Thursday, November 16, 2006


Denis Vandervelde
October 2005

A STRATEGY FOR BRITISH SUPPORTERS OF ISRAELI have observed the public (i.e. overt) strategies pursued by many of Israel’s keenest supporters for more than three years, participating whenever possible. Throughout that time, I have published an occasional Newsletter and distributed news and comment by others about Israel which I thought important, to a small circle of interested parties. I have tried to focus on what supporters of Israel can usefully do.Prompted by three of my correspondents, I now try to evaluate these and to draw up alternatives, because – alas – those we have been using have been mostly ineffective.Current strategies.1.Letter and email writing in response to ‘knocking copy’. Our opponents have become very skilful in getting outrageously anti-Israel comments into the press or on radio/T.V.. Consequently, most of our own efforts have been countering these, leading the na├»ve reader to assume that ‘there’s no smoke without fire’: and even that ‘the lady doth protest too much’. Of course we must object to lies and distortions. But how ?We really shoot ourselves in the foot by the concessions we make to supposed reader/viewer sensibilities.

We should bite our tongue before saying, “whatever you think of Sharon”, or “nobody suggests that Israel is perfect”. When did you read an Islamicist writing “whatever you feel about Sharia Law”, or “however self-seeking you think Yasser Arafat was…” ?When we write denying lies about Israel, it is only the Jewish Press which is likely to print it, and even that is far from a foregone conclusion. Consequently, our natural constituency, Anglo-Jewry, is riven by doubt. We have always known self-hating Jews : my own dear mother, a highly intelligent and bold woman, lived in dread that her non-Jewish neighbours would realise her allegiance. But the present malaise goes much deeper. At my synagogue, (Alyth Reform), speakers on Israel are invariably confronted by what our Christian friends call Doubting Thomases : members of the congregation who wish aloud that Israel could be more flexible, that we must respect the views of any Arab politician with a following, however vile his behaviour, that land doesn’t matter, that all ‘settlers’ are fanatics Denying lies simply ‘does not wash’ for such people.2. We are terrified of being thought to have dual loyalties : even Melanie, for whom I have unbounded respect, was flummoxed by this accusation in a television discussion a year ago. Yet no-one thinks any worse of a Protestant politician who describes himself as both British and Irish, while the idea of Charles Kennedy needing to be ashamed of his Scottish roots and accent in an English parliament is absurd. The thousands of Brits who have retired to warmer climes have no problem in declaring themselves French or Spanish, Portuguese or Maltese, while still remaining British. I longed for Melanie to say, “I am a CITIZEN of the free world, proud of my British nationality : YOU are a SUBJECT of little England.” In short, we need attack rather than defence.3. So far as I know, we have made no serious efforts to ‘know our enemy’. When details of Saddam Hussein’s grants of oil rights to sundry supporters were leaked a couple of years ago, no serious attempts seem to have been made in this country (or the U.S.A. so far as I am aware), to ascertain the truth. Instead, hints were published without proper investigation, playing into the hands of such notoriously litigious figures as the loathsome George Galloway M.P., who actually turned the fact that he had not cashed his allocation, into ‘proof’ of his superior morality !Surely the Jewish community does not lack investigative journalists or criminal lawyers who could have exposed such instances, if they were indeed true ? There are many other politicians and opinion-formers whose finances or sources of income might not stand up to scrutiny – but where are the scrutineers ?I am not talking only of improper gifts and bribery. We now have evidence, soundly-based so far as I know, of legitimate Arab, (especially Saudi) investment in our media. Is it too much to hope that someone, better qualified than I, is preparing a full report ?4. Because of fear of being thought disloyal to the U.K., (point 2. above), we hesitate to criticise words and actions which most Britons (including Jews) would rush to the media with, if they related to Israel. Like good ‘subjects’, we never wondered aloud why so little fuss is made of the rape of dozens of tribeswomen in Kenya by British soldiers over a period of more than a decade : of the fact that our Government concentrates attention exclusively on I.R.A. lawlessness in Ulster when the facts suggest that Protestant violence has been far more bloody : that the Northern Bank robbery in Ireland has unequivocally been attributed to Republicans, though there is not a shred of evidence to support what must have been a largely fruitless exercise, (more than 80% of the notes were unusable) - unless it was intended to discredit the Republican movement.

There are times when speaking out against wrongs committed by one’s own country is meritorious. It is extraordinary that the only country where it happens all the time is Israel, many of whose citizens are constantly alert to every misdemeanour .Surely they are right in principle, if sometimes wrong in practice. But should we Britons not be equally fastidious ? The recent Daily Mail exposure of ‘British perfidy in Palestine’ in 1947-48 is an excellent example. We note it, tut-tut, and say nothing. It seems that we are still nervous about denouncing the scandalous behaviour of the U.K. government, when confronted by the emergence of a Jewish state, 57 years ago.If it is true that, (as a French document published in December 1948 alleges), “the British sent thousands of Nazi p.o.w.s, including top war criminals, to assist the Arab attack”{on Israel}, why has no M.P. raised this in Parliament, calling on the present Government to make a full apology for such unforgiveable conduct ? Even the most conservative of Englishmen are a little queasy nowadays about declaring “my country, right or wrong”. And it seems to me that Israel has less to be ashamed of than Britain. Some proposed alternative approaches.These fall into five broad categories.a). In pursuing present methods, be far less inhibited or apologetic. Do not hesitate to point out that more often than not, Israel gets right what other countries get wrong. I am still hoping to see an article in the serious press or on T.V. which points out the amazing differences between insurgency in Iraq and in Palestine/ Israel. Three years ago, deaths caused by terrorism were running at an average of 50 a month in each sphere. Since then, Iraq has seen deaths well in excess of 500 a month : Israel/ Palestine, fewer than a dozen, and mostly of self-proclaimed members of terrorist movements. In Iraq, the warring Shia and Sunni are agreed on only one thing, that killing infidels is good : in Israel, hardly any terrorist strikes have been perpetrated by the more-than-a million Arab citizens of Israel. If these FACTS are made known whenever a supporter of Israel gets in front of a microphone, public doubts about the wisdom or validity of Israeli policy would begin to fade.b) Do not hesitate to attack even ‘moderate’ Moslem regimes for their corruption, their espousal or tolerance of violence, or their plain stupidity. Why has so little publicity been given to the Saudi attempt to support extremism amongst Moslems outside the Kingdom, even funding the late unlamented.

Arafat, alongside Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbollah, while battling hysterically with identically-motivated terrorists within their own Kingdom ? Why not expose the duplicity of the rulers of Egypt and Pakistan ? We need not worry about incurring their hostility : that remains ‘a given’. What we need to do is, firstly to enlighten Great Britain, then Europe and finally an increasingly bewildered U.S.A. of the worthlessness of the Moslem regimes they are courting.c) Make clear the hopelessly inadequate response of Abu Mazen’s P.A. to the new opportunities since disengagement from Gaza. Their response has been pathetic and squalid. Their failure to secure the Gaza hothouses purchased for the Palestinians by generous (mostly Jewish) philanthropists is but the latest example. Some other, more serious examples have been unchanged since the first Intifada, or even since 1948.For instance, we should not be inhibited from making public the appalling ‘education’ offered to children by the P.A. and UNWRA: not just that Israel is an enemy occupying ‘their’ land, but that Jews have no history in the region, that all infidels who will not bow before Allah deserve death, that the highest purpose for a Palestinian child is to be a Shahid – one who sacrifices his or her own life to kill as many infidels as possible. This seems to me the most terrible of the policies of the P.A., endorsed by Abu Mazen.But not the only one. You will have read the excellent Email sent by Sanda Abramovici-Lam, “It’s the Palestine Authority, Stupid”. I see no need to repeat the detail here.d). Ensure that this wholly inadequate and corrupt regime is not funded grossly and indiscriminately by the E.U., and western countries in general. The figures are obscene : a basic $3 billion a year is proposed, with many add-ons, for an embryo-State of three million people. Given an almost total absence of governance, it is inevitable that what is not pocketed by corrupt officials – Arafat lives ! – will be used to purchase weaponry. And I shudder to think what weapons money of this order could buy. We must ensure that the P.A. is held to strict account, which means WE must hold OUR laissez-faire politicians to account.e).

I have left till last the proposed amendments to English law, to prevent the glorification of terrorism and to extend the time suspects can be held without trial. Yes, these are important and relevant, but I do not think we need spend too much of our precious resources on them. I find the notion of extended detention on mere suspicion distasteful, but knowing that in the cases of suspected terrorists there are invariably minor offences on which the suspect CAN be charged, I see no reason why these should not be used to hold the miscreants, while investigation of the major suspicions proceeds.As for ‘glorification’, I think the legal profession can be left to sort out whether this is meaningful. There are laws enough already for almost all that the government needs to do. Firstly, refusal of entry to ALL who are on record as having espoused violence, racial or religious hatred or endorsement of criminal acts. There is no obligation for any government to admit any visitor it does not want on its territory. The same rules should apply to would-be immigrants with suspect histories. If they are not admitted, then the alleged problems of ‘sending them back to where they might be tortured or killed’ simply does not arise.Given the widespread understanding in all Western countries that, whatever the reasons, Moslems have an unenviable and unparallelled recent history of communal violence, I see no reason why ALL foreign applicants for asylum or student places in British higher education, or work permits, should not be vetted.

They would be asked details of family background and religious affiliation ; and those with families in Moslem countries or professing Islam could fairly be asked whether they knew their home country’s attitude to (say) Shahids, Sharia law and the State of Israel. Those from a self-defined suspect background could be asked to make a public disavowal of such views personally, (with a sworn statement in writing in both English and their own language). They could then be admitted, not as citizens, but as approved residents, obliged to report to the British authorities on a regular basis. My wife’s Jewish grandmother, having married a Jewish Romanian, (automatically an Enemy Alien), was obliged to report to the police annually until well into the 1950s. In the case of citizens of Islamicist governments, this would seem no more than common sense.We are left with the British-born terrorist suspects, (still a minority of the instances under consideration). Here there is a case for pragmatism, which probably needs no new legislation. Our police are already supposed to monitor and video attendances at meetings where sedition, race hatred or incitement to violence is being expressed. (In view of police confirmation that they had no information on any of the bombers who attacked London in July, it seems that they may have neglected to do so.) At present, any such reports and videos gather dust unless there is an outrage, when they will be scanned for evidence of participation.

Surely, once it has been decided that such-&-such a meeting WAS unacceptable, all those attending who can be identified – even harmless rubber-neckers - could be sent a standard letter telling them that their personal attendance at (wherever) has been reported, and asking whether they were aware of whatever was being advocated there.. They would be asked to contact XXX by letter or email if they wish to refute the report of their attendance, or explain why they remained.Those who had been misidentified and others who were indeed almost certainly mere observers could be sent apologies. All others, including those who did not respond, should be stored on a nationwide record of ‘sympathisers’ with suspect persons or organizations, to be told periodically they are under surveillance. Only the most brazen would still think it worthwhile attempting an outrage.


Those who have stayed the course with me this far may appreciate a SynopsisCurrent strategy is well-meaning but largely ineffective. Specifically,1. Slurs against Israel must be answered, but recognize that this is unlikely to win over even Jewish doubters – and beware of making self-accusatory concessions.2. Be bold. We can be good Zionists AND good Britons.3. Attack the corrupt supporters of Moslem regimes, and question the Moslem infiltration of British (and other Western) media with facts..4. Point out that Israel has at least as honorable standing in international morality as the U.K. (or the U.S.A.), and a much better one than her criticsAs the NatWest Bank advertisements say, “there is another way”. Some suggested alternatives includea. Compare Israel’s war on terror with that of the Allies in Iraq (or Afghanistan).b. Demonstrate flaws in the practices and policies of even the ‘moderate’ Arab regimes.c. Make clear how little Abu Mazen has achieved or even attempted in his fiefdom.d. Demand proper accountability for the Western cash being thrown at the Palestinians.e. Argue for the sensible enforcement of existing or dormant British laws to control subversive Islamicist elements.

Denis Vandervelde

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