Arthur Goodman, Lindsey German, Walter Wolfgang, John Rose, chairperson, Weyman Bennett, Tariq Ali at ULU last night.
Just when you think you have heard it all along comes Tariq Ali to lecture Israelis on how the end of the Jewish state will benefit not only Palestinians but Israelis as well.
For Ali the main problem in Europe isn’t anti-Semitism but Islamophobia. He admitted there was some anti-Semitism in the Arab world but it was only brought about by reaction to Israel and that once Israel has disappeared antisemitism will disappear.
Ali was speaking last night at the University of London’s Student Union in front of an audience of 300 alongside anti-Israel author John Rose, Weyman Bennett of Unite Against Fascism, Lindsey German of Stop the War Coalition, Arthur Goodman of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and “As a Jew” activist Walter Wolfgang .
The main message of the evening was that antisemitism is being used merely to attack Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and to silence all criticism of Israel (aka the Livingstone formulation). Both John Rose and Ali then went on to explicitly call for the demise of Israel.
On entering we were handed an unsigned leaflet headed “Labour Jews Assert” which stated that “Some people…are wielding ‘antisemitism’ allegations as a stick to beat the Corbyn leadership”. Luckily, Jonathan Hoffman was on hand to circulate printed copies of the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism. EUMC shows that what these people claim isn’t antisemitism actually is!
Arthur Goodman said it wasn’t surprising that people conflate Jews and Israel when the British Jewish establishment says all Jews support Israel and Netanyahu says Israel represents all Jews.
He said that Jewish groups shouldn’t be allowed to define what antisemitism is as they have a vested interest. He called for an objective definition instead before going on to outrageously claim that Israel “ethnically cleansed” the Palestinians in 1948.
Goodman said that although the same had happened to the indigenous people of America their dispossession had finished long ago so it was wrong to revive any such similarity today. And he said for most UK Jews a love of Israel is part of their identity and so they see criticism of Israel as criticism of them.
Weymann Bennett said that Left was in the forefront of fighting antisemitism and gave as an example UAF’s protests against the leader of Jobbik when he visited the UK and he said similar protests will take place when Marine Le Pen visits.
Lindsey German didn’t like the fact that Israel’s new Ambassador Mark Regev was immediately allowed on Andrew Marr’s BBC show and said that this is going to happen a lot now (I hope she’s right!).
And she said that Zionism is a political ideology criticism of which should be allowed. She also said that many Jews do not support what Israel does (she didn’t say many Muslim people also don’t support what the Palestinians do).
Walter Wolfgang told us he was speaking “As a Jew”. He gave us his own history of Zionism; he quoted Ahad Ha’am who, he said, wanted merely a cultural as opposed to a political centre in historic Israel, he (wrongly) claimed that in 1948 the Palestinians were “driven out of their habitations” and he (wrongly) asserted that Jabotinsky wanted Israel established by force of arms.
Wolfgang wanted Israel to exist but within the (indefensible) 1948-1967 ceasefire lines and a just settlement for “Palestinian refugees”.
The villains with the biggest lies of the evening were John Rose and Tariq Ali.
Ali (wrongly) claimed it was Israeli government policy to brand everyone who criticises Israel as antisemitic (see clip 1 below).
He also said that the way the Holocaust is “taught as a unique crime is not that helpful” because there were other crimes like in the Congo and if these other crimes are not taught in schools then no one will understand what the Muslims are suffering today (clip 2). And he continued:
“If what is being done with Muslim communities today were being done to the Jews again how many would tolerate it? Very few. And these are the double standards.” (clip 2)
He said that antisemitism is used to stop any campaigning against Israel but if there was a so-called one state solution then antisemitism and criticism of Israel would disappear and that Israelis and their children and grandchildren would benefit (clip 3).
Rose said he had spoken to an Israeli archaeologist who said the “Palestinians had all become Islamic terrorists”. This, Rose claimed, was symptomatic of the levels of racism in Israeli society today (clip 4).
Rose wanted (clip 5) there to be one person-one vote for Israelis and Palestinians including the so-called Palestinian refugees (90% of whom are not refugees at all by the way). Obviously Israelis would be outvoted so Rose is basically calling for the establishment of a 57th Muslim state in place of the only Jewish one.
Rose claimed that calling for a so-called one state solution isn’t antisemitic. However, in my opinion, denying the Jewish people their only state in their historic homeland (even when it could still be alongside a Palestinian one) can only be antisemitic especially when a boycott of Israel is also called for.
The superb Jonathan Hoffman took to the microphone during the Q&A to articulate Israel’s case under immense pressure (clip 6).
Last night there was no mention of Hamas and Hezbollah and their genocidal intent to destroy Israel and every Jewish person worldwide. Neither was it mentioned that Hezbollah flags are openly on display at Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop The War Campaign protests in London and that the Holocaust is flagrantly traduced.
This tells you ALL you need to know about PSC and STWC types however “anti-racist” they try to claim they are.
Relevant clips from last night: