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Archive for February, 2009

I am glad to see that a pardon seems on the cards for people convicted of dissidence charges arising from protests against the 2005 disengagement from Gaza. Of course they should be pardoned. No question.

I thought the disengagement was a mistake at the time. Watching those people dragged out of their houses and synagogues was horrific. As I wrote last December, nothing that has happened since has made me feel it was anything other than a mistake. Can someone tell me a positive that came from all that unimaginable pain and upheaval?

I often wonder what Ariel Sharon – who ordered the disengagement – would make of what’s happened since. He has been in a coma for three years now. There is an interesting update on his case on Ynet News today.

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Earlier this month Lord Ahmed called for British Jews serving with the Israel Defence Force to be arrested.

This morning he woke up in prison himself.

You’d need a heart of stone not to punch the air with joy.

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(Hope the food is to his liking!)

Israel elected a female Prime Minister 10 years before the United Kingdom did.

America has elected a non-white President. The United Kingdom has yet to elect a non-white Prime Minister.

The next time you hear a smug British leftie diss Israel or America, please remind them of the above.

From the hit UK comedy I’m Alan Partridge.

Alan: “You smiled because you don’t like Jill because she’s younger than you.”

Lynn: “No she’s not. She’s 50.”

Alan: “Well, so’s Helen Mirren.”

Lynn: “So’s Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Alan: “You’re always going on about Benjamin Netanyahu. Let it go, Lynn, you’re never going to meet him.”

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The scene: a BBC TV studio during the 2006 war with Hezbollah.

Indignant BBC interviewer: “How come so many more Lebanese have been killed in this conflict than Israelis?”

Bibi: “Are you sure that you want to start asking in that direction?”

Indignant BBC interviewer: “Why not?”

Bibi: “Because in World War II more Germans were killed than British and Americans combined, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the war was caused by Germany’s aggression.  And in response to the German blitz on London, the British wiped out the entire city of Dresden, burning to death more German civilians than the number of people killed in Hiroshima.

“Moreover, I could remind you that in 1944, when the RAF tried to bomb the Gestapo Headquarters in Copenhagen, some of the bombs missed their target and fell on a Danish children’s hospital, killing 83 little children.

“Perhaps you have another question?”

Perhaps indeed!

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He’s done it! This is a beautiful day.

And a day of eerie coincidence. One of my blog’s readers (I don’t know if he’ll want to be named but he’s an IDF soldier serving mostly in Hebron) kindly posted me a Likud voting slip on the day of the election. It arrived on my doormat at the exact moment that I was told of the Bibi news today.

Here it is:

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The fantastic Howard Jacobson has written a breathtakingly brilliant essay in today’s Independent. With a potent combination of passion and clarity, he shows the recent increase in ‘criticism’ of Israel for what it nearly always is: antisemitism. He takes those who liken Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto and shows once and for all why “there is not the remotest similarity, either in intention or in deed – even in the most grossly mis-reported deed – between Gaza and Warsaw”.

Of those who make such comparisons, he writes: “Given the number of besieged and battered cities there have been in however many thousands of years of pitiless warfare there is only one explanation for this invocation of Warsaw before any of those – it is to wound Jews in their recent and most anguished history and to punish them with their own grief. Its aim is a sort of retrospective retribution, cancelling out all debts of guilt and sorrow. It is as though, by a reversal of the usual laws of cause and effect, Jewish actions of today prove that Jews had it coming to them yesterday.”

Then he takes to pieces Caryl Churchill’s hideous Seven Jewish Children play, in which “lie follows lie, omission follows omission”. He concludes of Churchill’s play: “Once you repeat in another form the medieval blood-libel of Jews rejoicing in the murder of little children, you have crossed over. This is the old stuff. Jew-hating pure and simple.”

Let’s be clear: the Royal Court Theatre has been made fully aware of the dishonesty and racism in the play it is showing. That they keep showing it tells its own story.

Please read Howard’s brilliant essay in full. As regular readers know, I’ve always been a big fan (that’s me below with him last summer). Having read this essay I might have to see if I can find an even bigger pedestal to put him on.

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Tzipi Livni’s recollections of her days as a Mossad agent in Paris.

More fascinating samples from Menahem Kahana’s photographic exhibition about the Haredim.

“We don’t take the train after 7 pm, we wear a skullcap only under a hat.” A disturbing account of the rise of antisemitism in France.

A moving letter written by an Israeli who witnessed an IDF swearing-in ceremony at the Kotel.

George Galloway heads off on his muppets’ convoy to Gaza today. How we’ll miss him. I have written before about Galloway’s The Real Deal show on the Iranian-funded television channel Press TV. He sits in a ludicrous set that makes him look like a garden gnome and prattles on about “Zionists” for half an hour or so. It almost always makes for unintentionally hilarious viewing.

The Scottish Saddam-groupie has another show on the station, called Comment. Here, he responds to phone-calls and emails from viewers. Meanwhile, a ticker at the bottom of the screen publishes text messages from viewers. These constitute taking the words ‘genocide’, ‘war crimes’, ‘Israel’ and ‘Satan’ and putting them into random sentences.

But it’s hard to concentrate on these messages because his callers are such a bunch of entertaining loons. Even Galloway gets fed up with some of them. In the most recent episode, he told one: “Go away, because you really are starting to annoy me.” He snapped at another, advising them: “you need medical attention”. Welcome to your fan-base, George.

One caller railed on about how the Twin Towers were hit by remote-control planes. He was supported by a text message asking Galloway why he won’t report “the truth” about the 9/11 attacks. “Too spicy for you?” asked the texter. It got even spicier when another caller asked Galloway why he was working for a pro-Iranian television station, as Iran is obviously working in conjunction with America and Israel. I kid you not.

But then came Ken from London. His voice dripping with disappointment at life, he complained about the Jewish lobby which he says “influences everything from Coronation Street to Eastenders”. He then started whining about the Israel politician “Zippy Lipman” (sic) and said that the images from Gaza during Operation Cast Lead made the Nazi Holocaust “fall into insignificance”.

A few more 9/11 conspiracy folk messaged in and Galloway began to look like he wanted to pack up and go home. Then it was time for another email, which suggested that Iran should arm Hamas and Hezbollah. There’s an idea, huh?

Someone called Majid then rang in and asked Galloway: “Are you practising Islam?” Galloway snapped: “Why would that be any of your business?” and quickly moved on. This was not the only lifestyle question asked of him. “Do you sing because you look like Tom Jones?” asked an emailer. “He’s considerably older than me,” replied Galloway, obviously flattered.

All good things must come to an end. “Well, it’s been marvellous for me and I hope it has been for you,” concluded Galloway at the end of the show. It was certainly revealing. Galloway is an odious man with odious politics. But as he stood there in that bargain-basement studio, listening to his loony fans, he must have wondered where it all went wrong. The trouble is that when you build your career targeting pond life and whipping them into a frenzy of hate, you end up with fans who think that the Rovers Return is the headquarters of a Zionist plot.

As you sow, so you shall reap.

My great friend Damian Schogger (pictured with me below at the recent Israel rally) has updated his excellent Daddy Day blog on the Jewish Chronicle website. It’s a great blog that gives engrossing insight into his wonderful, growing family.  I haven’t met his daughter yet, but I can guarantee you that his son Ilan is every bit as magical as Damian suggests on the blog. It was Ilan’s birthday this week. Happy birthday little fella, from Oy Va Goy!

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© Copyright Chas Newkey-Burden. All Rights Reserved. Thanks to Chris Morris.