March 28, 2009

Zionists and the crying of "wolf"

Tony Greenstein has a letter in the Independent today ridiculing the ridiculous Mark Gardner, Director of Communications of the Community Security Trust (CST).

The CST masquerades as the provisional wing of the Board of Deputies of British Jews though apparently the link is tenuous (see this comment from David Rosenberg). He wrote into the Independent recently to protest the use in an article of the expression "Jewish lobby" as if he would have been happier with the expression "Israel" or "zionist" lobby.
The article on the resignation of Charles Freeman was headlined, "Israel lobby blamed as Obama's choice for intelligence chief quits". The opening sentence, however, stated, "Fears over the Jewish lobby's excess influence on US foreign policy flared anew".

At root, the failure to distinguish between Israelis, pro-Israelis and Jews is the same analytical meltdown that occurs in the minds of those who physically attack and threaten British Jews every time there is a flare-up in the cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. The Independent really ought to do better.

Mark Gardner

Community Security Trust
So here's Tony, two weeks later:
I agree with Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust (letters, 14 March). The failure to distinguish between Israelis, Zionists and Jews leads inexorably to attacks on Jewish people. This kind of "analytical meltdown" inevitably tars all Jewish people with the war crimes of the Israeli state.

Is this the same Mark Gardner whose organisation stewarded a solidarity rally on 7 January in support of Israel's attack on Gaza? The rally was organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, whose president, Henry Grunwald, spoke of "our", that is, Jewish, "solidarity for the people of Israel". Why did Gardner not protest about an organisation calling itself the "representative body of the British Jewish Community" organising a pro-Israeli demonstration when the Zionist Federation could have called it instead?

Or if it is the term "Jewish lobby" that Gardner objects to, then perhaps he can inform the Israeli press that this word is verboten. I refer, for example, to Israel's daily Haaretz, whose article "US Jews are losing their bond to Israel" refers to the "ever-present strength of the Jewish lobby in the US".

For years, Zionist groups have conflated Israel, Zionism and Jews, thereby accusing opponents of Israel of being anti-Semitic. Now that some people have begun to take them at their word, they are like the little boy who cried wolf so many times that when finally the wolf appeared no one believed him.

Tony Greenstein

Brighton, east sussex
It's strange that this took two weeks to appear. In the age of emails letters usually appear the next day. I wonder what they were trying to balance out here since it can't have been what it was that Tony was criticising. Ah never mind. It was published and that's what counts.

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