Secret slip up

Oh dear, the Herald editor must be away from duty today:

2016-01-31_12-16-33

Either that, or the Herald knows something more than everyone else out there…

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Hate by name, hate by nature

Amira Hass‘ surname means hate in German. Somehow that seems appropriate, for the lady appears to have a hateful disposition, albeit towards only one group of people. Hint: it’s not the Palestinians.

David Collier reports on his blog – The ‘Elders of Zion’ reborn at the University of Kent – as follows:

Yesterday, 28/01/2016, I was at the University of Kent to hear a talk by Amira Hass titled ‘Israel and the Palestinians: Colonialism and Prospects for Justice. The event itself was a collaboration between The Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at Kent University and the Palestine Centre at SOAS, University of London. One of these universities, SOAS, is already a notorious hotbed for extremism, the other, Kent, seems to be desperately trying to catch-up.

Oh dear.

And:

Amira Hass is an Israeli columnist at the Haaretz newspaper. For the last 20 years she has lived in the Palestinian areas, originally in Gaza, but more recently moving to Ramallah in the West Bank. Amira is an example of one of those Israelis nobody should have heard of. Standing for politics that receive no support in Israel, Amira’s opinions reflect none but a handful of oddballs. Every nation has people like Hass hidden in the shadows. What makes her ‘special’, what makes her a marketable commodity, are hundreds of millions of people outside of Israel that simply want Israel gone. The audience of Amira Hass are not peacemakers, but warmongers.

Statements I fully agree with. Hass and her cohorts are not interested in any peaceful solution, or true pro Palestinian moves. Instead, it’s all about damaging Israel and its people. (She’s got form, of course.)

I recommend you go to David’s blog to get the full post, and the measure of the venom. But as a teaser, I offer his summary of one of her dreadful libels:

Beyond Israeli democracy, beyond the will of the voters, beyond the desires of peacemakers like Rabin and Peres, there are invisible Jewish decision makers. They planned from the early 1970’s, never to let the territories go, they manipulated, they connived, they controlled as puppet masters do. A conspiracy of a Jewish cabal that places the profit to be won from the occupation above the will of the electorate and the lives of innocent children. And it is called the ‘Elders of Zion’.

Now, remind me: who does she write for?

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Five for Friday

Jerusalem Chupah - August 2009

Jerusalem Chupah – August 2009

With something of a return to a normal routine, Five for Friday is once more my way of marking the passing (in rapid order) of yet another week. Work. Rest. Play. Shabbat. Rinse and repeat. (And in the midst of the rush, trying to maintain perspective, and to be grateful for all that I have, remains a challenge. But that’s a post for another time.)  Now, the important point is to actually deliver on the return to routine, and that means offer up the links. Here they are:

Shabbat Shalom!

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Not free to speak

From Arutz Sheva, a story to bear in mind when you hear a certain European leader going on about Israel:

Which country has the most free speech violations?

European Court of Human Rights reveals the Council of Europe state that again leads the pack in violating freedom of expression.

The European Court of Human Rights’s (ECHR) annual report, released on Thursday, revealed that in 2015 Turkey led the Council of Europe member states with the highest number of violations of freedom of expression.

Of the 28 cases in 2015 in which a violation of freedom of expression was determined, ten of them were committed by Turkey according to the report as cited by the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News. The closest after Turkey was France, with three rulings against it.

I wonder how much of the French violations were driven by bad decisions following earlier terror attacks. Hopefully they will get back on track.

Meantime:

While Turkey led in terms of freedom of expression violations, Russia outpaced it in terms of the total number of violations, putting Turkey in second place.

Highlighting the freedom of expression problem in Turkey was a case last December in which courts called up experts to decide if a doctor should get jail time for comparing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Gollum from The Lord of the Rings – the doctor had already been expelled from the Public Health Institution of Turkey in October for sharing the images comparing the two.

Turkey is not new to violating freedoms of expression. Back in 2014, the country committed more such violations that the rest of the Council of Europe states combined, being responsible for 24 of a total 47 violations.

Aside from freedom of expression, Turkey is also not granting the right to a fair trial according to the findings. Of a total of 120 Turkish violations in 2015, 20 were over the right to a fair trial.

The report found that the right to a fair trial was in fact the issue with the highest percentage of violations among the member states, standing at just under 25% of all violations.

While Turkey is second behind Russia in terms of violations in 2015, it is ranked first place in terms of all violations determined by the ECHR since it was first established in 1959.

Turkey committed a whopping 3,182 violations since 1959 according to the report, with Italy coming in second at 2,336, and Russia third with 1,720.

People in glass houses?

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On not being Irish

There’s an interesting (and to me, inexplicable) phenomena that often occurs when the aspect of my Scottish heritage comes up in discussion with Israelis. For example, after establishing that I am from that northern part of the United Kingdom, the Israeli may say something like “Is that the same as Ireland?” or “Is that near Belfast? Dublin?” In short, they do not have a clue about UK geography. Fair enough, my Israeli geography is not that hot. However, there is a second part to the phenomena.

At the end of most of these conversations, we have established that Scotland is not Ireland, Glasgow is neither Belfast nor Dublin, and every place in the world is where it should be, But, should I later meet the same person, the odds are strongly in favor of an opening remark like “You’re from Ireland, aren’t you?” Aaaaaaaargh!

A variation to the phenomena is that, on hearing my accent, before being told I am Scottish by birth, Israelis often guess that I am from Ireland. (Other guesses have included Germany, New Zealand, and South Africa, so you can tell there’s still a lot of work to do in educating people about Scotland, the Scottish people, and their accents.)  They are perplexed when I assure them that I am not Irish. It’s almost as if they want me to be Irish.

Finally, and this may be a sign of progress, it’s a long, long time since any Israeli referred to my birthplace as “England.” Something to celebrate there, for sure!

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Six for Thursday

We will start with a selection of links covering a variety of topics that have caught my eye. No heavy commentary for now.

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Break over

OK. That was the break that was. Time to return to blogging. It’s not that I feel, at this particular moment, I have so much I need to say. (Give me a platform, and I’ll put the world to rights with just one speech? I don’t think so.) It just feels right. But let’s be careful out there, for it can be a dark, dark, world.

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Break time

I am taking a break from blogging. I hope to get back to posting here sometime before the end of the month.

Be well, one and all.

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