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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Marion Woolfson RIP 11th February 1923 to 29th September 2012

A Courageous and Outspoken Jewish Fighter for The Palestinians

It is with great sadness that I learnt today the death of one of the unsung heroes of the anti-Zionist struggle.  As I became more involved in the anti-Zionist struggle in the 1980’s, one name that kept reoccurring was that of Marion Woolfson, who became the honorary President of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
For me Marion will be remembered for her seminal book ‘Prophets in Babylon – Jews in the Arab World’ a book which debunked the Zionist myth that the Jews of the Arab lands were expelled and therefore form a counter-weight to the expulsion of the Palestinians in the Nakba.  Marion showed how Jews had lived peaceably for centuries in the Arab countries and it was only with the advent of colonialism and imperialism that the position of Jews in those countries was destabilised.

By strange coincidence, just three days before her death, I wrote a long post on the destruction of the Jewish community in Iraq by the Zionists, who had planted bombs outside Jewish caf├ęs and synagogues in order to stimulate emigration to Israel in 1950-1.  In it I quoted extensively from Marion’s book.

Marion was one of that increasing number of Jews who consider their Jewishness as part of a long tradition of opposition to racism rather than the narrow-minded idolatory of state worship and bigotry against the indigenous population.  Marion, you will be sorely missed.

Tony Greenstein

Below is the Appreciation of Marion Woolfson and her immense contribution to the cause of Palestine Solidarity, in particular in Scotland where she was the patron of Scottish PSC.

In Memoriam: Marion Woolfson         11/02/1923 - 29/09/2012

Palestinian-Jewish solidarity: Palestinian-Jewish solidarity: Marion Woolfson (78) and Nasra Affara (82) on an SPSC publicity stall, Princes St, Edinburgh in 2001
Marion Woolfson, Honorary President of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, died on Saturday evening, some months after a stroke from which she never fully recovered.

Increasingly infirm over the last two years, Marion was bitterly frustrated by her increasing inability to contribute to the struggle against Zionist smears and slanders against the Palestinian people and those who supported their struggle for freedom.

When SPSC members were charged in 2008 with 'racially aggravated conduct' for activities in support of the Palestinian appeal for boycott of Israel, Marion lept to their defence: "Anyone who stands up for Palestinians is automatically accused of being 'anti-Semitic'. I am Jewish and proud to be Honorary President of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an anti-racist group that opposes Israeli apartheid."

Marion's grandparents were penniless Jewish refugees who fled the massacres of Jews in Tsarist Russia, but Marion's father was wealthy and a pillar of Edinburgh society by the time she was born.  Marion was very proud of her father, who was a member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews before it succumbed to Zionism, and a man who during the thirties insisted against others who wanted to help only Jewish refugees that a project he sponsored should help all those fleeing Nazi Germany.

Marion was a foreign correspondent for several major UK papers and the author of several works, including The Story of a Palestinian, a biography of Nablus Mayor, Bassam Shaka, and a 1980 work on Jews in the Arab countries, Prophets in Babylon. This work is again timely reading when Netanyahu is trying to exploit the emigration of Jews from Arab countries, which Zionism successfully worked to achieve, in order to deny the rights of Palestinian that Israeli militias drove from their homes and lands.

Her small pamphlet on the racism and criminality of the JNF-KKL, the Jewish National Fund, exposed the scandal of this body being granted tax-exempt charitable status in the UK to enable it to carry out its activities in the Israeli programme of ethic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

Many of her Palestinian friends were assassinated, including poet Ghassan Kanafani, and Marion's was one of relatively few Jewish voices in Britain for many years painstakingly telling stories of atrocious Israeli crimes at considerable personal and professional cost to herself.

Marion described several times over the years her personal epiphany when she was a young woman on a visit to Israel and commented casually during a guided tour on the 'beautiful patterns' on the traditional Palestinian dress of a passing woman. The racist contempt and hatred this evoked from her Israeli guide set Marion on a political and personal journey that led one Israeli daily to call her 'the most dangerous anti-Zionist in Britain'.

That journey was filled with much sadness and loss, mixed with great courage and fortitude in the face of professional shunning, a violent beating in her home by a Zionist thug, and final vindication at the end of her life as Israeli crimes have aroused the anger of millions around the world, not excluding Britain and her native Scotland.

Marion was happy to be told that there was now strong competition for her title of 'most dangerous anti-Zionist' but we are all in the debt of those, the living and the dead, who fought at great personal cost against the Zionist programme to ethnically cleanse Palestine.

We stand on the shoulders of courageous fighters.

Mick Napier
Chair, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign


Jive said...

before going to hell..... maybe she will meet your father and explain how come she became an Antisemite like his son.

Gert said...

You’ll be accused of serving up another ‘as-a-Jew’ Jew (there’s no end to their means of denigrating those who aren’t fully enamoured with Zionism!)

BTW, your first link to the SPSC doesn’t work (a formatting error).

Tony Greenstein said...

Ah what idiots Zionists make these days. It is anti-Semitic to be a fierce and life-long opponent of racism now apparently according to 'jive'.

Is it any wonder that Atzmon and his ilk could fly between the radar when Zionist buffoons predominate these days?

Anti-semitism means hatred etc. of Jews not hatred of the things that some do in the name of Jews. But that argument to is probably too complex for our jive friend!

Fact is 'jive' you ain't fit to lick the boots of a dedicated and principled woman like Marion Woolfson. Zionism has become a form of state worship for nationalist bigots like yourself.

Tony Greenstein said...

Yes I realise that Gert but I thought who cares, she was an outstanding personality and someone who stood in the best traditions of being Jewish. To tell with the Atzmonite and Zionist freaks.

Anonymous said...

Anti-semitism means hatred etc. of Jews


Tony Greenstein said...

Once again you have evidence of how soiled the minds of Zionists are and how puerile are their arguments. Not only do they have to shout, since their arguments, if one can call them that, don't stand up, but they assert as truth that which is untrue and base their whole 'argument' (to put it at its highest) on those assertions.

Could the anonymous idiot find even one quote to suggest I hate Jews? of course not, so he condemns himself out of his silly loud mouth.

I only post the occasional comments of such idiots to demonstrate why it is that politically our task is now so much easier.

Daniel Marks said...

She was a woman who devoted much time and effort for a cause in which she truly believed.

Today is not a day for division, but unity and love. Were that there were more like her at the vanguard of every struggle.

Tony Greenstein said...

Thank you Daniel. I know we disagree over the fundamentals of Zionism but your comments are appreciated. Unless someone is truly evil (like our own Jimmy Saville!) it is always a good thing not to speak ill of the dead or at least to try and be objective in one's assessment.

Gert said...

Seems to me that the "level of discourse" [cough!] by Anon Ziotrolls on this blog is decreasing further, as if that's really possible...

bataween said...

What did Marion Woolfson know of antisemitism in an Arab country? She had never had to face pre-colonial riots, the humiliations of quasi-servitude, the nagging sense of insecurity. Her rewriting of history does nobody any favours. To solve the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Arab side needs to take responsibility for persecuting, dispossessing and driving out their Jews, who incidentally outnumbered Palestinian refugees two to one. You can't blame the Europeans for that.

Tony Greenstein said...

Clearly Bataween a lot more than you. You could ask that of Bernard Lewis and the other Zionist scribes.

She knew that 'anti-Semitism' in Iraq was such that Zionist agents planted bombs outside places Jews frequented. Or that the death of Jews under fascism in World War II was 1% compared to the horrifying 95%+ in Baltic countries.

If there was a nagging sense of insecurity then who was to blame? Colonial powers who deliberately used Jews as their intermediaries and then created a settler state in their name.

No to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict, it is Zionism that needs to abandon its ethnic cleansing, its belief in a Jewish state where privileges accord to those who are Jewish, who should allow the right of return to Arabs. But then that would not be Zionism would it?

It's like saying the American Indians need to take responsibility for what happened. It's called blame the victim. Zionism wanted Jews to leave the Arab countries to provide Israel with its proletariat.

So you are once again wrong. You certainly can blame the Europeans for the fact that Jews left the Arab countries or is it just a coincidence that they left after the Zionist state was formed?