29 August 2018

If Anyone Resembles Enoch Powell it’s Rabbi Sacks NOT Jeremy Corbyn

In 2017 Rabbi Sacks marched with thousands of settler racists through Arab East Jerusalem chanting 'Death to the Arabs'

The Daily Mail in its pro-Hitler days warns against Jewish refugees entering 'through the back door'

In an interview with the New Statesman, the house journal of the Labour Right and the anti-Corbyn campaign, former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks engaged in a piece of vitriol worthy of Goebbels himself.  Not surprisingly, the Daily Mail, which in the 1930’s campaigned against the entry of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany to Britain and which latterly employed Katie Hopkins as its columnist, cheered him to the rafters.
The Mail quoted Sacks as saying that Corbyn’s criticism of Richard Millett, an open fascist, was the most offensive remark by a British politician since Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech in 1968. Outrageous and absurd hyperbole seems to be the Zionist substitute for anything approximating to rational thought and polemic.  Less than a month ago, Britain’s 3 Zionist papers published a joint editorial which spoke of ‘ the existential threat to Jewish life in this country that would be posed by a Jeremy Corbyn-led government’ with barely a murmur from rational people.
An existential threat literally means a threat to someone’s life.  What these 3 propaganda rags were saying was that Corbyn was literally a threat to the Jewish community along the lines of Adolf Hitler.  Presumably under a Jeremy Corbyn administration the British version of Auschwitz would be opening its doors for business. And then these Zionists complain about comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany and via the IHRA denounce those who make such a campaign as ‘anti-Semites’.
The Daily Mail, which backed Enoch Powell in 1968, now has the audacity to compare Corbyn with its erstwhile hero
Of course given that the Blessed Margaret Hodge of child abuse fame compared the threat of disciplinary proceedings to the experiences of her father who fled the Nazis, it would seem that exaggeration and hyperbole are the main fare of Zionism these days.
It would seem that in their defence of the State of Israel, British Zionists have lost all sense of proportion.  The idea that someone who was arrested outside South Africa House protesting against Apartheid has now become an SA stormtrooper is too silly for words.  However this is understandable.  How else do you defend a state where Arab life is cheap, where Arab homes are demolished to make way for Jewish homes and where Arab and Jewish are segregated in maternity wards if not by demonising your opponents and engaging in the type of abuse that would be better suited to Smithfields market?  It says a great deal about Zionist intellectuals that they have to get down into the gutter in order to defend the racist Rottweiler that is the Israeli state.
This is the reason for Jonathan Sack's libellous attack on Corbyn - how else do you defend Israeli Police helping the bulldozers to demolish a Palestinian village unless you attack your opponents as 'antisemitic'?
Sack’s remarks remind me of the response of Ha’aretz’s Anshel Pfeffer to the virulently anti-Corbyn Campaign Against Antisemitism which claimed that in an opinion poll more than half of British Jews felt that anti-Semitism today echoed that of the 1930s. Pfeffer witheringly observed that if the CAA and British Jews “actually believe that, then it’s hard to take anything they say about contemporary anti-Semitism in their home country seriously.”
Pfeffer added that such a belief showed “a disconnect bordering on hysteria … not only are they woefully ignorant of recent Jewish history but have little concept of what real anti-Semitism is.” Which just about sums up Jonathan Sacks too.
Jonathan Sack’s comparison of Corbyn with Enoch Powell is not only extraordinarily offensive but it is in itself anti-Semitic. What he and the rest of the empty chorus of Zionist propagandists are doing is to belittle and minimise the experience of Jews who in the past faced real anti-Semitism.  To compare opposition to Zionism and Israeli Apartheid with anti-Semitism simply minimises and trivialises the bloody pogroms of Czarist Russia to say nothing of the tribulations of German and European Jewry under Nazi occupation.  It is somewhat ironic that the Zionist movement which never fought anti-Semitism and in the case of Nazi Germany actively collaborated with it now dons the mantle of the opponents of anti-Semitism.
My dad fought in the Battle of Cable Street, a battle that the Board of Deputies explicitly told British Jews to stay away from. They and the English Zionists told Jews to avoid the fascists and keep their heads down. They repeated this in the 1970’s in the fight against the National Front.  The reason Zionism has never fought fascism or anti-Semitism  is because it shares too much in common with anti-Semitism to ever fight it.   As one of Israel’s foremost novelists and poets, A B Yehoshua observedeven today a real anti-Semite must also be a Zionist.’ Both agree that Jews ‘real home’ is not where they are living but in Israel.
Sacks’s argument, such as it was, was that at a speech in 2013, Corbyn said of a group of British “Zionists”:They clearly have two problems. One is they don’t want to study history and, secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either.”
Sacks then drew the conclusion from these throwaway remarks that Corbyn had threatened the existence of an entire group of British citizens by depicting them as essentially alien.’  Now Sacks is an erudite fellow with a clutch of degrees.  For him to make cheap and populist remarks like this, in order to gain the plaudits of the right-wing anti-immigrant British press (and the BBC of course) is a measure of how Zionist intellectuals will prostitute their talents for the sake of Zionism and petty nationalism. This is a measure of how far Zionism will go as it debases the currency of political debate.
Jeremy Corbyn was referring to a couple of far-Right British Zionists not Jews. He never mentioned their religion.  It was entirely irrelevant to him.  The whole of Sack’s intellectual edifice is based on this assumption, an assumption that is the staple diet of Zionism, that being Jewish means being a Zionist.   Corbyn however made his position quite clear.  In a statement to the Guardian  Corbyn said he had used the term Zionists “in the accurate political sense and not as a euphemism for Jewish people”. He also added: “I am now more careful with how I might use the term ‘Zionist’ because a once self-identifying political term has been increasingly hijacked by anti-Semites as code for Jews.  On this Corbyn is wrong  Anti-Semites tend to do this less and less now.  It is Zionists who insist on conflating Jew with Zionist and then drawing the conclusion that to be a Jew is to be a Zionist.
It is not for nothing that the most virulent anti-Semites, like the neo-Nazi founder of America’s alt-Right, Richard Spencer, defines himself as a White Zionist. Nor is Spencer alone.  Think of any major far-Right or neo-Nazi political leader or movement in Europe today and almost without exception they are pro-Israel and pro-Zionist.  Le Pen, Strache, Geert Wilders, Alternative for Germany, Matteo Salvini – today’s far Right are focused on Muslims and in the process they too have become philo-Semitic.
Sacks is one of the few erudite rabbis in Britain, certainly in comparison with his almost embarrassing successor, Ephraim Mirvis.  It is a sad commentary on the corrosive effects of Zionist nationalism that it makes Philistines out of otherwise learned Jews!  Nothing is more contemptible than seeing an intellectual like Jonathan Sacks lower himself in order to make cheap and demagogic points and play to the populist crowd. That is precisely what Enoch Powell, a classics scholar did with his Rivers of Blood speech.  Ironically if anyone resembles Enoch Powell it is Rabbi Jonathan Sacks himself.
Tony Greenstein
As a key modern Orthodox leader, think again about joining Jerusalem Day marchers who scream ‘Death to Arabs’, promoting one of the most contentious of all Israeli settlements, and the consequences for Diaspora Jews
May 17, 2017 5:07 pm

Growing up in Bnei Akiva in the UK in the 80s and 90s I was entirely ignorant of the occupation. There were no dotted lines on our maps of Israel, no Palestinians seeking self-determination, only millions of hostile Arabs wanting our land. Supporting Israel meant supporting Israel’s control of the whole land; I knew of no other option.
Israeli authorities order Palestinian businesses to close for the Jerusalem Day "March of Flags" through the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem. May 6, 2016 Olivier Fitoussi
Through such education the occupation was normalized for many Orthodox British Jews of my generation. It is common even now in both formal and informal settings to reject the use of that word to describe the situation in the West Bank.

This environment enables Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, member of the House of Lords, a high-profile member of both Yeshiva University and New York University’s faculty, and one of the most eminent modern Orthodox rabbis of his generation, to extend a “personal invitation” to Diaspora Jews to join him on a trip to Israel which includes “leading” the March of the Flags on Jerusalem Day and “dancing with our brave IDF soldiers” in the radical settler enclave inside the city of Hebron. The trip, marking the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, is run by Mizrachi Olami, the parent organisation of Bnei Akiva.

The March of the Flags, which celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem, passes through the Old City’s Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem and proceeds through the Muslim quarter. In his promotional video for the trip Rabbi Sacks quotes Psalms: “Jerusalem is rebuilt like a city that is compact together” and goes on to say, “of course that’s what we see each time we visit Jerusalem today”.
The Israeli authorities enable this wilful blindness to the reality of a divided city by issuing closure orders to Palestinian businesses along the route, and preventing Palestinian residents from being on the streets.

The march, largely attended by bussed in yeshiva students, is associated with hate speech and violence. Haaretz’s Bradley Burston describes it as “an annual, gender-segregated extreme-right, pro-occupation religious carnival of hatred, marking the anniversary of Israel's capture of Jerusalem by humiliating the city's Palestinian Muslims marchers vandalized shops in Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter, chanted "Death to Arabs" and "The (Jewish) Temple Will Be Built, the (Al Aqsa) Mosque will be Burned Down," shattered windows and door locks, and poured glue into the locks of shops forced to close for fear of further damage.” 

On their trip to Hebron, as well as praying at the Cave of the Patriarchs, the group will visit one of the most contentious of all the settlements. It comprises a few hundred Jews in the centre of a city of 150,000 Palestinians, heavily guarded by the Israeli army and causing huge ongoing disruption to the Palestinian population. ‘Dancing with soldiers’ in the streets of this settlement enclave is an unequivocal show of support for the settlers’ presence there, and of disregard to local Palestinians living under a form of perpetual siege.  
Residents clean a Palestinian house that was attacked by Jewish settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron, December 5, 2008.REUTERS
The Western Wall and the Cave of the Patriarchs were inaccessible to Jews between 1948 and 1967. Celebrating renewed Jewish access and praying at these holy places is understandable; however Mizrachi’s planned activities venture beyond celebration into highly contentious territory and provocation, mixing political acts with religious celebrations. The trip aims to tacitly reinforce the same lesson I was taught in my youth: that supporting Israel’s presence in the entire land is an intrinsic and necessary part of supporting Israel.

It is surprising that Rabbi Sacks is promoting this trip. His most recent book, Not in God’s Name, discusses the importance of interpreting religious texts and obligations in a way that is consistent with peace and tolerance. He has earned a reputation for being thoughtful, measured and conciliatory. Last year he won the prestigious Templeton Prize in recognition of his appreciation and respect towards all faiths, for promoting the importance of recognizing the values of each of them, and for his inter-faith work.

In a 2002 interview Rabbi Sacks expressed serious concerns about the occupation, remarks for which he was much criticised by some in the Orthodox community.

For Rabbi Sacks and other religious leaders to endorse the message that to support Israel must require supporting the occupation, and some of its most radical settlers, has serious consequences. Many in the Diaspora accept this message, impeding real dialogue about how we can best support Israel, and about the plurality of views. Others see how Judaism, Zionism and the occupation are being presented as an indivisible whole and reject the former as well as the latter, at great cost to our community.
Jerusalem Day at Damascus Gate in east Jerusalem on May 20, 2012.Olivier Fitoussi
To the wider communities in which we live, the promotion of these events by one of the world’s most respected rabbis sends a message of normalization and acceptance of the occupation by the mainstream Jewish community. Many Jews in the Diaspora work hard to emphasize that being Jewish is not synonymous with supporting the Israeli government, and that supporting Israel’s right to exist is not synonymous with supporting the occupation. Rabbi Sacks’ actions risk undermining these messages.

A group of British Jews currently living in Jerusalem has prepared an open letter  to Rabbi Sacks, expressing our concern at the implications of his trip on Diaspora communities, and asking that he reconsider his involvement in these events. We hope that together we can work towards a more honest dialogue about Israel, one in which we directly engage with the occupation rather than airbrushing it out.

Anna Roiser is a British lawyer and a New Israel Fund New Gen Activism Fellow for 2017/2018 currently living in Jerusalem. Follow her on Twitter: @12AnnaBanana     

Israel youth walk during Jerusalem Day March held by Israeli nationalists that celebrate 48 years for the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, in Jerusalem’s old city, May 17, 2015. The march is termed by the nationalists the Flag March. Activestills.org

Jerusalem Day is approaching, and with it my anxiety. Since I was a young boy, Jerusalem Day, in which Israelis mark what they call the “reunification” of West and East Jerusalem, is a difficult and strange day for me. A day of rage, grief, and lack of security.

In my childhood I witnessed right-wing Israelis violently rampaging through the Old City, and especially in the Muslim Quarter where I lived. These rampaged only intensified over the years, due to the security situation as well as the leniency of the authorities. Those who celebrate Jerusalem Day know full well that these kinds of actions are an outright provocation toward the city’s Muslim inhabitants. This is especially felt in the Muslim Quarter.

Take the day off

The violence usually takes place right under the nose of Israeli security forces. Right-wing extremists provoke us by aggressively banging on our doors and target young Arabs. The reason is simply: they know that the young are easily riled up. And if anyone dare think of responding, we all know who the police will believe. The rampages end with a giant march through Damascus Gate, during which Israelis are accompanied by a large police presence. The truth is they don’t need the police; most of them are armed with automatic rifles, and can eliminate any threat. After all, they already have permission to do so.

My parents would forbid me from leaving the house on Jerusalem Day. They told me that the intense heat could give me heat stroke. I do not know how my mother thought that this was going to convince a child like myself; after all, it was clear to me as a young kid that the weather was perfect for, say, a family outing. I know that there was something wrong with their claim, and the Hebrew songs being sung under our home, along with a dramatic increase in traffic in our neighborhood, was enough of a reason to understand that this was far more serious that a “hot day.” Over time I understood that my family forbade me from going outside because they wanted us to protect our home. It was no coincidence that my father took a day off on Jerusalem Day, spending all day in front of the television and the window with a newspaper and cup of coffee.

Today I try to avoid Jerusalem on this day. I do my best to go places that can help me forget the fact that I live in Jerusalem. Two years ago, I spent the day with a Hebrew book on the beach, reading and translating all the new words I was learning. But now I developed a new habit that has changed my life: I take my computer, go to the beach, and write every thought that comes to mind.

Like a cancer

Israeli policemen arrest as Palestinian youth, outside Jerusalem’s old city, as Palestinians protest against the flags march, May 17, 2015. The march marks 48 years for the occupation of East Jerusalem.
I know that the demonstrations, the racist marches, the anti-Arab slogans (“Jews have a soul, Arabs are sons of bitches”) will never end on this day. The police is not interested in confronting the extremists, meanwhile the government doesn’t want to be seen as sympathetic to Arabs. Thus, no one takes any proactive steps to stop the incitement, which only causes the situation to worsen. In fact, at the end of Jerusalem Day, the police set up a giant, blue human wall to prevent confrontations between Palestinian residents and the celebrants, who paralyze an entire city to celebrate this day.
On Jerusalem Day, you will be able to hear politicians on both the right and the left who pretend to celebrate this day, emphasizing that Jerusalem is a special city, despite those who don’t see it as a unified city. I, on the other hand, invite all these politicians to take a short tour of Jerusalem to show them the obvious: that Jerusalem is not unified — it is shattered to pieces. One side enjoys modernization, while the other is the victim of deliberate policies of neglect, poverty, and crime that take over the Arab neighborhoods like a cancer in the body.

Suleiman Maswadeh is an activist who studies political science and communications. This article was originally published in Hebrew on Local Call.

Why Rabbi Sacks Is Wrong: Palestinians Don’t Have to Be anti-Semites to Be anti-Zionists

The former British chief rabbi is a wise and brilliant man, but his recent essay does to Palestinians what anti-Semitism does to Jews: it dehumanizes them.

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