Tag Archives: Palestine

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.

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 8th Dec 14 and 16 Kislev 5775

The weather in London is getting a little colder, the nights are drawing in, and thoughts on the BBC turn to the Christmas season’s entertainment. Time was we couldn’t wait for the TV Times. But enough of the British sentimentality. And moving on to, British sentimentality.

 

 

TV Times

This week, the Bishop of Oxford, Bishop Harries decided it would be in the best spirit of inclusion and welcome to incorporate tracts from the Quran into the next royal coronation ceremony. It is a charming thought. And one not at all meant to curry favour with Britain’s ever growing Muslim community. Yet to be really inclusive, we shouldn’t forget those in Britain who are already well integrated into the British way of life. The Sikhs, the Hindus, the Buddhists and, of course, the Jews. And then there are those more traditional British spiritual faiths that we mustn’t forget like Quakers, Druids and, well, atheists. I think the TV Times Coronation Celebration Special Issue will be featuring a Coronato-thon of a show with hours of tracts from every faith.

In a further complication, how does Bishop Harries see this working out for the inclusion aspect? In the synagogues around Britain Jews say prayers of wellbeing for the Royal Family, the British government and the British Armed Forces every Shabbat. This is integration and respect for ones adopted community at its best. In other examples, Hindus and Sikhs have long shown their loyalties at their temples to their environment and the nation where they are free to practice their faith without trepidation or threat. Yet on several occasions the suggestion of putting such patriotic narratives into the mosques has been firmly batted back. This lack of reciprocation suggests that Bishop Harries welcome and inclusion is not a two way street.

But back to our fascination with the weather and as it gets decidedly chillier in London, David Cameron took the opportunity to go somewhere even colder. The PM went off to a very frosty Poland. He went to visit Auschwitz. Unquestionably, any man or woman who visits there is compelled to reassess their values and to address their perspectives of humanity. David Cameron didn’t need words to justify his visit. His actions spoke for him. He wanted to reflect and be touched by horror. At a time when we see the heinous cruelty with ISIS, (as Canon Andrew White points out, this is an organisation which is driven without any notion of negotiation towards the destruction of all that disagree or do not meet with their philosophy, nihilists or new age Nazis if you like) maybe the PM wanted to come face to face with the evil so as to understand it better. A chill wind that might blow some good.

He promised to assess how the Holocaust is taught here in the UK and ensure it remains prominent and relevant in our educational curriculum. But also, it was apparent he reached out to the Jewish community here in the UK to remind us that he stands by us. Anti Semitism is rife and his actions reaffirm his real determination to address this. It is not some vote grabbing headline or antic; it is the continued reinforcement of David Cameron’s moral belief. If he wanted to grab votes he might simply take the left’s tactic of appealing to the masses and joining the Miliband-wagon of anti Israel rhetoric to ensure he curries favour with the pro Palestinian lobby. It is a sentiment not lost on the Jewish voting public which is pulling away from its Labour roots in droves.

Finally, the ever erudite Daniel Finklestein got a rather cold reception in some quarters for daring to go all “Jewish humour” on us in The Times. A pity that some couldn’t enjoy some good ol’ fashion Yiddisher self deprecation. Fantastic and very old school.

“30 Reasons why I like being a Jew”. Amongst his amusing musings were:

2 Jews, 3 opinions and 4 cars. We’re never short of a lift home.

Chickensoup with matzo balls. One way to tell a Jew from a gentile. For all Jews chickensoup is one word.

What’s the difference between a Jew and a non Jew. A non Jew pays retail.

But numbers 29 and 30 were, I would suggest, on a level with Richard Pryor’s re-appropriation of the N-word. The last two reasons why Daniel (and I) like being a Jew

29. Control of the media

30. And Control of the international banking system

Bravo!

If there has been a 31st, it might have been “Being a Zionist”. But unfortunately here in the UK, the Z-word is still a little tougher to sell. Even to Jews.

Flags of Convenience

It might be a small thing, it might be trivial and not even noticed by many of the millions of light entertainment viewers and sport fanatics around the world. But I observed three small images that made disturbing viewing for their sentiment. All three are within the context of the celebration of man’s / woman’s ability to entertain and strive for athletic and graceful perfection.

Strictly Come Dancing, the doyen of the BBC’s weekend evening light entertainment schedule, is a programme which my wife and many of my friends are gripped by. On the menu last Saturday was the fantastically themed concept of “dance from around the world”. Behind one of the judges, Len, were flags from all the countries. Every one of the states were draped behind the judges, with one odd addition. A Palestinian flag. Curiously, there were no other unofficial states. I wrote to the BBC to ask if the precedent they had set would be continued using other unofficial state flags such as Islamic State? After all they are an unofficial state, just like Palestine. I now eagerly await a reply. And just to advise, when complaining through the BBC’s circuitous web complaint form, don’t hold your breath for a response. They are never quick and often you have to pursue them.

Len's Lens missed this little gem

Len’s Lens missed this little gem

Next to Qatar. Qatar has become a centre for athletic excellence. Despite having almost no history in any form of athletic endeavour, this tiny state will host the World Athletics Championships, the Top World Tennis Tournament outside the big four majors, an annual World Golf Open and most notably the 2022 Football World Cup. On top of that, it is currently hosting the World Swimming Championships. Israel has had a notable success at the swimming championships, a Gold Medal for the Israeli Guy Marcos Barnea. The Qatari broadcast of the Championships put a banner up on the screen with a curious omission. The Winner, the winner’s name, the winner’s time, the winner’s 3 letter abbreviated country name were all up there. But next to that a new and unrecognised flag. A white flag, with two blue horizontal bands, one near the top and one near the bottom of the flag. Nothing else. Of course, missing was a blue Star of David.

Star of the pool?

Star of the pool?

Although this is not without precedent. In the third example of misappropriated references, Real Madrid‘s new UAE sponsors removed the Christian Cross from the top of their club crest. The Spanish (pro Madrid) newspaper, Marca, advised that the club removed it from their logo on the new £1bn Real Madrid Resort’s promotional materials (based resort in the UAE). Marca describes the change as a means “to avoid any confusion or misinterpretation” in relation to a project being built in a largely Muslim region. The cross in question is part of the Royal Family crest relating to the crown worn by the head of state (who’s name is part of the club of course, Real = Royal). Next for Real Madrid’s misinterpretation avoidance department? Well maybe replacing the “MCF” in the centre of the crest with a picture of the club president hugging a spouting oil derrick.

Real-ity bites the cross off

Real-ity bites the cross off

It will be intriguing to know, at the 2022 World Cup, whether there are plans to remove other country’s religious references. With that in mind, should we now expect the England flag to be a plain white flag with the removal of the Cross of Saint George. The idea of a “white flag” and England’s football team might be too obvious. But what about a Swiss Flag without a Cross, it is just a Red Flag. That would be like a red rag to a Swiss bull. The FIFA executives in Zurich may feel like this is a price worth paying though (and usually FIFA has no shame in considering the price of World Football’s soul).

Either way, these flags of convenience are a troubling trend. It smacks of eradicating other cultures and histories. In the case of the cross atop of the Real Madrid emblem, it is clearly a case of selling the soul of the football club. In the case of the missing Star of David it is denial of history and existence. And in the case of the BBC, well, it’s just the good ol’ Beeb showing its true colours.

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.

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.

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……

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Stephen Spencer Bond-Ryde