Attempting to un-censor my letter to the editor, College of Charleston’s campus newspaper, “CisternYard”
Awhile ago the pro-Israel editor of the College of Charleston’s online campus newspaper published two articles containing offensive accusations against me — one even before I spoke on campus and one afterward.
The newspaper has now finally posted my response – but it isn’t listed in any of the website’s menus; standard practice would be to list it in the Opinion section.
In other words, editor Sarah Sheafer (who calls Israel her “second home”) has officially “published” my response, thus finally adhering to journalistic requirements, while keeping the op-ed virtually invisible to the vast majority of the newspaper’s readers.
My emails to Sheafer about this bizarre situation have brought no change, and now the staff is gone for a week. I plan to continue to request that the newspaper include my letter in the Opinion section, where letters to the editor and op-eds would normally be… but perhaps not if they expose uncomfortable facts about Israel and its partisans…
Op-ed for CisternYard
On April 19th I spoke at the College of Charleston at an event sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and a local organization called Charleston Peace One Day.
The title of my lecture was “Israel-Palestine: What the Media Leave Out,” and in it I documented the extremely flawed nature of US news coverage of this conflict. This material was gleaned from 12 years of researching this subject, eight statistical media studies, independent reporting trips to the region, many dozens of articles on the topic, and an upcoming book.
Sadly, the two articles on my talk by the CofC student newspaper, one before my lecture and one after, exemplify the deeply faulty reporting frequently found in articles concerning Israel. In addition to numerous inaccuracies, they violated some of the basic principles of journalism.
Sarah Sheafer, the newspaper’s editor in chief, wrote both articles. Sheafer’s first article consisted of accusations by Israel-partisans claiming that I was “anti-Semitic” and labeling my talk – in advance – “hate speech.” Sheafer repeated inaccurate claims about me without investigating their veracity, and failed to include my very public rebuttals of these falsehoods. While Sheafer included interviews defending the event in the name of academic freedom and free speech, she did not include any defense of me or response to the terrible accusations about me.
Violating a fundamental principle of journalism
And in violation of the most basic tenet of fair reporting, she never attempted to contact me to respond to the claims. This ignored one of the most fundamental requirements of journalistic ethics: According to the Society of Newspaper Editors, “Persons publicly accused should be given the earliest opportunity to respond.”
Her piece similarly failed to quote anyone in favor of my my work, though I have been honored to receive plaudits from diverse sources and have been asked to speak at a multitude of universities and other venues both in the U.S. and abroad. Nor did her very long article contain any information about my multitude of articles describing Palestinian suffering under occupation or those on Israel’s lethal attack on a US Navy ship.
When I discovered Sheafer’s article and emailed and phoned her to discuss it, she did not return my call and did not respond to requests to print a rebuttal. (She did eventually email us back.)
The second article followed my talk. This article again focused on defamatory claims (I am called anti-Semitic in the second paragraph), misquoted me at times, and incompletely depicted what took place, though it included some information from my presentation in the second part of the article (the part least likely to be ready by readers in a hurry).
While Sheafer stated that there was “incivility” during the event, the reality is that a large group of fanatic Israel partisans (perhaps in part stirred up by Sheafer’s first article) attended the event, shouted over my attempts to answer their questions fully and respectfully, and ultimately prevented CofC students from engaging in the kind of extended question-and-answer discussion that normally follows a presentation and that students have a right to expect. Particularly troubling is the fact that apparently some CofC faculty were involved in this behavior.
Several students wrote me after the event apologizing for this group. One said, “This conduct was deeply embarrassing to me as a student. I felt you were treated rudely and disrespected.” The person went on to write, “I respect how calmly you maintained your professional demeanor and continued to be courteous and respectful to the audience.”
Following my presentation, which included a video and numerous slides, Sheafer apologized for not contacting me for her previous story and finally interviewed me. However, she included none of the information I gave her in her second article. Nor did the newspaper print a formal correction or apology.
In the piece, she quoted many of the hostile questions addressed to me by a somewhat organized group that had clearly come to the event to do battle, and then either misquoted my answer, included only a small part of it, or, in most cases, completely left it out.
Perhaps this is because the questioners and allied mob largely shouted over all my answers to their questions; it’s possible that Sheafer often couldn’t hear my full responses. I certainly had trouble hearing myself.
While Sheafer reported on my presentation and included much valuable information, she left out some of the most important points and watered down others.
She failed to report the fact that, in the current uprising, over 12 times more Palestinian children have been killed than Israeli children, and that 91 of them were killed before a single Israeli child was killed. She omitted the fact that US media consistently and erroneously term Israeli actions “retaliation,” and primetime news shows report on Israeli children’s deaths at rates up to 14 times greater than they report on Palestinian children’s deaths.
Sheafer similarly omitted the information I provided about a 2003 Capital Hill briefing in which a commission that included a four-star admiral, a rear admiral, and the highest-ranking recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor reported that Israeli forces had tried to sink a US Navy ship, had killed 34 American servicemen and injured over 170, and that rescue flights had been recalled because the President of the United States said he “didn’t want to embarrass an ally.”
These extremely grave statements on Capitol Hill by this extraordinarily high-ranking commission can be found in the Congressional Record.
Perhaps Sheafer’s most significant violation of journalistic ethics was to assign herself to cover these events in the first place, rather than sending a neutral reporter.
The fact is, as Sheafer publicly admits, she has a strong emotional attachment to Israel, once writing: Israel is “the country I consider my second home.”
The particular article with this statement was written on Nov. 15th, 2012, the day a 10-month-old Gaza baby was killed by Israeli forces – the fourth Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces that week – though Sheafer mentions none of these deaths.
While Sheafer says that she condemns “some of [Israel’s] controversial decisions (i.e. illegal settlements),” her piece focuses on her intense anguish over Israeli difficulties, her deep empathy with Israelis (at one point she writes she wishes she were there), and, tellingly, her anger at those who criticize Israeli actions.
She wrote this column during an Israeli onslaught in which Israeli forces killed at least 169 Gazan men, women, and children, and Palestinians killed 6 Israelis, none of them children. (During the previous year, Israelis had killed 64 Palestinians in Gaza, while Gazans had killed no Israelis.)
None of these facts are in Sheafer’s column, “Israel At War.”
While Sheafer and the group who disrupted this event consider themselves pro-Israel and brevity requires me to identify them as such, in reality I feel that their actions do not benefit Israelis.
Israel was created through violence and has been maintained through violence, a reality that is not only tragic for the Muslim and Christian victims of this violence, but is also tragic for Israelis themselves.
If Israelis are to live a normal existence free of war and conflict, it is essential that they change their policies and become a nation that treats all people with equality, an approach that many Israelis desire, and that they recognize the historic injustice at the core of the conflict.
Such a policy change, however, is unlikely to occur while American politicians continue to bankroll Israel to the tune of over $8 million per day and to provide diplomatic cover no matter what the Israeli state does. This blind support gives the Israeli government such power that its leaders feel free to ignore Palestinians, other world players, and dissenting Israelis alike.
Given this seemingly blank check of American financial and diplomatic support, Israeli leaders feel no need to negotiate honestly to reach a compromise in which Jews, Muslims, and Christians can share the land that is sacred to all three groups. This won’t change until Americans become sufficiently informed on this issue to demand changes to US policy.
It is essential that Americans learn the facts on this issue. I believe strongly that we have the power to bring peace to the core issue in the Middle East – a conflict that has spawned numerous wars, caused dangerous instability to the region and the world, and has placed Americans increasingly in danger.
It is sad that an event on this urgent issue was in many ways sabotaged. I hope that additional speakers providing factual information will be invited to lecture at the College of Charleston, and that they will not receive the treatment I experienced.
Alison Weir is the president of the Council for the National Interest and executive director of If Americans Knew. She is a former journalist and has a degree in journalism.
While this may seem like a relatively small matter, it is part of a significant and disturbing pattern. Please see a related article, How Israel partisans use the press to block facts from reaching Americans, and still another, The Coverage and Non-Coverage of Israel-Palestine, which specifically includes a small section on student journalists:
“…an article entitled “Jewish journalists grapple with ‘doing the write thing,’” in the Nov. 23, 2001 Jewish Bulletin of Northern California [interviewed Jewish] journalism students about how they would cover Israel. Its findings were inconclusive. Some students felt they would cover Israel impartially, some didn’t. The Bulletin described one of the latter, Uzi Safanov: “’I’m a Jew before being a journalist, before someone pays me to write,’ he said. ‘If I find a negative thing about Israel, I will not print it and I will sink into why did it happen and what can I do to change it.’ Safanov said that even if he eventually wrote about negative incidents that happen in Israel, he would try to find the way ‘to shift the blame.’”
Another also spoke of the need to protect Israel: “’On campus there is already so much anti-Israeli sentiment that we have to be careful about any additional criticism against Israel,’ said Marita Gringaus, who used to write for Arizona State University’s newspaper. ‘This is our responsibility as Jews, which obviously contradicts our responsibilities as journalists…’”
In April 2012, Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), a Zionist organization headed by Charles Jacobs, began a smear campaign against Muslim students, the staff of Spiritual Life Center, and some faculty at Northeastern University.
The APT posted three videos on the internet accusing Muslims students at Northeastern University of advocating ‘Islamic extremism’ and concocting charges of anti-Semitism against several members of the faculty and staff of the Spiritual Life Center at Northeastern University. I was one of the principal targets of these smears. After launching the videos, the APT has used a variety of tactics to bring pressure on Northeastern University to ‘punish’ the faculty it had targeted in one of its smear videos.
When this campaign persisted I decided to write a letter to the President of Northeastern in November 2012 providing some background to APT’s smear campaign. At the time I had no intention of circulating this letter more widely. However, since APT has persisted in its defamatory campaign against me, I think it proper to publish this letter to set the record straight. Here is the text of the letter (partly revised) that I sent to President Aoun of Northeastern University.
* * *
It has come to my notice that Mr. Charles Jacobs – head of Americans for Peace and Tolerance – has been circulating letters among NU faculty and administration that make baseless and defamatory charges against me. I am concerned about the damage to my reputation and to the reputation of the university from these charges, which is why I am writing to you. In this letter I briefly outline the main charges, and provide you with my key points to refute them.
First, I would like to present some information on the source of the charges, why they are aimed not only at me but at other faculty at NU, and why they are likely to have broader impact beyond just an attack on myself. Mr. Charles Jacobs has been engaging in sustained attacks for several years to silence critics of Israeli human rights violations. He is the co-founder of the David Project, an organization established in 2002 with the specific purpose of silencing critics of Israel. In 2004, the David Project produced Columbia Unbecoming, a documentary that spearheaded a smear campaign against several Arab-American professors, including two very prominent academics at Columbia University. In 2012, he began a campaign directed against Northeastern University, producing a series of videos smearing faculty, staff and students at NU.
Second, I want to set out a few specifics about the three videos produced by APT to smear Northeastern University, several of its faculty, its Muslim students and the staff of Spiritual Life Center. One of these videos, Anti-Semitic Education at Northeastern, directs its smears – amongst others – against Professor Denis Sullivan and myself. In addition, following the release of this video, Mr. Jacobs began sending letters to NU faculty, making false statements about me that he claims are caught on video. In one of his letters to NU faculty, Mr. Jacobs makes the claim: “[Alam] Caught on video urging students to be proud anti-Semites.” In another letter, he claims: “Prof. Alam tells students it’s alright to be called anti-Semitic because it shows they’re on the right side of history.” These charges are simply untrue, and I categorically deny them. They are not supported even by the doctored video clips from a talk I gave at Northeastern University. It is worth noting that my talk was videotaped surreptitiously, without my knowledge or consent.
I would like to set the record straight about the source of the clips on me in the video produced by APT. At the end of a talk I gave last spring at an event organized by Students for Justice in Palestine at NU, a student complained that their advocacy of Palestinian rights often invites slurs of anti-Semitism. She asked, “How should the pro-Palestinian activists respond to these smears?” I responded: If someone smears you as anti-Semitic because of your advocacy of Palestinian rights you should ignore your accusers. I urged the student to disregard such attempts at intimidation, stating that if their accusers persist in these smear tactics, at some point in time those who are falsely accused might wear these smears as a mark of distinction; as a mark of distinction – because this would signify that they have been smeared for supporting a just and honorable cause, the human rights of the long-suffering Palestinians. My remarks were cut and distorted for purposes of the slanderous video.
There are other issues likely being raised by the letters Mr. Jacobs is emailing to some faculty at Northeastern, but I am confident that I can refute every one of them, and shall do so if the need arises. Unfortunately, Mr. Jacobs is not working alone on this campaign. Among others, he has help in his smear campaign from several other organizations, including Campus Watch, headed by Daniel Pipes, Center for Islamic Pluralism, headed by Stephen Schwartz, and Freedom Center, headed by David Horowitz. All of them illustrious organizations headed by men of impeccable reputations as truth-tellers.
Over the 25 years that I have taught at Northeastern I have made a few modest contributions in the fields of economics, politics, history, religious studies, and poetry; launched three new courses on capitalism, the history of the global economy and the economic history of the Middle East; taught four classes every year nearly all of which were filled to capacity; and mentored many students. During this quarter century of teaching courses that critically analyzed many of the assumptions of the social sciences, not one of my students has gone to any of my colleagues or official at Northeastern to complain of bias against any ethnic group or nationality in my classes.
On the contrary, my students can attest that I place the study and critique of biases – whether Orientalist, Eurocentric, racist, nationalist, religious, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, sexist, jingoist or ethnic – at the center of my approach to the study of the social sciences. I begin every one of my courses with readings, videos and lectures that seek to create an awareness of overt and covert biases in the social science texts, in our public discourse as well as our private conversations. I tell my students that recognition of our biases is the first and necessary step towards pushing back against the same in our own thinking.
In order to help my students in these explorations, I tell them stories from the wisdom traditions of Islam, the West, India and China, I recite to them poems – from Rumi, Shakespeare, Whitman, and contemporary American poets. I show them videos on biases in our perceptions, and I read to them from some of the Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln. It is therefore ironic that accusations of anti-Semitic bias should be hurled against me. It is doubly ironic that such accusations should come from individuals who have never taken my classes or engaged me in discussions; and this speaks pointedly to the falsity of their accusations.
At the end, I must confess that as I write this letter I cannot avoid feeling diminished by the need to defend my reputation against outrageous smears by people who have made lucrative careers out of hate-mongering and Islamophobia. A scholar’s life is an open book: you can examine his ideas in his books, articles, essays, and speeches. My work too should speak for itself.
I am available to meet with you at your convenience should you wish to discuss the matter further.
M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University; he is also the faculty advisor to Students for Justice in Palestine on the campus. He is an economist, essayist, translator and poet. His most recent book, Israeli Exceptionalism, was published in 2007 by Palgrave
“Zionism is much more than settler colonialism; its fundamental opposition is between Jew and gentile everywhere.”
What is to be done?
Worldwide, it is Israel Apartheid Week, 2013, a worthy expression of solidarity with the Palestinians suffering under Israel’s occupation of the territories it conquered in the June, 1967 war. However, the leading lights of the anti-apartheid struggle said a decade and more ago that Israel’s regime is much worse than South African apartheid. After 46 years, “the occupation” is clearly not temporary and transient as the word implies. It is egregiously wrong to use this language, which privileges the oppressors and further oppresses the victims. This language is universal and long-standing, reflecting habits of thought and action long overdue for replacement.
The following was written as notes for a discussion, about 2000 words, divided into 5 headings: Classical Liberal Views of Zionism; Zionism; Zionism in the US; Zionism on the Left; Strategy and Tactics.
Classical Liberal Views of Zionism
The Enlightenment and emancipation ended the subjugation of west European Jews to Judaic authorities, and to gentile regulation. Jews were admitted, gradually but inevitably, to liberal citizenship. The US was created on a modern, liberal basis, with no trace of pre-modern Jewish status.
Reform Judaism modernized traditional Judaism and allowed religious worship with the social status of Christianity. Many Jews abandoned religion for secularism, after Spinoza. Jews contributed disproportionately to modern liberal culture and left and liberal politics.
Zionism was dismissed as reactionary and atavistic. American Reform Judaism in 1885 expressly disavowed it. The Marxism of the Second International period viewed nationalism as reactionary and Zionism as a tool of imperialism. The Yiddish labor movements in the Russian Empire and their immigrant offshoots also opposed Zionism.
Zionism was a marginal, declining cult until World War I, which led to the Balfour Declaration, the British conquest of Palestine, and growth of the “Jewish national home.” Even then Zionism was a minority current, until the rise of Nazism. Yet classical anti-Zionism survived all the changes of World War II.
Elmer Berger, an American Reform rabbi, led a rearguard action against Zionism in the 1940s, and remained an avowed critic of Israel until his death in 1996. Isaac Deutscher and Maxime Rodinson, raised in Marxist internationalism, remained critics of Zionism and Israel until their deaths (Deutscher in August, 1967, Rodinson in 2004)
The Israeli Socialist Organization (Matzpen) attempted to reconstruct internationalism in the 1960s. Israel Shahak cited what he called the “modern, secular Jewish tradition,” which he traced from Spinoza, against Zionism. Shahak and Matzpen put the atrocities of Israel’s occupation on the map from the Israeli side. Shahak died in 2001; some senior Matzpen alumni are still active.
Obviously, these currents have different social bases, and different politics, aside from their rejection of Zionism. Yet they constitute the basis of modernity and any critique of Zionism must derive from them. The people cited were well to the left of what the US has produced since 1967, precisely because the US left has ignored classical sources.
Zionism is the Jewish contribution to right-wing politics and ideology, nothing more or less; it opposed liberalism and embraced anti-Semitism. Zionism agreed that “the Jews comprise a distinctive element among the nations… and as such can neither assimilate nor be readily digested by any nation.” “The only solution is in the creation of a Jewish nationality, of a people living upon its own soil, the auto- emancipation of the Jews; their return to the ranks of the nations by the acquisition of a Jewish homeland.” (Pinsker, Autoemancipation) This was the view of bourgeois Jewish society in the Pale of Settlement, not the impoverished masses, who left by the million for the US.
Zionist “Jewish nationality” was not nationalism; it rejected the actually existing Yiddish nation in eastern Europe, including the Yiddish language, in anti-Semitic terms. Modern Israeli Hebrew was not “revived” but largely invented; modern Hebrew culture is inextricably Zionist, bound up with its conquest and dispossession. The alleged unitary history and historiography of the Jewish people have, unsurprisingly, been demolished by authors like Shlomo Sand, archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman, linguist Paul Wexler, and others.
Racialism in Zionism dates to the proto-Zionism of Moses Hess; the chauvinism of Heinrich Graetz contributed to German anti-Semitism; German Zionism was Jewish Romantic nationalism, embracing Jewish Blut und Boden. Herzl was steeped in the racism of European colonialism. Zionism was a fraternal twin of anti-Semitism, and cooperated with it practically, down to the Nazi regime itself.
Elmer Berger co-authored the UN resolution on Zionism as a form of racism, and wrote on that theme. Noel Ignatiev called the Zionist “Jewish people” idea Jewish race doctrine. “Jewish genetics” tries to build a biological basis for Zionism. Zionism is much more than settler colonialism; its fundamental opposition is between Jew and gentile everywhere.
Zionism was an elite project of national renewal, concerned with “the problems of Judaism, not the problems of Jewry,” in Ahad Ha’am’s lofty phrase. It always placed its designs ahead of the fate of European Jewry. Hitler might have conquered the Near East; the Judeocide happened because of Nazi Germany, not because there was no Jewish state.
“Cultural Zionism,” “binationalism” and “socialism” were simply Zionism by other means. The culture of Zionist Jewish nationality was racialism. The binationalists wanted Jewish immigration leading to demographic parity and eventually majority, when Jews were a minority. The kibbutz was a means of Jewish settlement and was inspired by 19th c. German settlement plans to counter a Polish “demographic threat” in the eastern Reich.
Today the state of Israel is waging a race war, as fanatical as Nazi Germany, against the enemies of the Jewish people. This potential was inherent in Zionism from the start, though obviously many contingencies have enabled its fruition. Israeli Hebrew nationality is the replacement for Zionist Jewish nationality, secular and open to all, as Boas Evron argued in Jewish State or Israeli Nation.
Zionism in the US
The core of Zionism in the US is organized Jewry, gathered in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Many of these groups arose to meet the needs of the Russian Jewish migration before 1914. By the 1930s, this organized Jewish culture inspired the idea of “Judaism as a religious civilization,” and in the postwar period was called a “Jewish polity.”
The polity, and the Jewish public, supported Jewish statehood in the 1940s, but were still mainly concerned with integration and acceptance in American life. In the early 1960s, as this was achieved, liberalism was seen as threatening “Jewish continuity,” just as it was feared by the bourgeoisie in the Pale who founded Zionism. This chauvinism was fatally supercharged by Israel’s dramatic victory in June 1967.
The Jewish polity is the core of US support for Israel, which includes institutions and individuals throughout US culture; the “Israel lobby” is an inadequate term; “Zionocracy,” after the 19th c. “Slaveocracy” that wielded immense power in national politics until the Civil War, better describes it.
The Zionocracy has exercised quasi-sovereign power from the 1940s, when it overturned US diplomatic and military opposition to US support for a Jewish state in Palestine. The US did not create Israel, and does not commission its deeds, for its own purposes. Rather it has adapted to Zionist faits accompli in western Asia and in the US, and pursued its interests in their light.
Since the end of the Cold War Zionism has been the chief driver of US militarism at home and abroad. The Zionocracy influenced the Congressional vote for the Gulf War in 1990, the closest since the War of 1812. The crippling sanctions on Iraq and the “dual containment” of Iran and Iraq in the 1990s were largely by and for the Zionocracy, against substantial business opposition. The 9/11 terrorist attacks, with all their momentous consequences, were chiefly a strike against US patronage of Israel. The 2003 invasion of Iraq would not have happened without the neoconservatives. Only the Zionized left sees “oil” as necessarily and obviously requiring the US to invade Iraq, which has led to the present dissolution of Syria. The end of centuries of Sunni rule in Iraq and the Shia ascendancy there brought the Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, to oppose actively the “Shia axis” from Hizbollah to Alawite Syria to Iraq to Iran. The Gulf states are the chief patrons of the armed rebellion in Syria..
Zionism has turned western Asia into the eastern front of the US empire, like the eastern front of the Third Reich, site of its most depraved deeds and ideologies—the annihilation of Arab and Muslim societies, and the Islamophobic “clash of civilizations” and “war on terror.” Disputes over Middle East policy between the miltarists (gentile radicals, and Jewish neoconservatives) and the realists, are like the differences between Nazis and non-Nazi conservatives in Germany.
Zionism on the Left
In the early 1960s the Jewish members of the New Left were universalist, had little interest in “Jewish identity” and identity politics. After the June, 1967 war, there appeared a “Jewish left,” which combined Jewish affirmation with criticism of “the occupation” and support for “Palestinian rights.” This has produced a truncated, minimal critique: “anti-occupation” rhetoric, but no critique of Zionism; “solutions” discourse, of maps and treaties, and false Zionist precedents, rather than overcoming Zionism; ahistorical “law and rights” discourse; the “strategic asset” view of the US-Israel relationship, with little attention to US Zionism; anti-anti-Semitism, but no critique of Jewish chauvinism. With variations, this outlook is hegemonic on the white bread left, including the US Campaign to End the Occupation. It has even absorbed and neutered the “Israel lobby” critique. Phyllis Bennis, long-time “strategic asset” proponent, now dominates Code Pink’s annual anti-AIPAC program, while excluding knowledgeable people like Jeff Blankfort, Janet McMahon, Grant Smith, Stephen Sniegoski, and Alison Weir.
This Orthodox Critique is a form of Zionism. Limiting criticism to “law and rights” trivializes the crimes and diminishes the victims, like calling Nazi aggression and the Judeocide a violation of collective security and minority rights. Referring to Israel’s “occupation,” after nearly 46 years, and to “Israeli apartheid,” when Israel’s regime is much worse than apartheid, is lying. Such apologetics about Zionism, clearest in the “strategic asset” dogma, are Jewish privilege and anti-gentilism, comparable to anti-Semitic essentialism about Jews. The Orthodox Critique replaces a universalist critique from classical sources, which would reject Zionism in its entirety, in Israel, and in the US Zionocracy, and affirm the values of Spinoza, Luxemburg, Berger, et al. against it. Zionism threatens all of us.
Identity can empower the oppressed, but identitarian struggles succeed on broader terrain. The Risorgimento succeeded because national rights were seen as legitimate. The struggles of women and minorities have succeeded because the sphere of rights was broadened. Identity categories are not political, because people have different politics, beyond their universal rights. Past a certain limited point identity politics is chauvinism. Garibaldi recognized the limited progressive value of nationalism. Compare Judith Butler’s attempt to derive liberal obligations from “diasporic Jewish identity,” in the Brooklyn College BDS event, to David Landy’s critique of “diasporic identity” in Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights.
Strategy and Tactics
The Orthodox Critique has deprived us of the most basic vocabulary and analysis. We are missing decades of literature on Zionism as reaction and racialism, on Zionist radicalization of the US, and on the universalist antipodes, and political organizing on those lines. Meanwhile, Zionism has become ever stronger and more destructive. This is the greatest disaster on the left since the German Communist Party misread Nazism.
The chief concern of US citizens must be the special role of the United States, the indispensable economic, military and political support it provides Israel. To the extent BDS sanctions the state of Israel directly, by boycotting its products, or its institutions, it at least stigmatizes Israel, and raises questions about US policy. BDS directed against “companies profiting from the occupation” implies that corporate profits drive US policies and diverts attention from the real actors.
The Zionocracy is not appeased by such limited terms, which Israeli diplomats and organized Jewry oppose fiercely. We can only gain by calling for Israel to be sanctioned, and by opposing Zionism forthrightly as the chief source of Islamophobia, our Middle East wars, 9/11, and our domestic police state. We should consider “Anti-Zionism Week”.
BDS in the US can be educational, but Europe is the chief market for Israeli products, and BDS is most effective there. Zionist domination of US politics must be our highest concern. Zionism is not a tool of the US, but a quasi-sovereign power in the US, which has activated the worst potentialities of US society. The classical anti-Zionists saw Zionism obviously as an attack on liberal modernity, to be rejected categorically. Liberal traditions allow us—obligate us—to reject Zionism and all its works, and also obligate us to distinguish adherents of Jewish people ideology from Jewish liberal citizens and their rights. They also obligate the latter to join unequivocally a common struggle against Zionism, which threatens us all.
A poorly-written but still revealing briefing was published a few days ago by J-BIG. J-BIG may sound like an Israeli penis enlargement clinic but is in fact an acronym for Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods - a Jews Only political organisation set up to promote Jewish interests amongst Palestinian solidarity in general and the BDS movement in particular. The briefing was apparently published in order to “help BDS campaigners to defy the accusation of antisemitsm” and to explain “how the charge of antisemitism applies (actually) to Zionism itself.”
It doesn’t take long for an intelligent person to grasp that Zionism is fuelled by anti-Semitsm. In fact, early Zionists were candid enough on occasions to admit that the enemies of the Jews may actually have a point.
Here are some comments made by Early Zionists about their fellow Jews.
‘The Jew is a caricature of a normal, natural human being, both physically and spiritually.’ (Our Shomer ‘Weltanschauung’, Hashomer Hatzair, December 1936, p.26. As cited by Lenni Brenner
‘The fact is undeniable that the Jews, collectively, are unhealthy and neurotic..’ Ben Frommer, The Significance of a Jewish State, Jewish Call, Shanghai, May 1935, p.10. As cited by Lenni Brenner
‘The enterprising spirit of the Jew is irrepressible. He refuses to remain a proletarian. He will grab at the first opportunity to advance to a higher rung in the social ladder.’ (The Economic Development of the Jewish People, Ber Borochov, 1916
So in this regard, early Zionism, could actually be seen as a unique moment of Jewish self-reflection. It’s certainly true, and J-BIG are correct in suggesting that Zionism, and later on Israel, both invested heavily in anti Semitism, transforming it into the very raison d’être of the Jewish national project.
But what about these so-called ‘anti’ Zionist Jews and J-BIG? Do they not also invest in ‘anti Semitism’ and in most cases even invent its existence simply to justify their own existence? In fact, our J-BIG ‘anti’ Zionist Jews are even more sinister than their Zionist twins because J-BIG are clearly making a huge effort to transform the entire Palestinian solidarity discourse into a new front in their eternal battle against anti Semitism. It’s as if anti-Semitism is a Palestinian issue. And why do they do it? Probably because primarily they are concerned, not with Palestine, but with their own tribal interests. So, as much as they love to keep the ‘J’ big, they also happen to keep the ‘P’ somehow smaller or at least secondary.
It takes our J-BIG agitators about 1000 words of mangled logic and convoluted reasoning before they get to the point and reveal their true motivation. “Some misguided supporters of the Palestinians have attributed their oppression to an international Jewish conspiracy, to ‘Jewish power’, to ‘a Jewish spirit’, etc.”
Here we go again. In spite of the fact that Israel defines itself as the ‘Jewish State’, despite the fact that its airplanes are decorated with Jewish symbols and its murderous actions are supported by powerful Jewish lobbies around the world, our Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists still insist that we do not address the core of the problem. They want us to oppose Israel while avoiding the crucial fact that Israel defines itself as the ‘Jewish State’. In effect, they want us to fight Israel but with both hands tied behind our back. And why? Is it because they are concerned with some universal ethical issues? I don’t think so. No, the real reason is that, knowingly or unknowingly, they are actually committed to a tribal cause and I think we all know which tribe we’re talking about.
Whether we like it or not, Israel is openly driven by a dynamic force which it interprets (rightly or wrongly) as the true “Jewish spirit” and whether we like it or not, Israel’s supporters around the world utilise every possible aspect of Jewish power. And this is no conspiracy. Everything is done right out in the open for all to see. Even the Jewish lobbying within the Palestinian solidarity movement is pretty much in the open, as proved by the J-BIG pamphlet. Philip Weiss, the man behind the Jewish progressive blog Mondoweiss was even honest enough to admit to me a year ago that his support of Palestine is “motivated by Jewish self interests.”
So, I guess that the most crucial question here is what exactly are those ‘Jewish self-interests’ and how do they relate to ethics in general and to the Palestinian plight in particular?
Unfortunately, our ‘progressive’ J-BIG agitators have managed to drag some Palestinian academics and activists to fight their battles for them and, once again, they openly brag about the fact that “leading Palestinian commentators and activists reject such ‘support’ as damaging the Palestinian cause. Ali Abunimah, Joseph Massad, Omar Barghouti and Rafeef Ziadeh were among dozens who denounced any who point to the ‘Jewish’ character of the oppression of Palestinians.
Clearly, without mentioning my name, our ‘progressive J-BIG refer here specifically to the call by Palestinian blogger Ali Abunimah and others to disavow yours truly.
Since I am found to be at the centre of this campaign I should mention that by now enough prominent Palestinians activists, humanists and academics have stood up for me and my writings – something J-BIG fails to mention. Furthermore, I actually welcome the debate on those crucial matters and I am more than happy to be at its very centre. This week, Counterpunch published Blake Alcott’s detailed analytical study of the call for my disavowal. Alcott established beyond doubt that what some of our leading Palestinians were led to sign was a very problematic text. What led a bunch of devoted Palestinian academics and activists to join a Jewish campaign without even engaging in some elementary research? What led Abunmiah & Co to disavowal a fellow intellectual turning their back to the notion of intellectual integrity and freedom of expression? I think we should be told.
Interestingly enough, my latest book The Wandering Who attempts to provide an answer. It elaborates on the Jewish political nature of Israel and its lobbies but it also points at the destructive role of those lobbies within the left, the Anti War Campaign and the Palestinian solidarity movement. Again, I don’t speak about any conspiracy. As far as I am aware, this is all taking place before our very eyes. Abunimah & co kept silent about this affair for almost a year and they probably know why. I guess that they are still searching for something that may look remotely like an argument or even an excuse. After all, It is slightly unusual for Palestinians and Arabs to adopt the most vile Talmudic Herem culture. As Palestinian poet Nahida Izzat suggests, it demands an explanation.
Here is my message to J-BIG, Abunimah and anyone who is willing to listen. It would be impossible to grasp the success of Israel and Zionism without scrutinizing the role of Jewish culture, ideology and the significant impact of the Sabbath Goy within the American Administration but also in Palestine. After all, many of us do realise by now that, at least, from a Jewish political perspective, the Palestinians are merely Goyim du jour. Nothing really new, yet very painful if you happen to be a Palestinian.
Forbidden words, taboo topics, witch hunts, smear campaigns, excommunications, thought-policing and book banning are no longer the trademark of fascists and right wing extremists, the profession is shared now by Jewish “anti-Zionists,” alleged “friends of Palestine.” We are left watching in astonishment and disbelief as some “anti-Zionists” are doing the work of hyper-Zionists the likes of ADL and BoDoBJ.
I have recently witnessed the ostracizing and excommunication of two activists, Paul Eisen and Gilad Atzmon, by my local group affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) using the Zionist method of character assassination of using the labels “racist” “anti-Semitic” as a method of muffling truth.
Yet, among the numerous intellectuals and political activists that have publicly defended Atzmon are many Jews for whom I have only high praise and have expressed much admiration.
It seems that those who wish to stifle discourse are acting as controlled opposition. They attempt to block intellectual discussion, suppress academic freedom, obstruct rational and scholarly debate, filter vital information and smother serious research that examines three main identifiable problems:
The problem of the ideology of Jewish supremacy
The problem of global Jewish-Zionist networking and lobbying
The problem of idolizing the holocaust (which is used as a tool to further Zionist aims)
In 2009, soon after the Gaza massacres, by sheer coincidence I came across the word Neshama. Curious, I googled the word, and lo and behold a Pandora’s Box opened before my eyes; a new learning curve began; I learned about a group called Chabad Lubavitch. I was horrified to discover the supremacist ideology at the core of this group and the level of influence accomplished by the Rebbe and his followers.
Horror-struck, I started investigating, studying then writing about two main issues; the supremacist ideology and the high influence of this prominent organization, attempting to alert our Jewish PSC allies to the danger of such ideology and influence… only to be faced with utter silence.
The problem of the ideology of Jewish supremacy
First; if we accept that Zionism is defined by the crime of genocide and the ethnic cleansing of a nation and has caused the wiping out of a country, then investigating the motivation behind such crime is essential to fight it and hopefully to defeat it. Without unfiltered scrutiny, we would never know who we are dealing with and how to stop them.
Second; supremacism in Jewish ideology is not above criticism; like every other ideology, it should be transparent, accessible and not kept secretive. Without unfiltered scrutiny we would never know what animates Zionists to act with such aggravated cruelty and sadism.
Third; to accuse of “anti-Semitism” and “racism” those who expose Jewish supremacy, is the equivalent of covering up the ideology behind the crime and dissuading people from learning about it, hence challenging and fighting this form of racism.
Dismissing such supremacist beliefs as irrelevant and obsolete would be a huge mistake because these views are the very motor that charges, motivates and energizes the Jewish settlers in Palestine, and gives them the sense of entitlement to do what they do without feeling any guilt or remorse.
For us Palestinians and for our supporters in the solidarity movement, it is a matter of extreme importance to inspect and scrutinize the ideology that motivates and animates the Jewish settlers in our occupied Palestine in order to better understand it, hence combat it. Restricting our understanding of the occupiers, their ideology and mindset cripples our ability to fight back against them knowledgeably and effectively. Furthermore, in our day and age, racism has become outlawed, when people learn about the extent of the ideological racism in the Zionist entity, it will enable us to fight them in their weakest point, thus, bring the day of our liberation closer.
The problem of global Jewish-Zionist networking and lobbying
First; when we look at Zionism as a crime, again, then logically we must identify and investigate the modus operandi. Failure to do so would leave us unable to understand how our oppressors operate and succeed.
Second; with regards to the Jewish-Zionist lobby: investigative work that examines information, no matter how well concealed, and attempts to identify at least some of the culprits and the real criminals behind the fearmongering, the endless wars and the catastrophic conditions that our world suffers is neither racist nor anti Semitic.
Third; devoid of proof or evidence for their false accusations the controlled opposition gate-keepers insidiously filter information through intimidation and by labeling anyone who dares to divulge vital facts. They disable Friends of Palestine (FoP) members from understanding the animus and the methods used to install and to perpetuate the criminal Zionist project, in particular the global network of collaborators who organize and effectively manipulate world policies by coercing world governments into continuous support of the Zionist project in spite of its growing inhumanity.
Expecting to become myself sooner or later a victim of such smear and filtering activity, I always utilize extensive links to primary sources I quote, mostly Jewish organizations. The network formed by these organizations involves large sections of Jewish communities worldwide, and its ultimate role is generally to support the Zionist entity, by inserting themselves in influential positions.
Suppression of inquiry amounts to a dynamic protection system (by peripheral concealment) of the global Zionist network.
Lite-Zionist critics of Israel are attempting to impose on FoP their restrictive dogma, i.e. that a majority of Jews worldwide, whether Zionist “diaspora” or “Israelis”, are not the manipulators of international policy with regards to “Israel”, but the complacent, docile instrument of U.S. imperialism.
To persist, such dogma imperatively needs, again, to filter out glaring facts such as the over-representation of Jewish-Zionist dual citizens in vital areas of UK-US policy making, or the cross-pollination of racist and supremacist ideology between many Talmudic Rabbis and many Secular Jewish-Zionist Organizations supporting the Zionist project.
The persistence of this dogma also requires strict and repressive censorship and gagging of whomever tries to scrutinize, analyze and discuss the facts, let alone expose them to an audience concerned by matters of equality and humanism, such as FoP and the Palestine solidarity movement in general was supposed to be. That is how and why smear campaigns with killer words such as “anti-Semitism” or “racism” are launched.
At best, such activity on part of alleged “friends of Palestine” is irresponsible. The logical implication of such nonsense, would be that Jewish Israelis, almost all of them serving at least 2 full years in the Israeli army, are just naïve and innocent victims. Thereby, this nonsensical dogma exculpates the notoriously perverted cruelty and psychopathy of the Israeli military’s crimes, up and down the command ladder.
The problem of idolizing the holocaust
First; “Facts” do NOT need laws to enforce or defend them, what they require is research to examine their narrative and correct it for better accuracy and understanding. The denial of these principles will invariably lead to the eradication of the Science of History, and thus cause the blind repetition of more genocides, as we already see in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan… Much like what we see with the cover up and suppression of information about The Truth about 9/11, who benefited and how the event was used to create a climate of hatred and fear which enables the power elite to continue waging wars of aggression and extermination.
Second; without understanding how the holocaust has been used by Zionists, from its onset til this very day, we would continue to succumb to intimidation and give allowances that legitimize and justify the existence of a criminal entity. By insisting on keeping an aura of holiness, uniqueness and exceptionality around the holocaust which would continue to put it above any historical event, preventing researchers from examining how this event has been used, and how it enables our occupier to continue to use it as justification for what they do in Palestine.
The holocaust ought to be studied as a historical event with a historical narrative that has NO sacred or exceptional dimension. The emotional, dogmatic and sacred luggage that has been attached to it has been systematically used and is still used by Zionists to justify and minimize their ongoing heinous crimes in Palestine, as well as the claim of special status with special benefits in their respective countries.
Third; there is absolutely no link -strictly none- between the so-called Holocaust and Palestinians. Nowhere can Palestinians be incriminated in the abhorrent oppression committed by central Europeans against Jews during World War II.
I, as a Palestinian, am not prepared to live in guilt, nor to pay for crimes my people haven’t committed. We refuse to accept and will reject forcibly if necessary, pathologically violent and racist Jewish occupiers.
Military conquest, terrorism, robbery, torture, ethnic cleansing and slow genocide ongoing since the arrival of the first Zionists in Palestine almost one century ago (i.e. before the holocaust) does NOT make someone the rightful “owners” or “co-owners” of my homeland, it makes them abject and violent occupiers.
I and with me my People are not accepting any more to keep having to listen to this narrative shoved down our throat with the repetition of tragedies about legendary love stories, human-fat soap or human-skin lamp shades in order that the Zionists continue to deceive, to trade with and reap the profit by deception and theft of a historical crime that has already been dealt with, and while they continue to use it to justify the ongoing theft of Palestine and extermination of Palestinians.
When someone claims to be in the solidarity movement with Palestine, but then at a crucial time when the Palestinian struggle for Liberation gains momentum, engages in such blatant cover up and concealment of vital information and analysis that would enable people to better understand the core problematic issues and how to effectively deal with them, I and with me every member of the FoP and the Palestine solidarity movement, have the right to question the dubious intentions and motivations of such acts, and to evaluate the damage such people are causing to the movement, hence to Palestinians.
I would like to add a thought about the accusation of racism and anti-Semitism used as a method to silence debate. Anti-Semitism is nothing but one form of racism. Jewish supremacy is yet another form of racism. All forms of racism are vile and ought to be rejected.
An aggravating factor makes the accuser’s motives appear to be even more dubious. Indeed the false accusations of racism is inconsistent with their deafening silence about the mountain of evidence of the wide-spread existence of the ominously racist Jewish supremacist ideologies. This utter silence is a glaring attempt to deflect from the real racism about which I happen to have done extensive research during the past 2 years.
Also, I perceive the attacks as an attempt to block intellectual debate about the problem of global Jewish-Zionist networking and lobbying, which to me is very worrisome, to say the least, when coming from self proclaimed “Friends of Palestine.”
What I find really mind-boggling and hard to fathom in all this is the inconsistency with regards to racism.
On the one hand they do not hesitate to throw such a label against many honorable activists, scholars and intellectuals, in fact they label as “racist” and “fools” anyone who exposes the revolting yet well concealed Jewish supremacy, anyone who notices the effect of Jewish-Zionist networking or who objects to their disproportionate over-representation in key positions with all what it entails of conflict of interest and promotion of the interest of a foreign entity at the detriment of the interest of their national constituency. Yet, on the other hand, mystifyingly, the same people, who without hesitation accuse us of racism, stay utterly mute about the massive, revolting and offensive racism that fills thousands of pages in the Talmud, and major Jewish religious books! And I am not talking about some fringe lunatic fundamentalists who use these always mutating texts as tools, what I am talking about is the inter-connective network of people deeply entrenched in the main centers of government, power and capital, and who are veritably driving policies, war-mongering and hate-mongering!
This sharp contrast between the fervent reaction of those disloyal activists to alleged “racism” on one hand, and on the other, their apathetic deflated reaction or lack thereof, to the sickening anti-human racism emanating from Jewish sources with its correlation with Zionists’ activities, leaves me speechless, beyond words.
Since I started exposing this racism, and over the past two years, I heard NOT ONE WORD about their outrage, opposition or willingness to expose or fight Jewish supremacist ideology, such as seen in the writing of one of the most respected, most reputable Jewish philosophers Moses Ben Maimon (also known as Maimonides).
“Maimonides’s Mishneh Torah is considered by traditionalist Jews even today as one of the chief authoritative codifications of Jewish law and ethics.” Moses Ben Maimon sees no problem with subjugating and enslaving gentiles:
“They shall be your subjects and serve you.”
“The subjugation they must accept consists of being on a lower level, scorned and humble.
They must never raise their heads against Israel, but must remain subjugated under their rule. They may never be appointed over a Jew in any matter whatsoever.”
He also talks about the right of the Jewish king to:
“wage a milchemet hareshut, (war of aggression) i.e. a war fought with other nations in order to expand the borders of Israel or magnify its greatness and reputation.“
These “chief authoritative codifications of Jewish law and ethics” do not see any ethical predicament with “Jewish wars” of extermination and annihilation either.
Since this notorious ideology is the unequivocal underlying animus and root cause of the Zionist aggression and occupation, and since the “facts on the ground” prove the cross-pollination between this degradation and the secular Zionist aims, including the irrefutably slow-genocidal Zionist military policies, scrutiny and criticism of this racist supremacist filth is not a matter of fringe theology, but a vital matter of totalitarian politics.
Now, where is their outrage against such blatant Jewish racism and supremacy and terrifying nihilistic ideology? Don’t they claim to be against racism wherever it comes from? Why don’t they have the guts to condemn and campaign against such racism?
Is it not ludicrous to hear them condemn instead, those who expose and vehemently oppose such racism?
Without using any commonsense they jump into the ADL bandwagon and rub shoulders with Zionists!
If someone obstinately objects to the massive control and unwelcome influence and the robbing of others rights and property, under the pretext of divine entitlement, does that person become the unreasonable “bigot” !
What kind of skewed logic is that?
This inconsistency is incomprehensible to me.
Why are they entitled to classify people and to dictate to people what they should read and what they should avoid?
Why this condescending attitude that appears to be claiming to know what is best for people and selecting their intellectual diet for them?
Why deprive people of the right to read a wide range of opinions, including my own writing, and allow them to make up their analysis, and conclusions without manipulation, repression or restraint?
In my writing I vehemently criticize racist Jewish ideology, but I never accuse all Jews of being racist, never put them -or anyone else for that matter, in one basket. Ever.
In my writing I quoted the poll that 95% of USA Jewry support Israel as a Jewish state and 90% of British Jewry believe that Israel is the ‘ancestral homeland’ of the Jewish people, and concluded that most world Jewry are supportive of the theft of Palestine.
Truth is that the majority of world Jewry insist that Jews have a right and claim to the land. Including some of our Jewish “anti-Zionist” friends under whatever pretext. Their claims are not acceptable and unjustifiable!
I have pointed out the influence of organized Jewish networks, such information is available for any serious researcher, it can be easily verified, yes it is troublesome to find such a tiny group extremely overrepresented in so many vital areas of public affairs, such as finance, media, security and policy making, more so when the interests of such a group are in conspicuous conflict with the interest of the larger group, and when this minority supports a genocidal entity that has not evolved in six decades.
Over-representation is as unfair as under-representation, and if anti-racists take it upon themselves to defend the rights of the under-represented minorities, it is of equal importance to do the same with over-representation.
Perhaps such questions of over-representation might have not surfaced had the behavior of those in question been shrouded with morality and humanity. Had they been working to establish social justice, building homes, schools and hospitals instead of destroying and polluting the planet for generations to come, and instead of law of the jungle where the super-rich eat the poor to the last bone, had they chosen cooperation instead never-ending conflict, and promoted peace and justice instead of fomenting perpetual wars.
No one should be slandered for observing and objecting to such blatant mockery of morality, equality and justice.
I do not need to focus on Christian Zionists because their ideology is almost entirely sourced from the Old-Testament which is none other than the Jewish Torah! Most authentic Christians consider the Christian Zionists as worshipers of “Israel” and of the “Jewish people” rather than God, and in that sense they share the same ideology as Jewish-Zionist supremacists, in terms of their reverence and idolization of the Jewish people as the “Chosen”, they are one and the same. Furthermore, those who occupy my land, those who drove me out of my homeland, and those who are still depriving me from going home are the Jewish Zionists.
I criticize the deafening silence of anti-Zionist Jews with regard to the racism that thrives amidst many Jewish communities. A silence which I believe will backfire one day, as they would be seen as not only complaisant but also complacent by deflecting away and concealing horrendous truths.
My criticism is motivated by concern and genuine care for good Jewish individuals that I have known and those whom I don’t know, because of what I perceive as the danger that would befall all of them if they continue to ignore the supremacist ideology, the growing influence of the adherents of this ideology and if they continue to ignore all the warning signs that point to accumulating bottled rage against such villainy, which no doubt would one day manifest itself violently as an inevitable backlash to much unsaid, yet felt, oppression and unspoken, but lived, subjugation.
I find it rather pathetic that the only defense mechanism that the accusers come up with is the smear, slander and the accusation of being a “racist” against anyone who pokes the boil exposing the pus infesting inside one of the most vile racist and supremacist ideologies thriving at the heart of some Jewish teachings as per Mishna Torah, Zohar, Tanya, and Talmud. By insisting on dismissing Jewish supremacy and Jewish-Zionist networks they only promote the most cruel and degenerative racism to be found on the planet by means of concealment and shifting attention away from the real racism that I vehemently fight and deplore.
The persons who resort to accusation, suppression, character assassination and smear campaigns very cunningly and dishonestly omit to mention that those who expose and condemn the racist concepts of “chosen-ness”, “exceptionality”, “superior morality”, “superior intelligence”, and “Jewish entitlement of world leadership” do not invent these concepts. It is not racist to expose or quote such abomination, it is not a crime to bring such Jewish-claims to the public awareness. Any honest criticism should be directed against those who believe such filth and make such revolting claims.
To those individuals who take part in such ADL style smear campaigns of accusation of racism, I say:
I accuse you of acting as a smoke screen to cover up real racism as manifested by Jewish supremacists
I accuse you of acting as protectors and gatekeepers of the global Jewish Zionist networks and lobby groups by denying their existence and effectiveness.
I accuse you of complicity by insisting to conceal planned crimes against humanity as manifested in the supremacist nihilistic Chabad ideology.
Any Solidarity Movement with Palestine should take the opinions, the interests, and the future well being of Palestinians at heart, otherwise, it speaks only for itself, not for Palestinians.
Palestinians have the right to fight for the full liberation of their country, those who are willing to march with us all the way are welcome, those who are not, may look for other more convenient and less controversial campaigns to support.
I denounce any person or group who pretends to speak in my name as a Palestinian, yet behind closed doors, they plot and whisper about how to mute Palestinian voices and curtail the spread and impact of daring Palestinian opinions.
I denounce any person or group who claims to work for Palestine, yet their actions are contrary to the legitimate interest and aspirations of Palestinian people. Allowing themselves to be used as a vehicle to secure the future of the Jewish-Zionist invaders by facilitating the permanent takeover of Palestine with the pretext of “two peoples, one future” blather or “equal rights to both sides” nonsense.
I denounce any person or group who turns a blind eye and reacts with a deafening silence to the unimaginable repulsive racism that oozes from some Jewish supremacist groups, yet instead, hysterically and shamelessly react to someone who accidentally came to discover such horrors.
Finally, I fully trust the Palestine solidarity movement to have the intellectual integrity and capacity to see through the fog of manipulation, and to have the assertiveness, the respect for their own intellect and enough open-mindedness to look at many sources of information, and that they have the courage to read for themselves and evaluate what they read independently, without having some gurus spoon-feeding them with filtered, processed, misrepresented or manipulated information.
Nahida Izzat is a Jerusalem-born Palestinian refugee who has lived in exile for over forty five years, after being forced to leave her homeland at the tender age of seven in 1967, during the six-day war. She has a degree in mathematics, but art is one of her favorite pastimes. She loves hand-made things and so makes dolls, cards, and most of her own clothing. She also writes poetry, participates in written dialogues and believes in building bridges, not walls.
A lucky few had front row seats at Great Berlin’s Oyer and Terminer cybertrial.
The hall was packed and it was standing room only for most attendees.
Hushed whispers, excited twitters, and face-to-face exchanges in the back seats created an ominous droning sound.
“What did she do exactly?”
“You don’t know?! She posted a video.”
“No, I mean one of those.”
“No friggingfreespeech way! She didn’t clear it with anyone?”
“No, she claimed it was not supposed to be widely disseminated; she probably knew it might create a furore, but it somehow got sent out of the Freegaza account.”
“But someone said it was just one of those stupid videos that bark up the wrong tree, chewing the old cud about the Jews’ role in the holocaust.”
“No, it is a lot worse. It is one of those provocative videos, like David Duke’s. You know the BDS saying: “You post, you’re toast.”
“That’s an incredibly dumb video though. Like there isn’t enough current stuff to talk about regarding the role of the Jews in the banking collapse, for one thing.”
“That would not be an approved video either. One of these days I swear I’ll see you up there in Greta’s box. Don’t you get it? It can’t be about the Jews, it is only about Israelis, and not all of them, only the bad ones, like Netanyahu.”
“Did she say that she liked the video and approved of its content?”
“That’s another silly question. What’s wrong with you today? It does not matter that she did not say that. It is bad enough that she watched it and/or sent it on. If we all did stupid things like that where would we be? We’d all be watching and reading anything and discussing it!”
We cannot afford to… wait, how did he put it?
“Can’t remember his name exactly Steve Damsel or Hamsel from Jerusalem, formerly from the US. In his blog called Desert Peace he called her “a witch” and said “we can’t afford to alienate anybody.”
“Smart guy. He is right: what kind of protest movement would we be if we upset people?”
“I read Emily Hauser in the Daily Beast. She explained that Greta harms the Palestinian cause and Emily knows her onions. Her Palestinian onions, as it were, because she said she was talking “as a Jew, a Zionist, and an Israeli.” She even added “as a pro-Palestinians activist I’m pretty pissed off.”
“Shhhhhh@! He is coming!”
“Ali Abounimah. Don’t you recognize him by his limp?”
“What happened to him?”
“Atzmon caught his you know what in a revolving door.”
“What ‘you know what’?”
“I don’t know if the word is on the approved list. In Yiddish it’s beitsam. I guess I can say it in Spanish: cojones.
And since you still look clueless I’ll tell you the revolving door was the business with Ali saying culture does not matter.
Well, Atzmon turned the revolving door back on him with Goldhagen or something and Ali has been limping ever since.”
“Oh, no, he’s coming closer to Greta and sniffing her. He can sniff Atzmon on anybody from a mile away. He looks ready to pounce on her.”
“How can he pounce while limping and wrapped in that djellaba?”
“It’s a judge’s robe but he had it cut like a djellaba: makes him look more Palestinian.
“I hear Naomi Klein resigned from the FG advisory board. A way of saying she can’t be associated with an organization that watches videos. Those videos.“
“Who will speak for the accused? Will someone say anything about her contribution, or that doesn’t count? She founded FG, didn’t she?”
“Maybe, but only in the introduction prior to reading her charges. Makes them, you know, balanced.”
“But the Palestinians? I mean the Palestinians in Palestine, especially Gaza?”
“What about them? What do they have to do with this? Leave them out of this discussion. This is far more important. It’s all about racism, that is, its worst form ever, anti-Semitism.
Which is why Ali monitors discussions of a group of 1,000 members or more. You can’t have people flapping their jaws on their own.”
“You’re right. Greta was on probation anyhow. She went off the reservation by saying Atzmon had been ‘demonized.’ I swear that’s the word she used. I think Ali will tear her flesh off the bone, just watch.”
“How do you know?”
“Haven’t you read Harry’s Place? They’re challenging Ali to prove he is not an anti-Semite, and giving him a list of the next candidates for Oyer and Terminer.
Here, read this copy:
“I’m not sure he really believes what he’s saying.
The thing is, Ali Abunimah’s website isn’t much better at all. Abunimah encourages antisemites of similar stock to Greta Berlin, to write for the Electronic Intifada.
Electronic Intifada still lists Sonja Karkar as an author.
Electronic Intifada recently published Stephen Salaita.
Stephen Salaita is a fan of the antisemite Gilad Atzmon.
Ali Abunimah himself has condemned Atzmon for years for antisemitism. Whilst dismissing Atzmon, Abunimah claimed “We must protect the integrity of our movement”. But he still lets one of Atzmon’s admirers write on his blog.
Abunimah also publishes the antisemite Ben White.”
“Some say this is guilt by association and they say it like there’s anything wrong with it as an accusation. Harry’s Place called Ali a “weird and creepy guy.” Next stop: anti-semitesville. So Ali has to, you know, put out.”
“But why isn’t it starting?”
“They’re waiting for Avi Mayer, you know who he is, the head honcho of the Jewish Agency for Israel.”
“But what is he doing here? He is not FG. In fact he says the Free Gaza Movement endorses violence against Israel.”
“No, in this he is with us. In a manner of speaking. It’s complicated.
At any rate, this is the kind of video that should not be circulated at all, so when the FG deleted it from their tweet account, Avi Mayer used a screenshot he had taken of it and posted it.”
“Obvious: so everyone can see what they better not watch and pass around.“
“I am beginning to pity her, if he cross examines her.”
“I know, he is merciless.”
“No, worse: I am told he has a killer halitosis.”
“Quiet now, they’re ready to begin.”
‘In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel Defeat Jihad.’ — (Pamela Geller, San Francisco ad campaign)
The California Assembly’s resolution passed on August 23, 2012, HR 35, purports to condemn “anti-Semitism” in public post-secondary institutions of higher learning by denying expression of opinions or statements that might be construed as expressing hatred of the Jewish people or critical of the state of Israel. Pamela Geller’s ad campaign quoted above, and placed in public vehicles in the city of San Francisco, expresses an opinion that demeans a group of people who are unquestionably Semitic by blood and language, yet would not be protected by the Assembly resolution since the term as defined is based upon the European Union’s definition that is exclusive, protecting Jews only.
The ad has created considerable reaction; a parallel poster expresses the same statement with a change of wording: “in any war between the colonizer and the colonized, support the oppressed, support the Palestinian right of return.” In short, Geller’s ad campaign began a dialogue that has illumined quite opposing perspectives: what is the meaning of civilized man on the one hand and what is the meaning of colonized on the other. Perhaps out of this dialogue understanding will arise. Freedom of expression triumphs.
Unfortunately, the Assembly sought a different end, an end that would stifle discussion and oppose open expression that allowed for understanding and research that would be critical of one side. Two actions were sought by the passage: the Assembly “unequivocally condemns all forms of intolerance, including anti-Semitism, on public postsecondary educational institution campuses in California, and, “calls upon …(officials) of those institutions to increase their efforts to swiftly and unequivocally condemn acts of anti-Semitism on their campuses and to utilize existing resources, such as the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights’ working definition of anti-Semitism, to help guide program discussion about, and promote, as appropriate, educational programs for combating anti-Semitism on their campuses.”
Condemning all forms of intolerance on the campuses of public postsecondary educational institutions in California would appear to be a desirable goal, and with the additional reference—“including anti-Semitism”—a furtherance of explicitness to guide deliberations, but only helpful if that term can be defined specifically and concretely to achieve meaningful discussion.
However, the context for this “working definition” comes from the EU where freedom of speech is not free if it can be alleged to be “hate speech.” This is the working definition:
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” (Summary overview of Antisemitism in the European Union (Dec 2006), Anti-Semitism Reference Center, Zionism on the Web).
Geller’s ad could not be considered “hatred toward Jews” and hence safe from condemnation by the EU definition the university officials would use to “guide program discussion…”; however, it certainly could be considered “hatred of Palestinians” expressed through her use of “savage” people. The irony here of course is obvious since it is the Palestinian people who are Semites and who suffer the consequences of occupation. The victim becomes the offender.
I bring attention to this control of thought not because I condemn Geller’s uncivilized advertisement; on the contrary, I support her right to express her views. By openly advertising her hatred of the Palestinians, Geller reveals for all how civilized she is, supporting as she does the actions of a state that has been condemned year upon year for 63 years by the overwhelming majority of nation states in the community of nations, the United Nations, as denying the rights of the true owners of the land of Palestine as proposed in UNGA Resolution 181. In short she supports, and wants the people of San Francisco to support, a state that defies international opinion and International Law. Impunity for crimes comes with control of minds, and hence control of the U.S. Congress, of communications and of rights of freedom of speech by voting denial of the very free expression she so brazenly demands. But that in her mind is civilized behavior.
The action by the Assembly is of interest to me because I have edited a volume, The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction, published by Palgrave Macmillan world-wide publishers of academic texts; the volume carried the title when first presented to Macmillan, As the World Watches: Genocide in Palestine. Macmillan did not favor that direct statement.
On the other hand, the promotional blurb on the back of the book states: The Plight of the Palestinians: A Long History of Destruction is a collection of voices from around the world that establishes in both theoretical and graphic terms the slow, methodical genocide taking place in Palestine beginning in the 1940s, as revealed in the Introduction. From Dr. Francis A. Boyle’s detailed legal case against the state of Israel to Uri Avnery’s “Slow Motion Ethnic Cleansing,” Richard Falk’s “Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust,” and Ilan Pappe’s “Genocide in Gaza,” these voices decry in startling, vivid and forceful language the calculated atrocities taking place, the inhumane conditions inflicted on the people, and the silence that exists despite the crimes—nothing short of state sponsored genocide against the Palestinians.”
The entire content of this book, the very concept imbedded in it, that genocide is taking place in Palestine in the first decade of this new century, is condemnable under the Assembly resolution. Over twenty writers from Israel, Palestine, Australia, the Netherlands, London, Canada, America, and the UN would be condemned for contributing to such a text. The Resolution in effect denies freedom of expression to those who critique the state of Israel for actions that defy International Law. The only law that pertains to Israel is Israeli Law and control of International Law by U.S. veto power of UN resolutions that would bring Israel before the UNCHR and/or the International court of Justice.
Years ago, I prepared a paper for an international conference held at Oxford University titled “Blinded by Belief,” the application and abuse of religious and political mythologies in current political policy in the West, most damningly in Britain, Canada, Israel and the United States. The paper forced me as a researcher to search out conditions that prevailed in Mandate Palestine when Britain had international authority to govern the strip of land we call Palestine. That authority was relinquished on May 15th, 1948. Of particular interest was the period from November 1947 when the UNGA proposed the partition of Palestine to May 15 when Britain left Palestine. During that period, the terrorism undertaken by the Zionists against the British authorities from 1939 to November became even more brutal than it had before, since the Jewish Agency and its affiliate organizations, the Irgun, Stern and Hagana armed groups (armies) saw the mandate Police and Soldiers as lame ducks incapable of stopping the Zionists from aggressively taking by force the whole of Palestine regardless of the UNGA Partition Plan. The details and evidence to establish these points is presented in the Introduction to The Plight of the Palestinians.
A review of this period, the silence about the British Mandate Period even in Britain, and almost until this day, has been deafening. Why? No reasoned individual who knows the extent of the savagery committed by the Zionists against the Brits and the Arabs in Palestine could call their behavior “civilized” and seek support from the American people for their civilized behavior. What civilized people could secretly break a peace agreement with the people of Deir Yassin, a small village between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, surround the village, attack them in their homes, rape the women and massacre virtually the whole population with the exception of about a 100, shackle them in trucks and parade them through Jerusalem to demonstrate how fierce the Jewish fighters could be to put fear in the hearts of the Palestinians, and then drive them back and kill them. Is civilized behavior the determination to plan the destruction and theft of the towns and villages of the Palestinians, that had been portioned for them by the UN, before the stated date for that partition plan would take effect? Does civilized behavior include the many massacres committed by these Zionist armies, including torture and rape, as reported by the Israeli historian Benny Morris? Does kidnapping British soldiers, hanging their bodies from trees and booby trapping those bodies to mock their comrades who came to rescue them for burial while they laughed to see even more Mandate soldiers assassinated. Is civilized behavior the deception of false flag operations like that which blew apart the King David Hotel as Zionists dressed as Arabs entered the basement with milk containers filled with explosives? Richard C. Catling dove beneath the admission’s desk when the bombs went off and lived to testify about the rapes that took place in Deir Yassin.
Richard C. Catling, Deputy Head of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Jerusalem Mandate Police, kept a “Top Secret” file in the archives of the Oxford Rhodes House Library, filled with close to 500 pages of evidence that conclusively demonstrated the savagery of the Zionist powers that clandestinely controlled the Israeli immigrants entering Palestine. Two reports illustrate the terrorism inflicted by these people against their hosts, the British government that made possible the eventual “home” of the Jewish people. I have presented that evidence in numerous articles and the Introduction to The Plight of the Palestinians. Is it important that the truth hidden away these many years be brought into the discussions that should and must be presented before the students of California’s public institutions if they and the politicians that govern this state and this nation are to govern with justice for all?
There is something sacred about freedom of speech; it is the secular equivalent of “Let there be Light.” Chris Hedges opened a book review years ago, a review of two books about the Vietnam War, with the words “The vanquished know war. They see through the empty jingoism of those senseless killing, war profiteering, and chest-pounding grief. They know the lies the victors often do not acknowledge, the lies covered up in stately war memorials and mythic war narratives, filled with stories of courage and comradeship. They know the lies that permeate the thick, self-important memoirs by amoral statesmen who make wars but do not know war. The vanquished know the essence of war—death. They grasp that war is necrophilia. They see that war is a state of almost pure sin with its goals of hatred and destruction.”
The Zionists knew during the Mandate Period how to abuse the glory of words: to make massacres actions of their enemy, to hide every atrocity they committed under the rubric of self-defense, to turn patriotism into a word responsive only to their cause, to hide the deafening cries of women and children in utter silence, to erase memories from the living by burying towns and villages beneath mounds of earth, to confiscate deeds and birth certificates, to bulldoze mosques and schools, to literally wipe people from existence even as they walked the earth. They wrote the history; they controlled, yea they created, the mythologies of Exodus that have become the truth of Palestine, and they became the victims surrounded by millions who wanted to destroy them to steal the land they were given by their G-d regardless of the passage of centuries and millennia and the existence now of International Law governed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Conventions that determine Justice and War.
In time a researcher realizes that the subject of his quest contains a narrative of its own. In my years studying Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work, Hawthorne himself emerges as the narrator, a mind seeking understanding of his time and place even when he writes of Padua or Rome. As an American, he lives in constant sensitivity that the equality so eloquently expressed in the nation’s Declaration of Independence and its Bill of Rights is a fantasy since one fifth of its people are enslaved, women have virtually no rights despite their nature that demands expression as Hester conveys in The Scarlet Letter, and another people who wander the American landscape, an incalculable number, ethnically isolated on reservations that shrink as more land theft is confiscated by his government, a government that he has served as Custom House Officer and Consul. Always in quest, he seeks more and more the substance of this existence.
In March of 1862, Hawthorne, along with the Atlantic Monthly publisher, William Ticknor, headed to Washington to see the nation at war firsthand. Perhaps it was this last attempt to comprehend the contradictions present in this new nation that brought him to express through the voice of old Doctor Grim, a man roughly the age of Hawthorne as he penned Doctor Grimshawe’s Secret, these caustic and cynical words that capture the essence of human darkness, aloneness and ultimate meaninglessness:
“Whence did you come?” the good doctor says to his young ward, Ned, “Whence did any of us come? Out of the darkness and mystery; out of nothingness; out of a kingdom of shadows; out of dust, clay, mud, I think, and to return to it again. Out of a former state of being, whence we have brought a good many shadowy revelations, purporting that it was no very pleasant one. Out of a former life, of which the present one is the hell!–And why are you come? Faith, Ned, he must be a wiser man than Doctor Grim who can tell why you or any other mortal came hither; only one thing I am well aware of,–it was not to be happy. To toil and moil and hope and fear; and to love in a shadowy, doubtful sort of way, and to hate in bitter earnest,–that is what you came for!”
I think of this perspective when I search through the “Top Secret” files of Sir Richard C. Catling, a man of simple background, son of a small town butcher in England, who became Deputy Head of the CID for Britain as the Zionists went to war, their words, against the British Government that had promised them a home within the limitations of their authority to both the natives of Palestine and the immigrants arriving at its shores. He lived to witness the Zionists become terrorists as early as 1941 when, as Harold MacMichael, High Commissioner in Mandate Palestine, wrote “A second matter which deeply impressed me is the almost Nazi control exercised by the official Jewish organization over the Jewish community…” The evidence in Catling’s file attests to the reality of that observation.
These men and their soldiers and police were forced to survive as the Zionist controlled armies destroyed eventually 418 towns and villages belonging to the indigenous people, killed thousands and drove out of their land close to 800,000, the sons and daughters of whom live in refugee camps in sundry mid-east countries. These were the soldiers who became the lost soldiers of Britain, forgotten men whose diligence and endurance and patriotism have yet to be recognized by the British government. Why should research of this nature, which tells a different story than our controlled media has presented, not receive the exposure it should so the citizens of the United States and the students at California’s public institutions can determine for themselves what is true and what is not.
Without freedom of speech, truth will never be told. Let people open their minds and their souls to the light of human judgment, and as Jesus noted, few will step forward to throw the first stone because they are pure in spirit. The Gellers of this world will step forward to expose themselves as vulgar, as barbaric, as heedless of their fellows because they care for none but themselves– heartless, soulless, lacking “human sympathy” which alone can bring peace into this world.
- William A. Cook is a Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His most recent book is Decade of Deceit, 2002-2012: Reflections on Palestine, published in June by Lambert Academic Publishing of Germany. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to talk about something which is taboo yet cliche. It is widely accepted yet universally denied. Those who talk about this are ridiculed as conspiracy theorists and racists. On the other hand, many people freely admit this reality but dismiss it as inconsequential and ‘the way it is’.
Jews dominate Hollywood, the global news media, and the global financial system. By extension it is often argued that ‘Jews run the world’. Essentially, one group of people with a unifying ideology and vested interest, is controlling the institutions by which we receive news. In addition to this, the film industry and cinematic media is something which we develop a very profound emotional attachment to and identify with closely. In other words, we are talking about an instrument of brainwashing. Is this not something we should talk about? If, for example, Hollywood, the global news media, and our ‘fiat money’ financial institutions were dominated by Arab Muslims, would we perceive this as a problem?
Of course we would, and rightly so. But this is not the case currently – we are afraid of speaking out and tackling this. Why?
What other group would be capable of attacking the world’s most powerful superpower, killing thousands in a sophisticated terror attack, and get away with it, blaming it on someone else? 9/11 is but one example, the USS Liberty is another. Most Americans have not even heard about the Liberty – a false flag attack designed to draw the USA into nuclear war with Soviet Russia.
The truth of the matter is, Jews are largely exempted from criticism in the West, and this runs much much deeper than any of us care to admit. Most people reading this are subconsciously thinking: ‘He just hates Jews because he’s Muslim’, ‘He’s a conspiracy theorist and he’s got nothing better to do’. Well, no I don’t hate Jews. No I’m not Muslim. No I’m not a ‘conspiracy theorist’ either; I am merely trying to exercise intellectual courage. We are constantly singing the praises of freedom, liberalism and democracy, but we are nothing more than a servile herd of cattle when it comes to being intellectually courageous. Our claims of love for democracy and freedom are utterly hollow without this.
Even the more ‘enlightened’ activists and bloggers (no point talking about the bought-and-paid-for mainstreamers) are more obsessed with catering to their readers’ ignorance and stroking their own ego, than performing an honest appraisal of these issues. Let’s be honest – it’s nice to get lots of ‘likes’ and to be patted on the back by your nodding, agreeing peers. To paraphrase Mark Twain, if you find yourself on the side of the majority, then it’s time to check yourself.
It is clear – talking about this issue makes one severely unpopular. This fact alone is a startling clue as to the underlying truths. Those who discuss this topic are stigmatized and ostracized, and it would be silly to think that there is no reason for this.
On a not unrelated note, I want you to help me with something. The popular reading of history portrays Jewish people as perennial victims who are persecuted anywhere they go for no reason other than that they are Jews, and irrational ‘anti-Semites’ hate them. The ‘holocaust’ is a paradigmatic example of this, and this is another issue which cannot be discussed in an open forum (so much for democracy). What I would like help with is this: history is replete with massacres, murders, torture, wars, and a myriad of different crimes that have been perpetrated by everybody from the Romans to the Americans; can you name a single historical event wherein, in the popular reading of history, Jews are portrayed as the aggressors and criminals?
Perhaps Jews really are perennial victims and have never done anything wrong. Or perhaps our reading of history is manipulated, censored, and reconstructed to convey a certain narrative? We often repeat the adage: history is written by the victor. Is there some truth in the idea that history is written by the powerful? If so, are we not being subjected to what is essentially mind control, whereby we harbor a completely incorrect interpretation of history? And is it not time that we started to put all historical events, especially those which we are told not to question, under the microscope?
- There are two kinds of people in this world (empirestrikesblack.com)
British Palestine Solidarity outfit ‘Palestine Place’ provides a platform for anti-Syrian speakers, while ostracising and banning activists who choose to discuss topics designated as ‘no-go’ by Zionist ideology. This is symptomatic of a wider disease prevalent in the ‘Palestine Solidarity Movement’.
The Palestine Solidarity Movement, not only within the UK but across nations worldwide, is becoming increasingly fractured and impotent. The movement is characterised by swathes of different groups squabbling amongst themselves, and ostracising members(1) who cross certain red lines – red lines which have been drawn by Zionism.
‘Palestine Place’: Symptoms of a Wider Disease
During my own recent experiences at ‘Palestine Place’ in London, I was unfortunate enough to witness acute symptoms of the disease afflicting the Palestine Solidarity Movement. The disease is not unique to Palestine Place; it afflicts the wider Palestine Solidarity Movement and the liberal ‘left’ in the UK. Not only is the Palestine Solidarity Movement paralysed with fear of being branded with the anti-Semitism epithet, but it routinely falls prey to Zionist and imperialist deception, manipulation, and propaganda. The carnal fear of being branded an ‘anti-Semite’ prevents any level of open and honest discussion on anything pertaining to Israel and the Zionist project – especially its founding myths which must be openly discussed and debated in order for truth to see light.
Outlawing Thoughtcrime in the Service of Zionism
During an open discussion at Palestine Place in June 2012, one attendee brought up the subject of Gilad Atzmon’s alleged anti-Semitism. The gentleman proceeded to misrepresent Atzmon’s words in order to paint him as a racist who merely seeks to attack Judaism.
During this discussion the subject of holocaust denial and holocaust revisionism came up. At no point was the holocaust denied by anybody present, however this writer did make the point that we must make a distinction between ‘revisionism’ and ‘denial’. All historical events must be open to investigation and questioning; the very concept of history is based on revisionism. What legitimate reason could we possibly have for shielding any historical event from examination? We are constantly reminded that we must learn from history lest it repeat itself (reminiscent of the ‘never again’ mantra), yet we are prevented from examining these very elements of history!
This particular discussion at Palestine Place continued for ten or fifteen minutes before the next scheduled discussion was due to begin. During this time, dedicated pro-Palestinian activist Ken O’Keefe came to Gilad Atzmon’s defence, drawing attention to Atzmon’s idea that Jewishness and Jewish culture must be part of our investigation of Israeli and Zionist ideology. Are Israel’s tanks, gunships and warplanes not adorned with the Jewish Star of David? Is ‘Israel’ not a self-professed Jewish State? The gentleman who had chosen to accuse Atzmon of anti-Semitism had misrepresented Atzmon’s views and launched into a baseless ad hominem attack.
Immediately before the next scheduled speaker, a spokesman for Palestine Place made an announcement to the following effect: some people have decided to air their views on the holocaust, we must remind you that at Palestine Place we do not tolerate anti-Semitism and we will not be discussing the holocaust any further.
It must be noted that this was after the same spokesperson had emphatically stated that day, that Palestine Place was not affiliated with any solidarity organisation (such as the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign), purely to avoid the politicisation and control of discussion!
This relatively small incident demonstrates how the Palestine Solidarity Movement is not only subject to Zionist bullying, infiltration, and lobbying, but more importantly cultural indoctrination. We are instilled with a cardinal fear of discussing the holocaust outside of the officially accepted narrative – a ‘thoughtcrime’ in this democracy and beacon of free speech known as Great Britain.
The knee-jerk ‘we do not tolerate anti-Semitism‘ emotional reaction is sadly typical, and it is trotted out before one iota of thought has been given to the content and substance of the discussion.
It is incredibly sad and disheartening to see that the Palestine Solidarity Movement is utterly beholden to Zionism’s biggest rhetorical weapon: false charges of anti-Semitism coupled with a religious observance of and adherence to the dogma of ‘the holocaust’.
As activists and truth seekers, are we actually going to conflate historical revisionism (the practice of investigating and revising our understanding of history based on facts and free debate) with racism? This logic is completely lost on those who have an immediate emotional reaction to this question.
Palestine Place Bars Prominent Pro-Palestine Activist, Backs Foreign Insurrection in Syria
On June 13, 2012, Palestine Place hosted a talk on the subject of Syria. Several guests were invited to speak – all of whom were anti-Assad and pro-’revolution’. Without exception, all of the speakers represented the viewpoint of the corrupt Gulf dictatorships, the USA and Israel, who are jointly seeking the dissolution of all bastions of Arab resistance to Zionism and Western neocolonialism.
Shortly before the talk, I witnessed Ken O’Keefe being asked to leave the premises by organisers who cited a ‘group decision’ that had been made. Hypocritically, not one of the attendees to the talk was consulted about this decision – the decision was made by Palestine Place’s organisers and had no ‘grassroots’ input whatsoever.
After Ken had left the premises the talks continued and the speakers dictated their opinion to the almost exclusively young (18-23) and impressionable crowd. One after another the anti-Assad guests expounded their mythical idea that the ‘revolution’ in Syria was at all indigenous, as opposed to being a foreign-led insurrection, which is now a clearly established reality.
The speakers were Simon Assaf, UK-based Syrian activist Shiar Youssef, activist Dan Gorman, and ‘internet researcher and activist’ Miriyam Asfar.
Simon Assaf’s previous writings shed light on his ideological position. He is a commentator who claims to oppose western intervention in Libya and Syria, while breathlessly parroting the lies and propaganda that enable it. He saw the NATO-appointed NTC’s calls for a ‘no-fly zone’ over Libya as “genuine calls for help”,(2) and he mindlessly repeats the long-discredited claims that Gaddafi bombarded civilian demonstrations from the air. He even claimed that the case for the intervention in Libya was “very powerful”.(3)
At Palestine Place, Assaf continued with his delusional and romantic narrative wherein he painted the foreign-led counter-revolution in Syria as an indigenous people’s and workers’ revolution. He smugly dismissed ‘al Qaeda’ involvement in Syria as paranoid conspiracy theory.
No reasonable person would debate the CIA’s use of what would become ‘al Qaeda’ in Afghanistan throughout the 1980s to achieve its strategic objectives. This is not the stuff of ‘conspiracy theory’, rather it is established historical fact.
Assaf chose to ignore the deeply sectarian, thuggish, and terroristic inclinations of the ‘revolutionaries’ in Syria. Even the mainstream press has been forced to admit(4) that Abdelhakim Belhaj, former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), is providing fighters and assistance to the so-called Free Syrian Army.
The LIFG, still listed as a terrorist group by the US State Department,(5) is a paradigmatic example of one of the CIA’s many proxy armies of brainwashed sectarian drones – commonly referred to collectively as ‘al Qaeda’.
Assaf, as well as the other speakers, reminded the audience that the ‘revolution’ started in Daraa, Syria, in March 2011. What they didn’t draw attention to was the fact that Daraa, like the majority of the hotspots in the Syrian unrest, is on Syria’s border. As a result of calls from short-sighted, hateful and poisonously sectarian-minded Sunni religious leaders (including our new ‘al Qaeda’ boogeyman Ayman al-Zawahiri), ‘jihadists’ in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq have flocked to Syria to fight against the Assad regime(6) (Assad is an Alawi and non-sectarian leader who allows 18 different sects to live in harmony). These ‘jihadists’ include Abdelhakim Belhaj’s men, who were shipped to Turkey in order to allow them to infiltrate Syria’s borders(7) from there. Further to this, the United States and Jordanian militaries began a joint military exercise known as Eager Lion in the summer of 2011.(8) What is the significance of this, and why is the majority of the unrest in border regions?
The Houla Killings – Fruit of the ‘FSA’
Predictably, Assaf and the other speakers accused the Assad regime of committing brutal massacres against the Syrian people. The Houla massacre – an event which is held as the ‘trump card’ by the ‘opposition’ in Syria, is deserving of inspection here.
In the immediate aftermath of the Houla massacre, the Syrian ‘opposition’ and media outlets across the spectrum attempted to blame the killings on artillery attacks by the Syrian Army. When it became clear that most of the victims were killed at close range, many with stab wounds, the narrative became ‘pro-regime militia’. Now however, after the dust has settled, it is clear that pro-Assad elements had nothing to do with the Houla massacre, and in fact it was the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’ and ‘opposition’ that is most likely responsible.
The Assad regime would have nothing to gain but everything to lose by perpetrating the Houla killings. These murders have played right into the hands of Syria’s enemies – those who seek regime change under the barrel of a ‘humanitarian’ gun. Initial reports from the opposition contradicted the physical manner in which the victims were killed. Three days after the event, Human Rights Watch joined the chorus blaming Assad and ‘pro-government forces’.(9)
However, the facts betray this speculation from the Syrian ‘opposition’ and so-called human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch.
Those killed were nearly exclusively families from the Alawi and Shia minorities in Sunni-majority Houla (while HRW and the ‘opposition’ try to suggest that the victims were Sunni). This included several dozen members of one extended family, which had converted from Sunni to Shia Islam. Also killed was the family of a Sunni member of parliament who was considered a government collaborator by the rebels.
Considering these points(10) and the fact that the massacre occurred as three Syrian Army checkpoints were being attacked by armed gangs around the town, the idea that the Syrian Army was responsible for the Houla killings is asinine. It is now evident that the sectarian terrorists whom people such as Simon Assaf refer to as ‘revolutionaries’, were responsible for this heinous crime.
Another notable moment during Palestine Place’s decidedly anti-Syrian evening was when ‘activist’ Dan Gorman showed the audience a video of an opposition-produced puppet show which ridiculed Bashar al-Assad and his father, Hafez. During the few-minute sequence, the puppets of Bashar and Hafez joked about killing Syrians, and bemoaned the propaganda peddled by Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. The entire audience smugly nodded, laughed and clapped as this ‘Two Minutes Hate’ played out before them.
When UK-based Syrian activist Shiar Youssef took the stage, he forged another memorable moment. “This is just how we work in Syria“, he said. He was referring to how Syrian activists work, compared to the way in which the Palestine Place activists were sat around on the floor of the room, gazing at the speaker. I have to confess, this reminded me of when UK Foreign Secretary William Hague admitted that the UK government is training Syrian activists.(11)
Conclusion: Solidarity Demands Intellectual Courage, not Servility & Herd Mentality
Palestine Place is, in every way, a microcosm of the international Palestine Solidarity Movement. Toothless, pseudo-enlightened know-it-alls who are intellectually servile, exclusivist, drowned in ego, and utterly impotent.
Ostensibly it has no individual leaders and is purely democratic, but this is meaningless since it religiously adheres to specific pre-defined boundaries of discussion. Freedom of speech and discussion exists only on paper; ‘thought criminals’ are barred and ostracised. It claims to present the opportunity for “radical change“. It ‘occupies’ a building with the full cooperation of the landowner (this writer confirmed this by speaking to activists on-site).
Frank Barat, a London-based human rights activist tells Mondoweiss about the ins and outs of Palestine Place. Barat, who this writer suspects plays a role in the Palestine Place project, promotes the organisation(12) as a movement that will mean the West will “never be the same again“.
He also insists that Palestine Place is “open to everyone and belongs to everyone“, and that it is a “hub of creativity, discussions and possibility for radical change“.
Palestine Place completely betrays these ideals.
Discussion of historical events intimately linked to Palestine and the history of Zionism, has been stifled. Attendees are banned and ostracised for having a different opinion; discussion outside of the mainstream is prohibited at this ‘radical’ outfit – whether this concerns the attendees or the opinionated, one-sided speakers who are invited to talk.
Palestine Place’s official ‘Safe Spaces Policy’ bars holocaust revisionism(13) (the act of enriching our understanding of history on an ongoing basis by examining and documenting the facts). I must reiterate: what legitimate reason could we possibly have for shielding any historical event from examination? What are they afraid of? What is there to hide? We are constantly reminded that we must learn from history lest it repeat itself (reminiscent of the ‘never again’ mantra), yet Palestine Place chooses to protect this aspect of history from scrutiny!
Interestingly, Palestine Place’s Safe Spaces Policy calls for (emphasis mine) “An end to the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied since 1967“. Does the land ethnically cleansed and occupied in 1948 not count? Did Israel’s crimes start in 1967? Palestine Place attempts to normalise the Nakba here, accepting the legitimacy of the 1948 land thefts and only referring to the 1967 occupation.
The following passage from the same policy statement is simply staggering in its dishonesty, keeping in mind the practices of Palestine Place:
Palestine Place will not be dogmatic nor prescriptive about attitudes, opinions or beliefs that relate to the political debate around Palestine.
Palestine Place is not an environment that encourages any level of independent or critical thought. Youngsters, keen to learn about the Palestinian cause (and the geopolitical landscape surrounding it – i.e. Syria) are being corralled into adopting a kosher ‘anti-Zionist’ viewpoint that will pose zero threat to Zionism.
Outspoken and dedicated pro-Palestinian voices are banned and ostracised. Guest speakers are invited who are exclusively representing a one-sided point of view. Discussion of Zionism’s founding myths are prevented. This supposed ‘solidarity’ outfit has demonstrably positioned itself into an anti-Palestinian standpoint, either wittingly or unwittingly.
The Palestine Solidarity Movement is terminally afraid of discussing subjects that are designated ‘no-go’ areas by Zionist ideology. The incessant false charges of ‘anti-Semitism’ is Zionism’s biggest ideological weapon – and we all know it – but our movement has no defence.
Only with real independent thought and intellectual courage will our movement proceed.
When we are held emotionally hostage by certain ideas, we must ask why.
We must never stop the pursuit of truth, regardless of the level of ‘herd mentality’ around us. We must take a step back and think objectively.
Exposing any and all deceptions which alter perceptions about Israel, anti-Semitism, and Palestine, is our place.
(1) ‘Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon’ – US Palestinian Community Network
(2) ‘Libya: at the crossroads’ by Simon Assaf
(3) ‘How Western Powers Blackmailed the Libyan Revolution’ by Simon Assaf
(4) ‘Leading Libyan Islamist met Free Syrian Army opposition group’ – The UK Telegraph
(5) ‘Foreign Terrorist Organizations’ – US Department of State
(6) ‘Jihadists Declare Holy War Against Assad Regime’ – Spiegel Online
(7) ‘Al-Qaeda Terrorists Airlifted From Libya to Aid Syrian Opposition’ by Paul Joseph Watson
(8) ‘US, 18 other nations, wrap up Eager Lion military exercise in Jordan’ – The Christian Science Monitor
(9) ‘Syria: UN Inquiry Should Investigate Houla Killings’ – Human Rights Watch
(10) ‘Leading German Daily: Houla Massacre Committed by Syrian Rebels’ – EmpireStrikesBlack.com
(11) ‘US fears fresh massacre in Syria’ – The UK Telegraph
(12) ‘‘Palestine Place’ comes to London, and the west will never be the same’ by Frank Barat
(13) ‘Safe Spaces Policy’ – Palestine Place
- Critiquing Israel: colonialism or Jewish culture? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Thought Police within the so-called ‘Palestine Solidarity Movement’ (windowintopalestine.blogspot.com)
The Telegraph reported yesterday that “ministers have criticised Britain’s biggest exam board after pupils were asked to explain ‘why some people are prejudiced against Jews’ as part of a GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education).
Apparently more than 1,000 teenagers are believed to have sat the religious studies test papers, which challenged pupils to assess the reasons behind anti-Semitism.
The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, which set the exam, rightly said that the question acknowledged that “some people hold prejudices” – they probably expected the students to examine the reasons that lead to anti Jewish feelings rather than simply justifying them.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary who is notorious for his pro Israeli stand and his intimate relationships with the Jewish lobby, has managed to produce a particularly lame statement that should disqualify him from any holding any position related to education.
To suggest that anti-Semitism can ever be explained, rather than condemned, is insensitive and, frankly, bizarre,
Gove told The Jewish Chronicle. The ‘education’ minister should actually accept that every social phenomenon or tendency should be subject to an academic scrutiny, scientific research and critical examination. The education minister should actually encourage critical thinking and freedom of thought, however, being one of the pillars of the CFI (conservative Friends of Israel) we shouldn’t really expect a drop of integrity from Minister Gove.
Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the infamous ultra Zionist Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD), said:
Clearly this is unacceptable and has nothing whatsoever to do with Jews or Judaism.
Benjamin and the BOD have been pouring news about the ‘rise’ of anti-Semitism for years. One would wonder why are they now tormented by the attempt to question the reasoning behind the phenomenon that concerns them so much and for so long.
The exam board insisted that the question was part of a paper focusing on Judaism and the “relevant part of the syllabus covers prejudice and discrimination with reference to race, religion and the Jewish experience of persecution”.
But here comes the interesting bit. While the question is fully legitimate and deserves a thorough examination, one may wonder how would the exam board expect to mark some academically valid possible answers. For instance, how would a board’s examiner mark a young truth telling British student who may suggest that anti Jewish feelings could be realised as a direct reaction to the concerning facts that it was the Jewish Lobby led by Lord Levy that financed the Labour government that took us into an illegal War in Iraq? The student may argue that some people mistakenly identify Jews (as a collective) with the horrendous non-ethical acts of just a few Jews, this is where prejudice, plays its role. Bearing in mind it was also Jewish chronicle writers such as David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen who were supporting this criminal act in the mainstream media, such an answer is coherent and consistent with the facts. Another honest student may suggest that with 80% of the Tory MPs (including education minister Michael Gove ) being CFI members there is a reason to believe that the British Government is under the control of a foreign power. Following the pressure of the CFI, the Tory government recently amended the British Universal Jurisdiction law just to allow Israel war criminal to visit the Kingdom. I guess that some students must be clever enough to notice that acts taken by British politicians who shamelessly attempt to appease their pro Israeli paymasters on the expense of British values and ethical consideration actually expose Jews in this country to some potential animosity. How would the exam board mark such a reasonable and critical young and innocent thinking?
It seems as if the exam board is not really prepared to tackle the issue seriously. Its representative told the Jewish Chronicle
we would expect [students to refer] to the Holocaust to illustrate prejudice based on irrational fear, ignorance and scapegoating.
In other words, the British education system admits here openly that it expects students to repeat textbook ready-made answers rather than thinking critically and thoroughly. Is it really ‘irrational’ to be tormented by the irritating idea that the vast majority of your leading party MPs are friends of a non-ethical, racist and expansionist foreign power? Is it reasonable to wonder why Jewish Chronicle writers were over represented in some pro war advocacy? Is it really unreasonable for a young British student to ask why the American Jewish Lobby AIPAC is pushing for a war against Iran that can escalate into a nuclear conflict? Shouldn’t British students try to examine the relationships between the Jewish Lobby and the Jewish community? Shouldn’t Religious students try to examine the complex relationship between Jews, Judaism and Jewishness? Shouldn’t they look into the relationship between The Old Testament and IDF’s crimes against humanity? For sure they need do, this is actually the real meaning of education. To educate is to teach how to learn said Martin Heidegger, but in Britain 2012 Education means to teach student how to answer the appropriate kosher answer.
As it happens the exam board reacted quickly and submissively to Jewish pressure. Its representative said
the board is obviously concerned that this question may have caused offence, as this was absolutely not our intention.
I guess that the exam board who were obviously subject to some relentless pressure may now be able to form their own answer to the question. They may grasp by now what is the root cause of ‘anti Jewish prejudice’ and it has nothing to do with the ‘holocaust’, ignorance’ or ‘irrationality’. It is actually the natural reaction to abuse of our most precious intellectual right, the freedom to think.
Another uniquely banal mind Rabbi David Meyer, the executive head of Hasmonean High School, told the Telegraph that the question had “no place” in an exam.
The role of education is to remove prejudices and not to justify them,” he said.
It is pretty amusing or actually sad to find out that a Rabbi and an executive head of a Jewish school doesn’t know the difference between ‘question’ and ‘justification’. However, Rabbi Meyer, surely knows that Rabbinical and Talmudic education encourages debate and critical thinking. I wonder why Rabbi Meyer doesn’t approve the idea that a Goyim teenager should also learn how to think critically and even learn how to debate?
Seemingly, the Telegraph found only one single voice of reason in the entire kingdom. Clive Lawton, formerly an A-level chief examiner for religious studies, said: “I do understand why people might react negatively to the question, but it is a legitimate one.”
If anyone including Michael Gove and the BOD want to prevent the rise of anti-Jewish feelings and prejudice in general they may want to look briefly in the mirror. It is their attitude that put Jews at a growing risk. As it happens, it is always Jewish power exercised by just a very few that introduces danger to the entire Jewish community and beyond.
- Michael Gove criticises ‘bizarre’ Jewish exam question (guardian.co.uk)