Why do you always bash Britain in your columns?” a reader recently
Thinking of an answer was not easy.
Because I care, is one
obvious response. Because it deserves it, suggested a colleague.
enjoy criticizing the country where I was born and raised. But sometimes I just
can’t help it.
I’m reluctant to kick England while it’s down – even on
the TV in my Jerusalem living room I could clearly see the second goal against
Germany that somehow escaped the referee at the soccer World Cup in South
Still, I’d find it hard to ignore another miscarriage of justice,
one which has far more serious ramifications.
In Hebrew, the word for a
judge and a referee are the same: shofet.
I don’t doubt the impartiality
of the soccer referee who will go down ignominiously in World Cup history. I
can’t say the same of the motives of the British judge in the memorable Brighton
case earlier this month.
I’d like to take a vuvuzela and blow it as a
wake-up call in the ear of Judge George Bathurst-Norman. Actually, I’d prefer to
use a shofar, but then the British media would inevitably add the description “a
ram’s horn used in Jewish rituals” and I’d probably lose any chance of a fair
trial I might have had.
Not, of course, that Judge Bathurst- Norman would
admit to anti-Semitism.
He doesn’t have to. He can simply be fashionably
Bathurst-Norman took the principle of blind justice
and apparently abandoned it in favor of blind hatred.
TO RECAP: During
Operation Cast Lead last year, seven activists from a group called Smash EDO
broke into an arms factory near Brighton, on England’s south coast, and trashed
the place. A week ago, they were found not guilty of causing criminal damage,
even though their raid resulted in £180,000 ($275,000) of broken equipment and
The activists told the court that sabotaging EDO MBM Technology
was justified because they believed the company was sending arms components to
Israel and they wanted to prevent “Israeli war crimes in
Bathurst-Norman accepted their “lawful excuse” defense and told
the jury, without the benefit of personal experience: “You may well think that
hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that
Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor responded, “After reading the
judge’s statement, there is no doubt that this is not a great era of the British
justice system. I assume that Sderot’s children, who have lived under thousands
of missiles, for years, will be able to enlighten the judge as to the meaning of
‘hell on earth.’” Ambassador Prosor has to be diplomatic.
I don’t. The
law might not be an ass, as Dickens’s Mr. Bumble charged, but this judge
Smash EDO campaign spokeswoman Chloe Marsh was quoted in the British
press as saying: “The citizens of Britain are no longer prepared to stand idly
by whilst Israel commits genocide with the backing of our own
Well, Ms. Marsh, this might come as news to you, but Israel
is not committing genocide in Gaza. Missiles are being launched from Gaza and
landing in Israel – even now, a year and a half after Cast Lead, but admittedly
not the 80 a day that were raining down on the Negev before the government
finally took action.
Incidentally, after one of the many clashes between
Smash EDO protesters and Brighton police, Sky News On-line reported an
eyewitness as saying: “I find it quite odd that anti-war protesters can be so
That was a year before the Gaza flotilla
Marsh and her fellow demonstrators obviously think anything can
be justified for the cause. They are blind to the facts.
Brighton, is no holiday resort, although the beaches and the weather are better.
Occasionally, I come across photos of mugs, T-shirts and memorabilia on sale in
“souvenir shops” – evidently not all the residents are starving to death, as
some would have us believe. The Strip, indeed, has potential. The Jewish
residents who were evicted/expelled five years ago in the hope that peace would
result still talk of their communities as paradise lost.
As I have
pointed out before, Gaza is not a nice place to be. But it’s not necessarily
Israel’s fault. British justice, for example, clearly is not
Neither is Israeli justice, although Palestinians have often won
major victories in the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. Hamas, however, is pushing
for strict Shari’a religious law to be imposed in Gaza. Sentencing would be very
different from what Bathurst-Norman favors in his court.
Gaza has also
suffered from electricity outages, again not always the fault of Israel, which
carried on supplying fuel even during the missile barrages. Late last month
Gazans were the victims of a power struggle in the most literal sense. The main
power plant was closed due to a dispute between Hamas and Fatah over who is
supposed to pay to keep it running.
Gaza, under Hamas control, is
definitely not a good place to be a Christian. But go tell that to the members
of the UK’s Methodist Church who recently voted to boycott Israeli-produced
goods and services from Judea and Samaria.
What happened to the famed
British sense of fair play?
FOR SEVERAL years, Israeli leaders have had to think
twice before traveling to the UK because of the perversion of the principle of
universal jurisdiction. This allows British courts to order the arrest of anyone
– former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, for instance – accused of crimes against
humanity by any group that chooses to attack by means of what has been called
And while an Israeli diplomat was expelled over the alleged
use of a British passport in ridding the world of arch-terrorist Mahmoud
al-Mabhouh, don’t hold your breath for a Russian to be ousted for the use of a
Russian passport in the current London spy ring scandal.
its reputation as a sunny seaside resort but it has also seen tragedy. On
October 12, 1984, five people were killed when its Grand Hotel was bombed by the
IRA in an assassination attempt on then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher and her
cabinet, attending the Conservative Party conference there.
the attack, Thatcher said: “We suffered a tragedy not one of us could have
thought would happen in our country. And we picked ourselves up and sorted
ourselves out as all good British people do, and I thought, let us stand
together for we are British! They were trying to destroy the fundamental freedom
that is the birthright of every British citizen, freedom, justice and
That spirit is sorely lacking today.
David Cameron was noticeably absent from the ceremony last week marking the
fifth anniversary of the London 7/7 attack, in which more than 50 people were
killed by four British Muslim suicide bombers.
Tip: There is no point in
boycotting Israeli goods while importing global jihad. And it is a very
step from smashing a suspected arms factory to supporting the use of
other political causes.
I am tired of criticizing my former country. And
I’m tired of having to defend my homeland.
Israel is not committing
genocide. But neither is it willing to commit suicide.
And to Judge
Bathurst-Norman I confess: Yes, Your Honor, I’m guilty.
I’m proud to be
The writer is the editor of The