Friday, 3 September 2010


Arab humour reached its apogee when Wilson Kepple and Betty toured the music halls with their hilarious "sand dance" and I was delighted when a friend sent me a clip from YouTube. He also sent a routine by Jackie Mason, a Rabbi who I believe to be the funniest man on the planet.
This week Jews and Arabs premiered a new theatrical enterprise. A farce called"Peace Talks".

This latest attempt of World Theatre is unlikely to succeed. Hammas, the Arab equivalent of the IRA, didn't bother to apply for an audition. President Obama hasn't got the theatrical genius of Blair who brought the IRA to the Peace Table by legerdermain of a high order. Top terrorists got top jobs in the Ulster Government; sinecure election to Westminster without irksome attendance; terrorists were freed from prison; wholesale murders wiped off history's page. Even subsidies for dead terrorists all but succeeded.
It is to be hoped that someone persuades Obama to read "The Balfour Declaration. The origins of the Arab Israeli Conflict" by Jonathan Schneer. So far as I am aware, this is the first attempt at a complete investigation of the sleight of hand by Welsh wizard Lloyd George, of whom a cabinet colleague said, "He would leave anyone in the lurch anywhere if he thought it suited his purpose." He did not declare an interest in Israel alrhough his family law firm acted for the Zionists. Despite Lord Balfour's offer of a homeland for the Jews, Lloyd George subsequently offered it to the Ottoman Empire, the current occupiers, in return for a promise to join the Allies against Germany. Although a trety existed to split the Ottoman Empire between France and Britain he offered it to the Arabs

Schneer writes:
"Chaim Weizmann, the leading spokesman for Zionism in Britain, a Russian-born chemist, began to solicit support among the British soon after he settled in Manchester in 1904. He could hardly speak English in those days: his first contacts with British officials were conducted in French...., acting as if he commanded an almost omnipotent power: world Jewry."

The British believed he did.

"Obviously there was no “Jewish power” controlling world affairs, but Weizmann successfully pretended that the Jews were in fact turning the wheels of history. For once, the anti-Semitic image of the Jews proved useful — they were believed to be so maliciously dangerous that one would do best to acquire them as allies rather than as enemies."
Beginning in 1916, the British hoped that in exchange for their support of Zionism “the Jews” would help to finance the growing expenses of the Great War, which at that time was not going very well for Britain. More important, policy makers in the Foreign Office believed that Jews could persuade the United States to join the war. In this sense, as Schneer points out, the decision to issue the Balfour declaration “was based upon a misconception”.
But fear of the Jews was only one part of the story. The other part, which Schneer neglects to explore, was the genuine admiration many of Britain’s leaders, including Prime Minister David Lloyd George and Balfour himself, felt for the Jews and their history. These men were deeply religious Christian Zionists. They had grown up on the Bible; the Holy Land was their spiritual home. Modern Zionism, they believed, would fulfil a divine promise and resettle the Jews in the land of their ancient fathers.
Schneer expertly analyzes the passionate and fascinating controversy between non-Zionist and Zionist Jews that preceded the Balfour declaration. The Zionists spoke in the name of Jewish nationhood; their Jewish opponents denied that Jews even constituted a separate nation.
The Balfour declaration used deliberately vague language. It did specify, "Nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities."


My oldest friend recalls:
Intended to be a cheap 4 day return trip on the Portsmouth-Bilbao ferry with a few hours ashore... enough time to visit the Gugenheim. Off the boat after b/fast and a 20 min journey to town on the docks railway. Sidetracked by the other attractions, particularly the glorious food market [your influence] coffee + tapas and tobacconists. [I had a long list of needs from addicted friends who had asked for cut price baccy]. Had lost track of time 'cos hadn't bothered to adjust my watch to the time difference and guessed we should get back to the harbour.

Comforted on seeing the huge [7 decked] boat at the quayside as the train pulled in, we strolled from the station the few yards to the departures building only to swear on rounding the corner that the ground was moving away from the boat but, no, it was the boat very slowly leaving the dock! All our kit was in our cabin on board and all we had was what we were standing in... and the contraband baccy. We were the only ones to have missed it and the next sailing would be in 5 days time but the office staff were obviously well rehearsed and after a couple of phone calls told us that there was space on the boat leaving Santander in 3 hours time. The only way to get there in time was by car, a two hour journey away, so we had no alternative but to use a taxi which [of course!] just happened to be standing outside. Explaining to the driver [who could speak neither English nor Welsh] that we had no cash and would have to find a hole in the wall, he set off like someone possessed. After a journey from hell we arrived in Santander and in the middle of hooting traffic stopped outside a bank. Just in case we might have thought of doing a runner, the taxi driver abandoned the car and stood with us until he was paid the extortionate fare. We got to the boarding gate and had to pay again the full fare for what would have been a return ticket, about £250 for both of us because we were now with a different ferry company! Although we were the last to board, Passport Control + Customs were waiting for us. The only bag I had was a small holdall but it was stuffed with the contraband baccy. The official insisted on checking it and raised both eyebrows [independently] asking, "...but you smoke all zis yourself?" [about 9 kilos!] I lamely explained that we were both heavy smokers. "... but zis is not good," he said menacingly. I guess the fact that the captain had a train to catch caused the man to thumb us through and with huge relief we got on the ship. While my companion went to shop for toiletries, my first stop was the bar and as the largest g+t was being dispensed, nonchalantly enquired "...when exactly would the boat arrive in Portsmouth?". "We don't go there, sir. Plymouth were bound for!" "But my car is in Portsmouth ..." I started, then decided it was all too much as mal de mer waved in.

When our turn came at UK Passport Control the buggers were lying in wait. As the officer looked up from my passport another two popped out from behind the screen and invited us to disappear with them. Intense grilling then for about half an hour trying to convince them that all the stuff really was for our own use and that [without a wheeze in my chest or any finger stains] I always had a fag in my mouth. Whipped with a good telling off and obviously not believed, we were eventually released.

Another hefty fare to pay at the railway for a journey back to Portsmouth, via Bristol, and frustratingly only a spit away from the Severn Bridge and sanctuary. Our belongings had been lost, the cleaning squad had, we were assured, squirrelled them away and we would have to wait for them to come back for their next shift or have them boxed up and sent on. Then another 4 hour car journey home where, a couple of days later, a letter arrived from HM Customs and Excise telling me that although excused on this occasion, my particulars and the details of my transgression had been noted and if ever I put a foot over the Severn Bridge again, they would surely get me and duff me up properly! "Bugger that" I thought, and now never go further than the shops.

The Editor; I cannot beat that but my wife had a dreadful experience travelling. She was a guest at a House Party in southwest Ireland. Unwisely she elected to travel by" (T)ryon" Air. Coming home, she chaperoned a schoolboy, a friend of her hostess's son. He carried his tennis racket in his rucksack. At Kerry airport he was prevented from boarding. His racket could be used as a weapon, he was told. My wife said it did not seem likely that the entire air crew and the passengers would be intimidated by a schoolboy with a tennis racket. To no avail. They had to return to the reception desk where the offending racket was removed and put in baggage at a cost of £30. There had been no problem with it travelling from Stansted.

I am so glad that the only travelling I do is falling over. I should have listened to these ladies.................................The Truly Fascinating Aida


At 0.700hrs on Wednesday 2nd Lt I.A.McQueen became commander of 6 Platoon, B Company, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
His company will shortly join 2 Para Battle Group in Afghanistan.