I can criticise Israel because some of my best friends are Jews

Why I oppose anti-Semitism is the title of Brand’s latest tirade against Israel published in Huffington Post.

For those of you unfamiliar with Russell Brand, this is a short bio of his non-professional career.

Brand has received significant media coverage for controversies such as his dismissal from MTV, his behaviour as a presenter at various award ceremonies, and his drug use. In 2008, he resigned from the BBC following prank calls he made to actor Andrew Sachs on The Russell Brand Show. He has incorporated his drug use, alcoholism, and promiscuity into his comedic material.

After Brand had his article published in the Huffington Post I decided to write to him and I publish my letter to him here.

Dear Russell

Re: Your article in Huffington Post 20 August 2014

What a complex and interesting character you are Russell. Enjoying the Passover whilst both you and the son of your host are high on acid when we Jews are high on the sanctity of rejoicing the festival, one of many for us Jews that as Jackie Mason put it, “they tried to kill us, they lost, lets eat”. However you and your mate ‘tripping’ wouldn’t have much of an idea what was going on. We do however get the message, you have Jewish friends, and as such you obviously consider yourself able to criticize Israel without being called an anti-Semite. Don’t worry yourself, I don’t accuse you of this, what I do accuse you of is possibly worse.

You are probably a really nice guy; your heart is in the right place however you do lack some facts regarding the distressing situation in Gaza. In simple terms you don’t understand proportionality. You don’t understand it because you have simplified the situation, you have just looked at the figures, how many dead and injured and jumped to the same conclusion of many, Israel is an over aggressive and over destructive force on the civilian’s of Gaza.

So let me give you some information on proportionality.

Proportional to what?

  • 20,000+ Hamas rockets fired indiscriminately into Israel.
  • At least 32 terror tunnels dug into Israel (many by child labour) designed to kill and kidnap as many Israeli’s as possible.
  • Rocket launchers placed in, under and around schools, Mosque’s, hospitals and the homes of civilians.
  • Civilians used as human shields (Hamas call these people Martyrs!).
  • Constant provocation of rocket fire since 2006.
  • A charter that calls for your total annihilation.

So Russell as you can clearly see proportionality must also be applied to Hamas.

Of course we are all distressed to see the suffering of innocents. Innocents of Gaza who have lost their lives and loved ones and the innocents of Israel who since 2006 have faced a daily barrage of rocket fire with less than 30 seconds to find a shelter.

What I find most galling about your article is how you seriously believe that the removal of Israel’s right to defend itself by targeting those businesses that ‘profit’ from war is going to ease the situation. It just can’t do any good unless you also target those that finance and arm Israel’s enemies. What about a boycott of Qatar, Syria, Saudi Arabia? And whilst you’re at it Russia, China, France and all of the members of the UN Security Council who all support their balance of payments by being arms manufacturers and exporters. No, Russell, you single out those that have a connection to Israel; this actually does open you up to the potential claim that you are indeed an anti-Semite!

In conclusion I return you to that Passover you attended, soon after the evening commences we learn about the four sons, the wise son, the simple son, the wicked son and the son who doesn’t know how to question. I don’t expect you remember these characters or their story however let me ask you this, which son do you consider yourself? Certainly not wise, hopefully not wicked and surely not simple, that leaves the one who doesn’t know how to question. Yes Russell, that’s definitely you.

About the Author
Howard Klineberg is an English Jew who has always been passionately supporting Israel. At just 16 years of age his late father prevented him going on tour to Israel as he knew Howard probably wouldn't have returned to the UK. Howard is a member of the Leeds Lobby Network who work on numerous campaigns supporting Israel, recently Howard was instrumental in persuading his local member of the UK Parliament to resign from his party's friends of Palestine group.