Tony Greenstein | 25 October 2016 | Post Views:

Howard Jacobson’s blindness to Zionist racism in the cause of fake anti-Semitism

Howard Jacobson – blind to the Palestinians

Zionist lobby group boasts of its success in neutering Guardian coverage of Zionism & Palestine
There was a time when the Guardian had the best Middle East correspondent of any paper, David Hirst, who wrote an excellent book, The Gun and the Olive Branch.  Now they have Jonathan Freedland, a thriller writer, who cannot see beyond his Jewish identity to understand that Zionism is a murderous,  racist settler colonial movement.
The Guardian carries Jacobson’s junk article which speaks about support for Israel and omits to mention the Palestinians
Where once the Guardian and its Comment is Free column was an arena of lively debate, today anti-Zionists are effectively barred.   A decade ago I contribute a number of articles such as an article on the Royal Family’s reception for the Jewish National Fund [Israel’s Royal Welcome]  Such is the state of affairs at the Guardian, that the Zionists openly boast about how they have cleansed CIF of anything remotely opposed to Zionism and the Israeli state.
French fascist leader Marine Le Pen, combines anti-Semitism with a devotion to Israel
UK Media Watch, formerly CIF Watch, which is devoted to suppressing favourable coverage of the Palestinians or unfavourable coverage of Israel and Zionism in the media, boasts of its success with the Guardian.
‘partly due to our efforts, the Guardian’s malign obsession with Israel had somewhat abated, and their legitimization of antisemitic tropes (above and below the line) had at least diminished.
The latter improvement in editorial decisions… occurred both as the result of our relentless naming and shaming of Guardian contributors who expressed such Judeophobic views, and at least two important decisions by the paper’s readers’ editor which had the effect of institutionally delegitimizing these narratives.  The readers’ editor we’re referring to is Chris Elliott .”
Geert Wilders – leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, virulently anti-Islamic and sees Israel as a bastion of the West
The one newspaper which could be relied on for objective coverage of Palestine and Zionism has now gone over to the dark side.  It is time that socialists and supporters of the Palestinians boycotted the Guardian.  In many ways its coverage is worse than paper such as The Daily Mail precisely because people expect The Guardian to be more balanced and fairer.
In its latest propaganda article, The
Guardian has commissioned an article, Let’s
be clear – antisemitism is a hate apart
from Howard Jacobson.  In his attempt to show that anti-Zionism is
really a modern form of an ancient plaint, anti-Semitism, Jacobson’s literary
talents seem to desert him.  His
arguments are wooden and stilted as his hackneyed phrases betray a poverty of
Heinz Christian Strache – leads the Austrian Freedom Party, which was formed to rehabilitate Austrian Nazis – a welcome guest of Likud to Israel recently
How can
one write about Israel without once mentioning the Palestinians?  Israel is a state that receives the largest
amount of aid of any country, despite its small population, from the United
States.  It is a state armed to the
teeth, with nuclear weaponry, whose military has ruled over 4.5 million people
for 50 years.  Palestinians live in the
same territory as 600,000 settlers yet unlike them they are subject to a
different legal system of Military Law. 
By any definition this is Apartheid. 
At the hundreds of checkpoints that cover the West Bank there are
separate entrances for Jewish settlers and Palestinians,  yet Jacobson has convinced himself that our
reasons for opposing Israeli Apartheid is because of anti-Semitism!
may be a distinguished novelist but there is nothing original in what he writes
about anti-Semitism and Zionism.  Jacobson
offers us no special insights that cannot be gained from Israeli hasbara
(propaganda).  For Jacobson criticism of
the Israeli state can be explained by the fact that ‘in the matter of the existence of the State of Israel… all the
ancient superstitions about Jews find a point of confluence.
’  Apparently criticism of Israel and Zionism has
nothing to do with land discrimination and theft, the underfunding of the Arab education
sector, the Judaisation of areas of Israel where there are not enough Jews, extra-judicial
executions, torture of children or house demolitions.  It’s all because we are anti-Semitic!
though is but the latest Guardian sock puppet. 
In the past year it has run a series of articles about ‘anti-Semitism’
with the aim of portraying Labour under Jeremy Corbyn as a party in the grip of
a tsunami of anti-Semitism.  Articles it
has printed include The
Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti‑Semitism
and Why
I’m becoming a Jew and why you should, too
which is a rewrite of an earlier article in the Jewish Chronicle  Hatred is
turning me into a Jew
by Nick Cohen, Why
Jews in Labour place little trust in Jeremy Corbyn
by Joshua Simons,  Labour
and the left have an antisemitism problem
and My
plea to the left: treat Jews the same way you’d treat any other minority
Jonathan Freedland Antisemitism
is a poison – the left must take leadership against it
by Owen Jones, which
he rewrites annually.  The Guardian has
refused to print articles rejecting the idea in the above articles that anti-Zionism
is a modern form of anti-Semitism.
Jacobson made his name as a comic novelist. 
It is a genre that he should have stuck to because there is little that
is amusing or revealing in his discursions into anti-Semitism.  Jacobson pronounces that the Chakrabarti
Report into racism and anti-Semitism in the Labour Party was ‘a soft inquiry’ and ‘was stillborn’.  Instead of
explaining what it is he disagreed with in the Report he insinuates that the
elevation of Shami Chakrabarti to the House of Lords was the payment of a bribe
.  The Chakrabarti Report was a serious
attempt to investigate the spurious anti-Semitism allegations of the Labour
Right, the Tory press, and the Zionist movement.  Chakrabarti found that the Labour Party was
not overrun by anti-Semitism. 
Indeed it
is one of the curious aspects of the anti-Semitism allegations that no hard
evidence has ever been produced.  The one
serious attempt to investigate these allegations by Asa Winstanley How
Israel lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisis
that the evidence for the allegations was spurious, fabricated and in the
specific case of Oxford University Labour Club, set in motion by a former
intern, Alex Chalmers, for BICOM, Britain’s
main Israeli propaganda organisation.
Jacobson’s theme is anything but novel.  It
is that anti-Semitism is ‘unlike other racisms’.  It ‘exists
outside time and place and doesn’t even require the presence of Jews.’ 
In response to the Russian pogroms of 1881,
Leo Pinsker, the founder of the Lovers of Zion, likewise wrote that ‘Judaephobia is then a mental
disease, and as a mental disease it is hereditary, and having been inherited
for 2,000 years, it is incurable
. [Pinsker, Autoemancipation,  Berlin 1882 p.5.]
logical conclusion is that if anti-Semitism cannot be explained then it cannot
be fought.  It doesn’t even require
Jews.  It exists in the realm of the
metaphysical like all those other racial myths. 
After all ‘when Marlowe and Shakespeare
responded to an appetite for anti-Jewish feeling in Elizabethan England
there had been no Jews in the country for 300 years.’
  Jacobson is wrong, there were Jews
in England but the memory of the Jews and the roles they performed in society had
not disappeared.  It is all too easy to
characterise Marlowe and Shakespeare’s productions as anti-Semitic when they
simply reflected not only popular perceptions but the actual role that Jews
played in medieval society.
As Abram Leon, the Trotskyist leader who died in
Auschwitz observed:
‘Zionism transposes modern
anti-Semitism to all of history and saves itself the trouble of studying the
various forms of anti-Semitism and their evolution.’..[Abram Leon,
The Jewish Question – A Marxist Interpretation, p. 245. Pathfinder, New York,
Anti-Semitism was seen by Zionism as a permanent feature of Jewish relations
with non-Jews, an immutable fact beyond history and time itself.  In June 1895, barely six months after the
framing of the French Jewish Captain Alfred Dreyfuss for treason, Theodor
Herzl, the founder of Political Zionism wrote in his Diaries (p.6) that ‘In
Paris …I achieved a freer attitude towards anti-Semitism, which I now began
to understand historically and to pardon. Above all I recognise the emptiness
and futility of trying to ‘combat’ anti-Semitism
.   Since anti-Semitism
was a natural phenomenon, it could not be fought.  You might as well fight the tides.
Jacobson’s claim that anti-Semitism is a unique form of racism is a
truism.  All forms of racism have unique
characteristics but anti-Semitism is not a unique form of racism.  There has always been racism against groups
who were seen as better off and prosperous, be it the Huguenots, the Biafrans,
the East African Asians or Koreans
in the United States.  The Chinese of South-East
Asia were known as the ‘Jews of the
.  Racism against the Roma is
just as persistent and deadly as anti-Semitism if not more so. 
Jacobson tells us apropos of
anti-Zionism that ‘The presence of a Jew
in any movement no more guarantees it to be innocent of antisemitism than
’  The same can be said, with
somewhat more justification of Zionism.  Anti-Zionism
was a product of Jews not non-Jews.  It
is noticeable that far-Right and fascist groups are some of the most ardent
supporters of Zionism.  As Ruth
Smeed, a spokeswoman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews admitted
‘‘The BNP website is now one of the most
Zionist on the web – it goes further than any of the mainstream parties in its
support of Israel.
  Members of the English
Defence League
combine the Hitler salute with flying the Israeli flag at
its demonstrations.[2] 
European parties such as Geert Wilder’s Dutch Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian
Strache’s Austrian Freedom Party and Marine Le Pen’s Front Nationale all
combine virulent Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism with support for Zionism,
without a murmur of concern from Jacobson and the witch finder generals of Zionism.   Was it not Pastor John Hagee, President of
Christians United for Israel who informed us that Hitler
was a hunter sent by God to drive the Jews to Israel?  Although John McCain was forced to disavow
Hagee when he ran against Barak Obama in the 2008 Presidential election this
did not stop Abe Foxman, of the Anti-Defamation League praising
Hagee. ‘We are grateful’ Foxman said, ‘that
you have devoted your life to combating anti-Semitism and supporting the State
of Israel,”
Nor was Foxman alone.  One of the leaders of the ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign
is the neo-con editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard.  Pollard sees no contradiction between
attacking Corbyn for ‘anti-Semitism’ and defending Michal Kaminski, former MEP
for Poland’s far-Right Law and Justice Party. 
Kaminski opposed, in 2001, a national Polish apology for the burning
alive of up to 900 Jews by fellow Poles in the village of Jedwabne in 1941.  Kaminski suggested it was the Jews who owed
the Poles an apology.  Pollard however insisted
that Kaminski was one of the greatest
friends to the Jews
becauseFar from being an
antisemite, Mr Kaminski is about as pro-Israel an MEP as exists
from anti-Zionism being a disguise for anti-Semitism it is Zionism which has
most in common with anti-Semites. From Edouard Drumont, the leader of the
anti-Dreyfussards to Alfred Rosenburg to the BNP’s Nick Griffin, anti-Semites
saw no contradiction in supporting Zionism.
and the Guardian have great difficulty in accepting that criticism of the State
of Israel is not on account of some ancient hatred of Jews but because it is a
state that has racism woven into its DNA. 
A ‘Jewish’ state in the context of settler colonialism means a Jewish supremacist
state.  Whereas Britain being a Christian
state is a constitutional adornment, in Israel Jews have real privileges over
non-Jews.  Israel is a state where the
‘demographic question’ is the engine of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians.
[see When will Israel stop seeing Palestinians as a
‘demographic threat?
is not above deploying his literary skills in order to misrepresent his
adversaries.  He says that according to
anti-Zionists ‘Jews have only one motive
in labelling anti-Zionism antisemitic and that is to stifle legitimate
criticism of Israel. This assertion defames Jews’
.  Well it would if it were true but it ignores
that foremost amongst these defamers are Jews themselves!  It is the Zionist movement, Jewish and
non-Jewish, who use ‘anti-Semitism’ as a weapon to deflect criticism of
Israel.  Just as anti-Semites use the
term ‘Zionist’ and ‘Jew’ interchangeably so too do Zionists.
says that ‘Zionism originated as a
liberation movement’
.  Perhaps he could
enlighten us as to when Zionists first described themselves so?  When Herzl founded the Zionist movement he
wrote to Cecil Rhodes, the British imperialist after whom Rhodesia was named
asking ‘‘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 of Theodor Herzl, p.1,194].  In ‘Rebirth and Destiny’ [New York 1954] David
Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, refers throughout to colonization
and colonies.  This was because, in the
first half of the last century, colonialism was seen as a good thing.  Today’s zeitgeist
demands that colonialism is transformed into national liberation. 
Jacobson says we need to talk of Zion. 
I disagree.  We need to talk about
Zionism and what it has done to the Palestinians.  The Holocaust is no excuse for the
dispossession of the Palestinians.
Tony Greenstein

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