Gerald Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral work in Middle East studies, has lectured on numerous university and other platforms. He has debated many of the best Arab and pro-Arab academics in public debates and on television. Mr. Honigman is widely published in academic journals, magazines, newspapers and other publications.
Thu May 26, 2011 1:35 pm The Difference A Donkey Makes...
The Difference A Donkey Makes...
by Gerald A. Honigman
Let me begin by stating that there is a tradition in both Judaism and, much later, Islam to treat animals in a humane way. And, in the modern age of factory farming and such--with all the inhumane practices which accompany them--none but the vegetarian comes out really looking good on this matter. Still, having stated this, there are some vey real differences in practice. A mere glance at Wikipedia, for example, at how animals are used by some folks (especially, guess who ?) to commit atrocities against others is educational...
There is a truly great organization which goes the extra, extra mile to defend animals. Yes, there are other great ones too--and I try to support as many as my very limited funds permit these days. But the one I'm refering to now--and the inspiration for this article--is the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
The most recent mailing I received from WSPA (which I introduced to thousands of my students over the decades) focused on saving the donkeys of Bethlehem from the horrendous pain and suffering that they are frequently subjected to.
After describing the agony caused to one donkey by an owner overloading him, using painful harnesses, and driving him to exhaustion, and contrasting this to a luckier animal rescued by a local veternarian supported by WSPA, the excerpts from the mailing continued...
Unfortunately, the first story depicts the daily lives of tens of thousands of donkeys living in Bethlehem right now. Toiling without rest under the hot sun; exhausted, injured, and hungry; neglected and abused, these poor animals know only pain and suffering...many live with agonizing wounds...yet most will never be brought to a veternarian because their owners see them as little more than machines...they will be literally be worked to death...then thrown away when their worn out bodies can no longer go on.
Oh yes...there is another fate for donkeys in the "Arab" world as well, not mentioned in the mailer.
As hinted above, they have been used to carry explosives to blow themselves and human targets up with as well. Another famous organization, PETA, was very vocal on this matter itself several years ago. On February 3, 2003 Ingrid Newkirk, PETA's president, wrote a letter to Yasser Arafat urging that the Arabs not use donkeys when murdering Jews (no mention of concern about blown up Jews, however...just that animals be left out of the conflict).
While no people nor culture has a monopoly on saints or sinners, one would be hard-pressed to find Jews doing these sort of things to animals, let alone people...especially on the massive scale we're referring to here.
Not only are Jews not permitted to do such things as overwork their animals (they must also rest on the Sabbath), they are expected to take care of their animals' own basic needs--such as food and water--before those of themselves. And, unlike what we see too often in the "Arab"/Muslim world, these principals are largely put into practice.
While there are some folks who don't mind abusing or murdering people but supposedly still like animals (Hitler, for example), the mistreatment of the one too often seems to make the slaughter of the other easier.
The same common disregard for animal life described above in now predominantly Muslim Arab Bethlehem happens to also be taking place in a culture which glorifies and makes heros of those who visit families in the night, beheading infants and otherwise murdering others; creates museums with fake Jewish body parts hanging from the ceiling in commemoration of the real events; stops pregnant mothers in their cars and murders the children at point blank range in their car seats along with the women; kidnaps young children and smashes their heads against the inside of caves; deliberately targets schools and school buses; etc. and so forth.
No problem with the Jews' donkeys...and no Jews beheading Arab infants either.
Get it ?
Unlike Arab non-combatants who die because their brothers use them as human shields in the process of attacking Jewish non-combatants (a double war crime according to the Geneva Conventions, by the way), those victims above were as innocent (and deliberately selected...the more innocent, the better) as those donkeys cited by WSPA being worked to death.
While I'm not trying to downplay such problems associated with things like veal calf or mass chicken production (which many Jews are also guilty by association with), what I'm focusing upon here represents something far different.
Not that the Arabs are the only folks with a bad record on the these matters, it's still no accident that WSPA had to do a mailing about the donkeys of Bethlehem rather than the fate of any animal in the land of the Jews.