Friday, September 30, 2005

pro-Bush or anti-Bush: face/off

Ladies and gentlemen! Democracy has finally pervaded the inner sanctum of Freedmanslife. Hitherto our policy of benign dictatorship had been working fine but this is a decision so momentous that I cannot take it alone. Please peruse the photos below and vote before Rosh Hashanah (Monday night) on whether my new facial fungus should make it into Jewish year 5766.

And if you think I look good or bad with the gubbins, here is my friend Doree looking sexy as hell with a face full of froth (there darling, I mentioned you!) - click the image to enlarge... also a caption competition for the best innuendos starts today and finishes in time for me to atone on Yom Kippur:

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The "other" cycle of violence

Just a quickie tonight: I've been watching the pathetic attempts of the BBC, AP etc to create a "cycle of violence" from recent activity in the Israeli/Palestinian broiges, despite it being clear to all but the most blinkered of moonbats that this time there is a clear aggressor, murderer, kidnapper, rocket firer, work accident creator, place of worship arsonist etc.

So I have created an alternative cycle of violence - below, or if it's a bit small, click on it to enlarge:

Monday, September 26, 2005

And it keeps turning...

UPDATE: Further to my last posting, the Zionist conspiracy is moving apace...


Hamas decides to call an end to rocket attacks from Gaza on innocent Israeli civilians. Definitely worth looking at the link to see the BBC's hilarious attempt to put it in the context of a "cycle of violence"... Also it's unclear whether this applies to attacks from the West Bank and/or suicide bombings - presumably you don't get 72 virgins for firing a Qassam.


Gordon Brown agrees to follow the Blair puppet-of-the-Zionists capitalist reform policy.


The IRA agree pretty unilaterally to decommission their arms and pursue only peaceful means. A lesson for the Palestinians here...


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Is the worm turning?

Well well! Freedmanslife is happy to report that thanks to its eloquent editorial campaign, change may be afoot on the moonbat lefty/dhimmi wannabe issues of the day...


That well known friend of Palestine, Jack Straw, issued an apology for the disgusting attempt by self-hating Israeli nutter left-wing group Yesh Gvul and their helpers to arrest General Dan Almog for war crimes. Yesh Gvul are now under intense scrutiny in Israel with a view to making the organisation illegal.


The IAEA finally got its act together in the face of typical moronic pap from the usual suspects about diplomacy being the only way to disarm that nice Mr Ahmedinajad and his friendly mullahs. They've put through a motion at the UN which will allow some serious rapping over the knuckles when the time comes.


That erstwhile chum of Galloway and Livingstone, Omar Bakri Mohammed, has said in an interview with French media that all Muslims should now leave Europe. Yes, even France and Germany are not sycophantic enough, and Spain's terror-appeasing government has not performed enough acts of dhimmitude.


A bit of a "work accident" in Gaza, 39 rockets over the fence but nobody killed, 207 scum arrested, targetted strikes kill and injure a bunch of terror-lovers, even Abbas says "enough is enough".


The "huge anti-war rally" to show Bliar how the people were strongly opposed to the continued presence of the nasty Christian invader troops in Occupied Iraq attracted fewer than 10,000 people.


I'm sure normal service will resume as soon as I land at Heathrow, but in the meantime I'm a bit less sorry to be coming back to Londonistan...

Friday, September 23, 2005

News from the front

Whew! After my stress-busting rant in the last posting, I got precisely one reply for and one against, so shall assume tacit support from the rest of you and continue in the same vein.

First up, hat tip to the genius folks at LGF for this report on Hamas's intention to turn the Netzarim synagogue into a museum displaying weapons used against Israel in the intifada. LGF editorialised as follows:

"I’m reading this again, and wondering where the hell is the world’s outrage about this? Newsweek prints a false rumor that a Koran was dunked in a toilet, and the entire planet goes nuts. Hamas announces that they’re going to turn a Jewish house of worship into a memorial to mass murder ... and the silence is absolutely deafening."


I had dinner with "Anna", an old friend from BCI, who works for the Peres Center for Peace. "Anna" is what I would call a member of the "Sensible Left". She works with Palestinians on a daily basis, has her rants against heavy-handed IDF tactics in the West Bank, and wants to see a two-state solution on the Green Line borders or even a pragmatically constructed bi-national state in certain circumstances. Par for the course so far.

But where it gets interesting is what else she says - some amazing insights from someone who actually works with Palestinians.

She talked about the "Palestinian myth" of rightful ownership of all the land from Med to Jordan, which she says is accepted by the young even though the older generation know full well that it is untrue - it just serves their cause. But, she says, it is now a fact on the ground in the same way as we claim the settlement blocs to be, and it has to be negotiated as such, regardless of the perceived or real injustice of having to do so.

She was equally willing to concede that even a withdrawal to the 1967 border would not necessarily bring the fulfilment of their aspirations because of this "myth" of 100% ownership, and that more violence might well occur. Her view was that a Palestine in the Green Line borders and substantial improvement in economic conditions might avert this and lead to long-term stability.

I probed as to how this would be achieved and she admitted to having considerable frustrations with the lack of industry and entrepreneurial spirit amongst the Palestinians. She said they were on the whole very passive, doing little to help themselves and waiting for others to present solutions to them. Also there was her frustration at events in Gaza with the vandalising of hothouses and light industrial zones handed over after the Disengagement.

We discussed the rampant corruption and favouritism that occurs throughout the developing world and especially in the Palestinian territories. One of "Anna"'s greatest fears is that Hamas takes power and also becomes corrupt - something you cannot accuse them of right now. But it seems to be an ingrained part of the culture that you hold loyalty to your tribe and family above integrity in the workplace. The concept of bureaucracy is very Western (viz. Max Weber etc) - as soon as you introduce it anywhere else, it is seen as an opportunity to graft for your cohorts.

She asked me if I would have any investors for an Israeli-Palestinian co-operative venture. My response was that given the Palestinian track record in Gaza with the $14m donation from Jewish philanthropists to preserve the greenhouses that depreciated to a pittance after mere hours of Palestinian ownership, I was not sure it represented a good investment by any normal criteria. Also, I would be more inclined to help tackle an unemployment rate in Israel approaching 10% and deal with the poverty that affects 1 in 3 people here, before trying to offer a hand to people who have a track record of violence.

I did say that a more interesting approach might be to support an Israeli-Palestinian enterprise in conjunction with investors from the Arab world. My view on it is that any solution has to involve the rest of the countries that caused the mess in the first place. These countries have shown far more malevolence and disdain for the Palestinians - their own brethren - than anything Israel can be accused of. Normalising their relations with Israel and a future Palestine through strong economic ties would bring a much broader stability to the region.

Another theme "Anna" talked about was how aware she is that she and others in Israeli NGOs patronise the Palestinians. I agree that there is a pseudo-Christian missionary zeal about the way the Israeli Left treats them. It cannot be helpful to treat them as a dumb kid that behaves badly in class to the detriment of the other children and never learns from his mistakes. Either treat them the same and let them stand on their own two feet and live with the grazed knees, or put them in a separate remedial class so the other kids can get on with their education unencumbered.

Ultimately I think one of the main problems is one of underlying culture and jealousy. The Palestinian culture is not Western; Israel's culture largely is. The Palestinians believe it is their right to have the trappings of the Israeli-Western way of life, but show little sign of having the willpower - let alone the know-how - to achieve it for themselves. Unfortunately, the West, the other Arabs, and the Israeli do-gooders lack the ability to tell them. So we end up with a situation where they see the best hope of achieving it as throwing the Jews out and taking it for themselves, as they are indoctrinated to think by the Palestinian Authority's own mosques, media outlets and school curriculum.

Who can help the Palestinians to build their economy? Israel can provide technical expertise on agriculture, IT, biotech and numerous other areas in which they lead the entire world. But the capital needs to come from the oil-rich Arab states and be invested in business. Instead, Saudi Arabia held their umpteenth telethon on state TV, raising money to support "jihad in Palestine". Heaven forbid they should raise money to support new businesses there.

Is it mere coincidence that most of the Arab world - perhaps even the Muslim world - finds itself in a similar position? It resents the success of the infidel West and can only replicate it because of the fluke of sitting on half the world's oil wealth - even then, it is only small, enlightened benign dictatorships in the Gulf that even manage that. And we are constantly hearing from the British Muslim community that they are marginalised, impoverished and not part of the mainstream culture.

Yet they cannot expect the trappings of Western society to continue to be handed to them as we have done so far (Omar Bakri Mohammed's house and car, for example), if they are unwilling to make concessions to the society that has built that wealth. If Saudi religious leaders are still issuing fatwas declaring the world is flat (seriously), then how would we expect a Muslim child to become a scientist?

And if we pander to "Sir" Iqbal Sacranie and his cronies about the future of Holocaust Memorial Day, what hope is there that Muslim children today will grow up to be historians of anything other than a revisionist nature tomorrow?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

With me or against me

Dear friends and readers

Some discussions I have been having with relatives and friends here in beautiful Israel, combined with the continued disgrace of our media and government back in Blighty pandering to the Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism of the leaders of the Muslim community, have brought my thinking to a new plane.

I have in earlier postings referred to the shame that I now feel at being British. I can now say definitively that I take pride in being a Jew in Israel, because of something that happened during and after the Disengagement. Apart from the meshuggene right, who fought literally tooth and nail to stay in Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron, and apart from the evil, gloating hard left who enjoyed the sight of Jews being dragged from their homes kicking and screaming, 95% of Israel's population did something I do not believe any other nation could do in such a divisive situation.

People wearing orange t-shirts suddenly donned blue wristbands. Cars flying blue tassles appeared with blue and orange ribbons intertwined. For all we try to be more Israeli than Jewish, our quality of empathy and humanity broke through. The orange side accepted the will of the majority and the blue side realised the anguish of the Disengaged. Settlers and soldiers davened together for the last time then walked arm in arm from the synagogues.

This is what it means to be a Zionist.

In response, the Palestinians fired guns in the air and Kassams over the fence, burned synagogues and greenhouses, holed the border with Egypt, and declared that the West Bank, Jerusalem, Haifa and Jaffa would follow.

Meanwhile, visceral Jew-hatred continues unabated around the Arab world, whilst Israel-bashing is a competition sport in the European media. The British government and population has already forgotten who perpetrated the London bombings barely two months ago, and has rejoined its previous path to dhimmitude. And too many of my so-called friends believe it all.

I previously stated that you were either with us or against us. I'm not looking for you to stop questioning all sides. I'm not expecting everyone to make a mass leap for my side of the political spectrum. But here in Israel, surrounded by people who share my values, I feel at home. In London, I feel trapped by too many people who are either wilfully or blissfully ignorant of reality.

So in the absence of the media and government grasping this nettle, I at least need to know that you, my friends, can do so. Some of you don't get why I take criticism of Israel personally, or think I'm racist because I fear that the majority of Muslims in Britain are capable of supporting terror. I'm not asking you to agree with me on it, but if you don't get it yet, please delete my number, block my email and Tip-Ex me from your black book.

Before you decide, I would ask you to visit this superb website, Arabs For Israel, and see who else is brave enough to be with me.

From now on, you are with me or against me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

6,000,001 - RIP

"Simon Wiesenthal was the conscience of the Holocaust.

When the Holocaust ended in 1945 and the whole world went home to forget, he alone remained behind to remember. He did not forget.

He became the permanent representative of the victims, determined to bring the perpetrators of the history’s greatest crime to justice. There was no press conference, and no president, prime minister, or world leader announced his appointment. He just took the job. It was a job no one else wanted.

The task was overwhelming. The cause had few friends. The Allies were already focused on the Cold War, the survivors were rebuilding their shattered lives and Simon Wiesenthal was all alone, combining the role of both prosecutor and detective at the same time.

Overcoming the world’s indifference and apathy, Simon Wiesenthal helped bring over 1,100 Nazi War Criminals before the bar of Justice." (Rabbi Martin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Your Jenin

From your Biased Broadcasting Company correspondent Orla Cretin.

Today the occupying British Defence Force entered a Basra refugee camp and demolished hundreds of houses and a police station. As civilians demonstrated peacefully in the streets, tanks rolled in, crushing hundreds of protesters.

Two British spies had been operating in the area, and were attacked by the Iraqestinian Authority police, who the British had themselves trained and armed to tackle the militants. In the firefight, the invaders assassinated eleven lightly armed policemen. Reinforcements from the Iraqestinian Authority arrived and placed them in custody.

In scenes reminiscent of the true democratic justice shown to Israeli reservists in Ramallah, Palestine in 2000, a group of protesters outside called for them to be handed to militant freedom fighters. At least 20 British tanks arrived, accompanied by Apache helicopters and F16s, massacring over 300 in the crowd as they demolished the police station walls in what the Basra mayor called "an act of barbaric aggression".

The British spies were not inside, and the tanks then rolled further into the impoverished town, acting on information from traitors to the Iraqestinian cause. Eventually, after house-to-house fighting which breached the human rights of the civilians who were sheltering the militants and resulted in the deaths of over 200 innocent people, the imperialist forces found their spies and made a cowardly escape.

The 85,000 occupation troops in the small town of Basra have caused hardship on the local population for over 2 years, providing only basic water and electricity to the impoverished residents. The British military commander in the area, now wanted in London for war crimes, claimed that only two policemen had died in a shoot-out that they had started, and that it had been a "tragic case of mistaken identity". He also pointed out that Basra had become a "viper's nest" for the militants, and improbably he said that claims of a massacre were "a fabrication".

Human rights groups such as Al Qaeda, Yesh Gvul, the Liberal Democrats and Amnesty International have been swift to condemn the British actions. Sir Mingers Crumble, Lib Dem spokesman on foreign atrocities, speaking from Blackpool, England, said he had "witnessed with his own eyes the death and destruction" and called for an immediate withdrawal of Israel from the map, and British state terrorists from Iraq.

Over 4,000,000 innocent civilians have been killed since the illegal Anglo-American invasion of democratic and peaceful Iraq in 2003.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Nobody's Pals

Well, it appears that the Palestinians are living up to Abba Eban's mantra that they "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity", and have trashed their own economic inheritance. You heard it here first on Freedmanslife, 2 weeks before it happened! Paul Wolfensohn and a whole bunch of well-meaning but utterly naive American Jewish philanthropists, anxious to show the world that they cared, had spent $14m to buy the hothouses and hand them to the PA to guarantee several thousand jobs.

But there's more... the Palestinians have decided to pump raw sewage into the sea off Gaza, thus polluting their own beaches and sending muck up to the intake pipes at Ashkelon's desalination plant (hat tip: Kobi). This will result in the plant becoming unusable, and will also wreak havoc along the Israeli coast. Fine, the Palestinians will always take a chance to swipe at Israel, and eco-terrorism is one avenue they haven't tried yet. But as so often, they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces; the desalination plant pumps fresh water INTO GAZA.

What can Israel do about it? If they physically intervene to stop the building of the pipe, they incur the wrath of the world yet again. If they do not, they risk ecological damage along their own coastline and will end up having less water to share with the Palestinians - they will surely be blamed for this too. If they threaten to withhold water supplies, the world will accuse them of holding the Palestinians to ransom.

Meanwhile local sources here are saying that they have also trashed the former joint industrial zone at Erez, which was closed in 2004 due to the terror attacks on the border crossing there, and was handed over intact to the PA last week (though they didn't bother to show up to the handover ceremony). And guess what - they are planning to keep blaming the Israelis for their own waste and corruption that is keeping the Palestinians in poverty.

Everyone from Sharon leftwards, and all of the well-meaning, moderately pro-Israel media have been busy telling us that "now the Palestinians will have nobody to blame but themselves" and "the world will hold them accountable, not the Israelis". We have learned nothing from 57 years of Israel making compromises and being taken advantage of by an enemy that cannot be placated. This time will be no different.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

That's Occupation!

I spent a fascinating Shabbat in the settlement of Ma'ale Shomron, with Susan and Noki, my uncle's sister and brother-in-law, and their three kids.

As we drove past the yellow gates on the road past Alfei Menashe and Qalqilya, and climbed into the hills of Samaria (Shomron), I looked around the barren but beautiful landscape, and saw a few villages on hilltops. Noki told me which ones were Jewish and which were Arab. He remarked wryly to me how heartless the colonialist Israelis had been to implant so many Jews in such an overcrowded area.

Over the course of the weekend we had many fascinating discussions about the political situation and how it affected them in Ma'ale Shomron, which was built on an empty hillside in the 1980s, and now finds itself on the wrong side of the security fence. It boiled down to a couple of interesting anecdotes.

In the days before the first intifada in 1987, the road to the settlements went through Qalqilya, where there were regular traffic jams as Jewish shoppers clogged up the narrow streets as they rushed to spend money in Palestinian shops. They were doing their bit to bolster what was the fastest-growing economy anywhere in the world between 1967 and 1987 - yes, that's right!

He also told me about surveys carried out regularly in Palestinian towns and villages, on who they want to lead them. Given that there is still a fear of the various factions, and that voting in elections and surveys is done largely on the basis of what the voter thinks the pollster wants them to do, due to the ramifications on life and livelihood for not doing so, the results are fascinating.

The question posed was "who would you most like to see as your leader?". Around 30% supported the PA leadership. Another 30% supported Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other more religious and radical groups. A further 10% rallied behind other local alternatives or unheard-of groups of their choice. And most interesting, 30% stated "none of the above".

To reiterate; this means that 3 out of 10 people were prepared to ignore any perceived or real threat against their wellbeing by stating that NONE of the options were what they were looking for. It implies that many more might back this position if they felt less intimidated. But what does it suggest they choose instead?

There seem to be two possibilities: they want a totally new Palestinian leadership and structure that is neither corrupt, theocratic or pseudo-democratic, that can lead them to a state in sensible borders that can live alongside Israel and thrive on its own merits rather than handouts, or they are happy with NO Palestinian leadership at all. In other words, they would prefer livelihood to statehood, education and health provision to corrupt institutions that fail their constituents. This is what they had back in 1987, before the first intifada.

Could it be that a sizeable proportion of "Palestinians" accept that they are better off without "Palestine"? Again, Noki had an excellent and revealing anecdote.

He was visiting Washington DC in the early 1990s, around the time of the Madrid and Oslo Accords, and caught a cab from the airport. The driver asked where he had come from and he replied "Israel". The cabbie said "I'm Palestinian - isn't it great that soon we will be living side by side in peace?" Noki replied that Arafat and the Palestinians were stealing the Jews' birthright from under their noses. Naturally, the driver said that it was time to be optimistic but Noki pressed him on his origins in Palestine.

The driver said he had been born near Amman (that's in Jordan by the way), in a Palestinian refugee camp. Noki asked where his parents were from - the driver said they lived near Jerusalem. Noki asked how long they had lived there - he said it had been many years. But where were they from? "They're Palestinian". But where from? After pressing him for a while, the driver conceded that neither were from any point between the Jordan and the Med. Noki asked if it seemed fair that Israel was giving up land to a group who are not one people, have no historical tie to the land, and have consistently waged war and terror to take more than they have been offered.

The driver conceded that in fact the Oslo Accord was a Trojan horse for Arafat, and that the Palestinians had pulled the wool over the world's eyes.

Roll forward 15 years, and the Palestinians are claiming more, having had a decade of spoiling for war and 5 years of intifada. Still, the world believes every word they say, be it about their apparent historic right to a state, their claims of genocides and massacres, or their insistence that Israel is not keeping its side of the bargain whilst they are trying so hard.

And if you believe it there, you'll believe it when "Sir" Iqbal Sacranie makes similar statements in London. And if the former is hurting the Jews of Israel, the latter will hurt the Jews of Britain.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The monster in Britain's midst

An appropriate article from Melanie Phillips, given the date...

No fewer than three separate and deeply disturbing stories in today’s newspapers serve to confirm that Britain’s core values are not only now under sustained and entrenched assault from a section of its Muslim minority but that its governing and intellectual class remains unable or unwilling even to grasp the nature and extent of the threat.

The first story in the Independent on Sunday reveals that the extremist group Hizb ut Tahrir, which Tony Blair has said should be banned, has members in some of Britain's most important institutions including the NHS and blue-chip companies such as IBM and Reuters:

‘The IoS has now learned that at least two members of Hizb, which seeks to form a global Islamic state regulated by sharia law, work for the computer giant IBM, and that Reuters, the international news and financial information agency, has at least one member among its employees… Several members of Hizb are medical practitioners, including its spokesman, Dr Imran Waheed, a psychiatrist practising in London. Its women's representative, Nazreen Nawaz, is a qualified doctor who worked in cancer research. Another member is a manager at University College Hospital, London. The group is also strong in the education sector, where a former member of the executive board lectures in IT in an east London college. The former headmistress of a prominent Islamic primary school in the same area is also a member of Hizb, as is the landlord of the building.’

The second story in the Mail on Sunday reveals that a Muslim barrister has claimed that the war in Iraq was planned by a secret group of Jews and Freemasons. Ahmad Thomson, a convert to Islam and a member of the Association of Muslim Lawyers,

' this hidden alliance has shaped world events for hundreds of years and now controls governments in both Europe and America… He told the Mail on Sunday that the invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam Hussein was part of a masterplan by Jews and Freemasons to control the Middle East. “Pressure was put on Tony Blair before the invasion”, he said. ‘The way it works is that pressure is put on people to arrive at certain decisions. It is part of the Zionist plan and it is shaping events”.

This is of course the standard demented conspiracy delusion of the Muslim world and neo-Nazis and white supremacists across the globe. But Mr Thomson is no marginalised nutcase. For he has been appointed by the British government to advise it on how to tackle, ahem, Muslim extremism. And his views have hardly been concealed. For the story also reveals that in 1994 he published a book in which he claimed that Jews and Freemasons had conspired to control the Middle East and now controlled the governments of Europe and America; that the Nazis were a Christian backlash against the Jews; that the Jews had no right to live in the ‘Holy Land’ because they were not a pure race and therefore not true biblical Israelites; that Saddam Hussein was used as an excuse for American troops including thousands of Jews to occupy Saudi Arabia; and that Hollywood and the international media are controlled by Jews whose aim is to ‘re-educate’ Muslims.

This is the man the British government thinks will give them handy tips to counter Islamic extremism.

When confronted with this information, the government still saw nothing wrong in its appointment. A Home Office spokesman said:

‘It is part of the job of government to talk and consult with people from different communities and that means that it routinely deals with people whose views it does not necessarily agree with’.

Just process that thought for a moment in the context of the British landscape post the July bombings. To equip itself against Islamist extremism which is fuelled in its murderous rage against the west in large part by its view of the Jews as a conspiracy against Islam and the world, HMG will seek the advice of one who shares precisely such a view. That’s the spirit, chaps! Would these officials, one wonders, have sought the advice of Goering or Himmler on how to deal with the Nazi threat on the basis that the British government ‘routinely deals with people whose views it does not necessarily agree with’?

This is all of a part with the astonishing attitude of the Foreign Office revealed in last week’s Observer story (see my post below) which revealed the horrifying depths to which Whitehall is currently going in its wholly misguided and culturally suicidal strategy of appeasement of radical Islam. Which brings us on to the third story in today’s terrifying triptych. In the Sunday Times, Abul Taher reports that yet another committee of Muslim government advisers on extremism (or possibly the same one) is proposing to proposing to scrap Holocaust Memorial Day because it is regarded as offensive to Muslims:

‘A member of one of the committees, made up of Muslims, said it gave the impression that “western lives have more value than non-western lives”. That perception needed to be changed. “One way of doing that is if the government were to sponsor a national Genocide Memorial Day. The very name Holocaust Memorial Day sounds too exclusive to many young Muslims. It sends out the wrong signals: that the lives of one people are to be remembered more than others. It’s a grievance that extremists are able to exploit.”

'The recommendation, drawn up by four committees including those dealing with imams and mosques, and Islamophobia and policing, has the backing of Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain. He said: “The message of the Holocaust was ‘never again’, and for that message to have practical effect on the world community it has to be inclusive. We can never have double standards in terms of human life. Muslims feel hurt and excluded that their lives are not equally valuable to those lives lost in the Holocaust time.” Ibrahim Hewitt, chairman of the charity Interpal, said: “There are 500 Palestinian towns and villages that have been wiped out over the years. That’s pretty genocidal to me.”'

Now this is quite obviously appalling on a number of levels. First, it reveals the open anti-Jewish hatred of supposedly mainstream Muslims. Holocaust denial is quite simply a declaration of war upon the Jews. Second, it shows that these attitudes can now be brazenly expressed because such bigots are confident that they are supported at the very heart of the British establishment. Third, it reveals once again the appalling naivety or worse of that establishment in thinking it can draw the poison of such people by embracing them. Fourth, it reinforces the suspicion that Whitehall embraces people with such poisonous prejudices because it actually shares them.

But there is a further concern about this story. For the language in which it is written suggests that the writer too may perhaps share this prejudice. Taher writes that these Muslims want to replace Holocaust Day

‘with a Genocide Day that would recognise the mass murder of Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya and Bosnia as well as people of other faiths.’

‘The mass murder of Muslims in Palestine’? Hello? There has been no such mass murder. The only people with genocide on their minds are the Arabs who want to bomb the Jews of Israel out of existence. The only people who talk about ‘the mass murder of Muslims in Palestine’ are those who perpetrate this libel. But this revealing phrase was not in quote marks. It was Taher’s own phrase. He also said that Holocaust Day ‘was established by Blair in 2001 after a sustained campaign by Jewish leaders to create a lasting memorial to the 6m victims of Hitler.’
As Adloyada writes on her website, Holocaust Day actually came about as the result of thinking by various governments in Europe as well as in the US. Adloyada has also been doing some digging of her own:

‘So who is Mr Taher, and how can the Sunday Times account for his lamentably inaccurate account of the origins of the day, which just happens to make it look as if it was a purely Blair thing in response to sustained pressure from Jewish leaders? Well, a little investigation turns up that in 2001, Mr Taher was editor of The Eastern Eye, an Asian newspaper. Then there's this quite extraordinary exchange Mr Taher had online with a Muslim dissident, which includes these contributions from our intrepid and entirely balanced reporter:

'"Are a lot of the people that write for you actually Muslims, or militant Christians or Jews masquerading behind Muslim names?

'"In your writing, I sense a hatred of Islam that some would say is deeply racist, and has its basis in some paranoia that Islam is going to take over. It's like the classic fear of foreigners taking over - why?”

'Not surprisingly, the correspondent declined Mr Taher's request for his address and a photo. And Mr Taher back in 2000 was a 25 year old student journalist who entered a competition to win a trainee position as a journalist with his story about his investigations about a simulated nuclear accident on a Royal Navy ship. He was at the time completing an MA in journalism at Sheffield University. Hang on. Doesn't that sound just a bit familiar? We couldn't possibly have another Dilpazier Aslam type case on our hands, could we? No, there's nothing so alarming as evidence that he was writing for Hizb u'Tahrir. But in 2001, he did write this story for the Independent on the motives of potential British jihadi suicide bombers, in which he repeatedly suggests that the problem is the West, and especially the United States. He doesn't fully agree with George Galloway, but that's the politician he quotes in support of his view that US and UK intervention in Afghanistan, at that time still controlled by the Taliban, will produce and recruit more suicide bombers for Bin Laden.’

All this is deeply, deeply alarming not just for British Jews but for the defence of Britain and the west. It will be interesting to see therefore how tomorrow’s papers react. This horror is only growing because the general complicit silence in the face of anti-Jewish prejudice (and much mainstream opinion, alas, contains more than an echo of some of these views) has emboldened Islamist bigotry. Many members of the public are horrified by the government’s supine response to Islamist extremism; yet even here there is a reluctance to see the connection with anti-Jewish and anti-Israel prejudice because so much of this particular prejudice is unfortunately shared as a result of the campaign of vilification of Israel mounted by the media. Only when the country as a whole puts all this together will it begin to have a chance of fighting the monster that has arisen in its midst.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

What we are up against

Hi folks

A quick one - am having a lot of fun in Israel and apologies for the lack of regular postings - more to follow soon, especially as I'm off tomorrow to Ma'ale Shomron (at the heart of Zionist occupied territory).

In the meantime I suggest you watch this superb mini-documentary on a thriving Palestinian film industry. A fascinating insight that shows indisputably what people like me have been claiming for years. Please pass this link on to others so they get a new perspective on the "news" they see on the Middle East.



Friday, September 02, 2005

TWAJ: the Board of Deputies - a primer

An article from SomethingJewish contributor Leslie Bunder ahead of the Freedmanslife treatment of the BoD...

Follow the leader?

Sometimes I'm not really sure where the Board of Deputies and indeed its president Henry Grunwald are coming from or indeed who they think they are.

They boast on their web site "The voice of British Jewry" and in a recent Guardian comment piece, Henry Grunwald introduced himself as the "elected leader of the British Jewish community".

Mr Grunwald failed to put into context or explain a bit more about who he was elected by. The Board itself despite claiming to be "the voice of British Jews" is not exactly the most open organisation and indeed, is a group that is now overdue some changes especially electoral.

You see, Henry Grunwald was elected by a select group of people, around 300 or so who are called Deputies. These people come from synagogues and other communal organisations.

Rather than being elected on the basis on an open vote to the community, the votes are done by these deputies. In order to be a deputy, you also need to be recognized by the Board. Of course, there are also many Jewish groups and synagogues that do not belong to the Board, nor have any interest in belonging to it.

The Board makes many assumptions about its own role and what it thinks it is doing for the Jewish community.

By allowing its own president to say he is the elected leader of the British community, shows the arrogance this 245 year old organisation has, both for itself and indeed for the community. It claims to have monthly meetings but does not publicly advertise the dates and times to its own community. One would assume there would be minutes from such meetings, but it does not appear to publish them or provide access to what was said.

I never recall as a member of a synagogue being asked for my vote across a number of candidates who should become the next president of the Board of Deputies. Indeed, speaking to many other people, I know of no one who has ever been canvassed or invited to vote for a Board president or who should be the leader of the Jewish community.

The Board is in urgent need of reform. it is in urgent need to be truly representative of the Jewish community, rather than the 300 or so people who make up what it calls the deputies.

To be considered as the "elected leader" would involve a complete open and honest vote. Henry Grunwald was not elected by the community, he was given this role based on those members of the Board. There are around 270,000 to 300,000 Jews in the UK of which around 300 make up the deputies.

As the Board says on its own website: "The Deputies elect their Honorary Officers, comprising a President, three Vice-Presidents and a Treasurer, on a three-year cycle, to lead and co-ordinate the development of policy."

Henry Grunwald is the leader of those who may have voted for him, rather than that of the Jewish community. By suggesting he is the leader of the Jewish community Mr Grunwald is hyping up his own ego.

If you did a poll in the Jewish community and ask them who is the "elected leader of the British community", I doubt very much most people would know and indeed, would even wonder who was Henry Grunwald.

To be considered an "elected leader" requires truly open and honest election processes. The Board fails to be the open organisation it should be if it wishes to be the "voice of British Jewry".

The Board is in need of urgent reform. I would strongly suggest that it starts by looking at its structure and introduces proper voting processes so that if the Jewish community in Britain wishes to have an elected leader, then they should be able to vote on that. Not leave it to a handful of people to choose their leader.

And if Henry Grunwald is going around the UK introducing himself as the “elected leader”, he needs to be a bit more upfront as to who he is the “elected leader” of, rather than saying he is the leader of the British community.

And maybe he would like to make his mark as the president by introducing some electoral reforms to the Board so that when it comes to the next president elections, it will be the community who votes who should be the leader.