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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




Fit in: Don’t hate Jews. Hate Muslims

He’s not an idiot. Steve Bannon doesn’t hate Jews (not, at least, in public). He hates Muslims. Photo by Andrew Harrer/Pool/Getty Images 

Actually, Steve Bannon Is Not An Anti-Semite. He’s Something Worse.

By Peter Beinart, Forward
November 22, 2017

Last week in The New York Times, columnist Bret Stephens did something brave: He called the Zionist Organization of America’s decision to host Steve Bannon at its gala “a disgrace.” Stephens’s condemnation was brave because ZOA enjoys considerable support in the hawkish Zionist circles in which he travels. Its gala featured, in addition to Bannon, Alan Dershowitz, Joe Lieberman and Sen. Tom Cotton. Taking on your own crowd is never easy. Stephens deserves credit for doing so.

Unfortunately, he condemned ZOA for the wrong reason. ZOA shouldn’t have hosted Bannon, Stephens argued, because Bannon “embraces anti-Semites.” Stephens’s evidence? First, that Bannon’s publication, Breitbart, “has sung the praises of [Richard] Spencer,” the white nationalist leader who wants Jews to leave the United States. But Stephens proves no such thing. To support his claim, he links to Breitbart’s 2016 essay, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right.” As Breitbart’s Joel Pollak has noted, however, the essay’s only reference to Spencer is this:

“The media empire of the modern-day alternative right coalesced around Richard Spencer during his editorship of Taki’s Magazine. In 2010, Spencer founded, which would become a centre of ‘alt-right’ thought.”

That’s a statement of fact, not praise. And although there’s much to criticize in the essay, its authors, Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos, actually write that they “do not identify with the ‘alt-right.’” (Yiannopoulos later wrote, “I disavow Richard Spencer and his entire sorry band of idiots. I have been and am a steadfast supporter of Jews and Israel.”)

When “alt-right” bigotry is expressed against Muslims and Mexicans, they embrace it, not if it’s against Jews

Stephens’s second piece of evidence for Bannon’s antisemitism is that Bannon has called Breitbart “‘the platform for the ‘alt-right,’ knowing full-well the toxic range of opinion encompassed by the term.” The term certainly does encompass a “toxic” — or, more specifically, bigoted — “range of opinion.” But Bannon and Breitbart don’t relate to that bigotry in a uniform way. When “alt-right” bigotry is expressed against Muslims and Mexicans, they embrace it. When it’s expressed against Jews, by contrast, they push back fairly hard.

Stephens links three times to Joseph Bernstein’s BuzzFeed exposé, “Here’s How Breitbart and Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into the Mainstream.” But what Bernstein actually shows is that Bannon and other Breitbart gatekeepers were terrified of being accused of antisemitism, even as they egged on other forms of bigotry. Bernstein quotes an email in which Yiannopoulos disparages Tim Gionet, BuzzFeed’s former social media strategist, because Gionet “has no news judgment or understanding of what’s dangerous (thinks tweets about Jews are just fine).” Later, while discussing another employee with a penchant for public bigotry, Yiannopoulos emails: “Let me know if there’s anything specific that’s really bad eg any Jew stuff.” The point is clear: “Jew stuff” is the kind of bigotry “that’s really bad.” In another internal Breitbart email exchange, Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow declares, “I don’t want to even flirt with okay-ing Nazi memes.”

All this stands in stark contrast to the way Breitbart’s editors encourage hostility toward Muslims. When Gionet and Yiannopoulos propose holding a press conference outside a mosque in Orlando, Florida, after the June 2016 shooting there, Bannon replies, “Brilliant. Btw they are ALL ‘factories of hate.’”

Whether Bannon and his Breitbart colleagues genuinely oppose antisemitism — or simply understand that antisemitism will get them in trouble — the result is the same. They filter out the animosity of the “alt-right” toward Jews while amplifying its animosity toward Muslims, Mexicans and others.

That’s the real reason ZOA shouldn’t have invited Bannon: Because Jews — remembering our history — should never embrace people who encourage bigotry against others.

He ignores the deep connections between establishment American Zionism and anti-Muslim bigotry.

But in his column, Stephens never mentions Breitbart’s near constant attacks on Muslims. And in so doing, he ignores the deep connections between establishment American Zionism and anti-Muslim bigotry. “Zionists,” Stephens writes, “love Israel because of the way in which it brings together the values of individual freedom and Jewish civilization, not because of some blood and soil nationalism.” Really? Does that include the American Zionist organizations — from ZOA to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to Christians United for Israel — that adamantly defend Israel’s denial of “individual freedom” to millions of Palestinians in the West Bank? Does it include Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, who last year accepted an award from the Center for Security Policy, an organization that fights the construction of American mosques?

Does it include StandWithUS, which includes on its speakers’ list Brigitte Gabriel who has said

“a practising Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah, who abides by Islam, who goes to mosque and prays every Friday, who prays five times a day — this practising Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.”

Stephens may genuinely support Israel because of its commitment to “individual freedom” (though I’d be more convinced if he’d condemn the violation of individual freedom that takes place every day in the West Bank). But in the age of Trump, his brand of Zionism, which defends Israel in the language of liberal democracy, is losing ground to Bannon’s, which defends Israel in the language of a civilizational clash with Islam.

The problem isn’t that Bannon embraces antisemitism; it’s that Bannon’s rejection of antisemitism is intertwined with his embrace of Islamophobia and permanent occupation. That’s the real “disgrace” on display at the ZOA gala. And the one that will take even greater courage for Stephens to oppose.

Peter Beinart is a senior columnist at the Forward and associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York. He is also a contributor to The Atlantic and a CNN political commentator.

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