Bibi Netanyahu — a popular man in Britain?

There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

That brings me to a Jewish joke though there is no obvious link between the joke and the opening sentence.

A retired Jewish man is sitting comfortably in his favourite arm chair avidly reading a copy of a virulently anti-Jewish Arab newspaper. His best friend enters the room and berates him for wasting his time with such rubbish.  The old man looks at his friends and says, “this is great. When I read the Jewish press there is nothing but page after page of how world wide we are being persecuted. When I read the Arab press I discover we rule the world. It’s fantastic!”

Following on from the logic above there should be no fears or worries about Bibi Netanyahu’s visit to London to meet his old friend Prime Minister David Cameron, whom he often refers to as his “true ally.” You might not know this, but Bibi is popular in the UK in a negative sort of way. Even now, I can imagine people querying what institution I have been released from.

The answer is I am as sane as the next man. Of course, like statistics it depends on who the next man is. But wait a minute, you will no doubt retort is this the same country where 100,000 people have signed a petition asking for the British authorities to arrest the Israeli leader and put him on trial? Its surely is but my reply is ” it’s statistics again.”

Let’s look closely at this petition launched with fanfare and a blaze of publicity in the first week of August.It was quickly signed by all the usual suspects then struggled for five weeks to the end of the first week of September to reach the magic six figure number where legally it would be raised in Parliament and  in this case summarily dismissed. Call that a victory, I hear you say. Some victory. But please bear with me.

In England, in this digital age, petitions have become a way of life. Just like YouTube and Twitter messages quickly go viral. Great Britain is home to well in excess of 60 million people, yet the “arrest Netanyahu” lobby took an unceremoniously long time to stagger across the line backed by a mere fraction. Less than a quarter of one per cent of the population. Contrast that that with the more than a million people who in just two weeks signed a petition to the BBC calling for the corporation not to sack the presenter of a TV motoring show called Top Gear. By the way It did not work and the BBC culled  the unfortunate front man, Jeremy Clarkson, for violent behaviour towards his director.

In the space of just three weeks two other petitions, one calling for a particular Afghani interpreter to be given asylum in the UK raked in 450,000 signatures and another calling for the guaranteed entry of all interpreters who worked for the British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan hit the quarter of a million mark. Another petition calling for an end to taxes on female sanitary products has topped 300,000.  The thumbs down to Netanyahu  is moderate by comparison. Many of the current crop of Britain’s colourless politicians would probably be dealt with more savagely if their names should ever light up a petition.

Not only has this very moderate result rebounded on the Palestinian groups out to prove Netanyahu is a pariah hated as much as say Churchill was loved by the British people,but by a quirk of fate, or unique timing by David Cameron, the mood music on terrorists and how they should be treated has changed. At last the gloves are off.

For the first time while not in a declared war Britain has executed  two of its countrymen who went to fight with ISIS in Syria. Near the HQ of the terrorist nest in Raqua  and controlled from the green and pleasant rural fields of Lincoln shire, a drone armed with a Rapier missile took out two Britons, one who hails from Cardiff in Wales and the other from Aberdeen in Scotland.

Prime Minister Cameron told Parliament the pair presented a “clear and present” danger to the homeland. Most of the country and newspapers applauded the action. Only the chattering classes chattered, raising a voice over the parapet saying they wanted proof of the threat. No doubt Bibi will congratulate his opposite number on his decisive action and will be further buoyed by the statement from British defence secretary, Michael Fallon, stating that the UK has a hit list of British terrorists which is believed to include  the  British executioner known as  “Jihadi John. ”

It is difficult to see Britain in  future taking Israel to task for targeting known terrorists.

Not only has it been a good week for Israel politically in the UK but its football team fought a creditable draw with Wales in the qualifiers for the European championships. In a sign of friendship all the Welsh players had  the Israeli flag sown into their match shirts. A small demonstration outside the ground by Palestinian supporters demanding the expulsion of Israel’s multi racial team went almost unreported.

It takes time, but reality eventually  has a habit of seeping  through.

About the Author
Adrian Needlestone quit sixth form at 17 to follow his dream to become a journalist. So desperate was he that he accepted a wage of £6 a week for six days work as an office boy at what was then London largest independent news agency, The Fleet Street News Agency. After making tea and buying sandwiches for six months he was given the opportunity to cut his working week down by one day and cover the East London Crown courts in those days known as Quarter sessions Courts. The bread and butter work was the local paper contracts the agency held with the occasional national story being cream on the top. During 18 months covering the courts stories in the nationals became the norm rather than the exception and he was quickly switched back to the main office in Clerkenwell to work with the news team. At the age of 21 came his first big break when Murdoch took over the Sun newspaper and promptly hired the agency’s news editor and most of the senior staff. In a leap of faith the agency head promoted him to news editor but confided many years later that it was the “cheap” option which if he sank that was life and if he swam so much the better. Seven years later after working regular evenings on the Mirror and the Mail he joined the Evening standard on the news picture desk. From there he moved on to the National Enquirer in America, the News of the World, BBC national radio and ran the news section of the Derek Jameson TV magazine programme on Sky. After 25 years in the business he decided to slow down and turn his hand to business but he never enjoyed the success in that world to match his career in Fleet street. Semi retired he has now taken to the internet and is writing a blog as well as simultaneously trying to write three books, one about his time on the News of the World which he hopes to launch through Kindle in about six weeks.
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