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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 26, 2010 / 18 Mar-Cheshvan, 5771

Don't Give Up on the Brits

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A letter to the editor struck a chord the other day. It was from a reader who'd just returned from London. While there, riding the Underground, he'd encountered a member of that country's chattering class -- the bloke said he was teaching at Oxford -- who was blaming all the troubles in the world on America. So what else is new? He sounded much like his counterparts on many a politically correct American campus.

Naturally my fellow American took super-sized umbrage, though he managed to bite his tongue, Instead of replying, say, that that if it hadn't been for this country, his new acquaintance might be conversing in German. A cheap shot, maybe, but a tempting one when provoked.

You know how it is. A visit abroad brings out the American in all of us. The sight of Old Glory flying in a foreign land may move us as it might never do at home, where it tends to fade into the landscape. But let some foreigner say something critical about the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, and we rise to the bait.

If an Englishman were to repeat some of the same criticisms I've made of our president, I'd probably rise instinctively to Mr. Obama's defense. Call it solidarity, national feeling, group loyalty. How dare some foreigner criticize our president? That's our prerogative. It doesn't take a sociologist to explain it. Anyone who belongs to a family does. Within the family circle, all are fair game. Each of us feels free to grouse about the others, but, boy, just let some outsider try it, and we bare our teeth.

Lest we forget, the Brits weren't all that high on themselves before they rose to their Finest Hour. As the first war clouds began to gather in the 1930s, the Oxford Union, the university's debating society, solemnly resolved, "This House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country." Bad form, wouldn't you say?

But as the character of the enemy and the nature of the threat began to fully emerge, just as it crystallized for many an American after September 11, 2001, the British regained their martial spirit as of old. George Orwell, who was decency personified in print, was only one case in point. An anti-war socialist, he would later be moved to fight fascism in Spain, an experience that left him militantly anti-fascist and anti-Communist. Terrible as war is, it can be an educational experience for those who manage to survive it.

Then there's the kind of intellectual manqué a visiting American might run into on the Tube. It's enough to shake the once widespread assumption that there'll always be an England.

But then, day after day, the obituaries appear of the last of that generation who rallied to their country's cause in Britain's darkest--and finest--hour. Reading their stories, one's faith is restored. A nation that produced such heroes cannot have lost its character. To note just a couple of recent obits:

--An old woman is found dead of a heart attack at 89, alone and untended, in her cluttered home in a seaside town 190 miles southwest of London. She'd pretty much kept to herself, never discussing her past. There are no survivors, and certainly no estate. It happens.

A pauper's grave is being arranged when a search of her belongings reveals a Croix de Guerre, among other medals and medallions. She turns out to be Eileen Nearne, alias Jacqueline Duterte, who at 23 was dropped into occupied France to prepare the ground for D-Day.

Always good at being nondescript, and with her excellent French, she had faded into the general population as just another shopgirl, all the while collecting, transmitting and coordinating intelligence with the French resistance. When caught, she played dumb, said she was just a simple French girl relaying some messages she didn't understand, and refused to crack under questioning.

She was sent first to Ravensbruck and then to one concentration camp after another in the Nazi archipelago of slave labor. She survived somehow, managing to escape in the chaos at the end of the war. And live quietly thereafter with her cats, a model of British reserve.

When her wartime identity made the papers, Eilene Nearne would be given a state funeral, and all Britain stopped and remembered.

--Michael Burn, a young British writer with more talent than sense, was one of those intellectuals who became enamored with fascism back in the desperate Thirties. After all, hadn't Hitler solved the unemployment problem? Given an introduction to his hero by a prominent British fascist, one of the always gullible Mitford girls, he visited Germany and even accompanied the Fuehrer to a Nuremberg Rally or two. And came back with an autographed copy of "Mein Kampf."

As he would later write in his memoirs: "My mix of ignorance, blindness and semi-criminal benevolence turned me into a dupe." Ignorance, blindness and semi-criminal benevolence sounds like a pretty good summation of this era's utopian fancies, too. Or any era's.

By 1937, the scales had lifted from his eyes and Michael Burn enlisted in the King's Royal Rifles. He would wind up leading a daring commando raid in France. He was the only one in his unit to survive, and managed to flash the V for Victory sign as he was being led away. But he never gave up, leading the resistance in his POW camp. Michael Burns would go on to cover many an exciting story for the London Times -- till his death at 97, a ripe old age few would have predicted for the captured young Tommy flashing that V for Victory sign.

Yes, there'll always be an England. There'll have to be. A land that produces such character, and has produced it since Elizabeth Regina, she with "the body of a weak and feeble woman, but ... the heart and stomach of a king" as the Spanish Armada approached, cannot be written off so easily. And certainly not after a chance encounter with some blowhard on the Underground.

Once in Mexico City, I met a wandering Jew, a European refugee who for a time had taken up the tailor's trade and followed the British from one outpost of their shrinking empire to another. Why the British, I asked him. "They're a cold people," he explained, "but they have character."

Paul Greenberg Archives

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