The Scots making the front page in Israel

Making the front page for the wrong reasons. Here’s the cover of today’s Israel HaYom newspaper:


The red highlighted piece has a picture of the wall of hate at Parkhead, Celtic’s home stadium.

Above the main headline – Provocation – it says:

Shame. Celtic supporters try to assault Hapoel Be’er Sheva supporters.

As far as I can tell, the attempts must have succeeded to some extent as there is discussion on a Celtic Facebook page about people successfully grabbing an Israeli flag from an opposition supporter.

Be that as it may, under the picture it says:

Hundreds of supporters of the Scottish champions waived Palestinian flags outside and inside the stadium. Supporters of the Israeli champions were forced to enter under police escort. On the field, Be’er Sheva were defeated 5:2.

I have not heard any independent reports about the match, but the pictures available tend to speak for themselves. It’s not all Celtic supporters – it’s the vocal hateful minority – but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth. And, yes, somewhat ironical that it was an Israeli player who was sent on as a sub when the Celtic were a wee bit shaky in the second half.

Celtic knew there was going to be an issue with supporters and flags, but I see no sign that any attempt was made to stop this happening. Celtic do know it is against UEFA rules, having been fined for it before. However, the low level of fines may be one reason why they reckoned it was not worth the effort to do something about it. Their financial gain for reaching the Champions’ League is substantial. While I don’t think Celtic as a club deserve the punishment, there is a part of me that would like UEFA to throw them out of the tournament for being repeat offenders. Boy would that get the message across. But that is not going to happen. In fact, there’s more chance of Hapoel overturning the deficit in the return leg, and knocking out Celtic. And there’s zero chance of that!


Am I glad I cancelled my Economist subscription

Since I cancelled my subscription to the Economist in the light of its deteriorating coverage about all things Israeli, and its continual shift towards the territory inhabited by the haters at the Guardian and the Independent, I have had no regrets. I have read a few issues since then, borrowed from others, or seen in airport lounges. Each time, I would run my eye over their Israeli coverage, and whatever was there simply reaffirmed how right I was to get out of their nasty, poisonous pit.

I was, therefore, not surprised the publication was among those promoting – and certainly not reporting on, or reviewing – Ben Ehrenreich‘s book about Nabi Saleh and the Tamimi family, The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine.  (See here.)

And so, I am also not surprised by their latest contribution to the hate, as reported on at UK Media Watch:

A serious journalist who wished to provide an analysis to news consumers on the recent Olympic scandal involving an Egyptian judoka who refused to shake the hand of his Israeli competitor may have contextualized the incident by noting endemic Egyptian antisemitism. Indeed, though Cairo and Jerusalem signed a peace agreement in 1979, and ties between the two countries (on the governmental level) have never been closer, there is little if any sign that Egyptian animosity towards Jews – not just Israelis, but Jews qua Jews – has waned.

In 2011, a Pew Global poll revealed that only 2% of Egyptians had favorable attitudes towards Jews.

More recently, an ADL commissioned poll reported that 75% of Egyptians held antisemitic views – a sign of an entrenched hatred that persists despite the fact that there are almost no Jews left in the country.

Yet, remarkably, the Economist’s “N.P.” (presumably Nicolas Pelham), in ‘Politics hogs the Olympic spotlight‘, Aug. 15, ignores Egyptian antisemitism in his report on the conduct of the Egyptian athlete, and does his best to turn the story into one of Israeli hypocrisy.

Steel yourself, then read it all here. And if you have a subscription, cancel it now. You will feel so much better!


False impression

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

So, now the Royall report (available here) about alleged antisemitism at the Oxford University Labour Club. has finally been published. Shami Chakrabarti may not be happy about that, as there may be fallout for her. Why?

As the Jewish Chronicle reports:

Speaking to the JC about the Royall report in July, Ms Chakrabarti said: “My impression is that the NEC redacted it because there were individuals involved who were then referred for disciplined.”

“So my understanding is that is what happened there.”

Ms Chakrabarti, the former director of human rights group Liberty, added: “I know it is going to upset people when you can’t publish in full, but I almost feel like it was a hybrid enquiry.

“Because it was a bit thematic like mine, but also quite specific and Baroness Royall referred individuals who were in that report, to be disciplined, so obviously pending the discipline [It could not be published].”

As the JC also reports:

The report contains no names and no redactions.


It appears that Shami Chakrabarti’s impression was false. Now, why might that be?

At the very least, she has some explaining to do. It would be the, er, honorable thing to do…


The hateful value judgement of the BBC

We have known for a while, that in this politically correct world, the use of language has become as much a political as a linguistic exercise. While not quite as bad as Orwell’s 1984, there are certain aspects that come damn close, and often the attitude and intent are entirely in keeping with it. This post is about the words terror and terrorist.

Reading about much of the mad violence that has taken place, you may well hunt in vain – except in Israel’s own media coverage – for those words. People are decapitated, run down, blown up, tortured, butchered, and killed. But that is rarely described as terror, and the actors are not terrorists.

Occasionally, you might see these words encased in quotation marks. This stylistic exercise is carried out to convey a clear message: someone else said this, and we certainly don’t agree, because we would never use such a word.

The BBC are on the most influential media outlets on the planet, and (very regrettably) they seem to be leading the charge (to mix a metaphor or two) in sanitizing terror from their reports on such incidents.

However, over at the excellent BBC Watch, they have a post that highlights how the BBC does actually use these words, and their hypocrisy when it comes to using terror and terrorist.

That post explains the BBC’s public stance on the use of these words. In short, they claim they are unable to make a value judgement, and so avoid doing so. However, as BBC Watch points out:

In other words, when it comes to terrorism in Europe the BBC apparently has no problem with “value judgements”.

So, apparently the BBC can make a value judgement if it wants to.

After reading the BBC Watch post, you might not unreasonably form the conclusion that so far as the BBC is concerned,  terror is something that happens in Europe, but never in Israel, unless it comes to Jewish terror.. Strange that. On the other hand, after reading it, you might conclude that the BBC is a vengeful, hateful beast, ridden with antisemitism and a distaste for the Jewish State.

Read the post here. And see the BBC Watch post about the BBC’s use of Jewish terror here. Quite a contrast.



The land of milk and honey. And traffic.


From Globes:

Israel has the greatest average traffic density per kilometer among OECD countries. This data is presented in a new OECD paper examining Israel’s green taxation.

That’s the bad news. In the good news section, there is this:

The paper commends the unique method of calculating the green tax Israel formulated in 2009, claiming that it is “innovative and creative in referring not only to CO2 but taking into account five different pollutants and using the vehicle purchase tax to differentiate car models according to their relative impact on the environment.”

Even more good news is this:

According to the paper, the effect of green taxation on the purchase of cleaner vehicles has been “tremendous” and by 2014 about 83% of the private cars sold in Israel were in the lowest pollution grades, compared with 19% in 2009.

Unfortunately, in keeping with the law of unintended consequences, there is also this bad news:

At the same time, OECD researchers claim that the green tax had the side effect of drastically reducing the real purchase tax for many cars, due to green tax benefits, and has therefore reduced family car prices and led to new car sales skyrocketing. The OECD claimed that this leap has facilitated a substantial increase in traffic congestion, resulting in a rise in pollutant emissions, despite decreasing emission per vehicle.

Oh, that’s not good. That’s really bad. They would have been better, it seems, doing nothing!

So, another challenge for the government. Will they rise to it? And how? Well, whatever they do, some of the battle lines are already drawn:

At the present, professional-level officials in the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Tax Authority support a congestion tax, which imposes a tax based on the driver’s actual contribution to congestion and air pollution, while the Ministry of Transportation resolutely opposes such a tax.

The environmental issues may be solved by a growth in electric vehicles, but the issue of congestion is likely to be ever present. We are just going to have to live with the jams.


Bringing down the house

To put it as simply as I can, I am opposed to the demolition of homes as a punishment in any shape, manner, or form. It’s often a collective punishment – the legality of which under international law is probably, at best, questionable – and there’s no evidence that it actually is an effective deterrent. To the contrary, the effect seems to be a radicalization and hardening of attitudes that does absolutely nothing positive for Israel. It does not make it safer. It does not reduce the pool of attackers – but increases them.

I understand the argument that you cannot show weakness to your enemy in this part of the world, and that to win you must constantly show power, strength, resolve, and so on. But home demolitions are not a show of power or strength; they are a bullying response, and expose an almost childish, immature motive of having the last say.

Whatever doubts exist about the folly of home demolitions should be eliminated by this:

Family of E. Jerusalem Arab teen petitions court to demolish homes of his killers

Muhammed Abu Khdeir was the East Jerusalem teen brutally murdered by Jewish extremists in 2014. The homes of the murderers remain untouched. Was the killing a terrorist action? For sure. So why are their homes still intact?

The Time of Israel continues the story:

… the Abu Khdeir family has demanded the state demolish their homes, as it does for Palestinian terrorists.

“The state needs to operate in the same way against Jewish terrorists as it does against Palestinians. Just like the homes of Palestinian terrorists are sealed, the same should be done to Jews,” the family said in its plea.

I agree. However…

Last month, the Defense Ministry told the family in a letter that there was no need to demolish the homes of Jewish terrorists at this stage, as the attacks are too infrequent to warrant the deterrent action.

According to the official letter seen by The Times of Israel last month, the ministry’s legal adviser told the Abu Khdeir family: “Given the scale of the phenomenon of seriously hostile crimes in the Jewish community, the need to implement this [deterrent] power does not arise.”

That’s a dreadful excuse. It’s a fig leaf to cover a nasty attitude, and in my opinion it is unacceptable. One law for all, or no law exists. The state should demolish the homes of Muhammed Abu Khdeir’s killers, or it should stop all home demolitions permanently. It’s time for the authorities to take a good long hard look at their attitude, admit they are wrong, and bring the sad saga of home demolitions to an end, once and for all.


They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity

Following on publication of the Rami Levy mall development story (about the first Israeli-Palestinian mall near Ramallah), the Elder of Ziyon reports that – almost unbelievably – the Palestinian response was to reject co-existence, and jobs, and goods at low prices:

How are Palestinian officials responding to a chance at hundreds of jobs and the prospect of co-existence, while at the same time serving tens of thousands of Arabs with services that they have not had easy access to?

The head of the Palestinian Consumer Protection Association, Salah Haniyeh, said his group will create a blacklist of any Palestinian shop that agrees to open at that mall, and consumers will be urged to boycott them. He said that the principle of boycotting “settlement” businesses is more important than the “few shekels” of economic benefit such a mall would bring to the region.

There you go.

Truly, they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace.


Elie Wiesel’s victory, and our ongoing war


Today’s Israel HaYom newspaper leads with the death of Elie Wiesel. The headline there says:

“A symbol of the victory of the human spirit over evil.”

It is somewhat poignant that this shares the front page with coverage of the drive-by murder of Rabbi Michael Mark, and the Gaza launched rocket that hit a kindergarten in Sderot. Because, to my mind, regardless of previous victories, we must not lose sight of the fact that today true evil remains at large.

To put it another way: the war against the Jews continues.


Should Zoabi be silenced?

Whether we like it or not, Hanin Zoabi is an elected representative, a member of the Knesset. So long as she doesn’t break the law, she is entitled to participate in the democratic process. Even if she calls Israeli soldiers “murderers.” Unlike some, I don’t see incitement in those words.

But, if anyone thought she was a serious politician, with a shred of honesty or integrity, that was rather blown away by her silence in the aftermath of the brutal murder of Hallel Yaffa in Kiryat Arba. For if anyone truly deserved to be branded a murderer, it was Hallel Yaffa’s killer. Zoabi’s silence (somewhat ironically) marks her true character as a hypocritical grandstander, with evil in her heart. Perhaps the question should not be whether Zoabi should be silenced, but whether Zoabi is a true representative? Is hers a constituency with murder in their hearts? What are the prospects for true peace in such circumstances?


Tweet of the week

After Jeremy Corbyn‘s ‘obscene comparison‘ (and in my book, that is a restrained use of language) the following tweet by Tzipi Livini was one of the best, and funniest, responses:


Take that, Jeremy Corbyn!

As I tweeted, earlier today:

Tweet of the week! destined to become the favorite party for supporters of ?