Moi? Surely not!

February 24th, 2010 by Dave Rich

Sheikh Qaradawi has been in self-righteous mode on al-Jazeera recently. According to MEMRI (free registration required), he has criticised preachers who call for Jews and Christians to be killed:

I denounced some contemporary religious preachers, who curse the Jews and the Christians, saying: “Allah, annihilate the Jews and the Christians.” Where did this come from? There are Jews and Christians in our Muslim countries. There are Copts in Egypt, and Christians in Syria. So how can you curse them? Not only that, but they curse: “Allah, turn their children in orphans,” “Allah, destroy their homes.” Who sanctioned such prayers? The Koran does not call to turn children into orphans or to destroy homes. There are no such things in the prayers of the Prophet Muhammad.

Who on earth are these “contemporary religious preachers” who say this? Where indeed did this idea come from? Perhaps the answer can be found in these quotes from sermons given by Sheikh Qaradawi himself, at the Umar Bin-al-Khattab mosque in Doha, Qatar, and translated by BBC Monitoring:

O God, support our brothers in Palestine. O God, protect them and show them the right path. O God, destroy the usurper Jews, the vile Crusaders, and infidels. O God, destroy them along with their supporters. (13 June 2003)

O God, deal with the treacherous, usurper, and unjust Jews. O God, deal with them and their supporters with your power. O God, blow away their wind, remove their states and rule, and do not make them affect any of Your faithful subjects. O God, O revealer of the book, O mover of the clouds, and O vanquisher of the infidels, defeat them and grant us victory over them. (13 February 2004)

O God, support our mujahideen brothers on the land of Palestine. O God, strengthen them, unite them, and help them score a victory. O God, turn against the arrogant, usurper, unjust, aggressor Jews and their wicked Crusader allies. (20 February 2004)

O God, deal with your enemies, the enemies of Islam. O God, deal with the usurper, oppressor, and tyrannical Jews. O God, deal with the plotter and rancorous crusaders. (4 June 2004)

O God, deal with the usurper, aggressor and treacherous Jews and their allies. O God, turn against them and spare us their evil. (25 November 2005)

Recognising antisemitism

February 23rd, 2010 by Dave Rich

It should go without saying that antisemitism, like all forms of racism, cannot be fought unless people recognise it, understand it and are prepared to challenge it.

There have been a few examples recently of the failure to do this in mainstream circles. The complete lack of response, for instance, to Michele Renouf’s anti-Jewish outburst in the House of Lords last month, as highlighted on this blog on Wednesday. The allegation on the BBC that up to a million Jews worldwide form a support network for Mossad, which passed without challenge. Nick Clegg’s refusal to withdraw the Liberal Democrat whip from Baroness Tonge or force her to end her association with Palestine Telegraph, despite that website’s repeated promotion of vicious and open antisemitism. So much for ‘zero tolerance': all too often, antisemitism is tolerated or just ignored, probably because it is not recognised or understood.

Barry Rubin has an interesting anecdote which sheds some light on why this might be the case:

Bertram Wolfe, an expert on Communism and the USSR who died in 1977, wrote an obscure little book in 1965 entitled, Strange Communists I Have Known, with fascinating personal profiles and anecdotes about his experiences.

In “The Strange Case of Litvinov’s Diary,” Wolfe recounts a marvelous little scholarly mystery. Shortly after the death of former Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov in 1951, a manuscript purporting to be his secret diary surfaced. A prestigious British publisher asked Professor E.H. Carr, the famous historian, to examine it for authenticity. Carr strongly endorsed it as genuine, even offering to write the preface about its historical importance.

A well-known American publisher gave Wolfe the same task. Wolfe found dozens of flaws showing the manuscript was an obvious forgery. Moreover, by comparing it to things written earlier by the former Soviet diplomat who supplied the manuscript, Wolfe even proved that this man was the forger. If you read the details you can see that Wolfe’s case is air-tight.

But what interests me (and you) most is Wolfe’s first reason for finding the manuscript phony:

“The opening pages…began with the first of a series of visits from a rabbi…who comes to Litvinov as one Jew to another to complain [that Soviet authorities] had looted two synagogues and arrested the rabbi of Kiev….Litvinov promises to intervene, though he knows that Stalin `doesn’t like me to interfere in questions concerning the Jewish religion.’”

Indeed, the “diary” claimed, when Litvinov had previously tried to help imprisoned Jews, Stalin threatened to try him before a high Communist party committee. But, Litvinov supposedly wrote, “I couldn’t help smiling at the threat” because the committee’s head Soltz “is the son of the rabbi of Vilna.”

[...]

Wolfe was flabbergasted. He explains: “Thus, the opening passage presented Litvinov” as a loyal Jew, “ready to defend any and every Jew against his government and his party.” The same characteristics absurdly and falsely, are attributed to the committee’s head, Soltz, a “fanatical” Communist.

But, Wolfe writes, “Litvinov and Soltz had rejected their Jewish heritage in their youth. Their Jewish origin tended to make them more rather than less hostile toward religious and anti-Communist Jews.” Yet Litvinov, Soltz, and other Soviet Communist leaders of Jewish background are portrayed throughout the diary as pro-Jewish and even pro-Zionist.

[...]

Wolfe concludes, referring to the manuscript: “I realized I was dealing with something I have frequently met [a supposed revelation of]: the ‘international Jewish conspiracy,’ the myth of Jewish solidarity overriding all political and other differences.”

Wolfe warned the British publisher, which ignored him and published it, and the American publisher, which rejected the manuscript.

Carr was a fine scholar and no antisemite. Yet he had missed entirely Wolfe’s opening point, something  Wolfe was more sensitive about being Jewish himself, though also a former Communist who had a great deal in common with Litvinov and Soltz. In contrast, the  British scholar and publisher didn’t comprehend the book’s antisemitic message, didn’t see how the claims made about Jews proved it to be a forgery, or didn’t care.

The contemporary point here is this: Despite decades of documentation and explanation about antisemitism, a large proportion of the Western intelligentsia doesn’t understand it. For them, Jews—at least those who aren’t almost totally assimilated intellectuals either indifferent or hostile to their backgrounds—are incomprehensible. They don’t subscribe to traditional antisemitic—that is, medieval Christian and Nazi–stereotypes but are blind to their permutations.

In other words, they don’t know antisemitism when they see it–or even practice it–unless it is in the crudest historical forms which they understand better since they were right-wing. What they don’t comprehend are the themes. If two American academics speak of pervasive behind-the-scenes Jewish influence using ridiculous sources, they can proclaim their innocence of antisemitism. If a former president uses traditional antisemitic themes but just changes the target from “Jews” to “Israelis,” or others use the word “Zionist” instead of “Jew” but employ all the old stereotypes they are baffled when someone tries to explain this point.

This Carr-style response thus manifests itself in two ways. The more obvious is the mere substitution of the word “Israeli” or “Zionist” for Jewish, that is not just being critical of Israel but doing so in ways that mirror the old categories of antisemitism: seeking world domination; having massive power behind the scenes to twist countries’ governments against their own national interests; dominating the media; being evil in nature or having evil intentions; murdering little children for organs (instead of the traditional blood); hating non-Jews and holding their lives to be cheap; and so on and so on.

Second, beyond all the specifics, Jews (or Israelis or Zionists) are seen as some strange form of life to whom the usual rules don’t apply. You simply don’t need the same level of evidence; the same standard of right and wrong; the same level of balance when dealing with this group.

Blood & Honour: the case for proscription

February 22nd, 2010 by Dave Rich

The Centre for Social Cohesion and Nothing British have produced a report (pdf) on the neo-Nazi Blood & Honour network, which uses music to promote racism, antisemitism and violence.

It makes the case for Blood & Honour to be added to the Home Office list of proscribed terrorist organisations, summed up in the report’s Conclusion which we reproduce below.

The B&H organisation in the UK constitutes an undeniable threat to both security and community relations within the UK. Its propaganda is centred on an apocalyptic vision of racial conflict, and unambiguously encourages respect for, and glorification of, terrorist actions carried out in the name of furthering the cause of neo-Nazism. The B&H National Socialist Political Soldiers Handbook, in particular, provides information and advice that would clearly be useful in the commission or preparation of an act of terrorism.

B&H is ostensibly a ‘political’ movement; but arguably it has far more in common with other violent ideological forms of extremism than it does with what is generally understood as ‘politics’, even of a nationalist variety. Certainly, as an explicitly anti-democratic, anti-liberal, fascist organisation, B&H constitutes an atavistic manifestation of the same venomous mix of racial hatred and a cult of violence that came to prominence in the original Nazi movement. B&H takes its name, its imagery and indeed much of its ideology from the Third Reich, which is exalted as the apotheosis of white European achievement.

As fervent followers of Nazism in a world that has, in the wake of World War II and the Holocaust, so clearly rejected this ideology, B&H supporters exist outside the bounds of normal social and political interaction. The group, therefore, acts as a magnet to those who feel disenfranchised and, in more extreme cases, to the pathological, who find in its message and its embrace of neo-Nazism as an ‘identity’, a vehicle by which to indulge their extreme prejudice and nihilistic hatred of the modern world. As such, B&H is less a genuine ‘political’ threat than it is an incubator for racially motivated violence, which has already spilled over on a number of occasions into outright terrorism.

For these reasons, the government must seriously consider proscribing B&H, or else take stronger measures to prevent the proliferation of the militant white supremacist ideology that, if left unchecked, opens up the very real possibility of the future loss of innocent lives at the hands of those who act in the name of reviving Nazism.

Bomb thrown at Cairo synagogue

February 22nd, 2010 by Dave Rich

Associated Press reports:

A man hurled a suitcase containing a makeshift bomb at Cairo’s main downtown synagogue in the early hours Sunday morning, but there were no injuries or damage, police said.

According to the police report, a man entered a hotel located on the fourth floor of a building across from the synagogue at around 3 a.m. and as he was checking in, abruptly threw his suitcase out the window.

The case contained four containers of gasoline each attached to a glass bottle of sulfuric acid meant to shatter on impact and ignite the makeshift bomb, said police, who speculated the man may have panicked.

The bag, which also contained clothes, cotton strips, matches and a lighter, fell onto the sidewalk in front of the hotel and briefly caught fire before being extinguished. There were no injuries and no damage to the historic synagogue.

The suspect fled the scene and is now being sought by police.

Taking outreach to extremes

February 17th, 2010 by Dave Rich

Here is a video from a meeting of Society Outreach, a group which organises regular meetings in Parliament to discuss Middle Eastern matters. It is the last in a 10-part record of the meeting on youtube.

The meeting is chaired by Lord Nazir Ahmed. On the panel is Oliver Miles, recently in the news for pointing out the vital information that there are two Jews on the Chilcott Inquiry, here speaking in his capacity as a former British ambassador to Libya.

At about 6:20, a familiar face makes a contribution to the debate: Lady Michele Renouf, probably Britain’s most prolific – and certainly most glamorous – Holocaust denier.

Renouf has an ingenious solution for the Israel/Palestine conflict, which involves Israel being dismantled and all “those people” – which seems to include European Jews – moving to eastern Russia:

…most of the conflicts we are talking about are as a consequence of the pirate in Palestine and the absolutely criminal state that needn’t  exist, because – and I run a campaign about it – there is a first Jewish homeland in Birobidzhan, it’s been peacefully set up since 1928, it is still there to receive European Jews, and there was no need morally or in any sense after 1945 for those people to pirate Palestine. And this is the issue that we don’t want to face and the British [UN] veto arises from this nonsense.” (applause)

Watching this video, as the applause subsided I wondered what the reaction in the room would be to such an outrageous suggestion, straight out of the canon of pre-war ‘Jewish Problem’ theorising. I was to be very disappointed, and the most depressing thing of all is that I wasn’t surprised.

Nobody – not Lord Ahmed as  meeting chair, or the panellists, or anyone in the audience expressed any objection. I’m perfectly willing to accept that Lord Ahmed, Oliver Miles and the rest don’t know who Renouf is and didn’t agree with her. Perhaps they just weren’t listening properly – although the applause suggests that at least some people heard her clearly enough. But racism needs to be challenged whenever and wherever it appears, and the fact that not one person in the room felt moved to object is very troubling indeed.

Protocols then and now

February 17th, 2010 by Dave Rich

Gilad Atzmon, jazz musician and ex-Israeli, writing last week in Dissident Voice –  which describes itself as “a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice”:

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.

John Tyndall, lifelong neo-Nazi and founder of the British National Party, writing in the far right journal Spearhead (“a cross-section of contemporary British nationalist opinion”) in 1976:

What is it that makes ‘anti-Semitism’ a doctrine, as distinct from merely a sentiment? It is, of course, the theory of a Jewish plan for world conquest, a theory which has found expression in numerous writings but is best known as the central theme in the famous Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Ever since this document appeared in Russia in the 1890s there has been argument about its authenticity, and it may indeed be that it was, as the Jews claim, a forgery concocted by the Tsarist political police in order to justify draconian measures against them.

But to assume that the whole Jewish Question hangs on the authenticity or otherwise of the Protocols is to miss the point. What is it that distinguishes the novelists who earn, universally, the description of ‘great’ and whose works form a part of the heritage of the most cultured communities the world over, from the ordinary cheap thriller-writers who perhaps earn big royalties but who are seldom acknowledged as making any contribution to the enrichment of the mind? It is, of course, that the really great writer, while his story is fiction, bases that story on true phenomena of life which millions can immediately recognise as parallelling their own experiences…In my view it is incumbent on the Jews who dislike the theme of the Protocols not to prove that the book itself is a forgery, but to prove that the theme contained in it is wrong.

The two passages are remarkably similar, although I certainly do not intend to accuse Atzmon of plagiarism. A lot of people have noticed that there are parts of the anti-Zionist world where traditional antisemitic ideas, language or images are recycled as anti-Zionist, with only the slightest change of emphasis or wording. Criticism of Israel or Zionism is all well and good; but surely nobody would be happy to find themselves unwittingly parrotting John Tyndall?

Another antisemite convicted in Manchester

February 16th, 2010 by Mark Gardner

Last week, CST blog reported about a mother and son in North Manchester who were convicted of a series of antisemitic attacks, in which they had driven around, shouting abuse at local Jews and squirting them with liquid.

Now, another man in the same area has been convicted of making racist remarks to a Jewish ambulance driver who was treating Jewish youths after they had been bitten by the man’s dog.  

CST’s Manchester office enjoys an especially close relationship with the local Jewish community and also with local police. These relationships have led to unusually high reporting rates of antisemitic crimes in the area. We sincerely hope that news of these convictions will encourage even greater co-operation and partnership in the future.

The Crown Prosecution service press release of this latest conviction is as follows:

BROUGHTON MAN CONVICTED OF RACIAL HARASSMENT OVER ANTI-SEMITIC REMARKS

 Greater Manchester Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said it will robustly prosecute hate crime against the Jewish community after a case in which a man admitted racially aggravated harassment

 Sentenced today at Minshull Street Crown Court, Clifford Nelson, 63, had previously pleaded guilty to the charges of racially aggravated harassment and owning a dog which caused injuries whilst dangerously out of control in a public place.

 The charges relate to an incident in March 2009 when Clifford Nelson racially abused a Jewish ambulance driver who was treating orthodox Jewish youths bitten by dogs owned by Clifford Nelson.

 Jill Yates, Salford Divisional Crown Prosecutor for the CPS said: “The seven dogs had escaped through an open door from Clifford Nelson’s house and, in two separate incidents, the dogs attacked groups of orthodox Jewish youths. After three of the youths were bitten, a private Hatzola ambulance driver treated their injuries.

 “The ambulance driver followed the pack of dogs to a Higher Broughton address where he was confronted by Clifford Nelson, the owner of the dogs, who shouted racist abuse at him in a threatening manner.

 “Nelson, who had been drinking on the evening of the attack, accepted that the dogs were out of control and that the racist abuse would cause the ambulance driver distress.

 “This conviction sends out a clear message – hate crime of any sort will not be tolerated on our streets. Using the Community Prosecutor approach, the CPS will continue to challenge anti-Semitism in Salford.”

 The Community Prosecutor scheme is part of a Government Green Paper on community justice in England and Wales.

 As part of the initiative, senior prosecuting lawyers work with police and communities to prioritise offences and provide a more locally-responsive service which works closely with all agencies.

 Prosecutors also utilise community impact statements, which give communities the chance to feed in their views on crimes in their area and the impact the crimes have had on local people.

 Nelson was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, disqualified for owning more than one dog for five years, received a supervision order for 12 months and ordered to undertake 50 hours of unpaid work.

 ENDS

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