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Criticism of Israel or hatred of Jews?
And in the interests of balance:First-rate writer and columnist though he is, Howard Jacobson cannot resist conflating anti-Semitism with anti-Israelism (18 May).Yet the big question about Israel’s hopes to continue as a Jewish state depend not on boycotts or on motions passed by a university union, but on how Israel will in future govern a non-Jewish-majority population if it fails now to accept a two-state solution when there is still – perhaps – time.Brian Beeley, Tunbridge Wells, KentIsrael doesn’t “just happen to be Jewish”, Howard Jacobson. In fact the current demography of Israel results from its policy of replacing Palestinian society with people from a Jewish background.The building and expansion of Jewish-only illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank is a continuation of this policy.Janet Green, London NW5Howard Jacobson is absolutely right that the Palestinian movement has always had its anti-Semitic infiltrators. It is deeply dispiriting because it utterly contradicts the principal motive that drives the movement: the injustice implicit in the progressive dispossession and lockdown of a defenceless people.A growing number of young Jews support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign as a vehicle for getting Israel to disgorge the occupied territories, since the US and its allies are so disinclined to compel Israel to respect international humanitarian law.They seem to do this for a number of reasons ranging from the pragmatic – Israel has swallowed more than it can digest – to the moral – the violation of Judaic morality in which, contrary to Mr Jacobson’s take, they identify the Palestinians as the persecuted party.David McDowall, Richmond, Surrey
Not realising the Indie had already published these I wrote and sent this in the small hours of this morning:Howard Jacobson has had the courage to expose the hypocritical anti-Semitism at the heart of the Israel boycott campaign of the University and College Union.This will no doubt result in hate mail and worse, but may stimulate some academics to re-examine this highly selective boycott and instead support dialogue with Israeli counterparts, many of whom voice valid criticism of some Israeli government policies.Ben Marshall, London N11
I wouldn't normally publish a letter before the intended recipients have a chance to accept or reject it (bad manners and bad luck!) but I think I missed the boat with this one and they're not likely to let me call one of their celeb commentators a liar, are they?Dear SirThere are three major issues with Howard Jacobson's article, ostensibly condemning Stephen Hawking's decision to boycott an event taking place in Jerusalem.First, he claims that the Employment Tribunal in the case of Fraser v University and College Union ruled on "a complaint that the Union was institutionally anti-Semitic" and that it "encountered not a trace of any such beast". The case dealt with not "a complaint" of anything so vague as a "trace" of institutional antisemitism but ten very specific complaints that the UCU had racially harassed a Jewish Israel advocate on account of union activists' stance towards the State of Israel and various of Israel's illegal actions against the Palestinian people. The tribunal decided that nothing the union had done amounted to harassment and anyway "support for the Zionist project....cannot amount to a protected characteristic. It is not intrinsically a part of Jewishness.."Second, having scoured the web for dirt on the presiding judge, Judge Anthony Snelson, Jacobson couldn't find anything and so he misrepresented the closest thing he could find (from 2009!) to suit his purpose: the case of a waitress complaining of sex discrimination on account of a dress she was being ordered to wear. For Jacobson, the case hinged on the waitress being a Muslim and so he satisfied himself and sought to persuade his readers that Judge Snelson was pro-Muslim and anti-Jewish.This is how HR Magazine reported on the judgment:They said of the dress: "Plainly, it related to her sex. It was gender-specific. The respondents did not introduce a summer uniform for male waiting staff. Unlike the women, the men were not required to switch to brightly coloured, figure-hugging garb."
Third, he makes a false assertion and a serious omission in the case of Stephen Hawking. It's worth quoting Jacobson:
And now, with Stephen Hawking announcing, by means of an Israeli-made device, that he no longer wants to talk to the scientists who invented it, or to Israeli scientists who invented or might invent anything else, or indeed to Israeli historians, critics, biologists, physicists of any complexion, no matter what their relations to Palestinian scholars whom he does want to talk to, we are reminded that the cultural boycott with which he has suddenly decided to throw in his lot is entirely unJew-related, which is more good news. “Peace”, that is all Professor Hawking seeks, a word that was left out of his statement as reproduced on the Palestine Solidarity Campaign website, presumably on the grounds that everyone already knows that peace is all the PSC has ever wanted too.But can PSC really be the only site Jacobson viewed to find Hawking's statement? The following statement is all over the web and I copy it here from the Daily Beast:“I accepted the invitation to the Presidential Conference with the intention that this would not only allow me to express my opinion on the prospects for a Peace Settlement but also because it would allow me to lecture on the West Bank,” wrote Hawking.And the omission? Having listed all those great and good people that Hawking was refusing to meet there were three words missing from Jacobson's article: "Presidential Conference" and "Peres". This meeting, like the State of Israel itself, is being presided over by a war criminal. Surely that was worth a mention.Yours faithfully
First of all, we must remember that from a historical perspective, the concept emerged only at the end of the 19th century. It’s meaningless to try and describe Yehuda Halevi as a Zionist, or any other Jew who immigrated to the Holy Land in centuries past.Nothing wrong with that. But saying what something isn't doesn't work as a definition.
Here is the definition: A Zionist is a person who desires or supports the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, which in the future will become the state of the Jewish people. This is based on what Herzl said: “In Basel I founded the Jewish state.”That seems to be it. Zionism is about the establishment of a state specifically for the world's Jews. Yes? Yes.
A Zionist, therefore, is a Jew [or anyone else - levi9909] who supported the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, and not necessarily one who actually settled in the land. Herzl himself and many Zionist leaders never settled in the land, yet you wouldn’t hesitate to call them Zionists. Even today, the members of Zionist federations worldwide are considered Zionists by us and by themselves, even though they don’t live in Israel.But there is stuff I I disagree with:
Zionism is not an ideology. If the definition of ideology, according to the Hebrew Encyclopedia, is as follows − “A cohesive, systematic combination of ideas, insights, principles and imperatives that finds expression in the particular worldview of a sect, a party or a social class” − then Zionism cannot be considered an ideology, but merely a very broad platform for various ideologies that may even contradict one another.Say what? As it happens, the definition could have simply said "identity group" in place of its incomplete list of "a sect, a party or a social class" or we could fit Jews into sect or party and posit zionism, as Yehoshua does, as an ideology for Jews. It cannot be a platform for various ideologies once we define zionism as being about a state for Jews. Humanistic ideologies are excluded unless we take out their humanistic dimension and append the suffix zionism to, eg, liberal, socialist, etc. It works the same if we use zionist as a prefix to those things. However we render humanist ideological labels when appended to or by zionist, we are rendering them non-humanist or oxymoronic. This is because, as Yehoshua himself says, zionism is about a state for Jews, not for citizens, not for non-Jews and certainly not for Palestinians.
Liberating the concept of Zionism from all the appendages and addenda that have adhered to it would not only clarify the ideological and political arguments we have among ourselves, and thus prevent these disputes from being mythologized, but it would also force critics abroad to clarify and focus their positions.Hear hear! I like to make my position perfectly clear. A zionist state is a state for the world's Jews, it can only be established and maintained on the basis of colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and segregationist laws. Therefore, there should be no state for the world's Jews.
Costs claimThat's how it appears in the JC.
BY SIMON ROCKER
The University and College Union,
which was unsuccessfully sued by a
Jewish lecturer over its anti-Israel
policies, is trying to recover
Mishcon de Raya, the solicitors
which acted for Academic Friends
of Israel director Ronnie Fraser, con-
firmed that a cost order has
A UCU spokesman said it could not
comment as there were still "legal
It was this same Judge Snelson, reader, who ruled in favour of a Muslim woman claiming the cocktail dress she was expected to wear, while working as a cocktail waitress in Mayfair, “violated her dignity”. Not for him the cheap shot of wondering what in that case she was doing working as a cocktail waitress in a cocktail bar in Mayfair. If she felt she was working in a “hostile environment”, then she was working in a “hostile environment”, which is not to be confused with a Jew feeling he is working in a hostile environment since with the abolition of anti-Semitism there is no such thing as an environment that’s hostile to a Jew. My point being that Judge Snelson’s credentials as a man who knows a bigot from a barmcake are impeccable.Just a quick revisit of the FUCU case. The Jew in question was a man, Ronnie Fraser, who decided that his commitment to the zionist project is so much a part of his Jewish identity that campaigning against the State of Israel amounts to racially harassing him, even if many of the campaigners are Jewish. Now you might think, from what Jacobson is saying, that the outcome of the cocktail waitress case had to do with her being a Muslim. So now look at how the case was reported in HR Magazine. The headline is, Muslim cocktail waitress wins compensation in tight-fitting red dress sex discrimination case so you might think the whole discrimination thing was about her being a Muslim. But if you read the whole article you'll see this:
A panel led by employment judge Anthony Snelson found she held "views about modesty and decency which some might think unusual in Britain in the 21st century". But it upheld her claim that bar owners Spring and Greene had discriminated against her on the grounds of her gender.
Now it doesn't get more cut and dried than that. This was a case of gender discrimination. Maybe her being a Muslim made her more culturally aware of the different way in which she was being treated from her male colleagues but that would be a complement to Muslims, not the put-down that Jacobson clearly intended.They said of the dress: "Plainly, it related to her sex. It was gender-specific. The respondents did not introduce a summer uniform for male waiting staff. Unlike the women, the men were not required to switch to brightly coloured, figure-hugging garb."
Forcing her to wear the dress if she wanted to continue working at the bar "violated her dignity", the panel decided, and created a "humiliating" environment. It found: "Her perception was that wearing the dress would make her feel as if she was on show, as if she was being presented as one of the attractions that the Rocket Bar was offering its customers.
"In our view that perception was legitimate and not unreasonable. We are reinforced in this conclusion by the striking contrast between the dress and the dark, loose-fitting attire which would remain the men's uniform."
The last of the Semites
It is Israel's claims that it represents and speaks for all Jews that are the most anti-Semitic claims of all.
Last Modified: 14 May 2013 14:49
"The Governments of all countries scourged by anti-Semitism will be keenly interested in assisting us to obtain [the] sovereignty we want."He added that "not only poor Jews" would contribute to an immigration fund for European Jews, "but also Christians who wanted to get rid of them". Herzl unapologetically confided in his Diaries that:
"The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies."Thus when Herzl began to meet in 1903 with infamous anti-Semites like the Russian minister of the interior Vyacheslav von Plehve, who oversaw anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia, it was an alliance that he sought by design. That it would be the anti-Semitic Lord Balfour, who as Prime Minister of Britain in 1905 oversaw his government's Aliens Act, which prevented East European Jews fleeing Russian pogroms from entering Britain in order, as he put it, to save the country from the "undoubted evils" of "an immigration which was largely Jewish", was hardy coincidental. Balfour's infamous Declaration of 1917 to create in Palestine a "national home" for the "Jewish people", was designed, among other things, to curb Jewish support for the Russian Revolution and to stem the tide of further unwanted Jewish immigrants into Britain.
it is barbarism, but the supreme barbarism, the crowning barbarism that sums up all the daily barbarisms; that it is Nazism, yes, but that before [Europeans] were its victims, they were its accomplices; and they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimised it, because, until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples; that they have cultivated that Nazism, that they are responsible for it, and that before engulfing the whole of Western, Christian civilisation in its reddened waters, it oozes, seeps, and trickles from every crack.That for Césaire the Nazi wars and holocaust were European colonialism turned inwards is true enough. But since the rehabilitation of Nazism's victims as white people, Europe and its American accomplice would continue their Nazi policy of visiting horrors on non-white people around the world, on Korea, on Vietnam and Indochina, on Algeria, on Indonesia, on Central and South America, on Central and Southern Africa, on Palestine, on Iran, and on Iraq and Afghanistan.
|Israel and its anti-Semitic allies affirm that Israel is "the Jewish people", that its policies are "Jewish" policies, that its achievements are "Jewish" achievements, that its crimes are "Jewish" crimes, and that therefore anyone who dares to criticise Israel is criticising Jews and must be an anti-Semite. The Palestinian people have mounted a major struggle against this anti-Semitic incitement. They continue to affirm instead that the Israeli government does not speak for all Jews, that it does not represent all Jews, and that its colonial crimes against the Palestinian people are its own crimes and not the crimes of "the Jewish people", and that therefore it must be criticised, condemned and prosecuted for its ongoing war crimes against the Palestinian people. This is not a new Palestinian position, but one that was adopted since the turn of the 20th century and continued throughout the pre-WWII Palestinian struggle against Zionism. Yasser Arafat's speech at the United Nations in 1974 stressed all these points vehemently:|
Just as colonialism heedlessly used the wretched, the poor, the exploited as mere inert matter with which to build and to carry out settler colonialism, so too were destitute, oppressed European Jews employed on behalf of world imperialism and of the Zionist leadership. European Jews were transformed into the instruments of aggression; they became the elements of settler colonialism intimately allied to racial discrimination…Zionist theology was utilised against our Palestinian people: the purpose was not only the establishment of Western-style settler colonialism but also the severing of Jews from their various homelands and subsequently their estrangement from their nations. Zionism… is united with anti-Semitism in its retrograde tenets and is, when all is said and done, another side of the same base coin. For when what is proposed is that adherents of the Jewish faith, regardless of their national residence, should neither owe allegiance to their national residence nor live on equal footing with its other, non-Jewish citizens -when that is proposed we hear anti-Semitism being proposed. When it is proposed that the only solution for the Jewish problem is that Jews must alienate themselves from communities or nations of which they have been a historical part, when it is proposed that Jews solve the Jewish problem by immigrating to and forcibly settling the land of another people - when this occurs, exactly the same position is being advocated as the one urged by anti-Semites against Jews.Israel's claim that its critics must be anti-Semites presupposes that its critics believe its claims that it represents "the Jewish people". But it is Israel's claims that it represents and speaks for all Jews that are the most anti-Semitic claims of all.
Today, Israel and the Western powers want to elevate anti-Semitism to an international principle around which they seek to establish full consensus. They insist that for there to be peace in the Middle East, Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims must become, like the West, anti-Semites by espousing Zionism and recognising Israel's anti-Semitic claims. Except for dictatorial Arab regimes and the Palestinian Authority and its cronies, on this 65th anniversary of the anti-Semitic conquest of Palestine by the Zionists, known to Palestinians as the Nakba, the Palestinian people and the few surviving anti-Zionist Jews continue to refuse to heed this international call and incitement to anti-Semitism. They affirm that they are, as the last of the Semites, the heirs of the pre-WWII Jewish and Palestinian struggles against anti-Semitism and its Zionist colonial manifestation. It is their resistance that stands in the way of a complete victory for European anti-Semitism in the Middle East and the world at large.
Joseph Massad teaches Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians.
You can follow the editor on Twitter: @nyktweets
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Judge Anthony Snelson who, investigating a complaint that the Union was institutionally anti-Semitic, encountered not a trace of any such beast, no suggestion it had lurked or was lurking, not the faintest rustle of its cerements, not so much as a frozen shadow on a wall.A complaint? There were ten complaints, all of which were found to be without merit, utter tosh, all of them. And they weren't asked to find any "trace" of antisemitism. They were presented with ten specific allegations that various events at the University and College Union amounted to the racial harassment of a Jewish supporter of the Zionist project.
And now, with Stephen Hawking announcing, by means of an Israeli-made device, that he no longer wants to talk to the scientists who invented it, or to Israeli scientists who invented or might invent anything else, or indeed to Israeli historians, critics, biologists, physicists of any complexion, no matter what their relations to Palestinian scholars whom he does want to talk to, we are reminded that the cultural boycott with which he has suddenly decided to throw in his lot is entirely unJew-related, which is more good news. “Peace”, that is all Professor Hawking seeks, a word that was left out of his statement...Here's a reminder from Hawking's statement [taken here from Daily Beast but all over the web]:
I accepted the invitation to the Presidential Conference with the intention that this would not only allow me to express my opinion on the prospects for a peace settlementIt doesn't tell us much about Hawking. It does however tell us a lot about Howard Jacobson.
Jewish opponents of Zionism understood the movement since its early age as one that shared the precepts of anti-Semitism in its diagnosis of what gentile Europeans called the "Jewish Question". What galled anti-Zionist Jews the most, however, was that Zionism also shared the "solution" to the Jewish Question that anti-Semites had always advocated, namely the expulsion of Jews from Europe.Well, if you ever read HP there's no need to quote their responses. So far I've noticed two posts on the article, the first by Sarah Annes Brown and the second by a Paul M. You can gather what both are saying from Andrew's comments beneath the second one:
So Zionist responses to Massad's article take three forms:
Actually I agree there were flaws to the article. Massad is discussing/asserting the confluences and antagonisms between various ideologies influencing Jews in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and further discussing where they have led us to today. He does not however discuss the material conditions or class interests that gave rise to these various ideologies. But getting into what an HP target actually said is a serious digression from what HP and its followers say he said.
Yay!! Did you see that? Bonus points for rubbing their noses in the FUCU case.
Wow. Andrew doesn't mind diving into the sewers so we don't have to. First HP then Stormfront.