June 03, 2007

Official Jews?

I had a comment recently from a Harry's Place regular suggesting that I'm not a real Jew, largely because I refuse to lie for the racist war criminals of the State of Israel. Independent Jewish Voices, including the rabbis among them, had all of that nonsense thrown at them, I remember. It was particularly amusing coming from David Aaronovitch, who seems to be making a good living out of one Jewish cause, but I don't think he actually claims to be Jewish himself. Anyway, this comment. Here it is from a guy using the screenname Zkharya:
'Jews sans Frontieres' is, of course, a complete affectation.

Mark Elf is a fully integrated, and assimilated non- Jewish Jew (he only raises his 'Jewishness' to distinguish himself from the majority of his fellow Jewish Jews) in a western liberal democracy i.e. the kind of situation most Jews, European or middle eastern, who became Palestinian or Israeli, did not find themselves in.

Fortunately his views and opinions are irrelevant to the situation and choices that most Jewish Jews confront as they remain part of Jewish continuity and history.

Of course Mark Elf may well play the part of making life more and more difficult for most Jewish Jews, as so many culturally Christian, non-Jewish Jewish converts to culturally Christian (or Islamic) anti-Judaism or anti-Zionism have before him.

But, in the end, he, like they, will be forgotten by Jewish history.
Yeah like that deadbeat Jesus. Here's my reply:
Zkharya - you're part of that rare breed, an almost honest zionist. you make your distaste for liberal values plain as well as your aversion to assimilation. in so doing you admit to something most zionists won't admit to, that zionism is a bulwark not against antisemitism but against the free choice of assimilation. personally i'm neutral on that one.

since you're being personal I think you were the chap who disrupted an mpac meeting one friday evening. you even described paying the fare to get the train from north london. i'm just wondering what's so authentically jewish about being a fare paying, train riding, sabbath breaking hooligan on a friday night? that's assuming it was you of course. I went there to listen to quite a rivetting speaker on jewish issues, stephen marks. I read a bit of that hart chap's book and engaged in a bit of discussion and debate. maybe i'm assimilated but my behaviour was positively talmudic compared to yours. assuming it was you of course.
I've put that there partly because the guy didn't come back to answer a question about his identity (since he's so interested in mine) but mostly because I stumbled on a Comment is free piece by Tony Greenstein where he touches on the question of who can speak for Jews.

Now I'm not clear on whether there is both a Jewish Society and a (World Zionist Congress affiliated) Union of Jewish Students at SOAS or whether the former is a local affiliate of the latter but here's Tony on the two:
According to the chair of the Jewish Society, Emma Clyne, posters for a meeting the society put on were repeatedly torn down. Ms Clyne told a meeting of Independent Jewish Voices on May 15 that she had to put new ones up every day.

The UJS not raised its customary hue and cry about this. A clue as to the reason for its silence might lie in a short article in the Jewish Chronicle of April 27 ("Students in censorship row over IJV debate").

When the Jewish Society at Soas proposed holding a meeting with speakers from IJV, including Brian Klug, Sir Geoffrey Bindman and Professors Donald Sassoon and Jacqueline Rose, the UJS sought to prevent the meeting on the grounds that it was "propaganda for a particular viewpoint". When this ploy failed, Simmons sought to "balance" the speakers' panel - something the UJS has never attempted with pro-Zionist speakers.

Ms Clyne has come under considerable pressure ever since taking up the chair of the Jewish Society at SOAS. When the UJS tried to offload a weighty stack of pro-Israeli propaganda for freshers, she suggested that it might be more suitable for an Israeli society rather than a Jewish society.
A stray comment on my blog, a Union of Jewish Students trying to turn a generalist Jewish society into a specific Israel society and a hysterical and panic stricken campaign against boycotting Israel (see today's Observer leader) are all adding up to a zionist movement that is bidding to become the authentic representative of the Jewish people. Given zionism's ignoble history of collaboration with antisemitism, Jews who want that to happen simply don't know their history.

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