Manufacturing Consent On ‘Anti-Semitism’

Manufacturing Consent On ‘Anti-Semitism’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

Modern Day Alchemy – Home Affairs Select Committee Transforms Anti-Zionism into Anti-Semitism
The House of Commons Home Affairs
Committee has just published a Report, Anti-Semitism in the UK.  The first and most immediate question is why,
when other forms of racist attacks are at an all-time high, the Committee
should spend its time examining the least widespread or violent form of racism?  By their own admission, anti-Semitic hate
crimes, however defined, total just 1.4% of all such crimes, yet anti-Semitism
has its own Parliamentary Report. 
To many Zionists, anti-Zionist Jews deserve to be victims of anti-Semitism for ignoring the ‘attraction’ of Zionism

In its section ‘Key Facts’ the
Committee informs us that there has been a rise of 11% in anti-Semitic incidents
in the first half of 2016 compared with 2015. 
Shocking you may think.  The rise
is from 500 to 557.  But 24% of the
total, 133 incidents in all, were on social media.  Of the increase in anti-Semitic incidents,
fully 44 of the 57 were on social media.[1]  Obviously it is not very pleasant to receive
anti-Semitic tweets such as those above (which were sent by Zionists!) but it
is clearly different from acts of violence.

If one looks closer at the
Community Security Trust’s Report quoted from then it turns out that there were
just 41 violent incidents.  If one delves
a little deeper it turns out that there was actually a 13 per cent fall in violent incidents for the first
half of 2015 and none of these were classified by the CST as ‘Extreme
Violence’, i.e. they involved potential grievous bodily harm or threat to life.  This is good not bad news.  Why would the Select Committee wish to
exaggerate the incidence of anti-Semitism?

Anti-Semitic tweet from a Zionist
Most of the
anti-Semitic incidents involved ‘verbal abuse’ and it is difficult to know how
many of these were genuinely anti-Semitic and how many were of the kind ‘why do you bomb children in Gaza’.  G given that the Board of Deputies of British
Jews does its best to associate Jews with Israel’s war crimes, is it any wonder
that some people take them at their word?
Contrast this
with anti-Muslim hate crimes.  According
to a report from the Muslim Hate Monitoring Group Tell MAMA, British Muslims
are experiencing an “explosion” in anti-Islamic.
The
annual survey by Tell MAMA found a 326 per
cent rise in incidents last year, while the Muslim
Council of Britain
group of mosques said it had compiled a dossier of 100
hate crimes over the weekend alone.
Unlike
anti-Semitism, ‘many attacks are
happening in the real world – at schools and colleges, in restaurants and on
public transport. The number of offline incidents rose 326 per cent in 2015
from 146 to 437’
 The effect has
been that many Muslim women – especially those wearing Islamic clothing –were
being prevented from conducting normal “day
to day activities”.
[2]

In its concern to marry anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism the Committee ‘forgot’ about the only visibly Jewish community in Stamford Hill of Ultra Orthodox Charedi Jews who do experience anti-Semitism

Yet the Committee, which was
chaired by Keith Vaz, has shown no interest in anti-Muslim racism.  Why might that be? 
Somewhat
confusingly for a Report that is supposed to be about anti-Semitism, another of
its Key Facts tells us that ‘Research published in 2015 by
City University found that 90% of British Jewish people support Israel’s right
to exist as a Jewish state and 93% say that it forms some part of their
identity as Jewish people, but only 59% consider themselves to be Zionists
.’  [3]  In reality this Report is not about
anti-Semitism but the use of anti-Semitism as a weapon against anti-Zionists.
This
Report dips in and out of what it is quoting without any attempt to put
anything in perspective.  It probably is
true that 90% of British Jews support the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish
state, but how many of them appreciate that a Jewish settler colonial state is
an inherently racist state?   What is
interesting is that although the Report admits that only 59% of British Jews
consider themselves Zionists, 31% don’t. 
 Even more interesting, the Report
states that ‘in 2010,
72% of the respondents classified themselves as Zionists compared to 59% in the
present study.’  As to why that is, the
Report offers two different explanations:
i.                   
Jews believe
that criticism of Israel is incompatible with being a Zionist and
ii.                 
the
frequent use of the term ‘Zionist’ in general discourse as a pejorative or even
abusive label discourages some individuals from describing themselves as a
Zionist.
If the
latter is correct, then this is clearly a good thing as anti-Zionist criticism
of the State of Israel is having some effect and is deterring Jewish people
from identifying with a racist ideology. 
However the Committee draws the opposite conclusion because it considers
Zionism a good thing.  Therein lies the
problem.
Amongst
other ‘key facts’ was the report of a survey of Labour Party members who joined after the 2015
General Election, 55% of whom agreed that antisemitism is “not a serious problem at all, and is being hyped up to undermine
Labour and Jeremy Corbyn, or to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel”.[4]
  Clearly, despite the bombardment of the mass
media about fake anti-Semitism, most party members are dismissive of this fable.  When Owen Smith debated Jeremy Corbyn in
Cardiff and claimed that he hadn’t taken ‘anti-Semitism’ seriously, he was
booed.  In reality very few Labour Party
members sincerely believe in this hype.
A Report whose
primary motivation is to attack Corbyn and the Labour Left
It
is curious that a Report on anti-Semitism should start off with a section
‘Anti-Semitism in the Political Parties’ before homing in on just one party,
Labour.  Labour is the target throughout
this ill-conceived and politically tendentious Report.  It immediately begins with the suspension of
Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone and others (who it estimates range from 18-40) for’
anti-Semitism’.  Since no one has been tried
or found guilty of ‘anti-Semitism’ one can only assume that the presumption of
innocence has been abandoned by lawyer Chuku Ummuna and his Tory friends.  Livingstone expressed an opinion that Hitler
supported Zionism.  He may be right or wrong,
it may even give offence to those who find the truth unpalatable, but
anti-Semitic it is not.  Naz Shah made a
joke about how much nicer it would be if Israel was located within the borders
of the USA as that would mean less death and destruction all round.  She borrowed a map that originated with the
Jewish Virtual Library, hardly the greatest act of anti-Semitism the world has
known!
After
noting that the vast majority of anti-Semitic attacks come from the far-Right,
the Report then speaks about ‘the fact
that incidents of antisemitism—particularly online—have made their way into a
major political party’
despite not having established any facts to support
this.  It is this sleight of hand,
asserting that which it is supposed to be proving, which runs throughout this
Report.
The
Report tried to come up with a definition of anti-Semitism but it did this in a
very curious way by aiming to maintain ‘an
appropriate balance between condemning antisemitism vehemently, in all its
forms, and maintaining freedom of speech—particularly in relation to legitimate
criticism of the Government of Israel.’
 
It is curious in two ways – firstly what has criticism of Israel got to
do with a definition of anti-Semitism?  The
underlying assumption is that criticism of the State of Israel is somehow anti-Semitic.  Because Israeli racism  is based on its self-definition as a Jewish state,
i.e. a state where Jews have privileges, it is assumed that criticism of its
racism is therefore anti-Semitic.  This
is the ‘logic’ that the Report employes throughout.  Anti-Semitism is hatred of or discrimination against
Jews as individuals or violence against them. 
A state is not an individual or a victim of racism.  Secondly what is ‘legitimate’ criticism of
Israel and in whose eyes?
The
Report then dabbles with the MacPherson definition of a ‘racial incident’
suggesting that the definition of a racist incident should be “any incident which is perceived to be racist
by the victim or any other person”. 
Again
this is fundamentally dishonest because they ignore the context, which was the
refusal of the Police to record as racial incidents, incidents perceived as racial
by the victims.  MacPherson did not
imply, unlike the Committee, that a perception of racism is therefore proof of
guilt.
The
Report quotes a government statement that ‘it
is for the
victim to determine whether a crime against them was motivated by a particular
characteristic (the Macpherson definition)’.
 
An absurd statement which is not the MacPherson definition, since that
applied to Police perceptions not the judicial process of inquiry.  A victim’s testimony may be good evidence but
that is all it is.  It is not
determinative.
The purpose of the Committee’s
Report is a transparent as it is shallow. 
It quotes the ‘International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition
of anti-Semitism which in relation to criticism of Israel:
‘Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not
expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.’
The
Committee demonstrates its ignoranxw since Israel is not a nation, nor does it
claim to be so.  It is a state of the
Jewish people, regardless of whether they live in or outside Israel.  Nor is Israel a democratic state since it
rules over 4.5 million people who have neither civil nor political rights.  It is an ethnocracy, in which settlers rule
over a people who are considered guests at best.[5]
Apparently ‘Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli
policy to that of the Nazis
.’ Is anti-Semitic.  Leaving aside the small fact that Zionists,
including Israeli government politicians repeatedly use the Nazi period and the
Holocaust to justify their actions, does this principle hold good for other
states?  Were the demonstrators in France
in May 68 anti-Semitic for chanting ‘CRS-SS’ at the riot police?
‘Holding Jews
collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.’
is also apparently
anti-Semitic.  I have great sympathy with
this but the Committee’s attention should be directed primarily at Zionists who
go to great lengths to associate British Jews with Israel’s war crimes!  Indeed the Report notes that ‘Sir Mick Davis, Chairman of the JLC, told us
that criticising Zionism is the same as antisemitism’
  because, in the words of the Chief Rabbi,
Ephraim Mirvis ‘Zionism has been an
integral part of Judaism from the dawn of our faith
”.  The conclusion cannot be other than that
British Jews are collectively responsible for Israel’s crimes.  What a tangled web the Committee weaves.
The
most blatant attempt to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is the IHRA definition
of anti-Semitism which the Committee accepts:  ‘Denying
the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the
existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.’
Firstly
there is no Jewish people.  There are
French, British, Argentinian and other Jews, who are members of their
respective nations.  Only anti-Semites
claim that regardless of where they live, Jews form one seamless nation.  It was a proposition that Hitler adhered
to.  Apparently it also finds favour with
Chuka Ummuna’s Committee too.
As
for the Committee’s claim that the existence of the Israeli State is a racist
endeavour, that is a matter of opinion or fact. 
It has nothing to do with racism.
Without
even bothering to examine the question, the Report says that Israel is ‘generally
regarded as a liberal democracy’
.  The question of what constitutes
a liberal democracy is an interesting one but Israel is anything but a
democracy by any normal definition.
i.                   
Although Israeli Arabs have the vote their
representatives are vilified and demonised and Haneen Zoabi of the nationalist
Balad Party has had to be protected by security guards from other Knesset
members.  Arab parties also have no
influence and have never been part of an Israeli government.
ii.                 
In a Jewish state policies and laws are draw up with
the intention of benefiting one sector only – the Jewish community.  In every area of public life there is entrenched
state sponsored discrimination –  be it
education funding, local authority grants, land access or police coercion and
repression.  The Centre for the Rights of
the Arab Minority Adalah has compiled a list of 50 discriminatory laws.[6]
iii.               
Israel is in a permanent state of emergency, even
though it faces no military threat.  It
is a state where torture is legally allowed, where administrative detention is
used to imprison (mainly Palestinian) dissidents for repeated bouts of 6 months.
iv.               
Israel is a state where all publications have to
submit to the military censor whose remit has extended to cover government archives.  The Military Censors can prevent the
unsealing of archives and even worse, prevent physical access to archives which
were once available.  This is because of
digitalisation.[7]
v.                 
Four and a half million Palestinians are subject to
permanent military rule without any political or civil rights.
To
call Israel a ‘liberal democracy’ is to render the term meaningless.  By this definition Apartheid South Africa could
also have been considered democratic.
The
Use of the Term Zionist
Despite allegedly being a Report
on Anti-Semitism this is really about Zionism which, it concedes is ‘a valid topic for academic and political
debate’. 
Of
course anti-Semites substitute the term ‘Zionist’ for ‘Jew’’ but that is precisely
why it is incumbent upon us to make a clear distinction between Zionism and
being Jewish.  Yet both Sir Mick Davies
and the Chief Rabbi gave evidence to the Committee that Zionism and Judaism are
one and the same.  It is a testimony to
the Committee that it never saw the contradiction.
Where the Committee’s Report becomes a threat to
freedom of speech and basic civil liberties is in its recommendation (Para. 32)
that:
‘For the purposes of criminal or disciplinary investigations, use of the
words ‘Zionist’ or ‘Zio’ in an accusatory or abusive context should be
considered inflammatory and potentially antisemitic.’
Anti-Zionism
it is proposed should be made, in certain circumstances into a hate crime.  This is the criminalisation of speech.  ‘Zionist’ or its abbreviation is a political
not an ethnic or racial category.  That although
59% of Jews consider themselves Zionists, 31% do not.  There are millions of non-Jews who are also
Zionists, especially fundamentalist Christians. 
Is it anti-Semitic to accuse them of being Zionists?!
The Committee quotes the Institute for Jewish Policy
Research that between 4% and 5% of British adults could be termed ‘clearly anti-Semitic’.  In other words 95-96% are not anti-Semitic.  Would that the same could be said of Islamaphobia.  Aabsurdly the Committee concludes that ‘it is alarming that recent surveys show that
as many as one in 20 adults in the UK could be characterised as “clearly
antisemitic”.
’  One wonders what the Committee
will say when an opinion poll gets around to measuring anti-Muslim racism!
Contrast this with Israel where no less than 48% of Israeli
Jews, a plurality, want to physically expel Arabs from Israel and 79% believe Jews
are entitled to preferential treatment in Israel.  It is clear that British  people are remarkably free of anti-Semitic sentiments.[8]
Politically
tendentious
When it comes to the affair of Oxford University Labour
Club the Committee makes its intentions clear. 
It complains that the Baroness Royall Report wasn’t published by Labour’s
National Executive Committee in full. 
That might be because it contained no evidence of anti-Semitism at the
Labour Club.  When Royall first reported, she wrote
on the web site of the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement that:
 ‘I know that
you will share my disappointment and frustration that the main headline coming
out of my inquiry is that there is no institutional Antisemitism in Oxford
University Labour Club.’ 
What
kind of political clown is disappointed that she couldn’t find any
institutional anti-Semitism?  In fact
Royall found no individual anti-Semitism either.  By her own admission she was ‘honoured but daunted when asked by the NEC
to undertake this inquiry
.’ [9]  It was clearly all too much for her.  What she found was a remarkably thin gruel.  She reported that she was aware of ‘one case of serious false allegations of antisemitism
which was reported to the police.’
   
All she had to say was that ‘I received a number of complaints of
incidents of alleged antisemitic behaviour by individual members of OULC. I
have also received evidence that members of the Club, including past office
holders of  the Club, have not witnessed
antisemitic behaviour by other members. …It is clear to me from the weight of
witnessed allegations received that there have been some incidents of
antisemitic behaviour … However, it is not clear to me to what extent this behaviour
constituted intentional or deliberate acts of antisemitism. This is particularly
true of historic hearsay evidence.’
 
We get no inkling as to what this behaviour consists of.  In the end she sees ‘no value in pursuing disciplinary cases against students who may be
better advised as to their conduct’
which suggests that whatever she was
told was clearly not serious.  It is
little wonder that the Report was not published. 
Even the Parliamentary Report
observes that these allegations arose when the non-Jewish Zionist Chair of
Oxford University Labour Club, Alex Chalmers, a former intern for the Zionist propaganda
organisation BICOM, objected to the Club supporting Oxford University’s Israel Apartheid
Week.  The Committee fails to explain what
this has to do with anti-Semitism.
Malia Bouattia – President of the National Union of Students
In attacking
the President of NUS, Malia Bouattia, a refugee from real oppression in Algeria,
for ‘anti-Semitism’ the Committee descended into the gutter.  It relied on McCarthyite guilt by association
and did not have the integrity or honesty to invite her to give evidence.  Instead it quoted the Union of Jewish Students,
for whom Israel advocacy is an integral part of its constitutional
requirements, that the statement the
University of Birmingham is “something of
a Zionist outpost
” is anti-Semitic. 
Why this is anti-Semitic is never explained.  Presumably the UJS and the Committee, in
conjunction with the BNP and other fascist organisations, agree that to be Zionist
is to be Jewish.  There is no other
logic.   It is no more racist than
describing the University of Sussex as a radical outpost.
On
the basis of the above the Committee concludes that ‘The current President
of the National Union of Students, Malia Bouattia, does not appear to take
sufficiently seriously the issue of antisemitism on campus’
 
The
Jewish students it refers to are representatives or supporters of the pro-Israel
UJS.  Anti-Zionist Jewish students are,
of course, invisible to the Committee as are anti-Zionist Jews generally.
Ill
Intent
In the section entitled ‘Political Discourse and
Leadership’ the Report says:
‘A number of
hard-left organisations, such as Unite Against Fascism, Stop the War Coalition
and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, have clearly taken a pro-Palestinian and
anti-Israeli Government stance. These organisations hold or participate in
marches, some of which have been attended by leading politicians such as Mr
Corbyn.’
  This is called killing two birds with one
stone!  How anyone can describe Palestine
Solidarity Campaign as ‘hard left’ is beyond comprehension.  The attendance of Jeremy Corbyn though is
clearly an added bonus for the Chuku Ummunas of this world. 
The
Committee also regurgitates the false allegations of Board of Deputies President
Jonathan Arkush that on some demonstrations ‘there
were “huge marches” in London at which people held placards that read “Hitler
was right.”

(para 99).  This is an outright lie.  Not an iota of proof has been provided to
substantiate this assertion.  For a
report heavy on pictoral descriptions one might expect a photograph to back
this up.  It is an evidence free
assertion that typifies the whole report.
The Report is critical, in a nit
picky way, of the Chakrabarti Report quoting the Board’s observation that it
does not deal with ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘anti-Zionism’ on the left.  Maybe that’s because there is none!  The Report does however mention (paras.
103/104) the false allegations of anti-Semitism at the Chakrabarti Press
Conference by Ruth Smeeth MP, who Wikileaks outed as a protected agent for the
US Embassy.[10]  What was the anti-Semitic statement that
caused this fake victim to walk out?  ‘“Ruth Smeeth is working hand-in-hand with the right-wing media to attack
Jeremy”.   
I defy anyone to show how
this is anti-Semitic since Marc Wadsworth, the Black activist who said it, didn’t
even know she was Jewish.
The
Committee concludes that the Chakrabarti Report ‘is ultimately compromised by its failure to deliver a comprehensive set
of recommendations or to provide a definition of antisemitism.  Given that the definition of anti-Semitism has
eluded far wiser people than Chakrabarti, perhaps because the very concept of anti-Semitism
is now so politically loaded, the failure to provide an all-encompassing
definition is neither here nor there. 
The Committee after all also failed to provide one.  The best it could do was to say that it ‘broadly
accept(s) the IHRA definition’ with 2 caveats regarding criticism of the Israeli
government.
Chakrabarti’s
problem was that there is next to no anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.  There is certainly criticism of Zionism and
the Israeli state, but despite much muddying of the waters, most people still
refuse to accept that criticism of the West’s armed watchdog in the Middle East
is anti-Semitic.
What
the Committee does do is to try and discredit Shami Chakrabarti through hint
and innuendo.  Her acceptance of a
peerage somehow discredits her Report. 
This is an institution where the giving of money to a party in exchange
for a peerage doesn’t even raise an eyebrow.  
  
 It is a
measure of the political desperation of the Report that it picks up on the
Jackie Walker debate on which I have previously reported.[11]  It did this without asking her to give evidence.  Its comments are inaccurate and frankly
malicious.  It states that:
Jackie
Walker, who was temporarily suspended from Labour earlier in the year for
stating that Jewish people were the “chief financiers” of the slave trade,
reportedly criticised Holocaust Memorial Day and said that she had not heard a
definition of antisemitism that she could “work with”.
’ 
Since Jackie did not say that ‘Jewish People’ were the chief financiers
of the slave trade this is nothing short of malicious.  Secondly, how is saying that one hasn’t heard
a definition of anti-Semitism that one can work with, anti-Semitic? 
It
is therefore not surprising that, after much malicious and tendentious
commentary, under the title ‘Other Political Activity’ the Committee concludes
that ‘there exists no reliable, empirical
evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of antisemitic
attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party.’
  This throws into stark relief the Report’s
vacuity.  It demonstrates that this is above
all a Report of the Labour and Tory Right.
The
Report depends almost exclusively  on
evidence from  pro-Israel, anti-Corbyn sources.  This alone demonstrates that this Report is a
one-sided propaganda exercise.
But the
most remarkable omission of all is the fact that the one Jewish community which
is visible in its distinctive appearance and which does suffer anti-Semitic attacks,
the ultra-Orthodox haredi community of Stamford Hill, London isn’t even
mentioned!  As the President of the
Stamford Hill Shomrim (Guards) Rabbi Herschel Gluck states: 
‘While this report focuses
primarily on the difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism…. it’s
important to note that the parliamentary committee did not request any evidence
from the most visible section of the Jewish community,  the Charedi Community, where the majority of
the attacks are in person rather than online… and are usually clearly and
unequivocally anti-Semitic.  I repeat my
call to the Home Office to understand the real life anti-Semitism that members
of the Charedi Jewish Community experience…’
It is not
surprising that the only Jewish community to experience anti-Semitism was
ignored, because this Report was not about anti-Semitism but about redefining anti-Zionism
as anti-Semitism.  Truly this Report is
risible. 
Tony
Greenstein

[4]           Professor Tim Bale, Dr Monica Poletti
and Professor Paul Webb, Submission to the Chakrabarti Inquiry on behalf of the
ESRC Party Members Project, 3 June 2016.
[5]           Twice,
in 2013 in Uzzi Ornan v the State of
Israel
and again in 1972 in Tamarin
v State of Israel the Israeli Supreme
Court ruled that there was no such thing as an Israeli nationality.  In Tamarin
Justice Agranat ruled that ‘the
desire to create an Israeli nation separate from the Jewish nation is not a
legitimate aspiration.’ 
It would ‘negate the foundation on which the State of
Israel was established.’
[9]           Baroness Jan Royall, Allegations of anti-Semitism, Oxford University Labour Club
[10]             In a cable
the US Embassy placed ‘strictly protect’ after Smeeth’s name.  

 

 

 

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