As mentioned here several times last week, Tommy Robinson recent spent ten days in Israel exploring different areas of the Jewish State. Brian of London of London was his guide and driver during the trip, and wrote the following report.
There are also several videos of Tommy in Israel that I haven’t got to yet; I hope to post them later.
Tommy Robinson in Israel
by Brian of London
Tommy Robinson flew back to Luton from Israel: he was immediately asked by the UK Border Agency how he came to be pictured standing on an Israeli Merkava IV tank, holding a loaded M16 automatic rifle in the Israeli Golan heights. There’s pretty much nothing Tommy can do without the UK authorities taking an interest.
I wanted to give Tommy an understanding of what Israel means for Jews. It’s personal. When I moved to Israel eight years ago from the UK, it immediately felt like my home. I wanted him to get a taste for the strength of the Jewish indigenous connection to the land. How the land has shaped Jewish culture and how Jews have brought this land back to vibrant life. I also wanted to give him a view of the real borders of living Zionism.
Tommy has a history of both facing up to militant Islam in his home town of Luton and adamantly rejecting the far-right. This rejection sends the far-right into a rage, who feel he should be their ally in a fight against Islam at home. But Tommy is clearly not anti-immigration (and the EDL in his time never made a big issue of it). He’s against un-assimilating Islamic immigration, and he’s completely colour blind.
Israel is poorly understood by so many. Tommy has been fighting against Islamisation in the UK for so long he already knew hatred of Israel — which almost always included hatred of Jews — was an absolute bedrock feature of the Islamic ideology he sees in Britain today. Anti-Israel demonstrations, including expressions of support for terrorist organisations who deliberately target Israeli citizens, is common and open on British streets. Expressions of support for Palestinians seem more often than not to be straight denunciations of Jewish Israel’s right to exist.
From the other side far-right notions of a global “Zionist control” infect white nationalist groups (and parts of the alt-right). These berate Jews for having returned home, fought against Arabs and the British and displaced what they wrongly see as the “indigenous Palestinians” in 1948 and again in 1967. Even while these groups show intense dislike for Islam and lurch into anti-Muslim bigotry in their own countries, they still align themselves with the Islamic mythology which places Muslim Arabs as indigenous people of Israel despite almost no concrete ties to the land of Israel. In contrast, Jewish ties to the land are to be found at every turn in Israel.
Tommy never followed far-right thinking on Jews. Growing up with many Muslim friends, he knew he’d never been threatened by Jews trying to impose their ways on him; that only came from Islam. He’d always understood the need for Israel as a Jewish state following the Holocaust, but what he took from the trip, as he told me at the end, was the huge depth of attachment that Judaism has to the land of Israel.
The very first day we started in Tel Aviv, drove south and east to the edge of the Judean Dessert near Arad, down to the Dead Sea, then swinging north past Masada, past the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and eventually on to sleep on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. That drive from south to north took us right along the west bank of the Jordan river, cutting straight through the land liberated from Jordanian occupation in the 1967 Six-Day War.
This gave us a view of the physical limits of Zionism: the almost 100-year-old Balfour Declaration originally had the Jewish State extending all the way out to Amman and encompassing modern Jordan. Very few Zionists today desire anything more than what we hold now, and even that we’d be happy to share with people who didn’t actively seek our destruction and would respect our rights and attachments.
After exploring the Galilee and Golan heights, seeing and hearing the fighting in Syria, we followed back down the biblical Way of the Patriarchs along Israel’s central mountain ridge. To our east the Jordan valley we’d driven up two days before, to our west the costal plains of Israel and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the route of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and every place name along the road is carved deep into Jewish and Christian history. This is the land recaptured from Jordan in 1967, the land the whole world obsesses over. And it’s amazingly unpopulated in many parts.
The trip saw us bouncing off-road across the Judean Dessert before floating in the Dead Sea. Looking right into Gaza and at the modern looking Gaza City before we being spotted by a pickup-truck full of Hamas and then chased away from our viewpoint by friendly IDF forces. They were scrambled to pull us down (they did suggest that Hamas snipers could have shot us).
We crossed back and forth between pre and post 1967 Israel showing passports sometimes, sometimes queuing for a few minutes. The dreaded “checkpoints”. We saw the irrelevance of that old, green, crayon line marking the armistice in 1949.
We watched an illegal camel race with thousands of young Arab men as Jewish families ate picnics in the park a hundred metres away. Throughout Tommy struck up conversations with people from all walks of life: Bedouin Arabs, Israeli Arabs Muslim and Christian, Jews of all colours and hues.
In the most challenging part we entered Bethlehem and were guided through UNRWA’s Dheisheh refugee camp by an exiled Gaza Christian Arab and a local secular Muslim. The anger toward the Palestinian Authority and external agencies which support it was clear. Tommy kicked a football about with kids who grow up venerating terrorist portraits on every wall. He wants to help: he sees how these kids are a tool of enrichment for the leadership, and he’s furious. We learned the true horror of offering cash salaries to terrorists or their surviving families for carrying out attacks on Israelis. The combination of an impoverished present and an Islamic promise means these kids will turn to terrorism.
At the very end of the trip we went up to Judaism’s holiest site: The Temple Mount. Presently occupied by the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. Tommy and his friend were turned back: their arms are covered with tattoos. He would have covered them but he refused to buy a covering cloth: he saw it as Jizya. He didn’t miss a great deal: he’s seen plenty of mosques. I guess he could have joined in the football game going on up on the “third holiest site” in Islam.
Tommy and his friends bought their own tickets and paid for the whole trip: this wasn’t financed by the mythical “Zionist lobby”, despite the accusations hurled at Tommy’s twitter account on an hourly basis. I put in my time and my wife’s car for the week.
In the video wrap-up you’ll hear how Tommy gained a much greater appreciation of why this land is so deep in the Jewish soul. I know he also understood the purely political motivation of keeping millions in refugee camp squalor as a weapon. He also understood the broad security measures Israelis live with all the time, and he fears these will be increasingly necessary in Europe.
Until — like Tommy — you have walked this land, seen this land, listened to this land, tasted this land and breathed this land and its people, it’s hard to appreciate just how beautiful this country is and understand its past, present and future significance.