Finkelstein: Cameron feels no shame at his friend Israel’s serial atrocities

Please see full post on Jamie Stern-Weiner’s website

J S-W: In today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Cameron savaged Corbyn for having referred to Hamas and Hezbollah as his ‘friends’, and repeatedly demanded that Corbyn withdraw the remark. Norman Finkelstein—leading authority on the Israel-Palestine conflict—what are your thoughts on Cameron’s demands? 

Finkelstein: Does Cameron keep better company than Corbyn? Let’s look at the record. In 2006, armed hostilities broke out between Israel and Lebanon. In the course of those hostilities, Israel killed 1,200 Lebanese, of whom 1,000 (80 percent) were civilians. Hezbollah killed 160 Israelis, of whom 40 (25 percent) were civilians. If you look at the numbers, whether absolutely or relatively, who, prima facie, was the bigger war criminal? In the final 72 hours of the conflict, when the war was effectively over as the Security Council had already passed a ceasefire resolution, Israel dropped as many as four million cluster sub-munitions on South Lebanon. It was the densest use of cluster sub-munitions in the history of warfare. Entire civilian villages were saturated. It was a war crime on a mind-boggling scale.

If Corbyn shouldn’t have referred to Hezbollah as his ‘friend’; and if one attaches equal value to each human life; and if war crimes are war crimes regardless of the address from which they originate—in other words, if facts rather than demagoguery serve as the basis of one’s moral calculus, wasn’t the Tory embrace of Israel incalculably worse?

Consider now Gaza. Parts of Gaza are among the most densely populated areas on the planet. 80 percent of Gaza’s population consists of refugees and descendants of refugees, while more than half the population consists of children under the age of 18. Gaza has been under military occupation for a full half-century, and it’s suffocated under an illegal and immoral blockade for the past decade. Even David Cameron has described Gaza as a ‘prison’. In the past 12 years, Israel has launched not less than eight murderous operations against the overwhelmingly refugee and mostly child population herded in this prison. In 2008, after it broke a ceasefire that Hamas was ‘careful to maintain’ (Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center), Israel launched Operation Cast Lead or, what Amnesty International called, ‘22 days of death and destruction’. In the course of this assault, Israel dropped white phosphorous, a substance that reaches 800 degrees Celsius, on a humanitarian warehouse, a school and two hospitals (al-Quds hospital and al-Wafa hospital). It destroyed 6,000 homes, and it left 1,400 Gazans dead.  Up to 1,200 of these were civilians, 350 of them children. After the attack, Israeli soldiers described what happened as akin to ‘a child playing around with a magnifying glass, burning up ants’, and a ‘PlayStation [computer] game’. One of the principal architects of this massacre was then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni. The day after Cast Lead was over, Livni boasted on Israeli television, ‘Israel demonstrated real hooliganism during the course of the recent operation, which I demanded’. Later, she declared that she was ‘proud’ of her decisions during the invasion, and would ‘repeat’ every one of them. Continue reading “Finkelstein: Cameron feels no shame at his friend Israel’s serial atrocities”

Robert Cohen: Chief Rabbi has made up a theology at odds with history & Jewish tradition

Responding to Rabbi Mirvis’s opinion piece in yesterday’s edition of the Telegraph, Robert Cohen has written on his Facebook page that it’s a shame there is no process to impeach a Chief Rabbi, ‘because this one deserves it.’

Read the post in full here.

Excerpt: Here’s what he said this morning about Zionism (a political movement that began in Europe in the 19th century) and Judaism:

“…one of the axioms of Jewish belief.”

“a noble and integral part of Judaism.”

“One can no more separate it from Judaism than separate the City of London from Great Britain.”

Is it just me or has the Chief Rabbi just reinvented Judaism and muddled/mangled classical Jewish teaching about ‘the Land’ and its relationship to the Jewish people with a modern (originally highly secular) nationalist project which most Jews (and certainly most Rabbis) rejected for decades as thoroughly unJewish? As I said this morning, Mirvis takes no account of the complexity that 2,000 years of Jewish dispersal brings to our story.

Finally, in making no distinction whatsoever between Judaism and Zionism, will all Jews in Britain be viewed as legitimate targets by anyone with a violent grudge against Israel? Why not? According to Mirvis support for Israel is part of the Jewish DNA.

On all these fronts Mirvis has done neither himself nor British Jews any favours at all. In fact he may just have made things a whole lot worse. Continue reading “Robert Cohen: Chief Rabbi has made up a theology at odds with history & Jewish tradition”

The Jewish Labour Movement – British Branch of the Racist Israeli Labor party

By Tony Greenstein

Read full article here.

Excerpt: The Jewish Labour movement, led by serial liar Jeremy Newmark, is the British branch of the Israeli Labour Party (ILP). The ILP has a racist track record second to none. They were the government of Israel for the first 30 years. In that time Israel’s Palestinian population spent the first 18 years under military rule. All the institutions of apartheid, such as Jewish National Fund, were integrated into Israeli society as para state organisations in that period.

The Nakba, the expulsion of ¾ million Arabs in 1947/8, the massacre of thousands and the confiscation of most Arab land was carried out by Labour terror militias primarily – Hagannah and Palmach (shock troops) in particular.

The left Zionist  Mapam (now Meretz) party was no better. The infamous massacre at Dawayima was carried out by these ‘Marxist’ Zionists: “Their socialism did not extend to their non-Jewish fellow men.” Wrote David Hirst in his book ‘The Gun and the Olive Branch’ (p.25)

[…]
There is nothing that Likud has done that Labour didn’t do before them, nor have they changed. Israeli Labour’s election campaigns have focussed on scaring Jewish voters that Netanyahu’s policies, of not allowing even the tiniest little Palestinian Bantustan will result in Israel becoming an Arab state (god forbid).

Last week Isaac Herzog, Labour’s leader said that the ILP mustn’t be identified as an ‘Arab lovers’ party. The term ‘Arab lover’ is a racist taunt flung by the Right. Herzog is saying that he doesn’t want the ILP to be considered in such terms. In Britain during the fight against fascist from the National Front and British National Party we were accused of being ‘nigger lovers’ and a previous generation were ‘Jew lovers’.

The irony today is that the racists of the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel are driving the witch hunt of Black and Asian members of the Party in particular. Anyone who stands out against Zionism and Israeli Apartheid is liable for the chop. See ‘Preposterous liar’ Jeremy Newmark re-educates Naz Shah MP
Continue reading “The Jewish Labour Movement – British Branch of the Racist Israeli Labor party”

‘Preposterous liar’ Jeremy Newmark re-educates Naz Shah MP

Jeremy Newmark is chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, that officially supports the pro-apartheid Israeli Labour party. Following the suspension of Naz Shah MP for alleged anti-Semitism, it appears he is undertaking her re-education: a ‘process’ that will doubtless end in her henceforth avoiding all strong criticism of Israel: In the words of Norman Finkelstein:

They’re making her pass through these rituals of public self-degradation, as she is forced to apologise once, twice, three times over for a tongue-in-cheek cartoon reposted from my website. And it’s not yet over! Because now they say she’s on a ‘journey’. Of course, what they mean is, ‘she’s on a journey of self-revelation, and epiphany, to understanding the inner antisemite at the core of her being’.

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In the judgment in Fraser v. UCU, following a three-week employment tribunal in 2013, the judge Anthony Snelson said Mr Newmark’s evidence had been “false, preposterous, extraordinarily arrogant and disturbing”.

Look at where those words appeared in the judgment and what they related to:

False: already mentioned above. This was Newmark’s claim that there had been “booing, jeering and harassing of Jewish speakers”.
Preposterous: This was Newmark’s claim that he was being stereotyped as a “pushy Jew” over his attempt to push his way into a union meeting.
Extraordinarily arrogant and disturbing:  Again, mentioned above.  This was Newmark’s description of the UCU as “no longer a fit space for free speech”.

Mr Newmark said the tribunal’s finding that there could be no link between Jewish identity and support of Israel “cannot be left to stand”.
“That is a shocking and ignorant statement to make. It is something that will have to be followed up,” he said.

If a Jew is bullied or harassed in the work place or his trade union, and part of that bullying or harassment contains anti-Israel slogans, material or activity, then to take that forward to the judicial system is considered by this panel in their ruling as an attempt to usurp the British judicial process for political means – that’s something that is very, very wrong.

Jews Sans Frontieres observed at the time:

‘Did you see what happened there? He’s been called preposterous, and a disturbingly arrogant liar and he hasn’t hit back against any of that. He’s simply changed the subject whilst showing he has lost none of his propensity for untruth.’

What can such a person teach a principled MP like Naz Shah?

Elly Fryksos

Far right Israeli Justice Minister & UK Justice Secretary agree on BDS

Israel’s justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, who in 2015 published on Facebook a call for a genocide of the Palestinians, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure,” has employed rhetoric about BDS that has been echoed by UK Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove. In fact, her language is temperate compared to Gove’s.

Shaked said supporters of movements such as the non-violent BDS, which calls for putting economic and political pressure on Israel in a bid to force it to comply with international law and gain rights for Palestinians, are “using the same kind of anti-Semitism but instead of saying they are against the Jews, they say they are against Israel.”

In an interview with The Washington Post, Shaked said:

In the past, we saw European leaders speaking against the Jews. Now, we see them speaking against Israel. It is the same anti-Semitism of blood libels, spreading lies, distorting reality and brainwashing people into hating Israel and the Jews

Shaked had spoken earlier in the day at an international symposium in Warsaw marking the 80th anniversary of the Nuremberg Race Laws adopted by Nazi Germany.

Gove has also misrepresented a boycott of Israeli goods and institutions, claiming it involves:

the shunning of Jewish academics, the boycott of Jewish goods, the de-legitimisation of Jewish commerce. We have seen these all before. And we know where it takes us.

Continue reading “Far right Israeli Justice Minister & UK Justice Secretary agree on BDS”

Jewish MK accused of ‘stoking anti-Semitic propaganda’ with ethnic cleansing claim

In a further example of the conflation of criticism of Israel’s policies with antisemitism, the Likud lawmaker Nava Boker has compared Member of Knesset Dov Khenin to ‘Jews throughout history,’ whom she suggests were to blame for ‘bolstering’ anti-Semitic propaganda. Khenin called this accusation the ‘height of insolence.’

Via Times of Israel:

The sole Jewish Knesset member from the Joint (Arab) List has come under fire for accusing Israel, in an interview with Sky News, of demolishing Palestinian homes as a means of “ethnic cleansing” in the West Bank.

MK Dov Khenin’s comments were broadcast at the beginning of the week, although he later said it was recorded some time ago.

Likud lawmaker Nava Boker accused Khenin of stoking anti-Semitic propaganda against Israel, telling Army Radio on Tuesday:

The only ethnic cleansing being carried out is in his delirious mind. With his deceitful expressions he is joining a long line of Jews throughout history who bolstered anti-Semitic propaganda with false claims.

Khenin responded that he did “have very serious criticism of the Israeli government,”

But from that to make accusations of anti-Semitism? That is the height of insolence.

The images from the Jordan Valley are terrible images — children whose homes are destroyed, their tents are evacuated there… It is a grave thing to say [ethnic cleansing]… [but] the reality is very grave.

The reality in the Jordan Valley is one in which they are expelling the Bedouins, evacuating them from their places of residence. They are not being allowed to build. When you evacuate Arabs and in their place you build settlements for Jews, that is a reality that must be addressed.

Baroness Deech: Muslims more antisemitic than far right Holocaust deniers

In an extraordinary article for Ha’aretz, the outspoken Israel apologist Baroness Deech has stated that it is right to treat ‘right-wing anti-Semites’ and ‘Holocaust deniers’ as ‘buffoons of no importance.’

Yes, there are right-wing anti-Semites and there are Holocaust deniers, but they have for long been treated as buffoons of no importance — which is true — and being of the “Right” they are not taken seriously, whereas to be of the “Left” is to be righteous, sanctimonious and beyond criticism or reproof.

She also calls renowned historians and scholars of the Middle East, including Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Avi Shlaim and Ilan Pappe ‘renegade Jews.’ (see note below)

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 11.41.04Deech bemoans the lack of a ‘further investigation of [antisemitism’s] causes and roots’ before making it clear she believes its roots lie in Muslim majority communities.

The Baroness has been keeping a wary eye on the U.K. census:

The U.K. census of 2011 revealed that Bradford’s population was 24.7% Muslim, and no doubt it’s higher by now. There are wards of Bradford, Blackburn and Burnley (the suspended councilors’ constituencies) where British Muslims reach 70% of the local population.

She then blames British politicians for ‘appeasing their Muslim voters,’ specifically upbraiding Corbyn for not acknowledging that anti-Semitism is ‘special’ and has ‘roots in the religion and culture of Islam.’ Deech then implies that our government is putting at risk the lives of British Jews by allowing Muslims to make their home here.

So we have a failure of education, a craven attitude towards the supposed beliefs of Muslim voters (set to worsen as migration increases)…

The Baroness calls the non-violent, Palestinian civil society boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement ‘the program of the destruction of the only Jewish state, with its 6 million Jews conveniently gathered together,’ thereby invoking the spectre of a second Holocaust.

Deech refers to the recent ICM poll on ‘British Muslim opinion’ that has been widely criticised for its flawed methodology. Its findings have further been distorted by Islamophobic groups such as the pro-Israel ‘charity’ Campaign Against Antisemitism, which produced a report racially profiling Muslims. As Ashitha Nagesh wrote in Metro last month:

British Muslims aren’t anti-Semitic

According to the results, 61 per cent of people questioned viewed Jewish people favourably, while an additional 14 per cent of British Muslims had a sort-of middling opinion of Jewish people.

This might not seem like a lot – 61 per cent isn’t 100 per cent, after all – but it’s almost exactly the same as how favourably the Muslims surveyed viewed Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, and people who are not religious.

Anti-racists and anti-fascists reading the Baroness’s words will recognise the parallels with early 20th century social attitudes to – and government racial profiling of – British Jews.


Note: The Oxford English Dictionary definition of ‘renegade’:

  • Having treacherously changed allegiance: a renegade bodyguard
  • Having abandoned one’s religious beliefs: a renegade monk. Used in conjunction with ‘Jew’ its archaic meaning is equivalent to apostate.

Elly Fryksos

Don’t say ‘Zionist’, but do ‘Twibbon’ it

Jon Lansman, a founder of the Momentum campaign group, has said the ‘left must stop talking about Zionism‘, and instead “use ‘Israeli nationalists’ or ‘Israeli fundamentalists’ or better yet ‘Netanyahu’s regime’.”

Then today this initiative is launched by ‘We Believe in Israel’:

Zionism month is a joint initiative by We Believe in Israel and the Zionist Federation aiming to spread understanding both of the historical logic and context behind the Zionist movement and the creation of Israel, and promoting the contemporary necessity for Jewish (and other peoples’) national self-determination.

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Chief Rabbi claims Zionism ‘axiom of Jewish belief’

The Rabbi thereby implies that settler-colonialism and ethnic cleansing are ‘integral’ to Judaism: a dangerous claim. Theodor Herzl founded the modern political ideology of Zionism in the late 19th Century. See more here.

Via the Jewish Chronicle:

Writing in the Telegraph, Rabbi Mirvis said it was “astonishing” that those on the hard-left of British politics were “presuming to define the relationship between Judaism and Zionism despite themselves being neither Jews nor Zionists.

“The likes of Ken Livingstone and Malia Bouattia claim that Zionism is separate from Judaism as a faith; that it is purely political; that it is expansionist, colonialist and imperialist.

“It is unclear why these people feel qualified to provide such an analysis of one of the axioms of Jewish belief. But let me be very clear. Their claims are a fiction. They are a wilful distortion of a noble and integral part of Judaism.”

Directly addressing those who had sought to “redefine…vilify…and delegitimise” Zionism, Rabbi Mirvis wrote: “Be under no illusions – you are deeply insulting not only the Jewish community but countless others who instinctively reject the politics of distortion and demonisation.

Zionism is a belief in the right to Jewish self-determination in a land that has been at the centre of the Jewish world for more than 3,000 years. One can no more separate it from Judaism than separate the City of London from Great Britain.

Read the Telegraph article in full here.

Lansman says ‘Left must stop talking about Zionism’

Jon Lansman, a founder of the Momentum campaign group, has written an article in Left Futures stating:

I […] think the Left should stop talking about “Zionism” or “Zionists”. As Herman argues, ‘Zionism has become a dirty word for many on the left. It has become synonymous with Israel itself, the racist practices of the Israeli state.”’ […] Abandoning use of the term “Zionist” will not be enough on its own. There needs to be clarity, guidance and even training about what is appropriate.

If this suggestion receives any kind of official support from the Labour Party, it will have a chilling effect on free speech. Below are two responses from Free Speech on Israel members:

FREE SPEECH ON ISRAEL: OK, BUT JUST DON’T CALL A SPADE A SPADE

The piece appears to be just about use of language. But the whole issue is all about language, definitions and emphasis, there’s bound to be a lot more besides.

He says we can have “robust criticisms” of “Israeli government policy” but mustn’t alienate the critical British Jews who mostly (60%) still identify as “Zionists”. But anything more systemic or fundamental is out of bounds: “Zionism” which “has become synonymous with Israel itself” should not be targetted because there is “more to Zionism” than racism and apartheid.

Rather than using exact language to target the Zionists who created and defend Israel, Jon suggests a range of euphemisms such as “Israeli fundamentalists” or, ideally, “Netanyahu’s regime”.

Not only does this confirm “Zionism” as a forbidden word to be labelled anti-semitic; not only does that validate the brouhaha about attacks on Zionism being really attacks on Jews; not only does that limit free speech on Israel; it ALSO disables essential language tools in a way that, ironically, funnels the argument towards genuine antisemitism.

So who do we blame for the 1948 Nakba and the 1967 mass expulsions less well known as the Naksa, which shaped today’s map? Surely not Israeli fundamentalists who were yet to come, and certainly not Netanyahu who was yet to come and will one day be gone. If we can’t use their own word — Zionism — to explain 70 years’ worth of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and the deeds of all its apologists and backers, we are left pointing at an entity called “The Jewish State”. Or just Jews.

But we don’t want to do that, because not all Jews are Zionist (or even vaguely pro-Zionist), and not all Zionists are Jews: some 30 million are Christian Zionists, and there’s any number of fascists who hate Jews but admire the weapons, the walls and the prisons of Israel, and increasingly hate Muslims even more than they hate Jews. Continue reading “Lansman says ‘Left must stop talking about Zionism’”