Simon Schama tells UK Jewry to stop living in a bubble
Simon Schama, one of Britain’s most prominent historians, has called on British Jewry to engage more forcefully with the non-Jewish world as a counter to rising anti-Semitism and hostility towards the State of Israel.David Horovitz: Lady Gaga, we f*cking love you too
Speaking at the annual fundraising dinner for the United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) on Monday evening at Grosvenor House in London, Schama warned “we live in dark times.” While stressing he understood that “the situation in this country could be worse – it could be France,” Schama said that “right now, we’re a little bit on the back foot.”
UJIA is the largest charitable organization in Britain focused on working with young people and focusing on strengthening Jewish identity and a connection to Israel through formal and informal educational programming.
“We’re faced not just with criticism of Israel. What is new and poisonous and dangerous is that we are faced not with criticism of what Israel does, but what Israel is,” said Schama at the dinner.
“We need to reclaim the word ‘Zionist’ as if it is word to be ashamed of – it is not a word to be ashamed of and it is not a word to run away from,” said Schama, whose five-part documentary series “The Story of the Jews” and the first of two written volumes on Jewish history were released last year.
I’ve no idea how much of this is known to, or even interests, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta — aka Lady Gaga. I do know that this summer, when all other artists about her were canceling their Israel visits, or having them canceled by our rocket-battered homefront authorities, the good Lady kept her head… and kept her Tel Aviv date optimistically in her calendar. So that when the rocket fire did subside less than three weeks before showtime, and we were finally able to emerge from our bomb shelters, she could fly in, perform, and tell us she loved us. (Kudos, as well, to Tony Bennett, a special guest at the Gaga show, and the star of his own sold-out Mann Auditorium concert on Sunday night.)Why the Palestinian Arabs lack civil rights
That took strength, bravery, confidence and more clear-headed morality than any international statesman managed to muster this terrible summer, when world attitudes to Israel ranged from half-hearted support to vicious, unjustified criticism. If they’re inclined to search for their moral compasses, Messrs. Kerry, Fabius, Miliband et al might care to consult with the singing star our reviewer magnificently described as “pop’s most promiscuous provocateur.” So thank you, Lady Gaga, and we f*cking love you right back.
Sheizaf is right that the two-state solution idea is dead. He is right that Palestinian Arabs living in the territories do not have the same rights as Jews and Arabs in Israel. He is right that this is bad for Arabs and Jews alike.
But what he doesn’t understand is that ending the conflict isn’t up to us. Israel has already done more than what ought to be expected of it, and result has only been wars, intifadas, and the further radicalization of Palestinian Arabs.
The root of the problem is the Palestinians’ adherence to a false historical narrative and to ideologies that do not accept the existence of a Jewish state (and in some cases, like Hamas, the physical presence of Jews) in the Middle East. It is nurtured by the continuous propaganda coming from the terrorist organizations that own Palestinian politics, the anti-Jewish attitudes that permeate international institutions like the UN, and the complicity of the West.
Israel didn’t create this situation, and it can’t fix it.
The key to the solution to the problem, if there is one, is in the hands of the Palestinian Arabs, who will have to give up for good the idea of replacing Israel with an Arab state. Unless a Palestinian leadership arises that understands this, the conflict will continue, and so will the limitations on the rights of Palestinian Arabs.