Howard Jacobson says it all about contemporary antisemitism in today’s Independent

Jacobson

Jacobson

Let’s see the ‘criticism’ of Israel for what it really is

This piece, by Howard Jacobson, is from today’s Independent.

I was once in Melbourne when bush fires were raging 20 or 30 miles north of the city. Even from that distance you could smell the burning. Fine fragments of ash, like slivers of charcoal confetti, covered the pavements. The very air was charred. It has been the same here these past couple of months with the fighting in Gaza. Only the air has been charred not with devastation but with hatred. And I don’t mean the hatred of the warring parties for each other. I mean the hatred of Israel expressed in our streets, on our campuses, in our newspapers, on our radios and televisions, and now in our theatres.

A discriminatory, over-and-above hatred, inexplicable in its hysteria and virulence whatever justification is adduced for it; an unreasoning, deranged and as far as I can see irreversible revulsion that is poisoning everything we are supposed to believe in here – the free exchange of opinions, the clear-headedness of thinkers and teachers, the fine tracery of social interdependence we call community relations, modernity of outlook, tolerance, truth. You can taste the toxins on your tongue.

But I am not allowed to ascribe any of this to anti-Semitism. It is, I am assured, “criticism” of Israel, pure and simple. In the matter of Israel and the Palestinians this country has been heading towards a dictatorship of the one-minded for a long time; we seem now to have attained it. Deviate a fraction of a moral millimetre from the prevailing othodoxy and you are either not listened to or you are jeered at and abused, your reading of history trashed, your humanity itself called into question. I don’t say that self-pityingly. As always with dictatorships of the mind, the worst harmed are not the ones not listened to, but the ones not listening. So leave them to it, has essentially been my philosophy. A life spent singing anti-Zionist carols in the company of Ken Livingstone and George Galloway is its own punishment.

But responses to the fighting in Gaza have been such as to drive even the most quiescent of English Jews – whether quiescent because we have learnt to expect nothing else, or because we are desperate to avoid trouble, or because we have our own frustrations with Israel to deal with – out of our usual stoical reserve. Some things cannot any longer go unchallenged.

My first challenge is implicit in the phrase “the fighting in Gaza”, which more justly describes the event than the words “Massacre” and “Slaughter” which anti-Israel demonstrators carry on their placards. This is not a linguistic ploy on my part to play down the horror of Gaza or to minimise the loss of life. In an article in this newspaper last week, Robert Fisk argued that “a Palestinian woman and her child are as worthy of life as a Jewish woman and her child on the back of a lorry in Auschwitz”. I am not sure who he was arguing with, but it certainly isn’t me.

I do not differentiate between the worth of lives and no more wish to harm or see harmed the hair of a single Palestinian than do those who make cause, here in safe cosy old easy-come easy-go England, with Hamas. Indeed, given Hamas’s record of violence to its own people – read the latest report from Amnesty if you doubt it – it’s possible I wish to harm the hair of a single Palestinian less. But that might be rhetoric in which case I apologise for it.

Rhetoric is precisely what has warped report and analysis these past months, and in the process made life fraught for most English Jews who, like me, do not differentiate between the worth of Jewish and Palestinian lives, though the imputation – loud and clear in a new hate-fuelled little chamber-piece by Caryl Churchill – is that Jews do. “Massacre” and “Slaughter” are rhetorical terms. They determine the issue before it can begin to be discussed. Are you for massacre or are you not? When did you stop slaughtering your wife?

I watched demonstrators approach members of the public with their petitions. “Do you want an end to the slaughter in Gaza?” What were those approached expected to reply? – “No, I want it to continue unabated.” If “Massacre” presumes indiscriminate, “Slaughter” presumes innocence. There is no dodging the second of those. In Gaza the innocent have suffered unbearably. But it is in the nature of modern war, where soldiers no longer toss grenades at one another from their trenches, that the innocent pay.

Live television pictures of civilian fatalities rightly distress and anger us. Similar pictures of the damage this country did to the innocent of Berlin would have distressed and angered us no less. The outrage we feel does credit to our humanity, but says nothing about the justice of a particular war. Insist that all wars are too cruel ever to be called just, argue that any discharge of weapons in the vicinity of the innocent is murderous, and you will meet no resistance from me; but you will have in the same breath to implicate Hamas who make a virtue of endangering their own civilian population, and who, as everyone knows but many choose to discount, have been firing rockets into Israeli towns for years.

The inefficiency of those rockets, landing God knows where and upon God knows whom, is often cited to minimise the offence. As though murderous intention can be mitigated by the obsolescence of the weaponry. In fact the inefficiency only exacerbates the crime. How much more indiscriminate can you be than to lob unstable rockets into civilian areas and hope for a hit? Massacre manqué, we might call it – slaughter in all but a good aim. And this not from some disaffected group we might liken to the IRA, but the legitimately elected government of Gaza.

If it is a war crime for one government to fire on civilians, it is a war crime for another. But when a protester joined a demonstration at Sheffield University recently, calling on both sides to desist, her placard was seized and trampled underfoot, while the young in their liberation scarves and embryo compassion looked on and said not one word.

"No to IDF, No to Hamas" placard is trampled underfoot

"No to IDF, No to Hamas" placard is trampled underfoot

And Israel? Well, speaking on BBC television at the height of the fighting, Richard Kemp, former commander of British Troops in Afghanistan and a senior military adviser to the British government, said the following: “I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare where any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of civilians than the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) is doing today in Gaza.” A judgement I can no more corroborate than those who think very differently can disprove.

Right or wrong, it was a contribution to the argument from someone who is more informed on military matters than most of us, but did it make a blind bit of difference to the tone of popular execration? It did not. When it comes to Israel we hear no good, see no good, speak no good. We turn our backsides to what we do not want to know about and bury it in distaste, like our own ordure. We did it and go on doing it with all official contestation of the mortality figures provided by Hamas. We do it with Hamas’s own private executions and their policy of deploying human shields. We do it with the sotto voce admission by the UN that “a clerical error” caused it to mis-describe the bombing of that UN school which at the time was all the proof we needed of Israel’s savagery. It now turns out that Israel did not bomb the school at all. But there’s no emotional mileage in a correction. The libel sticks, the retraction goes unnoticed.

But I am not allowed to ascribe any of this to anti-Semitism. It is criticism of Israel, pure and simple.

A laughably benign locution, “criticism”, for what is in fact – what has in recent years become – a desire to word a country not just out of the commonwealth of nations but out of physical existence altogether. Richard Ingrams daydreams of the time when Israel will no longer be, an after-dinner sleep which is more than an old man’s idle prophesying. It is for him a consummation devoutly to be wished. This week Bruce Anderson also looked to such a time, but in his case with profound regret. Israel has missed and goes on missing chances to be magnanimous, he argued, as no victor has ever been before. That’s a high expectation, but I am in sympathy with it, and it is an expectation in line with what Israel’s greatest writers and peace campaigners – Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman – have been saying for years. Though it is interesting that not a one of those believed such magnanimity included allowing Hamas’s rockets to go on falling unhindered into Israel.

GazaWas not the original withdrawal from Gaza and the dismantling of the rightly detested settlements a sufficient signal of peaceful intent, and a sufficient opportunity for it to be reciprocated? Magnanimity is by definition unilateral, but it takes two for it to be more than a suicidal gesture. And the question has to be asked whether a Jewish state, however magnanimous and conciliatory, will ever be accepted in the Middle East.

But my argument is not with the Palestinians or even with Hamas. People in the thick of it pursue their own agenda as best they can. But what’s our agenda? What do we, in the cosy safety of tolerant old England, think we are doing when we call the Israelis Nazis and liken Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto? Do those who blithely make these comparisons know anything whereof they speak?

In the early 1940s some 100,000 Jews and Romanis died of engineered starvation and disease in the Warsaw Ghetto, another quarter of a million were transported to the death camps, and when the Ghetto rose up it was liquidated, the last 50,000 residents being either shot on the spot or sent to be murdered more hygienically in Treblinka. Don’t mistake me: every Palestinian killed in Gaza is a Palestinian too many, but there is not the remotest similarity, either in intention or in deed – even in the most grossly mis-reported deed – between Gaza and Warsaw.

Given the number of besieged and battered cities there have been in however many thousands of years of pitiless warfare there is only one explanation for this invocation of Warsaw before any of those – it is to wound Jews in their recent and most anguished history and to punish them with their own grief. Its aim is a sort of retrospective retribution, cancelling out all debts of guilt and sorrow. It is as though, by a reversal of the usual laws of cause and effect, Jewish actions of today prove that Jews had it coming to them yesterday.

Berating Jews with their own history, disinheriting them of pity, as though pity is negotiable or has a sell-by date, is the latest species of Holocaust denial, infinitely more subtle than the David Irving version with its clunking body counts and quibbles over gas-chamber capability and chimney sizes. Instead of saying the Holocaust didn’t happen, the modern sophisticated denier accepts the event in all its terrible enormity, only to accuse the Jews of trying to profit from it, either in the form of moral blackmail or downright territorial theft. According to this thinking, the Jews have betrayed the Holocaust and become unworthy of it, the true heirs to their suffering being the Palestinians. Thus, here and there throughout the world this year, Holocaust day was temporarily annulled or boycotted on account of Gaza, dead Jews being found guilty of the sins of live ones.

Anti-Semitism? Absolutely not. It is “criticism” of Israel, pure and simple. A number of variations on the above sophistical nastiness have been fermenting in the more febrile of our campuses for some time. One particularly popular version, pseudo-scientific in tone, understands Zionism as a political form given to a psychological condition – Jews visiting upon others the traumas suffered by themselves, with Israel figuring as the torture room in which they do it. This is is pretty well the thesis of Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children, an audacious 10-minute encapsulation of Israel’s moral collapse – the audacity residing in its ignorance or its dishonesty – currently playing at the Royal Court. The play is conceived in the form of a family roundelay, with different voices chiming in with suggestions as to the best way to bring up, protect, inform, and ultimately inflame into animality an unseen child in each of the chosen seven periods of contemporary Jewish history. It begins with the Holocaust, partly to establish the playwright’s sympathetic bona fides (“Tell her not to come out even if she hears shouting”), partly to explain what has befallen Palestine, because no sooner are the Jews out of the hell of Hitler’s Europe than they are constructing a parallel hell for Palestinians.

Anyone with scant knowledge of the history of Israeli-Palestinian relations – that is to say, judging from what they chant, the majority of anti-Israel demonstrators – would assume from this that Jews descended on the country as from a clear blue sky; that they had no prior association with the land other than in religious fantasy and through some scarce remembered genealogical affiliation: “Tell her it’s the land God gave us/… Tell her her great great great great lots of greats grandad lived there” – the latter line garnering much knowing laughter in the theatre the night I was there, by virtue of the predatiousness lurking behind the childlike vagueness.

You cannot of course tell the whole story of anywhere in 10 minutes, but then why would you want to unless you conceive it to be simple and one-sided? The staccato form of the piece – every line beginning “Tell her” or “Don’t tell her” – is skilfully contrived to suggest a people not just forever fraught and frightened but forever covert and deceitful. Nothing is true. Boasts are denials and denials are boasts. Everything is mediated through the desire to put the best face, first on fear, then on devious appropriation, and finally on evil.

That being the case, it is hard to be certain what the playwright knows and what she doesn’t, what she, in her turn, means deliberately to twist or just unthinkingly helps herself to from the poor box of leftist propaganda. The overall impression, nonetheless, is of a narrative slavishly in line with the familiar rhetoric, making little or nothing of the Jews’ unbroken connection with the country going back to the Arab conquest more than a thousand years before, the piety felt for the land, the respect for its non-Jewish inhabitants (their rights must “be guarded and honoured punctiliously,” Ben Gurion wrote in 1918), the waves of idealistic immigration which long predated the post-Holocaust influx with its twisted psychology, and the hopes of peaceful co-existence, for the tragic dashing of which Arab countries in their own obduracy and intolerance bear no less responsibility.

Quite simply, in this wantonly inflammatory piece, the Jews drop in on somewhere they have no right to be, despise, conquer, and at last revel in the spilling of Palestinian blood. There is a one-line equivocal mention of a suicide bomber, and ditto of rockets, both compromised by the “Tell her” device, otherwise no Arab lifts a finger against a Jew. “Tell her about Jerusalem,” but no one tells her, for example, that the Jewish population of East Jersusalem was expelled at about the time our survivors turn up, that it was cleansed from the city and its sacred places desecrated or destroyed. Only in the crazed brains of Israelis can the motives for any of their subsequent actions be found.

Thus lie follows lie, omission follows omission, until, in the tenth and final minute, we have a stage populated by monsters who kill babies by design – “Tell her we killed the babies by mistake,” one says, meaning don’t tell her what we really did – who laugh when they see a dead Palestinian policeman (“Tell her they’re animals… Tell her I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out”), who consider themselves the “chosen people”, and who admit to feeling happy when they see Palestinian “children covered in blood”.

Anti-Semitic? No, no. Just criticism of Israel.

Only imagine this as Seven Muslim Children and we know that the Royal Court would never have had the courage or the foolhardiness to stage it. I say that with no malice towards Muslims. I do not approve of censorship but I admire their unwillingness to be traduced. It would seem that we Jews, however, for all our ingrained brutality – we English Jews at least – are considered a soft touch. You can say what you like about us, safe in the knowledge that while we slaughter babies and laugh at murdered policemen (“Tell her we’re the iron fist now”) we will squeak no louder than a mouse when we are abused.

Caryl Churchill will argue that her play is about Israelis not Jews, but once you venture on to “chosen people” territory – feeding all the ancient prejudice against that miscomprehended phrase – once you repeat in another form the medieval blood-libel of Jews rejoicing in the murder of little children, you have crossed over. This is the old stuff. Jew-hating pure and simple – Jew-hating which the haters don’t even recognise in themselves, so acculturated is it – the Jew-hating which many of us have always suspected was the only explanation for the disgust that contorts and disfigures faces when the mere word Israel crops up in conversation. So for that we are grateful. At last that mystery is solved and that lie finally nailed. No, you don’t have to be an anti-Semite to criticise Israel. It just so happens that you are.

If one could simply leave them to it one would. It’s a hell of its own making, hating Jews for a living. Only think of the company you must keep. But these things are catching. Take Michael Billington’s somnolent review of the play in the Guardian. I would imagine that any accusation of anti-Semitism would horrify Michael Billington. And I certainly don’t make it. But if you wanted an example of how language itself can sleepwalk the most innocent towards racism, then here it is. “Churchill shows us,” he writes, “how Jewish children are bred to believe in the ‘otherness’ of Palestinians…”

It is not just the adopted elision of Israeli children into Jewish children that is alarming, or the unquestioning acceptance of Caryl Churchill’s offered insider knowledge of Israeli child-rearing, what’s most chilling is that lazy use of the word “bred”, so rich in eugenic and bestial connotations, but inadvertently slipped back into the conversation now, as truth. Fact: Jews breed children in order to deny Palestinians their humanity. Watching another play in the same week, Billington complains about its manipulation of racial stereotypes. He doesn’t, you see, even notice the inconsistency.

And so it happens. Without one’s being aware of it, it happens. A gradual habituation to the language of loathing. Passed from the culpable to the unwary and back again. And soon, before you know it…

Not here, though. Not in cosy old lazy old easy-come easy-go England.

This piece, by Howard Jacobson, is from today’s Independent.

59 Responses to “Howard Jacobson says it all about contemporary antisemitism in today’s Independent”

  1. zkharya Says:

    Howard Jacobson is, I think, quite simply the most articulate voice of Anglo-Jewry today.

  2. Saul Says:

    The comments on the thread mostly confirm Jacobson’s point; as does yesterday’s The Times’ comments and the Guardians’.

  3. Susan Says:

    The first time in history that a Jew was falsely accused and executed for murdering a Christian child and using his blood was in Norwich. It happened in 1100, but its sad to see how little has actually changed.

    The Holocaust is being used a cudgel to beat Jews up with. Jews are put up on a phony pedestal for the purpose of knocking them off. It denies our basic humanity.

    Of course, Howard Jacobson is a much better writer than I am and says what I wanted to say. I just have to wonder if the people he is trying to reach can be moved by anything said by a Jew, even a left-wing dovish Jew.

  4. m Says:

    Spot on.

    Mr. Jacobson, this is a great and powerful article, I wholeheartedly applaud you for so eloquently debunking the rethoric of “anti-zionists” and pointing to the hateful atmosphere they create. Its good to read such an accurate description of the current state of British – and, I guess we must say: European – society, and saddening at the same time. As Saul points out, the comments on your article prove how right you are over and over again, full of people not willing or able to stop for one second and consider what it is they are doing. Alas, a proof one would rather do without.

    One point, though:

    “Insist that all wars are too cruel ever to be called just, argue that any discharge of weapons in the vicinity of the innocent is murderous, and you will meet no resistance from me”

    Which criteria for a just war rule out the war against Nazi Germany?

  5. Bialik Says:

    Howard Jacobson is simply brilliant.

  6. ZoeJ Says:

    Excellent article by HJ. It’s sad that we only seem to preach to the converted though.

  7. me here Says:

    Oh, Howard, such cheap Hasbara tripe. Get a grip. If only Pinter was still around, he’d give you a clip round the ear and a glass of good red and wouldn’t let you snivel the way you do without making you face facts about Israel and the acts you so obviously support. Such a pity.

  8. Jacob Says:

    Great article.

    There was recently an article published by the EJP which should also be better known:

    “End the Holocaust Memorials
    The ceremonies have become a substitute for acting against modern fascists.”

    From the article:

    “Let’s put an end to the shallow declarations of “Never Again,” which have degenerated into denunciations against long-dead Nazis made from a safe historical distance. This is risk-free grandstanding, which German writer Johannes Gross summed up well: “The resistance to Hitler and his kind,” he once wrote, “is getting stronger the more the Third Reich recedes into the past.”

    Holocaust Memorial Day has become an annual ritual in which Europeans promise moral clarity and courage the next time it’s needed. Yet the list of post-Holocaust genocides is long: the killing fields of Cambodia, the slaughter of Tutsis in Rwanda, the murder of Christians and animists in southern Sudan and the continuing destruction of Muslims in Darfur. While the world yawns, the Islamists in Khartoum are busy with their second genocide.

    Nor has the memorial day benefited Jews. Solemn declarations about the evils of the Holocaust have not ended Europe’s booming trade with those dreaming of Israel’s destruction, the mullahs in Tehran. The ceremonies deploring the West’s inaction against the German fascists 60 years ago have become a substitute for action against modern fascists, predominantly Islamist.

    Anti-Semitism — and not only when disguised as anti-Zionism — is in vogue again in Europe. To scant media attention, and even scanter government criticism, the shouts of “Death to Jews” have filled the streets of the Continent in recent weeks, as protestors, mostly Muslims, voice opposition to the war in Gaza. Western trade unions and academics have intensified their calls for a boycott of Israel. In Italy, a trade union even called for boycotts of local stores owned by Jews….”

    Read the whole piece here,

    http://www.ejpress.org/article/34319#

  9. Jonathan Romer Says:

    Howard Jacobson is a national treasure, or would be if he didn’t say things so unpopular in Britain.

    “I just have to wonder if the people he is trying to reach can be moved by anything said by a Jew, even a left-wing dovish Jew.” I’m starting to be afraid that, in an echo of the past, so much of Western society is poisoned that these people can’t be moved by anything or anyone, and that that won’t change until some catastrophic logical consequence of the hate eventually rubs their faces in the truth.

  10. Englender Says:

    Me here sounds like he has been drinking when he wrote his comment.

    Why do you post such tripe?

  11. Efraim Says:

    “me here” Says: “Oh, Howard, such cheap Hasbara tripe. Get a grip. If only Pinter was still around, he’d give you a clip round the ear and a glass of good red and wouldn’t let you snivel the way you do without making you face facts about Israel and the acts you so obviously support. Such a pity.”

    Do you mean Harold Pinter the friend of the indicted war criminal Milosevic?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/jul/26/warcrimes.balkans1

    Anti Zionist agitators love any dictator support any atrocity as long as it’s committed by people who also hate Israel. “me here’s comment is one of the most hypocritical manifestations of this phenomenon I have seen here yet. I am surprised you let the comment be posted. There isn’t a coherent argument given to support the tendentious view. Just an antisemitic comment about “hasbara.” It’s the kind of message one finds on Harry’s Place, but it doesn’t belong here.

  12. Lynne T Says:

    There’s one bone I have to pick with Howard Jacobson’s piece, and that’s the failure to distinguish a rather significant difference between the Jewish populace of Poland and the citizens of Gaza. The former posed no threat whatsover to their non-Jewish European neighbours, but rather were convenient scapegoats for a corrupt aristocracy that mercilessly exploited the peasants. The majority of Gazans, however, supported Hamas at the ballot box knowing full well that Hamas’s stated goal is to conduct a war of attrition against Israel until it ceases to exist.

  13. Gil Says:

    I believe that Howard Jacobson is not just ‘preaching to the converted’ and that his words have a tremendous impact. The comments on-line are made by the usual suspects who are a minority, I believe. The silent majority is indeed moved by Jacobson, on-line comments notwithstanding.

    Howard Jacobson’s article is another excellent one in a series including Denis MacShane (‘The writing is on the synagogue wall’) in the Times, Jonathan Freedland’s Guardian piece and Nick Cohen’s on his website and the JC.

  14. Efraim Says:

    Here is another except article on anti-Zionism by a former adviser in the Privy Council Office serving Canada’s prime minister and the federal cabinet:

    “Anti-Israel is not always anti-Semitic” by ALLEN Z. HERTZ

    Among the excellent comment the author makes is this one:

    “Human-rights methodologies offer nothing to suggest that either “the Right” or “the Left” has a dispensation legitimating these discriminatory patterns. This means that anti-Semitism cannot be justified with reference to an alleged greater good to be derived from Nazism, fascism, socialism, communism, environmentalism, anti-colonialism, the Non-Aligned movement or any other cause or ideology. Nonetheless, many enemies of Israel remain astonishingly confident in their mistaken belief that their preferred doctrine entitles them to indulge in such discrimination, while immunizing them from a charge of anti-Semitism. This is a pitiful and hollow illusion. Intellectual honesty and decency demand that we decry the anti-Semitism of those who are comfortable persistently targeting Jews and/or Israel and persistently applying to Jews and/or Israel a more exigent standard than applied to other peoples and countries.”

  15. zkharya Says:

    mw here,

    “If only Pinter was still around, he’d give you a clip round the ear and a glass of good red and wouldn’t let you snivel the way you do without making you face facts about Israel and the acts you so obviously support.”

    If only you had the courage of your convictions and used your real name.

    As for Pinter, a “clip round the ear” was probably all he could have managed: violence is often the resort of those lost for words, and Pinter neither mustered nor mastered as many as Jacobson.

  16. Cyrus Says:

    Magnificent. And if anyone thinks he’s exaggerating, have a look at some of the comments at the Indie. They remove “offensive or abusive” comments, you know.

  17. fay Says:

    Howard Jacobson says it all. He jolts us out of our cos corner of denial. I so wish his observations were untrue but they are not so.

  18. maasanova Says:

    Soon after the 1967 war, Moshe Dayan wrote in his memories regarding the ethnic cleansing and destruction of the ‘Imwas, Bayt Nuba, Yalu, and big portion of the West Bank city of Qalqilya:

    “[houses were destroyed] not in battle, but as punishment . . . and in order to CHASE AWAY the inhabitants . . . contrary to government policy.” (Righteous Victims, p. 328)

    According to Sefer Toldot Ha-Haganah, the official history of the Haganah, it clearly stated how Palestinian villages and population should be dealt with. It stated:

    “[Palestinian Arab] villages inside the Jewish state that resist ‘should be destroyed …. and their inhabitants expelled beyond the borders of the Jewish state.’ Meanwhile, ‘Palestinian residents of the urban quarters which dominate access to or egress from towns should be expelled beyond the borders of the Jewish state in the event of their resistance.’ ” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 178)

    The concept of “transferring” European Jews to Palestine and “transferring” the Palestinian people out is central to Zionism. Ben-Gurion, the 1st Israeli Prime Minister, eloquently articulated this essential Zionist pillar, he stated in 1944:

    “Zionism is a TRANSFER of the Jews. Regarding the TRANSFER of the [Palestinian] Arabs this is much easier than any other TRANSFER. There are Arab states in the vicinity . . . . and it is clear that if the [Palestinian] Arabs are removed [to these states] this will improve their condition and not the contrary.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 159)

    Similarly on August 7, 1937 he also stated to the Zionist Assembly during their debate of the Peel Commission:

    “. . . In many parts of the country new settlement will not be possible without transferring the [Palestinian] Arab fellahin. . . it is important that this plan comes from the [British Peel] Commission and not from us. . . . Jewish power, which grows steadily, will also increase our possibilities to carry out the transfer on a large scale. You must remember, that this system embodies an important humane and Zionist idea, to transfer parts of a people to their country and to settle empty lands.

    On the same subject, Ben-Gurion wrote in 1937:

    “With compulsory transfer we [would] have a vast area [for settlement] …. I support compulsory transfer. I don’t see anything immoral in it.” (Righteous Victims, p. 144)

    On December 19, 1947, Ben-Gurion advised the Haganah on the rules of engagement with the Palestinian population. He stated:

    “we adopt the system of aggressive defense; with every Arab attack we must respond with a decisive blow: the destruction of the place or the expulsion of the residents along with the seizure of the place.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 176-177 and Israel: A History, p. 156)

  19. maasanova Says:

    Yitzhak Ginsburg, “Five General Religious Duties Which Lie Behind the Act of the Saintly, Late Rabbi Baruch Goldstein, May his Blood be Avenged”:

    “The killing by a Jew of a non-Jew, i.e. a Palestinian, is considered essentially a good deed, and Jews should therefore have no compunction about it.”
    Israel Koenig, “The Koenig Memorandum”:

    “If I was an Arab leader I would never make [peace] with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country.”

    Ehud Barak, on Israeli TV (date undetermined, but confirmed by former Israeli Knesset Member Marsha Friedman):

    “If I were a Palestinian, I would be a terrorist.”

    David Goldman wrote:

    “We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel… Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours.”

  20. Isaac Says:

    From “across the lake” I want to thank HJ for this brilliant piece. Here in San Francisco we are experiencing the same kind of “red-green” alliance forged between hard core lefties and radical Islamists who have taken to the streets chanting for the destruction of Israel, supporting Hamas, Hezbollah and other fascist Islamists. The antisemitism HJ so aptly describes has crept into the Left-Islamist allignment here, exppropriating the Holocaust against Israel and Jews. We need more HJ’s in our community, willing to stand up and be both critical about some of Israel’s more idiotic policies, while carefully teasing out the anti-Semitic elements of the anti-Israel forces and their international campaign of demoizing the Jewish state and isolating the Jewish community.

  21. Ryan Says:

    Hold on a second – as far as I gather HJ is saying in his article that what has happened is not really that bad (hundreds of children murdered and Women!!) and that everyone that critisizes Israels actions when it goes to war is an Anti-Semite…. Really people – it is only when Israel is at war that people take to the streets in protest – you will not find them in any large number at any other time (unfotunately Israel goes to war quite a lot these days).

    Only a fool would believe that such discontent has developed because of a persons problems with that countries Race – People always hold such banners and compare contemporary attrocities with those of the past – everyone does this all the time – look even now how everyone is eager to compare the global financial crisis with the great Depression, this comes to us all naturally – these protestors (The majority of whom i gaurantee do not care if you are a Jew, Muslim, are a lawyer or work in McDonalds, gay, Straight etc) just want to try to strike a chord by relating it to the holocaust because as Israelis the Holocaust is so important to you all and not just to you – to every westerner who has been taught about it in School and wondered how such attrocities could take place.

    HJ is paranoid and so are all of those posting on this site – Anti – Semitism (or Rascism – why is that Jews get their own word in particular for that – it would probably be a good deal to abolish it as it only furthers to create the illussion that the millions of you all over the world are on race and not just a bunch of people who all believe in the same religion) Does exist but these people are protesting against whats happening in Gaza not against jews. Perhaps the UN are anti semites – the Red Cross?? Amnesty Internationall that jsut published a damning report on the IDF’s actions in Gaza including using illegal weapons??

    Come on people – we just want the IDF to act responsibly as we want the UK and US armies to do so aswell.

    Well see if the administrator allows this to stay up….. Freedom of Speach?? not if you are criticising Israel i guess…

    • Mark53 Says:

      “HJ is paranoid and so are all of those posting on this site – Anti – Semitism (or Rascism – why is that Jews get their own word in particular for that”
      Dont you see something laughable about the beginning and the end of this sentence? If not – read it again dividing it into 2 parts. And now? If still not then allow me to clarify: The paranoia, which you ascribe to HJ seems to suddenly reappear, in your own words… “Anti – Semitism (or Rascism – why is that Jews get their own word in particular for that”.
      Just like saying: “I wonder if free speech is practiced by this moderator? (apparently it is) If not I shall go and be a reporter for Palestine in Gaza.”
      “just want to try to strike a chord by relating it to the holocaust…” Yes it must be so annoying to be reminded of it (the Holocaust) all the time and of Israel’s and world Jewry’s determination never to undergo a re run. But there again we all know that anti Israelism or anti Zionism has absolutely nothing to do with anti Semitism. Oops, sorry, racism against those of the Jewish persuasion.

  22. Duncan Says:

    Can you name another occasion when the death of large numbers of civilians (and there have been many larger than Gaza) has been referred to as a ‘holocaust’? Even in Rwanda where there was a deliberate attempt to wipe out an entire race and the parallel was not an inaccurate one, i did not hear it. It is only used in relation to jewish crimes. You are right to criticize the IDF, and the others you pick out, what HJ is saying is do that without recourse to language which is racially offensive. And calling jews nazis is just that.

  23. Gil Says:

    Duncan, your use of the phrase ‘jewish crimes’ is offensive to me.

  24. Isaac Says:

    I’m wondering if Ryan understood HJ’s piece, or if he has a problem with reading comprehension? HJ was very clear to distinguish between criticism of Israeli policies, and the dehumanizing, anti-Jewish language that so often enters into the critiques of Israel. HJ cited numerous examples of this kind of demonizing language, yet Ryan chooses to ignore completely HJ’s central point which can be boiled down to the following: criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic; criticizing Israel using anti-Jewish stereotypes is anti-Semitic.

    Can you imagine a situation in which racists attack Blacks living in the African Diaspora based on anger at any given African state’s policies? Progressives would see immediately how that is morally reprehensible; yet the same progressives see no problem in engaging in racist attacks on Jews in the Jewish Diaspora due to disagreements of specific policies formulated and implemented by the Government of the State of Israel.

    THis is called a double standard. Another word is anti-Semitism.

  25. Duncan Says:

    sorry Gil, a lazy phrase rather than one meaning offence. What I was meaning was that Nazi terminology and comparisons seem to be used only to describe crimes committed by Jews, whereas more accurate and less inflammatory language is used to describe other crimes. I wasn’t suggesting there was such a thing as a ‘jewish crime’.

    Although apparently there is an english vice, but that’s an altogether different matter.

  26. Leif Jerram Says:

    What a remarkable piece of writing. I am not Jewish or Israeli, and the one thing I’d like to add is that it’s not just *Jews* that are being abused in situations like this (though clearly, Jews bare the brunt of this anti-Semitism, practically and emotionally). But like any irrational or disproportionate obsession, this ‘moral’ anti-Semitism also targets anyone who is rational or proportionate.

    I am amazed, as a university lecturer, how much this issue mobilises many of my students. The University of Manchester is surrounded cheek by jowl with some of the poorest, most marginalised communities in Britain, with the most extreme homophobia, racism, sexism, economic inequality, and despair. And this bothers them not one bit though they see it every day. Yet they are willing, as historians and philosophers and anthropologists and physicist, to march round the campus, shouting ‘From the River, to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!’

    This easy, though aggressive, morality absolves them from solving major problems on their own doorsteps. If they campaigned for ten years on behalf of the people of Ardwick and Moss Side, the problems there would probably be resolved. But their simplistic idiocy when it comes to problems of which they could never hope to solve, energises them beyond measure.

    Jacobson is very wise in the way he makes the moral collapse at the heart of this ‘easy morality’ so very conspicuous.

  27. Jonathan L Says:

    In the eighties the Royal Court tried to stage an antisemitic play called “perdition” and were forced to remove it because of protests. These guys have a track record.

  28. Ryan Stokes Says:

    These people protesting are protesting against a countries military actions and are choosing to use the holocaust because it is so important to Israelis – it has nothing to do with antisemitism.

    I will repeat it again – they have no problems with the Jewish race (at least the majority) – I know because I have protested my self and the majority of people that protest also protest against racism, The war in Iraq, Genocide in Darfur, Animal testing, Nuclear non proliferation and many more important issues – these people are intelligent people that are concerned for the lives of people around the world – they have read a great deal on the subjects they are protesting about, attend seminars, lectures, write blogs and get their news from a wide range of sources. I myself as a protestor have read a great deal on israeli politics, the idf, hamas politics, Fatah and numerous other subjects.

    They have chosen the holocaust because they want to try to find some compassion, they believe that the message is strong and will help to make people aware (and in particular the Israeli population) that what has happened is an atrocity.

    Howard Jacobson tries to make excuses for what has happened – quoting a military general as saying that the IDF are one of the most careful armies in the world in regards to civilians, he tries, through stating that the holocaust was so much larger of an atrocity that what has happened in Gaza is insignificant – but it most certainly is not – Major organizations are all saying that what has happened was wrong but you all want to (including Howard Jacobson) avoid this issue by saying that this is all due to antisemitism.

    Please people – it is criticism! We dont care if you are a Jew – we live in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic multi-everything world now.

    STOP BEING PARANOID

  29. Jacob Says:

    Ryan Stokes Say: “These people protesting are protesting against a countries military actions and are choosing to use the holocaust because it is so important to Israelis – it has nothing to do with antisemitism.”

    Who are “these people” to whom you are referring?

    Some of the people demonstrating have been shouting “Jews to the gas ovens.” How does that square with your contention that “it has nothing to do with antisemitism?”

    Moreover, “these people” chose the Holocaust because the both want to hurt people whose families were victims in the Holocaust and because they want to associate falsely Israel with the Nazis. It has everything to do with antisemitism and very little to do with caring for the Palestinians.

    “I will repeat it again – they have no problems with the Jewish race (at least the majority) –“

    This is a blatant antisemitic comment, Ryan. Jews are not a race and the fact that you have something against with a minority of Jews reveals you as a bigot. Antisemites rarely say they hate all Jews they usually point to a “minority” bankers, zionists, communists, etc. that they hate.

    You can repeat ad nauseam your claim that you are not an antisemite but your words belie you claims.

    Finally you say: “STOP BEING PARANOID”

    Thanks for the advice, Ryan. I’ll stop being paranoid when you stop being an antisemite.

  30. Ryan Stokes Says:

    First of all I am referring to all all of the people I have seen protesting who i can guarantee would never say “Jews to the gas ovens” that so ridiculous it doesn’t even merit a reply to be quite honest – if anyone was to say any such thing they would be told to promptly leave and anyone I have met at such protests – which I imagine you have never attended – would ever say such a thing. In fact whenever anyone attends any stop the war or such meetings you will never EVER here to anyone referring to a JEW, saying the word Jew – will never see any placards saying “death to the Jews” or anything of that sort at all – why – because these meetings are run by educated people who are concerned for people and spend so much of their time trying to make the world a better place –

    What do you people such as you and Howard Jacobson say – these people are antisemitic – its fascicle – please if you will would you show me any examples of what you are saying – any photos of placards saying Jews to the gas ovens. Please please that would be very interesting to see – it would of course have to be from the uk as that was what Jacobsons article was discussing!

    The Idea that protesters want to hurt the families of those deceased is ridiculous as well – your mind is like concrete.

    I have no prejudices and have many friends from many different faiths around world – I am a happy person who is just discussing an article so please do not call me antisemitic.

    Everyone’s antisemitic – they don’t even know about it – give me a break

    I repeat – you are paranoid (in terms of thinking that the dialogue used and intentions of protesters is antisemitic)

  31. Ryan Stokes Says:

    And when i said Jacob – that (at least the majority) i meant that there bigots that show up but they are not representative of the orgnised protests!!

  32. Ryan Stokes Says:

    Aplogies – i meant –
    that there may be bigots that show up but they do not represent the majority or the organizations that organize the protests

  33. Ryan Stokes Says:

    But – i have never yet met such a Antisemite at such a protest and i have been to many

  34. Jacob Says:

    Ryan Stokes Says: “First of all I am referring to all all of the people I have seen protesting who i can guarantee would never say “Jews to the gas ovens” that so ridiculous it doesn’t even merit a reply to be quite honest – if anyone was to say any such thing they would be told to promptly leave and anyone I have met at such protests – which I imagine you have never attended – would ever say such a thing.”

    I have seen a number of anti-Israel demonstrations and each one of them had people making very ugly comments and carrying placards equating Zionism with Nazism.

    The demonstration you attended, and your anti-Zionist group, assuming you are right isn’t indicative of this general trend. There is a public record which describes what has been going in most of these demonstrations from Germany to England, to California.

    “In fact whenever anyone attends any stop the war or such meetings you will never EVER here to anyone referring to a JEW, saying the word Jew – will never see any placards saying “death to the Jews” or anything of that sort at all – why – because these meetings are run by educated people who are concerned for people and spend so much of their time trying to make the world a better place –“

    Yes, like the following one:

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110003061

    or these

    “ANSWER, Antiwar Rallies and Support for Terror Organizations”

    http://www.adl.org/israel/answer.asp

    “What do you people such as you and Howard Jacobson say – these people are antisemitic – its fascicle – please if you will would you show me any examples of what you are saying – any photos of placards saying Jews to the gas ovens. Please please that would be very interesting to see – it would of course have to be from the uk as that was what Jacobsons article was discussing!”

    Try this

    http://antisemitisms.blogspot.com/2008/07/antisemitism-in-uk-rises.html

    Also go to hurry’s place where many articles on the subject with photos had been posted over the years.

    “The Idea that protesters want to hurt the families of those deceased is ridiculous as well – your mind is like concrete.”

    When someone yells, as happens often in anti Israel rallies, that “Hitler was right” then he is trying to hurt the families of all those people killed by Hitler.

    “I have no prejudices and have many friends from many different faiths around world – I am a happy person who is just discussing an article so please do not call me antisemitic.”

    Yes, you are wonderful, however you did call the Jews a “race” and you did say that:

    “They have chosen the holocaust because they want to try to find some compassion, they believe that the message is strong and will help to make people aware (and in particular the Israeli population) that what has happened is an atrocity.”

    People who are not antisemitic don’t talk that way. You don’t use the Holocaust to attack someone because you don’t like their politics. It’s illogical and it’s immoral.

    How old are you Ryan?

    “I repeat – you are paranoid (in terms of thinking that the dialogue used and intentions of protesters is antisemitic)”

    As long as there are weasels like you who hide their Jew hatred behind nice sounding phrases there will be people like to call you to account.

    Ryan Stokes Says:

    “And when i said Jacob – that (at least the majority) i meant that there bigots that show up but they are not representative of the orgnised protests!!”

    Yes, and Stalin was no representative of all Communists either.

    Ryan Stokes Says: “that there may be bigots that show up but they do not represent the majority or the organizations that organize the protests”

    Who cares, as long as they are marching with you they are a part of you and you own them or they own you, whichever.

  35. Jacob Says:

    Example of antisemite having trouble distinguishing between Zionists and Jews:

    Fatima Hajaig: “I Meant to Say Zionists, Not Jews”

    http://blog.z-word.com/2009/02/fatima-hajaig-i-meant-to-say-zionists-not-jews/

    and here are photos that may interest Ryan:

    Holocaust resonance

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/02/26/holocaust-resonance/

  36. DrMike Says:

    Ryan might want to look at some of the pictures taken at demonstrations in the San Francisco Bay Area here:

    http://zombietime.com/gaza_war_protest/

    and here: http://www.zombietime.com/stop_the_us_israeli_war_8_12_2006/

    I’m sure that the “progressive” folks out here in the Bay Area are the match of “progressives” anywhere in the vigorous promotion of all that is right and good.

    And perhaps just a bit of our paranoia comes from the threats made by Hamas and Hezbollah to attack Jews anywhere in the world (Oh wait, sorry– forgot we deserve to be attacked as qaffirs and infidels, whether we are actively pro-Israel or not.) Did anybody take a poll of the Argentine Jewish community before the Iranians and their terror allies blew up their community buildings?

    And closer to home (Los Angeles) we have the video evidence of neo-Nazi participation in these so-called “peace” rallies http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpMbUliY3Ao&feature=related

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (inadvertently?) gave the secret agenda away when he made Daniel Pearl say his last words “My name is Daniel Pearl. I am an American Jew from California, I come from a Zionist family. My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.”

    No Ryan, I’m sure I have no need to be paranoid. All these people want to do is gently convince me of the righteousness of their point of view– with jackboots, with brass knuckles, and perhaps with the sword across my neck too. For I am an American Jew. And I come from a Zionist family. My father is a Jew, and my mother z’l was a Jew. And that’s enough for too many of your “friends”; and the rest of them would tsk-tsk but think that I somehow had it coming to me.

  37. Ryan Says:

    First of all guys – I take it that maybe you are from the US perhaps?? The article focused upon the Protesters in the UK and I did not see any placards that you have talked about or heard any of the comments that you have said – talking to you seems to be absolutely useless – you just want to call everyone an Antisemite, you find antisemitism in every nook and cranny – I really dont want to argue with someone like you Jacob – its a shame you seem to be intent on believeing that I and others such as myself are antisemites – and name calling will get you nowhere really.
    Im not interested in a pantomime of “you are this” – ” no Im not”

    If you think Jacob that if one person shows up in a march of a thousand and is an anti-semite that it doesnt really matter about the opinion of the other 999 then I dont really know what to say to that either – I would probably say you were paranoid.

    Please take a look at one of my previous posts where I clearly say that there is no Jewish race – that you are all just a bunch of people that believe in something – please take a look and stop all this name calling – I think it is you that shows less maturity in that sense.

    It seems that you are evoking the past to try to make a point with me aswell Jacob – bringing up Stalin – you see why we as humans use the past in such a way!! But I guess its ok for you to use a past event to make a point but not us protesting against Israels actions.

    I once again tell you – I have been to many of these demonstrations and 99.9999999 percent of the people there, the organisations, the doctors, politicians, all intelligent educated people ARE NOT ANTISEMITES.

    Tell me which demonstration you have been to?? did you go the demo in London, Glasgow? anyone at all??

    I dont think you did Jacob – I presume you get all your news from jihadwatch and the daily mail.

    There are antisemites and racists and sexists – but you will not normally find any at a protest in the UK – they are usually protesting against rascists, antisemites, sexists AND especially WAR.

    Go there yourself Jacob and take some photos of these placards and take some video footage – it would be interesting to see. I think instead you would find people who are more worried about the lives of the civilians in Gaza than your religious endevours.

    Go on……

    Call me some names – make yourself feel better! Call me evil, Ignorant – I have no interest in anything you Jacob have to say – you are rude and paranoid.

  38. Gil Says:

    I have been following Ryan’s exchanges with various people on this thread and I am utterly dismayed with the level of debate on Ryan’s part. For me the clincher was Ryan’s claim in capitalised letters the other day about the paranoia of people on this blog.

    Ryan, are you medically qualified to call people ‘paranoid’? Also, what do you mean by you being a ‘happy person’. What relevance does this have?

    In one post you say:
    ‘Aplogies – i meant –
    that there may be bigots that show up but they do not represent the majority or the organizations that organize the protests’

    In a later post you say:
    ‘I once again tell you – I have been to many of these demonstrations and 99.9999999 percent of the people there, the organisations, the doctors, politicians, all intelligent educated people ARE NOT ANTISEMITES.’

    You see what I mean by infantile?

    You also have an infantile way of debating, if you please.

  39. Jacob Says:

    “There are antisemites and racists and sexists – but you will not normally find any at a protest in the UK – they are usually protesting against rascists, antisemites, sexists AND especially WAR.

    Go there yourself Jacob and take some photos of these placards and take some video footage – it would be interesting to see. I think instead you would find people who are more worried about the lives of the civilians in Gaza than your religious endevours.” Ryan

    You seem to be arguing that somehow Great Britain is exempt from the usual bigotry found in all societies. This isn’t only naïve it is dangerously naïve.

    You yourself have posted the following comment:

    “I will repeat it again – they have no problems with the Jewish race (at least the majority)…” Ryan

    Jews are not a race and people who see them that way are usually antisemites.

    I also asked you to go to Hurry’s place where they have been documenting hideous antisemitism at British demonstrations.

    I posted a link to one such event you apparently missed it or where unable to process its meaning:

    “Holocaust resonance

    This is a guest post by Dave Rich

    Opposition in Britain to Israel’s recent assault on Hamas in Gaza saw the allegation that Israel is in some way analogous to Nazi Germany become a central plank of anti-Zionist propaganda. Yet there is no serious similarity, in scale, intentions or outcome, between the Nazi destruction of European Jewry and Israeli policy in Gaza; which begs the question why it has become such a popular idea, when it causes deep offence to so many Jews.”

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/02/26/holocaust-resonance/

    However the most damning indication of antisemitism at your rallies is that of all the anti demonstrations in the UK there was none that demanded that Hamas and Hezbollah stop firing rockets at Israel. Just the other day a Hamas rocket hit a school in Ashekelon which luckily didn’t kill anyone because the school was not in session. Did you or any of your “peace loving” friends bother to demonstrate against such attacks?

  40. Ryan Says:

    First of all:

    Gil – why do you have resort to calling me names? thanks for calling me infantile but i actually came onto this site to discuss and i apologize if i used capital letters but i did not think you would be so easily offended.

    Am I a doctor – no – are you a polatician?? I presume not – and yet we are here discussing a political topic.

    About your last point – i have no idea at all what you mean – I did say that a bigot can turn up anywhere and i did say that 99.9999 percent of the people at the rallies are not antisemites (in the UK). Whats your point exactly? why does this make me infantile?

    Jacob….

    You must accept that when I mentioned the word Race it was not in the terms you so describe – it was a mistake, and i apologize for that – not to you – but lets get this clear – you need to stop looking for any little slip to call anti semitism. You can see that it was a mistake because I said ” a countries race” – unless you believe that i think every country has its own race then please just let this point go – im sure you wil not though as you seem very adement in accusing me of something rather than discussing the topic. Im sure i will make other errors in my writings that you will jump upon at any given chance.

    In the previous post I clearly stated that this is all nonesense because there is no Jewish Race – you keep on ignoring that fact that i make and continue to go back to accusing me of being an antisemite even though i have assured you that I do not believe jews are a race and that I have no prejudices whatsoever not just to Jews but to anyone on this planet – black, white, gay, catholic, Muslim, Jew – Everyone is the same – so please STOP CALLING ME AN ANTI SEMITE.

    What are we discussing here really? …..

    It seems as though you are arguing that anti semitism exists but i am not refuting that Jacob. The real topic here is as follows:

    Is the protesters comparison of the Holocaust to what is happening in Gaza antiSemitic?

    I actually did go to the link you showed me Jacob but unfortunately I did not see any of the placards saying jews to the ovens or any such thing or see any quotes you mentioned that refer to the word Jew. On the contrary there have been many examples that seem to be appearing in the US – Dr Mike has pointed out a good number of sources. Unfortunately in the US it is very different and there is a lot more bigotry than in the UK – you can see this clearly – people picketing Gay soldiers funerals, Rascism on a scale that is unimaginable in the UK.

    The article was specifically focused upon the protests in the UK aswell Jacob so you see i believe that it is difficult to speak to you because you seem to be arguing over the existence of Antisemitism and I am talking about a much more specific topic.

    If Russia was to attack a country and we took to the streets with placards comparing its president to Stalin – what would that mean exactly then?? explain to me the difference? Why are we not allowed to use the holocaust to do the same with Israel – I think what you really want to say and none of you have done so yet – that the holocaust was a Jewish tradgedy and that Israel is a country – so why are we attacking something jewish when we should be attacking Israel. This is a valid point but it is not so difficult to understand that the majority of Israelis are Jewish and have deep feelings about the holocaust and these protesters want to effect Israeli general public opinion.

    This is the point we should be discussing and not calling each other so and sos and looking for any slip or error as a chance to insult each other

    I dont believe it is a problem in the way howard jacobsob describes and i do believe that this whoel topic is just a distraction from the fact that Israel has commited some very grave mistakes that have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians that did not need to die.

    And

    – this is a long one….

    I have spent a lot of time apposing Hamas, I imagine i have spent probably more time apposing them than you have Jacob – I am not ignorant you see – Hamas coming into power was a terrible set back for everyone – Just because you oppose the recent actions of the IDF in Gaza does not mean that you support Hamas – Just because I protested against the war in Iraq does not mean I supported Sadam Hussein. Its seems as though a lot of people think protesters are just idiots that know nothing but I have read so much on the politics of so many different countries, on their history – i do not go out and protest against a war because i hate Jews – I read and read and then i form my opinion, and then i discuss like we are doing now. I do not agree with Iranian comments or the Hamas charter or any such nonesense you see…

    So – yes Anti-semitism does exist

    No – the use of the word holocaust by protesters does not amount to antisemitism.

    What do you guys think?

  41. David Hirsh Says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I’m sorry that commenters on here have been unable and unwilling to try to persuade you.

    Here are some of our best efforts:

    http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/02/26/dave-rich-looks-at-the-israelnazis-analogy/

    What do you think?

  42. Jacob Says:

    “So – yes Anti-semitism does exist

    No – the use of the word holocaust by protesters does not amount to antisemitism.

    What do you guys think?” m Ryan

    But Ryan you have changed the terms of the debate.

    You said above that,

    “It seems as though you are arguing that anti semitism exists but i am not refuting that Jacob. The real topic here is as follows:

    Is the protesters comparison of the Holocaust to what is happening in Gaza antiSemitic?” Ryan

    Which point do you want to argue?

    No merely using the word Holocaust is not a sign of antisemitism, yes comparing what is happening in Gaza to the Holocaust is antisemitic. It’s antisemitic because it is a lie and because it is meant to say that Jews are Nazis.

    If I were to compare British behavior in Iraq or Afghanistan to the Nazi invasion of Russia or even France I would be making an inappropriate comparison meant to denigrate Great Britain. I would then be saying things that were anti-British. If on the other hand I were to compare to accuse the Bosnian Serbs of committing Genocide in Bosnia I would not anti-Serb because genocide did occur in Bosnia.

    There was no and there is no genocide in Gaza.

    If you can’t see that then there is no use in continuing our discussion, Ryan.

    Moreover, your comment that:

    “If Russia was to attack a country and we took to the streets with placards comparing its president to Stalin – what would that mean exactly then?? explain to me the difference? Why are we not allowed to use the holocaust to do the same with Israel -…”

    You started to ask a question, Ryan and then supplied your own answer.

    I will however, answer your seemingly rhetorical question.

    Russia did attack a country (or one, of its member States, Chechnya). They killed many more people than died during the Gaza conflict but I didn’t see a lot of demonstration anywhere in the world when that happened.

    In any case, in this event it would have been appropriate to compare Putin to Stalin (who also invaded countries and brutally suppressed rebellions) precisely because there seems to be some historical continuity between these events, both Stalin and Putin suppressed Chechen rebellions.

    These comparative points are totally absent from the Gaza conflict and whatever similarity there is between Nazi intentions and the combatants it’s between Hamas which denies the Holocaust and sees Jews in terms similar to those of the Nazis. (Have you read the Hamas charter?)

    Still, from what you wrote I do think that we agree that Hamas’ ideology is something that needs to be opposed. I also share you belief in the need of a peaceful two State solution to the conflict.

    Finally I do think that your view that the UK is less antisemitic (or racist) than the US is patently false.
    The number of attacks on Jews in the UK in proportion to the population is much higher in the UK than in the US. Besides we just elected an African American as president. On the issue of gay rights your country may be more advanced in terms of gay marriage but even there we are making great strides.

    As I said above no society is free of bigotry and that includes the US. It is something we need to work against every day and not pretend that “my country is less racist or antisemitic than your country.”

  43. maasanova Says:

    For anyone who wants to truly understand why there is anti-semitism, all you need to do is listen to Abe Foxman’s brilliant speech about the Israel Lobby

    http://www.archive.org/details/MythOfTheJewishLobby

  44. Chuck Says:

    Thanks very much Mr. Jacobson for lucidly and carefully exposing the execrable and odious brown-shirt style behavior that is now tolerated on American campuses by feeble, petrified and feckless administrators who are unwilling to defend students from the outrageous shouting and threatening outbursts from these anti-Semites, now parading around as merely anti-Israelis.

    While deciding what, if anything, campuses can do to neutralize or challenge this mindless blather, I suggest an important new book by Dan Diner, “Lost in the Sacred: Why the Muslim World Slept” (Princeton University Press, 2009).

    It is a dense scholarly tome in many ways, but an early chapter on “Knowledge and Development” is highly relevant in drawing attention to the breathtaking and abject infirmities afflicting the Arab world which get easily and purposely avoided and ignored while obsessing about Israel.

    Diner quotes extensively from the annual UN Reports entitled “Arab Human Development Report” (AHDR) which offer a devastating examination of the unrelenting failures of the Arabic speaking world.

    According to Diner, the AHDR which was compiled by Arab sociologists, political scientists, economist and cultural scholars “provides a meticulous, unsparing and comprehensive account of the lamentable state of the Arab world: chronically stagnant economies, restricted freedoms everywhere, declining levels of education, hampered scientific and technological development – not to mention the deplorable situation of women.”

    The AHDR “pitilessly reveals an ongoing hiatus in the Arab world: the wide gap between, on the one hand, an elevated feeling of self-esteem based on an alleged superiority in religion and civilization and, on the other hand, the constant denial of this superiority by reality.”

    If nothing else, Diner’s book helps remind us why the abusive attacks on Israel enable many people to avert their glance from the real catastrophes of the Arabic speaking world.

  45. Ryan Says:

    Thank you David for a more sensible reply and links to something dealing with the question at hand – I read the articles this morning and found them very interesting – i need some time to think about this properly and i will post an appropriate reply.

    Jacob – Im finished arguing with you – no offense at all but I dont think either of us is getting anywhere squabling and i dont want to be called an Antisemite again.

    Chuck – The book sounds like a good source of information but I think you should steer away from talking of the Arab world as a whole single entity – first of all the whole arab speaking world is quite a big place consisting of many different countries – some of which have very productive economies, Impressive health care systems and good schools and universities. One such country was Lebanon – I say was, because i got a chance to visit Beirut a little before it was flattened by the IDF. It was a lovely, tolerant and inspiring place – where anyone could do almost anything they wanted and it was becoming more and more liberal as time passed – I dont think it is the same place now unfortunately – has anyone been lately?

    I dont mean to offend you so please do not get mad – I just think you come across a bit Anti – Arab thats all and seeing as how you are complaining about people being antisemitic it sounds a bit hypocritical.

    I do get your point about the fact that Israel gets far more critisizm than Arab Speaking countries but im not sure if this is really the case, at least at an international level – Many countries are continuosly critisized by the international community for the human rights records – And if you believe what the US and UK say …. We took out one of the leaders of those countries (Iraq)

    I know you are reffering to students though and i take your point that there is not as much protest against attrocities commited by arab states as there are about Israel but Israel and the Arab world are not intrinsically connected and the protests against Israel are so large because there are wars (such as in Gaza recently) occurring and currently there are no arab states attacking (or Defending if you must) other countries.

    David….. Youl get my opinion soon

  46. Jacob Says:

    Jacob – Im finished arguing with you – no offense at all but I dont think either of us is getting anywhere squabling and i dont want to be called an Antisemite again.

    Yes, Ryan I agree that we are not “getting anywhere,” but the reason is your inability to look at the evidence offered you by me and by other posters, here.

    “One such country was Lebanon – I say was, because i got a chance to visit Beirut a little before it was flattened by the IDF.”

    It’s your right to be a partisan of Lebanon but don’t pretend that you are a dispassionate critic of Israel interested only in peace. Israel didn’t flatten Lebanon and it was Hezbollah who provoked the war by firing rockets into northern Israel and kidnapping its soldiers.

    “I do get your point about the fact that Israel gets far more critisizm than Arab Speaking countries but im not sure if this is really the case, at least at an international level – Many countries are continuosly critisized by the international community for the human rights records -…”

    The amount of willful ignorance you have shown about Israel makes me think that you are not interested in learning anything that may challenge your preconceived notion about these issues. It’s not likely that any amount of evidence posted here by anyone will make an impression on you or get you to change your mind about the level of antisemitism in your neck of the woods.

    Finally you said to Chuck:

    “I dont mean to offend you so please do not get mad – I just think you come across a bit Anti – Arab thats all and seeing as how you are complaining about people being antisemitic it sounds a bit hypocritical.”

    For someone who doesn’t want to be called an antisemite, you are very casual about calling Chuck an anti-Arab.

    I don’t think you are arguing in good faith, Ryan.

  47. Bill Says:

    “Thanks very much Mr. Jacobson for lucidly and carefully exposing the execrable and odious brown-shirt style behavior that is now tolerated on American campuses by feeble, petrified and feckless administrators who are unwilling to defend students from the outrageous shouting and threatening outbursts from these anti-Semites, now parading around as merely anti-Israelis.”

    And then there is the laughable NYU protest from a few weeks ago. But anyway…

    Otherwise it’s sad but true. People who insist that the US college admins are affectionate towards radical totalitarian causes (I’ll definitely grant that a couple of them of them are) don’t quite get it. Their too-common strategy with these lot is really only to get the peace and quiet needed for their grand plans and legacies (some of them are admittedly worthwhile). So they too-often preemptively knuckle under to the groups who are most likely stage a tantrum with all the spontaneity of a rocket launch.

    Meanwhile other groups, from more sober political groups to the professional societies, have to scrape together every penny and smile nicely when the brats get their concessions, speaker budgets and get away with things that would have the campus concrete canoe team sent to the bottom of the lake. I’ve jokingly recommended a few professional groups on campus to use what they learn in the classrooms to threaten to bring the campus to their knees in “exchange” for bigger budgets. (Pity they’re so damn grown up and won’t do it.)

  48. Chuck Says:

    Totally agree with you Bill. Examples of it abound all across the country.

    Universities remain a soft underbelly institution with a small police presence. Unless the campus has a tough, no-nonsense leadership that is willing and prepared to arrest and expel the disrupters and to throw out anyone who dares to “occupy” some campus building and frighten its inhabitants, then the abusive and aggressive violators can continue to act with impunity.

    Most college administrators are savvy enough to know they have little to fear from people who rely on books, evidence, logic, the law, history, and civil discourse to make their arguments.

    On the other hand, they are plenty worried, even petrified of tapping into some lurking stream or strain of Hamas/al-Qaeda virulence among the anti-Semites and anti-Israelis that they think could and often does lead to violence and physical threats.

    Campus police are too few and under-armed so college administrators instead piously plead for understanding, tolerance, different perspectives and hearing alternative views.

    If I were on the other side, I would know to laugh and dismiss such platitudes and cliches. If I know it, you can be certain the defenders of Hamas and Hezbollah know it even better.

  49. Ryan Says:

    So far i have been called naive, infantile, Jew Hater, Anti Semite, Weasel, Partisan, willfully ignorant, asked how old I am, had my “friends” reffered to and generally been talked to with a lot of sarcastic ” quotes ” and a generaly aggressive tone.

    I think the most insulting thing i said this whole time was your are paranoid.

    When i just told chuck i believed the way he was reffering to the whole Arab Speaking world may be taken as anti arab i was polite about it and didnt actually call him Anti Arab – im not sure you see – i havnt talked to him enough.

    You dont need to be rude Jacob, and shouting at each other will not solve anything. On the contrary to your belief i have been effected by some of the evidence put forward by David but I am still considering what my opinion is now that i have read the articles he posted a link to.

    You see I think after reading the articles I have come to the conclusion that it is an incorrect anology as the situation in Gaza is not the same as the holocaust but i do not believe the intentions of the protesters are antisemitic. I understand that the holocaust is instrinsically linked to the Jewish faith but it is also linked to the state of Israel historically, culturally and sociologically. I believe the majority of protesters in the uk who use such language as “Holocaust in Gaza” are not trying to make a direct comparison but rather are trying to find someting with which they effectively say

    “An attrocity occured in the past and we said we would never let such a thing happen again and yet another attrocity is occuring and we are all watching”

    and yes

    “an attrocity occured to you so how can you let you country carry out an attrocity now – you know how much this hurts”

    (Im sure Jacob will be boiling over about now)

    But i understand this is your main point – that it is directed towards Jews and not the Israeli state.

    It seems as though really both sides are to blame for this argument:

    Howard Jacobson and others seem to to suggest (and i imagine Jacob believes this too) that these protesters are blissfully unaware that they are in fact Jew haters and that this unconcious resentment could grow into something far more scarier. That if a Jewish person came and sat down at the bar with us we may get up and leave, tricking ourselves into thinking we are not anti-semitic but just against Israel. Perhaps we are naive in our use of the anology, but we are not bigots, and definately not Jew haters and wether we used the anology incorrectly or not, what needs to be remembered is that our aim here is to stop bombs being dropped on gaza and not to destroy the state of Israel or demonise people of a certain religion.

    For this reason i think it is too much to call the protesters here in the UK Anti-semites or Jew Haters.

    I think Davids link about the meeting in Goldsmiths (I have attended many meetings there myself) is testament in a way to how people taking the anology too far are not accepted by the general community of protesters and academics. The fact that the person attending could see that there was an uneasy atmosphere and that University officials looked like they had regreted having a biased panel all goes to show you that in the UK the majority of us are not terrorist lovers who are led like sheep to support anything that is shouted out of a microphone.

    I just have one last thing to say and that is that I have heard a lot of commentary on this page which fills me with dismay, It seems as if any critisism is addressed with some evidence of something else that someone has done – in a “look at what they do though” way and neither person on either side of the fence really opens up to try to understand the others point.

    Jacob and so many others seem to never ever accept that any mistakes are made whatsoever by Israel or the IDF but this is of course untrue – Every country and military make mistakes – Justifying a mistake does not make it no longer a mistake. Because someone does something bad does not absolve a third party of responsablity or morality. You should not be so passionate that you are blinded and cannot accept any critisism whatsoever.

    Lets refrain from insulting each other yeah……..

  50. Ryan Stokes Says:

    Did i say something wrong? – why did my reply not get posted?

  51. DrMike Says:

    Ryan: I’m not calling you an anti-Semite. However, I will say that there are many anti-Semites who use the anti-Israel demonstrations and similar activities as politically correct cover for their anti-Semitism. For a chilling account of an attempt to foment anti-Semitism and make Jews into scapegoats for a completely unrelated issue, see
    “Oscar Grant Becomes a Poster Boy for Jihad” at http://www.bluetruth.net/2009/01/oscar-grant-becomes-poster-boy-for.html
    Again, I’m not in the UK so I can’t speak directly to the individuals involved there. But is it mere coincidence that there were more anti-Semitic incidents (physical attacks on people or Jewish community buildings) in the UK in the first 3 weeks of January than in all of 2008?
    The distinction that I’m not sure you fully appreciate is the one between legitimate protests against Israeli actions or policies, and those that have as their basis a unique discriminatory ethos: that the Jewish state, uniquely among all countries, is not allowed to act in any way against those attacking its citizens; and more than that, the Jewish people, uniquely among all peoples, has no right to self-determination in their own homeland.
    That is what leads to the charge of anti-Semitism.
    In the US, the groups that lead the anti-Israel demonstrations fit that description exactly: International ANSWER, al-Awda, AADC, etc . Isn’t it the same in the UK? That doesn’t mean that everyone who participates in these events is anti-Semitic; it does mean that these events, at their fundamental core, DO have an anti-Semitic agenda.

  52. Jacob Says:

    Ryan,

    we are talking past each other. I do think that many demonstrators against Israel were uttering antisemitic comments and nothing you said disproves it.

    I and other have posted documented replies to your concerns about it and I don’t know what else there is to say.

    I don’t think you are arguing in good faith.

    “When i just told chuck i believed the way he was reffering to the whole Arab Speaking world may be taken as anti arab i was polite about it and didnt actually call him Anti Arab – im not sure you see – i havnt talked to him enough.”

    No you haven’t talked to him at all. And the book he quoted was a scholarly book:

    Dan Diner: “Lost in the Sacred: Why the Muslim World Slept” (Princeton University Press, 2009).

    Princeton University Press doesn’t publish anti-Arab screeds. IN any case you should read the book before you decide that it is anti-Arab.

    Here is a book I would suggest:

    “Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11″ by Matthias Küntzel

    The author is a scholar who has done a lot of research on the topic and it explains Hamas’ attitude towards Israel.

    http://www.telospress.com/main/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=324

    You can read it or not, it’s up to you.

    In any case, good luck to you. I am not going to answer your posts anymore.

  53. Efraim Says:

    To those who don’t think that there is antisemitism in Great Britain:

    “Rise in antisemitic attacks ‘the worst recorded in Britain in decades’British Jews’ safety fears grow after Gaza invasion”
    Mark Townsend, crime correspondent The Observer,

    “Police patrols have
    been stepped up in Jewish neighbourhoods following the most intense period of antisemitic incidents to have been recorded in Britain in decades.”
    ….

    “Mark Frazer, spokesman for the Board of Deputies, said: “We are seeing an unprecedented level of attacks directed at the Jewish community, both physical and verbal. It is incumbent upon us all to isolate and marginalise those who would derail the legitimate political debate with an extremist and hateful ideology.” Recorded attacks have centred on the Jewish communities of Golders Green and Hampstead Garden Suburb in north London.”

  54. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    First of all, Ryan should not take delays in posting responses personally: the one he refers to is posted before the time of his query, but not before he’d actually written asking where it was. He should bear in mind that the editors of this website are actually amateurs in the sense that they all have day jobs and do this _on top_ of those day jobs: it takes time for the moderator(s) to get aroud to _any_ posted comment. And the comments are all moderated, and we’ve all had comments declined: most of us don’t take it personally, it’s the way things are.

    More seriously, Ryan gives every impression of not actually _reading_ the comments responding to (or, yes, occasionally attacking) him. Many of his replies appear to merely repeat what he has already said, and not to advance his case.

    So, let me state some of the arguments aimed at him in my own way: whatever Ryan says of himself (that he is not antisemitic and does not support those who are), I will take for granted. If nothing else, his words would be phrased _very_ differently if he were either of these things. However, this doesn’t mean that, despite his beliefs in his own values, that he is not, nevertheless, giving aid and comfort to those who are both of these things.

    As Dr Mike notes above, at least by implication, it is not (quite) that there is a call for a boycott of Israeli universities and their staff (unless the staff sign some sort of disloyalty oath), it is that it is _only_ Israeli universities that are to be boycotted. Leaving aside what this does to the sacred tenets of academic freedom (which is, arguably, not absolute), if the call was for the boycott of _all_ the universities of _all_ the offending countries (including Sudan, Zimbabwe, China, Russia (because of Chechnya), and, possibly yes, the US and the UK (because of Iraq), then at least this would be consistent and understandable, if unworkable.

    However, when it is for Israeli universities and _only_ Israeli universities, then suspicions must be raised as to the motives of the boycotters. Unless, that is, Ryan can actually produce real, hard evidence that will stand up to forensic scrutiny that Israel is by far the worst offender against human rights in the world. And, unless he is what he claims not to be, he must know that he cannot do this.

    The same argument applies to calls for a boycott of Israeli goods (and only Israeli goods): and while we’re about it, if Ryan believes that this should be so (and I don’t claim that he does), has he (or anyone he knows who demands such a boycott) ever examined exactly _what_ this would demand, given the medical and technological advances that have come out of Israel?

    As for claims that Israel can and should be compared seriously with either apartheid South Africa or Nazi Germany, these are witless, and can only be made with any seriousness by those who are actually antisemitic and unthinking to boot. To deal only with the “apartheid” claim (the other is beneath contempt, has been dealt with elsewhere time and again, would take too long to deal with here and I have a life to lead), where are the laws detailing the unequal treatment to be handed out to Arab-Israelis? Where are the equivalent of the Bantustans for them to be found? Where are the laws keeping them out of “Jewish” Israeli universities, given that 20% of Haifa University’s student body is Arab-Israeli? And so forth.

    This is not to deny that, actually, in certain respects, Arab-Israelis do not receive literal equal treatment. But then, nor do members of ethnic minorities in the UK, despite all the laws to the contrary.

    Does this mean that Israel and/or its government are above criticism? Of course not. The founding editor of this website himself has on numerous occasions meticulously detailed the criticisms that even ardent friends of Israel have made and continue to make.

    But this is very different from coating the criticisms of Israel with support for antisemitic, mysoginist, homphobic, Islamist, Jihadist and genocidal movements (read the Charters of Hamas and Hezbollah), as well as their clerico-fascist paymaster. While Ryan may not see himself as doing this, he has yet to demonstrate that he isn’t, and is, on the contrary, merely seeking to understand the argument.

  55. william law Says:

    Of course Howard is right. He is more tortured about stating it than I would be, but the message is clear to the literate.

  56. Jacobson’s demolition of the ‘Ashamed Jews’ wins Man Booker « Engage – the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism Says:

    [...] the full piece by Jacobson here.  Read the bullying and libellous responses to Jacobson’s piece here, the following day, in [...]

  57. mike Says:

    Ryan and others ignore [or maybe are ignorant of] an important point. Israel’s general attitude to the use of violence against violence dates from the beginning of the mandate when the Zionist organisation adopted a policy called ‘Havlagah’, which was specifically NON-RETALIATION in reaction to Arab attacks. See ‘Crossroads to israel’ [Christopher Sykes 1966]. It got no reciprocity from the Arabs and was abandoned in the 1930’s, partly at least on the encouragement of Orde Wingate, who helped establish the Palmach out of his disgust at the Mandatory power’s supine attitude towards Arab attacks on jewish settlements and the grossly unjust laws which allowed Arabs to bear arms but not Jews. In terms of the use of violence, it has always been the first resort on the Arab side and the last on the Jewish/Israeli.


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