This morning in only a piece of news two behaviors worthy of reflection have gathered. The company Ikea has launched a special catalog of its products for the home intended for Orthodox Jews. There are no women, no girls. Only men and boys. The reason has been that the orthodox community was scandalized with standard catalogs showing families with father, mother and children. The first behavior to analyze is that of this great international company that adapts so well to the needs of its customers. What does not surprise us seeing how other large corporations accept censorship in China or give data to governments. What do you want an orthodox catalog? there is. What does this reinforce the position of submission of women in that morbid world of Jewish orthodoxy. And so what? Who are we to interfere in the culture of a community? In fact the statement of the company was: “also allow the religious and orthodox public to enjoy the products and solutions according to their customs and lifestyle.” As you can see a respect unworthy of respect. This concept of culture based on the number of those who practice behavior is ethnographic, museum. The lack of commitment of the big corporations with certain transcendental values is a calamity for humanity. In a scene from The Godfather an actor just before shooting at the head of an opponent tells him “it’s nothing personal” although perhaps in the original version the phrase was “it’s business”. Be that as it may, although relativists reject the very concept of value or ethics, it is easy to convince them that there are a handful of fundamentally human values and, of course, respect the woman is among them. As is the rejection of ablation or torture. The individual human being must be respected beyond any consideration in his physical and psychic integrity. No “culture” that violates this elementary law of humanity can claim respect for its special ways of understanding the world. And hiding women is an unforgivable and very unorthodox violation today. Ikea is not the only one, because our Spanish Zara has apologized to the Orthodox community for mixing cotton and linen, which would enter into the cultural eccentricities that can be accepted, but that is the beginning of the slope that leads, As Thomas De Quincey said in the free version of “from the murder to unpunctuality.”
But if the company has not found a way to reject, even as clients, this strange culture in which women exist only for the clandestine enjoyment of men, what about the Orthodox Jews themselves who live and encourage them . Let no one waste time looking for anti-Semitism here, but it is really disheartening that from the catacombs of the times of biblical patriarchy is alive in a position so primitive and inhuman. Orthodox Jews represent 10% of the Israeli population but their political presence is felt in the country’s governance given the fragmentation of the Knesset (Israeli parliament). Hasidis come from the diaspora of Eastern Europe and are a drag on any agreement with the Arab world that brings peace to those who like the Jews and Arabs have suffered and have so much in common. A pity when the world so much has to thank the Jewish intelligence represented by such extraordinary scientists as Albert Einstein, intellectuals like George Steiner or musicians like Leonard Bernstein.