so much values (sic) in their happiness."

This statement, aside from being wrong, is rank bigotry. I've known plenty of gentiles who love their children as much as I love mine. I've read (fairly recently) various accounts of non-Jews who died saving-- or trying to save-- their children's lives; when you write that these people just don't feel parental love at the same level that Jews do, you are doing a gross injustice.

Garnel Ironheart said...

I was not speaking on an individual level but on a national level.
The British take pride in their culture, the Germans on their efficiency. Jews take pride in loving their children. Certainly there are individual exceptions (see the current rioting, for example) but it is still valid as a national characteristic.

David said...

Utterly ridiculous. First, you cannot measure the extent to which a normal person loves (or does not love) his or her children. Second, I've known of Jewish parents who seemed less than attached to their children, and gentile parents who are incredibly devoted. In the end, most parents I know (of any persuasion) seem to be within a normal range of attachment (which is to say, quite attached) to their children. I have no idea where you get this stuff, Garnel, but it's absurd.

Garnel Ironheart said...

You're saying the same thing I am, based on individuals, and I'm not disagreeing with you.

Look, have you ever heard of Theodore Dalrymple? He's a British psychiatrist turned newspaper columnist. He is famous for noting that the reason British society is coming apart at the seams is because the British hate their children. Now, I'm sure you'll agree with me that on an individual level there are probably lots of British families that are loving and warm. But on a cultural level as a society he feels they're the opposite - that the average British child is unloved by his parents.
I'm just saying that in Jewish society it's the opposite. Culturally our children are extremely important to us and the focus of a lot of positive attention.

David said...

Oh, yeah-- Dalrymple's great! He writes for the City Journal sometimes and I enjoy his writing. Well, OK, if he'll vouch for you.

Anonymous said...

Down to modern times, the fine in the UK for a mistreated animal was much higher than for a mistreated animal.

And hungry young children were hanged for stealing a loaf of bread!

David said...

Wow, children hanged for stealing bread! Was this under Tony Blair, or does it go all the way back to Margaret Thatcher?

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

No, no, Thatcher had the coal miners beaten in the street. Bevin hung children for knowing how to spell the word "Zionism". I think it was back in Disraeli's time with the bread thing.