Private Eye and Israel

Private Eye, the UK news and satirical magazine (issue 1464 of 23 February) has an item about the UK’s Security and Policing event.

“The Home Office has invited some of the world’s most repressive regimes to the UK next month to browse stalls selling surveillance technology and crowd control equipment at a ‘security’ fair it is running.”

You can guess what is coming.

The article later reports that:

“The current list of invitees is secret until March, but in recent years delegates have included such cuddly bastions of human rights as Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE, Kazakhstan and Pakistan.”

This is a nasty dig at Israel. Criticism is all very well, but this is demonization.¬†Private Eye doesn’t like Israel. It may no longer have the institutional anti-semitism of Richard Ingrams, but that has morphed somewhat into repeated sniping attacks like this one, which nobody is going to waste any time trying to rebut, but everybody is going to get used to reading. Slowly, slowly poisoning the well.

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Lorde’s Not Coming

In the commentary about singer Lorde’s decision to follow BDS advice and not come to Israel on tour (though a couple of gigs in the peaceful nirvana that is Russia is, apparently, OK) my favorite so far is David Collier‘s at Beyond the Great Divide. For example, I think he is spot on with this:

Read the whole thing here.

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Lightning Strike

According to this article in Globes:

“The Ministry of Justice has begun investigating law and accounting firms suspected of non-compliance with ‘know your client’ anti-money laundering rules.”

By way of background, these regulations put obligations on lawyers, accountants, and banks to make sure their client is who he says he is.

In some quarters these regulations have the nickname “Business Prevention Rules” because asking people for copy passports, utility bills, certificates of corporate status and so on, are seen as a barrier to doing business. In practice, 100% of the honest population are mildly inconvenienced so as to try and restrict the unlawful activities of the dishonest minority.

That background explains why sometimes professionals do not properly enforce the regulations. And from time to time, whether in Israel, the UK, or Europe, the authorities clamp down and maybe prosecute a few bad apples as an example pour encourager les autres.

The Globes article is worth looking at only because of this gem of a typo:

“Sources inform “Globes” that Adv. Adi Comeriner Peled, the supervisor in the Ministry of Justice for non-financial businesses and professionals, has begun conducting lightening visits to law and accounting firms suspected of violating provisions of the law concerning documentation of deals and services provided to clients.”

I can just hear the conversation now:

“I’ve come on a lightening visit.”

“Great. Which burden are you going to lighten?”

English in Israel is often an adventure into the absurd.

[I see that some other diligent reader spotted the typo. Maybe they will fix the article. Too bad.]

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200 Years of Misery?

Naftali Bennett (Source: Wikimedia)

If there’s one Israeli who comes close to being ritually demonized as often and as automatically as Bibi Netanyahu, it’s probably Naftali Bennett, leader of the Bayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party and Minister of Education. One reason: the two state solution. While Bibi is superficially at least in favor, Naftali Bennett is opposed. That makes him close to public enemy number one. (Or, more accurately, salon anti-Zionists’ enemy number one of a million.) He doesn’t get a fair reflection of his views in the western media, and certainly precious little opportunity to be debated on the details of his proposals. So, I was pleased to see a decent interview of Mr B by Calev Ben-Dor on the Fathom site, which you can read here.

Here’s a summary of his overview:

“Essentially forming a Palestinian state along the lines that many of the readership of Fathom believe is the way forward would guarantee 200 years of misery for the two peoples.”

To be clear, I do not agree with Naftali Bennett’s proposals, though I do sympathize with some of his assessments. For example, as matters stand, were a two state solution implemented tomorrow, 200 years of misery might be an understatement! However, for me it is important to shed light on the topic and discuss the issues, regardless of my personal differences of opinion with him. For sure, his heart is in the right place, but that may not be enough.

My suggestion: read and decide for yourself. Use your powers of critical thinking and your intellectual muscle. Enjoy the exercise. Maybe you will see things from a new perspective. Maybe you will think he’s right…

If you are too lazy to read the interview, maybe this closing snippet will entice you:

“I am very optimistic. When you look at the world through Oslo and cocktail parties the world looks dire. But I spend a lot of time on ground, my family lives here and I see the quality of life for Israeli Arabs when I visit their schools, and for Palestinians, and the actual picture is a very good picture. It could be much better if we focus on making lives better from the bottom-up.”

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Signs of Our Times

Here’s the sign above a shop in Herzliya:

Here’s how I imagine the conversation going:

Shopper: “Do you do home design?”

Shop Assistant: “That’s what it says on the sign. Of course we do.”

Shopper: “Do you design children? How does that work?”

Shop Assistant: “I’ll get back to you…”

Note that I am exercising restraint and not really commenting on the “House In” part of the crime scene.

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