More Antisemitism from Britain

Perfidious Albion

Perfidious Albion sells out the Jews

In my previous post I questioned whether David Cameron’s resignation was a sign of more bad things to come or was it genuinely a case of lack of time. My instinct suggests the first option, and now there is more proof, if any was needed, that antisemitism is becoming more acceptable in “polite society” in Britain.

The University and College Union (the UCU) is in their own words “the largest trade union and professional association for academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff working in further and higher education throughout the UK”.  I first heard of the intention of the UCU to reject the EUMC working definition of antisemitism and, in true Orwellian fashion, redefine it according to their own abysmally low standards, via Normblog.

The UCU wants to dump the EUMC definition of anti-Semitism, which says (among other things) that the use of double standards to criticize Israel, and the use of mendacious, dehumanizing, or stereotypical charges against Jews as a collective, including but not limited to stereotypes such as the myth of Jewish power in controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions, could be anti-Semitic, as could the drawing of comparisons between contemporary Israeli policy and that of the Nazis.

Now there are three, and only three, possibilities with respect to anti-Semitism for allegations such as are mentioned in the EU definition. The first possibility is that all such allegations against Jews are invariably anti-Semitic. The second possibility is that all such allegations may be anti-Semitic – i.e. sometimes they are, and sometimes they aren’t. The third possibility is that such allegations are never anti-Semitic. The EUMC account of anti-Semitism goes for the second possibility: such charges may be anti-Semitic (or they may not, depending on context). That’s what the UCU Executive wants to deny.

So what is it that the UCU Executive believes about such allegations? We can be sure that it doesn’t accept the first possibility, that such allegations are bound to be anti-Semitic. If it believed that, it would be calling for the EU definition of anti-Semitism to be strengthened, not abandoned, and it would (assuming that it objects to anti-Semitism) be disciplining any pro-boycott activists who made allegations of that kind. Nor does the Union accept the second possibility: this is exactly what it’s seeking to reject in Motion 70 at the forthcoming Congress. So we’re left with the third possibility, that such allegations are never anti-Semitic, that they just can’t be. This is what the UCU executive appears to believe. And in fact we’ve got good reason to think that that is indeed what they believe, since a year or two back it declared that criticism of Israel can’t be anti-Semitic.

Here we have the academic union wanting to declare that presenting Jews as malignant forces of sinister power, controlling the media and the economy and the government, can’t be anti-Semitic.

Yesterday, the sad confirmation that the UCU had indeed voted on and passed the motion reached us from Engage Online who live-blogged the entire session (h/t Harry’s Place).

Here is the text of Motion 70.

“Congress notes with concern that the so-called ‘EUMC working definition of antisemitism’, while not adopted by the EU or the UK government and having no official status, is being used by bodies such as the NUS and local student unions in relation to activities on campus.

Congress believes that the EUMC definition confuses criticism of Israeli government policy and actions with genuine antisemitism, and is being used to silence debate about Israel and Palestine on campus.

Congress resolves:

  1. that UCU will make no use of the EUMC definition (e.g. in educating members or dealing with internal complaints)
  2. that UCU will dissociate itself from the EUMC definition in any public discussion on the matter in which UCU is involved
  3. that UCU will campaign for open debate on campus concerning Israel’s past history and current policy, while continuing to combat all forms of racial or religious discrimination”

Below is part of the live-blogging from the Engage Online article.

Sue Blackwell, who proposes the infamous motion, is an anti-Israel pro-Palestinian activists who never wastes an opportunity to vilify Israel.  Mike Cushman is another “as-a-Jew” – an anti-Israel Jew who uses his Jewishness as a cover for his antisemitism.

1512.  Sue Blackwell to propose the motion against the EUMC.  definition adopted by NUS, parliamentary inquiry, US State Department.  In Jan 2010 Denis Mcshane tried to have Azzam Tammimi banned from speaking.  [Tammimi is Hamas’s guy in London – DH]  Blackwell goes on,McShane argued that an external speaker should be rejected if they have a history of antisemitic language in line with the EUMC…”   EUMC comes from the American Jewish Committee, European Jewish Congress, self confessed lobby groups for Israel.  Ken Stern, author of EUMC is deeply concerned about “politically based antisemitism” otherwise known as antizionism which treats Israel as the classic Jew….  antisemites seek to qualify israel from membership of the community of nations.”  In other words, if you are for a boycott, you are an antisemite.  These influences are evidenced by American spellings in the document.  Definition is not fit for finding Real antisemitism but is ideal for those who want to blur boundaries between antisemitism and antizionism.

1515.  Mike Cushman, LSE.  Opponents of this motion have been filling the internet with insults against this union.  Lets see how EUMC definition is used.

One example:  a member wrote “no compromise with Zionists or university closures”.  Claimed to be antisemitic.  Linking the international with the local is part of our politics.  Not racist.  By making Israel a special case the proponents of EUMC are being antisemitic.

Cushman goes on: David Hirsh that “expert” on antisemitism says “Israel murders children is antisemitic”   Not its not, its pro children.  Antisemitism must never never  be normalized.  Puts jews at risk  Crying wolf puts the sheep and the shepherd at hazard.

Support this motion because the EUMC definition is dangerous to Jews.

1517.   Ronnie Fraser (I had this text already):

I, a Jewish member of this union, am telling you, that I feel an antisemitic mood in this union and even in this room.

I would feel your refusal to engage with the EUMC definition of antisemitism, if you pass this motion, as a racist act.

Many Jews have resigned from this union citing their experience of antisemitsim.   Only yesterday a delegate here said ‘they are an expansionist people”. It is difficult to think that the people in question are anything other than the Jews.

You may disagree with me.

You may disagree with all the other Jewish members who have said similar things.

You may think we are mistaken but you have a duty to listen seriously.

Instead of being listened to, I am routinely told that anyone who raises the issue of antisemitism is doing so in bad faith.

Congress, Imagine how it feels when you say that you are experiencing racism, and your union responds: stop lying, stop trying to play the antisemitism card.

You, a group of mainly white, non-Jewish trade unionists, do not the right to tell me, a Jew, what feels like antisemitism and what does not.

Macpherson tells us that when somebody says they have been a victim of racism, then institutions should begin by believing them. This motion mandates the union to do the opposite.

Until this union takes complaints of antisemitsim seriously the UCU will continue to be labelled as an institutionally antisemitic organisation.

It’s true that anti-Zionist Jews may perceive things differently.  But the overwhelming majority of Jews feel that there is something wrong in this union. They understand that it is legitimate to criticise Israel in a way that is, quoting from the definition, “similar to that levelled to any other country’ but they make a distinction between criticism and the kind of demonisation that is considered acceptable in this union

Ronnie met with stoney silence.

I recommend you read the rest – keeping a sick-bag handy. The Orwellian Newspeak aspect of this motion and vote is absolutely breath-taking, in its arrogance, its racism and its chutzpah.  Interestingly enough, the UCU website has no mention of the motion or the vote as of today, a day after the motion was passed.  The only item I could find was a live-tweeting of the events which you can read here, if you have the stomach. Perhaps they are embarrassed? One can hope…

Melanie Phillips weighs in, in her wonderful outspoken way, on both David Cameron’s resignation from the JNF and the UCU vote on antisemitism, tying them all together.

It is beyond distressing that, instead of fighting the anti-Israel and Judeophobic bigotry now poisoning British public life, the Cameron government is instead giving it further legs, and providing respectable cover for such bigotry and its denial.  With academia in the forefront of the demonisation of Israel, the academics’ University and College Union has now rejected the EU definition of antisemitism — on the grounds that this incorporates the demonisation of Israel. Thus in true Orwellian mode, the UCU has redefined language itself in order to insulate itself against accusations of Judeophobia arising from its obsessional hatred of Israel. And to do so, it has thus effectively said that no hostility towards Israel can ever be anti-Jew.

Whatever casuistry these people employ to sanitise the fact that they are singling out Israel for a campaign of demonisation and delegitimisation, double standards, falsehoods and fabrications, blood libels and conspiracy theories which just happen to replicate exactly the unique tropes of Jew-hatred down through the centuries, the undeniable fact remains that they are currently promoting the cause of racist ethnic cleansers and genocidal Jew-haters. They are endorsing aggressors against their victims, reversing truth and lies, tearing up law and justice and turning history upside down.

And the British Prime Minister has now joined them.

This entry was posted in Academia, Antisemitism, International relations and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to More Antisemitism from Britain

  1. cba says:

    A hint for anyone else wanting to look at the “live-tweeting” link:
    1. Click the arrow (underneath “Replay”).
    2. Go right down to the bottom of the displayed tweets.
    3. Click the second link–[Additional entries] 15:15 – 16:48–do display the last lot of tweets.

    There’s not actually a lot there, I think the liveblogging that Anne reproduced here is more informative.

  2. reality says:

    after reading the last 2 blogs I thank G_d that I’m living in Israel & not in Britain .I hope they all get what’s coming to them from all the arabs who are slowly taking over there. Its time for anyone sane to speak out or leave the Brits to their own devices . Nothing has changed in 60 years & nothing ever will. Antisemitism exists & its also acceptable politically & socially. Sad. They’ll get a big shock when the muslims try to overpower them , suddenly they’ll say what where did this come from? we’ve always accepted you into our country!

  3. Thanks for the flattery, people. The motion is on the UCU website like all the others – you are probably just looking in the wrong place. Try here:

    http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5540#70

    Best wishes,

    Sue B

    • anneinpt says:

      Thank you. I had quoted the text of the motion in my post above but I had not noticed the word “carried” till now.

      There was no flattery involved in my post as you well know, but you are welcome to take my opinion as you see fit.

  4. Willem Meijs says:

    I just don’t see what you are getting so worked up about. The EUMC ‘working definition’ simply is not a proper definition, as was pointed out in an argumented way. It is in no way (as Melanie Phillips implies) an accepted ‘EU’ definition. Much better to stick to a real definition, which doesn’t need the EUMC’s 150 words, like the one proposed last year at a special session at UCU conference on anti-semitism by (Jewish) Oxford Senior Research Fellow, Brian Klug: ‘hostility towards Jews as (stereotypical) Jews’. That’s what I call clear and unequivocal, and, together with existing UK legislation on racial & religious hate crimes, perfectly adequate to deal with cases of real anti-semitism, leaving Israel’s policies vis-a-vis Palestine & Palestinians as a matter of normal debate and normal free speech, to be judged in terms of accepted standards of accuracy in the light of existing international law.

    • anneinpt says:

      Who is the UCU to decide if the EUMC working definition is “proper” or not? It has been accepted by all the major Jewish and non-Jewish anti-racism organizations, since there had to be a universal standard against which to measure antisemitism in order to prevent people such as yourself from defining words to mean what they want and then declare themselves innocent of all racism.

      Also, surely it is up to the Jews to decide what is antisemitism, just like you would not deny a black person to decide what is anti-black racism. The fact that you would deny the Jews the right to decide for themselves what is anti-Jewish racism (aka antisemitism) betrays your own racism and bias.

      It makes no difference what Brian Klug said. (Besides which, he might disagree with you). He has no more right to decide what is antisemitism than Melanie Phillips. She too is a Jew. So am I. His voice carries no more weight than any of ours, and he is in a minority, speaking “as a Jew” to cover his own anti-Israel sentiments.

      Antisemitism is not, as you seem to claim, just the old-fashioned Nazi-like anti-Jewish hatred. It is the irrational hatred of Israel, the impossible standards to which it is held, the microscopic attention to every little action and saying, that is antisemitic – not “just” anti-Zionist. You and your like have turned Israel into the Jew amongst the nations.

      And you are too biased to see it.

  5. anneinpt says:

    Note to my readers: Not sure how much difference it makes, but Sue Blackwell and Willem Meijs are married to each other. I wondered why they had the same IP address so I googled…

    Willem Meijs is an active pro-Palestinian anti-Israel campaigner in case anyone had any doubts.

  6. cba says:

    Gosh Anne, you’ve moved into the big leagues!

    Sue and Willem take time out of their busy schedule of Israel-bashing to post on your little blog… my, my, my.

  7. Sarah AB says:

    Ann, just saw your comment on HP. As a non-Jewish non-Zionist I perhaps don’t see these issues in quite the same way as you, but I completely share your concern about this motion – there is no need to adopt the WD formally – but why repudiate it?

    I should perhaps note that most members of the UCU (of which I am one) probably know nothing about all this. I have just written to the Times Higher (which many lecturers read) expressing my concern – but I don’t know if they’ll publish it of course.

  8. Sarah AB says:

    I should note that I am not an anti-zionist – but there is this assumption that you have to be a Zionist to find such moves disturbing, and I don’t think that is the case.

    • anneinpt says:

      Hi Sarah AB, welcome to my blog and thank you for your comment. You have no need to defend yourself – I “know” you from lurking at Harry’s Place and I admire your principled stance. Thank you for your support.

      As you said, there has been no mention as far as I can see in any of the UK press about this motion. I don’t have access to the Times so it’s good you updated us (and them) about that. I hope they reply positively and publish an item about this dismal vote.

  9. mark gardner says:

    Willem Meijs says:
    1 June 2011 at 02:53 am
    I just don’t see what you are getting so worked up about.

    – err, getting so worked up about? its ms blackwell who is worked up about it, is it not??…glass houses, stones / pot, kettle, black etc.

  10. David Hirsh says:

    My favourite bit of Sue Blackwell’s speech was when she argued that Kenneth Stern from the AJC had engineered the EUMC definition in order to de-legitimise criticism of Israel. Of course nothing within it de-legitimises criticism of Israel. But the irony is that Ken Stern has been in a scrap with some on the American Jewish right, and the ZOA, who have been trying to mobilise the EUMC definition in California to combat those who wish to delegitimise Israel on campuses there. Ken has stood up, quite clearly, for the First Ammendment:

    “While some of the recent allegations… might well raise a claim under Title VI, many others simply seek to silence anti-Israel discourse and speakers,” Stern declared in a statement co-authored with Cary Nelson, head of the American Association of University Professors. “This approach is not only unwarranted under Title VI, it is dangerous.”

    As always, when antisemites try to delve into the complexities of the Jewish conspiracy, and they bring their expertise on “the Jews” to bear, they get it all wrong.

    The bit I liked best was when Sue claimed during the debate: “These influences are evidenced by American spellings in the document.” Imagine if you didn’t like a definition of anti-black racism. Imagine if you uncovered that this document had been written by Black people from America! Imagine if you offered the evidence that it had been written in the style of American Blacks!

    The other bit which was telling was when Sue Blackwell relied on the opinion, in Sunday’s debate, of a person she characterized as “American Jewish activist Lawrence Davidson”.

    Unsurprisingly, Sue Blackwell was quoting an antisemite. This is another thing that “American Jewish activist Lawrence Davidson” has written:

    “The fact is that Zionist influence spreads far beyond Israel’s area of dominion and has, for a long while now, exerted a corrupting power within many of the policy making institutions of western governments, and particularly that of the United States. In other words, unlike the Russians or the Chinese and other such governments, the Israelis and their supporters directly influence the policy makers of our own countries and this often results in our abetting Israel’s crimes. This makes it imperative that Zionist Israel be made a high priority case from among the many other oppressive regimes that may very well be candidates for boycott.”

    For more on Sue Blackwell’s antisemite, see the discussion here: http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/live-blogging-from-ucu-congress/#comments

    • anneinpt says:

      Thank you for your fascinating comment David Hirsh. I had no idea about some of things you wrote, e.g. about Ken Stern and Lawrence Davidson.

      I too had noticed the ridiculousness of Blackwell’s comment about “American spelling” somehow deligitimizing any document at all. For a moment I actually laughed, being sure she was being ironic. Absolutely pathetic.

      I take off my hat to you for your braving the antisemites at the UCU Congress, and thank you for your live-blogging. You have provided a real service to the community.

  11. Jez says:

    David “Canute” Hirsh does his best, but it’s all slipping away. The EUMC has folded, and their attempt to impose a definition that can close down legitimate criticism of Israel has been kicked into the long grass forever. The new body, the Agency for Fundamental Rights has not adopted it, nor has any other EU body despite the best endeavours of the pro-Zionists. The UCU have done us a favour, we can expect to see similar motions at other Union conferences. EUMC, R.I.P.
    The endless repetition of the “anti semite” charge is wearing a bit thin, moreover it is dangerous. Remember the boy who cried “wolf”? The mantra is meaningless, but worse than that it is dangerous. It makes us look ridiculous when we use it against people with impeccable records of working for human rights for all. If David is truly a friend of Israel he should help pressure Netanyahu and the ultra-right to end the human rights abuses. If they can be persuaded to do that, Israel may yet have a future. Lets hope so.

    • David Hirsh says:

      This, from “Jez”, who is understandably afraid to give their name, is exactly how the antisemitic bullying and intimidation works.

      Begins by gloating: “your’re losing”. True. I don’t deny that.

      Then by lying: “a definition that can close down legitimate criticism of Israel…” What the definition actually says is: “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemtiic.”

      Then by saying that Jews who say they can smell antisemitism in the air are in fact acting in bad faith: “endless repetition of ‘anti-semite'”… boy who cried wolf.

      So Ronnie gets up at Congress and says: “me and other Jews feel this as an antisemtic attack”. and “Jez” jeers in his face, and encourages non-jewish people to jeer in his face and accuse him of lying.

      There was a time when all victims of racism were treated in this way. There was a time when women who said they’d been raped were treated in this way. It is just vile, racist behaviour.

      “it makes us look ridiculous when we use it against people with impeccable records of working for human rights for all…” No. It makes people who take human rights seriously look ridiculous when they bully Jews by calling them dishonest, Nazis, pro apartheid, racists, etc.

      “If David is truly a friend of Israel…” Now we have the circularity from jez. Assuming that talking about antisemitism is a dishonest way of talking about Israel…. But Jez, I wasn’t talking about Israel, i was talking about antisemitism in my own union Congress in Harrogate.

      And then from “Jez”. If netanyahu can be persuaded to behave himself then “israel may have a future”. But hey, “Jez”, I don’t think Israel’s future is dependent on what one vile right-wing Prime Minsiter does.

      It is really horrible to have to confront this kind of casual antisemitism, like that above from “Jez”, to explain why it is problematic, and then to watch decent antiracists put their fingers in their ears and carry on with antisemitic abuse.

      • anneinpt says:

        I would love to see the same passion as expressed by Jez and his friends turned towards genuine human rights abuses such as what is going on in the “Arab Spring”, places such as Syria, Egypt etc. Or are they going to redefine racism to include anyone who criticises Arab regimes? It would make the same sense as redefining “antisemitism” to whatever they feel it should mean.

  12. Ignorance is bliss says:

    Well, rather than actually listen to what people have to say, perhaps we should follow Sue’s comment to Ronnie ” I think Ronnie just made a speech in favour of the m0tion – that’s why we should be worried about it,” and say well “I think Sue just made a speech in favour of Klug’s definition – that’s why we should be worried about it.”

    Sue’s reponse was demagogical, rude, disrepsectful and attacked Ronnie for the fact that since he is a Zionist implying that he had nothing of value to offer to the debate. The very problem that infects the UCU.

    Indeed, I find it odd that Sue should feel comfortable advising others on what definition of antisemitism is valied and which is not.
    After all, Sue had to wait for a “Jewish friend” to tell her that one of the sites she linked to was antisemitic. She was, in other words, incapable of recognising it herself.

    However, rather than arguing in the abstract, perhaps Sue can tell us in good faith whether the comments Hammond made and was found guily by UCU was “real antisemitism” or whether it was a misuse of the working definition aimed at silencing debate?

    http://www.academics-for-israel.org/index.php?page=v9n1

    http://hurryupharry.org/2010/01/29/keith-hammond-on-holocaust-memorial-day/

  13. Ignorance is bliss says:

    Apologies,
    I did not need to go back to the past to show that Sue has no idea whatsoever about what is and is not antisemitism. As noted above, she showed the same complete lack of judgement at Congress only a couple of daya ago.

    Perhaps people like Sue and Jez could explain how Davidson’s comments are not infused with antisemitic imagery and that it is really nothing more than “criticism of Israel” and that those who think otherwise are liars and not merely wrong.

  14. vildechaye says:

    Sarah: These days, not being “anti-Zionist” makes you a Zionist — at least in the eyes of the anti-Zionists. As it happens, there does not appear to be a clear understanding these days of who is a zionist and who isn’t. I never considered myself a Zionist because my understanding was that a Zionist was someone who believed that all Jews should live in or strive to live in Israel. But now, it seems, anybody who supports Israel in any way shape or form, or, simply doesn’t approve of demonizing Israel, is a zionist. So you may think of yourself as a non-Zionist (which I’m sure you are by the Jewish definition), but to the Tony Greensteins and Sue Blackwells of this world, you’re a zionist all right.

    • anneinpt says:

      Vildechaye (LOL! Love your nic), I agree with your description of who is considered a Zionist nowadays.

      However I don’t agree with your view of Zionism. Zionism is not the belief that “all Jews should live in or strive to live in Israel” although that would be ideal in my own opinion. Zionism, as far as I understand it, is the political expression of the Jews to their right to a national homeland in Israel. Just like an Englishman doesn’t have to live in England to be English, a Jew doesn’t have to live in Israel to be Jewish, or a Zionist. An anti-Zionist denies the Jews their right to a national homeland – something that is granted to every other nation and is actively promoted for the Palestinians.

  15. Sarah AB says:

    As I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a Zionist I wouldn’t normally bother saying I’m not one – but people like Tony Greenstein want to distinguish between Jews and Zionists (fair enough) and claim that only ‘Zionists’ are concerned about this. This should not be the case, any more than it should be assumed that anyone opposed to the motion is primarily concerned with being a ‘friend of Israel’, to pick up on David’s point. This comment on HP (made by Mark2) sums up why anyone might be concerned:

    ‘isn’t there something truly weird about a trades union’s willingness to alienate a proportion members over something so inessential to its prime purpose of representing its members?’

    • anneinpt says:

      “people like Tony Greenstein” simply want to discredit Israel via the bogeyman word “Zionism”, by turning Zionism into something that it isn’t – to the extent that decent people are embarrassed to admit that they might be Zionist, or that at the very least they might not be anti-Zionist. This is why I appreciate your “admission” Sarah.

      ‘isn’t there something truly weird about a trades union’s willingness to alienate a proportion members over something so inessential to its prime purpose of representing its members?’

      Absolutely. You hit the nail on the head.

  16. Peter says:

    I wonder what Sarah means by saying that she is a non-Zionist: does she or does she not believe that the Jews have the same right as any other nation to have their own country?
    But then, I know from HP that Sarah never has an opinion about a moral issue that isn’t hedged with ifs, buts and on-the-other-hands. Is this really ‘principled’? I wonder.

    • cba says:

      Peter, I also remember Sarah AB from HP, and I think that’s an unfair comment. As for calling herself “non-Zionist”–from what she’s written, I take it to mean that she doesn’t have a dog in this fight, but nevertheless she recognises the immorality of the UCU position. Which I, as a life-long Zionist (and Israeli citizen), greatly appreciate.

      • anneinpt says:

        Agreed 100%.

        Peter, see my own reply to both of Sarah’s comments. You are being very unfair – and I speak not “as a Jew” but as a fierce Zionist who made Aliya a long time ago from England.

  17. Peter says:

    “As I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a Zionist”

    Wow, that’s really so big of you, Sarah. As a Jew who has the temerity to believe that my nation has the same right as any other to its historical homeland – as a matter of course let alone historical and legal justice – I can now sleep soundly at night.

  18. Peter says:

    “my understanding was that a Zionist was someone who believed that all Jews should live in or strive to live in Israel”

    Hardly. That has never been the case. Yes, there have always been some people who held or hold that view, but it’s just one shade of opinion.

    • anneinpt says:

      To repeat, please see my comments above and please try to give posters some benefit of the doubt. Sarah AB is a commenter who I and others here recognize from other blogs and we have no doubt about her sincerity or her attitude towards Israel.

  19. reality says:

    how come its only Israel who gets the anti -ism stuff? why isn’t there any uproar against America ,or France for various racist views -America won’t let Mexicans come in over the border,& no one screams human rights abuses & racism at them. France won’t let Arab women wear veils & no one screams human rights abuses .& as for the abuses going on in various Arab lands right now? And as for Gilad Shalit? Any voices out there ? where are all you human rights activists? & where were you when the South of Israel was rocketed for 8 years? Not antisemitic/antizionist? pull the other one its got bells on!

    • anneinpt says:

      Well, it’s called good old Antisemitism. And that’s exactly what the UCU vote wants to do: call this kind of discrimination NOT anti-Israel and NOT antisemitic. Positively Orwellian.

  20. Brian Goldfarb says:

    As a first time visitor to this site (you’ll find me, for good or ill, mostly over on the comments threads on Engage), my compliments to anneinpt for her site, and her willingness to allow the crazies in without moderation (and yes, I do mean “Peter” and the Blackwell’s (or the Meijs’s, perhaps)). Some will recall that Willem Meijs of that ilk threatened to sue someone or other (this was on Engage) for libeling his good lady wife. I (and possibly others) not so gently pointed out that only the alleged aggrieved party could sue. Anyone else was barred.

    Funny, after that, he disappeared from the site. Or perhaps his contributions were unpublishable, for whatever reason. Libelous, maybe.

    Anyway, more power to your elbow, anneinpt.

    • cba says:

      Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve heard “more power to your elbow”–that brings back memories!

      It also reminds me what I should say to Brits who ask me what כל הכבוד means 🙂

    • anneinpt says:

      Brian Goldfarb, thank you very much for your kind comment, and welcome to my blog. As long as the “crazies” (as you so eloquently describe them) are not outrightly abusive to others and I feel we can still engage them, I decided not to moderate them. Let their stupidity and bias stand openly for all to see, and let everyone see our counter-arguments.

      I did delete one overtly antisemitic comment a few weeks ago, complete with Holocaust denial, fake Talmud quotes, the lot, a while back but that was the only one so far.

  21. Sarah AB says:

    Peter – I said I was a ‘non-Zionist’ simply to drive home the point that this is an issue of racism rather than Zionism, and that I think TG etc are very wrong to imply that only Zionists, or active Zionists, or people who are primarily interested in Israel, are worried. I only began to take an interest in I/P after I became aware of the UCU moves a few years ago. I see myself as a non-Zionist because I feel that I have no *personal* involvement in the issue and would not personally mind if all relevant communities decided they preferred a one state solution. However as I am a member of Labour Friends of Israel (again, purely as a response to the various very unpleasant anti-Israel strands in discourse etc, and very much swayed by their moderate line on I/P as I have Palestinian friends) my claims to be a non-Zionist may be seen as a bit shaky!

    • David Hirsh says:

      I’m not much of a Zionist either.

      I don’t much like any kind of nationalism.

      Perhaps I’m a Zionist because I believe that Israel’s role as a life-raft state for Jews is important – and so I’m for the law of return for Jews.

      Does that make me a Zionist?

      I’m not very impressed with the “historical homeland” stuff. Neither with the abstract right to Jewish national self determination.

      I do like Israel though.

      And I’m against anybody who wants to smash it up and drive it into the sea.

      And I don’t like antisemitism.

      I think part of the force of antizionism is that it treats Israel as a “zionist movement”. I don’t treat Israel as a movement with which we might or might be in sympathy.

      I treat Israel as a nation state. Like any other. So the question of its legitimacy is as meaningless as the legitimacy of France or Italy.

      On the other hand, maybe it is true that israel isn’t a state like any other. It is a special state because it is a life raft state, surrounded by enemies, created by European and Russian and Middle Eastern antisemitism.

      Perhaps we’re fooling ourselves when we say it is just a state amongst other states. Perhaps it is in fact the only precarious life-raft state. In which case it requires special care.

      • anneinpt says:

        I think it boils down to whether we consider the Jews as a nation or simply a religion. Everything in our history tells us we are a nation – with a national religion, but a nation all the same. As a nation we are entitled, as all other nations, to a state or country, and in fact we had one, called Israel, until we were thrown out.

        Given our history ever since the Exile, we not only “deserve” our country since it was ours to begin with, but we “need” it to be a “life raft” as you accurately put it.

        It seems (to me at least) that pat of the problem of the anti-Zionists is that they do not consider the Jews a nation, but only as a religion, in which case why should they have a state? They cannot accept that the Jews have as much right to self-determination as the Arabs/Palestinians. When the Jews are denied such a right, it is called antisemitism.

        When Israel is denied the right to exist, or its legitimacy is questioned, that is a form of antisemitism. It is certainly discrimination and double standards.

        Israel is singled out for microscopic attention to its flaws and alleged “crimes” purely because it is Jewish. There is certainly no other visible reason (to me at least) for this singular attention to Israel amongst all the nations.

        But the anti-Zionists (the virulent ones anyway) are outraged if they are called antisemitic. Some of their best friends are Jews! I’m not sure if they are dissembling or if they honestly cannot see how their application of double standards towards Israel is biased.

        :sigh: This argument can go on and on and round and round with no satisfactory conclusion.

      • David Hirsh says:

        I think from a sociological point of view, no group is, or is not, naturally a nation.

        The claim to nationhood is a political claim. Being a nation requires a state – or a national movement towards a state.

        The Jews built themselves a nation state in the 20th century. Therefore Israel – with its particular, although complex and contested relationship to Jews – is a nation.

        The word Zionist means a hundred different things. It can mean “evil person”. It can mean “racist”. It can mean “person who thinks Israel should be left in peace”. It can mean “person who believes that all Jews should live in Israel”. It can mean “person who believes that the Jews are a nation”. It can mean “person who thinks that the Jews needed a place to live, after the Holocaust, where they would be able to defend themselves”.

        Some of these definitions are horrible. But there are many people who use and who understand the word “Zionism” to mean “evil” or “racism”.

  22. anneinpt says:

    @David Hirsh, you say:

    The word Zionist means a hundred different things… Some of these definitions are horrible. But there are many people who use and who understand the word “Zionism” to mean “evil” or “racism”.

    That’s because the word’s meaning has been distorted beyond all recognition by antisemites – just like the UCU have distorted the word “antisemitism” to mean what they want it to mean, and not what it really means.

    The fact that you, or others, see Zionism as meaning all those terrible things shows how much the anti-Israel discourse has penetrated the public conversation, and I think that is terrible. You are an academic. Go and study the history of Zionism and you will find what its real meaning is.

    I have enjoyed this discussion but I don’t have the time now to take it any further. You are welcome to carry on the discussion here without me if you wish.

  23. Jez says:

    Nice to read these couple of thoughtful posts from David Hirsh. The idea of the life-raft state is superficially appealing, though it would probaby be safer to sit out any future pogrom in Brooklyn rather than Tel Aviv. The other problem is that Israelis increasingly don’t buy it. Have a look at this from Haaretz
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/fear-is-driving-israelis-to-obtain-foreign-passports-1.365454
    It’s by Gideon Levy. Can I appeal to anyone who posts about this to spare us the ad hominem stuff about “Levy is an anti semite.” Please, just this once lets deal with the issues he raises.

    • anneinpt says:

      I know I said I was finished with the discussion on Zionism but I have to answer Jez. What purpose do you have in posting Levy’s article? He doesn’t say anything new in it. There have been reports for years of Israelis obtaining another passport. But what does that show? If you read this article you will see that it is not because they are fearful for the future. It is for ease of travel, study, bureaucracy, monetary benefits etc. How does Levy know that it is fear driving these Israelis? Did he interview anyone? Outside his own extreme-leftist circle I mean. Or did he just let his prejudices get the better of him, as per usual.

      If you, via Levy, are trying to imply that Israelis are leaving in droves, then I’m happy to disappoint you with the latest statistics from Israel’s CBS.

      If you want them in a form you can read (assuming you can’t read Hebrew) then take a look here or here

      • Jez says:

        Thanks Anne for responding. However I don’t understand how you think the article you posted supports your point. In fact the author seems to be saying much the same as Levy, eg

        “And then there’s this: Despite the aspirations of Zionism to create a safe haven for the world’s Jews, Israel is hardly the safest place in the world. Can we blame Israeli parents for wanting their children to have another option, an insurance policy, just in case Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes good on his threats?”

        However you are right about net immigration. Israel is growing, though much more slowly than in other advanced economies like the U.K. Economic migration is a big factor.

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