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Clashing with the Jewish state: ultra-Orthodox Israelis who reject Zionism

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Before the sun has a chance to rise, Israeli riot police tiptoe through one of Jerusalem’s oldest Jewish neighborhoods, their shadows dancing across lines of anti-Zionist graffiti decorating buildings and walls.

Their objective is to arrest residents in Mea Shearim for refusing Israel’s mandatory army draft and organizing against the state, according to community claims. They say such raids have occurred on a near nightly basis in the neighborhood for decades. However, in recent years Israel’s police operations have escalated in Mea Shearim.

In their telling, when Israeli forces break into homes during these overnight raids, ultra-Orthodox residents are dragged out of their beds and thrown into police vans.

Many in Mea Shearim, established in 1874, are part of the Eda Haredit, “Congregation of God-fearers” in English — an ultra-Orthodox group in Jerusalem that is also fiercely anti-Zionist.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld described a less recurrent scene. He was not able to provide the numbers of arrests carried out in the neighborhood over the past few months, but told Mondoweiss police units do not normally carry out night raids “unless there are specific individuals who the police know were involved in illegal demonstrations.”

The Eda Haredit opposes the Israeli state and any attempts at assimilating them into the larger Israeli society. The cloistered neighborhood of Mea Shearim has become a symbol for the group, whose members insulate themselves from state institutions and affairs as much as possible.

Eda Haredit members also reside in the Jerusalem-area city of Beit Shemesh and Safed in northern Israel.

Many of the group’s members are descendants of the Old Yishuv, Jews who resided in historic Palestine under Ottoman and then British rule.

Outside the homes of many Eda Haredit members in Mea Shearim hang signs that read: “Here lives a non-Zionist Jew.” Palestinian flags fluttering outside homes are a common sight here.

Eda Haredit members can often be found protesting the state and Israel’s army draft on the streets of Jerusalem. Israeli forces typically respond by dousing them in skunk spray – a noxious smelling liquid.

The members come prepared, even wrapping their black, wide-brimmed hats in protective plastic. When Israeli police releases skunk spray on the protesters, instead of running away, Eda Haredit members often sing and dance as the putrid concoction rains down on them.

The Israeli police have been accused of using excessive force on the demonstrators, including severely beating unarmed Eda Haredit members.

A century-long anti-Zionist struggle

Mordechai Mintzberg, a rabbi in Mea Shearim whose family resided in historic Palestine generations before Israel was founded, told Mondoweiss that the establishment of the Eda Haredit was a “counter reaction” to Zionism in the early 20th century.

According to Mintzberg, as Zionists tightened their grip on the British Mandate of Palestine following the Balfour Declaration in 1917, Jews were forced to determine their relationship to the Zionist movement.  

“The ardent anti-Zionist Jews decided to establish a self-sufficient community that was unquestionably opposed to the Zionist movement,” Mintzberg says.

The Eda Haredit developed its own separate school system – taught entirely in Yiddish – and an independent religious court, known as a Badatz. 

When Israel was established in 1948, the group’s struggle against Zionism intensified.

Although Israel has always hosted anti-Zionist Jews across the political spectrum, the Eda Haredit stands apart for the strict adherence to their beliefs.

In the early years of the Israeli state, Eda Haredit members refused to accept Israeli IDs and some even rejected the use of Israeli currency, Benjamin Brown, a professor of Jewish thought at Hebrew University, told Mondoweiss.

Other ultra-Orthodox groups identified with the self-proclaimed Jewish state and integrated into government institutions with their constituents now participating in Israel’s parliament. Leading political parties like Shas and Agudat Yisrael have members who are ultra-Orthodox yet ardently support the state of Israel. 

The Eda Haredit considers these ultra-Orthodox groups “traitors” for “collaborating with the Zionist enemy,” Mintzberg said.

For the Eda Haredit, he says Israeli IDs and citizenship are now “forced” on the community, but members “do everything in [their] power to disassociate from the state.”

Eda Haredit members boycott elections and refuse to accept Israel’s national insurance. If members receive unwelcome assistance from the state, it is immediately placed into a fund dedicated to supporting members organizing against the Israeli army, Mintzberg said.

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‘We are struggling for our very existence’ 

The community speaks Yiddish and only uses modern Hebrew with outsiders. They consider the language spoken by most Israelis today a “perversion” of ancient Hebrew, Mintzberg explained.

Jews were expelled from ancient Israel because they had gone against God’s commandments, the group believes. Jews are not allowed any form of a state until the coming of the Messiah, which is expected to occur following a Jewish “spiritual redemption” that would right the sins of the past.

Zionists have used Judaism to further their political goals in the region and “conquer” the territory, Mintzberg told Mondoweiss, adding that a Jewish nationality is antithetical to the teachings of Judaism. He considers Zionism to be a “parasite” on the Jewish faith.

According to his beliefs, Jews inside Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory should be living under Palestinian rule.

Brown estimates the population of the Eda Haredit to currently be at least 30,000. He says official statistics do not exist because the Eda Haredit refuses to cooperate with Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

Lizi Sagie a secular anti-Zionist Israeli activist, told Mondoweiss that, “no one in Israel practices anti-Zionism like the Eda Haredit.”

“They don’t just talk about being anti-Zionist, they really live it,” she said. “I have never witnessed such pure justice like I found in Mea Shearim.”

In the larger Israeli society Eda Haredit members are characterized as “violent extremists” owing to the group allegedly throwing objects, spewing insults, and at times spitting on uniformed Israeli soldiers who wander into Mea Shearim.

The community has also come under fire for its practice of gender segregation. The state has previously intervened to upend barriers on public sidewalks.

But in Mintzberg’s view his group is attempting to survive and defend itself inside a state aiming to consume them into a Zionist society.

“We are struggling for our very existence,” he says.

Forced conscription

The most important battleground between the Eda Haredit and the Israeli authorities has opened up around the country’s compulsory army draft.

Israeli law mandates that Jewish-Israeli citizens be conscripted into the army at the age of 18. Men must spend three years in the army, while women are conscripted for a mandatory, two-year term.

Brown says that the some 900,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel have usually been able to gain unofficial exemptions by proving they are full-time students at yeshiva, a seminary school.

A 2014 bill to restrict draft exemptions spurred a wave of protests from the community, including one of the largest marches in Israel’s history. The issue has remained in the public eye as Israeli lawmakers negotiate a bill to axe the draft exemption for ultra-Orthodox Jews.

However, unlike other ultra-Orthodox groups, Israeli attempts at recruiting the Eda Haredit are futile. For the Eda Haredit, even entering a draft center and showing documents to gain that exemption is considered “collaborating with the enemy”.

“We would never seek Israel’s permission to be exempted from their army, because we don’t recognize the Zionist regime’s authority at all,” Mintzberg said.

“If any of us were ever to accept being drafted into an army, it will be one that is fighting against the Zionist state,” he added.

For Eda Haredit members, it is an honor to be jailed over refusing the draft. Their children are “excited” to reach the age of conscription because “the draft refusers become the stars and heroes of the community,” Mintzberg said.

The rift between the Eda Haredit and other ultra-Orthodox groups in Israel has deepened over recent years. The Eda Haredit sees Israel’s draft as an attempt by officials to further “corrupt” and “Israelize” the larger ultra-Orthodox society.

Over the last decade, ultra-Orthodox enlistment into the Israeli military has climbed from 288 in 2007, to nearly 2,000 today.

Sagie points out that Israeli authorities will often send Ultra-Orthodox army officials into Mea Shearim “just to provoke residents.”

“They want to show the community that, ‘Look, even your own kind is wearing our uniform,'” Sagie told Mondoweiss.

The Eda Haredit holds frequent protests against the draft and distributes pamphlets outside draft centers discouraging other Ultra-Orthodox Jews from joining the army.

The group has also been known to ritually hang Israeli soldier dummies in Mea Shearim to protest Israel’s army draft, evoking condemnation among Israeli leaders.

Last year, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman confronted the community on Twitter, saying it was a “shame” that Israeli citizens were “risking their lives to defend the homeland”, while an “extremist, violent and anti-Zionist group is attempting to prevent the enlistment of ultra-Orthodox Jews into the army.”

Frequent raids

Israeli forces frequently raid Mea Shearim, according to Mintzberg, arresting draft refusers or members active in the protests.

The police operations are often conducted during night hours, when Israeli officers break into homes without any prior warnings – a police strategy usually saved for Palestinian communities in occupied East Jerusalem.

Oftentimes, residents are arrested and then released the next morning. “It’s all just meant to try and break the community,” Sagie said.

Unlike Palestinians, who often use Whatsapp groups and Facebook to warn residents of Israeli raids, the Eda Haredit’s strict anti-modern lifestyle prohibits them from using the internet.

Instead, “we have kosher phones”, Mintzberg says, taking out a weather-beaten mobile phone from his pocket. The phone only has the ability to make and receive calls.

The community has developed a “hotline” that provides details on goings-on in the neighborhood and updates on jailed residents.

During emergencies, like a night raid, the hotline sends out calls to its registered numbers. Once someone receives the call, they dial the number back and a recorded message plays.

One of the recordings, heard by Mondoweiss, was loud and frantic: “The Zionist kidnappers are invading a home!” the message blared out of the phone’s speaker, in Yiddish.

The recordings often inform residents about which houses are being raided, prompting hundreds of residents to flock outside in an attempt to prevent arrests and push Israeli forces out of the neighborhood.

When group members are arrested, oftentimes they will refuse to cooperate with Israeli officials, while others hold daily protests outside the jails where members are being held.

Outside of every synagogue in Mea Shearim, there are posters listing the names of each jailed community member, so that “the entire community will pray for them,” Mintzberg says.

‘A threat to Israel’

Meanwhile, Mintzberg says he and others in the community identify as being Palestinian. “I live on this land, so what else would I be except Palestinian?” he said.

Mintzberg explained that while the group’s strict anti-Zionist views are derived from a religious origin, these values also merge with their sense of morality.

The group’s members feel a strong connection to the Palestinian struggle, he said, “We are clearly bound to each other. We share the same history and the same struggle.”

He accused the Israeli government of seeking to turn the image of ultra-Orthodox Jews into the “enemy” of Palestinians and divide the two groups.

“The state has invested a lot of money and energy into trying to divide us from Palestinians,” he said.

A few families in the Eda Haredit are activists in Neturei Karta, a group of ultra-Orthodox men who organize with Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. However, even these small initiatives to support Palestinians are often targeted and shut down by the Israeli government, Mintzberg noted.

Nevertheless, Mintzberg believes his community’s struggle is a powerful challenge to Israel.

“We are a threat to Israel’s narrative because our continued existence as anti-Zionist Jews defies every myth perpetuated by the Israeli state,” he said.

Jaclynn Ashly

Jaclynn Ashly is a journalist based in Bethlehem, Palestine. You can find her on Twitter @jaclynnashly

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39 Responses

  1. eljay on March 22, 2018, 10:12 am

    Night raids and skunk water: The “Jewish State” treats these Jews like Palestinians!

    … Meanwhile, Mintzberg says he and others in the community identify as being Palestinian. “I live on this land, so what else would I be except Palestinian?” he said.

    Mintzberg explained that while the group’s strict anti-Zionist views are derived from a religious origin, these values also merge with their sense of morality.

    The group’s members feel a strong connection to the Palestinian struggle, he said, “We are clearly bound to each other. We share the same history and the same struggle.” …

    And this, it would seem, is why.

    I applaud the member of Mea Shearim for choosing to be Jews rather than Zionists and for standing with and as Palestinians against Zionism’s colonialist and religion-supremacist project.

    • JWalters on March 22, 2018, 9:53 pm

      I join in your applause. (Sound of two hands clapping.) This is a GREAT story!

    • Misterioso on March 24, 2018, 7:00 pm

      Prophetic comments by five eminent Jews:

      Then Secretary of State for India and the British cabinet’s only Jewish member, Lord Edwin Montagu’s response to Prime Minister Lloyd George following issuance of the illegal 1917 Balfour Declaration: “All my life I have been trying to get out of the ghetto. You want to force me back there.”

      Henry Morgenthau Sr., renowned Jewish American and former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, 1919: “Zionism is the most stupendous fallacy in Jewish history….The very fervour of my feeling for the oppressed of every race and every land, especially for the Jews, those of my own blood and faith, to whom I am bound by every tender tie, impels me to fight with all the greater force against this scheme, which my intelligence tells me can only lead them deeper into the mire of the past, while it professes to be leading them to the heights. Zionism is… a retrogression into the blackest error, and not progress toward the light.” (Quoted by Frank Epp, Whose Land is Palestine?, p. 261)

      Asked to sign a petition supporting settlement of Jews in Palestine, Sigmund Freud declined: “I cannot…I do not think that Palestine could ever become a Jewish state….It would have seemed more sensible to me to establish a Jewish homeland on a less historically-burdened land….I can raise no sympathy at all for the misdirected piety which transforms a piece of a Herodian wall into a national relic, thereby offending the feelings of the natives.” (Letter to Dr. Chaim Koffler Keren HaYassod, Vienna: 2/26/30)

      Albert Einstein, 1939: “There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people…. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.” (Einstein and Zionism by Banesh Hoffmann, in General Relativity and Gravitation, eds. G. Shaviv and J. Rosen, Wiley, 1975, p. 242)

      Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American Council for Judaism, 1944: “The concept of a racial state – the Hitlerian concept- is repugnant to the civilized world, as witness the fearful global war in which we are involved. . . , I urge that we do nothing to set us back on the road to the past. To project at this time the creation of a Jewish state or commonwealth is to launch a singular innovation in world affairs which might well have incalculable consequences.”

  2. Yitzgood on March 22, 2018, 12:28 pm

    The Badatz Eidah Hachareidis kosher symbol is considered very reliable. You can see it on all the famous Osem products: Bisslis, Bambas, the Chicken Soup base in the yellow plastic bottles, etc.

    • Mooser on March 22, 2018, 7:31 pm

      “The Badatz Eidah Hachareidis kosher symbol is considered very reliable.”

      Thanks, “Yitzchak”, good to know. Some others may be, unfortunately, less than as very reliable.

  3. pabelmont on March 22, 2018, 7:27 pm

    Terrific story, and a wonderful thing that these people are standing by the old rabbinic religion instead of caving in to the new Zionist (revisioinist) religion. Maybe these peopleare related to (or the same as) the Neturei Karta ( ) folks.

  4. RoHa on March 22, 2018, 9:39 pm

    “the Eda Haredit’s strict anti-modern lifestyle prohibits them from using the internet.”

    Is use of the internet forbidden in the Torah or in the Talmud?

    • Jon66 on March 23, 2018, 9:25 am

      These guys don’t approve of women’s rights or secularism. Not just for themselves, but for anyone. They oppose allowing women or “gentiles” access to the Western Wall and have tried to segregate the public sidewalks amongst other noxious ideas.

      A real jewel in the crown of anti-Zionism.

      • Mooser on March 23, 2018, 12:03 pm

        “These guys…”

        Tribal Unity weeps.

    • Mooser on March 23, 2018, 12:23 pm

      “Is use of the internet forbidden in the Torah or in the Talmud?”

      Only on Friday nights and Saturday until sundown, and during the High Holy Days.

      • Yitzgood on March 23, 2018, 1:34 pm

        Only on Friday nights and Saturday until sundown, and during the High Holy Days.

        Not on Shabbos and Yom Tov? Delete the word “High” from this sentence.

      • Mooser on March 23, 2018, 2:01 pm

        There is, still, unfortunately, a divisive question within the community on Internet use. Is it simply an obligation not to look at the internet during those times, or should any Jewish activity having a web presence have their server “time out” when use is forbidden?
        A compromise solution is for web-sites to reduce web presence to a single page with emergency contact info during the proscribed periods.

      • Mooser on March 23, 2018, 2:02 pm

        ” Delete the word “High” from this sentence.”

        Sorry, “Yitzchak”, you are right. I just always thought it went with.

  5. Rob Roy on March 23, 2018, 2:05 am

    Fascinating story!

  6. tony greenstein on March 23, 2018, 9:01 am

    Although, as a Jewish atheist I can’t identify with their mores and religious customs etc. I applaud their dedication and resolution. A fascinating article and I will try and use it sometime on my blog

    • Lillian Rosengarten on March 23, 2018, 1:02 pm

      Most interesting and very sad article for once again it is Jew against Jew. The plague of Zionism goes hand in hand with the frightening and unhinged US gov’t.

      • aloeste on March 26, 2018, 10:52 am

        They are minuscule in amount, but not in nusiance factor. 90 plus per cent of Orthodox Jews are in agreement that ‘palestine’ is not a viable option for frum jews

  7. on March 23, 2018, 3:13 pm

    My father and grandfather always spoke about their Palestinian Jewish friends with fondness – many remained friends after 1948 – others became zionist nationalists and parted ways with most of their Palestinian friends.

    Palestinian Jews and Arabs of all faiths did live together in relative harmony for centuries – sharing in each others festivities/festivals, baby sitting each others kids, sharing meals and stories and the love for their land. Haifa, the city my family is from, was cosmopolitan housing all faiths along with foreigners from Italy, Greece, Turkey, Kurdistan, Britain, Germany, France, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria ……

    Reading the words of Rabbi Mintzberg reminded me of that time when, according to the elders in my family, Palestinian Jews and Arabs lived as side by side as neighbours in the land of milk and honey.

    Why do some religious Jews like the Eda Haredit believe that Israel should only come to be once the Messiah has arrived while other religious Jews dont take this to heart – is it an interpretation issue concerning one of the Jewish holy books or what?

  8. JosephA on March 24, 2018, 9:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing this fascinating article. It reminded me of a web site I came across in 1998 called “Jews not Zionists”, which sort of blew my mind at the time.

  9. Nevada Ned on March 24, 2018, 10:15 pm

    Thanks for this report, Phil.

    It’s no secret that some ultra-orthodox Israeli Jews reject Israel’s existence, and are waiting for the Messiah to arrive (any day now…). If the Palestinians had their act together politically, they might conceivably be able to ally with these ultra-orthodox. But it doesn’t seem likely.: Eda Haredit number only 30,000, which is about one half of 1% of Israeli Jews.

    In the US, the numbers are: all US Jews comprise about 2-3% of the US population, About 10% of US Jews are Orthodox. So Orthodox Jews comprise about 0.2-0.3% of the total US population.

    The big question is: Israeli Jews are divided along various fault lines: Ashkenazi/Sephardic, religious/secular etc. Can the Palestinians and their supporters manage to build an alliance with some fraction of the Jewish population? Hadash (Israeli alliance) has about 5 seats in the Knesset (120 seats), so that’s only again at the 1% level.

    I wish I knew.

  10. Naftush on March 25, 2018, 2:12 am

    If MW and/or the Palestinians are seeking true allies in the Eida Haredis, forget it. It is a purely intra-Jewish dispute. What’s more, the Eida clashes with Zionism only on grounds of motive (establishing and sustaining a secular state) and timing (before the advent of the Messiah). Once those matters are resolved from on high, as normative Jewish theology believes they will, the Eida will become the most fervent Zionists of all.

    • Mooser on March 25, 2018, 1:56 pm

      ” normative Jewish theology” “Naftush”

      ROTFLMSJAO!!! (Rolling On The Floor, Laughing My Skinny Jewish Ass Off)

      • Naftush on March 25, 2018, 10:42 pm

        Thank you for your reasoned response.

      • Mooser on March 26, 2018, 1:40 pm

        “Thank you for your reasoned response.”

        You’re welcome, “Naftush”. I was sure that after a moment’s reflection you would see how appropriate it is.

        Good try, tho! “Normative Jewish theology” sounds so official and ecclesiastical.

      • annie on March 26, 2018, 1:55 pm

        i googled “normative Jewish theology ” having never heard of it and low and behold there is a book called NORMATIVE JUDAISM? JEWS, JUDAISM AND JEWISH IDENTITY

        The questions of how and why certain aspects of Jewish life and thought come to be regarded as authoritative or normative, rather than inauthentic or marginal, have been and continue to be contentious ones. Topics include the philosopher Moses Maimonides, the composer Felix Mendelssohn, the self-perception of communal leadership in Manchester during the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries, sermons of Jewish Reform rabbis during the Second World War, Orthodox rabbinic debate about war in general, representations of Jews in photographic exhibitions, the idea of Jewish music, and the academic study of Judaism itself.

        oh my.

      • Mooser on March 26, 2018, 2:43 pm

        “oh my”

        That “normative Jewish theology” oughta get those Eida Haredis back in line in no time.
        Nobody likes being told they’re not normal.

      • eljay on March 26, 2018, 3:16 pm

        || Mooser: … That “normative Jewish theology” oughta get those Eida Haredis back in line in no time. … ||

        Which line: Cherry tomatoes and hummus, or “pastrami on rye, mit a pickle and chicken soup”?

      • Mooser on March 26, 2018, 5:43 pm

        “Which line:”

        Oh, I was hoping to get one of “yonah’s” ‘Kosher style BLTs’.

    • MHughes976 on March 26, 2018, 2:21 pm

      Well, I think that the differences between this ‘Messianic Z’ and mainstream Z are about more than timing and the friendly words about the Palestinians are not that surprising. My reading of the Tanakh, especially Isaiah 60 and Zechariah 8, tells me that when the Messiah arrives there will not be the conflict and conquest that we have seen but the final unification of the human race as the nations gather around the Messiah’s luminous presence.

      • Maghlawatan on March 26, 2018, 3:13 pm

        The Messiah was the best they could come with in the Iron age. We know a lot more about nature now. Our sexuality is part of it. The importance of continuity. Nature wants replication. That’s why looks fade. Nature doesnt need them in older people.
        Messiah has far less of a real world impact.

      • Mooser on March 26, 2018, 3:40 pm

        I think Mag is trying to say that gathering around the Messiah’s luminous presence might just get you gaslighted.

  11. Maghlawatan on March 25, 2018, 4:01 pm

    NatureI K are not going to change anything. Ordinary Jews need to see that Zionism is headed for an avoidable collapse.

  12. DaBakr on March 26, 2018, 4:01 pm

    Reasoned response? “Normative Jewish….”. More asinine stupidity from the mediocre minded Israel hating set.
    Next time try a straight line….. Idiots beget more idiots just as the “miniscule” number of numbskull Jews match the tiny numbers of psuedo intellectual anti-zionist jews and non Jews who hate Israel and utilize the connection between neuturakarti et al to justify their foolish indignity. And it’s free her” the ‘ol MW

    • Mooser on March 26, 2018, 4:43 pm

      “DaBakr” is back! He mutters and he sputters!

      (And now that “Annie” has taught him to use Spel-chek instead of Auto-correct he’ll be unstoppable, impeded no more by homonym howlers.)

      BTW, “Dabakr”, any time you want to explain “normative Jewish theology” to us, and detail its tenets, you have, no Beersheba pun intended, the chair.

      • amigo on March 26, 2018, 6:53 pm

        Dabakr has been on a 30 day Hasbara refresher course.
        Hasbara central has decided to challenge it,s field operatives by requiring them to start at the back of the Hasbara Manual and work towards the front.

        A change in routine may reduce the muttering.

      • Mooser on March 27, 2018, 12:55 pm

        “to start at the back of the Hasbara Manual”

        And work their way from four to one, instead of the usual order..

    • eljay on March 26, 2018, 5:10 pm

      || @aar: Reasoned response? “Normative Jewish….”. More asinine stupidity from the mediocre minded Israel hating set. … ||

      It’s not surprising that you hate non-Zionist Jews but Naftush is a “Zionist, observant Jew, Israeli”. Show your co-collectivist some respect.

    • MHughes976 on March 27, 2018, 1:00 pm

      I don’t know how you would read the scriptural passages I mentioned Dab, to make them consistent with Zionism?
      More important, do you really see only numbskull stupidity and negative emotion on our side of the fence? We live in a world which at least professes to believe in the fundamentality and the importance of being an enfranchised citizen of a sovereign state, which many Jewish people are with absolute human right in many places. In calling for the Palestinians to have this status we are applying this belief consistently, which is not unintelligent completely. In attaching importance to the matter, even if we have no special personal links with Palestinians, are we not showing some positive emotion and some moral concern?

  13. Maghlawatan on March 27, 2018, 1:10 am

    Zionism is vicious.

    Very interesting discussion on Twitter re Zionism in the UK :

    Jonathan Freedland has been attacking the leader of the Labour Party.

    Jonathan Freedland


    He was an active member of three separate Facebook groups drenched in anti-Jewish imagery and themes and yet said nothing. He would need to explain how, to quote a colleague, he stood knee-deep in a sewer and somehow didn’t notice the stink.

    Jonathan Freedland




    He would need to admit that, for some reason, he has repeatedly stood with or defended antisemites, including Holocaust deniers and 9/11 conspiracy theorists shunned by the wider left (Some details on the Sizer and Eisen cases here)

    Friends who are enemies




    Jonathan Freedland




    That he has an extensive and documented record of looking past antisemitism if it comes from a source he deems sound on Israel/Palestine – and that this is a habit shared by others on the left




    Jonathan Freedland




    He would need to reckon with all that – and he would need to say that many of his closest allies have repeatedly got this issue wrong too.

    Jonathan Freedland




    He would need to reckon with all that – and he would need to say that many of his closest allies have repeatedly got this issue wrong too.




    Jonathan Freedland




    That, for example, Len McCluskey was wrong to dismiss complaints of antisemitism as “mood music” – and that others are wrong to suggest now that Jews are making this stuff up, or exaggerating it or “weaponising” it to damage him.




    Jonathan Freedland




    Indeed he would need to say that such a claim is itself antisemitic because it suggests Jews do not act sincerely, but always with an ulterior motive or hidden agenda.




    Jonathan Freedland




    He would need to accept that current Jewish anguish is real – and that he has played a part in causing it.




    Richard Sunningdale




    Replying to @Freedland and @janemerrick23

    #johnathanfreedland’s top tip to JeremyCorbyn – Revoke your promise to recognise #Palestine. Promise never to do it again and we’ll let you off

    joseph p jones




    Replying to @Freedland

    Storm in a tea cup, provoked by the far right, no more no less, it’s a Blue thing, every one is biting at empty air. Find the person who threw the knife, then you will find the truth, it’s all in the background, not in the frontman

    Rachel Roberts




    Replying to @Freedland

    Until he proclaims “I support Israel” you will never let up. You are using my people and my heritage as a political cudgel and everyone can see it.

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