by Martin Odoni

Jews 4 Jez

I’m one of these. But this is not an easy position to adopt.

A ‘Theobald-Jew’

As I mentioned on a previous post, Jonathan Hoffman, the man who is to Zionist tolerance what the shark from Jaws was to convincing visual-effects work, told me the following recently; –

You are a disgrace. A Jew In Name Only. JINO According to the Benedictine monk Thomas of Monmouth in his The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich (1173), it was an apostate Jew, a certain Theobald, who swore that Jews had killed twelve-year old William, a tanner’s apprentice, to fulfill their “Passover blood ritual” in the fateful year of 1144—the first recorded such episode in a long line of murderous defamations. The world is teeming with Theobald-Jews who are ready to betray their own people to serve what they regard as their advantage.

An expression like ‘Theobald-Jews‘ is just an obsolete way of saying, “The Wrong Kind Of Jews” of course. But what Hoffman, and other aggressive Zionist smear-merchants are not very good at is developing their accusations beyond the label. They throw the name, and they sometimes offer a reason why the action has provoked the comparison, but they do not really establish why they believe the motive matches up.

What does Hoffman mean precisely when he implies that I am “ready to betray [my] own people to serve what [I] regard as [my] advantage”? For one thing, why is the Israeli Government supposed to be ‘my people’? For another, how can I have ‘betrayed’ them, when I have never professed any particular loyalty to them? How can it be ‘betrayal’ if I have not done anything underhand against them against their knowledge? But above all, what ‘advantage’ does he imagine I gain on a personal level from opposing Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip?

A frequent pattern

This is a frequent pattern I encounter when I cross swords with Israel supporters. A few years ago, an Israeli castigated me over social media in the following terms; –

such a “jew” martin, like yourself, cannot speak in the name of the jewish people. you see as “completely unnecessary” the existence and continuation of the jewish people, not simply of the state of israel!

i see completely unnecessary the existence of assimilated jews who are hostile towards jews/israel. Such jews should decide: either they’re completing the process of assimilation (and maybe becoming antisemitic – better antisemitic non-jew than a jewish anti-semite) or leave alone the jewish people. you can’t ride two bikes simultaneously and cynically use your “jewishness”: either one or the second.

NB: Please note that I did not change anything in the above passage. The poor grammar and appalling punctuation are not my doing.

Just to make clear, I had not said that I see the existence or continuation of the Jewish people as unnecessary. I had said that I did not believe that it had been necessary to found modern Israel, or to continue its particular status as a ‘Jewish state’. (My reasons why can be read here.) By the same measure, I had not claimed to speak ‘in the name of the Jewish people’. I had been speaking in my own name as a Jew. (“Two Jews, three opinions,” as they say.) Meanwhile, the Israeli’s insistence that my condemnation of Israel is me being “hostile to Jews” or a “Jewish anti-Semite” is not only yet another benighted conflation of Jews with Israel, it is also a variant on the same ‘Theobald-Jew’ accusation I got from Hoffman. When the Israeli accuses me of “cynically using [my] Jewishness”, he implies that I have an ulterior motive of some kind, but like Hoffman, offers no clear thoughts on what that motive is. The rest of his little rant basically amounts to saying that I have to be nice to Israel or I must keep my mouth shut, and ‘choose’ not to be Jewish anymore (which is not even possible, whether I like it or not – even if Gilad Atzmon thinks it is). His argument that the ongoing existence of myself and other Jewish anti-Zionists is ‘unnecessary’ seems like the real hostility, by any standards.

This demonstrates the oppressive attitude Zionist hardliners – gentile or otherwise – hold towards Jews. As far as the Zionists are concerned, Jews must ‘fall into line’. It is not gentiles, or Arabs, or even Palestinian Arabs more narrowly, that Zionist fanatics hate the most. The people Zionist fanatics hate the most are Jews who are not Zionists. Jews who will not fight to suppress the right of Arab people to have the self-determination that Zionists imagine they are fighting to bestow upon Jews themselves, Any Jew who steps out of that line is told he is no longer a Jew, which rather seems to run completely contrary to the idea of Jews having self-determination. That is why Zionism is not about granting self-determination to Jews, but about imposing a collective-determination upon Jews. Anyone, anywhere on Earth who questions it is attacked, but most especially if they are themselves Jewish, as they are not obeying the will of the ‘Hive-mind’ of Zionist imagination.

Meanwhile, anti-Semites think that all Jews already are in line, and that all Jews are somehow ‘secretly working behind the scenes to take over the world’, and other such would-be-hilarious-in-any-other-context tropes.

Anti-Semites and Zionists are flip sides of the same coin, especially to Jewish dissenters. One group hates us for trying to run the world when we are not, and the other group hates us for not trying to.

In short, we get it in stereo.

Anti-Semites & Zionists both hate Jewish dissenters

Now here is the detail I need to get across; an anti-Zionist Jew (or just a Jewish opponent of Israel) gets the worst of both worlds. We know, and anticipate, that anti-Semites are not going to stop hating us simply because we oppose Israel, because they will assume our motives are ingratiation, and will still assume all the other stereotype-Jewish characteristics are true. While Zionists accuse us of being ‘traitors’, and ‘Jews In Name Only’.

With this in mind, it should be as clear as the midsummers day sky that I, and other non-Zionist Jews, have no ulterior motive to adopt the position we do. It is not in our private interests to support Palestinian rights. All it does on a personal level is double the number of opponents we have. Our lives would be infinitely easier if we just shrugged our shoulders and supported Israel without question. The temptation to cave in and get back into line can be strong, especially when we become ostracised by Jewish communities that are stubbornly Zionist.

It is also an immensely frustrating position to be in in wider society, due to our voices being drowned out to the extent that few people realise we are here. Jewish anti-Zionists are routinely ignored by a media near-conspiracy that is determined to present a black-and-white “British-Jews-feel-they-are-under-siege!!!” narrative that is a useful weapon with which to attack the Left. Certainly, no one prominent in the media will ever speak up for Jewish anti-Zionists, and no one is eager to give us a platform to speak for ourselves. This is probably because a Jew who opposes Israel and Zionism is a confusing, water-muddying anomaly in many minds.

As an example, James O’Brien, the Thinking Liberal’s Idiot of LBC Radio, is always bending over backwards to sound sympathetic and sensitive to what he thinks are ‘Jewish concerns’ about the threat of the ‘next Pogrom’. But in doing so, he joins in with the right wing media insistence that ‘British Jews’ are a homogeneous mass with that same aforementioned ‘Hive-mind’. He therefore assumes that if one Jewish Briton expresses wild paranoia about ‘surging anti-Semitism’, and the need for Israel to do absolutely anything it sees fit to prevent it, all Jewish Britons are feeling the same panic, and believe in the same remedy. A Jew who opposes Israel is therefore a cause of confusion, and no likelier to get a platform from O’Brien, or others of his ilk, than a Blackshirt. Indeed, I see no evidence of the existence of Jewish anti-Zionists even being recognised in wide stretches of the western media. O’Brien, if he truly wants Jews to believe he cares and sympathises, needs to get it into his head that by projecting the views of some Jews onto all, he is being profoundly offensive.

Before anyone suggests it, Jewish anti-Zionists certainly do not get paid expressly for speaking out against Israel – or certainly I never have been. This blog is entirely free to read, and I have never been paid a penny for any of the articles written on here, even from adverts that sometimes appear in headers and footers. During my stint writing for The Canary, I did get paid a (very) small amount for my work, but only three of the forty-odd articles I wrote there were about Israel/Palestine. I do not have the precise figures, but I reckon the pay I got for all three articles would have been around £6. Not really worth all the bad feeling just for that, is it?

I have also lost friends within Jewish communities, several of whom were quite close to me, over my position on Israel, and I know I am far from the only Jewish anti-Zionist to experience that. Moreover, I frequently have very bitter arguments with members of my extended family who live in Israel, and who believe I am brainwashed by ‘politically correct’ propaganda.

All of that grief for the sake of £6? Seriously?

If you believe I would go through these miseries for an amount of money that piddling, you must believe every stereotype you ever heard about ‘Jewish money-grabbing’.

Any friend of Netanyahu is a friend of anti-Semites

No, I have no ulterior motive for supporting the Palestinians. I do it because it is right. It is right, because I recognise that Palestinians are as entitled to the same human rights as any other people. It is right because I recognise that Israeli policy encourages and creates a pretext for anti-Semitic feeling, potentially endangering Jews worldwide. It is right because I recognise that creating Israel at the outset was an act of anti-Semitism, as it created a geographical schism between many Jews and the rest of the human race. And it is right because, when Binyamin Netanyahu, without asking, tries to carry out his crimes in the name of the Jews of the whole world, my silence would make me complicit. That gives me a responsibility to say no, and to make damned clear why I am saying no. Especially when Netanyahu

  • tries to condemn a Labour Party leader, who has fought against anti-Semitism his whole life, as an anti-Semite,
  • tries to acquit Adolf Hitler of much of the blame for the Nazi Holocaust, and transfer it to Palestinians,
  • invites to Israel a Filipino elected-dictator, who boasts of being like Hitler, to open a memorial to the Shoah,
  • publicly expresses sentiments that resonate loudly with echoes of Nazi Germany’s ‘Survival Of The Strongest’ narratives.

When discussing ‘Bibi’, we are talking about a self-proclaimed ‘leader of the Jewish people’ who says Jeremy Corbyn is a racist, that Adolf Hitler was not, and that Rodrigo Duterte is a sensitive choice for unveiling a memorial to victims of a genocide. If the price of opposing a country led by a doublethinking megalomaniac like Netanyahu is for me to be labelled a ‘Jewish anti-Semite’, then so be it. It hurts and demeans me, but I am used to it, and I will simply shrug it off.  However, that will not always be easy, especially this week; –

I should know this week whether I am to be expelled

As regular readers should know, the latest aggravation I am experiencing in my capacity as a Jewish opponent of Israel is that I have been suspended by the Labour Party. From what I hear on the grapevine, my suspension is one among a number of cases that are expected to be assessed this coming Tuesday.

I genuinely do not know how it will pan out. It will truly anger and frustrate me if my case is assessed, as appears likely, by a gentile who knows little about the subject, and she judges me – a Jew who has experienced the sharp end of this prejudice – to be an anti-Semite. All because of a hopelessly-flawed definition of anti-Semitism being treated as Holy Writ. Anyone who understands and accepts that definition will not only imagine they know what anti-Semitism is better than I do, but will even be judging me under those terms. That is not only absurdly back-to-front, it is also a painful, powerless feeling.

As I say, my life would have been a lot easier had I just toed the line. But it would still have been wrong of me to do so.

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by Martin Odoni

Why the IHRA definition is flawed

The definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ offered by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, it has been stated frequently, is given excessive credence.  Its own creator, Kenneth Stern, has stated that it should not be seen as the be-all-and-end-all, that its intent was not to be legally-binding but more a guideline for research into possible manifestations of anti-Semitism, and that it is being cynically exploited to silence critics of Israel. These notes of caution are made quite explicitly by the IHRA themselves even where they have published their definition; –

To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples may serve as illustrations… Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity… Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

(Emphases added.)

In other words, the notorious ‘examples’ in the IHRA definition, over which the Labour Party is getting into so much trouble, are not meant to be seen as cast-iron proof of anti-Semitic attitudes. They are merely meant to be seen as clues for ‘where to look’, as it were. Where these behaviours are seen, the person or people demonstrating them might be anti-Semitic in their intentions, and so it is advisable to investigate. That is quite different from how Zionists and mainstream media foam-at-the-mouths wish people to interpret it. They want everyone to believe that the examples are defined as inherently anti-Semitic, and that anyone demonstrating such behaviours must therefore be slapped down.

Even if that were what the IHRA definition had said – and it was not – it further needs reiterating that there is no particular imperative that such an ‘edict’ should have to be followed. The IHRA has no authority in this regard, and to be fair to its membership, they have never claimed such authority, to the best of my knowledge. That the definition is not meant to be legally-binding should end all claims to its ‘absolute’ status.

The only remaining argument that I can see people offering for why the Labour Party should be compelled to accept the definition lock-stock-and-barrel therefore appears to be, “Well, so many Governments and groups around the world accept the IHRA definition, so why shouldn’t the Labour Party?” This is one of the laziest, most childish examples of an argumentum ad populum (‘bandwagon fallacy‘) I have ever seen outside of one of Christopher Whittle’s attempted shoutdowns over Margaret Thatcher and the Hillsborough Disaster.

Distinguishing the definition from the examples

The examples are not, strictly speaking, part of the definition itself. They are guidelines – sadly flawed ones – for helping identify behaviours described within it.  The actual definition itself is a lot shorter; –

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

Even this is flawed, given that it is vague and too broadly grounded – especially where it even extends to behaviours directed towards non-Jewish individuals, which lends it a potential for instances of outright absurdity. Without very rigidly-stipulated provisos as to exactly how a non-Jewish individual could possibly be seen as a victim of anti-Semitism, the term as currently described in the definition can, without any real stretch, be extended to literally any act of persecution against any member of the human race. I am not exaggerating. Because of the poor wording, there is nothing within the definition to guarantee that the behaviour must be Jewish-related. Now, yes, there are circumstances where a gentile might be a victim of anti-Semitic behaviour e.g. they are mistaken by an anti-Semite for a Jew, they are close friends of a Jew and they become ‘implicated-by-association’ in the eyes of the anti-Semite etc, but there is nothing in either the definition itself or even in the examples that really narrows it down in this way, and in any event, it would be fair to define it as behaviour related to anti-Semitism, more than anti-Semitism directly.

So ridiculous is the definition as it currently stands that, under its terms, it would be just about feasible to argue that, say, Oliver Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Soviet Union’s Siege of Berlin were all ‘acts of anti-Semitism’. That last one in particular, for reasons too obvious to need pointing out, would be a mind-twisting reversal of reality.

This flaw in the definition is no minor, quibbling loophole, it is a gaping, fundamental rip in its logic.

My own definition of anti-Semitism, by the way, is simpler, and more precise.

Anti-Semitism is a hatred or fear of Jews, held for no reason other than that they are Jews.

I think that covers it rather well, and is really all that anyone needs. It needs to be remembered that anti-Semitism is not so much an action as an attitude – a motivation for a behaviour more than a behaviour itself. That is why the examples should not be seen as concrete guarantees of anti-Semitism. All of the examples offered can be anti-Semitic in intent, but at least some of the behaviours described therein are often done for honest, non-malicious reasons. I have taken part in some of them myself, as regular readers will be well aware, and as I am a Jew by birth, that should be a most telling note of caution.

Why getting the definition right is so critical

The importance of getting this definition right is enormous in the present climate of near-crazed hysteria, and not only for the sake of the Palestinians, who continue to be ground under the heel of Zionist Israeli expansion, and whose voices are seldom heard in the West and therefore need their global supporters to have the freedom to speak up on their behalf. It is also for the betterment of the Jewish people themselves.

As Robert Cohen pointed out in a social media post yesterday, some of the idiotic, hyperbolic and paranoid remarks coming from Anglo-Jewish leaders (usually unelected ones, please note) are not doing Zionist credibility any favours. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks made an utter hyena of himself this week by comparing Jeremy Corbyn’s very mild dig at Zionists from five years ago to Enoch Powell’s dog-whistling ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in 1968.

By any standards, Sacks’ remarks are infantile and wildly over-the-top, much in keeping with Margaret Hodge’s recent gobbledegook. But also, they, if anything, tend towards what Corbyn was saying in the first place; that Zionists seem to have a very insecure humour-shortfall on matters connected to Israel, and cannot allow even the slightest of jokes at their own expense.

The latest row is the clearest attempt yet to conflate Jews with Zionists, but I am speaking of Sacks very much in his capacity as a Zionist rather than as a Jew, or even as a Rabbi, here. He has written quite explicitly, and quite preposterously, that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are the same thing. (As I have argued more than once, Zionism is anti-Semitic in its very application, but let us leave that on one side.) Sure, anti-Zionism can be motivated by anti-Semitism, as the IHRA definition’s examples suggest. But certainly not always. Some more sophisticated opponents of Zionism or Israeli policy – dare I include myself among them? – oppose it partly out of concern for the well-being of, not just Palestinians, but Jews themselves. It is precisely because of those who use Israeli brutality as a pretext for letting out anti-Semitic feeling that anti-Zionism (or at least opposition to Israel) is good for Jewish people as a kind of ‘moral anchor’; if enough pressure is applied to Israel that it stops its land-grabs from the Palestinians, and allows the Palestinian exiles sealed in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to return to their real homes, that pretext for anti-Semitic behaviour will be taken away.

But more even than that, the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism may have a very undesired effect on popular discourse that would harm Jewish communities. Quite simply, the definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ has been stretched so much over the last few years in particular that, should society ultimately be crowbarred into going along with it, we are in danger of accepting the idea that the term does not necessarily imply something especially bad anymore.

The intent behind this conflation on the part of the likes of Hodge and Sacks is quite blatantly to use cries of ‘anti-Semitism!‘ to make criticism of Israel and Zionism look bad. That is a possible end result, should we be weak-willed enough to give in to it. And it is clear that some people are taken in by it.

But just as likely an outcome would be for matters to be dragged the opposite way; real acts of Jew-hate could stop being seen as an inherently evil phenomenon instead, because the term ‘anti-Semitism’ will include all sorts of behaviours that really are not hateful and do no harm. At that point, people really may stop taking it seriously when real cases of anti-Jewish behaviour are found.

“Anti-Semitism” now sounds like an inconvenience only

If you doubt that that can happen, consider the exasperated noises some of Israel’s ‘useful idiots’ in the media, such as James O’Brien, keep making when Labour supporters insist that a giant volcanic mountain is being made out of a wart on the face of the runt of a litter of baby woodlice. The truth is, all indicators suggest that the Labour supporters are right. And that skepticism is now visibly growing across the country, which is healthy up to a point.

But beyond that point, the danger is that when real anti-Semitic behaviour is uncovered, an awful lot of people are going to roll their eyes and dismiss it, as much as Labour supporters dismiss anti-Semitism in the party right now. “Anti-Semitism now just means something Jews don’t like!” appears to be the unsettling refrain echoing towards us from over the horizon, and I already see signs of it developing on social media.

Because the term anti-Semitism has already been stretched far beyond its realistic limits, and because, however inadvertently, the IHRA have tried to set such ridiculous terms in stone – with the British contingent of the Alliance even doubling-down on them in the last few weeks – wider reactions appear to be getting skeptical. Some are even starting to assume that the word just means something Jews – or to put that far more accurately Zionists – would rather were kept quiet. Because in a manner of speaking, that is precisely what Zionists and Israel apologists have been trying to make it mean.

There is probably even less anti-Semitism in the Labour Party than I thought

Now, one might argue that I am wrong about anti-Semitism in the party, and that it really is widespread. However, for reasons I have given repeatedly over the last eighteen months, many of the accusations are trumped up, and what numbers we can find when investigating proportion suggest there are so few people involved that they total a small fraction of one per cent of the Labour membership. This is underlined by a conversation I had only yesterday with a party member who always has her ‘ear-to-the-ground’ (I have withheld her name for privacy reasons). She said; –

Most of those suspended in the purge are now back in the party, with no action against them, proving IMO it was a set up. It’s a myth that there have been hundreds expelled by NCC. They hear one case a month

(Emphasis added.)

Now, I have no way of verifying how accurate this is, but the individual in question has a good track record, and it certainly tallies with all the other indicators I have found since the present hysteria started up. If the numbers involved were really so gigantic as the media want us to believe, and if they were mostly genuine cases of anti-Semitism, why would the party’s National Constitutional Committee be processing cases at such a slow rate, and why would so few of the accused be expelled?

Going back to the definition and its examples, there is another matter to which I wish to draw attention.

Ugh, Jonathan Hoffman again?!

I and one of my allies at the Wear Red blog have been having yet another contretemps with our dear old chum and comrade-in-nausea-induction, Jonathan Hoffman. Yes, he of the vulpine demeanour and the Nazi entourage.  Yes, he of such self-unaware stupidity that he does not recognise what an own goal it is to put the word ‘RACIST‘ in big capital letters on his Twitter display pic directly above his own name; –

Hoffman and his Twitter display pic

Jonathan Hoffman genuinely doesn’t realise what this display pic appears to declare about himself.

(NB: I have no doubt that the Hufflepuff-man will soon realise what a stupid blunder the above is, change the display pic, and then insist that I ‘photoshopped’ this picture. He has a history of making such laughable denials when caught red-handed.)

Indeed, he of such awesomely bad taste in victim cards, he thinks that adding Je Suis Margaret Hodge to his profile name will make him sound like a formidable man of principle, and not like a brainless drama queen.

Yes, him again.

I shall not go into much detail about the exchanges we had with Hoffman on social media, as they were lengthy, with endless, very catty back-and-forth. But I wish to draw attention to his conduct when I challenged him to condemn Binyamin Netanyahu for his history of taking part in celebrations of the King David Hotel Bombing of 1946, and Israel for selling arms to Leopoldo Galtieri’s Military Junta in Argentina during the Falklands War.

As I pointed out a couple of weeks back, Bibi’s foolish public attack on Jeremy Corbyn over the wreath he placed in Tunisia in 2014 has put British Zionists in an unhappy position. And this latest showdown with Hoffman has proven my point. Despite repeatedly being challenged to condemn Israel, past and present, Hoffman repeatedly sidestepped the matter, sometimes quibbling over terminology, before eventually lapsing into guilty silence. (You can read the exchanges here, although be warned, it is a disjointed, rather fractious comment thread.)

Hoffman disproves the IHRA definition he depends on

Hoffman has spent almost every day over the last three years condemning Jeremy Corbyn for being “anti-Semitic”, just because Corbyn is a tireless critic of Israel, and a supporter of Palestinian rights. But Hoffman refuses to criticise any proven connection between Israel and British deaths that happened in the name of Zionism, be they in 1946 or 1982. Corbyn commemorates Palestinians murdered by Israeli planes – Hoffman offers castigation. Bibi commemorates Zionist militants blowing up a hotel and ending British lives and Israel sells arms to a nation with which Britain was at war – Hoffman offers pedantic quibbles and stony silence.

We can only conclude from that therefore that Hoffman is more loyal to Israel than he is to Britain. But he is British – a former vice-President of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain & Ireland.

Now, by one of the examples given in the IHRA definition, the above highlighted paragraph is anti-Semitic.

Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

But how can that paragraph be anti-Semitic? Judging Hoffman’s priorities as being Israeli is simply the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the facts. He will not condemn Israel or Zionists for undoubted misdeeds against the British, but will condemn a Briton for a (dubiously-perceived) misdeed against Israel. An objective assessment of the facts cannot be anti-Semitic, because anti-Semitism is a prejudice. By definition, an objective assessment is the antithesis of prejudice.

So, to say it again, the examples appended to the IHRA definition are only guidelines, and should not be seen as absolute. When these examples manifest in the real world, they indicate places to be on the look-out for anti-Semitism, but should not be seen as concrete evidence of anti-Semitism. Once investigations have been carried out, there is every chance of discovering that there is nothing untoward going on.

Now, one of the most deranged, bullying Zionist fanatics in the country has kindly helped me to demonstrate why.

I must remember to thank him some time.

by Martin Odoni

James O-Brien comfortable with racists?

James O’Brien of LBC Radio is disturbingly comfortable associating with racists, for one who gets so self-righteous about (perceived) racism in the Labour Party.

“[Dear James]

Are you comfortable with racism?

If not, why don’t you work harder to get racists like Nigel Farage thrown off the radio station you work for? Why don’t you refuse to work for LBC while it allows Farage to promote Steve Bannon?

Oh? Am I being unfair on you? Well, you had the disgusting temerity to insinuate that Jeremy Corbyn is ‘comfortable with anti-Semitism’ [on Monday], even though he is at least trying to get anti-Semites out of the Labour Party (what few there are).

You can’t have it both ways, put your money where your gob is. Otherwise, we can only conclude that you have no problem working for a station that gives a safe harbour to racists.”

by Martin Odoni

Serious question for you, everybody.

How stupid are you?

Let me offer you a way of measuring; if you are presently joining in with the renewed hysteria about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, the answer is, you are very stupid. The reason why you are very stupid – including you once again, James O’Brien (whom I am starting to see as the Conservative Party’s most useful idiot) – is that you seem unable to spot history rhyming.

Back in April, an opinion poll had Labour moving into a seven-point lead just as the Local Election campaigns were starting. Almost immediately, Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger, perhaps the most well-disguised cynic in politics, created the most ridiculous controversy, by publicly attacking leader, Jeremy Corbyn, over comments he made about a mural that has not even existed for six years. The clamour about it carried on for weeks, and inevitably Labour’s position in the polls began to falter.

Over the last week or so, polls have suggested that Labour are pulling into the lead again, helped by the Tories haemorrhaging support as Brexit chaos worsens.

YouGov opinion poll 16th-17th July 2018

Labour leads by five points – so naturally the right wing start more theatrical attacks on the party leader.

So what happens this week? Well of course, Red Tory John Woodcock immediately announces his resignation from the Labour Party, citing Corbyn’s supposed ‘support of anti-Semites’ as one of the reasons. (We all know that he had nothing to lose by leaving, as he was almost certain to be thrown out of the party anyway for being a sex-pest. But he probably decided to leave weeks ago, so his timing is telling.)

John Woodcock anti-semitism dirty txts

Couldn’t resist it, sorry-not-sorry.

This was co-ordinated with a scurrilous, foul-mouthed and uncivilised attack on Corbyn from Margaret Hodge. Her behaviour was utterly vile, and if Marc Wadsworth can be accused of ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ over what he said about Ruth Smeeth a couple of years ago, it is absolutely correct that Hodge faces comparable proceedings.

The Jewish Chronicle, a ‘newspaper’ that makes me ashamed to be ethnically Jewish myself, published a hatchet job on Corbyn so vicious that The Daily Mail might have hesitated to print it.

Hatchet JC cover

Disgraceful hatchet job by the Jewish Chronicle on Jeremy Corbyn.

In short, every time Labour appear to be breaking ahead of the Tories, this wildly-exaggerated controversy is artificially re-ignited again, and always by the usual suspects who are in Labour Friends Of Israel. Note that that says ‘Israel’, not ‘Jews’. LFI’s only concerns are the interests of Israel, not those of Jewish Britons. (If they did care so much about Jewish Britons, why do they never take soundings from Labour members in the Jewish community more widely? They have certainly never contacted me.)

LFI treachery

Rebellions against Jeremy Corbyn are usually started by Labour Friends of Israel.

The current resurgence of this furore was made all-the-more urgent from a pro-Israeli perspective, given the disturbing developments in the Knesset this week. Binyamin Netanyahu’s ethnocratic Government has passed new legislation declaring Israel to be an Apartheid State in all-but-name, while weakening Palestinian access to legal mechanisms. Israel sympathisers want a pro-Palestinian leader of the Opposition silenced and discredited at times like these.

As for the aforementioned O’Brien, he really is being an idiot when it comes to this subject. Sorry, there is no other word for it. Not just because he always misses the above pattern whenever he discusses this on LBC Radio, but also because he misses the meaning of his own lectures on other subjects. For instance, he rightly and repeatedly despairs at the way Brexiteers completely overlook the importance of analysing evidence when assessing whether leaving the European Union is doing good or harm. He rails against Brexiteers allowing their judgement to be guided exclusively by their emotions. However, on the subject of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, O’Brien just repeatedly ignores evidence, no matter how much of it is pointed out to him, that demonstrates clearly that the problem is being blown way out-of-proportion, with many cases cynical smears. Instead, he just assumes all or most accusations are genuine, and bases his sympathies with the complainants on emotional appeals from Jewish paranoia about the supposed imminence of a ‘Second Shoah’.

This is imbecilic. Paranoia, by definition, is not factual, it is imagination. O’Brien expresses understanding for it, which is fine, but makes no attempt to rein in the wild conclusions to which it leads. So while he condemns Brexiteers for believing in unicorns, he agrees with Jews (no, actually Zionists) when they imagine monsters in the bedroom closet.

O’Brien has also criticised Labour this week for (slightly) rejecting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. He asks why Labour is rejecting parts of the definition when so many other organisations around the world have accepted it.

Oo, tricky one, James! Here though, this might help: How about because it is not an adequate definition? It encourages the usual, insidious conflation of Jews with Israel – especially the clause that reads, Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis – while under-defining other phenomena. Jennie Formby, General Secretary of the party, has already explained in full. Why not check whether your questions have already been answered before asking them, especially in such an insinuating way?

And just because an awful lot of people and groups around the world are scared to dispute the definition, for fear of being tarred with the anti-Semitism brush, that does not mean everyone else is morally obliged to be a sheep. (Again, how often does O’Brien criticise Brexiteers for just unquestioningly going along with everything Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg say, but he now expresses contempt when the Labour leadership refuse to follow the crowd blindly? Just like he also expresses contempt for Corbyn for daring to question the official narrative on the Skripal poisonings? He called that “pathetic” the other week, when by any standard, I would have thought ‘pathetic’ was the perfect epithet for anyone just swallowing anything they are told.)

O’Brien’s attitude to the current Labour Party is one of the wonders of the world, it really is. He openly proclaimed this week that he always wants to assume the best motives in people. In recent times, this has actually led him to express a tiny modicum of respect for Theresa May, perhaps the most cowardly and bare-facedly dishonest Prime Minister of the modern era. And yet, anything connected with the Labour left or Jeremy Corbyn, O’Brien always analyses with the most searing suspicion and cynicism, assuming the worst motives at every angle.

Now for certain, there are plenty of problems with the current Labour Party, and there are serious doubts as to whether they can form a workable Government until their inner divisions are resolved. But O’Brien keeps implying that all of these problems are the fault of Jeremy Corbyn and the left wing. Any objective analysis shows that the great bulk of the problems are being created by the right; in particular their cynically-timed, theatrical public rebellions. O’Brien never attempts any serious assessment of the right of the party. He just ignores their dark motives and assumes anything they do against the leadership is, ipso facto, the fault of the leadership. He never entertains the possibility that the likes of Chuka Umunna, Jess Phillips and Wes Streeting may have reasons quite other than the ones they declare. He also never explores the point, again frequently made to him, that there are politically-corrupt reasons for conflating Jews with Israel. It is disturbing to reflect on these oversights, in light of how O’Brien condemns the Daily Mail on almost every edition of his show, and with good reason. The fact that he is proliferating accusations that are getting publication every other day in the Daily Mail, while ignoring facts that the Mail likes to ignore as well, should make him question himself far more deeply than he has done so far.

O’Brien rightly condemns the chaos and cruelty of the current Government, and the malign deceitfulness and psychopathy of a great many Tory MPs. But he needs to ask himself whether his own conduct may be helping to keep the Tories in power to continue the misery. He is, after all, one of the more prominent liberal voices on British radio these days, whether he likes it or not, and if he is cheerfully propagating these absurd exaggerations about anti-Semitism as undiluted fact, then he is personally damaging any hope of bringing down the Tories. When the left needs prominent media voices to speak up for them, and O’Brien would be one of the most obvious candidates for it, he instead keeps helping the Tories to provide a distraction from their own malignancy and incompetence – a distraction that has minimal basis in reality. Even if the Labour anti-Semitism problem really were anything like as big as it is being painted – and it is not – it would still be nowhere near as urgent a crisis as the horrendous unnecessary damage inflicted on the people of Britain by Austerity and Brexit. And I say that as someone who has been on the sharp end of anti-Semitism at various points in my own life.

by Martin Odoni

The largely-fictitious ‘anti-Semitism-in-Labour’ controversy is clearly never going to be allowed to die. I have no doubt more examples will be brought to public attention in the final days before the Local Elections in May, and most accusations will stem from heavily-distorted information, just as Mike Sivier can testify from what happened a year ago.

In case anyone is just back from a five-day holiday to Mars, the present storm of outrage is about a notorious mural on Brick Lane in London.

Mural

The artist who painted the mural is an American called Kalen Ockerman – alias ‘Mear One’. The mural is widely-held to be anti-Semitic in intent.

Back in 2012, there was a discussion on social media about having the mural removed. Jeremy Corbyn left a comment on the discussion thread defending its presence on freedom-of-speech grounds. This comment has ‘mysteriously’ been dragged into the cross-examination of the public domain just as the Local Elections campaign is getting under way.

Now, I really was not planning to comment on this, because frankly it was embarrassing that anyone thought it worth the nation’s time or attention. What Corbyn said six years ago about someone’s right to produce a slightly paranoid bit of artwork is not important. No, sorry, it really is not. James O’Brien (oh good grief, him again?) and Shelagh Fogarty may have thought that this business was worth top billing on their LBC shows today, but they are wrong. They should not have dignified it with their time, nor should the other hysterics across the media. The only reason I am even bothering to write about it is because individuals on social media – including the aforementioned O’Brien – have been complaining that Corbyn sympathisers are ‘more outraged’ by Owen Smith’s rebelliousness on Brexit than they are about anti-Semitism.

That accusation is rubbish, but okay, I will talk about the mural. And I will not just focus on how minor or old Corbyn’s ‘transgression’ is. I will also point out a detail that the critics refuse to acknowledge about the mural; –

It is not anti-Semitic.

No, I am perfectly serious, it really is not. Now, if a Jew wishes to argue with me about that, they are welcome to bring it on – the comments section is below. But I will not have the likes of O’Brien, or Fogarty, or any of a million other outrage-foam-at-the-mouths who are not Jewish telling me what is anti-Semitic or what is not. I am a Jew, and I have experienced the sharp end of real anti-Semitism first hand. I know the genuine article when I see it, and I also know a false alarm about anti-Semitism when I see it too. So you can stuff it if you are non-Jewish and you try to tell me which is which. The mural is not anti-Semitic, and this is why.

The rich men portrayed in the mural sitting around the Monopoly gameboard include the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers, the Warburgs and the Morgans. The Rothschilds and the Warburgs are indeed Jews. But the others are not. They are portrayed in exactly the same light as the Warburgs and the Rothschilds, but this is not because of their ethnicity, but because they are all banking magnates. Their portrayal is not anti-Semitic, it is anti-plutocratic.

The pyramid in the background is often assumed to embody the legendary ‘Illuminati’, which is often thought to be an undercover world-controlling movement dominated by Jews. But again, this is not correct. The pyramid actually symbolises Freemasonry, and the widely-held (and possibly correct) suspicion that Freemasons often give each other un-earned ‘foot-ups’ up the hierarchy.

Freemasonry is not a Jewish movement.

How do I know that all of this applies to the mural? The explanation for that is shockingly simple; unlike the majority of pompous outraged attack dogs snapping at Corbyn’s heels, I bothered to read up on the history of the mural before passing judgement on it. One of the details I checked was what the artist had to say about it. Sure enough, Ockerman responded to the accusations of anti-Semitism back in 2012, and explained all of the above.

You might argue, “Why should we believe what Ockerman says?” but if you think about it, that really is a stupid question; if Ockerman had intended to stir up anti-Semitic paranoia by painting the mural in the first place, surely he would be defeating the object of his own exercise by then denying that the rich men in the picture are Jewish? (And be careful – if you see a picture of rich men with large noses and your immediate assumption is “Jews!!!!” that may say more about your own prejudices than it says about the artist’s.)

What astounds me is that the people who are steadfast in their certainty that the mural is anti-Semitic seem so confident that they know more about it than the person who bloody painted it in the first place! So much so, they never even thought to find out what the artist had to say. And James O’Brien has the nerve to lecture his listeners on being ‘rational’ when he makes an absurd leap-to-conclusions, probably a bandwagon fallacy too, on this scale? Not for the first time recently, I find myself saying, “Pull yourself together, O’Brien!

NB: Worry not, James, I do like you really, and I agree with far more of what you say than I disagree with usually, but you really have been suckered on this. I cannot believe you wasted ninety minutes of your programme today on this. It is a complete non-story.

It has been pointed out that the mural bears a passing resemblance to Nazi propaganda. I do see that, and I agree that it is unfortunate. But again there is a deafeningly-loud fallacy in the argument. Just because the mural has a resemblance to Nazi propaganda, it does not follow that it has to have the same meaning as Nazi propaganda. As I say, it does not. I find the reference to the Freemasons in the mural a bit paranoid, but the fundamental meaning of the picture is visibly anti-elitism, and there is no reason to assume that the plutocrats therein are Jewish. I mean, why is there no Star of David in the image?

(Jonathan Cook makes some more useful points about how doubtful and obviously-orchestrated this flare-up about the mural has been.)

Now as I say, this whole business has been a nonsense. Even if there were genuine anti-Semitic content in the mural, so what? It was years ago, and it was very clear that Corbyn’s comment was not meant as a defence of anti-Semitism. Now, how is a passing comment that Corbyn made six years ago on a bit of bizarre artwork suddenly so important that it takes priority over the Local Elections, over Conservative laundering of Russian finance, over Tory and pro-Brexit groups getting potentially-illegal help from Cambridge Analytica, the fantastic fraudulence of Jeremy Hunt’s untrue ‘pay-rise’ for NHS workers, the suspicious-looking miracle of only three people getting exposed to a lethal nerve agent in Salisbury and all of them so slightly that somehow none of them are dead almost a month later, the never-ending Brexit chaos, rampant child poverty… ? Good grief, I reckon even the ball-tampering scandal by the Australian Test Cricket team should rate as more of a priority than this! I mean, at least that happened this week! (Darren Lehmann and Steve Smith should be sacked, for what my view on that is worth, by the way.)

Of course, the answer to my question lies with the alternative topics I have listed. A lot of the media would like to talk about ‘anti-Semitism-in-Labour’ right now precisely because it blots out all these other matters. And sadly, even usually fairly sensible broadcasters and journalists, including O’Brien and Fogarty, have allowed themselves to get caught up in the tidal wave of rage.

No, Corbyn is not ‘comfortable in the company of anti-Semites’. No, the majority of the Labour left are not anti-Semites, not even a large minority of the Labour left are anti-Semites. Rather than being taken in by the huge number of accusations, what is needed is actually to study a lot of the accusations. Do so and you soon notice how absurd some of them are. Ask Mike Sivier about his ‘anti-Semitic punctuation’. No, I kid ye not, he really was accused of ‘anti-Semitic punctuation’ last year!

'Anti-Semtic punctuation' is now a thing.

Zionists are becoming such uncompromising censorship-trolls, they have now invented ‘anti-Semitic punctuation’. (Click here for more info.)

Ask Tony Greenstein (who is himself Jewish, but an anti-Zionist).

Ask Alan Bull.

Ask Jacqueline Walker, of course.

This whole controversy about anti-Semitism only started up in the aftermath of Jeremy Corbyn standing for leader of Labour, and the reason for it should be obvious; Corbyn is pro-Palestinian, and a loud critic of the way Israel treats the Palestinian people. The Zionist-Israeli lobby is terrified of the prospect of a UK Prime Minister who is pro-Palestinian, and so they are trying to isolate him by getting some of his most articulate supporters removed from the party. The Zionists, especially in the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, are perfectly happy to use false accusations in order to do so, knowing that they are unlikely to be held to account for doing it, as authorities fear the same accusations being re-directed at them.

What the Zionists are doing is corrupt and illegal. Instead of exposing this corruption, the media are allowing themselves to be pushed into playing along with it.

Labour were seven points up in the polls sixteen days ago, and the Local Election campaign began last week. This non-story controversy from years ago suddenly flares up now.

How is it that no one in the media is able to join such giant dots?

_____

MORE ON THIS HERE.

by Martin Odoni

Without wishing to downplay the controversy over the former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, apparently being poisoned by agents of the nation of his birth, I have to say, I find the national outrage somewhat out-of-proportion. If the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, is indeed the man behind the use of a nerve agent as an assassination tool, then it is right that he is condemned for it. But the scale of the reaction in some parts of the media is starting to make it sound like the United Kingdom either has suffered a civil tragedy on the scale of the Hillsborough Disaster, or faces a full-scale military invasion.

Let us get the matter into proportion for a moment; –

A grand total of three people have been poisoned in the incident. None of them has died. The attack appears to have been narrowly targeted at Skripal, not at the wider community, or even at the UK as a whole.

None of this stops it being a vile act, and if it turns out that the Russians are behind it, it tells us nothing about Putin or the Russian Federal Security Bureau (FSB) that we did not already know.

Yes, we do genuinely need to be wary of Putin, but we should not become engorged in paranoia about him. Modern Russia is nowhere near as powerful as the old Soviet Union was. Its military is only about one-third the size of the old ‘Red Army’, and much of it is using weaponry and equipment that is now decades out-of-date. Meanwhile, the Russian nation is strategically on the defensive at all times; having lost control of the natural defences of the old ‘Eastern bloc’ countries, parts of which are now even members of NATO, most of Russia’s western frontier terrain is now flat, open land, ill-suited to fighting defensive warfare. Russia is the country under real international pressure, and has not been in the right shape for a confrontation at any time since the USSR was dissolved. The main menace from Moscow these days appears to be in cyberspace only.

The threat Russia poses is, in short, simply not worth the present degree of fixation.

Vladimir Satan

NOTE: Putin is not really this powerful.

As for Skripal himself, I am a little bewildered at the references to him as an ‘innocent’. As Craig Murray points out, Skripal’s history is quite different from that of, say, Alexander Litvinenko, and not especially laudable. But more specifically, how can anyone who has a history of working in espionage be called an ‘innocent’? I do not wish to sound callous, but surely the risk of becoming a target is simply part of the spy’s job description? I can accept that Skripal’s daughter, Yulia, is an innocent bystander caught up in the attack, but the ever-dimwitted Boris Johnson has appended the word to both father and daughter.

This exaggerated air of “a-nation-in-fearful-mourning” became faintly ridiculous on Monday. Responding to a statement by Theresa May in the House of Commons, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, drew attention to the indisputable truth that Conservative MPs routinely accept campaign donations from Russia. Inevitably, there were cries of theatrical outrage from Tories across the House. The hypocrisy of this clamour should be enough to make the nation queasy, given we had to sit through over a month of Tories and the right-wing media trying to smear Corbyn with largely-fictitious accusations of him supposedly leaking secrets to Czechoslovakia during the Cold War.

Iain Duncan-Smith, one of the most zealously-malicious MPs of the last quarter of a century, had the nerve to argue that Corbyn was playing “party politics” with a national security situation. As I say,  what were the Tories doing for a month over the Czech spy fiction? At least Corbyn’s accusations are truthful and closely-relevant to an issue set in the present day, not falsehoods based on a couple of coffee-breaks taken over thirty years in the past, and connected to a country that does not even exist anymore.

Chris Leslie, ever the Blairite, decided not for the first time to side with the Conservatives against his own leader, saying,

“When our country is potentially under attack, that is just not appropriate.”

But the country, as I say, is not under attack, and the potential of it happening is low. (Not that I value people’s lives by nationality, but the target of this assassination attempt is not even British.) Sounding so over-dramatic is irresponsible panic-mongering, while trying to devalue legitimate concerns over the influence the supposed ‘bad guy’ in the matter exercises on Western politics is frankly anti-democratic.

It is quite clear that both Duncan-Smith and Leslie were trying to use a political form of emotional-blackmail to shout Corbyn down. At least in their case, much of the sting was taken out of it because it was entirely predictable that they would resort to such politically-charged theatrics. What really got up my nose was on Tuesday, when James O’Brien, normally a voice of objective reason, joined in with it on LBC Radio. He said Corbyn was wrong to raise the matter, and solemnly described the Poisoned-Russian-Spy incident as “a moment of national unity”.

Says who, James? I am a citizen of this nation, for a start, and no one told me that I had to get into line with everyone else. Nor would I feel compelled to, even if they had. I am not going to let the all-purpose ‘Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free’ card that Governments routinely deploy to shut things – or people – up, of declaring “This is a matter of national security!” stop me from discussing what I think needs to be discussed. And I am clearly far from the only one. Russian money in Britain and the USA is a serious corruption problem, and this poisoning incident should only underline that, and make such discussions more urgent, not more postponable.

I think O’Brien is having one of those rare weeks when he seriously needs to take a cold shower. He sounds like the Russian army has conquered Western Europe and is poised on the north coast of France to launch an invasion. Or like London has just been blitzed by Yak-130 bombers. Or half of Birmingham has been consumed in a great Muscovite-lit fire. Or Glasgow has been quarantined due to a cholera epidemic released from a bale of infected blankets dropped from a Russian cargo-plane.

Let me repeat, three people were poisoned in the attack, and all of them are still alive. The harm done to them could affect them for the rest of their lives, but they do still have a ‘rest-of-their-lives’ to which they can look forward. Yes, what happened is bad, and if Russia is indeed behind it, it should face serious repercussions (not that I am convinced that the UK is in a position to dish any out). Precautions must be taken to deter it from happening further. But this does not mean the country is on the brink of a state-of-emergency.

Bizarrely, at the same time as O’Brien makes out that this is an out-and-out crisis that everyone needs to take ultra-seriously, he condemns Corbyn for trying to discuss a very under-exposed dimension of it! A dimension that clearly makes it easier for Russian agents to operate in the UK in the first place!

Pull yourself together, James!

(I do find O’Brien is awfully quick to leap on anything he perceives Corbyn says or does wrong. He has often complained on his radio show that he is endlessly accused by right-wing listeners of being some kind of hard-left Marxist, which he certainly is not, and I do wonder at times whether he is trying a little too hard to prove them wrong.)

If the criticism is of when Corbyn chose to make the point, by the way, I find that argument just as nauseating. It is akin to the very manipulative way the National Rifle Association and Republican politicians in the USA always protest, “Now is not the time to discuss gun controls!” in the aftermath of gun massacres. Again, it is just a cynical way of exploiting fear and grief to silence legitimate debate.

Incidentally, no I do not subscribe to the inevitable ‘false-flag’ theories that are circulating about the attack. They make very little sense. The following meme is circulating on social media at the moment, and I have shared it on my Twitter feed myself; –

Strange Russian MO

It does sound weird put that way. But it does not change the fact that it does describe the attack as the evidence suggests it was carried out, and therefore makes it no more or less likely that the Russians are behind it. If it was someone else, the same peculiarities would apply.