Debating Anti-Semitism on the BBC

Chaim BeresheethI was invited as a guest on BBC1’s The Big Questions last Sunday, hosted by Nicky Campbell. The topic was the alleged rise of anti-Semitism. I must confess I hadn’t heard of the programme before. The programme, rather ambitiously, tackles 3 topics in a one-hour slot – and they were violent video games, inter-ethnic adoption and anti-Semitism. It was about 2 topics too many!

The 20 minute session on anti-Semitism was almost a text-book example of how, subtly and almost unnoticed, the BBC’s establishment bias is seamless and pervasive. Zionism, which shares the same viewpoint as anti-Semites, viz. that Jews belong in Israel not in the Diaspora, was entirely absent from the fight against Oswald Moseley’s British Union of Fascists in the 1930’s and the National Front in the 1970’s, is nonetheless concerned about ‘anti-Semitism’ today, or rather ‘new anti-Semitism’ i.e. opposition to Israel.

tg1There were a number of invited Zionists including Jeff Goldberg of the London Jewish Forum, one of 3 platform speakers, Jonathan Sacerdoti of the Zionist Federation, a Zionist rabbi, a couple of assorted Zionists, an idiot Israeli, Hadar Sela, who apparently couldn’t read her own passport and was therefore not aware that there is no such thing as an Israeli nationality and of course Mark Gardener of the Zionist Community Security Trust. [CST]

Sela also didn’t (apparently) know that the 20% of Israelis who are Arab or non-Jewish, don’t (except for the small Druze community) serve in the Israeli army. More probably she was more than aware of all of the above but believed that lies serve the Zionist cause more effectively than the truth. She certainly has good reason to hold such a belief.

Nicky Campbell called her repeatedly and failed to challenge her statements at any time, which says a lot for the (lack of) research behind the programme. It was also noticeable that Campbell failed to get the quite basic point I made, which was that if the Board of Deputies of British Jews [i.e. all Jews] goes out of its way to organise rallies in support of Israeli war crimes, then it is hardly surprising that some people believe them. A simple point but one that seemed to elude him. I got the feeling that Campbell is cerebrally no Paxman or John Humphries!

On our side there were just 2 anti-Zionists – Prof. Chaim Bereshit of the University of East London and myself. Despite this, and together with Black and Muslim members of the audience, we more than held our own! But even the build-up to the programme, with stories of an Essex scout troop having shouted ‘yid, yid, yid’ on Remembrance Day at Jewish veterans, whereas in fact it was one Scout,  was not contextualised. My father told me that in the 1930’s if you were a Jew you couldn’t walk down certain streets in the East End of London without being physically attacked and in fear of your life. The few and far incidents today, at worst mostly verbal or cemetery daubings, often a consequence of Israel’s claim that it is a Jewish State acting on behalf of all Jews, are not comparable with what Jews experienced in the past. Indeed such claims of  anti-semitism merely trivialise the very real racism that Jews experienced in the Europe of the first half of the last century.

Today in Britain there is no state racism directed against Jews, and it is noticeable that Gardener of the CST boasts of his organisation’s close links with the Metropolitan Police, who were responsible for the torture and abuse of Barbar Ahmad, who was paid £60,000 in damages for their criminal assaults. In other words a thoroughly racist police force, which the Jewish establishment sees as its ally.

Zionist Federation representative, Sacerdoti, had the chutzpah to claim that the Rally in Support of Israel earlier this year, was a ‘peace’ rally despite the fact that it echoed the pretext for Israel’s attack, the ‘terrorism’ of the besieged victims of Gaza and their elected representatives Hamas whilst not uttering a word of condemnation of Israel’s murderous attack which took the lives of 1,400 people including 400 children. At no time of course did it call for a halt to Israel’s bombing of civilians. And this is a Zionist peace rally!!

Sacerdoti, when asked by Campbell whether a denial of Israel’s right to exist was anti-semitic, replied in the affirmative. Yet this is a loaded question. Was it racist to say that the Apartheid State of South Africa or similar states had no right to exist? Certainly a racist state, whatever its name, has no right to exist and must be dismantled. But if you equate a state with the people living under its control, then we revert to the ideology of Nazi Germany, that the State is everything and the role of the people is to serve the State.

But what is really at issue are the so-called European Union Monitoring Committee’s Working Definition guidelines on anti-semitism. One example given is ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.’ Even leaving aside the muddleheadedness of the definition, which is what one would expect from a State sponsored attempt to define a political philosophy, the idea that Jewish people form a nation or race (and historically the terms were used interchangeably) was the staple diet of anti-semitism. So we have the irony that the main definition of anti-semitism used by Zionism today is itself anti-semitic!!

As Shlomo Sand, in The Invention of the Jewish People writes:

‘There were times in Europe when anyone who argued that all Jews belong to a nation of alien origin would have been classified at once as an anti-Semite. Nowadays, anyone who dares to suggest that the people known in the world as Jews (as distinct from today’s Jewish Israelis) have never been, and are still not, a people or a nation is immediately denounced as a Jewish hater.’

What was interesting is that the statistics of the shadowy CST were taken as given by Campbell. When I questioned them and suggested there were lies, damned lies and statistics, Campbell turned to Gardener to ask what the statistics were, without once questioning whether the CST and its £100,000+ head might have a vested interest in creating ‘anti-Semitism’ as a counter to the very real oppression of Palestinians. This is how bias in the BBC manifests itself. Not in the crudities of Stalinist propaganda but in more sophisticated taken-for-granted assumptions. Gardener of course was apoplectic. ‘I am really really appalled… to actually deny the integrity of the statistics…’. As well he might be!

However Gardener knows that the allegation is not new. In the Jewish Chronicle of 5.10.05., an article by Jenni Frazer entitled ‘Charge: CST ‘bumps up’ attack figures’ reported a Channel 4 programme “A War Against Prejudice,” which makes just such an accusation. It has also been accused of physical attacks on Muslims, i.e. anti-Muslim racism. ‘CST rejects Muslim claims over stewards

The CST is a body that is neither accountable nor transparent. Indeed it is a most opaque organisation. Its trustees are not listed, almost uniquely, on the Charity Commission website. Its accounts do not list its donors. It is a multi-million pound operation making £1m + surpluses each year [as you will find on the Charity Commission website] and at least 3 employees are paid over £100,000. There can’t be many anti-racist organisations so well funded and with such rich employees!

The CST, which polices Zionist meetings, physically attacked a Jewish heckler at the Rally to Support the Attack on Gaza earlier this year and as a matter of policy excludes Jewish anti-Zionists,  for which it has been condemned by Liberty.  On one occasion it even got it wrong and excluded the left-Zionist Mapam organisation as well as groups like the Jewish Socialists Group. Yet this organisation, mainly consisting of ex-Israeli security personnel has never once been involved in anti-fascist mobilisations, still less the demonstrations against the EDL and naturally played no part in campaigns against the pro-Zionist BNP. Yet the BBC and Campbell accepts it as a neutral unbiased recorder of statistics when its whole modus operandi is to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

Gardener is in fact an extremely right-wing Zionist, who is quoted only this week in the Jerusalem Post as stating that Shlomo Sand’s book The Invention of the Jewish People was anti-Semitic. The book has spent 19 weeks on the Israeli best-sellers list. True it debunks most of Zionist mythology about the Exodus, European Jews originating from Palestine as opposed to the Khazars by the Black Sea and explains that there is no scientific evidence to support the biblical myths. A worthy academic debate you might think. But no. To Gardener it is anti-Semitic!

And likewise the irrepressible co-Chair of the Zionist Federation Jonathan Hoffman stated in the same article that:

‘”Sand’s agenda is to sever the historic link between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel,… To promote that agenda his book ignores archeological and genetic evidence.’

Now when Nick Griffin tried to explain that his racism is really a wish to trace our lineage back to the original white inhabitants of these islands some 17,000 years ago, as the Ice Age was ending, , people mocked him. But Hoffman and Gardener are saying exactly the same thing. Gardener talks of a ‘common lineage, kinship and peoplehood between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.’ This could be Alfred Rosenberg talking of the blood links between the German Volk and the soil of Greater Germany. It is utterly reactionary and racist nonsense but it underpins the ‘historic’ claims that Zionism made for settling Palestine.

There was a time when it was the anti-Semites who sought to ‘prove’ that genetic evidence proved that the Jews were a separate race and nation. Now it is the Zionists who are protesting that genetic ‘evidence’ is being ignored. In fact genetics tell us nothing about ‘race’ still less about any Jewish association with Palestine.

Perhaps the most effective contribution came from the retired Bishop of Hulme, Stephen Lowe, who recalled that he too was called an anti-Semite when he questioned the Israeli attack on Gaza and its murder of over 400 Palestinian children. And therein lies the truth. It is therefore ironic that the EUMC Definition of ‘anti-semitism’ includes ‘Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.’ Presumably it had the Board of Deputies in mind!

What conclusion should one draw? That one cannot expect the BBC, with its record over the Disaster Emergency Appeal, which it refused to show, to be unbiased on Palestine. The BBC almost invariably takes the same position as the government of the day and when it doesn’t, as was the case initially over Iraq, then it gets hauled over the coals as in the Hutton Report. Yet the natural sympathy of people in Britain is with the underdog and Israel, despite its pretensions at being a victim, is seen by most people as the United State’s bully in the region. And its well-heeled supporters are likewise seen as defenders of the indefensible trying to portray themselves as victims.

Tony Greenstein

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  1. robert red

    Hi Tony, enjoyed reading your post. Yeah definately not a long enough programmme to discuss the subject. I found the concerns of the rabbi disingenuous. The look the rabbi gave the smirking zionist dude at the front (who then went on to look in the monitor wondering whether it had been noticed) , compared to the other people sat behind him, to me, made it look like everything he’d said previously about his feelings was a lie ( at 7.58 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utexpzlHoj8 ). But then again you was the only one laughing at your side, at his bad 2jews 4 comments joke. His comments 7.38 about jews being descended from monkeys and pigs taught in many, many schools seems way off the mark, and said merely to arouse feelings of outrage and sympathy. Anyway good on ya for speaking up and I think it’d be good to read what other people thought of the programme.

  2. Progressive Zionist

    Greenstien – whatever you are, you are not an ‘anti-racist’. Neither are you a friend of the Jewish People

  3. Tony Greenstein

    Progressive Zionist (presumably anyone to the left of Lieberman!) tells me I am not a friend of the Jewish people.

    And you know what? I agree. I am not a friend of any people or nation/race etc. I have friends, some deep and close, others less so. But a whole people or group or religion? How can you possibly be friends with a million or 15 million people? It is impossible. What is being talked about is racial kinship and we know where that led. Either the gas chambers or the refugee camps.

    Indeed just such an accusation was made by Gershom Scholem to Hanna Arendt. On 23 June 1963 Scholem wrote to Arendt, having just read her Eichmann in Jerusalem, which enraged the Zionist movement with its references to Zionist collaboration with the Nazis, Scholem wrote sneeringly that ‘In the Jewish tradition there is a concept ‘Ahabath Israel’: ‘Love of the Jewish people …”. In you, dear Hannah, as in so many intellectuals who came from the German Left, I find little trace of this …’. Arendt’s devastating reply demonstrated that even Scholem, when stripped of his mysticism, had nothing to cover his nakedness but national chauvinism. Arendt responded thus:

    ‘I am not one of the “intellectuals who come from the German Left’. It is a fact of which I am in no way particularly proud and which I am somewhat reluctant to emphasize – especially since the McCarthy era in this country. I came late to an understanding of Marx’s importance … let me begin … with what you call “love of the Jewish people .” … (Incidentally, I would be very grateful if you could tell me since when this concept has played a role in Judaism) … You are quite right – I am not moved by any “love” of this sort, and for two reasons. I have never in my life “loved” any people or collective … I indeed love “only” my friends and the only kind of love I know of and believe in is the love of persons. Secondly, this “love of the Jews” would appear to me, since I am myself Jewish, as something rather suspect … I do not “love” the Jews, nor do I “believe” in them; I merely belong to them as a matter of course, beyond dispute or argument … But I can admit to you something beyond that, namely, that wrong done by my own people naturally grieves me more than wrong done by other peoples’.

    It is difficult to better this response of a quintissential Jewish humanist to a Jewish bigot and racist.

  4. Krackovitz

    Comrade Greenstein, I am fully in agreement with your points and thrilled to find your contributions on jewdas.org, even if you are a neo-Grantite :P
    Shalom,
    K. Krackovitz

  5. Tony Greenstein

    Thanks Cde. Krackovitz. Not sure what a neo-Grantite is! Unless that is a reference to the late Ted Grant of Militant/Socialist Appeal. I can assure you that I’m not (he was economistic to the point of absurdity).

    best

    TG

  6. Micah

    Tony I’m afraid you are very wrong about there being no such thing as an Israeli nationality.

    I’ve just had a look at my Israeli passport (I have dual nationality) and the nationality written there is ‘Israeli’.

  7. Tony Greenstein

    Micah

    you don’t say how, if at all, the dual nationality impacts on what is in your passport. But regardless, if it does indeed say that you have Israeli nationality it is simply wrong. Let me cite from Shlomo Sand’s Invention of the Jewish People p.290:

    ‘After the amendment to the Law of Return [1970], one person petittioned to change the nationality stated on his identity card from Jewish to Israeli. Georg Rafael Tamarin was a lecturer in education at Tel Aviv University. He had come to Israel from Yugoslavia in 1949 and declared himself to be a Jew. In the early 1970s he applied to have his nationality changed from Jewish to Israeli for 2 reasons: one, that the new criterion for defining a Jew had become, in his opinion, a ‘racial-religious’ one, and two, that the establishment of the State of Israel had created an Israeli nationality, to which he felt he belonged. His petition was rejected by a unanimous vote; the judges decided that he had to remain a Jew by nationality, as an Israeli nationality did not exist. fn. 65 ‘Tamarin versus the State of Israeli’ in the High Court of Justice, decision 630/70, January 20 1972.

    Curiously the president of the Supreme Court, Justice Shimon Agranat, Israel Prize laureate, did not simply base his decision on the Proclamation of Independence. He also prceeded to explain why there was a Jewish nation but absolutely not an Israeli one.’

    I think that is pretty definitive and much the same, in greater detail, is contained in Akiva Orr’s The UnJewish State. I cannot offer any explanation for what is apparently written in your passport except that it is a clerical error. There seems no other explanation, though obviously it would be helpful if you could scan the relevant section for independent verification as it were.

    I suspect, picking up on the above, that for many the Zionist myth of the Jewish nation is just that. That in practice Israelis do actually feel different, regardless of the settler ideology of Zionism, which sees itself as some kind of advance guard, always under attack. That some lowly clerk might not appreciate that an acceptance of an Israeli nationality would mean a cutting of the umbilical chord as it were.

    I will copy what you’ve said to Israeli friends, who unlike me actually possess a passport, but I doubt they will profer any other explanation.

  8. Micah

    Tony, thank you for your swift and comprehensive reply!

    I don’t feel comfortable scanning my own passport onto the internet, but for verification of my claim you can see the scanned image of an Israeli passport on the wikipedia entry for Israel:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Israel_Passport_Page.jpg

    You will notice it too gives ‘Israeli’ as the passport bearer’s nationality – and so your suggestion that my passport suffered some sort of clerical errror seems less likely.

    The Tamarin case you cite concerns identity cards rather than passports (according to the passage you quoted). This may explain the apparant contradiction between the conclusion of the case and the fact that Israeli passports do give ‘Israeli’ as a nationality.

  9. Tony Greenstein

    Micah,

    I stand corrected, but on one very small point. But in the process of investigating this I’ve learnt quite a lot!

    It does indeed state Israeli nationality on a passport. BUT IN ENGLISH! But the Hebrew word for citizenship, ‘Israhut’, is alongside it! I can say this with some certainty as an Israeli friend has just examined his passport to check!

    But regardless of what it states on a passport, you are still wrong about saying that there is such a thing as Israeli nationality. In most countries there is indeed no difference between citizenship and nationality. If you are a UK national you are a British citizen and that is true for most countries, although of course today many people define themselves as English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish nationals. But in Israel being a citizen doesn’t say anything about your nationality and so when there is a reference to nationality in the passport, it is understood internationally as also meaning citizenship, which is the information necessary to be conveyed to immigration authorities in those countries.

    The counterpart of this is that ethnicity and nationality are intertwined. See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_identity_card

    The term in Hebrew for nationality/ethnicity is le’um (people) which isn’t strictly nationality either and corresponds more to Volk. A historical/biological ethnicity that was made famous in the Nazi era.

    To complicate matters even more, from 2005 there is no reference to nationality/ethnicity in the ID card either, because of a court ruling that those who have converted via Reform Judaism also be listed as Jewish nationals. The Shas Interior Minister responsible decided to do away with the category altogether rather than list Reform jews as Jews!

    I also understand that the driving license conveys yet more different information, including the fact that someone is Jewish, but doesn’t differentiate between Reform conversions and Jews per se. In fact there is a story of one such woman from Russia in Sand’s book, who was extremely embarrassed etc. by being termed a ‘national bastard’ and so who carried her driving license around instead because it wouldn’t reveal her secret.

    But what we are talking about are different documents carried around for different purposes but which are not, in themselves, proof of the status of someone’s nationality. The real question is whether or not there is an Israeli nationality. And the decider in such cases is ultimately the Supreme Court. I have quoted you above one such case.

    Let me quote you another case in Israel. The Shalits. Again a famous case in the quest to discover who is a Jew. This is from ‘Judgment in Jerusalem – Chief Justice Simon Agranat and the Zionist Century, Pnina Lahav’ which is on the Internet, http://www.escholarship.org/editions/view?docId=ft1z09n7hr&chunk.id=d0e4364&toc.depth=1&toc.id=d0e4364&brand=eschol.

    ‘In only one aspect were the Shalits—father Benjamin, mother Anne, and the children, Oren and Galia—different from their Israeli friends: Anne Shalit was not Jewish. To the secular and modern Shalits this difference was meaningless; religion played no role in their conception of self- and collective identity. Their sense of identity—Benjamin’s by birth and Anne’s by choice—was rooted in Israeli culture and nationhood. To the minister of the interior, leader of MAFDAL, however, Anne’s difference made all the difference. The minister followed the halakhic rule that one was Jewish only if one’s mother was Jewish or if one converted to Judaism. When the children were born, the Shalits learned that the category “religion” on their birth certificates would remain blank (as the Shalits had indeed desired) and that the category “nationality” would say “father Jewish, mother non-Jewish.” The official refusal to register the children’s nationality as Jewish precipitated the crisis known as “Who Is a Jew.”[

    NOTE HERE THAT THE AUTHOR IS DEFINING NATIONALITY IN TERMS OF RELIGION, BUT A RELIGION THAT IS ITSELF DEFINED RACIALLY (as Britain’s Supreme Court has just established!).

    Agranat himself designated Shalit as the most difficult case in his entire judicial career. He was torn between the yearning to honor universalism, individualism, freedom of conscience on one hand and the urge to protect some essence of Jewishness on the other.’

    And in footnote 65 it states re the other case I cited, that ‘Within two years, in Tamarin , Agranat, speaking for the Court, rejected a petition to register an Israeli born in Croatia as Israeli rather than Jewish, arguing that the emerging Israeli identity should retain a religious element, but that there is room within the Jewish nation for a secular perspective, and that Israel is built on “Liberal-secular elements” which will enable the petitioner to fight for his views in the political process.’ You see how Israeli identity is defined in terms of religion, which therefore automatically excludes non-Jews and ‘national bastards’ Mamzerim etc. This is a quasi mystical racial/ethnic definition unknown in the civilised world today.

    So yes the issue is complicated, indeed very complicated, as you will perceive if you read Akiva Orr’s book. But at its heart, to be Jewish in Israel is not a religious concept, but a national one. It has to be that because Zionism holds as its foundation stone that there is one, indivisible Jewish people or nation, of which Israel is a part. Ben Gurion in particular railed against the ‘Canaanites’ who wanted Israel to split off from Jews outside and form their own identity. Now it is arguable that this is happening anyway, but with the Arabs as the untermenschen.

  10. Jonathan Hoffman

    “….an idiot Israeli, Hadar Sela, who apparently couldn’t read her own passport and was therefore not aware that there is no such thing as an Israeli nationality.”

    Now you have been proved wrong Tony, you owe Hadar an apology. I suggest you do it on this thread, I will make sure she sees it.

  11. Tony Greenstein

    Ahh, Jonathan Hoffman, who seems to get everywhere in his urge to defend the indefensible. As I have already said on another blog, if you wish to debate the merits of Israeli Apartheid, you know little things like Arab kids aren’t to be admitted to a nursery place because they are non-Jews or demolition of houses because Jews claim them from decades back, then I’ll be happy to do so.

    As for Hadar Salah no apology is necessary. She is an idiot, a prize one. If she is an Israeli and doesn’t know that there is no such thing as an Israeli national then she is a prize chump. The fact that lilke most things israeli, her passport lies to her is no excuse for her ignorance, especially since the Hebrew on her passport, which is presumably the definitive thing, describes Israeli as being Citizenship not Nationality. True, that there is no true English translation for Volk, which is what we are really talking about, membership of a mythical race/nation and therefore gullible non-Jews will think that there is such a thing as an israeli nationality.

    But tell us Jonathan, in words of one syllable. is there or is there not such a thing as an Israeli nationality?

  12. Jonathan Hoffman

    The fact is that in this thread, you call Hadar Sela an “idiot Israeli who apparently couldn’t read her own passport and was therefore not aware that there is no such thing as an Israeli nationality”.

    It was then pointed out to you that Israeli passports have the word ‘nationality’ in them and you wrote ‘I stand corrected’. That is why you owe her an apology.

    In calling her an “Israeli” you were yourself recognising her nationality! If Israel ‘nationality’ was confined to Jews that leaves non-Jews in Israel effectively stateless. Well over 90% of Israelis accepted that Cast Lead was necessary. That suggests that a majority of non-Jews accepted it. Yet you wish to deny them – Druze, Christians, Arabs and others – a nationality.

    The English for ‘Ezrahut’ in my dictionary is both ‘nationality’ and ‘citizenship’. Some Israelis I know have confirmed this translation – none has disputed it.

    There is the concept of the ‘Jewish nation’ (or ‘House of Israel’) which is a Biblical concept dating from the time when Jews were not geographically dispersed. That is one of the pillars upon which Zionism rested/rests. But it is clearly wrong to mix up the diplomatic concept of ‘nationality’ qua ‘citizenship’ with the ‘peoplehood’ concept of ‘Jewish nation’. In doing so you are guilty of precisely the same fallacy of ‘False Equivalence’ as the Appeal Court, see my piece here:

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/06/29/guilty-of-false-equivalence/

    As you well know there are many definitions of ‘who is a Jew?’ depending on who is doing the defining, but there is only one definition of ‘who now has Israeli nationality?’

    Summary: You owe Hadar Sela an apology. You claimed that ‘nationality’ was not in her passport whereas ‘Ezrahut’ is and it is translated both in the dictionary and the passport as ‘nationality’.

  13. AKUS

    Well done Micah for immediately pulling Greenstein up on the issue of the passport, where Greenstein gloated over an Israeli participant “Hadar Sela, who apparently couldn’t read her own passport and was therefore not aware that there is no such thing as an Israeli nationality”.

    As usual with these as-a-Jew Israel haters, why should a little error like what’s written in an Israeli passport upset someone like Greenstein? “Objectively”, to use the terminology an old Stalinist like Greenstein would understand, no matter what’s actually written in the passport, its what Greenstein thinks is in there that’s important. And how does he know – he cites Shlomo Sand, one of the most thoroughly debunked writers about Israel and Jews since Ilan Pappe began writing the novels that he refers to as history as his authority rather than actually looking at a passport!! Koestler or Orwell couldn’t write a better sendup of old line Stalinist Greenstein’s “scholarship” in the service of the ideology that drives him, irrespective of reality!

    Then Greenstein reveals that his Hebrew is so poor or non-existent, that he gets an Israel “friend” to give him some help, and invents a new Hebrew word.

    Greenstein – its not “Israhut” – your ignorance is so obvious as to be ludicrous – you clearly have latched onto “Israel” and “Israhut” as being the sources of the words.

    A little Hebrew lesson for you, my ignorant Israel basher – its “Ezrachut” – nationality or citizenship. There’s no such word as “Israhut”.

    Look at the image of a passport that Micah posted – “Ezrachut” is right opposite the word “Nationality”. That’s because it the Hebrew word for Nationality – even if its on the other side of the page – you see, in Hebrew, we write from right to left. Maybe that’s what’s confusing your addled brain – but why should you know anything about Israel or Hebrew before sharing your opinions with the world?

  14. Jasmine Murphy

    Sorry, Greenstein you are wrong. Millions of us have passports reading Nationality Israeli.
    Why on earth would you want to deny that?

    For your information, many Arabs serve in the Israeli (there’s that word again) army. Bedouins especially are famous scouts and trackers.

    I suggest that you should spare yourself embarrassment and be an expert on a country in which you live and about which you have personal knowledge.

  15. Independent Observer

    Jasmine is correct. In fact, a number of those Israeli soldiers and border guards killed in cross-border raids by Iran’s proxies, have been Israeli Beduin and Israeli Druze.

  16. Tony Greenstein

    I see the cavalry from Israel are riding to Jonathan Hoffman’s rescue. A certain adversarial edginess has crept into their hostile tones (‘Greenstein’ – clue. It’s usually considered polite to refer to people either by their first names or with a title and surname – but maybe being a settler-colonial excuses this).

    1. Jonathan Hoffman suggests that by calling ‘Hadar Sela’ an Israeli I am recognising her nationality! And now doubt by calling her an idiot I’m recognising her frailties too. I also notice that she is a member of something called CIF Watch, in other words she is part of an organised lobby dedicated to ensuring that any manifestation of opposition to Israel and its policies is immediately combatted in order that Britain’s media goes the way of the USA, where in the mainstream media Israel gets 100% support. In other words they have the mentality of the police state censor. So on those grounds alone I have no apology to profer.

    2. Of course by referring to Ms Sela as Israeli I am merely recognising that she lives/lived in a state called Israel and that she has an Israeli passport and identity card and is registered in the Population Register of Israel. It is not a comment on whether she is an Israeli by nationality or citizenship, marriage or whatever.

    3. The controversy over what is in Ms Sela’s passport began when I stated on the programme that there was no such thing as an Israeli national. She contradicted me by stating that it states that she is an Israeli by nationality in her passport. In fact the Hebrew version refers to Citizenship, not Nationality. Jonathan confirms that it can mean either but in the context in which it appears it means one thing only, citizenship.

    4. But Jonathan H doesn’t seem to understand my argument either. He states that if Israeli nationality was confined only to Jews then 10% of the Palestinian population are stateless. But I haven’t argued that Israeli nationality is only confined to Jews, because I don’t accept there is such a thing as Israeli nationality! But ironically JH has touched upon another point. Thousands of Palestinians, Israeli citizens, are indeed stateless because they were defined as non-resident after 1949, ‘present absentees’ under the Absentee Property Law of 1950, because they were away from their village, having been driven out, even if they were only a few miles away staying with relatives.

    5. JH states that because 90% of Israelis supported Cast Lead then that means a majority of non-Jews ‘accepted it’. Well they had no choice but to accept it because political activists who tried to organise in opposition to the war were arrested and denied bail in the ‘only democracy in the Middle East.’

    6. The concept of a ‘Jewish nation’ is of rather more recent origin than the Bible, i.e. later than the 6th-3rd century BC. Since nations were a product of capitalism and the imperialist era, this would also be impossible. The reality is that the concept of a Jewish nation was, above all, the product of Christian imperialists who wished to see the fulfillment of Revelations and the Jews return to Israel when Armageddon and the Rapture could begin. The idea that the warring states of Judah and Israel agreed on a Jewish nation is laughable and I can only recommend Shlomo Sand’s excellent book on the Myth of the Jewish Nation and my reviews of it!

    7. But as JH again concedes, this ‘biblical’ myth was one of the pillars on which Zionism rested. That is why the Jewish State of Zionist dreams could only turn out to be a narrow-minded, sectarian and viciously nationalist state whose allies are to be found in the most right-wing and repressive states – Egypt, Argentina under the junta, El Salvador during the civil war, South Africa of course and the patron of them all – the United States. Because even the ‘Marxist’ Zionist Mapam accepted that a Jewish state could only be founded in Palestine. So these atheists accepted that the Jews should return to land god gave them, despite denying the existence of the said god! This was the origin of the faustian pact between secular and religious Zionism in which the latter has triumphed repeatedly, beginning with This was demonstrated in the first such crisis of ‘who is a Jew’ in Israel, in June 1958 when the Minister of interior from the Mapam party put forward proposals which would accept, in the case of mixed marriages, the word of the parents as to the religion of a child. This was unacceptable to the National Religious Party whose 2 ministers resigned. When the next coalition was formed, after the elections to the 4th Knesset in December 1959, the issue having been kicked into touch by Ben-Gurion and a widespread consultation he instituted, M Shapira of the NRP was back in the Cabinet, but as Minister for Interior! The rest is history.
    8. In 1962 the Supreme Court decided the famous case of Brother Daniel, who converted to Catholicism in 1942 and was ordained. It clearly saved his life. In 1958 he emigrated to Israel and claimed to be Jewish by nationality and Catholic by religion. Because these are the 2 categories on the Register of Population and ID card. By 1 vote the Supreme Court decided that you cannot separate Jewish nationality from religion. After all, that is what a Jewish state is about and of course in a Jewish state, someone who is non-Jewish is an outsider, a guest almost.
    9. According to Akus I have invented a new Hebrew word Ezrahut. According to JH his dictionary gives him 2 definitions! Like all defenders of the indefensible he can’t refrain from a bit of ritual abuse and therefore I’m an ‘Israel hater’. It’s an interesting example of the Zionist psyche that if you criticise the Israeli state you are a ‘hater’. If someone criticises the war in Iraq or Afghanistan in Britain, only the far-Right will usually accuse you of being ‘anti-British’. This kind of abuse has a good fascist pedigree. I don’t hate anything except racism and fascism. Clearly Akus confuses that with hatred of his state. I hate the fact that 1,400 people, including 400 children were murdered by Israeli bombers at the beginning of last year or the ‘Death to the Arab’s chants of Israeli demonstrators or reserving land for the use of Jewish people only. Sorry if Akus finds that unpalable.
    10. As for Ms Murphy, certain Arab minorities are in the Israeli army, the vast majority do not serve the army of the Jewish state. And although some Bedouin serve in the army that doesn’t prevent their being uprooted in the Negev, having their houses and villages demolished for being unrecognised and for a policy of Judaisation of the Negev and Galilee (in Germany they called it de-Jewification but the principle remains the same). That indeed is one of the main means of discrimination in Israel. You are accorded higher child benefits according to whether you or your dependents or family have served in the army. All Jews have to, but with one exception – the Ultra Orthodox. What to do about this problem, since the purpose of the law (Discharged Soldiers Amendment Act 1969) was to encourage Jewish women to bear children and to discourage non-Jewish women from the same? And the Orthodox have the largest families too. The solution to this problem was that the Ministry of Religion would receive an extra grant in order to dole it out to religious Jews who do not serve in the army. Some of us would say this is racist, but hey that’s the price of a Jewish state.
    11. After all the bluster one fact remains. There is no Israeli nationality. Point to me to the court decision, or legislation, that decided otherwise than in the case of Rufeisen and Shalit and Tamarin. I am unaware of it. I am aware of the reaction of Ben-Gurion to the plea of the Supreme Court in the Shalit affiar, viz. that the category of nationality be abolished altogether. I suspect our Israeli contributors are unaware of it, , as the simplicities of Harry’s Place see de rigeur. Ben-Gurion wrote:
    The proposal to abolish [the entry] for nationality in the Population Register suits, perhaps, the conception of the ‘Canaanites … but not a Jewish citizen of the state of Israel. The Jewish people in Israel are part, for the time being (and for a long, long time – perhaps for ever – will remain part) of the Jewish people. To delete nationality from a document of a Jew in Israel is to begin breaking our ties with the Jewish people.’

    And there you have it in a nutshell. Unlike most countries, where the term ‘citizenship’ and ‘nationality’ are interchangeable – if you are a British national then of course you are a citizen – in Israel nationality has an entirely different meaning. It defines the mythical bonds between Israeli Jews and Jews throughout the world. It is this that prevents Israel becoming a normal state of its own people and is the legal origin of the systematic discrimination against Palestinian Israelis.

    >>Jonathan Hoffman says:
    01/10/2010 at 2:34 pm

    The fact is that in this thread, you call Hadar Sela an “idiot Israeli who apparently couldn’t read her own passport and was therefore not aware that there is no such thing as an Israeli nationality”.

    It was then pointed out to you that Israeli passports have the word ‘nationality’ in them and you wrote ‘I stand corrected’. That is why you owe her an apology.

    In calling her an “Israeli” you were yourself recognising her nationality! If Israel ‘nationality’ was confined to Jews that leaves non-Jews in Israel effectively stateless. Well over 90% of Israelis accepted that Cast Lead was necessary. That suggests that a majority of non-Jews accepted it. Yet you wish to deny them – Druze, Christians, Arabs and others – a nationality.

    The English for ‘Ezrahut’ in my dictionary is both ‘nationality’ and ‘citizenship’. Some Israelis I know have confirmed this translation – none has disputed it.

    There is the concept of the ‘Jewish nation’ (or ‘House of Israel’) which is a Biblical concept dating from the time when Jews were not geographically dispersed. That is one of the pillars upon which Zionism rested/rests. But it is clearly wrong to mix up the diplomatic concept of ‘nationality’ qua ‘citizenship’ with the ‘peoplehood’ concept of ‘Jewish nation’. In doing so you are guilty of precisely the same fallacy of ‘False Equivalence’ as the Appeal Court, see my piece here:

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/06/29/guilty-of-false-equivalence/

    As you well know there are many definitions of ‘who is a Jew?’ depending on who is doing the defining, but there is only one definition of ‘who now has Israeli nationality?’

    Summary: You owe Hadar Sela an apology. You claimed that ‘nationality’ was not in her passport whereas ‘Ezrahut’ is and it is translated both in the dictionary and the passport as ‘nationality’.

    Tony Greenstein

  17. Mitnaged

    What on earth has you thinking that you deserve a free pass, Tony Greenstein for calling anyone an idiot? I mean, it’s hardly constructive argument is it? I, too, believe you should apologise to Hadar.

    And the “Israeli cavalry” has a point. Why should it not point up when you are mistaken?

    Or is it that you are uncomfortable with the notion of Jews pointing out that you are wrong?

  18. Micah

    AKUS, thank you for thanking me for bringing Tony up on the nationality point. I like being thanked.

    But the evidence Tony cites is revealing; I read it, and recommend you do too. A few points:

    (1) Tony is not alone in claiming that there is not such thing as an Israeli nation: the supreme court of Israel (at least in 1971) said pretty much the same thing. See the third paragraph here: http://www.adalah.org/newsletter/eng/apr05/comi1.pdf
    In response to one man’s request to change his identity card from ‘Jewish’ to ‘Israeli’, the then head of the supreme court of Israel, Shimon Agranat, said as follows:

    “if there is in the country today – just 23 years after the establishment
    of the state – a bunch of people or even more – who ask to separate themselves
    from the Jewish people and to achieve for themselves the status of a distinct
    Israeli nation, then such a separatist approach should not be seen as a legitimate
    approach. It is prohibited to acknowledge this approach, since the principle of the
    right for national self-determination could not provide any justification for it.”

    (2) on the hebrew point: hebrew has more than one word for nationality: ‘Ezrahut’ is more closely associated with citizenship, while ‘Le’om’ connotes nationality in the sense of nationhood.

    (3) Attacking Tony for the way he transliterated Ezrachut – writing with an ‘i’ rather than an ‘e’ – is juvenile. His way of translating the word is hardly an indicator of ludicrous ignorance as you claim. Let’s deal with the substance of each other’s claims please.

    Moving on now to Mr Hoffman: You write:
    – “In calling her an “Israeli” you were yourself recognising her nationality!”
    That’s not true. Citizenship and nationality are two different things. I can acknowledge someone as being a citizen of Israel without thereby recognizing some sort of Israeli nationality. You later on write:
    -“It is clearly wrong to mix up the diplomatic concept of ‘nationality’ qua ‘citizenship’ with the ‘peoplehood’ concept of ‘Jewish nation’.”
    Yet you (and sometimes Israel) appear to do exactly that.
    In particular I object to the insinuation the ZF has made in the past that Jews who openly criticize Israel are in some sense bad Jews, who -as one of your press releases put it – ‘only self-identify’ as Jews ‘for the sole purpose of vilification of Israel’. See my post on it here:
    http://theedgeofwhere.blogspot.com/2009/12/open-letters-goldstone-report-and.html

    Finally, to Tony: Jonathan does have a point: the reason you gave for calling Hadar an idiot was that she ‘apparently couldn’t read her own passport and was therefore not aware that there is no such thing as an Israeli nationality’.

    In light of the fact that an Israeli nationality is clearly listed in her passport (yes yes, in English, okay) it’s entirely reasonable to believe that there is an Israeli nationality – after all, how many people have heard of the Tamarin-Agranat case? The idea of their being an Israeli nation is a popular one; and so in the absence of any knowledge to the contrary, it’s hardly ‘idiotic’ to believe there to be an Israeli nationality.

    And for the record, whatever the Agranat case may have said, for all practical purposes an Israeli nationality does exist. So I am a dual national – and not because I’m Jewish and British, but because I’m Israeli and British. An Israeli nationality exists for and is claimed by most of what you would call Israeli citizens: that’s enough for me to say it’s real, whatever its legal status.

  19. Mark Gardner

    Hadar Sela can get behind me in the apology queue, at least she isn’t being compared to Nazis. Is there anything worse for a person to be accused of?

    This is what Tony Greenstein writes about me, above:

    Now when Nick Griffin tried to explain that his racism is really a wish to trace our lineage back to the original white inhabitants of these islands some 17,000 years ago, as the Ice Age was ending, , people mocked him. But Hoffman and Gardener are saying exactly the same thing. Gardener talks of a ‘common lineage, kinship and peoplehood between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.’ This could be Alfred Rosenberg talking of the blood links between the German Volk and the soil of Greater Germany. It is utterly reactionary and racist nonsense but it underpins the ‘historic’ claims that Zionism made for settling Palestine.

    Note Tony Greenstein’s quotation marks: Gardener talks of a ‘common lineage, kinship and peoplehood between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.’

    This is what I actually wrote: “The sense of common lineage, kinship and peoplehood that Jews around the world share and hold is a fundamental part of their identity”

    So, where I wrote “that Jews around the world share and hold is a fundamental part of their identity”. Tony Greenstein (or whoever’s lies he has lifted) has changed it to “between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.’ My quote has been perverted in order to allege that I am some kind of Nazi.

    (My original sentence in its immediate context: “The sense of common lineage, kinship and peoplehood that Jews around the world share and hold is a fundamental part of their identity, as perversely demonstrated by the splenetic accusations of ‘self-hater’ that are hurled by some Jews at others who do not toe the majority line. To deny this aspect of Jewish identity – perhaps more accurately to demand that for political reasons it be rejected – is surely to deny or reject something that is essential to our perception of Jewishness itself.”)

    (If anybody wants to check, there are two place to do so. First, the above paragraph is in the Jerusalem Post article that Tony Greenstein is mis-quoting from: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1258027296653&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull.

    Second, all my quotes in that Jerusalem Post article are actually extracted from this longer article that I wrote for CST blog: http://thecst.org.uk/blog/?p=876.)

    (Also, I am not the head of CST, I am the spokesperson).

  20. Tony Greenstein

    Of course I wouldn’t want a free pass. One has to stand on one’s own two feet as Margaret Thatcher used to say (to the poor anyway!). Hadar Sela isn’t some simple Israeli who found herself in the middle of something she didn’t understand. She is a paid up member of a Zionist lobby that consistently seeks to distort and prevent the message of the victims of Zionism and Israeli state practices from having access to the Western media. Hence her membership of CIF Watch, because anything that is less than 100% Daily Torygraph/Hate Mail Zionism is ‘anti-Semitic’.

    Similar groups in the USA include Camera and Campus Watch, both of which have been involved in campaigns to deny Palestinian lecturers such as Joseph Massad (& of course Norman Finkelstein) tenure in universities. They put people in lectures who then come out with the normal distorted and hysterical accounts of ‘anti-Semitic’ bias etc.

    So the idea that Sela is owed an apology for not knowing her own nationality, and incidentally saying that Arab Israelis serve in the army and that they enjoy full equality with Israeli Jews, is absurd. These are 3 lies by themselves.

    I accept most of what Micah says, which is the only thoughtful contribution to this debate. I agree that it would be entirely reasonable for most Israelis not to know that they are not Israeli nationals but Jewish nationals with Israeli citizenship. But Hadar Sela is part of a nasty little pressure group that wishes to continue the media blindness of the past 60 years in respect of the vicious discrimination that non-Jews in Israel experience.

    I have a simple question, which no Zionist has been able to answer. Perhaps our current crop will do better. And Mark Gardener, being a ‘professional’ anti anti-Semite, on £100,000+ to fight ‘anti-semitism’ will surely be able to answer this question. If Jews in Britain experienced the same treatment as Arabs in Israel, would you term it anti-Semitism or would you be happy with the state of affairs?

    If 90%+ Jews in Britain didn’t serve in the army [assuming we had national service], because it was a Christian nation and service in the army, as was the case in Hungary before the Holocaust, was reserved for Christian nationals, and if welfare benefits and other entitlements were contingent upon that service, would that be anti-Semitic? If British Rail (and its privatised successors) announced that from henceforth one of the requirements for being a guard or driving a train was that service in the army, knowing full well that Jews couldn’t qualify, would that be anti-Semitic? I say this because only last year Israel Rail tried to sack 100+ Arab employees and only an international campaign forced them to back off. If a Jewish toddler in Hendon was accepted then refused a kindergarten place because other parents objected to her, not being a Christian, would that be anti-Semitic? And if the Jews in Britain lived in villages primarily, half of which were ‘unrecognised’, unlike Christian villages which are always recognised, and therefore not only had no access to services like sewerage and electricity often, but were in constant threat of their homes being demolished, would that be anti-Semitic. And if instead of the Judaisation of Jerusalem, the Negev and Galilee we had the Christianisation of Golders Green, Edgware and Whitechapel (if this was circa 1930’s) would that be anti-Semitic?

    I don’t suppose Mark Gardener is willing to answer these questions because it would demonstrate his hypocrisy and selectivity, but maybe some of the other members of the chorus can.

    Mark Gardener protests too much. The article in question, the Jerusalem Post, was one where MG was insinuating that the ‘impact’ of Shlomo Sand’s excellent book caused anti-Semitism or could cause it. Another example of the use and abuse of anti-Semitism. I don’t quite understand what MG is complaining of. That the so-called ‘The sense of common lineage, kinship and peoplehood that Jews around the world share and hold is a fundamental part of their identity” that he spoke of has nothing to do with the Land of israel? But the Jerusalem Programme of the WZO specifically talks about Israel being part of that identity and it is clear that that is the sense in which it is meant.

    So no apologies to MG who incidentally I have never said is a Nazi or implied that. All I have said is that the arguments that he and other Zionists use have a rather disgraceful heritage and that Nazis too used such arguments. If MG wants to be coy about it then we can discuss the commonality between Nazism and Zionism ideologically. He might even explain the attempts to whitewash someone like Arthur Ruppin, a firm believer in the racial sciences and one of the key figures in the development of the Israeli state, who visited Himmler’s ideological mentor, Prof. Hans Guenther of Jenna University in 1933 and spoke warmly in his own diary about their conversation. And Ruppin was not exception. From Herzl onwards, anti-Semitism was seen as having a divine will to good in it as it kept Jews apart and therefore preserved them. I heard this too often from e.g. my rabbi father not to know that this is the real Zionist attitude to anti-Semitism.

    But since Mark Gardener of the Zionist Community Security Trust is around, maybe he would tell us how using his goons in the CST to prevent anti-Zionists and non-Zionists attend Zionist and Jewish communal meetings has anything to do with fighting anti-Semitism? And since MG is sensitive to charges of presiding over fiddled statistics maybe he could tell us whether or not the ‘anti-Semitic’ incident that was reported in the Jewish Chronicle concerning a pro-Boycott meeting at SOAS on December 4, when Hoffman was allegedly subjected to taunts of ‘Jew’ and ‘Jewish’ when he stood up to speak has been recorded by the CST as yet another anti-Semitic incident?

    MG was quoted as saying that:
    ”CST spokesman Mark Gardner said: “Mr Hoffman merely repeated what the South African Human Rights Commission had said about Bongani Masuku’s alleged incitement of antisemitism. For daring to raise this he was jeered with outright hatred.

    “The UCU’s attitude to antisemitism is disgusting, and those who collaborate with it should be ashamed of themselves.”

    This was the incident which was recorded and because there was, for once, proof that the Zionists were lying through their teeth, the BBC totally changed their report of the incident. http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2009/12/bbcs-humiliating-climbdown-after.html

    The reality is that MG is part of the very lucrative industry that manufactures ‘anti-Semitism’ in order to cover for Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. His opposition to ‘anti-Semitism’ has nothing to do with what Jews experienced in Britain in the 1930’s when the very same newspapers which supported Oswald Moseley and Hitler, the Mail and Express, are today the most pro-Zionist. Indeed he has been rather silent over the fact that the most pro-Zionist party in Britain is the British National Party. The fact is that anti-Semites today are more likely than ever to support the anti-Islamic racism of Zionism.

    The most recent article on my blog is to someone who was a dedicated anti-racist and anti-fascist, neither of which MG is. Someone whose opposition to fascism and racism didn’t depend on whether support or opposition to Zionism and Israel was involved. Dave Hann who died in September aged 48 was someone who had led the Stewards Group in Anti-Fascist Action’s Northern Network, risking life and limb to ensure that the BNP and C18 bootboys were confronted and defeated. He and those with him didn’t get £100,000+ salaries to be professional ‘anti-anti-Semites’. But Dave Hann, like most of those involved in the battle against the fascists in the 1980’s and ’90’s opposed racism whereever it came from, including Zionism. MG is selective and has nothing to say about the racist practices of Zionism.

    But he is not the ‘head’ of CST. Merely its spokesperson. In fact the only public face of CST, which doesn’t even list its trustees. Maybe MG can tell us who is the ‘head’ of this outfit and why they don’t print their list of trustees? Indeed why is it that genuine anti-fascists are targetted by the fascists on sites like Red Watch whereas people like MG are unknown to them?

    Re Micah’s point about there being an Israeli nation even if there is no such thing legally. This is another debate. My own view is that Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs form one, joint nation but Israeli Jews, as an oppressor group, aren’t a full nation. Much like South African whites. I have had quite long exchanges and a public debate with anti-Zionists who would agree with Micah such as the Israeli socialist Moshe Machover. I’ll leave that debate for another occasion!
    http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2010/01/dave-hann-appreciation.html

  21. Mark Gardner

    Tony Greenstein falsified my quote from “The sense of common lineage, kinship and peoplehood that Jews around the world share and hold is a fundamental part of their identity” into: “Gardener talks of a ‘common lineage, kinship and peoplehood between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.’ ”

    Tony Greenstein continued, “This could be Alfred Rosenberg talking of the blood links between the German Volk and the soil of Greater Germany.”

    Now he writes, “So no apologies to MG who incidentally I have never said is a Nazi or implied that.”

    Extraordinary, and utterly pointless to continue.

  22. Tony Greenstein

    So Mark Gardener believes in a ‘common lineage, kinship and peoplehood between that Jews around the world share and hold is a fundamental part of their identity.’ but not that this is between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. In is whining maybe MG can tell us how this identity is expressed? Or has MG abandoned Zionism because that is the basis upon which Jewish support for Israel is expected and based. Identities don’t exist in vacuums, hence the Zionist ‘fear’ of assimilation. It is based around Israel.

    This is really just another example of nitpicking by the professional hasbara (propaganda) merchants. I don’t doubt MG finds it pointless to continue since he has also failed to answer why he jumped to the conclusion that the heckling of Jonathan Hoffman on December 4 was anti-Semitic, given the large numbers of jewish people present who disagreed with this assertion. Or does MG automatically take the word of Zionist activists for granted.

    Oh and why Mark do your thugs prevent Jewish dissidents attending Zionist and other Jewish meetings such as film festivals. That is the real measure of someone like you. A latter day MacCarthyist seeking to impose order and ideological acceptability in the community to the extent that some years ago your organisation even excluded, by mistake, Mapam from such a meeting. For that you apologised (though not to the Jewish Socialists Group). Why do you see that as part of defence against ‘anti-Semitism’.

    Lets see if the community macher actually answers a question for once rather than nitpicking around what he said.

  23. alta kocker

    Oh dear, here I go entering the fray.

    Tony, I’ve got to say I don’t think you’re debating fairly.

    “Indeed why is it that genuine anti-fascists are targetted by the fascists on sites like Red Watch whereas people like MG are unknown to them?”

    Yes yes, just because the whole of the Jewish Socialist Group is on redwatch doesn’t mean being listed is the criteria for being a “genuine anti-fascist”. Plenty, if not the vast majority, of antifascists have attempted to conceal their identity in order to better fight the far right. Unless one suffers from some kind of martyr syndrome (…) its much easier to get them when they don’e know who you are. The 43 Group worked like that, burning all their documents as soon as they capped Mosley’s knees, and you know it.

    Some of the 43 Group, the CST are justifiably often happen to admit, founded the CST. It’s no surprise that, basically, the CST share very simmilar politics to them.

    The question remains, though, why? Why is there still a culture in the CST of actively working against leftist Jews? Take a look at the video clip from Dov Neumann’s post:

    http://www.jewdas.org/2010/01/reclaiming-chanukah-wit-direct-action/

    Why did the CST quite litteraly lean on the shoulder of a man who threw a block of ice at Dov, and why did they use crowd members to help bring Dov to the pavement? Both of these are cases of assault: far more serious crimes than Dov being a nudnik.

    Why has the CST (you Mark Gardner) actively been teaching university students how to lie and wriggle out of criticism of Israel, if it is meant to be neutral?

    Basically, why is the CST so biased towards the right and towards Israel, and against the left, that’s what I’d like to know. Why not simply change your name to ZCST? (I’m sure you can guess what the Z stands for)

    This line that you, Tony, have picked up on, Marks statement about the “common lineage, kinship and peoplehood between that Jews around the world share and hold is a fundamental part of their identity” does not necessarily need to revolve around the state of Israel. Bundists, who were anti-zionists too, held a concept of ‘diaspora nationalism’ which revolved around being Jews as both a distinct people and of common heritage to humankind. It can be an identity of difference, or as is now common within the Yiddish world to call it, a ‘civilisation’. So I defend Mark on that point and could point the spotlight on you: is this not more a problem of being a follower of Trotsky, who wished Jews to be organised under the same banner as everyone else – Bolshevism – rather than by their own Jewish peers – the Bund – ?

  24. tim

    Your argument is solid Tony- spot on. A true Jewdas ninja fighting off the zionites.This zionist attack against you is, as usual, overblown, incohearant and pathetic. Yes a cavalry charge, but with the riders carrying the horses, Hoffing and puffing, covered in horse shit.
    It’s a shame these Hoffman,Gardner types can’t see beyond their own self-made bubbles of insecurity. Jostling in the apology queue like punters at a zionist jumble sale hoping to pick up a cast lead apology trinket to take home to the zionist family and put on the mantle hoping to impress potential family members.
    For christ’s sake you zionists are showing yourselves up something chronic, how could anyone freely wish to join your disfunctional set-up?
    Watch the video (links in the 1st posters comments) and tell with hand on your, if you can find it, heart that the zionist contributors are actually sincere.
    @alta, considering you’re a Jewdasite, why are you tugging on Tonys cape when he’s fighting off a multiple attack, demonstrating courage, stamina and indefatigueable intellectual might. I feel the stench of the zionist claw may be close to you. May I suggest repeated views of warrior Dovs video before bed until this mild case of zionfever has past and you are back to clear thinking, and full of courage. I think you could give Tony an apology, it wouldn’t take long as I hear it’s the shorter of the queues.
    shalom

  25. Tony Greenstein

    thank you Tim. Don’t worry the attacks are mere gnatbites!

    People like Mark Gardener sicken me, really they do, with their false allegations of anti-Semitism, when you and I know that if every anti-Semitism reared its ugly head they would be off like a shot, telling us to go to Israel. Because that was one of my first experiences of the Zionist attitude to anti-Semitism 30+ years ago when, a naive young member of the ANL, I asked the authorities at Ralli Hall, the Jewish Youth centre in Hove, to put up a poster. Their shaliach refused, saying, if you want to fight anti-Semitism go to Israel, i.e. run away from it.

    But unlike Gardener, who works with the Police (remember – the ones who tried to batter the 100,000+ marchers at Cable street in 1936 and who tried to do likewise with the NF and BNP, I have written a tribute to one of the unsung heroes of the anti-fascist movement. Unlike Gardener he wasn’t on £100,000 a year. None of us were. But as Chief Steward of Anti-Fascist Action’s Steward Group, he and his fellows battered the fash into submission.

    Although I was an Executive member of AFA at the time, when the ZIonist Searchlight tried to destabilise it, I can’t recall meeting Dave Hann. Indeed I only met him 3 weeks before his untimely death at the age of 48, last August, to give an interview for a book he was writing and which his partner, Louise, will finish. Louise, another anti-racist activist, was on the streets of Saltdean, helping organise and steward a large public meeting in Saltdean, Brighton, after the house of ex-Guantanamo inmate Omar Deghayes was attacked. This was 3 days after Dave’s untimely death.

    People like Dave Hann are the real heroes. People like Gardener and the ludicrous Hoffman, who invent tales of their own ‘persecution’ are just the scum that floats to the surface. Dave earned his living as a builder and plasterer, an ordinary working class kind of guy who saw the link between socialism and fighting the fascists. Not for them the pretence and deception of Zionists who lie and deceive in the cause.

    It is no wonder that today, the ideological inheritors of the Moselyite flag, the BNP, have been described by the Board of Deputies own spokesperson, Ruth Smeed, as the most pro-Zionist of all parties!

  26. Tony Greenstein

    Alta,

    I didn’t see your post. I can’t accept I’m not debating fairly but I guess when you are used to Zionists intimidating, browbeating, lying (yes Jonathan Hoffman’s claim that he was subject to anti-semitic chanting) and of course all the normal shit, then of course any robust response seems unfair.

    To digress. I was brought up in non-Jewish communities and schools till I was 11 when I went to the King David school in Liverpool. You know what? The first time I heard a ‘Jewish’ joke was in a summer camp of the Jewish Lads Brigade. And I was shocked. The first anti-Semitic comments I remember were from Zionists who told me it was a pity Hitler didn’t get me and that when I was circumcised they threw away the wrong bit. (Yes that’s supposed to be ‘funny’).

    I didn’t say that the criteria for being an anti-fascist is to be on Redwatch. I certainly didn’t ask to be listed and I doubt all of the JSG are on it, though I’m sure a fair proportion are. But all these prominent Zionists are not on it. And the reason is that Gardener et al. are not genuine anti-fascists. How can they be when the CST has NEVER been an anti-fascist group. How could it be? It targets the left in the Jewish community and outside of it. The left has always been where anti-fascist struggle is located. In the 1930’s it was in the Communist Party, today in groups such as the SWP and independent socialists are various descriptions. The CST, UJS etc. are only anti-fascist in name.

    The 43 group has long since gone. They operated in the 40s and 50s and did fine work. But they grew older and moved rapidly to the right. One who I knew, who on the Brighton & Hove Anti-Fascist Committee from AJAX, one David Spector, fingered anti-fascists to the Police for arrest at an anti-NF demo in Brighton in 1980. Why? Because we weren’t content to passively oppose an NF demo but went in to take them out. I can say this for a fact as I was arrested leading an attack on their ranks as were about 20 others.

    If the CST were founded by individuals who were in the 43 group then that only illustrates what I’m saying because the CST is incapable constitutionally of operating as an anti-fascist group because that would inevitably bring it into conflict with the Police and State. And the CST are nothing if not state worshipers.

    That is why they are, as you correctly say, working against leftist Jews, even on occasion left-Zionists like Mapam. That is why they participated in the attack on Dov and wasn’t it an irony – the crowd is being lectured on ‘peace’ as Dov has slabs of ice thrown in his face as he is pushed into the icy waters at Trafalgar Square. This is the Zionist peace.

    I think if you talk about ‘common lineage, kinship, peoplehood between Jews, wherever they live, whatever languages they speak, simply because they adhere to a common religion, you are making a race out of religion. And what is the focus of that race? Israel. In the words of the Jerusalem Programme it is ‘The Unity of the Jewish people and the centrality of Israel in Jewish life’ and what is it based on – well common lineage (think about that one, it is a biological definition of a people/race). As for kinship, when there is no kin, it is the word Thatcher was fond of using ‘our stock’ i.e. white in her case.

    So when you ask why is the CST biased towards the right and Israel, and biased against the left, it is because they start off from support for Israel, that is the CST’s raison d’etre. It can be no other.

    The Bundists did not promote some mystical unity of the Jewish volk worldwide. They asserted a Jewish nationality and nationalism within the Jews of the Pale. It is doubtful they even knew there were Jews in the Arab countries. They were speaking specifically of a Jewish people that shared the same territory and spoke the same language (Yiddish). Have you ever wondered why the Zionists hated Yiddish so? Ben Gurion absolutely detested it because it reminded him of the Bund and diaspora nationalism.

    By the way I don’t define myself as a Trotskyist. What I do say is that when there were 2 major currents to the left of Labour, one Stalinist and the other Trotskyite, I identify with the latter not the former. Trotsky was right in wishing that Jews organise under the same banner as everyone else. Where I have my doubts is as to whether or not this was on conflict with autonomy of the oppressed Jewish workers. But the Bund were not separatists. They worked with Polish socialists in particular and of course Russian ones too. The attacks on them by the Stalinists and the execution of people like Alter were monstrous and of course one aligned with the enemy of Stalinism, which worldwide was Trotskyism.

    But don’t give any quarter to the Zionists. When the youth of the Warsaw Ghetto, including Zionists, wished to resist the Nazi occupiers they had to turn to the Bund (and the CP to a lesser extent) because the Zionists being separatists had not built links to those who had arms, however few they themselves had.

  27. Tony Greenstein

    I know this debate has gone off the boil, but it is an excellent example of the wholesale dishonesty of the Zionists in pretending there is any such legal entity as an Israeli nation, when the Israeli courts have specifically REJECTED such a concept.

    I therefore post here an article by the veteran Israeli peace campaigner, Uri Avneri. I disagree with him on most things, e.g. a Jewish state, a 2 state solution, BDS etc. but he is, at least, unlike the Jonathan Hoffman’s of this world honest and truthful. Avneri incidentally, who used to be in the Irgun (Revisionist Zionist militia) was a member of the Knesset for Haolem Hazeh, a satirical magazine in the 1950s and 1960s in Israel.

    If of course I’m wrong then the Zionist dolts will come back and tell us, word for word, exactly what the legislative and juridicial basis is for this Israeli ‘nationality’. They might indeed tell us why ‘citizenship’ is mistranslated as ‘nationality’ on an Israeli passport, which is merely evidence that the Israeli state never tells the truth if it can get away with a lie.

    http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=15768

    Palestine Chroncile, 08:41 02/28/2010
    The White Lie of Herzl
    By Uri Avnery

    This coming Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Israel will consider an application by a group of Israeli citizens to compel the Interior Ministry to register them as belonging to the “Israeli nation”.

    Odd? Indeed.

    The Israeli Interior Ministry recognizes 126 nations, but not the Israeli nation. An Israeli citizen can be registered as belonging to the Assyrian, the Tatar or the Circassian nation. But the Israeli nation? Sorry, no such thing.

    According to the official doctrine, the State of Israel cannot recognize an “Israeli” nation because it is the state of the “Jewish” nation. In other words, it belongs to the Jews of Brooklyn, Budapest and Buenos Aires, even though these consider themselves as belonging to the American, Hungarian or Argentine nations.

    Messy? Indeed.

    This mess started 113 years ago, when the Viennese Journalist Theodor Herzl wrote his book “The State of the Jews”. (That’s the true translation. The generally used name “The Jewish State” is false and means something else.) For this purpose he had to perform an acrobatic exercise. One can say that he used a white lie.

    Modern Zionism was born as a direct response to modern anti-Semitism. Not by accident, the term “Zionismus” came into being some 20 years after the term “Antisemitismus” was invented in Germany. They are twins.

    In Europe and the Americas another modern term was flourishing: Nationalism. Peoples which had been living together for centuries under dynasties of Emperors and Kings wanted to belong to nation-states of their own. In Argentina, the USA, France and other countries, “national” revolutions took place. The idea infected almost all peoples, big, small and tiny, from Peru to Lithuania, from Colombia to Serbia. They felt a need to belong to the place and the people where they lived and died.

    All these national movements were necessarily anti-Semitic, some more, some less, because the very existence of the Jewish Diaspora ran counter to their basic perceptions. A Diaspora without a homeland, dispersed over dozens of countries, could not be reconciled with the idea of a homeland-rooted nation seeking uniformity.

    Herzl understood that the new reality was inherently dangerous for the Jews. In the beginning he cherished the idea of complete assimilation: all the Jews would be baptized and disappear in the new nations. As a professional writer for the theater, he even devised the scenario: all Viennese Jews would march together to St. Stephen’s cathedral and be baptized en masse.

    When he realized that this scenario was a bit far-fetched, Herzl passed from the idea of individual assimilation to what may be called collective assimilation: if there is no place for the Jews in the new nations, then they should define themselves as a nation like all the others, rooted in a homeland of their own and living in a state of their own. This idea was called Zionism.

    But there was a problem: a Jewish nation did not exist. The Jews were not a nation but a religious-ethnic community.

    A nation exists on one level of human society, a religious-ethnic community on another. A “nation” is an entity living together in one country with a common political will. A “community” is a religious entity based on a common faith, which can live in different countries. A German, for example, can be Catholic or Protestant; a Catholic can be German or French.

    These two types of entity have two different means of survival, much as different species in nature. When a lion is in danger, it fights, it attacks. For that purpose, nature has equipped it with teeth and claws. When a gazelle is in danger, it runs. Nature has given it quick legs. Every method is good, if it is effective. (If it were not effective, the species would not have survived to this day.)

    When a nation is in danger, it stands and fights. When a religious community is in danger, it moves elsewhere. The Jews, more than any others, have perfected the art of escape. Even after the horrors of the Holocaust, the Jewish Diaspora has survived and now, two generations later, it is again flourishing.

    In order to invent a Jewish nation, Herzl had to ignore this difference. He pretended that the Jewish ethnic-religious community was also a Jewish nation. In other words: contrary to all other peoples, the Jews were both a nation and a religious community; as far as Jews were concerned, the two were the same. The nation was a religion, the religion was a nation.

    This was the “white lie”. There was no other way: without it, Zionism could not have come into being. The new movement took the Star of David from the synagogue, the candlestick from the Temple, the blue-and-white flag from the prayer shawl. The holy land became a homeland. Zionism filled the religious symbols with secular, national content.

    The first to detect the falsification were the Orthodox Rabbis. Almost all of them damned Herzl and his Zionism in no uncertain terms. The most extreme was the Rabbi of Lubavitch, who accused Herzl of destroying Judaism. The Jews, he wrote, are united by their adherence to God’s commandments. Doctor Herzl wants to supplant this God-given bond with secular nationalism.

    When Herzl originated the Zionist idea, he did not intend to found the “State of the Jews” in Palestine, but in Argentina. Even when writing his book, he devoted to the country only a few lines, under the headline “Palestine or Argentina?” However, the movement he created compelled him to divert his endeavors to the Land of Israel, and so the state came into being here.

    When the State of Israel was founded and the Zionist dream realized, there was no further need for the “white lie”. After the building was finished, the scaffolding should have been removed. A real Israeli nation had come into being, there was no further need for an imaginary one.

    These days Israel’s largest newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, is running a TV ad showing selected past issues. The day the State of Israel was founded, the giant headline announced: “Hebrew State!”

    “Hebrew”, not “Jewish”. And not by accident: at that time, the term “Jewish state” sounded decidedly strange. In the preceding years, people in this country had got used to making a clear distinction between “Jewish” and “Hebrew”, between matters that belonged to the Diaspora and those belonging to this country: Jewish Diaspora, Jewish language (Yiddish), Jewish Stetl, Jewish religion, Jewish tradition – but Hebrew language, Hebrew agriculture, Hebrew industries, Hebrew underground organizations, Hebrew policemen.

    If so, why do the words “Jewish state” appear in our Declaration of Independence? There was a simple reason for that: the UN had adopted a resolution to partition the country between an “Arab state” and a “Jewish state”. That was the legal basis of the new state. The declaration, which was drafted in haste, said therefore that we were establishing “the Jewish state (according to the UN resolution), namely the State of Israel”.

    The building was finished, but the scaffolding was not taken down. On the contrary: it became the most important part of the building and dominates its facade.

    Like most of us at the time, David Ben-Gurion believed that Zionism had supplanted religion and that religion had become redundant. He was quite sure that it would shrivel and disappear by itself in the new secular state. He decided that we could afford to dispense with the military service of Yeshiva bochers (Talmud school students), believing that their number would dwindle from a few hundred to almost none. The same thought caused him to allow religious schools to continue in existence. Like Herzl, who promised to “keep our Rabbis in the synagogues and our army officers in the barracks”, Ben-Gurion was certain that the state would be entirely secular.

    When Herzl wrote of the “state of the Jews” he did not dream that the Jewish Diaspora would continue to exist. In his view, only the citizens of the new state would henceforth be called “Jews”, all other Jews in the world would assimilate in their various nations and disappear from view.

    But the “white lie” of Herzl had results he did not dream of, as did the compromises of Ben-Gurion. Religion did not wither away in Israel, but on the contrary: it is gaining control of the state. The government of Israel does not speak of the nation-state of the Israelis who live here, but of the “nation-state of the Jews” – a state that belongs to the Jews all over the world, most of whom belong to other nations.

    The religious schools are eating up the general education system and are going to overpower it, if we don’t become aware of the danger and assert our Israeli essence. Voting rights are about to be accorded to Israelis residing abroad, and this is a step towards giving the vote to all Jews around the world. And, most important: the ugly weeds growing in the national-religious field – the fanatical settlers – are pushing the state in a direction that may lead to its destruction.

    To safeguard the future of Israel one has to start by removing the scaffolding from the building. In other words: burying the “white lie” of religion-equals-nation. The Israeli nation has to be recognized as the basis of the state.

    If this principle is accepted, what will the future shape of Israel – within the Green Line – be like?

    There are two possible models, and many variations between them.

    Model A: the multi-national one. Almost all the citizens of Israel belong to one of two nations: the majority belongs to the Hebrew nation and a minority to the Palestinian-Arab nation. Each nation will enjoy autonomy in certain areas, such as culture, education and religion. Autonomy will not be territorial, but cultural (as Vladimie Ze’ev Jabotinsky proposed a hundred years ago for Czarist Russia). All will be united by Israeli citizenship and loyalty to the state. The inbuilt discrimination of the Arab minority will become a thing of the past, as well as the “demographic demon”.

    Model B: the American one. The American nation is composed of all US citizens, and all US citizens constitute the American nation. An immigrant from Jamaica who acquires US citizenship automatically becomes a member of the American nation, an heir to George Washington and Abe Lincoln. All learn at school the same core program and the same history.

    Which of the two models is preferable? In my view, Model B is much better. But it would depend on a dialogue between the Hebrew majority and the Arab minority. In the end, the Arab citizens will have to decide whether they prefer the status of equal partners in a general Israeli nation, or the status of a recognized, autonomous national minority in a state that acknowledges and cherishes their separate culture, side by side with the culture of the majority.

    In four days, the Supreme Court will decide whether it is prepared to take the first step in this historic march.

    – Uri Avnery is an Israeli peace activist and the founder of Gush Shalom peace movement. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

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