Neviim Tovim/TheHaftarah Circle Gillian Gould Lazarus

Apologia continued

Posted on: July 24, 2018

Proto Prologue, written last

Since 1 October, posts about Israel, Jews and antisemitism have ceased, on the two forums which I follow. One, with less than a thousand members, was milder in tone than ‘Labour Party Forum’ or ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party Forum’. Posts on JCLPF are now mostly about domestic politics, whereas, before October, Israel was by far the most common topic for discussion. It is possible that the group administrators were finally asked to hold back the tsunami of hatred. In point of fact, the hatred has not dissipated as the comments are still full of anger and contempt, mainly directed at Conservatives or  at the Labour MPs regarded as Blairites. Israel, meanwhile, is off the agenda, as are JLM, LFOI, CAAS, Margaret Hodge and Luciana Berger. I am grateful to the person who advised forum administrators to ‘tone it down,’  to borrow a phrase from Tracey Ullman.

Pre Prologue

The 2018 Labour Conference is in full swing. For some reason, I’m getting more hostile traffic than usual on Twitter and inviting those sceptical about Labour antisemitism to look at the screen shots on this blog post. Apparently, some of the interlocutors have been kind enough to look, as i asked, but they are unimpressed. They feel that the screen shots are either:

a) justified criticism of Israel

b) the work of fifth columnists intending to bring Labour into disrepute

c) irrelevant because they may not be the work of card carrying Labour members

d) (just one person) justified as the worst murderers in the world were/are Jewish.

There is not one who says, ‘Hey, there’s some nasty stuff there. We should get the forums to tone it down.’*

Of course they suggest that I write and post in bad faith. That is, as David Hirsh defined it, the Livingstone Formulation. If someone accuses you of bad faith, what more can be said? We’re not going to hear each other, so we have nothing profitable to say to each other. In such situations, the Serenity Prayer may be worth a go.

Prologue.

My screen shots get queried on Twitter, especially by those who feel that Corbynism is essentially an honest project for the promotion of justice and fairness. I disagree as I see so much hostility to Jews on Corbynist websites. Sceptical interlocutors generally ask me how I know the offensive comments come from card carrying Labour Party members. This I cannot answer. I know only these things.

  • The posts are usually very pro-Corbyn
  • There is an almost obsessive antagonism to Israel and to Jews, making an exception for Jews who actively denounce Israel; Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and the late Hajo Meyer being much cited.
  • These views do not usually get challenged by other members.
  • They are permitted by the administrators.
  • Calling the Talmud Satanic is not reasoned criticism of Israel.
  • The administrators post articles and videos, usually from Mint Press, Russia Today, Palestinian news channels, Evolve, Mondoweiss and Skwawkbox which are universally hostile to Israel.
  • Within a short space of time, these posts attract comments denigrating Jews in general.
  • If anyone disagrees, they are abused by other members of the group.
  • On the few occasions when I have posted something questioning the totally negative coverage of Israel, my comments were deleted by administrators.
  • The Al-Jazeera film ‘the Lobby’ is posted most days as an educational resource.
  • The literacy of forum members is diverse. I find it hard to imagine that Tories and Zionists would infiltrate these forums and employ so many different levels of orthographic competence.

It is argued every day on the forums that Israel is murderous, sadistic, criminal and internationally puissant. The videos are not usually clear and one cannot see what is happening in them, so a member will insert a tagline, explaining that the video depicts some monstrous behaviour inflicted on Palestinians by Israelis. I’m not saying that this never happens but that, in the videos shown, anything could be happening. It is like looking at an abstract painting with an adjacent text explaining the significant features.

Fortunately, there are many who see that the quantity of antisemitic material on the forums is a problem which the Labour Party should be willing to address and fewer who see no such thing. As Shelley said, ‘We are many, they are few.’ I hope this is the case. When I browse the microcosm of the forums, I sometimes get the feeling that they are many and I am the last Jewish person left.

Approx 25 July

This week, there was what Jeremy Corbyn called a contretemps between himself and Dame Margaret Hodge, when the latter confronted him in the House of Commons and called him a racist antisemite. Reactions on online Labour forums have been intense. They have now heard of the IHRA definition of antisemitism which they consider unanimously to be a document designed to silence free speech on Israel. The remarkable thing is how the forum members are emboldened to the point where some are now speaking openly about Jews, something which, as I mentioned a week ago in  this blog, they had tended to avoid.

I can find no more words and propose to attach images of comments which have been posted  this week on two online Labour forums. I must say I am not happy to be uploading  disturbing images, on this blog where I usually write about scripture, but needs must when the devil drives.

I’m inserting about twenty images, all from the last few days. from 19 July until today, 24 July.* Warning: looking at them may damage your health. I uploaded forty images, so if anyone wants access to them, I can produce them. I also have hundreds stored elsewhere.

It’s the quantity as much as the quality.

Once again, I will emphasize, it is the way that Israel is criticized that is problematic. One can hardly even call it criticism. Often, the language segues seamlessly into classical antisemitism.

I thought we had left all this behind in the twentieth century.

Albert Camus said:

Il savait…que le bacille de la peste ne meurt ni ne disparaît jamais, qu’il peut rester pendant des dizaines d’années endormi dans les meubles et le linge, qu’il attend patiemment dans les chambres, les caves, les malles, les mouchoirs et les paperasses, et que, peut-être, le jour viendrait où, pour le malheur et l’enseignement des hommes, la peste réveillerait ses rats et les enverrait mourir dans une cité heureuse.*

He knew…that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.

  • I have added two more images dated 26 and 27 July. I may add more images from the forums as the days go by. It’s easier to add them singly than to upload dozens.
  • La Peste, Albert Camus, Gallimard 1947
  • I have added many more screen shots from the last few days, so this post is a way of archiving some of them. The weeks pass and today is 1 September. I add the images intermittently, when I remember that I intended to archive them here but this really is the tip of the iceberg.
  • Today being 21 Ellul, I’ll take the opportunity to say, to whom it applies, l’shanah tovah tikatevu.
  • Early in October, one Corbyn supporter did look at the screen shots and agree they were problematic.

 

24 7 straight

bad 22 july jclpf

jc 22 c

thornberry

 

 

for marlon s

22 just saying

24 jc hodge24 7 kelsalldeja 124 7 urgent24 7 marrows22 kelsall & more.

 pinmoyes otheraustin latestkathleenstill 10still 7still austin1 aug urgent.jpgfinance akelsall piss31 july lpfjed bland10th jeff longsubs 3lawyers.mh 13 twicemh 12mh 13mh17.jpg7 now14 sept impt.JPG

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4 Responses to "Apologia continued"

I think it is right to highlight and protest anti-Jewish sentiments and actions, whatever their source. However, I feel it is highly problematic to label oneself a Friend of Israel. Israel is a country which, whatever the reasons for its foundation, ethnically cleansed/expelled 750,000 Palestinians at the time of its independence, in May 1948. It proceeded to ignore Security Council resolution 194, calling for the return of Palestinian refugees then, and many, many Security Council resolutions since. It is true that those Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel may vote, carry passports, and exercise many, though hardly equal, rights, to their Jewish fellow citizens, but there are about 4 Million Palestinians on the West Bank who are locked into a permanently occupied status; the 2 Million Palestinians in the Gaza strip are in still worse straits, in a kind of open air prison. Israel is a country which is assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists who may well have been trying to assist their country in gaining the technology to have the capacity to build nuclear weaponry; meanwhile, it has never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, while it has perhaps 60, perhaps 100, perhaps more, nuclear weapons.
It has attacked its neighbour, Lebanon, multiple times, wreaking massive destruction, and was complicit in civilian massacres.
The Israeli government and its main lobbying support in the U.S., the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, were partially responsible for the decision by the U.S. administration to invade Iraq; Israeli intelligence services have, for the last 50 years, been, both together, and apart from the U.S. involved in training torturers around the world, from Central America to Iran.
Israel as a country does have many achievements. It has a thriving economy, with some of the most dynamic and successful entrepreneurs. Its science, engineering, art, architecture are all a great success story. It has managed, by and large, to integrate its diverse set of Jewish citizenry, whether European, Middle Eastern, Latin American, or African.

However, ‘democracy’ for only a segment of one’s population is no democracy at all. particularly if the segment excluded was the one initially expelled, and most probably, a majority of those on Israeli controlled land.
That perhaps 80% of the Israeli Jewish population supports this suppression, perhaps even enthusiastically endorses it, does not either excuse it or justify it.

As you undoubtedly know, I say this as, not only someone whose paternal grandparents were killed at Chelmno, but as someone who has numerous cousins living in Israel, and even more numerous family members who feel ‘attached’ to the country; I must part company with them; one should not be so blind as to excuse anything because of blood ties.

There is a situation here in the UK Robert, especially in Labour,which is detrimental to Jews UNLESS they are prepared to demonise Israel. I agree with some of what you say here, but I doubt it would pass muster on a Labour forum. David Baddiel, David Schneider are similarly unattached to Israel but are considered zionists by the people who troll them on twitter, in the name of Corbyn.

There certainly does seem to be quite a bit of anti-Jewish rhetoric employed, and it is certainly true that words of this type are dangerous. It seems that there is a strand of anti-Jewish feeling existing within the Labour Party; strangely, there is a fair degree of anti-Jewish sentiment among the staunchly pro-Israel Christian evangelicals, and most certainly too, with Prime Minister Orban and his supporters in Hungary.

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