Israel’s Hands Spread Wide and Dig Deep

Image result for Israel’s Hands Spread Wide and Dig Deep
Brian Cloughley
August 6, 2019
© Photo: Flickr / Official Photo by Caleb Smith

In the US House of Representatives on 23 July there was an overwhelming vote condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement which has the objective of encouraging the government of Israel to meet “its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully comply with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

There is nothing morally or legally questionable in any of these aims.  But the United States Congress does not concern itself with morality or legality if these are inconsistent with its policy concerning Israel, which, as enunciated by Representative Lee Zeldin of New York, is based on the conviction that “Israel is our best ally in the Mid East; a beacon of hope, freedom & liberty, surrounded by existential threats.”  Fox News reported that the condemnatory resolution “has been pushed by AIPAC, the influential Israel lobby in Washington,” which explains a great deal, as AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a very powerful organisation, with deep pockets and wide-spreading hands.

In February 2019 The Intercept noted  that “AIPAC, on its own website, recruits members to join its ‘Congressional Club,’ and commit to give at least $5,000 per election cycle.” In a film called The Lobby “Eric Gallagher, a top official at AIPAC from 2010 to 2015, tells an Al Jazeera reporter that AIPAC gets results.”  A secret recording revealed that “Getting $38 billion in security aid to Israel matters, which is what AIPAC just did. Everything AIPAC does is focused on influencing Congress.”

And AIPAC influences Congress and other agencies extremely efficiently, even to the extent of managing to have Al Jazeera refrain from broadcasting the US-focused version of The Lobby.The Director of Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, Clayton Swisher, said that pressure included “pro-Israel lobbyists in Washington threatening to convince Congress to register the network as ‘foreign agents,’ and false accusations of anti-Semitism against the producers of the documentary.”  That’s all you need:  the mere mention of anti-Semitism makes everyone suck their teeth, roll their eyes, and leap out of the way.

It so happened that the day before Congress condemned an initiative aimed at having Israel recognise the rights of Palestinians and abide by international law, the Israelis carried out an operation of destruction that was specifically aimed against the rights of Palestinians and was contrary to international law.  As the BBC reported, it involved 200 Israeli soldiers and 700 police, weapons at the ready, deploying to the Palestinian village of Wadi Hummus at 4 in the morning of July 22, along with bulldozers and excavators that proceeded to destroy Palestinian homes.

There wasn’t a word of objection from the US Administration whose Tweeter-in-Chief had made his views on Israel crystal-clear on 16 July when he announced that the four non-white female Members of Congress whom he loathes to the point of psychosis are “a bunch of Communists [who] hate Israel.”  Moreover, they “talk about Israel like they’re a bunch of   thugs, not victims of the entire region.”  On the other hand, the European Union stated that “Israel’s settlement policy, including actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, is illegal under international law. In line with the EU’s long-standing position, we expect the Israeli authorities to immediately halt the ongoing demolitions.”  Fat chance of that — just as there is no possibility that the United states or the United Kingdom will support pursuit of international law when it is violated by Israel.

Britain is on its way out of the European Union, so has no say in EU policy, but in any case it wouldn’t agree about criticism of Israel because the governing Conservative Party fosters an organisation called ‘Conservative Friends of Israel’ (CFI) whose members constitute some eighty per cent of Conservative Members of Parliament.

Boris Johnson, Britain’s Trump-loving new prime minister, is a fervid supporter of CFI which supported him in his bid to be head of the Conservative party. On 23 July, after his selection to be leader and thus prime minister, the CFI’s Chairmen, Stephen Crabb MP and Lord Pickles, and Honorary President Lord Polak declared that “From his refusal to boycott Israeli goods in his time as Mayor of London through to his instrumental role as Foreign Secretary…  Boris has a long history of standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel and the Jewish community. Mr Johnson continued to display his resolute support… reiterating his deep support for Israel and pledging to be a champion for Jews in Britain and around the world.”

One of Johnson’s first ministerial appointments was of Ms Priti Patel to be Home Secretary. She had resigned from the Cabinet of PM Theresa May in November 2017 because it had been discovered that she had been telling lies, which wasn’t in itself unusual, but the circumstances were intriguing.  As the BBC headlined about the then head of International Development :  “Priti Patel quits cabinet over Israel meetings row” which involved her apologising to the prime minister “after unauthorised meetings in August with Israeli politicians — including prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — came to light. But it later emerged she had two further meetings without government officials present in September.”  Not only that, but in a media interview “she gave the false impression that the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and the Foreign Office knew about her meetings in Israel.”

It’s one of these irregular verbs which were met with much laughter during the marvellous BBC series ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ — ‘I make a misstatement;  she gives a false impression;  he is in prison for telling lies.’

And it was decidedly strange that the egregious Lord Polak, he of the statement that Boris Johnson stands “shoulder to shoulder with Israel” accompanied Patel at 13 of her 14 meetings with Israeli officials during August and September. What on earth could have been going on?

Of course she had no reason to worry about having to resign for telling lies, because at the time of her disgrace Boris Johnson told the BBC that “Priti Patel has been a very good colleague and friend for a long time and a first class secretary of state for international development. It’s been a real pleasure working with her and I’m sure she has a great future ahead of her.”  The man has the gift of prophecy.

Then Johnson appointed Michael Gove to his Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, which is a weird appointment that gives a lot of power and very little responsibility. Gove had been demonstrably disloyal to Johnson during the first leadership struggle, in what the Daily Telegraph called a “spectacular act of treachery” but all was forgiven because, as recorded approvingly by the Conservative Friends of Israel he believes that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are “two sides of the same coin”, which means that anybody who criticises Israel’s nationalistic persecution of Palestinians is an anti-Semite. He believes that “the test for any civilised society is whether it stands with the Jewish people, and whether it stands with Israel. It is a pleasure to stand with the Jewish people. It is a duty to stand with Israel.”

The Palestinians are not going to get one tiny bit of support from either the United States or Britain when their houses are bulldozed to rubble.  They can expect no criticism from Washington or London when their children are killed in Gaza by Israeli soldiers.

The West Bank of the Jordan River, between Israel and Jordan, was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Then it annexed East Jerusalem. Both areas are defined in international law as occupied territory.  Although this is ignored by the US and Britain it was intriguing that in a minor but telling legal finding in Canada on 30 July, a judge ruled that wines made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank should not carry labels that say “Product of Israel” because of course the settlements are built on Palestinian land.

But there’s no point in telling that to the Israeli-supporting wine connoisseur Donald Trump or the US Congress or any member of Britain’s governing Conservative party, because international law means nothing when there are other priorities.

FB Jail for truth tellers

June 01, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Once a day the Palestinian poet Nahida Izzat is being thrown into the FB Jail for 30 days for telling the truth about Palestine and the crime that has been committed against her people for almost a century.  Nahida has never promoted violence or written any type of hate speech. The routine is pretty exhausting.   She receives a FB notification about her suspension, she then appeals and after a few hours FB lifts her suspension.

 The Palestinian poet is subject to a relentless vilification campaign by both Zionists and Anti Zionist Zionists (AZZ). Yesterday, Nahida was suspended again. This time her crime was  posting a clip of a Palestinian man who just lost his home to an Israeli bomb. Nahida provided an English translation of the Gazan victim.

Nahida’s post read:

Do you want to know how people in Gaza feel?

Here it is: “Even if they destroy all our homes,

We are with the Resistance

Even if they kill every single one of us

We are with the Resistance Even if they kill our children

We are with the Resistance”

FB has now rejected Nahida’s appeal on the ridiculous ground that the above ‘goes against our community standards on hate speech”

 Apparently reporting on a war crime committed by Israel and providing a first hand account of  the destruction and the anguish inflicted on Palestinian refugees is considered ‘hate speech’ according to the authoritarian social network.

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Nahida Izzat, The Master of Poetic Resistance

May 30, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Nahida Izzat interviewed by Gilad Atzmon

The outspoken Palestinian poet Nahida Izzat has been an inspiration for a growing number of people. This fact has been a great concern for both Zionists and the so-called ‘anti.’ I have been witnessing the campaign against Nahida for over 10 years.  In recent days the desperate attempts to silence Nahida  have intensified. I spoke with Nahida about her life and her battle for truth. I urge you to listen to the spectacularly lucid voice of an heroic exiled poet.    

Gilad Atzmon: Recently FB has both suspended you at least once a day  and then lifted your suspension a few hours later after reviewing your appeal. It seems that someone is desperate to silence you. What are your feelings about this, and why do you think it’s happening?

Nahida Izzat:  That is true, Gilad. In the past, my account was suspended and my posts/comments deleted. To have my account reinstated, FB asked me to provide documentation (A copy of 2 of these items: Passport, Birth Certificate,  Driver’s License, or Bank Account) to prove my identity and that my account is not a fake.

This time around, I have been subjected to harassment on an almost daily basis, receiving notice that a post of mine “goes against FB Community Standards” of “Hate Speech”. I have protested immediately each time and requested a review, a few hours later I receive an apology from FB for their mistake in suspending my account and they have lifted the ban.

Whoever is reporting me recently has been trying desperately to find an excuse to silence me for being one of the most outspoken Palestinian voices in the West, daring to step outside the red line and break the “boundaries” as defined to us by the self-appointed gatekeepers in the Palestinian support movement.

Some years ago, and like yourself, I experienced some real harassment and attempted censorship  by no other than the Jewish anti-Zionist ‘supporters’ in the movement, those to whom I had given my trust after working closely with them for many years. They did this to me because I dared delve into the ‘forbidden’ topics they deemed taboo, and I stepped out of the boundaries they set as they claimed that anything beyond their boundaries was not ‘permissible’ in the discourse of the Palestinian struggle. They used the same accusation they use now of “antisemitism” to stop me from writing and to stop my writing from being published online.

 Some years ago, I identified some of the subjects they deem impermissible, including:

  • The doctrine of Jewish supremacy, (chosenness)  and its role in Palestine Struggle and the ramifications it has had on Palestinian lives and on their destruction;

  •     The global Jewish Zionist network which functions as the international blood line that has enabled the continuous survival of the Jewish state;

  •     The veneration of the holocaust as an article of faith rather than a chapter in history, and the implications of that for the Palestinian struggle for liberation; and

  •     The concealment of False Flag operations perpetrated by Mossad and the intentions and role of both the concealment and the operations themselves in the destruction of much of the Middle East.

All efforts to silence my roaring Palestinian voice have come to naught.  In fact, such efforts had the opposite effect. Instead of my having a voice that faintly echoes from a small city in the UK, their attempts to silence me have helped me raise the volume, so that my voice is propelled far and wide.

I see what is happening on FB now as deja vu, once again one or more people are out there desperately trying to smother an authentic, free and untamed Palestinian voice and to incarcerate an independent thinking mind by clutching a straw, building a castle on quicksand or throwing a handkerchief in people’s eyes to stop daylight from breaking through.

GA:  While in the early days it seemed as if it was Zionists and Israeli stooges who were interfering with our intellectual work, now it is established that Anti Zionist Jews are way more active on that front. What is your explanation?

NI: Zionist hawks are not interested in playing in a mind field, they prefer to play with bombs, bullets and minefields. Their interest is in totally eliminating their enemy.  By contrast, anti-Zionist ‘doves’ wave the banners of morality and universal values, it isn’t befitting to their moralist role to play with guns, so they focus on the mind field. But their arguments are feeble and cannot stand the heat of truth, the goals of their game evolve into working to spin and conceal truth for as long as possible, hoping that in their end game they can bury truth forever in the dungeon of “hate speech” locking it with the “antisemitism” and “holocaust denial” keys.

What these poor souls fail to see is that truth has an innate irrepressible light that can never be extinguished by their blows.

GA: What should be the role of anti Zionist Jews?

NI: If anti Zionist Jews are to be truthful with Palestinians, with our supporters and with themselves, all their energy, all their sincerity and all their might must turn inside out. They will have to turn over and look within. They should focus on diagnosing the root causes of the problem not, as they have insisted upon, merely describing the symptoms. Looking within is a huge undertaking, it requires a long and agonising journey within the self. I dare to suggest as a first step in this monumental task, that they approach it with honesty and sincerity not the avoidance and concealment we have seen.

The heart of the problem and the root cause of the Palestinian Nakba lies in the demon of ‘chosenness’, i.e ideological Jewish supremacy as manifested in their innumerable texts that separate Jews from ‘gentiles’ and puts them not merely miles apart, over and above the rest of mankind, but places them within a totally different paradigm, with different histories, terminology and perception of the world, themselves, and  the outside world. Without an end to this separation there can never be a true solution in which we achieve a workable, egalitarian, fair and humanistic world with universal values that apply to all.

In order for their self-chosen, self imposed separation to end, they must take a hard and honest look at the core issue, the elephant in the room, that which no one dares to name, ‘chosenness.’

They must examine why they feel the need to conceal this issue.

They need to discover why they ‘freak out’ and behave irrationally at the mention of this word.

They need to ask themselves the difficult questions:

Why do they feel entitled to control the terminology that defines what is good for mankind and why do they believe no one else can?

Why do they feel that their narrative is the one and only possible narrative?

Why do they believe that their own suffering supersedes that of others?

What is it that terrifies them when they feel they have no control in making the rules?

How do they demand that Palestinians be thoughtful of Jewish sensitivities, Jewish security and the Jewish future all while the Palestinians are being maimed, tortured and slaughtered?

Why do they expect Palestinians to consider the welfare, security and future well being of the Jewish ‘Israelis’ who are slaughtering them and bombing their society to smithereens?

What is it that makes them feel entitled to expect Palestinians to give up on their inalienable rights of liberation, land ownership and sovereignty for the sake of the same people  who have been robbing and destroying these rights for seven decades?

If they are able to manage a mile or two of honestly exploring these questions then they can move on to scrutinize and dissect the four boundaries that they have set for themselves and others that are listed above.

GA: Three days ago we were shocked to see an abusive and patronising post by the pro Palestinian Israeli activist Abigail Abarbanel.  She  has accused you of antisemitism and racism for publishing primary sources of Judaic texts. Abarbanel wrote of you that you “can be clumsy”, “bitterness has always been there in Nahida’s poetry, “she posted blatantly racist comments”, ” Nahida does not have good emotional regulation. She can be out of control and expresses incredibly racist views against Jews”,  “she seems unable to differentiate between her anger with the state of Israel/Zionism and what it has been doing to her people, and maligning the entire Jewish people for it”, she “expresses racist views against Jews in general, not just share specific examples of Jewish racism..” etc.  How does it feel when an Israeli who claims to be a supporter of your cause refers to you as ‘clumsy’ and ‘racist’?

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NI: Ok, how it feels!  Even though she has published some nasty stuff about me, I do not feel anger, hostility or hate toward her. I‘ve never met her personally, and on a human level I feel sorry for her, for her inability to empathise with others when her sensitivities are rubbed. I feel sorry for her inability to see beyond the bubble of tribalism she has chosen to dwell within. I feel sorry for her belief that she has mastered all there is to morality and humanity; when she goes out of her way to smear a fellow human being for the ‘sin’ of relying upon and quoting Jewish sources to provide evidence of ideological racism and supremacy and for asking her to challenge her own belief in  supremacy.

I feel sorry for her for thinking she has healed the wounds of childhood  abuse inflicted upon her by her family members and by her tribe even as they indulged in mass scale abuse of an entire people, although she is incapable of touching the infected core of the problem.

I am sorry to witness her fall as she swims out of her depth and lashes out at a concerned ‘outsider’ who has put a finger where it really hurts in the hope that if a correct diagnosis and attention to a cure is given, healing may occur.

On the collective humanist non-personal level, I experience deep pain from the ugliness of her betrayal of a people she claims to support. I grieve as a witness to her failure, watching as she faced a choice between blind loyalty to a tribe and the truth and made the wrong choice.

GA: Years ago both of us were portrayed as lone voices with marginal followings, nowadays things have turned around.  All over Europe people are expressing fatigue with Zionist power over Western politics, culture, media, etc. We are facing a shift in mass consciousness. Does this change translate into hope? 

NI: Absolutely.

As a witness to so many changes in the short time over the past decade, and as an observer of the grave upheaval raging all around, destabilising major political systems, shifting and shoveling global powers, one cannot fail to see the meaning of “everything is in flux!” Change is a law of the universe.

And watching Zionists and anti-Zionists alike, of all shades, colours and persuasions stuck in an ever shrinking narrowing field in the battle of ideas, with no weapons in their hands other than ad hominem attacks and laughable accusations of ‘antisemitism’, I have no doubt that they are slowly but surely losing the battles of the mind and the soul.

As witness to all this, I feel resolve, confidence and resilience from within, filling me with all the hope, energy and fortitude needed to persist.  As a person of faith, a believer in the existence of a Supreme Intelligence with Most High Principles, Ultimate Justice and Sublime Love, I feel this energy invigorating me and giving me even more power and the determination to continue roaring with passion for the sake of truth, justice and humanity.

Once Again Anti Zionist Zionists manufacture ‘quotes’…(video expose)

February 10, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

On 10 February 2019 a bunch of local AZZs (Anti Zionist Zionists) were determined to interfere with Gilad Atzmon’s book event in Stroud, UK. For some reason they didn’t manage to find a single quote in support of their argument that Atzmon is an ‘antisemite.’ What did they do instead? manufactured a few. This wasn’t the first time the ADL (Atzmon Defamation League) were caught making up quotes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKMITv5ZPdw

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

Happy New Year from Gilad Atzmon

December 30, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Everything you need to know about Zionism, Controlled Opposition, The Post Political and Athens vs. Jerusalem so you are ready for 2019.

https://youtu.be/SRX55nHmuUQ

To sign a petition in support of Gilad click here

Lodge a formal complaint with Islington Council: https://www.islington.gov.uk/contact-us/comments-and-complaints?status=inprogress

To support Gilad’s legal fund:  https://donorbox.org/gilad-needs-additional-support

 

West Bank Settler and American Patriot

Yonatan Stern interviewed by Gilad Atzmon

http://www.unz.com/

After the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting, I posted a short news item about Cherev Gidon, an ‘Israeli Tactical Training Academy’ in Pennsylvania. The Israeli-style military school teaches American Jews some of the IDF commando’s essential manoeuvres. Yonatan Stern, Cherev Gidon’s founder, contacted me a day later. He said that my report had been balanced. He wrote an open and intellectually engaging note. I replied, asking whether he would agree to an interview. We met earlier this week in a kosher pizzeria in Monticello, a small town in the Catskills of New York.

Those who follow my work know that despite my sharp disagreements with Zionism, Israeli politics and West Bank setters in particular, I find more honesty in Right Wing Zionism than in the entire spectrum of the Jewish Identitarian Left. Although I probably agree on many crucial political matters with JVP activists and Mondoweiss readers, I see the Jewish left as an inherently duplicitous project. My point is that notwithstanding my almost complete ideological differences with right wing Zionists, their frankness about their principles allow our disagreements to be honestly debated. Unlike the Jewish Left that speaks of universal principles but thinks and acts tribally, the Jewish nationalist position is as coherent as it is immoral.

At the Kosher pizza place in Monticello, I met a nice and friendly young man. Yonatan’s political views were well developed: authentic, rational and totally consistent with his core beliefs. He had no gated enclaves, no ‘no go’ zones that he attempted to keep out of our discussion.

Yonatan was born about 100 miles outside of New York City, not far from where we were in the Catskill mountains. His parents made Aliyah when he was a child. The family settled in Kiryat Arbah, in what was probably the most radicalised, belligerent West Bank settlement. The second Intifada caught Yonatan when he was 16 years old. He was practically living in a war zone for the next seven years, and according to him, it was this extended experience that shaped his worldview. I spent my formative years from ages 16 to 23 in Hebron during the 2nd intifada. You saw gun battles day after day, you saw people being hit.” In his early twenties, Yonatan left Israel and returned to the United States.

In a recent Israeli TV interview, Yonatan explained that he was motivated to form an Israeli military training school in America by the March in Charlottesville. The chants of “Jews won’t replace us” reminded him of the rise of the Nazis. But he doesn’t like the leftists either. The Antifa evokes in him bad memories of Stalin’s antisemitsm. So I asked Yonatan why Jewish history repeats itself. How is it possible that Jews are once again opposed by both the right and the left? The ex settler’s answer may take some readers by surprise.

“In your work” he said, “you, Gilad, argue that Jews need to do introspection. Rather than saying ‘the world hates us,’ we should ask whether there is anything we are doing to provoke this antisemitsm. This is an essential question that Jews both left and right refuse to ask themselves. It is the one question you [Gilad] ask, it is the one question I ask.”

I was thrilled that Yonatan was familiar with my writings. I mentioned that I didn’t invent this question. The theme was thoroughly explored by early Zionists who tried to grasp the logos in the anti-Semitic argument.

“There is a very good reason history repeats itself,” Yonatan continued. “Antisemitsm is not about evil goyim who want to kill us. A lot of Antisemitsm is a result of actions Jews take which cause antisemitsm. We cannot effectively counter antisemitsm just by the ADL shaming people who say things about Jews, I don’t support this approach at all. I believe in freedom of speech. I don’t even support laws against holocaust denial and as a grandson of a holocaust survivor I know how real the holocaust was… I believe that Jews play a large part in antisemitsm and in order to fight antisemitsm we have to fight it in two ways and I am fighting it in both ways: I am reacting physically to the symptoms but I also try to challenge the basis of antisemitsm by speaking out, telling Jews that the root of a lot of antisemitsm in America is the adoption by many Jews in the last century of multi-culturalism, leftism, socialism, cultural Marxism, communism, all these evil ideologies of the left which started with Karl Marx and even before him. All these ideologues corrupted Jews to the core.”

Yonatan is clearly not a liberal Jew.

“You, Gilad, speak about Jewish exceptionalism. We [Jews] are supposed to be a light to the nations, but we do the opposite… When Jews promote open borders they actually undermine the nations in which they live. When the average white Christian American sees Jews pushing for thousands of Islamic terrorists and Somali refugees and Latin American criminals and members of cartels to come into the country and pushing for affirmative action and a homosexual agenda and they do all of it in the name of Judaism… What they do, they tell people , ‘this is Judaism, we exploit your gratitude, we are coming to your country, we are undermining it from within, [we] cause the country to collapse on itself and if you call us ‘dirty Jews’ we will say you are a ‘filthy anti-Semitic Nazi’.”

Yonatan, an ultra Zionist Jew, is presenting what many liberals may identify as the core right wing anti-Semitic argument. Although it would be practically impossible for a goy to survive after making such statements, I somehow don’t think that Yonatan suffers any form of exclusion for saying what he thinks about his people.

“You seem to have predicted the synagogue shooting; you saw it coming, how?” I asked him.

“For decades now so many liberal Jews have been pushing for cultural Marxism. So many Jewish political leaders are behind this. The movement is funded by George Soros who is clearly a Jew. But I consider him the opposite of a Jew. I see him as a malevolent force and other Jews who are in government and the Left … all of it really started with Saul Alinsky who set the foundation for the Antifa. They have been pushing it for 50 years. Of course, not all Jews subscribe to these ideas. There are many orthodox Jews who believe in the complete opposite. But because these people do it in the name of Judaism [so naturally] we all get pushed into the same boat. It was obvious that at some point somebody would snap…. the only question was when.. someone on the right would have to take action to respond to what they see as an assault on American heritage.”

Yonatan asked to make it clear that he was by no means justifying the attack on the synagogue. What he did, instead, was to attempt to understand the rationale that led to the Pittsburgh attack. Yonatan further predicted that “the next attack will come from the Left. They are very violent, subversive in the spirit Lenin and Trotsky.”

In the Israeli TV item about Cherev Gidon, Yonatan mentioned that the goal of his training unit is for “every synagogue to have an armed Jew ready to defend it.” I asked Yonatan if he believes that American Muslims should be entitled to explore the same right. Should they also train with submachine guns and automatic riffles and be ready to defend their mosques?

As you might expect, Yonatan wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea. “If they [the Muslims] were peaceful people yes, but the reality is that they, through their own actions, are showing us that they are not a peaceful people for the most part. There is a tremendous radicalism amongst Muslims these days.”

I challenged him again. “Let’s try to understand what is going on here. You clearly see yourself as entitled to enjoy the 2nd amendment but you think Muslims are not.”

“In regard to Muslims as a group, once they are in a mosque in America and across the West they are extremely radicalized, they use armaments for the purpose of terrorism and not for the purpose of self defense. We have to understand the difference, Judaism is not a religion that is looking to attack anyone.”

I told Yonatan that his statement can be easily challenged: Baruch Goldstein, an American-Israeli physician, a settler and an orthodox Jew like himself, was a mass shooter in 1994 at the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshippers and wounding 125. Goldstein didn’t use his automatic riffle for ‘self defense.’ Nor is the Jewish State deploying its F16s and drones in a ‘self defense’ mode in Gaza, Lebanon or Syria. Statistics of casualties in the region do not really help the Israeli or the Jewish case.

I asked Yonatan, “Do you want to live in a society where people defend their shrines with sub machine guns and automatic rifles?”

“Yes, absolutely,” was Yonatan’s answer; “an armed society is a polite society.”

“So you basically believe that it is a good idea to live in a society where people are armed to their teeth?”

“I think that it is a wonderful idea. This is the America I want to live in. People respect each other when everyone is armed.”

Since Yonatan was immersed in part of the American ethos, I wanted to examine his approach to the American ideals of equal opportunity and no discrimination. “Will you agree to train Hammed or Ibrahim and to share with them the deep secrets of Israeli tactics?”

Yonatan was absolutely clear. “I have the right to deny service to anyone I want…I train many non Jews, what you may call rednecks, Mexicans, but if a Jewish Lefty, a Jew member of Antifa, asks to join my course I will tell him as well to go away.”

I guess that Hamed and Ibrahim aren’t going to be amongst Cherev Gidon’s graduates. They may have to enrol in another military training gymnasium.

Before we ended, I asked Yonata

Palestine Solidarity at the Crossroads

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Last week we saw how Baroness Jenny Tonge was cruelly maligned in the House of Lords by Lords Pickles and Polak. Pickles invited the minister and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) to join him in condemning Jenny for “suggesting that the murders in Pittsburgh were caused by the actions of the Israeli Government”.

He accused her of causing “great pain in Pittsburgh” and (horror of horrors) falling foul of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.

Jewish News reported that Pickles and Polak, both high-ranking figures in the Israel lobby, slammed her “callous inflammatory” remarks which, they claimed, were “in clear violation of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the UK Government. For a Member of the House of Lords to publish such hateful thoughts brings Parliament into disrepute.”

Polak, according to this report in The Guardian, appears to work pretty much full-time for Israel and has abused the privilege of peerage. Many might think that brings the British Parliament into far greater disrepute.

So what did Baroness Jenny say on her Facebook page to warrant such a nasty personal attack? “Absolutely appalling and a criminal act, but does it ever occur to Bibi and the present Israeli government that its actions against Palestinians may be reigniting anti-Semitism? I suppose someone will say that it is anti-Semitic to say so?”

The PSC issued a statement complaining she “suggested Israel’s policies and its treatment of the Palestinians could be contributing to a rise in anti-Semitism generally” and the PSC regarded her post as “deeply troubling… and risked being read as implying that anti-Semitism can only be understood in the context of a response to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Such a view risks justifying or minimising anti-Semitism.”

As if their snottiness towards one of its founders and patrons wasn’t enough the PSC told Jewish News they were considering “further steps”. Baroness Jenny is a founder and long-time member of the PSC and a courageous fighter for Palestinian rights. At that point, given the PSC Management’s uncalled-for hostility, she thought it best to spare her many friends embarrassment and resign.

Now a petition is being put to the PSC by members expressing outrage that instead of defending her the PSC’s Executive joined in the Zio attacks. It insists that nothing she said was anti-Semitic, adding that “it is perfectly reasonable to link Israel’s murderous behaviour with attacks on Jews”. It calls for the Executive to apologise and ask Jenny to reconsider her decision to resign.

But would she? Jenny Tonge might do better hitching her wagon to a reinvigorated, turbocharged BDS movement, at least until the PSC is purged of its head office idiots.

‘The Inquisition rules’

Two weeks earlier the Jewish Chronicle and the British Medical Journal reported another craven act against the Baroness, this time by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine which withdrew its invitation to Jenny to be a panellist at a meeting on maternal health. The reason? Because of “very recent media reports and allegations of anti-Semitic sentiment which are contradictory to our organisational ethos, and which we do not feel are complementary to this event.” What sort of organisational ethos confuses anti-Semitism with maternal health issues in developing countries?

Jenny said: “I was un-invited after complaints from an unknown source, claiming that my presence would disrupt the meeting. I was not allowed to know who the complainant was… How they thought I could bring criticism of the government of Israel into maternal health I do not know.

“Criticise the Israeli government and you are excluded from other things too. The inquisition rules.”

The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine subsequently told the BMJ: “There was external concern that a successful debate… would be sidetracked by public questions related to the extensive anti-Semitic issues linked to the Labour Party that were dominating the UK media at the time of the event.”

Feeble excuse. It doesn’t say much for whoever chairs their meetings if they cannot stop the discussion from being sidetracked and going off-topic.

How many anti-Semitism claims have a legal basis?

Hugh Tomlinson QC recently warned that if a public authority did decide to adopt the IHRA definition (though it wasn’t obliged to) then it must interpret it in a way that’s consistent with its statutory obligations and doesn’t cut across the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Freedom of expression applies not only to information and ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that “offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population”. Unless, of course, they amount to a call for violence, hatred or intolerance.

A further obligation put on public authorities is “to create a favourable environment for participation in public debates for all concerned, allowing them to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if these opinions and ideas are contrary to those defended by the official authorities or by a large part of public opinion, or even if those opinions and ideas are irritating or offensive to the public”. A public authority seeking to apply the IHRA definition to prohibit or punish such expressions “would be acting unlawfully.”

Pickles and Polak should remember this next time they rise to speak in the House of Lords or anywhere else.

Retired Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Stephen Sedley, pointed out that the 1986 Education Act established an individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions “which cannot be cut back by governmental policies”. He called for the Government to retreat from its “naively adopted” stance.

So according to top legal opinion the IHRA Definition does not make calling Israel an apartheid state or advocating boycott, divestment or sanctions (BDS) against Israel anti-Semitic. Also, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes “the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.

As for the ghastly truth about Israel on top of all the other evidence, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) produced a report establishing that Israel, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is a thoroughly vile apartheid regime. Such was the fuss kicked up when it appeared that it has been withdrawn from UN websites.

But don’t worry, you can read about it here.  Among its conclusions:

  • The authors urge the United Nations to implement this finding by fulfilling its international responsibilities in relation to international law and the rights of the Palestinian people as a matter of urgency, for two reasons.
  • First, the situation addressed in the report is ongoing….. In the case of Israel-Palestine, any delay compounds the crime by prolonging the subjugation of Palestinians to the active practice of apartheid by Israel. Prompt action is accordingly imperative….
  • Secondly…. since the 1970s, when the international campaign to oppose apartheid in southern Africa gathered momentum, apartheid has been considered in the annals of the United Nations and world public opinion to be second only to genocide in the hierarchy of criminality.
  • This report accordingly recommends that the international community act immediately, without waiting for a more formal pronouncement regarding the culpability of the State of Israel, its Government and its officials for the commission of the crime of apartheid….
  • The prohibition of apartheid is considered ‘jus cogens’ in international customary law. States have a separate and collective duty (a) not to recognize an apartheid regime as lawful; (b) not to aid or assist a State in maintaining an apartheid regime; and (c) to cooperate with the United Nations and other States in bringing apartheid regimes to an end. A State that fails to fulfil those duties could itself be held legally responsible for engaging in wrongful acts involving complicity with maintaining an apartheid regime.

No wonder it was hushed up.

What next?

Miko Peled, in my recent interview with him, underlined the need for activists to shift up a gear and accelerate from solidarity to full-on resistance. This means wider involvement, better co-ordination, revised targeting and sharper strategy. In effect a BDS Mk2, turbocharged. And it involves treating Zionism and those who promote or support it with far less tolerance. As Miko said on another occasion, “If opposing Israel is anti-Semitism then what do you call supporting a state that has been engaged in brutal ethnic cleansing for seven decades?”

Indeed. And what do you call people in public life who adore and defend that state and intimidate anyone who voices disapproval?

Things are changing. The Stop the War Coalition last weekend brought together a number of experts in a conference about “re-framing the debate” on Palestine. That whole discussion is long overdue and I’m waiting to hear what came out of it. For example, robust measures must be put in place to counter bogus accusations of anti-Semitism stifling free speech

It might be no bad thing if someone came forward with a proposal for a centralised legal unit to reprimand the Zio-extremists who overstep the mark and use false accusations of anti-Semitism to pour hatred on the likes of Jenny Tonge.

Efforts must be made to ensure public institutions like Parliament don’t provide a platform for such odious behaviour. It would also be the unit’s task to launch into the public domain a working definition of anti-Palestinian racism similar to the one recently proposed by Jewish Voice for Labour.

By Stuart Littlewood
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