Saturday, November 27, 2010
British Jews have been cowed; Now in survival mode; joining their enemies in attacking Israel
Links about the high level of antisemitism in 21st century Britain here and here and here and here and here. And, perhaps most troubling of all, the new British Conservative government seems to be even less principled in its attitude to Israel than were their Leftist predecessors. In that situation most of the British Jewish leadership is treading the well-worn path of appeasement, which leads only to perdition. A vigorous defence of Israel would do them more good. If ever the traitorous Mick Davis has to flee to Israel for his safety, Israel should turn him back: An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Or, perhaps in the words of the greatest Jewish Rabbi of them all: "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth" (Mattew 12: 30)
Chaim Weizmann would turn in his grave were he aware of the public attacks on the Israeli government by some in the UK Jewish leadership.
Mick Davis, the South African-born chief executive of the powerful mining group Xstrata, is chairman of Anglo Jewry’s United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) – the principal fund-raising institution for Israel of the UK Jewish community.
He also heads a body known as the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) – essentially comprised of a group of wealthy British Jews and their acolytes who, by virtue of their financial largesse, assume a dominant influence on many levels of communal life. The power represented by their collective wealth enables them not to be accountable to anyone and few would dare question their policies.
Anglo Jewry has been blessed in the past with rich philanthropists, many of whom were also endowed with wisdom. Despite his immense wealth and access to the most important leaders in the land, Sir Moses Montefiore was devoted to his people and, far from radiating hubris or arrogance, generated respect and love.
In striking contrast, Mick Davis, also known as “Big Mick,” displays characteristics associated with the nouveau riche, akin to the behavior of some of the Russian- Jewish oligarchs. His opinions are rarely challenged and he contemptuously rejects the suggestion that holding a communal role in any way precludes him from publicly expressing views which would normally be considered incompatible for anyone occupying such a position.
Needless to say, Davis is fully entitled to say whatever comes to his mind. Nobody seeks to deprive him of freedom of expression.
Many Jews are critical of Israeli governments.
But for a person holding senior public office in a major Diaspora community to indulge in crude public attacks on Israeli leaders and relate to Israel’s security requirements in relation to their impact on his image in non-Jewish circles is surely bizarre and utterly unconscionable.
While occupying the role of chairman of the UIJA in a country in which hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism have reached record levels, Davis brazenly incites his fellow Jews to criticize Israel.
RESIDENT IN London, he had the chutzpa to berate the Israeli prime minister “for lacking the courage to take the steps” to advance the peace process, arguing that “I don’t understand the lack of strategy in Israel.” He also employed the terminology of our enemies, predicting an “apartheid state” unless Israel was able to achieve a two-state solution – unashamedly blaming Israelis rather than Palestinians for being the obstacle to peace.
His sheer arrogance was best demonstrated in his most outrageous remark: “I think the government of Israel has to recognize that their actions directly impact on me as a Jew living in London, UK.
When they do good things, it is good for me; when they do bad things, it is bad for me. And the impact on me is as significant as it is on Jews living in Israel... I want them to recognize that.”
Aside from implying that Israel is responsible for the anti-Semitism he is encountering, Davis is effectively warning that when considering defense issues which may have life-or-death implications for Israelis, the government must be sure not to create problems for him in his non- Jewish social circles. From his London mansion, he blithely brushes aside suicide bombers, rockets launched against our children and the threat of nuclear annihilation because his gentile friends might complain about the behavior of his Israeli friends.
Jonathan Hoffman, vice president of the UK Zionist Federation (one of the few Anglo-Jewish leaders courageous enough to criticize Davis), expressed outrage that the UIJA chairman could make such a remark. “We are not aware that Hampstead is within range of Iranian or Hamas missiles, nor that its residents have to send their children to the IDF for three years,” he said.
It is telling that over recent years, Davis has not been renowned for condemning the shameful policies of British governments in relation to Israel. And it is no coincidence that immediately after the UK abstained from the UN vote on the Goldstone Report, Davis chaired a JLC reception at which former foreign minister David Miliband was the key speaker. On that occasion, the “outspoken” Davis felt constrained not to express a single word of complaint or disappointment at the perfidious behavior of the British government in relation to this issue.
Whatever happened to freedom of speech in Britain?
We live in a democracy in which it is widely supposed that anything can be said and anything done - at least by celebrity television performers.
Yet within politics, freedom of speech is more drastically constrained than ever before. Seldom have those who govern us been so much inhibited in what they feel able to say or write, not by legislatively-imposed censorship, but by a smothering blanket of supposed propriety and oppressive liberal values.
Until Thursday, former Tory MP Howard Flight enjoyed a lower recognition rating than your average park pigeon. He sprang to fame, or rather plunged into notoriety, by making some explosive remarks during an interview prompted by his newly-awarded peerage.
He denounced government benefit cuts as likely to make the middle class have fewer children and the underclass breed more: ‘Well, that’s not very sensible.’
Headlines screamed. David Cameron fumed, Labour raged, The Guardian revelled in the furore. The ‘guilty’ man apologised. Here was another day, another ‘gaffe’, less than a week after Tory veteran Lord Young was forced to resign after telling the nation it had ‘never had it so good’.
Shocking, isn’t it, the wicked things these politicians say? The funny part starts, however, when we examine the words of Howard Flight and Lord Young.
It is a statistical fact that the middle class have fewer children than the underclass, because the former assess their own ability to raise and educate them, and the latter seldom bother.
As financial pressures on the middle class intensify in the years ahead, it is indeed highly likely that some parents will decide to have fewer children, because they cannot afford them.
The truth of Lord Young’s remarks is equally evident: the British people enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle than at any time in their history.
Whether we shall be able to maintain this happy state is another story, and again the middle class has cause for special alarm. But Young was correct to assert that we ‘have never had it so good’.
His words nonetheless cost him his government job. He committed the most heinous crime of a modern politician: he told the truth, but in terms unacceptable to the commissars of the liberal establishment.
We claim that we want our rulers to be honest, but in reality modern politics is ringed by a vast minefield of Things We Know, But Are Not Allowed To Say.
The term political correctness has become a cliche, but identifies something real. In every aspect of our lives, lines are drawn which politicians and even the rest of us cross at our peril, because a raging pack of truth-deniers will spring at our throats.
Examples? Let us start with the NHS. The idea that healthcare must be absolutely free for everybody has been elevated to a neo-religious principle, which David Cameron treats with more respect than the prayer book.
Every intelligent study shows that Britain’s present NHS structure is not indefinitely affordable. People treat their own health more responsibly if they have a financial stake in adopting a sensible lifestyle, however small. Sooner or later, Britain must move to an insurance-based system or go broke.
But it is deemed suicidal for ministers to admit this. No MP who wants to keep his seat will say that all but a handful of obese people eat too much and exercise too little - that their ghastly condition is their own fault.
More than that, no canny politician suggests that any misfortune in life is the victim’s own fault. It is a fundamental tenet of our society that somebody must be blamed for everything that goes wrong, in order that they can be sued. A whole new breed of vulture lawyers has arisen, to fulfil this purpose.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, that supremely foolish Welsh windbag Dr Rowan Williams, has denounced the Government’s impending benefit cuts as not merely mistaken, but ‘immoral’. Dr Williams offers no hint of any constructive ideas about how the unaffordable cost of the current welfare state is to be curbed: like Labour’s front bench, he merely proclaims the wickedness of cutting welfare entitlements, as if these were enshrined in Magna Carta.
Rights, rights, rights - the word is abused almost daily by people who should know better, to foreclose debate about how Britain can pay its way through the 21st century, and about what rewards should be conferred on those at the bottom of the pile, heedless of any obligation to strive for themselves.
Another taboo subject is immigration. Almost no frontline politician dares tell the truth about something that has changed this country more irrevocably than two world wars.
Nor are we allowed to say that as long as we are members of the EU and subscribe to the European Convention on Human Rights, pitifully few avenues are open to ministers by which the flow of migrants can be stemmed. It is also these days essential to pretend to think well of Islam, and pay the occasional visit to a mosque.
Any minister who said publicly ‘Race relations in Britain might be in better shape if more Muslims who live here showed a willingness to join our culture and adopt our values’ would be out on his ear next day, denounced on front pages as a bigot. It is unacceptable to assert that if newcomers want to come and live in Britain, they will live happiest and fit in best if they dress and act British.
Selection in education is a litmus test, which no candidate for high office can flinch from, or rather address honestly. David Cameron has closed the door on new grammar schools and is apparently also against any selective schooling system.
The Left and the education establishment denounce these things as elitist, anti-egalitarian, discriminatory. Some of the mud sticks even to those who argue the rational case for apportioning children to schools and classes according to their abilities and willingness to learn.
It is acceptable for women politicians to speak ill of men, but an ambitious male politician who knows which way his bread is buttered will say nothing about the opposite sex, except how wonderful they are. He will not admit, for instance, that some women shamelessly milk employment law to pursue bogus claims of sexual discrimination; that few pretty women in the workplace fail to make the most of their looks; that extending maternity leave, never mind paternity leave, is potty.
One of the least attractive spectacles in British politics is that of David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband vying with each other to demonstrate their credentials as good parents, running the kids to school and taking paternity leave.
As a voter, I don’t want anybody who has chosen to run the country at a time of crisis to be messing about with Lego. I want him dealing with our problems, not his children’s. If a man wants to play the good dad, he should choose another career. But now the entire front rank of British politicians has agreed to play the parenting game, what future candidate for high office will dare break ranks and say ‘This job is too important to waste time changing nappies’?
The silly myth must be sustained that people filling the most demanding offices in the country should also do their bit about the house.
In 2010, it is suicidal to make any statement that might invite a charge of discrimination: I doubt whether any member of the Government could long keep their job after suggesting publicly that gay adoption or IVF treatment for lesbians is a bad idea.
The title of the current comedy movie The Kids Are All Right, about a couple of lesbian parents, says it all. Many of us do not think ‘the kids are all right’: but we would have no future at Westminster if we declared as much.
The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, recently took much stick for his alleged blunder in saying that those who want to have a lot of children should think more about taking financial responsibility for them, which most of us think a statement of the obvious.
It is politically perilous these days to assert that the aspirational middle class deserve to succeed because they work hard, use their money sensibly, make the most of education, and accept responsibility for their actions. It is even more hazardous to say that some of those who fail in life do so because they dismiss those principles.
At a more frivolous level, every politician must enthuse about Harry Potter, Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor, or find themselves denounced for being ‘out of touch with the public’.
Can you imagine David Cameron admitting in an interview, as did Harold Macmillan when he was prime minister, that he spent his leisure hours reading the Victorian novels of Anthony Trollope?
If you want to end a promising career fast, tell a TV audience that you hate football. Worse still, suggest that Joanna Lumley is not the fount of all wisdom about public issues and should stick to acting.
We allow and even expect our rulers to offer obeisance to the vacuous culture of celebrity, when we should have the sense instead to demand that they behave like serious people with serious values. We might even applaud if they wore ties in public, rather than flaunt open-neck shirts to emphasise their informality and ‘accessibility’.
The BBC, with its overwhelming power to set the agenda and influence values, bears a significant responsibility for driving our politicians into an iron cage of political correctness. Not merely its news coverage but the entire ethos of the BBC’s output reflects the values of the liberal establishment - the Rowan Williams view of life, if you like.
The knowledge that BBC correspondents will treat any minister’s deviation from the PC path not as an error but a career-threatening gaffe goes far to explain why traditional rights of free speech are now so rarely exercised at Westminster.
Both Howard Flight and Lord Young were foolish to say what they did in the way they said it, especially at a time when the British people’s tolerance is strained by financial crisis and looming spending cuts. But the wider becomes the gulf between obvious realities - or at least, reasonable points of view - and our politicians’ willingness to express these, the worse it must be for us all.
Freedom in Britain is not today threatened by law or official censorship, but by an oppressive liberalism which is almost equally pernicious.
British photography phobia again
Their eyes crudely blacked out to disguise their identities, these little girls look as if they might be the victims - or perhaps perpetrators - of a crime.
But this disturbing image was actually issued in a school yearbook. It is the result of the bizarre ‘photography policy’ of headmistress Vicky Parsey, who bans parents from taking pictures in school for fear children’s faces will be superimposed on obscene internet images.
Now two mothers of pupils at the school are stepping up their campaign against the ban in the hope they will be able to take photographs of the school’s nativity play.
Last night local MP Grant Shapps said the ‘absurd’ ban created a ‘climate of fear’ that effectively branded all parents paedophiles.
Housewife and part-time exam invigilator Natasha Stannard, 39, and husband George, 42, have two children among the 450 pupils aged three to 11 at Applecroft primary school in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.
They used to enjoy sending photographs of school pantomimes and sports days to grandparents in South Africa – but three years ago Mrs Parsey declared it had to stop.Mrs Stannard said: ‘I was looking forward to taking photographs at the school’s annual Christmas performance.
‘We were told in a newsletter “We will no longer permit the use of videos, photographs or mobile phone camera pictures of any children by parents/carers/visitors during performances and school events”.’
Mrs Stannard and her friend Caroline Baynes, 44, a project manager whose two children also attend Applecroft school, began lobbying the school to relent.
Instead, the school produced a 17-page ‘photography policy’ which states: ‘The proliferation of internet web pages and social networking sites has given rise to increased concerns that images will be misused and that a child’s face or body could be used to represent matters wholly contrary to the wishes of their parents.’
The photographs of children with eyes blacked out were issued in ‘yearbooks’ given to the parents of four-year-olds in the school nursery.
Photographs of classroom activities were enclosed, but teachers had blacked out the eyes of all children other than the parents’ own. In effect, each parent got a customised yearbook.
Mrs Baynes said: ‘This “photography policy” has created an unnatural situation where you can’t take a photo of your own child. It’s the nanny state gone mad.’
Mr Shapps, a Conservative, said he had taken up the issue with the school with no effect. He said the blacking out of eyes was ‘creepy’, adding: ‘This is absurd – these pictures look like the kids have been taken prisoner. They have created a climate of fear, suggesting that every parent is a paedophile.’
Mrs Stannard and Mrs Baynes are surveying all parents’ attitudes to the draconian policy. They are being supported by campaign group the Manifesto Club, which warns there is a national problem with schools imposing such restrictions.
Manifesto Club director Josie Appleton said: ‘There is no law banning nativity photos. Parents and children now have massive gaps in their family photo album.’
Mrs Parsey, 43, was not available for comment yesterday.
TSA Measures: Liberals' Distorted Versions of Freedom & Equality
By now everyone has experienced, witnessed, or at least heard about the TSA’s brilliant two-layered airport security strategy. The typical passenger must now choose between being the subject of high-tech porn or governmental molestation, all in the name of a political correctness that liberals keep dragging to new heights, or lows, of stupidity. The only way to attempt an analysis of something this idiotic is to dig as far as possible until one reaches a vestige, a sliver, of good intention, common sense or, at least, pathetic swipe at virtue. Our nation was founded on the principles of freedom and equality, but experience should have taught us by now that these two goals are neither completely parallel nor always virtuous.
For example, total freedom to drive as I wish, while seemingly providing me with greater freedom, would invariably lessen the freedom of others to drive safely. Only an imbecile or a traitor would knowingly advocate chaos; and total, unlimited freedom is chaos. The imbecile would favor chaos because he or she is too ignorant to realize the logical succession from rampant freedom to wanton disarray. Conversely, the traitor would favor chaos because he or she realizes its ability to undermine the society the traitor wishes to bring down or transform. The freedom intended by our founders, then, is a freedom of balance, compromise, logic, and common sense. It is the salt that, when appropriately applied to a society, adds the flavor of human integrity only found in true democracies.
The sort of equality proposed by our founders intended a similarly appropriate, balanced, logical, rational, and sensible application. At a deeper level, this equality was intended to be applied in the image of John Rawls’ distributive justice, where everyone is provided with an equal opportunity, but not necessarily an equal guarantee of success. In both the classroom and workplace, this means a teacher or supervisor who provides the tools for success, defends and rewards those who play fair, and refuses to coddle and protect those who do not. This was the original, appropriate intent to affirmative action. However, in the hands of hypocritical liberals, affirmative action has become an excuse to patronize, victimize, and enslave the afflicted while bashing, accusing, and recycling unfairness upon the identified victimizers by fanning the flames of emotions and racism even as such racism is practiced.
Our nation’s original foundation in freedom and equality was sensitive to the voice of the people, but liberals’ present distortions of those goals are anything but. Simply put, they are a distorted mutation of those ideals wrapped in a pathetic, tragic, selective, and hypocritical blanket of political correctness. The freedom of safe travel by most Americans is threatened by a relatively small, clearly defined, and even self-identified group of individuals, but liberals propose to defend that freedom and right using methods which do not further our safety while managing to offend and violate us in other ways.
Imagine answering a fire in your kitchen by setting the whole house on fire in order to avoid implying that the kitchen was the most dangerous part of your home. Suppose you fail an entire class in order to avoid making those who did fail feel stupid or lazy. Imagine refusing to identify the physical characteristics of a bank robber lest one offends those of similar appearance or dress. Imagine going out with anyone who asks you to avoid offending those you reject. If all of these scenarios seem idiotic to you, then you have something to be thankful for when you sit with family and friends to share a meal this Thanksgiving. If, however, you see nothing wrong with these strategies, then you probably think that Katie Couric, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, and Joy Behar are fair, impartial, and clear thinking analysts of our national scene. My favorite personal encounter which such imbecilic thinking is a school system refusing to place dangerous and disruptive students in a special school because most of them happened to be of a particular racial background. Typical liberal thinking: Offend most of us while lumping some dysfunctional people with their functional counterparts and blindly defending that chosen group.
Harming the functional most to protect the dysfunctional some is a mantra that liberals will bash us over the head with until we lose consciousness or switch to their way of thinking, which might be synonymous. Harm the security and integrity of our borders to coddle people who ignore, mock, or thumb their noses at our laws. Harm the interests of those who have paid their dues or followed the law to coddle the interests of those who wish to cut the line for fear that we will be called racists, biased, intolerant or God knows what else. I suggest that it is racist to use race as an excuse to defy, mock, ignore or trample our laws. Harm the interests of all Latinos by pretending that the agenda of those who enter illegally is the same as that of those who have entered legally. Harm the security and safety of Americans and future generations to coddle the desires and sensibilities of people who want to blow us up yesterday.
Whether liberals like it or not, freedom must be regulated to be enhanced; equality is not always possible nor desirable, and profiling is sometimes necessary and rational. Since we have unlimited resources of time, money, energy, and everything else, we must focus our attention on attending to those things most likely to go wrong and those people most likely to make those things go wrong. We encounter profiling every day in many ways. Some eating establishments are given poor safety records as compared to others. Some students have a record of not doing their homework or acting up in class. Some kinds of people tend to bore us on dates. Some television shows, magazines, or newspapers tend to interest us less than others. Differentiation is part of life, and profiling is rational, sensible, logical, and justifiable differentiation. Liberals will tell us that profiling is prejudice, but that notion assumes that all profiling is baseless and superficial, which is simply not the case.
The fact is, liberals tend to select causes and groups to defend and blindly protect without regard to common sense, logic, or fairness. Typically, and sadly, those causes and groups tend to be selected not based on the lofty ideals which liberals portray but, more likely, on some ulterior agenda or purpose. One wonders how fervently liberals would defend illegal immigrants if such people were expected to vote for conservatives. Likewise, liberals have shown a great sensitivity to Muslims and a corresponding lack of sensitivity to Christians. If liberals were truly as enlightened as they pretend to be, they would differentiate between those legally and illegally in this country, and refuse to play the race card against conservatives in an obvious attempt to enflame the emotions of all involved. Likewise, if liberals were as fair as they portray themselves to be, they would treat all religions equally, but any fool can see that this is not the case as routinely shown in public schools, the media, and the selective censorship of Christmas.
If the present TSA security measures seem unfair, offensive, intrusive, and even mindless, it is because they are. They purport to offer us safety when evidence shows that terrorists will still find ways to avoid detection. They pretend to be fair and even-handed when neither evidence nor experience justifies their blanket application across the population. They pretend to offer the freedom of two options when each option violates the integrity and sensibilities of all exposed. Liberals would rather insult and offend most of us than insult or offend their favored group. Ironically, their very protection of this group mimics their patronizing approach to illegal immigration. Liberals offensively lump those legally and illegally in this country under the blanket of immigration in order to paint any efforts against those illegally here as attacks on all immigrants. Likewise, they conveniently and offensively lump any measures against radical Muslim terrorists as attacks on all Muslims, including the many law-abiding ones who care about this country, in order to paint themselves as noble defenders of that group.
Scanning and groping grandmothers and children while defending and welcoming border crossers is the sort of logic, justice, and common sense that liberals spill on us every day. Those looking for our national interest should not bother looking under liberals’ beloved political correctness, where only their pet causes and agendas may be found.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.