Friday, March 23, 2012

And the Prize for the most hysterical post-Toulouse article goes to?

[Drumroll…] Ynetnews! With Yigal Walt’s ‘The day Europe died’!

I landed on it via Mondoweiss with another one of Ynet’s shockers as a stopgap, this one by Giulio Meotti, an article that shamelessly touts a title that today’s worst antisemites would shy away from: A Jew-free Europe.

There, a prominently featured link anchored as ‘The day Europe died’ caught my eye. It’s well worth a read for a few belly laughs [really??], to savour the shrilly ‘Eurabia’ kvetch, reference to alleged circularity of Europe’s history and hyperbolic long term tea leaf readings of European Jewish demographics.

Yigal’s piece starts off with the same silliness it intends to continue with:
Monday, March 19th will be remembered as a dark day for Europe. That day, it crossed the “point of no return,” as long years of political correctness and currying favor with the Arab world prompted the final burial of the continent’s liberal discourse, which has become a twisted, meaningless absurdity.

Lemmesee, a Muslim extremist, acting on his own and apparently largely unconnected to but perhaps inspired by al Qaeda, goes on a killing spree in Toulouse leaving 7 dead including 4 Jews and it’s the day this continent crossed a “point of no return’???

He then finishes off his chef d’oeuvre with more extremist histrionics:
All that remains now is to watch the deterioration of the “old continent” into a new, murky horizon. On the one hand, Islamization trends are expected to grow, while on the other hand, radical nationalistic parties will continue to gain strength. Europe of the late 20th Century, which vowed to uphold the banner of tolerance and liberalism, will slowly turn into a chaotic, angry region where various groups are fighting each other while shunning genuine moral values.

In any case, Ms. Ashton need not apologize for or clarify her remarks. After all, her words accurately reflected the mood of her decayed, dying continent.

The author should perhaps reflect not only on the rise of Far Right religionationalistic forces in the Holy Land but also on the fact that Europe’s Far Right parties, with perhaps the sole exception of Hungary’s Jobbik, have all traded in their trademark antisemitism for Muslim bashing and that they now all support Israel. Yes, the fomenters of ethnic strife in Europe, the anti-immigration nutters, the anti-‘multicultis’ prop up Israel. They must be chuffed with such grubby support.

All in all Mad Mel Phlipps would possible have expressed herself with slightly more reserve than Yigal Walt (although as it so happens she didn’t but enough gutter ‘journalism’ for one day…)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Plucky little Israel: deeply offended again!

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, really. Well before it became clear that Catherine Ashton did in fact mention the children of Sderot, Zionists at Harry’s Place were up in arms about the perceived atrocity that she hadn’t. HP cheerleader on this occasion was Sarah AB, coming up with the hyperbole “Unbelievable: Baroness Ashton on Toulouse” as her Righteously Indignified position on this largely non-event. Except it transpired that Ashton had been misquoted and that she had in fact mentioned the children of Sderot. Sarah AB provided full transcript and video as proof (full sagette here – JsF).

By then Israel had smelled blood, as Gideon Levy describes here (he appears blissfully unaware of the misquotation prelude). It’s a little naïve in parts but basically hits the spot:
As if the horror in Toulouse wasn't enough, as if the suspicion that Al-Qaida was involved in the attack wasn't enough, and as if the constant criticism of Israel wasn't enough, we've invented another imaginary enemy: Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief.

Ashton made some distasteful remarks about the cruel fate of children who had been killed, unintentionally mixing road-accident victims (Belgium), war victims (Syria, Gaza and Sderot) and hate-crime victims (France). And immediately, I mean immediately, Israel fomented an international scandal, despite France's very impressive stand with the Jewish community, first and foremost by its president.

Ashton is of course not an ‘invented imaginary enemy [of Israel]’, at least not a new one: Ashton’s stance on I/P, soft and non-controversial as it is, is enough to get the Israeli establishment seriously worked up, as we shall soon see. So it's not this particular episode that makes Ashton a perceived enemy, rather it's perceived past enmity to the Zionist State that fueled this latest insincere spat.

Nor were her remarks distasteful: slightly populist rhetoric you would hear from many a mediocre politician the world around when they feel the need to sound profound (Sarkozy e.g. pulled out all the stops on the Toulouse tragedy).
Not a very important stateswoman, but apparently a good-intentioned one, Ashton misspoke. We realize that her intentions weren't bad, certainly not anti-Israel. Listening to her full remarks proves this. Ashton bemoaned the fate of children killed for nothing, as politicians like to do. But the thunderous attack from Jerusalem (and Tel Aviv), orchestrated by the prime minister and the foreign minister, and backed up by a chorus of journalists and pundits, was wrong and unnecessary, no less than Ashton's remarks.

Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said that if he weren't a minister, his attack on Ashton would have been even harsher than his "Israel is the most moral country in the world" (no less). Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman let loose with another nationalist pronouncement, and they all demanded that Ashton get down on her knees and beg for forgiveness.

As far as I’m concerned Ashton would have been well within her rights to not have mentioned the children of Sderot. But that would not have been her sin: the real wrongdoing here is in the past for not having passed the ‘with us or against us’ test. Period.
[snip] It's enough that we suspect that an unfortunate remark has been made, especially if it comes from a relatively weak politician who isn't American. No one would have ferociously attacked Ashton if she had been a representative of the United States.

This attack on Ashton and others like her is suspect; it probably wasn't sincere. Perhaps once again we're cynically using a statesman's faux pas to wring more and more guilt feelings about Israel, to instill more and more fear into the world's statesmen and to make more and more worthless political hay.

Israel hunts down such remarks as if it were the Anti-Defamation League. The long-term implications are dangerous. Ashton, who was never perceived as an enemy of Israel, but rather a typical European stateswoman who believes that the Israeli occupation should end, might watch her tongue, but now she'll hold a big grudge against Israel for humiliating her. That's not good for Israel.

Israel must never be compared to anything else - not to apartheid and not to other oppressors of freedom around the world, not to other occupation regimes and not to other colonialism. We're always something else. The children of Sderot must not be compared to the children of Gaza, the children of Toulouse must not be compared to other children who are slaughtered elsewhere in nationalist hate crimes.

Our children are different, not only to us - that's natural. But they must be different to the whole world. That's our uncompromising demand. Neither must the Palestinian struggle be compared to any other fight for liberation elsewhere around the world. Anyone who dares compare Israel to anything else - their fate is sealed.

The Ashton mini-storm will be forgotten in a day. Israel will celebrate another minuscule victory, but the residue will build up. It wasn't Ashton who lost her senses, but rather Israel, which is playing the role of the eternally offended party, once again seen in a maudlin light. And this happened just as the world was responding compassionately to the victims and was remarkably empathetic toward Israel.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon

Source:>US Palestinian Community Network

For many years now, Gilad Atzmon, a musician born in Israel and currently living in the United Kingdom, has taken on the self-appointed task of defining for the Palestinian movement the nature of our struggle, and the philosophy underpinning it. He has done so through his various blogs and Internet outlets, in speeches, and in articles. He is currently on tour in the United States promoting his most recent book, entitled, ‘The Wandering Who.’

With this letter, we call for the disavowal of Atzmon by fellow Palestinian organizers, as well as Palestine solidarity activists, and allies of the Palestinian people, and note the dangers of supporting Atzmon’s political work and writings and providing any platforms for their dissemination. We do so as Palestinian organizers and activists, working across continents, campaigns, and ideological positions.

Atzmon’s politics rest on one main overriding assertion that serves as springboard for vicious attacks on anyone who disagrees with his obsession with “Jewishness”. He claims that all Jewish politics is “tribal,” and essentially, Zionist. Zionism, to Atzmon, is not a settler-colonial project, but a trans-historical “Jewish” one, part and parcel of defining one’s self as a Jew. Therefore, he claims, one cannot self-describe as a Jew and also do work in solidarity with Palestine, because to identify as a Jew is to be a Zionist. We could not disagree more. Indeed, we believe Atzmon’s argument is itself Zionist because it agrees with the ideology of Zionism and Israel that the only way to be a Jew is to be a Zionist.

Palestinians have faced two centuries of orientalist, colonialist and imperialist domination of our native lands. And so as Palestinians, we see such language as immoral and completely outside the core foundations of humanism, equality and justice, on which the struggle for Palestine and its national movement rests. As countless Palestinian activists and organizers, their parties, associations and campaigns, have attested throughout the last century, our struggle was never, and will never be, with Jews, or Judaism, no matter how much Zionism insists that our enemies are the Jews. Rather, our struggle is with Zionism, a modern European settler colonial movement, similar to movements in many other parts of the world that aim to displace indigenous people and build new European societies on their lands.

We reaffirm that there is no room in this historic and foundational analysis of our struggle for any attacks on our Jewish allies, Jews, or Judaism; nor denying the Holocaust; nor allying in any way shape or form with any conspiracy theories, far-right, orientalist, and racist arguments, associations and entities. Challenging Zionism, including the illegitimate power of institutions that support the oppression of Palestinians, and the illegitimate use of Jewish identities to protect and legitimize oppression, must never become an attack on Jewish identities, nor the demeaning and denial of Jewish histories in all their diversity.

Indeed, we regard any attempt to link and adopt antisemitic or racist language, even if it is within a self-described anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist politics, as reaffirming and legitimizing Zionism. In addition to its immorality, this language obscures the fundamental role of imperialism and colonialism in destroying our homeland, expelling its people, and sustaining the systems and ideologies of oppression, apartheid and occupation. It leaves one squarely outside true solidarity with Palestine and its people.

The goal of the Palestinian people has always been clear: self determination. And we can only exercise that inalienable right through liberation, the return of our refugees (the absolute majority of our people) and achieving equal rights to all through decolonization. As such, we stand with all and any movements that call for justice, human dignity, equality, and social, economic, cultural and political rights. We will never compromise the principles and spirit of our liberation struggle. We will not allow a false sense of expediency to drive us into alliance with those who attack, malign, or otherwise attempt to target our political fraternity with all liberation struggles and movements for justice.

As Palestinians, it is our collective responsibility, whether we are in Palestine or in exile, to assert our guidance of our grassroots liberation struggle. We must protect the integrity of our movement, and to do so we must continue to remain vigilant that those for whom we provide platforms actually speak to its principles.

When the Palestinian people call for self-determination and decolonization of our homeland, we do so in the promise and hope of a community founded on justice, where all are free, all are equal and all are welcome.

Until liberation and return.


Ali Abunimah

Naseer Aruri, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

Omar Barghouti, human rights activist

Hatem Bazian, Chair, American Muslims for Palestine

Andrew Dalack, National Coordinating Committee, US Palestinian Community Network

Haidar Eid, Gaza

Nada Elia, US Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

Toufic Haddad

Kathryn Hamoudah

Adam Hanieh, Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London

Mostafa Henaway, Tadamon! Canada

Monadel Herzallah, National Coordinating Committee, US Palestinian Community Network

Nadia Hijab, author and human rights advocate

Andrew Kadi

Abir Kobty, Palestinian blogger and activist

Joseph Massad, Professor, Columbia University, NY

Danya Mustafa, Israeli Apartheid Week US National Co-Coordinator & Students for Justice in Palestine- University of New Mexico

Dina Omar, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine

Haitham Salawdeh, National Coordinating Committee, US Palestinian Community Network

Sobhi Samour, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London

Khaled Ziada, SOAS Palestine Society, London

Rafeef Ziadah, poet and human rights advocate

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Beauty of Zionism…

Source - JPost:

Peace Now filed a complaint with police on Tuesday morning after death threats were made against director Yariv Oppenheimer the night before.

According to the organization, an anonymous caller phoned the Peace Now office in Tel Aviv and asked Oppenheimer’s age, adding: “We hope he’ll finish the year, or not. I hope not, and if steps need to be taken to ensure this, we will do so.”

On Tuesday the organization posted a note on their Facebook page saying that the incident represented the latest in a series of “serious, dangerous threats made against Peace Now” and called on the public to condemn such “acts of incitement against the left-wing in Israel.”

In February, unknown assailants sprayed “No leftists, no terror attacks” on the fence outside of the organization’s office in Jerusalem.

In perhaps the most famous such incident across the organization in recent years, in November vandals sprayed “price tag” graffiti on the stairwell of a home belonging to Peace Now activist Hagit Ofran’s in

The graffiti included the messages “Hagit Ofran, RIP” and “Hagit Ofran, Rabin is waiting for you.”

Charming folk. Related
nincompoopery here and here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Ynet or The Onion, You Decide!

Tweeted by Jews Sans Frontieres.

Source: Ynet News (or The Onion?)

Stop demonising Colonialism, dude! Sensitive souls should be prepared: Revisionism of colonialism, Hasbara-style, ahead:

The root of anti-Zionism must be sought elsewhere [from antisemitism] - in anti-colonialism. The belief that colonialism was an absolute evil is so deeply engrained in the contemporary Western psyche that all enterprises bearing any parallels to it are automatically censored. This explains why people whose heroes are Bolivar and Gandhi instinctively side with the Palestinians.

To these people, claims that God promised the Land of Israel to the Jews reek of religious fanaticism. To make the argument that Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East invites allegations that it pursues apartheid policies. To counter all these claims is time-consuming and requires a taste for nuances. But why should anyone trade nuances for the facile certainty that colonialism is inherently evil?

Zionism will only cease being demonized in the politically correct
corners of the West once our schools and film industry cease to demonize
colonialism. The politically correct depiction of the colonialist as a racist
and covetous brute must give space to the majority of well-meaning
administrators that helped build roads, schools, and hospitals for the

It must be shown that colonialists administered law and justice far
more fairly than most pre-colonial chieftains or post-colonial despots. It must be taught that human development indicators plummeted in the majority of African and Asian countries following independence.

Once an honest discussion about colonialism is tabled, hostility to
Zionism will wane in leftist circles. Not because they will shed the belief that Zionism is a form of colonialism, but because it will be possible for them to appreciate the merits of Zionism.

Ding dong! Listen, erm… Rafael Castro, the colonialists built roads (not to mention railroads) using slave labour, with the prime goal of better, more efficiently and faster dragging the colonial loot back to the metropolis, capisce? Perhaps Rafael should also admire the Nazis, because what was the intended and thankfully ill-fated Third Reich but a radical attempt to create a colonial empire, stretching from the most Western tip of Europe to the most Eastern tip of Russia and connected by a vast network of autobahns, built by Berlin’s slaves (in no small part presumably Jews and other untermenschen)?

Funnily enough, Rafael’s onionodorous fart didn’t even start off that badly at all:

Leftist anti-Zionism is not bred by anti-Semitism. The secular intelligentsia that supports Palestinians abhors Christian anti-Semitism and Nazi racism. Their favorite thinkers are Jewish intellectuals like Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, and Noam Chomsky. These anti-Zionists gladly rally against neo-Nazis and have no qualms about socializing with or marrying Jews.

Contrast this to the genuine anti-Semitism of pro-Israel evangelical Christians who believe that Jews are doomed to burn in hell or of xenophobic politicians who court Zionists to wage war against Islam, and we understand why the roots of anti-Zionism are usually not to be found in anti-Semitism. More crucially, the remedy prescribed to anti-Semites must not be prescribed to anti-Zionists.

Nowt queerer than folk...