Don’t mention the war…writes Michael Kuttner

February 6, 2015 by Michael Kuttner
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Do you remember the episode from Fawlty Towers where a group of German tourists was due to visit and Basil, played by John Cleese, warned his staff “don’t mention the war?”

Michael Kuttner

Michael Kuttner

These days when political correctness has gone mad and political leaders treat the public like simpletons it is useful to shine a spotlight on the latest crop of topics which are usually avoided. That is why I have deliberately left the heading of this op-ed. open to the insertion of any phrase which is applicable. Given the current aversion to mentioning anything which might be close to the truth, one can add any of the following: war against Islamic terror, real reasons for instability in the Middle East, continuing campaign of hate, unaccountability of terror groups receiving western aid, looming appeasement on several fronts, media bias and UN hypocrisy. No doubt you can add a few more choice examples. The common denominator is the shameful silence or dubious duplicity of politicians and much of the media when it comes to certain events connected to Israel.

Never a week passes without ever more incredible manifestations, most of which sink beneath the waves of appalling apathy or deliberate denial.

This week’s crop should prove enlightening.

Hamas, the partner of peace-loving Abbas, held a “graduation” ceremony for 17,000 youth who attended “liberation” training camps in Gaza. During the week-long camp, youngsters aged from 15 to 21 underwent military training. Hamas proudly proclaimed that these graduates would form the nucleus of a future Palestine liberation army. The new recruits would operate rockets against Israel in the next round of terror which is already being planned. Did you by any chance notice outrage expressed by any politician from those countries (including NZ & Australia) which provide funds for the needy people of Gaza?

Jibril Rajoub, a senior Fatah (“peace partner?”) official, stated during an interview on Russian television: “Israel practices official terrorism, violates human rights and ignores all UN resolutions. Netanyahu is a distorted replica of 1940’s Nazism and is following the Nazi model.”

Did any condemnation of this outrageous assertion surface? Now that the UN sponsored meeting on antisemitism has faded from the headlines it seems that business as usual is back as far as combating Judeophobia is concerned. The usual choir has already resumed its discordant chorus of peace partner delusions.

Confirming continuing delusory behaviour, the UK Foreign Secretary pontificated: “Israel needs to make sure that it responds to threats to its security in a way that meets the expectations of Western public opinion.” Have you read a more inane piece of advice? It sounds almost the same sort of admonition given by the UK appeasers in 1938 when Czechoslovakia was sacrificed on the altar of “public opinion” in a futile bid to avert German terror. Obviously nothing much has changed in the corridors of the Foreign Office.

Staying in the UK, a Chatham House survey just published found that Britons loathe Israel more than any other country except North Korea. There is no doubt that the drip feed of delegitimisation from politicians and media alike has had its toxic effect. This in turn will and already has had a spinoff in the rapid rise of Jew hatred. When the inevitable hand wringing and head shaking reactions issue forth from Westminster and communal leaders after the next anti-Jewish outrage, bear in mind the culpability of all those whose denial and refusal to mention hard truths contributed to the current climate of hate.

Meanwhile over in France, 3 soldiers guarding a Jewish communal building were attacked and injured by persons having of course no connection to Islam. They may have shouted anti Jewish slogans and claimed that Allah was great but in today’s “don’t mention the..” agenda the real crux of the terror is downplayed. I wonder how long it will be before the French authorities decide that they can no longer afford the cost and burden of deploying thousands of military to guard Jewish schools and institutions. In the absence of any determined campaign to deal with the underlying causes and a continuing refusal to mention the real problem, France’s Jewish citizens will be extremely vulnerable to terror attacks. Those who ignore the myopic advice of their leaders to stay and instead leave France for more hospitable countries will be doing themselves and their families a long overdue favour. Leaving it too late has always been a Jewish genetic deficiency. At least these days there is somewhere else to go.

Within the last few days the head of the “kangaroo” commission set up by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate Israeli war crimes in Gaza, has resigned. He should never have been appointed in the first place because his past utterances about Israel would have, in any normal situation, prevented his appointment. However given that anything to do with the UN when it comes to Israel is never normal, this individual was put in charge of producing yet another pre-ordained document condemning Israel. It now turns out that this gentleman had previously acted as a consultant for the Palestine Liberation Organization which of course meant that he had perfect qualifications to head a UN inquiry against Israel. In resigning, he let forth a volley of invective against Israel’s PM and Foreign Minister which only serves to illustrate the farcical nature of the whole exercise in the first place. The report has already been written so his departure and replacement by yet another Israel obsessed person is irrelevant. How many voices have you heard raised in protest at this theatre of the absurd?

ISIS burnt alive a captured Jordanian pilot. Unable to mention the “I” word, Obama referred to the terrorists as “this organisation.” Saudi Arabia condemned them as unIslamic. This is ripe coming from a country which stones men & women to death, flogs people for advocating human rights and denies women basic rights, not to mention the banning of any religion other than Islam.

As if to illustrate the perfectly perfidious nature of international relations these days, we also witnessed the nauseating sight of politicians who routinely admonish Israel to behave better, rushing to Riyadh (or sending their representatives) for the funeral of the recently deceased monarch. The parade of supplicants and the gushing tributes to an unelected tramper of democratic values merely highlights the depths to which we, the public, are being dragged. The best example of how politicians treat us as stupid fools is the statement issued by the New Zealand Prime Minister. In his message of condolence he stated that the deceased Saudi king was “a strong voice for peace!” Really? A leader who refuses to recognize the legitimacy of a fellow UN member is a strong voice for peace? In this case it’s a matter of not mentioning the “oil” and “trade” words amongst others.

Feel nauseated? Believe me, it will only get worse in the months ahead.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.


5 Responses to “Don’t mention the war…writes Michael Kuttner”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Michael, how about we engage in a little game of using all your well perceived realities and place them in a fairly different perspective.
    What if, instead of operating with criticism, we use the data you provide as tactical and even strategic “implements” designed to address and attack the very menace of a quasi universally insurgent islam That “quasi” will hold for a while in rational suspension while articulating the unique purpose of the exercise.
    The CONCERTED intent of all those factors you mentioned is to encircle from vast, I’d say comprehensive, directions the seemingly infinite array of problems within the islamic world, that including the islamic world resident well within the NON islamic world, take France and UK for example.
    We are dealing with what may appear as conflicting purposes aiming in the same direction. Obviously UAE have a clearly distinct agenda to France or even internal USA. I will also add what you missed altogether, our Russian friends. I will only add the most important ingredient into this most unlikely mix and that is the necessity for a high degree of secrecy . And right here, by revealing this bloody inaccessible – here I come with a clear tautology – secrecy, we unlock the “mistery” of all you have been miserably unhappy with, Israel’s stance included – or was it Gil again about HIS mindless Israelis !!!
    Modified rhetoric designed to protect the loose coalition against pernicious strands of islam is just a part of the global strategy in a)deflecting attention from the actual target i.e. islam, albeit in a variable form and an implicit b)protecting the FORMAL overt and covert members of this “coalition” from accusation of abandonment of their own existential profile i.e.islam once again, but of the affable, useful nature.
    Reuse your perfectly perceived info MY way and let’s see if we can better read/hear what is written and said directly or otherwise in relation to this bloody obsessive notion we have about a duplicitous world determined to destroy us.

  2. Gil Solomon says:


    You say that: “bear in mind the culpability of all those whose denial and refusal to mention hard truths contributed to the current climate of hate.”

    How do you ever expect anything to turn around when Israel, that “Light unto the nations” never opens its mouth to correct the false historical narrative that is bandied about ad nauseam.

    An Israeli leadership that aspires to only maintaining the status quo, with never once going on the offensive, will ensure that this sorry state of affairs will continue with no end in sight.

    It is time that conservative journalists like yourself, WITHIN Israel, took the Israeli leadership to task. Their lack of any Hasbara is an act of gross negligence that can only be corrected if they cumulatively developed a spine, spoke with ONE voice and got up off their knees, or have they been so long on their knees that they have forgotten what it means to stand up straight.

    The way Israel is going is a disgrace. So many parties, Governments made up of useless coalitions who barely agree on anything, politicians who forever knife each other in the back, is a recipe for disaster and national suicide.

    The bottom line is that the one power that is capable of telling the true story and setting the record straight to a hostile world keeps its mouth shut.

    Israel is akin to a train on a fast track to nowhere at best or headed for a cliff at worse.

    • Michael Kuttner says:


      I share your frustration at the inability of Israeli politicians to articulate consistent, pro active and forceful policies. This is the price we pay for being a democracy and as we are a Jewish democracy the old problem of 20 Jews and 50 opinions is magnified in the political arena. Contrary to your belief, in actual fact there are many journalists who daily challenge this seemingly chaotic situation. It would indeed be more effective if we all spoke with one voice but, Gil, then we would be no better than all the despotic regimes in our area.

      Parliamentary democracy has flaws but it is still the best we have. Even in good old Australia you have a flawed system whereby people representing one person crackpot parties can hold the Senate to ransom and paralyze Governments. Within the 2 main parties you have factions pulling and speaking in different directions. Within the Australian Jewish Community you have various groups and spokespersons doing the same so translate that to a Jewish country and don’t be surprised by the same results.

      • Gil Solomon says:

        Hi Michael,

        The difference with all other parliamentary democracies is that only Israel faces existential threats day in day out and therefore only Israel cannot afford to make a mistake.

        In relation to foreign policy, the politicians of those other nations generally speak with one voice even on the most mundane of matters, whereas Israel never speaks with one united voice even when faced with terrorism and threats of extermination on a daily basis.
        I regard this as insanity.

        To me the “20 Jews and 50 opinions” mantra is a reflection of this insanity. It is not a strength but the sign of the age old argumentative ghetto rabble who can agree on nothing, even when a gun is pointed at their head.

        The bottom line is that journalists like yourself are invaluable in that they point out what is going on in Europe and elsewhere and highlight the relentless stream of lies being told.
        But only Israel can correct this.
        Only Israel has access to the world stage.
        Only Israel can set the record straight.

        But unfortunately Israel is only interested in the status quo. On the world stage it is always reactive, never proactive and on internal issues cannot even decide if Tibi and Zoabi should be thrown out of the Knesset, let alone incarcerated for life for treason, which is what I would like to see happen.

    • Eleonora Mostert says:

      I agree 99.9% Gil, I believe Michael IS doing his best to get the truth out under impossible circumstances. I remember someone mentioning that the “Media/News” were scavengers in a dung heap, and use this terminology all the time now. Here in Australia it’s an epidemic amongst “Journalists”.
      Unfortunately the Politicians can do nothing about it, “Freedom of the press” etc. Ooops unless it’s against Muslims that is.
      It was once a profession that was based on facts only and Who, What, Where and When doesn’t exist. They have all become authors of fairy tales and deception.

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