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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘England’

UK Border Control Gone Berserk? Or Just Anti-Semitic? (VIDEO)UPDATED

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

SEE UPDATE AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE, BELOW THE VIDEO CLIP

Is it possible that an American – true, a Jewish one – was detained for nine hours after landing in England to begin what was to be a summer job and then, after being subjected to anti-Semitic comments and threats, was kicked out?  The 23 year old American was kept in a holding cell, denied all but the meanest of basic necessities, had his passport and luggage taken away, was treated to several nasty anti-Semitic remarks, and then was kicked out of the country as if he were a criminal.  All of this happened, it appears, because the young man had several Israeli stamps on his passport.

It is a story that has taken a little while to get its sea legs, but one which people should begin hearing more about.

Louis Schlezinger “Chip” Cantor is from Kansas City, Kansas.  He spent his gap year on a Young Judea program in Israel, and has been there several other times as well.  This fall Cantor will be a senior at Florida Gulf State University.

During the school year Cantor made arrangements to work in London this summer with Shilling Communications.  He left for England late on May 29.

A tale of shocking treatment by airport border security of a western country, one that is ostensibly an ally of both the United States and Israel, was described in an article in Cantor’s hometown Jewish paper, the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle.

After landing in London, Cantor made his way to the customs agent.  Once it was his turn to hand over his passport, everything proceeded smoothly, Cantor said, until the agent saw the stamps on his passport revealing that Cantor had traveled to Israel several times.  With that, according to Cantor, the border security agent walked away with Cantor’s passport, and a long nightmare began.

About 45 minutes later, another border security agent brought Chip to an interview room, which was like a holding cell, and was told that “if he changed any of his answers to any questions, he was going to go to prison,” Chip’s father, Chuck, said.  The father also said that a woman in a burka came to the cell and photographed and fingerprinted the 23 year old.

This same woman, according to Chuck Cantor, said to Chip, “We’re putting your name and fingerprints and photos into a database. From now on it is going to be very difficult for you to ever travel in the United Kingdom or anywhere in the E.U. It will be up to each individual country to decide if they want to admit you.”

Although the younger Cantor repeatedly told the agents that he had not committed any crimes or done anything wrong, he was eventually told he was going to be deported.  It was not until this point that the border agents finally allowed Chip to call his father.  His father told Chip to call the American Consulate or the U.S. Embassy, but the UK security officials refused both requests.

In addition to the initial trigger being Cantor’s passport having multiple stamps showing entry and exit from Israel, several other specific factors led the Cantors to believe that what motivated the shocking treatment of Cantor by the UK airport border security was anti-Semitism.

For one thing, as Chip Cantor explained in a television interview on local station KMBC, one of the agents said he wanted to see his wallet, because he expected there would be a lot of money in it.

Another was that when Kevin Shilling, the owner of the media company at which Cantor was going to work this summer, called to try and intervene while Cantor was being detained, the customs agent told him that Chip should have lied to the customs agent, adding, “A Jewish kid would find that easy,” Shilling told the Jewish Chronicle.

The border security agent also told Shilling any additional attempts to aid Cantor would be useless and “the little Jew will be on his way back to his rich daddy,” in a matter of hours.

When Cantor was finally escorted onto a plane to return to the U.S., the escort refused to turn over the American’s passport until they were on the plane, and only then, loudly and in full view of the rest of the passengers, the escort said to an airlines employee, “here is this man’s passport. Do not give him his passport until you land in the United States.”

England… So Many Thoughts

Monday, June 17th, 2013

It’s 2:00 a.m. here in England. I’m leaving for the airport in just under 2 hours. I should be asleep…yeah, I’m not.

My shoulder is bothering me – that’s a whole post by itself, but the bottom line is that I need surgery to fix it and while the surgery itself isn’t completely complicated, the recuperation period is intense, complicated and a bit overwhelming at this point.

But more than my shoulder, England brings with it so many thoughts that I want to write about. I find it ironic that after not traveling much in my life, the two places I’ve arranged to visit are Rome and England – both have long histories connected with the Jewish people, both once ruled my land. In a sense, one took it away from us and the other was instrumental in the path that brought us back to it.

I need to sleep and then write. I need to post pictures – silly since they’re all on the web and even there likely more professional than I could have taken, but I want to, and so I’ll do that when I get back to Israel.

For now, I want to write about the hotels where I stayed here. I want to post pictures of the hotels as well – one in Manchester, one in London. I’ll write about the one in Manchester here because the one in London is the one that is more on my mind and I want to make it a full post.

So, for Manchester – all I can say is that I stayed in a really nice hotel – the Deansgate Hilton. It’s the tallest building in Manchester. I got a very good rate because I was attending a conference there. The people working at the hotel were wonderful, professional and kind. I didn’t get to the Manchester Jewish community area – hopefully if I ever find my way back to England, and I hope I do, I’ll try to get back to Manchester.

I did stop in the Rylands library – I hope I have that right. What an incredible building that is – magnificent. Before I left Israel, I hoped it would rain a lot while I was in England. Crazy, considering most people want sunshine for their vacation – I wanted the rain and amazingly enough…I think it rained every day I was here.

It poured on Shabbat here – literally to the point of hail falling. I walked (back to London again) for about 45 minutes – came back to the hotel completely and entirely soaked to the bone – it was glorious.

So next post – the hotel in London…

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Dani Dayan, Caroline Glick Debate the Yesha Communities Issue

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

I mentioned the debate here.

Here’s Dayan speaking:

Caroline Glick’s words can be found here at the 49th minute or so.

Here’s what she wrote about the experience:

…in one particularly ugly segment, Levy made the scurrilous accusation that Israel systematically steals land from the Palestinians. Both Dayan and I demanded that he provide just one example of his charge. And the audience raged against us for our temerity at insisting that he provide substantiation for his baseless allegation. In the event, he failed to substantiate his allegation.

At another point, I was asked how I defend the Nazi state of Israel. When I responded by among other things giving the Nazi pedigree of the Palestinian nationalist movement founded by Nazi agent Haj Amin el Husseini and currently led by Holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas, the crowd angrily shouted me down.

I want to note that the audience was made up of upper crust, wealthy British people, not unwashed rabble rousers. And yet they behaved in many respects like a mob when presented with pro-Israel positions…

I was prepared to conduct a civilized debate based on facts and reasoned argumentation. I expected it to be a difficult experience. I was not expecting to be greeted by a well-dressed mob. My pessimism about Europeans’ capacity to avail themselves to reasoned, fact-based argumentation about Israel has only deepened from the experience.

Visit My Right Word.

Jewish Schools Endangered by New UK National Curriculum

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Educational achievement in England has been in a downward spiral, of late, and the British Education Secretary, Michael Gove, addressed the problem by instituting a new national curriculum.  One of the new requirements, however, looks like it may have dire consequences for Jewish schools in England.

As part of the new national curriculum, British schoolchildren will be required to take a foreign language, starting at age seven.

Foreign languages had been compulsory in England, but in 2004, students were permitted to drop the second language once they reached age 14.  When that happened, the percentage of students taking competence examinations at age 14 – 16 (the Graduate Certifiate of Secondary Educations, or GCSEs) in languages dropped from 75 percent in 2002, to just 43 percent in 2010.

The foreign language choices offered to British students to meet their national requirement will be French, Spanish, German, Mandarin, Latin and Greek.

But this new requirement may have a devastating impact on the Jewish day schools of England, because Hebrew is not one of the officially recognized languages for purposes of satisfying the new foreign language requirement.  Jewish schools already have a heavy course load because of their Jewish studies classes in addition to the required secular classes.  Many Jewish school educators believe it might prove impossible to continue their programs if they are compelled to require another foreign language, in addition to Hebrew.

According to England’s Jewish Chronicle:

Board [of Deputies] senior vice-president Laura Marks said the government proposals could be “extremely detrimental to our community’s identity, as language — including modern and classical Hebrew — is a vital ingredient to understanding our faith and culture”. She urged the government “to reject the idea of stipulating just a narrow range of languages”.

However, it is not true, as it has been portrayed in some media accounts, that Hebrew specifically has been stripped from its standing as an “official language” in the UK.  There is and has been only one official language in England – English.  Arabic is also not offered as one of the recognized languages for purposes of satisfying the school language requirement.

The new national curriculum will not be put into place until the fall of 2014.  Therefore, it is possible that an accommodation will be made for various schools which have language requirements as part of their own curriculum, to be granted waivers.  Another option could be for the government to expand the list of languages, competence in which will satisfy the national curriculum foreign language requirement.

 

King James II

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

This is a portrait of King James II by Nicolas de Largillière, c. 1686.

James II was King of England and Ireland, and also doubled under the name James VII as King of Scotland. His reign began on February 6, 1685.

He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. After he produced a Catholic heir, the English gentry invited his son in law William of Orange from the Netherlands to invade their country. James II abdicated in a hurry in 1688 and fled to France. He was replaced by William of Orange who became William III, ruling jointly with his wife, who was James’s daughter, Mary II (both Protestants) and together they were the William and Mary team.

James made one half-hearted attempt to take back his country in 1689, but gave up again and Lived out his life sponsored by his cousin, King Louis XIV.

James II, like Louis, was a believer in the absolute monarchy, kings ruling by the grace of God, etc. He also believed, strangely enough, in religious liberty for all his subjects. The first belief made him an enemy of the aristocracy, the second angered the Curch of England. So there you go.

Today, November 13, back in 1685, when he was still very much the king—for another three years or so—King James II of England ordered his Attorney General to stop any proceedings against the Jews because “they should not be troubled upon the King’s account but they should quietly enjoy the free exercise of their religion whilst they behaved dutifully and obediently to his government.”

I’m a great believer in gratitude to those who have done right by us. I often think of King James II when I get into debates with my friends both on the left and on the right over my deep admiration for the late President Richard Nixon. Like James II, he was despised by the powers that be across the board (even though he won by a landslide in 1972). But in October, 1973, by about the tenth day of the Yom Kippur war, Israel had run out of practically everything, and it was Richard Nixon who saved our hide, with a fleet of Galaxy cargo planes the size of spaceships, that brought in ammunition and supplies.

So, my word for today is Gratitude. To James II and Millhouse I and all the misunderstood rulers and despots who did right by us.

Olympic Opening Ceremonies and the Death Throes of a Civilization

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

I don’t think I was the only American weirded out on Friday by the bizarre “dancing nurses” segment at the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics.  There were lots of children wriggling in hospital beds, and seemingly hundreds of nurses prancing around dressed in the garments of yesteryear.  It wasn’t clear what the artist was trying to say – and then the letters “NHS” burst out in glittering lights on the field.

Oh.  This is about the National Health Service.

[Pause.]

????????????

That realization was paired in my mind with the International Olympic Committee’s refusal to commemorate the 11 Israeli athletes killed by Yasser Arafat’s terrorists in Munich in 1972.  The IOC’s position is that it doesn’t want to “politicize” the games.

That position doesn’t hold up so well considering that 9/11 was commemorated at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.  In 1996, at the Summer Games in Atlanta, the IOC had a moment of silence at the closing ceremony for the victims of the Olympic Park bombing.

In 2010, at the Winter Games in Vancouver, there was a moment of silence during the opening ceremony for Georgian athlete Nodar Kumartashvili, who had died in an accident on a practice run just before the games began.

So in recent years, the Olympic authorities have commemorated the death of an Olympic athlete and the deaths of others in terrorist attacks, with a moment of silence each time in an opening or closing ceremony.  And guess what?  Last night, in the Olympic stadium, the victims of the 7/7 terrorist bombings in the London subway in 2005 were commemorated as part of the opening ceremony.  Granted, it was hard to catch; a photo montage was projected into the stadium during a lull in the prancing and acrobatics, but there was little narration to call it out.  I didn’t even notice it, and had to be told about it afterward by others who had seen it.

It is jarring to think of passing references being made to the victims of terrorism, sort of as part of the entertainment, during an event-palooza dedicated to performance and revelry.  The reason we usually have authorities solemnly asking for a moment of silence, at a carefully separated, showcased point in the proceedings, is that that’s what is appropriate for commemorating tragedy and sorrow.

But it was clearly important to the British planners to mention their dead from the 2005 terror attack in the opening ceremony.  So they did it.  For forty years, including this Olympics, no one has incorporated a commemoration of the 11 murdered Israeli athletes into an official Olympic ceremony.  Yet Olympic authorities have been assiduous about commemorating others.  Their relentless, determined failure to commemorate the Israelis in the same way is a failure to acknowledge the common humanity of Israeli Jews.

The opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games couldn’t have been more stuffed with politics if it had been a bell pepper.  The Republic of Taiwan was required to march as “Chinese Taipei,” although of course that is not what the Taiwanese call their nation.  There is no nation of Palestine, yet athletes walked under a “Palestinian” flag and were announced as “Palestine.”  The “quirky” performance segment of the ceremony involved numerous references to political events in the history of Great Britain, including, of course, the paroxysm of pagan worship, complete with cavorting women, for the National Health Service.  It was a really, really political night; if a commemoration for the murdered Israeli athletes might have been “political,” that would only have guaranteed that it would fit right in.

Watching the ceremony last night, I had a profound sense of sadness for the hollow revelry.  There was no dignified memorializing of the greatness, uniqueness, and courage of Britain’s past.  There was “irreverent, idiosyncratic” entertainment, and a very long segment of writhing self-abasement before the shibboleth of socialized medicine.

We seemed to be looking last night at a moment frozen in time before a great upheaval, like the last days of lingering sunlight before World War I.  A civilization based on entertainment and ritual political worship is headed for a fall.  But then, a civilization that singles out some humans, like Israeli Jews, to show less care for – less solidarity with – is a weak and unsustainable one.  Nothing else will go right with it.

Jewish Groups Sharply Condemn Church of England’s Endorsement of Anti-Israel Program

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

The main representative body of British Jewry lambasted the Church of England’s General Synod for endorsing an “inflammatory and partisan” anti-Israel program “at the expense of its interfaith relations.”

The Synod on Monday overwhelmingly passed a motion to support “the vital work” of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The program brings church volunteers to “the West Bank to experience life under occupation” and “monitor and report human rights abuses” for a period of three to four months. As part of the program, participants are encouraged to lobby on behalf of the Palestinian cause upon their return.

Vivian Wineman, President of The Board of Deputies of British Jews, released a sharply worded statement on Tuesday condemning the Church of England’s move: “Justifying its decision using the views of marginal groups in Israel and the UK, the Synod has ridden rough shod over the very real and legitimate concerns of the UK Jewish community, showing a complete disregard for the importance of Anglican-Jewish relations.

“Unsurprisingly its graduates return with simplistic and radical perspectives, giving talks against Israel which do nothing to promote an understanding of the situation in the Middle East, much less promote a peaceful and viable solution to its problems. Members of Jewish communities across the country have suffered harassment and abuse at EAPPI meetings and yet Synod has completely dismissed their experiences.”

Wineman went on to deride the Church for its sanctimony and expressed concern for the latent anti-Semitism that was exposed in the run-up to the vote, saying: “The Jewish community does not need lessons from the Anglican Church in justice and peace, themes which originated in our tradition. Moreover, to hear the debate at Synod littered with references to ‘powerful lobbies’, the money expended by the Jewish community, ‘Jewish sounding names’ and the actions of the community ‘bringing shame on the memory of victims of the Holocaust’, is deeply offensive and raises serious questions about the motivation of those behind this motion.”

A statement on the website of the Israeli embassy in the UK said: “We are deeply disappointed that General Synod has endorsed the work of a highly partisan organisation. Christians face rising persecution across the region and yet, by supporting this group, the Church of England has chosen to amplify one-sided voices and to single out Israel – the only country where Christian rights are enshrined and the Christian population is growing.

“We share the concerns of all those within the Church of England who opposed this resolution as being misguided and undermining hopes for genuine understanding and reconciliation.”

This is not the Church of England’s first foray into anti-Israel initiatives, with a high-profile vote in February 2006 that resolved to disinvest from companies whose products are used by the Israeli government in Judea and Samaria.

JTA contributed to this report

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/british-jewish-groups-condemn-church-of-englands-endorsement-of-anti-israel-program/2012/07/11/

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