Israel — Not guilty as charged

It was only a matter of time before a Rabbi picked up on the Pew opinion poll on the place of Arabs in Israel with its “shocking “ findings that almost half the Jews questioned wanted them deported. It was just as certain that the Rabbi who picked it up would be from the Reform movement –and get it entirely wrong.

Putting in her “ two shekels“ worth , as she put it,of opinion Britain’s senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner Klausner bemoaned in the  London Jewish News newspaper that this was not the Israel she grew up with and decried the country’s move to the right over the last ten years.

Before I take issue with the Rabbi, whose sincerity or love of Israel I do not doubt , let’s look at the basis of her discomfiture, the Pew poll. All opinion polls are no more than a snapshot in time. When was the question asked, how random was the sample, what was happening at the time when the question was asked and how leading was it., All have a bearing on the answer..

Here we have a poll taken at what is in fact the height of a third Intifada. Men, women, and children are deliberately being targeted by knife wielding fanatics. Far from being discouraged from their actions these people are lauded as heroes in their own communities. Their families given financial assistance by political leaders and have streets named after them. Their schools do not even show Israel, its towns or cities, on their maps.On U-tube they show a girl, no more than 7, waving a knife showing how she wants to stab Jews.

Yet despite that 52 % of Jews, all be it a slim majority, even in this atmosphere are not calling for the removal of the Arab population. When is the bottle half full and when is it empty. Where is the typical optimism that is a Rabbi’s hallmark.

Now lets look at the West, no doubt the area the good rabbi is holding up as an exemplar of the behaviour she would like to see Israel emulate. These are the self same countries that are putting up barriers against migrants fleeing death and persecution faster than you can utter the word compassion. Perhaps her example is just the United States. The self same country where would be presidents are falling over themselves to literally put all Muslims, citizens and visitors, virtually under house arrest. Or perhaps its her liberal home base, Great Britain, which is the model. This is a country whose Government is grudgingly taking in as few migrants as it can get away with while at the same time seeking to lock its borders against free travel to the country for citizens of its European neighbours.

And while the British Prime Minister boasts of sending killer drones all the way to Syria to murder British citizens who have uttered threats against the home country Israel is told to be “proportionate “ when defending its self against terrorists not thousands of miles away but on and inside its own borders.

I am afraid that what unites Reform and Liberal rabbis throughout the Western world is that they are on the whole paid up members of the intelligentsia.. What we call in England “ the chattering classes.” This mainly left looking group is big on non vilence and sees Religion as historic and dated. Therefore the Jewish claim to the land of Israel goes by default. No matter that the adversary it is locked in a grim struggle with is far from isolated and alone but backed by 22 sovereign countries with the same culture and religion..No matter that this would be replacement of Israel is misogynistic, homophobic, undemocratic and corrupt. Behaviour, the chattering classes believe, can be cured. Religion they view as an incurable disease..

While I do not feel Rabbis of the progressive movements share these opinions the very strong social consciences they have are open to the constant drip, drip of these calumnies from oh so reasonable people. People who judge Israel’s behaviour in isolation and not against its peers. We need to wake up before a country which despite its trails and tribulations, and a beacon in a world of misery, is lost.


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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