Tag Archives: jewish people

Dear Mr Burden, please don’t wish us a “Happy Chanukah”.

Last night I was enjoying the warm glow of first night Chanukah, having lit the candles and having gone to a public lighting (see my clip above), when later in the evening I read a tweet from Richard Burden MP, Labour MP for Northfield, which simply stated “Happy #Hanukkah everybody”.

Mr Burden is no friend of Israel so why is he wishing Jews a “Happy Hanukkah”, I thought. Many of Burden’s tweets (or retweets) are aimed at demonising the Jewish state.

He has recently been demanding, via Twitter, that Israel release all Palestinian “child prisoners” and when I asked him who he classed as a “child” he answered anyone “under 18”.

Now, as you can imagine, even a Palestinian aged 16 or 17 is capable of inflicting severe casualties on Israel’s civilian population.

So can a “child” like Izzedine Abu Sneineh who was arrested when 15 and convicted of “weapons training; attempted murder” and possession of “weapons/ammo/explosives” (as you can see from Elder of Ziyon’s link the New York Times wrongly reported that Sneineh was arrested for throwing stones and hanging Palestinian flags).

Abu Sneineh was freed in the second tranche of Palestinian prisoners as agreed in the Gilad Shalit exchange deal.

When I asked Burden what he thought of Sneineh’s release and whether Britain should also release ALL of its prisoners who were under 18 he simply referred me to his previous answers to my questions.

These answers, via Twitter, were:
“1. Prisoners being released anyway under #Shalit swap. Issue here is should they include detainees aged under 18? I say yes”
“2. UNICEF say any state holding under 18s should only do so in accordance with UN Convention. I agree”
“3. I’ve seen conditions in which #Israel’s child prisoners held. Read evidence hear yourself @DCI_Palestine”

I looked at DCI_Palestine, an “NGO devoted to defending the rights of children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 1992” (www.dci-pal.org) and read a description of the arrest of 16 year old Rasheed J by the IDF. It was, allegedly, a brutal arrest in which Rashid J spent many days in isolation and was told that:

‘You Arabs like to fuck camels and donkeys and go to brothels to fuck whores. You have no honour because your mother’s a whore.’

This would be unforgiveable if it were true but it is uncorroborated and I just don’t believe it based on many similar lies.

The other main accusation in the piece about Rasheed J’s arrest is that Palestinian prisoners, like Rasheed J, are kept in custody in Israel “in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits transfer out of occupied territory”.

But who, with any properly constituted legal authority, has declared it “occupied territory” for the purposes of Article 76? No one. This is because there is no Palestine and so Palestine cannot be “occupied”. Article 76 is, therefore, totally irrelevant.

Furthermore, Burden likes to retweet a horrendous story about Israel, whether it’s true or not.

On 16th December he retweeted The Guardian’s story that Israel had hastened the death of the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK’s wife by forcing her back to Jerusalem to renew her residency rights while she was undergoing treatment for cancer, despite denials by Israeli officials that this was the case.

The allegation levelled at Israel was that she became “infected by a virus on her plane journey back to London in May and died three months later”; basically, Israel was now responsible for her sad demise.

In fact, as cifwatch states, the reason for her visit to Israel was to “seek a second opinion on her condition from doctors at Hadassah Hospital”.

So does anyone really believe that Burden sincerely wishes Jewish people a “Happy Hanukkah” when the rest of the time he makes every effort to demonise the Jewish state with its five and a quarter million Jews, some of our family and friends included, while calling for the release of Palestinians like Abu Sneineh who planned their murder?

Is a book about Jews of “Jewish Interest”?

Waterstone’s in Hampstead has a “Jewish interest” section containing The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand.

The main thesis of the book is that there is no “Jewish people”, just Jews.

Sand claims that Jews have no connection to what is now Israel and so no right to return there.

He states there was no expulsion of Jews by the Romans so the only true descendants of the original Jews are the Palestinians after all those Jews eventually adopted Islam.

So how could there at one stage have been 19 million Jews worldwide (13 million now)?

Easily, according to Sand, as all Jews are converts.

Sand says that eastern European Jews do not originate with the Jews who came from the Middle East via Ashkenaz (Germany) to Poland but with the Khazars, nomadic tribes that built an empire between the Black and Caspian Seas, converted to Judaism in the eighth century, and were scattered when their state was eventually destroyed.

Anita Shapira
does a solid deconstruction of this sorry book and notes how most websites that contain discussions of this subject are either those of White Power members or Islamic extremists:

“White Power members denounce Jews in U.S. government along the lines of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and explain that they are not really Jews but the descendants of the Khazars; they are therefore unworthy of American aid to restore them to the land of Israel.”

Some Jews of the time migrated to other areas in the Roman Empire but whether there was a violent expulsion or not there was a loss of Jewish sovereignty which was catastrophic enough to have been retained in Jewish memory. This loss is what has been passed down through the years by Jewish writers and historians. It was not a recent “Zionist creation”, as Sand implies.

A recent study has shown that Jews from the different regions of the world were found to share many genetic traits that are distinct from other groups and that date back to ancient times.

So The Invention of the Jewish People is just another anti-Zionist tome. The final chapter gives Sand’s real intentions away. In it he accuses Israel of racism and apartheid, he talks of worldwide Jewish power and calls for a bi-national state; all the default positions of your average anti-Zionist/Israel-hater.

That all said my argument is not with Sand. He can write what he likes. My argument is with respectable outlets that actively seek to promote this sort of anti-Jewish diatribe, Waterstone’s being a main culprit.

It is likely that The Satanic Verses would be considered too offensive for a “Muslim interest” section.

I was told that many Jewish customers have bought Sand’s book. Of course they have, just like they buy other books too.

Sand’s book is an attack on long-held Jewish beliefs and traditions. Being offensive to most Jews does not make it of general “Jewish interest” (by that reasoning Waterstone’s could place Mein Kampf there also, as was suggested to me by a Waterstone’s employee).

But Waterstone’s is emboldened by the Jewish Quarterly having nominated Sand’s book for its literary prize, among three other books.

The result of who wins the £4000 is soon to be announced and with anti-Zionist Anne Karpf being a judge Sand stands a decent chance.

The Independent recently published this letter:

No evidence of expulsion of Jews
C Cameron (letters, 27 March) is right to debunk the enduring myth of the “Jewish People”, a tale perpetuated by anti-Semites as well as Zionists. The “Wandering Jew”, expelled from his land, left stateless for centuries and waiting for his return to the promised land of his ancestors, is purely imaginary. There is no historical evidence of forced expulsion of the Judeans, and the overwhelming majority of Jews are descendants of converts.
Israel is a legitimate state because it was sanctioned by the UN in 1947. It should always remain a safe haven for persecuted Jews, but I don’t see why an assimilated European or American Jew should have any right to settle in Israel while denying that right to a poor Palestinian refugee whose grandparents were expelled from their own house 50 years ago.
Philippe Bareille
Stevenage, Hertfordshire

I went to hear Sand speak once and noticed a black woman clutching a signed copy of the book. I asked why she wanted to read it and she said that it is “finally proof of all she has ever been thinking”.

I would never usually mention skin colour but I feel it is relevant here. During the campaign for civil rights American Jewry was at the forefront fighting for all those deprived of such rights.

How short a person’s memory can be.