20 Questions to Keir Starmer – Can You Explain Why We Should Not Call You a Racist?

20 Questions to Keir Starmer – Can You Explain Why We Should Not Call You a Racist?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

When Starmer said ‘I support Zionism without qualification” what he meant was that he supports Jewish Racial Supremacy in Israel

On April 4th Keir Starmer told the Times of Israel

‘I said it loud and clear — and meant it — that I support Zionism without qualification.”

We should take Starmer at his word. Zionism is universally understood as the ideology of a settler colonial movement whose aim was to remove the Palestinians, first from the economy and then from Palestine altogether. That was the only way a Jewish majority state could be formed. Ethnic cleansing was integral to Zionism from its very beginning. It was summed up in the Christian Zionist slogan that Palestine was ‘a land without a people for a people without a land.’

Today Zionism describes itself as a ‘national liberation movement’ although it never says what it liberated Jews from. However when it began it described itself as a colonising movement. On 11th January 1902 Theodor Herzl, the founder of Political Zionism, wrote in his Diaries describing a letter he had sent to Cecil Rhodes, the White Supremacist founder of Rhodesia:

‘How, then, do I happen to turn to you since this is an out-of-the-way matter for you?  How indeed?  Because it is something colonial.’  (Diaries p. 1194)

In the eyes of Christian Restorationists like the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury (who opposed Jewish Emancipation in Britain) and the Zionist movement, the Palestinians were simply invisible. It is a tradition that Keir Starmer is intent on continuing. Since his election as leader of the Labour Party, Starmer hasn’t once mentioned or even acknowledged the existence of the Palestinians.

When Benjamin Netanyahu threatened at the beginning of July to annex 30% of the West Bank even Boris Johnson condemned the proposals.  Starmer remained silent.

In view of Starmer’s declaration that he is a Zionist ‘without qualification’ I felt it right to try and explore with him exactly what he meant. I have therefore drawn up the following questions and look forward to an interesting conversation!

20 Questions to Sir Keir Starmer

1.           Why when you announced on accepting the leadership that you would ‘tear the poison of anti-Semitism out of Labour by its roots’ did you not mention the poison of any other form of racism? Or do you believe that only anti-Semitism matters?

It would seem that racism is particularly entrenched amongst the very same people who were so vociferous about ‘anti-Semitism’ when Jeremy Corbyn was leader.

 For example (Lord) John Mann, the ‘anti-Semitism Czar’, produced a pamphlet The Bassetlaw anti-social behaviour handbook which listed Travellers as an example of anti-social behaviour. Characterising Gypsies and Travellers as asocial was precisely what the Nazis did.  Up to half a million Gypsies died in the Holocaust. Why has John Mann not been suspended or expelled from the Labour Party? Or are we to assume that racism against Gypsies and Travellers is of no importance?

Another example is Tom Watson who as Campaign Manager in the Hodge Hill by-election in 2004 put out a leaflet demonising asylum seekers:

The Lib Dems want to keep giving welfare benefits to failed asylum seekers. They voted for this in parliament on 1 March 2004. They want your money, and mine, to go to failed asylum seekers.

Targeting refugees, the most vulnerable and oppressed, is a classic example of ‘divide and rule’. Scapegoating minority groups is precisely what occurred in Nazi Germany. This is the same Tom Watson who was committed to removing every last anti-Semite in the Labour Party.   Unfortunately Watson made no commitment about removing every last racist in the party as he would have had to remove himself.

In 2010 the High Court removed racist Labour MP Phil Woolas from Parliament. Woolas had run a racist campaign demonising Muslims in his Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency. In the words of one email from his election agent, his strategy was to “galvanise the white Sun vote andmake the white folk angry”.

In Labour Uncut Watson wrote that

I’ve lost sleep thinking about poor old Phil Woolas and his leaflets…. it feels like a piano has been dropped on my head.

Unfortunately a piano wasn’t dropped onto Watson’s head since it might have knocked some sense into him. Do you therefore pledge to remove all racists from the Labour Party?

2.           Israel’s Law of Return, which is integral to Zionism, allows me to settle, as of right, in Israel and claim citizenship even though I was born in Britain, because of the spurious racial myth that Jews are ‘returning’ to Israel. Perhaps you could explain why Palestinians who were born in Palestine have no such right? Do you not agree that this is racist?

3.           In 2018 Israel’s Knesset passed the Jewish Nation State Law, a Basic Law which has constitutional status. According to this law only Jews have the right of self-determination in Israel. The Law formalised the existing situation of Israel as a Jewish state.  The result of this is that Israel is now officially a state, not of all its citizens but its Jewish citizens only.

The law also removed the status of Arabic as an official language in Israel and made ‘Jewish settlement’ a national objective. In the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu

Israel is not a state of all its citizens. According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people – and only it.

Perhaps Sir Keir, given your forensic skills you could explain why Israel is not a racist state?

4.           At the risk of being accused of ‘anti-Semitism’ under the IHRA misdefinition of anti-Semitism, do you not agree that the Jewish Nation State Law bears an uncanny resemblance to the Nazis’ 1935 Nuremberg Laws which stripped Germany’s Jews of citizenship? In Israel Arab citizenship is worth less in terms of access to land, education, employment, the right to marry who you want and many other rights. Arabs are in Israel are there on sufferance, which is why, as part of the ‘peace negotiations’ Israel was eager to swap areas of Israel with large concentrations of Arabs such as The Triangle in exchange for the settlement areas of the West Bank.

5.    In Pew Research Centre’s survey Israel’s Religiously Divided Society in 2016 a plurality of Israeli Jews, 48 %, supported the physical expulsion of Israeli Arabs as opposed to 46% who were opposed. In other words, stripping out the don’t knows, a majority of Israeli Jews support making Israel a purely Jewish ethnic state.

79% of Israeli Jews say that Jews should be given preferential treatment in comparison with Arabs. Whatever else you can be accused of Keir Starmer, it is not stupidity. So perhaps you can explain whether or not you see a connection between the above two figures and the existence of Israel as a Jewish state as opposed to a state of all its citizens with equal rights for all. Do you see such deep and ingrained racism as being inevitable in a religious state that accords its citizens rights depending on which ethno-religious group they belong to? Since a belief in a Jewish state is an inherent part of being a Zionist perhaps you could tell us whether you still describe yourself as Zionist ‘without qualification’?

If you do still consider yourself a Zionist is it not reasonable that we should describe you as a racist ‘without qualification’?  If you disagree perhaps you can explain how a Jewish state, which grants rights to Jews which it withholds from non-Jews, can be anything other than racist?

6.           As a graduate of St. Edmond Hall College, Oxford you should be aware that the French Revolution of 1789 ushered in Jewish Emancipation. France was the first country to do so. Jewish Emancipation was something which Britain only achieved in 1858 when Lionel Rothschild took his seat.

In the debate in the French Constituent Assembly Count Stanislas de Clermont-Tonnerre declared that

We must refuse everything to the Jews as a nation and accord everything to the Jew as an individual.”

Separation between Church and State was a precondition for Jewish equality with non-Jews. How can you support a State explicitly based on the religion of one section of the population?

7.           Are you aware that in Israel there is no such thing as Israeli nationality? There is a Jewish nationality and there are Arab, Druze and up to 140 other ‘nationalities’ but there is no Israeli nationality. In the words of Justice Melcer in the Supreme Court case of Uzi Ornan v State of Israel

it is important to emphasize that the “constitutional Jewishness” of the state negates the legal possibility of recognizing an “Israeli nationality… all the appellants’ arguments concerning the existence of Israeli nationality in fact relate to Israeli citizenship… citizenship is one thing, and nationality is another.

This is the source of the constitutional discrimination in Israel against non-Jews. One’s rights and duties depend on whether or not one is a Jewish national. Please can you explain why this is not racist?

In Israel 93% of the land is reserved for the sole use of its Jewish citizens. It is administered jointly by the Jewish National Fund and the Israeli Lands Administration. Just 2% of Israel’s land is occupied by its Arab minority, which is 20% of the population. The JNF, which administers the allocation of Israeli land was founded in 1901 and is the oldest Zionist organisation.

In 2000 on the application of Kadan, the High Court ruled that the state could not discriminate on the basis of religion or nationality when allocating state land to citizens. In 2011 the Knesset passed the Reception Committee Law which effectively overturned this ruling, thus allowing Admission Committees in Jewish-only communities such as Mitzpe Aviv to reject applications from Israeli Arabs. As a result hundreds of communities in the Negev and Galilee are Jewish only.

By way of comparison, although Britain is a Christian state this does not affect the rights of its Jewish citizens. What would you say if a Christian National Fund owned 93% of British land and Jewish citizens were barred from accessing that land?  Would you describe that as anti-Semitic? If not why not?

The Redemption of the Land of Israel is one of the fundamental tenets of Zionism. It means that land, once bought, will never again pass into the hands of non-Jews. In the light of the fact that racism in land allocation is fundamental to Zionism would you still describe yourself as an ‘unqualified Zionist’?

8.           The JNF , which was established by the 1953 JNF Law as a subcontractor for the Israeli state, responded to a Petition seeking to enforce the ruling in Kadan thus:

The JNF is not the trustee of the general public in Israel. Its loyalty is given to the Jewish people in the Diaspora and in the state of Israel… The JNF, in relation to being an owner of land, is not a public body that works for the benefit of all citizens of the state. The loyalty of the JNF is given to the Jewish people and only to them is the JNF obligated. The JNF, as the owner of the JNF land, does not have a duty to practice equality towards all citizens of the state.

On their web site the JNF further clarified that

A survey commissioned by KKL-JNF reveals that over 70% of the Jewish population in Israel opposes allocating KKL-JNF land to non-Jews, while over 80% prefer the definition of Israel as a Jewish state, rather than as the state of all its citizens.

The racism of the JNF couldn’t be clearer yet it is the approved land agent for the Israeli state? Do you still consider yourself a Zionist Keir Starmer and if so how is that compatible with your claim to oppose racism?

Despite its declaration that it doesn’t treat Israel’s citizens equally, the JNF has 10 out of 22 seats on the Council of the Israeli Land Authority. Would you consider a similar arrangement in Britain, whereby an organisation committed to excluding Jews from the majority was put in charge of allocating state land, as racist?

9.           Nearly 50% of Arab-Israelis fall below the poverty line, compared to 13% of Jews. That is because of the systematic discrimination that Israeli Arabs experience in every field of society such as housing, education and employment. Do you see any connection between these figures and Israel being a Jewish state, i.e. Zionism, or it all coincidental?

10.      In Israel all education bar higher education is segregated into a Jewish and Arab education system. There are a handful of  private mixed Arab-Jewish schools in Israel. In the words of a Ha’aretz article, Schools for Jews and Arabs: Separate but Definitely Not Equal.

report from the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) states that public investment per Jewish student is NIS 1,778 per student, three times higher than investment per Arab student, NIS 534. Do you agree that just as in South Africa under Apartheid this is not accidental but a consequence  of Zionism and a Jewish state?

11.      Employment is another major area of discrimination in Israel. Job opportunities for educated Palestinian Arabs in Israel are limited due to the fact that certain labour markets, such as the military-industrial complex and most government and civil service jobs, are closed to them. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was the Labour Zionist Histadrut which refused to locate factories or invest in Arab areas. Coupled with discrimination in education this results in disproportionate poverty.  Do you agree that job segregation, which is fundamental to Zionism, is the sign of an apartheid economy and therefore racist?

12.      In Israel four of the major hospitals segregate Arab and Jewish women in separate maternity wards. Prof. Alon Klement, the supervisor of Tel Aviv University’s Class Action Clinic stated that

‘the subject of segregation in maternity wards has been in the headlines for a long time; it was in the Knesset, it was in the press, it’s not something new,”

Perhaps Sir Keir you can enlighten us whether you consider racial segregation of patients in hospital, which is another example of Zionism in action, is something you consider racist?  If not would you advocate separating White and Black women in British maternity wards?

13.      Afula is a city of about 30,00 people in the north of Israel.  As such it is unable to take ‘advantage’ of the Reception Committee Law and exclude Arabs. It therefore has to rely on Jewish social solidarity among its inhabitants. Unfortunately last summer one of its residents decided to sell their house to an Arab which prompted a demonstration by hundreds of its citizens including the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and members of its Council.

Council member Itai Cohen told the Army Radio the municipality would continue to “ensure that Afula preserves its Jewish character.” and that “Anyone looking for a mixed city — Afula is not the address,” This is, after all, what  a Jewish state and Zionism means.  There were also similar demonstrations in 2016 and 2018. Deputy Mayor Shlomo Malihi told Ha’aretz that

“The residents of Afula don’t want a mixed city, but rather a Jewish city, and it’s their right. This is not racism.” 

This is how Zionism and a Jewish State is interpreted in practice? Do you still call yourself an ‘unqualified Zionist’?

14.      In another Jewish city in the Galilee, Safed, the Chief Rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu, a paid employee of the state i.e. a civil servant, together with 17 other rabbis, issued an edict forbidding its inhabitants from renting or leasing apartments to Arabs. When the edict ran into the inevitable criticism dozens of Israel’s municipal chief rabbis signed a religious ruling forbidding the rental of homes to non-Jews. Like the demonstration in Afula, this is part and parcel of what it means to live in a Jewish state.

It has been the norm, ever since the beginning of Zionist colonisation, that Arabs and Jews should live apart. The Kibbutzim, which used to seen as socialist, were 100% all-Jewish communities.  This is what Zionism means in practice. Do you still call yourself an ‘unqualified Zionist’ Sir Keir?

15.      Israel has been hard hit by Coronavirus. It has been reluctant to test its Arab citizens. The Israeli State has been doing its best to protect its citizens, or at least its Jewish citizens.  At the start of the pandemic it ‘forgot’ to have any testing centres in Arab areas.


Shmuel Eliyahu – Racist Chief Rabbi of Safed

On the West Bank the State does not even recognise that it has any responsibility to protect the inhabitants of the territories despite its responsibilities as the occupying power under international law. So when residents of Hebron erected a building to be used as a Coronavirus testing centre the Civil/Military Administration had no hesitation in  demolishing it.

The Military Administration’s reasons were that the building was erected illegally for personal purposes. Which is true except that Arabs rarely, unlike Jewish settlers, receive building permits. The structure stood on land belonging to Hebron resident Hazem Maswada who had donated the land to the city so that it could build a coronavirus testing center. The Hebron district has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the West Bank.

Do you have any views Sir Keir on a state which, instead of protecting the minorities who live in it, actively goes out of its way to ensure that they are not protected during the pandemic?  Is this not another example of why Zionism is racist or is it merely a question of obeying the law?

16.      In 2013 Eli Dahan told a radio interviewer about his opinions of Palestinians: ‘To me, they are like animals, they aren’t human.’ There was nothing exceptional about such opinions in Israel but in 2015 Dahan became Deputy Defence Minister responsible for the Military Administration of the West Bank, In most western democracies such a man would have been considered unfit to be a rat catcher let alone a government minister.  Do you not agree?

Such racism is endemic in the ‘Jewish’ State. When Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu announced his intention to “surround all of Israel with a fence” (thus recreating the Jewish ghetto) he described the surrounding Arabs as “wild beasts”.

It would be unfair however just to focus on Likud when the Israeli Labor Party is also as racist. Its former leader Isaac Herzog is now Chairman of the Jewish Agency, a Zionist organisation which seeks to keep Israel as demographically Jewish as possible.

When Herzog was leader he told Labor activists that

“A false impression exists that we take the needs of Palestinians into account before the needs of the State of Israel.” 

Herzog reassured his audience that

God forbid, and without giving the impression – from what I have heard after meeting with the Israel public – that we always like Arabs.”

Herzog later wrote on Twitter that

“I heard there are those who are unsatisfied with my Zionist approach.“If they want the head of the Zionist Union to prefer the interests of the Palestinians, I have a message for them. Pick a different path.”

The Jewish Labour Movement, which describes itself as the ‘sister party’ of the racist Israeli Labor Party, has been in the vanguard of the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign in the Labour Party. It is obvious, is it not Sir Keir, what their real motivation was for accusing anti-Zionists as racists.

Do you still consider yourself a Zionist Sir Keir and if so don’t you feel it is slightly hypocritical ‘taking the knee’ in support of Black Lives Matter, sorry I meant Black Lives Moment since anti-racism seems to be just a momentary experience for you.

The previous year, Herzog explained why he wanted a Palestinian Bantustan.

‘I want to separate from the Palestinians. I want to maintain a Jewish state with a Jewish majority. I don’t want 61 Palestinian MKs in Israel’s Knesset. I don’t want a Palestinian prime minister in Israel. I don’t want them to change my flag and my national anthem.’

Imagine a British politician saying that they don’t want a Black or Muslim Prime Minister. The Israeli Labor Party is supposed to represent the left-wing of Zionism. Do you still support Zionism without qualification?

17.      In recent years Netanyahu has done his best to deport Israel’s 40,000 Black African refugees. In this he has been supported by the almost dead Israeli Labor Party. Ha’aretz stated in its editorial

‘Under the leadership of new Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay, the MKs of the Zionist Union gave their support Monday to a disgraceful government bill for the deportation and imprisonment of asylum-seekers. If the draft law is passed, the Holot detention center would be shuttered and asylum-seekers given a choice: deportation to Rwanda or indefinite incarceration in Israel.’

Netanyahu’s reasons for trying to deport the refugees had nothing to do with whether they had a genuine fear of persecution. Most of them fled from either Eritrea or Sudan. The reason Netanyahu gave for trying to expel them was that they

‘were threatening the security and identity of the Jewish state. If we don’t stop their entry, the problem that currently stands at 60,000 could grow to 600,000, and that threatens our existence as a Jewish and democratic state,”

Netanyahu made it clear that his real objection to the refugees was that they were non-Jewish. In a Jewish state you can’t have too many non-Jews. This is what Zionism is about. Do you still call yourself a Zionist without qualification’ Sir Keir?

18.      Around half of Israel’s Bedouin population, 150,000 people, live in ‘unrecognised’ villages. They are unrecognised because the land on which they are living and which they have lived on for centuries, is considered Jewish national land.

They are facing a catastrophe during the Coronavirus pandemic due to the Israeli government’s decades-long refusal to grant them legal status. These villages are denied basic utilities such as running water, a sewage system, or garbage collection. They face constant battles to resist home demolitions. Israel is still a settler colonial state at war with its indigenous population.

Attiah al-Aasem, chair of the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages in the Naqab, warned that “the coronavirus will worsen the day-to-day problems in the villages.”

This Sir Keir is your ‘unqualified Zionism.’ Israel has a policy of ‘Judaising’ the Naqab which is why it is only Jewish settlements (which are always ‘recognised’) automatically receive municipal services. Are you still such an enthusiastic Zionist?

19.      You will probably recall the murder of George Floyd back in June. It triggered off the biggest series of demonstrations in America’s history. Demonstrations which are still continuing, in its history.

Just 5 days after George Floyd’s murder an autistic Palestinian man, Iyad Hallak, was gunned down by Israel’s Border Police in Jerusalem. He was on his way to his day care centre. The Police stated that they ‘mistook’ the mobile phone he was holding for a gun. A mistake that they never seem to make with Jews.

His carer screamed ‘He’s Disabled. ‘I’m With Her,’ Eyad Cried but the Israeli Pig Opened Fire Anyway. According tothe testimony of his carer, who was by his side he was executed.

Despite pleading for his life and trying to explain to the police officers, in Hebrew and in Arabic, that he suffered from a disability, they shot him three times from close range with a rifle, directly into the center of his body, as he lay on his back, wounded and terrified, on the floor of a garbage room.

What happened next?  Were the Police arrested and charged as in Mineapolis? Not a chance.

In Israel Police are never arrested or charged for killing Palestinians. It is unheard of for a policeman to do gaol time for killing Arabs whom they consider sub-humans. One policeman was confined to house arrest, for a day, and that was it.  Noone has been charged with murder. Sure there is a Police investigation but in Israel such investigations never result in prosecution.

Despite taking place in the centre of East Jerusalem where there is a surplus of CCTV and cameras, it would appear that none of them were working that day!  It seems that in Israel not only the people but the cameras too are racists!

At least George Floyd’s murderer, Derek Chauvin was charged with 2nd degree murder. You see Sir Keir, the murder of natives in a colonial context was rarely prosecuted under the British Empire so why should Israel be any different? You probably think that to ‘single out’ Israel when Britain did the same in its colonies is ‘anti-Semitic’.

As you can see Sir Keir, Zionism is a living, breathing form of racism. So I will ask you again Sir Keir.  Do you still consider yourself an ‘unqualified Zionist’? 

20.      Zionism is a form of Jewish supremacism. The only question it asks is ‘is this good for Jews?’ That is why Israel armed and supported Apartheid South Africa. It is why Israel arms and equips Burma today in its genocide against the Rohinga. It is why Israel had close military relationships with Pinochet’s Chile and the Argentinian Junta that murdered 3,000 Jews for being Jews. It is why there is barely a single military or fascist dictatorship that Israel has not befriended. This is Zionism.  Do you still consider yourself to be a Zionist ‘without qualification’?

If so then we shall have to consider you to be a racist who is unfit to be the rat catcher at Labour’s HQ, let alone its leader.

Tony Greenstein

 

 

 

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