Monday, 3 April 2017

Hope and Chutzpa

I feel the urge to revisit some recent topics.

Sayeeda Warsi is one of the BBC’s privileged Muslim spokespersons whose visceral hatred of Israel is always allowed to stand unchallenged. Since I posted my earlier comments several further reviews of her book The Enemy Within have materialised.
Jenni Russell, for instance, in the Sunday Times (£) has written a rather respectful review, but one gets a vague impression that she’s written it through gritted teeth.  If that’s not purely a figment of my imagination, one might well ask, why? Why submit a review that seems to be holding something back? I know. That sort of speculation is  above my pay grade.

Here’s a passage:
“She identifies the anger over Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, in 1988, as the first time that British Muslims became politicised as a community. Furious Muslims felt the state was failing them by refusing to prosecute Rushdie for blasphemy. The government, horrified by the bounty placed on Rushdie’s head by Iran, felt bound to defend one of liberal Britain’s fundamental rights, to speak and publish freely. Mutual incomprehension “set Muslims on a journey of simmering resentment and a narrative of grievance”. After 9/11 and the war on terror, Muslims came to be seen as a problem, with their religion, not their Britishness, as their defining identity.”

To me that seems almost conspicuously non-committal. Has Ms Russell caught the BBC’s value-judgment-o-phobia?

Another article on the Baroness cheered me up far more. It’s by Col. Richard Kemp. Surprisingly the BBC still consults him on military matters from time to time, which is surprising. One would think his commitment to defending the IDF would have discredited him altogether in the eyes of the BBC.

Here are a couple of passages:
The chutzpah of Sayeeda Warsi. I mean that in the Yiddish sense of despicable insolence, but likening the Israel Defence Force to the Islamic State is much worse, it is dangerously irresponsible. Warsi excuses IS and Muslims who leave Britain to murder and rape for them yet condemns the IDF and British Jews who serve in their honourable ranks. 

Coming from the most prominent Muslim parliamentarian, this will make Islamic jihadists sniff blood. It will encourage UK Muslims to join terror groups and embolden IS. Repeating the lie that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza validates Hamas’s human shield strategy and encourages further violence and killing. She has blood on her hands.
Her arguments are absurd. She obviously doesn’t care about the so-called loophole she demands is closed: allowing British citizens to join a foreign army. If she did, she would apply the same in reverse, condemning the thousands of Gurkhas and Commonwealth soldiers in the ranks of the British forces today. 

[…]The IDF are the diametric opposite of this (IS) evil. They are the army of our close allies, at the forefront of the war on terror. Israeli intelligence has saved many British lives on the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, here at home and abroad.
Israeli drone, counter-IED and battlefield medical technology have made our forces more effective and kept British soldiers alive and fighting. 

Israel’s staunch military backing to Egypt and Jordan has held IS at bay and prevented an even worse immigration flow into Europe. 

Will our young people who join the IDF cut off their victims’ heads, burn them in cages, bury them up to their necks and leave them to die, line them up and shoot them in the back of the head, systematically destroy their cultural heritage, rape their women and children, torture their prisoners, beat and abuse their elders, as IS do? 

I won’t even answer that. The IDF complies with the Geneva Conventions and with Jewish morality handed down across the centuries. In their efforts to avoid civilian casualties in battle, they are admired and emulated by armies throughout the world. 

I have seen many young British IDF soldiers in action. I hugely admire their dedication, humanity, professionalism, courage and fighting spirit. 

I abhor and reject the contemptible accusations of Sayeeda Warsi. Unlike these brave Jewish men and women, she has never put herself in harm’s way for her country, has no understanding of the depredations of our bestial IS enemies or the righteousness of our friends and allies of the IDF.


The other piece I want to quickly revisit concerns our old friend Ken Livingstone and his wretched hearing.

On Harry’s Place Sarah AB draws our attention to a pathetic Steve Bell ‘cartoon’ that the Guardian deems worth publishing. In my opinion it has nil merit. It’s really badly drawn and its message contains neither wit nor humour. Any discernible satire, should anyone wish to discern some, misses whatever target was in Steve Bell’s head and lands - bullseye fashion - upon seriously unfunny antisemitism.

Tomorrow. The verdict.


I see Owen Jones has put his social media flounce behind him and has returned to Twitter. Having been  vilified by the Corbynistas for not being sufficiently antisemitic, (at least not enough to boycott the Jewish Labour Movement) he used the first Henry Smith Memorial Lecture  to try out  a spot of damage limitation by keeping a toe in both camps. 

Firstly condemning antisemitism - why, some of his best friends are Jews -  then denouncing Benjamin Netanyahu: “riddled with bigotry”,  and the current Israeli government: “hard-right, bigoted, violating international law and making peace impossible.” 
Here’s a taster from a report in “Jewish News”:
“But Mr Jones — who has not yet visited Israel — did not pull his punches when it came to condemning the current Israeli government. Describing himself as a passionate supporter of Palestinian self-determination, he described Mr Netanyahu’s government as “hard-right, bigoted, violating international law and making peace impossible.”

Owen’s Twitter thingy gave me a nasty shock, too. Owen is appearing at the Hall for Cornwall next week.. His performance is titled: “The Politics of Hope”.
I’m well aware that there is a strong Corbynista contingent in west Cornwall, as well as a mini branch of the PSC.  (H/T David Collier)The Corbynistas in the audience, if they could afford the £13 per ticket, could easily turn into a nasty little baying mob. 

It’s a great shame that so many social justice warriors believe their racist campaign is morally righteous. For disseminating misinformation and bias, I hold the BBC responsible.


One of the least offensive stories of the day is the undercover apostrophe doctor. Many viewers must be baffled. The greengrocers amongst us, at any rate. 
The BBC really ought to set out the proper rules for apostrophes so that the people who aren’t quite sure could get educated. (Oh, they do!) I have to say that the intrusive ‘greengrocer’s apostrophe’ undermines many an otherwise fine bit of prose.


  1. Dipped into Warsi's book in the bookshop (no way would I inflate her bank account by buying it). Several hundred pages of special pleading by the look of it and not a single sentence of self-criticism or self-awareness on behalf of her chosen ideology. Warsi "The Enemy Within" title is a great double bluff on her part. BTW, I have never underestimated her intelligence, only queried her motives. She knows how to play everyone, exploiting people's kind impulses ruthlessly, using false comparisons, slyly slipping in the stilleto here and there. That so many serious commentators can be taken in by her really speaks volumes about the state of our political elite.

  2. I am sorry if this is going to sound like a rant. Sayeeda Warsi’s statement that the Salman Rushdie affair was a turning point for Muslims in this country really needs to be picked apart. This might be interpreted as a realisation that Muslim values were at odds with a modern liberal democracy, but in fact she is going much further and demanding acquiescence. What is most disappointing, about her latest offering isn’t her dishonesty about Israel or her desire to impose medieval sanctions on authors, but that to a great many people her obnoxious views are now regarded as acceptable.
    Most of the left and by extension most of the BBC seem to inhabit an alternative reality - or more accurately an alternative to reality.
    Israel is an apartheid state
    Nigel Farage is a fascist
    Black people can’t be racist
    etc., etc.
    All of these statements are demonstrably untrue, yet because “to some people they are true” they have become mantras, completely beyond any objective criticism. The BBC is hugely implicated in this idiocy.

    1. Not a rant at all.

      When you think about it, is it not remarkable and grotesque that a one time Cabinet Member cannot bring herself to condemn the Ayatollah's Fatwa on a fellow UK citizen, which put him under a terroristic death sentence (and led to the actual deaths of brave people involved in publication and distribution of Rushdie's book)? Is it not also remarkable and grotesque that supposedly enlightened commentators like Peter Oborne and Jenni Russell speak so highly of her, given that failure to put clear distance between her and the Fatwa?

      She should be shunned and condemned by all right thinking people.