Tony Greenstein | 13 August 2014 | Post Views:

Owen Jones – Concerned About ‘anti-Semitism’ and using the Holocaust to Excuse Israel’s murder of 2,000 Palestinians

Jones on Question Time during the 2012 invasion of Gaza – then there were no excuses for Israel
Alfred Dreyfus – Jewish Office Framed by French Army

one should expect no better from a Labour Party member whose main talent lies
in sounding both original and radical. However Gaza has revealed just how
vacuous are the ideas and analysis of Owen Jones. It is because the ideas he
gives expression to are held by a wide circle of people, many of whom are
sincere in detesting all that Israel is doing.  I have decided to deconstruct
two articles of Jones in the Guardian – How
the occupation of Gaza corrupts the occupier
[July 21] and anti-Jewish hatred is rising – we must see
it for what it is
[August 12].
Anatole France oration at Emile Zola’s funeral
There is
no recognition by Jones that Israel is a settler-colonial country, whose
treatment of the indigenous population is no different from similar settler-colonial
states. To Israel’s establishment holocaust historians, such as Yehuda Bauer, the idea that the holocaust as unique i.e. with no relevant lessons for humanity as a whole, is an article of faith.  Yad Vashem effectively reserves for the holocaust the job of legitimising the racism of the
Israeli state. Whatever Israel does, it is justified by the holocaust.
The degradation of Alfred Dreyfus as his sword his broken

anti-Jewish hatred is rising – we must see it for
what it is

Anthropometric photography of Émile Zola at his trial
one should see anti-Semitism for what it is, a declining and marginal form of
prejudice primarily. Instead Jones writes, almost an innocent abroad, that ‘I have encountered sentiments that conflate
the Jewish people and the Israeli government’
Fleeing Nazi-Occupied France
interesting! One of the key demands made by Netanyahu, during negotiations with
Abbas, was that he recognises Israel as a Jewish state. What is a Jewish state?
A Jewish state is the home of the mythical Jewish nation, i.e. all Jews,
wherever they live and whatever country they are citizens of. It is based on
the anti-Semitic Zionist idea that Jews are strangers in the countries where
they live, living in Exile (Galut) and have more in common with each other than
those they live amongst. It is also the basis of the world Jewish conspiracy
theory. It is also why there is no Israeli nationality and Israel cannot be a
state of its own citizens.

Jones’ dismissal of the idea that ‘Israel is itself the source of
anti-Semitism.’ Today is so absurd. Israel claims the barbarities of Operation
Child Murder in Gaza not just on behalf of its own Jewish citizens but Jews
world-wide. Of course that invites people to attack Jews (something Zionism and
the Israeli state don’t mind since it can only provide more Jewish immigrants).

Dreyfus is rehabilitated
Marseille deportations

The ‘New anti-Semitism’

Zionist movement in the past 30 years faced one major difficulty when accusing
its opponents of ‘anti-Semitism’. People not only did not accept that but
resented the accusation. Most people know the difference between anti-Semitism
(hatred of and discrimination against Jews) and anti-Zionism (opposition to the
Israeli state and the movement that founded it).

the concept of a ‘New anti-Semitism’ took root. In the words of leading US
neo-cons, Nathan & Ruth Perlmutter, Israel is the ‘Jew among the nations’ [The Real anti-Semitism in America, (NY,
1982], Alan Dershowitz ‘Chutzpah’
(Boston 1991) This at a time when opposition to Apartheid (in South Africa) was
reaching a peak. But most people aren’t fooled. You can be anti-Semitic in
terms of an individual(s) but not against a government or state, which is not a
human being. ‘New’ anti-Semitism was a trick that fooled no one.
Theodor Herzl –  founder of Political Zionism claimed to have been motivated by the Dreyfus Trial, which he didn’t mention in his writings, having befriended various anti-Dreyfusards – his conclusion from the Dreyfus Affair?  It was ‘futile’ to combat the ‘old’ anti-Semitism
to Zionist mythology, anti-Semitism does not have an unbroken 2,000 year
history. Owen Jones, who has probably never even given the matter any thought,
subscribes to this Zionist myth. We might ask then why the Jews were singled
out for such opprobrium? It makes no sense but it is integral to the Zionist
idea that anti-Semitism cannot be fought because it is ‘a natural prejudice
which a settled firmly rooted citizen of a country with an age-long tradition
must feel in the presence of a homeless wanderer.’ [Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error, pp. 90-1]
Gestapo HQ in Lyon
who was the first President of Israel and a chemist, described anti-Semitism as
an immutable scientific law:  ‘Whenever
the quantity of Jews in any country reaches saturation point, that country
reacts against them.’ [Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error, p.90-91, NY]
Hitler in Paris
was not however a scientific law. In the medieval Classical Period,
anti-Semitism was the product of the Jews’ role as the oppressors of the
peasants. Shahak argues that anti-Semitism was a popular movement from below
and the Jews were defended by the elites – the Kings, the Higher Aristocracy
and Upper Clergy. By way of contrast, during the Nazi period anti-Semitism was
a movement from above, the German state in particular, [Shahak, p.64] and it
sought to involve the most backward, usually peasant and lower middle class
sections of society. This was the period of ‘scientific’ racism, which were
popular in the main imperial heartlands to justify their Empires.
than pontificating on something he knows nothing about, Jones could read the
slim book by the late Professor Israel Shahak of the Hebrew University,
Jerusalem Jewish History Jewish religion
[Pluto Press, 1994, London]. Shahak, as well as being an active fighter for
civil rights in Israel, was a childhood survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and
Belsen concentration camp.
Emile Zola’s famous open letter of 1898 that led to the eventual acquittal of Dreyfus
the mid-19th Century in Eastern Europe anti-Semitism was based on
the Jews’ actual social and economic role and Christian anti-Semitism aimed to
secure the conversion of Jews. Nazi anti-Semitism was different. It was based
on the idea that Jews were members of a different race and could never change. Hence
the phenomenon in Germany and Nazi occupied countries of Christian Jews, who attended
church wearing the yellow star.

Jews being deported from Nazi-occupied France
It is
important to stress that both the anti-Semites and the Zionists shared the
belief that Jews did not belong in the countries they were born in. Alfred
Rosenberg, theoretician of the Nazi Party, who was hanged in the major war
crimes trial at Nuremberg, wrote that:
Zionism must be vigorously
supported in order to encourage a significant number of German Jews to leave
for Palestine or other destinations
Zionism could be used ‘as legal
justification for depriving German Jews of their civil rights…. He sanctioned
the use of the Zionist movement in the future drive to eliminate Jewish rights,
Jewish influence and eventually the Jewish presence in Germany
.’  [Die
Spur, p.153. Francis Nicosia, The Third Reich and the Palestine Question, pp.
25-26, Edwin Black, Ha’avara – The Transfer Agreement p. 173.
you had listened to the Zionist ideologues who founded the movement, you would
have been forgiven for thinking that you were listening to anti-Semites. Pinhas
Rosenbluth, the first Justice Minister of Israel, wrote that Palestine was ‘an
institute for the fumigation of Jewish vermin’
. [Joachim Doron, ‘Classic
Zionism and modern anti-semitism: parallels and influences’ (1883-1914),
Studies in Zionism 8, Autumn 1983]  

Kurt Blumenfeld, the leader of German Zionism, held almost
identical views. In a letter to Walter Rathenau, Foreign Minister in a Weimar
Government, who was assassinated in 1922, he spelt out the Zionist position
‘Under no circumstance does a Jew have the right to represent the
affairs of another people.’
Weinstock, Zionism: A False Messiah, p. 135. Isaac Deutscher, the
biographer of Trotsky, wrote that: ‘to the [Polish] Jewish workers
‘anti-Semitism seemed to triumph in Zionism, which recognised the legitimacy
and the validity of the old cry ‘Jews get out!’ The Zionists were agreeing to
get out.’ ‘The Non Jewish Jew ‘ & Other Essays-The Russian Revolution and
the Jewish Question’ pp.66/7. In Poland the Zionists had had a significant
base, but as anti-Semitism based they declined such that in the 1938 elections
for Jewish seats in Warsaw, the anti-Zionist Bund won 17 of the 20 seats and
the Zionists precisely one.
Leon, a leader of Belgian Trotskyism, who was murdered in Auschwitz, wrote that
Zionism ‘transposes modern anti-Semitism to all of history; it saves
itself the trouble of studying the various forms of anti-Semitism and their
evolution.’ [The Jewish Question:  A Marxist Interpretation, 1974, p.247] 

When Jones wrote that ‘The Jewish  people faced persecution for millennia from
York, Czarist Russia to the Dreyfuss affair’ he ignores what actually happened
in the Dreyfuss Affair of 1894, when a Jewish captain was wrongfully accused of
treason. The anti-Semites led by Eduord Drumont thought they had found a cause
with which to roll back Jewish Emancipation and the Declaration of the Rights of Man but they were very mistaken. Republican
France rallied to the defence of Dreyfuss once it was clear that although
initially a mistake had been made, by  1896 a full-scale anti-Semitic cover up was
taking place. Emile Zola wrote his famous ‘J’Accuse’ and by 1899 it was clear
that Dreyfuss was innocent. Recalled from Devil’s island the Army sought to
save face and he was convicted in another trial and sentenced to 10 years
imprisonment. Immediately Dreyfuss was pardoned. The attitude of the founder of
 Political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, was
that ‘In Paris…, I achieved a freer attitude
towards anti-Semitism, which I now began to understand historically and to
pardon. Above all, recognise the emptiness and futility of trying to ‘combat’
anti-Semitism.’ [Diaries of Theodore Herzl, Gollancz, London 1958 p.6.]
Paris street scene – Jewish quarter of Paris
As Rabbi
Elmer Berger wrote ‘Where in all the world a century before, would more than
half a nation have come to the defense of a Jew? Had Herzl possessed a
knowledge of history, he would have seen in the Dreyfuss case a brilliant,
hearten­ing proof of the success of emancipation.’ [D. Stewart. ‘Theodore
Herzl-Artist and Politician, p. 167, Quartet Books, London,, 1974.]
There is a myth that Herzl was converted to the Zionist idea by the
Dreyfuss Affair. There is no evidence for this and the Affair is not even
mentioned in his formative pamphlet, The
Jewish State,
published in 1896 and is only mentioned in passing in his 4 volume
  Diaries. What Herzl did do was secure a
favourable review of The Jewish  State in
Drumont’s anti-Semitic
daily La Libre Parole.
It was this successful battle against anti-Semitism that made
opposition to anti-Semitism a foundation stone of Republican France. Over 40
years later it was still felt when the non-Jewish population defended the Jews
under Nazi occupation. The Nazis didn’t even dare introduce the Yellow Star and
in Paris some 30,000 Jews lived openly. This explains why half of France’s Jews
survived the occupation (most of those who died were Jewish refugees in
What is
true is that the very same anti-Semitic tropes that were used against the Jews
are now being employed against the Palestinians. Jones writes that ‘Hatred of
the Jewish people has persisted in European societies for two millennia,
manifesting itself in blood libel…’ Presumably he doesn’t read the paper he
writes a weekly column for. On August 11th 2014 the Guardian ran an
ad co-written by Elie Wiesel, which stated that:  ‘Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years
ago. How its Hamas’s turn.’  
It is
based on the Israeli lie that Hamas uses children as human shields when the
opposite is true. The Israel Defence Forces admitted it had used Palestinians
as human shields; it acknowledged using human shields 1,200 times during the Second
Intifada. The practice was banned by Israel’s High Court of Justice in 2005.
The Israeli Defense Ministry appealed this decision.
The fact
that anyone gives credence to the Israeli propaganda that Hamas uses children
as human shields is proof itself of how biased the media and the BBC are.
How the
occupation of Gaza corrupts the occupier
Jones turned his attention to the holocaust he was equally out of his depth. He
argued that the ‘Crucial difference with Israel (is)… The moral corruption that
comes with any occupation has fused with the collective trauma of the Jewish people.’
But this ignores the Zionist record concerning the holocaust. 
When the
survivors first began arriving in Israel they were treated with hostility. Unlike
the brave Israelis, who had murdered and dispossessed the Palestinians with
equanimity, the survivors had gone like lambs to the slaughter without
resistance. The fact that they had no arms to defend themselves with was
Israel, holocaust survivors were termed ‘soap’ – sapon. “The term has since become generic for cowardice and weakness.
[Israel: Founders & Sons, Amos Elon, p. 209, Weidenfeld, 1971].  
Brand, the wife of the deputy leader of Hungarian Zionism, Joel Brand, wrote of
how, when she settled on Kibbutz Gvata Haim, the other members ‘talked about their war to avoid hearing
about hers. They were ashamed of the Holocaust.’ [
Tom Segev, The Seventh Million, 1991 p. 471]
Jones wrote that ‘‘In Israeli society here is a victim mentality that is
deeply, deeply rooted in the holocaust…’ he failed to understand that this is
also true in nearly all settler-colonial countries. In South Africa, the death
of 28,000 civilians in British concentration camps was seared into the consciousness
of Afrikaaner nationalism and helped justify the system of apartheid. The Boers
and Whites of South Africa also had a victim mentality. So too did the settlers
of what became the  United States of
America and the colonists who were transported to Australia.
In short
Owen Jones should steer clear of Palestine, Zionism and anti-Semitism since he
knows absolutely nothing about his subject and engages in the same tired and
worn clichés. 

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