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For Miliband, the road to 10 Downing Street runs through Jerusalem and Sderot

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Benjamin Netanyahu with British Labour leader Ed Miliband, from the p.m.'s twitter feed

Benjamin Netanyahu with British Labour leader Ed Miliband, from the p.m.’s twitter feed

Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour Party in Britain who wants to be Prime Minister, is on a trip to Israel that many see as a political pre-requisite to 10 Downing Street. During his first two days of travel, Miliband has been proclaiming his Jewish roots and pro-Israel cred.

The Financial Times notes the political needs he is serving:

Conservatives say lack of foreign experience is a serious failing in an aspiring prime minister

The trip has been following a predictable pattern. Miliband visited Sderot to meet people who are subject to rocket attacks from Gaza. Notice that several tweets ask why Miliband isn’t visiting people under occupation in Gaza.

Visiting Sderot -- Miliband

Visiting Sderot and seeing rockets — Miliband

Miliband also visited Yad Vashem and spoke of his grandmother emigrating to Israel.

But he was more critical of the settlements than any American pol could be. The Guardian reports:

“I do believe the growth in settlements is a serious issue for the peace process and needs to be addressed,” he said, adding that they were illegal under international law.

The Guardian says that at Hebrew University, he ducked the Zionism issue.

He refused to be drawn on whether he considered himself a Zionist, despite the question being asked three times during an hour-long question and answer session.

Though this statement is pretty Zionistic:

“For me, Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people, and the reason I put it in those terms is because it is not just a theoretical idea for me, it’s my family’s experience.”

Miliband’s note at Yad Vashem cites his family’s loss in the Holocaust, but thankfully not a word about Israel.

Miliband's note at Yad Vashem

Miliband’s note at Yad Vashem

The trip was announced in February, and Britain’s Jewish Chronicle noted the political angle:

The trip is scheduled to be one of the Opposition leader’s first major foreign trips and will come a year before the General Election.

Then last month, Miliband was the keynote speaker for a group that combats anti-Semitism in England; he emphasized his support for Israel and affirmed his Jewish identity:

He told guests at the Community Security Trust’s annual dinner on Wednesday: “I feel more part of the Jewish community than at any other time in my life”.

The Labour leader also emphasised the importance of supporting Israel and recalled how the country “provided sanctuary” to his grandmother after the Holocaust.

Miliband is from an assimilated family and is married to a non-Jew (who signed his note at Yad Vashem). He began publicly embracing his Judaism a couple of years back, and included Woody Allen and Israel in that identity:

When I was seven, my family went to visit my grandmother in Tel Aviv…

My parents defined themselves not by their Jewishness but by their politics. They assimilated into British life outside the Jewish community. There was no bar mitzvah, no Jewish youth group; sometimes I feel I missed out.

And yet, I did not miss out on many other aspects of Jewishness: my mum got me into Woody Allen; my dad taught me Yiddish phrases (there is no better language for idio­matic expressions, some of them unrepeatable). And my grandmother cooked me chicken soup and matzo balls.

Although my wife Justine is not Jewish, my Jewishness is part of me, so when we got married last year, we broke a glass at our wedding, an old Jewish ritual.

We’re just on day 2 of the visit. Count on Miliband to visit Ramallah and East Jerusalem and issue some anodyne statements about Palestinian aspirations.

(And who will put Miliband’s visit together with former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s statements about the political importance of the Israel lobby?)

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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53 Responses

  1. Krauss on April 11, 2014, 11:33 am

    Phil, I understand and respect your intentions here, but how is this different than any of the usual pandering politicians do to various interest groups?
    Sure, this is a site about the Middle East but these kind of routine pandering trips are not on the same playing field as Bob Carr’s relevations.

    If anything, the Jewish community(and by “community” I really mean the same hard-right organizations like BICOM, the JCC etc that are dominating in the UK like AIPAC, AJC and the ADL are in America. In short: not representative) in the UK has been critical of Miliband.

    Cameron is widely seen as more “pro-Israel” than Miliband. And Cameron talked about Gaza as an “open-air prison camp” a few years ago.
    Which tells you a little bit about how the UK is oceans apart from America in how far they’ve come on this issue. Even the current ambassador to Israel, who is a conservative Jew, has admitted that Israel is losing even the centrist backbenchers.


    Here’s King’s College, part of the University of London system, passing a pro-BDS resolution in the student senate.

    Just a few weeks ago. Other than Berkeley, I don’t know of any major university in US that’s among the Ivies that has passed one. And Berkeley is super liberal.
    King’s a college with a strong business and economics department, not the usual profile of radical Marxists, to put it gently.

    • Krauss on April 11, 2014, 11:47 am

      Just to clarify my comments, pandering to a specific group(Jews in this case) is not news worthy in of itself. Bob Carr’s relevations are on a different scale because he says he couldn’t even issue a routine condemnation, which he then compared the statements of the UK PM (which, as it happened, were exactly the kinds he wanted to issue, measured, “liberal” Zionist-esque, statements)

      Miliband has faced a lot of criticism, not least because he failed to back away from Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London who was very critical of Israel (and, frankly, at times anti-Semitic). And his intermarried wife didn’t help matters.
      He also faced anti-Semitic slurs by the former pro-Nazi Daily Mail, or rather, his dad did and by extention his family, for “hating Britain”.

      What he is doing on these trips is basically what all pandering is about: telling the people you pander to what they want to hear. When it starts to affect genuine policy, like it has with Australia, then it becomes much more newsworthy.

      (I’m not denying that BICOM has an influence, but when the conservative PM of Britain talks about Gaza in a way that even a leftist like Sen. Bernie Sanders wouldn’t, I’m saying the situations are radically different than a purported leftist like Carr who has to adopt an almost Likudnik line).

      • puppies on April 11, 2014, 1:23 pm

        @For the fourth time: either you define your “Antisemitism” and bring solid proof (this time for Ken Livingstone), or shut up. As you may know, this kind of accusations have consequences. Yours is the m.o. of the most disgusting bottom dwellers of our society.

      • Krauss on April 11, 2014, 2:27 pm

        Puppies, you have to shout louder, I can’t hear you loud enough from the sewers. You’ve been down there for so long, you now think everyone shares your fate. We don’t.

      • puppies on April 11, 2014, 3:02 pm

        @Krauss – So you are on the record as refusing to define the slur you are using left and right and to bring solid proof of your accusations, while knowing perfectly that it is a calumny that may cost people their jobs or any amount of other things, especially for those in politics. Just wanted to have that clear.

      • eGuard on April 11, 2014, 3:47 pm

        Krauss, puppies is right. Calling someone “at times anti-Semitic” without backup is worthless. And as you know, by smearing this way you give opposition to anti-semitism a bad name. Oh and by the way, Livingstone is not antisemitic.

      • American on April 11, 2014, 1:44 pm

        ” Krauss says:

        April 11, 2014 at 11:47 am

        Just to clarify my comments, pandering to a specific group(Jews in this case) is not news worthy in of itself.

        It is when the pandering includes the panderer swearing his and *his country’s subservience* to the interest of the *foreign homeland* of said Jewish/religious/ethnic group.

        There is a huge difference in a politician pandering to a ‘ group’ on a *domestic policy or issue* as for example immigration, gay rights, gun rights, etc. and pandering that involves committing your country and all its citizens to a minority ethnics foreign country because of said minority’s loyalty to that foreign country.

        Maybe someday you/they will get that difference.

      • Krauss on April 11, 2014, 2:31 pm

        American, I’m not sure you can lecture anyone on nuance.

        Going to Israel and pandering to them, Miliband is doing not much different than Obama going to Ireland and “discovering his roots”. Naked ethnic pandering.

        That there are different kinds of pandering, which was my point (why I distinguished between the Bob Carr relevations, how Gillard went beyond pandering and, in his words, “subcontracted the foreign policy of australia”). This is the point you seem to have missed.

        Another key difference: In the Bob Carr case we had substance to judge it on. Here we have nothing but a campaign stop. Shoring up the Jewish vote in the UK is not as clear-cut for a Labor politician, since the vote is more divided than in the US. (And yes, of course donations play a role, like with any interest group).

      • American on April 11, 2014, 2:58 pm

        Krauss says:

        April 11, 2014 at 2:31 pm

        American, I’m not sure you can lecture anyone on nuance.

        Going to Israel and pandering to them, Miliband is doing not much different than Obama going to Ireland and “discovering his roots”. Naked ethnic pandering

        Oh I think I can.
        And you get a D- on the Obama- Ireland pilpul.
        You’re still wet behind the ears and punching above your political and intellectual weight on the lobbying and pandering issue.
        Stay in School, take more history courses, come back in a few years.

      • Citizen on April 12, 2014, 10:08 am

        @ Krauss

        How much annual foreign aid does Obama give Ireland? $8.5 Million per day, plus lots of “loans” that morph into freebie grants and underwriting Ireland’s debt? How many wars has the US fought that just happen to heavily benefit Ireland’s agenda? What land is Ireland occupying? How many Irish Americans choose to serve in Ireland’s military rather than the US military? Bear in mind in context that Irish Americans represent the second largest white ethic group in America, considerably larger than 2% of total US population.

      • seafoid on April 11, 2014, 3:02 pm

        The Daily Mail was outrageous. Called Ralph Miliband evil. Because he was a Marxist, not a Jew. All about votes for the Tories.
        I don’t think what Livingstone said was antisemitic. Lots of jews wouldn’t vote for him because he didn’t have a program that was aimed at wealthy people.

      • Krauss on April 11, 2014, 4:27 pm

        Seafoid, his defence of Yusuf al-Qaradawi – a notorious Jew-hater – is pretty obvious. His Jew-baiting of a Jewish journalist by referencing Nazi concentration guards is another. His deliberate conflation of Jewish and Zionist in order to say things about Jews he couldn’t otherwise is another.
        The list just goes on.

        As for Miliband, it was widely perceived as an anti-Semitic news article, even by the leftists at the Guardian.
        There are plenty of Marxists in the UK, but few have had their national loyalties questioned in that kind of way.

        It’s the ancient theme: Jewish Marxists threatening to “undermine” the cultural hegemony of the white Christian nation from within with their progressive, radical politics. This is the theme of any white supremacist, it’s all the Jews fault for feminism, multiculturalism, “political correctness”(a.k.a liberal values, broadly defined) and so on.

      • seafoid on April 11, 2014, 4:59 pm

        Krauss, on Ralph Miliband, the FT reported that

        “When Mr Miliband demanded an apology for the Mail’s smear on his father, Mr Dacre refused to back down. Instead, he published a defiant editorial insisting that Ralph Miliband’s world view was “evil””

        This is the article

        The Mail is virulently right wing.
        Nigel Lawson was a Jewish chancellor and they loved him. Come on.
        Billy Bragg isn’t Jewish and they never liked him either.

      • Citizen on April 12, 2014, 10:13 am

        “This is the theme of any white supremacist, it’s all the Jews fault for feminism, multiculturalism, “political correctness”(a.k.a liberal values, broadly defined) and so on.”

        Mmmm, it’s also the repetitive proud Jewish theme of those equating Jewish involvement in said things with human progress. Or have my ears and eyes deceived me for all these years I’ve been alive?

      • eGuard on April 11, 2014, 3:50 pm

        Krauss: pandering to a specific group(Jews in this case) is not news worthy in of itself.

        That must explain why he traveled incognito and did not inform the press.

      • Krauss on April 11, 2014, 6:59 pm

        eGuard et al, I’ve given plenty of instances about Ken Livingstone.
        It’s not for a lack of evidence, it’s for a lack of audience, who have come to refuse that anything such as anti-Semitism exists. To entertain such a crowd is as fruitful as trying to convince a Likdunik that the occupation is wrong. Pointless.

        By the way! I went with my gas mask on, into the Sewers, into the comment history of puppies. Here’s what I found:

        A rabid obsession with Jews and Judaism.

        Of course it is “merely” a religion. Except if you want to argue that Jews are a race (you know who last argued that…) Or present solid proof of anything other than religion in common between so-called “Jews”

        Jews are now supposed to be put into scarequotes. How noble.

        The only ones with a little life and honor left in them are the Salafis..

        Ah, praising Islamists and gaybashers. Just like Ken Livingstone with his praise for Al-Qaradawi. Now why am I not surprised that puppies goes bonkers when Ken Livingstone is called out? Because Puppies shares the same views, only more extreme.

        Let’s go on in our little expedition in the sewer of an anti-Semite.

        You got it bassackwards as usual. The Zionists were invading just as the Nazi did in France in 40, then pretended to pull out, leaving their puppet administration. No difference. Their journalists called it “win” just like Friedman did.

        The Zionist enterprise was a criminal enterprise but to compare it to the Nazis?
        We got a loon on our hands! But it gets better!

        The “some things” phrase was from Hughes, to designate traits objected to by the so-called “antisemites”. The point of logic is not exemption from criticism of an inborn trait the but impossibility of its correction; that there is no such exemption in the facts is proven by the existence of racism.

        If “antisemitism” is meant as racism directed at “Jewish” persons as a group, it may be better to just have it called racism, as this may keep the accuser from showing racism against others in the same breath.

        If by “antisemitism” some people mean disapproval or dislike of any acquired and discussible things like religion, irreligion, cultural superstructure, politics etc., then they deserve a quenelle.

        Ah, more scarequotes around Jews/Jewish. And a praise for a quenelle! You know, the half-hitler salute!

        Now do people get why puppies gets outraged when the anti-Semitism charge is raised?

        He is one.

        But as I keep going through the sewer of cancerous hatred that is his mind, more and more ugly racism keeps spewing up. It’s like he can’t contain himself for all his hatred of Jews!

        But it keeps going on!

        Zionists and other tribal exceptionalists show their true colors by protesting “Antisemitism” by any name.

        Yeah, anti-Semitism is now also put in scare quotes. It mustn’t be recognized for how else can I get away with my hatred of Jews!

        @JeffB “I’m not speaking for all Jews. I’m speaking for Jews in the aggregate. There are exceptions to any group but when we talk of groups acting an overwhelming majority is fine.”

        You got that one absolutely right!
        Whoever keeps his tribal ties with a bunch of, in its overwhelming majority, supporters of invasion, dispossession, mass murder and war of aggression, can and should be taken to task!

        It’s perfectly OK to point out that statistics don’t determine individual behavior and no one may automatically assume one’s individual position from collective categories.

        But the fact of not breaking with a group that is criminal in its overwhelming majority signals you as part of it.

        Now we start to unpack the core of it. In his mind, Zionists = Jews, just like in the mind of most far-right Likudniks.

        Apparently, Jews in “overwhelming majorites” are supporters of “mass murder”. And we are a “group that is criminal in its overwhelming majority”.

        This is a classic blood libel. And this concerns the overwhelming majority of Jews on this site, too, part of a group that “is criminal in its overwhelming majority” and “who supports mass murder”.

        Not some Jews. Not most Jews. But “in overwhelming majorities”
        Let’s see how this Jew-hater will try to spin himself out of this one.
        “No I meant most Jews there!“.
        Try harder Jew-hater.


        Mind you, I’ve only chosen a few comments dating back no longer than April 5th. And this is what I found in such a short space.

        Puppies, it’s not even borderline with you. You’re a raging racist with a deep-seated hatred of Jews. You’re obsessed with us.
        You are a piece of anti-Semitic filth.

      • Dutch on April 11, 2014, 10:18 pm

        @ Krauss

        As a Jew I am not offended by Puppies’ comments. I do not always agree with him, I would have chosen other words sometimes, but I can often understand his position.

        I actually like his quote about the majority (‘great’ would probably be more accurate than ‘overwhelming’) of Jews being supportive of major crimes. It’s the painful truth, I’m afraid.

        There is a whole lot of effort in promoting the Israeli crimes as Jewish — committed for a vehicle called a ‘Jewish state’, for the benefit of the ‘Jewish people’, with a lot of ‘Jewish pride’ and ‘Jewish rights’ involved. Unfortunately this is supported (even today) by a great majority of Jews worldwide.

        So, now someone is asking ‘us’ (Jews) to step away from this complicity. You unpack a ‘classic blood libel’, but that doesn’t answer the situation Puppies is referring to, and that certainly exists. As long as Israel’s crimes are being marketed as ‘Jewish’, and as long as Jews themselves keep defending them as such, don’t blame the ones that bring that up.

        BTW, Puppies brought up anti-Semitism as well. You choose to unpack his over-strong language, by calling him an anti-Semite. Puppies points at two possibilities: either anti-Semitism is directed against an ethnic group, or against a religion or cultural superstructure. So, exactly which one is at stake here? By reacting so strong, do you feel addressed as a people or a religion?

      • puppies on April 11, 2014, 11:06 pm

        “A rabid obsession with Jews and Judaism.””
        The rabid obsession is in people who insist in including in the tribe people who are not keeping the religion (= racists, no other way of describing them.)

        “Jews are now supposed to be put into scarequotes. How noble.”
        Nothing to be scared of. It means so-called, quote marks guarding against misinterpretations.

        “Ah, praising Islamists and gaybashers.” Read that post, unable quoter. It was deploring the fact that the only ones to uphold the honor of Palestinians against the “talks” were the Salafis. By the way, Islamists a re absolutely OK here: they are not as a whole opposing Palestinian independence, WHICH IS THE ONLY THING WE ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE IN COMMON ON THIS SITE.

        Now, what exactly is “Antisemitic” in the following:
        “You got it bassackwards as usual. The Zionists were invading just as the Nazi did in France in 40, then pretended to pull out, leaving their puppet administration. No difference. Their journalists called it “win” just like Friedman did.”

        Your conception of “Antisemitism” seems that of a rabid Zionist (but still waiting for an exact definition by yourself.)

        “The Zionist enterprise was a criminal enterprise but to compare it to the Nazis?”

        Of course. Check: Twin products of romantic Prussian nationalism. Racial basis (=Blut und Boden, the latter to be supplied.) Exaltation of aggression, militarism, racial supremacy; open contempt for international rules; practice of genocide (differing in speed and degree; we haven’t yet seen where the Zionists will get in time in their effort to clean the land of its people…) No need to be a loon to insist on a comparison that all reasonable people are justified in making.

        “Apparently, Jews in “overwhelming majorites” are supporters of “mass murder”. And we are a “group that is criminal in its overwhelming majority”.”
        This is, as already obvious, statistically correct. You don’t read polls, do you?

        The individual exceptions are obvious too, but they still remain a tiny minority. If you include people who do not define themselves Jewish out of racial/tribal grounds, the numbers should increase but are still nothing to write home about.

        “You’re a raging racist with a deep-seated hatred of Jews. You’re obsessed with us.”

        I certainly would be one if I accepted a *false, inexistent* ethnic designation just because of a generations-removed religious origin (as I suspect you do.) I have some ethnic ties, both Sefardí and Ashkenaze, and speak both ethnic languages at least as well as you do, but that certainly does not make me “Jewish”: there is no such real category outside religion and liturgy (by the way, calling “Antisemitic” people who, by your racist fake-nationalist standards, are “biologicaly Jewish”, like, say, Blankfort, is a whooping violation of Aristotelian logic started by Zionism.)

        You certainly sound like a classical product of the Zionist era “education”. No basic training in critical thinking; lots of sentimental kneejerks.

        Also, I still do not see an exact definition of what that vague nebula of “Antisemitism” would mean to you. Just some ranting about a cleric and his visa. All this mega rant to avoid clear answers and logical discussions. We are supposed to be discussing support to the Palestinian people on this site. Not feelgood operations for your Jewish conscience

      • aiman on April 12, 2014, 12:22 am

        Once again, Krauss, you are making egregiously false accusations. And an accusation that has more consequences than others. Also, there’s nothing anti-Semitic about comparing human behaviour in various genocides and killings. In fact, it’s what’s needed if we are to have any sense of mutual responsibility. It is precisely presenting one as a mystical rather than real catastrophe that allows a country like Israel and its supporters to turn a blind eye to the catastrophe it continues to perpetrate. Perhaps you really need to get down to the “sewers” to understand.

      • Sumud on April 12, 2014, 5:12 am

        Krauss you should have checked your own comment history first. You said:

        eGuard et al, I’ve given plenty of instances about Ken Livingstone.
        It’s not for a lack of evidence, it’s for a lack of audience, who have come to refuse that anything such as anti-Semitism exists.

        I searched you profile for “Livingstone” and got back 2 response only, both on this thread:

        This is not a ‘gotcha’ and I don’t care to get involved in your spat with puppies, I searched because I wanted to read what Livingstone had said that you thought was anti-semitic.

        So… what was it?

      • Keith on April 12, 2014, 3:25 pm

        KRAUSS- “Puppies, it’s not even borderline with you. You’re a raging racist with a deep-seated hatred of Jews. You’re obsessed with us. You are a piece of anti-Semitic filth.”

        First of all, a piece of advice. Get some therapy!

        True anti-Semitism involves HATRED of Jews simply because they are Jews. Simple prejudice or bias is not anti-Semitism, and the casual use of the term is, in my view, serious defamation of a person’s character. Nothing in your quotes of Puppies struck me as indicative of anti-Semitism, however, your vile smear of him strongly suggests anti-Gentile chauvinism on your part. And let me emphasize “vile.” (no, not all quotes are “scare quotes”) Referring to the “other” as unclean “filth” is classic bigotry. Your little screed against Puppies is the most objectionable post I can recall seeing on Mondoweiss, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

        Let me move on to a serious matter which you inadvertently highlighted, namely, the Jewish obsession with anti-Semitism. First of all, who appointed you Mondoweiss censor? Phil, Adam and the rest of the moderators are responsible for screening comments, no need for you to hurl accusations. I don’t believe in censorship, so I am glad that your comment was approved. I helps me to understand who and what you are. As for real anti-Semitism, I don’t see that as a problem, although racism in general continues to be of concern. I much prefer to keep an open mind and let the discussion continue than to try and squelch it through intimidation which is what you are attempting. Obviously, you don’t feel threatened by Puppies as evidenced by your self-righteous arrogance towards him, much like the Lord of the Manor chastising a stable boy. Alas, you are not alone in that regard and from my perspective there is much more anti-Gentile chauvinism on Mondoweiss than anti-Jewish bias, and virtually no anti-Semitism. It doesn’t take much to be called an anti-Semite here.

        Unfortunately, anti-Gentile chauvinism seems to be an inevitable consequence of perceived Jewish victim-hood, one of the core components of Jewish identity. Just look at Scarlett Johansson claiming anti-Semitism in response to criticism. I conclude with a quote of Israel Shahak on the Jewish attitude towards non-Jews. “Therefore, the real test facing both Israeli and diaspora Jews is the test of their self-criticism which must include the critique of the Jewish past. The most important part of such a critique must be detailed and honest confrontation of the Jewish attitude to non-Jews.” (“Jewish History, Jewish Religion”, Israel Shahak, 1994)

      • eGuard on April 12, 2014, 7:06 pm

        Krauss: I’ve given plenty of instances about Ken Livingstone

        That too. As Krauss-is-fault says: he is anti-Semitic because other like me say so. And me myself said it also. That proves it.

      • puppies on April 12, 2014, 11:19 pm

        @Keith – [Phil, I’ll give the little $ I can give if you fix the goddamn reply buttons already!]
        Let’s not misunderstand this young man here. He wouldn’t go off the deep end that easily if he believed me to be “Gentile” according to his tribal-supremacist Jewish nationalism… no, a Gentile would be met with some ritual expostulation and indifference. What drives up the proverbial wall this nationalist-supremacist bunch (both those who insist on a land and those who say they don’t) is to see people who, because they are not religious, want no part of their filthy racial doings. You should have seen them piling all the Biblical accusations of Nazism, bestiality, incest, uncleanness… on people of the war generation, that of my father, for rejecting the tribe. One gets a pale idea of it from the sheer insanity over Gilad Atzmon. It’s all strictly racially and racistically motivated: if you’re biologically gentile, they don’t waste their breath. As for their “liberal anti-Zionist” outrage over attacks on Zionism, I find them extremely instructive.

      • eGuard on April 14, 2014, 3:34 pm

        Krauss: The Zionists were invading just as the Nazi did (in the original, you bolded).

        Zionism is a political movement. It is not anti-Semitic to criticize Zionists. Nor is it anti-Semitic to point to parallels with Nazi behaviour. The real problem is you abusing the term for your political and ad hominem intentions.

      • LeaNder on April 12, 2014, 9:45 am

        I actually agree with Krauss in so far as Judaism is concerned. There is a completely unhistorical trend to suggest that the Zionism actually are only some kind of peak in which has always dominated Judaism, and may in fact explain anti-Semitism over the millennia. The Kevin McDonald meme. I prefer to not go into that here.

        But this leads straight into a series of related memes, like “the Jews” and “the nations” as enemies, enmity only produced by “the Jews” going back in history. And, I forget the terms that are most frequently used in this context: seclusion, separation of “the Jews”…

        One of my favorite scholars over here, originally an Egyptologist, but post his retirement he moved into cultural studies, Jan Assmann. Assman once suggested apparently producing a rather heated debate for doing so:

        All monotheist religions have two basic features, one cannot be given up, the other has to be watched very, very very carefully.

        to care about the ones that are not so well off
        to fight the other

        This is actually pretty easy to see for every European if one faces e.g. the wars between Catholics and Protestants on European ground.

        Now I am not an expert in either the debate about Livingston “the anti-Semite” or of the politician Livingston more generally. That is why I put the term in quotes above:

        Ah, praising Islamists and gaybashers. Just like Ken Livingstone with his praise for Al-Qaradawi. Now why am I not surprised that puppies goes bonkers when Ken Livingstone is called out? Because Puppies shares the same views, only more extreme.

        I remember having looked very, very cursorily into matters at the time. And my impression was, he, like many of us was caught in “the fog of the present”. One needed much more knowledge about Islamism in the ME and and how it may matter in our own countries than most of us could be reasonably expected at the time. But Livingstone was a politician representing a rather multicultural city at that point and wanted to be re-elected.

        This Wikipedia article on Livingstone traces e.g. the first use of the term: Londonistan to the New York Times in 2005. Now this is a closely related issue one has to keep in mind.

        I think that many here remember how the New York Times supported the war against Iraq. How dissenters, like the late Susan Sontag were attacked. Judy Miller anyone?

        Now strictly it wasn’t so easy at the time to dissect “the fogs of the present” with its conspiracy tales (the usual one) and, what I would like to call a derivative counter-conspiracy narrative. I think one has to strongly consider the context the amazingly high support the “seize the day” activities of the Bush jun admin got at the time.

        At the same time many of us sensed a a general trend to hype up Islamophobia in this context. I don’t remember that gays where a top issue at the time, but I surely remember that freeing women from Islamic Patriarchism surely was a top meme argued even in the context of the Iraq war, where I don’t think it mattered as much as e.g. in Saudi Arabia.

        And some of us, like me, actually feared in that context the rise of Islamophobia. Which may at least partly explain what Livingstone did or what his intention where. Ultimately he confronted a political and media force opposing multiculturalism. And yes, Krauss, I think I would like to give him the benefit of doubt in this context.

        This is way too long, and I won’t proofread.

      • LeaNder on April 12, 2014, 9:47 am

        Ok, first look first mistake:

        “that the Zionism actually” I first had the Zionists and then changed it to Zionism. I am deeply ashamed by this mistake as I am dutifully for everything else that follows. Are you watching Sean?

      • seanmcbride on April 12, 2014, 2:21 pm


        Are you watching Sean?

        Sorry — I didn’t mean to be a dick about your writing. I singled out that particular sentence of yours when I was feeling especially irritable. Usually you express interesting ideas and I value your contributions.

    • LeaNder on April 12, 2014, 7:56 am

      King’s a college with a strong business and economics department, not the usual profile of radical Marxists, to put it gently.

      This may well be the core of my personal troubles with you. For starters: I somewhat doubt that business and economic departments anywhere nowadays have “the usual” strong “radical Marxist” profile. It’s not at all my strength but I did a little post graduate studies in economics and law and find it really hard to imagine a strong Marxist approach in the field.

      I also doubt that the King’s college is dominated by the strong business or economics department, since that brings to mind the London School of Economics.

      I spent some time in the arts & humanities department there, and it didn’t feel unimportant at the time. While one of my best friends at King’s worked on his thesis on thunderstorm activities in Physics in space in an attic above a seemingly quite strong medical department. One kept stumbling across buckets full of legs and arms in the elevator up there. I also remember English student friends studied law there, not accidentally but actually choose the King’s because of it.

      It no doubt may have changed, but I doubt that the importance of e.g. its medical department was swallowed up by a dominance by economics ever. Although yes, there seems to have been a strong trend over the years into that field for decades. When I visited the university library here, I occasionally had the impression that everyone there seems to talk about economics from the little I overhear. I doubt they are inspired in their choices of the field to study by “Marxist radicalism” nowadays.

      Bottom line: one thing would change my mind. Are you studying economics. And do you have the impression your department is dominated by “Marxist radicals”? Any names, scholars in economics, that would fit that profile?

  2. David Doppler on April 11, 2014, 12:02 pm

    Phil, I appreciate the report that he was asked three times if he is a Zionist and that he declined to answer each time. It seems to me 1) that this is both a reasonable and an increasingly important question to ask politicians in the US, UK, EU, Australia, etc., and 2) that there is a taboo in effect that permits Zionists to avoid having to go on the record. The question was asked in Israel, but an answer might have pinned him down back home in ways that Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, and numerous other successful politicians (and Supreme Court Justices) are not. I suggest that one of your sub-goals in the war of ideas in the middle east should be to allow and encourage discourse, including direct and frank cross-examination by the press of politicians, on the dual questions: are you a Zionist? And, if so, what does that mean to you (ideologically, emotionally, and/or with respect to whatever specific issues come up).

    The suppression of such discourse is antithetical to US democracy. And if there are Anti-Semites out there who will feast on the news, let them: it is neither an excuse to suppress relevant political inquiry, nor effective in quelling Anti-Semitism to misuse law and policy in an attempt to control thought. Such is the cost of power in America, and an often-effective check on uncontrolled power.

    • ritzl on April 11, 2014, 2:24 pm

      Agree, DD. The three-sentence question in a US townhall meeting would be:

      “Food aid [pick a line item…] to US citizens has just been cut by $3B/year. Our aid to Israel is $3B/year. Do you favor cutting aid to Israel in order to maintain food aid to US citizens at its current level?”

      Expressed entirely in US popular/voter self-interest. Don’t even have to mention Zionism. Yes or No answer.

      I’d sure like to hear the explanation in front of a live audience for a “No” on that one.

      • Citizen on April 12, 2014, 10:25 am

        I also agree with DD, and would love to see ritzl’s questions asked of our US politicians. The main TV news media never brings up the issue, of course, neither on MSNBC, CNN, or Fox News, or local network channels or PBS.

  3. Kay24 on April 11, 2014, 12:16 pm

    If Adelson buys the White House for Israel, and if no. 10 Downing street is also “purchased” for Israel, the US and the UK are doomed. The two nations will find themselves fighting wars for a brutal occupier, arming it, feeding it, and all our foreign policies will be written in Tel Aviv. Oy Vey.

    • puppies on April 11, 2014, 1:26 pm

      No. 10 is already more than solidly American. There is no independent nation over the pond in the UK and hasn’t been for a long time; it’s just our offshore aircraft carrier and Trojan horse in Europe. So Adelson doesn’t have to buy it as he owns US Government.

  4. pabelmont on April 11, 2014, 12:18 pm

    SO: some follow-up questions: Does Miliband feel close to any other group of people than Jews? to any other country (outside UK) than Israel? Has he demonstrated (or created) his foreign policy creds or experience by visits to any other country than Israel? Is it his Zionism which is basic to him or his liberal (questioning the settlements) feelings?

    My guess is that UK has its own AIPAC (BICOM?) and that it is very nearly as puissant as our own, our very own, American, our dear, our precious AIPAC, bless its twisted heart. That’s how politics works in a world of global-governance-capitalism, global oligarchy. If international corporations and rich-guys control USA, why not everywhere else — at least everywhere else that governance has been made a commodity?

    It is often reported — perhaps merely hopefully — that the UK “street” is finding the message of BDS persuasive. If that is true, how soon before that message makes its way up the flagpole to those who govern (or aspire to govern) UK?

    Maybe Miliband’s Zionism doesn’t matter. DeBlasio did even worse and he’s probably not personally a Zionist. And Miliband did condemn the settlements.

  5. seafoid on April 11, 2014, 12:19 pm

    I read the Guardian article. I thought Miliband dealt with it quite deftly. Lots of nuance. Reflecting the state of thinking about Israel in the UK. Far less rabid than in the US.
    There are very few votes for Zionism in dear old Blighty these days.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on April 11, 2014, 12:28 pm

      Zionism is not popular among the Labour voting public, that is true.

      But that does not mean that ambitious politicians like Miliband do not have to pander to the powerful Westminster ‘Friends of Israel’. And pander he will. Granted, his rhetoric on this visit has been less obnoxious compared to Cameron’s recent visit, and certainly to any American politician. But still, his criticism was limited to generic – and really very mild – tut-tutting about how the ‘settlements’ are not ‘helpful’ (he would never dare call them a war crime) and the crap about the ”Jewish homeland” will be soothing to Zionist ears.

      And not a word about the siege of Gaza. Nothing about the routine killing of Palestinians. Not a peep about the kidnapping and caging of kids.

      Expect nothing from Miliband. For that is what you are going to get.

      • seafoid on April 11, 2014, 12:54 pm

        The bots have this pathological need to be told by outsiders that they are loved

        They are simultaneously willfully cruel and desperately insecure.
        Everyone gets brought to YadVashem (which should really be in Poland or Belarus)
        And the bromides.
        But Miliband can’t do the full monty. He can’t say he supports Eretz Yisrael Hashlemah – the full perfect Israel.
        Neither can Cameron.

        “Life isn’t simple for Scottish Zionists, either. “We were always very strong Zionist left-wingers here,” says Mervyn Lovat, a lecturer at Glasgow Business School, “but it’s getting more and more difficult to be supportive of Israel, especially since two of my sons moved there. I just can’t understand why they [Israel] do those things.” “

  6. HarryLaw on April 11, 2014, 1:47 pm

    Pandering, yes, that’s what all western Leaders do in Israel, however Ed Milliband and his Shadow Foreign minister Douglas Alexander called on the Conservative government to recognize Palestine as a state at the UN. Alexander called for this at a friends of Palestine meeting in Liverpool in 2011, both have attended friends of Palestine meetings, in the case of Milliband, his parents were both vehement anti Zionist, his father Ralph [now deceased] was also a leading socialist.

    • Nevada Ned on April 11, 2014, 4:53 pm

      Ralph Miliband was an important intellectual figure in the post-World-War-II left in Great Britain. Even people who disagreed with him often respected him. For an example, see this excerpt. The biography of Ralph Miliband by Michael Newman points out the stature of the man. To most readers, Ralph Miliband is best known for his books, Parliamentary Socialism and The State in Capitalist Society.

      In sad contrast, his son Ed Miliband appears to be a opportunist with no principles at all.

      • Kay24 on April 11, 2014, 10:12 pm

        I think Ed Milibrand is power hungry, like all other politicians, and knows he has to sleep with the devil, to reach the heights he aims for.
        Without the devil, the politicians in the US, and it seems some in the UK, cannot win elections. After millions are poured in, zionist media support, and backing, they win their elections, but the country loses, because they suddenly show loyalty and devotion to the devil, and doing it’s bidding, and controlled by it, which even their constituents do not have the privilege.

  7. petersz on April 11, 2014, 2:55 pm

    It’s telling Milliband is not a member of Labour Friends of Israel(founded 1957), unlike the Zionist Tony Blair and nearly every other leader of the Labour Party.

    • lysias on April 11, 2014, 6:58 pm

      Circa 2008, I had the dubious pleasure of attending a reception at the British Embassy in D.C. in honor of a visiting Labour M.P. who was a big shot in educational policy (hence my invitation to the reception as a former Marshall Scholar). Shortly before the reception ended, I happened to overhear the British Ambassador arrange with the guest of honor for their visiting the AIPAC meeting, which was then in full swing in D.C.

  8. puppies on April 11, 2014, 3:14 pm

    By the way, Phil, the place is called Najd. Rebaptized something in Hebrew after having been razed, of course, but that’s not a good enough reason to pander to the Zionists.

  9. eGuard on April 11, 2014, 4:02 pm

    So Milliband visited the dinner of Community Security Trust, a group that combats anti-Semitism in England as MW writes.

    More exactly, CST “fights” by spreading Islam hatred, and by turning a blind eye to racist Zionists. That Milliband visited their dinner was an unhidden code for support.

  10. ThorsteinVeblen2012 on April 11, 2014, 4:17 pm

    I am always reminded of the observation a Iraq veteran friend made when viewing pictures of the missiles recovered from Sderot.

    If they had been the sophisticated weapons often described there wouldn’t be the big pieces left as they would have been blasted to pieces during the explosion at impact. The fact that such large pieces are recovered makes the case that there may have been no warhead in the first place. That observation is confirmed by the photographs of the damage done which is usually a hole in the roof of a building. If there were a warhead there would be no building. The rusting remains of the missiles suggest they were fashioned out of plumbing pipe not something manufactured at an armaments factory..

    These are not offensive military weapons like the IDF routinely use. They are primitive weapons that are symbolic acts of defiance.

    • Sumud on April 12, 2014, 5:23 am

      Yes, and they’ve caused about 25 deaths in 15 years, those rockets from Gaza.

      Meanwhile about 6,000 Israeli motorists died in car accidents during the same time period. Even the cars are anti-semitic in Israel.

  11. W.Jones on April 11, 2014, 6:14 pm

    If we are talking elections, read this 2014 article by Norman Solomon, a congressional candidate from California, who by the way happens to look like Phil:

    J Street ultimately lets the Israeli government off the hook by declaring that relationship sacrosanct, no matter what. The organization insists that political candidates funded by J StreetPAC “must demonstrate that they support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, active U.S. leadership to help end the conflict, the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel, continued aid to the Palestinian Authority and opposition to the Boycott/Divestment/Sanction movement.”

    The sanctity of the proviso about “the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel” became evident to one of us (Norman Solomon) while running for Congress in 2012 in California. After notification that J Street had decided to confer “On the Street” status on Solomon and another Democratic candidate in the primary race, the group’s leadership suddenly withdrew the stamp of approval — after discovering a Solomon op-ed piece written in July 2006 that criticized Washington’s support for the Israeli bombing of Lebanon then underway. In a specially convened conference call, J Street’s top leaders told the candidate that one statement in the op-ed was especially egregious: “The United States and Israel. Right now, it’s the most dangerous alliance in the world.”

  12. lysias on April 11, 2014, 6:55 pm

    Israel has done its best to suppress the Yiddish language. Not only is it associated with the allegedly weak, unmilitaristic Jews of Europe that Zionism and Israel have repudiated, but it is a language with a sense of humor.

  13. radii on April 12, 2014, 1:19 am

    israel is behind the right-wing ascension in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia and to a lesser extent New Zealand … it is really astonishing how far their tentacles reach and how insidious their influence is all these years after 9/11 and their “create our own reality” neocon fake “war-on-terror” to “re-shape the Middle East”

    I was at a party before Schwarzenegger became CA governor and it was all British, Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand (and American) jews and zionists and the slavish groveling Arnold and the other speakers and guests did was nauseating and I knew then that those countries were in on the game

    I’m kinda shocked that it hasn’t played out but keeps picking up steam – how HOW?

    Australia has basically had a Bill Kristol maniac take over and Britain’s Tony Blair couldn’t stick his tongue any farther up israel’s a** and the subsequent prime ministers have been just as solicitous toward the zionists’ desires

    israel always plays hardball and uses the lowest and most crude and cruel and manipulative methods so it makes you wonder what they have over Britain, Canada, and Australia (maybe Comvers and Amdocs listened on everything in those countries too the way they did the U.S. in the 90s)

    thank goodness Kerry said what he said with the “poof” remark so the world knows that the U.S. gets frustrated with israel’s endless games and desire for endless wars over any kind of peace

  14. amigo on April 13, 2014, 8:18 am

    “it is really astonishing how far their tentacles reach and how insidious their influence is”Radii

    Indeed, even little ole Ireland has a Zionist (Alan Shatter) heading up our Justice and Defense ministries. One portfolio was not sufficient , this zio had to get his hands on two.Ireland is now buying arms from Israel, thanks to this Israel firster.

    • talknic on April 13, 2014, 9:53 am

      @ radii The Zionist colonizers have had since at least 1897/8 to hone theirs kills at lobbying, gathering money and placing their money and people in places that suit their cause.

      They’re not stupid, tho as witnessed here many of their (p)syc(h)ophants surely are, unless of course they’re propagandists. Pity Jewish and non Jewish people alike, innocently caught up in the mess the Zionist Movement‘s state has purposefully created.

      If they’re willing to break their own Declaration of Independence, robbing Israelis of the right to legally elect a Government with a constitution and; willing to sell their own citizens ‘real estate’ in territories that do not yet belong to the state and; if they’re so deceitful as to invite the Arab population to stay, when they knew full well at the time Jewish forces were razing non-Jewish homes and villages and dispossessing non Jews and; if they’re so willing to blatantly ignore International Law and the UN Charter, they’re probably capable of anything, no matter how sick, ghastly or illegal.

    • lysias on April 13, 2014, 4:52 pm

      One does wonder why no press in any English-speaking country has been willing to publish Solzhenitsyn’s 200 Years Together, about the history of Jews in Russia/USSR, in English-language translation. Not in the U.S., not in the UK, not in Canada, not in Australia, not in New Zealand. Not only that, but also not in Ireland, not in South Africa, not in any of the West Indies, not even in India or Pakistan. What’s up with that?

      You can order the translations into German and French (which appeared promptly after the Russian-language original) from and Amazon in the U.S. even sells the Russian-language original, but not an English-language translation.

      What could better illustrate the power of the Lobby throughout the English-speaking world?

  15. Citizen on April 13, 2014, 4:35 pm

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