Cameron: A turkey on Turkey, ga-ga on Gaza

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has completely lost it. He is campaigning for Turkey’s entry into the European Union and thus for placing a growing Islamist country, that has strong ties with the enemies of the West, at the heart of Europe.

All this might have been acceptable in the past when Turkey was recognised as a secular Muslim country sitting between the West and the Islamic world, a democracy with a mixed Western and Eastern culture and an honest broker between the West and Islam.

But Cameron seems to have overlooked completely Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist program.

At the same time that he shows little understanding of the threat posed to Europe by the regime of Erdogan, he attacks in an unwarranted, ill-informed and just plain ignorant way the EU’s only real friend in the Middle East, and its only democracy, Israel, by declaring Gaza to be a ‘Prison Camp’.

His speech in Turkey mirrored President Obama’s in Cairo with its cringing agenda of appeasement instead of confronting Turkey with the manifold reasons as to not only why it should currently be shunned by the EU but also suspended from NATO, as I wrote earlier this year after the Turkish flotilla incident.

As the BBC reports:

Mr Cameron said he wanted to “pave the road” for Turkey to join the EU.

Maybe this road should be called the Islamic fundamentalist highway.

“When I think about what Turkey has done to defend Europe as a Nato ally, and what Turkey is doing today in Afghanistan, alongside our European allies, it makes me angry that your progress towards EU membership can be frustrated in the way it has been.

Yes, the old Turkey, the secular Muslim state with democratic values, not THIS Turkey.

“So we need Turkey’s help now in making it clear to Iran just how serious we are about engaging fully with the international community,”

Cameron recognises that Erdogan has the ear of Iran’s president Ahmadinejad, but for what purpose?

What has happened to the secular, democratic, Muslim state created by Kemal Attaturk and so lauded for decades as a blueprint of what a modern Islamic nation should look like, (despite many issues of human rights)?

A telling analysis by Andre Mozes reveals:

Before entering Turkish national politics, Erdogan served as Istanbul’s mayor. In this colorful city… one learns to speak the languages of all; of moderate Muslims, of cosmopolitan and of Islamist Turks alike.  Erdogan learned them well, but in his deeds he always belonged to the third group.  In earlier Turkish elections fundamentalist Islamic parties were banned, according to the secular laws and tradition of Turkey, preserved successfully since Ataturk turned Turkey from a backward Muslim monarchy, into a progressive secular modern nation.

In the elections of 2002, however, Erdogan’s Islamic party succeeded in changing its appearance - including by its beautiful name: Justice and Development Party (AKP) -  sufficiently to circumvent the ban. They won a convincing election victory, primarily in the less developed rural regions, where most votes were controlled by the local imams.  The army – the traditional watchdog of Ataturk’s legacy – decided, after difficult arguments only, not to veto the election results, and so Recep Erdogan came to power.

Mr Cameron appears blissfully unaware of this history; the erosion of Attaturk’s values by craft and deceit.

While praising Turkey’s secular and democratic traditions, Mr Cameron stressed that Turkey must continue to push forward “aggressively” with economic and political reform to maintain momentum towards EU membership.

The only thing that Erdogan is aggressively pursuing is an alliance with radical left-wing regimes (Chavez in Venezuela), Islamists (Ahmadinejad in Iran) and dictators (Assad in Syria).

As the Guardian* reported in October last year with the headline “‘Iran is our friend’, says Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan”:

Erdogan’s partiality towards Ahmadinejad may surprise some in the west who see Turkey as a western-oriented democracy firmly grounded inside Nato. It has been a member of the alliance since 1952. It will be less surprising to Erdogan’s secular domestic critics, who believe the prime minister’s heart lies in the east and have long suspected his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development party (AKP) government of plotting to transform Turkey into a religious state resembling Iran.

Erdogan vigorously denies the latter charge, but to his critics he and Ahmadinejad are birds of a feather: devout religious conservatives from humble backgrounds who court popular support by talking the language of the street.

But all this came to a head in May with the infamous Freedom Flotilla incident in which the Israeli navy intercepted a flotilla attempting to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and, when boarding the lead ship, ‘Mavi Marmara’, were attacked. In the ensuing melee 9 ‘activists’ were killed. An outraged Erdogan condemned Israel, demanded an apology, threatened to break relations, demanded a UN enquiry and made huge political capital of the incident.

This led to Erdogan’s being lionised across the Islamic world; Israel’ s best friend in the Near East, and the only Muslim country which had good relations with Israel, was distancing itself from the Zionists. The dictators and the terror groups were jubilant. Erdogan’s star was in the ascendant in the Muslim world. He appeared to be bidding for leadership of that same world. But some believed he was over-reaching. Had he revealed his Islamist hand too soon?

It was only a little later that the facts came to light about the nature of the IHH, which organised the Freedom Flotilla, a humanitarian organisation with links to terror, including Al Qaeda.

A decidedly anti-Western and virulently anti-Israeli group took over the Mavi Marmara and announced that their aim was to reach Gaza or to die as martyrs. They then meticulously prepared a  reception for the Israeli commandos who rappelled on to the ship’s decks to be met by lethal force. Subsequent Israeli investigations have revealed that all but one of the fatalities had ‘form’ which linked them to Hamas and Islamic terror groups. The IHH is an organisation formerly recognised and supported by the Turkish government. This links Erdogan’s regime indirectly to anti-Western, and that includes anti-European groups. But nice Mr Cameron doesn’t see that. All he can muster is, and I repeat:

Turkey must continue to push forward “aggressively” with economic and political reform

Mr Cameron has thus joined the legions of the politically blind. Blind to the fundamentalist threat which he responds to with:

“Those who wilfully misunderstand Islam, they see no difference between real Islam and the distorted version of the extremists. They think the problem is Islam itself. And they think the values of Islam can just never be compatible with the values of other religions, societies or cultures.”

But it is Erdogan who is cavorting with these extremists and who is leading his country down the same path.

The Italians certainly know what the IHH is all about as MP Fiamma Nirenstein is seeking to outlaw the group in the very EU that Mr Cameron wants Turkey to join:

Dear friends,

I just presented a parliamentary question to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs requiring to evaluate the possibility to insert the Turkish organization IHH (“Insani Yardim Vafki”), one of the main promoters of the Mavi Marmara and responsible for its violent implications, in the list of terrorist organizations of the European Union.

Several investigations and reports testify the involvement of IHH in global terrorism and many videos and documents attest its jihadist attitude finalized at “martyrdom in the name of Allah”. Because of its connection to Hamas and the “Union of Good” (an Islamic umbrella organization affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood that was put in the US’ terror list in 2008), Germany has recently banned IHH and in the USA, a bipartisan group of Senators appealed to President Obama with a request to enter the IHH in the US’ list of terrorist organizations.

You can read below the entire interrogation.

And here’s the link http://fiammanirenstein.com/articoli.asp?Categoria=5&Id=2412

Is this the group we want a member country of the EU to be supporting, Mr Cameron?

But it is on the situation in Gaza that Cameron was at his egregious worst.

“Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza can not and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp,” he said.

As Stephen Pollard of the Jewish Chronicle amusingly points out:

What exactly are the humanitarian goods that will flow from Gaza to Israel and Egypt?

Will Cameron lobby President Mubarak of Egypt to open the Rafah crossing?

What humanitarian aid is NOT getting into Gaza?

All humanitarian aid has always been allowed through into Gaza; only the Egyptians have actually blocked aid both from Viva Palestina and, more recently, Jordan.

And Gaza doesn’t need humanitarian aid any more. The shops are full. What it needs is rebuilding and jobs. But what is holding it back is the Islamist, anti-Semitic, Hamas regime which Erdogan actually supports. On the 6th April this year Mr Erdogan declared that Hamas is not a terrorist group. Mr Cameron should remember that the EU has designated Hamas a terrorist organisation. So why does Mr Cameron want to support a country which condones terror?

The Jerusalem Post reported Erdogan as saying:

“I do not think that Hamas is a terrorist organization. … They are Palestinians in resistance, fighting for their own land.”

And that ‘land’ is, of course Israel which Hamas wants to call Palestine, from the river to the sea.

Is this Mr Cameron’s idea of the type of leader Europe, and particularly Mr Cameron, should be embracing?

In his address Friday, he said the Ten Commandments should have deterred the soldiers from killing the nine passengers who died on board the ship. “If you do not understand it in Turkish I will say it in English: You shall not kill,” he reportedly said – repeating the phrase in Hebrew.

But Mr Erdogan’s forces kill Kurds almost daily in their fight for their own independent state. On June 20th 2010 the BBC reported :

Turkey has vowed to fight Kurdish rebels until they are “annihilated”, after attacks killed 11 soldiers.

PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday’s “cowardly” assaults would not end Turkey’s determination to fight the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) “to the end”.

Is this the sort of hypocrite that Mr Cameron wants to fast-track into Europe? Imagine if Israel said this about Hamas.

Cameron seems to be stuck with the idea that Erdogan is an important link between Europe and the Islamic world, so he conveniently glosses over the Kurds, Northern Cyprus – which Turkey has occupied and populated with its nationals against International Law since 1974; he conveniently glides effortlessly over Erdogan’s support for Hamas and, therefore, implicitly, the destruction of Israel.

Is this the Turkey which, as Mr Cameron says, is “vital for our economy, vital for our security and vital for our diplomacy”?

Mr Cameron’s characterisation of Gaza as a prison-camp uses the overblown rhetoric of Israel’s enemies not because Cameron believes it, but because it is politic and ‘even-handed’ just to throw it in there as a sop to his audience. He also forgets that the only real prisoner in Gaza is kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit, who has been in captivity, without access to the Red Cross, for four years, contrary to the Geneva Convention and the laws of conflict.

He is therefore willing to lie and twist the truth for diplomatic reasons. He really believes that risking an Islamist state in Europe, as well as NATO, is good for the UK’s, the EU’s and the West’s security. He really believes that giving Israel a good kicking will, Obama-like, make the Islamic countries see him as fair and rush towards his outstretched hand?

They must be be rolling about in uncontrollable glee and laughter.

How is it that Conservative Cameron has caught the Obama appeasement bug without realising it. Too much kissy-kissy in the White House, perhaps.

Like the previous government, Cameron is strong on diplomacy and weak on statesmanship; like those who have gone before him he is prepared to be Abraham to Israel’s Isaac and hope that someone shows up with a ram before he has to do the dirty deed.

And what of the euro-sceptics in the Conservative Party? Indeed, what of Cameron’s own scepticism on Europe? The same David Cameron who wants a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Why should his party europhobes agree to an expansion of the EU they wish to dismantle?

Or is this Con-Dem Frankenstein’s monster of a government just lurching about calling out “Friend, friend” in the desperate hope it can find one, even if he’s an Islamist in a sharp suit with an even sharper knife tucked behind his back?

*http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/26/turkey-iran1

First Israeli Arab female paratrooper

The State of Israel has begun its own blog.

It will run a ‘Faces of the IDF’ feature.

First up is Corporal Eleanor Joseph, or Elinor Yosef, a female Arab Israeli from near Haifa who is following in the boot-steps of her father. She strikes a very winsome pose on the website. But behind the obvious PR exercise of having attractive Arabs serving in the IDF, (she also happens to be Christian) lie some contradictions and issues of being an Arab in a Jewish state.

The eye2israel website tells us:

Eleanor Joseph is a true Israeli Patriot, she sings the Israeli national anthem Hatikvah, and feels proud and excited to see the Israeli flag fluttering in the wind – “it’s always windy during military ceremonies,” she says with a smile. “I don’t have any other country” is a line from the well known Israeli song written by one of the most esteemed poets, Ehud Manor and is also Eleanor’s motto. This line was written for her by her commander and she keeps it in her pocketbook – it’s always with her. Eleanor doesn’t have any other country; she is a true and a proud Arab Christian Israeli.

But  ElderofZiyon reveals that:

Al Arabiya has a lengthy and flabbergasted Arabic article on Jozef. When asked if she would kill Arabs if necessary, she answered that she would hardly be the first Arab to kill other Arabs.

She also said that while she doesn’t celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, she doesn’t sit and cry either.

Isn’t there a contradiction between singing HaTikvah which speaks of the hope of 2000 years that Jews return to Zion and yet not celebrating Israeli Independence.  Logically, it should be the other way round, no?

Such are the contradictions and issues of loyalty or nationhood if you are an Arab Israeli.  The sub-text of “I don’t have any other country” is, surely, one of resignation and making the best of it. This further implies that she doesn’t feel that, ultimately, this is her country or at least, her choice of country.

Or maybe it’s just that her enthusiasm for Israel and the IDF has to be tempered in the context of her ethnicity and the history of Israel with its contradictory narratives of expulsion and redemption.

But compare with the UK. Muslims serving in Afghanistan are proud to be British and serving their country whilst some of their co-religionists consider them to be sell-out pariahs.

Is there really much difference?

Let’s hope Elinor is the first of many Israeli-Arab women to show their pride in their country by serving as paratroopers.

Patten, dupe of Hamas

Tom Gross, as brilliant as ever, reported this week on how he believes Hamas are:
deliberately leaving some Gazans in plastic tents, in order to fool gullible Western journalists and politicians who are brought to Gaza to witness a staged “humanitarian crisis.

This has been a suspicion of mine for some time. Commenting on a JC blog post I wrote:

There is a big question over the ongoing issue with rebuilding. Hamas and its supporters worldwide and, it seems Patten and Ashton, like to point out Gazans living in the rubble of their homes. Yet shopping malls, swimming pools and restaurants are being built. It couldn’t be, could it, that those lovely Hamas peeople DELIBERATELY leave the rubble to bring pressure on Israel? Wouldn’t that be obscene? After all, if you can get a 4 x 4 through a tunnel you can get concrete and steel. Noone ever asks that question. Just like the ‘refugee camps’ after 62 years are maintained as an ongoing weapon against Israel, house rubble in Gaza may well be being used for the same purpose.

We appear to have come to the same conclusion.

The Tom Gross article shows us the new Gaza Shopping mall with the comment:

If there “are no building materials allowed into Gaza” how did they build this shopping center, or the new Olympic-size swimming pool pictured below?

Good question and the same one as mine.

Yet in a Guardian article (I don’t give links to the Guardian on principle any more, so you’ll have to believe me or find it yourself) Chris Patten, former Tory MP, former Governor of Hong Kong and now Chancellor of Oxford University and President of Medical Aid for Palestinians, doesn’t seem to have noticed the mall, the food stores filled to the brim, the Israeli white goods filling Gazan shops, instead:

Israel’s policy of blockading Gaza has been a “terrible failure – immoral, illegal and ineffective”, he said, which had “deliberately triggered an economic and social crisis which has many humanitarian consequences”

And:

On earlier visits, he said, he had observed “a community that was poor, but at least economic activity was taking place”. Since the blockade, “economic and commercial life has been squeezed out of Gaza in what looks and feels and is like a medieval siege”.

The old medieval siege canard again. Israel provides most of the electricity needs of Gaza and did so throughout Cast Lead. Israel provides Gaza’s fuel needs. Israel lets in hundreds of trucks through its crossing points daily. Can someone tell me of any medieval siege where the besieger provided for the daily sustenance of the besieged?

A week ago the Jerusalem Post reported :

The Defense Ministry’s coordinator of government activities in the territories (COGAT) has given initial approval to international organizations for 31 construction projects in the Gaza Strip, constituting a 300 percent increase in the number of projects approved by Israel in the past month.

The 31 projects were submitted to COGAT since the cabinet decided in June to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

COGAT had already approved nine projects before the government’s decision, including the renovation of a sewage treatment plant in northern Gaza, the construction of 151 housing units in Khan Yunis in the south, and the repair of a flour mill that was damaged during Operation Cast Lead a year and a half ago.

Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:

The embargo has been criticized for its effects on food, clean water, medicine, and other economic needs of the Cuban population. The Cuban population is in dire need of most of these items.

Criticism has come from both Fidel Castro and Raul Castro, citizens and groups from within Cuba, and international organizations and leaders including Barack Obama.

Some academic critics, outside Cuba, have also linked the embargo to shortages of medical supplies and soap which have resulted in a series of medical crises and heightened levels of infectious diseases. It has also been linked to epidemics of specific diseases, including neurological disorders caused by poor nutrition and blindness.

Travel restrictions embedded in the embargo have also been shown to limit the amount of medical information that flows into Cuba from the United States. Malnutrition and disease resulting from increased food and medicine prices have affected men and the elderly, in particular, due to Cuba’s rationing system which gives preferential treatment to women and children.

Yes, this is the United States’ embargo on Cuba. Yet no-one is sending flotillas to Havana, the Guardian is not banging on about Cuba almost every day, the UN has lost interest and the EU is shtum.

At least Patten is anti Boycott (and I don’t mean Sir Geoffrey for cricket aficionados):

“I don’t think a boycott would help,” he said. “It could have the reverse consequences to those intended.”

On the same page as pictures of the new Gaza mall Gross tells us:

Two days ago the EU pledged tens of millions of EU taxpayers’ euros to add to the hundreds of millions already donated to Gaza this year, much of which has been misused to procure arms.

Meanwhile Barry Shaw has begin a Facebook cause entitled: Palestinian funding. Obscene. Insane. Immoral. and tells us:

We are having an effect. A crack has appeared in the stonewall of Palestinian lies. Our evidence is starting to get through. The photos, videos, statistics are beginning to be seen by those who have been in a state of denial.

Slowly, the actual living conditions in Gaza is being seen by a wider public. They are hearing about the new Gaza Shopping Mall (we have the actual promotion material), the fine dining at Roots Club and Greens, they can see the luxurious mansions and new apartment blocks, fully stocked stores, swimming in the Olympic pool, horse riding at the Gaza academy, and much much more.

The lies that Gaza is hell is being exposed. We need you to help us tear down this wall of lies and deceit.
The lies, paid for with your tax dollars, is keeping the Islamic terror regime of Hamas in power. Your money is helping them gain influence in the rest of the Palestinian territories.

If you care for peace, if you care for those in genuine distress, leanr the facts, spread the message, and demand that your tax money is diverted to those in desparate need.

And on his website:

An investigative report by Israel National News published on Thursday revealed that whenever the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza requests an influx of US dollars to pay its staff, the Hamas Islamic terror regime end up making a killing.

It is curious that UNRWA requests the transfer of US dollars, as it did this week when it called for $12.5 million for staff salaries. The bulk of that money is provided by US taxpayers.

The fact is that all financial transactions in Gaza take place in Israeli shekels, the official currency of the territory.
In order for the UNRWA staff to be paid in shekels, the dollars are deposited in the Gaza Postal Bank, which is controlled by Hamas. The bank changes the dollars to shekels, charging a hefty fee to do so. The dollars are then reportedly sold again on the Egyptian black market where they command a much higher price.

Hamas makes huge amounts of money both on the initial exchange, and by reselling the dollars.

A senior economic researcher cited in the story said further evidence of this is the fact that Hamas always complains of a lack of money. But every time UNRWA receives money, Hamas is suddenly able to pay its own salaries.

Under US law, it is illegal to put taxpayers’ dollars towards any organization or movement that may result in that money reaching the hands of terrorists. These laws have been consistently ignored when it comes to the ‘Palestinians’.

Hence, US taxpayers are financing the Hamas terror organisation that controls the Gaza Strip.

Confusing, isn’t it. Is there a humanitarian crisis or not?

Tom Gross again (MAYBE THE TURKISH FLOTILLAS ARE GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION?):

In Turkey, life expectancy is 72.23 and infant mortality is 24.84 per 1,000 births.

In Gaza, life expectancy is 73.68 and infant mortality is 17.71 per 1,000 births.

Turkey has a literacy rate of 88.7% while in Gaza it is 91.9%. (It is much lower in Egypt and other Arab countries where Israel did not establish colleges and universities in the 1970s and 1980s.)

Gaza’s GDP is almost as high as Turkey’s and much, much higher than most of Africa that gets 1,000th of the aid per capita that Gaza gets from the West.

(Source for above info: CIA World Factbook)

So the question is, even if there are problems in Gaza who is now responsible? Surely Hamas assisted by the EU the UN and the United States can build housing required? Israel approves and assists with projects where there is no chance of Hamas using materials for military purposes. So what’s holding them back. If they can build a mall and a restaurant, why not an apartment block?

The EU, as represented by Baroness Ashton, seems unwilling to make the connection between Hamas and the plight of Gazans living in tents.

I do not say that there are no problems in Gaza, but the main cause of humanitarian suffering is Hamas with its repressive Islamist policies, its persecution of Fatah, its attitude to women and its commitment to destroy Israel and murder Jews.

And why is there such a disproportionate obsession with Gaza when there are so many more critical causes. Cuba for instance. Sudan anyone? Congo?

What British Jews think of Israel

Earlier this month the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) published a report of their ‘initial’ findings from an ‘Israel Survey’ they carried out this year.

The headline summary of British Jewish attitudes to Israel was ‘Committed, concerned and conciliatory’.

I’d like to explore if the findings really matched the conclusions and also add some comments as to how this reflects my own views and experiences, or not, as the case may be..

Firstly, let’s see what the JPR says about itself:

The Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) is a London-based independent Jewish research institute. It aims to advance the prospects of Jewish communities in Britain and across Europe by conducting research and developing policy in partnership with those best placed to influence Jewish life.

I’m not sure what ‘advance the prospects’ means. I take it to mean that this group, supported by the Pears Foundation, wants to influence the ‘policy’ of those who are influential in Jewish life in Britain.  In this context, I take it that they want to assist in helping the development of policy vis-a-vis Israel.

The survey, therefore, is meant to provide communal leaders and organisations with data on their own constituency.

Looking at the Pears Foundation website, it would appear that ‘Committed, concerned and conciliatory’ could be their own mission statement when it comes to Israel.

The Pears Foundation also supports the New Israel Fund which has been the subject of much controversy recently. The NIF was accused by NGO monitor (which is an Israeli NGO itself), of being anti-Zionist. There were other accusations of supporting Palestinian-Arab groups which deny Israel’s legitimacy. This year, Im Tirtzu which is a Zionist student organisation, accused the NIF of collaboration with the UN’s Goldstone report on Operation Cast Lead and providing it with the ammunition with which to attack Israel. It was all a bit messy.

This is the provenance of this report. I would point out that Pears and NIF are both heavily involved in the advancing the welfare and economic status of Israeli Arabs. This is a laudable and commendable mission but it is fraught with the dangers of Israeli and Palestinian political entanglement. It is probably unavoidable that the objects of charitable causes in Israel can be, in turn, targetted by Palestinian and, indeed, Israeli political groups whose agenda is not charitable but to attack or even delegitimise the state.

Given this provenance we must tread carefully and see whether there is any political interpretation of the data. After all, the expressed aim of JPR is to develop policy, and policy is the offspring of politics.

First point is that the pdf document is annoyingly a 2-column format which makes it very difficult to read in a browser.

Are the data truly representative of the Jewish community? As the report authors say in the Introduction:

Short of an official census which all members of a population are required to complete, no sample survey can provide a perfect representation of the target population. That is particularly the case when sampling the Jewish community, because members of the population cannot be identified by a list, or accessed by any form of random process. Further, in a survey such as this, which was carried out on-line, and where respondents are self-selected, there is additional potential for bias in the data.

There were 4,081 responses. There is no way of telling that all these respondents were actually Jewish or even British. 4,000 represents something like 1.5% of Britain’s Jewish population, but a significantly higher proportion of its adult population, perhaps 4-5% or 1 in 20/25. This is a remarkable sample. If you were to have an online survey directed at the UK population, the same percentage would return 3-400,000 responses from the adult population, if my maths are correct.

Yet it remains the fact that respondents, including myself are a) Internet savvy, b) are aware of the survey and c) want to respond.

It would be a fair assumption that those responding want to express their views and those who don’t are uncommitted or have no strong desire to contribute to the data and the story they tell.

The Executive Summary is broken down into a number of headings.

Deep ties and strong commitments

This is borne out by the data. An overwhelming majority believe that Israel is central to their identity, is their ancestral homeland, believe themselves to be Zionists and believe they have a ‘responsibility to support Israel’ and that Jews are ‘responsible for ensuring the survival of Israel’.

So,  British Jews still overwhelmingly cleave to a Jewish identity anchored in the soil of Israel. This also confirms Jews affinity with other Jews (as we say every New Month, chaverim kol Yisra’el – all the people of Israel are one brotherhood) and adds up to a national identification as a Jewish People.

Dovish stance on key policy issues

The data clearly show that British Jews are in favour of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and do not wish to see any further expansion of settlements.

The next statistic, however, is worrying: 52% believe that Israel should negotiate with Hamas. Only 39% do not.

This is worrying because it means that 52% of correspondents actually believe that Hamas would ever negotiate with Israel. Hamas have repeatedly rejected any such negotiations. Israel will not talk to them until they forswear their genocidal policy against Jews and Israel.  Clearly the Jewish public in Britain are not informed about the nature of Hamas. I’m sure there ‘vote’ is for the best intentions, but there is a clear lack of understanding of the nature of Hamas and perhaps some confusion.

Clear support on security issues but with some reservations

This section dealt with Israel’s control of the West Bank (Judea/Samaria), the Security Barrier, the Gaza War and Iran. Again, the respondents generally appear to adhere to a progressive Zionist view of Israel’s ‘occupation’ of the West Bank. They feel it is a necessary evil whilst there is a threat but are prepared to cede land for peace. Only 48% of professed Zionists saw Israel as an occupying power.

The definition of Israel’s position on the West Bank is a complex historical issue. If Israel is occupying the West Bank, which country is being occupied? Palestine has never existed even though the West Bank is land earmarked as a future separate state in the 2-state solution. The land is termed ‘disputed’ by those who don’t like ‘occupied’, but the religious Right see it simply as Israeli/Jewish land by right.  But it matters little; the main thrust of the response is that British Jews are willing to cede most of this land for peace and to create a viable Palestinian state.

Most (72%) supported Cast Lead , the Gaza War in 2008-9 (even though, as mentioned above, 52% want to negotiate with Hamas. Again, negotiate what? The destruction of Israel?) and the same number also support the Security Barrier as vital.

The response on Iran as representing a threat to Israel gained a massive 87% agreement. Jews have learned by bitter experience that anyone who calls for the destruction of Jews should be taken seriously.

Some mixed feelings about the state of Israeli society

The main concerns were corruption in Israeli political life, the influence of Orthodox Judaism (the Haredim) and a lesser concern, but still a majority, about discrimination against minorities in both the Jewish and non-Jewish community. This too shows a what could be termed a somewhat left-leaning view of Israel and is completely commensurate with British Jews growing up in and identifying with the values of British society and desiring those same values are observed in Israel.

Corruption in the UK parliament with the expenses scandal may affect their views on accusations of corruption against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. But more likely is a desire to avoid the embarrassment of Jewish leaders facing criminal charges.

Concern for minorities is also a natural and commendable expression of British mainstream multi-culturalism but also, and perhaps even more so in this context, an expression of Jewish moral values and a belief that Israel, though a state of the Jewish people, can accommodate non-Jews and a varied ethnic mix in a cohesive society. Jewish charities have historically concentrated their efforts on Jews in Israel. As Israel has become more affluent this is shifting slightly toward assisting with integration of non-European ethnicities and improving the lot of Arabs.  The data reflect these concerns.

20% of correspondents do not believe democracy is ‘alive and well in Israel’. I would hazard a guess that these 20% are either hard Left or concerned with corruption, the vagaries of the Israeli voting and multi-party system and the situation in the ‘territories’. Maybe democracy is alive but has a bit of a temperature would be more apt. But at least it is a democracy.

Some divergence of opinion on the will for peace

Confusion on who wants peace. Only 59% thought Israel was less responsible for the failure of the peace process and only 47% believed the Palestinians want peace. As we cannot know what Palestinians really want we can only go by their actions. 60 years of rejectionism and the failure of Fatah/PLO/PA to accept a Jewish state should have convinced more people that Israel has always been willing to make sacrifices for peace and the Palestinians offer rockets and intifadas in return.

Apparently this view is not at all universal in the Jewish community and I suspect the reason is an exasperation with the Netanyahu government and the antics of Lieberman.

Israel is prominent in the daily lives of Jews in Britain

This was really interesting.76% believe Israel is relevant to their lives but most of these do not feel a conflict of interest with loyalty to Britain. This is wholly commensurate with a population that has roots over 4 or more generations in Britain and still feels gratitude to Britain for absorbing their grandparents and great grandparents fleeing from Russisan pogroms over 100 years ago. I know I do. This loyalty is even reflected in the prayer for the Royal Family recited in synagogues every shabbat.

About a quarter feel uncomfortable living here because of events in Israel. This is mainly due I would suspect, to anti-Israel demonstrations and the rise in anti-Semitic incidents every time Israel is pilloried in the press for defending itself. For me this is not a permanent state of being. But I felt considerable wariness walking to synagogue during Cast lead and after the Mavi Marmara incident with a vague feeling that I was a potential target for the rage of some sections of British society who make no distinction between Jews and Israelis.

This feeling was an almost atavistic sense of impending pogrom and even guilt, even though I supported Israel’s actions, I was the perennial Jew, the outsider, the enemy within braced for the abuse of a passing motorist or a missile lobbed from across the road. These fears were not realised, but the feeling they could have been was fuelled by anti-Israel sentiment in the news and media. And or me, anti-Israel always means anti-Jew on the streets of Britain.

The survey showed why I have these feelings:

• Almost a quarter (23%) of the sample had witnessed some form of antisemitic incident in the previous  year. Of these, over half (56%) believe that the incident was ‘probably’ or ‘definitely’ related to the abuser/assailant’s views on Israel.

• More than one in ten respondents (11%) said they had been subjected to a verbal antisemitic insult or attack in the 12 months leading up to the survey. Over half of the victims (56%) believe that the incident was ‘probably’ or ‘definitely’ related to the abuser/assailant’s views on Israel.

Division of opinion on the right to speak out

Again,a surprise for me. Only 35% said Jews should always feel free to criticise Israel in the British media. As many as 25% said this was never justified.

Although I can sympathise with a reluctance to criticise when there are more than enough non-Jews around who are more than willing to do so, I think it is false loyalty not to speak up when you feel Israel is wrong. The problem is, as I’ve said before, that when so much of the so-called debate is so shrill and vicious, it is not easy to add your reasonable voice to a cacophony of vituperative polemic which is neither reasoned or reasonable.

However, just because the general debate is malign should not deter a Jew or a supporter of Israel from expressing reservations or criticism. The attempts to demonise Israel cannot be used as an excuse for moral cowardice if you feel Israel is wrong.

The survey came up with another , for me, unfortunate statistic: 45% do not believe Jews in Britain have a right to criticise Israel because we don’t live there. This is crazy. I don’t live in Iran but I have a right, in this country at least, to criticise it. Jews have a long history of not wishing to ‘rock the boat’, to put up the shutters and retreat behind a communal defensive wall where any criticism of Israel is disloyal. This is an absurdity in the 21st century.

If Israeli democracy cannot take external criticism or if Jews feel pangs of disloyalty as critical diaspora Jews then the relationship between the diaspora and Israel will lose an important linkage. However, this line of thought can lead to J-Street whose ‘pro-Israel’ criticism hides a more pernicious agenda which is decidedly anti-Zionist. Nevertheless, we live in free societies and the antidote to anti-Zionism and anti-Israel sentiments, from Jews or anyone else, is confidence to express support and valid criticism and to confront invalid criticism or views inimical to the best interests of Israel.

Religiosity and educational attainment

The final summary section simply states that the more religious, the more hawkish, the better educated, the more dovish. What about well educated ‘frummers’?

Education may lead to dovishness because it exposes the individual to views not encountered within closed communities and, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali has explained in her latest book :

The European Enlightenment of the eighteenth century gave birth to schools and universities run on the principles of critical thinking…

(Nomad, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, pp xviii and xix, published by Simon and Shuster, 2010)

The critical thinkers are more likely to reject religious certainty for nuanced rationalism and so be able to see both  sides of an argument. This leads to greater toleration of opposing views and the willingness to find compromises.

In Summary

The survey is fascinating but, unless you are a BBC reporter, there are no real surprises.

Jews generally support Israel, and sometimes uncritically.

Jews care about Palestinians but only if Israeli security can be assured.

British Jews support democracy, compassion and moral behaviour, but they also believe that, in face of existential threats, Israel has a right to defend itself robustly.

British Jews want peace and reconciliation, a plural democratic Israel respecting all faiths and ethnicities.

British Jews’ bond with Israel is strong and affectionate as is their loyalty to Britain.

Hence,  ‘Committed, concerned and conciliatory’ appears to be a correct conclusion.

Show Trials come to England

The full text of ‘Judge’ Bathurst-Norman’s summing up to the jury in the now infamous court case has been obtained by Jonathan Hoffman of the Zionist Federation.

If you recall the court case in Brighton was brought by EDO against a group of protestors who had broken in to their plant and caused £187,000 worth of damage. The excuse for this criminal act was that they were exporting arms to Israel during Operation Cast Lead.

The plaintiffs pleaded guilty but were acquitted by the jury because, presumably, they bought in to the judge’s direction which blatantly biased the jury towards their conclusion and so justified a crime with the defence that it was due to Israel’s actions in Gaza that the crime was committed.

Hoffman’s tale of this summing-up and his demolition of the said judge can be found on CiF Watch here.

Please read this brilliant but disturbing analysis.

What does it say about the state of the English judicial system?

Whatever your views on Israel and Cast Lead, such political bias and egregious direction of a jury has no place in any democracy.

There are other questions arising about the choice of this particular judge and his track record which are disturbing.

Reference: UK: Judge Takes Delegitimisation of Israel to New Depths http://cifwatch.com/2010/07/03/uk-judge-takes-delegitimisation-of-israel-to-new-depths/ Hoffman’s first volley against Bathurst-Norman

Denis MacEoin and the ‘A’ word

I’d like to bring your attention to an article recently published by Denis MacEoin on his blog entitled ‘Lies, lies, and lies about lies.

As Denis MacEoin is not a Jew and as he is a lecturer in Islamic studies and editor of the Middle East Quarterly and as he has written and studied and, indeed, earned a PhD on Islamic and Middle East subjects, I think that the neutral observer should give considerable respect to his views on a related subject: anti-Semitism.

In his article MacEoin does not mince his words:

I’m going to start this by talking about anti-Semitism. You’re probably all aware that anti-Israel activists, when told they are anti-Semites, hotly deny the charge, saying they are just opposed to Israel and its policies. I don’t believe them, any of them.

Strong stuff. Even though the staunchest Zionist is prepared to give the benefit of the doubt, when it comes to the ‘A’ word, to those who criticise Israel or the policies of its government, anti-Israel ‘activism’ is MacEoin’s subtle point here.

MacEoin continues by describing how, after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism became unfashionable and how, initially, the Left was pro-Jewish and pro-Israeli.

Then it all changed. Why? His theory is that the Left requires a a cause, someone to ‘pity’ as he defines it. As the Jews in the shape of Israel were no longer ‘pitiable’. Suddenly some atavistic European Jew-hatred rematerialised in anti-Israel or anti-Zionist polemic. MacEoin seems to say that there is a psychological aberration in the thinking of these Europeans which makes them dislike strong, even arrogant, unrepentant, assertive Jews/Israelis.

For some reason, a lot of people don’t like this. But they still don’t like to be called anti-Semites, because anti-Semitism is a form of racism, and they aren’t racists. They think they aren’t racists because anti-racism is the keystone of modern right-on politics. But they are racists, so they have a problem. They have a lot of circles to square, and to do that they have employed a range of lies that cast a spell on the media and most of the general public. It goes something like this. The Jews are no longer suffering, but someone must be suffering in order to deserve our pity, and the obvious candidates for victimhood are the Palestinians, because those nice Arabs I met at our conference tell me they are. This must mean that the Jews are… A hard think here, I suppose, then the obvious answer. The Jews, sorry, the Israelis are Nazis. Not ‘like the Nazis’. They are Nazis.

In other words, so aghast are these people at their own racism and historical guilt that they have to cleanse their Socialist souls by imprinting their own self-hate on the objects of this guilt. The only way they can justify this strange irrational hatred is by moral inversion and by transferring the historical crimes against Jews to crimes against Palestinians by Jews.

if there’s to be some sort of equivalence, there has to be a Holocaust. What? you say. What? But it’s obvious, they reply. There has been a Holocaust of the Palestinians. If this makes you feel nauseated, I don’t blame you. You ask, when, how many, where? They sneer and talk about Jenin (51 dead) and say it’s worse than gas chambers. And to make this worse, a lot of them deny the real Holocaust, aided and abetted by a UN member state, Iran.

So Israel is always referred to in terms of the darkest possible aspects of human behaviour: Holocaust, massacre, apartheid, racism, Nazism.

They hate Israel with a viciousness that can only originate in dark psychological problems with Jews. I don’t know why that is, and I don’t know how to solve it, but it’s the most dangerous single thing in the world today. I mean it.

MacEoin does not really explore why so many on the Left are so enamoured with people and regimes that should be inimical to their core beliefs. Why does George Galloway, for example, so love Hamas which represses women, kills gays and indoctrinates young minds to hate and martyrdom? Why did he appear to idolise Saddam who gassed his own people amongst his many other crimes. Why does Chavez love Ahmadinejad. Why does the IRA feel fellowship with Hamas and Hizbullah?

MacEoin has the answer – anti-Semitism. But that is almost too simple. The Leftists see a successful, highly technological, democratic, free society in Israel, yet a society that is basically capitalist and supported by the great bogeyman of the Left – the United States. Is it, perhaps, envy. Envy that their politics does not work, that they have based their political life on a system that does not produce wealth, freedom, humanity. And to make things worse, it’s those damned Jews who are showing them the error of their thinking.

But let me add a rider, as I always do. Israel is not perfect. There are many things to criticise about Israel as there are in other western democracies.  Israel’s perceived injustices in the West Bank, its wars in Lebanon and Gaza can all be subjected to scrutiny and criticism.

But the debate, when it comes to Israel, whether from the Left or from Muslims and Islamists is always so hysterical, so hate-ridden, so genocidal, so shrill, so irrational and so vile that it does not leave any room for valid criticism. No other country in the world is treated in the press or at the UN like Israel. And if you think that is because Israel is the nastiest country in the world, then go there and take a look. Go to the West Bank. Go to Gaza. Then go to Sudan and Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran; go to Tibet and North Korea. Then tell me Israel deserves this level of vilification and demonisation.

You may then come to the conclusion that, essentially, MacEoin is right.

With people like Denis MacEoin around there is still hope, at least, that hordes of irrational Jew-haters and enemies of civilisation can yet be defeated.

Go to Israel, Drink the Sea – Israel world leader on desalination

This month IDE Technologies, an Israel company completed the largest reverse osmosis desalination plant in the world near Hadera reports Israel 21c.

The plant will produce 127 million cubic metres of water each year which is one sixth of Israel’s needs.

But it’s not just Israel that benefits from this technology. IDE has built 400 desalination plants in 40 countries producing 2m cubic metres per day.

Israel, like many arid countries, faces a crisis of water. Its neighbours also suffer and there is great potential for social and political tensions with the Palestinians, Jordanian and Syrians.

Such plants have environmental critics. Water conservation is important but Israel cannot rely only on its aquifers and the Sea of Galilee. Over extraction is also an environmental issue.

This is just one example of the importance of Israeli technology. Israel punches well above its weight when it comes to many areas of technology, science and medicine.

So maybe all those boycotters and BDS hypocrites will actually have reason to thank Israeli technology in the future when climate change kicks in and Northern Europe has its water crisis. As they say in these parts: ‘think on’.

Walajeh – this is wrong

AL TUR, WEST BANK - APRIL 25: Palestinian workers wait for their employer to collect them after crossing into Israel on April 25, 2010 at the Olives Crossing in Al Tur, West Bank, a few kilometers north east of Jerusalem. West Bank workers queue before dawn to cross the separation barrier into Israel to be permitted to work on the Israeli side of the fence which divides the suburb which once formed part of Jerusalem. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

The Jerusalem Post had a story yesterday about how a Palestinian village is being surrounded by Israel’s West Bank security wall which is squeezing the village towards an almost certain death.

Surely this is wrong.

The barrier threatens to outright smother Walajeh: The community of about 2,000 on the southwest edge of Jerusalem is to be completely encircled by a fence cutting it off from most of its open land, according to a Defense Ministry map.

the loop runs tightly around Walajeh’s builtup area, penning it within less than a square mile and isolating it from almost all its farmlands. Of 36 Palestinian villages that are or will be caught in the seam zone, none are as closely encircled as Walajeh, said Ray Dolphin, a UN barrier expert in Jerusalem.

Sadly, the security barrier is necessary to protect Israelis, but surely more can be done for the Palestinians affected by it.

Ahmed Barghouti, 63, who lives close to the fence’s path, says he lost 88 olive trees last month and now fears for a nearby family burial plot. The village’s lawyer, Ghiath Nasser, says he won a temporary order to stop work on that section until the High Court of Justice decides what should be done with the graves of Barghouti’s parents and grandmother.

The house of a neighbor, Omar Hajajla, lies just outside Walajeh’s barrier loop.

Hajajla said Israeli officials last week informed him his home would be surrounded by its own electric fence.

“This is like putting my entire family in jail,” the father of three young boys said. “My children need to cross four gates to go school. We don’t know how it will work out, but I’m sure it will be hell for my entire family.”

Some will argue that if the Palestinians had chosen peace the barrier and the many issues emanating from its construction would have been unnecessary.

It’s stories such as this which undermine Israel’s international standing and fuel the ‘apartheid’ slur and provide oxygen to those who want to destroy chances of peace.

These are difficult issues,  and although I understand the reasons for the barrier, the emiseration of the lives of these particular villagers is not something Israel or its suppporters, myself included, can be proud of.

Maybe someone could enlighten me and persuade me that this is necessary and there is no alternative.

Hamas hospital hypocrisy

Interesting article on Arutz Sheva website a few days ago.

Israeli medicine is second to none. We saw their magnificent response to the Haiti earthquake.

In her article Maayana Miskin tells us that in the Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv in the heart of the Zionist entity, 100 patients a month from Gaza are treated.

Yes, you read that correctly, 100 per month. One hospital.

But that’s not all. It also treats foreign Arabs from countries that don’t even recognise Israel.

But that’s not all. The relatives of these Arabs are provided with free food (presumably Halal) and a place to stay.

But that’s not all. It’s just one of several hospitals that do this.

And as a Druze Knesset minister, Ayoub Kara,  points out, Hamas gives nothing in return for this. Well he’s wrong about that. They send hundreds of missile towards amongst other things, hospitals in Sderot and Ashkelon.

And Gilad Shalit still remains a prisoner for four years with no Red cross/Crescent visits.

This is Israel’s version of Humanitarian Aid. It doesn’t arrive with metal bars and knives, just the odd scalpel.

What sort of mentality is this that so demonises the Jews yet accepts their medical care?

Yes, Israel is not perfect, but who else treats its enemies like this in the Middle East?

Arab Palestinian Zionist – now you didn’t expect that

I was tipped off today about a new web site www.palestinianzionistorganisation.com. I thought it had to be a hoax, but no, it’s for real.

This website, was founded by Elias Issa, a Palestinian Arab whose support of Israel is far greater than a lot of Israelis, so it seems.

His politics are way to the right. But what he says and what he believes is more powerful because it comes from him rather than Jewish Zionists.

However, beware, he doesn’t believe in the creation of a Palestinian state and he wants to build the Third Temple! Like now! (which is actually against Jewish Law and Israeli law)

Here’s what his About Us page says:

[He confirms] the statement of the World Zionist Organization which was defined by the First Zionist Congress in Basel, the Palestinian Zionist Organization agrees, confirms and declares that “The aim of Zionism is to create for the Jewish people a home in Eretz Israel secured by public law”. The PZO is an organization which supports the Nation of Israel and the Jewish people.

A lot of the material on the site could easily have been written by mainstream Israel supporters.

If his views were not so extreme, this might me an important site and an important voice. The problem is that he can be dismissed as a crank, a self-hating Arab Palestinian.

However, any voice that comes from outside the Jewish world and in particular from the Palestinian world that seeks to expose the lies and deceit of his own people deserves to be listened to, even though it is a bit over the top. Were he an Israeli, he’d be in the ultra-Orthodox or the far right camp.

But he’s not a Jew and he’s not an Israeli. He’s a Palestinian who lives in the USA.