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JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



Boastful, insular, clubbish – that’s the Jews (and every other group)

Anti-Semitism is not a product of Jews acting like the ‘Chosen People’

Social bindings, like the chosen people concept, have been highly effective in cementing Jewish isolationism and, dare I say, arrogance. But the fallacy, and the real anti-Semitism, comes from those who believe that this is in some way unique to Jews when, in fact, everyone does it.

By Josh Mintz,  Haaretz

The accusation of Jewish arrogance and racism stemming from the “Chosen People” moniker, and the defense thereof, is hardly a new one. This annoyingly cyclical discussion has raced round its track for as long as Jews have been Jewish and sticks have been sticky. Whilst Jews have tried to find ways to explain their “chosen-ness” as not being an issue of superiority or God’s favor, their detractors have painted the issue as a prime example of ethnocentrism and isolationism.

These detractors are, of course, right. “Chosen-ness” is a trope that occurs through many cultures, races and religions, and it’s always nonsense. It is as hard to believe that a deity chose a small band of rag-tag former slaves in a desert to carry some special responsibility throughout the world as it is to believe the Unification Church’s claim that Koreans are the chosen people, placed on earth to serve a divine mission, or the Rastafarian assertion that the Africans were chosen by God to be spiritually and physically supreme.

Clearly, all of these claims are attempts to create common empathy, to bind together a people and try to keep them free of outside influences. Yet, we see the Jewish concept of “chosen-ness” routinely used as a (remarkably thin) veil for anti-Semitism. The huge number of Palestinians released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal was lauded as an example of the greater value placed on Jewish life than all other forms (as if Israel was offered Gilad’s return for the release of one prisoner but said, “No thanks, we’d rather release 1,027 just to show you how little we care about you). The predominance of Jews in certain fields of employment leads to talk of, “Look how they favor each other; so insular” (because Jews couldn’t possibly have created a culture of education in their communities that led to a high number of professionals). All of these stereotypes attack the “otherness” of Jews, their separation which is, for so many, intrinsically linked to their “chosen-ness”.

The scariest thing about this type of anti-Semitism, as opposed to the classic “Jews have horns and are money grabbers” meme, is that it has such a strong basis in reality, which gives it an appearance of credence.

Jews, in general, do care more about Jewish life than that of non-Jews. Jews do favor each other in business and employment. Jews are far more interested in themselves than they are in others; this is undeniable. Social bindings, like the chosen people concept, have been highly effective in cementing Jewish isolationism and, dare I say, arrogance. Jews themselves are always talking about the disproportionate contributions that they make (Nobel prizes and the Israeli High-Tech sector are common outlets for this), and Jews never let you forget when a celebrity reveals some small trace of Jewish lineage.

The fallacy, and the real anti-Semitism, comes from those who believe that this is in some way unique to Jews when, in fact, everyone does it. The British care far more about British lives than they do Pakistani ones; the headline, “Flood in Pakistan, two Britons missing” is hardly unimaginable for a British newspaper’s front page. Many Americans have long resisted buying imported cars for fear of “trampling on American jobs.” Even primates do it: chimpanzees protect companions that they know and that have helped them in the past. Even Soda and Gili, the two dogs that live my apartment, will share a water bowl with each other, but go nuts if another dog tries taking a sip.

We have a word for this attitude; reciprocity. It’s not arrogance, nor a question of superiority. It’s not a display of contempt for the other, nor hubris. It’s survival, and looking at history, it would be hard to begrudge Jews that one.

Josh Mintz is completing his degree in International Relations and Middle Eastern studies and is the communications director at Friend a Soldier, an NGO that encourages dialogue with IDF soldiers.

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