My friend, Dr Mengele

Mayer Hersh (photograph David Levene)

Very few of us have the opportunity or good fortune in our lives to meet, let alone to know, someone who is a truly great human being. Certainly someone like me, of only modest talents, whose life and profession do not lead to encounters with politicians, media stars or the literary Illuminati, would put himself in the category of ‘ordinary person’.

Oh, I’ve met a few celebrities in my time, I even have one in the family, but there is only one person, one great man, with whom I have the honour and privilege of acquaintance.

His name is Mayer Hersh.

He is a Holocaust survivor.

The vagaries of chance, or fate, if you will, led us to meet some 15 years ago, or was it 20? He was a friend of my wife’s cousin and someone you ‘saw around’. I knew very little of his story. We struck up a conversation because I discovered he was Polish and I asked him to translate the writing on the back of some old family photographs.

Soon he told me he came from a town called Sieradz, in Western Poland, which happened to be the next town to Kalisz where three of my grandparents had been born.

Many years later, by careful research and amazing good fortune, I had managed to contact my father’s mother’s family in Israel. To my surprise I discovered that many of them had lived in Sieradz. When I told Mayer he declared us to be ‘landsleit’, an appellation that I carry with pride to this day.

As I related to Mayer what I knew of my new-found family in Israel, he asked me my family’s name. “Szer”, I said. “Szer the baker?”, he asked. My spine turned to ice. The thought that Mayer may have known, or passed in the street, members of my family was incredible. Although I found out later that this Szer was probably a great great uncle or a cousin, nevertheless I had found an unexpected connection which certainly reinforced our landsleit status.

Mayer told me how, as a child, he had an argument with his mother and, being somewhat stubborn, decided to ‘leave home’. This excursion did not last long and he skulked back to sleep on the stairwell. In the morning he was famished and went across to Szer the baker. Mr Szer took pity and gave him a bagel even though he had no money to pay. “Ok”, I said, “Cough up. On behalf of my family you owe me for that bagel!”.

Mayer Hersh was born in Sieradz, Poland, in 1926. When the Germans arrived in his town at the beginning of World War II, he and his brother Jakob were eventually parted from their parents and siblings and extended family. They never saw any of them again.

Mayer was 13 years old as he began his obscene odyssey through the horrors of the Holocaust where he witnessed murder, brutality, even cannibalism.

He experienced nine camps including Otoczna, Auschwitz, Stutthof, Gotha, Buchenwald and Theresienstadt where he was eventually liberated in 1945.

He was in Auschwitz for 18 months and, amazingly, met his brother there. Jakob also survived the war, eventually emigrating to the United States.

It was only after the war he discovered the terrible fate of his parents and sister Kayla.

Unable to return home he became one of “The Boys” of whom Martin Gilbert wrote, and found himself in Ambleside in Cumbria. He eventually settled in Manchester where he took up the profession of his father and became a tailor.

Mayer, as one would expect of someone of his profession, is a smartly dressed, dapper, compact man, softly-spoken with a distinct Polish accent and a command of the English language which is staggering.

Despite his life experiences, Mayer is humble and modest and he has devoted the past 30 years to Holocaust Education, telling his story at schools, giving interviews, receiving accolades. He tells his story simply, dispassionately, quietly but profoundly and with a determination to fulfil his purpose and mission: to consecrate memory.

Talking to Mayer is always a pleasure and a privilege. Recently, we sat next to each other at a family celebration. Mayer is in short sleeves, his tattooed number looking somehow less incongruous in these days of fashionable tattoos. Conversation with Mayer can take unexpected paths. This was one such occasion. He was telling me about how a friend of his was surprised that he had maintained a friendship with someone with whom he had had a dispute. “Why shouldn’t I be friends? Dr Mengele was my friend. He saved my life many times”, he said.

Mayer then told me how Mengele, that murderer of children, that antithesis and negation of the very word ‘Doctor’, would choose daily who was fit to work and who would go to the gas. “I don’t know why he never chose me. Dr Mengele was my friend because he kept me alive” .

The very idea that I was just one remove from these experiences was chilling and profoundly moving. Mayer is testament to the obscenity of the randomness of survival.

What is greatness? Is it measured by fame or wealth or academic achievement or sporting prowess only? Or is it also to be found in the quiet but steely determination of one man to survive, to claim and proclaim his right to life, to dignity and respect. This too, surely, is greatness.

Mayer Hersh is a great man.

I wrote that Mayer is also an eloquent man. At the end of an interview with a Guardian reporter in January 2005 he described his ‘fulfilment’.  I’ll end with Mayer’s words. In this one, heartbreaking paragraph he manages to condense every word, every book, every history of the Holocaust. A thousand Ahmadinejads or Irvings cannot unsay these words, these thoughts, these truths.  No more eloquent expression could possibly be written of what motivates Mayer and should inspire us all to continue his life’s work.

“In 1944 I was daydreaming – when I had a chance to daydream – that maybe I’ll get through and survive, knowing by that time that not many people will. I thought how wonderful it would be if I do survive, how people will put me on a pedestal. You know how the childish mind works. Well, I am on a pedestal, I am given certain honours, you come to interview me. To me, this is a fulfilment. But why is it a fulfilment? Because I’m talking about my family, whose lives were extinguished and whose voices were obliterated. The perpetrators also wanted the memory of these people to be obliterated, and that’s something I don’t want to happen. I want their memory to be preserved for eternity.”

See Memories of Auschwitz, Guardian January 27th 2005

From Auschwitz to Ambleside at www.anotherspace.org.uk

Is UNRWA getting the message at last?

Two articles today, the first in the Jerusalem Post and the second on the BBC website cast an interesting light on the way UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) and its chief in Gaza, John Ging, are beginning to speak out against Hamas and its affect on Gaza, rather than Israel’s embargo and maritime blockade. Or are they?

During Operation Cast, Ging was scathing of Israel and its putative attacks on UN compounds and its general tactics. The term ‘War Crimes’ was bandied about and there was a decided lack of interest in the tactics being employed by Hamas.

But now Ging has criticised ‘Palestinian infighting’. Why?

“It is such a tragedy that, on top of all the other crises that we have in the Gaza Strip, we now have a crisis of electricity,” John Ging, director of UNRWA in Gaza, was quoted by AFP as saying.

“It’s an unbearable situation here at the moment, and it needs to be solved very quickly. It’s a Palestinian problem, made by Palestinians, and causing Palestinian suffering. So let’s have a Palestinian solution,” he added.

Strong words indeed. Or are they? ‘Unbearable situation’ if he believes the Palestinians inflict it on their own people, ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ if he believes it’s the Israelis.

The single power plant in Gaza, which normally generates 25 percent of the electricity used in the Strip, was shut down over the weekend due to a payment dispute between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

Do you know where the other 75% comes from? yeah, you guessed it – Israel.

A couple of weeks ago I was reading an article in the JC written by a Palestinian journalist who described the wretched conditions. He said no-one was starving but electricity was unreliable and so was water. He blames neither Hamas (he would be hanged, no doubt) or Israel (his voice may not be heard).

Most people would have concluded that this situation is 100% attributable to the Israeli maritime blockade and embargo (since eased, somewhat).

But if Hamas cares so much for its people’s suffering, then how can it allow electricity to be cut in this way? And who is ultimately responsible responsible for the stoppage of fuel required to power the plant? The Palestinian Authority. And where is the world outrage? Where are the flotillas? Where are the emergency sessions in the UN?

The BBC reports that for the second time a children’s camp, arranged and funded by UNRWA, has been burned down by ‘extremist militants’. Hamas condemned the first attack but even the BBC has to admit that nothing happens in Gaza without the say-so of the Hamas.

And what does Mr Ging say?:

“This is another example of the growing levels of extremism in Gaza and further evidence, if that were needed, of the urgency to change the circumstances on the ground,” John Ging said.

What does he mean ‘change the circumstances on the ground’?

Does he mean that Israel is to blame for this? Israel, because of the blockade and the embargo? Has he too fallen into the causal quagmire? Does he really think that Islamist extremism is caused by Israel’s blockade and embargo rather than the blockade and embargo being a result of Islamist extremism?

Hamas, having gained possession of Gaza, having seen every last Israeli leave, decided to destroy millions of dollars of agricultural equipment left gratis by Israel and then begin a campaign of launching thousands of rockets into Israel.

And what about the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ aid which was held up for days by Hamas. Does the world expect a ruthless, genocidal, Islamist, terrorist group to care more about its people than Israel?

Or does Ging mean that Hamas and the extremists need to be defeated? Does he ‘get it’ or not?

You decide.

Chavez confused on democracy

Two old friends met up in Caracas this week: Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela and President Assad of Syria.

The two of them enjoyed some light-hearted chummy banter as Chavez described the United States and Israel as enemies of his country

“the Yankee empire, the genocidal state of Israel”

reports the Belfast Telegraph.

“Someday the genocidal state of Israel will be put in its place, in the proper place and hopefully a real democratic state will be born,”

Does he mean a democratic state from ‘the river to the sea’ replacing Israel and consisting of a Hamas/Palestinian Authority Islamist government where Jews and women cannot vote and gays will be hanged?

Is it that kind of democracy he is speaking about?

Or is it the democracy in a state like Assad’s Syria where Assad is President for life and no opposition is allowed?

Neither a Palestinian state replacing Israel or Syria would even approach Venezuela’s democracy. Unless Chavez has plans to become a South American Mugabe and roll back democracy.

Assad even ‘jokingly’ suggested that Syria and Venezuela could form an ‘axis of evil’.

Ho, ho, my sides are splitting. At least Assad displays a little more self-knowledge than Chavez.

But this is so typical of the Far Left shmoozing the authoritarian/Islamist Right, as long as it’s an anti-Israel, anti-USA authoritarian Right.

Chavez believes that Syria and the Palestinians could create a state that is more democratic than Israel. Delusion, thy name is (Far left) Socialism.

Chavez calls Israel genocidal whilst proposing its destruction. Remember Chavez’s other chum, Ahmadinejad?

Let’s all blow a very long vuvuzela at Venezuela!

The IDF in a different light

A new Facebook page has been created called The IDF – Not Only Shooting.

Its aim is to show that there are aspects to the IDF that you may not know about.

It’s mainly in Hebrew but the photos speak for themselves.

As the majority of Israelis will serve in the Israeli armed forces, it’s hardly surprising that its members represent a vast range of people, beliefs, attitudes and cultures.

The IDF’s recent humanitarian project in Haiti after the earthquake shows the resources and also the ethos of the IDF.

But the Palestinians have a different view it seems.  Palestinian Media Watch reports on the demonisation of soldiers – and Jews.  In a Palestinian Authority TV program for children whose fathers have been imprisoned by Israel, there is the following exchange:

PA TV host Manal Seif interviews the young sister of prisoner Qussai Husam Radwan, who was sentenced to 13 months in prison:
Host: “Do they bother you, the Israeli army, the soldiers there [when visiting at the prison]?”
Girl: “Yes.”
Host: “They’re wild animals, right? Aren’t they wild animals?”
[PA TV (Fatah), June 21, 2010]

PA TV host Manal Seif interviews the four-year old son of prisoner Shadi Shbeita, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison:
Host: “Ibrahim, you know – you’re cute and sweet. You have a nice shirt and nice pants. You’re cool. Where’s Daddy? Where’s Daddy? Daddy Shadi – where is he? Where is Daddy Shadi?”
Boy: “In prison.”
Host: “Who put him in prison? Who is it that put him in prison?”
Boy: “The Jews.”
Host: “The Jews are our enemies, right?”
[Boy nods in agreement.]

As the reporter points out, it is ‘the Jews’ who are the enemies, not ‘Israelis’ not even Jewish soldiers, but ‘Jews’.

This Facebook group shows the IDF in a different light.

Gilad Shalit – Four Years in captivity

Gilad Shalit, kidnapped four years ago and held since by Hamas without access to the Red Cross, Red Crescent, his family. Held incommunicado in contravention of international law and human rights.

Remember Gilad Shalit and the unbearable suffering of his family.

Remember Gilad Shalit and the unnecessary wasting of his young life.

Remember the taunting of his captors.

Free Gilad Shalit.

Palestinian father and son encounter the truth about Israel

(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Hat tip to oyvagoy.com for this story.

The Palestinian media in the West Bank is constantly feeding its citizens with inctitement, lies and libel against Israel.

We hear stories about how people die at checkpoints as they are held up waiting to go to hospital in Israel, full of devil Israelis waiting to suck their blood.

So this story comes as a refreshing change:

On Thursday, June 3, 2010, 15 year old Muhammed Kalalwe was working in his family’s fields. They live in Jenin, a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, …. The boy noticed a deadly viper snake and tried killing it with a rock, but the dangerous creature struck out and bit his right palm. Screams and panic ensued and within minutes, the boy’s father, Hafed, grabbed his stricken son and rushed him to the Jenin Hospital. They were ill-prepared to treat the boy, had no anti-serum and decided to send him by ambulance to the Emek Medical Center in Afula. Hafed later related that he was genuinely afraid to be taken to Emek because he was sure that they would be ignored and not even spoken to. His son’s palm and arm were critically swollen and the pain was unbearable.

The humanitarian reality of Emek shocked both the father and son as they were immediately greeted in Arabic, rushed into the ER where Emek’s multi-ethnic staff administered life-saving anti-serum and brought the boy back from the brink of death. Muhammed lay for the next two days in the pediatric intensive care unit and is now resting comfortably in Emek’s pediatric surgical department from where he will be released in the next couple of days.

I asked the father how he felt now about Emek Hospital and the Israelis he has come into contact with. Staring me straight in the eyes he said, “Our people do not know the truth about you and our medicine has a long way to go. My son and I are not the same as we were before this happened and I will share this with my family and friends. May Allah bless all of you.” As he spoke, he gesticulated determinedly in a classic Middle Eastern style and when we shook hands as I wished them both well, the grip was firm and real. I have shaken many such hands and gazed into many Palestinian eyes that had seen here a reality that they never expected to see.

While walking back to my office, I passed one of my best friends – the Head of our Emergency Services, Dr. Azziz Daroushe who is a Muslim from the nearby Israeli village of Iksal. I asked him what he thought about this latest case where we were able to save another life from Jenin. With a twinkle in his eye and a knowing grin he answered, “It’s a good thing there are snakes.” (my emphasis)

If only the Palestinian leadership would genuinely seek peace, what a huge difference Israel’s medical and technological know-how could make to the lives of everyone in the region.

The wikipedia article about Afula has this to say:

Due to Afula’s proximity to the West Bank, it became a target of Arab terrorism in Second Intifada. On 6 April 1994, a car bombing carried out by Hamas in the center of Afula killed five people. Afula also was the target of a suicide attack on a bus on 5 May 2002, in which one person died several people were injured at Afula’s central bus station. On 19 May 2003, the city’s Amakim Mall was bombed, killing three and wounding 70. This attack was carried out by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Fatah movement’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

On 17 July 2006, Hezbollah fired Katyusha rockets at Afula, one of the southernmost rocket attacks on Israel from Lebanon. Six people were treated for shock as a result of the bombing. On 28 July, a rocket landed causing a fire. The Katyusha carried 100 kilograms of explosives.

No wonder Hafed was worried.

And if you think this is unique, well it’s not even the first time Ha’Emek saved a child from Jenin from a snake bite.

Please read about the work Ha’EMek does with its staff of Jews and Arabs http://www.clalit.org.il/haemek/Content/Content.asp?CID=73&u=202

Profiles of those killed on the Mavi Marmara

The Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has released a list of those killed aboard the Mavi Marmara. Eight out of nine had links to terrorism. Several wrote wills or expressed their wish for martyrdom.

The report notes that no Western or Arab/Muslim human rights activists were killed; they all had Turkish nationality.

Here’s the summary, for details follow the link the link:

The following conclusions arise from analyzing the identity and affiliation of the nine Turkish nationals killed aboard the Mavi Marmara:

  1. The major role played by the Islamic organization IHH: out of the nine people killed, four were identified as IHH operatives or activists. Four others were members of Turkish Islamic organizations or parties affiliated with the IHH. The remaining victim is an ordinary Turkish volunteer who was caught in the event for unclear reasons.
  2. Operatives from the Turkish Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi): at least two of the people killed belong to the Felicity Party, an Islamic party established in 2001 with the support of ex-politician Necmettin Erbakan (after his Welfare Party, Refah Partisi, was banned from politics). The party espouses cooperation between Muslim countries, war on Zionism, and confrontation with the West. In April 2010, the party announced it would take part in the flotilla together with the IHH and the Free Gaza movement.
  3. Thugs among those killed: one of the people killed is a former Taekwondo champion; another worked at an Istanbul sports association; still another worked as a security guard at IHH conferences in the city where he lived. It should be noted that one of the Mavi Marmara passengers related during questioning in Israel that he had seen several IHH thugs carrying clubs. Statements taken from Israeli navy commandos show that there were thugs among the operatives who fought them. The presence of those thugs among the hard core of IHH operatives was part of the preparations for the confrontation.
  4. Statements made by relatives of those killed about their desire to become shaheeds and preparation of wills: relatives of four killed operatives testified that they wanted to die as shaheeds. It was reported that two of the killed operatives had left a letter or a last will before setting sail. “I pray that Allah will give us a happy endings, just like those shaheeds”, says one of the killed operatives on a video tape found aboard the Mavi Marmara.
  5. No human rights activists among the victims: conspicuously absent are human rights activists from Western countries and from the Arab/Muslim world, some of whom came on board the Mavi Marmara out of a genuine desire to deliver humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Those activists avoided joining the organized fighting against the IDF, stayed inside the ship, and did not go to the upper deck where the fighting took place. One of the Turkish nationals killed was a high school student. We have no information that he was connected with any Islamic organization.

La Pasionara reborn and a Cid for our times: Pilar Rahola and José María Aznar

What’s happening in Spain? Two politicians, Pilar Rahola and former Prime Minister José María Aznar, have now made statements strongly supporting Israel. Maybe after the Madrid bombings they realise that Israel’s existential struggle, with all its flaws, is fundamentally just.

Pilar Rahola should not be supporting Israel. She is a far left politician; a position that normally defaults to vilification of Israel and unquestioning support of the Palestinians.

For Pilar Rahola the struggle of Israel is the struggle of the world. She has not made just one fine statement, but two, in support of Israel. Her website also highlights the middle east and anti-Semitism.

Tablet Magazine reports a translation of a conference speech against that conference’s anti-Israel stance. She points out the singling out of Israel when obnoxious regimes appear to get a free pass:

Why don’t we see demonstrations against Islamic dictatorships in London, Paris, Barcelona?

Or demonstrations against the Burmese dictatorship?

Why aren’t there demonstrations against the enslavement of millions of women who live without any legal protection?

Why aren’t there demonstrations against the use of children as human bombs where there is conflict with Islam?

Why has there been no leadership in support of the victims of Islamic dictatorship in Sudan?

Why is there never any outrage against the acts of terrorism committed against Israel?

Why is there no outcry by the European left against Islamic fanaticism?

Why don’t they defend Israel’s right to exist?

Why confuse support of the Palestinian cause with the defense of Palestinian terrorism?

The last point is of special note. The current Israeli maritime blockade is seen as a punishment of Gazans rather than as a defence against Hamas. The occupation of the West Bank justifies past terrorism and Palestinian incitement is ignored or given lip service.

And finally, the million dollar question: Why is the left in Europe and around the world obsessed with the two most solid democracies, the United States and Israel, and not with the worst dictatorships on the planet?

To this question she has a subtle and compelling answer in another speech ‘Jews with Six Arms’ delivered at the Combating anti-Semitism conference in Spain:

The moral defeat of the left. For decades, the left raised the flag of freedom, wherever there was injustice. It was the depository of the utopic hopes of society. It was the great builder of future. Despite the murderous evil of Stalinism’s sinking the utopias, the left has preserved intact its aura of struggle, and still pretends to point out the good and the evil in the world. Even those who would never vote for leftist options, grant great prestige to leftist intellectuals, and allow them to be the ones who monopolize the concept of solidarity. As they have always done. Thus, those who struggled against Pinochet were freedom-fighters, but Castro’s victims, are expelled from the heroes’ paradise, and converted into undercover fascists.

This historic treason to freedom, is reproduced nowadays, with mathematical precision. For example, the leaders of Hezbollah are considered resistance heroes, while pacifists like Noa, the singer, are insulted in the streets of Barcelona. Today too, as yesterday, that left is hawking totalitarian ideologies, falls in love with dictators and, in its offensive against Israel, ignores the destruction of fundamental rights. It hates rabbis, but falls in love with imams; shouts against the Tsahal, but applauds Hamas’ terrorists; weeps for the Palestinian victims, but scorns the Jewish victims, and when it is touched by Palestinian children, it does it only if it can blame the Israelis. It will never denounce the culture of hatred, or its preparation for murder.

So the far left has lost the international argument. It needs to find a cause to rally round, to find a victim and demonise the ‘oppressor’. And when that ‘oppressor’ is a successful, capitalist, free society then the far left is offended and threatened. When their demon state produces world class science and research they have to boycott it. When that society is open and democratic they only point to its failures and its occupation whilst ignoring the root cause of that occupation, namely Palestinian and Arab rejectionism.

This is no better demonstrated by the concept of ‘freedom':

And then, to the concept of freedom. In every pro Palestinian European forum I hear the left yelling with fervor: “We want freedom for the people!”

Not true. They are never concerned with freedom for the people of Syria or Yemen or Iran or Sudan, or other such nations. And they are never preoccupied when Hammas destroys freedom for the Palestinians. They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom.

The demonisation is linguistic as well as conceptual:

When reporting about Israel the majority of journalists forget the reporter’s code of ethics. And so, any Israeli act of self-defense becomes a massacre, and any confrontation, genocide. So many stupid things have been written about Israel, that there aren’t any accusations left to level against her.

Almost a definition of demonisation.

And lurking beneath this hatred and obsessive demonisation is the old European hatred:

Just as it is impossible to completely explain the historical evil of antisemitism, it is also not possible to totally explain the present-day imbecility of anti-Israelism. Both drink from the fountain of intolerance and lie. If, also, we accept that anti-Israelism is the new form of antisemitism, we conclude that contingencies may have changed, but the deepest myths, both of the Medieval Christian antisemitism and of the modern political antisemitism, are still intact. Those myths are part of the chronicle of Israel. For example, the Medieval Jew who killed Christian children to drink their blood, connects directly with the Israeli Jew who kills Palestinian children to steal their land. Always they are innocent children and dark Jews. Similarly, the Jewish bankers who wanted to dominate the world through the European banks, according to the myth of the Protocols, connect directly with the idea that the Wall Street Jews want to dominate the World through the White House. Control of the Press, control of Finances, the Universal Conspiracy, all that which created the historical hatred against the Jews, is found today in hatred of the Israelis. In the subconscious, then, beats the western antisemite DNA…

And this finds a perfect resonance with Islamic Jew-hatred.

I urge you to read her speeches in full. She is certainly a voice in the darkness and a true latterday Pasionaria.

She is not alone.  In the Times this week former Spanish Prime Minister, José María Aznar, wrote ‘If Israel goes down, we all go down’.

In this article Aznar puts the case for Israel and succinctly states the truth about Israel now lost in worldwide hysteria and malignity:

In our dealings with Israel, we must blow away the red mists of anger that too often cloud our judgment. A reasonable and balanced approach should encapsulate the following realities: first, the state of Israel was created by a decision of the UN. Its legitimacy, therefore, should not be in question. Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology.

Second, owing to its roots, history, and values, Israel is a fully fledged Western nation. Indeed, it is a normal Western nation, but one confronted by abnormal circumstances.

Uniquely in the West, it is the only democracy whose very existence has been questioned since its inception. In the first instance, it was attacked by its neighbours using the conventional weapons of war. Then it faced terrorism culminating in wave after wave of suicide attacks. Now, at the behest of radical Islamists and their sympathisers, it faces a campaign of delegitimisation through international law and diplomacy.

He then explains how the Israel/Palestine issue is not just a border dispute or a legal nicety:

The real threats to regional stability, however, are to be found in the rise of a radical Islamism which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfilment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony. Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large.

… Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.

He mourns the decline of the West’s moral backbone which it exchanges for fashionable platitudes:

The West is going through a period of confusion over the shape of the world’s future. To a great extent, this confusion is caused by a kind of masochistic self-doubt over our own identity; by the rule of political correctness; by a multiculturalism that forces us to our knees before others; and by a secularism which, irony of ironies, blinds us even when we are confronted by jihadis promoting the most fanatical incarnation of their faith. To abandon Israel to its fate, at this moment of all moments, would merely serve to illustrate how far we have sunk and how inexorable our decline now appears.

He then sets about describing his fight back against this attack on western values and democratic integrity by announcing a new Friends of Israel initiative.  I urge all of you who love freedom and righteousness to sign up. This is not about giving Israel carte blanche. Criticising Israel and its policies is everyone’s right. Willing her destruction, demonising its people and Jews generally is not acceptable. Recognising its achievements and working for a peaceful resolution of the conflict to benefit everyone in the region and making the world a safer place should be our goal. Making Israel the fount from which all evil flows can only be called one thing and we all know what that thing is.

Israel is a fundamental part of the West. The West is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel is lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not, our fate is inextricably intertwined.

VIva Rahola y viva Aznar.

Gay Druze speaks up for Israel

This video speaks for itself. A young gay Druze man who thanks G-d he is living in Israel.

Don’t try this in Iran etc.

Helen Thomas and Free Palestine Organisation have the same speech writer

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 2: (FILE PHOTO) Senior White House Correspondent Helen Thomas reads the newspaper while sitting in her chair in the White House press room August 2, 2006 in Washington, DC. Thomas, 89, announced her retirement as a columnist for Hearst News Service June 7, 2010 after controversial comments she made about Israel created an uproar. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

The world now knows that Helen Thomas, doyenne of the White House press corps was interviewed earlier this month (see full video below).

Thomas, of Lebanese extraction, said that the Jews should ‘get the hell out of Palestine’. When asked where they should go, she said they should go back to Germany, Poland, America and elsewhere. She was subsequently sacked from Hearst newspapers for her remarks.

Now, Helen Thomas is quite entitled to object to the Israeli presence in the West Bank and to settlements. What she appeared to be guilty of was saying that Jews should leave Palestine (and it is not clear what she meant by ‘Palestine’) and return to two countries which were largely responsible for the deaths of 6 million during the Holocaust.

This is insensitivity to put it mildly. If she were implying that Jews as settlers should leave Palestine/the West Bank, then why did she not say they should settle in Israel rather than ‘get the hell out’. There was a clear implication that she did not believe Jews have the right to settle even in Israel and that they are ALL settlers from Europe, America and elsewhere.

Helen Thomas’s remarks were echoed by a fellow Lebanese, as reported in the Jerusalem Post in an article about the Lebanese all woman flotilla which now, apparently, is not going to sail after all (see here).

In an interview with Hizbullah’s al-Manar television station,

Yasser Kashlak, a Syrian businessman of Palestinian descent who heads the “Free Palestine Organization” and is funding this boat, as well as another that is to carry journalists and parliamentarians, said …. that he was more and more optimistic that one day these same boats would take “Europe’s refuse [the Jews] that came to my homeland back to their homelands.

“Gilad Schalit should go back to Paris and those murderers go back to Poland, and after that we will chase them until the ends of the earth to bring them to justice for their acts of slaughter from Deir Yassin until today.

So the Jewish people are ‘Europe’s refuse’ and should somehow go back, presumably even those who have lived in Israel/Palestine uninterrupted for hundreds of years.

But Mr Kashlak, like Helen Thomas, conveniently failed to mention that in 1948 and subsequently as many as 900,000 Jews from Arab states were expelled or forced to leave due to persecution, and stripped of their property, businesses and money simply for being Jews. Approximately half of all Israelis are of Mizrahi Arab descent.

Many of them, naturally, fled to Israel. So does Mr Kashlak expect these Jews and their descendants to return to Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Syria? Does he think these countries would accept hundreds of thousand of Jews? If not, where would he like them to go? But he is going to chase them to the ends of the Earth anyway, which seems a bit silly. Why expel them and then chase them, why not just murder them in their homes in Israel.

He wants Gilad Shalit to go back to Paris. I’m sure Gilad Shalit would be happy to go anywhere at the moment, but he can’t as he is being held as a prisoner of war by Hamas without access to the Red Cross in direct transgression of the international laws that Hamas and Hizbullah are so keen to accuse Israel of breaking.

So for those who would deny the Jews their rights to self-determination in their ancestral homeland the choice is clear: exile or extermination. And if you chose the former, we’ll come after you anyway. This should not be surprising when Hizbullah, like Hamas, is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and all Jews.

You can find the Hizbullah ‘charter’ here. But here’s a taste of it:

Therefore our struggle will end only when this entity is obliterated. We recognize no treaty with it, no cease fire, and no peace agreements, whether separate or consolidated.
We vigorously condemn all plans for negotiation with Israel, and regard all negotiators as enemies, for the reason that such negotiation is nothing but the recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist occupation of Palestine. Therefore we oppose and reject the Camp David Agreements, the proposals of King Fahd, the Fez and Reagan plan, Brezhnev’s and the French-Egyptian proposals, and all other programs that include the recognition (even the implied recognition) of the Zionist entity.

Sounds a tad uncompromising to me. Oh well, maybe Hamas can do better:

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. “

“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

“After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.”

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree,  would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Well, that, if anything is even worse. They want to murder all Jews. But that’s genocide! So let’s send humanitarian boats to help them achieve their objectives by breaking the maritime blockade and letting in arms and missiles.