Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railways on Ch. 5: “Jewish people are good with money”.

What makes an editor leave in a comment such as “Jewish people are good with money”? And what makes the main presenter not pick up such a comment?

This was the scenario in Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railways shown on Channel 5 on Monday night when Tarrant visited Jordan and Israel. In Jordan he travelled the route of the now defunct Hejaz Railway and visited Petra.

As he entered Israel Tarrant’s mood became inexplicably darker. This was his first visit and in response to a sign stating “Welcome to Israel” he asked “Am I welcome?”

He said there’s more money in Israel and, thus, better railways than Jordan and explained Zionism in terms of the spiritual home of Jews for thousands of years. But he described the railways as helping to bring thousands of “settlers” into Israel when referring to those Jews.

Tarrant described railways as the centre of tensions between Arabs and Jews dating back to the “second Arab revolt” (1936 to 1939). He described that revolt being due to Arab frustration at the influx of Jews.

There was no mention of the Peel Commission in 1937 that offered Arabs a state on 80% of the land and which they rejected and the Jews accepted. And no mention of the revolt leading to the closing of the doors of British Mandate Palestine to Jews in 1939 which contributed to six million Jewish deaths by the Nazis.

Tarrant merely continued that Jewish groups then attacked the trains in the 1940s due to being frustrated by the British.

In Haifa he visited a Jewish hummous restaurant the owner of which, Adam, he described as an “upstart”, although he enjoyed Adam’s hummous.

He then went to an Arab-owned hummous restaurant across the road and was discussing the idea of a hummus war with the Jews when the Arab owner said (see clip above):

“Jewish people are good with money, with politics.”

Tarrant merely replied “Arabs are good with hummus.” It was a totally free pass for an old antisemitic trope.

Despite describing Israel as “war torn”, “on an almost constant war footing” and saying, when trying to board a train with soldiers, “machine guns add to the stress of the morning commute”, Tarrant enjoyed Haifa.

On the train to Tel Aviv Tarrant analysed the 1947 UN partition map showing the areas meant for Jews and those for Arabs. He described the idea being that both countries would “coexist peacefully together” before adding “It was never going to work, was it?”

Nothing about Arab rejectionism of partition for the second time in 10 years before five Arab countries attempted to annihilate Israel at birth.

Tarrant described Tel Aviv as “fanatastic” before repeatedly referring to it as a “bubble” because “along the coastline is the Gaza Strip notorious for its desperate poverty and governed by the Hamas Palestinian group.”

So Hamas were now given a free pass. No mention of Hamas’ violence, its antisemitic 1988 Charter and the oppression by it of its own people in Gaza.

Finally to Jerusalem and to what Tarrant called “the Wailing Wall”.

Having briefly layed his hand on the Wall with a look of utter bemusement he was more intent on showing us another wall.

He took a journey on the Jerusalem Light Railway and then gratuitously gave us the haters’ narrative that some see the railway as a “typical act of Israeli aggression as it runs through illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land”. He acknowledged that others see it as a great place for people of all races and religions to get together.

Then in front of what he called the “separation wall” he said “Israel claims it prevents terror attacks”. However, Tarrant again gratuitously presented the haters’ narrative that “others see it as racial segregation against Palestinians.”

Then signing off to camera Tarrant said “I’m British and I think it was us that started the whole thing.”

No, Chris. You should have blamed the problems on Hamas violence and Arab rejectionism but you gave that and an ancient antisemitic trope a free pass.


12 responses to “Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railways on Ch. 5: “Jewish people are good with money”.

  1. ““Jewish people are good with money, with politics.” Tarrant merely replied “Arabs are good with hummus.” It was a totally free pass for an old antisemitic trope.”

    It certainly is a trope.
    And it certainly has a ring of truth in Israel/Palestine.
    Look what the Israeli have done with their money. Built fantastic modern cities, hospitals, weaponry, technology, medicine – at the forefront of the modern world.
    What do Hamas and Fatah do with their money (and they have a lot)?
    Buy weapons, dig tunnels, pay Hamas leaders to live in palaces while their constitutents live in squalor, indoctrinate their children in schools of hate, and offer fantastic financial inducements to suicide bombers.

    The Arabs really don’t know how to use their money wisely!

  2. How different from Michael Portillo’s visit to Israel and trip on Rakevet Israel! Tarrant is a fool and his remarks show him to be one.

  3. You expect rational arguments from the

  4. Thanks for another superb blogg Richard. It seems to me the BBC stuff more biased Anti Israel coverage into anything they can, from railways to cooking and anthing inbetween..Its disgracefull and very dangerous.

  5. I saw this programme too, and agree with Mr. Millet’s comments – except that I didn’t find the ‘good with money’ jibe the worst thing. He might have pointed out that it wasn’t so much that Jews were good with money, as that Israel had judged very well what to spend its very limited money on for 50 years of penury. Since then it has been so good with its brainpower that it is arguably the world’s most successful economy – as well as a world leader in much else, like medicine, hi-tech and water treatment and conservation..

    But Tarrant was ignorant as well as grouchy – he stated that Tel Aviv has 4 million inhabitants.

    Perhaps you an forward my comments to him – I seem not to be able to reach him.

  6. He should have stuck to DJing. He is a fraud anyway, there was a series with him and his wife rambling round England and soon afterwards he was found to have had a long-term mistress and his wife divorced him.

  7. True! Jews are good with money!… Or anything else that needs a brain. Science, medicine, literature, economy…. Maybe that explains why so many Jews getting Nobel Prizes. Who knows?

  8. Maybe that racist guy is able to explain why in the “aggressive” light rail, a young British citizen was murdered by an Arab on the supposition she was Jewish, which makes it an act of murderous antisemitism.

  9. Lorensacho Byzantine

    Except my wife. She’s very good at spending money so if this is considered being good with money, a concept heartily adopted by retail stores, then she’s the best.

  10. I watched most of the programme that was taken in Israel and was pleasantly surprised by it
    It was a travelouge about railways and not a political commentary.
    Admittedly Tarrant said a few things that I could take issue with, but overall his commentary was fairly neutral.
    He is not Israeli and probly does not take sides in this conflict, which is a feat in itself.
    He said Tel Aviv lives in a bubble; but that is what the residents of Tel Aviv say also say.
    And he called Jerusalem Israels capital, which many in the press and the ‘left wing’ try to deny.
    The best was when he said he has no idea what to expect when he got to Israel other than that it was dangerous and unsafe; yet he found it safe and had a good time, like in most other countries in the world.
    This was a travelouge that in my opinion shows Israel in a positive light and shows it as a decent tourist destination

    • What about not commenting on an antisemitic trope?
      Tel Aviv is called the bubble because the inhabitants are living in a world apart from the Israeli reality of permanent war, not because of the poverty self-imposed by Fatah and Hamas actions in Gaza Strip.
      The “wall” (90% a fence) is no racial segregation as there are Arabs on both sides. Unless you mean that Jews are not allowed beyond it. That is racial segregation against Jews. It does prevents terror attacks and has proved efficient.
      That’s only a few of the anti-Israel propaganda errors in that program.

  11. Come on its a travel programme. It was never going to be good at history. As far as good with money goes he should not say it. However, I would be interested to know what the average Jewish, Chinese or Hindu person’s economic situation in this country – I’m sick of told how super advantaged I am as a WASP with our old boy network when there is clear evidence some ethnic groups are ahead on quite a lot of stats. I don’t see why those groups social connections should not be under examination and be dismantled just the WASP old boy networks are hopefully being dismantled.