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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Hamas and the Tunnels of the Terrorist Mind

Like a tunnel that you follow to a tunnel of its own … Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind  …”

Global antisemitism is now at  pre-pogrom levels. It’s unprecedented in my life-time and I am 60 years old. I don’t believe Israel’s current  war in Gaza is to blame. It has simply thrown the mounting chaos into sharp relief and made what was bad, patently worse.

Rabbi.David.SingerThis week,  I’ve been personally shocked to read of a double attack on the Belfast Hebrew Congregation in Northern Ireland where the present incumbent is Birmingham-born Rabbi David Singer, one of my earliest childhood friends. Local police are treating the  smashing of one window and then its replacement as a hate crime while their colleagues in Manchester have said the same of the desecration last month of the Jewish cemetery in Blackley, north Manchester.

But aside from the U.K., where the Community Security Trust has reported more than 70  antisemitic physical and verbal attacks since the beginning of July, recent months have seen a spike in worldwide antisemitism, including the murder of three people, two of them  Israeli, at the Brussels Jewish Museum and last weekend’s attacks on synagogues, a shop and individuals in Paris and Lyons.

Further, I am convinced that the series of anti-Israel demonstrations and the shamelessly distorted reports of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza have all been carefully orchestrated.

The key questions are by whom are they planned and why is there a disproportionate number of self-professed Jewish ‘antisemites’ at the hate rallies and penning the media reports and features?

Mira.Bar.HillelI don’t suppose I’ll receive a reply from Israeli-born journalist Mira Bar-Hillel, who yesterday morning, Tuesday 22 July, took part in a BBC Radio 4 Today show debate on ‘How Do British Jews Feel About the Gaza Conflict’? with Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to the Movement for Reform Judaism.

The five minute slot was painfully embarrassing, not only because of Bar-Hillel’s plethora of outrageous lies but because the learned rabbi had gone to the studio unprepared and sought refuge in praising those who had been fasting for peace. No wonder Bar-Hillel barely contained her mirth.

Rabbi Janner-Klausner could have asked Bar-Hillel, as she’s so ashamed of her antecedents, why she had retained her Hebrew name . Is it because she knows she sounds more provocative thus labelled?

Rabbi Laura could have explained how Israeli pilots had aborted strikes over proposed Gazan targets when they had spotted civilians in the vicinity. She may also have mentioned that a high proportion of the numbered dead had been terrorists and that Israel had erected a field hospital in Gaza to treat injured civilians but that the Hamas hierarchy had actively prevented them from using it. She could have emphasised that Israel had built shelters and shot missiles into Gaza to defend its civilians while Hamas terrorists continue to hide weapons in homes, mosques and hospitals and to use citizens as human shields.  Rabbi.Laura.Janner.Klausner

She could have gone on to describe the nine years of relentless misery exercised by the terror group over the population of southern Israel and of the Jewish kids who have known nothing in their short lives but rocket and mortar induced trauma.

Indeed, the learned rabbi could have reminded Bar-Hillel that probably the only British Jew to have been ostracised by his community for speaking out against Israel lives in an ultra-Orthodox enclave in Salford, Greater Manchester and that some years ago he was widely photographed embracing former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad although Iran is known to be Hamas’s chief source of funding. It is, Iran after all, that is at the bottom of much of Israel’s present troubles.

But Rabbi Laura, a highly trained, scholarly and much respected progressive rabbi, acted so weakly that I suggest she is not competent to speak on behalf of the Jewish community on  political issues before an audience of millions. I’m sorry to say that she should be replaced – and fast.

Meanwhile, we must investigate who is behind the concerted attacks on world Jewry and why so many renegade Jews are involved.

Who, for example, took part in the  ‘peaceful protest against Israeli genocide’ at the Manchester city centre branch of Marks and Spencer on Saturday 19 July? Further, why did the officers  on duty from the Greater Manchester Police Tactical Aid Unit do nothing more than stand around, grinning amiably at the crowd with their arms folded? And who was the the observer from Barton Moss protest against fracking” mentioned in the description beneath the YouTube clip?

Don’t tell me, please, that those involved were from our friends at rent-a-mob! The old familiar faces from so much other social unrest in the U.K., like the 2001 Oldham race riots, the 2008 UEFA Cup Final riots and the 2011 England riots which affected Salford and Manchester city centre in 2011.  Oh, dear. I’m beginning to smell rats in those tunnels. I wonder if Hamas has a branch office in Manchester ….

© Natalie Wood (23 July 2014)

Monday, 21 July 2014

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Sunday, 20 July 2014

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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Everyone’s a ‘Martyr’ in ‘Palestine’

Although even some of the world’s best–known Jewish talking heads would have us believe otherwise, many ordinary Arabs are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the antics of the Hamas terror group.

Now MEMRI – the Middle East Media Research Institute – has published Hamas Interior Ministry guidelines for social media activists in both English and Arabic that corroborate everything that has been  said and written by official Israeli spokesmen.


“Message to Facebook activists on Hamas interior ministry website:

“Following are excerpts from the guidelines:

"Anyone killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank. Don't forget to always add 'innocent civilian' or 'innocent citizen' in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.

"Begin [your reports] of news of resistance actions with the phrase 'In response to the cruel Israeli attack,' and conclude with the phrase 'This many people have been martyred since Israel launched its aggression against Gaza.' Be sure to always perpetuate the principle of 'the role of the occupation is attack, and we in Palestine are fulfilling [the role of] the reaction.'

"Beware of spreading rumours from Israeli spokesmen, particularly those that harm the home front. Be wary regarding accepting the occupation's version [of events]. You must always cast doubts on this [version], disprove it, and treat it as false.

"Avoid publishing pictures of rockets fired into Israel from [Gaza] city centres. This [would] provide a pretext for attacking residential areas in the Gaza Strip. Do not publish or share photos or video clips showing rocket launching sites or the movement of resistance [forces] in Gaza.

"To the administrators of news pages on Facebook: Do not publish close-ups of masked men with heavy weapons, so that your page will not be shut down [by Facebook] on the claim that you are inciting violence. In your coverage, be sure that you say: 'The locally manufactured shells fired by the resistance are a natural response to the Israeli occupation that deliberately fires rockets against civilians in the West Bank and Gaza'..."

Additionally, the interior ministry prepared a series of suggestions specifically for Palestinian activists who speak to Westerners via social media. The ministry emphasises that conversations with them should be conducted differently from conversations with other Arabs. It stated:

  • "When speaking to the West, you must use political, rational, and persuasive discourse, and avoid emotional discourse aimed at begging for sympathy. There are elements with a conscience in the world; you must maintain contact with them and activate them for the benefit of Palestine. Their role is to shame the occupation and expose its violations.

  • "Avoid entering into a political argument with a Westerner aimed at convincing him that the Holocaust is a lie and deceit; instead, equate it with Israel's crimes against Palestinian civilians.

  • "The narrative of life vs. the narrative of blood: [When speaking] to an Arab friend, start with the number of martyrs. [But when speaking] to a Western friend, start with the number of wounded and dead. Be sure to humanize the Palestinian suffering. Try to paint a picture of the suffering of the civilians in Gaza and the West Bank during the occupation's operations and its bombings of cities and villages.
  • "Do not publish photos of military commanders. Do not mention their names in public, and do not praise their achievements in conversations with foreign friends!"

* Moments before publishing this piece,  the relevant MEMRI website page ( was reported as “website is offline - no cached version of this page is available. Error 504 Ray ID:14c744debf9b061c Gateway time-out.) 

© Natalie Wood (19 July 2014)

Friday, 18 July 2014

PerfectlyWriteFamilyTales: ‘Gaza Beach, July 2014’

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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Not Jewish At Heart?

Dozens of tributes have been paid these past few days to the late South African Nobel literary laureate, Nadine Gordimer. But while all have shown her to be suffused with the Jewish prophetic instinct, everyone has proven that she was not traditionally Jewish at heart.

This is unsurprising because although she was born to European Jewish parents and twice married Jews – almost by chance -  she had a secular upbringing.

Indeed, she recalled how her father would attend Yom Kippur synagogue services alone and then be driven home by her mother accompanied by her and her sister, all bare-foot and casually dressed.   “He wasn't allowed to have any Jewishness”, she recalled in a book of interviews with South African Jewish activists published in the late 1990s.

Nadine.GordimerRemarkably, nothing I’ve read made her  situation clearer than a story she wrote especially for the Jewish Chronicle in 1966. It’s  tiny  and running to only 753 words would now be called a ‘flash’ piece.

But I found The Visit disappointing: It is peopled with paper-thin, wealthy middle class Jewish characters who gently use and misuse their house-boy and  then in turn feel so intimidated by the apartheid authorities that they flee to Israel for refuge.

P-lease! I can’t believe that if the J.C.’s then-editor, William Frankel had read it as an unsolicited manuscript by an unknown writer that he would have accepted it for publication.

But that was then – the year, for example, that District Six in Cape Town was declared a White Group Area by the government - and this is now.

There are many reasons why South African Jews have since emigrated both to Europe and Israel and perhaps one among them reading this will explain why.

© Natalie Wood (17 July 2014)

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Friday, 11 July 2014

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