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Smearing Jews on British TV

I am glad a bout of bronchitis felled me for a week because it allowed me time to gather the fallout from a scurrilous November 16 documentary produced by Britain’s Channel Four television, Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby.

From the moment narrator-producer Peter Oborne came on screen, I knew this was going to be one of those “lemme tell you about the Jooze” exposes in which every prominent Anglo-Jew is wheeled out as an example of the disloyalty and double allegiance of folks who support the survival of the state of Israel. Yes, I know there was the Larry Franklin case in which it was proven that a Washington insider was also double-crossing his nation and passing data to the Israeli embassy. I know there is Jonathan Pollard in jail for life for betraying the United States. Yes, there are bad Jews like Madoff and Maxwell and Levitt and Milken and hated Jews like Dick Fuld. So now that I have gotten the rotten apples out of the way, let’s talk about a nasty Channel Four show that seems to imply that the British government is being subverted by a very large gang in an endless parade of rich Jews determined to bully all of Britain into supporting Israel or else.

In the Oborne special he uses still photographs -- mug shots, if you will -- of a long line of prominent British Jewish philanthropists and businessmen from both the left and right to indicate how widespread the subterfuge is. It is astonishing and deeply disturbing to see him lumping liberal Lord Levy with right-wing Stanley Kalms. Oborne posits: Anglo-Jews will force British politicians to deliver speeches in a certain way and heaven help any politico who accuses Israel of “disproportionate” actions in war. Millions of pounds flow into the coffers of politicians as well as into groups favoring Israel, and this in turn is seen by Oborne as part of a bigger picture of shady men in expensive suits eating expensive food at posh dinners -- set against vivid images of bloodied Palestinian child corpses -- all of whom he accuses of a “lack of transparency.” (Remember how the Nazis accused the parasitic Jews of being part of a secretive inner circle that was siphoning the lifeline of good Germans?)

Oborne’s sneering face, always close to the camera and whispering as if he is trying to make sure a passing Jew might not overhear him, keeps popping up into view as he enumerates the organizations that are funded by the secretive coterie of rich yiddische men. What I found so amusing about Oborne’s list is that every organization he “exposes” has spokesmen on television and radio and in the print media whenever needed, and if anything they are not “lacking transparency.”

Poju Zabludowicz, a well-known international financier, is singled out by Oborne for extensive scrutiny. We are reminded that he is Finnish (a foreigner -- not really British!) and are told that he bankrolls BICOM, the British-Israel Communications group. BICOM is about as “secret” as Wal-Mart. The Finn is accused of being a ruthless arms dealer and of then funding a shopping mall in Israel frequented by settlers! Yikes! Send him to the Tower of London! What Oborne never mentions is that the Zabludowicz family has been involved in the artistic life of the magnificent Sage Centre in Gateshead, Newcastle. I was there in 2007 and was enchanted. They have helped make the Sage into one of the foremost arts centers in Britain. (Jewish donors in the U.S. have always been at the forefront of the arts. At Covent Garden, the renovation was helped by donations listed on the wall of the new hall that reads like a who’s who of Anglo-Jewry. The whole project was spearheaded by the generous Vivien Duffield of the liberal Jewish community of London. I could go on and on.) Oborne seems to think that Anglo-Jewry ranks with Caesar: “The evil a man does lives after him; the good is oft interred with his bones.”

Oborne spends the hour making Britons believe that Jews have for generations been forcing their government to engage in policies that benefit only “a foreign power” and that the bullying is so severe that there is now no lobby so powerful in all of the United Kingdom. He never mentions the power of the Arab lobby! Just the Saudi and Gulf bloodstock, arms, and oil interests alone are enough to build an independent sovereign empire in this green and pleasant land. (Melanie Phillips has a few words to say on this.) There are eleven Muslim television channels in the UK but not one Jewish, Zionist, or Israeli one. There are 260,000 Jews in Britain and an estimated two million Muslims. There are so many Muslim organizations, think tanks, pressure groups, and charities including the Muslim Parliament, not to mention innumerable radical groups and mosques, that the idea of some sort of Jewish conspiracy to subvert the British government is nothing short of a dangerous calumny.

When I watched the program the first time around, I was so gripped with rage that I could not sit down. Even my most non-political, secular, pork-guzzling Jewish friends in the UK were ringing and texting me that they fully expected pogroms after this show. In turn my non-Jewish friends rang in alarm and high dudgeon, as if their family silver might be the next to disappear if these Zionists are not reined in.

What is significant is that the hate that spewed forth minutes after the documentary on various worldwide blogs shocked even Oborne himself in their ferocity against the Jewish people. The London Jewish News and Jewish Chronicle reported a spike in anti-Jewish messages on hate websites.

Meanwhile, on the weekend of November 21, I watched a news segment on the BBC about the big problem in Minneapolis with al-Qaeda supporters traveling to Somalia to participate in the war. The FBI is investigating what looks like a much larger problem than had first been uncovered. What I find intriguing about this story is that it tells us there are many active fifth-columnists in the United States that are worrying to the authorities and that are very likely taking up much more of their time at taxpayers’ expense than anyone could have envisaged. In Great Britain, here is Peter Oborne setting about trying to scare the British populace into thinking that at any moment all of the kingdom -- even the crown jewels -- will soon be owned by rich fifth-column Jews supporting violent settlers in Israel, and that we will all be forced to pay taxes to finance the Jewish state, our leaders having been threatened by said rich Jews “or else.” In reality, the 350-year-old Anglo-Jewish community is a loyal and decorous group; its war veterans marched with dignity on Remembrance Day despite anti-Jewish heckling.

A vigilant South African friend who came to Britain during apartheid has offered a compelling assessment of the Oborne program. He says it is “code” for the beginning of a wave of anti-Semitism officially sanctioned by Oborne’s conservative ruling classes. Whatever the purpose of this prime-time television special, it was a hateful polemic that showed how deeply runs the obsessional hatred of Israel that has so dominated the British media and public discourse in recent years. Shame on Channel Four.

And by the way, Peter -- the show has turned my pork-eating, secular, Israel-uninterested Jewish friends into overnight Zionists and they are changing their Christmas donations from the Samaritans, Salvation Army, and Faisal Edhi funds into checks to Magen David Adom, Zaka, and Ort.