Tag Archives: Haifa

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.

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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.