Guardian editor Jonathan Freedland’s latest attack on Jeremy Corbyn robs the charge of antisemitism of its real and important meaning. His broadside is a hodgepodge of assertions based on guilt-by-association and statements taken out of context. If 87 percent of British Jews now believe Corbyn is antisemitic it is because of the media parroting pro-Israel propaganda.
On November 17, the British anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein was informed by Twitter that his account was suspended permanently. No reason was given. It turns out that according to Twitter, comparing the siege of Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto is a breach of rules whereas wishing Jewish anti-Zionists had died in Auschwitz is not.
The historic contradictions of the Zionist Left are being played out in the death throes of Meretz. As Israel becomes more nakedly rightwing and racist, some elite intellectuals will delude themselves about left Zionism, but Zionism has no ideological need any longer to pretend that it can be reconciled with universalist principles.
Comparisons of Israel to the Nazis, now deemed to be anti-semitic by some officials, are actually helpful. And Zionists have never hesitated to compare their opponents to Nazis. Prime Minister Menachem Begin compared Yasser Arafat in Beirut to Adolf Hitler in his bunker. Ha’aretz observed that Calling your political rival a Nazi is a time-hallowed tradition in Israel. In 2008 a deputy defence minister warned Palestinians living in Gaza that they were bringing ‘a bigger Shoah’ on themselves. And Abba Eban talked of the 1967 Green Line as the ‘Auschwitz border’. Anti-Zionists should be able to wield historical analogy, too, writes Tony Greenstein.
When Seth Anderson urges us to see international law and the two state solution as the basis for resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict, he ignores the fact that the law has meant nothing in the context of power politics, and that partition would create Palestinian bantustans and leave intact the discriminatory structure of the so-called Jewish state. So writes Tony Greenstein.
Israeli socialists have long argued that the primary agent for change in Palestine is the Israeli-Jewish (Hebrew) working class which must be tempted into abandoning the advantages that it presently enjoys, or perceives that it enjoys, in a Zionist state based on Jewish supremacy. Tony Greenstein counters that until Zionism is defeated socialism will be off the agenda in Israel and the Middle East. Zionism and the idea of a Jewish nation are the guarantee against any unity between the Jewish and Arab working classes.
Gerald Kaufman, who died on February 26th 2017 at the age of 86, served as a member of Parliament for 47 continuous years and became the Father of the House of Commons. In his early years as an MP Kaufman was a strong supporter of the Israeli state and was a member of both Labour Friends of Israel and Poalei Zion, the British wing of the Israeli Labour Party. Tony Greenstein writes, “Perhaps the most fitting tribute to Gerald Kaufman that there can be was that he wasn’t a hypocrite. Kaufman had grown up with Labour Zionism and its myth of making the desert bloom, but unlike most supporters of Zionism in the Labour Party today, Gerald Kaufman was sincere in wanting to see a two-state solution. For him it wasn’t a convenient cover for an apartheid Greater Israel. Kaufman was quite sincere in his hostility to Israeli rule over millions of Palestinians and he didn’t hesitate to speak out against the occupation and repression that it entailed.”