Pox Britannica

Howard Jacobson’s concluding paragraph:

Given how hard it is to distinguish Jew from Israeli in all this, the mantra “It is not anti-Semitic to be critical of Israel” looks increasingly disingenuous. But there is no challenging it, not even with such eminently reasonable responses as, “That surely depends on the criticism,” or “Calling into question an entire nation’s right to exist is not exactly ‘criticism.'” Nor is the distinction between Israeli and Jew much respected where the graffitists and the baby bullies of the schoolyard do their work. But, in the end, it is frankly immaterial how much of this is Jewhating or not. The inordinacy of English Israel-loathing–ascribing to a country the same disproportionate responsibility for the world’s ills that was once ascribed to a people–is toxic enough in itself. The language of extremism has a malarious dynamic of its own, passing effortlessly from the mischievous to the unwary, and from there into the bloodstream of society. And that’s what one can smell here. Infection.

Find out how he comes to this conclusion, in The New Republic.

Boycotted British Academic is Finding Her Voice

Good things

On Harry’s Place, Gene. An orchestra from Jenin performs for Holocaust survivors. A new project initiated by prominent figures in Europe and the Muslim world will combat Holocaust denial and emphasise good Muslim-Jewish relations.

UPDATE: Commenters below link to news items reporting that the orchestra from Jenin has been disbanded by the Palestinian Authority as a direct consequence of the performance. More from Ben Cohen.

“Adnan Hindi of the Jenin camp called the Holocaust a “political issue” and accused conductor Wafa Younis of unknowingly dragging the children into a political dispute.”

The lines are being drawn –  it’s peace-makers like Wafa Younis against war-makers like Adnan Hindi. And the Holocaust is used as a bargaining chip again.

South African Jewish Board of Deputies make formal complaint against COSATU

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies have issued a press statement indicating that they have laid a formal complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission against Cosatu’s International Relations secretary Bongani Masuku.

Masuku has been featured extensively on this blog for his crazed outbursts against South African Jews who support Israel. Amongst other things, he has called on Israel-supporting Jews to leave South Africa (said in an email to me) and threatened students at Wits University that he (and Cosatu I assume, as he was representing them at the talk) would make their lives “hell”.

More on It’s Almost Supernatural.

The Livingstone Formulation

I’m doing some work on the use of the Livingstone Formulation.  I’m collecting examples.  If anyone knows of examples that I’ve missed, please quote in the comments box with links or references.  I’m particularly interested in its use in academic and high profile public discourse.  I’ve got instances from, in no particular order:

Judith Butler, Ken Livingstone, Stephen Sizer, Jenny Tonge, Tam Dalyell, UCU, UCU mark II, Jacqueline Rose, Richard Ingrams, BBC website (on David Miliband), Anatol Lieven, Tony Judt, Antony Lerman, Mearsheimer and Walt, Charles Linbergh, Norman Finkelstein, David Duke, Nick Griffin, Caroline Lucas, Johan Hari, Bruce Kent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, BBC website (US withdrawal from Durban Review), Martin Shaw twice Caryl Churchill, Paul Oestreicher, Tariq Ali, Kare Willoch, Ken Loach, Fintan O’Toole, Michael Neumann.

There are two elements to the Livingstone Formulation.  Firstly a conflation of something which is arguably, at least, connected to antisemitism into “criticism” and secondly an accusation (usually implied) that the “critic” is being characterized as antisemitic knowingly and in bad faith by the Jews or by the ‘Israel lobby’ (usually implied)  in order to try to de-legitimize criticism of Israel.

All help gratefully received.

Reconciliation and understanding, not boycotts and exclusions

President Abbas’ Foreign Minister Urges Europe to Shun Hamas

From Reuters:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Western-backed government warned European states on Monday against easing a boycott of Hamas Islamists, saying it could put unity talks at risk.

Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said he relayed that message last week to European leaders during talks in Brussels.

Egyptian efforts to reconcile Abbas’s secular Fatah faction, which holds sway in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, have so far been unsuccessful.

The talks, held in Cairo, were adjourned last week without agreement on the shape or agenda of a proposed unity government that would oversee the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip after Israel’s offensive, as well as prepare for new elections.

Negotiations are expected to resume but big differences remain, including over demands by Fatah that Hamas agree to abide by interim peace agreements signed with Israel. Hamas has refused to make such a commitment.

See Reuters for the rest of the story.

Café’s Israel boycott becomes PR disaster

This piece by Marcus Dysch, is from the Jewish Chronicle.

A café owner has apologised for displaying a sign declaring “Jews are welcome”, saying it was a bid to allay fears that his boycott of Israeli goods could be interpreted as being antisemitic.

Chris Boddington said he was open about his boycott and support for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign at Café Crema in New Cross, south-east London. But he realised a boycott of Israeli produce could be equated with antisemitism.

The nearby Goldsmiths College owns the café and is Mr Boddington’s landlord. Many customers are Goldsmiths’ students or academics. In an attempt to reassure Jewish customers, Mr Boddington wrote on a blackboard: “We do not use any Israeli products. We are not antisemitic but anti-fascist. Jews are as welcome here as anyone else.”

He admitted it had backfired and constituted a substantial “PR cock-up”.

He said: “I wanted to make it clear we are not antisemitic. But people have taken it as me singling out Jews. I have said sorry. We do not want to exclude anyone. I am also well aware there are plenty of decent Israelis, but I do not believe they will dismantle the settlements and end the occupation.”

David Hirsh, a Goldsmiths’ lecturer and editor of the Engage website, which campaigns against academic boycotts of Israel, said: “Antisemitic ‘cock-ups’ follow the boycott campaign wherever it goes. Not because the boycotters are Jew-haters. But because the campaign to single out Israelis for exclusion is antisemitic.”

This piece by Marcus Dysch, is from the Jewish Chronicle.

Five British Children – Shalom Lappin

Eve Garrard on contemporary antisemitism in Britain

Eve Garrard

Eve Garrard

Here is Eve’s concluding paragraph.  How she comes that conclusion is a must-read, on normblog – offering a goldmine of links and an outline of what is going on in Britain.

There is not at the moment, so far as I know, a deliberate and conscious anti-Semitic project on the left to undermine the standing of Jews in Britain and elsewhere, and to deny them the rights of self-determination and self-defence which are accorded to others. But there is a significant number of people on the liberal-left behaving as if they were in fact complicit in such a project; who are impervious to the chilling anti-Semitic effects of their behaviour; who are in practice acting as enablers and facilitators for those full-blooded anti-Semites who want to exploit the rich possibilities of this situation. This willingness to prepare the ground for Jew-hatred is in itself a disgusting development on the left, and a betrayal of some of its most basic principles. It is also a proper source of alarm for Jews who are beginning to feel that the brief decades in which being a Jew in Britain was unproblematic may be coming to an end.

Do read the whole piece.