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Sunday morning macabre

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It’s Sunday morning, so let’s go into the archives. Here’s a clip from the 2012 BBC documentary Shalom Belfast. Israeli journalist Ithamar Handelman Smith interviews Gordon McKnight, native of Bangor, the third largest town in Northern Ireland. McKnight is recent convert to Judaism, and he wants to move to Israel. Sort of. Actually he wants to move, as a settler, to Occupied Palestine. Why?

Every little [bit] helps.

The Arabs have only been there a very short period of time. That’s why I do not recognize a Palestinian people, nation, nothing. They are a political invention, invented after the 1967 war.

Smith: But you from Bangor… has more right on the land than they do. You don’t find it a contradiction?

I can see why they would be upset… But my advice would be, you had a nice holiday, time to go home, that would be my advice.

Smith then takes over…
No word on what McKnight did. Though this sharp tweet:

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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28 Responses

  1. just on June 15, 2014, 10:58 am

    Brainwashing. It’s as if I was watching an indoctrinated cult member…in the rapture.

    Deprogramming advised. Smith’s efforts obviously did not work, though to his credit, he tried. I think Smith wanted benighted McKnight’s “membership papers” revoked.

    What a world.

    • DICKERSON3870 on June 16, 2014, 9:06 am

      RE: Brainwashing. It’s as if I was watching an indoctrinated cult member…in the rapture. ~ just

      MY REPLY: What leads you to believe you were not watching an indoctrinated cult member? According to the article below*, Chabad teaches its followers that Jews are a different species from us mongrels!

      Centres – Chabad Lubavitch UK
      Northern Ireland – Belfast. Rabbi Menachem and Ruth Brackman run the Chabad Centre for Northern Ireland. The Centre is located in Belfast.
      LINK –

      * SEE: “Why is the US Honoring a Racist Rabbi?”, by Alison Weir,, 4/07/14

      [EXCERPT] If things proceed normally, President Barak Obama will soon proclaim April 11, 2014 “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.” Despite the innocuous name, this day honors the memory of a religious leader whose lesser-known teachings help fuel some of the most violent attacks against Palestinians by extremist Israeli settlers and soldiers.

      The leader being honored on this day is Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, charismatic head of a mystical/fundamentalist version of Judaism [namely, Chabad-Lubavitch]. . .

      . . . Congress first passed a Resolution honoring Schneerson in 1975. . .

      . . . Schneerson and his movement are an extremely mixed bag.

      Schneerson has been praised widely for a public persona and organization that emphasized “deep compassion and insight,” worked to bring many secular Jews “back” into the fold, created numerous schools around the world, and had offered, in the words of the Jewish Virtual Library, “social-service programs and humanitarian aid to all people, regardless of religious affiliation or background.”

      However, there is also a less attractive underside often at odds with such public perceptions. And some of the more extreme parts of Schneerson’s teachings – such as that Jews are a completely different species than non-Jews, and that non-Jews exist only to serve Jews – have been largely hidden, it appears, even from many who consider themselves his followers.

      As we will see, such views profoundly impact the lives of Palestinians living – and dying – under Israeli occupation and military invasions. . .


      P.S. I have read that the CIA backed Chabad-Lubavich in the Soviet Union back during the Cold War in an effort to destabilize the U.S.S.R. Similarly, the CIA dealt with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to counter Soviet influence in Egypt.

  2. Citizen on June 15, 2014, 11:18 am

    The journalist tells McKnight that the greatest rabbi of all time said the #1 rule is love they neighbor, not love thy Jewish neighbor. So how does McKight square that with what the Palestinians suffer daily under occupation? And that at a minimum of three generations living on the land, the Palestinians have been there a tad more than merely “being on vacation,” as McKnight characterized their life in the OT. McKnight says Israel has done more than enough to help the Palestinians…. So, anybody know if McKnight moved to the OT?

    • Shmuel on June 15, 2014, 12:03 pm

      So, anybody know if McKnight moved to the OT?

      According to the NIFI (Northern Ireland Friends of Israel) website, “NIFI supporter, Gordon McKnight … is off to Israel to teach English in the Ramle-Lod region of central Israel for the coming academic year.”

      Have the remaining Palestinians in Ramle-Lod been informed that Gordon of Bangor is on his way and their “holiday” is over?

      Can’t help but wonder what his position is on Northern Ireland (isn’t McKnight a Scottish name?).

      • amigo on June 15, 2014, 1:01 pm

        “Can’t help but wonder what his position is on Northern Ireland (isn’t McKnight a Scottish name?).”Shmuel

        Typically Mc is Irish and Mac is Scottish.

        I also wondered if he was a Catholic or a Proddy.

        Maybe he was a Muslim.

        My bet is he was a Proddy.They have much in common with Zionists.He also hails from the same town as David Trimble who sat on the Turkel Commission.I believe Trimble was chair of the N I “Friends of Israel”.

        Scroll to Turkel commission.

      • annie on June 15, 2014, 1:10 pm

        amigo, it says right on the video he’s a loyalist.

      • amigo on June 15, 2014, 1:52 pm

        Thanks Annie.

        My Laptop is slow in downloading so I relied on just the text version.

        When we have sun in Ireland , everything goes haywire.Our computers are designed to run in bad weather.

        Truth is I live in a rural area and fast Broadband is still an apple in my eye.

      • annie on June 15, 2014, 10:33 pm

        When we have sun in Ireland , everything goes haywire.

        i spent 3 wks there and can’t recall seeing the sun. but i loved it!

  3. DaveS on June 15, 2014, 11:33 am

    I think this clip is very valuable, precisely because the things this guy is saying are so downright silly. I would think that any Zionist would be embarrassed by this interview and would claim that he’s a stupid twerp, a bad apple. But he is actually articulating not only the truth that Israel bestows upon him the “right” to move to a different continent and assume superior rights over an indigenous population, but also the fundamental principles underlying the state. Rarely are these principles articulated by someone so ill-equipped to do so, someone who lays bare the injustice of the entire situation.

    • annie on June 15, 2014, 11:51 am

      yeah, there is something so perfect about this little interview.

      wow, so it happened, you’re a full on jew.

      and just like that bingo. his ancestral homeland is eretz israel, for over 3000 years jews have been there. the logic is mind-numbing.

      • Citizen on June 15, 2014, 11:57 am

        Even the interviewer seemed flabbergasted by this guy’s take.

      • DICKERSON3870 on June 15, 2014, 7:40 pm

        A budding cult follower like him isn’t going to be satisfied with anything less than a full blown cult. I can easily see him joining ‘Jews for Jesus’ in a few years.
        Jews for Jesus –

        P.S. This is yet another reason that Jerusalem must be made an international city pursuant to General Assembly resolution 181 (II) November 29, 1947, which provides for the full territorial internationalisation of Jerusalem: “The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations.”

    • Feathers on June 15, 2014, 1:41 pm

      Annie — you and the Forward; great minds and all that —

      “Confessions of a Christian Zionist” (w/ photo of convert to Judaism w/ his bride at Jewish wedding)

      ” September 11 changed things, even in my tucked-away corner of Northern Georgia. We felt encroached upon by violent forces. The evening of the attacks, my family gathered in our close-knit country church. We prayed for the grieving survivors and, of course, for the protection of Israel. I said to my mother that day, “Jesus… he’s coming back soon, isn’t he?” She nodded reassuringly. All this suffering was necessary, I believed with sadness, watching in fear for what Jesus had described as the “birth pains” before the End of Days, when the world would be made new.
      The days following 9/11 turned our attention to Israel and its position in the Middle East. As evangelical supporters of the Jewish state and believers in the coming apocalypse, we frequently begged for God’s protection over the country and her people.
      We did this in shouted prayers. We spoke in tongues. Some who prayed would fall to the ground, slumping under what was believed to be the influence of God’s overwhelming power. We prayed that the Jewish homecoming to Israel would inspire willing Jews to abandon their faith and accept Jesus Christ as their savior before the Rapture.


      “. . .At the same time, the evangelical world was being shaped by forces other than those on 9/11. One was the gathering Republican platform designed to give political voice to our beliefs and concerns; another was the massive popularity of the “Left Behind” series of Christian thrillers, which described apocalyptic world politics and the salvation of the Jews. . . .”


      “When I decided to convert, I returned to my study of Israel, but with very different eyes. I realized just how deeply the evangelical and Jewish worlds misunderstand each other. Still, there were some sparse similarities. For instance, I recognized the romanticism of my older Jewish friends. Israel symbolized the promise of a better future for them and their offspring. Their Zionism was good-natured, rooted in the decades-old optimism that once widely characterized the American perception of Israel. The more I read, however, the more I asked myself the question: To whom had Israel been promised?

      Because I had never visited Israel, I was stunned to discover that the religious status of converts was a politically charged issue. Under the Law of Return, Israeli citizenship is the right of all Jews, yet the question of who is a Jew is controversial. Many of my fellow converts have immigrated as Jews, only to be heartbroken when, for instance, the Orthodox establishment denies them a marriage license on the grounds they aren’t Jewish.

  4. a blah chick on June 15, 2014, 11:36 am

    The Palestinians were invented in 1967? But, but I was told that they were invented in ’48 to piss off the Jews, or was it in the 1920’s when they all came from Outer Mongolia to take jobs in the new factories the Zionists built?

    These people need to get their stories straight.

    • bintbiba on June 15, 2014, 4:29 pm

      Religion + ignorance = a toxic mix if ever there was!

      • just on June 15, 2014, 4:32 pm


        This is the worst and most frightening military Imperialism practiced in my lifetime.

        They’re lying to the world, to each other, and to themselves.

  5. Kay24 on June 15, 2014, 12:06 pm

    There is ignorance written all over his face. He makes statements that are not factual, and is naive enough to buy the narrative Americans are told ad nauseam by the media.
    He would truly fit in the illegal settlement territories, blend in beautifully with their terrorists, and burn/steal an olive tree from those his simple mind thinks are the real
    interlopers in the occupied territories. He already sounds, and looks. like one of them.

  6. Maximus Decimus Meridius on June 15, 2014, 12:35 pm

    Going by his name, Gordon McKnight very likely is/was a Protestant, probably Presbyterian – in other words, the descendant of Scottish colonial settlers whose behaviour in Ireland is in many ways similar to that of Jews in Palestine.

    Could it be that this person is so attracted to Israel because he is nostalgic for the days when his fellow Protestants could lord it over the Catholics? Thankfully, those days are gone in Ireland but in Israel….. colonialism is still alive and kicking.

  7. amigo on June 15, 2014, 1:42 pm

    This slime ball runs in the shadow of Ian Paisley who once stated that Northern Ireland is “A Protestant Country for a Protestant People.For Mc knight that dream is over so he finds another way to live out his vile racist ideology.

    I hope, if he goes to the West Bank, he is prepared to work as all the Palestinians will have gone.

    The guy is a two time loser.

  8. Boomer on June 15, 2014, 4:01 pm

    More blatant than some examples, but this Alice in Wonderland “logic” is typical, and a sad commentary on human nature.

  9. on June 15, 2014, 5:20 pm

    Annie – thanks for pointing out the notable fact that even after our peace process, Northern Ireland still has loads of irrational people who are steeped in religious mania and prejudice. I am from Belfast and my sister lives in Bangor. This chap
    McKnight from Bangor is an evangelical Protestant. McKnight is normally a Scottish Protestant name. He thinks that the Israelis are victimized by the Palestinians just like many Israelis feel they are victimized by the Palestinians. The Protestants in Northern Ireland (aligned with the British) are noted for their failure to consider Irish history in their treatment of the Republicans (Catholics) so a lack of understanding in the case of the Middle East might be expected in some cases. Northern Ireland protestants, usually the poorly educated ones, often promote this delusion about Israel’s blameless behavior. David Trimble would also share this opinion albeit in a more nuanced form – his connection to Israel, power and money would reinforce this attitude in subtle ways. Another reason why some Northern Ireland Protestants have this pro-Israel attitude is because they always oppose the Catholic Republicans who aggressively support the Palestinians; i.e. the Catholic Republicans like Gerry Adams think that they are victimized by the British just like the Palestinians feel that they are victimized by the Israelis. They see Ireland as the moral equivalent of Palestine. The British originally stole their land in Ireland just like Israel is seen to have stolen the Palestinian land. So there is a small percentage of poorly informed Protestants who support the Israeli occupation but an overwhelming majority of the Republicans (Catholics) are pro-Palestine. I would also guess that at least 50% of the Protestants in Northern Ireland support Palestine because they are well-educated, impartial and interested in current affairs. It is my strong opinion that in Ireland a huge majority are pro-Palestinian. Recent pro-BDS decisions in Ireland support this analysis. There are very few Jews in Ireland and no real antisemitism but when a Protestant sounds particularly fanatical about Israel, the Jews seem to find a way to reward him extravagantly, no matter how irrational he is. This is hardly a surprise.

    In summary, the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland and the Catholic majority in all of Ireland see the British occupation in Northern Ireland in the same light as they see the Israeli occupied territories in Palestine. Like the Palestinians, many Irish Catholics see the British in Northern Ireland as the equivalent of the Israelis illegally occupying their country. When I try to make the analogy between Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine to my Jewish friends in the USA I am often spurned. They say that Ireland is totally different and it is not relevant. I know that they are wrong. My opinion is that some Jews do not like the analogy because they do not really want peace like we achieved in Ireland. This successful peace process in Ireland was mainly due to the hard work of George Mitchell who was also spurned by the Israelis and many of their partisans in the USA.

    I myself am torn, in that I am a Northern Ireland Protestant, but I have an Irish passport. So my sympathies are with the Catholics and I would like the British to leave the historical island of Ireland. But I am not too aggressive about this because of my pro-British Protestant family. I am like a liberal Zionist who wants the settlements to stop; I want Israel to return to at least the 67 borders where they belong but my Jewish family are not totally aligned with me. It is also difficult to find an organization that agrees with me. I joined J Street but they disappointed me when they sounded just like AIPAC; after all they have rejected BDS. The feeling in Ireland is that we have been polite to Israel for 50 years and they have insulted us in every conceivable way. Now is the time to get tough and only severe economic pressure will convince them to change. So, given Kerry’s recent failure, BDS is seen as the only strategy that will work.

    One final point – the right wing in Israel are starting to sound a lot like Ian Paisley in their attitude towards the Palestinians. His insensitivity towards the Catholics in his early years, is very similar to the way the Israeli right-wingers now treat the Palestinians.

    • annie on June 15, 2014, 11:30 pm

      i had no idea j street was in ireland. i also assumed everyone in ireland had an irish passport. it’s a little confusing given the country is formally divided. other than that, yes i am aware of the strong sympathies in ireland for palestine. i’m also relieved after all this time things are healing over there. it’s a wonderful country. i’ve never been up north tho. someday.

      • amigo on June 16, 2014, 5:57 am

        “i also assumed everyone in Ireland had an irish passport. it’s a little confusing given the country is formally divided.” Annie

        Annie , let me jump in here on “unverified,s” excellent post.

        The Good Friday agreement allowed Citizens of Northern Ireland to claim citizenship in the Republic of Ireland and/or The UK.

        “It is the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose, and accordingly [the two governments] confirm that their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both Governments and would not be affected by any future change in the status of Northern Ireland.”

      • on June 16, 2014, 12:24 pm

        Northern Ireland that little corner in the North-East, is part of the UK so the people born there (and their children) qualify for a British Passport. The Protestants usually cherish their British passport. But the Catholics in Northern Ireland will not cherish the British passport as they may resent the fact that Northern Ireland is part of the UK. However, the government of the Republic of Ireland (the rest of Ireland and the largest part) offers an Irish passport to anyone born in any part of Ireland (including Northern Ireland) or to the child of anyone born there. So if you were born in Northern Ireland and you feel Irish rather than British, you can have an Irish passport for the asking (and a British one too). It is a sign that the Republic of Ireland do not acknowledge jurisdiction by the UK in Northern Ireland. As for J Street, I am merely using a literary device to explain that I am a conflicted Protestant (sympathetic to the Irish) without any organization that appeals to me just like a Liberal Zionist who decides that J Street is not all that liberal. And as for Northern Ireland, it is one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland. Just like Israel would like to take over the best of the West Bank, the British took the best part of Ireland where their sympathizers (the Protestants had already settled.

      • lysias on June 16, 2014, 12:52 pm

        I believe it’s enough as far as getting an Irish passport is concerned if at least one of your parents or grandparents was born somewhere in Ireland (including the North). To get an Irish passport, I submitted documentation that my father was born in Cavan before the peace of 1921-2, therefore still within the territory of the United Kingdom (I can’t remember now whether I also submitted documentation that my mother was born in Kerry, also before the peace. All four of my grandparents were also born in Ireland, but I didn’t have to submit any documentation about them.)

        Since it’s illegal under U.S. law for a U.S. citizen to use an Irish passport to exit or enter the U.S., and since it has been many years since I traveled outside the U.S., I have never made use of that Irish passport.

        I’ve never been to the North of Ireland, but is it really more beautiful than Kerry?

  10. on June 16, 2014, 2:52 pm

    You are right. Not more beautiful than Kerry but still wonderful. In the far North of Northern Ireland the coast of Counties Londonderry and Antrim to the East of Donegal are a world-class tourist attraction. In 2019 the Open Golf Tournament will return to Portrush on this so-called Causeway Coast beside the Giant’s Causeway (World Heritage Site). Now that our terrorist troubles are over the future is bright again.

    • annie on June 16, 2014, 2:57 pm

      the best part about ireland is the people. i’ll definitely go back. memories to last a lifetime.

  11. wes on June 17, 2014, 3:09 am

    Annie Robbins says:
    June 16, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    annie got the bun

    “the best part about ireland is the people”,7340,L-4531266,00.html

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