Monthly Archives: November 2014

Double Standards

What if…….

…. Jews stood outside a supermarket in Tower Hamlets handing out leaflets stating “Palestinians were murderers and boycott Gaza, the West Bank and Arab states that support them”?
…. Jewish Facebook groups blamed the death of a Palestinian on their faith, suggesting their practices included using the blood of Christian babies to make their bread at Ramadan”?
…. Israeli sympathisers marched on Westminster shouting for the eradication of Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank and proposed sending all of their residents back to Iran, Syria, Lebanon or other Muslim states?
…. Jewish schools taught that killing Muslims was a good thing and handed out sweets every time one such murder occurred?
…. British politicians tweeted that if they lived in Israel they’d probably target and kill civilians in Gaza or the West Bank or that not allowing people to pray is the same as slaughtering those at prayer.

And what if a country’s leaders and their political allies across the world venerated barbaric murder and encouraged and taught that it was just to eradicate another faith, another race.

This week I’ve experienced all of these sentiments and opinions against Jews and Israel.  The perpetrators have delivered these without fear of being ostracised, criticised or criminalised. If you’re in England all of these things meet with wide and hysterical approval if it’s targeted at Jews and Israel and disgust if employed against other nations or faiths.

In the dark shadow of the events in Jerusalem this week, I wrote to David Ward (MP for Bradford in Yorkshire) and Baroness Warsi (who recently resigned from government and was Minister for Faith and Communities) to ask some of these questions.

I wanted to know from David Ward why he said “If I lived in Gaza I’d launch rockets at Israel”. I asked whether using rockets or meat cleavers makes a difference. I wanted to know why he blamed Israel for the murders in Jerusalem as he suggested that Israel was the reason for these murderers actions. I believe that no human being can act like this out of nature, it is nurture. That nurture is the grooming of men and the incubation of terror before exploding that terror onto the streets. It is education demonising Jews and celebrating murder of rabbis in prayer with sweets. It is the promise of veneration and the tacit approval from Western politicians.

I asked Baroness Warsi why, when she said all lives are equal, she made a moral equivalence between the protests disturbing prayers at the Temple Mount and the murder of four rabbis at prayer. She didn’t have the courtesy to answer but left it to one of her staff. Her staff member didn’t answer the question but simply repeated how Baroness Warsi deplored the murders, but deplored the situation too.

To both I repeated that blaming Israel for these crimes is like blaming the rape of a woman on the way that she’s dressed. To both I repeated that Jews are facing unprecedented levels of hatred yet people stand idly by.  But like many, they are more concerned in maintaining this insincere duplicitous agenda against a tiny nation and tiny minority race.

Turning the victim into the victimised. Treating the human inhumanely. Praising the persecutor and justifying the persecution. It’s all too familiar. This week, Alan Johnson in the Daily Telegraph, gave the chilling warning “You ain’t seen nothing yet”, but many have seen it all before, and I have already seen enough.

Alan Johnson article from the Daily Telegraph:

Norway is no-way for Jews

It is perhaps the fact that I spent some enjoyable times working in Oslo that I have a bit of a soft spot for Norway. The generally easy going nature, the sophisticated culture and the sense of wellbeing amongst the residents of Oslo helped me feel right at home. Not to mention the finest smoked salmon and roll mop herring I have ever tasted. Back in the late ‘90s I knew much more about Norway’s financial industry and smorgasbords than about its relationship with Jews.

Jews and Norway do not have a good track record. In World War II many of its Jewish citizens were left unprotected from the 5 year Nazi occupation. Those who could escape fled the country to the safer borders of neighbouring Sweden or the UK, but the ease with which the SS Donau deported a third of Norway’s Jews to the concentration camps of central Europe remains a stain on Norway’s history books. There were of course exceptions, brave people who stood up and protected their fellow countrymen, but they were far fewer than in many other parts of Europe. That many Norwegians gave up their Jewish neighbours was perhaps symptomatic of a history of ambivalence and intolerance towards ‘others’.  Although post-war Norway has attempted to atone, an assertive shift to Liberalism and the Left and its apathy towards extremism has yet again allowed other forms of hatred to escalate unchecked.

Norwegian Jews wait to be transported to Nazi concentration camps on the SS Donau

Norwegian Jews wait to be transported to Nazi concentration camps on the SS Donau

This week there has been the usual internet storm regarding another ‘human rights’ offence by Israel. This time the issue has been in not allowing a Norwegian doctor, Mads Gilbert, back into Gaza where he has previously been working. This has vastly overshadowed two other Norwegian related news stories which have appeared predominantly in the Jewish / Israeli press. The first is the news that a Holocaust Memorial event was only permitted providing funds raised from the event went to a Norwegian ‘Gaza Appeal’. The second was a memorial event which to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Kristallenacht. Several of the participating groups proposed the banning of Jewish representatives at the event.  With these in mind, I returned to my interest in Norway and research that I had previously uncovered about its relationship with its Jewish population.

At the end of the last millenium a thriving community of circa 2,500 practising Jews lived across the country. Recent statistics suggest there may have been more Jews who remained unaccounted for as they were not prepared to “come out” as Jewish, reasoning that anti Semitism threatened their welfare and safety. This continues to be the case today. Furthermore, a recent report by the CHS (Centre for Holocaust Studies) found a rise in anti Semitic views across the Norwegian gentile community with:
• Circa 25% stating that “Jews today exploit the memory of the Holocaust”
• Circa 13% stating that “Jews are to blame for their persecution”
• Circa 19% stating that “world Jewry works behind the scenes to promote Jewish interests”
• Circa 26% stating that “Jews consider themselves to be better than other people”

Unsurprisingly, the Jewish community in Norway is dwindling (now in the hundreds rather than thousands) and this small community of Jews is still suffering. Norway’s uneasy relationship with Jews is nothing new:
• By the country’s constitutional law, from 1814, Jews were not allowed within the Kingdom of Norway. Whilst this law was revoked, this was only ever done informally and not by statute.
• One third of all Jews were given up to the Nazi occupiers in WWII.
• To this day, anti Semitic hate crimes are not recorded by Norwegian authorities as the category does not exist in Norwegian law. This has allowed Norwegian authorities to suggest that anti Semitism is not a significant problem (which of course it isn’t if you don’t record it).
• An Oslo municipality survey in 2011 found that 60% of students had heard the use of the word “Jew” used as a negative expression or insult, and now it is common parlance.
• Oslo and Trondheim’s synagogues are amongst the most heavily fortified (non-military) buildings in the country as attacks (perceived, threatened and actual) are common place.

Despite the enlightened view of Holocaust awareness, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation reported that anti Semitic attitudes were prevalent in a number of schools. Teachers revealed that “Jew hate has been legitimatised” and prevention or disruption of teaching about the Holocaust is common place. Authorities have also recently recommended that wearing the Star of David should be resisted as it could be seen to be inflammatory.

And whilst people across Europe were rightly disgusted by a French comedian who regularly courts attention by espousing extremist and anti Semitic views, a popular Norwegian comedian (Otto Jespersen) was not censured for making “jokes” on national TV about the murder of Jews in concentration camps that I do not wish to repeat in print as the comments were far too disturbing.

The Mads Gilbert case is still somewhat unclear. Israel is refusing to explain their decision to ban him from Gaza. As his home town Tromsø is twinned with Gaza the Israeli government may not win any popularity contest in Norway. But ignoring Mads Gilbert’s record for saving lives in Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital is unwise and misguided, even if the his opinions on subjects such as boycotting Médecins Sans Frontières and America’s culpability in the terror attacks of 9/11 are unacceptable and sourced from deeply entrenched anti West narrative. Mads Gilbert is, as one of his countrymen put it, a “hopeless politician” but one, nonetheless with the goodwill of the majority possibly on his side. Wouldn’t it be better all round if he was offered the opportunity to work in one of Israel’s hospitals where trauma victims of the conflict are brought in and where other doctors could all learn from Mads Gilbert’s experience and skills? Would that not be positive outcome for all concerned?

The two decisions relating to the Holocaust memorial activities in Norway have been widely published in Jewish media circles but not outside. In fact it would appear that there is no story to report with respect to these two items in Norway. It is possible to “conflate” (a popular word in defence of anti semites) the issue of anti semitism and Gaza as well. Giving money from something which remembers anti semitism to some of those who would possibly engage in its latest incarnation seems conflation of the most cunning and pernicious type.  Meantime, Norway’s authorities and media stoutly defend themselves as wrongly accused of anti semitic values, whilst the Simon Wiesenthal Center has put Norway on its watch list and there are indications that the US State Department has privately expressed dissatisfaction to its Norwegian counterparts. Norway’s Foreign Ministry may have overlooked the irony, as they have complained to Israel over this accusation rather than addressing this within their own communities.

So, is it any wonder that the three news items concerning Israel, Jews and Norway are all related? Is it any wonder that Mads Gilbert should feel such loathing towards Israel? Is it any wonder that the news of Jewish conflation with Israel is taken in a purely negative and anti Semitic sense?
It is difficult for Israel that Norway, a country with such a good reputation, regarded as beacon of civility, is so comfortable in its demonisation of Israel. It will certainly do Israel’s reputation more harm than good as long as these anti Israel views emanate from country’s like Norway. Publicising Norway’s relationship with Jews will make little difference as the world will happily turn a blind eye to the attitude. Nonetheless, we must do at least that. It is no coincidence that the most renowned of the Middle Eastern “peace negotiations” is the Oslo Accord. It may have failed to achieve any lasting benefit to Israel and Jews (or the rest of the region), but its notoriety promotes and elevates Norway’s reputation with peace and links the Norwegians to something that belies their attitude to Israel and Jews and oversteps their influence in world politics.

As Norwegian Jews leave its shores once more, Norway may now be in the process of succeeding where the Nazis failed, in becoming the first European nation to be Judenfrei or Judenrein (the Nazi term for the ethnic cleansing of Jews). Never has the concept of the Oslo Accord, the organ for a peace between Israel and the Palestinian state, appeared to have been more paradoxical.

To B or not to B….DS

To B or not to B….DS.

In the UK, many people find the BDS particularly annoying. Counter campaigns are run against them, but often these are outweighed by the profile and publicity that that the BDS themselves generate. However, for entertainment, join the Sussex Friends of Israel (on Facebook) and watch their continued teasing, challenging and counter protesting down in Brighton. If you have not followed them, you are missing a treat.

It is difficult to fathom how an organisation such as the BDS is funded and manned. I have long maintained that without some sinister sponsor lurking in the shadows these organisations could not exist to this extent. The BDS are not a charity, they don’t sell a product, yet they have significant manpower and operate globally.

Some UN backed NGO’s clearly have much to gain from allegiances with the BDS and their anti zionist strategies. Organisations such as Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) who recently received funding from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) ($328,000) and from the PfP – Partnership for Peace ($470,000) which in turn could provide assistance to the BDS. NGO Monitor said in 2013 that CWP was a “leader in BDS and demonisation campaigns, and in sponsoring ‘Nakba Day’ activities that amplify the Palestinian narrative.”

When religious organisations turn their efforts towards the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be an excellent vehicle for targeting and promoting specific anti zionist agendas. Funds can be transferred to highly politicised NGOs. These NGOs, instead of acting as neutral third parties, often involve themselves directly as actors in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The BDS campaign views these religious organisations as a key target for cooptation and promotion of their agenda.

Finally, there is the alleged funding from benefactors such as George Soros. But now, in a perfect ironic twist, the BDS are demanding the boycott of Soros because, putting profit over principle, he invested in Israeli companies.

So with all of this backing, what could be nicer than putting the sizeable investment to good use here in the UK. Perhaps by standing outside shop fronts day in day out with your mates shouting, making funky banners and models, spending time planning campaigns with coalitions that are thousands of miles away for a people that they may never meet and constructing research to justify protests and actions. If I didn’t have a mortgage to pay and kids to put through school, a responsible full time job and so on, I’d want to do that too (though maybe for a more appropriate cause).

Surely those volunteers could put their time to other uses like a full time job, spending time with their loved ones, supporting the local needy such as the elderly or the homeless. And even if we ignore these more noble and selfless efforts, what about the more indulgent and traditional Great British pastimes such as going down the pub, watching football, DIY, taking the dog for a walk or discussing the weather?

One sector that the BDS have previously turned their attention to is the Israeli export of medical products. Many strange bedfellows are prepared to protest and demean Israel for its medical innovations, ensuring that the world is NOT a safer and healthier place. But the BDS may wish to focus their attention on the latest medical problem that Israel is offering to address.

The Ebola epidemic has caused a media frenzy that has even outstripped the usual interest in the UK about Israel’s continued battle with terror (or as the British media like to call it, Israel’s continued occupation and brutality towards Palestinians).

Shocking to the BDS and their cohorts comes the news that Israel is exporting state of the art Ebola Detection and Protection Equipment.

And worse still, whilst Israel is getting daily attacks from Palestinian terrorists, whilst mortars are still being fired in from Gaza, while Egypt has closed its borders and razed Gazan homes on those borders, it is Israel providing this technology to Gazan and West Bank authorities.

So BDS, what to do? Protest to the UK government, start a campaign? Yes, campaign against Israel for supplying state of the art Ebola detection and protection equipment throughout Gaza, the West Bank and other neighbouring countries. Yes, demand that citizens of Gaza suffer the terrifying pain of exposure to this virus rather than benefit from Israeli humanitarian aid and technology. Because permitting Israel to export any of its produce contravenes the BDS anti zionist boycott?

And now the sinister end game starts to emerge. The BDS does much to harm the prospects of the average Gazan or West Bank resident. It takes away health and security. It removes opportunities for prosperity and normality. It protests without intellect or care from thousands of miles away. Could it be that the real purpose being served is to keep the lot of the Palestinian low and to keep the agenda of the hate high. Well by intention or otherwise, they are succeeding in that, at least.

One final thought. What would Hamas do if the shoe was on the other foot. Would they provide aid to Israel if roles were reversed? Or would they venerate the Ebola virus as a “just killer”, as they have venerated those who murdered innocent men, women and children in Israel in the recent car and knife terror attacks?



When I was younger foreign correspondents amazed me.  I was inspired by the brave men and women reporting from the field of conflict. I marvelled at the personal attributes required to be a non-combatant and yet be prepared to put your head above the parapet, in the name of justice and honesty. But that admiration has waned in recent times as most journalists now report with agendas, display their personal politics and have caught the bug of TV celebrity rather than public servant. Now I am much more used to my daily media diet coming from mean mouthed, self agrandising, self publicists.

I’ve watched Orla Guerin tell us that there is “no evidence” of Hamas using human shields. I’ve watched Jon Snow stepping between the rubble calling Israelis “child murderers”. I’ve watched interview after interview on the BBC with Daniel Taub where this man, a sovereign state’s ambassador to the UK, is not afforded a modicum of respect. At the same time a blood thirsty terror representative will be given a perfect platform on news channels to justify breaking International Law by launching rockets from a school or murdering their own without trial.

It is bewildering. People say their sense of injustice is palpable. And yet what to do? What CAN you do?


The BALEN REPORT was written 10 years ago. Its purpose was to investigate and to establish whether or not the allegations of bias against Israel by the BBC were founded. The report was completed and ready to publish, but then nothing. The BBC hid behind a legality that said that it did not have to go public on any investigation that brought into question its journalistic ability or integrity. Thus, the BBC has spent nearly half a million pounds of tax payers money on covering up these findings for over ten years. When you cursed the News at Ten for reporting the “War in Gaza” as if only one side was suffering or being attacked, when you moaned at Jeremy Bowen telling you about Israel breaking another cease fire when Hamas had been lobbing their rockets non stop through said ceasefire, when you saw a BBC political commentator rolling out anti semitic tropes about “wealthy Jews” who won’t support Labour because they don’t like the mansion tax, just remember…… you were doing it at your literal expense.

There is a petition, so sign it, or write to the BBC, write to your MP, write to the Minister of State for Culture and Media but do something. 1,000 signatures on a petition will scare the BBC. 5,000 signatures will mean the BBC will have to act, lest it finds itself at the forefront of another cover up and media trial. 100 complaints to the BBC when next they use lazy reporting to roll out an anti semitic stereotype will make them think twice. And a question in the Houses of Parliament as a result of the 1,000 letters to an MP about factual errors and bias will make the BBC more cautious in the future.

The BBC trust has to ensure that the BBC provides accurate and impartial news. The remit of the Balen report was to examine the BBC’s coverage of the Middle East.  By covering up these findings it stops the Trust is not seen to be ensuring that the BBC is a purveyor of accurate and impartial news. The BBC must be accountable to the public it serves. The report should be released without delay. Otherwise, we can only assume that the BBC has something to hide.

The petition to Release the Balen Report:

The Director General of The BBC is Tony Hall.

The Minister for Culture and Media is Ed Vaizey.

The Campaign for Anti Semitism in the UK regularly posts on Facebook advising people to complain to the BBC. It tells you “why to complain”, “who to complain to”, “complaint details” and it all takes about 5 minutes on your electronic device!

Or do nothing, and continue to wonder how it would be if people could think for themselves rather than be told what to think.


Bored of the Deputies

Originally posted 7th September 2014


I’m tired of discussing whether the Board of Deputies chairman should fall on his sword. I’m weary of hearing what the Board have been doing for me, the Ordinary Londoner, during this crisis.  My belief has been beggared as I’m told how they have taken the media to task for another appallingly biased report on BBC or Channel 4.  Are you, like me, bored of the Deputies?

We all applaud the sentiments of a joint statement from Muslim and Jewish communities. It has the potential to defuse many an ill tempered notion or bigoted narrative.  But many in our community were left aghast by the one put out by the Board and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) which included the ill conceived declaration regarding the “targeting of civilians” in the recent conflict.  When asked its meaning, the MCB were clear as to the context of said declaration, it referred to the IDF targeting civilians in Gaza.  So it was, the sentiments of good and noble intentions were overshadowed by the scent of betrayal.

Like many, I took to my keyboard…..

Dear Board of Deputies….. The majority of British Jewry (and almost all Israelis) would not agree with your statement generalising about the “targeting of civilians”.  You are, by the wording of that statement not differentiating between the strategy of indiscriminate Hamas terrorist attacks on the civilians of Israel and the actions of the IDF which strategically does NOT target civilians.   Israel tries at all times to operate within the bounds of International Law, Hamas’s combatants operate with impunity outside of it. 

Seems like the latest indiscriminate target are Jewish feet and ones doing the shooting are the Board of Deputies.

Now Board of Deputies, to see how it should have been done, read this statement from the Barnet Multi Faith Forum (written more recently):


We affirm the importance, as Jews, Muslims and people of many other faiths here in the London Borough of Barnet, of our diversity of religious belief in this Borough and of working together for good community relations.

We celebrate our religious diversity and rejoice in our common humanity and we are determined to identify the widest possible range of areas for co-operation between our different faiths. In this way it is our hope that, in all of our communities, people will be able to live side by side in peace and mutual respect

We condemn any expression of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and of all other forms of oppression, prejudice, racism and religious intolerance. We will continue to support each other to diffuse any community tensions that arise from our differences, and to promote the peaceful co-existence of religious and faith groups in the Borough.

We commit ourselves to this continuing task

Board of Deputies, that’s how to make a statement we can all stand by. Just as the term deputy can mean substitute, there is no substitute for common sense, and no sign of sense from the deputies.

Stephen Spencer Bond-Ryde

Dear Mr. Miliband, what’s with your Middle East policy


Dear Mr Miliband,

We know you are desperate to nail your colours to the mast, much in the same way as some of the Labour run councils across the UK have been happily hoisting Palestinian flags from their town halls. But be wary of being hoisted by your own petard.  Your latest display of passion for Palestine is the attendance as guest speaker at the Labour Friends for Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME) event in Westminster.  Your strong hand in whipping the Labour MPs to support the Parliamentary Motion in the House of Commons showed a firm affinity to Palestine’s future.  It is very clear, Mr Miliband, that you are fully committed to the future of Palestine.

And what, with all of your backing of this notional state, can you expect? What is your dream?  What’s with the support?  And who exactly are you supporting?

Your family, as you like to point out, have a strong Jewish heritage, yet that strength does not convert to a strong and secure Jewish future. Indeed, members of your family have been actively involved in supporting flotillas into Israeli waters (in direct breach of International Law) just to prove a point. I’m sure you didn’t condone such transgressions of law.  However, you like to reminisce on those happy days in your childhood, sat round the kitchen table at the grand Belsize Park family home listening to your parents, family and their political friends talk of Marxist revolutions and the righteous left’s moral high grounds.  Naturally, these fond early political narratives have left an indelible imprint on your views that rails against the only Middle Eastern democracy and egalitarian state and backs the hard line anti Zionist organisations and states surrounding Israel.

The support you have previously received from Israel and British Jews may have left you unsatisfied. Israel’s political history is deeply rooted in the Left.  The strong ties of British and Israeli Labour parties in the 1970s led to a significant number MPs with a Jewish background being involved in the British Labour Party.  Now Labour Friends of Israel is a small group amongst whose numbers, even the ex-Chairman and several members voted for the motion that you whipped up last month, so intransigent are they about Israel’s wellbeing.  So maybe you’d rather leave the “wealthy Jewish Labour benefactors” lurking behind newspaper headlines and the chattering left and go for the other voters ahead of your party’s allegiances and morals.

So as Labour’s Leader, I think we can see that your mission is to make Labour the party of the Palestinian state solution. And what sort of solution is that?

Well according to LFPME, that solution is ultimately a “one state solution”. And that state, we can safely assume, is not the State of Israel.  Now we start to get a picture of your vision of the future.  But let’s leave aside the potential provocation of the LFPME who, unlike Labour’s devious “Jewish lobby” cannot deter you from your mission to get the fledgling Palestinian state up and running.  Why is Jewish lobby referred to as “devious”?  Because the British media has been rolling out the usual racist narrative during this latest round of unfavourable news headlines for the Labour Leader.   It intimates that the Jewish lobby is able to influence everything from politics to the weather across the globe and is responsible for many negative events in the British social and political sphere.  More so, the particularly racist inference is that Jewish supporters withdrawing Labour donations is also a response to Labour’s proposed “mansion taxes” which will hit the country’s wealthy Jews particularly hard.

So, let’s cut to the quick, to the bright future for Palestine. From Jordan to the sea (as the protestors who’s bandwagon you’ve happily hitched a ride on say).   What do believe you are backing?  Do you think that Jews would be allowed to live in this state?  Hamas and Fatah have explicitly stated “no”.  Do you think that Christians would be allowed to exist in this state?  Hamas and Fatah will continue with the ethnic cleansing of other faiths which is currently ongoing throughout other parts of the Middle East.  And when you displace the Jewish state, where else where these millions of Jews go (and I’m not counting the other 6 million Israelis, who will have their own detestable problems)?  Well according to those who will be running your brave new Palestinian world, they won’t have to go to far.  As long as they are in reach of the directives of the Hamas manifesto, the plan will be simply to remove them from this mortal coil.  Mr Miliband, you’d best not visit this brave new world of yours, otherwise your heritage might just be the death of you……


Stephen Spencer Bond-Ryde