Category Archives: Donald Trump

The Surprising Origins of Moral Coldness and Hatred

statue of liberty

Photo via R.Ian Lloyd/Masterfile/Corbis


“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These famous lines are from ‘The New Colossus’,  a sonnet that American poet Emma Lazarus (1849–1887) wrote in 1883 to raise money for the construction of a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. In 1903, the poem was cast onto a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level. The poem has inspired generations of Americans with a sense of their moral and ethical virtues and their land as a beacon of freedom in the world.

In 2018, it’s clear that President Donald Trump, another new colossus of a very different type, has given up on any idea of America as a place that welcomes the huddled masses of immigrants yearning to breathe free. Many of us know Americans to be a generous, welcoming and hospitable people but Trump decided that the best strategy for winning the mid-term elections was to appeal to the lowest instincts of US voters by attacking would-be migrants from Honduras.

According to President Trump, the “caravan” of migrants trudging north towards the United States represented “an assault on our country”. He added that among the thousands of Central American pedestrians were criminals, gangsters and Middle Eastern terrorists. He hinted that the entire spectacle was funded by Democrats or George Soros. When he sent 15,000 troops to the border to keep the migrants out, his supporters cheered.

The migrants in the caravan are mostly ordinary Hondurans who, unsurprisingly, would rather live somewhere peaceful and rich than poor and violent. There is no evidence of Middle Easterners among them, or an unusual number of criminals. It’s just that life is much better in the United States than in Honduras. And the journey, overland through Guatemala and Mexico, is dangerous. Migrants have often been robbed or beaten up along the way. Travelling in a large group makes that less likely. Small wonder that so many Hondurans, on hearing that the caravan was passing, decided to join it.


Needless to say, there is not a shred of evidence that Democrats had anything to do with organising the exodus, or that George Soros has been funding it. Trump is a prodigious liar, of course, and he lies routinely, without shame. According to the Fact Checker in the Washington Post, by the 601st day of his presidency, Trump had told more than 5000 bare-faced lies – an average of over eight lies per day.

How have things come to such a pass that the President of the United States tells lies as a matter of routine and with these lies deliberately seeks to stir up the lowest impulses of the American people for his electoral advantage? Rudolf Steiner has some fascinating things to say about the only way in which human motivations can be truly moral:

“There exists only one true source of the moral-spiritual in mankind, and this is what we may call human understanding, mutual human understanding, and, based upon this human understanding, human love. Wheresoever we may look for the arising of moral-spiritual impulses in mankind, in so far as these play a role in social life, it will invariably prove to be the case that, whenever such impulses spring forth with elemental power, they arise from human understanding based upon human love.”

Steiner then asks a very interesting question:

“If human understanding and human love are the real impulses upon which communal life depends, how does it come about that the very reverse of human understanding and human love appears in our social order?”

Now this is where what Steiner has to say starts to become very surprising and unexpected:

“When one crosses the threshold into the spiritual world, the first thing one becomes aware of is something terrible, something which at first it is by no means easy to sustain. Most people wish to be pleasantly affected by what seems to them worthy of attainment. But the fact remains that only by passing through the experience of horror can one learn to know spiritual reality, that is to say true reality. For in regard to the human form, as this is placed before us by anatomy and physiology, one can only perceive that it is built up out of two elements from the spiritual world: moral coldness and hatred.

In our souls we actually possess the predisposition to human love, and to that warmth which understands the other man. In the solid components of our organism, however, we bear moral cold. This is the force which, from the spiritual worlds, welds, as it were, our physical organism together. Thus we bear in ourselves the impulse of hatred. This it is which, from the spiritual world, brings about the circulation of the blood. And whereas we may perhaps go through the world with a very loving soul, with a soul which thirsts for human understanding, we must nevertheless be aware that below in the unconsciousness, there where the soul streams down, sends its impulses down into the bodily nature, for the very purpose that we may be clothed in a body — coldness has its seat. Though I shall always speak just of coldness, what I mean is moral coldness, though this can certainly pass over into physical coldness, traversing the warmth-ether on its way. There below, in the unconsciousness within us, moral coldness and hatred are entrenched, and it is easy for man to bring into his soul what is present in his body, so that his soul can, as it were, be infected with the lack of human understanding. This is, however, the result of moral coldness and human hatred. Because this is so, man must gradually cultivate in himself moral warmth, that is to say human understanding and love, for these must vanquish what comes from the bodily nature.

(…) In the way things are put forward today — I mean in the whole manner and form of people’s speech — there lies very little understanding of the other man. People bellow out their ideas about what man should be like, but this usually means: Everyone should be like me. If someone different comes along, then, even if this is not consciously realised, he is immediately regarded as an enemy, an object for antipathy. This is lack of human moral understanding, lack of love. And to the degree in which these qualities are lacking, moral coldness and human hatred go with man through the gate of death, obstructing his path.”

According to Steiner, in the first period after we die, the angels, archangels and archai take from us and reserve for later use the coldness that comes from lack of human understanding.  The remains of human hatred have to stay with us until we reach the region of the Exusiai, Kyriotetes and Dynamis, where they remove all that we bring with us of human hatred. Then we arrive about midway in the region between death and a new birth, which Steiner calls the midnight hour of existence, where we meet the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones:

“Man would be quite unable to pass through this region of the Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones without being inwardly annihilated, utterly destroyed, had not the beings of the second and third hierarchies already taken from him in their mercy human misunderstanding, that is to say moral coldness, and human hatred. And so we see how man, in order that he may find access to those impulses which can contribute to his further development, must at first burden the beings of the higher hierarchies with what he carries up into the spiritual world from his physical and etheric bodies, where it really belongs.”

It is at this midnight hour of existence where we take the first steps towards returning to the earth for our next incarnation. Steiner tells us:

“Thus, when one follows man between death and a new birth, one at first still sees him hovering, as it were, while he gradually loses his form from above downwards. But while the last vestige of him is vanishing away below, something else has taken shape, a wonderful spirit-form, which is in itself an image of the whole world-sphere and at the same time a model of the future head which man will bear on his shoulders. Here the human being is woven into an activity wherein not only the beings of the lower hierarchies participate, but also the beings of the highest hierarchy, the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones.

What actually takes place? It is the most wonderful thing which, as man, one can possibly conceive. For all that was lower man here in life now passes over into the formation of the future head. As we go about here on earth we only make use of our poverty-stricken head as the organ of our mental images and our thoughts. But thoughts also accompany our breast, thoughts also accompany our limb-system. And in the moment that we cease to think only with the head, but begin to think with our limb-system, in that moment the whole reality of Karma is opened up to us…” (…)

Steiner then tells us how the angelic forces prepare the form of our next physical body through creating a new spirit-form or etheric body:

“This spirit-form first connects itself with physical life when it meets the given embryo. But in the spiritual world feet and legs are transformed into the jaw bones, while arms and hands are transformed into the cheek-bones. There the whole lower man is transformed into the spiritual prototype of what will later become the head. The way in which this metamorphosis is accomplished is, I do assure you, of everything that the world offers to conscious experience the most wonderful. We see at first how an image of the whole cosmos is created, and how this is then differentiated into the structure which is the seat of the whole moral element — but only after all that I have mentioned has been taken from it. We see how what was, transforms itself into what will be. Now one sees the human being as spirit-form journeying back once more to the region of the second hierarchy and then to that of the third hierarchy. Here this reversed spirit-form — it is in fact only the basis for the future head — must, as it were, be welded to what will become the future breast-organism, to what will become the future limb-organization and the metabolic system. These must be added. Whence come the spiritual impulses to add them?

It is by grace of the beings of the second and third hierarchies, who gathered these impulses together when the man was on the first half of his journey. These beings took them from his moral nature; now they bring them back again and form from them the basis of the rhythmic system and metabolic-limb-system. In this later period between death and a new birth man receives the ingredients, the spiritual ingredients, for his physical organism. This spiritual form finds its way into the embryonic life and bears within it what will now become physical forces and etheric forces. These are, however, only the physical image of what we bear in us from our previous life as lack of human understanding and human hatred, from which our limb-organization is spiritually formed.”  (…)

The whole process seems to be a wonderful transformation of some of the lowest elements we take over with us at death into the spiritual world, into something with new potential:

“When man’s life between death and a new birth — his life in the spiritual world — is beheld in this way, one can describe his experiences in that world in just as much detail as his biography here on earth. So we may live in the hope that when we pass through the gate of death, everything of misunderstanding and hatred between man and man will be carried up into the spiritual world, so that it may be given anew to us, and that from its ennobled state human forms may be created.”

It’s an extraordinary thought that the moral coldness and human hatred we take with us after death are transformed by the angelic hierarchies into what becomes our physical form in our next lifetime. The whole of this lecture is very well worth reading. It is the last lecture in a series that Steiner gave in Dornach in November 1923 and subsequently published in the book known as ‘Man as Symphony of the Creative Word’.

The result of the 2018 mid-term elections in the US – the House of Representatives now with a Democrat majority, the Senate with a strengthened Republican majority – has done nothing to heal the widening divisions in American society. Moral coldness and human hatred still hold sway in the USA and across much of the rest of the world and will await their transformation by the angelic hierarchies after our deaths.

weeping liberty

Image via EAWorldview


Filed under Donald Trump, Hatred, Moral Coldness

Israel, King Claudius and the Massacre in Gaza

It’s not often that the anthropopper gets so angered by something he hears on the news that he shouts at the radio and then stalks out of the room, saying: “I refuse to listen to any more of these obscene lies.”  Yet this is what happened a few days earlier when I heard Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, praising the Israeli Defence Force for its “restraint” after they had killed 62 demonstrators and shot nearly 2,500 more in the face of protests in Gaza a day earlier.

Haley went on to tell the UN Security Council that “”No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has. In fact, the record of several countries here today suggest that they would be less restrained.” She then blamed Hamas, the Palestinian Sunni-Islamist fundamentalist organisation which runs Gaza, for backing the demonstrations and encouraging protesters over loudspeakers to rush the border fence with Israel throughout the Gaza strip. She said it was Hamas — not Israel — that was making the “lives of Palestinians miserable.” Her comments came at the same time as the U.S. blocked a Security Council resolution calling for a probe into the violence.

These demonstrators from Gaza were marking the 70thanniversary of what they call the Nakba Day (‘Day of Catastrophe’), on 15th May. For the Palestinians it is an annual day of commemoration of the displacement of Palestinian Arabs that preceded and followed the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948.  Perhaps there are not many people today who are aware that the state of Israel was founded in 1948 on the forcible expulsion or displacement of over 700,000 Palestinians from their lands, to make way for 70,000 Jews. The Holocaust during World War II had given urgency to the question of a Jewish state, an idea first supported by the British government in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 – but in 1948 these Palestinians had next to no involvement with the persecution of the Jews and saw no reason why they should vacate their homes for the founders of the new state. They were driven from their homes during the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 for the simple reason that they were not Jewish.

As the Israeli historian Benny Morris has pointed out: “There could be no Jewish state with a large and hostile Arab minority in its midst.  There would be no such state.  It would not be able to exist. A Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians . . . [therefore] it was necessary to uproot them”.  They have been denied the right to return to their homes ever since for the same reason: they are not Jewish, and their presence would upset the carefully-engineered demographic tables maintained by the state to preserve its tenuous claim to an exclusively Jewish identity.  The maintenance of that demographic balance and the suspension of the Palestinians’ political and human rights are inseparable from one another: the one enables, produces and requires the other.

So let us acknowledge it: the founding of Israel was the consequence of an historic injustice to the people already living there. Put yourself in the shoes of the Palestinians: would you have agreed to leave your home and go into exile to accommodate a group that came from outside the borders of your country, claiming a homeland lost two thousand years ago?

Now, you don’t need to tell me that Hamas is a terrorist organisation – I know. I think it likely that many of the 30,000 – 40,000 demonstrators attempting to break through the border fence were strongly encouraged to be there by Hamas. I’m also of the view that the Palestinian Arabs have been very badly served by their fractious and divided leaders (Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank), who for decades have vowed to sweep Israel and the Jews back into the sea and whose only response to Israeli violence is more violence and virulent anti-Semitism. This Arab violence against Palestinian Jews long predated the birth of Israel, and prior to the 1948 war, it was usually one-sided. What’s more, I doubt that many of today’s Palestinian Arabs would be prepared to accept any size of Jewish state, however small, even if it was only based on Tel Aviv and the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem. It has been their violence, divided leadership and utter intransigence that has contributed so much to the present impasse. So please don’t tell me that there is long-standing hatred and terrorist activity on the Arab side – I’m fully aware of it.

My point is this: Israel was also born out of terrorism – witness the activities of the Stern Gang and Irgun, and their assassinations of Lord Moyne (the British Resident Minister in the Middle East) and Count Folke Bernadotte (the United Nations mediator), and many hundreds of others. Two of Israel’s most prominent statesmen, Yitzak Shamir and Menachem Begin, were terrorists. Later on, Jewish terrorists became legitimate leaders, presidents and prime ministers; and Begin and Shamir are among these.

According to Henry Siegman (president emeritus of the US/Middle East Project and a former senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations) writing in the London Review of Books, the leading political players in the U.S. “are probably unaware of, or simply refuse to know about, the extent to which terrorism and war crimes marked the creation of Israel. Those who are told about this history dismiss it as a fabrication. What they deny or ignore is that these charges have been fully documented not only by historians, including Israeli ones, but by Israel’s own military. The point of recognising this history is not to justify terrorism by either Israelis or Palestinians, but to acknowledge the outrageous double standard that has been applied to the two parties and has undermined the possibility of a peace accord. Without knowing that history, it is difficult, if not impossible, to understand the extent to which Israeli propaganda has succeeded in shaping a narrative about the creation of Israel that presents the Palestinians who were brutally expelled from their homes as the aggressors and the Jews as their victims. Without that history, it is impossible to understand the outrage Palestinians feel over having been portrayed as the bad guys for so long.”

Siegman goes on to say: “The point is not that Israelis have no right to defend themselves against Palestinian terrorism, but that the Israeli argument that there is no moral equivalence between Palestinian terrorism and Israeli preventive and retaliatory violence is deeply flawed. The relevant comparison is between the way the Jews acted during their struggle for statehood – not after they achieved it – and the way Palestinians,   still very much in the midst of their hopeless struggle for statehood, are acting now. It is also flawed because you cannot condemn terrorism if you do not offer people under occupation a credible route towards achieving viable statehood through non-violent means. That is something Israel has never offered the Palestinians.”

Israel, through the support of the U.S., currently has the whip hand over the Palestinian Arabs and uses it ruthlessly.  In Gaza, the Israeli army snipers were using high velocity bullets that left huge exit wounds, guaranteed to maim those who were not killed outright. Agreed, 30,000 to 40,000 demonstrators hurling rocks, Molotov cocktails, and attempting to lay explosive charges at the security fence and even to fly burning kites into Israel to set fields on fire, must have been a truly intimidating sight. But even so – why did the soldiers use live ammunition? Why did they not use tear gas, or rubber bullets? The Israeli death toll as a result of the storming of the Gaza fence was precisely nil.

Imagine yourself in the position of the ordinary people forced to live in Gaza. Gaza is 25 miles long, and between 3.7 to 7.5 miles wide, with a total area of 141 square miles. With a population of 1.85 million Palestinians, it ranks as the third most populated polity in the world. Since 2006 and the election of a Hamas government, it has been under an Israeli and U.S.-led international economic and political boycott. Due to the Israeli and Egyptian border closures and the Israeli sea and air blockade, the population is not free to leave or enter the Gaza Strip, nor allowed to freely import or export goods, or to fish freely in the sea. An extensive Israeli buffer zone and border fence within the Strip renders much land off-limits to Gaza’s Palestinians – it was this border fence that the Palestinian Arabs were attempting to breach. The population is expected to increase to 2.1 million in 2020. By that time, Gaza may be rendered unliveable, if present trends continue, with 95% of its water being unfit to drink, and electricity available for only a few hours each day, with access to food, medicines, and fuel also severely limited. Unemployment is 44%, rising to 60% for those between the ages of 15 and 29.

The UN’s leading human rights official, Mr Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, has said of the Gazans: “They are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; dehumanised by the Israeli authorities to such a point it appears officials do not even consider that these men and women have a right, as well as every reason, to protest.”  Well, how would you feel in their situation?  Would you not want to attack the border fence of your prison?

The demographer Arnon Soffer of Haifa University is the architect of the current isolation of Gaza.  In 2004, he advised the government of Ariel Sharon to withdraw Israeli forces from within Gaza, seal the territory off from the outside world, and simply shoot anyone who tries to break out.  “When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe,” Soffer told an interviewer in the Jerusalem Post (11 November 2004); “Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam.  The pressure at the border will be awful.  It’s going to be a terrible war.  So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill.  All day, every day.”  He added that “the only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.” In response to the current killing and shooting, a senior member of the Israeli parliament, Avi Dichter, reassured his audience on live television that they need not be unduly concerned.  Their army, he told them, “has enough bullets for everyone.”

Israel’s minister of defence, Avigdor Lieberman, has said that there are “no innocent people” in Hamas-run Gaza.  Lieberman’s opinion of the value of the lives of Palestinians mirrors the view expressed by Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s minister of justice. A year before her appointment in 2015, Shaked posted on her Facebook page an article by Uri Elitzur, a settler leader, in which he said that Israel should target not only militants but the “mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which the snakes were raised. Otherwise more little snakes will be raised there.”

And yet Jews are the genetic brothers and sisters of Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese, and they all share a common genetic lineage that stretches back thousands of years. That is why this massacre and maiming of Palestinians in May 2018 by the Israeli Defence Force reminds me ineluctably of King Claudius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Claudius, you may remember, murdered his brother the King of Denmark (father of Prince Hamlet), seized his throne, and to add insult to injury, then seduced and married Hamlet’s mother, his late brother’s Queen. Claudius tries to pray to ease his conscience, but finds that he cannot:

O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t,
A brother’s murder. Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will:
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother’s blood,
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage of offence?
And what’s in prayer but this two-fold force,
To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardon’d being down? Then I’ll look up;
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? ‘Forgive me my foul murder’?
That cannot be; since I am still possess’d
Of those effects for which I did the murder, My crown, mine own ambition and my queen.

(Hamlet, Act 3 sc. 3, lines 36 to 55)

At the same time as young Israeli soldiers were slaughtering Gazans at the border, just fifty miles away a glittering champagne reception was taking place in Jerusalem to celebrate the opening of Donald Trump’s new embassy there.  Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband Jared Kushner, welcomed the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu and two Christian Zionist pastors, John Hagee and Robert Jeffress, to the embassy to lead the guests in prayer. Commenting on this, the former presidential candidate Mitt Romney quoted Jeffress as saying “you can’t be saved by being a Jew,”  “Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell” and Islam no better. Such a bigot, continued Romney (who is himself a Mormon) “should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem”.

And yet he was. And Netanyahu was bowing his head and mouthing his prayers alongside him, obviously less troubled by conscience than was King Claudius. It seems strange to me that the Israelis are willing to take any amount of anti-Semitism from preachers who believe paradise will not come until the Jews accept the punishment of a jealous God and convert to Christianity. Presumably they are prepared to live with the insulting beliefs of the Christian Zionists, just as long as the result is that the Americans do nothing to prevent Israeli settlers from taking over more and more land in the West Bank.

For let us be clear: it is American domestic politics that is sustaining and prolonging the present situation in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Why did Trump take the controversial decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an action which has received worldwide condemnation? He did of course give his repeated backing to Israel during the presidential campaign in 2016 and needed to fulfil the expectations of his voters. In turn, this leads to a further question: why would Trump voters be especially supportive of the Jerusalem policy? The answer to this almost certainly lies with a type of evangelical Christianity, ie Christian Zionism, and one of its most fervent supporters, Trump’s vice-president Mike Pence.

As Professor Paul Rogers of Bradford University has written:

“To talk about the power of the “Jewish lobby” in the United States is actually misleading, when the more correctly described “Israel lobby” wields far more electoral power thanks to its reinforcement by Christian Zionists. They number tens of millions of voters compared with the far smaller American Jewish population who, in any case, will tend more often to vote for the Democratic Party. Nearly a third of Americans, around 100 million people, lean towards evangelical Christianity and of these perhaps a third embrace the Christian Zionist perspective. This is passionate in its support for Israel.”

To quote the evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell: “The Bible Belt is Israel’s safety net in the United States.” The consequence is that no Israeli government, as long as it has U.S. support, will uproot the illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, which already make a contiguous, autonomous and independent Palestinian state impossible. It is obvious that the “two state solution” is finished – American political calculations and Israeli settlement building in the West Bank have ensured its death. This whole issue also comes at a time when what is becoming known as the “Israel Victory” political caucus is gathering influence in Congress. This caucus, which has plenty of support in Netanyahu’s government, takes a simple, binary view: Israel has won, the Palestinians have lost – and everyone had better get used to living in a Jewish state. Such hubris may cause anger and dismay among many Jews in the United States and Western Europe, but it is a driving force within the Trump administration. Perhaps most significant of all, it fits almost perfectly into the Christian Zionist vision. Almost one in three Americans believes Israel was given to the Jews by God as a prelude to the Battle of Armageddon and Jesus’ Second Coming.

This belief that Jesus Christ will come for a second time in a physical body has been said by Rudolf Steiner to be a complete misunderstanding, and that Christ will not return in physical incarnation. This was done once and for all time, and will not be repeated. But according to Steiner, Christ is here already, in the etheric body of the Earth. From the 1930s onwards, Rudolf Steiner said, the Christ would be visible in etheric form to those who have been able to develop their powers of spiritual perception. At first the Christ will be seen by only a few, but during the next three thousand years more and more people will be able to have this experience.

In a series of lectures given in 1917 (the same year as the Balfour Declaration), Rudolf Steiner also said the following:

“I have described the task for mankind in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch (i.e. our present age) as that of coming to terms with evil as an impulse in world-evolution. We have spoken of what this means from various points of view. The indispensable need is that the forces which manifest as evil when they appear in the wrong place shall be overcome by human endeavour during this epoch, so that men can begin to make out of these forces something favourable for the whole future of cosmic evolution. Hence the task of this fifth post-Atlantean epoch is quite specially arduous, and many temptations lie ahead. And as the powers of evil make their appearance in gradual stages, men are naturally much more inclined to give way to them in all realms instead of battling to place what appears as evil in the service of the rightful course of world-development. This, nevertheless, is what has to come about — up to a certain point evil must be turned to good ends.”

The fundamental objection to everything that is happening to the Palestinian Arabs is that it goes against the second part of the Balfour Declaration, that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”  So how, to use Steiner’s expression, can the evil in Israel and Palestine be turned to good ends?

The two-state solution died because Netanyahu and previous Israeli governments were determined to kill it, Palestinian terrorism and violence encouraged the Israelis in that determination and American and other Western politicians who could have prevented its demise lacked the resolve and moral courage to do so. Therefore the only solution to this conflict that still remains is a pluralist, non-theocratic and secular state of Israel-Palestine, with a limited “right of return” and a settlement that gives Palestinian Arabs and Jewish Israelis the same, equal civil rights in ONE state.

Unless the almost inconceivable happens and the U.S. turns off the money and weapons taps, movement from Israel towards a one-state solution will never begin – one cannot really blame them when they have experienced so many Palestinian bombings and atrocities. So any progress now will be entirely dependent upon the Palestinians being able to find a leader cut from the same cloth as a Mahatma Gandhi or a Martin Luther King, a truly inspirational visionary who will lead them away from violent hatred and towards a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience.

Such a campaign is likely to cost Palestinian lives, but rather like Gandhi’s Salt March, it could be much more effective than violence in changing world public opinion. American journalist Webb Miller was on the scene of the Salt March and he later described what followed. “Suddenly,” he wrote, “at a word of command, scores of native police rushed upon the advancing marchers and rained blows on their heads…Not one of the marchers even raised an arm to fend off the blows. They went down like ten-pins.” Miller’s harrowing account of the beatings circulated widely in the international media, and was even read aloud in the U.S. Congress. Winston Churchill—no great fan of Gandhi—would later admit that the protests and their aftermath had “inflicted such humiliation and defiance as has not been known since the British first trod the soil of India.”

If the Palestinians were to adopt similarly peaceful means of protest, it would alert the whole world to what Israel has become under the influence of an ethno-nationalist, right-wing version of Zionism, transformed by successive Israeli governments into something that its nineteenth and twentieth century founders never intended. Public revulsion in the United States at scenes of Israeli brutalisation of Arabs could lead to the decline in America of the influence of Christian Zionism – and then there would ultimately be an opportunity for a one-state solution to emerge. The Israelis should remember that hubris is always followed by nemesis.

Let King Claudius have the last word, in his realisation that, however we may twist things to avoid justice while here in physical incarnation, ultimately we cannot escape our karma. God is not mocked.

“In the corrupted currents of this world

Offence’s gilded hand may shove by justice,

And oft ‘tis seen the wicked prize itself

Buys out the law. But ‘tis not so above,

There is no shuffling, there the action lies

In his true nature, and we ourselves compelled

Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults

To give in evidence.”

(Hamlet, Act 3, sc. 3, lines 57 to 64)


Filed under Christian Zionism, Donald Trump, Israel & Palestine, Zionism

Trump, Ahriman and paranoid speculation

In the month after the end of the First World War, Steiner gave a lecture at Dornach in which he said that “the view of spiritual science cannot be the giving of social criticism, but rather, only the pointing-out, without pessimism or optimism, of that which is” (GA 186, December 1st 1918). He was referring to the events which had led to the war, but his comment is a reminder that we should not allow the emotions engendered by overwhelming events to stop us from seeing as objectively as possible what the reality of any given situation is, and the causes which lie behind it.

Without Steiner’s peerless clairvoyance, however, we have to fall back on our own thinking and reasoning capacities; and it is difficult for most of us to avoid feelings of alarm or despondency, or to refrain from social criticism, in the face of disturbing current events.

Take, for example, the newly installed 45th President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump. There are certainly a few things about Trump and his background and business interests which are bound to upset our objectivity and sang-froid. According to Sidney Blumenthal in a recent essay in the London Review of Books, Trump’s father Fred was arrested for participating in a violent Ku Klux Klan rally in 1927. Fred also had ties to the Mob and quite openly discriminated against blacks when renting out housing. In more recent times, it seems that the Donald’s own business was dependent almost from the start on racketeers:

“There was Anthony ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno, boss of the Genovese crime family, and Paul ‘Big Paulie’ Castellano, boss of the Gambino crime family, who owned the company that provided the ready-mix cement for Trump Tower, used in place of the usual steel girders. There was John Cody, the boss of Teamsters Local 282, who controlled the cement trucks and was an associate of the Gambino family. There was Daniel Sullivan, Trump’s labour ‘consultant’, who in partnership with the Philadelphia crime boss Nicodemos ‘Nicky’ Scarfo’s financier, sold Trump a property in Atlantic City that became his casino. There was Salvatore ‘Salvie’ Testa, ‘crown prince’ of the Philadelphia Mob, who sold Trump the site on which two construction firms owned by Scarfo built the Trump Plaza and Casino. There was Felix Sater, convicted money launderer for the Russian Mafia, Trump’s partner in building the Trump SoHo hotel through the Bayrock Group LLC, which by 2007 had more than $2 billion in Trump licensed projects and by 2014 was no more. There was Tevfik Arif, another Trump partner, Bayrock’s chairman, originally from Kazakhstan. Bayrock’s equity financing came from three Kazakh billionaires known as ‘the Trio’, who were reported to be engaged in racketeering, money laundering and other crimes. And so on.

There was no art to these deals. Trump’s relationships with the Mob weren’t just about the quality of cement. In his defence it was said that doing business with the Mob was inescapable in New York, but the truth is that there were prominent developers who crusaded against the sorts of arrangement that Trump routinely made. From beginning to end, whether Cosa Nostra or the Russian Mafia, Trump has been married to the Mob.”

Now in all fairness it should be pointed out that Sidney Blumenthal is a former aide to the Clintons, so may be seen as someone with an axe to grind; but since I have not yet heard any rebuttal of the information he presents, it seems entirely possible that the President of the United States has close ties with the American Mafia (and possibly the Russian Mafia too), while his opposite number in Russia, Vladimir Putin, is head of a state run by that same Russian Mafia. (Not that such skulduggery is anything new in American politics – eg, see here for details of Joseph Kennedy’s criminal links with the Mob that ensured the election of his son John F. Kennedy as president in 1960. The USA has always been the best democracy that money can buy.)

In such an extreme situation, how can one simply point out “that which is” and not find one’s feelings pulling one away from objective observation? Several people I know have speculated as to whether Donald Trump is the incarnation of Ahriman. Personally, I don’t think this is likely – my view is that Ahriman would not choose to be incarnated in the figure of someone with a fake orange tan (one which a sudden gust of wind revealed does not even extend up to the Trump hairline), let alone someone who since his inauguration as 45th President of the USA has found himself the laughing stock of the worldwide web.


Trump’s fake tan-line clearly visible (Photo via Elite Daily/REX/Shutterstock)

No, it seems more probable that Trump and the rest of his coven of billionaires and brigands are simply extreme examples of the corruption endemic to the American political system, although it may well be reasonable to regard them also as indicators of the impending incarnation – preparers of the way, if you like. I have written of this elsewhere, so will give here only brief quotations from Steiner:

“As truly as Lucifer walked on earth and Christ walked on earth objectively in a human being, so will Ahriman walk upon the earth with enormous power to manifest earthly intellectual capacity.” (GA 195, 25/12/1919) And again:

“…just as there was a bodily incarnation of Lucifer, and just as there was a bodily incarnation of the Christ, so will there be, before even a part of the 3rd millennium AD will have elapsed, in the West a real incarnation of Ahriman: Ahriman in the flesh.” (GA 191, 01/11/1919)

Steiner has enjoined us to be vigilant and to stay awake so as to spot what is going on. But lacking Steiner’s initiate consciousness and spiritual insight, there is a danger that the times we live in might tempt some of us to fall all too easily into paranoia and conspiracy theories. I recently found an example of this in the Russian anthroposophical writer, G A Bondarev, who in his book Events in the Ukraine and a Possible Future Scenario wrote this:

“…everywhere in the mass media – on television, in newspapers – one can see politicians and the powerful in finance, etc., making a certain gesture with their hand which means the number 666 spoken of in Revelation as the ‘number of the Beast.’ Many make this gesture in order to show that they are initiated into the secret and also to give evidence of their ‘chosenness’…Others, by showing this gesture when they appear publicly, want to call out, as it were, to the participants at certain functions: ‘What are we arguing about? Why are you disagreeing with us? This is it! This is happening!’ – or at least something of this kind. An exact interpretation is not possible, as the meaning of this gesture is kept secret.”

What Bondarev is referring to is the “A OK” gesture, in which the tip of the index finger is placed on the tip of the thumb to form an ‘O’ shape, and the remaining three fingers are splayed out. Donald Trump makes this gesture all the time when he is speaking and it is very easy to find examples of many prominent public figures doing the same. A quick search of Google Images using the term “hand gesture 666” brings up photos of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair, Jean-Claude Juncker, Nicolas Sarkozy, Pope Jean-Paul II, Colin Powell and many other famous public figures from politics and entertainment all making this gesture – but to Bondarev and others who think like him, it therefore follows that they must all be members of the Illuminati signalling their allegiance to one another. Err… no, I really don’t think so.


(Photo via


(Photo via IlluminatiRex)


(Photo via

But despite the occasional absurdities, Bondarev also has some interesting ideas. Referring to Steiner’s pointing-out of the years AD 666, 1332 and 1998 as having special significance, he speculates that 1998 was the year of incarnation of Ahriman:

“…the year in which the body was created into which Ahriman steals. Its creation was obviously not a simple matter – after all, Ahriman is the god of death! Rudolf Steiner also speaks of this. In a lecture of 4th November 1919, he points to that special field of technological progress in which knowledge is used of the connection of the material realm with the human spirit: ‘…through a given application of these things, certain secret societies will…prepare that through which the Ahrimanic incarnation will be able to be here on the earth in the right way.’ (GA 193)

One can assume that they were able to combine the most up-to-date technological procedures with the means of black magic in order to create a body with the capacity to bear within it for a number of years the Ahrimanic monad. (Could it be three years?) Thus, it is in no way unjustified to assume that the incarnation of Ahriman is well under way. And according to an entry in a notebook of Rudolf Steiner…Ahriman will reveal himself to the world at the age of 18. Here it is probably more correct to speak of 18 and one-third years, which corresponds to the so-called lunar node or Metonic cycle. It follows from this that humanity needs to be ready by early 2017.”

So in early 2017 I leave you with that happy thought and invite your own comments on these speculations, paranoid or otherwise.


Filed under Ahriman, Donald Trump, Rudolf Steiner

Trump, Clinton and Brexit plus,plus,plus

In my post of March 3rd 2016 I referred, rather rudely, to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as “the arsecheeks of Ahriman.” The implication was that the 2016 USA presidential election represented a Hobson’s Choice (ie a non-choice or no choice at all) between two routes to a place you really wouldn’t want to go to.

Upon further reflection, I’m not sure that this was entirely fair. The defeat of Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump could have at least one upside – it could signal the end of neo-liberalism, that pernicious doctrine that came in during the 1980s and 90s, signed up to by Reagan, Clinton, Thatcher, Bush, Blair etc and which marked a decisive end to the post-Second World War social contract that I had grown up with, and rather liked. Neo-liberalism brought us privatisation, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade and market “solutions” to problems we didn’t realise we had, and the ever-increasing enrichment of the super-wealthy 1% (who lied that this was necessary because it would lead wealth to trickle down to the rest of us). It also brought us the financial meltdown of 2007/8 and the realisation that as the banks were bailed out and hardly any bankers on either side of the Atlantic were prosecuted for their crimes, it would be the taxpayer who paid the price of their behaviour.

What neo-liberalism also led to, for most of us, was a stagnation or decline in our incomes and living standards and deterioration in our public services. In the USA and much of the Western world, the basic morality behind the idea that ‘if you work hard, you get ahead’ has broken down, because people’s wages and salaries have not kept pace with rising prices, and many of their jobs have disappeared. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics in the USA, the hourly wage of blue-collar workers doubled from the 1940s to the 1970s, but has flat-lined ever since then. At the same time, the free movement of capital has allowed factory jobs to be lost to poorer countries abroad. Since 2000, the real median wage in the USA is down by 14% and the real low wage is down by an incredible 26%.

This wage stagnation took place during the sixteen-year period covering the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, so it became clear to voters that both Republican and Democrat parties were going along with it; and neither party was concerned enough to do something to reverse the trend. But Donald Trump, a man described by his son as a “blue-collar worker with a bank balance,” had noticed what was going on and spotted an opportunity. The image Trump likes to project is that of a man surrounded by bling and with a trophy wife, who eats fast food in front of a TV screen tuned to Fox News – the epitome of the American dream for a certain demographic. For white, working-class voters, Trump represents a break with the cosy arrangements between big business, big banks, big media and big politics that had shut them out from the dream and put them economically and culturally in retreat. The irony of looking to a billionaire with inherited wealth to rescue them from their predicament was presumably less of a factor than their hatred for the Washington machine-politicians who had brought them to such a pass.

These people suspected that a Hillary Clinton presidency would have continued the same old policies with the same old corrupt arrangements with big business and lobbyists, while failing to deal with issues such as illegal immigration which had done so much to undermine their own living standards. Why on earth would they vote for four more years of that?

How could Clinton offer hope when she helped create this situation in the first place? In fact, she systematically destroyed the candidacy of Bernie Sanders – the only politician in the US who really spoke to the anger of ordinary voters. This is why her Wall Street connections and her former position as a Walmart board member were so deeply resented. Trump may be a boorish billionaire, but politically and economically, he is less responsible than Clinton for what has happened. When he said, “Make America great again”, it resonated. When Clinton replied, “America is already great”, it seemed like a sick joke by someone from the elite to whom neo-liberalism had been kind.

From my perspective here in the UK, Hillary Clinton was, just like Barack Obama, fully signed up to the GMO/Monsanto agenda; she would have pushed for TTIP to be implemented; she would have put post-Brexit Britain at the back of a 10-year queue for a trade deal; and she would probably have got into a war with Russia. It might have been nice to have had a woman in the White House but that’s about the best thing you could say for Hillary – no-one was going to vote for her with any real enthusiasm, other than that she wasn’t Trump. So I can’t say I’m dismayed that her presidential bid has crashed in flames and the Clinton political dynasty has come to an end.

Now, that is not to say that I’m happy about the election of President Trump, either – far from it. What’s more, it seems very likely that he is bound to disappoint his supporters, who may believe that his promises should be taken literally (do they really expect a wall along the Mexican border paid for by the Mexicans, a total ban on Muslims entering the USA, Hillary Clinton in a jail cell, etc?). Their rage when he fails to deliver is going to be awesome to behold. The victory speech he gave after Clinton had conceded the result is a sign of compromises to come – instead of calling her “crooked Hillary” as he had done throughout the campaign, he called her “Secretary Clinton”, congratulated her on a very hard-fought campaign and said: “We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.”  His supporters, who just an hour earlier had booed loudly when her picture flashed up on the giant TV screens and chanted “Lock her up! Lock her up!” must have been puzzled by this sudden change of tone.

But, again from my UK perspective, with Trump there are going to be some moments to treasure. What, for example, will Boris Johnson (our new foreign secretary), say to excuse himself when he meets the new president? This is what Boris said in December 2015, as Mayor of London: “Donald Trump’s ill-informed comments (that there were no-go areas in London as a result of Muslim terrorism) are complete and utter nonsense. I would welcome the opportunity to show Mr Trump first-hand some of the excellent work our police officers do every day in local neighbourhoods throughout our city. Crime has been falling steadily in both London and New York – and the only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.” And here’s our former prime minister, David Cameron, also in December 2015: “I think his (Trump’s) remarks are divisive, stupid and wrong. If he came to visit our country I think he would unite us all against him.” And what about Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, who had previously stripped Trump of his role as an ambassador for Scottish businesses on the world stage after he had called for Muslims to be banned from the US, and who was vocal in her support for Hillary Clinton? What on earth will she find to say to excuse herself when Trump next comes to Scotland to visit the birthplace of his mother and inspect his two golf course businesses?  Oh, to be a fly on the wall when that meeting happens!

One of the few British political figures to have backed Trump is Nigel Farage, the man who beyond any other forced David Cameron into offering the Brexit referendum, and who said on November 9th: “Today, the establishment is in deep shock. Even more so than after Brexit. What we are witnessing is the end of a period of big business and big politics controlling our lives. Voters across the Western world want nation state democracy, proper border controls and to be in charge of their own lives.”

Of course, Farage is correct that there are several resonances between the situations in Britain and the USA. In Britain, those people who voted Remain didn’t do so out of any great love for the European Union (I’m not the only one who regards it as neo-liberal and anti-democratic), but because they liked the idea of having a passport allowing them to live and work anywhere in Europe. In the USA, I suspect most Clinton voters found it easier to find reasons to hate Trump than they did to cast a positive vote for Hillary.

As James Meek wrote in the LRB Blog:

“There are many similarities between the Brexit vote and Trump’s win. The reliance for victory on white voters without a college education, fear of immigration, globalisation being blamed for mine and factory closures, hostility towards data-based arguments, the breakdown of the distinction between ‘belief’ and ‘conclusion’, the internet’s power to sort the grain of pleasing lies from the chaff of displeasing facts, the sense of there being a systematic programme of rules and interventions devised by a small, remote, powerful elite that polices everyday speech, destroys symbols of tradition, ignores or patronises ‘real’, ‘ordinary’ people, and has contempt for popular narratives of how the nation came to be.”

And so it came about that a billionaire who has been characterised as a bigot, braggart, demagogue, idiot, liar, misogynist, narcissist, racist, sexual predator and sociopath was nevertheless chosen to become the 45th President of the USA.

Sixteen years earlier, The Simpsons predicted that Trump would become leader of the free world. In an episode, entitled ‘Bart To The Future’, broadcast in early 2000, Lisa Simpson, who had just been elected President in succession to Donald Trump, is pictured sitting in the Oval Office surrounded by advisers. “We’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump,” she says. Writer Dan Greaney told The Hollywood Reporter: “It was a warning to America. And that just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was pitched because it was consistent with the vision of America going insane. What we needed was for Lisa to have problems that were beyond her fixing, that everything went as bad as it possibly could, and that’s why we had Trump be president before her.”

Last month, the creator of the show, Matt Groening, told The Guardian : “We predicted that he would be president back in 2000 – but (Trump) was of course the most absurd placeholder joke name that we could think of at the time, and that’s still true. It’s beyond satire.”

Beyond satire it may be, but it has just happened. An era is ending and a new one is taking form. Despair, anguish, incredulity are expressions of grief for the lost era. But apart from the Blairites, Bushites, Clintonites and Goldman Sachs parasites who have enriched themselves, who else will really mourn the loss of the neo-liberal period?

This new era of politics, with Trump at its head, will probably be ugly. What it might mean for the future of NATO and the Baltic states, for European defence budgets, for the European Union, for the Paris climate change agreement, for Mexicans or Muslims, for relations with China, Russia, Iran, North Korea etc, for gun control and healthcare in the USA – who at this stage can say? What it might mean from an anthroposophical point of view, however, I will try to piece together in my next post.


Filed under Brexit, Donald Trump, European Union, Hillary Clinton, Neo-liberalism