Neviim Tovim, blogs by Gillian Gould Lazarus

Archive for April 2022

Today being the sixth day of Passover, I decided to return some of the Pesach crockery to the top shelf of the big cupboard in my spare room. I had to remove suitcases and hangers from the cupboard until I could insert a kitchen chair with some degree of stability. I then climbed on the chair and returned some large plates, small plates, cups and saucers to their place. Moving my hand along the shelf to see what was there, I found a cardboard box, which I realized immediately would contain memorabilia which had belonged to my parents. I came down from the chair and out of the cupboard, with the box. It was full of letters, one from me aged fourteen, to my sister, written while on holiday. I related, with humorous asides, the experience of a student making a pass at me while thinking I was of legal age and that he withdrew when I told him I was fourteen.

There are letters to my parents and grandmother from my aunt in Sydney, Australia.

There is a glowing reference for my father, from the headmaster at the school where he taught although I know he remained on the staff for several more years.

Then there is this letter to the Observer, written early in 1960. The context is clear. The bereaved father of a British soldier killed in Mandate Palestine, 1947, had compared this to the Nazi genocide. Then as now, anything heinous was being compared to the Holocaust, a word which did not yet have currency in this context. Like many of us now, my father pointed out the error – I would say indecency – of the comparison. The occupation he refers to is the British occupation of what was Mandate Palestine until the State of Israel achieved independence in 1948.

His words about terrorists fighting occupation refer to the Irgun and Lehi, not the long terrorism of anti-Zionist violence in Israel and the diaspora. If someone challenged him today with a view to justifying Palestinian acts of terror, I think he would say that not everything can bear comparison but, in any case, he did not attempt to justify the activities of the Irgun or Lehi.

I don’t know if The Observer published his letter to the editor, but here it is, sixty-two years on.

ברוך אתה ” מחיה המתים

The Editor

The Observer

26 January 1960

Dear Sir

I am certain that Mr XXX of Bristol has everyone’s sympathy in the grievous loss he sustained by the murder of his son in Palestine in 1947 but to suggest, even indirectly, that these very sad but fortunately comparatively rare events, carried out by extreme right wing groups, whose activities are repudiated by thoughtful and moderate opinion, can bear any comparison to the organised campaign of mass extermination which was the deliberate and avowed intent of the Nazi government, is no more than the result of prejudiced thinking.

Whenever armies are in immediate occupation, and where the desire for freedom and self-determination among the occupied is paramount, clashes of an atrocious nature are bound to occur on both sides.

Mr XXX’s son was a victim of political and military circumstances and I am sure that right-thinking and humanitarian elements in Israel, as indeed they do everywhere else, deprecate most sincerely occurrences of this nature.

Yours sincerely

J Pressman

I can hardly remember joining Facebook, that day being lost in the mists of time. I was living in another house, still married to Mr Lazarus and my younger children were still at university. Or were they? I can’t remember. I posted favourite quotations, photos and made contact with former colleagues.

My Facebook page now is of course set on private and even so, I take proper care: names may be displayed but not together with places and vice versa.

The groups which I archive and report to Facebook are devoted to these things: hatred of Israel, veneration of Mr Corbyn, hatred of Zionists, veneration of anti Zionists; hatrd of the ‘Jewish/Israel/Zionist Lobby’ and veneration of any struggle inimical to Israel.

Facebook very rarely intervenes to remove a post or a comment, but is more likely to do so if there is swearing and if the word ‘Jewish’ is used, rather than ‘Zionist’. Thus a lady who commented ‘F***ing Jews, who do they think they are?’ got suspended from Facebook for a month and her comment was deleted. In contrast, the word ‘kike’ gets a pass, perhaps because it isn’t flagged up by Facebook algorithms.

When I report Holocaust denial, I get the reply from Facebook that it does not go against their community standards. In a long thread about the Zionist Lobby being responsible for all the evils of the world, the one person who carelessly wrote ‘Jewish lobby’ had his tweet deleted by Facebook.

The recent spate of terrorist killings in Israel, March – April 2022, has been lauded on some of the forums but reporting them for hate speech or the promotion of violence falls on deaf ears, if indeed Facebook has ears.

I have collated my replies from Facebook. If you have the tenacity to read to the end, you will see the one case where somebody violated their standards.

In some comments, numbers and punctuation signs are substituted for letters, as in Zi0ni$ts. Israel is spelled Izrael and Usrael, to avoid the censor. Why do they bother? Facebook isn’t bothered.

I have added some of the more recent decisions from Facebook.

If you scroll through the screen shots, you will see at the end that Facebook did remove a comment and, certainly, members of many of the groups shown below do complain that Facebook – which they consider Zionistic – removes many of their comments.

Facebook works in a mysterious way, its wonders to perform.

And finally, there was one time when Facebook agreed there was a problem.

And at last, perhaps we have Facebook’s ear, just once in a while.



  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: Similar for me. I left the Lbour Party in 2015, not when corbyn became leader but when he was nominated for the leadership. I didn't think it would ha
  • Garry Maddocks: It makes for sad reading Gillian although you inject a good deal wit in relaying this bizarre production. I had a parting of ways with Labour in 2017
  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: I'm going to contact you via Twitter DM about this.