Israel, Zionism and the Media

Tag: Andrew Marr

William Hague, Andrew Marr, again, and ‘these people’

Last week Andrew Marr interviewed Miriam Margolyes on his Sunday morning BBC One (HD) news program. If you recall he allowed her to go almost unchallenged when she gave a completely misleading and context-less impression of life on the West Bank for Palestinians. I wrote about it here.

Marr was at it again this morning when he interviewed British Foreign Secretary, William Hague who has just returned from an awkward visit to Israel and the West Bank, or, as Marr calls it, ‘the Middle East’.

Hague has form when it comes to Israel. During Operation Cast Lead, when Israel invaded Gaza in 2008-2009, he called their actions ‘disproportionate’. He also attacked Israel over the Mavi Marmara incident earlier this year when Israeli commandos intercepted a flotilla which was trying to run the maritime blockade of Gaza. He called for an international enquiry into the resultant deaths of 9 members of the flotilla with a strong implication that he blamed Israel for these deaths.

His attitude to Gaza is that Israel’s policy is ‘unwise’ but at least he claims to have faith in Israeli democracy (

The main thrust, therefore, of his ‘Middle East’ policy appears to be that Israel is the problem, and especially the current government; Israel has to change; Israel has to relent; Israel must make concessions. The Palestinians need do nothing, it appears.

I don’t believe Hague is ‘anti-Israel’, but he has adopted a familiar stance, along with the other main party leaders in the UK,  which he believes, I’m sure, represents ‘evenhandedness’, and allows the UK to be an ‘honest broker’. This approach is simple: the Israelis must make all the concessions whilst the Palestinians sit on their hands and accuse the Israelis of not being serious about peace.

In today’s interview it was clear that his grasp of the facts in the ‘Middle East’ are either ill-informed or actually prejudiced. And his prejudice is against the Palestinians.

He does not seem to want to give the Palestinians any responsibility for the conflict. I don’t think I have ever heard him criticise the Palestinian Authority. It’s only Israel that can get the process moving forward and avoid missing this great opportunity for peace.

In other words, his one-sidedness could be seen as a his having a low opinion of the Palestinians and only Israel can solve the impasse. So Israel is made to take the blame for his lack of faith in the Palestinians ability to make concessions or compromises. This is my generous interpretation of his approach. I would hate to think that he really does believe it’s all Israel’s fault.

This is what he had to say this morning:

“ talks began this September between the Israelis and the Palestinians and then they stopped on this issue over settlements on the West Bank”

He then states that the US, the EU and the UK are all asking the Israelis nicely to resume the freeze on settlements so that the Palestinians can come back into the talks.

He is not challenged with the question why the Palestinians waited until the 9th month of a 10 month freeze and had to be dragged screaming into the process announcing in advance that it would fail. And now they want another freeze on the off chance that this will bring them back to the table. The Palestinians desire for peace is never questioned.

Again, Israel has to make another concession to extend the ‘freeze’ which has never once in all the history of negotiations ever before been an impediment to talks. It was only when President Obama presented the Palestinians with the gift of an excuse by forcing Israel into this latest concession that suddenly ‘it’ became the great stumbling-block.  No-one berates the Palestinians for making excuses to avoid talks.

No-one wonders why the Palestinians will do anything to avoid a peace settlement and no-one asks them why they are afraid of peace. Certainly Hague doesn’t appear  to have asked them and Marr didn’t raise the question either.

“The window is closing on a two-state solution in the Middle East”, Hague says. There he goes with “Middle East” again.  Never mind. The implication is that it is Israel alone that will be responsible.

Marr asks Hague whether he got any hint of movement when talking to Prime Minister Netanyahu or the other ministers.

The answer is, I hope accidentally, crass:

“Well, these people are tough negotiators..” “These people”! Does he mean Jews? Maybe he experienced this tough negotiating last time he bought a suit from some Jewish tailor in the West End. Am I being too sensitive? Probably.

The Palestinians are not tough negotiators, of course. It’s very simple for them. Just say ‘no’ to everything, then wait for the world to pressure Israel into another concession and carry on this way until Israel agrees to its own demise.

Would you not be a ‘tough negotiator’, Mr Hague, if the future of your country were at stake? What does he expect?

“It’s only the United States that can deliver Israel to a negotiated agreement”. So there you have it. Only Israel is responsible. No-one needs to deliver the Palestinians. They are just waiting for those terrible Israelis to come to the table. No pressure on them, only on Israel.

The conversation drifts towards Tony Blair’s current role and his great negotiating skills. Yet again, Hague states that Blair is trying hard to get the Israelis to ‘move’ on certain issues. He cites the easing of the Gaza embargo and Tony’s magic touch in making the Israelis do a bit earlier what they had already intended. No mention of how Tony is doing with the Palestinians. I wonder why. No mention of Hamas.

We end on a positive note, I think, with Hague promising to change the legislation on Universal Jurisdiction which has been used to threaten arrest for war crimes against Israeli politicians and military visiting the UK.

Hague stresses that it doesn’t just apply to Israelis of course and recalls how someone once tried to get Henry Kissinger arrested. Oh dear. Perish the thought that only Israelis were being threatened with arrest on spurious charges. Look, even dear old Henry risks incarceration at HM’s pleasure. Isn’t he Jewish? Am I being paranoid, but isn’t there a thread here somewhere?

Mr Hague doesn’t want to appear to be pushed around by these arrogant, pushy Israelis. He confirms that the law will be changed in the British government’s own good time and those clever Israeli’s won’t be able to negotiate their way into dictating to the Brits. So there!

This is the second week that Israel has not been given a right of reply by Marr. Isn’t it about time that he actually asked an Israeli onto the program? Of course, they’d have to appear via satellite as none of them can venture into Britain without the fear of spending a few months in the Scrubs.

(Viewers in the UK can see the interview here:

Why I’m an ashamed Jew

Yep, you read right.

I’ve had to admit it.

I can’t live a lie any longer.

I’m deeply, deeply ashamed.

Ashamed of being Jewish?

No way. I’m very proud to be Jewish and a member of the Jewish people.

Ashamed of Israel? Wrong again. I’m proud of Israel’s achievements. I worry about its policies, sometimes; I’m concerned, sometimes, about some of its actions and those of some of its citizens, but I could say the same for Britain and I’m still proud to be British.

So why am I ashamed?

I’ll tell you.

I’m ashamed of Jews who say they are ashamed to be Jews or Jewish.

I don’t hear Palestinians coming out to  declare they are ashamed to be Palestinian and denounce suicide bombs or missiles.

I don’t hear Arabs writing they are ashamed to be Arabs because of Al Qaeda or Sudan or Yemen.

I don’t hear Muslims forming groups of shame because of what Sunni does to Shia, or 9/11, or 7/7, or Madrid, or Mumbai.

I don’t know of any Ashamed Catholic groups forming because of the paedophilia apparently rife in Catholic clergy.

In fact I know of no other group of people who so often announce their ashamedness to be who they are as Jews do.

And you know what?

It makes me ashamed.

I’m an ashamed Jew who is ashamed of ashamed Jews. If that’s a paradox, so be it. And I’m not ashamed to declare my shame.

Shame on me!

I don’t see why Arabs or Muslims or Palestinians or Brits or Americans or Chinese or anyone else should be ashamed of what they are because of the actions of a few.

If I’m ashamed to be a Jew because I don’t like what Israel does, that is a form of self-hating, it’s bigotry – by golly, its anti-Semitic.

If I hate all of a group because of the actions of some, then I am a bigot. And if I am the target of my own bigotry then I’m a pretty sick bigot.

On the Andrew Marr program this morning on BBC 1, the eponymous Scottish interviewer had the (Jewish) actress Miriam Margolyes in the studio reporting on a recent visit to Israel and the West Bank.

We see her approaching a young Palestinian woman and asking through an interpreter whether she can see where she lives. The woman, carrying a young child, takes her to a canvas tent. Miriam is shocked and says ‘no-one should have to live like this’.

I absolutely agree with her. No-one in the West Bank should be living in a tent.

So why are they?

Miriam believes it’s because of the terrible Israelis who make her an ‘ashamed Jew’. Neither she nor Marr question why this woman lives like this. No-one asks why after 62 years a young woman whose grandparents left or were driven out of what is now Israel should be a refugee and have refugee status uniquely different from all other refugee groups in history.

Neither Margolyes nor Marr wanted to mention, or even wanted to entertain, the idea that refugee camps, so-called, exist for one reason and one reason only: to deliberately perpetuate the victimhood of Palestinians and to preserve the idea, which Margolyes and other ashamed Jews have swallowed whole , that it is Israel who is responsible for these conditions.

Margolyes appears unaware that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians live comfortably on the West Bank in normal housing. She seems unaware that despite the billions of dollars poured into the Palestinian economy people are still allowed to live in tents and camps.

There is no need for it.

Pakistanis are not living in tents three generations after their forbears fled India.

There are no refugee camps in Israel for the hundreds of thousands who were forced from their homes after 1948 from Egypt and Iraq and Syria and North Africa.

Marr asks ‘Do you think being a Jew gives you a different authority, ability to talk about [the Palestinian question]?’

‘The only authority I have is as a human being’, Margolyes replies. So far, so good.

Then she says that it should not make a difference being Jewish or not Jewish to be able to comment on the situation, but then says, somewhat in contradiction, that she is ’embarrassed and ashamed’ (that word again) because ‘my “lot” is doing “it” to them’.

She then says ‘that’s why I wanted to go there, to see for myself’. Fine. But it appears she had already made up her mind that ‘her lot’ were doing ‘it’ to ‘them’.

Marr asks for her reaction, and she then puts on a faux Arab accent and says that some said ‘why do you come? You are a Jew. We hate you.’ And then in her own voice ‘And I totally understood why’.

Yet, she doesn’t understand why at all. She doesn’t understand that this hatred predates the Jewish state. She doesn’t understand the daily diet of anti-Semitism that is fed to Palestinians in schools, newspapers and on TV.

Marr then asks a question which links the Holocaust to what he clearly believes is a given Israeli/Jewish paranoia. He asks that, given Margolyes and her generation know what it’s like growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust, does she not realise that Israelis feel hemmed in and beleaguered by Iran, suicide bombs and missiles.

She admits her sympathy. She knows what anti-Semitism is. But ‘treating people the way the Israelis are treating the Palestinians is not making things better’. In other words, the blame for the situation is all on the Israeli side.

And then, lo and behold, the old ignorant trope comes out. ‘What people forget over there is that the Palestinians were not responsible for the Holocaust.’

Arghhh!  I’m so ashamed. What the hell has the Holocaust got to do with the situation? Is she suggesting that Israel exists because of Holocaust guilt? Is she suggesting that the Palestinians are paying for the crimes of Europeans? If so, she is ignorant of her own people’s history.

‘They were not the enemy at that time’, she says. But THEY WERE! The Mufti of Jerusalem was a friend of Hitler and organised Muslim Nazi brigades in Yugoslavia. He assured Hitler that he would solve the Jewish Question in Palestine. Hamas and the PLO are the ideological progeny of the Muslim Brotherhood and its anti-Semitic policies.

Margolyes and other ashamed Jews need to educate themselves. I am sick of being ashamed of them.

What is she saying now? Oh yes, the Israelis should understand and accept that they owe reparation to the Palestinians just like the Jews expect it from the Germans.

So she, perhaps unwittingly, makes a moral equivalence between the way Jews were treated in the Holocaust and  the way Palestinians (who have been hell-bent on another Holocaust for 100 years, and certainly 60) have been treated by the Israelis.

Who attacked Israel in 1967?

Why was the PLO formed in 1964 before there was any ‘Occupation’?

The Israelis are behaving ”so cruelly’. Yes, sometimes all those with power over others behave cruelly. Maybe she should understand why Israelis might do so to Palestinians who want to kill them, and blow up their children on buses and in their beds. Why can she only see one side to this conflict?

Even Marr has to remind her about suicide attacks and rockets. And then we get the real answer to Margolyes ashamedness. She is not a two-state solutionist. She wants  ‘those people to be back in their own villages, which is what they want.’

How ignorant is this. They just want to go back to their villages. But their villages are Haifa and Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and Eilat and Beersheva. Margolyes is clearly advocating the end of the Jewish state as a deluded one-stater who believes the Palestinians, who she admits hate the Jews, just want to go back peacefully to their homes.

How often do we see people in the media like Miriam Margolyes, Jews and non-Jews, well-meaning, decent people who just do not understand. They live in their cosy left-wing bubbles dreaming of world peace where all will be luvvies.

Sorry Miriam. You are a very nice woman and a wonderful actress, but you are a deluded Jew.

Go read some history. Go read the PLO charter and the Hamas charter. Don’t pose as a woman of peace when you clearly want a second Holocaust – because if you don’t, then you need to wake up out of your deluded lefty dreams, you and all the ashamed Jews.

Until you do so, I will continue to be an ashamed of ashamed Jews Jew.