Wednesday, May 04, 2016

That Other Time of British Anti-Semitism

From the words of MP Gordon Lang in Parliament during the debate on July 31, 1946:-

...I think the episode of General Barker's letter* was passed over much too lightly. It will not do merely to talk about the intolerable conditions under which officers and men are acting. I agree about that, and greatly regret what has happened, and we all condemn with horror and emphasis the outrages that have taken place...but it will not do merely to say that letters such as General Barker's were written under great strain. If we are to have the vicious circle of intolerable circumstances producing wicked and criminal acts, and then those wicked and criminal acts are used as a sort of excuse, or reason for continuing the intolerable conditions, we shall never get anywhere at all. If a thing was right a month ago, the mere fact that some people have committed criminal acts between then and now does not make it wrong now...

May I now turn for one moment to this letter of General Barker's? It is one of the misfortunes of this Government— and I do not know whom to blame for it —that their beneficent activities and their general policy are very largely hamstrung outside this country by the maintenance of most reactionary people in key positions. How can it be expected that the Government can carry out their policy? This is a matter about which hon. Members on the other side of the House may be pleased, but, sitting on this side, I am not pleased about it, because I know that it exists. Take this letter of General Barker. I should like to know, and I hope an answer may be given to me presently, why it was sent. With great respect, I suggest that the letter is just vulgar anti-Semitism. I would like to know whether there is any connection between that attitude and the fact that the recent attack made upon Jerusalem took place upon the Jewish Sabbath day. Not a word was said about that by the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon in outlining the case, although I regard it as one of the most deplorable things that has happened in our time...
I would like to know whether that had been deliberately arranged and whether the loathing and contempt which General Barker so freely expresses in his letter inspired it. He is certainly not a man with a judicial mind, if the reports of his letter are accurate, and he ought not to assume the position of judging the rights of the general mass of the Jewish population of Palestine. Anything more immoderate and injudicious than this letter, I can scarcely conceive, and I earnestly hope that somebody will deal with it on behalf of the Government.

...I hope we shall hear from the Minister who is to reply, something more about this letter of General Barker. I am not the only hon. Member who has received from men in the Army in Palestine letters of protest, or more often of plain inquiry, asking what the attitude is at home towards the Jews, because they have been told that there is now, definitely, a note of anti-Semitism in official propaganda. We had better face these facts. I should like to hear something more about them. I was thoroughly glad that my right hon. Friend dissociated the Government from this letter, but I hope we shall have something much stronger than that...

...I would like here to recall the fine phrase which was used by the Leader of the House in 1938, in an article he wrote in the newspaper "Forward." He said: The words of one of our Socialist Zionist leaders are that the countries of the world are being divided into two categories: those which Jews are forbidden to enter, and those in which they find it impossible to live...As one who is not a member of the Jewish race but who is just—God help me!— attempting to be a practising Christian, I believe that it is the Divine Will of Almighty God that Palestine should be the national home of the Jewish people. The more I become convinced of that, the more ephemeral and evanescent the present situation seems. It will be a fatal thing if we attempt to put ourselves in the path of what I believe is a Divine Ordinance and Decree.

I know, and I regret it, that it is not now fashionable to talk of these things here. There was a time, as I have read with pleasure and longing, when matters of deep moral conviction could be voiced in this House, and when hon. Members were not afraid to quote Scripture to one another, in endeavouring to base their case upon the Scriptures. Fashions no doubt change, but fundamental things do not. Eternal values do not. I am certain that there will be no permanent peace in this world and no real prosperity for humanity until right things are done, and one of those right things is that the Jewish people shall, once again, return with songs to their own land and be domiciled there. For so long they have had no land of their own, and no rest for the soul of their people. They have borne for many of us the brunt of the misery, cruelty and infamy of man, and, despite that, so often in their tragic history they have had from the people they helped far more kicks than halfpence. Yet they have still come to their aid, as they did to ours during the last war, and as they would come to our aid again. Let nothing of the dreadful acts of violence which have taken place cause us to lose our sense of proportion. This is a great and fundamental matter. This is a crying aloud for real justice. There is an opportunity for the reassertion in this House, in this country and in the world of a great spiritual truth. I hope and pray that this Government will have the courage to take this decision, and to grant the Jewish people their rightful place.

"The Jewish community of Palestine cannot be absolved from responsibility for the long series of outrages culminating in the blowing up of a large part of the Government offices in the King David Hotel causing grievous loss of life. Without the support, active or passive, of the general Jewish public the terrorist gangs who actually carried out these criminal acts would soon be unearthed, and in this measure the Jews in this country are accomplices and bear a share of the guilt.
I am determined that they shall suffer punishment and be made aware of the contempt and loathing with which we regard their conduct. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by the hypocritical sympathy shown by their leaders and representative bodies, or by their protests that they are in no way responsible for these acts ... I have decided that with effect on receipt of this letter you will put out of bounds to all ranks all Jewish establishments, restaurants, shop, and private dwellings. No British soldier is to have social intercourse with any Jew ... I appreciate that these measures will inflict some hardship on the troops, yet I am certain that if my reasons are fully explained to them they will understand their propriety and will be punishing the Jews in a way the race dislikes as much as any, by striking at their pockets and showing our contempt of them." 


Barker's letters to his former lover Katie Antonius contain overtly antisemitic passages. He wrote about the Jews in April 1947: "Yes I loathe the lot - whether they be Zionists or not. Why should we be afraid of saying we hate them. Its time this damned race knew what we think of them - loathsome people".

An Unsuccessful 'Follow the Money Trail'

This came across my screen:

Subject: letters to Mr. Ian Powell
Mr. ,
I refer to my e mail of yesterday acknowledging your correspondence.
Each member firm of the PricewaterhouseCoopers network of firms owes confidentiality obligations to its clients. We therefore cannot confirm or deny who is or who is not a client and the services that we render to them unless it is available in the public domain.
We are unable to therefore provide any information requested in your letter.
Margaret Cole
Margaret Cole
PwC | Executive Board
UK General Counsel
Direct: +44 (0)20 7212 2016
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
1 Embankment Place, London, WC2N 6RH 


Dear Ms Cole,
Thank you very much for your response.
Paragraph four of the letter from the World Bank makes it plain that the Palestinian Authority is your client so I am unsure about your point in relation to refusing to confirm or deny who your client is.
It is your client who can waive confidentiality as any client can in the interests of openness.
Would you be so kind as to ask the Palestinian Authority if they would waive confidentiality in respect of these audit reports? Firstly, the audits are audits of large sums of foreign public money  - including over seventy million pounds of tax money from the UK – which are transferred to the PA (and is partially spent, we say, on wages for convicted terrorists) in accordance with the World Bank Trust Fund agreement.
Secondly, there is a compelling public  interest in ensuring through openness that these audits are undertaken properly to ensure no public fund from the donor nations is spent on anything other than development projects, payments to civil servants and other appropriate projects.
Thirdly, there is a compelling public interest in the PA and PWC releasing these reports to show that UK tax money is not diverted to government institutions in the PA that pay wages to convicted terrorists.
I am sending a copy of this correspondence to the President of the World Bank, Mr Jorgensen in the Jerusalem Office and to UK Lawyers for Israel.
I look forward to a response.
Yours Sincerely,   


From: []
Subject: Audit Correspondence

Dear Mr ,
We are unable to assist you any further in this matter.
Margaret Cole
PwC | Executive Board
UK General Counsel
Direct: +44 (0)20 7212 2016
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
1 Embankment Place, London, WC2N 6RH 


Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Aggression, Desecration, Racism

Give me a break.

The Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs of the Palestinian reported [here also] that the Israeli occupation forces and settlers have carried out about 124 violation and aggression against the holy sites during the month of April / May last.

The Minister of Religious Endowments, Joseph Adeis,

in a press statement on Monday that the Israeli attacks "centered" in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron (south of Jerusalem).

Sheikh Adeis pointed out that the occupation authorities prevented the call to prayer in the Ibrahimi Mosque 63 time, pointing out that it continued apostasies on Waqf land in Jericho, Hebron and the shrine "Joseph" in Nablus.

The Palestinian minister said that nearly 1800 Jewish settlers "stormed and desecrated the" Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of April, Msttrda "which raise the issue during the last four months of 4800 to the settlers."

He pointed out that the occupation authorities "stepped up their actions racism" against the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque and internal and external courtyards.

Msttrda: "The government of Israel is seeking to bring the Jewish character of the maximum through the daily incursions, and Talmudic prayers, and the attack on the marabouts and detention."

Adeis He stressed that "Israel" has taken a series of measures to "reduce the Palestinian presence" in the city of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, and allowed the settlers to exercise complete their rituals freely and under guard.


Sunday, May 01, 2016

Elie Wiesel and the Irgun

An earlier, more raw, version of Elie Weisel's The Night has been found.

I wonder what many people, who perhaps may not know of his 1945-148 activities, would think.

He was an Irgunist in France.  Not a fighter, but a propagandist.

Elie Wiesel's service in the Irgun is to be found in his All Rivers Run to the Sea, Alfred A. Knopf, 1995 from p. 157 onwards

After the November 29, 1947 UN Partition resolution, Wiesel found the Paris office of the Irgun newspaper, Zion in Kamf, ציון אין קאמף: ביולעטין געווידמעט דעם ארץ ישראל באפרייאונגס- קאמף
and offered his services. He was accepted.

He describes his vision of the underground “resistance” at this time so on p. 162:

Physical courage, self-sacrifice, and solidarity could be found even in the lower depths; total compassion, rejection of humiliation either suffered or imposed, and altruism in the absolute sense were found only among those who fought for an idea and an ideal that went beyond themselves. Nobility of action was found only among those who espoused the cause of the weak and oppressed, the prisoners of evil and misfortune.

For Wiesel, being in the Irgun in Paris was:

“risking neither death nor imprisonment. Even deportation from France was unlikely. Stateless persons were rarely deported, that was one of the few advantages of the status.” (p. 162)

His introduction to the Irgun is described so:

The following Monday I presented myself at the editorial office. Joseph, the boss, showed me to a desk, handed me an article in Hebrew, and asked me to translate it. The article, published in the Irgun’s newspaper in Israel, was a denunciation of David Ben-Gurion and the Haganah and a paean to Menachem Begin, commander in chief of the Irgun. I translated the Hebrew words into Yiddish without grasping their meaning. I knew that the Haganah was fighting the British as hard as the Irgun was, and I couldn’t understand why the two movements hated each other so much. The article also mentioned the Lehi (the so-called Stern Gang), but what was its role?  (p. 163)

Wiesel’s mentor, Shushani, was also caught up in the Jewish assaults in Palestine:

Though he abhorred violence, he was hardly indifferent to the Jewish struggle in Palestine. Whenever the British arrested a member of an underground organization, Shushani tried to get information about his fate. One day he seemed extremely agitated. He interrupted our lesson, pacing, bumping into walls, blowing his nose, panting and wiping his forehead … It was the day a member of the Lehi and a member of the Irgun committed suicide together just a few hours before their scheduled execution. (.164)

Wiesel has a friend who enlisted in the Lechi:

How and why did François  suddenly decide to join the struggle for an independent Jewish state? Had he, too, knocked on the Jewish Agency’s door on the Avenue de Wagram? Though he joined the Lehi, and I belonged to the Irgun, our friendship was unaffected. In any case, each of us kept his activities to himself. We both agreed that the less we knew about each other, the better.6 No one asked questions at the synagogue I attended on the Rue Pave’e. To them I was a student like any other. If only they knew. (p. 165)

And he mentions someone I got to know and wehose son and daughter I was active tih:

Through work I met Shlomo Friedrich, the leader of Betar, Jabotinsky’s Youth Movement. He was a tall, vigorous man with a rapid gait, a former prisoner in the Gulag. […] The process of becoming a journalist involved attending press conferences, public meetings, and demonstrations, and offered a chance to meet such “colleagues” as Henri Bulawko. As we talked, we discovered that we had been in Auschwitz-Buna at the same time. And I met Leon Leneman, one of the first to sound the alarm for Soviet Jews. […] Envoys from the Irgun came to the editorial offices every day. All were from Palestine and I was supposed to know only their aliases. Their commander, Elie Farshtei, was shrouded in mystery [he is Eli Tavin- YM], but, after swearing me to secrecy, Joseph told me of an incident from his past. In 1946 … he was captured and tortured by agents of the Haganah […]  I was flattered when Elie Farshtei stopped by to ask whether I wasn’t working too hard, whether my studies weren’t suffering. I told him that everything was fine, and that I hoped he was pleased with my “contribution” to “Zion in Struggle.” […] In the corridors I might have encountered a young Jewish girl from Vienna, beautiful and daring, who transported documents and provided a hiding place for guns: my future wife. (p. 166-7)

He continues there:

The Zionist organizations in the Diaspora worked tirelessly to supply our brothers in Palestine with political and financial support. In France and in the United States as well, we were mobilized. Young and old, rich and not so rich, all felt the fever our ancestors had known in antiquity. Representatives of all the resistance groups worked day and night, though separately, procuring arms and ammunition, raising funds, recruiting volunteers who would set out for the various fronts of the nascent Jewish state. Elie [Farshtei] and his aides no longer found time to sleep. Out of solidarity, neither did we. (p.167)

Deep down, I had reservations. Military life was not for me. […] what if I died in combat? I hadn’t yet done anything with my life, had written nothing of the visions and obsessions I bore within myself, hadn’t yet shared them with anyone. […] Nevertheless, I decided to heed the call to arms.
Nicholas and I signed up at the recruitment office … (p.167-8)

Wiesel at rear in Ambloy, (Loir-et-Cher) France before arriving in Paris:


Thursday, April 28, 2016

It? It Who? It What?

To what or of what does the "it" in this headline refer?

Jordan is not acting responsibly at the Temple Mount.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016


American knowledge and understanding of foreign affairs:

The boundaries of the proposed new Arab and Jewish states do not satisfy Zionist aspirations from either the political or the economic viewpoint, and the whole plan of partition with economic union is totally unacceptable to the Arabs. Although frequent reference has been made to “sacrifices” accepted in the interest of compromise, the partition plan was strongly supported by the Jewish Agency for Palestine and by various Zionist organizations favoring the establishment of a sovereign Jewish political state in Palestine. It did not, however, have the support of the Irgun, the Revisionists or the Stern gang (the so-called leftist groups), whose influence among the Jews of Palestine appears to be increasing.

That was from here in January 1948.


Oh, Look, A Palestine Solution

Proposed March 1944

  • 1. With the failure of twenty-five years of government in Palestine, a radically different settlement, freed from the commitments arising from World War I, seems to be required.
  • 2. A Trusteeship for Palestine exercised by the three religious groups would be a failure. However, there is moral and political justification for the proposal that the three principal religious groups should be associated with the future plan of government.
  • 3. It is recommended that Palestine be constituted as an International Territory under a charter; that a great power be appointed Trustee; that a Board of Overseers representing the three world religions be set up as an advisory body. The reasons and conditions that support this recommendation are as follows:
    • a. The administrator of Palestine must be capable of firm, decisive and prompt action. This requires experienced officials under central control.
    • b. Firm, decisive and prompt action cannot be taken if sectarian and political differences are allowed to exercise their divisive and delaying influences.
    • c. The political and economic problems being highly complex and interwoven with hitherto irreconcilable religious differences, only a centralized and experienced rulership will guarantee justice.
  • 4. It is recommended that the Trusteeship should be awarded to Great Britain by the United Nations Organization under the charter. The charter would recognize the interest in Palestine of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. It would establish the Arab and Jewish communities as autonomous political entities with wide powers of local self-government.
  • 5. The advantages of the proposed settlement are:
    • a. It would eliminate the difficulties that arise because of the conflicting commitments of the past.
    • b. It would place Palestine outside the bounds of both nationalist and imperialist ambitions.
    • c. It would provide means by which to solve the basic economic problems.
    • d. It offers a better prospect than any other plan yet proposed for cooperation in the government of Palestine and for eventual self-government of the people of Palestine.
Another example of State Department discombobulation.


I Found a Real Palestinian



Monday, April 25, 2016

Freedom House Is A House of Horrors

Did you know that Freedom House has downgraded Israel's media status?

And why?

Israel declined due to the growing impact of Yisrael [Israel, actually] Hayom, whose owner-subsidized business model endangered the stability of other media outlets, and the unchecked expansion of paid content—some of it government funded—whose nature was not clearly identified to the public. (p. 20)

That reads as if someone from Yedioth Ahronot, in the past a virtual monopoly on the media scene, had composed that.  Or someone from Haaretz.

Every newspaper is owned.  Haaretz has a foreign investor.  And all owners, at some point, subsidize their outlet.  Does that mean it, too, should under a certain impact?


Deir Yassin, June 12, 1939

The Palestine Post, June 13, 1939.


Say It Ain't So, PA

What will liberals do now?

As if we didn't know.

Some details:

The Palestinian security services in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were responsible for 2,578 arbitrary detentions and summons to appear in 2015, documents the Euro-Mediterranean Monitor for Human Rights in a new report—including 228 that resulted in torture.

"Many people are reluctant to talk about human rights violations by Palestinian security forces because it will ‘deepen the division’ between the two main factions, Hamas and Fatah," says Sandra Owen, a political adviser to the Euro-Med Monitor. "...Palestinians have too many external oppressors to be oppressors of their own people, no matter who does it.”

The Euro-Med report, "Strangulation Twice: the Oppressive Practices of Palestinian Security Services," documents 1,274 arbitrary detentions in the West Bank in 2015 and 1,089 summonses to appear in front of the police or “interior security.” Most of these actions by the Palestinian Authority targeted individuals affiliated with Hamas or who opposed PA policies. Among those arrested were about 35 journalists and human rights activists, 476 university students, and 67 teachers/professors.

...During detention, 179 individuals reported not being shown an arrest warrant, confiscation of belongings and even beatings with sticks and solitary confinement. Medical reports confirmed the systematic practice of torture in Palestinian Authority jails in the West Bank.

They'll find a way to blame it on the Jews/Zionists.



Another Traffic Accident

One of the constants in the public diplomacy campaign waged against Israel is the willingness, if not enthusiastic desire, to either lie outright or at the very least, assert unproven and wild accusations before any review is conducted by the Arab side.

Two years ago there was a tragic incident when  a Jewish driver struck two young Arab girls. I blogged it then.  
It happened near where I live at the nearby Sinjil village.

Anyone who has driven that stretch of road knows that it is one-lane each way, no sidewalk or any proper or safe walkway along the road.  And it happened at dusk

Here's from what the Permanent Observer Mission of "Palestine" submitted at the time to the UN:



Pursuant to my letter of 14 October 2014, I am compelled to place on record our absolute condemnation of the criminal, deadly actions being perpetrated by extremist terrorist settlers illegally transferred by Israel, the occupying Power, to the Palestinian land, as well as continued Israeli incitement and provocations against holy sites, in particular in East Jerusalem, in what appear to be a deliberate attempts to exacerbate already-volatile tensions and create further instability.

On a nearly daily basis, Israeli settlers continue with their terror rampages, persisting with attacks on Palestinian civilians, destruction of properties, and theft of land and natural resources.  The latest terrorist crime by a settler occurred yesterday, 20 October 2014, when a setter ran over two young girls who were walking home from school in the West Bank town of Sinjil  in a so-called “hit and run” accident.  Kindergarten student Inas Khalil, age 5, and Nilin Asfour, age 8, had just gotten off the school bus and were walking to their mothers who were waiting for them on the opposite side of the street when an Israeli settler’s car rammed directly at them and sped away.  Inas and Nilin were both rushed to the hospital.   Tragically, 5-year-old Inas was pronounced dead a couple of hours later, while Nilin still remains in critical condition.  We condemn this brutal act of Israeli settler terrorism, and we call on the international community to unequivocally condemn this and all other such attacks and terror against Palestinian children under Israeli occupation.

It should also be mentioned, that this so-called “hit and run” accident has become a reoccurring deadly practice by Israeli settlers against the Palestinian civilian population.

This morning, there was another accident there.  This time, an Arab woman man was struck (I do not as yet know her his medical condition).

But there was a difference.

The driver was an Arab.

Let me know if it makes the news and how it will be reported.



It has been reported here as

وفاة مواطن في حادث دهس وقع قرب قرية سنجل شمال رام الله

The death of a citizen in an accident hit and felled near the village of Sinjil north of Ramallah

No "terrorism".  No purposeful killing.

Only Arabs involved.

And here was the traffic jam I was caught in:


Sunday, April 24, 2016

"If We Must Offend One Side..."

One of the very specific claims anti-Zionists (and, of course, anti-Semites) from Great Britain charge Israel with is the underground militant (I would have written "terror" but I understand that term is just not on anymore) campaign waged by the Irgun and the Lechi.  Usually, but not always, the Hagana and Palmach seem to get lost in the antipathy scale.

Not only do these people not like Jews and truly can't stand Zionists but that Jews dared shoot at, kill, mine, and even hang British soldiers and policemen who served here in the Mandate of Palestine until 1948 is way too much for them and the Jews are to be hated.

Parallel to this is the assertion that especially after World War II and the loss of so many British lives in the cause to save Jews from the Nazis, that underground struggle was not only wrong and immoral but it was an example of ingratitude for British blood spilled in Europe.

I understand that approach and of course, on a personal level, the families of the almost 400 British officials, political and security who lost their lives during the Mandate as a result of Jewish violence suffered much.

But somehow, these people never seem to grasp what the British directly did just before and during World War II.  The partition plans of Peel and Woodhead, the St. James Conference and the May 17, 1939 White Paper sealed the fate of millions of Jews, confining them to Europe and making Hitler’s job that much easier.  That the Jewish Brigade was only authorized in 1944 and that the railways to concentration camps were never bombed only compounds the situation.

Here are a few lines from Bruce Hoffman’s new book that illustrates the callousness which, to my mind and that of the underground leaders at the time, should explain why the British political establishment deserved rightly what it suffered in Palestine in the 1940s:

We Jews were "offended".

And the response, as the British learnt, was just as offending.  And coming from Jews, quite embarrassing, I presume.