Boring, Boring, Boring 127


Oh dear. it was bound to come sooner or later. As soon as anybody sticks their head above the parapet to criticise Israel, an attempt is made to slur them as an anti-semite. I now have the notorious Zionist propagandist Jonathan Hoffman on my case.

Hoffman is the Zionists’ equivalent of the Witchfinder-General. In July 2008 he produced a report on “Anti-Semitism on The Guardian Comment is Free”, in which his definition of anti-semites included “Those who question the Zionist aim of a Jewish Homeland”.

http://www.zionismontheweb.org/CommentIsFree_ParliamentASCttee_July08.pdf

This blatant conflation of anti-Zionists with anti-Semites is typical of his methodology. It does not wash. There are a significant minority of anti-Zionist Jews, for one thing. My personal view is that all those now living in Israel and Palestine should be allowed to stay there, in a new secular and race-blind state. I do reject the state of Israel with its racially defined citizenship qualification. That is not an unusual position – Germany was only recently obliged by the EU to abandon citizenship laws based on race.

In 2004 Jonathan Hoffman made this laughable contribution as a submission in the consultation exercise on the BBC Charter:

I want to comment on the BBC’s persistent anti-Israel bias. They have

appointed Malcolm Balen as overall editor of programmes with a Mid-East

content but it has made no difference

.

www.bbccharterreview.org.uk/first_phase_responses/H/Hoffman_Jonathan.rtf

It is, incidentally, interesting that he appears to have the impression that the appointment of Malcolm Balen was supposed to help Israel. Anyone know anything about Mr Balen?

It is worth comparing Hoffman’s complaint about the BBC to the comment by OrwellianUK after the blog entry before this.

Anyway, Hoffman is now onto my case. I have just had the following email exchange with him:

Dear Mr Murray

Are you content that your site is being used to propagate anti-Semitism? :

I am a newcomer to your site. I found it because rense.com linked to your

recent colourfully titled piece on Gordon Brown (though they applied

asterisks where you did not).

I am delighted to find a former member of the British Establishment who holds

the views that you do and also that you clearly take an active interest in the comments left by your readers.

If you feel so inclined, I would be grateful if you might consider giving

your opinion on an issue regarding Israel that troubles me often: why is it that the European nations’ response to Israeli atrocities is so feeble and

half-hearted when, if it were a Muslim country doing the same thing, they would be down on it like a ton of bricks? Is it because, as respected Israeli historian and military adviser Martin van Creveld has revealed, a sizeable proportion of Israel’s nuclear weapons is trained on Europe? Is it because so much of the Western financial system and media is controlled by Zionists? Is it because the Mossad has penetrated the higher echelons of the European political Establishment?

Jonathan Hoffman

Jonathan,

There are many comments on my site that I do not agree with, not only the anti-Jewish ones. There are some very rude comments about me, for example, some completely untrue. There are currently people defending the use of the word “Paki”. I disagree with them too. There have been a number of offensively worded pro-Israel comments, and I have not deleted them. But I tend to the view that freedom of speech is most important, so I almost never delete anything from comments. My own views are the bits of the blog which I have written.

I have only ever deleted, I believe, 36 comments from my site in four years; 2 because they were about children of politicians, and 34 for being anti-semitic. This post from five days ago explained my position:

I have not deleted a single pro-Israeli comment from discussion on these pages, though I disagree profoundly with many. I have deleted three anti-Jewish comments. I should make it plain that I am in profound disagreement with those commenters who conflate Israel with Jews in general. We have had commenters excusing anti-Jewish comments on the grounds Jews are not a race, and positing claims of a world conspiracy of Jews and freemasons. I have only deleted three of these, because in general I believe the suppression of any opinion to be an evil which requires major justification. I find it hard to define the exact line which leads to deletion.

The great John Stuart Mill said it was legitimate to express the opinion that all corn merchants are thieves of the people’s bread; but it was not legitimate to shout the same thing to a howling mob at night carrying torches outside a corn merchant’s house. He was, as ever, right.

So almost any opinion can be expressed here. But I would be grateful if those people who have a serious grudge against Jews in general, would go and express their views on their own websites.

UPDATE

Michael has overstepped the mark by a posting about “Jews with their Satanic Smirks” and then introducing the Protocols of Zion. All of his 31 comments have therefore been deleted.”

In addition I have added numerous comments in dialogue with commenters to the effect that one should not confuse anger at the killings by Israel, with racism against Jews in general.

It is an extraordinary and terribly sad and bad thing that anti-semitism still exists. It is to me genuinely incomprehensible.

But sadly any discussion forum on Israel attracts two kinds of malevolent people.

The first kind are anti-semites.

The second are those who seek to portray as anti-semites anyone who opposes Israel’s appalling actions in Gaza. I rather fear you may be one of that kind of malevolent people, Jonathan.

I have given a fair and full answer to your question. Let me now ask you, are you content with the murder by Israel of so many women, children and old people in Gaza?

Craig Murray


127 thoughts on “Boring, Boring, Boring

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  • Jonathan

    Craig

    I am surprised that you think it is OK to publish a one-to-one correspondence without asking my permission.

    It is the most basic breach of Internet etiquette

    You seem to think this comment on your website is OK:

    "Is it because so much of the Western financial system and media is controlled by Zionists? Is it because the Mossad has penetrated the higher echelons of the European political Establishment?"

    Well it is not OK. It is redolent of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion".

  • Jonathan

    How come you didn't puiblish my reply to you Craig?

    "Thank you for your full and prompt response. First I am very concerned about antisemitism on the Internet in mainstream sites, see my paper on CIF above. "Freedom of speech" requires limits to be set on what is and is not acceptable. Antisemites (and all racists) should be free to post on the Internet, but on known racist sites eg Stormwatch. Not on respectable sites – of which I regard yours as one. Second you have a bloody nerve to assume "I rather fear you may be one of that kind of malevolent people, Jonathan".

    Why do you assume that Craig? Because I point out that you host antisemitism?

    You ask: "Are you content with the murder by Israel of so many women, children and old people in Gaza?"

    Of course not.

    Regards Jonathan

  • Craig

    Jonathan,

    I have no idea what you mean by "OK". It is not my comment. Do I think it is a view which must be censored? No.

    It is worth noting that the commenter postulates "Zionists". If one were analysing whether the proposition is true or not, one might like to consider for example that Rupert Murdoch may hold Zionist views. He is not, as far as I am aware, Jewish. The commenter appears to me (and I can't get inside his heas) to be questioning whether those holding a particular political view control the media. He is not making a racial comment.

  • Craig

    Sorry for not posting your reply Jonathan – I had not opened it yet as I've been cooking plov. I would have posted it, as anyone who has followed this blog will know.

    Anyway, you've posted it now.

    I am a liberal. I have not a racist bone in my body. Given your record, my presumption was that your email to me was the prelude towards launching an attack on me on Harry's Place or some such harbour of irrational hatred. I therefore decided to get my retaliation in first.

    I suspect I was not wrong!

  • Ron

    Craig

    That's the issue – Mr Hoffman appears to think he should be able to decide what can and cannot be said or written and where it should be said or written. No further comment is required.

    I suggest that if you correspond further with him it is in netiquette terms "feeding the troll"!

    Ron

  • Jonathan

    Craig

    You have played the 'Livingstone Manoeuvre' card

    I wrote to you to object to you leaving this antisemitic comment on your site:

    "Is it because so much of the Western financial system and media is controlled by Zionists? Is it because the Mossad has penetrated the higher echelons of the European political Establishment?"

    You then published our exchange without my permission and accused me of trying to stifle criticism of Israel by the charge of antisemitism.

    "As soon as anybody sticks their head above the parapet to criticise Israel, an attempt is made to slur them as an anti-semite. I now have the notorious Zionist propagandist Jonathan Hoffman on my case."

    When an antiracist points out racism, can you not see how competely inappropriate is – not to mention intellectually banbkrupt – to accuse them of trying to make a political point?

    If a Muslim tells you a comment on your site is Islamophobic, would you publish the correspondence without their permission and accuse him/her of trying to make a political point?

  • Craig

    Actually, come to think of it, I have been accused of Islamophobia on this site – over the Danish cartoons issue. I supported feedom of speech there too.

  • Jonathan

    "I have been accused of Islamophobia on this site – over the Danish cartoons issue. I supported freedom of speech there too."

    But Craig did you accuse the accuser of trying to stifle criticism of the policies of – say Iran? Of course not.

    So why do you accuse me of trying to stifle criticism of Israel??

  • Ann Levin

    I would like to know Craig Murray's views on Hamas sending rockets daily into the civilian population in Israel. Does he consider this behaviour acceptable whilst Israel does not have the right to self defence. Hamas wishes to anniliate Israel and Israel has the right to self defence. Same as any other country.

  • Ron

    So there you have it. Mr Hoffman has now decided to have his friends post the usual nonsense (When Hamas stop the rockets the fighting will stop) and another oasis of free speech will be bombarded by people like Ann Levin so everybody has to wade through so much tedious and unilluminating (is that a word?) comment that they give up visiting your site. No doubt for Mr Hoffman that would be mission accomplished.

    As to your point, Ann "When Hamas stop the rockets the fighting will stop". I see no logic in this. After all, Israel didn't exactly treat the people of Gaza well when the PA was in charge, did they? See Amira Hass's book Drinking the Sea at Gaza, which I recommend highly.

  • Johan van Rooyen

    @ Ann Levin,

    The rockets will stop when Israel stops occupying other people's land.

    The rockets will stop when Israel stops confining the Palestinians in virtual concentration camps.

    The rockets will stop when Israel starts recognising those whom the Palestinians elected as their representatives.

    The rockets will stop when Israel itself really does become a democracy by extending the vote to all those who live there and to all those who once lived there but were kicked out by the Zionists.

    The rockets will stop when Israel starts behaving just like any other country.

  • Sabretache

    "Is it because so much of the Western financial system and media is controlled by Zionists? Is it because the Mossad has penetrated the higher echelons of the European political Establishment?"

    I would like to know by what criteria that can possibly be construed as 'anti-Semitic', unless 'Zionist' is to be equated with 'Semitic'.

    Frankly I regard the statement as largely self-evident with the media-control part of it factually accurate and easy to confirm with minimal research. Sir Gerald Kaufman would no doubt agree with it, as would vast numbers of Jews who can see Zionism for what it really is.

    Persistently conflating 'anti-Zionist' with 'anti-Semitic' remains a constant with Israeli apologists. It has served them well for the best part of 60 years. It effectively stifles any airing of the precise nature of the Israeli State which is both racist and apartheid in its very constitution

  • David

    "My personal view is that all those now living in Israel and Palestine should be allowed to stay there, in a new secular and race-blind state"

    Israelis don't need Craig Murray's permission to live in Israel. Neither does Israel need Craig Murray's permission to be a state with a Jewish basis.

    How many dead Israelis would Murray accept as the price for "one (secular) state?"

    Because the only way it can happen is by force.

  • Ron

    David

    I have seen nothing from Craig to suggest he supports the death of any people, whether Israeli, Palestinian or any other. Although I have a sneaking suspicion he might think the world would be better off without Mr Karimov 😉

    Have you seen such evidence?

    May I ask if you believe the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza in the last two weeks of Israeli attacks have been a price worth paying for what it has achieved?

  • algernon

    Seems as though anti-semitism exists (against Israeli Arabs) in Israel's own parliament.

    from Al Jazeera…

    Israel poll ban for Arab parties

    Two Arab political parties have been disqualified from running in Israel's parliamentary elections on February 10 after they were accused of not recognising the country's right to exist.
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009

  • Jonathan

    algernon

    please name me a democracy that would allow a political party to stand at an election when that party is committed to that country's destruction

  • Leon

    For a clear and consice review of the background to the current conflict, the article by Amir Taheri in The Times 9/1/09 is one of the best I have read.

    http:/www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article5477420ece

  • Craig

    "Committed to that country's destruction" is a deliberately misleading term again seeking to play on genocidal fears. "Seeking a fundamental revision of the State" would be more appropriate to the two parties banned.

    Democratic parallels? Well, Sinn Fein and the SNP come to mind for starts.

  • Leon

    Jonathan…..you beat me to the punch in sharing the article by Amir Taheri with fellow contributers.

    Remember, If Hamas lays down their arms there will be peace, if Israel lays down their arms there will be no Israel…..!

  • derek

    Jonathan says

    please name me a democracy that would allow a political party to stand at an election when that party is committed to that country's destruction

    Well how about Britain?

    Throughout the Northern Irish troubles the IRAs political wing Sinn Fein was allowed to stand in elections. And as far as I recall when the IRA lobbed mortars the British army response was not to raze Belfast to the ground.

  • ingo

    Far from intending to join into your private melee, I would like to know why anybody should feel the need to point out their primacy to a debate that can only throw fog on the real Issues at hand.

    Why has Israel, deciedely, not invested in an uptodate missile defense system against these fire crackers and has rather concentrated on blood and gore weaponry,has in advance planned and accepted fatalities on both sides, wailing for loved ones and revenge, when one could have gone down the road to defensive technology, systems that blow these missiles out of the sky, i.e. holding the other cheek, instead of offensive capabilities such as bunker busting bombs, in the full knowledge that half of Gaza's population are children.

    May I term this period the 'continuation of guaranteed hate period', forever enthralled by the need for hate to advance stealing of land and ignorance of a wider world community?

    Hamas is a legitamitely and democratically elected Government, are you going to advocate that it is legitamit to remove it by force, because the better equipped and educated side can't be bothered to protect its population properly?

    What gore to challenge criticism of a behaviour worth of a neanderthal with a cudgel.

    Another little niggle, how much more excessively violent has one got to be to the UN,Johnathan, what do you think, before one is thrown out, how many more violations and ignorance towards UN resolutions have there got to be, before European preferential trading arrangements and other help is taken away?

    Seeing all these ill fitting creases in your jacket Johnathan, when will you show us all your real glory and take that itching zionist jacket, why not defend judaic history being taken over by a bunch of nationalistic dogmatic's, fanatics, evil doers even, it does not square with many in the world anymore? Start behaving as an equal amongst many and you will be surprised what support you would get.

    Craig is right he is is not antisemitic, nor am I, sadly, we have to be guided in the world by the actions and interactions of people between each other, not by primitve waring, thats why your aquisations do not make us tick Johnathan, they are inconsequential.

    Israels right to existence has to be seriously questioned after what has been forced upon us to endure for sheer might, without rhyme or reason.

    Israels many undeclared borders and increasing illegal aquisitions of east Jerusalem and many other parts of Palestine, the occupation of the Golan and the west bank, further apartheid through wealls, all these are conflicts that did nothing to endear you to the world, never mind your neighbours.

    Gaza's unscrutinised massaker is not a war on terror, its a war against innocense, against children, when one could have done different, the motto of my university.

    May peace one day hit you on the head Johnathan, listen to those many jews that had enough of this divertion of judaism to suit a nationalistic and racist fringe agenda, that only breeds more hate and bad feelings so one can have another war paid for by others, and steal more land, aquire more problems.

    Why should Question time be ever broadcast from Israel? First try and make peace in Gaza, not support the breeding of more terrorists, then come back and tell us all about it.

    Now rush, you must be busy.

  • Jonathan

    Try again Craig.

    Sinn Fein was not committed to the destruction of the UK. It was committed to the unification of Ireland. The SNP is not committed to the destruction of the UK. It is committed to Scottish independence.

    Israel is surrounded by hostile countries and by Hamas and Hizbollah. Only Jordan and Egypt have signed peace treaties. Ahmadinejad in Iran is committed to wiping israel off the map.

    The UK is surrounded by friendly nations and is a member of the EU.

    Your examples are completely inappropriate as you well know.

  • ken

    I am lost for words when such human horrors as are now occuring in Gaza are trivialised by the specious comments of Mr Hoffman, so I apologise for using the words of others, I have much respect for them:

    "…… another oasis of free speech will be bombarded by people like Ann Levin so everybody has to wade through so much tedious and unilluminating comment that they give up visiting your site." As long as I can read the internet I will not stop visiting this site.

    To Ann Levin, I say, just to repeat,

    "The rockets will stop when Israel stops occupying other people's land.

    The rockets will stop when Israel stops confining the Palestinians in virtual concentration camps.

    The rockets will stop when Israel starts recognising those whom the Palestinians elected as their representatives.

    The rockets will stop when Israel itself really does become a democracy by extending the vote to all those who live there and to all those who once lived there but were kicked out by the Zionists.

    The rockets will stop when Israel starts behaving just like any other country."

    And please tell me, as well as others who have asked, what IS anti-semitic about the question, "Is it because so much of the Western financial system and media is controlled by Zionists? Is it because the Mossad has penetrated the higher echelons of the European political Establishment?"

    Finally, the awful BBC reporting of yesterday evening, might it have had anything to do with obliterating a report that was heading to the newsrooms that Israel had completely destroyed a Christian Aid medical clinic in Gaza, part funded by the EU, and all the equipment inside it? Who will be the next to complain of anti-semitism???

  • algernon

    Jonathen

    Is the Israeli democracy that fragile that it considers these parties a threat? Come on, the overwelming majority of the electorate want the state to continue to exist, so why not let democracy vote the two arab parties down.

  • PetraMB

    Mr. Murray, you hold forth here very confidently about Israel, antisemitism, and anti-Zionism. How about first making sure that you get some basic facts right?

    For example, you write:

    "I do reject the state of Israel with its racially defined citizenship qualification."

    Well, I assume that with "racially defined" you mean Jewish, i.e. you assume that Jews are a "race". Are you sure you are in good company with this?

    Moreover, you might be surprised to learn that about a quarter of Israel's citizens are non-Jews — I, an Israeli citizen by naturalization, am one of them.

    Maybe you have too many "racially defined" notions in your head?

  • Jonathan

    http://eumc.europa.eu/eumc/material/pub/AS/AS-Wor

    Some of you need to read the EUMC Definition of antisemitism which is the most widely accepted definition.

    You ask why the following is antisemitic:

    "Is it because so much of the Western financial system and media is controlled by Zionists? Is it because the Mossad has penetrated the higher echelons of the European political Establishment?"

    Antisemitism is the world's oldest hatred. The accusation that Jews (and yes everyone knows that by 'Zionists' the poster means 'Jews') control the media and the financial system is a core trope of antisemitism. Look at the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for example.

    I cannot believe I have to explain this but for your information financial institutions and media companies are 'controlled' by their shareholders which include pension funds and sovereign wealth funds from Asia and the oil producing Middle East, as well as small savers.

    The suggestion that "Mossad has penetrated the higher echelons of the European political Establishment" is utter garbage. Again I cannot believe I am having to explain this but in every one of the 26 EU members we have something called 'democracy' which is what decides 'the European political establishment'

    If Craig Murray wants to keep antisemitic comments on his site there is nothing to stop that, but most people will take him far less seriously as a consequence.

  • ken

    Two comments on the Taheri article in Rupert Murdoch's Times (referred to above):

    "life for nearly a tenth of Israelis (is) an exercise in anxiety." – So more than 90% of Israelis do not feel anxiety in their lives. Would it be that for the last 60 years, Palestinians could say the same thing? And let me get this right – every day Gazan children and babies are butchered and burned alive so that fewer than 10% of Israelis can live with "less anxiety"?

    Taheri's article is full of similar topsy-turvy rhetoric. Like:

    "Cutting Hamas down to size would be good not only for Israel but also for the Palestinian people, more specifically the people of Gaza." So let me get this right again, it's important – cutting down, (and burning down) Gazan children would be good, specifically, for the people of Gaza????

    I've never heard of this Taheri person – someone tell me who he is.

  • eddie

    I would like to support Craig on this one. I don't agree with his politics and I am a regular supporter of Harry's Place but Craig has been a decent and honourable blogger whose principal objectives are freedom of speech and honest debate. There are bound to be nutters on any site and things often get heated but this blog is not like CiF where there is an army of checkers deleting "unsound" comments. I made a comment on another thread about the Harry "raghead" issue which has not been delted. Surely we are all adults who can make up our minds about postings?

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