A London interruption

Israel/Palestine
on 38 Comments

Yesterday I was at a pub quiz in London, and talking to my friends about how I was going to a launch of a book on Palestine by Bidisha, and a man sitting at the next table with his wife (but who had spent the evening checking me and my friend out and listening to our conversation) piped up:

“I’ve lived in Palestine.”

Oh, where was that? I responded.

“In the historical, biblical land of Israel.”

I warned him that if he was going to defend the idea of Eretz Israel he should not engage with me, but he was looking for a fight and had already started to shake with rage. He and his wife concluded that my citing of international laws made me a “bigot” and “anti-Semite”. Unpleasant experience, but I was struck by how desperate and almost deranged Israel’s apologists have become.

There was a time not that long ago that my friend’s mother – a left-wing artist – would have defended Israel as, simply, a socialist paradise, a humane refuge for Holocaust survivors, a triumph against British imperialism. Now she is regularly incensed by Israel’s transparent attempts to deflect condemnation of its brutality and war crimes. Things truly are unravelling for Israel’s apologists, I believe.

38 Responses

  1. radii
    May 16, 2012, 4:43 pm

    it is very important that all people speak openly and about the most sensitive topics directly to israelis and zionists – for far too long the cloak of victimhood has cowed far too many into silence – israel and zionism’s crimes are legion and are horrific and must be discussed and challenged so that israel can change and there is a chance for all to live in peace over there – only pressure will compel change because israel’s usual course is to blame the victim and bulldoze the evidence

    • Miss Costello
      May 17, 2012, 7:35 am

      ” israel’s usual course is to blame the victim and bulldoze the evidence”
      Dont forget brave Rachel Corrie, it bulldozed her too.

  2. Woody Tanaka
    May 16, 2012, 4:53 pm

    Good article.

    “a triumph against British imperialism”

    Does anyone seriously believe this? The British leaving Palestine was a minor side effect of the decision to grant India Independence. If they had chosen otherwise, does anyone seriously think they would have permitted a potentially hostile country to control the approaches to the Suez Canal? Their lifeline to the Crown of Empire? Not likely.

    • Sumud
      May 16, 2012, 5:15 pm

      Indeed.

      Israel’s “War of Independence” is pure hasbara.

      • seafoid
        May 17, 2012, 3:39 am

        Sah. It’s a total joke. They had to ship in the population AFTERWARDS.

      • Sumud
        May 17, 2012, 6:14 am

        They had to ship in the population AFTERWARDS.

        And, they waited until Britain announced they were leaving before launching their “War of Independence” – fought nearly entirely on the offensive, ie. while invading the Palestinian partition.

        Just dumb!

      • Miss Costello
        May 17, 2012, 7:37 am

        Cowards.

    • RoHa
      May 16, 2012, 8:01 pm

      “a triumph against British imperialism”

      Against? If not for British imperialism, Israel would never have come into existence.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 17, 2012, 10:16 am

        “If not for British imperialism, Israel would never have come into existence.”

        Interesting how the Zionists never seem to mention that.

    • ahadhaadam
      May 16, 2012, 8:45 pm

      That’s not accurate. You are accepting the basic premise that Israel’s independence was a result of a struggle against British imperialism whereas the facts are that Israel could not have even been conceived or created without British imperialism and colonialism.

      Israel’s existence is due to British colonialism and imperialism, not because of a struggle against it, in the same way that Israel’s existence and sustenance today is a result of American imperialism, not a struggle against it.

      • Blake
        May 16, 2012, 9:56 pm

        Independence from what country? Who was oppressing them?

      • Sumud
        May 17, 2012, 6:22 am

        Who was oppressing them?

        Why the Palestinians of course! Merely by existing.

        The zionists needed their lebensraum after all.

      • chocopie
        May 16, 2012, 10:01 pm

        This is true. My father-in-law was a Palestinian laborer working in a port city British Post Office during 1948, and the Zionists were running weapons through the P.O. and stockpiling them on the premises. It was out in the open, people around him were talking about it, but naturally they assumed he didn’t understand English.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 17, 2012, 10:19 am

        ahadhaadam,

        perhaps you are reading me wrong. My point was that the Israelis did not win a war against British Imperialism. The British left because they had no self-interest in remaining, not because the zionists fought them. If they had wanted to stay, they would have crushed the opposition to them, as they have done everywhere in the world for centuries. But the reality was that, without the need to keep open routes to India, there was no need to keep Palestine.

        I absolutely agree that the creation of the zionist project and the state of Isreal were both products of British imperialism.

      • Blake
        May 18, 2012, 7:58 am

        Woody they did consider their troops safety paramount against Zionist terror attacks. However it was probably more to it than that. Brits made promises they did not keep.

  3. FreddyV
    May 16, 2012, 5:04 pm

    @Phil: You were in London?

    I would’ve taken you out for a beer!

    The guy you met would be the exception here. Most people don’t understand the conflict unless they’re Jewish or Christian Zionist and they are a minority here. Other than that it’s rational human beings who have a heart for human rights causes and have learned about this issue and are understandably pro Palestine.

    I hope it didn’t reflect too deeply on our national character.

    If you’re still here, go to Covent Garden and try the pasty shop. It’s like Soul Food for us.

    • Blake
      May 16, 2012, 5:37 pm

      According to Dutch Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer ‘Formerly, an anti-Semite was somebody who hated Jews because they were Jews and had a Jewish soul. But nowadays an anti-Semite is someone who is hated by the Jews’.

      “The Zionists are automatons. Wherever I speak they do always the same. They come to the audience without any arguments or just shout “lies!” … They are brainwashed to nothing.” -Hajo Meyer Dutch Holocaust survivor, May 01 2011.

    • braciole
      May 16, 2012, 6:19 pm

      Cornish pasty – the best advert for vegetarianism I’ve ever known. Have you ever really looked at the meat or at least what is alleged to be meat in one!
      BTW, you should try a butter pie from up North – Pebby’s in Great Ecc do one with a truly sublime filling although their pastry could do with some lard in it! Now a hot butter pie with a piece of Cream Lancashire cheese melted on top is a national dish to be proud of and I’m a bloody Yorkshireman by parentage.

    • Blake
      May 16, 2012, 6:36 pm

      Eleanor Kilroy was in London Fred.

      • FreddyV
        May 17, 2012, 3:22 am

        Doh!

      • braciole
        May 17, 2012, 11:01 am

        When first posted, Phil’s name was attached to this. Then it was corrected.

  4. braciole
    May 16, 2012, 5:42 pm

    While you’re in London, take a trip to Beigal Bake (that is the correct spelling!!!!!) at the top end of Brick Lane. Try either one of their filled beigals (yes, that is the correct spelling) or one of their salt beef (corned beef to you) sandwiches on rye with hot English mustard (a truly life-changing experience but I’m not paying your cardiologist’s bill) It says a lot about London, although I haven’t worked quite what yet.

    ps It’s not kosher.

    • Taxi
      May 17, 2012, 12:55 am

      braciole,

      Woohoo I lurv Beigal Bake! Used to go there after nightclubbing for hot-off-the-tray cup cakes at 3am – and that was twenty years ago! Always always a long line of hungry customers waiting outside the cute little ‘byegal shop’ (as everyone pronounced it).

      In 2010 I took a cab ride in London and soon as the white, middle-aged cockney cab driver found out I was American he said, without prompting: “why does your country support that horrible country, israel? I said:”I hear you bro, don’t start me up on the subject”. He said: “zionists are the worst people on the planet”. “I agree”, I said, “lets go have a beer and talk about it”. He laughed and politely declined as he was on driving duty, but finished with:”Some people just never learn, do they?”.

      You’d be surprised at how many ‘regular’ British folk support the Palestinians – especially after the massacres of Gaza. Gaza was a real eye-opener for millions of people around the planet who’d never really paid attention to the I/P conflict and now see israelis through that horrible prism.

      • seafoid
        May 17, 2012, 9:52 am

        Regular British people are very decent and they don’t tend to support wanton cruelty of the type that props up Israel.

  5. braciole
    May 16, 2012, 5:45 pm

    BTW, that is the real shame about Israel – the Zionists kissed the British arse while the Palestinians tried to rebel against the British back in 1936ish. If the Zionists had fought alongside the Palestinians against the British imperialist…………………..

  6. MHughes976
    May 16, 2012, 5:50 pm

    I’d have joined you. I encounter some vocal Zionism even among friends, sadly.

  7. American
    May 16, 2012, 6:58 pm

    Was a trimuph against British imperialism?????…LOL that is too funny.

    They don’t think it was British ‘Imperialism’ that gave the Zios some Arab land..like well. ”we can move countries and people around to suit out own needs and problems.”
    So the zios have to thank British Imperilism.
    Do they know what Imperialism is? LOL..doesn’t sound like it…

    • Taxi
      May 17, 2012, 2:24 am

      American,
      What else do you expect from a buncha lying, thieving, racist ingrates?!

      A clear zionist trait: biting, chewing then spitting out every hands that feeds it.

  8. American
    May 16, 2012, 7:13 pm

    I live in the wrong part of the country, I can’t find a single Jew to have an argument with about Israel around here….none of them give a s*** about Israel. I did have a semi-altercation with a christian history teacher in- law of a friend of mine….I think I won…she started dribbing spit and walking in circles and finally wandered off.

    • Danaa
      May 17, 2012, 1:45 am

      Same here, American. Not a Jew in sight for miles around. As for Israel – I get nothing but silence when I mention it to folks who ask about the accent. No questions, no comments, just polite silence, a hint to move to another subject? Which unspoken request I’m happy to oblige. Sometimes I get “oh”, then a comment about the rain on the way. That from people who do their best to show interest and do ask things enough to be friendly, even of someone who’s clearly from elsewhere. No talent for phoniness around here. No wonder I don’t miss california much .

      • American
        May 17, 2012, 4:03 am

        Oh, there are Jews here…known some couples for 40 years,
        a long time, but none that care about Israel. Get this pained headache look like ‘can this please just go away’ when it was brought up..
        They are religious, go to temple and all, but that is the extent of their being Jewish. None have been to Israel except one who after his divorce from his first wife, who was Jewish also, she kidnapped their son and took him to Israel and he had to
        move Washington and a dozen lawyers and go to Israel to get him back…it was a real mess but he got him back and got sole custody because she was really mentally disturbed.
        I don’t know, the Jews I know just aren’t into the Jewish identity and zionism thing. Very, very different from the Jewish activist types I see on the net around the Israel issue. I don’t bring it up with them any more because I see they don’t want to be associated, as Jews, with the whole Israel mess so it would be insulting to them for me to make it a topic of discussion with them. ……like well ”since you’re Jewish” what do you think’. … singling out their opinion just ”because’ they are Jewish.
        Could be because they are all mostly intermarried, born and raised here, families been here for several generations …..they just aren’t into Israel and the tribe thing.

      • American
        May 17, 2012, 4:55 am

        Oh there are Jews here, couples I’ve know for 40 years or more, they just dont care about Israel. First time I bought up the subject with my old Jewish friend who passed away several years go he was….”oh no, I don’t even want to get into that crap!”…lol. Jews I know here are very, very different from what I see in Jewish activist on the net in the Israel issue. Most I know are intermarried, still religious though and go to Temple and all that, but that’s about it as far the identity thing goes.
        I don’t really bring Israel up with them because I see they don’t want to be associated with or connected to the whole mess in any way.

  9. Bumblebye
    May 16, 2012, 7:31 pm

    Bidisha’s website links to a short documentary of last year’s Palestine Festival of Literature:
    link to youtube.com
    with several interviews with different participants, including John McCarthy (who also has a new book out about Israeli Palestinians, “You Can’t Hide the Sun”).
    Bidisha’s site:
    link to bidisha-online.blogspot.co.uk

  10. DICKERSON3870
    May 16, 2012, 11:21 pm

    RE: “he was looking for a fight and had already started to shake with rage.” ~ Eleanor Kilroy

    MY COMMENT: Oh, the cognitive dissonance! It reminds me of an article several years ago dealing with a debate or speech at a university in the U.K. (Oxford, I believe) in which Alan Dershowitz was described as “jumping up and down” (which I interpreted as ‘hopping mad’).

    Flying off the handle and I’m hopping mad – link to boards.straightdope.com

    P.S. Video: Pro-Israel Activist Knocks Camera Out of Hands of Alison Weir (VIDEO, 02:37) – link to youtube.com

    • Mooser
      May 19, 2012, 12:45 am

      ““he was looking for a fight and had already started to shake with rage.”

      Ziocaine intoxication. Sad.

  11. seafoid
    May 17, 2012, 3:46 am

    Eleanor

    That is a very interesting insight. I suppose this is what the fears around “delegitimisation”
    are about. International law= what the goys think
    And the ideology is not up to it any more.

  12. Steve Macklevore
    May 17, 2012, 6:52 am

    Eleanor,

    You were rather unlucky to encounter a crazed Zionist in London – my experience has been that the majority of people are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, although the tactic of suicide bombing during the second intifada did immense harm.

    Fortunately that tactic has stopped while the Zionists have become even more intransigent and are as brutal as ever.

  13. pabelmont
    May 17, 2012, 11:09 am

    GB installed the Zionist project as an act — perhaps misguided from their own viewpoint — of imperialism. When Zios wanted independence, they used terrorism against the Brits who, vastly tired and impoverished after WWII, decided to leave. People tend to forget that the Zio terrorism against GB, which was the true beginning of the Zio war of independence, dated at least from 1945 if not earlier.

    Today, USA supports Zios as an act — perhaps misguided from its POV — of imperialism, but with this difference: that the AIPAC system is now vastly powerful (Weissman may have been a figure in GB politics but he was no AIPAC in 1917), so that it has become very, very difficult for the USA to re-evaluate and alter its support for Israel.

    The unremarkable fact that Zios will and do fight tooth and nail to hold on to whatever they’ve captured — just as if they “owned” it, just as if they hold it “as of right” (as lawyers say) — stands not in contrast but in parallel with the Palestinian determination to regain all or a significant part of what was theirs.

    I’m waiting for Zios in USA and elsewhere to admit and make a statement of understanding of the Palestinian attitude, for it is exactly the same as their own. It is the attitude of ownership. It is also the attitude of being tired of diaspora. Except that, unlike the Zios, the Palestinians never conquered the place (or did so so long ago that “the memory of man runneth not to the contrary”).

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