London 7th July 2005


FOR MIRIAM

I remember your little girl giggles
that filled the air with rippling laughter
as you sat there on the bed, the two of you,
your feet hardly reaching the edge,
furrowed brows peeping over the top
of the oversized reading book
of Mr and Mrs, standing in a bath tub
nakedly staring out at you and asking
what it was that you noticed.
Tee hee, tee hee you covered your mouths,
your eyes bulging six year old innocence
one of you saying it was naughty
the other that they couldn’t possibly
both fit in that tub together!
And then both of you blossoming
in different directions but beautifully
over the years into bright young adults with
hopeful expectations of future fruitfulness.

I remember only too well her innocence
eroded as they attempted to tease
her life away, my feeling of emptiness
as I waited for news after that blast
that I heard in the distance, knowing
that she was there, not knowing
if she would ever be here again,
but then our tears mixed up on our cheeks
as we pressed them together
and our hot breath warmed the
the chill that had frozen our hearts.

I remember the last time I saw you
a while back when you embraced me
as of yesteryear to enquire how I was,
your wide smile stretching to show
your snowy white teeth revealing
a beauty more than skin deep;
and now her tears mix with mine again
but our breath cannot warm the chill
that has frozen our hearts as we know
that you were there and would never
be here again as they teased you away
in that blasted bus and stole the essence
of your being from all who loved you.

Sharon Klaff July 14th 2005

The Eleventh Hour


Memories of Ze’ev Jabotinsky
by Benzion Olsfanger

I joined the South African Betar movement in 1932, when I was studying engineering at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg. I well remember Jabotinsky’s two missions to South Africa in 1937 and 1938 respectively over a total period of some six months, on behalf of the New Zionist Organisation, of which he was the President.

In 1935, Jabotinsky and his Revisionist Zionist Party had concluded that the Zionist movement was so undemocratic that it was impossible to change its leadership and policy. They were convinced that under the leadership of the Jewish Agency, Zionism was being liquidated and Jabotinsky and his party seceded from the World Zionist Organisation. Some 700,000 Jewish voters gave them the mandate to found democratically the New Zionist Organisation and on the 8th September 1935, at a conference in Vienna, the fundamental principles of the new people’s movement were proclaimed. The membership of the New Zionist Organisation was mostly from amongst Jews of Eastern Europe. The Jews of Western Europe and the United States showed little or no interest in Jabotinsky or his movement. At the time of the rapid rise to power of the Nazis in the year 1933, Jabotinsky warned: “liquidate the diaspora or the diaspora will liquidate you” to the deaf ears of the Zionist establishment.

Jabotinsky described the lot of the Eastern European Jews as a “frozen stampede”; they wanted to flee, but there was nowhere to go because no state would welcome them. Therefore he propagated his Humanitarian Zionism, which comprised a ten year plan for their orderly evacuation from the zones of distress in Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, and their settlement in a Jewish State, with a Jewish majority, in Palestine on both sides of the River Jordan. There was no recognised state of Jordan in those days, but simply Trans-Jordan or Eastern Palestine, which the British had partitioned from Mandatory Palestine in 1922 and where they had installed the Hashemite Abdullah as its ruler. Likewise in 1923, the British had partitioned and handed over the Golan Heights to the land-rich French Mandate of Syria. Jabotinsky claimed these lands to be part of the Mandate of Palestine, which was granted into Britain’s care by the then League of Nations. The purpose of that Mandate was to establish the Jewish State in Palestine and not to hand over the Mandatory lands to Arabs. In his evidence submitted to the Peel Commission of Inquiry on Palestine in 1937, Jabotinsky suggested that if Britain was really unable to fulfill its Mandatory obligations, then it should give up its administration of the region and return its governance  to the League of Nations. (These were very prophetic words, because prior to the actual foundation of Israel in 1948, Britain returned its mandate to the United Nations and then withdrew from the Middle East.) The Jewish State in Mandatory Palestine was vital for Jabotinsky’s plan to evacuate the millions of Eastern Jews locked up in the “frozen stampede”. He warned that the eleventh hour had come for rescuing the these Jews by implementing the ten-year plan, and that funds were urgently needed save the Jews from a certain genocide.

The New Zionist organisation lacked a steady and reliable source of funds and so Jabotinsky set out on fund raising tours. There was then in South Africa an active, strong and sophisticated Revisionist Zionist movement including the Betar movement, of which I was a member. At that time there was also great prosperity in South Africa due to a boom in gold mining, construction and industrial expansion. Indeed South African Jewry ranked amongst the largest contributors to the Zionist cause. With the local Revisionist Zionists functioning as a nucleus, Jabotinsky came to South Africa to raise money for the New Zionist Organisation as well as to increase its membership there. He addressed public meetings countrywide that were enthusiastically attended by the Jewish communities who generously donated to the cause. Many non-Zionists were so impressed by Jabotinsky and joined the New Zionist Organisation. However, the South African Zionist Federation that was comprised of the General Zionists, Religious Mizrachi and Socialist Zionist parties and affiliated to the World Zionist Organisation, opposed Jabotinsky, propagated a counter-campaign against him with the help of imported propagandists from abroad and condemned the Revisionists as “dissidents”. He initiated conciliation with the South African Zionist Federation to be negotiated at a proposed round table conference, but they rejected this. Nevertheless, Jabotinsky was well received by many Jews, Gentiles, the media and government circles and he was much sought after by Jewish societies who organised banquets, dinner parties and drawing-room meetings in support of him for the purpose of raising funds. There was also a flow of visitors to his suite in the old Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg.

I attended many of Jabotinsky’s public meetings and never tired of his spellbinding oratory. Listening to him speak was like attending a symphony concert. I particularly remember his first public meeting in the Johannesburg Plaza Theatre. His theme was “The Path to the Jewish State”. He meticulously prepared his delivery in programmed detail, even including the jokes, nuances and pauses. He stood on the stage erect and at ease and spoke fluently, clearly and audibly, in perfect, plain and idiomatic English for some two hours, using body language in imitative gestures to emphasise actions he was describing. He emanated a certain presence that focused total audience attention on him in a way few orators are able to do. He evoked images of people, places and events in a spellbinding manner. The packed audience sat still, silent and enthralled. They gave him prolonged and enthusiastic applause throughout and they donated generously.

In June 1937, in my capacity as the only car owner in the Betar movement, I was selected to accompany Jabotinsky and his colleague Eliyahu Ben-Horin on a touring mission to the Jewish communities in Northern Transvaal and adjacent Southern Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe). This was a tour of some 3,000 kilometres that included, on the way back to Johannesburg, a trip through the Kruger National Park Game Reserve that had been planned to give Jabotinsky a break from his strenuous work. At the Beit Bridge crossing over the Limpopo River boundary, between Southern Rhodesia and South Africa, Jabotinsky presented his Nansen passport to the Rhodesian customs officials. This was a League of Nations passport conceived by the humanitarian Polar explorer, Nansen, and issued to stateless Russian exiles, Jabotinsky’s birthplace being Odessa in Russia [current day Ukraine]. He became stateless in 1929 when the British Administration in Palestine  arbitrarily exiled him from his home there, were he had been legally entitled to live. That same year, 1929, marks the year the Jews of Hebron were massacred by the local Arab population, unimpeded by the Colonial Office responsible for civil obedience in the region. Consequently however, Jabotinsky was not hampered by allegiance to any state or government in his selfless, single-minded, fearless, relentless and prodigious drive to achieve the Jewish State so that the Jews of Eastern Europe could escape from that “frozen stampede”.

Jabotinsky was a multi-talented genius. He was a statesman, prophet, orator, linguist, soldier, lawyer, poet, journalist and novelist. He used all these talents in his fight to re-establish in Mandatory Palestine the ancient Jewish State so that the Jews could have a safe haven from the impending genocide he had predicted. He earned his living as a syndicating journalist and contributed to his movement’s funds. In his book “The Story of the Jewish Legion”, Jabotinsky describes his successful three-year struggle to persuade the governments of Britain, France and Italy to agree to the formation in 1915 of the Jewish Legion (Ha’Gedud Ha’Ivri), that participated in the British conquest of Palestine from the Ottoman Empire and in which Jabotinsky was an officer. In his novel “Samson” which he amplified from the biblical narrative, he reveals his political philosophy. I remember seeing in the year 1952, Cecil de Mille’s movie “Samson” based on Jabotinsky’s novel, in which Victor Mature, Hedy Lamarr and a young Angela Lansbury respectively portray Samson, Delilah and Semadar.

During the tour of Southern Africa, I had the unique opportunity of observing Jabotinsky the private man at close quarters. I found him to be courteous, kind, sociable, likable, even-tempered, unassuming, as well as an alert and penetrating observer. He zestfully enjoyed the tour and sang when he was in a happy mood. He was devoid of arrogance, egotism and patronage. He did not hate his communist and socialist ideological opponents, even those who vilified, denigrated and abused him. Nevertheless, if interrupted in oration by provocative hecklers, he silenced them with harsh verbal whip-lashing. He had impeccable manners and was indeed the living embodiment of that “Hadar” which he propagated to his Betar movement.

In August 1939 the devastating and unforeseen Ribbentrop-Molotov non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and Communist Russia was signed after secret negotiations. This precipitated in the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, beginning with the joint Nazi-Communist partition and occupation of Poland. The eleventh hour Jabotinsky had predicted, passed by unnoticed by the world at large, but the “frozen stampede” remained, the Jews of Eastern Europe were trapped, facing the liquidation Jabotinsky had predicted.

Undaunted by the momentous task he had taken on, Jabotinsky traveled to the USA on a mission to propagate the raising of a Jewish army to fight against Nazi Germany. There was opposition to his efforts from USA government circles and the World Zionist Organisation. At that time the desperate Battle of Britain was imminent and the United States was neutral. Jabotinsky never realised his mission as he suffered a sudden fatal heart attack in New York in August 1940 at the age of 60. In his will drawn up in 1935, he directed that he was to be buried where he died, and that his remains be re-interred in the future Jewish State only by order of its government. He was finally reburied in Israel in 1965, 17 years after Israel’s founding and 36 years after his exile, by the order of the government of Levi Eshkol, who himself had been a soldier in Jabotinsky’s Jewish Legion.

Before his death, Jabotinsky wrote one of his last articles in New York entitled “Communism is Poison to Zionism” that proved to be prophetic during the period of the Cold War when communist Russia was Israel’s enemy.

I believe that Jabotinsky ranks amongst the great fighting leaders and prophets of ancient Israel. He left a legacy: his followers participated in the war of liberation, and afterwards formed an opposition party in the Israeli Knesset [parliament] which ultimately formed a coalition with other opposition parties to take over the reigns of power in the elections of 1977.

In his time, the historical circumstances were overwhelming against his ten-year plan. Nevertheless, he fought to the bitter end giving his life to save the Jewish nation. Catastrophically, the Galut was not liquidated and so the “frozen stampede”, was liquidated in the Holocaust.

References:
1937 Archives of the “Eleventh Hour”, initial organ of the New Zionist Organisation of South Africa
1937 – 1938 Archives of the “Zionist Record”, organ of the South African Zionist Federation
Archives of the “Jewish Herald”, final organ of the New Zionist Organisation of South Africa
July 9 1938 Jabotinsky wrote to the author from Rome whilst en route to England from South Africa. He was then living in the London suburb of St. John’s Wood.
August 3 1965 Supplement to the “Jewish Herald” entitled “Ze’ev Jabotinsky 1880 – 1940” on the occasion of the reburial of his remains in Israel.
Pierre Van Paassen “The forgotten ally”

St James Unwrapped


I have finally scraped myself off the floor having heard Jeff Halper of ICAHD speak or rather rant at the “both sides of the barrier debate” hosted at the church of the good people of St James on Saturday night 4th January – what a way to start 2014!

Before we could get into the place, even with a pre purchased ticket, is another story of check points and barriers.  Not only were there three, yes the number grew by the day, professional security guards, plus monitors at the gate, but this time the entire wall was taped off and the attendees routed around the periphery, far from the wall, lest anyone dared to produce a pot of red paint and replace the now erased message THIS WALL SAVES LIVES!

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Standing in line and chatting to a young monitor, I heard the usual claptrap of what about the green line, occupation, the wall dividing the people of Bethlehem and some.

First, the scene was set by Leila Sansour, born Moscow 1966 of Catholic parents, arrived in Bethlehem 1972. Describing Bethlehem “as the oldest continuously populated city in the world” (Jericho probably predates that, but never mind) that has “remained there for thousands and thousands of years” with a largely Christian population and “always a Muslim community from the time that Islam appeared in the region”, she was strangely silent about exactly how those Muslims arrived there. She was schtum too about the existence of the Jewish tribes in the region all those thousands of years ago and in particular, the Israelite and Judean period, confirmed archaeologically as recently as 2012, at the City of David, when a bulla (seal impression in dried clay) was found inscribed with ancient Hebrew script that reads “From the town of Bethlehem to the King,”; of Bethlehem mentioned in the Bible as Bet Lehem Judah; not an utterance that it is the site where Samuel anointed King David; total silence about the abundance of texts rich with evidence of a full Jewish community and life in that region now known as Bethlehem; of Rachel and Ruth and Naomi; of why after 1948 Bethlehem was largely void of Jews, despite the siting of Rachel’s Tomb at its entrance. And as she doesn’t mention that, then she doesn’t have to mention why Rachel’s tomb is walled in by a bunker type structure, or the original wall of Bethlehem having been built well before Christianity took hold in the region, that was rebuilt in 529CE with Bethlehem further fortressed by the Crusaders  in 1099.

It seems beyond belief that the Christians of St James somehow have overlooked who exactly fortressed Bethlehem as occupiers of the ancient City of David, King of the Jews. Buying instead into this replacement theory expounded by Sansour and the rest of the team involved in this racist endeavour, they install this faux wall, as though walled cities throughout history in the precise location of Bethlehem are a figment of the imagination, as though the occupation of the City of David with the “..idea of wanting to gain control over a territory is often achieved easier by moving your own citizens into that area and making them work for you as a way of expanding yourself, as a way of also undermining the presence of the people who live in the area that you are settling”, doesn’t also apply to the other, the history of the Jews in the region, who were dispossessed by invading Christians and Muslims over the thousands of years Sansour refers to.  Short on facts and large on sound bites – occupation, land grab, green line, settlements, international law, military force and of course the most recent, closure – this was an airbrushing of reality conveyed with a soupcon of emotion, just enough to evoke knowing pious consensual grunts from a pliable, kaffiyeh clad, indoctrinated audience, professed Christians who have seemingly lost their way from their Saviour, Jesus the Jew.

The few slides shown were familiar to those who follow the anti-Israel BDS/PSC diatribe peddled outside Jewish owned and other stores that stock Israeli goods, some not far from St James in London, in an attempt to achieve real closure, the shutting down of Jewish businesses reminiscent of Juden frei Europe Hitler had on plan, and in its completeness, the closure of the Jewish state and the riddance of the Jewish people.

So on to Jeff Halper, an American Jew now living in Israel, the Erev Rav of our generation, who didn’t disappoint in elucidating where the pious and the gullible learn these sound bites! How disgraceful that it is a Jew teaching that Jews have no place in Israel, using Bethlehem, the City of David, as an example of his invective.  Surely this Jew, this anthropologist, is aware that a wall in the Bethlehem environs is not news, neither are Jews, except that the only Jews there now are truly walled into a bunker around the Tomb of Rachel, the second most holy site in Judaism, or walled out, so as not to be sniped at and killed by pot-shots from the local Arab hilltops.

Halper is certain the security barrier has nothing to do with security and even less to do with saving lives.  He was clearly put out by Alan Johnson’s well prepared evidence-based talk based in the three barriers: “I want to talk about three security barriers tonight. First, the pretend barrier outside the Church here in London. Second, the real barrier in Israel and the West Bank. Third, what I will call the intellectual separation barrier, on one side of which is a ludicrously simplistic, and frankly counter-productive, ‘activism’ on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and on the other side of which is, well, the actual Israeli-Palestinian conflict in all of its historical depth and political complexity.”  Halper described Johnson’s talk as the most “humbug complexity, the most simplistic and absolutely wrong presentation”.  It must have been that complex simplicity that caused him to show clear signs of outrage that Johnson didn’t speak about the occupation, but instead spoke about terrorism, and to query that if he was to speak about terrorism, why didn’t he mention state terrorism“that’s what the wall outside represents” he told an adoring audience, “The wall – and if you want, you want to talk about terrorism – you talk about cluster bombs used by Israel – you talk about anti-personnel weapons, you talk about tungsten based weapons that melt your insides, if you want to talk about Palestinian children with wounds that even doctors can’t figure out, talk about Flechette -  they’re like little razors, like swords, thousands of them going through the air and chopping limbs off.  You wanna talk about terrorism well let’s talk about state terrorism.” 

The rest of his talk was about how PM Sharon also disapproved of building the security barrier, rather preferring he said, to enable the Israeli army the freedom to land grab.  He mentioned Camp David with Barak telling Arafat: “If you’re not forthcoming, unilaterally we’re gonna build a wall and we’re gonna create the border on the ground” with the assured certainty of his casual language giving the impression that he was present with his “buddies” Arafat and Barak at that round table meeting! And of course he described how the wall incorporated all the “settlement blocks”. He threw in something about how the wall was a Labour invention, nothing to do with Likud or the right-wing.  A real rant that revealed how the good people of St James learned their sound bites like occupation, green line and of course the worst one of all, creating the Israelis as the present day Nazis.

And he didn’t disappoint on that score either when he explained that Sharon’s objection to building a separation barrier was because “the army feels constrained when it’s trying to move, it’s trying to chase, it’s trying to do this and that, everywhere you go there’s a damn wall to manoeuvre” when the plan is purportedly to enter Arab Palestinian areas, to “demolish houses” and to create “Bantustans”. Of course you can’t have a decent debate about Israel without throwing in the inevitable buzz word of the moment, Apartheid, that word, a useful tool for useful idiots to achieve an increased emotional outreach!  But who would have guessed what Israel has in mind for this occupation?

So as not to leave anyone guessing he tells us: “What the fact is, is that the occupation is proactive, this is the part of the Israeli attempt to take the entire country and my last sentence is, there’s something worse than Apartheid, and that’s a warehouse. Israel is going…ah.. this is an attempt to personally imprison the Palestinians in areas A & B and in Gaza and that’s the point of the wall, the wall is literally and this isn’t pretence, go live for a week in Bethlehem, you’ll feel the pretence of it, the wall is literally the walls of a prison.”

And so now you have it – from the Erev Rav’s mouth – for warehouse read concentration camp and then follow the line to the biggest sound bite of all – recreating the Jews, as represented by Israel, as the Nazis of today – replacement theory at its most extreme!

Ahava products flourish in UK


I popped into Fenwicks at Brent Cross on Saturday to do a little shopping in the cosmetic department.  I not only found a shelf laden with Ahava Dead Sea products, but also Rita, the diminutive assistant who used to work at the Monmouth Street store before its forced closure last year. Rita told me that Ahava is still very active in the UK, attending shows and selling in stores like Fenwicks across the country.

Certain people from the mob who used to picket and break into the Monmouth Street Ahava store can now to be found hovering around the lotions and potions spying on Ahava activities attempting to intimidate the brave Rita.  Of course Brent Cross is private property where pickets and demonstrators are not encouraged, so persecuting Rita on an individual basis is now the style of these bully boys.  Hopefully their profiles will be picked up on the CCTV cameras and they will be barred from entering the centre.

In any event it was great to be able to buy some wonderful Ahava lotion and soap as a present for my mother-in-law who was celebrating her 95th birthday, in good health and very happy that she could soften her aged skin with the renowned products made from Dead Sea minerals. Of course she is old enough to remember the last time Jewish shops were targeted in a similar way with forced closures culminating in barring Jews from schools and universities and then transporting them off to the camps where 6 million met a death planned and executed by sophisticated, cold-blooded Jew haters.

Today she told me that she no longer likes to follow the news as she fears for the future of her great-grandchildren.  She sees a worse future for them than was suffered by the Jews of Europe at the hands of the Nazis.  The main difference is that then the free West opposed the Nazis whom they were ultimately able to defeat, whereas today the free world embraces the current tirade of Jew hatred in that it does not recognise the enemy, will not name it and therefore cannot shame it.  She is almost grateful that she will most probably not be around to witness the next round of attempted genocide of the Jews.