Google+ Followers

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Highlights of 2010 - in word and pictures

The Fight for Justice in Palestine and Socialism Internationally Continues

Undoubtedly the biggest story of the year was Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and its murder of 9 human rights activists on the Mavi Marmara. Israel has spent its time since then justifying the attack as an act of self defence! We covered this story repeatedly - here, here, here, here , here here, here, here, here here here, here, here, here .

Although the BBC was only too happy to accept the Israeli version of events, with its disgraceful Panorama programme ‘Death on the Med’, the UNHCR investigation was quite clear and the report it produced was a model of cold, calm and forensic analysis. It trawled through the Israeli excuses and its preposterous video forgery ‘Auschwitz calling’ which bamboozled the BBC.

I helped organise a letter by over 200 people, firstly to the BBC, then when that was ignored we collected enough money to have it printed in the New Statesman, Morning Star, Tribune and Weekly Worker. Money left over was donated to a number of different groups including Electronic Intifada, Jews 4 Boycotting Israeli goods, The Gaza Boats and Friends of Bir Zeit University. The Independent demonstrated its independence by refusing, on legal grounds, to run the advert. Those who have run it haven't suffered any comeback.

We also showed the mentality of violence behind the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla as evidenced in the blinding in one eye of an American Jewish student, Emily Honchowicz, who was demonstrating at Qualandiya check-point against the attack. The Israeli army even refused to pay the bill for her medical treatment and the ex-Express editor of the Jewish Chronicle Stephen Pollard replied to my suggestion that he cover the issue by saying it would make a ‘fine addition’ to his delete folder..

We also covered the attacks on Haneen Zoabi, the Palestinian MK, who was on board the Mavi Marmara. The Israeli Police even went so far as to deliberately fire rubber bullets at her on a demonstration.

We highlighted the behaviour of Israel’s Quisling Palestinian Authority, which tried to sabotage criticism of Israel’s behaviour. The reason being too obvious to state. It has even tried to hush up the devastating criticism of the murders on the Mavi Marmara by kicking the whole issue into the long grass.

A subsequent Jewish Boat to Gaza was also boarded by Israel’s Pirate Navy.

We have covered extensively the issue of racist Israeli rabbis and their Nazi-style injunctions to kill non-Jews. This is an issue which has now begun to be taken up with the recent edict of the Chief Rabbi of Safed that it is forbidden to rent to non-Jews. Something Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to hypocritically criticise.

However that doesn’t stop Netanyahu being in alliance with Shas, a religious sephardi party whose former Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is of the opinion that non-Jews exist only to serve Jews! It is not only Palestinians who are the recipients of Zionist racism. Even their stupid Christian supporters in Israeli settlements are attacked!

We also highlighted the connections between British and Israeli rabbis, not least through the Lubavitch group and the silence of their British counterparts.

Bans on letting housing to Arabs is a particular instance of the growing level of overt racism in Israeli society as evidenced by the fact that the majority of Israeli high school students oppose equal rights for Israeli Arabs. We also highlighted the efforts of the Israeli Knesset to bypass a Supreme Court ruling that prevented Arabs and non-Jews being barred from renting property. Israeli model Bar Refaeli was urged not to marry a non-Jew, Leonardo di Caprio because it would dilute the Jewish ‘race’.

Barring Arabs from renting or leasing ‘Jewish’ property is a major theme for Israeli racists. Just to be sure, Israeli MKs voted down a bill to allocate land between Arabs and Jews equally.

We have opposed not only Zionist racism against Arabs but also anti-semitism and anti-Jewish hatred. Although coverage of Gilad Atzmon has died as he has become less prominent, the new revelations that Israeli anti-Semite Israel Shamir was involved in WikiLeaks has raised consternation about his role, not least in supplying information to the government of Belorussia.

Other highlights included our coverage of the disruption of the concert by the Israeli Occupation Forces Distinguished Musicians, the Jerusalem Quartet. The author of this blog was one of the participants and it sparked off massive publicity. We had, unknowingly, touched rather a sore nerve with the Zionists.

We also reported the BBC pulling a report about the claim, by the clown who doubles up as co-Chair of the Zionist Federation, Jonathan Hoffman, that he was the subject of anti-semitic heckling at a Bricup meeting addressed by two ANC activists. A video tape of the meeting demonstrated conclusively that there was no anti-semitic heckling and within 24 hours of their report being posted the BBC substituted another, more accurate, report. The Jewish Chronicle however refused to change its reporting or inform its readers that the report was disputed and it was reprimanded by the Press Complaints Commission for this in a rare adverse ruling.

Hoffman was also in the thick of it for holding counter-demonstrations in support of the Israeli ‘beauty’ shop Ahava alongside the fascist EDL. This alliance was first born when both the EDL joined the Zionist Federation demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy to support the murders on the Mavi Marmara. It has since blossomed. When a photo was shown on this blog of Hoffman clearly working harmoniously with the leader of the ‘Jewish’ Division of the EDL, Roberta Moore, he denounced the photo as having been ‘photoshopped’ i.e. touched up or faked. The photographer, a David Hoffman was not amused and Jonathan H was forced to make a grovelling apology.

A number of our stories have ended up in both the British and international press.

The year ends with one of the workers in the store making anti-semitic comments about Jews being Christ-killers and the Zionist counter-demonstrators, led by Richard Millett, falling over themselves to excuse the remark. Unable to restrain himself, Jonathan H once again puts his foot in it.

In wider terms we see the continued ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs, both inside Israel itself and on the West Bank. The Gaza siege remains in place, with the active collaboration of Egypt. On the solidarity front the BDS movement continues to grow as companies who trade with Israel, like Veolia, feel the heat.

This blog tries not simply to reflect existing coverage but to cover themes and research stories that are often off the beaten track, such as the pernicious role of the Zionist security group, CST, which despite living off ‘anti-semitism’ has nothing to say about demonstrating with the EDL. We also showed in an in-depth report how the CST manipulates its statistics of ‘anti-semitism’. whilst focussing its attentions on anti-Zionism not the anti-semitism of its supporters. We showed how the CST refuses to accept that someone Jewish can make an anti-semitic remark, even when it is along the lines of ‘pity Hitler didn’t get you’ whilst far milder remarks by non-Jews are considered anti-semitic.

Unlike others, we are not afraid to draw comparisons, when justified, between the actions of Israel and Nazi Germany. Why? Because Israel itself has lived off the holocaust as a propaganda weapon and therefore it is fitting to point out that if anyone best meets the comparison it is they themselves. We report former Israeli judge ben-Itto who proclaimed that Israel must learn from the Nazis. But also because some Israelis, a minority to be sure, do make the connections between what Israel does today and what the Nazis did in the past. There are brave Israelis who defy the state and suffer accordingly, such as Jonathan Pollak, recently jailed, for riding a bicycle against the Gaza siege.

We covered in depth the phenomenon of Israeli soldiers identifying themselves with the Nazi oppressor in Europe. We showed a video of right-wing demonstrators in Jerusalem attacking Jewish supporters in Sheikh Jarrah, where settlers are trying to make inroads, shouting ‘Hitler was Right’. But then we all know that Zionists regular attack anti-Zionist Jews in the same ‘pity Hitler didn’t get you’ terms with an example of the hate-mail sent to this blog.

Despite the Guardian’s reluctance to make such comparisons, it ended up endorsing the brave Israeli reporter Amira Hass who has done just that!

The year began with a report that the Speaker of the Knesset had urged an apology by the State to holocaust survivors for having kept them in penury whilst living off money intended for them.

We have also, on occasions, drawn attention to the historic role of Zionism as a movement which collaborated with Nazism when necessary and which always counterposed building a ‘Jewish’ State to saving Jewish refugees. A recent story highlights how Israel used Nazi war criminals after the war, including one Walter Rauff.

For years Zionism has tried to associate itself with the American Civil Rights Movement and has quoted Martin Luther King to the effect that anti-Zionism was anti-semitic. We showed how this was a faked quote.

We also organised a letter to the New Labour leader Ed Miliband urging him not to become a patron of the Jewish National Fund, like his predecessors. He didn’t respond so we sent a similar letter to the Guardian, which did print it.

Jews 4 Boycotting Israeli Goods also held their founding meeting, which was packed, as guest speakers included Tony Lerman, who came under criticism for having spoken at the conference!

This is not just an anti-Zionist anti-Apartheid blog. It is a socialist blog and we have highlighted the battle of university and school students and the attacks on benefit claimants. in particular against the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

We also had a major victory in Brighton with the acquittal of the EDO Activists who had decommissioned, i.e. smashed up, the EDO-MBM arms factory that manufactures bomb release mechanisms for the Israeli airforce. Neither Melanie Phillips nor the Israeli Ambassador were best pleased. Which is perhaps a good note on which to end the year!

A happy New Year to you all!

Tony Greenstein


Daniel Marks said...

Tony Greenstein said...

I think Daniel, who is a religious settler on the West Bank is trying to point to the debate on Richard Millett's blog where Jonathan Hoffman and Mr Millett mount a vigorous defence of the woman who believes that all Jews are 'christ-killers'.

Below is my last contribution to this debate and various issues that were raised in it:

1. I had promised myself not to come back to this blog. Time and all that. However, since Daniel insisted on sending me a reference via my blog I have caught up with the latest postings. So just a few quick comments:

The late Israel Shahak may be described as many things but he wasn’t wrong about the anti-Gentile views in the Talmud. Anyone who is honest knows that orthodox Judaism is anti-Christian and parts of the Talmud were therefore excised and put in a separate ‘dispensations’ so as not to bring down the wrath of their neighbours on them in Europe. Today in Israel there is less excuse, hence the fanatical racism of those like Rabbi Yaacov Shapira and his Torat HaMelech, which advocates a Nazi style killing of Palestinian, yeah even babies and infants.

I have documented just a few of the stories for last year but there are many others:

2. Despite his foul mouth and inability to express himself succinctly and lucidly, Daniel, Yoni is right. To love someone because they are Jewish is racist. I love my children, my friends and those close to me. I don’t love someone because of an accident of birth. This was the debate I referred to between Hanna Arendt and Gershom Scholem.

Tony Greenstein said...

3. I have never said that I am a Trotskyist. I wouldn’t know how to define one given the multiplicity of groups calling themselves such who I mainly disagree with. I have said that my politics are in the Trotskyite tradition and that I am a Marxist. Whereas you are all searchers of a nationalist panacea and have converted Judaism from a religion into a form of state worship, I just happen to believe that nationalism is a curse one must endure on the journey to a better society. The Nazis were national socialists. A contradiction in terms. Labour Zionism was accurately described by Zeev Sternhall as nationalist socialism. Not a great deal of difference in the basic outlook. And although a Zionist he is a specialist on fascism.

The reason I am in the Trotskyist tradition is because of something called Stalinism which did all the horrific things attributed to it but despite itself presided over a state where the market was largely absent. I know this is technical but Soviet society wasn’t geared towards the market or commodity production or private profit. That is why, despite itself, the Soviet Union saved more Jews from Hitler than any other country and some would argue the rest of the world combined. Estimates are from Begin’s in The Revolt, ¾ million I believe, to Gerald Reitlinger who estimated up to 1.5 million and there is a citation in Nathan Weinstock’s Zionism: A False Messiah that, including the Baltic Republics, it was 1.9 million. Compare this to the friends of Israel such as the USA which took about 70,000 refugees.

4. I wouldn’t expect any socialists on a blog like this. The idea of a rationally planned society where production is for human need and not private greed, where resources are not expended in weapons of war whilst people like those on this blog dream up excuses for continuing along that path. Global warming alone should be a stark warning as to the dangers of capitalism. The idea that there is any comparison between this and Nazism says more about the person making the comparison than the subject. Those making crass comparisons between the numbers that Hitler and Stalin killed are in essence seeking to minimise the Nazis’ guilt. I doubt very much that it is possible to know how many Stalin was responsible for murdering – 5 or 6 million maybe. That is not to excuse Stalin but those who make these comparisons end up in bed with Ernest Nolte who effectively justifies the Nazi regime by arguing it was a response to the Stalin murders. By and large, Stalinism did not distinguish between the ethnic/racial origin of those it murdered. To the Nazis, the racial origin was the most important thing. Stalinism targeted political opponents and of course class enemies like the Kulaks. But as Albert Luthuli said, you can change your views but not your colour or ‘race’.

Tony Greenstein said...

5. Unlike our Nazi girl, (her description) – the Volksdeutsche were simply the ethnic Germans dotted around Europe, they weren’t inherently Nazi though in practice they became the most reliable elements – I and fellow Marxists, socialists and others have always sought to prevent the growth of fascist and neo-Nazi groups in Britain. That is why the neo-Nazi Red Watch features me on their hit lists, not Jonathan Hoffman or his couriers. So why did I urge people to vote ‘yes’ in a Jewish Chronicle poll about whether rabbis should associate or work with the EDL? One reason was because all too many of them hold the same opinions, as the links I’ve posted above demonstrate. Another is that clearly there is such a lot of joint work at the moment, demonstrating together etc. that it would be churlish to spoil the party. Urging people to vote doesn’t, in my book, count as ‘rigging’ unless I was asking people to vote repeatedly.

6. The real question is why the Jewish Chronicle thought it was a good idea to hold such a poll in the first place. Maybe it was the activities of their favourite blogger, J Hoffman! In which case my tongue in cheek response was apposite. However I doubt that humour has place among rabid Zionists.

Now this is my last post on this particular subject. You have defended the Ahava woman so you cannot complain about anti-semitism anymore.

Tony Greenstein

PS: And Yoni, please take some anger management course.

Sue Blackwell said...

Hi Tony, thanks for the summary and for all your work on the blog over the past year. Just one nit-picking point of accuracy: the meeting in which Jonathan Hoffman was heckled (by Mike Cushman amongst others) was not organised by UCU. Bongani Masuku and his colleague, along with Ronnie Kasrils and other speakers, were in the UK to attend a UCU conference on BDS, but the meeting at SOAS was organised by BRICUP, as you rightly said in your original report. Cheers, Sue B