If the raison d’être of the creation of Israel was to establish a safe refuge for Jews from antisemitic Europe then it’s not doing it very well says Zvi Bar’el. Under the rubric of ‘Zionism’ the Israeli state acts so aggressively to Palestinians (saying criticism is antisemitic) that it creates more and more enemies. So it’s not a safe refuge.
Antisemitism has become highly politicised says historian Adam Sutcliffe as anger about Israel’s war with Gaza bangs against charges of left-wing antisemitism. All is confusion, starting with Jews – a race, religion or ethnicity? Jewish religion was in part incorporated into Christianity, Jews have been hated pariahs and loved – see Thatcher – by those who want what they see as ‘their’ sophisticated knowledge. It’s easier to hate Muslims, who have been far more often victims of attack than have Jews – it’s not a national crisis. A dense and intricate article from oD which also notes the sad slide of Livingstone into conspiratorial views.
The Palestine-Israel conflict has inflamed passions and made many want to support the underdog Palestinians writes MidEast expert Tony Klug. We should all reflect on the critical role Britain and Europe played in instigating the conflict in the first place and all refrain from feeding the poisonous atmosphere engulfing us. Palestinians and Israeli have to live together.
It’s astonishing how quickly the media have assembled pieces ‘proving’ antisemitism in Labour, relying on a mix of anonymous quotes and more honest pro-Israel activists. The effect is to silence all critics of Israel. Asa Winstanley reports on the Israel links.
Despite the almost comical paucity of evidence, the notion that antisemitism is a growing problem on the Labour left is rapidly congealing into conventional wisdom writes signatory Jamie Stern-Weiner.
The NUS choice of a black, Muslim woman president has had the rightwing press scurrying to find bits in her past to discredit her. Saying that media is ‘Zionist-led’ is something she should have checked out – and not said. Hannah Weisfeld sticks the boot in in one of the 3 articles plus some notes on Zionism to help you decide.
The best hope of Zionism was that it would cause antisemitism to wither in face of the strong Jewish state. The greatest vicitims of this Zionism are the Palestinians. With the fatal conflation of opposition to Jews, to Zionism and to Israel, the demon becomes the Palestinian – and anti-Palestinianism is rife says Jerry Haber, unremarked, condoned.
How did 2 or 3 remarks by Labour members become “a string of party officials and members …outed for making disparaging remarks about Jews in public statements.” There is no evidence of significant antisemitism in Labour or of Corbyn ever having uttered an antisemitic remark. This is an attack on Labour by smear, allusion and hysterical exaggeration.
Veteran socialist and Jewish campaigner for Palestinian rights Tony Greenstein has been much in the news. He has been suspended from the Labour party for antisemitism (no evidence given). It seems to be because he’s irreverential about Israel and Zionist organisations. If this is antisemitism how will Labour recognise the real thing if they stumble into it?
Three very different articles on the same theme – distinguishing antisemitism from anti-Zionism. They are easily elided in the US writes Jane Eisner because for many young Jews it’s Israel, not their history in Europe or the US, which defines their Jewishness. Tony Greenstein, PSC member, writes urging the PSC to make a more public stand against the right’s use of the charge of antisemitism to bash the left. Larry Derfner tersely writes that the overlap between antisemitism and anti-Zionism is a fraction of the overlap between Zionism and Islamophobia.
The board of Regents of the U. of California are to vote on whether anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Jewish bigotry. They are proposing a document which defines anti-Zionism. We agree with Denis MacShane on one thing – this argument is not going away.
The question of what constitutes antisemitism is unsettling and, after masses of debate and definitions and argument, remains unsettled. It is discussed in Guardian letters. Plus in France it is illegal to demand boycotts of anything Israeli. Has fear of antisemitism crushed freedom of speech?
Israel is not the only country in the world which cannot tolerate criticism. There’s N. Korea and Saudi Arabia for a start. Does Israel really want to be in their category? And Netanyahu’s misuse of ‘antisemitism’ does real harm to those who take opposing actual antisemitism very seriously. James Zogby criticises.
But what if those critics are Jewish, if only by ancestry? Uri Avnery struggles to find the term for Laurent Fabius, French foreign minster, who has said France will recognise the state of Palestine if no progress to two states is forthcoming.
One-time leftie Alan Johnson, now at BICOM, fired loudly in the general direction of the left, critics of Israel, those wanting to destroy Israel, supporters of BDS, antisemites and anti-Zionists – indistinguishable it seems to him and the Jewish Chronicle which published it. Richard Kuper wrote a calm piece in response – which the JC has refused to publish – eventually saying that was for lack of space. Richard tells the tale of those who can’t hear what critics are saying for their own noisy attacks.
oD. Annabelle Sreberny examines these elements of identity: a reinvigorated Israeli anti-Arabism and its contradictions; Jewish antisemitism and the need to historicise socio-cultural categories; and a possible political recuperation of the ‘Semites’.
oD. Sami Zubaida contrasts the alienated, frustrated enemy status of many young Muslims in the West with their collective memory of a glorious Islamic past. The Israel/Palestine conflict, he says, converts anachronistic antisemitic tropes into a fitting idea.
The demonstration against PM Netanyahu on September 9th when he visited his friend David Cameron produced many complaints that the demonstrators were antisemitic. Some were, using, as Brian Klug said, ‘the figure of the Jew’ (Netanyahu) to stand for many forms of depravity. There is a particular sensitivity here; President Assad has been portrayed as a child-killer as have other despots. But they have not been persecuted by Christians for centuries for child-killing as the mythical impulse for genocide. PSC makes a strong stand against the antisemitism.
The desperate Daily Mail accusation that Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, is antisemitic has prompted a variety of letters. As has Lord Beecham’s assertion that JfJfP is bigoted because it does not campaign on Syria. Here, some ripostes, signed up as from signatories. A few are not so we ask their forgiveness for including them under the logo. Their views are not different from those of signatories.
In an extraordinary editorial on 7 August “Crossing a Line to Sell a Deal”, Tablet magazine accused the White House and its allies of smearing American Jews in efforts to promote the recent nuclear deal with Iran. Matthew Duss, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, and Todd Gitlin, Prof of journalism at Columbia, express their outrage at the Tablet’s approach in an icily cutting rebuttal.