The London-based Telegraph describes scenes from the current Scallop War between French and English fishing boats. The Telegraph suggests that the British tabloids will soon be dusting off old stories about the battle of Agincourt – where King Henry V bravely fought off Britain’s continental neighbours against all odds. We, in Israel, where scallops are not kosher, are tempted to think in Shakespearian terms – Romeo and Juliet comes to mind: ‘A plague on both your houses’.
For those of you who have not been following this developing story, English fishermen have been taking more than their fair share of Normandy scallops, which the French say are an essential part of their cuisine; a Frenchman is not a Frenchman without his daily portion of scallops. The English, without a thought for conservation, the environment or the planet, have been stripping the seabed of this delicacy at a time when the French are not allowed to harvest scallops due to their national environmental laws.
Having no dog in this race, we can ask what is going on? Where is the United Nations; this dangerous situation calls for the creation of a peace-keeping force, the United Nations Scallop Protection Force (UNSPF) to keep the warring sides apart. But, instead of saving scallops, they are too busy making sure that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) remains toothless and ineffective. The hear-no-evil, see-no-evil force, that cannot see a Hezbollah missile in front of its face, is quite happy to speak evil – about Israel.
If the scallops are in danger of extinction from overfishing, where is the Green Party of England and Wales? Instead of saving scallops, they are too busy looking at us.
Over many years, the UK Green Party has put a lot of effort into campaigning against Israel, with anti-Zionism often degenerating into pure anti-Semitism. The few Green Party members who have dared to defend Israel have been called Nazi infiltrators; a party member with a Jewish name (he wasn’t Jewish) was accused of being an Israeli agent and Israeli academics have been described as “not part of the civilised world”. A video has recently emerged showing a leading candidate for the party’s leadership, Shahrar Ali, comparing Israeli military operations in Gaza to the Holocaust.
The scallops have just one last hope for their continued existence – the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. If, after searching all the relevant sources, they could declare scallops as kosher and fully permitted for Jews to eat, world reaction would be immediate.
The Green Party would set up a special interest group, Save Our Scallops from the Jews (SOS-J). The United Nations, after a heated Security Council debate, would declare scallops a protected species, comparing them to the Palestinians and awarding them (the scallops not the Palestinians) full Human Rights. And the wonderful Flanders and Swann song, The Reluctant Cannibal, would be reissued – You don’t eat Scallops, eating Scallops is wrong.
And I, after a lifetime wondering, would finally discover why the French are so fond of these rather unappealing shellfish.