Tony Greenstein | 06 December 2019 | Post Views:

Why Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis Finds It Difficult to Oppose Any Form of Racism Bar ‘Antisemitism’

The Guardian and the British Press Hide the Fact that Ephraim Mirvis, Trained as a Rabbi on the Religious Settlement of Alon Shvut and is Politically on the Far-Right

Not content with the regular Jonathan Freedland column peddling what Justin Schlosberg has called the ‘disinformation paradigm’ about ‘anti-Semitism’ [Many Jews want Boris Johnson out. But how can we vote for Jeremy Corbyn?] the Guardian decided that its readers deserved a second helping.

Simon Sebag ‘Windbag’ Montefiore

They therefore dug out a relative of the Montefiore family, Simon Sebag Montefiore, who I will rename Windbag, whose original offering was that ‘This antisemitism poisons any good Labour might do’. Perhaps if Windbag had sat down and thought for a moment, before setting finger to keyboard, he might have realised that the fake ‘antisemitism’ campaign was designed precisely in order to stop Corbyn doing. It has no other purpose.

So what was the ‘anti-Semitism’ that Sebag-Shaw was obsessed with? The subheadline told us that ‘It is possible to criticise Israel without being antisemitic but Corbynists are obsessed with the country’s destruction’.

The regular Freedland anti-Corbyn column

Unfortunately that is not true. Very few Corbyn supporters are in favour of a de-Zionisation of the Israeli state, i.e. turning it into a non-racist state of all its people instead of just some of them, which is what talk of ‘the country’s destruction’ means.

There is however a better way of putting it. It’s actually very difficult to criticise Israel and also be anti-Semitic. Criticism of the military occupation, the discriminatory laws, the state that only claims to represent its Jewish citizens and much else besides have nothing whatsoever to do with anti-Semitism.

However if you are a supporter of Israel then it is difficult to support Israel without being a racist or anti-Semite. Take the founder of the alt-Right in the USA, Richard Spencer. He doesn’t like Jews. He organised the march in Charlottesville where the far-Right marched to the chant of ‘the Jews will not replace us’ (Question – why would we want to replace you?)

My letter in this week’s Sunday Times responding to Rod Liddle’s normal racist rant

Spencer is a 24 carat anti-Semite. He has spoken of ‘de Judaising’ the Holocaust. In fact this has already happened to a large extent. The Holocaust is used as an ideological prop for western imperialism. It has already been divorced from the situation of the Jews who were murdered. Richard Spencer proclaims that he is a proud White Zionist. His ideal state White American state is a reflection of the Jewish state of Israel.

Israel defines itself in terms of its herrenvolk. It is a Jewish Supremacist state and the Jewish Nation State Law make it clear that Israel is a state only of its Jewish citizens. When Israeli actress, Rotem Sala, declared:

“Dear god, there are also Arab citizens in this country, when the hell will someone in this government convey to the public that Israel is a state of all its citizens and that all people were created equal, and that even the Arabs and the Druze and the LGBTs and – shock – the leftists are human.”

Benjamin Netanyahu felt he had to correct her:

“First of all, Israel is not a country of all its citizens. According to the nation-state law that we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish nation,” he wrote.

Likewise our own Tommy Robinson, who hangs around with all sorts of neo-Nazis, is a fervent admirer of the Israeli state, is never more proud that when pictured sitting on Israeli tanks. To him the Palestinians are the Muslims of Israel.

Another neo-Nazi is Katie Hopkins, formerly a ‘journalist’ with the Sun and Mail, who believes that refugees are ‘cockroaches’. Katie just loves the racism she experienced in Israel, so much so that she was a guest at the Zionist Federation dinner last year, but when it came to the shooting of ordinary American Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, she believed that they had brought it on themselves by going out of their way to support America’s refugees.  This was also the opinion of the far-Right in Israel, such as its most popular rap artist, The Shadow.

None of the above however disturbs Simon Windbag Montefiore. The only question that disturbed him was Corbyn’s handling of Andrew Neil’s about a “Rothschild Zionist… world government”. He tells us that ‘Rothschild Zionist’ ‘has a dark history as a 21st-century strain of medieval racism.’

Windbag-Montefiore reaches back into the darkest history of diaspora Jewry and anti-Semitism.

Evil moneylenders with mixed loyalties inspired Edward I’s terror that culminated in the hanging of 269 innocents, then the expulsion of all Jews in 1290.

As if there is any comparison with Israeli, the Sparta of today, where the army is the most venerated institution in the State. This is simply yet another example of how anti-semitism historically, including the Holocaust, is used to justify Israel’s barbarities today.

In fact there are certain comparisons between Israel and medieval anti-Semitism but probably not the ones that Windbag-Montefiore recognises.

The hanging of 269 innocents that he refers to bears comparison with the same number of unarmed demonstrators who have been picked off by Israeli snipers at the Gaza fence in the past 18 months. The expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290 bears more than a passing resemblance to the expulsion of ¾ million Palestinians from Israel in 1948. However I suspect that this was not what Windbag was referring to!

Instead Windbag gives us a detour that included Stalin’s anti-Semitism and of course a revisiting of all Corbyn’s crimes namely the

‘mural of hooknosed Jewish bankers, alliances with antisemitic terrorists… Corbyn himself has met with Holocaust denier Paul Eisen.’

It’s difficult to understand the connection with Stalin since even Windbag admits Corbyn is not Stalin. But for the Guardian’s editors any mud will stick.

It’s even harder to detect any hooknosed Jewish bankers in the Corbyn mural. This is another one of those lies that grows with the telling. There were 6 bankers, 2 of whom were Jewish, none of whom had hooked noses.

And yes Corbyn met Paul Eisen. That’s because he is a constituent of his!

Hamas and Hezbollah are neither anti-Semitic nor terrorists. They are a resistance thrown up by their own people against the aggression of those who call themselves the soldiers of the Jewish state. Neither group would exist but for Israel’s murderous attacks on the Palestinian and Lebanese people.

Unsurprisingly some of their statements aren’t politically correct. I suspect that most people would not react in a sophisticated manner if a group of soldiers murdered your kids, dropped a bomb on your house, beat up your friends and did it in the name of the Jews. When the Zionist terrorist group Irgun hanged two British soldiers in Palestine in 1946, then there were anti-Jewish riots in England. Imagine if this was a daily occurrence. In fact Palestinians are far more sophisticated in their understanding of racism than the average Briton.

Anti-Semitism is about myths of Jews not their actual deeds. Things like Jews poisoning wells and baking their bread from the blood of non-Jewish children. The evil deeds of Zionism are self-evident. They occur everyday in the West Bank where the army looks on as settlers burn Palestinian olive groves, steal their land and water and conduct random attacks on those farming the land. Unless Zionists are now saying that historically anti-Semites had a just cause then there is no comparison with Israel’s deeds as Windbag-Montefiore maintains.

It was over 10 years ago that Bassem Naeem wrote an article Hamas condemns the Holocaust. This was before the days when Freedland got his claws into all aspects of the Guardian’s coverage. Naeem stated that:

‘neither Hamas nor the Palestinian government in Gaza denies the Nazi Holocaust. The Holocaust was not only a crime against humanity but one of the most abhorrent crimes in modern history. We condemn it as we condemn every abuse of humanity and all forms of discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender or nationality.’

Strangely this article and many subsequently statements, including Hamas’s abandonment of its original Charter, have been forgotten. As has the role Israel played in the creation and sponsorship of Hamas.

It is a myth that Hamas or indeed Hezbollah are anti-Semitic. Of course people can always point to anti-Semitic statements but then we can also point to statements by Israeli leaders about Palestinians as ‘drugged cockroaches’wild beastsanimals’ etc

Many Jews have visited and even lived in Gaza. They have not been persecuted for being Jewish. It is in Israel itself that one sees demonstrations against the sale of a house to an Arab or Arabs being barred from springs and swimming pools.

Hezbollah was created as a result of Israel’s barbarous invasion of Lebanon in 1982 when 20,000 people were murdered. It isn’t Hezbollah who are murderous racists and terrorists but the Israeli army. Windbag for some reason doesn’t blame the actions of the Israeli army, which proclaims it acts on behalf of all Jews, for the increase in antisemitism.

Windbag also supports a two state solution that will never occur. So do most Zionists in Britain but very few where it counts, Israel. He bemoans that ‘Labour is now controlled by this thuggish camarilla while frontbench “moderates” passively enable Corbyn.’ It is the ‘moderates’ who are so addicted to Trident and supported the Iraq War. Perhaps supporting the annihilation of millions is the opposite of ‘thuggish’?

A few of hundreds of similar columns in The Guardian

The Guardian

In just one year found over 100 Guardian articles attacking Corbyn. Van Badham told us, one month before the 2017 General Election that ‘Labour has a chance if it replaces Corbyn’.That must go down in the book of the 100 best Guardian Predictions.

And a week before the same election Freedland was proclaiming ‘No more excuses: Jeremy Corbyn is to blame for this meltdown’ except that I don’t recall Freedland congratulating Corbyn on the biggest swing to Labour since 1945. Strange that.

My favourite though is ‘Don’t tell me you weren’t warned about Corbyn’ by the Nostradamus of our age, Nick Cohen. Whatever Cohen predicts you can assume that the opposite will occur. It really is worth betting on it. Cohen warned us 3 months before the general election that:

‘The Tories have gone easy on Corbyn and his comrades to date for the transparently obvious reason that they want to keep them in charge of Labour.

In an election, they would tear them to pieces. .. Will there be 150, 125, 100 Labour MPs by the end of the flaying? My advice is to think of a number then halve it.’

And his final piece of advice?

‘In my respectful opinion, your only honourable response will be to stop being a fucking fool by changing your fucking mind.’

Such is the intellectual sophistication of our Nick.

Windbag was particularly obsessed about Corbyn’s response to Andrew Neil’s question about a Labour member who talked about ‘Rothschilds Zionists run Israel and world governments”. This is part of a wider methodology of associating Israel with anti-Semitism in the past. This is what the IHRA has described as

‘speech, writing, visual forms and action, … sinister stereotypes and negative character traits… mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective… the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

So if you accuse the Israeli government or settlers of poisoning Palestinians with gas and chemical weapons, which are documented facts, or poisoning their water sources then this is a repetition of the medieval myth of Jews poisoning wells!

For example the Guardian’s David Hearst described how in the Palestinian village of al-Amniy

Mohammed Ahmad Jabor’s water cistern has been destroyed three times this year. The last time was by the settlers. The settler attacks come generally at night and where they cannot destroy water cisterns they poison them by putting chicken carcasses in them.

According to Windbag’s ‘logic’ David Hearst was an anti-Semite for describing the actions of Israeli settlers. Even though what he described was true.

What eludes Windbag is quite simple. Israel is not a Jew of the 13th century. Israel is not a holocaust victim. It is a mini-superpower. I suspect that if the modern Israeli were to meet his medieval counterpart he would react in horror. Indeed if the Israeli settlers, who claim an umbilical link to Abraham, were to meet a Hebrew tribesman of 500 BC then I suspect he would recoil from him, see in him a Palestinian and shoot him as a terrorist!

It is true that the Nazis and anti-Semites before them equated Jews with the Rothschild’s family. The name Rothschild was the symbol of greedy Jews who had profited out of the blood, sweat and tears of those who fought and died on the battlefield and Waterloo. The Nazis even made a film about Nathan Rothschild, the founder of the British branch of the family.

However when today people talk about ‘Rothschild Zionists’ they are trying in their own muddled way to explain why the major powers in the world, the United States and the European Union, including Russia and China, support Israel right or wrong. They see in this a conspiracy rather than a manifestation of their interests, political and military. Since Israel calls itself a Jewish state they naturally see it as a Jewish conspiracy. Is this the same as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion? Of course not.

What people wrongly do is to ascribe to Israel the power of the Rothschilds, who are insignificant today rather than to the interests of western imperialism. After all it must have occurred, even to Windbag himself, that when the most reactionary politicians on the planet – Trump, Orban, Bolsinaro, Duterte – to name but a few, pay homage to and support and praise Israel that opposing Israel has nothing to do with anti-Semitism.

Trump gives Israel $4 Billion a year, not out of love for Jews but from a naked calculation of where America’s interests lie.

Talk of ‘Rothschilds Zionists’ is not necessarily anti-Semitic but is a pathetic and puerile attempt to explain the power of Israel and Zionism today. In other words it is instrumental. In fact it explains nothing and is in danger of seeing Israel, as people like Gilad Atzmon do as the product of something inherently Jewish rather than as the offspring of western colonialism.

Ephraim Mirvis

The Guardian though has not just been busy attacking Corbyn it has also done its best to defend Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. You will remember his article on November 25 What will become of Jews in Britain if Labour forms the next government?.

What was so remarkable about it was its gall. Mirvis wrote, presumably tongue in cheek that

‘Wherever there is evidence of it, including in any of our political parties, it must be swiftly rooted out. Hateful prejudice is always wrong, whoever the perpetrator, whoever the victim.’

Is this the same man who grew up in Apartheid South Africa and then transferred his sympathies to the apartheid settlements in the West Bank? What none of the papers dare mention is that Mirvis received his rabbinical training in the yeshiva of Har Etzion in the settlement of Alon Shvut. He trained among the most bigoted racists and seemingly noticed nothing. Because no one is more racist than the religious settlers. The chief rabbi of the settlers, Dov Lior is famous for his statement that a Jewish fingernail is worth more than a thousand non-Jewish lives

Mirvis proclaims to be concerned about ‘anti-Semitism’ but not about any other form of racism

This is the same Ephraim Mirvis who joined his predecessor Jonathan Sacks and thousands of far-Right settlers on the 2017 Jerusalem Day ‘March of Flags’. The favourite chant of the settlers was ‘Death to the Arabs.’ Mirvis had no hesitation in joining those who desire nothing more than the expulsion of the Palestinians. 

Haaretz’s Bradley Burston described the March as:

an annual, gender-segregated extreme-right, pro-occupation religious carnival of hatred, marking the anniversary of Israel’s capture of Jerusalem by humiliating the city’s Palestinian Muslims.marchers vandalized shops in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter, chanted “Death to Arabs” and “The (Jewish) Temple Will Be Built, the (Al Aqsa) Mosque will be Burned Down,” shattered windows and door locks, and poured glue into the locks of shops forced to close for fear of further damage.’… And they repeated Samson’s prayer in Judges 16:28: “May I avenge (the loss of) my two eyes with one act of vengeance against the Palestinians – may their name be blotted out!”

Sacks had extended a “personal invitation” to Diaspora Jews to join him on a trip to Israel which includes “leading” the March of the Flags on Jerusalem Day and “dancing with our brave [Israeli Defence Force] soldiers” in the settler enclave inside Hebron.

Haaretz Anna Roiser pleaded with Sacks not to attend, saying:

one of the world’s most respected rabbis sends a message of normalization and acceptance of the occupation… Many Jews in the Diaspora work hard to emphasize that being Jewish is not synonymous with supporting the Israeli government, and that supporting Israel’s right to exist is not synonymous with supporting the occupation. Rabbi Sacks’ actions risk undermining these messages.

Not only did Sacks ignore them he marched together with Ephraim Mirvis. It seems that Mirvis finds it difficult to oppose any other form of racism bar ‘anti-Semitism’. See Chief Rabbi and Lord Sacks should not back this march

Now if Jeremy Corbyn or members of the Labour Party were to call out ‘Death to the Jews’ as they did in pre-war Poland and Germany then Mirvis might have something to complain about.

That is why I sent an unpublished letter to the Guardian in the wake of Mirvis’s outburst in The Times.

Dear Sir/Madam,

If there is one thing guaranteed to increase anti-Semitism in this country it is the sight of Jewish leaders attacking a Labour Party that represents the only hope for millions of British people. Britain’s Chief Rabbis have a habit of supporting the Conservative Party dating back to Immanuel Jakobovitz’s support for Margaret Thatcher but none have been this blatant.

Ephraim Mirvis’s attack on Corbyn has absolutely nothing to do with racism or anti-Semitism. This is the same person who was singing the praise of Norman Tebbit’s cricket test not so long ago.

Nor is Mirvis’s instruction to Jews not to vote Labour about despair. [‘It reflects the despair’: chief rabbi’s criticism of Labour strikes a chord] It is part of a well co-ordinated campaign to use ‘anti-Semitism’ as a means to damage and destroy Labour’s electoral prospects.

This is the same Ephraim Mirvis who joined his predecessor Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and thousands of far-Right settlers on the 2017 Jerusalem Day ‘March of Flags’. The favourite chant of the settlers on these marches is ‘Death to the Jews.’ Mirvis had no hesitation in joining those who desire nothing more than the expulsion of the Palestinians.

It is because Jeremy Corbyn bought into the myth that anti-Semitism was a problem in the Labour Party that he is now facing such problems. It is however curious that in the thousands of stories on Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ there is a marked absence of evidence.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Greenstein

Unsurprisingly it was not printed. As I wrote to the Guardian Letters Editor Rory Foster and his deputy:[email protected], [email protected]

Dear Rory

The Guardian, like most other papers has seen fit not to provide any details on the far-Right Zionist politics of the present British Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis.

Where once the letters columns were used to widen the debate in the Guardian you now fulfil the role of Jonathan Freedland’s gatekeeper against anti-Zionist contributions or indeed any incisive debate. I therefore submit the following letter knowing full well that Guardian censorship shall ensure that it is not published.

Tony Greenstein
Letters Editor
Kings Place,
90 York Way
London N1 9GU

Dear Sir/Madam,

Gus John’s resignation from the Church of England’s advisory body is welcome after Justin Welby’s endorsement of the Chief Rabbi’s attack on Jeremy Corbyn. [Academic quits C of E body over chief rabbi’s Labour antisemitism comments, Guardian 3.12.19]

Welby has been completely silent over such trifles as the Windrush Scandal and the ‘hostile environment’ policy. Yet when it comes to ‘anti-Semitism’ he enthusiastically endorses an attack by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis on Jeremy Corbyn, one of 6 Labour MPs to vote against the Immigration Act 2013.

At the same time Welby has nothing to say about Tory Islamaphobia or Boris Johnson’s repeated racist comments for example calling Black people picanninies?

The British media, the Guardian included, has elided over the background of Mirvis who lectured that ‘Wherever there is evidence’ of racism including in any of our political parties, it must be swiftly rooted out.’ This didn’t prevent Mirvis from endorsing Norman Tebbit’s notorious cricket test.

But perhaps Mirvis, who grew up in Apartheid South Africa, didn’t notice the racism of his fellows when training as a rabbi in Har Etzion yeshiva in the settlement of Alon Shvut. The same settlers who believe that they have a god given right to the land that they have stolen from the indigenous Palestinians.

This is the same Ephraim Mirvis who took part in the March of the Flags on Jerusalem Day in 2017 where the favourite chant of the settler youth is ‘Death to the Arabs’ despite pleas from Ha’aretz’s Bradley Burston not to do so.

Justin Welby in endorsing Mirvis’s attacks on Corbyn is a hypocrite. But then so too are those, the Guardian included, who have deliberately excised all details of the background of Rabbi Mirvis.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Greenstein

Ephraim Mirvis’s attack on Corbyn has absolutely nothing to do with racism or anti-Semitism. This is the same person who was singing the praise of Norman Tebbit’s ‘cricket test’ not so long ago. The ‘cricket test’ was devised to show that the ‘real home’ of Britain’s Asian population is not in England but India and Pakistan.

Ironically if the same test were applied to British Jews then it would show that many of them belong in Israel! Which is what the Zionists desire most of all.

Mirvis’s instruction to Jews not to vote Labour is part of a well co-ordinated campaign to use ‘anti-Semitism’ as a weapon to inflict damage and destroy Labour’s electoral prospects. We see this in the Jewish Chronicle, which could be renamed the ‘Anti-Corbyn Weekly’.

In this week’s Letter to Readers, Jewish Chronicle Editor Stephen Pollard writes that:

there is just one fundamental issue for the vast majority of our community – doing what we can to stop Jeremy Corbyn becoming PM.

What has made it the anti-Semitism smear campaign effective is the fact that Corbyn, instead of standing up to it from the start and saying that Labour did not have an anti-Semitism problem, that the allegations against it were malicious and without foundation, bought into the narrative. Everytime Corbyn apologised he proved his critics were correct.

No one forced Corbyn to adopt the IHRA misdefinition of anti-Semitism originally. It was all his own work.

If Mirvis was seriously concerned about anti-Semitism in political parties then he would have asked why the Conservative Party’s MEPs supported the anti-Semitic Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in a no confidence vote in the European parliament. The reason is that Orban may not like Jews very much but he is the best friend of Israel. Likewise he could ask why Tory MEP’s sit in the same political group (ECR) in the European parliament as fascists and anti-Semites.

Tony Greenstein

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