Stephen Fry hates bigotry – unless it’s against Israel!

The Age’s Craig Mathieson reviewed a new ABC series, in which Fry talks about  homophobia in different countries, giving examples from Uganda and Iran.

Craig comments:

Would it surprise you to learn that the ”rabidly homophobic” people we meet in Stephen Fry: Out There (ABC1, 8.32pm) are bafflingly ludicrous zealots? Operating on a frequency that comes through loud and clear for Cory Bernardi, this motley crew of political demagogues and crackpot scientists are hilarious, at least until you realise the damage they do.

Fry, the urbane gay actor, author and host, finds himself in a radio debate on Ugandan radio’s top-rated breakfast show, where his host DJ Fatboy (no, really) has paired him with a homophobic pastor with an unhealthy obsession about anal sex who wields, by way of proof, a local tabloid newspaper with the following headline: Confession: How Bum Shafting Shattered My Whopper.

That newsprint classic rightly leaves Fry laughing, but then he meets Stosh, a Ugandan woman who was raped as a 14-year-old by a family friend to ”cure” her of her homosexuality, although what he did do was infect her with HIV. .. There’s a divide between the laughable words of the homophobic dills that Fry interviews and the monstrous deeds of those who follow them.

Fry also meets Farshad, a 28-year-old Iranian homosexual seeking political asylum in Britain so as not to be sent back to a country where homosexuality is punishable by death.

While watching the programme, I was moved by Fry’s observations that homophobia diminishes our humanity, and how we should be on our guard when someone out there hates us. He then went on to state that if antisemitism leads to Auschwitz, homophobia leads to horrors like Iran hanging gays.

Much as I agree that hateful words often lead to hateful actions, this equally applies to the antisemitism which is nowadays disguised as support for the Palestinian cause, which sees Arabs as the victims of Israeli occupation. This false narrative demonising Israel leads to terrorism, just as surely as Nazi antisemitism led to Auschwitz.

JFJPYet Fry – a Jew – is in the forefront of the Israel-bashing brigade, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, which believes that Israel is guilty of illegal occupation and settlement, that Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza are breeding hatred and resentment, that Jews are abusing Palestinians’ human rights and that the humanitarian values of Judaism have been corrupted by the Israeli state’s human-rights abuses.

Fry (thinly disguised) appears in The Finkler Question, Howard Jacobson’s novel about self-hating Jews, which won the Booker Prize. Edward Alexander reviewed the book:

“….Howard Jacobson’s primary subject is the English version of Jewish hatred of Israel, otherwise known as the antisemitism of Jews in its most recent incarnation. It is a serious subject because Jewish Israel-haters and Jewish anorexics (people who wish to live without a body) play an enormously disproportionate role in the blackening of Israel’s image and the relentless tightening of the international noose around her throat. If they have not set it in motion, they have certainly accelerated a process that may turn out to be the antecedent of a second Holocaust within a single century. Such Jews have already made a large contribution to antisemitic agitprop and the raw violence consequent upon it in England.

At the novel’s center stands a womanizing gentile named Julian Treslove, formerly a programmer for the BBC (the butt of relentless and well-deserved derision throughout the novel). When at school he had befriended a Jew (the first he had ever known) named Samuel Finkler…. Treslove came to think of Finkler as representing Jews in general, and it is this misapprehension that explains the novel’s title: a “Finkler” is for Treslove a Jew, and The Finkler Question really means The Jewish Question… Julian aspires to (yet never does) become a Jew… But he also is puzzled-and one really should sympathize with him and with all the gentiles he represents for their justified befuddlement-by the fact that so many of the Jew-haters he has known are Jews: “I remember what anti-Semites they all were there [at the BBC], especially the Jews.”

Finkler has become rich and famous by publishing a series of self-help books of moral philosophy. .. We enter the story shortly after he has vaulted to still greater fame by concluding his appearance on the popular BBC program Desert Island Discs with the declaration that, “as a Jew,” he was “ashamed,” that is to say, ashamed of Israel. For this gesture he is promptly rewarded with an invitation to join a group of “well-known theatrical and academic Jews” who offer to rename themselves “in honour of his courage in speaking out-Ashamed Jews.” Flattered by the attention of (mostly third-rate) actors-for the professors’ praise he cares as little as for “the prayers he had never said for his grandfather”-he accepts, on the condition (quickly agreed to) that they slightly change their name to ASHamed Jews to show off their contempt for Holocaust memory: “The logic that made it impossible for those who had never been Zionists to call themselves ASHamed Zionists did not extend to Jews who had never been Jews. To be an ASHamed Jew did not require that you had been knowingly Jewish all your life. Indeed, one among them only found out he was Jewish at all in the course of making a television program in which he was confronted on camera with who he really was. In the final frame of the film he was disclosed weeping before a memorial in Auschwitz to dead ancestors who until that moment he had never known he’d had…. Born a Jew on Monday, he had signed up to be an ASHamed Jew by Wednesday and was seen chanting ‘We are all Hezbollah’ outside the Israeli Embassy on the following Saturday.”

… most of Jacobson’s English readers immediately recognized that Finkler’s despicable confession of shame on Desert Island Discs exactly duplicated that of Miriam Margolyes, the pudgy little character actress, and that the tearful comedian who discovered his “Jewishness” while making a TV program was Stephen Fry, a stalwart of Jews for Justice for Palestinians. …

These ashamed Jews are in many respects like the assimilated Jews of old, insisting that Jewish particularism, Jewish peoplehood, a Jewish state constitute the sole obstacles to universal brotherhood and peace. But there is a difference. Whereas the motto of the assimilationists, as far back as the 1880s, was “Be a Jew at home and a man in the street,” the motto of Jews ashamed of Israel is the opposite: “Be a man at home and a Jew in public.” At every opportunity, the Jewish anti-Zionist who can no longer be a Jew at home now introduces his self-righteous and self-loving public display of outrage against Israel with “As a Jew…” But here too Jacobson, except for a hint or two, substitutes believable fiction for incredible reality: the introduction now, more often than not, is: “As the Jewish child [or grandchild] of Holocaust victims, I am ashamed of Israel and hope to see it boycotted, punished by sanctions, and removed from the family of nations.”

In 2012, Daphne Anson wrote of Stephen Fry:

Well, I never!!!  This apparent antisemitism on the part of a supposed British “national treasure” escaped my purview until now.  Granted, it’s very brief and we don’t see the full context, but it looks decidedly dodgy.

Here’s Anglican-raised halachically Jewish pro-Palestinian campaigner Stephen Fry getting hot under the collar as he loftily tells Ann Widdicombe, the former British Tory Cabinet minister well-known for her Christian beliefs (she’s a notable convert to Catholicism) that a certain

 “group of desert tribes have stored up more misery for mankind than any other group of people in the history of the planet, and they’re doing it to this day”.

It’s hard to know what motivates self-hating Jews like Stephen Fry. What is certain though, is that they provide legitimacy to those who seek the destruction of Israel and of Jews everywhere.

How can Stephen Fry not realise that he is supporting those who want to destroy him? Also, that most in the Arab world who he cares so much about  are hostile to Jews, even the self-hating variety. And they don’t care much for homosexuals either!

It’s a shame he doesn’t follow this series with one on countries in the Middle East where homosexuality is not illegal. But it would be very short, as there’s only one such country – ISRAEL!

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  1. Fry has been a long time Anti- Zionist Jew along with so many of his Jewish Pommy mates many in the Arts.
    So many Uk Jews have become Dhimmi’s. Fry can go S—W himself!

  2. Leon Poddebsky

    Jacobson is a gem.
    I hope he writes more works that unmask the dark souls of such people as this Fry.

  3. Jacobson’s “The Finkler Question” is a must read — but its funny because its just so true. Although a UK passport holder (my Dad was a Pom) I did not have enough cultural nous to identify the ASH characters in The Finkler question. But Jacobson’s ASHamed types had their antipodean counterparts so it was familiar territory. One has to translate ASH into its antipodean equivalent.

  4. Of course there are ,however the UK self hating Jews are more numerous, more vocal, more influential and UK Jews more than any other diaspora are so desperate to fit in to the UK mainstream predominately Arabist society.

    • Michael, you are so wrong. I can vouch for that being an ex-pat Brit.There are Far Left Jews in every country in equally high numbers and equally as loud. You just happen to live here, where per capita, we don’t have as many as other countries. Canada is shocking.

      • ”Travelling in America last week, I found American Jews shaking their heads in amazement at what they considered to be the supine attitude of the British Jewish leadership towards Israel demonisation and the inroads made by Islamic radicalism. ”Melanie Phillips 2012

        • Oh dear!! Melanie Phillips !!! That woman blows a hot of hot air. If she thinks the American Jewish establishment is better she hasn’t a clue. Ask my American friends who are with Obama in the majority.

          Take took at your leaders in Melbourne

          This was received yesterday from our peak body

          What a chutzpah.

          “If anyone wants to donate to help Syrian refugees, the Arab Council of Australia recommends the Red Cross Syrian Crisis Appeal”

          Haven’t the Arab world got enough money to help their own.?

          • I Have met Melanie Phillips numerous times she would be the bravest Jewess in the world and inspiration and if only we had more of her type, she is one of my heroes and she would know what goes on with UK Jewry thats for sure.

            Re email sent out last night form Peter are you telling me he was serious I really thought it was his attempt at being funny ???????

            On 23/01/2014 8:37 pm, “Peter Wertheim” wrote:

            If anyone wants to donate to help Syrian refugees, the Arab Council of Australia recommends the Red Cross Syrian Crisis Appeal

            Peter Wertheim AM | Executive Director
            phone: 02 8353 8500 | m: 0408 160 904 | fax 02 9361 5888
            e: |

          • He’s serious, believe me.

  5. One question that I have been pondering – and that I have no good answer for – is how to get diaspora Jews to stand up for themselves and for the Jewish people, more generally?

    We seem to think, given the tradition of Jewish social justice, that if we downgrade our own interests in favor of the interests of others, people will respect us for our morality.

    I simply do not see that working.

    We need to do two things, in my opinion.

    1) We must take back the terms of the discussion. “West Bank” is out, as is “occupation,” not to mention “Occupation.” Just to give two quick examples.

    2) We need to emphasize the long history of Jewish people on that land, as well as the history of Jewish persecution under the heel of Arab-Muslim dominance and supremacism. Standing in opposition to the freedom of the Jewish people must be understood to be just as heinous as standing in opposition to the freedom black people during Jim Crow.

    • I’m afraid your suggestions Michael would be in conflict with the leftist ideology.

    • Leon Poddebsky

      Absolutely right, Michael.
      Also, we need to rid ourselves of the Diaspora delusion that we are “Europeans.”
      My Polish-sounding name notwithstanding, I regard my roots as being Middle Eastern in The Land of Israel and also Mesopotamia; certainly NOT NOT NOT in Europe!
      My ancestral languages are Hebrew, Aramaic and (grudgingly), Yiddish, not any European language. My guide to life is the one which my Middle Eastern ancestors promulgated in the Middle East, and deposited in a body of sublime texts which are studied and acted upon assiduously to this day.

      Fry, on the other hand, has emotionally, intellectually and practically disengaged from the Jewish nation; his adopted roots are in Greece, Rome and Britain. He superciliously expressed his contempt for the Jewish Nation when he referred to ancient camel riders who have brought enormous misery to mankind . There is a strong clue here which might partly explain Fry’s Judeophobia: he hates all Jewish values, including the Torah prohibition on certain practices of which he is an advocate, and which the Torah calls an abomination.
      It is no coincidence that among our enemies many apparently belong to the same community, which deeply resents the aforementioned Torah prohibition.

  6. If Peter was serious about asking the Jewish community to donate money to Syrians who are officially at war with our Jewish brothers and sisters then I am shocked , disappointed and ashamed. These are the same syrians who if they weren’t fighting amongst themselves and if asked would be volunteering to go across the border and fight the Jews in another war.

    Can anyone ever in their wildest dreams imagine if heaven forbid Jews were fighting Jews in a civil war across the border in Israel and fleeing , Islamic leader Keysar Trad and the Islamic and Arab community leadership would have the Chutzpah to ask their Muslim/ Arab constituents to donate to Magen David Adom for Jews . [ no doubt those self righteous Jews would come up with the same condescending mantra ‘we are better than them’]

    This latest outrage makes my talk / critique in March * of our Jewish community views/policy? on Multiculturalism ,Asylum/ Seekers even more relevant .. and confronting.

  7. Please, people, Stephen Fry DOES NOT HATE ANYTHING about HIMSELF, least his much paraded Jewishness, whatever that could possibly mean at him !!! I bet you he cannot recite the first syllable of hamotzi, that is if he knows what that means at all.
    Fry rides high on the OUTCAST image, the persecuted minority, the unfairly treated victim either of homophobia or Jewishphobia. He wears both identities with the pride and dramatic bravade of a centre stage , solo act , attention seeking hedonist.
    And, noch, he is now telling his “own people” how to blow the shofar, cook gefilte fish and slice the chala, all from the imperious stature of a self-proclaimed factotum.
    He is not duplicitous, but multiplicitous a man for all seasons, all parts, all lines and all ends.
    He is not intentionally deceiving simply because there is NO consistency in his accumulation of bits and pieces of “knowledge” about his Jewish identity. He brandishes it, to be sure, with apparent pride and conviction, yet he cannot distinguish between good Jewish causes and bad anti Jewish causes. At least he is not alone in this abominable enterprise, but that is another many other unpalatable stories……

  8. Can’t change our names that’s for sure Leon.

    My maternal grandmother’s name was Chalfan. The story I have appears to be that I am the only person she told it to. I always thought it might be my imagination until I started with genealogy. Chalfan, in one spelling or another depending on which region in Spain the people originated from is Spanish for ‘money lender’ That fits the bill perfectly as Jews were the only people permitted to do usury. Catholics were forbidden.

    Three brothers, I only have the names of two in the early 1500s, which again fits the bill, walked, via Turkey to the Ukraine. In the 1800s they changed the name to Schneider?

    My fathers father’s family was Bogomolny, which is Russian and means ‘Man of G-d’ I have a whole story about that too.

    I have had blood tests regarding genes and haplotypes as it appears that most Spanish Jews were Cohanim. I am not, but then the blood line may be too diluted. I do know I have the genes that trace me back to the ME. That’s the reason there is so much work being done into this now, because of the high rate of intermarriage these days.

  9. Leon Poddebsky


    Chalfan is HEBREW for (money) changer, related to the verb Le’hachalif = to change.

  10. While we are , again, digressing from Mr. Fry, I suggest that we give Peter Wertheim a bit of credit.
    I am sure that Peter is not in the business to encourage ANYONE to support ANY of the conflicting parties fighting in Syria. He provided simply an address for anyone interested in being involved. There is a huge gap of rationale between passing on some iformation, which would be publicly available well outside Peter’s responsibilities and concerns, and assuming the Peter or ECAJ are siding with anyone in Syria.

    Anyway, the best part about Stephen Fry ( whom I just saw in the last scene from ” A Fish Called Wanda” in a role lasting approx. 4 seconds ) is that NOBODY of relevance in anything to do with Israel and Jews in general gives a toss about what he’s got to say.
    In the Middle East complexities the cards have been dealt and, just as fortunately, only what Israel shall decide will matter. USA and Kerry in particular are constantly warning that they/he is about to abandon hopes and involvement. He must have realised that Israel is much bigger than his ego or even Obama’s and that the local problems can only be understood, let alone sorted out, at the behest of the strongest contender, i.e. Israel.
    With that in mind, how can anyone else be taken seriously, let alone actors ( Fry ) , temporary discomforts ( Kerry, Obama) or even perennial irrelevants ( the actual current palestinian leaders ). What, can ANY of the above dictate the fate of the Jewish people ??!!! They never succeeeded, try they did, failed, they always…….

  11. I am astounded that so called intelligent Jews know so little about their own background & current history. They should learn about the history of Zionism , also about the history of the Jews at least of Europe from the pre Medieval times to the not so long mass slaughter. Instead of running down Israel you should support Israel from the same pulpit that you try to denigrate. Shame for shame.

  12. Fred, I too am astounded that so many highly educated (maybe not the same as intelligent) Jews display an abysmal ignorance of the history of the Jews and Judaism. From this position of ignorance they rush to demonise Israel and by extension Judaism.

    If they dislike Judaism so much they can simply walk away and join any other group of people or belief system. Instead, they use their Jewish heritage, about which they know nothing, to join with those who hate Jews.

    • Self hating Jews like Loewenstein , AJDS looneys,etc would never convert or give up their religion as they use it as a tool to bash Israel. Where would Fairfax, ABC, SBS and the socialists be with out Jews against Israel.

  13. The sad and serious thing is that almost any Jew with a modicum of knowledge about Judaism and with the gift of the bag plus an above averrage dose of self-confidence, is an instant authority on what it means to be Jewish and, extended further, how to solve any Jewish or Israeli problem. This also means that the same feels entitled to be a legitimate member of the Jewish fold. No quitting and, most definitely no hate of his resolute identity.
    Lowenstein or Slezak would have no problems convincing almost anyone that they are genuine Jews. By certain rules of thumb they are 100% so. Here one may introduce even the notion of the strictness and implicit serious difficulties experienced by whoever wants to convert to Judaism the Orthodox way. I am digressing only a bit….
    Objectors to what can still be called mainstream Jewish stances are as mulyiple as there are cases of what ANY strand of Jewish intense observance. Even within the same apparent specific group or level of observance one may find variations of interpretations.
    Within these variations, disaffected individuals look for approval, encouragement, simply confirmatioons that their choice of interpreation, their entire cerebral functions are viable.
    Here we see oportunistic exploitation the very practice of the offers for comforts given to the infamous “useful idiot”. Lowenstei and Slezak are valuable assets to the groups THEY chose to march with. For the mere reason that they are accepted acclaimed and offered positions of proeminence, a platform, a voice, NO MATTER HOW distonant with the agenda of the group they feel “at home” with it is alomst impossible for anyone to extract them from that group NO MATTER how obvioulsy pernicious the fundamental agenda of that group is.
    A Slezak, Lowenstein and so much a Porzsolt cannot distinguishe any more between the Jewish fold to which THEY DO BELONG and the stark ENEMIES of the Jews they find themselves “at home ” with. So, in order to rationalise this anomaly, absurdity, they concoct “ideologies” along a string of “logic” based on tendentious separations, extrapoltaions which come incedibly organically to their intellectual/mental survival mechanism.
    I used intellectula and mental as distinct, but complementary. One has the appearance of a well structured expression, the “right” terminology and apparent correct logic, the other one, the mental, has to do with the simple instinct of the survival of the dedicated useful idiot in a system of choice, the need to a confirmation of one’s “worth”..
    Is there a chance for reprieve, remorse, abandonment of an erroneous decision and existential trajectories. Of course there could be a chance. At approx. 25 Arnold Schoenberg, in 1905, I think, converted to christianity. In 1935, after being sacked by the Nazis from the Berlin Conservatoire, only a few weeks after their coming into power and with the UNINAMOUS accord of the professoral body of his fellow musicians, while a refugee in Paris and making good friends with Chagall, Marc Chagall grabbed his hands walked into the shulle and turned him back to Judaism…..
    One believes in teshuva, but the same one has the OBLIGATION to combat as hard as he/she can any detractor regardless of his/her formal status. I am sure that only by declaring with utmost conviction the RIGHT ways of Jewishness one can succeed in obviating its Eternal values.