Boycott Israel: Zionists are “the most hateful people imaginable”

May 25th, 2012 by Mark Gardner

The website of the London branch of the boycott Israel movement (the people who intend to disrupt next week’s Israeli performances of The Merchant of Venice), carries an article stating that Zionists are

the most hateful people imaginable

The boycott Israel article also describes Zionism as:

 a murderous, parasitic doctrine

Dehumanisation and demonisation are the basic building blocks of racism and racist violence. Zionism is a political choice, so anti-Zionism is not exactly racism.

Still, most Jews are Zionists; and Zionism is inextricably linked with Jews, Judaism and Jewish history. To be a Zionist in a post-Holocaust world is, for many Jews, simply the most basic issue of survival.

In 2010, JPR’s survey showed that 72% of British Jews self-categorise as “Zionist”.

If Zionists are “the most hateful people imaginable” then surely Zionists, as well as Israel, ought to be boycotted? Hell, Zionists probably deserve a good kicking also. After all, who ever complained when neo-Nazi skinheads get assaulted?

So, if you dehumanise and demonise Zionists there will be an antisemitic outcome.

Nobody asks Jewish victims a survey about Zionism before hitting them over the head, or trying to burn down their synagogue, or trying to murder children at a Jewish Primary school. (Indeed, this is why the anti-Zionist leftists have nothing to say about any of this, not even when it comes down to dead children.)

The boycott article also states

 The Palestinian people are undergoing a slow-motion genocide courtesy of Israel.

“Slow-motion genocide” might be amusingly ludicrous were it not so gravely serious: in its perversion of morality and fact; in its sickening resonance with the reality of Zionism as a response to Jews having faced a real, fast-motion, genocide; in its disgusting implication that 72% of British Jews are supporters of genocide.

In support of all this, the article references opposition to a demonstration against Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. Of course, there is no mention of the many Zionist voices in Britain and elsewhere that vociferously criticise Lieberman: to acknowledge that would be to impute some humanity to Zionists. It would undermine the inflammatory and hateful statements that Zionists (without any distinction) are “the most hateful people imaginable”, with their implied support for a genocide of Palestinians.   

In referencing the Lieberman demonstration, there is a link to another article. The subtitle to this one is:

In the Belly of the Beast with Mad, Brainwashed, Zionist Crazies 

“The Beast” in question is Hendon, a dull North London suburb that is home to a large Jewish community. This is how the boycotters talk of normal Jewish neighbourhoods.

“Mad, Brainwashed, Zionist Crazies” is how the boycotters talk about people who turned out to oppose an anti-Israel demonstration in the midst of their Jewish neighbourhood. The organisers of this opposition have condemned the handful of people who stupidly support the racist Kach movement. Again, such distinctions are ignored by the anti-Israel boycotters, the haters of any and all Zionists. 

According to this same article, the Belly of the Hendon Beast protestors were “rich, Zionist kids”. Hendon does have some nice houses, but it also has its fair share of council tower blocks and estates. Calling the demonstrators “rich, Zionist kids” is another sneer, another spit of contempt, with a hint of rich Jew chucked in for ugly measure. 

Arch critic of Israel, Norman Finkelstein, alarmed his boycott Israel movement admirers when he backed what its opponents have said for years: that the boycott aims for the total destruction of Israel, nothing less. He may, however, not have been plain enough, because the brutal language of these boycotters is surely a demand for the total destruction of Zionism in all of its (supposed) forms; and with all of the inevitable impacts upon Jews.  

Finally, if Emma Thompson and the other luvvies who back a culture boycott against Israel want to be in the same camp as these haters, then that is their choice, but these kind of scripts will encourage antisemitism. Jews may be hated for being Zionists, rather than for ‘merely’ being Jews, but they will be hated and attacked all the same, because that is how such filth works.

Iran: how Zionist Jewish money runs Western media

May 25th, 2012 by Mark Gardner

The old antisemitic lie about Jews running the media is not one you hear too often these days.

Nevertheless, nods, winks and hints about media (especially American media), somehow bowing before a pro-Israel agenda remains painfully common in certain left media and activist circles.

We hear how brave a journalist needs to be in order to criticise Israel. We hear that any journalist critical of Israel gets called an antisemite; and that these poor frightened things are committing career suicide. Of course, the mechanism of how this works is rarely spelt out, such details are usually left to the imagination of the reader or the audience.

Iranian journalists, however, run no such risks; and they are not afraid to call an anti-Israel spade an antisemitic conspiracy theory. 

Here is the BBC’s Summary of World Broadcasts translation of the Fars News Agency website, 25 May 2012:

The deputy minister of Islamic Guidance in charge of the media, Mohammad Ja’far Mohammadzadeh has said that there are no independent media in the West, Fars news agency reported on 25 May.

“There are no independent media in the West and all media are forced to comply with the Zionist regime to survive and to continue receiving financial support,” the news agency quoted Mohammadzadeh as saying.

He went on to say that 80 per cent of the stock on Wall Street was in the hands of “Zionist Jews” managing the Western media through this fund.

No doubt those who push the nonsense lie that Israel cannot be criticised in Western media will protest that they don’t mean it like that. Ok, so perhaps they can tell us how they actually do mean it? How they think that it is actually enforced? And how can they stop their assinine claims from reinforcing antisemitic myths?

 

 

Important EU study of antisemitism across Europe

May 23rd, 2012 by Mark Gardner

Fieldwork for a major survey on Jewish perceptions and experiences of antisemitism in Europe begins this week.  

The study will be conducted by the UK-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) in partnership with Ipsos MORI.

Conducted on-line, this will be the first major survey of its type. Data will be collected in nine European Union Member States – Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom during the second and the third quarter of 2012. The results will be published in 2013.

CST is proud to be playing its role in the study, having assisted in the planning and now helping in the ongoing monitoring of current conditions that may influence responses to the survey.

The project is commissioned by the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union, and will help both the EU and European Jewish communities to better understand the current conditions and morale of European Jewry.

The online survey will investigate first-hand examples of antisemitic harassment and violence, as well as the extent to which Jews feel safe and secure in Europe today, how they characterize antisemitism, and whether or not they perceive it to be a growing threat. It will further explore how and whether incidents are being reported, and levels of awareness among European Jews about their legal rights.

Antisemitism remains an issue of concern today, not only to Jews, but to everyone in the EU. The ways in which it manifests itself vary according to time and place, and it affects Jews living in the EU in different ways. The FRA is conducting this survey to collect reliable and comparable data on antisemitism. This type of robust evidence will assist EU institutions and national governments in taking the necessary measures that will ensure that the rights of Jewish people are fully respected, protected and fulfilled across the EU, and the survey has been specifically designed with this goal in mind.

(Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, Head of Department Equality and Citizen’s Rights at the FRA)

See this full press release at the website of JPR, the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

 

BBC HARDtalk: any qualms that you could be feeding antisemitism?

May 21st, 2012 by Mark Gardner

Jewish conspiracy theory is fundamental to antisemitism. It relies on the notion of Jewish wealth and power, working against the rest of society. It is commonly expressed as Jews controlling politicians and the media.

This does not render discussion of Jewish political and media influence illegitimate. It does, however, require discussion of them to be sensitive and careful. If one is not discussing a Jewish conspiracy, then a responsible journalist should say so, explicitly. For example, Peter Oborne knew the antisemitic risks in his Channel 4 programme, ‘Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby’. He explicitly stated that he had found no conspiracy, nor anything resembling one. (Sadly, the risks were made clear when many of those covering the programme made no such distinctions.)

Unfortunately, BBC’s flagship HARDtalk programme took no such care in its recent interview with the controversial Norman Finkelstein. On the contrary, the interview proceeded as if American foreign policy is beholden to Israel and that this can only be explained by “the Jewish lobby”.  

Complaints to the BBC solicited the answer you would expect: this is HARDtalk, so we have to reflect the views of our guest, Norman Finkelstein, and we then robustly challenge those views.

Indeed, you would expect a programme of BBC HARDtalk’s calibre to present and challenge such hard to hear views…except it did not. The BBC may well believe that it challenged these views; it may take it as axiomatic that HARDtalk would have done…but it did not.

The management and staff of HARDtalk would, of course, never be so stupid, nor so crass and antisemitic, as to say that “the Jewish lobby” runs America, or American foreign policy or American media. Indeed, they would likely be aghast at such statements: or, at least, with such statements from which all context and other rationales had been removed. And yet, HARDtalk stated that American Presidents have long been

too in thrall to the Jewish lobby…and that explains America’s unwavering support for Israel.

Furthermore, Norman Finkelstein did not even express himself as HARDtalk suggested he did. He did not speak of a “Jewish lobby”, but of an Israel lobby that included a “periphery of large numbers of Jews in influential places”. He argued that this “periphery”  has, until now, made an important difference to America supporting Israel, but is free thinking and is now moving to a more critical position.

Where HARDtalk simply states “Jewish lobby” and then risks the audience filling in the blanks with antisemitism, Finkelstein’s approach to his influential Jews is at least vaguely human and demystifying. You may well vehemently disagree with Finkelstein (about American Jewish media influence, about the lobby explaining American foreign policy decisions etc), you may recoil at the company he keeps, the people he emboldens, his attitudes and beliefs, but he still stresses that the formal Israel lobby is the same as any other foreign lobby group.

Even when Finkelstein discusses his influential Jews, he basically depicts them as behaving as any minority group would, with human behaviours. His argument also implies that these influential Jews are not beholden to Israel. They are capable of free thought and are, indeed, exercising it. (Hence his claim that American Jews are moving away from Israel.)

The HARDtalk programme can be seen here on BBC’s website. The programme description on the BBC website reads:

American Presidents have long been criticised for being too in thrall to the Jewish lobby. That American Jews influence US foreign policy and that explains America’s unwavering support for Israel.

So what happens if American Jews fall out of love with Israel? That’s what the Jewish American academic Norman Finkelstein claims is happening… Could he be right and if he is what does that mean for Middle East policy?

The description was repeated as the introductory remarks of HARDtalk interviewer Sarah Montague.

Following complaints, A BBC spokesman told the Jewish Chronicle

We consider the wording used in the introduction appropriate as the presenter was simply explaining and reflecting the public views of the guest. She makes clear these are the controversial views of Jewish American academic, Norman Finkelstein, and then robustly challenges him in the interview.

Actually, Montague robustly questions Finkelstein on his claim that American Jews are falling out of love with Israel. It is not Finkelstein who says that American Presidents are too “in thrall to the Jewish lobby”, it is Montague. She does not revisit or challenge this wording.  

For example, Montague’s opening question (at 01min 19secs) is, “What is the evidence that American Jews are falling out of love with Israel?”. She makes further interventions at 02.38, 04.30, and 05.41, all of which challenge Finkelstein’s suggestion that the American Jewish love-in for Israel is slipping. Then, interventions at 07.30 and 08.00 challenge Finkelstein’s reputation and reliability.

At 08.50, it sounds as if Montague may be about to challenge the Jewish lobby thesis, she asks Finkelstein, “Why does it matter. You know there is an argument that actually, so what?” Finkelstein replies about the “Israel lobby” and splits it in two. Firstly, the “hard core” which is paid by Israel to lobby, just as other lobbyists are by other countries. Secondly, (at 09.13) the important bit, the bonus ball, the leading Jews:

What makes the lobby so powerful is the periphery of large numbers of Jews in influential places, in magazines, in newspapers, on television, in film, a large periphery of Jews who also have deeply felt, heartfelt feelings for Israel and that periphery is now being lost. American Jews just don’t

Here, Montague intervenes, but she does not argue about large numbers of influential Jews in the media, or anywhere else. Neither does she quibble about how something that is a “periphery” can also be so large and powerful.  Instead, she wants to scrutinise Finkelstein’s claim that the “hard core” Israel lobby is paid for by Israel. There is no challenge to the Jewish power aspect of Finkelstein’s argument. Instead, they argue about who gets paid for what, before Finkelstein returns to the importance of the powerful Jewish periphery, saying the “hard core” Israel lobbyists will have

less sway, less power, if the periphery begins to distance itself from Israel.

Next (11.13), Montague appears to actually endorse the Jewish power thesis, she interjects:

But if the periphery don’t care, then the American President isn’t going to care

Three minutes later (14.11), a similar question again appears to endorse the Jewish power thesis, expanding it to the Jewish Diaspora:

If what you’re saying is true, we then have a Diaspora that doesn’t care so much about Israel. How’s that going to change things are you suggesting? 

Finkelstein answers that a pro-peace and anti-settlements Jewish community would be beneficial for all concerned (including Israel). The interview then goes on to argue over Finkelstein’s book ‘The Holocaust Industry’ and his abrasive style, until (19.24) Montague asks him:

…The argument that for example you feed the antisemites, do you ever have any qualms that actually, you are doing, that you could be doing, their work for them?

The charge is nothing new for Finkelstein. He answers it, but it is a question that the BBC and the HARDtalk team should now ask of themselves.

However inadvertently, the BBC have made a flagship programme sound as if it rests upon an antisemitic conspiracy thesis. They have then allowed that premise to go unchallenged in almost 30 minutes of face to face interview; and, if anything, it sounds like they actually endorse it. The BBC need to take a fresh and honest look at this programme and its promotion. If they have any qualms about perhaps feeding antisemitism, then they should apologise accordingly.

Reflections on Ken Livingstone and London’s Jews

May 18th, 2012 by Dave Rich

I have written an article for the Jewish Daily Forward looking at why so many Jews in London, including Labour-supporting ones, felt they could not back Ken Livingstone for mayor, when on the surface he did a great deal for London Jewish life:

In April, a new phrase entered the London Jewish lexicon. The phrase is simple: “I’m sorry. I can’t. I’m Jewish.” It is a statement of political assertiveness that comes with a resigned smile, a semi-apologetic shrug of the shoulders and a half turn-up of the palms of both hands. It was said in response to Labor Party campaigners when they asked London’s Jews if they would be voting for Ken Livingstone, Labor’s candidate for mayor of London, who lost his bid May 3 to the incumbent Tory, Boris Johnson. This sentiment is rarely challenged, and is normally met with understanding, even empathy.

How did it come to this, that so many Jewish voters, even Labor-supporting ones, were so repelled by Labor’s candidate that they considered their Jewishness reason enough not to vote for him?

The basic answer is simple: The litany of public run-ins between Livingstone and Jews eventually broke the camel’s back. It was, to use an older Jewish phrase, “enough already.”

All the good, practical things that Livingstone did for Jews during his earlier term in office, from 2000 to 2008, from using Trafalgar Square for menorah lightings and for the Simcha in the Square cultural event to housing and welfare provisions for the Orthodox, were rendered irrelevant. “Enough already” came about because what Livingstone said about Jews, Israel and Zionism came to overshadow what he did for London Jewry.

You can read the rest here.

Facebook antisemitism arrests

May 17th, 2012 by Mark Gardner

Strathclyde Police have charged five adults and a child with a breach of the peace with religious and racial aggravations. This follows searches, computer seizures and arrests made on Friday 11th May, 2012 in Glasgow and East Renfrewshire.

The arrests concern antisemitic remarks posted in September 2011, upon a Facebook page entitled “Welcome to Israel, only kidding you’re in Giffnock”. (Giffnock is home to many of Glasgow’s Jews and contains Scotland’s largest synagogue.) The page attracted almost 1,000 likes and its photo profile showed the late Reverend Ernest Levy, a Holocaust survivor and probably the most respected Scottish Jew of his generation.

The page was removed shortly after its creation. At the time, CST Blog discussed it here (in a slightly broader context about a well known Glasgow journalist having pondered “If Giffnock was Gaza”).

Strathclyde Police’s media release on the arrests is shown below. It includes comment by CST, stressing the importance of opposing race hatred on a social network; and praising the determination of local Police to properly pursue it. 

ARRESTS FOLLOWING ANTI-SEMITIC COMMENTS ON FACEBOOK

Following complaints from representatives of the local Jewish Community, police at Giffnock launched an enquiry into a social networking site entitled ‘Welcome toIsrael, only kidding you’re in Giffnock’. This site had attracted a number of posts which were anti-Semitic and racist in nature.

Following an operation on the morning of Friday 11 May involving nearly 50 police officers seven addresses in Glasgow andEast Renfrewshirewere searched under warrant. A significant quantity of computer equipment was seized, and five adult males aged between 18 and 21 and one male juvenile aged 15 were arrested and charged with a Breach of the Peace with religious and racial aggravations. One further male aged 24  was detained and later released without charge pending further enquiry.

The Area Commander for East Renfrewshire, Chief Inspector Alan Murray, stated;

‘This was a very complex and protracted enquiry that required assistance from many departments of Strathclyde Police and the support of the Procurator Fiscal at Paisley. I hope it clearly demonstrates that Strathclyde Police will not tolerate Hate crimes of any kind. It should cause anyone who believes they can get away with this sort of behaviour to think again’.

Kenny Donnelly, Procurator Fiscal at Paisley said;

‘COPFS has a zero-tolerance approach to crimes motivated by bigotry and intolerance of any kind and works closely with Strathclyde Police to investigate allegations of this nature.  There is no place in modern Scotland for such behaviour and we will do all in our power to ensure that offenders are brought to justice.’

The Community Security Trust, which exists to help protect the Jewish Community in the UK also commented as follows;

‘CST welcomes the arrests of suspects regarding alleged antisemitic statements. Glaswegian Jews should be reassured that local Police take antisemitism seriously, and that they are working with CST and the rest of the Jewish community in tackling it when it does arise. In addition, the spread of all types of hatred on Social Networking sites and similar media is a growing problem. So, it is hoped that this innovative investigation by Giffnock and Strathclyde Police, supported by the Procurator Fiscal, will provide a helpful precedent for all of society.’

 

 

Greek neo-Nazis & Egyptian Islamists: Signs of the Times

May 14th, 2012 by Mark Gardner

Two shocking videos reveal the essence of contemporary extremism and its drivers.

The first video concerns the Greek far right party, Golden Dawn. This group received 6.97% of the vote at the Greek elections last week. Worse still, another far right group, LAOS received 2.9%, meaning that virtually 1 in 10 Greek voters supported far right groups. Imagine a scenario in which the British National Party and the National Front were obtaining such results nationwide.

Of course, this is not the first European democracy in recent months and years to see its nationalist vote soar, such as France, where the Front National received a record 18% of the vote in the first round of the 2012 Presidential election. Nevertheless, there is something different in tone and feel about Golden Dawn that sets it apart from most of its European counterparts. For example, one of its (failed) candidates smiling in front of a crematorium oven at Dachau. The photo went on his Facebook site, where friends joked that it “made good bread”.

Golden Dawn’s logo may look like a swastika, but it apparently derives from an ancient Greek meander. Whatever, in the video (showing a press conference after the election results), you can clearly see the chilling aggression and demagoguery of Greek Dawn’s leader and his bully boy skinhead poseur assistants.

The second video concerns the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. This group threatens to dominate the  Egyptian political scene.

2012 polling suggests that 61% of Egyptians want to annul their country’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel (a rise of 7% from 2011). The video shows that the Muslim Brotherhood will be only too happy to oblige. This is the campaign launch for its Presidential candidate. There are calls for a “United States of the Arabs” with Jerusalem as its capital; and mass chanting of “Allah Akbar” and “Millions of martyrs, march upon Jerusalem”.

This is followed by a mass chorusing of these catchy lines:

“Come on you lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas”

And

“Banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews”

This is essentially the same Muslim Brotherhood that seeks to influence the ideology and  representation of Britain’s diverse Muslim communities, mosques and students. These are the people with whom elements of the British far left have made common cause; and whom many others think they can work with and welcome to tour this country with no ill effect for our society.

In both Egypt and Greece you have proud, ancient countries, whose civilisations have shaped their entire regions, if not the history of the world.

In Greece, the utter collapse of the centrist democratic parties means you can almost reach out and touch the political helplessness and frustration of the population.

In Egypt, the levels of Greek despair have not really been reached, because there is also a sense of coming change against the military rulers; and an ensuing mass empowerment. (You can feel this in video of the Presidential launch rally.)

The British media has reported upon the Greek situation and its extremists with all of the alarm and scrutiny that one would expect. Sadly, the coverage of the Arab Spring has been far more superficial: especially in its analysis of what may well lie ahead, how that will impact in Britain and across Europe; and how competing extremisms will, inevitably, feed off each other.

Jews have long known that antisemitism is an advance warning of deep societal despair and division. There are many others who should study these short videos and learn the lesson, fast.

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