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This House believes that Zionism is a danger to the Jewish people

Thursday 16th February, 8.00 p.m. Cambridge Union Debating Chamber

Proposition:

Dr. Brian Klug: Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy, St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford, Honorary Fellow of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton.

Daphna Baram: Journalist, Author of ‘Disenchantment: The Guardian and Israel’

Richard Kuper: Chair, Jews for Justice for Palestinians

Opposition:

Ned Temko: Chief Political Correspondent, The Observer

Daniel Shek: British Israel Communications and Research Centre

Jeremy Briar: Barrister, Former Union President, World Debating Champion

The proposition was carried by 125 to 121 votes with 71 abstentions.

 

THIS HOUSE BELIEVES
THAT ZIONISM IS A DANGER TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE

The speeches of the three proposers are reproduced here. The event provoked a ferociously misleading report by Emanuele Ottolenghi entitled Jews against Jews in the Jerusalem Post on 22nd Feb which licensed some extraordinarily malicious talkback. Daphna Baram finally got a reply published Who really sets Jews against Jews? on 1st March. There were also the most extraordinary responses from Melanie Philips both before [The Oxbridge sport of Jew-baiting, 14th Feb] and after [The closing of (some) university minds, 20th Feb]

1: Brian Klug

  • I wish my remarks could be lighthearted, but the subject – Zionism – is no laughing matter. Which reminds me of a Jewish joke. That’s not quite as paradoxical as it sounds when you remember that irony, especially self-mockery, is a staple of Jewish humour. Why, I’m not sure. But I know it’s true, not just because I grew up in a Jewish household but because Freud says so; and he took humour very seriously. In his treatise Jokes and their Relation to the Unconsious he remarked, “I do not know whether there are many other instances of a people making fun to such a degree of its own character.” And this, incidentally, is one of the ways in which I see Zionism as a danger to Jews: I don’t think there are many good Zionist jokes – unless they’re Jewish jokes. The point being that Judaism, like the vast unconscious itself, is as deep as it is ancient; whereas Zionism is a Yonni-come-lately. The Jewish people have been around for yonks – long before Jewish nationalism emerged as an idea. And you cannot be on this planet for such a length of time, nor wander on its surface so far and wide, without seeing every Big Idea –including your ideas of yourself – especially your ideas of yourself – subverted. You might almost say that in Judaism, funnily enough, nothing is sacred. What I mean is: nothing on earth, nothing finite: no object or idea. Setting up something finite as if it were infinite: this is the essence of idolatry. And what is Judaism if not the overturning of idols? Zionism is a Big Idea. Which means that, from a Jewish point view, eventually it must be toppled from its pedestal. The only question is: when. And the argument from this side of the house is that Zionism has had its day and that it is time to do the Jewish thing – and subvert it. Perhaps that’s why irony is a staple of Jewish humour: for what is irony if not subversive?
  • But there could be another explanation. Saul Bellow once remarked that “oppressed people tend to be witty”. Which brings me at last to the joke. Moishe the peddler was pushing his cart down an alley in Vitebsk (a town in the so-called Pale of Settlement in Russia), minding his own business, when he was stopped by an antisemite. “Hey Jew!” yelled the antisemite. “Who gave you the right to control the world?” Moishe looked puzzled. “You mean me, personally?” he asked. “Don’t be a smart aleck,” retorted the antisemite. “I mean you, the Jews, collectively.” Moishe was amazed. “You know something I don’t know?” “You know perfectly well what I mean,” said the antisemite gruffly. “I’m talking about your cousins, the Rothschilds.” Suddenly Moishe’s face lit up with pleasure. “The Rothschilds!” he exclaimed. “I had no idea they were family!”
  • Moishe stands for Jews in general who, down the centuries, did not possess any real power. Yes, there were families like the Rothschilds. But to my grandparents, all of whom were from Eastern Europe (including one from Vitebsk), the very idea of Jewish power would have sounded like a Jewish joke. The vast majority of Jews in Europe were like Moishe, barely able to run their own lives, never mind control the world. Such power as they had was limited, contingent, and temporary. The joke reminds us why Zionism, or Jewish nationalism, came into existence. Zionism saw itself as a political movement to empower the powerless. In this respect, you can say, it succeeded.
  • But, we could add, with a vengeance. For Zionism, which sought to free Jews from oppression, has itself become oppressive; oppressive not only to Palestinian Arabs but also to Jews. Furthermore, Zionism, which sought to rescue Jews from danger, now puts Jews at risk, both within Israel and around the world. My colleagues and I will develop these points in different ways and from our different points of view.
  • First, however, I wish to say something about what does not fall within the scope of the motion that we are proposing. The debate is not about 1948 and whether the State of Israel should have been created in the first place. Nor is it about the right of Israel to continue to exist, let alone the right of its Jewish population to live within its legal borders. Moreover, we are not here to discuss the relative merits of the so-called two-state and one-state solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These topics do have an indirect bearing on the motion, and so might crop up. But the focus is on Zionism, as it exists today, and whether it is ‘good for the Jews’.
  • It is worth emphasizing that the debate is about Zionism, not Israel. The distinction is important. Bernard Avishai, in his widely-respected book The Tragedy of Zionism, observes, “[I]t would be wrong to confuse Israel with the movement that produced it”. “[I]t may finally be time,” he suggests, “to retire everybody’s Zionism, time for more democracy, for what some Zionists used to call ‘normalcy’.” A similar point was made by Adam LeBor in a feature article that appeared in last Friday’s Jewish Chronicle. He suggested that “the time has come to reconsider the very nature of the Israeli state … and normalise its relations with all of its citizens.” What does this mean? In brief, it means, in Lebor’s phrase, “the removal of the privileges given to Jews”. (Bear in mind that about 20% of Israel’s citizens are non-Jewish Palestinian Arabs; this is apart from the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip who, of course, are not citizens of Israel.) Echoing Avishai, he says, “Zionism’s mission is completed”.
  • Let me put this another way and in my own words: Israel today suffers from the fact that the movement that brought it into existence is unwilling to hand over to the state that it created. Why is there still systematic discrimination against one-fifth of its own citizens? Why have successive Israeli governments promoted Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories? Why, in short, does Israel pursue policies that are inimical to its own interests at home and abroad? The answer lies at the level of ideology. True, Zionism comes in all shapes and sizes. But ideologies usually do. And whether religious or secular, the idea that lies at the heart of all major varieties of Zionism is this: the State of Israel is central to the identity of the Jewish people, and vice versa. This is not only a Big Idea, it is a Bad Idea: it is a Big Bad Idea. Whatever utility it might have had at some point in the past, right now this ideology is in the saddle and riding the state to ruin,  overriding the interests of the state and its citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. Israel cannot be a normal modern state, and therefore it cannot be a safe place for Jews, for as long as it holds on to this idea.
  • Nor, for that matter, can Jewish communities around the world live a normal life for as long as they place the State of Israel at the centre of their own identity. Last June I got married. And in this connection, it was necessary to pay a visit to the London Beth Din, the court of the Chief Rabbi. As Reva and I entered the building, my eye was caught by a framed poster on the wall that included a list of the six core ‘values’ of the United Synagogue, the mainstream orthodox organization in the UK. Five items on the list were values that Jews at any time in history would have recognized. But the sixth stood out: ‘the centrality of Israel in Jewish life’. Why is this a core value of the United Synagogue? Moreover, there is a certain tension between this item and the first on the list: ‘the welcoming of every Jew’ – as if every Jew puts the State of Israel at the centre of their Jewish life. The liturgy itself now incorporates this ‘value’. In 1998, the standard siddur (prayer book) used in many synagogues in the UK was revised, and the following prayer, to be recited at Sabbath morning services, was added: “Heavenly Father: Remember the Israel Defence Forces, the guardians of our Holy Land. Protect them from all distress and anguish, and send blessing and prosperity upon all the work of their hands.”All the work? Including demolition of homes, destruction of olive groves, humiliation of Palestinians at checkpoints, not to mention the violence meted out at times to Israeli Jews protesting against such actions? Note the biblical language – “all the work of their hands” – and the sacred epithet, “the guardians of our Holy Land.” The sense of this prayer is that Israel’s military is an institution of Judaism itself. And where does this leave those Jews who do not identify with Israel or who disassociate themselves from the actions of its armed forces? There is no place for these Jews – including many observant religious Jews – in this new definition of the Jewish people.
  • Traditionally, the idea of the Jewish people was centered not on a state but on a book: the Torah. Within the pages of that book a story is told about a people in exile from a promised land to which they shall return. This is the vision of the in-gathering of the exiles of which the prophets speak in the messianic context of an end of days when the lion will lie down with the lamb and the world be redeemed. Zionism has taken this story and turned it into a political blueprint; though I am not aware of any plans – yet – to genetically engineer lambs and lions to live peacefully together. The genius of Zionism is that it speaks the familiar language of the Torah but with a revolutionary accent: the accent of national politics. “The very name of the movement,” observes Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, “evoked the dream of an end of days, of an ultimate release from the exile and a coming to rest in the land of Jewry’s heroic age.” The very name of the state too. Imagine if Israel were not called Israel but, say, Western Palestine, or even The Herzl Republic. The resonances – of the eternal hope of an eternal people – are not quite so strong. Maybe Israel should change its name if it wants to become a normal state.
  • In short, the State of Israel and the Jewish people are locked in an embrace that distorts life for both parties. It is as if Israel were carrying the whole burden of Jewish religious hope and Jewish secular history on its shoulders. For the sake of its future, it needs to be let off the hook so that it can be its own state, not ‘the state of the Jews’, pursuing its own good for its own citizens, and seeking integration into the region it inhabits. By the same token, Jewish life in Britain and elsewhere is deformed by the idea that it must be centered on the Jewish state, let alone by the call, re-issued by Ariel Sharon in July 2004, that Jews “all around the world” should move to Israel. Putting the Zionist idea at the heart of this ancient, complex, diverse, ironic people – the Jewish people – is the height of crassness. Worse than that, it’s a chutzpah.

Brian Klug, St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford

__________

2: Daphna Baram

Good evening,

Due to the sensitivity and complexity of any discussion about Zionism, I find it necessary to make a few introductory comments in order to mark the boundaries of this debate. Questioning the benefits of Zionism to the Jewish people today, or even raising doubts as to the merits of the Zionist ideology in general, have nothing to do with the right of Israel to exist, or with the right of its people, Jewish, Palestinians and others, to peace and security.

I am an Israeli, I am a non-Zionist, and I do not take kindly to any accusations of disloyalty to my country. The only passport I hold is Israeli, though it often brings me much aggravation. The physical existence of me, my family, and most of the people I love in this world depend on the survival of this state. I believe it is also depending on a successful transformation of my counrty’s state ideology.

Zionism is Israel’s state ideology. It is predicated mainly on the premise that Israel should be a “Jewish State”, designated for the Jewish people, and that maintaining a majority of Jews in this country is vital and necessary for its very existence. Various policies derive from this premise, the majority of which are not of interest to us today as they are directed mainly against the Palestinian citizens of Israel, devising means and legislation in order to limit to absolute minimum their ability to purchase land in Israel, and to prevent them from granting their citizenship to their non-Israeli spouses. But it is not the treatment of Arabs by Zionism which is prominent on our agenda tonight; it is its treatment of the Jews.

Many, unfortunately not only non-Israelis, believe that “an Israeli” and a “Zionist” are synonyms. When I was a child I thought that one is born a Zionist just as one is born a Jew or an Israeli. But being a state ideology, Zionism is Israel’s regime of choice, and it could be changed. Just as Russia stripped itself of its communism and South Africa in a long and painful process, parted ways with Apartheid, and just as the United Kingdom may one day re-define itself as a republic rather than a monarchy, so can Israel go through a process of de-Zionization without altogether ceasing to exist. Once it will turn from the state of the Jews, of all the Jews in the world, into the state of and for all its citizens, Jews and others, it will become a truly democratic, though no longer Zionist state.

In a debate over a similar though not identical motion at the geographic society in London last year, one of the speakers for the opposition, Professor Raphael Israeli of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said that “Zionism is by no doubt a success. It managed to transform a people of scholars and merchants into a nation of farmers and soldiers”. I wonder if there are any other Ideological movements who believe that such an achievement is something to boast at and I was a bit surprised that this was what an Israeli scholar opted to say to an audience comprised mainly of Jewish merchants and scholars. Maybe that’s why they lost the debate. Indeed, Zionism is not the only ideological movement of the 20th century who thought that Jews were not of great use to the societies they live in and that they should be made to become farmers, at the bests of cases. But it is the only one among such movements that purported to speak on behalf of the Jews.

Professor Israeli’s statement, however, encapsulated the Zionist attitude towards the Jews who reside in places other than Israel, or Diaspora Jews, as they are related to in Israel. When I was at school we were taught that such Jews are impractical wimps, who never could or wanted to stand for themselves. It was often implied, though not in so many words, that their idleness is what got so many of them killed by the Nazis. However in other times the heroism of Jews who tried to rebel against the Nazis was exaggerated in order to present them as worthy could-have-been-Israelis. We were brought up to embrace not the notion of our superiority over the Arabs, which was treated as a statement of the obvious, but our superiority over the Jews. We are the “new Jew”, strong, stands our ground, bubbling with chutzpah and speaking our minds. Not a walkover like the “old Jew”.

Such messages go deep, and no Israeli is immune to them. I came from a background that resented the “negation of Diaspora” by Zionism. Almost as long as I remember myself I knew that rejecting the Jewish existence in Diaspora means the rejection of 2000 year of Jewish culture, and its unique gifts to the history and culture of all mankind. Despite all this, when I came to the UK and met British Jews I often felt an unconscious force older than my political understanding make my eyebrow rise with irony. Not scorn, but a certain mocking; Here they go, the wimpy intellectuals, the useless scholars, the shylocks. It is no accident that the word Yehudon, Hebrew for Yid (or Jew-boy), is a derogatory term in colloquial Hebrew for a liberal.

The fact that Israel had taken over the interests of all the Jewish people, whom it purports to represent, exposes them to accusations of dual loyalty, and such loyalty is indeed expected of them by Israel. But Jews around the world are often taken hostage by Israel for its own interest.

A few months ago the Jewish agency, the leading Zionist organization in the word, boasted a unique achievement: Germany yielded to the agency pressure and took away benefits which it used to grant Jews who sought refuge in its territory. The agency chairman, Salay Meridor, declared: “Germany had put a great historical wrong right. As long as Israel exists there is no such thing as a Jewish refugee. All Jews now have a home”.

In the name of Zionism, Maridor forgave Germany for “a great historical wrong”, which in Hebrew means only one thing. And how did Germany atone? That’s right, by rejecting, from now on, Jewish refugees.

This is not an isolated incident, but a syndrome which carries a long trajectory of similar attitudes. In the 1940s  David Ben Gurion said “If I knew that it was possible to save all the Jewish children of Germany by transporting them to England, but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second — because we face not only the reckoning of those children, but the historical reckoning of the Jewish people.”. In the 1970s Israel struggled to prevent Jews who were set free from the Soviet Union and were waiting at the transfer point in Vienna from immigrating to any other country but Israel.  Pressure was put on other states in the west to not accept them as refugees.

The Jewish state had turned from a refuge to an independent project with its own independent interests. It is fine, but why pretend to represent the world’s Jews?

But it is not only, not even mainly, the Jews around the world who are victimised by Zionism. The Zionist state, founded on the premise of segregation and hostility towards the Arab world around it, is mainly dangerous to its own Jewish citizens. With all the hyped concern about the rise in anti-Semitism, there is only one place on earth in which Jews are killed by the dozen just for being Jews. This place is the Zionist state, Israel. But the danger is not only physical. The process of rejecting the Diasporic existence and aspiring to be strong, hard and self preserving, created a dangerous dichotomy in the Israeli psyche: too many of us believe that if we do not project only aggression and violence on our neighbours, we will go back to our past weak, persecuted, victimised Jewish existence. In the Zionist discourse there are only two possible ways of being, the victim Jew, or the Warrior Israeli. Such concepts doom us to perpetual war. Our blood is spilling in vain.

There is an alternative to a Zionist Israel, and there is an alternative to a Jewish identity which is not concentrated around the Jewish Zionist state. A non-Zionist Israel will be open, truly democratic, and would stand a chance of achieving peace with its neighbours. Such a process, however, will enforce on the Jewish communities around the world a hard though fascinating challenge of defining their Jewish identity independently of Israel.

Out of care for Israel and concern for the Jewish people, I am asking you tonight to embrace these two challenges by supporting our proposed motion.

__________

3: Richard Kuper

[I spoke in some measure ex tempore and this is an attempt to reconstruct my talk from notes and memory… I have resisted the temptation to correct my formulations and way what I’d really have liked to say!– Richard]

I am speaking in a personal capacity, but also as an active member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and of the federation European Jews for a Just Peace. Jews for Justice for Palestinians is a network of Jews who are British or live in Britain, practising and secular, Zionist and not.

I cut my political teeth in the Zionist youth movement in South Africa in the fifties where Israel and the Zionist dream was seen as a radical, egalitarian, liberatory movement. What moved a generation of young people then bears no relation to what Zionism has become.

What the resolution is about and what it is not about.

I am speaking about what Zionism is today, not what it might once have been. I will explain why I believe is a danger to the Jewish people and would repeat what my colleagues have stressed: this is not a proposition about the legitimacy of the Israeli state but about what Zionism is today as encapsulated in what the Israeli state is doing and the effects of its actions on the Jewish people.

I will be claiming that Zionism poses three clear dangers to the Jewish community Indeed, I prefer to talk about Jewish communities not the Jewish community. Zionism was one current in these various communities – and a minority one probably until, paradoxically, victory in 1967 removed any real existential threat to the young Israeli state. There has historically been an enormous diversity within and among what has historically constituted ‘the Jewish people’.

First, what we are witnessing today is an attempt to stifle Jewish identities, to impose a single defining characteristic on Jews and that is identification with, indeed uncritical support for, the state of Israel.

What my organisation Jews for Justice for Palestinians has come increasingly to represent is the right to dissent within the Jewish community, to express some of the diversity and plurality that exists within and is such a source of strength of, what is called the Jewish community. And I will give some examples of what I mean later.

The second danger is expressed in what I can only describe as an erosion of respect for human rights and I want to elaborate this.

Israel is a proud signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention, a convention that came out of an experience during WW2 of which Jews were in no small measure on the receiving end.

It was and is designed to protect civilians in time of war and focuses on the treatment of civilians in the hands of the adversary, whether in occupied territories or in internment. It prohibits, among other things, violence to life and person, torture, taking of hostages, humiliating and degrading treatment, sentencing and execution without due legal process, and collective punishments of any kind.

It specifies ‘grave breaches’ of the Convention as including willful killing; torture or inhuman treatment; willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health; unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person; willfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial; taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.

Now I can only assert here, that Israel stands in prima facie breach of each and every one of these provisions and had I the time I would call in evidence not just Palestinian organisations who report these things in great detail, nor organisations like Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International – ditto – but very specifically I would call in evidence Israeli organisations: ACRI, B’tselem, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, ICAHD, Physicians for Human Rights, Rabbis for Human Rights, Shovrim Shtika (Breaking the Silence), Machsom (Checkpoint) Watch, Yesh Din among others for the careful evidence they have collected, published and tabled.

I am not saying Israel is worse than many other countries in its human-rights violations – it clearly is not – but I find that cold comfort. There is an overwhelming case to answer and I am concerned as to what happens to that case.

Le me restate part of the case, in the words of B’tselem early in 2005:

‘In the past four and a half years, Israeli security forces have killed at least 1,705 Palestinians who did not take part in the fighting, including 551 minors. The number of indictments filed against soldiers for gunfire-related offenses stands at only twenty-eight, according to the Judge Advocate General’s office. Only two soldiers have been convicted of “causing the death” of Palestinians.’

In Israel a few, a very few, of these complaints sometimes find they way to some court or tribunal; but they are overwhelmingly ignored. But that doesn’t stop people making political capital out of them by saying: ‘Look how democratic we are. We permit these organisations to function and even to report against the state’s interests – even if we don’t react to a damn word they say’. Most people do not want to know what is going on in the occupied territories; and those who live there do so in enclaves that are linked to Israel by segregated roads along which Palestinian registered cars are not allowed to travel. Residents in the settlements do not even know they have left Israel!

The third danger relates to our ability to fight antisemitism.

If Zionism doesn’t distinguish between Jews and Israel why should others? Any opposition to Israel becomes opposition to Jews. How can we demand that others make the distinction and accuse them of antisemitism when they don’t. It undermines our ability to fight real antisemitism.

This is not blaming the victim, this is not saying that Jews are responsible for antisemitism and if only they modified their behaviour they wouldn’t bring the opprobrium of others down on their – any more than one would say such things of blacks or Muslims. Racism is racism is racism – and it is the racist who is responsible. But there is no doubt that our ability to fight racism is affected by how we act in the real world in relation to the issues that racists exploit.

There are serious threats of antisemitism today. I personally am very worried by the recent dissemination of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, for example. But I do not think that the struggle against antisemitism is helped by lumping everything in to the pot and finding it so widely levelled against criticisms of Israeli policies. Everyone here agrees that of course criticism of Israeli policies is legitimate, but in practice such criticisms always ‘go too far’.

We have experienced a fair amount of antisemitism in our work – but it comes exclusively from Jews. At the extreme was the comment we received saying that ‘Hitler killed the wrong Jews’. An extreme example, perhaps, of the diversity of the Jewish community I am generally so much in favour of!

The sentence of Melanie Philips quoted by a speaker from the floor that Jews like us ‘have a sickness at the heart of their Jewish identity’ is the kind of response that calling attention to Israeli violations of human-right so often elicits.

Or take again the response of Bicom (the organisation of which speaker against the proposition Danny Shek is Chief Executive) to the articles by Chris McGreal last week raising parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa. A rebuttal, after raising perfectly relevant and valid points such as that in South Africa no blacks could vote while in Israel Arab citizens can, then concluded in the following extraordinary way:

This extensive piece of work published in the Guardian offends not only British Jews but all friends of democracy as well as friends of Israel. Direct comparisons to apartheid South Africa and insinuations about collusion between Jews and Nazis are simply abhorrent.

The content and associated imagery are inflammatory and one-sided. They are conveyed with a degree of emotion and hatred that should have immediately alerted the Guardian’s editors to question the writer’s professional integrity.

There is a difference between criticising what Israel does and what Israel is. This article puts Israel’s right to exist in question and therefore crosses a very dangerous red line.

And here in Britain where we campaign ceaselessly to bring Israeli human-rights violations to the attention, particularly of members of the Jewish community? We are generally met with resentment, silence at best – and mostly accusations of betrayal. We are washing our dirty linen in public, letting the family secrets out.

The core of what I understand to be Jewish values include such things as a passion for justice, tolerance, understanding, intellectual curiosity and rigour, irony and humour, mutual recognition. All of these are challenged by a Zionism that has become arrogant and inward-looking and triumphalist, at one and the same time. And I say this, not in terms of analysis of changing ideological statements by Zionist ideologues but by looking at what Zionism has become – as expressed in what the state of Israel is doing today in the occupied territories in what, next year, will have become a 40-year long occupation.

References for the Klug speech

Quoted in Jules Chametzky, ‘Jewish Humor’, in Leonard H. Ehrlich et al (eds.), Textures and Meanings: Thirty Years of Judaic Studies at University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2004, pp. 228-229.
Quoted in ‘Jewish Humour’ in Wikipedia, available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_humour.
mishpachah: extended family.
Bernard Avishai, The Tragedy of Zionism: How Its Revolutionary Past Haunts Israeli Democracy, NY: Helios Press, 2002 (second edition), p. xxvii. (First edition 1985)
Ibid., p. xx.
Adam LeBor, ‘“We don’t need a Jewish state any more”’, Jewish Chronicle, Literary Supplement, 10 February 2006.
The Authorized Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth (known as “Singer’s Prayer Book”), centenary edition, 1998, p. 384.
Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader, Philadelphia: JPS, 1997, p. 16.
‘Paris slam PM Sharon for urging French Jews to immigrate’, Ha’aretz, 18 July 2004, available at: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=452885 (viewed 18 July 2004).


Jews Against Israel
Emanuele Ottolenghi, Jerusalem Post, 22 Feb 2006

There was extensive ‘talkback’ on this article, some of which is reproduced below. Note no 6, for example: ‘ It’s almost too bad that Jews don’t issue Fatwas against the anti Zionist Jews like the muslims would do with similar outlaws.’

[Links to the original article and comment thread no longer work]

Last week in England, the Cartoon Jihad was not all the rage. There was time aplenty to smear Israel. In truth, judging by the surge of anti-Israel rhetoric, one could almost be misled into thinking that it was not about Danish cartoons that Muslim mobs were burning European embassies and stoning European peace-keepers.

First, the Church of England’s Synod voted to divest from Israel, proving – if any further proof were needed – that the Anglican Church has morphed into the liberal-democrats’ party conference assembled in prayer.

Not to be outdone by their spiritual leaders, students hosted anti-Israel events: at Warwick University there was a debate on the alleged Palestinian “right of return”; at Oxford there was an “Israel apartheid week”; and at Cambridge the Student Union debated whether Zionism is the most dangerous threat to the Jewish people.

With Hamas in power, Iran ranting and going nuclear and the Middle East on fire on account of 12 cartoons, the Cambridge Student Union could do better than devote its yearly debate on regional issues to whether Jews have a right to self-determination. In the event, all it proved was that intelligence is not a prerequisite for admission into top British universities.

Needless to say, Jews featured prominently in all these events. Haifa University’s Prof. Ilan Pappe spoke at both Warwick and Oxford, where he was introduced by his comrade, Prof. Steven Rose of academic boycott fame. Their UCLA colleague, Gabi Piterberg, offered the opening speech at Oxford (though he bailed out of the Cambridge debate at the last minute).

BUT IT WAS at Cambridge that the Jews took center stage. After all, the motion had to do with their identity. Accordingly, the Student Union ensured that the two opposing teams of debaters included Jews only. Perhaps that is why Piterberg bailed out: He did not want to be a member of a segregated panel where Arabs did not have the same right as Jews to discuss and demean Jewish identity.

In the end, though, what is good for the Jews was determined not by the Jews themselves – though the fight was fair and the arguments poignant – but by a vote of the assembled Union. This time it was a close call, with those defending Zionism losing by only four votes.

The Ayes won narrowly, 125-121, but the Jews would have lost anyway. In the minds of the liberal elites of tomorrow’s Europe, Jews can never determine their own identity. Only others can, those who know better than the Jewish people what’s good for them.

And though nearly half the Jewish people live in Israel and the other half overwhelmingly gives Israel a central place in their own Jewish identity, liberal intellectuals know better: We, the enlightened liberal elite, will dictate the conditions for a Jewish identity the world can tolerate. And when we do that, we can always find a token Jew to endorse this view.

Pitching Jews against Jews is not a novelty, and in the latest Israel hate-fests it appears to be the most popular show in town. The Cambridge event was a repetition of last year’s Intelligence Squared debate that saw Melanie Phillips, Rafi Israeli and Shlomo Ben-Ami face Avi Shlaim, Jacqueline Rose and Amira Hass.

THIS TIME, the speakers were Ned Temko of The Observer, Daniel Shek of BICOM and London barrister Jeremy Brier defending Zionism against Oxford don Brian Klug, former Israeli journalist Daphna Baram and Richard Cooper, a representative for Jews for Justice for the Palestinians. Their arguments were as predictable as their victory: Klug decried the conflation of Judaism and Zionism, arguing that in the modern world there is no place for nationalism.

No place that is, except in most places, where nationalism is still proving a vital force for collective identity and political mobilization.

Baram pushed that line further by explaining that Israel’s Jewish character means Israeli society is racist – the implication being that Israel must turn itself into “a state of all its citizens” and embrace multiculturalism. Given the ubiquitous nature of multiculturalism in the Arab world and the promise it holds for peaceful coexistence among religions and ethnic groups, one can excuse Baram for having permanently relocated to London.

But it was Cooper who, having compared Israel to apartheid South Africa, offered the best insight into the meaning of the debate. He complained about how the Jewish community marginalizes him on account of his political activism.

In the end, these self-flagellating Jews crave acceptance and recognition. Their views are moot inside the Jewish world, since they have, by and large, lost the argument against the Jewish mainstream and its commitment to Israel. Having been rejected by their fellow Jews, they put their venom to the service of Israel’s enemies as a way of regaining a place in the sun.

Is it any wonder that they can win a debate about Jewish identity only when Israel’s enemies define the terms of engagement, and have last say on the outcome?

The writer teaches Israel Studies at Oxford University. His book Israel’s Electoral Reform will appear later this year.

1. More Catholic Than the Pope?

Moishe Pupick, M.O.T.  – USA

02/22/2006 00:33

The self-hating Jews will eventually have to account to G-d Himself for their treachery. The morning prayer service speaks of no hope for informers and of the annhilation of Jew haters. Psalm 83 echos this sentiment. The Zyklon B didn’t differentiate between frum and secular. These Jewish fools seem not to have learned from history. Let us pray that we aren’t doomed to repeat that history. (Kahane was right!)

2. Delusions Of A People Under Siege. This Explains Jews Against Israel

Adina Kutnicki  – US

02/22/2006 01:10

It would seem to me that if the academic “elites” were truly serious about debating the role and the need for zionism, they would have called upon Dr. Kenneth Levin to address this panel. Dr Levin would have been able to unmask the bogeyman behind these self hating Jews. He has traced the entire pathetic history and the psychological ramifications brought about through antisemitic sieges on the Jewish community. At the end of the day, the powers to be in academia know better than to call upon such an expert. Why? Because he would have explained in detail the effects of “The Oslo Syndrome:Delusions of a People Under Siege”. However, his cogent analysis would not be tolerated in “polite” British company.Nevertheless, as a Harvard trained psychiatrist(and also as a faculty member at Harvard Medical school) AND a history authority with a Phd from Princeton University, they would have been hard pressed to dismiss his “diagnosis”.3. These People are Lost Souls

Ron  – Belgium

02/22/2006 01:29

When a man can’t afford to be himself plain and simple, it is indeed a sad and tragic situation. Just watch how these lost souls can’t accept themselves as Jews. Sons of a nation with enviable history, with a fabulous heritage. They should learn to walk again, and I mean, walk straight with their head up. Thereafter, all the good things will come unto them.

4. Too many ism’s verses truth

Marilyn

02/22/2006 01:37

This is just a personal opinion, but I do not hold with ‘nationalism’ because it centralises the state as being important and leads to racism as Hitlers Germany exposed. I don’t endorse multiculturism either because it creates confusion on what is truth. Like many others I have opted for ‘searching’ for Gods Kingdom, which has nothing to do with ‘religion’ and every thing to do with the knowledge of God contained in his ‘Word’.

5. Jews against Jews

Paul Kingery, PhD, MPH  – USA

02/22/2006 02:02

Thanks for your article. Rather than Jew against Jew on this, consider the collaborative approach outlined at landofcanaan.info

6. Fatwa Anybody?

Zooog  – US

02/22/2006 02:14

It’s almost too bad that Jews don’t issue Fatwas against the anti Zionist Jews like the muslims would do with similar outlaws.

7. Article: Jews against Israel

Laura  – UK

02/22/2006 02:25

I think your article is unenlgihtening and suffers from a lack of substance and coherence. This results from your neglect of reasonable considerations, choosing instead to use the column space simply to vent your vitriolic, not to mention juvenile, victim complex.

7. Article: Jews against Israel

Laura  – UK

02/22/2006 02:25

I think your article is unenlgihtening and suffers from a lack of substance and coherence. This results from your neglect of reasonable considerations, choosing instead to use the column space simply to vent your vitriolic, not to mention juvenile, victim complex.

8. Jewish Gladiators

cyrus  – USA

02/22/2006 03:04

This reminds me of the duels of Gladiators. At least that was more exciting. By the way, if sword is involved into this childish game, it would be more exciting to watch.

9. self-loathing

BERNIE NAGLER

02/22/2006 03:14

I know of no other group as stupid as the left-wing-self-loathing-Jew. What they mistake for liberalism is nothing more than self-destruction.

10. Self-hating Jews crave acceptance. Any self-hating Arabs out there?

Aussie Michael

02/22/2006 03:36

Well said Emanuelle. The self-hating Jew will even prostitute himself to the gentile Jew-haters to find people who agree with and accept him/her. They’re nothing more than useful idiots for the anti-Israel clique, whether they’re professors or otherwise, but wouldn’t it be fun to get a debate going including self-hating Arabs – I’m sure plenty exist. I would certainly be one if I was an Arab.

11. Jews should not look down upon themselves. because….

Billy Glenn  – USA

02/22/2006 03:38

Gentile foot dragging Time to put the matter to rest once and for all: Romans 11:25— For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. According to the above Scripture Israel is not the cause of the World s ills. The Gentiles are the cause—foot dragging. Also, the Jews didn t kill Jesus. The Romans (gentiles) did. (Mark 15:16,25) The Jews were not completely guiltless because a multitude of Jews said Crucify Him. (Mark 15:13). But it was Roman authorities who killed Jesus.  Conclusion: Romans 3:21-23— But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

12. Learn from History

Ash  – NJ

02/22/2006 04:04

It seems that some Jews have learnt nothing from the teachings of WWII- There was no muticulturalism in the camps then and not anywhere in the Middle East now.Our arab cousins do not tolerate Danish cartoons or different religions in their neighborhoods. Jews are entiteled for a safe haven- do they have to remain the gypsies of the world ? Not everyone can find refuge in London or Oxford.

13. I Am Getting Sick (er)

Joe Levi  – USA

02/22/2006 04:05

I would call them scumbags, or better, Kapos. Simply put, they are traitors to the Jewish people. They don’t appreciate that, like the Kapos in the concentration camps, they will ultimately share the same fate as their Jewish brethren. Hass, no right winger, recently had an op-ed published in our local paper, something about, “Cheating the Palestinians”. I trashed the editorial section. Whether they are self-hating Jews or just dupes, I don’t know, maybe both. But these people do influence others, just as the naive Spielberg’s movie will impact on anyone who is straddling the fence to support Israel. We have all met Jew and Israeli haters. It’s tragic that our own, lead the miserable bunch of malcontents.I doubt any of them know the difference between kosher food and, for ex, eels. They are as loathesome, and should be treated as such. No pity, no sympathy, no nothing with them.

14. Paul’s collaboration? (no. 5)

Meir  – Israel

02/22/2006 05:00

After a quick look at Paul’s website, I’m confused as to how converting the entire Jewish People en masse will help strengthen us as the Jewish People. Don’t you people believe that you need Jews around to witness the 2nd coming or something? How can that happen if you convert us all to Episcopalians? 🙂

15. Self-hating Jews, bring darkness on everyone.

David Landman  – USA

02/22/2006 05:52

Jews are the light unto all nations and I am EXTREMELY proud to be part of that nation. We have done so much good for the world. Its a jealousy thing for many non Jews. For self hating Jews it is the same, but worse. Unfortunately, I live in a city with one of the worst.  Am Yisrael Chai

16. jew

elie  – thailand

02/22/2006 06:09

any one who call himself jew and is going against the history and roost of his won people and does not recognise Israel has the country of the jewish people , country given by G… this person than recognise automaticly not a member of the Israelite and make himself non jew and in the old time this person was recognise has a potential ennemi of his own people making his country in danger , he was than tough away out of the gates of jerusalem our undivide capital

17. jews against Israel

luzsierra  – mexico

02/22/2006 06:20

From the deep of my heart, I love Israel and it is just the satan against israel, but we are with God who against us. I am praying for Israel. luz.

18. Anglican synod

Mary  – Canada

02/22/2006 09:43

I read about the divesting of the Anglican church in England from Israel and I say they better watch what they are doing because in the old Testament it says that anyone who turns their back on Israel will not be blessed..look out Rowan

19. The enemy within!

joel joseph  – England

02/22/2006 11:25

The concerted campaign in England against Israel conducted by the media, the Church of England, the political left and supported by those nihilist self-hating Jews who appear to jump at every opportunity to appear on television to vituperate against the State only exemplifies an inferiority complex aligned to mental instability. The media’s supporting role by only interviewing left-wing Israeli politicians and Ha’aretz hacks for their views on topical matters cancels any vestige of impartiality. The other day I heard Ben-Simon of Ha’aretz on the BBC lauding Sharon on his brilliant and successful strategy of removing and resettling over 8000 Jews from Gaza. So much for balanced reporting. England has a bigger problem looming as the rapidly growing Moslem population aided and abetted with Saudi finance is starting to flex its muscles!! How long will the natives remain passive? The fuse is smouldering….

20. Is Britain bad for Brits?

Daniel  – Israel

02/22/2006 12:15

All these anti-Jewish “debates” treat Jews as something separated from the rest of mankind. Only when the Jew-bashers’ arguments are brought to a wider non-Jewish context will the wide world public realize the evil of it.  Let British people for example experience how it feels like when non-British and self-hating Brits argue that British national identity equals “racism”, Britain is an “apartheid state”, Britain should be destroyed demographically by letting hundreds of millions of Indians and Pakistanis settle in Britain and that Britain must be destroyed for the sake of “world peace”. First when Brits, Germans, Swedes, Arabs and Russians will experience the evil of Jew-bashing lies themselves, will they be able to understand what it feels like to be Jewish and Israeli today.

21. Ashamed!

Len Grates  – UK

02/22/2006 14:08

I am totally amazed and ashamed of the rise in anti-semitic rhetoric coming out of the UK. Why are we in the west so blind? Israel is trully democratic and pro-western, whilst nearly all the countries surrounding Israel are mainly anti-western as well as being anti-Israel, and would love to harm the west. Why can’t so called ‘acedemics’ use their minds to see reason? As a non-Jew I am sorry that the Church of England has acted the way it has. God says “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” Maybe that’s the reason the C of E are shrinking and becoming irrelevant!

22. To Laura, #7

Stanley T

02/22/2006 14:57

Huh? Instead of making cogent arguments, all you can manage is your own bit of vitriol. And to call the legacy of two thousand years of persecution, culminating in the Holocaust and now, growing international Anti-Semitism, a “juvenile victim complex” is frankly insulting. You should be ashamed of yourself.

23. A massage for the Jews against Israel

zev

02/22/2006 16:13

Do you know what is so sad about you Jews is, that you are not Jews. IT’s real sad when Jews degread Israel, the only country in the world that will not turn it’s back to a Jew when things get bad and it’s a country that a Jew can feel safe as a Jew and proud to be a Jew. I have come to believe that these Jews regret being born Jewish and the only way out for them is to talk bad about Israel and Jewish people. It makes them look good around their goyish friends. Also what country do you think these Jews against Israel will run to when the next Jews holocaust accursed. To the Jewish community in England and Europe, who loves Israel, read the writing on the wall. It’s time to leave these countries while the time is still good.

24. a message for those who …………

yohannes  – israel

02/22/2006 19:21

israel is a small state but an umbrella for the wider jewish society,the jewish culture and thought as well as life. so the detest of some jews against this state is to me disgusting . let us pray the welfare and wellbieng of all jews all over th world.

25. #20 Britain for brits

Yaakov  – USA

02/22/2006 19:22

As an Indian Jew, I would like to state that having seen Britain from a different perspective, I would not assume that most Indians would want to settle down there. Unlike Britian which grew in economy largely by theft, India is improving economically by its own people. I for one would love to be in India compared to Britain. It is a country that thrives in dividing people, be it Jews or anyone else. Can any person of African or Asian origin become the Prime Minister of Britain. They need to take a good look at themselves before subjecting people to such debates.

26. It’s Very Simple

Bart  – USA

02/22/2006 19:45

Jews against Israel come in a few varieties. First, are the conversos like Caspar Weinberger and Robert Novak who hate the fact that they ever were Jewish, and like Cardinal Torquemada, the son of conversos, would happily exterminate each and every one of us who remain Jewish. Second, there are the bought-and-paid-for stooges of Arab oil money like Rita Hauser and Henry Kissinger. Like Esau, they sell their birthright for a mess of potage. The next category, all too often found in academia, are the leftists, like Chomsky, Pinter, Kushner. These people would love Israel if it were as slavishly pro-Soviet as Todor Zhivkov’s Bulgaria or Castro’s Cuba. But Israel supported freedom and America, and so it can never be forgiven. Finally, there are the religious anti-Zionists, like the Satmar Hasidim, but their attitude is due far more to the deleterious effects of inbreeding, than any actual thought

27. Anti-Zionism = Anti-semitism

Bruriah Sarah  – US

02/22/2006 20:16

Per Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., anti-zionism = antisemitism. It says in the Torah, that if the Hebrews had removed G-d from their lives, then they would leave Judaism and the land. So the answer is to help these Jews see the light of Torah.

28. Three Cheers for Mr. Ottolenghi

James Michael Price  – U. S. A.

02/22/2006 20:25

Defending Israel in the U. S. is a fight too, but not nearly as difficult a fight as it is in Britain or on the European continent. I deeply respect Mr. Ottolenghi for his courage and dedication to our Jewish heritage, manifested in the nation of Israel. I cannot thank him enough and am always inspired by him to keep on fighting this apparently never-ending battle.

29. Jews against Israel are pathalogical self-haters

Sean Morgan  – USA

02/22/2006 20:34

It is so sad that there a members of the Jewish people who are so left-wing and whose sensibilities have become so warped by empathy for those who would destroy them in a minute that have become pathalogical self-haters. Don’t they know that they have become pawns of their enemies?

30. Love Your People and Your Land

Marjie  – USA

02/22/2006 20:35

Sharansky talks a lot about the subject of this article. For me, the most frightening is how these “conferences” wind up at the colleges where many young people are influenced. I would imagine seeing a Jew slam Israel would be very powerful to anyone who doesn’t know history or particularly to young Jews with no cohesive Jewish background. theisraelproject.org is a good start, but things like this need to be more widespread and certainly at the grassroots level, at home and in the synagogues. What we in the Diaspora teach our children and how we influence them to know that being Jewish AND loving Israel are not just wonderful things, but critical to our survival.

31. Response to Laura Uk.

Ms. T  – UK

02/22/2006 23:28

Ms. Laura,  It took you four lines to write that!! Three words would have been sufficient…” I am Anti -Semitic”

32. Self loathing Jews

The General  – Canada

02/23/2006 00:24

Thank you Bernie Nagler. I concur totally. Pathetic self loathing Jews should be ttreated much the same way Israeli’s treat terrorists. They should be eliminated. Unfortunately some Jews thing all freedom of speech should be tolerated. God Bless Israel and all her people.  The General


Who really sets Jews against Jews?
Jerusalem Post, 1 Mar 2006

The debate over Zionism going on in Jewish communities is as old as Zionism itself. It did not end after the Holocaust, and it did not end conclusively with the founding of the State of Israel.

The champions of Zionism among Jews seem to have become a majority only after the 1967 war, but even then there was a significant minority of non-Zionists in any Jewish society.

However, it seems that the more powerful the Zionism trend has become among Jews, the more hysterical its supporters have turned. They engage in constant stable-cleaning, sniffing for dissidents behind every curtain, finding non-Zionists under each cupboard.

And when one or two are found – gevalt! All hell breaks loose. Hitler, Chmelnitzki and Petlura are back, and the shtetl is on fire. The renegades have to be found and hanged; the camp must be purified at once.

Reading the responses of Emanuele Ottolenghi (“Jews against Israel,” February 22) and Melanie Phillips (in her infamous blog) to the recent debate over Zionism held in Cambridge in which Brian Klug, Richard Kuper and myself argued for alternatives to Zionism, one would think that Israel was not a nuclear regional superpower possessing the fourth most powerful army in the world, but a shaky sanctuary where Jews are annihilated by the thousands every day.

BUT ARE WE really not strong enough to have such a debate? Abraham Leon’s book arguing against Zionism was smuggled out of Auschwitz; Algerian dissident Abraham Sarfati held on to his non-Zionist criticism even after years of imprisonment in Algiers for his opposition to the local regime.

Zionism is not an obvious response to suffering or to persecution. If those people, true Jewish heroes, kept on debating the subject while exposed to the most horrible perils, so, surely, can we.

Ottolenghi argued that the organizers of the Cambridge debate were “setting Jews against Jews” in a gladiators-arena scenario. The fact is that the debate was civilized and good-natured, and the participants went back to London on the train cracking Jewish jokes all the way to Kings Cross.

The only people in this story who are setting Jews against Jews are renegade-hunters like Ottolenghi. A brief read through the Internet responses provoked by his article should suffice to prove this point beyond doubt. “Fatwa anybody?” “Scumbags” and “kapos” are but mere examples.

One can only wonder what really poses a danger to fellow Jews – Brian Klug’s suggestion that Jewish existence not center around Israel (he never said “There’s no place in this world for nationalism”)? Richard Kuper’s revulsion over Israel’s behavior in the West Bank? My own claim that Israel should belong to all its citizens? Or maybe, as one dead prime minister might tell us, were he able, it is those who wildly incite against anybody who dares divert from the party line.

The writer is an Israeli journalist based in London.

__________

Here are the first 50 talkbacks (viewed at 17:40 on 2nd March)

1. Amazing Jewish Left

Arik Elman  – Israel

03/01/2006 11:40

Daphna Baram calls Leon and Sarfati “heroes”. This, actually, is a crux of any Jewish Leftist’ beliefs – it is better to die for “universal humanity” then to live for your own nation. This is the reason for their denial of Zionism and their readiness to aid and abet our enemies.

2. Traitors – The Left and Anti Zionist Jews

Lee Marks  – UK

03/01/2006 14:17

What can I say? This article is nothing more than pathetic. Israel and the Jewish Nation is at war. We have in a state of war for decades contrary to what anyone else says. When your country and existence is under threat and your people are being murdered daily on buses, in malls, in cafes, in nightclubs etc etc….by people who come from a race which is vocally and evidently hell bent on your annihililation, YOU BETCHA we are at war….The writer and those who think like the writer MUST be considered the enemy. Let’s not kid ourselves anymore….We are at war….Israel and the Jewish people cannot EVER afford to lose a war…Remember, in war….ANYTHING goes until the enemy either surrenders or disappears. You may think it’s easy for me to say sat here at work in London, BUT believe me when I say it…..If Israel ever needed me, I am ready and willing to take up arms..If this means taking the life of another Jew then so be it…Some of us Jews are our own worst enemies.

3. Look Who Is Being Inciting – Pot Calling the Kettle

Adina kutnicki  – US

03/01/2006 17:07

Me thinks this writer has been sniffing too much of the air surrounding the odious and noxious Ken Livingstone from her perch in Londonstan. While she haughtily charges those who want Israel to remain first and foremost a Jewish country as “inciting”, she has no problem inciting against Jewish nationalists, and consequently opines about a “state for all its citizens”. If I didn’t know any better I would think she was campaigning on one of the Arab MK lists, and looking for kudos from her new friends in Eurabia. Israel can do without one more deluded journalist such as Daphna Baram.

4. So naive, it’s almost criminal

Stanley T

03/01/2006 18:01

“My … claim that Israel should belong to all its citizens” has to be about the most idiotic statement in this entire article. This is the old “single state” solution that will ensure one person, one vote, ONCE! Do you honestly believe that the Palestinians, once they come into power in a single state (which will obviously no longer be called Israel) will offer anything but dhimmitude to Jews? Come on, get real, for heaven’s sake. What you are proposing is literally the death of Israel – and let’s face it, a heck of a lot of her citizens.

5. Thus Claims The Writer For The Anti-Israel Guardian

Yishai Kohen

03/01/2006 19:06

Who compares the Jews of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza to the French living in Algeria.  Of course, the fact that Judea, Samaria, and Gaza have ALWAYS been integral to the land of Israel, that Judea, Samaria, and Gaza have ALWAYS had Jews living here, that Judea, Samaria, and Gaza contain some of our holiest places, etc…. mean nothing to her. She should get an education before embarrassing herself publicly yet again with such rubbish.

6. fom one mistake to other

Isaac Eljarrat  – Spain

03/01/2006 19:23

I’m sorry Daphna, but A. Serfaty is not algerian, he is morocan and only incidentally jew,his fight was only for his morocan point of view. i’m decived, I thought from your early lines you will discuss on clasiccal or secular zionism versus Jabotinsky stances, versus religious zionisn , versus postzionism. I thinck you are not realy interested in zionism at all.

7. An Israeli journalist based in London

Kenneth S. Besig  – Israel

03/01/2006 19:24

With Israeli journalist like this, who needs enemies? So they were cracking Jewish jokes on the way back to London, I’ll bet the SS and Reich Ministers cracked Jewish jokes on the way back from Wansee.

8. Stamler

Robin

03/01/2006 19:35

Baram is a long-time journalist for the Guardian, one of the most anti-Israel papers in the UK, and even authored a book commissioned by the Guardian designed to exonerate it of charges of bias or prejudice. As she sees nothing wrong with the Guardian, she is hardly likely to see anything wrong with what is going on in the Left in the UK and their mounting antizionist/antisemitic thinking.

. Has anyone noticed

Mr LA  – US

03/01/2006 19:52

It seems to me that Jews are being attacked and murdered in Israel, France, the US and other parts of the globe not because they are humanitarians who want to be loved, but because they are Jewish. How can the author not be aware of the facts on the ground before they realize it doesn’t matter how strong Israel’s army is today; it’s a long term situation and our enemies are going about destroying us in any way they can. How many Jews have to die before the author realizes there are a lot worse things going on than what is happening in the west bank, and far too many of them are happening to Jews.

10. This author, Daphna Baram, is thoroughly discredited

Jake

03/01/2006 20:14

Daphna Baram, one of the so-called post-Zionist ‘new historians’ that jumped on the revisionist bandwagon against Israel, has been so thoroughly discredited as to make even an op-ed from her farcical and laughable. Her own claim in this very article, that Israel has the 4th most powerful army in the world, has been rubbished and refuted, but this is of little significance to those who are of an activist nature and refuse to get confused with the facts. Daphna Baram seems to be incapable of self-criticism or of rationally assessing the damage done by those anti-Zionist (not non-Zionist) Jews like herself who constantly lead incitement campaigns in places like Britain, and kick of boycott-Israel campaigns among the academia and elsewhere. It is precisely the ANTI ZIONIST Jews, in their hysteria, who are disgruntled by the failure of the false Oslo Messiah and are now striking with a vengeance against Israel and the Jewish people for their own abject failures.

11. the duty of jews

Steve  – USA

03/01/2006 20:14

if you are a jew it is your duty to support israel. if you don’t love everything about it thats fine, but you have to support israel because it supports you…never forget this

12. What an idiot

B

03/01/2006 20:20

Israel is a super power? Israel has the population of hong kong and half the GDP per capita and roughly 8 times the size of metropolitan toronto. Among her many ridiculous assertions is her final one – an israeli journalist living in london. She is living in London but she is clearly anti-israeli and wouldn’t know a journalist if one landed on her head. There were jews who supported the national socialists rise to power in Germany and we have more than our share of similar creatures today. Being a hateful person is its own punishment…please keep on writing and fester in your ignorance.

13. anti-zionism

Iche  – CA

03/01/2006 20:41

Daphna Baram is right . Jews have the right to be anti zionist, anti Jewish and move away from Israel like she did. I wish Sharon had sold me his farm and moved to England. Instead they stay in Israel, grab power and use it against Jews to destroy their cities and leave them vulnerable to attacks.

14. J vs J

jeff  – Canada

03/01/2006 20:44

Why would this writer sign off as an Israeli journalist? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for her to sign off as a British subject, or maybe a citizen of the UN. But I guess it is tough to figure out who you should be loyal to, when for all intents and puposes she is stateless.  Jeff

15. country for citizens

Iche  – CA

03/01/2006 20:52

Daphna Baram is right again. There should be a country for all its citizens. In the holy Jewish Land of Israel the Jews are its citizens. All others are resident aliens with full civil rights.

16. What is a Jewish non-Zionist??

Marjie  – USA

03/01/2006 20:58

I would ask these non-Zionist Jews why is it that every human on the planet has a Mother nation, but we don’t deserve the rights to our own land. I would ask them how are we to protect ourselves, particularly in Europe, as anti-semitism starts to climb once more. This article says NOTHING to WHY she and others are non-Zionists. Hatred/embarrassment for Israel and themselves? What does “alternatives to Zionism” mean anyway? (dare I ask). I simply do not understand. They are a misguided, unrealistic and disgusting bunch.

17. “Mi-kol melamdai lamadti”

Ephraim Rauch  – Israel

03/01/2006 21:02

“I learnt from all who could teach me” (King Solomon). The Palestinians (and the Muslims in general) are more gifted than the Jews in dealing with traitors in their midst. We should learn from them.

18. Words Do Matter

Joseph

03/01/2006 21:10

Ms. Baram has no understanding of the world in which she lives. Fortunately, she does not live in a Muslim state where saying or printing the wrong thing gets you an appointment with a torturer and no one in Israel or the rest of the Jewish community is proposing such punishment. However, words do count. And the Arabs are apparently much smarter than Ms. Baram. They are using words to create hostility and then using this hostility to hurt Israel politically, financially, and, if they are successful, to kill Israelis and destroy Israel. Ms Baram is their ally. It is the job of the rest of us to expose and resist her nefarious use of free speech, for that is our right.

19. Schlemielberg Solidarity

tod zuckerman  – usa

03/01/2006 21:12

Sure, everybody has a right to his or her opinion – noboby disputes this. However, this does not mean that every opinion is deserving of respect – for me, I tired of Jewish mishegoss ( like Ms.Baram’s) a long time ago. Lastly, a tip for Ms.Baram : Ex-Israelies like you find a receptive audience in Berkeley, Hollywood,and in a number of other U.S. locations where Schlemielbergs will welcome you.

20. To Lee Marks

joseph

03/01/2006 21:14

I agree with everything you wrote–just wanted to add–you can help now. I am an American who volunteers for two weeks each summer in the Civil Guard–performing anti-terrorism street patrols under the supervision of the Israel Police. It is a real contribution and the age limit is 75. Good luck.

21. stinks of hypocrisy

marya  – usa

03/01/2006 21:22

DAPHNA BARAM states,” Or maybe, as one dead prime minister might tell us, were he able, it is those who wildly incite against anybody who dares divert from the party line.’ You mean incite like you and the rest of the media, the judicial and the government have so recently incited violence and hatred against the religious “settlers?” As usual, the so-call objective journalists of the Jerusalem Post stink of hypocrisy…

22. Supporting Israel is not sufficient

Mark  – USA

03/01/2006 21:40

Merely supporting Israel is not sufficient to calling oneself a “good” Jew….but it is definitely NECESSARY……Where would have all the Beta Israel, Russians, children of Holocaust victims, etc… gone to live proudly as Jews had there been no Israel…..the US?? trust me, It’s not Soviet Russia here, but it’s not so great to be a Jew either. Move to Israel and live proudly as Jews.

23. From Israel

Avrum  – Israel

03/01/2006 21:45

If the extreme left is to be accused, Yesha and the religious far-right must be accused equally. Right next to Bar-Ilan university I saw posters claiming civil war. Why do I have to read always the word “civil war” from the rightists’ texts? Do you have to paint a monster where it really doesn’t exist? Today I decided to vote for Meretz! A special greeting to Yishai Kohen & Yesha.

24. Jew self-hatred.

joel joseph  – England.

03/01/2006 21:45

The author of this article expresses her naivete of the mental sickness of a clique of over zealous liberal minded Jews. In Germany in the early 30’s there were similar warped-minded people who thought that they were more German than the average German. The Nazis respected them for their nationalist fervour!! Those self-hating Jews who posture before the media to denounce Israel whether by radio or on television or by their letter-writing to newspapers, always open with a statement “I am a Jew but”. What is so remarkable is that the same names always appear. Anti-Zionism is their theme. They maybe Jewish by birthright but in reality they are enemies and should be treated as such.

25. …more like Jesus than any Christian I know…

Mira  – USA

03/01/2006 22:00

26. the proof is in the talkbacks

Yehudit Cohen-Tal  – Israel

03/01/2006 22:21

The wild responses to this article prove that every wrd in it is true

27. To Jeff

Avi

03/01/2006 22:23

Ever since when are canadians authorised to take away the citizenship of Israelis? Have you no hunility left?

28. Jews also have a victim mentality

Lee Jakeman  – New Zealand

03/01/2006 22:28

There is a strong anti-British line in much of the correspondence to the JPost.  This anti-British line is comparable to anti-semitism in the sense that it is based on the same idiotic notions of collective guilt.  Jews everywhere are behaving as if a mere handful of Brits (Ken Livingsstone, George Galloway, The Guardian newspaper etc.) were somehow representative of the entire British nation.  Most Brits themselves, however, have pretty much the same disdain for the likes of Livingstone, Galloway and The Guardian as you lot do.  Which is why it is particularly irksome to have to listen to a load of anti-British bigots talking as if Britain was a hot-bed of anti-semitism (it isn’t) and as if all of us Brits were incurable racists and anti-semites (we aren’t).  Perhaps you Jews need to get rid of your own victim mentality before you start criticising the Muslims and other groups for theirs.  Yes, deal with your enemies, but stop alienating the few friends you’ve still got.

29. Response to 15

John  – USA

03/01/2006 22:45

How can you be a resident alien if you, your father, your grandfather, your great grandfather, your great great grandfather were all born in Palestine? Yet, if you’re a JEW from Russia, you can be a citizen?

30. Self hating Jews

G Ben

03/01/2006 23:02

Daphna is just another example of a self-hating Jew. After years of anti-semitism, some of the weak-minded start to believe the garbage.

31. Like Garafalo and Seder

Yakir

03/01/2006 23:39

I am to the left of center, and like much of Air America’s programming, but I can’t abide those two, on “Majority Report.”  Two Jews who are more anti-Israel than some in Hamas, that makes no sense to me. Al Franken and Jerry Springer are Jews on that network, and they don’t display that sort of naive, “give peace a chance” viewpoint.  One day last week they were onto Israel about our terrible penchant for torturing poor, undeserving “palestinians.” Then a couple days later it was the evil AIPAC, in George W. Bush’s pocket, spying on and “bothering” Iran (I guess Iran is not deserving of being bothered for anything, like hanging teenagers for being gay). Idiots!

32. Response to John

Yakir

03/01/2006 23:48

Because there was never, ever a country named “Palestine.” There was a region of the Ottoman Empire, but that was land stolen from Jews.

33. Today’s Israel-bashers are following continue the fatal errors of pre-WW2 Bundists

Tee Gee  – Israel

03/01/2006 23:57

In the 1920’s, before the Nazis came to power, Zionist visionary, Zeev Jabotinsky scoured Europe beseeching the Jews to take advantage of the Balfour Declaration and return to their homeland. He predicted that if they didn’t leave Europe it would become their graveyard. Many prepared to leave, but then the Bundists, Jewish communists arrived. They mocked at and discredited Jabotinsky’s warnings convincing the Jews to remain and help build a ‘socialist utopia’ with their (often hostile) gentile neighbours. Those who took Jabotinsky’s advice anyway, were saved from the Holocaust. Most of those who didn’t, became its victims. Today’s version of the Bundists, as personified by Daphna Baram & Co, continue their blinkered deceptions but in even more disreputable and foolish ways. At least the Bundists have the excuse of not having the advantage of hindsight, but what can be said of their successors?

34. This article reeks of hypocracy. Baram collaborates with Israel’s worst enemies who seek the Jewish state destruction, and has the gall to accuse

Avner

03/02/2006 04:35

Israel supporters in setting Jews against Jew!! She chose to lives in the UK, a country which next to Nazi Germany bears the greatest share of responsibility for the Holocaust. And in this country that has become a European hub to Leftist Islamofascist cesspool of academic antisemitism (disguise as anti-Israel) Baram shamelessly participates in discussions, not about Great Britain role in the Holocuast and the destruction of European Jewry but about the destruction of Israel’s the Jewish homeland and refuge. Baram is shamelessly engaged in the ugly practice of maligning Jews to ingraciate herself with EU Left. Most pathetic is her attempt to lionize of Avraham Leon, a self hating jew how was exterminated in Auschwitz while maligining those who tried to creat a homeland that if it were not for Baram beloved Brits could have saved his life. In psychiatry this is considered pushing self destruction to the limits.

35. Anti-Zionism now is advocacy for Holocaust Part II

Dave Loev  – CA

03/02/2006 05:22

Let me get this straight: millions of Jews have been massacred and driven out of Europe and Middle East, and Israel is the only state that took them in, and equisitely ethical Jewish intellectual giants are still debating whether Israel is allowed to exist? In their fantacy world, what would happen to six million Jewish men, women, and children who live in Israel, should “peace-loving” Islamists get their wish and Israel be destroyed? Why are we not debating the existential rights of dozens of modern states, established by immigrants and “settlers”? Regretfully, too many Jews appear to have lost their survival instincts, and are trying to push their suicidal agenda for the rest of us…

36. LACK OF CONSTITUTION THE PROBLEM

Vincent E. Neuman, Esq.  – USA

03/02/2006 05:26

Jews discussing are not the problem in Israel. Jews need to discuss restructuring a failing democracy however. Israel needs a constitutional form of government, to start, with Knesset officials elected by popular vote, rather than by party officials who are controlled by persons, the press outside of Israel and not precinct voters. It’s all found in the Federalist Papers.

37. Bearing Responsibility

David Kopel  – USA

03/02/2006 06:13

Most Jews–including millions in the diaspora–simply cannot bear the responsiblity for Jewish history. The burden is too great and this is left by default to Israelis. Who really wants to be responsible for the survival of a people which was almost wiped out 60 years ago and which is physically threatened every day? Not me.  In rare moments of candor, most of these Jews would admit their weakness. But people like Baram have turned their character deficits into an exculpatory ideology which denies both history and responsibility. They can debate all they want at Cambridge. But it doesn’t take a Ph.D to see right through it.

38. Reporters against Jews

Shalom

03/02/2006 08:44

Yup – that’s the long and short of it – while we’ve still got media giving out crazy stories, there will be hatred.

39. Why do we call Baram and her ilk “liberals”?

Tee Gee  – Israel

03/02/2006 10:36

Why on earth do we call Radical “everything is relative” Leftist weirdos “Liberals?” Doesn’t Liberal mean “tolerant?” But these people, from Chomsky to Baram, are NOT tolerant. Certainly not towards Israelis/Jews who do not want to self-destruct or be destroyed by their enemies, nor indeed towards anyone, Jew or non-Jew, who does not subscribe to their psychedelic worldview. Despising positive human traits they instead show “tolerance” and understanding for heinous, perverse, ones like bloodlust, sadism, hatred and intolerance for “the other.” The Barams of this world (some of whom still live in Israel though gritting their teeth doing so) will shed tears for, and understand, the “motives” of brainwashed, hate-filled 19-year-old racist homicide bombers, but not for their innocent, hapless victims – the tiny baby burnt to ashes in its stroller, the teenagers blown to smithereens, the pregnant mother shot dead at point blank range together with her 4 small daughters…!

40. right-wing lunacy

Haim Baram  – Israel

03/02/2006 12:23

I was amazed by the hatred that characterises the talkbacks here. The warmongers hate their fellow Jews, let alone liberal Gentiles, just because they don’t share their lunatic politics. No wonder the settlers and their allies are increasingly isolated in our society.

41. If you are not for us, you are against usl

Shalom Freedman  – Israel

03/02/2006 12:00

The anti- Zionist Jews are endangering the very existence of Israel. They provide fuel for Israel’s enemies. Acting as if they just innocent wonderful people holding one opinion of many is a real denial of the situation the people of Israel find themselves in- endangered and attacked, their existence questioned as no other nation’s is. In this case if you are not for us you are against us.

42. lampner

yaacov

03/02/2006 13:17

Baram an “Israeli journalist”? Please!

43. A Little Santayana Please

Bart  – USA

03/02/2006 13:02

Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.  Zionism really is the only way for we as Jews to survive. If the last century has taught us anything, it is that anywhere in the Diaspora, particularly where Christians and/or Muslims predominate, our lives are tenuous at best. Consider how civilized Germany was prior to Hitler, and how liberated and assimilated its Jewish community was. The same can be said even more strongly about the French Jewish community, which suffered discrimination and extermination under the Vichy. The Canadian response to Jewish refugees from the Holocaust was ‘none is too many.’ America closed its doors to Jewish immigrants from the end of WWI to the 1950s, and Jews were discriminated against in education and employment, even by government institutions. The State Department continues that tradition today. If the ‘Best of the West’ is so lousy how is it for our co-religionists stuck in backward places like Latin America?

44. road not traveled enough

charley  – usa

03/02/2006 13:04

Jews are the people of the Torah, without the Torah we are lost as bird without wings. VALUES and understanding are the wealth of the Torah. Without the Torah all humans still look to grasp rights and wrongs, but come up with the only thing left non Jewish values and prospectives, often these Jews become anti semitic, an intolerant to Jewish values and ways since the worldly Jew is also intelligent and has found a comfort level in the values and Prospectives of the non Jewish world they cant fathom the Religious mind and ways. Look how lost Israel has become with “Secular Educatrion” and Secular Values like political parties they divide and keep Jews away from their one Special Asset Truly Being a Jewish Person of Mind, Body and Soul, and One united with G-d. ( a bird with wings)

45. Response to Lee Jakeman Pt 1

Bart  – USA

03/02/2006 13:09

Normally, your contributions to these forums are quite trenchant so I am surprised to see your latest note.  I happily plead guilty to anti-British sentiment. Much of the last 70 years of so has been spent cleaning up the wrongdoings of Britain, the great Evil Empire of the 18th and 19th centuries. British Imperial policy was to deliberately create conflict among subject peoples so they could be ruled on the cheap. India/Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, are all examples. Even Ireland can be said to be a similar conflict. After all, the initial leaders of independence like Wolfe Tone and Parnell were Protestants. Iraq is the artificial creation of the British Colonial Office, cobbled together from 3 Ottoman provinces that had no relations with each other.  As to specifically Jewish matters, we were promised a ‘national homeland’ by Lord Balfour in 1917. (cont.)

46. Response to Lee Jakeman Pt 2

Bart  – USA

03/02/2006 13:15

The British then published a ‘White Paper’ claiming that they never intended for Jews to have any claim in the Holy Land. This was done to placate the nascent oil producing states. In 1922, the British carved out the phony nation of Transjordan, and gave it to the Hashemites, who were not indigenous to the area. Had the indigenous population been given self-determination or had a ruler been selected from among them, perhaps the phony ‘Palestinian’ issue would not exist today. Transjordan was and remains the obvious candidate for a ‘Palestinian’ state. When Hitler came to power, the British refused to allow any but a token number of Jewish refugees into its territory and none whatsoever into its Middle Eastern domains, including what had been promised to the Jews by Balfour. After WWII, the Attlee government armed and trained the Muslims(Glubb Pasha), leaving the desperate Jewish population to get arms from the Czech Communists. (cont)

47. Response to Lee Jakeman Pt 3

Bart  – USA

03/02/2006 13:20

Boats containing Jewish refugees were often sunk by British Naval vessels, who left the passengers to drown. Some were captured and held on Cyprus in barbarous conditions where starvation and epidemics were not uncommon. But since the British did invent the concentration camp during the Boer War as a means of forcing Boer surrender by rounding up women and children and deliberately starving them, this should not be a surprise.  The policy of the British Foreign Office has been solidly anti-Israel to the point that even the writers of ‘Yes, Minister’ felt its knee-jerk anti-Israel position was worthy of satire.  The bottom line is that nations which democratically elect their leaders, as Britain or the US do, cannot then claim that they do not represent the people. British policy towards Israel remains unchanged whether the PM is Blair, Major, Thatcher, Wilson, Heath or whoever. Cont.

48. Response to Lee Jakeman Pt 4

Bart  – USA

03/02/2006 13:26

Politicians like Livingstone and Galloway did not come from Venus and shoot their way into power. They were chosen by British voters. As someone who holds dual French and American citizenship, I have to take abuse because of Chirac and the other lowlives France has seen fit to elect, even though I have never voted for Chirac. The French people chose him and now they have to live with him. You, as a Britisher, have to live with the vermin your nation elects. I have to bury my head in my hands whenever I listen to Dominique de Villepin complain about ‘American hyperpower’ and you get to do the same when you listen to Labour’s loons or some Tory Wet like Hogg or Baldry or Chris Patten make similar bloviations. Jews legitimately wonder if the French really do hate them when people like Chirac end up in power for what seems like forever. Similarly, they wonder about Britain when they see the Straws and their ilk making policy.

49. To Lee

Mark  – USA

03/02/2006 13:27

Lee, so you say Israel at war and in war everything goes.. casualties and distruction. so, you cry foul when you get attacked and call the enemy terrorists?

50. To Stanly

Mark  – USA

03/02/2006 13:34

Stanly.. a thief thinks everyone else is a thief and so murders. the Crusaders when occupied Jerusalem, they kill all men and children. however, when Salaheddin liberated from the crusaders, he guranteed the saferty of all and provided them safe haven to go back to Europe.. lessons from not so long ago history


The Oxbridge sport of Jew-baiting

Melanie Phillips, 14, Feb 2006

Following on from my post below about this week’s anti-Jewish hate-fest at Oxford, it turns out that Cambridge is not to be outdone. On Thursday, the Cambridge Union will debate the motion ‘This House believes that Zionism is a danger to the Jewish people’. And not for the first time (as in last year’s disgusting ‘Intelligence Squared’ debate in which against my better judgment I took part) the proposal that the Jews should be blamed for their own annihilation will set Jew against Jew, the amusing device employed by the Israel-hating world to get the Jews to do their dirty work for them. Thus the Cambridge line up is: Daphna Baram,journalist and author of ‘Disenchantment: The Guardian and Israel’; Dr. Brian Klug, Oxford academic, founder member of the Jewish Forum for Justice and Human Rights; Prof Gabriel Piterberg (three days after denouncing Israel at Oxford: my, what a popular guy this is), professor of Middle Eastern history, UCLA; Daniel Shek, British Israel Communications and Research Centre; Jonathan Freedland, journalist, the Guardian and Jewish Chronicle; Prof. David Cesarani, professor of history, Royal Holloway college, London.

Thus the delightful sport of Jew-baiting, now the activity of choice of the finest minds in Britain, with the essence of the sport being the thrill of seeing just which of these Jews is going to knock out the other — as they all implicitly accept the premise that blaming the Jews for their own persecution is a legitimate proposal to discuss. No doubt the takings at the door will break all records.

Update, 17 February: Both Jonathan Freedland and David Cesarani pulled out of last night’s Cambridge Union debate having decided not to take part.

Posted by melanie at February 14, 2006

__________

The closing of (some) university minds
Melanie Phillips, 20 Feb 2006

The bad news is that the good guys lost last week’s debate at the Cambridge Union. This means that, at a time when Iran and Hamas are threatening to wipe Israel off the map, Cambridge students agreed instead that ‘Zionism is a danger to the Jewish People’.

The slightly better news, however is that the vote was 125 to 121, with 71 abstentions. This means that, at a time of unprecedented vilification of Israel and Zionism, the majority for this motion was only four people. One of the team that opposed the motion, Jeremy Brier, who with Ned Temko stepped in at the last minute after both Jonathan Freedland and David Cesarani dropped out, says that given the balance of the audience this meant that his side won over a lot of moderate and undecided people. This is because in his estimation, Arab supporters had secured a large turnout and the Jewish contingent was small. He writes:
What a sorry state of affairs that a motion like this passes. However, I was reassured by the fact that the majority of intelligent, neutral Union members who go to debates to think and learn all seemed to vote for us.

Apart, that is, from the 71 people who were apparently left unsure whether Jewish self-determination was indeed a danger to the Jews or not. My earlier post on this debate elicited this response from the president of the Cambridge Union, Sarah Pobereskin:

Your suggestion that the debate was ‘Jew-baiting’ reveals your misunderstanding of the whole premise of this debate. The fact that it was argued by Jewish speakers is an indication of the diversity of feelings on this issue, not of the Cambridge Union’s desire to ‘set Jew against Jew’…As our audience included a very large number of our Jewish community here, it is clear that this issue is one of genuine interest and concern. It was discussed in a serious and sensitive manner. Whilst there was of course strong disagreement between the two sides, the turnout, the nature of the speakers attending and the vote demonstrate that this is an issue which deserves to be debated. As the President of the Cambridge Union, I am interested in addressing the real issues of importance to our members, and this was clearly one of them. Whilst you may disagree wholeheartedly with the sentiment of the motion, to criticise it being discussed in this intellectual fashion denies both the genuine diversity of opinion, and the seriousness of this issue.

When I read a response like this – and other comments in similar vein about this whole issue – it’s as if I hear a steel door slamming shut. One is up here against a totally closed thought system. From the premise from which Ms Pobereskin starts, her argument is of course impeccable. Of course there must be debate on issues of ‘genuine interest and concern’. The problem is that the view that self-determination is a danger to a people whose homeland is threatened with extermination is not an issue meriting ‘genuine interest and concern’ but is tantamount to blaming them for their own annihilation and is therefore an expression of prejudice, ignorance and gross double standards. It would have been unthinkable, for example, while South Africa was ruled by apartheid, for the Union to have debated the proposition that ‘the activities of Nelson Mandela are a danger to the African people’ – and to have got six black Africans to fight it out. Or that ‘the campaign for Palestinian self-determination is a danger to the Palestinians’.

The fundamental problem is of course that to suggest that Israel is not the aggressor but the victim in the Middle East dispute is met by total, genuine incomprehension and bafflement. Such is the depth of ignorance and the corresponding total acceptance of propaganda based on lies as the unarguable truth. As a member of the audience at the debate writes:
Afterwards some of the students asked me questions and the sad thing is that the endless propaganda that they have been subjected to has become, in their mind, the established truth — compounded by a staggering ignorance of the history of this dispute.

As a result, anyone who does attempt to present the truth is regarded automatically as being beyond the moral pale. Minds have simply snapped shut on this issue – and great evil is the result.

Posted by melanie at February 20, 2006

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