Why did the BBC pull last night’s live transmission of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra at the Proms?

Zubin Mehta and the IPO waiting for more protesters to be removed last night.

Zubin Mehta and the IPO waiting for more protesters to be removed last night.

The band played on, the audience inside the Royal Albert Hall loved it and screamed “More!”, so then why did the BBC pull last night’s live Radio 3 broadcast of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra at the Proms near to the beginning?

People around the world had tuned in to listen, but instead the BBC quickly switched to a recording of a past IPO performance.

The six or so anti-Israel disruptions (see clips below) didn’t really detract from the evening’s overall enjoyment.

The BBC would’t pull the live transmission of a big football match because 30 hooligans invaded the pitch, but this is the equivalent of what they did last night to the detriment of those who were not lucky enough to be there in person.

The BBC is broadcasting recorded exerpts of the concert next Wednesday at 2.30pm (BST), but the main beauty of an event is that it is live.

Then the BBC’s report of what happened handed a complete propaganda coup to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an organisation that recently invited Sheikh Raed Salah to speak, a man who has called homosexuality “a crime” that starts “the collapse of every society”.

First, despite the BBC seeming so offended by last night’s disruptions they still found it passable to upload audio of it for their report.

Second, they referred to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign as a “pro-Palestinian group”, but what has the PSC ever done for the Palestinians? They are nothing more than a bunch of anti-Israel activists.

Third, the BBC report speaks of “increased security measures for the concert”, but my bag was given a cursory glance and some of the protesters went in disguise; one woman dressed as a man with grey hair and a beard. They were later seen coming out of a nice South Kensington restaurant as no arrests were made.

The disruptions were totally predictable, judging by past events, and yet when each interruption occurred security took ages to get to the scene of the protest.

And it didn’t need a Sherlock Holmes to tell you that the absence of the hardcore activists at the anti-Israel rally outside the event indicated that they would all be inside the Royal Albert Hall.

It is the same small group of activists that disrupt these events time and time again and cause distress to people watching who have paid good money during hard times.

Meanwhile, young people have been going to prison for stealing a packet of chewing gum or having a lick of some stolen ice-cream during the London riots.

From what I could tell someone who was led away, I believe, is still on a conditional discharge for previous anti-Israel activity. Another conviction could mean imprisonment. And when it came to paying the costs of the court case that person pleaded poverty, yet there they were in a good seat at the Royal Albert Hall and going out for dinner in South Kensington.

The final insult was when someone was taken out by security for holding up an Israeli flag during each disturbance, yet on the last night of the Proms everyone is waving a Union Jack flag.

Mind you it only cost me £5 to get in to stand and it was probably the best value entertainment I have ever had.

And Zubin Mehta and his Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra were heroic.

Clips and photos (use windows explorer if Firefox doesn’t work):

Zubin Mehta acknowledging the audience at the end last night.

Zubin Mehta acknowledging the audience at the end last night.

Pro-Israel rally outside Royal Albert Hall last night.

Pro-Israel rally outside Royal Albert Hall last night.

Last night's pro-Israel rally outside Royal Albert Hall.

Last night's pro-Israel rally outside Royal Albert Hall.

Outside RAH last night, but Mer Khamis was killed by a Palestinian.

Outside RAH last night, but Mer Khamis was killed by a Palestinian.

Last night outside RAH.

Last night outside RAH.

Last night outside the RAH.

Last night outside the RAH.


126 responses to “Why did the BBC pull last night’s live transmission of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra at the Proms?

  1. thanks for writing about this. it was a shame the broadcast was cut because they produced such beautiful music. i was sitting in the choir, and it was lovely despite the horrible protests..x

  2. if that was a victory, i wish them more of them.
    they succeeded in pissing off the audience both in the hall and at home
    i remember the bds movement of sa…it used none of these tactics…it didnt have to…its cause was just

    this cause is not, and the more shrill they become, the more failures they will see

  3. How to alienate the middle ground of opinion – disrupt a broadcast that the classical music fans were all looking forward to …well done PSC.

  4. It’s a shame that we cannot demonstrate outside Palestinian Cultural events, oh that must be because……….there aren’t any!!!
    Did you notice in the pictures the huge amount of British flags flying alongside the palestinian flags? No neither did I!!!!!

  5. Al Beeb is a craven Israel-hater.
    Yes, that really IS news.

  6. Jonathan Hoffman

    “…some of the protesters went in disguise; one woman dressed as a man with grey hair and a beard.”

    Fink had dyed her hair and Levy had a beard:


  7. I heard a report of the event on the 8:00 news as I was driving into Jerusalem. I had an inkling that the author of this excellent blog might have been in attendance. As usual Richard did not disappoint.

    What did women gain by dressing up as men? This is not the Life of Brian stoning scene and I’m sure that members of both genders were admitted. Did they get to pass water vertically during the interval?

    I’m not certain that I fully share Sniper’s confidence that their actions are to our advantage. The average concert goer may be angry at those who upset his entertainment, but next time he decides whether or not to book a ticket to an Israeli event he might still decide to sit it out and avoid himself the fuss.

    It’s not a simple situation to handle. I heard that they wisely did not sit together, so I guess the security guards had a job on their hands running around to find them. Having strong-armed Jewish boys there in the audience, if they exist, would also be problematic as they could easily find themselves clashing with the guards. It’s not an easy nut to crack.

    I guess that ideally you could start picketing their events until they sued for a cease-fire, but I’m guessing that disturbing a Muslim event may be quite scary and I’m not sure when the Palestinian Philharmonic are playing anyway, like I said, this is a tough one. Maybe a more seasoned anarchist than myself, like Yisrael Medad, has a suggestion.

    Cheers to everyone who booed the demonstrators and cheered the conductor. And shabbat shalom to you all!

    • aparatchik at EoZ came up with a good idea at least for next time around i.e. Mehta might have switched to a spirited performance of Hatikva – I’d like to improve on that by suggesting HavanaGila because that would give the public the chance to join in a boisterous sing-along led by Richard and his friends.

      Even I would forget that I can’t hold a tune and join in knowing at least 2 words of it.

  8. Jonathan Hoffman

    “I heard that they wisely did not sit together”

    They did sit in groups. The first group was of 17. Security was not good. If I had been on the door I would have recognised at least three of them including Levy, Fink and Wimborne-Idrissi.

    Did the CST give photos of the known disrupters to the Hall security? If so, why were the protesters not stopped from entering? If not – why not?

    • This is the reply I received from the CST:
      ‘This was a commercial venture organised by the BBC with the Royal Albert Hall and not a community event and CST was not asked to provide security which was carried out by the Royal Albert Hall..’

  9. No surprise at the BBC reaction, considering their reporting of the UN Gaza Flotilla blockade runners. They ‘conveniently’ omitted to include the report stating the activists were armed and intent on confrontation. It is appalling one Israeli flag waver in the audience was ejected. What a pity the Embassy did not arrange for hundreds of small flags be given to the audience, to wave at the end of the recital. Would Security have ejected them????

  10. In that case, I stand corrected Jonathan. As I said, my source is Kol Yisrael.

    Nothing humiliates me more than the fact that “known disrupters” have Jewish names. Though I am not a rabbi and cannot make a judgement, Jews who sought to harm their people over the generations were subjected to community punishments up to and including being forbidden from being buried alongside other normal decent Jews.

    In my opinion there is an important distinction to be made between expressing an opinion that may be opposed to the policy of Israel’s elected government and actively attempting to harm the People of Israel.

    Until they repent, I would not pray alongside such people or attend a function to which they were invited. Like those of Neturei Karte, their actions bring disgrace on us all.

  11. Whilst it’s sad that such a beautiful event was disrupted several times, I can’t help but smile at hearing them be booed off. At about 0:35 of the second clip, is that a security guard of a regular member of the audience that grabs one of the poster thingies the goons are holding?

  12. The performance of Brucie et al at the event has inspired IanAT at EoZ to propose something really brillant:

    Can we go back to calling them Philistines now?


  13. The fascists in Britain need to be confronted. I am sick of them ruling the streets with their dirty clothes, appalling breath, and terror chic clothing.

  14. Pingback: One more video of the BBC Proms audience reaction «ScrollPost.com

  15. Pingback: So, exactly why did the BBC pull the broadcast of the Israeli concert last night? | Vlad Tepes

  16. If one adds this to yesterdays ‘Al Quds’ day in Toronto Canada, one begins to see a clear picture of what is actually taking place around the world. If you watch Blazing Cat Fur’s videos, try to notice what the speakers say. The veneer of politics is peeling quickly and these movements are starting to expose themselves for what they are. The fact that some leftist Jewish people may participate mitigates it none whatsoever.

    • “The veneer of politics is peeling quickly and these movements are starting to expose themselves for what they are”

      Of course, some of us have been saying this for years and been abused as panic-mongers, ‘Islamophobes’ and playing the antisemitism card to deflect attention from Je..Isr…Zionist-entity war crimes. But yes, as far as the general public is concerned this may – hopefully – be a watershed. The Proms really are a sacred British institution. Having it disrupted by these vile riffraff may end up as a huge own goal.

  17. Why were there no arrests? Weren’t the disturbances public order offences? I hope that the troublemakers at least had their names taken. I would ban them for life from all Royal Albert Hall events. If this can be done with football hooligans, why not with this lot? And if they are members of the PSC, then I’d ask the PSC patrons, who sadly include many prominent people, to condemn this behaviour, failing which, they would also be banned.

  18. OT
    long overdue good news – Germany will not participate in Durban III says the foreign office

  19. I stood with pride waving my Israeli Flag, and singing Hatikvah and The Nation anthem, and with many Christian supporters, who came from out of London, where were the Jews of london, all could not have been in the Albert Hall, as usual heads below the parapet, outraged by the PSC but too lazy to show support.

  20. I particularly love the Bruch Violin Concerto and I had been looking forward to listening to the live broadcast on Radio 3.
    Why were none of these yobs arrested?
    On second thoughts – since most of them were in the gallery (or so I understand from my brother, who was in the arena) – why did no-one think of just picking them up by the heels and tipping them over the rails?

  21. For some reason, I am unable to view the video clips. Whenever I click on one, it simply disappears!

    • richardmillett

      Ah, sorry. The same things happens to me when i am on Firefox. Can you try it using windows explorer instead? Thanks for telling me. I need to contact wordpress and ask them why. I thought it was only my pc. How annoying.

      • You mean Internet Explorer, I think.
        Try Opera.

      • I get the same problem in IE.
        I resorted to going to View Source and searching for .mp4 until I got to the URL of the video, and then pasted the URL into the address field. It works, but it’s rather irritating to have to do it. (Thanks to shimona for letting me know I’m not the only one with the problem.)

  22. Please let me know if there is a problem with the clips. I took the precaution of downloading them. If they have disappeared I will make sure they are available again within hours of them no longer being available through the server they are currently on.

  23. I hope that Zubin Mehta reads this blog as I ask him please to make a public statement about these interruptions and in particular about the BBC’s decision to pull the live transmission. Its time great musicians boycotted the BBC!!


  24. richardmillett

    I hope he reads it too! Zubin?

  25. Well done to everybody Who supported Israel outside the Hall & inside the Prom – our democratic values will triumph against the bullying intimidation of the PSC .

  26. If the BBC had continued to broadcast, it would have shown the world what sort of people Palestinians are – and that is not acceptable to the BBC as palestinians are their favourite people.

  27. the videos work fine under Safari

  28. Also have video problem . It eventually opens but only for a few seconds .
    As for security last night . It was always a racing cert these philistines would pull a stunt like this . Several of us had been in contact with both police and ROH to tell them this would happen . Why the surprise ? We are dealing with narcisstic foam at the mouth zealots . It’s time the community became a little more proactive rather then forever reacting with indignation , distain and not much more .

  29. Why did the BBC pull it? In my view the answer is that BBC culture is intrinsically as hostile to Israel as the PSC; having provided the PSC a platform they then put their own boycott into place and pulled the programme. Simples.

  30. Isca Stieglitz

    Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra vs. Dismally Shrillmoronic Orchestrators; no contest 🙂

  31. A protest to the mayor is fine and dandy . What will it achieve apart from a vigorous nodding of his luxuriant hair in agreement
    Why werent they arrested for a breach of the peace . There must be grounds for prosecution . This went beyond the right to free speech when it moved inside .

  32. Pingback: British Antisemites interrupt Israeli orchestra at Proms | Anne's Opinions

  33. attilathecricketer

    Arrests – come off it – perfectly valid method of protesting to disrupt an event – they were kicked out and the event went on with consciences hopefully pricked.
    BBC should have continued broadcasting – they have caved to the protesters when they should not have,
    Good to see a substantial pro-Israel group. Well done Rich.
    Lost cricket today despite me doing a fine impersonation of your bunny hunting.

    • richardmillett

      Depends if they have broken the law or not, Attila. You never know. And stop calling me a bunny hunter or i’ll sue. Some of us don’t get the new ball you know with all that nice shine on it.

    • “Arrests – come off it – perfectly valid method of protesting to disrupt an event”

      Mad as two waltzing mice on stilts.

  34. “Arrests – come off it – perfectly valid method of protesting to disrupt an event…”
    I partially agree here with attilathecricketer .

    Without knowing them, I’m guessing that the protestors know little about the Arab-Israeli conflict and any knowledge they have is probably at the level of slogans and clichés. I also consider their aim, to harm or destroy the State of Israel to be immoral.

    That having been said, I agree that their method of protesting was quite legitimate. As far as I know nobody was or should have been hurt and their actions were similar to those we have taken against our opponents on countless occasions.

    However, they did break the law, knew they were doing so and thus should have been arrested and prosecuted. If they believe sufficiently in their cause they should be ready to make sacrifices for it. If not… if you can’t do time, don’t do the crime.

    Before the expulsion from Gush Kattif my son, who was a sergeant in the IDF, asked me whether in the event that he would be commanded to take part, I thought he should refuse the order. My reply was that if I were him I would refuse such an order and if I was his officer I’d put him in jail. Furthermore he should serve his time proudly. In my opinion neither should a Jew expel another from his home, nor should the IDF tolerate its soldiers disobeying orders. Thankfully, he was spared the dilemma.

    Likewise, illegal actions may be a legitimate means of protesting, but that is no reason why those committing them should not be penalized.

  35. On the evening of the Prom I was stopped from going into the hall because I had in my carrier bag some leaflets the BDS people had handed me. I took them, as I always do, to keep track of the lies they are propagating. The two baby-faced security men just would not let me into the hall no matter how much I begged them to appreciate I am an Israel Phil fan. Finally they called the head of RAH security who apologised to me and said her men had misunderstood her directions — that they were only to stop people going in who were carrying bags of leaflets to distribute. Meanwhile they never checked my bulging, heavy handbag, never asked me to open my jacket and never looked in my pockets ! I watched other people being whisked through by these young guys who evidently had NIL security training.
    Thank God nothing harmful occurred inside the hall although the disruptions to the Prom (so splendidly recorded for posterity by brave Richard) were awful and scary. The woman in the box next to mine said she had brought along a small Israeli flag but it had been confiscated by the security men. We were so pleased to see Jonathan — also brave — holding up an Israeli flag in the arena. We estimated about 70 people had bought tickets in order to disrupt from various sections of the concert hall. OK, maybe it was 40 or 50 but it seemed as if there were more — all shouting from every corner of the hall. I recognised the same BDS, Jews for Boycotting Israel and JfJP faces as those who had caused such misery to me at my appearance in debate with Omar Barghouti/BDS at the Purcell Room with Jonathan Freedland on July 10th at the South Bank Literature Festival.

    • richardmillett

      somoene could have brought in a bomb or a knife. My person wasn’t checked, only my bag. They are having a laugh if they think there was a heightened security presence.

      • Absolutely. It is a miracle nothing worse happened and for that we must be grateful. Please note my comment above to Jonathan about the CST.

      • There is a blessing that a Jew makes when saved by G-d from danger, such as returning from a long trip, being in prison or hospital, etc.

        The story is told of a man who told Rav Avraham Schapira that he had been a few minutes late that morning and had missed his bus. It had been the same bus that afterward, a suicide bomber had blown himself up on. His question was as to whether he should make the blessing

        Rav Avraham answered that he had the same dilemma. His wife had put his trousers in the washing machine, the same ones as he had been wearing just a few minutes before. What a miracle that he had taken them off in time!

        Heaven forbid we should live in a world so evil that we consider the fact that nobody was hurt or killed at a concert in the Royal Albert Hall to be a “miracle”. Besides what this would imply about the creator of that world, what would it say about us?

  36. And the band played on…

  37. Pingback: Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra Performance Disrupted By Anti-Israel Demonstration – Inside Royal Albert Hall | Here's The Right Side Of It

  38. I absolutely have no wish to justify these b*stards, but let’s not forget that we adopted the same tactics in the 70’s to disrupt the Bolshoi and Soviet Stae Circus, etc as part of the 35’s (successful) campaign to free Soviet Jewry. As far as I remember no-one was ever charged by the Police, we were all simply removed by the cops or security, and possibly offered a cup of tea at Saville Row police station where we were “held” until the concerts ended.

  39. I have a Metropolitan Police Record to refute that claim and was fined the princely sum of five pounds.

    I remember the sum for two reasons. Firstly, the criminal before me on trial was an Arabian lady who had to pay a thousand for nicking (Zionist) knickers from Marks and Spencer. I thought my offense to be far more serious and was in trepidation as to what the punishment might be.

    Secondly, two Jewish organizations offered to reimburse me, but my father (May his memory be a blessing) refused, telling me that nobody would take that mitzvah away from him. My eyes still water as I recall the moment.

  40. I am afraid I disagree – there are performances where some feel it imperative to boo the performance or walk out in protest. I am all for their doing it during applause like after a scene or during intermission.

    If they do it during the actual performance they in a very personal act rob me of my money’s worth.

  41. well here we have it. A perfect display of the contrast between civilised man and barbarism. Civilisation as represented by the music, the musicians and the audience that appreciates them for its own cultural and spiritual edification. Barbarism as represented by a crude primitive and blind lashing out, hate for hate’s sake….the very antithesis of culture and civilisation that regards any form of ennobling uplifting of the spirit as offensive. These denizens of the underworld are anti-culture, anti-life and anti-man.

  42. Oh and it looks like the gormless and ugly PSC harpie who is …erm..’singing’….forgot to take her medication that day. I was going to use the word bovine to describe her mental state, but that would be an insult to all cows.

  43. “I am afraid I disagree – there are performances where some feel it imperative to boo the performance or walk out in protest. I am all for their doing it during applause like after a scene or during intermission.”

    “Civilisation as represented by the music, the musicians and the audience that appreciates them for its own cultural and spiritual edification. Barbarism as represented by a crude primitive and blind lashing out, hate for hate’s sake…”

    Hi Silke and Roger,

    Here, we part ways. In my opinion the good or humanity of an individual is gauged by his actions and the way in which he treats others, particularly those different to or weaker than him. It is nothing to do with his ability to appreciate, play or even compose music.

    In five Nazi extermination camps Jewish inmates were forced to play Bach to their brothers and sisters as they were led to gas chambers. Historians still dispute if this was as a means of lulling victims into a false sense of respite or whether the music was to increase the entertainment value for German spectators. Either way, it is fair to assume that most of the Gestapo officers had a greater appreciation for classical music than the Polish “primitive” religious, mainly Hassidic Jews that they were gassing, however, they were Barbarians because of their actions.

    To be sure, I am not justifying the behavior of those who disrupted the recital at the Royal Albert Hall, I strongly condemn it because their goal is immoral. However, iIf I thought I had the possibility of alleviating another human being’s pain or even saving his life, but by doing so I might disturb somebody else’s concert I wouldn’t even have to think twice, neither would either of you. If the guy sitting next to you was having a heart attack, would you wait for the intermission?

    I humbly suggest that the Jewish community of the UK focus on how to prepare for and react to similar demonstrations. As I wrote in an early comment this is not a simple challenge and I doubt it has an easy answer. It is a sad truth that defending is often far more complicated than attacking and these kind of events force you into a defensive mode. We admire the endeavors of those brave individuals like Richard, Jonathan, Harvey and Sharon, greatly and they know that if there is anything we can do to help, they only have to ask.

    • I am not of the opinion that music is edifying or bettering me. If I indulge I do it for the same reason that I do anything else beyond mere necessity – I have bought a ticket and I want to enjoy what I paid for and I want most of all respect for the musicians who have worked hard to be able to do what they do.

      The comparison with the heart attack is not an apt one.

      The comparison with the playground bully who breaks other kids toys is one.

      From another tack I think protests that are mindful of the concert goers rights and respect the musicians efforts to stay in the state of mind they need for performing should be more effective.

      • Silke,

        I enjoy music somewhat, I also enjoy playing chess, studying Talmud, cooking and watching a good boxing match. I read recently that chess and Talmud help defer Alzheimer’s. I have no idea which of these pastimes better or worse me.

        I consider the heart attack comparison to be apt if imperfect, but if you prefer another I refer you again to the excellent Inglorious Basterds and ask (rhetorically) whether our fictional heroes should have waited until the movie was over to throw the match, or was it a cigarette?

        How wonderful to debate a matter of consequence with a true friend. Only two glasses of cold dry white wine are missing.

      • I haven’t seen the movie therefore the question: did the inglorious bastards operate in the temples of modern sophisticates?

        The more I disagree with you the more the disregard for the musicians’ accomplishment takes center stage for me.

        And makes me understand how stupid that critic in The Telegraph was to complain that Mehta didn’t come across as inspired and firy as he would have wanted. Obviously keeping his and the orchestra’s cool and concentration harmed spontaneity.

        Therefore I stick with my new-found opinion stick to the gaps in the program for which the musicians are trained to deal with.

        In the old times I think they would, if interrupted by applause, just repeat the aria, these days they seem to prefer to stay frozen in time until the audience lets them get on, either way they have to stay in the mood or in character and their job is as valuable as any piece of touchable artisanship – before breaking a beautiful glass window you’d think of a better way to get your message across I think.

      • Daniel
        to avoid misunderstandings – I do not want to pass judgment on what you did back then, back then is back then, but there is no reason whatsoever why hecklers and protesters shouldn’t refine their actions and improve on them.

      • Hey Silke, you know I love you.

        Could I not adore a lady who spent a “romantic” afternoon with a Scotsman and a half a bottle of whiskey and four decades later vividly remembers the name of the Scotch, but has long forgotten that of the Scot.

        You also know how much I respect your opinion, however, in this matter we’ll agree to differ.

      • Daniel,

        I love to disagree with you.

        but I fear that by not demanding more sophistication these days than in the days when the German slogan “Macht kaputt was Euch kaputt macht” (break what breaks you) still was beloved by many gives legitimacy to the actions of those Philistines. And yes there were good causes amongst those for which those with these mind-sets fought.

        Today you got to attack them on every level. and from each and every corner.

        Besides all the sillyness, spectacular stuff like this alerted the likes of me to the fact that Nazi judges had no problem with posing as model democrats. But times change and “we” should demand better from them than the good ol’ 😉


    • “However, iIf I thought I had the possibility of alleviating another human being’s pain or even saving his life, but by doing so I might disturb somebody else’s concert I wouldn’t even have to think twice, neither would either of you”

      Do you seriously think the PSC care a jot for the plight of the ‘Palestinians’? All they care about is slagging off Jews.

  44. @DavidINPT
    ” but let’s not forget that we adopted the same tactics in the 70′s to disrupt the Bolshoi and Soviet Stae Circus, etc as part of the 35′s (successful) campaign to free Soviet Jewry.”
    Who is “we”? Members of JDL (Jewish Defense League) were the ones who tried unsuccessfully to disrupt the Bolshoi representation in the US in 1974 thinking they were “helping” Soviet Jewry. “We” didn’t approve.
    The Jewish Defense league of Meir Kahana was considered a terrorist organization both in Israel and the US.
    It seems those hecklers in London were trying to emulate their predecessors, the Jewish Defense League – only in a more brutish, vulgar and aggressive -not to mention obnoxious – manner.

    • Hi Sylvia,
      Where do I begin? I have never belonged to the JDL, nor have any of my friends who took part in the activities you refer to. In the US there were JDL activists in the Soviet Jewry struggle.
      I remember being told at the time by well-meaning friends that our actions were only making the situation of Soviet Jews worse and “quiet diplomacy” was the best means to help or unfortunate brothers and sisters. Anatoly Sharansky was lingering in a Soviet jail and we were being told that are extremist actions were harming him. By the way, until today I have no idea what their quiet diplomacy consisted of.

      About a decade later I was chess correspondent at the Jerusalem Post and had opportunity to talk with Anatoly Sharansky who was a writer at the same paper. A proficient chess player himself, I asked him to adjudicate the matter.
      Sharansky claimed that it was only our “illegal” demonstrations that had caused the change in Soviet policy. He also claimed that it was these more than anything else that caused the collapse of the Soviet Union. I considered this an exaggeration until I met a neighbor from the former USSR a few years ago.

      An immigrant from the Russia, an elderly lady who prays in our synagogue was mourning her husband and my wife and I went to comfort her. There we chatted also to her son who I knew vaguely, but had never really spoken with. He told me he had been a refusenik and had even sat briefly in jail before being allowed to immigrate. I couldn’t help telling him about my involvement in the struggle all those years ago. Then he told me an incredible story.

      He told me how during an interrogation a Soviet officer had thrown on the table photographs of young Jews being dragged away by British policemen while holding those unforgettable posters of Nathan Sharansky’s heroic image. He had slammed his fist on the table and screamed, “Look how they make us look. They make us look like the oppressors!” My new friend told me that he glanced at the photographs and suddenly felt strong. He knew that he together with the young faces whose names he didn’t know, together, would one day win.

      I have done several things during my life of which I am proud and high up among them is the very small role I played as a teenager in the struggle for the release of my brothers from the Soviet Union. I am proud of all the other kids from Betar and Bnei Akiva and other activist youth movements and many unaffiliated – religious and secular, older and younger, who woke up one morning to demand, “Let my People Go”.

      • All very well, but once again conflation between the gulag on the one hand, and the legal actions of Israel in defending itself on t’other.

        And again: the PSC etc don’t care a jot for the ‘Palestinians’. They are motivated by pure hatred. You can see it in their eyes and hear it from their own mouths.

  45. Hi Daniel
    I couldn’t put it better.
    I also met Natan Scharansky a couple of years ago and couldn’t resist telling him that I spent an evening in a police staion on his behalf, to which he replied with a twinkle in his eye that he spent years in a Soviet prison cell for me and the rest of Am Yisrael. To which I obviously had no reply. A true hero.

  46. Hi David! (in Petach Tikva?)

    It wasn’t only him. Edlestein and Mendelovitch and pretty much all the refuseniks I met told me how important our efforts had been. There were establishment figures at the time who disapproved, perhaps in order to justify the little that they were doing, but I never dreamt that there are still Jews around who “do not approve” of such actions. Do any American’s still disapprove of the waste caused by the Boston Tea Party? How many Frenchman condemn the fall of the Bastille? What about those German hooligans in East Germany who tried to get over the Berlin wall? Not to mention some Anglo Jewish leaders who rightly frown at the ten plagues by Moses, considered by Pharaoh an urban terrorist.

    Apparently, Sylvia’s main objection to these demonstrations is the fact that Rabbi Kahana (H”YD) was involved in them. It’s ironic because at the time I was almost expelled from school for missing classes. My headmaster told me that such actions, though perhaps justifiable, were not the responsibility of a schoolboy to carry out.

    I agreed, but pointed out that since no headmasters, teachers or parents were doing the work – someone had to do it. In the Ethics of the Fathers we are taught, . . . and in a place where there are no men, strive to be a man” (2:5).
    I never belonged to any of his movements neither did I vote for him. I do not agree with his political platform relating to Israeli Arabs and argued with him more than once publicly.

    However, Rabbi Kahana was a man in the US in the 1960s in a place where there were too few men. He helped set a new agenda for post-war World Jewry and lit a spark that would one day light up the world.

    Next time Sylvia says, “Never Again” she would do well to remember who coined the phrase (and I’m not referring to William Collier, Sr.).

    • Kahane and his supporters were vicious thugs. I remember a long time ago, at one of their meetings, how they ganged up on someone who disagreed with them and tried to beat him up.

      • I disagreed with Kahane in Mount Scopus twice and Ususskin Street (where his offices were) at least once. Needless to say nobody tried to beat me up and on all occasions I was in a minority. Kahane was an excellent debater, several of his more famous encounters can be found on YouTube.

  47. Michael Goldman

    Do you remember when we met Rabbi Kahane for the first time.
    We were in a fish and chip shop in Jerusalem owned by one of his supporters and we saw a poster in which he was described as “the most dynamic leader of our time”.
    I told the owner that it was a starnge poster as he doesn;t lead many people, whereupon I turned around to see him standing behind me.
    He wasn’t at all offended but rather found it quite funny.
    I also heard him on a number of occasions and often heard people disagreeing with him, sometimes quite loudly, but I never heard him or his supporters being threatening.

    I am intrigued.
    You write:
    “I remember a long time ago, at one of their meetings, how they ganged up on someone who disagreed with them and tried to beat him up.”
    So it seems that they tried but didn’t succeed otherwise you would have written that they “beat him up” rather than “tried to beat him up”.
    So how come in one of their own meetings the Kach boys couldn’t even beat up one person!
    Do you ever tell the truth?!

    • I remember that evening vaguely, I thought it was at Richie’s Pizza. I wasn’t party to the conversation and in my opinion he made much more of an impression on you than he did on me.

      Regarding his followers, at that time, they were mainly idealistic young Jews who had made aliyah from North America. It’s not difficult to see why someone wanting to move in the opposite direction might see them as a threat. There were more clever ones and less, more extreme and less, but I don’t recall any being vicious or scary. To the best of my knowledge most of them settled down and have built lives for themselves in the Land of Israel.

  48. Michael Goldman

    He did make an impression I think mainly because I had also heard what an aggresive and dangerous person he was supposed to be and to see him laughing at himself was quite impressive.
    You could agree with him or disagree vehemently but one thing’s for sure.
    He was a man with the courage of his convictions who gave many Jews in America self respect and dedicated his life to the future of his people.
    Let us have one minute with no comments on the blog in his memory.

  49. Michael Goldman

    Thank you all for the minute silence.

    • I’m no Kahanist, never was and will never be. However, we all know that every man/woman of Israel who dies because of his belief or identity is considered to be sanctifying the name of heaven.

      I’ll stand in silence with you Michael, and so will every decent human being on this blog. Returning to the topic of this excellent page, surely it is the ability to see above the mundane and distinguish between what is sacred and what is not is what separates us from the beasts of the field, as much as our appreciation of classical music.

  50. OT – does anybody know?

    John Niven who apparently is a successful author is toning down the part in his latest book dealing with Mohammed and/or Islam – but I can find the info in German only – did he do it for the German market only?



  51. @ Daniel Marks

    I think you are an obnoxioius character who is full of himself and who likes the sound of his own voice, judging by your posts, which I will now give a miss. Were you outside the Albert Hall – I’m an octaginarian and I was there!

    Although not religious myself, I’m a Polish survivor and the proud son of a follower of the Rebbe of Gur, who were full of love and compassion for their fellow Jew, which you sadly lack. The Hassids of Poland were not like the Hungarian Satmar, known as the Neturei Karta. And how dare you refer to “Polish Primitive Hassidic Jews”. Since you refer to music; some of the greatest virtuosi originated from Poland and of eastern-european stock, including Artur Rubinstein and Yascha Heifetz.

    What’s more, you insult the memory of the Six-Million including my father and brothers. I have no doubt you have the makings of a Kapo had you not had the good luck to be born here. You besmirch these columns and should retract your words.

  52. @Richard Millett
    I’m hurt and insenced by Daniel Marks’s insulting remark; he should be asked to withdraw.

  53. Rubin Katz: I understand your sensitivity, but you have misunderstood Daniel Marks’ comments. He is a very fine and compassionate person with a love for all of Klal Yisrael, and is himself religious. I, like Daniel found the emphasis on the philistinism of the PSC disrupters jarring. For me too, whenever those with pretensions to refined and civilised tastes refers to their love of classical music as irrefutable proof of such refined qualities, whenever such exquisite souls distinguish themselves from those whose boats are not floated by classical music and condemn them as philistines- I think of the Nazis for whom classical music brought a tear to their eye before they went off and continued their murderous atrocities.

    Daniel is not disrespecting the Polish religious, he puts the words “primitive” in quotes to show this is the so called civilised Nazi view of them, not Daniel’s view, and of course Daniel would agree that these religious Jews are on an infinitely higher plane than the music appreciating Nazis.

    One of the most depressingly frequently abused words on blogs against fellow Jews is the throwing around of the word Kapo. Its obliteration from the vocabulary would be a blessing to dialogue throughout the blogosphere.

    • as best I know the Nazis preferred Schiller to Goethe, so do I. As best I know the Nazis preferred Beethoven to Mozart, I disagree.

      So what!

      All cultural things which were beloved to Nazis are now up for grabs?

      I think that might include Homer and whatever is left to us from Greek theatre.

  54. @Amie
    Yes, you bet I’m sensitive about the Shoah – I have every reason to be.
    There are still a few of us about and I would not expect to see this choice of words used in my lifetime, and in what is basically a Jewish Blog. A compassionate Jew who loves all of Klal Israel does not talk about Polish ‘primitive’ religious Hassidic Jews in ANY context. We are talking of people who were cruelly done to death. The religious went with Ani Maamin on their lips and the Zionists with the Hatiqvah. And the survivors, my brother included, charged up the hill at Latrun into the Arab Legion guns with ‘Never Again’ on their lips.

    But the fact is, and it’s no good denying it, we had Judenrat Jews, Jewish Police and even Jewish Kapos. And today we have ‘Jews for Hire’ like Levy, that I see in Monmouth Street.

    Yes, you are right, after a killing spree, Nazi officers liked to relax with a good cigar and a glass of fine Cognac in hand, listening to Wagner or Beethoven, but there was never a tear in their eyes, only a feeling of superiority of their ‘Kultur’.

    Maybe Daniel Marks slipped up with unfortunate choice of words, then he should admit it and I would be prepared to accept it.

  55. I was absolutely disgusted when I read about this appalling incident. It reminded me of a similar incident at Queens University Belfast in March of this year, when Solon Solomon had to be escorted from a lecture which QUB had invited Solon to deliver. On this occasion it was a group of mindless, bigoted thugs calling themselves the Palestinian Solidarity Society. On this occasion too no arrests were were ever made. All of these types of incidents when they go unpunished are all feeding the growing anti Israeli cancer in our society today, because the authorities seem determined to turn a blind eye to these overtly racist activities.

    If these type of attacks were made against any other race there would be public outcry, but because it is attacks on Israel and her people no one dares speak out for fear of appearing politically incorrect and offending in this case Islamic terrorist supporting thugs.

    The UK neglects Israel and her people too its cost, it is imperative that the UK Government takes a firm stand for Israel in the face of Palestinian terrorists and their supporters.

    I will not be deterred from stating that I am a Proud Zionist, a supporter of Israel and the Jewish people and I will do all that is within my ability to stand in support for Israel.

  56. “Either way, it is fair to assume that most of the Gestapo officers had a greater appreciation for classical music than the Polish “primitive” religious, mainly Hassidic Jews that they were gassing, however, they were Barbarians because of their actions.”

    Hi Rubin,

    If my comment was ambiguous or unclear, I certainly apologize for the misunderstanding. Likewise if anyone misunderstood it or wishes to reword it more simply, I have no objection. Amie is 100% correct in her understanding of my intent, but I can certainly see how above quote could be misunderstood, when taken out of context, particularly by someone whose mother tongue is not English.

    Regarding your general comments about my character, you are quite entitled to those opinions and are undoubtably right that, like most bloggers, I do “like the sound of my own voice”. Without question, you are not the only person who might describe me with such adjectives. In a free society we all have the prerogative to choose our friends.

    A propos your question as to whether I was in attendance , I confess I was not. I live in the Judean Wilderness which is not within easy driving distance of the Royal Albert Hall and when it comes to culture or demonstrations I generally restrict myself to this neck of the proverbial woods. I’m certainly pleased to hear that you were able to be there.

    The context of above quote was an attempt to refute Roger’s claim that:

    “Civilisation as represented by the music, the musicians and the audience that appreciates them for its own cultural and spiritual edification…”Barbarism as represented by a crude primitive and blind lashing out, hate for hate’s sake…”

    My point was:

    “…the good or humanity of an individual is gauged by his actions and the way in which he treats others, particularly those different to or weaker than him. It is nothing to do with his ability to appreciate, play or even compose music.”

    In order to illustrate this contention I colorfully contrasted an SS officer, supposedly civilized by virtue of his appreciation for classical music, with his Polish Hassidic victims, supposedly “crude” or “primitive” and concluded that:

    “…they (the SS) were Barbarians because of their actions.”

    My whole family are of Polish and Russian descent and my great-grandfather after whom I am named was murdered in a Nazi death camp by members of a nation that saw itself as civilized. Regarding your saying:

    “I have no doubt you have the makings of a Kapo…”

    I would just say that whatever your age and whatever your biography, Jews do not talk like that. You say that you are not religious, but I’m sure that you do make it to synagogue for the High Holidays. You may want to contemplate those vain words during those long hours as you wait for the Days of Awe to be over, and the shofar to blow at the conclusion of Yom Kippur. I am neither angry nor offended, but it always saddens me to hear someone I love talking in such a way.

    I wish you health, longevity and a good and sweet new year.


  57. Michael Goldman

    So the discussion continues:
    Is Daniel Marks “a very fine and compassionate person with a love for all of Klal Yisrael”
    or “an obnoxioius character who is full of himself ”
    and has ” the makings of a Kapo ” ?
    If you ask me, in the words of the great Monty Python he’s just a “very naughty boy”

  58. Thank you for those kind words Philip .
    They are much appreciated .

  59. “But the fact is, and it’s no good denying it, we had Judenrat Jews, Jewish Police and even Jewish Kapos. And today we have ‘Jews for Hire’ like Levy, that I see in Monmouth Street.”

    Your first sentence, Rubin Katz does indeed describe tragic historical fact. Your next sentence is not fact, but an untenable analogy between Kapos and Levy. (Your assertion that Daniel Marks, on the basis of no knowledge by you of him, “has the makings” of a Kapo is more than untenable; it is, to borrow a phrase from another oppressive period on our history, beyond the pale.)
    To draw these contemporary analogies is a manifestation of how damaged we are by the Shoah experience even today. It is allotting a victory to the damage the Nazis wrought to succumb to such discourse against fellow Jews today.
    I resent that I feel it obligatory to present my credentials by noting that my grandparents aunts and cousins were murdered in the Shoah and my father manifested survivor’s guilt at getting out of Europe in time while they did not.

    I myself not having been there, have no idea who had or has “the makings” of a Kapo: I can only guess through a glass darkly at what horrific and calculated pressures, life and death choices drove some Jews to take the paths they did. Some may well have sadistically relished the power they would not normally have wielded, but I imagine many did so only out of unimaginable choices and I cannot stand in their shoes.

    To assign the Kapo label to the likes of Levy and Fink is simultaneously to aggrandise them and to trivialise Shoah history. Because, pace Arendt’s theory of the banality of evil, Levy and Fink are truly banal, and they act from banal motives, not from any life and death choices.

    That is why my heart sinks when I hear the childish chants at Ahava of Debra is a Kapo. It demeans the whole counter demo.

    I am against web censorship, but if there were one word I would be tempted to ban, it would be the use of Kapo in this way.

    It would be good if you could apologise to Daniel, Mr Katz, but if you cannot bring yourself to do so, I wish you could at least reflect as to where this usage gets us, apart from an expression of your bitterness.

    • thanks amie

      the latest I have read is that Zygmund Baumann a UK-sociologist and an eminent one, Germans are told compared the security fence to the Warsaw Ghetto.

      Whoever does things like that is very removed from real life.

  60. @ Daniel Marks
    You profess nothing but love for your fellow Jews and start in a cocilliatory tone by apologising for the misunderstanding. I was quite prepared to do the same. You then go on to spoil it by ticking me off and telling me to beat my breast on Yom Kippur and ask the Almighty for forgiveness!

    As I’m old enough to be your father and possibly even grandfather I’m allowed to tick you off too. A Jew, and a religious one at that, should never resort to Nazi terminology even if its only to explain a point. Some time ago, I saw a young Jewish woman, a member of JfJfP, below the clocktower in Golders Green, holding up a banner, equating Jenin with the Warsaw Ghetto. Naturally, I saw red! Very much as I did, on seeing your comment and I thought only a Jew who has the makings of a Kapo could say such a thing – it was for me a natural reaction and I’m sorry for that. I never use the term in this context. Now back to the girl; I told her its a travesty to compare the two. Had she not seen the footage of children begging and dying in the streets of Warsaw? And that she ought to be ashamed of herself. She replied she is well-informed by virtue of her grandmother coming here as a refugee from Nazi Germany before the war…! As the French poet says, every sin can be forgiven, except ignorance! And if it makes you feel any better, I have often been called a racist and a Nazi, even by Jews! Me of all people – how ironic. And when I come accross the Neturei Karta clowns amongst them, I address them in their laguage, Yiddish, using some choice expletives. For instance, I ask them if they repeated today V’lamalshinim al t’hi siqvoh using the Ashkenazic pronunciation that they are used to, as they shun modern Hebrew. They cannot make me out, to them I’m like a goy who speaks Yiddish fluently as well as lush’n koidish the way they do. By the way I used to be a frequent visitor to the Shtachim and spend the Chaye Sarah weekend in Hebron with my late friend Herb Zweibon z’l of AFSI who you might have come accross. What’s more, some of the best wines come from the Judean Hills.

    I agree that our lives are shaped by our experiences. The war and its aftermath robbed me of six of my most formative years from the age of 8 to 14, including schooling. Iwas brought to this country after the war with a transport of children by the illustrious Rabbi Solomon Shonfeld. In spite of it, and contrary to what you seem to think, I’m not really embittered. It didn’t stop me from getting on, and in fact my experiences must have fuelled my ambition. I’m passionate though, about defending the memory of the Shoah. As you said, I am touchy about it, but not embittered.

    I don’t know if its right to mention it here; I hope Richard will forgive me. If you were to read my Memoir, ‘Gone to Pitchipoi’, you would better understand what made me the way I am because it appears you are trying to analyse me. It is a riveting story of a young boy on the run and his desperate fight for survival. It is well written, though English is not my mother tongue as Daniel pointed out. I have no mother tongue, my Polish has become rusty after sixty-six years. I speak a number of languages, but none perfectly! It was published by in New York recently as an e-Book, so you would need an electronic reading-device. It can also be dowloaded onto a normal PC by getting the ‘Kindle for PC’ software, which is free. Please look it up on US Amazon (not UK) where you can click to look inside it and see the Preface and Foreword, as well as a few pages of the Prologue. I didn’t do it for the money, there isn’t any money in it and thankfully I don’t need it. My book should be read by every Jew and see what happened to me and my family and indeed every Jew in occupied Europe. It makes a strong case for a Jewish state – had it come a few years earlier, there would have been no Shoah.

    PS Pitchipoi was an imaginary far-off place in ghetto jargon. It could be good or bad, eutopia or hell, when referring to our absent relatives and friends who had been taken away…

    • “You profess nothing but love for your fellow Jews”

      Hilarious. You should read some of his virulently abusive attacks on fellow Jews he disagrees with.

      • Once again, I do not “profess nothing but…”. I love all Jews, unless given good reason to feel differently. I have nothing against anybody on this blog, Jew or gentile, Israeli or otherwise.

      • Daniel

        if I hadn’t vowed to myself to disregard Leah I would have asked for links. Sadly I decided to stick to my promise to myself.

  61. Rubin Katz: Thank you for your reflections. I do appreciate them and I am sure others will too, including Daniel. I am sure your memoir is well worth reading. If technology permits, will try to access it.

  62. Philip Blair, well said! I feel exactly the same way.

    Why are the UK authorities so useless at confronting this “acceptable” hatred?

    • “Why are the UK authorities so useless at confronting this “acceptable” hatred?”

      Because they don’t WANT to confront it. It’s only Jews, they are irrelevant to normal people. Arabs have oil, anyway.

  63. Hi Rubin,

    I apologize in advance for the length of this comment and the fact that it would have been preferable to write it as a private mail. However, I have not your address, so let’s hope I don’t bore other readers too much.

    You are old enough to be my father, not grandfather. I know this because Rabbi Schonfeld, though several years his senior, was a close friend of my father (Z”L). My great-uncle Harry Goodman, as you probably know, was instrumental together with Rabbi Schonfeld and others in rescuing many Jews during the Holocaust.

    I encountered Rabbi Schonfeld both as a visitor to our house and as the principal of my school as a boy. By the 1970s he had undergone several brain hemorrhages and was a tragic shadow of his former self. I could only try to imagine the handsome genius who had bought himself an officer’s uniform, put on it a Star of David and who would slam his swagger stick on the table and order allied colonels and majors officers to stand to attention “when addressing a senior officer..”. The other legends of how he saved Jews such as yourself are truly the stuff of many books and authors superior to this writer.

    At the age of 12 or 13 I wrote my first “letter to the editor” which was a spirited defense of Rabbi Schonfeld who had been mocked by a London Bnai Akiva publication. A week later I was summoned the staff room by Albert Meyers, the only teacher in the school who everyone was petrified of. My whole body shaking, I had no idea what crime I had committed as I approached the cold staff room door, but was staggered when “Bert” shook my hand and told me that he had been moved to tears by my letter, having been saved by Rabbi Schonfeld himself. He wiped his eye and offered his help me if ever I would need it, in the future.

    For these and many other reasons I did not demand an apology from you for calling me a potential Kapo, nor did I tell you to beat your heart. Your heart is yours and if you’ve lasted until today you need no advice from me what to do with it. I simply said that Jews do not talk like that and deep down I think we both know that to be true. In the heat of debate we often say things we later regret, I have a thousand times. Sometimes we need a quiet moment with ourselves to come to that realization. For me, the last hour before the end of Yom Kippur is as good a moment as any to reflect on the many foolish actions I have done without sufficient thought as well as my countless stupid and vain utterances.

    I realize that you misunderstood me and thought I was calling Chasidim primitive, that is why I was neither upset nor offended. However, my point is that even if I had said such a thing or worse that would not have made me into a Kapo. It is exactly in the unthinking use of such terminology that we desecrate the memories of both our families. If every gentile who opposes us is a “Nazi” and every Jew we don’t agree with is a “Kapo” then it has to mean that the Germans weren’t that bad after all. I was once at a bus stop and when a vehicle refused a hitch-hiker a lift he commented to me, “They’re worse than the Nazis!” His turning Hitler into a selfish driver rather than an evil, Jew hating mass murderer was indeed an unintended unconscious form of Holocaust denial.

    Anyway, I believe that we are both basically in agreement over most points and if you feel I have disrespected you by my style of writing, I apologize unreservedly. I have never professed “..nothing but love” I’m no Christian – I neither love my enemy nor believe in turning the other cheek. However, whatever his age, Rubin is my brother, and a son of my fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Furthermore, you’ve given me no reason not to love you as I am commanded, and I do.

    You are right about many things Rubin, not least about our grapes. We have several excellent wineries within five kilometers of our house and I patronize one owned by an ex-student – Naftali Shaw, who like you, is of fine Gur stock. I have put a bottle of his best red wine aside, which similar to men of your ilk just improves with age. The next time you visit (Please G-d) we’ll open it together and sort out all these problems once and for all.

    You are the priest, not I, you should be blessing me – but our rabbis teach us that the prayer of a simple man should not be taken lightly either.

    “May the Lord bless you and keep you–the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up His face upon you, and give you peace.”

    Shabbat shalom and shana tova



  64. just for the fun of it and not to claim it is always that easy – enjoy!

    Claire Berlinski’s proposition for “Best Response to Heckler, Ever”


  65. it isn’t the BBC alone that caves

    This (that Caterpillar gets honoured) incensed the anti-Israel crowd. The Rachel Corrie Foundation, the Jewish Voice for Peace, the ISM and others went on a campaign to get the museum to rescind the award. Yesterday, the museum announced that the public ceremony was cancelled.


  66. I know he was a Democrat, but this one is far better.

    • wonderful!

      and I also looked at the one advertised as the next as Clinton’s debate moment and it is like time travelling – he said the same things that are said today – I hate that ground hog feeling.

  67. Shalom Daniel

    Other readers may find the converse which has now changed into dialogue, interesting. I know Richard from the demos and I know he will forgive us. Anyway, here is my address: ketzele@michelek.plus.com

    What a small world… To be precise, unlike those before the war, the good Rabbi didn’t save our lives as we came after the war but he certainly saved many for Judaism. I knew where I came from, but some of the children were only 4 to 5 years old, that he plucked from convents. I was on the first post-war transport from Poland on a Swdish cargo ship which the Rabbi chartered. The crossing took more than a week and he was the only adult on board to look after 120 children, some of whom needed medical attention. I have often written in praise of Rabbi Shonfeld, we worshipped his name. He features extensively in my Memoir. I suppose you went to Hasmonean, I never went to Avigdor as it was then, beacause I was one of the older ones and I had to go out to work. I am entirely self-educated; I used to read encyclopaedias, page by page, the way people read novels. Like you, I also write letters to the press; I sent one only this week to the JC about the French banning the word Shoah, bending to Moslem pressure. The term Holocaust is not used in France. I only write in defense of the Holocaust and Israel – I leave the problem of anti-Semitism to Anglo- Jewry and the ineffectual B of D!

    I will just tell one story about Rabbi Shonfeld for now. When I reached Warsaw the transport was already full. But there was one boy, Adolf Bader who backed down as he couldn’t leave his sick mother behind. Rather than waste an opportunity to save a soul, and because of the sponsor in London, the good Rabbi got me to take the boy’s place, his name and identity. Having just changed my name back from the Polish one, under which I was passing for a non-Jew, I now became Adolf! Can you imagine how I fared with a name like that after the war in England! But on the other hand, there was the illustrious name Bader (Douglas) which was a plus! But I cannot elaborate on it here. Then there is the story of how the boys plotted to take over the ship and head for Palestine where we all wanted to go! But it will have to wait until we enjoy a glass of Judean wine together. Because of Identity Cards, I was unable to change it back for a few years. I always joked that had Adolf been Adena say, the Rabbi would have dressed me in a frock!

    Shabbat Shalom

  68. @ Daniel
    I forgot to mention that I saw Rabbi Shonfeld, of blessed memory, for the last time at his 70 birthday testimonial gathering at Raleigh Close having travelled down from the Midlands. Were you there? The atmosphere in the hall was electric, consisting mainly his Kinder and ex-charges. He was alreday very frail and died two years later. We lived in Nottingham at that time because of my business and I regret I got to know of his passing too late to attend the funeral. I refer to him in on the ship as ‘our own Scarlet Pimpernel in the guise of a Rabbi’ which sums him up well. He wasn’t liked by some because compared to him, they were pygmies! Rubin.

    • Hi Rubin,

      I shall not comment about your bunking of shul to attend the Ahava demonstration. At your age I’ll let you make those kinds of decisions by yourself. I wrote in an early comment that as an Orthodox Jew I doubt I could ever attend such a demonstration on Shabbat. However, but that doesn’t prevent me from appreciating the fact that in your (plural) desecration of the Sabbath you are sanctifying G-d’s name in ways so deep, the likes of which my fellow worshipers and I can only dream. There are several occasions in the Talmud when we discuss:
      |..עת לעשות לה’ הפרו תורתך”
      Loosely translated as, “It is time to do G-d’s work, make void of your law (Torah)”

      By 1982 I was in the IDF, though truthfully I’m not sure I’d have gone anyway. To me there was always something terribly pitiable about the Rabbi Doctor Schonfeld I knew. My young head would spin as I’d contrast the amazing tales of heroism that my father would recount with, what appeared to me to be a comical old man – though in truth, the strokes he had suffered had made him appear far more ancient than his years.

      In school we always relished his visits as he would invariably say exactly what was on his mind, much to the embarrassment of our masters. Here is just one of the more celebrated examples:


      I note that Wikipedia writes of him:

      “…a British rabbi who is heralded as one of the most remarkable, yet least known of the Holocaust heroes..”

      Succinct and completely accurate.

      • females were purely sexual beings and good for only one thing

        … and I was taught that males always only want one thing and if they’d gotten it they’d go looking for other conquests (not true by my experience)

        And please you two, Rubin and Daniel, keep up the story swapping, it makes for such delightful reading.

        I dimly remember in one Lubitsch? movie a Jew pulling of that impersonating an SS-officer stunt – was that maybe based on this real life Rabbi?

      • To Be Or Not To Be?

  69. Will you be at Ahava tomorrow, Rubin. I am going to try and come, family commitments allowing

  70. Amie – Because I like the way you write, you have succeeded in enticing me away from my house of worship… My wife and I will be outside Ahava. Rubin

  71. Daniel – Thank you for your eloquent words in forgiving my transgressions. I do look upon Shabbat as a day of rest and avoid using the car, but I am at the same time realistic about it. I’m not a complete ‘am haaretz’ and do know its against the Din. For instance, I wouldn’t dream of driving to the Brent Cross shopping mall or anything like that, but in defense of Israel I would not only drive but walk on my knees.

    I do go to Shuhl fairly regularly, not that I find our services inspiring but rather because it’s habit with me. I used to like Rabbi Shonfeld’s old shtiebel in The Bishop’s Avenue but I lived out of London then, which later became Vilshansky’s that I knew which was closed a few years ago. No sermon, with total decorum and after the service we all sat round the table for Kiddush and Chaim Bermant kept us amused. My community is too large and impersonal for my liking, with a lack of decorum.

    My mother survived the camps but lost faith in God having lost her beloved husband and two strapping and handsome sons. But she remained totally Jewish; how could she be otherwise – it was inbred in her. For instance, she still observed the dietary laws. And I am the same. My wife keeps a kosher home and we eat fish or vegeterian outside. When I got to England, my mother made her way illegally from a DP camp in Germany to what was then Palestine. Her boat was intercepted by the Royal Navy and she was incarcerated in a camp on Cyprus. Having survived Auschwitz, Belsen, Ravensbruck and the death marches which for a woman in her late forties was incredible. I must have inherited my mother’s genes – I’m 80 pushing 65! The only thing that kept me in this country was at first my career and now the grandchildren. I think last year a lady of 105 made Aliya, but I shan’t wait that long…!

    The demo yesterday may have been the last, Ahava is closing down on 20 Sept. But wherever the mob-for-hire goes next, we shall follow. I asked one of the dimwits yesterday if he will reflect (tomorrow) on 9/11, that he is supporting the dark forces responsible for the attrocity. “It was all an Israeli conspiracy”, the ersatz Jew retorted. And I replied that he, as a Jew and a ‘gay’, would be the first to be strung up from the nearest lampost by Hamas that he supports. I realise this not the way to confront these morons, but it makes me feel better! If he was an Arab it would not affect me the same way. I think some of the most effective people there is Sharon K. and ‘amie’, who is like a little Spitfire. The two dash from one side of the road to the other, if they can identify and collar a suitable candidate to ‘work on’.
    I’m about to put the box on to watch Ground Zero.

    • Rubin,

      “I replied that he, as a Jew and a ‘gay’, would be the first to be strung up from the nearest lampost by Hamas that he supports. I realise this not the way to confront these morons, but it makes me feel better!”

      Why isn’t it? It’s the truth, and maybe, just maybe it’ll penetrate one day. They are not usually amenable to reason, but what’s the alternative? Thump them on the nose? Yours is the best out of a very bad range of options.

      My mother too, survived the camps but lost her husband, and her faith in god.

      All the best.

    • Rubin
      I am honoured to know you. You are a true gentleman in every sense of the word. You show a dignity and pride that overshadows the turmoil and strife you have suffered in your short life.

  72. Rubin: What Sharon says, Kol Hakavod to you

  73. Shimona,

    Yes, I was referring to you Shimona. Truthfully, I must confess I had never come across that name. I am, of course, well acquainted with Simona from Dimona, but I doubt there is a connection.

    Either way, I note that your comment offers a link to your excellent blog, which I shall be sure to frequent.

  74. You pair of Springboks are so very kind and gracious to the point of embarrassment – thank you! (I’m referring to gazelles of course, not sport)