The view from my veranda

170217 Netanyahu Trump meeting, Melanie Phillips, Jeremy Rosen and Gideon QC


17th February 2017

Shabbat Shalom from London dear friends

Yes I am on my travels again but for very good reason, my son, Gideon Saul Cammerman, received his title as Queens Counsel Learned in the Law. More of that later, first of all we need to cover the political and diplomatic traumas and events of the week.

Mr Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, flew for meetings with Mr Trump, President of the United States. Mr Trump arrived on time and did not keep Mr Netanyahu waiting, which was a good start. I was not in the room so cannot assess from persona knowledge but rather from collating knowledge from the media – left and right – and picking my husbands brains because I have been very busy absorbing my London grandchildren every moment.

Zvi’s assessment is thus, and you may well disagree but Zvi is usually right.

There is a shift from an unsuccessful policy that has not changed for 50years to a Policy of building a different coalition in the Mideast, one of similar interests rather than one of enforced alliances.

In spite of the Presidents overt pro Israel stance, there is none of the previous anger in the Arab World which already anticipated the United States of America to move away from the naive belief that they would abide by normal rules of engagement that  President Obama adopted –  to President Trumps very realistic view of the area

Mr Netanyahu also knows he doesn’t have a free hand on settlements and that the dream of the far right members of his Cabinet are unrealistic. There is a strong feeling in the Middle East that there is a new Sheriff in town. In this region at least President Trump retrieved the credibility of America.

The main question is whether it can be sustained or whether American Society is too frail to reclaim the role of Superpower. I, Sheila, sincerely hope so because any alternative is terrifying.

As to the thoughts of Israelis on our particularly complex situation – the 2 state solution remains the preferred option. In a poll taken yesterday 46% of Israelis are still for the 2 State Solution . 15% for 1 state and 30% status quo.11% don’t know!!!

I have been asked what I feel about “the settlements” and I never know exactly how to respond. Settlements according to CNN or BBC? Settlements in terms of the UN? Settlements in terms of legality? Well let me put it in one sentence because it is becoming tedious. I believe that there is no reason to leave large settlement areas; I believe that Jerusalem is not up for debate; I believe that those who sit on a hilltop, endangering their childrens lives and the lives of our soldiers who have to guard them are also endangering Israel and our relationship with the outside world.

Those of you who still think the UN is a good thing – read this

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist. Her page is fascinating and well worth listening to an interview she did with an American/Israeli and listen Melanie speak about Trump Hysteria, double standards and bad manners in this weeks newsletter. A fascinating interview

Another fascinating interview (if I didn’t already give it to you) is with Canon Andrew White about the Middle East in general,

Whenever anyone in the media, on campus or just ignoramuses suggest that Israel is an apartheid state it makes me very angry; not because of Israel but because it demeans the suffering and brave fight of black South Africans and the many Jews who stood beside them to attain freedom from oppression. Rabbi Jeremy Rosen writes about his views on the matter through the eyes of the Pogrund family

I know you all want to hear about Gideon’s – well I want to tell you anyway!

We took the tube to the City then to the Chambers at 187 Fleet Street where Michael took over. Michael is the most senior Clerk of Chambers and it was his job to dress Gideon in his incredible  uniform, to ensure the wig was brushed, the cravat flowing and the gown spanking clean. The tights were a problem for someone not used to them however.

Our first stop was the ancient building of the Palace of Westminster – the real name for the Houses of Parliament – and our limousine was ushered through the gates of the House of Lords, stopping before the enormous Westminster Hall , a 900 year old structure with no heating. We froze as we sat inside, waiting for the ceremony to begin and 113 Barristers, solicitors and honourees received their Queens Counsel, Learned of the Law certificates signed by none other than her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We all stood as the Lord Chancellor (a very pretty young woman named Elizabeth Truss who is also Minister of Justice ) accompanied by her staff who led her down the steps to the podium, the ceremonial mace going before her. She addressed each and every one of them with a smile as they gave a nodding bow toward her.

From Westminster Hall we were collected by the limousine and taken to Gideon’s Chambers to be greeted by Head of Chambers Mr Andrew Trollope QC. The staff had organised a spread of snacks, sandwiches and sushi before we set off again for the Royal Courts of Justice just a few steps away.

In Court number 4, a wonderful and ancient room, a very British ceremony took place. 5 Judges in full regalia, with golden decoration sat up on the bench and each new Queens Counsel was called forward. Without a word he bowed to his left, right then turned and bowed to the young Barristers behind him who responded with a bow. He sat for a moment until one of the Judges asked “Do you move?” Without a word he bowed to them and walked to the next bench thus symbolising his first appearance before the court as a Queens Counsel. Incredibly Gideon’s name was called out by Sir Brian Levenson, President of the  Queens Bench Division, whose decision and encouragement early in Gideon’s career brought him to this day.

Formalities over Gideon thankfully walked at full pace back to Chambers and changed into civvies. Thereafter we went to a local pub where loads of friends arrived to celebrate. What a day!!!!

My favourite moment was when Olivia, Gideon and Stephanie’s daughter (my granddaughter) suddenly announced that Daddy was a tourist attraction because the milling tourists outside Westminster Hall were photographing him from all angles as he sported his ancient costume.

Both children, Olivia and Zachary, had the experience of a lifetime and I was so proud of both Gideon and his beautiful (and equally clever) wife Stephanie without whose support and love, life would have been so much harder.

I go back to Jerusalem on Sunday, filled with stories and experiences that fill my heart.

So to music

Yaacov Shewekey is a favourite of mine and while I was looking for Ma Tovu, my grandson Sammy’s favourite ad very gentle song, I found this very unconventional version!

Since I am in the UK in winter I must give you Eli Luzon singing Rain from the movie Afula Express

So dear friends, next week I will wax lyrical about Jerusalem but this week my emotions are no less as I think of Gideons beautiful baritone as he sings Kiddush and the children, Sammy, Olivia and Zachary, look up to him and absorb tradition. Stephanie, you make my stay so sweet, thank you.

Just went to visit my childhood friend Steve Isaacs in his new family bakery in South End Road in Hampstead I love Hampstead, so very British – the Heath, loads of great restaurants and now……….. a great bakery!


Shabbat Shalom from London