Tuesday, March 3, 2015

France: On the Road to Criminalising Anti-Zionism? 2

Continued from the previous post:

"If we can say that the horrible actions of Islamic State are a perversion of the beliefs of the vast majority of the world's Muslims, can we also not say that Zionism is a perversion of Judaism? CRIF insists that the Paris attacks be labeled 'Islamist'. By the same logic, should we label Israel's crimes acts of 'violent radical Judaism'?

"While anti-Zionist Jews, secular and religious, have always insisted that Israel and Zionism do not represent them or their religion or cultures, politicians like Hollande reinforce the false and dangerous association between Jews as Jews on the one hand and Israel's violent racist colonialism against the Palestinians on the other. Some misguided youths, hearing these messages, may indeed believe Israel's claim that 'the Jews' are the enemies of the Palestinians and direct their anger or hatred towards Jewish targets. They may hear the Islamophobic diatribes emanating from many right-wing and liberal supporters of Israel and also conclude - falsely - that 'the Jews' are the enemies of 'the Muslims'. The message has to be clear always and is worth repeating: words or acts targeting Jews as Jews are never a form of solidarity with the Palestinians."

"In his address to CRIF, Hollande spoke about the 'Israeli-Palestinian conflict' in the bland terms of the defunct 'peace process'. He reaffirmed France's commitment to the fantasy of the 'two-state solution'... He offered not a single word of comfort or anger about the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza where there has been no reconstruction since Israel's summer attack devastated much of the besieged and impoverished territory. Hollande warned that those who do not learn from history are destined to relive it. Yet there was not one word of accountability or justice for the Israeli war crimes that left more than 2,200 people, including more than 500 children, dead in Gaza.

"Why are 1.8 million Palestinians, mostly refugees from present-day Israel, caged in Gaza under such abominable conditions in the first place? The answer is simple: their mere existence, the fact that they live and breathe as non-Jews, is considered a threat to Israel's self-declared identity as a 'Jewish state'. Palestinians are in a ghetto because of who they are and France's president has nothing to say about that.

"While French leaders are doing their best to pander to the prejudices of their audience, it is doubtful it will be enough. Richard Prasquier, the former president of CRIF, went on national television to say that Hollande and Valls had not gone far enough. CRIF's current president Roger Cukierman provoked anger from the French Muslim community leaders by declaring that 'all the violent attacks today are committed by young Muslims.' Cukierman also praised Marine Le Pen, leader of the racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and traditionally deeply anti-Semitic National Front, as 'irreproachable'.

"Alas Hollande's ardor to combat racism was nowhere in sight when it came to the fanatical anti-Arab racism of Israel's leading political parties. CRIF heard no rebuke from the supposedly anti-racist Hollande for Cukierman's public embrace of Israeli ultra-nationalist politician Naftali Bennett, who boasts about how many Arabs he has killed and claims that Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land are 'protecting London, Paris and Madrid.'

"In his speech Hollande announced education reforms to reinforce the messages he gave to CRIF. But what France really needs to teach its Jewish and Muslim citizens is that contrary to Israeli claims, Israel does not represent Jews and that Israeli policies and Israeli crimes are not Jewish policies or Jewish crimes. The irony is that it might prove more difficult to convince French Jews and Christians of this than it is to convince French Muslims."

Monday, March 2, 2015

France: On the Road to Criminalising Anti-Zionism? 1

"French president Francois Hollande has said his government will soon announce a raft of tough criminal laws to crack down on anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia and Holocaust denial. He made the announcement in a speech to CRIF, France's main Jewish communal body and Israel lobby group, on Monday. Hollande said that the Internet needed to be 'regulated' to suppress videos and even search results deemed 'anti-Semitic'. The president said the appropriate model would be the laws used to prevent the dissemination of child pornography. But the measures are likely only to make matters worse, among other things by criminalizing criticism of Israel and further conflating Zionism with Judaism...

"Hollande said that details of the draft law would be announced in the coming days by his prime minister Manuel Valls... Hollande promised that the laws would become more punitive, so that 'no anti-Semitic word or act goes without a response'... Only in passing... did Hollande mention that anti-Muslim hate attacks in France in January alone exceeded the entire number recorded in 2014. He did not announce any specific measures to combat this alarming phenomenon... Hollande did not consider that it was 'Western' interventions in Syria, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere that gave rise to the menace known as Islamic State...

"The president told CRIF that anti-Semitism has ancient routes, but asserted that 'a more recent source is hatred of Israel.' But if this is the case, who decides what is 'anti-Semitic'? If all anti-Israel and anti-Zionist statements will be considered anti-Semitic then hundreds if not thousands of publications in tens of languages will have to be banned by France. Hollande shared some disturbing statistics: in 2014 there were twice as many 'anti-Semitic acts' recorded as in 2013 and ten times more than before the year 2000. Lest I be accused of 'justifying' these acts, let me be clear: nothing, including Israel's crimes against Palestinians, justifies insulting or attacking Jews as Jews. But can it be a mere coincidence that 2014 was the year of Israel's latest horrific massacre of Palestinians in Gaza that was fully backed by the United States and most EU members, including France? Can it also be a coincidence that 2000 was the year the second intifada began and Israel launched a brutal crackdown that has since killed more than 8,000 Palestinians, often with weapons provided by those same states?

"What is the relationship between these facts? While Hollande insists that 'hatred' of Israel is a form of, or a 'source' of 'anti-Semitism', he does not acknowledge the role of Israel in generating the intense hostility sometimes misdirected against Jews. 

"The Palestinian national movement has always correctly insisted that its enemies are not 'the Jews', but rather Israel and the Zionist colonial movement. 

"Yet it is Israel that continues to insist that it acts in the name of Jews everywhere. 

"It is Benjamin Netanyahu who apparently considers himself not just prime minister of Israel but the leader of world Jewry. 

"It is Israel that has taken the symbols of the Jewish religion - including its most recognized one, the Star of David - and affixed it to uniforms and weapons of destruction and death that are used to carry out atrocities in Palestine and Lebanon. 

"It is Zionists who have taken holy scriptures and claimed that they provide a license for modern day Brooklynites and Parisians to violently steal land from Palestinian villagers. 

"It is Israel's government-financed settlers who torch Palestinian mosques and daub their walls with 'biblical phrases'. 

"It is Israel-government-backed religious fanatics who yearn - and plan - to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and replace it with a 'Jewish temple'. 

"It is Israel that used the Paris Grand Synagogue as a recruiting base for its army and it is Israeli army commanders who cite Hebrew scripture to justify laying waste to Gaza." (France must treat online 'anti-Semitism' like child pornography, president says, Ali Abunimah, electronicintifada.net, 25/2/15)

Part 2 tomorrow.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Guide for the Perplexed Jewish Uni Student

During Orientation Week at Australian universities, newly arrived Jewish students are likely to encounter and be encouraged to join the Australian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS).

So what's on offer?

An editorial in The Australian Jewish News explains:

"Fortunately, the benefits of belonging to AUJS don't only amount to defending Israel. What you get out of the organisation can be as simple as a bagel with a few Jewish mates between classes." (Applause for AUJS, 27/2/15)

Israel & bagels?!

Buyer beware!

If you're ever tempted to go to an AUJS outlet for your bagel and camaraderie, and the AUJS guy/gal asks, 'Do you want Israel with that?' you can always say, 'Thanks, but no thanks'.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

An Anti-Semite's Dream Jews

Israeli journalist Amira Hass reports on the progress of the Israeli master plan for the ethnic cleansing of Hebron:

"The sickest imagination of present-day anti-Semites cannot compete with the handiwork of Israel and its emissaries the settlers in Hebron for the past 20 years. The demand for the Jewish return is broken down here into all its raw components: the expulsion of the Palestinians, the destruction of their homes and cultural legacy, destruction of the economy, extreme ethnic-spatial separation and deranged prohibitions regarding movement and housing, attacks in the name of the Torah, harassment and denial of the other. If gentile foes were to say that's how Jews behave, the institutes for the study of anti-Semitism would sound the alarm.

"Today, February 25, is the 21st anniversary of the massacre perpetrated by Dr Baruch Goldstein against worshipers in the Ibrahimi Mosque (the Cave of the Patriarchs). The prime minister and defence minister at the time, Yitzhak Rabin, could have dismantled the nuclear bombs stored by his colleagues from Mapai (the forerunner of Labor) in the late 1960s - Yigal Alon and Moshe Dayan - when they allowed groups of messianic Jews to settle there and encouraged them by providing military protection and weapons. The evacuation of the settlers from Hebron would have been received with great understanding in 1994. But Rabin decided to continue with the traditional policy, which was natural for Mapai, of pampering the settlers, and instructed the army to punish the Palestinians for the massacre committed against them by a Jewish doctor - an immigrant from the United States - with a prolonged curfew, restrictions on movement, the closing of shops and marketplaces, and criminal forgiveness for the violence of the settlers. Since then Israel has continued with its policy of punishing those who are attacked.

"Twenty-one years after the massacre, the settlers in Hebron have many reasons for celebration. President Reuven Rivlin visited them and gave his approval for the evaporation of the Palestinian community from the center of Hebron. Last week a second representative of the Hebron settlers entered the Knesset, instead of the late Uri Orbach: Rabbi Hillel Horowitz of Habayit Hayehudi, who is joining his colleague and neighbour Orit Strock. And even if it's only symbolic and for a month or two, there's a chance that another of their neighbors, Baruch Mazel, who lives in the settlement of Tel Rumeida, will preserve the handsome quota in the next Knesset: two elected officials from a community of several hundred people who have orchestrated one of the most violent and racist realities.

"The Hebron settlers can be credited with several more accomplishments achieved in the past 3 years: another new promenade connecting Kiryat Arba and the Cave of the Patriarchs, an expanded Beit Romano, an archaeological park under construction, the Cave of the Patriarchs as a national heritage site, tours by school students, and the main thing - a first settlement site in Hebron in 30 years in 'Beit Hameriva' (the house of contention) in the heart of the ar-Ras neighborhood, after the Supreme Court confirmed that it was purchased legally.

"And among the achievements and festivities, the center of the city is deserted and in ruins. You have to visit there, repeatedly, in order to begin to understand not only how it looks when 120 blockades and checkpoints cut off abandoned streets in the middle, and how it is when young soldiers enforce the prohibition against visiting the family that insists on continuing to live in its home or walk in the street that's for Jews only, and how the elderly climb up the incline short of breath, because Palestinian cars are not allowed there. The visit is necessary in order to understand this all-Israeli creation: Active and conscious assistance of Labor governments, and conscious support, indifference and the emotional and intellectual laziness of elites and ordinary people, have implemented the most extremist settlement-oriented-messianic-right-wing master plan since 1948." (Israel's Hebron handiwork: Its most heinous endeavor since 1948, Haaretz, 25/2/15)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Anyone Remember 'No War for Oil'?

Remember the bullshit we used to hear about the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq - that it was all about oil?

The fact that it was really all about Israel seldom emerges from the mouths of mainstream political figures. Which is what makes the following snippet so interesting:

"On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry questioned Mr Netanyahu's foreign policy judgment as he testified before a Republican-dominated foreign affairs committee in the House of Representatives. Referring to Mr Netanyahu's condemnation of the Iran talks, Mr Kerry said with clear irony: 'The Prime Minister was also profoundly forward-leaning and very outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush'." (White House-Israel relations at new low over Iran deal, Nick O'Malley, Sydney Morning Herald, 27/2/15)

For those of you who still have oil on the brain, and still haven't read my 22/12/08 post Absent-Minded Professors Inadvertently Set Iraq Ablaze, do so NOW. Just click on the Stephen Sniegoski label below.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Blowing the Whistle on Zionist Control of the MSMedia

From the opening paragraphs of British journalist Jonathan Cook's 24-page essay Publish it not! How Israel controls the way the international 'liberal' media portray its illegal and vicious occupation of Palestine & why the media allow them to get away with it:

"Probably like many other journalists, at some point in my childhood I fell in love with the idea of the crusading, fearless reporter - unafraid of bullying figures of authority and always looking out for the little guy... Life, of course, has proved to be less simple. Who is the bully and who is the little guy? I, like more notable reporters who preceded me, would find that conundrum expressed most powerfully in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"In the mid 1990s, I arrived in Jerusalem for the first time - then as a tourist - with another potent Western myth at the front of my consciousness: that of Israel as 'a light unto the nations', the plucky underdog facing a menacing Arab world ranged against it. A series of later professional shocks as a freelance journalist reporting on Israel would shatter my assumptions about both Israel and courageous reporters.

"These disillusioning experiences came in the early stages of the second intifada, the Palestinian uprising that began in late 2000. At the time I was writing for Britain's Guardian newspaper... The Guardian has earned an international reputation - including in Israel - as the Western newspaper most savagely critical of Israel's actions. That may be true, but I quickly found that there were still very clear, and highly unusual limitations on what could be written about Israel.

"During my years at the Guardian, I had regularly travelled to the Middle East from where I dispatched a number of reports. Only when I offered articles about Israel itself - or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict did I sense a reluctance, even a resistance, to publishing them. The standard of proof required to print anything critical of Israel, it became apparent to me, was far higher than with other countries. Particularly problematic for the Guardian - as with other news media - was anything that questioned Israel's claim to being a democracy or highlighted the contradictions between that claim and Israel's Jewish self-definition."

Google it and read the lot!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dog-Whistling with a Vengeance

"The Prime Minister called on Islamic leaders to rise to the challenge of condemning terrorism more frequently and openly. 'I've often heard Western leaders describe Islam as a 'religion of peace'. I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often, and mean it,' he said." (Citizenship may be stripped away under tougher security laws, Mark Kenny & David Wroe, Sydney Morning Herald, 24/2/15)