Jewish World Review / April 7, 1998 / 11 Nissan, 5758

Steve Plaut

War at Carl Jr.'s The Vegetarian Jihad and the Jews

IS THERE ANYONE more obnoxious than a militant and self-righteous vegetarian?

Oh, you know the type I mean: an animal rights radical who tells you that you are a murderer if you eat pastrami; a vegan afraid that cutting down a carrot will make the plant sad.

Well welcome to the Left Coast, where a new group of radicals calling themselves "JIHAD", as in, Justice through Insurrection by Humans for Animal Defense, has taken root.

No, I am not making this up! Don't believe me, do a Nexis search.

The Jihadniks are upset at the Carl's Jr. fast "food chain." It seems Carl's has been running ads for its greasy burgers as part of its "Eat Meat" campaign, which disses the vegetarians. "The vegetarians will get over it," taunt one ad. "Don't let them make you feel guilty, ok?"

The Jihadniks take all this as a personal affront, although -- as someone who keeps kosher -- I cannot see how the ads are any more offensive to the Jihadniks than to us, which is to say not at all. But be that as it may, the Jihadniks are planning to protest in front of Carl's Jr. eateries, which no doubt will boost their sales, as there are few pleasures in life greater than annoying an animal rights nut.

Led by Damon Knight, the 27-year old spokesanimal -- Hey, the animal rights groups equate animals and humans in everything else, right? -- the Jihadniks "occupied" the Anaheim flagship store of the chain.

Damon reportedly founded the group after deciding that local animal rights groups were not militant enough.

Meanwhile, in the latest twist on this, Los Angeles area Islamic groups, including the Orange County Islamic Society, led by Haitham Bundaki, are upset with the use of the term "jihad" by the animal rights nuts.

"Jihad," they insist, is a term that should be reserved only for the random murder of Jewish children, not for animal rights wackiness.

Now there has long been a connection between animal rights fruitcakery and the Jews. Consider some statements by animal rights activists as reported by Michael Fumento, the science policy expert at the American Enterprise Institute: When somebody asked the group leader about using animals for medical research she replied, (and I'm not making this up, either) "Well, it's our belief that people shouldn't get sick, in which case there would be no need for animal testing." In another statement reported by Fumento, from Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder and vice-president of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the largest animal-rights organization quipped: "A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy," and so, it thus follows, "Medical research is immoral even if it's essential. Even if animal testing produced a cure for AIDS, we'd be against it." And best of all: "Six million people died in concentration camps," she told the Washington Post, "but six billion broiler chickens will die this year in slaughterhouses." A new counter-PETA group is now available on the ‘net, also calling itself PETA, but this counter-PETA standards for People for Eating Tasty Animals.

Israel has also seen a touch of animal rights nuttiness, mainly in the form of Labor Knesset Member Yael Dayan, known to her friends as "Tinkerbell." She launched the drive to block the construction of the Voice of America Relay Station in Israel in the 1980s, on grounds that it would bother some birds. Dayan has also opposed the killing of baby chicks by farmers in Israel as a violation of the human rights of the chicks. What will the good lass have to say about the horrible abuses by the PLO? She is, after all, a strong backer of Oslo.

And then there are the editors of Tikkun magazine, longtime advocates of animal rights and psychedelic drug use. I understand they sent a letter of congratulations to the US Fish and Wildlife Service when it forced that San Bernardino, California hospital to relocate and open years late in order to protect the habitat of an unusual fly, arguing that this was the highest expression of Jewish values.

Some green movements around the world have been associated with anti-Semitism. Two leaders of the Italian greens were in Israel during the Gulf War and blessed and approved of Saddam's shooting Scuds at Israel, even though it is known that a number of trees were killed by the missiles.

The greens in Norway have made kosher butchering of meat illegal, to protect animal rights, meaning observant non-vegetarian Jews cannot live in Norway. The animal-rights version of the greenies, with whom some Jewish Eco-babblers identify, believe in "rights" for all species of animal (and sometimes plant and bacteria) except, of course, homo sapiens. "Jewish eco-babblers," as led by "Rabbi" Arthur Woodstock, er, I mean, Waskow, have long been far more concerned about the killings of dolphins and squirrels than they are about the killings of Jews. So get ready, soon, there no doubt will be a large Jewish continent outside those non-kosher Carl's Jr.'s restaurants, protesting the human rights of the cows and promoting vegan diets and good marijuana as the highest forms of Judaism.

New JWR contributor Steve Plaut, of the University of Haifa, vents his moral outrage from the University of California, Berkley, where he's a visiting professor.


©1998, Steve Plaut