There’s a new Labour Party leaflet, part of a programme of educational materials aimed at party members to “empower them to confront oppression wherever it arises”. The first of these deals with anti-Semitism and, shockingly, provides Zionists with a comfort zone.
Further wisdom on other forms of oppression is promised. So dare we look forward to something on anti-Palestinianism to at least make it appear that the exercise is balanced?
“Antisemitism is a poison that must be challenged wherever it raises its head. Hatred towards Jewish people has no place in our society,” is the opening salvo.
But you’d think the British Labour Party, being so hot on human rights, would take the trouble to clarify a few ‘mysteries’ and shine some light into the darkest corners before lecturing everybody once again about so-called anti-Semitism. For instance, what is Semitism and who exactly are the Semites?
Cannot the Labour Party with its knowledge, resources and rich sense of self-righteousness, at least paint a clear picture? If it turns out, as recent DNA research suggests, that Palestinians (Muslim, Christian and Jewish) are true Semites with a genuine claim to the biblical lands, wouldn’t that mean the anti-Semites are none other than the intruders who now form the occupying Israeli regime along with their witch-hunters and other stooges embedded in our government and political parties?
Why on earth does the Labour Party, or anyone else, so readily accept the Zionists’ definition of anti-Semitism.
“Labour is a political home for Zionists and anti-Zionists. Neither Zionism nor anti-Zionism is in itself racism,” according to Labour’s new teaching.
Zionism not racism? United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, adopted on 10 November 1975 by 72 to 35 (with 32 abstentions), thought otherwise and decide that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination, although the UK’s Labour government at the time (under Harold Wilson) disagreed and voted against. 3379 was later revoked after Israel threatened to boycott the 1991 Madrid Conference, but the Zio’s throwing a diplomatic tantrum was no reason for the world to change its mind.
Labour says there are many forms of Zionism and sensitivities surrounding it run high, as though that makes it too difficult to address. But the purpose of Zionism was to create then maintain a Jewish state in the Holy Land. It is clearly wrong to blame all Jews for the crimes of that Jewish State for the simple reason that, as Labour points out, some Jews are not Zionists. And wrong again to think that critics include all Jews in their condemnation, for the simple reason that many non-Jews are Zionists, notably the vast numbers of Christian-Zionists. So when critics attack Zionism they are not ‘having a go’ only at Jews and it is mischievous to suggest they are.
Robert O. Smith, academic director of the Jerusalem Global Gateway of the University of Notre Dame, defines Christian Zionism as “political action, informed by specifically Christian commitments, to promote or preserve Jewish control over the geographic area now comprising Israel and Palestine”. What could be more racist? Today we see the fruits of that endeavour in Israel’s nation state laws introduced last year, thanks in large part to massive support, mainly in America, from so-called Christians gulled by phony interpretation of the Bible.
Zionism’s plan to set up a Jews-only state by taking over someone else’s country and terrorising, murdering and expelling the native inhabitants, creating millions of refugees and treating those who remain abominably, is straight out of the Dark Ages and has no place in a modern, civilised world governed by international law and respect for human rights.
It certainly doesn’t match true Christian values. And in 2006 church leaders in the Holy Land issued a Jerusalem Declaration saying:
- “We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.
- “We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine… We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation.”
So Zionism gets short shrift from people who are under the Zionist cosh in the very place where Christianity was born. The methods used to establish the Jewish state and grow it were, and still are, appalling. So how does Zionism come anywhere close to matching Labour’s core values? The offer of a political home – a safe haven – to its practitioners, supporters and sympathisers is beyond comprehension.
Denying that Zionism is linked to Jewish national self-determination is also fatuous – it was and still is the vehicle and the driving force. And Israel’s insistence on calling itself the Jewish State makes the association clear enough. Yet Labour says blaming Israel’s faults on its Jewish identity is anti-Semitic.
Who hates who the most?
The word ‘hate’ in discussing attitudes to Jews as Jews is itself hateful and over-dramatic. I’m not aware of any such hatred among normal people. Disappointment, yes, with that section represented by the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council. But also admiration for free-thinking Jews like Jewish Voice for Labour and similar groups who are fearless in their quest for justice and don’t shrink from criticising Israel and other evil regimes.
This is still a Christian country even if its Church is useless. If the Jewish community living here share our values (as they say they do), and if they believe in self-determination (as they say they do), is it so unreasonable to hope they’ll condemn the Israeli government’s brutal treatment of our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters who find themselves, through no fault of their own, at the mercy of that regime?
The advice of former Israeli military intelligence chief Yehoshafat Harkabi, in his book Israel’s Fateful Hour, is surely be ringing in their ears: “Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world”. Labour would no doubt have branded Harkabi a wicked anti-Semite for saying such a thing.
But there’s hatred a-plenty on the other side. Activists have been telling the Israel lobby for decades to look in the mirror and address their own racial hatred of the Palestinians. But words are wasted. It takes a psychopath – callous, unemotional and lacking in empathy – to hate innocent men, women and children so much as to deny them their freedom and their right to return to the homes stolen from them. Of course the same tendency is present in those who badmouth and terrify Jews for no good reason in this country, and Labour like other organisation must take reasonable measures.
“Today, some conspiracy theories substitute Israel or Zionists for Jews, presenting Israel as controlling the world’s media and finances…. These theories ascribe to Israel influence on world events far beyond any objective analysis,” says Labour’s educational leaflet.
For the answer, you only need look at UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior ministers. The new Chancellor is proud Muslim Sajid Javid, who said in 2012 that Israel is “the only nation in the Middle East that shares the same democratic values as Britain….” Utter tosh, as anyone who’s been there will tell you. According to the Jewish Chronicle he is “a leading member of Conservative Friends of Israel”. He told the CFoI that, of all the countries in the Middle East, he’d choose Israel as his home: only there would his children feel the ‘warm embrace of freedom and liberty’. Silly remark: Javid doesn’t racially qualify for Israeli citizenship (unless there’s something he isn’t telling us). And hasn’t he noticed the way they normally treat Muslims?
Nevertheless, at a joint meeting between the American Jewish Committee and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Javid announced: “As long as I am in government, as long as I am in politics, I promise you that I will do everything within my power to fight back against those who seek to isolate and undermine Israel.”
Johnson has chosen glamour-girl Priti Patel as the new Home Secretary. In her former job as International Development Secretary she had 14 meetings with Israeli politicians (including prime minister Netanyahu and his security minister) while on holiday in Israel – without telling the Foreign Office, her civil servants or her boss Theresa May, and without government officials present. This was a stupid breach of the ministerial code and an even bigger breach of security.
She is said to have tried persuading colleagues to send British taxpayers’ money as aid for an Israeli forces project in the Golan Heights despite the fact that the Golan is Syrian territory stolen in 1967 by the Israelis who have illegally occupied it ever since. She even toured Golan with the thieving occupation army, another diplomatic blunder. She was forced to resign.
Patel’s meetings with Israelis were reportedly arranged and accompanied by Lord Polak, a former official of the Board of Deputies of British Jews in the 1980s who joined the Conservative Friends of Israel and served as its director for 26 years. He is still its honorary president. Polak was handed a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), an order of chivalry no less, and elevated to the House of Lords in 2015 “for political service”. How whacky was that?
Johnson himself told radio listeners in London: “I am a passionate Zionist. I am a supporter of Israel. I believe in its existence. I’ve been on a kibbutz for heaven’s sake.” And in a debate on the Balfour Declaration he said of Israel: “It is a pluralist society, a society that protects the rights of those who live within it. It is a democracy. It is, in my view, a country to be saluted and celebrated.” Completely taken in.
He made a hash of being Foreign Secretary but Israel did very well out of it. Under his ministerial tenure, UK-Israel bilateral trade prospered hugely. According to The Jerusalem Post, “Johnson did not shy away from making clear his strong support for Israel while foreign minister, lauding the ‘genius of Israel’ at an October 2017 parliamentary reception marking 100 years since the Balfour Declaration and expressing his pride in ‘Britain’s part in creating Israel’ in a Daily Telegraph op-ed.”
And he called Donald Trump’s move to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital a “moment of opportunity” for peace.
Focus on Israel’s misconduct and those who applaud
Our feelings towards the Zionists in our midst are likely to depend on how horrid their tribal or political brethren in the Holy Land are being to our Palestinian friends at any given moment. Last week Israel’s thugs were bulldozing residential homes at Wadi Humus in the Sur Bahar district of East Jerusalem, which is Palestinian territory. Scores of families woke to find themselves suddenly homeless. What would Harkabi have said about that?
Watch the video.
As Palestine Solidarity Campaign Director Ben Jamal explained, “Home demolitions in Jerusalem and the West Bank are being used to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their land and change the demography of the occupied territories. Each demolition enables Israel to steal more land and expand its illegal settlements….”
The worn-out pretext for these latest demolitions is Israeli “security”, the homes being on Palestinian land close to Israel’s Apartheid Wall. 85% of the Wall is built on occupied Palestinian territory and used by Israel to grab more land from the Palestinians or to separate them from their livelihoods. The Wall was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.
Israel is believed to have demolished around 50,000 Palestinian structures, including homes, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 1967. It uses home demolitions to facilitate transfer of its own population into occupied territory where it provides new build. This is a war crime under the Geneva Convention as is collective punishment of the kind inflicted on the Palestinians of Gaza who have been under Israeli blockade for the last 12 years. But Israel mustn’t be criticised….
Holy Land: the ugly reality
Kairos, a group of Palestinian Christians and mostly well-known churchmen, in a recent Statement on Gaza and Jerusalem said:
- “The Holy Land has become the land in which human beings kill each other…. We call upon the international community to remember its own resolutions and to abide by them. We call upon churches to be the conscience of humanity and hear the cry of the oppressed in the Holy Land. We call upon them to condemn the Christian Zionists whom we saw in these days contradicting the Gospel of love and peace, by supporting oppression and injustice, under the pretext of prophecies…. We call upon [the international community] to exert every pressure, even sanctions if necessary, to force Israel to follow the path of peace and justice…. abandon its apartheid practices and comply with international law.”
In another document Kairos say:
- “The Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against God and humanity because it deprives the Palestinians of their basic human rights, bestowed by God. It distorts the image of God in the Israeli who has become an occupier just as it distorts this image in the Palestinian living under occupation. We declare that any theology, seemingly based on the Bible or on faith or on history, that legitimizes the occupation, is far from Christian teachings.”
Outside Palestine the impact of Zionism was hardly felt prior to Israeli statehood in 1948. Now its awfulness is obvious and the dark threat extends beyond the region. Toleration of Zionism and anything connected with it is frankly sick when seen alongside the ugly reality it has brought.
For many, Zionism is the real enemy. If Corbyn is responsible for providing Zionists a safe haven it’s a rotten way to betray the Palestinians still struggling for freedom, independence and a share of the modern world’s prosperity, all their hopes blocked by the Zionists’ own selfish ambition.
© Stuart Littlewood – 29 July 2019
After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also “indulged himself” as a newspaper columnist. In politics, he served as a Cambridgeshire county councilor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. With a lifelong passion for photography, he has produced two photo-documentary books, one of which can be read online at www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk.