Art of Resistance – an interview with Oliver Weindling

March 17, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

Once again elements within Labour and Corbyn’s closest political ring have been caught performing vile authoritarian symptoms trying to interfere with the arts and freedom of expression. In the last two weeks Momentum, Jewdas and Guardian Journalist Owen Jones joined forces in an attempt to intimidate a London jazz club. Not only did they fail, their campaign backfired on a humongous scale. In this video I interview Oliver Weindling, Vortex Club’s director. I asked Oli about his family background and about his take on the recent assault on British artists and elementary freedoms.

I urge you to log in to All About Jazz https://www.allaboutjazz.com/ and give your vote to the Vortex (and also support other British jazz clubs: 606, Ronnies, Pizza Express, The Bear Inn and many others).

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Jewdas vs. Atzmon

March 14, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

exposed.jpg

BY Eve Mykytyn

Jewdas has put forth a call to “shut down Atzmon.” Their facebook headline proclaims that they intend to “stop Nazi apologist Jazz.” I had not realized that music could be ‘Nazi apologist.’ Perhaps Atzmon improvised Wagner’s ‘tunes?’ Why do a group of self proclaimed left wing activists attempt to control the music at a jazz venue? Apparently Jewdas has decreed that Atzmon’s crimes are so heinous that they are entitled to dictate to other Londoners what music they may listen to.

Created in London more than a decade ago, Jewdas describes itself as “radical Jewish voices” who see themselves as at odds with most of Britain’s mainstream Jewish organizations. The group claims to oppose capitalism and racism and is critical of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. Last year, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn was denounced for celebrating passover with Jewdas because, according to the New York Times, Jewdas’s name, [a play on Judas] and antics, “risk stoking age-old myths and hatreds that have led to anti-Semitic violence.”

A visit to Jewdas’ web site is instructive. Jewdas is obsessed with antisemitism. “Antisemitism, like all racism, is poison and must be defeated.” Jewdas claims that the secret to ending antisemitism is for Jewish institutions not to “ally themselves with the rich and their political parties.” It seems that Jewdas differs from the ultra Zionist Committee Against Antisemitism only in tactics.

Watch Jewdas fabricate ‘antisemitic’ quotes:

The version of history put forth by Jewdas is remarkably judeo centric claiming that Jews were what maintained the nobility and are now what protects the wealthy. Mendi Medem writes “[in the past] antisemitism was encouraged in order to direct the public’s attention away from its exploitation, today antisemitism is vilified in order to divert public support away from the best chance for better living than we’ve had in decades.”  To Jewdas, antisemitism is the penultimate discrimination, used first by the nobility to protect themselves from the masses apparently by arranging it so that the peasants would attack the Jews rather than the nobility; and is now used now to  “control the conversation: as long as we (the public, that is) are reading and thinking about antisemitism, we’re not thinking about class oppression.” I guess they pity the poor who somehow don’t know they are poor because they are thinking instead about antisemitism.

Jewdas even addresses its exclusively Jewish membership, without, of course, acknowledging that a biological test for inclusion is, by definition, racist.  Apparently a nonJew can be admitted as an ‘honorary Jew’ if they take the tongue in cheek test to discover if they have a ‘Jewish’ soul. In other words, only Jews are allowed but maybe with the joking inclusion of nonJewish wannabes. This does not seem like left wing, the people vs the capitalists ideology to me, but then I did not pass their test.

So what has Atzmon done to earn Jewdas’ wrath? Atzmon writes that identity politics are anathema to the true left. According to Atzmon, by dividing us into biologically determined identity groups, the new left has diverted the causes that should be those of the left: decent education, housing, jobs and healthcare for all.  It is clear that Atzmon opposes groups like Jewdas who form their membership by race.

Jewdas can’t take on this argument. Are they, self-proclaimed radicals. going to oppose a decent living for all?  Certainly not, although you would be hard pressed to find political arguments for such equality on their site. Instead, Jewdas reverts to the shibboleth of “Nazi apologist.” An earlier version of their facebook page accuse Atzmon of Holocaust skepticism (my wording, not theirs).

Atzmon is neither a Nazi apologist nor a holocaust denier. I’m not familiar with the unidentified work of Atzmon’s in which he apologizes for the Nazis. Perhaps in making such a claim Jewdas itself should identify their source. As for ‘holocaust denier’ Atzmon has simply made the point that the holocaust, like all historical crises (slavery, Armenian genocide, Rwanda, etc. etc.)  should be open to intellectual examination.  In fact, the more we can actually study the holocaust for real the more likely we will be able to avoid repeating its horrors.

Jewdas has somehow tried Atzmon, found him guilty of disproven, unspecified or imaginary crimes, and sentenced Londoners to have to put up with Jewdas protests in order to listen to jazz. Community activist Boaz Ben Hanoch, justifies harassing the music venue, claiming, “The Vortex hails itself as a community venue but by hosting, promoting and giving a platform to Atzmon who mixes his politics with his music, the club is supporting his beliefs.” Hanoch’s statement is first and foremost a statement in opposition to free speech rights, providing a platform does not constitute agreement, but in any case his claim that Atzmon mixes politics with music is simply wrong. I assume Hanoch has not heard Atzmon in concert, the only thing remotely to do with Jewish in his music act is a penchant for bad jokes.

When asked why he doesn’t simply report Atzmon to the police for ‘hate’ speech,  Hanoch claims Atzmon disguises his ‘hate’ speech in a mysterious code.  Hanoch noted: “ Gilad is a master of the art of shrouding a lot of what he says in psychobabble. It’s not easy to pin him down in those kinds of contexts.” Perhaps Hanoch’s problem stems not from an inability to pin Atzmon down, but rather from Hanoch’s failure to read or understand Atzmon’s work.

My battle for truth and freedom involves  some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

Denote

Why is Corbyn so Important?

March 10, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

pacified corbyn.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

For the same reasons that President Trump has been a significant political development.

These two post-political characters bring to the surface what has been suppressed for decades: we are subject to foreign occupation. We the people, are reduced to mere consumers and our so-called ‘elected politicians’ are a bunch of detached, compromised actors.

Trump was elected to make ‘America great again.’ Throughout his election campaign Trump was accused by Jewish media of spreading  ‘dog whistling anti-Semitic tropes’  in order to appeal to White nationalists who indeed responded to their new master. They made Trump president only to discover that their beloved country isn’t that great and is not going to reinstate its greatness any time soon. However, Trump and his administration have been working relentlessly to make Israel great again.

https://youtu.be/YkDmKIKX_bs

Trump has succeeded in illuminating the hopeless state of the democratic adventure. Trump has exposed the vast depth of the political crisis that splits America apart; the battle between the ‘Identitarians’ and the rest. America’s battles could deteriorate into a civil war at any time. Trump is not the cause of this demographic, geographic, cultural and spiritual clash. He just galvanized the symptoms of that clash.

Similarly, Corbyn acts as a catalyst to awaken a new consciousness. Through Corbyn we learn to perceive how grim our situation is and how truly impotent the contemporary Left and the Labour party are.  Corbyn’s struggles allow us to see that the Labour party is an occupied zone. Corbyn’s helplessness has revealed that the best radical candidate the British Left has produced in decades is, tragically, very weak and can’t hold his ground on any issue from Israel/Palestine to Brexit and beyond.

Since Corbyn was chosen to lead the Labour party this old political institution has revealed its true tyrannical nature, engaged in a constant purge of the best of its members. Any criticism of Israel or its intrusive Lobby leads to immediate suspension and even expulsion. Since Corbyn was elected to save us from the Tories, the Labour party has adopted an Orwellian Big Brother attitude. The party has been spying on its members and digs into their social media accounts, even evicting members for comments they made years before they joined the party.

Indeed, Corbyn has helped us see the dark machinations at the core of his party, and  the way in which it is  puppeteered  by Tel Aviv and its local British stooges.

Most devastating is that through Corbyn it has been revealed that the Left has most likely finished its historical political role. Corbyn promised to ‘care for the many not the few,’ a pledge that initially sounded promising but has been largely contradicted by the reality on the ground. The Labour party and its leader ignore the many as they follow the orders of the very few. The British working class aren’t impressed by the closest ally they have ever had at the helm of the Labour Party.  It is through Corbyn and his to date colossal failure that we understand that a fresh form of opposition is crucial for our survival as ethical and dignified people.

My battle for truth and freedom involves  some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

Denate

Labour’s Fight Over israel (apartheid state) Long Time in Coming

Labour’s Fight Over Israel Long Time in Coming

The party is being dragged into the modern world by Corbyn’s anti-racist leadership towards Palestinians, writes Jonathan Cook.

By JonathanCook
Jonathan-Cook.net

An announcement this week by the Jewish Labour Movement that it is considering splitting from the British Labour Party could not have come at a worse moment for Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour leader is already besieged by claims that he is presiding over a party that has become “institutionally anti-Semitic.”

The threats by the JLM should be seen as part of concerted efforts to oust Corbyn from the leadership. They follow on the heels of a decision by a handful of Labour MPs last month to set up a new faction called the Independent Group. They, too, cited anti-Semitismas a major reason for leaving.

On the defensive, Corbyn was prompted to write to the JLM expressing his and the shadow cabinet’s “very strong desire for you to remain a part of our movement”. More than 100 Labour MPs, including members of the front bench, similarly pleaded with the JLM not to disaffiliate. They apologized for “toxic racism” in the party and for “letting our Jewish supporters and members down.”

Corbyn: Under siege. (David Holt via Flickr)

Corbyn: On defense.  (David Holt via Flickr)

Their letter noted that the JLM is “the legitimate and long-standing representative of Jews in the Labour party” and added that the MPs recognized the importance of “calling out those who seek to make solidarity with our Jewish comrades a test of foreign policy.”

That appeared to be a swipe at Corbyn himself, who is the first leader of a British political party to prioritize Palestinian rights over the U.K.’s ties to an Israeli state that has been oppressing Palestinians for decades.

Just this week the Labour leader renewed his call for Britain to halt arms sales to Israel following a UN report that said the Israeli army’s shooting of Palestinian protesters in Gaza’s Great March of Return could amount to war crimes.

Evidence Ignored

Despite the media attention, all the evidence suggests that Labour does not have a problem of “institutional anti-Semitism,” or even a problem of anti-Semitism above the marginal racism towards Jews found in the wider British population. Figures show only 0.08 percent of Labour members have been disciplined for anti-Semitism.

Also largely ignored by the British media, and Corbyn’s opponents, is the fact that a growing number of Jews are publicly coming out in support for him and discounting the claims of an “endemic” anti-Semitismproblem.

Some 200 prominent Jews signed a letter to The Guardian newspaper calling Corbyn “a crucial ally in the fight against bigotry and reaction. His lifetime record of campaigning for equality and human rights, including consistent support for initiatives against antisemitism, is formidable.”

At the same time, a new organization, Jewish Voice for Labour, has been established to underscore that there are progressive Jews who welcome Corbyn’s leadership.

In the current hysterical climate, however, no one seems interested in the evidence or these dissenting voices. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that Corbyn and his supporters are on the back foot as they face losing from Labour an affiliate group of 2,000 members who represent a section of the UK’s Jewish community.

But paradoxically, the loss of the JLM may be inevitable if Labour is serious about becoming a party that opposes racism in all its forms, because the JLM has proved it is incapable of meeting that simple standard.

While the Labour Party has been dragged into an increasingly fractious debate about whether anti-Zionism – opposition to Israel as a Jewish state – equates to anti-Semitism, everyone has been distracted from the elephant in the room. In fact, it is political Zionism, at least in the hardline form adopted by groups such as the JLM, that is racism — towards Palestinians.

Zionism, we should recall, required the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians to engineer a “Jewish state” on the ruins of Palestinians’ homeland. It fueled Israel’s hunger for an enlarged territory that led to it occupying the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and further dispossessing the Palestinians through illegal settlement building.

David Ben-Gurion publicly pronouncing the Declaration of the State of Israel, May 14 1948, Tel Aviv, Israel. (Wikimedia) ;

David Ben-Gurion publicly pronouncing the Declaration of the State of Israel, May 14 1948, Tel Aviv. (Wikimedia)

Zionism has made it impossible for any Israeli government to offer meaningful concessions to Palestinians on statehood to create the conditions necessary for peace. It has justified policies that view “mixing between the races” – between Jews and Palestinians – as dangerous “miscegenation” and “assimilation.”

Furthermore, Zionism has kept Israel’s Palestinian citizens a segregated minority, hemmed up in their own ghettoized communities, denied rights to almost all land in Israel, and corralled into their own separate and massively inferior school system.

Efforts to Oust Corbyn

All of these policies were instituted by Israel’s Labor Party, the sister organization of the JLM in Britain. The JLM not only refuses to oppose these policies, but effectively shields Israel from criticism about them from within Britain’s Labour Party.

The JLM has remained mute on the structural violence of Israel’s occupying army, and the systematic racism – encoded in Israel’s laws – towards the fifth of its population who are Palestinian citizens.

Meanwhile, the JLM’s mother body, the World Zionist Organization, has a division that – to this day – finances the establishment and expansion of settlements in the West Bank, in violation of international law.

Added to this, an Al Jazeera undercover documentary broadcast in 2017 showed that the JLM was covertly working with an Israeli government official, Shai Masot, to damage Corbyn because of his pro-Palestinian positions.

 

Israel, remember, has for the last decade equated to the ultra-nationalist government of Benjamin Netanyahu. His coalition allies seek not a two-state solution, but the takeover of most of the occupied territories and ultimately their annexation, again in violation of international law.

Ella Rose was appointed director of the JLM in 2016, straight from a post at the Israeli embassy.

Relic of Old Politics

Times – and politics – move on. The JLM is a relic of a period when it was possible to claim to be anti-racist while turning a blind eye to the oppression of the Palestinian people. Social media and Palestinians armed with camera phones – not just Corbyn – have made that evasion no longer possible.

Labour giving pride of place to groups such as the JLM or Labour Friends of Israel – to which 80 of its MPs proudly belong – is, in the current circumstances, as obscene as it would have been 40 years ago for British parties to host their own Friends of South Africa groups.

The Labour Party bureaucracy is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the modern world by its members, who have felt liberated by Corbyn’s leadership and his history of supporting all kinds of anti-racism struggles, including the Palestinian one.

While Britain has major and pressing issues to tackle, from dealing with its exit from Europe to imminent climate collapse, Labour’s energies have been sidetracked into a civil war about Israel, of all things.

The old guard want to be allowed to support Israel, even as it heads towards full-blown fascism, while much of the membership want to dissociate from what looks increasingly like another apartheid state – and one whose leaders are seeking to stoke conflict across a volatile region.

Redefining anti-Semitism

Israel’s most ardent supporters, and Corbyn’s enemies, in Labour will play dirty to protect Israel and their own role from scrutiny, as they have been doing all along.

The JLM led moves last year intended to divide the party by insisting that Labour redefine anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel.

Rumblings of dissatisfaction from the JLM will be cited as further evidence of the membership’s anti-Semitism, because that is the most powerful weapon they have to silence criticism of Israel and deflect attention away from their role in shielding Israel from proper scrutiny within Labour.

Politics is about choices and values. Labour has for many decades sided exclusively with Israel and ignored the rights of Palestinians.

In 1944 – four years before Israel’s creation – Labour’s annual conference recommended that the natives of Palestine, a large majority population, be ethnically cleansed to advance the goals of European Zionists colonizing their land. The resolution declared: “Let the Arabs be encouraged to move out, as the Jews move in.”

Jaramana Refugee Camp in Damascus, Syria, established after Nakba, 1948. (Wikimedia)

Jaramana Refugee Camp in Damascus, Syria, established after Nakba, 1948. (Wikimedia)

That is exactly what Israel did by expelling 750,000 Palestinians, more than 80 percent of the Palestinian population, in events we now call the Nakba (Catastrophe).

For decades after Israel’s creation, Labour Party members happily travelled to Israel to toil in agricultural communes, such as the kibbutz, that were built on stolen Palestinian land and which, to this day, refuse to allow any of the country’s 1.7 million Palestinian citizens to live in them.

In a speech in 1972, after Israel seized yet more Palestinian lands, including East Jerusalem, Labour leader Harold Wilson urged Israel to hold on to these conquered territories: “Israel’s reaction is natural and proper in refusing to accept the Palestinians as a nation.”

This is the dark, dishonorable underbelly of Labour racism, and the party’s decades-long support for colonialism in the Middle East.

Labour created a hierarchy of racisms, in which concern about hatred towards Jews enjoyed star billing while racism towards some other groups, most especially Palestinians, barely registered.

Under Corbyn and a much-expanded membership, these prejudices are being challenged in public for the first time – and that is justifiably making the party an “unsafe” space for groups such as the JLM and Labour Friends of Israel, which hang on to outdated, hardline Zionist positions.

The JLM’s claim to speak for all Jews in Labour has been challenged by anti-racist Jews like those of the Jewish Voice for Labour. Their efforts to defend Corbyn and Labour’s record have been widely ignored by the media or, encouraged by JLM, dismissed as “downplaying” anti-Semitism.

The JLM’s discomfort may be unfortunate, but it cannot be avoided. It is the price to be paid for the continuing battle by progressives to advance universal rights and defeat racism. This battle has been waged since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was published in 1948 – paradoxically, the year Israel was established by violating the core principles of that declaration.

Israel’s racism towards Palestinians has been indulged by Labour for too long. Now history is catching up with Israel, and with groups such as the JLM.

Labour MPs have a choice. They can stand on the wrong side of history or they can recognize that it is time to fully enter the modern era – and that means embracing a program of anti-racism that encompasses everyone, including Jews and Palestinians.

Jonathan Cook is a freelance journalist based in Nazareth. He blogs at https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/.

israel (apartheid state) lobby funders back breakaway British MPs

Israel lobby funders back breakaway British MPs

Asa Winstanley – The Electronic Intafada Feb 27, 2019

A multi-millionaire pro-Israel lobbyist is funding the UK Parliament’s new Independent Group, it was revealed this week.

Others are likely to follow.

David Garrard told newspapers he had already donated to the MPs who broke away from the opposition Labour Party and the ruling Conservative Party.

The Independent Group is expected to eventually register as a party.

Garrard has for many years been a major financial backer of Labour Friends of Israel, a front group for the Israeli embassy, and was recently appointed to its board.

Prior to left-wing Palestine solidarity activist Jeremy Corbyn becoming party leader in 2015, Garrard donated almost $2 million to Labour under former leaders Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband.

Garrard was so dismayed after Corbyn’s leadership election in September 2015, that he called in a loan of more than $2.5 million he had made to the party.

Despite this, Labour was last year reported to be Britain’s richest party, thanks to a massive influx of members enthused by Corbyn’s popular, moderately socialist agenda.

Despite leaving the party, Garrard has continued to fund individual anti-Corbyn MPs within Labour.

The Independent Group was formed last week by eight Labour MPs who quit the party, while alleging that Labour is now “institutionally anti-Semitic.”

While they were still in Labour, Garrard funded two of these eight.

Campaigning against Corbyn

The “moderate” faction was soon joined by three defecting Conservatives who agree with the group’s anti-Brexit stance.

Ian Austin, another anti-Corbyn MP, also quit Labour last week. But he has not formally joined the Independent Group, as he disagrees with its views on Brexit.

Garrard has also donated almost $28,000 since May 2016 to Austin – a leading supporter of Labour Friends of Israel.

As Austin explained to Sky News, “I’ve been campaigning against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership for years.”

The majority of the Independent Group remain part of Labour Friends of Israel – despite no longer being members of the Labour Party.

Labour Friends of Israel’s chair Joan Ryan resigned from Labour a week ago citing Corbyn’s “hatred for Israel” and alleged failure to combat anti-Semitism.

Along with Ryan, the Independent Group MPs still listed as supporters of Labour Friends of Israel are: Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith and Chuka Umunna.

Before she first entered Parliament in 2010, Berger for years worked as the director of Labour Friends of Israel.

Millionaire funding

The official register of donations to members of Parliament shows that in 2016 and 2017, Garrard donated almost $9,000 to Ryan and more than $50,000 to Chuka Umunna and his office.

Umunna is currently being touted as a possible new leader of the Independent Group.

The latest register shows Garrard has also donated almost $20,000 to deputy Labour Party leader Tom Watson – who has long opposed Corbyn.

Garrard, a property tycoon, told The Sunday Telegraph and The Observer this weekend that he had “already done so” when asked if he would financially back the new Independent Group.

Labour has “been hijacked by an ultra-left cabal” who want to “turn our nation into a socialist republic,” he claimed. He also repeated the right-wing smears about alleged anti-Semitism that have dogged Labour for nearly four years.

Another millionaire former Labour donor signaled his intention to switch his financial backing to the new group this weekend.

Michael Foster, who was suspended from Labour in 2016 for abusing Corbyn and his team as Nazis, told The Sunday Telegraph of the new group that he “would support them in any way that I could.”

Other Israel lobby funders seem likely to follow Garrard.

The Sunday Times this weekend named Trevor Chinn and Jonathan Goldstein as two other “potential donors” to the group – although it cited no evidence.

Chinn is one of the leaders of BICOM and Goldstein is chair of the Jewish Leadership Council – both are British pro-Israel lobby groups.

Chinn donated more than $6,000 to Labour Friends of Israel’s chair Joan Ryan in 2017.

He donated a similar amount to deputy Labour leader Tom Watson in 2018.

Although the Independent Group has signaled its ultimate intention to set up a new political party, it is not yet registered as one.

Even though most voters in practice vote for a party rather than individual MPs, there is no requirement that lawmakers who quit their party resign their seats in Parliament and stand in a by-election.

Historically, however, some MPs who left their parties have chosen to resign.

But the Independent Group’s MPs have rejected calls that they resign and seek re-election, with one ironically justifying this refusal to face a democratic vote because it would supposedly “crush the birth of democracy.”

David Garrard

Garrard quit Labour in April 2018.

More than a decade ago, he was embroiled in the cash for peerages” scandal during the government of Tony Blair.

Garrard was one of four controversial names nominated by Blair to be “life peers” in the House of Lords, the UK’s unelected upper chamber.

The four were rejected, and it was later revealed they had previously loaned millions to the Labour Party, raising the question of whether they had effectively paid for the nominations.

Garrard denied any wrongdoing. Although Blair was questioned three times by police, and two of his aides were arrested, no one was ever charged with a crime.

Israeli embassy front group

These revelations about Israel lobby funding for the new group come soon after speculation by some in Labour of Israeli involvement in the splinter group.

Ruth George, a Labour MP, was forced to apologize after reports on a Facebook comment thread in which she had stated that “support from the state of Israel” for the new group “is possible” and that she “would not condemn those who suggest it, especially when the group’s financial backers are not being revealed.”

In 2017, an undercover investigation by Al Jazeera revealed that Labour Friends of Israel is effectively a front for the Israeli embassy.

One of the group’s staff privately admitted that, although “publicly we just try to keep the LFI as a separate identity to the embassy,” they work “really closely together.”

Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan would speak to Israeli embassy agent Shai Masot “most days,” he said.

The documentary also revealed that the Israeli embassy was trying to engineer the creation of a “Young Labour Friends of Israel” grouping within the UK’s main opposition party, to counteract strong grassroots support for Palestinian rights.

Shai Masot was expelled from the UK after the scandal broke in 2017.

More recently, Israel has used its Act.IL app to stoke opposition to Corbyn, accusing him of anti-Semitism and falsely claiming he had compared Israel to Nazi Germany.

Meanwhile, Joan Ryan remains Labour Friends of Israel’s chair despite quitting the Labour party.

 

 

Source

Unfounded allegations of anti-Semitism cover up israeli apartheid

Unfounded allegations of anti-Semitism cover up Israeli apartheid

Luciana Berger during a press conference where she announced her resignation along with a group of six other Labour MPs. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

In the small, American Jewish community where I grew up, I never heard criticisms of Israel, or experienced anti-Semitism. And yet I was frequently reminded by my Hebrew and Sunday school teachers of the anti-Semitic hatred that Jews had endured throughout the ages, and especially during the holocaust. My grandmother explained, sometimes tearfully, how her family had lost touch with cousins, aunts and uncles in the “old country” during the Second World War, never to hear from them again

But the narrative did not end there. Israel, I was told, was the only country that Jews could truly regard as safe. Indeed, Jews had a “birth-right” to return to the “Land of Israel”. Based on vague, biblical justifications I was told that we were the “chosen people”.

As a teenager, I found the claim of Israel to be the Jewish ancestral homeland very strange and unconvincing, particularly as my parents had been active in the anti-racist civil rights movement. This feeling was strengthened after I traveled to Israel-Palestine in the mid-1980s. On the eve of what became known as the first Palestinian uprising against settler-colonial domination, I observed widespread fear and blatant discrimination directed against those who were not Jewish, while I simultaneously experienced the touching hospitality of Palestinians. Later, as a young lawyer, working in apartheid South Africa in the early 1990s I again observed widespread fear and discrimination, directed against those who were not white, which reminded me of what I had experienced in Israel-Palestine.

After this last experience, I found the Zionist claim to justifiably dominate another people on the basis of Jewish suffering to echo the claim by white Nationalists in South Africa, who justified racial apartheid in South Africa on the basis of Afrikaaner suffering.

Accompanying the Zionist narrative, a further pro-Israel claim emerged in the late 1990s; referred to as the “new anti-Semitism”, it was argued that criticisms of Israel were a new form of expressing hatred against the Jews. This claim persists, maintained by an assortment of lawfare organisations and Israel-lobby groups, even though it is now strongly questioned by many Jews, including the Israeli film-maker Yoav Shamir who produced an award-winning documentary on this topic.

As I will discuss in this article, which complements another recent article in Mondoweiss by Jonathan Cook, both claims are not only appallingly hypocritical; they also serve as a shameless defence of Israeli apartheid.

Conflating criticisms of Israel with anti-Semitism

The claim that criticisms of Israel amount to anti-Semitism is not new, but as Cook also observed, this most recently makes reference to a so-called “Working Definition of Antisemitism”. Drafted in 2016, this definition emanates from a group called the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), including vague and far-reaching conflations between criticisms of Israel and references to the holocaust.

The IHRA definition has emboldened Zionist organizations like Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Chronicle to equate criticisms of Israel as explicitly “Jew hate”. These groups have gone to such lengths as to smear Hajo Meyer, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, after he spoke at a Labour party rally where he made comparisons between the Nazi regime – that he had witnessed first-hand – and his observations of Israeli policies.

Two recent incidents clearly highlight the danger of equating criticisms of Israel with hatred of Jews.

The departure of Labour party members

The first incident is the departure by members of the UK Labour party, led by Luciana Berger, amidst allegations that the party has somehow become “institutionally anti-Semitic”. This claim is almost exclusively related to the party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s well-aimed criticisms of the Israeli government and military.

Astonishingly, it has hardly been mentioned in any article that the seven Labour Party members who have decided to leave are all closely tied with Labour Friends of Israel, an avowedly pro-Israel organisation. Berger is its former director.

Finkielkraut and the yellow vests

The second incident is more complicated, concerning alleged ‘anti-Semitic abuse’ levied by ‘some’ members of the gilet jaunes (yellow vests) movement in France against the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut. While the majority of newspapers reported that Finkielkraut was derided as a “Dirty Zionist”, the Jerusalem Post decided to report that he had in fact been called a “Dirty Jew”.

French president Emmanuel Macron has never wavered in condemning the yellow vests as anti-Semitic. Setting aside the political convenience for Macron of explicitly siding against the yellow vest movement, the claims of anti-Semitism and the unprofessional reporting of the Finkielkraut incident are striking.

First of all, the seamless way in which reporters of the Jerusalem Post equated hatred for a “Zionist” as hatred for “Jews” went largely unnoticed. This is not to deny that criticism of Israel or its supporters can potentially be anti-Semitic as well, but for the Post reporters to misappropriate language in this way was both unprofessional and highly inflammatory.

Another striking aspect has been the absence of references, both in Israeli and in international media sources, to Finkielkraut’s frequently-expressed, bigoted views. This is highly relevant since Finkielkraut had – after for some time supporting the yellow vest movement for economic justice – all of a sudden decided to denounce it. Finkielkraut’s expressions of bigotry are very consistent with his record of posturing and highly-selective views of who matters and who doesn’t.

Hardly any reporters have noted the French philosopher’s positions as being simultaneously pro-Israel and Islamophobic. Speaking of the “problem of Islam”, Finkielkraut has argued that, due to an increase in Muslim immigrants, France has been “disintegrating in front of our eyes”. In the same interview, he claimed that “what holds us all together as Jews” is common to all political persuasions: “the secular, the religious, the Peace Now crowd, the Greater Land of Israel crowd”.

In addition to his Islamophobia and passionate support of Israel, Finkielkraut is overtly racist. In 2005, there were nationwide protests in poor, mainly-immigrant neighbourhoods of Paris. Finkielkraut, in an interview with the Israeli paper Ha’aretz, dismissed the legitimacy of the protests as being anti-France. He expressed his derision at the national soccer team of France for being “black-black-black”. He even claimed to be “colour blind”, yet argued colonialism had brought “civilization to the savages”.

Clearly there is a problem of anti-Semitism in Europe. One need look no further than the desecration of Jewish graves with swastikas.  However, why do politicians all of a sudden care so much about anti-Semitism? Could it be that the true aim of vacuous, yet highly damaging allegations of anti-Semitism is to avoid a critical dialogue on Israel’s policies of apartheid against Palestinians?

The many forms of apartheid Israel

While there is still widespread ignorance among most people in the West, as most readers of Mondoweiss will know by now, apartheid in Israel takes many forms. One more obvious form it takes is in the overt racism enshrined in Israel’s 2018 “Nation-State law” that discontinued Arabic as an official language and that is now being challenged in Court. Another obvious form is Israel’s continued blockade and frequent bombing of the trapped residents of Gaza (since 2005). That treatment is currently the subject of a preliminary examination by the International Criminal Court and has also been investigated by the United Nations, which has called for criminal investigations into the killings of protestors at the Gaza border beginning last March.

As explained by human rights organisations such as Al-Haq and Palestinian Center for Human Rights, further argued by international law scholars John Dugard and John Reynolds and elaborated in a UN report, apartheid also takes the form of literally hundreds of insidious Israeli military orders. This includes Order 101 that has been specifically condemned by Amnesty International as making it impossible for Palestinians to legally protest. Israeli regulations make it virtually impossible for Palestinians to build a home. This is due to the fact that Israel’s land and zoning regulations are, according to Israel’s Basic Law, oriented around “preserving” the land for Israel’s Jewish inhabitants.

But the most insidious manifestations of Israeli apartheid are the decades-long, everyday experiences of Palestinians. Farmers have to stand in long lines to reach their sheep in the agricultural village of Qalandia (that is surrounded by a high, concrete wall). Schoolchildren in Hebron cannot walk to school without being stopped daily by soldiers at a military checkpoint to check the contents of their schoolbags. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has heard numerous cases of official abuse against Palestinian women, including a seven-month pregnant woman assaulted at a checkpoint.

So again, why are these widely-reported examples of Israeli apartheid being ignored?

Strange alliances

One plausible explanation for why Israeli apartheid is being ignored is due to numerous strange alliances that have been forming between Israel and an assortment of hate groups worldwide (who have no problem with apartheid).

Israel’s strange alliances have matched the rise of progressive Jewish organisations based on principles of equality and dignity, such as Jewish Voice for Peace, which amplify a growing trend of Jewish communities worldwide who are speaking out against Israel.

Faced with withering support among Jewish communities, Israel and its supporters have sought out alliances with groups traditionally professing anti-Semitic views, a pattern that is, indeed, consistent with Finkielkraut’s own Islamophobic and racist views.

Oddly paralleling the emergence of the “new anti-Semitism” mantra, Israel has found support among an assortment of far-right, anti-immigration, Islamophobic organisations throughout Europe. These include the Party of Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, an ethno-nationalist party founded by its Islamophobic leader, Geert Wilders, which has declared its unconditional support for Israel. The membership of the Front National in France have long cultivated anti-Semitic views, but the party has re-branded itself as a supporter of Israel under the leadership of Marine Le Pen (the daughter of Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen).

Support for Israel as a Jewish State also comes from millions of Christian evangelicals worldwide, who promote a narrative of rapture in the holy land. The rapture narrative represents a profound hatred of Jews, and it is proselytised by politically well-connected pastors such as Robert Jefress, who claim that Jews are “going to hell” along with other non-born-again Christians. Support from Christian evangelical groups is particularly important for Israel in countries such as the Netherlands where evangelism is the fastest growing religious group.

Meanwhile, Israel has been busy courting Hungary and other East-European nations. This is particularly astonishing. How can it be that a country, ostensibly dedicated to the interests of Jews, aligns itself with the likes of Hungarian President Victor Orban, who has not only referred to refugees as “Muslim invaders”, but has also routinely uttered anti-Semitic slogans against George Soros for political gain?

And finally, there are ostensibly-liberal groups with respectable-sounding names, such as Labour Friends of Israel in the UK, Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) in the Netherlands, IHRA and others. These groups are all the more insidious because of their claim to liberal values and their professed support for a two-state solution. Like many liberal groups in Israel, they maintain strict silence on Israel’s apartheid regime.

At the heart of these groups’ complicity of silence — whether that entails maintaining a racist assumption that Jews are more deserving of the land of Israel than its indigenous inhabitants or in assuming the need for an alliance between Israel and Christian evangelicals, not to mention echoing the views of right-wing ethno-nationalist groups and other racist regimes — is maintaining support for a country that is unabashedly committed to apartheid.

The shameless political opportunism of Berger, Macron and of the Israeli government must be exposed. By preventing a critical dialogue on apartheid in Israel and falsely equating criticisms of Israel with anti-Semitism, Israel and its supporters – including Labour Friends of Israel – are not addressing anti-Semitism. They are actively fueling it.

Just like those who turned a blind eye for decades to apartheid in South Africa, the efforts of IHRA, Labour Friends of Israel, CIDI and other groups in Europe to cover-up, rather than condemn Israeli apartheid will place them all on the wrong side of history.

Miko Peled: The State of israel (apartheid state) Will Crumble and We Will See A Free Democratic Palestine from the River to the Sea Sooner than Most People Think

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Miko Peled Author 6d98a

Miko Peled, an Israeli general’s son and himself a former Israeli soldier, is nowadays a noted peace activist and a tireless worker for justice in the Holy Land. He is considered to be one of the clearest voices calling for support of BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) against the Zionist regime and for the creation of a single democracy with equal rights on all of historic Palestine.

He will be at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool on 23-26 September. I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview him beforehand. In a week that marks the 70th anniversary of the assassination of Folke Bernadotte and the 36th anniversary of the genocidal massacre at Sabra and Shatila refugee camp, atrocities committed in pursuit of Zionist ambition, what Miko says may give those who take dictation from the Israel lobby cause to reflect.

Stuart Littlewood:  Miko, you were raised in a Zionist family on a Zionist diet. What happened to cause you to break out from there?

Miko Peled:  As the title of my memoir The General’s Son suggests, I was born to a father who was a general in the IDF and then, as the sub-title points out, I embarked on a “Journey of an Israeli in Palestine”. The journey defined for me, and through me will hopefully define for the reader, what is “Israel” and what is “Palestine”. It is a journey from the sphere of the privileged oppressor and occupier (Israel) to that of the oppressed (Palestine) and the people who are native to Palestine. I discovered that it is, in fact, the same country, that Israel is Palestine occupied. But without the journey, I would not have figured that out. This for me was the key. It allowed me to see the injustice, the deprivation, the lack of water and rights and so on. The further I allowed, and continue to allow myself to venture into this journey the more I was able to see what Zionism really is, what Israel is, and who I am within that.

Many months ago you warned that Israel was going to “pull all the stops, they are going to smear, they are going to try anything they can to stop Corbyn”, and the reason anti-Semitism is used is that they have no other argument. This has come true with Jeremy Corbyn under vicious, sustained attack even from former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks. How should Corbyn deal with it and what counter-measures would you suggest he takes?

Jeremy Corbyn made it clear during last year’s Labour conference that he will not allow the anti-Semitic accusations to interfere with his work as leader of the Labour Party and as a man dedicated to creating a just society in the UK and a just world. In that speech, he said something that no Western leader would dare to say: “We must end the oppression of the Palestinian people.” He has been right on the money the whole time and his support is growing. I believe he is doing the right thing. I expect he will continue to do so.

And what do you make of Sacks’ outburst?

Not surprising that a racist who supports Israel would come out like this – he represents no one.

The Labour Party’s ruling body, the NEC, has adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism lock, stock, and barrel despite warnings from legal experts and a recommendation to include caveats by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee. This decision is seen as caving in to outside pressure and obviously impacts on free speech which is enshrined in British law and guaranteed by international convention. How will it affect Labour’s credibility?

Accepting the IHRA definition was a mistake and I am sure they will live to feel the sting of shame this has placed on those who voted to adopt it. There are at least two notices out already by the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, which makes up at least 25% to 30% of UK Jews, that they reject the notion that JC is anti-Semitic, they reject Zionism and they reject the IHRA definition.

Turning to the Occupation, you have said that Israel achieved its aim to make the conquest of the West Bank irreversible 25 years ago. Why do you think the Western Powers still cling to the idea of a Two State Solution?  How do you expect the situation to play out?

The US, and particularly the current administration, accepts that Israel has swallowed all of Mandatory Palestine and there is no room for non-Jews in that country. They make no claims otherwise. The Europeans are in a different situation. The politicians in Europe want to appease Israel and accept it as it is. Their constituents, however, demand justice for the Palestinians so, as an act of cowardly compromise, the EU countries in true post-colonial fashion treat the Palestinian Authority as though it was a Palestinian state. That is why, I believe, the Europeans are going ahead and “recognizing” the so-called State of Palestine, even though there is no such state. They do it in order to appease their constituents without actually doing anything to further the cause of justice in Palestine. These recognitions have helped not one Palestinian, they have not freed a single prisoner from an Israeli prison, they have not saved a single child from bombings in Gaza, they have not alleviated the suffering and deprivation of Palestinians in the Naqab desert or in the refugee camps. It is an empty, cowardly gesture.

What the Europeans ought to do is adopt BDS. They should recognize that Palestine is occupied, that Palestinians are living under an apartheid regime in their own land, they are victims of ethnic cleansing and genocide and that this must stop, and the Zionist occupation must end completely and without conditions.

I believe the State of Israel will crumble and that we will see a free democratic Palestine from the River to the Sea sooner than most people think. The current reality is unsustainable, two million people in Gaza are not going away, Israel has just announced – again – that two million of its non-Jewish citizens are not welcome to be part of that state, and BDS is hard at work.

The IDF calls itself the most moral army in the world. You served in the IDF. How credible is its claim?

It is a lie. There is no such thing as a moral army and the IDF has been engaged in ethnic cleansing, genocide and enforcing an apartheid regime for seven decades. In fact the IDF is one of the best equipped, best trained, best financed and best fed terrorist forces in the world. Even though they have generals and nice uniforms and the most advanced weapons, they are no more than armed gangs of thugs and its main purpose is to terrorize and kill Palestinians. Its officers and soldiers execute with enthusiasm the policies of brutality and ruthlessness which are cruelly inflicted on Palestinians’ everyday life.

Breaking the Silence is an organization of IDF veterans committed to exposing the truth about a foreign military trying to control an oppressed civilian population under illegal occupation. They say their aim is to eventually end the occupation. How do you rate their chances of success?

They and other NGOs like them could make a huge difference. Unfortunately, they do not go far enough, they do not call on young Israelis to refuse to serve in the IDF, and they do not reject Zionism. Without these two elements, I feel their work is superficial and will make little difference.

Israelis often accuse the Palestinian education system of turning out future terrorists. How does Israel’s education compare?

The Palestinian education system goes through a thorough vetting process so all claims of it teaching hate are baseless. Israel, however, does a fine job in teaching Palestinians that they are occupied and oppressed and have no choice but to resist. They do it using the military, the secret police, the apartheid bureaucracy, the countless permits and prohibitions and restrictions on their lives.

The Israeli courts teach Palestinians that there is no justice for them under the Israeli system and that they are counted as nothing. I have not met Palestinians who express hate, but if some do it is because of the education that Israel is providing, not because of any Palestinian textbook.

Israelis go through a thorough racist education that is well documented in a book by my sister, Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, titled Palestine in Israeli Textbooks.

Christian communities in the Holy Land have been dwindling fast. The Israelis claim the Muslims are pushing them out but Christians say it’s the cruelty of the occupation that has caused so many to leave. What is your take on this? Are the Israelis trying to drive a wedge between Christians and Muslims? Is there a religious war going on to drive the Christians out?

Christians used to make up 12% of the population in Palestine, now they are barely 2%. There is no one to blame for this other than Israel. Israel destroyed Palestinian Christian communities and churches just like they destroyed Muslims. To Israel, Arabs are Arabs and they have no place in the Land of Israel. I strongly recommend the late Bob Simon’s excellent report on CBS 60 Minutes from 2012 titled Christians in the Holy Land. At the end, he confronts the former Ambassador of Israel to Washington DC who wanted the show canceled.

Would you call yourself a religious person these days? 

I never was.

You know Gaza. How do you rate Hamas on their potential to govern?  And could honest brokers work with them towards peace?

I have no way to rate Hamas one way or another. I did speak to people who worked in Gaza for many years, both Palestinians and foreigners, and their assessment was that as far as governing goes, and taking into consideration the severe conditions under which they live, they are to be commended.

Some people say that the Israeli public is largely unaware of the horrors of the occupation and shielded from the truth. If true, is it beginning to change?

Israelis are fully aware of the atrocities and they approve. Israelis vote, and they vote in high numbers and for seven decades they keep voting for people who send them and their children to commit these atrocities. The atrocities are committed not by foreign mercenaries but by Israeli boys and girls who for the most part serve proudly. The only thing that changed is the discourse. In the past, there was a facade of a civilized discourse within Israel, and today that no longer exists. Saying that Israel must kill more and more Palestinians is a perfectly acceptable statement today. In the past, people were somewhat embarrassed to admit they thought that way.

Israel has carried out a succession of armed assaults in international waters on humanitarian aid boats taking urgent medical and other non-military supplies to the beleaguered people of Gaza. Crew and passengers are routinely beaten up and thrown in jail, and some killed. Should the organizers now give up, or re-double their efforts using different tactics?

The Gaza flotillas are certainly commendable but if the goal is to reach the shores of Gaza they are doomed to fail. Their value is only in the fact that they are an expression of solidarity and one has to wonder if the time and effort and risk and expense justify the result. Israel will make sure no one gets through and the world pays them little attention. In my opinion, the flotillas are not the best form of action. No single issue in the ongoing tragedy in Palestine can be resolved on its own. Not the siege on Gaza, not the political prisoners, not the water issue and not the racist laws, etc. Only a focused and well-coordinated strategy to delegitimize and bring down the Zionist regime can bring justice to Palestine. BDS has the best potential for that but it is not being utilized enough and too much time is wasted on arguing its merits.

Certainly one of the weaknesses on the part of those who care to see justice in Palestine is that anyone with an idea just “goes for it.” There is little co-ordination and hardly any strategy to the very crucial question of how to free Palestine. Israel has succeeded in creating a sense of helplessness on this side and in legitimizing itself and Zionism in general, and that is a serious challenge.

This week was the 70th anniversary of the murder of Swedish diplomat Count Folke Bernadotte by a Zionist hit-squad while serving as UN Security Council mediator in the Arab–Israeli conflict. Everyone is keeping strangely quiet about this, even the Swedes.

This was one in a series of many political assassinations perpetrated by Zionist terrorist gangs in which no-one was held accountable. The first was in 1924 when they assassinated Yaakov Dehan. Then in 1933, they assassinated Chaim Arlozorov. The 1946 massacre at the King David Hotel was of course politically motivated and caused close to one hundred deaths, most of them innocent people who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Then in September 1948 the assassination in Jerusalem of UN intermediary and member of the Swedish royal family, Folke Bernadotte, who apparently came with plans to end the violence in Palestine, plans that the Zionist establishment did not find acceptable. Bernadotte is buried in a humble family grave in Stockholm, there are no memorial services planned that I know of or any mention of this anniversary by any official Swedish organization. My grandfather was Israel’s first ambassador to Sweden. This was shortly after the assassination and he did a fine job making sure that the Swedish government would keep the issue quiet.

There were many, many more assassinations and massacres – the attack on the USS Liberty comes to mind as well as the part played by the brutality of the Zionist apparatus that sees killing as a legitimate tool for accomplishing its political goals. Little is known or recalled about these brutal killings. Countless Palestinian leaders, writers, poets, etc., were assassinated by Israel.

A lot of hope is pinned on BDS by Palestine solidarity. How effective is BDS and how best can civil society turn up the pressure?

BDS is a very effective but slow process. It won’t work through magic or Divine intervention. People need to embrace it fully, work hard, demand the expulsion of all Israeli diplomats and total isolation of Israel. There is too much tolerance for those who promote Zionism and promote Israel and the Israeli army and that needs to change. Elected officials need to be forced to accept BDS entirely. The Palestine solidarity groups need to move from solidarity to full resistance, and BDS is the perfect form of resistance available.

Are there any other key issues that you’re confronting right now?

Moving from solidarity to resistance is, in my opinion, key at this point. Using the tools we have, like BDS is crucial. The passing of the Israeli Nation-State Law is an opportunity to unite the Palestinian citizens of Israel back with the rest of the Palestinians. We should all strive to bring total unity between the refugees, the West Bank, Gaza and 1948, and demand complete equal rights and the replacing of the Zionist regime that has been terrorizing Palestine for seven decades with a free and democratic Palestine. This opportunity will hopefully be seized.

Finally, Miko, how are your two books doing – ‘The General’s Son’ and ‘Injustice: The Story of The Holy Land Foundation Five’? It seems to me that the latter, which tells how the justice system in the US has been undermined to benefit pro-Israel interests, ought to be a must-read here in the UK where the same thing is happening in our political and parliamentary institutions and could spread to the courts.

Well, they are doing fine, though neither one is a best seller yet, and as we are on the less popular side of the issue it is a tough sell. TGS is out in the second edition so that is good, and I would certainly like to see it and Injustice in the hands of more people. Sadly though, not enough people realize how the occupation in Palestine is affecting the lives of people in the West because of the work of Zionist watchdog groups like the Board of Deputies in the UK, and AIPAC and the ADL in the US.

In this case alone, five innocent men are serving long sentences in federal prison in the US only because they are Palestinians.

Many thanks, Miko, I appreciate your taking the time to share your views.

Chief among the many positive ideas I get from this encounter with Miko is the need for activists to shift up a gear and accelerate from solidarity to full-on resistance. This will mean wider involvement, better coordination, revised targeting, and a sharper strategy. In effect a BDS Mk2, supercharged and on high octane fuel. Secondly, we ought to treat Zionism and those who promote or support it with far less tolerance. As Miko said on another occasion, “If opposing Israel is anti-Semitism then what do you call supporting a state that has been engaged in brutal ethnic cleansing for seven decades?”

As for Jeremy Corbyn – if he reads this – yes, he’d better come down hard on hatemongers including the real foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Semites, but he must also purge the Labour Party of its equally contemptible ‘Zionist Tendency’. And that goes for all our political parties.

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