Religion & Beliefs

I Was Wrong About the Ultra-Orthodox

I have long insisted that ultra-Orthodoxy contains viewpoints that are not only contemptuous of others, but are even downright hateful.  But something happened this weekend in Jerusalem that made me reconsider my previous position. You see, I may be wrong about … Read More

By / July 6, 2009

I have long insisted that ultra-Orthodoxy contains viewpoints that are not only contemptuous of others, but are even downright hateful.  But something happened this weekend in Jerusalem that made me reconsider my previous position. You see, I may be wrong about the ultra-Orthodox.

I may be guilty of understating the reality.

Anne Barker at ABC News reports,

 

As a journalist I’ve covered more than my share of protests. Political protests in Canberra. Unions protesting for better conditions. Angry, loud protests against governments, or against perceived abuses of human rights.I’ve been at violent rallies in East Timor. I’ve had rocks and metal darts thrown my way. I’ve come up against riot police.

But I have to admit no protest – indeed no story in my career – has distressed me in the way I was distressed at a protest in Jerusalem on Saturday involving several hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews.

[…]

I suddenly found myself in the thick of the protest – in the midst of hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews in their long coats and sable-fur hats. They might be supremely religious, but their behaviour – to me – was far from charitable or benevolent.As the protest became noisier and the crowd began yelling, I took my recorder and microphone out of my bag to record the sound. Suddenly found myself herded against a brick wall as they kept on spitting – on my face, my hair, my clothes, my arms. It was like rain, coming at me from all directions – hitting my recorder, my bag, my shoes, even my glasses. Big gobs of spit landed on me like heavy raindrops. I could even smell it as it fell on my face.Somewhere behind me – I didn’t see him – a man on a stairway either kicked me in the head or knocked something heavy against me. I wasn’t even sure why the mob was angry with me. Was it because I was a journalist? Or a woman? Because I wasn’t Jewish in an Orthodox area? Was I not dressed conservatively enough? In fact, I was later told, it was because using a tape-recorder is itself a desecration of the Shabbat even though I’m not Jewish and don’t observe the Sabbath.

 

I now invite our Orthodox defenders to explain how this oral gang-bang was Ms. Barker’s fault, or perhaps, to call her a liar, an exaggerator, or an anti-Semite. After all, Barker should have known it was shabbos. Her fault too, right? They were both wrong, so it’s a wash.

And don’t forget to insist it was an “isolated incident.”

 

They always are.

 

Via: Failed Messiah