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Facing serious damage to its image, Israel must smear its critics as anti-Semites

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On January 25, Labour activist and co-founder of Britain’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign Tony Greenstein will undergo a disciplinary hearing over accusations of alleged anti-Semitic comments made online. Greenstein was suspended from Labour back in 2016 when the remarks first came to light. Greenstein has maintained the content was legitimate criticism of Israeli policy, and not derogatory statements about Jews. 

Moshé Machover, a British-Israeli activist and member of the UK’s Labour Party, has prepared the following testimony in defense of Greenstein. Machover was also the founder of the Israeli socialist political party Matzpen. 

Introduction

This testimony is addressed to the Labour Party National Constitutional Committee in connection with its hearing called to consider accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ that have been made against him by person or persons un- known.

I am a dissident Israel citizen, born in Palestine in 1936. I have been living in London since 1968 and am naturalised British citizen. I am a member of the Labour Party, Queen’s Park branch (Hampstead & Kilburn Constituency).

I have known Tony Greenstein for over 40 years, as staunch socialist, active in defence of the rights of workers, in particular the unemployed, and against all racism, including anti-Semitism. In line with this, he is an uncompromising opponent of the Zionist project of colonisation and of Israel’s Zionist regime, which makes it a colonising settler state. He has devoted much scholarship and thorough research to the history of Zionism and the dialectic of its complex and paradoxical relationship with anti-Semitism. Having myself also done much reading on the subject, I find his statements on it well grounded in fact.

In what follows I address three related questions. In Section 2 I discuss the nature of Zionism. In Section 3 I discuss the conflation between opposition to Zionism and anti-Semitism. In Section 4 I deconstruct the deliberate mis-definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ and its weaponisation as a means of attacking left-wing critics of Israel.

Moshe Machover. (Photo: Jewish Socialists’ Group)

What is Zionism

Zionism is a political movement that combines an ideology and a project. While – like most political movements – it comprises a variety of currents and shades of opinion, they all have a common core.

The core of Zionist ideology is the belief that the Jews of all countries constitute a single national entity rather than a mere religious denomination; and that this national entity has a right to self-determination, which it is entitled to exercise by reclaiming its historical (or god-given) homeland, which is pre-1948 Palestine (Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel).

Here, for example, is an authoritative formulation:

“Zionism is the national revival movement of the Jews. It holds that the Jews are a people and therefore have the right to self- determination in their own national home. It aims to secure and support a legally recognized national home for the Jews in their historical homeland, and to initiate and stimulate a revival of Jewish national life, culture and language.”[1]

However this claim begs a couple of questions. Do the totality of Jews constitute a nation in the modern secular sense, to which the right of national self-determination is applicable? This is at best extremely questionable, and has in fact been denied by many Jews, who assert cogently that Jewish identity is not national but primarily based on religion.

Thus, when Lucien Wolf, distinguished journalist and leading member of the Conjoint Foreign Committee of British Jews, was confronted with Chaim Weizmann’s effort to obtain what was to be known as the Balfour Declaration, he wrote a worried letter to James de Rothschild, dated August 31, 1916.

“Dear Mr. James de Rothschild,

“At the close of our conference with Dr. Weizmann on the 17th inst., you asked me to write you a letter defining my view.”

. . .

“I have thought over very carefully the various statements made to me by Dr. Weizmann, and, with the best will in the world, I am afraid I must say that there are vital and irreconcilable difference of principles and method between us.”

“The question of principle is raised by Dr. Weizmann’s assertion of a Jewish nationality. The assertion has to be read in the light of the authoritative essay on ‘Zionism and the Jewish Future’ recently published by Mr. Sacher, more especially those written by Dr. Weizmann himself and by Dr. Gaster. I understand from these essays that the Zionists do not merely propose to form and establish a Jewish nationality in Palestine, but that they claim all the Jews as forming at the present moment a separate and dispossessed nationality, for which it is necessary to find an organic political centre, because they are and must always be aliens in the lands in which they now dwell (Weizmann P. 6), and, more especially, because it is ‘an absolute self delusion’ to believe that any Jew can be at once ‘English by nationality and Jewish by faith’ (Gaster Pp. 92, 93). I have spent most of my life in com- bating these very doctrines, when presented to me in the form of anti-Semitism, and I can only regard them as the more dangerous when they come to me in the guise of Zionism. They constitute a capitulation to our enemies which has absolutely no justification in history, ethnology, or the facts of everyday life, and if they were admitted by the Jewish people as a whole, the result would only be that the terrible situation of our coreligionists in Russia and Romania would become the common lot of Jewry throughout the world.”[2]

And on May 24 1917, as negotiations that were to lead to the Balfour Declaration were at an advanced stage, Alexander and Claude Montefiore, presidents respectively of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and of the Anglo-Jewish Association, wrote a letter to the Times in the name of the Conjoint Committee of these two bodies, protesting against the fallacies and dangers of political Zionism. After declaring their adherence to Lucien Wolf’s position, the writers went on to say that the theories of political Zionism undermined the religious basis of Jewry to which the only alternative would be

“a secular Jewish nationality, recruited on some loose and obscure principle of race and of ethnographic peculiarity. But this would not be Jewish in any spiritual sense, and its establishment in Palestine would be a denial of all the ideals and hopes by which the survival of Jewish life in that country commends itself to the Jewish conscience and Jewish sympathy. On these grounds the Conjoint Committee of the Board of Deputies and the Anglo- Jewish Association deprecates earnestly the national proposals of the Zionists.”

“The second part in the Zionist programme which has aroused the misgivings of the Conjoint Committee is the proposal to invest the Jewish settlers [in Palestine] with certain special rights in excess of those enjoyed by the rest of the population. . . .”

“In all the countries in which Jews live the principle of equal rights for all religious denominations is vital to them. Were they to set an example in Palestine of disregarding this principle they would convict themselves of having appealed to it for purely selfish motives. In the countries in which they are still struggling for equal rights they would fi themselves hopelessly compromised. . . . The proposal is the more inadmissible because the Jews are and probably long will remain a minority of the population of Palestine, and might involve them in the bitterest feuds with their neighbours of other races and religions, which would severely retard their progress and find deplorable echoes throughout the Orient.”

The view – evidently held by these leaders of the British Jewish community – that Jewishness is religion-based rather than a national category relies on basic facts. Indeed, the only attribute shared by all Jews around the world is the religion, Judaism, practised by them or by their recent forebears. Further, a necessary and sufficient condition for a non-Jew to become Jewish is undergoing a religious conversion, giyyur. Thus Jews can belong to various nations: a Jew may be French, American, Italian, Scottish, etc. But Jewishness excludes other religious affiliations: a Jew cannot be Muslim, Hindu, or Roman Catholic.

Another fatal weakness of the justifications of Zionism as implementing an alleged right of Jewish national self-determination is that whatever group of people the right of national self-determination may apply to, it does not entitle them to pick and choose at will the territory over which they may exercise that right. Claims that the group’s alleged distant ancestors lived in the coveted territory many centuries ago, or that it was promised to them by a deity in whose existence many of them happen to believe, or that they have long wished to possess it, are simply not good enough. The right to self-determination certainly does not license any group to colonise a territory long inhabited by other people.

But the key fact about the Zionist project is precisely that it is a project of colonisation of Palestine, an inhabited land; and it is precisely this essential fact that is conveniently omitted by the definition of Zionism offered by its present-day propagandists. They avoid the word ‘colonisation’ like the proverbial plague; it has become too compromising.

Earlier Zionist leaders and ideologues had no such qualms. Thus, for example, Vladimir Jabotinsky (1880–1940) – the political and spiritual progenitor of five Israeli prime ministers, including Binyamin Netanyahu[3] – used in his seminal article ‘The iron wall’ (1923) the term ‘colonisation’ repeatedly and unselfconsciously to describe the Zionist project:

“Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonised. That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of ‘Palestine’ into the ‘Land of Israel’. . . .”

“Colonisation can have only one aim, and Palestine Arabs cannot accept this aim. It lies in the very nature of things, and in this particular regard nature cannot be changed. . . .”

“Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regard- less of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power [i.e. Britain – MM] that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.”[4]

Many years later, the Zionist historian Yigal Elam wrote:

“Zionism couldn’t appeal to the principle of self-determination and rely on it in Palestine. This principle worked clearly against it and in favour of the local Arab national movement. . . .”

“From the viewpoint of national theory, Zionism needed a fiction that was incompatible with the accepted concepts of national theory. . . . [It] needed a much broader conception than the simplistic one. In this other conception . . . referendum of the worlds Jews superseded referendum of the population of Palestine.”[5]

Anti-Zionism conflated with anti-Semitism

As we have seen, Zionism is a political ideology-cum-project. The State of Israel – a product of the Zionist project as well as an instrument for its continuation and extension – is, like any state, a political entity.

Israel has been in military occupation of the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip for over 50 years and is exercising harsh oppression over millions of Palestinian Arabs who have no civil or national rights. It has been avidly stealing their land and colonising it with illegal, exclusively Jewish settlements. Israel may not be worse in this respect than other states that ruled over other nations and colonised their land – for example, Britain in its former colonies, such as Kenya.[6] But Israel is also no better than other colonising states, nor is there any reason to expect it to be any better: colonisation has its own logic, and generally involves harsh racist oppression and occasional atrocities, justified by the ‘need to keep order among the natives’. Israeli officially inspired and fomented racism is by now widely known and condemned.[7]

Opposition to Zionism and to the colonising regime and policies of Israel is therefore a legitimate political position. It only becomes illegitimate if it is motivated or accompanied by illegitimate motives or arguments, for example such as stem from generalised hatred or prejudice against Jews as Jews. But such illegitimate motives or arguments need to be proven before accusing an opponent of Zionism and Israel’s regime of ‘antisemitism’; they cannot simply be assumed or taken for granted. In the absence of proof, accusation or insinuation that anti-Zionist discourse and opposition to the Israeli regime are per se ‘anti-Semitic’ is a despicable calumny.

Nevertheless this kind of calumny has often been maliciously made; and latterly it is often directed against people on the left, including members of the Labour Party. I have been besmirched in this way by some Party officials – for which they have yet to apologise. And many others, including Tony Greenstein, are victims of similar character assassination.

Jews in the diaspora, including this country, are deeply divided in their attitude to Zionism and Israel. Many have made attachment to Israel part of their Jewish identity, as a supplement – and in some cases as a surrogate to their religion, They support Israel ‘right or wrong’ and tend to assume that hostility to Zionism must be motivated by anti-Semitism.

But an increasing number of Jews have a very different attitude: they are deeply offended by the actions of a state that claims to be the ‘nation- state of the Jewish people’, and professes to represent all Jews and act on their behalf. They abhor the implication that they, as Jews, are complicit in Israel’s crimes. Jewish opponents of Zionism include many secular Jews, as well as the ultra-Orthodox (Haredi ) community, whose long-standing and deep-seated hostility to Zionism is based on their religious faith.[8]

Opposition to Zionism has been increasing among younger Jews, especially those on the left, including the Labour Party. This is the firm impression I have formed through extensive contacts and it was indeed corroborated by events and general atmosphere at the Party conference in September 2017. This trend is not fully reflected in the various polls and surveys that purport to show much Jewish support for Israel. The reason is that these polls suffer from an inbuilt statistical bias. Since there is no database listing all Jews in Britain, the samples used by the polls miss out on the very large number of persons of Jewish background who are not affiliated to any synagogue or other official or semi-official Jewish organisation. And it is those not included in the sample space who tend to be less inclined to Zionism and attachment to Israel.

Deliberate mis-definition of ‘anti-Semitism’

Jewish opposition to Israel’s colonisation of Palestinian land and oppression of the Palestinian people is part of a growing trend in progressive public opinion around the world. This is reflected in the rapid growth of the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), aiming to apply economic and political pressure on Israel to end its violations of international law.

Faced with this serious damage to its image, the Israeli government has taken steps to attack and discredit its critics by a variety of means, fair and foul. World-wide operations with this object are orchestrated by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Since 2015, this ministry is headed by cabinet member Gilad Erdan, who is also minister of internal security and information. Erdan himself is on record stating that his “achievements should be kept hush-hush”.[9] The Guardian, reporting on his secret meeting in London in September 2017 with disgraced Tory minister Priti Patel (following her return from a ‘holiday’ in Israel), comments that “Erdan’s ministry was asked in 2015 to ‘guide, coordinate and integrate the activities of all the ministers and the government and of civil entities in Israel and abroad on the subject of the struggle against attempts to delegitimise Israel and the boycott movement’. . . . Erdan has been put in charge of large-scale efforts to target foreign individuals and organisation,” and his staff is “recruited from the Mossad foreign intelligence agency, the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency, and the military intelligence directorate.”[10]

One of the main weapons in these “efforts to target foreign individuals and organisations” who criticise Israel, especially those who support BDS, is to accuse them of ‘antisemitism’. In this campaign, Erdan’s operatives in foreign countries harness local pro-Israel lobbies. An expose of how such an undercover operative, Shai Masot, worked in this country, and his attempts to meddle in the Labour Party, was provided in January 2017 by Al Jazeera in a fascinating four-part TV series, The Lobby.[11]

Since Tony Greenstein’s accusers are concealed behind a veil of anonymity, it is impossible to ascertain whether, or to what extent, their efforts (which involved formidable trawling for ‘incriminating’ material) received help, encouragement and guidance from Erdan’s operatives. But in light of the Al Jazeera revelations – which included illustration of false accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ – this supposition cannot be entirely ruled out. In order to dispel suspicions of this kind, the identity of the accusers must be made known and they must be subjected to cross examination, as natural justice demands.

A weapon regularly used in the false accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ is the set of 11 illustrative Examples appended to the so-called working definition of anti-Semitism proposed by a U.S.-based group calling itself “International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance” (IHRA). To the best of my knowledge, the Labour Party has not adopted the illustrative Examples, but only the definition itself:

“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be ex- pressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

However, the accusations made against Tony Greenstein quote the illustrative Examples and make extensive use of them. While the definition itself is in my opinion unsatisfactory, it is the Examples that are deeply problematic. Most of them are concerned not with Jews as such but with Israel, and are deliberately designed to ring-fence Israel against robust criticism and conflate hostility to its Zionist regime with ‘anti-Semitism’. These Examples have indeed been harshly criticises by eminent legal authorities: Hugh Tomlinson QC,[12] and retired Appeal Court judge Sir Stephen Sedley.[13]

Please consult these authoritative opinions and note their warning that applying the Examples may well conflict with the right to free speech. Here I will illustrate the absurdity of the Examples by examining two of them.

Example 7 of alleged ant-Semitism appended to the IHRA definition is:

“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 .”

Now, as Sir Stephen Sedley has pointed out, this begs several questions. Let me spell them out.

  • What is the relationship between the first and second part of this example? How does the e.g. part of the statement have any connection with the first part? It is clearly possible to affirm that there exists a Jewish people and it has a right to self-determination, but at the same time to believe that its alleged implementation in the State of Israel is a racist endeavour.
  • Do the totality of Jews around the world constitute a distinct nation, to which the right of self-determination would apply? As I have shown above, it is perfectly legitimate to assert that Jewishness is not a national but a religious category. And this has indeed been argued by eminent Jewish scholars. But the internationally recognised political right of self-determination applies to nations, not to religions.
  • Does the Jewish community in this country constitute part of a non- British national minority, entitled to seek self-determination in another country?
  • Does a group that is assumed to have the right of self-determination thereby also have right to colonise a territory inhabited by other people and displace these indigenous inhabitants? Surely not! But the Zionist project from its beginning, more than 100 years ago, did arrogate to itself such a ‘right’.
  • Can an endeavour of colonisation – which Zionism is, and openly declared itself to be in its early days – avoid being racist towards the indigenous people of the colonised territory? I know of no example of non-racist colonisation; and the Israeli settler state definitely conforms to the general

Example 10 of alleged anti-Semitism appended to the IHRA definition is:

“Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

Now, comparisons of this kind have in fact been made by Israeli scholars. As recent examples, let me refer you to two articles by Professor Daniel Blatman, a historian of Holocaust and Genocide in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem,[14] and to a report about a pronouncement made by Professor Ofer Cassif, who teaches Politics and Government at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.[15]

But look again at that Example 10. Let me concede for a moment that comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is an unjustified slur. But slur against what or whom? At worst, it could be a slur against a state, Israel; and as such it may well upset supporters of that state and those who still believe in it. But how can it possibly be a slur against the Jews, and hence ‘anti-Semitic’? Well, the only way in which it could bear such an interpretation is if we hold all Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

However, Example 11 of anti-Semitism appended to the IHRA definition reads:

“Holding all Jews as collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel”

This is evidently correct: it is indeed clearly anti-Semitic to hold all Jews collectively responsible for the deeds of Israel. But if we accept that Example 11 is indeed a true example of anti-Semitism, as it clearly is, then the assertion that Example 10 is a true example of anti-Semitism is itself an anti-Semitic assertion!

Thus the set of 11 Examples taken together is self-contradictory and self- incriminating. They ought to be discarded; and most certainly they should have never been used so shamefully, to smear Tony Greenstein, a veteran campaigner against all racism.

Endnotes:

[1] Zionism on the web: Zionism defined, https://tinyurl.com/rnz9u. For similar but briefer formulations, see e.g. Jonathan Freedland, Guardian, March 18 2016, https://tinyurl.com/hnz4tcs; Eylon Aslan-Levy, The Times of Israel, December 8 2013, https://tinyurl.com/kdauukn.

[2] Photocopy of typewritten original in B. Destani (ed.) The Zionist Movement and the Foundation of Israel 1839-1972, 10 Volume Set: Political Diaries 1918-1965, Archive Editions, Cambridge, 2004; vol 1 p. 727. My emphasis.

[3] The others are Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon, and Ehud Olmert.

[4] ‘The iron wall’ (O Zheleznoi stene), published November 4 1923 in the Russian- language journal Rassvyet (Dawn); English translation https://tinyurl.com/m8dp3le.

[5] Yigal Elam, ‘Hanahot hadashot leota tzionut’ (‘New assumptions for the same Zionism’), Ot, No. 2, Winter 1967; my translation (emphasis in original).

[6] Marc Perry, ‘Uncovering the brutal truth about the British empire’, Guardian, August 18 2016, https://tinyurl.com/zk4pazc.

[7] See, for example, comment by the senior Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar, ‘Israeli defense minister’s comments highlight “plague of racism”’, Al Monitor, December 14 2017, https://tinyurl.com/y8fvhp34.

[8] A. Ravitzky, ‘Ultra-Orthodox & Anti-Zionist’, https://tinyurl.com/y6vamwt5.

[9] Gilad Erdan’s Facebook (Hebrew) August 7 2016, https://tinyurl.com/y7977le6.

[10] ‘What did Israel hope to gain from Priti Patel’s secret meetings?’, Guardian, November 8 2017, https://tinyurl.com/y9dwes52.

[11] https://tinyurl.com/y9xnorf5.

[12] ‘Opinion: In the matter of the adoption and potential application of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Anti-Semitism’, March 8 2017, https://tinyurl.com/yc67trg6.

[13] Talk delivered at a meeting in the House of Lords, on March 27 2017, https://tinyurl.com/y7rrgvj8. Revised version: ‘Defining Anti-Semitism’, London Review of Books, May 4 2017.

[14] ‘The Israeli Lawmaker Heralding Genocide Against Palestinians’, Haaretz, May 23 2017, https://tinyurl.com/y9eavfvp; ‘Smotrich’s stage-by-stage plan’ (Hebrew), Haaretz, June 10 2017, https://tinyurl.com/y9ulabbb.

[15] ‘Hebrew U professor: Israel today similar to Nazi Germany’, Jerusalem Post, June 23 2017, https://tinyurl.com/ybmjjee4.

About Moshé Machover

Israeli socialist

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46 Responses

  1. lyn117
    January 16, 2018, 11:01 am

    Moshe, I love your clear logic.

  2. John O
    January 16, 2018, 1:30 pm

    Beautifully argued. So sad that Moshe should have to describe himself as a “dissident Israeli citizen”.

    • echinococcus
      January 16, 2018, 2:12 pm

      Well, being born there unto the Master Race population he had no say and no choice –until he became British. One important question is if the citizenship of the Zionist entity can be officially abandoned or if the Illegitimate State is one of those that keep ownership of its citizens forever.

      • pabelmont
        January 16, 2018, 9:02 pm

        echinococcus: Interesting idea! GB used to say, and in some ways to implement, the idea that “once a Brit, always a Brit”. My father, in 1933 an American, had been born in Canada and while interrupting his graduate studies at UC Berkeley was visiting in England and needed some financial help to get home, which was ultimately granted — if in very small measure — on the grounds that he was a Brit going abroad to study.

        So maybe once an Israeli always an Israeli, in some sense, even if you might be outside the country and not welcome to return! And in that case he might be a Brit citizen and also an Israeli citizens (of, of course, Jewish nationality in Israel, whilst of Israeli nationality in GB). Ha!

  3. Tom Suarez
    January 16, 2018, 1:43 pm

    Thank you so much, Moshé, for this fabulous article!
    A comment: Perhaps more accurate to refer to the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip for seventy years, rather than “over 50 years”? I realize of course that dating the “occupation” from 1967 is the accepted norm; yet the Armistice Line was never a new de facto or provisional border. Much of the West Bank, much of Gaza, and of course Jaffa, that lie on the Palestinian side of Partition, have been occupied since 1948. Israel’s occupation of land between Resolution 181 and the 1949 Armistice did not gain legitimacy simply because Israel refused to budge as it was required to do.
    This is an important piece — the clearest and most intelligent deconstruction of the faux anti-Semitism device I have read.

    • RoHa
      January 16, 2018, 6:29 pm

      “Israel’s occupation of land between Resolution 181 and the 1949 Armistice did not gain legitimacy simply because Israel refused to budge as it was required to do.”

      I am not convinced that the declaration of the state even inside the 181 borders had any legitimacy.

      • Paranam Kid
        January 17, 2018, 7:15 am

        RoHa, you are absolutely right: Israel was created fraudulently, because Res. 181 only recommended partition, but did NOT authorise it, a fact that is now completely ignored by almost everyone.

      • Misterioso
        January 17, 2018, 10:52 am

        @RoHa and Paranam Kid

        Well said!!

        For the record:

        Palestinians rejected the Partition Plan (UNGA Res. 181, Nov. 29/47) for entirely justified reasons based on international law. While Jews made up just 31% of the population (90% of foreign origin, only 30% had become citizens, thousands were illegal immigrants) and privately owned only between 6% and 7% of the land, the Partition Plan (recommendatory only, no legal foundation, contrary to the British Class A Mandate and the Atlantic Charter, never adopted by the UNSC) outrageously recommended they receive 56% of Palestine (including its most fertile areas) in which Palestinians made up 45% of the population. (10% of Palestine’s Jewish population consisted of native Palestinian/Arab Jews who were anti-Zionist.)

        48% of the total land area of mandated Palestine was privately owned (‘mulk khaas’) by Palestinian Arabs. As noted, total Jewish privately owned land was only between 6% and 7%. About 45% of the total land area was state owned, i.e. by citizens of Palestine, and it was comprised of Communal Property (‘mashaa’), Endowment Property, (‘waqf’), and Government Property, (‘miri’.) (The British Mandate kept an extensive land registry and the UN used the registry during its early deliberations. It has in its archives 453,000 records of individual Palestinian owners defined by name, location & area.)

        Although Palestinian Arab citizens made up at least 69% of the population and to repeat, privately owned 48% of the land, the Partition Plan recommended they receive only 42% as a state. (The 2% of Palestine comprised of Jerusalem and Bethlehem was to be placed under international control, a corpus separatum.)

    • Paranam Kid
      January 17, 2018, 7:12 am

      Tom, I read your excellent book State of Terror a few months ago, still refer to it regularly when I am in discussion physically or virtually on fora. Thank you !

  4. amigo
    January 16, 2018, 2:12 pm

    From Time Immemorial , Zionists have been programmed to spout the following claims , (partial list) at every opportunity.

    1, There are no Palestinians .(Ordinarily referred to as Arabs , my addition ).
    2, There is no Partner in Peace.
    3, Palestinians do not want Peace.
    4, 5 Arab Armies attacked the Nascent Jewish state.
    5, Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
    6, Jews made the desert Bloom.
    7, Israel desperately seeks Peace.
    8, The IDF is the most Moral Army on earth.
    9, Israel is the only Democracy in the ME.
    10, Israel accepted the Partition Plan and the Arabs rejected it.
    11, God gave Israel to the Jews.
    12, Jews are the indigenous people of Israel.
    13, Israel has made offers to the Palestinians but they rejected them.
    14, The world hates Jews and is full of Anti Semites.
    15, The British Labour Party is awash with Anti Semitism.
    16, Jeremy Corbyn is an Anti Semite.
    17, Israel is our Historic Homeland.
    18, Israel has no Nukes.
    19, Israel does not kill civilians.
    20, Israel does not commit War Crimes.
    21, Israel is not occupying Gaza.
    22, blah , blah , blah.

    • Talkback
      January 16, 2018, 5:24 pm

      That’s Zionist BS bingo. You have to make 5 of these claims in 5 consecutive sentences (or comments) to win the game.

      • RoHa
        January 16, 2018, 6:39 pm

        As long as we don’t make a drinking game out of it. My liver couldn’t take it.

    • RoHa
      January 16, 2018, 6:38 pm

      A few more.

      Israel is a safe haven for Jews fleeing criminal prosecution anti-Semitic persecution.

      Israel invented mobile phones and cherry tomatoes.

      Israel has sexy beach girls.

      Israel is better than [ insert name of particularly ghastly shithole country].

      I’m sure there are more.

      • Marnie
        January 16, 2018, 11:54 pm

        There are, to hear someone tell it, something to this effect – israel is the ONLY place in the world where jews can be jews without fear, proudly wear a kippah, where everything is based on ‘jewish time’; special jewish only handwashing tools in shitty restaurants (oh the thrill) – all from reknowned MW jewish authority JeffB.

    • Mooser
      January 18, 2018, 3:23 pm

      JSF, in a classic article, (still well worth reading) got it down to four general categories.

      “The case for Israel is made of four propositions that should always be presented in the correct escalating order:

      1. We rock
      2. They suck
      3. You suck
      4. Everything sucks!”

  5. Steve Macklevore
    January 16, 2018, 5:05 pm

    A beautifully written and perfectly argued piece by Moshé Machover.

    Tony Greenstein is a wonderful member of the Labour Party and a stalwart of the Palestinian cause. But he is, and never has been an antisemite or ‘self-hating Jew’ as some Zionists have claimed.

    The fact that some members of the Labour Party want him expelled for antisemitism is a disgrace.

  6. Eva Smagacz
    January 16, 2018, 6:52 pm

    Steve,

    You said: The fact that some members of the Labour Party want him [Tony Greenstei] expelled for antisemitism is a disgrace

    It is a disgrace, but if you read up on the subject, there is ever growing need to expel people from Labour Party. So many of those who are not impressed by Israel are trying to join or already joined the ranks!

    There must be a dedicated team in Labour Party trawling through the media history of applicants and members. We are, after all talking of thousands (The Telegraph says 40 000 + 10 000) people.

    Assume two hours of research, plus copy and pasting into the rejection letters, per person.
    (50 000 x 2) / 8 hours per day / 5 days a week

    its 50 years of work for a single researcher. But this cull took place over few short months in 2016, so I have a suspicion that we see the fruit of the efforts , as quoted in the article above:

    “Erdan’s ministry [ Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Hasbara] was asked in 2015 to ‘guide, coordinate and integrate the activities of all the ministers and the government and of civil entities in Israel and abroad on the subject of the struggle against attempts to delegitimise Israel and the boycott movement’. . . . Erdan has been put in charge of large-scale efforts to target foreign individuals and organisation,” and his staff is “recruited from the Mossad foreign intelligence agency, the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency, and the military intelligence directorate”.”77/85

  7. JosephA
    January 16, 2018, 7:06 pm

    Mr. Machover,

    Thank you for sharing this incredibly thoughtful article. Keep up the good work!

  8. pabelmont
    January 16, 2018, 9:12 pm

    Terrific article! Many thanks.

    Especial thanks for finding a contradiction between #10 and #11 in the examples bound to the by-itself unsatisfactory definition of antisemitism.

    But recall that politicians are employed to act, not to read or to think or to parse. If an “argument” be needed, it may be as flimsy as spider-webs for all a politician cares. And if powerful (usually monied) folks wish to evict members of the UK’s Labour Party, they will seek this end through the acts of corrupted politicians. At least it goes that way in the USA.

  9. Nathan
    January 16, 2018, 10:18 pm

    The article begins with a statement that Tony Greenstein’s remarks (that led to his suspension from the Labour Party) were “legitimate criticism of Israeli policy, and not derogatory statements about Jews”. Then we are told that Mr Greenstein “is an uncompromising opponent of the Zionist project of colonisation and of Israel’s Zionist regime…” I don’t know why anti-Israel people insist that they are criticizing Israeli policy. Obviously, they have no criticism of Israel – so the two sentences are in contradiction to each other.

    “Criticism” is about making suggestions that are meant to help out in improving or correcting some shortcomings. For example, you might tell someone that he should improve his driving by taking some lessons. That would be criticism: You have pointed out some fault, and you have a suggestion for bettering the situation. However, if someone is a poor driver, and your suggestion is that he should simply drop dead, that is not criticism. That is hostility (hatred).

    So, Mr Greenstein thinks that Israel should never have come into existence, and he wishes for her to drop dead. In such a point of view, he is not criticizing Israel. He doesn’t think that Israel should change her policy or improve herself. He has no suggestion for an Israeli policy that he would approve of. So, he’s not criticizing anything. He’s hostile to Israel, and it’s obvious.

    The article could be just a bit helpful by giving the exact quote which led to Mr Greenstein’s suspension. After reading the quote, the Mondoweiss readers could judge for themselves if it’s antisemitic or whatever. Obviously, it would be possible to google the quote, but in normal journalism the quote should appear. It’s not asking for too much.

    It’s also not asking for too much that Mondoweiss articles state clearly what the agenda is. If someone thinks that Israel should not exist, then just say so in plain language. This wording of an “uncompromising opponent” who is just expressing “legitimate criticism” is really just silly.

    • oldgeezer
      January 16, 2018, 11:27 pm

      @nathan

      No you misrepresent the definition of the word criticism. No surprise there at all.

      In terms of tony i can find many web pages that say je called zionists scum. You are. Get used to be properly labelled that or change yourself for the better and abandon your vile racism and racist supremacy. I don’t deny zionists or Jews/Christians any of their rights. Not even zionist scum. You support the deprivation of rights, and collective punishment of millions.

    • Mooser
      January 17, 2018, 12:37 am

      “It’s also not asking for too much that Mondoweiss articles state clearly what the agenda is”

      Mondo’s “agenda” is stated clearly on the “About” page. I’ve linked it for you.

    • Talkback
      January 17, 2018, 9:12 am

      Nathan: “So, Mr Greenstein thinks that Israel should never have come into existence, and he wishes for her to drop dead. In such a point of view, he is not criticizing Israel. He doesn’t think that Israel should change her policy or improve herself. He has no suggestion for an Israeli policy that he would approve of. So, he’s not criticizing anything. He’s hostile to Israel, and it’s obvious.”

      To be more precise: He can’t criticize Israel, because its Apartheid supremacism and expulsion of the Nonjew is inherent in the ideological fundament of its “national character”.

      South Africa could and did change. Same with Germany. But Israel … nope. Still the wish to abolish a supremacist regime has nothing to do with racism (“antisemitim”) or hatred, but with justice, equality and humanity (the opposite of racism). Three aspects that are totally missing from any person who after four requests can’t formulate a single universal value or priniciple on which the Jewish Apartheid Junta was created. You know that I’m talking about you, Nathan, don’t you?

      Btw. this is the fifth request and counting.

    • amigo
      January 17, 2018, 1:45 pm

      “So, Mr Greenstein thinks that Israel should never have come into existence, and he wishes for her to drop dead”.nathan.

      I am not sure Israel can drop dead.Drop dead assumes it is upstanding.
      Israel as it is presently constituted , should never have come into existence.

      Expire would be a more apt description.

      “He doesn’t think that Israel should change her policy or improve herself” nathan

      Neither does Israel.Why beat a dead horse.

      ” I don’t know why anti-Israel people insist that they are criticizing Israeli policy. Obviously, they have no criticism of Israel – so the two sentences are in contradiction to each other.nathan.

      They are only contradictory from the point of view of someone who thinks ANY criticism of Israel is illegitimate or anti semitic.

      ““Criticism” is about making suggestions that are meant to help out in improving or correcting some shortcomings. For example, you might tell someone that he should improve his driving by taking some lessons.”nathan

      Shortcomings—are you completely bonkers.

      Btw , your analogy is about as pathetic as it is insulting and simplistic.

    • eljay
      January 17, 2018, 2:34 pm

      || Nathan: … “Criticism” is about making suggestions that are meant to help out in improving or correcting some shortcomings. For example, you might tell someone that he should improve his driving by taking some lessons. That would be criticism: You have pointed out some fault, and you have a suggestion for bettering the situation. … ||

      “Criticism” is you telling Barkotsche the wife-beater he should stop beating his wife and seek anger-management counselling or you’ll have to report him to the cops.

      Zionism is Barkotsche the wife-beater telling you to go fuck yourself because:
      – you’re singling out the world’s only Barkotsche;
      – he’s entitled to beat his wife of many years (he calls it “self-determine on his historic spouse”); and, anyway,
      – rapists and murderers are out there committing more-serious crimes.

  10. mikeo
    January 17, 2018, 8:08 am

    Ongoing disputes over accusations of anti-semitism within the labour party are a recent feature of British political life…

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jan/16/momentum-official-veteran-chair-labour-disciplinary-panel-christine-shawcroft-ann-black

    The cynic in me suspects that it’s a convenient way for the “centrists” in Labour to fight the “corbynites” (otherwise why never a peep about the Tories which any observer can see has always harboured more bigots and racists).

    Oh and miraculously the “anti-semitism” always seems to involve criticism of Israel or support for BDS etc – and strangely most of the accused are also Jewish…

    Anyway there was a massive hoo-haa about it during the labour conference.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/26/new-antisemitism-row-for-labour-over-fringe-speakers-holocaust-remarks-miko-peled

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/28/jewish-voice-for-labour-is-not-an-anti-zionist-group

    http://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk

  11. Paranam Kid
    January 17, 2018, 8:31 am

    “The core of Zionist ideology is the belief that the Jews of all countries constitute a single national entity rather than a mere religious denomination; and that this national entity has a right to self-determination ….”

    So this statement would mean the following:

    Let’s suppose the Jewish people globally have a right to self-determination. Australian Jews, for example, also have the right to self-determination as Australians, since they are residents of the territory. The non-Jewish Australians, on the other hand, only have the right to self-determination as an Australian. So Jews would have 2 rights of self-determination, while the rest of us have only 1. There is no justification for such inequity, it does not even exist, therefore the Jewish people globally do not have a right to self-determination.

    A pertinent analogy from RoHa, in the comments section here http://mondoweiss.net/2017/08/finkelstein-international-solidarity/comment-page-1/#comment-887644

    • Mooser
      January 17, 2018, 12:46 pm

      “Let’s suppose the Jewish people globally have a right to self-determination.”

      In that case, it is only reasonable to suspect our loyalty to any state but Israel, any people but ourselves, and any ideology except Zionism.

      • RoHa
        January 17, 2018, 7:30 pm

        Exactly, Mooser.

      • Mooser
        January 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

        “Exactly, Mooser.”

        Wait, it gets better! If loyalty is suspected, the Zionists defend themselves by saying Zionism is part of our religion.
        That our religion demands conquering and killing.

      • Talkback
        January 19, 2018, 5:03 am

        And it also means that if you are against Jews conquering and killing Nonjews you are an antisemite.

  12. Paranam Kid
    January 17, 2018, 8:47 am

    Yakov Rabkin (professor of history at the University of Montreal):

    “Israel’s self-ascribed identity as a ‘Jewish state’ brings de facto legitimacy to the renewal of ethnicity as the criterion for belonging.”
    Source: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/06/devastating-tradition-liberalism/

  13. Mooser
    January 17, 2018, 12:39 pm

    If Israel’s critics are anti-Semitic it must be because whatever Israel does is the Jewish thing to do, and Zionism is the highest, most actualized expression of Judaism and Jewishness.

  14. Rashers2
    January 17, 2018, 1:40 pm

    What an excellent piece, Mr. Machover! I hope that this helps to see off the Ziopaths’ witch-hunt of legitimate critics of Israel within the Labour Party; and, in particular, assists Tony Greenstein. It is perhaps worth a slightly off-topic note, however, that the UK lobby’s targets are not exclusively on the left wing of British politics, viz the lobby’s wish, caught on film in the AJ docu-series on the power of the Israel lobby, to “bring down” such as Sir Alan Duncan, a Conservative minister and critic of Israeli policies against Gaza and in the Occupied West Bank. ANY critic of Israel is “fair game” to be intimidated and silenced.

  15. JaapBo
    January 17, 2018, 2:02 pm

    There is indeed a contradiction in the Examples.

    But there is another important argument: the IHRA definition does not state that the Examples ARE antisemitism, but “COULD, taking into account the overall CONTEXT” BE antisemitism.

  16. Talkback
    January 17, 2018, 3:56 pm

    Machover: “The core of Zionist ideology is the belief that the Jews of all countries constitute a single national entity rather than a mere religious denomination; and that this national entity has a right to self-determination …”

    I don’t care about the first part, but the second part is bogus.

    Jews, like anybody else have or should have an individual right to self determinition as citizens of their country. But Jews, like anybody else don’t have a collective right to national self determination anywhere they like. The collective right to national self determinination is reserved for the citizens/denizens of a certain territory/country by majority ruling and has nothing to do with their faith or heritage. So in Palestine the citizens of Palestine had a national right to self determination by majority ruling. Whoever illegaly immigrated or entered as a refugee didn’t. Period. And unlike every other people who want to exercise their national right to self determination Jews are not even interested in becoming a constitutive people.

    • Paranam Kid
      January 18, 2018, 9:09 am

      @Talkback: you make sound as if the 2nd part of the phrase you quote is Machover’s own opinion. Clearly it is not, he states explicitly that it is the Zionist ideology.

      So, while I agree with all of you refutation of that part of the phrase, I disagree to it as a criticism of Machover. Perhaps I have misunderstood your motive.

      • Talkback
        January 18, 2018, 2:39 pm

        Paranam Kid: “@Talkback: you make sound as if the 2nd part of the phrase you quote is Machover’s own opinion. Clearly it is not, he states explicitly that it is the Zionist ideology.”

        How can I make it “sound” as if this is his own opinion allthough he explicitly states that it is the Zionist ideology???

      • Paranam Kid
        January 19, 2018, 9:13 am

        @Talkback: indeed, he has explicitly stated that it Zionist ideology & proceeds to debunk that particular notion.

        So, with your sentence “I don’t care about the first part, but the second part is bogus.” you also want to debunk that particular notion. It just surprised/confused me to see a 2nd debunk, but why not, I guess.

      • Talkback
        January 19, 2018, 11:47 am

        Ok, now I understand why you assumed that I thought that these was his position. And it makes sense.

  17. Yaakov Shapiro
    January 17, 2018, 8:22 pm

    Thank you for the article. It reminds me of Akiva Orr.

    One comment. You wrote: Thus Jews can belong to various nations: a Jew may be French, American, Italian, Scottish, etc. But Jewishness excludes other religious affiliations: a Jew cannot be Muslim, Hindu, or Roman Catholic

    If Jewishness is religion-based, does it exclude atheism the same way it excludes other religions? It should. Which begs the question how atheists who believe Jewishness is a religion-based identity can consider themselves Jewish. This contradiction was pointed out to Ben Gurion in 1958 by Rabbi Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg when Ben Gurion suggested that the Law of Return should not apply to Jews who converted to other religions (it does apply to Jewish atheists). Rabbi Weinberg asked:

    “Why would the Israeli government recognize as a Jew one who is altogether irreligious but sincerely declares his readiness to join the Jewish fold in a national sense, but deny the same privilege to one who equally professes his desire for Jewish nationality, yet remaining in his religious adherence to either Christianity or Islam? Is an atheistic gentile preferable?”

    Incidentally, there were early Zionists who indeed accepted the concept of a member of the Jewish “nationality” practicing another religion. Israel Zangwill said that “when we get a State, the Holy Sepulcher will be guarded by Jews who were baptized, and Omar Mosque — by Jews who’ve embraced Islam.” Similarly, Yosef Chaim Brenner commented, “A person of Israel can be a good Jew, devoted to his people, despite the fact that he … regards the son of our people, the poor Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, with religious piety.”

    • LHunter
      January 21, 2018, 5:47 pm

      “Jews for Jesus” – a group who appear to be Christians as far as I can tell. Founded by Moishe Rosen in 1973 they believe Jesus is the Messiah, that his coming was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, and that Jesus is the son of God, the second person of the Trinity. Their “Jewishness” seems to come from the fact that they “integrate some Jewish customs and use Hebrew and Yiddish in some literature.” – wiki

      http://jewsforjesus.ca/who-we-are/

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews_for_Jesus

  18. John O
    January 18, 2018, 8:29 am

    Tony Greenstein is fighting a libel action against the Jewish Chronicle’s political editor, Marcus Dysch. You can support Tony via Change.org.

  19. Keith
    January 18, 2018, 1:04 pm

    I tried to comment earlier but to no avail. Permit me to make a second attempt.

    Unlike most of my fellow commenters, I am not enamored with Moshe Machover’s defense of Tony Greenstein which, I fear, may be counterproductive. Let us begin with what should be obvious. The ludicrous charges against Tony Greenstein are nothing more than a pretext to purge the Labour Party of Corbyn supporters. Also, perhaps, to legitimize the New Anti-Semitism equating criticism of Israel with Jew hatred. How does one argue against a pretext? To attempt to do so tends to legitimize the pretext insofar as it appears that you consider the pretext to be a serious charge based upon its merits. Those utilizing the pretext are not going to be swayed by arguments that Tony has not engaged in anti-Semitic activity, they want him out. I believe in telling it like it is. This is a political power-play, nothing more, nothing less. And the person who needs to put his foot down is Jeremy Corbyn.

  20. Ossinev
    January 18, 2018, 2:56 pm

    The “endemic Anti- Semitism in the Labour Party” crap spewed out by Zionists in the UK and elsewhere is becoming really very sad , pathetic and desperate as IMHO it sharply illustrates three major concerns for the Israeli firsters:
    1) There simply isn`t a credible ongoing catalogue of any serious Anti – Semitism or Anti -Semitic Acts happening in the UK for them to report on. You know the type of thing = graffiti on Synagogues, blatant Anti- Semitic rants by loony National Front types a la David Irving. So the criticism of Israeli Fascism as being Anti- Semitism is the only hook they can hang their eternal victim coat on.
    2) BDS has solid support here in the UK and the only weapon which these hypocrites have to attempt to counter it is the conflation ruse.
    3) The way things are going economically and politically here in the UK it is a very strong possibility that Corbyn and the Labour Party will form the next government = a nightmare scenario for the UK Israeli Firsters( and arguably the Yahoo and his fellow mafiosi ) given that to put it mildly Corbyn and his left wing support base in the Party and in the electorate generally have openly demonstrated that they consider Israel to be a rogue settler colonial state. Corbyn eg pointedly refused to attend the Balfour Declaration memorial dinner hosting the Yahoo last year.

    • MHughes976
      January 18, 2018, 5:12 pm

      Corbyn has been very strict in enforcing the anti-anti- Semitism policy, if that is what it should be called. No mercy, no common sense even, at least until the receipt of undue apologies, for Naz Shah MP, who had transmitted a minor pleasantry from Norman Finkelstein. I don’t believe a Corbyn givernment would take a very strong line on Palestine.

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