Antony Lerman, expert on the discourse of antisemitism and on Israeli lobbying says Israel re-made its dominant role in the diaspora by finding antisemitism lurking everywhere which only Israel could define and combat.
Glenn Greenwald’s article, the Intercept, first published last November (before the Austrian election), remarks on a phenomenon we have noted but needs further examination. That is, the far-right has thrown off its characteristic antisemitism and replaced it with an anti-Islam platform. Israel is seen as the bulwark against Islam and is, ironically, lauded by far-right groups. Israel welcomes these new fans.
Forward’s JJ Goldberg writes about the antisemitism that has grown on both right and left in the US. From the Right it’s traditional Jew-hatred. From the Left it’s more slippery; it focuses on Israel and its policies but can slide into anti-Jewish feeling – Jews had the US-backed power to create the new state of Israel and all Jews share the responsibility of what is being done to the Palestinians. This is stronger when Muslims and left-wing people get together – Muslims are oppressed and need the left, Jews aren’t and don’t. It’s likely to get worse.
For some reason PM Theresa May is going all out with pledges to combat antisemitism (not a big problem in Britain unlike anti-Muslim hatred, on which she is silent). She has chosen to back a NEW definition of antisemitism – who needs it? – which is largely anodyne but includes, as antisemitic, saying bringing Israel into existence was ‘a racist endeavour’. You may not agree – but it’s an argument which should not be censored.
These are all about efforts to define antisemitism which is not really a problem except for those who want to silence critics of Israel by coming up with definitions which condemn them as anti-Semites
Leon Wieseltier, cultural critic, has a great intellectual reputation. He is baffled by why former friend Michael Oren (once Israel’s ambassador to the US) expects all Jews to do things in a distinctly Jewish way and why all who disagree with him must be antisemitic.
Ever since Palestine-supporting Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour party leader charges of antisemitism have been fired at him and all left-wing party members. This is the heaviest of all charges of racism, designed to sink him. Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi examines the growing reach of defenders of all Israel’s actions.
The conference on Palestine held by Lichfield Cathedral has drawn much praise – and some of the usual trolling about antisemitism. Here a joint letter by the several groups involved, including JfJfP, regrets the hostile attacks and renews the praise for the courage and solidarity expressed by the cathedral’s clergy and congregation.
American Jews, safe and settled for decades, thought antisemitism was a demon of old Europe. Now they find it in their faces in the shape of Trump’s white nationalists who love Israel but not Jews. What will Jewish fans of Israel do now?
David Plank is a respected former local government chief executive and parliamentary adviser on social services. He has chosen to subject the Home Affairs SC report on antisemitism to his usual rigorous reading – and is shocked by the utter sloppiness of the committee which doesn’t even define its remit or the subject it’s supposed to be investigating. It brings parliamentary standards into disrepute.
Here is another very valuable contribution to the debate about what constitutes antisemitism and, where it occurs, how to respond.If all Jews are blamed for Israel’s actions they are also then guilty of dual loyalty. It is written by 3 academics and was sent to the Home Affairs select committee inquiry.
As a founding member of JfJfP Richard Kuper draws on his personal experience and his extensive knowledge of Israel to analyse the Home Affairs report on antisemitism which floats on a raft of fixed assumptions that Labour antisemitism is a fact for which no further evidence is needed.
Perhaps the best thing about the Home Affairs Select Committee report on antisemitism is the debate it has provoked. Here Asa Winstanley puts forward his view of what Zionism is and argues it is the correct word for Israel’s raison d’etre.
Jonathan Cook, writing in support of Jacky Walker, comes into confrontation with the revived Jewish Labour Movement. Cook’s criticism of their anti-Corbyn and anti-Walker stance is, according to JLM, ‘antisemitic’. No wonder Ms Walker finds this term confusing.
The word antisemitism has cast a spell over a large part of British media and the Jewish Labour Movement. The unique suffering of the Jews is sacred, any questioning of that is heresy. The persecution of Jackie Walker for her questions has reached across the Atlantic and Richard Silverstein takes up the case.
Israel is widely seen, not because of antisemitism but because of its actions, as a pariah state, deaf to all warnings and advice. Yet the masses came to honour Shimon Peres, not because he was heroic but because he was the least bad of its leaders and statesmen longed to embrace that.
It is hard to make sense of the current hot pursuit of so-called antisemitism of left-wing women (Malia Bouattia, Naz Shah and, here, Jackie Walker, a JfJfP signatory and none of them Anglo-Saxon white.) Is the charge of antisemitism the Right’s Trojan Horse to carry their racism, sexism and right-wing sectarianism?
The Nazi motif in question is that of the power of just one Jew to destroy a whole nation. Those who think the Left, Labour, Europe is awash with antisemitism would do well to find out how that poison actually worked.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the UJS have produced a campaign resource to help students to combat the BDS movement on campus. What strikes us is how terribly thin it all is. We offer some brief rejoinders to their assertions.
JfJfP signatory Murray Glickman elegantly disembowels the argument, most recently put forward by Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, that denying Jewish people ‘self-determination’ is, by definition, antisemitic. An unconditional national right to self-determination in a territory for any particular group of people immediately violates that very principle for others in that same territory, whatever justified claims they might have to it.