The revellers at the Supernova music festival in the western Negev desert attacked by Hamas terrorists at dawn on October 7 were typical of the beautiful young things you always see at these sorts of gatherings.
Idealistic kids, the kind who hope for a better, fairer world, who support worthy causes such as decolonisation, trans rights and environmentalism and who scold their parents for being insufficiently woke.
The type you find in any sixth-form college or university campus, who go on marches and sit around debating the merits of socialism, who idolise the likes of Greta Thunberg as they lecture world leaders on the extent of their wickedness.
That was what broke my heart this week. That one of the icons these peace- seekers probably worshipped failed to even acknowledge their terrible plight.
Hundreds of hopeful young souls, butchered by terrorists, and what does this supposed messiah for Gen Z, ‘Saint Greta of Thunberg’ herself do? Profess her support for the other side.
In a now-deleted social media post, she is pictured holding a ‘Stand with Gaza’ placard.
In a now-deleted social media post, Greta Thunberg is pictured holding a ‘Stand with Gaza’ placard
The caption reads ‘Today we are striking in solidarity with Palestine and Gaza. The world needs to speak up and call for an immediate ceasefire, justice and freedom for Palestinians.’
Only Palestinians, mind, not Israelis. No mention of the abductions, rapes, torture and beheadings of young girls like herself.
No acknowledgement of any of it – apart from, beside her, well placed for all to see, a blue stuffed octopus. Talk about adding insult to injury.
Based on a Nazi image of the world in the grip of a giant blue cephalopod with a star of David on its head, the octopus is often used as an anti-Semitic trope, a reference to a ‘sinister’ Jewish cabal that apparently rules all our lives. Thunberg later claimed that she had no inkling of its association, that the toy merely helped her autism.
Many will no doubt take her at her word. I find that difficult.
Thunberg is a seasoned, well-managed campaigner.
It’s inconceivable that she and her team would have been unaware of the sensitivities surrounding such imagery.
Like the singer Alicia Keys, who last week captioned an Instagram post, ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid of anything? I’ve had my eyes on paragliding’, followed by two ‘eyes’ emojis. Maybe Thunberg just thought no one would pick up on it.
Why? Because for some reason Jewish lives don’t seem to matter, or seem to matter less, than those of Palestinians.
Like Keys, like the group of luvvies – including actors Tilda Swinton, Miriam Margolyes and Steve Coogan – who put their names to an open letter demanding ‘an end to military and political support for Israel’s actions’, with only minimal mention of the atrocities, Thunberg is typical of so many whose intellectual arrogance, sense of entitlement and apparently selective moral conscience allow them to entertain a bizarre world view.
To quote the master of all things dystopian, George Orwell, this calls to mind the phrase that ‘all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others’.
Taken to extreme, it’s a view that legitimises antipathy and aggression by not only diminishing the object of their ire, but also victim-shaming them. It’s a well-worn tactic, deployed successfully throughout history by extremists to justify the mistreatment of individuals or groups of people, from slavery to the French Revolution. It allows people to do, or say, appalling things about other human beings – or simply to turn a blind eye to injustice – while deluding themselves that they are somehow on the side of the angels.
Hundreds of hopeful young souls, butchered by terrorists, and what does this supposed messiah for Gen Z, ‘Saint Greta of Thunberg’ herself do? Profess her support for the other side
It is the same principle that allowed the Islamic State to justify the rape and slaughter of Yazidi women and children; that sees Russia bomb maternity hospitals in Ukraine; that leads to people tearing down posters of kidnapped children; that demands Israel provides ‘proof’ of the atrocities committed against itself.
But what’s new is how universal this approach now seems. How embedded in our day-to-day lives it has become. This, I think, is what King Charles very wisely referenced last week when he talked about the natural instinct of the British people to ‘pull together and co-operate’ being drowned out by the ‘shouting’ of the ‘digital sphere where civilised debate too often gives way to rancour and acrimony’.
None of this is specific to Israel, but Israel is the most acute example, and it has brought the issue sharply to the fore.
But make no mistake: this selective morality, this deeply ingrained prejudice that so often poses as wokeness extends to all aspects of debate – political, cultural, social and ideological.
And it only ensures one thing: ever deeper divisions in a world that seems trapped in a terrible, depressing, never-ending spiral of hate.
News that researchers have discovered that listening to speech-based radio increases the errors motorists make reminded me of my dear ex-husband, Michael Gove. I could never understand why he was such a terrible driver – now I know: he used to listen to Radio 4’s Today programme in the car at ear-splitting volume.
Enough to drive anyone around the bend.
I feel for Giorgia
I can’t help feeling a bit sorry for the Italian Prime Minister. Bad enough that your partner is going around propositioning other women for a threesome, but absolutely excruciating when the evidence is broadcast to the entire nation.
Giorgia Meloni has since announced their split, which is no doubt what her political enemies wanted
Giorgia Meloni has since announced their split, which is no doubt what her political enemies wanted.
Meanwhile, the couple’s young daughter will have to grow up facing endless jibes about what a revolting specimen her father is.
Yet another reminder that politics is no place for families.
I must take issue with this season’s new so-called ‘must-have’ metallic trousers. We’re solemnly told that no fashion-forward wardrobe is complete without them. (I even espied a silver sequinned pair in Marks & Spencer).
I’m sorry, but just no. Metallic trousers either make you look like you’ve just stepped off the set of some dodgy 1960s B-movie featuring three-breasted aliens, or like a sausage wrapped in tin foil.
Don’t rattle retirees
The state pension already barely meets subsistence levels, especially given the soaring cost of living.
But as of next year, thanks to the Chancellor’s ill-conceived stealth taxes, more than 400,000 retirees could be dragged over their personal allowance threshold – and be forced to pay some back.
Thanks to the Chancellor’s ill-conceived stealth taxes, more than 400,000 retirees could be dragged over their personal allowance threshold (Pictured: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt
The Tories are doing badly enough as it is. Do they really want to alienate the one group – the over-65s – who may still have a scintilla of loyalty left for them?
The promised end to the confusing ‘postcode lottery’ of bin collections can’t come soon enough.
My daughter has been conducting a long-running battle with a rat that runs past the window at her student digs in Manchester. Nicknamed King Rat, it is well supplied with sustenance because the fortnightly collections mean the bins in her street are constantly overflowing.
Under the Government’s new scheme, every household will get a weekly food waste collection. I doubt it’ll end King Rat’s reign, but it might curb his nightly incursions.