Sarah Honig, a recent Israeli visitor to Cahersiveen, a charming little town in County Kerry, wrote yesterday in the Jerusalem Post of being asked in its main street for a donation by three teenage boys carrying large signs saying “Free Palestine”. When asked from whom Palestine was to be freed, they replied “The Jews”. “Are you sure”, she asked, “that this money wouldn’t fund terrorists and murderers?” She was thrown by the response: “What do you have against Palestinians? What have they done to you? They are only against Jews. Jews are evil.” One of them helpfully added that the Jews “crucified Our Lord”.
Honig then met the teacher, who explained he had brought them out during school hours as part of a class project “to further a humanitarian goal” by inculcating a commitment to charitable work.
So it’s all kicking off again. As I write, the making of a film mocking the Prophet Mohammad has sparked violence in Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Libya. Details are still emerging, but the film appears to have been made by an Egyptian intent on scapegoating American Jews. But this is of no consequence. The touchpaper of offence has been lit, and the conflagration has begun to consume the Middle East and North Africa.
From a British perspective, the violence unfolding in the region is bewildering. After all, we are the nation that gave birth to Life Of Brian. But as sure as night follows day, the liberal Left will soon start wringing their hands, beating their brows, and blaming alternately George Bush and themselves; the Right, afraid of appearing “un-PC”, will grumble behind closed doors that the blighters are fundamentally barbaric.
JUDAISM IS FLOURISHING, both in Israel, where 43% of the world’s Jews now live, and throughout the Jewish diaspora. The Jews as a nation are flourishing too. Israelis, for all their problems, are the 14th-happiest people in the world, happier than the British or the French, according to a recent global happiness report commissioned by the UN. In the diaspora Jewish life has never been so free, so prosperous, so unthreatened.
In America an observant Jew, Senator Joseph Lieberman, ran for vice-president in 2000. With Al Gore as candidate for president, he nearly made it. His Jewish faith was no drawback, he says; rather, it appealed to many Christian voters who take their own religion seriously. Mr Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, “were dreaming of a large suka” (a rustic hut covered with branches in which Jews eat and entertain during the Sukot harvest festival) in the grounds of the vice-president’s residence. “We felt we could be ourselves.” Had he had gone on to run for the White House, as he hoped, “I’d have been observant there, too.”
When Jordan’s Arab Legion seized half of Jerusalem, ethnically cleansed its Jewish population and annexed the city– the only entity to recognize the annexation was the United Kingdom which had provided the officers and the training that made the conquest possible. Officers like Colonel Bill Newman, Major Geoffrey Lockett and Major Bob Slade, under Glubb Pasha, better known as General John Bagot Glubb, whose son later converted to Islam, invaded Jerusalem and used the Muslim forces under their command to make the partition and ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem possible.
Since then the annexation and ethnic cleansing has become an international mandate. It would be absolutely inconceivable for the international community to denounce an ethnically cleansed group which survived attempted genocide for moving back into a city where they had lived. It is, however, standard policy at the State Department and the Foreign Office to denounce Jews living in those parts of Jerusalem that had been ethnically cleansed by Muslims, as “settlers” living in “settlements”, and describe them as an “obstruction to peace.” Peace being the state of affairs that sets in when an ethnic
What matters most: free speech or public order? And how much of the former must we sacrifice to ensure the latter? This question has vexed our legislators for many years. In 1936, with Mosley’s Blackshirts on the march in London’s East End, a new Public Order Act criminalised behaviour that was not of itself violent but was “threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly” and that was intended or likely to cause a breach of the peace.
The aim was to stop fascists screaming abuse at Jews in the streets; and while most civilised people wanted to shut the thugs up, there was a good deal of agonising over whether the wording was an unwarranted restriction of free speech, the beacon of liberty that marked us out from what was happening in Continental Europe at the time. On the other hand, the fear perpetrated by the Blackshirts was itself a threat to essential British liberties. A balance had to be struck and Parliament endeavoured to do so.
Here in Israel we are having labor problems. We just went through a general strike. One sector, however, has no problems. It just gave itself a retroactive raise in pay. Yup. The Knesset.
Details from the Jerusalem Post:
Merah, 23, murdered seven people in a nine-day rampage, before being shot dead by Toulouse police on Thursday. He had been locked in a 32-hour stand-off with the authorities before his death.
The first glimpse of the inside of his flat after the shoot-out has now emerged, showing the devastating damage caused by the exchanges of fire that ended with Merah being killed.
Police also said on Saturday afternoon that they had found the murder weapon used in all three of Merah’s shootings inside his rented Renault Clio.
Merah’s mother Zoulaikah, 55, was released from police custody late on Friday and her lawyer, Jean-Yves Gougnaud, said: “She is asking herself whether she could have stopped him.”
Merah’s brother Abdelkader was still being held by police for questioning, and on Saturday morning was transferred from Toulouse to Paris alongside his girlfriend. It was also disclosed that the 29-year-old known jihadist supporter was with Mohamed Merah when he stole the scooter, which was later used in drive-by shootings to kill his victims.