ANTI-SEMITISM IS STILL ROUTINE

A guest post by Karen Harradine

Anti-Semitism is the most ancient and virulent form of hatred. Since Jews walked the land of Judea anti-Semitism has stalked alongside them. The tale of the Jews is a tapestry of persecution and redemption, woven into world history. 

To co-opt Jungian terminology Jews have been turned into the world’s collective shadow self. Birthed from darkness are conspiracy theories and hatreds which mutate and proliferate.See the source image

The accusation that Jews killed Jesus was not was finally disavowed by the Vatican until 1965. But the damage was done, the blood libel had emerged. Blood became a rallying symbol for anti-Semites to harm Jews. During the medieval era Jews were accused of killing Christian children to make unleavened bread – ‘matzah’ – for Passover.

Today’s blood libel claims that Israel kills Palestinian children. These anti-Semitic libels are spread to provoke and excuse persecution and oppression of Jews. They perpetuate because hatred is easy. Continue reading “ANTI-SEMITISM IS STILL ROUTINE”

WHY ISRAEL?

There is no lack of vile regimes which subjugate their own citizens and spread terror abroad. This is especially true of the Middle East where there appears to be little to choose between hereditary dictatorships, military juntas and Islamo-Fascist theocracies. Democracy is a fragile flower in even the best of Arab countries.

A report issued by the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) this week criticized the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas for assaults on human rights and freedoms in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The report lists cases of torture and mistreatment in PA and Hamas prisons. ICHR pointed particularly to an increase in the number of torture cases in prisons belonging to the PA’s much-feared Preventive Security Service in the West Bank.

It appears that during January alone ICHR received 56 complaints about torture and mistreatment in Palestinian prisons: 36 in the Gaza Strip and 19 in the West Bank. In addition, they received innumerable complaints about arbitrary and unlawful arrests of Palestinians by the PA and Hamas.

Palestinian Police Deal with Peacfull Protestors In Ramallah
Palestinian Police Deal with Peacefull Protestors In Ramallah

The PA police force have a rather direct way with demonstrators. On January 12, 2014, PA policemen used force to break up a protest by Palestinian youths north of Ramallah. Between 60-70 protesters, the report states, were wounded in the head and legs after policemen attacked them with clubs and stun grenades. According to the report on January 28, 2014, PA policemen used live ammunition to disperse stone-throwers in the centre of Ramallah.

You must remember watching the TV news reports about this and reading about it in the newspapers. Perhaps if you missed these you picked it up on the BBC Radio 4 documentary about conditions in Gaza and the West Bank. No?

Don’t beat yourself up. There was no media coverage of the report, just as there is little media coverage of corruption in the Palestine Authority. An EU report found that financial corruption in the PA led to the ‘loss’ of aid to the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the period 2008 to 2012 amounting to around €2 billion.

Yet we all know, because we are constantly told so, that the bad boy in the Middle East and the cause of all the suffering of the Palestinian people is Israel.

Why in a world replete with corrupt and violent regimes should our progressive elites demonise the one regime in the Middle East which actually dares to be democratic? Arab citizens of Israel enjoy more human and political rights than Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East. They serve in the Knesset, in the Judiciary, in the Foreign Service, in higher education, and in business. They are free to criticize Israel and to support its enemies. Israeli universities are hot beds of anti-Israel rhetoric, advocacy and even teaching.

Moreover, anyone—Jew, Muslim or Christian—dissatisfied with Israeli actions can express that dissatisfaction in the courts, and in the media, both at home and abroad. This freedom does not exist in any Arab country, nor in many non-Arab countries.

Yet it is Israel alone which is being threatened with boycott, disinvestment and sanctions. Israel and the plight of the Palestinians have become the progressive cause de jour.

There are many reasons held in varying degrees, none having much to do with the facts. There is the herd mentality. Our fiercely individualistic progressives have evolved into what Harold Rosenburg termed a ‘herd of independent minds’.

Long before Rosenburg, Thomas Huxley (Darwin’s Bulldog) wrestled with the inherent contradiction between  man’s ‘innate tendency to self-assertion … as the condition of victory in the struggle for existence and the obvious fact that in the struggle for survival loners are losers and individuals who banded together increased their chances of survival.’ Huxley came to the conclusion that the glue holding individuals together in a group is the collective shaming code.

The shared code binds members of the group as one.  They share disgust, anger, delight and shame of the same things. The unanimity of their visceral response provides a powerful sense of collective identity. They become the tribal ‘Us’, as opposed to those tribes who are not disgusted, angered or shamed as ‘We’ are. A group sharing a powerful visceral code inhibiting the natural tendency of the individual to self-assertion presents a united front against its enemies. To step outside that group is a betrayal of the group, more importantly it is a betrayal of one’s identity.

There are also the great many armchair warriors. Sitting in suburbia or a student union bar the armchair warrior can obtain the thrill of engagement merely by voicing support for the Palestinians. There need be no actual engagement but virtual participation brings with it a sense of taking part in the struggle. North Americans of supposedly Irish descent found the same in their support of Irish terrorism, a dollar in the collecting tin for the ‘bhoys’ and they were on the front line, never mind the innocent shoppers blown to bits by bombs.

Israel is far from perfect but when criticism is focussed on a state with strong democratic credentials, and that nation happens to be the state of the Jewish people, the suspicion of bigotry must be considered. Declarations that ‘I’m not anti-Semitic but ant-Zionist’, sound alarmingly like those statements beginning, ‘I’m not a racist, but …’

No Anti-Semitism Here, Move Along
No Anti-Semitism Here, Move Along

Dr Martin Luther King said: ‘Anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently anti-Semitic, and ever will be so.’

Despite Dr king’s assertion it is possible to be anti-Zionist and not anti-Semitic, but it is increasingly difficult especially when the side you support has a view of the Jews which would get Hitler’s stamp of approval. Your position is seriously undermined when the people you support or work alongside are virulently anti-Semitic.

Cliff Hanley believes 9/11 is a Jewish conspiracy; Sammi Ibrahem supports the Holocaust and refers to the Nazis as “martyrs”; Ellie Merton reckons the Breivik massacre in Norway was ‘an Israeli Govt sponsored operation’; and Gill Kaffash believes the Holocaust is a lie. The common factor? They have all chaired or held other prominent positions in the UK-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an organisation which makes the barking mad BNP seem like a group of hand-wringing moderates.

There is also the anti-colonialist’s self-hatred. At the end of the day the problem with the Israeli’s is that they are just too like us.

Fellow Travellers

We recently witnessed the administrators of the London School of Economics with their hands deep in the pockets of Gaddafi, a dictator who has never been anything other a mass-murdering sociopath. Why should the cream of Europe’s intellectuals eagerly associate with people like the Gaddafi crime family?

That the LSE administration sold itself to Gaddafi is indisputable. Watch the beginning of this video, especially Alia Brahimi, research fellow at LSE’s Gaddafi-funded Global Governance Centre, as she introduces Gaddafi to her students by reading a flattering welcome message from Howard Davies then director of LSE.

Cozying up to Middle East despots who openly oppress their subjects has to have a reason. What occurred at LSE went beyond simple greed; it was part of a mindset which condemns Jews under the guise of anti-Zionism.

At the LSE condemnation of Israel, accompanied by calls for economic sanctions and educational boycotts, remains a constant refrain. Israel may be the only state in the region with academic freedom, yet half the management group of LSE’s Middle East Centre wish to boycott it.

The Middle East Centre was paid for by the Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy and the Aman Trust. In return for a donation of £2.5 m the LSE named a lecture theatre after the late ruler of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Sheikh Zayed’s name also adorns an Emirates-based institution that promotes Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. When this was pointed out to Harvard University they had the decency to return a similar donation. Not so the LSE.

The root cause of the demand Israel be held to a higher standard than any other nation could not be clearer. Guilt.

There is justifiable guilt over the Holocaust. The most monstrous crime in recorded history occurred in the heart of civilised Europe, human beings were enslaved and forced into gas chambers where they were slaughtered in their millions. Words cannot express the evil of this memory which haunts Europe.

In order to exonerate ourselves we desperately need something to be wrong with our victims. Yet, for the Holocaust there is no exoneration.

It’s not just the certifiable like Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen or the delusional like Julian Assange and John Galliano. Anti-Semitism has a stronghold amongst progressives, especially intellectuals. Lost in a delusional world of political correctness they have forfeited the ability to think critically. In their post-modern world facts are annoying irrelevances which threaten their  weltanschauung.

High minded claims that their stance is anti-Zionist rather than anti-Semitic sound hollow when we consider the actions they reason away. Last Friday night, twelve-year old Tamar Fogel came home to find both her parents, Ruth and Udi Fogel, two brothers Yoav (11) and Elad (four), and her three-month old sister Hadas dead in their beds. They had had their throats cut and been stabbed through the heart. But then they were ‘settlers’ on ‘occupied territory.’

There was no dedicated reportage of the murders on the BBC website. It warranted a few lines in a piece on settlements. The BBC did, however, report that the attack “has shocked many Palestinians”. What the BBC failed to mention was that Hamas described the attack as a “heroic operation” while sweets were handed out in Gaza in celebration.

It is difficult to hate to the point of  deliberately attempting to decapitate a baby. It is difficult to imagine crowds in the streets of a city celebrating the murder.

Just as difficult to comprehend is a mob of 200 gathering around a television reporter in the midst of a crowded city square and beating and raping her to shouts of “Jew, Jew, Jew.” Which happened to CBS reporter Lara Logan in freedom loving Tahrir Square in Cairo.

To participate in such events it is necessary to dehumanise your enemy, even the babies. This has to be taught.

The only parallel is what happened in Europe when another group arose and gained power. This included the universities where many lecturers were sympathisers with or members of the Nazi party. Part of their platform was the dehumanisation of Jews. To significant parts of the Muslim world the word ‘Jew’ means the same as it did to the Nazis, someone less than fully human.

The Fogel attack come only days after the Al Amari Palestinian youth centre on the West Bank announced a football competition named after Wafa Idris the first female Palestinian suicide bomber. A volunteer with the Palestinian Red Crescent, she entered Jerusalem in a Palestinian ambulance and exploded a bomb killing an 81-year-old man and injuring over 100 other Israelis. There is also a summer youth camp funded by UNICEF named after her. The message comes across clear in many forms, it is a praiseworthy action to murder Jews.

Many amongst Britain’s elite institutions have, wittingly or unwittingly, become fellow travellers with people who would be at home in the Nazi party. But it’s anti-Zionism not anti-Semitism, so that’s all right. Baroness Warsi should note that this is the prejudice which is passes ‘the dinner-table test.’