Rev. Stephen Sizer speaks at antisemitic conference in Iran

Cross posted from the blog of The CST

The Rev Stephen Sizer is a Church of England vicar with a long record of anti-Israel activity. In 2012 the Board of Deputies made a formal complaint to the Church of England about allegations that Sizer had used his website to link to antisemitic material from other websites. This complaint was resolved through mediation and a Conciliation Agreement was accepted by both parties, which included Sizer accepting that “on occasions his use of language has caused offence to some and agrees that he should have reflected on his choice of words more carefully.” Sizer also stated:

I care passionately about the safety of the Jewish people and the right of Israel to exist within internationally agreed borders. I have always opposed racism, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial as well as Islamophobia and the denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination and will continue to do so.

Sizer’s presence at an antisemitic conference in Iran this week brings into question whether he is honouring the spirit of this Conciliation Agreement in good faith.

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Jewish, proudly British and increasingly concerned about rising antisemitism

Daniel Finkelstein, associate editor at Times of London, provided an extremely lucid, measured and penetrating look into antisemitism in the UK, in a column published in August.  It’s behind a pay wall, and we thought it was valuable enough to provide excerpts.

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A bit less righteous: The moral fall of Yad Vashem medal winner Henk Zanoli

In August, multiple British media outlets (including The Economist, Independent and The Telegraph) covered the story of a Yad Vashem Righteous Gentile, Henk Zanoli, 91, who returned his award after the IDF – during Operation Protective Edge – bombed the house of his relative (Ismail Ziadah, who married Henk Zanoli’s father’s great niece) who lived in Gaza, killing six.

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Examining an alleged quote by Golda Meir about the Holocaust cited by Gideon Levy

(CAMERA senior research analyst Gidon Shaviv assisted in this post)

We recently posted about an Irish Times article by Lara Marlow which highlighted Haaretz’s Gideon Levy (“Holocaust makes Israelis think international law doesn’t apply,” Sept. 11th) in which Levy recycled a previously discredited quote by former prime minister Golda Meir.

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Gideon Levy recycles a likely fabricated Golda Meir quote for the Irish Times

As CAMERA has previously documented, in 2004 Gideon Levy claimed in a Ha’aretz column that “Golda Meir said that after what the Nazis did to us, we can do whatever we want,” but was later forced to admit that he had no source for the quote. In an email to CAMERA, he acknowledged: “Therefore we dropped the quotation in the original version in Hebrew and by mistake it was printed in the English version.”

He’s at it again.

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Guardian publishes repulsive letter evoking Israel-Nazi analogy

Alvin Rosenfeld, in a recent essay at The Forward (Moral Emptiness of Holocaust Survivors Who Took on Israel, Aug. 28), argued that “stamping” Israel-Nazi analogies “with the moral authority that supposedly belongs to Holocaust survivors does not turn these lies into truth”.

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Imagine: A Guardian letter by ‘liberal’ Palestinians condemning Hamas calls for genocide

No, Palestinians did NOT have a letter published at the Guardian condemning Hamas for its antisemitic, pro-genocide ideology.

However, the Guardian, in an especially egregious abuse of Holocaust memory, did publish a letter (originally posted by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network titled ‘Over 300 Survivors and Descendants of Survivors of Victims of the Nazi Genocide Condemn Israel’s Assault on Gazacondemning alleged Israeli pro-genocidal policies.

We’re not sure which is more unlikely: that ‘liberal’ Palestinians would ever conceive of writing a similarly self-critical letter, or that the Guardian would ever publish it. But, here’s what such a letter – let’s say written by Palestinian Nakba survivors – condemning Hamas’s real plan of genocide against the Jews would possibly look like:

As Palestinian survivors and descendants of survivors of the Nakba, we unequivocally condemn Hamas’s genocidal ideology and statements by their top political and religious leaders attesting to their ongoing plan to exterminate the Jews.

We further condemn Western states more generally for failing to use their diplomatic muscle and moral authority to forcefully denounce this extreme form of anti-Jewish racism at every opportunity.  

Genocide begins with the silence of the world.

We are similarly alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanization of Jews within Palestinian society, which has reached fever-pitch.

We are saddened by polls indicating that 93% of Palestinians hold antisemitic views, that Politicians and pundits in the state-controlled Palestinian media (in Gaza and the West Bank) have openly called for genocide, and that innocent Palestinian children are indoctrinated on the necessity of murdering Jews. 

Furthermore, we are outraged by the media’s failure to adequately inform readers, in the ubiquitous articles and commentaries published about the current war, that Hamas has no discernible political objectives, save of course the extermination of Jews from the Middle East.

Though we continue to mourn the loss of our homes at the hands of Israeli forces in the war of 1948, and hope for a just solution to the refugee problem, nothing can justify firing rockets at Israeli civilian communities, targeting Jewish children in mass terror attacks and nurturing Palestinian men, women and children on the virtues of Jihad.

We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to condemn the scourge of Palestinian antisemitism and say ‘Not in our name’!  

Hamas does not speak for us and does not represent our values.

“Never again” must mean “Never again”.

Signed,

Survivors of the Palestinian Nakba and their descendants

 

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

Cross posted by Jeremy Havardi at The Commentator

Owen_Jones

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

Never Again: Jews don’t need lessons in morality from John Prescott

Last year David Ward MP decided to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day by grossly debasing Holocaust memory. He published a post on his website which included the following passage:

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.

Though he later issued a pseudo apology, subsequent statements and Tweets by the Liberal Democrat from Bradford East suggest that his imperious lecturing to Jews about their myriad deficiencies represents his true views.

Now, just a few days ago, the British tabloid The Daily Mirror published an op-ed by former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott titled, Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is a war crime and it should end.

prescott

John Prescott

His op-ed included the following charges.

Those who live in Gaza are kept like prisoners behind walls and fences, unable to escape the bombings, and an Israeli economic blockade has forced Palestinians into poverty.

Israel’s Iron Dome defence system easily intercepts missiles launched from Gaza. Three Israeli citizens have died from these ­primitive rockets, with 32 soldiers killed fighting Hamas.

Compare that to the toll in Gaza. Of the 1,000-plus to die, more than 80 per cent were ­civilians, mostly women and children.

But who is to say some of the other 20 per cent weren’t ­innocent too? Israel brands them terrorists but it is acting as judge, jury and ­executioner in the ­concentration camp that is Gaza.

And Israel flouts international law by continuing to build illegal Jewish settlements. Why? Because it knows it can get away with it.

As if the grotesque and appallingly misinformed accusation that Israel is keeping Palestinians in a “concentration camp” isn’t bad enough, Prescott then doubles down on his Holocaust inversion, and asserts the following:

What happened to the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis is appalling. But you would think those atrocities would give Israelis a unique sense of perspective and empathy with the victims of a ghetto.

While his concentration camp comparison is contemptible, the “they-of-all-people” argument – the suggestion that Jews, having faced unimaginable persecution during the Holocaust, should know better than anyone not to be oppressors – is arguably much, much worse.

As Howard Jacobson argued about critics who lecture Jews on their sub-par post-Shoah moral performance:

“[For such people] the Holocaust becomes an educational experience from which Jews were ethically obliged to graduate summa cum laude, Israel being the proof that they didn’t.” 

But, I think the most eloquent refutation of such criticism leveled at Jews was written by Chas Newkey-Burden, who argued that those who employ the “they of all people” argument are essentially saying that, following the systematic extermination of six million, it is Jews, and not the antisemites, who have lessons to learn – that it is Jews, not the antisemites, who need to clean up their act.

One thing is certain: Jews do not need lessons in morality from John Prescott.

Finally, at at time when Israel is fighting a war with an extremist movement which openly calls for a new genocide; when synagogues are being attacked and the chant of ‘Death to Jews’ can be heard in ‘enlightened’ capitals in Europe; and when Jews are again fleeing the continent in fear of persecution, perhaps non-Jews who have previously mouthed the words ‘never again’ should think seriously about what precisely this ethical imperative demands.

Sky News asks admitted anti-Semite her views on the rise of UK antisemitism!

We haven’t been monitoring Sky News long enough to provide a broader analysis of their coverage of the war in Gaza, but their decision (yesterday) to interview Mira Bar-Hillel (a British journalist who has admitted to being prejudiced against Jews), on the question of whether antisemitism in the UK will rise as a result of the conflict, reads like something in the parody site, The Onion.

Briefly, for those unfamiliar with Ms. Bar-Hillel (who contributes to the Independent), here’s a few facts about her own views about Jews:

She has complained that Jews (per the Livingstone Formulation) smear people unfairly with the charge of antisemitism to “gag into submission any critic of Israel”.

She recently evoked Nazi Germany in characterizing Israeli racism and IDF military actions in Gaza.

She has accused British Jews (collectively) of ‘bombing Gaza’.

She bizarrely claimed that British Jews don’t criticize Israeli actions in Gaza out of fear of being “ex-communicated” from the Jewish community,

She has admitted to being prejudiced against Jews. Here are her exact words:

The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes. 

Now, let’s go the simply surreal Sky News interview:

Here are a few observations:

  • Bar-Hillel claims that the failure of British Jews to speak out about Israeli ‘crimes’ in Gaza is what causes antisemitism – a perfect example of holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel, an accusation defined as antisemitic by the EUMC Working Definition.
  • The female Sky News co-host asks a follow-up question (at roughly the 1:40 mark) to Bar-Hillel which parrots the claim that Jews label all criticism of Israel antisemitic.
  • Neither Sky News host challenges her when she smears the UK Jewish community, by suggesting that British Jews are culpable for not speaking out against Israel.
  • Neither Sky News host challenges her claim (at roughly the 5:05 mark) that the only reason why the West supports Israel is because of guilt over the Holocaust.
  • More broadly, note that in a Sky News program about antisemitism, they didn’t seek the expertise of The CST (the British charity tasked with protecting Jews against antisemitism), or any official body which actually represents UK Jews, but, rather, a marginal commentator who has admitted to not being part of the Jewish community. If, for instance, they would have asked representatives from The CST, they would have provided data demonstrating that antisemitism has indeed increased in the UK since the beginning of the war.

Finally, if you believe, as we do, that this Sky News segment not only had the effect of smearing the UK Jewish community, but violating Ofcom’s rules on impartiality in news and current affairs, please consider filing an Ofcom complaint.

Independent op-eds spew hate and vitriol at Israel

The Independent doesn’t have a Jerusalem correspondent at the moment. So, during the war, they’ve been mainly relying on stringers and wire service reports. However, their lack of on-the-ground coverage hasn’t stopped them from using the ‘expert’ analysis of a few of their op-ed contributors:

Here are a few examples:

Adam Withnall

As noted on these pages yesterday, the Indy’s Adam Withnall seemed to characterize a few dozen Sderot residents – a community which been on the receiving end of thousands of Gaza rockets since 2001 – applauding attacks on Hamas military targets as an act of almost unparalleled human cruelty.  Withnall cited one Twitter user who opined about the ‘spectacle’, that “If this is true then God help us all”, before asking,  “What’s become of the human race?”

Robert Fisk

A July 13th op-ed on the war by their “award-winning” Middle East correspondent titled (Why doesn’t the media ever mention the lack of progress in the Middle East?) blamed the Western media for being too soft on Israeli “blood-letting”, by failing to inform news consumers that they state has been “engaged in “pitiless, infinitely more wicked and obscene war”.

Mira Bar-Hillel

Hillel, the British reporter who (though Jewish herself) has acknowledged being antisemitic, published an op-ed on July 11th (Why I’m on the brink of burning my Israeli passport), which likened alleged Facebook comments (the veracity of which is in doubt) by Israeli MK Ayelet Shaked to crimes committed by the Nazis:

Hillel wrote:

She [MK Shaked] made me think about my mother’s sister Klara and her three small children who were living in Krakow in 1939 when the Germans invaded. They decided that the Jews – all Jews – were the enemy and had to be eliminated, not least the women and the little snakes they were raising. “Why? Ask them – they started it”, as the Nazis would say if asked

Later, Hillel referred to a few random hateful Tweets by Israeli teens as “angelic faces of evil spouting such genocidal rhetoric”, before ending with a rhetorical flourish worthy of a character in Howard Jacobson’s book The Finkler Question:

 I pick up my Israeli passport and a box of matches. “Not in my name, people. Not in my name!” 

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Alibhai-Brown’s July 13th op-ed (Israel’s reaction has been vicious and misdirected) characterized the “mindset of hardline Zionists” thusly:

It is a combination of paranoia, indiscriminate loyalty and odium towards any person or group opposed to Israel’s violent oppression of Palestinians.

Alibhai-Brown then seemed to compare Jihadists attacks with the actions of the Jewish State, and vilifies ‘British Zionists’ for not speaking out:

When Jihadis commit atrocities, British Muslims are collectively blamed, told to protest, to issue statements from mosques, to say sorry, to stop the Islamicists. Israel builds walls, grabs land, introduces racist rules, imprisons Palestinian children, uses grotesque force and gets undeclared donations from British Zionists, and British Jews are not asked to march, or issue condemnations or promises.

Alibhai-Brown’s diatribe then devolves further, accusing Israel of engaging in a plan of genocide:

The Holocaust – one of the most obscene, inhumane pogroms in world history – is now used as a guarantee of perpetual indemnity by a state which was to be a sanctuary and an exemplar of survival, dignity and morality. Israel’s leadership has discarded moral sense and wants to eliminate Palestinians altogether from the pitifully small bits of land they live in. They have learnt the wrong lessons from their own history and seem to be modelling themselves on Europeans who took over Australia, North and South America.

In contextualizing the UK media each day during the war, we can honestly say at this point that recent Indy’s attacks surpass even the Guardian in the level of malice and vitriol directed towards Israel and its ‘Zionist’ supporters.

Finally, you may recall that last October the Indy published a spirited editorial refuting accusations that the paper was institutionally antisemitic, claiming that the charges were “false”, “myopic” and “willfully ignorant” – words which actually quite aptly characterize the hateful agitprop directed against the Jewish State by Fisk, Bar-Hillel and Alibhai-Brown over the last few days.

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.”)

If Palestinians don’t respect 6 million murdered Jews, how can they co-exist with 6 million living ones?

UK media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict typically imputes good faith to Palestinians – operating under the premise that most truly want a peaceful resolution with the Jewish State.

However, what if this assumption is misplaced?  

How would media coverage of  boycotts, lawfare and other forms of Palestinian ‘resistance‘ change if journalists took seriously the possibility that the Palestinians’ end goal was not to live in peace with their neighbors, but, rather, perpetual war, the only desirable end result being the elimination of the Jewish state?

Well, an independent Catholic news site asked that very question (Do Palestinians Want Peace?, June 19), in the context of linking to a Guardian report by their Middle East editor Ian Black about the forced resignation of a Palestinian professor who led a group of his students on a trip to Auschwitz.

Black – as Guardian editors are wont to do – framed the depressing episode, in which a Palestinian professor was vilified for merely attempting to evoke sympathy amongst Palestinians for Jewish victims of Hitler’s genocide, as a story of ‘competing narratives of victimization.

Black:

Dajani resigned from his post at Jerusalem’s Al-Quds University this week after failing to win the unequivocal support of his employers in a row which highlighted the darkest taboos of the conflict with Israel and each side’s enduring sense of victimhood.

The visit to the concentration camp was part of a project to study the Holocaust and teach tolerance and empathy. “It is about understanding the other,” Dajani told the Guardian during a conference in the Qatari capital, Doha. “You need to understand the other because reconciliation is the only option we have. And the sooner we do it the better. Empathising with your enemy does not mean you sanction what your enemy is doing to you.”

Organised in conjunction with three other universities, one German and two Israeli, the project also arranged for Israeli students to meet Palestinians living in refugee camps.

Dajani faced abuse, intimidation and death threats over the visit. Al-Quds dissociated itself from the project but defended his right to be involved. It insisted he had not been dismissed and supplied him with bodyguards. But in the end it accepted his resignation.

Implacable in the face of the uproar, he rejected accusations that he intended to promote the Zionist narrative of the conflict rather than respecting the primacy of the Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic) – the flight, expulsion and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that was the price of Israel’s independence in 1948.

Black then adds his own spin:

Propaganda that conflates antisemitism with opposition to Israel has also played a role. Israel’s foreign minister, Abba Eban, famously talked about the country’s “Auschwitz borders”. Menachem Begin, the prime minister who invaded Lebanon in 1982, described Arafat “cowering in his bunker” in Beirut like Hitler in Berlin.

Indeed, it’s the line about ‘conflating antisemitism with opposition to Israel’ where Black loses the plot and promotes the Guardian narrative – one which suggests that Jews cry antisemitism in the face of ‘mere’ anti-Zionism, or, in its more troubling form, that Jews cry antisemitism with the cynical intent of deflecting criticism of Israeli policies (The Livingstone Formulation).

However, a more holistic understanding of Palestinian attitudes – one which takes into account empirical data on Palestinian attitudes about Jews and Israel – would lead those not swayed by such pronounced ideological biases to contextualize the Palestinians’ “resistance” to Holocaust education in a much different way.  

We’re alluding to a recent survey commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League demonstrating that Palestinians have the highest rates of antisemitic attitudes in the world - a survey consistent with polls about antisemitism conducted in previous years by Pew Global .

Here are the highlights from the ADL survey which, let’s remember, did NOT ask any questions about Palestinian attitudes about Israeli policy:

  • 88% of Palestinians believe Jews have too much control over global affairs.
  • 88% of Palestinians believe that Jews have too much control over the global media
  • 78% of Palestinians believe that Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars.

But, perhaps most troubling – even worse than the belief that Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars (an attitude consistent with libels found in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) – is the following:

  • 87% of Palestinians believe that people hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.

Of course, on one hand, it likely stands to reason that those who believe that Jews control the world would justify ‘hatred of Jews’ by explaining it as a rational reaction to Jewish villainy.  However, there’s a more important point about the 87% of Palestinians who believe that Jews are hated because of the way Jews behave, one which relates to Black’s article about Palestinian rejection of the ‘Holocaust narrative’.

Even the most parve forms of Holocaust education begin with the premise that 6 million murdered Jews were innocent victims of a grotesque manifestation of anti-Jewish racism, and that there is no justification whatsoever for the crimes committed in the name of Nazi ideology.

So, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Palestinians – who believe, per the poll results, that their own acceptance of historic antisemitic canards about Jewish perfidy is justified as a rational response to Jewish behavior – would reject efforts to encourage them to accept a Holocaust ‘narrative’ premised on Jewish innocence.

The manner in which Palestinians relate to the Holocaust has significance for those who wish to understand Israelis’ nuanced views of efforts to achieve a two state solution.  Though the overwhelming majority of Israelis accept in principle a two-state solution, most are also skeptical, in light of the persistent problem of Palestinian incitement, terror glorification and antisemitism, that two states will actually result in peace.

Even if a treaty is signed by the two parties, why are we expected to possess confidence that Palestinians will stop inculcating their children with the values of resistance, and truly see the agreement as a final end to all historical claims?

Finally, what, in light of the Palestinian rejection of even the most benign efforts to humanize six million murdered Jews, should provide us with hope that a piece of paper signed by Palestinian leaders will actually result, after seven decades of hostility, in a diminution of Palestinians antipathy towards the Jewish other, and create a society which humanizes – and accepts the existence of – six million living Jews?

Whilst it is perhaps not surprising that UK journalists – those with the luxury of dealing with such matters as amorphous political abstractions –  uniformly ignore such questions, those of us who will have to live the real-world consequences of Palestinian sovereignty cannot breezily dismiss this seemingly immutable Palestinian enmity, nor allow ourselves to be seduced by the chimera of peace.

Guardian’s Chris McGreal ‘honors’ Yom HaShoah by smearing millions of Jews

At 10:00 this morning, millions of Israelis stood at attention as sirens could be heard throughout the state in commemoration of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day)  -  Israel’s day of commemoration for the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

Shortly after the sirens stopped, and colleagues in our office returned to their desks, we noticed a series of Tweets by the Guardian’s former Jerusalem correspondent Chris McGreal.

(The anti-Zionist malice of the Guardian “journalist” has been the subject of many posts at this blog.  The far left propagandist – who fancies the idea that Israeli snipers target Palestinian children, and has shown himself obsessed with the power of the Israel lobby – has achieved the rare status as one of the few Guardian reporters singled out by the Community Security Trust in their annual report on antisemitic discourse.)

Here are a few of the Tweets today from McGreal, enthusiastically responding to news that the Jewish state was smeared again with the Apartheid lie.

   

 

As the Tweets demonstrate, McGreal isn’t just claiming that Apartheid exists in the West Bank, but in Israel within the green line.

Of course, the Apartheid charge – the intellectual roots of which lie in Soviet propaganda from the 1970s – against Israel has been definitively refuted by many serious commentators and South Africans who actually lived under Apartheid.

First, for clarify, here’s an accurate definition of Apartheid:

‘Apartheid’ is the Dutch-Afrikaans term for separation, used to describe the racial segregation and discrimination enforced violently by white minority governments on non-whites in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. During those years a comprehensive system of racial classification divided the population into four categories – white, black coloured (i.e. mixed-race) and Asian. The black majority could not vote in general elections or marry white people. They were segregated from white people and barred from doing most skilled work.  They even need permission from white authorities to so much as move from one segregated residential neighborhood to another segregated neighborhood. Further, an official state-promoted racist ideology of white supremacy justified all of this.

In the context of the definition above, here are some facts based in part on a comprehensive rebuttal published by Professor Alan Johnson at BICOM.

  • There are NO such racial laws in Israel.
  • Israel is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic democracy, in which Arab, Druze and other minorities in Israel are guaranteed equal rights. ALL citizens vote in elections on an equal basis.
  • Discrimination based on race is against the law. 
  • Universities, hospitals and all public facilities are integrated.
  • Some Israeli towns and  cities are mixed Arab-Jewish (e.g. Acre, Haifa, Jaffa, Lod and Ramle).
  • The Israeli Courts are effective in countering unfair discrimination. Israel’s Arab minority participates fully in the political process.
  • There is no ideology of racial supremacy within Zionism

Additionally, here are some poll results which wildly contradict McGreal’s suggestion that Arab Israelis believe they suffer from Apartheid:

  •  According to a poll conducted by Harvard’s John Kennedy School of Government, 77 per cent of the Arab citizens of Israel say that they prefer living in Israel to any other country in the world.
  • According to a 2012 Israeli Democracy Index survey, 62.3 per cent and 78 per cent of the Arab citizens of Israel have confidence in the police and Supreme Court respectively; a slightly higher level of confidence than Israeli Jews
  • According to a report by the Arab-Israeli NGO, Sikkuy, 90 per cent of Arab citizens of Israel see their future in the State of Israel

Beyond the specific smear, however, it should be emphasized that this isn’t a one-off for McGreal, and seems to represent a broader antipathy towards Jewish communities in the diaspora.

On Feb. 6th and 7th 2006, McGreal published two reports attempting to portray Israel as an Apartheid and colonial state, and went further than merely defaming Israel by lashing out at Jews more broadly in a manner reminiscent of David Ward’s infamous ‘Jews of all people‘ smear on International Holocaust Memorial Day.

Here’s a passage from McGreal’s report, in the context of comparing Jewish behavior to that of the Afrikaner S. African regime:

[Israel's Jewish] backers question how anyone can accuse them, as Jews at the end of a long line of persecuted generations, of racism, or in any way of resembling the old Afrikaner regime. But for years, much of South Africa’s Jewish population and successive Israeli governments made their own pact with apartheida deal that exchanged near silence by most South African Jews on a great moral issue for acceptance, and clandestine cooperation between Israel and the Afrikaner government that drew the two countries into a hidden embrace.

First, most South African Jews actually voted against the pro-Apartheid National Party during the Apartheid years, and Jews were over-represented among anti-Apartheid activists, prompting Nelson Mandela to write the following in his autobiography: 

“I have found Jews to be more broad-minded than most whites on issues of race and politics, perhaps because they themselves have historically been victims of prejudice.” 

However, beyond the rebuttal of his specific claims, McGreal’s accusations against Jews – not just Israelis, but Jews qua Jews – needs a broader response.

Here are some excerpts from an essay written by Chas Newkey-Burden in response to David Ward, MP, which seem apt in light of McGreal’s latest attack:

…there is still one anti-Israel argument that makes my jaw drop. And it is one that is made with unfortunate frequency. It is the “they-of-all-people” argument: the suggestion that the Jews, having faced extraordinary persecution, should know better than anyone not to be oppressors.

Put aside for a moment that the “oppression” which proponents of this argument are accusing Israel of committing is usually imaginary. When directed by gentiles towards Jews, the “they-of-all-people” argument is in its very essence so fundamentally ill-judged and unjust, and voiced with such a breathtaking lack of self-awareness, that my spirit flags when I hear it.

I contend that, as a result of the Holocaust and what preceded it, it is we gentiles who should know better. The Holocaust followed centuries of slander, persecution, violence and murder committed by gentiles against Jews. So it is not you who have an increased responsibility to behave morally, but us.

For instance, something that we gentiles should know better than to do is lazily accuse Jewish people, or the Jewish state itself, of any misdemeanour. We have seen what centuries of slander against the Jewish people led to during the 1930s and ’40s. We see the hatred, heartbreak and bloodshed that such anti-Jewish libels continue to provoke, particularly in the Middle East.

Let us strip the “they-of-all-people” argument down to its very basics: gentiles telling Jews that we killed six million of your people and that as a result it is you, not us, who have lessons to learn; that it is you, not us, who need to clean up your act. It is an argument of atrocious, spiteful insanity. Do not accept it; turn it back on those who offer it. For it is us, not you, who should know better.

Finally, to answer a query in one of McGreel’s Tweets, the reason why the ‘Apartheid’ charge “stings” Jews so much is because, like so many other accusations leveled against us through history, it’s a vicious lie – agitprop which shares an unmistakable ideological similitude with the ‘Zionism = Racism’ narrative and other canards associated with malicious efforts to cast Israel as fundamentally illegitimate, a state beyond the moral pale.

The lesson for non-Jews on Yom HaShoah should be clear:  You can’t honor Holocaust memory nor lay claim to the mantle of anti-racism if a large percentage of the world’s living Jews have been ‘expelled from the realm of your imaginative sympathy’, and indeed the only Jews you seem to much fancy have been dead for more than 70 years.

h/t Candice

 

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On Jews & Nazis: The hateful tweets of Irish “journalist” Frank McDonald

FrankThis blog’s previous experience with Irish Times journalist Frank McDonald involved our success at prompting a correction at the paper last August to a false allegation he made concerning BDS.

Despite the correction, however, the Aug. 3rd story on renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations was slanted against Israel to such a degree that it truly could have been written by the Palestinian Ministry of Propaganda.

And, based on a series of recent Tweets by the “environmental journalist”, not only isn’t he too fond of Israel, but he’s not above engaging in ugly smears regarding the Jewish state’s alleged similitude with Nazism which are indistinguishable from what’s leveled by antisemitic extremists.

Indeed, among the most malevolent lies spread by anti-Zionists is that Israelis today are behaving like Nazi Germany did during the Holocaust.

There’s been much written about this insidious moral inversion – a charge made with varying degrees of explicitness recently by two British MPs –  but there are two dynamics worth noting, leaving aside for the moment that such charges are deemed antisemitic by the EUMC Working Definition on Antisemitism.

First, there is the suggestion – again, with varying degrees of explicitness – that Israel is engaging in genocide in Gaza.  This charge, as we demonstrated in a previous post (‘Are Jews the Most Incompetent Ethnic Cleansers on the Planet?), is so counter-factual that only those who possess a crippling hatred towards the Jewish state could even conceive of it.  

During the Shoah, half of Europe’s Jews (including 1.5 million children) were systematically exterminated by the Nazis.  

In Gaza, a blockade on weapons is being enforced by Israel to prevent the flow of rockets and other weapons from getting into the hands of Hamas, a group which launched thousands of such deadly projectiles at Israeli town over the years and is dedicated to the state’s destruction. The population of Gaza has increased from 82,000 in 1949 to more than 1.7 million today. 

Second, there is the moral inversion, in which a vocal minority of putatively liberal commentators see no moral difference between an Islamist extremist group whose founding charter calls for the mass murder of Jews, and the Jews who represent object of their immutable racism. Indeed, some have even convinced themselves that it is the Islamist extremist group which is the victim of Jewish aggression.

This brings us to the following Tweets by Frank McDonald.

The comparison between The Warsaw Ghetto is almost beyond comprehension, but a few facts need to be noted: in 1941 many Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were limited to a diet of less than 200 calories a day, and in 1942 up to 5,000 Jews in the Ghetto were dying every month due to starvation. 

Not only is there no humanitarian crisis (yet alone starvation) in Gaza, but obesity has actually been a problem in the strip since at least the late 1990s.

However, in case you’re in any doubt as to whether McDonald believes that Israelis behave like Nazis, here’s one final Tweet – one of several which evoke the Holocaust that you can see on his Twitter feed over the past several days.

Of course, if post-Holocaust taboos against demonizing Jews were still the norm, the suggestion that Israeli Jews behave like Nazis would render the author of such a hateful invective politically toxic to the progressive journalistic community. 

But, we clearly don’t live in such a place.

Rather, the political realm we inhabit – a mere 69 years since the liberation of Auschwitz - allows for such odious charges in the name, often, of liberal, pro-Palestinian political commentary.

Leon Wieseltier, in The New Republic, made the following observation about those who demonize Israel and characterize its Jewish citizens as morally beyond the pale:

“A whole country and a whole people have been expelled from the realm of imaginative sympathy…there is a poison in the air.”

The  ideological toxins which inform the views of Frank McDonald will likely not be challenged by liberal left opinion leaders, and we can be all but certain that his editors at the Irish Times won’t blink an eye or even demand an explanation for his appalling racist smear of Israel’s six million Jews.

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