An appeal to Owen Jones: don’t associate with anti-Semites

This is cross posted from the blog of The CST, and was originally titled ‘Opposing antisemitism: an appeal to put words into action’.

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Owen Jones

The past two months have seen the number of antisemitic incidents in Britain approach record levels Much of this has been due to extreme reactions to the conflict between Israel and Gaza that reached its latest ceasefire yesterday. This problem, and its link to extreme manifestations of anti-Israel sentiment, has been covered extensively in the British media.

Some pro-Palestinian activists have recognised this problem and spoken out against it. 

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has said that antisemitism has no place in its activities, and Owen Jones wrote a column for the Guardian in which he warned of the need to take antisemitism seriously. In particular, he wrote:

Antisemitic themes are depressingly constant: of Jews being aliens, lacking loyalty to their countries, acting as parasites, wielding disproportionate influence. Sometimes this hatred is overt, other times more subtle and pernicious.

We welcome these statements from supporters of the Palestinian cause, just as we previously welcomed PSC’s rejection of the equation of Israel with Nazi Germany. And because we consider these statements to be important and necessary, we hope and expect that the people who made them will live up to their words and the sentiments behind them.

It is for this reason that we appeal to PSC and to Owen Jones to reconsider the inclusion of Tim Llewellyn as a speaker at a PSC meeting tomorrow evening, 28th August, on “Gaza: let down by the BBC and mainstream media?” We appeal to PSC as the organiser of the meeting and to Jones as one of the other speakers.

Our objection is not to the meeting itself. We do not oppose your right to hold public meetings in support of the Palestinians, or to criticise Israel, or to critique media coverage of the conflict between the two.

Our objection is specifically to the inclusion of Llewellyn as a guest speaker on this topic because he has a record of statements that illustrate exactly what Jones warns against: themes “of Jews being aliens, lacking loyalty to their countries, acting as parasites, wielding disproportionate influence.”

For example, last year at a meeting in London that was also about media coverage of Israel, Llewellyn claimed that the BBC is intimidated by the “Jewish lobby”. When he was challenged on this by the chair of the meeting, he resisted criticism of his choice of phrase. The full exchange ran as follows and can be viewed here on the CST Blog:

Llewellyn: “Is it because… I can see it in the BBC. They’re frighten’, these people are quite aggressive, right. The Jewish Lobby is not much fun. They come at you from every direction.”

Off camera, another speaker says “no”, then, “its the pro-Israel lobby”. It is not exactly clear who says what after this, but it includes the chair Mark McDonald talking over Llewellyn, stating:

“I mean that’s a very important thing to say, that it’s not a Jewish lobby. Can I interrupt a second. It’s not a Jewish lobby. It might be a Zionist lobby. It may be a pro-Israel lobby.”

Llewellyn replies: “Yes, but they use Jewish connections to get you.”

This statement by Llewellyn was not a one-off. It fitted a long record of statements and writings that mix “Jewish” with “Zionist” while alleging that both hold undue and nefarious influence in British public life. For example, in 2006, Llewellyn wrote the following in the Foreword to a new edition of Publish It Not: The Middle East Cover-Up by Michael Adams and Christopher Mayhew:

No alien polity has so successfully penetrated the British government and British institutions during the past ninety years as the Zionist movement and its manifestation as the state of Israel…the Zionists have manipulated British systems as expertly as maestros, here a massive major chord, there a minor refrain, the audience, for the most part, spellbound.

…this cuckoo in the nest of British politics…

… Israel had worked its spells well, with a lot of help from its friends: these lined the benches of parliament, wrote the news stories and editorials, framed the way we saw and heard almost everything about the Middle East on TV, radio and in the press. History, the Bible, Nazi Germany’s slaughter of the Jews, Russian pogroms, the Jewish narrative relayed and parlayed through a thousand books, films, TV plays and series, radio programmes, the skills of Jewish writers, diarists, memoirists, artists and musicians, people like us and among us, all had played their part.

…the fervent Zionist Labour MPs, some of them little better than bully-boys, Richard Crossman (not a Jew), Ian Mikardo, Maurice Edelman, Emmanuel “Manny” Shinwell, Sidney Silverman, Konni Zilliacus et al, are, mercifully, not only no longer with us but have not been replaced, not in such virulent form.

… the Union of Jewish Students, which elbows and induces Zionistically inclined undergraduates towards influential positions in British public life, especially the media, the banking sector and information technology.

Llewellyn mixes “Zionist” with “Jewish”, describing both as “alien” to Britain; and alleges undue and negative influence and manipulation of the media, politics and “the banking sector”. These allegations all have clear antecedents in antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Another example: in 2004, Llewellyn was quoted in the Jewish Chronicle as describing former US ambassador Dennis Ross in these terms:

He also denounced broadcasters who invited the “insidious” former US ambassador to the Middle East Denis Ross, without fully identifying him.

Mr Llewellyn said: “What a lovely Anglo-Saxon name! But Denis Ross is not just a Jew, he is a Zionist, a long-time Zionist… and now directs an Israeli-funded think tank in Washington. He is a Zionist propagandist.”

The suggestion that broadcasters should identify an interviewee as “a Jew”, lest their viewers be fooled by an “Anglo-Saxon name”, is scurrilous and prejudiced.

In 2012, Llewellyn wrote of

massive media distortion, and … Zionist penetration and manipulation of our institutions – the media, universities, local education, political parties…

He went on to describe as Britain’s

real enemies… the ambitious and greedy British politicians and insidious political influence, in this case spawned by an alien state and strengthened by its friends in our midst, people who put Israel’s interests above that of their own nation.

(From The Battle for Public Opinion in Europe: Changing Perceptions of the Palestine-Israel Conflict, eds. Daud Abdullah & Ibrahim Hewitt, not online). Again, this echoes the classical antisemitic allegation of ‘dual loyalty’, whereby British Jews are accused of lacking loyalty to the country of their birth.

If the important and welcome statements by PSC, Owen Jones and others about their opposition to antisemitism and determination to exclude it from pro-Palestinian activism have real meaning, then there should be no place for Tim Llewellyn at a PSC meeting. This is not an abstract argument: the sharp increase in antisemitism in Britain in recent weeks demonstrates that fact. Words lead to actions, good and bad. We now invite PSC and Owen Jones to put their valuable and worthy statements and principles into practice. A discussion of media coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict must not give room to those who believe that there is a Zionist conspiracy to control, manipulate or influence the British media, politics, banking and education, as Tim Llewellyn has suggested. Nor should pro-Palestinian activism be a home for those who believe that Jews are an alien presence, disloyal to Britain, who change their names to disguise their true loyalties.

Put your words into action, and remove Tim Llewellyn from your platform.

ISM propaganda film update: What being killed by a sniper really looks like

(Here’s an edited version of the latest installment from Thomas Wictor, fisking a widely reported ISM video purporting to show the ‘killing’, by an unseen IDF sniper, of Salem Shemaly in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya on July 20th – A.L.)

In the past twenty-four hours, I’ve gotten dozens of messages from Jewish Britons, telling me that the fake Gaza sniper video is suddenly coming up over and over in the UK.

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Op-ed at the Independent, Aug. 22, focusing on the “killing” of Shemaly

British Jews are being called murderers. Does that make sense on any level? Am I now allowed to call all Arab-Americans in Detroit murderers because of the atrocities committed by the Islamic State? So, I’m going do something I wanted to avoid. Let me show you the harsh reality of being killed by a sniper.

Don’t watch any of the videos if you’re sensitive. I’ll describe them so that you don’t have to subject yourself to the imagery and sounds if things like this are too hard for you to take.

Last night I was interviewed by an Israeli news program. The interviewer had read my posts on the fake Gaza sniper video put out by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), but she said it was difficult for people to understand what I was saying without visual imagery.

I disagree. People are being deliberately obtuse in order to have more “war crimes” to pin on Israel.  But to satisfy the wishes of the masses, I’ll provide visual imagery.

First the original ISM video, which you may need for comparison purposes

To give ISM the greatest possible leeway, I’ll restrict myself to discussing the M24 Sniper Weapon System, the lightest-caliber such rifle in the Israeli arsenal.

sniperIsraeli designated marksmen have rifles that fire a less-powerful cartridge, but the accusation is that a sniper killed Salem Shamaly from a house several hundred meters away.

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In the foreground is the alleged sniper’s position, according to while the red arrow marks where Salem Shamaly is said to have been shot. Therefore a trained sniper would’ve had to have taken the shots. I’ll assign him the M24 Sniper Weapon System instead of the massively more powerful .338-caliber HTR-2000 that Israel uses.

One of my criticisms of the ISM video is that the “shots” don’t sound like a rifle. Here are IDF snipers firing the M24 at targets. Nobody gets hurt.

Do you hear anything in the ISM video that sounds remotely like that? The M4 has a strangely legato report. What I hear in the Pallywood production are the high-pitched, stacatto pak! of small explosives detonated electrically. They’re used to simulate bullet impacts in movies.


Now the “Israeli sniper’s” bullet. The green arrow identifies the .300 magnum cartridge that the M24 fires.

300_Magnum

One of the ways that I know the ISM video is fake is that we see no wounds on Salem Shamaly. I’ve said this several times, but people don’t seem to understand. Fine. Now I’ll show you what I mean.

This is what the .300 magnum bullet does to the living flesh of a deer.

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Salem Shamaly was said to have been shot three times. This deer was shot once with a .300 magnum bullet.

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Since he was on his back, Salem Shamaly would’ve had to have been hit in the front. He has no injuries whatsoever, much less the gigantic, exploded holes you see on the deer.

According to the ISM fiction, Salem Shamaly lay on the ground and was shot repeatedly by an Israeli sniper. Here’s genuine video of a Syrian man lying on the ground and being shot repeatedly by a Syrian Arab Army sniper.

He was initially hit in the right forearm, before the video began. At 0:32 he’s shot in the right ankle. He jerks violently from the shock. Salem Shamaly makes no such movements as the .300 magnum bullets allegedly slam into him.

At 1:12, the Syrian man gets up and runs for cover. His right forearm and ankle are shattered from the impact of the bullets, and the front of his sweater is smeared with blood. He makes it around the corner and is rescued at 2:06.

That man was shot at least three times by a sniper. He has blood, injuries, and involuntary reactions to prove it.

This next video shows another Syrian man shot by a sniper. Before the camera began rolling, he was hit in the torso, on the front of his body. Unlike the shirt of Salem Shamaly, this man’s garment is soaked in blood.


At 0:07 he’s hit in the back of his left thigh, in exactly the place where ISM claims that Salem Shamaly was shot. When the bullet strikes this Syrian man, it raises a cloud of dust because the force slams his leg into the ground. The man’s thigh blows apart, and a substantial amount of blood is visible. As the man tries to crawl away, the sniper fires four more times. More clouds of dust are raised. It’s certain that the man didn’t survive.

And here’s the final reason I know the ISM video is fake. This is a Syrian rebel dying on camera after being shot in the chest. Unlike Salem Shamaly, this man is covered with blood.

At 0:28 he raises his legs in cadaveric spasm, an involuntary muscle reaction that occurs at the moment of traumatic death. This also causes his fists to clench. Cadaveric spasm signifies intense emotion. He begins Cheyne-Stokes respiration at 0:44; it’s a classic symptom of the dying process. The wound in his chest damaged his heart, causing fatal cardiac arrest.

Not only does Salem Shamaly show no signs of being shot or of dying, the activists filming him don’t behave as though he’s dying. 

Fakery belittles the suffering of genuine war victims. Superficial, safe, uninformed First Worlders who think the ISM video is real should have their faces ground into the reality of death until they scream for mercy.

The ISM are con artists who’ve told so many lies that they can’t even keep track of them. Here’s what NBC News said about Salem Shamaly.

Ayman Mohyeldin: At the morgue, even after a week of decomposing in the sun, Khalil quickly recognized his son’s body and that green shirt.

Actually, that means that Salem spent a week decomposing in the sun, but never mind. The Palestinian Authority has a different story.

Salem_Shemaly1

To Israelis and Jews everywhere, don’t feel anything except disgust at this infantile playacting. When somebody brings up this video, just point them toward this post. And then cut them out of your lives.

Israelis don’t shoot unarmed civilians as a matter of policy. Their neighbors are the ones who do that. The ISM video is pure psychological projection.

Economist uses ‘Fagin the Jew’ to illustrate article on criminal behavior

Cross posted from the blog of David Porush

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I’m usually the one around the Old Jews poker table who counsels my oversensitive friends not to over-react to perceived slights. As a former English prof, I abhor PC censorship of literature (banning Twain for his use of the”N-word” is but one example.) I’m a fan of brilliant writers who are also dyed-in-the-wool anti-Semites, such as Pound, Celine TS Eliot and, yes, DIckens. Further, paying attention to intentional hatred or sniveling bigotry just stirs the toilet and makes it smell worse.

But The Economist just published a story entitled “To Have and Have Not: A disturbing study of the link between income and criminal behavior” that pushed me over the edge. Atop the piece is very large picture of Fagin the Jew from a movie version of DIcken’s Oliver Twist.

Type “Fagin the Jew” into Google (Images or Web) and you will see how viral and anti-Semitic this character portrait is historically.

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Fagin is used by Dickens as symbol of explicitly Jewish criminality and his portrayal even in the 1948 (!) film, from which this image is taken, truly captures Dickens’ animus. See this discussion of Dickens’ anti-Semitism:

The Oxford Dictionary of English Literature describes Dickens as nationalistic often both stigmatising foreign European cultures and taking his attitude to “colonized people” to “genocidal extremes”,[3] albeit based mainly on a vision of British virtue, but not on any concept of heredity. One of the best known instances of this is Dickens’ portrait of Fagin in one of his most widely read early novels Oliver Twist, which has been seen by some as deeply antisemitic, though others such as Dickens’ biograper “G.K.Chesterton” have argued against this notion. The novel refers to Fagin 257 times in the first 38 chapters as “the Jew”, while the ethnicity or religion of the other characters is rarely mentioned.

The Economist article itself resurrects traditional anti-Jewish libels of inherent or congenital criminality by gratuitously placing a photo of a Jew to accompany a report  about a study in Sweden. The study has not one mention of Jews, literature, Dickens, the 19th century, or even crime in England. But it does suggest:

“…a family’s culture, once established, is “sticky”—that you can, to put it crudely, take the kid out of the neighbourhood, but not the neighbourhood out of the kid. Given, for example, children’s propensity to emulate elder siblings whom they admire, that sounds perfectly plausible. The other possibility is that genes which predispose to criminal behaviour (several studies suggest such genes exist) are more common at the bottom of society than at the top, perhaps because the lack of impulse-control they engender also tends to reduce someone’s earning capacity.”

This is either dumbfounding insensitivity or gratuitous stereotyping, especially at a time when passions are aroused against Jews in the UK, the EU, and elsewhere. In its choice of images, The Economist has either purposefully inflamed matters or merely, casually, offhandedly confirmed its good old upper crust Brit anti-Jew bigotry.

Further, even if it’s just a poor or thoughtless choice, it’s part of a pattern. The Economist‘s anti-Israel agenda has been clear for a long time. However, they now make clear that their bias blurs the distinction between anti-Israel and anti-Jew. Maybe I’ve gone over the edge and have become enamored of the view from here. Look, I’ll tell on myself: I cancelled my subscription to The New York Times for its clear bias after five decades of reading it religiously. Yup, this former liberal Brooklyn Jew has become a bit unnerved.

Or maybe I’m not crazy. Maybe The Economist‘s cool posture of civil, rational analysis obliges it to be held to a higher standard. Maybe I just can’t abide the UK’s and EU’s pretenses and get some bad boy frisson from ripping off their masks.

Please join me in protesting to The Economist directly at letters@economist.com and asking for an apology.

Also feel free to use any verbiage herein to help make your point.

David Porush

Former Guardian staffer reflects on the media group’s ‘vicious’ anti-Israel bias

The following was written by Alan Simons, and originally posted at his blog, Jewish Info News

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Many years ago in the UK, I worked for The Guardian. I have to admit I didn’t actually work in the editorial department, but I had day-to-day contact with many of the paper’s columnists and journalists. I even had to pay for the occasional round of drinks at the ‘local,’ around the corner from the office.

Unlike now, many of the editorial staff were media icons in their own right. Mark Arnold-Forster, Clare Hollingworth, Victor Zorza, John Cole, Mary Stott, Norman Shrapnel and of course Alistair Cooke in the USA, to name a few.

Editors of the past such as Alistair Hetherington who continues to be regarded as one of the leading editors of the second half of the twentieth century and Peter Preston both strove to present a balanced view. Since then the paper has steadily strengthened its biased anti-Israel position.  As Greville Janner the former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews has stated, the paper is “viciously and notoriously anti-Israel.”

It may surprise some readers to learn that C. P. Scott, one of the most famous editors of The Guardian had a strong  friendship with Chaim Weizmann. It is believed that friendship played a role in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. In 1948 The Guardian was a supporter of the new State of Israel.

With Alistair Hetherington at the helm, The Guardian‘s favourable view of Israel continued, as illustrated in their Leader of Monday, June 12, 1967 16.44 BST:

Future security is their first concern. They will not give up the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank of the Jordan, or the heights over looking the upper Jordan valley until they know what the Arabs will accept. If there is no peace settlement, will they ever give them up?

Israel wishes to live in peace. She does not want hostile neighbours on her borders, whoever they are, for another hundred or two hundred years. She wants normal trading relations with her neighbours. The offer of generous terms is therefore still worth trying – especially if, through the United Nations and all the Great Powers, Israel’s future frontiers are effectively guaranteed.

In 2002 the paper ran a Leader which, in part said, “the Jewish community is right to fear that the repulsive antisemitism… in many Arab countries…  can find an alarming echo within some British Muslim communities.” But, that was The Guardian of the past.  And now, in 2014 The Guardian  breaks all the barriers in stoking the fire of antisemitism that twelve years ago it found quite alarming.

Here below is a video link to the speech given by Seumas Milne, the paper’s associate editor. Prior to working for The Guardian, Milne was the “business manager of Straight Left, a monthly publication of…  the Communist Party of Great Britain.” I suppose it’s a no-brainer to figure out where he’s coming from.

This associate editor of The Guardian, in front of tens of thousands of anti-Israel protesters at Hyde Park in London, explicitly justified Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis (a refrain from his Guardian column in mid-July), and accused ‘terrorist’ Israel of  ‘industrial scale’ killing in Gaza.”

Paraphrasing Tarek Fatah, the Canadian writer, broadcaster and secular Muslim activist: movements created on the basis of a hatred towards others will soon run out of people that they can hate and will devour themselves.

In response, I say to the antisemites of this world. Hurry up, my people haven’t got all day!

Channel 4 News ‘report’ legitimizes ISM propaganda video

The following is an edited version of a post published by Thomas Wictor

Someone asked me if I’d seen Channel 4 News’s report “What Really Happened to Salem Shamaly?” I hadn’t. Now I have, and I believe that it should make reporter Inigo Gilmore the laughingstock of the news profession. But of course it won’t. It’s a followup to the fake Gaza sniper video I wrote about on July 21, 2014. I’m stunned that a supposedly reputable news outfit would put out such propaganda, but it did.

First, the Channel 4 News video. 

Here’s the original International Solidarity Movement (ISM) video for your reference.

At 4:18 in the Channel 4 News video, Inigo Gilmore says, “The first shot that hit him is not caught on camera.”

It most certainly is. At 2:23 in the fake sniper video, you hear a gunshot and its echo. Mohammed jostles the camera to add crappy Blair Witch Project drama, and then you see this.

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Continue reading

Owen Jones, and the Left’s blind spot over antisemitism

Cross posted by Jeremy Havardi at The Commentator

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Owen Jones

Leftists have long had a blind spot when it comes to antisemitism. This is partly because some have found comfort in this rank bigotry, seeing Jews as a privileged elite and a personification of the capitalism they abhor. But it is also because they like to define antisemitism on their own terms, showing disdain for how Jews themselves feel.

They recognise and condemn its more usual manifestations, particularly when it comes packaged with swastikas, jackboots and lethal rhetoric. But they refuse to recognise the other side of Jew baiting — the double standards, the conspiracy thinking, the Holocaust inversion and the anti-Zionism.

Owen Jones clearly has the blind spot just mentioned. In an article in Monday’s Guardian [Aug. 11], Jones discusses the menace of antisemitism in Europe. He recognises that it has spiked during the conflict in Gaza and argues that ‘attempts to belittle it are dangerous, allowing the tumour to spread unchecked’.

He dismisses those who try to deflect blame onto the Jews themselves. This, he says, is like ‘rationalising anti-Muslim prejudice as the inevitable consequence of Islamist fundamentalist terror’. So far, so good.

But then he gets unstuck. First, he raises the old canard that pro-Israel supporters accuse ‘pro-Palestinian’ protestors of being antisemitic in an attempt to silence criticism of Israel.

The danger is that the ‘meaning of antisemitism is lost, making it all the more difficult to identify and eliminate hatred against Jewish people at a time when it is rising’. He goes on to say that for some defenders of Israel’s governments, the ‘supposed special attention received by the conflict is itself evidence of antisemitism’.

In reality, he argues that these protestors are condemning the actions of a heavily armed state backed by the West.

The idea that Israel’s supporters routinely accuse their critics of antisemitism is essentially fictitious. The vast majority of these supporters can recognise the difference between criticism of Israeli policy and baseless hatred. Virtually no sane Zionist sympathiser would label someone antisemitic simply for criticising policy on the West Bank or settlements. These are matters of legitimate public discourse.

But what these supporters will argue, justifiably, is that the discourse on the conflict has become badly corrupted. Israel has been likened to a Nazi state that is engaged in a policy of wholesale extermination. Only recently, Lord Prescott labelled Gaza a ‘concentration camp’ in an article for the Mirror. Others, like David Ward and Lee Jasper, have used Holocaust Memorial Day to attack Israel and the Jews.

Cartoonists have routinely tapped into antisemitic stereotypes to depict Israeli leaders, the most popular of which evoke images of the blood libel. The ‘all powerful’ Israel lobby is accused of being an evil puppet master, manipulating western foreign policy for its own insidious ends. This taps into a centuries old stereotype of sinister and demonic Jews controlling the world.

Supporters of Israel have every reason to condemn such ugly displays of bigotry. Yet the accusation is trotted out that they accuse every critic of anti semitism, which is absurd. This is an attempt to silence and smear Zionists, not critics of Israel. Maybe Owen Jones should answer this question: How nasty must criticism of Israel become before it can be considered antisemitic, or at least bigoted?

Is it acceptable to portray Netanyahu as a hook nosed Jew revelling in Palestinian blood, as a latter day satanic Hitler or perhaps as an evil puppet master controlling western leaders? Unfortunately, images such as these have proliferated at anti-Israeli rallies around the world.

Jones is anxious to defend those who go on ‘pro-Palestinian’ rallies. But the unmistakeable sentiment from marchers is unmitigated hostility to Zionism and a Palestine free ‘from the river to the sea’. Yet Zionism is simply the acknowledgement that the Jews are a nation with a collective right to self-determination.

Anti-Zionists deny Jews this right while granting it to every other nation. That is why true progressives, like the great Martin Luther King, have long recognised the connection between hostility to Zionism and hostility to Jews.

Jones secondly fails to understand how antisemitism is often dressed up in ‘progressive’ form. He (rightly) mentions the danger from Front National, Jobbik and Golden Dawn, three extreme groups suffused with xenophobic prejudice against Jews, immigrants and Muslims. He condemns attacks on synagogues in Paris as well as other assaults.

But antisemitism is not just about jackboots and swastikas, torched synagogues and racist insults. It is about discriminating unfairly against Jews, Jewish institutions and Israelis.

It is about holding Jews to a different standard or demanding from them a unique level of behaviour. It is about calculated offence, such as abusing the memory of the Holocaust for political ends. Nor does antisemitism have to be intended for it to be real.

When we stop viewing this prejudice through far right tinted spectacles, we can understand why Kilburn’s Tricycle theatre has been accused of racism. Last week, the Tricycle boycotted the UK Jewish Film Festival after the latter refused to accept a condition that it first reject £1,400 of funding from the Israeli embassy.

The Tricycle suggested that UKJFF was being politicised by this money and, by implication, the theatre would be taking sides over the Gaza conflict.

Yet this condition has not been imposed in other cases where cultural institutions have received government funding. To take one example, the Tricycle hosted the London Asian Film Festival, even though it was financed by the Indian government, a party to the long running conflict over Kashmir.

Moreover, the Tricycle has happily taken a sizeable grant from the Arts Council, a government funded body. Yet British governments have recently been mired in controversial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is a blatant case of an egregious double standard applied to a Jewish cultural group. They, and only they, have been forced to sign up to a political credo (i.e. to dissociate from Israel) before they are deemed ‘acceptable’. In an attempt to appear self-righteous, the Tricycle’s organisers have engaged in a most pernicious form of bullying.

Had he cast his net further, Jones might have condemned George Galloway after his recent statement that no Israeli tourists were welcome in Bradford.

Galloway was saying that a boycott of Israeli goods and services was not enough; not one Israeli was welcome to step foot in his constituency either. By demanding that Bradford become Israelfrei, Galloway was not engaging in political debate. He was demonising an entire nation.

Equally bigoted was the decision of the Edinburgh Festival to axe ‘The City’, a play staged by Jerusalem’s Incubator Theatre. There were calls for its artists to publicly dissociate themselves from Israel’s policies in Gaza and the West Bank before being allowed to perform.

But again, such draconian demands have not been imposed on other nationalities. No other performers have been asked to pass a ‘values test’ before they can appear, nor should they be. Such behaviour is an outrageous affront to the principle of artistic freedom.

All three examples revolve around Israel and its conflict in Gaza. But Israel is the ‘Jew among nations’ and the country deserves equal treatment in the court of international opinion. Singling her out unfairly demands some form of explanation.

The motive for doing so is not always racist. Anti-Americanism and hostility to western power galvanise the left, and Israel is a bastion of democratic, western values as well as a staunch ally of America. It is also perceived, wrongly, to be a colonialist power. Hence it is a target of leftist discontent with western power. But the effect of such irrational discrimination and disproportionate focus is no less hurtful than a verbal insult.

It is still targeting the Jews.

It is only when we understand the many ways in which antisemitism manifests itself that we can start tackling it properly. It must be confronted warts and all, and with the blinkers and blind spots removed.

Jeremy Havardi is a journalist and the author of two books, Falling to Pieces, and The Greatest Briton

Hate emerges from beneath the surface: Antisemitism in the UK (July 2014)

Cross posted from The CST

July 2014 now joins January 2009 as a month when war between Israel and Hamas caused antisemitism to spew forth across Britain. If this latest round of Middle East violence has now ended, then we may expect the antisemitism to gradually diminish: but this hatred has again been revealed, even if most of the time it lies beneath the surface. Are British Jews (and those elsewhere) to be forever held hostage to a seemingly intractable conflict in which totalitarian Jihadists are sworn to destroy Israel at whatever cost?

Members of the public expressing fears and concerns to CST have referenced this in different ways. One said she felt “stuck in a swamp“. Another said that the hatred had come from “ordinary people, not what or who we expect it from…its the underlying antisemitism, and now that they’ve put it out there, how are we supposed to put it back?“. It may sound trite to speak of Jews defriending others on Facebook, but anecdotally, this seems to be happening again and again, with Jews deeply upset by what this conflict has revealed about those whom they believed to be their friends (in all meanings of the word).

Bare statistics do not, cannot, explain the emotion that many people are feeling right now: but they are stark. CST has now recorded over 200 antisemitic incidents for July 2014, making it very clearly the second worst month we have seen since our records began in 1984. (The worst was Jan’ 2009, when 288 incidents were recorded. The second worst was Feb’ 2009, with 114 incidents.) The July 2014 total is not yet finalised, because it takes time to properly analyse and categorise all of the reports reaching us from throughout Britain right now, so the figure of 200 is an absolute minimum.

Of course, antisemitic incidents occur every day, week and month of the year. CST recorded 304 between January and June 2014 (a rise of 36% from 2013). We now have over 200 in one month, so the maths are clear. Not every July incident relates to the Israel-Hamas conflict, but the majority do. Without listing every one of them, it is almost impossible to convey the scale and the impact of the invective, but each and every incident involves at least one victim and at least one perpetrator. They come randomly at Jews and Jewish locations throughout the country. Many of them appear to be perpetrated by Muslim youth and adults, but by no means all. That this racism is perpetrated in the name of human rights (for Palestinians) is bizarre, but nothing new: although it does help explain the deafening silence from the self-titled anti-racism movement. (Hope not Hate does not fit this category and is a strong exception.)

The hatred is showing clear trends. Shouting “Free Gaza” on a pro-Palestinian demonstration is not antisemitic: but obviously is when yelled at a random Jew in the street, or when daubed on a synagogue wall.  The same goes for screams of “child murderer”, shouted at Jews or pinned on a synagogue. Then, there is the ever present antisemitic fixation with Nazism. This comes two ways, Jews being told that they are the new Nazis, or Jews being told that “Hitler was right” (a phrase that trended on Twitter).

Child murderer has a long history in antisemitism, almost 2,000 years longer than Nazism does. The accusation of Jews having killed Jesus, the embodiment of innocence, moved into medieval blood libels. Some Jews perceive sections of the UK media as having focussed to such an extent upon Gazan child victims in this latest conflict that it somehow indicates that these blood libels still lurk somewhere deep. Others would counter that this kind of ‘unconscious antisemitism’ argument is ridiculous and that the media could not focus upon dead and injured children if they did not actually exist, nor in such numbers. The fact remains: British Jews are being called child-murderers.

The Nazi slanders and threats are not in mainstream media, but the question ‘why didn’t Jews / Israel learn the lessons of the Holocaust?’ has been. This is surely repellent to the overwhelming majority of Jews. It comes posed as a question, but really it is a demand. Whatever its motivation, it smells of Jew-Israel-Nazi equivalence and ‘we are holier than thou’.

The super-heated arguments of how the media covers Israel are not strictly CST’s business; and neither are boycotts of Israel. Nevertheless, it is impossible to discuss how Jews feel right now without noting how both things impact upon antisemitism, upon how Jews are perceived and how Jews themselves feel.

One need not be a dyed in the wool defender of Israel, nor even a Zionist, to suspect that no other country on earth appears to evoke such passion and hatred. We need not cite Syria right now, nor Sri Lanka in 2009, because Britain itself has killed civilians in the Middle East in recent years, children included. Yet it is only one section of British society that is called “child-murderers”, or “Nazis”, or is told that Hitler should have wiped them all out.

Less rhetorically, we must note that antisemitic incidents will subside along with the images on people’s television screens, but the long term damage to Jews of anti-Israel boycotts will persist. Dry statistics help us to measure the raw impact of this. If someone engages in “criticism of Israel” then 6% of British Jews consider that person “definitely antisemitic” and 27% answer “probably antisemitic”. If that person supports a boycott of Israel, then 34% of British Jews consider them “definitely antisemitic” and 33% “probably antisemitic”. So, boycott of Israel is a tipping point for most Jews in regarding criticism as being antisemitic or not. One consequence of this latest Israel-Hamas war will be a lot more boycotts, either through choice (such as trade unions and cultural venues) or through intimidation (such as commercial outlets). Just as Israel is being singled out for scrutiny and boycott, so many Jews are going to feel the same way.

When the Jewish Film Festival is given a ‘ditch your Israeli Embassy link’ ultimatum by the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, it betrays how British Jews’ connections to Israel are the measure by which others judge them. The same applies to the National Union of Students decision to boycott Israel, which promises no end of trouble and intimidation for Jewish students. Then, there are the mass intimidations of supermarkets that dare to sell Israeli goods, some of which have actually been forced to briefly stop trading as a result. (As cheerfully relayed here by a Labour MP.)

Finally, two antisemitic incidents out of over two hundred, giving the merest hint of recent events. The first speaks volumes of how Jews risk being expected to behave: and the reactions they risk upon refusal.

1. Street in Bradford, evening of 26th July. A Jewish man and his wife were driving when they became caught in slow moving traffic due to an accident up the road. Every car in the queue was being stopped by a group of apparently Muslim men and women, carrying buckets and asking for money for Gaza. The Jewish man politely declined to donate, whereupon “you f**king Jewish bastard!” was shouted at him. Then, another man used a loudhailer to also shout “you f**king Jewish bastard!” at him. Next, “Jewish bastard coming down the road!” was shouted down the street to alert each of the other collectors.

2. Synagogue in Hove, 2nd August (photo by F.Sharpe)

Hove shul

 

The truth about Gaza’s civilian casualties: Essay by Col. Richard Kemp

This essay was written by Col. Richard Kemp, and originally published at Gatestone Institute.

“So are you going after innocent civilians or is it incompetence Colonel Lerner?” asks the interviewer, her face contorted with a contempt apparently reserved only for Israelis. Such shrill disrespect hurled at an American or British officer would alienate viewers, and, at an Arab commander, provoke accusations of racism.

This line of questioning – repeated across the networks on a daily basis – betrays a naïve and uncomprehending willingness to believe, and encourages viewers to believe, the absurd notion that the Israel Defence Force [IDF] is commanded and manned from top to bottom by psychopathic baby-killing thugs.

To suggest that military incompetence is the only explanation for civilian deaths other than deliberate mass murder reveals a breathtaking but unsurprising ignorance of the realities of combat.

Although rarely allowed to complete so much as a single sentence, Israeli attempts to explain IDF targeting policies are inevitably dismissed as laughable fabrication.

The truth is very different. The IDF has developed the most comprehensive and sophisticated measures to minimize civilian casualties during attacks against legitimate military targets.

Mandatory, multi-sensor intelligence and surveillance systems to confirm the presence or absence of civilians precede attacks on every target from the air. Text messages, phone calls and radio messages in Arabic warn occupants to leave. Air-dropped leaflets include maps showing safe areas. When warnings go unheeded, aircraft drop non-lethal explosives to warn that an attack is imminent.

Only when pilots and air controllers are sure that civilians are clear of the target will authorization be given to attack. When pilots use laser-guided munitions they must have pre-designated safe areas to which to divert the missiles in flight should civilians suddenly appear.

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In the last few days IDF pilots have aborted many missions because civilians remained in the target area.

Ground forces have equivalent engagement procedures, although the nature of ground combat means that these are blunter and less sophisticated. Discussions with IDF infantrymen fresh from the fight on the Gaza border confirm, however, that avoiding civilian casualties is uppermost in their minds even when under fire themselves.

Meanwhile back in the safety of the studio, the interviewer’s visible fury at the IDF Spokesman has got the better of any professional objectivity: “You go on endlessly about all the warnings you give but the fact is you have killed one-and-a-half thousand people, the overwhelming majority of them civilians!”

But of course the colonel is not permitted to give a proper answer that might help viewers understand the reality of the situation.

With few exceptions, reporters, commentators and analysts unquestioningly accept the casualty statistics given by Gaza’s Hamas-controlled medical authorities, who ascribe all deaths to the IDF. Is anyone in Gaza dying of natural causes? Mass executions of “collaborators,” and civilians killed by malfunctioning Hamas rockets, are all attributed to IDF fire.

Are the “overwhelming majority” of the dead really civilians? It would seem so. We see a great deal of grotesque and heart-rending footage of dead and bleeding women and children but never so much as a glimpse of killed or wounded fighters. Nor do reporters question or comment on the complete absence of Gazan military casualties, an extraordinary phenomenon unique to this conflict. The reality of course is that Hamas make great efforts to segregate their military casualties to preserve the fiction that Israel is killing civilians only. There are also increasing indications that Hamas, through direct force or threat, are preventing journalists from filming their fighters, whether dead or alive.

We will not get to the truth until the battle is over. But we know now that Hamas have ordered their people to report all deaths as innocent civilians. We know too that Hamas has a track record of lying about casualties. After Operation Cast Lead, the 2008-09 fighting in Gaza, the IDF estimated that of 1,166 Palestinian deaths, 709 were fighters. Hamas – backed by several NGOs – claimed that only 49 of its fighters had been killed, the rest were innocent civilians. Much later they were forced to admit that the IDF had been right all along and between 600 and 700 of the casualties had in fact been fighters. But the short-memoried media are incapable of factoring this in before broadcasting their ill-founded and inflammatory assertions.

Analysis of casualty details released by Qatar-based Al Jazeera indicate that so far in the conflict most of those killed in Gaza have been young men of fighting age, not women, children or old people. According to one analyst, despite comprising around 50% of the population, the proportion of women among the dead is 21%.

Preliminary analysis by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Israel suggests that 71, or 46.7%, of the first 152 Palestinians killed were fighters and 81, or 53.3%, non-involved civilians.

None of this analysis is definitive. But it does cast doubt upon the accusations of indiscriminate attack against the population by the IDF and upon the UN estimates – widely trumpeted as fact by the media and the not-exactly unbiased United Nations – that between 70 and 80% of Palestinian casualties have been civilians.

Nevertheless, many innocent civilians have tragically been killed. How has this happened, given the IDF’s measures aimed at minimizing such deaths?

IDF commanders say they never intentionally fire at targets where uninvolved civilians are present, a policy that goes much further than the Geneva Conventions demand. This policy has been confirmed to me by foot soldiers on the ground and F16 pilots carrying out strikes into Gaza.

But mistakes happen. Surveillance and intelligence can never be foolproof. There have been reports of Hamas forcing civilians back in once buildings have been evacuated. There is sometimes unexpected fallout from attacks, for example when an adjacent building containing civilians collapses, often caused by secondary explosions resulting from Hamas’s own munitions.

Errors can be made in interpretation of imagery, passage of information and inputting of target data. We don’t yet know what happened to the four boys tragically killed on a Gaza beach; it is not credible that they were identified as children and then deliberately killed.

Weapons guidance systems sometimes malfunction and bombs, bullets or missiles can land where they are not supposed to. Even the most hi-tech communications systems can fail at the critical moment.

Nowhere are these errors more frequent and catastrophic than in ground combat, where commanders and soldiers experience chaos, noise, smoke, fear, exhaustion, danger, shock, maiming, death and destruction that are beyond the comprehension of our interviewer in her air conditioned TV studio.

These mistakes and malfunctions happen in all fighting armies and in all conflicts. And in all conflicts, mistakes include the deaths of soldiers by friendly fire. Do those who condemn the killing of Palestinian civilians as deliberate acts by the IDF suggest that the friendly fire incidents in Gaza are also intentional?

The Israeli policy of not attacking targets where civilians are present is likely however to be deliberately waived in one specific situation. If troops are under lethal fire from an enemy position, the IDF are entitled to attack the target even with the certainty that civilians will be killed, subject to the usual rules of proportionality.

By definition Israeli soldiers’ lives are placed at greater risk by restrictive rules of engagement intended to minimize civilian casualties. But commanders in the field must balance their concern for civilians with the preservation of their own men’s lives and fighting effectiveness.

These realities aside, all Palestinian civilian casualties in this conflict result ultimately from Gaza terrorists’ aggression against Israel, and Hamas’s use of human shields – the most important plank of Hamas’s war-fighting policy.

Storing and firing weapons within densely populated areas, compelling civilians to stay put when warned to leave, luring Israeli forces to attack and kill their own people, the Palestinian body count is vital to Hamas’s propaganda war that aims to bring international pressure on Israel and incite anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic hatred around the world.

This sickening exploitation of their own people’s suffering, and media’s complicity in it, is nowhere more cynically demonstrated than in the operating theaters of the Gaza Strip. Without the slightest regard for life-saving hygiene, or for the care, privacy or dignity of the wounded, Palestinian officials enthusiastically hustle camera crews in to the emergency room as desperate surgeons battle for a bleeding and broken child’s life.

Colonel Richard Kemp spent most his 30-year career in the British Army commanding front-line troops in fighting terrorism and insurgency in hotspots including Iraq, the Balkans, South Asia and Northern Ireland. He was Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan in 2003. From 2002 – 2006 he heading the international terrorism team at the Joint Intelligence Committee of the British Prime Minister’s Office.

40 questions for foreign journalists in Gaza

Cross posted from Harry’s Place

Have you or any of your colleagues been intimidated by Hamas?

2.       Do you feel restricted in your ability to ‘say what you see’ in Gaza?

3.       How do you feel about the Spanish journalist who said Hamas would kill any journalist if they filmed rocket fire?

4.       Has Hamas pressured you to delete anything you have published?

5.       Has Hamas ever threatened to take your phone, laptop or camera?

6.       Has Hamas ever taken the phone, laptop or camera of a colleague in Gaza?

7.       Have you seen Hamas fighters in Gaza?

8.       If yes, why have you not directly reported Hamas fighting activity when you are eye-witnesses in Gaza, but rather indirectly reported about what the IDF says Hamas has done?

9.       Are you scared to publish photos of Hamas operatives on your Twitter page, or broadcast images of Hamas fighting and aggression on your news channel?

10.   Have you published any photos of terrorists launching rockets in Gaza? If so, are these images being turned down by your newspaper or broadcaster?

11.   Have you thought of interviewing the traumatised residents of southern Israel?

12.   When Israeli authorities say that most of the dead in Gaza are terrorists, and Hamas says most of the dead in Gaza are civilians, how do you differentiate?

13.   When Hamas Health Ministry statistics contradict Hamas’ own propaganda and reveal that mostly men of fighting age have died so far in Gaza, does it give you pause for thought?

14.   Is an underage armed terrorist still counted as a terrorist or a child when killed? Or both? Do you explain to your readers how this is possible?

15.   Have you put to Hamas spokespersons that firing rockets from civilian areas in a war situation will draw return fire and lead to the death of civilians?

16.   Nick Casey of the Wall Street Journal tweeted: “you have to wonder with the shelling, how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media.” Never mind wondering; did you ask any patients how they feel?

And how do you feel about the fact that Casey subsequently deleted his tweet?

18.   Russia Today journalist Harry Fear mentioned rocket-launching sites near his hotel. Have you noticed any terrorists or terror bases near your hotel?

19.   How do you feel about Fear’s expulsion from Gaza, for tweeting about the rocket launches from civilian areas? Are you worried that you might also be expelled from Gaza?

20.   Did you see any Hamas terror personnel inside Al-Shifa hospital?

21.   Have you interviewed a Hamas spokesperson inside Al-Shifa?

22.   Have you seen any rocket-launching sites in or around the vicinity of a hospital?

23.   Have you interviewed hospital staff or patients as to how they feel about their buildings being used for terror activity?

24.   Hamas’ command and control bunker is underneath Al Shifa hospital. Is this worth reporting? Have you asked to gain access to it, so you can interview Hamas commanders?

25.  French newspaper Liberation reported that Hamas’ Al Qassam offices are next to the emergency room at Shifa hospital, before deleting the article. Was the reporter right to delete the article, and will the information appear in the media at some point still?

26.   When the missile hit Al-Shati hospital where children were killed, did you see Hamas operatives collecting the debris of the fallen Palestinian rocket, as Gabriel Barbati reported? Did Barbati pick up on something you missed?

27.   Barbati prefaced his tweet by writing “Out of Gaza, far from Hamas retaliation.” Will you also report differently about Gaza when you are out of Gaza, far from Hamas retaliation?

28.   Can live journalism by reporters who are scared of retaliation from the authorities they are reporting about really count as pure journalism, or is journalism in that context fundamentally compromised?

29.   Have you seen or heard evidence of Hamas using civilians as human shields, by forcing or “encouraging” them to stay inside or enter into a building that has received a knock on the roof?

30.   Have you seen or heard evidence of Hamas storing weapons inside schools, houses, flats, mosques or hospitals?

31.   Have you interviewed Gazan residents to find out if they have – or know someone who has – a tunnel dug underneath their house? How do they feel about this?

32. Have you tried to interview any of the parents of the 160 Palestinian children who died building the terror tunnels?

33.   Have you asked Hamas spokespersons why they are setting out to murder children by firing rockets towards civilian populations?

34.   Have you interviewed any UNRWA officials about why Hamas are storing weapons in their schools, and how the weapons got there?

35.   Are you currently investigating how Hamas rockets ended up in UNRWA schools?

36.   Are you currently investigating why UNRWA returned rockets to Hamas and their police force?

37.   When Hamas breaks a ceasefire with Israel – as it has done 6 times – how easy is it to report on this from Gaza?

38.   Is there any anti-Hamas sentiment in Gaza, and how is it expressed?

39.   Were you aware that Hamas chose to execute dozens of anti-war protesters in Gaza, and did you not consider this to be worth
reporting?

40.   Is international media reporting from Gaza free from pressure and intimidation, or is there a real problem – and if so, how will you address it?

Protesting Palestine, targeting Jews

Cross posted from The CST

CST wrote last week about the danger of anti-Israel protests in the UK involving or encouraging antisemitism, either by targeting British Jews or by featuring antisemitic language and imagery.

Since then, several more examples of antisemitic incidents and other activity in relation to anti-Israel protests have been reported to CST:

  • Demonstrators on a march through central London assaulted and verbally abused a Jewish woman who expressed her support for Israel as they walked past. Marchers surrounded her, called her a “Jew Zionist” and stole her phone. Later the same afternoon, demonstrators from the same march verbally abused another Jewish woman who was with her two young children, telling them to “Burn in hell.”
  • A pro-Israel demonstrator at a rally in central London was knocked unconscious by a group of assailants who were part of a counter-protest. While it is not believed that anything antisemitic was said, this level of violence from pro-Palestinian protestors is a worrying development.
  • A Rabbi walking in north London was verbally abused by a group of youths who shouted “Free Palestine”, “F*** the Zionists”, “F*** the Jews” and “Allah Akhbar.”
  • A brick was thrown at the window of a synagogue in Belfast.
  • “Baby murderers” was shouted at a synagogue in Liverpool.
  • A pro-Israel organisation in London received a telephoned bomb threat.
  • A visibly Jewish boy was cycling in north London when a woman wearing a black niqab threw a stone at him, hitting him on the head.

These are just a handful of over 70 antisemitic incidents reported to CST since the beginning of July. This is roughly double the number we would expect to be reported during this period under ‘normal’ circumstances. Approximately ten of these incidents have involved violence. Approximately 14 have involved the use of social media.

Roughly two-thirds of the incidents reported since 1 July have been related to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza, and the number of incidents reported to CST has escalated since the beginning of Israel’s operation in Gaza on 8 July.

Another disturbing factor is that the proportion of antisemitic incident perpetrators described to CST as being of south Asian appearance has been much higher during this period than is normally the case. Antisemitism in Muslim communities is something that others have written about before; the incidents reported to CST suggest that it is playing a significant role in the high level of antisemitic incidents currently being reported. In these circumstances, last week’s statement from the Muslim Council of Britain warning against such behaviour was most welcome.

There have also been several examples of antisemitic incitement on anti-Israel demonstrations and on social media since the conflict between Israel and Gaza began. Last week the hashtag #HitlerWasRight trended on Twitter worldwide. One protestor took this theme onto an anti-Israel demonstration in London:

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It should be noted that the antisemitic incidents recorded by CST since 1 July do not include antisemitic placards or chants on demonstrations.

Other protestors have used Nazi imagery to abuse Israel:

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Comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is antisemitic. It abuses the memory of Holocaust victims and offends contemporary Jews. It attacks Israel on the basis of its Jewishness. It should have no part in pro-Palestinian campaigning.

This flag commits the same offence, and compounds it by using a Star of David next to the phrase “Baby Killers”. The Star of David is a Jewish symbol. It is found on the Israeli flag, but it is also found on synagogues all over the UK. To use it in the manner it is displayed on this flag risks inciting hatred against British Jews.

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This incitement has also been seen on social media. This cartoon is from the Facebook page of UK Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Taji Mustafa. it evokes the antisemitic blood libel, in which Jews are accused of murdering non-Jewish children and consuming their blood in religious rituals. The Arabic on the knife reads “Arab silence”, but the person holding the knife bears a Star of David. The Stars and Stripes on the fork also suggests an antisemitic conspiracy theory regarding alleged Jewish control of America.

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CST has also received several reports of antisemitism on Twitter. These two tweets are clear examples of incitement against Jews in the Stamford Hill area of north London:

 

It has been suggested by some people that hate and abuse on social media is not as serious as other forms of hate crime and should not be included in hate crime statistics. We do not agree. Firstly, if a victim considers a tweet to be offensive or threatening enough to report it to CST, we will respect their feelings and their reaction to what they have seen. Secondly, if somebody shouts an antisemitic comment at a Jewish person in the street, it may only be heard by one person; if that same comment is put on Twitter, it can be seen by an unlimited number of people and it has a permanent record.

This pattern of antisemitic incidents in relation to the current conflict in Israel and Gaza is replicated in several countries around the world, most notably in France where Jewish shops and synagogues in Sarcelles were attacked last night. The antisemitic incidents and incitement seen in Britain over the past two weeks suggest that this danger is getting more, not less, acute. There should be zero tolerance within pro-Palestinian groups, and wider society, for anybody who targets Jews in word or deed.

Mike Tyson, Toddlers, and ‘Balance': A response to Owen Jones

Here are the first few paragraphs from a Times of Israel op-ed by Shany Mor:

There is much to learn from Owen Jones’ much retweeted Guardian post last week about the alleged “imbalance” in Israel’s favor at the BBC and, by implication, the rest of Western media and politics, but not necessarily what Jones intends.

Jones extrapolates from one solitary headline on the BBC’s website two discernible arguments. Neither argument stands up to the barest of scrutiny, but let’s start with the headline.

“Israel under renewed Hamas attack” was the “perverse” headline that the BBC ran from which Jones deduces the “macabre truth that Israeli life is deemed by the western media to be worth more than a Palestinian life.” If this were the only headline the BBC ran on the violent escalation over the past week, Jones might have a point. But it wasn’t even the only headline that day. All week, there have been from five to ten stories on the fighting. Some stories are filed from Israel and focus on the Gazan rocket attacks; some are filed from Gaza and focus on Israeli air and naval attacks; others are diplomatic stories or personal stories or focus on one particular incident which the BBC editors seem to think is interesting or noteworthy. The story Jones references was filed from Ashqelon, a city in southern Israel that absorbed a large number of rocket attacks from nearby Gaza. The day before the report, Hamas in Gaza had gone from a policy of tolerating and encouraging other militant groups in the Strip to fire rockets at Israeli civilian centers, as it had for the previous two weeks, to actively participating in these attacks itself with its much larger, more numerous, and more sophisticated rockets. Hamas had, literally, renewed its attacks on Israel after twenty months of cease-fire. This was a significant development because it meant a large Israeli military operation would inevitably follow. This is lost on Jones who picks one headline to make a sweeping and falsifiable generalization.

Two arguments can be picked out of Jones’ short post in the Guardian. The first regards what he calls the “hierarchy of death.” As far as I can tell, Jones’ postulated hierarchy is measured as a quotient of newsworthy deaths divided by the amount press coverage generated. It’s an odd claim to through around in what poses as a pro-Palestinian piece, because by any measure the Palestinians are the beneficiaries of this hierarchy of death. Let’s stipulate that we accept Jones’ claim that there is more coverage per Israeli death than per Palestinian death (though most of this is probably accountable to the much lower death toll on the Israeli side throughout the decades of conflict, something which tells us next to nothing about the moral or normative standing of either side; see below). Coverage of violence involving Palestinians far exceeds that of Iraqis, Syrians, Somalis, Congolese. Not just in the media, but throughout the western “human rights community,” the self-appointed protectors of western rectitude for whom Israeli actions that wouldn’t even count as a rounding error in the Syrian or Iraqi civil wars — or for that matter in NATO operations in Afghanistan — regularly generate hysterical cries of “war crimes” and even “slow-motion genocide.”just a stiff letter to the editor against “collective punishment.”

Read the rest of the op-ed here.

London protesters compare Gaza to Auschwitz outside Israeli Embassy

Cross posted by Richard Millett

Yes, that really does say Auschwitz, Iraq, Dachau, Palestine.

Yes, that really does say Auschwitz, Iraq, Dachau, Palestine.

Some mocked the Holocaust, others disfigured the Israeli flag, a few screamed “Allahu Akbar”, they all called for the destruction of the Jewish state.

That was the scene outside London’s Israeli Embassy yesterday afternoon as many thousands thronged to hear blood-curdling speeches calling for the end of Israel.

Kensington High Street was closed off to traffic leaving London buses stranded by the protesters who requisitioned them and covered them with anti-Israel slogans.

The protest against Israel’s latest attack on Hamas in Gaza was a toxic mix of Islamists, trade unions like Unison, charities like War On Want, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and, of course, the extreme religious Jewish sect Neturei Karta.

I knew I had outstayed my welcome when a protester grabbed me and shouted “A Zionist!”. I shook him off and made for the relative safety of the tube station.

Here’s a clip for you to savour some of yesterday’s toxicity and some photos:

Disfiguring Israel's flag. At least they didn't burn it.

Disfiguring Israel’s flag. At least they didn’t burn it.

"Cheap Jewish settlements" because Jews are tight money grabbers of course!

“Cheap Jewish settlements” because Jews are tight money grabbers of course!

War On Want's Executive Director John Hilary.

War On Want’s Executive Director John Hilary.

Agreed! Palestinians should be freed from their Hamas oppressors.

Agreed! Palestinians should be freed from their Hamas oppressors.

Is that because Israel builds bomb shelters but Hamas doesn't bother, possibly?

Is that because Israel builds bomb shelters but Hamas doesn’t bother, possibly?

Courageous guy climbs a traffic light.

Courageous guy climbs a traffic light.

They're the stars of the show at these hate events.

They’re the stars of the show at these hate events.

Will she be off to protest against Assad, Iran, ISIS and Boko Haram now?

Will she be off to protest against Assad, Iran, ISIS and Boko Haram now?

Police under pressure and looking under-numbered for once.

Police under pressure and looking under-numbered for once.

Libyan support despite things not looking too rosy in Libya either.

Libyan support despite things not looking too rosy in Libya either.

One of our buses gets occupied. Tell Boris!

One of our buses gets occupied. Tell Boris!

Remind me to invite him over for Friday night dinner soon.

Remind me to invite him over for Friday night dinner soon.

War On Want flags. WOW to be renamed War On Israel anyone?

War On Want flags. WOW to be renamed War On Israel anyone?

Not too sure what to say about this, so I think I'll leave it at that.

Not too sure what to say about this, so I think I’ll leave it at that.

Hmm, they mean Iran, Saudi, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq don't they? Oh wait...

Hmm, they mean Iran, Saudi, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq don’t they? Oh wait…

Can we have our bus back now please?

Can we have our bus back now please?

Errr, the problem is not Gaza, the problem is Hamas.

Errr, the problem is not Gaza, the problem is Hamas.

Ask them to ring back, you're at an anti-Israel protest!

Ask them to ring back, you’re at an anti-Israel protest!

War On Want No! Who can argue with that?

War On Want No! Who can argue with that?

Oh really. Now where does it say such a silly thing like that?

Oh really. Now where does it say such a silly thing like that?

"Cover up, sweety, it's getting a bit chilly". Aw.

“Cover up, sweety, it’s getting a bit chilly”. Aw.

(I dedicate this blog to the memory of my recently deceased mum whom I loved and miss and who, before she lost the ability to speak due to her terminal illness, always gave me one piece of treasured advice when she knew I was going to an anti-Israel event: “Be careful.”)

Why Israel has been forced to go to war: An op-ed by Dr. Denis MacEoin

A guest post by Dr. Denis MacEoin

I want you to imagine this. An independent Scotland, fired up by new-found freedoms and ruled by President Robbie Burns II, bursts into ructions of tartan nationalism. An army of men wearing kilts and sporrans, playing horrendous squalling tunes on their war pipes, advances to the border, calling for the destruction of England and the murder or expulsion of everyone who lives on what, they say, is former Scottish soil. Specially trained militias roll up and start to fire rockets into Northumberland and Newcastle, where I live. As some years pass, the rockets get bigger and their range longer, until York and Leeds are threatened. Thousands of these rockets are fired, and even if they do little physical harm, they force the inhabitants of the English North to cower in bomb shelters, running to them when sirens announce a fifteen-second gap before the latest rockets fall. Add to this that Scottish fighters have been infiltrating England for years beyond number, detonating car bombs, slitting throats, and blowing themselves up in shopping malls, restaurants and town squares, using suicide belts to kill as many English men and women and children as possible. In one case, a Scottish woman, treated for severe burns in the burns unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, returns for out-patient treatment wearing an explosive belt designed to murder the doctors and nurses who improved her life and is only caught thanks to the vigilance of soldiers at a checkpoint built to prevent such incidents.

Now ask yourself, what would the government of the UK do? Send for the Archbishop of Canterbury to organize national prayer vigils? Wring their hands and hope the belligerent Scots soon see the error of their ways? Apologize to their sworn enemies and evacuate the country (except, perhaps, Celtic Wales), relocating in a distant desert or hell-pit, assuming anyone, fired by post-colonial outrage, would take them? Do a Jim Jones and deliver bottles of cyanide-laced Flavor Aid to every household, and apologize to Scotland for forcing its undertakers to remove and cremate the bodies?

You know the answer as well as I do. Now, think again. The Scots love us and will probably vote against devolution. We love them and their Tam O’Shanters and their Loch Ness Monster. For bagpipes we may prefer the sweet tones of Irish uilleann pipes or Northumbrian pipes. But we have had our last wars with the Scots, who mean us no harm.

For Scotland in the first paragraph, write Gaza. For Scots, write Palestinians. The rest is true. The rain of missiles since 2007, the endless terror attacks on civilians before the security barrier almost put an end to them. The incitement in the Hamas Charter of 1988 to kill all Jews, never to make peace, never to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, never even to sit down to hold peace talks (which are called ‘a waste of time’). Palestinians suffer, but that doesn’t matter to Hamas (or, indeed, Fatah, who issue similar threats), for whom martyrdom is the highest aspiration. In Gaza and the West Bank (now allied in a unity government), the murderers of children and families are celebrated as national heroes, worthy of emulation. Can the UN cure that sickness? Will the Arab and Muslim states even try? Will the left in Europe and America stop their attacks and vilifications of Israel and Jews? Left-wingers who, not long ago, marched in cities in Europe chanting ‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas’.

The burned woman who sought to kill the men and women who had saved her life was Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, a Palestinian from Gaza who was treated at Beersheva’s Soroka Medical Centre in early 2005 and who set out to return there bearing a medical licence, was captured at the Erez crossing by vigilant IDF soldiers, and imprisoned. She was released in 2011 as one of the prisoners freed to bring Gilad Shalit back to his family. On her release, she was welcomed home by a group of children. To them she said ‘I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs.’ I did not use the word ‘sickness’ above in a flippant or bigoted way. It is the only word I can choose to describe a society built on hatred, self-immolation and the destruction of the innermost fibre of little children.

And Jews will go to the gas the moment Hamas and its allies are victorious, and they will be victorious if Israel ever slackens in its vigilance and self-defence, and remains passive in its response to deadly rocket fire from a terrorist regime. Make no mistake about that. Stand in the shoes of those few who cried horror as they watched the Nazis come to power in Germany. By no means are all Palestinians Nazis, but Hamas and its allies are the nearest thing since 1945. Yet throughout the world’s media, Israel, one of the world’s finest democracies, a country that even as I write is performing heart operations on Palestinian children, is called the aggressor, its acts of self-defence pilloried as unbalanced and disproportionate. Of course, it’s unbalanced. If your enemy refuses to make peace and establish secure borders for both sides, if they do everything in their power to kill you and everyone you love, and destroy your cities, what choice would anyone have but to keep responding and responding yet again until they come to their senses, acknowledge international law, and make peace for their own sakes as much as for yours?

For two thousand years, Jews — I am not one — have been tortured, killed, expelled, and exterminated without respite. They have at last found, through the auspices of the League of Nations and the United Nations, and above all their own efforts through the Zionist movement, a haven, a place where they have the right to live in peace and security for once, and from which they can continue to make a most extraordinary contribution to the well-being of mankind. And Hamas pounds their haven with high explosives and threatens genocide while shouting to the world that they, not the Jews, are the victims in this drama even while they are nothing but the victims of their own mania and blood lust. This will attract comment, and that is well and good. But as a lifelong liberal, I will listen only to reasoned criticism, not accusations that Israel is a ‘Nazi’ state, an ‘apartheid’ state or any other of the patent nonsense that so many in the far left and Islamists throw out. Palestinian lives are important, which is why thousands of Palestinians are treated in Israeli hospitals every year. But Israeli lives, the lives of Israeli Jews and Arabs both, have equal value. Israel has never threatened or carried out genocide (another meaningless accusation). Today, it stands in the media dock, accused of crimes it has never committed. Hamas is handled with kid gloves. Woe to us if the Scots ever change their minds and launch phase one of their haggis-fuelled invasion.

 

Dr. Denis MacEoin is a former university lecturer in Arabic, Persian and Islamic Studies. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Gatestone Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

 

When anti-Semites at the Guardian fall out

A guest post by AKUS

One of the more ignorant claims advanced by the anti-Israeli crowd commenting at the Guardian, both above and below the line, is that the smaller number of Israeli casualties compared to Palestinian casualties represents Israeli belief that Palestinian lives are worth less – much less – than Arab lives.

The specious argument is used to complain that there is a lack of morality on the Israeli side, rather than admitting that Israel takes enormous care to protect its citizens of all religions and groups from terrorist and other armed attacks.

It is usually accompanied by two additional themes. One is the complaint that  “no-one ever mentions Palestinian casualties” when in fact there is no other group whose casualties are so carefully documented and republished over and over in media and by NGOs. The other is the accusation that despite the enormous increase in the Arab population since 1967, the lower number of Israeli casualties represents a policy of genocide directed at the Arabs on the West Bank and in Gaza.

To put it in a different context, would anyone argue that the lower losses of British lives in WW II compared to German lives (leaving aside the horrendous losses suffered by the Russians and the massacres of others across Europe and North Africa inflicted by the Germans) represented a loss of moral stature by the British? Should more British soldiers and civilians have died to even the balance and allowed us to feel that indeed the British respected human life as much as the Nazis?

We were treated to another of Steve Bell’s anti-Semitic cartoons this week, intended to illustrate this theme. The three murdered Israeli boys are shown, in the eyes of – well, who? The world? – to outweigh uncountable Palestinians killed in the conflict:

`1

As bad as this cartoon is, for all the reasons above, especially appearing in the Guardian which makes it its mission to emphasize every Palestinian death, it led to a complaint by Martin Rowson.  Rowson suggested that Bell had, in effect, plagiarized his “trope” from this even worse cartoon:

cartoon

As appalling as both cartoons are, there is a certain enjoyment to be had from seeing this falling out among two leading purveyors of antisemitic tropes.

What is horrifying, of course, is the support these two vicious characters get from their dedicated followers. This includes  the Guardian editorial staff, who allows them to post such agitprop, and their followers below the line – for example, here’s a comment below Steve Bell’s latest:

for example

And there we have it – the imbalance between Israeli deaths and Palestinian deaths is due to Israel’s presumably genocidal policies which are gradually wiping out the occupants of Gaza and the West Bank – even though their numbers, mysteriously, continue to grow at one of the highest rates in the world.

Or even the slightly more “sophisticated” argument that this represents a way for Israel to prevent reaching a peace agreement:

agreement

By continuing to publish these kinds of cartoons, and permitting these kinds of comment to stand, it is, in fact, the Guardian that does a monumental disservice to any idea of reaching a peace agreement, or, if they really want to, helping the Palestinians achieve their statehood.

But in the meantime, if nothing else, let’s hope the anti-Semites at the Guardian will continue to complain about each other.

Huffington Post UK Corrects: No ‘West Bank’ Airstrikes by IDF

Cross posted from CAMERA

CAMERA’s Israel office has prompted a Huffington Post UK correction of a headline which had incorrectly referred to airstrikes in the West Bank. In fact, while the Gaza Strip has been subjected to airstrikes following a barrage of rocket attacks from that territory into southern Israel, there have been no West Bank airstrikes.
 
Editors also promptly corrected the accompanying July 1 article by Paul Vale, which had falsely asserted that the airstrikes were in response to the murders of the three Israeli teens, Gil-Ad Shaar, Naftali Frankel and Eyal Yifrach. In fact, the airstrikes on 24 targets in the Gaza Strip were in response to the aforementioned 18 rocket attacks on Israel.
 
A screen capture of the erroneous headline and article, first noted earlier today on CAMERA’s Snapshots blog, follows:
huffpost airstrikes

CAMERA staff contacted Huffington Post editors, noting that the airstrikes in the Gaza Strip were a response to the rocket fire coming from there, not to the murder of the three teens. The Huffington Post article is itself hyperlinked to an Associated Press story, also on the Huffington Post UK site, which notes that the Israeli military said it was rocket fire from the Gaza Strip which led to the airstrikes there:

Early Tuesday, Israel carried out an especially intense series of airstrikes in Gaza, saying it had struck 34 targets across the Hamas-controlled territory. The military said the airstrikes were a response to a barrage of 18 rockets fired into Israel since late Sunday.

As a result, editors immediately corrected both the headline and text, which now appear as follows:
huffpost airstrikes corrected
CAMERA commends Huffington Post UK for its timely and forthright corrections.