October 19, 2016

Are Zionists trying to cause Antisemitism?

I've just been reading Dave Rich's ludicrous book, The Left's Jewish Problem.  I've returned to it because I was looking at another book, a serious one this time, called A History of the Jews Ancient and Modern, by Ilan Halevi.

In Rich's book he gives Tony Greenstein a few mentions one of which is as follows:
Tony Greenstein, who was, and remains, an avid proponent of the idea that the Zionist movement benefits from, and proactively encourages, anti-Semitism (including, he alleges, collaborating with Nazism).
Having read his book it is clear that Dave Rich is in deep denial about the many crimes of Zionism including that little bit in brackets on the end of the snippet.  I'm saying Rich must know about the several instances of Zionist collaboration with the Nazis. The guy has a PhD and now a book on anti-Zionism and antisemitism.  Could so many years of research (ok the book was a rush job) really not yield to Rich what it has to serious scholars?

But that wasn't what made me return to the book.  If you look at the way the Zionist movement is throwing its weight around in the UK ever since Jeremy Corbyn became leader, it's not an edifying spectacle. I mean it must be causing antisemitism given the unjust and unfounded nature of the allegations.  Even the Home Affairs Select Committee on Antisemitism admitted in its report that there was no more antisemitism in Labour than in any other mainstream party but that it was going to try to get laws passed making it difficult or impossible to criticise Zionism.  This must cause great anger among those minorities who really do suffer everyday threats of violence and on-going social and economic exclusion.

It does look a lot to me that the Zionists do want antisemitism and Tony Greenstein is right.  Other reviewers of Dave Rich's book have noted that while he tends to conflate Jews and Zionists he never really defines or analyses Zionism in terms of beneficiaries or victims.  He simply says that Jews are instinctively bound to Israel or some such.  Having read his shock horror response to Tony's calm take on the Zionist approach the diaspora it is possible that he really doesn't know much about Zionism except that it established a state in Palestine for people like him and me to call our "homeland".

So back to Ilan Halevi. I was reading one of the bits on Zionism when this quote from Theodor Herzl leapt out at me:
We shall have to sink still lower, we shall have to be more widely insulted, spat upon, mocked, beaten, robbed and slain before we are ripe for the [Zionist] idea.
Well, I'm guessing that Dave and co. aren't quite trying to make that happen, though their recent exclusion of Haredi Jews from the Home Affairs Circus means that they don't much care for those Jews who are the most "widely insulted, spat upon, mocked, beaten, robbed" and possibly "slain".  Of course some of those ignored Haredi Jews are Neturei Karta so they'll never be ripe for "the idea".

But I digress.  Tony is of course absolutely right.  The Zionists want the real antisemitism, as in racism against Jews, but they want to forbid anti-Zionism, that is the racists want to forbid anti-racism.

See a difference between Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism? No problem, just erase the line

I read Dave Rich's book recently and he mentions having done a PhD. I was curious about it so I googled Dave Rich PhD. Top of the list was The Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism's "About" page, and there's Dave.

Dr Dave Rich

Dave studied for his PhD at the Institute. His research covered the emergence of left wing anti-Zionism in Britain after 1967, particularly in student politics, and responses to it from UK Jewish organisations. He is particularly interested in the relationship of anti-Zionism to antisemitism, and the boundaries that separate them, that fuel debates over the ‘new antisemitism’.
Dave Rich works for the Community Security Trust which claims to oppose antisemitism but seems to put more energy into opposing criticism and condemnation of Israel.  And now having read the book, The Left's Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-Semitism, it turns out that Dave has been looking at the difference between anti-Zionism and antisemitism so that he can claim there is no difference.  He does this by claiming that Jews have such an instinct for supporting the colonisation, conquest and ethnic cleansing of Palestine that to oppose the Zionist ideology amounts to antisemitism.  This of course involves the redefinition of antisemitism so that anti-racists become antisemitic. Sadly it also has the effect of making ill-informed people subscribe to the old antisemitism because of course Dave and others like him, including now a Home Office Select Committee have decided that Jews and Zionists are the same thing.  All very sad and very irresponsible.

I didn't find the PhD by the way. I would be curious to have a quick look at it because Dave certainly doesn't seem to be down the intellectual end of the Zionist movement.

I wouldn't recommend the book.  There's a withering review on Red Pepper here and the always (overly) polite Richard Kuper has done one on Amazon here.

PS: I've decided to save people work by posting in full Richard Kuper's review here:

The Left’s Jewish Problem is an ideological tract and an intervention in the current battle in the Labour Party. It is designed to show “a sickness at the heart of left wing British politics… silently spreading, becoming ever more malignant” (cover blurb). That sickness is the sickness of antisemitism.

Of course there are antisemitic ideas around in Britain and it would be nonsense to assume that the left was immune. But Rich is on a mission to show antisemitism as widespread, systematic, hegemonic on the left.
As Rich is aware, there isn’t much Jew-hatred of a traditional kind around on the left, There is, rather, he believes, a different kind of antisemitism, expressed as an anti-Zionism of the left, in which movements and thinkers have come to view Israel and Zionism as “a product of western colonialism rather than a liberation movement against it”.

That large sections of “the left” fell out of love with Israel and came to rally around support for Palestinian rights and a Palestinian state is relatively uncontested. But why the change? For Rich, this shift couldn’t be a response to events, analysis, or improved understanding. It was, rather, an ideological hijacking by the “New Left”.
Rich’s New Left, with Corbyn as its embodiment, is a curious construct. “As New Left superseded Old,” he writes, “so identity politics replaced class politics as its primary mobilising idea… [This New Left represents] a new social class, rooted in intellectual and cultural professions, populated by public sector workers whose political agenda would come to be dominated by identity and iconoclasm.”

So the movement behind Corbyn is somehow viewed as a break with all tradition, rather than a popular, deeply-rooted, left trade-union and social movement, trying to incorporate class and identity issues, in a desire to restore something of older Labour concerns: equality, social ownership, trade-union rights, anti-imperialism and more.
Rich operates with free-floating, unchanging essences. So Zionism is, was and always will be nothing but self-determination/national liberation. Who could possibly criticise that? So by definition describing Israel as a colonial-settler or apartheid society can’t have any truth in it. Is can only be an emotional attempt to demonise Israel. For Rich, such concepts are products of a New Left mind set: the apartheid analogy was “hardwired into left wing anti-Israel politics in Britain during its formative [anti-apartheid] years in the 1960s and 1970s.”

But what if these concepts are gaining ground precisely because they make increasing sense of an emergent reality? Events have played crucial role in shifting ideas on the left in relation to Israel-Palestine – from the 1956 Suez invasion to the televised spectacle of phosphorus bombs falling on Gaza and bodies of children in the rubble.

Whatever Zionism might or might not have been originally, what has it become? Israel’s colonisation of the West Bank continues unabated. Green-line Israel’s discrimination against its increasingly second-class Palestinian citizens, and their physical displacement in the Negev, rolls on. What Israel is now needs to be judged by what it is doing, not by its ideological self-image. Israel’s actions are what are delegitimising it, not any antisemitism of the left.

It is clearly wrong to argue that all claims of antisemitism are simply made in order to silence criticism of Israel. Allegations of antisemitism should be taken seriously and investigated swiftly. But making an allegation is not the same thing as establishing a fact. Rich is entirely oblivious to (or simply ignores) the context in which recent accusations emerged – why, for example, emotionally charged posts and tweets from the 2014 Gaza war should only be dredged up in 2016, under Corbyn’s leadership. It does not take much to see the timing as contrived, rather than an innocent desire to unmask antisemitism.

Clearly, insofar as some remarks are antisemitic they need to be confronted. Conspiracy theories, e.g. that Israel founded Isis or that Jews escaped 9/11, should be dismissed out of hand. Individuals who make them should be dealt with appropriately. But appropriately means appropriately. It doesn’t mean suspensions without charge, condemnation without a hearing, or leaking stories to the Jewish Chronicle or Daily Telegraph - in short, the weaponisation of antisemitism and the complete absence of due process we have witnessed in recent months. On all this Rich has nothing to say.

If Rich’s book encourages us to be more precise in our language, to temper how we express our emotional outrage at the things Israel does with impunity, to be more strategic in how we build support for Palestinian rights, it may (inadvertently!) achieve something useful. But in its own terms, it must be treated as a polemical intervention rather than a serious analytical contribution to our understanding of antisemitism (or the left) today.
Good stuff. I said Richard is very polite. The Red Pepper review though is a real skewering but I gather Dave and his CST cohorts are paid to be a brazen embarrassment to the Jewish community.

October 18, 2016

Zionist Antisemitism and the Reinvention of Judaism in Home Affairs Select Committee Report

I just had another look at the Home Affairs Select Committee Report on Antisemitism report.  It makes for such depressing reading I can only take in little looks at a time.  I was just looking at what I thought was the Chief Rabbi's contribution and I was struck by the casual way his evidence was used, it was gleaned from something he wrote for the Daily Telegraph.  I was also struck by his sheer dishonesty though Lord Sacks was a hard act to follow where dishonesty was concerned.

See this:
In an article for The Daily Telegraph in May, the Chief Rabbi criticised attempts by Labour members and activists to separate Zionism from Judaism as a faith, arguing that their claims are “fictional”. In evidence to us, he stressed that “Zionism has been an integral part of Judaism from the dawn of our faith”. He stated that “spelling out the right of the Jewish people to live within secure borders with self-determination in their own country, which they had been absent from for 2,000 years—that is what Zionism is”. His view was that “If you are an anti-Zionist, you are anti everything I have just mentioned”
That's utterly absurd. If Zionism goes to the "dawn of our faith" what happened between the destruction of the second temple and the rise of the Zionist movement in the late 1890s?  There were Zionistic ideas around before then but they tended to lead to the excommunication and even execution of their promoters.

Another question is, so what?   Even if Judaism does demand a Jewish supremacist state based on colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing, why should anyone else accept that?  The Chief Rabbi's sheer dishonesty or ignorance about the history and tenets of his own religion gives you some idea of why the Haredim (ultra-orthodox Jews) were excluded from the HASC's process.  If Satmar Jews were called upon they would say, as they often do, that "Zionism and Judaism are diametrically opposed".  Even the now Kahanist inclined Lubavitch would have to admit that they only became Zionist when the Jewish state moved from being an issue to a fact in 1948. Not the "dawn of our faith" then.

Moving on from the exclusion of the wrong kind of Jews I saw this:
Similarly, CST and the JLC describe Zionism as “an ideological belief in the authenticity of Jewish peoplehood and that the Jewish people have the right to a state”. Sir Mick Davis, Chairman of the JLC, told us that criticising Zionism is the same as antisemitism, because:
Zionism is so totally identified with how the Jew thinks of himself, and is so associated with the right of the Jewish people to have their own country and to have self-determination within that country, that if you attack Zionism, you attack the very fundamentals of how the Jews believe in themselves.
Neither CST nor the JLC are essentially religious so they had to admit that Zionism is an ideology not a religious tenet or religion in its own right but look at how Sir Mick Davis expressed himself:
Zionism is so totally identified with how the Jew thinks of himself
"How the Jew thinks of himself"?  Leaving aside that for Davis, the Jew is a "him", it looks like an extract from a Nazi tract.  Do Zionists know what they're messing with?  And to think they cry when you call them racist.  The Jew, the Jews, Zionism, Israel are all the same to them.  The individual, the race, the ideology, the state, and for the Zionists that is in reverse order of importance to them.

They're riding a tiger and they don't seem to know it.

October 17, 2016

By its own admission Home Affairs Select Committee on Antisemitism barked up the wrong tree and had nothing to bark at anyway

What a performance about nothing.  The antisemitism crisis "engulfing Labour" has been about nothing, nothing at all.  Well alright, not completely nothing.  The rise of a Palestine solidarity supporter and leftist, Jeremy Corbyn, to the leadership of the Labour Party has sent Tories, Blairites and Zionists into a blind panic but as far as antisemitism goes there is little or nothing to see here.  I can't see and read the whole report.  I just look at snippets at a time.  I know there are outright lies in it from the precious little that I have read.  In fact I just saw this almost by accident:
Mr Livingstone has since admitted that it was “rubbish” to refer to Hitler as a Zionist. Regardless of academic rigour, his decision to invoke Hitler in a debate about antisemitism and Zionism—in defence of a Facebook post [by Naz Shah] comparing Israel with the Nazis—was unwise
Rubbish it may be but Ken didn't refer to "Hitler as a Zionist", he said Hitler supported Zionism for a time and he did.  Naz Shah didn't compare Israel to the Nazis, though there's no reason why she shouldn't. She invoked Martin Luther King to say that legality isn't the sole or a key determinant of right and wrong.  And it wasn't Ken who invoked the Nazis anyway, it was his interviewer, Vanessa Feltz.

Now my guess is that the pack of lies we've just seen gives a flavour of the whole report but something I saw on Twitter yesterday is a stand-out not as a lie but as a fact.  Here's the report.  Now see this:
Despite significant press and public attention on the Labour Party, and a number of revelations regarding inappropriate social media content, there exists no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of antisemitic attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party. We are unaware whether efforts to identify antisemitic social media content within the Labour Party were applied equally to members and activists from other political parties, and we are not aware of any polls exploring antisemitic attitudes among political party members, either within or outside the Labour Party. The current impression of a heightened prevalence of antisemitism within in the Labour Party is clearly a serious problem, but we would wish to emphasise that this is also a challenge for other parties.
This is strange, if they wish to "emphasise the challenge for other parties" why didn't they?  Because they weren't trying to undermine other parties.  Because there are no other mainstream parties with a leader that supports (or supported) the Palestinian cause.  And that's what this has all been about, protecting the racist war criminals of the State of Israel from the criticism and condemnation that any illegitimate racist entity would attract irrespective of the ethno-religious identity of those it purports to represent.

October 16, 2016

Charedi Jews complain of being excluded by Home Affairs Select Committee on Antisemitism

Here's a curious tweet from the Shomrim group, which is a "Proactive Neighbourhood Watch" group in Stamford Hill, which is home to probably the largest so-called ultra-orthodox Jewish (or frummer or Haredi) communities in the UK.

Looking at the statement, it claims the Home Affairs Select Committee on Antisemitism in the UK report  "focuses primarily on the difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.... it's important to note that the parliamentary enquiry did not request any evidence from the most visible section of the Jewish community, the Charedi Community, where the majority of the attacks are in person rather than online, leaving victims very vulnerable and are usually clearly and unequivocally anti-Semitic". [emphasis added and possibly innecessary]

Actually I disagree that the report focuses on the differences between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. It is clearly aimed at redefining the latter as the former whilst ignoring "clearly and unequivocally anti-Semitic" actions because they befall the wrong kind of Jews.

This exclusion of the people most likely to suffer real instances of antisemitism more than anything actually in the enquiry or its report exposes the whole exercise as a politically partisan charade whose sole purpose was to protect The State of Israel and its supporters from criticism and condemnation.

October 08, 2016

Smearing anti-racists to protect Zionism

The above title was the heading for a letter by Free Speech on Israel's Les Levidow to the Camden New Journal. The letter appears in the print edition but not (yet) on line. Here it is:
As Vice-Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), Mike Katz has again asked the Labour Party to expel members for antisemitic views and for a rule change making this easier. Otherwise the Party will be seen as ‘not welcoming to Jews’ (Katz plea, CNJ, 29.09.2016).  Which Jews does he mean?  And how does the JLM define ‘antisemitic views’?   

The latter question was raised at the JLM’s training session on antisemitism during the Party’s September conference.  Running the session, Mike Katz eventually claimed that the standard definition of antisemitism is ‘the EUMC definition’, i.e. from the European Union Monitoring Committee.  Many Jewish participants there objected, for good reasons: The EUMC never adopted the ‘working definition’ which was temporarily on its website; its successor body has disavowed it.  Although the definition rightly begins with ‘hatred toward Jews’, it also encompasses any views ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.’  

The latter criterion aims to protect some Jews’ emotional or political attachment to Israel, despite its basis in colonial-settler racism which continues today.  This is perversely equated with 'Jewish self-determination'.  The JLM is affiliated to the Israeli Labour Party, which early on urged employers to select ‘Jewish-only Labour’, has supported new Jewish settlements and today colludes with anti-Arab racism. 

In the Labour Party here, why do pro-Israel activists want to make expulsions easier?    Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has mobilised and attracted new Labour Party members sympathetic to the campaign of Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) against Israel.   Many Jewish members are dissociating themselves from the Zionist project.  To counter these anti-racist forces, the JLM smears them as antisemites.  Many have been suspended from the Labour Party, with little recourse to the due process that was advocated by the Chakrabarti Commission.  In these ways, the JLM aims to protect the colonial-settler character of Israel. Both should be opposed as racist.  For more information, see our website.

Les Levidow, Free Speech on Israel, www.freespeechonisrael.org.uk

UPDATE: The letter is now on line at the Camden New Journal online

October 03, 2016

JC denies access to Jackie Walker article

I'm getting an Access Denied message on this Jewish Chronicle post but thankfully it is still accessible through Google cache. Google cache doesn't last long so here is the article in full:

Pressure grows on Labour as Momentum expected 

to 'remove' Jackie Walker

By Marcus Dysch, September 30, 2016

Jackie Walker, vice-chair of the Momentum group, on Channel 4 News (Photo: Channel 4)
Jackie Walker, vice-chair of the hard-left Momentum activist group, is expected to be removed from her position on Monday following comments she made about Holocaust Memorial Day.
The move is expected to be confirmed at a meeting of the committee of the pro-Jeremy Corbyn group after a Momentum spokesman told the Guardian that senior members were seeking to remove Ms Walker.
It is not known whether she will be suspended by the group, or by the Labour Party, of which she is a member.
In Monday’s Jewish Labour Movement training session on tackling antisemitism, which took place at the party conference in Liverpool, Ms Walker criticised Holocaust Memorial Day, claiming it should remember genocides other than the Shoah.
She was told that the annual memorial did recognise other episodes of mass murder, but Ms Walker, the vice-chair of the hard-left Momentum group, went on to claim she had not seen a definition of Jew-hate which she could “work with”.
Ms Walker – an ally of Jeremy Corbyn – was suspended and investigated by the party earlier this year for claiming Jews were responsible for the slave trade and an “African holocaust”.
The renewed calls for her to be expelled from Momentum came as Ms Walker defended herself on Channel 4 News.
In an interview with Cathy Newman, Ms Walker said she was not antisemitic, but admitted to being anti-Zionist.
She added: "Whoever leaked this story from a training event had malicious intent in their mind."
The claims of antisemitism were politically motivated, Ms Walker suggested, adding that “prominent” Jewish groups agreed with her.
There were also reports that Jon Lansman, the Jewish founder of Momentum and a friend of Ms Walker, had “reached the end of his tether” and wanted her to be thrown out of the group.
Further pressure came from the TSSA trade union. Manuel Cortes, its general secretary, said: "I am deeply saddened that a fellow member of our Labour and trade union family holds such antisemitic views.
"I am asking Jackie that in the interests of unity she resigns at once from our party and also as vice-chair of Momentum.
“If she doesn't, both the Labour Party and Momentum need to act to get rid of her at once. Furthermore, TSSA will reconsider our union's support for Momentum if she is still in post by this time next week."
Tony Greenstein, a Jewish anti-Zionist activist who was himself suspended from Labour earlier this year, wrote to the party’s National Executive Committee members on Thursday night telling them the JLM session had been “a publicity stunt”.
He wrote: “Jackie's points re the Holocaust not being a solely Jewish preserve and the fact that the definition of antisemitism is contested, are not in any way antisemitic.
“This artificial and concocted hysteria has nothing to do with antisemitism and everything to do with the Zionist movement’s attempt to construct a hegemonic narrative concerning the Nazi Holocaust.”
John Mann, the Labour MP who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, said: "Enough is enough. Though she claims impunity for many reasons, Jackie Walker’s behaviour is discriminatory, provocative, offensive and by any standard unacceptable in a modern political party.
"Not only has she caused offense personally, she has inspired waves of antisemitic and racist backlash including Holocaust denial.
"Not only must she be expelled from the Labour Party immediately but all those abusing others in supporting her must go too.
"Temporary suspensions are not good enough, these people must be given permanent bans and no platform to express their antisemitism anywhere in the Labour Party, if we are to be serious about opposing anti-Jewish hatred.”

 The last time I noticed the JC denying access to an article was when it wrote in praise of some pig food product in its travel section and a reader complained. I wonder what's not so kosher about the above article.

UPDATE: 9/10/2016 The article has now been restored to the JC website complete with at least one libel.

September 27, 2016

Why is YouGov tarnishing its reputation for the Antisemitism Industry?

I don't know much about how the pollster organisation YouGov works but I always assumed they valued their reputation for producing meaningful polling data.  In this instance I smelled a rat when the Zionist, Community Security Trust retweeted the following YouGov tweet:
 Now I shouldn't have voted because the question doesn't even make sense but having voted I couldn't access the survey via the twitter link.  I had to use this one but here's a screen grab:

I don't know how people accessed the survey in the first place but it seems a lot of people will have come to it via a retweet, same as I did.  Look at the question.

"Antisemitism is at the heart of racism".  What does that mean?  Surely anyone responding to the survey would have to say "Don't know" since that is the only honest answer you can give to a question that doesn't make sense.

"Yet, because it is so deeply entrenched in our thought and culture, it is often ignored and dismissed".  There you go, that's the last bit of the statement. And that is a YouGov survey on antisemitism.  So whose culture is "ours"?  And what do they even mean by thought?  The written up thoughts of public intellectuals?  School work? Academic books and treatises?  Or just the everyday thoughts of everyday people?

Now I know YouGov do fun surveys like asking people whether they agree or not with the statement, "Justin Bieber is wonderful" but clearly this survey isn't just for fun. It appears to be designed by an interested party, like maybe a player in the self-appointed anti-antisemitism industry but if that was the case surely an august institution like YouGov would offer a health warning, wouldn't they?

September 23, 2016

The Video the Board of Deputies, Momentum's Jon Lansman & Politics Home tried to ban

Sheesh, I thought this video was lost and gone forever.   I first heard about it via this piece in Politics Home.  Here look:
A controversial video criticised as a “slap in the face” by Jewish campaign group is still posted on Jeremy Corbyn’s official Facebook page, PoliticsHome can reveal.
The film, made by Mr Corbyn’s campaign team, features his supporters responding to a number of accusations often levelled at the Labour leader’s backers.
One of the questions is ‘Do you promote anti-Semitism?’ – in reference to a string of suspensions and expulsions over the last year.
One of the participants in the video throws away a piece of paper with the question written on it and says “so that’s gone as well”.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews spoke to veteran left-winger Jon Lansman, Mr Corbyn's campaign director, who apparently agreed to withdraw the video.
It has since been taken down from YouTube and the main page of Mr Corbyn’s Facebook account, but it is still available to view on the ‘videos’ section of his page.
“The dismissive video was a ‘slap in the face’ for the Jewish community,” said Board of Deputies chief executive Gillian Merron in a statement released last night.
“Having spoken directly to campaign director Jon Lansman, the Jeremy for Labour campaign now recognises the inappropriate message conveyed and has committed to remove the video and apologise. This is the right result.
Now, after a couple more paragraphs Politics Home hosted the video that the Board of Deputies had complained about and Jon Lansman had apologised for but now look:

I think we can guess that under the capitulationist advice of Jon Lansman, Jeremy Corbyn's Facebook probably zapped the video too.  I asked one of the participants if they retained a copy but they hadn't. I was getting frantic.  Even when Politics Home hosted the video it couldn't be downloaded.   But when you see the video you will see that there was nothing in it to complain about or to apologise for which I am guessing is why Politics Home removed it.  And now thanks to Jamie Stern-Weiner who found it on YouTube here it is:


So just like the whole of the antisemitism smear campaign against leftists and Palestine solidarity supporters this is yet another case of "nothing to see here", which in the case of Politics Home and probably Corbyn's Facebook page is now literally true.

PS: I've just seen that Harry's Place has missed the point of the removal of the video and hosted it on their racist site.  It was actually HP's David Toube (he calls himself Habibi) who uploaded it to YouTube but rather smartly disabled the comments.

September 11, 2016

Gaza Truths: Deborah Maccoby answers her critics in the JC

Well this is a real turn up.  The Jewish Chronicle has published another letter from Deborah Maccoby, this time answering the critics of her previous letter which was taking Melanie Phillips to task.

Here's the letter:
Gaza truths

A few points in response to Melvyn Lipitch and Alan Miller (Letters, September 2):

1.  Despite the evacuation of Israeli settlers in 2005, Gaza is under siege and threat of onslaught.

2.  Hamas rocket attacks are provoked by Israel to provide a pretext for massively disproportionate operations against Gaza.

In 2008, Israel broke the ceasefire; in 2014, Israel targeted Hamas, though its leadership had nothing to do with the murder of three Israeli teenagers.

3. In 2013, el-Sisi sealed over a thousand tunnels between Gaza and Egypt without needing to devastate Gaza.   In 2014, the majority of Gaza tunnels did not go under the border into Israel.

 Even the minority that did were used only for military attacks (UNHRC Report 2015, para. 108).

4.  Mr Miller’s last point is a classic example of “whataboutery”.  His own level of ignorance explains why I needed to address some of Melanie Phillips’s misrepresentations.

Deborah Maccoby
Leeds LS17J

Really good stuff.  I particularly like the way she takes another opportunity to condemn "Melanie Phillips's misrepresentations".

September 03, 2016

What about the Whataboutery? Zios ask Deborah Maccoby

There's been a predictably angry response from Zionists to Deborah Maccoby's letter in last week's Jewish Chronicle. 
The problems with tunnel vision

Your reader Deborah Maccoby (Letters, August 26) questions whether it occurred to Melanie Phillips that the tunnels Hamas builds are for self-defence in preparation for another "murderous onslaught by the IDF" (paraphrased).  I can't answer for Melanie Phillips but that certainly didn't occur to me any more than it occurred to me that the thousands of rockets Hamas aimed at the civilian population of Israel, that precipitated the last conflict, were not in fact belligerent but instead were peace offerings.

Melvyn Lipitch
London SW3

Deborah Maccoby exhibits a level of ignorance beyond comprehension.  Has she forgotten that Israel withdrew from Gaza 10 years ago? Every incursion into the strip by the IDF since that date has been in reaction to continued bombardment, which has become progressively more dangerous as Hamas has acquired more sophisticated weaponry.  

Perhaps, with her undoubted experience of tunnelling, Ms Maccoby could advise the IDF how to discover and seal off tunnels where the exact routes and entry points were unknown to the Israeli authorities until the army entered the strip?  Why should Israel leave the parts of the tunnels within Gaza undamaged thus allowing Hamas to remove the seals and rebuild?

Has Ms Maccoby written to the general press protesting at the deaths of thousands of Arab civilians brought about by the actions of Russia, the USA, UK and other European armies in the Middle East and the tribal slaughter throughout Africa, or is her ire directed solely towards Israel whose only desire is to live in peace with its neighbours?

Alan Miller
London N16 

Maybe they don't know that Ariel Sharon himself referred to the "withdrawal" as disengagement rather than withdrawal or that he said that the disengagement was a "punishment and not a reward for the Palestinians".   I expect the JC to grant the last word to Zionists but it might be worth trying to make honest people out of them.

August 28, 2016

The Truth about Jeremy Newmark: "you couldn't make it up"

Oh but he could and he did.  Not only is Jeremy Newmark utterly dishonest he is also stupid so a couple of times recently he popped into my timeline and probably wished he hadn't. A little bit of history first.  I heard a rumour that Momentum were going to host Jeremy Newmark at a meeting at the Labour Conference.  Most followers of Zionist antics in the UK will know Jeremy Newmark as the most notorious liar in the Zionist movement here.  They will also know that liars for the racist war criminals of the State of Israel (Zionists) are ten a penny in all the mainstream media and political establishment including the so-called opposition. So free speech isn't denied to the likes of Jeremy Nemark.  He has no shortage of outlets for his abject dishonesty.  So some of us are dismayed that Momentum are giving Newmark the time of day.

I tweeted as follows when I heard the rumour:

Well then Tony Greenstein and Jeremy Newmark responded to Tony.   See this:
Now just a little detour because I like exposing Newmark for what he is. I responded thus:
My comment here was based on the finding of the Tribunal in the case of Fraser v University and College Union. The FUCU case was a rehearsal for the orchestrated smear campaign we have witnessed against the Labour left ever since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the party. This is what the Tribunal judges had to say about Jeremy Newmark on the matter of free speech:
The opinions of witnesses were not, of course, our concern and in most instances they were in any event unremarkable and certainly not unreasonable. One exception was a remark of Mr Newmark in the context of the academic boycott controversy in 2007 that the union was “no longer a fit arena for free speech”, a comment which we found not only extraordinarily arrogant but also disturbing.
So much for Newmark's commitment to free speech. Regarding who could make what up. Here is what the Tribunal had to say about Newmark making stuff up:
We regret to say that we have rejected as untrue the evidence of Ms Ashworth and Mr Newmark concerning the incident at the 2008 Congress. Evidence given to us about booing, jeering and harassing of Jewish speakers at Congress debates was also false, as truthful witnesses on the Claimant’s side accepted. One painfully ill-judged example of playing to the gallery was Mr Newmark’s preposterous claim, in answer to the suggestion in cross-examination that he had attempted to push his way into the 2008 meeting, that a ‘pushy Jew’ stereotype was being applied to him.

So there we have a bog standard Zionist.  He believes that free speech on Israel should not be allowed in a trade union whose members might (or might not) support the Palestinian cause.  He lies when he can't convince anyone who matters that criticising or condemning Israel is of itself antisemitic, because of course it isn't. And he lied of course to make out there had been an antisemitic incident when there wasn't one.

He tries to ridicule honest anti-racists who don't want to offend real victims of racism by hosting a low life like him.  You really couldn't make it up.

By the way, Momentum still haven't responded to my tweet asking them to confirm or deny the rumour that they are to host the shameless Newmark.

August 26, 2016

A response to Melanie Phillips's "Tunnel Vision"

Melanie Phillips had a typically extreme piece in last week's Jewish Chronicle denouncing aid to Gaza as the funding of "mass murder".  To its rare credit, the JC has published a response by Deborah Maccoby.  The JC doesn't publish letters on line so here's the letter which Deborah copied to me:
Tunnel Vision

Melanie Phillips (JC, August 19) writes: "Israeli officials have claimed that every month, Hamas builds another six miles of tunnels whose sole purpose is to deliver killers and weapons to wipe out as many Israelis as possible."

Does it ever occur to her that Hamas builds tunnels as self-defence, in preparation for yet another murderous onslaught on Gaza by the Israeli Army?

Phillips goes on: "A Hamas operative captured by the Israelis last June revealed that terrorists can travel underground throughout the whole of Gaza".

In July 2014, when Israeli launched Operation Protective Edge, which killed 1,400 Gazan civilians, including 500 children, only 12 of the tunnels passed under the border into Israel and these could easily have been sealed off on the Israeli side. The tunnels are built so that Hamas militants can emerge within Gaza and engage with invading Israeli soldiers.

Deborah Maccoby

We're not sure who the JC is suggesting is tunnel visioned but Mel does seem to spend more time on hasbara than Deborah does on debunking the same.

August 19, 2016

The Post The Forward Pulled

The following article was pulled from the Jewish Daily Forward.  Here's the link: http://forward.com/news/breaking-news/347815/an-israeli-politician-smeared-students-for-justice-in-palestine-and-the-med/
Here's the link to Google cache.  The cache doesn't hold for long so here's the article in full:

An Israeli Politician Smeared Students for Justice in Palestine — and the Media Fell for It

On Aug 15, an Israeli lawmaker accused the pro-Palestinian campus group Students for Justice in Palestine of compiling lists of Jewish students and their dorm room addresses.
Addressing the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, member of Knesset Anat Berko said that SJP is “collecting information on where Jews live at New York University among others,” reported The Times of Israel. Berko later reiterated her claims on Israel Radio, adding that the Israeli advocacy organization Reservists On Duty had told her “about the marking out of Jewish dorms, of rooms of Jewish students (on campus), for example at New York University and other campuses.”
However, Reservists on Duty denied informing Berko’s original inflammatory statement. “To be honest,” Social Media Coordinator Ofir Ohayon told the Forward on Aug 17, we don’t really know for sure that SJP did compile lists of Jewish students. Although we did talked [sic] with Anat Berko yesterday she didn’t mentioned such thing. What we do know is about the eviction notice incidents, we’ve talked with various students from Florida Atlantic University, UCONN, NYU and Vassar who received this eviction notice.”
While The Times of Israel’s original live blog entry and follow up article have been shared over 4,000 times on Facebook alone, officials from the Zionist Organization of America and Stand With Us, two large national groups that work to combat anti-Semitism on college campuses, told the Forward on Aug 16 they had no knowledge of this sort of activity taking place.
Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, the Executive Director of the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU, told the Forward on Aug 17 that MK Berko was “well intentioned, but mistaken.”
“We have many problems with Israel discourse at NYU,” he acknowledged, “but they tend to be localized. We have problems with the Graduate Student Union and certain departments in the humanities and social sciences, but the stalking of Jewish students on campus is thankfully not a problem.”
National Students for Justice in Palestine, an informal, volunteer-run network composed of current students and recent graduates of Students for Justice in Palestine, told the Forward that they “have never heard of such cases,” but added that “all SJP chapters on campuses across the country are autonomously run. However, as a national organization, NSJP is firmly against all forms of bigotry, including anti-Semitism.”
According to Lahav Harkov, Senior Knesset reporter and analyst for The Jerusalem Post, Berko’s comments were related to the 2014 incident (Full disclosure: written by this reporter in 2014 for The Times of Israel) in which NYU SJP members slipped thousands of mock eviction notices protesting Israeli home demolitions into student rooms inside two dormitories, one of which contained a Sabbath elevator (which operates on a special automatic mode during the Jewish Sabbath to facilitate the strict observance of Jewish law).
Following NYU SJP’s 2014 actions, NYU spokesperson John Beckman said that a “flyer titled ‘eviction notice’ anonymously slipped under doors at night is not an invitation to thoughtful, open discussion; it is disappointingly inconsistent with standards we expect to prevail in a scholarly community.”
Beckman also noted that “it is unclear why the flyering took place in this particular dorm; we don’t believe there is perception of this dorm as having an a high percentage of Jewish students (the presence of a Sabbath elevator is the result of a stairway that empties to the street and cannot be entered through the lobby behind the security desk, not because of a disproportionate presence of Jewish students in the building). However, were it to be the case that the flyering was done there because it was perceived be a dorm with a higher proportion of Jewish students, that would be troubling, dismaying and a matter of deep concern for our community.”
On Aug 17, The Times of Israel spoke with MK Berko’s aide and updated their story with her comments: “An aide to Berko said Wednesday that anti-Israel groups collect information on where Jewish students live, and that there had been ‘several incidents’ in which ‘eviction notices’ were placed in dormitories where Jewish students live — not necessarily Jewish-only residences, she said, but residences where ‘there are mezuzas’ and it is clear that Jews live there.”
Oren Segal, Director of the Anti Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, told the Forward on Aug 16 that “According to our research, there is no evidence pointing to Students for Justice in Palestine compiling specific lists of Jewish students. However, we have long expressed our concerns over SJP’s campus efforts, which have resulted in troubling tensions between students and have fostered a hostile atmosphere for pro-Israel and Jewish students.”
According to the ADL’s 2015 audit, 10% of anti-Semitic incidents reported nationally took place on college and university campuses. 90 incidents were reported on 60 college campuses in 2015, up from 47 incidents on 43 campuses in 2014.
Major Jewish organizations have been ramping up efforts to highlight anti-Semitism on college campuses, primarily focusing their efforts on Students for Justice in Palestine, which the Zionist Organization of America calls a “hate group.”
The New York University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine was not available for comment.
This piece has been updated with further reportage and additional information.
Laura is the Forward’s Contributing Network Editor. Contact her at adkins@forward.com or on Twitter @Laura_E_Adkins.
Sorry about the haphazard layout. I was in a rush.

June 23, 2016

JC avoids mentioning lynching of a Jew in Tel Aviv

This is curious.  I was just looking at a Mondoweiss posting about the potential lynching of a guy who crash his car into a Tel Aviv restaurant after the driver suffered a heart attack.  It's worth a lengthy extract from Mondo:
Saturday night, an Israeli driver had a heart attack and lost control of his vehicle on busy Ben Yehuda street in Tel Aviv, ending up crashing into a restaurant and badly injuring two diners, who died shortly after from their wounds.
According to the wife of one of the restaurant owners, Shoshana San, who was an eyewitness, the driver was believed by restaurant-goers and others to be a terrorist. “They thought that the driver was not a good person, they beat him. He was unconscious”, she is quoted saying in the Jerusalem Online article. 
Let me translate this coded Israeli language for everyone. “Not a good person” means a Palestinian terrorist. The witnesses thought that the car ramming was an intentional Palestinian terror attack, so although the driver was already unconscious, they “pulled him out of the car” as Israeli NRG noted (Hebrew) and lynched him whilst he was unconscious.
Quite little seems to be said about this lynching. It is very toned down and mostly omitted in Israeli media coverage that I managed to glean in my search. Haaretz and Times of Israel, for example, reported about the accident on the day, stating that it wasn’t terror, and not mentioning the beating. “Six wounded; driver among the fatalities in incident unrelated to terrorism,” said Haaretz. .
Ok, so a guy has a heart attack at the wheel of his car, loses control and the car crashes into a restaurant, killing some and injuring others.  The driver was among the dead.  What killed him?  Was it the heart attack?  Was it the crash?  Or was it the beating?

If we look at the Jerusalem Online post we wouldn't even know if he got killed:
On the morning after last night’s (Saturday) deadly car crash on Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, eye-witnesses are still having trouble comprehending it. According to assessments, the driver suffered a heart attack and lost control of the wheel, which caused him to run over restaurant patrons. The current terror wave attacks caused many people to think that this accident was a planned car ramming attack, which prompted several eye-witnesses to beat the driver after his car came to a stop- according to Shosha San, the wife of one of the restaurant’s owners.

In a radio interview, San recalled the accident and said that the driver was unconscious when he was beaten “by bystanders, not the restaurant staff.” San added: “I thought it was the end of the world and that I was dead, people were screaming. The restaurant was filled with white dust. At first, I thought it was maybe a terror attack.”

San said that the restaurant staff quickly reacted to the accident: “We called the Police and ambulances. We helped people, there was a lot of blood and I was scared.” According to San, other people acted differently because they thought it was a terror attack: “They thought that the driver was not a good person, they beat him. He was unconscious.” San also mentioned that the restaurant is still closed due to the serious damage caused by the accident.

No mention of the driver winding up dead but the headline points firmly to the lynching attempt:
Driver of last night’s deadly accident was beaten by eye-witnesses
Now would even a fatal car crash in Tel Aviv normally interest the UK's Jewish Chronicle?  Maybe it would and sure enough Josh Jackman did report on it on the same day as the Jerusalem Online piece. Here's the JC;
Three people have died and six were left injured after a car crashed into restaurant customers in Tel Aviv.
Alan Weinkrantz, president of a high-tech PR company, and 47-year-old Menashe Raz from Ashdod were among those killed on Saturday night.
The driver of the car, a 41-year-old from Ra’anana, was also killed.
Police reports indicated that the driver suffered a heart attack and lost control of the vehicle, careering into customers sitting outside Furama, a Chinese restaurant in the centre of the city.
A female victim in her 30s was left moderately injured, while five others were lightly hurt.
Police have opened an investigation into the incident, but it is not thought to have been a terrorist attack.
Mr Weinkrantz, a Texas resident in his 60s who was president of Alan Weinkrantz and Company, was in Israel on an annual business trip.
His son Aaron told Times of Israel: "He was planning to come back to the US on Thursday. So this has been real tough and real, just crazy."
Mr Weinkrantz also leaves behind a daughter, Lauren.
Mr Raz was preparing to leave the restaurant after a night out with his wife, three children and sister-in-law's family when the car hit.
His sister-in-law Revital, 25, and his 22-year-old niece Linoy Raz were injured and taken to hospital.

So the JC mentioned what Jerusalem Online didn't but not what the latter did report, ie, that the driver was lynched by bystanders.  Given that he is now dead as a result of something that happened to him that night it could be that he was actually killed by the people who attacked him when other witnesses said he was unconscious.  This was a car crash in a far away city where there are a lot of car crashes and a lot of resulting fatalities.  So what was of interest to the JC?  And whatever it was, why didn't they report the beating by the witnesses/bystanders?  As a far away foreigner I feel the most interesting part of the story is the lynching, not the crash itself.

By the way, the report was first written on 19 June 2016.  It was updated the following morning.  I don't know what was added, taken away or replaced.

UPDATE at 11:15 am 23/6/2016: I've now seen that Newsweek reported what the JC didn't:
The incident, which took place at the Furama Chinese restaurant on Ben Yehuda street in the coastal city, left two people in the eatery dead. The driver also succumbed to his injuries but it is unclear if the beating by the mob is what killed him, or the heart attack that preceded the crash.
So in a report that a driver who crashed his car into a restaurant in Tel Aviv may have been killed by a heart attack, the crash or by an angry mob who mistook him for an Arab, most media that I have seen only see fit to mention the crash itself and the fact that 3 people died.