Tag Archives: anthony julius

An evening with Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

David Landy, Richard Kuper and Naomi Wayne (Chair).

David Landy, Richard Kuper and Naomi Wayne (Chair).

Last Tuesday I went to SOAS for a launch of a book by David Landy called Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights – Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel. Anti-Zionist celebrities Tony Greenstein and Deborah Fink were in the audience.

Landy sees his book as “academic” even though, when it comes down to it, he is just another anti-Zionist propagandist and boycotter of Israel.

I haven’t read the book but I imagine, based on Landy’s talk, that in it he provides justification for direct action against Israel based on two lies; Israel’s “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians in 1948 and Israel’s unequal treatment of Palestinians now.

Landy is described as “an Irish-Jewish academic, active in the Palestine solidarity movement. Formerly chair of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, he is currently based in Trinity College Dublin where he teaches contemporary social and cultural theory, and race and migration.”

In the book he critiques the “Jewish opposition to Israel” movement. For instance, he asks whether pro-Palestinian activism is really more about the activists, who tend to drown the Palestinians in victimhood, than the Palestinians.

It is a fair point because at “pro-Palestinian” meetings it is rare to actually discuss the Palestinians, except in the context of Israel’s supposed oppression of them. You learn nothing about the Palestinians themselves, although that would be interesting.

Then again the Palestinians have defined themselves, or have been defined, solely by their opposition to Israel. And jfjfp are also defined solely by their opposition to Israel. Landy explained that the use of “Jews” in the name of the organisation is sensible because Israel, he thinks wrongly, wants to speak for all the world’s Jews.

Landy started by explaining his reason for writing the book. He said that the pieces written about “Jewish opposition to Israel” were mainly “unsympathetic” and written by the likes of Anthony Julius and Geoffrey Alderman, which he described as being:

“Equivalent to the KKK giving their opinions on what the white civil rights movement in the United States was up to. It’s the same kind of level. It’s done to discredit the movement.”

Here is Landy at SOAS in his own words:

But what intrigued me more than anything were Richard Kuper’s speeches.

Kuper is a jfjfp and stalwart anti-Zionist activist. The Neturei Karta provide the main extremist religious Jewish opposition to Israel’s existence and the jfjfp provides the main extremist secular opposition to Israel’s existence. Both NK and jfjfp promote BDS.

So it would be interesting to understand how jfjfp define their Judaism. jfjfp seems to reject both Jewish religiosity and any type of Jewish peoplehood (Zionism), so what is left?

Jewish culture? But doesn’t the culture stem from the religion? Without the religion there would be no culture.

Human rights? But then all religions are concerned with that.

Kuper says he hasn’t been to synagogue since his barmitzvah. He also praised Jewdas (which has all of 5 members) for “sticking two fingers up to the institutions of the Jewish community”.

He condemns the “narrowness” and “religiosity” of the traditional Jewish community and talks of “new, younger Jews whose Judaism is much weaker, but very deeply felt, than the kind of orthodox Judaism with which I was brought up”:

How can one’s Judaism be “weaker, but very deeply felt” and what does this Judaism consist of?

Is this Judaism solely about condemnation of Israel and its existence?

Can it be that simple?

One commentator thinks that many anti-Zionist Jews have either no children or no Jewish children. They are, in effect, “the end of the Jewish line” and, therefore, their thinking is that if they cannot have a family themselves they wish to deny that family to the Jewish people as a whole.

Meanwhile, here is Landy on the strength of diaspora Jewish opposition to Israel, which, he admits, is a “minority movement”. “Minority” is an understatement to say the least:

After all this heavy philosophising and intellectualising jfjfp broke for red wine in the good old Hampstead intelligentsia tradition.

IAJLJ Conference, SOAS, London

The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists met this week in London for a conference on Democratic and Legal Norms in an Age of Terror.

Topics under discussion were the law of universal jurisdiction, the Goldstone Report, academic freedom and boycotts of Israel, the ‘Free Gaza‘ flotilla, how should democracies cope with terror and, finally, Iran.

The timing was apt as it seems that the political battleground is gradually moving to the courts where we could now be witnessing the beginnings of the politicisation of the British judiciary.

It is well known that Israeli figures such as Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni cannot visit the UK due to the threat of arrest under the law of universal jurisdiction. All that is needed is for someone to go to a magistrate and present a flimsy case for such an arrest and the magistrate has to issue an arrest warrant.

But it has also now been made possible to enter a factory, cause £180,000 of damage and be acquitted of the charge of criminal damage on the ground of “lawful excuse” because you disagree with the aims of the company. Seven such defendants have just been allowed free. In his summing up to the jury the judge said:

“You may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered.”

The court’s decision has been fully supported by the newly elected Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas.

One can invade a British supermarket with no intention of buying anything and dump, and no doubt damage in the process, Israeli produce into trolleys and be allowed to walk out without arrest or caution.

One can also repeatedly stand outside an Israeli shop in London to harass customers and cause a profound disturbance so that the Israeli shop and neighbouring shops lose business.

It is expected that the law on universal jurisdiction will be amended so that authorisation for an arrest warrant will have to be given by the Director of Public Prosecutions or, possibly, the Attorney General but the thrust of an impressive talk given by Professor Yaffa Zilbershats (Law Faculty, Bar Ilan University) was that the law of universal jurisdiction should be reserved for “heinous crimes”, as was originally intended, committed by the likes of Adolf Eichman or President Bashir of Sudan, not the likes of Olmert, Barak and Livni.

Michael Caplan QC, of Kingsley Napley, gave a fascinating account of his representation of Augusto Pinochet. He told of how the House of Lords allowed an appeal from the High Court, so authorising Pinochet to be tried in his capacity as head of state of Chile and clearing the way for his extradition to Spain, but that the 3-2 decision had to be thrown out when Lord Hoffmann’s links to Amnesty International surfaced.

Professor Lord Paul Bew, one of the best-known commentators on Northern Ireland, spoke (listen below) about Ireland and the similarities, or lack thereof, with Israel/Palestine. He made the point that the level of hatred between Catholics and Protestants was no where near the same level as that involved in Israel/Palestine.

Importantly, he spoke of the basic framework within which the peace process took place, one of the main aspects of which was renunciation of violence. Although breaches of the framework regularly took place all sides worked towards that goal.

There is no such framework in the Middle East where Hamas is fully committed to violence and the destruction of Israel.

As to continuing brainwashing of Palestinian children he pointed out that even now in Irish schools in America the schoolchildren are having the Troubles in Northern Ireland put on a par with the Holocaust. He couldn’t say what effect this might have for the future.

Professor Gerald Steinberg (NGO Monitor and Professor of Political Science at Bar Ilan University) spoke (listen below) of the huge amounts of cash that are heading to NGOs from Arab countries and described how many of these NGOs (over a hundred) directly supplied evidence to the Goldstone Commission that eventually found Israel guilty of war crimes in the Gaza Conflict of 2009/2010.

Professor Anne F Bayefsky (Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute and eyeontheun) spoke about the members of the United Nations Human Rights Council. It was the Council that conducted the Goldstone process. She described an experience of speaking at an open microphone at the United Nations, when the UN adopted the Goldstone Report on November 25th, having found herself shocked by the hate speech. She was taken out and had her badge removed for four months on the ground that the Palestinian ambassador found what she had said to be “offensive”.

The Council consists of 47 nations and she pointed out that many of the members have some of the world’s worst human rights records: Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Angola, Cuba, China and Russia. Less than half of the Council members are fully free democracies according to Freedom House rankings.

Retired Judge Hadassa Ben-Itto
spoke of her experience of dealing with publishers of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which is still on sale all over the world. The Protocols, a Tsarist forgery, portrays a Jewish conspiracy to control the world and forms part of the Hamas Charter. She suggested that companies that publish such defamatory and inciteful material should be sued.

Dr. Anthony Julius, one of Britain’s top lawyers and a prolific author, spoke about how boycotts of Israel are anti-Semitic. He said that all countries have enemies but the problem for Israel is to uncover those who are purely motivated by Jew hatred.

He described how the boycott has been identified historically with anti-Semitic sentiment and how it is increasingly becoming difficult to talk about anti-Semitism in this country because it is said against those that do that they are simply trying to silence and smear the opposition. Even the debate amongst Jews, he said, has now changed to whether we should just concentrate on talking up the positive aspects of Israel.

Professor Irwin Cotler, the former Minister of Justice of Canada, spoke about the threat of a nuclear Iran and also the crime of incitement to genocide by President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime in general. He suggested that although Iran is not party to the International Criminal Court a reference should be made to the United Nations for Ahmadinejad to be referred to the court as was the case with President Bashir of Sudan. His 160-page analysis of Iran is out on 8th July 2010.

Interestingly, Dr Robbie Sabel of the Hebrew University quoted Palestinian civilian casualty figures for Operation Cast Lead as being somewhere between 250-300 (source; Israel) and 760 (source; B’Tselem) as opposed to the oft quoted figure of 1440. The latter figure includes Hamas fighters.

Professor Avi Bell gave a detailed legal critique of the Goldstone Report in light of his soon-to-be-published paper on the matter and his view of the Mavi Marmara deaths set against the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea.

With regard to the latter a relevant section of the manual is:

67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;

The Israeli Ambassador to Britain, H.E. Ron Prosor (listen below), and the Israeli Ambassador to France and Monaco, H.E. Daniel Shek, also spoke.

There was a description of the situation in France where boycotts against another nation are treated as incitement to racial hatred and are imprisonable offences (listen below).

Delegates flew in from Israel and from as far a field as Australia and Argentina for the conference.

Recordings of some of the talks (left click to play):

Professor Lord Paul Brew

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The Israeli Ambassador to Britain, H.E. Ron Prosor

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The position in France

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Professor Gerald Steinberg

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