Friday, 30 December 2016

Pathetic British Prime Minister offering services to Trump

Theresa May is hoping to build up the same kind of a warm relationship with Trump, as Margaret Thatcher had with President Reagan. Reagan and Thatcher saw eye-to-eye on economic neo-liberalism and shared an aggressive anti Soviet-Union drive.

It took some time, but now, the Soviet Union’s successor, which calls itself Russia, is successfully pushing back the West. It should be clear that this has been allowed to happen under Obama’s watch.

Putin is systematically weakening the Western blocks: he was instrumental in bringing Trump to power, thereby ensuring that the USA will be run by an inexperienced and irresponsible cabal. He is trying to help in breaking up Europe and is, for example, funding Le Pen’s fascist party in France. In all likelihood, Putin’s apparatus will intervene in Germany’s coming elections, to get rid of Mrs. Merkel – the only world class politician standing up to him.

This is war.

Trump is – as he likes to remind us – a dealmaker. To do deals, it is best, to have many small and weakened counterparts, rather than a strong opponent. This is where Trump and Putin share the same goal. They both want to break up the EU.

Back to Britain: Pathetic Brexiter, Mrs. May is seeking friends, and to that end she has just sent Trump a present: she came out with strong criticism of Secretary of State Kerry’s speech about Israeli settlements. Pathetic like an old toothless w****, that offers services, which younger and stronger ones will not stoop to, she hopes to attract Trump’s favour.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Better late than never.

2016 was a nasty year, but just before it’s end, The UN’s Security Council brings a smile and some satisfaction. By a 14-0 vote and the abstention of the USA, they passed resolution 2334, condemning Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied territories.

For years, The US has been the and still is the great enabler of the Israeli occupation. With its funding of Israel to the tune of $3.8 billion per annum, the Obama administration has failed to make use of the leverage, which the US could have to bring about a peace settlement in the Middle East.  At the end of his presidency, Obama – who has finally agreed not to veto a Security Council decision censuring Israel – is showing his frustration, disappointment and disgust of the way Israel has been behaving.

It is a great shame that this has come so late and, indeed, it may have come too late – with all the damage caused by the Israeli occupation – but, better late than never.  

To the current members of the Security Council: Well done and thank you: China, Russia, UK, France, and Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Uruguay, as well as Senegal, Venezuela, Angola, Ukraine, Malaysia, and Egypt.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

German's "attractive" Alternative

The leader of German’s far right party AfD, Frauke Petri, has reacted to the Berlin attack, by saying that Germany was no longer safe.

The question is what make Germany unsafe? Is it the asylum seekers or is it perhaps Germany’s right wing extremists who attack migrants and asylum homes who make Germany unsafe? Or the woman [the same Petri] who spreads hatred by demanding that border police should shoot those crossing the border illegally? Or the woman [Petri again] who suggested that a multicultural society with immigrants and refugees is akin to a compost heap. Or the man [this time it is her partner], Marcus Pretzell, another AfD star, who blaming Chancellor Merkel for the situation, said that the Berlin casualties were “her dead”?

If the Berlin dead are the “Merkel dead”, perhaps the hatemongers from the right should be referred to as the “Hitler living”?

Need a rabbi?

I never understood why the Haifa Technion, Israel’s technical university, needed a full time paid rabbi. Finally, I know:

The Technion’s rabbi has published a ban, forbidding Jewish students from entering the student’s union club house and eating there, as a Christmas tree had been put up in the building. This pagan symbol that allows a Christian religious presence in the midst of the Technion, is unacceptable, says the rabbi.

We do not need rabbis, priests or imams in our universities. Students who need spiritual guidance can go to their own  synagogue/ church/ mosque/ psychiatrist/ or voodoo practitioner.

Barbarians I

The latest joke from the Trump tweet stable, in response to yesterday’s terror attacks, which he described as “Islamic terrorists regularly slaughter Christians in their communities” is that “The civilized world must change thinking!”

Whereas I fully agree with Trump that we must change our thinking, I find the idea that Trump evidently thinks of himself and his lot as the civilised world rather curious. Barbarians, I would suggest, would be a more accurate description. And if anyone needs a reminder, all you need to do is look up one of the many Trump election campaign rallies.

Barbarians II

Since King Trump is into complaining about uncivilised Muslims – how about doing something against the antisemitic thuggery in his own backyard?

It has been reported that the police in Whitefish, Mont. have stepped up patrols and are working with the F.B.I. after a neo-Nazi and white supremacist website listed the names and contacts of local Jews, calling on readers to “take action” against them.

Trump likes tweeting about the big problems. Why not tweet about that? Unless, of course, he does not want to annoy those who have just voted for him.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

People you meet at parties

At a drinks party in Germany, I met 70-year-old TS, who, still excited by Trump’s ambition and fighting spirit, explained that Hillary Clinton was a liar and a corrupt establishment figure and that she fully supported Trump. Nothing in Trump’s behaviour, business record, campaign style and content or lack of any experience in government would change TS’s mind. Not even the fact that Trump was just as much establishment as Clinton.

TS added how important it was to stand up against the politics of “our communist”. The communist that she was referring to was Germany’s Chancellor Merkel, and Communist to TS seemed to be the ultimate term of abuse. My suggestion that Mrs. Merkel was the one thing that Germany could truly be proud of, did not get me anywhere. Not only did Merkel help Greece but she also allowed two million unregistered foreigners enter Germany, TS explained. If they were unregistered, how did she know how many of them had entered was not something TS cared to get into.

Years ago, an old German told me – in defence of his decision to vote for Hitler –  that what had really frightened him in those days, was not the Nazis but the communists. Just thinking.

May vs. Merkel

Theresa May, the woman now running the UK, gave the role of Britain’s Foreign Secretary to Boris Johnson, one of the leaders of the Brexit campaign, a man with a track record of lying and one of the most irresponsible, rude and loudmouthed men in British politics.

So here is what happens, when Boris Johnson refreshingly said something true: He spoke about the situation in the Middle East and spoke of the countries abusing their own religion to further their political objectives: “the Saudis, Iran, everybody, moving in and puppeteering and playing proxy wars.” Prime Minister Theresa May immediately rebutted him with: “the foreign secretary's views are not the government's position on, for example, Saudi Arabia and its role in the region." Of course not, we want to do business with them and who cares about the rest.

What a difference between no-values Theresa May and Germany’s values-led Angela Merkel.  

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

A visit to the in-laws

I don’t know what it is like with the upper class and the rich, but in our lower classes, there comes a point, when a dating couple that is seriously thinking about getting married, arranges for the parents to meet. The etiquette is that for that important first meeting, say at the boy’s parents’ house, the girl’s family will bring a box of fancy chocolates, the famous “bonnboniere”. Both families will mentally prepare safe subjects for conversation, such as holiday and trip destinations or the joys of barbecuing and the women might want to show off their macramé skills.

With Trump’s election, we are also learning about his family and it turns out that his daughter has married an orthodox Jew, whose father had received a two-year jail sentence for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering. The witness tampering, he pleaded guilty to, was hiring a prostitute for ¢10,000 to seduce his sister’s husband. A hidden camera recorded the activity, and the lurid tape was sent to his sister, to arrive on the day of a family party.

So the Trumps and the Kushners are what in yiddish they call “machatunim”, that is in-laws.  And I am wondering about that first meeting, when the Trumps first came to the Kushners or was it the other way round. What the women will have spoken about I have no idea -  Melania (or was it Ivana?) Trump is somehow not the macramé type. But I can well imagine, the conversation between the p***y grabber and the pr*******te hirer.

River of Blood again?

In 1968, Enoch Powell, a senior British politician, on the very right wing of the Conservative Party, quoted from Sybil’s prophecy in Virgil’s Aeneid, "wars, terrible wars, / and the Tiber foaming with much blood", in his anti-immigration speech, the infamous “River of Blood” speech, in which Powell warned: “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood’.”

Whether Powell did or did not want blood to flow is almost beside the point. He was not stupid and he will have known that his supporters would act, when their leader suggests blood.

I was reminded of that vile man, after hearing Nigel Farage’s reaction to the ruling, a couple of weeks ago, of the British High Court that the prime minister was required to get Parliament’s approval before it triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, notifying the EU that Britain is getting out.

Farage, a leader of the UKIP party, according to the Daily Telegraph, intends to lead a 100,000 strong march to the Supreme Court on the day it will be hearing the appeal on the High Court’s ruling.  Farage said “I worry that a betrayal may be near at hand… I now fear that every attempt will be made to block or delay the triggering of Article 50. If this is so, they have no idea of the level of public anger they will provoke.”

Is this incitement that I am hearing?

Wednesday, 9 November 2016


On the tube from London City airport, I saw the light: Whatever the large loud woman had to say to her family was heard by the whole carriage. The family: this woman and her partner who seemed rather young to be the father of her four children aged seven to seventeen. On her lap, she held a small suitcase, out of which a regular flow of junk food was fed to those of her brood who demanded it. Just in case, the drip fed children did not get it, they were told “luv you” from time to time. It was mesmerising and it gave me the solution: It is not about nationality or religion; it is all about class. It is probably difficult to find the politically correct language and sadly undoable but this division would make most of us more comfortable.

And talking of class rather than any preconceived ideas about race:

So, How about a separate continent for the world's foreigner-hating right-wingers ? Preferably a far-far-far-away one.

Proud to be American?

Here’s a story about the Jew who managed to leave Germany in 1933, having gotten a visa permitting him to stay in Britain. It’s a story, my mother told me many, many years ago and I expect that many younger readers won’t even understand the joke.

So, after 5 years in Britain, Jacob Rosenzweig decides to apply for British citizenship. He is called to the Home Office and informed that his application has been turned down. Disappointed he goes home but he is allowed to reapply after three years and he does so, and gets turned down again. This repeats itself a few times, until 1949, when he gets a letter from the Home Office inviting him for an interview, at which the now smiling official greets him and hands him a British passport. Jacob looks at the passport, opens it and then returns to the Home Office official. No, he is no longer interested. The surprised official asks "Why? You have been trying for 11 years and now that you can have it, you don’t want it anymore?" No, Jacob explains “not, mit out de colonies”.

I thought of that anecdote, apropos my friend G. who, having lived in NY for more than 25 years, has applied to become naturalised and just a few months ago, became a proud American citizen. Proud?

That Country Needs New Slogans

The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

God Bless America

Let America be Great Again

Sunday, 6 November 2016


Already, in the UK, we have millions of pro-Brexit voters, who have suddenly seen the light and admit that their vote was a mistake.

As I write this, it is not yet clear whether we can forget the man or whether this trump will become Mr. President. What is clear, is that more than 60 million Americans are going to vote trump. What is also clear, going by turnout statistics from previous US presidential elections, in which only between 50 and 55 per cent of those entitled to vote, bothered to go out and vote, that more than 100 million may with their abstention pave trump’s road to the presidency.  

On making the right decisions

Some years ago, I spoke to an elderly German couple, who admitted to have voted for Hitler when he first came to power. They explained: “you cannot imagine how dangerous the Communists were, at the time.”

So much for making the right decisions.


It has been reported that 66% of US evangelicals are supporting trump. 

To these evangelicals, who believe in hell, and vote for a man whose behaviour is the exact opposite of whatever Christian values are meant to be, I wish just that.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Theresa February

Who would have believed it? But the Conservative Party in Britain has produced yet another female chauvinist politician. I will call her Theresa February. I know that her name is Theresa May, but May is a wonderful optimistic month, everything is blossoming and there is hope for perfect days to come – some people even go to Paris and fall in love. This woman is not May, she is cold and miserable February, a month in which one can only survive by fleeing. 

She's worse than Thatcher and that is something. 

Internment Camps ?

Britain’s Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, informed the nation, that employers will be required to report on non-British staff who they employ. Rudd, who asked not to be called a racist, explained that she hopes to “flush out” companies that hire too many foreigners. Pfui.

The next day, it was announced that, whereas the government is hiring many experts to advise on the myriad of Brexit issues it finds itself landed with, the jobs will only be open to Brits. “Aliens”, might give the wrong advice to mislead the UK on its great adventure.

No news on internment camps as yet.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Barber – Komische Oper – Kirill Serebrennikov

Went to Komische Oper’s Barber of Seville, earlier this evening. Anyone who is in Berlin – GO.

I would not normally have gone to a performance of this opera, which I find rather boring. Bless Facebook – someone posted that Süddeutsche Zeitung had a raving review. So I got a ticket and loved it. It is an opera buffa, aptly performed at Berlin’s Komische Oper and the Russian director, Kirill Serebrennikov, definitely makes you laugh, a lot. But he also makes you think, which is unusual in the Barber of Seville.

Try to see it, if you can.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Peres I – Really ?

The whole world seems to be coming to Peres’ funeral. One should bear in mind that much of the world’s love for Peres is due to the justifiable hatred of and disgust by Bibi.

Peres described himself as a man of peace and this is also how he is seen outside Israel. This is somewhat simplistic. He was above all a brilliant operator, mainly in the defence and security realm. Ben Gurion, in his wisdom, recognised Peres’ abilities and made him director general of the country’s ministry of defence at a young age of 29. Ever since and throughout his long career, Peres had his finger in every one of Israel’s defence pies, for good and for bad.

He became a “peace camp” politician rather late in the day. Indeed, the man, who tried to conclude a peace treaty with the Palestinians, was one of the first enablers of Israel’s illegal settlements in the areas it occupied during the 1967 Six Day War. He too, like many other labour party politicians, was land greedy.

Therefore, if you must read them - the eulogies - don’t just take them at face value.

Peres II – The son’s eulogy

Why do we need to hear the ruminations of dead people’s family members? The media love to give space to the parents and widows of accident, crime or war victims, who, surprise, surprise, inform the world what amazing, gifted, world-loving, full of potential, etc. young men and women their dead children had been.   

Immediately after Peres’ death was announced, his son saw fit to inform world media that his father had "worked tirelessly for Israel - from the first day of the state to the last day of his life… His sole focus was to serve until his last breath the people of Israel who he so loved…the loss we feel today is that of the entire nation.”

Not to be outdone, Peres’ son-in-law also gave a long tribute. Just in case we did not yet know, he spoke of how much the world’s grandees all loved and admired his deceased father-in-law.

In the case of a politician, it is simply ridiculous to get family members views and analysis of the man as a public persona. When it comes to people who one has never heard of before and who only appear in the public media because of the circumstances of their death, broadcasting the emotional ponderings of their next of kin is there but to serve the public’s unattractive voyeurism.  

Peres III - & Clinton (B)

It has been reported that former US President Bill Clinton will be flying in for Peres’ funeral in the private jet of Haim Saban, one of the mega-rich supporters of the Clintons.

Evidently the political advisers of Hillary do not consider such behaviour to be harmful to her presidential campaign.

Nothing, as yet, has been said about Trump, who could, of course, use the good services of the equivalent: casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Hey Mr President, if you cannot afford the plane ride, stay at home.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Noble Ancestry ?

Israel has an impressive, well-known, and highly respected record of scientific discoveries.  

At the Tel Aviv airport, the Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space has covered a long wall with placards describing the inventions and their inventors. Curiously, they have decided to include the Jewish but not Israeli Albert Einstein, and… Maimonides who died in 1204 in Cairo, 744 years before the establishment of the State of Israel, in this tour-de-force.

Is this an equivalent of claiming noble ancestry to reinforce a new ruler’s legitimacy? 

Headphones to rescue

I don’t know whether El Al sells tickets on the basis of buy one ticket and take two children for free but it seemed like that to me, as I arrived at the Frankfurt airport last week. The noise level was unbelievable. Already at the gate.

A few days earlier, I bought a pair of rather expensive headphones. I am glad that I did. It may sound like a commercial, but it was really wonderful: headphones on and I became oblivious to whatever else was happening on the plane. It felt as if I had just taken a drug. I saw everything, including all those annoying kids, through a kind of screen, only half taking it in, whilst I was totally immersed in the music I was listening to.

As an additional bonus, the headphones did a great job of keeping the engine noise out.

On Boycott and Blackmail

A month ago Brussels Airlines announced that, further to requests by Palestinian passengers, it had stopped offering a sweet (Halva), as it was produced in the Occupied Territories.

I personally think that products manufactured by the occupying Israelis in the West Bank should indeed be boycotted. The Israeli government – not surprisingly – does not share this view of mine. Moreover, Israel is evidently stronger than the Palestinian lobby and the airline has now announced that it has changed its decision and that said Halva will be available again.

In the campaign to pressurise Brussels Airlines, Israel activated Diaspora Jews and soon, claims that the airline was “giving in to racism” and about anti-Semitism could be found on social media. Whatever one’s views about Israeli settlements and occupation, it is outrageous and dishonest to suggest that boycotting products made by occupier owned companies is giving in to racism or anti-Semitic.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Get Out and Schadenfreude

In recent conversations with Germans, I get the feeling that Brexit brings about what seems to be some Schadenfreude, this wonderful German term for which there is no English equivalent. According to the Oxford dictionary, Schadenfreude is the malicious enjoyment of another’s misfortune.  

Under no circumstances would it be right – I was told – for the British government or parliament to seek ways of staying in the EU. No, it does not matter that the referendum was only a consultative instrument, it does not matter that the majority of the pro voters was so slim, it does not matter that the majority of MPs seems to be against Brexit.  

Therefore the new prime minister of Britain who claimed to have been against Brexit should now do what she considers to be bad for her country.

Would those Germans, who believe that the British government must “respect the will of the people”, have said the same had the British referendum decided to wage war against Germany?  

Cameras at the Opera

Most performing arts venues do not permit video, audio or photo recording during performances. Having to hold back through the performance, very often, as soon as a performance ends, smartphones are up in the air recording the curtain calls. Why? It’s just a bloody curtain call. What do they do with these pictures?

In Salzburg, last week, after a wonderful performance of Jules Massenet’s Thaïs, hundreds of these smartphones were doing their thing. Just in front of me, there was a gay couple, each had their instrument and both were recording. Why? Will they be comparing shots in the bedroom?

I should clarify that it is probably not a gay thing: I remember sitting next to a Japanese couple on a plane, a few years ago. I had the window seat and as we were flying over the snow covered peaks of the Alps, first the husband and then the wife gave me their cameras and asked me to take pictures of the mountains. In answer to my question, why they needed the photos in both cameras, they explained that they each “have their own memory of the trip.” 

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Christine Lagarde and I

I am not sure what I think about Christine Lagarde, the Director General of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but she evidently like my ideas:

It took Lagarde four years, but she has now joined me and supports my suggestion that the Olympic Games should be moved to a permanent home in Greece.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

No wish to be castrated

Senator Joni Ernst, one of the US politicians who were mentioned as possible running mates by Donald Trump, did not get the job.

Could it be that Trump was worried that this female senator, who had boasted about her experience in castrating pigs, would be too close to him?

Metaphors change

We cannot say that we have not been warned: Some six months ago, Turkey’s president, explained that his craving for more power, has precedent and brought Hitler’s Germany as an example.

Now we have stage II: In the aftermath of last week’s putsch attempt, thousands, probably tens of thousands, have been arrested. Erdogan, who has promised to bring in the death penalty, explained that "they will pay a heavy price for this. This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army." 

Erdogan spoke of the need to “clean the virus responsible for the coup.” The virus being the purported "terror group", led by Erdogan’s former associate, Fethullah Gülen.  

Going back to the role models, brings to mind the “night of the long knives”, in which Hitler had the head of the SA, Ernst Röhm, killed. Röhm had been a close friend and ally, who had become too powerful for the rest of Hitler’s team. As Hitler and his associates set to dismantle Röhm’s organisation, Hitler explained, “I gave the order to cauterise down to the raw flesh the ulcers of this poisoning of the wells in our domestic life.”   

Virus or ulcers poisoning the wells… Metaphors change.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The Johnson Suicide

It has very quickly become apparent – not only to the remain camp – that the leaders of the leave campaign have irresponsibly misled and lied and thereby led the country in a downward spiral to a frightening unknown.

The unexpected outcome of the Brexit referendum has opened an interesting discussion about how to avoid following the wish of the majority (albeit a slim one) as it was expressed on 23 June. The referendum would not have taken place at all, had we had a responsible adult in Great Britain and more than anything else this is what we are lacking now: a charismatic politician to responsibly lead the country out of this mess. A Churchill or De Gaulle would have been right for the occasion.

Some have suggested calling a general election, but the parties need a trigger to clarify clearly what their positions on Europe are. And here’s my suggestion:

Going out with a bang would establish Boris Johnson forever as a truly tragic hero. Books, plays, even operas would be written about him, were he to commit suicide. 

He would need to leave a suicide note addressed to his followers, explaining that the whole Brexit idea was a terrible mistake, his miscalculated bravado, for which he apologises to the British people. He would add a suggestion that Parliament be dissolved and new elections be called, in which the competing parties would clarify whether they are IN or OUT.

The ball (?), Boris Johnson, is in your court.

Quds Tag Berlin

The Quds Day, on which anti-Israel demonstrations take place in many countries, was brought to life by Iran as anti-Israel propaganda. Often these demonstrations would include anti-Semitic slogans, and in Germany, an anti Quds Day lobby has managed to successfully emasculate the Quds demonstration.

So the organising committee no longer simply call for a demonstration against Israel but instead define the demo as “together against Zionism and Anti-Semitism”. 

The demonstrators are instructed not to chant any slogans that were not pre-approved by the committee (and checked by the police). The speaker had his own little erective moment in which he fully quoted the slogan about cowardly Jewish pigs that the participants were not to repeat.  Various other limitations, including Hizbollah flags that were not to be flown, were made on the group of ca. 300 demonstrators who saw nothing weird in carrying placards about children-killing-Israel, only two days after a Palestinian terrorist killed a 13- year-old girl sleeping in her bed. 

The icing on the Quds Day cake were three ultra-orthodox puppets from a small anti-Zionist sect, Neturei Karta, who were flown in from London to show their support. The sign they were holding said that according to the bible, Palestine should be under Palestinian sovereignty. I repeatedly asked them to tell me where exactly this can be found in the bible. They did not know and suggested I send an email to their HQ in London...