Sunday, June 23, 2024

  • Sunday, June 23, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
The journal "Settler Colonial Studies" published this article and abstract earlier this year:

Vegan nationalism?: the Israeli animal rights movement in times of counter-terrorism

Hiroshi Yasui

In recent years, the movement advocating animal rights and welfare (animal rights movement), in parallel with the practice of ethical veganism, has become increasingly significant in Israel. Along with this trend, several studies examine and analyze the colonial aspects of the Israeli animal rights movement and its relevance to the Palestinian issue from the perspective of Critical Animal Studies. Critically examining preceding studies on veganism and colonialism, through analysis of the political discourses of leading activists and public figures within the newly popular Israeli vegan trend, as well as interviews with a sample of Israeli vegans, this article will demonstrate how veganism in Israel is associated with a narrative of Israeli national superiority. Such discourses may well be called ‘vegan nationalism'. Vegan nationalism is a discursive and regulatory framework in which veganism is considered proof of the moral superiority of a nation in a settler colonialist context, implicitly stressing the barbarism and backwardness of the ‘terrorists’. At the same time, as an article written by the Israel Defense Force indicates, in this framework, vegans present a welcome, appealing image that resonates even though it differs from the image of the stronger, more robust and powerful carnist traditionally favored by Zionists.
As we've seen with "pinkwashing," the accusation is that when Israelis do something that is aligned with the progressive movement's own pet causes, it must be interpreted as proof that Israelis are trying to hide their inherently evil personas. 

I do not have access to the article, but I can see the footnotes. Not one footnote I saw supports his thesis.  

So for example, I can see the two references to the IDF website where we are supposedly exposed to this Jewish moral supremacy narrative that demeans Palestinians as immoral meat eaters.

One was a 2017 article in an IDF journal that describes how the army accommodates vegans, both with food and clothing choices, and the other was a more expansive article about the difficulties of being a vegan in the IDF and how the army is working to make everyone comfortable. It even discusses the dilemma of a soldier who is killing people while being a vegan:

From time to time, the vegan warriors come across people who claim that their very role as warriors is incompatible with their aspiration for morality which is expressed in the vegan lifestyle. Maj. Friedman knows very well how to deal with these claims. "I just think it's not true. I enlisted in the army to be a fighter to protect our country. There are very clear orders in the army and our army is a moral army. If there is a soldier in the army who does something that is forbidden then he is punished," he responds. "I don't see a connection between sparing animals and sparing people who want to harm the country. Our army is not an army designed to kill, it is an army designed to protect."
But I cannot find anything from the IDF that even implies that it considers itself morally superior to meat-eating Palestinians. It would be absurd, since most soldiers still eat meat. But it is justifiably proud that it offers choices for vegan soldiers:

The closest example I could find of the IDF using animal rights to make a moral point was this tweet:
Which is just pointing out Hamas hurting animals. 

When PETA does it, that is moral; when the IDF does it, it is immoral.

Speaking of PETA, their blog published a fawning article about animal rights in Israel (not quoted by this paper: "When it comes to recognizing animals’ natural rights, Israel is leagues ahead of many other countries. Israel has long banned the sale of personal-care and household products that were tested on animals. It was the first country to ban horse- and donkey-drawn carts and carriages used for work purposes."

Another article referenced in the paper that disproves the author's attempts to demonize Israel is from Vegan Review:
Hailed as ‘Israel’s Angriest Vegan’, Tal Gilboa is an activist with a difference.

In 2019, following a decade of animal rights activism, she was appointed by the Israeli prime minister as his advisor on matters of animal welfare. Some saw it as a political manoeuvre on Benjamin Netanyahu’s behalf, but to Gilboa, it was simply “a historic day for animals”.

“There is no Left or Right in the fight for animals,” she explained. “If it advances animals’ welfare and alleviates their suffering, it is the right thing to pursue.”

Gilboa’s voice softens somewhat when speaking of the Netanyahu clan. “What Netanyahu’s administration did for animals is exemplary,” she says. “This should be happening all over the world — operating within a reigning government rather than waiting for small animal-rights niches to form; these niches do not work.”

Within four months in her new role, Gilboa has achieved more than she ever dreamt possible. Her wins for animals include the ban of the trade in fur and the hunting of certain species of birds. She also helped secure Kaya’s Law (named after Netanyahu’s own dog), where vaccinated dogs suspected to have bitten someone can be quarantined at home rather than being forcibly taken from their owners.
None of these sources even remotely fits in with the bizarre abstract. The author is reduced to blaming Israeli society when a deputy mayor of Jerusalem called terrorists "animals" as an insult.

Even if you do a general search for veganism in Israel, you find lots of articles but none of the ones I found make any reference to Palestinians one way or another.

While there is no evidence that Israelis use veganism to position themselves as being morally pure as opposed to Palestinians, vegans in general are well known to be insufferably smug about their own moral superiority over everyone else.  

It is difficult to escape the idea that the writer of this paper is projecting his own idea that he is morally superior to meat eaters to Israelis and Palestinians. It is nonsense, but it is the only thing that explains this paper, whose own footnotes do not support the researcher's thesis.

By being published in "Settler Colonial Studies," the entire field of settler colonialist studies looks like a joke. 

(h/t YMedad)

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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