A lot of people have asked me why I feel so passionately on the subjects of Israel and antisemitism to build a blog around them. As I’m not Jewish this is a very understandable question. I’ve never properly answered it before for several reasons. A lot of my motivation is instinctive and therefore unexplainable, some of it is personal and anyway there always seem more pressing issues to write about. But given the interest there is in the question, I’ll do my best in this post. I apologise in advance if what I write doesn’t satisfy everyone’s curiosity. As I say, a lot of it is instinctive.

I grew up in south west London in an area with few Jewish people. I had a couple of Jewish friends at school and some of my parents friends are Jewish, but I can’t say I was particularly exposed to Jewish people or to Israel as a topic. That said my grandmother visited Israel a number of times and my father did too, in the early days of the state. I only learned about these visits relatively recently though.

As I grew into an adult I did start to become quite interested in Jewish culture, history and even the cuisine. I’ve always instinctively liked symbols like the Magen David and the menorah, too. But these were really just background interests of mine. As far as the Middle East conflict goes I suppose I had a typically default feeling of ill-informed pity for the Palestinians and therefore a vague hostility to Israel. Then 9/11 happened and everything changed.

In the wake of those atrocities I became very interested in the Middle East conflict. I was working at a predominantly Jewish company at the time and I recall taking fascinating lunches with one member of staff during which he patiently and fairly answered my questions about Israel. I then began voraciously reading about the conflict, pouring through books that covered the issue from both sides of the argument from Edward Said to Alan Dershowitz and more. Many, many books and much thinking later I became fascinated by Israel.

In September 2006 I finally visited Israel and had a fascinating time. Everything I had hoped for about the people and the place came true. I had high, high hopes and they were exceeded by what I found. It was at that point that I became so passionate about trying to support Israel, a country that gets such an unfair hearing in the world. I’ve been back to Israel twice since and now have many dear friends there.

As well as wanting to support Israel I’m also disgusted by antisemitism in general, as I am by all bigotry from sexism to homophobia and Islamophobia. However, of all the bigotries that exist antisemitism seems the most universally held: from the numbskull skinhead to the sophisticated leftie to the aristocratic Brit and nearly everyone in between. I don’t mean to be flippant when I ask surely the bigger mystery is not why I oppose antisemitism but why more other people don’t? My hope is that this blog can help in some small way to work against anti-Israel bigotry and antisemitism in general, and perhaps bring some moments of comfort to those who suffer as a result of them.

So there we have it. I have no secret Jewish relatives and my support is not particularly based on religious feelings, though I am very interested in all aspects of Judaism, particularly the stories of the Baal Shem Tov and other parts of the Hasidic and Jewish mystical traditions. I have many other passions and interests including: the life and career of cancer-survivor cyclist Lance Armstrong; the fight to find a cure for Progeria; books; long-distance running; reality television and Arsenal Football Club.

It just so happens this is the topic I choose to blog about. I hope the above helps explain why.

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204 Responses to “Why I run this blog”

  1. Doodad says:

    Great post. I am in the same situation and I find the “instinctive,” answer a personal revelation. As a goy, it just seems right and moral to oppose all anti-semitism. I think it began in elementary school when we were taught about the Holocaust and saw all the terrible images.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Elan says:

    Great post, indeed. As a religious Jew, I have my theories about the existence of anti-Semitism and it’s universality, but I don’t for one minute excuse those who perpetrate this, or any other, kind of bigotry and hatred.

    Even if it is part of so many cultures, traditions and religions to be predisposed against Jews, it is greatly encouraging that there are those out there who cannot bear such a thing and will not sit by idly. You, Chas Newkey-Burden, give me hope.

  3. Judy says:

    I personally think it is very revealing–and far from reasonable–that people ask you to explain why you’re passionate enough about Israel and anti-semitism to write a blog about them. Would they ask you this if you set up a blog about Jamaican or African culture and against racism? The question assumes that this is an abnormal and strange thing to do, and that it requires to be explained because it’s not a thing a reasonable person would do.

    It’s also telling that you feel you have to explain that you have no Jewish relatives–as if this too could be assumed to be the real reason why you might want to set up a philosemitic blog. In other words, only someone with some sort of personal-interest link would be likely to write a philosemitic blog. A weird inversion of “some of my best friends are Jews” where you feel the need to justify yourself by saying that even though you don’t have Jewish relatives, you still like Jews.

    More evidence that the default mainstream seen-as-acceptable non-Jewish attitude to Jews ranges from indifference via “I’m against anti-semitism but I want to state that I oppose the government of Israel when I don’t say this of other govts” to virulent elminationist anti-zionism.

    • Toby says:

      Maybe it is more of a question of an unusual thing to do, rather than an unreasonable one?

    • Clap Hammer says:

      Judy. Chas has said that he is passionate about Israel. I feel that it is reasonable to ask why if he is not Jewish. All his reasons are very much tied up in the ‘British’ fairness and the bad deal that Israel gets from various media in the UK.

      Ruth says: Chas, Thank you for caring, Thank you for being a friend, Thank you for standing up for justice instead of waiting for others to do it first, Thank you for sharing this inspiring and personal reasoning.

      I thank you too.

      • Anna Suhif says:

        “Judy. Chas has said that he is passionate about Israel. I feel that it is reasonable to ask why if he is not Jewish.”

        Would you ask the same question of a white person who has a passionate interest in Africa and black emancipation?

        • Yonatan says:

          I think that one would ask a white person why they support african causes. The reason is that human beings, in general, are self-centred beings, and when someone does something that does not benefit his/her self, family, community or nation, people are surprised and are bound to question where such motivation comes from. Kol ha Kavod to Chas for standing up for a community and a nation that are not his, for going beyond what people would expect and advocating so passionately about a subject which he ‘should’ inherently have little interest in.

    • Babs says:

      Judy, while I respect your comments, I’m not sure that I understand them. I’m assuming you’re Jewish, as I am, but nevertheless I still feel qualified to remark that many of my fellow Jews have a chip on their shoulder regarding non-Jews’ positive comments about Israel and Judaism in general; is it not possible to simply accept that not all non-Jews are anti-semitic, in the same way that not all Jews refer to Christians as Yoks and.or schikzas, two terms that I abhore and never use because I don’t go along with double standards? He does say at the end of his blog that he is passionate about other things too, so can we not admire this man rather than doubt his motives?

  4. Jonathan Bush says:

    Thanks Chas, for the fascinating insight. As a Christian, I do see things through a religious filter. I love and support Israel because God does and because He tells me to. Through the same filter, I see antisemitism as essentially a religious matter, even if the perpetrators don’t see it that way. (If I accept God, then I also accept that there is an enemy, who hates the Jews because he hates God.) So, it is a fascinating insight for me into someone who sees things very much like I do, but from a different place and for different reasons.
    The more I have contact with you, the more respect I have for you.

  5. Adam says:

    Thanks for your work. Not being Jewish myself, I feel exactly as you do. We need to recruit more to the side of truth and decency. It’s our fight too – and we had better realize it.

  6. Scrivener says:

    One of the issues at the heart of this is the conflation of anti-semitism with anti-Israelism. I don’t make any claims to have an in-depth knowledge of this but like many many people what I see and hear and read about is a powerful state behaving in an apalling way to a weak neighbour. I am not claiming that Palestine as a ‘state’ is innoocent in this and I deplore terrorism of any form – but it is the innocent amongst the Palestinians who seem to suffer. The Israeli response often seems to be disproportionate. The wall/fence is unforgivable, the restrictions of the free movement of people on their own lands is shocking – I could go on but I think you get the piccture and have heard the arguments before. This is not anti-semitism, I wouldn’t care a fig about the ethnicity/religion of who is doing it, it is wrong. It is as wrong as Mugabe’s regieme in Zimbabwe. Now you can shoot me down in flames but I know many many people who feel this way but are afraid to speak out because they will be accused of anti-semitism. I do not need to state my pro-Jewish credentials though I could but I my conscience demands I speak my mind. I cannot condone much of the Israeli response to their neighbours. It does not feel like a measured response to what is admittedly at times wicked behaviour by a minority and at times feels more like an anti-arab stance.

    • Stephanie Gutmann says:

      “I don’t make any claims to have an in-depth knowledge of this but like many many people what I see and hear and read…”

      Scrivener, My diagnosis is that your less than “in depth knowledge” has been culled from reading and watching many of the uninformed or out-and-out anti-Israel sources around. The BBC, perhaps? The Guardian? Not every criticism of Israel is antisemitism certainly, but it’s a matter of degree, tone and disproportionate focus. As a famous jurist once said about pornography, “Maybe I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.”

      The nagging obsession with Israel one sees in the MSM, the disproportionate focus, the willful blindness to facts, the simplification of a complex story to a cartoon narrative of brutal, swaggering Israelis (“a powerful state behaving in an appalling way to a weak neighbor” as you put it) versus helpless Palestinians just reeks of antisemitism to me.

      If you study the rhetoric and the new media narrative about Israel you will see that the old rhetoric about the old demonized Jew — at once weak and grasping but somehow sinisterly, near supernaturally all-powerful– has simply been transposed on Israel. You would not understand this fully until you do a study of the history and of the reality on the ground, but then you will be amazed at the transmutation. It is not acceptable to hate the Jews (we’ve been told that since we were babies, right?), but it **is** acceptable to tell wild tales, to believe the worst without question, about Israel. In other words, the new demonization of Israel seems to fill the same human need as the demonization of the Jews once did. The themes of the anti Israel rhetoric are amazingly consistent with the old Der Sturmer-esque “case” against the Jews. For yes, it is demonization to insist that Israel should be charictarized by “inhumane treatment of Palestinians.” That is simply not the case. No group of people at war with group has made as many concessions as Israel.

      You seem like you are interested in truth, Scrivener, so I suggest you go on a quest. Fill in your “less than in depth knowledge”. First, if you can’t actually visit the area right now, do a lot of reading: “O Jerusalem” by Lapierre and Collins, Jerusalem by Martin Gilbert. The Six Day War by Churchill (Winston’s grandson.) The history of the Yom Kippur War by the reporting staff of the Times of London. Then read this blog, Khaled Abu Toameh’s postings at the Hudson Institute blog, Solomonia blog, and Bret Stephen’s columns at the Wall Street Journal. Lastly, for a who, what, where, when and why of media bias vis a vis Israel read my book (available on Amazon) “Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy” (By Stephanie Gutmann)

      God speed to you!

      • scrivener says:

        I just spent many minutes composing a reply which was entirely erased when I clicked Add so I am being more cautious this time. If this works I will carry on. But my first point is that, as predicted and despite Chas’s reassurances I have already beeen accused of anti-semitism. Why must many of the supporters of Israel always hide behind this rhetoric instead of putting forward reasoned arguments as to why the accusations are unfounded, untrue, unjust etc. I am not denying that you have also put forward arguments and made suggestions as well as accuse me of anti-semitism but it is such a heinous and insulting and rude thing to do that it overshadows and to an extent obscures anything else you have to say. I cannot help it – as a caring human being – not perfect – but somrone who tries hard to fight prejudice and injustice internally and externally whenever I see it – it hurts and makes me angry that this low trick is always used to supress comment and dissent.

        • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

          “I have already beeen accused of anti-semitism”

          Where?

          “It hurts and makes me angry that this low trick is always used to supress comment and dissent….”

          The fact you claim it is “always” used puts a question mark against your credibility.

          As I said already, your argument is a red herring that is regularly employed by Israel’s critics. It is also a trick sometimes used by antisemites to try and deny Jewish people the right to point out antisemitism where it does exist.

        • Stephanie Gutmann says:

          Scrivner. Fine, absolutely. I would love to put “forward reasoned arguments as to why the accusations are unfounded, untrue, unjust etc.” People of my persuasion sometimes shy away from this because people like yourself have a habit of dumping so many unfounded, untrue, unjust accusations into one paragraph that’s it’s hard to know where to start. But, perfect, let’s proceed accusation by accusation. Why don’t we start with your idea that Israel behaves in an “appalling way to a weak neighbor.” Why don’t you describe the “appalling” things Israel has done and we’ll discuss them. Then we’ll get on to the “weakness” of the (Iranian armed and EU/US financed) neighbor

        • Stephanie Gutmann says:

          Scrivener, I would also suggest that you tone down your rhetoric. If you start by using bad faith terms like “hide behind”and “trick” in your descriptions of our arguments we will be inclined to think you came here to accuse and hate and not to discuss and clarify.

          • Konchesky says:

            Creepy isn’t he? (assuming he.)

          • scrivener says:

            Thanks for your helpful contribution Koncheskny …..

          • scrivener says:

            Quote:’(See my responses to Srivener and Kornstadt on this thread for more on that.) After all, for there to be so much misinformation, there must be a willfullness, a motivation to reject conflicting information…and what is driving that?’ Let she who casts the first stone…..I had hoped to get some enlightenment and a reasoned discussion here but the unpleasantness and accusations started immediately. I will read the books you recommend as I want to understand what drives the conflict and for the record I am no fan of the Guardian though I do read it along with the Times, the Telegraph, the New York Times and many other online publications and blogs – anything but the Daily Mail really. However I don’t think there is any point in continuing the discussion here as the unpleasantness makes me feel quite unwell. I certainly did not come here to accuse and hate – was careful not to do that – I have no reason to but I have been called creepy, Chas says my arguments are too ridiculous to even bother answering and you imply I am an anti-semite. Not a great start. I stress my criticisms are of the actions of the Israeli government not towards all persons of a particular race or ethnicity. I am almost certainly of Jewish extraction and am married to a Jewish woman whose grandmother perished en route to Auschwitz. I said I wouldn’t do that and I hate myself for doing it – I shouldn’t have to display any credentials to hold an opposing view but there I have done it. I wonder if that will attract adverse comment too.
            If I have been taken in by the propaganda of the mass media most of whom you seem to assert are anit-semitic then it may make me a fool – it does not make me guilty of ‘DEMONIZATION, distortion, willful blindness, and moral double standards.’ I have always been torn between a deep mistrust of the press and a great admiration for journalists who put their lives on the line in order to tell the truth. If I believed that organisations like the BBC and the Guardian really were shot through with anti-semites then I – well I don’t know what I would do – the thought is too depressing to contemplate. Best wishes

        • Sally Isaac says:

          You ask a qurstion about facts BUT you didn’t read Stephanie Guttmans rely to you,or you only saw what you wanted to Because she gave you ALL the info you needed to get the FACT about the way in which the British press,in particular ,as well as many others mis report the conflicts and never report what has happened to the Israelis,as they wait for a bus on their way to work every day.SO do the recomended research and then make a judgment,in an informed manner.

    • Jerry says:

      To Scrivener: We all lack modesty in terms of our beliefs, which are almost always irrational and irrationally acquired. I do not know how you will integrate this insight into your understanding of yourself, but it is imperative that we all do so.

      The brain is stupid. Unfortunately, it reacts most strongly to loud stimuli. It is far easier to hear and understand a loud message than a whispered one. Marketers know this. Politicians know this. Preachers know this. Singers know this. Dancers know this. The louder the stimulus (auditory, visual, gustatory, haptic), the truer the message. Right? Well, we know that “loud” does not make “right,” but our brains do not. Our songs are nihilist in content and are song loudly by our children. Thus, our children are nihilistic in outlook.

      How to overcome this tendency to believe the “loud!” By comparing. Put conflicting arguments up against one another; then make your choice without reference to “loud.” Read conflicting books. With regard to the topic at hand, visit Israel! Walk the streets in Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. Then make your judgments again. Always remember that strength of belief is no proof at all of its correctness.

    • Geoff says:

      Scrivener, why do yourefer to the wall/fence as unforgivable? It was erected to reduce substantially the number of suicide bombings. Is that not a laudable aim? What, if anything, would you have done instead?

    • Margie in Tel Aviv says:

      I would like to answer just one of the charges you made. That is that “The wall/fence is unforgivable,” This leads me to assume that you have put no research into the matter but have accepted instead the complaints of those who have no understanding of the history of the conflict.

      This barrier was built to prevent the incursion of suicide bombers into Israeli territory and it was over 90% successful. If you recall that suicide bombers targeted the innocent and the weakest members of society, children on their way to school in buses, families in restaurants, in pizza places, school children at a discotecque then you will perhaps understand the horror of the suicide bombers and the need to prevent them doing their vicious worst.

      If you knew all this and still said ‘The wall/fence is unforgivable’, then there is no hope for you.

      • Sadly dear Margie
        There is no hope for you either
        I beg you with you, I plead with you to read a book by Mark Thomas called Extreme Rambling. He walked the whole length of the WALL and spoke with all people. He admits he didn’t speak with Real Israelis who apparently have no interest in Palestinians or their suffering, especially those from Tel Aviv (hedonistic and blind to the rest of the world he was told by his Israeli co-ordinator, Nava). I would also make clear Mark is an unapologetic human rights man and hates racists wherever they come from. Every time I encounter Chas’s blog I am appalled by the unwillingness of most of his correspondents to engage in proper dialogue. Some of Mark’s guides were ex IDF and had become members of Combatants for Peace and Breaking The Silence. History shows that when your own soldiers turn against the State and the State starts to persecute its own people as for example Israeli Arabs, then the writing is clearly on The WALL
        READ the book please
        Richard Morris

        • Roni says:

          Richard, Seriously?? Are you that self righteous, “I beg you with you, I plead with you to read a book by Mark Thomas called Extreme Rambling. He walked the whole length of the WALL and spoke with all people. He admits he didn’t speak with Real Israelis who apparently have no interest in Palestinians or their suffering, especially those from Tel Aviv (hedonistic and blind to the rest of the world he was told by his Israeli co-ordinator, Nava).”
          Are you kidding me?? Did Mark Thomas also speak with people in Tel Aviv who lost their love ones in suicide bombers attacks over the last 2 decades????? huh? Israeli’s not care about Palestinians? It takes 2 to tango. Show me one Palestinian who care about Israeli! How blunt can you be?? Go read some more books obviously you haven’t reached full enlightenment in your path to the truth.

  7. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    Scrivener, thanks for contributing.

    You attach a lot of “seems” to some of your claims, so let’s concentrate on the more direct points you made:

    1) Regarding what you call the “unforgivable” wall/fence. Since it went up suicide bombings have reduced by over 90 per cent. I assume you do not want a return of the old days when suicide bombers regularly blew up schoolbuses, pizza restaurants and nightclubs in Israel. So how, in the absence of the wall you oppose, would you stop that happening?

    2) Can you tell us more about “the restrictions of the free movement of people on their own lands”, including precisely how you understand that this takes place and why?

    3) Please tell your friends who are “afraid to speak out because they will be accused of anti-semitism” that they need not worry. I have never seen a mere critic of Israel accused of antisemitism. I have, however, seen plenty of Israel critics claim they will be. It’s a red herring.

    • Toby says:

      Chas

      I read your blog often and enjoy it. Sometimes it makes me angry because I disagree with you..but I always come back to read more.

      I have to say that I hear “mere critics” of Israel accused of antisemitism often. I for one, am a proud Jew who is critical of Israel’s stance and have been accused of “internal antisemitism” by fellow Jews.

    • Alastair S. Murray says:

      Yes, Great post Chas, I too believe G-d placed Israel and her people in our hearts and have been to Israel many times, have business partners there, an apartment in Jerusalem, and all of my closest and most loyal friends are Jews!
      And with regards the “Wall” that anti-semitic media such as the BBC and so many others like to harp on about – it is 5% Wall, the rest is a fence, albeit a very secure fence (seiemic detectors, infra red and many other advanced technologies.
      I also like to quote – 5 Nobel prizes across 1.6 Billion Islamic people (which includes the Terrorist Arafat), and 186 across 12 Million Jewish people. Companies like Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola have their most advanced R&D centres in Israel – now just why might that be?
      Anyway, blessings to all the Pro-Israel supporters here from Sunny Western Australia (and I too was born and grew up in Windsor!!).

      • iain d says:

        “5 Nobel prizes across 1.6 Billion Islamic people (which includes the Terrorist Arafat), and 186 across 12 Million Jewish people”

        Well there’s only 22 from the whole of Central and Southern America. Must be an incredibly stupid continent, yes?

        “now just why might that be?”

        I would think that the discrepancies between advanced developed countries and technologically inferior developing ones would be pretty self-explanatory.

      • Toby says:

        Yes the Nobel prize is an objective measure and is in no way subject to political and economic influences. *rolls eyes*

        • 5ftflirt says:

          Science prizes have objective criteria, and most Nobel prizes going to them have been that kind. (otoh Yassir Arafat and Barack Obama were both given peace prizes.)

      • Dear Alistair and Arie Karpf
        You reveal why the hate goes on from both sides.
        If your best and only friends are Israeli/Jewish you must never discuss THE OTHER, that is those brown skinned people penned into ghettoes by a State that calls itself democratic
        They are called Palestinians.
        Don’t be too sure about vicious Islamic clans when you have a rabid racist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman a fraudster who supported Rabbi Meir Kahane
        Like others on this site I challenge you both to read Extreme Rambling by Mark Thomas and prove to me he is wrong or lying
        Richard Morris Writer and Performer Bitter Fruit of Palestine on YoouTube and vimeo.co

        • Clair says:

          Richard,
          I do believe that you genuinely seek truth and justice.
          If you’ll open the map of Israel, you’ll see that if anyone could be considered to be in a getho, it will be the Israelis.
          The palestinians in Gaza indeed aren’t free to go into tiny Israeli (how else could Israelis defend themselves from terrorits attacks?), but as far as the Israelis are concerned, they can go to Egypt and into the Sinay desert which is 3 times the whole area of Israel.
          Gaza has autonmy and doesn’t have any Israelis soldiers in it since 2005 (and they have autonomy since 1993). It doesn’t prevent the palestinians in Gaza from firing thousands of missles into Israel, which by reason which is beyond my understanding, the BBC fails to report the British public about.
          Israel is indeed a democratic state and moreover a state in which the court and justice standards are from highest in the western world.
          Why perception in those 2 matters is so false? I don’t know; but try to use your own brain, eyes and logic, not be fed by a biassed media.
          BTW, same goes for the conflict in Syria; both sides are killing each other, but the media blames only the regime (and Israel was always much more humane than that).

    • scrivener says:

      1) Just because an action results in an improvement it does not necessarily justify its use. Of course I do not want the carnage to return but it is a hollow victory if misery is the end result. I do not carry a torch for either side – I deplore the loss of life on both sides. The wall is not a permanent solution, the lesssons of history are being ignored. The only true way to solve the problem is through dialogue and understanding, compassion and negotiation and fair treatment for the peoples of both sides.
      2) I am talking about the farmers who can no longer reach their crops because the wall runs through the the middle of their farms and who would have to spend hours getting through Israeli checkpoints to even reach them. And then there are the Israeli settlements built beyond what was agreed to be the boundaries of the country. Or is allthis propaganda by the Guardian and the BBC. The BBC antisemitic? I really struggle with that one as I have always thought the pro-Israeli bias of the BBC very apparent.
      3) Check Stephanie Guttman and others …..

      • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

        1) Were not the suicide bombings “misery”?

        And again: how, in the absence of the wall you oppose, would you stop that happening?

        (Your responses to 2) and 3) are too ridiculous to waste time on.)

      • AP says:

        This is a late reply, as I just read this post now. Let me clear up some issues, first of all, you are not anti-semitic, just mis-informed… as someone who actually lives in Israel, and have leaved here all my life, I have a perspective which you do not have.

        As for the “fence/wall” issue you raised, please note that the Israeli courts have dealt with the issue of the fence’s positioning from time to time, which is why the fence hasn’t been established in its entirety, in actuality, the fence has been moved from time to time based on rulings of the Israeli supreme court. It is sad that sometimes this hurts people, BUT, and here’s an example not a lot of people know about. There is a village on the border with Lebanon, called Ragar (which historically belonged to Syria), in 1967, the people of the village approached the Israeli army, and asked to be included within the territory of Israel, in 2000, when Israel withdrew from Lebanon, the UN itself forced Israel to pass a fence in the MIDDLE of the village… effectively splitting it in half, where the north half belongs to Lebanon… I see no one attacking the UN about this… also, a little bit before the war started in 2006, Hizbolla used the fact that the village is divided to try and capture soldiers.
        Another fact which is usually not mentioned is that the fence closely follows the 1967 lines (what is called “The green line”) with corrections for land-marks (mountains and such), and as stated, it is being closely watched by human rights groups which have no problems taking the army/government to court…

        I am open and ready to fully discuss history, politics and everything related to this conflict, my family has paid in blood for this country, I have lost friends throughout the years so I know firsthand how ugly and terrible war is, however, it is also a well known fact that if the other side stops fighting there will be peace, but if Israel lays down its arms, there will be no Israel.

        I look forward to your comments, if those are still relevant.

        • Cesium says:

          I realize that it’s an obsolete, deserted thread, and unlike my compatriot above I have no inkling for long political blog post exchange, I usually don’t even know where to start.
          I do suggest an alternative. Just Journalism (http://www.justjournalism.com) attempts to focus on media coverage of Israel and the Middle east, while trying to highlight the lapses from objective reporting.

      • Geoff says:

        Scrivener,
        Can you really draw a parallel between the death and destruction wrought by Palestinian terrorists on innocent Isrealis and the inconvenience caused to innocent Palestinian farmers by the wall? Should there ever be peace, Palestinian farmers will see their olive trees again; Israeli parents will never see their dead children again.

    • See my reply to Margie and READ and seek the truth Chas
      Richard

  8. Ruth says:

    Chas.
    Thank you for caring.
    Thank you for being a friend
    Thank you for standing up for justice instead of waiting for others to do it first.
    Thank you for sharing this inspiring and personal reasoning.

    Lovely line in the bible “I will bless those who bless thee and curse those who curse thee
    Ruth

    Ruth.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      That’s very very kind of you. Love the quote. Thanks.

  9. Snogs says:

    thank you.
    <3

  10. Shoshana RK says:

    Thank you for being a voice of reason, Chas. As a Jew (and now a dual citizen of both Israel and America), I can’t claim I’m unbiased and wouldn’t try to. But I do genuinely read and follow what goes on in Israel. I don’t read only one side, nor do I blindly believe what I’m told. I’m independent and vote for no particular political party consistently.

    I am just so damn tired of people assuming Israel is always (or even mostly) wrong, assuming I’m ignorant or blind for being supportive of Israel, assuming that what they read and watch in the media is the gospel. It’s sad, it’s unfair, and it’s frankly exhausting. Very few people will even listen when I try to have a calm, reasonable, informed discussion. Thanks for being a mentsch and an encouragement to keep believing that there are some fair and sensible thinkers out there (non-Jewish and Jewish).

  11. annie says:

    Well said and beautifully put Chas, and it’s very interesting for me to read your explanation.

    Carry on the good work! Thank you for providing a platform for Israeli-lovers of all backgrounds. The diverse community here gives me great cheer.

  12. Penny says:

    Thanks, Chas. In many ways your story is similar to that of my friend – particularly the ‘default’ position you describe. She now realises that she knew very little about the conflict yet had a reflexive, but relatively mild, ‘anti’ attitude. However, she also has the type of nature that values fairness, is open to other views and is ready to learn from them. This is a pretty critical factor. It’s sometimes the case that people form an opinion, internalise it and then it becomes a part of who they are; like being a life-long Labour/Tory supporter simply because your father was and his father before him-type of thing!

    Anyway, we met at a seminar, got talking and, as a result she began to investigate the history of Israel and the conflict with the Palestinians, taking her interested young teenage son along on the journey, too. She has been quite shocked by all she discovered, not merely because it has opened her eyes, but because she also realised how little most people know.

    As a result of all this, she is making her first visit to Israel with me in a few weeks time and has become quite a supporter.

  13. blahblahblah says:

    Surely Israel has more convincing defenders than proven liar and nauseating bully Dershowitz? Maybe not.

    • Stephanie Gutmann says:

      Ummm, yes it certainly does. Michael Oren, Tom Gross, Bret Stephens, Dore Gold, Martin Gilbert, Dominque LaPierre, James Delingpole, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt, George Gilder…I could go on all day.

      • blahblahblah says:

        Tom Gross? Tom Gross?!?
        LOLMFAOPIMP!
        That guy is a major league fucktard.But at least I know you are not worth taking seriously,thanks.
        xxx

  14. Hawkeye says:

    Chas.

    Thanks for sharing your personal story with us. You are a true inspiration and a shining light in a dark world.

    Hawkeye

  15. Duvid Crockett, King of DeLancey Street says:

    Chas, you’re the best. Loved this article.

    By the way, there is a re-count going on in Hampstead and Kilburn, with Glenda in the lead by just 17 votes at the first count, according to the BBC.

  16. Duvid Crockett, King of DeLancey Street says:

    After the re-count it seems Glenda’s won it by 42 votes. Sigh.

  17. Mitnaged says:

    Chas, an excellent article.

    Please keep on writing! You are another breath of fresh air.

  18. Avi says:

    “I don’t mean to be flippant when I ask surely the bigger mystery is not why I oppose antisemitism but why more other people don’t?”

    You are not being flippant, you are talking just like a Jew, answering a question with a question!

    Thanks for being you Chas and thanks for thinking through things and caring.

    Shabbat Shalom friend!

  19. Mikey says:

    I was wondering….

  20. Paul says:

    Great article Chas, I’m having a debate with a Canadian leftie on my own blog who is rather anti-Israel. That said she has a kind heart and is just wrong on a few issues (although other commentators on her blog are anti-Semitic). I’ve also pointed here in this blog’s direction and this article in particular thanks. Now lets convert her to a fan of Israel the only democracy in the Middle East! The debate is here:

    http://amodernlibertarian.blogspot.com/2010/05/democracy-declining-israeli-deputy.html

  21. Rivkah Cohen says:

    Thank you Charles! I never questioned why you blog about Israel but am thankful for your passion. What you share does have impact on those who know notta about Israel and Jewish people. They may hear you when they will not hear me.
    Thanks!

  22. Ahmed says:

    Hi Chas,
    I’m a British Muslim and am very interested in developing my thinking around what is happening in the Middle East – I’m really glad I came across your blog.
    That said, I was always curious why you seemed so passionate about Israel – this post clarifies it – Keep up the good work

    • Penny says:

      Ahmed – it’s so good to know you want to be open-minded and seek to understand both sides. I would suggest one book to read is Robin Shepherd’s ‘State Beyond the Pale’:-))

    • Jonathan S says:

      Hi Ahmed,

      I’m so pleased to read of your background and interest in Chas’s blog. Can you / would you feel comfortable telling us more about your interests and perspective?

      • Ahmed says:

        Hi Jonathon,
        I’m a British Born Muslim – I’m keen to see the other side of the story when it comes to the Middle East.
        Everywhere I go and most people I speak to seem to harbour this enmity towards Israel for whats happening in the Middle East – but I believe there’s 2 sides to the story and I’m interested in trying to understand things from a Pro-Isreali perspective.

        If theres any good sites you can recommend I’d be grateful

        • Stephanie Gutmann says:

          Hi Ahmed, I really recommend CAMERA.org. CAMERA stands for Committee for Accuracy in Reporting of the Middle East in America and despite that unwieldy name it’s a really informative site.

        • Jonathan s says:

          Also just try Reading the Jerusalem Post online, in English. It will give an idea of the ‘other side’.

  23. evaM says:

    I just came back from Israel( last night) and as you might understood from my few posts I am an Israeli living in Italy. I never questioned your Why’s Chas as I have lots of non Jewish friends in UK too who stand up for Israel as they are well read and documented and speak reason as you you do.Still you are a breath of fresh air and love reading your blog

    There is a saying “The best way to show that a stick is crooked is
    not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it,
    but to lay a straight stick alongside it.”
    Thats what you do Chas , you lay straight sticks, thank you.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      What a lovely saying, I hope I can live up to it. Grazie mille!

  24. Brad Brzezinski says:

    Perhaps the whole thing can be explained by your interest in Jewish cuisine. You are obviously insane.

    More seriously, I have come to think that The Jews were set up to be scapegoats and also that they are (in the larger sense), harmless. This derives from the “Chosen People” ethos of the religion that causes it to not seek converts as well as attracting animosity.

    Societies that give in to hatred will hate Jews among others. As Jews are a universal target, antisemitism serves as a sign of societal sickness. Projected hatred is the best way to avoid self-examination.

    It’s just a hypothesis, but every time I think of examples it seems to be valid.

  25. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    Thanks so much for all the comments. I’m going to reply properly tomorrow. Am wiped out by election excitement!

  26. Dano says:

    Chas I thought it was you – I was one of the early contributors to the Gooner fanzine, back in the early 90s, and I’m sure I remember your (distinctive) name from those days. Have an inkling you might have written for the other one (1-0 down)?? Anyway, sterling work on here my friend….

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      Thanks Dano! Yes, I wrote a column for 1-0 Down, 2-1 Up. 15 years ago – wow! Good to hear from you. Thank goodness we got third! I write official club books now!

  27. Jude says:

    Chas, – you are a definitely a mensch & not a mouse :)

    Thank u for your common sense & funny blog & your support .

  28. Stephanie Gutmann says:

    “I don’t make any claims to have an in-depth knowledge of this but like many many people what I see and hear and read…”

    Scrivener, My diagnosis is that your less than “in depth knowledge” has been culled from reading and watching many of the uninformed or out-and-out anti-Israel sources around. The BBC, perhaps? The Guardian? Not every criticism of Israel is antisemitism certainly, but the nagging obsession with Israel one sees in the mainstream media (the British and European media are the worst in this regard), the simplification of a complex story to a cartoon narrative of brutal, swaggering Israelis (“a powerful state behaving in an appalling way to a weak neighbor” as you put it) versus helpless Palestinians certainly is. Why do I say that? Because it simply smells like it. If you study the rhetoric and the new narrative you will see that the old rhetoric about the old demonized Jew, at once weak and grasping but somehow sinisterly, near supernaturally all-powerful has simply been transposed on Israel. You would not understand this fully until you do a study of the history and of the reality on the ground, but then you will be amazed at the transmutation. It is not acceptable to hate the Jews, but it is acceptable to tell wild tales, to believe the worst without question, about Israel. The demonization of Israel seems to fill the same human need as the demonization of the Jews once did and the themes are the same.

    You seem like you are interested in truth, Scrivener, so I suggest you go on a quest. Fill in your “less than in depth knowledge”. First, if you can’t actually visit the area right now, do a lot of reading: “O Jerusalem” by Lapierre and Collins, Jerusalem by Martin Gilbert. The Six Day War by Churchill (Winston’s grandson.) The history of the Yom Kippur War by the reporting staff of the Times of London. Then read this blog, Khaled Abu Toameh’s postings at the Hudson Institute blog, Solomonia blog, and Bret Stephen’s columns at the Wall Street Journal. Lastly, for a who, what, where, when and why of media bias vis a vis Israel read my book (available on Amazon) “Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy” (By Stephanie Gutmann)

    God speed to you!

  29. Kronstadt says:

    Interesting, although it’s a bit odd how you can jump from an interest in Jewish culture and history (which I share) to strong and uncritical support for Zionism (which I don’t). I also object to the suggestion – which is often trotted out by Zionists – that anyone who dares to criticise the inhuman treatment of Palestinians by Israel must be anti-semitic or a supporter of terrorism.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      Thanks.

      But what’s ‘a bit odd’ about me having one thing in common with you, but not another? We can’t all be the same as you.

      And just to be clear, I have never said that Israel’s critics must be antisemitic or supporters of terrorism.

    • Alastair says:

      Kronstadt, you appear to be lacking in knowledge of the “Palestinian Problem”!! There is NO Palestinian People!! Never has been!! This is all a lie of Islam and the Arabs! I have Arab friends who live near Jerusalem – but they know how well off they are in Israel (look at Abu Ghosh as a fine example), and I have many Christian Palestinian friends, as well as some Arab Palestinian friends – but these friends despise Fatah and Hamas – sadly they are in the minority!
      And I have had rocks thrown at my car in Hebron, because my car has Israeli number plates!! Bethlehem is much safer (at this point in time) – Ramallah is deadly for us Christian Zionists!!
      Israel is my second home. The Israeli people have their nuances, but they are the #1 Peace-loving people on this Earth! Problem is very few Palestinians want “Peace” and it suits the Saudi’s and the rest of the Arab world to always portray Israel (the greatest welfare supporter of the “Palestinians”) in the worst possible light!
      When a tragedy occurs, Israel is always there, Europe and the USA are there! The Arab nations and Islam in general – give Nothing!! Saudi, with it’s UK and USA discovered, developed, built and operated Oil Wealth, gives NOTHING, Not Ever, to any World disaster, but more so, never to those suffering in Islamic countries. Good at financing Mosque’s though!!
      Again Chas, thanks for the opportunity to share with you all here.
      Blessings from Australia,
      Alastair.

      • Toby says:

        Alistair: “There is NO Palestinian People!”

        While you deny their identity in order to legitimase Israel’s, there is never hope of any peace. What a great pity.

        • Alastair says:

          Toby – rather than me giving a 100 references to this Fact (there is NO Palestinian People), I suggest you Google “the myth of the palestinian people” and do some research before blindly following the disgraceful bias of an antisemitic media, none more so than the BBC!
          But you are correct in “There will NEVER be Peace”! There never will be Peace until the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ! But no doubt you debunk Our Creator and Saviour as the fantasy of the uneducated and narrow minded! But the Bible is very clear about Israel and especially Jerusalem, His Land, with His City, for His People!

          • Toby says:

            Thank you for your google suggestion.

            I suggest you google “science”

            I find it ironic that you accuse me of “blindly” following and then rant about Jesus and the Bible!

            Thank you also for confirming my earlier post; that criticism of Israel (or even a suggestion of support for the Palestinians) is often met with an accusation of antisemitism.

            Have a good day.

          • Jill says:

            If people do not understand the nature of jihad, they will never understand anything about Arabs or their hatred for Jews and Christians, Israel and the West.

            Two points about the “Palestinians”.
            1)They are Arabs. Full stop.
            2) For a bunch of people commonly supposed to be trapped in the “jail” of Gaza etc, it’s odd how so many of them have emigrated via work/scholarships/education to America, Australia, Europe, IK, Ireland etc. they have worked and studied in the Gulf and made a forthune there.

            Odd isn’t it, how no one seems to care that they are oppressed/jailed in refugee camps in Lebanon, have had their Jordanian citizenship revoked by Jordan, were expelled from Kuwait in the early 90′s, were massacred in their thousands in the 70′s by Jordan.

            Gee, one would think the Arabs were running a campaign against Israel…gosh, could it be possible…?

        • Alastair says:

          Toby – you suggested I Google “Science”…
          What you suggest is that I am another Bible bashing imbecile with an IQ one could count on one hand!!
          Yes Toby, I live my life for G-d – not Allah – there is but One G-d – He of the Jews and the Christians!!
          But you appear to b an Atheist, so you need not worry about G-d until you find yourself standing before Him and having to account for your rejection of Him and your sinful life!!
          Then to use a “Red Dwarf”-ism, it will be “Brown Trouser Time”.
          Yes, mock us Christian and Jewish simpleton’s that “need that crutch” of G-d!!
          I AM going to pray for you!! Someone prayed for me after I, as a young ratbag, used to yell out obscenities about Jesus as I drove past a Church here in Australia!
          But God has a sense of humour, and that’s a fact, because it was in that VERY SAME Church, where I yelled obscene comments about Jesus, that He, the King of Kings, turned my Life around, redeemed me, forgave me of my Sins, and Set Me Free!!
          And now I Proclaim Jesus Christ is LORD”
          Amen!Blessings to all here, especially those who know him Now but even more especially those that were “Once Lost. but NOW FOUND”!! Hallelujah!!
          Sorry for such a lengthy post!!

          Alastair in Oz!

        • AP says:

          Toby, as a matter of fact, there is no such people as a “palestinian” people. The word “Palestine” was a name given to Judea by the Romans after their destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD (I assume no one argues with the fact that there was a Jewish temple then…) they did so in order to erase the existence of the Jews, by renaming the land to Palestine named after the Philistines which were an ancient people (archeologists assume that they came from the aegean sea) but also an “arch-enemy” of the Jews (the whole David and Goliath thing)

          It is also a historically documented fact that until 1967 there was no such thing as a Palestinian people, there was also no occupation, since in 1967 Israel got Gaza from Egypt and the west-bank from Jordan… the PLO was established in 1964, when there was no occupation of anything… so, again… you see where I’m going with this.

          In recent years, there was an interview of a former Knesset member Azmi Bshara, who publicly claimed that the whole “palestinian” issue was a made up thing, and that they see themselves as part of Syria (I’m sorry, I don’t remember where I read this, I assume you can google this easily enough). Also, Arabs who lived here circa-1948 claimed to be part of Syria themselves… In addition, the people who fled (most) or have been deported (some) were not natives to the area, as they came on the heels of the Jewish people who were coming back to Israel and developed the area. You can easily see this based on their family names… which denote where they came from.

          All that being said, they decided that they are a people, fine, acceptable, it happens all the time, BUT, they cannot claim that they have existed here for thousands of years and all that nonsense (some even claim that there was no Jewish temple in Jerusalem etc – I invite them all to Rome to view the Titus gate and see the menorah there… or the map of Jerusalem with the temple in the colosseum)

    • Stephanie Gutmann says:

      Kornstadt: re “I also object to the suggestion – which is often trotted out by Zionists – that anyone who dares to criticise the inhuman treatment of Palestinians by Israel must be anti-semitic or a supporter of terrorism.”

      I’m going to deconstruct this sentence. It’s full of straw men and I think you need to look at your thought process. Why do you need to erect straw men? What is this need to seethe about Israel all about? Anyway, first let’s take the word “dare.” As Chas points out, what is the penalty for criticizing Israel? The world is full of denunciation of Israel. The UN spends most of its time denouncing Israel. Much of academia spends its time devising boycotts and hosting “Apartheid Weeks.” The Guardian and BBC spill the most poisonous distortions and I don’t see them going out of business.

      But no, Zionists do not object to fair, reasoned, informed criticism of Israel. If we did we’d have to chuck out the entire Israeli newspaper industry. Like any vital democracy, Israel has an extremely frisky free press with more criticism of the state than the entire American and European MSM working overtime could ever generate.

      What Zionists object to (this Zionist, anyway) is DEMONIZATION, distortion, willful blindness, and moral double standards. And yes, your bit about “Israel’s inhumane treatment of Palestinians” falls into this category.

      First of all, it is ignorant to talk of a monolithic group called the “Palestinians.” It is an extremely fragmented and diverse society. Palestinians, by the way, kill more Palestinians than Israel has ever managed to do because it’s that kind of fragmented, tribal region.

      But are you talking about Hamas? Al Fatah? The Al Aksa Martyrs brigade? Those Palestinians? Well then yes, the treatment at times has been “inhumane.” Then again, Israel is at war with Hamas and etc. Hamas and co. have done things like stop a Jewish woman driving through the Gaza strip and kill her and her four children (all under the age of ten.) The two-year-old girl had been shot once through the head while still strapped into her car seat.

      So what Palestinians are you talking about? Are you talking about the millionaires who live in the hills around Nablus, or the middle-class drones who live in Ramallah or the poor who live in Gaza? But in general if you are talking about ordinary working people, then, no. I don’t think any country in history has worked as hard to protect the lives and livlihoods of an enemy population.

  30. evaM says:

    Chas
    BTW why has the your piece about Galloway gives me error? when I click on it?
    Has he done his usual and threatened you by one of his lackey’s?

  31. Dan F says:

    I think I am at that point you were at a few years ago. This is why I read your blog actually, and it was the arguments in your Not in my Name book which led me here.

    It also stems from my father, an Israeli Jew, although I was not brought up Jewish nor did I have much contact with my father’s side of the family.

    I would be interested if you provided a list of good books to read. I see a few mentioned, but I would want them to be as open as possible on the current situation.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      Firstly, Dan, thanks for reading Not In My Name. If that book led you here I’m very pleased.

      My recommended books:

      By Sir Martin Gilbert: Israel – A History.

      By Robin Shepherd: A State Beyond The Pale

      By Daniel Gordis: Saving Israel, Coming Together, Coming Apart and Home To Stay.

      Alan Dershowitz: The Case For Israel, The Case For Peace and The Case Against Israel’s Enemies. Also try and get his DVD also called The Case For Israel.

      By Rich Cohen: Israel Is Real

      By Anton La Guardia: Holy Land, Unholy Way (older but more balanced).

      I also enjoy biogs of the various Israeli PMs from down the years.

      Hope these help as a starting point.

      • Dan F says:

        Hey Chas,

        I did not waste any time in purchasing some of these books, and I already made my way throught A State Beyond the Pale. This book really took the issue in hand and helped to clarify the uneasy feelings I had in relation to the conflicts.

        When I first read Not in my Name, your section on Israel went some way in explaining how I felt. It was good to see that I had a reason to be concerned. Nick Cohen’s What’s Left also helped me, particularly in examining why so many who put themselves in this political spectrum have such a distaste towards Israel. To know that I am not alone in this thinking within this political spectrum is wonderful and liberating. I always had a sense of unease when discussing Israel with my Lefty friends, all of whom we “anti-Israel”. It was almost a given that you HAD to be if you wanted to still remain part of this grouping. I want to examine this some more too, but at least I have some answers to give when there is discussion amongst my friends.

        The problem is so many people seem to love being blind to the obvious. They see it as some sort of betrayal of their values to even consider looking at the whole picture. They are happy in their ignorance. I know that if I were to pass some of these books to them, they would refuse to read them because they just see them as Israeli propaganda, yet refusing to acknowledge that they have been swayed by propaganda their whole political lives.

        I guess it is just frustration on my part that I can never seem to have an open discourse with people, that it always has to sink down to the typical reactions I get when I defend Israel, particularly because of my family origins.

        Anyhow, once again, thank you for these recommendations. They are most useful in my exploration on this issue. I feel ten times more confident already and feel that I am on the right path.

        • Stephanie Gutmann says:

          What a great post, Dan F. There’s hope for humanity…Re your friends: You might ask them if they think it’s possible they could have been subjected to barrages of Palestinian Authority propaganda at some point in the evolution of their views.

          I’ve found the stock (and terribly ignorant) response to this parry is something like, “The Palestinians don’t have the resources to generate propaganda.” There is this condescending, racist idea that the Palestinians are sort of noble savages, that they all live in little shacks and have to beg for alms, while the reality is that the West Bank is very diverse, a place of elegant villas, universities, upscale shops and even a stock exchange.

          As far as PR, they are rich with the stuff. The West Bank is chock-a-block with Western NGOs donating their PR services. Also the Palestinian Authority government diverts much of its EU and US-taxpayer financed-budget into propaganda or “outreach” or education or whatever you want to call it, which is directed in two directions, at their own population (this material is much more extreme and pornographically violent) and toward the west.

          Just one example: In Ramallah, among the many buildings that make up the sprawling Palestinian Authority government compound, there is a modern, well-appointed PR center, full of smooth, multi-lingual PR professionals and fax machines spewing out press releases, just like you’d see in any western government. (These days — I was last there in 2002 — they probably have somebody busy with Twitter and Facebook posts.)

          The bottom line: Remind your friends it’s not just the Israelis doing “hasbara.” Everyone does it and with Saudi, EU and US funds you can do quite a lot of it — for the benefit of useful idiots like your friends.

          • Dan F says:

            Thank you for this Stephanie. This is exactly the type of things I am looking for when in discussion with my friends.

            You are correct in the assumption about the pov that most people have of Palestinians, i.e “noble savages.” That is absolutely spot on! People are so set in this view, that they cannot see past their irrational thoughts or even take stock of the fact that it is not like that out there.

            But again, it is so hard to get past that view when the media does so much in propogating it, especially media which is supposed to be impartial. All the images you tend to see of the territories is dilapidated buildings and dusty market places. The left media is so good at getting across this image.

            It is frustrating, but I live in hope. What is worse is the ignorance of it all, the lack of actual interest from people to find out things for themselves. When it comes to dissing Israel they are quite prepared to accept what the media says as gospel, but are distrustful of anything which puts Israel in a positive light.

        • Stephanie Gutmann says:

          Oh God! I know. It is so frustrating. I used to ask people I met, people who hadn’t been there, to tell me what they believe the West Bank looks like. The answer was always the same. They’d say, “I see dust, I see rubble, I see ragged, shuffling people behind barbed wire.” This is absolutely absurd. There are parts of the West Bank that look like Beverly freaking Hills! Recall that in 2002, according to the International Monetary Fund Mideast director Nigel Roberts, the Palestinian Authority was the recipient of “the highest per capita aid transfers to a developing country in the history of foreign aid.”

          I don’t think there is any other issue in which the gap between reality and media portrayal is so large…which is why, inevitably, people who follow this issue come around to the notion that most of the fervent anti-Zionism is really just the old anti-semitism repackaged. (See my responses to Srivener and Kornstadt on this thread for more on that.) After all, for there to be so much misinformation, there must be a willfullness, a motivation to reject conflicting information…and what is driving that? It’s like watching people covering their ears and chanting “nyah, nyah, nyah…I don’t hear you!…I’m not listening.”

          I didn’t want to come on this blog to plug my book, that wasn’t my starting point at all, but it seems to be inevitable because my 2005 book was an exploration of the media coverage, of the reality/perception gap and the possible reasons for it. And it’s not just down to anti-semitism (it would have been a very boring book if I’d just banged on about that.) Much has to do with the need, a commercial need, for a instant good/bad/up/down/black/white story that’s easy and cheap for media organizations to get. There are as many news bureaus in Jerusalem as in London or Moscow. There’s a reason for that. It is easy, safe, and cheap to go out and get “good television” that can be packaged in a dramatic, heart-tugging (and of course vastly over-simplified) narrative. Your reporters don’t complain like they would if you try to station them in the Sudan. Hell! They don’t get kidnapped and killed. They get a nice, democratic, modern government (Israel) that for the most part tries to help foreign reporters even when they come to the region on a sort of journalistic jihad.

          Anyway, bottom line: add “Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy” (Encounter Books, find it on Amazon) to your reading list

          • Jill says:

            “After all, for there to be so much misinformation, there must be a willfullness, a motivation to reject conflicting information…and what is driving that”

            Hi Stephanie,

            what is driving this “Palestinianism” as Bat YeOr calls it, is the Euro Arab Dioalogue, a series of conferences and strategies that have defined the relationship of Europe to the Arab countries. If you ahve a look at http://www.dhimmitude.org, there’s a document called “The Euro Arab Dialogue and the Birth of Eurabia”.

            This is a brief version of the book which I am now reading: Eurabia:The EuroArab Axis by Bat YeOr.
            It is most illuminating and reveals that all this antiIsrael stuff is actually policy as defined and PAID FOR (via cheap oil to EEC, now EU) by the Arabs. It is no concidence that Israel has been demonised wholesale and simultaneously in textbooks, culture, politics, universities, media, economics via boycott movements etc, plus of course all the Muslim-based violence against Jews in Europe. None of this is an accident.

            Excuse the haste with which I write this. Anyhow, check out the document and the book – it’s horrifying that Europe once again chose to aid in destroying the Jews but at least once one knows the true story one can take action.

          • Dan F says:

            The book has been added and it is most welcome. Thank you so much!

    • pete says:

      “Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict” by Charles D Smith is a useful reference if a bit dry. Goes a long way back and takes a neutral perspective.

  32. Fun Joel says:

    Thanks for this, Chas! We appreciate it, and also hope it spreads. :-)

    Now… what is progeria, and how do we work towards a cure?

  33. Jill says:

    Oh yes, Chas, I too wish to know – what on earth is Progeria?

    Is it fun? :)

  34. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    Progeria is no fun. You can read about it (with relevant links) here http://www.oyvagoy.com/2010/04/24/marathon-weekend/

  35. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    And thanks for all the lovely comments here. It will take me time to respond to all the different points but I will do so. Thanks again, it means a lot to have so many responses to such a personal post.

  36. TonyS says:

    Great post Chas, pretty much sums up my views too. I wouldn’t vote Tory in a million years though, you could do with rethinking that one. How about if we get rid of Broon?

  37. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    Get Blair back and I’ll walk over hot coals to vote Labour again!

  38. Penny says:

    The Palestinian people, strictly speaking, didn’t always exist. And certainly, when Jordan and Egypt held sway in the now-Palestinian areas from ’48 – ’67, there was no apparent call for self-determination by such a group. This, plus the following quote, is quite telling:

    “Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian
    identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel”

    – Zuheir Muhsin, late Military Department head
    of the PLO and member of its Executive
    Council, Dutch daily Trouw, March 1977

    However, we are where we are and have a group of people who define themselves as Palestinian. They have to find a way forward with their lives and so this issue would probably be best viewed dispassionately.

    In my view, some insight into the motivation of Hamas must be addressed if the conflict is to be seen realistically. It is pointless to keep demanding land concessions from Israel if Hamas is motivated by something other than land.

    That Hamas is in this for the long-haul seems apparent to me by their Charter and by their indoctrination of people from cradle to grave. If your goal is peace you don’t fill the minds of children with hatred, the glory of dying shahid and the fear of dying in other circumstances due to the little-known doctrine of ‘adhab al-qabr’ (torments of the grave). Whilst Gazan society is geared towards hatred and conspiracy to the extent that it is (which is pretty much all-consuming), no piece of paper with the signature of a few world statesmen will achieve a humane and lasting outcome for all those involved.

    Israel has proved that it can and will exchange land for peace, and in Gaza, the people had a chance to make a go of things but instead their leaders chose to demolish million-dollar, economy-boosting greenhouses and other perfectly good structures left by the Israelis, and commence rocket attacks instead. This clearly isn’t about land, peace or creating a self-determined society as many people in the West understand it.

    My view is that the on-going aid pumped into the region needs to be reviewed. This isn’t as horrible as it may seem – I just find it unbearably sad that the aid is propping up a system which indoctrinates small children and wrecks lives. This aid seems to me to be keeping the Palestinian people rooted in the mire and unable to form a coherent, productive and happy society of their own.

    As I’ve said before, my husband’s family were exiled from Egypt and Syria (their homes for centuries) in the ’50′s because they were Jews. They lost everything they had and were only allowed to take a couple of suitcases (clothes only) with them. Even their jewellery was taken from them at the port. They arrived in their host country penniless, fearful, unable to speak the language and faced with a culture they didn’t understand. Their refugee status was single-generational and as a result they had to make a go of things – and they did. They worked hard, their children went to university and all were productive members of society. None have ever felt the need to strap bombs to themselves and blow up innocent Egyptians and Syrians. Indeed, I haven’t heard such a thing occurring amongst the near-million who were exiled along with them from all over the Middle East.

    There are other instances in the world – the partition of Cyprus and India/Pakistan for example, in which refugees have been single-generational, to their benefit.

    Journalists such as Khaled abu Toameh have spoken loudly about the manner in which the aid has been used – Arafat’s private plane; his wifes legendary spending sprees; the casino he built instead of a much-needed hospital, his two-faced rhetoric, speaking ‘peace’ to the Western leaders whilst speaking ‘jihad’ to his own people. Khaled has toured American universities trying to outline the corruption of the Palestinian leaders – because he feels passionately about his people.

    Until the world acts more honestly about the ideology, actions and corruption amongst the Palestinian leaders, it seems to me that a long-term and happy outcome for the ordinary people is almost non-existant.

    Incidentally, the son of the man who formed Hamas, Mosab Hassan Yousef, has written a book about his decision to join the Israeli side. Broadly speaking, his reason for joining Shin Bet arose from having witnessed the movement that his father initiated transform into something he saw as destructive to his people.

    • Stephanie Gutmann says:

      Wow! Amazing post, Penny! Are you listening Srivener and Kornstadt? By the way, I’ve bought the Son of Hamas book and it’s next up on my reading list…

      • Penny says:

        Thank you Stephanie:-)). Mosab’s book is in interesting insight into mindset and values. In describing how the ideology overtakes people he uses the image of a bird cornered by a cat. The cat moves from side to side in a way that that appears to be covering the same ground but is in fact a route that moves him ever closer to the bird, The bird is unable to detect the shrinking distance between him and the cat until its paw strikes him.

        Incidentally, there are a couple of books written about the exiled Egyptian Jews: ‘Man in the White Sharkskin Suit’ by Lucette Lagnado and ‘Out of Egypt’ by Andre Aciman.

        • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

          Thanks Penny. I have just ordered Man In the White Sharkskin Suit.

          Incidentally, ‘Dan F’ in a comment above asked for general recommendations. I suggested several, I’m sure others will have their own to suggest.

          • Penny says:

            Despite the subject matter, Lucette’s book is quite a gentle read, Chas. A story of the decline of her father from Egyptian businessman to a man trying to make a living selling ties to passers-by on American subways.

  39. Norman says:

    When I saw you were a gooner I just knew you were an all right bloke! Keep up the good work!

  40. Minnie says:

    It’s time I, too, said ‘thank you’ to you, your guest posters and those well-informed and thoughtful commenters whose contributions also illuminate otherwise murky matters. I have been learning a great deal during the past year, so am delighted to have discovered your blog (directed here by blog-friend, ‘martininthemargins’).

  41. Sarah Leah Lawent says:

    BS”D

    A lovely entry, Chas. It reminded me of something I read in a different blog today – it was in Israel Matzav about a non-Jewish, far left, NOT anti-Semitic (almost pro-Israel) journalist. And she said something like (not sure if this is verbatim)”it isn’t up to Jews to fight anti-Semitism, it is up to non-Jews to fight anti-Semitism”.

  42. Gratitude says:

    Thank you for making this world a better place. You are truly brave and decent, and your voice is so significant!!!

  43. Zyloff says:

    I read about your blog in an article posted by GIYUS.org about the “jury instruction” by Judge Bathurst-Norman which essentially aquitted defendants who destroyed an armaments factory because it was providing arms to Israel. Below is the email I wrote opposing that judge’s conduct.
    Thank you for standing up against the anti-Israel / anti-Semitic madness that seems to have taken hold in Britain. It is probably not possible to change the minds of most of those who are anti-Israel but it is possible to get the voice of those who are pro-Israel to be heard above their rants and thus, long term, to move Britain back to more objectivity. Please keep up the good work.
    Here is my email:

    I am an attorney in California. If a Judge here ever acted so arrogantly and dismissive of the rule of law, he would be severely sanctioned, and perhaps even removed from the bench, by the State Judicial Council. It is incredible that Judge Bathurst-Norman would interject his own jury “instruction” rather than giving only the approved instructions. It is clear that, being born in Jaffa, he considers himself a Palestinian first, a Brit second, and a judge last. He should never have been allowed to hear this case with his clear and obvious conflict of interest and bias that he never could have, and never did, rise above. The judiciary in Britain is responsible for who they allow to be and remain on the bench. There could be no clearer call to action for the removal of this judge from the judiciary than his conduct in this case. Many in Britain seem to be going the way of pre-war Germany in their expressed vitriole for Israel which is, fundamentally, disdain for Jews. Their anti-Israel sentiment provides a thin veil for their anti-semitic values and is not only scary but threatens to undermine the rule of law in Britain. Either the government gets ahold of this problem immediately or it will reach the point of no return where, as the Muslims have demanded, Sharia law and anti-Jew and anti-Israel rants become the rule of the day. Shame on this judge; shame on the judicary who brought him out of retirement to hear this case; and shame on all the Brits who are being consumed by their hatred of Jews and on those who are unwilling, or too afraid, to speak up before it is too late. This is the crucible that created Hitler.

  44. Alissa says:

    You seem to be a shining star in the dark! From the States, Alissa

  45. micki says:

    An excellent, articulate and considered answer to the question so many people (me included) have asked you. Thank you for giving me the link Chas………Kol Tov, Chaver!

  46. Ila says:

    Chas,
    Today was my first glimpse at your blog. I found it honest, interesting and refreshing.
    Thank you for supporting my country, it means a great deal to us when people actually stop and think an then draw their own conclusions. Unfortunatly that doesn’t happen very often. Maybe with your blog it will happen more.
    H’zak V’ematz (Hebrew for be strong and couragous)!
    Ila

  47. inbar says:

    i was almost found myself losing hope in the support of other citizens around the world in Israel. i think that most of the Israelis got use to Propaganda that pointing against israel in one hand, and the complete silence of the world on the other hand. Im an Israeli citizen, my parents raised me to believe and act in peace and Tolerance with the Palestinian. Im not happy to say that it is not the case on the other side. I lived in a village close to an Palestinian village and I heard each and every single day the Preaching from the Mosque, “itbach el yahud” well that means murder the Jews. That is unfortunately their spirit ( not all of them off course) – when you are little child in Israel and you see the world reaction to this ( and they were none) you get the wrong message that the Physical and the Literal violence are acceptable, Same also for the Palestinian children. I am very happy to see that not all the people in the world (even if it’s not much ) are completely blind and giving them the power to continue with their Conception.

  48. Olive Tree says:

    This is my first time visitinng your blog. How courageous you are! How wonderful to find sommeone in the UK who gets it! I did stumble on http://www.nolaughingmatter.tv in the UK. Funnny people who also favor Israel amidst the insanity of world opinion and world anti-semitism. One would think that the inmates have taken over the asylum to see how the world media reports falsely on Israel.

    Favoring Israel does not necessarily suggest that we like their particular governmental stance on any particular day. Coming from the USA, I can say that I often despise the actions of my own government. Loving Israel means that we can respect them and offer our permission and encouragement for their right to exist and thrive. I am a Christian. God’s word tells me that I should have the same view of Israel that God does. He loves Israel. It is the apple of His eye and he will bless those who bless Israel. That should be enough for annyone who also loves God.

    I pray that your BLOG continues to thrive and that you are blessed in every way…as God blesses those who bless Israel and curses those who curse her (Genesis 12:3).

  49. Or says:

    Very happy to see Stand With Us has chosen such a fit individual for this fantastic blogger adventure.
    Reading and following your every post and am proud to see that there are those who dare to challenge the herd’s hateful approach to Israel.
    As a secular Israeli who grew up un the states I am amazed by the disproportionality of biased view against Israel by the western world (on the contrary and to be honest I am not that surprised that the rest of the world isn’t too crazy about us – lack of freedom of press and speech prospers in the wrong direction of hate and extremism), mainly because of their war-filled history and more importantly because we actually share so many of the important and exalted values that progress humanity.
    Keep up the hope through your amazing work. You are more than welcome to visit my home in Tel Aviv.

  50. Keith says:

    “Good on ya” Chas..
    That yearning you feel so intensely for Yerushalayim & all Israel is coming from HaShem (ie. G-d) Himself even though many do’nt recognise it as such..
    Thanks for this blog. I can see that it’s born out of a genuine heartfelt passion. I know the feeling only too well &, unlike many, I understand why..
    G-d bless & שלום
    Keith (in Woking).. (:

  51. Keith says:

    …PS… Saw you & your blog advertised on IBA News..
    Keith.. (:

  52. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    Thanks for so many kind comments.

  53. Blair says:

    Hi Chas,

    Thank you so much for this great blog! It really means a lot. I like the design of this blog, your writing style and what you have to say.

  54. Margarita says:

    Hello neighbour:)
    I am Israeli living in Windsor, not Jewish though (wrong mum!). Used to be so passionate about Israel a while ago. Today after growing up a bit out my military shoes I do hear that there are two sides talking the truth, and that is a big change especially in interpersonal relationships (all my friends changed since I started to explain why we are not that good and where). I will just quote Shlomo Zand: “Even a child born as a result of rape, has a right to live…”
    Please do contact me as we live very close and I will be glad to give you a hand in translation or whatever you question(BA for political sciences).

  55. Steve Wenick says:

    Chas, I was wondering what there was about you and your blog that drew my attention and devotion, these last several months. After today’s entry, I now know why. Yasher Koach!

  56. Vince says:

    Hi Chas, I’ve followed your blog for quite some time now, and your starting point is so similar to mine:

    “As far as the Middle East conflict goes I suppose I had a typically default feeling of ill-informed pity for the Palestinians and therefore a vague hostility to Israel.”

    I have learnt a lot from your blog and its contributors, and thanks for shining a light into an area I thought I knew something about. To me there is a myth of “Israel as oppressor” which allows the vague hostility you mention, but also opens the door for more dangerous ideas to get in.

    Keep on keeping on – Israel needs friends like you.

  57. Julie Thum says:

    Hello Chas. I found your blog heartwarming & am filled with gratitude that you, a non-Jew, would publicize your feelings this way. I am first generation American & the daughter of 2 Holocaust survivors. It has always pained me, probably more than most, when I would hear antisemetic comments, which of course are those of ignorant people, but still painful nonetheless. I’m so glad you went to Israel, which, since it is the birth of Christianity & Islam as well, is interesting to almost everyone. It is a miracle, isn’t it, that after all the persecution & attempts at our annihilation, the Jewish people have not only survived, but have perservered & succeeded at many great things? I guess SOMEONE is watching over us & it certainly doesn’t hurt to have friends like you. Julie Thum

  58. Spurs! says:

    Great stuff. Ya had me goin 100% uptil that unfortunate part bout bein a gunner luver.
    Oh well, pobodys nerfect, keep up the fantastic work; perhaps your side can get a Defence and then maybe win a trophy or 2 :)

    Spurs champs of Eurabia 2011!!

  59. Jean Vercors says:

    My new article “ shows insolent ridicule or mockery, you may call it derision “

    I am Palestine
    Jean Vercors

    My people were invented by the Arab countries in the 60’s with the goal to destroy Israel.
    We came from, Syria, Egypt and Irak.
    No Arab political entity was called by that name before that date.
    I have no idea who before Arafat was a Palestinian Leader
    I claim borders for an Arab country that never was.

    I can speak Arabic that is my mother tongue, forget about the Palestinian Language

    I claim Jerusalem as my capital though not mentioned once in the Quran but mentioned 700 times in the bible.
    King David founded Jerusalem, Mohammed never set foot in it, so what ?
    Jews pray facing Jerusalem, Muslims face Mecca.
    If we Palestinians are between the two cities,
    we pray facing Mecca, with our backs to Jerusalem.

    Today There are 22 Arab countries, not counting Palestine.
    But We Muslims constantly scream and whine about Israel occupying Muslim lands in Israel.
    Israel is surrounded by hostile states 650 times their size in territory and sixty times their population.
    who is occupying what?

    BDS: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and all ignorant people have so much hate for the Jews that why they support us.
    And we like that…

    Don’t tell me ! The only true Apartheid states in the Middle East are Islamic states in which Jews are not allowed to live
    and where Christians, Copts, Kabyles, Baha’is and other religious minorities are objects of discrimination and persecution.
    Or that The entire Jewish population of Muslim countries had to flee as the result of violence and pogroms.
    I don’t want to hear it, that’s is not my business !

    I Want peace but I rejected the peace plan in 1948 and 2000.
    Why ? simply because I teach Jihad and martyrdom to my children,
    they are glorified as the means to liberating “Palestine” and children’s poems contain calls to war and bloodletting.

    I admit that we Arabs were supporters of Hitler in the 1930, The father of Palestinian nationalism. Haj Amin Al-Husseini,
    was a devoted Nazi who spent the war in Berlin and worked with members of the Third Reich
    to plan extermination camps for the Jews of the Middle East.

    BDS: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and I don’t like Israel’s Security fence
    that is an apartheid wall because I cannot commit suicide bombings and rocket attacks on Israeli citizens.

    We Arab refugees from Israel began calling ourselves “Palestinians” in 1967,
    two decades after (modern) Israeli statehood.
    no Arab country would take in us, the “Palestinians” who were invited into camps
    and were kept there by the Arab regimes to stir up hatred against the Jews.
    it suits Arab states very well to have the Palestinians endure permanent refugee status.
    our special thanks to UNRWA, an agency exclusively serving the Palestinian.
    a special UN agency that was created just for us and even better Some UNRWA personnel belong to Hamas.

    I am a base of thousands of rocket attacks against schoolyards and townships in Israel.
    I am a well known media manipulation expert and the anti Israel media bias love us,
    Have you ever heard of Pallywood ?

    I use Human shields : a military and political technique that is the deliberate placement of civilians
    in or around combat targets to deter an enemy from attacking those targets.
    Human shields are the weapon of our resistance.
    the use of human shields constitutes “perfidy” under Article 147 of the Geneva Convention IV defining the laws of war
    but we consider it a noble cause.

    I am proud to be Palestinian because i receive the most humanitarian aid per head of population
    ( in 2008, receiving US$2.6 billion and US$799 million respectively ).
    That’s right, Palestinian people receive the largest amount of donations worldwide.
    According to serious studies, during 2009 and 2010 the PA’s reliance on donations increased –
    with a 20% growth in donations, totaling some $3.96BN per year.
    In fact, the Palestinian people receive the largest amount of donations worldwide. we mean business.

    I preach and engage in violence and terror in order to destroy the state of Israel and replace it with an Islamic state.
    My virulent hatred of Jews and Judaism is deeply rooted in
    the anti-Semitic writings of Muslim Brotherhood theologians.
    I wish to thank the US and EU taxpayer, the UN and the anti Israeli media for their continued efforts in our ignoble cause.

    Jean Vercors

    • AP says:

      This deserves a post of its own! :)

    • Sally Isaac says:

      This really should be printed in the National press BUT would they print it?

    • Deb says:

      Whilst I agree with most of the points in this rather poetic piece, I do hesitate at the concept that there are no such thing as Palestinians. This is dangerous ground – the denial of a peoples’ right to self-identify, no matter how recent the identification. Don’t forget that it is as true to say that were no such things as Israelis before 1948 as it is to say that there were no Palestinians before 1967. As a Zionist and posessed of a terrible Cif addiction, it’s rare for me to come in on this side of the debate but it is right to be vigilant amongst ourselves and not be in any danger of becoming what we despise.

  60. I have a recipe that will fix Pesach problem- ( think of it as a spring cleaning) First place equal parts : prunes, apricots, peaches, raisens (all dried) 2 green aples diced, into a pot, cover all ingredients barely with water, add some honey, lemon and cinamin to taste. Cover and cook low for one hour, or until competely stewed. Cool, refriegerate. Will last weeks, I like it with plain yogert and some bran flakes.
    30 minutes ago · Like

  61. Mous says:

    Shalom / Salaam

    Firstly apologies if my grammar and syntax are incorrect.

    Posting here from Iran. I am also very interested in regional geopolitics. Having studied History, Politics & Religion in the West & East, I’m fortunate enough to have an unbiased prospective of issues. I suppose my interests began as my close childhood friend in Tehran was of the jewish faith and it made me question the persecution of his people, mirroring that suffered by shia’s over the last 1300 years.

    I would love to go to Israel, having already travelling in the rest of the M.E. I have respect for the Jewish peoples self-determination after years of persecution in Europe and since the beginnings of pan-arab nationalism.

    I’m also glad to know there are people question the held view of the anti-israel.

    Check out http://www.danielpipes.org website, great reporting on middle east affairs.
    Many may disagree with me here but please also checkout Norman Finklestein’s book, a very interesting read.
    If you can get a hold of Mark Twain and Bertrand Russell books, will give you a foundation to build upon.

    Thank you.
    M

  62. Yoni Sidi says:

    Good to hear something positive for once about Israel although i do wish there was a way of showing the majority the real facts about the situation, how we are the only democracy in the middle east, the history of the wars we have had to go through, what the 67 borders really are and why they are not a realistic request, the truth about the quality of life in Israel and the quality of people, doctors, start up companies..
    Any way Chas when you do get to Tel Aviv next then i would love to meet up and buy you a drink!

  63. Esther says:

    Can you (or any reader) recommend a book or few books to thoroughly cover the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a pro-Israel perspective? I’m pro-Israel and I find myself constantly in the situation of needing to refute anti-Israel views but not being sufficiently informed. Because I’m from a very liberal city the books in my library on the topic tend to be from the other side and unhelpful.

    • Dear Esther The very best books about Israel/Palestine are written by Jews or Israeli Jews. Unfortunately for your dream you will find unrelenting and irrefutable facts that demonstrate the iniquities of the founding of Israel and the crimes committed by the IDF. Ben Gurion was an utter racist not only to Arabs but to Sephardic Jews who still today are treated as second class citizens in Israel. The drivel that your hero Burden writes in JC and here is symptomatic of Zionist Hysteria. An Israeli Tour guide in reply to my congratulating her on the rescue of the Falashas, Black Ethiopian Jews asked “but would you want your daughter to marry one?” Like the ineffable Burden I am not Jewish but my wife and daughter have the right of entry into Israel and I am now proud great uncle to Moise, a Jewish Black French boy in Shanghai. If you really want to learn about the history of the conflict go on my blog and look for Books. Sadly I know from experience that as I write pens are being sharpened and anti semite being written and your mind already closing. It is a complex history and if you ever decide to remove the mote from your eye remember you don’t have to hate but to understand what the Palestinians have endured and to puzzle why Zionists don’t care about THE OTHER. One last thing
      Please don’t start screaming before you have read the history of both sides. Begin with Mourid Barghouti I Was Born There I was Born Here. “If you have tears to shed prepare to shed them now” Horace
      Good luck
      Richard Morris Writer and Performer Bitter Fruit of Palestine on YouTube and Vimeo.com Breaking Israel/Palestine Silence @wallsofdespair.blogspot.com

      • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

        Have you also read Mourid Barghouti’s other book, I Saw Ramallah? If so, do you recommend it?

        • I sent you an email by return with recommendations but returned?
          Yes Barghouti is brilliant as is Rajah Shehadeh, Palestinian Walks, Mahmoud Darwish, a supreme poet. Drinking The Sea at Gaza by Amira Hass should be required reading for some of the screamers on your blog. I apologise for my personal remarks about yourself. Feeling a litle tetchy when I read some of the nonsense and pathetic non-arguments submitted
          Shalom
          Richard Morris

          • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

            I’ve read ‘Drinking The Sea’ and will also try some of the others you’ve mentioned. I like to read all sides.

      • Stephanie Gutmann says:

        Richard Morris, There is a vast difference between societal friction and nationalized racism — the type that allows you to call an entire state “racist.” It looks like you have a rather over-developed, over-sensitized, injustice-collecting, and inappropriately hyper-vigilant definition of the term racist. A comment like “but would you want your daughter to marry one?” (which may have been meant as a mordant or acerbic — i.e. typically Israeli — joke) is not proof of a country’s racism. Sure, there is grumbling when a new ethnic group piles into a new country. In the 70s there was much grumbling and quiet sneering about the sephardim. In the 80s, 90s and to this day, the grumbled about group is the Russians (who are supposed to have brought alcholism, prostitution and organized crime) But nationalized racism is when a COUNTRY ADOPTS RACIST POLICIES. As far as I know (and I lived in Israel for about five years) there are no de jure policies which discriminate against Sephardim or Russians. The Russians, of course, are being swiftly assimilated and the Sephardim were assimilated long ago. I do not believe that anyone’s sephardic heritage is held against him or her in any way shape or form. Now there is grumbling about the Ethiopians. Eventually we will see them completely assimilated too. You hold Israel, this country which has to fight nonstop for this shaggy bit of turf and has assimilated wave after wave of generally penniless, traumitized immigrants, to an awfully high standard. By your definition, it’s a racist standard.

        • Now where was I?
          Why do I get all the ranters: I shouldn’t really bother but..
          No racist policies? Like so many Zionists you manage not to see The Other. Do you know who I mean? They are called Palestinians or Israeli Arabs who are discriminated against big time in Palestine and Israel. Do you not read Israeli Supreme Court decisions ? How would you like to be denied entry into your own capital and the place where you were born,
          Jerusalem? Have you ever had your olive trees and house bulldozed ? Have you ever had a ninety year old mother forced to cross a checkpoint with a drip in her arm?
          Please don’t attempt to take me on until you have read some serious history. The 1970′s and Sephardim? Read a Sephardic history at least to assuage your ignorance Discord in Zion by G Giladi a Sephardi Jew
          I am appalled with your rant
          Get reading I’ll even send you a list
          Richard Morris

          • Stephanie Gutmann says:

            Richard,
            1. So, you deal with people who disagree with you by calling them “ranters.”

            2. I doubt you’ll convince anybody with that smug tone of yours. So, you’re the only Jew who’s ever met a Palestinian? As it turns out, I am the author of a book (Encounter 2005) which required that I spend much time in the West Bank, with a Palestinian friend/translator. That meant plenty of time in West Bank homes, businesses, government buidings…but mostly homes and small businesses…getting to know people. I suggest you “get reading” and read what I found. It’s called The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy and if you read it waiting to pounce on “Zionist racism”, you’ll be very disappointed. As for other books, I’ve read plenty but will be happy to read some of the books you’ve mentioned.

            As for bulldozing homes and olive groves. Here’s a little test for you: Have you ever driven on a isolated road near Jenin flanked on both sides with dense olive groves? Me and my Palestinian friend were practically pissing our pants with fear. The modern-day highwaymen who hide in those groves know no racial or ethnic preference. They would have been perfectly happy to kill Farag–and even happier to kill me, an American and the most detested thing of all, a modern, independent woman, traveling with a man to whom she wasn’t married. Arab/Muslim culture is intensely anti-woman, and I say that from long experience as a young woman, sometimes alone, in the West Bank, Bahrain, and East Jerusalem.

            Given that they are at war, and forced to resort to tactics used by any other country at war, the IDF has cut down groves flanking roads when those groves were a security threat. They check “grandmothers with drips in their arms” at checkpoints for the same reason — as Hamas has been perfectly happy to wire up kids as young as eight and hide bombs under womens’ clothing. Ambulances are routinely used to carry armaments and militia operatives.

            The point is, EVERYBODY who presents a possible security threat gets searched because the Israelis are actually serious about protecting their population. I have been searched a number of times at checkpoints and my car all but x-rayed. I have been detained several times at Ben Gurion and I am a blue-eyed, American blonde, with a Jewish last name. Obviously racism in action…

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      Esther, try this post for book recommendations: http://www.oyvagoy.com/2012/02/12/recommended-books-about-israel/

      • As an Isreali who does not support unrestricted settlement in West Bank I say to Richart Morris that the minor injustice done to this or that Palestian may be amended with good will,but the appalling fact is that the Pal.s have rejected all honest and constructive plans and offers forwarded by prime minister Olmert and A.Barak and president Clinton (or at least ignored ,as was the case with Olmert)and insisted on the so called “right of returned”which means the toral destruction of the state of Isreal.
        I want to mention to R.Morris the fact that I myself am a Jewish refugee from Iraq-my parents had to flee from Iraq after terrible pogroms.Life for Jews became simply impossible.My parents -and I a boy of 5-came to Isreal with the shirt on our backs.My parents had lost all they had.The money in the banks had been “frosen”-this was the term they chose to describe a simple theft.For 5 years we lived in an army tent.Rows and rows of army tents but we never called that place a”refugee camp”.Neither did the goverment.The term used was “Ma’abara”which indicates a transitory situation from which one moves to a different state.This is in best Jewish traditon not to be overwhelemed by self pity but to brace oneself and endeaver to change the lot for the better.My parents moved to a nice flat after 5 years and we children live in very nice houses of our own.The Pals are the only group of people who are enamoured with the term “refugee”.They think it is some sort of a nobility title to be bequeathed to posterity.Open your ears and mind Richard and face the trut.As a Sephardy Jew I am telling u that Sephardy Jews are fully integrated .This does not mean that social friction does not exist anywhere.Do some reading about the war of 48 and the invation of the newly established state of Isreal by 5 Arab armies and I conclude with Shalom.

  64. Brian says:

    Chas, these are my sentiments also.

  65. Rivkah says:

    I thought this might be a helpful read/study on true Israel/Palestinian conflict history
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths3/foreignlanguage.html
    Rivkah

  66. I am afraid poor Deb just doesn’t get it. I hate to sound condescending but if you pretend as a Zionist and Cif junkie you have an open mind you are in the last stages of delusional double speak. I think most people I have read on this blog are blind being led by the bland. I would beg but know with sinking heart you won’t for to read my blog written today headed David Aaronovitch. Yes I am prejudiced against Zionists and I can give a million reasons why. When you have a rag like the Jewish Chronicle spouting absurd propaganda from people like Bigot Berk and Jonathan HoffWit you need to look hard at yourself. I at least read the junk and other ravers so can comment on it. Do you read any oppositional view points to Israel and Zionism ? I challenge anyone on this blog to go through my David Aaronovitch blog and refute one single line of the facts not the polemic. It goes without saying you won’t be able to deal with that. Incidentally Chas I sent youthepiece but again it came back as undeliverable
    Shalom
    Richard Morris Writer and Performer Bitter Fruit Of Palestine YouTube and Vimeo.com blog wallsofdespair.blogspot.com

    • Roni says:

      To your question I will reply with question, how many blogs, posts, media is pro Palestinian and how many are pro Israeli???
      I believe the odds heavily toward Palestinians, then I would suggest you not to call everyone who reads that blog blind as it simply makes you blind yourself by doing that. Maybe next you will tell me that United Nations is heavily pro Israeli as well??
      You anti Zionist good for you, doesn’t gives you right to call everyone else blind to what’s going on when they are expressing views that no one wants to see or acknowledge because the truth is much more complicated than you described.
      Funny I didn’t find in your blog any mentioning of casualties in Sderot and Ashkelon?? You’re talking here about one side view??? You spreading one as well!
      Shalom.

      • Phew! didn’t he ramble?
        Roni it’s difficult to respond to you. I am supposed to mention Hamas attacks on Israel but not sixty years of persecution of Palestinians by The State of Israel
        Your own soldiers relate in Breaking The Silence the cold blooded murder of Palestinian children. Your government is making plans to expel Bedouin from their own land whose history goes back thousands of years. You express no shame about Lieberman, or Rabbi Meir Kahane or settlers who occupy Hebron. ( Please don’t tell me G–D gave it to you !)
        I could go on for hours but I know already it won’t make any difference to your closed mind.
        Richard Morris

  67. Roni says:

    It is refreshing and very surprising for british and non jewish to write pro israeli blog.
    I would say about bloody time, for years british people were brainwash with big bad israeli aggressor and poor Palestinians who suffer dearly. I don’t know if it’s political approach in UK to poison people with the crap they post and translate. I rarely find myself in these discussion because proving to blind and ignorant people that the information the media fed them about Israel and his people is far away from the truth as man kind from time travel.
    And yes BBC is pro palestian just like CNN. And to some who replied here still blaming Israel when they don’t have first clue what’s really going on there GO VISIT ISRAEL rather than write some ignorant and blunt replies how Palestinians can’t reach their crops because of the Wall

    • I am sorry Ronit I missed your message first time
      I have visited Israel and I have read over 120 books on Israel and Palestine including The Torah
      It might do you good to read it too
      About Palestinians not being able to reach their crops not being true I can only sadly call you not only uninformed but a big time Liar. You can find the proof anywhere but there are none so blind as those who cannot see
      Shalom and goodbye
      Richard Morris

      • Roni says:

        Richard, First My name is Roni not Ronit, secondly You got answer for everything don’t you? You simply decided the you know the truth and others are liars and ignorant because you read 120 books on it? I read Torah thank you and I lived in Israel for 21 years. As far as calling me a liar about the crops, have you visited the wall? And you know what, if that Wall will improve the security of Israel drastically call me a liar! Because you know what in the end not the crops what matter but human life. Now you might probably say, but Palestinians human too, that’s right they are and I got friends among them, but not ones who go and blow themselves up next to children and women. There is no justification to teach from age 4 how to kill israeli’s, or maybe you will say that Israeli education also teaching how to kill Palestinians, give me a break you a hypocrite just like majority of the world.
        Shalom

  68. oded says:

    I’m glad to see that some UK people aren’t blind and they can collect some facts before they talk. Well done and take care

  69. mila says:

    Just read your post in YNET. Thank you, Chas.
    With love from Israel.

  70. Jeremy says:

    You are a just among the nations, a lighthouse, not only seeing the truth but also taking action to defend it.
    Chas you deserve immense blessing.
    We wish there were more like you

  71. The Fogel says:

    To be fair, this is near every comment of Richard Morris:

    Step 1) Insult and patronise: “Poor you”, etc.

    Step 2) Claim superior knowledge “I’ve read books”.

    Step 3) Insult and patronise once again: “But I am afraid there is no hope for you, you poor thing…”

    Step 4) Self pity: “Poor me, why does nobody listen?”

    Step 5) Cut and run: “I could write more but I already sense your mind is closed.”

    In fairness, it’s not so strange that nobody is taking him seriously.

    Fecking funny though.

  72. Wow
    It was a good try The Fogel but your’re not witty or educated enough to take on the big boys and someone brought up on The Goon Show,The Pythons and Woody Allen. I am sure my obvious superiority is hard to take for you as 14,000 visits to my blog in seven months might reveal. My public performances attracted audiences in Oxford and London and caused a Jewish Students Union to block a performance. But enough about me (I hope Roni is lying down in a dark room recovering. Don’t worry Roni I won’t be bothering you again
    Go walk THE WALL and prove green is black or whatever)
    Now The Fogel does what all seekers of mindlessness do. Completely ignores my points and my history. He rabbits on about my style but doesn’t for one line engage in argument
    So I have already said a tearful good bye to Roni and now I am afraid to break the news but(sob sob) it is farewell The Fogel
    I can’t waste my time from trying to be taken seriously with nonentities and lightweights
    Join up with Roni on THE Wall where all is sweetness and light
    “And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land ye shall not vex him…the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you and thou shalt love him as thyself”
    Leviticus 19.33
    You see I still have hope, even for you two
    Richard Morris Writer and Performer Bitter Fruit of Palestine on Youtube and vimeo.com

  73. Roni says:

    Richard, I’m flattered your attention to me and your generous offers for me, but seriously now your views totally anti israeli’s, you can point out controversial subject, but note that everytime I mention to you Israel suffering and Sderot and Ashkelon getting ignored you clearly magnify palestinian suffering, you didn’t had anything good to say about Israel, why there is nothing good in that country?? Its you who see black and white failing to mention both sides or inability to say something good about Israel is unacceptable to you, you and your kind who found a purpose and obsession to criticize regardless of what’s happening in the World. Richard please provide me how tall is the WALL how wide and what its made from, I believe you memorize it all. Do you read anything else besides your sick obsession with anti israeli stuff??
    God forbids will be peace between Palestinians and Israel what you going to do!!??? You will be lost because all you know is your blind hatred for Israel. So please provide me the measures of the WALL so I can walk on it.

  74. I vowed I wouldn’t get involved with this kind of childish stuff
    Why should I waste my time educating contributors who don’t want to be educated ?
    But briefly. My wife is Jewish by birth and so are my daughters. Our Aunt survived Belsen and lived in New York until her 100th birthday.( why didn’t she come to Israel? didn’t believe in Zionism bless her) As a family we recently attended a reunion of over fifty family members from Czechoslavakia, many of whose relations died in the Holocaust. How dare you accuse me of blind hatred
    I have already urged you and others to read Extreme Rambling by Mark Thomas which will give you every statistic you require.
    We both know you will never go near the apartheid barrier.
    Finally do you realise that you and your ilk survive because of USA subsidies, mostly for militaristic purposes ?
    The WALL is being built with Americam money given to the 16th richest country in the world with a higher per capita income than oil rich Saudi Arabia.
    I could write pages but your desperate need for me to provide you with information about the country you live in leaves me nearly speechless and wordless ( but not quite)
    Enough already
    Leave me alone and I pray agnosticaly for your repentance one day

  75. Roni says:

    Your wife and daughters being Jewish doesn’t make you one or have nothing to do with your obsession towards Israel, I accuse of hatred towards Israel, because you keep ignoring what I have being asking, why do you keep ignoring Israeli people suffering??? Why you bring USA subsidies to this discussion??? If you are unable to admit the truth that’s your problem don’t mix me in your illusions. As far as childish goes, at least I didn’t called names like you called me a liar, I called you anti israeli hypocrite which is what you’re but not a liar. So look in the mirror next time when people in Beer Sheva, Sderot and Ashkelon suffer, because you clearly don’t count them.

  76. Arie Karpf says:

    Dear Richard,
    You are the living proof of how efficient the Palestinian propaganda is. Israel has failed regarding this matter. The so called Palestinians convinced the world that Israel is the bad guy in this story. Let me put this simply, even if all Israeli Jews will cut their own throats, and drop dead at once and the so called Palestinians will get this country on a silver plate, they will blame the Jews for at least the next thousand years for what was done to them by Jews, besides this country will turn in no time to a no-mans land where Islamic clans and gangs will fight each other, and the only agreed on issue will be Jews hatred. And they will still continue to cast terror on rest of the blind western world, or what is still left from it. The Jihad continues my dear Rich, no place to hide…. Apocalyptic, but unfortunately not far from reality.

  77. Dear Chas
    Have removed you from my mailing list because of constant rejections…sob sob
    Latest one today covers Purity of Arms
    Oy vay indeed what will poor little Gutman do?

  78. Hagai, Israel says:

    Hey Chas,
    Wanted to thank you for trying to carry the burden of truth.
    I can’t say I’ve read all the discussions above, but I’ve read enough to assume that some things are needed in the arguments:
    1. one of Britain former prime ministers said lately that the modern antisemitism is to demand of Israel things that you won’t dream to apply in your own country. for example, if a ship from Cuba will get near the US coasts it will be shot down without any regrets. but Israel who took control of the ships and was attacked by the well armed people on the ship was criticized. Same is with wars. while Britain and US war in Afghanistan and Iraq caused many civilian casualties in war very far from home, Israel is criticized for attacking in Gaza after 8 (!!!) years of missiles attacks, and then the operation was done in standards much higher then any other army in the history of warfare (said by a British colonel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hmT4Ri78aM)
    2. with that said, I do not think an apologetic approach is needed. thinking that the Israelis have no right to live normally without missile attack and suicide bombers shows that the claim come from ignorant people or from antisemitic people. therefore i think explain most be given immediately, showing the terrorist damage to Israelis and to the Palestinians and ask if it would be also acceptable in European countries.
    3. in the end, there are enough known facts which we just need to write one after the other, for the start it would be enough to give the new knowledge needed for people who were fed by lies.
    4. Last but not least. terminology is strong part of the game- while Israel is a modern democratic country with human rights and work hard against radicals in it, the Palestinians not only back up the terror, but even make a martyr and heroes out of people who killed children in their beds, call street names after terrorists and give monthly salary to Palestinians terrorist in prison (!!! the same money coming for the EU). far from being weak innocent neighbors.

    I can elaborate much on each aspect. of course there are bad things that individuals in Israel do sometimes, even soldiers, but it is far from being accepted in the society and these are criminals which sadly we can find in any society and are treated as such. all those things said without arguing about Holocaust, land rights and some other misconceptions which got far even from the international law and also include many lies and misconceptions (for example the Jewish refugees which no one talk about, the different UN body for Palestinian refugees which treat them different from any other refugees in the world (why???), the number of Palestinians who lived in Israel before 1948, the number of Jews living in Israel until the 19th century before the Ottoman started to push them out and so on).

    give them the facts, bomb them with truth, but don’t hate them for not knowing. that what i think.
    Hagai

  79. Poor Hagai
    Dear Chas I think it is time for us to part company. If you send me incoherent, idiotic, and frankly stupid emails like Hagai’s then I have no interest in even trying to respond
    If you think your blog should even entertain fanatics and goons like this ill educated and nasty man then we differ in the purpose of writing blogs and in the possibilities of sensible dialogue
    Please remove from your blog and do not send me any more emails
    Richard Morris

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      I’m not sure what you mean – I’ve never sent you an email.

      Do you mean that you subscribed to receive automatic notifications to any new comments on this thread?

      Also, on Tuesday – and on a few occasions – you complained that I was not replying to emails you sent me. Again, I’m confused. I’ve never given you my email address so I can’t see how you could be sending me emails. I’ve certainly never received any from you.

      I agree though that you should consider stopping your visits to this blog, as it seems to annoy or upset you.

      Best wishes.

  80. Roni says:

    Wow Richard, you must be really blind to deny other peoples comments about Israeli suffering, based on your continued blindness and ignorance you call everyone but yourself uneducated. I believe it’s time for you to stop calling people uneducated here, democracy is difference of opinions and not calling everyone who is not seeing your way uneducated. I believe based on what you demonstrated here you are sick and troubled man obsessed with hatred towards Israel refusing to see 2 sides suffering and continue to outline only palestian suffering. If you don’t have respect for others opinions as you so eager to call us all uneducated, you’re narcissistic blind anti Israeli. Keep reading anti Israeli books and get educated.

  81. Dave Whippman says:

    Chas, thanks so much for your support. I read the correspondence above. Richard Morris uses the old anti-Zionist sleight of hand: he judges Israel by a different standard to that of any other state (especially her neighbours and most other Islamic states round the world.)
    People like you, and Julie Burchill, are doing sterling work, and rest assured that most Jews appreciate it.

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