Monday, 23 February 2015

Don't Envy the Israeli Ambassador

The Israeli ambassador to Germany in an interview to a German paper has today said that he “does not envy those Jews who live in Europe these days.” Well, I don't envy the Israeli ambassador. 

He is right to empathise – the poor Jews in Europe, out of loyalty to the Jewish state, continue to defend Israeli occupation and settlement policies, even when they think otherwise. They love Israel because it is the Jewish state, despite the fact that it has become an apartheid state, and that it is run by a corrupt clique. They love Israel because they are afraid of the moment they will no longer love it. And so, they look the other way and try to find justification for the unjustifiable.

The Israeli ambassador is right -  one cannot envy the European Jews, whose leaders sound as if they are Israeli government spokesmen.

The Israeli ambassador is right – Diaspora Jews must break free. They can love the idea of a Jewish state, they can love the fact that when they are in Israel, they are surrounded by fellow Jews, whilst standing up and openly making a stand against the land-grab and the occupation and control of millions of Palestinians by Israel.

By the way, the propaganda line led by Israel’s prime minister and echoed by his ambassador to Germany, that European Jews should flee to Israel for their security sounds like a bad joke. He cannot possibly suggest that they are safer in Israel, unless of course part of the deal on offer is privileged space for all newcomers in the high-tech nuclear bunker reserved for Israel’s ruling elite.   

I don't envy the Israeli ambassador. 

Israeli propaganda should be better

Israelis often feel the need  - when they are not called upon to serve their country in the army – to serve their country on the propaganda front. In this context, Israeli friends occasionally email me links to articles or information, which they think will shed a positive light on Israel. The latest such email that I received, linked to an article by Israel’s outgoing Minister of Finance, Ya’ir Lapid, published a couple of days ago in the Guardian.

It’s written in English and published in a British paper but I expect that the real purpose is to impress the home market. There is a general election in Israel in less than a month and standing up to the gentiles always gets an Israeli politician brownie points. In this article, Lapid tries to deride the recent open letter that was signed by 700 British artists who called for a boycott of Israel because of the continued occupation.

It is shallow and kitschy, stoops to pinkwashing – brandishing Israel’s gay rights to distract from Israel’s occupation wrongs, and leads nowhere.  Lapid besmirches Hamas (not so difficult), under whose rule gays are hanged and climaxes with a personal touch by naming “my friend Gila Tregerman”, whose four year old son was killed by a Palestinian mortar shell.   

Lapid tries to show that he cares about Diaspora Jews, who should “be able to stand safely outside synagogues and do their shopping in a kosher supermarket…” He could ask himself why it is that anti-Semitic attacks in Europe are on the rise whenever Israeli military activity seems to get out of control? And what he wants, Lapid says, is “...modest: for people not to try to kill me just because I’m a Jew.” He knows well enough that if anyone is trying to kill him, it is not because he is a Jew but because he is an Israeli and as surprising as it may seem to him, Palestinian terrorists have been killing Israelis and Israeli soldiers have been killing Palestinians for many years. The attempt to turn this into a “please don’t kill me just because I’m a Jew” is disgraceful and he should be ashamed of himself.  

Friday, 6 February 2015

Had Israel done it

A day after Islamic State published, their video of a captured Jordanian pilot being burned alive, Jordan executed two jihadist prisoners. Earlier today, Jordanian Royal Air Force flew bombing sorties over IS held areas in Syria. The Jordanian king has promised more revenge.

No one in the West got very excited by the Jordanian reaction. A probably jealous Mr Lieberman, Israel’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, has praised the King for his “harsh and decisive response to the event.”

Had Israel reacted similarly in response to a murderous terror attack… It would have become a central story across the world. One or other country would have convened the UN Security Council, Jordan would have recalled its ambassador, European and even US student and teachers unions would have called for Israel to be boycotted, and violent demonstrations in Europe would have turned to attacks on Jewish institutions.

The fact is that nobody gives a damn about the execution of jihadists or the bombing of IS bases. But had Israel done it…  

Saturday, 31 January 2015

USA funding settlements

The Israeli government has once again announced the building of housing units for Jewish settlers in the Occupied territories. And, the US government has once again responded with a statement, that “the move was deeply concerning”.  

The White House added, “We have deep concerns about these highly contentious settlement construction announcements… They will enflame already heightened tension with the Palestinians…”

Perhaps the White House should put a stop to some of the funding, if it wants to bring about an end to this illegal settlement of the Occupied Territories:
In straight military aid alone, the US funds Israel to the tune of 3.15 billion US dollars, per year. Other forms of aid come on top.

But if the USA continues to fund Israel, it should stop protesting.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Speculating with Cheese

Yesterday on Jermyn Street:

Paxton and Whitfield and the Swiss Franc

The Shepherd and his Rabbits

Another WOW: yesterday’s statement by Pope Francis that Good Roman Catholics do not need to breed like "rabbits"!/format/jpg/quality/85/

I don’t know what they put in the Pope’s drink on his visit to the Philippines.

Years ago, a Catholic friend from Montreal told me how their priests would visit families and demand an explanation, if a year had gone by without a new pregnancy. With one Papal remark, all those Catholics who followed their priests’ teaching and expectations to have large families must feel really dumb.  

Had anyone else come out with a statement “Catholics breed like rabbits”, the uproar would have been enormous. Charlie Hebdo would party. The Pope would have demanded more respect for his faith and his flock of…  His message would have been repeated from every pulpit.

PS: and if you wondered… contraceptives are still out. Tough.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Obama's Recipe

Obama has the solution, European governments should try to better assimilate their Muslim minority populations - he said, adding, “our Muslim populations feel themselves to be Americans and there is this incredible process of immigration and assimilation that is part of our tradition.” That must be the reason why his opponents have filled the Internet with suggestions that he was actually a Muslim. The underlying implication being that had he been open about it, he would not have been elected President.

He may not be a Muslim but he is also no great student of history. Unlike the USA, European countries do not consider themselves immigration countries. Those coming to the US, go there for the “American Dream”, they want to become Americans. In principle, at least, that is the deal on offer. European countries accept foreigners seeking asylum, or in certain cases seeking jobs. They generally do not seek to become “Europeans”, let alone French or German. That makes integration a much harder task. 

Joking at the Funeral

Netanyahu at the funeral of the Paris Jews killed last week: “..we have a state of our own, … one that spreads great light like a lighthouse of morality.”

Israel a moral lighthouse ?

Forget it Francis

A week after the archbishop of Paris came out in support of freedom of the press, whatever the price, Pope Francis spoke out to contradict him.

He spoke about the recent murders in Paris. That is, he chose to speak about the murders at Charlie Hebdo and not about the killing of Jews at the Kosher supermarket.

The Pope’s response reminds one of those who explain rapes by criticising the raped woman’s short skirt: “in freedom of expression there are limits. … One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.” This is, of course, some Huzpeh, considering the track record of his organisation in insulting and degrading Jews over many centuries.

The Pope takes advantage of the attack on the caricaturists, to lobby for a special status for his group of power holders, all religions. FORGET IT FRANCIS. No entity that has power over others – be it political, economic or religious - should be immune. This is essential to prevent abuse of their power. They should and must be scrutinised, criticised, provoked, made fun of – anything that might question the power they have over us.

To explain his thinking, the Pope added, “If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal. It’s normal.” WOW. So now, the Catholic Church has formally adopted “an eye for an eye” theology and abandoned Jesus’ turn-the-other-cheek preaching in the Sermon on the Mount. This is some revolution. Congratulations!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Josef Schusters wichtigste Aufgabe

On Sunday, the Central Council of Jews in Germany elected Josef Schuster as its new president.

Will he, like his predecessors, consider that acting as a sort of Israel spokesman comes with the job? Should it really be up to the Central Council of Jews to be a warning beacon against antisemitism? 

The German daily, Süddeutsche Zeitung, has published my welcome words, Josef Schusters wichtigste Aufgabe, as an op-ed in yesterday’s edition.

Here it is