Those cringe-making New Year wishes from our political leaders.

It’s that time of year when our political leaders, in their Rosh Hashanah messages, tell Britain’s Jewish community how wonderful they all are and what a wonderful contribution they have all made to British society.

But the test of whether a political leader is being sincere, or whether just going through the motions, is whether he has been brave enough to show any sort of concern for Israel’s well-being in his message.

All British Jews are obviously concerned for Britain, and particularly our soldiers out in Afghanistan, but they are also concerned for Israel and their relatives and friends who live there under a constant threat of attack from Palestinian terrorists.

This year has been no exception with the cowardly slaughter of five members of the Fogel family as they lay in their beds, the direct hit on a school bus by a rocket from Gaza which killed a 16 year-old boy and the recent multiple attacks near Eilat that killed eight Israelis.

Then there was a Scottish Christian evangelical woman who was killed by a bomb blast in Jerusalem and the more recent deaths of an Israeli father and his baby when stone throwing by Palestinians caused the man to crash his car.

And, of course, this was Gilad Shalit’s sixth Rosh Hashanah away from his family after being kidnapped by Hamas.

Living in the UK is relatively safe. The worst it gets is a bunch of hate-filled anti-Israel activists trying to close Ahava or interrupting the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. It hardly compares to living in Sderot in southern Israel where there is a constant barrage of deadly rockets being sent over by Hamas from Gaza.

Many Palestinians have also been killed over the last year, but none has been specifically targeted because he is Palestinian, unlike the Israelis who have been targeted because they are Jewish. The Palestinians have been killed in self-defence in IDF actions that needn’t have happened if the Palestinians had been able to control their terrorist elements.

So it wouldn’t take a lot for our political leaders to acknowledge that worry and concern of British Jews for Israel and Israelis would it?

First, let’s take Nick Clegg, our deputy Prime Minister and the Liberal Democrat leader. Does he mention Israel? Yes, but only once and only in passing. He speaks of how “For the High Holy days Jews from across the world, from countries as diverse as Israel, India, Ethiopia, and, of course Britain, are united.”

There is also the cringe-making end where Clegg tries to out-Catholic the Pope, by using Hebrew to wish British Jews an easy Yom Kippur fast.

A simple “Shana Tova and well over the fast” would have sufficed (message to Liberal Democrats Friends of Israel: Keep it simple next year please).

As for Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, all I have been able to find is a report in the Jewish Chronicle in which there is no mention of Israel, but lots of talk of a “fantastic community”.

The bravest of Britain’s political leaders, by far, was the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron who, as well as speaking of British Jews’ “tremendous contribution”, spoke of his belief in Israel being “unshakeable” and how Britain “will always stand up for Israel against those who wish her harm”.

The government has come along way since Cameron’s silly “Gaza is a prison” comment in front of Turkey’s President Erdogan. It has repealed the iniquitous law on Universal Jurisdiction and it pulled out of Durban 3, the anti-Semitic festival that was held at the UN in New York last week. Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Greece didn’t pull out.

Maybe British Jews can finally relax a bit with Cameron in charge. Now he just needs to follow through on his pledge to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir.

But when it comes to wishing Jews a Shana Tova no one does it better than Barack Obama. There is no cheesy chat, no awkward wishes in Hebrew but a few simple acknowledgments that “many of our closest allies, including the state of Israel, face the uncertainties of an unpredictable age” and that the bond between America and Israel is “unshakeable”.

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24 responses to “Those cringe-making New Year wishes from our political leaders.

  1. In 2009 Nick Clegg was unwilling to acknowledge that Israel is a Jewish state
    http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/nick-clegg-israel-jewish%E2%80%99
    I have yet to be convinced that he’s changed his mind.

  2. Richard
    Many thanks for this blog. You have been a constant, bringing to us news of incidents, propaganda, illegal visitors, and the attempt to close down Israel by boycotts and divestment, plus more. You have been threatened and attacked and yet you have continued with your mission to witness and report.

    Tonight you bring us the cringe-worthy Rosh Hashana lectures of Clegg and Obama, the political use of his Jewish background to further his political ambitions from Ed Milliband, the first so called Jewish leader of the Labour party speaking from Labour’s annual convention arranged conveniently over Rosh Hashana this year and a short message from our Prime Minister (also apparently some sort of a Jew!) who tried so hard in previous speeches to vilify Israel during visits to Turkey and other enemy states of the Jews, and even as his wishes dry on the page he has not yet declared his position on the unilateral declaration of independence by the Palestinian Muslims who wish to create a Jew free state in Israel.

    So “my best friend is a Jew” is fast being replaced with “my ancestor/immigrant parents were Jews” as a tool to prove criticism of Israel has nothing to do with Jews! Wow!! How comforting is that!!

    Shana Tova
    May the year ahead bring sweetness, morality, happiness and true peace amongst the nations of the world.

    • Hi Sharon. Thank you. I didn’t spot that about Cameron but I thought his message was ok and Britain still might vote no at the UN. I thought Obama’s was good though! No?
      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

    • Also in all fairness to Labour it’s usually the Conservative Party conference over Rosh Hashanah.
      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

  3. Obama is totally convincing every time he speaks. Just don’t expect consistency from speech to speech.

    • Well, of course. It’s the same worry about Cameron. We will see.

    • Is he? Even when he talks about 58 states and about Jews instead of janitors? I find him just as much an incompetent snake-oil salesman as ever. And Cameron too, of course.
      As for Clegg and Milipede … I wouldn’t allow them within a mile of any child, they are both mega-creepy.

      Richard: there is still no such thing as ‘Palestinians’.

  4. I have raised the issue of Hizb ut-Tahrir here in Australia. I am told that it’s a better option not to ban them. If they are banned, they go underground and goodness only knows then what they’d get up to.

    As it is. when they have rallies and post videos they expose themselves for all to see. Like this one especially the third speaker I think it is. I haven’t watched it in a while.

    Shana Tova U’Metukah

  5. Richard wrote “But when it comes to wishing Jews a Shana Tova no one does it better than Barack Obama.”
    Bob Dylan wrote “Sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace.”

  6. The only Prime Minister’s that I would feel comfortable with if I was a British Jew would be Margaret Thatcher.

    • Sharon Klaff

      I guess out of a bunch of egotistical egomaniacs that have served this country during my lifetime, she was probably the most honest, forthright, moral and intelligent! Gosh how she must be feeling to witness the mess they have all made of her success. A true leader has an agenda other than simply wanting to be PM and power, an ideology that they wish to implement and not simply jump on any old bandwagon that will ensure longevity. Take a look at Blair – his financial strategy – well it was socialist and so dug us into this deep trench – and his policy re Israel was very anti Israel with his dear wife stating publicly that she could understand the desperation of “suicide” bombers. Now that he is out of office and had some experience of the region he not only supports Israel but has allegedly acquired an Israeli girlfriend!!

  7. ‘Take a look at Blair – his financial strategy – well it was socialist and so dug us into this deep trench – and his policy re Israel was very anti Israel with his dear wife stating publicly that she could understand the desperation of “suicide” bombers.’

    I agree that Cherie Blair’s statement about suicide bombers was disgusting.

    But can you provide any evidence that Tony Blair’s policy as Prime Minister was ‘very anti Israel’? Every Israel supporter in Britain I’ve ever discussed this with says that he was very *pro* Israel.

  8. Obama is the most anti-Israel president the UD has ever had. He says one thing to one audience and quite the reverse to another. He has essentially adopted the Palestinian line in negotiations with Israel. He hates Israel, and has a long history of associating with anti-Semites (Jeremiah Wright) and those viscerally hostile to Israel (Samantha Powers, in his administration, advocated bombing Israel). So please, let’s not live in a fool’s paradise.

    Cameron is a faux friend. Sure, they say nice things when there’s no trouble, but as soon as the next conflict arises, Hague (who has a long history of hostility to Israel) and Cameron will do all they can to tie Israel’s hands and exhort her not to defend herself and her people. This, whilst they kill in Afghanistan and Iraq far more than Israel has in defending herself from immediate threats. Utter hypocrites who would sell the Jews down the river in a heartbeat.

    That anyone is taken in by these insulting speechesabout how great the Jews are just shows the desperation British Jews have in being accepted.

  9. That should be US

  10. Clegg advocates an arms embargo on Israel – but on on Saudi Arabia.

    What a hateful hypocrite.

  11. Well, Adam, Clegg is a LibDem, i.e. by definition a hateful hypocrite.

    Obama is the most anti-Israel president the UD has ever had. He says one thing to one audience and quite the reverse to another.

    He is also one of the most clueless USA presidents ever. Not quite in the Carter league, but almost there.

  12. Leah, I agree. I’m not sure whether it’s cluelessness , or whether he intentionally wants to sink America. Judging by his anti-American associates, and own radical and extreme views, I think it may be the latter.

    Mark Steyn has him sussed.