Column for Jewish News August 14 2020
If you happen to have a spare crow handy, do take it into your garden and have a word with it.
Not for nothing is a group of the black birds known as “a murder of crows”. For yes, it’s protest week in the Jewish Corral (when is it not?), both domestically and abroad.
Take your crow out and let it fly. It is, I learn, just 132 miles from Tel Aviv to Beirut, and certainly the picture editors at Sky News might not be blamed if they couldn’t tell the difference between a raw-rage protest on the streets of Lebanon’s capital and those waving flags and banners in downtown Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Despite the Hebrew on the banners, Sky offered these images as a taste of what was taking place in Beirut.
We all make mistakes, and in fact both Lebanese citizens and Israelis have more in common than might be supposed, the principal one this week being absolute fury with their respective governments.
The responsibility for the massive explosion that hit Beirut last week, with huge loss of life, enormous numbers of wounded and crippling damage to the city’s infrastructure, can be put firmly on the shoulders of the useless and corrupt Lebanese government, with its craven submission to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia that effectively runs the country.
Thankfully, there has been no such mirror catastrophe in Israel. But its citizens were also out on the streets at the weekend, angrily denouncing the corruption and ineptitude of the Netanyahu-led government, bloated with ministers and yet failing, for the first time in decades, even to hold a regular cabinet meeting on Sunday morning. Not the least of the protest is about the apparent inability to deal with Covid-19 and the resulting country-wide unemployment.
Rumours abound that Netanyahu is preparing for a fourth election because of a stand-off with his coalition partners over the passing of the budget. And, guess what? In Israel, too, there is craven submission by the prime minister’s Likud party to the strictly Orthodox groups that prop up his appalling government. I wouldn’t go as far as to say they run the country, but Bibi’s kowtowing to such groups is repellent.
Interestingly, both Bibi and his mouthy son, Yair, make a point of denouncing the protests as “only a few disaffected leftists” and simultaneously accuse them of talking up murder against the Netanyahu family. Nobody should know better, as it happens, than the prime minister of the power of words – and their sometimes terrible consequences.
And so from the pestilential Middle East let us turn our attention (and our crow) to New Jews, or A Few New Jews, or Just Jews, or whatever they are calling themselves this week.
They are protesting, too, with a hilariously inappropriate video featuring 12 self-righteous people, announcing that because they variously are gay or eat bacon or support Palestinian rights, they are more representative of the community than the Board of Deputies.
As the Community Security Trust’s Dave Rich so tersely remarked, if they think the Board doesn’t include people like that, not only are they famously out of touch, but they have clearly never been to a Board plenary, where the very idea that the Board speaks with one voice is enough to give some people the runs.
I mean, I wouldn’t want to encourage them, or anything, but if just one of this crew would actually stand as a deputy and give back to the community instead of bitching in a video, we could take them a little more seriously.
As it is… sorry, guys. Crow droppings.