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Unfounded allegations of anti-Semitism cover up Israeli apartheid

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In the small, American Jewish community where I grew up, I never heard criticisms of Israel, or experienced anti-Semitism. And yet I was frequently reminded by my Hebrew and Sunday school teachers of the anti-Semitic hatred that Jews had endured throughout the ages, and especially during the holocaust. My grandmother explained, sometimes tearfully, how her family had lost touch with cousins, aunts and uncles in the “old country” during the Second World War, never to hear from them again.

But the narrative did not end there. Israel, I was told, was the only country that Jews could truly regard as safe. Indeed, Jews had a “birth-right” to return to the “Land of Israel”. Based on vague, biblical justifications I was told that we were the “chosen people”.

As a teenager, I found the claim of Israel to be the Jewish ancestral homeland very strange and unconvincing, particularly as my parents had been active in the anti-racist civil rights movement. This feeling was strengthened after I traveled to Israel-Palestine in the mid-1980s. On the eve of what became known as the first Palestinian uprising against settler-colonial domination, I observed widespread fear and blatant discrimination directed against those who were not Jewish, while I simultaneously experienced the touching hospitality of Palestinians. Later, as a young lawyer, working in apartheid South Africa in the early 1990s I again observed widespread fear and discrimination, directed against those who were not white, which reminded me of what I had experienced in Israel-Palestine.

After this last experience, I found the Zionist claim to justifiably dominate another people on the basis of Jewish suffering to echo the claim by white Nationalists in South Africa, who justified racial apartheid in South Africa on the basis of Afrikaaner suffering.

Accompanying the Zionist narrative, a further pro-Israel claim emerged in the late 1990s; referred to as the “new anti-Semitism”, it was argued that criticisms of Israel were a new form of expressing hatred against the Jews. This claim persists, maintained by an assortment of lawfare organisations and Israel-lobby groups, even though it is now strongly questioned by many Jews, including the Israeli film-maker Yoav Shamir who produced an award-winning documentary on this topic.

As I will discuss in this article, which complements another recent article in Mondoweiss by Jonathan Cook, both claims are not only appallingly hypocritical; they also serve as a shameless defence of Israeli apartheid.

Conflating criticisms of Israel with anti-Semitism

The claim that criticisms of Israel amount to anti-Semitism is not new, but as Cook also observed, this most recently makes reference to a so-called “Working Definition of Antisemitism”. Drafted in 2016, this definition emanates from a group called the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), including vague and far-reaching conflations between criticisms of Israel and references to the holocaust.

The IHRA definition has emboldened Zionist organizations like Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Chronicle to equate criticisms of Israel as explicitly “Jew hate”. These groups have gone to such lengths as to smear Hajo Meyer, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, after he spoke at a Labour party rally where he made comparisons between the Nazi regime – that he had witnessed first-hand – and his observations of Israeli policies.

Two recent incidents clearly highlight the danger of equating criticisms of Israel with hatred of Jews.

The departure of Labour party members

The first incident is the departure by members of the UK Labour party, led by Luciana Berger, amidst allegations that the party has somehow become “institutionally anti-Semitic”. This claim is almost exclusively related to the party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s well-aimed criticisms of the Israeli government and military.

Astonishingly, it has hardly been mentioned in any article that the seven Labour Party members who have decided to leave are all closely tied with Labour Friends of Israel, an avowedly pro-Israel organisation. Berger is its former director.

Finkielkraut and the yellow vests

The second incident is more complicated, concerning alleged ‘anti-Semitic abuse’ levied by ‘some’ members of the gilet jaunes (yellow vests) movement in France against the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut. While the majority of newspapers reported that Finkielkraut was derided as a “Dirty Zionist”, the Jerusalem Post decided to report that he had in fact been called a “Dirty Jew”.

French president Emmanuel Macron has never wavered in condemning the yellow vests as anti-Semitic. Setting aside the political convenience for Macron of explicitly siding against the yellow vest movement, the claims of anti-Semitism and the unprofessional reporting of the Finkielkraut incident are striking.

First of all, the seamless way in which reporters of the Jerusalem Post equated hatred for a “Zionist” as hatred for “Jews” went largely unnoticed. This is not to deny that criticism of Israel or its supporters can potentially be anti-Semitic as well, but for the Post reporters to misappropriate language in this way was both unprofessional and highly inflammatory.

Another striking aspect has been the absence of references, both in Israeli and in international media sources, to Finkielkraut’s frequently-expressed, bigoted views. This is highly relevant since Finkielkraut had – after for some time supporting the yellow vest movement for economic justice – all of a sudden decided to denounce it. Finkielkraut’s expressions of bigotry are very consistent with his record of posturing and highly-selective views of who matters and who doesn’t.

Hardly any reporters have noted the French philosopher’s positions as being simultaneously pro-Israel and Islamophobic. Speaking of the “problem of Islam”, Finkielkraut has argued that, due to an increase in Muslim immigrants, France has been “disintegrating in front of our eyes”. In the same interview, he claimed that “what holds us all together as Jews” is common to all political persuasions: “the secular, the religious, the Peace Now crowd, the Greater Land of Israel crowd”.

In addition to his Islamophobia and passionate support of Israel, Finkielkraut is overtly racist. In 2005, there were nationwide protests in poor, mainly-immigrant neighbourhoods of Paris. Finkielkraut, in an interview with the Israeli paper Ha’aretz, dismissed the legitimacy of the protests as being anti-France. He expressed his derision at the national soccer team of France for being “black-black-black”. He even claimed to be “colour blind”, yet argued colonialism had brought “civilization to the savages”.

Clearly there is a problem of anti-Semitism in Europe. One need look no further than the desecration of Jewish graves with swastikas.  However, why do politicians all of a sudden care so much about anti-Semitism? Could it be that the true aim of vacuous, yet highly damaging allegations of anti-Semitism is to avoid a critical dialogue on Israel’s policies of apartheid against Palestinians?

The many forms of apartheid Israel

While there is still widespread ignorance among most people in the West, as most readers of Mondoweiss will know by now, apartheid in Israel takes many forms. One more obvious form it takes is in the overt racism enshrined in Israel’s 2018 “Nation-State law” that discontinued Arabic as an official language and that is now being challenged in Court. Another obvious form is Israel’s continued blockade and frequent bombing of the trapped residents of Gaza (since 2005). That treatment is currently the subject of a preliminary examination by the International Criminal Court and has also been investigated by the United Nations, which has called for criminal investigations into the killings of protestors at the Gaza border beginning last March. 

As explained by human rights organisations such as Al-Haq and Palestinian Center for Human Rights, further argued by international law scholars John Dugard and John Reynolds and elaborated in a UN report, apartheid also takes the form of literally hundreds of insidious Israeli military orders. This includes Order 101 that has been specifically condemned by Amnesty International as making it impossible for Palestinians to legally protest. Israeli regulations make it virtually impossible for Palestinians to build a home. This is due to the fact that Israel’s land and zoning regulations are, according to Israel’s Basic Law, oriented around “preserving” the land for Israel’s Jewish inhabitants.

But the most insidious manifestations of Israeli apartheid are the decades-long, everyday experiences of Palestinians. Farmers have to stand in long lines to reach their sheep in the agricultural village of Qalandia (that is surrounded by a high, concrete wall). Schoolchildren in Hebron cannot walk to school without being stopped daily by soldiers at a military checkpoint to check the contents of their schoolbags. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has heard numerous cases of official abuse against Palestinian women, including a seven-month pregnant woman assaulted at a checkpoint.

So again, why are these widely-reported examples of Israeli apartheid being ignored?

Strange alliances

One plausible explanation for why Israeli apartheid is being ignored is due to numerous strange alliances that have been forming between Israel and an assortment of hate groups worldwide (who have no problem with apartheid). 

Israel’s strange alliances have matched the rise of progressive Jewish organisations based on principles of equality and dignity, such as Jewish Voice for Peace, which amplify a growing trend of Jewish communities worldwide who are speaking out against Israel.

Faced with withering support among Jewish communities, Israel and its supporters have sought out alliances with groups traditionally professing anti-Semitic views, a pattern that is, indeed, consistent with Finkielkraut’s own Islamophobic and racist views.

Oddly paralleling the emergence of the “new anti-Semitism” mantra, Israel has found support among an assortment of far-right, anti-immigration, Islamophobic organisations throughout Europe. These include the Party of Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, an ethno-nationalist party founded by its Islamophobic leader, Geert Wilders, which has declared its unconditional support for Israel. The membership of the Front National in France have long cultivated anti-Semitic views, but the party has re-branded itself as a supporter of Israel under the leadership of Marine Le Pen (the daughter of Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen).

Support for Israel as a Jewish State also comes from millions of Christian evangelicals worldwide, who promote a narrative of rapture in the holy land. The rapture narrative represents a profound hatred of Jews, and it is proselytised by politically well-connected pastors such as Robert Jefress, who claim that Jews are “going to hell” along with other non-born-again Christians. Support from Christian evangelical groups is particularly important for Israel in countries such as the Netherlands where evangelism is the fastest growing religious group.

Meanwhile, Israel has been busy courting Hungary and other East-European nations. This is particularly astonishing. How can it be that a country, ostensibly dedicated to the interests of Jews, aligns itself with the likes of Hungarian President Victor Orban, who has not only referred to refugees as “Muslim invaders”, but has also routinely uttered anti-Semitic slogans against George Soros for political gain?

And finally, there are ostensibly-liberal groups with respectable-sounding names, such as Labour Friends of Israel in the UK, Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) in the Netherlands, IHRA and others. These groups are all the more insidious because of their claim to liberal values and their professed support for a two-state solution. Like many liberal groups in Israel, they maintain strict silence on Israel’s apartheid regime.

At the heart of these groups’ complicity of silence — whether that entails maintaining a racist assumption that Jews are more deserving of the land of Israel than its indigenous inhabitants or in assuming the need for an alliance between Israel and Christian evangelicals, not to mention echoing the views of right-wing ethno-nationalist groups and other racist regimes — is maintaining support for a country that is unabashedly committed to apartheid.  

The shameless political opportunism of Berger, Macron and of the Israeli government must be exposed. By preventing a critical dialogue on apartheid in Israel and falsely equating criticisms of Israel with anti-Semitism, Israel and its supporters – including Labour Friends of Israel – are not addressing anti-Semitism. They are actively fueling it.

Just like those who turned a blind eye for decades to apartheid in South Africa, the efforts of IHRA, Labour Friends of Israel, CIDI and other groups in Europe to cover-up, rather than condemn Israeli apartheid will place them all on the wrong side of history.

Jeff Handmaker

Jeff Handmaker is a member of the teaching and research faculty at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University in the Netherlands. During the early 1990s he worked in South Africa for a legal human rights organization.

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20 Responses

  1. just on March 4, 2019, 11:24 am

    Thanks for this salient and excellent article, Jeff. I’m always heartened to read fact- based articles/opinions. I especially appreciate them when they come from folks who are dedicated to education. Am I correct in assuming that you might have broached some of the items that you’ve written about so eloquently here with your students and colleagues? If so, what has been their response to your astute observations?

    I’ve been more than a bit concerned about the alarming rise in Islamophobia in the West and of racists like Geert Wilders and his followers. These groups seem to have been growing exponentially and spreading their tentacles far and wide, and have done so unabated for a long while now. You write:

    “Oddly paralleling the emergence of the “new anti-Semitism” mantra, Israel has found support among an assortment of far-right, anti-immigration, Islamophobic organisations throughout Europe. These include the Party of Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, an ethno-nationalist party founded by its Islamophobic leader, Geert Wilders, which has declared its unconditional support for Israel. …”

    Do you encounter adherents to this ethno- nationalism in your classrooms and among the academics that are your peers? As you know, there has been a dedicated effort in the US to vilify pro- Palestinian views and calls for justice and their freedom. Both professors and students have been targeted.

    • Jeff Handmaker on March 5, 2019, 3:36 am

      Thank you for your kind comments. Yes, this is a frequent topic of discussion among my students and colleagues alike. Most of our students, and several colleagues come from what many term the “global South”. They have a much less cluttered understanding of what imperialism, colonialism and apartheid mean. Indeed, many have experienced this firsthand.

      Thankfully, I rarely encounter ethno-nationalism personally, even among the public who attend my public lectures, but it is most certainly there. The strategy is generally to attack, belittle and smear those who wish to have a critical discussion concerning Israel and then not to attend that discussion.

      Israel and its supporters are losing ground in the public debate and this is why such shameful tactics such as by Berger and her colleagues are being used.

      Indeed, anti-Semitism (the real kind, such as swatiska’s on gravestones in Jewish cemeteries) is very much paralleled with a massive rise in Islamophobia. PVV supports Israel and condemns Muslims (and immigrants in general). It is a very dangerous mantra that contributes to both anti-Semitism and to Islamophobia.

      • just on March 5, 2019, 11:47 am

        Thank you for your reply, Jeff. It’s wonderful when a person posting an article joins the conversation.

        This was just posted @ The Guardian:

        “Tories suspend 14 members over alleged Islamophobia …

        The Conservative party has suspended 14 members for allegedly making Islamophobic comments after a string of abusive posts were uncovered on social media.

        The party was responding to a collection of racist and abusive remarks, discovered online by the @matesjacob Twitter account, made by people who had said or indicated they were members of the party.

        One person posted on social media they would like to “turf all Muslims out of public office”. Another said they wanted to “get rid of all mosques”. Many comments were found on a Facebook group supporting Jacob Rees-Mogg.

        A third said they could not vote for Sajid Javid, the home secretary, in any forthcoming leadership race, because that would amount to a vote for “Islam to lead this country”.

        A Tory spokesperson said the Facebook group was “in no way affiliated with the Conservative party” but that it had identified “some people who are party members and they have been immediately suspended, pending further investigation”.

        A spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain said the posts showed that “the scale of Islamophobia at all levels of the party is astonishing”. The council repeated its call for an independent inquiry into anti-Muslim abuse within the Tory party.”

  2. HarryLaw on March 4, 2019, 3:38 pm

    The issue of Antisemitism did not arise when two brothers of Jewish ethnicity Ed and David Miliband fought for the Labour Party Leadership several years ago. Antisemitism only became a problem when Jeremy Corbyn, [the supporter of Palestinian Rights] was elected leader, he also promised to recognize a Palestinian state. Since he has been elected he has faced a barrage of hate from Labour Friends of Israel, the Board of Deputies and UK Jewish press plus the UK MSM. It has been incessant. All the more unusual since only 12 members of the Labour party have been expelled, this represents just .002% of the membership of 550,000. How many of those 12 were only in breach of the fraudulent IHRA definition plus examples is not known. Corbyn does himself no favours when he refuses ro fight back and allows his friends to be thrown under the bus.

    • annie on March 4, 2019, 4:05 pm

      harry, check out this 2014 article “Jewish donors said abandoning UK’s ‘pro-Palestine’ Miliband”

      it’s likely the only thing that kept the accusation of anti semitism at bay was that miliband was jewish. but note how, even if they don’t outright call him an anti semite, they don’t cover this without covering anti semitism statistics, including statements insinuating miliband’s actions were bigoted.

      “I’m an actress, Ed, and I am often commended for my timing,” wrote the 68-year-old actress, a recipient of the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) honor. “Frankly, my dear, yours sucks.”

      She added: “Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse. Just when the anti-Semitism in France, Denmark, Norway, Hungary is mounting savagely, just when our cemeteries and synagogues and shops are once again under threat. Just when the virulence against a country defending itself, against 4,000 rockets and 32 tunnels inside its borders, as it has every right to do under the Geneva Convention, had been swept aside by the real pestilence of IS, in steps Mr Miliband to demand that the government recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.”

      they segue these two topics. miliband’s support for palestine and his past words denouncing anti semitism. why? how does one answer to or alleviate the other? why, in an article about the vote to recognize palestine as a state or the concern for the slaughter in gaza, and they dragging anti semitism into the conversation?

      “Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse. Just when the anti-Semitism in France, Denmark, Norway, Hungary is mounting savagely, just when our cemeteries and synagogues and shops are once again under threat”…israel starts slaughtering a largely defenseless population. bad timing indeed, if one truly cared about the spread of anti semitism that is.

    • Jeff Handmaker on March 5, 2019, 3:41 am

      Thank you. Indeed. Corbyn has been put in a very tricky situation, though I fully agree that he needs to speak out more, and Jewish supporters need to rally to his support (as they are doing).

      Those who throw out spurious allegations of anti-Semitism should be compelled to explain WHY a particular statement or position is “anti-Semitic” as this is by no means self-evident. The IHRA definition is so hopelessly broad (and disingenuous) that it undermines efforts to address anti-Semitism (such as swatiska’s on gravestones in Jewish cemeteries outside of Strasbourg or attacks on a synagogue in Pittsburgh).

  3. just on March 4, 2019, 4:51 pm

    As to Israeli Apartheid:

    “Three activists go on trial for challenging Israeli apartheid in Berlin

    Three campaigners have gone on trial in Germany for disrupting an event featuring an Israeli political representative.

    The trial, which opened Monday, focuses on a June 2017 conference held at Berlin’s Humboldt University.

    Among the participants were Aliza Lavie, a member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. She used the occasion to engaged in “pinkwashing” – depicting Israel as a haven for LGBTQ rights in order to distract from its crimes against humanity.

    One Palestinian – Majed Abusalama – and two Israeli activists – Ronnie Barkan and Stavit Sinai – interrupted the event in an effort to counter such propaganda.

    The campaigners denounced Lavie for supporting Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza.

    Following the event, the Humboldt Three – as the campaigners became known – were charged with trespassing. One of the activists has also been charged with assault.

    The charges are being strongly contested.

    Lawyers representing the three campaigners argue that there was no clear evidence of criminal activity and that the charges are disproportionate to what actually happened.

    The lawyers have complained that putting the three on trial violates the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

    They are also worried that the case could set a precedent by conflating criticism of Israel and Zionism – the state’s ideology – with anti-Semitism. …

    … More than 50 supporters of the Humboldt Three held a demonstration in Berlin as the trial opened.

    Speaking ahead of the proceedings, Majed Abusalama sounded a defiant note. Abusalama, who grew up in Gaza, said that his people are suffering a “slow genocide” and voiced solidarity with participants in the Great March of Return.

    “We are not concerned with the outcome of the trial,” he said. “We are working towards exposing, resisting and eventually ending Israel’s barbaric [system of] apartheid.””

    Please do read the entire article. Also do yourself the favor of watching this interview and reading this article by Jonathan Ofir posted here on 2/9/19:

    “Copenhagen mayor awards BDS activists for their courage

    At a time when Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel are being punished by Israel-apologists, an award for the courage of these activists from the Copenhagen Municipality comes as a fresh wind.

    The award was presented to BDS activists Ronnie Barkan, Majed Abusalama and Stavit Sinai (known as “Humboldt 3”) by Copenhagen’s Mayor for Technical and Environmental Affairs, Ninna Hedeager Olsen, at a ceremony in Copenhagen’s City Hall Thursday. It stated that

    Mr. Barkan and his colleagues have worked tirelessly to reveal the Apartheid-like nature of the Israeli regime and its systematic violation of international law. By doing so, the Copenhagen Courageous laureates have sown the seeds for a peaceful settlement between Israelis and Palestinians based on truth and justice. …”

    much more @

    All the best to these wonderful activists and may justice prevail!

  4. JWalters on March 4, 2019, 8:31 pm

    “Unfounded allegations of anti-Semitism cover up Israeli apartheid”

    This is such an important statement. This is the center of what Americans need to learn. All the rest is encompassed by understanding this.

    These fraudulent anti-Semitism accusations are not relevant today. Because regardless of whether some Jews in the past had dual loyalty, or controlled the press, or controlled a government, today there is a large amount of evidence that points quite directly to such scenarios today.

    At the very least, there is definitely enough evidence to raise the questions in a reasonably well-informed and thoughtful person. So there’s simply no need to assume anti-Semitism to explain why a person would contemplate these today. And at the very least, an accusation of anti-Semitism must be accompanied by a logical case for why it’s needed.

    • Jeff Handmaker on March 5, 2019, 3:55 am

      Indeed, it is crucial to explain and justify such serious allegations. Anti-semitism has a long and dark history and unfortunately never went away. It certainly did not originate with the creation of Israel (an apartheid State). However, the “fraudulent” anti-Semitism allegations you refer to are mostly criticisms of Israel and its regime. Calling these “anti-Semitic” is of recent origin — from the end of the 1990s to be precise when there were suggestions of a “new anti-Semitism”, which just so happened to parallel a massive increase in the (post-Oslo process) building of Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in Gaza.

      These absurdly broad conceptualizations (which the IHRA definition has worsened) have not only blocked efforts to address anti-Semitism, but have made it virtually impossible to criticise Israel, particularly when one is a politician or a University professor, and certainly not without facing a severe backlash. Witness the awful attacks against congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib or against academics John Cheney-Lippold and Stephen Salaita.

      As Israel and its supporters continue to lose ground in the public debate, it is crucial to support the work of organizations like Palestine Legal who are putting up a strong, principled and effective challenge:

  5. HarryLaw on March 5, 2019, 3:44 am

    This video of Deputy Leader Tom Watson tell the true story of the problems Jeremy Corbyn faces from the Blairite wing (large number) of the parliamentary labour party

  6. Ossinev on March 5, 2019, 9:34 am

    @Jeff Handmaker
    “Those who throw out spurious allegations of anti-Semitism should be compelled to explain WHY a particular statement or position is “anti-Semitic” as this is by no means self-evident. The IHRA definition is so hopelessly broad (and disingenuous) that it undermines efforts to address anti-Semitism (such as swatiska’s on gravestones in Jewish cemeteries outside of Strasbourg or attacks on a synagogue in Pittsburgh)”

    You may be interested to know that here in the UK the ex Chairman of the Conservative Party, and a Muslim herself,Baroness Warsi has just accused the Conservative Party of being “Institutionally Islamophobic”. She says also:
    “I have been raising these issues for over three years and yet still the party fails to act. We now have daily examples of the most vile racist and Islamophobic comments from both elected representatives and members and still the party remains in denial.

    “And whilst the comments and actions of individuals are disturbing, what’s even more hurtful and worrying is my party’s complete lack of political will to even acknowledge the extent of the challenge we face. This rot is institutional and it’s why I have been urging the prime minister and others to hold an independent inquiry.”

    Two questions spring to mind:
    1) How will the Conservative Party , which has been sitting back and gloating over the damage being caused to the Labour Party by the absurd A/S allegations choose to deal with this. Will there be “an independent inquiry”
    2) More importantly what will Herr Erdan`s “Strategy” for UK operatives be to deal with it – after all it has the potential to deflect attention away from the alleged ” institutionalised A/S
    in the Labour Party” banner. I suspect he may instruct them to follow the line of eg well she is a Muslim and her comments effectively Anti – Semitic because she is blatantly trying to deflect attention from the serious problem of A/S in the Labour Party.

    Will also be interesting to see how the MSM react to this. Will it be given air time / column space ?

    It certainly has the capacity to put the cat amongst the pigeons.

    • amigo on March 5, 2019, 12:11 pm

      0ssinev , if you google— “Conservative Party rife with Islamophobia” this story is reported on The Huff post/the Guardian/BBC /the indo and a host of others.

      In one report it is claimed that the PM knew that certain Tory Party members were Islamophobic but still brought them along on party political stumps.

      At best this may put a kink in May,s propensity for lecturing JC about AS in his party and his unwillingness to address same , which she resorts to when she is lost for an answer to JC,S difficult questions.

      Now is the time for Corbyn to go on the offensive and form a group to scour the net looking for Islamophobic comments by Tory party leaders or lower level members and hit back hard and fast and clog up the Tory Party investigation process and then complain the process is either too slow or non existent.

      I agree on the steps Erdan might make but he will find it difficult to increase the attacks on Labour which was the plan.

      Payback is a b—h.

    • amigo on March 5, 2019, 3:04 pm

      0ssinev , here is one report that includes many comments by Tory leaders and evidence of their refusal to address the issue of rampant Islamophobia in their own backyard.

  7. HarryLaw on March 5, 2019, 11:36 am

    “Another case from April showed Ms Formby’s official argued against a recommendation to suspend a member who claimed that a Labour Jewish group had links to the Freemasons.”
    The same official also objected to the suspension of a member who had used the term “zio”.
    Two examples of what might be regarded as Antisemitism above, the term Zionist should only be used advisedly, most definitely not as a euphemism for ‘Jewish’. As for ‘Zio’ that should never be used because it could be looked upon as a term of abuse.
    What would be my punishment be if I said the Jewish Labour Movement [JLM] support grave war crimes? In fact they do, the JLM are affiliated to the World Zionist Organization which an Haaretz Editorial claimed the WZO had a “Land Theft Division” who according to the UN directly finance the building of settlements in the Occupied West Bank which are considered grave war crimes by article 49.6 of the Geneva Conventions and in the unanimous opinion of all 15 Judges at the World Court [ICJ]. They are also affiliated with the Israel Labour Party, who also support the illegal settlement enterprise. The UK Labour Party is fast becoming a place where telling the truth is incompatible with party membership.

  8. Ossinev on March 6, 2019, 7:56 am

    Have not yet looked at todays UK papers – will be interesting to see what coverage (and spin) is given to the alleged “Institutionalised Islamophobia ” in the Tory Party. I say “alleged” because of course unlike the Labour Party where it has been a question of guilt proven by the endless repeating of allegations there won`t be anything like the scale of MSM onslaught. Latest from the BBC:

    Fascinated by the reference to the “World Zionist Organization”. In some circles reference to the term would be seen as a (yawn) Protocolesque Anti – Semitic ” trope”.

    As for use of the term Zios. Would it be OK do you think to say WZIOS instead ? Sounds if anything a bit more scary I know but abbreviations are all the rage nowadays eg lefty , commie. Or is a case that abbreviations are institutionally Judophobic and verboten when comes to criticism of Zionism or Judaism or Wzioland ?

    • HarryLaw on March 6, 2019, 3:29 pm

      Ossinev, Baroness Chakrabarti gives chapter and verse on the use of ‘Zio’ Et al at page nine of the Chakrabarty Report
      In my opinion the JLM affiliation with the WZO is not a trope, it is a fact and shows support for grave war crimes.

    • Jeff Handmaker on March 11, 2019, 11:04 am

      @Ossinev and @HarryLaw Regarding terminology — ZIO, WZIO or whatever … I think the point that @HarryLaw is trying to make is that it can be a fine line from how a criticism of Israel becoming something might “cross the line” and become a position that is anti-Semitic (i.e. “anti-jewish”).

      Why is there a need for the term “Zio” when one could just as easily say supporter of Israel? If it is an abbreviation of Zionist, then the term isn’t even accurate since there are different kinds of Zionists who have a vast array of different views, all of which are problematic in my view, but each of which needs to be separately understood and argued.

      For example, Peter Beinart maintains he is a Zionist, although he is strongly critical of Israel and doesn’t feel it is valid to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. On the other hand, he is not of the view that Israel is an apartheid state … in my assessment, he is still trying to work things out, but there is a basis for having a conversation.

      With Zionists such as Avigdor Lieberman, Ayelet Shaked or Naftali Bennett, there is no basis for such a conversation.

      Some Zionists believe in a “two-state solution”, others (like Lieberman, Shaked and Bennett) believe in a “Greater Israel including Judea and Samaria” … still other Zionists (regarded at the “far-left” in the Israeli spectrum) believe in a single, democratic state that recognises equal rights for all, irrespective of religion, gender, ethnic or racial background, etc.

      And then there are jewish groups, such as Jewish Voices for Peace, which are “guided by a vision of justice, equality and freedom for all people. “We unequivocally oppose Zionism because it is counter to those ideals.” However, JVP also acknowledges that this is a difficult discussion for many jews.

      In my view, rather than getting caught up in fine distinctions, one should simply be clear (to themselves and to others) what they are directing their anger towards.

      If one hates Israel because it is a country “run by jews” then that is clearly anti-Semitic in my view, just like hating a country because “run by Muslims” would be clearly Islamophobic, or hating a country because it is “run by blacks” would be clearly racist.

      However, if one is angry at the State of Israel because the government privileges the rights of jews about non-jews, or that the state came about as a result of dispossessing the indigenous people living their of their homes and livelihoods, or that there is ample evidence that its military have committed war crimes, including the torture, illegal interrogation and detention of children, then I do not possibly see how either of these statements can be regarded anti-Semitic. By the same token, being angry at the government of Saudi Arabia because of its restrictive laws regarding women could hardly be regarded as Islamophobic. And being critical of documented cases of graft by government Minisiters in Zimbabwe are not overtly racist.

      By this typology, and as I allude to in my article, the Jerusalem Post as well as Y-Net, the Jewish Chronicle and others are patently fomenting anti-Semitism, constantly twisting statements that are clearly aimed as well-substantiated criticisms of Israel and considering them – without any substantiation other than a loose reference to the IHRA Definition – as being anti-Semitic.

      • eljay on March 11, 2019, 11:17 am

        || Jeff Handmaker: Why is there a need for the term “Zio” when one could just as easily say supporter of Israel? … ||

        A supporter of Israel is not necessarily a Zionist. A Zionist is one who believes that the religion-based identity of Jewish grants to those who choose to hold it the “right” to Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of (geographic) Palestine.

        Beinart, Lieberman, Shaked and Bennett believe in Jewish / “Jewish State” supremacism (albeit to different degrees). They are Zionists.

        JVP “unequivocally oppose[s] Zionism”. It is not Zionist.

        All of the above are supporters of Israel.

  9. Ossinev on March 6, 2019, 1:58 pm

    Fresh off the Press. Another Labour Friend of Israel rat jumps ship;
    Delayed reaction compared with the other rats – possibly because Erdan has ordered a drip drip process. Got to keep that old “institutionalised A/S” pot boiling don`t you know. So hang in there Hodge.Smeeth,Mann and all you other totally unbiased (of course) Friends of Israel until you get the order to jump.

    Almost certainly guarantees ANOTHER invitation to an AIPAC conference for Austin .

    The more the merrier – a long overdue detoxification of the Labour Party. Like all the other rats he of course won`t do the honourable thing and stand for re-election. He will serve out his term until the next UK election. Wouldn`t do at all to risk foregoing that lucrative MP salary.

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