Corbyn Might Long Regret Capitulation on Anti-Semitism

The British Labour Party’s decision to adopt the IHRA’s contested anti-Semitism definition is a victory for the Israel lobby and for forces on both sides of the Atlantic seeking to stifle criticism of Mideast policy, argues Daniel Lazare.

Daniel Lazare
Special to Consortium News

After months of pummeling, Jeremy Corbyn, the besieged leader of Britain’s Labor Party, gave in to the Zionist lobby and adopted a fiercely contested definition of anti-Jewish hatred that Arab activists say essentially brands the Palestinian cause as anti-Semitic.

Opinion varies as to what the capitulation will mean.

Alexander Mercouris, editor of the pro-Russian website The Duran, wrote on Consortium News that the impact will be limited. It “will not end criticism of Israel within the Labour Party or in British society,” he said. “Corbyn himself will not change his views, nor will other supporters of the Palestinian struggle … .”  

But the redoubtable freelance journalist Jonathan Cook, based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, was more convincing two or three weeks earlier when he argued in a piece republished on Consortium News that adopting the new definition “will be a major victory both for Israel and its apologists in Britain, who have been seeking to silence all meaningful criticism of Israel, and for the British corporate media, which would dearly love to see the back of an old-school socialist Labour leader whose program threatens to loosen the 40-year stranglehold of neoliberalism on British society.”

A Victory for Israel 

Cook understates the case. The decision by the party’s National Executive Committee is a victory for the Israel lobby and for forces on both sides of the Atlantic seeking to stifle criticism of Mideast policy. The reason is simple. Anglo-American policy rests on unqualified support for two regional powers—Israel and Saudi Arabia—that have been granted carte blanche to wage war on their neighbors at any time they like.  All other issues—refugees, minority rights, secularism—take a second seat next to this United States-conferred license to kill.

At a time when Western powers are cutting a swath of destruction from Libya to Yemen, there is little hope of opposing Israeli-Saudi aggression without tackling Jewish chauvinism and Wahhabist sectarianism. This requires strict neutrality with regard to ethno-religious conflicts while promoting democracy, secularism, national independence and equality.

A destroyed Yemeni village. (Almogdad Mojalli / VOA)

This is elementary for “an old-school socialist” like Corbyn. But the definition that Labour has adopted tips the scales in favor of the chauvinists. Instead of charting an independent course, it subordinates the party to an endlessly bellicose foreign-policy establishment at a time when America and its allies are once again threatening war over Syria’s bid to expel U.S.-backed pro-al-Qaida forces from the northeastern province of Idlib.  

The spillover will be immense in the United Kingdom and United States. In a letter to the right-wing Zionist Organization of America, Kenneth L. Marcus, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ chief of civil rights, announced in August that the Trump administration will use the new definition in reopening an investigation into charges that a pro-Palestinian meeting at Rutgers University in 2011 violated Jewish student rights. Unless challenged in the courts, the decision will force universities throughout the country to shut down pro-Palestinian forces of just about any stripe on the grounds that their activities are discriminatory.  

Critics will wind up even more marginalized than they already are, if such a thing can be believed. Farther afield, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will gain an even freer hand in Syria and the occupied territories while the Saudis will have nothing to fear from U.S. critics as they pursue their criminal war against Yemen. The fact that the definition now carries the Labour Party’s imprimatur makes it all the more difficult to resist.

The Origins of the Definition 

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the group behind the new definition, is an non-governmental organization founded by former Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson in 1998 to counter Holocaust denial. While its intentions may seem honorable, its political slant was apparent from the outset when it named the relentless self-promoter Elie Wiesel as its honorary chairman.

Wiesel, who died two years ago, was a world-class hypocrite who condemned Germans for not speaking out against Hitler while making it a point never to speak out against the Jewish state. When hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets in 1982 to protest the Israeli-backed slaughter of up to 3,500 Palestinians in Lebanon’s Sabra and Shatila refugee campaigns, he thus declared: “I support Israel—period.  I identify with Israel—period. I never attack, never criticize Israel when I am not in Israel.”  

The massacre at Sabra and Shatila. (YouTube)

It did not augur well for the IHRA. After the alliance developed its working definition of anti-Semitism beginning in 2003, the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia, an arm of the European Union, put it up on its website in early 2005, but “without formal review.” The center’s successor, the EU-sponsored Fundamental Rights Agency then took it down in 2013. After languishing for a while longer, the definition was then resurrected by the IHRA and adopted in 2016 under pressure from the conservative Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Still, it won formal approval from only six of the alliance’s 31 member nations.

The IHRA definition’s opening statement—“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews”—is a grammatical mess, as Antony Lerman, a senior fellow at Vienna’s Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue, observed on the British website openDemocracy. While five examples of anti-Semitism it offers are accurate, six others dealing with the Jewish state are nothing less than explosive. According to the IHRA, anti-Semitism includes:

  • “Claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”
  • “Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

How is it anti-Semitic to describe Israel as a racist endeavor when leading Zionists explicitly endorsed ethnic cleansing in the years leading up to the establishment of a Jewish state? “We cannot start the Jewish state … with half the population being Arab,” Avraham Ussishkin, the Labor Zionist in charge of the Jewish National Fund, the agency charged with buying up land exclusively for Jewish use, declared in 1938, according to Benny Morris in The Birth of the Palestinian Problem Revisited.  “… Such a state cannot survive even half an hour.”  

A JNF official named Yosef Weitz added: “There is no way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them, save perhaps for Bethlehem, Nazareth, and old Jerusalem.  Not one village must be left, not one tribe.”

Is it Anti-Semitic if it’s True?

Accusing critics of holding Israel to an unreasonably high standard is itself unreasonable. Considering the opprobrium heaped on the U.S. for its racial policies, on Britain for its colonial policies, on France for its collaborationist policies during World War II, and so forth, Israel has gotten off lightly even though its anti-Palestinian policies are no less atrocious.

Controversial comparison with the Nazis is rhetoric with a history in Israeli politics. In 1948, Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, Sidney Hook, and other Jewish notables published an open letter accusing future Prime Minister Menachem Begin of heading up a political movement “closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy, and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.”

Does this make Einstein an anti-Semite?  

Sixty-odd years later, hundreds of ultra-orthodox Jews paraded about in Jerusalem wearing concentration-camp uniforms with yellow Stars of David pinned to their chest. It was their way of showing that secular Israeli politicians are no better than Nazis. Are Hasidim anti-Semitic as well?  

Yehuda Bauer, the Israeli historian who serves as the IHRA’s formal academic adviser, in 2003 told a group of Danish visitors that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could conceivably end in a Mideast version of the Final Solution. “What we have here between the Israelis and the Palestinians is an armed conflict—if one side becomes stronger, there is a chance of genocide,” he said. When a visitor asked, “Am I to understand that you think Israel could commit genocide on the Palestinian people?,” Bauer replied: “Yes.”

“Just two days ago,” he went on, “extremist settlers passed out flyers to rid Arabs from this land. Ethnic cleansing results in mass killing.”  

By suggesting that Israel is in danger of succumbing to Nazi methods, has the alliance’s own adviser run afoul of its own definition?

Logic like this has been brought into sharp relief in view of the Israeli government’s attitude toward resurgent anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. In Lithuania, pro-Axis prosecutors have initiated legal proceedings against aged Jewish war veterans for alleged crimes committed while serving in anti-Nazi partisan units during World War II. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government is rehabilitating interwar leader Miklos Horthy, who helped send half a million Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz in 1944. In Poland, the ruling Law and Justice Party has made it a crime to say that Poles were complicit in the Holocaust—which, in fact, thousands were—while Ukraine is now seeing “an unprecedented new surge of anti-Semitism” thanks to the U.S.-backed government’s heavy reliance on ultra-right militias in its war against pro-Russian separatists.

Bibi gains a freer hand. (Chatham House / CC BY 2.0)

How has Israel responded? With forthright denunciations? With ringing appeals to humanity? With denunciations of anti-semitism? Not quite. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu maintains close diplomatic relations with Lithuania and hails Orban as “a true friend of Israel” because he “understand[s] that the threat of radical Islam is a real one.” He has whitewashed Poland’s role in the Holocaust, earning a rebuke from Jerusalem’s famous Yad Vashem Holocaust museum on the grounds that “existing documentation and decades of historical research yield a totally different picture.”

The Israeli government’s response to Ukraine has been to sell arms to the nation’s ultra-right Azov Battalion, whose members sport Nazi regalia and whose founder, Andryi Biletsky, once proclaimed: “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the white races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen [a term Nazis used to describe non-Aryan people].” As a result, Azov members carry Israeli-made Tavor rifles while former Israeli army officers provide training for Ukrainian military units.

Now the Labour Party officially says it’s forbidden to suggest that Israel is in any way emulating Nazi methods. Apparently it’s not anti-Semitic unless Netanyahu says it is, and considering how well he gets along with authoritarians like Orban, his judgement is questionable. 

Corbyn is a mild-mannered man who has been under relentless attacks from the party’s right-wing Blairite faction for months. Now, he’s allowed a Pandora’s box to be opened by giving in to the Zionist lobby, something he might long regret.

Daniel Lazare is the author of The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique, and his articles about the Middle East, terrorism, Eastern Europe, and other topics appear regularly on such websites as Jacobin and The American Conservative.

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54 comments for “Corbyn Might Long Regret Capitulation on Anti-Semitism

  1. Floyd Anderson
    September 22, 2018 at 08:05

    Apparently Facebook now regards any criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic and/or “hate speech.” Recently I was banned from Facebook for 3 days for posting the following comment: “Since 2000 Israel has killed on average one Palestinian child every three days. Continually killing people because of their membership in an ethnic group is genocide.” My appeal that both of my statements were fact based and did not advocate hatred toward anyone was ignored.

  2. bevin
    September 19, 2018 at 11:18

    Corbyn did not give in, he attempted to compromise by ,moving a clarification of the ‘definition’ and its ‘examples’ to the effect that criticism of Israel is not anti-semitism and that freedom of speech in the party is defended on principle.
    Unhappily the NEC voted against his resolution. It is impossible to understand this matter without taking into account the extent of the conspiracy against Corbyn (best exemplified in the cancellation of his and his staff,members’ passes to Party HQ) and his principled adherence to democratic procedure, which prevents him from substituting his own policies for those of the party, until he has convinced a majority.
    The Party Conference meets this coming week: it is likely to clarify many issues and elect a new NEC.

  3. Clive
    September 18, 2018 at 07:48

    Corbyn is not particularly ‘old-school’. He is more up-to-date, and more in touch with an important strand of current popular opinion, than ‘New Labour’ ever were. That is really what his establishment detractors are most afraid of. The Blairites and other tories are the real ‘old-school’.

    Most of the Blairite ‘New Labour’ MPs do not reflect popular ‘left-wing’ opinion, because they were parachuted into their constituencies, against the will of local grass-roots Labour Party members, to represent establishment warmonger interests.

    • maggie harrison
      September 22, 2018 at 18:17

      The opening of the Labour Conference, was celebrated tonight, by an amazing concert, with bands, playing music,
      written for the conference and a huge crowd of Labour supporters, watched, by those of us, who couldn t be there, for one reason or another!
      It is worrying, that the NEC made that unfortunate decision on the IHRA and I m sure, the Board of Jewish Deputies, are itching to use it, but, if Labour were to become our Government, JC would have more power,
      to make democratic changes, to the sad, corrupt status quo, on Israel/Palestine, hopefully!

  4. September 17, 2018 at 17:35

    “Corbyn is a mild-mannered man who has been under relentless attacks from the party’s right-wing Blairite faction for months. Now, he’s allowed a Pandora’s box to be opened by giving in to the Zionist lobby, something he might long regret.”

    I agree that this is a mistake, but the reality is that the Pandora box is open for years, Corbyn and his supporters are under barrage for

    opposing Trident

    being enemies of women (Blairite MPs were heckled)

    being enemies of Jews (Jewish female Blairite MPs were heckled)

    having no love for EU

    not shouting and making rhetorical stunts in Commons

    and this is what I observed with very sparse readings of The Guardian, so the list is probably much longer. Only when a major part of current Labour MPs get de-selected, Labour may become a viable political party.

  5. September 17, 2018 at 17:29

    Yeah, and of course – “war is peace” – “ignorance is strength” and “Israel is a humanitarian democracy” – rather than – say – “an uber-violent racist colonial project” – which admittedly it can appear to be if one actually keeps one’s eyes open. However, if you squint, just right, and also ingest some mind altering substances, one can, I suppose, distort reality to the point that one can imagine Israel as a small, pathetic, helpless victim of brutal Palestinian aggression. Amazing how many people are able to pull that little optical illusion off I must say.

  6. Roberta Prada
    September 17, 2018 at 14:55

    Disapproving of what Israel does to its Palestinian neighbors is not antisemitic. We have a right to criticize bad behavior.

  7. DH Fabian
    September 17, 2018 at 12:14

    As fashionable as the anti-Israel (and often, anti-Jewish) ideology might be, many on the left DO support Israel’s right to survive. Jews are, indeed, indigenous to that bit of land, restored as the Jewish nation in 1948. (For those who don’t know, Zionism had long been about the restoration of the Jewish nation, and is now about the survival of that nation.) Granted, it’s a tiny country, only some 1% of the region, with the remaining 99% owned and controlled by the Arab states (all of which are armed to the teeth by China, Russia, and the US). In reality, it takes everything Israel has got, just to survive. But that 1% just seems to drive some people crazy — so crazy, in fact, that they portray Israel as an aggressive military mega-power.

    • JoeSixPack
      September 17, 2018 at 13:34

      Pull the other one. Israel as an aggressive military power. They are not weak by any stretch of the imagination. The Jewish people are no more indigenous to the that area than any another people. The difference being the Palestinians were living there and were forcibly evicted from their lands. Any American can understand this, given our own history of taking the lands of the Native Americans.

    • rosemerry
      September 17, 2018 at 14:46

      Israel IS an aggressive military mega-power, and the Palestinians have NO rights to army, navy, airforce, WMD and most other things the Israelis have in huge amounts (like water and free movement).

    • September 17, 2018 at 17:11

      Just the other day Israel destroyed a plane in Damascus airport. No other state would be criticized for something so innocent, but Israel is. How many times Belgium destroyed planes at Schiphol, and nobody said a pip?

      There is only one explanation why some people are “driven crazy” about Israel.

    • Zinny
      September 18, 2018 at 19:02

      Ignorance is bliss. You probably believe that the present Jewish community in Palestine are all Semitic, when in fact the Palestinians are the only Semitic language speaking people living there. What the Jewish population speak is Germanic Yiddish. But what a scam, to use antisemitic slanderings when it is Palestinians who should making them against their oppressor. About Zionism, it was created, as was Nazism, among other nationalist groups, as a welcoming to the ideological brutality of eugenics. And if you think that because there were Hebrews living in the region, c.2000ya, then I have as much of a claim, to ME property, as any Jewish person. ns.

    • September 19, 2018 at 11:11

      So you think it’s “fashionable” to support the Palesinians? As a friend of Israel, do you not have qualms about their methods, which many would argue amount to incremental genocide, and the recently passed law which more or less makes Israel an apartheid state?
      Btw. Jews hadn’t been the majority in Palestine since the 4th Century.

    • September 19, 2018 at 21:20

      @ Fabian: “Jews are, indeed, indigenous to that bit of land … ”

      Which jews? See ?Das, et al, The Origins of Ashkenaz, Ashkenazic Jews, and Yiddish, Frontiers in Genetics (21 June 2017),

      @ Fabian: “Zionism had long been about the restoration of the Jewish nation, and is now about the survival of that nation.”

      Don’t you mean “expansion” rather than “survival?”

      @ Fabian: “But that 1% just seems to drive some people crazy — so crazy, in fact, that they portray Israel as an aggressive military mega-power.”

      Let’s see. Conventional Israeli armed forces are rated at 12th most powerful military in the world. Plus somewhere between 100 and 350 nuclear weapons that Israel refuses to make subject to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement. Invaded Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Jerusalem, and the West Bank in 1967, still illegally holds all that territory except that seized from Egypt. Invaded Lebanon in 2006. Routinely bombards the largest open air prison in the world, in Gaza, killing and maiming thousands. Routinely conducts assassinations in foreign lands against both military and civilians. Has illegally maintained Palestinians without civil rights in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Golan Heights in a state of military occupation since 1967. Has imperial designs on all of the Mideast from the Nile River to the Euphrates River. But so favored by God that it is not subject to international law governing warfare, it claims. Persuaded the U.S. to invade Iraq in furtherance of the Yinon Plan. Has been trying for years to persuade the U.S. to bomb Iran back into the Stone Age, a nation that has not invaded another one for over 300 years. On and on. So backward socially that it believes the Law of Conquest still rules, when that body of law was extinguished by the U.N. Charter in 1948.

      But not “an aggressive military mega-power,” Fabian says.

      Not the kind of people I want for a neighbor.

    • September 21, 2018 at 15:39

      “Indigenous”? Check the map of the world 2000 years ago, and ponder what happened to “indegenous” nations and tribes. Britain should be returned to Celtic people, Poland to Goths and Vandals, Thailand and Myammar to the Mon, Franks should go back to Franconia, Hungarians to south-west Siberia etc. etc. Number two, there were two branches of Hebrew speakers, the “lost ten tribes” most probably were ancestors of Samaritans who eventually converted with few exceptions and in turn, are ancestors of many Palestinian clans. If you believe their myths, Jews are indigenous to roughly one third of the contemporary Israel. Number three, Jews had proselytic periods, with many converts being neighbors of the same Mediterranean race like many Arab tribes contemporary with the Prophet (PBUH), but also in Ethiopia, southern Caucasus region, Khazars, Slavic spouses (and other spouses and lovers accumulated during diaspora) etc.

  8. Ahmed "Ami" Khan
    September 17, 2018 at 11:35

    Daniel shows his true disconnect from reality, human rights, and most importantly Arab rights. As an Arab Palestinian who was fortunate to flee Gaza (Hamas had a price on my head due to my “orientation”), and it was done via Israel (I now live in a Western European country that I won’t disclose due to safety concerns). If Daniel truly had any concern for Arabs, Palestinian or otherwise, he would be focused on the IslamoFascist regime in Gaza and Iran. If he truly cared about the Arab on Arab Massacre at Sabra/Shatila form over 30 years ago he would be focused on the 8 year slaughter that has been taking place in Syria and more recently Yemen. I’m not sure what the connection is to the Iran backed/created war in the photo, but it is an example of another IslamoFascist regime that Jeremy Corbyn also support (Jeremy seems keen to ally with true Fascists regimes like Iran and Hamas while sereptituously looking for Nazi boogeyman in Israel. And almost forgot, he likes pure fascists as well i.e. Venezuela.

    • JoeSixPack
      September 17, 2018 at 13:38

      And the ethic cleansing carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces is to be ignored?

      Move along troll.

    • rosemerry
      September 17, 2018 at 14:48

      You are no “ami”, thanks.

    • Gene Poole
      September 19, 2018 at 06:53

      Are you referring to the ongoing attempt by the USA to overthrow the legitimate government of Venezuela? The USA is not a pure fascist state, it is an inverted fascist state in which the veneer of democracy and freedom of the press are maintained while actual control is in the hands of capital. The citizenry and the press enable this by accepting the discourse of the actual power as truth.

  9. September 17, 2018 at 11:16

    The Zionist power configuration cannot countenance any head of a major state who’s critical of the racist, paranoid, hegemonic and supremacist Israeli project and who speaks out in favor of Palestinian human rights and against the grotesque treatment the Israeli Defense [sic] Forces carry out daily and the brutal land grabs the Jewish state orchestrates on a routine basis.

    The smears, attacks and mockery against Corbyn will always be relentless; they’ll persist until his dying breath, they will follow him to his grave, they will dot his obituary.

    And crucially, the attacks will now take place in perpetuity regardless of how much capitulation Corbyn decides to agree to.

    • Zinny
      September 18, 2018 at 19:20

      Zionism, like all nationalistic movements which had sprung up near the end of the 19th C., were enamored by the promises of strength through racial purity made by eugenicists and their bunk science of heredity. The Zionists, if not stopped, will kill everyone, one way or another, even other Jews.

  10. September 17, 2018 at 11:15

    Excellent Daniel Lazare!

    Here’s more on Israeli meddling:

    Forget Putin; Trump isn’t A Russian Spy. He Acts as Israel’s Manchurian Candidate

    • DH Fabian
      September 17, 2018 at 12:17

      Are our liberal bourgeoisie really this ignorant? Incidentally, they are the ones who went all-out to sell (pro-war, anti-poor) Hillary Clinton as a “bold progressive,” and spent over a year pushing the tale that “Russia stole the election.”

      • JoeSixPAck
        September 17, 2018 at 13:41

        Wow attack the messenger not the message. Brilliant trolling.

        Perhaps you would like to address the points Noam Chomsky makes about foreign interference by Israel in American politics. Which was in an interview with Democracy Now!

      • September 18, 2018 at 12:25

        Everyone says, “Follow the Money!” until they realize the money goes somewhere they don’t like to know about.

        Sheldon Adelson bankrolls the Israeli agenda in America. He bought the Trumps’ favors. He bought the Republican party. It isn’t a secret: Trump’s Top Donors

  11. backwardsevolution
    September 17, 2018 at 01:14

    Corbyn should have called their bluff and taken the battle to them. Give these people an inch and they’ll take a mile. Nothing but extortion and blackmail.

    Professor Anthony Martin of Wellesley College had a run-in with the Jewish power base. He had a law degree, an economics degree, and he taught African Studies (I believe) at Wellesley for over 30 years. As he was an historian, he had run across a few indications that Jews had played a role in the slave trade, but he hadn’t put two and two together until he ran across a book that detailed the Jewish role in the slave trade to the U.S., Brazil, Surinam, the Caribbean. He decided to add this book to the study material for his small class of 30, figured he’d spend no more than part of one class on the material.

    As you can imagine, considering what has happened to Cynthia McKinney and others, the Jewish lobby came down on his head. What an ordeal he went through. They tried to discredit his character, they told lies about him – just outright lies – used the media to full effect, and tried to have him fired from his job. He even offered to allow a Jewish lady to come into his classroom and refute the facts in front of the students. At first she accepted his generous offer, then she declined, and then she told everyone that he wouldn’t allow her to refute the facts! This went on and on for years.

    In the following video (at 16:18) he outlines the tactics that the Jewish lobby uses to shut people down. These should be familiar to everyone by now. I think he cites about 15 to 20 tactics.

    The above video is entitled “Professor Anthony Martin: Tactics of Suppression (1/2)”. Then watch the second video at “Professor Anthony Martin: Tactics of Suppression (2/2)”. He also has other good videos on Youtube describing exactly what he went through.

    These people really must be stopped. They own the media, Hollywood, academia, politicians, banking, the Fed. For a tiny, misunderstood minority (ha!), they sure do wield a lot of power. Way too much power!

    • backwardsevolution
      September 17, 2018 at 01:23

      Here is the second video from Professor Anthony Martin focusing on the tactics used:

      Professor Martin, thankfully having a law degree, went after these people (as his other Youtube videos show). Meet power with power.

    • September 17, 2018 at 20:52

      Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. Give them a yard and they’ll take your house along with it.

      • backwardsevolution
        September 17, 2018 at 22:46

        floyd – yes, or your country (i.e. Palestine and the Golan Heights in Syria). It’s like a magic trick – now you see it, now you don’t. Presto, and gone!

  12. Seamus Padraig
    September 16, 2018 at 18:00

    “Wiesel, who died two years ago, was a world-class hypocrite who condemned Germans for not speaking out against Hitler while making it a point never to speak out against the Jewish state.”

    Alexander Cockburn once did a brilliant write-up on Wiesel’s famous book, questioning its authenticity: ‘Truth and Fiction in Elie Wiesel’s “Night”’

  13. Don Bacon
    September 16, 2018 at 17:08

    The US once had a truth-teller on Israel, but the establishment soon got rid of her, Cynthia McKinney, Congresswoman from Georgia. Now Washington isn’t burdened with any politician that doesn’t suck up to Israel. The example has been made.
    . . .The ADL didn’t like her:

    Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate, participated in a variety of anti-Israel campaigns and events in 2009.
    McKinney has a history of using anti-Israel rhetoric, including accusing the pro-Israel lobby of sabotaging her political career and alleging that Israel of committing genocide, apartheid and war crimes. She has repeatedly condemned U.S. support for Israel.
    She has also taken part in multiple organized efforts to bring Westerners to Gaza in order to attract media attention to their anti-Israel agenda. McKinney has used the attention these campaigns have received to further promote her opposition, and explicit hostility, toward Israel and Zionism.

    . . . .and from wiki–

    Cynthia McKinney had been through a long contentious relationship with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and commentators such as Alexander Cockburn allege that money from out-of-state Jewish organizations, angered by her stand on Middle East issues, was key in her election defeat. Cockburn also wrote that “Buckets of sewage were poured over McKinney’s head in The Washington Post and The Atlanta Constitution.” Georgia political analyst Bill Shipp addressed McKinney’s defeat saying: “voters sent a message: ‘We’re tired of these over-the-top congressmen dealing in great international and national interests. How about somebody looking out for our interests?'”. . .here

  14. September 16, 2018 at 16:52

    I have reported from Palestine/Israel over many years. In my last film there, I drove on ‘Jews only’ roads in a country more committed to apartheid than the old South Africa, as Desmond Tutu has pointed out. It is a fact that Israel is a racist state, as its highest court has affirmed. Jeremy Corbyn’s capitulation – Palestinians might call it betrayal – is not surprising. Those who excuse or continue to swoon ignore the historical record of a political party – embraced and led by Corbyn with an unprecedented popular mandate – that shares responsibility for Palestine’s suffering, whose people ought not to abide specious political indulgences.

  15. Don Bacon
    September 16, 2018 at 13:13

    I wondered why the IHRA — International Hot Rod Association — was involved in anti-Semitism and then google helped me ID the IHRA as a holocaust remembrance outfit who is only just now catching up with the long-standing US State Department version which declares that it is anti-Semitic to demonize Israel, deny Israel’s right to exist, liken Israeli policy to that of the Nazis and blame Israel for all inter-religious tensions.
    Then several years ago this got down to the University of California level.. .. from Salon:

    57 rabbis from California and 104 University of California faculty members called on UC administrators to adopt that State Department definition when dealing with protests and potential discipline for anti-Semitic statements. They said they did not aim to silence free speech, but they contend that too often protests against Israel have turned into inciting anti-Jewish attitudes. In a letter to UC President Janet Napolitano and the UC regents, the rabbis urged that campus leaders “be trained in using the State Department definition to identify anti-Semitic behavior and to address it with the same promptness and vigor as they do other forms of racial, ethnic and gender bigotry and discrimination.”

    Why conflate the Jewish religion with the State of Israel? Recently a law has been passed in Israel that declares Israel as a Jewish state, which is not surprising. Israel was founded as a Jewish State, an aspect that was enshrined in the state’s Declaration of Independence: “This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their independent State may not be revoked. It is, moreover, the self-evident right of the Jewish people to be a nation, as all other nations, in its own sovereign State.
    HEREBY PROCLAIM the establishment of the Jewish State in Palestine, to be called ISRAEL.”

    Now Israel can get on with its plan to exterminate the Palestinians somewhat as the US did (getting back to the US) against the Native Americans.

    • September 17, 2018 at 17:18

      Don Bacon,

      you need a course in logic. It is anti-Semitic to view Jews are presumably loyal to Israel, and it is anti-Semitic to deny that Israel is NECESSARY for all Jews. Moreover, Israel is necessary for Jews to feel secure, and in the same time, uniquely threatened, all the time in fear for its very existence.

      Trying to squeeze the notion of anti-Semitism to a logical framework is futile, and in itself anti-Semitic.

  16. Norman Shapiro
    September 16, 2018 at 11:33

    So sad. If people can be deluded into believing Israel is a racist, apartheid, Nazi-like genocidal state, they can surely believe anything. The simple fact that Israel, a military and technological powerhouse only 70 years in the making, has failed so miserably at racism (read about the ingathering of the Ethiopians), apartheid (read about the Arabs who reach every level of society – and are barred from no area of society) and genocide (read about the growth of the Arab population since 1948) should make any intelligent person reconsider these preposterous accusations.

    • Paul
      September 16, 2018 at 18:00

      Israeli definition of intelligence in matters concerning Israel:
      Whatever any zionist fanatic says.
      Opposite of whatever any educated cautious observer says about Israel.

    • September 16, 2018 at 18:42

      Thanks for the wars in Iraq and Libya and Syria and Yemen …….the Ukraine too.

      Now pushing for war in Iran and WW3 with Russia.

      Think people dont notice?

    • Alex
      September 17, 2018 at 11:45

      “So sad. If people can be deluded into believing Israel is a racist, apartheid, Nazi-like genocidal state, they can surely believe anything”


      Isaac Herzog – “Israel becoming more fascist”

      IDF Gen Yair Golan – “trends in Israel similar to nazi germany ”

      Former Druze IDF Gen Amal As’ad –  “nation-state law is evil racist apartheid

      @normfinkelstein @jsternweiner – “Corbyn foes cynically concoct fake Antisemitism smear to sabotage support for Palestinian rights”

      Prof Israel Shahak, ‘resident’ of Warsaw Ghetto Belsen, Israel

      “Neither Israeli or Diaspora rabbinate ever reversed their ruling that Jews MUST NOT violate the Sabbath to save the life of a Gentile”

      Jewish History, Jewish Religion:
      The Weight of Three Thousand Years

    • rosemerry
      September 17, 2018 at 14:58

      Of course, you would be an objective and fair observer.

    • September 18, 2018 at 13:50

      Read Pilger’s comment. You might learn something.

  17. Pauline Jury
    September 16, 2018 at 09:19

    Israeli apartheid.
    the only system in the Middle East which is Democratic and grants all Arab Citizens Full Equality under the law, including the right to become a Justice of the Supreme Court, an Ambassador, a military officer, or a minister in the Israeli Cabinet. I.E a form of racism unique to Israel. Not! to be confused with the widespread discrimination against Palestinians on ethnic grounds in Lebanon, just one example, which is not! Apartheid according to ….. need i say.

    Ethnic cleansing.
    The process by which Israel offered the Arab people citizenship, despite a genocidal war waged by Arab leaders in 1948, and which has allowed it’s Arab population to thrive and grow at a rate faster than the Jewish majority. E.g the sprawling Israeli /Arab town of Um-Al-Fahm is proof of ethnic cleansing by Israel according to…..need i say.
    the deliberate campaign by Zionists ( Jews really ) to exterminate Palestinian Arabs which has resulted in the explosion of the Palestinian population from between 6,000 and 7,000 in 1948, to over 6 million today. Including over 1.7 million Israeli Palestinians represented in the Israeli Parliament. Ethnic cleansing according to…..need i say.
    an absolutely cruel and malicious security measure erected by Israel in the West Bank, in response to years of deadly suicide bombings, to be equated with the worst form of human torture. Not! to be confused with the security checkpoints at airports and International borders which though Identical in the inconvenience they cause, are perfectly acceptable to……need i say. ( OK, racist bigots)
    A Palestinian terrorist in the act of planning or staging a terrorist attack who is targeted or killed by Israel.
    Human rights.
    rights, that are to be acquired for Palestinians by violence and denied to Jews.

    “Native Palestinian” leaders

    Yasser Arafat who was born in Egypt.

    Saeb Erakat born in Jordan.

    Faisal Al-Husseini born in Iraq.

    Sari Nusseibeh born in Syria.

    Mahmoud Al-Zahar born in Egypt.

    Nayef Hawatmeh born in Jordan.

    • Paul
      September 16, 2018 at 17:56

      Israeli definition of Democracy:
      A system in which immigrant religious fanatics steal land from the natives, terrorize them, claim that their responses are unprovoked, support terrorist disruption of all surrounding states, corrupt the entire US government with bribes, and control the entire US mass media to support the killing of millions around Israel, and then lie that you are the victims. All shall now ignore Israel’s crimes and demand boo-hoos for the victims of Nazis seventy years ago, or be accused of racism. Heil Netanyahu!

    • Stephen M
      September 17, 2018 at 14:42

      Here’s an excerpt from a report commissioned by the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) that tells a different story:

      “Domain 1 embraces about 1.7 million Palestinians who are citizens of Israel. For the first 20 years of the country’s existence, they lived under martial law and to this day are subjected to oppression on the basis of not being Jewish. That policy of domination manifests itself in inferior services, restrictive zoning laws and limited budget allocations made to Palestinian communities; in restrictions on jobs and professional opportunities; and in the mostly segregated landscape in which Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel live. Palestinian political parties can campaign for minor reforms and better budgets, but are legally prohibited by the Basic Law from challenging legislation maintaining the racial regime. The policy is reinforced by the implications of the distinction made in Israel between “citizenship” (ezrahut) and “nationality” (le’um): all Israeli citizens enjoy the former, but only Jews enjoy the latter. “National” rights in Israeli law signify Jewish-national rights. The struggle of Palestinian citizens of Israel for equality and civil reforms under Israeli law is thus isolated by the regime from that of Palestinians elsewhere.
      Domain 2 covers the approximately 300,000 Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem, who experience discrimination in access to education, health care, employment, residency and building rights. They also suffer from expulsions and home demolitions, which serve the Israeli policy of “demographic balance” in favour of Jewish residents. East Jerusalem Palestinians are classified as permanent residents, which places them in a separate category designed to prevent their demographic and, importantly, electoral weight being added to that of Palestinians citizens in Israel. As permanent residents, they have no legal standing to challenge Israeli law. Moreover, openly identifying with Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory politically carries the risk of expulsion to the West Bank and loss of the right even to visit Jerusalem. Thus, the urban epicentre of Palestinian political life is caught inside a legal bubble that curtails its inhabitants’ capacity to oppose the apartheid regime lawfully.

      Domain 3 is the system of military law imposed on approximately 4.6 million Palestinians who live in the occupied Palestinian territory, 2.7 million of them in the West Bank and 1.9 million in the Gaza Strip. The territory is administered in a manner that fully meets the definition of apartheid under the Apartheid Convention: except for the provision on genocide, every illustrative “inhuman act” listed in the Convention is routinely and systematically practiced by Israel in the West Bank. Palestinians are governed by military law, while the approximately 350,000 Jewish settlers are governed by Israeli civil law. The racial character of this situation is further confirmed by the fact that all West Bank Jewish settlers enjoy the protections of Israeli civil law on the basis of being Jewish, whether they are Israeli citizens or not. This dual legal system, problematic in itself, is indicative of an apartheid regime when coupled with the racially discriminatory management of land and development administered by Jewish-national institutions, which are charged with administering “State land” in the interest of the Jewish population. In support of the overall findings of this report, annex I sets out in more detail the policies and practices of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory that constitute violations of article II of the Apartheid Convention.

      Domain 4 refers to the millions of Palestinian refugees and involuntary exiles, most of whom live in neighbouring countries. They are prohibited from returning to their homes in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Israel defends its rejection of the Palestinians’ return in frankly racist language: it is alleged that Palestinians constitute a “demographic threat” and that their return would alter the demographic character of Israel to the point of eliminating it as a Jewish State.

      The refusal of the right of return plays an essential role in the apartheid regime by ensuring that the Palestinian population in Mandate Palestine does not grow to a point that would threaten Israeli military control of the territory and/or provide the demographic leverage for Palestinian citizens of Israel to demand (and obtain) full democratic rights, thereby eliminating the Jewish character of the State of Israel. Although domain 4 is confined to policies denying Palestinians their right of repatriation under international law, it is treated in this report as integral to the system of oppression and domination of the Palestinian people as a whole, given its crucial role in demographic terms in maintaining the apartheid regime.

      This report finds that, taken together, the four domains constitute one comprehensive regime developed for the purpose of ensuring the enduring domination over non-Jews in all land exclusively under Israeli control in whatever category.”

    • September 17, 2018 at 17:25

      The only democratic state that does not recognize marriages between different religions, with a corollary that non-religious people cannot marry in Israel at all.

      Concerning equal rights, it is hugely controversial in Israel if ultra-Orthodox should have the same duties as modern-Orthodox, but there is an agreement that non-Jews should not work in institutions like the railroad, power stations etc. (although they can serve in the military). In any case, there is no constitution but a Basic Law, and the rulings of the courts invoking the Basic Law were cheerfully ignored. “Rule of law” is rather sketchy in Israel.

  18. September 16, 2018 at 08:58

    Sunday morning and I have to get ready for Church. Yet my life long addiction to opinionate lingers.

    “At a time when Western powers are cutting a swath of destruction from Libya to Yemen, there is little hope of opposing Israeli-Saudi aggression without tackling Jewish chauvinism and Wahhabist sectarianism. This requires strict neutrality with regard to ethno-religious conflicts while promoting democracy, secularism, national independence and equality.”

    Reading that noble and feel good prescription, I cannot but juxtapose it with the picture of Netanyahu walking among his adoring fans on the floor of Congress.

    In the information media where minds are molded it is a battle between battle hardened professionals and flailing amateurs and the outcome is almost always the same. What Trump has done on the issue is despicable, but little different from previous Presidents. The movement to close our minds to an alternative and more noble world grow weaker every day.

    BDS? A systematic effort to neuter is ongoing with States doing the heavy lifting. Separating Zionism from anti-Semitism? They grow closer. Decrying the treatment of Palestinians? The theft of the Golan Heights. And on and on.

    Things never remain the same, and the future is always a crap shoot, but for the naïve altruists, of which I am one, there remains only hope that springs eternal.

    • September 16, 2018 at 22:31

      Pauline Jury, 6000 to 7000 Arabs in 1948, and 6 million today. Your statement. Wow. in another seventy years there will be over 5 billion. I didn’t fact check the rest but impressed with that one. On a more sober note, estimates as high as 700 thousand Palestinians were forced from their homes in 1948 and not allowed to return. There were more than 7000 left, however.

      Give you something to fact check. In Palestine in 1920, only ten percent of the population was Jewish.

      Another: Most Jews are descended from the area around the Black Sea not the Middle East. Shlomo Sand, Tel Aviv University professor and some other guy at Johns Hopkins. Arthur Koestler spoke also about it in the middle of the last century.

      By the way, the crack about converting Jews was inappropriate and doesn’t belong on this website or any other website.

  19. September 16, 2018 at 08:32

    The Labour party has caved in to zionist intimidation; it will in due course cave in to the demands for a second Brexit vote. Are we really surprised at what has become standard practice for European social-democratic parties. After all the same pattern can be seen across Europe where the SPD (Germany) PS (France) PASOK (Greece) Syriza (Greece) PSOE (Spain) have all caved in without out so much as a flicker of resistance. The centre-left has merged with the centre-right, in a centrist mish-mash extolling the virtues of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism. Europe has become a clone, vichy zone for the United States in its quest for world hegemony.

  20. DJoe
    September 16, 2018 at 08:31

    The honest thing to do is to boycott Israel in EVERY way possible.

    • Josep
      September 17, 2018 at 19:43

      As much as I dislike Israel’s behavior, I’d like to ask: if one is going to boycott Israel, then what’s to be done with all those computers with Israeli-made chips? Do you know of any computer systems with non-Israeli chips?

  21. Robert Morency
    September 16, 2018 at 06:12

    Might a counter definition, with the force of law, passed by a majority of Parliment and/or Congress, be adopted as a Rights and Dignity of Man Amendment (to whatever Constitutions apply)?
    The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) is a good example of how efforts to change hearts and minds of people against (let’s face it, some manifestation of) Evil, or more properly, the Psychopaths and Sociopaths, who profit from endless war.
    As with the GFA, it will be the committment to follow-up that must continue for, in the ME case, 3 or 4 generations. That’s 100 years, folks. Surely, some Foundation with sufficient ( and sincere) long-term outlook would be willing to step up and spearhead a century of forgiveness?

  22. September 16, 2018 at 04:09

    Well said.

  23. incontinent reader
    September 16, 2018 at 00:54

    Brilliant article.

  24. Tom Kath
    September 16, 2018 at 00:21

    As soon as Hitler, Zionists, F***book, or anyone in a position of power gets desperate enough to legislate, use force, or try to write into law what people MUST believe or may not believe, they reveal their weakness and will lose in the long run.
    I concede that semitism and the underlying holocaust has been a VERY long run indeed, but the desperation is ever more apparent.

  25. Rael Nidess, M.D.
    September 15, 2018 at 21:07

    Thanks for a very thoughtful analysis; with which I agree fully. I’ve been waiting for a ‘post-mortem’ from both Jonathan Cook & Asa Winstanley (both of whom have written extensively on this issue) but, as yet nothing. There’s one other point that needs discussion; the fact that Corbyn’s failure to stand strongly for his stated principles may have effectively delegitimzed him and may well cost him the leadership of both U.K. Labour and possibly of the government which I suspect he might well have won in the next elections. Just as Bernie Sanders showed himself to be a corporate Democrat at heart by his failure to adhere to his ‘socialist’ (you should excuse the expression) values by agreeing to support the neoliberal sociopathic warmonger Clinton (among many other failures of principle and rational thought), Corbyn has now raised, or at least should have raised, doubt in the minds of all those who supported him on issues like Palestine, Syria, social welfare, and other contentious issues, as to whether, when push comes to shove, he’ll stand by his previous positions, or will he fold…again. Just as Lazare notes that he’s empowered neoliberal Zionism, he may also have empowered a new term of Tory government and a complicit, Blairite-run, Labour Party

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