‘Comment is Free’ contributor Antony Lerman plays ‘Israel-Nazi’ card


Antony Lerman is a ‘Comment is Free’ contributor. 

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Lerman lectured on ‘The Revival of Jewish Culture in Europe’ at Cambridge University on Feb. 28.  I know this because I saw his Tweet to this effect.

Though Lerman is not a frequent Tweeter he found time today to retweet this lovely 140 character ‘meditation’ by David Sheen.

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Sheen is referring to Israel’s interior minister, Eli Yishai, and is presumably responding to news that Yishai recently confirmed that more than 2,000 migrants in Israel have recently been repatriated back to Sudan.

I had never heard of David Sheen, but this Zionism – Nazism analogy was not a one-off, as you can see by looking at his Tweets for the day.

In fact, he was kind enough to post the following graphic on his Twitter page to help illustrate the ‘comparison’ between Yishai and Adolf Hitler.

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Sheen, a filmmaker, is quite prolific in the social media world, as you can see by the bio on his website.

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Here’s a photo of the “documentarian”:

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While one of his videos was briefly noted in a Guardian live blog on the Nov. war in Gaza, Sheen hasn’t formally contributed to the Guardian or ‘Comment is Free.  However, he has contributed to Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada, and has worked as a reporter and content editor at Haaretz.com.

Lerman, a far-left British Jew who has used his position at ‘Comment is Free’ to justify antisemitism, penned his most recent essay at CiF, titled The abuse of dissenting Jews is shameful.  In the post, he complained of being ostracized, and smeared by the UK Jewish establishment due ‘merely’ to the fact that he’s an opponent of the Jewish state’s continued existence.  He ended with the following flourish:

That dissenting Jews are still demonised is shameful and undermines Jewish pluralism. But it’s manageable. Because the Jewish diaspora’s support matters so much to Israel’s leaders, the quest for serious, open and civil debate among Jews about what is really best for Israel must continue.

Evidently, Lerman’s expansive understanding of what constitutes “civil debate” about Israel includes not only calling for the state’s dissolution, but likening an Israeli government official to a Nazi.

42 comments on “‘Comment is Free’ contributor Antony Lerman plays ‘Israel-Nazi’ card

  1. People like Lerman – as-a-Jews, Finkler Jews, who lend themselves to whoever wants to demonise Israel, are IMHO, damaged people who as a result, perhaps of their early lives, are bitter and twisted souls. If they were unable to connect with their coreligionists at a young age, in adulthood, they use their as-a-Jew status to try to inflict as much pain as they can on other Jews.

    Knowing that Israel is important to us, and that they will gain status with the anti Israel crowd by demonising and lending their as-a-Jew credibility, they trumpet their distorted views in such a manner as cannot but get noticed.

    You only have to listen to someone like Deborah Fink, or Naomi Idris.., or Gerald Kaufman, or Tony Greenstein to recognise that these people are compelled to make their points as noisily and as dramatically as possible.

    I sat through a ‘debate’, on the Goldstone Report at the LSE, and at the end, an American Jewish woman in the crowd jumped up and screeched and screamed her disapproval of the IDF and looked around, searching for supporters. When none appeared, with a look of disbelief and disappointment, she sheepishly put on her coat and disappeared. Fink no doubt would have soldiered on until carried away by the police.

    These people are damaged goods. They show themselves to be unbalanced and frequently hysterical. Lerman may have garnered support and approval from David Sheen, but how balanced is that man and how driven to hate is he?

    Their dramatics and hysteria and exaggeration marks them out as unreliable witnesses every time.

    • I think it goes a little deeper than that. Our societies–I’m assuming you live in a Western society–are trending toward the left side of the political spectrum. The Left are infamous for instituting this societal norm of political correctness. You throw in a wave of Muslim immigration into our liberal societies and it’s a recipe for disaster. Now you can’t criticize Islam and, even worse, it has become a norm in our society to be OK with the demonization of Israel. Jews who don’t distance themselves from the Israel discussion are ostracized. They are forced to sit there and listen to diatribes aimed at Israel. Not to mention, we are living in a fastfood society. People consume information like Big Macs: fast, half-assed, and low quality. Lies about Israel are packaged and repackaged and sold to the public en masse. They are inundated with lie after lie perpetuated by the Left. It takes real research to see through the veil. Most, I assume, are just interested in being good little Jewish servants of the State. They think they belong in a Leftist society hell-bent on the destruction of Israel. In any case, I think it’s a little more multifaceted than simply being a miserable adult.

      • You throw in a wave of Muslim immigration into our liberal societies and it’s a recipe for disaster.

        Imagine if someone were to say something similar about Jews.

        Once a bigot, always a bigot.

        • Read the sentence before and after, douchebag. You are taking my words out of context and it’s right above your comment too. You must be a brainless twit.

          • P.S. Try replacing that sentence with something similar about Jews and see how it fits into the context. Hell! Stick it in there and then change the word ‘Islam’ to ‘Jews’ and Israel to Islam. You see how ridiculous that sounds. It’s because it’s the exact opposite of our current state of affairs. Run along now, child.

            • Who are the utter arsholes recommending this bigot’s posts?

              You are all a disgrace to CiFWatch.

              • Why do you keep posting your idiocies here if you dislike this blog so much? Why are you so obsessed about the little stars? What an insecure douche!

        • SerJew & Daniel – two bigots of a kind.
          So much hate in them. I almost feel sorry for this dickhead duo.

          Almost.

      • What exactly is a good “little Jewish servant of the State”? Where is your evidence of a “Leftist society” hell-bent on the destruction of Israel?Can you give us some examples of “real research”? Do you also equate anti-Israel sentiment with antisemitism? If so why is it that a large,prosperous and relatively happy Jewish community in the UK is not in any apparent rush to leave this green and pleasant land?

        • Spratty, though you are correct to some extent I’d like to draw your attention that a large community in Preston Road is no more.
          The Jews in tht part have moved away to be replaced by various Asian communities such as Pakistani, East African and Bangladeshi.

          Same thing happened in Brick lane but that was not that recent.

          • Itsik. The process you describe is simply a matter of people and centres moving over time. In London (and possibly in other cities and countries – I don’t know) there is a well-documented trend for immigrant communities to follow each other from area to area. The bulk of Britain’s Jewish community arrived in the country in the late 19th/early 20th C. The next big ethnic influx was the Indian/Pakistanis, then Afro-Carribeans, then Bangladeshis.

            Most of these groups first gathered in East London (Brick Lane etc) then moved further north to places like Ilford and Tottenham, then spread West to Kenton, Wembley, Willesden etc. In recent years, these communities have shrunk and Edgware and Borehamwood have flourished. This is perfectly normal.

            The decline of the Jewish communities in Brent is not, therefore, indicative of some great disillusionment with British anti-Zionism or antisemitism, it is just normal migration patterns.

      • Daniel:
        “You throw in a wave of Muslim immigration into our liberal societies and it’s a recipe for disaster.”
        That may be so in some cases regarding some immigrants but couldn’t be further regarding the vast ajority of them. In my opinion you should either clarify your point or retract those comments. Don’t be surprised if people may get the wrong impression of you if you don’t.

        D: “Now you can’t criticize Islam…”
        Again, why do you need to criticise a religion of 1 billion followers? Criticise individuals or specific preachers all you like. Criticise schools which teach youngsters specific books with Anti Semitic material in the name of “Islam” all you like but there should not be any need to criticise the religion since that religion also show respect to Jews in comparison to other sects for example.
        So there is a balance to some extant.
        What tilts that balance are preachers.
        Just like with christianity, you should not need to criticise Christianity but rather some elements which have been abused over time and have since been changed.
        There is a live debate within Islam about the need to reform it.
        As for Ridiculing Islam it happens all the time in schools.
        In my daughter’s school they asked teachers not to teach about the Crusades because some pupils made a mockery of the Muslim’s which were slaughtered by the Crusaders.

        D: “Our societies–I’m assuming you live in a Western society–are trending toward the left side of the political spectrum. ”
        Is that why David Cameron is the PM of the UK?
        You may not know but UKIP is gaining ground and strangly enough many of its new voters are left leaning people according to the news yesterday.
        D: “it has become a norm in our society to be OK with the demonization of Israel.”

        I agree with you on this one and also on the consumption of information. You are sadly correct about it.
        People do not research and give a carte blanche to journalist to spout rubbish unsubstantiated allegations all too frequent with the apology being burried at a far later date only to get away with it.

    • Cityca : “…These people are damaged goods.”
      God you sound like a certain “Dr M.”, I shudder even to utter his name.
      Yes, the woman seems to be not balanced and attention seeker but “damaged goods”?
      That’s what the Nazis called us.
      They used to love watching us tear each other appart like this.

      Isaiah was right:
      מהרסיך מחרביך ממך יצאו

  2. Hang on. The headline surprised me because I’ve never seen Lerman come up with anything resembling what it suggests.

    Where has he “played the ‘Israel-Nazi’ card”?
    And where has he “justified antisemitism”?

    He simply hasn’t, has he?

    • “To convince yourself that a turkey shoot is an act of great heroism, you need the ‘self-righteousness’ and ‘blind patriotism’ Professor Bar Tal found in his study.” The insinuation is clear: Israel is a Nazi-like occupier, killing the poor suicide bombers and hooligans in Gaza and Judea/Samaria.

    • Here, idiot.
      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/must-jews-always-see-themselves-as-victims-1639277.html

      None of this justifies one single act of anti-Semitism against Jews perpetrated because someone claims to be angry about Palestine. But we can’t have it both ways. If you’re close to Israel, you can’t just own your connection with the country when all is quiet; you have to own it when what Israel does provokes outrage. The consequence of this is recognising that by provoking outrage, which is then used to target Jews, Israel bears responsibility for that anti-Jewish hostility. If Israel were truly concerned about Jews worldwide, it would think long and hard about the implications of this reality.

      I know that the siege, bombardment and invasion of Gaza were not like the German obliteration of the Warsaw ghetto – a comparison that critics of Israel are spreading through the internet I believe. And our need for calm and compassionate examination of the reality of the conflict would be greatly enhanced if we could retire such comparisons. But if we pause to think of the suffering of a dying Jewish child in the ghetto and a dying Palestinian child in Gaza, who would dare to suggest that their suffering is any different. Yet, as Professor Baron seems to imply, we fall all too easily into the trap of thinking that there is something unique about Jewish suffering. There isn’t

      • “None of this justifies one single act of anti-Semitism against Jews”

        And this bozo – aka Fritz the Liar – calls me an “idiot”.

        Hiarious!

        • Idiot, can`t you read?

          The consequence of this is recognising that by provoking outrage, which is then used to target Jews, Israel bears responsibility for that anti-Jewish hostility. If Israel were truly concerned about Jews worldwide, it would think long and hard about the implications of this reality.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/02/tony-lerman-oliphant-cartoon-israel

          The cartoon shows a headless Nazi-like, goose-stepping, jackbooted figure, with one arm raised and outstretched, holding a sword, and the other wheeling a head in the form of a Star of David – one side of which is a wide-open mouth, equipped with vicious teeth, about to devour a very small, fleeing refugee-like female figure holding a baby. The word “Gaza” is emblazoned on her cloak.
          Abe Foxman, the head of the American Anti-Defamation League, said: “Pat Oliphant’s outlandish and offensive use of the Star of David in combination with Nazi-like imagery is hideously antisemitic. It employs Nazi imagery by portraying Israel as a jack-booted, goose-stepping headless apparition. The implication is of an Israeli policy without a head or a heart.” The Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles joined in condemning the cartoon: “[it is] meant to denigrate and demonise the Jewish state” and it “mimics the venomous antisemitic propaganda of the Nazi and Soviet eras”.

          Well, if you cannot read and UNDERSTAND, two cultural skills you have to master when living in complex societies, all is said, idiot.

          • For the clear minded: the linguistic operation Lerman undertakes is to set a difference, antisemitism is not justified, but outrage, anti-Jewish hostility is provoked by Israel and therefore ….

          • In other words, idiots fall into the trap, set to differ between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Jewish hostility because of Israel, giving cover to the Anti-Semites by labelling them as critics of Israel, Antizionists and peace activist.

          • God you’re a bore – and a witless one at that.

            The kind of person nobody wants to get stuck in a corner with at a party.

      • I read Lerman’s long and rambling piece – thanks for the link. Every ethnicity that has come to be attacked because of their ethnic origin, race or religion, is entitled to feel somewhat threatened.

        I refer you to the destruction of the 1st Temple in Jerusalem; then to that of of the 2nd Temple by the Romans and the global dispersion of Jews since that time. Since the death of Christ, the various Christian churches have ensured that their liturgy always includes a description of Jews as Christ killers. Similarly, another monotheistic religion, Islam, is hardly favourable in its view of Jews.

        We celebrate two particular festivals – Purim and Pesach, which commemorate attempts by others to destroy Jews en masse, and then we have the almost inconceivable scale and horror of the Holocaust, the attempt by Nazi Germany to employ modern methods of factory working in an attempt to industrially destroy an entire race of people.

        As a result of the Holocaust, has Jew hatred withered and disappeared? No. Some would argue that it has in fact increased from the low base following WWII.

        So to repeat Lerman’s question, must Jews always see themselves as victims, I would answer yes, except in the one place in the world where they may still be threatened, but are well able to fight back.

        Any people under not just threat, but concerted attack for millenia are surely entitled to be on guard. If Lerman and his associates don’t feel the need, good for them. Will they maintain their view if ever threatened as Jews? Let’s hope they never find out.

  3. The consequence of this is recognising that by provoking outrage, which is then used to target Jews, Israel bears responsibility for that anti-Jewish hostility.
    These arrogant Jews in Israel… Not being ready to tolerate rockets from Gaza and not being ready to commit suicide they are provoking outrage and as a consequence they bear the responsibilty for British anti-Semitism…(what anti-Semitism?! only anti-Jewish hostility…)
    And he is ranting about the revival of Jewish culture in Europe? He should visit Hungary and Greece to collect some new material…

    • Peter: “These arrogant Jews in Israel…”

      We’re arrogant but not for the reasons you mentioned. We’re just terribly arrogant and rude.
      So much so we can’t even see it.
      Simply ask any Israeli what his opinions are about Israelis.
      Over 50% will tell you we are rude, arrogant and uncivilised.
      We hate ourselves, and for a good reason if you ask me.
      But, we have many good sides, why we do not focus on these is beyond me.

      • Itsik maybe your kind of sophisticated, intelligent, humanists ex-Israelis living in the UK like you do hate themselves but you are not the 50% even not the 5%.
        BTW your generalisation – Israelis are rude arrogant smells to the skies of bigotry.
        Roma people are thieves, blacks are lazy, Israelis are arrogant…
        We’re just terribly arrogant and rude….
        Not you Itsik; only we unwashed who remain here are and Lerman expects us to behave according his selfinterest but we arrogantly refuse accept his rules. Down with us! We (again not you…) are so selfish, terribly rude and arrogant that we cause serious difficulties for Lerman by not allowing to annihilate ourselves; next time his masters will require him to wash his mouth before let him to kiss their cultured non-Israeli, “anti-Zionist” arses to flush out the remaining Israeliness.
        I agree that in a downtown cafe in Wien and Berlin the patrons are much more courteous and civilised than the average Israeli but this fact didn’t prevent their similarly civilised ancestors to put their just the same civilised Jewish compatriots on the train, I’m sure they let the womanfolk and the elderly to board first.
        I’m pretty familiar with most parts of Europe and many times witnessed shockingly outrageous behavior in public, incidents what you would never see in Israel anywhere – not even close -, so be so kind and post your denigrating generalisations on the Guardian CIF – they will like it very much. We barbarians here don’t give even a flying shakshuka about your opinion on our politeness and culture.

        • Peter.
          This is how we see ourselves.
          As I tried to explain, and obviously failed, we focus on our negatives rather than on our positive, which if we are probably ten folds higher (the positives).

          I wouldn’t have a clue about downtown Berlin or Wien but i wouldn’t trade anything for any city in Israel.
          It’s because it is not as courteous that it feels like home.
          The hell with their fake manners and smiles.
          they’ll curse us to kingdom high afterwards (or send us in trains – which ever comes first).

          I never thought you gave a flying Shakshouka (or a Sahlab) but speaking Dugry is what we are.

  4. Though I am not a fan of Eli Yishay and his methods I wouldn’t compare him to any Nazi.

    If Israel was such a Nazi state why is Mr. Sheen lives in Dimona?
    Do you recall any Journalist that criticised the Nazis moving to anywhere inside Nazi Germany with relative calm?

  5. Jewish suffering is and isn’t unique. It’s universal – yes, but it’s unique because antisemitism is the longest hatred. This isn’t a victimhood competition, merely a statement of fact. It helps to be Jewish to recognize it.

    re: ItsikdeWembley – Israelis are often rude and arrogant at home: it’s true. People who don’t respect themselves don’t respect others. Why do they have this negativity? Should we blame the historical antisemitism which was their inheritance; should we blame a feeling of permanent insecurity as regards their Arab neighbours, or should we blame a faulty upbringing in which their parents gave them too much love but also too much criticism, hence their constant need for approval and attention. Admittedly, Israelis come in all shapes and colours, and my comments are based on Ashkenazi rather than Sephardi traits. And of course Israel has many positive aspects that outweigh the negatives.

    • Ah Arthur.
      But this is where you are wrong and this is something puzzling.
      Many of us will argue that we respect others more than ourselves.
      How does this fits?

      • Shalom Itsik,

        You quoted from Isiah earlier. I’d like to quote from the Maxims of the Fathers – (Pirkei Avot) – at least I’d like to, but can’t remember the exact line. Anyhow, it just backs up the Biblical injunction to love/respect your neighbour as you love/respect yourself. Don’t respect others *more* than you respect yourself : that’s not good.

        I’m just arguing that many Jews/Israelis don’t really love/respect themselves enough so they can’t respect other people, and often behave arrogantly and condescendingly. You can find the same symptoms among other nations, naturally.

        Where’s that CIF psychoanalyst when you need him?,

        • Pirkey Avot is one of my favourate parts of the Talmud.
          It is filled with contradiction yet all make sense and can be analyzed in various ways.
          English traditions and the?
          Hebrew origins differ greatly depending on the book you use (UK Reform for example).
          The saying of Rabbi Akiva is “And you should love your friend as you love yourself”.

          Judaism, from its core and laws, always looked at the bigger picture.
          It always acknowledged that other exist and will continue to do so.
          It applied fair laws because every one has its place on this earth and it is not for us to decide if their ways are right or wrong.
          We judge ourselves first and fore most and it is because of this that many of us continue to try and be a better person every day.
          Sort of like a new year’s resolution every morning.

          We Israelis find pride when our rescue units for example go out of their ways to save lives, even half way across the ocean, but in common talks when a certain unpleasent attitude arises, like jumping the queue, talking out loud, littering after them selves, we would say “Typical Israelis”.
          But this attitude is no different than English feeling a national shame when seeing their country men and women trashing a night club in Spain or behaving drunk and disorderly on holiday, and saying “Typical Brits”.
          That does not mean that all Brits are like that, but we tend to focus on the negatives when speaking internaly.

          Self criticism is something all human beings do.

  6. Lerman lectures about the revival of Jewish culture in Europe.
    The best place to study is Malmo.
    Sweden: Jewish center vandalism not hate crime
    The revival of the good old Nazi culture in Europe.

    • Itzik, I don’t always agree with you, but I do agree about Pirkei Avot. It’s a treasure-trove of practical wisdom – such as ‘Say little, do much’.
      Unfortunately, this in particular is very hard to do when one is on a blog like CW.

  7. There are three non-fiction stories about Lerman that confirm that he’s both an asshole and someone where this kind of thing doesn’t surprise (or, ultimately, bother) me very much:
    1. He used to be the Director for the Institute for Jewish Policy Research. When he publicized his support for the genocidal one-state solution, he was shocked, SHOCKED that the Institute’s board decided he was a poor choice to continue having any role with them. He was then shocked, SHOCKED to see his role reduced and his suggestions ignored, and so he quit in 2009 while still not seeming to understand how toxic the one-state abomination is to real Jews.
    2. He used his CiF platform to whine that the British government provided security funding for Jewish facilities in the UK, later implying that the CST was corrupt and/or lying about anti-Semitism, something he often tends to do whenever he’s surprised anew to learn that anti-Semites do hate Jews who haven’t already gotten on their knees in front of their agendas.
    3. When there was a forum that included David Hirsh, Jonathan Freedland (meh) and Jacqueline Rose (UGH), Lerman pulled his usual passive-aggressive bullshit by citing only “two key voices on the panel” and excluding Hirsh, to the point where even Freedlan was moved to point out to Lerman that Hirsh was a key voice on the panel. He proceeded to lie about Hirsh being in agreement with him on anti-Zionist talking points and Hirsh then had to waste his time detailing how Lerman was, you know, lying.
    Fortunately, Lerman’s obnoxious myopia and stupidity have pretty much ensured that he and the legitimate British Jewish community are permanently estranged, and that’s a good thing.

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