We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.
Caitlyn Jenner has been Named ‘Woman Of The Year’ by Glamour magazine. No, not a satire.
News is that Eden Hazard wants to leave Chelsea. The Belgian fancies joining Real Madrid says L’Equipe. As is so often the way with these things, Hazard has told friends, family, pals, dogs and parrots that he wants to move. For some reason, they all decide at once to tell the Press. Hazard says nothing in public, preferring to let his football do the talking, which it is – quietly.
The Indy takes up the story:
The report comes in the same week that Hazard seemed to ‘like’ a post on Instagram linking him with a move to Real Madrid.
At at once we see the plan. Hazard is no longer playing his best in order to avoid winning a man-of-the-match bottle of champers and being made to speak in public. He now only communicates through nameless cousins and ‘likes’.
Of course, Hazard’s potential moves have been in the news for some time:
Such are the facts…
The Mail says he’ll be fit to play in…three weeks.
The Metro really is full of utter balls.
Such are the facts.
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.
The media loves an injury. Arsenal midfielder and Wales captain Aaron Ramsey was injured during the Gunners’ match against Bayern Munich. The Metro picks up the player’s medical charts. And gasps:
Devastating? Ramsay had his leg badly broken at Stoke City. That was devastating. This is a hamstring injury.
Sam Kearns writes:
Arsenal fear that Aaron Ramsey will be out of action for up to six weeks after the Wales midfielder injured his hamstring in the Gunners’ 2-0 win against Bayern Munich.
How does he know that, then?
….according to Goal.com, the former Cardiff City man is facing a six-week spell on the sidelines that will see him miss matches against Bayern Munich, Tottenham and Dinamo Zagreb.
Over at Goal.com, Greg Stobat writes:
Arsenal fear Aaron Ramsey faces six weeks out with the hamstring injury that forced him off during the 2-0 win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.
As we wonder out if Stobart and Kearns are one and the same, we read the BBC:
Wenger said Ramsey will miss Saturday’s Premier League game against Everton and could be out for some time. “He’s very down, he told me that the hamstring is a tough one. He’s out yes,” Wenger said.
In the Telegraph the news is fuller:
What had been an increasingly settled Arsenal team will be disrupted, however, by the loss of Aaron Ramsey. He suffered three similar hamstring injuries last season and, while assessments are ongoing, the initial sense is that he will be out until at least next month’s international break.
Those begin on November 13. That would mean Ramsey missing five matches, including a League Cup rubber against Sheffield Wednesday – not 10 matches, as the Metro thrills. If he is out for six weeks, that should see him miss 8 matches.
Such are the facts.
It’s Marty McFly / Back To The Future Day when we all get to wear self-tying shoelaces, ride on hoverboards and watch TV’s suicide note on ITV2:
And you still wonder if the BBC is worth the licence fee..?
As @“ITV2 waterboarding nostalgia.”
Spotter: Tom Jamieson
Today is the day when Martin McFly, star of the Back to the Future film, arrives when he travels to the future? USA Today shares the joke:
Can Arsenal overturn the form book and beat Bayern Munich in tonight’s Champions’ League match at the Emirates? Can a team defeated by the ordinary Dynamo Zagreb and Olympiacos beat the mighty Germans?
Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger is ambitious:
“At the moment they have the best record in Europe. Maybe they are the most outstanding team in Europe. Historically they have won the European Cup how many times? Five? And Arsenal zero. So you cannot say that historically we are at the same level as Bayern. What we want is to get there. But the history doesn’t play the game. What will decide the game is the performance we produce. That comes from if we believe we can do it.”
Can they win? Wenger adds:
“I believe we have some ground to make up in Europe as we have not been at our requested level in our first two games. Our focus has been much stronger in the Premier League than it has been in Europe, and we know in this game the focus needs to be exactly the same as in the Premier League. We have the belief and confidence that we’re doing something right, so that helps. We maybe could be a little suspected in the first two games of not taking the opponent seriously enough, but this time this is not the threat. So let’s take the positives of our Premier League and get the right focus that you get when you play a big opponent. It’s a realistic statement to say we have to win one of the two games against Bayern. Maybe not even realistic enough.”
The Times notes:
Wenger’s frustration at the Zagreb defeat, in particular, was compounded by Arijan Ademi, the Dynamo midfield player, failing a drugs test after the game. Uefa is waiting for the results of his B sample before opening disciplinary proceedings, but the result will stand regardless as only in the case of more than two players from the same team having been found to have committed a doping violation in the same competition are team sanctions imposed.
Test them all, then. Why not?
“When you don’t play at your best and your opponent is doped, it is difficult. The rules are the rules and I cannot change that, so I don’t think the result is really under any threat. We have organised World Cups before now with 740 players and zero doping cases, and I don’t know if that is really a fact. I was surprised the player was Ademi because he didn’t play before he played against us. But we have to wait as well because there is a counter check to see what comes out.”
Why aren’t all footballers at top matches checked?
As for the match, David Ospina, the Arsenal goalkeeper who gifted the Greek a goal, is out injured. The feeling is that whoever is in the Gunners’ goal will have to play brilliantly.
To Norway shot dead two elk only to realise seconds later that they had been shooting through the fence into a zoo.
“I reacted with disbelief, and the first few seconds afterwards were pretty unreal,” says Heinz Strathmann, the chief executive of Polar Park zoo, north of the town of Narvik. Two hunters out shooting elk spotted their prey – in the zoo.
“I think this is very sad, and it’s not okay. We had five elk, now we have only three.”
The hunters rang the zoo, explaining that their elk hounds had managed to get inside the elk enclosure, and then given chase, preventing the hunters from realising that they were shooting into a zoo.
“This is a regrettable mistake made in connection with lawful hunting on the outside of the park,” says Arne Nysted, chairman of the wildlife tribunal in Troms County. “It was a fatal error, but everyone understands that it was not done at all on purpose.”
We’ve yet to see anyone brave / stupid enough to sport a tattoo of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. But Matthew Keith, 21, thought it a sound idea to get the Hindu Goddess Yellamma inked on his shin. Locals spotted Klein at an eatery in Bangalore. They saw his tattoo. At least one of the offended threatened to skin him.
Then the police came and took him off to the station. Keith claims he was forced to write an apology letter to his harassers. Police say that’s wrong.
Mr Keith wrote on Facebook:
“Forced letter of apology before I could leave the police station … traumatising situation where it is apparently acceptable to be harassed, threatened and mobbed … I respect India and Hinduism completely. That’s why I spent 35 hours getting a massive Ganesha put on my back and 4 hours getting the Goddess (Yellamma) on the only bit of space I had left on my body .. my girlfriend … does not deserve sexual abuse.”
It being what the gods would have wanted…
Over on Flashbak, the story of one man’s collection of things found inside record sleeves. Ever hide anything inside yours?
See them all here.
John Waters agrees: we all (as Brendan O’Neill puts it) have a duty to offend:
Great news for Aston Villa fans comes via the Sun’s back page. Villa are on “alert” because fans of Real Sociedad want team manager David Moyes sacked. It’s pretty rum when your team’s fortunes depend on a saviour being sacked by their current club.
And what of Tim Sherwood, Villa’s current manager, who only yesterday was being backed by Sun columnist Alan Shearer?
The worry is that were Sherwood to go, he would then join David Moyes and Brendan Rodgers as young British managers given top jobs but ultimately seen as failures.
The football business is stuck on names. Villa get Moyes because Moyes did well at Everton. But why would Villa fans want Moyes, a man with baggage?
The BBC picks up the story of Moyes’ life in Spain.
Real Sociedad manager David Moyes said “I know I’m the best man for the job” after the pressure on him grew with a 2-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid. Fans reportedly chanted “Moyes go home” in English with Sociedad only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. “You cannot always keep changing your manager and think that’s the answer to your problems,” the Scot said.
He’s right, of course. So why, then, does the Star report that Moyes wants to manage Aston Villa?
The answer is the same reason that Villa might be eyeing Moyes: a lack of imagination and foresight.
In the Mirror Moyes denies seeking a move:
Moyes also denied reports that would be willing to the return to the Premier League should Aston Villa decide to do away with Tim Sherwood and offer the Scot the role at Villa Park. “During pre-season I had contact with clubs, which is normal, because they know my statistics, but my intention is to stay here at La Real,” he said. “I’m not thinking about anything else. You saw the hard work and determination the players put in, how they fought.”
Did Villa offer Moyes the job in the summer?
The Mail presents Moyes’ return to the top flight of English football as a given:
David Moyes may be back in the Premier League even sooner than first thought after his side failed to win at home for the fourth time this season.
Lose in Spain and you get a top job in the top division.
Sudha Vishwanath sums it up:
These are dark days indeed, when failure overseas is a qualification factor for becoming an EPL club manager!
If Villa do sack Sherwood they should seek adventure and a vision. Moyes offers neither.
The big news in the Daily Star is plain to see: “This paper cost just 20p.” Below that news is the other news that David Hasselhoff is “HOFF TO FIGHT ISIS”.
Can the actor who stood atop the crumbling Berlin Wall and with Joshua prowess blew his own trumpet to bring it down also end ISIS?
The Star explains:
The actor, who played lifeguard Mitch Buchannon in the surf rescue show, said he would launch a personal Rambo-style mission to wipe out the terrorist network.
Rambo, played by Sylvester Stallone, would most likely take on ISIS with less fanfare. He’s most likely already there, camouflaged and waiting the foliage of a Mosul pot plant to slaughter the enemy. However, to the Star Rambo is a more of a state of mind than an actual fictional Hollywood character. Hasselhoff you could not make up.
The Hoff, who also starred in 80s classic Knight Rider, said he had developed a personal hatred for the brutal Isis regime.
So. He’s off, rather Hoff, to take on ISIS, hurtling across the deserts at the wheel of his indestructible Kit car, the perfect blend of man and machine: Hasselhoff behind the wheel; Hasselhoff on the stereo,
Asked to name his “priority activity if he was the invisible man for the day”, the star replied he would kill off all the estimated 200,000 Isis fighters. He said: “I’d go to Syria and annihilate everyone involved in Isis.”
Hoff will only fight ISIS when he becomes invisible, which you’d imagine is hard to achieve through an interview with Weekend magazine. Maybe Channel 5 can help?
Ted Richards has inked his face and eyeballs to look more like his pet parrots Ellie and Teaka. Last month he had his ears cut off. Those ears are now preserved in resin. To keep his glasses on, Ted has had transdermals inserted at the sides of his head.
“I think it looks really great,” he tells the Bristol Post. “I love it. It’s the best thing that has happened to me. I am so happy it’s unreal, I can’t stop looking in the mirror.”
Isn’t that what budgies do?
More photos here.
The “surprising” stat is that Arsenal have won more Premier League games than any other team in 2015. Trouble is that season runs from August to May – so its means nothing.
Klopp Watch: more bilge on the new Liverpool manager in the Metro.
Stats show the Jurgen Klopp effect is already in full flow at Liverpool
Liverpool drew 0-0 away at Spurs in Klopp’s first match in charge. In can be argued that the scoreline is the biggest and most important stat. But the Metro has seen a tweet by data harvesters Opta:
Gegenpress is Klopp’s preferred method of closing down the opposition – what English types call ‘getting in their faces’ or simply ‘pressing’.
It might be worth looking at the same fixture last season, a game that ended 0-3 in Liverpool’s favour. Or the result in the season before that when Liverpool won 0-5.
And as for sprints equating to good team play, well, these are three biggest runners from last season:
George Boyd (Burnley) – 2587
Scott Arfield (Burnley) – 2532
Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull) – 2241
Burnley and Hull were relegated.
Such are the stats.
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.
Transfer Balls: The Metro says Arsenal are looking to buy a “world star”. Who he? And what is a “world star”?
Rebecca Coles explains:
Arsenal ready to beat Chelsea to transfer of world-star in January – report
Yes, yes. Who is it? What is it?
Arsenal are to step up their interest in Real Madrid’s Isco after reports Chelsea and Manchester City are also lining a potential transfer for the midfielder. The Gunners are eyeing a £22million deal to sign Isco in the January transfer window, according to Spanish news outlet Fichajes…
Why would Arsenal want hm
…in a bid to improve their chances to win the Premier League title.
No sh*t, Sherlock.
No link to the Fichajes site. But we looked and found:
The Gunners team that has followed him on many occasions, are considering the possibility of disbursing € 30 million to take over its services. The London club would be trying to do everything possible to incorporate into their ranks in the not too distant future, as indicated Caught offside .
Over there we are told:
Arsenal are ready to launch a £22m bid for Real Madrid attacking midfielder Isco in January according to the Daily Mirror.
Liam Corless writes:
Arsenal will attempt to sign Isco from Real Madrid in January, according to reports in Spain.
Can he cite a source?
Fichajes claim the Gunners will lodge a £22m bid for the Spanish starlet when the winter transfer window opens.
It’s another Human Centipede of football reporting.
Ray Harryhausen stop motion in stop motion:
Ray Harryhausen stop motion in stop motion pic.twitter.com/CyIyHWcll8
— Flashbak.com (@aflashbak) October 17, 2015