Israel: friends and enemies

Beginning with enemies – here’s a very odd story about a US student who claims that he was treated with suspicion by customs officials and that the Israeli stamps in his passport led to his being refused entry to the United Kingdom – apparently up till that point the officials were courteous.

The U.K. man who had offered Louis “Chip” Cantor summer work experience and is not Jewish, Kevin Shilling, said the U.K. Border Agency agent he spoke to in his attempt to get Cantor admitted into the country made more than one anti-Semitic comment to him during the telephone conversation they had.

Shilling noted the conversation didn’t accomplish anything. Several times, however, Yeomans made anti-Semitic comments to Shilling. At one point, when Shilling was explaining the reason Chip was in the country, the customs agent told Shilling that Chip should have lied to the customs agent, adding, “A Jewish kid would find that easy,” Shilling reported.

Yeomans the custom agent also told Shilling any additional attempts to aid Cantor would be useless and “the little Jew will be on his way back to his rich daddy,” in a matter of hours.

Chuck Cantor said during the time Chip was in detention, he was given only a half of a sandwich and very little water. When Chip asked for more food and water over several hours, he was alternately denied, told to “stop pestering” them, and told he could have water “only if you say please.”

The student claimed he was photographed by a woman wearing a ‘burka’ – I assume he meant a hijab.  It’s difficult to know quite how to respond to such a startling story – with an open mind, I suppose.

More cheerfully – on to friends.

‘So – why are you a friend of Israel, Sarah?’

I think my neighbour at today’s Labour Friends of Israel lunch was quite pleased to discover that, contrarily enough, the BDS movement was responsible for sparking my interest. It was good to put a few faces to gravatars and to hear several excellent speeches. The main speaker was Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander.  Alexander criticised attempts to delegitimise Israel from some on the left, and spoke of the importance of continuing to work for a lasting peace.  He mentioned a teacher he met in Ashkelon who said she strove to ensure that her pupils didn’t see the Palestinian children over the border as their enemy.  (And with that thought in mind I hope you’ll forgive a little plug for Dominic who is running to raise money for Children of Peace.)

Hat Tip: CBinTH