Jewdas according to Jewdas

April 04, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Reported by Gilad Atzmon

Jewdas, the ‘Jewish alternative Diaspora’ who dared inviting Corbyn to the passover dinner were quick to  swear allegiance to the tribe.  The Independent  quoted their statement yesterday.

We have been campaigning against antisemitism on the left and the right for many years. Like, way before it was popular… We have run anti-antisemitism workshops in such far flung corners as Marseille and Bloomsbury, opposed neo-Nazi demos in Stamford Hill and Golders Green, produced and distributed information on how to criticise Israel without being antisemitic, demonstrated against left-antisemite Gilad Atzmon, and most importantly mercilessly took the p*** out of Ken Livingstone. You could call us trend setters.”

We are as good Jews as anyone, Jewdas are telling us,  we are vetting anti Zionism in the Left. We campaigned against Atzmon and Livingston. We police thoughts of your behalf they tell their Jewish brothers and sisters.

It is true, this strange bunch tried initially to recruit me (back in the early 2000s). Last august, however,  they attempted to picket one of my London concerts. They were caught lying to their  teeth as you can judge for yourself:

https://youtu.be/TKMITv5ZPdw

o read more: http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/2017/8/4/jewdas-lies-video-must-watch

If they want to burn it , you want to read it..

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto

Amazon.co.uk  ,  Amazon.com  and   here  (gilad.co.uk)

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In Case You Missed It: What Is Antisemitism?

By Michael Neumann

March 27, 2018 “Information Clearing House” – Every once in a while, some left-wing Jewish writer will take a deep breath, open up his (or her) great big heart, and tell us that criticism of Israel or Zionism is not antisemitism. Silently they congratulate themselves on their courage. With a little sigh, they suppress any twinge of concern that maybe the goyim–let alone the Arabs–can’t be trusted with this dangerous knowledge.

Sometimes it is gentile hangers-on, whose ethos if not their identity aspires to Jewishness, who take on this task. Not to be utterly risqué, they then hasten to remind us that antisemitism is nevertheless to be taken very seriously. That Israel, backed by a pronounced majority of Jews, happens to be waging a race war against the Palestinians is all the more reason we should be on our guard. Who knows? it might possibly stir up some resentment!

I take a different view. I think we should almost never take antisemitism seriously, and maybe we should have some fun with it. I think it is particularly unimportant to the Israel-Palestine conflict, except perhaps as a diversion from the real issues. I will argue for the truth of these claims; I also defend their propriety. I don’t think making them is on a par with pulling the wings off flies.

“Antisemitism”, properly and narrowly speaking, doesn’t mean hatred of semites; that is to confuse etymology with definition. It means hatred of Jews. But here, immediately, we come up against the venerable shell-game of Jewish identity: “Look! We’re a religion! No! a race! No! a cultural entity! Sorry–a religion!” When we tire of this game, we get suckered into another: “anti-Zionism is antisemitism! ” quickly alternates with: “Don’t confuse Zionism with Judaism! How dare you, you antisemite”

Well, let’s be good sports. Let’s try defining antisemitism as broadly as any supporter of Israel would ever want: antisemitism can be hatred of the Jewish race, or culture, or religion, or hatred of Zionism. Hatred, or dislike, or opposition, or slight unfriendliness.

But supporters of Israel won’t find this game as much fun as they expect. Inflating the meaning of ‘antisemitism’ to include anything politically damaging to Israel is a double-edged sword. It may be handy for smiting your enemies, but the problem is that definitional inflation, like any inflation, cheapens the currency. The more things get to count as antisemitic, the less awful antisemitism is going to sound. This happens because, while no one can stop you from inflating definitions, you still don’t control the facts. In particular, no definition of ‘antisemitism’ is going to eradicate the substantially pro-Palestinian version of the facts which I espouse, as do most people in Europe, a great many Israelis, and a growing number of North Americans.

What difference does that make? Suppose, for example, an Israeli rightist says that the settlements represent the pursuit of aspirations fundamental to the Jewish people, and to oppose the settlements is antisemitism. We might have to accept this claim; certainly it is difficult to refute. But we also cannot abandon the well-founded belief that the settlements strangle the Palestinian people and extinguish any hope of peace. So definitional acrobatics are all for nothing: we can only say, screw the fundamental aspirations of the Jewish people; the settlements are wrong. We must add that, since we are obliged to oppose the settlements, we are obliged to be antisemitic. Through definitional inflation, some form of ‘antisemitism’ has become morally obligatory.

It gets worse if anti-Zionism is labeled antisemitic, because the settlements, even if they do not represent fundamental aspirations of the Jewish people, are an entirely plausible extension of Zionism. To oppose them is indeed to be anti-Zionist, and therefore, by the stretched definition, antisemitic. The more antisemitism expands to include opposition to Israeli policies, the better it looks. Given the crimes to be laid at the feet of Zionism, there is another simple syllogism: anti-Zionism is a moral obligation, so, if anti-Zionism is antisemitism, antisemitism is a moral obligation.

What crimes? Even most apologists for Israel have given up denying them, and merely hint that noticing them is a bit antisemitic. After all, Israel ‘is no worse than anyone else’. First, so what? At age six we knew that “everyone’s doing it” is no excuse; have we forgotten? Second, the crimes are no worse only when divorced from their purpose. Yes, other people have killed civilians, watched them die for want of medical care, destroyed their homes, ruined their crops, and used them as human shields. But Israel does these things to correct the inaccuracy of Israel Zangwill’s 1901 assertion that

“Palestine is a country without a people; the Jews are a people without a country”.

It hopes to create a land entirely empty of gentiles, an Arabia deserta in which Jewish children can laugh and play throughout a wasteland called peace.

Well before the Hitler era, Zionists came thousands of miles to dispossess people who had never done them the slightest harm, and whose very existence they contrived to ignore.

Zionist atrocities were not part of the initial plan. They emerged as the racist obliviousness of a persecuted people blossomed into the racial supremacist ideology of a persecuting one. That is why the commanders who directed the rapes, mulilations and child-killings of Deir Yassin went on to become prime ministers of Israel.(*) But these murders were not enough. Today, when Israel could have peace for the taking, it conducts another round of dispossession, slowly, deliberately making Palestine unliveable for Palestinians, and liveable for Jews. Its purpose is not defense or public order, but the extinction of a people. True, Israel has enough PR-savvy to eliminate them with an American rather than a Hitlerian level of violence. This is a kinder, gentler genocide that portrays its perpetrators as victims.

Israel is building a racial state, not a religious one. Like my parents, I have always been an atheist. I am entitled by the biology of my birth to Israeli citizenship; you, perhaps, are the most fervent believer in Judaism, but are not. Palestinians are being squeezed and killed for me, not for you. They are to be forced into Jordan, to perish in a civil war. So no, shooting Palestinian civilians is not like shooting Vietnamese or Chechen civilians. The Palestinians aren’t ‘collateral damage’ in a war against well-armed communist or separatist forces. They are being shot because Israel thinks all Palestinians should vanish or die, so people with one Jewish grandparent can build subdivisions on the rubble of their homes. This is not the bloody mistake of a blundering superpower but an emerging evil, the deliberate strategy of a state conceived in and dedicated to an increasingly vicious ethnic nationalism. It has relatively few corpses to its credit so far, but its nuclear weapons can kill perhaps 25 million people in a few hours.

Do we want to say it is antisemitic to accuse, not just the Israelis, but Jews generally of complicity in these crimes against humanity? Again, maybe not, because there is a quite reasonable case for such assertions. Compare them, for example, to the claim that Germans generally were complicit in such crimes. This never meant that every last German, man, woman, idiot and child, were guilty. It meant that most Germans were. Their guilt, of course, did not consist in shoving naked prisoners into gas chambers. It consisted in support for the people who planned such acts, or–as many overwrought, moralistic Jewish texts will tell you–for denying the horror unfolding around them, for failing to speak out and resist, for passive consent. Note that the extreme danger of any kind of active resistance is not supposed to be an excuse here.

Well, virtually no Jew is in any kind of danger from speaking out. And speaking out is the only sort of resistance required. If many Jews spoke out, it would have an enormous effect. But the overwhelming majority of Jews do not, and in the vast majority of cases, this is because they support Israel. Now perhaps the whole notion of collective responsibility should be discarded; perhaps some clever person will convince us that we have to do this. But at present, the case for Jewish complicity seems much stronger than the case for German complicity. So if it is not racist, and reasonable, to say that the Germans were complicit in crimes against humanity, then it is not racist, and reasonable, to say the same of the Jews. And should the notion of collective responsibility be discarded, it would still be reasonable to say that many, perhaps most adult Jewish individuals support a state that commits war crimes, because that’s just true. So if saying these things is antisemitic, than it can be reasonable to be antisemitic.

In other words there is a choice to be made. You can use ‘antisemitism’ to fit your political agenda, or you can use it as a term of condemnation, but you can’t do both. If antisemitism is to stop coming out reasonable or moral, it has to be narrowly and unpolemically defined. It would be safe to confine antisemitism to explicitly racial hatred of Jews, to attacking people simply because they had been born Jewish. But it would be uselessly safe: even the Nazis did not claim to hate people simply because they had been born Jewish. They claimed to hate the Jews because they were out to dominate the Aryans.

Clearly such a view should count as antisemitic, whether it belongs to the cynical racists who concocted it or to the fools who swallowed it.

There is only one way to guarantee that the term “antisemitism” captures all and only bad acts or attitudes towards Jews. We have to start with what we can all agree are of that sort, and see that the term names all and only them. We probably share enough morality to do this.

For instance, we share enough morality to say that all racially based acts and hatreds are bad, so we can safely count them as antisemitic. But not all ‘hostility towards Jews’, even if that means hostility towards the overwhelming majority of Jews, should count as antisemitic. Nor should all hostility towards Judaism, or Jewish culture.

I, for example, grew up in Jewish culture and, like many people growing up in a culture, I have come to dislike it. But it is unwise to count my dislike as antisemitic, not because I am Jewish, but because it is harmless. Perhaps not utterly harmless: maybe, to some tiny extent, it will somehow encourage some of the harmful acts or attitudes we’d want to call antisemitic. But so what? Exaggerated philosemitism, which regards all Jews as brilliant warm and witty saints, might have the same effect. The dangers posed by my dislike are much too small to matter. Even widespread, collective loathing for a culture is normally harmless. French culture, for instance, seems to be widely disliked in North America, and no one, including the French, consider this some sort of racial crime.

Not even all acts and attitudes harmful to Jews generally should be considered antisemitic. Many people dislike American culture; some boycott American goods. Both the attitude and the acts may harm Americans generally, but there is nothing morally objectionable about either. Defining these acts as anti-Americanism will only mean that some anti-Americanism is perfectly acceptable. If you call opposition to Israeli policies antisemitic on the grounds that this opposition harms Jews generally, it will only mean that some antisemitism is equally acceptable.

If antisemitism is going to be a term of condemnation, then, it must apply beyond explicitly racist acts or thoughts or feelings. But it cannot apply beyond clearly unjustified and serious hostility to Jews. The Nazis made up historical fantasies to justify their attacks; so do modern antisemites who trust in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. So do the closet racists who complain about Jewish dominance of the economy. This is antisemitism in a narrow, negative sense of the word. It is action or propaganda designed to hurt Jews, not because of anything they could avoid doing, but because they are what they are. It also applies to the attitudes that propaganda tries to instill. Though not always explicitly racist, it involves racist motives and the intention to do real damage. Reasonably well-founded opposition to Israeli policies, even if that opposition hurts all Jews, does not fit this description. Neither does simple, harmless dislike of things Jewish.

So far, I’ve suggested that it’s best to narrow the definition of antisemitism so that no act can be both antisemitic and unobjectionable. But we can go further. Now that we’re through playing games, let’s ask about the role of *genuine*, bad antisemitism in the Israel-Palestine conflict, and in the world at large.

Undoubtedly there is genuine antisemitism in the Arab world: the distribution of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the myths about stealing the blood of gentile babies. This is utterly inexcusable. So was your failure to answer Aunt Bee’s last letter. In other words, it is one thing to be told: you must simply accept that antisemitism is evil; to do otherwise is to put yourself outside our moral world. But it is quite something else to have someone try to bully you into proclaiming that antisemitism is the Evil of Evils. We are not children learning morality; it is our responsibility to set our own moral priorities. We cannot do this by looking at horrible images from 1945 or listening to the anguished cries of suffering columnists. We have to ask how much harm antisemitism is doing, or is likely to do, not in the past, but today. And we must ask where such harm might occur, and why.

Supposedly there is great danger in the antisemitism of the Arab world. But Arab antisemitism isn’t the cause of Arab hostility towards Israel or even towards Jews. It is an effect. The progress of Arab antisemitism fits nicely with the progress of Jewish encroachment and Jewish atrocities. This is not to excuse genuine antisemitism; it is to trivialize it. It came to the Middle East with Zionism and it will abate when Zionism ceases to be an expansionist threat. Indeed its chief cause is not antisemitic propaganda but the decades-old, systematic and unrelenting efforts of Israel to implicate all Jews in its crimes. If Arab anti-semitism persists after a peace agreement, we can all get together and cluck about it. But it still won’t do Jews much actual harm. Arab governments could only lose by permitting attacks on their Jewish citizens; to do so would invite Israeli intervention. And there is little reason to expect such attacks to materialize: if all the horrors of Israel’s recent campaigns did not provoke them, it is hard to imagine what would. It would probably take some Israeli act so awful and so criminal as to overshadow the attacks themselves.

If antisemitism is likely to have terrible effects, it is far more likely to have them in Western Europe. The neo-fascist resurgence there is all too real. But is it a danger to Jews? There is no doubt that LePen, for instance, is antisemitic. There is also no evidence whatever that he intends to do anything about it. On the contrary, he makes every effort to pacify the Jews, and perhaps even enlist their help against his real targets, the ‘Arabs’. He would hardly be the first political figure to ally himself with people he disliked. But if he had some deeply hidden plan against the Jews, that *would* be unusual: Hitler and the Russian antisemitic rioters were wonderfully open about their intentions, and they didn’t court Jewish support. And it is a fact that some French Jews see LePen as a positive development or even an ally. (see, for instance, “`LePen is good for us,’ Jewish supporter says”, Ha’aretz May 04, 2002, and Mr. Goldenburg’s April 23rd comments on France TV.)

Of course there are historical reasons for fearing a horrendous attack on Jews. And anything is possible: there could be a massacre of Jews in Paris tomorrow, or of Algerians. Which is more likely? If there are any lessons of history, they must apply in roughly similar circumstances. Europe today bears very little resemblance to Europe in 1933. And there are positive possibilities as well: why is the likelihood of a pogrom greater than the likelihood that antisemitism will fade into ineffectual nastiness? Any legitimate worries must rest on some evidence that there really is a threat.

The incidence of antisemitic attacks might provide such evidence. But this evidence is consistently fudged: no distinction is made between attacks against Jewish monuments and symbols as opposed to actual attacks against Jews. In addition, so much is made of an increase in the frequency of attacks that the very low absolute level of attacks escapes attention. The symbolic attacks have indeed increased to significant absolute numbers. The physical attacks have not.(*) More important, most of these attacks are by Muslim residents: in other words, they come from a widely hated, vigorously policed and persecuted minority who don’t stand the slightest chance of undertaking a serious campaign of violence against Jews.

It is very unpleasant that roughly half a dozen Jews have been hospitalized–none killed–due to recent attacks across Europe. But anyone who makes this into one of the world’s important problems simply hasn’t looked at the world. These attacks are a matter for the police, not a reason why we should police ourselves and others to counter some deadly spiritual disease. That sort of reaction is appropriate only when racist attacks occur in societies indifferent or hostile to the minority attacked. Those who really care about recurrent Nazism, for instance, should save their anguished concern for the far bloodier, far more widely condoned attacks on gypsies, whose history of persecution is fully comparable to the Jewish past. The position of Jews is much closer to the position of whites, who are also, of course, the victims of racist attacks.

No doubt many people reject this sort of cold-blooded calculation. They will say that, with the past looming over us, even one antisemitic slur is a terrible thing, and its ugliness is not to be measured by a body count. But if we take a broader view of the matter, antisemitism becomes less, not more important. To regard any shedding of Jewish blood as a world-shattering calamity, one which defies all measurement and comparison, is racism, pure and simple; the valuing of one race’s blood over all others. The fact that Jews have been persecuted for centuries and suffered terribly half a century ago doesn’t wipe out the fact that in Europe today, Jews are insiders with far less to suffer and fear than many other ethnic groups. Certainly racist attacks against a well-off minority are just as evil as racist attacks against a poor and powerless minority. But equally evil attackers do not make for equally worrisome attacks.

It is not Jews who live most in the shadow of the concentration camp. LePen’s ‘transit camps’ are for ‘Arabs’, not Jews. And though there are politically significant parties containing many antisemites, not one of these parties shows any sign of articulating, much less implementing, an antisemitic agenda. Nor is there any particular reason to suppose that, once in power, they will change their tune. Haider’s Austria is not considered dangerous for Jews; neither was Tudjman’s Croatia. And were there to be such danger, well, a nuclear-armed Jewish state stands ready to welcome any refugees, as do the US and Canada. And to say there are no real dangers now is not to say that we should ignore any dangers that may arise. If in France, for instance, the Front National starts advocating transit camps for Jews, or institutes anti-Jewish immigration policies, then we should be alarmed. But we should not be alarmed that something alarming might just conceivably happen: there are far more alarming things going on than that!

One might reply that, if things are not more alarming, it is only because the Jews and others have been so vigilant in combatting antisemitism. But this isn’t plausible. For one thing, vigilance about antisemitism is a kind of tunnel vision: as neofascists are learning, they can escape notice by keeping quiet about Jews. For another, there has been no great danger to Jews even in traditionally antisemitic countries where the world is *not* vigilant, like Croatia or the Ukraine. Countries that get very little attention seem no more dangerous than countries that get a lot. As for the vigorous reaction to LePen in France, that seems to have a lot more to do with French revulsion at neofascism than with the scoldings of the Anti-Defamation League. To suppose that the Jewish organizations and earnest columnists who pounce on antisemitism are saving the world from disaster is like claiming that Bertrand Russell and the Quakers were all that saved us from nuclear war.

Now one might say: whatever the real dangers, these events are truly agonizing for Jews, and bring back unbearably painful memories. That may be true for the very few who still have those memories; it is not true for Jews in general. I am a German Jew, and have a good claim to second-generation, third-hand victimhood. Antisemitic incidents and a climate of rising antisemitism don’t really bother me a hell of a lot. I’m much more scared of really dangerous situations, like driving. Besides, even painful memories and anxieties do not carry much weight against the actual physical suffering inflicted by discrimination against many non-Jews.

This is not to belittle all antisemitism, everywhere. One often hears of vicious antisemites in Poland and Russia, both on the streets and in government. But alarming as this may be, it is also immune to the influence of Israel-Palestine conflicts, and those conflicts are wildly unlikely to affect it one way or another. Moreover, so far as I know, nowhere is there as much violence against Jews as there is against ‘Arabs’. So even if antisemitism is, somewhere, a catastrophically serious matter, we can only conclude that anti-Arab sentiment is far more serious still. And since every antisemitic group is to a far greater extent anti-immigrant and anti-Arab, these groups can be fought, not in the name of antisemitism, but in the defense of Arabs and immigrants. So the antisemitic threat posed by these groups shouldn’t even make us want to focus on antisemitism: they are just as well fought in the name of justice for Arabs and immigrants.

In short, the real scandal today is not antisemitism but the importance it is given. Israel has committed war crimes. It has implicated Jews generally in these crimes, and Jews generally have hastened to implicate themselves. This has provoked hatred against Jews. Why not? Some of this hatred is racist, some isn’t, but who cares? Why should we pay any attention to this issue at all? Is the fact that Israel’s race war has provoked bitter anger of any importance besides the war itself? Is the remote possibility that somewhere, sometime, somehow, this hatred may in theory, possibly kill some Jews of any importance besides the brutal, actual, physical persecution of Palestinians, and the hundreds of thousands of votes for Arabs to be herded into transit camps? Oh, but I forgot. Drop everything. Someone spray-painted antisemitic slogans on a synagogue.

* Not even the ADL and B’nai B’rith include attacks on Israel in the tally; they speak of “The insidious way we have seen the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians used by anti-Semites“. And like many other people, I don’t count terrorist attacks by such as Al Quaeda as instances of antisemitism but rather of some misdirected quasi-military campaign against the US and Israel. Even if you count them in, it does not seem very dangerous to be a Jew outside Israel.

Michael Neumann is a professor of philosophy at Trent University in Ontario, Canada. He can be reached at: mneumann@trentu.ca

This article was originally published by “Counterpunch” –

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Information Clearing House.

Gilad Atzmon Needs Your Immediate Support!

March 16, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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I am being sued for libel in the High Court in England by Campaign Against Antisemitsm’s chairman Gideon Falter. I have made the decision to fight this crucial battle for freedom of expression even though this fight poses a real risk of bankrupting me and my family.

I choose to fight their suit because I believe that the CAA and its chairman and its use of libel laws pose a danger to freedom of speech and the future of this country as an open society. Enough is enough!

Mr. Falter has sued me for comments I made on my own website.

My comments were made in the context of expressing my opinion about the situation where, last July, The British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) attested that there had been no increase in anti-Semitism in Britain, and Gideon Falter and the CAA refused to accept the CPS’s verdict. Falter and the CAA insisted that anti Semitism was on the rise. Sky news reported on the discrepancies between the findings of CPS and the CAA.

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I am being sued for libel in the High Court in England by Campaign Against Antisemitsm’s chairman Gideon Falter. I have made the decision to fight this crucial battle for freedom of expression even though this fight poses a real risk of bankrupting me and my family.

I choose to fight their suit because I believe that the CAA and its chairman and its use of libel laws pose a danger to freedom of speech and the future of this country as an open society. Enough is enough!

Mr. Falter has sued me for comments I made on my own website.

My comments were made in the context of expressing my opinion about the situation where, last July, The British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) attested that there had been no increase in anti-Semitism in Britain, and Gideon Falter and the CAA refused to accept the CPS’s verdict. Falter and the CAA insisted that anti Semitism was on the rise. Sky news reported on the discrepancies between the findings of CPS and the CAA.

I am being sued for libel in the High Court in England by Campaign Against Antisemitsm’s chairman Gideon Falter. I have made the decision to fight this crucial battle for freedom of expression even though this fight poses a real risk of bankrupting me and my family.

I choose to fight their suit because I believe that the CAA and its chairman and its use of libel laws pose a danger to freedom of speech and the future of this country as an open society. Enough is enough!

Mr. Falter has sued me for comments I made on my own website.

My comments were made in the context of expressing my opinion about the situation where, last July, The British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) attested that there had been no increase in anti-Semitism in Britain, and Gideon Falter and the CAA refused to accept the CPS’s verdict. Falter and the CAA insisted that anti Semitism was on the rise. Sky news reported on the discrepancies between the findings of CPS and the CAA.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2LgDoRqgN8

My article focused on the choice examined by Sky News between two accounts, one maintained by Falter and the CAA, an NGO that is dedicated to prosecuting antisemitism with “zero tolerance”, and the judicial approach of the CPS: a public body, subject to scrutiny and committed to impartiality.

My comments about the CAA are the basis of their lawsuit. I believe that I have the right to express my opinions on my own website: freedom of political expression is at the heart of freedom of speech. Mr. Falter claims that my criticisms of him do not amount to an opinion at all, and is seeking an order that would stop me from saying anything similar about him again, as well as paying him huge sums in libel damages and legal costs.

The CAA has contacted Jazz venues, community centres, concert halls and even overseas companies demanding that my events be cancelled. They have now escalated this battle and if they win this will ruin me financially.

I can not fund my defence alone.  I am obliged to ask every peace loving human being who cares about freedom and ethics for funds to help me defend this case. Fighting  this battle may cost tens of thousands of pounds. I am going to need some four figure donations to find the ludicrous amount required. But every single penny mounts up and please do give something.

If you have ever enjoyed my writing – join the fight. If you don’t agree with me yet support freedom of speech – my fight is your fight. If you support the right to point at the truth without being labeled ant-Semitic – this lawsuit is the battle ground,   my fight is your fight.

I appreciate any help you can give.

Watzal und Dershowitz

December 20, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

Two days ago, I revealed that Ludwig Watzal, a  supposedly  pro Palestinian German  writer, attempted to defame me and my work by doctoring my words and fabricating quotes.

Some of my supporters who follow Watzal’s work approached Watzal and asked him for clarification.

Watzal’s initial response was to dismiss their questions.

“This is all trash written by a Zionist agent,” Watzal answered.

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 So again, I have been labeled a ‘Zionist agent,’ just for pointing at the depth of duplicity in the midst of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement.

But then Watzal was shown screen shots from my book The Wandering Who? that proved that he had completely invented my words. The German disinformation merchant changed his tune.

Watzal had to admit that he had lifted the quotes from no other than ethnic cleanser advocate, Prof.  Alan Dershowitz’. You may ask why a Palestinian ‘solidarity’ activist would turn to Dershowitz as an ‘authority.’ You would expect Watzal to know that Prof. Noam Chomsky described Dershowitz as ‘a remarkable liar and slanderer.’

But our story doesn’t end there. Watzal, the hapless imbecile managed  to dig an even deeper hole. Watzal wrote to a respected solidarity activist who had questioned his fraudulent accusations that:

“In Social Science, It’s legitimate to quote another author like I did.”

Watzal is correct. In social science as in all scholarly work, one may certainly quote others. But one is also required to reference the origin of any quote.  Failing to do so is generally called plagiarism.

Watzal managed to fail three times in a row.

1.    Watzal plagiarised  Dershowitz by  failing to credit  Dershowitz as the source of his quote. Instead, he presented the ‘quotes’  as if they were the product of his own research.

2.    Watzal published doctored and fabricated quotes without checking them.

3.    The cover up. Watzal obviously knew that his quotes weren’t  the product of his own study. He could easily have asked for time to check his work  and eventually retract it but Watzal decided, instead, to spin and slander in the most disgusting and fraudulent manner.

In an Athenian universe, any of the above would be enough to strip Watzal of  his academic titles.

This is not the first time I have come across a lack of integrity  within the Palestinian solidarity movement. And the question I ask myself is what is it about the Palestinians and their plight that attracts these fraudulent characters? Whether we find an answer to this or not, we can certainly see why the solidarity movement has led nowhere. It was set to lead us astray.

Take It From the Rabbi’s Mouth

“The overwhelming majority of American Rabbis regard Zionism not only as fully consistent with Judaism but as a logical expression and implementation of it.””

— Document released on November 20, 1942 signed by 818 American Rabbis

The following  article was published on this site in May 2013. In recent weeks we have witnessed some anti Zionist rabbinical Jews  outraged by the attempt to equate Judaism and Zionism. I plan to write on the topic extensively, however,  a brief look at this 1942 rabbinical affirmation of Zionism  is rather revealing:

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Introduction by Gilad Atzmon

Every so often we come across a Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist’  who argues that Zionism is not Judaism and vice versa. Interestingly enough, I have just come across an invaluable text that illuminates this question from a rabbinical perspective. Apparently back in 1942, 757 American Rabbis added their names to a public pronouncement titled ‘Zionism an Affirmation of Judaism’. This Rabbinical rally for Zionism was declared at the time “the largest public pronouncement in all Jewish history.”

Today, we tend to believe that world Jewry’s transition towards support for Israel followed the 1967 war though some mightargue that already in 1948, American Jews manifested a growing support for Zionism. However, this rabbinical pronouncement proves that as early as 1942, the American Jewish religious establishment was already deeply Zionist. And if this is not enough, the rabbis also regarded Zionism as the ‘implementation’ of Judaism. Seemingly, already then, the peak of World War two, the overwhelming majority of American Rabbis regarded Zionism, not only as fully consistent with Judaism, but as a “logical expression and implementation of it.”

In spite of the fact that early Zionist leaders were largely secular and the East European Jewish settler waves were driven by Jewish socialist ideology, the rabbis contend that “Zionism is not a secularist movement. It has its origins and roots in the authoritative religious texts of Judaism.

Those rabbis were not a bunch of ignoramuses. They were patriotic and nationalistic and they grasped that “universalism is not a contradiction of nationalism.” The rabbis tried to differentiate between contemporaneous German Nationalism and other national movements and they definitely wanted to believe that Zionism was categorically different to Nazism. “Nationalism as such, whether it be English, French, American or Jewish, is not in itself evil. It is only militaristic and chauvinistic nationalism, that nationalism which shamelessly flouts all mandates of international morality, which is evil.” But as we know, just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz the new Jewish State launched a devastating racially driven ethnic-cleansing campaign. Zionism has proven to be militaristic and chauvinistic.

Shockingly enough, back in 1942 as many as 757 American rabbis were able to predict the outcome of the war and they realised that the suffering of European Jewry would be translated into a Jewish State . “We are not so bold as to predict the nature of the international order which will emerge from the present war. It is altogether likely, and indeed it may be desirable, that all sovereign states shall under the coming peace surrender some of their sovereignty to achieve a just and peaceful world society (a Jewish State).”

Some American patriots today are concerned with Israeli-American dual nationality and the dual aspirations of American Jews. Apparently our rabbis addressed this topic too. According to them, there is no such conflict whatsoever. All American Jews are American patriots and all American decision makers are Zionists. “Every fair-minded American knows that American Jews have only one political allegiance–and that is to America. There is nothing in Zionism to impair this loyalty. Zionism has been endorsed in our generation by every President from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and has been approved by the Congress of the United States. The noblest spirits in American life, statesmen, scholars, writers, ministers and leaders of labor and industry, have lent their sympathy and encouragement to the movement.”

Back in 1942 our American rabbis were bold enough to state that defeating Hitler was far from sufficient. For them, a full solution of the Jewish question could only take place in Palestine. “Jews, and all non-Jews who are sympathetically interested in the plight of Jewry, should bear in mind that the defeat of Hitler will not of itself normalize Jewish life in Europe. “

But there was one thing the American rabbis failed to mention – the Palestinian people. For some reason, those rabbis who knew much about ‘universalism’ and in particular Jewish ‘universalism’ showed very little concern to the people of the land. I guess that after all, chosennss is a form of blindness and rabbis probably know more about this than anyone else.

 

Zionism: An Affirmation of Judaism

http://zionistsout.blogspot.com/2008/03/zionism-affirmation-of-judaism.html

ZIONISMAN AFFIRMATIONOF JUDAISMA Reply by 757 Orthodox, Conservative and ReformRabbis of America to a Statement Issued by NinetyMembers of the Reform Rabbinate Charging ThatZionism Is Incompatible with the Teachings of Judaism

THE SUBJOINED REPLY was prepared at the initiative of the following Rabbis who submitted it to their colleagues throughout the country for signature: Philip S. Bernstein, Barnett R. Brickner, Israel Goldstein, James G. Heller, Mordecai M. Kaplan, B. L. Levinthal, Israel H. Levinthal, Louis M. Levitsky, Joshua Loth Liebman, Joseph H. Lookstein, Jacob R. Marcus, Abraham A. Neuman, Louis I. Newman, David de Sola Pool, Abba Hillel Silver, Milton Steinberg, and Stephen S. Wise.

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED RABBIS of all elements in American Jewish religious life,have noted with concern a statement by ninety of our colleagues in which they repudiate Zionism on the ground that it is inconsistent with Jewish religious and moral doctrine. This statement misrepresents Zionism and misinterprets historic Jewish religious teaching, and we should be derelict in our duty if we did not correct the misapprehensions which it is likely to foster.

We call attention in the first place to the fact that the signatories to this statement, for whom as fellow-Rabbis we have a high regard, represent no more than a very small fraction of the American rabbinate. They constitute a minority even of the rabbinate of Reform Judaism with which they are associated. The overwhelming majority of American Rabbis regard Zionism not only as fully consistent with Judaism but as a logical expression and implementation of it.

Our colleagues concede the need for Jewish immigration into Palestine as contributing towards a solution of the vast tragedy of Jewish homelessness. They profess themselves ready to encourage such settlement. They are aware of the important achievements, social and spiritual, of the Palestinian Jewish community and they pledge to it their unstinted support. And yet, subscribing to every practical accomplishment of Zionism, they have embarked upon a public criticism of it. In explanation of their opposition they advance the consideration that Zionism is nationalistic and secularistic. On both scores they maintain it is incompatible with the Jewish religion and its universalistic outlook. They protest against the political emphasis which, they say, is now paramount in the Zionist program and which, according to them, tends to confuse both Jews and Christians as to the place and function of the Jewish group in American society. They appeal to the prophets of ancient Israel for substantiation of their views.

TREASURING the doctrines and moral principles of our faith no less than they, devoted equally to America and its democratic processes and spirit, we nonetheless find every one of their contentions totally without foundation.

Zionism is not a secularist movement. It has its origins and roots in the authoritative religious texts of Judaism. Scripture and rabbinical literature alike are replete with the promise of the restoration of Israel to its ancestral home. Anti-Zionism, not Zionism, is a departure from the Jewish religion. Nothing in the entire pronouncement of our colleagues is more painful than their appeal to the prophets of Israel—to those very prophets whose inspired and recorded words of national rebirth and restoration nurtured and sustained the hope of Israel throughout the ages.

 

Nor is Zionism a denial of the universalistic teachings of Judaism. Universalism is not a contradiction of nationalism. Nationalism as such, whether it be English, French, American or Jewish, is not in itself evil. It is only militaristic and chauvinistic nationalism, that nationalism which shamelessly flouts all mandates of international morality, which is evil. The prophets of Israel looked forward to the time not when all national entities would be obliterated, but when all nations would walk in the light of the Lord, live by His law and learn war no more.

Our colleagues find themselves unable to subscribe to the political emphasis “now paramount in the Zionist program.” We fail to perceive what it is to which they object. Is it to the fact that there are a regularly constituted Zionist organization and a Jewish Agency which deal with the mandatory government, the Colonial office, the League of Nations and other recognized political bodies? But obviously, even immigration and colonization are practical matters which require political action. The settlement of a half million Jews in Palestine since the last war was made possible by political action which culminated in the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate. There can be little hope of opening the doors of Palestine for mass Jewish immigration after the war without effective political action. Or is it that they object to the ultimate achievement by the Jewish community of Palestine of some form of Jewish statehood? We are not so bold as to predict the nature of the international order which will emerge from the present war. It is altogether likely, and indeed it may be desirable, that all sovereign states shall under the coming peace surrender some of their sovereignty to achieve a just and peaceful world society.

Certainly our colleagues will allow to the Jews of Palestine the same rights that are allowed to all other peoples resident on their own land. If Jews should ultimately come to constitute a majority of the population of Palestine, would our colleagues suggest that all other peoples in the post-war world shall be entitled to political self-determination, whatever form that may take, but the Jewish people in Palestine shall not have such a right? Or do they mean to suggest that the Jews in Palestine shall forever remain a minority in order not to achieve such political self-determination?

PROTESTING their sympathy both for the homeless Jews of the world and for their brethren in Palestine, our colleagues have by their pronouncement done all these a grave disservice. It may well be that to the degree to which their efforts arc at all effective, Jews who might otherwise have found a haven in Palestine will be denied one. The enemies of the Jewish homeland will be strengthened in their propaganda as a result of the aid which these Rabbis have given them. To the Jews of Palestine, facing the gravest danger in their history and fighting hard to maintain morale and hope in the teeth of the totalitarian menace, this pronouncement comes as a cruel blow.

We do not mean to imply that our colleagues intended it as such. We have no doubt that they are earnest about their fine spun theoretical objections to Zionism. We hold, however, that these objections have no merit, and further that voicing them at this time has been unwise and unkind.

We have not the least fear that our fellow Americans will be led to misconstrue the attitudes of American Jews to America because of their interest in Zionism. Every fair-minded American knows that American Jews have only one political allegiance–and that is to America. There is nothing in Zionism to impair this loyalty. Zionism has been endorsed in our generation by every President from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and has been approved by the Congress of the United States. The noblest spirits in American life, statesmen, scholars, writers, ministers and leaders of labor and industry, have lent their sympathy and encouragement to the movement.

Jews, and all non-Jews who are sympathetically interested in the plight of Jewry, should bear in mind that the defeat of Hitler will not of itself normalize Jewish life in Europe.

An Allied peace which will not frankly face the problem of the national homelessness of the Jewish people will leave the age-old tragic status of European Jewry unchanged. The Jewish people is in danger of emerging from this war not only more torn and broken than any other people, but also without any prospects of a better and more secure future and without the hope that such tragedies will not recur again, and again. Following an Allied victory, the Jews of Europe, we are confident, will be restored to their political rights and to equality of citizenship. But they possessed these rights after the last war and yet the past twenty-five years have witnessed a rapid and appalling deterioration in their position. In any case, even after peace is restored Europe will be so ravaged and war-torn that large masses of Jews will elect migration to Palestine as a solution of their personal problems.

Indeed, for most of these there may be no other substantial hope of economic, social and spiritual rehabilitation.

 

THE freedom which, we have faith, will come to all men and nations after this war, must come not only to Jews as individuals wherever they live, permitting them to share freedom on a plane of equality with all other men, but also to the Jewish people, as such, restored in its homeland, where at long last it will be a free people within a world federation of free peoples.

 

Of the 757 Rabbis listed below, 214 are members of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform); 247 are members of the Rabbinical Assembly of America (Conservative); and the rest are affiliated with the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox) or the Union of Orthodox Rabbis. The total represents the largest number of rabbis whose signatures are attached to a public pronouncement in all Jewish history.

To see the scanned image in PDF format with the list of signers, click here

 

Note: A version of the above statement was released to the press on November 20, 1942. By that time 818 rabbis had signed on. It appears in Samuel Halperin’s The Political World of American Zionism. (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1961) 333.

 

The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics     Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk

The Antisemitism Fallacy; Let’s Focus on Palestinians

Source

‘We can thus confidently dissociate anti-Zionism from antisemitism.’ (Photo: File)

By Blake Alcott

Speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on July 16, 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron repeated the popular formula that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic. According to Macron, anti-Zionist and anti-Israel expressions are “a new type of anti- Semitism.” We hear this almost daily, and pretty soon one of us anti-Zionists will land in jail for arguing that only a democratic, Palestinian state in Palestine has a right to exist there.

Only a few decades ago, and only for a few decades, Zionism was racist, but now, according to the head of Security Council member France, the allegation is that it is anti-Zionism that is racist.

There is however a large logical flaw in this argument that believing Israel should be replaced by a democracy is antisemitic: The anti-Zionist position denies only the right of a Jewish state to exist in Palestine, at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians. It does not deny the right of Jews, or ‘the Jews’, to a state of their own somewhere, at nobody’s expense. Nor does it necessarily affirm it. This pro-Palestinian position simply denies the right of any state, whether Jewish or anything else, to impose itself on Palestine against the will of the indigenous Palestinians.

The issue, that is, has never been Yes or No to the question of Jewish self-determination as such, embodied in a state. Even if the answer is Yes, a Yes to Israel does not follow: the claim of some Jews, or Zionist Jews, or European Jews, or Christian Zionists, that ‘the Jews’ own Palestine does not stand up. The land belonged and still belongs to the flesh-and-blood twentieth-century inhabitants whose ancestors had lived there for centuries or millennia.

Instead, the issue has always been on whose land and at whose cost a Jewish state could justly be established. Palestine could always be ruled out because on any rational moral standard the property rights and political rights of the Palestinians – be they Moslem, Christian, Jewish or atheist – had precedence.

These are the problems that make it impossible for Zionism – which insists its state must be in Palestine – to have any ethical justification. That the imposed state is Jewish is not relevant. Relevant is only that it imposed, necessarily through military force.

Anti-Zionism – better, pro-Palestinianism – thus takes no stand at all on the general question of Jewish self-determination. It can even, in spite of strong arguments in principle against ethno-religiously defined states, hold great sympathy for the wish of many Jews for a haven where they are safe from European persecution. But not at others’ existential expense.

For this discussion, it is not even necessary to define what one means by ‘Jewish state’. Whether it is something cuddly, with a flag showing the Star of David and Hanukkah instead of Christmas, or the real Zionist entity which legally privileges Jews and refuses ethnically-cleansed Palestinians their right of return, is of no relevance. Either state, if rejected by a majority of Palestine’s indigenous people, is illegitimate.

This is in fact what it means to reject Israel’s legitimacy: it is a British-enabled, European colony. A necessary condition of the Zionist state was and is the eradication of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. The case for Israel’s illegitimacy thus has nothing to do intrinsically with Judaism or Jews, but only with the fact that Zionism threw the first stone of aggressive colonialism. The rightful polity never wanted Israel, period.

That is to say, that from a moral point of view Zionism’s problem is that Israel is in the wrong place. Any place would be wrong if the state’s existence presupposed military conquest and ethnic cleansing. That the antisemitism that gave rise to Zionism in the first place was European, having nothing to do with Palestinians, merely rubs salt in the wounds of Palestinians and of justice.

Thus, we can say that Israel has no right to exist (it is not right that it exists), where it is and in the manner that it maintains itself, without saying a single word about Jews, a Jewish collective, Jewish statehood or Jewish self-determination. We are talking about Palestine and Palestinians.

We should in fact start any discussion of Palestine and Israel with Palestine, not with philo- or antisemitism or with the ins and outs of the Zionist endeavor or with the historical claims of some long-ago residents. In the beginning of modern political Zionism were indigenous Palestinians, and their enduring and inalienable rights should be our focus, a positive focus in no need of defense against far-fetched accusations concerning one or the other attitude towards Jews and their national aspirations.

Our arguments for the sole legitimacy of a state determined by the majority of the Palestinians – wherever they now live – do in fact entail the negatively-expressed conclusion that Israel is illegitimate. But the argument for Palestinian self-determination, in Palestine, makes no necessary mention of the particular non-indigenous ethnic or religious group in terms of which Israel defines itself. Thus, the claim that the anti-Zionism entailed by full recognition of Palestinian rights is antisemitic simply falls flat for lack of an object.

The IHRA Definition

The conflation of opposition to Israel with opposition to Jews is thus embarrassingly illogical. Yet we see the President of France doing exactly that, and likewise the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), but before looking at that organization’s definition, what is antisemitism? It is not all that complicated. It is antipathy or violence towards Jews, or any other abuse of them, because of their descent or religion. (Without this motive, violence and abuse remain crimes, but not racist ones.) Nobody can help who their ancestors are, so such attitudes and actions are criminal and racist.

The definition of antisemitism now being used to shift the term away from Jews as such over on to Zionism and Israel has a long history, but here it is, black-on-white, in its influential IHRA version: “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.”

Although the formulation “hatred toward Jews” leaves out the decisive phrase ‘because they are Jews’, let’s accept this so-called “non-legally binding working definition” adopted by the IHRA on May 26, 2016.

Then come the illogical parts: “Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. … Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life… include… denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

But of course, anti-Zionism doesn’t target Israel because it is a “Jewish collectivity” (whatever that means) and it doesn’t deny the abstract right of any ethnic or religious group to try to peacefully set up its own state. It does identify Zionism as racist against the non-Jews of Palestine.

Again, you can shout from the rooftops for the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in the form of a sovereign state – if done without violence on land purchased fair and square – and still reject Zionism and Israel. Saying that the wrong of European persecution of Jews does not justify the wrong of Palestinian dispossession is an ethical stand independent of the ethnicities or religions involved. Where is the antisemitism?

Baffling, at first sight, is the IHRA’s use of the phrase “a state of Israel” in place of “the state of Israel”. My guess is that the authors of the definition know very well that there are sufficient non-anti-Semitic reasons to reject Israel – mainly that it is in Palestine, paid for by the Palestinians. Through this elision I think they are trying to pin on us anti-Zionists opposition to any Jewish state, anywhere. But we have seen that this isn’t true. With full sympathy for any ethnic or religious groups under persecution, we are agnostic on this point.

Freedland Weighs in

Next we have the same conflation committed by J. Freedland, the Guardian’s house apologist for the violent colonial entity in Palestine and who, to the discredit of that paper’s editors-in-chief, was and perhaps still is entrusted with overseeing the paper’s foreign-affairs editorial policy.

On April 29, 2016 Freedland explained in an elaborate, if not baroque, piece in his newspaper why returning Palestine to its rightful owners – why affirming the Palestinians’ right to self-determination – is racist against Jews.

He sets the stage for the conflation by drawing an analogy with a theoretical black state, rather than a Jewish one – “the only place in the world where the majority of the population… were black.” He then imagines there are a lot of people who reject this state, want it replaced. Disingenuously omitting mention of any reasons for this rejection (for instance the state’s discrimination against non-blacks), he then asserts that such an attitude would obviously be anti-black racism, parallel to antisemitism: All good people “on the left… would be suspicious of this insistence that loathing of the world’s only black country was separate from attitudes to black people in general, especially because most black people had a strong affinity with this country, seeing it as a constitutive part of their own identity.”

The non-sequitur is obvious. To oppose Jewish or Aryan or Muslim or Hindu or Martian country X because it eliminates, expels and discriminates against other ethnic groups is not to oppose Jews, Aryans, Muslims, Hindus or Martians, respectively.

The argument is empty enough, but arguing from black people’s “strong affinity with this country” reduces it to a mere point about the subjective feelings of some ethnic or religious group. And in fact, Freedland then leaves his analogy with the hypothetical black state to attest that Jews have “this connection to – this need for – Israel. … 93% [of British Jews] told a 2015 survey that Israel forms some part of their identity as Jews. … Though Israel’s creation came at a desperately high price for Palestinians… it is impossible for most Jews to see it as a mistake that should be undone.”

One can only ask, since when do the feelings of any group override ethical principles and historical context? Using the obvious analogy, since when would the “affinity” of southern U.S. whites for a slave-owning polity override the rights of blacks in that territory? Surely such whites were heartbroken upon the demise of the Confederate States of America.

Freedland next detaches the discussion from fact or ethics altogether by claiming, with a straight face, that “when Jews call out something to be antisemitic”, it is antisemitic. This is Alice-in-Wonderland logic.

He then three times says that that “something” which “Jews” subjectively declare to be antisemitic is opposition to Israel’s “right to exist”. “Most Jews will defend Israel’s existence”, although it was “forged in bloodshed”. Yes, this is chilling right-wing stuff, but the general problem is that if such group feelings are the only compass, disagreements can only be settled by violence.

Freedland also rides hard the fact that Israel is “the world’s only Jewish country” – implying I suppose that were there several Jewish states, it would not be antisemitic to fundamentally oppose one or the other of them. But whether there is one ethnocracy of type X, or many, is irrelevant to the point that it is the racist violation of others’ rights in any one of them that motivates fundamental opposition.

Finally, Freedland graciously allows us to criticize Israel “for this or that policy”, but if we feel it is “better that this one black [Jewish] country had never been created”, we are OK with the “periodic persecution and slaughter” of a black/Jewish “minority”. Opposing British imposition of Zionism in the 1930s, as we oppose it now, we “would have denied those 6 million [Jewish victims] the one lifeline that might have saved them.” And if that isn’t antisemitic, what is?

This seems to be the ‘lifeboat ethics’ argument of soft Zionism – it was either us or them. But Freedland is making the further claim that taking the side of the Palestinians in the lifeboat necessarily entails racial prejudice towards the Jews in the lifeboat. Again, a non-sequitur. But what is noteworthy is that since all Palestinians, ever since Zionism was put to paper, opposed the politicide it entailed, all Palestinians are, according to J. Freedland, anti-Jewish racists. A more slanderous, historically ignorant and generalized assertion, more devoid of empathy for the dispossessed and cleansed Palestinians, is not imaginable.

Go to Jail

Macron, Freedland and the IHRA don’t get the point because they don’t take Palestinians seriously. Palestinians are simply not relevant to their stories, which begin and end with the Jewish experience. Because the indigenous Palestinians are the monkey wrench ruining their conflationary arguments, they don’t count. Orientalism is alive.

Our immediate cause of concern however, due to the power of these Zionists, is now to stay out of jail. The IHRA, which has equated anti-Zionism and antisemitism, is not nobody. It is made up of countries, namely all EU countries except Bulgaria and Portugal plus Argentina, Israel, Switzerland and the US. The European Parliament Working Group On Antisemitism has adopted the IHRA definition word for word, as has the Austrian Government and the UK Government, albeit not as law but only as policy guidance.

We have seen that the President of France has a solo part in the IHRA choir, and it so happens that France has a recent history of trying to criminalize fundamental opposition to Israel and even to the rights-based Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Concerns about freedom of expression aside, the attempt is to criminalize as Jew-hatred the well-argued identification of Israel as a racist and usurpatory state.

In the US as well, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act passed the Senate unanimously on December 1, 2016. The Act’s Section 3 defines antisemitism by reference to the US State Department’s Fact Sheet of 8 June 2010, which in turn, you guessed it, adopts as its definition of antisemitism the IHRA definition. Under the Fact Sheet’s heading “What is Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?” we find our old chestnut: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist.” Don’t forget, antisemitism is a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The IHRA definition has, to be sure, recently been rejected in an essay in the London Review of Books and by a legal opinion refuting the definition’s allegation that “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” is antisemitic: “Unless such a claim was informed by hatred to Jews, it would not be antisemitic to assert that as Israel defines itself as a Jewish state and thereby by race, and that because non-Jewish Israelis and non-Jews under its jurisdiction are discriminated against, the State of Israel is currently a racist endeavor.” To date, fortunately, the Macrons and Freedlands do not openly assert that racist states have a right to exist.

In light of such refutations of the definition, a bill was unanimously passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on 17 May 2017 seeking implicitly to unite all concerned behind the IHRA’s absurd definition.

My point about the definition’s basic fallacy is not new. Already forty-two years ago Palestinian liberationist Shafiq al-Hout gave a lecture in Ottawa soon after the General Assembly had passed its resolution condemning Zionism as racist: “There was an intense discussion after my speech, with one rabbi asking: ‘You have talked about the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, but don’t the people of Israel also have the right to live by themselves in their own state?’ I answered: ‘Yes, they do – as long as it is on land that legitimately belongs to them, and not over land that they have annexed.’ He then metaphorically cut his own throat by saying: ‘But that means less than 10 percent of the land.’ I smiled, as I fine-tuned his answer: ‘Yes, 6.4 percent, to be precise.’” (Al-Hout, My Life in the PLO, p 136)

Clear Language

I’m suggesting it is a good defensive argument to explain that denying Israel in no way implies denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. Israel is a particular way in which (some) Jews can self-determine, and it is of necessity in a particular place, Palestine. There might be other places, and other ways of self-determining that do not require murder, dispossession and humiliation of another ‘self’. However, how and where the real Israel was ‘done’, and is still done, is immoral.

However, such defensive work is necessary only because Zionism has succeeded in setting the agenda of the debate. It has started with the Jewish, rather than the Palestinian, experience, and ridden on Western sympathy for persecuted Jews, enabling libelous accusations of antisemitism to seem legitimate. Anti-Zionists end up in the dock.

In reality, though, the burden of proof is on the person who accuses another person of something as horrible as racism. Supporters of all the rights of all the Palestinians are innocent until proven guilty. Proof of guilt requires demonstration of a necessary connection between wanting the removal of the state of Israel in favor of a Palestinian state comprised of all Palestinians, and ill-will towards Jews as Jews. This necessary connection cannot of course be found because it is not there.

I think we should simply say that when we are talking about who should rule the land of Palestine, we are first and foremost talking about just that – not about Jews, or Muslims, or Christians. Yes, it was Zionism which entered the picture through British power, uninvited, but it could have been anybody of any ethnicity. On the other hand, it wasn’t just anybody who got expelled and degraded, but by necessity the Palestinians who were living there.

In other words, I think we should shift the focus onto the rights of Palestinians. The end of the state presently occupying (all of) Palestine is not the point. It is only a consequence of justice. The entire argument which leads to a Palestinian successor state to Israel can and should be made without having to mention the specific ethnicity or religion by which Israel defines itself. If justice for Palestine leaves no choice but rejecting Israel, so be it. It has nothing to do with Israel’s being a Jewish state.

It might be a blessing in disguise that the Zionists have gone out on such an illogical limb, because it opens space for re-framing the debate from negative to positive: What? Anti-Jewishness? We only want to redress injustices to the population of a colonized country. We are looking for a state to function in a de-partitioned Palestinian homeland which achieves redress. There is no room for any state entity not chosen by the colonized and expelled, whatever its ethno-religious self-definition.

Macron’s statements to Netanyahu with which this article began have drawn a reply from Israeli writer Shlomo Sand, who balks when Macron says that “Anti-Zionism… is the reinvented form of anti-Semitism.” After first pointing out that Zionism is not Judaism and that many Jews were and are anti-Zionists, he fingers the ethical problem, namely the fact of the overwhelming anti-Zionist majority of indigenous Palestinians, and incisively wonders of Macron “if [he] seriously expect[s] of the Palestinians that they should not be anti-Zionists!” He says of himself, not as an anti-Semite, but “as a democrat and a republican… I cannot support a Jewish State.”

There is no need to beat around the bush any longer over Israel’s ‘right to exist’. Anti-Zionism is not just criticism of this or that Israeli policy but of the very idea of an ethno-religious state in violation of the wishes of Palestine’s rightful citizenry. It is a no-brainer that the Zionist state should give way to a democracy in Palestine. Yet many supporters of Palestinian rights often fudge this issue, claiming that a state in Palestine that is somehow ‘Jewish’ is somehow tolerable.

This includes supporters of the two-state solution such as Barack Obama or Jeremy Corbyn, a Zionist solution tautologically, because one of the two advocated states is, alas, an intruded Jewish state in Palestine. But there is no reason to fear charges of racism when rejecting Israel. That rejection follows logically from the positive rights of the Palestinians, absent all connection to the antisemitic type of racism.

We can thus confidently dissociate anti-Zionism from antisemitism. To do this we need only stress that what must be corrected – the usurpation of Palestine, against the will of the people of Palestine – has nothing to do necessarily with Israel’s Jewishness, only with its colonialism and racism. But we can go one better by retaining a Palestinian orientation. That is, the whole discussion is first and foremost a question of justice for the dispossessed, from which the illegitimacy of Israel simply follows. It is a question of Palestine, not of Israel.

– Blake Alcott is an ecological economist and the director of One Democratic State in Palestine (England) Limited. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com

 

Deconstructing Apartheid and Colonialism

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