Are Jews the most incompetent practitioners of Apartheid on the planet?

Though Jews are known as high achievers in science, business and the humanities, this blog has made the argument that Jews have failed miserably at the enterprise of ‘ethnic cleansing’ – as seems evident by the sad state of affairs whereby populations allegedly targeted for said cleansing have dramatically increased in numbers.

Additionally, one commentator – an Israeli of South African descent named Charles Abelsohn - recently made a convincing case that the polity which governs roughly 40% of the world’s Jews may also be reasonably accused at failing at another political ‘aspiration’ – creating an apartheid state.

Abelsohn wrote the following in a Times of Israel essay published on March 6:

I grew up in South Africa and left for Israel in the 1970`s. So I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable on South African apartheid. In view of the criticisms of Israel as an apartheid state, I felt it my duty that my understanding and knowledge of apartheid should be put to good cause by exposing the evil manifestations of apartheid in Israel

Abelsohn’s search began in earnest:

I started in my neighbourhood. I went to the municipal park. In South Africa, only whites would have been allowed to enter. I could not believe my eyes. Arabs and Jews were mixing peacefully, Arab and Jewish children socialising and shouting at each other in their home languages. This cannot be, where is the separation? So I went to the shops and restaurants of the adjoining mall. What a major let down! Arabs and Jews shopping together as customers, Arabs and Jews employed together in the shops as assistants and cashiers, Arabs and Jews sitting in restaurants, an Arab dentist with his sign for all the world to see and the only missing ingredients were the “blankes alleen – whites only” signs. Clearly, in matters of commerce and common use of public and transport facilities, open to all, Israel is a failure in implementing apartheid: there is clearly no South African style apartheid to be found in public areas.

Then, Abelsohn had an interesting idea:

There are four places where there simply has to be South African apartheid – beaches, hospitals, universities and the army. I rushed to the beach and another failure. Jews, Arabs and tourists mixing, unaware that according to the world they should have been separated; even worse, I learnt that one million Arabs from the Palestinian Authority`s West Bank had visited Israel`s Mediterranean beaches during summer, mixing with Israelis as if it was the most natural thing to do. These failures to comply with the most elementary requirements of apartheid were making me sick and I rushed to hospital requiring medical attention. I was treated by Arab nurses before being ignominiously delivered to Arab doctors for further treatment. I heard that twenty percent of the medical staff are Arab and that the Israeli hospitals, medical staff, administrative staff and patients, are open to all, even the Syrian enemy or the Palestinian terrorist injured while setting off his bombs to kill and injure Israelis. In a children`s ward could be found in adjoining beds, Jewish, Israeli Arab, Palestinian Arab and Syrian children. Last year, 220,000 West Bank Palestinians, including 20,000 Palestinian children, took off time from shouting to the world about their ill-treatment and oppression at the hands of Israelis in order to visit Israeli hospitals for medical treatment. What a lousy advert for apartheid.

Abelsohn mind was now spinning:

I was going crazy. Apartheid – where are you? I drove like a madman to an Israeli university to search for this elusive apartheid thing. Again, about twenty percent of the students at Israeli universities, no less than 30% at Haifa university, are Arabs. There are Arab professors and lecturers mixing with their Israeli colleagues. The Palestinian, Bargouti, leader of the world-wide anti-Israel boycott (BDS) movement, which bases itself on alleged Israeli apartheid, is a student at Tel Aviv University. Kafka, where are you when you are so desperately needed? This is becoming a mad, mad, mad world. When it comes to imposing apartheid, Israel does not appear to have a clue as to what is required.

It gets uglier.  

You can read the rest of Abelsohn’s failed quest to find the legendary ‘Israeli Apartheid’, here.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Indy columnist who ‘fears Jews’ smears the Jewish State

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. Mira Bar-Hillel

Mira Bar-Hillel represents proof that the stubborn reality of Israel’s progressive advantages in the region in the civil rights protections afforded to minority groups, and the absence of anything resembling codified discrimination, aren’t impediments for anti-Zionist commentators who wish to smear the state with the charge of Apartheid.

mira

Interestingly, Bar-Hillel’s Dec. 13 op-ed in The Independent, Israel and Apartheid: Confused? You will be‘, deals almost entirely with issues tangential to the narrative she’s trying to advance, such as Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision not to attend Nelson Mandela’s memorial, and Israeli arms sales to Pretoria in the 70s and 80s (which, contrary to her suggestion, actually represented a miniscule percentage of the regime’s military imports).  

So, Bar-Hillel actually bases her insinuation of a parallel between Apartheid South Africa and Israel on two sentences in her final paragraph:

Maps which were only revealed in the past few days show how the Israelis plan to create bantustans for the Nomadic Bedouin in its southern Negev region. Tens of thousands of them would be forced into ghettoes to make way for new Jewish towns and military zones. A-word, anyone?

Of course, the word “bantustans” was used by the Indy columnist specifically because of its common association with a system of codified racial segregation in South Africa.  According to the common definition of the term, it refers to the following:

Bantustan, also known as Bantu homeland, South Africa homeland, or black state,  any of 10 former territories that were designated by the white-dominated government of South Africa as pseudo-national homelands for the country’s black African (classified by the government as Bantu) population during the mid- to late 20th century. The Bantustans were a major administrative device for the exclusion of blacks from the South African political system under the policy of apartheid, or racial segregation.

The 1959 Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act relabeled the reserves as “homelands,” or Bantustans, in which only specific ethnic groups were to have residence rights. Later, the Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act of 1970 defined blacks living throughout South Africa as legal citizens of the homelands designated for their particular ethnic groups—thereby stripping them of their South African citizenship and their few remaining civil and political rights. 

In contrast to such racist legislation, what’s known in Israel as the Prawer-Begin Plan (the plan, recently shelved by the government, which Bar-Hillel is alluding to) represented an effort to settle the problem of 70-90,000 Israeli-Bedouin living in unrecognized villages in the Israeli Negev, and the resulting land claims.  The plan would have legalized a large majority of the unrecognized land, but called for roughly one-third of this population to relocate (with full compensation in money and land) to recognized, planned and developed towns within a few kilometers of their current homes.

Alternatively, as these Israeli-Bedouin are Israeli citizens with full civil rights protected under the law, they could of course choose to live elsewhere – indeed anywhere in the country.  Bar-Hillel’s suggestion that even one Israeli Bedouin would be forced into a “bantustan” (conveying to readers the impression that they’ll be legally segregated from the rest of Israeli society) is a total lie.

As Bar-Hillel continues to engage in such smears, half-truths and distortions about Israel, it’s becoming evident that “the Jews of today” scare her a lot more than her increasing notoriety as a bigoted, dishonest journalist.

The Spirit of Apartheid: Why “Palestine” will not be an ‘Rainbow Nation’

Yesterday, Harriet Sherwood reported on the “parallels” some Palestinians are now evidently drawing between their movement and “Mandela’s anti-Apartheid struggle”.

sherwood

The fact that some of the people she quoted to give credence to this argument includes extremists (such as Khaled Meshaal) who, contrary to Mandela’s support for Zionism, don’t believe Jews should live anywhere between ‘the river and the sea’ evidently didn’t provoke the slightest cognitive dissonance in Sherwood – a fact which shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been following this blog’s commentary on their reporters’ consistent lack of intellectual rigor.

Moreover, those who would liken the Palestinian struggle with Mandela’s overlook one glaring and irreconcilable difference between the two movements: Mandela’s South Africa championed the values of ethnic, cultural and religious pluralism – a vision of a “Rainbow Nation” representing the antithesis of what will almost certainly be a homogeneous and exclusivist Palestinian State.  

rainbow

Those (like most Israelis) who support the creation of a Palestinian State must acknowledge that, based on statements by Palestinian leaders and past history – in addition to what will almost certainly be an undemocratic state which will oppresses women, gays and political dissidents – ‘diversity’ will not be a value championed by the state or promoted by its institutions.

In contrast with South Africa, which – consistent with Mandela’s vision – largely embraces its mix of whites, blacks, coloured, Asian and Indian populations (as well as Jews, Christians, Muslims and African ethnic groups such as  Xhosa and Zulu), the new state of Palestine will almost certainly be entirely Arab Muslim.  There will of course be no Jews and (if trends throughout ‘Palestine’ and the Arab Middle East continue) almost no Christians.

All of this leads us to conclude that while Palestine will likely not  become an apartheid state – as such state codified racism first requires the critical mass of racial diversity which they will not possess – it will become the kind of racial exclusivist state which Mandela and South Africa’s liberals found so abhorrent.

While such observations should not be misunderstood as an argument against a vision of a Palestinian State living peacefully alongside Israel, those who so enthusiastically champion Palestine’s creation should acknowledge that the 23rd Arab State will not embrace diversity or liberalism, and certainly won’t show fealty towards the values of tolerance championed with such courage and moral consistency by Nelson Mandela. 

On PRI, Chris McGreal resuscitates his discredited ‘theory’ on Israel-SA nukes

On Monday, we posted about a ‘Comment is Free’ essay by Chris McGreal on the death of Nelson Mandela.  McGreal complained of the “hypocrisy” of Western leaders who now “extol South Africa’s first democratically elected president,” while failing to acknowledge their nations’ histories of “consigning Mandela and the [ANC] to the terrorism list”.

We noted that though McGreal poured particular scorn on Israeli President Shimon Peres (for praising “Mandela’s sacrifices for freedom” while ignoring the military pacts with Pretoria he allegedly signed decades earlier), McGreal failed to mention his own blockbuster Guardian “scoop” in 2010 alleging that Israel offered to sell the apartheid regime nuclear weapons.

Indeed, McGreal’s silence over his Guardian expose, we surmised, was likely influenced by the fact that the conclusions he reached (from allegedly select documents) were categorically denied by both governments, and widely discredited by commentators familiar with the issue.

However, just yesterday, during an interview on Public Radio International (PRI), McGreal attempted to resuscitate his wild theory. (Here’s a short clip we edited from the full PRI interview on Dec. 10, which we uploaded onto YouTube.  Pay particular attention to what McGreal says at the 2:10 mark)

In case you didn’t catch it, McGreal claimed that Israel and South Africa “worked together on atomic issues, including South Africa’s development of a nuclear weapon.”

However, as we demonstrated in our previous post – and contrary to McGreal’s suggestion during the interview – there is still no credible evidence that Israel helped develop South Africa’s nuclear weapons program. (The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists reported that South Africa’s nuclear program was supported by France, the United States and Germany.)

So, unless McGreal has new evidence we can reasonably conclude that this latest claim represents yet another example of the journalist’s insistence that facts should never get in the way of a desired anti-Zionist conclusion.

h/t Nurit

Chris McGreal story on Mandela omits his (discredited) Guardian ‘expose’ on SA nukes

The anti-Zionist malice of Guardian “journalist” Chris McGreal has been the subject of many posts at this blog.  Indeed, the error-prone propagandist – who seriously fancies the idea that Israeli snipers target Palestinian children, and is characteristically 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.

table

2011 CST Report on Antisemitic Discourse, Table of Contents

Though McGreal has been keeping away from his Israel obsession of late – and only sparsely reporting for the paper – he took time out of his busy schedule re-Tweeting Glenn Greenwald and Michael Moore to pen a ‘Comment is Free’ piece titled ‘Mandela: never forget how the free world’s leaders learned to change their tune‘.

What especially stands out in this particular polemic is not merely that McGreal cynically exploits Mandela’s death to again take aim at Israel, but that there is one juicy nugget of “information” he, for some reason, decided not to mention. 

After criticizing UK and US leaders for “extol[ing] South Africa’s first democratically elected president,” while failing to acknowledge their history of “consigning Mandela and the [ANC] to the terrorism list”, he pivots to his desired target, Israeli President Shimon Peres:

Israel’s president,Shimon Peres, issued a statement extolling Mandela’s sacrifices for freedom, apparently hoping that no one would remember that, as defence minister in the 1970s, Peres signed secret military pacts with Pretoria that, among other things, helped developed weapons used against black Africans.

At that time, Peres was also unctuously praising co-operation between Israel and the apartheid regime as “based not only on common interests and on the determination to resist equally our enemies, but also on the unshakeable foundations of our common hatred of injustice and our refusal to submit to it”. All this as Mandela sat in prison for seeking justice in equality

First, and quite tellingly, McGreal’s passage about the alleged “co-operation between Israel and the apartheid regime” has a hyper-link which leads to a story by Ben White, a propagandist (well known to CiF Watch readers) notorious for publishing a 2002 essay at CounterPunch sympathizing with anti-Jewish racists.

However, what is surprising is that McGreal’s passage dealing with the “co-operation” between Israel and South Africa fails to reference his own 2010 Guardian “scoop” (Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa the bomb) purporting to show that Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons in the mid-70s – an omission suggesting perhaps that even he knows that the sensational claims were proven false.

Guardian, May 24, 2010

In his 2010 report McGreal claimed that “secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime.”

However, shortly after his story broke, CiF Watch (among others) demonstrated that McGreal manipulated a key document.  Specifically, McGreal “quoted from a part of the type-written document that was edited by hand soon afterwards”, including one sentence that implies nuclear weapons were available. It appeared that McGreal injected his own opinion to infer that Israel was ready to supply the apartheid regime with nuclear bombs.

jpost

Jerusalem Post, May 31, 2010

The Jerusalem Post summarized CiF Watch’s analysis as follows:

The paragraph McGreal used, written by a civil servant, states in its original form, prior to hand-written editing and deletions: “[South African Defense] Minister [P.W.] Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet [said to be the Jericho missile] provide [sic] the correct payload could be provided, Minister Peres said that the correct payload was available in three sizes. Minister Botha expressed his appreciation and said that he would ask for advice.”

CIF Watch points out that words “provide” and “could be provided” were crossed out in the by-hand edit, and that “provide” was replaced by the words “subject to.” The latter part of the paragraph was also deleted, so that the only part of the paragraph that remained was the first part of the first sentence, which now read: “Minister Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet subject to the correct payload.”

Ignoring the edit and using the entire original draft to back his claim, McGreal, in his Guardian article, asserted, based on the deleted wording: “The ‘three sizes’ are believed to refer to the conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons.”

CIF Watch said that this was McGreal’s own opinion: “The person who ‘believes’ this last sentence is not identified, nor are his qualifications to draw this inference given, nor is any source provided for the inference. Plainly, McGreal does not have enough confidence in it to say “I believe it” and give his grounds.

The words ‘provide’ and ‘could be provided’ have both been deleted. The latter deletion is crucial and shows that Botha was expressing interest in acquiring ‘Chalets’ [missiles] with a certain payload, not asking for the payload itself to be provided. The sentence which is left can only have one meaning: Botha expressed interest in acquiring a number of Chalets subject to them being capable of carrying the correct payload,” CIF Watch added.

CIF Watch then accused McGreal of adding words to make his argument work.

The dishonest reporting by McGreal was revealed by a number of other commentators as well:

  • Waldo Stumpf, who led the project to dismantle South Africa’s nuclear weapons in the late 80s, “doubted Israel or South Africa would have contemplated a [nuclear] deal seriously.”
  • Avner Cohen, author of Israel and the Bomb and The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain with the Bomb, said that “The headline, sub-headline, and lede of Chris McGreal’s story are erroneous and misleading“, and that “nothing in the documents suggests there was an actual offer by Israel to sell nuclear weapons to the regime in Pretoria“. To the contrary, Avner added, “the conversation amounted to a probe by the South Africans, which ultimately went nowhere.
  • Another analysis published by frequent CiF Watch contributor AKUS included a video clip of McGreal’s ‘source’ (Sasha Polakow-Suransky) on Al-Jazeera which showed Polakow-Suransky acknowledging that there was nothing even resembling a “smoking gun”.

Additionally, Shimon Peres’s office issued a definitive statement (shortly after McGreal’s story broke) that “Israel has never negotiated the exchange of nuclear weapons with South Africa“, that “there exists no Israeli document or Israeli signature on a document that such negotiations took place,” and there was “no basis in reality for the claims” which were “based on the selective interpretation of South African documents and not on concrete facts.”

Of course, the aim of McGreal – whose highly misleading articles in 2006 suggesting that Israel was an apartheid state (and of having had close ties to South Africa) were effectively refuted by CAMERA - wasn’t so much to ‘reveal’ a putative nuclear deal, but to demonize the Jewish state.

If such a deeply flawed article – including sloppy reporting and attempts to pass off wild speculation as “fact” – was published in the paper today we’d be in contact with Guardian editors immediately and aggressively pursue a correction.  

The failure of McGreal in this latest piece to even mention his sensationalist propaganda from only a few years back perhaps represents an implicit acknowledgement that there is now a price to be paid at the “liberal” broadsheet for “journalists” who attempt to defend the indefensible.

‘Mail & Guardian’ parrots description of Marwan Barghouti as a “political prisoner”

mail and guardianTaking the lead from pro-Palestinian and Palestinian Authority ‘news’ sites and some radical NGO’s, a few “mainstream” news publications have begun adopting the egregious misnomer “political prisoner” to refer to Palestinians convicted for their involvement in lethal terrorist attacks.

This euphemism of course distorts the clear meaning of a term widely  understood as referring narrowly to those imprisoned merely for their political beliefs.  In fact, earlier in the year CiF Watch was able to gain corrections at both the Guardian and The Independent after they initially referred to the pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners (who Israel agreed to release in order to resume peace talks) as “political prisoners.”

More recently, while monitoring press coverage of Israel’s latest announcement that they will release 26 additional pre-Oslo prisoners, we noted that a major South African newspaper used this distorted term in a story about Desmond Tutu’s support for a campaign calling for the release of convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti.

marwan140-0dc8669d47eb20d6b546fcff62b6c89bf8ba8a23-s3-c85

Marwan Barghouti.

Note the strap line in this Oct. 27 ‘Mail & Guardian’ report:

m and g

The Mail & Guardian’s characterization of Barghouti as a “political prisoner” does nothing to inform readers that this merely represents Tutu’s rhetoric, nor does it mention the crimes Barghouti committed.  Here are the relevant passages in the Mail & Guardian report:

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on Sunday threw his support behind the campaign calling for the release of imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouthi and other Palestinian political prisoners.

“I am proud to associate myself with the global campaign for the freedom of Marwan Barghouthi and other Palestinian political prisoners,” Tutu said in a statement.

Barghouthi has been in an Israeli jail since 2002 where he is serving five life sentences for his role in the fight for liberation in Palestine.

The Mail & Guardian fails to report that Barghouti’s “fight for liberation in Palestine” involved three terror attacks in which five Israelis were murdered, as well as his membership in a terror organization. The court in fact determined that “Barghouti was responsible for providing the field units with money and arms” and that the attacks were sometimes “based on instructions” he received personally from Yasser Arafat.

Specifically, the court found Barghouti responsible for a June 2001 attack in Maale Adumim in which a Greek monk was murdered, a January 2002 terror attack in Givat Zeev, a March 2002 attack at Tel Aviv’s Seafood Market restaurant in which three people were murdered, and a car bomb attack in Jerusalem. (Details from the original indictment, which accused Barghouti of responsibility for 33 additional murders, can be viewed here.)

As CAMERA has reported, Barghouti is also widely considered one of the main leaders in the Palestinian campaign of violence during the Second Intifada and helped found and then lead the Fatah-based militias (the Tanzim and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades) which carried out numerous deadly suicide bombings. 

Desmond Tutu can of course say anything he’d like about Marwan Barghouti, but those who fancy themselves serious journalists have the professional responsibility to distinguish between claims that are factually based, and those which represent the agitprop of radical activists.

Whilst the Mail & Guardian may not be affiliated with the ‘London’ Guardian, their parroting of pro-Palestinian propaganda suggests at least a degree of ideological overlap.

‘War On Want’ event hears calls for “an end to the Zionist project.”

Cross posted by London-based blogger Richard Millett

dscf4655

Jamal Juma, of Palestinian Stop the Wall Campaign.

On Thursday night 200 students crammed into Room G2 at SOAS (University of London – The School of Oriental and Asian Studies) where they heard a new phrase employed in order to accuse Israel; “apartheid ghettos“. “Apartheid ghettos” neatly combines the horrors of Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa. But this time, in sick role reversal, it’s Jews who are the Nazis (see photo above).

Meanwhile, Daniel Machover, a solicitor, called for “the destruction of the political system in Israel” and for “an end to the Zionist project“. All obvious code for the destruction of Israel, although he wouldn’t admit it.

This was all sponsored and organised by British charity War On Want, which, as has been well documented, is funded by Comic Relief. How ‘War On Want’ can still get away with wasting hard earned Comic Relief donations on hate campaigns where the ultimate objective is the destruction of a country, Israel, is beyond me.

Contender for chief hypocrite was Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive of Embrace, a Christian development charity (formerly known as BibleLands), who worked as a banker for Rothschilds for 15 years. Moodey described how Rothschilds “financed many of the earliest settlements in Palestine in the early 1920s and 1930s”.

I asked him if he was a hypocrite for working for such a firm, but he claimed he only saw the light after he left. Here he is, along with Jamal Juma of Stop The Wall, addressing that Rothschilds point and my concerns about the panel’s desire to destroy Israel (Christian Friends of Israel may be interested in Moodey’s initial talk here):

Daniel Machover spoke about the recent Russell Tribunal held in South Africa. The Russell Tribunal is their charade where they put Israel on trial for alleged crimes and then, surprise surprise, the “jury” finds Israel “guilty”. In the tribunal in South Africa the “jury” found Israel “guilty” of fitting the legal definition of apartheid in the so-called occupied territories and in Israel itself.

Machover said countries must be persuaded to accept legal responsibility for this “apartheid” and called for sanctions and the severing of diplomatic relations with Israel. He said that although this would not be forthcoming through the UN due to the American veto the Palestinians should sign up to the Treaty of Rome and request that the situation of “apartheid” be subject to investigation by the prosecutor.

He urged that companies that “aid and abet Israeli war crimes” must be stopped. He alleged that waste company, Veolia, had lost business because public bodies can exclude a company from contracts if they are guilty of “gross misconduct”.

However, an embarrassed Machover admitted that his own council Brent is about to award Veolia a huge contract! Veolia has conducted a lot of business in Israel.

Rafeef Ziadah, a ‘War On Want’ employee, alleged that Israel boasts that the military equipment it exports is “field tested”, which means it is “tested on the bodies of Palestinians”.

Finally, it was time for Frank Barat, the comic relief. He said that he was still shaking from having drunk an extra strong coffee three hours earlier and he proudly announced the creation of the Palestine Legal Action Network.

PLAN will be working under the auspices of ‘War On Want’ concentrating on activism, legal actions and media work. Barat was very excited and went as far as to say that he loves War On Want.

From Israel’s point of view one couldn’t think of a better person than Barat to project manage PLAN. It was Barat, of course, who interviewed Norman Finkelstein about the Boycott Israel movement where Finkelstein called it, inter alia, “a dishonest cult” whose victories you can count on the fingers of two hands, if that. For some reason Barat then uploaded said interview onto the internet.

Observing PLAN with Barat in charge, therefore, should provide a lot of laughter.

In the chair for this nasty event was Brenna Bhandar, a SOAS law lecturer, who blogged about Fraser v UCU. And in the front row overlooking his minions was cult leader himself, John Hilary, executive director of ‘War On Want’.

Brenna Bhandar (Chair), Daniel Machover, Jamal Juma, Fafeef Ziadah, Frank Barat.

Brenna Bhandar (Chair), Daniel Machover, Jamal Juma, Jeremy Moodey, Rafeef Ziadah, Frank Barat.

 

The Israeli Bedouin issue beyond The Telegraph’s sensationalist headline

Phoebe Greenwood’s report in The Telegraph, Ex-South African Israel ambassador likens Bedouin treatment to Apartheid‘, June 19, is in many ways quite typical of mainstream media framing of issues relating to the nomadic Arab tribes living in the Negev region in Israel. Though Greenwood balances the sensationalist charge of ‘apartheid’ leveled by the the former ambassador with a response by a foreign ministry spokesperson, the title and text legitimize an extremely misleading narrative about the remarkably complex interplay between the Israeli government and the Bedouin.

Whilst my colleague Hadar Sela has done some superb reporting on the issue (which you can read here, here and here), blogger Elder of Ziyon recently filmed and narrated a very informative video on the subject – while on location in the Negev – that succinctly explains a few of the more vexing challenges faced by the Israeli government in determining how best to deal with unauthorized villages established by citizens who are part of this itinerant culture. 

a

What would you do if you only had a year to live?

The following was written by David Hirsh at Engage, and is being cross posted here with his permission.

What would you do [if you only had a year to live]?  You’d do the important things, right?  

Iain Banks decided to have the stupid things he’d written about Jews re-published in the Guardian.

“A sporting boycott of Israel would make relatively little difference to the self-esteem of Israelis in comparison to South Africa; an intellectual and cultural one might help make all the difference…”

Yes, because white South Africans only care about Rugby while Jews spend their time with their noses in a book…Mike Cushman came up with this one ages ago:  “Universities are to Israel what the springboks were to South Africa: the symbol of their national identity.”  And Tom (Israeli archeologists are nastier than Nazi killers) Hickey too: “we are speaking of a culture, both in Israel and in the long history of the Jewish diaspora, in which education and scholarship are held in high regard. That is why an academic boycott might have a desirable political effect in Israel, an effect that might not be expected elsewhere…”

“Israel and its apologists can’t have it both ways, though: if they’re going to make the rather hysterical claim that any and every criticism of Israeli domestic or foreign policy amounts to antisemitism, they have to accept that this claimed, if specious, indivisibility provides an opportunity for what they claim to be the censure of one to function as the condemnation of the other.”

Jews as hysterical?  People who say that “every criticism” is antisemitic?  Classic Livingstone Formulation… The conflation of criticism with demonization combined with the charge of raising antisemitism in bad faith in order to silence “critics”.

“Of all people, the Jewish people ought to know how it feels to be persecuted en masse, to be punished collectively and to be treated as less than human.” [ach you know what comes next...]

The Jews should know better?  The Jews should have learnt more at Auschwitz?  Well, take your pick.  Chris Davies?Jacqueline RoseDesmond Tutu?  “My heart aches. I say why are our memories so short. Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon? Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions? Have they forgotten that God cares deeply about the downtrodden?”

Why does everybody who comes up with this garbage think they’re really clever, brave and original to have thought of it?

Iain Banks’ illness is terrible news for a talented writer, a man who always seemed to be one of the good guys.  I’m sad that he thinks that this clichéd, dangerous and stereotyped nonsense is the most important thing that he should do now.

Related articles

Antisemitism at the UCU: David Hirsh responds to Tribunal ruling against Fraser

On March 29 we commented on a ruling by London’s Central Employment Tribunal which rejected Ronnie Fraser’s charge of  institutional antisemitism against the University and College Union (UCU).  

Fraser had charged the UCU with fostering an atmosphere of antisemitism which created an ‘intimidating’, ‘hostile’, ‘humiliating’, and ‘offensive’ work environment’ for Jews – citing, in part, the union’s decision to reject the EU Working Definition of Antisemitism on the grounds that it had the effect of ‘silencing debate on Israel’.

The EU working definition (as it pertains to Israel and Zionism) characterizes the following as antisemitic: denying the Jewish state the right to exist, applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not demanded of any other democratic nation, using the symbols associated with classic antisemitism (such as blood libels) to characterize Israel or Israelis, holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel, and drawing comparisons of Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

UCU motion rejecting EU Working Definition of Antisemitism

UCU motion rejecting EU Working Definition of Antisemitism

Further, as David Hirsh detailed in a superb post at Engage yesterday, in addition to the UCU’s rejection of the EU working definition, there were a number of other incidents representing a culture whereby “antisemitism was accepted as normal within the union” – many of which Hirsh outlined:

In 2006 Ronnie Fraser stood as a delegate to NATFHE conference (a predecessor to UCU).  It was said at the regional meeting that Fraser could not be a delegate because he was a Zionist and therefore a racist.  NATFHE held an investigation and found that this statement had not been antisemitic.

Israel has been relentlessly condemned at every UCU Congress, often by motions to boycott Israel.  There were no motions to boycott any other states.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism reported that the boycott debates were likely to cause difficulties for Jewish academics and students, to exclude Jews from academic life and to have a detrimental effect on Jewish Studies.  UCU responded that these allegations were made to stop people from criticizing Israel.  76 members of the UCU published critique of the union’s response, but the union took no notice.  John Mann MP told the Tribunal that UCU had been unique among those criticized by the inquiry in its refusal to listen.

Sean Wallis, a local UCU official, said that anti-boycott lawyers were financed by “bank balances from Lehman Brothers that can’t be tracked down”.  Ronnie Fraser asked him whether he had indeed made this antisemitic claim.  Wallis admitted having said it.  But it was Fraser who, for the crime of asking, was found to have violated union rules concerning “rude or offensive communications”.

Gert Weisskirchen, responsible for combating antisemitism for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) asked the union leadership for a meeting to discuss antisemitism relating to the boycott.  The union did not meet with him.  When 39 union members protested publicly, the union ignored them.

The union invited South African Trade Unionist Bongani Masuku to speak at a pro-boycott conference in London.  Masuku was known to be under investigation by the South African Human Rights Commission for antisemitic hate speech.  Here is an example of what he had said:  “Bongani says hi to you all as we struggle to liberate Palestine from the racists, fascists and Zionists who belong to the era of their friend Hitler!  We must not apologise, every Zionist must be made to drink the bitter medicine they are feeding our brothers and sisters in Palestine”.    Masuku also said  that vigilante action would be taken against Jewish families suspected of having members serving in the Israeli military, and that Jews who continued to stand up for Israel should “not just be encouraged but forced to leave South Africa”  The union ought to have known Masuku’s record.  Ronnie Fraser told the union about Masuku’s record.  Masuku was found guilty in South Africa of hate speech before speaking as a guest of UCU.  And months later, UCU Congress explicitly rejected a motion to dissociate itself from Masuku’s “repugnant views”.

The Activists’ List is an email list hosted by the union.

Ronnie Fraser argued on the list that there was no absolute blockade of Gaza.  In response, another union member said that he was like the Nazis at Theresenstadt.  The union found that there was nothing inappropriate about this comment.

Josh Robinson put together a detailed formal complaint about antisemitic language being employed by union members on the list.   He documented how people who opposed antisemitism on the activists’ list were routinely accused of being: deranged, crazy, nutters; Israeli agents; hysterical; dishonest; twisted; rotten Zionists; less than human; believers in a promised land; motivated by the fairy story of the Old Testament; genocidal; accepting of the murder of innocents; racist; pro-apartheid; supporters of ethnic cleansing; Nazis.  The Holocaust was referred to as an ‘attempted genocide’.   There followed volleys of insults made against those who raised concerns about this description of the Shoah.  The formal complaint was given to Tom Hickey to adjudicate.  Hickey himself, the Tribunal was told, had said that Israel is more insidious and in some sense almost nastier” than Nazi Germany.  In the end, nobody even bothered to tell Robinson that his complaint had been dismissed.

A number of other people made similarly careful formal complaints.  The union did not once, ever, find that anything complained of was antisemitic.

A significant number of union members resigned over the issue of antisemitism.  Congress voted down a motion to investigate these resignations.  There was no mechanism for counting resignations over antisemitism, and such resignations were instead counted as being because of disagreements over the Middle East.

People who complained about antisemitism in the union were routinely confronted with accusations that they spoke in bad faithThey were told that they were making it up in order to try to silence criticism of Israel.  They were accused of ‘crying antisemitism’.

In court Sally Hunt, the General Secretary of the union was asked hypothetically:  “If somebody said ‘if you want to understand the Jews, read Mein Kampf’, would that be antisemitic?”  She answered that it would not necessarily be antisemitic.

Astonishingly, not only did the Tribunal rule that these incidents did not represent antisemitism, but, in a close approximation of the Livingstone Formulation, outrageously accused Fraser and his 34 witnesses of trying to ‘intimidate’ and ‘silence’ critics of Israel with an invented accusation of antisemitism.

May the examples cited above, of the undeniable racism suffered by Jewish members of the UCU, serve to shame those who have been critical of Fraser and his supporters – some of whom have even suggested that the UK Jewish community should never have taken on the fight in the first place.

Fraser, and those who had his back, should be admired for acting on principle, morality, and justice – and continue to deserve our unqualified support. 

You can read the rest of Hirsh’s masterful response to the Tribunal’s outrageous ruling here.

The Guardian takes note of a Middle Eastern country not involved in “rendition”

A guest post by AKUS

Controversy over the practice of “rendition” has been intense. In a recent article in the Washington Post, the Post described it as a CIA program “to detain and interrogate foreign suspects without bringing them to the United States or charging them with any crimes”

The Washington Post illustrated how widely the practice was implemented with a map in an article headlined: A staggering map of the 54 countries that reportedly participated in the CIA’s rendition program, drawn from a report by the Open Society Justice Initiative  that lists each country by name and describes that country’s participation in the program.

1

In case you cannot make out one little country that did not participate in the program, here’s an extract from that map of a certain area of the world:

1

See it now?

On the other hand, it does not take much effort to see other countries, frequent critics of Israel, with well-organized, well-funded groups constantly threatening it with boycotts, decrying its policies and so forth, and even supporting its enemies with weapons and money.

There was a February 5th, 2013 column in the Guardian about this, too: CIA rendition: more than a quarter of countries ‘offered covert support’ . To my surprise, the Guardian managed to take note of Israel’s absence from the list of 54 countries:

Other countries are conspicuous by their absence from the rendition list: Sweden and Finland are present, but there is no evidence of Norwegian involvement. Similarly, while many Middle Eastern countries did become involved in the rendition programme, Israel did not, according to the OSJI research.

I, on the other hand, took note of South Africa’s name on the list. After all, one of the calumnies thrown at Israel, and found on a daily basis in the Guardian CiF section in the threads to the endless articles decrying Israel for this or that,  is that it resembles an apartheid state.  South Africa’s government, influenced in some measure by its Muslim Indian constituency, is one of the few outside the Middle East that has made it government policy to support boycotts of Israeli product, academics, and cultural groups.  South Africa is often held up as an example of what the imaginary “one state” would look like after the Jewish state vanishes and “Palestine” exists “between the sea and the river”.

But never fear that Guardianistas could possibly leave Israel out of the issue.  After one post that noted that Israel did not participate in the program, there was this comment:

 1.jpg

The thread quickly filled up with comment after comment claiming that even though the report did not name Israel, and the Guardian specifically took note of that, Israel was just as bad or even worse.

Even when a report does not mention Israel, the appetite for condemnation of Israel among Guardian readers is so developed that rather than discussing, for example, South Africa’s involvement, even the absence of Israel quickly becomes the topic de jour. Or, as the following poster noted in response to a comment no longer visible:

one

The Washington Post:

The 54 governments identified in this report span the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America, and include: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

 

Richard Millett: An evening with Ronnie Kasrils, where Jews are painted as racist & “demonic”

Cross posted by Richard Millett

Ronnie Kasrils (left), Alan (Chair), Gary MacFarlane (Right) last night.

Last night a few of us journeyed deep into Tottenham, north London, the area that sparked last year’s London riots, to hear hardcore anti-Israel activist Ronnie Kasrils, who was over from South Africa.

Haringey Palestine Solidarity Campaign hosted the evening in the St John Vianney Church.

It was an evening where Jews were painted as “demonic”. This didn’t apply to Ronnie Kasrils who told us that he was able to break with the ethnic position of being Jewish, Zionist and white skinned in a white society, which helped him to “find my freedom”.

Kasrils told how South African Jews thought of blacks in apartheid South Africa as “the wretched of the earth”. This was followed by a woman in the audience who opined about “what Jews have become”.

Kasrils’ opening attack was the usual nonsense:

“The Jews took that land from the Arabs who had been there for over 1,000 years…The mythology of the establishment of the state of Israel is ‘The Lord Our G-d acting as an estate agent’…and He decided He has a Chosen People… ‘There is a Chosen People and it’s me the Jews and we are specially given the land’…We are the Chosen People and we can come here and evacuate, we can dismiss an entire population of people, at that time 700,000, by all means possible.”

He compared the landing of the forefathers of South Africa in 1652, when they discovered “black skinned people”, to Zionists. Both the forefathers and Zionists, he said, “argued that the land was empty”:

“In 1948 people were fleeing Europe from the Holocaust but the Zionists misled the poor wretches to a land without a people for a people without a land.”

Then he described what Jews in South Africa told their children:

“Don’t worry about the blacks. They’re used to it. That’s the mantra. Don’t worry, they’re used to it. All the poverty and the way they have to live etc. Each to his own. Focus on your own life. You can give the beggars some money. But these people; the poor, the wretched of the earth, they’re used to it. Don’t waste your time.”

Here it is:

During the Q&A a woman spoke of her visit to Gaza. She said she hadn’t met any terrorists there, just “freedom fighters”. She had met an amputee who had been walking to hospital one day to give birth when her husband was “liquidated” next to her after which she gave birth while Palestinian doctors were patching up her amputated legs. The woman continued:

“This is Israel. This is Israel. And it’s much more than an apartheid state; it is a demonic state!”

She addressed Jonathan Hoffman who had also been allowed to speak during the Q&A:

“Your behaviour is so atrocious that we when see someone acting like you act, if this is what the Jews have become it is a great shame. But I know that is not true because there I see a man, a Jew, and there are many others who I know who are standing up for what Judaism is really about. Ronnie Kasrils it is very nice to see you here…What is happening now about Iran and about Syria? I was teaching in school when a young Jewish boy stood up many years ago and said ‘We Israelis, we Jews, are going to bring Syria down’. This is 10 years ago.”

Here is the sickening audio:

“What’s become of the Jews?” – Haringey PSC

Meanwhile, I was under strict instructions from Alan, who was chairing, not to take any photos eventhough I had politely asked at the beginning. As ever everyone else was allowed. On my way out of the event I quickly took the above shot from the back of the room whereupon I was pushed and shoved out of the room by two thugs.

I just don’t get how anti-Israel activists think they have the right to even lay a hand on someone, let alone push and shove them.

Once outside though it was funny to see bins for the church provided by Veolia, one of the companies that there had just been a call inside the meeting to boycott because of its links with Israel (see below).

Oh dear, Veolia bins in the church grounds.

Words Matter: African-American Student Group blasts Students for Justice in Palestine on “Apartheid” lie

I attended college during the the height of the anti-Apartheid movement in the US during the mid to late 80s, and recall the raw emotion of African-American students involved in efforts combat the hideous racially based regime in South Africa.

And though the campus environment in the US during that time was also defined by an increasingly virulent hostility to Israel in the context of the First Intifada, I recall the solidarity between Black and Jewish groups over the issue of Apartheid and so, all these years later, am heartened to see the following passionate and unequivocal condemnation of Palestinian groups who engage in the morally unserious charge that Israel is an Apartheid state.

Here is the full-page ad, entitled “Words Matter”, which was placed in newspapers on April 7 by an African-American student group called Vanguard Leadership Group.

Ugly demonization of Israel in S. Africa

Per the South African Zionist Federation:

“The SA Zionist Federation is holding its 47th Conference in March 2011,  and we recently placed an order for conference bags from a company by the name of Saley’s Travel Goods, based near Gold Reef City in Ormonde. The order was confirmed telephonically; we faxed it through and  immediately received the invoice for the goods.The following day, however, the same invoice was faxed through to our offices again, with lines drawn through it stating “Order cancelled by management!” and the following sentences handwritten on the invoice:

“Sorry, we cannot supply you any of our goods as we don’t want or need  your blood money! Please do not contact us any more and remove all our contact details from your records and we will do likewise. We don’t want to aid  and abet organizations that are responsible for crimes against humanity.  Please don’t pay! Don’t contaminate our account with your blood money!”

Over the past few years the SAZF has placed various orders with Saley’s Travel Goods, purchasing conference bags and folders from them. We have never before been confronted with such naked hostility, such unbridled hatred, such disgusting slander and such overt anti-semitic sentiment.

Companies are at liberty to do business with whoever they choose; and it  is their right to refuse to provide us with the goods. However, their reason for cancelling our order is deplorable; hence we have no compunction in naming and shaming them.

- Froma Sacks, Executive Coordinator, South African Zionist Federation

 


Apart from noting the extreme and glaring hypocrisy of  S. Africans participating in boycotts of Israel as their own country continues to coddle and protect the genocidal leader of Sudan, as Froma Sacks said, in the face of such intolerance, it is incumbent that we continue to “name and shame” those who seek the isolation and delegitimization of the Jewish state.

BDS and South Africa, Pt. 3

This is cross-posted from the blog, Divest This! (This 3 pt. series represents, in some measure, a reply to the essay by South African politician Ronnie Kasrils in CiF in favor of BDS against Israel.  See CiF Watch’s reply, here.)

A BDS debate involving South Africa usually follows certain predictable patterns. BDS advocates claim that those involved in the struggle to topple Apartheid in SA see the Arab-Israeli conflict in the same terms with Israelis serving as stand-ins for the Boers. Various names are dropped, but since most Americans are unfamiliar with the cast of characters (and because most students at schools targeted for BDS campaigns weren’t even born when Apartheid existed or ended), the only two names with any resonance are Desmond Tutu and, of course, Nelson Mandela.

Because Reverend Tutu is a four-square champion for BDS, his support for a boycott or divestment program can only be trumped by invoking the name of Mandela whose relationship with Jews and Israel is more ambiguous. One of the reasons the recent attempt to break ties between the University of Johannesburg and Ben-Gurion University in Israel failed was because of Mandela’s involvement in the relationship between the two centers of learning. This is why the endorsement of Mandela is so sought after that BDS advocates are not beyond using fraud to pretend to obtain it.

Like most things, the actual relationship between Israel and South Africa (like the relationship between South Africa and every other country in the world – including Israel’s loudest critics) was and is a complicated affair. As is usually the case when $$$s mix with global politics, few hands are clean when it comes to international affairs vis-à-vis pre-Mandela SA. And South Africa’s relationship with Israel since Apartheid fell is as multi-faceted as one would expect between two such intense and vibrant societies.

But when BDSers lay down their Tutu card (as they do in nearly every BDS battle) or supporters and opponents of boycotts try to read the Mandela tea leaves, they are taking for granted the assumption that the South African experience gives those that fought against Apartheid unique moral weight in discussion on other topics (notably the Middle East). But, without diminishing the courage and patience of all those involved with the successful overthrow of Apartheid, is this a reasonable assumption?

After all, if suffering and courage lent all who practiced it unquestioned moral authority, why are Jews (who suffered one of history’s greatest mass murders only to revive and build a thriving nation and Diaspora) treated by BDSers as uniquely damaged by these experiences? Apparently, if the South African experience created saints who cannot be criticized in any way (lest critics be banished from decent society), the Holocaust turned Jews into proto-Nazis who learned nothing from the experience other than how to behave like their former tormentors.

Continue reading