Do you remember the episode from Fawlty Towers where a group of German tourists was due to visit and Basil, played by John Cleese, warned his staff “don’t mention the war?”
These days when political correctness has gone mad and political leaders treat the public like simpletons it is useful to shine a spotlight on the latest crop of topics which are usually avoided. That is why I have deliberately left the heading of this op-ed. open to the insertion of any phrase which is applicable. Given the current aversion to mentioning anything which might be close to the truth, one can add any of the following: war against Islamic terror, real reasons for instability in the Middle East, continuing campaign of hate, unaccountability of terror groups receiving western aid, looming appeasement on several fronts, media bias and UN hypocrisy. No doubt you can add a few more choice examples. The common denominator is the shameful silence or dubious duplicity of politicians and much of the media when it comes to certain events connected to Israel.
Never a week passes without ever more incredible manifestations, most of which sink beneath the waves of appalling apathy or deliberate denial.
This week’s crop should prove enlightening.
Hamas, the partner of peace-loving Abbas, held a “graduation” ceremony for 17,000 youth who attended “liberation” training camps in Gaza. During the week-long camp, youngsters aged from 15 to 21 underwent military training. Hamas proudly proclaimed that these graduates would form the nucleus of a future Palestine liberation army. The new recruits would operate rockets against Israel in the next round of terror which is already being planned. Did you by any chance notice outrage expressed by any politician from those countries (including NZ & Australia) which provide funds for the needy people of Gaza?
Jibril Rajoub, a senior Fatah (“peace partner?”) official, stated during an interview on Russian television: “Israel practices official terrorism, violates human rights and ignores all UN resolutions. Netanyahu is a distorted replica of 1940’s Nazism and is following the Nazi model.”
Did any condemnation of this outrageous assertion surface? Now that the UN sponsored meeting on anti-Semitism has faded from the headlines it seems that business as usual is back as far as combating Judeophobia is concerned. The usual choir has already resumed its discordant chorus of peace partner delusions.
Confirming continuing delusory behaviour, the UK Foreign Secretary pontificated: “Israel needs to make sure that it responds to threats to its security in a way that meets the expectations of Western public opinion.” Have you read a more inane piece of advice? It sounds almost the same sort of admonition given by the UK appeasers in 1938 when Czechoslovakia was sacrificed on the altar of “public opinion” in a futile bid to avert German terror. Obviously nothing much has changed in the corridors of the Foreign Office.
Staying in the UK, a Chatham House survey just published found that Britons loathe Israel more than any other country except North Korea. There is no doubt that the drip feed of delegitimisation from politicians and media alike has had its toxic effect. This in turn will and already has had a spinoff in the rapid rise of Jew hatred. When the inevitable hand wringing and head shaking reactions issue forth from Westminster and communal leaders after the next anti-Jewish outrage, bear in mind the culpability of all those whose denial and refusal to mention hard truths contributed to the current climate of hate.
Meanwhile over in France, 3 soldiers guarding a Jewish communal building were attacked and injured by persons having of course no connection to Islam. They may have shouted anti Jewish slogans and claimed that Allah was great but in today’s “don’t mention the..” agenda the real crux of the terror is downplayed. I wonder how long it will be before the French authorities decide that they can no longer afford the cost and burden of deploying thousands of military to guard Jewish schools and institutions. In the absence of any determined campaign to deal with the underlying causes and a continuing refusal to mention the real problem, France’s Jewish citizens will be extremely vulnerable to terror attacks. Those who ignore the myopic advice of their leaders to stay and instead leave France for more hospitable countries will be doing themselves and their families a long overdue favour. Leaving it too late has always been a Jewish genetic deficiency. At least these days there is somewhere else to go.
Within the last few days the head of the “kangaroo” commission set up by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate Israeli war crimes in Gaza, has resigned. He should never have been appointed in the first place because his past utterances about Israel would have, in any normal situation, prevented his appointment. However given that anything to do with the UN when it comes to Israel is never normal, this individual was put in charge of producing yet another pre-ordained document condemning Israel. It now turns out that this gentleman had previously acted as a consultant for the Palestine Liberation Organization which of course meant that he had perfect qualifications to head a UN inquiry against Israel. In resigning, he let forth a volley of invective against Israel’s PM and Foreign Minister which only serves to illustrate the farcical nature of the whole exercise in the first place. The report has already been written so his departure and replacement by yet another Israel obsessed person is irrelevant. How many voices have you heard raised in protest at this theatre of the absurd?
ISIS burnt alive a captured Jordanian pilot. Unable to mention the “I” word, Obama referred to the terrorists as “this organisation.” Saudi Arabia condemned them as unIslamic. This is ripe coming from a country which stones men & women to death, flogs people for advocating human rights and denies women basic rights, not to mention the banning of any religion other than Islam.
As if to illustrate the perfectly perfidious nature of international relations these days, we also witnessed the nauseating sight of politicians who routinely admonish Israel to behave better, rushing to Riyadh (or sending their representatives) for the funeral of the recently deceased monarch. The parade of supplicants and the gushing tributes to an unelected tramper of democratic values merely highlights the depths to which we, the public, are being dragged. The best example of how politicians treat us as stupid fools is the statement issued by the New Zealand Prime Minister. In his message of condolence he stated that the deceased Saudi king was “a strong voice for peace!” Really? A leader who refuses to recognize the legitimacy of a fellow UN member is a strong voice for peace? In this case it’s a matter of not mentioning the “oil” and “trade” words amongst others.
Feel nauseated? Believe me, it will only get worse in the months ahead.
Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.