30 May 2008

Universities & College Union Passes Motion Encouraging Academics to ‘consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli i

Because of the fierce political and legal attack on them the UCU has had to carefully phrase any motion on the boycott of Israeli academia. Although by no means the best we would desire, the motion below goes a long way to putting Boycott back on the agenda and turning the focus on those who have the gall and hypocrisy to condemn boycotts whilst, at the very same time, they lay siege to and insist on a boycott of the Palestinians of Gaza.

The motion passed by UCU today is Motion 25 Composite: Palestine and the occupation proposed by the University of Brighton & Eastbourne, University of Brighton Grand Parade, University of East London Docklands and National Executive Committee

Congress notes the
1. continuation of illegal settlement, killing of civilians and the impossibility of civil life, including education;
2. humanitarian catastrophe imposed on Gaza by Israel and the EU;
3. apparent complicity of most of the Israeli academy;
legal attempts to prevent UCU debating boycott of Israeli academic institutions; and legal advice that such debates are lawful
Congress affirms that
5. criticism of Israel or Israeli policy are not, as such, anti-semitic;
6. pursuit and dissemination of knowledge are not uniquely immune from their moral and political consequences;
Congress resolves that
7. colleagues be asked to consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli institutions, and to discuss the occupation with individuals and institutions concerned, including Israeli colleagues with whom they are collaborating;
8. UCU widely disseminate the personal testimonies of UCU and PFUUPE delegations to Palestine and the UK , respectively;
9. the testimonies will be used to promote a wide discussion by colleagues of the appropriateness of continued educational links with Israeli academic institutions;
10. UCU facilitate and encourage twinning arrangements and other direct solidarity with Palestinian institutions;
11. Ariel College , an explicitly colonising institution in the West Bank , be investigated under the formal Greylisting Procedure.

And not surprisingly the Zionists have been quick off the mark. In an article ‘U.K. academic union moves to consider boycott of Israeli academia’ by Asaf Uni, Haaretz Correspondent and Agencies it was noted that:

The motion noted "the continuation of illegal settlement, killing of civilians and the impossibility of civil life, including education" as a result of the occupation.
The Jewish physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg said he cancelled plans to visit England in protest of the measure. [I can hear people screaming, even as I write: ‘Please Steven, we beg of you. Don’t do this. How can life ever be the same again?’ – Tony G]

A Foreign Office spokesperson released the following statement: "The British Government fully supports academic freedom and is firmly against any academic boycotts of Israel, Israeli universities or academics."
"The British Government does not consider boycotts constructive," [except when it comes to Boycotts of Palestinians, in which case we support them, especially if it means a starvation blockade of Gaza – TG] The Foreign Office said. "They do nothing to advance the prospects for peace. It is therefore all the more important to keep open channels of communication with academics and educational institutions in the Middle East and to support – as we are - dialogue between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority."
The hypocrisy of these people beggars belief. Boycotting South Africa was wrong, whereas boycotting Cuba is fine. Boycotting Israel is terrible, anti-Semitic etc. Boycotting or even worse, blockading Palestinian civilians is right, because only then will they understand the futility of resistance.
Of course this hypocrisy is standard for capitalism. The violence of the oppressed is to be condemned unreservedly whereas ruling class violence, see the Raytheon article below, is perfectly acceptable.
Israel Ambassador to England Ron Prosor said the move runs counter to academic principles. [Like roadblocks preventing students getting to their university? Sorry, that’s ‘terrorism’ of course – when anything goes]
"Any call to an academic boycott on Israel is an act of folly since boycott stands as a contradiction of what academy symbolizes and represents," Prosor said."
John Spellar, Labor MP for Warley, has slammed UCU's motion, which he said would allow for a boycott of Israeli academia. "It is a matter of great regret that the UCU has passed this motion, which runs contrary to the views of ordinary members and against principles of academic freedom," he said.
The motion follows last year's attempts by the union to implement a similar boycott motion, but was withdrawn by the union following undisclosed legal advice.
This year's motion was debated despite the legal advice that the Stop the Boycott campaign had obtained, which clearly states that any boycott of Israeli academia would be in breach of the union's own anti-discrimination policies, as well as British anti-discrimination laws.
The Academic Friends of Israel condemned the UCU for passing a resolution "which is clearly discriminatory and anti-Semitic and, we believe, in clear violation of the U.K. Race Relations act."
Jeremy Newmark, Joint Head of the Stop the Boycott Campaign said: "UCU has again demonstrated how out of touch it is with the vast majority of its membership and with the wider academic community. This motion does nothing to help the Palestinians. "
He said the resolution "runs counter to all that a Trade Union should stand for, discriminating against some of its members instead of defending all of them."

Lorna Fitzsimons, Joint Head of the Stop the Boycott campaign, said the motion "in effect gives license to harassment and discrimination within academic institutions, the very thing the UCU is supposed to protect its members from."

All this is very interesting, because David Hirsh of Engage let the cat out of the bag when he said recently, that "The actual intentions of people who support this boycott are positive and antiracist; they want to help Palestinians. But were it to be instituted the boycott would be in effect if not intent an antisemitic measure; it would normalise an exclusive focus on Jews as fit targets for exclusion and punishment." So the Zionists can’t even get their line right. Either the Boycott is anti-Semitic or it isn’t.

Of course Hirsh has to operate within an academic environment in Britain which is becoming more hostile to the Israeli state and Zionism, hence he knows he cannot get away with maligning people as racists when they are not, whereas ex-NUS President Lorna Fitzimmons, now Head of the main Israeli propaganda unit in Britain, has no such qualms.

Tony Greenstein

The London Independent Spikes Mark Steel Article about the Raytheon 9

The Evidence Mounts That Some Things Aren't Fair, By Mark Steel.

There's a trial currently taking place in Belfast, that seems to explain plainly how nothing makes any sense. It revolves around a factory owned by the arms company Raytheon, which was set up in Derry soon after the IRA ceasefire. John Hume, who'd just won the Nobel Peace Prize was among those who announced the opening of the plant, welcoming it as a result of the 'peace dividend'. So at last, now the men of violence had agreed to give up their weapons, the area could attract a peaceful company with a turnover of seventeen billion dollars from making weapons.

Clearly, all the while the IRA were decommissioning their arms, most of us misunderstood this process. Because the government reports must have gone "They possess 100 rifles, 10 RPG 7 rockets and a shed full of semtex. If they want to be taken seriously this isn't NEARLY enough; they need Tornado bombers and a car park full of tanks - we can't deal with these amateurs." For example, when Raytheon won a contract to develop a new missile system for the Israelis in 2006, a spokesman boasted they would "Provide all-weather hit-to-kill performance at a tactical missile price." Next they might have adverts, that go "Hurry hurry hurry to the Raytheon springtime sale for lasers, tasers and civilian-erasers that will make flesh sizzle through snow, sleet or drizzle WITHOUT making a casualty of your wallet."

Despite this, the government in Northern Ireland welcomed the new plant, claiming they'd been assured it wouldn't be making weapons. To which a reasonable response would be 'Right - they're a weapons manufacturer - they supplied weapons to, amongst others, the Indonesian military junta - this might, if you were cynical, suggest they make weapons. Or what do you THINK they're going to be making - FAIRTRADE FUCKING CUSTARD!' Eventually it was admitted they were making guidance systems for missiles, and so for a while there was a pretence these were being employed for peaceful reasons. Perhaps the systems were being attached to wasps so that a central controlling network could guide them away from picnics. But then it became clear they were being used by the Israelis in Lebanon, and there was outrage in Derry when in 2006 one such system guided a missile into a block of flats in Qana, killing 28 people, mostly children.

A few days later the local anti-war group, including the journalist and civil rights activist Eamonn McCann, decided to occupy the Raytheon building as a protest. A group of nine got into the plant, and as a gesture they threw a computer or two out of the window. Eventually around 40 police arrived and, as Eamonn describes "They smashed through the doors wearing riot gear, many holding perspex shields, some pointing plastic-bullet guns. They inched forward while the officer in command shouted 'surrender'. We continued playing cards." And as I know Eamonn I can imagine him later that night in the police cell muttering "Tonight did not go as planned at all - I was SURE no one would beat my pair of queens."

Then came the official outrage - they'd wilfully broken the law, destroyed property etc. etc. So maybe whether an act of destruction is considered illegal or not comes down to the value of the objects destroyed. And computers are worth a fair packet, whereas a house in Qana can probably be picked up for next to nothing, especially with the current housing slump! Perhaps the activists went about their protest in the wrong way. The more official approach might have been to leave Raytheon alone, but announce the local Co-op was making weapons. Then they could have produced a dossier to prove it, containing snippets from the internet about how the manager had been buying uranium from North Korea and smuggling it into the fridges in packets of fish fingers. Then they could have flattened the place, and when it turned out there never were any weapons they could have said it doesn't really make any difference.

Last year the group travelled to Qana to meet the families of the victims of that missile, and they described the trip, not surprisingly, as the most moving experience of their lives. But while it's all very well feeling compassion for dead civilians, someone has to consider the feelings of that poor computer, so this week their trial began. Because opposing the bombing of civilians with missiles made as a result of a peace process can land you in jail, whereas organising international support for bombing those civilians gets you a job as peace envoy to the place that was bombed. It's obvious when you think about it.I only hope that as the computer hit the ground, in its last moment it flickered 'You have performed an illegal operation'.

Reprinted from the Outrage Blog

27 May 2008

ENGAGE Hypocrites Support Finkelstein's Arrest & Deportation

Engage is a site set up by David Hirsh, John Strawson and other Zionists in order to fight the academic boycott of Israeli universities. Not surprisingly, one of their most avid supporters is Gilad Atzmon, who also opposes the academic boycott as 'book burning'.

Last weekend, Norman Finkelstein, the anti-Zionist Jewish academic and author, was arrested at Israel's Ben Gurion airport by the Shabak secret police, detained for 24 hours and then deported. No doubt Gilad Atzmon & his devoted groupie, Mary Rizzo, also support this, since being an anti-Zionist Jew, Finkelstein must also be a Zionist according to Mr Jazzmon!

The decision to deport Finkelstein is rapidly becoming yet another embarrassment for 'the only democracy in the Middle East'. Ha'aretz has printed a robust editorial criticising the decision to deport Finkelstein:

Who`s afraid of Finkelstein?
Haaretz May 27, 2008

[See also

On Friday morning, the State of Israel refused to allow Prof. Norman Finkelstein, an American Jewish political scientist, to enter the country. Finkelstein was arrested at the airport and questioned by the Shin Bet security service for several hours. A day later, it became known that he had been banned from entering Israel for 10 years, for security reasons. Finkelstein managed to meet with a lawyer, who told him his chances of changing the decision were slim. When the Shin Bet decides that someone constitutes a security risk, the courts do not intervene.

According to the law, both in Israel and in other countries, no one has an intrinsic right to enter a country of which he is not a citizen. Immigration authorities have the power to keep a tourist from entering the country for reasons known only to themselves, and do not even need to provide an explanation. In Finkelstein`s case, the disturbing issue is neither the legality of keeping him out nor the authority to do so, but the reasonableness of the decision. Considering his unusual and extremely critical views, one cannot avoid the suspicion that refusing to allow him to enter Israel was a punishment rather than a precaution.

It is difficult to sympathize with Finkelstein`s opinions and preferences, especially since he decided to support Hezbollah, meet with its fighters and visit the graves of some of its slain operatives. But that does not mean he should be banned from entering Israel, since meetings with Hezbollah operatives do not in themselves constitute a security risk. True, the right to enter Israel is not guaranteed to noncitizens, but the right of Israeli citizens to hear unusual views is one that should be fought for. It is not for the government to decide which views should be heard here and which ones should not.
The decision to ban Finkelstein hurts us more than it hurts him. Every once in a while, the state suffers an attack of excessive sensitivity regarding its visitors. In 2002, it was Romanian flautist Gheorghe Zamfir who was kept out of the country by the Interior Ministry. The interior minister at the time, Eli Yishai, explained that Zamfir had expressed anti-Semitic views and that his entry into Israel would `hurt Holocaust survivors.` Avraham Poraz, who succeeded Yishai, overturned the decision.

When the person refused entry is Jewish, the absurdity is even greater. After all, Finkelstein could realize his right to immigrate to Israel as a Jew, in accordance with the Law of Return. Since he is Jewish and has no criminal past, it is doubtful whether he could be prevented from receiving Israeli citizenship.
The Shin Bet argues that Finkelstein constitutes a security risk. But it is more reasonable to assume that Finkelstein is persona non grata and that the Shin Bet, whose influence has increased to frightening proportions, latched onto his meetings with Hezbollah operatives in order to punish him.

And the decision is all the more surprising when one recalls the ease with which right-wing activists from the Meir Kahane camp - the kind whose activities pose a security threat that no longer requires further proof - are able to enter the country.

The Jerusalem Post reported that:

'American political scientist and fierce critic of Israel, Prof. Norman Finkelstein, was denied entry to Israel and deported from the country early Saturday morning. Officials said that the decision to deport Finkelstein was connected to his anti-Zionist opinions and fierce public criticism of Israel around the world.'

However none of this has deterred David Hirsh's ENGAGE from supporting the ban. It seems that for these hypocrites the only academic freedom that counts is the freedom of settler-colonial academics like Prof. Arnon Sofer of Haifa University who believes that the Arabs pose a 'demographic problem.'

26 May 2008

Petition to Suspend the EU-Israeli Trade Agreement

“The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything”.
Albert Einstein

“I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented“.
Elie Weisel

"It's not a matter of what is true that counts but a matter of what is perceived to be true."
Henry Kissinger


The three years Claudia and I spent teaching in the West Bank have allowed us to experience first hand the difficulties of life there and to get a pretty depressing picture of its reality. Having dedicated a good deal of time getting acquainted with as much literature as I could about related issues, I also managed to get an equally depressing picture of what can be expected in the future. That is unless serious action is taken to confront the current trend.

I am sometimes asked why I singled-out Israel in my campaigning for justice and against oppression. To this I just want to say that it is the issue which I am most acquainted with, but that I am more than willing to, as I do, take action on other issues too.

The many misconceptions regarding Israel and its policies since its creation in 1948, represent a serious obstacle to positive change. On the grounds that it is “too complex” to understand, many shy away from actually dealing with, or even trying to understand, what is going on.

I reject the idea that it is a difficult situation to understand, although I accept it is far from easy to change. The injustice could hardly be more obvious.

The commonly perceived reality is very simple: Palestinians, for some mysterious reason, refuse to accept Israel and use terrorism in order to destroy it. Israel, therefore, does what it does for its own protection.

An equally simple, and more to the point, picture is the following: Israel was created in 1948 by ethnically cleansing its land of most of its indigenous (Palestinian) population. More than two thirds of Palestinians are now refugees. Israel has occupied more Palestinian land in 1967 and relentlessly colonised it since then while segregating its Palestinian population.

The ethnic cleansing, planned long before 1948, is well documented, amongst others, by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe in “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”.

What we have today is the following situation:

Israel has complete control of Palestinian land and resources, Palestinians do not control any Israeli land or resources. This entails that no Palestinian has freedom (of movement or other) on their own land without Israeli approval. No Israeli is subject to any Palestinian restriction.

As a result, the Palestinian economy is entirely in Israel’s hands. The converse is false.

Israel holds some 11,000 Palestinian prisoners (including hundreds of children and dozens of Palestinian members of Parliament or cabinet ministers). One Israeli is held by Palestinian factions (Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit).
Israel has a State armed with tanks, fighter jets, helicopters, a nuclear arsenal and one of the most well-equipped armies in the world. Palestinians don’t.
Israel systematically uses extra-judicial killings of Palestinians. The converse is not true.

Palestinian civilian casualties outnumber by far Israeli civilian casualties.
Israel, not the Palestinians, is in constant breach of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law and numerous UN Resolutions since 1948.

And, crucially:

It is Israel which has ethnically cleansed Palestinian land, not the other way round.

Adding insult to injury and asymmetry, the United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions since 2006 on the Palestinians rather than on Israel. John Dugard, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has pointed out that this is the first case of sanctions imposed on an occupied people. The recent total blockade of the Gaza Strip has trapped its 1.5 million inhabitants in a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic proportions.

The cases of Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians have led to calls for Palestinians to adopt non-violent resistance. I would like to stress that most of the resistance to Israeli occupation and policies is non-violent even if media attention is focused on out-of-context suicide bombings.

  • Focus on education, cultural projects, peaceful demonstrations (usually met by Israeli gunfire) and calls for boycott are among the many forms of non-violent resistance adopted by Palestinians. Unfortunately the indifference with which these are met only reinforces and equals Israeli attempts to sabotage them.

    Although it was never under any serious physical threat, Israel needs to appear as being in a constant war so as to avoid negotiations and concessions on all of the issues outlined above, realising that Palestinians have both a moral and a legal case.
  • Israeli aggressions and provocations are to be understood in this perspective, not as the “self-defence” proclaimed repeatedly by Israel and its sponsors. By demonizing Palestinians, Israel avoids the only real threat to its existence as an ethno-religious Jewish state: the moral one.

    The EU Trade Agreement rewards Israel with a privileged status in its economic relations with the EU. The petition’s aim is to stop this.



20 May 2008

Loving Jesus, fearing the neighbors in Ariel

What an outrage. Jews 4 Jesus and other loonies support the settlers 100%. They have no problem with bombing and murdering Palestinians yet, despite this, they are the target of racists who also despise Christianity. It's difficult to know whether to laugh or cry!! Instead of appreciating all the help and support that Christian Zionism gives them, the Jewish settler Zionists have taken to bombing Christians who seek to convert their brethren. What was that about sowing the seed and reaping the whirlwind?

Tony Greenstein

Last update - 21:03 24/03/2008

By Yair Ettinger, Haaretz Correspondent

Police and sappers were once again dispatched to Ariel's IDF Street during the Purim holiday Friday morning. A few minutes earlier, a man had knocked on the door of the Leibovitz family home and left a cardboard box with the boy who answered the door. "It's mishloach manot, a Purim gift basket," explained the visitor before disappearing.

The boy and his older brother trembled with fear. Their parents, who were out of town, ordered the boys by phone to get away from the package and call the police. In another residential building, 50 meters away, a bomb planted in a Purim gift basket had exploded the day before.

"This is not hysteria; it is alertness," police told the two boys after they finally opened the box to reveal candy and other treats from the ultra-Orthodox Chabad movement in honor of the holiday.

This is only one example of the tension that has gripped city residents after the booby-trapped gift basket injured a boy on Thursday. Those who were most frightened were members of a tiny, almost secretive community that operates in that Ariel building, among other sites in Israel; the "Messianic Jews." The group had experienced occasional harassment in the form of hostile fliers and demonstrations against Christian missionary groups. But the police investigation into the explosion indicates that they now must also fear religious-based terror.

While sappers dismantled the Chabad package in the neighboring building, several members of the Messianic Jewish community were cleaning up the apartment where the bomb had gone off a day earlier: shattered windows, a splintered dining room table, holes in the walls and the ceiling, and dried blood stains. They refused to speak to the press, and only one person agreed, despite his friends' protests, to permit Haaretz to enter the scene of a crime motivated by untold loathing.

"The same people who hounded that family might find me tomorrow," one man said, describing his fear and reluctance to be identified. He comes to this home weekly to meet and pray with about 20 other men and women. Most are from the United States, but some are from the former Soviet Union and others, like the man who spoke to us, are native Israelis. He said he was a member of several religious cults before he "saw the light" while reading the New Testament seven years ago.

Only half of the local community is from Ariel, he said, adding that there are a few thousand Messianic Jews in Israel who "believe in the Torah of Israel and the God of Israel, and that Jesus, who was a Jew, had no intention of creating a new religion. We accept Jesus as the Messiah. We accept the Old Testament and the New Testament as its continuation."

The parents of the boy who was wounded in the explosion immigrated to Israel under the Law of Return; as Jews; before they founded the congregation in Ariel. The congregation meets weekly on the two upper floors of a typical residential building. But surveillance cameras, installed two years ago after antagonistic fliers were distributed in the area, bear witness to the threat the members feel. The family that received the bomb in a gift basket lives in one wing of the complex. Another wing, which has a wooden floor, plastic chairs and tables, and locked shutters, is dedicated to the group's weekly meetings. A wall hanging embroidered with the phrase "Peace in Israel" is flanked by a bulletin board and a schedule of events.

"The events that take place here are not underground; it's an open thing," the speaker explained.

Is it a mission?

"That depends on the nature of the people involved. Some tend to tell others about their beliefs, and others don't. I think it's very positive to tell, but I can't persuade you to accept our belief. This is an intimate, family place."

"As a congregation, it was nice to remain anonymous until now. But here you can see how many people hate and fear us," he said. "We are not a cult. We see ourselves as law-observing Jews and Israelis. One of our most important values is loyalty to the state of Israel, obeying the law and serving in the army. Many congregation members, including the brother of the boy who was hurt, serve in elite combat units."

The Ariel congregation had intended to celebrate Purim on Saturday, the day of their weekly meeting. Instead, they held a prayer service at the Schneider Children's Medical Center, where the wounded boy is hospitalized. "People from other congregations came and brought food. We sang and prayed together. While this is very difficult and unpleasant, hardships strengthen and unite people. It strengthens the parents to continue fearlessly. We told them that hate is vanquished by love."

Evangelicals urge police to act on harassment of messianic Jews - By Daphna Berman

A sad report in Ha'aretz. Don't the settlers know that only the Palestinians should be the target of terrorism and bombings? Unfortunately it's not that simple. The Christian missionaries, who have no problems with bombing Palestinian homes, can't understand why they should be the targets of Zionist terror simply because they want to convert settler Jews. Poor things. But that's the problem with racism, it sometimes hurts even the friends of the racists!

A leading evangelical organization in Israel has called on local police to stop "overlooking" cases of "harassment, intimidation and even physical violence" against messianic Jews, in the wake of last month's attack, which seriously injured a member of Ariel's small Christian missionary community. In an open letter released Sunday, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem condemned the attack against 15-year-old Ami Ortiz, son of prominent messianic pastor David Ortiz, breaking some three weeks of silence on the subject.

"We urge Israeli authorities to take this criminal assault seriously, and to commit all the resources, manpower and willpower necessary to see the investigation through to conclusion and to prosecute to the fullest those deemed responsible," the statement read.

"The 'Purim gift basket bombing' has caught the attention of the Christian world and Israel needs to assure everyone that it is indeed a democracy that safeguards the rights and lives of its religious minorities."

The organization refrained from reacting to the attack earlier, the statement said, "in hopes the police investigation would quickly identify those responsible for this appalling act."

Orthodox Jewish youths burn New Testaments in Or Yehuda

Now I guess my first response to this story was, well they had it coming. Christian bigots who support the Israeli state and its oppression of the Palestinians, are hardly the first claimants on our sympathy. If anyone has it coming then they are prime candidates.

Those who welcome Armaggedon can hardly complain when they get a little taste of the fire and brimstone they'd hand out to others. However what this story shows is not simply Christian messianic bigots getting their comeuppance.

It is a demonstration of the bigoted and reactonary attitude of Orthodox Judaism in Israel towards other religions and people. Judaism legitimates everything that happens to the Palestinians. They are the new Amalekites. The most backward and regressive parts of the Talmud and Mishneh are hauled out in order to support this racist attitude to non-Jews (they have animal souls, their blood is not equal to Jews etc.). And although this attitude is usually evinced towards the Palestinians it is also, when they let their hair down, applied to Palestinians too.

But the Christian missionaries can't say they didn't have it coming!!

Tony Greenstein

Ha’aretz Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Last update - 18:04 20/05/2008
By The Associated Press

Orthodox Jews set fire to hundreds of copies of the New Testament in the latest act of violence against Christian missionaries in the Holy Land.
Or Yehuda Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon said missionaries recently entered a
neighborhood in the predominantly religious town of 34,000 in central Israel, distributing hundreds of New Testaments and missionary material.

After receiving complaints, Aharon said, he got into a loudspeaker car last Thursday and drove through the neighborhood, urging people to turn over the material to Jewish religious students who went door to door to collect it.

"The books were dumped into a pile and set afire in a lot near a synagogue," he said.

The newspaper Maariv reported Tuesday that hundreds of yeshiva students took part in the book-burning. But Aharon told The Associated Press that only a few students were present, and that he was not there when the books were torched.

"Not all of the New Testaments that were collected were burned, but hundreds were," he said.

He said he regretted the burning of the books, but called it a commandment to burn materials that urge Jews to convert.

"I certainly don't denounce the burning of the booklets, he said. I denounce those who distributed the booklets."

Jews worship from the Old Testament, including the Five Books of Moses and the writings of the ancient prophets. Christians revere the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, which contains the ministry of Jesus.

Calev Myers, an attorney who represents Messianic Jews, or Jews who accept Jesus as their savior, demanded in an interview with Army Radio that all those involved be put on trial. He estimated there were 10,000 Messianic Jews, who are also known as Jews for Jesus, in Israel.

Police had no immediate comment.

Israeli authorities and Orthodox Jews frown on missionary activity aimed at Jews, though in most cases it is not illegal. Still, the concept of a Jew burning books is abhorrent to many in Israel because of the association with Nazis torching piles of Jewish books during the Holocaust of World War II.

Earlier this year, the teenage son of a prominent Christian missionary was seriously wounded when a package bomb delivered to the family's West Bank home went off in his hands.

Last year, arsonists burst into a Jerusalem church used by Messianic Jews and set the building on fire, raising suspicions that Jewish extremists were behind the attack. No one claimed responsibility, but the same church was burned down 25 years ago by ultra-Orthodox Jewish extremists.

Did Hezbollah Thwart an Attack on Lebanon?

By Franklin Lamb in Beirut
The Palestinian Chronicle

This week Israel`s Military Intelligence Chief Major General Amos Yadlin complained to the Israeli daily Haaretz that `Hezbollah proved that it was the strongest power in Lebanon… stronger than the Lebanese and it had wanted to take the government it could have done it.` He said Hezbollah continued to pose a `significant` threat to Israel as its rockets could reach a large part of Israeli territory.`

Yadlin was putting it mildly.

But what Intelligence Chief Yadlin did not reveal to the Israeli public was just how `significant` but also `immediate` the Hezbollah threat was on May 11. Nor was he willing to divulge the fact that he received information via US and French channels that if the planned attack on Lebanon`s capitol went forward, that in the view of the US intelligence community Tel Aviv would be subject to `approximately 600 Hezbollah rockets in the first 24 hours in retaliation and at least that number on the following day`.

The Israeli Intel Chief also declined to reveal that despite Israel`s recent psyche-war camping about various claimed missile shields `the State of Israel is perfecting`, that this claim is being ridiculed at the Pentagon. `Israel will not achieve an effective shield against the current generation of rockets, even assuming no technological improvements in the current rockets aimed at it, for another 20 years. And that assumes the US will continue to fund their research and development for the hoped for shields`, according to Pentagon, US Senate Intelligence Committee, and very well informed Lebanese sources.

The Planned Attack on Beirut

According to US Senate Intelligence Committee sources, the Bush administration initially green-lighted the intended May 11 Israel `demonstration of solidarity` with the pro-Bush administration militias, some with which Israel has maintained ties since the days of Bashir Gemayal and Ariel Sharon.

In the end, `the Bush administration got cold feet`, a Congressional source revealed. So did Israel.

Israel was not willing to proceed with the original Bush Administration idea which was to have Bush attend the May 15 Israel anniversary celebrations following the Israeli attack meant to hit Hezbollah hard, and give Bush the credit for coming to the dangerous region. The message was to be that Bush comes to the rescue on horseback and leads the US Calvary charge straight out of a B western movie where the bugle would sound and flag would be unfurled and the white hat good guys would show their stuff before riding into the sunset and back to Texas, leaving the results to the likely Obama administration to sort out.

The plan involved Israeli air strikes on South and West Beirut in support of forces it was assured would be able to surprise and resist Hezbollah and sustain a powerful offensive for 48 hours.

Also presumably disturbing to Israel was the report it received that Hezbollah had once again in all probability hacked its `secure` military intelligence communications and the fear that the information would be shared with others.

The Hezbollah rout of the militias in West Beirut plus the fear of retaliation on Tel Aviv, ruining 60th anniversary celebrations, forced cancellation of the supportive attack.

Israel limited its actions to sending two F-15`s and two F-16`s into as far North as Tyre, one of more of literally hundreds of violations of Lebanese airspace, sovereignty and UNSCR 170l.

Clearly frustrated, Cabinet Minister Meir Sheetrit said Israel should not yet take any action now, but warned `those things could change if Hezbollah takes over Lebanon`. (A few minutes earlier he had declared that Hezbollah had done just that and had treated the Lebanese army as a doormat).

Later in the Sunday cabinet meeting, Minister Ami Ayalon called for an emergency meeting of the political-security cabinet to discuss `the ongoing crisis in Lebanon and why Israel was not assisting friendly forces.`
Minister Yitzhak Cohen (Shas) said that `Israel must immediately ask the [United Nations] Security Council to hold renewed discussions over Resolution 1701″. The minister was referring to the resolution that stopped the Israeli actions against Lebanon during the 34-day between in 2006, maintaining a fragile cease-fire.

Finally Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert informed Israeli supporters in Lebanon, through the media, and presumably other means that `Israel was following the violence in Lebanon closely, but would refrain from intervening`. Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told Army Radio Sunday that Israel was prepared for the possibility that the situation in Lebanon will deteriorate into another civil war (meaning future opportunities for Israeli influence and intervention in Lebanon) and that the current fighting could end with a Hezbollah takeover of the government. `We need to keep our eyes peeled and be especially sensitive regarding all that is happening there`, Vilnai told Army Radio.

The Bush administration, also disappointed, switched tactics and is opting for domination of the narrative of the fairly complicated events of the past week and using their media and confessional allies to launch a media blitz (minus Future TV for a few days) to flood the airways with:

`Hezbollah staged a coup d`×™tat`.
Even Israel, if not the Bush administration, concedes Hezbollah has no interest in taking over the Government. One observer, paraphrasing Winston Churchill`s comment, deadpanned, `Some Hezbollah Coup! Some Hezbollah Etat!`;

Hezbollah brought its forces from the South and occupied West Beirut;: Hezbollah did not bring their forces from the South to Beirut, they remained on alert for an Israel attack down South;

`Hezbollah broke its pledge not to use Resistance arms against Lebanese militias and shot up West Beirut`: The facts are very different when viewed close up on the streets here.

When the Lebanese Resistance took the decision during the early hours of Friday morning to engage in civil disobedience, it delayed its actions so as not to preempt the Labor movement strike for higher wages which it supported. When the marching strikers were prevented from moving into West Beirut the Opposition extended its civil disobedience manifestation.

Various militias, including the smartly outfitted Hariri `Secure Plus` with its distinctive maroon tee-shirts and beige trousers (now known locally by some as `Secure Minus`) and a hoped for future Blackwater operation in Lebanon, disintegrated surprisingly quickly because many of its green recruits brought down from Tripoli felt misled and betrayed regarding their job description as they were handed weapons an instructed to fight Hezbollah. Snipers from anti-Opposition factions killed civilians from rooftops in Beirut trying to ignite a civil war.

Hezbollah, acting in self defense according to and acknowledged by various officials including John Dockem at the office of Defense Intelligence-Middle East at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), quickly clamped down on the trouble makers, took control of the streets, within hours handed them over to the army, and virtually evacuated West Beirut, retaining one position near Bay Rocks manned by unarmed representatives.

Meanwhile, the Hariri influence has been greatly weakened in Akkar near the Palestinian Refugee camp of Nahr al Bared and in the Tripoli area. According to some political analysts, including Fida`a Ittani, a regular columnist for the independent pro-opposition newspaper Al-Akhbar writing on May 14, the Future Movement, defeated in Beirut, no longer has any serious influence in the North.

Several Salafi al Qaeda-admiring movements are present in Lebanon and like Fatah al Islam`s declaration this week that they will fight for the Sunnis, they vary in their attitudes from silent opposition to Future leader Saad Al-Hariri to fully supporting him as the leader of the Sunnis. These groups are valued by certain `leaders` in Lebanon because are the only ones with coherent structures at the ideological, political, technical, and field levels.

Judging from Saad Hariri`s confused statements at his subsequent news conference and statements by other parties, the bitterness of promised but unforthcoming assistance was evident.

For two days following the debacle of his forces imploding the head of the Future Movement said nothing. Finally on the 14th he broke his silence.

The Halba massacre, committed by Hariri`s Mustaqbal militiamen which brutally and barbarically murdered 11 people from the opposition, did not seem worthy of discussion as he spoke. In a press conference on Tuesday, Hariri simply ignored what all the Lebanese had seen on TV from weapons, ammunition and alcohol found in Future movement offices, and instead listed a series of delusions.

`We awaited an open war on Israel, and yet here is an open war on Beirut and its people`, he stated. Some interpreted this rather odd statement either as a subconscious slip of the tongue on Hariri`s part expressing his frustration that the Israeli help did not arrive or that his reported earlier incoherent state persisted.

Hariri`s original speech was reportedly so confused that the Saudi channel al-Arabiyya decided to cease broadcasting it and subsequently only read excerpts from what he said. It was only when US criticism resumed, and Hezbollah fighters drew back from the streets surrounding his house that Hariri was urged to stand up and speak again with a stronger tone: `This has been decided by the Iranian and Syrian regimes that wanted to play a political game in Lebanon`s streets. For us nothing has changed. We will not negotiate with someone having a pistol pointed to our heads.`
Anger at the Bush administration and Israel by certain warlords in Lebanon must feel much like the frustration of Secure Minus personnel who rushed from Tripoli and felt misled, abandoned and cheated.

-Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: fplamb@gmail.com

16 May 2008

All the President's Nazis (Real and Imagined): An Open Letter to Bush

This is such an excellent article that I thought I'd repost it. It refers to George Bush's speech to the Israeli Knesset where he compared those who would advocate talking to Hamas (clearly a reference to Barak Obama) to appeasers of Hitler.

Dear Mr. Bush,

Your speech on the Knesset floor today was not only a disgrace; it was nothing short of treachery. Worse still, your exploitation of the Holocaust in a country carved out of the wounds of that very crime, in order to strike a low blow at American citizens whose politics differs from your own is unforgivable and unpardonable. Let me remind you, Mr. Bush, of your words today:
"Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," Bush said at Israel's 60th anniversary celebration in Jerusalem.

"We have heard this foolish delusion before," Bush said in remarks to Israel's parliament, the Knesset. "As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

Well Mr. Bush, the only thing this comment lacked was a mirror and some historical facts. You want to discuss the crimes of Nazis against my family and millions of other families in Europe during World War II? Let me revive a favorite phrase of yours: Bring. It. On!
The All-American Nazi

Your family's fortune is built on the bones of the very people butchered by the Nazis, my family and the families of those in the Knesset who applauded you today:

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's grandfather was a director of a bank seized by the federal government because of its ties to a German industrialist who helped bankroll Adolf Hitler's rise to power, government documents show.

Prescott Bush was one of seven directors of Union Banking Corp. (search), a New York investment bank owned by a bank controlled by the Thyssen family, according to recently declassified National Archives documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Fritz Thyssen was an early financial supporter of Hitler, whose Nazi party Thyssen believed was preferable to communism.

Both Harrimans and Bush were partners in the New York investment firm of Brown Brothers, Harriman and Co., which handled the financial transactions of the bank as well as other financial dealings with several other companies linked to Bank voor Handel that were confiscated by the U.S. government during World War II.

Union Banking was seized by the government in October 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

Oh, but there is much more too:

The two Holocaust survivors suing the US government and the Bush family for a total of $40bn in compensation claim both materially benefited from Auschwitz slave labour during the second world war, Kurt Julius Goldstein, 87, and Peter Gingold, 85, began a class action in America in 2001, but the case was thrown out by Judge Rosemary Collier on the grounds that the government cannot be held liable under the principle of "state sovereignty".

I cannot think of one Democrat who can boast this kind of lineage. Can you? No, I don't think so. But you can lie brazenly and attack a sitting US Senator on foreign soil by comparing him to Nazi sympathizers? Let us continue down memory lane to help those who applaud you understand just what it is they are celebrating.

The All American Traitor

Your family did not stop with supporting fascists and Nazis abroad, did they Mr. Bush? Surely you must know of your grandfather's role in the treasonous plot of 1933 to overthrow democracy in America? Let me remind you.

Grandpa Bush -- that is to say, your grandfather -- wanted fascism imported into the United States, or as you now call this type of transformation, "exporting democracy." Prescott went so far as to subsidize a coup attempt in order to achieve his dream of a fascist America.

Document uncovers details of a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by right-wing American businessmen. The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush's Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression. Mike Thomson investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American

In other words, not only was your grandfather a self-professed fascist, he was a Nazi sympathizer and a war profiteer who should have stood trial at the Hague instead of buying his way into the US Senate. He was also a traitor, twice over.

Now clearly the crimes of Prescott Bush are not your fault, Mr. George W. Bush. Let us therefore judge your actions and words on their own merit.
Iraq is your Poland

Your reminiscence today about the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany should have been seen as your own condemnation of your own abhorrent actions against Iraq. The morbid irony of what you said will likely never register with your or your speechwriter. To truly grasp the grotesqueness of what you said requires that you have both a conscience and some understanding of history. We know you possess neither.

I will therefore make your history lesson brief, but to the point. The unprovoked attack on Poland by Germany was a war crime just as your attack against Iraq -- based on lies -- is a war crime. This is not my opinion. This is not a political attack. This is a fact. Consider the words of the esteemed former chief prosecutor in the Nuremburg trials, Benjamin Ferencz, regarding your war of aggression against Iraq:

"...Prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity, that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation."

Moreover, your reckless verbiage and partisan pandering using something as tragic and criminal as Germany's war of aggression against Poland is an insult to all victims of those atrocities.
My grandfather's sister and parents were having supper in their Warsaw home when a German bomb erased them from this planet. Your evoking the German atrocities against Poland in order to play dirty politics against Democrats is as offensive to me as if you had pinned a swastika onto your lapel.

Even your own words appear to be penned by Hitler's ghost all the while you imply that Democrats are Nazis and/or terrorists -- something you have done over and over. Your lies and Hitler's lies even have the same purpose.

When you, Mr. Bush, said "see in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda," were you aware of Adolf Hitler's eerily similar statement? Hitler said "If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed."

Yet if words alone were your only weapon and words strung together into lies your only crime, you might be seen as simply the loathsome, unethical dilettante and despot that you are. Unfortunately, your crimes are many and so similar to those of the Nazi regime that at times one wonders if you are not yourself reenacting that very history you used today as an insult against a political opponent.

Your very own concentration camps

You ordered the creation of secret camps all over the world and on US territory where you also authorized the torture of countless men, women and children is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, international law, and domestic law. In other words, you authorized war crimes.
We don't know the number of people you have had disappeared, tortured, and possibly murdered. Although we have some idea of what these numbers may be, I doubt the full truth of it all will ever be known.

In 2005, I had a CENTCOM document leaked to me illustrating that since the start of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, more than 70,000 men, women, and children have been detained at one of your various camps Mr. Bush. We don't know what happened to them, if they were tortured, raped, or murdered. What we do know is that less than 2% of those 70,000 had any sort of charge brought against them in a court of law. None of those alleged crimes, by the way, were acts of terrorism. We don't know if that 70,000 figure was the actual and full count of detainees in US custody around the world in 2005. But it is safe to say that in the last 3 years since this document was published, the number of detainees has likely grown.

What we also now know, in great horror, is that at least one of your camps had a crematorium in it, which some of the US soldiers stationed there suspected was used for burning bodies:
"We had some kind of incinerator at the end of our building," Specialist Megan Ambuhl said. "It was this huge circular thing. We just didn't know what was incinerated in there. It could have been people, for all we knew -- bodies." Sergeant Davis was not in doubt. "It had bones in it," he said, and he called it the crematorium. "But hey, you're at war," he said. "Suck it up or drive on."

What we also now know is that Dick Cheney and senior members of your administration carried out a plan of torture and abuse that violated international and domestic law with regard to human rights, down to the type of torture tactics that would be used against prisoners in our custody. This plan, we now know, was approved by you.

Has the mirror cracked yet from this much fact or are you still peering into the political sphere hoping to ascribe your own crimes to others? It won't work. It never has and it certainly won't work now. We know far too much about you and yours.

I could continue listing the litany of your crimes, both against the United States and against foreign nations. I won't. We know what you are and what you have done. Having roughly 1,000,000 dead Iraqis under your belt should have shamed you into the parasitic hole you came out of, attaching yourself to the blood of this nation and sucking it dry. Instead, you parade around, the globe-trotting horror show and anti-Semite that you are. Yes, you are an anti-Semite

Would you say no, you are not an anti-Semite? Consider your own words when you thought no one was keeping score:

"You know what I'm gonna tell those Jews when I get to Israel, don't you Herman?" a then Governor George W. Bush allegedly asked a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman.
When the journalist, Ken Herman, replied that he did not know, Bush reportedly delivered the punch line: "I'm telling 'em they're all going to hell."

Only an anti-Semite would think this type of humor is acceptable. Did you tell the Jews of Israel they were going to hell? No, instead, you told them that American Democrats are Nazi sympathizers and in an act of sheer indecency, the right wing Likud party orchestrated the greatest applause you ever got. For shame!

What this blind adoration finally proves to me is that the right-wing regime that has overtaken Israel cares nothing for its people, its heritage, and the tragic history that they now honor by applauding a man whose family-fortune was built on the bodies of their loved ones. Like their Republican (and Lieberman) counterparts in the United States, Likud does not represent its people, rather, it represents its owners. Likud has traded Israel, its Jews, their heritage and history for the same golden calf purchased and sold by the far-right wing in the United States.
I am ashamed of you Mr. Bush. I am ashamed of those who applauded your political porn played out against the hallowed backdrop of the Holocaust. I am ashamed of those reporters with you, who between them could not muster the moral courage to call you out on your ugly rhetoric and ask you about your own family Nazi ties. You are, sir, the most abhorrent human being of my lifetime. I dare say, in the lifetime of this nation.

2 May 2008

Gilad Atzmon Joins with Anthony Julius to Attack Jewish Anti-Zionists

There are a few people who have illusions that the anti-Semitic jazz player and ex-Israeli, Gilad Atzmon is an anti-Zionist. This confusion is, of course, understandable, because Atzmon purports to support the Palestinians. But supporting the Palestinians in the abstract doesn’t make one an anti-Zionist. It is quite possible to hold contradictory ideas in one’s head and to support a Jewish ‘return’ to Israel to establish a Jewish State whilst deprecating what they did when they got there.
Indeed there are many liberal Zionists who will weep tears of pity at the fate of the Palestinians whilst saying that it was nonetheless inevitable. Indeed there are many people who support the existence of the Israeli State whilst also supporting the Palestinians. Tony Benn, for example, supports an Israeli State within 1967 borders. So too does Norman Finkelstein.

Anthony Julius was the solicitor to Princess Diana, as well as Deborah Lipstadt in the libel trial between David Irving and Penguin Books. He is also a dedicated Zionist and when the Association of University Teachers first passed a motion supporting an Academic Boycott against Haifa and Bar-Ilan Universities, it was Julius who publicly threatened to sue the AUT for defamation. But on this too he shares a lot in common with Atzmon who has publicly derided an Academic Boycott as ‘book burning’.
Anthony Julius has recently written a long 2 part article Jewish Anti-Zionism Unravelled part one: and part 2 which attempts to take to task ‘contemporary Jewish anti-Zionism’, which he argues is ‘to be interpreted as occupying a position, or a set of positions, within a new Jewish politics.’

What concerns Julius is that Jewish anti-Zionism, which had all but died out after the Holocaust, has been given a new lease of life in the wake of Israel’s 1967 War of Expansion. As Julius reminds us ‘antipathy to Zionism was one of the few positions (according to Michael B. Oren) around which, in the early 1900s, most of American Jewry could rally.’
Despite his academic pretensions, Julius is quite a simple fellow and does little to hide his real concerns. ‘This new Jewish anti-Zionism inaugurates a return for many Jews to some kind of Jewish identity. They no longer seek, as with previous generations, to relieve themselves of the burden of their Jewish origins; rather, they reassume the burden, in order further to burden their fellow Jews.’
And this is Julius’s main complaint. Instead of forsaking being Jewish, their anti-Zionism has become a mainstay of Jewish identity. Israel says it speaks out on behalf of Jews wherever they live in the world, and these people, have the chutzpah to object! Surprise surprise, this is also a concern of Gilad Atzmon. It’s no wonder that Atzmon has written what he believes is a critique of Julius’s article, but in the process finds himself in agreement with most of what he writes. who has written a favourable response Anthony Julius and a journey to the dark Zionist world .
‘Thus, it is rather depressing to admit that his deconstruction of some large sectors of the Jewish political and ideological left is more than valid. As bizarre as it may sound, in places his criticism of his dissident anti-Zionists brothers and sisters is not far at all from the discomfort expressed rather often by Palestinians and Palestinian solidarity activists concerning Jewish anti-Zionism.’
Leaving aside Atzmon’s role in speaking on behalf of Palestinians and Palestinian solidarity activists, the qualifications for which are not obvious, what Atzmon is once again doing is making it clear that in any political conflict between anti-Zionist and Zionist Jews, he stands full square with the latter.
This allows Atzmon to engage in his favourite trait of Jew-baiting. Echoing Julius’s criticisms of Independent Jewish Voices, a particular hate of both Julius and Atzmon, the latter asks queries what is meant by a secular Jewish identity: ‘what is it that he refers to? Is it his racial belonging? Is it biological determinism in play? Is it the ethnic identity or is it again the collective belief in the comforting qualities of chicken soup?’ Unsurprisingly, the one attribute that Atzmon doesn’t refer to is a political identity, because he is obsessed with the question of race (and chicken soup!).
What Julius calls ‘contentless "Jewishness"’ is for Atzmon ‘a fundamental lack of integrity within the Jewish left discourse,’. Julius’s complaint is that ‘Many anti-Zionist Jews do not consider themselves bound by an obligation of loyalty to any Jewish project. Indeed, they are not drawn to any such enterprises'; by which he means Zionist projects. For Julius, being an anti-Zionist Jew is merely denial of the existing, mainstream identity, form without substance. Atzmon unsurprisingly racialises this question: ‘what does he mean by Jewish identity? Who are the Jews, are they a racial group? Are they a cultural group?’ This is from the person who declares that he never mentions race in all his writings! (‘in the entirety of my work there is not a single reference whatsoever to race.’
What Atzmon can’t, provide an answer to, is the most obvious of all questions, viz. why Julius, who probably charges in an hour what a person on the dole gets in a month, should spend many precious hours dissecting Jewish anti-Zionism. The answer, of course is very obvious. It was the prominence of Jewish activists in the Boycott of Israel movement. Julius singles out ‘A group describing itself as "Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods" [which] writes [that]"the continuing occupation and exploitation of Palestinian land is a major obstacle to peace for Israelis and Arabs alike which has global implications for world peace" He isn’t alone in this. The Jewish Chronicle (22.6.07.) reported that at a meeting of the Board of Deputies of British Jews ‘deputies also gave vent to their anger – particularly at Jews who supported the move (for boycott).’
But to Atzmon, all activists from J-Big were doing was to support Zionism! ‘Jews cannot criticise Zionism in the name of their ethnic belonging because such an act is in itself an approval of Zionism.’ (‘Not In My Name’ - An analysis of Jewish righteousness’).
But in his final section, entitled (what else!) ‘The Crypto-Zionist’s Role’ Atzmon provides an answer to his question. And no prizes for the fact that it concerns himself! He believes that ‘Apparently the British Zionist academic has some Judeocentric conspiratorial expectations from his fellow dissident brothers. He would like to see them fighting the anti-Semites in the Palestinian solidarity discourse.’ So it’s not Boycott, or criticism of Israel that concerns Julius. It’s a conspiracy (naturally) anti-Semites like Atzmon!

But the difference between Julius and Atzmon is that the former is a relatively intelligent Zionist whereas Atzmon, despite the hundreds of thousands of words that he sprays around the net, is at bottom a stupid man who has convinced himself of his brilliance. Lacking the ability to present his ideas simply he dresses them up in dense and impenetrable language, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. But even if Atzmon believes that Jewish supporters of a Boycott are Zionist, Julius is under no illusions:
‘It was noted in the context of the boycott agitations, not least because the boycotters themselves loudly insisted upon it, that the boycott cause had Jewish supporters. Though not advancing fresh arguments in favour of a boycott, these Jews made two distinctive contributions to the boycott campaign. First, they maintained that as Jews they were under a moral duty to campaign for a boycott. Their Jewish conscience required them, they claimed, to side with Israel’s enemies. Second, they gave cover to non-Jewish boycotters accused of antisemitism.’
And in a lengthy footnote he cites Ghada Karmi’s "Weapon of the weak," Ha’aretz, 14 July 2007:
"the imputation of antisemitism is a red herring, as so often is the case when Israel is criticized, and its aim, as always, is to deflect criticism. In the case of the British boycott committee, it is particularly inapt, since most of the members are Jewish"
And that is correct. At UNISON’s annual conference last year, I spoke, quite deliberately, as a Jewish anti-Zionist. It was agreed that I would speak third as it was inevitable that the main argument of the opponents of boycott would be ‘anti-Semitism’. The argument I made was quite simple. Even Atzmon should be able to understand it. Jews of all people should understand the iniquities of racism and if non-Jews opposed racism perpetrated by and in the name of Jews then that could hardly be considered anti-Semitism, without devaluing the meaning of the latter. Suffice to say the Zionists had no answer to this since the usual Nazi jibe of ‘self-hater’ might not have gone down well with delegates!
As Julius complains ‘How could these non-Jews be antisemitic, when Jews took their line too? Antisemitism, they intimated, ceases to be antisemitic when adopted by a Jew. These absurd, ignominious positions attracted only a few Jews, though they were much exploited by the boycott movement.’
And this is a real problem for the Zionists. When they are opposed by Jews in the name of anti-racism, how is it possible to label their opponents anti-Semitic? Of course this is of no concern to Atzmon, for whom anti-Semitism doesn’t exist: "Because ‘antisemite’ is an empty signifier, no one actually can be an antisemite and this includes me of course."
And we can see, incidentally, the damage that Atzmon does to the Palestinian cause when Julius speaks of Atzmon’s ‘incontinent, malicious verbalising, which has no connection to real thought’ (and on this it is hard to disagree!) whilst associating it falsely with anti-Zionism and support for the Palestinians. Atzmon’s contribution ‘is of significance only because Atzmon nonetheless continues to be admired in anti-Zionist circles.’ Fortunately this is wishful thinking. It is difficult to find any anti-Zionists who ‘admire’ Atzmon.
Atzmon offers what passes for an analysis of anti-Zionism. ‘Though pre WWII Jewish anti-Zionism had been largely politically orchestrated and ideologically orientated, contemporary anti-Zionism and Jewish anti-Zionism in particular is not at all politically leaning.’ From which one can only conclude that the Boycott campaign, letters such as that which appeared in the Guardian 30.4.08. are not political! Such is the gibberish one has come to expect of the anti-Semitic supporters of the Palestinians. Atzmon chooses to puff up his own credentials, pleading that
‘If Julius would take a deep breath and view the list of ‘contemporary’ voices he himself had chosen to quote within his study (me included), he would notice that none of them are political activists. Neither Jacqueline Rose nor Tony Judt nor Ilan Pappe nor Oren Ben-Dor, nor Uri Davis nor myself are operating as politicians or within political cells. We all act as humanists, academics and artists.’
Well as another individual who was quoted by Julius, the idea that I am a politician is as ludicrous as the suggestion I am not a political activist. But such subtleties elude Atzmon. And none of the above, apart from the hapless Ben-Dor, would touch Atzmon with a bargepole. Pappe, Uri Davies, Jacqueline Rose and Tony Judt are political activist as well as humanists. And none of them would see any contradiction between being Jewish and supporting the Palestinians.
Apart from one howler about the death of Independent Jewish Voices (strange they’ve only just held a meeting on the siege of Gaza!) Atzmon finds himself in complete agreement with Julius on any secular Jewish identity. ‘First’ he proclaims ‘there is NO "Jewish tradition of universal freedoms’ and he follows this up by arguing that those Jews who did stand in this tradition ‘were brutally expelled and ostracised by their brothers.’ without realising that they were still Jewish and that vilification from the majority doesn’t undermine the validity of minority identities.

Faithful to his habit of contradicting himself within the same article, we are told about the universalism he decries that ‘As bizarre as it may sound, once again we notice that Jewish universalism appears to operate as a maintenance project of Jewish chauvinism and tribalism.

And when Julius parodies Jewish anti-Zionism by proclaiming that ‘It must be the Jewish quality to have no qualities at all’ Atzmon responds, not surprisingly, that ‘It is very sad to admit, but Julius has a point here.’ But where he gets it wrong, and this is the clue to all that is wrong with Atzmon’s analysis, is when he says that ‘It is rather shocking to admit that Zionist and Palestinian criticism of Jewish anti-Zionism is almost similar.’ No what is shocking is that someone who calls himself an anti-Zionist ends up agreeing with Zionist propagandists! But once again Atzmon flatters to deceive (himself). There is no Palestinian critique of Jewish anti-Zionism that is remotely similar to that of the Zionists. Atzmon once again is guilty of substituting himself for the Palestinians.
In a final section, entitled ‘The Moralizer’ Atzmon positively falls over himself in his eagerness to applaud the fact that ‘Julius is ready to pour a rain of contempt over his dissident brothers.’ Where Julius speaks of Jewish anti-Zionists being ‘enfolded in self-admiration.’ Atzmon responds that ‘The real meaning of secularism within the Jewish tribal left discourse means the replacement of ‘God-loving’ with ‘self-loving’.
Naturally Atzmon endorses what he perceives as Julius’s message: ‘It is very clear that as far as Julius is concerned, anti-Zionist Jews are not exactly ordinary human beings. They are primarily Jews and must serve their tribal interests first.’

And again:
‘Julius correctly suggests that anti-Zionist Jews fall into contradiction when they hold that while dispersion is good for the Jews, it is bad for the Palestinians, and when they demand of the Jews that they disavow ‘nationalism,’ while valuing the Palestinians’ "continuing struggle for justice;" Julius obviously hit here on some severe level of lack of integrity within the Jewish left discourse.’
The above is nothing less than a full-scale endorsement of an oft-repeated Zionist criticism that those who support a Palestinian state are being disingenuous when they deny the same right to ‘the Jews’. But to equate Jews, wherever they live, with the Palestinian nation, demonstrates above all that Atzmon’s ‘anti-Zionism’ is a self-serving myth. If Atzmon believes that Jews living outside Israel are dispersed and equivalent to the Palestinian refugees then his support for the Palestinians is a shallow exercise in hypocrisy. It has nothing to do with a 'lack of integrity’. Both agree on one thing. Being an anti-Zionist Jew is an exercise in hypocrisy. Is it any wonder that Atzmon ends up agreeing with Julius’s critique of Jewish anti-Zionism.
‘In short, it seems as if Julius manages to establish a profound criticism of Jewish anti-Zionism. Seemingly, Jewish anti-Zionism is inconsistent to the bone. Due to the impossibility to bridge the gap between the tribal and the universal, Jewish anti-Zionism is doomed to fall either into inconsistency or lack of integrity.’
Atzmon argues that it is impossible to bridge the gap between what he calls the tribal, in fact the nationalist Jewish project Zionism, and universalism. That is of course true, but who has argued that they should be reconciled? It’s not so much that there is an inconsistency between the two, rather that they are polar opposites. The task of anti-Zionism is not to bridge the gap but to weaken the foundations of Zionism. The only lack of integrity, as well as intelligence, is that of Atzmon in managing, once again, to end up agreeing with the Zionist analysis of its opponents whilst pretending to be an anti-Zionist himself.
Is it any wonder that Atzmon concludes that ‘Zionism is a proud tribal project, it gives a new dynamic contemporary meaning to Jewish existence. As much as I do not agree with Julius’s prime agenda, I tend to agree with many points raised by him. Jewish anti-Zionism is a futile project.’ That Atzmon finds anti-Zionism, and therefore support for the Palestinians a ‘futile project’ is no surprise to many of us who have wondered what the goal of the new anti-Semites is.
Tony Greenstein

Zionists Resort to Anti-Semitism to Attack Signatories to Guardian Letter of 30 April 08

As has often been remarked, anti-Semitism and Zionism are twins of a kind. Both agree that Jews do not belong in the countries of their birth and where they live. As Herzl remarked in his Diaries (a goldmine as he didn't expect them to be published):

'I took a look at the Paris Jews and saw a family likeness in their faces: bold, misshapen noses, furtive and cunning eyes.' [Complete Diaries of Theodore Herzl, p.11]

But as he explained:

'In Paris ...I achieved a freer attitude towards anti-Semitism, which I now began to understand historically and to pardon. Above all I recognise the emptiness and futility of trying to ‘combat’ anti-Semitism.'

It would be tedious to present a list of such statements from Herzl, Hess, Nordau, Klatzkin, Ruppin and all the other luminaries of Zionism. Suffice to say that most people believe that this alienation is a thing of the past. But is it?

Writing in the aftermath of the Lebanese invasion, Rabbi Yehudah Amital, Rosh Yeshiva of Har Etzion noted that:

'The 3rd Fed Light came when some elements, especially the Religious Zionists, expressed satisfaction at the clear and open display of anti-Semitism which took shape during and after ‘Operation Peace for Galilee’ ...It is felt that the more overt anti-Semitism becomes, the more beneficial it will prove for the Jews, because through anti-Semitism, the Jews of the Diaspora will come to the realisation that they must move to Eretz Yisrael.'

But what is a surprise, even to hardened anti-Zionists, is the racist hate mail that the Zionists are resorting to as a result of the letter in the Guardian by 105 British Jews. I received the following e-mail from Professor Chaim Bresheeth, an active supporter of the Boycott movement and a dedicated anti-racist. The very term 'kike' is about offensive and anti-Semitic as it gets. It's no different from N***** or P*** as is symbolic of what courses through the veins of the dedicated Zionist activist - contempt for Jews who aren't part of their nationalist project.

We had on the Azvsas blog a couple of deleted comments by an Abe Bird (original aren't they!).

'Abe Bird has left a new comment on your post "We're not celebrating Israel's anniversary - The G...": There always were Jews who offended the Jewish people and cooperated with the Nazi Falsetinian Shiity garbage. They were called once: 'Kapo' ("Kameradenpolizei"). The Jews survived then and will survive now, and the self motivated "Kapes" will be doomed forever!We will not forget, nor forgive!!!!!

In fact Mr Bird has got it all wrong. The Kapos, those Jews in the concentration camps who were the ones who did the work of supervising the inmates, pushing people into the gas chambers and taking out the bodies etc. weren't the real collaborators, since they clearly had no choice and were always killed off after 3 months. The real collaborators, and again they often had little choice, were the members of the Judenrat, a majority of whom were Zionists!!

Date: Thu, 1 May 2008 21:56:25 +0100Subject: [bricup] Hate mail

Dear friends,
I thought I shall share with you an experience, though not a particularly pleasant one, as it seems to point to a problem much discussed on the UCU activists list recently, namely anti-Semitism.

You may have seen the letters page in the Guardian yesterday, where 105 Jewish intellectuals of various fields of work have written, explaining why they will NOT be celebrating Israel's 60 birthday (link below). I was one of the signatories to this letter.

As can be expected, I (and my signatory friends) have already received many mails on this topic, including much vile and especially loathsome threatening emails. Nothing new or unusual about this, unpleasant as it really is.

What I wanted to tell you is about the common line which this time seems to pull together the writers of those poorly-phrased, hate filled missives, in clear distinction to the past, at least in my own experience. It was indeed the deep anti-semitism which pervades those many messages, all written by Jews...

One of them tells me that: "You have always been a kike, and will stay a kike. Nothing will save you from to be a kike (sic)". Grammar aside, this is a typical pronouncement, at least in the harvest which fell my way. The writers seem to resent the fact that we are not "standing up" for our country, and one writer called me a "traitor kike" for not writing "good articles about Israel, instead of the kike shit you publish". Well, it all made me think about the deep roots of this type of anti-Semitism within Zionism. Herzl, the father of political Zionism, published an important key article in Die Welt, the Zionist journal he has founded and edited just about a century ago, about the Jew and the Kike. In it, he uses all the AS stereotyping which racist used against Jews, and says that actually this is the kike they are talking about, of course - the kike being the shameful, submissive Jew, who is trying in vein to achieve the impossible - integration into gentile society. The Jew, by which he means the Zionist, he tells us, is in contrast not bothering about integration, but about their own identity and their own state and society.

Now what is important about the article is not the appropriation of the German equivalent of kike, but the fact that Herzl accepts the tenets of anti-Semitism, but claims that it is only certain types of Jews who are prone to the shortcomings identified by racists – the kikes. To see this despicable tradition revived, and even the terminology adopted gave me a real shock. This is not simple nationalist disagreement with liberals and pacifists, buta internecine racist attack on Jews, because they are Jews of a certain type.

If to write the lines we did, one has to be a kike, then I am today a proud kike!