Hello My Name is Patrick Martin, I Work for the Globe and Mail, and I’m Unqualified to Work in Journalism

Who’s Patrick Martin, you might ask? He’s a Globe and Mail reporter who’s written this week’s favorite Charedi bashing article, and earned his journalism degree from Clown College.

His article, A Hostile Takeover of Zionism is already burning up all the zOMG HAREDIM ARE TAKING OVER THE PLANET bloggers.

Problem, the article is actually pretty unintentionally hilarious. It would be like me trying to write a burning hit piece about how the battles inside the American Anglican Church, without being too clear on who Anglicans or what the difference is between them and Catholics. Well done Paddy, well done.

It’s really hard to read paragraphs like this, without breaking into laughter…

While the NRP has disappeared, the ideas and the name have grown. The powerful Shas Party, of Sephardi and Haredi disciples, is the best example.

Seriously, can anyone who knows Israeli politics read this without blowing milk out their nose? To put this into terms that Paddy can understand, the equivalent of this paragraph would be…

“The Presbyterian Church have since disappeared, but the Catholic Church has risen to take its ideas and its place.”

Listing how many ways Patrick Martin screwed up a simple paragraph almost defies the imagination. The NRP did not disappear, it renamed itself. The NRP does not care about El Al flying on Shabbat or segregated buses, it’s on the liberal side even of the Dati Leumi spectrum. Shas has nothing to do with the NRP, it’s a Sephardi Religio-Nationalist party, and shares very few concerns with the NRP. Its birth had more to do with the Haredim, who viewed the NRP as the enemy.

Patrick Martin’s A Hostile Takeover of Zionism is full of mind bogglingly insane paragraphs like that. Any journalist who wrote a similar article about any other group that his colleagues were actually familiar with, would be out on his ass, sweeping out the stables next to Jayson Blair.

These days, many of the Haredim – the word means “those who tremble” in awe of God” – have joined with right-wing religious Zionists to become a powerful political force.

Martin’s whackoid premise is that Haredim and Religious Zionists have joined forces. He has no real proof for any of this, especially since he can’t tell apart any subgroups of Haredim or Religious Zionist. The only tie to Haredim that he does cite involves a former Sefardi Chief Rabbi. But as far as Patrick Martin knows, Haredim are the whackoids in black, and Religious Zionists are the settlement whackoids. So it’s common sense for the Globe and Mail’s Jayson Blair to stitch them together with lots of statistics, some of which are actually not made up, but without any actual demonstration of how this supposed takeover by the two groups is running.

A decade ago, there were almost no Haredim in the West Bank settlements. Today, the two largest settlements are entirely ultra-Orthodox, and the Haredim are about a third of the almost 300,000 settlers.

Seriously, dude. If you want to define down settlements enough, you can also call all the Haredim in Jerusalem, settlers.

Will Israel adhere to its founding secular values or will it become a theocratic Jewish state?

What founding secular values? You mean like bans on Shabbat transportation and flights? Bans on stores selling meat? Israel’s principles today are more secular than they used to be. Try buying pork in Israel in 1961.

In the Haredim, the religious Zionists have acquired potent allies. Their followers obey orders without question.

Like robots! Except where does this alliance actually exist? Not in Disengagement, which the Haredim backed. Not in conversion, which the Religious Zionists are opposed to. But why should Patrick Martin actually have to provide actual examples of his conspiracy theories.

To obtain these goals they have influenced the platforms and growth of political parties, appointments to the rabbinical courts and government policy. As a result, religious schools get a disproportionate share of the education budget, El Al planes don’t fly on the Sabbath and publicly run buses are segregated on a growing number of runs.

Which happened just last week when Shas and the NRP and all the Haredim got together! zOMG! Except like totally not. Sabbath transportation bans are not new, and the El Al controversy was a Charedi issue. Bus segregation is opposed by Religious Zionists. And the appointments have been part of a quiet civil war between two sides.

I’ll skip a bunch of paragraphs in which Patrick Martin recites a whole bunch of stuff about Haredi violence, that once again does not serve to support his thesis. Finally he wraps up the insanity by citing a claiming that Israelis are leaving the country because it’s becoming more like Iran. Because Haifa and Tel Aviv, totally like Bnei Brak now. All the discos have shtreimels in them! And pork comes with a hasgacha.

Naturally the usual idiots like Failed Messiah are all over this, in between reporting on how the Gedolim are really David Icke’s lizard people.

There’s plenty to criticize about Haredim, without making up a whole lot of crap to do it. The key to writing articles about religion in Israel seems to be to have no clue what you’re talking about. People like Patrick Martin find it easy to spread conspiracy theories that are laughable, because none of his superiors will question anything negative written about Israel or religious Jews. It’s the Noah Feldman principle.

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