Does Israel “cause” antisemitism?

On holiday last week a fellow guest in our inn for the night mentioned that the behaviour of certain Eastern European immigrants to Lancashire “caused racism”. Our host sympathised and the conversation became somewhat tense. If racism, rather than a form of outrage appropriate to the transgression, is so easily “caused”,  then surely the objects of the racism are due our concern? Wrong – it seems we are to take racism for granted and, if we are Eastern European, abandon any claim to unracist censure.

Along these lines, Modernity draws attention to a typically dense New Statesman piece titled ‘Does Israel “cause” antisemitism?’ The author’s bad error is that he takes for granted that antisemitism would be easily provoked by Israel’s engagement in unjust conflict, and so suggests a very short chain of causation for antisemitism which ends – because he has decided it should – at Israel.

The enduring tendency of quite a lot of people to mistake antisemitism for righteous anger is the reason that Israel exists as a Jewish state.

101 Responses to “Does Israel “cause” antisemitism?”

  1. zkharya Says:

    If Israel is the cause of antisemitism in the diaspora, I think it rather proves the thesis of Zionism correct.

    “Golden Age” antisemitism at least needed a local pretext. The new antisemitism can find one thousands of miles away, where most Jews of old world Christendom and Islam, post-1914, and their descendants, ended up.

  2. zkharya Says:

    Presumably Hasan thinks the many more killed by Muslim militants than Israel has killed of Arab Muslims causes Islamophobia? I mean, fair’s fair.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      I haven’t come across a message from Israel that it is acting on my behalf as a Jew, either. And should some Israeli officials claim this, well obviously it’s without foundation. The onus should not be on Jews to distance themselves from the actions of a country in which they have no democratic power, in order to avoid being implicated in those actions. The same goes for Muslims implicated by haters in atrocities committed with spurious invocations of Islam. Certainly it may be politically expedient to dissociate oneself, but to my mind that is pandering to people with hateful inclinations.

      • GideonSwort Says:

        “I haven’t come across a message from Israel that it is acting on my behalf as a Jew, either. And should some Israeli officials claim this, well obviously it’s without foundation.”

        As a state, Israel theoretically provides an option for all Diaspora Jooz, (provided they meet the Rabbinate’s criteria of WhozaJoo) to immigrate. Whether fleeing persecution, the National Health system or simply making the Greenback Pension scheme stretch longer, all are welcome, including them wild eyed God sniffing medieval Brooklyn warriors. Hence a “state for all Jooz”. The Israeli government speaks and acts on behalf of all those contained within – whether they agree or not as the case may be, with the Governments politics and actions.

        You Mira, unless you are an Israeli are not counted, unspoken for and unknown – and I say this without malice, prejudice or intent.

        The exception to this seems to be that Israel will speak for and act on behalf of Jooz if they are being threatened or persecuted in the Diaspora.

  3. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    “Israel is the cause of antisemitism”, this is an antisemitic argument.

    “The miniskirt (or heavy make-up) is the cause for rape.”
    This is the ultimate argument of rapists.

  4. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    As ever (and just like all the other “progressive” anti-Zionists), New Statesman proceeds to blame the victims (long a syndrome recognised by social scientists as a classified pathology), provided, of course, that they’re Jews and/or Israelis.

    Never happens when it’s any other group likely to be discriminated against, such as Muslims, Afro-Caribbeans, those from South Asia, etc, etc.

    Perhaps the “posted in…” link should add one for ‘blaming the victims’; after all, David H. is a sociologist (and a number of commenters here are too) and would recognise the term.

    Might save having to remind some of the “blamers” yet again of the prevalence of this syndrom.

  5. zkharya Says:

    “The onus should not be on Jews to distance themselves from the actions of a country in which they have no democratic power”

    Exactly: it is the antisemite who takes any such declaration at face value.

  6. zkharya Says:

    Fed by such declarations in the name of “we” by such as Naomi Klein.

  7. Lynne T Says:

    How is it that anti-semetism can be rationalized by the conduct of the sole country in the world where Judaism is the state religion, but Islamaphobia is based in bigotted beliefs held by non-Muslims and has nought to do with the actions of the 50+ countries that claim Islam as the state religion.

  8. Jacob Says:

    Does Israel “cause” antisemitism?
    No, it’s the fault of the movies:

    “Palestinian Group Threatens ‘Brüno’ Star Sacha Baron Cohen:”

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1103450.html

  9. Absolute Observer Says:

    So, the analysis of antisemitism as expounded by the left-liberal New Statesman is……………

    Jews cause antisemitism and to stop it Jews have to be good.

    It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious and Jews of the cut of Lerman didn’t kosherise it.

  10. Empress Trudy Says:

    I thought I posted to this already but in any case, this is like blaming black people for racism, gays for homophobia and the like. For some people this makes perfect sense. For the rest of the world we call the sane world this is absolute gibberish. Except of course when it comes to the Jews.

  11. Curious Says:

    If it is said that Israel causes antisemitism then those making such statements should be able to answer the question what the Jews did prior to 1948 to cause antisemitism, and prior to the 1880’s what the Jews did to cause anti-jewish behaviour?

    I would be interested to hear the answers.

    Thank you

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Existed, maybe?

    • Bill Says:

      Oh, but Curious, we have (albeit indirectly).

      We’ve all heard the stupid dishonest throw-away lament about how the Jews never “learned” from the Holocaust. And we all know the people to toss that one-liner out aren’t talking about how the Jews were sent to the camps to learn not to poison wells, drain the blood of kids for cookies and cakes, controlling everything behind the scenes, and killing Baby Jesus. In their can’t-call-it antisemetic eyes, they’re talking about Israel – before Israel existed. To them, Israel justifies not only drinking from their personal flask of “new” antisemitism, but rather, justifies antisemitism through history — because Israel highlights what “we all know about Jews – any Jew”.

  12. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    The problem is not the behaviour of Jews or of the State of Israel. The problem for the antisemites is the existence of Jews and the fact, that Jews created a state and are ready to defend it.

    Of course “good Jews” tell us that Israel and the Zionist are to blame for antisemitism, and some like Shlomo Sand of Tel Aviv university explain, that there was never a Jewish people.
    For a non-existent people the creation of Israel – with all it’s faults and shortcomings – is a great achievement.

    Of course nothing could convince antisemites, who really dream about the total destruction of Jews.

    I am reading Richard Crossman’s “Mission to Palestine” published in 1947. Antisemitism in the UK did not even stop after the Holocaust. And George Orwell describes it during the Second World War. So it is quite logical that left-liberals in Guardian and New Statesman continue this tradition.

  13. Comrade T Says:

    Antisemites incl David Irving say: The Jews must have done something to cause the eternal hatred against them.

    The New Statesman and Tony Lerman say “The Jews must be doing something to cause current hatred against them.

    Spot the difference.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Last time I made this comment about Lerman, someone from the US calling themself “David” had about 3 or 4 goes at me, attacking my competence to comment on matters Jewish. It was only on the 5th comment that he revealed that what was bothering him was my supposed ad hominem attack on said Lerman, yet he had spent all the time attacking me and complaining about attacks on him before revealing this.

      Where are these people when you need them to make such comments and amuse us all? Better watch it, Comrade T, this particular might come after ypou for telling the truth.

  14. john Says:

    it is indeed time that someone starts deconstructing seriously the link between left antisemites such as “shoverim shtika” and their anti-israel antizionist supporters in the UK:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1103748.html

  15. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    Muslim Clerics declare on egyptian Al-Rahma TV that religion is the cause for hatred of Jews.

    read this and you’ll understand, Israel has not much to do with Islamist antisemitism
    http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD246609

  16. MITNAGED Says:

    Mira, you make interesting points.

    I held my nose and visited Comment is Free and found a confused and confusing article by poor Sethele Freedman about British Jews’ blind loyalty to Israel (sez he).

    Of course he has a right to blether on in that undignified vein, all the while feeding the CiF beast what he thinks it needs, but it stuck in my craw (but naturally his fan club there were overjoyed) when he advised British Jews how to behave so that their support for Israel would not result in an antisemitic backlash.

    Eugh!

  17. Chaim Says:

    “The enduring tendency of quite a lot of people to mistake antisemitism for righteous anger is the reason that Israel exists as a Jewish state.”

    It’s _an_ important reason. Another reason is that Jews are in important senses a nation, with the same right of national self-determination that other nations (including the Palestinians) have.

  18. Friday Housekeeping « The New Centrist Says:

    […] Engage: Does Israel “Cause” Anti-Semitism […]

  19. Inna Says:

    Gideon–

    I apologize if I misunderstood. I guess on some forums when people use phrases like “Jooz” they are generally speaking not being sarcastic.

    Regards,

    Inna

  20. Maus Says:

    Every day there are stories about hundreds of countries on thousands of websites which discuss their policies, conflicts, tragedies, etc…

    When Israel is involved they are always on the defensive, always having to explain their actions, always having to lay blame on the nations for the trouble Israel starts within these news stories?

    Reason: Israel is not contempt with their current boundaries and will always pick the scabs of their neighbors until they finally get what they want or get burned.

    In recent news, Israeli “settlers” (if your Palestinian the word is “terrorists”) have been ripping Palestinian citizens from their homes in East Jerusalem without warrant.

    Do these acts promote Peace in the middle east? Do these acts promote Anti-Semitism? Are these acts really necessary and can they be avoided?

    Perhaps the United States should “settle” Iraq, take all the oil, and screw the rest of the world.

    Greed promotes violence.

    • Karl Pfeifer Says:

      @Maus let’s assume, that Israel is like you describe it. According to your logic because of what Israel does or does not it is legitimate to hate Jews in Europe
      Now let me apply your logic to the Muslims in the M.E. and those in Europe.

      Because of what Muslims do in Sudan (Darfur) mass murder of more than 200.000 Muslims and uprooting of 2,5 million Muslims, the pogroms perpetrated in Egypt by Muslims against Copts and the bombing of their churches, the
      suicide terror of Sunnites in Iraq against Shiite Mosques and vice versa and the same in Pakistan it is according to you logic legitimate to hate Muslims in Europe.

      Maus you counterbalance your ignorance with insolence.
      Did the Arab states recognize Israel before 1967? No they did not. When Israel offered after the Six day war in 1967 to give back to the Egyptians and to Jordanians the territory with the exception of Jerusalem – because the Jordanians did not allow Jews into East Jerusalem – how did the Arab states respond? With the 3 No of Khartoum.

      Now how about Ahwaz province in Iran. Is it justified to expel from there Arabs and to settle there Persians?

      Of course if a settler does something illegal, the police and the courts in Israel must intervene and they do it most of the times.

      By the way: Muslim Clerics declare on Egyptian Al-Rahma TV that religion is the cause for hatred of Jews.

      read this and you’ll understand, Israel has not much to do with Islamist antisemitism
      http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD246609

      Maus
      tell us is it legitimate because those Muslims incite on TV children to hate Jews, to hate Muslims in the UK and Europe?

  21. zkharya Says:

    “Every day there are stories about hundreds of countries on thousands of websites which discuss their policies, conflicts, tragedies, etc…When Israel is involved they are always on the defensive, always having to explain their actions, always having to lay blame on the nations for the trouble Israel starts within these news stories?”

    You’re joking, aren’t you? Israel has one of the most open, free societies in the world. These matters are discussed openly all the time. Far more freely than in the Arab or Islamic states that surround Israel, at least, who have been in varying degrees of conflict with her for nigh on 60 years, far freer than Palestinian society.

    Those Palestinians that wanted to compromise or reach an accomodation with Palestinian Jews were murdered or terrorised into silence. The policy has arguably continued in some form to this day.

  22. zkharya Says:

    BTW “Maus”, you’re about as much like “Maus” as Haj Amin Al Husseini was to an Auschwitz survivor.

  23. Mira Vogel Says:

    Palestinians can be pretty good cover when you want to stick the boot in Jews, hey Maus.

    You do understand, don’t you, that this site is a single issue site. It doesn’t exist to justify occupation, or to make out that Palestinians have the lives they deserve.

    It exists to put up arguments against your kind, who accept racism against Jews as a fact of life and who place the burden of mitigating it onto Jews and Israelis.

    You can condemn Israelis for the occupation and more, but it is outrageous of you to condemn Israelis for bringing antisemitism upon Jews. You are the worst kind of Palestine advocate, an embarrassment to the cause.

    I know you offline well enough to say this – respond to this thread if you feel you need to, but don’t come back here again because you’ll be blocked. Read the comments policy for why.

  24. Jacob Says:

    Has anyone seen this?

    “Why single out Israel?

    The United Church of Canada is back in the news this week for having its head trapped in its fundament, as attendees of its upcoming general council will be asked to vote on a resolution boycotting Israeli academic and cultural institutions for tiresomely familiar reasons. The language of the resolution suggests that Israel stands out amongst the nations of the world as a uniquely horrible monster: it is said to operate what is described as a “regime of exclusion, violence and dehumanization directed against Palestinians.” As if there weren’t 50 other boycottable countries that routinely and intentionally inflict these things on their citizens in a wholly undifferentiated way, without the mitigating features of Israeli rule — democratic checks and balances, a code and ethos of individual rights, rules of engagement for the military and the police, a free press, economic freedom and an independent judiciary.

    By National PostJuly 31, 2009″

  25. m Says:

    Here’s a question: Why is the “cause” in the New Stateman’s headline in quotation marks (or inverted commas)? It is not:

    “Does Israel cause antisemitism?”

    but:

    “Does Israel “cause” antisemitism?”

    Why?

  26. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Notwithstanding Mira’s comment re “Maus” that:
    “I know you offline well enough to say this – respond to this thread if you feel you need to, but don’t come back here again because you’ll be blocked. Read the comments policy for why,” it’s worth pointing out to Maus that we must presume that he(?) sees this Israeli action in seizing the houses in East Jerusalem (as reprehensible as it is) as being as bad as, if not worse, than the treatment of the Uigurs in North West China by the incoming Han Chinese, ditto the incoming Han Chinese in Tibet, the dispossessions in Darfur (to say nothing of the deaths there), and so forth.

    Of course, those things aren’t being done by Israelis, so that’s alright then? Of course not. Can Maus direct us to the comments threads where he is being equally caustic about these events? Thought not.

    And then people like him wonder why their anti-Zionism gets tagged as antisemitism. He clearly needs to read, _very_ carefully, the Iganski article linked to below in these columns.

  27. owlminerva Says:

    It is funny that you say “We do not speak “as Jews” but as socialists, liberals, trade unionists or academics.” because this all sounds very much like the same jewish nonsense you find on every heavily pro-israel leaning site on the net. And it doesnt sound all at as coming from socialists, unionists etc as there is no solidarity with those that are oppressed at all.
    Does israel cause antisemitism? Well let me put it this way, the kind of misery Israel is causing in the occupied territories is not exactly making it more popular within the world community… And your lack of ‘stance’ on this, as if there is no good and no bad side is not making your own organization more popular either.

  28. Mira Vogel Says:

    A framed and signed picture of David Hirsh for the author of most original response to owlminerva.

  29. seismicshock Says:

    Owlminerva, I notice your screenname includes ‘owl’, which if I recall is a bird. Birds cause bird flu, which could destroy humanity. As we are humans and you are insulting us whilst using a bird-like name, I perceive that you are part of the Giant Bird Flu Plot against humanity.

    As I have not heard you mention one thing about bird flu so far, and as your screename is ‘owlminerva’, I can only conclude that you want bird flu to succeed. Your lack of ‘stance’ on this will hardly make you more popular within the world community.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      Ah! I too have been wondering why German acquaintances have been putting me under so much pressure over flu. Now I understand.

      Changing my name seems reasonable.

  30. Owldrops Says:

    It’s hard to find an angle, this is such old news.

    1. This blog is a single-issue campaign against antisemitism. Think about how many single issue campaigns there are in the world. Why isn’t there any room in your world for a single issue campaign against antisemitism?
    2. Even given that this blog is a single-issue campaign against antisemitism, it takes a stance.
    3. If I were Minerva I’d trade you in for a new owl

    Do I win?

  31. Furter Says:

    “Does israel cause antisemitism? Well let me put it this way, the kind of misery Israel is causing in the occupied territories is not exactly making it more popular within the world community.”

    Saudi Arabia nurturing jihadi Islam – you’re feeling a little hostile – vicariously, of course! – to Arabs too, aren’t you. You understand why they are so often the enemy in popular culture.

    And if the Roma and Sinti had a state of their own, and it committed state violence, why, you would naturally blame Gypsiness for that.

  32. Pylon Beauty Says:

    “world community”.

    Everything is beautiful in the “world community”. The lambs are clambering all over the lions. Nobody fights. Nobody oppresses anybody.

    And then there’s Israel.

  33. owlminerva Says:

    “world community”.

    “Everything is beautiful in the “world community”. The lambs are clambering all over the lions. Nobody fights. Nobody oppresses anybody.

    And then there’s Israel.”

    Hm. This is exactly what i am talking about. The same self-consumed nonsense as you can find on any other heavily leaning pro- israeli website. At least they don’t pretend to also care about the Arabs. The rethoric on this site creates more anger in those that are noticing how israel is completely mistreating another people and then cries anti-Semitism when anybody has the nerve to point it out. This site doesn’t engage anybody that is not already heavily biased in seeing the world as divided between jews and non-jews. This site in fact stimulates the view that the world is divided between Jews and non-Jews, between people that are for you and people that are against you. If you were half as consumed with with the atrocities that are happening in your backyard as you are with any criticism against those atrocities, the problems would be solved already. I am sorry but i find it hard to understand how much more angry you are with those that critique Israel than with the reasons for that criticism. I don’t understand what kind of socialist you have to be more angry with the critics of oppression than with the oppression itself. This site is an insult to anybody that has ever fought for socialist ideals. This is a socialist site that has actually contempt for the oppressed and for those that are on their side. Beautiful.
    ok. Now you can call me an anti-Semite again. That is how you all play this game. I know. I have to accept the rules. Somebody says something critical, you hit back with accussations of anti-Semitism. It is the raison d’etre of this site. I shouldnt be feeding this frenzy. But there is something serious in me that gets bothered with this sort of stuff. I wish there would be actually a serious discussion. I genuinely don’t understand how you can call yourself socialists.

  34. Richard Gold Says:

    Owlminerva

    You say “ok. Now you can call me an anti-Semite again.”

    But i’ve read the replies to your comments and nobody has called you an anti-semite.

    This is somebody having a bit of fun , a bit of satire. Surely ?

  35. owlminerva Says:

    You can call me an anti-Semite or imply it in the way your phrase the responses… Your pick. These are your rules. I didn’t not invent the idea of calling people racist or anti-Semite when they point out my abominable behavior towards others. I am simply wondering why anybody would call themselves socialist and then ignore the ones that are really oppressed. It is like rich democrates complaining about taxes. Sofar there hasn’t been any real response though. Only insinuations of anti-Semitic bias in focusing on Israel. Since i blog about it I am familiar with it. So please stop pretending that that is not the underlying idea behind the responses of furter etc.

    • Richard Gold Says:

      “You can call me an anti-Semite or imply it in the way your phrase the responses”

      Ok so we’re getting somewhere – inspite of your accusation , nobody has called you an antisemite. So now can you tell me in what way anybody has implied you are an anti-semite? Surely somebody as gifted intellectually as yourself can provide us with the examples from people’s responses on this thread to your comments? Otherwise people might think you have some serious misperceptions.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      Owlminerva, addressing just one small part of all you implied in the following sentence:

      “These are your rules. I didn’t not invent the idea of calling people racist or anti-Semite when they point out my abominable behavior towards others.”

      Do you accept that Jews have experienced racism in forms of Palestine solidarity? And do you accept that the distinguishing feature of contemporary antisemitism is that it is against Zionism and Israeli policy? (n.b. this is not to say that to be against Zionism and Israeli policy is antisemitic – Engage frequently draws attention to criticism of Israeli policy.)

      If not, read:
      http://www.eisca.eu/
      http://www.thepcaa.org/
      http://www.thecst.org.uk/index.cfm?content=7&

      Or if nothing else, read The Guardian’s 7 Feb 09 editorial

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/07/race-judaism-antisemitism

      If you agree that Jews have experienced racism, then we can discuss anti-racist Palestine solidarity. If you don’t, then I can’t see what else there is to discuss here – we will go round in circles.

    • seismicshock Says:

      Owlminerva, you are distracting from the real issue here, which is bird flu. Do you condemn it? Do you or don’t you? The world community needs to know!

  36. Pylon Beauty Says:

    owlminerva is a theorist of Israel’s original sin.

    http://owlminerva.wordpress.com/2009/05/24/mother-of-the-world/

    As Israel’s mother, it might be pertinent to ask her how she’d defend her “problem child” against the neighbourhood gangs.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1105906.html

    “Dear, they hit you because you are bad”.

    Enter social services.

  37. Mira Vogel Says:

    Seismic Shock wins.

  38. seismicshock Says:

    thanks! what can I say I was inspired by the prospect of a signed photo of David Hirsch🙂

  39. GideonSwort Says:

    Greetings, Owlminerva.

    “It is funny that you say “We do not speak “as Jews” but as socialists, liberals, trade unionists or academics.”

    Tee Heee.

    “because this all sounds very much like the same jewish nonsense you find on every heavily pro-israel leaning site on the net.”

    “Jewish nonsense”? Oh, oh I get it, this is a type of Nonsense that’s confined to Yids right? So it’s not like a social disease, or an acquired condition, it’s genetic and therefore inherent to pro-Israeli sites.

    “And it doesnt sound all at as coming from socialists, unionists etc as there is no solidarity with those that are oppressed at all.”

    Engage is uncovered! “Jewish nonsense” site run by furtive Jooz. See Minerva, all you had to do was to look at the key defining words, Jews, socialists, liberals, trade unionists and academics and the tacit conspiracy is revealed.

    “Does israel cause antisemitism? Well let me put it this way, the kind of misery Israel is causing in the occupied territories is not exactly making it more popular within the world community… ”

    Well now that you “put it this way” it all makes sense right? Simple reasoning.

    “And your lack of ’stance’ on this, as if there is no good and no bad side is not making your own organization more popular either.”

    Again, following your Simple reasoning “Jewish nonsense” knows not right from wrong, right?

    “You can call me an anti-Semite or imply it in the way your phrase the responses… Your pick. These are your rules.”

    Thanks, we needed your consent. However, under due consideration I regret to inform you that you don’t qualify. A proper Antisemite knows when to lace a sentence with casual references to Lobbies, Zionism and can differentiate between Jooz and Israel. A considered Differential Diagnosis would suggest either hydrocephalous or intrinsic imbecility. For confirmation of either or both, follow up with your physician.

    “Sofar there hasn’t been any real response though.”

    Telling isn’t it?

    “Since i blog about it I am familiar with it. So please stop pretending that that is not the underlying idea behind the responses of furter etc.”

    Yes, I think that we’ve all realized by now that we are dealing with an authority on the subject, and are duly cautious.

  40. s Says:

    “Do you accept that Jews have experienced racism as part of Palestine solidarity? And do you accept that the distinguishing feature of contemporary antisemitism is that it is against Zionism and Israeli policy?”

    I don’t know the answer to the first one. I am not jewish. I don’t know how much is real racism and how much is imagined/interpreted/invented. What I do know is that the people that I know that feel solidarity with palestinians are not anti-Semites. In fact they would be the last people in the world to hate people for their religion or etnicity. I also know that the accussation of anti-Semitism is thrown around constantly as if it doesn’t mean anything. You probably do more harm to the cause of real anti-Semitism than good by accussing everybody that disagrees with you of being an anti-Semite. These accussations are usually thrown around by people who get very angry if you are pointing out to them their behavior is horrible. I also know that an Israel that keeps beating up Palestine is not making Israel popular in the world. Which is plain common sense. What else do you expect? Most people have some sort of sympathy for the underdog.
    I totally disagree with your statement that anti-semitism expresses itself through anger against israeli policy. It is anger against Israel as a big bully oppressing people for 60 years in a row that causes people to be angry with Israel and its policies. I don’t know where are the people that hate Jews for being Jewish. I do know there are a lot of people that think what the Israeli Jews are doing is atrocious.
    Now.
    You still haven’t answered any of my questions. What kind of socialist are you that is more angry with the critics of oppression and the victims of oppression than with oppression itself? What kind of socialist stands with the oppressors instead of the oppressed? It still seems to me this is an insult to socialists who have ever fought for something. I still think you should be a lot more angry with what israel is doing than with those that criticize israel for doing this.

    With regard to the ‘original sin theory’ (your term not mine). I believe that in the founding of Israel something went seriously wrong. Jews went in there, believing that the land where other people were living on was theirs. They thought they could just ignore the natives, when that didn’t work they bullied them out. Another term for that is ethnic cleansing. If you don’t see that there is anything wrong with that than you are either in complete denial, ammoral or plain evil. I am not the only one who believes that the founding of Israel was done wrong. I have on my side hannah arendt, Martin Buber and Einstein. They argued that if the Jews were going to found a state they should do in a way that is just. Not with the blood of others on their hands. It is hard to argue that the way it happened was just.
    Unfortunately for Israel, the Palestinians are still not letting themselves being bullied away. They are still there at your borders. Confronting Israel on a daily basis with this ‘original sin’. Maybe you should have killed them all. Like the americans did with the indians. At the end there was nobody left to fight.
    Again. Funny that you are angrier with the people that point out the ‘original sin’ than the ‘original sin’ itself. Though it is not funny thinking that you present yourself as ‘socialists’. It is very embarrassing for real socialists.
    i think i like this term. At least it brings what is happening today in connection with what happened 60 years ago.

    • Gil Says:

      Sandra, I’ve perused your blog and you are no antisemite. You’ve condemned Ahmadinejad’s antisemtism and you’ve written positively about the concert given to Holocaust survivors by the kids from Jenin.

      However, whether out of a desire to shock or otherwise (who can really fathom what is in someone’s mind), you write puzzling things. For example, what your answer to Gideon Swort’s question:
      ‘Do you accept that Jews have experienced racism as part of Palestine solidarity? And do you accept that the distinguishing feature of contemporary antisemitism is that it is against Zionism and Israeli policy?”

      ‘I don’t know the answer to the first one. I am not jewish.’

      What an unintelligent answer. Denis MacShane who has done sterling work in this field and is not Jewish.

      Also, the fact that one post at least on your blog seems to suggest that Israel is the most wicked country in the world is disturbing.

  41. sandra Says:

    By the way, as Israel’s mother, to begin with, i would keep my child away from the other child that my child is beating into pieces. That would the responsible thing to do. You on the other hand seem to be the mother that would encourage her child to be the neighborhood bully. Thanks for asking though.
    Again, i keep asking. Why do you indentify yourself as socialists? You couldn’t care less about the oppressed.

  42. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    I’m glad that seismic shock has won Mira’s prize, because I’m much too angry to be witty, except possibly by accident. Owlminerva demonstrates, yet again, how so many people fail to read closely and then think. Nearly 4 decades in higher education plainly wasted when it throws up people like her.

    Back in May, I posted a long comment in response to owlminerva’s response to Shalom Lappin’s article of 18 May. She chose to ignore it, possibly because it was a very detailed critique of her lack of knowledge of the history of the middle east, in particular, that bit of it renamed “Palestina” by the Romans. Now, here she is again, purporting to be an expert on socialism. Lady, to paraphrase people brighter than either of us, I know experts on socialism, and you aren’t one of them.

    We have this gem from her towards the end of one of her comments above: “I am simply wondering why anybody would call themselves socialist and then ignore the ones that are really oppressed.” Those would be the Darfuris, presumably, “really oppressed” by the Sudanese government sponsored Janjaweed; or how about the Uigurs of Sinjiang Autonomous Province, being overwhelmed and oppressed by the incoming Han Chinese; or the native Tibetans, ditto Han Chinese, or women, gays, Christians in Moslem societies, or…the list goes on and on and on…

    This, by the way, owl, is not to defend Israel’s actions in the West Bank or anywhere else (many of which are indefensible, even in terms of so-called realpolitik), but to try to lend an air of depth, width and sense to this debate. I sense I am wasting my time, but will press on regardless – because you are possibly beyond saving for proper academic intellectual discourse, but there are others out there who may not be.

    Owl chooses to attack a single issue site by accusing its controllers of failing to take other issues into account. This is like accusing a football club of failing to take into account all those people out there who play or watch rugby: in case you hadn’t noticed, owl, it isn’t in the football club’s remit.

    As it happens, this site’s founding editor has made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions that he considers himself a socialist, and he has _specifically_ drawn attention to many issues of oppression outside the area of Israel/Palestine, as well as to issues of oppression within this area. Similarly, certain of the other editors/moderators, to say nothing of the contributors to these comments columns, have similarly declared their left-wing credentials.

    However, this site’s focus has been, from the beginning, just in case, owl, you can’t be bothered to read “About us” up there at the top left hand side of every page (including this one), on confronting antisemitism. That doesn’t mean that anyone who takes a contrary stance to the one offered by the editing team is therefore declared an antisemite, as Mira and Richard have quite specifically made clear in your case. And I’m not doing so know. I am, however, at best, accusing you of continuing to comment in bad faith, having been shown that no-one is accusing you of this offence, by substituting “implying” and “implicitly” for outright assertions (unsubstantiated by evidence: no real surprise there, really) that you have been so dubbed.

    At worst, I’m accusing you of deliberately adopting the tactics of so many who comment here making accusations as to how _uniquely_ awful the Israelis are (compared with all the other awful states in the world), and just continuing to make assertions and repeat them, never producing a scintilla of evidence to back up these assertions.

    If you want to know why I said (aimed deliberately at you, back in May ’09) “Strange that it’s always only Jews who are somehow different and peculiar”, and went on to say in the next paragraph that you had no idea how much I longed to be seen as normal and ignorable by the likes of you, and why the accusation (but not in your case) of antisemitism gets made or hinted at when Israel and Jews are criticised, read these comments much more closely than you have hitherto – mere blogging elsewhere is no substitute for study – and in particular, read the Paul Iganski/Abe Sweiry article linked to in:
    “Understanding and Addressing ‘The Nazi card’” posted on these pages on July 20, 2009.

    It’s only 29 pages of report, not all of them covering the whole page.

    Then perhaps you’ll begin to understand where people like me are coming from.

    But I don’t suppose you will, or if you do, read it closely enough. That would take time, effort and thought. These are qualities clearly lacking in most of your comments here.

  43. Zkharya Says:

    “By the way, as Israel’s mother, to begin with, i would keep my child away from the other child that my child is beating into pieces.”

    Yeah, because “we” are after all “Israel’s mother” (I’m being ironic -Sandra’s just being moronic -or antisemitic. Probably both).

    “I am not the only one who believes that the founding of Israel was done wrong. I have on my side hannah arendt, Martin Buber and Einstein. They argued that if the Jews were going to found a state they should do in a way that is just. Not with the blood of others on their hands. It is hard to argue that the way it happened was just.”

    Except the policy of the Palestinian Christian and Muslim movement was to exclude, disposssess then eliminate the Jews from Palestine.

    Jews returned the land of Israel and ensured their safety and preservation the only way they could, nor are they obliged to be more moral than Palestinian Christians or Muslims.

  44. sandra Says:

    To Brian:
    Your post is a response to statements that do not exist and ignores the questions that do exist.
    First of all, I do not attack this ‘single issue’ site for ignoring other issues. You completely fabricated that. I attacked this site, if you want to call it that way, for taking the wrong side on Israel-Palestine issue, considering the fact that the site defines itself as socialist. They don’t have to tackle every issue in the world, but as ‘socialists’ they should at least be on the side of the poor and the oppressed. That is my fundamental question here, which nobody has answered sofar by the way (I guess this site prefers david hirsh games to serious discussion): How can you be a socialist and then pick the side of oppressors. That is like a socialist that goes to lobby for Halliburton ‘as’ a socialist. Also, I did not proclaim to be an expert on anything, especially not on socialism. You fabricated that as well. But I know and care enough about the ideals to know that socialists come down on the side of those that are seriously oppressed, not the oppressors. Excuse me for knowing that much.
    I asked how can anybody be a socialist and then be more critical to the critics of oppression than of oppression itself. You answered that with saying something about Darfur. This is completely beside the point. I would ask the same question to the socialists that are on the side of the war profiteers instead of the victims of in the Darfur conflict. You probably don’t realize that you accuse me of the same thing that you think I unreasonably accuse this site of, namely that you can’t fight everybody. Also you probably don’t realize that you have to read the about me section to understand the fundamental contradiction of this site. So you were wrong there as well to accuse me of not reading the ‘about me’ section. I also did not say that blogging substitutes study. I referred to my blog to indicate that I have gotten used to all the sneaky and dumb arguments that are being used to smear somebody’s reputation and make them look anti-Semitic. One of them of course is accusing somebody of caring for Palestinians but for the Darfurians. It is like accusing fundraisers for aids not to care for cancer when they raise funds for aids. It is also ironic that you over and over insult my intelligence and education (I counted at least 5 insults before I stopped counting) and then write a lengthy response as if I can actually understand you. That is actually sort of stupid. You contradict your own accusations. Please send me the link of our previous exchange. I don’t remember this and can’t find it. I am willing to learn anything about anything.
    One last thing. You seem to assume that I have no idea where you are coming from. As if anybody is that stupid. You are like the neighborhood kids that are bullying the weaker ones and everybody knows you experienced abuse firsthand. Everybody knows. It is not that hard. What you don’t seem to understand however that where you come from does not justify what you are doing. At some point you will have to learn to play nicely with the Arab kids in the neighborhood and stop beating them up.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      So you didn’t say “I am simply wondering why anybody would call themselves socialist and then ignore the ones that are really oppressed” then? If you did, then _you_ are the one misrepresenting what is said, and I plainly did address the issues. Respond to what is said, not what _you_ think you said or wish you said, let alone what you wish your respondents had said.

      So far, no better than an E in terms of intellectual effort.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        And it’s “About us” not “about me”.

        Can’t even read my comments properly or, apparently, be other than utterly egoistic.

        And I’m supposed to take this nonsense seriously?

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Good grief, now all of us who state specifically that we’re not calling owlminerva/sandra antisemitic are calling her antisemitic by specifically not doing so.

          What utter tripe you write. Thank god you weren’t one of my students, producing claptrap like this.

  45. Zkharya Says:

    Except the policy of the Palestinian Christian and Muslim NATIONAL movement

  46. Zkharya Says:

    Sandra,

    if you think being sympathetic to Jewish nationalism, or Zionism as it is usually called, is inherently anti-socialist, we cannot help you. Most of us, most Israeli and other Jews think differently, even those who would not consider themselves socialist.

    And some of use would observe the inherent contradiction of your position with your manifestly reconciling socialism with sympathy for the Palestinian Muslim and Christian national movement.

    I am sorry if I do not write as profusely as you. I have neither time, inclination or, perhaps, with my chronic cs playing up, ability. Nevertheless I think it easier to refute your essential assertions with fewer words than make them.

  47. Zkharya Says:

    BTW, Sandra, in case you missed it, my post of 10.04 pm was addressed to you.

  48. Zkharya Says:

    Jews returned TO the land of Israel and ensured their safety and preservation the only way they could, nor are they obliged to be more moral than Palestinian Christians or Muslims.

  49. Mira Vogel Says:

    We don’t do underdoggism here. When we speak out against the antisemitism which has piggybacked on your movement, to no particular concern of your comrades, we don’t ignore oppression, we assert Palestinians’ human rights, and we accept Palestinians’ right to a state alongside Israelis’. We reject Palestinian and Israeli single staters’ claims to the entire land between the river and the sea. But we do not, as you do, believe that this is a one-sided conflict in which Israel aggresses its neighbours out of mental illness, cruelty or whim.

    “One last thing. You seem to assume that I have no idea where you are coming from. As if anybody is that stupid. You are like the neighborhood kids that are bullying the weaker ones and everybody knows you experienced abuse firsthand. Everybody knows. It is not that hard. What you don’t seem to understand however that where you come from does not justify what you are doing. At some point you will have to learn to play nicely with the Arab kids in the neighborhood and stop beating them up.”

    Bye Sandra. Take your inept psychologising and “you” generalisations elsewhere and come back when you’ve read those reports I linked to.

  50. Zkharya Says:

    Sandra,

    “With regard to the ‘original sin theory’ (your term not mine). I believe that in the founding of Israel something went seriously wrong. Jews went in there, believing that the land where other people were living on was theirs. They thought they could just ignore the natives, when that didn’t work they bullied them out. Another term for that is ethnic cleansing. If you don’t see that there is anything wrong with that than you are either in complete denial, ammoral or plain evil. ”

    No. The “natives” sought exclude all Jewish immigration from the late 19th century, and then, as their national movement evolved in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s adopted a dispossessive then eliminationist tone. They rejected partition, Palestinian Jews accepted it. They and their allies sought to dispossess or eliminate Palestinian Jews, Palestinian Jews made jolly sure they didn’t.

    If you consider that something that “went seriously wrong”, I doubt many Israeli, or indeed other, Jews would be interested. You’d better go back and learn some history and in what justice consists before lecturing “us” on either.

    • sandra Says:

      Exuce me. Zkharya It is you who has a revisionist version of your own history. Maybe it is you who should read a couple of books. Even your own historians with a little bit of more honesty in their brian admit to the fact that the creation of Israel meant nothing less than the destruction of Palestine. I went through the history of the massacres. The real ones, not the ones propaganda wants us to believe in order to justify stealing and robbing people’s land. Maybe you can start with reading the biography of David Raziel himself. Leader of the Irgun. He has no problem describing himself as a terrorist. He describes pretty clearly in his own words how Israel was founded through massacre after massacre of Arabs. Why? Because the Jewish people wanted their land. And they were going to get it any way they could. How come the founders of israel are so much more honest about it than you are? Ben gurion was not going to stop until Israel was clear of Arabs: ““If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti – Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?” (Ben-gurion). I can supply you with a more quotes that reveal the intention of taking that land and no intentions at all to live together with natives.
      So why would the Palestinians accept it? It wasnt their fault the Jews were hated all over Europe to the extend that the worst massacre in history happened. Why should they have to loose their houses and their land? You still don’t see anything evil in that?

      You can’t fix something unless you can see where things went wrong. And they went very wrong from in the beginning.
      Let me know if your library doesn’t have the David Raziel auto-biography. I am very happy to paste a couple of extracts here.

      Your other comments to my postings are too stupid to respond too. I find it funny how people who want to find evil where there is none find it in an allegory that they have to take literal to be offended by. Maybe you should take, besides a few history classes, also a couple of english classes. It’s like trying to refute science with the bible. Or vice versa.

      Still sofar not one meaningful response with the question why you are so much more angry with the critics of your own atrocious actions than with the actions themselves. And why anybody with such an attitude would have the nerve to call themselves a socialist.
      I still think that if you were less obsessed with yourself and israel and had a little bit more care for the people in your backyard all the problems would have solved. Just a little bit more care. That is probably all it takes.

      This site is a joke.
      By the way anybody that can give a meaningful reply to my question gets a free copy of Raziels biography. At least you will learn something about your own history.

      • zkharya Says:

        Dear Sandra,

        Zionist Jews had an ability to see matters through the eyes of Palestinian Christians and Muslims while the latter rarely had the ability to see matters through of Jews, Zionist, Palestinian, Israeli or otherwise.

        But that was a strength in the former though a weakness in the latter. That is an ability of the former to empathise with the latter rarely reciprocated.

        You ascribe all or the essential “original sin” to Zionist, Palestinian or Israeli Jews, but not to Palestinian Christians or Muslims (well, you are a Christian in that, if nothing else).

        You cannot speak to us of justice or history. You are insufficiently acquainted with or advocate of either.

        So you have seen the massacres of the former but not those perpetrated or threatened by the latter? How is that fair or just, or how does that constitute fair or balanced history or historiography?

        I did not say Palestinian Christians or Muslims were responsible the actions of European or other ones.

        However their leadership surely promulgated or acquiesced in the persecution of European or Arab non- or anti-Zionist Jews.

        My question is or was how Palestinian Christians or Muslims were less obliged than others to grant Jews either right of restoration, return or refuge, at least from genocide.

        In my view, given their belief in Jews having been dispossessed of temple, city and land of Israel, to the manifest (in their view) exaltation of Palestinian Christians and Muslims, Palestinian Christians and Muslism were not among those least obliged to recognise, grant or allow some measure of Jewish restoration, return or refuge, at least from genocide, if not among those most obliged to do so.

        Like Ben White, who also lists the sins of Zionist, Palestinian or Israeli Jews, while ignoring, exonorating those of Palestinian Christians and Jews, your notion of justice and history is distinctly skewed in favour of the latter but against the former.

        That is de facto a perversion of both balanced and fair history, historical dialectic or dialectical historiography, as well as any absolute justice, which is what justice by definition is.

        You de facto exonorate Palestinian Muslims and Christians of everything, you forgive Zionist, Palestinian or Israeli Jews nothing.

        Which is the essence of your narrative (whencever you got it). And, given you may in fact be a cultural (I do not say devout, believing, nominal or church going) Christian, a decidely partisan view on your part.

      • zkharya Says:

        “Even your own historians with a little bit of more honesty in their brian admit to the fact that the creation of Israel meant nothing less than the destruction of Palestine.”

        Only because Palestinian Christians and Muslims thought in more important to deny Jews a state than acquire one for themselves in the first time in their history.

        You sound a lot like you want to continue to encourage them in that policy.

        With friends like you….

        “The real ones, not the ones propaganda wants us to believe in order to justify stealing and robbing people’s land.”

        You mean the apartheid against Jews practised by Palestinian Christians and Muslims before the Mandate? You mean the pogroms of Jews in 1920, 1929 and 1936, the last with the refrain “The English to the sea, the Jews to the grave”?

        You mean the Palestinian leadership’s calling for the final solution not only for the Jews of Europe and Palestine, but also the Arab and Islamic world?

        You mean the atrocities against Jews by Palestinian and other Arab Muslims in the 1947-49 war? The Palestinian leadership’s calling for most Palestinian Jews to be expelled? Or the “massacre” of Palestinian Jews promised by the secretary of the Arab League?

        Keep trying to make us forget. There is a perverse pleasure to be derived from the empty headed continually knocking her head against a brick wall.

  51. sandra Says:

    just for fun. I love throwing your ignorance back at you:
    also from gurion:
    “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”

    • Richard Gold Says:

      Sandra – do you have a primary source for this quote please ?

      • zkharya Says:

        Even if he did say it, so what?

        The Palestinian national leadership was at first utterly exclucivist, then eliminationist, then finally genocidalist in its policy or intentions towards Palestinian Jews.

        You’re a genius, Sandra. You exonorate Palestinian Muslims and Christians of everything, you forgive Palestinian or Israeli Jews nothing.

        Are you trying to persuade us this is justice? Do you think you are going to succeed?

  52. sandra Says:

    to mira vogel:
    i just read your post now. I understand that you want to make this conflict look as if it is a situation where nobody is the aggressor and nobody is the abused. That would indeed undermine the ‘underdogging’ (never heard a socialist talk about underdogging, only republicans here in the US would use such a term, socialists simply see who is the underdog and takes their side). But I don’t agree with it. This is a situation where one group came in, with hundreds of thousands, with an old book in their hands, and demanded the removal of the people that had land and houses there, or at least the removal of a majority of those people (i understand there are a lot in israel that are promoting the removal of all arabs). These people that were removed or fled are still at your backyard not going anywhere. The problems of today are rooted in the way israel was founded. The ironic thing is that your founders admit that much (but simply saw matters in a purely darwinistic fashion) but that you can’t anymore.
    But anyway, yes there are victims and there are oppressors. I understand we see this differently and you will never admit to what your ancestors did to the arabs. Even though it is written in the biographies of your own leaders. That does end the conversation and it reinforces my belief that there is no talking to you as you won’t admit the most basic facts. The only route to peace is through civil disobedience, through economic and cultural boycotts. A debate is simply not possible with people that are not honest with themselves.

    Your ‘psychologizing’ comment was an extremely cheap shot. Like most of your posts are (the david hirsh picture awards? common!). It was a response to the other guy, who claimed people cannot possible imagine where jews are coming from and why they want a piece of land of their own. So let me see, if a jew does the psychologizing it is ok. If a non-jew does it is not ok. Are you having preferential treatment on this site?

    • Richard Gold Says:

      ” Like most of your posts are (the david hirsh picture awards? common!).”

      Sandra. You’re welcome to comment but no more personal insults if you don’t mind.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      Yeah, I do have preferential treatment. If somebody is going to psychologise, I prefer it not to be inept and prejudiced.

      As for the picture contest, it was an attempt to mitigate what I feared would ensue from your (surely you must realise this) bait-like comments and steer it away from the same old stale argument that vicariously reproduces the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians on the pages of this British blog combating antisemitism. That is utterly inappropriate but you, with bottomless motivation, are clearly determined. If your prolific activity to discredit us here on this blog improves the circumstances of Palestinians one iota, I will give you a signed picture of Richard Gold.

  53. Jonathan Hoffman Says:

    “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”

    Sandra that is a false quote!

    http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=22&x_article=775

  54. Jonathan Romer Says:

    What a simplistic, simple-minded socialism Sandra’s is (and from someone with the chutzpah to name herself for a symbol of wisdom). Sandra’s socialism has a recipe: Take a conflict. Century old, multiplayer — no problem. Both sides are battered; pick one and proclaim it oppressed. Voila! Socialism in two steps.

    What of the 12,000 rockets and mortars these past eight years out of Gaza and indiscriminately into southern Israel, Sandra? No temptation to call the civilians of Sderot — Israeli, but human nonetheless — oppressed? No urge to label Hamas, which presides over that ongoing war crime, “oppressor”? I exaggerate, of course: Some of those missiles never made it across the border; some of them fell on Gazans. Those Palestinians were oppressed alright. The problem, though, is who was their oppressor? Can your mouth say its name?

    What of the half of Israeli Jews (including descendants, the same way we define Palestinian refugees), stripped of their belongings and nationality and kicked out of their Arab homes in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s for the crime of being Jewish? Oppressed or not oppressed?

    What of the Palestinians killed by the King of Jordan’s troops in 1970, or kicked out into Lebanon? What of them and their descendants now, sealed up in the worst camps in the region — Lebanese camps? They, surely, are oppressed, but their oppressors are not Zionists. Let’s not waste our good socialist anger on the Jordanians and Lebanese, or any of the other Arab states that have used Palestinians as a stick to goad Israel with, eh?

    When did we lose your passionate, socialist sympathy, Sandra? We know it was before 1948, because the founding of Israel went seriously wrong. Was Zionism already oppressive in the 1930’s, when European Jews saw it as their escape from the coming hell of Europe, while the doors of Britain and even the US were slamming on them? Was it already oppressive when the first Zionists were fleeing Russian pogroms and buying malarial swamp to drain and stone fields to clear, in the underpopulated Ottoman backwaters of the Vilayet of Beirut and the Mutasarriflik of Jerusalem? Tell us where we went wrong, Minerva’s owl.

    On second thoughts, don’t bother.

  55. sandra Says:

    if you tell me not to insult anybody you have to tell everybody else too. Again, preferential treatment? ok for you to insult but not ok for me? It is ok somebody calling me a moron and an anti-Semite but I don’t have the right to say that these david hirsh picture nonsense is not a serious response?
    With regards to the last quote. My apologies. I did do a quick google and I can see there is a probem with this quote.
    However, I do stand by the fact that gurion might not have said it. It is what happened. As you can read in the Raziel auto-biography.
    My apologies anyway. There are a lot of lies going around.
    With regard to my socalled posting that israel is unique evil. I never said such a thing either. So there you go. Just to clarify something. I never said and never belief Israel is more evil or uniquely evil or whatever than anybody else. I do blog however about Israel and that is that. Just like some people raise funds for cancer and not for aids.
    I would appreciate egalitarian treatment. Especially on a site that that claims to be against racism and to be pro socialism.
    I expect you will ask brian and Zkharya and everybody else not to be insulting to others as well.

    • Richard Gold Says:

      Sandra, I was singling you out – not very nice is it ?

      I’ve let several abusive comments go by from you and enough is enough. You can be hard politically but when you start making personal attacks then i draw the line.

      Ok Sandra , i’ll try and Engage with you but i’d appreciate some replies and not just some quotes picked out of the ether and a lot of abuse.

      1) Let’s assume that you are totally right about what you say about Israel. Let’s even assume that your quotes are not false. Let’s assume that Israel has no right to exist , that the only solution is for Israeli Jews to break with zionism and to accept a single state (let’s also ignore the fact that this would only come about through war and probably the death of hundreds of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians).
      So lets assume all your comments re Israel are correct.

      Do the actions of Israel excuse antisemitism ? If a Jewish person is walking down the road on his / her way to synagogue and is attacked or spat at , or has an egg thrown at them or is verbally abused – does the actions of the Israeli state justify this ?

      Let’s take another example – Do zionists control the financial markets (as Jenny Tonge said). Off course they don’t (maybe you think they do Sandra but i’m presuming as an anti-racist you don’t go in for this kind of conspiracy theory). So do the actions of the Israeli state justify this kind of conspiracy theory. After all Jenny Tonge claims all she is doing is criticising Israel.

      Or perhaps we can look at the case of Miriam Schlessinger who was sacked from the board of an academic journal because she was Israeli , inspite of the fact that she was very supportive of Palestinian rights and was the head of Amnesty International Israel.

      So i’d like you to think about the fact that antisemitism exists and it existed before Israel came about and a long time before Theodor Herzl.

      Now we come on to your criticisms of Engage. Please take a look through the articles on the site. can you show me where Engage takes the side of the Oppressor ? Can you show me how ENgage excuses what is happening in the West Bank and Gaza. Speaking out against antisemitism is not siding with the oppressor. Infact antisemitism is antisemitism and not something else. So if people use anti-zionism as a cover for antisemitism it doesn’t make it anymore legitimate. I know several antizionists who don’t lapse into antisemitism because they understand the difference – they are anti-racists and they know about the history of blood libels , of collective guilt , of conspiracy theories. They can recognise antisemitism and are not afraid to challenge it. They don’t need to justify it or indulge in it or excuse it, in order to make their case. Infact they take it very seriously.

      I hope you can address my points Sandra and apologies for any poor spelling or punctuation but it’s late and i’m tired.

  56. Mira Vogel Says:

    “My apologies anyway. There are a lot of lies going around.”

    Yes, tonnes and tonnes of lies, mingled in among the truths. This is the character of blogosphere Palestine solidarity.

    “I do blog however about Israel and that is that. Just like some people raise funds for cancer and not for aids.”

    Note that Israel, rather than a vision of justice for Palestinians, is Sandra’s central concern.

    The cancer / aids analogy is not a good one for explaining why so many people choose to make hostility to, or criticism of, Israel their central cause. It’s more as if a high proportion of people decided to forsake aids and embrace cancer, because they found cancer exciting and aids not very motivating. The numerous sufferers of aids would be wondering “Why them and not us”.

    Compare coverage of Sri Lanka and Israel in the early weeks of this year. You can search our national newspapers and see the imbalance just in the number of articles. I did this on Google in April and found:

    * “Sri Lanka” site:guardian.co.uk – 7,120
    * Israel site:guardian.co.uk – 22,000
    * “Sri Lanka” site:telegraph.co.uk – 3,560
    * Israel site:telegraph.co.uk – 12,100
    * “Sri Lanka” site:timesonline.co.uk – 13,800
    * Israel site:timesonline.co.uk 18,600
    * “Sri Lanka” site:news.bbc.co.uk – 7,940
    * Israel site:news.bbc.co.uk – 8,470
    * “Sri Lanka” site:independent.co.uk – 7,410
    * Israel site:independent.co.uk – 9,110
    * “Sri Lanka” site:dailymail.co.uk – 5,640
    * Israel site:dailymail.co.uk – 6,580
    * “Sri Lanka” site:thesun.co.uk – 181
    * Israel site:thesun.co.uk – 998

    And yet the death toll in Sri Lanka was enormous compared to the Gaza. Israel is an ongoing threat to Gaza and requires international scrutiny, but it is a small country and one of many world flashpoints. There is a weird intensity of interest in Israel. I’m not saying there is too much, but proportionally and quality-wise, there’s something wrong.

  57. Richard Gold Says:

    One last point Sandra

    You quoted this “Do you accept that Jews have experienced racism as part of Palestine solidarity? And do you accept that the distinguishing feature of contemporary antisemitism is that it is against Zionism and Israeli policy?”

    and you replied :

    “I don’t know the answer to the first one. I am not jewish. I don’t know how much is real racism and how much is imagined/interpreted/invented. What I do know is that the people that I know that feel solidarity with palestinians are not anti-Semites.”

    Sandra, if you don’t know then how can you formulate an answer or give an opinion ? Why don’t you study the cases of antisemitism (there’s plenty written about on this site).Then you can decide for yourself. Until you do that, then it’s pretty apparent that your contributions to this article are knee jerk reactions and nothing more.

    This has happened before although previously it wasn’t from somebody so agressive.

    http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1192
    Some Engage readers will remember this piece by Jon Pike last August, during the Israel-Hezbollah war. Somebody calling herself “Cath” left an angry response in the comments box. David Hirsh then wrote a post which responded to Cath’s comment, here. Cath Palasz now tells her own story, one year on, about what she used to believe, and how she has changed her mind. On the left is the image, of a synagogue in Glasgow, which DH used to illustrate his piece – and to whose Cath objected.

    Here’s my story. Hope it helps you see something that could be useful.

    When I came to the Engage website at the end of the summer last year, I was by then an avid pro-boycotter of Israel supporter. I had been a member of the PSC for around four years, was a Livingstone member, on the SOAS Palestinian Society e-mail list as well as connected to the Electronic Intifada .Having completed an MA in Catholic Theology specialising in human rights in 2002, I was looking for something else to study and somehow came upon the Palestinian- Israeli conflict. I attended conferences and lectures hearing among others Edward Said, Elias Chacour, Michael Prior, Stephen Sizer, Ilan Pappe and Jeff Halper. I went to conferences to explore issues from Palestinian Refugees and the Right to Return, to the connections between liberation theology and the Right to Resist, to the War on Want Conference on “Profiting from the Occupation”. I was also an activist on a local level helping to run a monthly stall in Slough when I could, giving out leaflets at Womad in Reading, getting petitions signed and visiting my MP both at the house and in his constituency. The issues raised were around the illegal occupation and the rights of the Palestinians to a state, the wall/fence being built on Palestinian land, the illegal settlements and finally the boycott action against Israel. The message was simple -Zionism was responsible for all this wrong and was an inherent evil in the world.

    Though in the early days of the boycott proposals, I was instinctively uncomfortable about a blanket boycott call against Israel and Israeli goods rather than a targeted one because of its demonising nature, by the summer of 2006 after the Lebanese bombardment I was enthusiastically handing out blanket boycott leaflets at the summer march. My commitment to solidarity was confirmed some three months earlier when in April 2006 on an afternoon visit to my local High Street I decided to confront the Israeli stall holders of a Natural Sea Product stall about the origins of the goods they sold. My concern was supposedly that the Dead Sea Products came from the illegal settlements but in truth it was a guise since I had already given out full boycott leaflets at PSC stalls. I refused to move until I had an answer to the origins of the goods. I was eventually arrested , hand cuffed and ended up in a police cell. They mooted the idea of anti-Semitism and racism, which I scoffed at, having a late brother-in-law who was Jewish and a grand mother who was Jewish. My father had proudly owned his Jewish blood putting many of his features down to his Jewishness, not just his direct relationship with God but his uncontrollable hair also.

    So by the summer of 2006 I was an affirmed activist with an arrest to prove it. The more radical elements were impressed and I was asked to moderate a Boycott Israel website, I was added to direct action lists from someone’s recommendation and I had a direct email from Betty Hunter. By now I decided I wanted to start a Slough Boycott Israel Goods Group, I got permission from head office and in September/November I was to organise something to that effect. My feelings were evident; I had become hostile to Israel and saw Zionism as the cause of all the troubles. Though I always upheld the right of Israel to exist as some form of expression of Jewish identity within Palestine alongside a Palestinian state, I saw in Zionism something abhorrent. The contradictions in this dual position I never, ever considered. Throughout my exploration of the Palestinian situation, I learnt very little about the Palestinian mandate for Palestine, the demands of their resistance, the philosophy behind it, their attitudes to the reciprocal rights of Jews. Considering how much time I had spent submerged in their side of the story, I was surprisingly ignorant of their claims, attitudes and choices of resistance. What I was well versed in was their suffering and who was to blame.

    So when on an OU summer school in July one of the tutors passed over the word “Zionism” with barely a flinch, I was mystified and somewhat annoyed. Thus on googling his name and articles he had written, I happened upon “Engage” and an article around anti-Semitism . To be honest I barely read it but launched into a tirade on the wrongs of Israel and Zionism. I felt confident by now I could handle an attack on a rather clever political philosophy tutor. What came back at me was an argument that was somewhat unexpected and disarming, because it did not excuse the injustices to the Palestinians, it acknowledged them but questioned the method to address the problems and the rejectionist nature – a politics of despair not hope. It was a serious accusation to a Christian and one that challenged me fundamentally because if it wasn’t working towards hope and peace then it wasn’t in my view the path to tread. Several arguments made particular sense to me:
    1) The demonisation argument. To enforce a blanket boycott of Israeli Goods was a complete rejection of Israel on the basis of an alienating principle of condemnation for its evil deeds. I’d seen the principle in action, the blood dripping orange, the dying children and the use of the word Zionism beside apartheid, wall beside apartheid. It rung true – there was a message of Zionism=evil=rejection

    2) Anti-Semitism. To mount a demonising campaign of boycott and rejection against Israel would stir hostility to Israel and the Jewish nation and support hostile feelings towards Jews in general, raising the spectre of anti-Semitism. This made the soundest sense of all the arguments to me, though it is given the least thought and consideration by the PSC groups and practically scoffed when raised. I had used the “I can’t be anti-Semitic” technique myself because of my family blood when challenged over anti-Semitism on my arrest. In retrospect of course I was deluding myself, everything I said painted the Jewish nation state as a wrong and evil force, not specifying a particular governance or group in power but an all encompassing Israel. I made no reference to the problems Israel faced in relation to suicide bombing, the claims of Hamas to an Islamic state etc., or the backdrop of the holocaust. None of this was weighed against the situation .

    3) Peace and Justice is better served through collaboration, joint engagement, building bridges not barriers between the two peoples, it’s one of the arguments used against the wall/fence by Pax Christi under the banner “bridges not walls”. Opening opportunities for dialogue and humanization generally moves more towards peace, justice and reconciliation than shutting down interaction, isolating people and alienating them unless something can be identified as almost an absolute evil. This argument was a familiar one I had known it throughout my life through the teachings of priests and religious when talking of reconciliation, justice and peace between people. So I was somewhat annoyed to realise I had abandoned it in the name of justice for the Palestinians and a boycott agenda.
    So these are the arguments that won out for me. In the end I backed off forming a Boycott Israel Goods group, advertising a discussion instead and telling the PSC I no-longer supported a blanket boycott and resigned.

  58. zkharya Says:

    “Why should they have to loose their houses and their land? You still don’t see anything evil in that? ”

    They weren’t asked to. But they or their leaders sought to exclude, dispossess or eliminate Jews, rejected partition and choose a policy of annihilation towards Palestinian Jews.

    They failed and lost. Yes, some Zionist, Palestinian or Israeli Jews committed atrocities and limited ethnic cleansing. So what? The same or worse was threatened against them. They made sure it didn’t happen, and they were entitled to do just about anything to prevent it happening.

    Worse ethnic cleansing, dispossessions and atrocities happened in Greece, Turkey, India, Pakistan and the Balkans. But you don’t scream and shout about them.

    But feel free to continue screaming and shouting: it won’t make any difference.

  59. sandra Says:

    “Sandar , if you don’t know then how can you formulate and answer”
    Well that is the reason I didn’t answer that question. What kind of circular accusation is this? My issue with your site is that you interpret valid criticism of some atrocious behavior as anti-Semitism. So yes a lot of behavior that I see you interpreting as anti-Semitic is not anti-Semitic at all. None of the people that I know in our movement are anti-Semites. In fact a lot of them are Jewish themselves. I admire them enormously, as they have to deal with people like you that call even Jews anti-Semite if they don’t agree with your ‘every side is just as bad’ analysis. My issue is that you are angrier with those that call your behavior nazi-like than with the nazi-behavior itself. Yes, I just mentioned the word nazi. My idea is that if you don’t want to be called a nazi you shouldn’t behave like one or think like one. Using terms such as population transfer and being preoccupied with numbers of Jews in Israel as opposed to numbers of Arabs of course will spark comparisons with nazi ideology. Anybody that would worry in the US about African-Americans of giving too much birth would get the same accusation. You picture yourself as the great victims when it fact you are the victimizers, nukes, Arab-free roads and population transfers included. You pretend to be socialist but you mock socialist ideals.
    If I refer to ‘Israel’ as my concern, I obviously mean that whole conflict and in particular the way the Palestinians are being treated. Nobody would be talking about Israel if they hadn’t all these refugees living at their borders.
    “Yes, tonnes and tonnes of lies, mingled in among the truths. This is the character of blogosphere Palestine solidarity.”
    Yes it is also the characteristic of the pro-Israel organizations and the pro-Israel blogosphere.
    With regard to the aids and cancer analogy, it is a very good analogy, and you proof it by making again the absurd accusation that if you focus on cancer you don’t care about aids. So even though you first mention it is not a good analogy, you then proceed to repeat the absurdity. I am sorry that some issues are hotter than others. That is unfortunately how it goes. It is completely absurd to accuse the people who are actually trying to do something of being evil because they don’t care about other issues. Something you by the way assume as you have no way of knowing to what extend I or other people are involved in other issues. The opposite is actually true. There is a lot more change that people involved in this movement were previously involved in other civil rights struggles than that people involved in this movement were never involved in anything. So as you prove yourself, making false assumptions, lies and accusations is not only a Palestinian thing. On this site alone a lot words that I didn’t say have been put in my mouth and that when I was here.
    The interest in Israel is not weird at all. I don’t know if you noticed, but the US is involved in two wars in the Middle East. A lot of Americans are very concerned and believe that a solution in Palestine is linked to ending our conflicts in that area. There is also an enormous amount of Jewish activism in this country. Nearly every week we hear some incident that involves Aipac or the ADL and some of their lobby-activities. We don’t seem to have a pro-Sri-lanka lobby here in the US that is the third biggest lobby in the US lobbying in the interests of Sri-Lanka. We also have a lot of Jewish journalists and other jewish news people in the US. We don’t have that many Sri-lankian journalists reporting about Sri-lanka. Journalists report very heavily on this conflict, very biased in favor of Israel by the way. The Gaza conflict was all over the news. I still get the newsletters of Ed Koch in my mailbox. I live in NYC. He was our mayor once. 2 out of 3 times he writes about Israel, being Jewish etc. It is impossible to live here and not be confronted. I find it very sad that people are not aware of what is going on in the world. It is the reason for my blogging. At least my friends will have to read what I have to say about it. I find it very sad that people are treated inhumanly in so many places in the world. However, if you think I am going to apologize about the fact that I care about the Palestinians than you are seriously mistaken. And you should be ashamed of yourself of trying to make people that give their time and energy to causes that do not relate to themselves. The accusation is beyond pathetic.
    I don’t think that people throwing eggs at Jews are ok. However, how the Jews are treating the Palestinians in Gaza and West bank (and have been treating them for 60 years now) is a lot worse than throwing eggs. Also, I don’t know where you live. Half of my friends are Jewish, and they have never been confronted with one single incident of anti-Semitism in their life. I ask them repeatedly, because I trust them more on this issue than anybody else. Maybe it is a lot worse where you are. By the way here in the US a lot more people have lost their academic and political jobs because of their criticism of Israel than vice versa. It is a lot safer here to utter racism against Arabs than criticize Israel for its politics. Dershowitz here is allowed to spout whatever vicious nonsense he wants, if Finkelstein or Nomsky come up with a lot more valid statements, they get targeted etc. I would say that Israeli critics get attacked a lot more viciously than anybody else.
    “Yeah, I do have preferential treatment. If somebody is going to psychologise, I prefer it not to be inept and prejudiced.”
    Oh really? How was what I said different than the original “psychologizing” (‘you don’t know where the jews come from’ etc)? You really are the mother of cheap shots. At least you admit your preferential treatment of people.
    With regard to those missiles; it is you who has the chutzpas to blame your victims for their rebellion. So you rob them of their homes and land and they are supposed to disappear in thin air? You created this mess and you created Hamas. Had you treated this people in a descent way they wouldn’t be stuck at your borders in refugee camps. Don’t expect sympathy for resistance against something you created. By the way, again I refer to the auto-biography of Raziel. The man singlehandedly practically invented terrorism. Streets in Israel are named after a maniacal terrorist. It is ok for the Jews to be terrorists but not for the Arabs? The same logic that goes for the rockets goes for all those wars. They are the consequence of 6 million people moving into a tiny area without any regard for the native population.
    You lost my sympathy and that of a lot of other people because you seem to believe that your rights override other people rights. You seem to think that what happened to the Jews in Europe justified stealing people’s land. I disagree. If I was homeless I wouldn’t rob an innocent family of their home. I guess that is where we part ways. I am on the side of Judah Magnes and Hanah Arendt and Martin buber. I believe that they are more humane that those that founded Israel. This does not mean that I think the Jews have no right to have a country of their own etc. This does not mean that any of the things you think it means. It only means that there is nothing in the world that justifies taking the homes and lands of people that had nothing to do with anything. Your rights do not override other people’s rights. I have the right to live. But I don’t have the right to kill somebody completely innocent so that I can live. Again, I am not alone in believing this. A lot of Jews didn’t think the way Israel was founded was the right way. A lot of Jews now think something went wrong there. And they want to fix it. And fixing it will require getting out of the Darwinian logic that was used for the founding of Israel. A two state solution, a one state solution, it doesn’t really matter, as long as the deal is fair for both. Also, at this moment in time, the way the world views you is a lot different than the way you view yourself. You still see yourself as the victims while you have the 4th strongest army in the world, nukes, money, economy and the support of the world’s superpower etc. You are no longer the victim and the world understands that even if you can’t. You have everything, which is fine, you should have everything, but if you use everything to oppress another people that is poor, without military etc, then you will have to accept that you are in fact oppressors. I know you don’t like this term. You are the only socialists I ever met that oppose such terminology. It is sad beyond belief. You see yourself as a mouse. While you are a lion keeping a small animal pinned to the floor for decades. And then you cry anti-Semitism when they criticize you for it.
    I disagree with your statement that this site cares for both sides and believes in the equality of all. All responses to my posts here belie such a belief. From denying of what really happened, to justifying it because what was done to you, to pointing out other evil in the world, this site does exactly what any other site does that has no care for the Palestinians. I cannot possibly be the only one to point this out. And I call it nonsense, because while you are so worried about what people are saying about you, the same policies continue in Gaza and West bank. People not being able to eat decently, move from village to another, having to live amongst rubble etc… while you are so worried about the criticism those people keep living in terrible circumstances.
    By the way, Vogel, if you don’t think that talking about these things changes one iota, then what are you doing here? Why even making this site? I wouldn’t do any of this if I didn’t hope that somehow it does make a difference. I feel that every time I speak what I belief to be true, something good happens.
    I exhausted myself and am getting out of here. I think I said everything I wanted to say to you. While posting this i noticed that another piece was added to the last post of Gold. The last time I checked it ended with the knee jerk reaction accussation. I have no energy to read what else the man wrote at this moment.

  60. zkharya Says:

    Richard Gold,

    while affirming the necessity of your critiquing or criticizing anything I or anyone else here says, I just want to thank you for the account of your personal experience in the PS movement.

    It seems that you and I have may have something in common: while of Jewish extraction, you seem to have an academic education in Catholic Christian and I am doing a PhD in the Patristics, specifically translating and studying aspects of the early Christian commentary tradition, including its influences from the Alexandrian or Philonian Hellenistic Jewish tradition.

  61. zkharya Says:

    “Don’t expect sympathy for resistance against something you created. By the way, again I refer to the auto-biography of Raziel. The man singlehandedly practically invented terrorism.”

    Apart from terrorism that the Palestinian Muslim national movement used against Jews from its inception. Apart from the apartheid practised against Palestinian Jews by both Palestinian Christians and Muslims for most of Palestinian Christian and Islamic history, based on the assumption that dispossession was Jews’ just and natural state.

    “We don’t seem to have a pro-Sri-lanka lobby here in the US that is the third biggest lobby in the US lobbying in the interests of Sri-Lanka.”

    Which begs the question: how come Sri Lanka is let off everything, the Jewish state of Israel expected to perfect itself out of existence by characters like you?

    “So you rob them of their homes and land and they are supposed to disappear in thin air? You created this mess and you created Hamas.”

    Asides the “you”, Palestinian Christians and Muslims have expected Jews to like or lump their dispossession regardless of its consequences for them for most of Christian and Islamic history.

    From the mid-19th century, Jews returned perfectly peacefully and bought tiny tracts of land for the highest prices in the world. The nascent Palestinian Christian and Muslim national movement still pursued a policy of pretty much total exclusion (their criteria were essentially impossible even for non- or anti-Zionist Jews who wished to become Ottoman citizens), then dispossession and elimination.

    Jews returned to the land and preserve their state and right and ability to receive and for others to return in the only way they could. Palestinian Christians and Muslims did not have an absolute right to exclude Jews from returning to the land, any more than they had the right to dispossess or eliminate those that were there.

  62. zkharya Says:

    “A two state solution, a one state solution, it doesn’t really matter, as long as the deal is fair for both.” !

  63. Jonathan Romer Says:

    To misquote Lincoln slightly, “She can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any person I know.”

    The idea being the unoriginal and familiar one: Everything the Zionists have done is bad, and excuses anything at all the Palestinians do. Though she does want to be fair to both, bless her.

  64. modernityblog Says:

    Sandra you wrote:

    “With regards to the last quote. My apologies. I did do a quick google and I can see there is a probem with this quote.”

    Two points, quotes and attitude:

    1. You should bear in mind that the Internet is littered with false quotes from the Talmud and from Jewish leaders, it is a very common occurrence.

    2. The CST have covered this issue before:

    “Let’s be clear about something else, too, before anyone makes the familiar accusation: this is not a call for anti-Israel campaigners to stop their activities, despite what some may claim. It would be wrong to tarnish all with a single brush. People are perfectly entitled to campaign against Israel and criticise its actions or policies, just as they are entitled to do so against the actions or policies of any other state. But that does not mean that they can disregard or contextualise any associated antisemitism in a manner that they would not dream of doing were it any other form of racism.

    http://thecst.org.uk/blog/?p=288

    Sandra, I hope that you will reflect on the subject and think about the CST’s advice?

  65. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    I had intended to follow Mira’s plea up there to let Sandra have the last word. I tried, and I failed, miserably. How can I resist when we have gems like these:

    “Half of my friends are Jewish…” – how close is that to “some of my best friends are…”? and it doesn’t excuse sloppy thinking or writing. I’m trying to decide who this is nicest for, Sandra or her “Jewish friends”.

    “In fact a lot of them are Jewish themselves. ” (These are people in her pro-Palestinian movement and/or world) And her point is? That therefore these people who are Jewish can’t be antisemitic? Boy, have we got news for her.

    And Sandra/owlminerva (what an insult to learning and wisdom that nom-de-plume is) still hasn’t responded to my detailed critique of her knowledge of history. Here’s another reference for her: read Benny Morris “1948: The First SArab-Israeli War”, really read it, and demonstrate that you have read it, then come back and tell us why the Jews were wrong to act as they did from the 1870s through to 1949. We’ll leave post 1949 to the next lesson.

    But stop just making crass, unsupported by evidence assertions and stop carrying on making them when your errors are pointed out.

    Of course we’re going to attack you if you do that. Haven’t you noticed how many (genuine) academics and intellectuals post here? If you haven’t, then you confirm all the rude comments made about you.

  66. Saul Says:

    Unfortunately, fat from flying at dusk when all is grey or grey, owlinminerva, is flying with all eyes on the sun, and as such, sees nothing.

    Sandra, is a well-meaning, but lacks serious critical reflection. She is outraged at the treatment of the Palestinians (as so many of us are) and then falls into a crude existentialism about Jews and Jewish history and experience.

    Of course, Israel is at the root of current antisemitism, but not in the way it is currently being framed here. As often noted, it is antisemites that cause and are responsible for antisemitism, just as anti-Black racists are responsible for anti-Black racism and homophobes for anti-gay attitudes and acts. Antisemites, racists and homophobes will always project their own hatred onto the object of their hatred. That is what they do.

    Antisemitism is the distortion and reduction of complex political and social relations to that of a simplistic Jew v non-Jew (in the past this has taken the form of Jews v Christians, Jews, v working class, Jews v nationals, Jews v Muslims; and now Jews v Palestinians and, concurrently, Jews v right-minded people).

    What is unusual at present is that the appearance appears to match the myth since Israel is a, or rather, the Jewish state. As a consequence, the mythologies of Jewish wrongs and Jewish characteristics (whether from time immemorial or from 1945 (which many see as 1948) are not only given a new lease of life, but appear as if correct. And it is this what turns rational criticism of a state’s policies into a verdict on the Jews (see Sandra’s comments).

    The point is, of course, that whenever Jews act in the world as Jews (or, rather, are believed to act “as Jews”) it would appear that it immediately falls victim to the conceptual schema that is part and parcel of antisemitism that stands, and has always stood, against the norms of rational political understanding. Instead, such understanding and criticism takes on the world view and language of Jew-hatred.

    A few examples will illustrate this point,
    1. A cartoon of Sharon eating babies (produced on Holocaust memorial day)
    2. The analogy between nazism and the Shoah and Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians.
    3. A belief in an omnipotent Lobby that is said to control the foreign policy of the most powerful state on earth (along with almost all its elected representatives).
    4. The idea that Israel is the gravest danger to the stability of the world and that it is going to lead the globe to Armegedon.
    5 Collective guilt and responsibility (illustrated most clearly by Sandra’s sinister use of “you” akin to the term “you people”, and owlinminerva’s point about “you won backyard).
    6. That Jews are liars, that when they raise the question of antisemitism they are being duplicitous, that they are not to be trusted (owlinminerva’s point about “not pretending” to “really” be about Israel about a genuine and legitimate concern about antisemitism.)
    7. That they have such immense power (as well as immorality) that the utterance of a single word – antisemitism – can stop all and any discussion, legitimate or otherwise.

    The list could be extended.

    The point is, of course, that these antisemitic myths are not only believed but are believed to express the truth of the situation in Israel and Palestine; that an understanding of the complexities of the Israel-Palestine conflict (its connections with, say, the divisions in the Arab world both within and between states to state only the most obvious) can be captured and adequately explained by the tempting simplicities of racism.

    Owlinminverva talks about socialism. Maybe he or she has forgotten the antisemitism that has run like a red-thread through socialist thought since its earliest inceptions – the left-Hegelians, Proudhon, Bakunin, Duhring, Stalin…… – and which the greatest of all socialist thinkers, Marx and Engels, were called upon again and again to speak out against in almost all phases of their development. (On the Jewish Question, The Poverty of Philosophy, The Holy Family, Anti-Duhring, Capital).

    Marx’s entire work was to take issue with the antisemitic socialists who shrieked phrases such as , “I don’t understand what kind of socialist you have to be more angry with the critics of oppression than with the oppression itself”.

    After all, if one takes the time to actually read Marx and Engels one can see quite clearly (and nowhere more so than on the question of antisemitism) that they were as angry with “the [so-called] critics of oppression than with the oppression itself”.

  67. Antisemitism As A Distortion. « ModernityBlog Says:

    […] Uncategorized by modernityblog on August 12, 2009 1:20 am Saul, one of the commenters on Engage wrote a rather nice summary in an exchange on the “Does Israel “cause” antisemitism ?” thread. “Of […]

  68. Comarade T Says:

    “I don’t understand what kind of socialist you have to be more angry with the critics of oppression than with the oppression itself”.

    Erm, one than thinks, perhaps?


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