The Jewish community in Britain represents only one-half of one percent of the population, but Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks believes it need not have a commensurate voice in the "human conversation." Sacks, who is only the sixth person to serve as Britain's Chief Rabbi since the position was formally created in 1845, says that he has worked to carve out an outsize influence for the Jewish community in the media, and is working to make the country's Jewish community "much more
self-confident and willing to engage with the world."
In his Big Think interview, Sacks talks about the state of anti-Semitism in the world, calling it a "virus" and saying we are currently in the "fourth mutation." Anti-Jewish sentiment has taken a number of forms over the years, he says, but it is now transforming into demonic anti-Zionism" that is focused not on Jews as individuals but Jews as a nation in their own sovereign state. Essentially, this new type of anti-Semitism accuses Israel of "every kind of distress in the Universe."
Modern anti-Semitism is one reason that the Jewish voice isn't so confident, says Sacks. Jews are "paranoid," says Sacks, because they have "defined ourselves as the people that dwells alone. We are nature’s victims. Everyone hates us. We always find ourselves alone. When push comes to shove, our friends desert us. Now, that is the negative self-image of Jewish life that has developed since the Holocaust, since 9/11 with the isolation of Israel, the return of anti-Semitism to Europe." Sacks says that the danger of this self-image—which is untrue—is that it has the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. "If you think you’re alone, you’ll probably find yourself alone. And I see the Jewish world pursuing these policies and they are disastrous."
Sacks also says that, because of the size of its population, American Jewry is "exciting" in ways that the Jewish community in Britain—or in any European country—can't be. "The sheer scale of Jewry in America is a quantum leap from what it is in any European country and that is... that results in enormous diversity, creativity," he says.
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A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.
- The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
- The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
- People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.
- Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
- Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
- All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.
- Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
- Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
- Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
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