Irish Times columnist ponders whether ‘rich Zionists’ control US foreign policy

We’ve previously written about Irish Times columnist Eamonn McCann, a Trotskyist activist and commentator who has employed the “chosen people” canard to suggest that Israeli attacks are arguably inspired by a belief in their own superiority, claimed that Zionism is racism and prophesized on the Jewish State’s ultimate demise.

In his April 10 Irish Times op-ed, the ‘truth telling’ radical expressed his disgust at Sheldon Adelson – or, more precisely, a recent episode involving New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in which the possible Presidential contender apologized to Adelson (a Republican donor) after giving a speech in which he referred to Judea and Samaria as ‘occupied territory’.

Here’s how McCann characterized the episode:

In a desperate effort to clamber his way back into the race for the Republican presidential nomination for 2016, New Jersey governor Chris Christie last week kowtowed to Zionism and apologised for telling the truth. 

Later, McCann wrote this in an attempt to contextualize Christie’s apology to Adelson:

There is a common view which this episode will reinforce that rich Zionists have captured US policy on the Middle East and use their financial clout to deliver uncritical support from the political elite for Israeli outrages against dispossessed Palestinians. There may be truth in this, but not the whole truth.

First, McCann fails to explain how the charge that “rich Zionists have captured US policy” is “not the whole truth”.  

Moreover, Adelson is Jewish, and it seems undeniable, given the context (as well as McCann’s previous expressions of contempt for ‘Zionists), that “rich Zionists” is a thinly veiled euphemism for “rich Jews’.  

Of course, saying outright that ‘rich Jews control the US government’ would represent the babbling of an anti-Semite.

And, we all know that editors at the Irish Times would never, ever allow such crude bigotry on the pages of their ‘progressive’ newspaper, don’t we?

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Guardian review of the film ‘Noah’ culls parable about Israeli “land grabs” in the biblical story

In reading a Guardian review of the new film Noah, starring Russell Crowe, we are reminded again how the media group’s hostility towards Israel can manifest itself in the most unlikely places.  The article (Arkaeology: the real meaning of the Noah story, March 31), by culture critic , begins by explaining her view of the Biblical story:

The Bible isn’t the word of God or dictation taken by any of his followers, but neither is it a novel, though it is a kind of structural matrix for all fiction. It is a most extraordinary text written by several hands from different periods, each having their own motives and style. 

Diski then proceeds with a (at times contemptuous) deconstruction of the story of Noah, which consumes most of her 2500 word essay – a Guardian Left drash which begins to take form in these latter paragraphs:

Ham, who was the father of Canaan, walked into the tent and “saw the nakedness of his father [Noah], and told his two brethren without”. For which, when he regained his senses, Noah cursed Ham’s son, Canaan, and condemned him to become the servant of Shem and Japheth and their offspring. Shem and Japheth had walked backwards into the tent with a garment over their shoulders and, without looking behind them at Noah, covered him and “saw not their father’s nakedness”. So why the gravity of Ham’s punishment? Baffling. Perfect for the rabbis to work on, but difficult or embarrassing enough for most of them to keep their silence.

It isn’t the most famous part of the Noah story. Not the one they tell in primary schools where the animals walked in two by two. There’s no tiny figure of the naked Noah in a stupor in those wooden sets of Noah’s Ark. Perhaps, suggests the Gemora Sanhedrin, facing up to the oddity of the verse about Ham seeing his father’s nakedness, it means either that Ham castrated his father, or that he sodomised him. This seems a bit of a stretch from “seeing his nakedness”, but we know the Bible has a quaint way with sexual deeds: lying with each other, knowing each other – and why would Ham’s offspring be condemned to servility for an innocent incident?

I wonder what the movie will make of this. Beyond their disapproval of showing Noah drunk, there are no mentions of incest or Oedipal activity in reports of complaints about the movie from the fundamentalists. Maybe the movie ends with the rainbow promise and a drunken I Will Survive party. I wonder what the fundamentalists make of this passage in the Bible. Either option, castration or sodomy, certainly seems an ignominious finale to the Noah, with whom the world began again. The Bible has no more to say after the curse, beyond “And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.”

Then, a more modern villain appears in Diski’s tale:

Perhaps it simply goes to show how right the Lord was to give up hope in mankind’s essential goodness. Or, as is the way of the Bible and in particular the Priestly writer’s text, it was simply having one of its expositional geopolitical history moments, to explain why the Canaanites (with Noah’s curse on them) had to vacate their land so that the tribe of Israel could move in and settle there. Nothing to do with sex, but a florid way of giving grounds for how things got to be the way they are, and ever should be. Just as Israel today chooses to explain its land “rights” on the basis of that ancient, patched-together, fanciful book.

A great read, and a delightful puzzle, but as the contradictory and whimsical interpretations of the rabbis show, hardly a reliable basis for justifying real-world land grabs. Dubious folk-historical territorial claims, on the one hand; an ancient parable to warn of the next man-made destruction of the planet modern, on the other. I look forward to what the least biblical of biblical films will do with this most malleable of texts.

As we saw with Guardian religion blogger Andrew Brown’s contention that new archaeological evidence that camels weren’t domesticated until 1,500 years after the stories in Genesis are supposed to have taken place” undermines Zionism, we see again the paper’s dexterity in weaving anti-Zionist narratives into even the most disconnected cultural, historical or political issues. 

Of course, Zionism (which since its modern incarnation was largely a secular movement) is based not on the literal truth of every word in the Tanach – what our cultured British literary critic characterizes as “ancient, patched-together, fanciful book” - but largely on the more than 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the Land of Israel, as well as modern legal rightsthe San Remo Resolution of 1920, the Mandate for Palestine which was confirmed by the League of Nations in 1922, and the Franco-British Boundary Convention of 1920 – supplemented by the Anglo-American Convention of December 3, 1924 respecting the Mandate for Palestine.

However, I would venture to guess that such dry legal and historical evidence attesting to the inalienable rights of the Jewish people in their homeland would not at all interest Ms. Diski.  Our skepticism regarding the Guardian writer’s receptiveness to an empirically based understanding of the modern Middle East is partially based on the following essay she wrote at a literary journal called ‘berfrois’, in which expounded on her conflicted British Jewish identity.

But I find myself in a double difficulty. I am against antisemitism and racism in general, but I am also against the idea of Zionism and dismayed by its consequences. More than that, I positively relish the Jewish diaspora. The great thing about the Jews is the fact that they are dotted about all over the world, participating in every other culture, while also sharing and holding on to a changing culture of their own. I find this infinitely preferable to nationalism. I have no sense at all that Israel has anything to do with me. I see no justification for demanding a national homeland that was and is already inhabited by others, based on a fictional narrative written by various hands thousands of years ago. In particular I deplore the Israeli state’s treatment of the Palestinians and its use of the holocaust as a rationale for displacing and persecuting people

As Howard Jacobson has broadly observed about such ‘heartfelt’ confessionals, though Jenny Diski is against “real” antisemitism, at least in the abstract, when it comes to six million real Jews living in the world’s only Jewish state, as-a-Jew, she is (proudly) ASHamed!

Though religious Christians and Jews are often mocked by many within the Guardian Left for their ‘fanciful’ stories and ‘unenlightened’ beliefs, Diski’s fealty to such ahistorical narratives reflects the increasing tendency of such ‘sophisticated’ UK commentators to accept calumnies about Jews which not only flirt dangerously close to familiar antipathies, but are so divorced from reality as to resemble something akin to secular superstition. 

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Gilad Atzmon slams the Guardian as a ‘Lame Zionist Mouthpiece’.

Before we realized the identity of the author of the an essay published a various fringe websites on March 17th, it almost seemed to us like a Purim Spiel.  

Here’s the classic opening passage:

The once well-respected Guardian has been reduced in recent years into a lame Zionist mouthpiecea light Jewish Chronicle for Gentiles consumption.

 So, what did the Guardian do to run afoul of the sensibilities of the following prolific critic of international Jewry?

atzmon

Atzmon explains:

Last week, the paper launched an attack on Martin Heidegger, the 20th century’s most influential philosopher.

Heidegger’s ‘Black notebooks’ reveal antisemitism at core of his philosophy” the paper’s headline read.  But what does that mean? Was Heidegger really a Jew hater? Did he oppose people for being ethnically or ‘racially’ Jewish or was he, instead, critical of Jewish politics, culture, ideology and spirit?

According to the ‘progressive’ British Guardian, the newly published Black Notebooks reveals that Heidegger saw ‘world Judaism’ as the driver of “dehumanising modernity”.

Heidegger was a German patriot. As such he knew very well that it was Zionist leadership and German Jewish bankers in America that facilitated the entry of the USA into the first world war (in return in part for the 1917’s Belfour Declaration that promised a national home for Jews in Palestine). In that regard, Heidegger, like his contemporaries, had good reason to believe that Germany was betrayed by its Jewish elite.

Indeed, Philip Oltermann, the author of the Guardian review, explained that the notion of the dehumanizing influence of world Judaism was propagated in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the forgery purporting to reveal a Jewish plan for world domination, which would explain why Atzmon – a blogger and Jazz Saxophonist who dabbles in neo-Nazi style politics – was so appalled by the attack on Heidegger.  

Though the Guardian – or the ‘Guardian of Judea’ as Atzmon risibly calls it – is no slouch when it comes to legitimizing the toxic narrative warning of the ‘injurious influence’ of Zionist power in the US, they’re clearly not at the level of Atzmon, a staunch defender of Jewish conspiracy theories who’s written the following:

Interestingly enough, the political morbid conditions in which we live was actually described by an unusual fictional text that was published in 1903 namely, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The Protocols is widely considered a forgery. It is a manual for a prospective new member of the “Elders”, describing how they will run the world through control of the media and finance, replacing the traditional social order with one based on mass manipulation. Though the book is considered a hoax by most experts and regarded as a vile anti-Semitic text, it is impossible to ignore its prophetic qualities and its capacity to describe both the century unfolding and the political reality in which we live I am referring here to: AIPAC, the Credit Crunch, Lehman Brothers, Neocon wars, interventionist ideology, a British Foreign Secretary listed as an Israeli Propaganda (Hasbara) author trying to amend Britain’s ethical stand, a Zionist by admission put on an inquiry panel to investigate why Britain launched a Zionist war and so on.

As it happens staunch Zionists such as David Aaronovitch, Nick Cohen, and Alan Dershowitz use a very banal spin to divert the attention from the devastating prophetic reality depicted by The Protocols. A reality in which they themselves promote interventionist wars in our midst. Again and again they stress the fact that The Protocols was a forgery. They insist that we look at its anti-Semitic origin while evading its content and meaning. However whether or not The Protocols is a fictional text or a forgery doesn’t change the fact that it explores our disastrous contemporary reality. A reality in which we are killing en masse the enemies of Israel in the ‘name of democracy’, a reality in which Dershowitz himself puts enormous effort into cleansing academia of any critical voices of Israel, Zionism, and Jewish power in America and the West.

The Guardian’s biggest sin, in Atzmon’s eyes, it seems, was talking about the ideas laid out in The Protocols as if they were a bad thing!

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Jews demonised at Centre for Palestine Studies as Ilan Pappe comes to SOAS

Cross posted by London-based blogger Richard Millett

Jews came under fire last night at the Centre for Palestine Studies, based at SOAS and under the chairmanship of Gilbert Achcar. It was irrelevant if you are a Jew in Israel, Scotland, Wales or England. Ilan Pappe, the CPS guest speaker, doesn’t discriminate.

Pappe, a lecturer at Exeter University, started by saying he wished “to answer the riddle of the growing gap between the image Israeli Jews have of themselves and the external image the world has of them”. In North Korea the gap between the view North Koreans have of themselves and that of them by outside world would not be much different, but in Israel there is “genuine difference”.

He said the Zionist movement in Israel should be credited for its marketing skills, particularly the way it marketed both Palestine as a land without a people for a people without a land and also Israel as a European country. This helped “absolve them from what they did to the native population”.

Israel, he said, therefore appeared to be a democracy while actually being an “ethnic racist state”. Israel had succeeded in “marketing an oppressive reality as a democratic one”.

Israel had marketed Zionism, he said, to include such enlightenment concepts as liberalism, capitalism and social democracy. And Zionism was far more successful than other ideas because it was “born after the failures of Nazism and fascism”.

Such branding and marketing, according to Pappe, had been done via academia and fiction.

Israeli academics, he said, undertook a “willing role to commodify the Zionist project on the basis of so-called scientific research”. And books and films like EXODUS showed Zionist figures looking like “Aryan Israelis”, while the Palestinians looked “like either Osama Bin Laden or ET”.

But, Pappe said, at one stage certain Israelis had an “epiphany”. Using the same methodology of books, articles and films they challenged these “truisms of Zionism by re-examining the Zionist project from the beginning”.

They showed Israel was a “settler colonial society, an aggressive society and a discriminatory society”. However, they got “cold feet” when challenged and apologised before disappearing without trace, some being forced to leave Israel.

However, this same methodology has now been adopted by people outside Israel which, according to Pappe, worries Israel. Israel can “stifle criticism and crush those who don’t toe the line from within” but cannot do the same to those outside Israel.

In response to this, Pappe said, the Israeli elite has re-adopted the Zionist dogma in a “neo-Zionist” form, which is far harsher and less flexible than the original. Such “neo-Zionism” being symbolised by the likes of Netanyahu, Bennett and Lieberman.

Pappe said he was worried how Israel would react to a new, even non-violent, Palestinian Intifada as “the Israel of 2014 is worse than the Israel of 1987 and 2ooo. It is a more ruthless Israel”.

“Neo-Zionism”, Pappe explained, attempts to combine liberal and theocratic ideas of how to live as Jews in the twentieth century and is a “lethal combination if you are the enemy”. Pappe said this is “not easy to sell as a liberal democracy”.

“Israeli society is neo-Zionist. Most (Jewish Israelis) want an ethnic racist state. There are no liberal Zionists anymore,” he said. He cited Peter Beinart, J Street and Ari Shavit as the last possible bastions of liberal Zionism.

Pappe said that in 2005 the Israeli government created Brand Israel Group(BIG), to target the Jewish community in America, despite already having America “in its pocket”. Israel, he said, is doubtful of their support in the future.

Pappe said his publisher, Verso, would neither allow him to show the fairly explicit posters in his new book that were used by Israel to “appeal to the Jewish homosexual community in New York City” nor those aimed at Jewish heterosexuals. The idea being, Pappe said, if you like this sexy woman you might like Israel’s occupation.

By 2010, however, this campaign was seen by Israel to have failed and so, Pappe said, Israel’s new policy was to distract the opposition. Instead of trying to win an argument about “apartheid and ethnic cleansing” activists were urged to say, for example, “But Israel invented chewing gum!”.

Pappe said Israel had also been successful in convincing Jews in other countries that Israel is their story as well. He said he was once confronted by Jews in Edinburgh and that he had told them in no uncertain terms that Israel was not their story.

Then at the end of last night’s event when I criticised his lecture he asked me in Hebrew if I speak Hebrew, presumably to imply that Israel is not my story either. Ironically, your typical SOAS audience member has absolutely no connection with the Palestinians and cannot speak Arabic.

The final irony is that the marketing and branding Pappe accuses Israel of doing is just what he does! For example, during his talk he urged his audience to use “settler colonialism”, “Israeli apartheid”, “regime change” and “ethnic cleansing” when discussing Israel.

(I have been banned by SOAS, under threat of legal action, from filming or taking photos at these events without permission. All my requests for permission have since been declined. Others are permitted to film and take photos.)

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The content of her character: Chloe Valdary responds to Richard Silverstein

On Saturday we commented on a racist Facebook update and Tweet by “liberal” Jewish blogger Richard Silverstein, which he posted in response to his apparent ‘outrage’ at a pro-Israel op-ed written by an African-American woman named Chloe Valdary.

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Chloe Valdary

Today in Times of Israel, Valdary published a new op-ed addressing Silverstein’s attack, and the broader issue of racism and anti-Zionism.

Here are some excerpts:

On February 22, a gentleman by the name of Richard Silverstein took considerable issue with an article I wrote in the The Times of Israel about the contentions of one Judith Butler, professor at the University of California, Berkley. I find Butler’s analysis regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict lamentably disagreeable.

Silverstein did not point out any possible faulty premises in my column. He did not question the evidence I presented. He did not find I was lacking in my analysis. Instead, to illustrate his (ahem) intellectual prowess, he shared a Facebook status linking to my column and in his commentary, wrote: “They finally did it: found a Negro Zionist: Uncle Tom is dancin’ for joy!

His intention is obvious: I am an African-American, and Silverstein believes that all African-Americans are monolithic. Indeed, he believes that because of my skin color, I must think, act, and behave in the certain way — a manner in which he perceives black people to be. Like the old white masters in the antebellum American South, Silverstein believes that he and his ilk alone can be the bearers of opinions which must be held by African-Americans. To think for oneself, to formulate an opinion independent of his consent — well now, this is unacceptable. The consequence is a verbal lashing on social media; an attack on my character because of my skin color, and because, I am, as he puts it, “a Negro,” who does not feel the need to make her analysis contingent upon his approbation.

Moreover, I am a Zionist. I am unabashedly pro-Israel, and a proponent of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their ancestral homeland. Silverstein is not a Zionist, and because I disagree with him —  like the old slave masters who believed that their view of the world was superior to and should be foisted upon the negro slaves — he contends that I am an “Uncle Tom” (a derogatory term meaning “house slave,” or one who is subservient and servile to white masters.).

I am certain that Silverstein does not comprehend the irony. After all, white supremacists tend to possess an astounding propensity for cognitive dissonance. It isn’t evident to Silverstein that to assert that a human being must, by virtue of her skin color, behave in a certain manner, is itself prejudicial and bigoted. Silverstein is judging me on the color of my skin, not on the content of my character, or rather, the content of my treatise.

Silverstein [a 'Comment is Free' contributor] inverts terms, making them devoid of any meaning, all the while having the temerity to believe his musings are erudite, when in point of fact they are ludicrous, and contributory to the cause of mass homicide. That such obscene characters are given license to spew nonsense in prominent newspapers like The Guardian, I find lamentable

You can read the rest of her essay, titled ‘In Defense of Liberty’, here.

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Richard Silverstein’s meltdown continues: Defends “Negro” “Uncle Tom” slur

Yesterday we posted about a racist Facebook update and Tweet by “liberal” Jewish blogger Richard Silverstein, which were posted in response to his ‘outrage’ at seeing a pro-Israel op-ed at Times of Israel by an African-American Zionist named Chloe Valdary.

He’s been roundly criticized ever since on Twitter, and many have asked that he do the decent thing and apologize. 

Instead, he actually defended his shameful racial slur in a recent Tweet:

Priceless: He’s not the racist for using such pejoratives to characterize a young, black Zionist, but his accusers are betraying their own “right-wing political prejudices”.  

His decision to double-down in the face of such criticism shouldn’t surprise anyone, as the white liberal privilege possessed by Silverstein and his ilk means never having to apologize for even the most incendiary and cruel racist invectives – especially if the target is a Zionist. 

Related articles

 

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The dangerous mainstreaming of Max Blumenthal’s antisemitism

Anti-Israel activists who promote BDS campaigns and smear the Jewish state as uniquely evil were provided a gift when Max Blumenthal’s book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel was published last October.

Max-Blumenthals-Goliath-197-X-298The book, which strongly suggests parallels between Zionism and Nazism, was attacked as supremely dishonest and hateful by one well-known leftist commentator, derided as a work of fiction by another and included on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s 2013 list of “Top 10 Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs”.

So, we were glad to hear that Petra Marquardt Bigman just published a Research Article at The Louis D. Brandeis Center (LDB) examining Blumenthal’s book, which (as we’ve noted previously at this blog) has been praised by Jew-haters such as Gilad Atzmon and David Duke (and, of course, by Glenn Greenwald).  

The paper by Marquardt-Bigman highlights the danger posed by the mainstreaming of such hate: Blumenthal is an occasional ‘Comment is Free’ contributor, and his book was promoted at an event hosted by the mainstream “liberal” think tank New America Foundation in December.

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Blumenthal at the New America Foundation book launch

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Guardian’s Andrew Brown ponders the connection between camels & Zionism

A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as “humps” on its back – according at least to Wikipedia.

camel

Camel

Andrew Brown is a homo sapiens, and, more importantly, a Guardian journalist, a subspecies known for its strange obsession with roughly 8,000 square miles of land in the Middle East – according at least to practically everyone in the world who reads the UK paper.

Andrew-Brown

Andrew Brown

The connection between these two species will become apparent shortly.

But, first, let us briefly note that Brown is the paper’s religion blogger, and once suggested (evidently with a straight face) that Buddhism was the world’s most violent faith. And, so, though the wild claim made in his most recent post was not at all surprising, it still left us scratching our collective Zionist heads as it is evidently a serious piece yet reads like a parody found at The Onion.

Here’s the headline:

headline

Here are the relevant passages:

There are 21 references to camels in the first books of the Bible, and now we know they are all made up.

 Two Israeli archaeozoologists have sifted through a site just north of modern Eilat looking for camel bones, which can be dated by radio carbon.

None of the domesticated camel bones they found date from earlier than around 930 BC – about 1,500 years after the stories of the patriarchs in Genesis are supposed to have taken place

All these considerations make it clear that camels were not domesticated anywhere in the region before 1000 BC.

Obviously it has upset fundamentalists. Everyone else has known for decades that there is even less evidence for the historical truth of the Old Testament than there is for that of the Qur’an. But the peculiarly mealy-mouthed nature of the quotes they gave the New York Times (which is not much concerned with the feelings of Christian fundamentalists) shows where the real problem is.

Now, the kicker:

The history recounted in the Bible is a huge part of the mythology of modern Zionism. The idea of a promised land is based on narratives that assert with complete confidence stories that never actually happened. There are of course other ways to argue for the Zionist project, and still further arguments about the right of Israelis to live within secure boundaries now that the country exists. But although those stand logically independent of the histories invented – as far as we can tell – in Babylonian captivity during the sixth century BC, they make little emotional sense without the history. And it is emotions that drive politics.

Brown’s leap is remarkable, and goes something like this:

  1. Archeological evidence suggests that camels may not have been domesticated until 1,500 years after the stories of the patriarchs in Genesis are supposed to have taken place.
  2. There are 21 references to camels in the Five Books of Moses.
  3. If there were no camels, then the entire Hebrew Bible is arguably a fraud.
  4. Ergo, the justification for Zionism – based as it is on Biblical history (including camels) – is fatally undermined.

Oh, where to begin?

First, the 21 (putatively erroneous) references to camels in the Five Books of Moses of course don’t undermine the text’s remaining 79,826 words.

Second, Zionism is based not on the literal truth of every word in every Jewish text, but largely on the more than 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.  

Further, modern Zionism was largely a secular movement.

Finally, though Brown’s assault on Israel’s legitimacy is arguably among the strangest we’ve ever encountered at this blog, we decided to humor him and set out our ‘crack team of researchers’ on a very peculiar mission to see if we were hasty in mocking the Guardian “journalist”.

However, as hard as “they” tried (using the most ‘sophisticated’ research tools), they quite curiously couldn’t find even one single reference to “camels” in Theodor Herzl’s The Jewish State, the transcripts from the first to twelfth  Zionist CongressesIsrael’s Declaration of Independence, or Israel’s Basic Law.

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Guardian whitewashes Nathan Filer’s support for pro-terror group, ISM

We haven’t read ‘The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer, and can’t comment on the artistic merits of the book which recently won the Costa Book of the Year award.  However, we can speak about the Guardian’s report on the award, and the author’s curious understanding of the words “peace” and “human rights”.

The Guardian’s story, Costa winner Nathan Filer: ‘This is huge, isn’t it?’, by Guardian features writer , begins thus:

This has been one of the most eventful weeks so far in an already eventful life for Nathan Filer. On Saturday, it was his wedding – the culmination of a journey that began in spring 2012, with an unexpected proposal to his partner Emily while they were being held in an Israeli detention centre. Then on Tuesday he won the Costa Book of the Year award for his first novel, The Shock of the Fall, a trip to the podium that began in 2002, when he was training to be a mental health nurse.

Why was Filer held in an Israeli detention center?  Cochrane gives us a bit of background:

In 2009, having worked on The Shock of the Fall for seven years, he decided to study for a creative writing MA, making the novel his priority. That same year he met his partner Emily, who also works in mental health, and her interest in human rights led to them volunteering in Palestine. In 2011, the pair travelled to Hebron, working with the International Solidarity Movement. They taught English at a university, and offered what support they could to people whose houses had been demolished: they filmed one man in this situation, and put his story online. “It’s about raising awareness,” says Filer. “We would go to protests, to be there and observe. If international people are there, it’s less likely the Israeli military will use heavy-handed tactics, so we were there to try to make things more peaceful, really.”

(Indeed, on his blog, Filer freely writes that “(ISM) does important work in Palestine. I’ve volunteered with them…”.)

Cochrane then directly touches on the detention:

He says he loved being in Palestine and, about six months later, he and Emily travelled there to volunteer again. This time though, as soon as they arrived at the airport in Tel Aviv, they were taken into a side room and questioned, before being driven to a holding facility, to await deportation on the next plane home – their passport details had been taken by the Israeli military during a peaceful protest on their previous visit. Filer didn’t feel he was in danger, but says he was furious, “because we knew that the work we were doing was perfectly legal. We didn’t break any Israeli laws, we’re pro-human rights, peaceful people.”

The casual Guardian reader would be forgiven – after reading the passage – for believing that ISM was a peaceful organization.  

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

ISM members pose with Palestinian terrorists

Though ISM describes itself as “a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct-action” their activities have included “serving as human shields for terrorist operatives wanted by the Israeli security forces” and providing the Palestinian terrorist operatives and their families “with financial, logistic and moral support”.  They have even reportedly “embraced Palestinian suicide bombers as freedom fighters” 

Here’s more info on ISM from The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center and NGO Monitor:

  • ISM rejects the existence of Israel as a national homeland for the Jews. 
  • ISM has been responsible for endangering the safety of many foreign nationals, including Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall. Both were killed while participating in ISM activities. In response to Corrie’s death, ISM co-founder Thom Saffold said, “we’re like a peace army. Generals send young men and women off to operations, and some die.”
  • In a 2002 article, ISM co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf wrote, “The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics, both non-violent and violent…In actuality, nonviolence is not enough…Yes, people will get killed and injured,” but these deaths are “no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation. And we are certain that if these men were killed during such an action, they would be considered shaheed Allah.”
  • In 2003 ISM activist Susan Barclay said in an interview that she “knowingly worked with representatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad…” 
  • In 2003, ISM activist Ewa Jasiewicz wrote about a shooting attack against Israeli civilians: “Lawd – S-T-R-A-T-E-G-Y, I understand its about attacking civilian life the way civilian life has been crushed and continually denied under the occupation and showing Israelis that they are not safe… from the indefatigable Palestinian resistance etc…But that mesage (sic) has been got loud and clear. I don’t get why activists can’t go and do the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) or something, or do a sophisticated politician bump-off…”
  • In a 2003 interview on the ISM-London website, Saif Abu Keshek, ISM’s Nablus coordinator at the time, said: “we recognise the right of the Palestinians to choose their way of resistance. To join our way of resistance or to choose armed struggle.”
  • In March 2003, senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Shadi Sukiya was arrested while he was hiding in ISM’s Jenin office and being assisted by two ISM activists.
  • In 2003, terrorists originating from the UK attacked the Mike’s Place bar in Tel Aviv, murdering three people. An official Israeli report showed how the terrorists covered their tracks “by forging links with foreign left-wing activists and members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).” According to this report, “ISM members take an active part in illegal and violent actions against IDF soldiers. At times, their activity….is under the auspices of Palestinian terrorist organizations.”
  • After the second intifada senior ISM activists moved their operations to Gaza where Hamas was gaining a foothold before its violent takeover in 2007. Four senior American ISM activists were key in founding an international pro-Hamas umbrella organization called the Free Gaza Movement, which strives to strengthen the Hamas administration in the Palestinian territory.
  • In 2008, ISM member Richard David Hupper was convicted by a U.S. federal jury for materially aiding Hamas, “giving about $20,000 to Hamas while working in Israel with the International Solidarity Movement.”

Yet, in an over 1700 word story, the Guardian journalist never once mentions ISM’s terror-supporting activities nor noted the seeming contradiction of Filer’s alleged support for “peace” and “human rights” with his active participation with a group which aids and abets antisemitic extremists who intentionally murder innocent Israelis. 

Indeed, one of the biggest scandals of the Guardian’s coverage of Israel and the Palestinians is the dishonest manner in which they frame the debate – the way they automatically impute good will and progressivism to nearly anyone claiming to advocate on behalf of Palestinians, even those compromised by their support for violence against innocent civilians.  Such moral blind spots regarding the human rights of Israelis continue to define the ideological territory occupied by the Guardian Left.

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More hate courtesy of Ali Abunimah: Tweets about Israel ‘harvesting children’

Ali Abunimah is the co-founder of Electronic Intifada - and occasional ‘Comment is Free’ contributor – who opposes the existence of a Jewish state within any borders.  

He had this to say on Twitter yesterday about the reported death of a child in Gaza after three separate terrorist incidents on the Israel-Gaza border, which included the murder – by a Palestinian sniper - of an Israeli Bedouin named Saleh Abu Latif:

The term “harvest” in the context of a dead Palestinian child was clearly not used randomly, and quite possibly is an allusion to the antisemitic libel that the IDF kills Palestinians to provide the Israeli medical establishment with organs.

Previously, Abunimah – the American-born, Ivy league educated radical whose blog has published extremists such as Ben WhiteSonja Karker and Steven Salaitahas suggested that Zionism represents a unique and immutable evil.

Abunimah – from the safety of his Chicago home – has also Tweeted his support for another violent Palestinian Intifada.

Interestingly, his blog is still included in the Guardian’s ‘useful links’ section of their Israel page. (Open link and scroll down.)

For more background on Abunimah, click here.

Email shows The Independent got it wrong on Antisemitism working definition

Recently we posted about a peculiar essay about the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism at The Independent, written by a journalist who’s admitted to being prejudiced against Jews.  Though you can read our post to see several of her erroneous claims about antisemitism, and Israel more broadly, we recently were provided evidence which refutes one specific claim made in the article – that the EU retired the Working Definition.

indy headline

First, here’s the EUMC Working Definition:

Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Despite Bar-Hillel’s enthusiastic suggestion that the Working Definition was retired, which she claimed (per the Livingstone Formulation), served to allow Jews to stifle the free speech of Israel’s critics, we pointed to the following facts:

  • In 2010, the UK All-Party Inquiry into antisemitism recommended that the Working Definition should be adopted and promoted by the Government and law enforcement agencies.
  • An official document published by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) recommends the Working Definition as a valuable hate crime data collection tool for law enforcement agencies, and for educators.

Recently, a CiF Watch reader forwarded us her email exchange with a representative from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) – the successor agency to the EUMC (European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia). 

email 1

Now, here’s the FRA reply:

email 2

The next time a commentator hostile to Jews or Israel claims that the EU “retired” or “repudiated” the EUMC Working Definition, you can definitively respond that their Fundamental Rights Agency – per their own words – did nothing of the sort.  

As we’ve noted on numerous occasions, the Working Definition is not law.  

However, it does represent a widely respected and practical guide (formulated by NGOs and reps from the Tolerance and Non-Discrimination section of the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in 2005) used by law enforcement agencies and human rights bodies in the EU to help determine what constitutes anti-Jewish racism. 

Those committed to defending the fundamental human rights of Jews would be wise to follow their lead. 

David Ward MP – Jews, money and power

Cross posted by Mark Gardner at the CST

Jews, money and power is a well-worn antisemitic trinity.

So, what possessed David Ward MP to send this tweet on 15th November?

That Roma are marginalised is not in question. If David Ward MP wishes they had a better reputation, or better representation, then let him say so: but this tweet appears to say far more about the Board of Deputies than it does about marginalised Roma.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews is the representative body of British Jews. It does its job as best it can, and has done so since 1760. It is, in mundane reality, neither awash with money, nor all-powerful. Ward is an MP for Bradford. There are very few Jews in Bradford, but very many Muslims. Taken at face value, the Board would basically be an irrelevancy for both David Ward and his constituents.

Nevertheless, this kind of thinking, the well-worn drawing together of Jews, money and power, betrays Jews, Muslims and Ward’s own Liberal Democrat Party. It also betrays Ward, but only in the sense of revealing how he thinks, or what he may think appeals to his Muslim constituents.

David Ward has, in under a year, gone from relative obscurity to becoming a one man wrecking ball for the reputation of his party. (For brief example, see here; and see here for his attending a meeting on November 4th that disgraced Parliament.)

The Liberal Democrats must have thought that Jenny Tonge’s much awaited exit had put all of this aggravation and nonsense behind them. Unfortunately, Ward has swiftly occupied the space vacated by Tonge’s departure; and, once again, the Jewish community is left dismayed by the antisemitic resonance of statements made by a Liberal Democrat MP.

The last time we got here with Ward, the party leadership suspended him, and failed in attempts to educate him on the subject of antisemitism and Jewish sensitivities. Then, at the recent Liberal Democrat party conference in Glasgow, Ward attended an open meeting of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel group, entitled,

Crossing the line: Israel, Palestine, language and anti-Semitism

Before it, he had tweeted:

looking forward to LDFI event tonight on use of sensitive language

On behalf of CST, I spoke at the meeting, as did Alistair Carmichael MP, Maajid Nawaz and Lesley Klaff.

David Ward and a colleague sat near the front. Ward appeared to be paying very close attention, his face a scowl of concentration as he scribbled furiously throughout. I tried to direct my explanation of contemporary antisemitism and anti-Zionism straight at him, including:

If I think that someone’s made an antisemitic remark, or that the accusations they make against Israel or Zionists sound just like an update of older antisemitism, with the word Zionist used where the word Jew used to be, then I’m not saying that that person hates every single Jew in the world…I’m just saying that they’ve made an antisemitic remark. The context surrounding that remark, and how they react to my perception of what they’ve said, how other people react in accordance with all of that – now that’s important to me.

Because that’s the basics of how racism works. Its a form of political violence. It feeds off loose language and stereotypes. If the media or the politicians or activist groups run anti-immigrant or anti-Muslim or anti-black scare stories, then attacks on those people increase. You know that, we all know that and its no different with Jews. If you don’t care about the anti-Jewish aspect of racism, or about the feelings of Jews as victims, then it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a dyed in the wool antisemite, but it certainly makes you part of the problem.

At the very least, David Ward MP is certainly part of the problem.

Did CiF Watch “browbeat” Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson into submission?

Two days ago, I discovered that CiF Watch, a Jewish supremacist site interested solely in cleansing British press of any criticism of Israel and Jewish power, was boasting that the Guardian surrendered to their pressure – Gilad Atzmon (Jan. 25, 2012)

You can’t win – [antisemitism is] the ultimate trump card. No matter how many innocent people the Israeli state kills, any criticism is automatically proof of anti-semitism. No wonder idiots like Ahmadinejad want to deny the holocaust. They are jealous. They’d love to silence their critics like that. - Martin Rowson (Dec. 2011)

Though Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson is obviously in no way comparable to extremist Gilad Atzmon, we were reminded of both our battle with Atzmon last year and our periodic critiques of Rowson’s depictions of Israeli villainy following a brief Twitter conversation this morning with the ‘visual artist’.  

rowson

This social media tête-à-tête with Rowson reminded us that we were remiss in failing to note a pithy exchange with him a few months ago which would no doubt inspire ‘fear and trembling’ in those, such as Atzmon, who routinely do battle with the cabal of hegemonic, perfidious Jews and their philo-semitic friends.  

rowson

So, per Rowson’s sage advice, we shall now endeavor to “big ourselves up” with the satisfaction of knowing that our “campaign” to stifle the Guardian’s anti-Israel creativity “has worked”, and contemplate the possibility that the global Zionist ‘conspiracy’ to “cleans the British press of any criticism of Israel and Jewish power” may indeed be as far reaching as our enemies claim.  

Why is a Swedish Jew filing for political asylum in her own country?

Last year we had the pleasure of interviewing a Swedish Jew (and Zionist activist) named Annika Hernroth-Rothstein, who recounted her experiences living in a country plagued by a dangerous rise in antisemitism.

Annika Hernroth-Rothstein speaks at a pro-Israel rally in Stockholm, September 2012. Courtesy Black on White.

Annika Hernroth-Rothstein speaks at a pro-Israel rally in Stockholm 2012. Courtesy Black on White.

As the recent poll on European antisemitism by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) confirmed, the already precarious situation for Sweden’s Jews has taken a turn for the worse, and Hernroth-Rothstein’s latest essay at Mosaic Magazine serves as an important personal story to add detail and nuance to the FRA data.

She writes:

Here in Stockholm this fall, we in the Jewish community have enjoyed our 21st annual Jewish film festival, a klezmer concert, and a number of other cultural diversions. I choose the word “diversions” advisedly. It’s thanks to such entertainments that so many of my fellow Jews can allow themselves to say that we’re doing okay here—that there’s no need to rock the boat or cause trouble.

But you know what? We are not okay, and this is not okay.

Kosher slaughter has been outlawed in my country since 1937, and a bill is now pending in parliament that would ban even the import and serving of kosher meat. Circumcision, another pillar of the Jewish faith, is likewise under threat. In my job as a political adviser to a Swedish party, I have dealt with two bills on this issue in the past year alone; a national ban is rapidly gaining political support in the parliament and among the Swedish public. When it comes to our religious traditions, those on both the Right and Left in Swedish politics find common ground; they take pride in defending both animals and children from the likes of us, and from what one politician has called our “barbaric practices.” 

Later, she provides a more personal glimpse into life for Swedish Jews.

In today’s Sweden, home to all of 20,000 Jews amidst a national population of some nine million, the public display of Jewish identity, like donning a kippah or wearing a Star of David pendant, puts an individual at severe risk of verbal harassment and, even worse, physical harm. Synagogues are so heavily guarded that Jewish tourists are turned away if they try to attend services unannounced. Inside the sanctuary, we celebrate our festivals and holy days under police protection. On the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, during the five-minute walk to the water for the ceremony of tashlikh, my young son asked a guard why so many policemen were accompanying us. Replied the officer: “so that no bad people can hurt you.”

This is the self-image—the reality—that Jewish children in Sweden grow up with: being Jewish means being under threat of harm from bad people. This is where we are at.

You can read the rest of Hernroth-Rothstein’s story and learn why she is filing for political asylum in her own country, here.

We also encourage you to read her passionate letter titled ‘How to survive as a Jew in Sweden? Shut up and fade into the woodwork‘.

For context on the situation in Sweden, you can read CST commentaries on the FRA poll about European antisemitism here, here, here and here.

Yes, boycotting the goods and services of six million Jews is certainly antisemitic.

An Australian named Antony Loewenstein penned a piece at ‘Comment is Free’ on Nov. 7 which not only endorsed the unfiltered hate of Max Blumenthal, but defended the claim that the BDS movement against Israel is not antisemitic – specifically justifying the boycott of (of all places) Hebrew University, the Israeli academic institution known for its history of promoting coexistence.

Loewenstein wrote the following:

Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center is an Israel-based organisation that claims to be a civil group “fighting for rights of hundreds of terror victims”. It is currently taking Jake Lynch, head of Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), to the Australian federal court. They assert that Lynch has allegedly breached the 1975 racial discrimination act by refusing to sponsor a fellowship application by Israeli academic Dan Avnon. Lynch and CPACS support BDS, and since Avnon works at Hebrew University.

Of course, as anyone who’s been to either its Givat Ram campus or its main campus at Mount Scopus can attest to, Hebrew University is where Jews and Arabs (both Christian and Muslim) can be found mingling freely in the classroom, the cafeteria, and other common areas – sometimes encountering each other for the first time. Indeed, it was no coincidence that the university was the target of a Hamas terrorist attack in 2002, where a bomb packed with shrapnel was placed in a bag in a crowded cafeteria, killing nine people – four Israelis and five foreign nationals – and injuring 85.

Loewenstein addresses the issue of BDS and antisemitism in the following sentence:

The Australian which has been driving the debate on the issue, publishing countless stories that deliberately conflates antisemitism and support for the BDS movement.

Interestingly, Lowenstein doesn’t spend any further space attempting to back up his argument. Indeed, as his own one-state advocacy demonstrates, BDS advocates who target the entire country and all of its institutions are typically not trying to undermine the legitimacy of the settlements but, rather, the legitimacy of the state’s existence within any borders.

As a comprehensive survey published recently by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) indicates, campaigns which seek the economic, cultural and academic exclusion of Israeli Jews is viewed as racist by a large majority of Europe’s Jews. This survey of Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of antisemitism in the EU (which covers the UK, France, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Italy Hungary, and Latvia) reported that 72 percent believed that the boycott of Israeli goods was antisemitic.

Perceptions of the moral implications of boycotting the only Jewish state should be contextualized within the overall results of the poll, which found that an increasing number of Jews in Europe fear for their safety, with nearly 30 percent of respondents having seriously considered emigrating due to antisemitism.  Additionally, 26 percent had experienced one or more incident of antisemitic harassment in the previous 12 months and, quite chillingly, nearly 70 percent “at least occasionally avoid wearing items in public that might identify them as Jewish”.

John-Paul Pagano, in his superb essay at The Tower on the legacy of Norman Geras, wrote the following on the moral double-standards at play which unite antisemitism and anti-Zionism:

Norm had little patience for the standard defense that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. “No, it isn’t,” he wrote, “unless it is.” He granted that the two are not necessarily the same, but he rejected the idea that simply announcing the difference grants immunity from charges of racism. “In the outpouring of hatred towards Israel today,” he wrote, “it scarcely matters what part of it is impelled by a pre-existing hostility towards Jews as such and what part by a groundless feeling that the Jewish state is especially vicious among the nations of the world…. Both are forms of anti-Semitism.”

Anti-Zionist activists like Loewenstein evidently wake up in the morning, glance at the news coming out of the Middle East, and react in righteous fury not at the medieval antisemitism codified in Hamas’s founding charter, or the sick spectacle of Palestinian children reciting lessons learned on the immutable evil of those “sons of monkeys and pigs”, but, perversely, at the Jewish target of this monstrous, consuming hate. 

The unsettling reality is that seventy-five years after Kristallnacht an increasing percentage of Europe’s tiny Jewish minority again feel the anxiety born of racism, exclusion and violence.  And, the fact that this beleaguered community interprets a campaign of boycotts targeting six million of their coreligionists as antisemitic should only offend those who fail to interpret the refrain “never again” as a moral imperative to safeguard the rights and safety of living Jews, not merely the memory of those who have long since perished.