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Britain’s Chief Rabbi is helping to stoke antisemitism

Opinion
on 43 Comments

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has not only misrepresented the known facts about Labour and its supposed antisemitism crisis. He has not only interfered in an overtly, politically partisan manner in the December 12 election campaign by suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn – against all evidence – is an antisemite.

By speaking out as the voice of British Jews – a false claim he has allowed the UK media to promote – his unprecedented meddling in the election of Britain’s next leader has actually made the wider Jewish community in the UK much less safe. Mirvis is contributing to the very antisemitism he says he wants to eradicate.

Mirvis’ intervention in the election campaign makes sense only if he believes in one of two highly improbable scenarios.

The first requires several demonstrably untrue things to be true. It needs for Corbyn to be a proven antisemite – and not just of the variety that occasionally or accidentally lets slip an antisemitic trope or is susceptible to the unthinking prejudice most of us occasionally display, including (as we shall see) Rabbi Mirvis.

No, for Mirvis to have interfered in the election campaign he would need to believe that Corbyn intends actively as prime minister to inflame a wider antisemitism in British society or implement policies designed to harm the Jewish community. And in addition, the chief rabbi would have to believe that Corbyn presides over a Labour party that will willingly indulge race-hate speeches or stand by impassively as Corbyn carries out racist policies.

If Mirvis really believes any of that, I have a bridge to sell him. Corbyn has spent his entire political career as an anti-racism campaigner, and his anti-racism activism as a backbencher was especially prominent inside a party that itself has traditionally taken the political lead in tackling racism.

Rising tide of nationalism

The second possibility is that Mirvis doesn’t really believe that Corbyn is a Goebbels in the making. But if that is so, then his decision to intercede in the election campaign to influence British voters must be based on an equally fanciful notion: that there is no significant threat posed by antisemitism from the right or the rapidly emerging far right.

Because if antisemitism is not an issue on the right – the same nationalistic right that has persecuted Jews throughout modern history, culminating in the Nazi atrocities – then Mirvis may feel he can risk playing politics in the name of the Jewish community without serious consequence.

If there is no perceptible populist tide of white nationalism sweeping Europe and the globe, one that hates immigrants and minorities, then making a fuss about Corbyn might seem to make sense for a prominent Jewish community leader. In those circumstances, it might appear to be worth disrupting the national conversation to highlight the fact that Corbyn once sat with Hamas politicians – just as Tony Blair once sat with Sinn Fein leaders – and that Corbyn’s party has promised in the latest manifesto to stop selling weapons to Israel (and Saudi Arabia) of the kind that have been used to butcher children in Gaza. Mirvis might believe that by wounding Corbyn he can help into power a supposedly benevolent, or at least inoffensive, Tory party.

But if he is wrong about the re-emergence of white nationalism and its growing entry into the mainstream – and all the evidence suggests he would be deeply wrong, if this is what he thinks – then undermining Corbyn and the Labour party is self-destructiveness of the first order.

It would amount to self-harm not only because attacking Corbyn inevitably strengthens the electoral chances of Boris “watermelon smiles” Johnson. It plays with fire because Mirvis’ flagrant intervention in the election campaign actually bolsters a key part of the antisemitic discourse of the far right that is rapidly making inroads into the Conservative party.

Succour to white nationalists

White nationalists are all over social media warning of supposed Jewish global conspiracies, of supposed Jewish control of the media, of supposed Jewish subversion of “white rights.” It was precisely this kind of thinking that drove European politics a century ago. It was arch-antisemite Arthur Balfour who signed off the Balfour Declaration of 1917 that sought to end Britain’s “Jewish problem” by encouraging European Jews to move far away, to a part of the Middle East then known as Palestine.

That is, of course, why today’s white supremacists love Israel, why they see it as a model, why they call themselves “white Zionists.” In creating a tribal democracy, and one heavily fortified, land-hungry, belligerent and nuclear-armed, Israel has done for Jews exactly what white nationalists hope to do again for their white compatriots. The white supremacists’ love of Israel is intimately bound up with their hatred and fear of Jews.

Mirvis has given succour to white nationalist discourse both because he has spoken out against Corbyn without offering evidence for his claims and because those entirely unsubstantiated claims have been echoed across the media.

There is good reason why the billionaire-owned print media and the establishment-dominated BBC are happy to exploit the antisemitism smears – and it has nothing to do with concern for the safety of Jews. The corporate media don’t want a Labour leader in power who is going to roll back the corporate free-for-all unleashed by Margaret Thatcher 40 years ago that nearly bankrupted the rest of us in 2008.

But that is not what those flirting with or embracing white nationalism will take away from the relentless media chorus over evidence-free antisemitism claims.

Mirvis’ intervention in the democratic process will drive them more quickly and more deeply into the arms of the far-right. It will persuade them once again that “the Jews” are a “problem.” They will conclude that – though the Jews are now helping the right by destroying Corbyn – once the left has been dealt with, those same Jews will then subvert their white state. Like Balfour before them, they will start thinking of how to rid Britain and Europe of these supposed interlopers.

This is why Mirvis was irresponsible in the extreme for meddling. Because the standard of proof required before making such an intervention – proof either that Corbyn is an outright Jew hater, or that white nationalism is no threat to the UK – is not even close to being met.

The left’s anti-imperialism

In fact much worse, all the evidence shows the exact reverse. That was neatly summed up in a survey this month published by the Economist, a weekly magazine that is no friend to Corbyn or the Labour party.

It showed that those identifying as “very left-wing” – the section of the public that supports Corbyn – were among the least likely to express antisemitic attitudes. Those identifying as “very right-wing,” on the other hand – those likely to support Boris “piccaninnies” Johnson – were three and a half times more likely to express hostile attitudes towards Jews. Other surveys show even worse racism among Conservatives towards more obviously non-white minorities, such as Muslims and black people. That, after all, is the very reason Boris “letterbox-looking Muslim women” Johnson now heads the Tory party.

The Economist findings reveal something else of relevance in assessing Mirvis’ meddling. Not only is the real left (as distinguished from the phony, centrist left represented by Labour’s Blairites) much less antisemitic than the right, it is also much more critical of Israel than any other section of the British public.

That is easily explained. The real left has always been anti-imperialist. Israel is a particularly problematic part of Britain’s colonial legacy.

Elsewhere, the peoples who gained independence from Britain found themselves inside ruined, impoverished states, often with borders imposed out of naked imperial interest that left them divided and feuding. Internal struggles over the crumbs Britain and other imperial powers left behind were the norm.

But in a very real sense, Britain – or at least the west – never really left Israel. In line with the Balfour Declaration, Britain helped to establish the institutions of a “Jewish home” on the Palestinians’ homeland. British troops may have departed in 1948, but waves of European Jewish immigrants were either encouraged or compelled to come to the newly created state of Israel by racist immigration quotas designed to prevent them fleeing elsewhere, most especially to the United States.

The west helped engineer both the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and Israel’s creation to solve Europe’s “Jewish problem.” It provided the components necessary for Israel to build a nuclear bomb that won it a place at the international top table and ensured the Palestinians were made Israel’s serfs in perpetuity. Ever since, the west has provided Israel with diplomatic cover, military aid and special trading status, even as Israel has worked relentlessly to disappear the Palestinian people from their homeland.

Even now, our most prized rights, such as free speech, are being eroded and subverted to protect Israel from criticism. In the U.S., the only infringements on the American public’s First Amendment rights have been legislated to silence those seeking to pressure Israel over its crimes against the Palestinians with a boycott – similar to the campaign against apartheid South Africa. In the UK, the Conservative manifesto similarly promises to bar local councils from upholding international law and boycotting products from Israel’s illegal settlements.

Rewarding war crimes

The real left focuses on this continuing colonial crime against the Palestinians not because it is antisemitic (a claim the Economist survey amply refutes), but because the left treats Israel as emblematic of British and western bad faith and hypocrisy. Israel is the imperial west’s Achilles’ heel, the proof that war crimes, massacres and ethnic cleansing are not only not punished but actively rewarded if these crimes accord with western imperial interests.

But ardent friends of Israel such as Mirvis are blind to these arguments. For them, one western antisemitic crime – the Holocaust – entirely obscures another western antisemitic crime: seeking to rid Europe of Jews by forcing them into the Middle East, serving as pawns on an imperial chessboard that paid no regard to the Palestinians whose homeland was being sacrificed.

In his state of historical and political myopia, Mirvis cannot begin to understand that there might be political activists who, in defending the Palestinian people, are also defending Jews. That they, unlike him, understand that Israel was created not out of western benevolence towards Jews, but out of western malevolence towards “lesser peoples.” The real left in Britain speaks out against Israel not because it hates Jews but because it holds dear a commitment to justice and a compassion for all.

Mirvis, on the other hand, is the Zionist equivalent of a little Englander. He prefers particularist, short-term interests over universalist, long-term ones.

It was he, remember, who threw his full support behind Israel in 2014 as it indiscriminately bombed Gaza, killing some 550 children – a bombing campaign that came after years of an Israeli blockade on the Palestinian population there. That siege has led the United Nations to warn that the enclave will be uninhabitable by next year.

It was Mirvis, along with his predecessor Jonathan Sacks, who in 2017 endorsed the fanatical Jewish settlers – Israel’s equivalent of white supremacists – on their annual march through the occupied Old City of Jerusalem. This is the march where the majority of the participants are recorded every year waving masses of Israeli flags at Palestinians and chanting “Death to the Arabs”. One Israeli newspaper columnist has described the Jerusalem Day march as a “religious carnival of hatred”.

It was Mirvis and Sacks that encouraged British Jews to join them on this tub-thumping trip to Israel, which they suggested would provide an opportunity to spend time “dancing with our brave soldiers.” Those soldiers – Israeli, not British – occupy West Bank cities like Hebron where they have locked down life for some 200,000 Palestinians so that a handful of crazed religious Jewish bigots can live undisturbed in their midst.

What is so appalling is that Mirvis is blind to the very obvious parallels between the fearful Palestinians who hastily have to board up their shops as a Jewish mob parades through their neighborhood and today’s white supremacists and neo-Nazis in the west who seek to march provocatively through ethnic minority communities, including Jewish neighborhoods, in places like Charlottesville.

Mirvis has no lessons to teach Corbyn or the Labour party about racism. In fact, it is his own, small-minded prejudice that blinds him to the anti-racist politics of the left. His ugly message is now being loudly amplified by a corporate media keen to use any weapon it can, antisemitism included, to keep Corbyn and the left out of power – and preserve a status quo that benefits the few at the expense of the many.

Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His new website is jonathan-cook.net.

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43 Responses

  1. JaapBo on December 2, 2019, 5:48 pm

    While I agree with many things Jonathan Cook writes, I don’t agree that Israel is a Western imperial interest. Israel is rather a liability, disturbing smooth relations with Arab and Muslim countries.
    I agree that the Balfour Declaration was driven at least partly by Western antisemitism, if not to get rid of Jews, than at least to reduce their immigration. But I don’t think antisemitism was a significant driving force in creating Israel after WW2.
    Before WW2 another British motive was to have a strong point on the way to India, but that need fell away after 1947. Then a Zionist Palestine became a liability rather than an asset.

    • oldgeezer on December 2, 2019, 10:56 pm

      @Jaapbo
      “Israel is rather a liability, disturbing smooth relations with Arab and Muslim countries.`

      To a normal rational peace loving person Israel would be a liability based upon any measurement.

      The West/US empire is not the above.

      Israel serves a valuable purpose to the West by the turmoil it creates in the region which ensures the countries in the region do not, and can not, operate as a single effective force on their own citizens behalf. Even with OPEC a fragmented region is more easily controlled by pressure on individual members.Not that many, if any, of the two bit tinpot dictators in the region are going to act to anyone’s benefit other than their own. Certainly the chaos can spike prices but prices aren’t the issue. Profits are. The industry operates on a lifo generally and price spikes are absorbed by the consumer and depending on the pricing formula increase profits in the short term to mid term. When OPEC was created they briefly had the west over a barrel (pun intended) and did serious damage. Now? Now? Not so much. They’ve had to back off a number of intended changes in pricing. Imagine the power the middle east would have had if they were permitted to act collectively. They had for a very little while but they aren’t going to get there again without a real, and I mean real, fight.

      Israel is not an asset in the way you or I might think of an asset but they do serve the purpose of the empire.

    • MHughes976 on December 3, 2019, 5:53 am

      Walter Reid, ‘Empire of Sand’ offers a useful account of the formation of the Declaration. Balfour wasn’t an arch anti Semite. He had an idealistic belief in what he considered to be Jewish rights. The pity is that his idea of Jewish rights was so mistaken. Even now the principalities and powers against which we contend are full of the belief that they do God’s will and are making a better world.

  2. Misterioso on December 2, 2019, 7:37 pm

    Meanwhile:

    Jews4Labour invites ALL Labour supporters to join us in a CELEBRATION to LIFE (L’CHAIM!) and REAL Change!

    Saturday 7 December, 7-8.30pm. Central London Location TBC.

    Bring your singing voices, and spread the word!

    https://www.facebook.com/events/2447354775372884/

  3. Vera Gottlieb on December 3, 2019, 8:54 am

    And then some…And sticking his nose where it don’t belong: UK elections.

  4. pabelmont on December 3, 2019, 10:47 am

    My guess: Mirvis is a Conservative, most/many UK Jews are believed by him to be Conservatives, and this accusation is (like all the other, earlier, accusations against Labour and Corbyn of antisemitism are) POLITICS BY SMEAR to prevent a return to power of Labour.

    Period.

    Oh, well, and, of course, an attempt to further the Zionist project of attacking pro-Palestinianism, an attempt accomplished by the so-familiar false conflation of antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on December 3, 2019, 3:39 pm

      “My guess: Mirvis is a Conservative, most/many UK Jews are believed by him to be Conservatives, and this accusation is (like all the other, earlier, accusations against Labour and Corbyn of antisemitism are) POLITICS BY SMEAR to prevent a return to power of Labour.”

      None of this is a guess. He is a Tory, as are most British Jews, and it is a smear campaign.

      Facts.

  5. Maximus Decimus Meridius on December 3, 2019, 10:56 am

    “Mirvis may feel he can risk playing politics in the name of the Jewish community without serious consequence.”

    Thing is though, most British Jews seem happy to go along with this. With a few notable and articulate exceptions such as the great Michael Rosen, most of them – certainly the ones writing in mainstream media such as Jonathan Friedland – are more than happy to see themselves as victims and have often been at the forefront of the anti Corbyn smear campaign for the past 4 years. The ‘Jewish community’ – most of whom tend to be Tory voters – seem quite happy to allow themselves to be used thus.

  6. Stephen Shenfield on December 3, 2019, 12:20 pm

    “Small-mindedness” — exactly. When I was growing up I occasionally looked through The Jewish Chronicle. We did not take it but my grandmother and some other relatives did, and I looked at it on visits to them. I was astonished to see how its writers managed to interpret everything going on in the world solely in terms of its implications for the Jews, by which they always meant Israel. They took no interest in anything else, and of course they never distinguished between Judaism and Zionism. It is probably no different even today. So imagine a mind firmly closed to anything except this sort of stuff, and there you have the likes of Mirvis.

  7. Jackdaw on December 3, 2019, 1:41 pm

    “Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism”, says French Parliament.

    https://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Antisemitism/French-parliament-decides-anti-Zionism-is-antisemitism-609764

    Now if only Mondoweiss could accept that. After all 154 Frenchmen can’t be wrong.

    Or maybe these legislators were co-opted by the insidious ‘Israel Lobby of France’.

    Yeah, that’s it, the ‘Israel Lobby of France’!

    • eljay on December 3, 2019, 3:02 pm

      || Jackdaw: … 154 Frenchmen can’t be wrong. … ||

      I disagree. And I’m surprised by your shameless anti-Semitism.

      Kidding!   :-)   You’re a Zionist – your shameless anti-Semitism doesn’t surprise me one bit.

    • Tom Suarez on December 3, 2019, 3:02 pm

      Hello Jackdaw,
      Zionism reduces Jewish identity to a racial-nationalist settler cult; and by defining this by descent (categorically distinct from nationality as used by every country by Israel), Zionism hijacks individual Jewish self-identity and self-determination for that immoral end.
      So, yes, guilty as charged. History will judge Zionism as the final great atrocity against Jews.

      • Mooser on December 4, 2019, 1:31 pm

        “History will judge Zionism as the final great atrocity against Jews.”

        We better start looking for scapegoats. It’s not healthy to blame ourselves.

    • Brewer on December 3, 2019, 3:45 pm

      “After all 154 Frenchmen can’t be wrong.”

      The sheer stupidity of this proposition illustrates the paucity of Zionist argument.
      154 Frenchmen X at least about 100,000 supported the Vichy Government.

      Alternative conclusions:
      It is a very poor joke.
      It is a desperate attempt to apply lipstick to a hog.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on December 3, 2019, 3:49 pm

      ““Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism”, says French Parliament.”

      Who cares? It doesn’t change the reality that Zionism is doomed.

    • MHughes976 on December 3, 2019, 4:26 pm

      Amusingly stated, jd. But I think it’s clear enough that Macron’s supporters have made rather too much, in order to discredit the (really quite annoying);gilets jaunes, of the person – it was really just one person, as far as I could see from the video at the time – who screamed ‘dirty Zionist’ at Alain Finkielkraut, who is indeed a pretty effective, maybe a little annoying, pro-Israel lobbyist. It was sadly quite plausible to say that in this individual case the scream was indeed equivalent to ‘dirty Jew’ and the opportunity to make a sharper political point was seized. The anti-Z = anti-S statement is a bit opportunistic in this case.

    • annie on December 3, 2019, 7:01 pm

      sure Jack, did you see the memo?

      Israel Lobby: ‘Leave France Alone!’

    • RoHa on December 3, 2019, 7:33 pm

      “After all 154 Frenchmen can’t be wrong.”

      SNORT!

      • echinococcus on December 3, 2019, 10:36 pm

        Those known for having a vested interest in cultivating Francophobia may want to abstain, says I.

    • echinococcus on December 3, 2019, 10:46 pm

      The Jack*$$ is incorrigible.
      Now he’s insulting the French. Why shouldn’t they have their own 5th column, just as powerful and as just as obnoxious as the one the grown-ups in Amurikka have? After all, the Frogs already accumulated a lot of experience in these things, what with the Pétain-Laval government, the treason at Waterloo,, etc.

    • Talkback on December 4, 2019, 2:50 am

      Jackdaw: “Now if only Mondoweiss could accept that. After all 154 Frenchmen can’t be wrong. After all 154 Frenchmen can’t be wrong.”

      Do you understand how stupid it is to claim that Palestinians are inherently antisemitic if they do not accept the Zionist conquest and colonization of Palestine?

      Jackdaw: “Yeah, that’s it, the ‘Israel Lobby of France’!”

      Now if only Jackdaw would accept that.

      • Tonja on December 4, 2019, 9:38 am

        I can give the name of that 5th column :
        The C.R.I.F. (Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France)
        The sionist lobby in France front of which every politician is either affiliated or have to bow front of. A bit like AIPAC but much less powerful.

        One could take

      • Tonja on December 4, 2019, 10:00 am

        I can give the name of that 5th column :
        The C.R.I.F. (Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France)
        The sionist lobby in France front of which every politician is either affiliated or have to bow front of. A bit like AIPAC but much less powerful.
        One could take a look at the behavior of Emmanuel Valls, former primer minister, before and after he married Anne Gravoin, jew, in 2010.
        Pro palestinian while mayor of the city of Evry in 2003 (city with large “muslim blocs”) to all out sionist in 2011, often seen with Mr Prasquier and Cukierman (présidents of the CRIF).

        There ‘s no proof his marriage has been the reason on the change.
        I don’t forget he’s a politician and his allegiance go to who he can profit from. (muslims as a mayor of Evry, jews as trying to climb up to president)

        I must admit it’s hard to find a few who’s non sionist here in France as they are bathing in this ideology since birth.. in family and synagogues.
        Unfortunatly, the lobby works “well” here too..

      • echinococcus on December 4, 2019, 6:39 pm

        Tonja,

        CRIF “A bit like AIPAC but much less powerful.”

        Only because the government that they pwn is much less powerful than the one pwned by AIPAC — in fact a US territory without a vote, as Europe goes today.

        But they don’t seem less powerful at their relative level. They own the French government all right; in fact they were able to pass and implement totally fascist speech censorship laws (sorry for having to use the right word) that in the US are still not recorded on paper.

      • Keith on December 5, 2019, 12:36 am

        TONJA- “A bit like AIPAC but much less powerful.”

        A second opinion, for what it is worth.

        “It is important to keep in mind that the French Zionist Lobby is even more powerful and more arrogant, in a uniquely “in our face” kind of attitude, than, say, AIPAC in the USA.” (The Saker, 2015) http://thesaker.is/frances-crif-run-regime-has-unleashed-a-vicious-persecutions-campaign-against-dissidents/

      • Tonja on December 5, 2019, 2:32 am

        Dear Echinococcus i couldn’t agree more.

        There’s another striking example of how “good” the lobby have worked..
        The franco-algerian terrorist Merah:
        Before the horrific bloodshed at the jewish school Ozar Hatorah in Toulouse, he executed cold blood a french soldier, bearing a name originated from Maghreb.
        Then another day shot 3 others : killing one, wounding one, and wounding another but finishing the job executing at point blank (2 out of 3 were as well originating from maghreb).
        The jewish community worldwide has heard about gruesome slaughter at the jewish school, but you could barely find a single french jew knowing about the previous 2 mortal expeditions….and not a single one who could name just one of the soldiers.
        They have been completly obliterated from the narrative.
        For months all the prominent (and less prominent) politicians took the microphone to express their sorrow to the jewish community about the Ozar Hatorah killing…
        without ever mentionning our french soldiers.
        It took more than a year for them to come back on front, when news came about posthumous decorations.
        Their fate treated as casual when the Ozar Hatorah reportings were hysterical.
        same situations but treated quite differently…

        Just to be a bit more specific about my mind, when i said less powerful, i meant that here in France the Zionists have the power to get you elected, and it’s always good to be friend with them as they can propel you higher, but they can’t destroy your career.

        Sorry if, from my prose, one could think i conflate jew and zionist. As i previously said, those unfortunate ones who have been raised in the ‘community’ have been truly brainwashed and it’s them who can’t make a difference.
        I even have one ‘funny’ tale about it : Just before some presidential elections my Boss – and Friend – made that slip : “if i was french i would vote…”.
        I reassure you, he definitly feels french but all this permanent propaganda make them schizophrenic.

        Any resemblance to the situation in the UK is purely fortuitous… NOT !

      • Jackdaw on December 5, 2019, 4:38 am

        Israel Lobby, ‘Portugal Branch’, succeeds.

        Portugal has become the latest country to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, a move that coincided with a visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

        The Lobby is all over the place!

      • eljay on December 5, 2019, 7:26 am

        || Jackdaw: … The Lobby is all over the place! ||

        I do agree that its reach and control are disturbing.

      • Talkback on December 5, 2019, 8:36 am

        Jackdaw: “Israel Lobby, ‘Portugal Branch’, succeeds.”

        Oh that’s not the success of the Israel Lobby. Because nobody has a problem with this definition which is actually quite vague and useless. The success of the Israel Lobby is that it tricks everyone into believing that this definition goes beyond these two sentences:

        “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

        And the second success is to trick everbody into believing that in the added Zionist wishlist of what should be considered “antisemitic” context is irrelevant, allthough it says otherwise.

        This article highlights even more deceptions:
        https://www.eccpalestine.org/six-reasons-why-no-one-should-adopt-the-so-called-eumc-or-ihra-working-definition-of-antisemitism/

      • oldgeezer on December 5, 2019, 11:33 am

        @Talkback

        The simplest deception being interpeting the examples as absolutes and totally ignroing the phrase “could, taking into account the overall context, include, “.

        Statements of facts cannot be interpreted as antisemitism by any reasonable person as that is essential to the context.

        I understand that comparisons of Israeli policies to those of the nazis would be offensive to many, if not most Jews. However even if it is all Jews it’s still not antisemitism when the policies of Israel are indeed the same as nazi policies for which the remnants of the regime were prosecuted and held to account.

        Context and truth matter even if certain comparisons should be avoided wherever possible for the same reason…. the context of Jewish history.

      • Jackdaw on December 6, 2019, 12:25 am

        Die hard Marxists, have your say…..doo dah…doo dah….

        Your fists are clenched till your dying day.
        Oh doo dah day.

      • Talkback on December 6, 2019, 1:18 am

        oldgeezer: “The simplest deception being interpeting the examples as absolutes and totally ignroing the phrase “could, taking into account the overall context, include, “.”

        That’s what I said when I wrote”… context is irrelevant, allthough it says otherwise.” All of this is based on the EUMC “WORKING” definition. This was only a working definition to collect data to help defining antisemitism. It wasn’t a definition to define Antisemitism. The EUMC had a different definition for antisemitism:
        “In effect the real EUMC definition has been hijacked in favour of a “working definition” that neither the EUMC, nor its successor body the Fundamental Rights Agency, has ever used or intends to develop. The intention, to produce guidelines to help operationalise the EUMC’s definition in its 2002-20003 Report, was ignored in favour of producing what was in effect a redefinition of antisemitism, with criticism of Israel at its core and the presumption that such criticism was likely to be antisemitic (see Kuper, cited above).”
        https://jfjfp.com/when-criticism-of-israel-is-anti-semitic-the-real-eumc-definition/

        And of course the only context that could make the examples antisemitic would be a clearly antisemitic context which means defaming Jews as s Jews. If someone argues along the lines that Jews shouldn’t have a state simply because they are Jews and therefore it would be bad for the world it is clearly antisemitic wether the denial of Israel’s right to exist or comparison to Nazis follows or not.

      • Nathan on December 6, 2019, 9:57 am

        oldgeezer – When you claim that “statements of fact cannot be interpreted as antisemitism by any reasonable person”, you’ll have to note that you are verifying also the very opposite: Statements of obvious falsehood could be interpreted as antisemitism by any reasonable person.

        For years, I never gave a moment’s thought about the possible connection between anti-Israel propaganda and antisemitism. It was always quite weird to hear claims that Gaza is just like the Warsaw Ghetto, for example. I would just assume that a person making such a ridiculous statement hasn’t read a book about the Holocaust or he hasn’t seen the photos of Gaza published every so in Mondoweiss. But now, thanks to your insight, I learned that there actually might be a connection between the absurd anti-Israel propaganda that you promote and antisemitism. Perhaps you too haven’t read books about the Nazi regime, but I have to agree with your position and the mirror image of your position that indeed any reasonable person could interpret your obviously false statement as antisemitic.

      • Talkback on December 6, 2019, 4:23 pm

        Nathan: “Statements of obvious falsehood could be interpreted as antisemitism by any reasonable person.”

        Only if these statements refer to Jews as Jews. Otherwise the accusation of antisemitism is as irrational as antisemitism.

        Nathan: “Perhaps you too haven’t read books about the Nazi regime, …”

        I have read tons of books about the Nazi regime. Like Israelis in Gaza Nazis counted the calories intake in their concentration camps, too. And Yeshuza Leibowitz knew a thing or two about Nazis, too, when he coined the term “Judeonazis”. Nazis also legally differentiated between nationals and citizens to privilege the former. They illegally annexed occupied territories and illegally settled in them, too. And they also resorted to collective punishment and expelled, disenfranchised, confiscated, dispossesd, looted and murdered almost with 100% impunity people of different heritage and faith and their property.

        I could go on for days. If you want me to continue this list then just try to accuse me of antisemitism without being irrational. But something tells me that you are going to chicken out as usual.

      • oldgeezer on December 6, 2019, 10:26 pm

        @Nathan
        “you’ll have to note that you are verifying also the very opposite: Statements of obvious falsehood could be interpreted as antisemitism by any reasonable person.”

        No Nathan. It’s not a one or the other situation. Apparently you have the same intellect as g w bush. Which is next to none. But thanks for playing son.

        ps… didn’t read past your first paragraph. It was too stupid.

      • MHughes976 on December 7, 2019, 1:59 pm

        ‘No true statement is anti-S’ does imply ‘if any statement is anti-S it is false’ and ‘if any statement is false it may be anti-S’.

      • echinococcus on December 7, 2019, 4:59 pm

        Hughes,

        You may have a typo there; the syllogism only leads to the second statement, not both.

      • oldgeezer on December 7, 2019, 8:28 pm

        I’m primarily with Hughes on this one. I’d need to spend more effort than it’s worth to think about all the potentials but I think he has it.

        I do have to admit though I did like part of Nathan’s juvenile analysis….

        If telling lies about Israel or Jews is a/s then has anyone ever met a zionist who wasn’t an antisemite? Granted many of them are even without the lies but that’s a different topic

      • Talkback on December 8, 2019, 4:47 pm

        Nathan: “Statements of obvious falsehood could be interpreted as antisemitism by any reasonable person.”

        Sure Nathan. Based on your attempt to emulate logical reasoning the claim that your statement is reasonable could therefore be intepreted as antisemitism by anyone you consider to be a reasonable person, including yourself.

        Would you also conclude that antisemitism is on the rise, because of persons who are as reasonable as you are?

  8. vwbeetle on December 4, 2019, 1:12 am

    How can anti-Zionism be anti-semitic when Zionism itself is inherently anti-semitic? Zionism says that Jews do not belong in their home countries. If I as a non-Jew said to a Jew “This is not your home, you don’t belong here. Your home is Israel/Palestine, you should go and live there”, I would quite rightly be condemned as an anti-semite. However, if a Jew said exactly the same thing, he would simply be called a Zionist. I am anti-Zionist – a perfectly moral stance. The Eastern European Zionist colonists of the early 20th century had no intention of sharing Palestine. They intended to achieve a Jewish majority in Palestine, a country that was 95% Arab, turn it into a Jewish state, and displace as many of the resident Arabs as they could. Land purchased by Jewish colonists became the “inalienable property of the Jewish people” and could not be sold or rented to Arabs, who were also mostly excluded from employment on it. As the King-Crane Commission, sent to Palestine by US President Wilson in 1919 stated “The fact came out repeatedly in the Commission’s conference with Jewish representatives that the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine, by various forms of purchase”.

    The ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947/48 was Zionism in action. The land grab of the 1967 war was Zionism in action. The Occupation is Zionism in action. The confiscation of Palestinian land, the building of Jewish only settlements, and demolition of Palestinian homes is Zionism in action. Zionism is not a benign movement.

  9. Talkback on December 5, 2019, 8:55 am

    “White nationalists are all over social media warning of supposed Jewish global conspiracies, of supposed Jewish control of the media, of supposed Jewish subversion of “white rights.”

    And one reason for that is that they see how criticism against Israel is globally smeared and criminalized. It is simply impossible to argue against that. I have tried and failed.

  10. Mooser on December 8, 2019, 12:06 pm

    Well, I must say, Donald Trump is doing his bit to reduce anti-Semitism in America.
    Trump, last evening speaking to the Israeli American Council:

    “You’re not nice people at all, but you have to vote for me. You have no choice. You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that. You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax!”

    “We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more … because you have people that are Jewish people, that are great people — they don’t love Israel enough. You know that.”

    Audience loved it.

    As goes the Right, so go the all-rightniks That’s just the way the matzoh crumbles…

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