by Martin Odoni

We already know that Israel and its supporters assume the right to interfere in the Governments of other countries – Shai Masot inadvertently made that pretty inescapable. But someone in the Zionist movement clearly forgot to tell academic Manfred Gerstenfeld that this reality is still supposed to go unspoken in public. It may be an open secret, but it is still an official secret.

Gerstenfeld, an Austrian-Israeli, at the weekend just past wrote an article that was published in the Jerusalem Post, in which he performed an all-too-familiar character-assassination on Jeremy Corbyn. He titled it in rather militaristic terms, Battling Corbyn, Israel’s main British enemy. The word enemy in particular is startling, as it implies that Gerstenfeld sees a critic or vocal opponent is indistinguishable from a violent, blood-seeking foe.

Gerstenfeld v Corbyn

Manfred Gernstenfeld, an Austro-Israeli academic, has written a hatchet-job article on Jeremy Corbyn.

Now, most of Gerstenfeld’s account of what has been happening in the UK Labour Party over the last couple of years is hopelessly biased and inaccurate – particularly his damnable lie that Corbyn has offered, “expressions of sympathy for genocidal Arab terrorists.” The people Corbyn has expressed sympathy for are ordinary Palestinian people imprisoned in Gaza and the West Bank, not terrorists. Despite endless media assertions, for instance, that Corbyn laid a wreath on a memorial to the Munich Terrorists of 1972 in Tunisia in 2014, he did not. But the desire to eclipse the harmless truth about Corbyn runs strong in Zionists.

We should expect no better than that from Gerstenfeld, or indeed from any Zionist discussing any Palestine sympathiser, so let us leave that on one side.

Instead, let us look at the bit where the twister writes,

Is there anything Israel’s allies can do to make it more difficult for a Corbyn-controlled Labour to rise to power?

This makes what we already knew quite explicit; Israelis really do think that they have a right to interfere – either themselves or by proxy – in the democratic processes of other countries, for the sake of Zionist advancement. Of course, Israel is very far from alone in this arrogance, but that makes the wish no less corrupt.

Gerstenfeld’s words are an open declaration of Zionism’s anti-democratic foundation, a foundation I have mentioned before. Israel has spent decades trying to be an ethnocracy and a democracy simultaneously, and it just cannot be done; the will-of-the-majority can only be reconciled with the will of one ethnic group over all others, by artificially making the chosen group larger than the others, which in turn can only be done by adopting policies that oppress the others – undemocratic in themselves. The democratic veneer of Israel is therefore more illusory than substantial. Zionism desires a ‘Jewish State’ be perpetuated at any cost, with even democracy being seen as a small price to pay. Respecting the sovereignty of other nations is also a lesser concern in the mind of the Zionist fanatics who dominate the Israeli Government and media.

Almost as telling as what Gerstenfeld says in the article is what he scarcely says. He is not speaking out against ‘anti-Semitism’. Indeed he only uses the term once in the entire article, and does not use the word ‘Jew’ even once. In the one paragraph where he uses the term ‘antisemitism’ (his spelling, not mine), he then starts discussing opposition to Israel instead of prejudice against Jews – the never-ending rhetorical trick of Zionists trying to conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism rears its ugly head once more. From the omissions from his own writing therefore, we can take it as incontestable. Gerstenfeld’s objection to Corbyn is entirely on the grounds of Corbyn’s opposition to Israel, not any supposed hostility he may feel towards Jews.

Gerstenfeld, another specimen of the stupid Zionist fanatic, has let the metaphorical cat out of the bag.

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by Martin Odoni

No, seriously, how stupid are they?

David Collier is a racist and smear-merchandising Zionist blogger of precisely the kind that currently dominate the ‘Anti-Semitism-in-the-Labour-Party’ contrived hysteria. Yesterday, somebody added me to a Facebook group called ‘Palestine Live‘, and Collier noticed (obsessive, stalking weirdos these Zionists, are they not?), and decided to condemn me for linking to the blogpost I wrote over the weekend. But not having the courage to take me to task in person, he instead took a screenshot and then posted it onto his Twitter feed.

David Collier smear

David Collier attacks me without daring to confront me.

Collier also made some pretty huge assumptions about me in the process. He says Jews who reject Zionism, like myself, are; –

so lost that they comfortably swim with white supremacists, Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

All I can say to that is that I have not knowingly ‘swum with white supremacists, Holocaust deniers or anti-Semites’ in my entire life. That mention of white supremacists is perhaps a little two-faced, given the British Zionist movement’s undeniable links to the English Defence League. And it is also two-faced of Collier to have a cover picture on his feed reading, “Beyond the great divide the truth matters“, given how little priority he gives to accuracy when attempting to describe Jewish anti-Zionists. But I digress.

My point is this; how stupid do these people have to be? All Collier has done is given me a hint that I am starting to get under Zionist skins. Does he imagine that, by “screenshotting” me like this, he will ‘intimidate me into shamed silence’, or something? Does he imagine that by using an image of the link, rather than linking to the blogpost itself, it will be particularly difficult for me to provide counter-links that will allow people to view what I actually said, rather than his crude caricature of it?

But above all, does he not realise that, by trying to do a ‘public lynching’ job on me like this, Collier is demonstrating precisely the sort of toxic, bullying behaviour that is rife among Zionist fanatics, and to which I was referring in the very blogpost linked-to in the image in the first place? Talk about providing an object lesson in the very act of denying it.

Add to this, I probably would not even have noticed the attack, had it not been for our old comic ‘toothless attack-dog’, Jonathan Hoffman (another disturbingly-obsessive social media stalker) – perhaps also imagining that I would be intimidated – actually putting an image of Collier’s tweet on my Facebook timeline!

Do Collier and Hoffman really not grasp that the best indicator I can get that what I write is effective is that it bothers hate-preaching Zionist bigots like themselves? If Zionists were just ignoring what I write, I would take it as a sign that I am not accomplishing very much, and might question whether it is worth the bother of continuing. Moreover, Collier has a lot more followers on Twitter than I have as well, and many of them, who had probably never heard of me until this morning, now know of me and what my position is on Israel. So as things stand, I regard this as a nice, free promo for my blog.

So… thanks for the thumbs-up, Collier and Hoffman. You pair of cretins!

 

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.

by Martin Odoni

The founding idea behind Zionism is that Jews cannot safely co-exist with ‘gentiles’, and therefore require a homeland of their own. This concept led, for better or worse, to the existence of modern Israel, and is intermittently invoked by the Israeli Government, especially when Jews in other countries are the victims of atrocities or hate-crimes.

As I have commented before, I do not accept that Zionism was a ‘necessary’ ideology, and there is an absurdity in that many Jews living outside Israel are Zionists. But nonetheless, Israel sometimes encourages more and more Jews to move there. This may sound perfectly natural, but the real reasons for doing this may not be the ones you might imagine. They are less to do with the survival of the Jewish people, and more to do with the survival of Israel itself.

When Israel was formed in the 1940s, it was a bit of a patchwork of land that had previously been part of the British Mandate For Palestine. The division of land drawn up by the United Nations was rather bizarre and not very efficient, from the perspectives of both Jewish and Arab populations; –

1947 partition israel palestine

The lay-out of Israel in particular was quite puzzling, and strategically quite weak. The new country was a long, thin, curling ‘zig-zag’ of land, which had very long, complicated borders with few natural defences. There was no ‘territorial depth’ i.e. in many places, the border was close to the sea, meaning a defending army had nowhere to retreat to, and settlements were within easy reach of any invading force. There was also not a great deal of habitable space. Bits of Israel were cut off from other bits by narrow stretches of Palestinian territory, and vice versa.

Neighbouring Arab countries were furious that Israel had been founded on lands that they felt belonged to their own people, and had been ‘stolen’ from them. The arrangement was seen as a ‘sell-out’ to Zionist terrorists, who had caused a lot of chaos in the former Mandated territory over the previous few years. Therefore, just one day after Israel formally came into being, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt all invaded the fledgling country.

Under the circumstances, it is perhaps surprising how easily Israeli troops fought off their neighbours. But in the process, they also occupied much of the rest of the land of the former British Mandate. This land was useful for creating ‘buffer-zones’ against further invasions, but also gave Israel extra space into which more Jewish settlers could be accommodated – land that was taken from the Palestinians. Arab communities chased off this land refer to this displacement as ‘the Nakba‘ or ‘the catastrophe’.

Given the enormous strategic difficulties of a return to land-divisions even remotely resembling the lay-out of the UN partition, Israel is understandably very unhappy about the idea of a ‘two-state solution’ to the Palestinian crisis. It is unlikely under those terms that either Israel or Palestine would be anywhere near safe from invasion by neighbours.

Since that First Arab-Israeli War, the desire for more land has become a repeated feature of Israel’s existence. Part of the reason is that one of the sworn ideals of the state is that it will give a home to anybody of Jewish maternal descent, and some Jews abroad have chosen to make use of that of their own volition. As the Israeli population has grown accordingly, inevitably the Israeli Government has needed more land to accommodate them.

But there is another issue at play that Israel does not like to discuss, but which complicates its pursuit of land – relative population sizes. In a world in which (supposed) democratic practice is seen as a mark of humane Government, Israel wants to be viewed as a nation ruled by the majority. But it is also, in a manner of speaking, an ethnocracy i.e. a nation ruled by and for one ethnic group at the expense of any others. Israel is a land where the Jewish population has to be the priority – ‘primus inter pares‘ (“first-among-equals”) almost – in order to serve the country’s founding purpose of preserving the Jewish people. Israel cannot logically be a ‘Jewish state’ without treating the needs of its Jewish population as its most important duty. Unfortunately, such an approach runs contrary to the democratic principle of ‘one-man-one-vote’, and would probably be undermined by a Government elected on most other terms.

But the combined Arab population inside Israel and in territories under dispute is almost exactly as large as the Jewish population. Projections suggest that it will also grow faster than the Jewish population in the years ahead.

Hence Israel’s dilemma, and its reluctance to pursue a one-state solution any more than a two-state solution; the only way it can square the circle of managing to be both a democracy and an ethnocracy is to pursue (obviously undemocractic and unjust) policies aimed at keeping the Jewish population within its borders larger than the Arab population, so that should a one-state democracy come about, Israeli Jews will still be able to out-vote Israeli Arabs. Anything else, and the Jewish state will almost certainly be voted out of existence, when its continuation is so obviously against the interests of most Arabs. While a significant minority of Palestinians are actually quite happy to accept the Israeli way of life as their own, a great many others, especially those sealed in Gaza, and cut off from their real homes for generations, feel very differently.

This is the real reason why Israel makes little more than a token effort to discipline the soldiers of the Israeli Defence Force when they massacre Palestinians. Horrible as it sounds, every time a Palestinian dies, that is one fewer Arab voter to worry about whenever a completely free election is held. Massacres may not be good politics for Israel, but they are quietly in the interests of the Zionist ideal. Zionism, indeed any ethnocratic ideal, is simply incompatible with democracy, and sooner or later, the choice will always have to be made between them. While Israel appears to be putting off that choice for the time being, it is leaning in the ethnocratic direction.

This also, however, adds to Israel’s motives to play up the classic Zionist paranoia-chorus about how Jews cannot live safely among gentiles, and how any period without anti-Semitic persecution in other lands is just the pause-for-breath before ‘the next Pogrom‘. This is not only about justifying Israel’s original creation. No, the intermittent appeals for more Jews to come and settle in Israel are even more about increasing the Jewish population there, so that it can keep its numbers ahead of those of the Arab population.

But in order to make that increase feasible, more land will continue to be needed to make space for the new arrivals. And that land will, of course, continue to be taken from Arabs, be it more territory confiscated from Palestinians, or more land taken from neighbouring countries. When land is taken from neighbouring countries, there is the danger that more Arabs may be brought into the fold with them, rather defeating the object of the exercise, and upping the territorial need still further.

Israel, in short, has rather trapped itself in an upward spiral of increasing the land to accommodate a population that it has deliberately increased. It does it only so that it does not have to become truly democratic, and can remain, at least in large part, ethnocratic. Every time it succeeds, its success is only temporary, kicking the proverbial can further down the road, as the Palestinian population continues to grow, even in spite of all the forces pushing against it. And with each passing effort to apply downward pressure on that Arab population, Israel creates more opposition internationally, opposition that cannot be shouted down for much longer with the usual cynical cries of “anti-Semitism!!!

Zionism, an ethnocratic ideal, may be Israel’s founding principle, but eventually, the country will be forced to ask itself, “Is being an ethnocracy really worth all this trouble?”

by Martin Odoni

The notorious outgoing President of the British Board of Jewish Deputies this week made perhaps the most ridiculous public statement of his entire, lamentable career. The eternally right-wing Jonathan Arkush, speaking to the eternally right-wing Daily Telegraph, claimed,

“Delegitimising the state of Israel is antisemitic. [Jeremy Corbyn] was a chairman of Stop the War, which is responsible for some of the worst anti-Israel discourse. If he shares the prevalent discourse about Israel, then that view is unquestionably antisemitic… [The BDI] will not accept a discourse which denies the existence of their own land to the Jewish people. I think we are all entitled to some clarity on his real views about Israel.”

This remark is either a cynical smear, or a call from the heights of deranged paranoia. Arkush and his allies in the Zionist (important; not Jewish) community keep levelling charges like this at the Labour leader, among many others on the left of the party. But each time, they put precious little meat on the bones of their accusations. There is never a coherent explanation from Arkush as to what Corbyn has really said that is so objectionable, examples are few-and-far-between, and what quotations are offered are usually taken out-of-context.

Arkush also said that Corbyn’s Labour has British Jews wondering: “Do we have a future here?” Not for the first time, and probably not the last, I find myself wanting to ask the Board, “When were you going to ask me before speaking for me?” Because I am one Jew who has never wondered whether I have a future here at all, and no one has ever asked me if I have.

Arkush also stated quite concretely that Corbyn holds ‘anti-Semitic views’, but again offers no specific examples to that effect, just more generalised grumbles about Corbyn’s history of criticisng Israeli policies.

More particularly, Arkush’s leading attempt to imply that Corbyn has a history of ‘delegitimising the state of Israel’ is an outrageous lie. Corbyn’s associations with the Stop The War coalition reveal not a shred of evidence of that; Stop The War are frequent critics of Israel, beyond doubt, but they have never argued particularly for its destruction. (And no, before anyone comments with the familiar urban myth, Stop The War did not publish an article four years ago literally demanding a war with Israel. The often-cited article by Professor Richard Falk was arguing for non-military action against Israel.) Stop The War question the decision to create Israel, and the process by which it happened – especially the much-under-discussed role of Zionist militancy in the mid-1940s – but that is quite different from wanting the country to be destroyed. The coalition, like most critics of Israel, want to see the country reformed with full rights for all Palestinians on an equal footing with all Jews, be it by a one-state or two-state solution. Condemnation of policy is quite different from condemnation of existence.

Arkushleep

So on examination, Arkush’s protestations are not against the way anyone in the Labour Party or Stop The War treats Jews at all. He objects instead to the way that the left will not endorse Israel’s treatment of Arabs. The refusal to approve the repeated slaughters of Arabs is anti-Semitic, according to Arkush.

The only conclusion we can draw from Arkush’s rant – probably his last before rightly stepping down as the Board’s President – is that he sees Israel/Palestine in the most childish of binary terms. He thinks that people can be anti-Semitic, or they can be anti-Arab. (They can also, perhaps, be both.) But as far as Arkush is concerned, it is not possible to be neither. So if you are not anti-Arab, you have to be an anti-Semite. That is how dimensionless Arkush’s reasoning skills are.

I have written numerous times before about the subconscious anti-Semitic mindset required to weaponise anti-Semitism allegations, reducing Jews from human beings to mere tools of disputational convenience – even when the weaponiser is Jewish. So if the Board as a whole endorses Arkush’s remarks, then the Board of Jewish Deputies is now an anti-Semitic organisation.

by Martin Odoni

I have been hurt down the years by comments Zionists have thrown at me, for being a Jew who opposes Israeli policy, and who does not think Zionism was a necessary ideal. I have been accused of being a ‘Palestinian shill’, an ‘assimilate half-breed’, and the ever-popular insult-of-choice, a ‘self-hating Jew’. (How this abuse is any more acceptable than explicit anti-Semitic terminology is quite mysterious.) I try to resist the temptation to blow up at Zionist-fanatics when they resort to this, but I have not always succeeded. This is because these are vicious insults designed to make me feel guilty, as though I have violated my own nature – as though they know better than I do what my nature is. But for all the hurt that causes, my stance on Israel has not changed.

Netanyahu

The Israeli leader has to stop claiming to act in the name of Jews around the world. There is a very large number of us whom he has never consulted.

I have long felt the suffering of the Jewish people has been exploited and manipulated for political purposes, including by Jewish, and more particularly Zionist, groups themselves. But never have I felt as personally sullied as by what has happened over the last twenty-four hours. Never have I felt as angry, hurt, exploited, or demeaned, by the use of anti-Semitism as a political football, as I feel right now.

Last night, by invitation, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, observed a seder for Pesach with members of ‘Jewdas’. They are a group of leftist British Jews who are opponents of Israeli policies. After over a week of ridiculous hysteria against Corbyn over a remark he made years ago about a putatively anti-Semitic mural, he is now under constant attack for doing something that could hardly be more pro-Jewish.

‘Jewdas’, due to their opposition to Israel, are being spoken of in the same terms as the anti-Semites that Jeremy Corbyn supposedly supports (very untrue). That is the only reason that ‘Jewdas’ are being criticised.

This is yet another no-win-situation for Corbyn. Had he declined the invitation he had received, the headlines would have been, “NOW CORBYN SNUBS JEWS AT PASSOVER!!!” followed by lengthy twisting-of-details to present it as clinching evidence of his ‘anti-Semitism’. Because he accepted the invitation, and the media narrative requires that he needs to be presented as, at worst anti-Semitic, at best insensitive towards Jews, the group he visited must now be de-legitmised. The fact that the ‘Jewdas’ group has a track-record of criticism of Israel is thus used against them. The media, and right-wing politicians, are effectively intimating that, because ‘Jewdas’ say things that some other Jewish groups do not, they are ‘undesirable’ and that mixing with them is ipso facto insulting to Jews more widely.

There are too many reasons to list why this is ridiculous, the most glaring being the near-racist assumption of ‘homogeneity’ – that Jews are a sort of ‘Hive-mind’ people with no individual power-of-thought. Any independent thinkers are therefore ‘seditious’ almost. This is not only the narrative of hawkish Zionists, it is being leapt upon by opportunistic politicians and journalists who have nothing to do with Jewish communities at all. And the narrative has been expressed so persistently loudly since last night that it is beginning to stick. “Corbyn is prepared to mix with Jews,” goes the narrative, “but the ‘wrong kind’ of Jews. The kind that criticise Israel. That makes him even more of an anti-Semite.”

So, to be Jewish and a critic of Israel is to be a “wrong kind of Jew”. That of course means I personally must be “the wrong kind of Jew” too. Society’s expectations override the freedom to be an individual once more, like in Victorian times.

Now as I have mentioned before, I spent intermittent spells of my childhood being insulted for being a Jew of any kind. Now I find myself insulted for being a particular kind of Jew – the wrong kind. And the frightening realisation is that we are on a slippery slope, at the foot of which, people like myself will likely be told we do not ‘count’ as Jews, because we support the Palestinians against Israeli oppression.

You see why I am hurting?

I despair that many Jews are letting themselves – and the people’s history of suffering – be exploited in such a cheap, demeaning way. But then it is difficult for a Jew to fight it. In my position, and indeed the position of ‘Jewdas’ (which in this context is proving to be an unfortunate choice of name), there is a strong, demoralising threat of being seen as a traitor. And there is no one in prominent positions in the media or politics right now who is prepared to speak up for us. To speak up, that is to say, for people who know that the stigma of anti-Semitism is being cynically exploited, and feel personally hurt by it. No politicians seem prepared to resist the narrative. Even Corbyn’s allies in Labour like John McDonnell and Rebecca Long-Bailey seem reluctant to call out the deceit. The mainstream media clearly want to believe the ‘anti-Semitism-in-the-Labour-Party’ crisis is real and huge-scale, so will not give voice to anyone who points out why it is not, let alone lend credibility to the objection by pointing out how many of the dissenting voices are Jewish.

Dissenting Jews like myself are screaming-into-the-void. Which makes it hurt even more.

Were there ever proof that ‘anti-Semite!‘ is often a politicised shoutdown of voices inconvenient to Israel, this is it. The definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ is now so broad that it is poised to extend, not just to gentiles who disagree with Israel, but even to Jews who disagree with Israel.

No one will combat that, because the circular reasoning therein classes me as ‘the wrong kind’ of Jew. And who would want to listen to someone who cannot get ‘being Jewish’ right?

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POSTSCRIPT 04-04-2018: Please see the comments section below for an example of precisely the treatment dissenting Jews such as myself often receive from Zionists, then click here for more about this.

by Martin Odoni

What happened on Good Friday in Gaza seemed bitterly appropriate, after a week of anti-Semitism hysteria back here in the United Kingdom. The Israeli Defence Force massacred seventeen Palestinian protesters who were observing ‘Land Day’ – the anniversary of a 1976 protest against one of a number of illegal land-grabs by the Israeli Government that led to bloodshed – and injured well over a thousand more, with heavy use of live ammunition.

The protests are being held over the course of the next six weeks at the fence that marks the border between Israel-proper and the Palestinian-administered Gaza Strip. According to reports from the Israeli side of the border, riots broke out among some protesters. The IDF, who had positioned snipers at key intervals along the fence, opened fire.

There have been uncorroborated reports that Hamas, the faction currently administering the Gaza Strip, may have been using human shields in the crowd, and that rioters were trying to pull down the fence and force their way across the border. Reliable evidence to these effects has been in very low supply (READ: none whatsoever). Footage from Palestinian sources shows disturbing signs of over-zealous Israeli behaviour, including apparently shooting unarmed Palestinians retreating from the fence in the back. (Trigger warning.)

Other sniper-fire appears to have been aimed at a group of protesters who were knelt in prayer. One of them appears to have taken a bullet in the thigh. (Trigger warning again.)

Whether the riots were really happening at certain points of the border, it seems incontrovertible that at least some of the actions by the IDF were completely needless and indiscriminate. They also appear to have been very deliberate and premeditated, rather than reactive, judging by the IDF’s own words. One rather boastful tweet its leaders had circulated on its Twitter account was later deleted; –

IDF boast

They don’t exactly sound like their consciences are over-burdened by the deaths, do they?

All of this is, in short, typically squalid on the part of Israel, a country that continues to adopt the pretence of defending itself while using sledgehammer-lethal force on a tiny, poorly-armed opponent. This is not to say that there is no possibility that the Palestinians were behaving aggressively of course. But the dearth of credible evidence for the IDF’s claims, and the IDF’s smug lack of contrition over the deaths, do not inspire much confidence in their word.

Here in the UK, we have gone through a week of crazed hysteria about supposed anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. For reasons I have explained previously, a lot of this perception of anti-Semitism stems from a mixture of fraudulence and paranoia. Some of it stems from the same old problem of conflation of opposition to Israel with hatred of Jews. But this does mean that the massacre has presented us with a bitter opportunity; it allows us to judge whether anti-Semitism is really so prevalent as is currently suggested.

The aforementioned conflation of anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism (if we are to assume that ‘Zionism’ is the correct name for supporting Israeli policy, which technically it is not*) works in two directions, both equally dishonest. Zionists like it, because it allows them to shout down legitimate criticisms of Israel by accusing the critic of being motivated by anti-Semitism. Actual anti-Semites also like it, because it allows them to rationalise their hostility towards Jews by reference to Israeli policy, implicating the rest of the Jewish people using a rather elongated form of guilt-by-association logic.

My impression is that some of the British reaction to the massacre has been disgusting, but not for anti-Semitic reasons. Arguably it has been for Islamophobic reasons. In fact, the lack of official reaction has been almost disturbing. Boris Johnson, who as Foreign Secretary is supposed to be what passes for the UK’s leader in international relations (heaven help us!) has had absolutely nothing to say about it at the time-of-writing. Also no noticeable interest has been displayed by our great moral and spiritual leader, the Prime Minister. So, after this and the hysteria about Labour anti-Semitism, this week reveals to us two Tory inner values; –

Sort of half-defending a picture that may or may not have been slightly anti-Semitic is completely unforgivable.

Massacring Arabs is not worth the bother of comment.

I have personally had some testy discussions on social media with Zionists, including the notorious bully and smear-merchant, Jonathan Hoffman. He informed me absolutely emphatically that all the protesters were ‘terrorists’ (seventeen thousand terrorists? Wow, how did they do so little damage? How were so few of them armed?) that they were in a military zone (how is that even possible when they were on the Gaza side of the border, over which the Israeli military has no right of jurisdiction?) that the young man shot in the back in one of the clips above was not shot, he “just fell over”, and that the Israeli military is the “most moral in the world”. In other words, the people who were shot were only Arabs, therefore Hoffman cares not a jot if they all die. He always complains about racism against Jews, even where there is none, but fails to recognise his own racism against Arabs.

EvolvePolitics, meanwhile, eagle-eyed as ever, spotted that the Zionist side of the conflation-habit remains depressingly consistent. Chaim Gordon, a Zionist Tax attorney, called Nadeem Ahmed, a disability activist, a “Corbyn supporting anti-semite”(sic) for the heinous crime of noticing the massacre.

Gordon went on to claim that he knew Ahmed must be an anti-Semite because the protesters had all been sent by Hamas. He offered no evidence to that effect. He was making assumptions against Hamas, while also assuming that anyone not accepting those assumptions must be an anti-Semite. Both of which are quite prejudicial in themselves.

So we have silence from Conservatives, and warm approval from prominent Zionists, what do we have from the media? Well, I think the most disgusting element of all was rightly identified by Owen Jones. It was the disingenuous response of the BBC; –

The BBC puts blatant spin on a massacre

It is doubtful that the BBC headline would have sounded anything like this had Bashar al-Assad massacred 16 peaceful protesters.

For the BBC to encourage, however subtly, the notion that the protests were ‘terrorism’ was completely outrageous, and that in itself dismisses any possible suggestion that the Corporation might be trying to foster anti-Semitic feeling. On the contrary, it was trying to foster Islamophobic feeling.

The Labour Party’s response, meanwhile, has not been one of anti-Semitic disgust, but of measured and correct disapproval. None of the responses I have seen from Labour MPs so far have even mentioned the words, ‘Jews’, or ‘Judaism’, nor offered any thoughts on supposed ‘Jewish character-traits’. They have simply focused on the killings. Jeremy Corbyn, keeping his usual astonishing dignity in the face of the endless attacks to which he has been subjected, was forthright but entirely correct.

The right wing of Labour has been noticeably quieter, a little like their real allies in the Tory Party. Chuka Umunna was happy to join in the public parade against anti-Semitism during the week, but has gone mysteriously silent in discussions of the massacre. Stella Creasy at least saw fit to mention the killings, although her initial thoughts did rather veer towards the old ‘well-obviously-there’s-fault-on-both-sides‘ safe narrative. Creasy also needs to be a little more careful about implied criticism of Corbyn supposedly failing to recognise racism, given her own recent history.

Screenshot from 2018-04-01 09-39-17

Tony Blair, who was quick to leap on the anti-Semitism bandwagon but slow to remember his own past dalliance with the prejudice, has also shown no detectable concern over the massacre; so much for the Middle East Peace Envoy, right? John Mann, who is seemingly unable to shut up about anti-Semitism, also seems scarcely aware of events in Gaza. The impression one gets is that the massacre has come at a most ‘inconvenient’ time for Labour rebels who want to use anti-Semitism as a stick with which to beat the left. They probably fear losing their artificial ‘moral high ground’ if any implied criticism they make of Israel is presented as anti-Semitic. That is pretty cowardly, and possibly gives in to Islamophobic elements, but it is not anti-Semitism.

So insofar as I can test the water for anti-Semitism triggered by the attack, I have yet to see anything from Labour, at least among prominent voices. (If there is a clamour from less-prominent voices, surprisingly little attempt is being made by the usual accusers to draw attention to them.)

Okay, I concede I have not been able to search comprehensively, so my analysis should not be seen as scientific. But I have to say, from what I have seen, the prejudice seems very much to be on the pro-Israeli side, with an upswing in anti-Semitism not really featuring, no matter how much Chaim Gordon would like to pretend otherwise.

The indicators would reinforce what I said the other day, and indeed have been saying for several years – the ‘anti-Semitism-in-Labour’ crisis is wildly exaggerated.

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* Zionism is merely the belief that the Jewish people require a country of their own. It does not necessarily follow that adherents to that belief agree with Israel’s long-term policy towards its Arab neighbours. Indeed, there are some Zionists who disapprove very keenly of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. However, they are in a very clear minority. Most Zionists, certainly in Britain, take a very uncompromising view that Israel can do no wrong.