essay by Antony Loewenstein in New Matilda is here:
As the BDS campaign starts to gain traction, accusations of anti-semitism should be treated gravely – whether from pro-Palestine advocates or Israel’s defenders, writes Antony Loewenstein
The charges of racism were serious. University orientation weeks, reported Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper, The Australian, in early March, “have been marred by a series of alleged anti-semitic incidents”.
Socialist Alternative stood accused, according to the Australian Union of Jewish Students, of expressing hateful comments towards Jewish students, praising Hamas and calling for “death to the Zionist entity” at the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales.
The reliability of the allegations of anti-semitism has not yet been assessed but, if they are found to be true, those responsible must be opposed. A spokesperson from Socialist Alternative tells me that his organisation categorically denies all of the allegations.
Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne, a man who never misses an opportunity to fight a culture war he can’t win, accused backers of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel of making anti-semitism “a fashionability among highly ignorant sections of the far Left”. He wanted universities to “step in and take a very firm line” against racism on campus. “Free speech does not extend to ugly threats and physical harassment,” he argued.
It’s time to call this co-ordinated campaign of the local Zionist lobby and the Murdoch press for what it is; a cheapening of real anti-semitism and a clear attempt to brand all critics of Israel as Jew haters. It’s a tactic imported from America and Europe, articulated from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu down, that aims to neuter opponents of the Jewish state’s brutal, military occupation as deluded and anti-semitic.
The rhetoric is increasing as BDS scores impressive wins globally — countless European firms are changing their business practices towards Israel in rejecting the occupation — and has entered the mainstream as a legitimate tool to oppose Israeli policies.
Israel supporters have long believed that better PR will solve its problems, as if, for example, there’s any way to positively spin dozens of Israeli teens announcing their refusal to serve in the IDF due to its deleterious effect on Israeli society and Palestinian lives.
It’s a small but deeply courageous step in a society that still idolises a human rights abusing army (Amnesty’s new report details countless examples of the IDF killing Palestinian civilians in cold blood).
None of these profound shifts should escape the debate in Australian, where the Federal Government refuses to condemn illegal Israeli colonies in the West Bank.
The establishment Zionist lobby has tried for decades, with a degree of success, to insulate the Jewish community from the realities of occupying Palestine.
The advent of the internet and social media, along with a more critical young population who won’t be easily bullied into support for Israel because of the Holocaust, are changing the landscape. Hence the need to use old, tired tactics. Parroting Netanyahu’s fear-mongering over Iran and Arabs is increasingly treated worldwide with the contempt it deserves.
The old men who run the Jewish community may catch on one day that it isn’t enough to run an hackneyed style enemies list against opponents; countless journalists and editors will tell you of the bullying calls, letters and emails employed by the Zionist community against critical coverage. It only sometimes now works.
It’s a failing style even called out by The Australian’s Middle East correspondent John Lyons in a recent, robust defence of his stunning ABC TV 4 Corners story on Palestine, accusing distant, self-appointed Zionist leaders of being little more than blind defenders of Israeli government policy. Pundits take note: whenever quoting such people remember to whom they pledge partial allegiance and ask about their funding sources.
Any form of racism must be completely condemned, whether it’s directed at Jews, Muslims, Christians or other minorities. But the way in which a state and community deals with racism is a more pressing the question. After years of falsely accusing critics of Israel of anti-semitism — Sydney University’s Jake Lynch is the latest person to face the predictable and costly wrath of an Israeli-government endorsed legal case against his ethically justified backing of BDS — the organised Zionist establishment lacks credibility in crying about opposing racism, when it so flagrantly encourages demonisation of Israel’s critics along racial lines.
They have a morally compromised voice by being occupation backers themselves. How dare they claim to cry over an alleged rise in real anti-semitism (mostly online) while at the same time shedding crocodile tears against the growing BDS movement? Perhaps they should learn some humility and recognise what their beloved state has become known for globally: repressing Palestinians.
Politically, the Abbott government has pledged to remove section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act in an attempt, in their words, to increase free speech (a position loudly backed by The Australian).
Federal Attorney George Brandis said on ABC TV’s Q&A this week, defending his administration’s proposed changes that are opposed by the Jewish community and many other ethnic groups, that the current drafting in section 18C restricts the rights of all peoples to speak and be offensive. Now that there are signs that Brandis may be back-tracking on a complete repeal of the section, it’s really only the Murdoch press that bangs on about “free speech” while denying the same rights to many of its critics.
Despite all this, I’ve argued elsewhere, in opposition to many on the Left who believe the legislation should remain unchanged, that although all speech has limits, a robust democracy should legally tolerate insults over race. But the vast bulk of “discussion” over 18C has been at a desultory level.
Take the recent Australian Jewish News article by Fergal Davis, a senior lecturer in law at the University of NSW. He backed maintaining the current 18C legislation and then wistfully argued that the Abbott government could be the champions of human rights because “we must convince Australians that human rights are not ‘left wing’; they are at the heart of the fair go.” Nice sentiments, but utterly removed from reality. Davis ignores the new government’s shocking treatment of asylum seekers and refusal to seriously condemn abuses at the UN by allies Sri Lanka, Israel and Egypt.
The real questions for the Murdoch press, Zionist establishment, Abbott ministers and other supposed defenders of open speech are as follows: will you follow the path of many politicians in the US, both Democrat and Republican, who are increasingly trying to criminalise civilian backing for BDS? How serious is your commitment to free speech? How willing are you to preach tolerance and acceptance while believing that certain issues, such as legitimate criticisms of Israel (defined by whom will always be the question?) are beyond the pale and anti-semitic?
Away from the huffing and puffing of self-described friends of Israel lies the real limits of insulating Israel from criticism. Trying to stop BDS, through the courts, laws, parliament or defamatory attacks, will change nothing on the ground for Palestinians, and countless people around the world now know it. Israel and its dwindling band of Zionist backers in Australia and worldwide are desperately hanging onto 20th century tactics to fight modern opposition to a racially based state.
January 27, 2013
by William A. Cook
“We are outraged and shocked at these offensive comments (made by MP David Ward last week) about Jewish victims of the Holocaust and the suggestion that Jews should have learned a lesson from the experience” — Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, 1/25/2013.
I must apologize for not responding to the lashing given to Lib Dem MP David Ward a week ago as my wife’s Mother, 88 years of age, was moved into Hospice care readying her for leaving this vale of tears. Her life, as is true of my own, suffered the horrors of WWII and the Nazi devastation of prisoners including, from 1933, Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah Witnesses, homosexuals, (and) persons accused of “asocial” or socially deviant behavior, and Jews, between 1938 and 1945 (Holocaust Encyclopedia). Our lives are bookended between depressions and wars. So what have we learned, as David Ward so tellingly asks to the chagrin of many including Mr. Benjamin quoted above. Curiously I found Mr. Ward’s comment incomplete. This is what he said:
Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.
If truth be told, it did not take “a few years” for the Jews to inflict “unbelievable levels of persecution” on the indigenous people of Mandate Palestine; the persecution began in earnest in 1939 against the British, the British Mandate Government established in 1922 by the League of Nations to maintain order and peace in Palestine. The Zionists undertook “a war against the British Mandate Government, its Police and Soldiers” while it lobbied and subverted the MP’s in Westminster with propaganda and money. Here are the words Weizmann and Ben-Gurion promised the Mandate Government:
“if further action was taken against them (by the British Mandate Government) to destroy Zionism, then there would be a blood bath. Nothing could prevent it. Nobody would be safe in Palestine (July 12, 1946, Rhodes Archive Documents). If need be, we shall take the country by force. If Palestine proves too small, her frontiers will have to be extended” (Ben Gurion, Appendix LVc).
This war set the British Government against its own soldiers and police, yea against the nations of the world that had authorized Britain to manage Palestine, and its own Balfour Declaration wording, to appease the Zionists that made this period one of the most destructive and humiliating experienced by the British people through their elected representatives. When in 1948, May of 1948, the Mandate soldiers and police returned home they were virtually shunned by the MPs as Robert Fisk notes in his piece, “The Forgotten Holocaust.”
Let’s move beyond the “outrage and shock” experienced by Mr. Benjamin to understand why he avoids telling the truth. Should he care to find it, he need only travel a few miles to Oxford, specifically seek in the Rhodes House Archives the “Top Secret” files of Sir Richard C. Catling lodged in a long card board box tied with a shoestring. Catling was Assistant Head Deputy of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Mandate Police. His file contains almost 500 pages of evidence detailing the subterfuge of the Jewish Agency that ostensibly cooperated with the British Government as Jewish immigrants came to Palestine. The documents were seized by the Mandate authorities from the Jewish Agency and its affiliated terror groups, the Haganah, Stern and Irgun “gangs.”
Two reports are included, one from High Commissioner Hugh MacMichael written in 1941 and sent to the British Secretary of State’s office and the second Catling’s report from 1947. The contents of these documents and the commentary of the reports were published by myself as Editor of The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction. That volume was published in 2010 by Macmillan Company with offices in London and New York. More than 20 renowned writers from around the world contributed to this work that describes the original intent of the Zionists as they terrorized the British authorities and the Palestinians from 1939 to May 14, 1948 and never stopped to this day. It is a book about genocide in Palestine.
How do you say that kindly? How do you make people, Jews and gentiles alike, feel comfortable talking about such behavior? How do you atone for the massacres of innocents as the Jewish armies raped, pillaged, slaughtered or drove out the residents of 418 towns and villages in Palestine while the British forces there had to stand by and watch because their fellow British politicians in Westminster called the shots?
Seven to eight hundred thousand Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, into exile in foreign countries or into Gaza. They are a people without a homeland, contrary to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. No passports, no recognized rights to employment or medical care or support of any kind—in Beirut and other cities in Lebanon, in Syria, in Jordan. To this day they live in refugee camps, thousands imprisoned with no place to go, no right of return, yet any Jew living anywhere in the world, who never stepped foot in Palestine, who has no Semitic blood in his/her veins, has a “right of return.” How can this be? Where is the justice?
Where is the cry of lamentation by the British MPs for allowing these conditions to persist? Why a cry of “Outrage and Shock”? What hypocritical nonsense from the “Good” people of Britain who walk around in pin striped suits and glittering pearls asking for “decency” and “respect” and “kindness” toward those who suffered the holocaust because they would be appalled at such “words” as David Ward uttered. I’m sorry, I don’t believe the Jews of the concentration camps would be “shocked and outraged” by such words; I think they would be “shocked and outraged” if the MPs and the Deputies of British Jews did not speak against the horrors the Zionist government of Israel has perpetrated on the Jews in the name of Judaism. Perhaps they can speak through me:
THE GHOSTS OF TEREZIN
I saw the pictures children drew at Terezin
As they clustered in the attic’s closing darkness, –
Pictures of the sun beyond the rain,
Of Mothers muffled in scarves and solemn dress,
Of Fathers proud beneath their yarmulkas, –
All waiting patiently the promised day
When they would board the silver train
And flee to the Holy City.
And I wept at their plight,
The silent, unknown, gnawing fright
That burned within their Ghetto of sin,
And then before my eyes there came
Another scene, so strange, as if incarnate in the first
That burst untimely before my weeping heart;
A scene more ravaged than Terezin,
Of streets and alleys swamped in sewage and despair
Where children breathed the fetid air of hate
That smoldered like steaming ashes there.
Suddenly appeared above the graves, the ghosts of Terezin,
Arising like mist around the crematorium;
Fathers and Mothers, in their promised land at last,
Grasping children to their breasts.
Silent as sentinels they stood,
And there they wept as they watched in vain
The wardens wander through the camps
Like Gestapo agents of old,
Stark, cold, indifferent to the pain
Of those who huddled beneath the tin roofs,
Encased like the dead in cement boxes
As the acrid stench of lingering sewage
Flowed through the alleys and the homes.
They saw the tanks rattle through the streets
With ranks of soldiers scurrying behind,
Seeking the vermin that infested this place, –
Homeless, nameless, without a face, –
Sneaking through this ghetto in the dark of night
To drive the children from this transport town,
This resurrected refugee camp, this new Terezin,
Where the new Jew wanders the world
Like the Jews of Terezin,
Joined in their loneliness and despair
As they watch their children there
Become the walls of Terezin!
The “despatch” sent by MacMichael to the Secretary of State resulted from an investigation into the funding practices and use of those funds by various Jewish organizations.
The memorandum illustrates … the fact that the Mandatory is faced potentially with as grave a danger in Palestine from Jewish violence as it has ever faced from Arab violence, a danger infinitely less easy to meet by the methods of repression which have been employed against Arabs. In the first place, the Jews … have the moral and political support … of considerable sections of public opinion both in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. … all the influence and political ability of the Zionists would be brought to bear to show that the Jews in Palestine were the victims of aggression, and that a substantial body of opinion abroad would be persuaded of the truth of the contention.[i]
Quite obviously, MacMichael understands that the Mandatory has little power at home over the zealous actions of the Zionists as they manipulate public and political opinion even as they expand their terrorism against the British Mandate government in Palestine. This is an untenable position to be in, responsible for government control and security of those under its authority, i.e. Palestinians as well as Jews, knowing that the Jews are set on driving the British out of Palestine, and knowing that the home government can offer little help.
To bolster his points, MacMichael offers the following:
… the Jews in Palestine are by no means untrained in the use of arms … large numbers have received training in the Palestine Police… or in His Majesty’s Forces. At the present time, in addition to approximately 10,000 Jews in His Majesty’s Forces, there are 5,800 in various units of the police force and 15,400 special policemen (31,000) … When to those men … are added the illicit ‘defence’ organizations of the Jews (Haganah alone had an estimated 60-70,000 men by 1945, see Mss, Med. S20 Appendix XXI), it will be evident that the Jewish people in arms would numerically and in calibre be a very formidable adversary.[ii]
This is in 1941before the full deployment of Jewish terrorism against the legitimate Palestine government got under way.
MacMichael and Catling found themselves missing one of Catling’s primary supports for the waging of “irregular warfare” drawn from his image of the 3-legged stool that required the support of the people, the commander and his army and the government, an image, no doubt, from his childhood in Suffolk where his family were butchers and farmers. But the situation only got worse as the end of WWII loomed. The Haganah carried out anti-British military operations, including the kidnapping, killing and booby trapping of soldiers’ bodies, conducted against the Mandate Government while the home government remained silent under the pall of Israeli Zionist propaganda.[iii]
But recording the acts of terrorism does not do justice to the conditions the Mandate government faced. MacMichael describes the reality of the forces aligned against the police in Palestine.
A second matter which deeply impressed me is the almost Nazi control exercised by the official Jewish organizations over the Jewish community, willy nilly, through the administration of funds from abroad, the issue of labor certificates in connection with the immigration quota…. The Royal Commission were, in my view, fundamentally at error in describing the Jewish community in Palestine as “intensely democratic”. … The Zionist organization, the whole social structure which it has created in Palestine, has the trappings but none of the essentials of democracy. The community is under the closed oligarchy of the Jewish official organizations which control Zionist policy and circumscribe the lives of the Jewish community in all directions…. The reality of power is in the Agency, with the Haganah, the illegal military organization, always in the background.[iv]
And so the authorities in Palestine, the legal authorities, have no power to enforce measures that would curtail terrorism against their own police. “The use of force cannot be contemplated at present as any such action would have to be on a very large scale.” MacMichael understands that he can get no help from the Jewish community, even from those who find themselves at odds with the Agency’s methods or morality. The consequences to the individual Jew for disobedience is horrendous as the second document seized from the Zionists in 1947 attests.
But we’ll stop here; David Ward’s comment was nothing to condemn. He didn’t know of the years before the end of WWII when the Zionists were destroying Mandate Palestine and the indigenous people there. Yet he knew enough to ask a discerning question. Did the Jewish people learn anything from their experience under Hitler’s rule? The Zionists did quite obviously and they used it and continue to use it to decimate and destroy the Palestinian people, to disarm truth with distortion, to steal land and subjugate the innocent, and to verbally assault with deafening, righteous indignation, to avoid the reality and truth that could be discovered if their actions were brought before the International Courts.
Should anyone care to extend their interest in this deception you might read “Deception as Truth: the Myth of Mid-East Peace,” “The Birth Date of Fratricide: May 14, 1948,” “A Miscarriage of Birth: a Miscarriage of Justice,” and the Introduction to the book, The Plight of the Palestinians.
[i] MacMichael, Harold. (1947). “Memorandum on the Participation of the Jewish National Institutions in Palestine in Acts of Lawlessness and Violence” The Palestine Police, Jerusalem, 7-31-1947 in Catling file.
[ii] MacMichael. “dispatch.” 1.
[iii] Ibid., “Despatch.” 2.
[iv] Ibid., “Despatch.” 2.
By Gilad Atzmon
The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy was criticised yesterday for comparing the killing of three children and a rabbi in a shooting attack in France to the situation in Gaza.
At the “Palestine refugees in the changing Middle East” conference in Brussels, Baroness Ashton, described the murders in Toulouse as a “terrible tragedy”, but she then added: “When we see what is happening in Gaza and in different parts of the world – we remember young people and children who lose their lives.”
Seemingly some prominent Jewish and Israeli leaders couldn’t agree less. For them Jewish suffering exceeds all other suffering and Palestinian’s in particular.
The London Jewish Chronicle quoted some of the outraged critics. “Even when read in context, Ashton’s words are beyond unacceptable,” said Oliver Worth, the British chairman of the World Union of Jewish Students. He said they were “truly outrageous and revolting” and called for her to resign because she had “lost all credibility”. And yet, Mr Worth fails to explain why is it “outrageous and revolting” to equate Jewish suffering with Palestinian one.
“Baroness Ashton’s remarks were both crass and wholly inappropriate,” said the chief executives of the Board of Deputies, yet he also fails to provide any reasoning.
“There is absolutely no equivalence between the situation in Gaza and the cold and callous murder of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and the three children,” said Stefan Kerner, director of public affairs for the Zionist Federation. And I wonder why there is no ‘equivalence’, is it because the Jews are yet to withdraw from Toulouse? Or may be Mr Kerner actually expects the French to withdraw from Toulouse and to leave it to Rabbi Sandler and a few other Jews. I obviously find it really difficult to follow the Zionist logic anymore.
The Rabbi added: “For a person in Baroness Ashton’s position to even consider her comments appropriate is disgraceful. She should withdraw her statement immediately and apologise unreservedly for the offence that she has caused.” And I wonder why is it offensive to Jews when someone equates their grief with Goyim’s suffering. Does the Rabbi really believe that Jewish suffering is somehow superior?
Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Foreign Minister, said he viewed her remarks as “inappropriate”. He said he hoped that she “re – examines and retracts them”. And I wonder, what kind of a retraction would please the Israeli Government. Do they really expect Baroness Ashton to accept that Jewish suffering is the ultimate form of human grief?
Israeli war criminal as well as Opposition leader Tzipi Livni also, attempted to offer some reasoning. She described Ashton’s remark as “reprehensible, infuriating, and wrong” to draw any link “between the murder of children in Toulouse and the massacre Assad is leading in Syria and the situation in Gaza”. Livni may be right for a change, the crime committed in Gaza by the Jewish State in the name of the Jewish People is indeed unique in the history of brutality. Also the fact that 94% of the Israeli Jewish population supported IDF genocdial tactics at the time of operation Cast Lead is also very unique. Israel’s war crimes are indeed uniquely cruel and beyond comparison.
But Livni didn’t just stop there, she tried to qualify her statement. “A hate crime or a leader murdering his people is not like a country fighting terror, even if civilians are hurt.” According to Lvini, the Baroness had failed to make “the appropriate moral distinction”. To start with we do not know yet what led to the tragic event in Toulouse. However, the fact that Israel defines the Palestinians as “terrorists” is yet to provide the Jewish State with an moral excuse to slay the indigenous people of the land and to abuse every possible human right.
I guess that we are all becoming impervious to Jewish political logic. But maybe this is another symptom of the Zionification of our reality. From now on we are expected to obey.
Yoav Shamir’s memorable, must-see Defamation is by turns hilarious and disturbing. It recently aired on the UK’s Channel 4 True Stories series. We feature it here in full.
Shamir seeks to investigate whether Judeophobia really exists to anything near the levels the ADL (Anti-Defamation League of Bnai Brith) claims to combat. This takes him to the US, Israel, Russia, Poland and to several interesting encounters and interviews. In addition to the film’s mainstay shadowing of Abe Foxman to several locations, these include Norman Finkelstein, John Mearsheimer, David Hirsch* and Uri Avnery. Then there’s the smart Rabbi Hecht who contends that Foxman propagates ‘anti Semitism’ “because he makes a living from it … he has to create a problem because he needs a job” (around 31 minute mark) and the couple who admit that the ADL provides them with a forum to explore Jewish identity (44 minute mark).