Tag Archives: Jews

Jews under attack at Centre for Palestine Studies as Ilan Pappe comes to SOAS.

Jews came under fire last night at the Centre for Palestine Studies, based at SOAS and under the chairmanship of Gilbert Achcar. It was irrelevant if you are a Jew in Israel, Scotland, Wales or England. Ilan Pappe, the CPS guest speaker, doesn’t discriminate.

Pappe, a lecturer at Exeter University, started by saying he wished “to answer the riddle of the growing gap between the image Israeli Jews have of themselves and the external image the world has of them”. In North Korea the gap between the view North Koreans have of themselves and that of them by outside world would not be much different, but in Israel there is “genuine difference”.

He said the Zionist movement in Israel should be credited for its marketing skills, particularly the way it marketed both Palestine as a land without a people for a people without a land and also Israel as a European country. This helped “absolve them from what they did to the native population”.

Israel, he said, therefore appeared to be a democracy while actually being an “ethnic racist state”. Israel had succeeded in “marketing an oppressive reality as a democratic one”.

Israel had marketed Zionism, he said, to include such enlightenment concepts as liberalism, capitalism and social democracy. And Zionism was far more successful than other ideas because it was “born after the failures of Nazism and fascism”.

Such branding and marketing, according to Pappe, had been done via academia and fiction.

Israeli academics, he said, undertook a “willing role to commodify the Zionist project on the basis of so-called scientific research”. And books and films like EXODUS showed Zionist figures looking like “Aryan Israelis”, while the Palestinians looked “like either Osama Bin Laden or ET”.

But, Pappe said, at one stage certain Israelis had an “epiphany”. Using the same methodology of books, articles and films they challenged these “truisms of Zionism by re-examining the Zionist project from the beginning”.

They showed Israel was a “settler colonial society, an aggressive society and a discriminatory society”. However, they got “cold feet” when challenged and apologised before disappearing without trace, some being forced to leave Israel.

However, this same methodology has now been adopted by people outside Israel which, according to Pappe, worries Israel. Israel can “stifle criticism and crush those who don’t toe the line from within” but cannot do the same to those outside Israel.

In response to this, Pappe said, the Israeli elite has re-adopted the Zionist dogma in a “neo-Zionist” form, which is far harsher and less flexible than the original. Such “neo-Zionism” being symbolised by the likes of Netanyahu, Bennett and Lieberman.

Pappe said he was worried how Israel would react to a new, even non-violent, Palestinian Intifada as “the Israel of 2014 is worse than the Israel of 1987 and 2ooo. It is a more ruthless Israel”.

“Neo-Zionism”, Pappe explained, attempts to combine liberal and theocratic ideas of how to live as Jews in the twentieth century and is a “lethal combination if you are the enemy”. Pappe said this is “not easy to sell as a liberal democracy”.

“Israeli society is neo-Zionist. Most (Jewish Israelis) want an ethnic racist state. There are no liberal Zionists anymore,” he said. He cited Peter Beinart, J Street and Ari Shavit as the last possible bastions of liberal Zionism.

Pappe said that in 2005 the Israeli government created Brand Israel Group (BIG), to target the Jewish community in America, despite already having America “in its pocket”. Israel, he said, is doubtful of their support in the future.

Pappe said his publisher, Verso, would neither allow him to show the fairly explicit posters in his new book that were used by Israel to “appeal to the Jewish homosexual community in New York City” nor those aimed at Jewish heterosexuals. The idea being, Pappe said, if you like this sexy woman you might like Israel’s occupation.

By 2010, however, this campaign was seen by Israel to have failed and so, Pappe said, Israel’s new policy was to distract the opposition. Instead of trying to win an argument about “apartheid and ethnic cleansing” activists were urged to say, for example, “But Israel invented chewing gum!”.

Pappe said Israel had also been successful in convincing Jews in other countries that Israel is their story as well. He said he was once confronted by Jews in Edinburgh and that he had told them in no uncertain terms that Israel was not their story.

Then at the end of last night’s event when I criticised his lecture he asked me in Hebrew if I speak Hebrew, presumably to imply that Israel is not my story either. Ironically, your typical SOAS audience member has absolutely no connection with the Palestinians and cannot speak Arabic.

The final irony is that the marketing and branding Pappe accuses Israel of doing is just what he does! For example, during his talk he urged his audience to use “settler colonialism”, “Israeli apartheid”, “regime change” and “ethnic cleansing” when discussing Israel.

(I have been banned by SOAS, under threat of legal action, from filming or taking photos at these events without permission. All my requests for permission have since been declined. Others are permitted to film and take photos.)

Anti-Semitism, football and that Daily Mail article.

If you are at White Hart Lane today to see Spurs v West Ham you risk being arrested for singing “Yid Army” or “Yiddoes”, typical refrains of the Spurs faithful.

Not an ounce of malice is intended, but just because a few with fame and influence, like David Baddiel, have complained about “Yid” being used in this context the Metropolitan Police have taken a stand starting with today’s game.

I’m Jewish. I like hearing Spurs sing “Yid army”. No harm is intended. It is a bit of fun. Spurs have a lot of Jewish supporters and have a Jewish chairman, Jewish directors and once had a Jewish manager in David Pleat. Spurs fans are embracing that positively.

It is a far cry from calling someone a “dirty Yid” which is obviously racist. That prefix makes all the difference.

It is sad that the police have been taken in by Baddiel. When playing Spurs certain opposition fans chant “Spurs are on their way to Belsen” (some Leeds United fans) or hiss to imitate the sound of Zyklon B being thrown into the gas chambers by the Nazis (some Chelsea fans). That’s racism. Arrest those racist thugs, but not Spurs fans who intend no racism at all.

It’s not just Baddiel. The British public is being taken in by the likes of Owen Jones and Jonathan Freedland who are crying “anti-Semitism!” due to that Daily Mail article headlined “The Man Who Hated Britain” about Ralph Miliband, Ed Miliband’s father.

Ralph was Jewish. He was a refugee. He was a Communist thinker. Any of these three aspects have been deadly for Jews in the past, admittedly.

But, does this now mean that we cannot criticise a Jewish person with Ralph’s background, or any Jewish person?

This is Owen Jones:

“As others have pointed out, this whole episode reeks of anti-Semitism – of the rootless cosmopolitan Jew with contempt for his country, and so on.”

Even Ed Miliband who has spent the week coming to his father’s defence on radio, tv and in print, doesn’t sense any anti-Semitism in the affair, but to Jones it “reeks” of anti-Semitism? Wow!

Jonathan Freedland digs even deeper in his attempt to make the “anti-Semitic” label stick:

“This is why I…stopped at the reference in Tuesday’s editorial to “the jealous God of Deuteronomy.” That looked like another veiled pointer to both Miliband Sr’s indelible alienness – and his membership of an ancient, vengeful people.”

This is what the Mail actually wrote on that score:

“We do not maintain, like the jealous God of Deuteronomy, that the iniquity of the fathers should be visited on the sons. But when a son with prime ministerial ambitions swallows his father’s teachings, as the younger Miliband appears to have done, the case is different.”

So the Mail is using this biblical reference as an example of what generally shouldn’t happen. That’s all. Based on Freedland’s assertion we should now be careful lest we associate any biblical reference directly or indirectly with a Jewish person. How sad.

And Marc Goldberg is easily influenced by Daniel Trilling’s attack on the Mail in the New Statesman. Trilling writes “The subtext…is that there’s something foreign about Ed Miliband himself”. Goldberg empathises:

“..if even Ralph Miliband, the Marxist who left his Judaism way behind him and sired the head of the Labour Party could come under attack for not being British enough, then maybe the rest could too.”

Even Charles Moore accuses the Mail of “attacking a Jew”!

There are many other examples of this hyperbolic response to the Mail’s attack on Ralph Miliband. Commentators should attack real examples of anti-Semitism before trying to board the “it’s anti-Semitism!” bandwagon.

Alex Brummer, who is a journalist for the Mail, thinks apologies should be made by those who have suggested anti-Semitism by the Daily Mail. He’s right.

As Ed Miliband, himself, said when asked if the Daily Mail was being anti-Semitic:

“I’m always incredibly careful about throwing around the idea that the paper or somebody is anti-Semitic or racist unless there is real evidence for that.”

Yachad and UJS to host talk by boycotter Peter Beinart at UJIA.

Yachad calls itself “The pro-Israel pro-peace voice of British Jews”. It’s as if no other pro-Israel British Jew can possibly be “pro-peace”. Just those Jews who support Yachad, you understand.

At the United Nations in New York today at what is euphemistically called Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, “Palestine” is due to be recognised as a non-member observer state.

However, today’s rhetoric has had nothing to do with Palestinian statehood, but has been tantamount to incitement to murder Jews and Israelis and to boycott Israel out of existence. One Arab delegate accused Israelis of burning the Koran, and Roger Waters spoke for 25 minutes. Waters accused Israel, inter alia, of apartheid and prioritising Jewish people above its other citizens. He demanded a boycott of Israel.

Delegate after delegate called for a two-state solution and for UNGA Resolution 194 to be implemented. 194 calls for a return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. As the UN classes ALL Palestinian descendants as refugees this would soon lead to the demographic destruction of Israel as the world’s only Jewish state. What UN delegates are, in effect, calling for is a two-state solution as long as both states are Palestinian.

Waters, ludicrously, claimed that Hamas has agreed to future peace with Israel as long as a Palestinian state is agreed along the 1967 ceasefire lines. He claimed that New Yorkers, cut off from the outside world, don’t know this. Hamas who, in their Charter, call for the murder of all Jews are hardly going to agree to any Jewish state along any lines. It is Waters who is cut off.

But, now, with this growing febrile atmosphere against Israel where Israelis are demonised and demands made that they be boycotted Peter Beinart has been invited by Yachad and the Union of Jewish Students to address a Jewish audience at the offices of the United Joint Israel Appeal (UJIA). UJIA, a charity, is supposed to have the interests of Israel and all Israelis at heart.

It is a student-only event. Here is the Facebook page where the location of the event has now been hidden:

As you can read Beinart calls for “a boycott of West Bank Settlement produce”.

So because Beinart disagrees with a group of people, in this case Israeli settlers, he wants their businesses and livelihoods immediately destroyed and their ability to feed their families and young children immediately curtailed. All they have worked for should be destroyed overnight on the say so of someone living thousands of miles away?

Hannah Weisfeld, who heads Yachad, claimed in March this year:

“While we hugely respect Peter Beinart and believe he adds an important voice to the debate, we believe that all forms of boycott are counter-productive.”

However, a month earlier at an Israeli Society event at SOAS discussing whether Israel should be boycotted Weisfeld was far more ambiguous when she said:

“I think we would be having a very different conversation in this room if the BDS movement was about a targeted (settlement) boycott. I am not saying that I would necessarily support it, but I think the entire debate would be different…”

Now Weisfeld, Yachad and the Union of Jewish Students have invited Beinart to make the case, via Skype, for just such a targeted boycott of those Israeli families living on the West Bank.

By all means disagree with their living their and make the case that they shouldn’t be. Try to achieve a gradual change in Israeli government policy, like when Ariel Sharon finally decided to order Israeli settlers to be removed from Gaza.

But for Beinart and others to encourage the wrecking of people’s livelihoods overnight is crossing a red line, let alone a green one. We hear it enough at the hundreds of anti-Israel events that take place annually.

Meanwhile, UJIA have confirmed that they are hosting the event:

London Evening Standard journalist: “I’m prejudiced against Jews.”

Twitter is a good way of seeing what our elected politicians are up to. One in particular is a voluminous anti-Israel tweeter. Labour MP Richard Burden, for it is he, is also an enthusiastic retweeter of Ben White:

and

In my opinion, for an elected politician to promote Ben White, considering White’s views, is highly offensive.

It is Ben White who, in his article for Counterpunch in 2002 Is It Possible to Understand the Rise in Anti-Semitism?, wrote:

“…I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are.”

More recently White tweeted:

and this was the picture he linked to:

Joseph W. at Harry’s Place argued:

“Ben White appears to be linking Howard Jacobson – an English Jew – and Israeli Jewish Habima actors, by aesthetics and looks. If you are aware of the history of antisemitism, you will know that a great deal of attention was given to the physical appearance of Jews, who were portrayed as people whom one could legitimately hate based on how they look.”

The Warped Mirror neatly recounts what happened.

As I was concerned that Richard Burden MP was promoting someone such as White with such contemptuous views, I tweeted Burden about it. However, it was Mira Bar-Hillel, who writes for the London Evening Standard newspaper, who responded. Here’s Bar-Hillel’s Twitter profile first:

In response to my tweet to Burden pointing out White’s view that he can “understand” why some people are anti-Semitic Bar-Hillel stated that she “can understand it too”:

When challenged as to whether she could also “understand” people who were Islamophobic she, somewhat ambiguously, responded:

“I understand hatred for anyone one who feels wronged – or unjustly treated – by. Racism I abhor.”

Good to know Bar-Hillel abhors racism. But then how would one explain the following quote apparently attributed to her in Anshel Pfeffer’s article in Haaretz in June which discussed the set exam question “Why are some people prejudiced against Jews?” (Haaretz might be behind a pay-wall for some so I have copied and pasted the full article below for context purposes):

“The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes.” (Emphasis added)

So Bar Hillel abhors racism, but is “prejudiced against Jews”. Work that one out.

Meanwhile, I continued to question Richard Burden MP as to whether he found White’s view offensive. Sadly, instead of agreeing that it was he refused to give a straightforward answer:

It is very concerning that a British MP, who does denounce anti-Semitism, still goes on to promote someone like White with such views and doesn’t see anything wrong in that. Or maybe, as Burden suggested, I should just “grow up”.

Anshel Pfeffer’s Haaretz article in full:

Anti-Semitism in 100 words or less
In rhyme, in sorrow and in a single word, readers took my challenge. Which one gets the bottle of wine?

By Anshel Pfeffer | Jun.22, 2012 | 2:42 AM | 2

Nine years ago, I found myself hanging out with a group of Pakistani journalists I met at a seminar abroad. At the time, we were all hearing about secret and not-so-secret dealings between Israel and Pakistan, and one of them showed me his passport. On the bottom of every page was written, “For travel to every nation in the world except Israel.” “It’s just politics” he explained to me. “There is no anti-Semitism in Pakistan; there are no Jews.”

Technically, that may be true, as the small Jewish communities of Karachi and Peshawar dispersed decades ago. But it is interesting that he felt the need to create a distinction between a hatred of Israel and the shunning of Jews.

There is anti-Jewish rhetoric in the local media in Pakistan. Many would argue that in a nation without a history of local anti-Semitism, this is actually a manifestation of anti-Western sentiments, along with the country’s intense hostility with neighboring India, which is increasingly becoming a strategic ally of Israel. It doesn’t seem as though Pakistan has a homegrown tradition of Jew-hatred.

On Wednesday, a British woman of Pakistani origin, Shasta Khan, was charged in a Manchester court for planning, along with her husband Mohammed Sajid, what could have been the worst anti-Semitic attack on British soil in living memory. Born and raised in the Manchester region, she would have seen and recognized Jews from the large Orthodox community in the city. The couple is alleged to have scouted out targets in the Prestwich neighborhood, where thousands of Jews live and work.

A different duo of young British-Pakistanis, Asif Mohammed Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, became radicalized after traveling to study in Damascus, where they were recruited by Hamas and carried out a suicide attack at a Tel-Aviv pub, killing three people, in 2003. In contrast, Khan and Sajid are accused of embarking on their Jihad after surfing radical websites. They allegedly learned how to build homemade bombs from Al-Qaida’s Inspire magazine, and instead of travelling to the Middle East to strike at the Zionist enemy, they decided to avenge the Palestinians by murdering fellow Britons, members of a neighboring religious community.

But that is how anti-Semitism has evolved: Defying reason and ideology, overcoming geographic and social divides, it adapts to new environments and conditions. Anti-Semitism is the most flexible and versatile of hatreds. That is my main conclusion from the many answers I received over the last two weeks, following the question I posed to readers: “Why are some people prejudiced against Jews?” But that was not the only conclusion.

A brief reminder: I decided to open up the column to readers following the hysterical reactions of some politicians and community leaders in Britain when this question was posed to high school students in a national exam. Financial blogger Henry Blodget was inundated with angry responses when he asked the same question with sincerity and seriousness. I had hoped that this column’s readers would prove both more intelligent and display a greater sense of equipoise than those who expressed outrage over the exam question. The reader responses exceeded my expectations.

There were a handful of responses such as the commenter who wrote, “Anti-Semitism should be condemned not explained – full stop.” But most readers who answered believe, like I do, that no subject should be beyond discussion, even if some of the responses do not make for easy reading. Of course, there were a few nasties, such as the writer who tried to convince me that the world doesn’t have anything against Jews in particular, but rather just against Israelis. After all, he wrote,”the Internet has shown the world what kind of people you are.”

Others were also critical but from a place of sorrow. Mira Bar-Hillel wrote that “The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles ) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes.”

Honorable mentions

I know that some would label Mira with the despicable title of “self-hating Jew,” and while I don’t necessarily agree with all she writes, I think she expresses genuine concerns and should be heard. Mira’s answer is one of my two honorable mentions.

The other honorable mention goes to Richard Asbeck, who managed in verse to convey the uneasy feeling of many Jews and non-Jews at the separateness, perhaps aloofness, that Jews have conveyed over the millennia.

“How could I by virtue of reciprocity,

blessed by the honor of having been treated as a friend,

remembering the humanity of a shared meal,

remembering the hachnasat orchim (hospitality ), how could I, in the attempt of responding in kind, avoid the self-allegation of impurity and ‘unchosenness’ clearly marked by the catered dinner on a stranger’s plate, or worse: the foil-wrapped carton board plate?”

Although I allowed up to 100 words, some readers made do with just one or two words: Envy; jealousy; religion; Zionism; ignorance; Jesus Christ. All are indeed reasons why people are prejudiced against Jews, and there are of course many more, often conflicting, and never justified reasons. And that is why I said that anti-Semitism is the most flexible of hatreds and why I chose Mark Gardner’s entry as the winner. My only hesitation is that the writer is a professional in the field, who serves as director of communications of the Community Security Trust (CST ), of British Jewry. My choice of Mark as winner is not an endorsement of the CST; indeed I criticized the organization in a column on an unrelated matter two months ago. But unlike others who monitor anti-Semitism, I think that his entry proves he can address the issue in a balanced manner. So he gets the (kosher ) bottle of wine.

Here is his answer to why some people are prejudiced against Jews. “If prejudice is hating someone more than is necessary, then you must consider the anti-Semites’ charge sheet. So, let us be brief: Allied with the Devil to kill the son of God; lost God’s covenant; fought God’s last prophet; visible rejecters of God; kill children and drink their blood; conspiratorial; money hoarding; greedy; corrupting; mean-spirited; physically grotesque; contemptible; ferocious; ingratiating yet always alien and never authentic; devious, evil, corrupting geniuses; unchanging and unassimilable; racially distinct, self-superior hypocrites; financiers of war; harbingers of revolution; pornographers; hucksters and fraudsters; whiners and liars; imperialists and colonizers; thieves, racists, war-mongering destroyers. More briefly: scapegoat.”

Toulouse: It wasn’t supposed to end like this.

Mohamed Merah was supposed to have been shot dead at the scene of the crime last Monday in Toulouse when he killed three Jewish children and a Rabbi. If that had happened then the media and our political classes could have written it all off as the act of an extremist who probably hated French Muslim soldiers and Jews.

Monday evening’s BBC Newsnight was reporting that the gunman had a facial tattoo, as did, conveniently, one of three local French paratroopers recently dismissed for giving Nazi salutes. Then the programme heard from Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis (see interview below).

Goldschmidt, himself, seemed to be under no illusions that this was the work of someone influenced by the hostile political climate in France over the way French Muslims slaughter their meat, the Minaret issue in Switzerland and the attempt to ban Halal and Kosher meat in Holland. This, Goldschmidt said, “creates an atmosphere of intolerance”.

But Merah went on living just long enough to give the real reasons for his actions outside a Jewish school, and it is the only thing out of all this that we can be grateful for. Merah said he acted to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children killed by Israel. For that he went to Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse to specifically seek out Jews to murder.

But do the Toulouse killings really surprise those who attend anti-Israel events in the UK where the hatred of anyone who supports Israel is palpable?

No other country brings out such hatred and this can only be because of one thing: Israel is Jewish, successful and strong.

Parts of the British media, political class and British public seem so frighteningly bent on indoctrinating others against Israel and, just like those who indoctrinated Merah, their emotive weapon of choice against Israel is dead or “tortured” Palestinian children.

Many small acts of this type of indoctrination take place every day in the UK alone.

Here are just three examples:

A few hours after Monday’s killings Richard Burden MP was already retweeting an unsubstantiated report called Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted: Children held in military detention detailing the percentage of Palestinian children allegedly strip searched, threatened and humiliated etc. while in Israeli custody.

War Horse author Michael Morpurgo used the high profile Richard Dimbleby lecture of 2011 to describe Israel as shooting Palestinian children “like a video game”.

An anti-Israel activist (see photo above) used to flaunt his carefully preserved photograph of dead Palestinian children to passers-by outside the Ahava shop in Covent Garden.

There are so many more examples of these indoctrinating acts and imagine them multiplied thousands of times across Europe; each declaring loudly that Israel targets children.

Each act on its own is non-actionable in terms of incitement but together the lies contribute to a culture of hatred of Israel and Jews making it easier to explain the actions by Merah outside a Jewish school in Toulouse.

Those, whether in the UK or across Europe, who have used this form of indocrination have, in their own small way, the blood of Miriam Monsonego, Jonathan Sandler and his two young sons, Gabriel and Arieh, on their hands.

When you add to this the relentless pursuit of Israel by some British churches, the allowing of the annual Israeli Apartheid Week at our universities where Jews are compared to Nazis and the demonisation of Israel and Jews by some of our MPs it is a wonder that what happened outside a Jewish school in Toulouse hasn’t happened here yet.

Newsnight interview with Pinchas Goldschmidt on Monday 19th March 2012:

Mavi Marmara’s Ken O’Keefe compares Jews to Nazis: The Footage.

Tonge stays silent at Middlesex University after O'Keefe's horrendous attack on Jews.

Tonge stays silent at Middlesex University after O'Keefe's horrendous attack on Jews.

Here is the footage from last Thursday’s anti-Israel event at Middlesex University in Hendon, which I blogged about here, when Ken O’Keefe compared Jews to Nazis. Proof, if it was ever needed, that these events are held more out of spite against Jews than out of any concern for the Palestinians.

The event was sponsored by Interpal whose website asks you to “donate” or “sponsor” in order to “join in our efforts to help Palestinians in need”. If only.

Equally disturbing is that Jenny Tonge, a British Parliamentarian, sat on the panel next to O’Keefe all night and stayed silent after O’Keefe’s attack on Jews and his accusation later on when he blamed Israel for 9/11.

There has also been a deafening silence from Middlesex University. No doubt they will explain it all away as “freedom of speech”.

(thanks to Harry’s Place for the edit)

Ken O’Keefe compares Jewish people to Nazis.

Tonge, O'Keefe, Roberts, Karmi last night.

Tonge, O'Keefe, Roberts, Karmi last night.

Where to begin with last night’s event at Middlesex University’s campus in Hendon, North West London, sponsored by Interpal. It was billed as a discussion on “Is Israel an Apartheid State?“, but became an evening of unadulterated Jew hate.

The atmosphere was threatening. The highly aggressive chairperson Nik Roberts kept insisting on calling security to remove both dissenters and people wanting to film. I could only take limited footage. Two “authorised” people did film, so clips should be arriving on youtube soon.

There was a Jewish contingent of possibly 30 out of some 150 in the audience and much of the rhetoric seemed to be aimed directly at us.

O’Keefe, who was on board the Mavi Marmara, compared Jews to both the Nazis and to the German people whom, he implies, as a whole collaborated with the Nazis. I have transcribed the final part of his speech below. After referring to “the Jewish people” O’Keefe uses “you” or “your” twelve times to personally direct his rhetoric at the Jews in the theatre. He admits his intent was to inflame:

“So if Israel is inherently a racist state, if it is inherently an apartheid state, then I want no part of Israel, it has no place in this world. And it does in its current form, if you want me to use some inflammatory language, in its current form should be destroyed.

Just like the UN in its current form should be destroyed, just like the American empire in its current form should be destroyed, just like the British empire in its current form should be destroyed (next bit inaudible due to applause).

I make no special bones about Jewish people, but the bottom line is this. The Jewish state, that’s not my expression, the Jewish state of Israel is, therefore, acting on behalf of the Jewish people. You, like the Nazis, have now a special obligation.

The decent Germans, the so-called decent Germans of World War Two Nazi Germany, what did they do, what did the decent Germans do when the Nazis came to power and started to institute their policies, what did they do? They didn’t do enough, did they?

Did they do enough to stop the Nazis? No, they didn’t. And what are the Jewish people doing right now? Are you doing enough to stop your racist apartheid genocidal state? (applause)

If you think that you are I beg to differ. You have a special obligation brought upon you just like the Nazis brought upon the decent Germans. Good luck to you because the way of Israel, the way of Palestine is the way of the world. And you can mouth at me all you want, good luck to you, because guess what, you are making enemies of all the people, not just me and the falsely accused anti-Semites.” (huge applause)

Ken O’Keefe edit (audio of transcript)

Ken O’Keefe audio of speech 23/2/2012 (11 minute speech in full)

During the Q&A O’Keefe tried to fend off an accusation that he had embezzled funds from the pro-Palestinian movement. He claimed he never has more than £100 in his bank account and has never owned a property (see clip 1 below). He went on to claim that Israel was responsible for 9/11 (clip 2).

And on suicide bombings he said:

“What the so-called suicide bombings did was force the world by shocking the conscience of humanity to pay attention, and the Palestinians have paid a huge price for some within their ranks carrying out those tactics.”

Ghada Karmi described Israel as a “gangster state” and gave us her definition of who is Jew:

“Is it somebody who practices the Jewish religion? They have never been able to find an agreed position.

At the beginning they talked about ‘a person born of a Jewish mother and/or a person who had been converted according to the orthodox system’. That’s it, nobody else.

Over time, when they saw that they were drying up, they started to make it much more elastic. So, now, anybody who has a Jewish parent or a Jewish grandparent is now Jewish.

Not only that. Among the million immigrants from Soviet Russia how many of you know that 40% of these people are not Jewish? They are not Jews! They go to Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches in Israel, ok? 40%.

Not only that. They brought in the Ethiopian Jews. They went fishing for Jews in Peru. They’ve gone to India. Anything. You know what the main purpose of it is? It’s that they should be non-Arab. Non-Arab. You can be any sort of person. You can call yourself ‘a Jew’. As long as you’re not an Arab, it’s alright.”

She called for the end of a majority Jewish state (Clip 3) and said the Israel treats the Palestinians as “a sub-human species” so when it kills them it “doesn’t have the same impact, as they are already sub-human” and finished off claiming that “if an Ethiopean gives blood to an Israeli blood bank people have objected because they don’t want a transfusion from an Ethiopian”.

Tonge, who describes herself as an “ethnic Christian” (see clip 4), started by telling the audience to beware of the Israel lobby because “once they have decided to go for you, they will go for you. I bear the scars” (clip 5). She finished by saying that “Israel is not going to be there forever” and warned that eventually Israel “will lose its support and then they will reap what they have sown.” (Clip 3)

Who are “they” and what does she imply will happen to them?

Another chilling threat to Jews from this British Parliamentarian.

Clip 1:

Clip 2:

Clip 3:

Clip 4:

Clip 5:

An Education in American Jewish power politics by the BBC’s Andrew Neil.

Last Wednesday I got a real education. I had asked Andrew Neil, presenter of the BBC’s political satire show This Week, on Twitter whether he would apologise on this week’s This Week for his insinuation on last week’s This Week that American Jews control America’s foreign policy and that America might get dragged into war with Iran because of it.

Andrew Neil had asked ex-Conservative politician Michael Portillo for his “moment of the week”. The exchange went like this (see above for the short clip):

Michael Portillo: “Mark Mardell, who’s the America editor of the BBC, produced a report, I think on Tuesday, in which he said that the White House now believes that Israel will attack Iran during the course of this year, possibly as early as the Spring, certainly before the Presidential election. The reasoning is that before long the nuclear weapons’ programme of Iran will be beyond reach. But also if you were to launch an attack before the Presidential election, both Presidential candidates, Republican and Democrat, would have to support Israel in an election situation so it’s a good time to launch an attack.”

Andrew Neil: “Because of the Jewish vote?”

Michael Portillo: “Because of the Jewish vote, of course. So, this appears to be the betting. Now if this happens, of course this may lure the United States in in one way or another. But it is a transformational occurrence if it happens. Iran could be expected to retaliate in all sorts of ways, possibly against Saudi Arabia, for example, possibly against the Sixth Fleet in Bahrain. I mean it’s going to make most of the things we are talking about at the moment seem pretty much like a Sunday picnic.”

Andrew Neil: “I’m sure Mr Obama needs that like a hole in the head as he tries to get re-election.”

Michael Portillo: “Well, on the other hand Presidential incumbents tend to do quite well in a war situation.”

Incredibly, Andrew Neil seems more concerned for Obama than Israel’s security in all this, but the above exchange also raises the tired, old slur of dual loyalty; that Jews are more loyal to Israel’s concerns than their own country’s interests.

After that my brief Twitter exchange with Andrew Neil last Wednesday went as follows:

Me: “are you going to apologise tomorrow night for talking about “the Jewish vote” in America or are you going to let it slide?Shameful”

Andrew Neil: “Bit hard since we’re not on. But no anyway. Jewish vote has been feature of US politics for over 100 years. Studied it at uni!!”

Me: “American Jews r 1.5% of American population. How can such a tiny vote affect American election?What about the Christian\Muslim vote?”

Andrew Neil: “Because Jewish turnout is huge, concentrated in key states and tends to vote in unison. Go get a book on US psephology.”

Me: “They always tend to vote Democrat whatever! You insinuated Jews control American foreign policy! Disgraceful. You should apologise.”

Andrew Neil: “I’m trying to educate you not offend you! But clearly not getting anywhere. There is no apology and no point in prolonging this”

It was disappointing that Neil didn’t wish to prolong the exchange as he may have learnt something. In last December’s article Why Republican efforts to corral Jewish vote may come up short Nathan Guttman is quoted as saying:

“Poll after poll, survey after survey, show that Jewish Americans love Israel and want their elected officials to support Israel, but don’t view this issue as decisive. Topping the Jewish voter’s priority list are economic and social issues. Israel is somewhere in the middle.”

As of a few months ago, there were 6,588,065 Jews in America out of 308,745,538; just some 2.1% of the American population. Tiny!

These Jews are mainly based in New York
which has 1,635,020 Jews representing 8.4% of New York’s population, California (1,219,740 @ 3.3%), Florida (638,635 @ 3.4%) and New Jersey (504,450 @ 5.7%). These states represent respectively 29, 55, 29 and 14 of the 270 electoral votes needed to secure a Presidential win.

New York (29) has voted Democrat in the last six Presidential elections, California (55) has voted Democrat for the last five as has New Jersey (14). Admittedly, Florida (29) is a major swing state having vote Republican in seven out of the last 10 Presidential elections; although it voted for Obama in 2008.

Jews have overwhelmingly vote Democrat historically: 78% of them voted for Obama in 2008, 76% for Kerry in 2004, 79% for Bush in 2000, 78% for Clinton in 1996, 80% for Clinton in 1992, 64% for Dukakis in 1988, 67% for Mondale in 1984, 45% for Carter in 1980 and 71% for Carter in 1976.

Meanwhile, a Pew Poll released a few days ago shows that only 5% of the American public thinks that America should not support Israel if it attacks Iran, while 39% think it should support Israel. 51% think America should remain neutral. The Poll also found:

“Fully 64% of white evangelical Protestants say that the U.S. should support Israel if it attacks Iran in an effort to stop their nuclear weapon program. That compares with 42% of white mainline Protestants and 41% of white Catholics.”

It isn’t just about religion either. The Poll suggests that “There are large demographic differences in views about what the U.S. should do if Israel attacks Iran”, for example depending on whether you are male or female, young or old.

But in all of the categories listed far more Americans think that if Israel attacks Iran then America should support Israel (see results of Pew Poll below).

So, in conclusion, it isn’t, as Michael Portillo thinks, that Presidential candidates “would have to support Israel” but that Americans generally identify with Israel. America, like Israel, is also under attack and America was created in the same way as Israel; in both cases mostly uninhabited land was colonised. In the 1880s when Jews started to return to the area that was eventually to become Israel there were only some 550,000 Arabs and Jews in an area that now holds seven million in Israel.

And Andrew Neil’s claim that “Jewish turnout is huge, concentrated in key states” is wrong. The Jewish vote is tiny and not in key states, apart from Florida. It’s the American Christian evangelical vote that is huge, there being some 50 – 80 million of them in America.

The only claim Neil gets right is that Jews tend to vote in unison. But they vote on a range of issues, only one of which is Israel, which is why they vote mainly Democrat.

Finally, an American President is going to do what is in the best interests of America and not just America’s Jews. In 1980 Reagan received 39% of the Jewish vote, which was relatively high for a Republican, but in 1981 he forced through Congress the sale of Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) to Saudi Arabia despite fierce pro-Israel lobbying against the sale.

Reagan’s Jewish vote did fall back to 31% in the 1984 election, but it didn’t stop him getting re-elected.

So, it really isn’t about “the Jewish vote” at all, although the likes of Andrew Neil and Michael Portillo, in their ignorance, will continue to tell you that it really is.

Pew Research Center Poll

Pew Research Center Poll

Muslim Brotherhood’s Dr Kamal El-Helbawy defines who is a Jew, and who isn’t.

Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, Andrew Murray, Seumas Milne at the SOAS Respect meeting.

Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, Andrew Murray, Seumas Milne at the SOAS Respect meeting.

When I went to SOAS on Sunday for the Respect Party’s public meeting Where now for Egypt and the Middle East?, chaired by The Guardian’s Seumas Milne, I didn’t expect a sermon on who is, and who is not, a Jew.

Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, Chair of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and former speaker for the Muslim Brotherhood in the West, was updating us on the political situation in Egypt as he saw it. He welcomed the fact that 75% of the new Egyptian parliament was now Islamic, but said that he hoped for increased Coptic Christian participation and the promotion of women.

The Muslim Brotherhood isn’t especially keen on Jews. For example, Hamas, the Brotherhood’s subsidiary in Gaza, remembers us in their Charter by calling for us to be killed.

However, Dr Kamal El-Helbawy seemed to be concentrating on Egypt’s pressing internal issues. Could this be a new Egypt; a Light Unto the Arab nations, I thought? Fifteen minutes into his speech and Dr Kamal El-Helbawy still hadn’t mentioned Israel and the Palestinians.

Finally, Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, a self-proclaimed scholar of comparative religion, introduced the subject as follows (see clip 1 below):

“I have Jewish friends who are really Jewish. They stay with me, they eat with me, they sleep with us at home. Who are real friends. Like Neturei Karta people. Like Dovid Weiss and hundreds of others, who are real Jews. And we respect them and we love them. We are brothers in humanity if not in religion. But unfortunately the ones we have in Israel, the Zionists, are not Jews. I am happy with what usually my dear brother George Galloway says ‘atheist Jews’. Even I say they are Zionists. They have nothing, nothing at all related to Jewish religion. Moses did not order people to kill each other and the Christ did not ask people to kill each other or colonise each other or destroy each other or stop, for example, Iran doing good research in atomic energy.”

During the Q&A I said I thought it disrespectful of him to tell us who is, and who isn’t, Jewish and that just because one might disagree with someone’s political view shouldn’t make anyone less of a Muslim, Jew or Christian for it. To applause he responded (see clip 2 below):

“I have 100% right to define. I am a scholar of comparative religion as well. And I understand, and I have many friends who are Jews, and I don’t believe that the Nobel Laureate Peres is a Jew at all, is a Jew. Who is a Jew is the one who follows Moses, peace be upon Him. Who’s a Christian is the one who follows Jesus Christ, peace upon Him. Who is a Muslim is the one who follows Muhammad the Prophet, peace be upon Him. So it is not difficult to define who is a Jew and can measure who is a Jew, who is not. If you kill you are not a Jew, because Moses did not ask you to kill people. If you ousted them from their lands and houses and destroy them you are not a Jew.”

Meanwhile, Gorgeous George described (see clip 3) the Balfour Declaration as “142 words that have produced nearly a hundred years of misery and disaster in the Middle East” before continuing:

“Mark Sykes hated Jews. He was a vicious, foul anti-Semite, but he loved Israel and he loved the idea of Israel. Like so many he saw Zionism as a means of ensuring that he would never have to look at Jewish people on the streets of London. He talked openly about ‘we’ll be able to clean the East End of London if we can create Israel and, by one means or another, encourage or otherwise, the Jews of the East End of London to go and live in Palestine’. He hated Arabs also who he described as venal and lazy.”

Amid all this fascination with Jews Galloway, Kate Hudson, General Secretary of CND, and Andrew Murray, founder of the Stop The War Coalition, rejected all types of outside intervention in the affairs of Syria instead calling for the revolution to be allowed to take place from the ground upwards on the basis that there had never been an example of outside intervention working effectively in the Middle East and that such intervention always took place out of pure self-interest.

Clip 1: Dr Kamal El-Helbawy discusses Israel and the Palestinians

Clip 2: Dr Kamal El-Helbawy responds to criticism of his definition of Jews

Clip3: George Galloway on Mark Sykes and more

War Horse writer Michael Morpurgo: Israel shoots Palestinian children “like a video game”.

War Horse writer Michael Morpurgo: Israelis shoot Palestinian children "like a video game" (guardian.co.uk)

War Horse writer Michael Morpurgo: Israelis shoot Palestinian children "like a video game" (guardian.co.uk)

The film of War Horse, adapted from the novel by Michael Morpurgo, has just been released in the UK, but as well as horses being killed on screen there is something else for filmgoers to cry into their popcorn over. Morpurgo is happy to repeat vicious lies about Israel without seeming to bother checking facts.

Last February Morpurgo was given the honour of reciting the Richard Dimbleby lecture, which has been delivered by an influential figure every year since 1972, and he chose to speak on the lack of childrens’ rights around the world. He pointed out that 8 million children a year die before the age of 5. As he said, “that’s a holocaust of children every year”. He also mentioned that “69 million children never go to school” and that “3.5 million children in our own country are still mired in poverty”.

Most of those 8 million children die from AIDS, war, malaria, malnutrition and other diseases in Africa. But Morpurgo failed to say anything about that instead choosing to spend a large portion of this high profile speech on the darlings of the left, the Palestinians, and invoking the modern day version of the anti-Semitic blood libel. He relied on statements of those with an anti-Israel agenda.

He said he went to Jordan 10 years ago and met Jordanian children “about eighty per cent of whom are Palestinian refugees”. They are not refugees by any normal definition, but are simply born and bred Jordanians.

He mentioned a teenage girl who said:

“I want to tell you something real and true. My family lives here in Jordan, but I do not belong here. I belong in Palestine. It is my home but I can’t live there because it is occupied.”

Obviously, her “Palestine” means Israel and this was a call for the destruction of the Jewish state with its hidden aspiration for all Palestinians to head for Israel and turn it into another Arab state.

Morpurgo soon mentioned Gaza and repeated Israel-hating Amnesty International’s figure that 300 children were killed during Operation Cast Lead. But Amnesty and the United Nations class a child as being “under 18″. So a 17 year old Hamas fighter pointing a gun at an Israeli soldier being shot dead in self-defence is classed as “a child”.

Morpurgo also gave the impression that from the moment he entered Gaza to the moment he exited it two days later that the Israelis were hell-bent on killing Palestinian children.

No sooner did he enter Gaza when:

“Halfway down I heard the sound of a shot being fired – it sounded to a country boy like me as if someone was shooting rabbits. All around young Palestinian boys were racing around on their donkeys and carts whooping and shrieking. I had no idea what they were doing at the time. I was in another world. I didn’t know who was doing the shooting. In this other world I went the next day to visit a hospital for malnourished babies and then on to a project for blind children.”

On his way out of Gaza he described how “earlier that morning, before I got there it seems, some of the scavengers had ventured too close to the wall and had been fired at and wounded”, and while he was waiting to leave:

“It was then I heard shots, then screaming, saw the kids running to help their wounded friends. Now I really was outside the comfort zone of fiction. A doctor from Medicins sans Frontieres, waiting there with me, told me that the shots were probably not fired by marksmen from the watchtowers on the wall, but that these scavengers were sometimes targeted, remotely, electronically from Tel Aviv, which was miles away – ‘Spot and Strike,’ they call it. Like a video game – a virtual shooting. I don’t know if these claims are true but I do know the shots were real, there was blood, the boy’s trousers were soaked in it, the bullets were real. I saw him close to, saw his agony as the cart rushed by me.”

So there you have it, the modern day reincarnation of the anti-Semitic blood libel. In the old days this involved the accusation that Jews abducted and slaughtered non-Jewish children and used their blood in religious rituals. Nowadays it is Israelis, or Jewish Israelis to be more precise, who, allegedly, just kill them “like a video game”.

Morpurgo admitted that he didn’t know if the claims by a doctor from Medicins sans Frontieres that the shots came remotely from Tel Aviv were true, but he made them anyway. For Morpurgo it doesn’t matter because it sounds like a wonderfully sad story, which he is in the business of telling.

Morpurgo did make a weak attempt at partiality with the following:

“I know Hamas rockets had been landing in Israel for a very long time and that Israeli children have been dying there too. And I know it is absolutely the right of every nation to defend itself.So most certainly the Israelis have had their reasons. But I’m sure that most of them believe as we all do that a child’s life in particular is precious, any child’s life. Yet Palestinian children died. Collateral damage, some might call it.”

He mentioned his visit to a village where “Arab and Jewish children play together and learn together”, but this mention of “Jewish children” should raise alarm bells. Why were the Israeli children described by him in terms of their religion and not their nationality, unlike the Arab children?

But if Morpurgo was really concerned about the rights of Palestinian children he would have highlighted the child abuse prevalent in Palestinian society where children are used as human shields by Hamas, where Hamas destroys childrens’ summer camps in Gaza and where television programmes are regularly aired by the Palestinian Authority on which children claim a desire to grow up to become martyrs.

Instead he chose to believe the propaganda of those who have their own financial interests in spreading lies about Israel and his words should have been prefaced with the following announcement:

“No facts were checked in the making of this speech”.

What a waste of an important speech last February. Instead of bravely speaking up for Palestinian children like he could have, Michael Morpurgo probably only succeeded in adding a little more hatred of Jews into the world.