The Magical Mystery Tour

Mud bricks in the Jordan Valley

Mud bricks in the Jordan Valley 2

“Only immoderate pressure wakes up Netanyahu enough to do anything.”

~ Aner Shalev

Following the announcement of the BDS survey, not content with meeting the Board and issuing joint statements, the Methodists announced that Methodist leaders were to visit Israel/Palestine in the company of “representatives of the Board of Deputies“ !!!!!!  Further, they announced that they were”liaising” with the BoD in organising the Jewish component of the party.  That is, the BoD were to select the Jews who were to be on the trip.  You will not be surprised to learn that the party did not include representatives of Yachad or Jews for Justice For Palestinians or any similar organisations.  At the very same time that the returns of the BDS survey were in the early stages of evaluation, Methodist leaders were to spend a whole 72 hours eating, living and breathing with the BoD perspective, a perspective wholly the same as that of the Israeli government as transmitted to them by their masters at the Israeli Embassy!!

Incredibly, never lacking in chutzpah, the BoD put forward Joseph Moses, the claimed author of the BoD’s rambling 34 page “report“ constituting its input on the BDS survey!!  Even more incredibly, the Methodist Leadership, who by now, had completely and utterly drunk the Kool aid, accepted this.  It has been suggested to us that this little group of Methodist leaders will review the work of the Joint Public Issues team that are commissioned to collate the responses to the BDS survey.

We asked President Gee who funded this little jolly.

We did not get a response.

The BoD also selected Laura Janner-Klausner.

Janner-Klausner is an Israeli with extremely close ties, both personal and familial, with the Board of Deputies.  Her father is Greville Janner who was Chairman of the Board of Deputies from 1978 to 1984.  As we type, she is busy preparing an address to the BoD to be delivered at the plenary scheduled for Sunday 19th January.  She has invited suggestions on what she might say.  However, she stipulates that suggestions must be polite, which immediately disqualifies Jonathan Hoffman and Jerry Lewis.

UPDATE : At the above mentioned plenary,  Janner-Klausner opened with a statement on how she was part of the BoD family, and then delivered her state of the Jewish community address. BoD Treasurer Laurence Brass was commissioned to thank her on behalf of the gathering.  He gave a detailed account of her family’s BoD affiliations.  He then presented her with a bound copy of the book “History of the Board of Deputies”, saying that “it reads like a history of your family”.

Not for nothing is Janner-Klausner widely referred to as “A BoD Princess”.

Janner-Klausner, in answer to a question stated that she and the Zio-fascist, homophobic ranter nut job Jonathan Hoffman were “more often in agreement than some might think”.

Not more often than WE  think.

She is an Israeli citizen.

They habitually wheel her out to play the role of “the acceptable face“.   She is all sweetness and light, and if you can’t get along with HER, there is most definitely something wrong with YOU. They used her to great effect on the Quakers, by sending her and the equally demure and non-abrasive Laura Marks on a charm offensive, including gracing the Quakers with their presence at the Quakers 2013 Yearly Meeting.  It was she that broke the news to the Jewish Chronicle that the Quakers had “improved“ the hated EAPPI programme.

Janner-Klausner is very much a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but the mask occasionally slips. She recently spoke of her “immense pride“ at sitting next to Natan Sharansky at a Limmud conference.

It is Sharansky’s ludicrous 3D’s litmus test for anti-Semitism, that the Board have adopted as a favoured mantra (they have thoroughly schooled Bruce Thompson in its use).

Sharansky resigned his position as a government minister when he suspected that Ehmud Barak’s talks with the Palestinians might lead to a division of Jerusalem.  Such a division, of course, would be necessary if there ever was to be a “peace deal.“

Sharansky got caught with his pants around his ankles when he was revealed as the chair of a secret committee planning to accelerate the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem via a wholesale confiscation of Palestinian property.

Sharansky tells us that the Palestinians have a right to a state of their own but not at the expense of The State of Israel. He does not tell us where The State of Israel’s land ends and where its neighbour’s land begins, but you can be sure it is not pre-’67 borders that he has in mind.  What he means is that the Palestinians may be granted one or two bantustans of their own.

In short, the Sharansky that Janner-Klausner is immensely proud to have sat next to, is the archetypical Zio-fascist.

Prior to the trip, Janner-Klausner told of her excitement at the prospect of spending time with “the wise Methodist leaders.”

We asked her at precisely what point the Methodist leaders ceased to be unconscionable scum bags and became “wise”?

We did not get a response.

The Board’s third and final choice was Rabbi Leo Dee of Radlett Synagogue.  He describes himself as “a passionate Zionist“.

Leo Dee is an Israeli citizen, who is returning to his beloved homeland this coming summer.  A homeland that “we have missed intensely,” and is “the Jewish State that we love”.

Clearly, Rabbi Dee was on this trip not as a representative of the UK Jewish community, but as a representative of “the Jewish state”.

So, the Jewish voices that the BoD pushed forward to whisper sweet nothings into the Methodist leaders’ ears for an uninterrupted 72 hours, consist of the claimed author of the Board’s 34 page response to the BDS survey, which denies there is such a thing as an occupation, and two Israelis.  One, a self-proclaimed passionate Zionist, and the other, a “BoD Princess”.

For Rabbi Leo Dee’s take on the situation see here.  Israel isn’t occupying and dispossessing the indigenous population of the territories, it is “incubating“ them.  The most dependent nation on earth is nurturing the Palestinians so they can stand on their own two feet!!!   Pass the sick bag, Alice.

The jolly to Israel was led by Jane Clements, the founder (all by her little self….we don’t think so) and Director of FODIP.  This is an organisation set up to smooth over tensions between the UK “faith communities” that are felt to have specifically arisen over different perspectives on Israel/Palestine.  This is code for getting Christians that have strayed from the Israeli Embassy/BoD position, back into line.  This is the remit of the CCJ of course, but FODIP was set up to take care of the specialised tactic of all expenses paid “fact finding trips” such as this.

Clements is a former Programme Manager for The Council of Christians and Jews which, as we have seen, is nothing more than an extension of the Board.  She tells us that there has been a great many changes in Israel/Palestine since 1967.  Really?  We are then invited to “embrace these changes positively.”  What?  That is her sincere advice to the Palestinians?  Look on the bright side?

As well as present Methodist leaders, a young man of undoubted future leadership potential was taken along as well.  This is a young man of great charm, sincerity, goodwill and, regrettably, great naivete’.   With God in his heart and his heart on his sleeve, he would take in what they wanted him to see, and he could be relied upon to report back appropriately.

It worked.  On his return he told us of how wonderful the meetings and visits to various sites were.  Then he explains that, however, it was the intimate chats on the mini-bus and in the coffee shops with his fellow travelers that were most effective in getting him to see just how complicated the situation was.  Get folks to see it as complicated is, of course, 101 in the Hasbarafiosi handbook.  If someone was to see it as how it is, ie simple, they might do something about it.

Fact finding trip or propaganda tour?  You choose.  However, the  whole emphasis of these trips is not naked propaganda.  The object is to imbue a sense of everything being impossibly complicated, thereby creating a state of confusion and immobility.

It worked with the Methodist President Ruth Gee, too.  At  the end of her blog account of the visit, she asks us all to “respond from a place that acknowledges the complexity”.  Missing from President Gee’s blog was any sense of outrage and anger at what the occupation means to the daily lives of the indigenous people.  There seems to have been a heavy emphasis on talking in offices to various officials and relatively little in the way of  contact with  the experiences of the non-credentialed people.

Maybe a few ten hour days  making  mud bricks under a blazing sun, to help rebuild demolished homes and schools in the Jordan Valley might have helped?

She speaks of meetings in Ramallah and Bethlehem which strikes us as rather strange.  Two members of the party were Israelis and Israeli citizens are not allowed into Area A.  To what extent did the party enjoy the cooperation of the Israeli government or the IOF or both ?

The strange thing about this trip was the perplexing reticence of the Methodist leadership before and after it.  No itinerary was made available in advance.  What we do know is that there was no intention of meeting with Palestinian Christians associated with the 2009 Kairos document. Kairos signatories in Bethlehem got wind of the trip and they, supported by concerned UK Methodists, expressed their dismay in what seems to have been very strong terms, and in consequence, they did go to Bethlehem and met Zoughbi- Zoughbi.

At the end of the trip in early December, many among the Methodist rank and file were anxious to find out who their leaders had met and talked with. You would have thought this would be information that was readily forthcoming, but seemingly it was not.  It seems the leadership were evasive to a degree that one church member saw fit to describe the experience as “like trying to get blood out of a stone.”

Finally, on 31st December, a full 26 days after the end of the trip, Ruth Gee gave a fullish account on her President’s blog.

As to the reasons for this reticence, your guess is as good as ours.

This blog post was followed up by the (audio) publishing of an interview of President Gee by Karen Burke on the church website.  To call it astonishing would be putting it very mildly indeed.

Certainly the BoD Kool aid was running freely through her veins.   We are told again how complex it all is.  Except this time, the perfectly simple situation is “HUGELY complicated”.   Reminiscent of the Board’s BDS  survey response, the word peace occurs 31 times.  In a 17  min 58 sec interview, the word justice makes its first appearance at 13 min 40 secs.  In all, it occurs a total of 4 times, including once in a quote from a PA  official, and once in reference to other parts of the world.  Clearly justice is very much an inconvenient side issue and the Methodist leaders confirm once again that they have bought the Hasbarafia mantra of “peace and reconciliation now, justice later, perhaps.”  How much later?  Another 47 years?

President Gee tells us she could have talked about the visit to the Tent of Nations and the Holy Land Trust but wasn’t going to.  Obviously, what she heard and saw in those places didn’t fit in with the BoD-friendly theme of the interview, a BoD-friendly theme that Karen Burke was cooperative in establishing.

Incredibly, she makes no mention of the meeting with Methodist Liaison.  Here’s why.

The whataboutery line of how Palestinians under Israeli rule are better off than their brethren elsewhere in the Middle East gets a dutiful mention.

Amazingly, a visit to the Israeli Foreign Ministry began with a period of Bible study.  They will discuss theology with Israeli Foreign Ministry officials but not enable Methodists to discuss theology among themselves.

 There hasn’t been a single, solitary mention of the trip before, during or after by the Board of Deputies.  We know the reason for this.

UPDATE: Arkush finally had to refer to the trip at the plenary on January  19th in response to a question from the floor. His discomfort was palpable.