Category Archives: anti-Semitism

The Poetry of Hizbullah.

To say that my question “Is this book pro-Hezbullah?” wasn’t well received on Tuesday night at SOAS is an understatement.

I was at the book launch of The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication written by Lina Khatib, Dina Matar and Atef Alshaer.

After I had asked my question Dina Matar said “I knew you were going to ask that” and Lina Khatib waved the book at me and said “Why don’t you read it?”

The book explains how Hizbullah has been successful in staying relevant since its 1982 inception by adapting itself to changing situations and communicating these adaptations through various means such as poetry and social media.

Hizbullah are poets? Who knew.

One can imagine: “To kill a Jew, or not to kill a Jew. That is the question.”

So, according to the authors, Hizbullah’s 1980s narrative was one of “victimisation” to attract Lebanon’s marginalised Shia Muslims.

During the 1990s it was one of “resistance” against Israel and connection with “Palestine”.

From 2000 onwards it was focused on “defence” after Israel had left south Lebanon with Hizbullah disseminating the narrative that the Lebanese army is not strong enough to defend Lebanon from Israel.

Now Hizbullah is back to a “victimisation” theme after being implicated in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and also due to its fighting alongside Bashar Assad in Syria.

Dina Matar said that although Hasan Nasrallah has lost some credibility because of Syria he is still popular, and people in the Arab world listen out for his speeches.

She said there’s a sense that Nasrallah is “just like us, he’s approachable, he speaks the language of the people, he’s funny, he jokes and he’s humble in appearance”.

If this is true then it is a sad indictment on the Arab world that with Hasan Nasrallah complicit in the deaths of over 200,000 innocent Syrians he is still thought so highly of.

I wasn’t trying to be controversial when I asked whether this is a pro-Hizbullah book. I was concerned by this comment by Lina Khatib at the beginning of her presentation on the book to the large student audience:

“Books on Hizbullah seek to frame Hizbullah as a terrorist movement. This is primordial. We have evidence to the contrary. But this is the dominant discourse in America.”

Khatib lives in America. One might forgive Americans for thinking such a thing with the murder of 241 of their fellow citizens by Hizbullah in Beirut in 1983.

And what about the 200,000 dead in Syria and Hizbullah’s attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aeries in 1992 (29 dead) and on the AMIA builing in Buenos Aeries in 1994 (85 dead), the Burghas Airport bombing in Bulgaria in 2012 (6 dead) and Hasan Nasrallah, true to his word of going after Jews worldwide, is now targeting Jews in Peru.

This book is worth reading (if you can stomach the 30 page chapter on Hizbullah poetry) but only with a view to finding out how a modern day Nazi group, totally funded by Iran, portraying itself as a positive force continues to hold a beautiful country like Lebanon to ransom while bringing death and destruction both to Lebanon’s citizens and to Syria all with the final objective of destroying Israel and the Jewish people that live there.

Professor Joel Beinin: “Palestinians are the victims of the victims of the Holocaust.”

Joel Beinin and John Chalcraft in discussion last Tuesday at LSE.

Joel Beinin and John Chalcraft in discussion last Tuesday at LSE.

It must be November because because Joel Beinin, Professor of Middle East History at Stanford University, was in town. Last November Beinin was telling a SOAS audience that “Israel is heading into the abyss” and that Israel is putting Bedouin “into what would effectively be concentration camps”.

At LSE last Tuesday when asked during the Q&A after his talk “Why has the world stood by while Israel built the wall when we boycotted South Africa in the 80s?” Beinin replied, inter alia, that:

“The state of Israel is in some measure a response to western guilt for having sat on their hands during the murder of six million Jews. Now the Palestinians had nothing to do with that but, as Edward Said said, they are ‘the victims of the victims’.”

Beinin’s talk was called High Risk Activism and the Popular Struggle Against the Israeli Occupation in the West Bank and was chaired by well-known Israel boycotter Dr John Chalcraft under the auspices of LSE’s Middle East Centre.

The talk was mainly in support of Anarchists Against the Wall founded by Jonathan Pollak. It is a group of “anarchist Jews” who travel to Palestinian villages on the West Bank to join Palestinians protesting against Israel’s security wall in what they like to call “non-violent action”.

Sometimes these Israelis get hurt in confrontations with IDF soldiers as when Gil Na’amati was apparently shot and injured.

Unsurprisingly Beinin made no mention of why Israel built the wall. His talk  was like a parallel universe in which suicide bombings had never happened, in which Hamas did not exist and where the International Solidarity Movement was a force for good in the world.

When I raised this during the Q&A Beinin responded: “Had there not been that extremely harsh repression (by Israel) of the second Intifada there likely wouldn’t have been any suicide bombings”.

LSE’s student audience lapped up all this nonsense with one of them thanking Beinin for giving a “very balanced talk”. The lecture theatre was full with 200 students.

Meanwhile, the previous Tuesday I was at SOAS to hear William Mathew from the University of East Anglia give a talk under the auspices of the London Middle East Institute on British Policy and Arab Displacement in Palestine, 1915-23: Contingency, Imperialism, and Double-dealing.

Mathew described a state of affairs leading up to the Balfour Declaration of powerless Arab delegates up against powerful and racist British diplomats and Zionist Jews in London.

Despite the very strong current of anti-Semitism running through Britain’s political establishment Mathew said that Britain trusted European Jews more than the Arabs, who they “treated with contempt”, to defend Britain’s colonial interests in Suez and the trading routes to India.

According to Mathew Chaim Weizmann described Arabs who came to London to lobby British diplomats as a “body of potential blackmailers and trash”. And Mathew went into detail about how, in his view, Britain had reneged on its promises in the McMahon-Hussein correspondence of 1915-16.

During this Q&A I asked how, if Arab delegates were so powerless, did they manage to persuade world powers to carve trans-Jordan out of three-quarters of British Mandated Palestine? Mathew’s ridiculous response was “I don’t know”.

So there you have it. Two talks given at two outwardly respectable organisations: The Middle East Centre at LSE and the London Middle East Institute at SOAS. Both speakers gave two completely different reasons for the rise of Israel: For Beinin it was the Holocaust, for Mathew it was all down to the powerlessness of Arabs pitted against powerfully racist Brits and Zionist Jews.

And the theatre of hate continues apace. On Tuesday SOAS’ LMEI talk is about the “charismatic” Hassan Nasrallah. I kid you not.

Shlomo Sand’s sickening Guardian article slams both Israel and Judaism.

sand

Cross-posted at CiFWatch.

There are times when something is so obviously wrong that it shouldn’t even need pointing out. That the Guardian thinks there is no problem promoting someone who wants to “resign” from Judaism shows how little respect its editors have for Judaism.

Last Saturday the Guardian allowed Shlomo Sand, a Tel Aviv university professor, to write a lengthy piece in its pages about how he has had enough of being Jewish (see above).

Sand is relatively unknown in the UK. This might be a news story in Israel, but in the UK? In the UK it isn’t news, but will only incite anti-Semitism. The Guardian wouldn’t dare treat another religious minority in such a demeaning manner.

Sand writes in his article:

“I am often even ashamed of Israel, particularly when I witness evidence of its cruel military colonisation, with its weak and defenceless victims who are not part of the “chosen people”.”

How can this often repeated “chosen people” mantra be anything but anti-Semitism? I have personally been on the receiving end of it. The RMT’s Steve Hedley, disliking my questioning of his violent rhetoric at an anti-Israel event, told me in a derogatory manner that I was one of the “chosen people”. He meant Jewish.

When, in the Guardian article, Sand complains of Israel’s “ethnocentrism” he is really complaining about Israel’s Jewishness. Would the Guardian allow another country to be attacked because it is Islamic, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist?

For the Guardian it is par for the course to have articles containing unsubstantiated attacks on Israel. It has become so blase about this that the Guardian’s editors are now unable, or unwilling, to notice when their newspaper steps over the line into promoting racist diatribe that attacks Jews and Judaism.

Meanwhile, Sand’s crackpot theory is simple: He believes that today’s Jews have no connection to Israel because the Romans never evicted the Jews from the Holy Land and, therefore, the Jews have no right to return there. It was early Zionist thinkers who twisted the facts to argue that Jews be allowed to return to Israel. Sand claims that today’s Jews are merely descended from a north African tribe that converted to Judaism.

Last year at SOAS Sand described Israel, among other things, as “a shitty nation”.

Sand’s overall rhetoric is poisonous and racist and could cause a backlash against Britain’s small Jewish community with its strong affiliation to Israel and obvious adherence to Judaism.

On reading the headline to Sand’s piece in the Guardian Shlomo Sand: ‘I wish to resign from being a Jew’ I thought of those times a Jew might have wished to resign from being Jewish. As Jews were being herded by the Nazis onto trains headed for Auschwitz-Birkenau some may have liked to declare “I wish to resign from being a Jew” to try and save their own and their family’s lives.

Had Sand been around back then and submitted his resignation to the Nazi in charge of the Jew-herding he would have been mocked before being sent on his way to Auschwitz.

This may be a game to the Guardian and Sand but publishing this article was crass and on a par with writings at the extreme ends of the political spectrum.

Palestinian Al-Aksa Mosque preacher to NATO’s Arab partners: Kill the Jews instead

Cross-Posted at CiFWatch.

While British Parliamentarians spend today debating whether to recognise “a state of Palestine” they might wish to view MEMRI‘s clip below.

In the clip, which was recently posted to the internet, Palestinian Sheik Omar Abu Sara in a sermon given in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem asks the following of those Arab countries currently helping NATO to attack Islamic State:

“Whom are they fighting? Are they fighting the Jews? The Russians? The Hindus? They are fighting our brothers. These planes are bombing our brothers. Is the Al-Aqsa Mosque too far for them? Is Jerusalem too far for them? Are the Jews too far for them?”

It is sentiments like these that persist not just throughout Hamas but throughout the more respected Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas.

Here is a clip that was broadcast on Palestinian Authority television in which the PA Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Hussein urges his followers to kill Jews.

So are our own Parliamentarians really going to vote to recognise “a state of Palestine” that has religious leaders and an official television network that propagates the message that Jews should be murdered?

If that is today’s outcome then Britain’s Parliament should hang its head in shame.

H/T Ruthie Blum (Jerusalem Post)

“Neo-Nazi” talks at Max Blumenthal’s anti-Israel event in Parliament: Clip Update.

Last week I posted about David Thring, considered a “neo-Nazi”, who spoke at a Max Blumenthal event in the British Parliament about Israel. The event was sponsored by Jeremy Corbyn MP.

Thring’s past behaviour probably needed more of an explanation so here is a clip of some of his past activities. In the beginning is audio of one of the organisers of the event warmly inviting Thring up to the stage to speak.

Pertinent questions that the clip asks is why was a “neo-Nazi” invited by the organisers to speak at an anti-Israel event in Parliament and when will opposition to the Jewish state be seen for what it really is.

Now Liberal Democrat MP Menzies Campbell blames rise of Islamic State on Israel.

(H/T Mel and Ambrosine)

I didn’t name Menzies Campbell MP in my last post as one of those Liberal Democrat politicians who has made comments likely to help fuel anti-Semitism in the UK, but then right on cue he goes and makes such a statement.

In a recent interview on the BBC with Andrew Neil, who is also a bit overly-obsessed with matters Jewish, Campbell said (see clip below):

“What are the causes of the rise of ISIS and Al Qaida? One of the principal causes is the fact of the continuing dispute between Israel and the Palestinians…If you’re trying to persuade 15-year old young women in Britain to go and offer themselves as brides to jihadists in Syria or Iraq one of the ways in which it’s done is to point to the oppression of the Arab people, in particular the oppression of the Palestinians…”

So while British Prime Minister David Cameron is doing his best, quite rightly, to shield British Muslims from a negative backlash in the UK by referring to Islamic State as not being Muslims Campbell is connecting British Jews, via their support for Israel, directly with Islamic State.

And then the biggest irony is that Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has penned a statement for this week’s Jewish News in which he condemns the rise of anti-Semitism in the UK as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This is the rise that his Liberal Democrat party continues to help fuel!

Clip (apologies for sound quality):

This piece was also posted at CiFWatch.

Good Jew urgently needed for Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow.

It is party conference season. There are only seven months to go to the general election and while the National Health Service, the economy and immigration will be important to most parties “Palestine” will be more important to the Liberal Democrats as they try to win votes at the expense of Israel and, more specifically, British Jews.

They will soon be planning their Mezuzah leaflets. There is no political party that fights an election more viciously than the Lib Dems., and Mezuzah leaflets are widely used by them to ensure that no Jewish house gets one of their “pro-Palestinian” leaflets which is full of anti-Israel propaganda.

This is the party that produced Chris Davies MEP who told a Jewish voter that he hoped she enjoyed “wallowing in her own filth”.

This is the party that produced Baroness Jenny Tonge who, inter alia, adores Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.

This is the party that wants to keep Israel as vulnerable as possible. During Operation Protective Edge they called for a ban on weapons being sold to Israel just as Israeli citizens were coming under sustained rocket attack from Hamas.

And this is the party which still has David “the Jews haven’t learned from the Holocaust” Ward as an MP.

And you can imagine the conversation during the planning of this Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine event being held at their Glasgow conference:

Lib Dem. 1: We need a Jew on the panel.
Lib Dem. 2: Yes, good point. A good Jew though. One that wants a one-state solution and who supports a boycott of Israeli products.
Lib Dem. 1: Ok, then. I’ll try and get hold of one of those nice Jews from Jews for Justice for Palestinians or from Independent Jewish Voices or, even better, from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.

You would really hope, wouldn’t you, that in 2014 the Liberal Democrats wouldn’t pin the religion of someone as being their most defining characteristic. But when there are votes to win the Lib Dems. punch hard below the belt.

Having “a Jew” on the panel is important for two reasons. It is more likely to convince the audience of the argument against Israel on the basis that “if a Jew is saying this it must be true”. Second, it allows the Liberal Democrats to convince themselves that anti-Semitism isn’t rife throughout their party because they can now now claim “but we’ve got a Jew on our panel”.

So if you are a “good Jew” reading this then get your train ticket for Glasgow. The Liberal Democrats urgently need you.