“You’re a Holocaust denier and you’re Scum.”

These were the words left ringing in my ears last night when I questioned the thesis that Palestinian nationalism or a Palestinian state had existed when the Jews began to return to the Middle East at the beginning of the 20th century.

I was at LSE again for Ben White’s talk Democracy or Apartheid? Israel’s regime of control and the Palestinians .

The talk that was part of the sixth international Israel Apartheid Week.

Israel Apartheid Week is basically two weeks of propaganda and lies spoken against Israel to demonise both Israel and its supporters.

We were a tiny audience, 20 at most. White put this down to “event fatigue” but “Ben White fatigue” would be more accurate. White has a book to flog and so has been back and forth across the Atlantic racking up the airmiles trying to do exactly that.

His presentation consists of little more than accusation after accusation against Israel. His evidence mainly consists of random quotes of Israeli politicians, past and present, a few photographs and some maps. White does maps a lot.

But he started off by demeaning Zionism. My loose definition of Zionism is:

The will of the Jewish people for national determination in a land where they used to live in great numbers before being expelled by Roman conquest. Just 96 years ago that “land” consisted of provinces of the Ottoman Empire (see my own map below) and contained approximately 525,000 people. It was not a state. Today that same area contains over 10 million people.

White demeans Zionism as anti-democratic and having been implemented by force:

“Zionist colonisation could only be carried out in defiance of the will of the native population,” Jabotinsky, 1923.

“Were I an Arab I would rise up against immigration liable sometime in the future to hand the country over to Jewish rule,” Ben Gurion, 1939.

Sure, Zionist leaders were hardtalking and pragmatic but, apart from the Irgun and the Stern Gang of the 1940s, Zionism established itself via negotiations with politicians and opinion formers, not with force.

White then described what he views as Israel’s apartheid measures against Israel’s own Palestinian community (“don’t call them ‘Israeli Arabs'”), against East Jerusalem’s Arab population and against the Palestinians in the West Bank.

On the Israeli Arabs he mentioned martial law, land confiscations and Judaization of the Galilee and the Negev. “Judaization” is moving of Jews into these areas:

“The project of ‘Judaizing the Galilee’ commenced when the state was founded and has continued in various guises to the present day.” Prof. Hillel Cohen.

On the Arabs of East Jerusalem he spoke of their “residency” status being somewhere between the Palestinians in the West Bank, who have no status, and the Israeli Arabs, who are “citizens”.

“Residency” means they can move about freely in Israel but cannot vote in national elections but this “residency” can be stripped without notice as, apparently, happened to 4,500 East Jerusalem Arabs in 2008.

He quoted a Jerusalem Post headline: “Jerusalem Mayor Barkat: Arab population in capital a strategic threat.”

About the West Bank White spoke about settlement building “which is a consensus issue in Israel as the settlement project accelerated even under a Labour government from 1993 to 1996” and about house demolitions.

Then he brought out his maps of “disappearing Palestine”.

White's map of West Bank before settlements

Based on his maps for White there is only one conclusion: a one-state solution.

In the Q&A I made the point that the West Bank settlements aren’t necessarily there to stay but can be removed as part of a negotiating process so leaving a fully functioning Palestinian state.

But White answered that the settlements are deeply ingrained in Israeli policy.

Then I made my point about Palestinian nationalism for which I was called a Holocaust denier and scum.

White's West Bank map as of now

Some 96 years ago the area now comprising Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria were merely provinces of the Ottoman Empire. There were towns, villages and provinces, but not a Palestinian state.

Neither did Palestinian nationalism exist. It grew in direct opposition to Zionism. That is not to say that the Palestinians should not have a state now. They are a now a people. But to say there ever was a Palestinian state is just not the truth and there is scant evidence of Palestinian nationalism at the time.

“Palestine” was not a land without “people” but it was a land without “a people”.

You can call me a “Holocaust denier and scum” but do your own research.

This map shows how “Palestine” looked just 96 years ago.

12 responses to ““You’re a Holocaust denier and you’re Scum.”

  1. Jonathan Hoffman

    Thanks. What White says bears a very distant – if any – relationship to the facts:



  2. Jonathan Hoffman

    “20 at most”

    Well this person thinks 20 is “well attended with a respectable spread of age and ethnic backgrounds” !!

    You couldn’t make it up !!

    Dear Jonathan
    I felt that I had to write and say how much you missed the lecture given last evening by Ben White. It was entitled Democracy or Apartheid? Israel’s regime of control and the Palestinians. I advise that it was well attended with a respectable spread of age and ethnic backgrounds. A significant number of anti-Zionist Jews spoke to me afterwards and offered reasons for their change of heart from their previous position. Jonathan , it is not too late for you to similarly benefit, by repenting of your egregious behaviour.
    During the Q&A session what was obviously to be some Zionist hack posed several questions that were, presumably, meant to be taken seriously. To Ben’s credit he was courteous in response to what was significant nonsense. I did, for a normal use of manners, ask after you ( of the hack of course) but he departed with some alacrity saying only that you were at home! In the usual post- lecture discussion it was generally agreed that interventions such as from your friend above are always welcome and can even induce a state of hilarity. May I express the hope that before too long you will be present with us to offer your personal brand of entertainment based on the Zionist Book of Myths and Fables.

    Best wishes
    Michael Shanahan
    Member: Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

  3. richardmillett

    There were no more than 20 including me, White, the Chairwoman and the camerman.

    White even admitted it himself right at the beginning. He called it “event fatigue”.

    I have this infamous quote on tape.

    Admittedly, four or five SOAS students came in right at the end but that was just to give out leaflets to market themselves for the student elections today.

  4. modernityblog

    “A significant number of anti-Zionist Jews spoke to me afterwards and offered reasons for their change of heart from their previous position. Jonathan , it is not too late for you to similarly benefit, by repenting of your egregious behaviour.”

    You can see from his comment that Shanahan is imbued with rather dodgy Christian prejudices.


    How Christian, the very notion that Jews should repent to a Christian is offensive, what a cheek

  5. Richard:

    Your view on early Zionism is essentially a slightly watered down version of ‘From Time Immemorial’ With an attitude like that you’re gonna attract ridicule. And no, I don’t wish it upon you but I find it hard to keep a straight face with the ‘Flat Earth Society’ too…

    That there was very considerable ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Zionists is not in dispute by any serious historian: Morris, Shlaim Ben Ami, Finkelstein, Pappe for instance, these people are largely in agreement with each other, some minor squabbles not withstanding.

    And yet some, like you, Hoffman and Alderman, still cling to a notion that simply doesn’t fit the facts. Because, Heaven Forbid, criminal behaviour was found on the Zionist side (to you: Jewish side).

    42 years after that ‘pre-emptive war’ and near half a million settlers later who can still doubt Zionism’s intentions? Israel now largely ignores even the mild criticism from its main benefactor, see e.g. the Biden flap. It no longer hides its true intentions. Only a blind person can’t see it.

    Take this snippet from another post of yours:

    “Palestine” was not a land without “people” but it was a land without “a people”.

    Here what you’re saying is if you’re not a ‘Real People’, you’re royally f*cked, because you’ll be made to make room for those with Real Credentials. And you can’t even see the racist ‘Blut und Boden’ nonsense in that! What on Earth does it matter whether you belong to a ‘Real People’ or not? And what is a ‘Real People’? Even if you buy into Zionist ‘biologising’ arguments, the Jews as a people too are essentially a construct with a beginning somewhere. Did they not have rights before they somehow declared themselves a ‘People’?

  6. Jonathan Hoffman

    That there was very considerable ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Zionists is not in dispute by any serious historian: Morris, Shlaim Ben Ami, Finkelstein, Pappe ..are largely in agreement with each other..

    Utter drivel. You betray your ignorance

    Here is Professor Karsh:

    “By the time of Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14, the numbers of Arab refugees had more than trebled. Even then, none of the 170,000-180,000 Arabs fleeing urban centers, and only a handful of the 130,000-160,000 villagers who left their homes, had been forced out by the Jews.”

  7. richardmillett

    Gert, my “people” point is that there was no state there and the people that there were there amounted to know more than let’s say 600,000 at most! So the Jews thought it is not a problem to go there because it was a fairly empty area. Tel Aviv itself was built from scratch in the sand dunes in 1907. Yes there were 600,000 people but that does not make a country owned by those people.

    Why don’t you campaign for the indigenous people of USA and Australia to have their country back if you feel that it does?

    I think Morris is more nuanced than you infer. Yes, some ethnic cleansing but that was due to military necessity in the main e.g. Plan D.

    Anyway, let’s see the Arab archives. They won’t open them. I am sure they will contain some real gems.

    Pappe is more a propagandist now. He seems to have become a representative of the PSC since his arrival in UK. I pity his students.

  8. modernityblog

    This is a problem with semiliterate Far Righters like Gert, he simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    If he did, he’d realise that Norman Finkelstein is a political scientist and not a historian.

    Further if Gert has the brains of a pigeon then he would realise that Pappe is such a questionable historian that the first edition of his recent history on the Middle East was littered from head to toe with basic chronological errors, which is unforgivable for a historian, see Morris’s review of his work.

    But Gert doesn’t know or care about such issues, which is why he’s best ignored.

  9. Jonathan:

    Karsh really is one of the few exceptions that still clings to that myth. Almost no one else does now. That’s a fact.

    Aren’t you gonna stand for Chair of the BZF? You know we love you, don’t you?


    From your blog:

    Oh and Rev. Sizer if you are reading this, using the expression “Zionist” instead of “Jews” doesn’t fool anyone, the Extreme Right have been using that particular ploy for the years.

    Pretty clear isn’t it? If you’re pro-Zionist you’re pro-Jewish, if you’re anti-Zionist you’re an antisemite. Nicely idiot proof for the ankle-biters that read your blog.

    Pity also for your position that the Far Right in this country, notably the BNP and the EDL, now support Israel and Zionism. At least they’re being consistent: Nationalists supporting other Nationalists.

    I always had you down as an imbecile but didn’t quite understand that your ‘caring about antisemitism’ is in fact blatant Zionism and nothing else. Your friend ‘Bob from Brockney’ claimed that (paraphrasing) ‘as far as I know Modernity is against the Occupation too’.

    I doubt that very much.

  10. richardmillett

    Gert, some anti-Zionists are anti-Semites. Many reasonable people cannot comprehend how people can be so against a jewish state and, more importantly, why.

    It is a valid view to hold. In my view not every anti-Zionist is an anti-Semite but some certainly are.

    But I am suspicious of someone’s motives when they are so fixated on Israel’s right to exist and not so much on other countries like America and Australia, both of which were born in similar circumstances to Israel.

  11. I haven’t responded here because I didn’t receive email notification so far (WordPress really sucks, if you ask me).

    As long as you keep twisting my words regarding the existence of the State of Israel, you’ll always be suspicious. Makes it nice and easy for you. Another clear sign of your ‘objectivity’…