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.

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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

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

Gaza Great Return March

The Israeli Government insists that thousands and thousands of terrorists are storming the Gaza boundary fence. They do remarkably little damage for being so numerous, don’t they?

The latest massacre on the Gaza boundary on Monday was the largest of the year, taking the death-toll among Palestinians during the Great Return March past one hundred. Among the predictable, nauseating attempts to blame the victims, or Hamas, for the atrocity, a lot of equally-predictable pick-up-and-play ‘experts’ on  the Israel/Palestine conflict are coming out of the woodwork in the West. These would-be experts appear only dimly aware of the conflict most of the time, but hear about it in the news frequently enough to think they have a fairly strong grasp of what is what. Most of these people are Zionist/Israel-sympathiser in their leanings.

Part-time Zionists do not have a complete monopoly on inaccuracies in the argument over which side is the aggressor, of course – I have no doubt some of my own knowledge is incorrect. But they definitely have the lion’s share, and when it comes to really glaring mistakes, they are pretty much in a realm of their own. It can be quite breathtaking how they get, not just the finer details, but even the most fundamental facts, completely wrong.

In six days of reading lame, anti-Arab, pro-Israel apologia on social media, I have seen claims that Palestine is a separate country from Israel, that the Palestinians are being shot at because they have ‘invaded’ Israel, that Hamas are behind the protests and are trying to make them turn violent, that the destitution in Gaza is the handiwork of Hamas, and that the Palestinians who have died are being punished for ‘trespassing’.

These are all predictable jumps-to-conclusion that often happen in the aftermath of atrocities abroad committed by people on ‘our’ side. The British media always like to portray Israel as ‘our’ side, and therefore habitually offer vague descriptions of the real history of this conflict, while playing down the violence of Israeli actions. The above myths however are easily debunked even before a detailed examination of the events is carried out; –

Palestine is not a separate ‘country’ from Israel. Palestine is Israel. The land that became Israel in 1948 had, for the previous thirty-one years, been a large part of the British Mandate for Palestine. Before that, it had for centuries been part of the Ottoman Empire. What the land is called is not as important to the Palestinians as simply the reality that the land was theirs and was taken from them without asking and without recompense. The Gaza Strip and several parts of the West Bank are officially governed by devolved Palestinian administrations, but even so, they are not countries in their own right, they are semi-autonomous territories that have been occupied alternately by Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

The Palestinians have not ‘invaded’ Israel, certainly not during the current Great Return March. Nor have they been ‘trespassing’. They have simply gathered near the boundary between Gaza and Israel-proper, and protested, at times slightly violently, at being effectively imprisoned in an enclave. The Israeli Defence Force have responded by stationing snipers on the boundary and having them gun down protesters. Despite claims, with no supporting evidence, that the protesters who were shot were attempting to break through the boundary fence and to attack innocents, the truth is that the vast majority of those to die were hundreds of yards from it. Any claims to the contrary are defeated by the fact that snipers were guarding the fence at all. Why use sniper rifles to defend against opponents at close range? Why not use rubber bullets on targets at close range? Why use technology designed expressly for targeting at a distance? I do not doubt that some protesters did go straight up to the fence, and probably tried to break through it, but “the punishment doth greatly exceed the crime”.

Either way, the Palestinians are not ‘trespassing’, as they are not getting across the boundary. They are staying on their own side of the fence, and therefore are staying inside the zone administered by the Palestinian Authority.

Gaza buffer zone

The red-pink-coloured area is the buffer zone that Israel declared in a territory over which it has no right of control.

The Israeli Government declared a ‘buffer zone’ at the boundary that it insists Palestinians must not enter. But as the buffer zone actually begins at the fence and extends only into Gaza, while leaving Israeli-administered territory untouched, it must be illegal; Israel has no right to impose a buffer/no-go zone on territory it does not directly govern. That is very important for reasons that go far beyond the current protests as well. Gaza, with a population density of over five thousand per square kilometre, is the third most-over-populated territory currently inhabited by Man, and desperately needs to use the land in the buffer zone to make more room for its inhabitants. But it dare not attempt to build houses in the zone as long as the IDF continue taking pot-shots at any Arabs setting foot there.

While Hamas, an extremist Sunni-Wahhabist faction, probably deserves some blame for the current misery of life in Gaza, the above shows that the severe over-population (and eleven-year blockade by the Israeli security forces) plays a much bigger role. Palestinian voices have widely insisted that the protests were not Hamas’ idea at all, and have been carried out independently of the faction’s wishes, and have even extended their criticisms to Hamas themselves. It also needs to be noted that Hamas was only founded in 1987, and the general conditions in Gaza have seldom reached the heights of ‘tolerable’ at any time since the Second World War, so it seems a bit much to have Hamas carry the can alone for it all.

asa palestinian

Palestinians are not the brainwashed pawns that British Zionists like to paint them as.

Perhaps the most glaring myth I have seen spread is a historical one, and it left me gob-smacked when I read it. Someone, whose name I shall kindly keep confidential, claimed on social media that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians began, and led to the Palestinians losing their lands, because, and I quote; –

“Palestine attacked Israel in the Six-Day War.”

Intellectual confidence is often inversely-proportional to historical literacy, and this is one of the most startling examples I have ever seen. Let me itemise the reasons this claim is completely idiotic; –

  1. The conflict actually began in 1948-49. The United Nations drew up a plan to divide the land of the British Mandate between Arab natives and Jewish settlers roughly in proportion to their respective population sizes. The Jewish settlers were happy with the plan, the Arabs were not. Israel was officially founded in 1948, but neighbouring countries, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Syria, invaded and took control of the Arab zone, and used it as a platform from which to attack Israel itself. Israel successfully fought off the invading forces, and in the process seized control of over sixty per cent of the Palestinian zone that had been allocated to the Arabs. The West Bank was brought under Jordanian control, while Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip. This struggle is known as the First Arab-Israeli War, and the Palestinians did not really do any serious attacking at all, in large part because there was no immediate central authority to organise them at that point (bar the Arab Liberation Army, which in any event was more international than Palestinian, and was head-quartered in Syria). Large numbers of Palestinians were displaced from their homes during the conflict and had to flee to neighbouring territories, including Gaza. This initial dispossession is known in Palestinian infamy as the Nakba, roughly translated as the ‘Catastrophe’.
  2. The Six-Day War happened nearly two decades after Israel seized most of Palestine. The Six-Day War was a ‘re-match’ of the First Arab-Israeli War, but did not take place until 1967. Egypt and Israel had been on unhappy terms for many years over access to the Straits of Tiran, which were critical to Israeli shipping.Strait of Tiran
    When Egypt tried to close the Straits, and began a military build-up on Israel’s border in anticipation of a retaliatory attack, the Israeli Air Force launched a series of strikes on Egyptian airfields, wiping out the Egyptian Air Force in a single day, and gaining control of regional airspace. Jordan and Syria mobilised in support of Egypt, but in the days before they could intervene, the Israeli army overran both Gaza and the entire Sinai Peninsular. The Egyptian army was totally defeated, while the Israeli military turned east to defeat the Syrian and Jordanian forces in turn. The whole war lasted less than a week, and the Israeli victories saw them seize control of the West Bank from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria. And with the aforementioned seizure of  Gaza, Israel now had possession of all the land the UN had allocated to the Palestinian Arabs back in 1948. Again, the Palestinians, beyond unsuccessful defensive fighting in Gaza on the orders of the Egyptian Government, played no real role in the war at all, let alone ‘attacked’ Israel. On the contrary, Israel used the attack by Egypt as a pretext for capturing Gaza and the West Bank.
  3. Most Palestinian loss of land tends to happen outside of full-blown wartime. It has been a permanent feature of Israeli policy that any ethnically-Jewish individual on Earth who needs a home and ‘safe space’ against anti-Semitic persecution can automatically receive citizenship in Israel. But Israel was a small land at its birth, and soon ran low on space to keep taking in more refugees from around the world. Therefore, it became a routine process every few years for the Israeli Government in Jerusalem to pass a new law authorising itself to seize the land and property of entire Palestinian communities, award it to Jewish settlers, and then cart the Palestinians off into Gaza or the West Bank. This sort of practice happens semi-frequently,  no matter how the Palestinians behave. The current protest campaign by the Palestinians, the Great Return March, marks the anniversary of Land Day in March 1976, which was a previous protest that ended in bloodshed against precisely such a shameless Israeli land-grab. You see, Palestinians have not lost so much land to Israel because they are being ‘punished’ for violent behaviour (even allowing for the fact that they have often acted violently). It happens because they have land, and Israel needs land. That is it. Occasional bursts of Palestinian militancy are just used by Israel as a justification for the mistreatment, but even when such militancy does not happen, land-seizures continue to happen anyway. Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have little alternative but to use force, as they have few legal rights, and are not allowed to vote in Israeli Elections, but only in the Palestinian Authority Elections, which are fairly useless as long as the boundaries are controlled by Jerusalem. And the Israeli Government will never change that, as the total Palestinian population in Israeli-held territory is roughly the same size as the Jewish population. It is projected to grow faster than the Jewish population too, and so, with suffrage, Arabs would soon be able to outvote Israeli-Jews. Given the original ethnocratic notion behind Zionism of a strictly Jewish nation, that is a prospect that the Israeli right wing in particular dare not contemplate. (It is also one more reason why I argue that Zionism is a failed ideology.)

Israel is not exclusively culpable in the history of this conflict. Much of the blame must go to neighbouring countries, especially Egypt, for fuelling a very paranoid emotional outlook in Israel. But it is time that the real history of modern Israel was properly understood in Britain. The Palestinians are far more sinned-against than sinning. Some atrocities they have committed against ordinary Israeli civilians during the various Intifadas have been terrible. But the Gazans are a people in a permanent condition of imprisonment and destitution, chiefly for reasons of their race. Atrocities they may be, but they are hardly unprovoked.

One more point needs to be made, and that is on the matter of what caused the renewed protest on Monday – the US President deciding to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This was an astonishingly stupid move, even by Donald Trump’s standards, and not just because it was so obvious it would provoke furious protests. It also puts a huge obstacle in the way of the potential for a ‘two-state solution’ to the conflict, which would require Jerusalem to be neutral territory. East Jerusalem was originally meant to be the Palestinian capital city. For a major foreign embassy to Israel to be located in Jerusalem actively prevents that neutrality.

Many Israelis are celebrating Trump’s decision, which says little for their intelligence. They appear to miss the fact that the move leaves only a ‘one-state solution’, which ultimately will have to include full suffrage and legal equality for all Palestinians, if the arrangement is ever to be accepted by the majority of Arabs. Therefore, the demographic issue mentioned in section 3 above will be brought into play. The future existence of a Jewish state, if we must accept the notion that one is truly necessary, is being endangered by the very people its most fanatical supporters are applauding.

Sad? Yes.

Ridiculous? Certainly.

Symptomatic of the modern world? Totally.