Over the past week or so, an article entitled ‘Britain’s Jews in crisis over national loyalty, identity and Israel’ has appeared on the Redress site, run by one Nureddin Sabir, who describes himself as the ‘London, UK, Editor of Redress Information & Analysis.' It claims that:
In recent weeks Redress Information & Analysis has been approached by a number of existing and former employees and volunteers of prominent Jewish bodies, all pointing to an acute internal crisis within their institutions.Apparently these whistleblowers have winged their way to Redress, a one-man operation with no visible base or address, to spill the beans on the ‘worst crisis in living memory as their [British Jews’] loyalty to the United Kingdom and support for basic universal principles of human rights and common decency come under growing scrutiny.' Note the dual loyalty charge - a favourite of Atzmon.
Redress is an anti-Semitic site that portrays itself as pro-Palestinian. It primary agenda these days is providing a platform for Gilad Atzmon, the anti-Semitic ex-Israeli jazz musician. On googling Atzmon’s name there are 88 occurrences in the past 2 years on the site and he has written extensively before then too. That is why I persuaded UNISON to ban any links to the site from their international pages.
For example on 7 October Atzmon penned an article ‘Who is a Jew’ in which he defended the Iranian dictator Ahmedinajad. In the course of the article, he wrote that ‘Regardless of the truthfulness of the holocaust, it is a basic fact that the suffering of the Jews in Europe had nothing to do with the Palestinian people.’ This, of course, is a give away. The ‘basic fact’ of the Palestinian peoples’ oppression and dispossession has nothing to do with another fact - the Holocaust, other than that Zionists use the latter to justify the former. Only Atzmon and fellow holocaust deniers, such as his friend Michelle Renouf, would question the ‘truthfulness’ of the holocaust.
So what is the truth about this ‘exclusive’? It is no secret that during the attack on Gaza, certain more liberally inclined members of the Jewish establishment – people like Colin Shindler and Rabbi Tony Bayfield, the Reform chief rabbi, were extremely unhappy about the Israeli State’s open bloodlust and its attacking civilians with phosphorous bombs. In this they reflected their own constituency, which made its feelings known by boycotting the Board of Deputies rallies in Trafalgar Square and Manchester. According to police estimates, and indeed just by looking, you can see that both rallies had, at most, 5,000 people attend them. Contrast this with the 25,000+ support for Israel’s previous attacks on the Lebanon.
But is this a serious crisis or part of an ongoing tendency? There is no evidence to support the former. True that Zionist Federation activist Jonathan Hoffman has come under a lot of stick recently, but that is merely symptomatic. There has been no break-away as there was with the Masorti synagogue some 40 years ago. There is a declining community numbers wise, most young people aren’t interested in Zionism and Israel is no longer a ‘socialist ideal’ as it appeared to me and others when we were young.
It is equally true that the Jewish Chronicle is going through yet another crisis, as epitomised in the appointment of its down-market editor from the Express, Stephen Pollard. Circulation is hovering around 30,000 in contrast to its heyday of around 100,000, but that too is a sign of the times, as well as a declining Jewish population and the plain fact that the paper is, well, totally boring and reads like a propaganda tract.
But the real reason for Redress’s ire is an article ‘Anti-Israel attacks spread across web’ in the Jewish Chronicle that Mark Elf found in the course of researching his own article.
It was a typical Jewish Chronicle article which was as fallacious and mistaken as everything the JC prints these days. It cites Redress as somehow the mainstay of an anti-Zionist campaign across the web. It then portrays Gilad Atzmon, its regular writer (having got kicked off Mary Rizzo’s ThinkPalestine blog) as an active and prominent anti-Zionist, whereas Atzmon is an anti-Semite and is involved in no Palestine solidarity work. He is increasingly marginalised as his long-time political partner, Mary Rizzo, has had enough of him and his ego, as have most others. In short the JC's is a nasty little article seeking to smear supporters of the Palestinians and opponents of Zionism with anti-Semitism, hence the fascination with Gilad Nobody. And of course there is the usual, obligatory quote from Mark Gardner of the Zionist Community Security Trust thugs, who only see anti-Semitism when they want to see it.
Clearly Sabir took exception to all this publicity. It’s hard to understand why since the blog goes virtually unnoticed amongst all the genuinely popular and well –researched blogs like Mark’s Jewssanfrontieres and this one! The article was by the Jewish Chronicle’s new Political Editor Martin Bright, ex of the Observer. Bright it was who picked up on our story on Socialist Action’s takeover of Palestine Solidarity Campaign a few months ago. Bright is apparently the first non-Jewish journalist to occupy such a role. He is also well known for his contacts with Special Branch and MI5, in other words he relies on spooks and the secret state for some/much of his information. As such he is probably an excellent choice as Political Editor!
So the question is who did write the article. And for this detective work, hats off to Mark Elf once again. The article on Redress’s web site is dated 26th December, i.e. Boxing Day. Now have a look at the same article on Gilad Atzmon’s web site and notice the date, Christmas Day, 25th December. After having stuffing himself with turkey and xmas pudding, Atzmon decided wouldn’t it be fun to run a spoof hoax. After all, if it was a genuine Redress exclusive, it is unlikely that Atzmon would run it on his own site first.
Unfortunately it did take in quite a few people. Some whose minds were distracted by the events in Egypt perhaps didn’t look at it as closely as they should have done. After all, if there was a crisis as was suggested in the leadership of British Jewry then we would be likely to know about it first. And if there were indeed whistleblowers from the Board and other Anglo-Jewish institutions, and we all know that there are major difference between the very rich members of the Jewish establishment and the petty-bourgeois businessmen who run the Board, why on earth would they go to a one-man outfit Redress? It doesn’t take many brains to work out that it is an anti-Semitic Atzmon front. Why give your opponents in the Jewish community a stick to beat you with? If you were going to go anywhere it would be the Guardian or Independent or even The Times. It makes no sense.
If I may declare a personal note. Redress is the dishonest little blog that a couple of years ago ran the ‘Petition in support of pro-Palestinian activists’ It was an attack on me for my criticisms of the anti-Semitism of ‘two outstanding personalities who are also great fighters for the implementation of freedom and liberty to all the subjugated peoples of the world, Gilad Atzmon… and Mary Rizzo…’ As is normally the case with these people, it refused to carry any right of reply.
It is not unlike Atzmon to write a petition in support of himself! And now he’s writing his own exclusives too!
It is no coincidence that at a time when most of us are doing our best to put pressure on the Egyptian regime not to do Israel’s dirty work, by sabotaging the Gaza Freedom March and Viva Palestina, Sabir is more concerned with his own petty vendettas against those who have slighted him. But it is clear that although Sabir has the motive, he is unlikely to have written an article that appeared a day previously on Atzmon's site.