Tag Archives: Rosh Hashanah

The Independent’s New Year’s message to Britain’s Jews: Goodbye Israel.

While Britain’s Jews were last week preparing for Rosh Hashanah Mary Dejevsky, of The Independent newspaper, was thinking about her article Will Israel still exist in 2048?, which was published on Friday, the second day of Rosh Hashanah.

She imagined every doomsday scenario possible which could mean that “Israel, as currently constituted, may not be a permanent feature of the international scene”.

She wished to give the impression of objectivity by telling us that “Israel should continue to exist” because it has “UN recognition”, “has survived more than 60 years in a distinctly hostile neighbourhood”, “has created a thriving economy” and “has a rich cultural life”.

The question for her is whether Israel “can and will survive”.

This sounds distinctly like PLO/Fatah and Hamas rhetoric. Both, like Dejevsky, recognise Israel’s existence as fact. But, neither recognise Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

And nowhere in her article does Dejevsky acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, which might explain her excitement at the possibilities of how Israel’s demise might come about.

Possibility 1: Israel’s borders are too vast and too porous to defend and could be breached by Palestinian civilians from Syria or there could some sort of invasion from Egypt. The Palestinian Authority and Jordan may join in.

Possibility 2: Islamists may come to power in the surrounding countries with the knock on consequences for Israel and the new Arab leaders “will have to be responsive to the wishes of their people”.

Possibility 3: Israel’s suffers a societal split making it less unified and, therefore, less likely to successfully defend itself militarily. This split, she thinks, will be the result of “the Arab, Orthodox Jewish and second-generation Russian populations increasing much faster than other groups”.

She explains that the Holocaust could be “less of a unifying force” and that “the younger, more educated” of the population might leave Israel.

Dejevsky leaves Israel with just two outcomes; it becomes a fortress-like, isolated state protected by nuclear weapeons or “the so-called one-state solution” ensues.

She concludes with the idea that “Next Year in Jerusalem” could be reduced to “a noble ambition overtaken by cruel demographic and geopolitical reality”.

First, she should know that the Holocaust is not needed to unify Israelis. They are unified by their desire to go on living.

Second, none of the three groups she cites as catalysts for a possible societal split would prefer living under Arab rule, judging by the human rights violations ongoing in many of the world’s Arab and Muslim states. That applies to Palestinian Israelis too.

Third, Israel already has 200 nuclear weapons, so what will be the difference in 10 or 20 years time?

And, finally, Israel has a far superior fire-power and will win wars against any Islamist states.

Dejevsky could have written an article about the demise of any country by 2048. Who knows what could have happened to Britain, America or France by then?

And her article would have been a pleasure to read for those who really wish Israel harm, but for it to be published on Rosh Hashanah shows a lack of respect for Britain’s Jews that The Indy is becoming notorious for.

That The Independent hasn’t got a great deal of respect for Britain’s Jews, especially the more religious ones, is evident from the piece by Christina Patterson it published last year in which she tore apart Hasidic Jews living in Stamford Hill in a manner that she wouldn’t dare to do if she was on the receiving end of the same behaviour she attributed to them if they happened to be Blacks, Asians or Muslims living in a certain part of London.

The Independent does have the pro-Israel Howard Jacobson writing for it. However, this only seems to allow other Independent commentators like Dejevsky, Patterson, Johann Hari and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to be even more vitriolic about Israel as any complaints to OFCOM about bias can be countered by The Indy pointing to the presence of Jacobson in its pages.

While Israel lives on the same cannot be said for The Independent. With its ever plummeting sales figures who can say whether it will see 2018, let alone 2048.

Those cringe-making New Year wishes from our political leaders.

It’s that time of year when our political leaders, in their Rosh Hashanah messages, tell Britain’s Jewish community how wonderful they all are and what a wonderful contribution they have all made to British society.

But the test of whether a political leader is being sincere, or whether just going through the motions, is whether he has been brave enough to show any sort of concern for Israel’s well-being in his message.

All British Jews are obviously concerned for Britain, and particularly our soldiers out in Afghanistan, but they are also concerned for Israel and their relatives and friends who live there under a constant threat of attack from Palestinian terrorists.

This year has been no exception with the cowardly slaughter of five members of the Fogel family as they lay in their beds, the direct hit on a school bus by a rocket from Gaza which killed a 16 year-old boy and the recent multiple attacks near Eilat that killed eight Israelis.

Then there was a Scottish Christian evangelical woman who was killed by a bomb blast in Jerusalem and the more recent deaths of an Israeli father and his baby when stone throwing by Palestinians caused the man to crash his car.

And, of course, this was Gilad Shalit’s sixth Rosh Hashanah away from his family after being kidnapped by Hamas.

Living in the UK is relatively safe. The worst it gets is a bunch of hate-filled anti-Israel activists trying to close Ahava or interrupting the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. It hardly compares to living in Sderot in southern Israel where there is a constant barrage of deadly rockets being sent over by Hamas from Gaza.

Many Palestinians have also been killed over the last year, but none has been specifically targeted because he is Palestinian, unlike the Israelis who have been targeted because they are Jewish. The Palestinians have been killed in self-defence in IDF actions that needn’t have happened if the Palestinians had been able to control their terrorist elements.

So it wouldn’t take a lot for our political leaders to acknowledge that worry and concern of British Jews for Israel and Israelis would it?

First, let’s take Nick Clegg, our deputy Prime Minister and the Liberal Democrat leader. Does he mention Israel? Yes, but only once and only in passing. He speaks of how “For the High Holy days Jews from across the world, from countries as diverse as Israel, India, Ethiopia, and, of course Britain, are united.”

There is also the cringe-making end where Clegg tries to out-Catholic the Pope, by using Hebrew to wish British Jews an easy Yom Kippur fast.

A simple “Shana Tova and well over the fast” would have sufficed (message to Liberal Democrats Friends of Israel: Keep it simple next year please).

As for Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, all I have been able to find is a report in the Jewish Chronicle in which there is no mention of Israel, but lots of talk of a “fantastic community”.

The bravest of Britain’s political leaders, by far, was the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron who, as well as speaking of British Jews’ “tremendous contribution”, spoke of his belief in Israel being “unshakeable” and how Britain “will always stand up for Israel against those who wish her harm”.

The government has come along way since Cameron’s silly “Gaza is a prison” comment in front of Turkey’s President Erdogan. It has repealed the iniquitous law on Universal Jurisdiction and it pulled out of Durban 3, the anti-Semitic festival that was held at the UN in New York last week. Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Greece didn’t pull out.

Maybe British Jews can finally relax a bit with Cameron in charge. Now he just needs to follow through on his pledge to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir.

But when it comes to wishing Jews a Shana Tova no one does it better than Barack Obama. There is no cheesy chat, no awkward wishes in Hebrew but a few simple acknowledgments that “many of our closest allies, including the state of Israel, face the uncertainties of an unpredictable age” and that the bond between America and Israel is “unshakeable”.