From blind justice to blind hatred

British judge seems to be taking the idea of playing the devil’s advocate seriously.

Floral Tribute London 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Floral Tribute London 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Why do you always bash Britain in your columns?” a reader recently asked.
Thinking of an answer was not easy.
Because I care, is one obvious response. Because it deserves it, suggested a colleague.
I don’t 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 Africa.
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 anti-Israel instead.
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 property.
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 Gaza.”
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 time.”
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 is.
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 government.”
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 aggressive.”
That was a year before the Gaza flotilla affair.
Marsh and her fellow demonstrators obviously think anything can be justified for the cause. They are blind to the facts.
Gaza, unlike 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 perfect.
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 “lawfare.”
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.
Brighton earned 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.
Shortly after 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 democracy.”
That spirit is sorely lacking today.
Prime Minister 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 small step from smashing a suspected arms factory to supporting the use of terror for 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 Israeli.

The writer is the editor of The International Jerusalem Post.