Iranian military activity in southern Syria under-reported by BBC

Originally posted on BBC Watch:

Those who read the BBC Monitoring article about Saudi Arabian concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on March 6th (discussed here) may have noticed the following short passage:Metcalf art

“Iranian forces are reported to have played a large role, alongside Hezbollah and government troops, in a recent offensive against rebels in southern Syria, close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Iran admitted in January that a general in the Revolutionary Guard had been killed in an Israeli air strike in the area.”

Beyond those few words, the BBC has not reported on Iranian military activities in southern Syria. In its article on the January 18th incident mentioned above, the BBC’s answer to the key question of what a convoy of Hizballah operatives and Iranian Revolutionary Guards were doing near the border with Israel on the Syrian side of the…

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Light and Dark

I finally got round to watching The Eichmann Story and still my stomach is churning this morning and my head is pounding with questions and I ask why, and why again and again, to no response.

I recall Haussmann questioning and Eichmann denying as that trial set the curse of my life, a life trying to understand how and why and what for and …. So many questions unanswered. And I’ll continue banging on about it however much you harrumph and sigh and roll your eyes in boredom, until sense prevails, or my deathbed beckons, whichever comes sooner.

A world that watched and saw and vomited at the stench of it all not 70 years ago, makes docudramas to commemorate the most evil of evils the world has witnessed, at the same time half-masts a flag to a dead tyrant in 2015 who has done most to reignite the ancient hatred of the Jews, whilst negotiating a settlement for a Nuclear armed Iran, that arch creator and supporter of terrorism that threatens the Jews as did Hitler. Imagine a world .. with a nuclear armed fascist enemy and discover how much more can be done now to eradicate Jews than the cattle trucks and gaseous showers and imagine – the skeletal bodies, nuclear charred, as you bulldoze the ditch to the full.

Shema Yisrael is older than the hills and reverberates into the future beyond any desire to eradicate its singers.

It’s not just in memory of the Shoah, but remembering the promise of Never Again.  It’s not about Charlie or Je Suis Juif, it’s about who we are and how we wish to take ourselves forward in a free world. It’s about remembering and understanding, about knowledge and how to acquire it.  Most of all it’s about the shining Light over the abyss of darkness. Simply it’s Good over Evil.

The Memorial Day Jester

Holocaust Memorial day, Thursday 27th January 2005, 60 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.  In London a memorial service was attended by Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Philip, the Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Michael Howard amongst others.  Sixty survivors, one for each year since 1945, were guests at the Palace of Westminster.  Throughout the service Her Majesty sat obviously in deep thought, her face stern and eyes roving silently to gauge the scene.  The memorial candelabra, a modern intricate weave of metal, held 62 candles, each one lit by the Queen, Prince Philip and the 60 survivors respectively.  Throughout, several grandchildren of survivors read quietly and steadily the names of those who had perished.  Tony Blair made a speech, Mr Howard whose grandparents were exterminated at Auschwitz sat there in silence.  The Queen led the way out, her gaze fixed to the stony floor.

Of course the major world event was held at Auschwitz.  The setting was austere and sombre.  The most notorious railway track in the world was lit in two parallel lines by candles in memory of those who perished in history’s most evil record of man’s inhumanity to man.  Here 700 survivors, all now in their 70’s and 80’s, walked through the snow the quarter of a mile up the track, retracing their steps of all those years ago as young children making a journey into the unknown pits of hell.  How brave of them in the autumn of their lives to come back here again in the dark, in the bleakness of a cold winter’s night, to remember a time that forever fills the nightmares of their sleep.

Shivering, they took their places on the snow covered chairs, their only heat emanating from several huge wire-caged fires. For an hour they waited for the dignitaries to arrive so the service could begin, their jaws rattling as they shivered from the cold and the memories flooding back through the dark night air.  And then they arrived, the Presidents of Russia and France, the Prime Minister of the Ukraine, the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain, the German Chancellor, the Queen’s son Prince Edward, Duke of Wessex, and the rest of them, mounting the heated platform opposite to take their places on the snow-protected seats reserved especially for them.

The whistle of The Train sounded, The Siren screeched and The Floodlights waved their beams across the bleak landscape.  Speeches from the President of Russia recounting how Russian troops had librated the camp, the Prime Minister of the Ukraine taking an oath that never again will such evil be tolerated in his land, never again repeated again and again whilst the 700 sat there silently perched on the cold snow-covered chairs, quivering in that freezing night, their frozen tears stuck to their cheeks, as the words never again reverberated over and over as if to make an indelible stamp on their forearms to cover the numbered tattoos that would forever remain.

Then the dignitaries departed, leaving the 700 to make their way back that quarter of a mile to the waiting buses that would spirit them to the warmth of their hotels.  A relief to realise that those barren huts with three tiered shelves packed nine by nine by nine with ice cold bodies trying in vain to be warmed by a single stove, that the ultimate heat of those burning ovens, could no longer be their destination.

The next day, reports in the press described this event with pride in the success of remembering for posterity those iniquitous times that must never happen again.

Never again reverberated, never again and again and again, the irony escaping them of a scene where once again, after sixty years, those 700 survivors in the Autumn of their lives, carrying half a century’s baggage, stuffed with putrefied evil, that quarter of a mile up those railway tracks of their very worst memories, to sit in the cold on the snow covered chairs, waiting an hour for the VIP’s to arrive cosseted in warmth and security with an air that reeked of their superior status in the nature of things, leaving without a thought that their memorial service depicted a scene of the jester laughing in the creased up faces stuck with icicled tears of the very survivors who were the reason for their presence.

SDK 30th January 2005

The Half-Mooned Star

My tears run freely down my cheeks,
staining the pores of my soul
and the cry from the depths of my being,
almost 6 thousand years old,
echoes in the shadows of the valley of death,
as rivers of blood flood the hearts of a world
silent and blinded by the sword of death,
slicing its way across the Levant
to crucify the Holy Land under the half mooned star.

My right to exist

You took a Jew, by all accounts a good Jew, made him your God based on our bible and our Ten Commandments then proceeded to blame us for his death to perpetuate the notion that our very existence is open to debate. Well take note that we’ve been around a long time and intend to keep it that way:


I have lived amongst you,
all three Gemini’s and I,
six of us in all plus one,
back to before it was then
that the tablets of my soul
dissolved in your
river of blood;

I have learned to know you,
my three twins and I,
each one of us confused
in our knowledge, leaving
little to reveal of you
that shows the inside
turning out;

You dined well at my table,
you twelve men and him,
sipping the fruits of my vine
as you leaned to the left,
your right hand feeding
the crowds from my plate
through the night;

You painted a vilified vision
of me and my guests
on the wall of your dome,
crusading your version
to the east and the west,
passing over my door with the
angel of death;

You hijacked the ancient gift
that was mine to share
and I watched as I moved
from here to there leaving
behind the roots of my
family tree in your
foreign land;

I have turned my cheek from you
as I pass through your space
with my twins in tow,
my ashes scattered round
the shrubs of your land,
a beauty too modest to
earn your respect;

You closed your heart to my fears,
palms cupped round your eyes
as you recited out loud my
poem to your friends,
veiled as your own creation,
your choir singing that tune
of Halleluiah;

I have listened to your chorus
peeling my father’s tongue
through the darkest valley
in the shadow of death,
denying my passage as
I travel en route to my
rightful home;

I have existed as I am,
all my Zodiacs and I,
back to before it was then,
that the notion you assumed
yours to bestow upon me,
the inalienable right
that is mine.

The summer of 5775

It’s the middle of the night and I sit here thinking on the state of Jews and the Jewish state, ahead of Yom Kippur in the year 5775. Seems to me that the Jewish state did a great job over the summer in protecting her citizens, but the state of the Jews is fractious. It seems the summer romance is dying as the rockets cease.

Some eleven or twelve years ago I lay in bed ill reading the JC on which front page appeared a rift in the Leeds Jewish community, whilst two London communities were trying to fire their Rabbis and all this as the second Intefada was erupting in Israel, in the face of a world increasingly antagonistic to Israel. I wrote in the JC then that it pained me to see Jews fighting amongst themselves whilst the greater world was conspiring to extinguish the Jewish state. As a result my rabbi who was one the two under threat in London, braced himself and stood his ground as our teacher and our guide and he remained in office for a further decade.

I now find myself again having to write to my fellow Jews, asking what sense can be made of all this in-fighting. What is to be gained from degrading ourselves into the a image of our enemies? Why is there a need for the egos of individuals to override the good, not only of the Jewish community, but of the greater world. For, should we forget our message, our enemies will succeed in eradicating not only Israel, not only us Jews, but the very foundation of who we are as a western civilisation based in the Judeo-Christian value system.

So let us not only ask for forgiveness for our sins, but let us find it deep inside ourselves to forgive others their frailties and their transgressions. After all who are we to place judgement on others? If God can forgive and embrace, why cannot we mere mortals be in that image so the Light can shine within all of us?

The state of the Jews is dire. Replacement propaganda is thriving and denigrating our right to be a people, a nation with a state, a state that predates all others, a people no longer an orphan beholden to others for our being. As an ancient people who has faced and survived many attempts of genocide in the efforts of our enemies to eradicate us, the circle turned this summer. Once more we find ourselves under threat to the silence of a greater world, a silence backed by the ability of others to absorb delegitimisation propaganda as fact, to close their ears to the hate preachers who call for our expiration, to pretend it is not happening – again!

Our fate is in our own hands, in our ability to be cohesive, to be strong, to be single minded. Our destiny is clear and we must embrace that as one, put the pettifogging aside, dissipate our egos, refrain from judgement and join hands to make sure this summer romance will endure and blossom into a fruitful future for the Jewish state and for the state of the Jews.

Those of you with courage and with forgiveness in your hearts, please join us on this journey. We have a long way to travel.

I wish you all well over the fast. May our sins be forgiven as we forgive others.


we came to stand
with the lions
waving flags
as we roared
across the square
a single voice
of joined-up words
in translation:
‘Hear o Israel
The Lord our God
The Lord is One’

we came to express
with our friends
holding hands
as we cried
in that square
a single desire
of heartfelt hope
and yearning:
‘Hear o Israel
we stand as one
we stand for life’!

SDK 5th July 2002

movie-tone news

1. the movie-tone news rolls on
shining ratchet-framed prints
on my brain cells as I sleep,
flashing rapid flicks sharply
on my eyelids as I dream,
shooting silent snaps fiercely
on my midnight canvas screen

the celluloid reel goes on
flapping jagged edged snaps
in the silence of my night,
shredding jaded imprints harshly
in the pathway of my sight,
flipping slighted views falsely
in the album of my plight,

the bioscope scene stays on
flashing tattered-torn film snips
on the outlook of my choice
twisting age-old mores crudely
on the flip side of my coin
tossing natural beauty wildly
to the den of roaring lions

2. as that reel rolls on by
of the movie-tone news
violent nail-packed bombs
fire off two by two
to explode total myths
of peaceful debate
to end all the terror
to establish a state
that nobody sees
will never create
a balance of peoples
living side by side
in bliss and contentment
and mutual respect

3. in place of this deal
is a figment of hate
an excuse of those brutes
a tool to dictate
to some ignorant
masses how their
lives should be run
on this earth that we know
as solid and there
with the beauty of nature
for us all to share
in free will and free choice
to securely embrace
in the passage of time
‘till death do us part,
in a natural way.

SDK 15th January 2002



The album of my brain  



The album of my brain
is pasted with enlarged
negatives of thorn trees
red sand and shimmering heat.
In the tumult of my dreams
that dark room of the night
develops unfocused frames
of spot-lighted springbok
reflecting the glimmering gold
in the dusk of the dying sun;
of nature’s arid camp
unswept rugged and dusty
guarded with pride and might
crowned by the lion’s head.
The tip of my twisted tongue
saturated with salty tears
hurls me to the crashing waves
on the talcum-powdery shore
and my midnight screams
are echoed by the jackal
stalking in search of his prey.
The elasticated cells of my being
stretched to the soil of my birth
are snapped by the poisonous python,
venomous creature of the veld,
hissing his snaky serum
to destroy the private viewing
from the dark room of my night.


SDK 1982

© Sharon D Klaff January 1982


The dark room of my night 

The dark room of my night
returns with hasty warning:
a muted echo groans as
the winds of change blow
‘cross sepia-tinged hills,
silent stills of new horizons
displayed in dusty desert
dryness as torrential gales
howl, heaving that change
further east and further north
sighing in a shepherd’s morning:
the trek through time blocking
his vision, his line of sight
a camouflage of derision limited
in biblical ruse to see that cross
lit by the half mooned star,
the bearer hiding his range of view,
the very nature of his endeavour,
in sweat and blood with spiked
garlands to prick his bubbled
notion on the cycle of life, rotating
revolutions in perpetual motion
reflecting the scarlet tinged sky
in the minds eye of those
who cannot see clearly,
a smoky silkscreen rising
to hide intentions so disparate
as to defy the very nature
of hydrogenised molecules
sheathed as divine icons.
The dark room of my night
develops images of spores
in vengeful wait to alter
forever the movie-tone news
rolling on, celluloid flapping
its last frame snapping
past the end of the reel.

SDK 2001

© Sharon D Klaff 26th February 2001