The New McCarthyism – The “Anti-Semitism” Hysteria Gripping the UK 476

Tony Greenstein has been suspended from the Labour Party for alleged anti-Semitism. Tony is 100% Jewish from an Orthodox family. But he is also one of the founders of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and in the current hysterical witch-hunt, being pro-Palestinian rights is sufficient indication of anti-Semitism. Just as making herbal medicine used to make you a witch.

The catalyst for the campaign is that one of the clearest dividing lines between Blairites and Corbyn supporters is Israel. Blairites are unanimously, unequivocally pro-Israel and prepared to defend even the most blatantly disproportionate Israeli attacks on Gaza, land grabs or checkpoint shootings as self-defence. Corbyn supporters unanimously have more sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians and are critical of what they view (and I agree) as the apartheid state Israel has developed.

Because of the dreadful persecution of the Jews in the 20th century, anti-Semitism is the most emotionally charged of all political accusations. As it should be. Anti-Semitism is an appalling racism, and while all racism is evil, recent history makes anti-Semitism especially charged.

The background is that the Blairites are in utter political disarray. They and the rest of the Right are struggling against popular revulsion at the massive wealth inequalities fostered by their extreme neo-liberal policies these past four decades. There are very few things they can say which gain any popular traction. So they reach for the dread accusation of anti-Semitism.

The other meme of the right which gains popular support is the massive exaggeration of the threat of “Islamist” terrorism, again fuelled by natural popular revulsion at events like Paris and Brussels. Government programmes like Prevent are designed to further inculcate Islamophobia. All these issues can then be merged as a symplistic lie that Muslims hate Jews, therefore those defending Muslims from Islamophobia are also anti-Semitic. The witch-hunt spreads further.

This is the background to David Cameron’s extraordinary parliamentary attack on Sadiq Khan. Less attention has been paid to an even more appalling parliamentary exchange yesterday as allegations of anti-semitism were thrown around with gay abandon:

– Matthew Offord: Just weeks after the co-chairman of the Oxford University Labour club stepped down, saying that a large proportion of both the OULC and the student left in Oxford “have some kind of problem with Jews”, I am sure my right hon. Friend will be incredulous to hear that students who attended the National Union of Students conference in Brighton yesterday debated boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day and then went on to elect as its president someone who described the University of Birmingham as “something of a Zionist outpost” in British higher education. May we have a Minister come to the Dispatch Box to set out measures that the Government will take to counter the rise in anti-Semitism that is being fomented on university campuses?
– Chris Grayling: That is simply unacceptable in our society. The views expressed yesterday are not acceptable. The shadow Leader of the House was absolutely right when he talked about anti-Semitism in his own party. All of us from all political parties should work to stamp it out across our society, as it is simply unacceptable.
– Bob Blackman: Further to the question by my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon (Dr Offord), it is ironic that the Holocaust Educational Trust was holding a reception and information session in this place at the same time as the National Union of Students was debating a motion to boycott Holocaust Memorial Day, and that speakers in favour of that were applauded for saying that Holocaust Memorial Day was not inclusive enough. Clearly, there is a great deal of work to be done on education to combat the scourge of anti-Semitism, so may we have a debate in Government time on what action we are going to take to root that out once and for all among all political parties and among all sections of society?
– Chris Grayling: My hon. Friend is right. We are seeing that happen time and again—statements about the Jewish population in this country, statements about Israel, that are unacceptable in a democratic society. Of course, there are legitimate debates to be had about the future of Israel and Palestine and the peace process, but some of the anti-Semitic views that are appearing in our society are simply unacceptable. [Interruption.] Labour Members mention Islamophobia. I have stood at the Dispatch Box time and again and condemned Islamophobia in this country, but that is not a reason for not paying attention to the issue of anti-Semitism, which is becoming more and more of a problem and must be addressed head-on now by all those in public life, including the Labour party.
– Barry Sheerman: [excerpt] After the unfortunate remarks by the Leader of the House about the Labour party being riddled with anti-Semitism, may I ask, as someone who has fought anti-Semitism in the Labour party and in this country all his life, whether we can have an early debate about that issue? That is so important on a day when the people who want to take us out of Europe have invited Marine Le Pen to come here and speak.
– Chris Grayling: On the issue of anti-Semitism and the Labour party, I would encourage Labour Members to have a debate. The shadow Leader of the House is absolutely right to have written the article he did, saying that anti-Semitism is not acceptable, but, of course, his words have to be turned into action by the Labour party.

I frankly find it very difficult to believe that anti-Semitism is rife in Oxford University, and find the prominence given to the unsubstantiated claims of one single extreme pro-Israel activist rather extraordinary. The attack on new NUS President Malia Bouattia is a truly horrible piece of witch-hunting. But it is useful in one thing; it makes the witch-hunt’s primary method, the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, absolutely explicit.

Daniel Clemens, the president of Birmingham J-Soc, said her response was “completely unsatisfactory”. “There is quite a bit of uproar among the wider campus and student community,” Clemens said. “I think that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are two and the same thing. Zionism is the belief that Jewish people should have a homeland to live in without threat of annihilation or war. This stems from a Jewish belief. So when someone attacks Zionism they’re indirectly attacking Judaism as a religion, because the two go hand in hand.”

The idea that the religious belief of entitlement to the land of the Palestinians, is such that it is racist to deny the land to those who hold that belief, is frankly crazy. But that is the entire intellectual basis of the current witch-hunt, which operates solely on conflating the anti-Zionism of Tony Greenstein with anti-Semitism. It is a constant theme in the media, led of course by the Blairite cheerleaders at the Guardian. I called out Nick Cohen on his hate speech a few weeks ago.

Andrew Gilligan in the Daily Telegraph even completely fabricated a story that DFID had withdrawn funding for the charity War on Want because it organised “anti-Semitic” conferences. I personally contacted the DFID spokesman, who said that no funding had been withdrawn at all. But more disturbing is that, again, Gilligan seeks to portray simple anti-Zionist statements as anti-Semitic. He objects to:

“At another rally – sponsored by War on Want – a speaker said that British government policy was created by “Zionist and neo-con lobbies”.”

That is a statement which I – and millions of others – would heartily endorse. But we are not anti-Semites. Unsurprisingly, Gilligan calls in precisely the same Oxford University student to back up his wild accusations.

Anti-Semitism does exist. In a membership as large as that of the Labour Party, there are bound to be a handful around, and if they can be identified they should indeed be expelled. I have seen a couple of examples quoted – people who talk of “big noses” and “jewish bankers”. Certainly such people must be shunned. In my lifetime’s experience, anti-Semitism is more prevalent on the right than the left, but fortunately does not infect a significant proportion of the population in the UK. I have yet to encounter any in Scotland.

But to conflate anti-Semitism with opposition to the apartheid state of Israel is to demean the very meaning of anti-Semitism. If they really had respect for its victims, they would not seek to do that.

476 thoughts on “The New McCarthyism – The “Anti-Semitism” Hysteria Gripping the UK

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  • John Spencer-Davis

    I have taken an interest in Tony Greenstein since he was good enough to post on here recently. As far as I am aware, he has not yet been formally notified of the gravamen of the complaint(s) leading to his suspension from the Labour Party and in fact has only found out what he has been accused of from such formal resources as the Times and the Daily Telegraph, which for some peculiar reason seem to know more about the internal workings of the Labour Party Constitutional/Compliance Unit than the people being suspended do.

    He runs a great blog and I wish it was better known. If he is reading this I send him greetings and not to let them grind him down.

    Somewhere on his blog he gives the e-mail address of John Stolliday, who heads the Unit, so that if you want to, you can send him an e-mail asking why Tony has not been given details of what he has been suspended for, when apparently national newspapers know all about it.

  • MJ

    “But to conflate anti-Semitism with opposition to the apartheid state of Israel is to demean the very meaning of anti-Semitism”

    Yes, it’s anti-Semantic. It’s like suggesting everyone who opposed the apartheid state of South African was anti-Boer.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Yes, it’s anti-Semantic”.

      You have actually made a very good and pointed joke there, MJ – although, I suspect, unintentionally (like many of the best witticisms). A very great deal of the froth and foam emitted about “anti-Semitism” is, indeed, evidence of an “anti-semantic” prejudice. Opposed to meaning, in other words. Dedicated to destroying effective communication and cooperation between people. Aimed at reducing all discourse to meaningless babble.

      • Tom Welsh

        Damn. I should read more carefully and be less hasty to post. My deepest apologies, MJ, for failing to see that your wit was indeed deliberate. And all the better for it.

  • Tony_0pmoc


    Perhaps you could expand a little what you actually mean by this sentence, as I think it is very open to interpretation. However, that may have been your intention.

    “The idea that the religious belief of entitlement to the land of the Palestinians, is such that it is racist to deny the land to those who hold that belief, is frankly crazy.”

    I’m sure you know most of the real history, even if much of your audience may not.

    The problems are of course all the fault of The British.

    • craig Post author


      It seems fairly plain to me in the context of the immediately preceding statement of which it is a critique.

      • Tony_0pmoc

        I am unclear as to which groups you are referring to

        a) who are the Semites? The Palestinians, or those who have moved mainly from Eastern Europe and Russia to Palestine (who incidentally adopted the Jewish religion about 1200 years ago, and have as much historical connection to Palestine, as do Roman Catholic Eskimos to Rome (the very white skins are a hint, though I didn’t really want to bring colour into it)

        b) who is denying the land to who? Are the deniers, those accused of anti-semitism at Oxford University, Birmingham, Tel Aviv or Gaza?

        c) who are the racists?

        I accept that there are disparate groups of Jews over much of the world, and some of them will undoubtedly have real historical links to Palestine. I particularly liked the culture, art and friendliness of these Jews I found in Southern India. So far as I am aware, they have lived in peace with other cultures and religions in India for an exceedingly long time.

    • Tony Greenstein

      It’s absurd the statement on a number of levels.

      i. It is not racist to criticise a religious belief, any religious belief. That is the essence of a democratic society.
      ii. The Jewish religion is not predicated on an entitlement to the Land of Israel, that is a Zionist belief. When Zionism first arose, those who were most vociferously opposed to it were the religious Orthodox. They said you can’t force the hand of god.
      iii. I’m a Marxist and for me religion is the reflection of man or woman. In other words I look for materialist explanations. If the belief in Palestine/Israel was so integral to the Jewish religion why did it take 2,000 years for them to start going back. I exclude religious Jews who had gone to jerusalem over the centuries to pray and study and die. Their was not a political project and indeed they, the ‘old Yishuv’ opposed Zionism.

      What mattered was that the late 19th century was the tail end of European colonialism and ZIonism above all was a colonial not a religious project.

      • Resident Dissident

        .”I’m a Marxist and for me religion is the reflection of man or woman” – that may be so for you, but the non Marxist Jewish believers probably see things rather differently and many interpret the Bible rather differently from yourself when it comes to an entitlement to the Land of Israel (Moses’s Promised Land and all that). I suspect It would be pointless to argue these points with you – but the point you miss is that equally intelligent people to yourself hold different views which you just seem to define away as being unacceptable. Perhaps if you are really a Marxist then you should try to develop some dialectic – if no one does then the result is probably just more suffering and conflict.

      • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

        Does not the traditional Jewish wish (or spoken hope) “Next year in Jerusalem” pre-date Zionism and the Zionist movement?

  • Anon1

    “But more disturbing is that, again, Gilligan seeks to portray simple anti-Zionist statements as anti-Semitic. He objects to:

    “At another rally – sponsored by War on Want – a speaker said that British government policy was created by “Zionist and neo-con lobbies”.”

    That is a statement which I – and millions of others – would heartily endorse. But we are not anti-Semites.


    Oh, Craig. Bless. You can be so naive. It’s a thinly disguised way of saying that the Jews control British government policy.

        • John Spencer-Davis

          Craig endorses the speaker’s views. Is Craig anti-Semitic for doing so? Yes or no?

          • Anon1

            He is naive.

            Now go and find someone else to oblige your legal fantasies you litigious little runt.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            You’re conflating anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, quite deliberately. And runt yourself.

        • craig Post author

          You are simply trying to repeat the precise calumny to which the article objects. Many Jews are not Zionists and many Zionists are not Jews.

          • Anon1

            Yes, I GET THAT.

            If you think the constant ranting and raving about Zionist and Neo-Con lobbies from the far-left isn’t barely concealed anti-Semitism then you haven’t a clue, Craig. Read the pages of your own blog for a start.

            (Clue: it’s unacceptable, potentially illegal, but certainly deleterious to one’s cause to openly advance anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, so using the word ‘Zionist’ provides the necessary cover whilst leaving little doubt as to the true intent.)

          • harrylaw

            Excellent article. ” many Zionists are not Jews”. Very true, for instance there are at least 10 times more Christian Zionists in the United States than there are citizens of Jewish origin [Joe Biden calls himself a Zionist] To conflate Anti Zionism with Antisemitism is just a way to stop people from criticizing the well documented war crimes of the Israeli State. Most people in the world acknowledge the State of Israel within the boundaries set by the UN General Assembly and agreed to by the Israeli Government in 1948. To that extent it could be said that most people are Zionists [Balfour’s declaration only talked about a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine, not all of Palestine]. Most people today who are ‘Anti Zionists’ are not Anti Semites rather they are against the Zionists claim that the whole of ‘the land of Israel’ including Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] belong to them, and therefore the Zionist policy of ethnic cleansing and discrimination as practiced against Palestinians are justified.

          • Loretha

            “Many Jews are not Zionists and many Zionists are not Jews.”

            So when is a Semite not a Semite?

            When he/she is a Palestinian.

        • Pete

          American neo-cons are in fact predominantly fundamentalist Christians, while their British lackeys are predominantly non-religious (Blair being an exception as a Roman Catholic).

          Christian Fundamentalists (I used to be one myself, as it happens) have an odd relationship with the Jewish religion. In the Evangelical church to which I belonged we believed that following the Second Coming of Christ the Jews would all become Christians, and would immediately be accorded superior status to Gentile Christians based on their genetic heritage. They would rule the world under the direction of Jesus Himself for 1000 years prior to the Last Judgement. The story of the Prodigal Son was quoted in evidence for this.

          • craig Post author

            I encountered some evangelicals in the USA who support Israel absolutely and believe a war in support of Israel will bring the Rapture, but also believe all Jews will then go to Hell. I am afraid much religion is simply irrational.

            Anon1, I strongly suspect I know a good deal more “Far left” people than you do and have never had any reason to suspect anti-Semitism in any of them. You continually assert that when left wing people say Zionist they mean Jew, but show no actual evidence.

        • Tony Greenstein

          only in the eyes of anti-Semites. Most Zionists are non-Jewish e.g. the million strong Christians United for Israel in the USA led by the anti-Semitic Pastor John Hagee.

          No one supported Zionism more than people like Heydrich, Eichmann and Rosenberg – the Nazis saw the Zionists as their favourite Jews and the Zionists welcomed the Nuremburg Laws because it was, in the words of the Chair of the German Zionist Federation, Rabbi Joachim Prinz ‘everything we had dreamed of’

          • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

            Can you provide links/sources for the last assertion of yours? Presumably it was something written (perhaps the text of a speech, a letter or something similar, so preferably whole text and not just snippets or a few lines from a newspaper or magazine.

            Thanks in advance.

          • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

            Links /sources would also help establish the context (and date) of what you say he said.

          • Resident Dissident

            What on earth do you mean by a Zionist – if you just mean someone who believes in the right of Israel to exist, as is the position in International Law then most Jews are Zionist, and are I suspect many other people throughout the World. Those like myself who believe in a two state solution would also be Zionist. There are of course those (no names no pack drill) who then assume that everyone who is a Zionist then automatically buys the whole package of “genocide” against the Palestinians, support for Netanyahu, and the expansion of Israel into any territory that he may think fit – we don’t of course but attaching labels and defined positions with absolutely no sense of nuance is what they do – are you a member of that intellectually lazy group who prefers insult and abuse to a genuine dialogue, which actually is the only way that progress will ever be made?

          • K Crosby

            51 Documents and ZIONISM IN THE AGE OF THE DICTATORS – A REAPPRAISAL Lenni Brenner on zionist collaboration with the nazis.

            (There isn’t a reply button on the questioner’s post.)

    • Republicofscotland


      Thank you for your, rather insightful interpretation of that particular sentence, it, screams to me, at least, that it is a defensive statement, in the form of an assumption, that we all believe that, the J**s run the government.

      You’ve probably been denouncing that accusation, for so long now, that you confuse Zionists with genuine hard working J**ish people, going about their daily business.

  • Ba\'al Zevul

    The more you sit on it the worse it gets. The more diaspora Jews feel threatened, the more cash and settlers for Israel. And it keeps dear little Israel bubbling away in the media eye, while painting a completely false picture of life abroad for Israelis.

    Glad you found the quotation:
    anti-Zionism and antisemitism are two and the same thing. Zionism is the belief that Jewish people should have a homeland to live in without threat of annihilation or war. This stems from a Jewish belief. So when someone attacks Zionism they’re indirectly attacking Judaism as a religion, because the two go hand in hand.”

    which is utterly absurd, because using exactly the same logic, it should be a mortal sin to criticise Daesh.

    Exceptionalism, and a ticking demographic timebomb, are the reasons.

    • Anon1

      You clearly conflate Zionist with Jew because you called for demonstrations outside UK synagogues after the last Gaza war.

      • Ba\'al Zevul

        No, little one. If I’d been into conflating I would have had to assume that all Jews were immune to persuasion – in which case there I would have seen absolutely no point in my proposed action. And do remember quite a lot of people were at the time getting killed (1024) by airstrikes on a densely populated civilian are, much of which was reduced to rubble. So I can take a leaf out of the Israeli book, and claim, with much more justice, that my proposed action was both reasonable and proportionate.

        *peaceful, unthreatening persuasion, such as you might undertake in protest at something you considered an injustice, though I haven’t a clue what kind of atrocity that might be.

        • Anon1

          Took you a while to cobble that together.

          “If I’d been into conflating I would have had to assume that all Jews were immune to persuasion – in which case there I would have seen absolutely no point in my proposed action”

          About the only way you could slither out of it. You were calling for SILENT protests outside UK synagogues. Don’t try and dress it up as an attempt at “persuasion”. You hold that Jews in UK are responsible for the actions of the state of Israel, whilst going about their religious observance!

          • Ba'al Zevul

            I wish I ciould cure you of your regrettable tendency to set up straw men. Ever heard of placards? And might your telepathic ability, lol, lead you to invent me some slogans to put on those? I don’t say that “Jews in the UK are responsible for the actions of Israel”. What I do think is that some Jews in the UK are supportive of Israel’s criminal foreign policy, and are all-too-often representing themselves as representative of all Jews.

            I was proposing, and if it happens again, will still propose, an action which in any other context at all would have been perfectly legal. And considerably more restrained than most; in order to confront British Jews with activities conducted by the only Jewish state.

            Now FOAD.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Sorry, For ‘foreign’ read ‘home’ – although I’m not sure it’s any worse.

          • Anon1

            As we are frequently reminded here, not all Jews are Zionists, and not all Zionists are Jews. So targeting UK synagogues for your protests is conflating Jew with Zionist.

          • Tony Greenstein

            unfortunately the Jewish representative bodies in the UK, the Board of Deputies does indeed say that Jews support things like Gaza. And Netanyahu claimed when he spoke in Paris to speak on behalf of all Jews not just those in Israel

            Israel claims it is a jewish state not a state of its own citizens, i.e. Jews in all the world, hence there is no Israeli nationality just citizenship.

      • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

        To be fair, Anon, he called for non-violent demonstrations. Loud hissing at the entering worshippers was what Baal called for, if memory serves.

      • Resident Dissident

        I am not sure whether or not Komodo conflates Zionism with Judaism but we all know that there are not a few Anti Zionists who do and have been caught in the act (no names no pack drill) – the other thing we know about these individuals is that they are usually among the first to complain about Anti- Semitism and Anti Zionism being conflated by their opponents. It is not a definitive warning sign – there are some Anti Zionists who are genuinely Anti-Semitic, but I think some natural scepticism is always called for.

        • K Crosby

          Do you ever look for antisemites dressed in zionist clothing? I don’t doubt that antizionists have been attacked by agents provocateur and plants but this disgusting attempt to use zionist antisemitism to oppress free speakers in Britain is going to backfire on real Jews as well as zionists. That’s not nice.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            I posted an example from Tony Greenstein’s blog yesterday. They don’t care that Tony is Jewish. They want him dead because he’s anti-Zionist.

  • Tom Welsh

    Not wishing to stir up anger and dissension, but purely in a spirit of disinterested inquiry, I would like to ask whether any objective facts and figures are available about “Jewish bankers” – and, indeed, Jewish business and political leaders, and Jewish journalists.

    Surely it is a serious mistake to outlaw all factual questions about a subject of such great potential importance. If a majority of the bankers, business and political leaders, or journalists in Britain were Russian, Chinese, or Iranian, people would want to know. Whether such a situation would be considered dangerous or harmful is a separate issue, and one which cannot even be considered until the facts are established.

    But, because being Jewish is viewed as entirely different in nature from being Russian, or Muslim, or black-skinned, there seems to be a view that it is wrong even to ask who is Jewish and who is not. Isn’t that a bit odd?

    • craig Post author

      no, it isn’t. Jewish British journalists are just British just like Black British journalists. It is no more respectable to complain about the one than the other – which is not respectable at all.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Given the history of Jews in Europe, no. I think they could quite rightly object.

    • Republicofscotland

      Tom Welsh.

      It would appear to me that you are confusing, nationality, with one’s religious beliefs, a J*wish person living in Britain, if born in Britain is a British national, not a J*wish national.

      The same applies to, those who follow other religions, such as Hindus or Sikhs, or Muslims,

    • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

      There you go – “Jewish”, the man says, not “Zionist” or even “Israeli”.

  • Pete

    “Daniel Clemens, the president of Birmingham J-Soc, said…“anti-Zionism and antisemitism are two and the same thing. Zionism is the belief that Jewish people should have a homeland to live in without threat of annihilation or war. This stems from a Jewish belief. So when someone attacks Zionism they’re indirectly attacking Judaism as a religion, because the two go hand in hand.”

    It bothers me that someone who is studying at a major University could think in such an illogical fashion. Firstly, Zionism is a modern political movement, which was opposed by the great majority of Jews before the 1940s. It is not based on Judaism, because the latter asserts that Palestine was given to the Jews conditionally, so long as they obeyed the Torah. The majority of Jews are “non-practicing” and do not obey the Torah’s many regulations- they do not, for instance, execute disobedient teenagers and rape victims, both of which are required by the Mosaic law.

    Secondly, it’s very dangerous to equate “attacking Judaism as a religion” i.e. disagreeing with one of its dogmas, with attacking Jewish people. All the main religions contradict each other’s dogmas, and could cause great offence to one another’s adherents should they be inclined to take offence. Judaism for instance asserts that the Messiah has not yet come, which is offensive to Christians, while Christianity asserts that Jesus is the Son of God, which is highly offensive to Muslims as the Quran specifically denies this and asserts that Jesus Himself will deny it on the Day of Judgement.

    A lot of this stems from politicians currying favour with “Faith Communities” by which they really mean “important voting blocks in their constituencies- like Roy Hattersley who feels free to mock small peaceful minority religious groups while showing great respect to Muslims who were a large part of his potential voters. The end result could be that the whole of spiritual life is removed from public discourse, thus preventing debate and development and leaving all religions stuck in outworn dogmatic systems and all persons stuck in whatever religion their parents indoctrinated them into.

    • Resident Dissident

      “It bothers me that someone who is studying at a major University could think in such an illogical fashion.”

      The thinking doesn’t stem from logic but from faith and an interpretation of the Bible that goes with that faith – remember Moses and the Promised Land. Not everyone is driven by logic – values and beliefs play a role as well even among some very intelligent people. You may not like it, and as an agnostic (and a pretty atheistic one at that) I’m not that keen either, but if you want to change things quickly we shall try and stop the world so you can get off.

      • K Crosby

        Now you conflate religion with zionism, a secular and fascist ideology used by cynical terrorists, now being used as a Trojan Horse by the British state as well as the US empire. What poor taste.

        • Resident Dissident

          You really are quite the idiot – of course some Jews believe what is said in the Bible about the Promised Land and that Israel is that land. You can define this as being secular and fascist but you really are just defining terms to suit your own views and then attacking and insulting people for not accepting your circular logic.

  • Manda

    “The catalyst for the campaign is that one of the clearest dividing lines between Blairites and Corbyn supporters is Israel. Blairites are unanimously, unequivocally pro-Israel and prepared to defend even the most blatantly disproportionate Israeli attacks on Gaza, land grabs or checkpoint shootings as self-defence. ”

    I have been watching the tactic of smearing the new progressive Labour with anti Semitism unfolding for months now. It is ramping up now.
    Blair is working as advisor to the Israeli lobby in UK now I believe and of course Mark Regev is the Israeli ambassador to UK. A ‘dream team’ of propagandists of the first order has many objectives. Neutralizing BDS being a major one along with promoting Israel’s interests and image in UK. International Law and human rights are not considerations for Israeli propagandists.

    Until we can denounce the illegality and inhumanity of Israel’s policies in the illegally occupied territories of Palestine without smears, threats and conflation with anti Semitism there will be no justice in the world.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      I hadn’t heard that Blair was advising a specifically British Jewish organisation – and I have my eye on him all the time – but he is the new chair of the misleadingly-titled European Council for Tolerance and Reconciliation.

      an offshoot of the European Jewish Congress. The latter is nothing formally to do with the EU, but it likes to look that way.

      It’s run by a Russian oligarch – Moshe Kantor:

      (Mr. Kantor is also a member of the International Board of Hillel – The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.)

      Go figure.

      • Manda

        “I hadn’t heard that Blair was advising a specifically British Jewish organisation ”

        Advising a pro Israeli policy group/lobby. I am unable to find my source, it was a few months ago now, so disregard that comment.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          I’ll keep an eye open for that, though, Manda. It’s entirely possible after all.

    • Anon1

      “Until we can denounce the illegality and inhumanity of Israel’s policies in the illegally occupied territories of Palestine without smears, threats and conflation with anti Semitism there will be no justice in the world.”

      No justice in the world! A useful insight into the mindset of the anti-Zionist.* Aren’t there many hundreds of serious human rights concerns across the globe that deserve attention? Why is it always this obsession with Israel that overrides everything?

      *Nothing to do with the Jews. Honest.

      • Manda

        “No justice in the world! A useful insight into the mindset of the anti-Zionist.*”

        I am speaking about International Law, International Humanitarian Laws that Israel disregards with impunity with the full support of the western powers. You chose to label me for your own agenda. I chose to look at compliance with International Law, morality, ethics, humanity and fairness, not labels.

      • philw

        CM – “The attack on new NUS President Malia Bouattia is a truly horrible piece of witch-hunting. But it is useful in one thing; it makes the witch-hunt’s primary method, the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, absolutely explicit. ”

        Do you, Anon1, accept that this deliberate conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is going on and being used as a smear tactic?

  • Anon1

    “The other meme of the right which gains popular support is the massive exaggeration of the threat of “Islamist” terrorism, again fuelled by natural popular revulsion at events like Paris and Brussels.”

    I don’t quite understand your point here. If fanatical Muslims are blowing up commuters in London, Madrid and Brussels, spraying bullets into rock concerts in Paris, gunning down tourists in Tunisia, flying planes into skyscrapers in New York, and on a daily basis slaughtering different sects of Muslims and non-muslims alike, throughout the Islamic world, it surely follows that there is some cause for concern?

    But that would be “Islamophobic”. And “racist”.

    • bevin

      ” I don’t quite understand your point here. If fanatical Muslims are blowing up commuters in London, Madrid and Brussels, spraying bullets into rock concerts in Paris, gunning down tourists in Tunisia, flying planes into skyscrapers in New York, and on a daily basis slaughtering different sects of Muslims and non-muslims alike, throughout the Islamic world, it surely follows that there is some cause for concern?…”

      We’ve been here before, Anon 1, haven’t we?
      If there were really ’cause for concern’ you would be interested in preventing the flow of arms and explosives to those carrying out these attacks. But there isn’t: the materiel just keeps on flowing, in, literally, thousands of tons, from the US, Turkish and Gulf governments directly into the hands of al qaeda and all the other terrorists proxies acting on behalf of, yes, Israel and the ‘west’.
      And you refuse to see it. You appear to reject the logical conclusion that those supplying the terrorists with the means by which they can practise terror bear responsibility.

      • Anon1

        There was a study recently on small arms munitions collected from areas occupied by Islamic State. Most of it was Chinese.

        That is not to say that the Chinese were delivering the ammunition to IS, but that it was the most readily available. Followed by Russian munitions. American weaponry was seized after the hopeless Iraqi army fled from a few thousand bearded fanatics.

        • bevin

          Yes, indeed. The US supplies captured Russian and Chinese ordnance from most notoriously Libya. The latest contract was for 3000 tons in Croatia.
          There is no doubt about who supplies the materiel, who pays for it and who, under any reasonable legal system, is responsible for its use.
          The ultimate responsibility lies wholly with the US government which has been playing these dangerous games for decades.

        • Geoff

          Anon1, as you invariably ask others for links to substantiate their claims, I am sure it was just an oversight when you referenced ‘a study’ but failed to mention who by or provide a link.

          I expect you were distracted by the excitement of thinking of all those beards you felt the urge to reference. Entirely understandable.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    To be quite truthful, I don’t take that very seriously. I do understand you, but I am quite comfortable with anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish being used interchangeably. That is the common meaning of the word now.

  • Ian Lowery

    Zionism is a racist political ideology founded in the principle of exceptionalism whereas Judaism is a religion which Zionist seek to conflate with their dogma

    • bevin

      That is the real challenge for the Commons and the political parties: to confront the hatred of Palestinians, the racism of those who regard Palestinian lives as of little account and the ill treatment and looting of Palestinian communities as justified before this extreme racism, the hallmark of fascist revisionist zionism, corrodes the ‘values’ to which, increasingly they merely pay lip service.

      As to anti-semitism if the word has any meaning-and that appears to be something which zionists would dispute- the most dangerous anti-semites in the country are those who justify the policies of the Israeli authorities who are responsible for the systematic and heart rending persecution of the, semitic, inhabitants of Palestine.

      This is a matter on which the Labour Party can no longer compromise, zionism is directly contradictory of ideas of human solidarity and fraternity. The zionist project has always been tainted by colonialist reasoning and has come to be the central rallying point internationally for the reviving “Slave Power” which long dominated American politics: the relationship between supporters of the Likud revisionists and a dangerously aggressive US crusade for hegemony-a relationship exemplified in Hillary Clinton’s campaign-is exceedingly close.
      Israel is the new Confederacy- that, not the crass biblical rationales given- is the reason why fundamentalist sects, authoritarian, inclined to racism and in every way opposed to freedom of speech and thought, are so supportive of Israel, under its current, fascist, leadership.

      Those who recall US history will recognise in the attitudes of the zionists in Parliament something very similar to the gag laws in Congress under which slavery was not allowed to be debated, the ban on abolitionist literature in the mails and the fundamental assertion that “the South” was an embattled outpost of civilisation surrounded by a savage inferior race intent on killing them all.
      Why else do you imagine that Netanyahu can get away with his description of Israel as “a villa in the jungle” ?
      A less “jungled” area is not to be found anywhere. It is a deliberate appeal to the crudest racism- as can be seen in the regular outbursts of racist attacks on refugees in Tel Aviv and Haifa.

    • Andy Coombes

      Ian – that about nails it.

      Reading through the various student correspondences, I’m afraid that I find special pleading and exceptionalism at the heart of the vast majority of these “complaints”, together with arguments about discrimination “in code” – which is code for “I’m not winning this special pleading and exceptionalism argument.


  • Petraco

    Criticism of the apartheid policies of the government of Israel is no more antisemitic than criticising the US administration is anti-Christian. Antisemitism is rare on the Left and is far more prominent on the political Right in Britain.

  • Mayeaux Wren

    I’ve written many beyond-the-pale things here and I’ll refuse to concede that that last comment was amongst them.

    You do understand the death penalty is a legal mechanism, yes? Which clearly renders my comment absurdist. There I am forgiving genocidal racism but calling for an in extremis punishment for a lack of irony. As jokes go its nearest relative is Eric Idle’s ‘crucifixion’s too good for them’.

    As is I met its deletion with that variety of eyeroll one otherwise reserves for reactionary, doctrinaire jobsworths. Was we to debate it I’ve not a single doubt I’d make you look properly foolish.

    But never mind, where’s that delete button? Off you go – no need to think about it, just press.

    • craig Post author

      “Anti-Semitic” has a common meaning in the English language which is anti-Jewish. Arguments that a word ought not to have its common meaning are otiose; next to move on to arguments about racial group definition is unpleasant. So deleted.

      • Mayeaux Wren

        Really, Craig you surprise me. I’d have thought many comments here were otiose. Not to mention unpleasant, ha ha. In terms of future reference we’ll just have to put this on under the heading of ‘in the eye of the beholder’.

        As a chap much given to wondering at words, what they mean, where they came from, etc, why do we use the perfectly inexact expression ‘anti-Semitic’ when a perfectly obvious alternative is staring us right in your comment, ie. ‘anti-Jewish’. How did this come about and why? It’s a fair question.

        I wonder if Gilad Atzmon has pondered this? He’s very good. Do you ever read him? His phrase ‘Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder’ is brilliant. Funnily enough one sees perfect expressions of it here daily. Anon1 is clearly gripped by it. Speaking of hysteria…

    • Ultra_Fox

      Except there is little evidence to suggest that the SNP are part of the “left” in any way, shape or form..

      However, that’s a debate that is better conducted elsewhere..

  • Eddie Docherty

    Did you see the Grauniad article today which talks about the rising fear anong the Jewish community in Scotland? There were 8 (eight) reported anti-semitic incidents in Scotland in 2015!! This argument is mainly a way of trying to kill off the BDS movement, I believe.

  • John Goss

    In my opinion anti-semitism is not a problem. The problem is hatred of Muslims. I never saw anti-semitism at University of Birmingham (except perhaps when David Irving came to speak) and I think Matthew Offord was deliberately selective in taking out a few words “something of a Zionist outpost” from a paragraph in an article that shows in the next sentence the article was intended to redress the balance of the largest university Jewish Society’s attempt to discipline the Friends of Palestine Society at the same university because a guest speaker had likened Israel to Nazis. It demonstrates the underhandedness of politiicans.

    “The University of Birmingham is something of a Zionist outpost in British Higher Education. It also has the largest JSoc in the country whose leadership is dominated by Zionist activists. Just a month ago the ominous EUMC definition of anti-Semitism was adopted as legislation by the student union and the university’s Friends of Palestine society narrowly avoided severe sanctions after one of our guest speakers made a comparison between Israel and the Nazis (a comparison we’d made clear we didn’t endorse) and were put before a disciplinary panel who demanded we issue an apology. The panel included a student who had written for the Federation of Zionist Youth’s magazine (in one article describing her meeting with Ariel Sharon as an unforgettable experience), yet she did not declare a conflict of interest thus casting serious concerns over the panel’s decision. However, after a long and tiresome campaign, we managed to bring the case to appeal and the committee acquitted us of all charges.”

    It is the bank accounts of PSG and Cage which have been closed so if there is any large-scale discrimination going on it is against Islam.

    Sometimes I am accused of being a Putinista. I think Putin is one of the more creditable of world leaders that we have at the moment. Nevertheless I do not agree with Putin all the while. Here I think he missed a golden opportunity to condemn Netanyahu, Israel’s Apartheid and the illegal occupation of the Golan Heights and West Bank as Fahwad Al-Khadoumi points out in this article.

    • Resident Dissident

      “In my opinion anti-semitism is not a problem.”

      Why? Is it not possible for both anti-Semitism and hatred of Moslems to be problems and unacceptable?

  • Tony Greenstein

    Thanks Craig a very lucid post. See my and ‘anti-semitism – weapon of choice’

    Not only have I been suspended from the Labour Party but they refuse to tell me what I have been suspended for other than it is remarks I am alleged to have made! They have however leaked them to the Times and Telegraph and that is why I know.

    when threatened with an action for libel the Times & Telegraph both printed retractions (see

    These witch hunts have nothing whatsoever to do with anti-Semitism. It is the right using the language of anti-racism to attack anti-racists. If you pay close attention to what the Zionists say they talk about a ‘new anti-Semitism’ not hate of Jews etc. but of Israel as the ‘Jew among the nations’ Irwin Kotler.

    In other words we are singling out Israel for criticism just as Jews used to be singled out. The only problem with this is that a State isn’t a human being. Just like talk of Israel’s ‘right to exist’ is meaningless, so too is the comparison between an inanimate object and human beings. According to their logic criticism of Apartheid South Africa, which was certainly singled out, was anti-Afrikaaner etc. The logic is spell binding.

    It is the old fascist trick of saying that human beings are defined by the State, they only exist in order to serve the state

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Welcome to you, Mr Greenstein, I now read your blog regularly and I wish you well. It I can be of any assistance to you regarding your suspension, do please let me know.

    • MJ

      This should not be happening in a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn. I am coming to the view that he is a very weak leader.

    • Resident Dissident

      The miracle is that you were ever allowed to join Labour in the first place – I remember your support for IRA atrocities in the days when you were a near perpetual student and your economic views are a little divorced from Labour’s values that you were meant to agree with when you signed up.

      (Edited to delete introduction of banned subject. ResDis you will not be warned about agent provocateur instigation again – Craig)

      • Old Mark

        ‘Support for IRA atrocities’ is seriously over egging it Res Diss; pending further clarification from Mr Greenstein himself the closest statement I can find attributed to him that may be so construed was his comment after the Brighton bombing describing Mrs Thatcher as a ‘legitimate target’. Such opinions were commonly expressed by members of the Troops Out movement in the 80s, and many CLPs in London at that time contained a large cohort of members who were also active in the Troops Out movement.

        Before Blair’s NuLab re-branding the Party tolerated a much broadrer spectrum on views on both Ireland and Israel/Palestine and Tony Greenstein is a reminder of that. I don’t share his opinions on many issues but he should have the right to state them without being thrown out of the party- as even some of his strongest critics agree-

      • Resident Dissident

        “Support for IRA atrocities’ is seriously over egging it”

        No it isn’t – I heard it with my own ears at an NUS conference at Margate c 1980 well before the Brighton bombing

      • Resident Dissident


        And what is your evidence for calling me an agent ( there is none because I am not)? All provocation is my own work.

    • Resident Dissident

      Do you still consider Gilad Atzmon to be anti-Semitic? There are a few here that have taken a contrary view in the past.

    • John Goss

      Dave, I think those who want to leave the National Union of Students should leave. They are clearly the bigots. Shame they would lose all their student-card benefits. 🙁

      It is only to be expected when Zionists own the media and spread such nonsense just because a Muslim has been elected to represent university students. You can see where the real hatred is. It is sad that our two oldest univeristies have taken this peculiar stance. Perhaps there are too many entrants from Eton, Harrow, Gordonstoun and such exclusive schools of privilege and perpetuation of false standards.

  • Republicofscotland

    Firstly, I like to say unreservedly that I find, anti-semitism appalling under any circumstances, I have similar feeling for any sections, of society who come under attack for their beliefs.

    However, there appears to be a conflagration, that if you denounce, Israel’s somewhat brutal handling of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, that, somehow equates to, anti-semitism, which in my opinion, is utter tosh.

    If that were the context of the discussion, then, sane and reasonable folk would loathe all Arabs, because of the henious atrocities committed in Saudi Arabia. The reality is we don’t, we can quiet clearly make a distinction between both. Now I’m not saying there aren’t any people who clearly preach anti-semitism, there are plenty.

    However a clear distinction must be put forward, to show that criticism of Israel’s handling of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, is in no way a reflection of a entire section of society, and for the Blairites to push that agenda is nothing short of outrageous.

    The labelling game, is in danger of taking over, and the real issues, are in a sense, in danger of being kicked into the long grass. By labelling a person, one thing or another, you are effectively smearing them, and calling their credibility into account, which inturn could negate that persons, orations and actions on important matters.

    Matters such as, the Gaza Strip or the Golan Heights or actions by a group or several groups in Syria or Yemen. But it is easier to label a person or a group of people anti-semitic, than it is, to answer difficult questions on say humanitarian matters, within conflict areas involving Israel.

  • Hieroglyph

    Anti-semitism is merely a smear. Frankly, it’s Nu Lab code for paedophile. At some point – when they get desperate – they will disgrace themselves, and call an ally of Corbyn a child abuser. This sounds harsh, but I’ll take money on it: a staffer, ally, or supporter of JC will be accused of a sex-crime before the election.

    The Nu Lab right are psychopaths, as is Tony Blair. The above paragraph may sound insane, but these are the people we have to deal with. This is where we are. Your poster is beginning to feel like a pound shop pastor niemoller, but so it goes. They are coming for us.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Just to give an indication of how daft this religious tribalism stuff is, I have got to know over the years, this group of musicians who specialize in Eastern European music. When performing they also speak with an Eastern European accent. They get paid exceedingly well for performing at Jewish Weddings and Bar mitzvahs. I have also spoken to them, when they are not performing and a bit drunk.

    I know another English musician exceedingly well. He doesn’t come from Lancashire. He was born in London and his Family come from South West England.

    On St. Patrick’s night absolutely Everyone is convinced he is Irish.

    He ain’t.


    • lysias

      If there is a word like “anti-Semitism” for the hostility towards the Irish that I certainly observed when I was studying at Oxford, I am unaware of it. It is also obvious in the postings of at least one commenter here, the resident snitch.

      • John Spencer-Davis

        You tell me, I have no Idea. However, if for some reason you have occasion to refer to Mr Blankfein as a banker, why would you want to refer to him as a Jewish banker?

        • mh505

          So it’s alright to call him a banker; but not to call him a Jew? Or, since you seem to be a PC proponent – a Jewish-American?

  • David Hawkins

    I think we have to question the whole concept of anti Semitism.
    Racism is utterly repugnant but why is it especially repugnant if it is directed at Jews. Why aren’t the human rights of Gypsies, Africans, Asians, Muslims, Christians, Hindus and atheists just as important.
    Surely what we should have learned from the Holocaust and the Nazis is that every human life is equally precious. Jews are not more or less important than any other human being.
    The phrase “Anti-Semitism” has become a political tool and we should reject it’s use. There is simply racism against Jews which is utterly repugnant, but no more so than racism against anyone else.
    “Anti Semitism” implies that there is a clear continuity between historical hostility to Jews, the Nazis and contemporary hostility to Zionism. There is absolutely no evidence for this. Contemporary hostility to British Jews is almost exclusively motivated by a disgust at the actions of Israel and British Jewery’s support for Israel. Racism is never justified but there is a World of difference between a Muslim angered to the point of racism by events in the occupied territories and the beliefs of the Nazis.
    Secondly anti Semitism implies that Jews are especially subject to racism and persecution. That was certainly true in the 1930’s but it is not true now. Lots of other groups in British society also face hostility and racism. There is scant evidence that British Jews are especially threatened. There is certainly hostility to the support that some British Jews give to Israel but that is a different matter. You have no choice to be born a Jew, but you do have a choice whether you support Israel and Zionism.
    The fact that many British Jews are fearful does not prove they are right to be. Fearful Jews frightened of “anti Semitism” are more likely to want to emigrate to Israel and we can see clearly who benefits from that.
    So anti Zionists should be much braver, instead of disputing whether opposition to Israel is Anti Semitic, we should question the validity of the notion of anti Semitism. There is racism against Jews and that is utterly disgusting but no more so than racism against any other human being.
    There is just racism. We should oppose it against anyone. We don’t need a special term for Jews or anyone else. All human beings are equal, all human beings should be protected against racism, equally.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Perhaps there is a case for taking things the other way. Subdividing the definition of racism to include anti-Gypsy racism, anti-Black racism etc.

      There is no question that prejudice exists against Jewish people by mere virtue of the fact that they are Jewish, and for no other reason. I think you are being a bit optimistic in thinking that it is dying out – I reckon if it became less tabu to be anti-Semitic, you would soon see plenty of it back again. I can see no objection to having a special word precisely describing anti-Jewish prejudice, as distinguished from any other prejudice one might encounter, since you are in fact describing something real. And you have to remember there is a history, and Jewish people and their friends are not going to drop the word or the concept of anti-Semitism in a hurry, nor should they.

      The difficulty is that the boundaries between anti-Semitism and opposition to the policies of the Israeli administration become blurred, and in my opinion they can be blurred by supporters of the Israeli administration because it is perceived as advantageous to do so. It is everyone’s task who is not anti-Semitic to disentangle that blurring and place a clear boundary between anti-Semitism and political opposition to the Israeli administration.

      • David Hawkins

        Why is racism against Jews more repugnant than racism against any other human being.
        I strongly dispute that there is much if any continuity between the beliefs of the Nazis and hostility to Jews today. There may be a few authentic Nazis, but there are precious few. Most hostility to Jews is motivated by events in Israel and the occupied territories.
        Can’t you see how “anti Semitism” feeds into Zionism (itself a deeply racist ideology) ?
        Anti Semitism implies that there has always been hostility to Jews and it is motivated by similar prejudice. The Nazis were simply an extreme manifestation of something that has existed for two thousand years.
        It is a small step from that to say that a constantly persecuted people need a safe country just or mostly for them and since the country wasn’t empty in 1948, ethnic cleansing becomes a necessity to create a state where the majority are Jews. Once immigration has achieved a sizeable Jewish population, more land can be colonised in 1967.
        You cannot support Israel and not condone racism. Professor Ilan Pappe (an Israeli Jew) has provided all the evidence.
        If you expelled people from the Labour Part for anti Semitism, then Labour Friends of Israel should also be expelled.
        You should not be able to pick and choose which racism you oppose. ALL racism should be opposed whatever the identity of the perpetrators. Why should Jewish racists be exempt ?

        • John Spencer-Davis

          You seem to be attributing things to me that I did not say, and do not believe. I do not believe that anti-Semitism is any more or less repugnant than any other racism. Why would I? What I said was that it is distinct. You can’t lump racisms together. Someone who hates Jewish people because they are Jewish is distinct from someone who hates Black people because they are Black. It is quite proper to have distinguishing words to separate different forms of racism.

          You are welcome to dispute that there is anti-Semitism today, but I think better safe than sorry would be my watchword if I were Jewish, and I do not blame Jewish people for being highly sensitive to anti-Jewish racism. I do not think you are going to help matters by denying that it still exists.

          I do not feel any hostility to Jews for events in Israel or the occupied territories. I feel hostility to supporters of such circumstances whether they are Jewish or not.

          I am not sure how to engage with your last six paragraphs. You seem to be making assumptions about me that are wholly unwarranted. I oppose all racism no matter where from, and I see no reason why Jewish racists should be exempt. I am rather puzzled, if you think that I do.

          • lysias

            But is there a separate word for people who hate blacks? I can’t think of one, at least not one in common use. I think they are normally just called racists.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            No, there isn’t, as far as I am aware. What I am arguing is that perhaps there should be. Lots of people hate Gypsies, why should there be a word to describe people who hate Jews and not one for people who hate Gypsies? Quite true. The answer is not to subsume them all under the word “racist” but to develop new words for different prejudices.

          • lysias

            What’s wrong with calling them all just “racism”? They seem very similar to me.

            Your idea would require a great proliferation of words.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            “Anti-Semitism” and “Islamophobia” may in certain senses seem similar (putting aside whether they are racial or religious prejudices), but I do not think it would be a linguistic or ideological advance to make one word serve for both. I think they are both very useful words.

            I am sure that Gypsies have their own word for anti-Gypsy prejudice and there would be no problem incorporating it into the language. I do not think the problem of proliferating words would be that unwieldy and I think it would be advantageous.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            Interesting. There is such a word – antiziganism. I did not know that before.

          • lysias

            The advantage of using the one word “racism” for all racisms is that it would dispense with the idea that there is something uniquely bad about one particular kind of racism, e.g., anti-Semitism. They’re all bad, equally bad.

  • Old Mark

    John Goss- thanks for posting in full the remarks by the new NUS President, which in their truncated form are inducing such a commotion from Blairites in the Labour Party and their disgruntled allies in the NUS itself. They were clearly uttered in a specific context, which is lost when only the ‘Zionist outpost’ part of her comments are highlighted.
    Ms Bouattia’s victory has even led to calls for a ‘one person one vote’ format for election to the post NUS President- calls that were rather muffled (if voiced at all) when the likes of Jim Murphy and Lorna Fitzsimons, both loyal Blairites and strongly pro Israel, were successively elected to the NUS presidency back in the 90s-

    Tony Greenstein’s comments are also very illuminating- the term ‘kangaroo court’ wouldn’t be out of place to describe how his suspension from the party has been executed.

  • Andy

    Well said Craig.

    ”anti-Zionism and antisemitism are two and the same thing. ” totally bonkers! Chomksy if I remember correctly said it was an Israeli ambassador to the UN in the 70s who first conflated anti-Zionism with antisemitism to try and silence critics of Israel.

    Just yesterday I was banned from the Guardian for writing ‘Zionism is a political ideology’ in the comments under an article about NUS President Malia Bouattia. Several years ago I had no problems writing that in the Guardian comments and would have long exchanges with Zionists about what Zionism is, no more it seems.

    What’s going on?

  • Mark Golding

    I recall Malia Bouattia said, “The notion of resistance has been perhaps washed out of our understanding of how colonised people will obtain their physical emancipation…With mainstream, Zionist-led media outlets …resistance is presented as an act of terrorism.”

    I am certain Ms Bouattia is frustrated and embittered by the impotence and fruitlessness of UN resolutions against Israel’s war crimes, while mindful of a misunderstanding that fund-raising, spasmodic non-violent protest and boycott are just an alternative to Palestinian and other resistance in this world of diminishing freedoms, increasing autocracy and totalitarianism.

    In fact in more simple terms a world so amoral it is wrong for example to show solidarity to the Kurds who are fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and perhaps also understand and accept that pressure from the Zionist lobby germinated the British governments ghastly ‘Prevent’ strategy.

    I myself believe Ms Bouattia’s concerns revolve around Zionism, not Judaism, and that her arguments are political, not faith based.

    The aforementioned statement that Zionism is a racist political ideology founded in the principle of exceptionalism whereas Judaism is a religion which Zionist seek to conflate with their dogma, to me, clarifies the debate.

    From a military perspective, over some decades Britain’s ‘investment’ in Israel has been the most cost-effective, battle-tested laboratory of British defense industries and the most reliable and practical beachhead and outpost of British defense forces, sharing with the UK/U.S. unique intelligence, battle experience, and battle tactics. . . . quod erat demonstrandum

  • Dr Paul

    Anti-Zionism is a critique of Zionism, a political philosophy, and of the actions of the Israeli state. Anti-Semitism is hostility towards Jews as a national and/or religious group. The two phenomena are quite different; the first is entirely legitimate, the second a prejudice to be fought by all democratically-minded people.

    If I am critical of Scottish nationalism and of the actions of the Scottish government and state, does that mean that by definition I am holding a racist attitude towards Scottish people? The same goes for Irish nationalism and the Irish state, and other nationalist views and nation-states. Did my hostility towards apartheid mean that I was by definition hostile to white South Africans? Of course not. So why should Zionism and Israel claim different treatment?

    Some of the current problems in universities, I feel, is because some critics of Zionism have used ambiguous phrases, what I call poorly-expressed anti-Zionism, that could be construed as being anti-Jewish. It should be remembered that most student activists are quite young and only just becoming involved in politics. Their confusion is compounded by the fact that Zionists and proper anti-Semites both like to conflate Jews as a religious and/or national group with the political philosophy of Zionism and the state of Israel, as if they are synonymous. When this equation is constantly made, it is not surprising that young, politically inexperienced students do not express themselves clearly. When I hear such expressions I ask the speaker to explain himself — does he mean Jews as a whole, or does he mean the Israeli state? — rather than merely cry ‘anti-Semitism’. I find that the person usually realises his mistake.

    The equation of Jews as a national and/or religious group, on the one hand, and Zionism and Israel, on the other, actually has another serious consequence. As the state of Israel, in the name of Zionism, looks like continuing and even intensifying its repressive policies towards Palestinians, opposition to these policies will continue. If these protests are written off as ‘anti-Semitism’, then, unfortunately, there may well be some people who draw the awful conclusion that if protesting against the actions of the state of Israel constitutes anti-Semitism, then anti-Semitism is a justified outlook.

    Thus the impudent branding of anti-Zionism as being by definition ‘anti-Semitic’ raises the very real danger of its promoting anti-Semitism as it is properly understood, that is, hostility to Jews as a national and/or religious group. So far from reducing the risk of this dreadful prejudice reviving, the Israel lobbyists, neo-cons, Blairites and all the others guilty of that branding are actually making its revival that much more possible.

    • lysias

      And fostering anti-Semitism very much suits the Zionists: it serves to discredit anti-Zionism, drives Jews to Israel, and fosters support of Israel among diaspora Jews.

  • bevin

    What takes place, on a daily basis in Palestine is scandalous. It ought to be shocking. It represents a general disavowal of the general ethical framework of our society.
    Here are two pieces that I ran across in the last few minutes:
    The first concerns ethnic cleansing-not as a charge but as a policy being practised, every day

    The second concerns the public behaviour of ambulance crews and medical authorities in Israel:

    This is an excerpt from Jonathan Cook’s piece:

    “….One of the most disturbing relates to 19-year-old Muhannad Halabi, who was shot during an attack in the Old City of Jerusalem last October. Witnesses, including an Israeli medic, told the watchdog group that Halabi was left untreated for two hours before paramedics pronounced him dead.

    “Israeli soldiers fired stun grenades at a Palestinian crew that tried to reach him. A request from Physicians for Human Rights to Israel’s justice ministry to investigate the incident has gone unanswered.

    “In a second incident, a week later in the Old City, a video shows Palestinian paramedics being beaten and pushed away as they try to reach Basel Sidr, aged 19. Their medical equipment was also damaged. Witnesses said an Israeli ambulance crew looked on for 20 minutes before a medic approached Sidr to check his pulse and declare him dead….”

    What the ‘anti-semitism’ controversy is about is changing the subject. Distracting public attention from criminal behaviour unlike anything that our governments have attempted to justify in the modern era. It is not just that the behaviour is bad but that it is publicly defended without any attempt to excuse it.

    Palestine is ruled by fascist terrorists who have formed a government and use the state power to terrorise all who oppose them and particularly the indigenous people.

    • Anon1

      “What takes place, on a daily basis in Palestine is scandalous. It ought to be shocking.”

      So too should the activities of one Mr Pot. But strangely you weren’t shocked and instead began to build a little shrine to him.

      “Palestine is ruled by fascist terrorists who have formed a government and use the state power to terrorise all who oppose them and particularly the indigenous people.”

      Bollocks. Israel is a democracy and a beacon of light in a sea of depravity. The ‘indigenous’ people have full rights and work, recreate and engage in Israeli society society at all levels, as you would know had you actually been there.

      • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

        What’s more, Palestinian Israelis do not even face compulsory military service in the IDF (although they are free to volonteer).

        Just like the inhabitants of Northern Ireland during the Second World War.

        You could see that as rather positive discrimination.

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