Anti-semitism and the left…

Oliver Kamm believes that a nasty conflation persists on the left (and within the Respect coalition in particular) between anti Israeli rhetoric and pure anti-semitism. Which in turn begs the question, is it possible to be critical of Israel and not be seen as also being anti semitic?It’s a question that was raised a few years ago by Paul Gillespie in the Irish Times, who noted that:

Surveys by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League and other pollsters show low and stable levels of anti-Semitic attitudes in most EU states (lower than in the US) and higher levels of anti-Muslim feeling. This is no cause for complacency, since historical amnesia on both left and right has affected sensitivities about older European anti-judaism. But in Europe highly-educated people are the most likely to consider Israel a threat to world peace, yet the least likely to be anti-Semitic.

Many centre-left Israelis are bewildered by the sharp increase of criticism from the same constituency in Europe, having previously relied on its sympathy. They believe European media criticise Israel far more than states which behave much worse. Disproportionate attention is related to growing EU reliance on Middle East oil and a desire to appease Muslim minorities.

Together with their pessimism about reaching a peace agreement after the second intifada that followed the breakdown of the Clinton-Barak-Arafat talks in 2000, it has encouraged the conviction that Palestinian terrorism is directed against the very existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East.

  • ciaran damery

    Harry Flashman, your post does not address the issue at hand. Instead, you engage in ‘whataboutery’. Yeah, the Russians carpet bombed Chechnya and caused thousands of casualties. Yeah, Indonesia is guilty of atrocities and occupation of neighboring countries. In fact we may as well include Britain’s brutal history of occupation, plantation and discrimination of Ireland in the list. But what’s this got to do with a bunch of sectarian bastards who act like the Nazis who butchered them because they were Jewish. Nowadays it’s the Jews who are doing the butchering. Nowadays its the Jews who bomb and terrorize a nation of Palestinians whose only ‘crime’ was that they happened to live in a part of the planet that Jews consider to be theirs. It’s their land (they say) because a make belief deity reputedly gave them the place a few thousand years ago. What a load of shit. Whilst the majority of the Palestinian government remain incarcerated without trial, the western world either overtly supports the Zionist fascists or at best refuses to recognize the mandate of the elected representatives of Palestinian. Just like Orange religious zealots, Zionism is a curse on modern day society. What that part of the world needs is a powerful, courageous country who are prepared to take a stand against Zionism and respond to Zionist attacks on Palestine militarily. Things are unravelling in the area. Hezbollah bloodied the Zionist nose. Iran (and Iraq) will soon be in a position to kick Zionist ass, That will put things in perspective. Meanwhile, this lark about god and his chosen people ought to be put to rest. It’s nothing but a crock of shit. Do people believe it? Yeah, I suppose they do, Afterall, orangies believe Paisley is a “man of god”.

  • Harry Flashman

    Ya ya Ciaran

    Blah blah blah you just scream the same rant all over again, we get it already, the Israelis are Nazis (er, no they’re not, if they were there wouldn’t be any “Palestinians” left by now).

    I want you to answer my question, what’s so special about Israel? Why is your bile provoked to such extremes by Israel? Why can you barely see your computer monitor for the spittle as you howl your outrage against Israel? So many conflicts in the world but the one that uniquely gets you frothing at the mouth is the one involving Israel? Why? Why Israel so especially?

    Can it be that beneath all the verbiage about apartheid states and sectarianism (check out Iran and Saudi Arabia buddy if those sorts of thing really bother you) and almighty dollars and neo-cons and Zionists there lurks the real answer?

    Have you ever asked yourself why you don’t give a fiddler’s fart about the Papuans but for some curious atavistic reason you blow your top about the Palestinians? In the depth of your soul have you ever questioned what it is about Israel, specifically Israel, that causes you to hate them above all others?

    I have to say it’s fairly obvious to me.

  • Benn

    Ciaran your last post is highly offensive. Your remark that “It’s their land (they say) because a make belief deity reputedly gave them the place a few thousand years ago. What a load of shit.” has no place here. Believe in your own god or no god, but there’s no call for such gratuitous insults. I think you’re over the line of the Slugger commenting policy, see below. If you get your jolies comparing Zionism with facism and Naziism so be it, everyone is entitled to their (bad) taste and faulty reasoning. You don’t have to share anyone’s beliefs about anything, but why insult Judaism, Christianity, and Islam just to spice up your rant? Ben

    2. We reserve the right to edit or even delete comments for reasons of legal compliance, taste, decency, good management or any other reason that we see fit. Furthermore we may impose an IP ban on any person or persons who persistently or wantonly flout this policy.

  • P O’Neil

    Let’s get one thing straight – the current ‘Jews’ in Israel are Ashkanasan Jews, religious converts to Judaism circa 7/8th centuries, and they even re-wrote their own history to incorporate Judio genealogical roots. They might be religious Jews (predominately Zionists) but they are not the children of Israel, they are not God’s ‘chosen people’, they are not the decendents of Shem, and are therefore NOT Semities, ergo, anything that is said against them cannot be anti-semetic. These occupying imposters claiming to be the Children of Israel is just the same as the British Huns using the Red Hand of Ulster, and claiming its roots as their own, whilst in essence it has nothing at all to do with them.

    PS Religious Zionism and the Religious right in the US were both founded by MI6, the latter, to give mindless support to the State of Israel because of the myths that have been established around them (ie God’s chosen people, the rapture etc etc, all Brit propaganda). Conservative death toll for the latest Israeli incursion into Lebannon stands at 65,000, most of them children.

  • Brian Boru

    ” If the world would leave the Jews and the Arabs to sort things out I’m convinced that they could/would, it’s a pity that there is such an unhealthy fascination with the place by outsiders with vested interests (or for that matter, no interest).”

    No they won’t sort it out if left alone, except in one sense – the US should stop arming Israel and cut off their generous aid until they agree to negotiate and stop these stupid excuses e.g. “how can we talk to those people etc.” which implies a false moral purity in comparison to the Palestinian side, which does not have the means to wipe Israel off the map and if Iran got nukes it would hardly do it either because the Palestinians would die too – and Israeli leaders know this well. Pressure is needed on both sides with carrots and not just sticks, but an obvious ingredient to fighting is weaponry. Therefore dry up the supply of weaponry and you will have some sort of progress on the talks front. It is utterly unacceptable that there have been no negotiations for SIX years. Meanwhile the colonisation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan continue unabated, and their continuation during past peace efforts was key to the collapse of those efforts, as was Israel’s insistence on maintaining some kind of influence over any new Palestinian state e.g. Barak wanting to keep the water-supplies in the West Bank and the WB’s/Gaza airspace, and the Gaza coastline, settlement blocs remaining to divide the WB into uncontiguous blocks.

    There was a man on the radio the other day who is an Israeli historian and he made the point that he did not believe millenia-old religious texts should be the basis of political-decisions in the modern-world and I share his view. Religion, in my opinion, is a divisive force in world history, and responsible for most wars.

  • Benn

    Damn, backsliding! OK, P O’Neil picks up Arthur Koestler’s rediculous thesis and runs with it, not worth much time debunking, but a) have a look at the demography of Israel’s Jewish population which was about 50/50 Ashkenazic-Sephardic with a 25+% intermarriage rate before the most recent influx of Russian Jews, then add in recent DNA studies which show that Cohens of both Ashkenazic and Sephardic traditions are linked at the 90+ probability rate, you’re reading the wrong books P…. And your conspiracy theories are here for comic relief, right? And Brian, you just can’t leave that bone alone can you? Yes, Israel continues to expand its current settlements within their pre-existing exaggerated growth boundaries, and I’m against that for sure. But they’ve begun taken down a few settlements, NOT creating brand new ones, so again you slant things and maintain your one-sidedness. I do agree with you that religion is divisive, but don’t you want to shake that stick at the Palestinians too, at the very least? Israel has a 20% population of non-Jews who live there with obvious problems, but how would the Jews fare under the Palestinian state that both you and I agree is a must? And if you cut off arms to Israel and create that peace, are you going to put on a blue helmut and go keep them safe from the peace-loving Palestinians? Are you a two-state solution man, or just let the Jews deal with benign treatment of the Arabs? On the other hand, you could get rid of Israel, switch the flags over Free Derry Corner (from Palestinian to Israeli I mean, not tri-colour to Union Jack) and invite the Jews there, or move them to Holyland in Belfast. Talk about what’s wrong is fairly cheap, what are you going to do about it though? Ben

  • ciaran damery

    Harry asks, “I want you to answer my question, what’s so special about Israel?” This implies that one should not condemn atrocities committed by Israel without including every other country guilty of atrocities. Methinks that you operate on the assumption that those who condemn the blatantly apartheid Zionist state are anti-semites. But that’s a load of bullshit. Zionism is an aggressive, apartheid state and armed to the teeth. Their fellacious claim that they had the right to displace millions of Palestinians on the basis of a bible is akin to Al Q’Aida’s claim that they are simply following the Koran. Israel is a terrorist state that receives unconditional support from the US neo-cons and fundamentalist christians. Finally, the reason I condemn Israel and not Russia, china, Britain etc is simple – the topic and other posts pertain to Israel and Judaism.

    Ben – why is it insulting to sneer at or condemn creationists? It is a lot worse to assume that one’s religious persuasion is a good enough reason to hate or terrorize others, as is the case in Palestine/israel and occupied Ireland.

  • Benn

    Ciaran you are doggedly one-sided. Israel is a state established to provide a homeland for the Jewish people, true (though when it lives up to its declaration of independence it will also do a better job about the rights of others living there) but it is also true that the majority of Jews do not categorize themselves as religious. There are many other strands to the Israeli narrative of legitimacy, so you are creating a distortion to hang it only on that one peg of divine mandate (not that creating distortions seems to bother you, so I’m just pointing that out for the record. As for needless insults, I guess that’s just your nature). But if religious fundamentalism is your issue, are you not going to give some time to concern for the theocratic state that the elected government of the Palestinians aspires too? Are you not going to cry out for the rights of Palestinian women in Gaza? Are you not going to condemn the widespread support for a religiously-based ideology that rewards suicide bombers with paradise? To you and your “side” in here, I don’t have a problem with fair criticism of Israel, and I’m for a two-state solution – which may not please some of you anti-Israeli purists -but you’re not even trying to fake even-handedness. So, Ciaran, Brian, do you only wake up when an Israel post comes along, or are you going to regale us with your indignation on behalf of others too by showing your true egalitarian stripes? The sum of Brian’s input on the papal flap is
    “The Muslims need to chill out. Posted by Brian Boru on Sep 16, 2006 @ 03:09 PM.”
    Is that advice only for Middle Easterners Brian? Is that the sum of your interest/rage/concern over something seemingly problematic for a lot of people? Does it not inform your thinking in any way in relation to other “issues of passion” that seem to, well, occupy you? Take your pick boys, double standard, hypocricy, or something “special” about Israel, call it what you will.

    See you on the all those other world hot spot posts and lack of rights posts when you’ve got the time. Ben

  • Brian Boru

    “But if religious fundamentalism is your issue, are you not going to give some time to concern for the theocratic state that the elected government of the Palestinians aspires too? Are you not going to cry out for the rights of Palestinian women in Gaza?”

    I will answer this first. Yes I’m concerned about it but I consider it a separate issue from the question of the right of the Palestinians to a state. After Irish independence a lot of Catholic social-teaching was enshrined in our laws which most of us now consider a grave error but it did not and does not undermine the fact that Irish independence was right. And I object strenuously to the concept that the West has a right to force its values on countries with other cultures, except where that country is on imperial adventures. There are other levers to influence human-rights in a country, specifically economic-sanctions and encouraging multinational investment. It does require a barbaric ‘Crusade’ where we march into someone else’s country and kill their people and call it ‘collateral damage’.

    “Is that advice only for Middle Easterners Brian? Is that the sum of your interest/rage/concern over something seemingly problematic for a lot of people? Does it not inform your thinking in any way in relation to other “issues of passion” that seem to, well, occupy you? Take your pick boys, double standard, hypocricy, or something “special” about Israel, call it what you will”

    The Israelis also need to chill out. I agree there are problems around the world with warmongering and human-rights but I would argue the Israeli occupation stands out as a major driver of Islamic-extremism and anti-Westernism. Where was the Islamic terrorism in Europe or the US before 1948?

  • Benn

    Brian most of the Arab states of today were occupied by Britian and France before 1948, and the world was a different place then. Is Israel a major driver of Islamic extremism… perhaps, but since when do we create our policy to appease extremists? Israel has diplomatic relations with Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Turkey and several of the gulf states, and had a very strong relationship (not entirely healthy) with Iran before it went extremist. On the other hand, it’s a capital offense to be a non-Muslim in Mecca, and illegal for a Jew to set foot in Saudi Arabia, and probably not a good idea for them to visit Syria or Libya or Iraq, so it’s still a tough neighborhood.

    I agree with you, Israel needs to chill, and much of its policy for too long has been driven by extremists. It’s also true that Israel pays dearly for its location, and comes from a traumatized people. Some will then say “as victims of the Nazis how can you misbehave so,” other might say tramautized people do what they have to to survive, and struggle to find the normalcy of say, Sweden.

    As for your remark “I will answer this first. Yes I’m concerned about it but I consider it a separate issue from the question of the right of the Palestinians to a state.”, you and I have no disagreement about the right of a Palestinian state, and we share a concern about their welfare. The difference is that I’ve got room for that in my discourse, and for the other side as well, whereas you only barely get to that egalitarian point after a lot of dragging and cajoling since you’re so damn busy slamming Israel and all Israel and just Israel, etc. I didn’t even raise the point about Palestinians surpressing Palestinian free speech, torturing Palestinian prisoners, burning Palestinian governmental buildings, taking over former Israeli jails and stocking them with political prisoners, and so on. But hey, they too are a traumatized people. All I ask is consistency and fair play, and I LOVE it when we’re not shouting at each other about who did what when. Cheers, Shaul

  • Brian Boru

    “I didn’t even raise the point about Palestinians surpressing Palestinian free speech, torturing Palestinian prisoners, burning Palestinian governmental buildings, taking over former Israeli jails and stocking them with political prisoners, and so on. But hey, they too are a traumatized people. All I ask is consistency and fair play, and I LOVE it when we’re not shouting at each other about who did what when”

    Well I think extremism thrives in a war-time situation and that if and when the conflict is eventually settled these other issues surrounding human-rights will come under greater scrutiny in the Palestinian territories.

  • Harry Flashman

    A weak answer Ciaran

    You simply repeat all the oul’ zionist apartheid crap, and then say the reason you criticise Israel uniquely is because that’s the topic under discussion, but you’ve had many chances to condemn Russia and China and any other conflict but Israel is what pushes your buttons, the Jewish state is the one that gets your pheromones rushing and you know it.

    No, I am not equating all criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, I’m merely suggesting that your obsession with Israel is based on anti-Semitism. If you were screaming blue murder about Tibet or West Papua then I would accept your equal opportunity bona-fides but if it’s only the Jewish state that gets you hot under the collar then a little bit of self-examination and honesty is required on your part and you need to ask yourself why.

  • P O’Neil

    Benn,

    For your information, my knowledge of Arthur Keostler does extend much beyond your own Wikipedia knowledge base. In fact, may be if your knowldge base did extend beyond this you would have kept quiet. In the early 1990’s I read Jack Bernstein’s book “The Life of An American Jew Living in Marxist Israel.” Bernstein, himself an Ashkenazi (Khazar) Jew, was highly critical of the Zionist Ashkenazim Jewish State, their blatant lies and propaganda. According to Bernstein, and other JEWISH academics, the Ashkenazim Jews comprise of about 90% of Jews world wide, and in some places almost 100%. Bernstein also wrote about the fasades of Israeli politicals, that it has 3 faces the first, and oldest, is Marxist Socialism imported by Ashkenazim from Russia and Poland, circa 1917 onwards. The second face is fascism, incorporated by Zionist Ashkenazi from Nazi Germany. The third face is that of a democratic vaneer, whilst in reality the other two faces are the controlling forces. After the Israeli government him (although not his work) and because he wouldn’t shut up, he was eventually brought out by Mossad.

    As for the claim about Brit Intelligence (oxymoron if ever there was one) was made by Dr John Coleman in his book “Conspirators Heirarchy: The Committee of 300”. In fact he went further and claimed the Zionism, Islamic Fundamentalism and the Christian Right in the US were all the brain-children of British Intelligence, with the sole intent of sowing discord in various regions, garner continual US support for Israel (Israel has been bankrupt since the 1960s and only survives because of American Welfare) and it also plays the three main world religions off against each other.

    I’m sure you can find these books in PDF format.

    Also, on previous Slugger posts I have posted links about the Ashkenazim Jews experimenting on over 100,000 Sephardic children by exposing them to over 35,000 times the maximum safe level of x-ray radiation (funnily enough, most of them died).

    “Beware of those who call themselves Jews and are not, for they lie.” (Rev. 2:9; 3:9)

  • Benn

    P you really should work on some basics…. If you’ve done that much reading, you should know that it’s Ashkenazi Jews, not Ashkenazim Jews, as Ashkenazim is the the plural and already implies Jews, but hey, grammar isn’t your biggest problem. I’m not sure where you are and if there’s something in your drinking water, but you should check things out with a doc, or a priest, somebody may be able to help you with these delusions. Or just join a conspiracy club and run for top office. Wow. Ben

  • ciaran damery

    At the end of the day, all the Zionists have is a ‘biblical mandate’. In the eyes of the brits, the yanks and of course the jews, the land is theirs, The expulsion and displacement of millions of the Palestinian nation to Beruit, Syria..even to the US. Others die in the Refugee camps where they spent most of their lives. They are the displaced, their children grandchildren. All on behalf of their biblicle mandate and the support of American born-agains (like Bush) who believe Armgedon is comin’ or some similiar bullshit. Harry, you fail to see the bigger picture. Stop acting like some kinda Uncle Tom.

  • Benn234

    Ciaran I can’t tell if you’re full of it or just woefully lacking in knowledge. Either way, it’s clear that you really don’t read what people who don’t agree with your perspective are writing in here…. or you’re just uninterested in learning/changing. Some Zionists have a biblical mandate. Others have a lot of history. Others have a UN resolution and international recognition. Others have a birth right going back many generations. Others have the right of people to live where they want, a right that MANY people in the world lack, including many Palestinians. SOME of these rights conflict with Palestinian rights (by the way, millions weren’t displace or expelled, the Palestinians have been pretty prolific since then, just as 43 million or so Irish weren’t born in Ireland and then hopped over to the US all of a sudden, but don’t let accuracy slow you down). Beyond that, you continue your reductionist and essentializing bent with your characterization of American support. Hey, I have to reform my opinion of you, you’re an equal opportunity ignoramus, except, of course, for your chosen Irish favorites and your pet peeve Palestians, but you’re damn ignorant about them too. Cheers, Ben

  • Harry Flashman

    Ciaran

    As I understand it an Uncle Tom is a black person who apes the habits of white people, please tell me in under God how my questioning your bona fides about the real reason for your hatred of Israel makes me an Uncle Tom?

    As I see you still refuse to answer my question as to what it is that makes Israel, you know the world’s only Jewish state, so uniquely awful in your eyes above all the other nasty Christian/Muslim/Communist/Atheist/Non-aligned countries in the world I can only assume my original guess was correct that a deep seated good ol’ fashioned Irish Catholic hatred of the Jooooz is what gets your juices flowin’.

  • Mick Fealty

    Very interesting discussion. I’ not singling out individuals, but it would improve the quality of the debate if people could take the time and care to answer opponents question directly rather than throwing back of the same.

    As I’ve said on numerous occasions in the past, answering an opponent’s question does not require you to acquiesce in their opinion, but is more likely to strengthen your own.

  • Discussions are still mostly about apportioning blame (which at least lets us feel all superior), instead of suggesting solutions (which is more risky, since the usual allies can’t be counted on to rally round). But if people only talk about the past, especially if it’s just one side’s version of the past, how will the future be any different?

    To be fair, the pro-Israel folk (for want of a better term for those who don’t exclusively attack Israel) seem to be suggesting a 2 state solution.

    Unless I (and all the other posters) missed it, only one member of the anti-zionist lobby has hinted at a solution – and that only by implication. Rory said he thought that the Israeli state had no legitimacy, which could be read as endorsing a one-state, non-Israeli final solution.

    So, anyone else got any bright ideas – for a solution, or how to get one?