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How Jeremy Corbyn unleashed my inner Zionist, and can do the same for you!

Nathaniel Tapley

Holocaust-Memorial-Day-po-009

The left prides itself on listening to people. We’re quick to notice men telling women that their experiences aren’t what they say they are. We’re attuned to the Islamophobic conflations that crop up in the media. We’re the first to concede that history often elides the testimonies of witnesses who fall outside the mainstream discourse. We’ve got a vocabulary of victim-blaming, slut-shaming, gaslighting to employ when we see rhetoric and privilege being used to elide people’s experiences.

We pride ourselves on hearing when someone is trying to tell us something.

Except when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn.

When an embattled minority tell us (on the whole) that they feel threatened not only by the people he associates with, but that they fear his leadership might pose an actual threat to their safety, we’re pretty quick to issue a “Calm down, dear,” and move on.

Why? And let’s whisper this: MIght…

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HOUSE OF COMMONS VOTE IS UNJUST AND COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE

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By Richard Mather 

So the ayes have it. British MPs have ignored the wishes of the Anglo-Jewish population and voted in favour of recognising Palestine as a state alongside Israel by 274 votes to 12.

The full motion stated: “That this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution.”

The result is symbolic and is not binding on the current or future administrations, but it is a blow to the many British Jews who have lobbied their MPs to reject the motion. Opponents of the vote believe that a just settlement, which includes recognition of Israel by all countries in the Middle East, should be the aim of the British Parliament, not a unilateral declaration of statehood.

The Palestinian Authority has repeatedly refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and neighbouring Arab countries have failed to fulfil UN resolution 242, which calls for the exchange of land in return for peace and security.”

The motion was sponsored by a Palestinian lobby group called the Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group, co-chaired by the Conservative Arabist Crispin Blunt, a former chairman of the council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding.

Other sponsors of the motion included Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather, a supporter of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and an advocate of a European trade embargo against Israel. Graham Morris, Labour MP for Easingtom and chairman of the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East, also sponsored the bill. (This is a man who compares Zionism to Nazism.)

As well as causing distress to Britain’s Jews, the vote is damaging to the UK’s standing in the Middle East. No longer can London be a neutral party in Middle East peace talks. The recognition of Palestine, with no binding agreements with Israel and no international functions, is effectively acknowledging the legitimacy of Hamas to speak for the Palestinians in Gaza.

And so the Hamas-supporting demonstrators in Britain who boycott Jewish businesses and shout “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea,” now have the tacit backing of the UK parliament. If British Jews are furious by the actions of MPs, they have every right to feel that way.

 

Top 20 Israel facts

  1. The name “Israel” first appears on an Egyptian obelisk from 1209 BCE. The twelve Israelite tribes, having escaped slavery in Egypt, settled in the land of Canaan between 1200 and 1000 BCE.
  2. Jews have had a continuous presence in the land (including the modern-day West Bank) for the past 3,300 years.
  3. Jerusalem has always been considered the focus of Judaism and Jewish identity. Jerusalem is mentioned at least 700 times in the Jewish scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Quran.
  4. In 70 CE, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, ravaged the land of Judea and killed hundreds of thousands of Jews.  In an effort to de-Judaize the land, the Romans renamed Judea as “Palestine.” Many Jews fled, although a remnant remained, especially in Galilee.
  5. The word “Palestine” has always been a vague term denoting a mutable territory that is to the south of Syria, to the north of Egypt and to the west of the River Jordan.
  6. There has never been a country or a state called Palestine. But there have been several Jewish commonwealths in the land of Israel.
  7.  The word “Palestinian” does not denote ethnicity. Palestinian Arabs are ethnically and culturally identical to Arabs living in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
  8. Before the State of Israel, the word “Palestinian” usually referred to the Jewish inhabitants of Palestine. It wasn’t until the 1960s that a distinct non-Jewish Palestinian identity came into being.
  9. The Palestinian Arab leadership actively collaborated with Hitler before and during the Second World War and there was talk of bringing the Holocaust to the Middle East in order to eradicate the Jewish population.
  10. In the 1948-49 war, local Arabs were encouraged to leave by their leaders who promised to purge the land of Jews.  Two-thirds of the Arab population evacuated (around 600,000 people). The remaining third were afforded Israeli citizenship rights.
  11. Israel is a multi-ethnic, multi-racial democratic state.  Jews from Europe, Ethiopia, Russia, America and the Middle East live in Israel. A fifth of Israelis are Muslim and Christian Arabs, with full voting and citizenship rights. Minorities such as the Druze, the Samaritans and the Circassians enjoy full rights in Israel.
  12. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. It is the only country in the region where freedom of religion is observed and minority rights (e.g. gay rights) are observed.
  13. Following the creation of the State of Israel, nearly a million Jews who had lived in Arab lands for centuries were forced to flee due to anti-Semitic persecution and pogroms. Many came to Israel and are keen supporters of Likud, Israel’s best-known right-of-center political party.
  14. Many of the Palestinian Arabs who fled in 1948 and 1949 were recent economic migrants to the Holy Land. The United Nations has acknowledged that many had only lived in Israel/Palestine for two years prior to Jewish independence.
  15. The surrounding Arab nations have consistently refused to integrate the Palestinians, preferring to keep them in camps. The UN has perpetuated this problem by creating a unique agency for the Palestinians.  Since 1971 and for nearly ten years, the UN General Assembly condemned Israel every year for trying to rehabilitate the refugees.  This condemnation always had one requirement: “Send the refuges to the camps.”
  16. UN Security Council Resolution 242 does not call on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank but instead calls for a negotiated solution which would leave Israel with secure borders.
  17. Following the 1993 Oslo accords, the Palestinians were given full control over 55% of the West Bank population and administrative control over a further 41% of the population.
  18. Contrary to popular opinion, the Jewish settlements in the West Bank (or Judea and Samaria) are legal under international law. The League of Nations’ Mandate for Palestine (1922) encouraged the Jews to settle the entire Land of Israel (including the modern-day West Bank). This legal instrument has never been superseded.
  19. Since 2000, the Palestinian leadership had three major opportunities to establish an independent state. Yasser Arafat walked away from the Camp David talks in 2000 despite being promised 92% of the West Bank, 100% of Gaza and east Jerusalem. A resolution was also put forward by the Israelis in 2008, in which the Palestinians would receive Gaza, the majority of the West Bank, parts of east Jerusalem, safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza, and the dismantling of settlements in the Jordan Valley and eastern Samaria. Unfortunately, Mahmoud Abbas did not give a final response on the matter and negotiations ended.
  20. Israel is not the only country to impose a blockade on Gaza. Egypt, too, has imposed a blockade because of Hamas. Despite the blockades, Gaza’s real GDP grew by more than 25% during the first three quarters of 2011. Gaza also boasts a five-star hotel, restaurants, a luxury shopping mall, vibrant markets and a thriving beach community.

Israelis urged to boycott McDonald’s

It’s a strange world indeed when anti-globalization protestors and pro-Israel supporters refuse to dine in McDonald’s.

Anarchists view the fast food franchise as totemic of corporate capitalism and an example of American cultural hegemony. In recent days Belfast police had to form a human shield around a McDonald’s eatery as protestors gathered to demonstrate against the G8 summit.

And now pro-Israel supporters have called for a boycott of the fast food chain after it refused an offer to open a restaurant in Ariel, in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

In response, a number of Israelis have called for a boycott of McDonald’s. Yigal Delmonti, from the Council of Jewish Communities, says that McDonald’s “has turned from a business into an organization with an anti-Israeli political agenda.”

And a sign posted on the My Israel Facebook page reads, “McDonald’s – I’m not loving it.”

A rival to McDonalds called Burger Ranch has agreed to fill the gap in the market and will open a restaurant in Ariel next year.

It’s not every day that Zionists and anarchists share the same political goal!

David Cameron appoints passionate Zionist

It is excellent news that committed Zionist Ian Livingston has been given the job of UK trade minister.

Mr Livingston, who is currently the chief executive of BT, will take up the role in December, following the retirement of Lord Green.

Prime Minister David Cameron describes Mr Livingston as “an outstanding business leader and it is a testament to the importance of this role that he has agreed to serve in the government in this capacity.”

Livingston is an active member of an Orthodox synagogue in London and is a keen supporter of Israel and Jewish charities.

He is a great admirer of Israel, describing it as the “most amazing state in the world.” He is not uncritical of Israel, however. He does not agree with the current government in Israel, which he thinks is taking the country in the wrong direction in relation to the peace process.

His criticism of the Netanyahu administration has not stopped many of Israel’s enemies criticizing the appointment of Mr Livingstone. Numerous media outlets hostile to the Jewish state have run uncomplimentary pieces on the BT boss, with an editorial in Al Jazeera referring to him as an “Israeli stooge” who is complicit in “crimes against humanity.”

But sod the critics. Good luck to Mr Livingstone and well done to David Cameron for appointing someone who is so passionate about the Jewish state.

Lamech’s revelation

Lord, I have seen the inner workings of man and I am afraid. Poor and

pathetic: he is corrupted from the start, living in a blasted world.

But my eyes have seen the ark of salvation, which you have prepared in

secret: my own son Noah, the justification of all that is to come.

He knows the secrets of all living things.

He was born in the night but came out perfect.

He is my Adam on whom God will pour out His righteousness. The same

God who will one day wipe away men, women, children. A bunch of

animals.

But my son will be saved and will save. For he is a friend of God, a

child of the angels.

And he shall be a comfort to his family in this season of penance and

be set high upon a rock.

And God will be feared because the world will have felt His anger.

And there shall be a covenant of peace between my son and his true

father; and never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a

flood.

For as long as there is day and night.

And my exalted son, Noah, will be the father of mankind and his name

will be remembered in every generation.

The Spirit of his breath will endure forever

This is my dream.

Copyright 2010/2012 Richard C Mather

Animal Holocaust

Is it right for animal rights groups to use the Holocaust to highlight animal exploitation?

Among animal rights advocates, there is a growing tendency to refer to the Holocaust when describing the horrific plight of animals misused and abused for food, clothing and cosmetics. There is even a book entitled Eternal Treblinka: Our treatment of animals and the Holocaust. But is it right to harness the worst disaster ever to befall the Jews in order to highlight animal abuse?

Many Jews dislike the word ‘Holocaust’ because it has religious and sacrificial connotations. Instead, the word Shoah, meaning disaster, is preferred. But does this mean the word ‘Holocaust’ is now free to use by groups whose interests have nothing to do with the Jewish people?

There are some dangers here. First of all, drawing a parallel between the Final Solution and the abuse of animals runs the risk of downplaying the sheer scale and disaster faced by the Jews during the 1930s and 1940s. What happened to the Jewish people under the Nazis was an unprecedented disaster and one which wiped out two-thirds of European Jewry (or one-third of the world’s Jewish population). The Final Solution was a deliberate and systematic attempt to ‘ethnically cleanse’ the world of Jews. This was motivated by a very real hatred of a particular people and was rooted in a highly-toxic mix of racial and religious discrimination.

The abuse of animals is horrific but it is not rooted in hatred towards animals. Yes, animals are abused, tortured and killed on a massive scale on a daily basis, and there is no excuse for it. What humans do to animals is exploitation of the worst kind, but it is not a deliberate attempt to rid the world of animals. In this sense, the Holocaust and animal exploitation are qualitatively different.

Another danger is drawing a direct parallel between animals and the Jewish people. While most people reading this article are animal lovers and view animals and humans as equals, anti-Semites have historically used animal imagery to demean and insult the Jewish people. Even today, Jews are called pigs and monkeys by Muslim anti-Semites. Also note that Jews have been repeatedly described as sub-human, i.e. as brutish, less than human.

Then there is the platitude about the Jews being led like lambs to the slaughter, which is apt (given its Biblical origins), but also robs the victims of their individuality and erases the many example of heroic Jewish resistance.

In short, the direct comparison between the suffering of the Jewish people and the suffering of animals is likely to be considered offensive. Organisations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have expressed concern over the (mis)use of Holocaust terminology. In fact, the ADL has described the trend as “disturbing”.

When Ingrid Newkirk, the president of PETA, stated that “six million Jews died in concentration camps, but six billion broiler chickens will die this year in slaughterhouses”, many people – Jews and non-Jews – were understandably upset. She then went on to blame her Jewish members of staff for the campaign. This is no way to win sympathy for the plight of animals. Quite the reverse, it makes animal rights campaigners seem either anti-human or just plain crazy.

Hijacking the special nature of the Holocaust is also troubling at a time when there is a frightening upswing in both Holocaust denial and Holocaust revisionism in the West and among Muslim populations. Indeed, the Holocaust is an incredibly sensitive issue in Israel and among the Jewish diaspora. It is the single most traumatic event to happen to the Jews since the Romans ethnically cleansed Israel and changed the name to Palestine in 135 CE.

Another problem with the Holocaust comparison is that it fails to take into account the type of suffering involved. Yes, animals suffer pain and are physically abused every day. But when a person – or in the case of the Jews, an entire people – are incarcerated and brutalised, there is the overwhelming sense of loss and hopelessness, of fear of what has happened to loved ones, the prospect or experience of rape, and the knowledge that someday soon he or she will be gassed and incinerated, along with their families. Animals, on the other hand, do not (as far as we know) experience reality in such a heightened fashion. They do not experience the passing of time or fear the imminence of death in the same way humans do. Of course, this is not to detract from the very real psychological suffering of animals. We all know that a mother cow suffers separation anxiety when her calf is taken away, and there is plenty of evidence to show that pigs and sheep panic when they see or sense their companions being slaughtered. Animals in labs show signs of anxiety and distress. This is to be expected and should not be explained away. But I am arguing that there is a difference in the quality of emotional suffering. The Nazi assault on the individual Jew was not only an attack on his or her identity, race and religion, but a deliberate attempt to degrade theirexperience of what it means to be human. As I stated earlier, the Nazis actively pursued a policy of altering the status of the individual Jew from that of a human being to that of a sub-human. Animals are indeed robbed of the opportunity to live a life free from oppression and pain, but they are not made to undergo the existential humiliation of being rendered sub-animal.

Conclusion

Having laid out the numerous arguments as to why holocaust references should be avoided, there may well be a case for returning to the original meaning of the word to highlight the plight of animals. The meaning of the word comes from the Greekholocaustos, used to describe a religious animal sacrifice that is completely consumed by fire. So, the word ‘holocaust’ originally referred to the death of an animal for human purposes. Strip out the religious connotations, and we are left with the possibility for re-adopting the word for a new purpose.

So even if we agree that holocaust with a lower ‘h’ is acceptable, I am still not convinced that it is acceptable to use the ‘Holocaust’ (with a capital ‘H’). Of course, it is tempting to draw parallels between animals and people being herded together and transported to godforsaken places, or experimented on for useless medical research, or their skin used to make sofas or lampshades. But there is a point where such comparisons become gratuitous.

However, I think it is reasonable to use the Jewish catastrophe as an example of mankind’s depravity. Ironically, this view was set out by Matt Prescott, who was behind one of the PETA campaigns. He stated: “The very same mindset that made the Holocaust possible – that we can do anything we want to those we decide are ‘different or inferior’ – is what allows us to commit atrocities against animals every single day […] The fact is, all animals feel pain, fear and loneliness. We’re asking people to recognise that what Jews and others went through in the Holocaust is what animals go through every day in factory farms.”

I think a couple of good points are made here. First, the decision by certain humans to exploit whomever they consider to be inferior should not be tolerated. Secondly, there is the rather moving comparison between the pain, fear and loneliness of the concentration camp prisoner and the animal in the lab or slaughterhouse, notwithstanding my attempt to differentiate between the quality of suffering involved.

If we are to use the word’ holocaust’, then it must be made clear that it does not detract from the suffering of the Jewish people, nor must the word ever be used carelessly. Used respectfully, the holocaust is an evocative expression of our horror at the scale of animal abuse. It is also an effective way of demonstrating that when it comes to animals, some human beings are indeed brutal, controlling, exploitative and uncaring – a bit like the Nazis.