“So what if Corbyn wins?”

“So what if Corbyn wins? Nothing much will change”

These are words which those of us who are campaigning against Labour – due to its institutionalised antisemitism – have heard frequently and will hear many more times before 12 December.

So what will change? It is highly unlikely that Labour would attack the ‘fundamentals’ of Judaism such as kosher meat (though this cannot be ruled out, on ‘animal welfare’ grounds) , male circumcision, freedom of worship and faith schools. So what are we worried about? Should we just shut up and let democracy take its own course?

The reason why we should NOT shut up – and neither should you – was neatly expressed (albeit extremely understated) by Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian. It has to do with how we regard the country where we live. Until now most – maybe all – Jews have enjoyed living in the UK. For most of us, the UK accepted our relatives in the 19th or 20th century and the UK’s rule of law and tradition of democracy and fair play allowed them – and then us – to live in broad equality with the established population and to practice our religion freely. When the concept of a Jewish State (or ‘Zionism’) began to be promoted in the 19th century – alongside the wave of nationalism in Europe – some non-Jews in the UK were even more supportive than some Jews. The Labour Movement was a strong supporter of Zionism as was CP Scott – the legendary editor then owner of the Manchester Guardian who befriended Chaim Weizmann and introduced him to Lloyd George.  The result was the Balfour Declaration in 1917; the British government ‘viewed with favour’ the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Jews fought in the British Army to defeat Hitler and the state-sponsored antisemitism which swept through Europe in the middle of the 20th century never reached the UK.

But a Labour win would change all that. As Jonathan Freedland wrote (understating it…………), ‘it means that what we thought about this country wasn’t quite true.

The first thing Labour is likely to do is to recognise a Palestinian State. Since the Palestinian Authority does not even concede Israel’s right to exist as a majority Jewish State, this would be a kick in the teeth for British Jews, 90%+ of whom support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.  If – as I expect – Israel protests, a Corbyn-led government could break off diplomatic relations. In any case it is likely that there will be an arms embargo imposed as well as some form of economic boycott.

Israelis – including family members of British Jews – will be very reluctant to visit the UK. A Labour government might well reverse the changes to Universal Jurisdiction introduced by the Conservatives to stop the possibility of Israelis who have served with the IDF (almost all of them) being arrested when they land at a UK airport.  Israeli arts groups (eg Habima, Batsheva, Israel Philharmonic) will no longer tour to the UK (truth is, they have already stopped coming; the last visit was seven years ago when Habima performed a wonderful ‘Merchant of Venice’ at the Globe).

British Jews who openly support Israel would become Pariahs. They will find themselves rejected for all public sector appointments and all university jobs. Those in jobs will be ostracised by their colleagues and their children will be bullied at school. Their homes could be targeted by far Left mobs.

The need for security of Jewish schools and synagogues will increase under a Corbyn-led government but with the economy hit by Labour’s profligate spending, there will be strong pressure to cut government grants for security of these institutions.

Universities are the hub of anti-Israel sentiment and under Labour this will intensify. Only five universities have adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism. They will feel free to ignore it and no more will adopt it. Antisemitic meetings will mushroom with administrations no longer considering that they violate a modified Prevent programme. Pro-Israel speakers on the other hand will be banned as extremists. Most if not all Jewish Societies will ban any discussion of Israel. Jewish Year 12 students will not feel comfortable applying to any UK University.

The anti-extremism Prevent programme would be modified to include anti-Zionism and watered down so that few far Left and Islamist extremists would be identified and deradicalised.  Together with the ending of Israeli security cooperation which would follow a break in diplomatic relations, this would mean that terrorist outrages would increase, particularly targeted at Jews.

Interfaith bodies would no longer recognise Jews as a minority to be included, due to the near universal support of Jews for Israel.

The spread of IHRA acceptance by local authorities would come to a halt. In any case IHRA will no longer be respected, with local authorities seeing nothing amiss in having their building used for antisemitic meetings.

In short, a normal life will become impossible for many UK Jews and many will leave.
bbc corbyn 17 nov 19
Speaking about antisemitism, the great Isaiah Berlin said ‘Before the War we were sleepwalkers, now we are insomniacs’. I don’t believe these predictions are those of an insomniac. But there is still time to avert what would be a tragedy for UK Jewry and indeed for the UK. Unless they are in a ‘safe’ Conservative constituency (defined as a majority of at least 18,000 (unlike Finchley and Golders Green!)); unless they are in a LibDem constituency where Labour is at least 12,000 votes behind; unless they are in a Labour constituency where the LibDems are in second place and the Conservatives are at least 12,000 votes behind them – voters must vote Conservative. This is the only way to avert a Labour win – and I say this as someone who has campaigned long and hard for the UK to remain in the EU. I like Jo Swinson but only a naive fool believes that ‘in the national interest’ to avoid a hung Parliament she would not support Corbyn on a case-by-case basis.

The prospect of a racist in Downing Street trumps all – even countering Brexit. It is existential. Brexit is terrible but it isn’t existential.

#NeverCorbyn.

Please help the #NeverCorbyn campaign

Addenda

A friend in Israel mentions that another important issue -widely discussed in Israeli business circles – is the possibility of closing off the London Debt and Equity markets to Israeli companies.

Antiracism’s gone down the plughole in Bath: Sequel

David Sheen is promoting a so-called ‘Lecture Tour’ of a talk entitled ‘Messiah Mode’. See my blog here for the gross insensitivity of Betty Suchar, the Chair of Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in the face of protests by Jews that her Institution was to host Sheen at yet another Bath Friends of Palestine (aka PSC) meeting.
bath sheen 2 nov 2019
Sheen spoke in Bath on 1 November. The Patron of Bath Friends of Palestine aka the PSC is Ken Loach Esq who believes that Labour MPs who attend protests against antisemitism should be expelled from the Party.
bath sheen 6 nov 2019.PNGPhoto credit: Bath Chronicle

It was chaired by the organiser, Huw Spanner, who appears to be a practising Christian – possibly a supersessionist – a member of Labour and an uncritical consumer of the Corbyn Kool-Aid.

bath sheen 4 nov 2019bath sheen 5 nov 2019

(Spanner to Corbyn)

And here is his fawning interview with Salma Yaqoob who called Israelis ‘European colonisers’ and said of Israel: ‘No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, a pig is still a pig’. Not to mention Robert Cohen the ‘as-a-Jew’ who even besmirches the memory of Anne Frank in order to vilify Israel.

The venue was the highly prestigious Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, a Charity whose object is ‘the promotion and advancement, for the public benefit, of science, literature and art in the City of Bath and its surrounding areas by such means as the Directors of the Company think fit.’  How does Jewbaiting fit into that, I wonder?

I was there. The audience – about 120 strong – was (see photo below) typical of these anti-Israel events. Virtue-signalling white ‘liberals’ aged at least 50 who are reliving their 1960s days picketing against South African Apartheid outside Barclays Bank. The women with bad hair-do’s, the men with progressively less hair TO do and comfy 25-year old frayed sweaters.
bath sheen 3 nov 2019

Photo credit: David Sheen

I had an inkling of what was in store on the basis of the organiser; the title of the talk (‘Messiah Mode: The rise & fall & rise of Israel’s biggest racists’) and the photo used to publicise it and which was on the screen throughout the Q+A:
bath sheen 7 nov 2019

The photo shows Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shaking hands with Meir Kahane, the far Right extremist assassinated in 1990. Of course it is photoshopped. Kahane was arrested more than 60 times in Israel and there is no evidence that the two men ever even met (the event blurb admits it’s photoshopped – right at the end – but Sheen didn’t declare it).

bath sheen 1 nov 2019

As a veteran of Israel hate meetings, it takes a lot to shock me. But Sheen succeeded.  (Canadian-born, his family moved to Israel when he was young).  He spoke for around two hours with a brief break in the middle. He is highly articulate and showed around 100 well-ordered slides, none of which we were allowed to film, on pain of exclusion. So we cannot fact-check the many quotes from Rabbis that he presented. He promised to put the ‘official’ video on his website but that will not be for at least a month (some of his narrative is rebutted below). Fortunately he has history.  The estimable ladies Petra Marquardt-Bigman and Nurit Baytch clocked him some time ago. CAMERA too.

Sheen’s traditional shtick is to accuse the government of Israel of racism against African asylum seekers and accuse the US Jewish Community of being complicit. However he has changed tack. The theme last night was Kahanism.

According to Sheen:

•  The Rabbinic Principal of the Bnei David (Sons of David) Yeshiva is a racist and is teaching trainee IDF Officers to be racist.

•  Kahanism operates with impunity in Israel and some members of the government are Kahanists.

Sheen began with an utterly obnoxious comparison of the Four Sons in the Passover (Seder) Service with his ‘four types’ of Jew: ‘Reformist’,’ Opportunist’, ‘Supremacist’ and ‘Humanist’ (‘ROSH’ – the Hebrew word for ‘head’). “The vast majority of Jews are Orthodox, I call them the Supremacist camp” (cue for laughter from the Virtue Signallers).  He then gave his taxonomy of his four types according to what they believe about the Torah: Is it holy and is it just? (The ‘Opportunists’ are the Zionists).
bath sheen 8 nov 2019

Here’s his slide (available on his website, you can see this bit of his presentation here, it was a repeat). Not only did he libel the Orthodox by calling us ‘Supremacist’ he also libelled Zionists by claiming that we don’t believe in G-d but at the same time we say ‘We are the Chosen People and G-d gave us this Land’ (more laughter from the Virtue Signallers). To use the ‘Chosen People’ passage in this way is antisemitic (Sheen is a Jewish antisemite, no question). And he misled the audience into thinking that none of the Zionist Visionaries were religious. Moses Hess? Rabbi Avraham Kook?

From this Sheen segued (with a graph) into asserting that the Knesset is permanently dominated by ‘Opportunists’ and ‘Supremacists’. And that Israeli children are inculcated with these values because “all the Education Ministers that Netanyahu has appointed are religious.” A lie. Yuli Tamir – for one – was not religious. And neither was Gideon Sa’ar – at least not until AFTER his term as Education Minister (March 2009 to March 2013). Sheen moved on to attack a number of Rabbis in Israel, for extremist and racist comments:

•  We are unable to factcheck the accuracy of the quotes as we were forbidden to film or photograph
•  There are extremist Rabbis – just as there are extremist Imams and extremist Christians (think Westboro Baptist Church).
•  But what Sheen failed to tell the audience was that extremism in Israel is universally condemned.
•  Here for example is the condemnation of the two Rabbis he mentioned at the Bnei David pre-military Yeshiva.

There followed a stream of quotes from Rabbis: Rabbi Yosef Kelner, Rabbi Eli SadanRabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg. But there was no reference to the popular revulsion in Israel at every extremist utterance of these men.

Now Sheen turned to the “life and times of of Meir Kahane”. Referring back to his ‘ROSH’ taxonomy, Sheen said that Kahane added a fifth category: nationalist and secular (but – again – he had earlier lied that all Zionists are secular!). He described the ideological ‘platforms’ of Kahane: anti-Left, anti-Black, ‘anti-Diaspora-ism’. Sheen said that when Kahane was convicted in New York, the Judge said “Either you go to prison or you go to Israel”.   Sheen was clearly trying to tell the audience that Israel provides a haven for convicted Jewish criminals. It’s mendacious nonsense: Kahane served his sentence in 1971 and then  went to Israel. Next Sheen described the fourth, fifth and sixth ‘platforms’ of Kahane: ‘Anti-love’, anti-Gentile and anti-secular. In 1984 Kahane entered the Knesset. As Sheen said, he proposed all sorts of obnoxious laws – including the ‘removal of foreigners from the Temple Mount’ – none of which were passed. But what Sheen DIDN’T say – again – was that there was revulsion in the Knesset at Kahane. He was boycotted and barred from office. A law was passed in 1985 banning racist Parties.  Sheen deceived the audience, saying that racist parties were only banned AFTER  the Baruch Goldstein atrocity in 1994.  NOT TRUE.  Kach (Kahane’s party) WAS BANNED from running in the 1988 legislative elections SIX YEARS BEFORE the atrocity.  Sheen’s inference – that it had to take the murder of 29 Palestinian Muslim worshippers for Israel for Kach to be banned – is simply untrue.

In connection with an extremist  plot, Sheen alleged that Netanyahu said “I assure you that our policy is to fully cooperate with the murderers.”  He may have misread his brief but according to the transcript, what Netanyahu said in 1998 in Washington was this:

“I assure you that our policy is to cooperate fully with the law, and we don’t make a distinction, sir, between the murderers of Arabs or Jews.”

Now Sheen came to his peroration: His allegation that Kahanism operates with impunity in Israel and some members of the government are Kahanists. It is total and utter defamatory rubbish. The two names he mentioned were Lieberman and Hanegbi. Avigdor Lieberman resigned from the government in November 2018. Anyway he never had anything to do with Kach.  The same applies to Tzachi Hanegbi. More lies.  Also defamatory rubbish was Sheen’s insinuation that there is a significant movement in Israel that wants to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque and rebuild the Temple.  Anyone who suggests otherwise is playing with fire – it’s a surefire way of inciting the Arab population.

At last we reached the Q+A. Until then I had been silent but I said my piece, listen here (I say the photo on the screen is photoshopped,  that the speech was a farrago of lies, I recommend the Nurit Baytch article (I spell the name), I point out that there are extremist clerics in every religion and I ask Sheen why he has come to lie?)

Sheen’s pathetic juvenile response to my further intervention was “I live there [Israel], you don’t”. Well I have never been to Turkey but that doesn’t mean I don’t have reasonably well-informed views about Erdogan’s treatment of the Kurds. It is such a ridiculous argument – it denies the ability to learn from media and books. He then started talking Hebrew to me, thinking I did not understand and could not answer back! Well I could – I’m not a native speaker but I can get by. He proceeded to mock my non-native Hebrew – in Hebrew. That is the level to which Sheen descends when challenged. Unfortunately he rarely seems to GET challenged, certainly not by anyone else at the event in Bath. His final response was “if you care about Israel, you should be challenging this racism, not challenging me.  Which assumes that what he said was true – but it wasn’t.

Later in the Q+A Sheen referred to the 2016 Pew poll which found (he said) that “48% of Jewish Israelis agreed that Arabs should be expelled from Israel“. As I pointed out to Sheen, he misquoted the question. It was ‘do you agree that Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel?’ And – of course – Sheen failed to point out the grave problems with the wording, simply glorifying in the opportunity to badmouth Israel.

Not much else to report from the Q+A – apart from a ritual attack on IHRA by an audience member and then by Sheen – of course.  Except that Ken Loach had entered the room, having been delayed to do a Channel 4 interview. Loach gave a a brief talk, praising this worthless book (but getting the title wrong), praising Jewish Voice for Labour and attacking the Jewish Labour Movement because they say they will only campaign for a few Labour candidates (such as Margaret Hodge and Ruth Smeeth).

Here is what Loach said about the book: “The average person in the street thinks that 34% of Labour members have been reported for antisemitism”. The real number is 0.1%”. As I say in the blog (link above), the 34% number – the arithmetic mean – is misleading because of the outliers. A better number is the mode which is 0-9%. And Loach’s 0.1% number is pure fiction. The numbers reported by Labour Against Antisemitism are much higher!

At the end of the meeting I could not escape fast enough into the fresh, damp air in Queen Square. I stood outside with my Israel flag proudly held high to recover. The guy who had been sitting to my right (I think it was Mr Faiq Tukmachi, see above photo) told me he was a paediatrician and I was at risk of a heart attack. Another man told me he had been to Israel and it was exactly  like Sheen described it. The Patron of Bath Friends of Palestine – Ken Loach – emerged.  I asked him why he thought that Labour MPs who attend counter-antisemitism rallies should be expelled from the Party.  He merely grinned inanely.  Then I got talking to a lady who was very nice – we disagreed of course but it was such a relief to have a civilised conversation. Thank you ‘Susan’ – I called you Susan because the name seemed to fit you: You wouldn’t tell me your real name!  In case Mossad stole one of your shoes I suppose.  We walked to the station together and ‘Susan’ went back to Bristol and I to London, home from Bath.

And ‘bath’ it was that was needed – or at least a very hot shower – to wash away Sheen’s filth down the plughole – where it belongs.

Update

Basel University has cancelled Sheen’s meeting on Wednesday. Let’s hope that Zurich and Berne Universities do the decent thing too. Unlike Ms Betty Suchar, the Chair of Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution.

I’d forgotten about ‘ToiletGate‘!

Toilet and Bath ….. What’s the next venue, Bidet?

JVL kicks off the election campaign with lies

Jewish Voice for Labour – which exists to whitewash antisemitism in the Labour Party – has published a mendacious document entitled ‘Briefing for canvassers: Challenging false allegations of antisemitism’.

Here is some counter-briefing, feel free to use it in debates with Labour canvassers. A vote for Labour on 12 December is tantamount to putting two fingers up to the UK’s Jewish Community.

LIE …………the IHRA document has been adopted by only eight of the IHRA’s thirty-three members plus two of its nine observer states.”

TRUTH As of August 2019, the IHRA definition had been adopted by sixteen countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia and the UK). It is also used by the US State Department and the US Department of Education and the Ministry of Education of Greece. It has been endorsed by the European Parliament, which has recommended its adoption by EU Member States, and by the Organisation for American States. It is used by a number of civil society organisations monitoring antisemitism and was recognised by the UN Secretary-General in 2018. Around 200 UK local authorities and one University have adopted it.

LIEAlready, some universities which have ‘adopted’ the IHRA document, have cancelled or obstructed student activities which support the Palestinians, and some local authorities have cancelled meetings out of a fear – with no reasonable basis – of what might possibly be said in them.

TRUTH Where meetings have been refused – eg this example – it is because of concern about antisemitism – far from there being ‘no reasonable basis.  JVL is hardly the arbiter of ‘reasonableness’ when it comes to antisemitism!

LIEThe IHRA 38 word ‘definition’, in retired Lord Justice Sir Stephen Sedley’s view, ‘fails the first test of any definition: it is indefinite’. Its clumsy drafting leaves its meaning quite indeterminate.  Plus, it is way too narrow, focusing on extreme antisemitism (hatred), whilst ignoring (so not protecting against) far more common forms, such as harassment, prejudice, hostility and discrimination.”

TRUTH Sedley suggested the completely unworkable definition that “Antisemitism is hostility towards Jews as Jews”. His criticism of IHRA effectively amounts to the Livingstone Formulation.

LIE “The IHRA document has been fiercely criticized by some of Britain’s most senior lawyers, who fear the political nature of its ‘Israel examples’ may seriously ‘chill’ political debate on Israel/Palestine. These critics include Jewish retired Lord Justice of Appeal (Stephen Sedley), foremost Jewish advocate on race and equality issues over the past half century (solicitor, Geoffrey Bindman) and leading human rights QCs (Hugh Tomlinson and Geoffrey Robertson), who have both written legal opinions tearing it apart. Plus, American Jewish lawyer Kenneth Stern, the original author of what has since become the IHRA definition and examples, is furious that a document he wrote to assist the collation of international police statistics on antisemitism, is now being used to regulate, chill (and potentially kill) debate about Israel/Palestine.”

TRUTH You get what you pay for and lawyers are no exception.  Tomlinson was paid by Free Speech on Israel, Independent Jewish Voices, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Robertson’s Opinion was funded by the Palestine Return Centre.

Stern was not the ‘original author’ of what has become IHRA. And his only caveat is that he says it is inappropriate for universities to use it for certain types of anti-Israel speech, because he sees campuses as a special ‘free speech’ environment. But for everyone else, his message is clear: the definition should be used more than it is (this comes from Dr Dave Rich of the CST).

Jackie Walker Belittles Jews at UCL’s Chomsky Fest

Last night at UCL there was a Chomsky fest to launch the book of the contributions to an event that I attended in February 2017. Jackie Walker contributed  a paper to the 2017 Conference (also at UCL) and so was invited to speak at the book launch.

It didn’t start well. Aware of the record of Jackie Walker, UCL  had reasonably put conditions around the meeting – the following antisemitic expressions were rightly ruled unacceptable

1. Suggestions (overt or implied) that Jews as a group or particular sections of the British Jewish community invent, exaggerate or “weaponise” incidents of antisemitism for political or other benefit.

2. Suggestions (overt or implied) that Jews as a group or particular sections of the British Jewish community exploit or exaggerate the Holocaust for political or other benefit.

3. Use (overt or implied) of “dual loyalty” tropes relating to Jews as a group or particular sections of the British Jewish community and the State of Israel – for example that they are “controlled” by Israel or are working on behalf of Israel to the detriment of Britain.

4. Suggestions (overt or implied) that antisemitism is a less toxic form of racism than any other and/or that Jews are less vulnerable to discrimination than other minority groups.

5. Repetition (overt or implied) of antisemitic tropes relating to Jews and money and/oJewish financial involvement in historical events or injustices – for example that Jews financed wars, slavery, etc

Even though the Chair (Professor Garb) suggested that these conditions had been dropped or modified, someone (JVL?) saw fit to put (unsigned) fliers on the chairs entitled “A Defence of Jackie Walker”. And Chomsky’s response to the conditions was posted on the screens:

If I’d been asked, I would have rejected all of these conditions, for two reasons. First, why bring up anti-Semitism and not Islamophobia, white supremacy, and other serious forms of racism? Second, these conditions are an utter outrage. Take the first, stating that it would be antisemitic for anyone to say or imply that any Jewish group has ever exaggerated incidents of antisemitism in the Labour Party or elsewhere. I’m frankly at a loss for words. Would it be anti-Arab racism to say that some Arab group has exaggerated incidents of anti-Arab racism? If so, I’m a hardened Islamophobe, because I know of such cases and have often said so. And so are all journals and commentators on the Middle East, because such behaviour is common — for other nationalist groups as well. Why are Jewish groups immune from criticism, alone in the world? Beyond that there happens to be solid record of exaggerating incidents of antisemitism in Labour. Greg Philo’s recent study documents this in extensive detail.

Is Chomsky seriously recommending this book?

It wasn’t long before the lies started. Walker referred to the book (see link above and here) that was to have been launched at Waterstones Brighton during the Labour Conference as being ‘peer reviewed’. No it has not been ‘peer reviewed’. The ludicrous puff from Ken Loach is hardly ‘peer reviewing’!

Walker’s speech began with her customary litany of victimhood. She called mainstream media “a carnival of reaction, oppression and deprivation”.

The next lie: She said that if you use the term “Holocaust” to describe what happened to Africans, the Labour Party will suspend you!

Then the Chair of UCL Jewish Society asked a perfectly reasonable question about Walker’s history. How could she claim to be an antiracist? (Eg she said that “many Jews were chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade”). She responded by calling his question ‘uncivil’ and suggesting that he had an agenda “probably from the Jewish Chronicle”. I called her out and Professor Garb promptly threatened to throw me out.  So much for free speech. Walker lied (bizarrely) saying that at the meeting in 2017 she had “protected” me! Another Jewish student asked her how it was that all the reports about her could be entirely without truth!

But the pièce de résistance was still to come. In July there was an excellent  Panorama programme (made by John Ware) entitled ‘Is Labour Antisemitic?’ It featured interviews with seven or so disillusioned staff who had resigned from Labour’s Disputes Team.  Only one of them – Ben Westerman – was Jewish.  Walker called the programme “laughable”.  Here’s what she then said: “All 15 people  in the programme were on the Executive of the Jewish Labour Movement”.  My jaw dropped!

This is not just a ludicrous lie.  It is a nastily antisemitic lie – Subtext: “They’re all Jewish so we don’t need to take any of their complaints seriously – they are trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn”. It violates #1 of UCL’s conditions for the meeting to go ahead. And shames Chomsky for ridiculing the conditions.

Chomsky of course is an antisemitism denier. Just look at this slide, also posted at the meeting:

chomsky1


UCL gave a platform to a proven antisemite: Yet another example of UK Universities failing to take the problem of antisemitism seriously.

East London (In)Humanists

If you wanted a speaker about the Care of the Elderly you wouldn’t ask Dr Harold Shipman. Similarly if you wanted a speaker about antisemitism you wouldn’t ask David Rosenberg, would you? Errr – wrong – East London Humanists did precisely that. Cockup or conspiracy? Well bear in mind that these ‘humanists’ are affiliated to the National Secular Society which has been pretty obnoxious towards Jews.

There are few things more nauseating than to listen to a renegade Jew telling derogatory lies about Jews to a non-Jewish audience.  Fortunately a band of ballsy Jewish Vigilantes (six women plus me) was at Wanstead Library (at very short notice) to bear witness and speak out.

humanist.PNG
Here is what we heard, seriatim……

1. Lie: Jeremy Corbyn is probably the most prominent antiracist and antifascist campaigner in parliament.

2. Lie: The allegation that the President of the Board of Deputies does not have democratic legitimacy: (Rosenberg said “those within the Jewish Community who define themselves as leaders put pressure on Labour to adopt the IHRA”).

3. Lie: The IHRA definition of antisemitism “mixes together attitudes about Jews with attitudes to the Israel-Palestine conflict and about Zionism and about the State of Israel”.

4. Lie: The EUMC definition (the precursor to IHRA) was written by just one man, Kenneth Stern (It was the responsibility of a broad-ranging group of representatives from governments and Jewish organisations).

5. Lie: The Fundamental Rights Agency removed the EUMC definition from its website “because they felt it was an inadequate definition”.

6. Lie: Only six countries have adopted IHRA. Truth: As of August 2019, it had been adopted by sixteen countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia and the UK). It is also used by the US State Department and the US Department of Education and the Ministry of Education of Greece. It has been endorsed by the European Parliament, which has recommended its adoption by EU Member States, and by the Organisation for American States. It is used by a number of civil society organisations monitoring antisemitism and was recognised by the UN Secretary-General in 2018. Around 200 UK local authorities and one University have adopted it.

7. Lies: The IHRA definition “will have a chilling effect on comment on the Israel/Palestine conflict”; “opposition to Israeli policy is antisemitic”; “this will cause those who support the Palestinians to doubt the truth of all allegations of antisemitism and people who target the Israeli government might widen their target.”

8. Lie (the worst one, straight from the Soviet School circa 1960): The ‘H’ in IHRA stands for ‘Holocaust’. If a body dedicated to Holocaust Remembrance is responsible for a ‘shield’ to defend a government against questions, it engenders cynicism towards Holocaust Remembrance.

9. The proportion of UK Jews declaring themselves to be ‘Zionist’ fell from 70% to 59% in five years (the 59% figure is taken from the Yachad survey which also found that 90% support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State ……. Which equals Zionism ……..)

10. Accusations of antisemitism in Labour are “instrumental, exaggerated and distorted”; the main protagonists are the Conservative Party and right wing leaders of some Jewish organisations.

humanist feralhumanist feral2.PNG

Not surprisingly the meeting broke up in acrimony. One man walked out in disgust. This feral woman was particularly aggressive. Rosenberg (a member of Labour and JVL) smeared me with the EDL lie.

Memo to Humanists: If you want a speaker on antisemitism, don’t ask someone who is part of the problem!

Postscript 1

Paul Kaufman who chairs East London Humanists is Jewish. He is a member of the anti-Israel group Jews for Justice for Palestinians. JFJFP does not accept the IHRA Definition. Presumably that is why Rosenberg was invited. So it WAS conspiracy – not cockup. It appears that the Chair of East London Humanists deliberately invited a speaker who denies antisemitism and rejects IHRA to speak on the topic.

Note the link to the antisemitism-denying Jewish Voice for Labour. Richard Kuper is a founder of JFJFP and an Officer of JVL.

Kaufman is also opposed to faith schools and his group held a meeting opposing religious circumcision.

Assuming it is the same man, he also signed an open letter in 2015 attacking the Jewish Chronicle for highlighting Corbyn’s links to antisemites and Holocaust deniers. I can’t find evidence that he is a Labour member but it seems likely.

Postscript 2

Here is a video of the chaos at the end of the meeting.

Me: “You wouldn’t have a speaker who is Islamophobic – why do you have one who is antisemitic?”

Me: “The IHRA says you can criticise Israel the same as any democratic country – that’s what he didn’t say – he’s a racist speaker”

Rosenberg: “I would like to point out that the person who has disrupted this meeting is very happy to work with members of the the English Defence League and the British National Party”

Me: “I have never worked with the EDL. You’re a f*cking liar”

-1:50: ‘Ms Feral’ is seen to raise her hand at my face

-1.08: She lays into a woman

Postscript 3

Ms Feral has outed herself it seems

humanist feral2

 

Drowning in ‘Narratives’ at UCL

ucl 1 oct 19

ucl 2 oct 19

I went to this meeting last night. Hollis’ book is about the responses to the ten questions she posed to her ‘Olive Tree’ Israeli and Palestinian students at City University, together with responses from Israelis and Palestinians who had not been on the Olive Tree programme. Her conclusions seem bleedin’ obvious:  National ‘narratives’ can drive conflict and those on one side are sometimes reluctant to listen to the narrative of the other side. And she had observed two parallel narratives (no shit Sherlock).  However it got both more interesting and more fictional: She mentioned that when her Israeli students go home, their opinions are suppressed ‘by the authorities‘ …. ‘you do not question the accepted narrative or you get called a ‘self-hating Jew‘.  No evidence was provided for this rubbish and those of us familiar with the incredible diversity of views expressed in Israel will regard Hollis’ claim with enormous scepticism. Hollis also talked about a ‘blockade’ of Gaza. She clearly knows nothing. There is no ‘blockade’: truckloads of goods arrive every day, only goods which might be used for making weapons cannot go in.

Anziska cited a report in Ha’aretz earlier this year, entitled Migration Report 1948. Ha’aretz reported that the Defence Ministry kept back some archives relating to conduct toward Palestine’s Arabs, particularly during the 1948 war. Anziska suggested that the report contained revelations about atrocities committed by Israel: “3 to 400,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes.”  No it does not say that! As Benny Morris says – most of the ‘revelations’ were nothing of the sort – they were already known.

I asked a question about ‘narratives’: What had happened to facts? Anziska’s response was weak: facts are not facts because more source documents might become public and might change the facts.

As I had expected, the meeting at UCL simply confirmed the parlous state of Middle East Studies at British Universities.

Postscripts

Dennis Ross’ interesting review of Anziska’s book

Sitting in front of me was the Israeli Professor who tells students that Hamas Supports Two States ………………

Antiracism’s gone down the plughole in Bath

You wouldn’t imagine that Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution – a venerable Charity with a 250 year history) would be a friendly venue for the PSC, would you?

After all, its objective (see its Articles of Association) include ‘the promotion and advancement, for the public benefit, of science, literature and art in the City of Bath and its surrounding areas by such means as the Directors of the Company think fit.’

You wouldn’t imagine that this would include hosting the PSC, an organisation that desires the end of Israel as a Jewish State and which is a refuge for antisemites, would you?

But apparently it does. In April the PSC (aka Bath Friends of Palestine) at the BRLSI hosted Thomas Suarez, author of a viciously antisemitic book. In September they hosted Kamel Hawwash, the PSC’s Chair.  Hawwash defended Mohammad Halabi – who murdered two Israeli men and injured a woman and baby in 2015 – calling him “a martyr” because he was subsequently shot and killed by police.

Now the BRLSI is hosting this meeting on 1 November.

bath psc october 2019 2.png

Look first at the title ‘Messiah Mode: The rise and fall and rise of Israel’s biggest racists’.

To refer to Israel’s religious or political leaders as “Messiahs” is profoundly offensive to Jews. The Messiah in Judaism is a significant figure, with the characteristics of a priest and king, who will change the world order, in accordance with the will of God.  The Messiah has yet to come. To suggest that Israel’s leaders imagine themselves to be the “Messiah” is a very nasty slur. Even nastier is that the title refers to them as ‘racists’. The rights of Israel’s non-Jewish population are protected by law and non-Jews can be found in senior positions in every profession, including as diplomats and as Judges on the Supreme Court.

Now look at the speaker, David Sheen. Sheen lies about Israel and demonises the country, see here.

Sheen also fabricates quotes in order to demonise Israel, see here. 

The widely accepted IHRA definition of antisemitism states that ‘Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective’ is antisemitic. Sheen clearly falls into this category.

The response of Betty Suchar – the BRLSI Chair – to protests is that she believes in free speech ‘and that any group within reason can hire a room at BRLSI’.

But the maintenance of ‘free speech’ is conditional, as set out in Article Ten of the European Convention on Human Rights. This says that ‘free speech’ must be subject to ‘the protection of the reputation or rights of others’.    Jews have the right to not be subjected to antisemitism.

Would it be ‘within reason’ for the BRLSI hire a room to David Irving for a meeting to promote Holocaust Denial?

Or to the English Defence League for a meeting to be addressed by a White Nationalist?

If not – how is accepting this meeting ‘within reason’?

And look how Bath Friends of Palestine is promoting the meeting on Eventbrite and Facebook:

bath psc october 2019 photoshopped.png

It is a fake image. It is photoshopped.  Binyamin Netanyahu NEVER shook hands with Meir Kahane who died nearly 30 years ago

Read to the bottom of the event description and they even admit it’s photoshopped. But of course it will be reproduced thousands of times by Israel haters without such a qualification.