The secret story of the Jewish codebreakers who helped win the war

The Jewish Chronicle has a very interesting article on this topic by Robert Hannigan, the Director of GCHQ. As he says:

“I rarely write in public. But the death of Rolf Noskwith earlier this month, at the age of 97, prompts me to tell the story of our remarkable group of Jewish staff at Bletchley Park during the Second World War and the years that followed.”

Apart from the historical narrative, note the confirmation of the close connection between the British and Israel signals intelligence communities. Read it all here.

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You say you want a revolution?

beatles

This exhibition – subtitled ‘Records and Rebels 1966-1970’ – is on at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London until 26 February 2017. Sponsored by Levi’s and Sennheiser, it was heavily promoted, and all the feedback was positive. I’m not so convinced. Continue reading

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Down and out in London

london

Susan and I are just back from a trip to the UK. On trips into London city center, I was struck by how many people were sleeping rough. I had seen that before, but never in such numbers. I don’t know what the reason for the change is, but it’s a human tragedy out there, and obvious to the world. I hope to hell somebody there is doing something about it. The sight of so many cardboard, newspaper, and rag hovels reminded me, again, about how fortunate I am.

I did think about documenting the situation with some pictures, but a modest dose of reflection led me to the conclusion I would be wallowing in other people’s misery. I also thought that the explanation given by some Londoners – immigration – sounded too pat. Further, it didn’t fit with the fact that those rough sleepers I heard speaking were decidedly native English speakers. Regardless, it’s horrible.

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The lost art of Celtic spelling

As seen on a recent visit to Herzliya:

celltick

Obviously, it’s not actually a misspelling of Celtic, but it did stop me in my tracks and make me look. Celltick is another example of Israeli technology and know-how in the international world of telecommunications.

[I am tempted to do a drive by posting at some Scottish BDS site, like Celts for Palestine...]

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Embarrassment of the week

Time to look away from the world of politics. Let’s look at the world of hi-tech business. How embarrassing is this:

Twitter bans own CEO Jack Dorsey from Twitter

Twitter briefly suspended the Twitter account of Twitter cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey today. It sparked some fears the big boss had been unceremoniously booted out of the troubled biz or had fallen foul of his own anti-abuse complaints system. But it was probably a bug or something mundane like that.

The Register has the story here.

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Friends of the Earth or Enemies of the Jews?

Friends of the Earth‘s Mission and Vision statement begins:

Mission and vision

Our vision is of a peaceful and sustainable world based on societies living in harmony with nature.

We envision a society of interdependent people living in dignity, wholeness and fulfilment in which equity and human and peoples’ rights are realized.

This will be a society built upon peoples’ sovereignty and participation. It will be founded on social, economic, gender and environmental justice and be free from all forms of domination and exploitation, such as neoliberalism, corporate globalization, neo-colonialism and militarism.

Your antennae may start twitching on reading those last few trendy buzzwords. Well, the following, as reported by Guido Fawkes, may make those antennae stand on end:

Asad Rehman is a senior spokesman for Friends of the Earth and is leading their delegation at the next UN Climate Change conference. As you can see above, Asad has worked out who are the real baddies when it comes to climate change: those pesky Zionists. He says Netanyahu and Israel are “best pals” with ISIS and advocates banning “Zionist organisations” from climate change events.

Inside the happy, clappy, environmentally focused group there is a poisonous pit of hate and bigotry.

Will Friends of the Earth clean it out, or are they happy to host such thinly disguised antisemitism?

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

And, by way of a bonus, here’s another Fawkes expose piece – Jet Set Lifestyle of WWF Climate Campaigner – also about an environmental group. This one exposes an awful case of hypocrisy. Perhaps we should be grateful it’s hypocrisy and not hate?

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Meanwhile, back in Glasgow

glasgow

I love Glasgow. Always have, and always will. Do I miss it? Sure. I especially miss friends and family. But I don’t lie awake at night, home sick, desperate to return. It is a great city, but it is in my past. However, media coverage – good and bad – about Glasgow still attracts my attention. The following extract, from a piece by Hattie Kennedy at the Book Riot site, is a good example:

Since moving to Glasgow ten years ago, one of my favourite things about living in this beautiful city has been exploring all of the exciting literary secrets the city has to offer. From beautiful libraries with astonishing carpets, to second-hand bookshops that would melt the hardest of bookish hearts, this city is a veritable wonderland for those of us with a literary bent.

Note the “beautiful city” description. I agree. It almost makes me want to jump on a plane and head back to the joys of the Clockwork Orange (the underground railway) and the stark pleasures of a West of Scotland winter. Almost, but not quite. Read the whole thing here.

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Disconnect

I often wonder how much thought people give to their political beliefs. Do they think them through, and ponder the consequences? Do they test the validity of their principles against, for example, the basic requirements of a caring society, or simple logic?

The following extract from the Guardian report about the Million Mask March in London suggests the answer is “no.”

Among the protesters was Angela Windsor, an unemployed 40-year-old, who said she had travelled from Wales to take part in the event. “Nobody is protecting people – nobody cares. I think everyone here cares enough about people to make the effort to come down and try and do something, because the officials aren’t doing it.”

She said anyone who tried to incite a repeat of last year’s violent displays would be missing the point, adding: “Nobody wants a fight, we just want change.” But she was forced to defend the wording of a sign she was brandishing – including the words “death to the monarchy” – when questioned about it by passersby.

Didn’t she stop to ponder the disconnect between “Nobody wants a fight, we just want change” and “death to the monarchy”? Or are the Queen and the royal family not human beings, and so not to be considered? If you were being charitable, you might argue that death is simply an extreme form of change. (That was a joke folks.) On the other hand, you might simply shake your head in bewilderment at the stupidity of it all. Where was this person educated? Was this person educated?

Of course similar idiocy (and ignorance) is the standard you will see at typical anti-Israel protests. It’s useful to remind ourselves what the expected level of political discourse is out there.

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Eilat English

Susan and I had a relaxing time in Eilat for Sukkot. We did a bit of lazing about, some reading, spent time at the gym and the pool, ate (too much, of course), shook our lulav and etrog, and even went to shul.

The standard (and availability) of kosher catering in Eilat seems to be gradually improving. However, you could not say the same for the standard of English translations:

Whine for table four?

Whine for table four?

And if you think that was bad, how the hell do you explain this one?

The food equivalent of the Unfinished Symphony - the Unpaid Penne?

The food equivalent of the Unfinished Symphony – the Unpaid Penne?

Israeli English; nothing quite like it.

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