Archive for the ‘Anti-Semitism’ category

Why is Ynet News using an image from just before the Breivik massacre to illustrate an anti-EU piece?

July 10, 2012

Well now, this is kind of interesting. The rightwing Israeli English-language news service Ynet News has just published a rant against the EU, headlined ‘Europe united against Israel‘. Reading it, one wishes that some of what it said was true in relation to the EU’s relationship with Israel. Alas, it’s the stuff of (wilful?) paranoid fantasy on behalf of the author and not really worth commenting on. Israel has a major friend and facilitator in the EU, second only to the US.

This aspect does need to be picked up on however. The author, Eldad Beck, says that “at a time where the Middle East is burning because of endless violations of human rights, condemnations are constantly being issued against Israel”. What he fails to mention is that the EU is currently supporting sanctions against both Iran and Syria, but refuses to even look at imposing any kind of sanctions against Israel for consistent violations of international law. Beck, wilfully, I would suggest, ignores the EU’s actual record in an effort to maintain the Zionist hyperbole regarding Europe’s scandalous relationships with Israel.

But what is most interesting about this piece is that accompanying it is a photograph of members of the Norwegian Labor Youth holding a banner saying ‘Boikott Israel’. The picture comes from just 48 hours before neo-fascist, racist and Islamophobic supporter of Israel Anders Behring Breivik massacred 69 people on the island of Utøya on July 22nd 2011 in a terrorist attack. Utøya is where this picture was taken, during a visit by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere (on the left) to the Labor Youth summer camp taking place there.

Both men pictured in the image foreground – Minister Stoere, and Eskil Pedersen (the Labor Youth leader), along with former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland – were on a kill-list that Breivik had drawn up. According to the Daily Telegraph, Breivik’s “initial plan was to take one of [these] leading Labor Party officials hostage at Utoya and read a death sentence before carrying out an execution”. Stoere and Brundtland had already left the island by the time Breivik arrived in his fake police uniform to carry out his politically motivated murder spree.

Breivik’s rationale for the attack was that the Labor Party in Norway, which was the ruling party at the time of the attack, were “traitors” to white Europeans. Thus, not only the political leadership of the party, but the entire island-full of young social democrats became legitimate targets in his “war on Islam”. Prior to the island attack, Breivik set off a bomb near government buildings in Oslo that killed 8 people and injured hundreds.

I’m not suggesting that Ynet’s editors believe that this is an appropriate way to deal with European government or citizens that are critical of Israel, but one has to ask, given both the context of the article and the similarities in some of the logic between the author Eldad Beck and Breivik, how the editors could think it was in good taste to include a picture from just before the Breivik massacre with this article. It is hard to believe it’s merely a simple mistake, as it was Ynet that originally reported the story about the pro-Palestine Labour Youth members being on the island, using the very same picture. It really is, simply, incredible.

With regard to the similarities in logic mentioned above, a couple of issues are worth noting. Firstly, Beck claims – preposterously – that the EU is “working with great determination to decide for Israel how it should behave”, and “that the Europeans have been taken captive by the Arab magic formula, whereby the conflict with Israel is at the heart of the region’s problems and only its resolution – that is, making Israel capitulate to Arab demands – will bring peace and stability”.

In his manifesto, entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, Breivik repeatedly makes a similar point, saying for example that “Western European governments, giving in to pressure from Arab terrorists and oil-producing states, abandoned their traditional pro-Israeli position and gradually aligned themselves with the Arab-Islamic world”.

A second point made by Beck, where he accuses “EU emissaries – mostly with the help of Israeli collaborators who enjoy generous funding – [of monitoring] anything that could be perceived to undermine the rights of Palestinians or Israel’s Arab citizens”. Aside from the implicit suggestion that violations of Palestinians’ rights should not be monitored, the use of the term “Israeli collaborators” provides an insight into how Beck views Jewish people. The only good Jew is a Zionist Jew who says “I stand with Israel, right or wrong – not that Israel ever does anything wrong”.

Breivik’s manifesto says, “Jews that support multiculturalism today are as much of a threat to Israel and Zionism (Israeli nationalism) as they are to us. So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists”. Breivik views Jewish people in almost exactly the same manner as Beck.

Incidentally, Breivik’s manifesto contains repeated favourable mentions of Israel, whom he views as a natural ally in the fight against ‘Islamic Jihadism’ and ‘Euarabia’ (a rightwing buzzword indicating paranoia about the mere presence of Muslims in so-called ‘Judeo-Christian’ Europe). For example, he encourages his neo-fascist co-thinkers to “end the stupid support for the Palestinians that the Eurabians have encouraged, and start supporting our cultural cousin, Israel”. It is his view that “if Israel loses in the Middle East, Europe will succumb to Islam next”, that ” Israelis defend themselves so that their daughters do not have to suffer rape at the hands of Muslim Jihadists”, and as with other apologists for Israeli apartheid, he believe there is ‘no such thing as Palestinians, referring to “Israeli attacks on the Syrians [called] Palestinians by the mass media”.  In one section he even advises buying paramilitary equipment from Israel, as in some cases, it’s easier than buying it in Europe.

Here are some other choice quotes from Breivik, showing us his view of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims. Leftists and Israel:

“[A]ll Western journalists support the EU’s Eurabia project, their enemy (based on coverage) is the Israeli and also often the Russian government. Western European journalists, editors and publishers are guilty of facilitating Muslim crime (Jihad) by underreporting it.”

“I believe Europe should strive for: A cultural conservative approach where monoculturalism, moral, the nuclear family, a free market, support for Israel and our Christian cousins of the east, law and order and Christendom itself must be central aspects (unlike now). Islam must be re-classified as a political ideology and the Quran and the Hadith banned as the genocidal political tools they are.”

“Christians need to understand that there can be no peace or understanding with the Islamic world. They want to subdue us, pure and simple. Church leaders of all denominations, Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, must stop stabbing Israel in the back”

“Jews that support multiculturalism today are as much of a threat to Israel and Zionism (Israeli nationalism) as they are to us. So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists, against all cultural Marxists/multiculturalists. Conservative Jews were loyal to Europe and should have been rewarded. Instead, [Hitler] just targeted them all… So, are the current Jews in Europe and US disloyal? The multiculturalist (nation-wrecking) Jews ARE while the conservative Jews ARE NOT. Aprox. 75% of European/US Jews support multiculturalism while aprox. 50% of Israeli Jews does the same. This shows very clearly that we must embrace the remaining loyal Jews as brothers rather than repeating the mistake of the NSDAP [German Nazi Party].”

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(Unpublished) Letter to the Indo re: Minister Shatter’s disgraceful comments about Ireland, Israel and the Nazi Holocaust

February 3, 2012

I sent this letter to the Irish Independent on 25th January 2012. Needless to say, it wasn’t published…

Dear Editor,

Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, at an Israeli Embassy hosted propaganda film festival in Dublin (Nov 2011)

The Minister for Justice was right to remind us of the Irish State’s appalling attitude toward Jewish people during Hitler’s reign (State ‘did nothing for Jews in WWII’, 24/01/12). Indeed, Ireland is not the only country with such a disgraceful record. However, Minister Shatter’s assertion that this terrible history “delimits Ireland’s moral authority and credibility” amongst Israelis is disingenuous and cowardly. One suspects the Israeli state’s refusal to listen to reason has less to do with Irish historical wrongs and everything to do with the fact that it has been allowed to ignore international law with impunity. Furthermore, his comments would smack less of Israeli hasbara [propaganda] had he himself not refused some 97% of all asylum applications to this same Irish state since taking office.

Yours etc

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Also, here’s a video from the Never Before Campaign, gearing up for the 8th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week later this month. The IPSC and others will be organising events around the island, check the IPSC website for details as they are posted.

Two reviews of Dr. David Landy’s ‘Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights’

January 25, 2012

Below are two, essentially identical, reviews of Dr. David Landy’s Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel, for LookLeft magazine and SIPTU’s Liberty newspaper.

Identity Crisis? Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights. Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel by David Landy (Zed, 2011)
LookLeft #8, October 2011

Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights is a ground-breaking investigation into the relatively recent phenomenon of organised international Jewish criticism of the Israeli state. From the outset Landy, an Irish-Jewish academic in Trinity, opposes the much touted rightwing view that those involved in this field are either “self-hating Jews” or suffering from “identity crises”. He instead asserts that such groups, in their various different forms, exist because those involved are universalist in outlook and feel that, as Jews, they can play a role in ending Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.

While not uncritical of these groups, Landy points out that they have played a very important role in making both Jewish and non-Jewish criticism of Israel more “acceptable” in the mainstream than previously. This is especially true for Western Europe, where the shadow of the Nazi holocaust still looms large – no longer do people have the same fear of being painted as “self-haters” or “anti-Semitic” by Israel’s supporters. However, their positive role in wider society aside, outside of providing a relatively safe avenue for Israel-critical Jews to “come out”, these groups have thus far failed to make a serious impact within the Jewish diaspora. Landy also outlines some of the problems with the worldviews of some of these groups, a major one being that Palestinians can be essentially eliminated from their discourse, treating what is a national liberation issue instead as a “Jewish issue” that will only be solved by Jews.

In conclusion, Landy points out that although his is the first such study of this emerging movement, it is not the “definitive” account. These groups have grown and developed over the past decade – some even moving into the “boycott and solidarity” camp – and will continue to evolve in the future. Despite the sometimes slightly alienating academic jargon, for anyone interested in the Palestinian solidarity movement and/or the long history of progressive and critical Jewish thought, this book is highly recommended.

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Palestine’s Jewish Lobby: Book about Jewish opposition to Israel launched in Dublin
Liberty, November 2011

Prof. David Landy

The long-standing concern for Palestine in Ireland was evident in the capacity crowd which attended the launch of Professor David Landy’s Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Opposition to Israel (Zed, 2011) in Dublin’s New Theatre on the 1st November.

The book is a groundbreaking examination of the relatively recent phenomenon of organised international Jewish criticism of Israel. Landy, an Irish-Jewish lecturer in Trinity College, opposes the right-wing view that those involved in this field are either “self-hating Jews” or suffering from “identity crises”. His view is that such groups exist because those involved are universalist in outlook and feel that, as Jews, they can play a role in ending Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.

While not uncritical of these groups, Landy points out that they have played an extremely important role in making both Jewish and non-Jewish criticism of Israel more “acceptable” in mainstream discourse – no longer do Israel’s critics harbour the same fear of being painted as “self-haters” or “anti-Semitic” by that state’s supporters. However, notwithstanding this positive role in wider society, outside of providing a relatively safe avenue for Israel-critical Jews to “come out”, these groups have so far failed to make a serious impact within the Jewish diaspora itself.

The book outlines the problems often associated with the world views of some of these groups. Often Palestinians can be essentially eliminated from their discourse, treating what is a national liberation issue instead as a “Jewish issue”. As Trinity Professor Ronit Lentin, herself an Israeli, said at the launch; “The book does not shirk from the difficult question as to whether movement members’
activism is about constructing a ‘better’ Jewish identity or about genuine solidarity.”

Wrapping up the event Professors Landy and Lentin said that although this is the first such study of this emerging movement it could not be considered “definitive” as these groups have developed significantly over the past decade, and that “the thing about social movements is they are always moving”.

A recording of the launch – which was a collaboration between Zed Books, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Trinity College Department of Sociology and Poster Fish Promotionscan be heard online here (Note: I also spoke at the launch)

Audio: Launch of David Landy’s ‘Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights’

November 2, 2011

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign has posted the audio I recorded of the launch of Dr. David Landy’s new book, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Opposition to Israel earlier this week. Along with my good friend David, Prof. Ronit Lentin from the TCD Sociology department and myself also spoke, and the meeting was chaired by Raymond Deane from the IPSC.I also reviewed the book for the current issue of LookLeft magazine.

Copied from the IPSC website:

Audio: Launch of David Landy’s ‘Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights’

Tuesday 1st November saw the launch of Professor David Landy’s Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Opposition to Israel (Zed, 2011) at a standing room only event in Dublin’s New Theatre. The book is an outstanding, ground-breaking examination of the relatively recent phenomenon of organised international Jewish criticism of Israel. More information on the book can read here.

To download and listen to the audio recording, please click here (MP3 format, right click and ‘save target/link as’).

Speakers: Dr. David Landy (author and TCD academic), Dr. Ronit Lentin (author and TCD academic) and Kevin Squires (IPSC National Coordinator). Chair: Raymond Deane

The book was launched in conjunction with Zed Books, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Department of Sociology in TCD and Poster Fish Promotions. Audio provided by Citizen Partridge.

Palestinian issue divides Germany’s Left Party

August 4, 2011

Palestinian issue divides Germany’s Left Party
Socialist Voice, June 2011

Very public leadership battles aside, Germany’s Left Party (Die Linke) seems to be in a state of crisis. The issue tearing it apart is the thorny one of “anti-Semitism”, or to be more accurate, “perceived anti-Semitism”. To be totally truthful, the issue is in fact a division over principled anti-Zionism, which of course has nothing to do with the issue of Jewish people, and everything to do with the issues of anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism. But then this is Germany where the shadow of the Holocaust still looms large.

For their stance on Israel and Zionism, sections of the Left Party have come under increasing pressure, both from without and – scandalously – from within the party. Last month, the party leadership passed a resolution that barred Left Party MPs from taking part in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla (three MPs had taken part in the previous flotilla), and prevented involvement “in Middle East conflict initiatives that call for a one-state solution for Palestine and Israel, and boycotts of Israeli products”.

According to the party leadership, calling for a democratic bi-national state with one-person one-vote in Palestine/Israel is anti-Semitic. As is engaging in the perfectly legitimate non-violent solidarity action of boycotting the goods of an apartheid state! In protest at the move, 14 of its MPs walked out of the vote and five didn’t show up. However the party has 76 MPs, the rest of whom presumably voted in favour of this ridiculous motion.

It ill behoves a socialist party to cave in to such bullying from external forces. Principle should always outweigh opportunism, and the party should be defending its members who are facing this preposterous attack, not trying to please the apologists for Israeli apartheid.