Last October, Jonathan Ofir reported on alleged anti-Semitism in the UK Labour Party, after the expulsion of Moshé Machover, Professor of Philosophy at the University of London (see Moshe Machover and the battle for the soul of British Labour, Oct 6, 2017). Professor Machover was reinstated, while others have not been, and now Labour member Tony Greenstein, well-known in the UK for his work against racism—Zionist and otherwise—has been expelled, and his Facebook account suspended.
Bigotry, of which anti-Semitism is but one variety, persists among humankind; and so any large organization composed of a cross-section of people might include anti-whatever bigots among its members. But the ‘anti-Semitism’ crisis in Labour flared up suddenly when Jeremy Corbyn, who as a Member of Parliament was known for supporting human rights in Palestine, upset the British political stage with his surprise victory as party leader. Four months before that December 2015 victory, when polls demonstrated Corbyn’s strong grass-roots popularity, the Jewish Chronicle panicked and warned of his “alleged funding of Holocaust deniers, terrorists and some outright antisemites.” Labour itself tried to block likely Corbyn voters, but to no avail. He won.
The moment he did, suddenly Labour was crawling with anti-Semites. They all had one thing in common: all these ‘anti-Semites’ were known to be critical of Israel. Rattled by Corbyn’s win, chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis made plain that these—anti-Semitism, and criticism of Israel—were synonymous. He warned that “the hard Left” is “spreading the insidious virus of anti-Semitism,” which is manifested as criticism of Zionism, “one of the axioms of Jewish belief … a noble and integral part of Judaism … a belief in the right to Jewish self-determination.”
The month after the election, the DailyMail, quoting unnamed “experts”, reported that anti-Semitism was now so bad that “European Jews feel as threatened as they did in the Holocaust”—a grotesque belittling of what Hitler’s victims endured. Then in April (2016), the National Review ran a piece entitled “Why the Left hates Jews,” and jumped right to the UK Labour party in the first sentence. The following month, the DailyMail said the rate of “hate crimes against Jews soars as report says anti-semitism is at the ‘core’ of far-Left beliefs” . By January 2017, anti-Semitism had increased again, specifically because of Labour (the Telegraph). It continued to get even worse: in July, the BBC and Independent reported “Anti-Semitic attacks hit record high in UK,” and at writing, February 2018, it—yes—has soared even higher (Independent), with Labour said to be in “total disarray” for its failure to confront what one would surmise are the hordes of seething anti-Semities comprising its members.
None of these media betrayed any sense of wonder at the endless series of ever-higher ‘records’, nor any curiosity as to the methodology, data, and motives of the sources, typically the Community Security Trust. The BBC did not even question why, in a September 2017 report headlined “Over a quarter of British people ‘hold anti-Semitic attitudes’,” the survey correlated “attitudes towards Jews” with attitudes towards Israel.
After taking the helm at Labour, Corbyn behaved as politicians do. He suspended an initial eighteen members on charges of
criticizing Israel anti-Semitism, with high-profile members Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone making headlines—Shah for reposting a cartoon from Norman Finkelstein’s site, and former London mayor Livingstone for quoting, if very clumsily, from Lenni Brenner’s Zionism in the Age of the Dictators. Corbyn further tried to quell the outcry by appointing prominent barrister Shami Chakrabarti to head an Inquiry to investigate anti-Semitism in the Party. But as long as Labour is led by someone who has previously been tarred as ‘pro-Palestinian’, the witchhunt will continue—even though Corbyn himself went silent on Palestine upon his election win.
Among the prominent Labour members complaining that the party was “failing to act on antisemitism” was Jeremy Newmark, an avid supporter of the Israeli state. No action was taken against him when in February it was exposed that he had defrauded the Jewish Leadership Council out of tens of thousands of pounds as chief executive, and misled charities about his finances.
So let’s just blurt it out and get it over with: This inquisition has nothing, nothing to do with anti-Semitism. It is about Israel. It is about protecting that state from censure to insure that it can continue its violations of everything for which we as a civilization claim to stand, without interference.
The core of the debacle—indeed the crux and cause of the entire Israel-Palestine ‘conflict’ [sic]—is that Israel imposes an obligatory moral linkage between it, and world Jewry. Jews, simply by virtue of being Jews, are inexorably, organically welded to the Israeli state. This would be racist on its very principle, even if Israel were the nicest state in the galaxy. Israel forges this construct into its most powerful military weapon: the claim of indivisability between the state and Jewry itself.
Herewith are three parallel scenarios. Two are fictitious. Everything in all three is factual if applied to the third.
Burma has silenced criticism of its ongoing ethnic cleansing and repression of the Rohingya people by smearing critics as anti-Buddhist bigots. The US, UK, and various EU countries have adopted this new Burmese definition of anti-Buddhism, and have moved to criminalize any attempt to boycott Burma as anti-Buddhist prejudice. The UK’s anti-terror PREVENT program has blocked discussion of the Rohingya plight as extremist speech, and the US has made federal flood relief, and the right of scholars to speak on campus, contingent on forswearing any boycott of Burma. The US has reassured the Burmese leadership that their war is our war, their value our values, to the extent of framing it in Biblical, apocalyptic terms, the Burmese regime representing Good, the Rohingya Evil.
After ISIS announced that its terror campaigns are being conducted in the name of worldwide Muslims and Islam, the US, UK, and various EU governments fell in line, legislating that criticism of ISIS therefore equals hate speech. The US Congress, many of whose members receive generous donations from pro-ISIS Muslim Americans, have condemned as anti-Muslim hatred attempts to challenge ISIS in the Security Council. The American peace group Muslim Voice for Peace has been accused of supporting terror for seeking to hold ISIS to international law. The UK has forced the closure of bank accounts of organizations seeking human rights in ISIS-held territory.
As Israel continues its seven decades of ethnic cleansing and repression of non-Jews, the US, UK, and various EU governments continue to accept its claim that its terror is being conducted in the name of Jews and Judaism, and thus to criticize its terror is anti-Jewish bigotry. The US has passed various laws to criminalize any censure of the terror, and both the US and UK have adopted definitions of anti-Jewish bigotry that legislate, in essence, that world Jewry, and whatever Israel does, are one and the same.
The first two scenarios would be universally condemned as an affront against Buddhism or Islam, the obvious attempt to exploit people and faith to empower the atrocities of a political entity. Why do we allow Zionism to similarly sell Jewry down the river?
Pro-Palestinian activists focus, understandably, on exposing Israel’s injustice against the Palestinians. But these efforts towards peace have so far failed because the Zionist narrative that informs the Western mindset has reduced Palestinians to a lesser people who are to blame for the violence on both ‘sides’. This is why the lopsided statistics of the so-called ‘conflict’, in which Palestinians are the vastly disproportionate victims, have no effect: Palestinian suffering is the suffering of lesser humans who are the cause of both their adversaries’ suffering and, equally, of their own.
But Jews are also victims of Zionism. Like its violence against the Palestinians, this was both physical violence, and dehumanization—that is, racism.
Zionism’s physical violence was to force mass human migration: Just as Palestinians could not be removed from their land except by violence against them, Zionism could not install the critical mass of Jews necessary for its settler state to succeed, without violence against Jews.
The removal of Palestinians was achieved through outright ethnic cleansing and massacres, as well as starving them off the land by expropriating all means of livelihood. At the same time, the Zionist project secured settlers by systematically blocking safe haven for persecuted Jews other than in Palestine, by manufacturing violence to force the uprooting of Jews living elsewhere in peace, by removing Jewish orphans from their adoptive families to be sent to Palestine, and by blinding an entire society into a permanent psychosis, messianic fundamentalism coupled with the conviction of an existential anti-Jewish threat that is an incurable part of the human condition. Even during the darkest days of anti-Jewish persecution, Zionism’s first concern was its ethnic-nationalist settler project, not the welfare of persecuted Jews.
Ben-Gurion’s comments to Jewish Agency leaders in October of 1942 offer a brief glimpse into this. Although Hitler had made Jews suffer, he told them, that suffering was reviving feelings of Jewish “nationalism” (Zionism), which they would exploit. But he warned that Zionism was being weakened by the democracies, because they “recognise the Jews as people having full rights of citizenship,” and he blamed setbacks for Zionism on what he called America’s “democratic attitude.” Precisely the opposite of the endlessly-heard mantra that Zionism is ‘Jewish self-determination’, Zionism is the global theft of Jewish individual self-determination.
But all this anti-Palestinian and anti-Jewish terror is, obviously, violence against civilians to force a political goal—the core definition of terrorism. There is no way around this: The only way you can force a population from its own land, replace it with a different population, and keep the remnants of the indigenous population subservient, is by massive violence against civilians. In other words, the Zionist project itself is by its very nature one of terrorism. If to condemn this terror is anti-Semitic—if, as the chief rabbi claims, Zionism (and, implicitly, the Israeli state) is core to Jewish identity—then Jews as a people want, and are the doers of this terror. This would, to say the least, be a fatal marketing blemish for Zionism. The solution was to dehumanize both the Palestinians and Jews.
Israel’s dehumanization of the Palestinians, the obstacle to its settler state, is more obvious. It had to repackage its ethnic cleansing and ethnic subjugation into something good—defense—so it dehumanized Palestinians into an eternal threat, irredeemably violent as a race.
But Zionism also had to explain its profound violence against Jews, the means to its settler state; and it needed extraordinary impunity, to be able to operate outside the norms of civilized nations. It achieved both objectives by dehumanizing Jews—by dehumanizing Jews into the settler state itself. Zionism’s success in spinning Jewry as interchangeable with its ethnic-nationalist political invention is the core of the entire tragic ‘conflict’.
But it will also be Zionism’s, and the ‘conflict’s,’ Achilles Heel, once we are no longer afraid to confront it.
Israel is constantly reminding us that it is ‘the’ Jewish State— not ‘a’ Jewish state, in the sense of a national faith that any nation might adopt, but the Jewish State, the very embodiment of Jews themselves, all Jews, in a tribal sense, regardless of their nationality, regardless of their own self-identity. There is no parallel to this claimed synthesis between nation-state and ethnicity in the modern world. Israel, if we accept it, is Jewry, back to the Jewish kingdoms cited in the Old Testament, of which it claims to be the rebirth in order to claim that it is not a settler state. To maintain this theatre, archaeological artifacts associated with the Old Testament are transformed into artifacts of the nation-state’s history. The prize-winner of UN intransigence hides behind the messianic ‘return’ of the Biblical realm’s inhabitants, who will now build the Third Temple.
The result is that whatever the Israeli state does is done by Jews because they are Jews, not simply by individuals who happen to be Jewish. Condemnation of that state therefore equals condemnation of Jews, and so criticism of Zionism and Israel is thus anti-Semitic by definition.
And so Zionism, if we accept it, succeeds where all the bigots through the centuries never could. Traditional anti-Semitism can only attack externally—despite all its murder, all its horrors, all its desecration, traditional anti-Semitism is powerless to lessen the integrity of Jews or Judaism. Zionism, if we accept it, does. If we accept the Zionist narrative, then we have corrupted Jewry itself from within.
In order to call itself ‘The Jewish State’, Israel ethnically cleansed much of the non-Jewish population and continues to block their return, keeps an entire population under a brutal military dictatorship in the name of Jews, and has reduced Gaza to a cesspool for lesser humans, in the name of Jews.
It is time to challenge this anti-Semitism in our official institutions. These include the US State Department and its Zionist definition of anti-Semitism, the British government and its use of the Zionist ‘International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’ definition—which by its very name exploits the memory of Hitler’s victims to empower new ethnic/racial atrocities—along with cynically-named Zionist pressure groups such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, and Community Security Trust.
The response to politically-motivated smears of anti-Semitism must no longer be mere defense—it must be offense, to expose the true anti-Semitism of the smear itself, and of those wielding it.
Zionism and (true) anti-Semitism have always enjoyed a symbiotic relationship. Anti-Semitism gives Zionism meaning, while Zionism offers bigots a way to send Jews to a far-off ghetto while looking like they’re doing something nice. These continually reinforce each other: by positioning itself as the embodiment of Jewry, Zionism ‘vindicates’ bigots who blame ‘the Jews’ for the crimes of the Israeli state. This ‘vindication’ reinforces more (true) anti-Semitism, which in turn re-‘vindicates’ Zionism.
One hundred and one years ago, Edwin Montagu, a Jewish member of the British Cabinet, accused his government of anti-Semitism for colluding with the Zionists. History has proven him correct, and we must do the same. Zionism’s devotees’ great libel against Jews must be called out for what it is: spinning its crimes as those of Jewry itself in order to use Jews as a human shield.
Labout Against the Witchhunt
Jewish Voice for Labour
Free Speech on Israel
Short video of extracts of a talk related to this article’s topic
Long video about the larger issue of the ‘conflict’
1. The Machover and Greenstein expulsions:
• Moshé Machover: My response to my expulsion.
• Tony Greenstein: My Expulsion Letter from the Labour Party and my response.
2. Jeremy Newmark:
• The Jewish Chronicle: Revealed: JLC audit reports Jeremy Newmark deceived it out of thousands of pounds
• Newmark complaining of anti-Semitism two weeks before his scandal broke: Jewish Labour group accuses party of failing to act on antisemitism complaints
3. For Zionist anti-Jewish violence, especially during the British Mandate period, see Suárez, State of Terror.
4. Following are brief references for the large topics cited in this paragraph
• Ethnic cleansing: The best single source is Ilan Pappe’s classic Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.
• Blocking of safe haven: This was a recurrent theme during the Mandate period, the most dramatic example being US Zionist leaders’ sabotaging of resettlement scheme created by President Roosevelt that would have given 300,000 DPs homes in the US and Britain, and 200,000 more in South America and Australia. Roosevelt’s aide, Morris Ernst, who handled the project, records this in his 1948 book, So Far So Good. The present author found further evidence in The National Archives (UK), FO 800/487, 110. Among other examples was the blocking of the attempt to get new homes in Denmark for the Exodus passengers (e.g., Idith Zertal, Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood, 46, 50, 178). Future Israeli prime ministers Ben-Gurion and Sharett both spoke at Jewish Agency meetings of the importance of preventing Jewish DPs from any option but Palestine. Decades later, during the US Reagan years, Russian Jews were stopped from emigrating to the US at the request of Israel (see Lazin, Fred A., “Refugee Resettlement and “Freedom of Choice’ – The Case of Soviet Jewry”)
• Manufactured violence: The most catastrophic example is the ‘false flag’ anti-Jewish terror in the early 1950s that destroyed the Jewish community in Iraq. See Suarez, State of Terror, 282-285, and Naeim Giladi, Ben-Gurion’s Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews. North African Jews were the targets of displacement by the early 1940s. See, e.g., see The National Archives (UK), KV 5/33, 37a, 38a, 35a (10 pages) London, “from our Palestine representative on the Jewish situation, as viewed by him.”
• Removal of Jewish orphans: The systematic removal of orphans from their adoptive families, as documented in author’s State of Terror, has elicited particular condemnation from the book’s critics, who maintain that the children were being safeguarded during the war, after which they were reunited with their parents. The book’s principal source is the account left by the Ashkenazy chief rabbi of Palestine, which the author has made available at paldocs.net (see Rabbi Herzog kidnapping trip, 1946). The reader is encouraged to read this declassified source document. Herzog, indeed, announced his intentions to the New York Times, with ten thousand children being his stated goal (Feb 25 1946). Independently, Professor Yosef Grodzinsky had earlier addressed this issue, based on entirely different sources, in his important book, In the Shadow of the Holocaust: The Struggle Between Jews and Zionists in the Aftermath of World War II.
• Psychosis: This, too, is a common theme among British, US, and Jewish sources during the Mandate One example follows, from Henry Hunloke, Defence Security Officer in Palestine, January, 1943: The Jewish Agency “make one think that they have picked the strangest parts of Nazism, Fascism, Communism with a spicing of Tammany Hall as the system best suited for the control of Jews in Palestine.” Those with more moderate views are tolerated only until they become influential. “From a tender age,” children are brought up to have one aim only, the fulfillment of Zionism, and children have walked out on their parents when the parents try to instill some moderation on that aim. The system “is closely akin to that adopted by the Nazis,” and as history has shown, “in a comparatively short space of time, such teaching is very hard to eradicate.” The National Archives (UK), KV 5/33, 37a, 38a, 35a. Another example, from a Mr. Newton who had lived in the settlements: “Violence and intransigent nationalism,” he testified, “was fostered by the Jewish educational system,” and “the incitement and hysteria fostered systematically among the Jewish youth in Palestine. This education and political propaganda has produced youths and girls who were ready to use murder for their political ends.” (The National Archives, FO 371/45382, penciled ‘233’). As an example of instilled fear, Jewish DPs were separated into Zionist-run camps that proved to be virtual brain-washing camps, such that when the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry visited such camps in 1946, the DPs threatened mass suicide if sent to the US, because they would never be safe there (New York Times, Feb 18 1946). Into statehood, John Wilson, upon leaving the British delegation in Tel Aviv in mid-1953, described how Israeli officials have built up “a sickening jargon … the air is thick with propaganda … Misleading stories and press campaigns are worked up [and] censorship stifles the dissemination of honest news.” Several observers noted how the Israeli state, following in the footsteps of the Jewish Agency, conjured such hysteria with its manipulation of the news that it found itself having to take action against the threats it had invented. Regarding the Israeli government’s control of the domestic media, and thus of its population’s beliefs and attitudes, see Ilan Pappé’s Israel Out of the Frame.
5. The National Archives (Britain), Kew, WO 169/4334, G.S.I. HQ Palestine, Summary No. 12 (1-31 Oct 1942). This document can be seen at the website paldocs.net, under ‘Democracy /Democracy as obstacle to Zionist plans’.
6. Evidence that much of Zionism’s non-Jewish support came from people who saw it as an opportunity to keep Jews from immigrating, and get rid of those already present, is seen as early as Gertrude Bell, the famous English writer, traveller, archaeologist, and spy. She cited her diplomatic experience “to prove that the French are anxious to establish Jews anywhere [i.e., support Zionism] if only to have an excuse for getting rid of them.” Similarly, C.G. Montefiore, President of the Anglo-Jewish Association, testified in 1917 that “It is very significant that anti-Semites are always very sympathetic to Zionism.” (The National Archives, CAB 24/28/0063, 2; CAB 24/4/0014, 7). Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin reported this, and it is acknowledged, and exploited, by Jewish Agency leaders like Ben-Gurion, and blatantly exploited by the Irgun in its US funding ads in the major newspapers (see Suárez, State of Terror, ch 5 & 6).
7. The UK “Prevent” program, official statement, and criticism. After blocking the author from speaking in Portsmouth (UK), Prevent failed to deliver on a verbal promise to clear the author’s name from suspicion. Several months later, the talk was rescheduled without incident. At writing, the so-called Campaign Against Anti-Semitism has filed a new complaint against Corbyn, which also cites Suárez as evidence (CAA files fresh disciplinary complaint against Jeremy Corbyn…). At writing, Suárez does not know, and has never met or had any contact with, Jeremy Corbyn.
8. Al-Jazeera’s documentary The Lobby.
Sampling of media reports since Corbyn’s rise as a serious contender for Labour leadership
• The key questions Jeremy Corbyn must answer — Jewish Chronicle
• [anti-Semitism] attacks double in a year — Daily Record
• London Rocked by Sharp Spike in Anti-Semitic Attacks in 2015 — Sputnik News
• Anti-Semitic assaults SPIKE after WORST year on record for attacks on Jewish people — Express
• Jewish immigration to Israel from western Europe hits an all-time high following rise in anti-Semitic attacks — DailyMail
• European Jews feel as threatened as they did in the Holocaust, experts say — DailyMail
• Why the Left Hates Jews — National Review
• Number of hate crimes against Jews soars as report says anti-semitism is at the ‘core’ of far-Left beliefs — DailyMail
• Hate crimes against Jews up sharply in Britain, audit finds — Times of Israel
• Ken Livingstone and the hard Left are spreading the insidious virus of anti-Semitism — Telegraph
• Labour party linked to increase in anti-Semitic incidents — Telegraph
• Over a quarter of British people ‘hold anti-Semitic attitudes’, study finds — BBC