Israel, Zionism and the Media

Tag: anti-Semitism (Page 1 of 2)

Britannia Redux – return to the rabbit-hole

I wrote here about waking up one day and finding that a vile anti-Zionist was leader of the Labour Party.

Since writing that blog post I am more convinced than ever that at some point during the  last few months I did, indeed, pass through a wormhole into an alternative universe.

You don’t believe me? Well, that’s because you are denizens of that universe and I am a mere interloper who has lost his way and is desperate to get Back to the Future.

Look. In my universe, the Premier League is won by Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal or Chelsea. In your universe, Leicester City, a club of no known provenance, wins the Premier League. It may be normal for you, but not for me.

In my universe it is surely beyond credible that Wales would even qualify for Euro2016 let alone win their group. In your universe they end up as semi-finalists. It’s as if the laws of nature have been torn up. I would have to qualify that incredulity by observing that England’s performances appear impervious to whatever universe they are inhabiting.

Did you know, for example, that Novak Djokovic does not lose to someone ranked 41 in the world at Wimbledon? But he does in your universe.

Although sport is of the utmost importance, replacing religion, in my universe – let’s call it U1 from now on – in your universe (U2) it appears its place is taken by politics.

I now inhabit a universe in which the UK will soon be on its way out of the EU, Michael Gove might be Prime Minister and Boris Johnson’s political career is toast.

It’s all about the Law of Unforeseen Consequences (LUC). Well, in U1, where, I presume, none of this has happened, we didn’t foresee this .

But, I am trapped in U2 (no, nothing to do with Bono) and, by the way, if anyone knows a way back – maybe Professor Hawking (you do have a Professor Hawking, don’t you?) has created in U2 a method whereby I can return to the status quo ante – please let me know.

On the theme of the LUC, you guys in U2 voted for a Conservative majority, whereas in U1 David Cameron was expecting a coalition and, for all I know, is currently in power with Nigel Farage. Therefore, he thought it a clever ploy to agree to a referendum on EU  membership in the Tory party manifesto, which in U2 is known as Brexit. This was a sop to the Eurosceptics in his party and a device to win over potential defectors to U(2)KIP.

But what happened, my (now) fellow U2ers? He went and bloody won a majority. Instead of shutting up the Brexiters and putting Boris back in his box, he ended up having to have that referendum.

And here I am, in U2, no way back (Hawking?).

OK, I guess there are some unintended positives under the LUC; for example, having lost 10% of the value of my (Self-invested) pension overnight, and then finding sterling at its lowest against the dollar since 1985, my pension has more than recovered, the FTSE is at its highest for many months and only my bank stocks are looking a poor investment. Who knows – maybe your U2 Brexit will be good for the economy after all and I won’t have to pester Professor Hawking.

However, I did warn everyone that, if Brexit became a reality, the Scots would be justified in pushing for a second Indyref, and this time they would vote to leave the Union. What I didn’t contemplate was that Brexit would give the Northern Ireland Nationalists extra grist to their aspirations to unify the island of Ireland and stay within the EU.

I am pleased to say that in U1 Europeans in the UK feel welcome here, add significantly to our national story, our culture, our natural impulse to tolerance and our instinct for hospitality. This Europeanism makes browsing the aisles of Tesco (other stores are available) like a waltz through the culinary predilections of Europe. Who has not been drawn to fare on sale in the Polish section and not marvelled at how so much can be described with so few vowels in a language that appears to have been written in a cipher or by someone throwing the contents of a Scrabble bag in the air as a method of deciding nomenclature? (Apologies to my Polish colleagues).

Back in U2 those same fine folk are now subjected to abuse from a minority who have been emboldened by their perverted reasons for voting for Brexit (instead of the majority more nobly motivated). No doubt, this will die down, but it is not only Jews and Muslims now who are feeling the discomfort of being despised by random strangers.

And then there’s the Labour party. In U2 the party has allowed itself to be infiltrated and taken over by an unsavoury group of Marxists, Trotskyists, anti-Zionists and delusional ‘progressives’.

In U1 the Labour Party was a centre Left party with politicians of stature who respected the traditions of the UK Parliament and its flawed, but workable democracy. We in U1 may have disagreed with their policies and you might have voted for other parties, but at least they were, before Miliband, a credible opposition who could challenge the government and call it to account.

In U2 the Labour Party is run by a cabal with no respect for its own parliament, its own MPs or the electorate. Furthermore, it has presided over a plethora of anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic ‘incidents’ that have made the majority of Jews in this country more uneasy than at any time since 1948.

This culminated in an event beyond parody where the launch of Shami Chakrabarti’s anodyne report on anti-Semitism (and other forms of prejudice) within the Labour Party resulted in its leader using one of the comparisons of Israel excoriated by  Chakrabarti in her report and a Jewish MP being verbally harassed and ‘outed’ with a classic anti-Semitic trope.

These things just didn’t happen in U1, I can assure you. Yet, this is another example of the LUC; give the members of the Labour Party one person-one vote – just like a referendum – and you don’t achieve democracy, what you achieve is a parallel democracy to the parliamentary system that has served this country for almost 400 years. Plebiscites and referendums are dangerous tools, and democracy is so nuanced and so finely balanced in the UK that you meddle with it at your peril. These tools are usually used when the launcher is expecting to retain the status quo and is demonstrating his or her democratic credentials whilst doing whatever they can do to guide the process towards their own desired result. This was true of Indyref where the government just prevailed, but in Brexit they came a cropper.

And what of ‘austerity’, which Labour and its cohorts thought – ha, ha – that they could dispose of by borrowing and spending on public services? Silly idea in U1, but in U2 George Osborne has loosened fiscal policies, signalling an end to full Austerity, and trailed an increase in borrowing to invest in public works to stimulate the economy and avoid a recession.

So we U1ers are justified in asking why the hell he couldn’t do that when the economy was, reportedly, so strong. It seems paradoxical to an ignorant U1er, like me. It might just pull the policy rug from under the feet of the Labour Party – or Labour Parties – because another result of the LUC is the possibility of the Labour party becoming a covert, or not so covert, Trotskyite Party and the 170 MPs who voted no confidence in their leader forming a new party. Wouldn’t it be something if we had 170 by-elections as anti-Corbynistas refuse to  take the whip, resigning from the party and, perhaps, creating a realignment in British politics. Maybe that’s one for U3. Whatever happens, the Parliamentary Labour Party must find a way of reconciling the clear antagonism of the party members to elected MPs who face the threat of deselection. One thing for sure, party conferences this year should be great theatre.

In the meantime, Nicola Sturgeon might be enjoying an extended period as leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition – something else we U1ers would never have predicted.

O brave new world that has such people in’t!

PS One of the leading proponents of the multiverse is the renowned physicist Dr David Deutsch. In U1, around 1970, we were at school together. I played him at chess – and won (ahem). Little did I know that almost half a century later I’d experience the reality of his great theory first hand.

Why I’m not buying the Sunday Times This Week

Normally, by now, I am relaxing after a brisk walk to the local shops and reading my Sunday Times.

Recently, I was reading some old diaries and discovered that I was doing the Sunday Times crossword in 1969. I remember well when my association with that newspaper begun. They ran a series on the Kennedy assassination, something that has fascinated me all my life, and it began with that Sunday Times series of articles.

So for more than 40 years, on and off, I have read the Sunday Tomes. I like the News Review where, religiously, I do the crosswords, puzzles, chess problem and even try the bridge problem. It’s what Sundays are about.

Every week in the main paper there is a Gerald Scarfe cartoon. These are usually hard-hitting critiques of a political nature.

Last week, as I’m sure we all know by now, Scarfe and the Sunday Times editorial team presented us with this:Sunday Times Netanyahu cartoon larger 270113


So before I recall all the reaction to this cartoon, let may say that I am only now writing about it because such incidents are sometimes best contemplated once the response and counter-response has taken place because it can be very instructive where Israel and the Jews are concerned.

It took about one second for my first gut reaction. This was not a considered analysis of the politics or the fairness of the cartoon, my initial reaction was: “I think this may be anti-Semitic”. I did not say those words to myself. I felt it in my gut. All I could see was the world’s most prominent Jew with an evil expression and a sharp implement dripping blood and Palestinians dead or dying. My gut and my Jewish radar told me: “Blood Libel”.

Then this was followed by disbelief. Just a minute. This is Gerald Scarfe. He’s not anti-Semitic. The Sunday Times is not anti-Semitic. Am I reading this wrong? Am I too sensitive?

Then I read the words at the bottom. “Will cementing peace continue?”.  I didn’t understand. What was he saying? Is this the separation barrier? Is it a settlement being built? Then my gut reaction to the clear similarity with Nazi Jew-hate propaganda as seen the Der Stuermer, in 19th century Russian images and, sadly, today in the Arab and Iranian press, was reinforced by the unfairness of the cartoon. if this was the separation barrier, then it has saved thousands of lives. If it is a settlement then why show Palestinians being bricked up in it.

Then I realised that this cartoon followed on immediately from David Ward MP’s remarks equating Israel with Nazis on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day. This image, echoing the blood libel and depicting Netanyahu as a murderous demonic figure was a further kick in the gut.

An immediate farrago ensued. What I had not even considered was that last Sunday was Holocaust Memorial Day, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. This was irrelevant to me. Didn’t enter my head when I looked at this cartoon, but, I guess, it was there in the background creating a feeling of general antipathy to Israel which was spilling over into casual and unthinking anti-Semitism.

So, Rupert Murdoch weighed in with an apology. The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council met with Martin Ivens, the acting editor of the newspaper and, before very long, an abject apology was issued.

The apology, although I am convinced was genuine, was a little ambiguous:

“I’m grateful so many community leaders could come together at such short notice. You will know that the Sunday Times abhors anti-Semitism and would never set out to cause offence to the Jewish people – or any other ethnic or religious group. That was not the intention last Sunday. Everyone knows that Gerald Scarfe is consistently brutal and bloody in his depictions, but last weekend – by his own admission – he crossed a line. The timing – on Holocaust Memorial Day – was inexcusable. The associations on this occasion were grotesque and on behalf of the paper I’d like to apologise unreservedly for the offence we clearly caused. This was a terrible mistake.”

He appears to be apologising for the timing of the cartoon. He believes this is what gave offence. This is, perhaps, even worse because it is saying: “Sorry for depicting Jews as murderous Nazis on Holocaust Memorial Day, we should have waited a week and depicted them as murderous Nazis next week”.

Of course, it is not ‘the Jews’ being depicted, but Binyamin Netanyahu. Scarfe aimed his venom at him, not Jews generally. However, when you depict a Jew using anti-Semitic imagery, then your political point has gone beyond the person and extends to a whole people.

Scarfe also apologised saying he was unaware of the date the cartoon would appear and that he was ignorant of the Blood Libel. Never heard of it, he said.

This is what I wrote to local community leaders in an email last week which I have edited here to avoid repetition:

Scarfe’s response is interesting. Although I find it hard to believe that he is unaware of the blood libel I am inclined to believe him. I’ve never seen Scarfe as an anti-Semite or even anti Israel.

The interesting bit is that he is a well-educated man in his 70’s and he has never seen anything about the blood libel or understands Jewish sensitivity to blood (his apology was for the timing not content. Perhaps prompted by Ivens).

Yet his image so closely recalls and even references images from the 30’s and 40’s that he must, somehow, have subliminally stored away these images and inadvertently reproduced their tone right down to the demonic look and the dripping sharp instrument.

There must have been studies of how the Jew in European culture plugs in to folk memory. Many German cartoons were folklorish in nature. The Jew as a character from Grimm’s fairytales. This is how, I believe, someone like Scarfe can blithely reproduce anti-Semitic imagery whilst remaining, apparently, un-anti-Semitic.


I think we were right to object and the apology, although missing the point a little, is well-received. I shall be buying the ST again, but maybe not this weekend – maybe I’ll check the Scarfe cartoon first.

I should also note that there was much debate in the Jewish community in the UK and in Israel, Ha’aretz reporter Anshel Pfeffer denied it was anti-Semitic.

The reaction from Israel haters and an assembly of pro-Palestinian groups was also instructive. They generally missed the point accusing the Jewish Lobby of playing the anti-Semitism card to close down debate. They supported Scarfe and David Ward saying they were brave or righteous to point out Israel’s ethnic cleansing, genocide etc.

Others could not see the relation to Nazi imagery. Usually these people were not Jewish and did not have Jewish sensitivities. They not only could not experience my gut feeling – and I trust my gut when it comes to anti-Semitism – but they also missed the important point that not one member of the Jewish community said the cartoon should not be published or that criticism of Israel or its politicians in political cartoons was inadmissible.

It’s not the first time Israel supporters have cried ‘anti-Semitic’. Steve Bell of the Guardian also came in for heavy criticism.

Yes, cartoonists have the right to offend. Often that offence is deliberate and aimed at politicians at home and abroad. Judging the fairness of the image depends on your politics. It also depends on your experience. If you inhabit my world where Israel is being vilified disproportionately, where Israel is subject to obsessive UN criticism, where Jews and Judaism are under attack daily across Europe, then your skin’s thickness is subject to a thinning process to the point where if you prick us, we certainly do bleed.

The best thing I can say about this cartoon was the reaction of the Jewish community. It was in part over the top hysterical, as is often the case with certain elements of the community who will jump in and on anything vaguely anti-Semitic that moves. The leadership, though, did the right thing; they expressed dismay whilst expressing the right to publish and to free speech.

No-one died as a result of this cartoon. There were no demos across London or the world calling for Scarfe to be killed. No-one burned down the Sunday Times offices. Scarfe can sleep safe in his bed at night. He does not have to skulk from safe house to safe house with a police armed guard. No embassies were attacked or diplomats killed.

Cartoonists and journalists should be aware of  the sensitivities of all communities. This does not change their right to say and depict as they wish within the law.

I’ll be buying the Sunday Times next week. This week, I’ll register my own personal protest and deprive them of my £2.50.

Why David Ward’s remarks about Israel and the Holocaust are mainstream

David Ward MP is in a spot of bother with the Liberal Democrats.

On the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK he chose to make the following slanderous comparison between Israeli Jews and Nazi Germany:

” [he was] “saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza”.

Even to rebut this piece of trash is like trying to respond to a ‘when did you stop beating your wife’ question, but here goes.

There are about a hundred things wrong with this statement so let’s dissect it.

Firstly he makes the telling conflation of Jews and Israelis. Is he really saying that, given his statement that ‘atrocities’ are and have been visited upon Palestinians that the Jews are responsible wherever they are in the world? Israel may be the nation state of the Jews but not all Jews live there or even identify with it.

Second:  he uses that trick which others have used before; to be ever so sorry about the Holocaust and to tell us how awfully the Jews were treated and then go on to accuse them of ‘not learning the lesson’ of the Holocaust as if it’s the victims who have a lesson to learn and not the perpetrators. it also conveniently avoids the fact that it is Israel’s and the Jews’ enemies who daily proclaim their wish to annihilate Israel and the Jewish people: Hamas, Hizbollah and the Iranian regime.

Third: He says ‘within a few years’ of the lesson that the world taught the Jews, they were themselves perpetrating atrocities. Oh, really. In the 19 years between the declaration of the State of Israel when it was attacked by armies of the Arab League intending to finish Hitler’s work, until 1967 when the same Arab League lost a war in 6 days and had to concede territory after attacking Israel once again, all the ‘atrocities’ were against the Jews.

Fourth: He says that these atrocities were perpetrated IN the new State of Israel. Is he referring to the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who fled or were forced out as a result of the attack on Israel by the Arab League? Did atrocities occur? Of course they did; war always produces atrocities whether it be in Afghanistan, World War II or Vietnam. Israeli atrocities as regrettable as they were were certainly no greater than those of their enemies and, in my view, considerably less. However, an atrocity is an atrocity. But is Mr Ward, therefore, holding Israeli Jews to a higher standard than the rest of the world? If so, than this is actually a marker for anti-Semitism – not that I would accuser Mr Ward of that, that would be too simple. it’s far deeper than a irrational hatred, it’s a pathology.

Fifth: ‘continue to do so on a daily basis’. So Mr Ward is saying that Jews (presumably those in Israel) are daily committing atrocities. Like what? No doubt there is much Israel can be criticised for. No doubt that innocents die. But there is a context for this, whether you agree with Israel being in the West Bank, for example, or not what atrocities are here? Maybe he means settlers allegedly taking Palestinian land? Or, maybe some settlers have shot and even killed Palestinians. Is he referring to the awful ‘Price Tag’ actions which target Mosques and farmers’ crops. These may all be crimes, but are they atrocities like the Nazis committed atrocities? Do they deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence? If so, half the countries of the world should have learned these lessons – why pick on Israel, of all countries, or rather ‘Jews’ as examples of atrocity perpetrators when he could have mentioned: Cambodia, Rwanda, Tibet, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Algeria, Mali, Nigeria, Congo. This is not an exhaustive list. Every one of those conflicts exhibit truly awful atrocities on a large scale of both genocide, and ethnic-cleansing as well as internecine and tribal warfare.

Even the USA and the UK have not been atrocity free in recent years. And this is to say nothing of Islamist atrocities, including those against Israel, which have been a part of everyday life for over a decade.

He also mentioned Gaza which was ethnically cleansed of Jews by the, er, Israelis eight years ago, since which time its inhabitants have set a course of suicide bombings and rocket fire against Israel. Its government, Hamas, has a charter which clearly sets out its mission to destroy Israel and the Jews. Nice. Clearly THEY didn’t learn the lesson of the Holocaust; or maybe they did, and the lesson was that if you threaten to wipe out the Jews no-one will believe you.  Meanwhile Israel continues to provide them with water, electricity, hundreds of truckloads of goods daily and treats thousands of Gazans every year for free in Israeli hospitals.

So  Mr Ward, the British provided the Germans with all that was necessary to sustain life whilst the Luftwaffe blitzed England, is that right, Mr Ward?

Yet it is Israel who has to learn the lesson of its own intended destruction.

Sixth: Mr Ward’s words imply strongly, and please read them very carefully, that Israel’s actions are, somehow, comparable to the actions of the Nazis. This is in itself actually an anti-Semitic marker, but let’s again exonerate Mr Ward from that accusation; I’m sure many of his constituents in Bradford would never countenance, let alone elect anyone with such views.

So let’s look at what characterised the Nazi’s atrocities against Jews (and here I also have to mention Roma, Gays and the mentally ill etc. who, it is presumed, have indeed learned the lessons of their experiences in the Holocaust and would never commit a single atrocity against anyone, ever again, as a result, their all being very special super-human people who inherited the no-atrocity gene from their forbears, whereas the benighted Jews did not).

Please, Mr Ward, show me the death camps, the labour camps; show me the ghettos (and, no, Gaza is not a ghetto, it’s a political entity which happens to be an outclave of the Palestinian Authority thanks to Egypt cutting it loose some time ago). Show me the starving millions; the cattle trucks; the gas chambers; the denial of paid work; the laws. Show me the death pits, the disease, the torture, the summary executions of innocents – show me the genocide, Mr Ward.

So, Mr Ward has knee-jerked his anti-Semitic trope, inspired as he was by Holocaust Remembrance Day which sticks in the throat of certain people on the Left in British political classes, because their favourite victims, the Palestinians, engineers of their own fate, and themselves as anti-Semitic as they come, don’t figure in this national breast-beating for the wrongs done to the Jews and others. They cannot abide that the Jews should garner a single drop of sympathy or that maybe some people might just begin to figure out why the Jews need their own country and justify defending it against those who are themselves inspired not by Holocaust Remembrance Day but by the perpetrators of the Shoah, the Nazis, to whom Mr Ward so egregiously compares the Jews.

Some have said that Mr Ward is playing to his Muslim constituents gallery. If this were true it would be a calumnious attitude towards them in that it implies that Muslims in his constituency would be more likely to vote for him because he accuses Jews of behaving like Nazis. After all, Mr Ward is not George Galloway.

All this goes to show that, in the UK today, you can get away with (give or take a reprimand) slandering Israel – even on the eve of a day intended to remind us what such attitudes can lead to.  Such views are now mainstream because the public has bought into the anti-Israel narrative to such a degree that they will even believe that Israelis behave like Nazis thus demonstrating not only ignorance of Nazis but also Israelis.



Yom HaShoah, the Righteous then and now, and the hatred that never went away

On Thursday this week I had the great privilege in attending the Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Day) commemoration in Manchester.

There were 500 people present including several dignitaries including the Lord Mayor of Manchester, the Bishop of Manchester and the Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police, Peter Fahy.

Most honoured of all were the handful of survivors who settled in Manchester and were fit enough to attend.

Sadly, as the years pass, the survivors become fewer. This is why Second Generation, an organisation headed by the indefatigable Tania Nelson, representing children of survivors, is so important. There is now a Third Generation for grandchildren.

My esteemed cousins in Israel, when I first met them six years ago (and that could be the subject of another blog) told me that I, too, am a survivor. I baulked at this. “How can I be a survivor? How can I merit that distinguished and honorific title? My parents were born in England and my grandparents came here a hundred years ago.” “You are a survivor, don’t argue. Every Jew who is still around after the Shoah is a survivor. You come from a family of survivors. We are so pleased to have found another part of our family surviving.”

This was a profoundly moving and proud moment for me. Ever since, I have taken their word for it. I may not be as worthy of the soubriquet as they are, but I look at the world as a survivor. A survivor who has a bounden duty to remember, to commemorate and, yes, even celebrate.

The theme of this year’s commemoration was The Righteous.

I have for many years had a special interest in Holocaust history and a very special interest in those Righteous Gentiles who saved Jews.

I have previously written about a dear friend (and “landsman”) of mine, Mayer Hersh, who has dedicated his life to Holocaust education.

I have also written about Andree Geulen and Sir Nicholas Winton

Sir Martin Gilbert’s book The Righteous, which deals extensively with this subject, is a must-read for anyone with an interest in this moving subject. If you don’t have an interest, you should.

The presentation I attended dealt initially with those celebrated Righteous Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg

We heard again the story, now so familiar, of Schindler and the scene near the end of the Spielberg film where he wondered if he could have saved even more Jews if he had tried harder.

We also heard about Raoul Wallenberg, considered the greatest saviour of Jews, who used similar techniques to others in face of the Nazis: deceit, swagger and chutzpah.

As the Hungarian fascists, the Arrow Cross gleefully assisted the Germans in killing Jews by tying three together, killing the middle one and then pushing them into the freezing River Danube, Wallenberg organised doctors and heroic swimmers on the opposite bank to pull out as many as they could who had managed to get free. 50 souls out of many thousands were saved.

But the most moving story for me was that of the small Greek island of Zakynthos.

On September 9 1943 the Germans who were now occupying Greece and had deported to death camps the extensive Jewish populations of Thessaloniki, Rhodes and Athens turned on the small Jewish community of the idyllic island of Zakynthos.

The Nazis demanded that the mayor, Loukas Karrer, provide them immediately with a list of all the Jews on the island.

Karrer spoke to the metropolitan, Bishop Chrystosomos. The next day Karrer pleaded with Berenz, the German governor, to spare the Jews of the island. They had lived together with the Jews for many centuries. They were as Greek as everyone else.

Berenz (yimakh shemo ימח שמו – may his name be obliterated) insisted. Karrer then produced his list.

The list consisted of just two names – his own and that of Bishop Chrystosomos (zekher tzadik v’kadosh livrakha,
l’chayei ha’olam ha-ba 
זכר צדיק וקדוש לברכה לחיי העולם הבא – may the memory of the righteous and the saintly be a blessing in the world to come).

The Bishop had even written a letter to Hitler ימח שמו declaring the Jews of his island to be under his personal authority and, by implication, protection.

The governor sent the list and the letter to to Berlin to await orders. In the meantime Zakynthos’s 275 Jews were hidden across the island. The edict was later revoked and every Jew on the island survived the war.

I have known of this story for some time because I read an article in the Jerusalem Post just over two years ago. Leora Goldberg, an Israeli, was holidaying on Zakynthos when she stumbled upon its Jewish heritage. It was the following part of her story which I found extremely emotional:

A few days before I had planned to leave the island and return home, I went into a bank to convert some dollars into euros. But even in a simple place like a bank, I managed to add another piece to this Jewish puzzle.

A clerk who had been on the phone and eating a sandwich, called on me when my turn came. When I gave her my dollars to be changed, she handed me the converted money in an envelope without asking for any identification. Later on, when I opened it, I was surprised to see so much money. The money that had been put into the envelope had not been counted properly, and instead of changing $1,000, she had given me the equivalent of $10,000!

This was really no surprise to me, because the clerk hadn’t paid me any attention. Ultimately, however, once the bank realized that the money was missing, it would have no way of reaching me since no contact information was requested.

The following morning, I called the bank and asked to speak to the manager. I inquired to know if there was a problem with the previous night’s accounts. “You must be the woman with the dollars,” he said, immediately inviting me to his office.

An hour later, I was at the bank. When I walked into the office, the man sitting across from the manager moved to another chair and gave me his seat. I shared my bank experience with him, saying how easy it would have been for me to disappear with the money.

The manager himself was profusely apologetic about the unprofessional way I was treated and thanked me repeatedly for returning the money. To express his gratitude, he invited me and my family to dinner at an exclusive restaurant.

I explained that eating out was too complicated for us due to the fact that we were observant Jews. He asked for my address so he could send us a crate of wine. “That is a problem too,” I said. I told him I had come from Israel a week ago for a holiday, but had gotten sidetracked.

“A few days after I landed, I was surprised to discover the Jewish community that was here up to 25 years ago,” I said. “You don’t owe me anything. Indeed, you have given me and my people a lot. The least I can do as a Jew to show my appreciation for what you have done for the Jews of Zakynthos is to return this money that doesn’t belong to me and say, ‘Thank you!'”

There was silence for what appeared to be a long minute. The man who had given me his seat when I walked in and hadn’t said a word during the conversation, stood up with tears in his eyes, turned to me and said: “As the grandson of Mayor Karrer, I am extremely overwhelmed and want to thank you!”

Mayor Karrer and Bishop Chrystosomos were honoured as Righteous among the Nations at Yad Vashem in 1978.

Where are our Schindlers and Wallenbergs today? Where our mayor Karrer and Bishop Chrystosomos whose memory is a blessing and inspiration? They do exist: Pilar Rahola, José María Aznar are two notables but Europe is abandoning the Jewish people for a second time it seems.

Back at the Yom HaShoah service we thanked the UK for being a haven from persecution when the Jews needed somewhere to run to.

But it wasn’t the Nazis most of our families were running from, it was the Russian pogroms and before them we have been deported from almost every country in Europe and massacred by the cossacks and the crusaders, Christians and Muslims.

When Jews arrived in British Mandate Palestine they were often turned back, and when the Nazi threat was a clear and present danger Jews were prevented from entering Palestine because of the sensitivities of the locals and to maintain the demographic balance even though thousands of Arabs flooded in unchecked from neighbouring areas.

Our gratitude to our host country is tempered by the memory of its broken promises and its craven concessions to Arab pressure, its abstention at the UN vote to recognise the State of Israel and the institutional anti-Semitism of many of its government departments.

Yet, throughout history, we have always had to be grateful for the smallest of mercies.

When Jews were given full citizenship and equal rights in the Enlightenment, that was to be the end of persecution. Liberté, égalité, fraternité were corrupted to their complete opposites: oppression, disenfranchisement and hatred.

Why do we so love and revere our saviours and supporters?.

Schindler’s grave is on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, and those he saved and their descendants still go annually to pay their respects.  His gravestone is permanently covered with the small stones placed as a sign of respect and gratitude by visitors from around the world, most of them Jews.

Schindler’s reward in Germany after the war was eventual poverty, somewhat self-inflicted. Jewish organisations kept him solvent at one time. When he died at the age of 66 his body was brought to Israel.

Wallenberg’s reward was to end up in some gulag and a likely early death.

How many countries other than Israel have honoured their great humanitarians who saved Jews?

In the UK Sir Nicholas Winton, sometimes referred to as the British Schindler, was only recognised years later thanks to Esther Rantzen.

Where will their monuments be? in Yad Vashem, in the Avenue of the Righteous, in the hearts of every Jew.

In Latvia it is the SS that is venerated and Jews who resisted Nazis are sought for war crimes in Lithuania.

Why do we so value our saviours? Because we know from our history that we have so often been the victim and that gentile saviours are so rare that we embrace and thank them like brothers and sisters.

In Hebron in 1929 Muslims saved more than 400 Jews whilst 67 were slaughtered and all of the Jews were taken to safety by the British.

Wherever and whenever Jews were under attack from their neighbours in Europe or in the Muslim world there were always those who truly loved their neighbours, and if they didn’t love them, at least they had the nobility of spirit and the fire of justice which made them stand up against the iniquities of their own people and stand with the Jews.

Even today we have truly inspiring Muslims; Kaz Hafeez, Hasan Afzal and Khaled Abu Toameh who, in different ways stand up against Islamist injustice and seek truth, justice and, above all, feel compelled to express their fraternal human feelings for Jews inside and outside Israel.

Today there is a hideous conflation – anti-Israelism is a cover for anti-semitism; Zionist means Jew. Israel and its supporters are accused of behaving like Nazis, the most vile accusation possible to throw against Jews who stand up against lies and distortions – like the noble and brave Richard Millett who was recently vilified for daring to record and challenge the vile  hypocrisy of a recent event at the SOAS.

This conflation confuses Jews who find that the policies of the Israeli government and the behaviour of some of its citizens problematical.

Good. Be outraged. Speak out against injustice, but don’t stand with those scientific anti-Semites with their high-powered electron microscopes poised over the Land of Israel, subjecting its every act and deed to a level of scrutiny no other country suffers, and then, when they find an alleged injustice, use it as testimony in pursuit of Israel’s destruction.

These critics of Israel and its supporters decide first that Israel must be destroyed. They insist that it is a misbegotten country, born in sin as an atonement for European Holocaust guilt. This is historically inaccurate and also ignores the role of ‘Palestinian’ Arabs who encouraged Hitler with promises of eradicating Jews from Palestine and even organised militia in Europe. I speak of Haj Amin al-Husseini.

They can never bring themselves to believe or recognise a single good thing about Israel or Israelis.

If the truth is too painful for them, if anything shows Israel in an unbearably good light, their cognitive dissonance gene kicks in and they obscenely invert  the good and convert it to criticism to be used as a weapon to further their presumption of guilt and illegitimacy.

And if you are guilty you are barred from defending yourself militarily or legally. Every response to an attack is a provocation and every death of a terrorist a massacre.

Every act of international aid, like being the first to build a field hospital in Haiti after the earthquake or sending specialist equipment to Japan after its tsunami disaster, are seen as a cover-up for all its evil deeds at home.

A bastion of Gay Rights? Yeah, sure, just ‘pinkwashing’ to be used to cover up Human Rights abuses.

Even a theatre company should not perform in London because, uniquely, Israelis are worthy of boycott for complicity in the crime of ‘occupation’ which is not legally an occupation despite the accepted cosy narrative which so defines it.

Such narratives are essentially anti-Semitic. They abjure fair criticism and replace it with demonisation, delegitimisation, lies, distortions and hypocrisy. Some even want to create a second Holocaust (Hamas, Hizbollah, Ahmadinejad).

Others want to destroy Israel and create a state of Palestine from the River to the Sea without considering the fate of the Jews, not caring, or simply wanting to ‘send them back’. These narratives, too, are essentially anti-Semitic, denying Jews self-determination and wishing to replace a democracy (albeit a flawed one) with another Islamist state. These people are surely the spawn of the Nazis. Nazism has never disappeared, its spores had merely been hibernating waiting for an opportunity such as the new religion of Human Rights provides them.

Yom HaShoah tells us to learn the lessons of intolerance, it tells us that if we are not for ourselves then who is for us?

The Righteous gave us that answer; they stood up proud and firm and they spat squarely in the eyes of the Nazi oppressors.

Maybe they hated Nazis more than they loved Jews; maybe saving Jews was an act of resistance to the Nazis more than an act of love toward Jews.

I don’t care because the motivation led to the act and the act was often at the risk of the life of those who acted.

They may not always have had noble motivations but they achieved nobility and they sanctified the very meaning of what it is to be human.

At the lowest point in the history of mankind, and in the midst of the worst evil, in the face of the depraved officers of the Waffen SS or the Hungarian Arrow Cross, the Einsatzgruppen and the Kapos or confronting their own ancient prejudices and indifference, envy or jealousy, a few thousand stood up and said “NO”.

We the Jewish people will never forget you, and we will perpetuate your memory with love and gratitude.

Bearded in the Lion’s den – how one man made anti-Zionists think

I have to share with you an inspiring story (How to win over a hijab-wearing student)

from The Point of No Return blog which is dedicated to information about Jewish refugees from Arab lands.

Michelle Huberman screened ‘Forgotten Refugees, a film about the plight of mizrachi Jews and Arab anti-Semitism.

During he course of the screening of the film to a hostile audience at the SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) in London, and after a question and answer session with  Matti Haroun, the audience clearly understood that there was an issue here that they hadn’t previously confronted.

A Pakistani girl in full hijab was the one most interested in the film. In the end she and a few of the students asked for more information and a copy. Michelle gave away half-a-dozen copies, plus some fact sheets.

Well done Michelle and Matti – brave and inspiring. Please read it all.

Blog Wars

A couple of months ago I decided to start posting on the Jewish Chronicle (JC) Blogs.

I didn’t realise what I was about to discover; what I did discover was something of a revelation.

I don’t just post articles, I participate in the discussions which arise out of the majority of posts.

When I first arrived I landed in the middle of what I call the Blog Wars. Despite this being the JC, the blogs are open to anyone provided that they stick to some obvious rules. The blogs and their comments are moderated and it is not unknown for comments to be removed or even for bloggers or commenters to be banned.

What most surprised me was that I soon found there are two main camps: pro-Israel/Zionist and anti-Israel/Zionist. There are also one or two neutrals.

Almost every blog post can be the catalyst for some right old ding-dongs between these two camps. It’s a sort of Jewish version of the Guardian’s CiF (Comment is Free).

I actually found this very interesting, not only could I see how the ‘other side’ thinks, I could also challenge them,  be challenged by them, argue with them, but never, of course, persuade them. This is an excellent training and test ground to hone your own arguments, to make sure of your facts and sharpen your own polemics.

It is also, at least for me, as a bit of an old lefty, an opportunity to question your own views and convictions in the light of the counter arguments. But, I can honestly say, this self-examination has not fundamentally changed my views, but it has reinforced my commitment to balance and to avoid dogmatism.

Both sides in these Blog Wars tend to be unyielding, entrenched and assured of their own righteousness. Little quarter is given. Israel is rarely criticised by the Zios and the anti-Zios will continue to sympathise with Hamas and Hizbollah.

By far the most revealing of the anti-Zios is a certain representative of Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfjfP). I am not going to name names here; go and read the blogs; it’s unfair to mention any individual here who is unlikely to respond in person and I’m not going to discuss or reproduce the comments that have appeared in the JC. I’ll simply summarise what these discussions ‘below the line’ reveal.

The JfjfP representative is polite and seems to try very hard to be poised and restrained. JfjfP are part of the left wing bloc that organises demonstrations for Palestinians and Palestine and against Israel and Zionism.

This particular JfjfP member claims she is not anti-Israel and recognises Israel’s right to exist (well thanks).  She is, however, of the opinion that Israel is a colonialist experiment, that the Occupation is illegal and cruelly prosecuted, that Hamas are understandable freedom fighters, that it is Israel and Israel alone and its policies which are the cause of the conflict; if only Israel would seek peace, negotiate with Hamas and the PA, this peace would magically materialise and 100 years of strife would dissipate into thin air, no-one would attack Jews anymore and her ideal, presumably Marxist, certainly Socialist, state would rise, phoenix-like, from the ashes of Israel.

In other words, socialist ideology colours her opinion of Israel which is demonised in her mind to the extent that it can never be right, can never be lawful, because it is an illegitimate state in the first place. And because of this ideological blindness she, like so many others on the far left, be it George Galloway, Alexei Sayle, Tony Benn, Gerald Kaufman and, indeed, a number of post-Zionist Israelis who take the same stance, she is prepared to overlook the anti-Semitism, the homophobia, the misogyny, the Islamofascist death culture of Hamas and its fellow travellers; for her, their charters are just pieces of paper and they can be persuaded to make peace and forswear their previous acts and deeds and policies and bigotry.

Thus the far left supports representatives of the most dangerous, religio-political movement of our times: fundamentalist Islam. They do this in the name of their own socialist vision of the world and history.

The level of self-delusion, double-think and self-deception involved in this world view is astonishing and frightening. It is anti-democratic, anti-liberal, anti-Enlightenment and it makes a pact with the real devil by demonising an imperfect state – Israel.

I am not saying that we Zionists and pro-Israel supporters never take an ‘Israel can do no wrong’ position. It does happen and it happens more when Israel is under mortal threat. What room is there for any self-criticism when your opponents are relentless in theirs. Yet I can never ever find the ‘other side’ critical of the Palestinians and their supporters. It’s as if they are perfect, blameless, beyond criticism because if they do anything wrong the Zionists forced them to do it. At the same time, I do find a very lively debate in the Israeli press and the Jewish World.

There is a big difference between fair criticism and an agenda of demonisation and delegitimisation.

It is very sad indeed to encounter Jews who see history only through a socialist or Marxist prism, even if it means contributing to the efforts of those who would destroy Israel and kill all Jews and, therefore, the very Jews who now support them.

I wonder why some Jews who claim to uphold true Jewish values through sympathy and justice for Palestinians must also simultaneously join in with the chorus of the demonisers of their own people.

Why do they have to create a soi-disant ‘Jewish’ group?
What is it that is so important for them about Jewish values that they have to group together as not-in-my-namers?
What is Jewish about denying the right to Jewish self-determination?
What is Jewish about sympathy, even tacitly, for those who would commit genocide of the Jews given half a chance.
What is it that is Jewish about demonising fellow-Jews?

I’m currently reading Howard Jacobson’s latest novel, The Finkler Question, I found a very apt and devastating paragraph which amusingly describes Jews who give succour to their would-be destroyers. In the book there is a group not too dissimilar from JfjfP called ASHamed Jews:

To be an ASHamed Jew did not require that you had been knowingly Jewish all your life. Indeed, one among them only found out he was Jewish at all in the course of making a television programme in which he was confronted on camera with who he really was. In the final frame of the film he was disclosed weeping before a memorial in Auschwitz to dead ancestors who until that moment he had never known he’d had. ‘It could explain where I get my comic genius from,’ he told an interviewer for a newspaper, though by then he had renegotiated his new allegiance. Born a Jew on Monday, he had signed up to be an ASHamed Jew by Wednesday and was seen chanting ‘We are all Hezbollah’ outside the Israeli Embassy on the following Sunday.*

*Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question, Bloomsbury 2010, pp 138-9

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.

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.

Irony lost on Kaufman

No one should doubt the towering intellectual and oratorial skills and abilities of Sir Gerald Kaufman.

He has been both shadow Foreign and shadow Home Secretary.

But that was all some time ago.

At some point, Sir Gerald, never shy to proclaim he is a Jew, fell out of love with Israel and Zionism and espoused the Palestinian cause.

Well, nothing wrong there. He is quite entitled to believe that Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians is flawed, oppressive or however he preceives it.

As an MP and a prominent British Jew, and also as person of considerable intellectual talent (Queen’s Oxford), he also has a duty to be fair, reasonable and see the conflict in its proper historical context.

What he fails to grasp, it seems, (and he is by no means the only British public figure or even Jew to do so) is that he is fatally compromised by not condemning or declaring that Hamas is the root cause of the Gaza situation. By meeting prominent Hamas leaders in Gaza in 2009 he sanctions their actions against Israel and their own people in Gaza. He also ignores an essential point and it is this: Hamas want to destroy not just Israel, but all Jews; they are virulently anti-Semitic and Jews who support them are probably a source of great amusement and ridicule.

Yesterday, during the debate in Parliament on the Queen’s Speech he took advantage of parliamentary privilege to make a long (over long) speech in which he accused the (Muslim) Liberal Democratic candidate for Gorton of running an anti-Semitic campaign against him during the run-up to the General Election.

Sir Gerald accused his opponent of targetting Muslim voters and directing them not to vote for Kaufman simply because ‘he is a Jew’. He also accused his opponent of telling Muslim Labour supporters to remove posters from their windows because they should not vote for a Jew.

I have no idea if these accusations are true; only a full investigation by the Lib Dems (I nominate Baroness Tonge for the task) could find the truth.

Sir Gerald praised the vast majority of his Muslim constituents for not bowing to the bigotry of the Lib Dem candidate and on that point I can wholeheartedly agree – good on them.

However, the irony is lost on Sir Gerald. Here was, allegedly, a Muslim telling other Muslims not to vote for a Jew regardless of his track record on Gaza, Palestine and Israel. And this is exactly what all Islamists or fundamentalists or whatever you want to call them, believe: namely, all Jews must die. It’s quite simple; they want to eradicate Jews because that is what they believe their religion teaches them, because that is what radical Imams preach, because they have drunk from the same poisoned well as the Nazis. Israel must perish not just because Jews have ‘stolen’ Muslim land but quite simply because they are Jews.

I am content for Sir Gerald to fight for Palestinian rights, but I a not content for him to ignore the true intention of Hamas and support a regime who wish him dead as much as they wish to see any Jew dead, except in his case he is still useful to them.

Nick Griffin – a supporter Israel can do without

The appearance of the British National Party’s leader, Nick Griffin, on the BBC”s prime political debating programme, Question Time, last night has for weeks been the subject of extraordinary media focus, heated debate and political demonstration.

The BBC devoted almost the entire programme to questions about the BNP, statements by Nick Griffin and the party’s policies.

Chairman David Dimbleby pressed Griffin on his history of Holocaust denial and Griffin lamely stated that he had changed his mind about it although he couldn’t express his views because of European Law which might lead to his arrest if he were to enter certain European countries. However, he did say that he had changed his mind on the ‘numbers’ after reading about a German radio intercept of 1945! The inadequacy and ludicrousness of this response was not lost on fellow panel members. Clearly Griffin is prepared to have his mind changed (somewhat) by German radio intercepts but not by the testimony and meticulous records of those same Germans, let alone thousands of survivors and other witnesses.

But the BNP is now no longer anti-Semitic, of course, its main scapegoat now is Islam and Muslims. At one time he was heard to say that ‘they’ can stay if ‘they’ accept this is a British and Christian country. How very generous of him. Where does he propose to send millions of British citizens were they not to accept his terms of tenure?

At one extraordinary moment he made a bid to show his pro-Semitic credentials by saying that he and his party supported Israel in Operation Cast Lead against Hamas. Well thanks for that, Mr Griffin’ with friends like you etc,

But isn’t this so typical of neo-Fascists. They delude themselves that by supporting Israel (Jews), who they hate, against Muslims, who they hate even more (only for now whilst it is politically advantageous to scapegoat Muslims), they are demonstrating some sort of moral purity and acceptability by trumping anti-Semitism with Islamaphobia.

The BBC’s reason for inviting Griffin was that since the BNP now had two MEP’s (including Griffin himself) and a million votes in the European elections, its charter had to be impartial and a BNP member had as much right to an invite as the Green Party or UKIP. But it then chose to atone for a sin it said it had not committed by focusing almost exclusively on Griffin and the BNP, something which has not been the case with other minority parties. So the BNP would be justified in complaining to the BBC about unfair treatment, would it not? Either Griffin is a panel member like all others or he is not. If he is not, then maybe he shouldn’t have been invited in the first place.

Whether the BBC’s biased attack on the BNP has any effect on that party’s standing remains to be seen. I hope there are a million people out there who watched Griffin and who now regret ever voting for him.

The Liberal Democrats might also be given pause to consider that their policy of Proportional Representation in the UK parliament would inevitably lead to candidates such as Griffin gaining a foothold in UK democracy as they have done with a PR system in Europe.

Griffin’s performance was appalling. He showed himself to be an oleaginous, sniggering, cowardly, intellectual midget who had no place on a panel of this calibre.

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