Halloween horror for Israel as Yachad appears on campus.

Jonathan Arkush, Davis Lewis, Daniel Hochhauser (Chair), Hannah Weisfeld, Ed West.

Jonathan Arkush, Davis Lewis, Daniel Hochhauser (Chair), Hannah Weisfeld, Ed West.

Hannah Weisfeld, director of Yachad which describes itself as “pro-Israel, pro-peace”, last night joined a JSoc panel at UCL to discuss whether Israel’s friends should be critical of her conduct. She was debating alongside Jonathan Arkush, of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Davis Lewin, of the Henry Jackson Society, and Ed West, of the Daily Telegraph.

Weisfeld is a campaigner by profession and has worked on climate change, fairtrade and Darfur awareness campaigns. She studied at Sussex University and the LSE and has lived in Israel and Malawi. She’s 30.

Her main argument is that Israel has to be “Jewish and democratic” and she thinks that by 2050 it won’t be when considering that the population of Greater Israel (her words) by then will be half Palestinian and half Jewish. Therefore, “the occupation” has to end.

But one word that Weisfeld does not use often, if at all, is “security”.

She was asked why she doesn’t live in Israel near the West Bank and set up a political party to campaign against “the occupation”, instead of sitting in a safe London university theatre, but she thought the question unfair as it wouldn’t be asked of anyone else with differing political views to hers.

She also fully endorsed two organisations which are major demonisers of Israel; Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din and the website +972 Magazine.

But, it was Jonathan Arkush who summed up the position of the majority of British Jewry. The first part was addressed to a representative of Yesh Din in the audience. The second part addressed “the settlements”:

“It is the existence of a body like Yesh Din, which means in English ‘there is a law’, that actually makes me most proud of the state of Israel. That’s not because I agree with everything Yesh Din says or does, and I don’t have a detailed knowledge but I read the same as lots of people. I think it is an extraordinary thing for a country that is beset by so many attempts to delegitimise her and to threaten her militarily and to say she’s got no right to exist and that those seven and a half million citizens of Israel should somehow be swallowed up in another country or if you listen to the man in Tehran sent back to Germany to have a body like Yesh Din which is so self-critical of Israel and it makes me proud. But it’s about context. I think it’s great that there is a Yesh Din in Israel arguing as Israeli citizens for change in Israel. Maybe we could do with some more Yesh Dins in this country who also look at human rights questions in this country. I don’t know if there is much by way of a comparison. You certainly won’t find a Yesh Din in most of the countries of the United Nations that do so much to denigrate the state of Israel. But do I think that Yesh Din should be over here in London joining in with the chorus of denunciation, the boycotters, the delegitimisers? Absolutely not. Go back to Israel and do it there. Don’t come here to a British University where Israel is already on the defensive from people who’ve got a completely different motive from you I suspect. And that is to destroy Israel. Don’t come here and align yourselves with the likes of the ‘Destroy Israel Campaign’, which to my mind is another description of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and lend your voice. Do it in Israel and I will support you, but it’s about context, it’s about how you do it.

And on settlements:

“This is such a misunderstood subject, it’s incredible. “Settlements”, a term bandied around to mean, apparently, anything that happens on land which came under Israeli control as a result of the Six Day War. So I say to any people who are genuine friends of Israel: ‘Ok, what about the Old City of Jerusalem? What about the Wall? What about the Jewish quarter? What about the Jewish villages that were overrun in 1948 and the inhabitants butchered? Is that a settlement?’ It’s much too glib to talk about “settlements”. There are places way out there on the West Bank which were not Jewish before 1948 which you might fairly call a “settlement” and say Jews shouldn’t settle there. Maybe. That’s an argument. I can see the argument. But don’t treat everywhere as not being under Israeli control in 1967 as a “settlement” and, therefore, somehow illegal and wrong. It’s too simple and it shows a depressing lack of understanding of a complex conflict.”

Tonight Weisfeld and Lewis will be on a panel at King’s College to discuss whether the two state solution is dead (Room K- 1.56, Raked Lecture Theatre, King’s College, The Strand from 7pm)

Some clips from last night’s JSoc event:

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142 responses to “Halloween horror for Israel as Yachad appears on campus.

  1. Either that woman has extraordinary metabolistical powers or Brits don’t give a hoot about their global warming footprint. No matter how heated the debate somebody sitting as scantily clothed through an indoor event at the end of October makes me suspect that the central heating was operated in overdrive.

  2. Jonathan Hoffman

    Never mind ‘critical’, how about ‘supporting’?

    I have never seen Weisfeld standing up for Israel at the hostile meetings we go to, Richard.

    Pro-Israel?
    Where?
    In her bath?

  3. attilathecricketer

    I thought it was a reasonable meeting. Debate question did not really work as three panelists disagreed with the framing of the question. One or two extremist questions from each side unnecessarily increased the ante and the chair, who did a reasonable job, took the piss a little too much out of the opposition to Israel. Panelists all good with my preference for Ed West.

  4. They remind me of “J Street” another allegedly pro Israel group which was funded by the devil George Soros.

    • the other funders were somebody somehow related to a HongKong race track which infuriated Jeffrey Goldberg so much at the time that he demanded some reporter do a thorough colonoscopy on them. But then alas he probably remembered that he likes JStreet and never brought it up again.

  5. Silke. It has little to do with global warming; methinks the woman is a poseuse! She leaves me cold.

    • If I knew of a carbon foot print group resembling PETA I’d alert them ;-)

      Or do you mean she left you so cold that the heating had to be turned up to make up for the icy winds emanating from her?

      To start with her styling is ridiculous, poseuse yes but at least in that respect a very manquée one.

  6. I am not Israeli but a strong supporter, and am concerned whenever there is a debate involving either Israeli citizens or diaspora Jews who seem to revel in denigrating the only TRUE democracy in the region. May I suggest they discuss the escalating violence in ‘liberated’ Libya, with a recent gun battle in a hospital. Glad the Daily telegraph was there, and wonder why that newspaper did not report the barrage of rockets from Gaza last weekend.

  7. Hi Rich. I’m associated with Yachad. Firstly, this headline doesn’t do you any credit. It gives the impression you don’t know how to argue against Yachad’s position, and that you need to resort to childish insults.

    Secondly, Yachad wants Israel to live in peace and security. It’s right there on the front of the website. http://www.yachad.org.uk/ If you’re trying to imply that Hannah thinks otherwise, it’s just a lack of research.

    And thirdly, before Yachad, young British Jews could only choose between an anti-Zionist left and a pro-occupation right. No wonder they disengaged from the issue. Yachad is changing that. When I describe Yachad to Jewish students on campus, the reaction is overwhelmingly: ‘at last, a group that speaks for me’. The existence of a moderate group which says ‘yes, I support Israel, but I also wish it were doing more for peace in the region’ has gathered incredible support, and it’s growing all the time. Most Palestinians want a two-state solution, most Israelis want a two-state solution, and most British Jews want a two-state solution. It’s going to take more than a childish headline to turn back that tide.

    • richardmillett

      Asher, I agree with you. I went to hear Hannah Weisfeld speak last night at King’s on Is the two state solution dead? and she answered some pretty nasty questions about Israel very well. I applauded her comments quite a bit. Sorry about the headline but I couldn’t resist it as it was Halloween. But if Yachad is asking people to listen to it then it needs to listen also and many people find +972 Magazine to be highly offensive about Israel. I hope Yachad succeeds in helping to bring about positive change and thank you for the constructive criticism.

    • Asher,

      You have a rare talent for humorous one liners – make good use of it. I especially enjoyed:

      “Secondly, Yachad wants Israel to live in peace and security. It’s right there on the front of the website.”

      I shall be making an after-dinner speech at a good friend’s 50th tomorrow night and may make use of it. Expanding on the theme, I thought also of:

      “The BNP is also the only party to map out realistic and sensible budget cuts. It’s right there on the front of the website.”

      http://www.bnp.org.uk/manifesto

      “The Russian National Socialist Party have always tried to be honorable. It’s right there on the front of the website.”

      http://nationalism.org/rnsp/display_ENG.htm

      “The Klu Klux Klan are non-violent. It’s right there on the front of the website.”

      http://www.kkk.com/

      Love it Asher, love it!

      • Thanks Daniel – I was just about to point this out.

        “Most Palestinians want a two-state solution,..”

        No Asher, most Palestinians voted for the PLO on the West Bank and for Hamas in Gaza. Hamas and the PLO groups signed a reconciliation agreement in May 2011.

        So most Palestinians according to their voting patterns must support those organisations, the now “united” organisation that will lead a future Palestine.

        Both Hamas and the PLO have constitutions that call for the eradication of Israel.

        Abbas stated clearly this year in front of a map of the region from the Jordan to the Med.denoted as “Palestine”, that no Jews would be allowed to live in a future Palestinian state. Now that has one clear message to those Jews who live in Israel – get out or…what?

        Hamas of course has in its charter a clear message at all Jews, across the entire world, should be killed off!

        So Asher, it seems you have some education to catch up up. I suggest you resign from your new group until you can lead with knowledge and not liberal hope!

    • “Most Palestinians want a two-state solution”

      Evidence, please. Reliable evidence, not smug assumptions and pious hopes.

      • Hi Leah. Check my other post below, or pretty much any other poll of Palestinian public opinion over the last 15-odd years.

  8. I applaud the author of this excellent blog for his patience and indefatigability in sitting through what appeared to be a remarkably tedious evening.

    My wife is of Argentinian descent, and about once a year I am schlepped off me off to an evening of South American folklore and music. During such events I spend much of the time analyzing chess openings mentally and glancing discretely at my watch. Wine and empendas are, however, served in the interval and these together with my forever wanting to appear to be a better husband than I truly am usually tip the scale, and I survive until the bitter end. One trusts that the refreshments that Richard was served were more refreshing than the wearisome delivery of the lady speaker.

    I would also ask Richard to find an alternative photographic angle for filming mini-clad dressed critics of Israel – both because there are many religious Jews amongst your most devoted aficionados, but no less importantly, because this one is inclined to read your excellent postings before eating his breakfast.

    • So Daniel, assuming you didn’t actually mean to come across like a sexist creep… how about actually addressing some of the fundamental questions raised by the debate?

      Yachad are advocating a view that we need to actively defend the Jewish and democratic nature of Israel. Their thinking runs that if we simply maintain the current status quo, the inexorable shift in demographics will force Israel to either cease being Jewish or cease being democratic. If we want to avoid this outcome we need to actively drive towards a two-state solution – that means we need to give up large parts of the West Bank and give up the settlements. Building new settlements or entrenching Palestinian public opinion so that they give up on two states take us further away from this.

      Security is clearly paramount – the State needs to be defensible and secure, but security will come through peace – not conflict.

      Time is not on Israel’s side… so what solution are you advocating?

      • Hi Gideon,

        I’m often asked by visiting journalists, politicians and academics as to what my solution is. I reject “the Two State Solution” and I’m not prepared for Israel to stop being a Jewish state. I wish neither to give citizenship to all Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria, nor to expel them. I’m great at saying, “No” but rarely say “Yes”. What is my solution? How will I bring about peace and prosperity to all peoples of the Middle East in our lifetimes?

        My father made ten years after his children and was already quite sick with Parkinson’s disease. It is a cruel affliction that creeps up on you slowly. Later it transpired that he may have had signs for five or more years, but told nobody. The years in which he lived and died in Jerusalem were by far the pinnacle of his life. He once told me that he would have taken them rather than any number of healthy years in London.

        During that time my mother searched for a cure for Parkinson’s disease. No stone was left unturned and no doctor uncontacted. She joined and then ran a support group in Jerusalem that would meet, and where other desperate spouses would exchange information of new drugs, possibilities of surgery and so on.

        After several years a change took place. While my mother never actually gave up, there did come a time when they both came to terms with the fact that at that point in time the miracle cure just didn’t exist. There were ways to slow down deterioration and even improve the quality of life, but at that moment there was no “solution”.

        One might think that the realization that not every problem has a solution or in the words of Johnny Cash, “There are more questions than answers” would lead to a state of desolation or despondency, but quite the contrary. That is exactly the point where you life goes off being on hold and you begin to live again. Maybe you’ll never run again, but there are plenty of places to walk to. Maybe you’ll be forever falling over, but you’ll be forever getting up too. And there are children to reprimand and grandchildren to enjoy and there is a G-d in heaven to serve too, who waits for the prayers of the sick as he does for the healthy.

        Last Rosh Hashanah Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke about the peace process and predicted that there would be no peace, “not next year and not for the next generation”. On the face of it this was a message of pessimism and gloom, hardly appropriate for the eve of our Jewish new year when we traditionally wish each other the realization of all manner of wonderful aspirations. However, I contend that Lieberman’s blessing was the blessing of hope. He was taking a cold realistic look at the neighborhood in which we live and at our neighbors. He had the courage pragmatically to look at the Arab world for what it is, not what it might be one day or what we’d like it to be.

        We live in the Middle East, not the US Mid-West or even the West End. Our neighbors, for the most part, are vastly more radical than either their fathers or grandfathers were. This has come about as a result of the spread of fundamentalist Islam and because Israel has shown weaknesses on various occasions, convincing them that the only language we understand is force.

        Short of the Messiah arriving, there will indeed be no peace in either our or our children’s generation. Perhaps the greatest challenge facing us today is to learn to live with the fact that this is indeed a problem without a solution.

      • Daniel Marks
        Again you have spoken well. You are of course absolutely right. The word peace has been thrown around so many times that people feel that unless it tries to produce whatever that word means, the world will collapse. I think the secret is that there has never really been peace in this world. There has always been conflict and yet there is progression, more cures have been found, more inventions uncovered and there is a new revolution that brings us all closer – the technological revolution.

        Time is certainly on Israel’s side for many reasons, the most important being that it is and nobody has the right to even have a discussion about whether it should be or not. It is as is the Jewish nation and it will continue to be just as the Jewish nation has continued to be for centuries.

  9. Sexist comments about Hannah Weisfeld’s clothing suggest that the commenter has nothing intelligent to say about her views.

    • I wonder whether I am badly spelled “commenter” to whom very well-dressed Adam Wagner refers. Either way, he is quite right. I do find myself with little intelligent to comment about her views.

      I could explain that a Jew advising the Israel people to take existential risks with our lives, to compromise with terrorists and to create a brand new state to serve as another missile launching pad for those wishing to kill us and our children, is hardly comparable to a German criticizing the fiscal policies of the Greek government – but it hardly seems worth it.

      I doubt that one Israeli in a thousand or one Arab in a million has heard of Yachad, or its rather vainglorious website, but as my grandmother used to say in a wholly different context; if it gives Jewish boys and Jewish girls a chance to meet each other, then good luck to them!

      To the extent that I was able to focus, I heard nothing original or interesting.

    • well you know how we gals are – clothes interest us before everything else and the way she “operates” her legs during her talk is really most unbecoming. If she is such a long time and serious activist shouldn’t she know a bit about how to present herself in a less off-putting way?

  10. OMG can you believe what the panelists are wearing? Two are wearing salmon pink ties and one is wearing a lime green shirt. Such faux pas must surely mean they have no idea about Israeli politics.

  11. Also, when I say “sexist” I also mean “creepy”

    • now that I call sexist – we women have our own “culture” of dealing with eachother and that certainly deserves respect, especially when coming from a – as Daniel so rightfully noticed – man who apparently gives his outer appearance the attention it deserves.

  12. OMG can you believe what the panelists are wearing? Two are wearing salmon pink ties and one is wearing a lime green shirt. Such faux pas must surely mean they have no idea about Israeli politics.

  13. Furnival Friend

    Jeez, and the person to Hannah’s right is bald. How can he debate Israel without bias? After all, was not Samson given a number one cut to make him weak?

  14. How on earth is the physical appearance of one of the speaker’s relevant to her arguments? Why is the owner of this blog not moderating (i.e. deleting) sexist comments that are entirely irrelevant to the debate.

  15. I am appalled by the title of this piece and the distractingly irrelevant and irreverant comments of the men on this blog. And all from men claiming to do so in the name of modesty due to respect for your fellow human. Disgraceful misrepresentation of Jewish values. Moderate or expect legal proceedings!

    • Don’t just post this post, moderator- do something about those posting defamatory comments under their name on your blog!

  16. Furnival Friend

    If this sexism is the level of what passes for debate by Israel supporters, God help Israel. No wonder hasbara is up shit creek without a paddle.

  17. Asher – there is nothing original in Yachad’s ideal for Israel to live in peace and security; it is shared by every Israeli and living Jew alike. The problem is to convince the other side of it. You are wrong in saying that most Palestinians are for a two-state solution, which Palestinians? Anyway, recent polls prove otherwise. What they truly believe in is salami tactics; you only have to look around you to see what is going on in the world.

    I should leave the peace negotiations to the Israeli Government in power, they are better qualified. What you are doing is only grist to the mill for our detractors. The Uber-Jews who think they know better, are will-nilly doing untold harm to our cause. As a young group, you should rather be diverting your energies to countering anti-Semitism and violence on campus against Jewish students.

    I don’t know when I shall next be looking at this excellent Blog as I’m off to the airport in an hour to go the place where I feel most at ease as a Jew….

  18. I for one would like to thank the author of this blog for posting the videos of the event. As a relatively recent oleh from the UK to Israel, it is refreshing to see that there is a new organisation in the UK, Yachad, sharing the same views as so many Israelis such as myself and so many of my contemporaries living here.

  19. Furnival Friend

    if we leave everything to the Israeli government, Israel couldn’t claim to be the state of the Jewish people. Off to New York, then Rubin?

  20. Why is it OK in every apparently serious and often widely praised profile of any public figure to describe his/her styling in great detail and as vividly as possible?

    Why is it apparently by some considered not OK if I do the exactly same albeit in the language we gals tend to do use amongst ourselves?

    • “language we gals tend to do use amongst ourselves?”

      That’s a classic we-use-it-amongst-ourselves-so-it’s-OK fake defence to sexism/racism. It’s a pretty thin argument.

      The problem isn’t describing the public figure’s dress and styling, it’s focussing on the only woman speaker’s dress and styling without mentioning the other four, who are all men.

      • well, when she choses to undress for a rather formal seeming occasion like that as generously as she did she is up for it. If one of the guys had shown up in a tank top I might have considered him worthy of attention too.

        And no it is neither sexist nor racist to ridicule inappropriate dress. It just shows a love for some old-fashioned rules.

  21. Furnival Friend

    It isn’t OK. Silke. In either case. But this thread is very revealing about the pecadillos of those such as Silke and Jonathan Hoffman who believe that they are doing Israel a service. They aren’t. Far from it.

    • and if it isn’t in the case of serious journalism why then have I yet to read any criticism of it whatsoever (and rightfully so I think since I at least check how I look before I go into public and believe it or not out there are piles and piles of jobs where overt and not so overt styling rules have to be observed)

      When a person goes on a podium attired like a clown he/she deserves to be considered a comedian.

  22. Asher
    Can you provide a link in order to substantiate your claim that most Palestinians want a two state solution . I understand that Hamas reject any such idea demanding an Islamic waqf from the river to the sea . Apparently , 85 % of Gazans voted for Hamas ( only bettered by the 96% voting for Hitler ) and thereby voted for Hamas policies regarding Israel. The PA are not much better . Sure a two state solution , but with the ROR for all so called diaspora Palestinians refugees who will not be granted Palestinian citizenship lest it negates their so called ROR .
    We are truly an amazing people . We have countless Diaspora and Israeli human rights NGOs advocating on behalf of the Palestinians . Maybe you can point me in the direction of one single Palestinian Arab NGO who works on a reciprocal basis for Israeli human rights particularly the victims of Palestinian terror .
    Yachad and similar organization perform a disservice both to israel and to the diasporah student campus , who enthused by the idealism of youth , naively believe two states means two states and an end to the conflict . To those of us who have a little more experience and understanding of the Palestinian position and that of its supporters , it becomes patently clear that organizations such as yachad are at best naive and at worst guilty of siding with israels enemies and undermining her security .

    • from what I read I conclude that JStreet and Yachad are pretty close. If that is so fast forward to the panel discussion following Dennis Ross and take especial notice of when the crowd presumably all very devoted to Israel cheer. With friends like these …

      http://vimeo.com/20701986

    • Hi Harvey, you can see the evidence from the Palestinian polling at http://www.jmcc.org/polls.aspx – just enlarge the second box on the page.

      Harvey, Sharon, Rubin – the argument that every Palestinian agrees with every statement made by those they vote for is so bad it’s embarrassing. It’s like saying that we know that all Americans want healthcare because Obama won the election. Israel has real enemies amongst the Palestinians but they are a minority. Most Israelis and Palestinians want reconciliation and a chance to live ordinary lives without conflict.

      The real conflict now is between those of us who want both sides to take steps towards peace, and the minorities who don’t. And we are winning.

      • Thank Asher for the link . Any chance you can provide a non Palestinian research agency to support your figures . I’m just a little skeptical . Something to do with the Islamic construct of Tawqqa but then that’s just me .

      • sorry Richard – here is a revised version:

        And we are winning.

        I have been reading this statement for a long time now without my having noticed any of the shift in that (winning) direction taking place.

  23. Daniel Duberstein

    I’ve worked in the field of Jewish-Zionist education for over 20 years and made aliyah 8 years ago. I still have close ties (professional and personal) with the Anglo-Jewish community. I find it hard to get so het up about Yachad. At worst they might be naive but pretty harmless. At best they might help re-engage younger Jewish adults in Israel and Zionism who’ve been put off by the typical Anglo-Jewish infighting and old-fashioned, outdated hasbara.

    I was saddened – but not surprised by the comments on this page by people such as Jonathan Hoffman, Daniel Marks and Hunter. Assuming they are genuinely all Jews and all see themselves as lovers of Israel, it’s such a shame they have to resort to childish name-calling, misogyny and scaremongering. These are the kinds of petty comments and mudslinging that has led to so many of our young people turning their backs on organised Jewish community. Most people want a sensible, intelligent discussion or debate and can fully handle differences of opinion.

    From everything I’ve read of Yachad and Hannah Weisfeld (press, online, on their website etc) over the past year or so, I can’t see any reason why any genuine Israel-lover or true Zionist sees her as such a threat or an enemy. Sure, disagree with her Zionist outlook and her/Yacahd’s approach – but isnt it better to spend your energy combating the true enemies of Israel and the Jewish people?

    Oh, and surely we can all do a bit better than reducing this whole debate to a critique of how Ms Weisfeld sits or what she wears. I hate to say it, but that’s typical old school sexism and has no place in any Jewish debate. Shame.

    • Daniel Duberstein
      I was present at the debate on Monday and listened to Weisfeld repeat the same tired old mantra that the settlements and occupation are the root cause of the conflict and if both were relinquished the conflict would end .
      I asked her ” in that case what prevented the Palestinians / Arabs from declaring a Palestinian state and an end to the conflict between 1947 and 1967 when there was no occupation and no settlements ” . I m still waiting for an answer , although in truth I’ve posed the question many times over the years and never received anything approaching a satisfactory answer .
      Weisfeld is happy to play armchair politician from the security of her Uk address as Richard millett suggested to her during the meeting . One indeed wonders if she would be so quick to compromise Israels security living on the 67 borders next to an implacable enemy whose only intent was to realise the next stage of their agenda .

    • If anything I said gave you the impression that I see the lady as a threat or an enemy, I don’t. I have no idea who she is and have yet to be hear anything interesting or original from her that hasn’t already been said many times by other “friends”.

      I was, however, fascinated to learn that it is debate that leads to young Anglo Jews turning their backs on the Jewish community. it’s quite strange really as where I live there is healthy debate about every subject under the sun, including how Jews should dress, and we don’t get that much back-turning, wonder why.

      Come to think of it the only Jewish commnity in the UK that isn’t assimilating and is actually growing is the ultra-orthodox and they spend their whole time debating questions, including those relating to dress…Strange?

      If I had to hazard a guess it might be that the reason these people are “turning their backs” is more related to ignorance and the fact that most of them have a pre-bar mitzvah level of knowledge of Judaism to start with – hardly able to tell the difference between an aleph and a swastika, but that’s another subject for another day.

  24. ” isnt it better to spend your energy combating the true enemies of Israel and the Jewish people?”

    Exactly!

  25. Asher – thank you for providing these graphs.

    Perhaps I can’t see for looking as I’m short of time at the moment and haven’t time to trawl the site, but do you know where I might find out the methodology used to obtain this data? It’s impossible to interpret its validity without knowing – at the very least – a) the number of respondants and b) the number as a percentage of the population.
    Thanks.

  26. Asher
    Maybe you missed this interview?

    MEMRI
    October 31, 2011 Special Dispatch No.4235

    PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: I Will Never Recognize a Jewish State; The Capturing of Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit Was a Good Thing
    Following are excerpts from an interview with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, which aired on Dream2 TV on October 23, 2011:

    Mahmoud Abbas: “First of all, let me make something clear about the story of the ‘Jewish state.’
    “They started talking to me about the ‘Jewish state’ only two years ago, discussing it with me at every opportunity, every forum I went to – Jewish or non-Jewish – asking: ‘What do you think about the “Jewish state”?’ I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I will never recognize the Jewishness of the state, or a ‘Jewish state.'” [...]
    Interviewer: “Don’t you think that it was the resistance that managed to liberate a thousand prisoners?
    “Negotiations must always be accompanied by a measure of force. There can be no negotiations without resistance. This has been shown by the experience of people – in Ireland and all countries.”
    Mahmoud Abbas: “That’s true, but our circumstances are different. We are not able to wage military resistance.
    “Hamas kidnapped – or rather, captured – a soldier, and managed to keep him for five years, and that is a good thing.
    “We don’t deny it. On the contrary, it’s a good thing that on a small strip of land, 40 × 7 kilometers, they were able to keep him and hide him.” [...]

  27. There is a certain decorum that is expected. Surely a wise person who can sprout such knowledge at a public meeting ought to have sufficient experience either to wear long socks of cover the table!

    However, more than the dress, or lack of, as the case may be, the body language speaks louder than the words which for most part did not make very coherent sentences. The question is why is she so angry?

  28. Here is a good example Leah.

    89% of Palestinians support a peace deal with Israel. That sounds like a two-state solution to me.

    Here in Israel I think that we all know what the end deal is going to be. The question is how much time are we going to waste pretending that we don’t.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/poll-most-palestinians-want-peace-with-israel-1.297196

  29. Here’s another one Leah. Its less high but still 57-29. This is almost double!

    Here we say that peace you make only with enemies and not friends. Nobody wants to give back anything, but we all know that this is the only deal in town and in Hebrew we say, ‘This is what there is.’

    http://www.geneva-accord.org/mainmenu/joint-israeli-palestinian-poll-vast-majority-on-both-sides-prefer-a-two-state-solution-over-any-other-alternative

    • richardmillett

      Well you’ll never get Hamas to agree.

      • and haven’t I read that “they” refuse to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state.

        and haven’t I read that “their” talking heads say that the 2-state-solution in any case is only an interim deal, a step towards the whole package.

        and I really wonder why everybody is so complacent about and willing to go along with the creation of another jew-free area. Aren’t there enough of them already?

        and haven’t we said for decades “never again” or was that “never again” meant to mean only wholesale slaughter and everything below that is “another culture”?

  30. That’s exactly my point! Both sides have extremists like the Hamas and the settlers and both sides also have big majorities that want peace. Who should we listen to?

    • richardmillett

      I think comparing the settlers to Hamas is disingenuous. Meanwhile neither do Fatah want a two state solution. So the people can say what they think really. It just doesn’t matter as there is no democracy in the Palestinian territories.

      • They can’t really say what they think – out loud anyway as they are drawn and quartered for being traitors to the Fatah/Hamas cause!

  31. There is no democracy because Israel occupied those areas in 1967 but we cannot give the people (not Jewish) living there there citizenship right to vote. Israel is still the sovereign and if there is no democracy you must blame her.

    Anyway I haven’t compared Hamas and the settlers, I said that they are both extreme (in different ways) and answered Leah’s question of how we know that most Palestinians want a two-state solution.

    • richardmillett

      Why won’t the Palestinians hold elections? They held them once. What’s so difficult about that?

  32. Give them a state and they are going to hold elections. All countries first declare independence and then hold elections. There was supposed to be a solution long ago. First there was supposed to be an interim stage then elections of leadership then final status negotiations and a Palestinian state. There was not supposed to be indefinite period of interim stage.

    I am not arguing with you Richard. We both want a two-state solution and so do most Palestinians and most Israelis. Bibi says he wants it also so why are we all still talking? We know the borders and we know that it will not be a love story just a cold peace.

    • richardmillett

      But they will fire rockets at every town in Israel.

    • a cold peace – if that were likely I am sure the deal would already have been made.

      BTW how are you going to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table? As best I remember the Quartet has just tried in vain – again!

      And what about the RoR – the elephant in the room that resists wishing away.

      And what about Jerusalem? You want it to become a divided city again?

  33. So why do you say that you want a two-state solution if you are afraid of their rockets? Who will live in the other state do you think?

    Do you think that the Palestinians are going to suddenly become Zionists and they will still not have extremists? That is why we have the IDF army Richard.

    • richardmillett

      Ok if the Palestinians get their state what do they give in return? And does the Palestinian state include east Jerusalem including the Kotel?

  34. They give peace and we want a Palestinian state because this is in Israel’s interest not because are doing them a favour.

    I am not religious and but think that peace and the end to wars is more holy than one big wall. Maybe we can move it to Tel Aviv (only joking). We can make a compromise or make it an international area.

    • richardmillett

      Well, I hope you’re right. Because if you’re not you could have a hell of a lot of blood on your hands. Far more than there is now.

    • Please name international areas.

      Jerusalem is not only for the religious – Jerusalem is for mankind and I as religiously illiterate as they come want such a great ancient city get taken care of really really well.

      Call me culture freak, that’s OK by me, but that is the reason why I want Jerusalem in good and trustworthy hands.

      You see it was never Jews who hindered Christians to visit their holy places.

      Ah and have you noticed MSM say Palestinians will next work on declaring the Church of the Nativity a Palestinian heritage.

      How lovely!

    • “We can make a compromise or make it an international area.”

      It would then continue to be a bone of contention forever. Who would police it? UNESCO? China + Russia?

  35. Hi Nimrod,
    This two state solution thing really ignores the actual problem the “solution” is meant to solve.
    The real problem is that the Arabs in the Middle East do not want a Jewish State.
    The only true solution to the problem is to get rid of the Jewish state.
    There is nothing new about this.They tried to destroy Israel at it’s inception and have made a few attempts since.
    Arafat was very clear that any agreement made with Israel was only intended to weaken Israel towards it’s final destruction.
    The poll you quote is of course meaningless as there was no option in the questionaire for the destruction of Israel, which I am sure the vast majority would prefer.

    • Hi Michael,

      Look you are right. They want to get rid of us and we want to get rid of them too but we can’t. We are not going and they are not going also. Now what after?

      You want to rule over a nation which hates us? I also don’t want this. So we need a compromise. We say that a good compromise is when both sides think they have gotten a bad deal.

  36. Nothing wrong with simple management as has been the case forever.

  37. Hi Nimrod,

    So are you saying that if you could expel the Palestinians, you would?

  38. Nimrod,
    “They want to get rid of us and we want to get rid of them too but we can’t.”
    is simply not true.
    Israel wishes to live with it’s neighbours in peace whereas Israel’s neighbours don’t want a Jewish state at all.
    There is no symetry.
    It’s got nothing to do with compromise.
    First I see no justification in giving away land which Israel won in a war she was forced into.The land belongs to us and there is no more justification for Israel giving away it’s land than there is for England to give away London.
    In addition it’s lunacy to give it to a group of people dedicated to our destruction.
    And yes, I would rather rule over people that hates me than cut up the country and give those people a country which they would no doubt use to try and destroy me.
    Just look at Gaza.

    • Nimrod
      “Exactly! Do you want us to go back to Gaza?”
      Gaza should never have been given away.
      It has since been used to bomb us.
      Any land we give them will be used to try and destroy us.
      Jeursalem is at least as Jewish as London is English.
      Moreover Judea and Sameria never belonged to the “Palestinians”.
      We all know that were we to give away land it would not bring peace but only more war with Israel having to fight with vulnerable borders.

      • “Now they have peace.”

        And as we know, Gaza is a peaceful place that never bombs and murders Israelis.

        Next: Nimrod tells us that Israel launched an unprovoked attack on Jordan in June 1967.

  39. Exactly! Do you want us to go back to Gaza?

    Giving Palestine to Palestinians is not like giving England away. Did you know that after the second world war England occupied Germany then gave it back to the Germans, it’s more like that. Now they have peace.

    • This should be here:
      Nimrod
      “Exactly! Do you want us to go back to Gaza?”
      Gaza should never have been given away.
      It has since been used to bomb us.
      Any land we give them will be used to try and destroy us.
      Jeursalem is at least as Jewish as London is English.
      Moreover Judea and Sameria never belonged to the “Palestinians”.
      We all know that were we to give away land it would not bring peace but only more war with Israel having to fight with vulnerable borders.

    • “Now they have peace.”

      And as we know, Gaza is a peaceful place that never bombs and murders Israelis.

      Next: Nimrod tells us that Israel launched an unprovoked attack on Jordan in June 1967.

      • Leah,

        I think that you are incorrect and it’s not fair to talk about an ‘unprovoked attack’.

        The attack in 1967 was called a preemptive strike. Israel knew that Egypt and Syria wanted to attack her and the blocking of the Suez Canal meant that we had to have many reserves called up for a long time. This was ruining the economy.

        Also we are talking about the West Bank that were under Jordanian rule and Israel did not attack Jordan but they began. I know many people which fought in 1967 like my some of my family.

  40. after Germans had been given back Germany (if you want to term it that way) Germans didn’t sit on top of a ridge providing them with an easy shooting range of London creating a situation that reminds me of this one.

    From atop the Golan Heights, the Syrians terrorized Israeli farmers and communities in the planes of the Upper Galilee. In 1955, Syrian gunmen opened fire on Israeli fishermen tending to their business in Lake Kinneret, and repeatedly in the late 1950’s, Syrian artillery posts on the Golan attacked Israeli villages in the valleys down below. Facing an insurmountable topographical disadvantage, the Israeli defense establishment looked to install a spy in the upper echelons of the Syrian government to provide the information it needed to properly respond to the ongoing threat.
    http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/2011/11/eli-cohen-syrian-jew-who-saved-israel.html

    And yes Martin van Creveld says that with modern technology that is a no brainer. However, he is the only one of all the experts on military matters I ever listened to who said that topography doesn’t matter any longer.

  41. Silke,

    You should know that the English and Germans bombed each others more than the Palestinians and us today, look at them now! Maybe Israel and Palestine will also be in peace one day.

    • The Germans have always admired the English and the English have always admired the Germans.

      There was lots and lots of things in common to which to return. None of the two ever dreamt of a German-free or English-free world.

      (Hamburg’s “nobility” was always proud of its fine English way of life. If you read The Riddle of the Sands you find amidst the angst lots of admiration for the Germans. There were “mixed” marriages galore between the two. And last but not least Wilhelm II was Queen Victoria’s grandson.)

      And last but not least there was the Christmas truce of 1914 …

      which means there must have been an immense trust on both sides that the other side would keep its word.

  42. The only reason the UK and Germany are not at loggerheads is because the UK kept out of the EU!!

  43. Just testing

  44. I am not on my own computer and have had problems posting this. I am on holiday in Israel and enjoying every moment.

    Going back to the original subject, taking the ‘mickey’ has always been a harmless English pursuit. In this case it happens to be a young lady in a mini skirt with an overstated coiffure. Both of which she has since toned down – the lady must be taking note!

    But what Furnival Friend called Sharon Klaff was not in jest, it’s an insulting term for a woman in Yiddish. The spelling is all wrong and made to look like her surname. She asked for the meaning of it but he never replied. Sharon now has carte blanche to retaliate in kind, whatever she thinks fit. How about something in SA Boer! Or since we are into Yiddish, I can provide some choice expletives – Yiddish is rich in them – within the constrains of this blog of course.

    Furnival ‘Foe’ also told me to “go off to New York”. I suppose I ought to be grateful for that; he could have told me to go off to Poland – people like him usually do. May I therefore suggest that he goes to Azzazel where he will find like-minded friends. He won’t be missed here. His largely one-liner contributions amount to those of a spoiler.

    • Hi Rubin
      Pleased you are having such a good time in Israel!

      Rubin, I understood the implications of the insult, but was hoping to make this crass person think a little instead of spewing.

      So I looked up Furnival as its not a word I recognize as its not in the dictionary. The only link I could find is to Furnival Chambers. Shock horrors! Another one!!

      Am Yisrael Chai!

  45. Leah

    I have said “now they have peace” regarding England and Germany. Do you not agree? Maybe you are confusing it with Israel (:

    Look here, we all want a two-state solution and we all know that the Arabs aren’t going to change and we are not also. When we talk about two states for two people, this is not Belgium and Holland, we are talking about the Palestinians and us.

    Nobody dreamed of this and nobody gets every thing he wanted – that is why this is the only solution. Do you have another idea?

    I do not think it will be ideal but we have tried occupation and that hasn’t worked and we have tried wars and that also. I wonder Leah if you have ever done a foot patrol in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip and looked at people and children which just hate you and want to kill you? I did.

    I am not Left and I am not an “Arab lover” even. I am just another Israeli that is tired of the occupation and tired of settlements.

    • Nimrod,

      since you aren’t “left”, maybe you’d care to comment on this to me very illuminating and instructive report from a visit to Israel. I have been told that neither the right nor the left like it and therefore I’d really appreciate a bit of explanation on it.

      http://my.firedoglake.com/jellobiafra/2011/11/01/42/

    • Nimrod,
      Britain withdrew from Germany, and now they are at peace. Fine.
      You then claimed that Israeli withdrawal would lead to peace. I asked you how Israeli withdrawal from Gaza has led to peace. You have no answer to that.
      You tried to draw an analogy. You failed. Don’t blame me for it.

      • Leah,

        I think you are putting the cart before its horse!

        “I asked you how Israeli withdrawal from Gaza has led to peace. You have no answer to that.”

        I have never said that we have peace. Did you never hear of the grudim in Sderot? We have no peace at the moment, we are in a ‘peace process’ this means a process that is supposed to lead to the real peace.

        I said We are in an interim stage. We are supposed to have negotiations which, if they will succeed and if both sides will compromise might lead to peace. Read what I have said:

        ‘Maybe Israel and Palestine will also be in peace one day.’ – Maybe is a big word.

        I have not blamed you for something – you are confused. I voted for Bibi and I also want a two-state solution like him. I tell you Leah that if you have seen some of the things i have, you would not waste time in trying to say things that I never said and more time searching for peace.

        Good luck

      • He’s right about the horse, Leah.

  46. This is very long and English is not my mother’s tongue.

    • have you ever heard of Google translate?

      though his prose quite often is worth it Google should be able to give you the gist of it.

  47. Hi Sharon

    I obviously don’t have my reference books with me; but unlike the bearer, ‘Furnival’ sounds to me like an innocuous name of Huguenot origin. As a young man, I was not into cricket or even football; rowing was my sport for many a years. I belonged to a rowimg club at Hammersith Bridge and we shared a boathouse with Furnival Rowing Club where our shell-boats were stored. I always knew it as just a harmless name – little did I know…!

  48. Leah,

    I think you are putting the cart before its horse!

    “I asked you how Israeli withdrawal from Gaza has led to peace. You have no answer to that.”

    I have never said that we have peace. Did you never hear of the grudim in Sderot? We have no peace at the moment, we are in a ‘peace process’ this means a process that is supposed to lead to the real peace.

    I said We are in an interim stage. We are supposed to have negotiations which, if they will succeed and if both sides will compromise might lead to peace. Read what I have said:

    ‘Maybe Israel and Palestine will also be in peace one day.’ – Maybe is a big word.

    I have not blamed you for something – you are confused. I voted for Bibi and I also want a two-state solution like him. I tell you Leah that if you have seen some of the things i have, you would not waste time in trying to say things that I never said and more time searching for peace.

    Good luck

    • Nimrod,

      You are the one who is confused:

      “we are in a ‘peace process’ ”

      Hamas wants to annihilate Israel and kill all the Jews (that is, Jews worldwide). Kindly explain the nature of the ‘peace process’ you think is currently in place with these people.

      • Leah,

        This is what I meant about putting the cart before the horse.

        These are simple ideas but I am going to explain. You do not need a peace process when you already have peace. You do not need a peace process when everyone loves us. The reason for the peace process is to go from a stage when they ‘wants to annihilate us’ to a stage when they don’t want to or cannot. Do you understand? It is because Hamas hates us and we hate the Hamas that we say to build a wall, them over there and us over here.

        We have nothing to look for, not in Gaza and not in Hebron. These are places with millions of Arabs who do not want us and we not them. Tell me what are you going to do them?

        Leah, you should not be naive. Probably they will always ‘wants to annihilate us’.

      • Probably they will always ‘wants to annihilate us’.

        Ah no I understand. That’s why Israel should compromise teh defensibility of her borders.

        I see the logic yes.

        And also I see the logic that if people who otherwise expect to be treated as respected members of the international community decide that they want it judenrein or judenfrei (jew clean or jew free take your pick) then that has to be respected by all and foremost of course Jews.

        Now what does that mind-set remind me of?

      • it should be noW I understand of course

      • I’m going to tell you a secret Silke. The Iranians want to also annihilate us. Why aren’t we building settlements in Tehran?

        If you have an enemy who wants to kill you, don’t live in his garden. In Hebrew we say, “Good fences make good neighbours.” Maybe we should expel the Palestinians but we can’t. We can’t live with them and what is left?

        All the parties in Israel support a Palestinian state except maybe ten members of the knesset. A big majority of Israelis in every poll also support this. If it is inevitable why are we delaying it and spilling blood on both sides?

        I think that if you or Leah were once in a combat unit you may also feel different.

      • dear Nimrod

        I am female and not an Israeli and rather old so the closest I could come to what being in a combat unit entails was trying not to look too closely at all the mutilated men of my parents’ generation. To look closely would have meant letting the horror of it all get even closer to me than it did anyhow.

        So no I have no first hand experience of a combat unit due to no fault of my own but yes I have very close second hand experience of what may be the aftermath. And I have those early lessons always at the back of my mind when I talk about anything involving soldiers these days.

      • “Why aren’t we building settlements in Tehran?”

        Maybe because Tehran isn’t the homeland of the Jews? Just a thought.

  49. How many Nimrods are there and why do they all say the same thing?

    By the way, they are quite right about Leah’s horse, but that’s about it.

    • “they are quite right about Leah’s horse”

      Never pass up an opportunity for personal abuse, eh? What a sewer your mind must be.

      • Leah,

        This is not abuse. To ‘put the cart before the horse’ means to reverse the usual way we do things. It is not abuse and not in the sewer.

        Look it up!

      • That was directed at Daniel, not at you.

        Daniel has been stalking me for ages, never letting an opportunity pass for posting abusive and often filthy comments about me.

      • Daniel has written ‘they are quite right about Leah’s horse’ not really personal abuse or filthy.

        Maybe you a little paranoid. ;)

      • Nimrod,

        This time I must take issue with your usually excellent judgement. A paranoid state is usually used in reference to an individual who imagines or wrongly perceives that he or she is generally hated.

        I’d like to talk to you off-blog as your views are very interesting, but I fear it may be hard to hold rational dialogue with constant heckling by “you know who”.

        Furthermore, it may be easier for both of us to discuss such matters in Hebrew. Please contact me.
        danielmarks@walla.com

      • Not at all, Nimrod. You have not yet seen the sewer-slime side of Daniel, but you will, you will.

        Once again, he projects his own massive shortcomings on others. He is the one who heckles me whenever I post.

      • A long time ago the man in charge of the local sewer plant took me on a very interesting tour. I don’t remember having seen anything that could even remotely qualify as slime.

        As best I remember at the time the filter ends of cigarettes and a certain sex related item provided the biggest problems.

        Come to think of it: in The Third Man there is an unforgettable man-hunt through the sewers of Vienna. If there would have been slime they should have slithered, I don’t remember anybody slithering.

    • I need your help Leah. I can’t find what you’re talking about. When did Daniel abuse you or even mentioned you. Maybe you have become a bit obsessed?

      • richardmillett

        No! Please. Let this lie. It is just a bit of mutual antipathy which has been ongoing for about a year now!

  50. Nimrod,
    I understand where you are coming from but our decisions must not be based of feelings but on cold logic.

  51. Goldman,

    Make that thirty years ago. He recently complained of the NRP controlling Israel’s Ministry of the Interior.

    It’s not clear how old Leah is, but she may have been a combat soldier. She could have freed Sfat with her brave Palmach comrades in 48 or even have parachuted with Hannah Senesh behind German lines in WW2.

    Either way Nimrod seems to be kicking her all over this page with his pigeon English and worn-out Left-wing cliches.

    Where is Gamil when you need him?

  52. I am indebted to the author of this excellent blog for his excellent editing endeavors.

    Thank you Richard!

  53. ‘Hiya’ Sharon.

    Thank you for drawing my attention to the Wiki info. Very interesting, I started to use the Furnival boathouse almost 60 years ago and it took me until now to find out how the place came to acquire it’s name! An ‘l’ must have been dropped somewhere along the way. It’s only an innocent name then – with no skeleton in the cupboard…! As for Silke’s suggestion, I don’t think it came with the Normans; I doubt if the primitive Brits had names like that, if any.

    @ Silke
    While wer’e into names, what does your’s stand for, is it just a penname?My German is now rather limited; I am inclined to break into Yiddish as I go, which is easily done. After all, the language is based on Medieval Judendeutsch. Though I still have a good knowledge of wartime Nazi jargon, like ‘umlegen’ for instance. Not that anyone would ‘do anyone in’ today, but I wonder if the term was only used during the war. I note that you translate Judenrein and Judenfrei, literally, as jew clean and jew free. If you don’t mind me saying so, I think it would be more correct to say: cleansed of Jews and free of Jews – Abbas knows how to put it, when referring to the future Palestinian state…!

    I must say I’m rather disillusioned by Nimrod Gold’s attitude. I wouldn’t want to argue with him. I’m not suggesting he is entirely wrong but negatve talk about Israel and the situation upsets me. In the early days of the State people used to say ‘Ayn Breira’ and got on with it. As a lifelong Zionist, Israel for me has always been an ideal, a dream. The only thing that stops us from making Aliyah is our grandchildren and they are fast growing up! I believe a lady of 105 made Aliyah last year; I still have a bit of a way to go!

    • Hi Rubin

      Silke is my actual and genuine first name – a long long time ago I read in a German newspaper that it is suspected to come from Roman Caecilia. I didn’t find that very convincing at the time. For most of my life it has been a very rare first name. I’d say that it came into fashion only in the late sixties.

      As to “umlegen” I’d bet that it is still very much in use both in detective novels and in sex scenes trying to describe the man as being of a callous disposition.

      When I worked in Paris in 1962 my French colleagues got all upset when they heard my other German colleague and me using the word “kaputt” which in every day German means just broken with no sinister tones on the side, but some of them had heard it from a German soldier threatening “umlegen” or it was generally known as meaning exactly that. I think I could never convince them that we hadn’t been talking about anything like that. We never spoke German to eachother again during office hours. It was an office in a house that had belonged to the empress Eugénie and the gold gilded big room had been turned into individual offices by planting person-high glass walls in it, so whatever one said one said to all of them.

      BTW the nicest colleague I had was a Mr. Cohen, never looked at me with hatred and always had a kind word for me, even after the German boss had outed himself as a Nazi by saying “Hitler wasn’t all bad.” M. Cohen came to our office all white with fury and asked me whether we had many of them left. I was 20 at the time and don’t remember my answer. Just that feeling of helplessness and fury that somebody could be so cruel to this gentle and considerate man. Later on he told me that a German soldier had saved his life by pulling him out of a queue and pushing him under some straw.

      Life is full of strange stories.

  54. Hi Rubin,

    It’s interesting to hear you say that you are waiting for your grandchildren to grow up in order to make aliyah. My father wanted to make aliyah all his life, but his parents forbade it, threatening to “cut him off”. My mother told me that after they married he initially would only live in rented accommodation refusing to come to terms with the fact that he wasn’t moving to a kibbutz tomorrow.

    I remember that he hated buying things whether it was a new car or carpet, because every such item was another admission that he was still planning to stay in exile. I had school friends too, who explained that they couldn’t come as long as their parents were alive. By the time their parents had passed away, they had to begin waiting for the kids to finish school. You are the first grandfather I’ve met whose waiting for his grandchildren to grow up.

    I believe that in each family one generation must get up and make the move. There are no ideal times, there’s always someone left behind and there are always good reasons to wait. I came when I was 18, though I had no driving licence and the idiot emissary from Israel had told me to first do one there before coming. I think I had about $200 in my pocket on the day I arrived.

    There were advantages in coming at that age, in that I was able to learn Hebrew and serve in the army with my piers, but there were disadvantages too. Today I see people of my age coming to Israel having already earned more money than I ever will. On the other hand, many of them leave kids behind.

    There is a phrase in Hebrew called “lying on the fence”. It goes back to the time when in order to cross a barbed wire fence, one soldier would lie on the wire and his friends would tread over him. I believe that in every Jewish family one generation must lie on that fence and make those sacrifices so that future generations can live here without having to wait for the time to be right. Lying on the fence isn’t always easy, but I’ve been lucky to have had a wonderful wife who came all the way from Buenos Aires to lie there with me. I’ve also seen most of my childhood friends lying alongside me like Michael Goldman and Nick and many others who have not been on this blog. I love them all for having been there, especially when I need them.

    Last week myself and many such friends met at a party to celebrate the last 50th birthday party of the season. I sat there as a midget between them, but a midget who has had the good fortune to surround himself by giants.

  55. Hi Silke.

    No sex please, we’re British!
    Had I known that the term also had a sexual connotation I would not have come up with it here! All I know is that if a Nazi guard threatened you with ‘umlegen’ you had better watch out, and did not denote some sexual overture…! We knew it was not Hoch-Deutsch, but slang for something like ‘bash you in’ or ‘bump you off’ – I presume you are familiar with at least some English slang. Anyway, I didn’t know anything about sex. In 1941/42 when the going got really tough, I was between 10 and 11 years old, though I had to grow up quickly.

    I too was helped by a Wehrmacht corporal with food but he didn’t know I was a Jewish boy, but I think he would have helped anyway. This was outside Warsaw after the (Polish) uprising which began in August 1944, this followed the Warsaw Ghetto uprising the year before. The help I got from Feldwebel Ryschard enabled me to help several Jews in hiding. The German Nazis were of course responsible for the Holocaust, but as individuals, they were by no means the worst. That accolade goes to the Austrians (we could tell them by their accent), Latvians, Lithuanians and some Estonians. There were also Ukrainians, but they were uneducated peasants who were not in it for ideological reasons and could be bribed. The Nazis brought the dross of Europe to Poland as hired killers and KZ guards. I feel sure you are familiar with all that history, but if you want first-hand information and a riveting read you will have to read my memoir ‘Gone to Pitchipoi’ which I’m afraid is only available as an E-book from Amazon, for which you will need some electronic reading device. But before that, please go Online into US Amazon (not UK) and it lets you read a part of the text without having to pay.

    quickly.

  56. Hi Daniel
    What a lovely piece, a few comment are however in order.
    ” I think I had about $200 in my pocket on the day I arrived.”
    Luxury.All I had was a pocket of beans and a penknife!
    I always thought your father’s(z”l) old cars was beacuse he was too miserly to buy a normal one.Now the riddle has been solved.
    If I am not mistaken I also remember that you seemed to have an awaful lot of cheap cars, three or four at a time.
    I remember wondering why you just didn’t sell them all and get one normal one.
    I also remember that the heaters never used to work and there was usually a window that wouldn’t close all the way.
    Ahhhh memories.
    Did his never cleaning the cars also have something to do with his aspirations to return to the homeland?

    ” I sat there as a midget between them, but a midget who has had the good fortune to surround himself by giants.”
    What is all that about?
    I know for a fact that you were the tallest man there (except maybe Avi,but he’s American) and at least a foot taller than our host.
    If you refer to stature rather than size then I’ll accept your judgement though I won’t understand it.

  57. I hardly think my answering such questions of a deeply personal nature have much to do with the long forgotten topic of this excellent page, nor am I certain that they would be of much interest to most readers.

    If, however, we are to be pedantic, I’m pretty sure that I am taller than Avi, as is my beautiful daughter Rachelle who was there too, but I was indeed referring stature and not height.

    I believe that we have all been blessed with wonderful friends many of whom have stayed close since kindergarten. There is an old saying, “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are”. When I looked around the table last Thursday night, I wished it were true of me.

    • Daniel as usual tells all, except the most interesting things.

      Unwashed cars without heaters and with windows that wouldn’t close – ah sweet memories – those were the days and we really thought they’d never end.

  58. You are absolutely right Daniel, about our elusive Aliyah; I hang my head in shame! It’s hardly the fleshpots of Europe that keeps me in England. In fact the quality of life is better in Israel for a variety of reasons. There are however some mitigating circumstances for the delay. For obvious reasons I have a very small family; we have a son in Australia and another one in the US. We only have our daughter and her two children in London and no other family in the UK and the same goes for my wife. Furthermore, England has changed and is no longer the comfortable and cosy little country it once was; there is nothing to keep us there, except for our two grandkids that we are very close to and live round the corner from us. Our daughter is a young career woman and Michele has brought up the two boys from the age of three months. If we made the move now she would feel as if she were abandoning her own 12 and 14-year-old. My daughter could afford a nanny but we feel that children benefit a lot from being brought up by their grandparents. We bring them at least once a year to Israel and they love the place; they associate it with the beach, exciting tiyulim (sightseeing tours), plenty of schnitzels and no school! When Jacob, the younger one of the two, mentioned a couple of years ago that he likes being in Israel, Michele replied that we also liked it and maybe we should move here, and he replied with a sombre look look on his face; “It won’t be very convenient when I want to come round!” This broke Michele’s heart and put Aliyah on the back-burner for another few years!

    However, I took steps some years ago that will guarantee I will end up in the Holy Land – I deleted the burial fees from the Shuhl bill…

  59. And lastly, I would like to apologise to Richard for turning his fabulous blog into a social chat network.