Neviim Tovim, blogs by Gillian Gould Lazarus

Archive for March 2022

My long exposure to contemporary Left, Corbynist, Palestinian or anti-West social media has served to acquaint me with extremist opinions about Israel, Jews, the UK and the USA.

When I post screen shots on Twitter, I am sometimes confronted by people who tell me that criticism of Israel is not antisemitic, that the antisemitic comments might come from fifth columnists or that Mr Corbyn, contrary to my insinuations, does not have an antisemitic bone in his body. Obviously I am also confronted by people calling me’old hag’ and similar terms of endearment. Nothing I can do about that: social media is what it is.

Here for example is a billet doux which I received today, 31 March.

You can’t please all of the people all of the time and certainly not on Twitter.

I am fairly intrigued by the argument that Jeremy Corbyn would reject, if he were aware of them, the propositions that Jews:

are Khazars

Cause all wars

Rig UK elections

Run UK and American poliitics

Caused his own poor showing in the 2019 general election

or that

The Rothschilds are behind everything.

In the more extreme groups, Holocaust denial is a regular feature and yet I have heard Corbyn repudiate Shoah denial in television interviews.

Where I agree with the Corbynists is that I don’t think he would voice any of the views listed above, comments to which they regularly reply ‘Spot on!’ or ‘100%’, so it is reasonable to assume he doesn’t hold them, even if they do. I think he has extreme views but not as extreme as some of his followers; that he would say Israel is the only cause of its own wars, but not of the Napoleonic wars; that there is a Zionist Lobby with influence in the UK but not that Zionists visited polling booths up and down the country to torch the ballot boxes. He will not call Ashkenazi Jews Khazars but will agree with JVL that Jews have such a welcome place in the diaspora as to make the State of Israel redundant.

To be honest, it is difficult to know if and how Corbyn differs from his most vocal and devoted followers.

Daily, I should say hourly, Simon Maginn posts ‘It was a scam’ on his Twitter account, habitually calling those who disagree with him ‘Filthy liars’ and demanding apologies which never materialize. It is not only Jeremy Corbyn whom he defends from imputations of antisemitism but also Chris Williamson, David Miller, the rapper Lowkey and anyone at all who was expelled from Labour for antisemitism. Maginn’s focus is not Corbyn’s probity but an ill-defined cabal of evil plotters (I assume I’m one) who speak about antisemitism.

Where would Corbyn stand on Maginn, if the subject came up? I think he would say it was certainly a scam to accuse himself of antisemitism, or Chris Williamson whom he promoted to his Shadow Cabinet, or anyone with whom he shares a platform. On the other hand, I think he would condemn the threats shouted through a megaphone from a car decked out with Palestinian flags as it drove through Golders Green but I don’t think he would see a problem in driving the car with the flags through Golders Green.

Like the first Queen Elizabeth and Ludwig Wittgenstein – an unlikely pair – I don’t believe in making windows into a person’s soul or even that there is anything inside the windows which is inaccessible from the outside.

The idolization, deification even, of Corbyn by people who concur with the antisemitic views I outlined above has the effect of making him still more dislikeable. When a devotee likens him to Jesus and then exhorts the comrades, ‘Don’t let them crucify him again,’ it gives the impression that, if Corbyn held political office, these zealots would become powerful, in a way reminiscent of the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution in China.

On the day when Russia invaded Ukraine, Corbyn stood up in Parliament and argued for the recognition of the State of Palestine. As some of his supporters pointed out, a debate on the recognition of Palestine had been scheduled for that day. One couldn’t expect him not to contribute on a matter of consuming interest to him.

As far as optics were concerned, it looked poor but predictable. The optics of Corbyn’s words, deeds and even wreath laying are very often the problem, being generally compatible with antisemitism but with a strand of plausible deniability.

If only he had separated himself from the fanatics, instead of sharing platforms with them and praising them, he might have had more credibility as a non racist man of the Left. If he had done so, he would not have been their idol as he is to this day, but someone else would have filled the role because there are people amenable to authoritarianism who require a totem, before whom they can gather.

Where there is a totem, there is likely to be a taboo. Who or what might that be, in this context?

Ha!

Foreword: 22 May 2022

PAIS is an prolific group now numbering nine thousand members but, as with all Facebooks groups, their kernel of activists is probably not more than a hundred. Some of these activists post many times a day. They keep a close eye on PressTV, Quds News Network and Viva Palestina for breaking news stories. The mainstream news also offers continual developments, such as the sad death of Shireen Abu-Akleh, whose photo is now the profile picture of many of the group members. The group consensually favours the extermination of Israel and, in all their posts, they present reasons why they consider this desirable. They are not above contemptuous racist humour directed at Jews whom they consider a plague on the earth.

As I consider PAIS a particularly toxic group, I have often reported them to Facebook. Generally speaking, Facebook finds that the comments do not go against their communty standards but nevertheless, they have sometimes reacted by removing offensive posts, which is one reason among others to keep reporting.

*

The Gaelic word Pais, says Antán Ó Dála, refers to the Passion, that is to say, the suffering, of Jesus on the cross. In Antan’s own words:

‘PÁIS is Gaelic for the Passion, the suffering and persecution of the Palestinian carpenter, Jesus.’

The word is used cleverly as an acronym: Palestinian And Irish Solidarity.

Contributors seldom lose sight of their brief and, whatever problem arises in the wide world, they remember to relate it to Palestine. And Israel.

I have been following this particular Pais group (there are others) for about four months. I never open the page without foreboding and never fail to be shocked by the bigotry, extremism and anti Jewish obsession.

Facebook does not intervene against such groups and applies its censor so haphazardly that I assume some obsolete form of artificial intelligence is in charge.

It seems likely that, psychologically, the members of this group experience a frisson in expressing such extreme opinions, especially when they rejoice in the death of Israelis. Do they have a sense of transgression or a sense of virtue, or perhaps both, in an enjoyable paradox?

I present to you, PAIS (Palestinian and Irish Solidarity).

When Israelis die:

On the Shoah

PAIS news sources

Ukraine

It is not unusual for ‘anti-Zionists’ to profess concern for Jewish people, who, they claim, are made to suffer by Israel and Zionism and by those of us who ‘cry wolf’.

PAIS does not swerve from its anti Israel mission. Occasionally, Facebook deletes posts for false information, but one has to report the post for this to happen. Mostly, reporting has little effect but still, it’s better that some of their comments get reported, even when Facebook does nothing.

לא עליך המלאכה לגמור ואין אתה בן חורין להיבטל ממנה

It is not for you to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it.

Pirkei Avot 2:16

Finally, house rules of the PAIS group. It has been reported many times by many people but they soldier on, with their never-ending Judenhass.



  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: I'd send a thumbs up but I don't think emojis are available here.
  • keithmarr: Gillian I must admit I’ve stopped reading their posts but value your doing so and your subsequent summary of it all. I find these people very sa
  • cdsmiller17: It seems that young people are still mourning the fate of this man, too.