Arabs

As the headline suggests, the Kindle version of this book is now available.  To buy it, just click on the link above and it will take you straigjht to Amazon where you can a copy for only 86p.  Remember this book was originally published by Hodder in hardback for £17.99 and then by Coronet in paperback for £6.99.  So you’re getting a real bargain here – a great thriller at an unbelievable price.

And if you still aren’t sure, you can download a sample and check out the first sixteen pages.

 

When Mossad operative Dov Shamir kills an al-Quaida terrorist in London, his face is captured on a webcam, turning a routine elimination into a nightmare.

Branded a “rogue operative” and abandoned by his own people, Dov takes refuge in the home of the one man he can count on to help him – a Palestinian intellectual who was his professor and mentor at the School of Oriental and African Studies where he did his PhD. Though Dov and Rahman are divided by politics, Rahman is a man of immense personal loyalty and a staunch opponent of anything that will bring the Palestinian cause into disrepute (as well as being Dov’s former SCUBA diving partner).

But it becomes particularly important to help when Dov reveals the terrorists’ plan to blow up the sunken wreckage of an old World War II munitions ship packed with high explosives. And when the terrorists ambush them, Dov has to form an uneasy alliance with Salima – Rahman’s feisty and distrustful 24-year-old daughter.

Unable to convince the skeptical authorities that the attack on the ship is anything other than a desperate fabrication by Dov, their only hope is a junior police officer. But he has motives of his own. And with the net closing in on the fleeing Israeli operative, Dov and Salima find themselves caught in a race against time to stop the attack before hundreds of innocent people are killed.

I have to confess that I had reservations about Hidden Menace, because on re-reading, it does seem to stereotype Arabs somewhat. I say “stereotype” rather than “demonize” because the book does have some “good” Arabs too – i.e. those who oppose terrorism. But I still can’t escape the feeling that I have created stereotypes and effectively sold my soul to the realms of Hackdom, as it were.

This is not what I am about – normally. I like to think that I possess a modicum of literary sophistication. To this end, I try to avoid stereotypes in my characterization, just as in my use of language I avoid cliches like the plague. On the other hand, controversy sells. Look at good ol’ Jeremy Clarkson raising hell by suggesting that public sector workers who go on strike against unilateral attempts to breach the pension provisions of their contracts should be shot. A silly off-the-cuff comment that is quintessentially Jeremy Clarkson. In other words, the kind of low-brow, man-in-the-pub macho talk upon which Clarkson has built his stag-party reputation.

And guess what? All of a sudden, everyone’s talking about Jeremy Clarkson just when his star was fading. It seems that just as being outrageous can buy the untalented their proverbial 15 minutes, it can also breathe a new lease of life into the talented but erratic.

And while we’re on the subject of talented but erratic, let’s get back to talking about me! My new book may not be a literary masterpiece. As with cars that’s my other book. But it is what I would call an excellent Velvet Underground piece – in other words, a Loo Read.

And as for that cheap shot at publicity…. well here’s my contribution to the debate: Jeremy Clarkson should be shot! Now would somebody kindly report me to the Director of Public Prosecutions – PLEASE!!!!!!

 

 

It was inevitable that despite Israel releasing over a thousand terrorists (including murderers), the Guardian would find a peg on which to hang its hatred of the Jewish State yet again.  In this case it takes the form of a mendacious article by some one called Deborah Orr.

Disengenuously titled Is an Israeli life really more important than a Palestinian’s? Ms Orr’s article tries to imply that the world reaction to Israel’s willingness to release such a large number of terrorists for one soldier is “an indication of how inured the world has become to the obscene idea that Israeli lives are more important than Palestinian lives.”  And just to make it clear that she is attacking the Jewish state and not merely the world at large, she adds:  “who is surprised really, to learn that Netanyahu sees one Israeli’s freedom as a fair exchange for the freedom of so many Palestinians? ”

And then to further make it clear that she extends this criticism to the citizens of the State of Israel, as well as its supporters, she then refers to: “what so many Zionists believe – that the lives of the chosen are of hugely greater consequence than those of their unfortunate neighbours.”  She says Zionists.  She means JEWS.

Whilst the word “chosen” is as misleading with regard to Jews as it is to Zionists (the Jews chose to believe in a single deity; the “deity” did not choose them) the fact is that the words “chosen” and “chosen people” have historically been applied to the Jews, not to the Zionists.  Ms Orr, as a woman with at least a modicum of intelligence, certainly knows this – and knows also that her readers will understand the words that way.  She may try to weasel out of this conclusion by claiming that Zionists think they have been chosen to inherit the disputed land.  But then she could have used a word like “privileged” instead of “chosen” with its obvious association with the Jews.

But Jews have lived with antisemitism for so long, that it is now like water off a duck’s back.  It is the brazen dishonesty of Deborah Orr’s article, rather than its thinly-veiled antisemitism, that is the problem.

For a start Ms Orr’s use of the word “life” in the context of the prisoner exchange implies that the lives of the Palestinian prisoners were in jeopardy.  She knows full-well that they were not.  In fact the Palestinian terrorists were safer in Israeli prisons.  Now that they are out, they will either resume their terrorism (risking their own lives in the process) or refuse to continue as terrorists, in which case they will become suspect in the eyes of their Hamas brethren, to the point of risking accusations of treason. Either way, they are in greater danger now than they were when imprisoned in Israel.

For their part, the Israelis knew from the experience with Ron Arad that if they did not negotiate, and if it became clear to the terrorists that they were not going to budge, then Hamas would have murdered Gilad Shalit.  See for example: http://www.qassam.ps/news-748-EQB_Gilad_Shalit_will_face_the_fate_of_Ron_Arad_If_the_Zionist_enemy_continued_its_procrastination.html

In contrast, the only effect of the passage of time for the terrorist prisoners held by Israel  would be that for those not serving life sentences for murder, their release dates would be getting nearer.  Thus while the imbalances take on one guise when one looks at the  number of terrorists Israel released or compares the crimes of those terrorists to the innocence of Gilad Shalit, that imbalance takes on an altogether different guise when one considers the prospective fates of Gilad Shalit and the terrorists respectively.

Now Ms Orr might try to weasel out of it on the other side of the box into which she has locked herself, by claiming that her use of the word “lives” was a reference to the number of people murdered by the terrorists (quite a high number) as opposed to the number of people killed by Gilad Shalit (as in zero).   But then it would show the oppositeof what Ms. Orr is claiming: that Israel does not put a premium on Israeli lives over Palestinian lives. Moreover, such an argument would merely show that Israel shares with other civilized nations that sentiment so eloquently expressed by Alexander Solzhenitsyn: that obligation to the living outweighs duty to the dead.  In other words, punishing those who murdered Israeli citizens in the past was less important than saving an Israeli citizen who was currently in danger.  But to acknowledge that, would refute Ms Orr’s thesis that the Israelis view the lives of their own more highly than those of others.  And of course, such an argument would require a degree of honesty of which Ms Orr is incapable.

Having said that, one could argue that by releasing those who murdered Israelis in the past, Israel has increased the likelihood of other Israelis being murdered in the future.  This is true both because of the likelihood that some of the released terrorists will return to their evil ways and because other Palestinian Arabs will be emboldened by their release.   But this is one criticism that Ms Orr chooses not to make, because whilst it is a criticism of the Israeli government, it is not a criticism of Israeli society, and it therefore falls outside the scope of Ms Orr’s nefarious agenda.

Interestingly Ms Orr does not discuss the conflicted feelings of Israelis regarding the prisoner exchange, or contrast those feelings to the unmitigated joy amongst the Palestinians.  If the Palestinians had genuinely felt that Shalit was a wrongdoer with innocent Palestinian blood on his hands, they too would have had similar mixed feelings about his release.  Yet all she tells us in this regard is that Hamas were “abject in their eagerness to accept” the unequal exchange.  This phraseology brazenly and mendaciously implies that it was Israel that instigated the unequal exchange and that Hamas merely accepted it.  Is the lady incapable of speaking the truth?  Does she really not know that Hamas demanded the large-scale release of their terrorists, whereas Israel reluctantly accepted it?

Of course she could say that what she meant was that by holding out for the release of many, Hamas risked leaving the table empty-handed and that this shows a lack of regard for their own.  In other words, it is not a case of Israel valuing its people more than Palestinians, because – as Deborah Orr well knows – in negotiations each side bargains for its own.  Rather it is a case of Israel valueing its own more than the Palestinians value theirs – a very different matter, and a truth that Deborah Orr is loathe to acknowledge explicitly.

And yes, of course Israel values its citizens very highly – and rightly so.  This is not because they are worth more than other human beings.  It is because any decent state has an inherent sense of obligation and duty towards its citizens – especially its serving soldiers.  But whilst Ms Orr had no qualms about criticizing Hamas, it has to be in terms equally disparaging to the Jewish state.  Consequently, she was, and is, unwilling to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel’s action.

But is Deborah Orr really incapable of understanding a nation’s commitment to its serving soldiers ?  Does she really not know that it was not just Gilad Shalit’s liberty that was at stake but also his life?  Is she not aware that Gilad Shalit was held incommunicado for many years, unlike the Palestinian terrorists who were allowed Red Cross visits?  Does she really have no understanding of the concept of national morale or the effect that this prolonged period of solitary detention would have not just on Shalit but on the morale of a nation that does care about its citizens?

Or is she simply indulging her penchant for mendacity in a malicious effort to stir up hostility towards the Jewish state and thus – by implication – the Jewish people?

 

WesternWall

On 14/04/2010 the Advertising Standards Authority in Britain issued a brazenly dishonest and mendacious ruling following a complaint about an advertisement promoting tourism in Israel.

The advertisement in question had shown the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock (a mosque that Muslim occupiers of Jerusalem built on the Temple Mount – the holiest site in the Jewish religion).  This prompted a complaint from some one of dubious probity who claimed falsely that the advertisement was misleading.

In response to this dishonest complaint, the ASA ruled that:

We understood, however, that the status of the occupied territory of the West Bank was the subject of much international dispute, and because we considered that the ad implied that the part of East Jerusalem featured in the image was part of the state of Israel, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.

Now it is certainly not in dispute that the ad implied that the eastern areas of Jerusalem were part of the State of Israel.  But the ASA seems to think that it is empowered to decide whether or not this is the case.  In fact the ASA has no such powers.  To be fair to the ASA, they did in a later ruling held that “Travel Palestine” were equally wrong to imply that Jerusalem was part of “Palestine”.  But they did so in different circumstances.  In the case of “Travel Palestine” it was the words:

From the famous cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus, and Gaza … Palestine lies between …

that were misleading. In the case of the Israel Government Tourist Office ad, the mendacious folk at the ASA ruled that a mere picture of the eastern areas of the Israeli city of Jerusalem was misleading.

Furthermore, in upholding the complaint against “Travel Palestine” the ASA disingenuously started off by disputing the (Israeli) complainant’s contention that Jerusalem was part of Israel (which it is) by saying:

We noted that the status of Jerusalem was in dispute but that both the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UN did not recognize it as part of Israel and that the UN characterized it as a ‘corpus separatum,’ to be governed by an international administration.

Only then did they add that

We considered, however, that the line ‘From the famous cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus, and Gaza … Palestine lies between …’ suggested that the situation and recognition of those cities as being part of Palestine was universally accepted. Because that was not the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading.

So there we have it.  In the case of the Jewish State, the ASA rejects their claim flatly, citing what the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UN do and do not recognize.  In the case of a competing claim by the Palestinians, they do not state explicitly that the UN and UK reject their claim too.  No instead, they soften the impact by saying that the view that it is “universally accepted” is “not the case.”  Double standards as between the Jewish State and the Palestinians, motivated by their obvious antipathy to the Jewish State and its people.  Would they have returned a similarly perverse and obviously erroneous ruling against any state other then the Jewish one?  I think not.