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The late Rabbi Zalman Schachter’s time in Winnipeg recalled at lively evening hosted by Jewish Heritage Centre

(This article originally appeared in the Dec. 21, 2016 issue of The Jewish Post & News) By BERNIE BELLAN
It was billed as an evening that would be devoted to “Rabbi Zalman Schachter and the Winnipeg origins of the Jewish Renewal Movement”.
Like just about everything else associated with the late Rabbi Schachter (who died in 2014 at the age of 90), it was an evening not without controversy.
The Jewish Heritage Centre promoted the program, which was held Monday, Dec. 12, in the Multipurpose Room of the Asper Campus, as part of “its synagogue series connected with the Synagogues Exhibit at the Asper Campus.”
With the ever-clever Prof. Dan Stone serving as host, the audience of over 100 was treated to a series of reminiscences about  Rabbi Schachter’s 19 years spent in Winnipeg (from 1956-75) – a time that paralleled the advent of the “New Age” movement, also a time during which the use of hallucinogenic drugs became highly popular among young people.
The evening featured three main speakers: Rabbi Alan Green, who was given his “smichah” by Rabbi Schachter; Prof. Justin Jaron Lewis, an expert on Hasidism and the organizer of an interview project centering around Rabbi Schachter’s time in Winnipeg; and Alexandra Granke, a graduate student at the University of Manitoba in the Department of Religion, whose Masters thesis dealt with the influence Winnipeg’s Jewish community had on Rabbi Schachter’s thinking.
There was also a contribution from Murray (Moish) Goldenberg, who was a protégé of Rabbi Schachter’s. Goldenberg read a poem devoted to the late rabbi’s memory.
Following the speakers’ presentations, Dan Stone invited anyone in the audience who wanted to tell of their own experience with Rabbi Schachter to speak up. One by one individuals told stories about how Rabbi Schachter touched their lives.
Lest anyone reading this think that the evening was nothing more than a love-in for Rabbi Schachter, however, there were some negative notes struck as well. Although he was undoubtedly a man of great charisma, Zalman Schachter had his detractors. Two themes mentioned several times, both by the featured speakers and audience members, coursed through recollections of his time spent in Winnipeg: his faithlessness when it came to his relationships with women, and his overt championing of drug use.

Following is an account of some of what was said:
 Rabbi Green who, Dan Stone told the audience, will be leaving Winnipeg in 2018 to move to Fairfield, Iowa – the centre of transcendental meditation, described first meeting Rabbi Schachter in Los Angeles in the 1970s.
In time, Green became a devout follower of Rabbi Schachter’s, culminating in his receiving his smichah from Rabbi Schachter in Philadelphia, where he found the rabbi “surrounded by a bunch of old hippies” – some of whom “were leaders of the New Left in the 1960s.”
“My first class with him,” Rabbi Green said, “was kind of a Sinai movement for me. It literally took my breath away.”
Rabbi Schachter had a multitude of interests, including “Jewish mysticism, humanism, and modern psychology” among others, noted Rabbi Green. As well, “he was fluent in many languages.”
What impressed Rabbi Green quite deeply, he said, was how Rabbi Schachter “brought together Judaism and Indian mysticism”.
“How often we let fear get in the way of Jewish mysticism,” Rabbi Green said Rabbi Schachter once told him.
Turning to the subject of the Jewish Renewal Movement and Rabbi Schachter’s central role in that movement, Rabbi Green observed that “there are now hundreds of Jewish Renewal rabbis – most of them ordained by Rabbi Schachter.”
It was in Winnipeg, Rabbi Green noted, that Rabbi Schachter “created the first rainbow talit”. It was also here that “the interface between psychedelic drugs and spiritual practice” first took root among Rabbi Schachter and his many followers.
Rabbi Green commented, however, “that I always found this phase of Rabbi Schachter’s life to be somewhat embarrassing”.

Following Rabbi Green’s presentation, Justin Jaron Lewis took the podium to offer some observations about Rabbi Schachter’s time in Winnipeg. Lewis noted that Rabbi Schachter’s own autobiography has relatively little to say about the time he spent here, even though it was a fairly lengthy period. As well, the Wikipedia article about the rabbi barely mentions his time spent in Winnipeg, Lewis also observed.
It was partly because of that vacuum, Lewis explained that, at the behest of his colleague in the Judaic Studies program at the University of Manitoba, Ben Baader,  Lewis embarked upon the creation of an oral history project devoted to gathering “memories of Rabbi Schachter during his Winnipeg years.”
With contributions from 28 different individuals, all of whom whose lives were touched by Rabbi Schachter at some point during his time spent in Winnipeg – as the director of Hillel, as the representative of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, as a Professor of Religion, and in the many other roles he played, interviews were gathered. Those interviews now reside in a collection put together at the University of Colorado in Boulder (where Rabbi Schachter spent the final years of his life).
(If you would like to listen to any of those interviews simply Google “Winnipeg Jewish renewal”. According to Lewis, however, some of those interviews are not entirely positive in the impressions some interviewees had of Rabbi Schachter.)
The fact that Winnipeg seems to have been almost deliberately obscured in any writing, either by Rabbi Schachter himself or others writing about him, is somewhat of a puzzle for Lewis. After all, he observed, it was here that Rabbi Schachter “began the chaotic and colourful phase of Judaism that became so important in his later years.”
Perhaps it was the shroud of controversy that surrounded him while he was here that led to Rabbi Schachter’s downplaying the time he spent here but, as Lewis suggested, “over time the world has forgiven him even though he left Winnipeg under a cloud”.

It was left to Alexandra Granke to fill in some of the blanks that others have found when it comes to knowing more about the time Rabbi Schacter spent here.
As Granke explained, she was “the first person to have listened to all 28 interviews about Rabbi Schachter” that Winnipeggers gave. (By the way, if you have something you’d like to tell about Rabbi Schachter, you can still get in touch with Justin Jaron Lewis, who said he would love to hear from anyone else who might have something to contribute to the oral history project. He can be reached at .)
In analyzing Rabbi Schachter’s often controversial stay in Winnipeg, Granke observed that “there was an air of inevitability about Rabbi Schachter’s break with the Lubavitch movement.”
Granke referred to an interview given by Abe Anhang, who talked about Rabbi Schachter’s use of LSD as the reason for his departure from the Chabad movement.
“His use of LSD runs through many of the other interviews,” Granke noted. Yet, she was “surprised by the relative nonchalance of many of the interviewees” toward Rabbi Schachter’s prolific drug use.
In fact, one interviewee mentioned how she was first introduced to “weed, mescaline, and cocaine” by Rabbi Schachter.
Rather than simply dwell on this aspect of Rabbi Schachter’s life though, Granke observed that many interviewees spoke of how he “opened up his group of followers to a different understanding of Judaism.”
“Doing drugs for him was not something fun,’ Granke noted. Rather, “for him it was about a way to reach a higher level of spirituality.”
Turning to yet another oft-criticized component of his life, Granke did refer to Rabbi Schachter’s having “fathered ten children with a variety of women.”
Yet, despite his somewhat notorious reputation, Granke suggested that others “were willing to overlook his lapses in moral judgment because he was so accepting of others.”
Although Reb Zalman, as he came to be known affectionately by his devoted followers, may have “been the opposite of what was expected of rabbis in Winnipeg,” his “dedication to people” is what seems to have been the mark that he left most often upon others.
“Reb Zalman always had time for others,” was a common refrain through the interviews, Granke said.
As one interviewee suggested, Rabbi Schachter’s form of spirituality, which he formulated while he was in Winnipeg, was “Buddhist chakra meeting Jewish sphirot”.
“He was a Jewish practitioner in a universal soul,” said one interviewee.
Granke referred to the interview given by Len Udow, who suggested that the pain of Rabbi Schachter’s wartime experience (when he fled first from Vichy France, then to Belgium, where he was “one step ahead of the Gestapo”) dissipated during moments in which he was engaged in prayer. “It was as if all the pain of the war was dispelled by the sudden connection with his many ancestors.”

Murray Goldenberg mentioned Rabbi Schachter’s having taught him the blessing for marijuana:  “shehakol neheyeh b’dvaro” (who brings about everything by his word).
Yet, as I noted earlier, not everyone was so rosy-hued in their memories of Rabbi Schachter. David Wilder suggested that “the reason he (Rabbi Schachter) doesn’t mention Winnipeg in his writings is because of his situation with his family. His kids didn’t speak to him,” Wilder said (because of their father’s having left their mother to take up with the daughter of a well-known Winnipeg radio announcer).
Justin Jaron Lewis did say though, that “the kids reconciled with him at the end.”
As audience members after audience member spoke up to recall their own experience of Rabbi Schachter, it was easy to understand the enormous impact that this man had on so many Winnipeggers. As Jerry Cohen said, “There was no greater influence on my life Jewishly than Reb Zalman. He was a great influence to many of us in those early years in Winnipeg.”


#1 Mr. — Ernest Seinfeld 2017-07-09 11:15

This is the first time I am reading about this rabbi. I also read an article about him today in the Jerusalem Post and made the following comment:

“I remember Rabbi Schaechter as a fellow student in Vienna at the Sperlgymnasium (high school, the same Sigmund Freud atttended) in 1937.

In Austria classes in one’s religion were mandatory.

He kept trying to upstage our religion teacher by frequent interrupting him with “Raschi said”. 

The rest of the students who had no idea of the teaching of Raschi and hardly were even aware of this great Talmud scholar, after a while gave him the nickname ‘Raschi’. The teacher obviously did not enjoy these interruptions but remained quiet and polite.

Ernest Seinfeld”

I attended three years with him in the same classes. He sat always in the first row and tried to ‘shine’. He craved for attention, a trait his fellow students did not exactly find appealing.

In our January 18, 2017 issue we also printed this letter from members of Rabbi Schachter’s family, in response to the original article:

Response to article on Reb Zalman Schachter
We are the widow and children of Reb Zalman Schachhter-Shalomi, z”l. We want to recognize the initiative of the Jewish Heritage Center in convening a public forum honoring our father and Winnipeg origins of the Jewish Renewal Movement. While none of us live in Winnipeg any longer, we treasure the time that the family had in Winnipeg and are sorry that we were unable to be present for this forum. Had we been present, we would have contributed to this retrospective in the following ways.

  1. The article “The late Rabbi Zalman Schachter’s Time in Winnipeg Recalled at Lively Evening Hosted by Jewish Heritage Centre” misstated the tone of his family situation. Our father was wholehearted in his relationship with his wives and children. His marriage breakdowns were certainly not caused by lapses in moral judgment. Divorce almost always is difficult for the marital partners and children. In the case of Reb Zalman and Feigle, the decision to end their marriage was understandable as, much earlier, they recognized that their relationship was unsustainable. They had drifted apart as a result of the differences in their spiritual visions and only intentionally stayed together until their youngest child reached her Bat Mitzvah so that she would have the capacity to deal with family breakdown. None of the children harbor any resentment to children from other mothers. It is a testament to Reb Zalman’s love for his children, and our love for him, the that we are all in touch with one another to share each other’s joy and provide support in times of need.
  2. There is an element of physical harshness in the name Schachter, which has its origins in Shochet (slaughterer). Reb Zalman was someone who was deeply concerned with the increase in violent conflict in the world. He adopted a typical Jewish response to his concerns by adding a name that would bring to our consciousness the need to pursue peace, Shalom. For many years now, he has been known and called Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.
  3. The relatively limited material in the University of Colorado archives on Jewish Renewal on Reb Zalman’s time in Winnipeg is not based in any way on any deliberate action on his part or because of an alleged cloud causing him to leave the city. Reb Zalman moved to Philadelphia because it had a larger Jewish community and was closer to other large Jewish centers in North America. Reb Zalman had begun providing rabbinic training in Winnipeg, but few students were willing to come to Winnipeg to study. The move to the east coast enabled many more students to access his training and become rabbis. As for the gap in current literature concerning Reb Zalman’s time in Winnipeg, we applaud Professor Lewis’s initiative in collecting oral histories to be added to the archive at the University of Colorado. Regarding the claim that Reb Zalman ignored Winnipeg in his autobiography, it should be noted that 97 pages of the 186 page “My life in Jewish Renewal,” (aside from the Appendices), are devoted to years living in Winnipeg. It is crucial to note, however, that much that happened during this period took place during his numerous travels outside Winnipeg.
    We are aware that some of his views and activities were challenged by some elements of the Winnipeg Jewish community. Reb Zalman, as we all are, was human. However, for those who focused their comments at the forum on his imperfections, we wonder what standard they were holding him to. On the first Shabbat of the secular year We read Parshat Va’yigash. The story of our ancestor Ya’acov is drawing to a close. Yes, Ya’acov had issues with his wives, with his children, and with neighbors in the broader community. Those flaws, however, are not the major part of his remembrance. We remember him as a Jewish ancestor whose legacy was that all Jews now are known under Ya’acov’s second name, Yisrae. We are all B’nai Yisrael.
    We, his widow, his daughters and sons, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all feel that we have been blessed by being the spouse and offspring of one of the 21 century’s greatest rabbis. Each of us, in our own way, is seeking to continue the contribution to society that he has made. May our actions and the actions of Winnipeg Jewry give our father’s neshama an aliyah!
    Blessings,The Widow and all the children of Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi
    Eve, Miriam, Rabbi Shalom, Josef, Yale, Chana Tina, Jonathan, Lisa, Shalvi, Rabbi Shlomo Barya, Yotam & Rossi
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How Live Casino Dealers Enhance Your Gaming Experience

In the booming online gaming world, live casino dealers stand out as the bridge between the virtual and the real. They bring the physical casino’s authenticity and excitement to your screen, creating a more immersive and engaging experience. But how exactly do live casino dealers enhance your gaming experience?

From fostering a social atmosphere to increasing trust in online games, these professionals make gaming sessions more enjoyable and genuine.

Real-time Interaction

Real-time interaction revolutionizes the online gaming industry, particularly in live casinos. By leveraging advanced streaming technology, live casino dealers can engage with players just as they would in a traditional casino environment.

This dynamic interaction enhances the gaming experience by fostering a sense of presence and camaraderie. Through chat features and live video feeds, players can communicate with the dealer and even with other participants, creating an immersive and social atmosphere.

The role of the live dealer is crucial, as their real-time responses and professional demeanour elevate the authenticity and enjoyment of the game. This interactive experience makes the games more exciting. It instills greater trust and transparency, replicating the feel of a brick-and-mortar casino from the comfort of home.

Enhanced Trust and Transparency

Trust is essential in online casinos as it dramatically impacts players’ peace of mind. Gamblers look for confidence that their selected platform is dependable, safe, and runs transparently and fairly.

Online casinos build trust and transparency by acquiring proper licensing, offering secure transactions, ensuring fair play, and providing high-quality customer service. Moreover, other online casinos introduce live casino games with live dealers to enhance trust and transparency.

In addition to real-time interactions, live dealers can interact with the players like in brick-and-mortar casinos. Players can ask questions, make comments, and receive immediate responses, fostering a sense of community and reliability.

This interaction mimics the social aspects of land-based casinos, where players can gauge the dealer’s demeanour and professionalism, thus bolstering their confidence in the game’s integrity.

Additionally, live dealer games are often overseen by regulatory bodies and broadcast from high-quality, secured studios, adding another level of accountability. Multiple camera angles and advanced streaming technology ensure every action is visible and transparent, diminishing potential fraud concerns.

Professional and Entertaining Conduct

Professional conduct is the backbone of any successful live casino. Dealers who are well-trained in the game’s rules, adept at handling cards or other gaming equipment, and capable of managing the game flow efficiently create a seamless gaming experience.

They also uphold the principles of fairness and transparency, providing players with peace of mind that the game is being conducted properly.

Beyond professionalism, a dealer’s entertainment ability sets a live casino apart from its online counterparts. Engaging dealers who interact with players, share witty banter, and maintain a lively atmosphere can transform a simple game into a memorable event.

Their charisma and energy help to foster a social environment, encouraging interaction between players and setting the stage for a more immersive experience.

The best live casino dealers master the delicate balance between professionalism and entertainment. They effortlessly shift from explaining complex game rules to keeping the mood light and engaging. This balance ensures players feel respected and entertained, enhancing their satisfaction and encouraging repeat visits.

Varied Game Options

The success of online casinos heavily depends on the calibre and diversity of their game offerings. In the fiercely competitive online gambling industry, casinos must provide a wide range of top-notch games to draw in and keep their players engaged.

One essential reason online casinos need a diverse game selection is to keep players interested and entertained. Another advantage of offering a wide range of games is that it meets players’ diverse preferences. Gamblers have unique tastes, motivations, and gaming styles.

That said, live casino dealers are trained to handle multiple game types, ensuring players enjoy various gaming options.

Their professionalism and capability allow seamless transitions between games, keeping the gaming environment dynamic and engaging. This variety caters to seasoned gamblers seeking depth and strategy and welcomes newcomers eager to explore and learn.

Moreover, live dealers often introduce unique game variants and themed events that you might not find in a traditional online casino. These unique offerings can include everything from high-stakes poker tournaments to themed game nights featuring popular TV shows or movie franchises, enhancing the gaming experience.

Personalized Gaming Experience

Another key benefit of having live casino dealers is the personalized gaming experience they provide. Dealers are trained to cater to each player’s unique preferences and behaviours, making adjustments and offering insights that make each session feel exclusive.

Their friendly demeanour and professional approach ensure that the games run smoothly and that players feel valued and entertained.

Moreover, the live casino setup often includes multiple camera angles and high-definition streaming, ensuring players don’t miss a moment of the action. This level of engagement and transparency boosts player confidence and trust in the game’s fairness, further enriching the overall experience.


Live casino dealers significantly enhance the online gaming experience by bringing authenticity, interaction, trust, and entertainment. With varied game options and the ability for personalization, players can enjoy a casino experience that closely mirrors the excitement of playing in a physical casino.

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Is There Enough Time Before Summer to Get a Summer Body?

Do you think there’s enough time to get a summer body before the height of summer? Of course! If you start right now, you still have two months before August, which we’d class as the height of summer. Two months is enough time to make good progress and see some changes that’d make you look and feel incredible.

Read on to find out more.

Lean Diet and Lifting Weights

It’s the part that nobody likes to think about – the hard work. Yes, if you want to get a summer body before summer, you must be ultra-strict with your lean diet and lifting weights, with a sprinkle of cardio. Combining a lean diet with weight training forms the basis for your summer body.

If you’re ultra-strict with your diet and training four or five times a week, there’s a massive difference you can make, especially if you get your training plan spot on. You can also speed up the process with supplements – supplements will be your best friend! Check out Canadian Made Labs ( for example, to find the best supplement for you.

Stick to eating whole, unprocessed foods like lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Reducing refined sugars and unhealthy fats will help you lose fat and build muscle. Swap your sweet snack for 0% low-fat Greek yogurt, granola, honey, and mixed fruits, and you’ve already made a massive difference to your diet and outcomes. And it tastes good!

Weight training is equally essential for muscle development, metabolism, and how quickly your physique changes. Focus on compound exercises that target multiple muscles for maximum results.

Hybrid Training

Hybrid training works well. If you’ve got some fat to trim, cardio is essential. Don’t worry, you don’t need to run. A moderate-paced walk on a steeper incline can burn more calories than running, is more enjoyable for most people, and won’t leave you gasping for breath. The stair master is another good cardio machine for a quick blast that will leave you gasping for breath but feeling good.

If you really want to make quick changes, do high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT workouts consist of short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by brief periods of low-intensity exercise or rest.

This form of workout can help you lose body fat within a short period compared to steady-state cardio exercise, for example – a 20-minute session doing these intervals may benefit you more than one hour of slow walking. Apparently, you can burn 40% more body fat with HIIT. And what’s 20 minutes of sweating and suffering if you want quick gains?

Psychological Resilience and Self-Control

It doesn’t only involve physical fitness; mental strength and willpower also play a huge role in achieving a perfect summer body. Discipline and a positive mindset are necessary for maintaining focus on one’s goals. Set achievable targets, and understand that progress takes time. If you’re ever lacking motivation, pick the body you want and imagine it in your mind. Tell yourself, over and over, that you need that body. In times of low motivation, reminding yourself repetitively of the body you want can make a big difference.

Consistency in the eating plan and daily training will encourage habits that can become part of you. And, don’t only measure your progress through weight or inches alone but also how good you feel physically and mentally.

It’s time to think about your summer body…because you’re running out of time. Start today and see what difference you can make by August!

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Want to know about a a Muslim Arab state that’s been “occupied” by another Muslim Arab state? Read about Western Sahara

Contributed by DOMINIC MARTIN Did you know that a mere four hour flight from London lies a self-proclaimed Arab state chafing under a decades-long occupation? And that their haughty overlords, motivated in part by dubious historical claims to the land, partly by naked territorial aggrandizement, annually encourages thousands of its settlers to move in and tilt the demographic balance in its favour? And all this with the tacit support of its Western allies, and in blatant violation of numerous UN resolutions? Meanwhile the indigenous inhabitants of this land are left to eke out a threadbare existence in the arid scraps left to them, whilst many more languish in refugee camps in neighbouring states. And yet, undaunted, this oppressed people fight on, standing proudly under their red, green, white and black flag. Their occupiers, in a move equal parts desperation and exasperation, have resorted to constructing an enormous barrier across the entirety of the territory, de facto annexing the choicest areas to the ‘motherland’.

I talk of course of Western Sahara, or the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic if you prefer (Morocco, which has occupied the bulk of this former Spanish colony in north-west Africa since 1975, prefers the term ‘Southern Provinces’). Never heard of it? You’re not alone. Despite lying just 60 miles east of the Canary Islands, this Britain-sized slab of rock and desert occupies a position in the average Westerner’s imagination somewhere between East Timor and Ambazonia. There are no weekly protests in support of the oppressed Sahrawi people, no calls to boycott Moroccan goods, no ICC court case against Morocco, and no ceaseless stream of hand-wringing pity pieces for the Sahrawis in the left-leaning media.

Why not? Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, right? Those on the progressive left endlessly tell us that their support for the Palestinian cause is due solely for their compassion for an oppressed people – ‘you don’t have to be Muslim/Arab to support Palestine, just human’, as the phrase de jour goes. Yet Western Sahara? Crickets. This is perplexing – after all, it has all the right ingredients; if anything, it offers a far more clear-cut case than Palestine, given that the Polisario Front (Western Sahara’s answer to the PLO) has refrained from terrorist attacks on civilians and focuses its armed struggle solely against Moroccan military targets, and therefore doesn’t require the kind of awkward moral hedging demanded by supporters of the Palestinians.

And yet Western Sahara is comprehensively ignored. Its flag emoji has failed to take its place next to the EU, Ukraine and trans flags in the Twitter and Instagram bios of the right-on set. Could it be that this intra-Arab dispute between two Muslim peoples who look the same and speak the same language simply lacks the gravitas and high-stakes excitement of the Arab-Israeli imbroglio? That this dispute over a remote desert fastness, whose main exports are fish and a bit of phosphate, is simply not sexy enough? (Even Lonely Planet, usually a-gush with fawning admiration for the most dangerous and dusty ‘up and coming’ developing world destinations, calls it “featureless, arid, inhospitable and uninviting.”) Is it possible that despite the evident wrongs committed against the long-suffering Sahrawi people, that the slacktivist set simply don’t care? It certainly seems that way, which would suggest to this author at least that their support for Palestine represents for the most part less a genuine outpouring of righteous fury against injustice, than a performative display of allegiance to ‘the current thing’. Having long since grown bored of the grim trench warfare in Ukraine, this is now the sole foreign policy issue on which our progressive panjandrums absolutely insist that one must take a stand. The only other similar dispute which even comes close is the moribund ‘Free Tibet’ movement, which has long since fizzled out as its supporters realised the futility of protesting the regime in Beijing.

We are often told that the world doesn’t care about Palestine, that “Palestinian blood is very cheap” as former Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf put it. Yet the complete opposite is in fact the case. No other foreign policy issue attracts as much international attention as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and no other ‘national liberation’ struggle attracts as much foreign support as that of the Palestinians. Would a major flare up of fighting in Western Sahara be capable of swinging a British by-election, as happened recently in Rochdale? Hardly.

So, that’s the progressives. Meanwhile the vociferous rage of their erstwhile allies in the Islamic ‘ummah’ is perhaps at first glance more understandable, their religious sensibilities understandably inflamed at seeing Muslims dying by the score, and at the hands of the infidel no less. Yet even here we see a similar double standard at play. Where has been the outrage at other violent oppression committed against Muslims, such as China’s brutal suppression of the Uighurs, Burma’s genocidal attacks against the Rohingya, or the Alawite Assad regime’s brutal bloodbath in Syria? To say nothing of the tens of thousands of deaths caused by intra-Muslim civil wars in Yemen, Sudan or Iraq? It’s hard not to notice that Muslims generally ignore those issues and reserve especial ire for Israel and Israel alone. Ad for Western Sahara – it doesn’t even get a look in. It would seem that Laayoune, Dakhla or Boujdour simply lack the heady religious allure of Jerusalem, Jenin or Jericho. It would seem that some Muslim lives are worth more than others.

At some point the brutal fighting in Gaza will come to an end. The rent-a-protestors will find a new trend to get excited about. It is quite likely that we will see yet another international push to reanimate the interminable Arab-Israeli ‘peace process’. Forget potential nuclear war in Korea or Kashmir, or the slow-motion implosion of Myanmar – the entire weight of the world’s efforts and attention will once again be bought to bear on the great, grand cause of creating a corrupt, authoritarian (if not outright Islamist) Palestinian statelet in the Middle East. And when that happens, spare a thought if you will for the Sahrawis, as they waste away in their desert shantytowns. After all, no one else will.

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