February 27, 2005

America's demographic problem

There is good news and bad news. The good news is that the reports of the decline of Jewish and pro-Israel influence, and the rise of Arab/Muslim influence in the American political system are at the moment greatly exaggerated. The bad news is that change is underway, and the relative shift described above is occurring.
But look at Richard Baehr's reasoning here.
According to him, Jewish influence in America is in decline because of various demographic shifts. *Health warning" This reads like a party political broadcast for the Israeli Labour Party.
From 1990 to 2000, he points out, the Hispanic population grew by 13 million. just over 50%. The black population grew by 4 million, or 11%. The Asian
population grew by 4 million, or over 60%. The population of non-Hispanic whites grew by 6 million or 3%. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 22% of the country's population growth during the ten year period, Hispanics for half of it. Non-Hispanic whites are now 70% of the population, headed for 50% by 2050.

Meanwhile, from a peak of 6 million American Jews, or 4% of the US population in 1950, Jews are now just about 5.2 million in number, according to the latest Jewish population surveys, or a bit less than 2% of the US population, and the trend points down to maybe three million in the next but one generation.
Horrid isn't it? But it gets worse:
With an intermarriage rate around 50%, and a fertility rate of 1.6 children per Jewish woman, Jews are committing population suicide. American Jews marry late and often never marry, and have fewer children as a result. The commitment to abortion rights as a pre-eminent political issue strikes me a particularly odd, with Jewish numbers declining at an accelerating rate. Rather than being aggressive advocates of abortion rights, Jews might more rationally be advocates of carrying unwanted pregnancies to term, and then giving up the babies for adoption. This is especially the case since many Jewish women marry late and have difficulty conceiving.
And worse again:
As Jews decline in number, he points with a quivering finger at the Arab and Muslim population in America heading in the other direction. Baehr cites two academic studies putting the US Muslim population at between 1.8 and 2.9 million, with the total Arab/Muslim community "probably about 3.5 million, two thirds the size of the Jewish community."
Perhaps it's time for Mr Baehr to emigrate (I mean "return") to Israel where ethnic cleansing and an array of apartheid laws maintain the "demographic balance" by force. But, no, there's a problem there too. You see American support for Israel is now under threat:
in the 2004 campaign, four Jews - George Soros, Peter Lewis, Steven Bing and Herbert Sandler - gave over $80 million to Democratic political funds. While "this level of political giving by a few individuals has never happened before in the history of the country, Israel is not the leading agenda item for any of them. They were Bush-haters, pure and simple. This is true of much of the political money that comes from Jews in Hollywood (from where Bing hails). Israel is not the motivator for their contributions.
Oh dear, oh dear.

"Relative calm"

Electronic Intifada picked up on the media's (in the case the Los Angeles Times) deliberate obscuring of Israeli atrocities against Palestinians by way of the expression "relative calm".

The headline proclaims: "Palestinian Suicide bomber Shatters Calm of late." The lead sentence then goes on to state that this bomber "shattered a months-long period of relative calm..."

The fact is, however, that the truce and this "calm" were shattered long before this. The last suicide bombing against Israeli civilians was Nov. 1, 2004. It took three Israeli lives. Since that time, while Israelis have basked in "relative calm," 170 Palestinian men, women, and children have been killed.

During this LA Times' "relative calm," another 379 Palestinian men, women, and children were injured and maimed. Anyone who has been to the West Bank or Gaza knows what this means: leg bones splintered, intestines torn open, teeth shattered.

Also, of course, during this "calm" over 8,000 Palestinians have been sitting in Israeli prison cells, routinely abused and grotesquely humiliated; over 300 of them children.

Hitler, Adolf, zionist approval of,

I was just looking up the index of Israel Shahak's Jewish History, Jewish Religion when I saw the above explosive reference. I know it's almost a cliché now to speak of zionist agreement with anti-semitism and even more of one to refer to zionist/nazi collaboration but I really didn't know how deep it ran in ideological terms:
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'. And further:
We want assimilation to be replaced by a new law: the declaration of belonging to the Jewish nation and Jewish race. A state built upon the principle of the purity of nation and race can only be honored and respected by a Jew who declares his belonging to his own kind. Having so declared himself, he will never be capable of faulty loyalty towards a state. The state cannot want other Jews but such as declare themselves as belonging to their nation. It will not want Jewish flatterers and crawlers. It must demand of us faith and loyalty to our own interest. For only he who honors his own breed and his own blood can have an attitude of honor towards the national will of other nations.

The whole book is full of similar crude flatteries of Nazi ideology, glee at the defeat of liberalism and particularly of the ideas of the French Revolution and great expectations that, in the congenial atmosphere of the myth of the Aryan race, Zionism and the myth of the Jewish race will also thrive.

In fairness, Shahak goes on to say that "of course, Dr Prinz, like many other early sympathizers and allies of Nazism, did not realize where that movement (and modern antisemitism generally) was leading" but then "many people at present do not realize where zionism - the movement in which Dr Prinz was an honored figure - is tending."

February 26, 2005

Pigs, Jews and Muslims

Deborah Maccoby responds to Rod Liddle's outrageously anti-Muslim diatribe in last week's Spectator :

Rod Liddle claims that Labour politicians are deliberately offending Jews in order to curry favour with Muslims (‘Why Labour does not need the Jews’, 19 February).

As a Jew, I do not believe Labour intended its recent ‘flying pigs’ and ‘hypnotist’ posters to be anti-Semitic. Jews do not actually regard pigs as offensive animals — according to Jewish law, they are not permitted to be eaten, but this does not mean they are viewed with abhorrence. The ‘hypnotist’ poster may have unconscious echoes of Svengali or Fagin, but does not seem to have been consciously intended as anti-Semitic.

Mr Liddle concludes, "There are no opinion polls which show that Muslim voters, moderate or less moderate, leap up and down with glee when Labour politicians gratuitously offend the Jews. But my guess is that they do." My guess is that they don’t, and would not even if the offence had been intentional.

Deborah Maccoby
London E5

More on the Tel Aviv bomb

This is an update on last night's Tel Aviv bombing I have linked from Rafahpundits. Apparently four people have been killed and scores injured. A subsequent post on RP has a more personal/emotional take by El-Rache.

This is a truly despicable act, as always my thoughts are with everyone over there, especially the families of those killed or injured.
I have to be honest that that wasn't my first thought. My first thought was recorded in the first post on this particular bombing. My first thought was that I knew the media would spin this as Palestinians breaking the ceasefire, rather than responding to Israel breaking it by killing Palestinian teenagers. In that respect, Conal Urquhart's Guardian report "Tel Aviv bomb rocks peace process" didn't disappoint
Israelis tried to come to terms with the abrupt end of weeks of calm.

RUSSIA: Left fights "left" anti-semitism

Here's an article in the Green Left weekly online edition on the disturbing rise of anti-semitism in Russia. The old Soviet authorities, post-Lenin, often used anti-semitism in power struggles and to manipulate the public. Also the Red/Brown alliance emerged shortly after (if not during) the collapse of the Soviet Union. But this "coming out" by Communist Party old guard seems to be something new.
The nationalism in the top ranks of the Communist Party is an anomaly, even in the post-Soviet world. Across Eastern Europe, neoliberal reforms have come under fire from both the left, protesting against incursions into workers' rights, and from the nationalist right, which sees globalisation as an extension of the Jewish conspiracy or as a backhanded attempt to make local owners bow to the will of international capital. As one leftist journalist noted, these right-wingers want only homegrown vampires to suck their blood.
The Green Left article is, if you like, an ideological take on developments whereas the International Herald Tribune has more factual detail here.

February 25, 2005

Paradise lost

Sheesh. I really thought that the armed fascist activists of the Zionist settler movement in Palestine were fanatics willing to make sacrifices for Eretz Yisroel. It didn't make me sympathise with them in anyway but look at the gallery on this settler blog. No wonder they don't want to leave. See what people can do on stolen land with stolen water and cheap labour. As the Rafahpundits say, it looks like "a remote village in the South of France."

Tel Aviv bomb

No-one wants to say who carried out tonight's bombing at a Tel Aviv nightclub but whoever it was seems to have been responding to several Israeli breaches of the three week "period of calm" that I just heard an Economist reporter mention on BBC Radio 4. This is breaking news so there will be updates.

The last word

I promise. (fingers crossed). Here are two letters to the Jewish Chronicle supporting Ken Livingstone. They published three letters opposing him. One accuses him of "selective" anti-racism, the second accuses him of believing that "most Jews are Zionists" and the third, from a Tory Barnet Councillor suggests that "the Jewish community should discontinue all association with Mr Livingstone." So, here are the two that support Ken:

The Board of Deputies should not have complained to the Standards Board for England about the London Mayor's remarks to an Eveing Standard reporter. The remarks were not a criticism of the Jewish Community.

The criticism of the Evening Standard was justified on two grounds. The newspaper group to which the the Standard belongs did have a record of support for Hitler and Fascism. That was in the past. But it has continued in the present a harrassment of the mayor because of his consistent advocacy of racial tolerance and his opposition to Islamophobia, which is consistent with his firm opposition to the Nazi record and anti-Semitism.

The mayor can be regarded as one of the most effective, principled and popular, contemporary local-government leaders - at a time when principled politicians are in short supply.


Being critical of Israel's policy does not make Ken Livingstone anti-semitic or racist in any way.


Livingstone and the Zionist movement: Polls apart

The link in the headline above is to Totally Jewish, the website of Jewish News. In the article, they say:
A TJ poll found that of 500 people polled, 75 percent thought Livingstone should be removed from office if he failed to apologise.
However, according to the Jewish Chronicle, in an article headed "Backing for Ken" all of the media polls they quote had Ken well in the lead over his Zionist detractors:
A BBC London poll of more than 10,000 people attracted 66% backing for the mayor....Guardian...on-line...4,768 responses with 77% in favour of Mr Livingstone.
Two-thirds of more than 200 Times readers who emailed Times Online sided with the mayor, saying he had no need to apologise.
...Sky News....57% ...considered an apology unnecessary.
City Hall has received almost 2,000 letters about the issue, reporting that 76% of the writers took the side of Mr Livingstone.[the Standard disputes this]
A spokeman said that "all tests of public opinion in London are now showing support for the mayor's stand in refusing to apologise to the Evening Standard."
Now that last bit, "refusing to apologise to the Evening Standard", that contrasts with what Totally Jewish. reports the Evening Standard reporter, Oliver Finegold, as seeking. According to a "close friend" of Oliver Finegold quoted in TJ:
Oliver thinks that Livingstone owes everyone an apology – the Jewish community, Holocaust survivors, and Londoners."
Well it looks like most Londoners weren't looking for an apology, and Ken did express regret at any offence caused to Jews in general and holocaust survivors in particular. So that leaves Finegold. I think he'll come to be known as a former reporter before long. So well done Ken!

February 24, 2005

Aaronovitch and the oligarchs

I just found this article titled "Russia, Israel and Media Omissions" on Counterpunch. When it became clear that a handful, well seven, Russians had emerged as the owners and controllers of the bedrock of the former Soviet economy I wondered where Russians would have got capital from in countries where a superstate had controlled all investment and savings. When one or two of these oligarchs fled to Israel under suspicion of some economic crime or other I began to suspect that maybe Israel had stumped up the capital. Then when an oligarch - Khodorkovsky - wound up in a Russian jail and Richard Perle called for Russia's expulsion from the G8, even though he'd never uttered a peep over atrcities in Chenya, I thought maybe it was the neo-cons who stumped up. Let's face it, they ain't poor these guys. Anyway, then I read this by David Aaronovitch in the Guardian. back in 2003:

a journalist called Neil Clark accuses America of being behind the Russian oligarchs who President Putin is so wisely (if unconstitutionally) cracking down on at the moment. 'In the oligarchs,' says Clark, 'Perle... saw a way in which the US and Israel could, by proxy, gain political and economic power in Russia...' The 'and Israel' should have warned the editor of the New Statesman what he was dealing with here. I suggest he visits David Irving's home page or the revisionist Zundelsite website very soon.
and I was convinced that the neo-cons, Israel and the Russian oligarchs were in cohoots. Of course, as Aaronovitch suggests, people might want to visit crackpot holocaust denier and worldwide Jewish conspiracy sites just to see the kind of malicious tosh that, unlike Aaronovitch's, doesn't make it into the mainstream but if you want to read a well reasoned piece on the relationship between the neo-cons, Israel and the Russian oligarchs read on.

February 23, 2005

And still they come

Now Israel's ambassador to London has called on Ken Livingstone to apologise. [Thanks to Bat]. I thought it was all over yesterday. The Zionists don't like losing. Look at this:

Coming exactly two weeks after the vivid television images marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and so soon after his own municipality had hosted survivors of the Nazi death machine, his comments demonstrate gross insensitivity to the minorities in London and beyond. Unfortunately, this is not the first time.
See that last sentence. This, as I've said before, is why the Zionists are on Livingstone's case. He won't pander to them. He has condemned Israel (and Saudi of course) on more than one occasion and the Zionists really thought they had him this time. Having manipulated the pain of holocaust survivors, mobilised the Board of Deputies, the Holocaust "Education" Trust, the Chief Rabbi, Lord Janner, the Prime Minister (that's Blair, not Sharon, not yet anyway), other Labour and Tory MPs and MLAs, the Zionists have failed to intimidate Ken Livingstone. So now they're firing what they believe are bigger guns. Ken Livingstone is not going to be moved by the ranting of an agent of an apartheid state so who's next? Sharon? Let's see. Meanwhile have a read of Michael Rosen's take on this here. Michael Rosen is a writer of children's stories*. How appropriate.

*Michael Rosen is also a playwright and poet, and not just for children.

February 22, 2005

Views of the street at odds with the media

That Ken Livingstone statement in full. Alright, I won't post it all here but click the headline above. Here's a taste:

Is it the case that whilst not racist or anti-semitic my words were so offensive they should never have been uttered?

Clearly the the leading Jewish newspaper the Jewish Chronicle does not think so. On February 7 th 2003 they published a letter accusing Professors Hilary and Stephen Rose of being kapos (concentration camp inmates serving as guards). The Roses complained to the Jewish Chronicle and the Press Complaints Commission. The Press Complaints Commission rejected the Roses complaint on the grounds that the Jewish Chronicle had printed a letter of rebuttal on the Roses.

Clearly, the Jewish Chronicle and the Press Complaints Commission did not feel that this term diminished the holocaust.

If we want to see an example of an inappropriate use of the term holocaust we need look no further than the Daily Mail writer Quentin Letts who described Labour MP Andrew Dismore as "a Holocaust bore".
Well done Ken for having a jab at the JC. They have indeed trivialised the holocaust. But look out for Andrew Dismore MP, he's tabling an Early Day Motion tomorrow, condemning Ken. This might run some more. If it does, there's a warning from Livingstone:
I have lost count of the number of times I have been approached by Londoners over the last two weeks and have been urged very forcefully not to apologise. Since this row erupted we have received over 1500 letters and emails from the public. 74 per cent have expressed their support for me, with 26 per cent against—a margin of support of three to one.

Not for the first time in my years in public life the views of ordinary people on the street are overwhelmingly at odds with much of the media.

Now if you compare the above extracts (or the whole statement) to what was reported by the Beeb you may wonder why the Chief Rabbi and the Holocaust Education Trust didn;t take the JC to task for trivialising the holocaust by publishing a letter calling the Roses "kapos". Of course, you will have seen how small a proportion of Ken's statement was actually shown by the BBC so perhaps they didn't report the Chief Rabbi's and the Holocaust Education Trust's condemnation of the JC for holocaust trivialisation or the Daily Mail for calling an MP a holocaust bore. But I doubt it.

Mr Livingstone regrets...

I'm quite relieved that Ken Livingstone has said that:
"There will be... no apology or expression of regret to the Daily Mail Group."
He added: "To the Daily Mail group, no-one in Britain is less qualified to complain about anti-Semitism.
"In truth, those papers were the leading advocate of anti-Semitism in the country for half a century."

'Hatred and fear'

He said that while it is true the Daily Mail has moved on from anti-Semitism, it now targets asylum seekers and Muslims.
"For the Mail group the victims may change but the intolerance, hatred and fear pervade every issue of the papers," Mr Livingstone said.
He added that over the past two weeks his "main concern" was for many Jewish Londoners, and regretted if his comments "may have been seen to downplay the horror and magnitude of the Holocaust".

Needless to say, the Chief Rabbi, that paragon of integrity, has weighed in with:
"He [Livingstone] knows that Holocaust survivors were deeply wounded by his remarks.

"He may not have intended this, but that was the effect of his words, and therefore he must accept responsibility.

'Pain still there'

"His failure to offer an unequivocal apology is both regrettable and damages the stature of his office." [But surely no more than the Chief rabbi has done to his].
And, not to be outdone:
Karen Pollock, of the Holocaust Educational Trust [aka the censors of Perdition], said it was an opportunity for the mayor "to say sorry and say he regretted the offence and upset he caused to Holocaust survivors and to the Jewish community".

"He failed to do that today, and therefore the upset is still there and the pain is still there."

February 21, 2005

Israel ignoring Bush or Bush ignoring Israel?

Well actually it's both. Today Bush told Israel to freeze the settlements. Israel is expanding the settlements as I write. So is Israel ignoring what Bush says or is Bush ignoring what Israel does? They seem to have agreed to ignore each other.


Be my Palestine

Apologies to Meaders and anyone for the lack of clarity here. This is an EI report on a Valentine's Day event by the anti-Zionist gay group: QUIT.

Electronic Intifada. pulls it out of the bag again with this write up of QUIT's campaign against Estée Lauder for supporting Israel's ethnic cleansing:

Eternally Mine joins Estee's signature scent Occupation. and Apartheid For Men. in the group's killer product line. Also on hand were special editions of Atrocity Cover Up, Bloody Hand Cream, Take It Away Total Village Remover. and the classic condom, "The Wall" (nothing gets past it)....
QUIT! is targeting cosmetics giant Estee Lauder with its boycott Israel message, because heir Ron Lauder is president of the Jewish National Fund, which maintains and implements Israel's discriminatory land policies.

Two weeks ago, Israel's attorney general determined that all land managed by the Israel Lands Administration, including land owned by the Jewish National Fund, must be marketed without discrimination or limits including to non-Jews. According to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, "The state prosecutor's office believes it will not be able to defend before the High Court the policy of allocating Jewish National Fund land to Jews only."

Days later, news agencies reported, " The Jewish National Fund and the Finance Ministry are discussing ways to separate the JNF from the state, to allow it to continue selling land to Jews only.!

Israeli denial: it's all Greek to Ilan Pappe

Here's an interesting interview in Zmag, with Justin Podur and Ilan Pappe:

There are incredible examples. Here is one. There is a music show that is on Israeli television, called ‘Taverna’. It is Israeli music, which means it is Greek music with Hebrew lyrics. After the Israeli Army committed the massacre in Jenin in April 2002, the producer – another ‘leftist’ from the ‘peace camp’ – wanted to do a music show in order to give some comfort to the troops in this trying time. So the producers set up a stage in the zone of total destruction in Jenin. If you have been to Jenin or seen films about it, you know there was a hole in the middle of the camp – everything had been destroyed and reduced to rubble, people had been killed, people were buried in the rubble. They set up a stage in the midst of that rubble and had their music show. I talked to the producer afterwards, I asked him – ‘don’t you see a problem with having the stage in the middle of the hole’? He said: ‘no, the stage worked fine’ – as if my question had been about the technical aspects of the stage rather than the macabre scene.

February 20, 2005

UK Olympics: the media may have lost it

Finally someone in the media has realised that media amplification of Ken Livingstone's brush with a Standard reporter may have damaged the UK's Olympic bid. Funny that it's the Independent, given that it was the Independent that first reported that Livingstone himself had jeopardised the bid and the same paper that published a letter accusing Ken of "holocaust denial". Elsewhere in today's Independent on Sunday. there is an article on why Ken will not apologise and a leader on why he should.

Meanwhile, surprisingly, the Observer has a leader on why the art of apology has become so debased a currency.

Enough already III

Just found this round-up of the Ken Livingstone business at The Friday Thing. I've posted the article here as well in case TFT's "free to access" article falls off the net.

There's no special reason for me to post this except that the title of the article, "Enough already", is the same as one I have used twice to condemn anti-semitism on the supposedly anti-Zionist Jewish left. See here(I) and here(II).

Ok there's also another reason. This apoplexy directed at Ken Livingstone is making Jews a laughing stock and, whilst people who would sneer at Jews generally over the cultivated "offence" taken at Ken Livingstone's churlish drunken remarks, have to take responsibility for their own actions, the mock offended have to take responsibility for their actions too.

Oh, thanks to LGFwatch for linking to TFT. I wouldn't have found it otherwise.

February 19, 2005

And pigs might fly

From the Black Propaganda blog. Makes me wish I could post pictures.

Rod Liddle: Anti-capitalism is anti-semitic and pro-Islamic

I haven't read much of Rod Liddle's stuff but someone emailed me the link to this absurd article, headed "Why Labour does not need the Jews". The main thrust of the article is that Jews are now such a small minority their votes aren't worth pitching for, unlike the good old days when Jewish votes were politically significant and overwhelmingly Labour. Which, if true, would also mean that Jewish votes weren't worth pitching for. But he doesn't let such logic distract him. He then goes on an oddysey around the various things that Labourites have done to offend Jews. So we see posters portraying Michael Howard and Oliver Letwin as flying pigs, a Faginesque caricature of Michael Howard, and an article by a Labour Minister in, heaven forbid! Muslim News. Of course, since it's the pretext for the article, Ken Livingstone's "give a man a uniform" jibe doesn't escape scrutiny here. For Liddle, this was indicative of Ken's arrogance and offensiveness but:

There may, too, have been some of that unconscious anti-Semitism which has historically infested the far Left; many psychoanalysts believe that the Left’s aversion to capitalism is simply a displaced loathing of Jews.
Did you catch that? "Displaced loathing of Jews?" I've seen this in Melanie Phillips's writing as well. There is no such thing as a sincerely held belief that capitalism isn't nice, on account of, say, inequality, hardship, exploitation, homelessness, and so on. No, it's a "displaced loathing of Jews." The downside of capitalism has had millions of Jews working towards its downfall, fighting and dying in revolutions. But for Liddle, the essence of the Jew is capitalism. And therefore to oppose capitalism is to oppose Jews. Now I can live with there being one. Melanie Phillips in the media, but now there are two. This really is too much.

But where was I?

Ah yes. For Liddle, since they are not worth courting, it doesn't hurt to offend Jews and since we all know that Muslims hate Jews, the more a party offends Jews, the more Muslim votes they will get. Then we get Liddle's take on why Labour politicians "defend" Muslim women's "right" (his quotes not mine) to wear a head covering. Apparently, in Liddle world, Muslim women must be forced to wear the hejab, because, after all, they can't possibly enjoy such a manifestly inferior culture. Taking the unconscious anti-semitism and the cultural tolerance together with the invitation to the Islamic cleric, al-Qaradawi, Liddle then tells us that "there is nothing Labour won’t do to protect its Muslim vote". He doesn't explain why Labour still supports Israel, why Blair wouldn't lay a wreath at Arafat's grave or why Blair won't apologise for the war in Iraq or withdraw the troops from there. He does though, tell us that the "reason [for this appeasement] is very, very simple". It's the fact that "Muslims have always tended to vote en bloc". That's right, the workers, the businessmen, the landlords, the whole rotten lot. In fairness, according to Liddle, in the good old days, so did Jews.

But now we live in the bad new days with a large Muslim population. Jews are being harrassed, and abused by Labour, because whilst,
there are no opinion polls which show that Muslim voters, moderate or less moderate, [ie the whole rotten lot] leap up and down with glee when Labour politicians gratuitously offend the Jews...my guess is that they do. Is it possible, or even likely, that Labour has made the very same guess?

My predictions:

1) there will be no complaint from the Board of Deputies about Liddle accusing all Jews of being capitalists, and

2) there will be no howls of outrage in the mainstream media about his anti-Muslim racism.

Africans out of Israel

Israel has been rounding up and expelling African workers, supposedly to combat rising unemployment. Apparently even the ethnic cleansing friendly Jerusalem Post. is unhappy with such an overtly. racist policy, hypocritically quoting from Deuteronomy:

Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates.

Independent perspective

Here's a Rob Ferguson from London E17 putting the Ken Livingstone saga into perspective*:

Mayor under attack

Sir: Both as an anti-racist and a Jew I think it a mistake to employ comparison with Nazi crimes as a form of abuse or to equate all reactionary politics or racism with the Nazis. Such currents should be opposed on their own terms without resort to the Holocaust as a shock shortcut.

However, I feel growing outrage at the wave of hypocrisy against Ken Livingstone. He has a longstanding record of opposing racism and fascism; he has put local authority resources into anti-racist and anti-fascist events and has been vilified by the press for 'waste' for doing so; he has consistently opposed the vilification of refugees.

When my father's parents fled the Pale of Russia (as did Oliver Finegold's) the press vilified Jews as beggars, thieves, scroungers and carriers of disease. When my mother arrived from Hungary in the 1930s the Mail and the Express attacked 'refuJews', calling for their exclusion. One quote from the Mail, 23 March 1938 should suffice: 'To be ruled by misguided sentimentalism would be disastrous. Once it was known that Britain offered sanctuary to all who cared to come, the floodgates would be opened and we would be inundated by thousands seeking a home.'

The call by the Jewish Board of Deputies and Holocaust survivors for Livingstone's 'apology' is tragically misplaced. When did refugees past or present ever receive an apology from the newspapers now demanding Livingstone acknowledge his 'offence'?

The agenda here is to tarnish and diminish genuine anti-racism in order to give those who pander to prejudice a freer rein.

London E17

*I know I'm a fine one to talk of perspective when this is my three-hundred and forty-seventh post (give or take) on the same overblown molehill of a subject.

February 18, 2005

Where's the Board of Deputies when (or if) it's needed?

I'm sure many readers of this blog have marvelled at the principled stand taken by the Evening Standard. against Ken Livingstone's "anti-semitic" tirade against, er, Oliver, er, what's-his-name. How on earth did they let this slip through the net? Here's Princess Michael of Kent on why the media worked itself into a lather over Prince Harry's choice of fancy dress:

"I feel sorry for Harry. If he had worn a hammer and sickle, nobody would have got excited. Even though the hammer and sickle stands for Stalin and gulag and pogrom and devastation.

"The press has a different sensibility because of its ownership structure."

Now what on earth could she have meant here? [hat-tip: Bat] So there we have it. Ken Livingstone says, effectively, "give a man a uniform and he thinks he's Hitler" and a leading Royal says, again effectively, Jews control the media. What is the Board of Deputies for exactly?

Melanie Phillips: the killing of a child is a "minor grievance"

A Rafah pundit is, in fact probably all Rafah pundits are, angry at Melanie Phillips for describing the killing of a 10 year old child as a "minor grievance."

But there's more to her on line article than the belittling of child killing by the Israeli army. She complains that the UK's Independent. newspaper had falsely reported Palestinian claims. For some strange reason, Melanie forgot to mention the fact that the Independent. article was written by Eric Silver, who is a card carrying Zionist. He is British but he has exercised his right to return to the Israel he doesn't come from. His main claim to fame is that, when he used to write for the Guardian, he said that "if Israel raped Lebanon she was hardly a virgin in the first place." Rumour has it that he was sacked for that. Also when Rachel Corrie was murdered by an Israeli army bulldozer driver Silver tried to cover it up in his Independent. article at the time. He tried to make out that there were conflicting reports that made the facts hard to come by. Too bad that photos of the murder were all over the internet when he wrote his article. The next day, as if to apologise, the Independent. ran the photos. The fact is that Eric Silver was caught with his hand in the till. Since then he has had to present an appearance of honest reporting (pardon the expression) since he wants to write for more than just the Jewish Chronicle. and the Jerusalem Post.

So, why didn't Melanie mention the fact that it was a Zionist who reported that the Israeli army had killed Nouran Deeb? Do you know? I'm starting to think she's deliberately dishonest.

It's his anti-Zionism, stupid!

The Jewish Chronicle has finally blown the gaffe on why Ken Livingstone is under such pressure to apologise to a Standard. hack.
Ken Livingstone has clashed with the Jewish community [read Zionist movement] many times since the 1980s, when he was the leader of the Greater London Council.

In 1981, as co-editor of the Labour Herald newspaper, he ran a cartoon entitled "The Final Solution", depicting the then Israeli Premier, Menachem Begin, as a Nazi [as did Albert Einstein and Hannah Arrendt in 1948]. He is seen in SS uniform, giving the Nazi salute and standing on a pile of dead bodies, saying "Shalom? Who needs shalom with Reagan behind you?".

During a 1984 interview with Israeli newspaper Davar Hashavuah, he claimed the Board of Deputies had come under the control of "reactionaries and neo-Fascists." [in a word: Zionists]

In October 2002, he denounced Ariel Sharon as "a very unstable leader with a record of war crimes and mass murder."[ not a miilion miles from findings by the Israeli Supreme Court]

Last year he welcomed to London Muslim cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has endorsed Palestinian suicide bombings and is accused [in common with Orthodox Judaism] of backing the killing of gays and the beating of women. When a cross-communal [which communities?] coalition, including the Board of Deputies, asked to meet him to discuss their concerns he refused. He argued their claims were lies peddled by a "Zionist front organisation." [MEMRI: a Zionist front organisation]

At a GLA meeting last month, he was amused at the prospect of a stormy meeting with the Board of Deputies over his condemnation of Israel, joking: "They should have sold tickets for that one."

So, not one thing that could be described as anti-Semitic. Obviously his hostility to Zionism is going to annoy some Jews, but by no means all. But it looks like he's starting to wobble so perhaps the Zionists will win this round after all.

No case for the CRE

Just when you thought the campaign against Ken Livingstone could stoop no lower, the Commission for Racial Equality is now on the case to assess whether the Greater London Authority can comply with the Race Relations Act.
In a surprise move, the CRE called on the Standards Board for England to consider whether the mayor's behaviour compromised the ability of the Greater London Authority, which he heads, to comply with the Race Relations Act.

It is the second referral to the standards board in the past week. On Monday, the Board of Deputies of British Jews called on the watchdog to hold a full inquiry.

The CRE's intervention will dismay the mayor, who insists his comments were not anti-semitic and who highlights his record of anti-racist activity.
It won't just dismay the Mayor. The leader of the GLA's Tory group can loftily accuse him of anti-semitism because he allowed a write-up of a Palestinian trade fair in The Londoner newspaper and the CRE hasn't seen fit to investigate the Tories. It goes back to what Polly Toynbee had to say on this: "the plot has been lost".

February 17, 2005

Who is this man?

The Scotsman has a direct quote from Paul Yogi Mayer from the Radio Four interview:

Paul Yogi Mayer, 92, who was a champion high jumper and watched much of the 1936 Games, fled to Britain just before the war. His family were killed in the Holocaust.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The story I always remember is that under pressure from the Americans and others, Hitler had to remove posters saying "Jews Not Wanted" and Goebbels issued a decree that people should not make any anti-Semitic remarks in pubs and otherwise to foreign people.

“If the German propaganda minister Josef Goebbels could apologise by saying ‘we don’t want you to make those remarks’, who is this man that he can make those remarks. Why can’t he apologise?

“To make remarks about a minority is against the spirit of the Olympic Games, and that is what has happened. We may lose the Games, and if we lose them, there is guilt."

So the BBC wheeled out an elderly chap to accuse Ken Livingstone of anti-semitism and, at the same time, expound a world wide Jewish conspiracy theory. Great! It's so sad when the elderly are taken advantage of in this way. Here's a guy who narrowly missed the holocaust suggesting that Livingstone is worse than Goebbels and that Jews will decide where the Olympics will be held.

BBC Radio 4 compares Livingstone (unfavourably) to Goebbels

Ok, it wasn't actually Radio 4, it was a guest, "Jewish former Olympic athlete, Paul Yogi Mayer," who was (over-)reacting to Ken Livingstone's comments to an Evening Standard journalist. Without any counter argument from his interviewer Paul Yogi Mayer compared Ken Livingstone's comments to Oliver Finegold and his refusal to apologise for them with Goebbels telling Nazi activists to tone down their anti-semitism during Nazi Germany's Olympic bid. The 92 year-old then went on to invoke the spectre of Jewish power by saying that the UK could now lose its Olympic bid because of Jews (in particular the head of the Brazilian Olympic committee) being involved in the decision making process.

After that interview even Boris Johnson of the Spectator refused to capitalise on this media-manufactured spat.

February 16, 2005

Israel breaches ceasefire

I know, I know, it's hardly a man bites dog story but which mainstream media outlet blows the whistle on Israel breaking ceasefires? Rafahpundits reports that the Israeli army killed has killed two 15 year olds in 48 hours; the second being killed together with two al-Aqsa brigade activists.

Polly Toynbee finds the lost plot

You've got to hand it to these free-thinking SWPers. I see the name Polly Toynbee and turn the page. Meaders is made of better stuff so now I know that Polly Toynbee said:

When Brian Coleman, the Tory London assembly chair, had the nerve to say Livingstone had an "unacceptable attitude to the Jewish community" because he allowed an article to appear about the Israeli occupation of Palestine, you know the plot is lost. And if the Standards Board doesn't dismiss this absurdity instantly, then its meddling in politics had better be ended. The Tory chair himself has talked of the "influx" of Somali asylum seekers, the "plague" of Irish travellers and an end to the Notting Hill carnival.

Glad I didn't miss that.

Now Blair's on Livingstone's case

Now Blair could have said that the matter was between Livingstone and the journalist but no; he's weighed in against Livingstone.

Mr Livingstone said in a meeting of the London Assembly that any call for an apology from Mr Blair would fail.
Here's hoping he stands firm.

February 15, 2005

Israel doesn't recognise Israel

This is a quote from Israel Shahak's book: Jewish History, Jewish Religion. It's something you can brandish next time a Zionist says "but the Arabs don't recognise Israel."

The routine means for enforcing discrimination in everyday life is the ID card, which everyone is obliged to carry at all times. ID cards list the official 'nationality' of a person, which can be 'Jewish', 'Arab', 'Druze' and the like, with the significant exception of 'Israeli'. Attempts to force the Interior Minister to allow Israelis wishing to be officially described as 'Israeli', or even as 'Israeli-Jew' in their ID cards have failed. Those who have attempted to do so have a letter from the Ministry of the Interior stating that 'it was decided not to recognise an Israeli nationality'. The letter does not specify who made this decision or when.

This was published over ten years ago and Shahak has been dead for about 4 years now but I am not aware of any change in the Israeli (or is it Jewish) position.

Trigger happy?

From the website of B'tselem: the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights.

Since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada, the IDF has opened only 90 Military Police investigations into Palestinians killed and injured, although soldiers have killed at least 1,694 Palestinians who did not take part in hostilities, including 536 minors. These investigations led to the filing of only 29 indictments. Only one soldier has been convicted of causing the death of a Palestinian. These statistics are not accidental. Rather, they are a result of the IDF's intolerable disregard for Palestinian life, as reflected in the open-fire regulations which encourage a trigger-happy attitude among soldiers, and its policy to cover up and refrain from investigating the killing of civilians.

B'tselem's a mine of information on Israeli human rights abuses in the occupied territories.

No regrets

I'm thinking a lot about this Ken business so I keep looking on the net to see if there's any update. This isn't an update; it was posted to International Rooksbyism yesterday:

Ken Livingstone refuses to apologise for remarks made to an Evening Standard reporter.

Associated Newspapers (publishers of the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail) refuse to apologise for pumping out putrid, reactionary bilge on a daily basis.
and so does the Board of Deputies; well, maybe not daily.

Ken Livingstone stands firm

And why not? You can't accuse Ken of wobbling; not on this occasion anyway. The Board of Deputies seems to have painted itself into a corner here. Enjoy!

February 13, 2005

The Zionist "left" stirs

I've been sent this article by Roland Rance. (Click on the headline for the full article) Gideon Levy of Ha'aretz suggests that it's too late for the Zionist left to get a wake up call, unless it's from the right saying "come and join us."
Good morning to the Israeli left. After an eternally long hibernation, we are starting to hear the sounds of its awakening. Only when the wind is once again blowing in its direction - and not because of anything it did - does the extra-parliamentary left dare to come out of the closet where it locked itself up more than four years ago.

In some ways, this article could resemble an "all Cretans are liars" position when self-styled leftists denounce the left but Gideon Levy actually names names:
In a properly stylish advertisement a few days ago, Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman, Meir Shalev, Agi Mishol and a few other elite writers called out for "a change in consciousness and feeling."

What change? What consciousness? They also called for a renewal of the political negotiations, a very daring move after the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, and proposed the government recognize the suffering of the Palestinian people, in exchange, of course, for their recognition of our suffering.

A group of filmmakers and musicians joined in that call, but with one difference. At least in the advertisement from Daniel Barenboim, Pinhas Zuckerman and Zubin Mehta, there is an admission that the occupation is the direct source of the suffering of the Palestinian people and there is a clear call in their ad for an end to it; the authors weren't ready to go that far.

Smears for fears

Just tracked back to the Time of the Barmecides, blog of James Mangan. He quotes Chomsky's experiences of anti-semitism in Philadelphia before telling an Oliver Kamm to "fuck off".

Now it appears that there is quite a smear campaign going on, invoking anti-semitism to suppress the opinions of anti-war and anti-Zionist campaigners. The false allegation of anti-semitism against anti-Zionists is nothing new of course, but this is far more widespread and the usual suspects these days are not very usual anti-semitic suspects at all as many are Jewish. Oliver Kamm accuses Noam Chomsky of anti-semitism because of a reference he made to "privileged people [who] want to make sure they have total control, not just 98% control". In spite of Chomsky himself being Jewish, and in spite of the fact that Chomsky knows that not all Jews are priveleged and in spite of the fact that Chomsky knows that not all privileged people are Jewish, and (finally, I promise) in spite of the fact that Kamm himself must surely know all these things, he says that "Chomsky’s remark is shabby and repellent. It marks the first case I have come across in his writings on the Jews that crosses the line from bombast to bigotry."

On another site, Harry's Place. has accused Lenin of Lenin's Tomb and me of being "former. anti-fascists" for suggesting caution when dealing with reports from the Board of Deputies' Community Security Trust of an increase in anti-semitic incidents from 2003 to 2004. Meaders has a good write up of this on Dead Men Left. I searched in vain for Harry's note of the fact that the police also urged caution when dealing with the same thing.

As I have posted before, anti-semitism has reared its head in some leftist and Jewish discussions but it can't be effectively opposed when a ragbag of pro-Zionist and pro-war commentators are wilfully smearing people to frighten the potential victims of anti-semitism and to intimidate or undermine earnest anti-racists who oppose all forms of racism.

Crass Ken?

After decades of harrassment by both the Zionist movement and the Evening Standard. Ken Livingstone has finally said something "crass and insensitive". I wonder if this will be recorded as an anti-semitic incident in the Community Security Trust's annual report for 2005.

Conlon's solidarity with Muslims

Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four expresses his solidarity with the Muslim community of the UK today in the Observer.

'The atmosphere is just like 1974 and 1975 when we were wrongly sent to prison. The only difference is that the colour and the religion has changed,' he said.

February 12, 2005

Israel investigates

Lawrence of Cyberia investigates Israeli army "investigations". I found this via Rafah Pundits.

February 11, 2005

Jews against Melanie Phillips II

These letters, published in the Jewish Chronicle, suggest that the tide is turning against some of the more extreme expressions of Zionism; Melanie Phillips's in particular:

Melanie Phillips writes as if it's some form of crime that Jews disagree with each other over the profound developments affecting the Jewish existence, yet machloket - argument - is the natural Jewish state of being. And since we live in an open society, we should not be afraid of arguing these things out in public.

The key thing is to listen to the views of your opponents, respect them and address their arguments.

Sadly, she did none of these things during the Intelligence Squared debate and, provided with a platform to have another go in the JC, she resorts to insult, character-assassination and a rather ugly attempt to question the Jewishness of those who disagree with her, accusing them of doing real damage to the Jewish people.

Their only "crime" was to remind us that the pursuit of values of justice and human rights is central to Jewishness. The narrow, aggressively nationalistic Zionism, which is dominant in Israel and bolstered by the unthinking solidarity of so many Jewish organisations world-wide, is the enemy of these values.

It's her bankrupt, lachrymose view of the Jewish past and relentless exaggeration if the dangers of the Jewish present that really do "undermine the Jews' moral role in history."

Antony Lerman

And there's more:

Melanie Phillips should look at Jews for Justice for Palestinians' list of 1,055 signatories, where she would find the names of eminent Jews in the worlds of religion, politics, law, human rights, sociology, psychology, medicine, media, theatre, cinema, literature, art and music.

It includes 90-plus professors, 79 doctors, six rabbis, three MPs, one QC, two CBEs, two MBEs, three MBEs, three OBEs and three knights. These are not self- or Israel-hating people involved in "Jew-baiting."

As for Jews of her outlook having to defend themselves, we are the ones who receive hate mail, and are occassionally physically attacked.

The main issue, however, is not Jews being against Jews, but about some Jews being in denial with regard to the fact that the Palestinians are the main victims in all of this. Maybe she could explain what land-expropriation, house-demolitions, settlement expansion and the destruction of olive trees have to do with self-defence.

Deborah Fink

Funny? You don't look Jewish

From the Jewish Chronicle :

An Ethiopian-born Israeli has won about £15,000 in compensation from Arad's religious council after she took them to court over racial discrimination. Leah Ishtar had found a job at a falafel stall in Arad. When Rabbi Rafael Bussi, the kashrut supervisor for the local religious council, visited the stall he told her that her Judaism was in doubt and that she could not touch the food. [where's that written] He refused to accept her assurances that she was Jewish. "Now I feel that there is justice in Israel," she said after the verdict. "They got what they deserved and now they'll have to pay".

February 10, 2005

Render to Caesar

UK airports are believed to be operational bases for two executive jets used by the CIA to carry out 'renditions' of terror suspects. [The Independent ]

February 09, 2005

Israel's forceful methods

Here is UN Security Council member state Denmark's Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, on Israel's right to break international law:

I agree that Israel does not fully comply with all UN Security Council Resolutions. But Israel is not run by an unscrupulous dictator. That makes a clear difference. And Israel is surrounded by enemies that wish to throw Israel into the sea. We have to face there is a special history. Israel has to defend itself with a somewhat forceful method. [like by killing lots of children]

Role reversal

It's a funny old thing but Robert Fisk is deeply unpopular with some Americans but here he is, in the Independent, eloquently stating their point of view.

So, the Palestinians will end their occupation of Israel. No more will Palestinian tanks smash their way into Haifa and Tel Aviv. No more will Palestinian F-18s bomb Israeli population centres. No more will Palestinian Apache helicopters carry out 'targeted killings' - ie: murders - of Israeli military leaders.

It's pay-per-view I'm afraid so you'll have to wait for Counterpunch to reproduce the entire article.

Beginning of a new error?

Steve Bell cartoon, cutting straight through the dross about the latest round of peace "hopes".

February 08, 2005

More on Zionism, anti-semitism and the UN

This is old news now but I don't check the Electronic Intifada as much as I should.

Laura Reanda follows the campaign by various Zionist organisations, led, it seems, by the World Jewish Congress, to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and to have both anti-Zionism and anti-semitism specifically condemned by the UN.

Underpinning the proposal for separate treatment are arguments that anti-Semitism is "a virus" that has survived since antiquity and combines all other group hatreds, and is "no longer political, social, religious or ethnic - [but] existential, metaphysical"[Elie Weisel - you guessed already]; "a plague of a different kind that does not conform to the norms and boundaries of other types of hate." However, recent statements by these organizations show an interesting conceptual evolution that betrays a very political agenda.

In the mid-1990s, at the height of the Oslo peace process, the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations in a submission to the special rapporteur on racism defined anti-Semitism as "an irrational hatred of the Jewish people...[resulting in] violence against Jews and Jewish institutions", without mentioning either Zionism or Israel. But recently, against the background of the second Intifada, Sharon's re-invasion of the occupied territories, and the events of 9/11, new formulations are presented which increasingly conflate Jews, Zionism, the state of Israel, the policies of its government, and by extension, the Bush administration's "war on terror". In this perspective, criticism of the Israeli government's occupation policies is seen as an attack against the state, which translates into an attack against Zionism, which in turn translates into an attack against all Jews rooted in timeless anti-Semitism - and thus lends support to the objectives of radical Islam. It is probably not a coincidence that the State Department's report on anti-Semitism includes "demonization of Israel, or vilification of Israeli leaders" along with "hatred toward Jews" in its definition.

Obituary: Michael Adams

The journalist, Michael Adams, has died aged 84.

During this visit, too, he made the journey which changed his life: he went to Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank to see for himself what was going on. He was appalled by the brutality of the occupation and the Israeli Army's pressure on Palestinian families to join the refugee exodus; and he was outraged that none of this was being reported by British or American correspondents in Jerusalem.

He wrote freelance articles for the Guardian, culminating in a description of the Israeli demolition of three villages (including the biblical Emmaus) just outside Jerusalem. Hetherington had published earlier articles, but rejected this one on the grounds that the story must be exaggerated; otherwise, he argued, journalists based in Jerusalem would have reported it. When Adams reacted angrily, Hetherington threatened never to publish his work again. Later, however, Hetherington ran another piece confirming the destruction of the villages; and later he accepted further contributions from Adams.

Those old enough to remember Michael Adams's reports from the then recently occupied territories will know that, in spite of The Guardian's. habit of recruiting Zionist columnist and reporters, Zionists in the UK have never forgiven it for publishing Adams's reports; blowing, as they did, the gaffe on "Israel's benign occupation".

February 07, 2005

Western unity?

Tariq Ali on the elections in Iraq.

February 06, 2005

The abuse of history

Norman Finkelstein has written a new book, Beyond Chuztpah, which is a play on the title of Alan Dershowitz's book, simply called Chutzpah. Chutzpah, for the one or two of you who don't know, means brazenness or gall. Finkelstein's book is subtitled: On the misuse of anti-semitism and the abuse of history, but could just as easily have said "on the abuse of language".

Bringing to bear the latest findings on the conflict and recasting the scholarly debate, Finkelstein points to a consensus among historians and human rights organizations on the factual record. Why, then, does so much controversy swirl around the conflict? Finkelstein's answer, copiously documented, is that apologists for Israel contrive controversy. Whenever Israel comes under international pressure, another media campaign alleging a global outbreak of anti-Semitism is mounted.

Excellent timing given that we seem to be in the throes of just such a media campaign right now.

The book will be in the shops some time in June 2005.

February 05, 2005

Free speech for racists?

Apparently the representatives of colonial settler states based on ethnic cleansing and apartheid laws are entitled to free speech in UK universities. In a Guardian. report that looks like it was drafted for approval by the so-called Union of Jewish Students, and misleadingly headlined "College tells students to reverse Israeli ban", the principal of SOAS invoked "freedom of speech laws" to overturn a SOAS students' union ban on Roey Gilad, political counsel from the Israeli embassy. Roey Gilad said:

This goes against freedom of speech which should be everywhere but in universities in particular. It prevents someone presenting his agenda, and someone who represents a legitimate state. I didn't expect this in the UK, let alone at a university.

Making a nonsense of the SOAS principal's appeasement of racists the article ends with an in-brief piece as follows:

Students at Prince William's university yesterday withdrew their invitation to the leader of the British National Party to speak at a debate after a protest. Nick Griffin had been invited by members of St Andrews University Debating Society to take part in a debate on the shortcomings of multiculturalism.

I wonder if "freedom of speech laws" will be invoked there as well.

Finkelstein and the Times

The Tehran Times that is.

I posted last weekend that the Tehran Times. published a ridiculous piece of holocaust denial titled "Lies of the Holocaust Industry" where they libelled Norman Finkelstein as being a holocaust denier himself. It's usually Zionists that do that so I wrote to the man himself and he responded to the Times. thus:

Dear Sir:

In the 26 January 2005 issue of your paper, in an article titled "Lies of the holocaust industry," you state: "Norman J. Finkelstein, a Jewish professor at New York University critical of Zionist policies, has called the claim [of the Nazi holocaust] the 'holocaust industry', which is only meant to boost support for the government of Israel."

Inasmuch as most of my family perished in gas chambers at Treblinka, it would not make sense for me to deny the existence of gas chambers. I do NOT deny that the Nazis exterminated 5-6 million Jews during World War II. Rather, I argue that that Israel and American Jews have exploited the colossal suffering of Jews during World War II to justify criminal policies against Palestinians and other Arabs.

I do not think it is wise, let alone moral, to deny the facts of other peoples' suffering. It is also not wise, let alone moral, to exploit suffering for evil purposes. I do not deny the suffering of Jews, including my own family, by the Nazis; but I don't want this suffering to be used to justify the criminal persecution of Palestinians.

Out of respect for the memory of my family and for the journalistic standards of your paper, I kindly ask you to print this letter in the next issue of the Tehran Times.

Norman G. Finkelstein

I can't find the letter on their website so I don't know if they published it or not. Any readers of the Tehran Times hard copy in English out there please let me know.

From the depths...or to them

I rarely read Geoffrey Alderman in the Jewish Chronicle. but, thankfully, others do.

Deborah Maccoby writes

Geoffrey Alderman writes that "it is entirely possible that the almighty chose not to save the six million because He had an ulterior ambition, not revealed till later".

This possible divine ambition, Professor [!] Alderman explains, was the creation of the state of Israel, which could not have happened without the world's "remorse for the destruction of one-third of world Jewry".

Is a God who unconcernedly watches the Holocaust - and even, by implication, possibly brings it about - secure in the knowledge that it will lead to a Jewish state, a God who is worth believing in? This is Zionism - and Geoffrey Alderman - gone mad.

While H.W. Lipson writes:

If he considers that the agony and terror the six million suffered before they diedn and as they choked to death, is part of some divine purpose, I despair for him and his like.

February 04, 2005

Melanie's as mad as.....

...well Melanie.

Whatever the disavowals of Shlaim and his team, through their distorted, factually wrong and grossly unfair analysis they powerfully contributed to the vicious delegitimisation of Israel that is now under way, and beyond that the attempt to undermine the Jews’ moral role in history.[as exemplied by the American neo-cons]

Jews like these are now doing real damage to the Jewish people. They don’t just provide ammunition for its enemies, but make them fireproof against charges of anti-Jewish prejudice. That’s why the media have now discovered the delightful sport of Jew-baiting — using Jews to denounce Israel and then setting them against other Jews, to watch them try to destroy each other.

Melanie Phillips in the Jewish Chronicle, losing it gracefully.

More on that debate

Here's a letter to the Jewish Chronicle. from a chap who can't understand Melanie Phillips's intolerance towards counter-argument:

I cannot understand why any person familiar with Jewish history should take offence at the motion "Zionism today is the real enemy of the Jews." Exactly the same motion could have been debated a century ago, with Jews on opposing sides. Instead of focusing on the behaviour of the state of Israel (which did not yet exist) it would have matched Zionists against assimilationists.

The founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, wrote "I have found a solution to the Jewish question." Had he, or was it just another complication?

Stephen Schick


That [expression] conflates all the elements into one image: suicide bombs, kidnappings and the Qur'an; the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan; Iranian clerics and Hitler.

So says Albert Scardino in his Guardian. article today.

I'll revisit this later.

February 02, 2005

Outlawing anti-Zionism?

At a time when we are hearing more reports, conferences and complaints of anti-semitism, the Zionist movement has decided that the time is right to muddy the waters by having anti-zionism listed by the UN as a form of racism.

A number of leading international Zionist organizations including the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the World Jewish Congress, have initiated a campaign to this effect.

Needless to say, anti-Zionism is no more "racist" or anti-Jewish than anti-Fascism is anti-Italian or anti-Nazism is anti-German. To equate an ethnocentric and openly discriminatory political nationalist movement with the religion or ethnicity of the offending party is just as racist whether committed by true anti-Semites ("all Jews are Zionists and hate Arabs") or by the Zionists themselves ("Zionism represents all Jews, therefore any anti-Zionist expression is against all Jews"). That major elements of the Zionist movement would adopt a racist argument in order to oppose the charge of racism can be no surprise.

If this measure is adopted then it's another nail in the coffin of the UN.

February 01, 2005

A decent interval?

Perhaps not, according to Sami Ramadani:

George Bush and Tony Blair made heroic speeches on Sunday implying that Iraqis had voted to approve the occupation. Those who insist that the US is desperate for an exit strategy are misreading its intentions. The facts on the ground, including the construction of massive military bases in Iraq, indicate that the US is digging in to install and back a long-term puppet regime. For this reason, the US-led presence will continue, with all that entails in terms of bloodshed and destruction.