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Comments about Clare Short: Israel is the major cause of division and violence in the world :
Jane Ashworth posted on October 17, 2005 at 07:45:53 PM
I think you do Claire a diservice. Her complaints make more sense (to me) if you take her to mean the Israel dog wags the US's tail and not the other way around.
posted on October 17, 2005 at 08:42:10 PM
"Her complaints make more sense (to me) if you take her to mean the Israel dog wags the US's tail and not the other way around."
But this is not what Short's statement asserts.
It states "I also believe that US backing for Israeli policies of expansion of the Israeli state and oppression of the Palestinian people is the major cause of bitter division and violence in the world.", which leaves little room for ambiguity or misinterpretation. Moreover, it is unclear that Jane's inversion of its content offers much of an improvement. Under this revision it implies that Israel runs American foreign policy in all domains, and so it is the ultimate cause of all the major conflicts that currently afflict the world, which Short would attribute to this policy. Both the original statement and Jane's revision entail the same conclusion. If this is not a case of an inane conspiracy theory in the service of a bigoted agenda it is not obvious to me what would qualify as such. David's reading of Short's statement is as accurate as it is unavoidable. The deeply disturbing feature of this incident is that Short's comment (assuming that it is correctly rendered on the website) is increasingly coming to reflect mainstream political opinion and conventional wisdom in Britain. This sort of hysteria has now gone well beyond the limits of normal debate.
Jane Ashworth posted on October 17, 2005 at 09:24:33 PM
I think CS is saying that the problem is the US backing Israel...this means she thinks the US does what Israel tells them. CS is not saying that Israel does the bidding of the US.
I didnt mean she is right to think this. I was pointing out that she blames Israel far more than David thinks she does.
Dov posted on October 18, 2005 at 03:07:54 PM
Just to take the discussion in a different direction, I find Short's comment about the "usual campaign to silence" rather worrying. Stating that this attempt at "silencing" is a normal ("usual") occurance, she neglects to inform us who is carrying out the campign, its very vagueness implies some sort of strange, dark, mystery. It relies, in other words, upon the "non nod, wink wink, you know what I'm talking about" way of speaking that only the "initiated" can fully understand.
However, there is no great mystery at stake here. It is rather obvious who has objected to the cantata. It is obviously those individuals and orgainisations that object to any criticism of Israel, be it in political, social or cultural terms. It really is no big deal. All one has to do is simply disagree with such views. (I do). That's what I and others did with the "usual campaign to silence" that targeted Jerry Sringer: the Opera;. But, of course, in that case, there was no such reticence in identifying the source of those seeking a ban -Christain Voice - so, why here, one is led to ask?
(In contrast to Short's comments, please, please read the article written by Rachel Corrie's parents (I think it was in Guardian 8th October.)
And, talking about conspiracy theory, David Hirst is at it again in today's Guardian. Apparently the imminent demise of the entire middle east that he charts is a more or less direct consequence of "the Bush administration's pro-Israeli neoconservative hawks". I am surpised somewhat that the accompanying cartoon of three pairs of hands cutting up a map of the region does not, at the very least, have a star of David incribed on them. But, of course, that could well be thought antisemitic as opposed to a legitimate anti-Zionist comment.
Deborah Fink posted on October 19, 2005 at 03:31:30 AM
Thank you for publicising this cantata on your Web site -much appreciated.
As the main organiser of the Nov 1st concert in which it will be performed, I don't have time to 'engage' in a discussion, but must say, that I do find it strange, if not revealing, that David does not specify whose house Rachel was trying to protect. It was a Palestinian doctor - Dr. Samir.
Maybe you'd like to use some other quotes as well, i.e Noam Chomsky, Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappe, Miriam Margolyes, all of which are on the blog. It won't be so easy to dismiss these as anti-Semitic! Lots of Jews and Jewish organisations are supporting this, and a couple of Jews, including an Israeli, are performing in the concert......).
Hope to see you there! Tickets are available from the Hackney Empire, priced from £10 -£17.50. Tel:(020) 8985 2424. Surplus funds will go to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme.
Rosa posted on October 19, 2005 at 10:33:34 AM
I also find it strange, if not revealing, that Deborah manages to completely miss David's point, which was about Clare Short's stupid and offensive statement that Israel is effectively the biggest problem in the world today. This is entirely separate from whatever anyone might think about Rachel Corrie or the concert in her memory.
posted on October 19, 2005 at 09:53:22 PM
“I support the event because I think what happened to Rachel was wrong — and I - who am a proud Jew - am not proud when we do wrong.”
Deborah, who is 'we'? Did you and Miriam conspire to kill Rachel? If so I think you should hand yourselves over to the relevant authorities, but I protest my innocence and my family and we have an alibi - can you tell your friends please in the ISM - so that there is no misunderstanding. A pathetic piece of asserted collective guilt if there ever was.
And yes why don't you deal with Clare Short's alleged comments in your post - or don't you care about the propagation of anti-Semitism?
Deborah Fink posted on October 20, 2005 at 02:56:42 AM
I think Clare should have used the word 'a' instead of 'the', but to call her comments anti-Semetic is too ridiculous and unoriginal for me to waste my time discussing. I would have thought it was obvious by now that criticising Israel's policies has nothing to do with being against Jews. Anyone who thinks otherwise has sadly fallen for the Israeli government's ploy of trying silence criticism of Israel and scare Jews into emigrating there....
So, I decided to bring a new matter into the discussion.
The issues of house demolition are more serious than the false claims of anti-semitism that you are pontificating about. Quite frankly, I do find this obsession with 'anti-Semitism' self-indulgent, insular, paranoid and time wasting. And there is little point harping on about it if one is not going to look at the main cause of it's increase: Israel's policies - and do something about it. Furthermore, one will not achive justice and peace in the world if all one can think about is one's own pain and insecurity.
Likewise, instead of putting all this energy into opposing something, (like the boycott!), why not actually put this time and energy into DOING something positive!
See you all in Hackney on Nov 1st!
Linda Grant posted on October 20, 2005 at 08:22:42 AM
Perhaps Clare did not use the word 'a' and used the word 'the' because that is what she thinks.
posted on October 20, 2005 at 01:19:45 PM
1. We call Clare's comments anti-semitic because they are. They demonise (not, criticise) Israel. Check out the working definition of anti-semitism used by the European Union in our resources section. But you have effectively conceded this.
2. Have a look at the site before you claim that we think criticism of Israel's policies is anti-semitic. If your claim was true, we'd be accusing ourselves. But it's false.
3. Engage is not a Jewish organisation; some of us our Jewish, some not. The claim that the obsession with 'anti-Semitism' self-indulgent, insular, (and) paranoid is clearly false. We're anti-racists. We're opposed to Israeli racism directed at Palestinians and we're opposed to racism directed at Jews, in Israel and internationally. You choose to close your eyes, or excuse, or belittle some forms of racism. We don't.
4. We have a solid record of 'doing things.' These include the positive, practical steps that you suggest. One of the reasons that the boycott was defeated was that those opposing it - like John Strawson - could speak with more authority than those proposing it because they had records of supporting Palestinian students. I'm pushing, in my union to give concrete and positive support to Palestinian academics and teachers, in the isolated atmosphere in which they work, under the occupation.
5. But the 'Do Something' imprecation is adolescent, either from you or from Jacqueline Rose. Do what? One thing I'd like to do is join and build a serious movement in support of Palestinian statehood. That isn't possible, because too many of the supporters of Palestine in the UK are obsessed with boycotting Israel and are silent, and often worse, about antisemitism. That fatally weakens a movement in support of Palestinian statehood.
I hope the concert goes well.
posted on October 20, 2005 at 02:10:15 PM
Fink writes: 'Quite frankly, I do find this obsession with 'anti-Semitism' self-indulgent, insular, paranoid and time wasting. And there is little point harping on about it if one is not going to look at the main cause of it's increase: Israel's policies - and do something about it. Furthermore, one will not achive justice and peace in the world if all one can think about is one's own pain and insecurity.'
and there we have it in a nutshell - its actually a handy summary - this should be broacasted across the anti racist movement and the Jewish community - Fink and friends do not care and are not concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism and to the extent its a problem its the fault of the Jewish state.
Deborah Fink posted on October 20, 2005 at 02:20:27 PM
You have not actually said why you think Short's comments are anti-Semitic. All she has done is made a judgement about Israel's policies, which have nothing to do with whether or not Israel's population is predominently Jewish. Whether or not you agree with what she says is irrelevant.
Yes, you could build a movement in support of Palestinian statehood but I think you are barking up the wrong tree when you state that the boycott movement is an obstacle to this. The obstacle is the continual building and expanding of Settlements. And how are we going to stop that? I suggest, pressure on the Israeli government, one form of which is boycott, of which there are many types.
There are lots of things one can do...like putting on a concert to raise awareness! Thanks for your good wishes.
Linda Grant posted on October 20, 2005 at 03:04:17 PM
Do you support a cultural boycott which would include Israeli writers? Earlier this year you came to an event at Jewish Book Week to hear Etgar Keret and Samir el Youssef. Do you agree with the supporters of a cultural boycott that pressure should be put on British publishers to withdraw Keret's books from print, to ensure that he is not allowed to speak at British literary festivals? Do you think that people like el Youssef are collaborators?
This is the stated position of the boycott campaign, as articulated by Omar Barghouti in his article on Open Democracy.
Are you beginning work to implement such a boycott? If not, why not?
Linda Grant posted on October 20, 2005 at 03:28:30 PM
I should add, Etgar Keret teaches film at Hebrew University. He is an opponent of both the occupation and the boycott. Do you think he should be doubly boycotted both as a writer and as an academic? Do you think his event at Jewish Book Week should have been picketed?
dave posted on October 31, 2005 at 01:05:14 PM
Ms Short states that: "I also believe that US backing for Israeli policies of expansion of the Israeli state and oppression of the Palestinian people is the major cause of bitter division and violence in the world. Best wishes."
..."is the major cause of bitter division and violence in the world"???????!!!!! How utterly illogical, irrational ridiculous, delusional and really laughable can one get.
Ms Short of course forgot to mention the effects "US backing for Israeli policies" has exerted on violence in the Congo, Chechnya, Sudan, India, Kashmir, Basque country, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor, Zimbabwee, and don't forget global warming, the Tsnumai, Hurricane Wilma, Liverpool's overal poor form, and the hole that my cat made in my uncle's left sock!
Administrator posted on November 04, 2005 at 01:17:04 PM
Maureen Lipman (in today's Guardian) discusses Claire Short's comment at,
posted on February 14, 2006 at 04:27:50 PM
I am an American so some of this goes over my head. However, I am noticing an intertwining of anti-Americanism and antisemitism on the left. I am on the left myself and I have almost never voted for a Republican. I voted for one Republican in my life and I ended up regretting it. That is why it saddens me to say this. Clare Short would consider me a trifecta of evil. I'm American, a Jew, and a Zionist.
I remember listening to Reporting Religion during the last US election. Trevor Barnes went to a Boston synagogue and he managed to offend everyone he interviewed, because he was interested only in their opinions on Israel. You could hear the frustration in his voice as everyone he interviewed steadfastly refused to mention Israel. He was too obtuse to realize that he had offended anyone. American Jews couldn't possibly be itersted in tax policy or social security or helping the poor.
This is slightly off-topic, but 70% of American Jews oppose the Iraq war. You would never know this from reading the UK press or from the BBC's News programs whether on radio, TV or its web site. The UK left is obsessed with "power of the American Jewish lobby." I sometimes wonder if American Jews seems so powerful because UK Jews are so unpowerful and often seem reticent about speaking up for themselves. At least that is my impression as an American.
No, I don't think that Israel should be bulldozing people's homes. However, I am not a masochist, and I refuse to join with antisemites and anti-Zionists in order to fight this. I should not have to.
"Clare Short does not criticise Israeli policy. Instead she makes a huge global claim that puts Israel at the very fulcrum of global violence and division. Why, Clare, do you pick on the Jewish state?"
Why does Clare Short pick on the Jewish state, becuase it is a Jewish state. Jews are not allowed to be human. They have to be more perfect than any other society in order to justify their very existence. The wars in Africa can be blamed on colonialism, but Jews having endured the Holocaust and centuries of oppression in European and Muslim societies are expected to more perfect than the rest of the planet. The history of opression is used to bash Jews with.
It is a reworking of the old classic stereotypes of the Jew as scapegoat and the Jew as international pariah. It is all covered over with leftist gloss that allows Clare Short to deny her antisemitism and feel self-righteous and self-congratulatory at the same time. When the going get tough, the tough blame Israel.
posted on February 14, 2006 at 04:49:02 PM
Yes, Deborah, please answer Dave's question. Please explain to me why Israel is the MAJOR cause of violence and division in the entire world. Please explain how Israel is behind what is happening in Darfur. Maybe you think that Israel is funding the Jamjuweed (spelling?)
OK, Noam Chomsky is Jewish and Clarence Thomas is Black. Noam Chomsky is the Clarence Thomas of the Jewish community. Just being born Jewish does not mean that you cannot be antisemitic, just plain wrong or misguided. You have ignored the numerous Zionist critics of Israeli policy. The fact that you focus on the anti-Zionists is illuninating. Why not mention on Michael Lerner or even the founders of Engage who have criticized Israeli policy in the past? No one is saying criticizing Israeli policy is antisemitic. However, blaming Israel for every evil in the world is.
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