Barbara Amiel’s Tell-All Memoir Reveals the Anti-Semitism of the Rich and Powerful

March 5 2021

For many readers, the main appeal of Barbara Amiel’s memoir is its story of a woman who grew up in an unhappy family, achieved wealth and social status through marriage to the Canadian newspaper magnate Conrad Black, and then fell rapidly from grace when he was convicted and jailed for fraud. For others, it will be her bracing honesty about both herself and others. Douglas Murray, however, came to the book because of Amiel’s talents as a journalist. Yet others may be curious about the book because of what it reveals about anti-Semitism:

The young Barbara grew up in Jewish north London and clearly wanted out. . . . She made it in television and print journalism in Canada, ending up in senior editorial positions and, after a move to London, as a columnist at the Sunday Times. It was there that I first started reading her, from the late 1990s, when her columns defending Israel in the British press made her a hero to some of us and probably a pariah to more.

Sitting next to the duke of Gloucester (a first cousin to the queen) at a wedding reception, the duke asks what Amiel’s husband does. “Newspaper proprietor,” she says. “Lowest form of humanity. Rather like the Israelis,” he replies, ignoring her for the rest of the meal. At a famous dinner in London in the 2000s, the then-French ambassador in London refers to “that shitty little country Israel,” continuing, “Why should we be in danger of World War Three because of those people?” Amiel subsequently exposed this in print. Was she right? Certainly. Did it make her more enemies? Undoubtedly.

More shocking is the behavior of the Everglades Club in Palm Beach, which wouldn’t allow Amiel to go to the club even as a guest of her husband’s because she is a Jew. Most of us, in such a situation, would choose either “To hell with you people” or “I’ll get in and show you.” Amiel tried to assume both attitudes before tumbling from all.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Canada, Media

How Israel Can Break the Cycle of Wars in Gaza

Last month saw yet another round of fighting between the Jewish state and Gaza-based terrorist groups. This time, it was Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that began the conflict; in other cases, it was Hamas, which rules the territory. Such outbreaks have been numerous in the years since 2009, and although the details have varied somewhat, Israel has not yet found a way to stop them, or to save the residents of the southwestern part of the country from the constant threat of rocket fire. Yossi Kuperwasser argues that a combination of military, economic, and diplomatic pressure might present an alternative solution:

In Gaza, Jerusalem plays a key role in developing the rules that determine what the parties can and cannot do. Such rules are designed to give the Israelis the ability to deter attacks, defend territory, maintain intelligence dominance, and win decisively. These rules assure Hamas that its rule over Gaza will not be challenged and that, in between the rounds of escalation, it will be allowed to continue its military buildup, as the Israelis seldom strike first, and the government’s responses to Hamas’s limited attacks are always measured and proportionate.

The flaws in such an approach are clear: it grants Hamas the ability to develop its offensive capabilities, increase its political power, and condemn Israelis—especially those living within range of the Gaza Strip—to persistent threats from Hamas terrorists.

A far more effective [goal] would be to rid Israel of Hamas’s threat by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively that threatening Israel is indisputably against its interests. Achieving this goal will not be easy, but with proper preparation, it may be feasible at the appropriate time.

Revisiting the rule according to which Jerusalem remains tacitly committed to not ending Hamas rule in Gaza is key for changing the dynamics of this conflict. So long as Hamas knows that the Israelis will not attempt to uproot it from Gaza, it can continue arming itself and conducting periodic attacks knowing the price it will pay may be heavy—especially if Jerusalem changes the other rules mentioned—but not existential.

Read more at Middle East Quarterly

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israeli Security, Palestinian Islamic Jihad