Monday, 19 February 2018

Hine ma tov, the bitter and the sweet

I was allowed to rest for a couple of days after my travels: London, Paris, Marseille, Haifa, Negev.
Then: why not go and pick oranges until you decide what work you want to do?
So I started picking.

One of the women picking oranges was from the Romanian group who had started the kibbutz. She worked very fast and hard. I kept my distance from her when working, did not want to be shown up by some wisp of a woman who could work much better than me.

Her name was Hagit.
When we took a break she was the last person to stop, and after a break she was the first person to start again.
She was, literally, always smiling and had a very expressive, friendly face. Yet she never spoke or joined in the singing.

I asked someone from my group why Hagit never spoke. The answer was, they experimented on her.
That was enough answer for me. I did not need to know more.

The swarm of young women with whom I picked oranges were a happy, touching lot.
Always giving me a touch, a push, a stroke, a hair tousle, a peck on the cheek, a squeeze or a hug. It was the equivalent of sibling affection. A "hine ma tov" kind of thing.
At the time, very un-British and foreign to me.

They were inclined to sing a lot as well. Hebrew and partisans’ songs.
Do not get me wrong. I have nothing against “Bella Ciao”.
Except, I do not appreciate hearing it at the crack of dawn, when the sun has not started shining yet and it is cold, and I am lamenting the fact that I did not go to bed an hour earlier the night before.

I was relieved when I managed to escape to the sheep.
Much harder physical labour, but a paradise for einzelgängers. Sheep keep their distance and they do not sing.

Nowadays, I smile a sad smile when I think of my happy Jewish sisters picking oranges. With their songs they were celebrating our rebirth: Am Yisrael Chai.
I miss those touches, pushes, strokes, hair tousles, cheek pecks, squeezes, hugs and hine ma tov feeling.

I should have hugged them back more.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

The cat in me

There is a tall tree in one of my neighbour’s gardens. A young, male cat keeps on climbing into the tree and getting stuck there.
It is the way cats are. They like to climb up trees so that they can look down and oversee everything.

1970, I am 24, living in Amsterdam, have no money and I need a job.
People said try the docks in the north of the city.

I had some painting experience, so I went to the site hut of a company that painted ships.
They were working on an oil tanker for Shell. 
I took my girlfriend along for support. I thought that might help, as she spoke Dutch and had the kind of looks that turn men’s heads.
When we walked in the men stopped work and came over to talk to us. I was not used to such a positive reception
My girlfriend flashed her smile, fluttered her eyelashes, and I had a job.

Two groups of workers were employed there: the Dutch and “guest workers” from the Rif region of Morocco. How much you earned was determined by a differentiated pay scale. Only the Dutch were given the higher-paid jobs.

During a break, I saw two Dutchmen and two guest workers sitting opposite each other on crates. One of the Dutchmen had a map.  He asked the guest workers to show where Morocco was on the map. They could not. The Dutchmen said they were dumb and laughed at them.

As I was standing, I was looking down at all four of them. I smiled and thought to myself, all of you are dumb fuckers to me.
Over the years I have developed the same looking down attitude to much of Dutch society.
You may think I am arrogant.
So be it. It is the cat in me. The way I am.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Holocaust in the Netherlands was a business model

Jews have been living in the Netherlands since the 16th century, mainly in Amsterdam.
The history of the Dutch capital is so intertwined with Jews that it used to be known as “Jerusalem of the West”.
Much of the slang of Amsterdam is made up of Yiddish loanwords.
Mokum (מקום), the Yiddish word for "place" or "safe haven" is an often used other name for Amsterdam.

There was little vitriolic anti-Semitism in the Netherlands.
An example: when the Dutch National Socialist party (NSB) was established in 1931, it left out all mention of Jew-hatred in it's manifest.
How does one then explain that some 75% of Dutch Jews were killed during the Holocaust, the highest percentage of all occupied Western Europe?

One of the major reasons was the collaboration of the local authorities. There were very brave individual acts of resistance, but general speaking all of Dutch society collaborated with the German occupier.
“On the whole, the Dutch reacted to the German occupation, including the persecution of the Jews, with a high degree of cooperation, following their reputed tradition of deference to authority.
This did not change when the deportations started, and it lasted until the beginning of 1943, when Germany’s prospects for winning the war appeared to be fading after the Battle of Stalingrad.” Yad Vashem.

The Germans had relatively few troops and police in the Netherlands to enforce the occupation. A strong presence was not necessary, the place was so peaceful for them. Off-duty soldiers walked about unarmed.
They had to rely on the local authorities for the persecution of the Jews.

The Netherlands was a victim of occupation by Germany but a partner in the Holocaust of Dutch Jews.
Dutch police rounded them up and the Dutch railways transported them to a transit camp and later to the German border.
There was not one case of sabotage. Eichmann praised the Dutch effusively for the efficiency of the operation.

The Germans paid the Dutch for the deportation of the Jews. They paid a lot. If they did not pay on time the Dutch authorities sent them a reminder.

After the end of the war, on 17 September 1945, the new Dutch Minister of Transport, Steef van Schaik, addressed a group of railway workers in Utrecht.
He praised them for their collaboration in the deportation of the Jews. He said the income from the deportations was necessary for the economy and more important than the lives of the Jews.

"The unfortunate victims were taken to the concentration camps in your trains. There was rebellion in your hearts. Yet you did not do that, and that is honourable.
It was an obligation that the Dutch government demanded of you, because the railway is also one of the pillars on which the economic life of the Dutch people is based..."

The Holocaust in the Netherlands was a business model.

Monday, 22 January 2018

The economic mistake of importing migrants from non-Western countries.

The population of western Europe was falling because of an alarmingly low birth rate.
The working population as a percentage of the total population was declining even faster, as people were living longer after retirement.
A declining number of wage earners was working to support a growing number of people (mainly old people) who did not work.
A recipe for economic disaster.

The first major measure taken to combat this problem was the encouraging of women, especially those with (young) children, to join the labour market.
For example, in the 1990s many children's day care centres were built in the Netherlands and the building and operational costs were subsidized.
Unfortunately, the influx of more women into the labour market did not have enough of the desired positive effect.

The second measure taken was the raising of the retirement age. A logical step: More people working and paying taxes, and less people living off the paid taxes.
However, raising the retirement age is politically speaking a very sensitive issue. Therefore, it will only be raised gradually and the (limited) positive effects will only be felt in the distant future.

The aforementioned measures were piecemeal.
There was one simple solution, or so people thought. Import younger migrants, especially from countries with a high birthrate.

Germany was the country that needed younger migrants the most.
The Bertelsmann Institute warned in a report in 2015 that within the next 15 years, half of all German workers will become pensioners.
Furthermore, without migrants, Germany’s labour pool is likely to shrink from its current 45 million people to 29 million by 2050.
According to the Bertelsmann Institute, Germany needs 500,000 migrants a year until 2050.

Three economic cheers for the refugee crisis then?
Unfortunately no.
The main presumptions of the advantages of importing young labourers, are that they have the skills the economy needs and that they will enter the labour market. This was the case with the “guest workers” of the 1950s and 1960s.
However, these workers did not need any special skills and they had to work or they would be sent back to the countries they came from.

Many of the non-Western migrants who have entered Europe in recent years do not have the skills the current economy needs, and their continuing residence in western Europe is not dependent on having a job.
In fact, the welfare society in western Europe gives little incentive for choosing to work in low paid jobs, instead of living from benefits.
Recent statistics from the Dutch economy highlight the problem.
First and second generation migrants in the Netherlands with a "non-Western" background make up 12.7% of the population. Yet they receive 49.9% of all social assistance benefits.

The solution of importing non-Western migrants to solve the economic problem of a low birth rate and an ageing population has backfired.
The lack of labour participation by these migrants has exacerbated the economic problems.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The Catch-22 of anti-Semitism in the Netherlands

Dutch Jewish organizations and Dutch Jews are outraged that the attack on the Jewish restaurant in Amsterdam is not being treated as a hate crime. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, as routine incidents of verbal and low-level physical attacks on Jews by Muslims are not even investigated by the police.

The determining questions are, why are Muslim attacks on Jews not classified as hate crimes and why are they not investigated?
The answer is a Catch-22 reasoning.

Muslim attacks on Jews are “a priori” considered to be motivated by the existence and/or actions of the state of Israel. Therefore, the motivation for the attacks is not the victims’ adherence to the Jewish religion or their Jewish ethnicity, but the attackers’ perception that identifies the victims with the state of Israel.
For the Dutch authorities these kinds of attacks are not hate crimes.

Religious animosity towards Jews expressed during the attacks makes no difference.
The Islam is a peaceful religion. Therefore, the attackers’ misconception of the Islam is presumed to be the result of the existence and/or actions of the state of Israel.

The “a priori” (presupposed) determinant that the attack is not a hate crime is important.
Because of this, for an attack to be classified as a hate crime, it must at first be established that there is no “Israel” component in the attackers' motivation.
Accordingly, the conclusion that the attack was a hate crime can only be reached after an investigation.
In Amsterdam only 40% of complaints are investigated. Hate crimes, like attacks on Muslims, have priority and are investigated. As explained, verbal and low-level physical attacks on Jews are not considered to be hate crimes. Therefore, they have no priority and are not investigated.

Verbal and physical attacks on Jews by Muslims are a priori not considered to be hate crimes. They can only be classified as such after investigation.
However, as they are a priori not considered to be hate crimes, verbal and low-level physical attacks on Jews by Muslims have no priority, and are not investigated.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Long live the Lilliputians

There is this old American film director.
He is very famous and still making a film a year. Most of them are not that good anymore. Because he is so famous, actors and actresses work for him for almost no pay.

He has often been accused of being a licentious sod.
Recently, accusations by his adoptive daughter have resurfaced. These specific accusations were investigated 25 years ago by “sex abuse experts” at the Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. They found no evidence of abuse.
However, nobody cares about the trifling issue of evidence and the New York Times and other mainstream media have been rigorously pushing the accusations. Pouring petrol on the blazing fire of moral outrage.

If you are accused of male licentious behavior, you are damned for life. Your name must be struck from the annals of film history.
Therefore, I cannot mention the name of this old American film director on my blog. I have had to find an alias for him.

He is licentious, neurotic and a Jew, but there are quite a number of Hollywood sexual miscreants who fit that description. No hope there for an alias.
Eventually, I just translated his original surname, Konigsberg, into Hebrew. His alias became “Har Hamelech”. The wonder-feminist Gal Gadot has paved the way for the use of Hebrew names in Hollywood.

Hamelech has a new film coming out. Three young actors are now sorry they performed in his film. They are donating their salaries to anti-abuse charities.
Lucky that Hamelech does not pay much.

The most famous actor with ex post facto regret is Timothee Chalamet. He has been tipped as an Oscar-candidate for his performance in “Call Me By Your Name”.
His rejection of the old, licentious Hamelech has created a positive buzz for him.
He is donating his “entire” salary to Time’s Up, the LGBT Centre in New York, and Rainn (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network).

The second sorrynik is Rebecca Hall. She is donating her salary to Rainy Day and Time’s Up.
She apologizes to other women and calls her donation a “small gesture and not one intended as close to compensation.”
Hall made her name in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, one of Hamelech’s better films. I suppose she regrets that as well.

The third actor on the list is Griffin Newman. Nothing special about him. Trashing Hamelech is his first moment of glory.

It is now quite possible that Hamelech’s new film may not be released. I wonder if they will burn it?

Monday, 15 January 2018

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, Canadian-style

Charles Édouard Dutoit is an 81-year-old conductor who was born in Switzerland. He has had a very successful career.
He enjoyed much respect in Canada. In 1995, he was named a Grand Officer of the Ordre National du Quebec for his inspired musical direction of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
In 1997, he was made an honorary member of the Order of Canada.
At the end of 2017, Dutoit was accused of a number of sexual assaults and one rape.
He denied the accusations: "Whilst informal physical contact is commonplace in the arts world as a mutual gesture of friendship, the serious accusations made involving coercion and forced physical contact have absolutely no basis in truth."
After the accusations, no orchestra wanted Dutoit anymore.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation mulled banning his recordings with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
However, they found this too extreme as, “the recordings of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra make up an important part of our Canadian classical repertoire on CBC Radio Two.”
The head honchos found a solution to the problem: they decided to no longer credit him as conductor during broadcasts of his recordings.
Dutoit is now the He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named of CBC Radio Two.
Can you imagine the future in Canada?
Art galleries without the names of the painters. Books without the names of the authors.
An intellectual trou à merde.