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History is dismissed as irrelevant. The fact that Israel has disengaged from Gaza and is negotiating to disengage from the West Bank; the fact that it would not have been occupying them had not Egypt and Jordan sought to invade its borders; the fact that an independent Arab Palestine could have been established alongside Israel after the UN Partition Plan agreed in November 1947, had not Jordan annexed the Old City of Jerusalem and the West Bank while Egypt occupied Gaza; the fact that in 1964, before Israeli occupation, the Palestine Liberation Organisation was engaged in guerrilla warfare against Israel proper; the fact that when Israel disengaged from Gaza, compelling all Israelis, as much for their safety as anything else, to leave their properties, the Palestinians razed to the ground 26 synagogues, which they could have converted into mosques – all these are ignored. So is the fact that maps of the region issued by the Palestinian Authority, as well as Hamas, include all of Israel as part of Palestine. So is the fact that whenever Israel withdraws from territory – Lebanon, Gaza – far from it leading to peace, it has led to further attacks. Supporters of Israel blame themselves for the widespread ignorance of the historical background. They shouldn’t. The anti-Zionists have made up their minds and don’t want to be confused by the facts.

It is in this context that it is hard to comprehend why the Chief ­Rabbi and the President of the Board of Deputies did not take this ­opportunity to continue the new debate courageously initiated by the ambassador, rather than to let it just vaporise into thin air. It is particularly surprising as neither the Labour Government nor the ­Conservative opposition would disagree with the ambassador’s comments, which echoed the recent report of the cross-party Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism.

At the Jewish communal celebration of Israel’s 60th anniversary in Trafalgar Square, the Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, said on behalf of the Government: “To those people who would deny even the right of the Israeli state to exist, let us say to them: ‘You will not succeed’. Never again should the Jewish people have to run from tyranny.” But both parties are constantly advised that they could win more votes if they distanced themselves from Israel in favour of the Palestinians. Perhaps the Jewish leadership did not want the British public to think that they had dual loyalties. If so, they were misguided, because those who make these accusations do not need any pretext for doing so. Dual loyalty has been a constant claim of anti-Semites, as if we didn’t all have a plethora of loyalties.

A united response to the constant slurs and calumnies against Israel is essential because of the growing number of Jews who have joined in the irrational attacks on Israel. One example is the Jews who advocate the boycott of Israel’s academic institutions. Another is the Jews demonstrating against Israel when the Israeli ambassador was doing a Q&A at the Welsh Assembly. It is essential that representatives both of secular Jews and of mainstream traditions of Judaism are seen not to have lost their nerve at the constant abuse Israel is suffering.

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Joop Kruisselbrink
January 13th, 2009
2:01 PM
Someone who calls for a one state solution might be wrong because he/she doesn'n know enough or can't see the implementations and might even be an antisemite but to call everyone an antisemite is very wrong because you're accusing people of wanting to eleminate all jews which obviously is not the case. Calling everyone whith the slightest of critic to some of Israels deeds an antisemite is killing for the debate,maybe thats just what you want?

Ciderlout
September 18th, 2008
8:09 AM
To Richard: No, they are all bad. Personally I think the UN should just step in, removing religion and ethnicity from the equation - and in any other situation that seems unable to be resolved.

Richard
August 26th, 2008
8:08 AM
To Ciderlout. To call for a one-state solution and attack the principle of self-determination is either ignorant or anti-semitic in the case applied to Israel. The Arabs and especially the Palestinian Arabs do not want peace with Israel, they want to destroy it. Go to MEMRI (google it) and read what is published everyday in Arab print and media and spoken in their mosques. Go to Palestinian Media Watch and do the same for the "Palestinians". If you are against states constructed purely on religious or ethnic grounds, then will you oppose Jordan, whose constitution forbids any Jew from citizenship there? Or will you condemn most Islamic countries for enshrining religious law at the heart of the state? No? If you won't for them but will for Israel, you are acting from a prejudiced position.

Ben Ullmann
August 25th, 2008
7:08 AM
An interesting article Sidney. I found Dr Brian Robinson's comments iteresting and helpful and I think the tone of the argument between Dan Judelson et al is perhaps a case in point concerning Brian's comment that the viciousness of some accusations seems slightly baffling without suspecting a touch of anti-semitism, Dan's comments being phrased in such an inflamatory way produced almost as strong reactions in others leading to an argument rather than discussion. Perhaps this can partly be explained by passion on both sides in these types of discussion where everyone has seen/read deeply distressing things. Another possibility is the contrast between a well armed army and poverty stricken youngsters throwing stones is what makes Israel such a villified force, I guess there are few other constant conflicts which look from a certain perspective so unfair and David vs Goliath-esque. While I am relatively ignorant and have no solutions what concerns me is why does this contrast remain, why doesn't Palestine seem to improve? Surely that is not all Israel's fault? If Palestine's government and its oil-rich Arab neighbours were to spend more time and money improving Palestinian infra-structure and the quality of life of Palestinians then surely that would be of more value to Palestinians right now than sorting out Israeli/Palestinian relationships? Improved living conditions, education, infra-structure in Palestine I believe would produce happier, more moderate and less radicalised Palestinians and then from that base perhaps negotiations with Israel might proceed much more smoothly and also reduce the "big vs little" image. I think my writing is probably very confused here, please excuse this, but essentially what I am saying is - whenever I think about Israel/Palestine I'm always left wondering why people don't choose to focus on how to improve Palestine for Palestinians first with the intention of then returning to the question of Israel once this has been achieved.

Dan Wright
August 19th, 2008
4:08 PM
I wish this would recieve wide circulation in the UK: God doesn't exist. Judaism is, like Islam and Christianity, Hindusim et al a man made cult. Will the moderators allow my "non-pc" comment to be shown?

Jack Lynes.
August 18th, 2008
2:08 PM
This article should receive the widest possible circulation amongst all Jews in the UK. Pulling no punches it is a timely reminder of the 'enemy within'. It gives in very simple terms the responses to those Jews who would see Israel 'put to sleep' rather than speak up for the Marvel that is Israel. The anti-semitic Jew (for kid us not, it is they who we are fighting, has the cheek to suggest that only they seek peace) "Peace Now"- a title that infers we do not all wish for, pray for, and will work towards a Just Peace, has his /her answer in this article. Practical suggestion: Do we have any moles who can discover when they will next take space in the Press? We could afford an ad. which boldly suggests that they and readers take note of this article by inviting readers either to look it up on a designated website or sending for a Copy. It could also be reprinted and distributed widely in synagogue magazines or distributed at HHDays.

Ciderlout
August 15th, 2008
10:08 AM
Quite interesting article from this site: http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/elie-kedourie-august "He was in no doubt, for example, that the idea of national self-determination, launched upon the world by Woodrow Wilson after 1918, was not only absurd, but also destructive and immoral." This was a Jewish Scholar. Rabbi Brichto's article was an interesting read, and certainly anti-semetism is not dissapearing as quickly as it (or any other irrational and destructive phobia) should. But I find his defence of Israel troubling - in this day and age is it really constructive to insist that a state exist based purely on religious and ethnic grounds? At the end of World War II Europe created what became the EU to help break down the borders betweeen states: to prevent the possibility of future war. Rabbi Brichto seems to think peace will instead come from a strict maintenance of divison between Jew and Arab; people A from people B. (NB: that may only be my interpretation of his ideas; he actually seems to offer no path to peace himself in the above article) And this I think is hugely troubling, and will be a disaster for future generations of both Israelis and their Arab neighbours/countrymen.

Lawrence
August 12th, 2008
11:08 AM
of course Judelson is anti-semitic. His demonisation of the IDF is a case in point, while at the same time he is so very deafening in his silence of the very real barbarity and fascist violence of Israel's numerous enemies from Hezbollah and Hamas to Syria and others in the Middle-East. Such blatant double standards can only be accounted for by anti-semitism.

szeni
August 8th, 2008
2:08 PM
Why is it important whether Judelson is or isn't anti-Semitic? Clearly, he is obsessed with Israel and busy smearing the country and its people at every opportunity. In the Middle Ages Jews were accused of ritual killings of children ; according to Judelson, the IDF is a bunch of child murderers. He doesn't understand the basics of the Law of Return or even the difference between Jews and Israelis. Try and read a decent text-book on Israeli history, Mr Judelson, and most of what you want 'explained' would become clear.

Dan Judelson
August 7th, 2008
7:08 PM
Szeni and now Sidney have attributed to me references I am not making. For the record, the Nazi behaviour i was referring to was when Israeli police busted an ring of self avowed Israeli Nazis in Petah Tikvah earlier this year. there was quite a fuss about it, with MKs demanding changes to the Law of Return. The story is here: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3448276,00.html Debate is great. It happens when issues are dealt with, instead of erroneous accusations.

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