The events which took place in France were horrendous and outrageous. Human diversity of mind is something to be celebrated, above all by people who purport to be religious and who believe in a benevolent Creator. May the memory of all the victims of last week – cartoonists, Jewish hostages, police officers and others – be a blessing and a call to tolerance, righteousness and justice in the world.
Last week, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs held its annual ‘in which we try to get some good publicity’ event by releasing a Buzzfeed-style list of the top 10 most hilarious excuses for late tax payments. These included the terribly amusing
But strictly speaking, of course, and in the playful spirit tax bosses seem to have adopted for their new year’s press release, they could have done a list of the most hilarious excuses for HMRC cock-ups, such as…
Blood, toil, tears and sweat: my time at UJS Conference
In December I was semi-privileged to be chairing the annual conference of the national Union of Jewish Students as someone well-known as impartial and unopinionated.
Towards the end of the day we were all semi-privileged to be addressed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who rather unashamedly played to the gallery in his speech outlining how boycotts of Israel are nothing but “a smokescreen for the oldest hatred”, anti-Semitism. Because he was speaking to an audience of students, he even included a pun on the word ‘w*nker’ just to show how down with the kids he was.
However unimpressed I was though, clearly our speaker took the rest of humanity by storm, because according to the Jewish Chronicle, the speech by Sajid Javid (pictured)…
…has been generally agreed to be the best speech from a British political figure in years!
Wow! The best British political speech in years! Eat your heart out, Tony Blair-with-the-hand-of-history-on-your-shoulder. Move along, Winston. Enoch Powell is so last century.
Because it is “generally agreed” (the identity of this generality was left unspecified in the JC) that Sajid Javid’s speech entitled ‘Never have so many votes been owed by so few to me’, was the best.
And because I was lucky enough to be present for it and want to share my experience, please find below Winston Churchill’s rendering of Sajid’s great oration:
On Her Majesty’s (former) Service
An Indian civil servant has been sacked from their job with the Central Public Works Department for failing to turn up to work for 25 years. Apparently there was an initial investigation into their absence in 1992 but the report recommending his dismissal only recently reached a minister for signature.
Our special Gabrielquotes correspondent could, of course, think of only one person whose opinion on the Indian Civil Service was worth asking. So allow us to hand over to a man (is ‘man’ an adequate title for such a timeless phenomenon?) who was Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal under the Empress Victoria, hero of the 1873 Pabna peasant uprisings and colonial administrator extraordinaire… the one and the only Sir George Campbell!
Everyone’s favourite Murdoch-owned publishing house, HarperCollins, has been in trouble this week for publishing a map of the Middle East that doesn’t feature Israel, on the grounds that it satisfies “local preferences” in Arab countries.
This isn’t the only allowance that HarperCollins have made to suit the tastes of its audiences, however. Some of their other publications include:
- For the Conservative Party, How Criminals Are the Only People to Benefit From Human Rights
- For optimists, Romeo and Juliet: The Deleted Scene Where They Wake Up and It Was All a Dream
- For Katy Bourne, It’s Not the Size of Your Majority That Counts, It’s How You Use It
- For Sarah Palin, ‘Climate Change': What a Load of Old Cobblers
- For evangelical Christians, On the Origin of Species: the Original Edition by God, Before Darwin Got His Hands on It
- For Michael Farthing, A Fair Trial Is Whatever You Say It Is
- For English readers, The West Indies Aren’t Much Good at Cricket (trailer here)
As a post-script, though, I can’t help wondering whether HarperCollins’ ghastly decision to wipe Israel off the map is any worse than Jewish schools’ insistence on using maps that omit to label Gaza and the West Bank, or than this 1960s Hebrew-English dictionary which rather charmingly translates ‘Palestine’ as eretz Yisra’el (‘land of Israel’)…
‘Yo Blair’ part two
As if it weren’t sickening enough when George W Bush was recorded hailing our exalted former Prime Minister with the words, “Yo Blair!”, David Cameron has lowered the bar even further with the revelation that President Obama “sometimes calls [him] ‘bro'” on the ’phone.
Other irritating exposés from his interview with the Daily Mail include how he asked Samantha Cameron for advice before deciding whether or not to deploy the SAS (her experience as a retailer of premium leather-bound diaries was doubtless invaluable) and that if re-elected he’ll reform education – the reason he won’t just do it now is presumably spite.
Two can play at that game
Palestine’s announcement of its decision to join the International Criminal Court and call for a war crimes prosecution against Israel prompted a mixed reaction from Israeli politicians: often mixed from the same people.
For example, former Israeli diplomat Danny Ayalon said: “Membership in the ICC will harm the Palestinians, who commit blatant and obvious war crimes!” Which no doubt explains why he’s simultaneously falling over himself to prevent them from joining.
In other words, the Israeli government is trying the old…
Or in other other words, Bibi’s warning the Palestinians that they’re Playing with the Big Boys Now. Click on the green circley thing.
Editor’s note: before you send in messages about the above song, please consult the following Frequently Asked Questions:
Do you hate Israel?
No, if I hated Israel I wouldn’t mind it pursuing self-destructive policies like the above.
Why are you pretending to be Jewish when you have such a Christian-sounding name?
The name ‘Gabriel’ first appeared in the Tanach (Daniel 8:16).