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May 3 2016 3 03 /05 /May /2016 12:36

Recently I addressed a letter to the BBC about the slur against Jews made by it in a report on the conviction of Yishai Schlissel, by describing him as ‘Ultra-Orthodox. This is what was written:

“Dear Rabbi Levin

Reference CAS-3797190-LGY47N

Thank you for contacting us regarding the BBC News website.

I understand you felt that it was unnecessary and offensive for the report entitled ‘Jerusalem Gay Pride: Ultra-Orthodox Jew convicted of murder over stabbing’ to state that Yishai Schlissel is an “ultra-Orthodox Jew”.

Whilst I appreciate your concerns, this report does not imply that the actions of Yishai Schlissel had any extensive support and it certainly does suggest that any Rabbis or ultra-Orthodox leaders advocate the use of violence against members of the LGBT community in Israel.

Yishai Schlissel was the author of a number of anti-gay pamphlets and attempted to justify his actions on religious grounds – for example, calling on Jews to “risk beatings or imprisonment” in order to stop the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade.

However, our previous reports on this particular incident have made abundantly clear the widespread condemnation right across Israeli society for his actions:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-33726634

Nevertheless, I would like to assure you that we value your feedback. Please know all complaints are sent to senior management and news teams every morning and we’ve included your points in our overnight reports.

These reports are among the most widely read sources of feedback in the BBC and ensure that your complaint has been seen quickly, by the right people. This helps inform their decisions about current and future reporting.

Thank you once again for getting in touch.

Kind regards

Terry Hughes

BBC Complaints

www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform quoting any case number we provided.”

Exactly as anticipated the letter fails to answer the substance of the complaint! Ah! What an excellent thing it is to have realistic expectations! The complaint is reduced to a critique of the offendee’s perspective: “I understand you felt that it was unnecessary and offensive for the report … to state that Yishai Schlissel is an “ultra-Orthodox Jew”.

Reduce your guilt by restricting the offence to the percipient’s sensitivity! The complaint was that the writer and editorial staff clearly felt that it was relevant for the readers to identify the religious persuasion of the convicted offender.

The next paragraph, the attempt to whitewash, may just contain a rather unfortunate Freudian slip: “, this report does not imply that the actions of Yishai Schlissel had any extensive support and it certainly does suggest that any Rabbis or ultra-Orthodox leaders advocate the use of violence against members of the LGBT community in Israel.” (Emphasis added)

The writer wants me to accept that there is no ‘extensive support’ fort the actions of Yishai Shlissel. This leaves open the suggestion that there may be some support. Where is this support? Where are the responsa from ultra-Orthodox Rabbis (or other Orthodox Rabbis) calling for, promoting or condoning the stabbing of anyone? Where in the Jewish Code of Law, the Talmud, The Torah itself is there any support for Yishai Shlissel as taught and understood for thousands of years?

The writer and the BBC miss the point of the complaint entirely! The perpetrator may have written pamphlets or even treatises or limericks for that matter. His own deluded and sick point of view cannot superimpose a religious justification onto his actions.

But more fundamentally the letter exposes the substance the complaint: “You shamelessly identify him as an 'Ultra-Orthodox Jew', as if this has something to do with the crime for which he was convicted. Your organisation would never identify any other religion even when large numbers of adherents of that religion commit atrocities in the name of that religion. In fact your organisation will go out of its way to point out that the suspect(s)/perpetrator(s) and their crimes/misdeeds/terror have nothing to do with the religion in whose name the suspect/perpetrator has claimed to act.” (Emphasis added)

The writer of the letter, the writer of the original headline and various other editors and whoevers remain of the conviction that the purported religious persuasion of the perpetrator is relevant to the offence.

On today’s BBC News web page a story about a death in a fight in Luton, where a local man has died the article ends: “A man has been arrested in connection with the incident and is being questioned by officers..”

It may well be that the BBC have no information about the religion of the arrested individual or access to his literary efforts.

Did the BBC report on Oscar Pistorius’s religion? Dr Shipman’s? The guy who was convicted for destroying Barings?

On 14 January 2015 the BBC website includes the following in its reporting on the Charlie Hebdo massacre:

“France is emerging from one of its worst security crises in decades after three days of attacks by gunmen brought bloodshed to the capital Paris and its surrounding areas. “

Gunmen attack Charlie Hebdo offices”

“Once inside, the men - now known to be brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi

The report says, fairly, “Witnesses said they had heard the gunmen shouting "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad" and "God is Great" in Arabic while calling out the names of the journalists.”

And:

“French media say Cherif was a convicted Islamist who was jailed in 2008 and had long been known to police for militant activities.”

The BBC is very careful to point out that the BBC itself is not ascribing religious motivation to the attackers!

On 08 January reporting on how Parisians were taking to the streets the BBC says:

“Security has been stepped up across France in the wake of the attack, which is believed to have been carried out by Islamic militants.

Many French Muslims were among the demonstrators on the streets, keen to show solidarity with the victims and their families.”

The BBC distances the atrocity from the religion in whose name it was perpetrated. Headlines of “Gunmen” do not carry the same impact or implication as “Ultra-Orthodox” BBC, you are not heroes for doing the damage in your headlines. You know the impact of headlines, implications and associations.

It is abundantly clear that, either the BBC writer has ignored the main thrust of the complaint, or it can be argued that he and the BBC, having been afforded the opportunity to correct the inaccuracy chooses not to do so.

Your meaning BBC, very clearly, is that the attacker’s religious motivation makes his purported membership of a particular religious grouping relevant to his crime. Albeit said elsewhere he was misguided and deluded and not overly popular with the main stream of his particular lunatic fringe, his religious persuasion is relevant to you. Ultra-Orthodox Jews, BBC, believe, quite resolutely, in the Biblical Injunction of the Ten Commandments, not to commit murder.

If some nutter donned a black hat, tzitzit, a black kippa and said he was going to eat a pork sandwich in the middle of Trafalgar Square on Yom Kippur, would you, BBC, describe him as (a) Ultra Orthodox, (b) an apostate or (c) as a nutter?

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May 2 2016 2 02 /05 /May /2016 14:18

BLAME EVERYBODY, EXCEPT THOSE WHO MIGHT ACTUALLY BE TO BLAME!

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May 1 2016 1 01 /05 /May /2016 22:57
Dianne is reported by the BBC as saying: "It's something of a smear against ordinary party members to say the party has a problem with anti-Semitism.” It is a smear against ordinary party members The BBC continues: “She said there had been 12 reported cases of alleged anti-Semitism within the party since Jeremy Corbyn became leader and each had led to a suspension - including Mr Livingstone who was suspended ‘within hours’.”
The Labour party, as an institution, and more pertinently, its members can be exonerated fully because it is only a mere twelve errant individuals who have sinned by shooting off their mouths, by what the opportunistic would-be-smearers suspect reflects the sentiments of a larger number of Labour members feel. A few loose cannons expose their bigotry and distasteful views publicly and the nasty press and the right wing have the audacity to say that the sins of a mere twelve errant individuals reflect a greater problem in the whole party. This is calumny! The Labour Party is THE party of tolerance and universal love. The Tories and the right wing are the nasties, we’re benign and lovely and loving and you can be in our party for decades at a time and never hear anything anti-Semitic.
Let us blame the press, the right wing (and potentially, the Zionist lobby or elders of Zion.) They are exaggerating, exploiting manipulating the misfeasance of a few individuals who have said things which really aren’t what nice Labour people ought to say, and trying to blame Labour, that beacon of all that is wonderful; and good and cuddly in society.
The fact that these twelve people may just happen to have found a political home in the Party, in some cases for many decades, doesn’t mean their malfeasance reflects on the party in any sphere other than the slanders of the opportunistic and right wing press. The fact that some of these people have not only participated in party activities, promoted its policies, manifestos and ideas, been nominated as candidates or elected as officers does not mean that they represent anything about the Party or that the Party has deviated from its position as beacon of tolerance, love brotherhood of man, or anything else good, positive, wonderful and nice. Being elected to parliament or other bodies having been nominated, supported and campaigned for by the Party in no way reflects on the Party or can be used as evidence of the existence of any ‘issue’ or ‘problem’ or ‘Jewish thing’ or anything else. Only the poisoned and prejudiced mind or pen of a right wing bigot (or league of such narrow minded hard-liners) could come up with such an unfounded and foundationless slur that the display of hostility towards Jews by Labour Party representatives connotes or even hints at the existence of a problem. Only political opponents eager to garner votes for themselves and their invidious platforms would exploit the actual commission of anti-Semitic deeds as the basis for attempting to portray the purported perception in the public consciousness that the Party has or may have a problem.
The mere fact that only twelve Labour activists have stupidly opened their mouths is clear proof that all the other members love Jews so much and are tolerant, even though many of these Judeophiles sprout ‘legitimate criticism’ at Israel based squarely on misinformation, utilising the forms, language and patterns of anti-Semitism, blood libels and the like. And naturally a lot of people who are my Jewish friends also deplore Israel’s conduct, and aren’t Israel’s responses to Palestinian acts of resistance, I mean wouldn’t you want to go out and stab an Israeli housewife, well, disproportionate? Inevitably saying Israel is acting disproportionately is not anti-Semitism, even if (1) you never could say what actually would be proportionate, or (2) Israel’s actions are more constrained than Russia’s, the United Kingdom’s, France’s and any others who are obviously disproportionate and whose only distinction from Israel in attacking terrorists is that they are proportionate in their response and Israel isn’t and just because Israel happens to be Jewish doesn’t make you an anti-Semite for saying so, or (3) ignoring actual atrocities, murder, oppression and the like committed by Iran, Isis, Syria, who aren’t Jewish and blaming Israel with false and skewed invective which doesn’t make you an anti-Semite because you roundly and soundly condemn people, even in your own Party who open their mouths to articulate inescapably anti-Semitic things.
It all boils down, not to calling a spade a spade, but to some media lead conspiracy. Perhaps that invidious lot, the Zionist Lobby, and not the Jews, particularly Chomsky and Finkelstein, are behind this. They want to take your attention off things like the atrocities that Israel isn’t committing but the Pallywood-fed voices are proclaiming! The Tories are dismantling the welfare State and want to throw muck at these sweet, innocent Labourites who deplore anti-Semitism, except when it dresses up as ‘legitimate criticism of Israel’, but has the legitimacy of Goebbels and Rosenberg behind it.
Most anti-Semites are not crass enough to come outright and say they hate Jews, or want them transported somewhere. Let us give them credit for that.
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April 27 2016 4 27 /04 /April /2016 17:39
Gosh! Another Anti-Semite in Labour! Not only was the Bradford MP's comment repulsive, her apology rings hollow. Feelings ran high at the time of the Gaza conflict. Feelings running high about conflicts in Gaza seem to compel critics of Israel to resort to the language of classic Jew hatred. Part of the tactic of the lies told by the anti-Israel mob is endowing Palestinian suffering with the awfulness that justifies final solutions against the guilty! It ignores the illegitimacy of much of the Palestinian 'narrative', the crimes and corruption of the leadership, the genocidal aspirations, the terror perpetrated in its name and is just so horrid that any expression of indignation and violence is merely understandable reacting rather than murderous cruelty. The MP has expressed apology for all offence and maintains that she does not stand by the genocidal views she so openly expressed in the past two years. It was irresponsible.
So was Hitler irresponsible when he said: “The internal expurgation of the Jewish spirit is not possible in any platonic way. For the Jewish spirit is the product of the Jewish person. Unless we expel the Jewish people. Unless we expel the Jewish people soon, they will have judaized our people within a very short time.” Was he just feeling a little angry about Jewish control of the media like Ms Shah was feeling blue on behalf of the Palestinians? Her words of "apology" : 'When the “Gaza-Israel” conflict happened I played an active role in highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people, attended demonstrations to stop the bombing and called for equality in media reporting of the issues.

'Feelings were running high across the world and Bradford was no different. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I’m shocked myself at the language I used in some instances during the Gaza-Israel conflict.' Is this a well informed, balanced response to so-called Palestinian plight? It was a grotesque slur on Israel's lawful and justified actions against the murder of its own citizens. Even if you argue, as anti-Zionists always do, that Israel's actions were 'disproportionate', which is fallacy deluxe, would that justify her remarks? You can turn a blind eye to the murder of Israelis by homicide bombers and knife wielding thugs and call for the 'transportation' of all of Israel utilising Nazi terminology? That is not feelings running high about Palestinian suffering. Do something to alleviate suffering. Encourage the Palestinian leaders to abandon their genocidal actions, to stop siphoning western aid into their mansions, jets and tunnels. Pressure them to make concessions and enter dialogue. The fact that this person could in the first instance make such jaundiced and pernicious comments based on lies, calumnies and antisemitic tropes, shows where she was at the time. Until she gets her facts straight about anti-Israel nonsense and does not use it as her excuse for her inexcusable words no apology is good enou
gh.

She currently is suspended. She will willingly be sent to Labour-Coventry for re-education and then re-emerge as a jolly good fellow in the party of tolerance, human rights and all that is progressive who only say racist, sick things when incensed by Palestinian propaganda.

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April 20 2016 4 20 /04 /April /2016 18:11

My letter to the BBC:

My letter of complaint to the BBC about its standards. The article reports the conviction of the gay parade stabber. You shamelessly identify him as an 'Ultra-Orthodox Jew', as if this has something to do with the crime for which he was convicted. Your organisation would never identify any other religion even when large numbers of adherents of that religion commit atrocities in the name of that religion. in fact your organisation will go out of its way to point out that the suspect(s)/perpetrator(s) and their crimes/misdeeds/terror have nothing to do with the religion in whose name the suspect/perpetrator has claimed to act. There are clergy of that religion that promote such violence and claimed adherents who support and celebrate the murders, bombings etc. Youy do not wish to malign this religion, nor its adherents many of who are peaceable and non-murderous. There is nothing in the act of this individual that reflects Ultra-Orthodox Jews or Judaism, nor are there Rabbis or other Ultra-Orthodox leaders promoting or perpetrating violence against, gays, non-believers, apostates. Nevertheless your reporter, and no doubt your editorial staff are perfectly content that this INDIVIDUAL, lone wolf, acting contrary to all Jewish law and practice as taught and followed by ultra-orthodox Jews, needs to be identified as ultra-orthodox. You clearly do not fear insulting Jews, Ultra-Orthodox or others, and unequivocally associate Ultra-Orthodox Jews with terror and murder. I have no doubt that you will fail to answer this complaint by acknowledging the anti-Antisemitism, prejudice, bigotry and inaccuracy of your report. Nor do i anticipate that you will investigate what ULTRA ORTHODOX leaders and believers teach about murder. You know that despite your distasteful and insulting slur on religious Jews you will not fear anything stronger than letters of protest. You will not fear that ultra-Orthodox rabbis will declare Jewish Jihad against you, nor will your journalists be targeted by ultra-orthodox Jews.

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April 13 2016 4 13 /04 /April /2016 11:53

We should all be asking not what should the Labour Party be doing about anti-Semitism, but rather what is there about the Labour Party, and other Left leaning parties that expound tolerance, fairness, justice and all those purported values, and whose members weep on Holocaust Memorial Day, that makes anti-Semites feel so at home? All these emerging wood consuming anti-Semites have been part of Labour and the Left for a very long time. They have been side by side with the more Judeo-friendly leaders and ‘main-stream’ members in elections, legislative bodies and the political scene throughout the years of New Labour and Milliband. We are talking about them nowadays as if they are a sudden and new surprising phenomenon that recently burrowed into the parties of justice, democratic values, families and non-families of all modern varieties and have popped up with anti-Semitic cookies like an internet virus we got from downloading protest songs from a dodgy website. Some of these vociferous hate-mongering Loony-Lefty types may have protested some of the overtly Middle of the Road or Thatcherite stuff, like combatting terrorism, but they have been there, getting nominated, participating in conferences, campaigning and doing their part for a long time.

Now what attracts these naughty intruders who make injudicious comments paraphrasing The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to parties like Labour are the very ideals that the Labour movement claims to represent, namely democracy, justice, fairness, tolerance, human rights, international law, peace, working families and equality (among others). In the eyes of the Left, the Jews, or the Zionists, just so happen to fit the definition of everything that is antithetical to democracy, justice, fairness, tolerance, human rights, international law, working families and equality (among others). A large portion of the world’s leaders, as voted for in the august chambers of the United Nations, deems Israel to be undemocratic. This is supported by many academics and truth seeking journalists, and being that these people are talented, clever and often with tenure at academic institutions well Israel is not just undemocratic but practises apartheid. You would have to say that much of Labour’s world view echoes that of the United Nations. Both rose to prominence with messages of hope, peace and progress in the wake of the Second World War.

Now it is posited by these democrats through their unchallengeable principles of faith that the Zionists and often the Jews act in very unfair ways. They yield undue influence through their ‘lobby’. Now this lobby mesmerises and captures control of the media and Western leaders, and even though these Western leaders spend a large amount of time accommodating the interests of countries like Saudi Arabia and lately Iran, they are mere stooges of Zionist interests. Quite how it is in the interests of Israel, Jews or Zionists to allow Iran to get all that money, trade and free reign on the nuclear program is not something that need bother anyone on the left. Nor should they be perplexed by any reporting on CNN, the BBC, the Guardian and numerous others that slams Israel, because everyone knows that all the media is controlled by the Zionists.

Zionists pervert and deny justice. They ‘extra-judicially’ shoot any innocent ‘protester’ who lobs missiles at ‘disputed’ territory. They curtail free movement of weapon carrying Palestinians, who only want what is theirs. Surely anyone who wants justice for the Palestinians should fight for justice for the Palestinians. And you cannot condemn the poor Palestinians for carrying out ‘extrajudicial’ acts against their ‘oppressors’, the Israeli occupiers deny them the opportunity to create a proper infrastructure. So if justice is your thing, well then, a lovely left wing Justice promoting party is the party for you.

Now of course we preach tolerance and we are sorry to have to say it but some of the things that some Jews do are just not that tolerant. The Orthodox are intolerant of the Reform. They are intolerant of the right of Jews who reject the notion that the Temple need play a part in Judaism having their own space at the western Wall. The Secular are intolerant of the religious. Oh yes and we all admit that Zionists through their intolerance got through and ruined things for that poor dupe from South America who got into trouble with Fifa for corruption. Of course opposing the notion of a Jewish state is not intolerance.

Human Rights. Israel leads the world in being condemned for human rights abuses. You won’t find any country or international organisation that is more routinely blamed for abuse of human rights, misogyny, apartheid, genocide and you-name-it-it’s-there than the Zionist entity. So clearly a party that promotes human rights is the party for any left leaning human rights advocate, and are in tune with such left leaning countries as Cuba, Venezuela and the progressive regimes of the Middle East who participate the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Of course the Zios are dreadful when it comes to international law. Of course there is nothing that Israel ever does that actually complies with international law. When Grotius wrote his De jure belli ac pacis libri tres (On the Law of War and Peace) he fully anticipated that Jews building homes in their now disputed ancestral homeland would be a full breach of international law as construed by the unbiased scholars that would subsequently be appointed by august international bodies to condemn Zionism.

As a lover of ‘working families’, (and of course non-working families who’ll vote for us) you will seek a party that identifies with the poor economically oppressed Palestinians that languish in Israeli prisons whilst their poor families have to make do with the handouts of thousands of dollars from Iran and others as compensation for the unjust imprisonment of those denied the martyrdom of 72 virgins through detention without execution. All those poor orphans and widows pensioned by Iran whilst their fathers and husbands endure the lurid life of the hereafter. And the lack of family life of the millions of refugees who still are imprisoned by Israeli intransigence, which somehow never managed to thwart the resettlement of Europe’s displaced millions after World war Two.

And not forgetting equality. You want a party that demands its leaders pay proper tax and are accountable. Any hint of tax avoidance and you can scream aloud how the right favour the rich over the poor. You will naturally look at the example of economic fairness where billions of pounds, euros and dollars of your and other western tax payers are duly expended. You will note the accountability and openness of the Palestinian leadership who instead of publicising their properly audited tax returns on twitter are more content to flaunt their wealth through their palatial mansions and open luxury whilst their oppressed brethren suffer the indignities of occupation. The nasty Conservatives run a campaign of austerity. The Palestinian leadership of Hamas allocate large resources to ending the occupation by building tunnels. They promote equality by encouraging women and children to engage in the struggle, either through martyrdom or through use as human shields. Is that not attractive?

So, what has the Labour Party been doing about Anti-Semitism for years?

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April 10 2016 1 10 /04 /April /2016 21:30

When will people realise that political parties don’t actually stand for what they say they stand for? They stand for what they do.

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March 17 2016 5 17 /03 /March /2016 12:38

Reducing fat and heart attacks
Cannot be done by paying tax
Government complicity
Will not upend obesity.
Populace grows fat and heavy
So just impose a sugar levy.
Revenues it all begets
Like alcohol and cigarettes.
Push us all beyond our means
To xylitol and saccharines
On this you call no plebiscite
Reducing waist, not deficit?
With excess weight you won’t dispense
Should tax replace intelligence.

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March 11 2016 6 11 /03 /March /2016 17:41

Just finished a conversation in which I was trying to calm down someone close to me (he) who has been hurt by someone else close to both of us (she). He is hurt by the manner in which she has spoken. I am in full sympathy with he in this instance and know well that she is capable of uncomfortable degrees of venom. Nevertheless I am able to handle she and do not take her immaturity seriously. He expresses bewilderment at she’s behaviour, because of who he and she are to one another. He feels she should apologise and is angry that she cannot even recognise what she has done wrong in the instance.

What he fails to comprehend is that others do not operate according to our perceptions of what is appropriate behaviour, or even to any objective standard of appropriate behaviour. They can be wrong until you are blue in the face, but it is your face that will be blue. Almost inevitably you (or one which is he in this case) will focus your (one’s/his) attention on bluing (if there is such a thing and there seems to be because the computer did not flag up a spelling error). Apologies are important and fundamental in relationships, but a face will grow intensely blue as shoulder and neck muscles harden and bitterness and anger subdue a person into misery if one doggedly insists to the universe or anyone else who will or will not listen that you/one (here he) are due an apology.

He argued that she was wrong, out of order hurtful and all the things that she was. That’s the human race for you, I tried to point out. But she is she and I (he) am who I am who is someone she should treat differently. You are right that she should treat you differently, he, but will she do so, simply because you are hurt and deserving?

He was advised to learn that certain people will not play ball. Don’t, therefore, keep tossing the ball to them and feeding the agony when they fail to cooperate. Learn to take a step back and focus on reminding yourself that they (she) are wrong/hurtful/immature/silly/whatever but that is no reflection on me. Let it be her issue not yours.

But then when the conversation was over my muscles were taut and my hackles were triumphant. His doggedness in his anger at her inevitable behaviour left me frustrated and feeling almost resentful at his resentment to her because it is unnecessary despite being justified. Trying to calm him down has left me unbearably tense.

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February 23 2016 3 23 /02 /February /2016 17:55

If the UK votes to exit the EU, the European Court will probably rule that it breaches EU law.​

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