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I have been listening to radio interviews of people who are claiming their versions of what happened recently on the 'border' are the 'true' ones. I try to be impartial but have a lot of sympathy with any people who are forcibly removed from their homes. However I cannot fathom the argument of one Israeli  spokesman who declared the soldiers had no other recourse than to open fire in order to defend their own people who were in danger of being killed and that as a sovereign state they had the right to do this and not be censured. I didn't see/hear of any alternative attempt before the firing commenced. I'm perhaps being naive but I really can't see any justification  for this extreme response. If the action was justified then why are the Israelis so against an independent enquiry? I do appreciate they have God on their side but then so do the Palestinians - the same God, I do believe. God must be a very conflicted God if he's on both sides. Or maybe he just sits on the fence...

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Israeli soldiers appear to have no problems in regularly killing civilians, members of the press and children. Wonder how much the UK makes from exporting arms to Israel and Saudi Arabia.  The UN seems to be a useless institution as USA vetoes decisions regarding Israel and Russia vetoes decisions regarding Syria. Don't know if anyone is even interested in the Yemen.

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i have just heard that the state of Israel has passed a law saying only Jews have the right of self determination in Israel. This is surely  aiming at the rights of other groups who live in that country. I am also perturbed about the  definition of what constitutes anti- semitism. i was brought up to believe in free speech while being respectful of other beliefs in all areas. I count myself fortunate that I live in a country where, I believe, i am free to criticise/ demonstrate against the politics/human rights of any country of the world. In so doing I do not promote hatred of any group because of race or religion. However, it now appears that I will not be allowed to criticise the STATE of Israel as this may soon be regarded as racism.

“I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (Hall/Voltaire)

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Little criticism from UK Government.  (Need to use new computer – keybord not llowing me to use some letters)  Been in Irelnd but home now. :)

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Free speech again under threat. Boris Johnson, intellectual, well educated, politician, if not always a diplomat, outspoken to the point of - oh dear what word might one use here without getting an early morning knock at the door! He is also - one of his saving graces, for me - is his eccentricity in the tradition of the great British eccentric, a dying breed probably due in part to the non p.c. brigade.  I would go so far as to say his whole family is that way inclined if I'm allowed to say that without being accused of causing offence - none intended at all - and, by erroneous extrapolation, of some sort of -ism.. I actually bemoan the passing of political candidates  the likes of John Bull, Screaming Lord Sutch et al. Thank my god Speaker's Corner still exists.

If I understand 'the article' correctly Boris was actually speaking AGAINST a total ban of the burka. However, he is not being lauded for that. he is being targeted in such a way that suggests he has been deliberately singled out when others who support the banning of the burka have been ignored. Witch hunt comes to mind. There are surely more important issues to which we should be attending rather than worrying about being offended, which is all this is. I have to agree with Rowan Atkinson re bad jokes. I fail to see how the comments made re letter boxes etc do anything than apparently cause offence. And when did causing offence constitute a criminal offence or demand an apology. In my life I have certainly been offended and probably caused offence by expressing an opinion. It's a fact of life. Live with it!  The idea of curbing so-called offensive language is an attack on our tradition of, and right to, free speech which has long been a much admired freedom of our country and one admired by many in countries where such does not exist. It is to gain this freedom so many choose to leave their own countries and seek refuge here - as has been the case for hundreds of years. I thank my god that I live in Britain. If we lose this freedom then, at the very least, we could end up bereft of satirical comedy and literature.

As far as I understand  there is no religious reason for the wearing of the burka, merely that dress should be modest. It's a cultural thing surely. Many devout ladies do not wear the burka There are many peoples round the world whose culture means they wear little or no covering. Would they be allowed to parade through our streets. I heard one lady say the wearing brings her nearer to her god. I believe nudists would make the same claim. Perhaps they should exercise their rights on our streets. I lived in another country for several years. Their culture differed from mine but, outside my home, I had the courtesy to observe their cultural norms.

I admit I do feel intimidated and somewhat fearful when I see the burka being worn. In modern society one is ever aware of dangers. Hoodies and crash helmets are banned widely because of identification so why not the burka. 

For what it's worth I stand totally behind Mr Johnson's right to free speech. As a 'victim' of ageism may I apologise for living! (apologies to Leonard Cohen) 

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Nothing wrong with being eccentric and can certainly add colour. So far as Boris Johnson is concerned I doubt I could think of many politicians that I despise more. I believe that he is an attention seeker who believes himself to be exempt from what might be considered respectful behaviour. If it really was his intention to speak out against the oppression of religious freedom and support the idea that women should wear what they like then why put this in terms of comparing the wearing of niqab to bank robbers?  I'd say he was quite cynically seeking the massive response he has received.  

There is, of course, much to be said for freedom of speech but when this comes to politicians I think their actions are best considered within the political climate and taking account of that individual's personal ambitions.  Nigel Farage, aided and abetted by the mainstream media gave rise to UKIP,; the Conservative Party successfully attracted UKIP voters back to Toryland by peddling their own Islamaphobic and anti-migrant stance. Seems to me that Johnson still has his eyes set on Theresa May's position,  and will use every opportunity to place himself in the public eye, attracting support from those who admire his pseudo-eccentricity, love of free speech and, in particular, just as we have seen in U.S.A. those defenders of British culture.  The latter, of course, goes hand in hand with oppression of ethnic minorities and multiculturalism but that is conveniently forgotten.

In reality Johnson is no innocent making an off the cuff remark. But expresses himself in a manner designed to create a furore and simultaneously drum up support within a divided Conservatve party, from those who are attracted by his boyish, ebullient eccentricity and those would be UKIP type voters.  How smart, how he plays people and how egocentric the man is. Only around one percent of women in the UK wear the attire he is focussing on.  It really is hardly an issue when you consider that of that one percent a large percentage of  women are free to choose what they wear. And I doubt Johnson could care less about the tiny number suffering oppression. 

To my mind he is an appalling politician and person. I am sorry to see a push for his apology on this issue as it further heightens his profile and appeal to such a large sector. However, I do not think an apology was sufficient when he made worse the situation fo Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe when, as Home Secretary, he contributed to her plight and imprisonment in Tehran when he, in his eccentric glib fashion,  offered up inaccurate information. I have watched him interviewed on a number of occasions when he cannot provide answers and believe him to be lazy, inept in his role and someone who could not care less about anyone apart from himself.

When a grown man has to muss his hair up to enhance his profile whilst squatting in a home tax payers are coughing up but simultaneously take on a new job against the rules he's supposed to abide by as a politician, I see someone who has no respect for anyone or anything. How ironic that he gains fans because in fine Trumpian style he uses offensive language to benefit his personal ambitions. 

His concern regarding women who wear the niqab is nothing but a cynical ploy.  If we're talking about dressing to fit with mainstream culture and ensure security then perhaps his next target will be Hasidic Jews . But no, of course not, that ship has apparently sailed as far as the anti-Corbyn gang is concerned best not go there. No Johnson's target fits neatly with his new friend Bannon, Trump's strategist, driving the support of the far right as he advises  'not to bow at the altar of political correctness'.  Well, why not. It's worked so well in America. 

No, Johnson, is not the champion of free speech nor to my mind a true eccentric.I see him as a cynical, ruthless egotist but hey, isn't his strategy going well?

 

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No, I'm not offended either, Mary, but it does make me sad that Johnson and Bannon's cynical tactics appear to be gaining ground.  For me the topic is not exactly about free speech but about cynical politicians and manipulation.  

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Johnson ran the standard Goebbels play book. The right wing media has for several years ran constant anti muslim propaganda and Johnson simply carried on with that attack.  As a result muslim women wearing the burqa are being targeted by thugs, because after all, senior politicians have legitimised that attack.   I wonder how long before we see muslim owned businesses being attacked in our own version of krystallnacht. 

The man is an odious creep, a vile selfish oaf interested only in his own aggrandizement and he doesn't care how many eggs need broken to feed his ambition.     Add into this someone like Bannon, who is the worst kind of right wing racist and you allow this to ferment at your peril.  

I am with Bertrand Russell on this one, the views and behaviours of right wing fascists are so abhorrent to me, so diametrically opposed to everything I believe in, that polite conversation is beyond the pale.

No Paseran  

  

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Touching in  briefly. Don't want to play big role in feeding oxygen to Johnson. An opportunistic egotist with no morals.

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Appears to be already yesterday's man. Only mention lately is of the disgraceful role he played in the Nazarin Zahari Ratcliffe affair. Poor woman now back in prison. What a totally incompetent minister he was. 

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