Veganism is taking off in Israel. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) nearly 8 percent of Israelis are vegetarian and over four percent (300,000) are vegan. This is claimed to be the highest per capita vegan population in the world.
Some attribute the rise in awareness of animal rights and veganism to a tour by Gary Yourofsky based on his Youtube film called, modestly, “The best speech you will ever hear”. It also inspired the 269life movement, which took its name from a calf numbered “269” who was rescued by activists from a farm in Israel.
Nothing wrong there you might think. However, Yourofsky outspokenly denies any link between the struggle for animal liberation and human liberation. While in Israel he said he’d happily speak at Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories because squabbles between humans did not matter in the face of animal suffering.
Yourofsky has become the poster boy for those who believe “human issues” such as racism, sexism and class exploitation should not be the concern of animal rights activists. He revels in this and, as befits an ex-PETA employee, laps up the publicity he gets from it by making provocative statements such as one in which he said anyone who wore fur deserved to be raped.
There is evidence that his reactionary views have to some permeated the AR scene in Israel to some degree. While there is a sizeable minority of Israelis who oppose the war against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, most do not because they hold racist views. When a group of Israeli activists visited an animal sanctuary in England last year some of them made statements that while Jews cared about animals, Palestinians did not.
Such views are clearly bigoted and irrational. What’s more they have already been refuted because the Palestinian Animal League was founded in 2011 and according to its website its work “encompasses the delivery of veterinary care and other interventions to improve the welfare of animals; educational and awareness-raising activities with local communities (and particularly children)…and support programmes to promote the benefits of vegetarian and vegan nutrition.”
If you’d like to know more about PAL and its activities thee are a number of meetings being organised across the UK in January 2015. Executive Director Ahmad Safi will be speaking about the important work being carried out by PAL in the Occupied Territories and how you can get involved.
Leeds – Sunday 18th January 2015 at 1.30pm
Mill Hill Chapel, Lower Basinghall Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5EB
London – Monday, 19th January 2015 at 8pm
London Action Resource Centre, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
University of Essex (Colchester) – Wednesday, 21st January 2015 at 7pm
Wivenhoe Campus, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Brighton – Friday 23rd January 2015 at 6pm
Brighthelm Centre, North Road
Manchester – Sunday 25th January 2015 at 12.30pm
Subrosa, Moss Side, M14 7HS
FREE ENTRY to all events (but donations to PAL are very welcome!).
For more info, please contact Liz on firstname.lastname@example.org