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

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

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict