Monthly Archives: March 2015

Wonderful Welsh Army invades Israel.

Israel lost 3-0 at home to Wales on Saturday night at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa and I was there in the away end with 1000 singing Welsh fans courtesy of Swansea City-mad Michael Plosker.

It was a dreadful result for Israel’s Euro 2016 qualifying campaign but for two hours I was entertained by the warmth, humour and courtesy of the Welsh travelling army.

Four of us drove north together for the game. Swansea Mike was at the wheel, his son Honest Reporting Simon was next to him and I was in the back with fellow blogger Melchett Mike.

As we drove north it was raining quite heavily. The first concern of us four princes was that we will get soaked through and end up with flu.

The second talking point was that a wet pitch would make for a quicker game which would favour Wales especially with the blistering pace of Gareth Bale down the flanks.

We were proved right on that second point (probably on the first one also). Bale scored twice and two mistimed tackles on him in the space of a minute by an Israeli defender ended with the defender being sent off.

The problem with the Sammy Ofer stadium for Israel is that as stunning as it is there is a lack of atmosphere to benefit the home team. Maybe because Haifa is the most mixed town in Israel with Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs living side by side in relative peace and harmony.

That said, the Welsh supporters were amazing. They sang their own anthem with passion and during Hatikvah they remained silent and applauded when it ended.

Speaking to some Welsh fans after the game they said they loved coming to Israel eventhough they had been apprehensive at first due to the way Israel is reported by the British media

Meanwhile, they sang self-deprecating songs throughout the match and another song that I have not been able to shift from my head all day the words of which are:

Don’t take me home,
Please don’t take me home,
I just don’t want to go to work,
I want to stay here, drink all the beer,
Please don’t, please don’t take me home.

Here it is with the Welsh supporters in full flow outside the stadium before kick-off but first here is your fact of the day:

The word “Ulpan” is the name of the course used by both the Welsh and the Israelis to teach their respective languages. The Welsh course is based on the Kibbutz model for teaching Hebrew.

Photos from a great night:

Football United.

Football United.

More Unity.

More Unity.

Swansea-mad Michael.

Swansea-mad Michael.

A confident Israel.

A confident Israel.

Supporting both.

Supporting both.

The Fab Four on Tour.

The Fab Four on Tour.

Waiting for the teams to enter.

Waiting for the teams to enter.

Engrossed in the match.

Engrossed in the match.

Too much sun or alcohol?

Too much sun or alcohol?

Welsh team celebrate their first goal.

Welsh team celebrate their first goal.

Police Wales keeping an eye out.

Police Wales keeping an eye out.

Relaxed dress code.

Relaxed dress code.

Wales players come over to applaud their supporters after the final whistle.

Wales players come over to applaud their supporters after the final whistle.

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Forced to turn off my camera at Jenny Tonge/David Ward event in Parliament while Al Jazeera films.

Last night I went to Parliament for an event staged by the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK. The event Gaza: Life in an occupied and besieged strip was obviously only concerned with the human rights of one group of Arabs.

It was chaired by the Liberal Democrat David Ward MP and the main attraction was Baroness Jenny Tonge who once said “Israel won’t be here forever”.

Tonge complained that “the Palestinians had been denied democracy because the wrong side (Hamas) won” and that Israel defies international law by denying the right of return to anyone who is not a Jew.

Her main complaint was about “the Israel lobby” which, she said, “has its claws in this country” and she claimed nothing was being done about Israel out of fear of being called anti-Semitic.

She called for a total boycott of Israel, said that Jews had led the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and finished off with:

“Let us show Israel; we love you very much but not in these circumstances”.

Here is the clip:

We were then addressed by “International Law Specialist” Toby Cadman. Cadman claimed he was not a political activist but went on to accuse Israel of “collective punishment and unlawful occupation” and having a “classic system of apartheid”.

He said that there was “No situation quite like Palestine” and he also blamed the “Powerful lobby movement” for ensuring injustices weren’t addressed.

Then came the Q&A. An audience member rose and said “Disease in Gaza is like in the concentration camps under the Nazis”.

Then directly behind me someone wanted to know more about “the Israel lobby” so he could boycott them too! He wanted the panel to expand on who exactly they were.

I felt compelled to turn my camera back on at this point.

During her talk Tonge had pointed me out to everyone. She described me as a “great blogger and contributor to the Jewish Chronicle”. And Sara Apps, of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, had already been over to me twice; to ask if I was registered for the event and then to see if my camera was turned off.

So, while Tonge was describing “the Israel lobby” as being both BICOM and the various political Friends of Israel groupings Mohammed Jamil, the organiser of the event, was bearing down on me.

He ordered me to switch my camera off and, which you don’t see, tried to snatch it.

Meanwhile, the cameras of Al Jazeera, who were there covering the event, continued to roll. Here’s the clip and I’m glad to say my little camera has survived yet another battering: