Good News Friday

As always, despite the bad or indifferent news of the past week, Friday ushers in Shabbat, and to accompany it, here is my latest Good News Friday post.

London has been engulfed by fire in recent days: two kosher shops in Golders Green have gone up in flames as well as the dreadful fire in the Grenfell tower block in West London where dozens of people have lost their lives and hundreds have been left homeless. Where could the good news possibly be here you may ask. The answer is in the wonderful, selfless spirit that has been bringing people of all colours and creeds to help out the victims.

In Golders Green, a Jewish businessman has offered a home and jobs to a (non-Jewish) couple who have been left with nothing after the fire in Kay’s kosher supermarket (via Suzanne):

The Jewish owner of a care provider in Barnet has housed a couple left homeless after the fire at Kay’s kosher deli in Golders Green, and has given them both jobs.

Sil and Riv with Larry Berkowitz in their new home

Larry Berkowitz of Bluebird Care stepped in after hearing that the couple, Sil and Riv both in their 20s, had been “left with nothing” and “sleeping on the streets,” with one sleeping on a bench and the other sleeping underneath it.

“I heard about it on Facebook,” said Berkowitz, whose company provides home-care across the borough. “Luckily we had a flat vacant so we’ve given that to them for a month or two, rent-free, until they find their feet, and we have also given them both jobs, as they were looking for employment when the fire broke out.”

The arrangements were being hastily made on Thursday, after Berkowitz heard about the couple’s plight on Wednesday evening.

“We understand that they weren’t insured, so they’ve lost everything,” he said. “There’s a local fund-raising effort underway to help them replace lost furniture and goods. Hopefully the jobs should help them too. We’ll start their training next week.”

Kol hakavod to Mr. Berkowitz who wasted no time in helping out these unfortunate people. He has made a huge kiddush Hashem as well as fulfilling the mitzva of charity.

The Jewish community has also been helping out with relief efforts after the Grenfell fire, as synagogues across London and even beyond have been offering help:

Jewish communities across London reached out to help the dozens of families affected by the fire that engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats in west London in the early hours of Wednesday.

The Grenfell tower block blaze in which dozens were killed and hundreds injured and lost their homes

Holland Park Synagogue, part of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community, issued an urgent appeal to members to donate items for victims of the nearby disaster, which was known to have claimed 12 lives by 6pm yesterday.

A shul spokesman expressed “our horror at the tragic event,” telling members that those who lived in the tower had “lost everything… anything you can do to help will be much appreciated”. They said the shul “will be collecting clothes and toiletries on Sunday morning” and encouraged members to donate to a Just Giving crowdfunding page.

Elsewhere, New West End Synagogue in Bayswater has organised a collection on Sunday.

Synagogues as far away as Hertfordshire joined in the relief effort, with Borehamwood shul starting a communal collection yesterday evening.

Here again, the Jewish community has fulfilled a huge mitzvah of charity as well as making a great kiddush Hashem. May all the relief efforts be successful, may the bereaved be comforted and wishing  a speedy recovery to the injured.

On the subject of giving charity outside of one’s community, here is another wonderful and heart-warming story. A Palestinian man was so pleased with his treatment in Rambam Hospital in Haifa that he donated money to build a new recovery room in the hospital:

A Palestinian man donated tens of thousands of shekels to the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa to improve treatment of childhood cancers and Israeli-Palestinian medical cooperation after he himself underwent cancer treatment at the Israeli hospital.

Rambam Hospital in Haifa

“When I arrived at Rambam (Hospital), I saw a medical team caring for patients, but I also saw the suffering of the sick children,” recalled M. in a statement (Rambam Medical Center spokespeople said they were not at liberty to reveal the man’s identity). “Palestinian, Israeli, Syrian and children from other countries receive treatment in the hospital for a variety of serious illnesses and need all the help they can get. I decided to contribute as much as I could, both a humanitarian act and a symbol of solidarity.”

After completing treatment, M. underwrote the establishment of a children’s recovery room in the Institute of Radiology, inside the oncology center. The room provides a relaxing and supportive environment for children before and after chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, among others.

The oncology center opened its doors in June 2016, but due to lack of funding, patients still receive radiation therapy in a different building. This accessibly problem requires patients walking outside to get to the current location of Rambam’s radiation therapy equipment when moving them hinders their recovery.

Rambam estimates, that approximately 1,200 Palestinian children and adults from the Palestinian Authority and Gaza visit the hospital every year for cancer treatment.

“Israeli and Palestinian both societies suffer from the damage of violence and I am striving towards a situation where we can all contribute to peace and health,” continues M. “One where we can take care of children, save lives, share knowledge and train Palestinian doctors at Rambam Hospital.”

What an amazing man is the mysterious M. It is not a given in any society that anyone would donate so much money in one go to a hospital. And for a Palestinian to give to an Israeli hospital is doubly wonderful! First, for the generosity of spirit expressed by teh donor, and secondly because unfortunately too many Palestinians have abused Israel’s goodwill and generous health service to try and attack us.

Moving now to a completely different subject (via The Muqata): the pilot who flew PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s plane to Greece this week is … drumroll…. a haredi woman! For anyone who knows the hared (ultra-Orthodox) community, this is extraordinary news! Read her amazing story:

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes off to Salonika Wednesday afternoon [this was earlier this week -Ed.] [for a trilateral summit meeting with Greek and Cypriot leaders], his EL AL aircraft will be the first flown by an ultra-Orthodox, female Israeli pilot, Yedioth Aharonoth reported.

PM Netanyahu, Sara Netnayahu, Captain Yinon Hadar and first officer, Nechama Spiegel Novak, the first female Hareidi El Al pilot.

At the helm will be Captain Yinon Hadar and his first officer, Nechama Spiegel Novak, who was the first Haredi woman accepted into the El Al pilots’ school in 2015 and graduated successfully several months ago.

The pilot Nechama was educated at Beit Yaakov institutions in Jerusalem, she is married, has four children and lives in a Haredi community in the Jerusalem area. At the age of 20, she became infected with the aviation bug and took flying lessons in the US. She received an American pilot’s license and has since been trying to be accepted into the EL AL pilot course. Eventually she passed the prerequisite demands, but since she had not served in the Israeli air force, she did not have a sufficient amount of flight hours.

The tenacious Nechama did not give up, however, and flew to the US every year to accumulate flight hours, until, finally, in 2015 she was accepted into the El-Al course.

What an unusual, talented and tenacious woman is Nechama Spiegel Novak! She is a rare breed amongst women in general, not to mention in the Orthodox community. Kol hakavod to her on her persistence and tenaciousness, and kudos too to El Al who accepted her into their ranks. May she go onwards and upwards, always returning safely.

And one last item before we go: a revolutionary scanning technique has revealed hitherto unseen writing from the First Temple period on an ancient shard:

Using a modified household digital camera and a revolutionary new technique for performing multispectral imaging, an interdisciplinary team from Tel Aviv University has discovered never-before-seen Hebrew inscriptions on a First Temple-era shard. The discovery raises the possibility that other “blank” shards from the period may also contain undiscovered texts, and there are now plans for a wider reexamination of all shards from that time period.

The verso of Arad Ostracon No. 16. (A) color (RGB) image; (B) MS image corresponding to 890 nm; (C) manual drawing (facsimile) of the proposed reading. Hollow shapes represent conjectured characters. (Courtesy Tel Aviv University)

A corpus of 91 ink-on-clay shards (or ostraca) written on the eve of the Kingdom of Judah’s destruction by Nebuchadnezzar was unearthed at Tel Arad, west of the Dead Sea, in the 1960s. A remarkable find, the shards were found together on the floor of a single room, and what legible writing was discerned was thoroughly deciphered by top scholars. For the past 50 years, they have been prominently displayed in the Israel Museum.

Containing lists of supplies and orders from military quartermasters, the shards’ value to the study of the Hebrew language, the sociology and the economy of the time period is immeasurable.

Now, though, with the discovery of previously “invisible” words, and even sentences on the “blank” verso side of one of the first shards to be examined with the new technology, the pieces have become still more important.

It is speculated that the majority of correspondence and literature of this historical period was written on biodegradable papyrus. Therefore, most surviving biblical-period Hebrew inscriptions are on ostraca. Once unearthed, however, ink on clay fades rapidly; many shards previously thought of as “blank” have been summarily disposed of at digs or during artifact recording.

The new, user-friendly multispectral imaging technique, developed by a team of applied mathematicians, archaeologists and physicists — co-directed by archaeology Prof. Israel Finkelstein and physics Prof. Eli Piasetzky — will give these “blank” pottery pieces the chance to reveal any hidden treasures.

In an article published Wednesday in the PLOS One peer-reviewed scientific journal, the team describes the experiment in multispectral (MS) imaging it conducted on an ostracon (Ostracon No. 16, Israel Antiquities Authority number: 1967-990, dated to ca. 600 BCE) from the Tel Arad hoard.

The results of the experimental MS imaging were increased clarity of text on the already studied facing side — and the entirely unintentional discovery of new lines of text, undetectable by the human eye, on the verso.

The new text on the verso side of Ostracon No. 16 was discovered by chance. While photographing the known facing text, Michael Cordonsky, the imaging lab and system manager at the School of Physics and Astronomy, had the idea of flipping the shard — just in case — and found three lines of writing from two and a half millennia ago that would otherwise have been lost to the annals of history.

“We thought we had a great technique, but it turns out that we looked for she-asses and found a kingdom,” said mathematician Barak Sober, alluding to the biblical story in which the future king Saul searches for his father’s donkeys and meets up with the prophet Samuel who anoints him.

What a fascinating discovery! And it was revealed almost by accident! Kol hakavod to Prof.s  Finkelstein and Piasetzky and the entire team from Tel Aviv University. I’m sure we all look forward to more fascinating revelations!

And on this thought-provoking note I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!

Posted in History, Israel news, Slice of Israeli life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Despite the terror attacks, the Al-Quds march of hate to take place in London

One would have thought that after the three recent ISIS-inspired terror attacks in England – two car rammings in London and a suicide bombing in Manchester, the police or the Mayor of London would have cancelled permission to hold the annual “Al Quds Day” Parade. But you would be wrong. This antisemitic terror-glorifying hate fest is due to take place on Sunday in London despite everything – even though it supports the likes of Hezbollah and Hamas:

From the link above:

The organisers of a controversial pro-Palestinian march through central London of Sunday have told protesters that they can wave Hezbollah flags.

Hezbollah flags and anti-Israel placards at Al Quds day rally in London

In a statement on the website of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, participants were told that they “are welcome to bring flags that show solidarity with the Palestinian cause” but flags of proscribed or illegal organisations are not allowed.

However the group said: “You can bring a Hezbollah flag to show support for the political wing of Hezbollah. This is because the political wing of Hezbollah is not a proscribed organisation.”

Hezbollah is a Lebanon-based militia with tens of thousands of rockets trained on northern Israel, and Jewish representatives have long argued that the group itself makes no distinction between its political wing and its armed wing.

There is still time to change minds. A petition has been making the rounds, and it has been having an effect:

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is due to discuss the march with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick tomorrow, after more than 8,000 people signed an online petition calling for the annual march to be banned.

Please sign the petition to ban this hateful march, and share widely. There are still a few more hours to make a difference!

If the march still goes ahead, and you are in London, you can help fight Israel’s corner by joining the counter-march:

The Jewish community of London will gather Sunday for a counter-demonstration as thousands of anti-Israel activists parade through the center of the city to mark International Quds Day, an annual event established by Iran to promote the destruction of Israel.


The counter-demonstration is a joint initiative of the World Jewish Congress, the Zionist Federation of Great Britain, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, StandWithUs UK, the Jewish Leadership Council, We Believe in Israel, Sussex Friends of Israel, North London Friends of Israel and the Israel Advocacy Movement.

Keep terror off the streets of London.

British-Israel terror-survivor Kay Wilson will be one of the main attractions (if that is the right term) at the counter-demonstration, and will be addressing the crowd. She wrote an open letter to Mayor Sadiq Khan to protest the rally, but so far with no result (via Israellycool):

As a British-born survivor of Islamic terrorism, I am both flabbergasted and frankly outraged that you continue to give the green light to Islamic terrorism in London, by either telling your constituents that “terrorism is part and parcel of living in a big city,” and now, by ignoring a petition of almost 6,000 signatories protesting the Al-Quds Day March to be held in the city of London this Sunday, 18th June.

It hardly need be said, that your lack of action in allowing people who support Jihad to march through London, also stands to ignite antisemitism against the British Jewish community and more unabated hatred against Israel, the sole refuge for Jewish people in the Middle East.

I have never met you, so I am unable to ascertain if your lack of leadership concerning Islamic terrorism is due to personal passivity, disinterest or something else. Whatever it is, your abdication from your responsibility as Mayor of London, is not only deeply grievous to myself – a survivor of this Islamic terror the marchers endorse, but is also a slap in the face to the families of London’s and Manchester victims – whose blood has only just been mopped up from London’s streets.

Kay Wilson

Update: Watch what Kay has to say to the Mayor and to the British people about both defining defeating the enemy (radical Islam) and about allowing this vile hate-fest:

We can see, almost feel, the hatred at these al Quds rallies from previous years’ examples.  Israellycool shares with us David Collier’s report of walking with Hezbollah:

Such extremism. Such hatred. There will be no peace, there will be no progress, until this venom is extracted from the conflict. The irony that on this day in North London, left wing Zionists had gathered at a Haaretz conference to discuss the issue of peace was not lost on me. With all the will in the world, theirs is a bubble that at the moment, simply does not exist.

You cannot negotiate with this. Nor will peace move forward whilst this mob is allowed to spread its poison. This is blind hatred. Self- chosen ignorance, bias, and yes, not a little antisemitism. Those few in the crowd that were not Islamic radicals fell into two distinct groups. Those on the very far left, and those on the very far right. An absurd political marriage enabled only by a mutual hatred of Jews.

Read the rest, though I’m sure you need no convincing by now.

Sign the petition and/or go to the counter-protest if you are in london. Do not let the terrorists win!

Posted in Antisemitism, support Israel, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The British elections – what went wrong?

Almost right up to election day most of us were feeling pretty blasé about the British elections. Theresa May was sure to get in with an even larger majority than she had before. After all, who would vote for that terrorist-supporting, antisemitic, anti-Western Jeremy Corbyn?

An awful lot of people it turns out.

British election results

Theresa May got in by the skin of her teeth, and has ended up losing her majority, although she is still Prime Minister, albeit with a hung Parliament and a minority government. The knives are out now for Mrs. May to resign although for the moment she is refusing to step down.

With Jeremy Corbyn’s terrifying and contemptible record as an antisemite, terrorist-sympathiser and all-round anti-West, the British Jewish community is feeling that they have lost this election.   The Times of Israel’s David Horovitz explains:

Watching Britain begin to play coalition politics on Friday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might have ruefully mused that he’d be delighted with an election result leaving his party just a few seats short of a parliamentary majority.

Happier times: Theresa May greets Binyamin Netanyahu

Like Theresa May, Netanyahu in 2015 called snap elections. And while May’s Conservatives on Friday came close to retaining their parliamentary majority, his Likud won a mere 30 seats — just a quarter of the Knesset. Yet here he is, having cobbled together the routine bickering Israeli multi-party coalition, as safely ensconced in office as any Israeli prime minister ever is in our endlessly chaotic political system. And there she is, battered and discredited and facing calls from within her party and without to resign.

The fact is, however, that while Netanyahu has long proved himself the master of Israel’s complex and splintered political reality, his British counterpart showed herself incapable of capitalizing on a straightforward opportunity to cement her hold on power, and seemed to do everything possible to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Netanyahu has wanted to believe that political forces in many places worldwide are shifting in what he considers to be Israel’s favor. Not in the UK, they’re not.

More than 20 points clear in the polls when she called these elections less than eight weeks ago, and hoping for a majority of 100-plus in the 650-member House of Commons, May’s Conservatives wound up losing 13 seats.

Labour under the ostensibly unelectable leftist Jeremy Corbyn gained 30. …

May ran a truly dreadful campaign. She alienated core voters with talk of making the elderly pay more for their care. Three terrorist attacks in three months brought her past record as home secretary — when she cut police numbers — under awkward scrutiny. She stayed away from a TV debate. She appeared strained and wooden in public appearances.

Corbyn, by contrast, belied his radical reputation and proved a charismatic, affable candidate who resonated particularly among young voters. Relatively high turnout nationwide was widely attributed to his appeal. Hugely unpopular with many of his Labour parliamentary colleagues, who had hoped this election would spell his demise, the left-winger is now in a position to remake more of the party in his own radical image.

Like Bernie Sanders in the US, he was the anti-establishment candidate whose unapologetic conviction politics proved compelling in a Britain riven with inequality. Unlike Sanders, Corbyn is hugely bolstered in defeat.

Needless to say, neither attitudes to Israel, nor anti-Semitism, were central factors in the British campaign. But Corbyn is emphatically no lover of Israel, and his success will embolden those who share that mindset in the re-energized opposition party. Many in the British Jewish community also feel he has not acted with sufficient determination to marginalize the anti-Semitic elements within Labour. He will be less vulnerable to criticism over that, or over any other aspect of his leadership, after this vote.

Jeremy Corbyn — who notoriously once referred to his “friends” in Hamas and Hezbollah, who has indicated support for an arms embargo on Israel, and whose party manifesto promises the unilateral and immediate recognition of a State of Palestine — has garnered more momentum than almost anybody had expected to challenge her.

You can be sure there is no delight over that in Jerusalem.

Jonathan Arkush, the President of the Board of Deputies (the British Jewish representative organization) called the election a loss for the Jewish community and Israel:

For the Jewish community and Israel, however, the result was unequivocally a “loss,” at least according to Jonathan Arkush, the lay leader of British Jews as the president of the Board of Deputies umbrella group.

UK Labour Party chair Jeremy Corbyn meeting with Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush and Chief Executive Gillian Merron, February 9, 2016. (courtesy)

“If the governing party, which is a strong supporter of Israel, loses so much ground, then of course it has to be something of a loss for Israel and the Jewish community,” Arkush, who is currently in Israel, told The Times of Israel in an interview Friday morning.

And that loss is compounded, he said, when it comes to the gains by Labour. Corbyn’s party, said Arkush, “has policies that are supportive of Israel, supportive of the two-state solution,” but will see its “far-left faction, which is far less sympathetic to Israeli concerns,” bolstered by the strong showing.

“Overall, without question, the result will be disappointing for Israel and disappointing for the Jewish community,” Arkush said Friday, adding that “the smell of anti-Semitism still lingers around some sections of the [Labour] party.”

Criticizing the “lackluster” Conservative campaign for an “uninspiring manifesto, a downbeat message and a series of serious errors,” Arkush conceded that despite Jewish concerns, much the UK population chose to overlook reports of Labour anti-Semitism in rallying behind the “hopeful” message that Corbyn projected.

“Remember,” he advised, “when you are one half of one percent of the population, the overwhelming majority will probably have no idea about Jews and may have never even met one. The anti-Semitism discussion probably meant rather little to them.”

You might be surprised (as I was) to learn that there is a sizable proportion of Jews who support Labour. Some were even candidates:

A poll of voting preferences before the election showed that while only nine percent of Jews over the age of 55 supported Labour, that number rose to 23% among the 18-34 set. Still low, but not negligible.

In an attempt to utilize the Jewish vote for the party, two leaders of the Jewish Labour Movement ran against two pro-Israel Conservative MPs in areas with large Jewish populations.

JLM Chairman Jeremy Newmark and Vice-Chairman Mike Katz challenged Mike Freer and Matthew Offord, respectively, in the adjoining London constituencies of Finchley and Golders Green — Margaret Thatcher’s old seat — and Hendon. Both seats are in the Barnet heartland of the northwest London Jewish community.

Both Newmark and Katz ended up coming short but succeeded in increasing Labour’s share of the vote.

One prominent member of the Jewish community, Stephen Pollard, writes in the Daily Telegraph that those who voted for Jeremy Corbyn terrify him (Text provided by Sussex Friends of Israel because the Telegraph article is behind a paywall):

Now we have to wait to see what kind of coalition Theresa May can cobble together. She has won the support of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, but how that will be reflected in the new government remains to be seen.  In fact, very updated news reports that this coalition is not a done deal at all, and may in fact not come about:

Theresa May’s plan for a loose alliance with the Democratic Unionists to prop up her government was thrown into confusion last night after the Northern Ireland party contradicted a No 10 announcement that a deal had been reached.

A Downing Street statement on Saturday said a “confidence and supply” agreement had been reached with the DUP and would be put to the cabinet on Monday. But the DUP last night put the brakes on that announcement, saying talks were continuing, not finalised. The DUP leader, Arlene Foster, said “discussions will continue next week to work on the details and to reach agreement on arrangements for the new parliament”.

Following talks between May and the DUP last night, a second statement from No 10 clarified that no final deal had been reached. A Downing Street spokeswoman said the prime minister had discussed “finalising a confidence and supply deal when parliament returns next week … As and when details are finalised, both parties will put them forward.”

Who thought that British politics could be so riveting?

Meanwhile, a very interesting analysis by Briticom, a British-Israeli financial services provider, explains what happened during these elections and how it all went so disastrously wrong for the Conservatives.

Indeed, Theresa May’s specific reason for calling this snap election was to strengthen her hand against these rebellious “colleagues” when going into the Brexit negotiations. Now these rebels will have even more reason (and ability) to humiliate her, being angry at her for causing many brother Tory MP’s to lose their seats, and jobs).

So to my eyes, even though Theresa May has strenuously denied any intention of resigning, I believe she will be kicked out by her Party and a new leader will be chosen to be Prime Minister in her place. Pundits are talking about Boris Johnson and David Davies as early alternatives. Tories are probably also squirming at the thought of Mrs May facing Labour’s Jermy Corbyn at future PMQ’s (Prime Minister’s Question Time) in Parliament. They would abhor the probable humiliation.

How did this result happen? The election campaign began with a huge (opinion-poll) lead giving an expected 50 to 100 majority for the Conservatives. There are a number of reasons:

Hubris. Mrs May made the election about her leadership and about her vision of Brexit, and only these subjects. She did not give the rest of her team much “air time” and her manifesto was remarkably clear of policies and numbers.

As a follow up to the above, she refused to compete in the TV debate which made her look either arrogant or cowardly. Or both!

A huge manifesto U-turn was needed when Labour exposed the fact that alzheimer/dementia patients would have their NHS nursing contributions capped at a perceived low level. This gave, even hardened Tory voters, grim reasons for concern, as it would badly hit their personal pocketbooks, hence the need for a humiliating U-turn in mid-campaign.

Mr Corbyn correctly reasoned that the only way he had a path to being PM was to energise young first-time voters. So his manifesto included a pledge for free university education. This worked brilliantly for him, but the Tories, locked into their single-issue Brexit campaign, did not ask the simple question who would be paying for theses students’ free education. The answer of course is that it would be their parents, via increased taxation, but this simple fact was not emphasised.

And lastly, and most importantly, it is apparent that the populace rejected Mrs May’s “hard” Brexit strategy and prefers a “soft” version. What this means, is that unlike the PM, they want to remain in the Single Market and the Customs Union, conceding Free Movement of People (for Europeans, not the rest of the World’s riff-raff) which would better ensure easy trade and fuller employment. The only tangible thing they seem to want from Brexit is the return of Sovereignty, ie: no more laws and irritating regulations being rained down on the UK by Euro-bureaucrats.

If the last paragraph accurately reflects the populace’s wishes (and those of those Tory rebels) the Conservatives will have no choice but to change their Brexit negotiating policy and tactics, which will necessitate the selection of a new leader.

Briticom also looks at the financial impact of the election results:

The pound fell (only) about 1.5% from 1.29 to 1.27 following the election exit poll and results, and the stock market is expected to rise this morning. Why? Because “Big Business” as reflected in the market’s larger shares much prefer a soft Brexit to preserve their trading patterns and partners. If this is how it pans out then one can also look forward to a recovery in sterling and an improved economic performance in the UK.

And given the breaking news mentioned above, there is a prescient note here too:

Ending on a note of caution – if the coalition with the Ulster Unionists doesn’t materialise and/or if the Tories tear themselves up in a leadership campaign and/or if they persist in going for a “hard” Brexit, then we are probably looking at another General Election before the year is out.

Read the whole thing. (Altogether, I would recommend following Briticom for their insights into finance, the money markets and their effect on politics in Israel and the UK).

Another helpful summary of the situation, slightly tongue-in-cheek, was this post:

 

And one more post, this one stressing the brighter side of the elections:

Posted in Antisemitism, International relations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Good News Friday

I was hoping for some really good news from the British elections yesterday, but unfortunately that was not to be. It could have been worse is about the best we can say. But more about that after Shabbat.

For now I shall post some other good news items for today’s Good News Friday post.

First and foremost was the visit of the US’s Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to Israel for a 3 day visit. Ms. Haley is a staunch supporter of Israel and it was so heart-warming to hear her words of support for Israel, particularly on the issue of the UN:

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley meets PM Binyamin Netanyahu

The winds at the United Nations are changing to Israel’s benefit, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Wednesday in Jerusalem, during her first-ever visit to Israel, calling the international body a “bully.”

“We’re starting to see a turn in New York. I think they know they can’t keep responding in the way they’ve been responding,” she said at a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, referring to countries that routinely bash the Jewish state at the UN’s various agencies.

“They sense that the tone has changed. We were talking with some ambassadors in Geneva that are all on the Human Rights Council, and we talked to them about Agenda Item 7,” Haley said. “Some of them were embarrassed by it. They acknowledge the fact that it just makes no sense.”

On Tuesday, at a speech in Geneva, Haley had urged the council to abandon Agenda Item 7 (“the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories”), which singles out Israel for perpetual censure. If the 47-member body failed to do so, the US would quit and seek to promote human rights in other forums, she threatened.

There is no legitimate human rights reason for this agenda item to exist,” she said later Tuesday, at the Graduate Institute of Geneva, hours before taking off for Tel Aviv. “It is the central flaw that turns the Human Rights Council from an organization that can be a force for universal good, into an organization that is overwhelmed by a political agenda.”

Welcoming her in his office Wednesday morning, Netanyahu thanked the US envoy and US President Donald Trump for their staunch support of Israel, including in international bodies such as the UN.

Nikki Haley is unusually modest about her success, which makes her all the more of a mensch in my eyes:

Haley said she was surprised by the tremendous love Israelis have showered her with.

You know, that’s all I’ve done — tell the truth — and the reaction is kind of overwhelming,” she said. “It was a habit. It was something that we’re so used to doing. And if there’s anything I have no patience for it is bullies, and the UN was being such a bully to Israel, because they could.”

Telling the truth in a hostile international forum is not a given, and is no easy job as we Israelis have learned. Kol hakavod to this wonderful ambassador, who is beautiful both inside and out.

Ms. Haley didn’t just stay in air-conditioned offices. She made a personal trip to the Kotel, and unlike other officials, she rejected the private space organized for her, preferring to pray with all the other worshippers who crowded up to the Western Wall:

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Wednesday, and was greeted by throngs who expressed their gratitude to her at the Jewish holy site.

Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch and Western Wall Heritage Foundation director Mordechai Eliav met Haley and explained the history and meaning of the site. Although a special section had been cordoned off for the envoy to pray alone, she went to stand with the other people in the crowded women’s section and spent a few minutes touching the wall. As she left she was surrounded by a large group of people who called out thanks to her for standing up for Israel.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley prays at the Kotel

Haley told those around her how moved she was by the reception she received in Israel, but said she was simply telling the truth in defending Israel at the UN.

Afterwards she was taken to the Western Wall tunnels where she signed the visitors’ book.

“My heart is full, and my life will change after the visit,” she wrote. “It was a blessing to experience a holy place with spiritual people full of love. May God bless whoever comes to the Western Wall.”

She was also honest enough to admit her surprise at the tiny size of Israel:

Haley said that her first visit to Israel showed her a reality that she had not expected, Channel 2 news reported. She was surprised by how short the distance was from Tulkarem, a town in the Palestinian Authority, to Netanya, an Israeli coastal city — only some 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) away as the crow flies.

Israellycool has a beautiful pictorial post about Haley’s visit to the Kotel, saying this is what a true friend looks like:

She is there, praying, in her own world, among a crowd of people. There is no showmanship here, which may have been indicated had she insisted the area be cordoned off just for her.

Nikki Haley at the Kotel surrounded by worshippers

Nikki Haley also ventured out of Jerusalem and toured the Hamas-built terror tunnels in southern Israel:

I wish there were more politicians and diplomats like Nikki Haley. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she ended up being President of the US?

Time for just one more item today, from Israel’s bio-medical field (via Reality): In what sounds like something out of science fiction, the Israeli company CollPlant is to print 3D human organs from tobacco-derived collagen:

Replacing human organs with printable ones may sound like science fiction, but research is currently being conducted on the transplantation of an artificial kidney, liver and even a heart.

Israeli biomed firm CollPlant recently established a new division that will 3D-print organs and tissues using a unique biological ink it is currently developing. CollPlant, a regenerative medicine company, is developing a collagen-based bio-ink intended for use in 3D printers that print organs, using various technologies. The company extracts the collagen from locally grown tobacco leaves.

Tobacco grown by CollPlant to produce “human” collagen

According to Yehiel Tal, CollPlant’s CEO, over the past several months, “we have substantially ramped up our activities in the 3D printing field… The collagen protein is a key building block in connective tissues in the human body, and therefore is ideal for use as biological ink.”

He adds that the company’s product ‘rhCollagen’ is “suitable for use in humans, due to its superior homogeneity, its high safety profile and the fact that it does not cause an immunological reaction.”

CollPlant is currently developing a number of formulations of biological ink for various indications, and is working with several large international companies, with the aim of collaborating on the development of organ and tissue printing. Ravit Levrann, a spokeswoman for CollPlant, tells NoCamels the company grows tobacco in greenhouses in order to produce ‘human’ collagen, which is used in the bio-ink that will eventually 3D-print tissues and organs.

What a mind-bogglingly brilliant development! Kol hakavod to CollPlant and its research team. I wish them every success so that they can save the lives of thousands of patients.

And with this happy thought, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!

Posted in International relations, Israel news, support Israel, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What on earth happened between Qatar and the Arab states?

The news out of Qatar and the Gulf had us all (well, me at least) scratching our heads in mystification. What suddenly triggered the break between Saudi Arabia and Qatar? Did they only NOW discover that Qatar has been harbouring terrorists? It’s been public news for years!  And did President Donald Trump’s visit to the region have anything to do with it? And what about the Russians?

The Emir of Qatar and Donald Trump

Eli Lake in Bloomberg News wonders whether the two Qatars will test Trump’s anti-terror plan:

For a brief moment it looked like President Donald Trump had done it.

He got the leaders of six Gulf nations to sign a communique pledging to eradicate the financing of jihadis. The timing happened to coincide with the completion of a new center in Saudi Arabia to combat extremism. It was a powerful signal that America’s traditional allies were united against Iran and Sunni extremists.

That lasted a couple of days. By Tuesday however the uneasy alliance of Gulf states started to come apart. It started with a quotation attributed to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani. Qatar’s official news agency quoted him telling a graduating class of national service recruits that it was important to calm tensions with Iran, that Hamas and Hezbollah were legitimate resistance movements, and that his country has every right to host Muslim Brotherhood leaders. That last organization is banned in most Gulf countries as well as Egypt.

The speech prompted outrage from Qatar’s Arab neighbors. Al-Jazeera, the broadcaster funded in part by the Qatari government, was banned in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates following the sheikh’s reported remarks. (The Qataris have said that the official news agency was hacked and that the remarks were never delivered.) Nonetheless, official newspapers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have slammed the Qataris for the past week, accusing the small nation in the words of one columnist of being a “disobedient son.”

This kind of thing is to be expected in the region. But the conflict also played out in Washington. The setting was a wonky policy conference on Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood sponsored by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.

Normally the politics of the Middle East don’t really intrude on such affairs. But the U.S. ambassador to Qatar, Dana Shell Smith, contacted many of the panelists in the days before the conference last week to make the case that Qatar was doing a much better job these days when it came to financing terrorism. Jonathan Schanzer, the vice president for research at the foundation, described this as a pressure campaign. One of that foundation’s experts on terror financing, David Weinberg, asked the audience last week how many of his fellow panelists received a call from the U.S. Embassy in Qatar.

It is certainly strange that the US Ambassador is working to whitewash Qatar’s dismal record, as political commentator Nick Short noted:

The Bloomberg article continues:

Smith’s main point is that Qatar’s new sheikh, who came into power in 2013, is committed to reforming his country’s notoriously lax attitude toward jihadis. He signed the communique on terror financing earlier this month. In 2014, he signed another one, known as the Jeddah Communique, committing the Gulf states to similar vigilance against private citizens sending funds to groups like the Taliban, al Qaeda and the Islamic State. What’s more, the Qatari government has in recent months responded to requests from countries like Egypt to expel Muslim Brotherhood leaders. And in 2015, Qatar reached an agreement with the Taliban and the U.S., under which the U.S. released five senior Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay and sent them to house arrest in Qatar, and the Taliban freed U.S. Army Private Bowe Bergdahl.

Those are some pieces of evidence about Qatar’s recent turnaround. But this tiny country has a long history of playing both sides. On the one hand Qatar hosts one of America’s most important military facilities in the region, the Al-Udeid Air Base. And yet at the same time, its neighbors accuse Qatar of running an influence campaign against the U.S. and its allies.

More recently the Qataris have been a host to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Palestinian group that has built tunnels and rockets to attack Israel from Gaza, the territory it has controlled for a decade. When Hamas leaders unveiled a new set of principles this month, they made the announcement from a hotel in Doha.

… [former secretary of defense Robert] Gates concluded: “So we have had a peculiar relationship. There have continued to be political issues with Qatar even as we have been strategic military allies.”

That peculiar relationship will now be tested. As Muslim leaders gathered in Saudi Arabia this month to meet with Trump, he put the onus on their countries to drive out the extremists who have too often enjoyed safe haven and financing from the Gulf kingdoms. One of the first tests of this new policy will be whether Qatar shows initiative in rooting out the terror supporters inside its own kingdom. So far the Qataris have been responsive to outside pressure, whether it be from the U.S. or Egypt. It’s less clear how Qatar will respond when the rest of the world isn’t watching.

Regarding the Qataris’ claim that their news agency was hacked and that the speech that caused such outrage was never delivered, not only Qatar, but also the US intelligence services have laid the blame at the feet of the Russians:

US intelligence officials believe Russian hackers planted a false news story that led Saudi Arabia and several allies to sever relations with Qatar, prompting a diplomatic crisis, CNN reported Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia then cited the false item as part of its reason for instituting a diplomatic and economic blockade against Qatar, the report said.

Qatar’s government said the May 23 news report attributed false remarks to the emirate’s ruler that appeared friendly to Iran and Israel, and questioned whether US President Donald Trump would last in office, according to CNN.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told the broadcaster that the FBI has confirmed the hack and the planting of fake news.

If accurate, the allegations would indicate Russian efforts to undermine US foreign policy, building on US intelligence concerns that Russian hackers attempted to influence last year’s presidential election, won by Trump. The Kremlin denies meddling.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced Monday they were severing diplomatic relations and closing air, sea and land links with Qatar.

They accused the tiny Gulf state of harboring extremist groups and suggested Qatari support for the agenda of Saudi Arabia’s regional archrival Iran. Qatar has strenuously denied the allegations.

Although Qatar hosts the largest American military airbase in the Middle East, Trump threw his weight behind the Saudi-led effort to isolate the emirate in a surprise move on Tuesday.

He suggested Qatar was funding extremism.

Who is telling the truth in this confusing story? And in the end does it really matter? It is well known and thoroughly documented that Qatar hosts Hamas leaders as well as a bunch of other terrorist leaders. Whether they have turned around their policy or not is something that can be verified when or if it happens.

Did the Russians plant the story? Very possibly, but then again what would be the point? A split between extremist Qatar and marginally-less extremist Saudi Arabia could work just as well in the West’s favour as against.

The really good news for Israel – besides a weakening in the Arab alliance – is that Hamas could be the biggest losers in this spat:

The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain officially cut ties with Qatar on Sunday, announcing a series of measures against Doha. Some of the measures include expelling Qatari diplomats and citizens and closing airspace to Qatar Airways.

The four Arab states say Qatar is responsible for funding extremist groups, including Islamic State and al-Qaida. Qatar denies any backing to the groups. The four Arab states also contend that Qatar is close to their greatest adversary, Iran.

According to Khatib, the four Arab states see Hamas as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood, which they have designated a terrorist group.

“If the pressure continues, Qatar most probably would have to make some adjustments regarding its support for Hamas,” he said.

Qatar is one of Hamas’s staunchest allies.

It has sent millions of dollars to Gaza to support Hamas’s governance efforts, including hundreds of millions for reconstruction and millions for the energy sector.

Long may this spat continue!

Talking of spats, the news keeps overtaking us. Iran, the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism, got bitten on its own backside yesterday by what it considers the “bad” terrorists of ISIS (as opposed to the “good” terrorists of Hamas and Hezbollah):

A double terrorist attack, claimed by ISIS, on Iran’s parliament ended with 12 killed:

Gunmen and suicide bombers stormed Iran’s parliament and the shrine of its revolutionary leader on Wednesday, killing 12 people and injuring 39 in the first attacks in the country claimed by the Islamic State group.

The attacks ended after a standoff lasting several hours, during which the gunmen holed up in parliamentary office buildings.

IS released a video of the attackers from inside the building via its Amaq propaganda agency — a rare claim of responsibility while an attack was still going on.

The Sunni jihadists of IS consider Shiite Iran to be apostate, and Tehran is deeply involved in fighting the group in both Syria and Iraq.

The assaults began mid-morning, when four gunmen burst into the parliament complex in the center of Tehran, killing a security guard and one other person, according to the ISNA news agency.

An interior ministry official said they were dressed as women and entered through the visitors’ entrance.

At roughly the same time, a team of three or four assailants entered the grounds of the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the 1979 Islamic revolution, killing a gardener and wounding several other people.

Iran’s emergency services said a total of 12 people were killed in the two attacks and 39 were wounded.

Two of the attackers at the shrine, one of them a woman, blew themselves up, while another detonated a suicide vest on the fourth floor of the parliamentary office building.

While I have sympathy for the innocent Iranians caught up in this attack, I cannot find any sympathy in my heart for Iran.  They want Muslim extremism? They got Muslim extremism, only it’s the “wrong” kind.

You reap what you sow.

Posted in Mideast news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Another terror attack in London

Another vicious terror attack took place in London last night. Once again it was a vehicle-ramming: a van driven by 3 men plowed into pedestrians on London Bridge, killing 6 innocent people. When the van crashed the men got out and began stabbing people, chasing after them into pubs and restaurants.

Scene of the terror attack on London Bridge

There is extensive coverage at the Daily Mail link above, including some gruesome and graphic photos. Here is a summary:

Three Jihadi terrorists have been shot dead by armed police after killing six people and injuring 30 more during a horrific knife rampage in central London last night.

The men, described as being ‘of Mediterranean origin’, shouted ‘This is for Allah’ after they mowed down up to 20 revellers in a white van hurtling across London Bridge at 50mph on Saturday.

One of the dead terrorists was wearing an Arsenal shirt.

Attackers stabbed a police officer on the bridge and then used 12-inch hunting knives to attack revellers at busy bars and restaurants in the nearby Borough Market, in what authorities described as terrorist incidents. One man was reportedly stabbed five times in the chest.

Witnesses said the gang, who had metal canisters strapped to their chests, smashed pub windows and reportedly cut the throats of drinkers. A ‘dark-skinned’ man in a red tracksuit ‘calmly’ stabbed a man three times.

A terrorist with canisters around his chest lying on the ground outside Wheatsheaf pub in Borough Market

The male suspects were shot and killed by armed police in Borough Market within eight minutes of the first call. The attackers were wearing suicide vests, which turned out to be ‘hoaxes’, police said.

Armed police rushed to the scene where shots were heard and authorities urged panicked Londoners on Twitter to ‘run, hide, tell’ if they were caught in the ‘utter chaos’.

Police on London Bridge during the terror attack

The tragedy comes just 12 days after the Manchester terror attack and 10 weeks after the Westminster atrocity.

Terrifying footage from the scene shows police officers shouting ‘Clear the scene now!’ as panicked pedestrians fled.

The car the three men were in veered in an ‘S shape’ across the bridge and drove towards the Shard and was south of the river at 10.08pm. There are unconfirmed reports that it is a B&Q and Hertz van.

One woman said she saw three people with what appeared to be their throats cut at London Bridge.

Thirty people have been taken to five hospitals across London after the horrific attack. One of the fatalities was at London bridge, it has been reported.

An on-duty British Transport Police officer who rushed to protect bystanders at London Bridge was stabbed by the terrorists.

He suffered ‘serious but not life-threatening injuries’ and his family has been informed.

‘The men said “This is for Allah” as they left the van and attacked victims. There were definitely three people sitting at the front of the van,’ witness Eric Seguenzo told BBC News.

He added: ‘I thought the van was travelling on wrong side of the road, as though the brakes had failed. The white van had yellow stripes, veered to the right and people tried to jump out the way.’

Witnesses to the terror attack heard at least 12 gunshots in the area, now believed to have been police firing at the attackers.

One witness said: ‘No one was hurt from the van impact but as the men got out the van they started kicking, punching and stabbing victims they ran over. It was a rampage.’

One of the men suspected of being an attacker was pictured lying on the ground after he was shot by the police outside the Wheatsheaf pub in Borough Market. Another man was seen lying on the ground a short distance away.

It was earlier reported that SAS helicopters were flown in from their Hereford headquarters to hunt for the deadly terrorists.

Possible SAS helicopter takes part in the chase

The bridge is in lock down and the area around it is closed with bus routes being diverted, as armed police and a bomb squad attended the scene and boats searched the Thames for bodies – amid reports that people were pushed into the water.

Fifty armed police also stormed nearby Monument and Bank station with police dogs. The stations were closed.

The British public reacted very well, as we have come to expect from the “Bulldog spirit”:

Will Orton, 25, said: ‘We were in the Sheaf pub. Basically lots of people came running inside, we didn’t really know what was going on.

‘We thought maybe there was a fight or something outside. And then there were almost hundreds of people coming inside.’

He added: ‘The bouncers did a really good job, they shut the doors and locked everyone in. There was panic – it seemed like it was literally outside the door. People were coming inside and saying they had witnessed people being stabbed.

‘They had seen and witnessed people being stabbed. It seemed like it was happening immediately outside the entrance.’

A bystander said a friend was in Applebee’s Restaurant – which is opposite Wheatsheaf pub in Borough Market – when suddenly the waiters pulled down all the shutters.

‘They looked outside and saw two men lying dead in the street, one had what looked like a suicide vest on him. Police told everyone in the restaurant to stay inside, then a minute or two later they heard two or three shots fired.’

There were also claims earlier in the evening that a topless man had been handcuffed and taken into custody.

Drinkers are said to have thrown chairs and glasses at the attacker as he stormed the pub. Video shows drinkers in the basement German-themed bar Katzenjammers hiding under tables as the terror attack unfolded around them.

My sincerest condolences to the bereaved and prayers for a speedy recovery to the injured.

I found the reactions in Israel to be particularly instructive for they point out the results of the weakness of Western responses to terror, particularly when it occurs in Israel.

First, the standard boiler-plate response from Israel:

Speaking to Army Radio, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan drew parallels between the London attacks and Palestinian terror attacks that have also involved car-rammings and stabbings.

“There is much greater understanding today that the terror Israel has experienced… is not much different from the motives of extremist Islam that causes these attacks [in London],” he said.

In messages posted to his Twitter feed, Erdan called for a “global alliance” to combat terror.

“Israel stands in solidarity with the UK and London in the fight against terror. It’s time for a new global alliance against terror,” he wrote. “This was an attack not just against the UK but against Western values and democracy. Our prayers are with the victims.”

And then the bald-faced truth from the Right (the left seem to have a problem with facing up to this, even in Israel):

MK Bezalel Smotrich, from the right-wing Jewish Home party, said the London attacks show Palestinian terrorism is unrelated to Israel’s control over the West Bank.

“Good morning to all the terror experts and analysts here in Israel. It is interesting what desperation motivates the terrorists in London. Is there an English occupation that we don’t know about?” he tweeted.

MK Yehudah Glick, of Erdan’s Likud party, also linked the rampage to past Palestinian terror attacks.

“Apparently the significant contribution by the Palestinians to the world is new methods of terror,” he wrote in Hebrew on Twitter. “These methods are now being used around the world.”

The tweet below sums up the situation in the West today:

And I would like to share with you two excellent Facebook posts on this subject. The first is from Kay Wilson, terror survivor and an outstanding spokesman for Israel. She writes:

Praying for London” (or Manchester, or Paris, or Brussels, or Berlin, or Stockholm or… or… or…) clearly isn’t enough. Pop group Oasis leading the crowds in a Manchester vigil with a rousing chorus of “Don’t look back in anger,” (as the French did with “Imagine” in Paris), is not only not enough, it is a dangerous repression of righteous rage in the name of “culture,” and an insult to those who buried their dead.

Hugging Muslims who show their solidarity with the horrors of terrorism isn’t enough. It is also patronizing, because it is the bar of low expectations. These Muslims should be protesting in their mosques, ridding their books stores of all the hateful material that demands and promotes Sharia, demonizes Jews, vilifies Christians, and is obsessed with the destruction of Israel. While they are at it, these Muslims should be handing over to security those in their mosques who preach of the evils of Western democracy.

Given the backdrop of slaughtered corpses pilling up on Europe’s streets, anyone with any common decency should be offended by the news anchors who apologize for the trembling, empty-eyed and pale-faced whose lives will never be the same, those in the background of the shot wearing blood splattered clothes, clenching their heads and can be heard saying, “Fuck them! Fuck them!”

British news anchors apologizing profusely for “the bad language” spoken by those who have just witnessed carnage is an inverted, delusional, trivial, misplaced and dangerous morality — as if clean speech is the dominating virtue. Although the people may not know it now, trust me, they are scarred for life.

Rage at carnage is the right psychological reaction. It is not a dirty word, or a moral failure. It is a moral necessity and it is a virtue.

And it is this righteous rage that will enable people to act, that is the answer to all those prayers.

Kay certainly knows what she is talking about, and she absolutely “gets it”. If only world leaders would learn a lesson or three from Kay, and from Israelis in general who have so much bitter experience in resisting terrorism.

The second post is (maybe surprisingly to you) from David Newman, professor of political geography at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva and currently on Sabbatical in the UK. He is a known leftist, and yet he is what Brian Goldfarb would term a “sane leftist”. Yes, he opposes the “occupation”, but when it comes to standing up to terrorism, he is as staunch as Kay Wilson. Here is the main excerpt from his Facebook post which hits the nail on the head: (emphases are mine):

It has nothing to do with the supposed “justice” of their causes (from the IRA to ISIS) but everything to do with the use of violence and terror as a means of advancing their cause rather than through that of the ballot box. Elections may not be the panacea for all evils and injustices, but they remain the best of all bad solutions. Terror – in whatever form and whatever location (Europe, the Middle East or elsewhere in the globe) can never be justified as innocent people in the streets, the restaurants, the buses, the shopping malls, the places of prayer and the mass events (concerts, sports stadia) – wishing to go about their normal lives – are needlessly killed or injured. No polemics or discussion can ever justify such actions and even those people whose minds are so open to every injustice and every cause that their brains sometimes fall out of their heads, should refrain from doing so. The word “but” should not be appearing in any of their commentaries or analysis. Evil is evil is evil wherever it happens and those who use violence, terror and murder to further their cause should be met with wall to wall opposition from anyone (regardless of their political and social views) who desire to be part of something we have loosely termed civilisation. Purveyors of violence, terror and murder are not part of a civilised society.

Well said! It should be obvious, but it is only obvious when the victims are not Israelis or Jews.

If the West had reacted so strongly, and stood stalwartly with Israel as we combatted the terrorist onslaught on our civilians, then maybe terrorism might never have reached Europe because the jihadis would have realized that they will receive no support from those quarters.

Maybe now the West will learn their lesson. On the other hand, we’ve been saying that since 9/11, over 15 years ago.

Posted in International relations, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments