Sunday, 24 October 2010


I needed a short break. I wanted to get my head in gear in preparation for a book I intend to write on Israel's position in today's lost world.
Somewhere close and quiet. I headed for the little Greek island of Rhodes.

Forget quiet.
Turkey, a country that took the intimate warmth of the Israelis,  stabbed us in the back as their leader, Erdogan, changed national direction from secularism to Islam.
As a step in this direction he publicly insulted Israel's President Peres at a Davos Summit. Later he launched the provocative and violent Mavi Marmara flotilla, using Turkey's I.H.H. terror-linked organisation as his provocateurs.
To consolidate a public support, the Turkish Government organised noisy mass demonstrations complete with flags and banners to display the public anger with Israel.

Rationalising this sudden switch of friendship betrayed, and watching the growing enmity against the Jewish state, it was apparent that the rise of Islam in Turkey was sweeping aside a generation of precarious secularism advanced by Kamal Ataturk.

Bruised from the political slaps and curses, Israelis turned their collective backs on Turkey and went in search of other destinations for tranquility and recreation.

One thing needs to be known about Israelis. They are passionate travellers.
Go to the far corners of the world and you will hear Hebrew being spoken by young back-packers or intrepid Israeli businessmen.

Israelis have developed the habit of taking frequent short breaks. They do this several times a year. They like the all-inclusive resort vacation linked to short flying times. With package deals costing $200 and $300 as person, including flight, full board quality hotel, and transportation, Israelis flew off several times a year.
That is why places like Anatalya, Bodrum, and Marmaris in Turkey became swamped with hundred of thousands of Israelis.

When Turkey slapped Israel, they shot themselves in their tourism foot. It has been estimated that the mass exit of Israelis is costing Turkey forty million dollars a month in lost revenue.

Instead, Israelis quickly found a pleasant alternative in Greece. Greece, suffering from financial meltdown, is now experiencing an economic injection administered by the growing Israeli tourist market.
Crete and Rhodes have become the beneficiaries of the new tsunami of Israeli tourism.
Just over an hours flying time from Israel, these sun-drenched Mediterranean jewels enjoy the spectacle of mass visitation by Israelis who repeat their short stay vacations several times a year.
Israelis claim that it is cheaper to fly to the Greek islands for a four night visit than it is to stay in an Eilat hotel. Warning notice to Israeli hoteliers.

My flight and hotel was packed with Israelis eager to experience the culture, music, and food that they have been keen to adopt.

The Rhodes weather was changeable for an end of season visit. The island closes down to tourism at the end of October. Although they can enjoy warm sunny weather in winter, it can also be stormy.

Under brooding skies we strolled through the old town. The ancient synagogue was one of the sites we sought. Although it has become a tourist attraction it is badly signposted but, eventually, we explored an anonymous alley and came across the building after a bend in the narrow lane.

The Rhodes Kahal Shalom Synagogue is more than a temple. It is a museum to the history of the Jewish community of Ehodes. It is also a memorial to the Jews who were marched off the island by the Germans, never to return.

On July 23,1944, the Jewish men were deceived by the Nazis into believing that they were being rounded up to go work in a labour camp.
The following day all the Jewish women and children were forced, under threat of execution, to gather in the old town square before being transported to join their menfolk.
Days later, they were all shipped to Auschwitz.
Only 151 survived.

As I left this place the skies had opened as if thousands of tears were falling
from the heavens on this sad alleyway.
I couldn't help but think that if the Jewish State of Israel had been granted it's independence by a caring world prior to 1944, rather than four years later, one thousand five hundred Jews from Rhodes would be alive today, protected and sheltered in a nation of their own.

My gloomy mood matched the blackening sky. I found shelter from the now heavy rain in a dimly lit cafe.

This is a time when much of the world is questioning Israel's right and logic in introducing an oath of allegiance to Israel as the democratic and Jewish state.
Many think this is unreasonable, even racist.

Looking skyward the raindrops were telling me that the dead Jews of Rhodes  demand that Israel commit to its identity as the national home of the Jewish people, and not be encouraged to remove its Jewish identity by those who pretend to know better than us Jews what is right and proper for us to do.
If it is racist to be true to the national heritage and core values of our Jewish state then so be it.

If you think that this declaration of national identity is racist then consider this. A Palestinian state alongside, or instead of (as is the intent of anti-Israel activists), has already decreed itself to become yet another Islamic republic with Islam as it's national religion. It's leaders insist that their territory must be Judenrein, free of Jews. They have introduced a law in which any Palestinian who sells his land to a Jew faces the death penalty.
How much more racist can you become, and yet I hear no outcry about the formulation of a racist, and Anti-Semitic, Palestinian state.
Isn't this infinitely more racist than an expression of Jewish pride that allows freedom of worship, and expression of identity, to all in Israel?

The leaders of both divides in Palestinian society, Fatah in the Palestinian Authority and the extreme Islamic Hamas regime in Gaza, have declared an eternal refusal to acknowledge Israel as the Jewish state.

The problem with so much of the Western nations is that they have abandoned their roots and are adrift in an ocean of global socialism and multi-culturalism within their own societies. They haven't yet woken up to the truth that it doesn't work. That they are rootless, lost, anchor less.

They opened their gates to whoever wanted to gain access for whatever reason. They promised all sorts of enticements and incentives for leaving their own bleak and restricted societies. Attracted by social and welfare benefits given without any condition or responsibility imposed them, they arrived in droves, swamping the indigenous population.

These countries drowned in the internal debts incurred by coping with limitless immigration.

They found shame in the new interpretation of a history that was once glorious.
They also abandoned their religious ethics, values, and identity. The uneducated, unaware, valueless, citizen turned away from the church and the church, in a failed attempt to modernise the message, adopted a religion based on universal sufferance, the morality of human rights, and a communal socialism. This, too, failed.
It did, however, bring the church into lockstep with far Left causes. It even created an unholy alliance when pious Christianity found brotherhood with extreme and radical Islam couched in euphemisms such as Palestinian human rights.

The shallow top surface of this phoney morality, when brushed aside, often exposed an anti-Semitism rooted in replacement theology.
The illogical evil of their argument, rarely admitted, is an end result that would not replace a Jewish state with a Christian one, but with yet another islamic regime.
This does not seem to phase them. The Jewish resurrection,  through the State of Israel, is as much an abomination for dogmatic Christianity as it is for Islamic extremism.
For both, it must be removed.

Like it, or hate it, Israel has always been, and will always be, the national home of the Jewish people in aspiration and in deed.
The millions of lost Jewish souls, including the one thousand five hundred from Rhodes, could have been saved had Theodore Herzl's dream become a reality a bare few years earlier.
That alone justifies branding Israel as the Jewish and democratic nation.
Then, Jews were forced the wear the yellow Star of David. It was meant to identify and shame Jews.
Today, we wear the Jewish State of Israel with pride.

Saturday, 16 October 2010


Erdogan accuses Israel of never treating Turkey like a civilised country.

The friendship exhibited by thousands of Israelis who flocked to Turkey, the IDF sharing intimate military equipment and information with Turkey,close diplomatic ties. This,for Erdogan,is not civilised behaviour.

We must look to the Turkish examples of civilised behaviour.

Let's see. How about the genocide of Armenians, the brutal occupation of Greek Cyprus, and the mass murder of Kurds?

Now I get it, and Erdogan's embrace of Iran and Hamas further shows me what he means by civilised.
It's Civilisation, Medieval-style.

Monday, 11 October 2010


Remember when President Obama embarrassed Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, by leaving him to stew in the White House while he dined with his family, and then made him leave without the normal formal photo-op?

At this period, Obama forced on Israel a temporary freeze on construction in the disputed territories (that legally belong to Israel under international law).

This was done to persuade a reluctant Palestinian Authority, under Mahmoud Abbas, to return to direct talks with Israel.

Israel construed it as yet another unilateral action that would bear bad consequences, as all previous gestures have done for the Jewish state.

The Palestinian leadership, led by Mahmoud Abbas, sulked for almost the whole ten months of the building moratorium before being dragged kicking to the negotiating table.

Almost as soon as talks began the sulky Abbas insisted that talks would be halted if Israel refused to extend this building freeze.

Obama had planted the tree into which Abbas eagerly climbed.
Why negotiate with Israel when the American President was laying out the terms and conditions for him?

Obama then put pressure of Netanyahu to, once again, retract on his word and prolong the building moratorium for a further period.
The American President expected Netanyahu to cover his rear end and oblige the Palestinian leader  with yet a further gesture that would enable him to climb out of the tree with dignity.

Netanyahu reminded Obama of the diplomatic damage that occurs in the Middle East when a leader gives his word and then retracts his obligation.
It is interpreted as weakness and lack of resolve.

When, again under immense pressure, Israel hinted that they may agree to a further pause of two months, this was immediately rejected by the Palestinian Authority.

Saeb Erekat officially stated that the building freeze must continue for the full period of talks.

Talks with Palestinians have been conducted, haltingly, for decades.

What he was saying is that if the Palestinians do not agree a peace deal, but agree to consider some of the elements, Israeli building and development must cease for years.

This is yet another ploy for the Arabs to drag concessions out of Israel and claim them as permanent facts on the ground.

The whole issue is false. Up until now the Palestinians have never made a building freeze as a prerequisite for talks with Israel. This includes a series of talks and negotiations with Yasser Arafat and a series of discussions with Abbas. In numerous negotiations talks with Ehud Olmert Abbas never insisted on a stop to construction.

Only under the Obama administration has this roadblock to peace been raised.

Obama has already reneged on US obligations given to Israel under the Bush Administration. 
Now he is promising added security bonuses to Israel if Netanyahu will accede to extending the moratorium. 
The question for Israel is how can they trust the word of an American President who has faltered on a previous Administrations obligations to them?

Will Obama's word be more sacred to the following Administration than his was with the previous one?

In short, the word of an American President is no longer dependable to a close ally.

President Obama, by his words and actions, has brought the reliability of the United States to a nadir in international diplomacy.

Obama forced the building freeze concession on Israel.  He ignored the warnings that this was a flawed tactic.

When peace talks collapse, as they inevitably will due to this red herring, the buck will stop on the Oval Office desk of Barrack Hussein Obama.

Barry Shaw
The View from Israel

Saturday, 9 October 2010


YEHUDA AVNER was born in the poverty-stricken Strangeways district of Manchester in 1928.
Early events formed his life. As a young Zionist he made his way to Palestine in 1947 to involve himself in the creation of the Jewish State.
He entered the Israeli Foreign Office and served as a Consul in new York, a Counselor at the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C., and as Israeli Ambassador to Great Britain and, later, to Australia.

He was also a speech writer and secretary to Prime Minister's Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir as well as an advisor to Yizhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, and Shimon Peres.

His wealth of experience caused him to be close witness to conversations and events that turned the pages of history.

These are recounted in an exception book 'The Prime Ministers. An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership'.

A thick, heavy, tome, it is ,nevertheless, a page turner that is highly recommended for people keen to discover the secrets and nature of the personalities that shaped Israel over the last seven decades.

Yehuda Avner came to Netanya, in early October, to talk to an audience at the Young Israel Synagogue. 
His eloquent style is impressive and, sadly, in short supply in today's modern world where intelligent and persuasive conversation has been replaced with soundbites.

He even quoted MacBeth in reference to the importance of constantly restating Israel's historic, religious, cultural, heritage  and international legitimacy to the land.  Failure to do so fails to anchor our rights to exist in solid significance.  In an age of the threat of delegitimacy, when the existence of Israel as the Jewish state is called into question, we could find ourselves in MacBeth's tragic situation:

"Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Macbeth Quote (Act V, Scene V).

We can shout about our land but, without the wealth of context, it signifies nothing.

Avner told the tale of an Israeli pensioner who showed his arm to a young man. On it was engraved, in indelible black letters, his Auschwitz number.
The young man opened the top button of his shirt and took out a tag that he carried around his neck on a chain. He showed the pensioner the I.D.F. number engraved on his army tag.
That is the story of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Avner recalled a moment in history, that related to the Israeli coastal town of Netanya, when he accompanied Menachem Begin on a visit to the White House.
Begin had to explain to the Southern Baptist peanut farmer who had become President of the United States what 'Moledet' (the Homeland) meant to the Jewish people.

"Mr.President", said Begin, "My generation that rose from the pit of hell are clinging to a principle. There was a time when our Jewish men could not defend their women and children against those enemies determined to exterminate us. Our people were terciated..."
Begin saw that Jimmy Carter looked puzzled at this word, so he explained.
"The Romans decimated our people. That is they killed one in ten of our people.  The Nazis terciated us. That is, one out of every three Jews worldwide were destroyed by the Nazis. They terciated us".

Pointing to the maps on the Oval Office Presidential desk begin stabbed his finger at the town of Netanya on the Mediterranean coast.

"Mr. President. The distance from Tulkarm to Netanya is only nine miles. Nine miles, Mr. President. A single armoured column can cut our nation in two in less than half an hour".

His voice filled with emotion, Begin declared to Carter.
"I hereby take an oath this will never happen to my people!"

Then he broke down in tears. For minutes there was silence in the Oval Office until Menachem Begin was able to compose himself and apologise to the American President.

This, according to Yehuda Avner, who was witness to this scene, planted a seed in Carter that led to the Camp David peace agreement with Sadat and Egypt.

After that, Carter turned his back on us.

Buy THE PRIME MINISTERS.  It is an enthralling read.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Battle of the Rock n' Roll Guitarists.

Battle of the Rock n' Roll Guitarists.

Jeff Beck played Israel this week to a sold-out and appreciative audience.

He follows the successful appearances of Rod Stewart and Elton John. Neil Sedaka will be performing in Tel Aviv next week.

Roger Walters, of Pink Floyd fame, however, is not taking kindly to Israel.

In his 2010 The Wall tour, an animated B-52 bomber is seem dropping bombs in the shape of the Star of David and dollars.

His anti-war statement exposes his misguided notion that Israel drops bombs from B-52s onto innocent Palestinians.

"You can attack Israeli policy without being anti-Jewish', he said.

Roger, you can be a great guitarists and an absolute idiot at the same time!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Even before I got involved in public diplomacy on behalf of my country, Israel, nobody had ever asked me if it is true that we all ride on camels in Israel.
This question has never arisen. Ever.

What I have repeatedly been asked is why we don't give land back to the Palestinians.

Yuli Edelstein is a politician in the Likud Party of Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
In order to strengthen his political power base, Netanyahu created a new ministry for Edelstein.
Posts had been covered in the Foreign Ministry, in the Prime Minister's office, and also in the Jewish Agency and Aliyah Department, so Edelstein crafted his own niche with the newly formed Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry.
He was given new offices, staff, and a budget of a few million shekels a year to play with as he felt fit, without treading on the toes of his colleagues in the other ministries.

Edelstein has ambitions. He would like to see a new international news channel, something like an Israeli version of Al-Jazeera.
Great idea, especially if this gives Israel the opportunity of pumping out a strong, resolute, message to the world.

Edelstein is looking to increase his budget with addition Governmental and private funding to create this news channel outlet.

Edelstein agrees that there is something radically wrong with Israel's 'hasbara' efforts, but he doesn't really appreciate what is wrong with the message. His explanations are confusing.

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post in August he said,
"There is the feeling that something is wrong, and there is an urge to point a finger at Israeli hasbara [public diplomacy]. In most cases, in this type of criticism, people don’t define what they mean by hasbara. I would have to say that hasbara is a combination of many fields – diplomatic, mass media, newspaper, new media, the Internet, social media, and working with Jewish communities and friends of Israel all around the world.”

Addressing the huge numbers of frustrated groups and individuals who desperately want to put out Israel's message he said,
"We’ve been working on creating an infrastructure of our friends and allies around the world, in the Jewish and Christian communities, which is not fully ready yet. It’s based on volunteers and professionals who will coordinate the transmission of accurate information".

”There are many things only volunteers can do. Writing on Facebook, Twitter blogs, and sending e-mails to friends is second to none. The best things people can do are not about money, but about doing things in the right way.”

My reservation is that Yuli Edelstein, the Foreign Ministry, and the Prime Minister's Office are not clear about that is the right way.

Edelstein's office has produced a series of adverts, mainly in Hebrew but more recently in English, that shows a TV reporter explaining to his overseas audience that Israelis ride around on camels.

It is meant as a misconception of how people, who have no connection or accurate knowledge of our country, perceive Israel.

However, by repeating the message that Israelis ride around on camels leaves the impression that we really do ride around on camels.

Israelis who are departing from Ben Gurion Airport are given pamphlets so that they can become ambassadors for Israel when they go abroad.
Edelstein's Public Diplomacy Ministry are trying to rebrand Israel.
I have news for him. The brand, whatever it is, is not being adopted or accepted by the world.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, have created a highly successful brand.
Since 1967 they have repeated one message.
Their land was stolen from them by the Zionists, who are occupying their land.

This message has been repeated ad nausea by every Palestinian at every opportunity. It has been taken up by the international community, it is being fostered by diplomats, it is being manufactured by the world print and televised media. It is quoted by Israeli Arabs who identify themselves not as loyal members of the state into which they were born, but as Palestinians. We even have elected Members of Israel's Knesset who openly claim that this is not their country, our President is not their President, our National Anthem is not their anthem. They sit there as strangers, even enemies, in our national Parliament, and denounce our country.

And what is the official response from our own Government representatives to this false claim.
There isn't one.

No Israeli Government, not the current one, nor those going back decades, have simply expressed one resounding truth - that the sovereign rights to the land belong exclusively to Israel, and these rights are enshrined in international law.

We can quote our biblical claims to the land as and integral part of our heritage. We can point to the Balfour Declaration. But more profoundly, we can also point to more recent events that concrete our sovereignty going back to the 1920 San Remo Declaration following by the 1922 League of Nations Resolution that adopted that Palestine was to be the national home of the Jewish People.

Their resolution for the Mandate of Palestine recognised "the historic connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and the grounds for reconstituting their national home in the country".

It further confirmed that 'The Principle Allied Powers favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people".

Article 4 reiterated that "An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognised as a public body for the purpose of advising and cooperating with the Administration of Palestine in economic, social, and other matters as may effect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and assist and take part in the development of the country".

So far no mention of a Palestinian people, because there was none.

Further, the League of nations stated that the existing Zionist Organisation should be recognised as the agency and "It shall take steps to secure the cooperation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home".

Again, the Jewish national home - not any Palestinian Arab or Islamic state.

In order to clarify, and prevent, the incursion of any foreign body into the legitimate rights of the Jews to a nation state of their own, Article 5 clearly states 
"The Mandatory (the British Government at that time) shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestinian territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign power".

According this the above, Winston Churchill acted illegally when he carved the territory east of the River Jordan and gave it to King Abdullah to create Trans-Jordan.
Jordan legally belongs to Israel.

With reference to the land, including the disputed territories, Article 6 refers to the legality of settlement activities.

"The Administration of Palestine shall facilitate Jewish immigration and shall encourage close settlement by Jews on the land including State lands and waste lands not required for public purpose".

Quoting the legal right of Jews to citizenship Article 7 states, "There shall be included the framing of a nationality law so as to facilitate the requisition of citizenship of Jews who take up permanent residence in Palestine".

Note the emaphasis on Jewish citizenship. This is being denied by our so- called 'partners for peace'.

It is vital to note that the League of Nations Resolution on Palestine was approved by the Arab delegates who were given other lands in compensation.

It was further preserved in international law by the repeated resolution of the newly formed United Nations (which replaced the League of Nations) in 1945.It is important to stress that the Jewish peoples right to reestablish their national state in the biblical land of Israel was enshrined in international law decades before the Holocaust. 

It is a gross misinterpretation of history to suggest that the State of Israel found a legal basis as a result of Auschwitz.

If repeated international resolutions, both in the League of Nations and later in the General Assembly of the United Nations, bestowed unique international legal rights upon Israel it's de facto existence is the result of repeated belligerency of its enemies, and the resolve of the Jewish people to survive.

No other nation can claim to have their national rights so firmly entrenched in international resolutions, and international law, as the State of Israel.

Palestinian, for all their protests, can make no such claim.

Israeli Governments have a huge advantage.

The land is ours to give, or not to give.  This is our prerogative, not theirs.

This simple message expresses a simple and profound truth.  It should remain as the bedrock of our international position. It should be the starting point in every negotiation.

Those who call themselves Palestinians may argue differently, but they have no history of nationhood, no legal sovereignty bestowed upon them, and no amount of Palestinian narrative can make it so.

The day that the Palestinian leadership tell their own people, in their own language, that their only option is a permanent peace with the Jewish State of Israel as their neighbour is the day that peace will break out.

Israel's sovereign rights to the land does not need to imply an ambition to create a Greater Israel, though this has a legal basis.
It does, however, present a very strong opening position in any negotiation with the Palestinians.

The fact that subsequent Israeli Governments have failed to declare this basic legitimate right to our existence is absolutely staggering.

It is nothing short of negligence of dangerous proportions.

It has led to it becoming both an existential and internal threat to the very legitimacy of our nation as our right to exist is being called into question.

Israeli Governments may have failed us, but they could take Yuli Edelstein's budget and office and have him repeat this one message, constantly, at every opportunity.

The land is ours under international law.

They should place adverts in all languages proving this important position.

Israelis should be issued with the relevant historic documents proving our rights so that they can truly be our ambassadors as they travel abroad and face a hostile environment.

Our students would be armed by the facts that prove our legitimate rights to be here as they battle the lies on the campuses of the world.

We need to hear this message coming, repeatedly, from our own elected representatives before we can expect to hear it coming back to us by the rest of the world.

Is it too late to adopt this honest and straightforward truth?

Maybe, but it is certainly more relevant than telling the world that we ride on camels.