Sky TV’s Kay Burley has news from the carnage in Paris:
Beyond parody. Or is it?
You should see the hyenas…
The US Registry of Motor Vehicles says Massachusetts woman Lindsay Miller can, as a Pastafarian, wear a colander on her head on her licence photo. The RMV only allows drivers to wear hats in their pictures for a medical or religious purpose. Miller says her Pastafarianism counts.
“As a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I feel delighted that my Pastafarianism has been respected by the Massachusetts RMV,” says Miller. “While I don’t think the government can involve itself in matters of religion, I do hope this decision encourages my fellow Pastafarian Atheists to come out and express themselves as I have.”
She was represented by The American Humanist Association, which said Pastafarians believe the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster is “just as probable as the existence of the Christian God”.
“The First Amendment applies to every person and every religion, so I was dismayed to hear that Lindsay had been ridiculed for simply seeking the same freedoms and protections afforded to people who belong to more traditional or theistic religions,” said Patty DeJuneas, a member of the Secular Legal Society, which works with the American Humanist Association. “We appreciate that the RMV recognised the error, apologised, and issued a licence respecting her First Amendment rights, and hope that RMV staff will be trained to respect diversity.”
Good to see that Rastafarians are not touchy about someone lampooning them. No bombs. No cries of how offended they are and vows to attack Miller.
Take it away, Barrington Levy – collie weed for the colandar:
Mass murder in Paris. And WikiLeaks attempts to make a point:
If we are all Charlie Hebdo – and we should be; we must be – then this kind of balls by WikliLeaks must be mocked for the apologist bilge it is.
French President Francois Hollande promised early Saturday morning that France would respond to terrorist attacks that killed more than 120 people with a “pitiless” war against the group responsible.
“We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless,” he said at the Bataclan, the site of one of the attacks, according to the Guardian.
“Because when terrorists are capable of committing such atrocities, they must be certain that they are facing a determined France, a united France, a France that is together and does not let itself be moved, even if today we express infinite sorrow,” Hollande added.
Does he mean it?
A bizarre take on the situation indeed. Or perhaps not so bizarre considering the fact that HP has been writing about this insidious ideology which has people thinking that any attack on a Western country is richly deserved. That radicalization is an inevitable side effect of foreign policy and that any death at the hands of a terrorist is not the fault of the terrorists but of the government of the citizens who are murdered.
Australian Sam Davies tells us about the Le Carillon:
“This isn’t a tourist area, this is young, hipsters,” he said. “Le Carillon is the hipster ground zero of Paris.
“For me, it’s an incongruous attack. It’s a friendly, vibrant area of young people where all the cafes and bars are opening up.
The butchery in Paris – the latest episode – happened only a couple of hours ago, so there has not yet been time for the soma-peddlers of the professional media to regurgitate the stock line that it is Muslims who are the real victims of an attack that may well have claimed the lives of scores of non-Muslims. Coming soon, as sure as night follows day, there will be denunciations of “Islamophobia”, followed by the insight that food poisoning/sharks/road accidents/pick-your-peril kill many more people than terrorists, therefore it can only be bigots and xenophobes who think of Islam and Western civilization in terms of oil and water.
I am not going to blame Barack Obama entirely for what happened in Paris Friday – but mostly. And that’s not just because he famously called ISIS the jayvee team, when they are now unequivocally the New York Yankees or the Manchester United of terror, repellent as that analogy may be (he started it).
But what is clear from the carnage at the Bataclan Theatre and elsewhere in Paris that we will be studying for weeks or months to come is that the West has no leader in our evident civilizational war – no Churchill, no Roosevelt, no DeGaulle, not even a George W. Bush. It’s certainly not Barack Obama, a ludicrous man who thinks the world’s greatest problem is climate change in the face of Islamic terror. This is the same man who oversaw, indeed instigated, a large scale American démarche for the first time since World War II.
And look what happened. Well, we all know. We are living at a time when the Islamic world is having a nervous breakdown, actually more like a violent psychotic break, in its encounter with modernity and is determined to bring us all down with it.
Among his other coy evasions, President Obama described tonight’s events as “an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share”.
But that’s not true, is it? He’s right that it’s an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world – an attack on one portion of “humanity” by those who claim to speak for another portion of “humanity”. And these are not “universal values” but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta “universal” when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West Frontier Province were at least obliged to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those “universal values” are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.
And then Europe decided to invite millions of Muslims to settle in their countries. Most of those people don’t want to participate actively in bringing about the death of diners and concertgoers and soccer fans, but at a certain level most of them either wish or are indifferent to the death of the societies in which they live – modern, pluralist, western societies and those “universal values” of which Barack Obama bleats. So, if you are either an active ISIS recruit or just a guy who’s been fired up by social media, you have a very large comfort zone in which to swim, and which the authorities find almost impossible to penetrate.
Vive La France!
Free Speech is under threat. The Mail says the “star of BBC reality TV show The Call Centre faces JAIL after posting ‘sick’ Facebook message that ‘anyone born with Down’s Syndrome should be put down’.”
Being a Call Centre star must be a bit like being a Jeremy Corbyn’s tailor or Ricky Hatton’s nutritionist. So much for the billing. What did Ursula Presgrave says?
Anyone born with down syndrome should be put down, it’s just cruel to let them lead a pointless life of a vegetable
Not nice. Pathetic. Deliberately designed to cause offence. But prison?
Hundreds of people posted their disgust and many then went to the police
Can we put down the ones who called in the cops? Only joking. Really. JOKE!
The 23-year-old pleaded guilty to an offence under the Malicious Communications act and now faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail or a £5,000 fine.
What utter balls. What horror. What ridiculous, snide-mouthed toss.
Presgrave, who was known on the BBC show for her tattoos, piercings and foul language, told Facebook followers…
You kind of get what it says on the tin, with Presgrave.
More than 550 people commented on the post and described it as ‘vile’, ‘sick’, and ‘attention-seeking’.
Well, a small comment made it all the way to the national press and the police Narks Hotline.
The call centre worker, who appeared alongside Nev Wilshire in the BBC Three fly-on-the-wall series, was arrested after police also found photos joking about the disabled on her phone, Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard.
It went to court!
Ursula, who worked at the Save Britain Money call centre in her home city of Swansea, told police ‘she wanted people to notice her’ when she wrote the post.
And that’s a crime?
Mark Davies, defending, told Swansea Magistrates Court: ‘There is genuine remorse, and she would like to make a public apology.'”
Better she told every one to ‘F*** off!”
Presgrave, of Swansea, was released on bail for reports and will be sentenced later this month.
We really are in a mess.
Listen to The Ronettes sing Baby Love You in 1963 – no instruments. Just the sweet voices:
At the Lemmchen elementary school in Mainz, Germany, the cool kids are performing Kraftwerk’s Die Roboter.
Not all school concerts need be painful:
Madeleine McCann: a look at the missing child in the media.
The Sun (front page): “Cops in hunt for Maddie slashed”
The “search” has been “drastically cut back”. Reducing the number of police officers on the case from a platoon-sized 29 to a small office-sized 4 is “a huge blow to parents Kate and Gerry”.
This news is shared with the other front-page police matters that “Britain’s tops cops” have warned that “huge spending cuts will spell the end for bobbies on the beat”. It’s cost The Met Police not much under £11m since 2011 to find out what happened to Madeleine McCann. The Sun’s juxtaposition of the two stories is not accidental.
Page 9: “FEAR OF LOST GIRLS PARENTS – IS THIS END OF COP HUNT FOR MADDIE?”
Answer: No. Four police remain on the case.
We hear from a “source close to Mum Kate and dad Gerry”. They say: “They know it can’t go on forever. They’re preparing for it to be shelved for good in coming months.”
We hear their official “statement”: “We remain hopeful she may still be found…”
Daily Mail (Page 25): “”Maddie probe team is slashed from 29 detectives to just 4.”
Just 4. Just?
We learn that the Government “initially set aside 5m for the Met probe”. We are reminded that the Portuguese investigation was “marred by blunders”.
It has also sold a lot of newspapers and garnered online clicks.
Daily Express (front page): “MADDY: POLICE RUN OUT OF CLUES”
Did they ever have any?
The Express agrees that there will “just” four offices working full-time on the case.
Page 9: “McCanns cling to hope as inquiry is cut back”
To illustrate how this story has gone nowhere, this is the Daily Express headline from 29 April 2009: “Madeleine’s parents still cling to hope.”
The paper notes:
Since the little girl, who would now be 11, vanished, every possible theory has been explored including that she was kidnapped by a peadophile [sic], killed during a botched burglary and her body dumped, snatched by traffickers and sold to a childless couple and she wandered out of the apartment and died in a tragic accident.
The Express, of course, indulged in another theory that cost it dear when it libelled the McCanns:
The question of what happened to the little girl has not only become a personal tragedy for the McCann family, but a national obsession in the UK and in Portugal. However, to date, not one shred of proof of what happened to Madeleine has been unearthed.
Not everyone has been as obsessed as the Express:
Daily Mirror (front page): “MADDIE – Police scaling down hunt”
Page 11: “Maddie Cops Cut From 29 To Four – But Met says investigation continues”
Not shelved, then. But there are – get this – “just four” detectives on the case.
Daily Star (front page): “Search for Maddie cut”
Page 6: “Family’s agony as cops slash Maddie squad”
Agony? Surely the agony was the child vanishing. The case remains open. The parents “remain hopeful”
Such are the facts.
Tory MP David Amess will chair the bill committee for the Government’s Psychoactive Substances Bill.
Good choice. Right man for the job. After all we all asked ‘What’s he on?’ when Amess popped up on TV’s Brass Eye in 1997 to warn us that Cake was “a big yellow death bullet”. Cake was “a new legal drug from Czechoslovakia”. He told us:
“Look at that, a £100,000 in the pocket of the filth that sells it. A big yellow death bullet in the head of some poor user – or custard gannet as the dealers call them.”
Cake was a spoof.
Is the Daily Express demonising migrants? Does Jordan sleep on her back? Today’s migrant news in the tabloid of intolerance begins:
Britain next? Doctor’s outrage at ‘refugees pushing German hospitals to breaking point’
Nick Gutteridge writes:
A DOCTOR working in German hospitals has revealed the horrifying chaos which could face the NHS if thousands of migrants from the Middle East manage to reach Britain.
A female doctor has claimed German hospitals are struggling to deal with the number of refugees
Claimed. What are the facts? Is she right? Why is her being a female doctor any different to being a doctor?
The female anaesthetist said the German health service has been completely overwhelmed by the influx of Muslim asylum-seekers who are REFUSING to be treated by female medics.
The many faces of David Bowie by Helen Green:
Petra László, the journalist who became the story when she tripped up Syrian refugee Osama Abdul Mohsen as he walked past her with a child in his arms and then issued a craven apology is turning to law.
On trial for disturbing the peace, Petra László, says she will sure her Mr Mohsen for dirtying her socks / making her look like a ******* / whatever and Facebook because they are rich / gave space for people to call her names / whatever.
“He [Mosen] changed his testimony, because he initially blamed the police,” Laszlo said, though she can be clearly seen in two different videos kicking him. “My husband wants to prove my innocence. For him, it is now a matter of honor. It is now a matter of honor.”
“I can definitely say that my life is ruined. It’s unlikely that I will be able to find a job and do what I like the most.”
What that is we are not told, but the
Russia Today adds:
The camerawoman said that at least 10 fake ‘Petra Laszlo’ accounts containing improper contents have appeared on Facebook and some people have offered some $20,000 for her murder via these groups…
Laszlo told Izvestia that she asked Facebook’s management to delete these groups, but claims her letters and complaints to Facebook have been left unattended and that, instead, the social network has intentionally deleted groups supporting her.
She told the paper she plans to sue Facebook for its prejudice. According to the paper, she also wants to prove that the asylum seeker she tripped had been untruthful, because the man has changed his testimony in court. She said that he had initially blamed a police officer for the incident, but later began accusing her.
“Once the court is over, we’re going to move to another country,” said Petra Laszlo, mentioning Russia as a likely destination for immigration. “We consider starting to learn Russian. It is important for us to leave Hungary. We’ll make the decision once the trial is over,” she said.
Best buy some good shoes and shinpads, Petra. It’s a long walk.
Anti-Semitism is back. It never went away, of course. But it did go quiet. For years it was unfashionable to be a Jew hater. The return has been back not by the far-Right and the British aristocracy (they always hated the Jews), rather the right-on, knowing Left wing. Many are acquiescing to anti-Semitism instead of fighting it. Anti-Semitism is edging further into the centre.
It’s the Maths, Stupid, says Saul Freeman:
I’ll share 2 of my life-long basic positions:
The UK left is where I both belong and feel “safe”.
Qualitative analysis is where it’s at, not the hard edged cold world of quant.
We’ll return to these.
My family are socialists. The Labour Party is the natural home of the working classes – which is where I’m from. Ok, I confess. I was briefly a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain in the heady days of Marxism Today. Seems we ended up with political post-modernism so I’m sorry about that. Joined the Labour Party then left it after hearing Ed Balls mention immigration 6 times in the space of 4 minutes.
Half-Jewish and entirely secular on all fronts, I grew up in North West London. At school there were fights in the playground when I was called “Yid” and worse. My name marked me out – it practically yelled it out – as Jewish, even though I was of course only half-Jewish. I pretty much always lost those fights.
Later on I married a Jewish woman and now have a son who is, of course Jewish.
As a politically active student I recall a sense of unease at NUS conference & on campus when groups of keffiyah-wearing students from “other political groups” seemed to be just a bit too interested in the Middle East.
After my student days I joined that group of people who – whilst not politically active day-to-day- knew exactly where right and wrong lived. Whilst we bemoaned the retreats from socialism of the Blair & Brown years, we remembered what it was to live though 18 years of Conservative government. So we never, ever voted anything other than Labour despite some friends moving off to the Greens or seeking other radical homes.
Four years of Conservative/Lib Dem government found my wife and I enraged by the assault on all we valued. I berated the local Lib Dem canvassers for enabling the old-Etonian Praetorian Guard to seize control.
As a family we attended some Reform synagogue services in an attempt to give our son some context for his Jewishness. We drifted away. I learned from my wife how to celebrate Passover but moaned like a teenager at all the “god bits”.
Then in summer 2014 Israel found itself in violent confrontation with Hamas.“So what?” I might have asked. “I’m worried about cuts to my LEA, not whatever mess Benjamin bloody Netanyahu might have got himself into now.” My relationship with Israel had so far been less than intense. I’d never been there and I regarded it with low level unease. “They need to sort their shit out and behave like the rest of us nice, liberal European (half) Jews. Just do what they need to do to get Peace. Now.”
Tellingly, I’d occasionally ordered books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and had then rarely managed to finish reading them, over-whelmed and bored by the otherness of it all.
So – there we were in summer 2014, the news full of Israel doing bad things to Palestinian children (again) and my wife and I notice that some of the things we’re reading on Facebook & Twitter are not so nice. About Jews. “Okay”, we think. “That’s not news. We know about anti-Semitism. We know the Right doesn’t like Jews. Those Tories with their aristocratic disdain of the Jew sure as hell don’t like us. But that’s ok – we don’t much like them.”
Actually, we also know that some writers in The Independent don’t seem to like Jews. But we’ve always been Guardian readers. Alright, we know the Guardian does seem to bang on a bit about Israel when it’s being bad, but we just don’t read those articles.
Then on Twitter I see a post from a very prominent British musician. He’s a staple of every middle class CD collection or Spotify “world music fusion” list. He’s a good guy. He’s super smart. He’s one of us. He’s also someone I’ve worked and got drunk with – I used to be a musician too.
But his tweet isn’t funny, smart or good. It’s a graphic suggesting that the world would be a better place if all the Jews in Israel were forcibly removed to the USA, seeing as the US seems to love them so much.
So I contact this avowedly socially progressive musician from an immigrant background and, once we get past the “hey, it’s been a long time, you’re great/no you’re great!” bit, I ask him why he would post such a thing. He tells me that he’s very upset about the children in Gaza and he knows I must be too. I am, of course. But I explain that anti-Semitism and ethnic cleansing probably isn’t going to help much and that I find it a little “difficult” to see one of the good guys stoking the fire. He accepts this, apologises for any offense but reminds me that the trauma of witnessing events in Gaza (via mainstream and social media) has caused him to act the way he did. He declines my suggestion that he remove the post. We part on good terms with a promise to keep in touch – as you do – and then I quietly fume for the next couple of months.
In the meantime, my wife and I stop reading below the line on the Guardian website as it appears that pretty much every article (perhaps with the exception of the “my wife/husband doesn’t seem to want sex with me anymore” type – though I’m not absolutely sure about this) end up footnoted by comments blaming the Israelis/Jews/Zionists for whatever bad stuff the article might have been about, or not about.
I have another couple of chats with my Jewish son to check that he’s not getting any hassle at school and to remind him of what to do if he is.
My wife and I try not to focus on the fact that some of her friends have posted “Free Palestine” or “Save Gaza” messages on Facebook but don’t seem to have anything to say about the daily barrage of missiles sent by Hamas from Gaza into Israel. I start trying to actually read some of the books about Israel/Palestine that had been gathering dust.
By March we decide to visit Israel as our summer holiday. An only just sub-conscious two finger salute to what appear to be gathering forces? Our friends raise eyebrows, say “challenging” things and then tell us about their exciting plans to visit China. Or Russia. My wife had twice been to Israel when she was young and spent 6 months on a kibbutz. Brought up in a “normal” Jewish family, as opposed to my messily inter-married version, she has an uncomplicated relationship with Israel and knows exactly what it is and what it is for. Being a gentle and wise woman she never assumes that either my son or I will share this outlook and wants us to work it out for ourselves.
As summer approached I had moments when I wondered why I was taking my family to Israel. Ok, the diving in Eilat would be good but what about the Palestinians? Would I be having “a cheap holiday in other people’s misery”? These moments of self-doubt were usually ended by sneaking an almost pornographic look at the comments sections on the Guardian website – “Zionist child killing scum” etc. after an article on de-forestation in Brazil.
Watching a BBC documentary on the “apartheid railway” that is apparently the Jerusalem Light Rail system whilst running at the gym had me seriously doubting both my judgement in terms of the safety of my family and my moral compass. I ran a little harder on the treadmill and tried not to have a panic attack.
Then weeks before our holiday in Israel something happened. The Labour Party had a leadership contest. And Jeremy Corbyn was standing.
I’d recently bought my wife a T-shirt that read “Labour: I prefer their early work” – (from the Guardian shop, of course) and we were intrigued, though we knew little about this obscure backbencher. Could this be a good thing? Would Andy Burnham answer our need for a more left wing candidate or would Corbyn be interesting? Who would we vote for using my wife’s union vote and my Party vote?
My wife Googled the new candidate to see what he was about. She found Corbyn’s explosively angry outburst in a C4 interview. Krishnan Guru-Murphy had asked him a question over his dealings with Hamas & Hezbollah and he wasn’t too pleased about it.
Questions over Corbyn’s deep involvement with the Palestinian Solidarity Committee Stop the War Coalition etc. deepened during the first weeks of the leadership campaign and we rapidly realised that he probably wasn’t going to be our rabbi. We started reading the Jewish Chronicle online for the first time in our lives and watched whilst it asked a bunch of questions of the self-styled “plain speaking” candidate. He declined to answer.
On social media any questions about his attitude to Israel and Jews were revealed as smears organised and propagated by “Zionist powers”. Corbyn fans declared Zionism an evil ideology and that Israel had no right to exist. We spent more time than was good for us trying to work out what was going on. It turned out that Corbyn was at best a reluctant advocate of a two State solution, describing it in pointed terms as being “the only option currently on offer”. His belief that all 7 million plus Palestinians registered by the UNRWA should be given the “right to return” to what is currently Israel made his commitment to the continued existence of a Jewish state appear less than total.
We went to Israel, relieved to be leaving what increasingly felt like a baying mob behind us. As we descended to Ben Gurion airport the lights of Tel Aviv came into view. It dawned on me that Israel was of course not an abstract and remote ideological concept – it was a real place with real cities full of millions of real people. Some of them with names a lot like mine. The Corbynistas declared it had no right to exist. But it didn’t look much like Brigadoon to me.
As our taxi driver drove towards Jerusalem he confided that he worried about those Jews who, like us, did not live in Israel. Were they safe? He knew that his family hadn’t been. “But hang on” we said. “Surely it’s the Jews in Israel that feel threatened, not us”? He looked at us like children and pointed out that Israel knew perfectly well how to look after itself, had survived several attempts to eliminate it and was not about to start again with the existential angst. We felt more sophisticated than our well-meaning taxi driver and smiled knowingly.
As our holiday progressed I realised I really liked Israel. Of course I did – I was on holiday. I had really liked Australia, Scotland & Gambia. I wasn’t too sure about Norfolk though. But standing with my Jewish son at the Western Wall I more than liked it. Climbing Masada, crossing the Negev desert, wandering through Jaffa – I really more than liked it. There were layers of meaning, some narrative to unpick. Norfolk certainly hadn’t had that effect on me.
It might have been the surreal realisation that in most places, most of the people around us were Jews. Everything was the same as anywhere else I’d been to, except that most of the people were Jews. Even the poor people. Jews collecting the bins, working in cafes, driving the buses. And there are Arabs too, travelling on the light rail (deemed ‘controversial’ by the BBC), not waving fists or throwing rocks, but working in shops and cafes alongside the Jewish Israelis.
The exception was our visit to the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa. We went there to marvel at the buildings and setting and my wife recalled loving the place when she had visited it 25 years ago. So we joined the other tourists – mostly blond, blue eyed Scandinavians – and queued up to pass through the security gate. Once through, we found ourselves immediately surrounded and shouted at by people who didn’t seem to be welcoming tourists. Stunned by the beauty of the architecture but intimidated by the shouting and the black clad groups of women waving copies of the Qur’an, we left as soon as we could. My wife was shaken by the contrast with her last visit.
We visit Yad Vashem and try to spare our son from the most horrific of the images. Against all the rules forbidding photography, I sneak a picture of a Nazi-era board game that depicts Jews being sent off to Palestine. This is clearly the losing square that you don’t want to land on.
We return home and immediately I find myself spending too much time on Twitter. I conduct one of those debates-by-tweet with a writer whose work regularly appears in the Guardian & the LRB. I express my concern over politicians from the secular UK Left supporting radical Islamic theocratic groups such as Hamas & Hezbollah that want to kill Jews, non-believers and gays and restrict the rights of women. I tell him I’m not comfortable with a potential leader of the Labour Party who has long standing links going back decades with groups that want to wipe Israel from the map.
He lets me know that whilst Zionism is a morally degenerate, evil ideology & must be condemned as such, it would not be appropriate for him or others on the UK Left to pass judgement on any “representation choices of the Palestinian people that may not be congruent with my ego-ideal“. He is angered by my suggestion that the logic of this might be flawed because it offers moral & political relativism about 1 ethnicity, but is not short of a view about the choices of another ethnic group.
He speaks for what appears to be a significant slice of the British Left in finding it not at all problematic to announce that Jews have no right to self-determination. As in not being able to collectively and individually decide their political, economic and cultural fate. They must simply do as they did prior to 1948 and take what they are given, good or bad. The writer declines to identify any other ethnic groups that he extends this kind offer to.
This Guardian writer is far from the only individual who seems to find it important to tell me what is and what is not anti-Semitic. Twitter is bursting with Corbyn fans that are very keen to set me straight. They “know” I am Jewish because of my name – just as they did in the school playground. When I point out that there might be something a little unwise and unseemly about non-Jews telling Jews what is and is not anti-Semitic, they get cross. Very cross. They tend to want to shout at me about dead children in Gaza. My famous musician friend often drifts into my mind once people get to the “what about the children of Gaza?” stage.
These people who identify so urgently with Corbyn and his “position” on the Middle East also appear to have almost no knowledge of the historical, political and cultural basics. They just know.
A significant proportion of the British Left appears to be very, very concerned about what Jews do and don’t get up to.
My wife and I notice that Corbyn supporters get very excited about pointing us in the direction of Jews like the writer Michael Rosen who are themselves anti-Zionists and do not believe that Israel has a right to exist. Rosen used to be‘personally and politically close to the SWP’ and stood ass a candidate for George Galloway’s Respect Party. This makes him something of a rarity as most UK Jews do not share either of these attributes, let alone both.
We over-hear one of our very vocal left wing acquaintances saying to another left wing Hackney dweller: “Oh, you should meet X. He’s a barrister – Jewish. He’s fine though –very anti-Israel”.
Corbyn wins the leadership. Well, things can only get better. Surely?
They get worse. Corbyn uses his address to Labour Friends of Israel to engage in some not very subtle “discursive dissonance” by declining to mention theZionist entity by name. At a meeting that has the word Israel all over the tin. It’s audacious in its execution. My wife and I are stunned fish, gasping on the bank. The Left bank.
My wife realises that her union is a key player in the BDS movement, supporting boycotts of Israeli goods and services right down to picketing outside Jewish-Israeli owned businesses. Her union has been a key backer of the Corbyn campaign. She writes a letter which points out that these two aspects of union policy are a little hard for Jewish members to take right now. Her local union office doesn’t bother to reply. She resigns.
We lurch into October and Israel finds itself under attack from knife and gun wielding Palestinian terrorists.
What is the reaction from elements of the UK Left to the daily tally of horrific terrorist attacks on Jewish Israeli’s? Many like Brighton BDS and the Palestinian Solidarity Committee find it impossible to condemn the attacks. Stop the War Coalition – chaired by Corbyn prior to his winning of the Labour leadership –joins a host of these groups protesting angrily outside theIsraeli embassy. They chant for an Islamic Palestinian state “from the river to the sea”.
Gaza Boat Convoy state that if they were Palestinians they would “definitely” drive cars into elderly Jewish Israeli women waiting at bus stops.
The Guardian writer who I “debated” with writes on social media that a Jewish Israeli journalist – who wrote a piece detailing the Palestinian violence – “should have his throat cut.”
The Scottish Green Party considers that this is the right moment to pass a motion which denies the right of Israel to exist as the Jewish state and demands that Hamas be removed from lists of proscribed terrorist organisations.
If calls from those on the Left in the UK for the obliteration of Israel and its replacement by an Islamic Palestinian state and the sheer violence and blood lust in some comments were not surreal and disturbing enough, my wife and I have noticed something else. Silence. From friends on Facebook when my wife posts anything that acknowledges the very existence of Israel or the random horror that is being enacted on its streets.
Silence from the Labour Party on the issue of the Party leader’s associations despite Jewish communities expressing their profound anxiety.
Silence from the Left. No one is falling over themselves to condemn Corbyn’s highly partisan attachment to the Palestinian movement despite its seismic shift from a violent, revolutionary secular form to the radical Islamic shape it now presents. Almost no one from the UK Left is thrusting themselves forward to say “Israel has a right to exist, as does any other legitimate state and terrorism can never be excused or condoned.”
Silence on the fact that those Palestinian groups urged on to victory over the Zionists do not share any of the values that we used to take for granted on the UK Left.
There are of course notable exceptions, and those people and groups know who they are. They would never expect me or other Jews to be grateful, because they are not bestowing this as a gift. They are simply demonstrating their commitment to first principles. Yet these first principles appear to be missing in action for many on the British Left in 2015.
And so my wife and I lose our moorings. We are of the Left, but are no longer welcome, unless we become “good Jews” who are not “bad, Zionist Jews”. We worry about our son. He will be confronted by Israeli Apartheid Week when he arrives on a University campus in a few years. If he is a Jew who believes that Israel has a right to be, he will be hated by many on the student Left. My son is an enthusiastic, articulate and kind boy. The realisation that he will be hated by those who will not see any of these attributes, but instead will see only one attribute – his Jewishness – chills me.
Strangers feel compelled to say hateful things to me. Others threaten violence to all Jews – “go back to Auschwitz, Zionist scum”. All this from the Left.
We slowly become traumatised by the sheer horror of what has unfolded around us.
Mostly, we are distressed because we cannot understand why the Left is so silent when Jews call out. We just don’t understand. None of this makes sense. We have no critical lens through which to view this rupture between us and us.
And then it hits me. Not only have I woken up to the fact that the first of my foundation strands – that I belong and feel safe on the Left – is misguided, largely because I have failed to engage with reality (or the works of Nick Cohen) until very recently, I also realise why.
It’s because Jews are aminority.
In the UK Jews make up just 0.3% of the population. Not even a lousy 1%. A tiny minority. My family – my wife and my son – are part of a tiny, tiny minority. And yet my wife and I had driven ourselves half mad wondering why our voices were not being heard. Dumb, isn’t it?
It’s not the principles, the ethics, the logic, the politics, and the narrative. It’s the bloody numbers. It’s all about the quant not the qualitative. And there goes my second foundation strand….
So this is what being a minority really feels like. And now I understand what our Israeli taxi driver was getting at. This is what he worries about. And this is why he lives in Israel, where Jews are no longer a tiny minority.
It’s the maths, stupid.
Ray Harryhausen stop motion in stop motion:
Ray Harryhausen stop motion in stop motion pic.twitter.com/CyIyHWcll8
— Flashbak.com (@aflashbak) October 17, 2015
George Lawson, 19, a student at Warwick University, won’t comply. Invited to a I Heart Consent workshop via Facebook to discuss sexual consent, Lawson wrote:
Why I don’t need consent lessons
He held up a sign declaring:
‘This is not what a rapist looks like’.
Lawson says the invite felt like “‘a massive, painful, bitchy slap in the face”.
“It implies I have an insufficient understanding of what does and does not constitute consent and that’s incredibly hurtful. I don’t have to be taught to not be a rapist. That much comes naturally to me, as I am sure it does to the overwhelming majority of people you and I know. Brand me a bigot, a misogynist, a rape apologist, I don’t care. I stand by that.”
Lawson tells the Mail:
“I know a rapist can look like me. A rapist can be white. A rapist can be attending a Russell Group University and a rapist can be young. But the photo was supposed to be satirical. It was me playing on the ‘this is what x looks like’ trend and people didn’t get that. That was a massive faux pas.”
“There is sexual assault and rape among students, but they’re blaming the wrong people. It’s a massive broadside against everybody. If you’re going to commit rape you’re not going to go to one of the lectures. They’re trying to help, so I support that. I just don’t think its the best way to help people. I think it’s wasted efforts.”
What he wrote was:
I want to call the people leading the charge behind these classes admirable, I want to call them heroic, but I’m afraid they’re not. There are countless other more useful things they could be doing with their time. They could be making a difference by actually going out and campaigning, volunteering and caring for other people. Instead they selfishly make themselves feel better by indulging in the delusion that all that’s needed to save the vulnerable from foul predators is to point out the blindingly obvious.
Self-appointed teachers of consent: get off your fucking high horse. I don’t need your help to understand basic human interaction. Secondly, go and do something. Real people need your help and they deserve better than you. Next time you consider inviting me or anyone else to another bullshit event like this, have a little respect for the intelligence and decency of your peers. You might find that’s a more effective solution than accusing them of being vile rapists-in-waiting who can only be taught otherwise by a smug, righteous, self-congratulatory intervention.
Over on the Tab website, the top story is:
You can read George’s article full here.
Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, has been fined £50,000 and threatened with a stadium ban for criticising referees. Yep, just 50 grand. Jose Mourinho is a profitable business for the FA. They must hope he stays in the job and keeps talking and talking. His offence was to say referees are “afraid” to award penalties to his team, following a 3-1 home defeat by Southampton. The FA’s fine system is pretty opaque, but we can reveal that if Mourinho calls the referee a “scaredy-cat” the FA can order new silk carpets for their Zanzibar beach office.
At a press conference to launch his new book, Mourinho invited the media “to get deep” into the workings of the FA disciplinary department.
“You should get deep.You should go. You should be honest. You shouldn’t be afraid to write, you won’t be punished. Every word I say is a risk. I am happy I don’t have an electronic tag. I think it’s not far from that. I also think that £50,000 in the world where we live today is an absolute disgrace. An absolute disgrace. And I also think that the possibility of getting a stadium ban is also something absolutely astonishing. But more difficult for me to understand is when I compare different people with different behaviours or with similar behaviours, with different words or with similar words.”
He means Arsene Wenger, of course, the Arsenal manger who seems to occupy a place deep below Mourinho’s skin. Wenger called Mike Dean “weak and naive” when the weak and confused referee made a complete hash of this season’s Chelsea v Arsenal match, sending off the wrong player and letting the right player who should have seen red stay on the pitch. No fine for Wenger. “The difference is £50,000 and one-match stadium ban,” says Mourinho.
“The word ‘afraid’ is a punishment, and a hard punishment. But to say the referee was ‘weak and naive’, referring to one of the top referees in this country and in Europe, we can do. Weak and naive, you can use. And in this country, a word [afraid] is more important than aggression. So now we know. We can push people in the technical area, no problem.”
That’s a reference to when Mourinho and Wenger had a tiff at pitch-side.
We can only wonder what would happen should the FA offer its legal services to hairdressers, tabloid columnists or religionists. As Craig Brown notes:
One of the cattiest memoirs of recent years was the preeningly titled Know The Truth by George Carey, the spud-faced former Archbishop of Canterbury…
Carey took sideways digs at no fewer than three of his fellow Bishops, among them the Bishop of Peterborough (‘popular with the media . . . but he worried me by his tendency to pour doubt on all diocesan efforts to raise funds or enthusiasm’), the Bishop of Durham (‘his concerns were not always grounded in real life’) and the Bishop of Sheffield (‘another whose eloquence was often unintentionally destructive’).
Nor did he withdraw his claws from those of other denominations. At one point, he described a meeting between the Queen, to whom Carey is, of course, always unctuous, and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, who had, he noted, a ‘menacing beard’. The Queen, he wrote, ‘patiently endured the Patriarch’s rather lengthy answers’. Miaow!
If the FA ran the Church of England disciplinary committees, a bankrupted Carey would be living off donations.
Israel and Palestinian viral death of the day: Ahmed Manasrah, 13, was shot in East Jerusalem.
Israeli police say Manasreh and his 15-year-old cousin stabbed and seriously wounded two Israelis and then ran away before being shot.
Manasrah’s family denies he attacked Israelis.
Mansrah’s 15-year-old cousin died. The Palestinian presidency said his death was “execution … in front of the media” and a “heinous crime.”
Israel’s President Netanyahu says:
“An Arab boy fatally wounds a Jewish child and after that the security forces stop him and prevent him from continuing on a stabbing spree and he becomes a martyr supposedly executed unjustly? First of all, he is not dead, he is alive. Secondly, he was not executed; he was attempting to execute others. He tried to kill and murder, but the exact opposite is presented in a distorted and outrageous manner.”
A video by AJPlus, part of the Al Jazeera Media Network appears on the web:
Called Wounded Palestinian Boy Taunted by Onlookers, the video portrays the boys as the victim.
Facebook comments are many:
On Facebook Mohamed Zeyara has a video. He’s a “Humanitarian Activist”:
Israeli Zionists curse a dying Palestinian child as Israeli Police watch.
“Two Palestinian children aging 12 and 13 were shot in cold blood north of Jerusalem today. Medical assistance was not offered, which led to the older child’s death. His name was Ahmad Manasra and his last moments were documented in this video.”
Comments are many:
The Times of Israel reports:
Israel Police identified the two Palestinian teenagers who stabbed and seriously injured two Israelis in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon as cousins, 13 and 15 years old, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. The older teen was shot dead by police when fleeing the scene of the terror attack, while his cousin was struck by a car and seriously injured.
The cousins attacked a 13-year-old Israeli boy and a man, 25, gravely injuring them, in the third attack to hit the capital in a single day. The incident took place in the northern neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev, adjacent to a light rail station.
The boy was stabbed multiple times as he rode his bike.
“It was horrifying,” Asi Gabay, a family friend of the younger victim recounted to Channel 2. “The boy ran to me and shouted, ‘Asi, help me! Asi, help me!’
“I had a mop with me and we put it on him as a tourniquet,” Gabay said. “Within a few seconds the kid lost consciousness, was completely white and was lying on the ground.”
The boy was hospitalized in critical condition. Doctors at the Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus said he suffered multiple stab wounds to his upper body, and underwent emergency surgery.
According to police, the 13-year-old attacker stabbed the boy as he was riding his bike. When eyewitnesses began to run toward the scene of the attack, the assailants fled. While escaping, the younger one was hit by a car and seriously injured.
A video posted on social media appeared to show the younger of the two teens writhing in a pool of blood on the tracks of the Jerusalem Light Rail, surrounded by police. The video was filmed by an Israeli passerby who shouted “Die! Die, you son of a whore” repeatedly at the teen before he was administered first aid from Magen David Adom paramedics. Police ordered the man to leave the scene.
The pro-Israel group Stand With Us has its own video. It shows the two Palestinian boys with knives. It shows an attack on a boy coming out of a sweet shop. It shows an armed boy (knife) running at armed police (guns).
The |nternational Middle East Media Center has its own view:
The officers did not shoot him, but left him bleeding with head injuries, broken legs and other serious injuries on the ground. The boy was able to raise his head a few times, but the police officers kicked him back down until he bled to death.
The slain Palestinian child has been identified as Hasan Khaled Manasra, 15 years of age, while his cousin Ahmad Saleh Manasra, 13, suffered a serious injury. They are both from Beit Hanina, in Jerusalem.
In an apparent bid to refute claims by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that Israel carries out “field executions” against Palestinian youths, officials in Israel released a photograph of a 13-year-old Palestinian assailant from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber who took part in a stabbing attack in the capital earlier this week.
Ahmed Manasrah, who is listed in light-to-moderate condition, was one of two Palestinians who stabbed two Israelis, one of them also a 13-year-old boy, in the Pisgat Ze’ev quarter of the capital on Monday.
Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem disseminated a picture of Manasrah to the press on Thursday in order to debunk Palestinian claims that Israel “executes” young Palestinians who commit knifing attacks.
The Manasrah case has become the focal point of a propaganda war between Jerusalem and Ramallah, particularly after Abbas’ incendiary remarks in a speech broadcast to Palestinian homes.
“We will not give up to the logic of brute force, policies of occupation and aggression practiced by the Israeli government and the herd of settlers who are engaged in terrorism against our people, our holy places, our homes, our trees and the execution of our children in cold blood as they did with the child Ahmed Manasrah and other children from Jerusalem,” Abbas said in an address which aired on Palestine TV.
Ha’aretz makes a point:
Death Becomes Viral: Israelis and Palestinians Embrace a New Hobby – Snuff Films
This week, for instance, two videos in particular triggered global outrage: One showed a bleeding 13-year-old Palestinian boy named Ahmed Manasrah, who along with a 15-year-old cousin, stabbed a number of people in Jerusalem. In the video, the injured boy is seen writhing and squirming on the ground, his legs bent in an unnatural angle, while bystanders hurl insults at him. The second video, equally horrifying, is a security-cam footage showing a terror attack in Jerusalem’s Malchei Yisrael Street earlier this week: The Palestinian terrorist, a resident of East Jerusalem and employee of Israel’s telecom company Bezeq, is shown ramming his car into bystanders, then proceeding to attack them with an axe (murdering a Jewish orthodox rabbi) before being shot dead.
Pro-Palestinians (and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas) used the video of Manasrah to demonstrate the crimes of Zionism, without mentioning the context of the event (namely, that Manasrah had just stabbed and critically injured two people). Pro-Israelis used the video of the attack to display the barbarism of the Palestinians.
Each used the videos for their own purposes, but in effect they did the same thing – they traded videos of slaughtered people to prove a point.
Such are the facts
Gutterdämmerung looks fantastic. Here’s the pitch:
The film is set in a world where God has saved the world from sin by taking from mankind the Devil’s ‘Grail of Sin’…..the Evil Guitar. The Earth has now turned into a puritan world where there is no room for sex, drugs or rock ‘n’ roll.
From up on high in heaven a “punk-angel”, Vicious (portrayed by Iggy Pop), looks upon the world with weary bored eyes. Behind God’s back, Vicious sends the Devil’s guitar back to earth and sin in all its forms returns to mankind.
An evil puritan priest (Henry Rollins) manipulates a naive girl to retrieve the guitar and destroy it. On her quest to find the Devil’s Grail Of Sin, the girl is forced to face the world’s most evil rock and roll bastards. Throughout her journey, she has a rival in the form of a rock chick determined to stop her from destroying the instrument.
Lou Reed wasn’t everyone’s best pal. A new biography by Howard Sounes labels Reed a racist, a sexist and a wife-beater. Reed was a man “with so little personal charm he would be regularly discharged from private gatherings.
“I loved his music, but you have to go where the story goes. The obituaries were a bit too kind, he was really a very unpleasant man. A monster really; I think truly the word monster is applicable.”
Israel: a round-up of news on trouble in Israel in the papers. Every death tops the news cycle. The Western media feasts of the names of the dead and injured. We don’t get to know the names of all the dead when bombs kill scores of civilians in Turkey. But every death in Israel is the story of an individual. Today we look at reporting on Israa Jaabis and the ‘car bomb’.
The Times: “Woman bomber strikes in new wave of violence”
Why is a woman bomber different to being a simple bomber?
A car bombing by a Palestinian woman and a deadly Israeli airstrike in Gaza brought a serious escalation to weeks of unrest in the Holy Land.
The Holy Land? Where are they in the FIFA rankings?
Police stopped Israa Jaabis, 31, the would-be bomber, as she drove on a highway between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. She shouted “Allah Akbar” (God is the greatest) before detonating her bomb.
One police officer was slightly injured. Jaabis suffered burns to 40 per cent of her body and was taken to a Jerusalem hospital. Shin Bet, the internal security agency, said Jaabis had tried to ignite a gas cylinder and was carrying leaflets in support of Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli forces.
A bomber with leaflets? A novel way of delivering them? We learn that she is 31-year-old and a resident of east Jerusalem.
Palestinians disputed the official account, saying that an electrical fire in the car was mistaken for an explosion.
The LA Times:
…an Israeli police officer suffered light burns when a Palestinian woman allegedly detonated a bomb at a checkpoint near Maaleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem. Officials said the policeman had flagged down a suspicious car for inspection when the driver detonated a bomb.
Sappers checking the vehicle for further explosives found a gas canister, and police officials speculated that the car was intended to explode in Jerusalem. The driver, later identified as a 31-year-old resident of east Jerusalem, was seriously injured in the blast and taken to a Jerusalem hospital. Palestinian media disputed the Israeli version, saying the woman was alarmed by an electric short in the car.
Early on Sunday, Israeli police believe they foiled an attack after stopping a woman driver near another West Bank settlement, Maale Adumim. As she walked toward police officers, there was an explosion in the vehicle.
Meanwhile, on a West Bank road leading to Jerusalem, police pulled over a car driven by a Palestinian woman who they said shouted ‘God is great’, and detonated an explosive when approached by officers.
Both the woman and the officer were injured in the explosion.
‘We foiled a car bomb attack,’ said police commander Rafi Cohen. ‘We have no doubt the woman terrorist who drove the vehicle intended to reach Jerusalem.’ Cohen added that there were more explosives still inside the vehicle. Although he gave no more detaisl, Army Radio reported that gas canisters were found inside.
The wave of violence also saw an Israeli police officer wounded on Sunday in a car explosion at an Israeli checkpoint when a Palestinian woman allegedly detonated explosives in her car near the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli police said officers noticed a “suspicious vehicle” being driven toward Jerusalem in a public transport-only lane approaching a checkpoint.
The injured police officer, Moshe Chen, said he gestured for her to stop the car and she then yelled “Allahu Akbar”, a phrase in Arabic meaning “God is great” and sometimes used by Islamic protesters, and detonated a bomb in her car.
The Huff Post has little more on the alleged bomber:
The security agency says handwritten letters were found on her person that praised Palestinian “martyrs.” It says the woman is a resident of east Jerusalem but lives part of the time in the West Bank.
The Jerusalem Post: “Police officer injured in attack near Ma’aleh Adumim: I told bystanders not to shoot terrorist”
We hear from Moshe Chen, the police officer at the centre of the story.
“You always hear of terrorist attacks and suddenly I was in one, boom, that’s how it is,” the lightly wounded police offer told reporters as he lay in a hospital bed in Sha’are Tzedek Medical Center.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said the woman attempted to ignite a gas tank in her car with flammable materials and then tried to exit the vehicle. Other than the gas tank, there was no explosive device in her vehicle.
Why was the woman suspicious?
Chen said he first noted her vehicle as he drove toward the A-Zaim junction outside the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement and thought it seemed suspicious. A woman sat in the driver’s seat, but there were no other passengers in the car, even though she was driving in the commuter lane, which is designated for buses or groups of three or more people, he said.
Chen said he continued to drive but her car moved closer and closer to his vehicle, as if to catch up with it, in a way that made him nervous.
“I felt that something was wrong,” Chen said.
He stopped. He approached her car. He says:
“As luck would have it, I was wearing a flak jacket. I told her that she had violated a traffic regulation, but she seemed not to understand what was happening. She spoke in Arabic and then she said, ‘Allahu Akbar’ and I saw that some smoke was coming out of the car,” Chen said.
Initially, he said he thought something had possibly caught fire in the car and contemplated getting a fire extinguisher to put it out, when there was an explosion.
“It was then that I understood she was a terrorist. People tried to offer help. I asked them to stay away because there was a terrorist. Some of them had weapons and I told them not to shoot at the woman. She was wounded and did not pose a danger. I called for more police and security forces to come to the scene.”
Chen’s call for backup is played:
“I am on the road in the direction of the A-Zaim junction from the Adumim junction. A woman drove alone in the public transportation lane. I saw her acting suspiciously, she yelled ‘Allahu akbar’ [‘God is great’]. It seems as if she has set off a device. I am lightly wounded, the terrorist is on the ground, the car is burnt, it was going to burn, someone there put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. I don’t know if I am lightly wounded, I am in shock, I have suffered some burns. The device went off, she detonated the device.”
The terrorist was seriously injured in the attack and was evacuated to hospital in Jerusalem with burns to her entire body, Magen David Adom said. The police officer suffered burns to his upper body and was evacuated to hospital with light injuries and in stable condition.
In the hospital, Chen told reporters,“I could have died, but I am here, healthy and whole. I am very emotional… I lived through the first intifada and the second intifada and now this one. I hope it ends soon.”
We also hear the Palestinian version of events:
Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority security forces, however, accused the Israel Police of “fabricating” the story about the car. He said an official investigation conducted by the PA showed that the woman’s car had been intercepted by an Israeli police vehicle.
“When the woman stopped the car, the airbag in front of the driver’s seat suddenly went off,” Damiri claimed. “The policeman saw this as an excuse to open fire at the woman when she tried to get out of the car. That’s why the Israel Police fabricated the story, which is a lie and misleading.”
A 20 year old woman was critically injured, and an IOF police officer was lightly injured following an explosion in a car near the settlement of Maale Adumin, in the occupied West Bank at 7.15 am this morning (Sunday).
IOF? She’s 20?
The incident was initially reported as an attempted suicide bombing but Micky Rosenfeld, the Israeli Police’s official spokesman, said the explosion had happened after the woman had left the car.
No. He didn’t.
The Israeli Occupation officer is not thought to be lightly hurt.
Conflicting accounts of the incident have emerged, with pro-Jewish websites claiming it was an attempted suicide bombing and others claiming the woman threw an explosive device.
Pro-Jewish? Or pro-Israeli? We’ve not seen any report that the device was tossed.
To Canada, where a woman showing up to vote won’t be forced to remove her niqab. But anyone wearing a face covering will be required to sign an oath attesting to their eligibility and to present two pieces of identification, at least one having a current address.
Fair enough, then. Or, of course, you could just vote online from the comfort of your own pigsty, naked and strapped to a rocking horse. But sometimes it’s good to get out the house.
Sadly, people get offended by clothing. At Anorak we like freedom of expression. You can advertise your own lack of convictions and individuality with a slogan T-shirt; you can sport mis-matched novelty socks on your ears – and this is the limit of tolerance – you can even wear red trousers in town.
But some people get upset by clothing. We imagine they’re the sort who crave conformity and like uniforms. So one chap went to vote dressed in a clown costume and claimed he was able to vote without removing his mask. He said an officer asked him to take an oath to confirm his identity. “Truly sad that I can vote to elect a Canadian prime minister without having to show my face and prove my identity,” says Rafik Hanna.
‘Truly sad’ said the man dressed as a clown. Well, he should know.
A woman arrived at a polling station in Cap-Rouge, near Quebec City, wearing a potato sack on her head. She looked good in it. It was oddly alluring. Doubtless it will catch on in the deathless martial bedroom. Spud-head was also able to vote after swearing an oath.
And in Gatineau, a man showed up to vote at the Centre Communautaire Le Baron dressed as a ghost. But he bottled it and showed his face.
Which was a shame…
Israel is back on top of the news cycle. But how is the UK media covering the story? Let’s look at one incident.
The Independent tells us:
The Israelis have killed a boy. There have been stabbings in Jerusalem.
Lizzie Dearden reports:
A 16-year-old boy has become the seventh Palestinian shot dead by Israeli security forces in just 24 hours as a wave of violence continues.
The boy is dead. The number of dead Palestinians is rising.
He had launched a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate, in Jerusalem’s Old City, and then tried to attack officers on Saturday morning, according to police.
The boy was armed, then. He was on the offensive.
“Two men stabbed lightly are receiving medical treatment,” said police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld. “Police officers shot and killed terrorist at the scene.”
It came hours after militants in Gaza fired a rocket into Israel overnight.
But the “boy” is the headline. Does that alter your sense of what occurred? Does it play to prejudices?
Fear has gripped Jerusalem in the aftermath of a number of Palestinian stabbing attacks targeting Israeli security forces and civilians, leading the city’s mayor, Nir Barkat, to call on citizens with gun licences to carry their weapons at all times.
Taking a knife to a gun fight. Who wins?
In other news sources, we learn who the boy stabbed, something Dearden does not mention.
The AP begins its report:
Palestinians carried out two stabbing attacks in Jerusalem on Saturday before being shot dead by police, while another two Palestinians were killed during a violent demonstration near the Gaza border fence, as a weeklong bout of violence showed no signs of slowing…
In the third paragraph we learn:
In the first stabbing on Saturday, a 16-year-old Arab attacked two Israelis who were walking from the Old City toward the city center, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. Police opened fire, killing the attacker. The two victims were lightly wounded, Rosenfeld said.
Sources say the two Israelis were returning from prayers. They were unarmed. the BBC notes: “Police said Saturday’s first stabbing had been carried out by a 16-year-old Palestinian. Two ultra-Orthodox Jewish men in their 60s were wounded, police and medics said.”
This site provides photographs:
Later, just outside the Old City, another Palestinian stabbed two police officers, one in the neck. Rosenfeld said other police forces opened fire and killed the attacker, but also wounded one of their own. Three officers were taken to a hospital, one in serious condition.
What about these stabbings?
Recent days have seen a series of attacks by young Palestinians wielding household items like kitchen knives, screwdrivers and even a vegetable peeler. The youths had no known links to armed groups and have targeted Israeli soldiers and civilians at random, complicating efforts to predict or prevent the attacks.
On the Guardian we learn the 16-year-old’s name:
Earlier on Saturday, two Israeli men in their sixties were wounded when Israeli police said they were stabbed by Ishaq Badran, a 16-year-old Palestinian.
The Indy’s report is loaded.
Peter Beaumont, the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, provides some balance:
The reality is that neither side appears fully in control amid “lone wolf” stabbing attacks by Palestinians and attempted lynchings by Israelis – including an incident in the seaside town of Netanya on Thursday night when a mob set on three Palestinians.
Underlining these concerns, the Israeli public security minister, Gilad Erdan, told journalists at the scene of an attack on a 15-year-old yeshiva student in Jerusalem: “Jewish terrorists are also taking part in attacks. We won’t allow anyone to take the law into their own hands.”
Palestinian anger is largely focused on events at al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City and fears that Israel is trying to change the status quo at the holy site, revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount. Netanyahu has denied wanting to change conditions under which Jews are allowed to visit the site.
And what of the dead count? The Indy says 7 Palestinians are dead but makes no mention of Israelis.
This from the Times:
Israel has taken the unprecedented step of barring Palestinians from Jerusalem’s old city after four murders in recent days.
Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, last night vowed that there would be “a fight to the death against Palestinian terror” after a Palestinian man stabbed four ultra-Orthodox Jews in the city on Saturday night, two of whom later died, and a second Palestinian stabbed and injured an Israeli teenager yesterday morning.
Both of the Palestinian attackers were shot dead by police. The attacks came two days after an Israeli couple were shot dead while driving between two settlements near Nablus, in the West Bank. They triggered an order for police to bar Palestinians from visiting the old city for two days. Only Israelis, tourists, local residents, business owners and students were allowed through, and Muslim men under the age of 50 were forbidden from praying at the al-Aqsa mosque.
Was the 16-year-old a “boy” or a would-be murderer? Words matter. Monocular views help no-one.
These are some of the comments the end an Al Jazeera report on the bloodshed – the ones they approve for publication:
The news reporting is corrupted.
The facts remain grim.
Nadiya Jamir Hussain won the Great British Bake Off, a BBC TV show for competitive amateur cake makers. The BBC presents as news. But it’s even more than that. It’s a moral lesson. Nadiya wears a scarf on her head. It’s not new kind of apron or a teflon-coated chef’s hat. It’s a head scarf, as worn by some Muslim women, of which she is one.
The Mail sees the look:
Nadiya is already a heroine in her home town of Luton where she’s seen as a glowing role model for young Muslims at a time when the immigrant community is struggling to shake off the dark spectre of Islamic extremism.
Put down your bombs, your spliffs and your iPads. Pick up your lemons.
‘I was a bit nervous that perhaps people would look at me, a Muslim in a headscarf, and wonder if I could bake,’ she says. ‘But I hope that people have realised that I can — and just because I’m not a stereotypical British person, it doesn’t mean that I am not into bunting, cake and tea.’
Cake and spite. It’s he British staple diet. It’s won wars.
‘I’m just as British as anyone else, and I hope I have proved that.’
Who needs to find a token ethnic face for the BBC to pat on the head when Nadiya is so willing to place her cakes at the vanguard of Britishness.
Still, the Mail manages to up the stakes. Get a load of this utter balls:
More sugary balls, modom?
As a liberal Muslim woman myself, I admit that I was also initially put off by Nadiya’s headscarf and severe look. Yet by winning the show with such grace, humour and dignity, Nadiya has done more to further the cause of Asian women — and men — than countless government policies, think-tanks, initiatives and councils put together have achieved in the past half-century.
It’s a Nadiya and me story.
Of course, we have many other Muslim role models — Mo Farah, Olympic gold medallist, Moeen Ali, the England cricketer, Mishal Hussain, presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Rageh Omaar, TV reporter, Sajid Javid, the Business Secretary, and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.
She’s not a role model. She’s a woman who entered an amateur TV cooking show who happens to Muslim. Islam played no part in her baking , or did we miss the bit where she makes a chocolate prayer mat? Are Muslims who enter other telly shows – Mastermind, Big Brother, Pointless – doing it for their God?
But it is Nadiya, baker of beautiful cakes, who has, in my view, turned the image of British Muslims upon its head.
Who knew they could work an oven?
Muslims who are burning with anger or, at the least, disillusioned with life in Britain should learn from Nadiya. I know I have.
Don’t burn with anger – turn down the temperature and simmer. And Yasmin, are your sponge fingers better than Before Nadiya (BN)?
And – hold on – is this a parody? Is that you, Craig Brown?
I once wrote about good Muslim men, among them some uncles and cousins who treasured their wives and encouraged them in their education and ambitions.
Afterwards Sadiq Khan, Labour candidate for the London Mayoral election, wrote and thanked me for my article.
Haha. Who knew Muslim women could do satire so well? Haha.
We all owe Nadiya a debt of gratitude, not just for entertaining us with her pastries and sponges, but for teaching us what it is to be British in 2015.
Rule, Nadiya… Nadiya rules the airwaves…
In 1942, GIs in England were given a handbook. It instructed the visitors how to behave and consider their hosts. Fast forward to 2015, and Scott Waters, a 66-year-old from St Augustine, Florida, is on his fourth trip to England for the fourth time. He went on Facebook and wrote his own guide:
There are no guns. No quite. there are guns. It’s just that they not a rite of passage. And you have to wonder where he went to find no mixer taps? And the trick with trains is not to rely on them. But, still, nice one, Scott.
The VIP paedophile story unravels by the day. Today the Times reports on the man who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by the dead former home secretary and Tory MP Leon Brittan.
The man is known only as “David”. He told the BBC’s Panorama programme that he only realised Lord Brittan of Spennithorne had molested him when a “campaigner” showed him the peer’s photo and suggested a number of names to him.
“It were just done as a joke suggestion to start with but that suggestion became reality. I just went along with it. I identified him with a photograph.”
“But there again, he’s a well-known MP and I might have seen him on TV through the years and stuff and I might just have been confused.”
Do you blur reality with fiction? Do you think EastEnders is a documentary? Are you the kind of idiot who writes letters to your MP demanding Deirdre be freed for prison?
The Times then notes the police reaction. The self-serving police have been trawling for victims. The PR-police have hounded celebrities, turning their arrest into TV entertainment.
The Metropolitan Police hit back last night, saying that it had serious concerns about the conduct of some BBC journalists who had shown photographs to a key witness in another abuse investigation. Such actions, the Met said, “could compromise the evidential chain should a case ever proceed to court”.
These journalists have saved the country the expense of a lengthy and expensive trial, one in which the accused is a corpse. They have got to the crux of a complaint against a Westminster face and exposed the machinations behind it. The BBC said it was “important and fair investigative journalism“.
Ceri Thomas, Panorama’s editor, said:
“What we’ve found while we’ve been making this Panorama is a concern that all those big institutions – the police, press and politicians – are so determined to atone for the sins of the past that they’re in danger of inventing whole new categories of mistakes. The motivation may be good, but the outcome can be awful. What has emerged is a story which, arguably, says as much about how some of this country’s most important institutions are behaving now as it does about child abuse more than 30 years ago.”
A police spokesman replies:
“We have not yet completed our work. There are still lines of inquiry to pursue which are not in the public domain and we will not reach a judgment until that work is completed.”
The police reach a judgement? No. That’s the work of the courts. Their job is to gather evidence and present it to the CPS.
A Met spokesman adds:
“We are worried that this programme and other recent [media] reporting will deter victims and witnesses from coming forward in future. Seeing an individual make allegations and then be targeted by the media is not going to encourage others to speak out.”
The story of VIP peadophiles is rooted in many claims that the police ignored alleged victims when they first complained of abuse. The media does not prevent claims. The media amplifies them. The media drives through the police cu-de-sac. Well, it can do. As the cuttings on this page show, the media also loves a good scandal, wafting the pong into a stench fog. When it clears, however, there can be little of substance to see.
Panorama also criticised Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, who raised the prospect of “a powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and No 10” in the Commons in 2012.
Watson’s the MP who played a game of Knock Down Paedo. You ring the bell, shout ‘Paedo’, give the crowd the side-eyes and saunter off. He stood in the House of Commons and suggested the existence of a “powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and No 10”. He named no names.
The programme said that he had written to the director of public prosecutions demanding a full review of allegations against Lord Brittan, and his letter prompted police to interview the peer at a time when he was gravely ill. Mr Watson told the BBC in a statement that his motivation had been to help the victims. He added: “It was clear to me very early on that some testimony would prove to be unreliable, yet not all of it.”
David Aaronovitch notes:
On January 21 this year Leon Brittan, the former home secretary, died after suffering for a long time with cancer. His family mourned and on Twitter his former cabinet colleague John Gummer expressed sadness at the news. Noting Gummer’s comments, Tom Watson, the MP and now Labour deputy leader, wrote the single word: “Hmm”.
Hmm. Or, rather, HMMM!!!!!
A few days later Watson wrote in the Mirror:
My condolences go to the family and friends of Lord Brittan. They are grieving for someone they loved very much. I don’t want to add to their grief, but what I am about to say will distress them greatly. For that I am truly sorry.
Many have urged me over the past two years to reveal allegations against Brittan using parliamentary privilege. This allows MPs to say things that are not subject to libel laws. Some will ask why I’ve waited until his death to speak out. The reason is simple. I didn’t want to prejudice any jury trial he might one day face…
…it’s a travesty that Brittan will never be asked the truth. To answer questions about his conduct under oath at a public inquiry. It’s possible to spend a lot of time with a person yet know nothing of their true nature…
I’ve spoken to a woman who said he raped her in 1967. And I’ve spoken to a man who was a child when he says Brittan raped him. And I know of two others who have made similar claims of abuse…
Today, one survivor said to me that Brittan “showed me no kindness or warmth.” That Brittan was “as close to evil as a human being could get in my view”. This survivor said that Brittan and the others “took my childhood, they took the very essence of who I was and finally he’s taken away my right to see justice done.”
It is not for me to judge whether the claims made against Brittan are true.
It’s for the police to investigate these claims as they continue to do. But I believe the people I’ve spoken to are sincere…
All the glowing tributes reminded me of the media coverage immediately after Jimmy Savile’s death. How those journalists who wrote tributes to Savile must regret them now…
Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan stands accused of multiple child rape. Many others knew of these allegations and chose to remain silent. I will not. The police must continue their investigations.
…three main strands of claim remained, two at least of them featuring in Mr Watson’s repetition of claims about Brittan. The first was the story, repeated now in many newspapers, in documentaries, in books, interviews and speeches, that a private guesthouse in southwest London — the Elm Guest House — had, during the 1980s, been a place where boys from a nearby children’s home had been trafficked and sexually abused by a whole series of celebrities and politicians, one of whom was supposedly Brittan.
This story had been on the edges of the internet for years (I came across it on a site run by a follower of the bizarre David Icke cult), but was now given credibility by a police operation set up to examine allegations.
Almost everything to do with Elm Guest House originates with a man called Chris Fay. Once a social worker in the area and then a Labour councillor, it is Fay who claims to have been given the list of “attendees” by the now deceased owner; Fay who claims to have spoken to many boys who were trafficked and Fay who “saw” photographs of Brittan at the guesthouse abusing under-age boys — photos now missing.
On last night’s Panorama, reporters spoke to one boy who Fay claimed was at the guesthouse and who said clearly that he was not there. Panorama also found a man who acted as a gay masseur in the house, who said that though sexual activity certainly went on, he never saw anyone famous or any children. Fay, it should be noted, is a convicted fraudster who went to prison in 2011.
The second strand of the accusations against Brittan concerned the supposed happenings at Dolphin Square in London in the early Eighties. Again this place had been the subject of internet rumours for years, but in the end the hard evidence boiled down to the testimony— most of it obtained by the Exaro news agency and then elsewhere — of three “survivors”: “Nick”, “Darren” and “Andrew”. Nick’s account even made it as the top item of the BBC’s Six O’Clock News last year.
Panorama chased down one of the key claims from Nick”, that he witnessed the hit-and-run murder of a schoolboy in Kingston, committed as a warning to him from his abusers. They established that no such accident happened and that no child was killed in this way in that location and timeframe.
If that murder didn’t happen, then a huge doubt must exist about his other stories, the most lurid of which (involving Edward Heath and a knife) were itemised by Harvey Proctor in a press conference last month where he protested his innocence and accused police of a witch-hunt.
Furthermore, the supposed corroboration from Darren was also highly dubious, since he is a convicted bomb-hoaxer and has been classified as delusional. The third witness, Andrew, told Panorama that he felt pressured into saying he was at Dolphin Square by Fay and the Exaro team.
Then there is the accusation of (unusually for a supposed homosexual paedophile) heterosexual rape. “Jane” contacted Mr Watson through a fellow Labour MP and claimed to have been raped by Brittan in 1967.
When the police investigated her claim a number of problems quickly arose. She said he had taken her to his basement flat, but at the time he had lived on the third floor. And friends of hers who she said could corroborate parts of her story flatly contradicted it. Finally, what she was alleging didn’t match the criteria for rape. The police concluded that they had no grounds for interviewing or arresting Brittan, who was obviously terminally ill.
And then Mr Watson wrote a remarkable letter to the DPP, in effect demanding that Brittan be interviewed and citing in addition to the case of Jane some of the other spurious allegations against him. The DPP leant on the police. The subsequent interview of the dying man resulted in Brittan’s name becoming public. In my opinion this was partly a deliberate ploy to try to “flush out” other complainants.
You can watch the Panorama show here.