June 15, 2016

Zios with Attitude?

I'm trying to establish when the word or abbreviation, Zio, became a thing.  Obviously Zionists are falsely accusing Israel's critics, opponents and victims of antisemitism all the time but I hadn't noticed anyone try to make an issue out of the abbreviation Zio before that former BICOM intern, Alex Chalmers, mentioned it on his Facebook resignation as a co-chair of the Oxford University Labour Club:
It is with the greatest regret that I have decided to resign as Co-Chair of the Oxford University Labour Club. This comes in the light of OULC's decision at this evening's general meeting to endorse Israel Apartheid Week.
I originally ran for the position of Co-Chair back in Trinity, after our crushing defeat at the general election, because I was increasingly worried about the state of OULC. The club I had invested an extraordinary amount of time, energy, and emotion in during my first two terms at Oxford, which had given me a network of close friends, was becoming increasingly riven by factional splits, and despite its avowed committment to liberation, the attitudes of certain members of the club towards certain disadvantaged groups was becoming posionous.
Whether it be members of the Executive throwing around the term 'Zio' (a term for Jews usually confined to websites run by the Ku Klux Klan) with casual abandon, senior members of the club expressing their 'solidarity' with Hamas and explitictly defending their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians, or a former Co-Chair claiming that 'most accusations of antisemitism are just the Zionists crying wolf’, a large proportion of both OULC and the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews. The decision of the club to endorse a movement with a history of targetting and harassing Jewish students and inviting antisemitic speakers to campuses, despite the concerns of Jewish students, illustrates how uneven and insincere much of the active membership is when it comes to liberation. [emphasis added]
For the orchestrated smear campaign against Labour's left and Palestine solidarity supporters this utterly bogus statement marks the kick-off.  Shortly after that I did a little post noting:
It all looks very strawman. Let's break it down a bit:
 members of the Executive throwing around the term ‘Zio’ (a term for Jews usually confined to websites run by the Ku Klux Klan) with casual abandon.
The term, "Zio" is simply short for Zionist and is not confined to sites run by the Klan.
That could and should have been that but the Oxford University Labour Club seems to have decided that supporting the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and other forms of racist oppression against them is a price worth paying for, well, I'm not sure what for.

They submitted themselves to an inquiry by Baroness Royall which she then reported on to the so-called Jewish Labour Movement.  JLM used to be called Poale Zion or Workers of Zion.  They are active within the World Zionist Organisation.

Something Zionists do when they dare not make a direct allegation of antisemitism is accuse an organisation of "institutional antisemitism".  This is how the Zionists exploit the Stephen Lawrence murder and subsequent inquiry but that's another story.

Where was I?  Oh yes.  Baroness Royall in her investigation of Oxford University Labour Club couldn't find any specific instances of antisemitism and couldn't even report that she found evidence of institutional antisemitism:
I know that you will share my disappointment and frustration that the main headline coming out of my inquiry is that there is no institutional Antisemitism in Oxford University Labour Club.  That is true, but it is only part of the story.  I am clear that in the OULC there is a cultural problem which means that Jewish students do not always feel welcome.

This is downright weird.  Unable to find specific instances of antisemitism she looked for "institutional" and couldn't even find that.  So she fell back on "cultural" which looks deliberately meaningless to me.  But what else?
Words like ‘Zio’ and tropes such as ‘blood libel’ are obviously anti-Semitic but there are other words in which the context in which they are used is critical so guidance is necessary.  
How anyone can seriously liken a simple abbreviation like Zio to the idea that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood for unleavened bread for the Passover is beyond me.  I'm going to have to ignore the fact that Baroness Royall has implied here that Oxford Uni students actually promote the blood libel without her giving any examples or evidence but what's she on about Zio being "obviously antisemitic"?   Apart from Alex Chalmers, I never saw it being raised as an issue and the use of Zio has been around ever since we all started typing more than talking.

Now this bogus allegation definitely starts with Alex Chalmers.  Since he made an issue of it David Aaronovitch and the Community Security Trust's Dave Rich have both weighed in on Twitter but never before February this year.

Here's Dave Rich:
And here's Aaro:
Clearly Aaro and Rich have never heard of Avi Mayer, a leading Twitter voice of hasbara:

Avi Mayer's no slouch when it comes to bogus allegations of antisemitism.

Off the top of my head I could remember hasbara blogger Bob from Brockley using the expression "Zio"  in comments in both his and my blog so I googled "Zio Bob from Brockley".  I found this post from 2010:
Izzy/Pal and Zio/Anti-Zio: Ignoblus has been reading some of the same things as me (Linda GrantTony JudtRalph Seliger), and has interesting things to say.
Note how he says "Izzy/Pal" for Israel/Palestine.  Kind of chumsy and casual.  And straight after that, "Zio/Anti-Zio".  Now in real life Bob from Brockley is Ben Gidley, a Zionist academic.  He even did a sub-report for the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism.  Search the report.  Not a mention of "Zio".  Why not?  It wasn't and isn't a thing, that's why not.  And if it was, Ben Gidley could hardly denounce his alter-ego.  That would be like Clark Kent denouncing Superman.

What about Wikipedia?  Here is the current Wikipedia entry disambiguating Zio:
Zio can refer to the following:

 It's interesting that the Zionist thing only comes up at the bottom.  What decides the order? I wonder.  Let's check the edits.  The penultimate edit was back in March 2015.  Here are the details:
This is an old revision of this page, as edited by Discospinster (talk | contribs) at 12:44, 23 March 2015 (not sourced). The present address (URL) is a permanent link to this revision, which may differ significantly from the current revision.
Zio can refer to the following:
I don't know what the editor changed from previously but that was the last edit before a later one added in the Zio as an abbreviation for Zionist but here's the latest:
This is an old revision of this page, as edited by Sammy1339 (talk | contribs) at 14:57, 15 March 2016. The present address (URL) is a permanent link to this revision, which may differ significantly from the current revision.
Zio can refer to the following:
Now this is actually wrong.  Remember hasbaristas, Ben Gidley and Avi Mayer?  They are hardly Zios With Attitude.  Zio isn't necessarily pejorative, it's descriptive.  And as for "often regarded as antisemitic", how about "recently claimed to be antisemitic".

The involvement of David Aaronovitch and some huckster from Gerald Ronson's private army. Sorry, did I say Gerald Ronson's private army?  I meant the Community Security Trust, in promoting this bogus allegation suggests to me that the Zios are going to dig in on this one.   I would further guess that they'll press on with this without providing any evidence for their claim that the word Zio is only or even mostly or often found on far-right websites and in defiance of evidence that no one considered "Zio" problematic before a wannabe Israel lobbyist couldn't find anything else to throw at the Oxford University Labour Club when it voted to support Israeli Apartheid Week.

Now my big worry over all this is that it seems like a small part of what is a very big smear campaign by the Zionist movement against Israel's detractors.  Using the word "Zio" doesn't seem like an issue worth fighting for and maybe we shouldn't fight over it, we should just use it as casually as we (and they) have done in the past.

The significance of this is that it is yet another false allegation of antisemitism and that false allegation is being used to bar honest anti-racists from political activity and to even incite violence against them.  It's only a small word, not a whole word even, but if a senior antisemitism hunter can bring it up in the same sentence as the "blood libel" then it ought to signal that it means a lot to the Zionists to use it as yet another way of victimising Israel's critics.

Some people might avoid using the word Zio in future so as not to give the Zios another thing to whinge about but to accept it was ever a real issue would be bad faith; a bad faith acceptance of a demonstrably bad faith allegation of antisemitism.

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