A day of anti-Israel hatred and Holocaust trivialisation in Parliament.

Cross posted by London based blogger Richard Millett

Ismail Patel, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Megan Driscoll, Linda Ramsden in Parliament .

Ismail Patel, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Megan Driscoll, Linda Ramsden in Parliament .

“It was supposed to be Never Again” declared Ismail Patel but the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, he said, are “oppressed”, undergoing “ethnic cleansing” and suffering a “genocide”.

Patel, Chair of Friends of Al Aqsa, was speaking in the Grimmond Room of Britain’s Houses of Parliament last night at an event to launch his organisation’s “Jerusalem Report” which focuses on “Protecting Palestinian Citizenship Rights in East Jerusalem.”

According to Megan Driscoll, Advocacy Officer at Coalition for Jerusalem (based in Jerusalem), who spoke first, Israel’s “Jerusalem Masterplan” is to secure the Jewish majority in the city.

Driscoll said that the Palestinian population there is currently 34% and that Israel’s aim is to drive this down to 30% and probably lower.

The way Israel is doing this, she continued, is through “residency revocation” which makes Jerusalem Palestinians “stateless”.

Driscoll said Israel revokes residency if Palestinians have lived abroad for more than seven years or have taken citizenship in another country.

She said there is also a Jerusalem “centre of life” test that Palestinians must pass. This, she said, is so stringent that even Palestinians still living in Jerusalem have not been able to prove such centrality and have lost their residency rights.

Driscoll claimed that since 1967 there have been over 14,000 such “residency revocations”. She referred to this as the “Quiet Deportation” and said it was successful because instead of being “mass collective punishment” it received less attention in the media because it was executed against individuals and families.

Linda Ramsden, Director of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, said that Israel’s “policy of displacement began in 1948 when 530 Palestinian villages were demolished and 750,000 Palestinians made refugees”.

She described how most Palestinians applying for building permits are refused because they cannot prove ownership of land due to a lack of documents (does it not occur to Ramsden that maybe, just maybe, they do not own the land in question?).

Ramsden said that once a house is built without a permit a Palestinian family will suffer from stress worrying which day their home will be demolished. She said this causes a lot of “stress related illness”.

When a house is due to be demolished, she continued, hundreds of police and dogs arrive which, she said, is “very frightening”. Bulldozers are used for the demolition and pneumatic drills destroy the base of the house.

She claimed the families are fined and sent a bill for the demolition and that some Palestinians demolish their own homes to avoid these “horrendous costs”.

Meanwhile, last night’s event was hosted and chaired by the Labour MP for Bolton South-East Yasmin Qureshi. Qureshi was fresh from the House of Commons debate that afternoon on the situation in Gaza.

Qureshi is very quietly spoken but the words that come out of her mouth are pure poison where Israel is concerned. If one thinks that Ismail Patel’s application of the term “Never Again” to the Palestinians was bad enough, Qureshi’s Holocaust minimization is more shocking.

Here is what she said in yesterday’s Parliamentary debate:

“What has struck me in all this is that the state of Israel was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide. Their properties, homes and land—everything—were taken away, and they were deprived of rights. Of course, many millions perished. It is quite strange that some of the people who are running the state of Israel seem to be quite complacent and happy to allow the same to happen in Gaza.” (my emphasis)

This followed Labour MP Gerald Kaufman’s attack on ALL Israelis in the same debate:

“Again and again, Israel seeks to justify the vile injustices that it imposes on the people of Gaza and the west bank on the grounds of the holocaust. Last week, we commemorated the holocaust; 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza are being penalised with that as the justification…It is totally unacceptable that the Israelis should behave in such a way, but they do not care. Go to Tel Aviv, as I did not long ago, and watch them sitting complacently outside their pavement cafés. They do not give a damn about their fellow human beings perhaps half an hour away.” (my emphasis)

This is how Britain’s Parliament is sometimes so abused. While innocent Syrians are being murdered and left permanently disabled by barrel bombs dropped out of the sky by Assad’s forces certain MPs are offensive about Israel, Israelis and the Holocaust instead.

While Kaufman voted against any intervention in Syria, Qureshi couldn’t even be bothered to turn up to that vote last August!

Last night’s event launching the “Jerusalem Report” was sold out but due to the strike on the London underground not many people could get there.

It must be galling that when so much effort has been put into producing an evening of hatred, lies and Holocaust minimization so few people are there to appreciate your efforts.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Guardian deploys Tony Greenstein ‘as-a-Jew’ to defend the morally indefensible

“…an acronym – or something like an acronym – lay concealed in the name the group had already given itself. Instead of ‘Ashamed Jews’, what about ‘ASHamed Jews’, which might or might not, depending on how others felt, be shortened now or in the future to ASH, the peculiar felicity of which, in any circumstances, he was sure it wasn’t necessary for him to point out. Within a week he received an enthusiastic response on notepaper headed ‘ASHAMED Jews’.  He felt a deep sense of pride, mitigated, of course, by sadness on behalf of those whose suffering had made ASHamed Jews necessary’.” – Page 115, The Finkler Question, Howard Jacobson

Over the last couple of years, Guardian editors have seen fit to publish a letter by a Nazi sympathizer who believes Jews control the world (Gilad Atzmon), one letter by a woman who has promoted the ancient antisemitic blood libel (Alison Weir), and a UK professor who has defended, on moral and ‘humanitarian’ grounds, the Palestinians’ right to engage in suicide bombing against Israeli civilians (Ted Honderich).

So, with such a contrast in mind, Tony Greenstein’s defense, in the letters section of the Guardian on Feb. 7, of the recent Holocaust Day admonition against the Jews by MP David Ward, though deplorable, certainly does not break any new ground in the Guardian’s willingness to legitimize or defend the indefensible.

As a reminder, here are the words Ward used:

“Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”

So, who better to defend Ward than the former ‘Comment is Free’ contributor, and anti-Zionist Jew, who has charged the Zionist leadership of collaborating with the Nazis, argued that Israel has engaged in racial policies and ethnic cleansing reminiscent of Nazi Germany, and applauded those who refer to Israelis committing such ‘crimes’ as “Judaeo-Nazis”?

Greenstein’s Guardian letter is ostensibly in response to a Feb. 6 Guardian piece critical of Ward by , and he immediately frames the MP’s egregious abuse of Holocaust memory as “much ado about nothing”, and, in the spirit of Glenn Greenwald, characterizes the row as one which has cynically been  “generated” by Zionists and “designed to stifle criticism of Israel and suppress free speech”.

After bemoaning the Zionist ‘stranglehold’ on debate about Israel, Greenstein then proceeds to question the wisdom of characterizing as antisemitic the moral reasoning of those who suggest that all Jews should be held responsible for actions of a few, and concludes by addressing the Zionist-Nazi comparison, writing thus: 

“Ward is accused of antisemitism for making comparisons between the Nazi period and what is happening to the Palestinians. Of course Israel has not set up death camps for Arabs. But when Gerald Kaufman spoke in the Commons about his grandmother who had been killed in her bed by a Nazi soldier, he stated that “my grandmother did not die in order to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza”. Is Gerald Kaufman also antisemitic?”

As I’ve argued previously, ‘antisemitism’ isn’t something you can test for, nor is it some sort of immutable character trait.  It is, rather, more aptly described as a racist persuasion, a hateful habit of mind – the willful embrace of an intellectual tradition which vilifies Jews to the point of grotesque caricature, and holds them responsible to moral standards which no other group is held.

Having visited the death factory where over a million Jews were systematically murdered, MP Ward couldn’t help but think, on the international day meant to commemorate the liberation of that hideous place, not of the indescribable suffering of the victims, or of the stubborn survival of the antisemitic ideology which inspired the Nazi genocide, but, rather, of the perfidy and malice of living Jews.

Whether you’re a non-Jew named Ward, or a Jew named Kaufman or Greenstein, engaging in such an insidious and atavistic moral inversion, in which slaughtered Jews are likened to their slaughterers, is cruel, hateful and, by definition, antisemitic.

MP Kaufman, hearing Harriet Sherwood’s dog whistle, accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing in Acre

Sir Gerald Kaufman, Labour MP, at the House of Commons on January 15, 2009:

“The spokeswoman for the Israeli army, Major Leibovich, was asked about the Israeli killing of, at that time, 800 Palestinians. The total is now 1,000. She replied instantly that ‘500 of them were militants’. That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.” [emphasis added]

“My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.”

“The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploits the continuing guilt from Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.”

Kaufman, speaking at a Watford Friends of Salfeet meeting, June 25, 2009:

“[Iran has] a loathsome regime [but unlike Israel] at least it keeps its totalitarian theocracy to within its own borders” 

Kaufman, speaking at a meeting of the House of Commons, March 30, 2010:

“Lord Ashcroft, the wealthy Tory donor, owns one part of the [Conservative] party and Jewish millionaires the other.”

Given such explicit hatred towards Israel, Kaufman, the quintessential as-a-Jew, was naturally given a platform at the Guardian to comment on Harriet Sherwood’s June 24th report, Israel’s historic city of Acre faces tourist and settler tensions, (Guardian Letters, June 26).

Kaufman with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh

As Hadar Sela argued, Sherwood’s report advanced the narrative that rich Jews are buying property in the old city of Acre in a process of ‘gentrification’, with the intent of driving out the poor Arab population. Based on interviews with a few radical Arab activists she turned a story about the physical and economic regeneration of a depressed city into something akin to Israeli ethnic cleansing.

Sherwood wrote:

“According to Arab activists in Acre, this is part of a grand plan, driven by the city’s Jewish mayor, to gentrify and rebrand the old city – and persuade, induce or coerce Arabs to leave.”

“Arabs, who make up 28% of Acre’s population but 100% of the old city, fear that a programme of gentrification funded by Jewish investors will – either by design or simply as a consequence – drive them out.”

How specifically are Arabs being driven out?

“Ahmed Odeh, an Arab member of the city council, claims that about 50 properties in the old city have been acquired by Jewish investors for redevelopment. He says a number of ruses have been employed to encourage Arab residents to give up their properties – whose ownership was taken by the Israeli state after the 1948 war – to developers. These include straightforward cash offers, often irresistible to poor families; orders for expensive repairs; and eviction if debts are defaulted on.” [emphasis added]

That’s enough proof for Kaufman, whose Guardian letter reads as follows:

Of course, Sherwood’s report didn’t actually cite any examples of Arabs who were “driven our of their homes” in Acre.  She merely gave voice to a few residents in the city who see a conspiracy in market pressures from an improving economy which could spur some Arabs to sell their property and move to less expensive areas.

As Acre’s mayor Shimon Lankry argued in Sherwood’s report, the suggestion of a grand plan to drive Arabs out represents a “ridiculous accusations, only voiced by extremists”, and noted that “not a single Jewish family has moved into the [100% Arab] old city.”

Ridiculous accusations at Israel voiced by extremists?

Aka, another day at the Guardian.

The Monday Morning Guardian Israel Hate Page

The Guardian Israel hate page this morning – as my dear friend MargieinTelAviv affectionately calls it – features a veritable choice of Israel-bashing articles to sink one’s teeth into.

 

First, there’s an article by Peter Preston, former Guardian editor, which contains a breathtaking insight into the malice with which he views Israel.   

As for Egypt itself, transition seems a puny word. Goodbye to Mubarak, and decades of autocracy; hello to dawning democracy, to millions on the streets, to outbursts of mass anger that, these past few days, can see Israel’s embassy while soldiers struggle for control. Maybe democracy and violent protest aren’t obvious bedfellows, but this time there is a connection – because now the crowd can come out spontaneously to make its feelings clear.[emphasis added]

Lets unpack this last sentence for a second. Preston seems to be drawing together two somewhat disparate themes: democracy and violence; the suggestion being that the freedoms associated with democracy have allowed the “Egyptian street” to express their true feelings toward Israel. However, the idea of democracy is not about unleashing the inner animal so that anarchy reins – but allowing freedom of expression to flourish within the confines of the rule of law. What Preston does through a rhetorical play on words is contextualize and justify violence against Israelis in the name of democracy.  

If that’s not enough, Preston then goes on to upbraid Israel for its stubborn refusal to commit suicide by refusing to recognize the Palestinian unilateral declaration of statehood expected to take place at the UN later this month.  

Israel ought to be voting to recognise a Palestinian state too this week, coming to terms with change before change engulfs it. But is there any sign of such awareness in the bunkers of entrenched obliviousness? An Arab spring? Fear, rather, an Israeli winter.

The theme of unilateral declaration of statehood is then picked up by the perfidious Gerald Kaufman. Under the heading “Israel’s Choices” in the letters page, Israel is presented with one choice.

President Abbas is to be congratulated on persisting in applying for Palestinian statehood at the UN (Report, 9 September), despite all the pressure and blackmail trying to force him not to. The quartet has never done anything meaningful to give the Palestinians their independence. If the US uses its veto at the security council, this will prove the smug windbag Obama to be the puppet of Aipac. The hypocrisy of those countries which vote against or abstain at the general assembly will similarly be exposed. This brave Palestinian move will change the entire environment of the Middle East and tell the Israelis that they must negotiate meaningfully if they wish to be one of the states in a two-state solution.
Gerald Kaufman MP
Lab, Manchester Gorton

[Note how for good measure Kaufman breezily employs the rhetoric more commonly associated with Jewish conspiracy theorists Walt and Mearsheimer by stating that US support of Israel in the United Nations is the work of the US puppet master, AIPAC.]

Not to be outdone by Preston and Kaufman, Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood adds her own two cents by posting an article suggesting that there is widespread approval for the support of a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state in Europe.

The majority of people in the UK, France and Germany want their governments to vote in favour of recognising a Palestinian state if a resolution is brought before the United Nations in the next few weeks, according to an opinion poll.

The basis for such a claim, we learn, is a poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of Avaaz.

The poll was conducted by YouGov on behalf of Avaaz, a global campaigning organisation that is conducting an online petition in support of a Palestinian state. It is planning to deliver more than 913,000 signatories backing what it describes as “this new opportunity for freedom” to the European parliament.

We do not know what questions were asked in this poll – all we are told is, by way of footnote, that the poll was conducted online with 2,552 respondents in the UK, 1,017 respondents in Germany and 1,011 in France. However if the track record of Avaaz polling is anything to go by, the results are not to be trusted.    

And Avaaz has an even more checkered background as Daniel Greenfield observes,

Avaaz [is] a left-wing organization conducting a pressure campaign for Palestinian statehood. Avaaz’s video lays the blame for the violence on Israel, compares Israel’s Foreign Minister to Ahmadinejad and presents the unilateral Hamas-Fatah state as a way to bring peace to the region. Viewers are not told that few things are more certain to bring violence than unilateral actions by a fanatical terrorist group whose covenant celebrates the genocide of the Jewish people.

Like its video, Avaaz is not what it seems. Unlike most organizations, Avaaz does not list its staff openly; instead it claims to practice “servant leadership” with staffers letting members decide what to do. Only when the tax returns for Avaaz are examined, does a clearer picture emerge of who is really in charge.

Avaaz’s tax returns mention only one paid employee, its president, Ricken Patel, who pulls down a six figure salary—not bad for a ‘servant’. Patel was also a co-founder of Res Publica, the organization that co-founded Avaaz.

The Chairman of the Board, Eli Pariser, is the president of MoveOn.org which also co-founded Avaaz, and  along with Avaaz’s Secretary, Tom Pravda, is also on the advisory board of Res Publica. Patel and Pariser serve on the advisory board of J-Street, a Soros organization founded to undermine Jewish support for Israel.

What’s the difference between Res Publica and Avaaz? Avaaz looks like an international activist group, which is convenient when you want to appear to be a global movement, instead of a disguised branch of the same old American left-wing organizations.

Res Publica gets the majority of its funding from the Open Society Institute, which makes Avaaz another disguised George Soros project, just like J Street. The Economic Times hails Ricken Patel as “The Man Who Gives You Your Voice”, but it’s not “your” voice, it’s Soros’ voice.

And if the anti-Israel agitrop of Harriet Sherwood were not enough, there’s a Guardian editorial to top things off reveling in Israel’s regional isolation.

If post-revolutionary Egypt and an economically resurgent Turkey make common cause against their former common ally – and there is every indication that they will – Israel‘s isolation in the region will be profound.

In other words, just another day at the “world’s leading liberal voice”.