Why Holocaust Education is Failing?

October 17, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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 By Gilad Atzmon

Despite the vast amount invested in Holocaust education and in spite of the fact that the Holocaust is the only compulsory subject in the British national history curriculum, British pupils seem not to follow the message of the rigid topic. For some reason, they struggle to buy into the primacy of Jewish suffering. They show little interest and learn mostly nothing.  Yesterday’s Tablet Magazine article,  “The Failure of Holocaust Education in Britain”, produced a clumsy attempt to grasp the reason for the failures of Holocaust education.

UCL’s  Centre for Holocaust Education has recently conducted  the ‘world’s largest ever study of its kind, it interviewed over 8,000 pupils aged 11-18 in England. Andy Pearce who work as a researcher at the centre told the Tablet that apparently  25-30 years of Holocaust education “is failing to make an impact.”

Pearce reports that when students were asked who was responsible for the Holocaust, “Hitler dominated the answer.” This is presumably a ‘wrong answer.’ Pearce continues, “Incredibly when we asked them to tell us who the Nazis were, students responded by saying they were ‘Hitler’s minions’ and ‘Hitler’s paratroopers.’” Pearce wasn’t happy with this answer either. “There was no reference to the Nazi Party as a political movement. Students also told the researchers that most Jews were killed in Germany. There was no understanding of collaborating regimes and many believed that mass killing began in 1933.”

Pearce inadvertently provided some crucial insights into the systematic failure of ‘holocaust education.’ While Heidegger taught us that to educate is to teach others how to learn, indoctrination is a very different exercise. It teaches how to produce the ‘right’ answers. The Holocaust, as taught and preached, falls into the domain of indoctrination. It is not a subject matter that is open to discussion or revision. The Holocaust as a subject does not accommodate dilemma or confusion. It is treated like a religious text with a rigid structure that doesn’t allow deviation.

For history to be relevant it must contain a dynamic discourse with present day, historical and contextual connotations. If the Holocaust is to be a vibrant topic that is engaging and enlightening for young enthusiastic minds, then the Holocaust must be placed into a context, such as comparing Auschwitz to Gaza. Nuremberg laws must be juxtaposed with the Israeli National Bill and the Israeli Law of Return. For the Holocaust to win our kids’ attention they must try to address the most difficult of questions: How and why was it that just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the newly born Jewish State ethnically cleansed the vast majority of the indigenous Palestinians? For the Holocaust to garner universal interest, it must carry a universal message!

Apparently ‘Holocaust education’ in Britain and in the West in general is dependent on Holocaust survivors. Elli Olmer is an outreach teacher for the Holocaust Education Trust. She told the Tablet, “I love what I do and hope to do it for many years but it all depends on what happens after we lose our survivors.” Despite Israel’s scientific gains in life extending technologies, it seems survivors aren’t going to live forever. Moreover, many survivors complain that their ability to reach young audiences is fading for the obvious reasons. However, their approach that engagement with a chapter in the past can only be reached through personal experience with people who lived through that chapter shows that the Holocaust is understood by these so called ‘educators’ as an a-historical narrative.

Historians revisit Napoleonic wars without depending on ‘meetings’ with survivors of those wars. We believe that we can learn about  the Roman empire without expecting veteran Roman generals to visit our classes. Why then does the Holocaust needs its survivors? Why can’t the Holocaust be taught as a proper historical chapter through analysing texts and documents and encountering some opposing views? Because Holocaust education is driven by political interests and laws requiring such education are passed by means of emotional manipulation. It is there, of course, to serve Israeli and Jewish politics — the Holocaust is the raison d’être behind the Jewish state. But the Holocaust is also used to serve other global political trends such as (im)moral interventionism, pro immigration, anti racism, pro liberalism and so on.

The use of the Holocaust for political ends suggests that British youngsters may actually be more sophisticated than the banal minds that attempt to crudely indoctrinate them into submission. They sense that something about the holocaust education is not ‘straight forward,’ so to say. It is not taught as an open discourse, it is somehow different than other chapters in the past. It isn’t really open to discussion.

As could have been expected, Corbyn and the Labour party are dealt some of the blame. “The current debate over anti-Semitism in Britain’s opposition Labour Party and the views of its leader Jeremy Corbyn have also had a negative impact on Holocaust education in the classroom and made better teacher training even more imperative.”  Apparently, British youngsters do not live in a bubble. “Students now ask about Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism… Two to three years ago I would not have had pupils who would have heard the terms,” a teacher said.

The UCL team also examined what teachers hope to achieve by teaching the Holocaust.  “There is a belief that if we study the Holocaust it will stop it happening again.” The truth of the matter is that  there is more than one  holocaust happening at the moment: Palestine, Libya, Syria just to mention a few. The Holocaust will become a meaningful lesson when it is finally emancipated from the primacy of Jewish suffering and  when we return to empathy and compassion as a basic tenet of our culture. Unfortunately I do not see the Holocaust Education Trust leading us in such a direction.

Surprisingly enough, Mike Levy, a Holocaust educator based in Cambridge, admitted to the Jewish outlet  that there is “an atmosphere of fatigue in the air when it comes to talking about the Holocaust and that students and teachers want to learn more about other genocides and contextualize the Holocaust.” I  agree with Mr. Levy. Let’s expose our kids to Aleppo, Tripoli  and Gaza and show them the crimes that are committed by our own democratically elected governments.  Let them figure out for themselves who are the Nazis of our time.  I believe that this would be the first step in preventing the next Holocaust.

 

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Insightfulness and Palestine

October 14, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

Insight refers to the sudden ability to see something in a way that profoundly clarifies our understanding. It allows us to revise our views from a totally new perspective. Insightfulness is an innovative mode. It offers an alternative, out of the box, vision of the world around us. Insightfulness is a key factor in any dynamic and vibrant discourse.

While the so-called revolution is occasionally fueled by ideological or social ‘insight,’ the ‘revolutionaries’ are more often anti insightful by nature.  They spend their energy reducing an ‘insight’ into a fixed regime: a doctrine, a dogma, a strategy, a pile of commandments, a kosher jargon or a list of ‘deplorables.’ While Marx, for instance, offered an insightful materialist vision of our past as well as our human future, Marxists are generally an anti-insightful bunch. Their doctrine reduces Marx’s insights into Torah and Mizvoth, restricting and suppressing creative thinking. So-called ‘revolutionaries’ are too often a collective of  ‘counter-revolutionaries;’ people who do little but kill insightfulness. They identify symbolically with the ‘revolution,’ while they sustain a reality of stagnation. This analysis may assist us in understanding the last 150 years of Left paralysis in the West. It may also explain why it is often fascists who take over precisely when conditions are ripe for a ‘text book’ Marxist revolution.

Observing the evolution of the Palestinian solidarity movement and the growing influence of Jewish bodies within this movement has provided me with the opportunity to monitor a spectacular anti-insightful operation.

For many years I have wondered why the Palestinian solidarity discourse is uniquely anti-intellectual. It basically jettisons critical thinking and acts instead from a rigid activism manual. Instead of advancing our understanding of the essence and the nature of what is responsible for the oppression of the Palestinian people, namely The Jewish State, the movement clings to models that drive us as far as possible from the conflict or a working understanding of its roots. Instead of asking how the Israelis interpret the meaning of their state as the ‘Jewish state’ or trying to understand how the Jewishness of that ‘Jewish state’ influences Israeli politics or its supportive lobby around the world, we cling to moldy 19th century theoretical models (e.g., colonialism) that apply to super power conduct in an industrial era. Instead of comparing the Jewish State to other political models that adhered to expansionism, nationalism, race and ethnic cleansing (Nazi Germany, for instance), we equate Israel with apartheid South Africa.

In truth, Israel is far more vile than apartheid South Africa. Apartheid is a racist system of exploitation, the Jewish state doesn’t want to ‘exploit’ the Palestinians, it wants them gone. Israel is a racially driven, expansionist ethnic cleanser but we are not allowed to study the true nature of its philosophy.

I should feel a bit sorry to point out that the Palestinian solidarity movement is not just ideologically and politically misleading, it is actually misleading by design.

In 2010 I asked Olivia Zemor,  an enthusiastic French Jewish pro Palestinian BDS activist, why she disseminates populist slogans that work to stifle her followers’ ability to understand the roots of the conflict and its possible resolution. Zemor’s answer was shockingly simple: “we have a lot of people who support Palestine, we better keep them busy with simple tasks.”  Perhaps the Palestinian solidarity movement is an intense engagement, but, as we know, it has yet to facilitate the return of a single Palestinian refugee to Jaffa, Lod, Haifa or anywhere else in that unpromising land.  In fact, it is doing the opposite. It keeps people busy with ‘simple tasks’ that divert their attention from the root cause of the conflict. Instead of looking at the exceptionalist and racist orientation that is intrinsic to pretty much every Jewish political discourse, we equate a post modernist  21st century entity  with the modernist politics of the 19th century British empire.  Instead of unconditionally supporting the Right of Return, the movement is basically an endless internal Jewish debate about Jews’ right to BDS.

In the 1990s the Palestinian solidarity movement  engaged in a vibrant innovative discourse that was the basis of an evolutionary mechanism where the most profound thoughts prevailed.  But this changed in the early 2000s when a crude and relentless effort emerged aimed at eradicating any attempt at deep, essentialist, innovative thinking. Insightfulness was replaced by a rigid regime of correctness. The solidarity movement rapidly became an intellectual desert.

Instead of caring for the refugees in Lebanon or Syria, the Palestinian solidarity movement primarily engaged in the  ‘fight against antisemitsm.’  Bizarrely, it was the Palestinian solidarity movement that acted, well in advance of Hasbara pressure groups, to purge those ‘problematic voices’ who were brave enough to call a spade a spade.  This was predictable since it was in the early 2000s that  the Palestinian solidarity movement morphed into a Jewish identitarian discourse. From that point on, the solidarity agenda was defined by Jewish sensitivities.  The solidarity movement didn’t liberate Palestine because it wasn’t meant to. Its real goal was to vindicate the Jews as a collective from the crimes committed  on ‘their behalf’ by the Jewish State.

Throughout this time the so-called ‘Jews in the movement’ (JIM) viciously and ferociously attacked the greatest  minds and most enthusiastic activists who expressed support for Palestine (People like Israel Shamir, Greta Berlin, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein, Paul Eisen and Alison Weir).  None of these attacks led to discussion or debate within solidarity institutions, for these institutions have been reduced into authoritarian kangaroo courts.  The attacks were often followed by Talmudic Herem procedures – calls for disavowals and excommunication.

Back in the day, Paul Eisen taught me the iron rule of Jewish politics. “Self identified political Jews,” he said, “always kick to the left.” As long as they do so, they sustain their membership in the fold. Often we learn that a West Bank messianic settler has kicked to Netanyahu’s left. Netanyahu, on his part, kicks the Israeli political centre. The Israel’s Labour Party does the same to the Israeli Left that itself often harshly criticizes Jewish diaspora ‘anti’ Zionist groups. Unfortunately, this dynamic doesn’t stop at the Israeli border. Diaspora self-identified progressive ‘anti’ Zionist Jews follow the same procedure. They smear, denounce and purge those whom they are desperate to silence.

The pattern is clear, to be a (political) Jew is to define the boundaries of kosher conduct. Jews do not agree amongst themselves on what constitutes kosher political conduct, but they do agree on the necessity of boundaries. To be a Jew is to insist that someone else is ‘beyond the pale.’

This  dynamic  manifests itself daily within the Jewish pro  Palestinian movement. The British Jewish group that calls itself “Free Speech on Israel” doesn’t actually support true freedom of speech. It just insists upon redefining the boundaries of such ‘freedom.’ JVP and Mondoweiss often tell us what and who we shouldn’t listen to. When my book The Wandering Who was published in 2012 it rapidly gained popularity amongst Palestinian supporters. Mondoweiss were very quick to react. They changed their comment policy . “From here on out, the Mondoweiss comment section will no longer serve as a forum to pillory Jewish culture and religion as the driving factors in Israeli and US policy.” The Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist site practically banned its followers from talking about the Jewishness of a state that calls itself ‘The Jewish State.’

The same applies to Richard Silverstein and others who are often denounced by Zionists and even anti Zionists  yet still insist upon defining what is right and who is wrong for Palestine.

In light of this Jewish kick boxing apparatus, Goyim are easy to describe. Goyim do not kick to the left nor do they kick to the right.  The most dedicated American journalist on Palestine,  Alison Weir, has never told us what the boundaries of the political discussion are. The Washington Report on  Middle East Affairs has not told us whom we should ignore or disavow. Stephen Mearsheimer also failed to tell us who to delete. And these Goyim are not alone. I have never seen Richard Falk’s repudiation list. Norman Finkelstein is not a fan of my work, but he does not interfere with my or anyone else’s work. The same applies to Chomsky.  Paul Eisen and Israel Shamir who suffered more than most the vile and brutal smear campaigns, have never participated in the Jewish left kicking.

Shamir, Eisen, Finkelstein, Chomsky and Falk may disagree on many things but they share a crucial quality.  Like Uri Avnery R.I.P. and Gideon Levy they do not present a template of kosher boundaries. It is not surprising that these people are amongst the most insightful. They operate as intellectuals. They do not operate politically as Jews. They offer their take on reality and refrain from defining what issues we shouldn’t tackle. They let others be.

In my latest book, Being in Time, I reinstate the discussion about ‘Athens and Jerusalem.’ Athens, as I define it, is the birth place of philosophy, science and beauty. Athens is where ‘we think things through.’ Jerusalem, on the other hand, is the city of revelation, the realm of obedience governed by a strict regime  of correctness. Unfortunately, the Palestinian solidarity movement has been reduced into a ghettoized Jerusalemite sect. But despite this, solidarity with the Palestinians hasn’t died out. It has grown into a universal global awareness. By now, we are all Palestinians, Like the Palestinians we can’t even utter the name of our oppressor.

It was not the so called ‘solidarity movement’ that made us Palestinians. It is the IHRA definition of antisemitsm that makes us Palestinians. It is the global campaign against Corbyn and the Labour party that has made us feel like refugees in our own country. It is Trump making Israel great again that made us Gazans. It is the realization that Zionist abuse is a multi layered  global  disaster. It is the understanding that if we won’t wake up and soon, we may be next to bear the consequences.

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To learn how we have become our own worst enemy read Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto…

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

After 70 Years of Abuse, A Definition of Anti-Palestinian Racism

BY Stuart Littlewood
Source

photo_2018-10-08_13-18-04_6aafa.jpgIs this where the fight-back begins?

What is the matter with the Palestine solidarity movement? Since 1948 (and before that, even) the Palestinians have been viciously abused and dispossessed while the perpetrators and their supporters, including unprincipled politicians of the Western Powers, have continually played the anti-Semitism card.

Lately, bemused spectators were bored witless by the long and ludicrous propaganda campaign to vilify Jeremy Corbyn, bully the Labour Party into making the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism a cornerstone of their code of conduct and stifle discussion of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. The expected riposte never came.

Jewish Voice For Labour, of all people, have now stepped in and struck back with a useful looking definition of Anti-Palestinian Racism which they decribe as “hatred towards or prejudice against Palestinians as Palestinians”. In a document faintly mocking the pronouncements on anti-Semitism they suggest that manifestations of anti-Palestinian racism might include the denial of Palestinian rights to a state of Palestine as recognised by over 130 member countries of the United Nations and blaming Palestinians themselves for their plight under brutal military occupation and lock-down. Here’s how they put it:

Contemporary examples of anti-Palestinian racism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

1. Denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and nationhood, or actively conspiring to prevent the exercise of this right.

2. Denial that Israel is in breach of international law in its continued occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

3. Denial that Israel is an apartheid state according to the definition of the International Convention on Apartheid.

4. Denial of the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba and of their right, and the right of their descendants, to return to their homeland.

5. Denial that Palestinians have lived in what is now the land of Israel for hundreds of years and have their own distinctive national identity and culture.

6. Denial that the laws and policies which discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel (such as the recently passed Nation State Law) are inherently racist.

7. Denial that there is widespread discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories in matters of employment, housing, justice, education, water supply, etc, etc.

8. Tolerating the killing or harming of Palestinians by violent settlers in the name of an extremist view of religion.

9. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Palestinians — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth of a Palestinian conspiracy to wipe Israel off the map.

10. Justifying the collective punishment of Palestinians (prohibited under the Geneva Convention) in response to the acts of individuals or groups.

11. Accusing the Palestinians as a people, of encouraging the Holocaust.

I am not sure how Palestinians, as genuine Semites living there for thousands of years, will react to No.5 which claims their homeland is “now the land of Israel”. Despite being illegally occupied by an apartheid entity most of whose members have no ancestral links to the ancient “land of Israel” it is still Palestine.

For decades activists have been telling the Israel lobby to look in the mirror and address their own racial hatred towards the Palestinians. You must truly hate people to deny them their freedom and even their right to return to their homes and livelihoods. Why has it taken so long for such a simple and obvious weapon to be produced? Doesn’t it make you wonder about the true agenda of those in charge of Palestine solidarity? And why is it left to a group of Jews (bless ’em) to do it?

The question now is how best to deliver this somewhat delayed riposte. It might have been most effective while the iron was hot, at the height of the anti-Semitism witch-hunt and media onslaught. Many activists wanted Corbyn to turn on his tormentors and tell them to mend their own vile attitude towards Palestinian Arabs before daring to smear others with accusations of anti-Semitism.

On the other hand it will benefit from careful honing, cool planning and the massing of pro-Palestinian support to make the hit really count.

For reasons we know only too well our politicians won’t adopt it as eagerly as they embraced the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism. But it is at least a starting point in the fight-back especially if deployed by a coalition of genuine pro-Palestine groups and the BDS movement as the centrepiece of a new, high-octane strategy.

Lies, damned lies….

Meanwhile I hope all those who allowed themselves to be suckered by the Israel lobby will hang their heads in shame when they read this report by the Media Reform Coalition: Labour, Antisemitism and the News – A disinformation paradigm. The Executive summary says that an analysis of over 250 articles and news segments from the largest UK news providers (online and television) showed:

• 29 examples of false statements or claims, several of them made by anchors or correspondents themselves, six of them surfacing on BBC television news programmes, and eight on TheGuardian.com

• A further 66 clear instances of misleading or distorted coverage including misquotations, reliance on single source accounts, omission of essential facts or right of reply, and repeated assumptions made by broadcasters without evidence or qualification. In total, a quarter of the sample contained at least one documented inaccuracy or distortion.

• Overwhelming source imbalance, especially on television news where voices critical of Labour’s code of conduct were regularly given an unchallenged and exclusive platform, outnumbering those defending Labour by nearly 4 to 1.

In all, there were 95 clear-cut examples of misleading or inaccurate reporting on mainstream television and online news platforms, with a quarter of the total sample containing at least one such example. On TV two thirds of the news segments contained at least one reporting error or substantive distortion.

The report points to “a persistent subversion of conventional news values”. Furthermore, coverage of Labour’s revised code of conduct during the summer of 2018 often omitted critical discussion of the ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism promoted by the IHRA and wrongly described it as universally adopted. “We established through background case research that although the IHRA is an international body with representatives from 31 countries, only six of those countries have, to date, formally adopted the definition themselves.

• In spite of a call for local authorities to adopt the definition by the UK’s central government in early 2017, less than a third of councils have responded and several of those have chosen not to include any of the controversial examples contained within the working definition.

• Several high-profile bodies have rejected or distanced themselves from the working definition, including the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (a successor to the body that drafted the original wording on which the definition is based) and academic institutions including the London School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies.

• Mainstream academic and legal opinion has been overwhelmingly critical of the IHRA definition, including formal opinions produced by three senior UK barristers and one former appeals court judge. Virtually none of this essential context found its way into news reports of the controversy. Instead, the Labour Party was routinely portrayed by both sources and correspondents as beyond the pale of conventional thinking on the IHRA definition.”

Which all goes to show that Britain’s mainstream media has a hill to climb to get back its self-respect.

Stating the obvious, Criticism of israeli (apartheid state) Policy Is Not Anti-Semitic

Criticism of Israeli Policy Is Not Anti-Semitic

Jeremy Corbyn (Alexandros Michailidis via Shutterstock)Jeremy Corbyn (Alexandros Michailidis via Shutterstock)

by James J. Zogby

I was provoked to write this discussion of what is and what isn’t anti-Semitism by an article in Ha’aretz on the “controversy” created by the awarding of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to George P. Smith. According to the reporting, Smith is not only a brilliant scientist whose work has helped lead to the creation of new drugs that can treat cancer and a range of autoimmune diseases, he is also an outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and a critic of Israeli policies.

The Ha’aretz piece notes that Smith has long been “a target of pro-Israel groups” and is listed on “the controversial Canary Mission website”—used by supporters of Israel to harass and silence critics.

As I read through the article looking for evidence of Smith’s sins, I found quotes saying that he “wished ‘not for Israel’s Jewish population to be expelled’ but ‘an end to the discriminatory regime in Palestine.’” At another point, Ha’aretz quotes from an op-ed written by Smith condemning Israeli policies in Gaza which he concludes by expressing his support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) calling it “Palestinian civil society’s call for the global community of conscience to ostracize Israeli businesses and institutions until Israel repudiates [their violence against Palestinians] and the Palestinian people, including the exiles, achieve full equality with the Jews in their shared homeland.”

I read all of this in the context of this worrisome campaign that is unfolding here in the United States to silence critics of Israel or the exclusivist vision of Political Zionism. It is a well-funded multi-pronged effort, one component of which is the shadowy Canary Mission website that publishes the names, photos, and backgrounds of pro-Palestinian students and professors—terming them anti-Semites or supporters of terrorism. It does so with the expressed purpose of harming their careers. The Canary Mission list is also used to taint and smear these activists to intimidate politicians from engaging with them. And the lists have been used by the Israeli government to deny entry to, in particular, Palestinian Americans or progressive Americans Jews seeking to see family, study, teach, or simply visit that country.

Although the Canary Mission has done its best to keep its operations, leadership, and funding secret, recent articles published in the Jewish press have revealed that the project has been financially supported by some mainstream American Jewish philanthropic entities.

In addition to the Canary Mission there is the campaign that seeks to criminalize support for BDS or to penalize supporters of the movement to hold Israel accountable for its systematic violations of Palestinian rights. This effort is massively funded by the likes of Sheldon Adelson and we now learn, also from a recent expose in a prominent American Jewish newspaper, by millions of dollars funneled to the campaign from the Government of Israel.

Then there is legislation currently pending in Congress designed to make boycotting Israel a crime, complementing the 25 states that have already passed laws denying salaries, contracts, or benefits to individuals who support BDS.

Finally, in a replay of the effort that pressed the UK’s Labour Party to define criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic, Trump’s appointment to lead the Civil Rights Office at the U.S. Department of Education has made clear his intent to investigate anti-Israel activism on college campuses as forms of anti-Semitism. And there is legislation pending in Congress—the Antisemitism Awareness Act. Both this bill and the action by Kenneth Marcus at the Education Department seek to extend the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel.

In reflecting on these developments, there are several observations that should be made: anti-Semitism is real, ugly, and dangerous; criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism; and the effort to conflate the two not only silences needed debate, it distracts from the effort to root out real anti-Semitism, a scourge that has created great pain and enormous suffering in human history.

Anti-Semitism is hatred toward Jews—individually and as a group. It is also the attribution of evil intent or negative qualities to individuals or a group just because they are Jews. On the other hand, criticism of Israeli policy is not anti-Semitic. When Smith has criticized Israel’s massacres at the Gaza border or its systematic denial of equal rights and justice to Palestinians, he is not attributing this behavior to their religion or even suggesting that this behavior is due to their being Jews. For example, he is not saying “Israel is oppressing Palestinians because that’s the way Jews behave.” Nor is he saying that all Jews, as a group, are responsible for these actions—this would be anti-Semitic.  He said no such thing. The only reason to target Smith and those, like him, who critique the policies of the state (that by the way are not supported by all Israelis or Jews, worldwide) is to silence their voices.

This idea that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic (what is now called “the new anti-Semitism”) is decades old. It has received a push, in recent years, by the campaign to add to the definition of anti-Semitism any criticism that singles Israel out and doesn’t apply the same standard to other countries. This is, at best, a far-fetched effort to shield Israel. While it’s proponents claim that it targets only those who single out Israel for criticism, what they really seek to do is single out Israel as the one country that can’t be criticized.

It is also important to note that there is evidence that in, too many instances, the struggle to combat real anti-Semitism takes a back seat to the effort to shield Israel. For example, while some pro-Israel groups targeted Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party charging him with tolerating anti-Semitism, they ignored the virulent anti-Semites operating on the right-wing of UK politics. This led many Labourites to conclude that the real target was Corbyn’s unrelenting support for Palestinian rights. Much the same could be implied from Benjamin Netanyahu’s embrace of far-right anti-Semitic European leaders, because they were strong supporters of his government.

The bottom line is that this entire effort is designed not to combat anti-Semitism but to silence criticism.  And in the process of doing so enormous damage is done to: legitimate, well-deserved and necessary criticism of Israeli policies; the reputations of individuals like Smith and student activists who speak out because they are outraged by the injustices visited upon Palestinians; and the struggle against the scourge of real anti-Semitism.

James J. Zogby is the president of the Arab American Institute.

Jewish Lesson on Racism

October 03, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Text analysis by Gilad Atzmon

The JVL (Jewish Voice for Labour), a pro Corbyn racially exclusive Jews-only cell that does not accept non Jews into its ranks, is attempting to teach us about racism and anti Semitism.

Instead of opposing all forms of racism and bigotry on a universal basis, the Jews only ‘left’ group has adopted the ‘anti Semitism’ cry. Together with FSoI (Free Speech on Israel), a ‘predominantly Jewish campaign group,’ it has published a disturbing document that confirms that their primary concern is Jewish suffering.

The document: https://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/definitionBooklet.pdf

“We,” the Jewish bodies unanimously state,” believe that the following comments will be helpful to those drawing up Labour’s disciplinary code, and perhaps more widely.”

I will review each of the JVL/FSoI’s comments.

Implications of taking this view of antisemitism

1.  Stereotypes

Racism commonly stereotypes groups as inferior in ways that enable discrimination against them. Such stereotypes function by scapegoating a targeted group, deflecting blame for society’s problems from their real causes. Antisemitic stereotyping has historically been used to dehumanise Jewish people, giving license to treat them in ways not otherwise acceptable. Use of such stereotypes is unarguably antisemitic conduct.

Gilad: It has been a while since the Jews have been treated as an ‘inferior’ collective. On the contrary, it is the hegemony of Jews in certain domains that is often criticised.  Much has been written, for instance, about Jewish lobby groups dominating American and British foreign affairs. Jewish pressure groups have imposed the IHRA definition of antisemitism on governments, political parties and institutions. Prominent Jews such as Alan Dershowitz boast about “Jews contributing disproportionally..” raising the question of whether JVL would allow goyim to do the same: to point at the very power Jews often brag about.  

 

2.  Expressions of antisemitism

Certain words and phrases that refer to Jews in a derogatory way are unquestionably antisemitic. Terms which associate Jews with malevolent social forces clearly fall into this category. Extreme examples are the blood libel (that Jews kill Christian children to use their blood in religious ceremonies), and the claimed existence of a powerful but secret Jewish cabal that controls the world.
Seemingly neutral or positive terms can also be used in antisemitic ways. For example, assertions that Jews are unusually clever or especially ‘good with money’ make the unwarranted assumption that all Jews share similar characteristics. Commonly, there is a negative, antisemitic edge to such views.

 Gilad: Not surprisingly and consistent with their Zionist brethren, the JVL and the so called ‘Free’ Speech on Israel attempt to impose a Jerusalemite regime of correctness to suppress any attempt to look into Jews, their culture and their political settings. Is it racist to acknowledge that Blacks are great jazz musicians, or often superb at sports? If it isn’t, why is it anti-Semitic to discuss Jews as being powerful, clever or even influential? 

3.  Terminology

Jews, Israelis and Zionists are separate categories that are too frequently conflated by both supporters and critics of Israel. This conflation can be antisemitic. Holding all Jews responsible for the actions of the Israeli government is antisemitic. Many Jews are not Zionist. The majority of Zionists are not Jewish but fundamentalist Christian Zionists. Over 20 percent of Israeli citizens are not Jewish.

Gilad: Although not all Jews are Zionists, Israel defines itself as ‘The Jewish State’ and Israel is racist and abusive entity. Sadly, the racially exclusive JVL in accepting gentiles only as ‘solidarity members’ and not as full members, is actually more racist than Israel. In Israel, Arabs can be citizens and their politicians can be proper members of the Israeli Knesset. How many Arabs or Goyim are included in JVL’s steering body? Not one…

4.  Political discourse

Free speech is legally protected. Within these legal limits political discourse can be robust and may cause offence. There is no right not to be offended. The fact that some people or groups are offended does not in itself mean that a statement is antisemitic or racist. A statement is only antisemitic if it shows prejudice, hostility or hatred against Jews as Jews.
The terms ‘Zionism’ and ‘Zionist’ describe a political ideology and its adherents. They are key concepts in the discussion of Israel/Palestine. They are routinely used, approvingly, by supporters of Israel, but critically by campaigners for Palestinian rights, who identify Zionist ideology and the Zionist movement as responsible for Palestinian dispossession. Criticising Zionism or Israel as a state does not constitute criticising Jews as individuals or as a people and is not evidence of antisemitism.
There have been claims that any comparison between aspects of Israel and features of pre-war Nazi Germany is inherently antisemitic. Similar objections have been raised to likening Israel’s internal practices to those of apartheid South Africa. Drawing such parallels can undoubtedly cause offence; but potent historical events and experiences are always key reference points in political debate. Such comparisons are only antisemitic if they show prejudice, hostility or hatred against Jews as Jews.

Gilad: Here a Jewish group is dictating the terminology that may be used to criticise Jewish power, history or culture. This is a classic example of a Jewish controlled opposition in which the discourse of the oppressed is defined by the sensitivities of the oppressor. JVL & Co kindly allow us to compare Zionism and Nazism but may we dig into the Jewish nature of the self- defined “Jewish State”? What about comparing the Nazi Party and JVL?  Both are racially exclusive: the former Aryans–only, the latter Jews-only.   

5.  Boycott, divestment and sanctions

A common focus for allegations of antisemitism is the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) targeted on Israel. The three elements of BDS are internationally recognized as legitimate and non-violent strategies for securing political change. So, advocating for BDS would only be antisemitic if accompanied by evidence that it is motivated not by this purpose but by racially-based hostility towards Jews.

Gilad: it is predictable that the JVL is keen on BDS. While the Palestinians are primarily seeking the ‘Right of Return,’ the Jewish solidarity project is dedicated to replacing the right of return with the ‘right to BDS.’ This agenda is, practically, a back door legitimisation of the Jewish State with the 1967 borders.

6.  When Antisemitism Is Alleged

As with any allegations of racism, accusations of antisemitism must be taken seriously and investigated. But principles of natural justice and due process must be respected and applied: the person accused should be accorded the normal presumption of innocence until the case is resolved. Allegations do not constitute proof.
Antisemitic attitudes may be more or less intense.* Some people are deeply antisemitic, others less so. Yet others whom it would be unreasonable to class as antisemitic may nevertheless hold some attitudes, in dilute form, which will make some Jews uncomfortable. Following a finding of antisemitism there remains a decision to be made about whether discussion and education, rather than a formal disciplinary approach, is more appropriate.
Indirect discrimination could inadvertently occur, where actions have the effect of selectively disadvantaging Jewish people even though no hostile motive towards Jews is present.  Once a case of such discrimination comes to light, those responsible should take all reasonable steps possible to eliminate the problem.  Unwillingness to take such steps would be evidence of antisemitism.
The systematic murder of millions of Jews (and so many others) is exhaustively documented. It is therefore inconceivable that Holocaust denial or expressions of doubt over its scale could be motivated by genuine investigatory scepticism. The implication of antisemitic intent is, for practical purposes, inescapable.

* See Institute of Jewish Policy Research report Antisemitism in Contemporary Great Britain, 2017

 

Gilad: It took the JVL/FSoI only a few lines before they produced a blanket rejection of WWII historical revisionism. This is not a convincing definition of anti Semitism. I wonder if the JVL or FSoI could explain how exploring the past and drawing whatever conclusions, can be interpreted as ‘discrimination of the Jews for being Jews.’ As we can see, the ‘predominantly  Jewish’ Free Speech on Israel isn’t about freedom of speech in general. Quite the opposite It is actually set to define the boundaries of freedom.

 Overview

The understanding of antisemitism on which this analysis is based reaffirms the traditional meaning of the term. This is important in the light of attempts to extend its meaning to apply to criticisms often made of the state of Israel, or to non-violent campaigns such as BDS. A charge of antisemitism carries exceptional moral force because of the negative connotations rightly attaching to the term. It is illegitimate to make such claims to discredit or deter criticism, or to achieve sectional advantage. To do so is to devalue the term.

To be clear: conduct is antisemitic only if it manifests ‘prejudice, hostility or hatred against Jews as Jews’.

 Gilad: This removes any doubt that JVL/FSoI are not committed to a universal fight against bigotry. Racial bigotry is ‘hatred or discrimination against X for being X.’ The JVL/FSoI are committed to the fight against (alleged) Jew hatred. The JVL is an exclusive Jewish body focused on the primacy of Jewish suffering. As such, the difference between JVL and Zionist bodies is marginal. We are dealing with a crypto Zionist body.

Left open are questions of: 1. How does this racially driven body fit with Labour’s values? And, 2. How Labour’s leader, a man who genuinely opposes all forms of racism, agrees to count such a bluntly racist group amongst its supporters?

Article Explaining Why israel (apartheid state) is a Racist State Embarrasses Labour Party

Article Explaining Why Israel is a Racist State Embarrasses Labour Party

Moshé Machover authored an article proving that the Labour acceptance of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism cannot coexist with free speech on Israel.  This scholar and Israeli veteran linked the racist nature of the Israeli state to its colonialist roots

The Spectacular Zionist Boomerang

September 27, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

jewish+boomerang.jpg

 

By Gilad Atzmon

All that is left for us to do is to thank British Zionist institutions, the BOD, the CAA, the Jewish Chronicle and the Zionist stooges within British media for making the British Labour party not only the biggest and most united political party in Europe but also a party united behind its leader Jeremy Corbyn and unequivocally opposed to Israeli criminality.

Christians United for Israel, an ultra Zionist outlet, complained that  “hundreds of Palestinian flags were flown on the main floor of Labour’s Party conference yesterday despite the British flag not being allowed. The flags, which were flown with approval of the Labour leadership, were handed out to delegates by activists before the Conference passed a motion demanding a freeze on arms sales to Israel and an investigation into the deaths of Palestinians on the Gaza border.”

It is worth mentioning that Israel doesn’t actually need  obsolete British weapons.  Likely the British army would also benefit by avoiding the use of locally manufactured lethal toys. But what is crucial is that despite the relentless Zionist campaign against Corbyn and the British media’s shameless compliance with the Zionist call, the Labour party has prevailed magnificently. It is more focused and united than it has been in the past five shameful decades.

Noticeable of late is that Israel firsters are changing their strategy. Tossing antisemitsm accusations against Corbyn and the Labour party was counterproductive, the accusations only ended up contributing to the popularity of Corbyn and the party. So now the Zionist clan is trying to mobilize new opposition by accusing the Labour party and its many supporters of being ‘unpatriotic.’ “Shockingly, earlier in the week Labour constituencies chose to debate ‘Palestine’ with more than 188,000 votes – making it the only international issue to receive a dedicated debate in Liverpool and thousands more votes than for concerns such as the NHS, the welfare system, or Brexit.”

Labour party members waved the Palestinian flag en masse grasping that by now -We Are All Palestinians-like the Palestinians we aren’t even allowed to utter the name of our oppressor. I suspect that blaming Labour for holding a meeting that Israel’s supporters claim failed to pay sufficient attention to the NHS or welfare is not going to work, but obviously, I welcome the new Zionist strategy. As we have seen, each and every one of their acts boomerangs spectacularly.

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