LONDON — The Pope is arriving in the UK imminently, on the first official visit by any Pope for at least 500 years —yes that’s correct, it was over 500 years ago since Henry 8th decimated the Catholic Church in England, and established the Protestant Church of England in its stead.
So one would expect a great deal to be made of this official visit (the previous Pope visited in 1982, but it was a Catholic event and not an “official” event). Well indeed, a great fuss is being made, but in a vicious wave of anti religious hysteria, generated by much of the press and TV. The Pope’s visit is being widely criticised on the grounds of child abuse, gay rights, women’s rights, the cost to the Treasury, etc. Even the Foreign Office officials tasked with planning the trip, were found to be so hostile that they apparently had to be replaced by another team. There appears to be no sense of History, or acknowledgement of how important the issue is to many Catholic British.Anyone would think it was the Devil visiting , rather than the Holy Father.
What fascinates me, is the similarity to the hysterical revulsion the “liberal” establishment have towards the Jewish State of Israel. It has been a moment of clarity for me. Clearly the Catholics and Jews are singled out for particular revulsion, because of their affiliation with religious beliefs. The Jews cannot, in post Holocaust Europe, still be attacked too directly, so Israel is a substitute target. As for the official Protestant Church of England, it is so weak and marginalised, that it appears to be irrelevant, despite in theory being the official state church. It is to be noted that Tony Blair converted from Church of England to Catholicism soon after he retired as Prime Minister. Read more…
By Lloyd Levy
EILAT, Israel –A major fault line exists, not merely in California geology, but in the Jewish world ! The split is about two Jewish world views that are difficult to reconcile. On the one hand are the mainstream western Diaspora Jews, and on the other hand Israeli Jews. They each represent completely different views of the Jewish situation. The administration of President Obama has very much crystallised and opened up this break.
This situation has been so, for thousands of years. Most Jews that had been exiled to Babylon, chose to stay there in the Diaspora, even when some went back to Jerusalem to build the Second Temple in 6th Century BCE.
The modern situation goes back to the French Revolution in Europe 200 years ago. This was 100 years before Jews emigrated in vast numbers from Russia and Eastern Europe to USA. The American community was virtually non existent, but its equivalent western Diaspora Communities were in Germany and France. Until that point in time, the Jews were very much a self contained community, and thought of themselves as a Jewish Nation, not merely as a religion.
After the French Revolution, the Jews in Germany became Germans of Jewish religious belief, or French citizens of Jewish belief etc. In Germany there developed a “Jewish” ideology redefining the notion of the Jews being chosen as a people (because they no longer believed Jews to be a “people”), to the notion that the Jews were chosen to spread a message of toleration and understanding throughout society as a whole. It is this new ideology that led to what became “reform” Judaism in Germany, and which essentially was adopted by the mainstream liberal Jewish community in America.
On the other hand, the Jews of Russia were not accepted as citizens by their Government, and they retained a sense of the Jewish Nation. This concept has to a great extent been carried over into the modern state of Israel, which does stress Jewish Nationalism and the sense that the re-awoken Jewish nation is the future.
Therefore, two forms of Judaism developed, one in Western Europe and then in USA, and another one in Israel. They both see themselves as the future, and this potential conflict of interest, in my opinion, is the main fissure within Judaism, and not the Ashkenazi/Sephardi split.
So where does this relate to President Obama? His Administration contains many Jews, and he seems to court Jewish support, to the extent that he is almost a “Jewish” President in many ways. His worldview reflects the liberal Jewish Establishment mentality. Yet he appears to be unsympathetic to the concept of a Jewish State . This theoretically opens up the fault line as discussed earlier. In UK and France, the Jewish Establishment has invariably been loath under any circumstances, to show any dual loyalty. At the time of the Dreyfus Affair, the French Jewish leadership did nothing to support Dreyfus, whose plight was taken up by non Jews. In UK, the Jewish establishment was anti-Zionist at the time of the Balfour Declaration, and lobbied against the establishment of a Jewish State. Many would argue that little has changed in the view of the British Jewish Establishment since then !
It will be interesting to see how the American Jewish community reacts to this paradox. I expect that the Jewish secular establishment, will increasingly find itself critical of Israel, and shout loudly about its own loyalty to the American Dream. The average Jew, and the more traditionally orthodox, will continue to support Israel through thick and thin.
Whatever the future holds, we need to bear one overwhelming fact in mind- namely that both Israel and USA each contain approx. 6 million Jews. That number is of course tattooed onto every Jew’s forearm, and neither community must be allowed to fail.
Levy divides his time between homes in London and Eilat
By Lloyd Levy
LONDON–This week, Britain expelled an Israeli diplomat, because they suspect that Mossad used forged British passports to kill a Hamas terrorist in Dubai. It needs to be pointed out that there is no definite evidence that Israel carried out the attack, and thus the issue was a very public way of attacking Israel under the slightest pretence. Let us be clear- the expulsion has more to do with an upcoming British General Election, in which there are 2.5 million Muslims and merely 200,000 Jews. One doesn’t have to be a genius to see which group the politicians will be courting, and more evidence of this will no doubt become apparent as the Election progresses.
The British Government action closely follows that of the Obama Administration’s very public and opportunistic criticism of Israel . Britain takes its cue from USA on foreign policy matters, and has not failed to note Obama’s hostility to the Jewish State.
It is absolutely clear that the policy is to sacrifice the Jewish State as an offering to the Muslim world, in an effort to appease them, in the vain hope that the Jihadists will disappear. This is the new policy of the US , with Britain following along in its slip stream. It is what happened to Czechoslovakia before the Second World War, when Britain and France encouraged Germany to take over that unfortunate and brave country. It merely served to encourage Hitler even further.
Both governments issue soothing words to anaesthetise Israel’s supporters, such as how much Israel is an ally.
However we really do have to judge the situation by deeds and not words. The Jews murdered in the Nazi camps, were kept quiet by being told that they were merely going to work camps, or to have a shower. By the time they realised they had been duped, it was too late.
So what can Israel do ? I suggest that Bibi takes a leaf out of Yasser Arafat’s book ( I never thought I would have to recommend Arafat to anybody !). Arafat had a policy of agreeing to go along with something, “riding the beast” as it were, with the objective of at least having some influence over events, until such time as he could put a brake on matters. Bibi may have to follow suit, and pray for a change of US Administration before Israel’s security is permanently damaged. Maybe Congress and US public opinion can be influential.
Unfortunately, Israel lives in a violent and unforgiving neighbourhood. The Arabs will now up their demands, sensing US’s new anti-Israel policy. Iran will become more belligerent. Israel’s internal Arab population will become restive, sensing the way the wind is blowing.
We are potentially facing an extremely violent episode, and all thanks to the US Administration suddenly putting its Middle East policy into reverse gear.
Levy is a businessman and freelance writer who divides his time between the United Kingdom and Israel
By Lloyd Levy
LONDON, England, Nov. 10 — I suppose it is a sign of getting old, that one feels standards are falling in the younger generations.
The last 24 hours have seen some thoroughly distressing examples of the most unbelievable ignorance among young people in the UK.
There is a quiz programme on television called “The Weakest Link”, in which contestants compete to answer assorted questions, any of which are scarcely mind stretching. I would not normally watch the programme, but happened to see the last few minutes before the evening news bulletin began. A youngish English man in his mid 30’s was asked the question “What is the nickname of the Israeli Secret Service”. His answer was “al-Qaida” !! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing- in other words, this supposedly above average intelligence person, appears to believe that when al-Qaida blow up New York etc etc, that it is a branch of the Israeli Government.
Meanwhile, also this week, a poll has been published among youngsters in the UK, asking about their knowledge of the Second World War. One in six thought that Adolf Hitler was a German football coach. One in twenty thought that the Holocaust was a celebration, similar to Halloween. One in twenty also thought that Auschwitz was a German theme park.
This is so depressing, especially in the UK where the two World Wars are still discussed and analysed, and written about, so extensively. It was actually something we “won”, which is becoming increasingly rare nowadays.
I expect the level of ignorance on any general knowledge topic will decline even further in future years, as our youngsters become unable to absorb facts that cannot be expressed in more letters than fit into a “Twitter” message.
Levy, a freelance writer, divides his times between homes in England and Israel