No moral lessons from someone who said Kaddish for Hamas terrorists

This piece has been published as a Jewish News blog. Except in the title the words ‘Hamas terrorists’ have been deleted and replaced with the word ‘Gaza’. Similarly in the first paragraph.

On 24 May Anna Roiser implored us to sign a petition to halt the eviction of a family from a house in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. She asks the JNF ‘to live up to its Torah obligation’ and writes ‘As we head into Shavuot, may we do so working to uphold Torah values in Jerusalem.’ A golden arc of porridge hit the floor when I read that. For Ms Roiser was one of the people who just over two years ago (16 May 2018) recited the Kaddish prayer for dead Hamas terrorists. I for one will take no moral lessons from her.

Roiser Kaddish Hamas
Screenshot from video by Israel Advocacy Movement

If the Israeli Court rules that the eviction is valid why is that not sufficient for Ms Roiser? I haven’t heard her objecting to the Court’s indictment of PM Netanyahu.  The Israeli judiciary is independent and often rules in favour of Palestinian claimants.

As regards the Absentee Property Law, most countries have something similar. In the UK we have the principle of bona vacantia, whereby if someone dies with no will and no blood relatives, their property reverts to the State.

As set out here, the owner of the property which Ms Roiser discusses – Musa Sumarin – died in 1983. His heirs lived in countries sworn to the destruction of Israel. By the Absentee Property Law the house was transferred to the State. In the 1990s the State gave the house to the JNF subsidiary Himnuta Ltd. In exchange land was provided in the Wadi Ara area. Upon this land was built an Arab village (a point Ms Roiser strangely omits).

A distant nephew (Muhammed) illegally took over the home after the death of the owner. He forged a document which claimed that Musa Sumarin had sold the property to his father The judge believed the document was bona fide and ruled in Muhammed’s favour.

Later, using the same forged documents, Muhammed also tried to seize property next to the house he had won in court.

The case was reopened and during the investigation it was revealed both by witnesses who came forward and by the Police Criminal Forgery Unit that the documents presented by Muhammed were fraudulent. In light of this information, Muhammed lost his case and counter-charges were filed against him which re-opened the original case. He lost the original property (because of using forged documents) and was fined 500,000 NIS. He has since refused to vacate the property.

The JNF’s subsidiary Himnuta has offered compensation to the Sumarin squatters even though this was not required by the Court.  And the Sumarin family reportedly owns a two-storey building nearby, which the family has rented out.

More facts omitted by Ms Roiser.

Israel has an independent judiciary. Those who attack its decisions notably fail to mention genuine and egregious human rights violations in China, North Korea, Iran, Russia, Bangladesh or Pakistan. 

There’s a name for that ….  

The anti-Zionist Corbyn-loving Finkler academic leading the criticism of Dominic Cummings

Professor Stephen Reicher is a member of the ‘Independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B)’. So he is one of the academics advising the government about the response to Coronavirus:
reicher 1 may 2020
Source:Institute for Government

Reicher is Professor of Social Psychology at the University of St Andrews.

He has been the most outspoken government adviser in regard to criticising Dominic Cummings:

“I can say that in a few short minutes tonight, Boris Johnson has trashed all the advice we have given on how to build trust and secure adherence to the measures necessary to control Covid-19.”

“It feels increasingly as if we are living through a Greek drama. The kingmaker Cummings’ fatal flaw of hubris brings down both him and the king… what makes it tragedy is that such incompetence and turmoil will bring the people down as well.”

He is (of course) being feted by the media; here he is on SkyTV this morning.


Reicher’s Twitter feed shows that he is an anti-Zionist Finkler Jew and a fan of Jeremy Corbyn.

If he’s that wrong about Israel  and UK politics, doesn’t it call his judgment about Dominic Cummings into question?

reicher 2 may 2020reicher 3 may 2020reicher 4 may 2020reicher 5 may 2020reicher 6 may 2020reicher10reicher11

Hat-tip: Edgar Davidson

The Taxonomy of Anti-Israel MPs

On 1 May CAABU published a letter to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary demanding that they tell the government of Israel that the ‘annexation’ of any part of Judea and Samaria ‘will have severe consequences including sanctions’.  The letter has been signed by 100 MPs, 44 members of the House of Lords and 3 former Conservative MPs, making 147 in total (when it was published 127 had signed, but 20 more signed subsequently).  100 MPs represents 15.6% of the total (excluding the Speaker and the 7 Sinn Fein MPs who do not take their seats). 46 are Labour, 31 SNP, 10 Lib Dem, 9 Conservative, 1 Green and 3 ‘Others’.

Simultaneously with this blog, David Collier profiles 47 of the MPs, highlighting in particular their failure to speak out about genuine human rights abuses in other countries such as Iran, China and Pakistan: How many of these MPs have ever marched or spoken up for the Kurds – a people who unlike Palestinians, have not walked away from numerous opportunities to have their own state?’ The impression from David’s research is that most of the 47 would sign anything that criticised Israel, however divorced from the truth.

What makes an MP so anti-Israel? Is it nature or nurture? An obvious place to start is the character of a constituency. All political parties try to match candidates to constituencies. There is a body of polling evidence suggesting that antisemitism among British Muslims is significantly higher than in the population overall. For example the 2019 ADL poll found that 54% agreed with 6 or more antisemitic statements, versus 11% for the population overall.  See also polling for the Campaign Against Antisemitism charity (April 2016) which found that 42% of British Muslims thought that Jews were more loyal to Israel than the UK versus 24% for the population overall. And ICM polling for Channel 4 in 2015 which found that 40% of British Muslims thought that Jews had too much power in international financial markets and 42% thought that Jews are more loyal to Israel than the UK.

Hatred of Jews goes alongside hatred of Israel. See here. The widely accepted IHRA definition of antisemitism recognises this.  So a reasonable hypothesis to test is that the greater the proportion of Muslims in a constituency, the more likely is the MP to take an anti-Israel position. Using data from the 2011 Census and mindful of the greater degree of antisemitism within Labour as compared to other Parties, I looked at the results for the 46 Labour MPs who signed the CAABU letter (there are 202 Labour MPs so 23% signed).

The results are striking. 37 of the 46 Labour signatories represent constituencies with Muslim proportions above the Great Britain average of 4.5%.

muslims in constits may 2020

In fact of the ten constituencies  with the highest Muslim proportions, all are represented by Labour MPs and 8 of these signed the CAABU letter (from here on I used APS 2015 data as the Census data is hard to access on a comparative basis for constituencies). 37 of the 46 Labour MP signatories (80%) have Muslim proportions above the 5% average. Looking at the 40 seats with the highest Muslim proportions, 18 (45%) are held by Labour signatories, double the 9 which one might expect, given that 23% of Labour MPs signed. 37 of the 46 Labour signatories represent constituencies with Muslim proportions above 5%, a similar result to that above for the Census data (the APS average is 5.1%). (It should be noted that the remaining 74 Labour MPs with Muslim proportions above 5% did not sign the CAABU letter; on the other hand, only 9 of the 91 Labour MPs with Muslim proportions below 5% signed).

Labour Muslim proportions May 2020

What makes these Labour MPs so anti-Israel? Is it nature or nurture? The results point strongly to the former. Of the 47 profiles that David Collier has assembled, 33 are for Labour MPs. Many of them are longstanding MPs but the ones elected in 2019 – Sultana, Tarry, Begum, Ribeiro-Addy and Webbe – all had ‘history’ before they became MPs. Only Neil Coyle became sensitised against Israel after he was elected (in 2015).

If Sir Keir Starmer is to be successful in rooting out antisemitism from the Labour Party he will have to find a way of ensuring that all Labour MPs in constituencies with high Muslim proportions are less representative of the anti-Israel views common among those constituents and more representative of the general population.

Update: Stephen Timms has now signed. Which means that 9 out of the 10 MPs with the highest proportion of Muslim constituents have signed the CAABU letter; and that 38 of the 47 Labour MP signatories (81%) have Muslim proportions above the 5% average.


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Corbynites inciting hatred of Jews

David Collier wrote yesterday about the rearguard action being pursued by the Corbynites. After being heavily defeated in the December election, they are now inciting hatred against Jewish organisations (and here) by framing them as ‘racist’ because they call out Labour MPs (who happen to be black) who share a platform with expelled Labour members, in contravention to the pledge that all three Labour leadership candidates signed.

walker may 2020 incite
Another strand to the incitement is the allegation that ‘Zionist organisations’ undermined Jeremy Corbyn by ‘false’ allegations of antisemitism because of his support for the Palestinian cause.

The incitement was stoked at this online meeting yesterday (6 May):

peled may 2020

Chris Williamson (the former Labour MP who has been suspended from the Party) made the following comments :

“There is almost a shroud of secrecy about this [that is, the ‘targeting of progressive politicians by Zionists’] which is drawn over the role of the Zionists in actually targeting progressive politicians like Jeremy Corbyn, myself, Bernie Sanders, AOC, Ilhan Omar – because people are fearful.”

“….it led to me being targeted by the so-called Jewish Labour Movement – which the Electronic Intifada have identified as really a front for the Israeli Embassy – and I became Public Enemy Number One.  Because I was very close to the agenda that Jeremy Corbyn was promoting I think they saw my scalp as being very important to undermining the whole Corbyn project. “

“We know the evidence is there – the Al Jazeera documentary, it is very clear that there is involvement from the Israeli State……. A foreign nation interfering in the democratic processes of a sovereign nation. “

“The way it [the IHRA] was portrayed in the media – the way our opponents tried to portray it – was that it was the mainstream Jewish opinion in Britain that wanted Labour to adopt the IHRA.”

Miko Peled interjected “The IHRA definition includes criticism of Israel.  There are 260,000 Jews in the UK.  50,000 of them reject Zionism altogether because they are ultra-Orthodox.”

“It illustrates the power that the Lobby has – because not a single other Labour MP felt able to speak out in my defence or in anyone else’s defence. “

“Some of the Muslim MPs (Sultana) have been singled out for Islamophobic attacks by the pro-Zionists.”

“Jon Lansman dismissed Jewish Voice for Labour by insomuch as saying they were not part of the Jewish Community. “

“We have to argue that Zionism is inconsistent with Socialism”

Williamson wants to lead a new extra-Parliamentary leftist movement.  Labour may be down and out but the Corbynites – with their incitement against Jews – are certainly not.

Doctor on BBC’s PPE documentary is PSC activist with ten year ban from Israel

Guido has reported on the leftist background of the interviewees in last week’s Panorama programme which blamed government mistakes for the inadequate stocks of PPE.  Lee Harpin in the JC has covered the antisemitic comments of Professor John Ashton, the health expert who appeared several times in the programme.

Dr Irial Eno also appears several times. Guido notes she is ‘anti-Israel’.

In fact when she was at Birmingham University she chaired the University PSC.  Subsequently she was refused entry to Israel and banned for ten years.

Irial Eno

Sir Mick is back … but still in London

It’s a while since I had cause to blog about Sir Mick Davis because he has been quiet. There is some history here: in 2011 he threatened to sue me over a petition to remove him as UJIA and JLC Chair because of some comments of his that included a warning that Israel risked becoming an ‘apartheid state’ if the world no longer believed that a ‘two state solution’ was possible. He had previously disgracefully referred to the estimable legendary Jewish hero Isi Leibler as “that mad Australian who seems to be against everybody” and was then rebuked by the then Israel Ambassador to the UK.

However that Omerta has come abruptly to an end with the front page of this week’s Jewish News.

mick davis jewish news

Let’s examine the piece. Sir Mick does make some good points. The income gap between the haves and the have-nots in Israel is far too wide and I am fully on board with his plea for more in the Diaspora to learn Hebrew.  Benny Gantz – due to become Prime Minister in 18 months time – made a fantastic speech at the Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day) celebration on Tuesday night but unless you speak reasonable Hebrew it would have been lost on you.

But when it comes to Davis’ apocalyptic pronouncements about ‘Diaspora Zionism’ disappearing along with ‘Israel’s liberal democratic values’, he is simply howling in the wind.  He has been making similar forecasts for some years but there is so sign of them being accurate.  Israel is stronger economically than ever and the flow of immigration and property purchase continues, partly prompted by the resurgence of antisemitism elsewhere. Before Covid hit, tourism was running at record levels, proved by the eye-watering price of hotels and services for foreigners, on the back of the ever-rising shekel.

Davis has two reasons for his pessimism about ‘Diaspora Zionism’, both ill-founded. The first is frustration with Israel’s ‘dysfunctional’ political system which – he says – has delivered a government the public didn’t vote for.  But that’s Proportional Representation for you. On the other hand, smaller parties win seats –unlike with UK-style First Past the Post. PR is more reflective of how people actually vote. And how about the fact that Israel’s ‘dysfunctional’ political system has delivered a government which has kept Covid deaths to 22 per million population versus 287 for the UK? What electoral system does Davis want for Israel instead? He doesn’t say.

The second reason for his pessimism is his frustration with the failure of the two sides to deliver a Palestinian State (‘As large swathes of the Diaspora see Israel’s liberal democratic values under threat …’). But there is zero evidence that Diaspora Zionism needs a Palestinian State in order to survive. He speaks of ‘annexation’ being a genuine existential threat to Israel.  First it would not be ‘annexation’. Israel has the right to sovereignty in Judea and Samaria by the San Remo declarations of 1920, the centenary of which occurred just five days ago. And what kind of ‘Diaspora Zionist’ takes issue with the policy of a Unity government that commands more than two-thirds of the seats in the Knesset?

Davis must have forgotten Yitzhak Rabin’s final Knesset speech (5 Oct 1995):  “The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six-Day War. We will not return to the June, 4 1967 lines….. Changes which will include the addition of Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar and other communities, most of which are in the area east of what was the ‘Green Line,’ prior to the Six-Day War…. The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term…. First and foremost a united Jerusalem … as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty.

Israel’s reassertion of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria should satisfy those critics – no doubt including Davis – who say that there should not be a separate military law there.

And reassertion satisfies UN Resolution 181 which specifies that Arabs living in the Jewish State and Jews living in the Arab State can opt for citizenship of the other State.

Furthermore Davis – and the other critics of reassertion – fail to recognise over 50 years of unprecedented Palestinian/Arab refusal to accept peace deals that included states, including more than 90% of what was demanded, at Camp David. The fate of Judea and Samaria’s Jewish inhabitants must not any longer be held hostage to Palestinian intransigence. 

Finally Davis makes the strange argument that the MKs of the Joint List Party (the alliance of the Arab-majority parties) ‘are still considered governmentally treif’. Even the far Left Meretz Party gave up on negotiations with the List, saying that it had chosen nationalism and separatism over Jewish–Arab solidarity. Maybe Davis can tell us how a Party which speaks of ‘half a century of illegal colonial-settler occupation’ could possibly be a member of the Unity government?

Sir Mick Davis clearly still feels that Israel’s government is making life hard for him (‘When they do good things it is good for me, when they do bad things, it’s bad for me. And the impact on me is as significant as it is on Jews living in Israel…’).

You might have thought that by now he would have moved from London to Israel in order to vote ……….


Postscript: In the article Davis says ‘Jewish Israelis need more and better education in Arabic and Arab culture.’  Lyn Julius and Hadar Sela point out that 50%+ of Israelis are Mizrachi (that is, they are from Arab countries or are children or grandchildren of immigrants from Arab countries) and they know Arabic culture very well.

The wit and wisdom of Matthew Parris

Early in 2019 the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust commissioned and published a poll which suggested that 5% of Britons don’t believe the Holocaust ever happened. The BBC promptly (and shamefully) cast doubt over this result and Matthew Parris then compounded the Denial in his Times column (‘Without meaning to, and though they acted only in good faith, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s poll has defamed this country.’)

How ironic then that Parris yesterday (in the context of writing about the excellent ITV programme to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen) revealed his crass insensitivity about the Holocaust: ‘I’ve …. even on occasions been heard to grumble to Jewish friends for “going on” about something the world knows all too well … I’d sometimes wondered why, after 70 years, Jews still couldn’t stand back from this bit of history.

Little wonder that someone who thought that Jews should stop talking about the industrialised slaughter of their families should also rush to deny Holocaust Denial!

Parris is 70 years old with a Cambridge First and seven years as an MP. Did the horrifying footage truly come as a revelation to him? How could he possibly have been unaware of the horrors of the Holocaust? And will he now concede that he was wrong to deny the extent of Holocaust Denial revealed by that 2019 poll?

In truth Matthew Parris is a good example of how even the cleverest polymaths can have a streak of unpleasantness when it comes to Jews. He has a thing about the Friends of Israel Parliamentary groups. He thinks that criticism of Israel might be taken as antisemitism. He feels that Jews in the Diaspora asserting Israel’s right to defend itself from terror have caused ‘The past 40 years’ to be ‘a catastrophe, gradual and incremental, for world Jewry. Seldom in history have the name and reputation of a human grouping lost so vast a store of support and sympathy so fast.’ (He wrote this as a response to Israel’s strike against Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon). To hold Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel is by definition (IHRA) antisemitic.

Was this unpleasantness why Alastair Campbell (in his Diaries) called Parris a ‘little shit with that perma-smirk on his face’?