by Martin Odoni

Most people – at least those not spending the last three years touring the moons of Neptune – will likely be well aware that British Zionists and other assorted Israel supporters are fighting like mad to discredit the Labour Party on the, frankly implausible, grounds of ‘anti-Semitism’ supposedly being rife among its membership; the current approximate rate per-head of the membership is understood to be 0.06%, but we shall avoid digressing onto the matter of numbers here.

Now, the Labour Party have had a slogan used on-and-off since the mid-2000’s: For the many, not the few. Those trying to push the narrative of Labour anti-Semitism have made a habit of mangling it into For the many, not the Jew. It is an ugly distortion that frequently appears on placards at Zionist protests against the Labour Party.

Zion with Stewpid

No matter what the kid with the self-righteous expression on his face imagines, this gesture really isn’t clever.

That Zionists genuinely think that this pun sounds clever is beyond doubt; changing a single letter is the height of imagination in some circles. Sadly for them however, it is not clever. It is foolish, as it has an implication to it that reinforces an ugly stereotype about Jews.

The problem with the mangled version is that it encourages a clear separation of ‘Jews’ as a demographic from the majority of people. This in turn propogates the tired old notion that Jews think themselves ‘special’ or even ‘above’ the rest of humanity. This old caricature is often named with pejorative irony The Chosen Race. In reality, the notion of ‘Jewish exceptionalism’ is only really believed by extremist groups such as Israeli Orthodox Jews. But the original version of the slogan, For the many, not the few, fairly explicitly indicates that ‘the many’ are the disadvantaged masses, and that ‘the few’ are the privileged and powerful rich. So by altering it to ‘the Jew’, Zionists are inadvertently casting British Jews, not as victims, but as the nation’s privileged and rich minority whose interests are served by the status quo.

Conclusion of that? By using the mangled version of the slogan, Zionists and Israel-supporters are actually behaving in an anti-Semitic way, while trying to interpret all manner of behaviours by Labour members as anti-Semitic.

Ironic? Certainly. Back-to-front? Completely.

Consistent with the current standard of political debate in the United Kingdom? Entirely.

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by Martin Odoni

Imagine a desperate Palestinian committed a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. For all my support for the Palestinians, there is no sane denial of the fact that it sometimes happens, or of the horrific agonies that it genuinely inflicts. And say that one of the victims of such a bombing happens to be a supporter of the Palestinians. What would be the right thing to say to relatives of such a victim?

Would, “Don’t you think your family had better stop supporting the Palestinians now?” be appropriate? Surely not.

Well, one guy who has shown he would say it without a moment’s pause for thought – or even for dignity – is the rabid Zionist Rabbi Zvi Solomons. The terrible church bombings in Sri Lanka over the Easter weekend took over three hundred and fifty lives, and have left over five hundred injured. A relative of one of those who died is the Labour MP Tulip Siddiq. She revealed her family’s loss on her Twitter account a couple of days ago, and Solomons decided to extend his own, ‘unique’ brand of condolences.

Solomons Twitter attack via Siddiq

Rabbi Zvi Solomons demonstrates that no situation is too sensitive for him to use for cheap point-scoring.

“So sorry to hear this Tulip. Doesn’t your leader support Islamists like this? Are you still supporting him?”

Essentially, Solomons used the events, in traditional absurd-Zionist fashion, as an opportunity to scold Siddiq for being a ‘supporter’ of Jeremy Corbyn. Now, in fact, Siddiq is not really a supporter of Corbyn as such. She was originally one of the MPs who gave Corbyn a nomination to stand for Labour leader back in 2015, but when it came to the ballot itself, she voted for Andy Burnham. But that is not the real point. The real point is Solomons’ incredible mixture of cynical hawkishness and narrow-minded insensitivity.

Going up to someone when they reveal that they have entered a time of mourning, and trying to shame them for supposed associations, is not principle. It is cheap and cruel. It shows lack of human feeling, and betrays Solomons’ only real concern – his desire, shared with Zionists more widely, to see Corbyn isolated within the Labour Party.

Study Solomons’ Twitter feed, and you see a relentless chain of accusations and insinuations against Jeremy Corbyn, all implying in one way or another that he is anti-Semitic. There is little or nothing to support any such allegations, bar the usual deceitful quotemines and distorted half-truths, but they are unending, day-after-day, and give the impression of an almost disturbing obsession. Like most Zionists in Britain, Solomons clearly means Corbyn real harm, and sees isolating him from allies, even ones he does not really have, as a major first step. The corruption in political Zionism is demonstrated by the way it is only ever advanced by smears and bullying.

But the insubstantial nature of Solomons’ remarks is not confined to his misunderstanding of the relations between Siddiq and Corbyn. He fails to see the laughable hypocrisy in his own words, or the insane associative illogic he uses. Partly, it is because the Zionist cries of “racism!” are coming from a man who is himself using racist – or at least religiously sectarian – reasoning. Now all the indicators are that the bombers in Sri Lanka do have Islamist links (Islamic State have claimed responsibility, although with their history of trying to associate themselves with anything going wrong upwards of a national leader catching a cold, it is tempting to disregard their word), but Solomons is plainly using an “All-Muslims-are-the-same” argument.

Corbyn once addressed delegates from Hamas as “My friends”, and Hamas are a Muslim faction. Therefore, Hamas must be Islamists, and Corbyn is literally friends with Hamas, and Hamas are the same as the Sri Lanka bombers, ergo Corbyn is an ally of the Sri Lanka bombers and is personally implicated in the attacks over Easter.

This mixture of silogistic fallacy and telescopic definitions shows where the prejudice really lies. On present information (at the time of writing at least), it is transparent nonsense to try and associate the bombers in Sri Lanka in any way with Corbyn at all, or indeed with Hamas.

Any doubt about the selfish, irrational scaremongering is dissolved by a later remark in the thread; –

“I don’t want Jews to start being killed by Jeremy’s Islamist friends.”

So there you have it. At a time of national mourning among the Christian community of Sri Lanka, Solomons wants to make it all about Jews. Incredible.

Yet again, ‘anti-Semitism’ is shown not to mean a hatred of Jews for being Jews, but to mean the manifestion of anything a Zionist hates.

As a Jew, it is a very saddening and disturbing reality that we all have to treat hearing the term ‘anti-Semitism’ with enormous caution. But in the present climate, we have no alternative, thanks to irresponsible, hate-addled wolf-cryers like Solomons.

by Martin Odoni

Apparently, there will be a fresh round of anti-Semitism allegations against Labour left-wingers at some point over the Easter weekend, via the Sunday Times. The chances of these allegations holding any more water than previous ones seem pretty remote, especially given the Murdoch-ite nature of the source. All signs so far that I have seen are that it is yet another catalogue of examples of Israel being angrily criticised on social media, rather than of Jews being insulted for being Jews. In other words, anti-Zionism is being spun as ‘anti-Semitism’, and Israelis are being spun as ‘every Jew’ yet again. This is a relentless, aggravating, and Orwellian conflation to which the Labour left are largely, and correctly, refusing to give in.

But the right are showing no reluctance to keep pushing the conflation either. So alas it will be seconds out, round umpteen. Do you know what though? I am no longer terribly bothered about it.

The reason why is that the right wing media’s attempts to smear the Labour left are proving more and more ineffective, and that is because they are so painfully predictable. Particularly over the last year or so, the pattern has been so regular you could almost set your watch by it. It is quite mechanical. So mechanical in fact, that it appears to be a carefully-structured program.

So, here is roughly how the pattern would be asserted if written as a computer program in BASIC language; –

10 LET Tory polling => Labour polling

20 INPUT Tories have embarrassing Brexit/Austerity-related meltdown$.

30 LET Labour polling = Labour polling + 3.

40 IF Labour polling > Tory polling THEN GOTO 60

50 IF Labour polling < Tory polling THEN GOTO 10

60 INPUT right wing media foam-at-mouth-hysteria$.

70 LET barely-Jewish organisations = claim to be representative of all British Jews

80 PRINT Barely-Jewish organisation list of accusations against Labour leftists who are supposedly guilty of ‘anti-Semitism’

90 FOR Smear kept at top of headlines = 1 to 5 days

100 IF Smear kept at top of headlines = 5 days GOTO 130

110 NEXT Smear kept at top of headlines

120 IF Labour polling < Tory polling THEN GOTO 140

130 IF Labour polling > Tory polling THEN GOTO 60

140 LET Labour poll surge = faltering

150 LET Hysteria = dying down somewhat.

160 Goto 10

Now, a quick look at recent opinion polls; –

The fact that Labour are presently not just ahead, but now well ahead, in pretty much all the opinion polls for Westminster voting intentions, is evidence that this strategy – really about keeping an uncritically Zionist/pro-Israel policy platform alive in the British Government – is not really working very well anymore . (If it ever was.) It sometimes slows and scuppers Labour’s impetus, but it has never caused Labour to slump. But it also explains why the Sunday Times are timing their latest attack for now.

The predictability of this pattern of behaviour is not only making it all-too-obvious to many people what is really going on, but it is also, frankly, getting thoroughly boring to be made to sit through it over and over, and I truly have serious doubts that many people will pay any attention to more of it. Common sense alone should lead most of the electorate to reason that if anti-Semitic behaviour were really anywhere near so prevalent in Labour as is being made out, there would have been hundreds of arrests by now for hate crimes.

Anyone who does believe the latest chapter will be the sort of person who would never vote Labour in the first place and is just looking out for any excuse to get angry with the party. There is no point in the Labour Party trying to appease people like that, so they should be left to go their own prejudgemental way. Labour should instead just refuse to dignify the latest smears with a response, and focus on what everyone should really be doing – fighting Austerity, and preventing a Conservative version of Brexit.

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 as 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.

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?”