Jerusalem Conflict: Identity Theft on top of Everything Else

By VT Editors -July 11, 2021

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2021/07/11/jerusalem-conflict-identity-theft-on-top-of-everything-else/

by Seth Ferris, for VT and New Eastern Outlook

As many previous colleagues have discovered, writing about Israel is a thankless task best avoided, especially by a self-hating Jew. Before people even read a given article, they have made up their own minds about Israel and cross-checked their views against others they hold to see if they are ideologically sound, i.e., politically correct.

Then the information presented is processed to fit whatever views people already hold, and it is well-nigh impossible to convey what might actually be happening in the real world.

In many places, readers also have to look over their shoulders. What is the Israeli lobby in a certain place going to think or say if they take any notice of your opinion, as they surely will? If you knew who your friends were before you thought this or that, will you have the same friends afterwards, and will they want you?

However the recent Jerusalem protests, still on-going but beneath the global news radar, have raised a general issue which cuts across nationality and statehood. Few will be surprised by how they have been presented. But why do we accept such a presentation as the norm?

Israel was founded to give a homeland to people who had a certain identity, even if their actual nationalities or backgrounds were widely different. It endures because that identity has a right to exist, to live in peace and to make its own decision on its own development.

This identity is recognised by all, whatever their views on the State of Israel or whether it should be there or take the form it does. So why is it that everyone is queuing up to deny Israelis the very thing – identity – which forms the basis of their proffered nation state, or opposition to their so called state?

Israel is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t, and must always live with this fact. But is there any point in continuing to deny its residents basic humanity, using the same old tricks which led to Israel being established in the first place?

Flags in False Colours

In any conflict situation, such as that Israel lives in perpetually, everyone tries to categorise the sides. Not simply those involved do this, but outsiders who want to know who to cheer for and who to oppose – or simply want to help, and therefore want an understanding of the people they are dealing with.

Sometimes these categorisations are merely ethnic or national – all Serbs or Cubans are supposed to believe this, and all Croats or Americans must believe that. But very often political opinion is used as a means of drawing distinction – these are the “right”, those are the “left”, or variations thereon.

Those who identify themselves as Israeli, or Jewish, or Friends of Israel, come from all shades of opinion. They have demonstrated this throughout the history of the country, where government has swung between left and right wing blocs comprised of parties of widely differing persuasions – for example, Israel once had two Liberal parties, whose views were closer to one another than to those of any other party, but one was part of the Likud bloc and the other part of the Labour Alignment.

Yet the protestors in Jerusalem—and by extension those who are closer to their side than to those they are protesting against, are routinely described as “right-wing”. Yes, some of them are, and yes, such actions attract, and are often organised by, political groups who are comfortable with that label. But is everyone on that side of the argument “right-wing”? Really?

Arab media outlets are predictably fond of using this term. Many of these outlets are highly professional, often more so than their mainstream media counterparts in the Western world. Yet even the rightly respected Aljazeera is jumping on this bandwagon to express its own position rather than tell us what is happening.

It is common for newly independent countries, however they obtained their independence, hook or crook, to descend into civil war soon afterwards. This because people who were part of the independence movement, bound together by a common cause, find that with that cause gone, the differences in their opinions become more important, but dissent means dissent with the new system, not between partners in the same political system.

This process demonstrates what is going on in Jerusalem. Israelis are not hitching themselves to the star of far right groups they are unlikely to vote for. They are simply expressing their identity – and whether we like it or not, and agree with it or not, this is always going to happen in a place founded to encourage just that.

The US has fought many wars, and started many others, to protect us all from Communism, which it would have eradicated long before if it had directed those same energies at Communist states. What they were actually fighting against wasn’t Communism, but localism – people who felt they belonged to a particular group of the population wanted better lives, a very American thing to want, and this merely happened to coincide with the Communist aim of overthrowing a US-supported government, even though the Communist solution was not one most of the population wanted.

Ho Chi Minh was held up as a repressive Communist when the US was engaged in the Vietnam War. In many respects this view was justified. But Ho also fought against colonial rule by the Japanese and French, and famously paraphrased the US Declaration of Independence as the basis of his reasons for opposing Imperial Japan. Ho may have thought independent Vietnam should be Communist, but independence was the point, and most of his countrymen, of all political persuasions, agreed with him.

So why does everyone who recognises a national or ethnic identity have to be right-wing, left-wing or anything else? Why can’t identity be enough? Because if you have a certain persuasion, you can only have certain friends – and therefore can only be listened to for as long as those friends are tolerated by those with the most power.

Embraced to Death

Whether someone is right-wing, left-wing, moderate or radical is decided by who the speaker thinks their friends are, or should be. Aljazeera is more likely to call the Jerusalem protestors “right-wing” than an Israeli outlet for its own political and commercial reasons. But while they are doing this, Israeli outlets are using the same terminology to describe opponents of the same new Israeli government which authorised the nationalist march.

If you are described as right- or left-wing it means you have particular friends who the speaker doesn’t like. These will be politicians, governments and whole races of people who the speaker feels are “other”. Within the speaker’s own spectrum, everyone is different and has an individual voice. Those on the other side are all the same, and all have something wrong with them which means like can always be compared with like.

During the Cold War the West was very fond of lumping all Communist countries together in one joke bag. China and the Soviet Union were never on the same side, and Yugoslavia broke with the Warsaw pact to pursue its own path. Yet whether a given country was allied with, or even talking to, either China or the Soviet Union they were all the same, whereas the United States always had a different identity to Western Europe, and each individual Western country was distinct from the other.

This is one purpose of claiming that identity has to have a political slant – giving you an excuse to attack particular people with any weapon. The other is the opposite – to develop a coalition of fellow travellers, until such time as it is no longer useful.

A number of Arab countries have had, or still have, governments of a supposedly socialist character – Syria, Egypt, Iraq. When seeking friends, they call upon those of the same political persuasion first of all, rather than other members of the Arab League, or any other international organisation they may belong to, where governments of a different complexion often hold sway.

Even today, this is used as a means of justifying alliances with greater powers of the same political slant – “we have to go running to Big Brother in Moscow/Beijing/Havana because they have the means to help their own, and there are many of us. Greater powers then use the same arguments in reverse – “We have to help our brethren to succeed in our own struggles, and they are natural allies, and therefore natural takers of our rules, because we say so”.

Consequently an expectation forms that if you see yourself a certain way, you have to support a particular set of friends and oppose a particular set of enemies. Yanukovych’s Ukraine again provides a good example of this – though Russia could understand it having relations with the EU, the same didn’t apply in reverse, because if Ukraine wanted to work with both sides it couldn’t be a democracy, in the Western understanding.

Many of these new friends would be natural rivals in any other time or context. A right-wing government in India is expected to be more anti-Pakistani than a left-wing one, and the same is true in reverse in Pakistan. Nevertheless, they can all serve a purpose for a particular time, and exploit the assumptions made about them for their own benefit until the international wind changes – an art which China, invited to buy up every Western country whilst remaining Communist.

But all of this is done at the expense of national identity, even if it is meant to enhance it. Who loses when that happens? Every country which needed to do this so to make friends, which can be easily discarded for not being right-wing, left-wing or moderate or radical enough when a new game comes to town.

There is an old saying, “Show me who your friends are, and I’ll show you who you are”. The next step of course is, “If you want to change your friends, this is what it makes you”. A leading politician can associate with kings and with crooks without anyone caring. But those beneath them have to be in one category or the other, exclusively – because they are somehow expected to earn the identity they already have by existing, and to jump through the required hoops to do so.

Only a Person Can Win

There will never be peace in the Middle East until identity is allowed to have its own face. Neither individuals nor states have to be always one collection of things and never another collection of things, and to wear the label which goes with that. If they could be what they are and talk about what was bothering them, we would all get somewhere.

Israel should be leading the way in this, as it is only there because its people share a deep common identity, not politics or friends or even religion, per se. With a new coalition now in power there, including Arab parties, and an imperative to heal the wounds created by the previous administration and its more exclusive composition, it can create a blueprint which will help its diverse neighbours solve their own problems, which are largely caused by being told they have to be this or that to be true believers in someone else’s view of Israel.

Herding people and countries into this and that camp, and then into others when the need arises, only debases those people and countries and empowers those who are herding them. The Jews have not torn off their yellow stars – quite the contrary, they wear them as red badges of pride, courage. whilst those who pinned them on reap the benefits of not having this identification.

When a politician gets into trouble, their supporters insist that they can be many things, and that there will always be those who call them every name under the sun. Some think they are too hard, some too soft, some too extreme, some not extreme enough. The higher you rise, the more it goes with the territory. But should only the biggest and best have the right to be seen this way?

Taking away identity throws people into the arms of modern day Pol Pots who want to dehumanise everyone so that only they can rule. Israel is the last place where such behaviour should be accepted. If only it actually did its job, even its greatest enemies would have much more to gain than lose by merely living.

Seth Ferris, investigative journalist and political scientist, expert on Middle Eastern affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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Washington Struggles to Manage the Crisis, But Israel Continues to Benefit

By Philip Giraldi

Source

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The self-inflicted cultural defenestration of what passes for Western Civilization in the United States continues apace. As George Orwell described the process in 1984 “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present…”

Ironically, even as America’s Founding Fathers are being pilloried through the prism of contemporary values, not every bit of customary behavior is being challenged. Even though the United States is going through a devastating health care and national identity crisis, the Federal Government continues to grind out legislation that is favorable to Israel and to certain Jewish interests. “The Never Again (Holocaust) Education Act,” for example, passed through the House of Representatives (H.R. 943) by a 395-3 vote followed by a unanimous vote in the Senate on S.2085 on May 13th.  It will help to indoctrinate school children regarding an easily challengeable narrative of perpetual victimhood which in turn generates billions of dollars for the racist state of Israel, but it was described by Congressional supporters as merely an instrument to support the already existing educational resources at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), which is also taxpayer funded.

The House bill’s sponsor Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York preened that “Combatting hate and intolerance must always be a priority and I’m glad that the Senate agrees. Passing this bill by unanimous consent today sends a strong message that the Congress is overwhelmingly united in combatting antisemitism…” and the Senate bill’s sponsor Senator Jacky Rosen of Nevada explained how “…the Never Again Education Act will give schools needed resources to cover one of the darkest chapters in our history. Through education, we can provide insight into the past, and use it to prevent anti-Semitism now.”

If Americans Knew has documented how there were 68 pieces of legislation focused on providing goods and services to Israel in 2019, with 18 more added, identified here, so far this year. The most well known piece of legislation is S.3176, “US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020 (To amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014 to make improvements to certain defense and security assistance provisions and to authorize the appropriations of funds to Israel, and for other purposes),” which is the upper chamber’s version of House bill H.R.1837, which was passed last July. S.3176 passed out of committee on May 21st and is scheduled for a floor vote. The Senate bill was sponsored by Marco Rubio of Florida, a favorite of the Israel Lobby and its oligarch funders.

The House and Senate bills derive from an agreement entered into by President Barack Obama committing the U.S. Treasury to give Israel a minimum of $3.8 billion a year for the next ten years. The current version of the legislation has tweaked the language to make that $3.8 billion Danegeld a minimum, subject to increase as circumstances dictate. The bill also provides Israel additional military equipment off the books, funds several co-production arrangements and basically commits Washington to supporting Israel militarily even if the Jewish state starts the war.

Other pro-Israel bills include H.R.5595 – the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act (To impose additional prohibitions relating to foreign boycotts under Export Control Reform Act of 2018, and for other purposes),” which includes criminal penalties to target businesses, organizations and individuals who attempt to boycott or disrupt commercial activity operating out of Israel’s West Bank settlements. It was drafted in response to the publication of a United Nations database identifying over 100 Israeli companies doing business in illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. S.Res. 570  “A resolution opposing and condemning the potential prosecution of United States and Israeli nationals by the International Criminal Court,” meanwhile is an attempt to block any consideration by the international court of Israeli as well as American war crimes.

Other legislation (S.3775 “The United States Israel Military Capability Act” involves developing and sharing military technology even though Israel frequently steals what is developed and H.Res.837 “Reaffirming the need for transatlantic cooperation to combat anti-Semitism in Europe” encourages European countries to do more to teach about the so-called holocaust and anti-Semitism.

But the most bizarre resolutions currently circulating on the Congressional circuit are S.3722 and H.R.6829 “To authorize funding for a bilateral cooperative program with Israel for the development of health technologies with a focus on combating COVID-19.” The respective bills were introduced on May 12th and 13th and are now in committee. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has been lobbying Congress hard by playing the China-as-threat card. The House version is consequently dubbed the “Expanding Medical Partnerships with Israel to Lessen Dependence on China Act.”

What the bills will do is establish a partnership with Israel to develop a vaccine and other medical responses to the pandemic virus. The costs will be shared, but Israel’s pharmaceutical industry will market the products, which promises to be enormously profitable if the endeavor succeeds.

And finally, there is Iran, Israel’s bête noire. On June 8th U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran’s shipping network took effect, months after they were announced in December following claims made by the State Department relating to alleged Iranian support for proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Commercial and maritime industries and even governments now risk U.S. sanctions if they do any business with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and/or its Shanghai-based subsidiary, E-Sail Shipping Company. The new sanctions are being touted by Republican Congressmen as the “toughest ever.”

So, what is the average American citizen to do confronted by an avalanche of Congressional action benefitting Israel while the United States is going through its most trying time since the Great Depression? Israeli lobbying groups like AIPAC, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) have large budgets, hundreds of staff and full and immediate access to Congressional offices. They even write the legislation that is then rubber stamped by the House and Senate, and although they are clearly agents of Israel, they are never required to register as such under Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

One can always contact a Congress-critter and complain but that is generally speaking a waste of time. A brave man and friend of mine who was a survivor of the brutal Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty in 1967 did write to his Senator and ask why, when the nation is in crisis, Congress is spending so much time and money on Israel. This was the reply he got from Senator Rick Scott of Florida:

“Thank you for contacting me regarding our greatest ally, Israel. Florida has maintained a strong relationship with Israel for many generations and I have always worked to improve policies and investments between our two countries.

During my time as Governor of Florida, I visited Israel three times. My first two visits were to promote Florida and to build international trade relationships between Israel and Florida. My third visit was for the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, for which I strongly advocated.

I also signed anti-BDS legislation, secured $2 million for security at our Jewish schools, and I opposed the reckless Iran Deal.

As your United States Senator, I will continue to work every day to protect and support our greatest ally and fight to take actions against those who wish to do them harm.

Again, thank you for your insightful correspondence. I am proud to represent every citizen in Florida and I appreciate the time you took to provide your position on this matter. Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me.”

Clearly Senator Scott claims to be proud of representing “every citizen” in Florida, but he regards some citizens as more important than others. Concerning his trade missions, one might be interested in knowing what the balance of trade and job creation between Israel and Florida actually is, as these arrangements are generally heavily loaded to favor Israeli businesses and investors. Also, the good Senator might recall that it was a Florida public school that recently was on the receiving end of a mass shooting, so perhaps the money he so proudly gave to Jewish schools for security was not exactly well spent. And Scott seems to be unaware that Jewish organizations already get over 90% of Department of Homeland Security discretionary grants, so they hardly need more taxpayer money.

Acting on behalf of a foreign country, Senator Scott also is willing to shut down the First Amendment for most Americans in his zeal to crush the non-violent BDS movement. And his rejection of the “Iran Deal” demonstrates that he does not support policies that actually enhance the security of the United States, presumably out of deference to the interests of Israel and at least some of his Jewish constituents.

Finally, Senator Scott should perhaps look into the treaties that Washington has entered into with foreign powers. There is no defense treaty with Israel and the Jewish state is no ally, much less a “greatest ally.” It is, in fact, a major strategic liability, involving Americans in regional wars that need not be fought and demonstrating to all the world the risible reality of a military and economic superpower that is being led to perdition during a time of crisis by a ruthless and irresponsible client state.

Israel and World Jewry

By Evan Jones

Source

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The Covid-19 pandemic hits the world. Undeterred, the Israeli forces of Occupation (including the settlers) escalate the rampage and the outrages. Murders, harassment and arrests, home demolitions, destruction and/or theft of virus aid equipment and food and brutalizing of aid workers, Gaza crop poisoning on a grand scale, West Bank crop destruction, etc. Spitting on Palestinians is now de rigueur. Business as usual. Sadism on a grand scale. Whence the motivation? And the collective psychological reward? The Jewish God is a militant deity.

Israel is a pariah state. It is an apartheid state in its construction, [1] from its inception as an ethnocracy, not one for which the label ‘apartheid’ is merely a dangerous prospect on the horizon with a completely colonized West Bank.

How does Israel survive as such, given that apartheid South Africa has disappeared into history. It survives essentially because of support from the institutionalized structures of establishment world Jewry. Period.

Don’t talk Christian Zionists, as they are a side issue, crazies succoured to dilute the central causal lineage.

The US umbrella is tangibly of enormous importance. But behind the White House compliance is the Zionist lobby, from Truman onwards (albeit with occasional wobbles). The Zionist lobby owns Congress; those members they don’t own they simply extrude (starting with William Fulbright in 1974, Paul Findley, Pete McCloskey, Cynthia McKinney, etc.). The massive role of the US in supporting Israel is a product of institutionalized American Jewry – now centred on the peak body AIPAC.[2] The argument that US support of Israel is an instrumental means of projecting US power in the Middle East is diversionary; the posited hierarchy of master and proxy won’t wash. Cui bono?

The Zionist lobby only recently destroyed what was left of the integrity of the British Labour Party, installing a functionary at its head. The British state is Zionist-occupied territory; ditto that of France, Germany (hobbled by the Jewish holocaust), Canada and Australia.

Israel, as a racist state, is engaged in criminality sui generis. It was a guaranteed outcome known from the start. Theodore Herzl noted (1896): ‘An infiltration [of Jewish migrants to Palestine] is bound to end badly. It continues to the inevitable moment when the native population feels itself threatened … Immigration is consequently futile unless based on an assured supremacy’. Violence was implicit in Zionism from the outset.[3]

The native population felt itself threatened immediately, but the Zionist movement found solace and then salvation in the arrival of World War, the Balfour Declaration and subsequently the British Mandate over Palestine. Until the Zionists could muster the firepower to create its ‘promised land’ unilaterally by terrorism. That firepower was acquired from British training en masse, just prior to World War II (to quell the Arab rebellion) and during the War itself.

As David Hirst notes, regarding the massacres and bombings by Jewish forces in response to the MacDonald White Paper of May 1939: [4]

‘The ideological roots of ‘gun Zionism reach back to Theodor Herzl himself. It was inevitable, as he foresaw, that armed force would eventually come into its own as the principal instrument of a movement which, in its earlier and weaker phase, could only rely on the protection of an imperial sponsor. That phase was now drawing to a close.’

Israeli criminality must be sheeted home to the personnel within the institutions of the Israeli state – politicians, the military and intelligence services, the judiciary, etc. They are crimes of individuals, groupings, institutionalized, the personnel being uniformly Jewish.

Isn’t this criminality bad for world Jewry and what it means to be Jewish? Apparently not. Establishment Jewish institutions, with one voice, sign up for Israel’s crimes. More, support of Israel is their raison d’être – all while simultaneously shedding crocodile tears about anti-Semitism. The global Jewish community, whether Jewish individuals like it or not, is implicated in Israeli criminality by the dominant Jewish organizations who claim to speak for national Jewish communities.

The Wikipedia entry of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), clearly sanctioned by its subject, notes: ‘The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, represents the interests of the Australian Jewish community to …’. Here’s a representative conflation of the interests of the state of Israel and of a national Jewish community in its entirety.

John Lyons was Middle East correspondent for The Australian newspaper during 2009-15. His Balcony Over Jerusalem [5] is notable for the attention paid to the lobby. Like all budding Middle East correspondents, Lyons was inevitably the subject of attempted seduction and, failing that, subsequently the subject of escalating attacks for his endeavour to fulfil his role as independent reporter. A senior Israeli military officer observed to Lyons: ‘The Israel lobby in Australia is the most powerful lobby in the world in terms of impact it has within its own country’.

John Lyons bda94

The nation-based lobby works to ensure that its own government (whichever Party is in power) remains complacent, acquiescent, if not blood red in support. It also works tirelessly to control the information flow. Because Israel stinks, disinformation (lies, counter-narratives, fairy stories) and censorship have to be an integral part of the lobby’s activities. Lyons recounts how, in particular, AIJAC’s Colin Rubenstein constantly pressured senior management at The Australian to close down his reporting. (Senior management of the Murdoch-owned paper supported Lyons, in spite of the attempted scuttling by a middle level editor).

The other major Australian media chain, Fairfax (now Nine Entertainment), owner of the major Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra dailies, has faced the same pressure. Ditto the publicly-owned television stations ABC & SBS. Fairfax/Nine has persistently caved in, granting privileged access to the opinion and letters pages to pro-Israel apologists. An ex-Fairfax journalist, friend, confirms that the pressure of the lobby on management was relentless and intolerable.

In early January, in the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age we have Rubenstein glorifying the assassination of Qasem Soleimani as ‘arch-terrorist’, presiding over a claimed multi-tentacled terrorist expansionist reach of Iran in the Middle East, destabilising everything in its wake. Rubenstein even has Iran behind the assassination of Lebanon’s Rafiq Hariri in 2005. Surprisingly, the online comments editor allowed multiple responses from ‘woke’ readers to Rubenstein as an Israel front man, whereas editors scrupulously deny such feedback in the print version of the newspaper. In the same issue of the papers we have an AIPAC flunkey claiming on cue that the essential issue behind US-Iran escalating tension is ‘the pressing need to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons’, bizarrely accusing Iran of undermining the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal.

Colin Rubenstein a22b3

Rubenstein was in the Herald again in late January, claiming that plenipotentiary Jared Kushner’s ‘Middle East Peace Plan (sic)’, in the formulation of which no Palestinian authorities were invited, is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Thus are Australians fed the regular odious drip, very rarely opposed in print, of the innate necessity and justice of Israel’s criminality.

Rather than the association between Israel and its global Jewish community support being severed as the daily brutality of the Israeli forces of Occupation accumulates, the association has recently been reinforced. The notable vehicle for this reinforcement has been the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and its ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism. The Definition skirts over ‘Holocaust Remembrance’ but pays majority attention to the treatment of Israel.

Thus we find that rational criticism, driven by conventional humanitarian principles, of Israel’s criminality is labelled anti-Semitic. More, IHRA personnel and Jewish organizations flog this definition, pressuring, pressuring national governments into submission to accept the definition and to act as repressive agents against free-thinking citizens of those countries.

And to those who object? The issue is concisely contained in a recent skirmish in faraway New Zealand. The brief report on stuff.nz deserves quoting at length. It turns out that the Wellington Jewish Council had requested New Zealand’s capital city to adopt the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism. But the Wellington Progressive Synagogue objected, claiming that the definition ‘had the potential to conflate antisemitism with anti-Zionism (opposition to the state of Israel), as it had already done overseas’. Too kind – not ‘potential’, as the point of the definition is precisely to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

Said Progressive Synagogue spokespersons: ‘Its new effect is to regulate the speech of people like ourselves: law-abiding non-Zionists who call for the unexceptional application of law and human rights in Israel/Palestine; Jews and non-Jews alike’. Quite.

The NZ Jewish Council responded that ‘the IHRA definition explicitly stated criticism of Israel could not be regarded as antisemitic’. A dishonest retort. The text includes the sentence ‘… criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic’. But this is transparently a ruse to deflect from the substance of the definition’s text for which the sentence is an aberration. And the meaning of ‘similar to that levelled against any other country’? Criticisms of Israel are aimed precisely at structures and practices that set it apart from other countries, including some countries that are utterly on the nose. The IHRA mob mean – we will be the arbiters of what is acceptable criticism. But, in truth, what is ‘acceptable’ criticism is an empty set.

But here’s the clincher. The Jewish Council continues: ‘The writers of the opinion piece were “fringe” and did not have a mandate to speak on behalf of the Jewish community – unlike the Jewish Council’.

‘Fringe’? ‘Mandate’? This is it in a nutshell. If you don’t support Israel 100 per cent, you aren’t a real Jew. And on what basis does the Jewish Council’s presumed ‘mandate’ rest?

Michelle Weinroth, author and member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada, nails the fraud and duplicity behind the IHRA push:

‘If the IHRA definition turns a blind eye to the veritable culprits of heinous racism, it nonetheless targets the anti-racist defenders of Palestinian human rights, many of whom are conscientious Jews. … it masquerades as an innocuous, educational, and preventative measure while acting as a penal code that aggresses the advocates of human rights, silencing them with veiled threats. … At its heart sits a false equation between the state of Israel and Jews more generally.’

A false equation between Israel and Jews ‘more generally’. Here’s another one. Recently brought to light, an earlier tussle took place in September 1991 when Israel demanded a $10 billion loan guarantee, which President George H Bush viewed as a means of undermining the forthcoming Madrid peace conference (Blankfort, fn.2). Bush Sr threatened to deny Israel the loan guarantees if the large contingent of migrants from the Soviet Union were to be directed into West Bank settlements. Philip Weiss reports:

‘The Israel lobby group the American Jewish Committee (AJC) decided to support the Israeli government against the White House in 1991 over illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank, even though many officials at the organization privately backed the president. The AJC reasoned that a leading Jewish organization in Washington had a “primary responsibility” to stand up for Israel because the country represents the “collective will” of the Jewish people, an AJC official says.’

Israel represents the collective will of the Jewish people? Were ‘the Jewish people’ consulted?

One of the more remarkable attempts to associate Israel with the ‘collective will’ of the Jewish people, via the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, is a statement by one Robert Wistrich to the UN Commission on Human Rights, published on 10 September 2004.[6] Wistrich’s parents’ lives were blighted by anti-Semitism, and his subsequent stellar academic career was devoted to this very subject. Yet this statement is a wretched mishmash, devoid of logic and history, and conveniently oblivious to Israeli criminality. And this during the Prime Ministership of noted humanist Ariel Sharon. Wistrich claims:

‘Much of the mobilizing power of “anti-Zionism” derives from its link to the Palestinian cause. Since the 1960s, the [Palestine Liberation Organization] has worked hard to totally delegitimize Zionism and the policy has largely succeeded: this anti-Zionism involves a total negation of Jewish nationhood and legitimate Jewish sovereignty in Eretz Israel …’

Legitimate sovereignty in Eretz Israel? Sure. Wistrich’s tribalism has overridden his rigorous academic training. Curious, there are no Jewish dissenters in his grab bag of mad dog anti-Semites in a pragmatic coalition all aimed at the destruction of Israel.

Wistrich couldn’t really avoid this elephant in the room, so he grabbed the bull by the horns in a 2014 issue of Commentary (preaching to the converted). [7] Well-known Jewish intellectuals who don’t toe the Party line are accused of having been mentally and morally captured by infantile Marxism, etc., and/or anti-Americanism, their left-wing blinkered obsessions then finding its next object of abuse post-Vietnam in Israel. Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Howard Zinn (‘Hatred for America, the West, and Israel thrives beneath the cloak of human rights and social justice’), Eric Hobsbawm, Shlomo Sand, Ilan Pappé – all are excoriated for their sins.

In particular, Wistrich couldn’t have ignored Shlomo Sand, whose cannon volleys in The Invention of the Jewish People (2009) and The Invention of the Land of Israel (2012) blasted Wistrich’s self-assured self-righteousness to shreds. Wistrich dismisses Sand (‘his pseudoscientific delegitimization of Israel’) as merely having ‘revived long-discredited theories – such as Arthur Koestler’s deranged notion that Ashkenazi Jews sprang from Khazars who converted in the 10th century C.E.’. Wistrich ignored that Sand, in genuine scholarly fashion, put Koestler’s The Thirteenth Tribe (1976) into context with a considerable literature on the same theme.

The rhetoric of these contemptible lefties, claims Wistrich, ‘divorced from historical truth and geopolitical reality, negates any possibility of reform or redress concerning genuine grievances’. Genuine grievances? A chink in the armour? How could there be grievances against Israel that were genuine (the ‘empty set’ again), and who would decide? Evidently not the Palestinian victims or their Jewish sympathizers.

We have a comparable affair when French elder statesman Robert Badinter addressed UNESCO in December 2016,[8] appropriating Holocaust remembrance to plug Israel as synonymous with Jewry per se. Badinter played the same card as Wistrich:

‘What is certain is that in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, anti-Semitism has once again spread widely under the name of anti-Zionism. We must have the lucidity to recognize that under this label that refers to Zionism, it is indeed the Jews, and Jews everywhere, who are targeted. And I would say that anti-Zionism under the surface is nothing but the contemporary expression of anti-Semitism, namely, hatred of the Jews.’

The ‘not in my name’ communities, declining to join wholeheartedly the cause of Israel über alles, have been written out of the story. Einstein, Freud, Arendt, camp survivors like Hajo Meyer; individual authors, bloggers and/or activists; non-compliant Jewish organizations; Israeli human rights organizations; etc. It’s the Spinoza syndrome – ignored if too famous; otherwise excommunicated because ‘self-hating’ Jews, ‘fringe’ elements, etc.

When Hannah Arendt published Eichmann in Jerusalem,[9] highlighting the bureaucrat over the monster, even her fame didn’t save her from damnation. Daniel Maier-Katkin highlights the ongoing character assassination and its character:[10]

‘[A] campaign against the memory of Hannah Arendt continues, and the ideology that rationalizes and justifies ad hominem attacks and menacing gestures against Jews who dare to criticize Israel persists. As Rabbi [Michael] Lerner and Justice [Richard] Goldstone have learned, a Jew who fears that Israel is on a path that leads to destruction, or who is skeptical of a “divine mission to possess the land,” or concerned about the legality or morality of unrelenting military strategies to secure regional domination, will be attacked as self-hating and anti-Semitic.

‘To hate oneself is ipso facto pathological, and this, it is asserted, leads to irrational hatred of Israel, which is seen as the embodiment of the Jewish people. Thus, defenders of Israeli policies aim to exclude Jewish critics from public discourse by defining them as crazy persons, driven to anti-Semitism by self-loathing. In this way Lerner’s criticism of Israel, or Goldstone’s, or Arendt’s is dismissed as arising from psychological or spiritual disturbance rather than reasoned argument or an ethical posture. Calumny, an old-fashioned blend of slander, distortion, and innuendo, has been a recurring instrument of intimidation in post-Holocaust Jewish politics.’

In sum, Israeli state and settler criminality persist because it is supported uniformly by dominant national Jewish bodies, with de facto support and/or passivity from sections of the Jewish population. This instutionalized structure never fails to claim that it acts for Jewry in its entirety. Dissidents from the demand for unqualified support are cast aside from the tribe.

Is it not then possible, indeed probable, that some cool-headed people will reason that it is appropriate to become an anti-Semite? A stance rooted not in a time-worn shibboleth, but on the seeming support of the vast majority of world Jewry for Israeli criminality and inhumanity? Ersatz anti-Semitism (criticism of Israel), manufactured by the Zionist lobby as cover-up, thus potentially fosters substantive anti-Semitism. The real thing.

The Canadian (Jewish) philosopher Michael Neumann earlier nailed the implications:[11]

‘Inflating the meaning of ‘anti-Semitism’ to include anything politically damaging to Israel is a double-edged sword. … The more things get to count as anti-Semitic, the less awful anti-Semitism is going to sound. …

‘Since we are obliged to oppose the settlements, we are obliged to be anti-Semitic. Through definitional inflation, some form of anti-Semitism becomes morally obligatory. It gets worse if anti-Zionism is labelled anti-Semitic… The more anti-Semitism 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 anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism is a moral obligation.’

The ‘not in my name’ communities, in their myriad dimensions and considerable expenditure of energy, have made not a jot of difference to Israel’s project. Why?

Gideon Levy, long-time Haaretz journalist providing a window into Israel’s soul, has honed in on the denial, conscious amongst its leaders, subliminal amongst the bulk of the populace, that accompanies Israel’s ongoing criminality. And behind it? Here is Levy in March 2018 (he said the same in an Australian lecture tour in November 2017):

‘There are three core values of Israeli culture that enforce the totalitarian discourse.

‘The first value: we are the chosen people. Secular and religious will claim it. Even if they don’t admit it they feel it. If we are the chosen people, who are you to tell us what to do. The second very deeply rooted value: we are the victims, not only the biggest victims, but the only victims around…. I don’t recall one occupation in which the occupier present himself as the victim. Not only the victim– the only victim….

‘There is a third very deep rooted value. This is the very deep belief again everyone will deny it but if you scratch under the skin of almost any Israeli you will find it there, the Palestinians are not equal human beings like us. They don’t love their children like us. They don’t love life like us. They were born to kill, they are cruel, they are sadists, they have no values, no manners… This is very, very deep rooted in Israeli society. And maybe that’s the key issue. As long as this continues, nothing will move. We are so much better than them, so much more developed than them, more human than them.’

One of Sydney’s Jewish schools, Moriah College, has as its ‘core values’ (not atypical):

‘We strive to foster critical thought, cultural interests, tolerance, social responsibility and self-discipline. … Moriah not only aspires to achieve excellence in academic standards, but maintains and promotes among its students an awareness of and a feeling for Jewish traditions and ethics, an understanding of and a positive commitment to Orthodox Judaism and identification with and love for Israel.’

Critical thought, tolerance, social responsibility, and identification with and love for Israel? Take your pick. You can’t have both.

 

 

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