Saturday, February 18, 2006

From the Jewish Chronicle

Strong nerves needed

16 February 2006

By Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks illuminates the ideals that lie behind prayer — one of the three pillars of the High Holy-days, along with charity and repentance

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks argues that British Jewry must remain calm in the face of recent, highly disturbing events, and continue to engage with the wider community

The strength of a people is tested in troubled times. These are troubled times. Events have succeeded one another at breakneck pace: the Iranian threat to wipe Israel off the map; the election by the Palestinians of Hamas, a group committed to the destruction of Israel; the violence following the publication of the Danish cartoons; and the Abu Hamza trial.

Locally there was the vote of the synod of the Church of England to heed a call to divest from companies associated with Israel; the Populus poll of British Muslims; and Guardian articles accusing Israel of being an apartheid state. These are of altogether lesser consequence, but they have added to our sense of vulnerability. How should we respond?

First let us acknowledge our an-ger and pain. Israel has taken great risks for peace, yet it seems at every stage to be rewarded with further hostility. The Jewish community in Britain has contributed immensely to national life, yet after 350 years we still feel at risk. Nor are our fears ungrounded. We have long and bitter memories. We recognise danger when we see it.

To feel anger and pain is natural. To act on it, though, is another matter entirely. It is what our enemies anticipated. Often, it is what they intended. Action in the heat of emotion can be rash and ill-judged. It can make things worse. It can lead people to focus on the moment instead of thinking long-term. Especially if a group is small, it must choose its battlegrounds carefully. Wherever possible, it should not fight alone.

It must win friends, and make its case from the highest of moral grounds. That is not weakness but wisdom. Be deliberate in judgement, said the sages. They might have added: especially when the stakes are high.

We carry with us decisive grounds for courage. The Jewish people has survived longer than any other religion or civilisation the West has known. It was threatened by the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, ancient Greece and Rome, the medieval empires of Christianity and Islam, and in the 20th century by the Third Reich and the Soviet Union. Each once bestrode the narrow world like a colossus, but all were eventually consigned to the pages of history. The Jewish people — seemingly small, weak, powerless — still lives. These encounters were not without their human cost, sometimes immense. But after each, the Jewish people rebuilt itself, never more
so than after the Holocaust. If the strength of the people is tested in troubled times, ours is a people of awe-inspiring strength.

We must now work together as a community, developing strategies, pooling our wisdom, cultivating our allies, sharing our strengths. Several meetings to this end have already taken place in recent days, and the work will continue in the coming months. We must respond with dignity and calm, thinking long-term, avoiding predictable reactions, never stooping to the level of our opponents. In tense times, the advantage goes to the group with the strongest nerves. After all that has befallen our people, we have strong nerves.

The most important fact about the present situation is that on the big issues, neither Israel nor the Jewish people stand alone. An Iran with nuclear capability is a threat not only to Israel but to the world. Condoleezza Rice and Tony Blair have seen this clearly. So too have Jacques Chirac and Angela Merkel. Chirac’s statement on January 19 that France was prepared to launch a nuclear strike against any country sponsoring a terrorist attack against French interests, and Angela Merkel’s
comparison of Ahmadinejad to Hitler, were immensely significant signals. These
politicians know that the diatribes against Israel are a thinly disguised attack on
the West and its freedoms.

As for the election of Hamas, this became inevitable because of the corruption of the previous regime. Every Palestinian knew this. The point, though, is that so did leading European politicians, who none the less continued to fund the Arafat administration. The politics of “sup with the devil so long as it’s the devil you know” works in the short term but never in the long. America discovered this after funding the mujahideen radicals — Osama Bin-Laden’s early associates — in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Europe must not make this mistake again.

The violence following the Danish cartoons exceeded all bounds. Rightly, key
representatives of the British Muslim community have dissociated themselves from it. The cartoons should not have been published. But if free speech has limits for the Danish press, it has limits for those who protest against the Danish press. As John Locke, the architect of tolerance, said more than three centuries ago: “It is unreasonable that any should have a free liberty of their religion who do not acknowledge it as a principle of theirs that nobody ought to persecute or molest another because he dissents from him in religion.”

On all these issues we take our stand with those prepared to fight for tolerance, non-violent conflict resolution, moderation, mutual respect, self-restraint and the civilities of a free society. This is not a Jewish struggle but a human one, and we will work with people of goodwill, whatever their faith or lack of it.

The vote of the synod of the Church of England to “heed” a call to divestment from certain companies associated with Israel was ill-judged even on its own terms. The immediate result will be to reduce the Church’s ability to act as a force for peace between Israel and the Palestinians for as long as the decision remains in force. The essence of mediation is the willingness to listen to both sides.

The timing could not have been more inappropriate. Israel has risked civil war to carry out the Gaza withdrawal, the first time in the history of the Middle East that a nation has evacuated territory gained in a defensive war without a single concession, even the most nominal, on the other side.

Israel faces two enemies, Iran and Hamas, open in their threat to eliminate it. It needs support, not vilification.

For years I have called on religious groups in Britain to send a message of friendship and coexistence to conflict zones throughout the world, instead of importing those conflicts into Britain itself. The effect of the synod vote will be the opposite. The Church has chosen to take a stand on the politics of the Middle East, over which it has no influence, knowing that it will have the most adverse repercussions on a situation over which it has enormous influence, namely Jewish-Christian relations in Britain.

That is why we cannot let the matter rest. If there was one candle of hope above all others after the Holocaust it was that Jews and Christians at last learned to speak to one another after some 17 centuries of hostility that led to exiles, expulsions, ghettoes, forced conversions, staged disputations, libels, inquisitions, burnings at the stake, massacres and pogroms. We must not let that candle be extinguished.

The Church could have chosen, instead of penalizing Israel, to invest in the
Palestinian economy. That would have helped the Palestinians. It would have had the support of most Israelis and most Jews. Indeed it is an Australian-born Jew, James Wolfensohn, former head of the World Bank, who is supervising the reconstruction of the Palestinian economy on behalf of the Group of Four, and who personally raised the funds to buy for the Palestinians the Israeli agricultural facilities in Gaza. The Church’s gesture will hurt Israelis and Jews without helping the Palestinians.

As a community, we must engage more actively in the promotion of good community relations, especially at the local level. We must teach ourselves and others the full history of our people’s 4,000-year bond with the land of Israel; how we were ousted by empire after empire but always returned; how Israel in the days of the prophets and today tirelessly sought peace, only to be rewarded with war. We must cultivate the friendship of people of generosity of spirit in all faiths. We must work with journalists who know that truth is never partisan. We must seek the support of politicians who speak to the highest, not the lowest, instincts of the public. We have enemies, but we have many friends.

Above all, we must take our stand on the value system Abraham and Judaism conferred on the world. The crisis humanity faces in the 21st century is not just political or economic, military or diplomatic. It is moral and spiritual.

Can we be true to our faith while being a blessing to others regardless of their faith? Can we heed the call of God to mend not destroy?

Aggression is the child of fear, and the only lasting antidote is the faith that
says, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no
evil, for You are with me.”

We will never cease to love Israel, pray for peace, and work for the benefit of humanity. Our nerves must stay strong, our judgment calm and our language cool. And we will win. For if Jewish history has a message to the world, it is that there is something in the human spirit that cannot be defeated — something that gave and still gives our tiny, afflicted, tempest-tossed people the strength to outlive all its enemies while enlarging the moral imagination of mankind.
LEADER From the Jewish Chronicle.

Interfaith ties at risk
The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, is known for his moderation and distaste for public bickering. Indeed, his supporters often chide him for failing to speak his mind. So for the Chief Rabbi to call a Church of England synod decision ill-judged, and to warn, in an article written especially for this newspaper, that the synod’s vote to heed a call to divestment from certain companies associated with Israel will have “the most adverse repercussions” on Jewish-Christian relations in Britain,
constitutes, in his vocabulary, a severe tongue-lashing.

The Church of England, and in particular, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who voted in favour of the divestment call, deserve no less. In an extraordinarily convoluted letter to the Chief Rabbi, the Archbishop wrote that it was “especially unfortunate” that the synod motion was voted on at a time when antisemitism “is a growing menace and when the state of Israel faces some very particular challenges” both in terms of Hamas’s election victory and the worrying developments in Iran. This obviously begs the question as to why then the Archbishop still felt it necessary to lend his support to a motion that could only cause hurt to the British Jewish community.

The Chief Rabbi is correct in saying that in the post-Holocaust world, one ray of light has been the improvement in Christian-Jewish relations. But these closer ties should not be taken for granted, either by Jews or Christians. The organised leadership of the British Jewish community needs to make sure that the Jewish community’s friends in the Christian world, and we do have friends there, are aware of this hurt. It will then be up to the Church to find a positive way to make amends for the regrettable and damaging synod decision. If it does not, the Jewish community should then begin to re-assess its ties with the Anglican world.
Chief Rabbi lambasts Church over Israel policy

16 February 2006

By Simon Rocker

Sir Jonathan Sacks has delivered a stinging rebuke to the Church of England over its Israel policy, accusing it of pursuing a course it knew would damage Christian-Jewish relations.

Despite diplomatic moves by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams to play down last week’s vote on divestment at the Church’s synod, the Chief Rabbi went on the attack in an article in today’s JC.

Condemning the synod action as “ill-judged,” he said its timing could not have been more inappropriate.

Israel had risked civil war to make unilateral territorial concessions in Gaza and was facing threats from two enemies, Iran and Hamas, openly vowing to eliminate it. “It needs support, not vilification,” he wrote.

Sir Jonathan continued: “For years, I have called on religious groups in Britain to send a message of friendship and co-existence to conflict zones throughout the world, instead of importing those conflicts into Britain itself.

“The effect of the synod vote will be the opposite. The Church has chosen to take a stand on the politics of the Middle East, over which it has no influence, knowing that it will have the most adverse repercussions on a situation over which it has enormous influence, namely Jewish-Christian relations in Britain.”

The policy, he wrote, would immediately “reduce the Church’s ability to act as a force for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Dr Williams voted for last week’s resolution, which re-opened the issue of whether the Church should withdraw its £2.5million investment in Caterpillar amid complaints that the company’s bulldozers are used by Israel to demolish Palestinian homes. The Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) last year decided against divestment.

In an effort to limit the damage, Dr Williams wrote to Sir Jonathan last Friday, conveying “deep regret” at the distress caused by the resolution. Stressing that no decision had been taken to divest, he explained that to register concern about the demolition of Palestinian homes was “emphatically not to commend a boycott, or to question the legitimacy of the state of Israel and its rights to self-defence.”

Nor did the resolution “endorse any kind of violence or terror against Israel and its people, or compromise our commitment to oppose any form of antisemitism at home or abroad,” he added.

Replying to Dr Williams by letter on Monday, the Chief Rabbi gave no hint of the strength of feeling expressed in today’s article, but suggested that the Archbishop’s “clarification” would aid understanding between Jews and Christians.

Sources at the EIAG, which next meets in May, have indicated it is unlikely to recommend pulling out of Caterpillar unless new facts emerge.

But Jewish leaders began planning a collective response to the Synod move at a meeting on Tuesday called by Sir Jonathan and attended by representatives of Reform, Liberal, Masorti, the Spanish and Portuguese, the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council. The Board has agreed to carry out an investigation into attitudes within the Church of England.

Reform movement head Rabbi Tony Bayfield, a co-president of the Council of Christian and Jews, commented: “There is a clear problem of anti-Zionist, verging on anti-Semitic, attitudes emerging in the grassroots, and even in the middle-ranks of the Church.”

The sharpest reaction came from Federation of Synagogues president Alan Finlay, who called on the Chief Rabbi to withdraw from interfaith dialogue with the Church until it issued a public apology and dismissed previous attempts to lobby it as “arrant nonsense.”

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, who blasted the Synod vote last week, this week compared it to the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. Both were “essentially swipes at another faith which only deepen conflict an open fresh wounds,” he told a Three Faiths Forum meeting.

Meanwhile, former Labour Friends of Israel Lord Hogg has publicly urged the Church of England not to vote for divestment later this year, which “is not only morally and practically wrong, but…will do nothing but hurt our Jewish brothers and sisters.”

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Arabs Will Hate "Munich"
By: Ray Hanania

Leaving aside the fact that Mr. Hanania has not seen the movie in question, his tirade against the Arab world is a most interesting indicator of how Zionist HASBARAH has infected so many corners of the media world we now live in.

I will accept Hanania's characterization of the Arab world as lacking in the freedom of speech that we have in the West.

The question is: Will Hanania accept that there is a similar lack of freedom inside the Jewish community and its various media satellites?

In addition, while it is quite easy to pick on the Arabs for their dictators and their religious extremists, it is quite difficult to actually identify and articulate the idea that the Jews as a whole, have organized themselves into a bloc that speaks in one voice and attempts to block any attempt to create a pluralistic discourse.

The "Munich" episode is just such an example of this phenomenon. There have been many attacks on Spielberg's film prior to its release. I have received e-mails promoting boycotts of the film. This is quite interesting because those involved in writing and directing the film are all Jews. But the Right Wing Jews calling for the boycott are deeply concerned to enforce a certain regulated discourse on the matter of Israel. According to this model of discourse, anyone who removes themselves from the Right Wing Zionist consensus opens themselves up to smears and hate of unimaginable viciousness no matter their own Zionism or fidelity to Jewish causes.

Hanania does well to point out that Arabs can be as hypocritical as any other ethnic group, but he does not balance his argument out with what goes on in the Jewish community.

I am quite aware that it is hard to say that the Jews control the media; perhaps it is better to say that a certain part of the Jewish community has been able to control all discourse about Jews and Israel and to make sure that dissenting voices are either not heard or not given legitimacy. I believe that this would be a judicious way of putting it.

And for those Sephardim who continue to march in lockstep with the Ashkenazim and just as consistently continue to cry and whine about their disenfranchisement as Sephardim, they only have themselves to blame. The priorities and values of the Sephardic community not only have very little in common with the tyrannical Ashkenazim, but they are often completely in conflict with those of this Ashkenazi majority of Jews who more often than not act in a demeaning and paternalistic manner towards us.

Steven Spielberg has made a film that will serve to reflect the values of Ashkenazim on the Left and the battle waged with the Ashkenazim on the Right only reinforces the dysfunctional way in which the intolerance of this community plays itself out.

That Hanania seeks to valorize these misplaced and often damaging values is something that is quite inexplicable to me.

Let’s set aside the criticism from Israelis and Jews that the film isn’t tough enough on the Arabs or Palestinian terrorism, or that the film focuses on Israeli assassins and portrays them as being vengeful and cruel. Rather, let’s focus on the Arab reaction.

Even if Israelis hate the film, Arabs will hate it more. Because even if the Israelis look bad in Munich, the Arabs will probably look even worse. Arabs will blast the film and claim, as they always do, that “the Jews control the media and Hollywood, too.”

As a journalist, the term “media” includes anything that has to do with communications. That includes the news media, Hollywood movies, the New York book publishing industry, television sitcoms and most entertainment.

To most Arabs, Spielberg’s film is just another part of the vast "Jewish media conspiracy." They believe that the "Jewish media conspiracy" theory best explains why so many in the Western World sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians.
So, what’s stopping Arabs from making their own movies? Why don’t the Arabs control the news media?

Are not those more important questions to ask? Can’t the Arabs come up with a great movie that will move audiences to tears and support for our causes, than to simply respond by always blaming “the Jews”?

All I ever hear is that “the Jews control the media.”

Arab World doesn’t believe in free speech

That upsets me, not because I believe it is true. It is not true. It may be true that there are many more Jews in American journalism than there are Arabs. But, who’s stopping the Arabs from becoming journalists?

What upsets me most is that if the Jews control the media, then that means the Arabs either think the media is not worth controlling, or, more likely, we don’t know how to control the media.

Does it therefore mean that Jews are smarter than Arabs? Does it therefore mean Jews are more talented than Arabs?

It certainly means that while the Arabs don’t control the media, they love to complain about it.

Is it that we Arabs are so poor that we can’t afford to buy or launch our own newspapers, television stations or produce our own compelling Hollywood films? Part of the problem is the Arab World itself. Arabs come from societies that are not free in a real sense. Yes, we are “freer” than we used to be, but we are far from really being “free.”

The Arab World doesn’t believe in free speech because if they did, Arab filmmakers would not only be making movies bashing Israel and promoting Arab and Palestinian causes, but they would also be bashing the tyrants who dominate our world. They would also be exposing the lies that drive the corruption of government and the sins of our society, such as Honor Killings and the restrictions we impose on women.

Arabs losing the war of words

Spielberg’s film isn’t the first film to project an Israeli tragedy on the Western World. Israelis and Jews have eloquently told their story dozens of times or more in compelling narrative that captures the hearts and minds of audiences around the world -- every subject from the Holocaust to hijackings, the killing of Israelis and Jews to the creation of Israel.

One of the most popular is the Hollywood movie "Exodus." The movie Exodus is fiction, yet it probably has defined for most Americans the fundamentals of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The film is based on the fiction novel by prize-winning author Leon Uris. Uris was commissioned by a publicist hired by supporters of the state of Israel.
Fiction is a powerful medium. So why haven’t Arabs used it?

No. Arabs prefer “the truth” to “fiction.” We prefer to write boring, academic books that are as thick as encyclopedias and stuffed with “facts” and “statistics” and prose drowned in footnotes and smothered with dry analysis.

Let’s face it. Edward Said was probably the Palestinians' most brilliant author. Yet, the truth is, his books were only read by a relatively small circle of academics, students, Middle East activists and advocates. Meanwhile, the majority of Americans NEVER HEARD OF HIM. They never read any of his books.

What is the point of writing a historically accurate book that no one will read. People don’t want to read the boring truth. They want to be swooned by compelling literature that captures their hearts, their minds and has a soul.

The Arab World has essentially surrendered the news and Hollywood media without a fight. The sole exception is al-Jazeera which has failed to achieve its goals because it continues to broadcast in Arabic to the “Arab choir.” The West is so poisoned against al-Jazeera that if they ever do launch a professional English-language news broadcast – a big if – it might be too late.

Arabs are losing the war of words, and their only response is to slander Jews.
In the West, particularly in America, perception is often reality. The pen is mightier than the sword.

Until Arabs recognize those important points, we all might as well just calm down, sit back and enjoy the popcorn. Although the film may promote Israel’s historical narrative, it will be far more compelling than anything the Arab World can produce.
From Ynet News, December 28, 2005

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I've posted this article here because I commented on it at Jews sans frontieres. The comments at the end of the article from Engage activists and their friends are particularly instructive in terms of Engage's techniques and standards of debate. The comments were on Nick Cohen's blog but he stopped all commenting and deleted all of the comments from there. I managed to save 168 but there were at least 180. I asked Nick Cohen to send me the other 12 or more but he hasn't replied.

Apologises for the poor layout. It was an html translation thing. Anyone wanting the original file of the screen grab from Nick Cohen's website is welcome to email me.


New Statesman Essay, 10th October 2005

If you challenge liberal orthodoxy, your argument cannot be debated on its merits. You have to be in the pay of global media moguls. You have to be a Jew.

On the Saturday of the great anti-war demonstration of 2003, I watched one million people march through London, then sat down to write for the Observer. I pointed out that the march organisers represented a merger of far left and far right: Islamic fundamentalists shoulder to shoulder with George Galloway, the Socialist Workers Party and every other creepy admirer of totalitarianism this side of North Korea. Be careful, I said. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq has spewed out predatory armies and corpses for decades. If you’re going to advocate a policy that would keep a fascist dictator in power, you should at least talk to his victims, whose number included socialists, communists and liberals - good people, rather like you.

Next day I looked at my e-mails. There were rather a lot of them. The first was a fan letter from Ann Leslie, the Daily Mail’s chief foreign correspondent, who had seen the barbarism of Ba’athism close up. Her cheery note ended with a warning: “You’re not going to believe the anti-Semitism that is about to hit you.” “Don’t be silly, Ann,” I replied. “There’s no racism on the left.” I worked my way through the rest of the e-mails. I couldn’t believe the anti-Semitism that hit me.

I learned it was one thing being called “Cohen” if you went along with liberal orthodoxy, quite another when you pointed out liberal betrayals. Your argument could not be debated on its merits. There had to be a malign motive. You had to support Ariel Sharon. You had to be in the pay of “international” media moguls or neoconservatives. You had to have bad blood. You had to be a Jew.

My first reaction was so ignoble I blush when I think of it. I typed out a reply that read, “but there hasn’t been a Jewish member of my family for 100 years”. I sounded like a German begging a Gestapo officer to see the mistake in the paperwork. Mercifully, I hit the “delete” button before sending.

Rather than pander to racism, I directed my correspondents to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a member of the Socialist International which had decided after being on the receiving end of one too many extermination drives that foreign invasion was the only way. No good. I tried sending them to the Iraqi Communist Party, which opposed the invasion but understood the possibilities for liberation beyond the fine minds of the western intelligentsia. No good, either.

As the months passed, and Iraqis were caught between a criminally incompetent occupation and an “insurgency” so far to the right it was off the graph, I had it all. A leading figure on the left asked me to put him in touch with members of the new government. “I knew it! I knew it!” he cried when we next met. “They want to recognise Israel.”

I experienced what many blacks and Asians had told me: you can never tell. Where people stand on the political spectrum says nothing about their visceral beliefs. I found the far left wasn’t confined to the chilling Socialist Workers Party but contained many scrupulous people it was a pleasure to meet and an education to debate. Meanwhile, the centre was nowhere near as moderate as it liked to think. One minute I would be talking to a BBC reporter or liberal academic and think him a civilised man; the next, he would be screaming about the Jews.

Politicians I’d admired astonished me: Tam Dalyell explained British foreign policy as a Jewish conspiracy; Ken Livingstone embraced a Muslim cleric who favoured the blowing up of Israeli women and children, along with wife-beating and the murder of homosexuals and apostates.

I could go on. The moment when bewilderment settled into a steady scorn, however, was when the Guardian ran a web debate entitled: “David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen are enough to make a good man anti-Semitic”. Gorgeously, one vigilant reader complained that the title was prejudiced - the debate should be headlined: “David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen are enough to make a good man, or woman, anti-Semitic.”

Mustn’t forget our manners now, must we?

I resolved then to complete two tasks: to apologise to Ms Leslie, which was a matter of minutes; and to work out if there was now a left-wing anti-Semitism, which took a little longer.

As I’d had little contact with Jewish religion or culture, I’d rarely given anti-Semitism a thought. I suppose I’d assumed it had burned out in the furnaces of Auschwitz. When the subject came up, I dutifully repeated the liberal mantra that “not all anti-Zionists are anti-Semites” and forgot the corollary “but all anti-Semites are anti-Zionists”.

You have to clear away a heap of rubbish before you can distinguish between the two. At first glance, there’s a good case for saying that the liberal left is Jew-obsessed. Israel receives more criticism than far worse societies, most notably Sudan, Syria and pre-war Iraq. You can call the double standard anti-Semitism if you want, but I’m not sure it gets you anywhere. It is simply the ineluctable workings of what is known in the human rights trade as “selection bias”. Israel is a democracy with an independent judiciary and free press. Inevitably, it is easier in an open country to report abuses of power than cover, say, the deaths of millions and enslavement of whole black tribes in Islamist Sudan. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, came up with “Moynihan’s Law” to encapsulate the process. It holds that the number of complaints about a nation’s violation of human rights is in inverse proportion to its actual violation of human rights.

He wasn’t absolutely right, and the law certainly doesn’t work in Israel’s case, but you get the point. As long as people know biases exist, no harm is done. In any case, it’s not a competition, and it’s no defence of Israel to say it’s better to be Palestinian than Sudanese. Human rights are universal.

The issue is whether the liberal left is as keen on universal principles as it pretends. An impeccably left-wing group of Jewish academics, who are against the war in Iraq and occupation of the West Bank, gathered recently at [ as they could see parts of the left retreating into special pleading. Their union, the Association of University Teachers, had proposed that academics abandon the freedom to exchange ideas, on which intellectual life depends, by boycotting Israeli universities. Asked why the boycott applied only to Israel and not nations with far greater crimes to their names, the AUT had no reply.]

Racism is often subtle in England. David Hirsh, an Engage supporter, caught it well when he wrote that “the act of singling out Israel as the only illegitimate state - in the absence of any coherent reason for doing so - is in itself anti-Semitic, irrespective of the motivation or opinions of those who make that claim”.

I’d agree, if it weren’t for a brutal counter-argument that few have the guts to make. Get real, it runs. Universal values are for the birds. The left had a respectable record of exposing the dark corners of the right in South Africa, the Deep South, Pinochet’s Chile, Franco’s Spain and the Colonels’ Greece. Only the bravest had much to say about the Soviet Union, China or Cuba. On the whole, those monstrosities were opposed by the right. Looking back, you can see that good came out of the activism of both sets of critics. Equally, good will come from our obsession with Israel. The Palestinians need help and you shouldn’t ask too many questions about the helpers.

All of which sounds reasonable, until you ask a question that I’ve delayed asking for too long: what is anti-Semitism?

In its 19th- and 20th-century form, it was a conspiratorial explanation of power from the radical right. In this it differed from standard racism, which is generally resentment of powerless outsiders who look odd, lower wages and take jobs. The template was set by the reaction against the American and French revolutions. How could Americans proclaim such insane ideas as the rights of man, the counter-revolutionaries asked. How could the French overthrow the king who loved them and Holy Mother Church which succoured them? They couldn’t admit that the Americans and the French wanted to do what they had done. Their consent had to have been manufactured by the new rulers of the world. Originally these were the Freemasons, who were damned for peddling enlightened ideas. Only after Jewish emancipation opened the ghettos were the Jews press-ganged into the plot. They represented everything that was hateful about modernity: equal rights, religious toleration and the destruction of tradition.

I don’t like the term “Islamo-fascism” - fascist movements are national movements, not religions. Still, no one can fail to have noticed that in one indisputable respect the west is the “root cause” of Islamist terror: militant Muslims have bought the ideology of the European counter-revolution wholesale.

The appeal is understandable. There is a chosen people: the Germans, the Italians or the Spanish in classic fascism; Sunni Muslims in totalitarian variants of Islam. Domination is theirs by right, but they are denied their inheritance by a conspiracy of infidels, be they westernisers, Jews, sell-out leaders or the corrupters of women and youth.

You can read for yourselves the histories of the links between Nazism and the Arab world in the 1940s, but to bring you up to date, here is what Article 22 of Hamas’s covenant says of the Jews: “They were behind the French revolution, the communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests.”

That’s right, Rotary Clubs.

Please don’t tell me that it helps the Palestinians to give the far right the time of day, or pretend that Palestinian liberals, socialists, women, gays, freethinkers and Christians (let alone Israeli Jews) would prosper in a Palestine ruled by Hamas. It’s not radical, it’s barely political, to turn a blind eye and say you are for the Palestinian cause. Political seriousness lies in stating which Palestine you are for and which Palestinians you support. The Palestinian fight is at once an anti-colonial struggle and a clash between modernity and reaction. The confusion of our times comes from the failure to grasp that it is possible to have an anti-colonialism of the far right.

While we’re at it, don’t excuse Hamas and Islamic Jihad and all the rest by saying the foundation of Israel and the defeat of all the Arab attempts to destroy it made them that way. Anti-Semitism isn’t a local side effect of a dirty war over a patch of land smaller than Wales. It’s everywhere from Malaysia to Morocco, and it has arrived here. When the BBC showed a Panorama documentary about the ideological roots of the Muslim Council of Britain in the Pakistani religious right, the first reaction of the Council was to accuse it of following an “Israeli agenda”. The other day the Telegraph reported that Ahmad Thomson, a Muslim lawyer who advises the Prime Minister on community relations of all things, had declared that a “sinister” group of Jews and Freemasons was behind the invasion of Iraq.

To explain away a global phenomenon as a rational reaction to Israeli oppression, you have once again to turn the Jew into a supernatural figure whose existence is the cause of discontents throughout the earth. You have to revive anti-Semitism.

The alternative is to do what the left used to do. If you look at the list of late-20th-century leftist causes I have mentioned, you will see that the left, for all its faults and crimes, was against fascism. It used to know that the powerful used racism to distract the powerless, as they do to this day in Egypt, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, where the deployment of Jew hatred is positively tsarist. Although I know it’s hard to credit, the left also used to know that the opponents of fascism, including the opponents of Saddam, had to be supported.

But the liberal left has been corrupted by defeat and doesn’t know much about anything these days. Marxist-Leninism is so deep in the dustbin of history, it is composting, while social democracy is everywhere on the defensive. Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Christian fundamentalism are beating it in the struggle for working-class and peasant minds. An invigorated capitalism is threatening its European strongholds. There’s an awful realisation that Tony Blair and Bill Clinton may be as good as it gets. The temptation in times of defeat is to believe in everything rather than nothing; to go along with whichever cause sounds radical, even if the radicalism on offer is the radicalism of the far right.

In 1878, George Eliot wrote that it was “difficult to find a form of bad reasoning about [Jews] which had not been heard in conversation or been admitted to the dignity of print”. So it is again today. Outside the movies of Mel Gibson, Jews aren’t Christ killers any longer, but they can’t relax, because now they are Nazis, blood-soaked imperialists, the secret movers of neoconservatism, the root cause of every atrocity from 9/11 to 7/7.

It’s not that the left as a whole is anti-Semitic, although there are racists who need confronting. Rather, it has been maddened by the direction history has taken. Deracinated and demoralised, its partisans aren’t thinking hard enough about where they came from or - and more pertinently - where they are going.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 7th, 2005 at 11:33 pm and is filed under All print, New Statesman. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
168 Responses to “Anti-semitism”

1. Dodgeblogium : Cohen on Judenhass left Says:
October 10th, 2005 at 2:16 pm

[…] published in the New Statesman. Found via Damian via Pollard. Posted by Andrew Ian Dodge at 01:16 pm | Category:Anti-Semiticism/Jewery […]
2. Moonbat Central » Blog Archive » The Anti-Semitism of the Left Says:
October 10th, 2005 at 3:52 pm

[…] In the socialist New Statesman, Nick Cohen has some revealing reminiscences about covering the left’s anti-Semitism over the past few years. […]
3. Paul Sorene Says:
October 10th, 2005 at 6:11 pm

I watched the white and badly-dressed anti-war marchers trundle past my home in Farringdon and wondered how they allied their beliefs with the Muslim Council of Britain, whose banners were everywhere. And I realised that what unites them was their anti-Semitism.
4. jerryofva Says:
October 10th, 2005 at 9:53 pm


You make the fundemental error of all those on the left. You say the left has always opposed Fascism. Wrong! The left just subscribes to a different form of Fascism. What we call left and right is a Stalinist response to the rise of Hitler, not Mussolini. Lenin always considered Mussolini a leftist. Furthermore, it turns out the Mussolini, not Lenin, had the proper perspective on a Fascism that could work.

From an American’s perspective the left has always opposed standing up to Fascism. During WWII they didn’t fight against Hitler as much fight for Stalin.
5. Myopic Thoughts Says:
October 11th, 2005 at 4:22 am

The Enduring Hatred

Anti-Semitism is an equal opportunity hatred. Whatever your ideology; whichever side of the political spectrum you find yourself, you always have the Jews as an all-purpose scapegoat.

Nick Cohen (figures, but Nick?) looks at the anti-Semitism of t…
6. Jim Rockford Says:
October 11th, 2005 at 5:16 am

Nick — I disagree that the Left is not anti-Semitic. I think it is. From Cindy Sheehan to Howard Dean to Daily Kos (just go there and lurk around) the stuff said to my mind is VERY anti-semitic.

The Left’s claim was universalist; arguably it failed when it failed to condemn Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, and other brutal killers on the Left. It has also failed to confront anti-Semitism and has indeed encouraged it.

Look at David Cornwell, aka Le Carre. He believes that a secret cabal of Jews controls the US and keeps the Arab world in chains for “Jewish benefit.”

Anti-Semitism among the Left is as deep, widespread, and noxiously embedded as it was throughout Weimar Germany. We just have to accept this as it is, and shine the light of public scrutiny on it.
7. Rod Davies Says:
October 11th, 2005 at 1:59 pm

Dear Nick
I always had the impression that many of the “right-on” left wing were nothing more than the spoilt brats of the right wing middle classes. Angry with their parents they adopted the victims of the societies their parents represented. These children of the influential loved Jews as victims, and so long as they remained victims reliant upon the benificent indulgence of the left wing everything was fine. When Jews took matters into their own hands and acted independently and assertively, these children of the powerful simply let the petty anti-semitism of their childhoods seep through their left-wing garb. They recognised immediately the inherent conflict and so sought out tautology to convince themselves and others that what they were doing was OK.
I am probably wrong, but that’s how it seemed to me over the years.
Keep up the articles, your opinions are valuable!
R Davies
8. David Says:
October 12th, 2005 at 1:59 am

Brilliant that you’ve got your own site up and running! Looking forward to reading more–keep it up!!

9. Helen Freidman Says:
October 12th, 2005 at 2:00 am how wonderful! Now I don’t need to borrow my friend’s subscription to the new statesman online!!
10. Rich Says:
October 12th, 2005 at 2:01 am

what, nick? No blog on your site? Come on, we need voices like yours! Such a stinging critique of everything which is wrong with the left today: please keep saying these important things.
11. Jim Says:
October 12th, 2005 at 9:21 pm

Mr. Cohen,
I believe you probably are a man of the Left, though an honest and sincere one. I hope you are getting an education as to the true vile and evil nature of most Western leftists. It’s true that rightists would support a Franco if the alternative were Stalin or a Pinochet if the alternative were Fidel Castro. However, they would have never supported Pinochet over an Eduardo Frei or a Romulo Betancourt. You are now seeing the scum and vermin of the Left, the Livingstones and the Galloways for what they are: trash who would gladly support a Zawahiri or a Zarqawi over a George Bush or a Tony Blair.
12. Tom Says:
October 12th, 2005 at 9:51 pm

Nick, what is clear to me, as it is no doubt clear to you, is that the oldest hatred knows no conventional ideological boundaries. Anti-semites, alas, have always been common among so-called progressives. I have been reading Richard Ingrams’ biography of the English radical writer William Cobbett. He frequently attacked Jews, as of course, did Marx himself.

Hatred of Jews has for a long time been the dirty secret of the far left.

God it is depressing. Keep up the good work and don’t let the bigots let you down.
13. Philippa Says:
October 13th, 2005 at 5:00 am

I know I should comment on the excellent article but I just wanted to quick say how pleased I am Nick has his own site–he is the only thing worth reading in New States man and Observer. Really cool, well done Nick!
14. Nick Cohen Says:
October 13th, 2005 at 4:18 pm

Dear Everyone,
Many thanks for taking the time and trouble to write.
My crack team of boffins should have the site running properly soon and I will do a little bit of blogging if I can find the time.
All the best,
15. B. Durbin Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 3:43 am

Subtle (and not-so-subtle) anti-Semitism is why I object to certain terms like “neo-con,” which in its coining was supposed to be a liberal (American-style) who kept certain liberal principles while largely becoming a conservative (also American-style.) New conservative = neocon.

However, whenever you hear the term these days, it’s used for everything from hard-core conservatives to (yes) prominent Jewish figures in the current administration. Usually it’s used in scare form, such as in the phrase “neo-con cabal.” Yes, I’ve seen that term in print.

And strangely enough, the times I have seen a similar construction, it was “Zionist cabal” or even “Jewish cabal.”

Watch the language and how people use it. It gives you a clue into how they think.
16. Ophelia Benson Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 5:18 pm

“Inevitably, it is easier in an open country to report abuses of power than cover, say, the deaths of millions and enslavement of whole black tribes in Islamist Sudan.”

Just so. It’s much like the well-worn joke about losing a diamond (as it might be) in the street at night and looking for it some distance away under the street light - because after all that is where the light is better.
17. Ben Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 5:54 pm

Excellent. A great article. Shame about the weird right-wing types implying that Nick needs some lecturing on the nature of the Left (in their curious minds). Keep it up! One to add to favourites next to Harry’s Place…
18. Gerard Killoran Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 5:56 pm

Firstly Nick, to describe Israel as a democracy can only give democracy a bad name. It has ensured a Jewish majority by expelling about 750,000 non-Jews; confiscating their land and that of those non-Jews left behind; and maintaining a racist immigration policy which denies the Palestinian refugees their right under international law to return to their homes.

As for the Palestinians who are Israeli citizens, they are seen as a ‘demographic problem’ as they insist on having children - does this remind you of anything? Haifa University held a conference on exactly that subject. Perhaps the link below could be the basis of your next column

Secondly your complaint of why Israel gets picked on reminds me of those defenders of Apartheid who pointed out abuses in Black Africa, the Soviet Union etc. you’ll have to do better than that.

Lastly, how are you planning to spin a war against Iran or Syria? Obviously you can’t recycle the garbage you used for Iraq - can you?
19. Love Supreme Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 6:24 pm

(1) ‘Antisemitism’ is a fatuous inaccuracy. Semites are a language group, and most of them are Arabs. If you mean anti-Jewish, say so. Don’t be a pussy.

(2) The either/or polarity between believing in an orchestrated worldwide conspiracy or disclaiming any possibility that bands of Jews act together in their shared ethnic interests is a strawman dichotomy. Everybody knows that Jewish power and influence are vastly disproportionate to their numbers in Britain and the USA, that they hold leadership positions in influential areas of public life, and that they frequently try to suppress criticism of their concerted actions by squealing about ‘antisemitism’. That does *not* make you an ‘antisemite’, only a realist about evolutionary psychology.

You may still think that only Jews should be allowed to criticise other Jews in semi-privacy, but not much of the rest of the world is impressed by this double standard any longer.

Jews are a rich, powerful little ethnic group which, like any other, acts to preserve itself and further its material interests, and can be devious in so doing. Big friggin’ deal, tell us something we couldn’t have guessed.

(3) The reason Israel cops flak out of proportion to its misdeeds, compared with other semitic regimes, is pretty obvious. For 2,000 years Jews have been loudly congratulating themselves on being moral exemplars to the rest of the world; and in this era where fewer Jews observe their religion, this complacency has been secularised by Zionism into exalting Israel as a beacon of democracy and tolerance, a light to lighten the Arabs. So naturally Israel’s critics pounce on the Chosen People’s lapses. It’s an open goal.

Gerard Killoran: “As for the Palestinians who are Israeli citizens, they are seen as a ‘demographic problem’ as they insist on having children - does this remind you of anything? Haifa University held a conference on exactly that subject.”

Moreover, for four years Haifa U’s polls have found that a *majority* of Israeli Jews favour expelling all Muslim Arabs, citizens or not, from pre-1967 Israel… and encouraging them to leave by depriving them of civil rights in the meantime. This used to be the position of extremists such as Rabbi Kahane’s mob, but the attitude that Arabs (except Christians and Druse and Bedouins, maybe) have no right to live in the Judenstaat has now become predominant. Other polls find that all but a few per cent of Israeli Arabs think of themselves as Arabs, not Israelis.

This is the reality behind all the bland propaganda for western consumption about Israel as a well integrated, non-discriminatory western-style polity– which magically combines modernity with being a Judenstaat.
20. David Hirsh Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 7:43 pm

1) Is there anyone who will deny that “Love Supreme” is a Jew-Hater?

2) Is it possible to tell from this comment whether “Love Supreme” is on the left, on the right, from a socialist tradition or a fascistic one?
21. Duncan Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 7:56 pm

great that you’ve got your own site, nick; shame that it’s already been infested with anti-semitic,oh sorry, anti -jewish bile from the likes of the last two. Any mention of palestinian persecution/ repression of christians, gays, or women; of course not - that would be engage with the zionist conspiracy, wouldn’t it?
22. Gerard Killoran Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 8:18 pm

I’d like to know what David Hirsh’s thoughts are on the conference entitled, “The Demographic Problem and the Demographic Policy of Israel,” organized by the Herzl Institute for the Study of Zionism held at Haifa University.

Could he envisage a state of Israel with a non-Jewish majority? Or would he also see that as a ‘problem’?
23. Ophelia Benson Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 8:23 pm

Urrrrgggh - the things that crawl out of the woodwork. Dang.
24. Judy Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 10:33 pm

Nick- Your article is a powerful and compelling indictment of the left and radical tradition in the UK. You’re wonderfully restrained about your own situation of being a “Cohen” with no Jews in the family for 100 years.

I think you give far too little attention to the long standing nature of virulently anti-semitic elements in Leninist, Stalinist and Trotskyists anti-zionism, going back well into the 1920s and earlier. These strains certainly fed into UK Communist Party discourse about zionism throughout the thirties and onwards. Simon Sebag-Montefiore logs it all superbly in “The Court of the Red Tsar”. So many of the grossly anti-semitic cartoons that now appear in the Arab media and in UK trotskyist publications are lifted straight from former Soviet as well as Nazi cartoons. The ongoing demonization of Sharon and the Israeli government as racist also derives from the Communist/Marxist tradition of demonizing opponents as part of the class struggle– seeking to “smash” them rather than oppose them.

You talk about the need to support the Palestinians– other than Hamas, as if you consider the current Palestinian Authority such an organization. But please consider that this organization is controlled by old style Marxist principles blended with clan style “enforcement” techniques. Do you really want to support this approach to “liberation”?…

and also please note that the mainstream PA-controlled TV puts out stuff like this:…
25. Mark Elf Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 10:51 pm

Nick - among many bland and false assertions in your article this one stood out, “all anti-semites are anti-zionists.” The symbiotic relationship between anti-semitism and zionism is too well documented for you to get away with that. Check this out from Israel Shahak -

“close relations have always existed between Zionists and antisemites: exactly like some of the European conservatives, the Zionists thought they could ignore the ‘demonic’ character of antisemitism and use the antisemites for their own purposes. Many examples of such alliances are well known. Herzl allied himself with the notorious Count von Plehve, the antisemitic minister of Tsar Nicholas II; Jabotinsky made a pact with Petlyura, the reactionary Ukrainian leader whose forces massacred some 100,000 Jews in 1918-21; Ben-Gurion’s allies among the French extreme right during the Algerian war included some notorious antisemites who were, however, careful to explain that they were only against the Jews in France, not in Israel.

Perhaps the most shocking example of this type is the delight with which some Zionist leaders in Germany welcomed Hitler’s rise to power, because they shared his belief in the primacy of ‘race’ and his hostility to the assimilation of Jews among ‘Aryans’. They congratulated Hitler on his triumph over the common enemy - the forces of liberalism. Dr Joachim Prinz, a Zionist rabbi who subsequently emigrated to the USA, where he rose to be vice-chairman of the World Jewish Congress and a leading light in the World Zionist Organization (as well as a great friend of Golda Meir), published in 1934 a special book, Wir Juden (We, Jews), to celebrate Hitler’s so- called German Revolution and the defeat of liberalism:

“The meaning of the German Revolution for the German nation will eventually be clear to those who have created it and formed its image. Its meaning for us must be set forth here: the fortunes of liberalism are lost. The only form of political life which has helped Jewish assimilation is sunk.”

The victory of Nazism rules out assimilation and mixed marriages as an option for Jews. ‘We are not unhappy about this,’ said Dr Prinz. In the fact that Jews are being forced to identify them- selves as Jews, he sees ‘the fulfillment of our desires’.”


If you have any integrity at all you might want to go back to the drawing board on that particular falsehood.
26. Tony Greenstein Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 11:15 pm

I am happy to post the full letter I wrote to the New Statesman, before they butchered it.

>>Dear NS,

Nick Cohen’s obsession with Islamism and guilt over support for the war in Iraq, is driving him to the irrational right.

Anti-Semitism is sticks and stones. It is the sound of shattering glass and the concentration camp. It is the conspiracy theory that explains the Jew as both communist and capitalist. And above all it was the weapon of the powerful seeking to divide the powerless.

To suggest that Hamas are at the centre of some multi-headed, anti-Semitic hydra is political paranoia. Israeli soldiers and settlers, with fists, boots and bullets, bulldoze the houses and crops of poor peasants, steal their water and land, kill their children and humiliate their elders, all in the name of the Jews. It is after all a Jewish State. And Nick Cohen wonders why the illiterates of Hamas echo the absurdities of European anti-Semites? He mistakes cause and effect and persists in looking down the telescope the wrong way.

But ignorance is not only the privilege of Hamas. If Nick Cohen is going to point to the tenuous links between a few Arabs and the Nazis during the second world war, then it behoves him to give the wider picture. It was an Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir, who was part of the triumvirate of the terrorist Stern Gang, an organisation which proposed a military pact, no less, with Nazi Germany. If Nick Cohen wants to find links with the Nazis he could start with the relationship of the Jewish Agency and the Nazis in Hungary, which led to the representative of the JA, Rudolph Kastner, giving testimony to an American Court that the leader of the Waffen SS in Hungary, Gen. Kurt Becher, was a saviour of Jews. That was the verdict of the Israeli Supreme Court.

Far from all anti-Semites being anti-Zionists, as Cohen asserts, quite the opposite is the case. The Zionist movement was the only legal Jewish political movement in Nazi Germany and Czarist Russia. Zionists and anti-Semites have always agreed that Jews were strangers and aliens in non-Jewish countries. Their solution, emigration, was also the same. As prominent Israeli novellist and Zionist, A.B. Yehoshua noted in the Jewish Chronicle, ‘Even today, in a perverse way, a real anti-Semite must be a Zionist.’ It is no accident that the author of the anti-Jewish Aliens Act 1905, was one Arthur James Balfour, after whom both the Balfour Declaration and the headquarters of the British Zionist organisation are named.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Greenstein
27. David Hirsh Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 11:48 pm

For more on Tony Greenstein see this post on Engage:…
For more on the connections between left anti-Zionism and antisemitism see this post on Engage:…
28. Inna Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 11:55 pm

1. RE: Israel as a Jewish State. Jews, like all other peoples, have a right to their own state because for most peoples “the development of a shared public sphere where the national culture, language, and traditions attain expression. Were biological survival the main consideration, it would appear that in an age facing atomic and chemical weapons as well as the danger of ecological disaster it would be prudent for nationalists to spread their risks by avoiding territorial concentration at all costs. Nationalists, however, measure their success not by the continued contribution of their nation to the gene pool but by the flourishing of their national life and culture.” So in answer to Gerard’s question–I feel that the title of that conference was unfortunate as the main (indeed the only) issue in question is whether the carriers of the Jewish national culture and that national culture itself are flourishing or not.

2. RE:citizenship laws. This is a link to (as far as I am aware) all states’ on the planet citizenship laws. If someone could please find a state in this list with laws that are NOT exclusive and excluding (and therefore racist) I would be much obliged. Israel, like countries close to it alphabetically, is in folder 4.
29. Inna Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 11:57 pm

Omission. The quote was from “Liberal Nationalism” by Yael Tamir, Preface to the 2nd edition.
30. Roland Rance Says:
October 15th, 2005 at 11:59 pm

The NS didn’t publish even a butchered version of my response to Nick Cohen’s ignorant diatribe. This is what I wrote:

Nick Cohen cannot be allowed to get away with his ludicrous assertion (NS 10 October 2005) that “all anti-Semites are anti-Zionists”. This is, in fact, the very reverse of the truth. Like Zionists, antisemites maintain the lie that Jews cannot be integrated or absorbed into non-Jewish society, and share the aim of removing the Jews from their homes to a fictional “homeland” in the Middle East.

This has been recognised since the beginning of the political Zionist movement. Theodor Herzl, who called the first Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897, noted in his diary that “the antisemites will become our most loyal friends”, and negotiated with the Kaiser and with Tsarist ministers to demonstrate their common aim. The Balfour Declaration, the 1917 document by which the British government recognised Zionist aims in Palestine, at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian population, was issued by Lord Balfour, who as Prime Minister had brought in the 1905 Aliens Act designed to exclude Jews fleeing from Tsarist pogroms. Some years later, in 1925, Zionist leader Jacob Klatzkin wrote “Instead of establishing societies for defence against the antisemites who want to reduce our rights, we should establish societies for defence against our friends, who desire to defend our rights”.

This convergence of interests was recognised by the Jew-haters themselves. The introduction to the Nuremberg Laws stated “If the Jews had a state of their own in which the bulk of their people were at home, the Jewish question could already be considered solved today”. Nazi war-criminal Adolf Eichmann, who protected Herzl’s grave in Vienna from desecration, told an interviewer in 1960 that “Had I been a Jew, I would have been a fanatical Zionist. I could not have been anything else. In fact, I would have been the most ardent Zionist imaginable”.

Last December, Professor Joseph Massad, a Palestinian academic at Columbia University in New York, commented in Al-Ahram that “All those in the Arab world who deny the Jewish holocaust are in my opinion Zionists”. Unlike the ignorant Cohen, Massad – who due to his anti-Zionist views is facing a witchhunt at Columbia – does not make the mistake of taking Zionists and antisemites at face value. His recognition that, far from leading to a perverted form of anti-Zionism, Jew-hatred leads directly to support for Zionism, is shared by those of us who for decades have struggled against Zionist hegemony within the Jewish communities.
31. David Hirsh Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 12:17 am

Tony Greenstein, Roland Rance and Mark Elf are living in a different universe from everyone else. Obsessed with the “truism” that “Zionists” share a political heritage with antisemites, they are unable to look around them at what is going on in the world. They don’t need to because they already know the truth from their own dogma.

But in fact neo-Nazi skinheads in Berlin are affecting a sudden concern for Palestinian rights; David Irving parrots George Galloway’s arguments against the Iraq war, arguing that it is caused by a Zionist plot to sacrifice British and American soldiers for Israel; the American racist David Duke uses the same terminology to describe Zionism as does Joseph Massad, the anti-Zionist academic at Columbia - “Jewish Supremacism”. Tory Grandees and Republican isolationists - as well as some Labour grandees like Tam Dalyell - are parroting old conspiracy nonsense about the Jews leading the world into war. Muslim antisemitism also draws on anti-Zionist rhetoric.

But no - this sad little “Jews Against Zionism” sect continues to parrot its own nonsense unaware that nobody in the outside world has the faintest idea what they are going on about.
32. stephen marks Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 12:47 am

Inna states that;
Jews, like all other peoples, have a right to their own state because for most peoples “the development of a shared public sphere where the national culture, language, and traditions attain expression” [sic].

Note that this is a different argument to the more widely accepted claim that a Jewish state is needed as a safe refuge against antisemitism and an insurance against another holocaust.

Leave aside also the question of whether Jews do in fact have a common ‘culture, language and traditions’ in common which is greater than those which they share with the non-Jews among whom they live, or indeed whether there is a common Israeli culture shared by Russians, Arab Jews and Ashkenazis.

Quite apart from these considerations, Inna’s argument ignores the fact that the country in question was already inhabited, and the Zionist claim to it was asserted regardless of the wishes of the indigenous population.

As the work of Neville Mandel and other historians has shown, Palestinian Arab hostility to Zionist settlement was due to the fear - justified as it turned out - that the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine would mean their dispossession.

To create a self-contained Jewish society in a country already inhabited by Arabs, a series of discriminatory institutions and practices were required in land ownership, the labour market and the economy which would certainly be called racist in any other context, and which continue to be the foundation of Israel’s Jewish majority to this day.

Some 90% of the land is reserved for the exclusive use of Jews, and some 85% of the land remaining in the hands of israel’s Arab minority after 1948 was compulsorily acquired for exclusively Jewish settlements. Arab municipalities and schools are funded at about half the level of Jewish ones. The land-use planning system on both sides of the Green Line is nakedly used as a tool of ethnic social engineering. All of these practices would be illegal under anti-racist legislation in the USA or anywhere in the EU.

As for citizenship laws, no other country defines eligibility for citizenship in terms of religious affiliation even for those with no direct connection with the country beyond a belief in a distant origin there 2000 years ago; while at the same time excluding from residence and citizenship those expelled when the state was founded, even if they or their parents were actually born there [though the Bosnian ‘Republika Srbska’ would be a close parallel].

To point this out is not antisemitic - on the contrary, it is merely a consistent application of the same antiracist principles by which antisemitism itself is condemned. Nor is it surprising that those who are indeed antisemitic gleefully use this as grist to their mill, or that Zionism has created a ready market for European antisemitic narratives in sectors of the Arab and Muslim worlds. To quote Jabotinsky ‘We should have thought of this before we became Zionists’.
33. Gerard Killoran Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 12:48 am

Inna tries to answer my point by saying that the racist ‘Demographic Problem’ conference at Haifa University was ‘unfortunate’ in its choice of tile only.

Her statement, ‘Jews, like all other peoples, have a right to their own state’ is complete nonsense - otherwise there would be 200,000 states not the 200 we already have.

David Hirsh however has ignored my challenge altogether, preferring to continue to defend Haifa University despite its racism.

Nor does Hirsh dispute a single fact put forward by Elf, Rance and Greenstein (he knows them all to be embarrassingly true)- rather he prefers to throw in the names of Davids Duke and Irving to smear his opponents.

I see Mr Hirsh teaches at Goldsmiths College - I hope this is not the standard of academic debate accepted there. Don’t you think it’s better to be a member of a ’sad little sect’ and to be right than to be on the side of Imperialism and war - and to be very very wrong?

I suggest David Hirsh and Inna use the link to the post by Avraham Oz
and use the links there to see that the speakers at the conference were not preoccupied with ‘culture’ but with the birth-rate of Palestinians.

I challenge them to defend that on the grounds of academic freedom!
34. Jeffrey Ketland Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 1:03 am

Dear Nick,

Glad to see you’ve set up a website.

— Jeff Ketland
35. Mark Elf Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 1:06 am

Mr Hirsh - I think your latest post is what we call a non-sequitur. The point that each of us (Tony Greenstein, Roland Rance and me) has made is that it is a lie to say that “all anti-semites are anti-zionists.” I gave some historical examples as, I believe, did Roland and Tony. If nazis in Germany or elsewhere have now cottoned on to the Palestinian cause then that is a change from their pre-war position as you know. But it does not mean that “all anti-semites are anti-zionists.”

Comparing David Duke to Joseph Massad is disgusting even by your appalling standards. David Duke links every event in world history to the Jews whilst Joseph Massad has very clearly stated that Palestinians have been victims of European anti-semitism as surely, if not (so far) as intensely, as Jews have. I’m surprised at a great academic like you not knowing that. Except of course you do know that and you are just smearing a better person than yourself.

But let’s not allow you to derail what is being discussed here. Nick Cohen said that “all anti-semites are anti-zionist.” You accidentally pointed out that some anti-semites use anti-zionist rhetoric, but does that make them anti-zionist? If it does, why do supporters of the racist war criminals of Israel, like you and Mr Cohen, do so much to publicise them? You know that anti-semitism is good for zionism, as did Herzl, Prinz and Ben Gurion. Even now Israeli leaders openly court Christian leaders in America who openly say that God doesn’t hear the prayers of the Jews. We are now being told that the Christian right (Robertson, Fulwell, etc) is the most important aspect of zionist lobbying in America. Are they philo-semites? Perhaps they support Israel because it’s the “only democracy in the Middle East.” Or perhaps theyr’re enthusiastic gardners and are impressed by the way that “Israel made the desert green again.”
Only a great and *engaging* academic like you can enlighten us on that one.
36. Inna Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 1:47 am

stephen writes “Inna’s argument ignores the fact that the country in question was already inhabited, and the Zionist claim to it was asserted regardless of the wishes of the indigenous population.”

The rest of his argument follows from that. That may be tru to an extent–as indeed it is true of all countries now in existence. I therefore suggest that we all go back to where we came from, i.e., Africa. Surely, that is the only way to correct the multitude of the wrongs both stephen and I are inflicting on the “indigeous population” by our living where we do (wherever THAT happens to be).

Gerard writes “Her statement, ‘Jews, like all other peoples, have a right to their own state’ is complete nonsense - otherwise there would be 200,000 states not the 200 we already have.”

May I most respectfully point out that having a right to something and having that something are two very different things. Furthermore, may I point out that anyone the least familiar with the mish-mash that is Palestinian culture (or anyone who has even heard Gazans speak of Palestinians in the West Bank) would say that one can certainly argue whether or not there is a common Palestinian culture. Nevertheless, I think most of us would recognize that such arguments are more than a little racist and that furthermore they do not in any way obviate the Palestinians’right to a state.

Or would Gerard and stepehn like to disagree with me on that?


37. KevinG Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 1:58 am


So pleased you’ve set up this site. If I remember correctly it was your Observer columns which changed my mind about the war with Iraq which in turn introduced me to the blogosphere as I went in search of others on the left who were thinking along similar lines.

A quick perusal of the comments preceding me gives me a hint at the sort of anti-semitism Anne Leslie was referring to …

Keep going …
38. Inna Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 2:01 am

RE citizenship laws.

Jewishness is far more than a religion; it is a sense of peoplehood. And, as far as I am aware, ALL states discrimnate between different sorts of people and give preferential treatment if you will to some but not to others.

So, if you are going to object to one country’s immigration policies, you should (if you’re honest) object to them all and call for open borders.

I have every respect for people who do just that and, I must admit, not a whole lot of respect for people who single out states for “special” condemnation (but prefer that their own country please tighten up and hence make more racist) its own immigration rules.


39. Mark Elf Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 2:15 am

I object to all immigration controls but Israel’s are the very worst. Israel has an open invitation to people of Jewish faith or descent only at the expense of living people who actually came from there. In all your examples of cruel displacements of masses of people, the Palestinians are the only ones who form a living majority over those who displaced them.

I must say you’re reasoning might be based on ignorance but it looks deliberately dishonest to me.
40. Inna Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 2:33 am

Mark Elf writes “I object to all immigration controls but Israel’s are the very worst.”

The VERY worst? Are you sure? I take ityou have never tried to apply for a visa to Saudi Arabia while being Jewish (to name but one example).

And as I have stated, Jewishness is peoplehood.


41. Inna Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 2:33 am

“Cruel dislacement”

Now, how did the India-Pakistan tragedy get entangled into this?
42. Oscar Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 2:52 am

And you have, Inna?
43. Mark Elf Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 3:00 am

Neither India nor Pakistan owe their existence to ethnic cleansing though both have ethnic cleansing in their backgrounds. Israel owes it’s Jewish majority to colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing. In the case of India and Pakistan the ethnic cleansing was a by-product of war whereas in Israel’s case, ethnic cleansing was a war aim. Kepp trying Inna but you will find that Israel is uniquely despised because Israel is uniquely despicable. But keep trying.
44. Inna Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 3:27 am

Mark writes “in Israel’s case, ethnic cleansing was a war aim.”

Mark I do hope you can back this up?

Mar follows this up with: “Kepp trying Inna but you will find that Israel is uniquely despised because Israel is uniquely despicable.”

And why might Israel be “uniquely despicable”?


45. Inna Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 3:29 am

Oscar writes “And you have, Inna?”

No, Oscar. But I HAVE seen what their tourism agency put on its PUBLIC and ENGLISH web site–until the world reaction forced it to take it off.

One of the excluded persons was (very specifically) Jews.

In other words, if you are a Jew don’t even bother trying to visit Saudi Arabia.


46. lenin Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 8:19 am

Inna - I suggest you consult well-known Israeli historians like Avi Shlaim, Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Baruch Kimmerling etc etc. Morris broke the news that pre-Israeli Zionist forces had intended ethnic cleansing, in what was known as Plan Dalet:

It was a war aim.

You ask Mark why might Israel be uniquely despicable - it just so happens that he answered your question when he alluded to the differences between the partition of India and that of Palestine. During the 1980s, a lot of people (usually ferocious reactionaries) used to stick up for South African apartheid and a common complaint was that those criticising SA were obsessing over it when there were plenty of other states one could criticise. SA was being singled out, disproportionately, so the argument ran. I find the same gesture in apologetics for Israel just as contemptible today.
47. Phil D Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 8:38 am


Excellent article. Also interesting to see some of the thinly-veiled (or in the case of Love Supreme, not actually veiled at all) anti-semitism on display in the comments box.

I disagree with you on the issue whether we should have gone to war in Iraq, but I find your criticisms of the anti-war movement to be painfully accurate. I joined the Stop the War Coalition shortly before the war and left a few weeks later appalled by the levels of stupidity and hypocrisy surrounding that squalid organisation. I think it was the Socialist Worker placards bearing the words “Victory to the Resistance” that finally caused me to walk out. I joined the STWC to protest against a reckless foreign policy adventure, not to be a cheerleader for Saddam’s fedayeen.

If there was an honest, intelligent anti-war movement dedicated to democracy and human rights, I would join it. But there isn’t one. I still think the Iraq War was a spectacularly bad idea, but the tinpot totalitarians of the STWC are Not In My Name.
48. David Hirsh Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 8:54 am

I didn’t compare Massad to Duke. I simply pointed out that Duke uses the same central phrase, “Jewish supremacism” to analyse Jewish and Zionist power throughout the world. And Massad does think that Zionism is a global phenomenon.

My point was not that Massad and Duke were the same but that contemporary antisemitism is nearly always anti-Zionist.

It is true that Massad should re-consider his use of the term “Jewish Supremacism” in the light of its employment by a racist from the Ku Klux Klan. Not that Massad should necessarily drop the term just for that reason. He should just think about it carefully. He should wonder why it is that the term is so attractive to Duke. Obviously there are more substantial reasons why the term “Jewish Supremacist” doesn’t describe Jewish nationalism very well.

For people who have not met the “Jews Against Zionism” sect before, I think I ought to try to explain why they say that me and Nick Cohen are supporters of “the racist war criminals of Israel”. Mark Elf is not lying - he is just, as I said before, stuck in a parallel universe. He has read the following post on Engage:…

But to him, “supporting the racist war criminals” is the same thing as saying that Israel has the right to exist. So if you argue for what the PLO argues for - a Palestinian state alongside Israel - then in the weird universe of Elf & chums, you are actually supporting Sharon - who is against a Palestinian state. Engage has often been denounced as being “Zionist”. This is because we are in favour of a peace between Israel and Palestine and an end to the occupation of the West Bank.

In the strange universe of “Jews Against Zionism”, the PLO are Zionist, collaborators and Nazis because they think that Israel has the right to exist. Nuff said.
49. Duncan Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 8:58 am

“…if the telephone is busy, if your bathtub springs a leak,
if receipts don’t tally up right, if your lager tastes too weak
if the cake runs out on sunday, if the Prince of Wales is gay
If the bedstead creeks at nightime, if your poodle’s stool is grey
chorus: The Jews are all to blame for it!
To blame, to blame , to blame for it!
Why so, why are the jews to blame?
My child, don’t ask, they’re just to blame…”

from German cabaret song 1931
(to be sung to Habanera from Carmen if you fancy giving it a go, gentlemen…)
50. David Hirsh Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 10:51 am

“Israel is uniquely dispicable”

Why would anyone claim this? Is it:

a) because they really don’t know much about what goes on in the world?


b) because they are antisemites?


c) ???? I can’t work out what c) might be. I’m sure there must be a c) I guess it must be something to do with buying into a particular notion of “anti-imperialism” that understands the USA to be the greatest evil in the world, Israel to be the vanguard of US imperialism, and all other evils in the world simply to be epiphenomena of the first two. c) of course leads to b).
51. Mark Elf Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 11:06 am

No Mr (please don’t tell me it’s professor) Hirsh, just because you, for your own devious reasons, have decided to take your definitional cue from David Duke doesn’t mean that Massad should. And you were clearly comparing the two. It’s nice to see you distancing yourself from your (not so) original position.

I say that Israel is uniquely despicable because Israel is the only state that I know of that exists on the basis of colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and segregationist laws. I have already said that further up the comments so you know what my position is and why I hold to it, without you having ask your stupid, dishonest and loaded questions. And you an “academic.”
52. David Hirsh Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 11:53 am

Yours is a Jewish nationalist position, isn’t it Mark? You oppose (your strange understanding of) Zionism “as a Jew”. You challenge “Zionist hegemony” within “the community”. Anti-Zionism is your way of being Jewish. Its a naughty school-boy way; its a wind-up daddy way; but its your way. That explains why Israel is at the centre of your universe - because you share this feature with some other small fringe racist traditions of Jewish nationalism.

People from outside of your incestuous little world just don’t see it Mark. They know very well that Israel is not even close to being the greatest human rights abuser in the world. They know very well that Israel’s institutional racism is not the worst on the planet. They know very well that it is not the only state that is occupying and settling other people’s land.

They can work out for themselves how to oppose Israel’s oppressive policies without playing with antisemitism. They oppose the policies. But playing with antisemitism in a way that you think is oh-so-clever is just part of your own performance of Jewish identity - nothing more.

When you take your silly little Jewish nationalist game out into the labour movement, Mark, onto our campuses, into public life, you could do some damage. If you could persuade anybody to take you seriously.

Naturally the antisemites will take you seriously because you are great cover for them. But they’ll stab you in the back, Mark, like the SWP did on a very small scale, and like your chums in “Jewish Tribal Review” did to Michael Neumann.…
53. Anita Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 12:26 pm

Love Surpreme, you said: “Everybody knows that Jewish power and influence are vastly disproportionate to their numbers in Britain and the USA.”
The same could be said for Australia, where percentage wise Jews have been very influential and have also been very much appreciated for their contribution to the community. Most Jews in Australia came here with nothing as refugees. For example my father was an Auschwitz survivor (15 years old) and my mother was expelled from Egypt as were all the Jews in 1956. They came with nothing yet through hard work and encouraging us to study hard we all did quite well. Jews often tend to be successful due to an attitude toward life.

You also said:”Antisemitism’ is a fatuous inaccuracy. Semites are a language group.”
Yes but this ignores the reality that the term anti-Semitism was historically only ever used to describe Jew-hatred. The term wasn’t coined by Jews, but to deny the significance of it concerning Jews is denying hitorical fact.

Alot of the attacks on Israel here where based on historical inaccuracies but I know all too well that people only beleive what they want to believe and when it comes to Israel..well let’s just how easy was it for the world to push the Jennin lie.
54. Mark Elf Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 1:12 pm

Mr Hirsh, having mangled politics and history, don’t attempt psycho-analysis. My position on zionism is not a singularly Jewish position nor is it because I wasn’t breastfed as a child. It is because as, I have already made clear, Israel is a colonial settler state based on ethnic cleansing and segregationist laws. Now address the facts like a good academic…if you can.
55. Love Supreme Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 1:54 pm

“You also said:”Antisemitism’ is a fatuous inaccuracy. Semites are a language group.”
Yes but this ignores the reality that the term anti-Semitism was historically only ever used to describe Jew-hatred. The term wasn’t coined by Jews, but to deny the significance of it concerning Jews is denying hitorical fact.”

So what? It’s what matters now that interests me, not the perpetuation of historical inaccuracies and malapropisms. Conflating ‘antisemitism’ with Judaeophobia airbrushes most semites out of history, and avoids the awkward fact that there is little genetic distance between Jews and Arabs.

Why should the semitic civil war in the Middle East be of such concern to Britons of Jewish descent, especially if– like Mr Cohen– they claim no recent Jewish ancestry? Why does the mere mention of the glaringly obvious, such as the fact that Jews in English-speaking countries command influence out of proportion to their numbers, bring down the wrath of David ‘Mr Autorant’ Hirsh on my hapless head? Why is it OK for Jews to celebrate their success (see but verboten for the rest of mankind so much as to notice it? When did the Jews gain their eternal exemption from the rule that every ethnic group– not least the one which has conducted a sustained programme of restricting incomers and excluding dullards by outmarriage for centuries– strives to further its interests?

You will get nothing but smears and spurious psycholanalysis from the Hirshes in reply; but as I pointed out previously, the rest of the world is no longer very intimidated by this harrumphing overreaction to a breath of constructive criticism. The old magic stops working; you just devalue the word by calling everyone who dares to interrogate you a Nazi. Those who go in for such verbal overkill shoot themselves in the foot by moaning interminably about how for 2,000 years ‘the oldest hatred’ has been directed against themselves in every age and clime… without ever a shred of justification. So much smoke, so little fire, already.

But at bottom this prickliness is not really about denouncing people who think as I do at all; it is a survival mechanism for keeping Jewry together in the absence of religious faith. If your people aren’t united by belief in G-d, terrify them by telling them how everyone hates them for no reason, and they might just huddle together. Tell French Jews, as Herzl and Ariel Sharon did, that they’re no longer safe in the land of their birth.

It’s obvious, however, from the outmarriage stats and the refusal of 60% or more of the world’s Jews to make aliyah that unity-through-fear does not work. It’s clear from demographic projections that post-1967 Israel, that triumph of consensual left-and-right Zionism, is going to be a very uncomfortable place for Jews in 20-30 years unless a lot of reconciling or expelling occurs. Battening down the hatches, polishing up the nuclear warheads, shrieking ‘Hitler’ and ‘hater’ indiscriminately at every candid friend or murderous foe won’t cut it beyond the noble precincts of Goldsmiths College.

Silently, politely, without wishing to diss their self-appointed community leaders or give their enemies ammo, most Jews in the West (including Mr Hirsh, one presumes) have said ‘thanks but no thanks’ to what Zionism wrought in the Holy Land. Like communism, it is an official ideology which rarely commands more than lip service, ‘for fear of finding something worse’, except among its fanatics and payroll posse. Time Jewry dreamed up a new schtick, or how about going back to the old one?:
56. Dov Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 2:41 pm

I would like to express my thanks to “Love SUpreme”. I am currently working on a study of antisemitism, and have been looking for a brief resume of all its major tenets. At last I have found it.
Thanks are due also to Mark Elf, et al, for their contribution to the section on the connections between antisemitism and anti-Zionism.
57. Gerard Killoran Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 2:56 pm

This is the third time I have tried to get David Hirsh to answer the point that he opposed a boycott against Haifa University which held a racist conference

So far he has ignored it.

The conference was entitled, “The Demographic Problem and the Demographic Policy of Israel”

Mr Hirsh what is this ‘problem’, and what would a ‘Demographic Policy’ entail?

Could he give us an answer?
58. David Hirsh Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 3:52 pm

The case for the boycott of Haifa U was based on the alleged mistreatment of Ilan Pappe. Pappe is a tenured professor at Haifa U who said in Haaretz that in the classroom he was king. For the details, see the letter written by Mischcon de Rea to AUT here:…

Of course Pappe has not had his academic freedom challenged by the university authorities. The “apartheid university” of Haifa also has about 20 per cent Palestinian students and a significant number of Palestinian staff.

But the truth is of course that the boycott campaign does not really care about Pappe’s treatment at Haifa or about Bar Ilan’s connections (now ended) with the settler college. The truth is, as they now admit openly, that they are for a full cultural and academic boycott of Israel. The feigned concern for these particular cases were always a smokescreen to fight for a full boycott.

Why anyone thinks that I have to answer for a conference at Haifa U that is absolutely nothing to do with me, is beyond me.
59. Roland Rance Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 5:32 pm

All we have seen here in response to our reasoned comments is ad hominem attacks. The question is really not whether Tony Greenstein is “crude”, or Mark Elf is “sad”. Evenb if they were, this would not invalidate the points that they, and I, have made.

Quite simply, Nick Cohen lied when he said that “all antisemites are anti-Zionists”. In fact, historically most antisemites have been Zionists. That’s why Edwin Montagu, the only Jewish member of the Cabinet at the time, described the Balfour Declaration as “antisemitic”. That’s why Claude Montefiore, president of the Anglo-Jewish Association, asked in November 1916: “How can a man belong to two nations at once? No wonder that all anti-Semites are enthusiastic Zionists.”

That’s why many Zionists and Jew-haters, from Herzl on, have collaborated on their common cause — to remove the Jews from Europe, ands settle them, at the expense of the Palestinians, in the Middle East.

And that’s why Jews Against Zionism, as well as opposing the racism, brutality and war crimes of the Israeli state, and supporting the right of Palestinians to return, has been in the forefront of the struggle against racist charlatans such as Israel Shamir, who have attempted to spread their poison through the solidarity movement. We need no lessons from the hypocrites such as Hirsh and Cohen, who seize gleefully on such characters as an excuse for their refusal to confront the reality of Zionist racism and dispossession in Palestine.
60. Mya Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 5:51 pm

Roland, have you started foaming at the mouth yet?
61. Dov Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 6:08 pm

As is well known, the antisemitic aspects of anti-Zionism turn on the idea of Jewish “exceptionalism”; that, of all the (approximately 180) states in the world, there is something unique - “despicable” or otherwise - about Israel. “Unique” in this sense does not mean that it is a “Jewish” state, since many other nation-states have an established religion; not, for that matter, does it mean a “right of return”, (see Germany)(the “right to return, it should also be noted, does not exclude non-Jews from citizenship); nor does it mean a “racist” immigration policy , (see the UK; see also inter alia Syria and Saudi Arabia); nor does it mean the establishment of a nation-state in land already occupied(see USA and Canada); nor does it mean social discrimination (see the gap between political equality in the UK and the social position of those from a West Indian and Asian sub-continent backgrounds) (see also the social status of workers from Southern Spain in Catalunia); nor does it mean
the presence of a conference on “demographic policy” (see the conference in Cairo, “against capitalist globalization, US hegemony, Zionism and Racism”)(see also the Egyptian TV series of the Protocals)(see also the vote for Pym Fontaine and the debates of the hysteria of the “Islamification” of Holland and other allegedly “secular” countries); nor does it mean the occupation of contested territories (see the UK); nor does it mean the (mythology of the idea) of “Zionist collaboration” with national socialism (see Neville Chamberlain, most of Europe and the US as well as the Grand Mufti of Palestine).
Apart from the antisemitism of the “Israel is unique position”, a position that is politically, socially and culturally reprehensible in any context, it is also the case that such thinking serves to alienate and undermine progressive elements within (and beyond) Palestine itself who know that antisemitism is, and can only be (to paraphrase Babel), the “politics of fools”. It is harmful,especially,for those seeking a just peace with Israel and for the founding of a secular and democratic Palestinian state.
No doubt, many will read this post, and having thought of something they identify as “unique” will with a rictus smile that spits “got you” begin to type; after all, antisemitism loathes a vaccuum.
However, to ally oneself with the base politics of antisemitism in the name of Palestinian solidarity is no different to those who would have argued that national socialism was the solely legitimate response to the injustices of the Versaille Treaty; and those who argued otherwise (i.e. that that injustice could be fought without appeals to the politics of the gutter)were merely the spokespersons of “Western European Imperialism and Colonialism”.
62. Linda Grant Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 6:25 pm

And here is a columnist for the BNP on Palestine

For it should not be forgotten that the reasons for the Neo-Con-instigated attack upon Iraq was to protect Israel and America’s oil supplies and that the bringing of ‘democracy’ in place of Saddam’s tyranny was very much a secondary issue. Now this is not a question of being “anti-semitic”, for – contrary to public opinion – many Jews world-wide do not support the founding of the Israeli state, or its actions against the Palestinians. But those Jews among the American Neo-Cons are Zionists to a man, or woman. Incidentally, at the American election 75% of Jews voted for Kerry. As it would be ridiculous to suggest that these were all non-Zionist Jews, it would indicate that if he had been elected there would be no change on the Iraq blood bath, although further Middle East embroilments would be less likely.

The big question now is will Bush and his Neo-Cons take the opportunity to do something to help solve the Israel-Palestine conflict following the death of Yasser Arafat? Because Arafat, remaining loyal to his people to the end, did not accept the virtual surrender terms offered four years ago by Bush at the Camp David conference, Bush and his Neo-Cons turned their backs on the just demands for a Palestinian state and the removal of the Israeli wall of conquest and shame. The answer is not just to offer backing to the moderate Mahmoud Abbas (who became chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, which seems likely as I write), because this will take no account of the power of the militant Hamas and Hizbollah organisations. Israel is dependent, militarily and financially, upon the United States for its survival.

Therefore Bush must see that Israel makes just a few of the sacrifices that the Palestinians have made hitherto, which could include giving up colonising the West Bank, so that Israeli civilians are no longer murdered in suicide bomb attacks and no more Palestinian civilians are killed in revenge or are blasted out of their remaining homes.
63. Linda Grant Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 6:30 pm

And here we have the Ku Klux Klan

The Zionist owned book publishers, newspapers & magazines, record labels, radio and television stations screened out anything sympathetic to whites and even went out of their way to promote everything that is detrimental to us. Our young people who may have questioned these things, still uncorrupted and unconditioned, usually had no way of gaining access to any other viewpoints during that critical time of their intellectual development, nor did any other age group of our people who wished to explore the alternatives. In essence, the Jewish supremacists who have always hated us achieved a monopoly on information itself. No more. The walls of total censorship have been torn down and now anyone wishing to examine our side of the story has complete and total access to do so. If a young white is curious, all they have to do is type a few words in a search engine and they are introduced to the entire world of White Power. They can view the information objectively and decide for themselves, rather than simply being starved from the truth, which is what ZOG wants more than anything. This has had dramatic effects on the movement, and now new recruits are joining our ranks at exponentially increasing rates.
64. Linda Grant Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 6:42 pm

And here is the Nazi Party of America condemning Israel’s attacks on Syria

The National Socialist Movement (America’s Nazi Party), and America’s foremost Patriot Organization condemns Israel’s unprovoked attack on the Sovereign Nation of Syria.
No Nation under the U.N. charter can simply invade another Nations airspace and bomb targets! This attack of Israeli aggression should be taken as an act of War, meant to de-stabilze the entire Middle East! As if the illegal U.S. Occupation of Iraq isn’t bad enough, now further strife will be caused, and mutual hatred of America and its boss Israel will continue throughout the World.


Quote: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, on Israeli radio Oct. 3, 2001: ” Every time we do something you tell me America will do this or that, I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about America. We the jewish people control America, and the Americans know it.”
We the American people do not want to be conjoined with Israel, and see no benefit of any sort of relationship with Israel. Israel reaps the constant harvest of War due to its aggression towards the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Lebanesse, etc.
We American Patriots do not believe that George Bush has our best interests in mind, with this suicidal Policy of non-stop U.S. aid for Israel. When asked about the Israeli raid into Syria, George Bush replied “Israel has the right to defend herself”.

Defense is defending your borders, not flying bombs into a Sovereign Nation!

This treason will rot the American system to the core, and we the American people suffer, we suffer terrorist attacks, and are hated all over the World, not because America is a free Country (as the zionist media often says), but for our Governments support of the Zionist terror State of Israel.

Even Osama Bin Laden stated: “The attacks against America were not for hatred of the American people, but for the U.S. Governments support of Israel”! You people in the media should learn to start stating these facts more often.

When the American People (in mass) find out the reason our Countrymen die in terrorist strikes is for Israel, you may see a second American Revolution brewing, and the start of a highly orchestrated Pogrom of jews, and all the greedy Politicians (that sold their Honor for a few pieces of silver) can leave our land right along with them!

Hail Victory!

Commander Jeff Schoep
NSM Director

National Socialist Movement
World HQ
P O Box 580669
Minneapolis MN. 55458
United States of America
65. Linda Grant Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 6:50 pm

So what do we conclude from this? All the main fascist, racist, indeed Nazi organisations are anti-Zionist.

Anti-Zionism is not necessarily racist, but there again, you might want to examine the motivation of those who are so keen to see the end of the Jewish state. Politics, as ever makes strange bedfellows, as I’d say to those right wing Jews so keen to embrace the support of the Christian evangelicals.

Somewhere in the middle of these vile extremes lie the vast majority, who want to see the end of the occupation, and two states. That’s the reality, and all the bat squeaks from the margins amount to little or nothing, except a friendly cover for racists, whether they come from the neo-Nazi far-right or the Born-Agains.
66. Mark Elf Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 6:55 pm

Well done Linda Grant. Keep promoting the BNP and the KKK. You’ll be publicising Ariel Sharon next. But you still haven’t established that “all anti-semites are anti-zionists.” All you have done is show that some (but by no means all) anti-semites use the language of anti-zionism or just use the word “zionist” arbitrarily or out of context. This completely and, I suspect, deliberately misses the point.

I hope that the lack of basic integrity on the part of some fairly (thankfully not very) high profile zionist academics and commentators on this site (including the author of the site) has been informative to those who like to read but not contribute.
67. hyam lehrer Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 7:06 pm

It is truly chilling to read the venemous tripe emanating from some of the respondents to the article. The hatred of Israel is almost tangible. Even the most open anti-semite (Jew hater)would find it hard to match their passionate hatred. I cannot read any more of this.
68. Mark Elf Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 7:17 pm

If you’ve a weak stomach for hatred you shouldn’t have followed Linda Grant’s links. You need to understand reasoned argument against the colonial settlement of Palestine by the zionist movement, the ethnic cleansing of most of its population by the zionist movement to give the State of Israel a Jewish majority that it otherwise wouldn’t have and the segregationist laws that maintain that “demographic balance” of c. 80:20 Jews to Arabs and confine the 20% Israeli Arab population to about 8% of Israel’s surface area.
69. Linda Grant Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 7:43 pm

Daniel Dor, who has written an excellent new book published by Pluto, on how the Israeli media reported the intifada, told me a couple of weeks ago that there are two types of analysis of the conflict: the guilt analysis (see Mark, above) and the solution analysis.

Israel is inhabited by Israelis, not the ‘Zionist movement’. They came there for all kinds of reasons, some from Crown Heights with messianic ideas about the Promised Land, some from post-war DP camps after suffering an attempt at total genocide, determined never again to be without self-determination. The overwhelming majority have no other citizenship and are unlikely in the foreseeable future to accept the status of tolerated (or not) minority in a single state. Nor are the Palestinians likely give up their own national dreams, whatever the settlers might wish.

Both Anti-Zionism and the settler movement have nothing to offer. Each wishes to turn back the clock of history to a dream state, one which is itself ahistorical, based on the sudden erasing of the past 57 years of history.

Nothing like this is going to happen and no amount of writing on blogs will make it.
70. Linda Grant Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 7:53 pm

The closing words of Daniel’s paper delivered to the conferece at SOAS a couple of weeks ago:

Instead of insisting that the demand for a just solution stems from a certain understanding of abstract justice – our understanding of it – we should make it clear, to ourselves and to our audiences, that a just solution is necessary because unjust solutions do not work. They fall apart. It is in the best interest of all sides to achieve the most just solution possible. And because impossible solutions do not work very well either, we should make it clear – this time mostly to ourselves – that the best of all possible solutions will inevitably involve certain types of compromise over the question of justice. What types of compromise? On what? Why? These are the question we should ask. And the answers should be, by their very definition, pragmatically constrained. Between the unjust solutions that won’t work, and the just solution that is impossible, there is a just-enough solution that is needed. We should try to figure out what this solution is.

Which means that instead of only criticizing, we have no choice but to think productively and positively about some of the details of that just-enough solution. Because this is one of the most important secrets of this conflict: A lot of people, on both sides, do not necessarily object to a just and deep solution to the conflict. They simply don’t know how. If we manage to recruit all the energy, and wit, and clarity of thought that we put into the project of critique – a project which eventually plays a problematic role within the global discourse of guilt - and invest it in radicalizing the solution-oriented discourse, and developing a discourse of responsibility, I am quite certain we’ll be able to play a much more productive role in the effort to finally resolve this conflict.

Back home, I’m supervising a project run by two organizations - the Palestinian organization Miftah and the Israeli organization Keshev – in which we work very closely with the media on both sides, trying to help them break away from the cycle of guilt, and develop, together, a discourse of responsibility. The Israeli and Palestinian media are very different from each other, and the realities in which they work are very different too. But something about the difficulties we both experience in this project is nevertheless identical. No-one wants to be the first to break away from the cycle of guilt. Each side is suspiciously looking for those first signs of change on the other side: Let them change first, then we will. Of all those who play a role in the cycle of guilt, I think it is the Left which can take the lead and show the way. If we manage to do that, if we manage to produce a new type of discourse, which is radical, and nevertheless solution-oriented, I am sure we will be able to make the type of difference we want. And we will also find ourselves accused much less of anti-Semitism.
71. Mark Elf Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 7:57 pm

But smearing and pseudo-psychoanalysing anti-zionists is a great help isn’t it Linda?

The Arab states collectively have said that they will recognise Israel in return for a withdrawal from the occupied territories as have the Palestinians. They have been saying this in one form or another since 1981. This means that in spite of the past guilt of the zionist movement (that you have never fully acknowledged but have only ever alluded to in passing) they will accept the past colonisation and past ethnic cleansing. But the zionist movement and the state of Israel insist on the right to future colonisation and possibly future ethnic cleansing. This is what makes zionism a barrier to peace. Moshe Machover puts it better than I do. He has an essay on it all over the net presumably but I posted it here:…

It is however a serious problem that Israel and Israel’s supporters refuse to acknowledge in any meaningful way what they did in order to establish what is the last of the colonial settler states. And please don’t invoke Benny Morris. He only tells a part of the story as is known.
72. Linda Grant Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 8:07 pm

Some Zionists do wish for future ethnic cleansing, others don’t. The Israelis involved in the Geneva Accord do not, and neither do I. Nor does Daniel Dor. ‘Israel’ consists of more than the state, and its apparatus. It is also the many movements inside the country that have consistently campaigned against the occupation, for two states, and for the collective responsibility for recognising past injustice.

Either you support those movements, or you do not. I do, anti-Zionists don’t.
73. Linda Grant Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 8:09 pm

(Which of course is why anti-Zionism is so marginal and irrelevant, either you’re part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.)
74. Mark Elf Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 8:31 pm

Anti-zionism is not inconsistent with recognising a Hebrew or Israeli nation. Your problem is that you want to wish away the historical wrongs whilst believing that a specifically Jewish state can be run on democratic lines delivering justice to all of its people. Your solution to this problem is to engage in mealy mouthed apologia for racist war criminals and smears against their opponents.

I am sure that I have seen your name put to the idea, not simply of Israel’s continued existence as a state that just happens to have a Jewish majority, but to the idea that the Jews worldwide are a case for self-determination (even control over a collective destiny) and, logically, should have more right to what was Palestine than the Palestinians. In fact as I recall the Geneva accord seeks to solidify that one sided relationship of Jews to Arabs within what we now call Israel and the occupied territories.

Your way might bludgeon many Palestinians into abandoning rights you would never accept Jews abandoning and it may even pass for peace for a time but I think it will only store up more bitterness and anger in the long run.

On my blog I simply seek to expose liars in the media. You know yourself that I am always willing to correct any mistake pointed out to me and to apologise for the same. That is not part of any problem from an honest humanist perspective. I can see how a zionist might see it as a problem.

I’m guessing that old Nick is going to pull down the shutters on this discussion soon but you’re welcome to come to Jews sans frontieres.
75. Ed Marshall Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 8:47 pm

No doubt, many will read this post, and having thought of something they identify as “unique” will with a rictus smile that spits “got you” begin to type; after all, antisemitism loathes a vaccuum.

You knew when you typed that long-winded bastard that you were lying.

Two things make it unique.

It’s a situation where you have to chose whether you believe in a universal human right not to be driven from your home in an ethnic pogram or to believe that uniquely Palestinians lack that right and that Jews throughout the world have an additional right to the property of the displaced Palestinians.

It’s geography is also unique in the fact that it’s the epicenter of religious warfare between Islam and Christianity. The supernatural component of all this is embarassing for liberal zionists, but it’s there.
76. tom Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 8:50 pm

I am working on fixing URL wrapping, but can people please consider services like rather than posting huge long links?
77. Dov Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 8:52 pm

Why do they always give themselves away!
In an almost perfect replication of the point Nic Cohen made in his article that, “Your argument could not be debated on its merits. There had to be a malign motive. You had to support Ariel Sharon. You had to be in the pay of “international” media moguls or neoconservatives. You had to have bad blood. You had to be a Jew” Mark Elf is finally reduced to labelling those who disagree with him,”high profile zionist academics and commentators on this site (including the author of the site).”
And he has the gall to speak of “integrity”!!

By the way, less anyone actually believe it, the quote attributed to Ariel Sharon by the nazi parrty of the US (Linda Grant’s; number 64) is, of course, a hoax.
78. Roland Rance Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 9:03 pm

Linda Grant quotes Daniel Dor: “we should make it clear, to ourselves and to our audiences, that a just solution is necessary because unjust solutions do not work”. Indeed, I couldn’t agree more, and I have been arguing exactly this for a quarter of a century now. So why are you promoting an unjust, and therefore unworkable “solution”.

A just solution means permitting the return of the Palestinian refugees, and their descendants, to the land from which they were excluded in 1948. And it means recognising the existence and collective rights in the same land of a Hebrew-speaking Israeli community (largely, though not exclusively Jewish).

Any attempt to build a solution based on the continued exclusion of the Palestinian refugees, or on the expulsion or disappearance of the Hebrew-speaking Israeli Jewish community, is both unjust, and doomed to failure. The modalities are negotiable, but the principles are not.

Jews Against Zionism is not a pro-fascist group, and it is childish to pretend that we are. If you disagree with our analysis, why not engage with it and attempt to disprove it, rather than dismiss it with a false guilt-by-association. As I note above, we are entirely consistent, and have been in the forefront of the campaign to expose and delegitimise the Jew-haters who falsely pose as friends of the Palestinian people.
79. Dov Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 9:05 pm

I think that Ed Marshall has not only confused Israel with Darfur, as well as the Jewish experience in various Arab states. In being so confused, it shows that he knows very little about the history and politics of the Middle East.
And, as to the second point. I have absolutely no idea what he is talking about (and please don’t take that as an invitation to explain it further, I’m due back on the planet earth in a few minutes).
And, I really thought the accustation of illegitimacy ceased to be an insult a long time ago.
80. Dov Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 9:07 pm

Indeed, it has been a long time since it was an “accusation”
81. Linda Grant Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 9:11 pm

My position on Zionism for the record, is as follows: the creation of the state of Israel was inevitable result of an attempt at total genocide. Without such an attempt, personally, I don’t think that there could have been a case, or indeed sufficient immigration, post 1933, to make it viable.

Unless you can rewind the clock of history, and undo the Holocaust, you will have to put up with the fact that Jewish self-determination is not an idea which is going to go away quickly.

The Holocaust does not justify the occupation, or ethnic cleansing; it does explain why Jews are highly unlikely to give up on the one state in which they are not a minority. And why any solution to the conflict will fail if it does not take this into account, just as any solution which denies Palestinians their national rights, will also fail.
82. Linda Grant Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 9:16 pm

Roland, to quote Daniel once more:

It is in the best interest of all sides to achieve the most just solution possible. And because impossible solutions do not work very well either, we should make it clear – this time mostly to ourselves – that the best of all possible solutions will inevitably involve certain types of compromise over the question of justice. What types of compromise? On what? Why? These are the question we should ask. And the answers should be, by their very definition, pragmatically constrained. Between the unjust solutions that won’t work, and the just solution that is impossible, there is a just-enough solution that is needed. We should try to figure out what this solution is.
83. Dov Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 9:20 pm

One final thought on Marshall’s comments. Marshll, and why am I not surpised, moves from the universal to the particular. He speaks of a “uiversal human right” and then speaks of the belief of its denial as “unique” to the situation of the Palsestinians. Actually, it is not “unique” to the Palestinians. Paradoxically, many of Israel’s opponents support a “universal human right” not to be “driven from your home in an ethnic pogram (sic),but then deny such a right to those living in Israel.
It would appear from the tone of your post that, you too, are more particularist than you think (or not think).

to be denied such a right.
It’s a situation where you have to chose whether you believe in a universal human right not to be driven from your home in an ethnic pogram or to believe that uniquely Palestinians lack that right and that Jews throughout the world have an additional right to the property of the displaced Palestinians.
84. Ed Marshall Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 9:20 pm

I think that Ed Marshall has not only confused Israel with Darfur, as well as the Jewish experience in various Arab states. In being so confused, it shows that he knows very little about the history and politics of the Middle East.

No, it’s not me that’s uneducated here. It wasn’t fairy dust that suddenly changed a country full of Muslim Palestinians into a majority Jewish Israeli state, and say you buy the idea (which is clearly by any standard discredited historically) that it was all an accident or whatever it still wouldn’t explain the 1948 Emergency Absentee Property Act which quite clearly states exactly what you think I’m “confused” about.

It’s not debatable. It’s a fact and you need to pick a side.
85. Mark Elf Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 9:33 pm

Linda - you are not a holocaust victim or survivor and yet with what you advocate, you would (indeed you do) have more right to live in Israel and much of the occupied territory than people who come from there. And invoking the holocaust as justification for this when you know how the zionist leadership covered up the details of what they knew was happening lest Jews be rescued by western powers and not end up either dead or in Palestine is a cheap shot even by your standards.

Anyway your “solution” is racist and it is unjust. And it is certainly not anti-semitic to say so. Let’s not run away from the initial argument of Nick Cohen here. He is accusing leftists, anti-zionists and the anti-Iraq war movement of anti-semitism on the false premise that “all anti-semites are anti-zionists.” That case has been comprehensively demolished by reference to zionist and nazi sources. But having denounced the truth as part of the problem I don’t see how you could have any more to say on the subject.
86. David Hirsh Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 9:38 pm

This is getting silly now. Nick Cohen points out, quite rightly that all contemporary antisemites are anti-Zionist.

The boys from the “Jews Against Zionism” sect bark back - no, it is the Zionists who are the greatest antisemites. “Historically most antisemites have been Zionists” says Roland Rance (historically? we’re talking about now, aren’t we?) - like Adolf Eichamann - says Roland Rance. The man who played a part in murdering millions of Jews was in fact a Jewish nationalist, says Roland Rance. Seem a bit odd? Not if you live on planet “Jews Against Zionism”.

Various people then show that Nick Cohen’s initial claim is right - by giving lots of examples of important antisemites who are indeed using anti-Zionist rhetoric. Some antisemites have demonstrated the point with their own comments on this thread.

So then Mark Elf softens his position a little: “some (but by no means all) anti-semites use the language of anti-zionism”.

OK, so we’re making progress. Some antisemites - British Nazis, American Nazis, the Klan, David Duke, David Irving - are using the rhetoric of anti-Zionism.

And then we have a huge shift of position. Because it was the JAZ sect boys who started this discussion by claiming that antisemites were usually Zionists rather than anti-Zionists. But now they’ve been shown that was wrong, they move on to an entirely different argument.

Why are you “comparing David Duke to Joseph Massad?” asks Mark Elf.

“Jews Against Zionism is not a pro-fascist group, and it is childish to pretend that we are” declares Roland Rance. Don’t dismuss us by using “guilt-by-association” pleads Roland Rance. We oppose Jew-haters, says Roland Rance.

But nobody is comparing Massad to Duke. Nobody is saying that JAZ are KKK supporters or BNP supporters. We have merely been rebutting their eccentric claim that antisemites are not usually anti-Zionists.

Why? Why is it important to point this fact out?

It is because left anti-Zionists have to understand that the world in which we live in is one where most antisemites use similar rhetoric to their own. This should make them careful. This should make them worry about how their ideas are received. This should make them extra sensitive to antisemitism.

But it doesn’t. They are here because they strongly object to Nick Cohen’s piece about the existence of anti-Zionist antisemitism. They have ignored the fact that their comments on this page lie among comments from open antisemites that look very similar to their own comments.

These antiracists have never, it seems, until they met Gilad Atzmon, come accross an antisemite in the anti-Zionist movement. And they think that the fact that the protocols of the elders of Zion are enshrined in the constitution of Hamas - an organisation that specialises in killing Jews (sorry Zionists) is of no importnace.

So now that we have established a simple matter of fact - that most contemporary antisemitism takes the form of anti-Zionism - lets move on and discuss how this fact is significant to those of us who want to support Palestinians in their fight for national independence.
87. Ed Marshall Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 9:40 pm

I never said anywhere that Jews should be removed from the Levant and have never thought such a thing.

What is unique is not that there are Palestinian refugees, what is unique is the concept that only Palestinians have no right to return to their homes and are anti-semitic bastards if they want to vs. the rest of the refugee population on the planet.
88. wardytron Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 9:47 pm

It’s great that Nick has a website, and not so great, but probably inevitable, that the Gerards and Love Supremes have to infest it. I’m assuming that Gerard Killoran is the same Gerard that was so popular and influential at Harry’s Place. Whatever, online Nick Cohen can only be a good thing.
89. Ed Marshall Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 9:49 pm

You are quite intentionally misreading the nazi’s and such.

If you scratch more than the surface all of them are of the William Pierce school of thought which is agnostic about zionism, but believe in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy where they preach multiculturalism and tolerance in foreign countries and racial solidarity for Israel. Talk to some, some time, they actually quite admire zionism as practiced. They feel that Jews are keeping them from replicating the same sort of militant racial purification at home.
90. Linda Grant Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 9:50 pm

I’ll amend Nick’s remarks for him:

‘Most well known anti-semites, such as the BNP, the KK, and the Nazi Party of America are anti-Zionists.’

No, I’m not a Holocaust survivor, but I’ve spent a bit of time among Israelis who are, and their children. I’ve had some quite long conversations with Aharon Appelfeld, whose work I’m sure you know. He arrived in Palestine entirely alone in 1946 from a DP camp in Italy at the age of 14.

I don’t much care about ‘the Zionist leadership’ - I do care about real people, whether they were in refugee camps in Italy in 1946 or are in refugee camps in Lebanon now. I care a lot about solutions that can both sides can accept, and I don’t much care about soltuions that are guaranteed to be unacceptable. The solution needs to be, as Daniel Dror says just-enough. Anything else is pie in the sky when you die.

You’re welcome to hold other views. But they exist encased in perspex, beautiful and tragically unattainable. Stateable, endlessly, but that’s about it.
91. Dov Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 10:09 pm

I am leaving this debate now……..Just a final couple of thoughts.
1. I never said Palestinians were antisemitic for wanting to return to pre-1948 (and, do please stop using the word “bastard” as an insult!)
2 I think you will find that many Jews living in Israel now are forbiden to return to their original homes (see the immigration policies of Syria, Saudia Arabia, etc.)It may come as a surprise to you that many do not think of Israel as their “home” (Jewish and not Jewish)
4 I have absolutely no intention of entering the “what really happened in 1948″ debate”; not because of my belief in positivism (i.e. “it is not debatable because it is a fact”), but, I really don’t think it is worth dicussing such important matters with someone who believes that, Palestine was a “country full of Muslim Palestinians” prior to 1948.
Correspondingly, unlike yourself and your “need to pick a side” - a reference no doubt to Bush’s maxim that “you are either with us or against us” - I will continue to accept the responsibility and difficulty of thought in the face of a complexity that cannot be settled by the repitition of unthinking slogans.

2. Palestine was never a country It always included Jews, Christians, Druze, etc.
92. Dov Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 10:18 pm

IMPORTANT…….the fragment at the bottom of my final comment was a collection of (separate) words that I had deleted in editing my post.
The original sentence read……”Palestine was never a country “full of Muslim Palestinians”, it always included Muslims, Christians, Jews, Arabs, etc.”
93. Gerard Killoran Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 10:37 pm

David Hirsh runs a campaign opposing a boycott of Haifa University yet when it is pointed out that it hosted a racist conference he says, ‘Why anyone thinks that I have to answer for a conference at Haifa U that is absolutely nothing to do with me, is beyond me.’

I’m sorry David, but if a British University held a conference entitled, “The Demographic Problem and Britains’s Demographic Policy.” where a group of powerful white people discussed the black birthrate as a ‘problem’ and the desirability of a white majority, then all hell would break loose. your failure to even critcise such a conference says everything.

You have defended Haifa University against a boycott which could help put a stop to this sort of thing. If this is ‘beyond’ you, then I suggest you should examine your conscience.
94. Dan Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 10:40 pm

Mark Elf,

The best response to your postings was the one which mentioned how your friends on the antisemitic left will stab you in the back once they have no use for you any more.
95. Dan Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 10:48 pm

Ed Marshall,

Why should any reasonable person talk to the Nazi’s (sic) ’some time’? And what is the point of your malicious posts?
96. Dan Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 10:52 pm

Mark Elf,

I would be very interested in some evidence to back up your claim that Zionists were engaged in a cover up of the Holocaust.

You’ve been reading Gilad Atzmon again!
97. Ed Marshall Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 10:53 pm

Ed Marshall,

Why should any reasonable person talk to the Nazi’s (sic) ’some time’? And what is the point of your malicious posts?

Probably, so you would know what in the hell you were talking about. Not that that seems to slow you down.
98. Roland Rance Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 10:59 pm

David Hirsh has no idea what he is talking about if he really believes that anti-Zionist Jews “have never, it seems, until they met Gilad Atzmon, come accross an antisemite in the anti-Zionist movement”. I had the honour to be arrested after I was assaulted by a member of the National Front, who I physically removed from the first Sabra and Shatilla memorial demo back in 1983 (the fascist was told by the police to get lost). My friends and I have never denied that there are vile racists who have attempted to colonise the Palestine solidarity movement. But we have never made the mistake of mistaking these creatures for genuine anti-Zionists.

What disturbs the Zionist-lite commentators here is that we identify Zionism itself as an anti-Jewish movement, which needs and thrives on the existence of anti-Jewish racism, and has not hesitated to collaborate with and even promote this racism. It is precisely because Tony Greenstein and I have been consistent in our deninciation of Zionism as an anti-Jewish movement that we were banned from several university campuses in the 1980s (the racists who mobilised against us could not have cared less what we said about Israel’s attitude and behaviour towards the Palestinians).

It’s interesting that Linda Grant provides a reformulation of Nick Cohen’s original comment. Does that mean that she agrees with us that his statement that “all antisemites are anti-Zionists” is wrong? And in that case, will she join us in pressing the New Statesman to print a reply making that point, which was edited out of all the replies that they published?
99. Linda Grant Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 11:20 pm

What is fascinating about your analysis, Roland, is the way it posits Zionism as an ideology without people. There is the Zionist movement, there is the Zionist leadership, but the rank and file - the person who came out of the camp in 1945 and said, to hell with this, I want to live in my own country where nothing like this can ever happen to me again - is entirely missing.

It’s an odd carry on for socialists to be so dismissive of the experience of ordinary people; not to attack it, but to pretend it simply doesn’t exist. The writings of various Zionist leaders are pored over endlessly, but the writings of ordinary people, where they exist, and of course they do, are ignored (unless they happen to support your own positions). I suppose it’s a matter of that old chestnut ‘false consciousness’ - the way one can pretend what ordinary people think and feel isn’t important or ‘real’.

I’ve just finished writing a book about what ordinary Israelis think and feel, based on listening to what they have to say themselves. You really would be amazed at the diversity of their views (and experiences) yet there is almost no take up at all for anti-Zionism. And I pressed this point, with them.

Israel does not exist because the poor oppressed Jews are forced into Zionism, or because they are hell-bent on a sinister Western colonial project, but because they have a wealth of complex life experiences. And this is why movements such as yours are doomed to failure - they are incapable of connecting with ordinary people in the places inside them that they feel, themselves, are significant.

There are just no known cases where people with a long history of persecution and genocide give up their perceived safety in exchange for abstract notions of justice imposed externally by those with nothing to lose.

As for your suggestion, I think the fact that most of the leading anti-semites are anti-Zionists makes your point a rather feeble one.
100. Jeremyn Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 11:23 pm

I hate to say it, but I worry about this blog.
There’s something to be said for limiting your excellent articles to magazines and papers, where they can be read and appreciated, re-read, cut out and put onto the fridge if necessary, or posted to on other sites.
But here they are followed by a trail of reader contributions - some very good of course, but many hysterical, some offensive, a few just nasty. And it can become cheapened - like you were saying happened once on the Guardian Unlimited Site. People scoring points, linking to their own obsessive sites, arguing, claiming your points as their own…
Or is that just me.
101. Ed Marshall Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 11:35 pm

What is fascinating about your analysis, Linda, is that you have managed to emote all this but still haven’t grasped that you are basically telling a group of people who have lived in garbage dumps for fifty years based on their race that they need to fuck off and die..well at least fuck off.

Quite the human touch.
102. Linda Grant Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 11:39 pm

Really? I thought I was telling them them that there should be a mutually negotiated settlement - two states, based on internationally agreed borders and a porecess of collective responsibility for the the ethnic cleansing of 1948?

This is ‘fuck off and die?’
103. Ed Marshall Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 11:56 pm

Really? I thought I was telling them them that there should be a mutually negotiated settlement - two states, based on internationally agreed borders and a porecess of collective responsibility for the the ethnic cleansing of 1948?

That would throw you into the anti-zionist camp depending on how responsibility was really defined. As a matter of fact, I’ve been told before that stance is objectively anti-semitic and amounts to a wish to destroy Israel.
104. Adrian Cohen Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 12:23 am

Roland says that he and Tony Greenstein were banned from many campuses. Tony Greenstein was banned for many years from NUS conferences. Tony please remind us why.

Zionism before the Second World war was made up of many things, liberal nationalism, marxism, trade unionism, bauhaus, futurism, romanticism, self loathing, gender egalitarianism, militarism and utopian communism - there are Zionist writers of all persuasions. No Zionists of any hue forsaw the Holcaust. Most did not appreciate the implications of Nazism or for that matter Stalinism - not surprising really - they were people of their age, just like the Bundists who died in the Warsaw Ghetto fighting arm in arm with the Zionists or in the chambers of Auschwitz, with Chassidim, Misnaggdim, baptised Jews and yes more Zionists. The Jews Against Zionism weave together disperate threads of Kastner and Lehi and Herzl to make a very threadbare cloth. Their analysis is ahistorical in part and false in part. The texts that support their thesis like Lenny Brenner’s Zionism in the Age of Dictators have never stood up to serious academic scrutiny.

Most importantly if what they say is intended to be a Jewish discourse aimed at Jews who identify as Jews they are remarkably unsuccessful.We know the complexities of our modern and ancient history, and their simplicities amount to nothing more in words than the graphics of the Lenny Brenner posters in the 80’s of the swastika equalling the star of david. All they do is cause pain and upset but for sure no enlightenment.

Roland I first heard you speak when I was 16 in about 1979 in the Barkingside Jewish Youth Club. You are still saying the same stuff. Enough already - we get the point. Things are now getting nasty for all of us - its time to come home.
105. Roland Rance Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 12:35 am

I certainly didn’t speak in the Barkingside Jewish Youth Club in 1979, or at any other time. In fact, I very much doubt that they would have invited me. Adrian, where did you get that idea?

And where should I come home to? I have no intention of living in Gants Hill again.
106. Adrian Cohen Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 1:10 am

ok - so you accept you are a landsman.

1979 - the chair of UJS spoke at a meeting about the ‘campus war’ -my recollection was it was in Barkingside JYC - may be it was Redbridge - Sinclair House - no it was definitely Barkingside - you were in the audience and when he finished you let rip - it was the first time any of us had heard an anti Zionist Jew - I think you had only recently come back from Israel - some people wanted to chuck you out the room but the consensus was to let you speak and you did at some length -if it wasn’t you who was it?

Your comments about Gants Hill are perhaps more revealing than intended.

I have this dark idea - rather than waiting for the worst to find a common purpose I wonder whether we could start to find things in common before things get that bad - you know, try and avoid the mistakes of the past, or are you relaxed about the security of Jews in the Europe and the UK in particular?
107. Roland Rance Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 1:26 am

I’ve never spoken at Sinclair House either. And in 1979, I had not “only recently” come back from Israel. I have no idea which anti-Zionist Jew it was who you heard; there are plenty of us, after all.

And no, I’m not relaxed about the security of ANYONE in the UK, irrespective of ethnic origin. But I siuspect that the source of my concern is different than yours; I see the steady erosion of civil liberties, the marketisation of public services, and the alienation of the public sphere, as the major political concern in Britain.
108. david gehrig Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 1:44 am

Most importantly if what they say is intended to be a Jewish discourse aimed at Jews who identify as Jews they are remarkably unsuccessful.

I’ll second that. To borrow a phrase from Justice Gray, there is “a distinct air of unreality” about an analysis in which one or two carefully selected historical oddities through which, say, the Nazis can be viewed — as seen through sufficiently dark glasses — as “pro-Zionist” outweigh the clear historical evidence that the Nazi program was to destroy Jews wherever they could reach them, and that Ribbentrop’s famous genocidal promise to the Grand Mufti showed the Nazi intent to do the same to the Jews in the nascent Jewish state as soon as it became feasible.

What is the motivation to make such orthogonal-to-reality claims? Not the weight of history, certainly. And that’s why groups like Jews Against Zionism remain the sideshow they are: it’s simply too clear to most Jews that their core value is “whatever demonizes Israel is good,” and those shards of fact shored against that goal have been chosen not because they are representive of historical reality but because they help facilitate the chant, “Zionism is Nazism, Zionism is Nazism.”
109. Adrian Cohen Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 2:05 am

ok - I must be mistaken - wierd how the memory plays tricks. There weren’t plenty and certainly not in Gants Hill in the late 70’s.

Of course we have common concerns, regardless of ethnic origin and I share your universalist concerns; difficult not to given how broadly you have stated them. I don’t think that you have answered my question though.
110. Mikey Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 4:05 am

On the subject of anti Zionism and anti Semitism.

The way I see it is that if someone is anti all forms of Nationalism and argue that their should be no such thing as statehood then it is perfectly acceptable to be “Anti Zionist” and in that context it does not mean that the person with that view is an anti-Semite.

The problem is that their are certain people, some of which are contributing to this comments section and very much on the fringe claim to be Anti-Zionist and not Anti-Semitic.

Considering that those people in certain circumstances have for many years been arguing that there is one country that does not have a right to exist and that country being Israel being the only Jewish State in the world then it is easy for people to come to the conclusion that their arguments are based on anti-Semitism. This is a view I agree with.

David Hirsh has in his own article linked to above…

made some very good points on this subject.

It does not seem to matter to these people what Israel does for peace. For example Israel recntly pulled out of Gaza. No praise from the Ant-Zionist mob. Israel could also pull out of the West Bank but yet again there would be no praise from these same people.

The reason for this is that do not fudamentally accept the right of Israel to exist and will utilise every opportunity and weak arguments to be critical of the country.

Being Critical of Ariel Sharon is not to be Anti Zionist any more than it is to be Anti British to be critical of the Tony Blair.

Singling out Israel for elimination and I feel there is something quite anti-semitic about it…
111. Anita Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 4:26 am

Read this for some facts. The Arabs have been trying to exterminate the Jews from the start and the British supported them.
112. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 4:56 am

David Hirah, having levelled all manner of personal attacks on anti-zionists has now, together with Linda Grant, moved the goal posts. What Nick Cohen did was something we see so many zionists do: he used a rhetorical device to attack those he disagrees with. David Hirsh and Linda Grant have now adjusted the rhetorical device but it does not detract from the fact that Nick Cohen, Linda Grant and David Hirsh are all deploying the smear that anti-zionism is of itself anti-semitic. Both Linda Grant and David Hirsh have said so many times. David Hirsh is a prominent academic so he uses the word “objectively” before “anti-semitic” just to, er, clarify.

It’s interesting that Linda Grant sees as allies people who will not criticise the zionist ideology in anyway and indeed she has not. As far as I can see there has been no renunciation of the idea that Jews worldwide should have more right to settle in most of what was Palestine than those non-Jews that live there or come from there but don’t live there, ie, the Palestinian victims of ethnic cleansing. Linda claims to want a realistic solution but both Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky support the so-called two state solution and they manage it without lying for racist war criminals, glossing over the crimes that the zionists knew they would have to commit in order to establish a state in Palestine for Jews, or, most significantly for Linda Grant, David Hirsh and Nick Cohen, without launching personal attacks on anti-zionists. They , Finkelstein and Chomsky, see openness and honesty as the best policy.

Regarding some anti-semites or fascist groups using anti-zionist sounding rhetoric, I stand by this. Obviously if people want to mobilise other people against Jews then they will look for something that puts Jews in an unfavourable light, like a Jewish state that treats gentiles in a way that Jews have been treated historically, though not permamently or universally as the zionists usually make out. But many of the European fascist groups support Israel and America’s anti-semitic Christian right famously supports Israel, which is why people call them Christian zionists.

It’s telling that the zionists can only make themselves appear half-way humanistic by trying to contrast their own behaviour with the rhetoric of neo-nazis. So Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres look moderate and acceptable next to, say, Hitler or Hitler wannabees? How would they look next to, say, PW Botha or Begin’s friend, John Vorster? Conversely, when the Italian fascist leader wanted to appear moderate he went and stood next to Ariel Sharon, who, seeking to look moderate himself, shook him warmly by the hand.
113. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 5:02 am

Mikey - most anti-zionists simply argue that all states should be bound by rules that forbid ethnic cleansing, colonial settlement and segregationist laws. Israel currently exists on the basis of a combination of these three things. Which other state has an open invitation to people from around the world, who do not come from there, to come and settle there whilst most natives must live outside the country? I go back to what I said earlier - “Israel is uniquely despised because Israel is uniquely despicable.” It is support for Israel that is inconsistent with the abstract principles underpinning the idea of some kind of international law; principles that should apply equally to all.
114. Mikey Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 5:26 am

Mark Elf, I have never read so much twaddle in ages. Where do you invent this stuff?

Ethic Cleansing??? Not worthy of comment. Disgusting comment and innacurate.

Segregation laws? Israeli Arabs can live in Tel Aviv if they so wish. What segregation laws?

An open invitation for people from around the world to come and settle there - Accurate. Britain chooses its immigration laws, the USA chooses its immigration laws and Israel can choose its immigration laws. Israel opens its doors to Jews around the world for what ever reason they want. This could be persecution or fear for example the Faashas - Black African Jews, Russian Jews or at its imnception Holocaust refugees. Indeed the immigration laws in Israel suggest even for non Jews that the possibility of obtaining citizenship is easier than it is for say a non American to obtain an American passport. The crucial point being (not unreasonably) in order to take up citizenship you must be a supporter of the country. It would be ludicrous to expect any country to give passports to people who do not accept the right of that country to exist in the first place.Mark Elf probably expects Israel to do it when he would not expect others to do it.

“Most Natives must live outside the country” I think you will find MArk that most people born in Israel have the right to live there. Your inconsistencies and innacuracies in statements to try and justify the elimination of a state is to use your own phrase “uniquely despicable”.

You talk about principles that should apply equally to all. What about the Jews Mark? Don’t they have rights to a homeland??

23 or so Arab states and only one Jewish state. An area that is smaller than Wales and you wont let up. As far as you are concerned that small piece of land is too much.
115. Inna Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 7:18 am

Mark Elf writes “principles [of international law] should apply equally to all.”

Mark, I could not agree more.

So will you send a little of your commendable energy promoting (for example) the right to worship in Egypt? ( )


116. Inna Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 7:19 am

“send” in the previous post should of course have been “spend”
117. S Benari Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 9:00 am

It is astounding that all the contribuors from England and America that condemn Israel and “Zionism”, and proclaim the rights of human beings do not look at the their backyards first. American socialists proclaim the coming revolution but never mentioned that the land they live upon was stolen from Native Americans who have no history of cultural violence against them. They have no Jihads or Crusades, and no books that claim by right of God to murder another. They do not see the effect of economic migration upon rural communties in their own countries that destroys the lives of the indigenous peoples, i.e. Wales and other regions. Instead they conjure up some fantasy.
Before Zionism there was no Palestinian paradise where people lived at peace with each other. Instead there was oppression and violence by the Ayanes class and the Ulema. When the British took over in 1917 they simply worked with this feudal structure and let the dominant groups slaughter those amongst the Palestinians who hoped for co-existance. The “pro-Palestinian” factions today do not recognise, because of their ignorance, that both the PNA and Hamas want return to pre-Tanzimat days when they held sway over the majority of people’s lives and could do as they wished.
If Israel has not lived up to the ideals that it set itself, then neither have the nation states that criticise it. What of the dreadful ghettos of England and the USA where people are denied decent quality housing and education because of their race and religion. What of England where having the wrong accent can condemn you to exclusion and derision?
If Zionists sought anything it was to create a Jewish state which was as other states, they have succeeded. Israel is doing everything that other states do and have done. Why are you criticising Israel for this? Or is it that you apply special rules to Jews?
118. Nick Cohen Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 10:11 am

100 Dear Jeremyn,
I agree, we seem to have the fan club of the BNP/SWP (hard to tell the difference these days) fouling the site. As I said earlier it’s not up and running properly yet. Either I’ll have to waste a lot of time censoring or I won’t have comments at all and if people want to talk to me they can email.
I have to say after reading some of the comments here, I was, if anything, far too mild in my Statesman piece. I defy any fair minded person to look at what has been written above and deny that there is a raging sickness on the left.
Best wishes,
119. Linda Grant Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 10:14 am

Once again, for the record, I have never stated that anti-Zionism is in and of itself anti-semitic. I have stated that one needs to examine the motives of the anti-Zionist in each instance, and consider carefully, the consequences of their arguments.

Mark has a long history of ascribing ideas to me that I do not hold. But worse, my first interaction with him was when he stated that I had invented an anti-semitic incident involving teenage yobs at my mother’s stone-setting, which I alluded to briefly in a Guardian article. He was forced to withdraw this allegation, and apologise. Mark seems intent on disputing any reference to anti-semitism if it comes from those whose political opinions he does not share.

This does not seem to me like the action of someone who cares very much about anti-semitism, unless it appears in the politically correct clothing of anti-Zionism.

Well done to Nick for opening up this debate. And well done to Engage for continuing to frame the discussion on anti-semitism in such thoughtful, thought-povoking ways, which allow vigorous criticism of Israeli government pollicy without demonisation.
120. Mikey Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 10:42 am

And well done also to yourself Linda.. The left needs to stamp out once and for all this Anti-Zionism cancer that is within their midst.
121. Adrian Cohen Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 10:45 am

What I can’t bear is the dehumanisation that Elf and the Jews Agaionst Zionism practice - we are called ‘zionists’ as if that is our sole defining characteristic and as if ‘zionist’ can mean only one thing which they define for us (and its very nasty - no doubt Mossad is in there somewhere)- the Board of Deputies are described on the Jews sans fontieres as the zionist Board of Deputies or as a zionist agency, even though it is drawn from synagogues of every religious affiliation bar the charedi and every communal charitable body and spends most of its time on Jewish domestic affairs - by their definition only they and perhaps Neturei Karta are not ‘zionist’. When you dehumanise most Jews and their representatives in this way you have to ask yourself what is going on. This isn’t really about Palestinian solidarity nor Jewish liberation. Hence my figurative suggestion to Roland to come home.
122. TheLevantine Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 11:15 am

“Mark Elf Says:
October 16th, 2005 at 2:15 am
I object to all immigration controls but Israel’s are the very worst. Israel has an open invitation to people of Jewish faith or descent only at the expense of living people who actually came from there.”

Mark Elf, aside of being passionately negative about all thing Israeli, is very adept in singling Israel out. He/ she does not let his/her lack of knowledge and understanding stand in the way.

Do you happen to know about the german (not the Nazi one) policy re right of return for german nationals? As one example only.
123. TheLevantine Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 11:29 am

“Either I’ll have to waste a lot of time censoring or I won’t have comments at all and if people want to talk to me they can email.”

Dear Nick, cleaning up that specific type of posts would be not only a waste of your time, but also counterproductive. Most of these posts are quite transparent and do the opposite of what their authors intended to.

(The last sentence was not to diminish the valiant effort of Linda Grant and others here. It is just that I strongly suspect that one could achieve a greater level of success in razing the Chinese Wall using his fingernails than in changing some minds here…)
124. Old Peculier Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 11:38 am

So Love Supreme the Jew hater posts on other blogs too, not just Harry’s Place?

125. soovey Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 11:58 am

A change of tack, I think.

I believe that the poverty of the Palestinians contributes to the ease with which they are manipulated and used. Under Arafat little of the UN monies meant for relief reached their destination. Surrounded as they are by wealthy Arab nations, Palestinian people can almost be excused any bitterness they might feel about their poverty. Inexcusable, though, is their way of acting this out, and use their Arab neighbours make of them to distract
their own populations from their grievances.

I will not easily forget reading about the blood money sent to Hamas by Saudi Arabia for the compensation of the families of homicide bombers (and how interesting that the men are promised glory in heaven - and their families receive more by way of compensation that do the families of the female homicide bombers). We are told that some of the latter are “encouraged” to act in order to remove the alleged stains they had placed on their families’ honour. Not for them honour in heaven.

I have yet to read about a believable guarantee from the PA that if Israel withdraws from the West Bank she will be left in peace. The post-Arafat PA cannot control Hamas or other extremist/terrorist groups.

Palestinian and Israeli children are the future of any peace process. The former are reared on hatred of Jews and Israel (and if the PA conflates the two, then it’s easy for the rest of the world to do so).
126. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 1:34 pm

Linda Grant - this is you “Mark has a long history of ascribing ideas to me that I do not hold. But worse, my first interaction with him was when he stated that I had invented an anti-semitic incident involving teenage yobs at my mother’s stone-setting, which I alluded to briefly in a Guardian article. He was forced to withdraw this allegation, and apologise. Mark seems intent on disputing any reference to anti-semitism if it comes from those whose political opinions he does not share.”

It is true that you described an anti-semitic incident which you claimed occurred at your mother’s stone setting. It is equally true that shortly after you did that a rabbi writing in the Guardian berated both you and Melanie Phillips for exaggerating the incidence of anti-semitism in the UK. You denied ever having said anything (from memory) “in print or anywhere else about anti-semitism in the UK.” I naturally assumed that you must have invented the incident that you had described in the Guardian only a few months prior to your denial of ever having said anything about anti-semitism in the UK. I happily posted what I believed was your dishonesty on my blog and you wrote to me to demand that I remove it and you compared me to David Irving. I wrote to you that it was your silly fault that I assumed that you were lying but that I had heard that you had a particularly moving experience with your mother’s altzheimers and that I was “truly sorry” for having invoked her memory. You wrote back in a far more amicable vein asking that I remove all references to the incident even though I had actually run a retraction. You said you wanted no mention of it at all because the whole thing was particularly distressing for a (I think it was) nephew of yours (I think you said he was an anti-racist activist at Leeds Uni) and you didn’t want him reminded of it. You now bring it up yourself, sufficient in detail for any of the distressed witnesses to the alleged event to recognise but in so truncated a form as to make me look like I serially misrepresent you. And yet the only thing you could drag up was something you asked me to delete all reference to.
I’m really warming to your brand of zionism. So full of integrity.
127. Nick Cohen Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 2:03 pm

Fair point, Old Peculiar
128. Josh Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 2:22 pm

Can I remind people that it was the Arabs who attacked Israel in 1948, not the other way round. The palestinian refugees were a result of that war. That war continued after 1948, how in a state of war could refugees be let back in? If ethnic cleansing was the aim why were there so many arabs left in Israel? What about the total ethnic cleansing of Jews from arab lands? Why are paleastinians confined to camps in arab countries with limited civil rights? Who then are the rascists?
129. Love Supreme Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 3:01 pm

So Old Peculier the Muslim-hater posts on other sites, not just Harry’s Place!

Not scary at all– just freedom of speech. How many more split seconds will Mr Cohen put up with that tedious principle before he goes the same way as Stephen Pollard, Oliver Kamm, Johann Hari and Mad Melanie?
130. Old Peculier Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 3:42 pm

Not a Muslim hater, just an outspoken opponent of Islam. There is a big difference. Jew-haters like yourself are not finding fault with Leviticus, they are straightforward racists.
131. TheLevantine Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 6:23 pm

“Linda claims to want a realistic solution but both Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky support the so-called two state solution and they manage it without lying for racist war criminals, glossing over the crimes that the zionists knew they would have to commit in order to establish a state in Palestine for Jews, or, most significantly for Linda Grant, David Hirsh and Nick Cohen, without launching personal attacks on anti-zionists.”

Wow, Mark, wow!

How could I have missed this one? Being one of these “racist war criminals” I was not aware that Israel was created for Linda Grant, David Hirsh and Nick Cohen. Does it mean that we’ll have all move aside soon to make some room for them?

By the was, how do Finkelstein/Chomsky support the two state solution in a way different from that of the above trio? Thanks in advance for your answer.
132. Linda Grant Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 6:58 pm

Since you ask, here is Chomsky in his own words. You’ll see that I have been making identical arguments. There is no difference between us, except the one that exists only in the imaginations of Mark Elf and Roland Rance. As I have been trying to show, the anti-Zionist position is so far to the margins that it plays no real part in any activist left that is worth bothering with:

“One of the thorniest issues is the Palestinian right of return. Palestinian refugees should certain y not be willing to renounce it, but in this world — not some imaginary world we can discuss in seminars — that right will not be exercised, in more than a limited way, within Israel.

“In any case, it is improper to dangle hopes that will not be realised before the eyes of people suffering in misery and oppression. Rather, constructive efforts should be pursued to mitigate their suffering and deal with their problems in the real world.

“A two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus is already acceptable to a very broad range of Israeli opinion. That even includes extreme hawks, who are so concerned by the “demographic problem” — the problem of too many non-Jews in a “Jewish state” — that they are even advancing the (outrageous) proposal to transfer areas of dense Arab settlement within Israel to a new Palestinian state.

“A majority of the US population also supports the two-state settlement. Therefore, it is not at all inconceivable that organising/activist efforts in the US could bring the US government into line with the international consensus, in which case, Israel would very likely go along as well.

“Even without any US pressure, a great many Israelis favour something of this sort — depending on exactly how questions are asked in polls. A change in Washington’s position would make an enormous difference.

“The former leaders of Shin Bet, as well as the Israeli peace movement (Gush Shalom and others), believe that the Israeli public would accept such an outcome.

“But speculation about that is not our real concern. Rather, it is to bring US government policy into line with the rest of the world, and apparently with the majority of the US public.”
133. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 7:07 pm

I expressed myself badly perhaps - I meant that it was significant in the cases of Linda Grant, David Hirsh and Nick Cohen, that Chomsky and Finkelstein don’t use rhetorical devices or personal attacks to close down debate on Palestine.

Chomsky believes that by pressing the right to return the Palestinians are being harmed. He is not suggesting that Jews should have more rights in Israel than non-Jews as they now do and certainly not that Jews from outside Israel should have more rights than native non-Jews but he feels that the right of the Palestinians to return should perhaps be abandoned. I think so anyway. In fact he says that a state cannot be democratic whilst defining itself as a Jewish state. Chomsky actually considers himself to be a zionist. Anyway, you can always email him. He always replies to me when I have a query. I don’t know Finkelstein’s position exactly I just know that he speaks for the two states solution and complains that only America and Israel are standing in the way of that. I doubt very much if he believes that Jews should have more rights than Arabs in Israel and certainly not that Jews from outside should have more rights than non-Jews inside or from Israel. Again you can email him. He’s also a very amenable chap.

Re the above trio - I think you’ll find that Linda Grant supports the idea of Jews worldwide being a nation with a superior title to Israel than the Arab population who were removed from there, and possibly even who are still there. She’ll have to confirm or deny this but I think she is against the right of return and in favour of the so-called Law of Return. She might deny that but I think it is consistent with things that she has written. I think she once said that characterising zionism as a form of racism is unfair because it denies Jews the right to control their own destiny. I’d say all Jews outside of Israel have more control over our own destiny than Israeli Jews. I should point out that she said above that she does not say that anti-zionism is anti-semitism but if she says that anti-zionism is unfair to all Jews that’s pretty damn close to calling it anti-semitism.

David Hirsh takes the view, well he says anyway, that anti-zionism is “objectively” anti-semitic. Neither Chomsky nor Finkelstein take that view.

I couldn’t really say where Nick Cohen stands on the question of Palestine except he seems to believe that a colonial settler state based on ethnic cleansing and segregationist laws can be democratic. Also he made the bogus claim that ALL anti-semites are anti-zionists - though apparently what he meant to say was that some anti-semites today use the language of anti-zionism which is a bit like saying that many racists today use the language of law and order but let’s not go there again.

Funnily enough, together with the rest of the world’s Jews, Israel is a state for Linda Grant, David Hirsh and me, but since Nick Cohen went to such extraordinary lengths to disclaim all but a hint of Jewish lineage Israel might find him a soft refugee camp somewhere but if he’s more than three generations removed from whatever his Jewish root happens to be then he can’t automatically acquire citizenship.

Now, any more questions and you’ll have to go to my blog or email me. My address is at my blog. I should point out that I delete racist posts and time wasting but apart from that it’s a pretty open house. Re email, I usually respond eventually.

134. R Davies Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 7:50 pm

Despite all the hot air, it is conveniently forgotten that Zionism is a reactive not proactive movement at its root. The emergence of the nation state and the demand for unalloyed allegiance to that in the West peculiarly tested Jews unlike any other group. For a people without a land / state, they remained at the mercy of their “hosts”, and less we forget anti-semitism was rarely condemned in the UK until the late 1970’s and the word Jew was a common pejorative. In the largely Muslim middle eastern world where Jews also lived, they were either assigned a subordinate role akin to Afro-Americans until the 1960’s, or identified with colonial rule, which had provided Jews with a measure of equality in law. Both groups of Jews were victims of systems where despite their alleged power, they were unable to protect themselves and could not confidently look to their neighbours for protection.
It is a convenience, that the left and right in politics adopt, to excoriate Israel, Isrealis and Jews in general, as it enables them, particulary the left, to avoid recognising their own responsibility for the creation of the current mess in the Middle East.
It is also astonishing that the left wing in the west shows so much affection for individuals from the middle east who represent the forces of violence and reaction.
It is my belief that the willingness to overlook the excesses of Muslim world is a form of racism which regards Muslims and Arabs as culturally and morally inferior. There can be no other explanation for the continued support for regimes and individuals who systematically steal from and brutalise the very people that the left wing claims to be supporting.
135. Linda Grant Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:01 pm

Ireland has a Law of Return. Britain has a Law of Return. Germany has a Law of Return.

I expect other countries do, too.
136. TheLevantine Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:14 pm

“Funnily enough, together with the rest of the world’s Jews, Israel is a state for Linda Grant, David Hirsh and me…”

Funnily? That would be a first. As far as my limited knowledge of history goes, the reasons for the Law of Return are anything but funny.

Since neither your blog nor your extensive posts here, Mark, disclose what you mean by anti-Zionism, you would have to make an additional effort and explain what it means for you.

And it seems that you have conveniently ignored the remarks on your ignorance re Law of Return, which you tried to present as unique racist aberration of Israel.
137. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:25 pm

Ireland’s citizenship law is based on having a grandparent from Ireland. Israel’s law of return is based on having a grandparent from anywhere in the world just so long as they are Jewish. If you have a grandparent from what we now call Israel there is a strong chance that you will be denied the right to citizenship because you will more likely be a Palestinian Arab. This is what I mean by your deviousness Linda.
138. TheLevantine Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:26 pm

“Since you ask, here is Chomsky in his own words.”

Er… well, I asked Mark E. to explain the chasm between you, Nick Cohen and David Hirsch on one side and Chomsky/Finkesltein pair on the other (re the two state solution, to be precise).

But since you have bothered, thank you very much.
139. Linda Grant Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:34 pm

I believe the Irish government recently changed the law so that a child born in Ireland to foreign residents, is not entitled to citizenship, while an American who is as Irish as Nick Cohen is Jewish and has never set foot there, is.
140. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:35 pm

Linda - I missed your comment where you have the outrageous chutzpah to compare yourself to Chomsky of all people. You say that we will see that your positions are identical but I doubt if he conflates Israel’s law of return which is an invitation to colonial settlement for people who don’t come from Israel whilst denying citizenship rights to people who do come from there. If Israel’s citizenship laws were based on the one grandparent from that country principle Israel may well have an Arab majority. But please, show us where Chomsky’s position on the law of return is like yours. Having accused me of misrepresenting you, I think you’re misrepresenting yourself. If I’m wrong then I’ll simply put Chomsky on the disingenuous moral scrapheap with you.
141. TheLevantine Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:36 pm

“Ireland’s citizenship law is based on having a grandparent from Ireland.”

Not so in the German version. I am not sure about the British one. Anyway, your # 137, Mark, is just grasping a straw. You have lost an argument, so leave it alone.
142. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:41 pm

You’re wrong on Irish law Linda. A child who is born in Ireland is not NECESSARILY entitled to Irish citizenship. As far as I know the law has not been tested yet at even the Irish level let alone the European or UN level. But well done Linda - Israel truly is a light unto the nations. Perhaps I could point out that none of the opponents of this racist legislation in Ireland were accused of either anti-Irish racism or of self-hatred.

But let’s not run away from the fact that whilst Ireland together with probably all states is a state with racists and now with racist laws, Israel however is a racist state. That’s what set South Africa apart from other states. Have you forgotten?
143. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:44 pm

Levantine - I meant “funnily” like “curiously”. Now no more questions please. I think I’ve answered every question I have noticed being put to me honestly and to the best of my knowledge.
144. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:45 pm

My no 137 is correct.
145. TheLevantine Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:49 pm

This is a quote from # 132 by Linda Grant (who is quoting from Chomsky):

“One of the thorniest issues is the Palestinian right of return. Palestinian refugees should certain y not be willing to renounce it, but in this world — not some imaginary world we can discuss in seminars — that right will not be exercised, in more than a limited way, within Israel.”

I have a difficulty in distinguishing the differences between that position and between anything Linda Grant posted here. You will probably have to do away with Chomsky, Mark.

No to a related, albeit difeerent, subject. Follow two quotes from your posts:

1. “I expressed myself badly perhaps - I meant that it was significant in the cases of Linda Grant, David Hirsh and Nick Cohen, that Chomsky and Finkelstein don’t use rhetorical devices or personal attacks to close down debate on Palestine.”

2. “If I’m wrong then I’ll simply put Chomsky on the disingenuous moral scrapheap with you.”

It seems that, while praising Chomsky for not using rhetorical devices or personal attacks, you personally do not follow this admirable example.
146. TheLevantine Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:53 pm

“But let’s not run away from the fact that whilst Ireland together with probably all states is a state with racists and now with racist laws, Israel however is a racist state.”

That one needs a breakdown for unwashed heathens, Mark.

And re asking questions - you would agree that it is my privilege, exactly as yours is not answering them if inconvenient.

I have already looked at your blog. Please do not take offence, but it is in poor taste and a poor state.
147. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:54 pm

That last wasn’t a rhetorical device. It was a statement of my revulsion of racism. Where is Chomsky’s position on the law of return? Linda Grant said her position was identical to Chomsky. Why would I have more time for Chomsky than for Linda Grant if that were the case? Perhaps rather than you (Levantine) interceding on her behalf, Linda Grant could offer her own explanation here.

As far as I can tell Chomsky wants peace whereas Linda Grant wants a victory for zionism.
148. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 8:56 pm

Re my blog - you can still ask me questions there and you can email me as I said. You are simply philibustering in the hope that the only thing a casual reader will see are your comments at the end or Nick Cohen’s fan club at the beginning.
149. Linda Grant Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 9:03 pm

Perhaps, Mark, you should come to one of the readinsg by the Palestinian writer, Samir el Youssef. I accompanied him to Israel in February and found some ‘Zionist’ friends to drive him up north to find the (now destroyed) village from where his mother and grandparents fled (not expelled), in 1948, across the voprder into Lebanon, where Samir was born in a refugee camp in 1966. The village is now a moshav and the ‘Zionist’ doctor we were with translated the Hebrew for him on the aign, explaining what the village was, and what it was now.

Go to one of these events and ask him if I want peace or a victory for Zionism. He and I have discussed these questions for dozens of hours, boith in Israel and here. You’ll get an honest answer. And unless you think he is devious, that should settle matters for you.
150. TheLevantine Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 9:20 pm

Quite a few remarks that I just have to make.

“Perhaps rather than you (Levantine) interceding on her behalf, Linda Grant could offer her own explanation here.”

That, Mark, is a bit of exaggeration, surely? I do not think Linda Grant needs my assistance in any subject, particularly not in answering your posts here.

“As far as I can tell Chomsky wants peace whereas Linda Grant wants a victory for zionism.”

If you had cared ever to listen to Israelis like I and uncounted others (I know that for you to say “Israeli” is close to impossible), you would have understood that peace and victory for Zionism are one and the same. But your mind does not seem to be able to accept such a “contradiction”.

“You are simply philibustering in the hope that the only thing a casual reader will see are your comments at the end or Nick Cohen’s fan club at the beginning.”

Now, what is this one if not a personal attack? Quite a disorganized one at that, taking into account that using a nickname and craving publicity hardly go together.

Sorry, Mark, as far as I am concerned, as long as I am in the dark re your understanding of anti-Zionism, that discussion is of no value indeed.
151. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 9:50 pm

Linda - did you explain Chomsky’s position on the Law of Return pursuant to the idea that his views are identical with yours or did you change the subject completely?
152. Linda Grant Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 10:20 pm

If the Law of Return gets Ethiopian Jews out of refugee camps in Ethiopia where they are spat upon and perscuted and called The Strangers, then yeah, I’m all for it.

And you get the Palestinians out of their refugee camps where they’re subject to checkpoimts, incursions, all the rest of it, by ending the occupation and creating a Palestinian state based on mutually recognised legal borders, in accordance with the wishes of the Palestinian national struggle.

If you think this is fascist, racist or apartheid, then you’re going to have to learn to live with it - because it’s what is going to happen sooner or later.
153. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 10:35 pm

Ok Linda - I’ll learn to live with the “fascist, racist or apartheid” system that you have learned to live with. I promise. Could you just let me know when the racist war criminals of Israel decided that Ethiopian Jews were Jews for the purpose of “returning” to the Israel they don’t come from. I seem to remember it being after Palestinians were barred from the Israeli economy. But who knows, perhaps it was for humanitarian reasons that Israel started recognising one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world as being Jewish enough for the law of “return.”
154. Linda Grant Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 10:45 pm

1980. I think you’ll find that the restrictions on Palestinian labour started significantly later than that.

Covert operations by Israeli operatives smuggling Ethiopian Jews into Israel had begun as early as 1980. By the end of 1982, some 2,500 Ethiopian Jews had been resettled in Israel and over the course of 1983 another 1,800 left Sudan on foot. In order to operate more quickly, Israeli agents began using Hercules transport planes each with a holding capacity of 200 immigrants per flight.

The large numbers of Jews crossing on foot into Sudan was taking a horrible human toll and creating dangerous conditions in the refugee camps. Israeli agents realized that a large-scale operation was necessary. Operation Moses thus began on November 21, 1984. Refugees were bused directly from the Sudanese camps to a military airport near Khartoum. Under a shroud of secrecy established by a news blackout, they were then airlifted directly to Israel. Between November 21, 1984 and January 5, 1985, approximately 8,000 Ethiopian Jews came home to Israel.

News leaks ended Operation Moses prematurely, as Arab nations pressured the Sudanese government to disallow Ethiopian Jews to cross Sudanese territory. About 1,000 Jews were left behind in Sudan, and tens of thousands more remained in Ethiopia. Babu Yakov, a community leader summed up the situation in saying that many of those left behind were the ones unable to make the dangerous trek across Sudan - women, children and the elderly. He continued, “Those least capable of defending themselves are now facing their enemies.” Approximately 4,000 Ethiopian Jews died on the overland, on-foot journey through Sudan.

In 1985, then Vice President George Bush initiated a CIA follow-up called Operation Joshua to bring 800 of the 1,000 remaining in Sudan to Israel. During the next five years however, negotiations to continue operations fell on deaf ears among the Mariam administration.

In Israel, Ethiopian Jews began learning Hebrew and beginning the long processes of absorption and integration into Israeli society, spending between six months and two years in absorption centers. Ethiopian immigrants began training to prepare themselves for living in an industrialized society.

The barriers erected by social and cultural differences were difficult for many to overcome. Ethiopian Jewish refugees came from a developing nation with a rural economy, into a western nation with a high-tech market economy. Integration and social equality often escaped newcomers and problems involving their religious status, employment, education and housing remain to this day. Immigration brought changes in family life, community life and social status patterns. Assimilation and acculturation with regards to religious and oral traditions, social and cultural practices and language took their toll as well. The joy of returning to “Zion” was therefore tinged for many with the anxiety and depression of departure and separation. Approximately 1,600 Ethiopian children became “orphans of circumstance,” separated from their parents, brothers, sisters and extended families who were left behind.
155. Linda Grant Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 10:47 pm

The Ethiopian aliyah you’re thinking of is this one:

In 1990, Ethiopia and Israel came to an agreement under which Ethiopian Jews would be allowed to leave under the auspices of family reunification. As word spread that, thousands began leaving Gonder for Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian government enacted quotas based on time spent in Sudan, in Addis Ababa, ill-health, age, position within the community and other similar factors.

In 1991, the political and economic situation in Ethiopia had deteriorated as Eritrean and Tigrean rebels mounted increasingly successful offensives against the Mariam regime. In May, rebels took control of Addis Ababa and Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam fled. In late 1990, worried about what might happen to Ethiopian Jews during a political transition period, aliyah and aid workers, the Jewish Agency, Israeli government and IDF had already made covert preparations to airlift and absorb Ethiopian Jews. On Friday May 24th, as the rebels closed in, Operation Solomon began.

Over the course of 36 hours, a total of 34 El Al Hercules c-130s - with their seats removed to maximize passenger capacity - flew non-stop. 14,325 Ethiopian Jews came home to Israel, to be greeted by thousands of Israelis who gathered at temporary absorption centers, hotels and hostels to welcome their brethren. Operation Solomon
saw the rescue of twice the number of Ethiopian Jews in Operations Moses and Joshua put together.
156. Linda Grant Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 10:53 pm

Mark. you don’t have any arguments, you have little scraps of facts, woven together into a bone-headed dogma. It isn’t very impressive but it needed refuting. I didn’t take long because it doesn’t amount to much. And I think this discussion can now come to its conclusion.
157. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 11:06 pm

How was life for Ethiopian gentiles at this time Linda? And for Palestinians?
158. tom Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 11:18 pm

Please consider whether this is the most appropriate forum for wider discussion of this very difficult and important topic. This is not to stifle debate, but to ensure the site is manageable and the comments *directly* pertinent to articles.


159. Mark Elf Says:
October 17th, 2005 at 11:25 pm

Thanks for your intervention T-m.
160. Jeremyn Says:
October 18th, 2005 at 1:01 am

Yadda yadda yadda yadda…
Nick, do you REALLY want all this. I don’t know if it’s a left or right thing, and your articles are great, but who needs all this unrelenting verbiage?
It cheapens everything it touches. The Andrew Sullivan style site makes so much more sense - we concentrate on a few carefully thought out ideas rather than this relentless non-stop aren’t we bloody brilliant, nonsense.
I mean, I have no idea who ‘Linda Grant’ and ‘Mark Elf’ are, but I loathe them already.

Teething problems, fair enough, but please make it STOP.
161. Inna Says:
October 18th, 2005 at 8:23 am

Tom writes “How was life for Ethiopian gentiles at this time Linda? And for Palestinians?”

If you are truly interested in how life was like for the Palestinians at the time, you might consider reading:

Or if you have not the time to read publications put out by prominent and influential American think tanks you can skip down to p. 14, Table 5.1 for a summary of the health situation.

Incidentally, what did YOUR state do for Ethiopians? Israel (as far as I am aware) is not your state; an European state seems to be. Should you (like others on this Forum) perhaps be more concerned with what your state does (and does not) do than with what a state half a world away does (or does not) do?


162. Rachel Says:
October 18th, 2005 at 8:38 am

I’m sorry if you can’t follow an interesting disucssion, but I can. I am a Jewish student. People like Mark Elf are often shouting at us, intimidating us. I am very happy to see how it is possible to put them in their place. Thank you Linda Grant.

By the way, Jermyn, Lynda Grant is a very well known and respected novelist. Who are you?
163. Mikey Says:
October 18th, 2005 at 9:27 am

Rachel you make a very vaid point about the problems of Jewish students being shouted at in Universities.

It seems to me that in certain sections of “the left” Jewish students can not get involved without first having to denounce Zionism and Israel. If they are not prepared to do this they are denounced themseleves as “right wing Zionist scum bags” or even worse.

Non Jewish students do not suffer in the same way.,They can get involved in “the left” without having to make a statement on Zionism and Israel. These double standards that “the left” applies, leads one to the conclusion that Jews are targetted unfairly and that is therefore anti-semitism.

It is unfortunate that in the world of student politics that Jewish students tend to suffer so much.
164. Indigo Jo Blogs Says:
October 18th, 2005 at 10:14 am

Cohen on left anti-Semitism

There’s a long essay by Nick Cohen in the current New Statesman about his experiences of what he calls anti-Semitism on the left since the run-up to the Iraq war. His interest was piqued by a series of incidents in…
165. R Davies Says:
October 18th, 2005 at 11:10 am

The Rand Report says nothing that has not been stated elsewhere many times over since the Al Aqsa Intifada. The consequence of the Intifada has been the progressive marginalisation of the Palestinians from the Israeli labour market, and the improverishment of the Palestinian working class. It is highly unlikely that Israel will ever allow Palestinians to re-enter their labour markets, and so long as there exists surplus migrant labour in the world there is no pressure on Israel to do so. It could be argued that Israel contravened international law in allowing Palestinians to work in Israel in the first place.
Behind the Intifada and much of the other failings has been the consistent failure of the PNA to provide effective leadership and government. Arafat’s leadership simply reinforced the practice of creating fiefdoms and misappropriating international aid. The PNA has consistently avoid the painful fact that if Palestine is to become a stable nation state then it needs to create stable administrative bodies able to provide service to its people and engage effectively with its neighbours.
If Sharon was to order a return to the pre-1967 lines tomorrow there is nothing to indicate that the future Palestine would be sustainable socially and economically. In a 1993 briefing paper Britain’s National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) estimated the PLO’s assets at $8-10 billion. In addition, the PLO enjoyed an annual income of about $1.5-2 billion from “donations, extortion, payoffs, illegal arms dealing, drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud, etc.” Not something that should instill confidence in the Palestinians ability to progress to normality.
166. Josh Says:
October 18th, 2005 at 2:43 pm

Once Jews were Christ Killers
Then capitalists
Then we were communists
Then we were rootless cosmopolitans
Then sub humans
Now we are Nazi rascists
Every generation disowns the previous ones prejudice and invents its own
167. Andrew Ian Dodge Says:
October 18th, 2005 at 4:45 pm

It might interest some of the judenhass commenting here that several times I have been spat at and sworn at as a “fucking Jew” by Muslims. The amusing thing, of course, is that I am not a Jew at all.

I would recomend this book to those wonder why Jews and Israel are so hated. It is interesting that no one pointed out that Arabs in Isreal can vote but Jews cannot vote in any other part of the Arab world where they still live. (IE if they have not been killed or driven out yet.)

People who believe that Israel has not right to exist fall into one of these catagories: 1. they don’t believe any Jew has the right to exist 2. they believe Jews already run the US & the UK 3. they believe both.
168. tom Says:
October 18th, 2005 at 4:52 pm


“Tom” asked nothing. I think you mean Mr Elf. My only interest is keeping the comments manageable and pertinent to the site! You might edit your comment to make that clear :)

Best wishes,