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.

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Canada, Media

 

Will America Invite Israel to Join Its Multinational Coalitions?

From the Korean War onward, the U.S. has rarely fought wars alone, but has instead led coalitions of various allied states. Israel stands out in that it has close military and diplomatic relations with Washington yet its forces have never been part of these coalitions—even in the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi missiles were raining down on its cities. The primary reason for its exclusion was the sensitivity of participating Arab and Muslim nations. But now that Jerusalem has diplomatic relations with several Arab countries and indeed regularly participates alongside them in U.S.-led joint military exercises, David Levy believes it may someday soon be asked to contribute to an American expedition.

It is unlikely that Israel would be expected by the U.S. to deploy the Golani [infantry] brigade or any other major army unit. Instead, Washington will likely solicit areas of IDF niche expertise. These include missile defense and special forces, two areas in which Israel is a world leader. The IDF has capabilities that it can share by providing trainers and observers. Naval and air support would also be expected as these assets are inherently deployable. Israel can also provide allies in foreign wars with intelligence and cyber-warfare support, much of which can be accomplished without the physical deployment of troops.

Jerusalem’s previous reasons for abstention from coalitions were legitimate. Since its independence, Israel has faced existential threats. Conventional Arab armies sought to eliminate the nascent state in 1948-49, 1967, and again in 1973. This danger remained ever-present until the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords, which established peace between Egypt and Israel. Post-Camp David, the threats to Israel remain serious but are no longer existential. If Iran were to become a nuclear power, this would pose a new existential threat. Until then, Israel is relatively well secured.

Jerusalem’s new Arab allies would welcome its aid. Western capitals, especially Washington, should be expected to pursue Israel’s military assistance, and Jerusalem will have little choice but to acquiesce to the expeditionary expectation.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: IDF, U.S. military, U.S.-Israel relationship