Neviim Tovim/TheHaftarah Circle Gillian Gould Lazarus

Apologia Pro Screen Shots Suae

Posted on: July 17, 2018

This blog has been almost entirely on biblical subjects, give or take a post or two. The less than catchy name of the blog, Neviim Tovim means ‘good prophets’ and is taken from the prescribed blessing before reading aloud in the synagogue a text from the prophetic books.

For the last year or maybe eighteen months, I’ve been observing some of the closed online Labour forums and reporting, mainly through Twitter on the copious antisemitism I see there.

Now I must cut to the chase and speak of Israel. I love Israel with all my heart but – or and – would not vote for anyone right of centre if I had Israeli citizenship and the right to vote there. Always a Labour supporter in the UK, I’ve hoped in each Israeli election that the left and the pacific doves would gain more seats in the Knesset. If I were Israeli, I hope I’d be supporting engagement with the moderates across the borders.

However I’m not Israeli but English and have watched, during the leadership of Mr Corbyn, an intense outpouring of demonisation and hatred towards Israel from supporters of the Labour Party and on online Labour sites. There is no respite from this outpouring, never for a day and seldom for an hour.

This week, the Labour leadership’s tweaking of the IHRA definition of antisemitism has been so controversial that all but four Labour MPs voted against the changes at their PLP meeting. A miracle occurred in that rabbis of all denominations came together to sign a letter in the Guardian, urging the Labour Party to drop the changes.

The amendments to the definition, as proposed by the Labour leadership, make it acceptable to equate Israelis with Nazis, to deny the right of Israel to exist and to demand a higher standard from Israel than from other countries.

The sixty or so stalwarts of Jewish Voice for Labour, also comprising Free Speech on Israel, have been accepted by Mr Corbyn as representative of Jewish opinion. They are fiercely anti-Zionist and dismissive of most of Anglo-Jewry’s fears of Labour antisemitism, which they say are based on a political agenda of defending Israel right or wrong. This agenda, they say, has caused Jeremy Corbyn to become the target of concerted Jewish action which, in their view, is designed entirely to silence criticism of Israel.

So we always come back to Israel, even if we are as ‘Meh’ about the Jewish state as David Baddiel declared himself to be.

On Labour forums, arguments run like this. Israel kills Palestinians for sadistic sport. They target children and pregnant women in particular.  They prevent goods from passing through to Gaza, thus causing starvation and genocide. They desire territorial expansion as far as the Caspian Sea. They suborn or bribe the governments of the West, especially the USA and the UK. They have secret lobbies in industry and they own international banking cartels.

It is some years since I studied the rise of Nazism and the reason why I am up to date with these theories is that I read Labour forums every day. These are sometimes closed forums and one has to assure the administrators that one is loyal to Mr Corbyn. Membership of the forums I currently belong to is around sixteen thousand. There are some larger forums than these, but I have been ejected, after disputing the above perceptions of Israel. Silence is golden.

Now, we come back to the matter of Jews. Rarely will the members of the groups express hatred of Jews as such. They speak of the influence and power of the Rothchilds, the Bauers, the New World Order, Bilderberg, Illuminati, the Elite, the Puppet Masters. They select Jewish individuals in public life, MPs, actors, celebrities and assert that they are paid propagandists for Israel. If one of these notable persons speaks of Labour antisemitism, they are said to be in the pay of Israel. If a member of the forum  disagrees, the response is that they are in the pay of Israel. If a member of the forum agrees with an MP like Chuka Umunna, who is very supportive of the Jewish community in our struggle against antisemitism, they are said to be paid Tory Zionist trolls. The animus towards MPs like Tom Watson and Jess Phillips is horrible to behold. Any politician who admits that Labour has a problem with antisemitism becomes a hate figure on the forums. This is even true of Jon Lansman who is less than ‘meh’ about Israel.

Esteemed figures on the forums are George Galloway, Ken Livingstone, Ken Loach, Chris Williamson, Dennis Skinner, John McDonnell (not as much as you’d think) and of course The Absolute Boy himself (as much as you’d think).

Memes are posted constantly, often displaying leaders like Mandela, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, accompanied by anti-Israel texts of uncertain provenance. Equally favoured are pictures of Jewish individuals with a quotation to the effect that the concept of antisemitism is a ruse used by Jews to gain unfair advantage.

Now, I’m working towards my conclusion and the one and only screen shot which will accompany this post.

On the forums, there are very many pictures showing human suffering, accompanied by texts explaining that Israel is the perpetrator. Images may be taken from newsreels around the world. Occasionally they are clips taken from feature films. The suffering person is always said to be a Palestinian while the one inflicting the suffering is said to be Israeli, or, on days when the members are particularly emboldened, Jewish.

No one likes to see such images and they arouse great anger on the forums. Comments get posted, likening Israelis to vermin, Nazis and monsters. Sometimes it is mentioned that they have had this capacity for evil since time immemorial: the Rothschilds and the Jewish bankers causing the two world wars for financial profit; Mossad managing the assassination of President Kennedy, the sinking of the Titanic, the slave trade and of course the crucifixion. The Israelis, you understand, because these Labour supporters are not antisemitic and anyway, someone will explain almost daily, semites are Palestinians and Jews are European colonialists – the Khazars.

At last came the straw that broke the camel’s back, where I’m the camel. There was a thread supporting the boycott of Israel on the basis of Israel’s unparalleled wickedness. I posted a link to an article about Israel’s assistance in the international operation to rescue the boys trapped in a cave in Thailand. I braced for the abuse which would follow.

It didn’t follow. The Administrators had deleted my link. It was not considered appropriate for the eyes of the forum’s members.

I did not question this. I keep fairly quiet in these groups; I keep my head down and I’m still there. I use the name Galil Perssimann. Watch this space.

Post script. I was ejected from Labour Party Forum today, 16 August, having engaged on the subject of antisemitism. A link to this blog was produced, followed by the sentence above, where I reveal the name I use on the forum. I feel a little like Andy Dufresne after he came out of the sewer. In any case, it was a fair cop.

 

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