Hugo Rifkind

If you believe the internet, I was Israel’s answer to Jason Bourne

How an olive-green shirt from Topman convinced Twitter I must have belonged to the Israel Defense Forces

12 December 2015

9:00 AM

12 December 2015

9:00 AM

One of the strangest and, in a weird way, best things to have happened to me in the past year was the emergence of a firm conviction among a quite large collection of internet weirdos that I spent my youth fighting for an elite unit of the Israeli army. It started after a boozy pre-Christmas lunch almost exactly a year ago, when a woman tweeted me. I vaguely recalled that she had tweeted me before, probably about Jews or bankers or Palestine or Dolphin Square or Jimmy Savile, all of which I get quite a lot and normally ignore. This time, though, she had a question. She wanted to know about my Twitter profile picture, and whether the olive-green shirt I’m wearing in it was my uniform from my time in the IDF.

This amused me. In that photograph, which was shot for a gadget column, I am also holding an iPhone to my head, as though it were a pistol. Nobody had ever mentioned the shirt before. ‘It’s from Topman,’ I told her, because it was.

The woman replied with a smiley face. Then she asked if I’d been in the IDF anyway, though. And I suppose, for what happened next, I have only myself to blame.



I could have just said ‘no’ but it had been a boozy lunch and I didn’t have much work on. So I started taking the piss. First, I asked her if she had been in the IDF anyway, though. This, she interpreted as wriggling, so she broadened her question to include Mossad. ‘Because that might be why I bought the shirt from Topman, you mean?’ I replied, but by now she felt Topman was a smokescreen. So I asked her if she imagined I’d done all this before I had my first job, which was on a celebrity news website writing about people like Kylie Minogue, or perhaps afterwards. And she, sensing victory, demanded details of my combat dates and unit.

At this point other people got involved. Some were enjoying themselves, such as the wag who declared I’d been dishonourably discharged from Sayeret Matkal, the special forces, after an incident in the Golan Heights. Friends weighed in to accuse me of having fought in other conflicts, such as Vietnam or Korea or the Crimean War. Other nuts came flocking, including one who wanted to know how the hell somebody who served a foreign power could sit on the Privy Council. I think he had me confused with my dad.

After a while I lost patience and told them all I was a frivolous lifestyle journalist from Edinburgh, and I’d spent a total of about four days in Israel in my entire life, and they should leave me the hell alone. Only by that point I just don’t think they believed me. And so ever since, maybe once a fortnight, a nut now accuses me of Israeli war crimes, and it all starts again. I could, I suppose, just change my photograph, but I feel that would be giving in. Plus, strange as it might sound, I don’t really mind.

‘But why?’ people ask me. ‘Why are you prepared to spend your valuable time arguing with clearly insane people on the internet who think that you, with your glasses and your adult life spent sitting down and your comedy appearances on Radio 4 and your voice like Miss Jean Brodie meeting Tony Blair, are the Jason Bourne of Tel Aviv?’ It’s a fair question, and the answer isn’t just that I’m flattered, because it makes me sound quite hard. The truth is, the Twitter nuts are illustrative. They see a Jewish name in the media and assume the Jew to whom it belongs must have twisted loyalties of some sort; a sly devotion to interests that run counter to their own. Purely and simply, that’s anti-Semitism. It is exactly what anti-Semitism is. Such accusations are hardly rare for any Jewish journalist in the age of social media and, frankly, it’s normally hard to know what to do with them. You can broadcast them more widely, but when you do, you feel yourself growing shrill, protesting too much. Plus, it’s precisely the platform the bastards want.

When it’s like this, though? There’s no downside. Everybody loves a nutter. And in the process of observing one, you can only hope, everybody can see that this is where prejudice, of all sorts, will take you. Decide that there are enemies in your midst, and only then go looking for them, and you become absurd. ‘O Lord,’ as Voltaire said, ‘make my enemies ridiculous.’

The great vaping mystery

Briefly, though, let us speak of vaping. We all vape now, right? At the Glastonbury festival this year I saw more people vaping than smoking, which felt like a Rubicon. Friends in Los Angeles tell me that Californians today vape everything, even their drugs. Someday soon, only weirdos will burn.

As I’m sure you know, everybody starts with a bitty little thing from a garage; a fake fag that looks like a real fag. Before long, they graduate on to something bigger, the size of a marker pen; a battery with a button with a tank on top. I’ve done that, too. You get more and better vapour, you can refill, it’s generally cheaper and more satisfying.

It’s what happens next which perplexes me. Six months in, everybody swaps their sensible little marker pen for a thing that looks like a Sony Walkman, with a nozzle on top. It costs five times as much, and does exactly the same thing. I don’t know why they bother. None of them can tell me. It’s really odd.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Hugo Rifkind is a writer for the Times.

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Show comments
  • Mow_the_Grass


  • Mow_the_Grass

    Learnt a similar lesson coupla years back when i wore my winter padded ‘keva’ jacket on a visit to Ldn.
    Seems even the street people are able to recognise a IDF jacket from a US military issue – which is pretty ‘good’ considering they look almost identicle (slight diff in colour)

  • I gave up smoking almost a decade ago, but I took up vaping last year. Don’t ask me why, but I did and it’s fun. Like you I started with the fake ciggie thingie, then went onto a pen sized battery with a smallish vaporiser on top and now I have the heavyweight battery and large vapour tank.

    The reason is that I only have to fill the tank with liquid about once a day and charge the battery every other day.


  • RWJetzt

    Hugo I often read you on how wonderful immigration is for Britain. When are we going to see a post up from you about Israel’s racist refusal to accept infinity brown people?

    • Hugo Rifkind

      You’ve literally just read a whole article about me not being even remotely connected to Israel. This is your response?

      • RWJetzt

        Perhaps people would believe you if you wrote the article I suggest, Hugo. Otherwise people get sick of reading media Jews like you telling us how we should accept lots of immigrants, while you have an ethnostate openly welcoming you in Israel for when the sh*t hits the fan over here, as you know damn well it will.

        Perhaps you can show me some of the organisations you’re involved with campaigning for multiculturalism and open borders for Israel, matching your tireless commitment to multicultural propaganda in Britain? …Or are you just another ethnic activist of the ‘diversity for thee, but not for me’ mould?

        • Hugo Rifkind

          Israel is pretty diverse, but also not my problem. I think they should take more refugees, just like we should. I’m not sure where you’ve got the idea that I favour unlimited immigration, but I suspect you’ve reached it through a kneejerk conflation of “admitting refugees” and “not hating people because they’re brown”, both of which I am, indeed, keen upon. Unlimited immigration strikes me as quite a bad idea, at least here. For Israel, ask an Israeli. Maybe ask one of your fellow Christians there, with whom, by your own logic, you must have a powerful bond.

          • RWJetzt

            Maybe ask one of your fellow Christians there, with whom, by your own logic, you must have a powerful bond.

            Ah, the old ‘Jewry is a religion, not a race’ chestnut Hugo. Tell me, if that’s true, how was it possible to draft this government bill to define the identity of Israel, presented in front of the Knesset by Netanyahu? Here, I’ve highlighted in bold some clearly racist principles of this monocultural state you seem so loath to scribble about:

            Principle 1 — Purpose:

            Defining the identity of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, and anchoring the values of the State of Israel as a Jewishand democratic state, in the spirit of the principles contained in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.

            Principle 2 — Founding principles:

            A. The land of Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people(oy vey! VaterLand! Heimat! So intolerant!) and the birthplace of the State of Israel.

            B. The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people (why, how can mere religious followers have a national home?), in which it fulfills its right to self-determination according to its cultural and historic heritage.

            C. The right to the fulfillment of national self-determination within the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people(RACISTS! It’s 2015! We are one world!).

            The ‘Jewish people’, Netanyahu says? But surely, if Jewry is just a religion, the whole world could just convert and come and live in a happy multicultural community? Why aren’t Jews going to preach their ‘religion’ to these refugees, then, so they can become accepted Israeli Jews? I know so many of them have such a strong urge to help (as long as they come to Europe, not the ethnic homeland).

            I suspect you’ve reached it through a kneejerk conflation of “admitting refugees” and “not hating people because they’re brown”, both of which I am, indeed, keen upon.

            What evidence do you have that I hate people who are brown? Is it that I don’t want brown immigration to Britain? In which case, by your own logic, the Israeli state is one which hates people who have brown skin, given that it won’t take a SINGLE one of these refugees that Jews are in our media begging us to take in (it reminds them of the Holocaust, of course). Which only bolsters my point, Hugo – why aren’t you writing about it?

            We both know damn well why you aren’t.

          • Hugo Rifkind

            I don’t know or care. I’m not Israeli. Pull yourself together.

          • flipkipper

            I think what he’s sayin mate is he’d like one of yous to elucidate about IS(real) since the entire blog comments section on t’Speccie is full of pretend Mossad nuts blowing off you might as well cater for them directement, mate.

    • Owi Wowi

      The palestinians are against the immigration of jews into the west bank and ethnically cleansed them from Gaza (and the rest of the arab world) – when arabs accept jews with open arms then it is reasonable that Israel can open their small but strong borders

      • Copyright101

        If Israel is allowed to factor in the safety and welfare of Israelis with regard to highly incompatible and hostile immigrants then why does that not apply to European countries too?

        • Damaris Tighe

          Because they have wholly separate governments with wholly separate policies. Why is this so difficult for you to understand?

          • ADB2

            The question is do the same principles apply to Israel and any Western country, and if not, why not?

            But you already knew this.

          • Damaris Tighe

            You have to blame western Christian & ex-Christian political leaders for that.

          • ADB2

            Indeed, but we also have to blame the organised Jewish groups that constantly push for mass immigration into Western countries and push for laws to silence Europeans who object.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Yes, some Jewish groups do. But they don’t have anything to do with Israeli governmental policy. (The Israeli government doesn’t take orders from non-Israeli organisations, Jewish or non-Jewish.) Indeed, they would probably agree with Israeli NGOs that also favour generous immigration rules for Israel. The original comment I was replying to associated official European policy with official Israeli policy & noted the difference between the two as if it were significant. It has no such significance whatsoever for the reasons I’ve given.

          • ADB2

            The original comment asked if European countries have the same right as Israel to guarantee the safety of their people against hostile and incompatible immigrants. It is a simple question.

            And yet whenever I have seen Jewish posters asked this question, none of them have ever said, “Yes”. Saying “No” only reveals them as hypocrites, so we get the sort of dissembling you’ve produced above. This is why increasing numbers of people are seeing Jews not as friends, but as people working against our interests.

          • Damaris Tighe

            There is absolutely no dissembling. I just don’t understand why the question is put in the way it is.

            For the record, my answer to your question is an unequivocal yes. And if you had been a regular visitor to Spectator comments, you would know that I’ve always stated without compromise the right of European countries to guarantee the safety of their people as independent nations & ethnicities, just as Israel does. True nationalism is for the integrity of all nation states without exception.

          • ADB2

            The question is put the way it is because people are getting tired of the hypocrisy of Jews being in favour of multiculturalism into the West, when they have a homeland to head off to when it all goes belly up in the UK and elsewhere. Certainly, Mr Rifkind may be a “leftist” who thinks there should be mass immigration into Israel, or thinks Israel should take in refugees, or does not even consider himself to have any affinity with Israel. But the fact remains that when push comes to shove, he will have a Jewish homeland to scarper to, whereas the British will not. And increasing numbers of people are beginning to point this out.

            For the record, I appreciate your endorsement of Western people’s right to retain their homelands. Now if only the likes of the European Jewish Congress would do the same, instead of pushing for more “hate speech” laws to silence European dissent. Cheers and thank-you for the civil discussion.

          • Paul B

            But it seems to me your conclusion is merely one of your premises. You start out with the belief that Jews are out to get us, and that is also your conclusion. Right or wrong, your argument is valueless therefore.

            I don’t see what you describe. What Jewish organisations are arguing in favour of unrestricted immigration?

          • ADB2

            Then you’re not looking.

            Here’s a list of Jewish groups supporting the refugee invasion.


            Here’s the European Jewish Congress pushing for more hate speech laws to silence dissent:

            “Dinstein, who is working in conjunction with the EJC to draft
            pan-European legislation against hate speech, said that in his opinion and
            according to the legislation he is drafting, the sorts of caricatures
            disparaging the Prophet Muhammad in the satiric magazine Charlie Hebdo should be outlawed.”


            Here’s Jewish groups pushing for amnesty for illegals in the US:


            Here’s the German Council of Jews condemning PEGIDA.


            Etc, etc, etc.

          • Paul B

            Thanks. Given there is fairly widespread support in society and especially the liberal intelligentsia for taking in some refugees, are Jewish organisations disproportionately supportive of the measure? Given the general suspicion of Muslims among some Jews and among Brits in general, is there not opposition to the refugees from +other+ Jewish organisations? I think you will find there is, and that the varied Jewish attitudes to all this does not vary significantly proportionately from the rest of us. If that is true then all that is left to explain is your antipathy to Jews.

          • ADB2

            “….is there not opposition to the refugees from +other+ Jewish organisations? I think you will find there is…”

            Care to provide some examples of such organisations, with links? Care to provide examples of organised Jewry that supports the right of Britain or any other Western country to halt immigration and decide who comes and goes?

            Thought not. In which case all there is to explain is your own bias.

          • Paul B

            No, you misunderstand me. I am prepared to acknowledge the possibly widespread support of “organised Jewry” for welcoming more refugees. My point is that this is the position of pretty much any British organisation. Once we’ve exhausted the standard objectors, EDL, BNP, UKIP and a few others there is no *organised* opposition to more refugees being admitted. It seems the position of “organised Jewry” reflects that of +organised Britain+. No difference! So, why your anti-Jewish position?

          • ADB2

            Because it is the actions of “organised Jewry” that have done much to influence “organised Britain”.

            Widening the scope from refugees to mass Third World immigration in general, elements on the so-called Right of the British political spectrum have had their own interests in promoting mass immigration – ie undercutting wages. The so-called “anti-racist” Left, meanwhile, which has come to dominate “organised Britain” and largely control the political narrative today, are very much Jewish influenced. If you look at the “Frankfurt School”, “Whiteness studies” and the schools of thought that have demonised whites and shamed them into believing that thinking in the interests of their own ethnic or racial group is not only wrong, but evil, they have been promoted very much by Jews. And Jewish-owned media have been instrumental in disseminating that message. (I realise that you will dismiss the latter point as a classic anti-semitic trope, but Jewish predominance in US media is a fact. It’s why we get an endless stream of Holocaust documentaries, while the histories of Stalin or Mao’s purges barely rate a mention).

            And thus we have the situation today whereby David Cameron and Co. welcome mass Third World immigration into the UK, and think that to actually oppose this is the most abhorrent of thought-crimes.

            It’s not just Jews and it’s not all Jews, but unfortunately, the multicultural madness engulfing the West (and only the West – you don’t see China or Japan importing vast numbers of Africans or Pakistanis) is very much down to Jews.

          • Paul B

            There we go. If the Jews aren’t at odds with society (take 1) then they’re responsible for all the bits of society we don’t like (take 2). Either way, it’s their fault. It’s Aryans vs Jews all over again. The unspoken logic of your position can be nothing else other than Kristalnacht. At the end of the day I think I would rather be subsumed by waves of immigration than put up with a monoculture of hate. I’m acceptably British enough to escape you for the time being, I guess, but I’ve never felt I belong so much or that I’ve ever wanted to if it means sharing these views of yours, this “civilisation” of yours.

            I’m convinced also that your need to hate is what would never be satisfied. Were it not Pakistanis and Africans it would be (and remains) Gypsies and Jews and were it not them it would be the Irish. OK, well that’s half my family. “Room to rent. No Irish need apply.” Remember that? That was the likes of you back then. And were it not the Irish you would find someone else to have a pop at. Are homosexuals still on the radar? You’ll never be satisfied.

          • ADB2

            “If the Jews aren’t at odds with society’s views and policies (take 1) then they’re responsible for our society’s views and policies especially those bits you don’t like (take 2). Either way, it’s their fault.”

            The mistake you are making is to conflate wider British society with the views and polices of the “elites” and the MSM, when in fact vast numbers of ordinary Britons do not endorse these policies at all.

            Organised Jewry IS at odds with society’s views, but not with those of “organised Britain” – ie the political and academic class – because they have played a rather significant role in shaping the outlook of that class.

            The rest of your post is just the usual name-calling and wailing about “hate”, and an abject failure to acknowledge the info provided. Still, maybe someone else will read the exchange and be more open-minded.

          • Paul B

            There is lots of hate about so I’m not going to apologise for drawing attention to it. I think I do acknowledge the info you provide, I just don’t ascribe to it quite the significance you do. I *do* think that you seem to ignore some logical issues with what you write and I’m not going to repeat myself, I can see you have read what I wrote. But you dismiss it, unreasonably (i.e. without giving good reason). That the elite differs from the proletariat I readily admit, what I cannot accept is that the elite is steered and led by Jews, or that there is some anti-British Jewish conspiracy.

            Perhaps we should consider something non-political. What about the composition of Britain’s orchestras? Jews are disproportionately represented. Why is that, do you think? And in what way does that disadvantage the rest of us? Here we have a people very determined to educate themselves, to make their mark. Is it their very success that worries you? Might it not be that Jews are so well represented among our elites simply be a consequence of hard work or maybe even natural talent. Just as the self-selection aspect of British emigrants means they do well, the Jewish survivors of centuries of persecution are likely to be quite good at what they do. Is it jealousy that motivates you? 🙂

            And what is the solution to the problem you think you have identified? It seems you can only be saying one thing. Disabuse me, if you can! How mild a pogrom do you propose?

          • ADB2

            “There is lots of hate about so I’m not going to apologise for drawing attention to it.”

            Oh, but what you are doing is trying to paint a picture of me as someone who hates for hate’s sake, which is not the case. This well-worn tactic of trying to discredit the argument via character assassination is in fact morally bankrupt – as is the classic “You hate Jews out of envy” line, which you’ve thrown in in your latest post.

            Jews being over-represented in Britain’s orchestras doesn’t particularly worry me as long as long as they are not denigrating British musicians and insisting that British musicians be replaced by musicians from the Third World. But again, this is just more side-stepping of the issue.

            As for “what I cannot accept is that the elite is steered and led by Jews, or that there is some anti-British Jewish conspiracy”, what I have said is that Jews have been a big part of the post-War so-called “anti-racist” political schools of thought with which the British political class are inculcated today. David Cameron et al don’t need to be “told” by Jews to promote multiculturalism and accept vast numbers of immigrants, they believe in this “ideal” themselves – because they have been indoctrinated in the above “anti-racist” schools of thought. Again, though, it isn’t just Jews and it isn’t all Jews, but they’ve been a big part of it.

            And try actually reading the linked articles by Stephen Steinlight and Laurence Auster.

          • Paul B

            Well, what are you proposing to do about what you say is the poisonous influence of Jews in our society? I’ve read the articles but there are lots of articles, and Steinlight & Auster have not been accorded the last word on anything. From what I have always considered somewhat of an outsider’s perspective, but with the limited advantage than confers, I cannot see *evidence* of a negative influence of Jews in Britain. What is presented as “evidence” of the *negative* impact of Jews is the slight but noticeably significant over-achievement of the Jewish population. It seems to me that, unless one starts with an anti-Jewish prejudice, one ought to conclude their contribution is slightly but significantly more *positive* than that of the population in general.

        • DerBuzenPuken

          BINGO! ^This^

        • Leon Wolfeson

          So you ignore what happens in Israel. Right.

      • Paul B

        Hmm. This unhelpful titt-for-tatt analysis, if it must be pursued, should start with the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians in 1948 from the nascent Israel.

        • Hamburger

          They were not expelled.

          • Paul B

            Many people agree with you but they are reading the fiction of Leon Uris and Israeli school history text books as if they were fact. They were expelled, threat of a gun, in fear of their lives.

          • Hamburger

            Wikipedia has its uses, but in any contentious, politicised area like Israel and the Middle East it is deeply unreliable. Even so ‘expelled or fled’ are the words used in Wikipedia which covers many bases.

          • Paul B

            I acknowledge the imperfect nature of *any* *one* reference in such a contentious area. The WP article cites many references which I think we ought to consider authoritative. Any who didn’t flee were indeed expelled, so I think “expelled” is fair. Others call it a particularly thorough example of ethnic cleansing. Some have used the word genocide but perhaps that’s a little over the top. Still, a crime against an untermensch is not a crime against humanity, is it?

          • Hamburger

            I am not sure that the people of the Levant can be described as untermenschen. In my business dealings with them I would describe many of them as more civilised as most Europeans, as long as the Jews are not mentioned. I enjoy their company.
            Palestinian Israelis enjoy equal rights with their Jewish countrymen, they can vote and I think that they also have MPs, although I am not sure if any were elected in the last election. There is more social interaction there than the media would lead us to believe.

          • Paul B

            Yes, I didn’t mean to be unfair, and perhaps I have been, but only a little! I was originally reacting to this which really is a objectionably tainted: “The palestinians are against the immigration of jews into the west bank and ethnically cleansed them from Gaza (and the rest of the arab world) – when arabs accept jews with open arms then it is reasonable that Israel can open their small but strong borders”. It really is the case that until Israel 1948 etc that Jews lived in relative security embedded within Muslim communities throughout the ME and N.Africa, often safer amongst Muslims than amongst Christians. Also, that there are a number of Arab Israelis with full citizenship rights is true, but they are few in number, and 700,000 were expelled.

          • Hamburger

            The exodus of minorities out of many countries in Europe, north Africa and the Middle East is one of the tragedies of the 20th century. Most left because they were frightened, some were expelled, the dividing line is difficult to determine.

          • Paul B

            Sometimes difficult, sometimes not so difficult. But, yes, frightened people leaving their homes of centuries dead of night, they don’t do it to embarrass the ethnic cleansers. I responded merely to a most one-sided comment.

    • Tamerlane

      Ethiopian Jews settled very nicely and warmly welcomed to Israel think you’ll find. None too white those Ethiopians.

      • tony hayers

        With free contraception thrown in!!

        • Tamerlane

          If only that were true you’d have a point.

      • razorrare

        Those ethiopians were nicely sterilized without their knowledge or consent as well.

        • Tamerlane

          Nonsense. Long since debunked, except among the usual anti-Israeli (sic anti-Semitic) leftard lobby or retardo-goose stepping morons.

          • razorrare

            Plenty of sources to link to that says it is not nonsense. Will post the first one i saw…


            comments to that thread was closed down but the commentary by nicholas I is excellent…

            Nicholas I • 3 years ago

            Re “prior to the over-throw of the old imperial system, they could not own property”:

            This was because the Jews took over Ethiopia, and their Queen Judith had priests and monks and so on rounded up and killed, had churches destroyed, and had christian scriptures and lives of saints etc collected and destroyed.

            After the Jews were overthrown, they colluded with invading Muslims to take back Ethiopia, but failed.

            This Queen Judith is the most despised historical figure amongst Ethiopians, except the Jews, of course, for whom she is their greatest hero/ine.

            After the Jews, via the USSR (puppet Mengistu) and the USA (“Cohen’s Coup”, dividing Eritrea and denying Ethiopia access to the sea) re-conquered Ethiopia, they became talmudized and “fled” as “refugees” to the Jew-state in Palestine.

            The recently deceased “Patriarch” of Ethiopia was one of the heads of the World Council of Churches. He was installed by Jews (via the CFR and other Masonic outfits, who had paid for his Masonic education in the US — his bio states he attended St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary — he dropped out, to join the doctoral program at the Princeton Theological Seminary, which he then dropped out of to return to Ethiopia after the Soviets installed the Communist regime). He had a statue of himself built and installed at a major intersection where the Jew-run faithful prayed to it.

            Since some people here are obsessed with the headline, perhaps it could be changed to: “Anti-Christians Try To Prevent Anti-Christians Breeding”?

            Sterilizations are not necessarily permanent. Vasectomies can be reversed. Making women infertile for three months at a time is indeed rendering them reproductively sterile.

          • Tamerlane

            Surely the first one you saw was on ‘Stormfront’ Herr Oberst?

      • Damaris Tighe

        As have several thousand Muslim African asylum seekers. Yes, there is now a fence & new African migrants are kept in a reception centre (after a series of robberies, rapes & attempted rapes).

      • ADB2

        Warmly welcomed?

        Likud in discussions with Australia to send Muslim immigrants to Oz:

        “The arrival of thousands of Muslim infiltrators to Israeli territory is a clear threat to the state’s Jewish identity,” Danon told The Jerusalem Post.

        “The refugees’ place is not among us, and the initiative to transfer them to Australia is the right and just solution.

        “On the one hand, it treats the refugees and migrants in a humane way. On the other hand, it does not threaten Israel’s future and our goal to maintain a clear and solid Jewish majority,” he explained.

    • tony hayers

      ” if only because it cheapens the accusation by being often ridiculous and means that true anti-Semitism is not recognised for the nasty racism it is ” Paul B, above.

      Jews, therefore by that definition are a race.

      • Paul B

        Perhaps it would have been better for me to use the word “bigotry” instead of “racism”. I have repaired the post from which you quote me.

        • patrickirish

          In Australian there at has been at least one jailing under anti-racism law – Jews are legally defined as a race.

          • Paul B

            And Catholics?

          • patrickirish

            We don’t have religious vilification laws so no one has been jailed for vilifying Christians.

          • Paul B

            Discrimination against individuals because of their religion is not illegal in the UK either. It is no coincidence that at the time racism was outlawed in the UK the focus of the English Defence League and the National Front switched from Pakistanis and others to Muslims. It seems we have a need to hate and we’ll hate where we can.

          • Paul B

            I’m surprised as I thought the primary consideration of race was appearance. OK, sometimes one can think someone looks Jewish but often one can not. Certainly I often cannot tell the difference between a Muslim Semite and a ME Jew. Or often between a Catholic Pole and a Jewish Pole or a French Catholic and a French Jew. Here in the UK I am often ignorant that such and such a politician or businessman or singer is Jewish. I have learned over time what some typical Jewish surnames are but not by appearance! Why is Jewishness considered a race in Australia? Merely to provide a legal basis to combat anti-Semitism?

  • MyHyde

    Hugo, why are you a columnist when you have barely lived? Peter Hitchens was right about young columnists.

  • Julius Hanssen

    Better be careful – ever see “True Lies”? Maybe you are Bill Paxton’s “Simon”, not Jason Bourne…

  • Paul B

    The anti-Semitism remark annoys me. Substitute Poland for Israel or Chile for Israel then the divided loyalties suspicion would exist, but the anti-Semitism gybe would be impossible. The divided loyalties of some UK residents and even some UK born citizens remains remarkable but never, in my view, deserves a rejoinder of racism. That any remark about Israel not entirely supportive of it seems nowadays to automatically deserve in response the anti-Semitism taunt is to be regretted if only because it cheapens the accusation by being often ridiculous and means that true anti-Semitism is not recognised for the nasty racism it is.

    • Hugo Rifkind

      Actually, Paul, if you substituted Poland for Israel or Chile for Israel, and did so to accuse somebody who was neither Polish nor Chilean of divided loyalties with Poland or Chile, then I think you might come across as a bit mental. Which is rather the point.

      • Paul B

        I completely disagree. You cannot persuade me you are blind to the divided loyalties. And, in many (most?) countries, you cannot legally serve in the army of foreign nation. That many UK citizens who are also Israelis (or Poles or Chileans) keep a foot in both countries is to be expected, perhaps, but it is not one without concerns. Voicing such concerns is not anti-Semitism (nor racism nor bigotry). And calling it such cheapens a very useful epithet.

        • Mc

          Although Rifkind doesn’t help himself with his vapid pronouncements, it would be useful to consider the extent of “divided loyalties” and whether it really is an issue. Is it really an issue if Jews (and non-Jews) are supportive of Israel, the USA, the West, or any other country or group with whom they feel a commonality? The level of sympathy by Jews for Israel and other Jews is strong because most of the Middle East would love to vaporize Israel/Jews and there’s been millennia of this anti-Semitic sentiment.

          • Paul B

            The level of sympathy you report has been evaporating because of Israel’s behaviour. A few decades ago Western support of Israel was a lot stronger than it is today. Certainly there has been many centuries of anti-Semitic sentiment in the World but not so bad in Muslim countries until the creation of Israel by the eviction of 700,000 Palestinians. Neither the word “eviction” nor the number is controversial. The ill-feeling in the ME towards Israel arises from that.

            Indeed, Jews have lived embedded in Muslim society much much more easily than they have in Christian society, and they did so for centuries, living as a small minority scattered throughout the Islamic world and most usually protected from harm as per the strictures of Islamic teaching.

            I just think you have a lot of this a little upside down. And Hugo Rifkind will likely call me an anti-Semite now, a term he uses far too readily when he should save it to describe the true unreasoned hatred of Jews still sometimes prevalent.

  • Tamerlane

    Everyone knows Twitter and Disqus are for losers. What do you expect?

    • Mc

      It keeps Rifkind occupied, between publishing piffle like this.

  • Charlie Angel

    I still can’t decide how I feel about conspiracy theorists. On the one hand, as detailed in this article, I find them ridiculous with their pseudo-intellectualism and nutty ideas. As David Baddiel once said, conspiracy theories are there to make stupid people feel intelligent.

    And until about 5 years ago, all I ever did was laugh at them. But I am not sure what it was that changed but I just stopped laughing. Maybe it was like one of those plays which starts all light and jolly and then suddenly around Act 3, it all turns very dark and you realise the clown is actually quite scary. A psychopath with an axe behind their back.

    Perhaps it was the realisation that all those young men plotting violence whether in the MIddle East or on the streets of Paris, Brussels and London, feed on this nonsense as their main source of news and information. Perhaps it was listening to the deranged thug Michael Adebolajo and realising that he was simply spouting the sort of nonsense that is tweeted every single day.

    Or maybe it was seeing how dangerous such delusions can be for not only causing events but also excusing and even denying them afterwards. So much so that there is now a double outrage to every terrorist incident in that the perpetrators will call upon all sorts of conspiracy theory as their inspiration. And others will then go on to say that it never actually happened.

    ISIS beheads…and others say: “No sheeple, don’t you see?! It didn’t really happen! The Jews (of course) were responsible for it.” Meaning therefore they deserve everything they get. And so the vicious circle gets ever more vicious.

    And with that, my ability to laugh at them gets ever more and more difficult. Perhaps I need to take a leaf out of HugoR’s book and adopt a much lighter touch. Not to mention a new replacement for my IDF shirt….

    • crazydave789

      the problem is when conspiracy theorists are proved correct, we know that both gulf wars and vietnam were enacted on false pretences and that there is increasing doubt about 911 and bin laden.

      the likes of david icke are now making a lot of sense – except about the reptiles anyway.

      • Tom M


        • PAUL H

          pResident Lyndon Lyin’ Johnson lied – ‘told Congress that U.S. ships were twice
          attacked without provocation’ in the Gulf of Tonkin ‘incident’ to obtain congressional authorization for a drastic escalation of the war. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed in the Senate by 88-2, in the House by 416-0 on August 7, 1964.

          • Tom M

            Your original post said the Vietnam war was “enacted” on a false premise. The Americans were in Vietnam right after the war and had been giving military and financial aid to the French. Just before the Tonkin incident the Americans had over 10,000 men in Vietnam.
            The Gulf of Tonkin incident, as you say, was a put up job. Up till the Tonkin incident Congress was officially unaware of what was happening in Vietnam but it was an American war nontheless. Johnson wanted to escalate the war by using the Tonkin incident not start it.

          • PAUL H

            Quite right, had I realized my post was competing in the pedantic Olympic forum games I would have said ‘officially commenced American escalated involvement in the Jesuit’s ongoing Vietnam war’

          • Tom M

            Olympic games apart you said that the American involvement in the Vietnam war was based upon a lie referring to the Gulf of Tonkin incident as the cause.
            I pointed out that was incorrect. The Vietnam war vis-à-a vis the Americans had been ongoing for near 16 years before that event. Hardly pedantic.

        • crazydave789

          gulf of tonkin was staged, recently released documents admitted it. it was the premise for waging war on north vietnam rather than just a counter insurgency operation in the south.

    • Copyright101

      As (((David Baddiel))) once said, conspiracy theories are there to make stupid people feel intelligent.

      So there are no conspiracies then?

      What about Watergate?

      People were convicted, Nixon resigned. But if there are no conspiracies what happened? The only conclusion can be that there was a conspiracy to frame and thus damage/remove Nixon. Which also cannot be true.

      • PAUL H

        “International Jews…a worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality… It played … a part in the tragedy of the French Revolution. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the Nineteenth Century; and now at last this band… have gripped the Russian people by the hair ~ Winston Churchill

        “The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.” ~ J. Edgar Hoover

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Yes, you really can’t let go of the old conspiracy theories can you.

          Churchill gave up those theories as he actually did things like meet Jews. You…

  • crazydave789

    vaping has probably become worse than smoking now with this insistence that it is safe when the science is either inconclusive or against. it does however remain just as unpleasant to the rest of us regardless of what flavour carcinogen you have in them

  • Kadian Brothers
  • Terence Hale

    I am at the moment in Basel living in hotels in excess of my budget, so I started to look around for
    an apartment. I looked on internet and found an address of a Swiss social institution that offers such a service. So I went there, the street is not important but it was number 24, I walked past three times. There were so many guards. I addressed the guard and explained my endeavour where upon doors were unlocked and I was escorted to an office where I meet an Irish Jew who lived once in Scotland. I now knew I was in a Synagogue. As not being of the Jewish faith he told me he could not help me. In discussions he told tails of “heldentum”and told me once in Scotland his car broke down and he asked for a mechanic and the locals replayed; they know Machair, Mackenzie, Machara but they have never herd on Mechanic.

  • Cobbett

    Couldn’t be assed to read it but have you got an Israeli passport?

  • Colin

    Well I heard that you left the Israeli special forces to become a hairdresser.

  • Colin

    And wasn’t yer dad Wing Commander “Malky” Rifkind of the 3rd Jaffa Balloon Squadron?

  • Count Spencer

    The man who wrote this article isn’t good looking enough to be a Jason Bourne, even the Israeli version.

  • sonofseawolf

    Hi zionist zombies

    Merry Christmas chymus
    Yuletime greeting chymus
    Seasons greetings chymus
    Winter solstice wishes chymus

    Protect yourself at all times 14 5

  • mightymark

    Since most armed forces wear clothing of a similar colour your assumption that it must be anti semitism isn’t so far off beam. At very least it begs the question why they might believe it has to be the Israeli armed forces.