At one point during the 14th Plenary Assembly of the World Jewish Congress, when the whole of central Budapest was shut down and police motorbikes cleared the roads for our motorcade, my colleague Elliot said, “This moment makes the whole event worthwhile.”
But the same could be said of many moments. How many times, for instance, have you been rugby-tackled by a multibillionaire’s bodyguard? Or shared a lift with both the Chief Rabbi of the Ukraine and New Zealand’s ambassador to Trinidad? I’m guessing not that often…
Another highlight was hearing the sentence, “Stop chatting: the Prime Minister of Hungary will not enter until you are all seated in silence.” There I was thinking that finally, I might have broken in to The Big Conspiracy; whereas in fact, I’d ended up in what was apparently a primary school.
However, these were the small things. I also had some big concerns.
Everything was negative. Person after person stood up to list anti-Semitic attacks, anti-Israel statements, bias in the media, neo-Nazi political parties. I know that [some of] this stuff is real, but there’s surely more to Jewish life than being defensive and xenophobic and completely overlooking the positive, religious/cultural/educational side of things.
‘One of the people’ – WJC President Ronald S Lauder
Then there’s the democracy. Now, having been a Returning Officer I think I know a bit about this. I certainly know better than to say, “Following extensive negotiations behind the scenes, I can now proudly announce that the election for Treasurer is uncontested.”
Do we not believe in giving the people a say? Apparently not. So much so that, to avoid another contested election (for ‘Chair of the Policy Council’), a hasty constitutional amendment was introduced – and I mean hasty, as in, 2am, The Thick of It hasty – inventing the office of ‘Co-Chair of the Policy Council’ to save the embarassment of having the delegates actually exercise our vote.
The seating was arranged in alphabetical order, and as my eyes widened in astonishment at these pronouncements from on high, I couldn’t help glancing over my shoulder to see what the Zimbabwean representative thought of this democracy. He had a blank face.
That said, one of the two candidates occupies the perfect position on the global rich list for a Jewish oligarch. Yes, I was privileged to meet the person who is, according to Forbes, the 613th richest person in the world.
So anyway, that was WJC ’13. By the waters of Budapest we sat down and wept for Zion. And wept. And wept. And wept.
Hopefully in four years’ time the Jewish people will have found an activity other than weeping. But equally, I hope there’ll be another motorcade.
If you want to read more of me whining, idealistically, about the WJC, see my guest post on the ‘Changing the Board’ blog here.
Prints, shoots and leaves
You’ve got to love technology. 3D printing is gradually becoming a reality, and it could improve so many people’s lives: imagine if hospitals could easily ‘print’ hip replacements, or ordinary households could perform complicated car repairs in just a few minutes.
If we see a sudden rush of new immigrant-detention centres being built out of slightly shoddy-looking layers of plastic, we’ll know that the Mail on Sunday has finally offered its clientele a free 3D printer with their paper, and humanity as we know it will end.
Stephen Hawking scandal
The Jewish Chronicle has news:
Yes, you heard them: galactic. Not ‘big’, not ‘considerable’ – galactic.
This wasn’t their full story, but it might as well have been:
A quick apology
In the recent past, this blog may have portrayed the World Jewish Congress as an undemocratic organisation, a body with an aversion to free voting, which goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid people expressing their views.
However, following the revelation that the Royal Society elected Prince Andrew as a ‘fellow’ after a referendum which provided only a ‘YES’ box, Gabrielquotes now realises that the WJC is a paragon of democracy and could teach the rest of the world a lesson.
List of delegates to this blog post
In tonight’s episode, the World Jewish Congress joined forces with the Elections Council of Iran. 3D guns are beginning to replace 2D guns. Stephen Hawking caused a row which made WW1 look like an amicable divorce. This was an Gabrielquotes production.
Put your email addy in the box on the right. If you dare.
A disgusting blight to civilised democratic society, Theresa May is 56.
Hate preacher Abu Qatada has been back in the news this week, because he’s still in the UK. His deportation flight has been delayed so long that he’s entitled to thousands of pounds in compensation from the airline (Is this right? -Ed.)
Qatada, who despises our Western way of life so much that he’s gone to the European Court of Human Rights to ensure he’s able to remain a part of it, will stay in Britain “for many months” according to the Home Secretary’s statement to Parliament.
The statement was a rather interesting occasion: Theresa May was on her feet defending the government, while Yvette Cooper was scrutinising it. The general thrust of Theresa’s speech was, “I want to be leader of the Conservative Party this time next year,” while Yvette Cooper seemed pretty ruthlessly focussed on becoming leader of the Labour Party.
The entire event had a bizarre atmosphere of being a flash-forward to Prime Minister’s Questions in a couple of years’ time. So anyway, allow me to present an exciting new work of music and words and stuff:
GOODNESS GRACIOUS MAY
Ms Cooper, I’m in trouble.
Well, goodness gracious, May. For all my pains and chartered ’planes, Abu is going free.
Mmm? For the courts are in denial, saying he would have no fair trial.
He will bomb-boody-bomb-boody-bomb…
Well, goodness gracious, May.
How long has Abu been here? Why all the legal fights? For I feel you are slacking and attacking human rights.
Abu Q must be condemned, if I am to be PM…
He will bomb-boody-bomb… Oh, goodness gracious, May.
From a jail to a police cordon, you can’t deport him to Jordan,
You’ve spent months trying to spin this House a yarn:
You’ve tried magistrates and Siac,
And rendition, even kayaks,
When you tried to Supreme Court it Not one of the judges bought it –
You just cannot get him back to Amman.
The fault is all in Strasbourg. Oh goodness gracious, May! Human rights are very well, but overruling me!?
You may call me a hysteric, but we must eject this cleric,
Before he bomb-boody-bombs…
This could be my big moment, my meteoric rise.
To end the Abu hullabaloo: I could be his demise. You must get this thing in hand
While I oust Ed Miliband,
Before he bomb-boody-bombs…
Beauty and the Police
King Fahd’s Fountain, near Jeddah
Theresa May’s opposite-number in Saudi Arabia clearly has no problem deporting people. This week, three men were kicked out of the country on the grounds that they were “too handsome” and that “women might fall for them.”
Saudia Arabia itself – which is also rather beautiful (see photo) – now finds itself in danger of being expelled from the United Nations, to prevent female states from falling in love with it.
In the UN General Assembly yesterday, the Kuwaiti Ambassador took one look at the “well hot” Saudi Arabia and stated, “Mr President: phwoar, I want a bit of that!” although it is unclear whether this was in fact a sexual overture, or simply a reference to their long-running border dispute.
Other countries’ reactions have varied. On noticing its near-neighbour’s irresistible beauty, Israel immediately responded by erecting a large, blurry, translucent wall around her borders so as to avoid anyone having to see Saudi Arabia and lose control; whereas the Kingdom of Jordan didn’t notice at all, because they were too busy pretending to be in love with the British Home Secretary.
Next week: EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS as Saudi Arabia shows off its toned body in the Gulf of Aqba.
A Tory writes…
Following some recent articles in The Brighton Argus and that old favourite Conservative Student, I thought it was about time for ‘Gabrielquotes’ to catch up with reality and similarly host a Young Conservative writer who is desperate to explain just how unfair it all is. Therefore, the article below comes from the Vice-Deputy Sub-Branch Assistant Campaigns Officer of the University of Sussex Conservative Society.
Conservatism is a big thing no matter what anyone else says by the entire membership of the University of Sussex Conservative Society
Anyone who says that the TorySoc at Sussex is unsuccessful clearly doesn’t know what they are talking about. Has any other student society managed to secure Ian Duncan-Smith, Jeremy Hunt and William Hague as speakers? I think not!
On any sane planet everybody would not only respect our society, they would join it too. But of course, this isn’t a sane planet, this is the far-left Sussex University where the only remotely sane person is myself, so it’s up to me to speak for the silent majority of sane people.
The far-left student newspaper, The Badger, openly discriminates against us by not doing what we ask them to. They’re always reporting on higher education cuts, demonstrations and that sort of tripe. They call it ‘student news’, I call it a load of old crap.
Last week, TorySoc had a fascinating talk from the Hon. Lucian Cottesloe-Faversham-Bufton, a local councillor from Worthing, and – believe it or not – The Badger only put this story on page 4: the first three pages were taken up with un-newsworthy rubbish about injunctions and police evictions and other non-events.
In November we invited Mike Weatherley MP onto campus and he was attacked by common people. The far-left Students’ Union was completely unsupportive of us, and now, only five months later, they’ve already put something else on their homepage in place of their statement condemning the violence! And even that statement was only written in size 36 font: they and every single one of their members were clearly trying to subliminally support the attack!
Sometimes people even disagree with our policies, and the Students’ Union doesn’t lift a finger to prevent this sort of outrageous harassment and it just shows how ignorant students on the far left can be.
But despite all this bullying and discrimination by the far-left elements of Sussex University, we’re still here and our membership is actually at a record high, although I’m not going to tell you how many that is so you’ll just have to take my word for it. We’re not going anywhere: even though I’m sure all the usual far-left suspects will attack this article on purely political grounds.
Gifted and talented
This week, the US Government released its wonderful annual list of gifts received by federal officials. Most of the gifts went to the President himself, of course, but there were also some intended for his family members and others.
The glamorous world of international diplomacy.
The Prime Minister of Australia gave the First Children a “toy brown kangaroo with a baby kangaroo in its pouch,” though sadly Malia and Sasha will never get their hands on this as all their gifts are “deposited with the National Archives and Records Administration” in case historians in the future want to know what a toy kangaroo looked like. Their parents are such spoilsports!
Other noteworthy prezzies include David Cameron’s donation to “the First Family” – he gave them a “13-inch bone-shaped chew toy.”
Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides is now the lucky owner of a “hand-made rug with traditional Iraqi man.” Though the inclusion of a traditional Iraqi man may cause some immigration issues, Mr Nides did receive special permission to keep his gift “for official use only.” I won’t speculate.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of State herself received, in true Winnie-the-Pooh style, a “large glass metal container with lid” from the Prime Minister of Turkey: otherwise known as A Useful Pot To Put Things In.
The US Ambassador to Hungary got hold of some “artwork made of marzipan, estimated value $4,000″ which he was also allowed “to retain for official use only.” Yum yum, that’s what I say.
One employee of the Environmental Protection Agency accepted free air travel to the tune of $1,181, all in a day’s work for those who protect our environment, of course.
Vice-Admiral Harvey Harris took a free 4-day minibreak in Venice worth $7,923 – with Vice Admiral Jan Eirik Finseth of Norway! – which he graciously accepted on the grounds that “non-acceptance would have caused embarrassment to donor and U.S. Government.” It’s a hard life, isn’t it.
The Secretary of the Air Force, the Hon. Michael Donley, was presented with an eclectic range of gifts worth over $8,000 by the Chief of the Qatar Armed Forces. His extremely manly haul included five different types of perfume and two ladies’ watches. Indeed, an awful lot of nasty Middle Eastern dictatorships appear to have given watches to senior Department of Defense personnel including the “Assistant Secretary of Terrorist Financing” (this appears to be a real job title). I do hope that these watches aren’t all deliberately set to be a few minutes slow and disrupt vital military operations.
While we’re on the subject, the Director of the CIA received loads of exciting goodies but refused to name the generous donors. He was given an incense-burner (presumably to help him de-stress after a long day of waterboarding people), a “gold-plated MP7 automatic rifle” to help him feel like a Bond villian, and a “revolving desk clock.”
Presumably the cunning spy who gave him this last one must just be waiting for the electronic device to be taken into CIA Headquarters and placed on a desk in the Director’s office.
If only international aid were given out as freely as toy kangaroos and rugs and traditional Iraqi men…
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s rant. As I’ll be away at the World Jewish Congress until the middle of next week, I probably won’t be able to scrape a blog together in time. But watch this space: it will come!
It’s tough not being a Conservative.
In tonight’s episode, David Cameron was played by Theresa May and Ed Miliband was played by Yvette Cooper. Saudi Arabia narrowly beat Justin Bieber in this year’s Mr Universe competition. The Conservative Party was utterly persecuted by every right-thinking member of society. This was an Gabrielquotes production
Apologies for an unusual mid-week, single-issue blog post. But I do like being the one to break news, and today Gabrielquotes can reveal – exclusively – the legal fees that the University of Sussex has spent evicting the ‘Occupy Sussex’ occupation and obtaining an injunction which bans “any protest” until late September.
The fees, incurred over just seven days, amount to:
To put this figure in some perspective, £46,020 is equivalent to the combined annual income of…
…employed at Sussex. It is also equivalent to the total yearly tuition fees of over 5 students.
The former comparison is particularly worthy of note as University management convinced a High Court judge that the occupation was causing them losses so substantial that staff may have to be laid off.
The latter comparison is worthy of note because Vice-Chancellor Michael Farthing has threatened to recoup these legal fees “from our teaching and research funds,” these apparently being non-essential functions ancillary to the running of the business that is Sussex University. Not that I’m blaming Prof Farthing, because in a recent interview with The Badger he claimed to know nothing about what was going on on the legal front and said, “I suggest you ask John Duffy.” At least somebody’s in control.
Update: Jermel, a Sussex-law-student colleague of mine, has made the very valid point that the University may have had legal-fees insurance which would cover these costs in exchange for the usual annual premium. The University has not mentioned this which leads me to suspect that it isn’t the case here, but that shouldn’t be relied upon as definitive.
If you want more occasional scoops such as this, sign up for Gabrielquotes email updates by putting your email address into the box at the top of this page. I’ll be back on Thursday with a more substantial post!
When my butler served me cold eggs this morning, I did not mean to push him down the stairs. I was merely attempting to emphasise my point.— 1 day ago
An hour ago, my servants all left to take their summer holiday. Letitia and I are expecting them back by noon to serve lunch.— 6 days ago
Personally I see no problem with heightened NSA surveillance, so long as it's used for proper purposes eg. racial profiling.— 1 week ago
Impudent young man in the House of Commons today. I told him: 'You can go and fetch me an Earl Grey at once, Miliband or no Miliband.' #PMQs— 2 weeks ago
On 25 March 2013 the High Court granted an injunction in the case of University of Sussex v Persons Unknown prohibiting “any protest action” on campus without the prior written consent of Mr John Duffy, Registrar and Secretary.Accordingly, this blog and many of its readers are in contempt of court as many Gabrielquotes posts critical of the University have been written, promoted and read on campus.Personally, I am happily ignoring this court order as it is clearly non-compliant with the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 and the Human Rights Act 1998. I suggest all readers do the same. Failing that, permission to engage in protest within the terms of the injunction can be requested by email: firstname.lastname@example.org#seeyouinstrasbourg
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Oxygen was discovered by Joseph Priestly in 1774, in Wiltshire. This came as a great relief to the local residents.