Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Strangers Within. And Enemies.

Born in Warsaw as the nineteenth century approached the twentieth, Abraham Bevistein grew up in London’s East End. Upon the outbreak of the First World War he rushed to serve the country in which his family had so recently taken refuge from the scourge of Eastern European antisemitism by enlisting in the Army – underage and using a false surname.

His regiment was sent to France in May 1915, and the teenaged Abraham was slightly wounded the following December. A couple of months later, as he lay in a trench, three grenades exploded nearby. Unnerved and temporarily deafened, the bewildered lad scrambled out but was ordered back after being passed as fit.

But he wasn’t fit, and shortly afterwards he wandered off, desperately seeking a few days’ respite in which to recuperate.

On 20 March 1916 he was shot for desertion – becoming one of the 306 British soldiers (most of them similarly shell-shocked) who paid that penalty during the First World War. (In 1990 the ‘Shot at Dawn’ campaign was launched to secure their official pardons, which were finally granted in 2006.)

He was also one of the 10,000 Jews – many of them first generation immigrants – who flocked to the British colours before conscription was introduced, and one of up to 60,000 co-religionists who served in the British forces during that appalling conflict; of these, 1,105 received military honours – five the Victoria Cross – and over 8,600 lost their lives, including no less than four sons of a Birmingham widow from Russia.

(For their counterparts in the Second World War see Martin Sugarman’s just-published book.)

Each year, on Armistice Day, the eleventh day of the eleventh month, people stop whatever they are doing and observe a two-minute silence beginning at eleven a.m., and on Remembrance Sunday a wreath-laying ceremony takes place at the Cenotaph in London’s Whitehall to honour people like Abraham – people of all creeds and colours – who fought and died under the Union Jack in the First World War and its successors.

The symbol of Britain’s fallen is the poppy – redolent of the blood-red poppies of the Flanders fields where so many of the casualties occurred. The wreaths are formed of poppies, and (overseas readers might not know this) people wear paper poppies, sold annually by the Royal British Legion to raise funds, in their lapels. Even the trendily non-patriotic Al Beeb has its on-screen presenters wear the poppy – and they first don their poppies well-ahead of Armistice Day.

Last Wednesday, the day before this year’s Armistice Day, a columnist in a northern newpaper, Asian Image, enjoined fellow-Muslims not to shun Armistice Day parades as urged by some:
 “We all talk about the shortcomings in the government and services provided to us by this country.
For starters many of us need to look around in the rest of the world and accept we get a lot more than most others, and start appreciating what we have.
This Islamic group who were thinking of protesting at a welcoming parade in my opinion were steeping over the mark.
There may only have been a handful of them but that is enough in this day and age to cause hysteria.
We would have been playing into the hands ...  of the far-right and become ‘chamchays of the media.’ We need to separate the issues our political differences on the rights and wrongs of a war and the appreciation and thanking to our troops in being in our armed forces there to defend us by putting their lives on the line. We need to realise in a flood these same soldiers would be airlifting all of us from being drowned.
The backlash and disturbing image this protest would have left is unquantifiable setting race relations back 20 years.
I’ll be perfectly honest about this - your normal person on the street would have started to think we were a bunch of looneys!
Personally, I urge Muslims to attend the welcoming parade and show their support of these young men and women who protect us and show the whole community that Muslims are loyal and law abiding citizens.”
However much such wise counsels prevailed among the Muslim community generally, in London, while the solemn two-minute silence was taking place, a repulsive group of Islamic extremists calling itself “Muslims against Crusades” held a squalid and (literally) inflammatory ceremony in London’s South Kensington.   (Here they are, being escorted through the neighbourhood underground station by poppy-wearing police.)

They insulted Britain’s fallen and our brave servicemen and women fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan by setting fire to a gigantic replica poppy and screaming “British soldiers burn in Hell!” (which they also had written on their placards).

The Bible enjoins us to show kindness to “the stranger within thy gates”. But it doesn’t tell us to indulge the enemy within. Yet these dangerous, loathsome fanatics – who clearly seek to comprise a fifth column in our midst – were given a police escort to their place of depravity, where in the name of the liberty of speech which they would triumphantly destroy, they were permitted to hold their “ceremony” – protected by police from angry citizens.

And now the following event is scheduled to take place the firebrand (Islam4UK) Anjem Choudary and chums, although I doubt that one featured star speaker, Omar Bakri, will be attending, having been captured overseas last week.  (Choudary, a British-born former lawyer, is also behind the poppy-burning group, I'm told.)

As the Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick (pictured, in a still from that wonderful Latma spoof "We Con the World") observed in that paper's issue of 12 November, in an article about the danger posed to Israel by home-grown Islamic fanatics like fiery antisemitic Nazareth imam, Nazim Mahmoud Salim, who’s been charged with inciting violence and terrorism in mosques and on the web, hard facts have to be faced and leftist apologists for Islamic fanatics put firmly in their place:
“As Israelis wake up to the reality of al-Qaida in Nazareth, our leftist establishment remains in denial about it role in enabling this reality.
Today, leftist judges together with leftist politicians and opinion makers block all efforts by politicians and the public to acknowledge and address the growing lawlessness and jihadist bent of Israel’s Muslim minority. Fear of the politically correct Supreme Court has deterred authorities from outlawing the Islamic Movement. Efforts to contend with illegal land seizures and building have been blocked by the leftist media, pressure groups largely sponsored by the New Israel Fund and the courts. Even symbolic measures like the government’s recent bid to require non-Jewish immigrants to pledge loyalty to the state have been viciously attacked by Israel’s leftist establishment as fascist and racist.
But as Europe is belatedly acknowledging, these politically correct commissars must be sidelined if the free world is to withstand the growing threat of homegrown jihad. Nearly a decade after the September 11 attacks, global jihad remains the central threat to the West, and not because of its popularity in western Pakistan. It remains the central threat to the free world because of its popularity among the Muslims in the free world.
To remain free, free societies must shed our politically correct shackles and address this growing menace to everything we hold dear.”

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