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Comments about Criticism is not the same as demonization - David Hirsh :
Joshua posted on February 09, 2007 at 10:19:42 AM
'Racism is about ways of thinking, commonsense notions and sets of practices that discriminate and that demonise. I do not believe that any of the anti-racists who I mentioned above are anti-semites and I do not call them anti-semites.'
Perhaps not, but it's difficult to believe that much of this is not part of a carefully orchestrated campaign to deligitimise Israel. Nowhere was this more apparent than at the The UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Durban, South Africa in 2001.
posted on February 09, 2007 at 11:41:42 AM
Excellent! Thank you David.
Chris posted on February 09, 2007 at 02:27:52 PM
Great piece...thank you for your clarity and your ability to see what is taking place for what it is.
posted on February 09, 2007 at 08:06:54 PM
I have read as much as I can of the material in the Guardian this week, regarding the IJV. On Klug, who was unknown to me, I read a an article in The Nation called "The Myth of the New Anti-Semitism", which is to be found at
May I quote a fairly lengthy piece from it, and then ask if others, wiser than I, agree with my understanding of it. I found the piece, and this extract in particular, extremely disturbing.
So: ""Nonetheless," someone might object, "the young Muslim immigrants who carried out these attacks are anti-Semites. For it's not the Jews of France who are occupying the territories, it's the State of Israel. If the motive for these incidents was purely political, why didn't the protesters attack the Israeli embassy? Why attack individual Jews and Jewish institutions? This is a clear case of lumping all Jews together and holding them collectively responsible. This is what makes these incidents anti-Semitic."
The objection, however, is misconceived, and the misconception goes to the heart of the complex situation in which Jews find themselves today. Israel does not regard itself as a state that just happens to be Jewish (like the medieval kingdom of the Khazars). It sees itself as (in Prime Minister Sharon's phrase) "the Jewish collective," the sovereign state of the Jewish people as a whole. In his speech at the Herzliya Conference in December, Sharon called the state "a national and spiritual center for all Jews of the world," and added, "Aliyah [Jewish immigration] is the central goal of the State of Israel." To what extent this view is reciprocated by Jews worldwide is hard to say. Many feel no particular connection to the state or strongly oppose its actions. On the other hand, in spring 2002, at the height of Israel's Operation Defensive Shield, Jews gathered in large numbers in numerous cities to demonstrate their solidarity, as Jews, with Israel. Many Jewish community leaders, religious and secular, publicly reinforce this identification with the state. All of which is liable to give the unreflective onlooker the impression that Jews are, as it were, lumping themselves together; that Israel is indeed "the Jewish collective."
Not that this justifies, not for one moment, a single incident where Jews are attacked for being Jewish; such attacks are repugnant. But it does provide a context within which to make sense of them without seeing a global "war against the Jews." There is no such war."
To me this implies that attacks on Jews anywhere who are attacked for being supporters of Israel are not repugnant. And although there may not be any global war against the Jews, there is, and perhaps there should be, a global war against Jews who support Israel. And, further, total identification of Jews who support Israel, with Israel is legitimate even though it barely makes sense and is not the kind of reasoning applied to any other country.
drawnintoit posted on February 10, 2007 at 11:22:21 AM
I placed this comment twice onto some of the pieces in the Guardian "debate". It was taken off. So, for the benefit of everyone who reads this
A poster above asks,
"Oh blimey, more navel-gazing.
Does any other ethnic or racial group spend so much time talking about itself ?"
Actually, as so often the case in this type of thing, this whole fiasco was set up by the Guardian. It is not "the Jews" that are the problem, either the IJV or those they seem intent in picking a fight with.
Like the LRB and the Walt and Mearsheimer fiasco in both their paper in the NY, the Guardian is trying to be oh so decent in setting up this "debate" to get to the "truth" of the matter. That trust is whether or whether not, the Jews have the omnipotent power to silence anyone with whom they disagree. Understood in this context, this "debate" is out of the same mould, but not as yet so viscious as Montel's debate on the veracity of the holocaust.
The question really is not the old canard of whether Jews or "the Jews" can or cannot really manipulate the world and those that cross them, but why that myth not only continues to persist, but why it has resurfaced now.
The guardian "debate" is not part of the solution, it is part of the problem. Even now, one expects better.
posted on February 27, 2007 at 08:12:29 PM
Mr Horowitz wrote a thoughtful comment and I would like to take up a couple of points. The name Israel actually has three meanings (at least). In no particular order there is the State of Israel analogous to e.g. India, Norway etc. The land of Israel which is subject to different interpretations, and thirdly the people of Israel. What can cause confusion is that some people use these meanings interchangeably. One person who has confused others is Ariel Sharon, because he has presumed to pronounce that Israel (the State) will defend the Jews wherever they are, that France is a hotbed of antisemitism and that the French Jews should all leave France and come to Israel for safety.
Unfortunately, the French Jews themselves rejected his interpretation and Chirac angrily protested that French Jews were French citizens and Sharon should not comment on French internal matters. Sharon was obliged to back down because indeed he had crossed a line.
The land of Israel, is a reference to (usually) the biblical land and the Orthodox Jews and sometimes even secular Jews like Herutniks insist that the eternal promise of God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob means just that. So we have various Rabbis who state that it is a sin to withdraw from an inch of the Occupied Territories, or as they and their supporters living on the West Bank call it Yehuda and Shomron.
The Herutniks on the other hand are still metaphorically singing the song..."both sides of the Jordan". This is a reference to the Revisionist roots of Herut under their great leader Jabotinsky who refused to accept many things including the treacherous division of Palestine into Palestine (now smaller, west of the Jordan river) and Transjordan (now the Kingdom of Jordan) by the British (around 1920).
Coming back to your remark as to whether the Jewish collective look on Israel in the same light expressed by Sharon, this is highly contentious. If I may retell a joke attributed to Ben Gurion, he said that the fact that the Zionist movement continued after the creation of Israel in 1948, was proof of life after death!! In case you are totally baffled at what might be so funny, let me explain that nearly all the Zionist leaders of that era, including Begin on the right wing were convinced that world Jewry would immediately dispose of all assets in the Galut and come on aliya to Israel. Back before it became apparent what the Nazis were doing to the European Jews, Jabotinsky had made a reference to "liquidating" the diaspora, which refered to the financial interpretation of assets and property (NOT liquidation as in the final solution) and wholesale transfer to Israel of all Jews and their wealth. We must recall that he died in 1940.
As for non-Zionist Jews and I am not refering to the extreme Naturei Karta, their relationship with Israel was always ambivalent. In any case the numerical analysis of the migration of Jews all round the world shows many anomalies and on the premise that people "vote with their feet", what do we make of the fact that many thousands of Israelis have chosen to live in the diaspora, especially in the USA. Also, 58 years after the establishment of Israel approximately half of all Jews in the world still reside in the Diaspora. Maybe the correct inference is that the ingathering of the exiles in historical terms is going to be a very long time, perhaps hundreds of years.
Finally may I say I appreciated the original article of David Hirsh as he is broadly correct. However since he wrote the article on 9th February we have had the public meeting at Hampstead Town Hall, and it has to be said that you can not tar every one there with the same brush. I am not sure if David Hirsh was there at the meeting but in any case there have been a few reports in the press of what took place.
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