Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Charlie Hebdo rally couldn't escape politics

Why would a Jewish newspaper digitally remove images of female politicians from the iconic march through Paris?  It's pretty obvious - they don't believe women should hold any office of power.

I'ts not a view held by the majority in Israel but is the work of an ultra-conservative Jewish newspaper called The Announcer.  It excluded the images of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Swiss President Simonetta Sommru.

To say the world is outraged is putting it mildly.  One reader in Israel said "They are telling their community that women have no place in society outside the home, very sad and very disturbing." But it gets worse - the newspaper has even refused to print the names of female members of the Israeli parliament.

Their excuse?  "For reasons of modesty" they said, women should not be seen in the media, period.

Although the Paris rally was a wonderful, spontaneous show of emotion, politics still took a front seat.

French President Francois Hollande asked Benjamin Netanyahu to stay at home because he didn't want the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to overshadow the event.  He also sent the same message to President Mammoud Abbas.  Like Netanyahu, Abbas also agreed not to go.

But on Saturday night, when Netanyahu found out his political opponents would be here, he changed his mind, so Abbas did too and the march was suddenly tainted by politics.

This sorry tale tells us that it's not just the Jihadists who want to return to the dark ages, readers of The Announcer do too.  It was founded by Meir Porush, a former member of the ultra-orthodox United Torah Judaism Party. He recently made a grand show of chaining himself to a podium over the proposed drafting of ultra-conservative Jews into the Armed Forces.

Just another man stuck in the past, refusing to move on.

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