Tag Archives: Jewish

It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s a witch hunt

Those pesky Jews…… sorry Israelis.  They know how to make antisemitism work for them.

Over the next few days you will see various posts and feedback from a meeting held in Birkbeck College, London.

Birkbeck flier

The last time I was at Birkbeck was also a fascinating event, looking at a media product to teach students about the suffering of Palestinians and the evils of the Zionist project.  At that meeting I watched a PR lady tell the audience that Israel and the Jewish super wealthy bought politicians and I could buy a copy of a book by the leader of Hamas which promoted the terror activities of the terror group:

The political thought of the Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas: Written by Khaled Meshaal, 2013 Edition, Publisher: MEMO Publishers [Paperback] [Paperback] [ASIN: B00SLV9MWW]

 

But this meeting was somewhat more vibrant and topical.  This meeting featured the most ardent of the Corbyn supporting Left.   They were there to discuss, in theory, anti Zionism, antisemitism, Palestine and the Left.  But mainly, they were to join in a chorus of hatred against Israel and provide all the narrative that one would ever need to prove that antisemitism

a) doesn’t mean you can’t hate Israel to oblivion,

b) doesn’t exist on the Left and

c) only exists to make victims of the decent people who hate Jews

Amongst the motley crew of decent Left leaning statesmen (or should that be states-people) were representatives of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Stop the War, Unite against Fascism, veterans of the Left and the culture angle from Tariq Ali.

Others, such as David Collier, Jonathan Hoffman and Richard Millett, will write excellent political analysis of the events of the evening and bare witness to the hate.

birkbeck motley crew

The Motley Crew

So I will tell you just one simple message that tonight’s panel want you to know:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ANTISEMITISM ON THE LEFT, JUST A ZIONIST CREATED MYTH WHICH IS USED TO OBFUSCATE THE CRIMES OF ISRAEL AND DEMONISE THE LEFT

Chief amongst the victims of this malevolent antisemitic myth, Jeremy Corbyn.  If it wasn’t for those pesky scheming Zionists (insert Jews and Israelis) Jeremy would be sailing through to power with an overwhelming majority.  If it wasn’t for those conniving zio lobbyists, Jews wouldn’t have such a hard time with real bigotry.  If it wasn’t for those manipulating Jewish politicos (like Mark Regev) controlling the media airwaves there wouldn’t be a Jew hater in site and if wasn’t for those murdering Israelis killing Palestinian children with gay abandon, Jews the world over would be safe and loved by every decent human being.  And of course, if Israel would just let all those 6, 7, no, 8 million Palestinian refugees from around the world back in to Palestine and let the resulting Arab majority decide what should become of the Israel, then there would be World Peace.  Of course, as we were told by Tariq Ali, no less, the Muslims have a great history of caring for and working with the Jews (albeit he conveniently forgot the near million that were forcibly exiled from all parts of the Arab world around the same time as the State of Israel was created).

As those of you who follow me know, I’ve been writing to Jeremy Corbyn and some of his colleagues for the last 9 months or so on an almost daily basis about his “antisemitism problems”.  His personal relationship with it, his allies, parliamentarians and councillors in the Labour Party who freely bandy antisemitic tropes and his loyal membership who preach antisemitism without a care for who hears it and what they think.

Three outcomes I predict:

  1. Labour will continue to be the party of hate towards Israel until Corbyn and his cronies are defeated and this problem will not go away despite the best attempts of the extreme Left calling it a witch hunt
  2. The Labour inquiry into antisemitism will justify the suspension of those who are outspoken about hatred of Jews as a racial stereotype, but will find NO link between antisemitism and Israel
  3. Labour will state that anti Zionism is legitimate and is NOT antisemitism as it is the right of anyone to believe that Jews should not have the right to self determination, except they will call it “legitimate criticism of Israel policy”.

Birkbeck College tonight was the inner sanctum of Israel-, Zionist- and Jew-hatred.  There debating what antisemitism is, were the foot soldiers of the new antisemitism.

As a tidy dénouement to tonight’s episode, I recalled being sold that Hamas book.  I wondered whether I could buy a copy of this terror manual on line.  Sure enough Amazon would not sell such a hate ridden and vile book, but the Amazon marketplace has everything for sale.  There I found a copy for sale from a source close to the heart of Jeremy himself.  Corbyn, had, a few years previously vehemently defended a leading member of the Anglican clergy who had made mendacious antisemitic statements.  The church suspended him, just like the Labour party now does with its bigots.  The clergyman and the book seller were one and the same, Stephen Sizer.  Thus rounding off neatly a night of Jew hate.

 

Labour’s conspiracy theory

There is much confusion and concern regarding the ongoing scandal of antisemitism in the Labour Party.  We have watched in disbelief as Labour Party members have shown their darker side with outrageous bigotry directed at Jews.  But have we really understood what is going on?

I watched an interview on BBC with now suspended Labour Party councillor from Blackburn, Shah Hussain.  He was suspended for the following tweet: 

 
Shah Hussain tweeted: You are an complete and utter plonker, you and your country doing the same thing that hitler did to ur race in ww2

 

But maybe, just maybe Shah’s tweet to an Israeli footballer was nothing more than a mild jibe at a Jew and Israeli footballer, which was completely understandable given Shah’s outrage at the fact that he considered all Israelis child killing Nazis (except perhaps the 20% who aren’t Jewish).

‘You are a complete and utter plonker, you and your country doing the same thing that Hitler did to ur race in WW2′

Look beyond the outrageous bigotry that appears to be inherent in that tweet and all may become clear. Shah has revealed that is all

“a witch hunt and all because I am a Muslim”.

How foolish this whole “Labour antisemitism” thing is. Simple, it is all just a cover up. Shah Hussain has revealed that the Labour Party is getting away with outrageous Islamophobia by making out that Shah and many like him are antisemites.  This is a perfect slur.

How did we miss that….. A Jewish and Labour conspiracy with the Islamophobe in chief, Jeremy Corbyn, masterminding the whole conspiracy.  He just wants to make these poor Muslim politicians suffer by calling out perfectly innocent bigotry as racism!

Yet Jeremy’s real friends are rallying around him. They know how to be real Jew haters. Not some “plastic bigot” like these poor political victims.  JC’s friends, well, I say friends….

JC and Friends

JC and Friends

A spokesman for Hamas has now hailed Mr Corbyn for his refusal to condemn the terror group. Taher Al-Nunu said Mr Corbyn’s willingness to engage with it was a ‘painful hit that the Zionist enemy received’. ‘We welcome the declaration of the Labour Chairman and see his engagement as a very important statement.

But wait until Hamas find out what an Islamophobe he has been to the good and the great of his own party suspending Hamas and Hezbollah supporters up and down the land.  Surely then Hamas and Hezbollah will come rolling in to the UK in defence of the embattled “innocent 50″ Labour politicians, councillors and party workers.

Maybe this is the predicted coup come from the friends of Jeremy?  We’ll know shortly.

Labour’s Haavara Masterplan: Ethnic cleansing from the Party landscape

Probably by now this should refer to Ken Livingstone, ex-MP.

The suspended and somewhat disgraced MP had done his research into the myth of antisemitism in his beloved party.  He’d clicked on Wikipedia to find why everyone thought that there was a conspiracy to accuse his beloved Party of antisemitism (which according to Ken is not racism).  Then he stumbled on it.
HAAVARA, a company for the transfer of Jewish property from Nazi Germany to Palestine.  You can read about it here:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0008_0_08075.html

Let’s be clear, in the 1930s in Germany, of course Jewish leaders would try and negotiate with Hitler to ensure they did as much as possible to prevent the ensuing atrocities (albeit they could not have imagined what lay ahead).
There was a time in the early 1930s when Hitler thought Jewish ethnic cleansing of Germany by removing all the Jews (whilst appropriating all of their possessions and wealth) and packaging them off to the Middle East had some traction.  He explored and considered many options in how to deal with the “Jewish problem”.  Judenrein came in all shapes and sizes.  But, consistency was the key, consistently wishing to exterminate Jews.
That he plumped for a more “finite solution” to what he considered the Jewish problem just shows this as part of his clinical maturing thinking.  He also made approaches to leaders in the Middle East, such as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and other Arab leaders as to how this could play out.  Whilst some saw through his evil designs others were willing to go along with them and even invest and execute them with gusto.  The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was indeed pleased to plan industrial level extermination camps in the region to rival anything the Nazis could do.  His sycophantic behaviour towards Hitler has been well documented.
Back to Ken Livingstone.  The fact that Livingstone wanted to associate Hitler’s ethnic cleansing strategy with Zionism and say “well see, he was in favour of Zionism” is a very sick joke.
By now, you will have probably seen one British politician, John Mann’s, reaction.  But in case you have been living in a bubble:

https://youtu.be/tJCzVV5eIg8

 

And this is the reason John Mann reacted like he did.  Ken Livingstone’s apologist explanation for a fellow Labour MP’s anti-Semitic social media material:

http://media.skynews.com/media/images/generated/2016/4/28/461907/default/v1/mann-1-992×558.jpg

No, Livingstone is a nasty racist who finally showed his true colours and relished it as the attention seeking weasel he is, lapping up the ensuing media scrum and touring the studios in a most ungracious aggrandising manner.
John Mann, despite also knowing that this was a bit of a media stunt, intended to expose Livingstone and bring the problem to the surface because he was sick and tired of his party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, saying antisemitism doesn’t exist in the Labour Party (amazingly still saying so, claiming this is jealousy of his success causing it).
And this, knowing John, is surely true.
I met John Mann in October last year.  Just the day before I had attended a public meeting (with my friend and fellow blogger David Collier) where Sir Gerald Kaufman (Labour MP, and the “father of the House”, a moniker given the to oldest statesman in the House of Commons) hosted and spoke.  This, in the rarefied confines of the offices of the Houses of Parliament.  The meeting was for the Palestinian Return Centre, a group promoting the notion that all people of middle eastern decent and who are Arabs, have the right to claim Palestinian citizenship.  (As a Jew, I remained incognito for fear of a hostile reaction and censured opinion). Under the roof of our country’s political home Kaufman posited how wealthy Jews control British politics.  Of course, this is a classic anti-Semitic trope which was delivered with vitriolic fervour and roundly applauded by an equally opinionated audience.  At the time, when I spoke to John Mann, he looked furious because, I believed, he felt I had information which was damaging to his party, the Labour Party.  Now I realise (and should have at the time) he was furious because he can’t abide antisemitism such as that espoused by Kaufman and now Livingstone, full stop.
It is a depressing decline in the Left.  And one for which I am deeply saddened.  A strong opposition is always vital to good government.  Jews have always found good companionship on the Left.  But rather like Hitler’s plans to ethnically cleanse Germany of Jews, Corbyn seems to be achieving the same end for Labour’s political landscape.  But today, he’s one henchman shorter.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Leader, reacted to all of this by saying people were jealous of him and his party.  Frankly, this looked like madness.  He extolled the grass roots of his party and thought that the anti-Semitic conspiracy / crisis was created to undermine and sully these roots.  But wouldn’t those roots include Jews?

Corbyn: “I suspect that much of this criticism about a crisis in the party actually comes from those who are nervous of the strength of the Labour Party at local level”.So the Jews offended by Jew-hatred and antisemitism in Labour are actually just trying to damage the Labour party because it is powerful?

Crisis, what crisis?
Maybe Wikipedia will find a new entry for the Haavara Agreement, the Labour Party Haavara Agreement which brings it up to date with expatriation of Jews from a political movement.  Dispossessing Jews of their right to self-determination of hatred and instead accusing them of making up a narrative to suit their own gains and jealousy in the success of the Party without them.
As Livingstone said when trying to excuse himself of antisemitism (which incidentally he says is NOT racism), this was “all in the 1930s before the Leader of the National Socialist Party went mad”.
Jeremy Corbyn’s eyes looked a little more furtive and crazed as I watched him be interviewed yesterday.  Maybe the madness is contagious if you behave like this.

 

Protecting free speech, at a cost

“It’s not only pro-Palestinian students who use intimidation to silence free speech” says Yachad’s leader

 

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.698815?v=70C5119DA95A07B6AA80D71B577ABB54

Yachad’s leader, Hannah Weisfeld’s backdrop to her Op-Ed in Haaretz was the awful events of King’s College and the talk promoted by Yachad delivered by Ami Ayalon.

However, she sees British Jews too shutting down free speech.  But she qualifies this with “shutting down free speech when it is the voices critical of Israel”.

I was lucky enough to hear Ami Ayalon speak the previous evening. Whilst I found plenty to disagree on, it was clear that ultimately we all want pretty much the same thing. A lasting truce with security for all, a civilised distribution of boundaries, prosperity for all and an end to the mutual hatred and mistrust. Our journeys might be different, but our goals are not poles apart.

The following night, of course, we witnessed a whole different kind of evening where difference of opinion was expressed with hatred, racism and violence.

Yet Hannah’s Op-Ed was not only condemning the suppression of freedom of speech that took place at Kings College. She drew moral equivalence to the protests by “right wing Jews” objecting to the views of Ami Ayalon at the following evening’s engagement in Manchester.

Hannah was outraged at that Jews could discuss the nature of a public speaker on the left through a closed Facebook site and that these Zionists had the audacity to send in emails asking for the speaker not to speak. And that “despite the intense pressure” of some emails and a closed Facebook site the talk went ahead in a civilised and law abiding way. No need for police, no need for protection (well not from a few Zionists anyway).

Hannah compares this legitimate protest by email and commentary (no matter the rights or wrongs of their opinion) with hooligans and racists attacking Jews and Israelis at Kings College, one of the UK’s leading academic establishments.  KCL Action Palestine (KCLAP) planned to and succeeded in a violent action to stop a civil voice. Their blurb includes this:

“Anyone knows…how f*cked up the Shin Bet and anything that has to do with the Israeli occupation is, or is aware of how much whitewash is involved in these hasbora events” and “support the Palestinian call for an end to apartheid”.

The comparison made by Hannah could not be more wrong or offensive between the two instances.

  • The KCLAP’s vitriol versus a closed Facebook group and a few hasbora activists.
  • Broken windows, flying chairs and assault versus some strongly worded emails.
  • Hatred and racism versus pro Israeli opinion.
  • Fear and terror versus voiced objection and civil discourse
  • Police presence and action versus CST security and pleasantries

In the grand debate some people I know wish speakers not to speak for fear of confusing or conflicting with their steadfast opinion.  But none of them revert to violence.  Indeed the only instance I have seen of possible suppression of free speech recently may have been the blocking of Tuvia Tenenbaum at Limmud (because his opinions don’t conform).

But it should come as no surprise that those on Hannah’s side of the political fence can play the intimidation game too; and generally with at least as much if not more vigour and self righteousness. Perhaps Yachad are not so incomparable to those who could not tolerate Israelis and Jews having oxygen like those haters at King’s College.

Recently, an event was arranged with a world renowned author and authority on many aspects of Jewish history and politics. He has upset some on the left of Israel’s political divide due to his exposé on Machiavellian going-ons within certain NGOs and left wing organisations operating in the Jewish / Israel / Palestinian arena.

He was scheduled to speak at a Progressive synagogue. When the event publicity came out, intimidating noises and complaints came from members on the left and threatened to bring the event down.

In fact the talk was actually about the persecution of Jews in the Arabic regions; a story that has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the persecution of one million Arab Jews last century. This is a story that should be close to the hearts of all Jews. Yet despite this being the subject matter, there was, as we would say, quite a “broigus” and many of the congregants stayed away rather than learn about one of our darkest periods in Jewish history and the heinous denouement to the Holocaust with this second wave of persecution.   Of course, none of this broigus translated to the event, which went off peacefully and hugely successfully.

And so back to Hannah’s Op-Ed in Haaretz. It is cynical, duplicitous and dangerous.  It shows Hannah’s and Yachad’s true colours. They would treat their political opposition as their enemy with intolerance and their enemies as their friends with appeasement.

A very wise friend of mine told me this story.

There was once a well known British Left wing Jewish politician. A child of World War II, the State of Israel was his birth-right. He loved Israel with all his heart. It was the perfect ideal, the Jewish homeland. It was his utopia. But when he realised his utopia was flawed and not as he had dreamt it, he blamed his fellow Jews. He hated those Jewish settlers, Zionists and right wing hawks who had ruined it for him. He could not forgive.

So it is with Yachad. If they can’t have their utopian dream, its ruins lie at the feet of the Zionists and the right. And the haters and the anti-Semites, well they are just the consequence. If it wasn’t for those Zionists we’d all live happily ever after.

And that is self serving politics of the first degree.

Jerusalem Post’s Letter from London 22nd February 2015 3 Adar 5775

Let me start with a simple and humbling story. In London, where homelessness is an increasing issue, many of you will have walked through the streets of the city and seen sleeping bags, cardboard boxes and newspapers piled up next to heating vents and alley ways. I am privileged to run a homeless shelter in my local borough and along with some wonderful volunteers we provide, through a network of synagogues and churches, the food, warmth, bon homie and shelter for the less fortunate. Generally, it is a happy and pleasant time spent with decent people. I usually think “there but for the grace of G-d, go I” as we are all just a few steps away from disaster or success. Then, just occasionally I meet someone, they tell me their story, and I am humbled.

Hilda’s story
A middle aged South African lady turned up at our shul shelter last night. She was on the list of guests, but she was late. In fact, had she been half an hour later, we’d have been closed for the night with all the guests snuggled up in their sleeping bags on the floor. However, she was just in time. She was cold as it was a miserable winter’s night in London, rainy, cold and windy. It was late. Dinner had been served and guests were already bedding down for the night. So I made Hilda a cup of tea. She’d missed dinner, so I rustled up cheese, toast and cold veggie sausages. As we sat and chatted she told me that she’d have to be up at 4am to go to work the next morning. And then she’d be back at lunchtime; then she’d be off again until 10pm for work. From 4am until 10pm travelling and working. She had to catch 4 buses to work, 4 buses back to a lunch shelter to collect her night shelter voucher, 4 more buses back to work and 4 buses back. We worked out how to help her not have to travel back so she could do another job over lunch. Then she could afford a hostel, and then she could get a little more independence. I felt proud to help and humbled in her company.

Our synagogue is a proud provider of a community shelter. It works with different synagogues (United, Reform, and Progressive) and churches (Catholic, Church of England and others). We hope to add a mosque to our roster next season. We show how a multicultural society all has the same community spirit and values. It shows that we can work together and put aside our differences for the greater good.

A volunteer’s story
Volunteering at synagogue and community spirit is synonymous with our community and Jewish communities across the diaspora. Yet it was one volunteer that caught our attention in the most heinous of acts in Denmark. When a volunteer was shot outside the Central Synagogue in Copenhagen we were all horrified and devastated. His bravery may well have stopped further slaughter within the synagogue where a simcha was in full swing. It touched us all, but brought a sense of realism much closer to home. I wrote in the Times and the Independent later that week:

Last week I stood outside the gates of my synagogue in London.

I watched our children at the Sunday school practicing their terrorist evacuation procedures within the grounds of the building with its enhanced security systems, high wire fences and toughened glass. I watched as the police car patrol did its rounds, the CST officers in their bullet proof jackets did their checks and the synagogue’s own hired security did perimeter inspections.

And me, just an ordinary Jewish Londoner, at those gates doing my voluntary duty, just like the man on Saturday night in Copenhagen outside his synagogue.

Fear, life and death as a Jew in Europe today.

Humility not the case….. flag raising raises its ugly head again

As the Council’s of Britain finally started to drop their enthusiasm for political flag posturing they suddenly found a second wind. So, some of us started round 2 of the “have you really thought this through?” dialogue. However, we are a bit smarter now too. So here’s how I got to grips with our friends in local government:

In essence, the PSED requires councils to have regard to the impact on community relations before exercising any function (flag-raising included). This action would clearly significantly damage community relations.

   149 Public sector equality duty
(1)A public authority must, in the exercise of its functions, have due regard to the need to—
(a) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under this Act;
(b) advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it;
(c) foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

We were in dialogue with both Manchester and Preston who had differing attitudes.  Manchester was happy to drop the provocative action in exchange for respecting community sensibilities.  Preston council has tried to justify its flag raising.  But curiously, the Head of Preston Council boasted of his wife and children’s Jewish heritage (whilst not being Jewish himself) whilst intimating that Israel was to blame for the rise in antisemitism.  So I felt compelled to point out to him when, in the summer, he approved the raising of the Palestinian flag:

In a recent article I read that your wife and children are Jewish.  Did you consider that the ruling organisation in the country whose flag you raised last summer have an article in their manifesto upon which they were voted into power and is supported to this day without waiver.   Article 7 reads:

“The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”

It is, I’m sure you’d agree a truly grotesque policy.

You raised a flag of a nation who support this.    This murderous tirade and policy applies to all Jews, both your family and mine.

There are powerful legal positions and reasoned thinking that ensures that actions such as these are not appropriate for councils and their employees.  But also, it shows what we are learning.  A year ago I didn’t think I could take on a Council in another part of the country with a legal argument or persuade with depth of knowledge and reason.  I, like many others, have found a voice and an inner strength and energy which I never knew I had.

Jerusalem Post’s Letter from London 25th January 2015 5 Shevat 5775

Is it a sign of the times that I greeted the following quote with an awkward grimace rather than the risible smile it deserved? Former Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, on his death bed observed of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet in 1986 that “it was too little Old Etonian and a little too old Estonian“.

Prime Minister and humourist

Prime Minister and humourist

He was, of course, referring to the ethnic and racial makeup of her cabinet. For that cabinet was approximately one third of Jewish extract. For me there are two things that make the quote and observation remarkable. One, that Jews were so prevalent in the cabinet is extraordinary and two that such a comment could have passed without so much as bat of a defamatory eyelid. British politics has always been peppered with more than its fair share of Jews and British politics has been plastered with more than its fair share of anti-Semitic tropes, so what. I would surmise the following, no one was bothered and no one took offence.

So what is offensive? Well over the last couple of weeks (since the events of Paris) I’ve been trying to hold a dialogue with one of our British politicians. He is familiar to some of us for being, well let’s just say, “Not onside with Zionism”. David Ward is the MP for Bradford East. After the events of Paris, David shared his feelings on his social media using a cyber barometer, a hashtag. He hoped to trend with #JeSuisPalestinian following in the footsteps of other successful hashtags such as Charlie and Juif. But what, I wondered did this tag mean and where did it rate on the offence barometer? Now David is normally a very responsive sort of politician, but on this one he wasn’t willing to furnish me with a response despite several attempts. Even Daniel Taub seems unable to break his silence on the matter. This was my latest pitch to David. I was hoping to catch him in a good mood after his local football team’s historic victory over the Premiership giants of Chelsea in the FA Cup. But I also wanted to highlight just what British politicians can be like these days…

Dear David,

I imagine you are still recovering from the city’s remarkable FA Cup exploits. As a football fan (not Chelsea) I share in your joy! I think today maybe we are all #JeSuisBradfordCity.

But before we get to carried away, any explanation of another hashtag? I was hoping to hear from you by now regarding #JeSuisPalestinian reference to the Paris events (now becoming a more distant memory yet still painful). I have written to you 3 times previously regarding this. Previously when I’ve written to you on other matters, you have always responded promptly.

I have started to get a little paranoid as to why the silence. You might have gathered that I am not a Muslim. In fact, you may gather that I am Jewish. I am a member of our National Liberal Club in Whitehall as I have a political leaning towards Liberals (both with a big and little “l”).

My paranoia has been exasperated by reading that MPAC boasted about how it influenced the outcome of 2010 Bradford elections which you won.

The previous incumbent, Labour’s Terry Rooney (not Jewish, but pro-Israeli) lost by 365 votes in the 2010 general election after MPAC distributed thousands of leaflets calling him a Zionist Islamophobe and “warmonger” who could not represent Muslims. You appeared to be the beneficiary of this racial smear campaign, David.

And since then, you have fulfilled some of MPAC’s wildest expectations. In 2013, you were suspended from the Lib Dem parliamentary party after criticising “the Jews” for inflicting atrocities on the Palestinians and questioning Israel’s right to exist.

During the Gaza conflict last year you stated: “If I lived in Gaza, would I fire a rocket? Probably yes.”

Until January last year, you employed MPAC’s spokesman, Raza Nadim, as your constituency assistant.

Given all of this, would I really be making a wild leap of faith in assuming you might not dignify Jews with the same courtesies as others? You do seem to hold us responsible for some bad “stuff”?

David, I’m sure this would be easy to clarify if you would only answer my original question…… #JeSuisPalestinian? Porquois?

I hold out hope for a rational explanation and am sure you can dispel my paranoia.

I’m not holding my breath!

So with such established antisemitism heralded by certain communities and supporting politicians into power is it any wonder that the media trip over these narratives and journalists can’t always tell the right from the wrong.

Stand up Tim Willcox. Tim has caused quite a stir here in London and amongst those who watch with suspicion the behaviour of Auntie Beeb (the BBC’s fondly chosen moniker). Tim was on the march in Paris. He was there employed as one of the live reporters for the BBC. He thrust his trusty microphone in front of a couple of mourning Parisians (of potential Jewish extract) and proposed that the murdered Jews might have, in some way, deserved their fate due to the behaviour of Israel when dealing with its neighbours recently. His interviewees seemed speechless. He then followed up by trying to suggest there was justification for these murders. I expect there’s a good chance you’ve been following the whole messed up situation. Now many of us have complained and it appears that the BBC is taking the unusual step of expediting the complaint and dealing with all complaints in their totality. Well better late than never. But, here is the thing, if people hadn’t complained the BBC would have done nothing. A live reporter employed by the BBC at one of this decade’s most significant events is able to roll out an anti-Semitic narrative. That is quite remarkable. I can only imagine what Tim would have done if he was around at the time of Martin Luther King’s march to Selma?

Good luck Tim, I’m sure that British politics has a career waiting for you (strategist or PR, take your pick). Once the BBC finally work out what to do about racist opinions being delivered by their employees during live broadcasts, you’ll have the pick of the best Her Majesty’s Government has to offer.

And maybe, if Tim feels a strong leaning to the left he can join the Greens. Their leader, Natalie Bennett laid out the Green Party policy on membership of extremist organisations. She said it’s ok. If you want to join ISIS or al Quada you can. Natalie explained that people should be free to think what they want and to become members of organisations where similar values are held. So if you think beheading is good and slaughtering thousands of innocent children is just part of day to day life then it’s ok to go and join up with ISIS or other popular terrorist clubs. Well, it’s hard to know where to begin when our politicians are seriously espousing policies such as this. I could hardly wait to drop the leadership a line (and I’ll bet I wasn’t alone). I had two simple points:

1. Those that join terrorist organisations don’t normally stop there. The practice of getting involved is always encouraged. And getting involved usually involves murdering lots of innocent people for bad reasons.

2. If it’s ok to be a member of organisations that promote hate, I presume you’ll be supportive of those who wish to join organisations that promote hate and violence towards gay people, black people, Muslims, women, disabled people and so on. It’s ok to support and encourage terror and hate as long as they don’t “actually” do anything about it?

Are you sure this is a good idea?

PS. Before World War II lots of Germans joined a party. They didn’t have to do any terrorising themselves if they didn’t want to, just be supportive. It didn’t work out particularly well.

To finish on another MacMillan quote, “Events, dear boy, events” when asked what would be most likely to blow governments off course. However, Harold, it feels like “events” blowing chill winds through our society are currently knocking our moral compasses off course.

Jerusalem Post’s Letter from London 10th January 2015 19 Tevet 5775

I’m finding it strangely difficult to bring myself to write when the sights and sounds of this week are still so resonant. This may seem odd, given that it was fellow writers, putting their opinions into the public domain that apparently sparked these events of evil. Words seem so futile. And there are so many words that have been written and spoken regarding the events in Paris it seems that everything has been said. So I will talk of that which was not written.

In London, as we journeyed forward to New Year’s Eve, there was a sense that 2014 was a year we were all going to be glad to see the back of. Amongst my friends we talked of the relief at seeing out an awful year for Jews (as Queen Elizabeth once declared, an “annus horribilis”). We saw antisemitism reaching new highs, the conflict in Israel and Gaza in the summer and the attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv later in the year. The fireworks over the Thames at midnight and the strains of Auld Lang Syne seemed to offer new hope and comfort for 2015. Also, for many of us here in the UK, it would also be an opportunity for us to look back at 2014 and say, “we made a difference”; “we made a stand”; “we found our voice”; “we changed for the better”. But whilst we felt we made a change, the calendar rolled over into the first days of January, we sadly discovered that the world hadn’t. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose (the more things change, the more things stay the same).

The First, Unwritten…..

Just before New Year, I wrote to HarperCollins about a World Atlas that they produced for their Arabic market. This atlas was designed in English for Arabic students as a reference book. In it one reference that was not apparent was Israel. Israel had been removed. The land mass was there, Gaza was there, Jordan was there, but no Israel. Once I had informed the CEO of the situation, HarperCollins, within a couple of hours, confirmed to me that they would be removing the product from sale and all remaining stock would be pulped. HarperCollins made a full apology. But the reasoning behind the original strategy revealed a sinister message. Their reasoning for the removal of the State of Israel was, according to the company’s representatives, that their customers would have found the inclusion of Israel “unacceptable” so the Atlas was amended for “local preferences”.

Missing Israel

Missing Israel

The Second, Unpublished…..

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack, many journalists and publishers in the UK immediately stood up and said that they would not kowtow to the terrorist threats of extremists. Free speech was everything. There was a certain sense of righteousness that the media would now not fear delivering the story with any censorship. We would all see what the commotion was about, why 12 people had been murdered for free speech. We would not see OUR press cower in fear. Yet the morning after the murders of these cartoonists, exactly as their editor, Stephane Charbonier had predicted but had hoped would not be the case, the press stood down. Stephane himself had said he would rather “die standing”. Not one British newspaper, not one TV channel was prepared to publish or show these cartoons. Some spoke bravely (such as Andrew Neill and David Aaronovich), but otherwise they all hid behind the “insensitivity” of publishing those satirical cartoons. This fear of offence has become a wider topic now here in the UK, yet we are still no closer to addressing it. It feels for many that the extremists have won. Jonathan Glass epitomized the feeling of many when he wrote imploring The Independent, an ambitious and usually brave broadsheet, to do the right thing. He said “all organs of the media must resist the assault on free speech”. And further, “If only our journalistic elite had the same concern about standing up for what is right”. But no….

The Third, Unmentioned…..

During these awful events, one fact is rarely being uttered. You see, if it were, it might cause us to think the worst. The French exodus. Here’s a very brief letter summarising the situation which I sent to The Independent, as a reminder of the situation the French Jews find themselves in.

Regular attacks on religious establishments and amenities, physical attacks on those going about their daily lives, terror, threat and murder. Jews are victims in France daily. And the perpetrators are always the same.

Jews in France are leaving in their droves. 20% of French Jews have fled France in the last 2 years (100,000 emigrated from France to Britain, US and Israel).

France will be Judenfrei before 2020 thanks to the Islamic terror campaign and the inertia of successive governments. This campaign achieving what even the Nazis failed to do, rid France of Jews.

In Europe, we are sleepwalking into a catastrophe. Wake up Europe before it’s too late.

It remained unmentioned in most of the reporting, that Islamic terror and the inertia of successive French governments is leading to the eradication of Jews in France. It is a powerful message, yet one the media are frightened to mention as only one conclusion can be drawn. Again, through fear of terrorists and extremists, it is easier to accept the victimisation of Jews rather than offend others with the truth. However, yesterday, Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle did speak out saying “Every single French Jew I know has either left or is actively working out how to leave”. And tonight as I prepared to publish this very article the BBC and ITV news did finally carry interviews with concerned French Jews. The message was “when are we leaving?” or “where will we go?”
The Fourth, Unspoken…..

“Not in my name”. This is the rhetoric spoken by many Muslim leaders. These leaders seem to be decent and caring people. They are genuinely concerned and as outraged as the next man. Yet, “not in my name” doesn’t help. It distances Islam from the extremists and hopes that they’ll go away by denying they exist within the boundaries of the faith. These radicals, these terrorists, these extremists are doing these egregious acts in the name of Islam. And rather than saying “not in my name”, Muslims need to come out and say what their name is. When I see tens of thousands of Muslims protesting against their brothers, marching on Westminster saying “Muslims against Jihad”, “Muslims against apostasy”, “Muslims want freedom of speech” and “Muslims for British values” and so on then I will start to believe. This is what is not spoken.

Unfortunately, with the exception of Paris this weekend, the only time we witness the outpouring of emotion is when global brothers are offended and not when others outside of their faith are. Where are the Keffiyeh clad protest marches for the Christians of Yazidi, the Israelis murdered in Jerusalem, the children of Nigeria, the slaughtered refugees of Sudan and even the victims of genocidal war of Syria? Muslim leaders must be brave. They must take ownership of Islamic terror. They must put their arms around it and smother it with love and saturate it with good not evil. Start this in the schools, continue it in the mosques and send it out into the world. Prove that Islam is a religion of love not war. Shunning the terror, ignoring it, excusing it, will just make it breed and prosper.


 

There is a tradition at midnight on New Year’s Eve of singing an old poem by the Scottish bard, Rabbie Burns (not to be confused with the Rabbi Burns). We sing “For the sake of Auld Lang Syne”, it means “for the sake of old times”. We sing it to reminisce for the good old times and we wish for more of the same. This year let us hope, despite the dreadful start, that we can put the bad times behind us and enjoy more of the good ones.

#JeSuisCharlie #JesSuisJuif

#JeSuisCharlie
#JeSuisJuif

Remembering the Jewish Refugees

Some 70 years ago, as the Jewish state of Israel was approaching its birth, many Arabic regimes through the Near and Middle East began wicked campaigns of intimidation and oppression against their own Jewish citizens. Jews from all over the region were systematically brutalised tortured and murdered, their businesses destroyed or stolen, their possessions and homes ramsacked and expropriated. 850,000 refugees in a matter of just a couple of years were left desolate, isolated, hated and abused; refugees and victims. It should be remembered, this brutal ethnic cleansing was taking place just months after the end of the Holocaust in Europe and whilst millions of European Jews were now refugees wandering through a desolate war torn landscape with nowhere else to go.

Displacement of Jews

Much less of the Arabic Jewish refugee situation was made than that of the circumstances in Europe. Israel and many of the refugees looked to Europe and thought to themselves “what happened in Europe was far far worse, so let’s just get on with it”.

Jewish refugees in Arabia

Despite the abominable circumstances, the nascent State of Israel, did what Israel was set up to do. It provided the only safe haven and security that these near 1 million could rely on. Jews relied on Jews. The world’s only Jewish State protected, saved and gave new life and purpose to these refugees. Jews had no UN to fund them, no wealthy oil money to provide for them, no parent global organisation to put care around them. Indeed quite the opposite, a world reeling from World War II had no capacity to help and a country barely borne and already accomodating refugees from Europe was already struggling both financially and psychologically.

It is not without irony that in the Near and Middle East today a global organisation with massive resources operates to assist refugees. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East was created to support Palestinian refugees in Gaza, The West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan. Whilst these countries and many others in the region disposed of their Jewish citizens, robbed them of their wealth and lives, the UN resolved to set up a refugee status for those other than Jews. Jews had been systematically murdered and made refugees across the region yet those who continued this persecution were provided with funding and resources to sort their Palestinian refugee problem?

Stretching the irony yet further, the part of the UNRWA work that has by far the highest visibility is the work in Gaza and the West Bank. In Syria, Jordon, Egypt, Lebanon and elsewhere in the region the majority of the refugees exist that this organisation is aiding, yet the world and the UNRWA make much smaller investment and effort. Instead, the UNRWA’s multi billion budget and extraordinary large organisation make much of the need for Israel to be responsible for the refugee problem. This convenient association between Israel and Palestinian refugees makes for a convenience that suits much of the Arab world. It plays into the hands of anti semites who profess their hate against Jews through the accusation of role reversal in crimes against humanity.

And in one final paradox, this huge and high profile vehicle for Palestinian refugee aid (along with the extraordinary global donations from charities and Arabic States equating to small nation incomes) consumes much of the global efforts for refugees. 1 in 7 of our planets inhabitants (around 1 billion people) are classified as refugees. Yet the lions share of the support and effort for refugees goes to just 5 million or so people. And one country alone takes the brunt for the issue. That one country being the only country that has successfully resolved this without cost to others, without seeking funds from others and without fuss.

It is surely to Israel that the UN should come to address how to resolve the world’s refugee problem. Indeed countries like Somalia and Ethopia already have. And Israel has opened its doors and let those that need help in.

So just to repeat, with no support from the UN and incredibly limited resources, the lives of these 850,000 Jewish refugees were safeguarded as they were given safe haven in Israel. The UN, in 1947 resolved to set the UNRWA to help refugees in the Near and Middle East region. Yet not one cent of this was for Jews or Israel, but only for the region’s displaced Arabs. Billions upon billions and huge global resources continue to be invested in specifically supporting those Palestinian refugees whilst the only refugee problem that was resolved in the region was that of the Jews which ironically the UN’s agency did not address.

Israel may now seek some reparation for those Jewish refugees. But even that will be used to preserve the history of the Jews in the Middle East and to support the less than 5,000 Jews still in the Arabic diaspara. Retaining and protecting synagogues in places like Syria, Morocco and Tunisia and protecting tiny Jewish communities like the 6 remaining Jews of Bagdad (who are still able to practice due to the leadership, love and care of Canon Andrew White) is a more meaningful way to use reparations rather than the “blood money” provided by Egypt to residents kicked out of their homes on the Gazan borders.

So just who is making the refugee problem for Palestinians a problem…. Maybe the UNRWA, in existence since 1947 has forgotten that its objective should be to resolve the refugee problem not to create and maintain one to justify it’s own existence.

Peace ends here too.....

Peace ends here too…..

Israel, on the 30th November this year, remembered these 850,000 refugees amongst others and continues to help refugees from around the globe.  Maybe the UN could learn a thing or two.

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:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/11243168/Blaming-Israel-for-Palestinian-violence-is-racist-it-denies-that-Arabs-are-moral-agents.html

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.