There are lots of good reasons to think the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, now adopted “in full” by Labour’s national committee and by Labour MPs, is, well, a bit rubbish, writes Robert Cohen: “The truth of the matter is, the Jewish community can no longer define ‘Zionism,’ or indeed ‘anti-Semitism,’ without the help of Palestinians.”
Category Archives: Middle East
I forget who I made out with on my first trip to Israel at 16, because I was in love with Jerusalem, not him, Liz Rose writes. It took me decades to understand the human rights violations of Zionism, but that awareness is coming earlier for the people who walked off their Birthright trip this summer, shocking the liberal Zionist consensus.
Pete Gregson on the fallout in the UK Labour Party after the vote adopting the full IHRA definition of antisemitism: “What we are seeing is a Party in fear of the media, allowing Zionists to undermine freedom of speech. What we need to do is show those in fear of bad press that the NEC cannot pay lip service to a thing that it does not believe in. For who can argue that Israel is not a racist state? It’s as if we’re allowing Theresa May and Netanyahu to write our rule book here.”
Tamam Abusalama writes, “An inclusive and intersectional feminist movement should address the struggles of women in different contexts. It should also acknowledge that there are huge gaps of privileges between women in the West and in the East. It shouldn’t ignore the long-lasting impacts of colonization on women from colonized countries. It should understand that an inclusive movement would never be successful without acknowledging the main colonial, imperial and capitalist elements, differently shaping women experiences. There is hope but we have always to keep on calling for a diverse, inclusive, de-colonial and intersectional feminist movement.”
Itay Tiran, a top Israeli actor who is leaving for Germany, gives an interview to Haaretz where he endorses BDS and says that Zionism equals racism. He sounds free as a bird, and the interview is liberating for others.
The New York Times says that Jeremy Corbyn brought the “anti-Semitism crisis” on himself by fixating on Israel and says not a word about Palestinian human rights, thereby demonstrating a law of western politics: The instant Palestinians start getting support from someone who might have real power, the anti-Semite accusation is wheeled out, everyone remembers Who The Real Victims Are, and Palestinians are shoved under the bus.
Nada Elia writes that American academics heading to Israel for a conference in cooperation with the Israeli government give cover for Israeli human rights abuses: “The conference highlights the complicity of Israeli universities in the oppression of Palestinians, as well as Israel’s propagation of racism and law enforcement violence globally. And U.S. academics are lending their presence and their voices to this charade.”
The UK Jewish establishment war on Jeremy Corbyn continues with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks likening him to British pol Enoch Powell, infamous for a bigoted speech. British Jewry is weakening its battle against real anti-Semitism, and weakening its connection to minority communities that face harsh discrimination.
Netanyahu’s speech on the strong surviving and weak crumbling echoes Hitler in 1923, but pointing out the resonance of Israel and Nazi Germany meets the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, Norman Finkelstein notes. And whose fault is that?
Next week the UK Labour Party’s governing body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), will be voting on whether to adopt examples of antisemitism put forth by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in its definition of antisemitism. Pete Gregson wrote to all 26 NEC candidates to seek their views on the vote. Of the 12 responses that came back, 5 were for adopting the full IHRA definition and examples, 6 were for no change, and 1 was unsure. Of those in favor, he posed the question “If it’s passed and I said Israel is a racist state, would I get expelled?”
Trump’s ‘Century Deal’ and Israel’s new Jewish-state law combine to end Palestinian state and to restore the claim, “A land without a people for a people without a land,” says Palestinian member of Knesset Aida Touma-Sliman, on a visit to NY in which she discussed international resistance to an illegal act.
Last week an unprecedented intervention occurred into the debate in the UK over the definition of antisemitism. Over 80 community, professional and rights-based organisations representing black, minority ethnic and diaspora peoples decried what they say is the framing of antisemitism in a way to ‘silence’ Palestinians, and other migrant groups, from speaking about their history.
In a piece in the New York Review of Books on the Labour anti-semitism controversy, Matt Seaton lumps anti-Zionism with anti-Jewish bigotry. The unspoken assumption of the article is that Palestinians have no right to be anti-Zionist and that anti-Zionism is a form of vitriolic zealotry and can never be a principled human rights position.
John Gunther Dean, now 92, and a former American ambassador to five countries, has long maintained that Israel was behind his attempted assassination outside Beirut in 1980, which was attributed to a rightwing Lebanese group. A new book by an Israeli investigative journalist says that group was set up by Israeli security officials to sow chaos in Lebanon.
Palestinian artist and college student from Gaza, Malak Mattar, was denied a visa to the UK and France where her paintings are on display. The artists said on social media that the UK rejection letter indicated that it did not believe she was a real college student.
There are few places in Israel where its apartheid character is more conspicuous than the imposing international airport just outside Tel Aviv, named after the country’s founding father, David Ben Gurion. Jonathan Cook writes that Peter Beinart’s interrogation at Ben Gurion airport was just the opening salvo in the Israeli right’s war against Jewish dissent: “It is a slope liberal Jews will find gets ever more slippery.”
The current hysteria engulfing the British Labour Party is based on the premises that anti-Semitism in British society at large and the Labour Party in particular has reached crisis proportions. There is no evidence for either claim, Norman Finkelstein shows.
Anyone deluded enough to believe that Israel truly wants democracy to spread in the Middle East must read David D. Kirkpatrick’s outstanding first-hand account of the 2011 uprising in Egypt and its ugly aftermath, “Hands of Soldiers: Freedom and Chaos in Egypt and the Middle East.”
The Right to Happiness? Sorry, it ain’t Zionist. Yossi Gurvitz explores the tangled web of marriage laws in Israel, who can get married, and who can’t.
Dareen Tatour will spend the next five months in an Israeli prison after being convicted of incitement over posting a poem online. Her close friend, Israeli artist Danielle Alma Ravitzki, writes about the “worst day of her life,” the ride to the prison last Wednesday where she dropped off Dareen.
We seem to be hearing a lot these days about an “antisemitism problem” on the Left – and accusations of “antisemitism” are almost sure to arise whenever Israel is criticized. Peter Cohen writes that what we really should be concerned about is racism in all of its forms – including, but by no means limited to – anti-Jewish racism. “Keeping our focus on racism rather than only antisemitism also makes it easier to see the shocking prevalence of racism in the discourse of Zionists themselves,” Cohen says.
On Democracy Now! released Palestinian prisoner Ahed Tamimi says the occupation and checkpoints and conflict are a product of Zionism, which is not Judaism. ‘Liberal-Zionists’ are going to have a hard time with this one. They have been insisting that the 1967 occupation can be reversed without addressing Zionism. In fact, they believe that reversing it is essential to maintaining the Zionist Jewish State.
Manchester Jewish Action for Palestine writes, “We call on everyone to see that creating a largely-mythical anti-Semitism ‘crisis’ in the Labour Party is one of the few tools left to ailing and desperate establishment hacks wanting to smear Corbyn and maintain UK support for Israel, no matter how many Palestinians the Israeli army slaughters, or how many houses, schools, and hospitals Israeli jets destroy in Gaza. In the face of this, Zionist groups with a history of uncritical support for Israel claim that Corbyn presents an existential threat to British Jews? This is obscene, hypocritical scaremongering.”
Mohammed Alatar’s new documentary about the separation wall built on Palestinian land, titled, “BROKEN,” shows that international law is the only way forward for Israelis and Palestinians seeking to end the conflict, Sam Bahour writes.
Israel’s ties to the far right in Europe can be traced back to the Zionist founders.