Last Thursday 29th October, Sussex students voted in favour of a Student Union boycott of Israeli goods. Turn out at the referendum totalled 1038 students; 526 votes were cast for a boycott, 450 against. 26 votes were deemed invalid.

Simon Englert, a member of Friends of Palestine (PalSoc), beamed: “This is a historical victory for Sussex. Today we have become the first British university to boycott Israel.”

 

In 2008, the University of Sussex Student Union (USSU) voted in favour of a motion to boycott Carmel Agrexco, an Israeli state-owned company which sells produce grown in illegal settlements in the Jordan Valley. Furthermore, in January of this year, many Sussex students occupied lecture theatres to demonstrate solidarity with Gaza. The Sussex Occupation reported 1293 signatures. Similar action was taken by students at SOAS, LSE, Kings College London, Warwick and Birmingham.

In recent months, Israeli newspapers have been filled with angry articles regarding the push for an international boycott of Israel. Leonard Cohen came under fire across the globe in September for his decision to perform in Tel Aviv, while Sex in the City star Kristin Davis was dropped by Oxfam as a goodwill ambassador because of her role as spokesperson for Israeli cosmetics company, Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, which sells goods produced in the occupied territories.

Evidently, adopting the kind of tactics which helped put an end to apartheid in South Africa is gaining followers worldwide. Indeed support for the ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ movement, launched by a group of Palestinian activists in 2005, is on the rise. The campaign’s objective is to ensure that Israel respects its obligations under international law and that Palestinians are granted the right to self-determination.

For some, however, a global boycott of Israel can’t help but contain echoes of anti-Semitism. It also raises questions of a double standard: why not boycott China for its egregious violations of human rights? Or America and the UK for its illegal wars?

Nevertheless, many Israeli Jews are in favour of an international boycott, including Guardian columnist Neve Gordon, who wrote last August: “I am convinced that it is the only way that Israel can be saved from itself.”

Gordon outlined the current situation in Israel. He explained that, for over forty-two years, Israel has controlled the land between the Jordan Valley and the Mediterranean Sea. Within this region live about six million Jews and close to five million Palestinians. Of this population, over three million Palestinians and almost half a million Jews inhabit the areas that Israel seized in the 1967 war and yet, while these two groups live in the same area, they are subjected to totally different legal systems. The Jews (whether they live in the occupied territories or in Israel) are citizens of the State of Israel. By contrast, the Palestinians are stateless and lack many of the most basic human civil rights.

In the run up to last week’s referendum, PalSoc hosted an event ‘Vote Yes to the Boycott’. Two guest speakers attended the event, including Tom Hickey, a lecturer at Brighton University and member of the College and Union National Executive Committee, and Naomi Idrissi, representing ‘Jews for the Boycott of Israeli Goods’.

Hickey compared the Palestinian situation to that of apartheid in South Africa. He said that a boycott is not simply about the injustice of 1948, or about Zionism, “It is about the assault on Gaza. In the face of the barbaric state of Israel with its barbaric sponsor, the US, are we going to just stand aside and permit this injustice?”

Hickey added that, as citizens of conscience, we have a duty not to fuel Israel financially, as it is a nation that aims to “extirpate the Palestinians”.

In his closing words, he described the boycott as “a mechanism to open debate”.

Idrissi concurred, stressing that the movement to boycott Israel is becoming respectable: “In Europe and America as well as in the Middle East and many parts of the developing world, people of conscience – including many Jews – are rejecting anti-Arab prejudice and Zionist mythology.

“People are seeing Israel for what it is: an ethnocentric, colonial state, which deserves to be ostracized just as South Africa was ostracized during the apartheid era”, she said.

Idrissi called for an international boycott of Israel as a legitimate, non violent means to isolate the country “until it acknowledges and makes amends for the wrongs done to Palestinians over the last six decades”.

Interestingly, neither speaker mentioned Hamas, the Palestinian-Islamic Resistance Movement which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007.

The European Union and the United States classify Hamas as a terrorist organization. Hamas has launched numerous suicide bombings against Israelis since April 1993 and recently has also been responsible for rocket attacks, improvised explosive device attacks and shootings.

Earlier this month, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said that strong evidence indicates that all parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in different ways and with different effects, have committed and continue to commit serious violations of international human rights.

Ms Pillay expressed her support for the UN fact-finding mission into the fighting in Gaza at the start of the year, which found evidence that both sides had committed serious war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

However, Israeli representative, Aharon Leshno-Yaar, called the UN report biased and flawed in its accusations that Israel had committed war crimes for fighting Hamas. He dubbed Hamas “war criminals” who had openly called for Israel’s destruction and had fired thousands of rockets against it.

Many consider the foundation of the State of Israel, which arguably erased the Palestinian homeland, a terrible injustice, including the Oxford academic and Iraqi-born Jew, Avi Shlaim. However, Shlaim also points out that this injustice sits alongside another: the hideous persecution of the Jews, which culminated in the Nazi genocide. In his works, Shlaim has suggested that only Palestine could provide the “titanic” solution which the Jews required.

Thus, while many regard Israel as a western imperialist colonial settler state, others argue that this view ignores the specificity of Jewish history, including the holocaust. Indeed, many Jews were forced to migrate from Europe in the 1930s to escape Nazi persecution.

Idrissi dismissed this view in her speech, claiming that Jews typically see themselves as the victims. “They hide behind the shield that an attack on Israeli conduct is anti-Semitic”, she said, “This is simply not the case.”

Dr Ronit Lentin of Trinity College, Dublin, and author of ‘Thinking Palestine’, sent a message of solidarity to Sussex students supporting the boycott: “I would like to encourage Sussex students to vote for boycotting Israeli goods, and for an academic and cultural boycott. As a citizen of the State of Israel, and as an oppositionist Jew, I believe that boycotting is the most efficient non-violent strategy to motivate the Israeli state and Israeli citizens to re think the occupation policy. I applaud the initiative by the Palestine Society at the University of Sussex for your initiative and thank you for supporting the Palestinian cause.”

However, a spokesperson for ‘Build Bridges, Not Boycotts’, the opposition group to the boycott, argued: “What are the proposers of the boycott actually hoping to achieve? It seems clear to me that the obsession with the Middle Eastern conflict stems not from a desire to promote dialogue and peace, but instead to villify and delegitimize the only democracy in the Middle East.”

The University’s official response is that it is “not aware of a call for or agreement by the UN for economic sanctions against Israel. The University would wish to work with USSU to ensure that produce sold on campus indicates clearly its source or provenance so that members of the community can make an informed choice prior to purchase. The University notes that its catering and retail strategy already makes clear that it is the University’s practice to source food and other produce from local farmers and suppliers wherever possible.”

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  • So no mention of the scene in Falmer Bar when the results came through?

    Hearing a group of students chant ‘Hezbollah’ in the Union bar was frankly chilling. Not to mention legally dubious as the Terrorism act of 2006 made encouraging or glorifying terrorism a specific crime.

    This isn’t a matter of sides. I personally think Israel is an occupation of Palestine, and that acts committed by the Israeli government are tantamount to genocide; but this did not stop me feeling sickened by the victory party that took place in Falmer Bar last week.

    Every person on my table felt that the display was distasteful and unnessary.

    Why does the USSU seemingly allow the celebration of a group with a violent paramilitary wing that is listed as a terrorist organisation in the UK?

  • Also I was in Falmer Bar that night and don’t remember hearing Hezbollah chants – it mainly seemed to be ‘free, free Palestine!’ and ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’ I appreciate that some people may not have particularly wanted to hear chanting if they were just in the bar for a quiet pint, but I think it’s reasonable to allow a bit of a celebration where the results are announced.

    I’m not saying that nobody chanted ‘Hezbollah’ but this was certainly not what most of the chanting was about. If we were talking about a full-blown Hezbollah rally in Falmer Bar this would obviously be a different matter.

    Some people have argued in the past that Hamas should be ‘no platformed’ in the same way as fascist organisations like the BNP, and I’m sure they would extend that argument to Hezbollah. However this was debated by Union Council last year and the vote was that speakers who supported Hamas did not fall under the union’s ‘no platform’ policy.

  • Does the President have anything to say regarding the illegality of these actions? Will action be taken against those responsible? It’s not the first example of intimidating behaviour by a group of people on campus this term either – what is our Union coming to when people are allowed to get away with things like this?

  • I’m not sure how i feel about this article. I think it is well written, but i have 2 small bones to pick. I am a little bewildered by the centre of the article which goes into a sort of summary of Israeli/Palestinian history and of the UN factfinding mission on Gaza, both I suppose are loosly relevant, but deserve more than a toe in the water, or it starts to read like a pamphlet and not a news article. More words should have been given to the background of Boycotts, student Boycotts and even previous sussex boycotts. The other issue is that the ‘build bridges not boycotts’ movement is an afterthought in the article, its grossly unbalanced. If the result of the vote was a whitewash then perhaps it would be understandable but with such a close margin you would expect more. In fact, the single quote from the ‘build bridges…’ is the only real counterweight, and every other attempt to balance the article has no backing. perhaps this should have been in the comments section.

  • Absolutely disgusting. I heard the vulgar Hezbollah chant, too. Nice to see terrorists being celebrated on campus. These people really should be ashamed of themselves.

    Childish, ignorant antics like this is what makes me never feel 100% comfortable at Sussex University. I’ve seen people openly support these abominable organisations like Hamas and Hezbollah on campus. As an LGBT student, it chills me to the bone to see people supporting organisations which, to quote Mahmoud Zahar, see LGBT citizens as “corrupt, mentally ill perverts” needing to be eradicated.

  • It’s not illegal. The military wing of Hezbollah is a proscribed terrorist organisation, the rest is not. I refer you to Hansard, no less:

    “In distinguishing between the political and military wings for the purposes of proscription, the Government’s aim is to proscribe only those parts of Hezbollah which are directly concerned in terrorism, while recognising the legitimate political, social and humanitarian activities undertaken by other parts of Hezbollah.”

  • Legality aside Tom, the real issue is whether anyone felt that the behaviour was intimidating or not, and from the posts here and elsewhere, it is clear that they did. I was under the impression that the vote was to boycott Isreali goods, not support Hezbollah, and as such the chants were not only shameful and unacceptable to the majority of the students who the Union represents, but utterly inappropriate.

    As the President surely you can afford a little humility and say “yes, if the reports are substantiated, then I can see how some students/onlookers could find this intimidating.” Dig deep Tom. The Union and University are meant to be inclusive.

  • Well how come you draw a distinction between the terrorist and “political” part of hezbollah, yet are quite happy to support the boycott of an entire nation, israel? the computer you’re using was made in israel. intel pentium processers were made there. as was windows. perhaps we should let al qaeda take over pakistan and the taliban take bake control of afghanistan? Maybe there would then be a politcal faction to those terrorist groups as well?

    hassan nasrallah- leader of hezbollah “we want nothing from the west. we want to destroy you”.

  • ‘free, free Palestine!’ and ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’

    That means no more Israel, and is tantamount to a declaration of war. Someone who chants that regards Zionism, partition and the Israel that resulted as illegitimate ab initio.

    It is quite fully the policy of Hamas, military and “non-military”. The boycott is simply the continuation of the policy of Palestinian Muslims and Christians since at least 1947: the thwarting of Jewish statehood rather than acquiring it for themselves.

    It also wholly overlooks the exclucivist, dispossessivist then eliminationist course of Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalism towards Palestinian, Israeli and other Jews that evolved from its birth.

    The whole moral critique, the whole focus is almost solely on Jewish nationalism, or Zionism. The one state Sussex students seek to perfect from existence is the one Jewish state, despite its being surrounded by hostile Arab and Islamic states and regimes. And Palestinian Muslim and Christian nationalism has never been very tolerant of Jews in other than tiny numbers, and in a highly discriminated against state (apartheid?), at that. Yet it almost wholly escapes more critique (nothing fundamental, at any rate).

    Only Israeli and Palestinian Jews are treated as moral agents. Palestinian Muslims and Christians are regarded as passive, moral infants. Cipher victims to the crucifying/colonising aggressive, predatory Israeli, Zionist Jews.

    Sound familiar, anyone?

    Sussex Union president adduced the host of UN votes against Israel, as though each or most must be valid. Unmentioned is that they are largely brought to the UN by Arab or Islamic countries, few democratic, though many western (or Russian) backed, and invariably guilty of “egregious” human rights abuses themselves.

    Unmentioned is the obvious absurdity that tiny little Israel, whose crimes and misdemeanours are also tiny compared to others’, is the worst state in the world, as asserting the validity of all those UN votes implies.

    Israeli apartheid? But Israel treats Israeli Arab Muslims and Christians better than any Arab or Islamic state treats its Jews.

    The OT are a problem, but so is the Palestinian national movement, which chose war over negotions in 2000. Hamas still does, and those chanting students above are playing its game. And most Palestinian Muslim and Christian refugees still reside in camps which are now built up suburbs within the borders of original British ruled Palestine.

    Arab and other Islamic states effectively drove out 850 000 Jews, 500 000 to Israel, where their descendants comprised most Israeli Jews by 1984. The property and land they lost was at least as great as that lost by Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians.

    But they aren’t still refugees. Why is that?

    Ethnic cleansing in 1948? Sure, Zionist Jews committed acts of ethnic cleansing. Palestinian and other Arab Muslim and Christian leaders, state and non-state, threatened ethnic cleansing against Palestinian Jews (worse, actually: the Palestinian national leader, Al Husseini, threatened genocide). Palestinian Jews were entitled to prevent that happening. They succeeded, and some Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians have never stopped complaining since.

    Now Sussex students wish to comfort them in this brilliantly successful policy.

    And what of the other states founded in worse ethnic cleansing: Greece, Turkey, India, Pakistan etc none of which Sussex students seek to dissolve.

    Just the one Jewish state in the world.

    Israel the worst western backed democracy? What about Turkey and the Kurds? Pakistani genocide against Bangladesh? Russia in Chechnya? Sri Lanka against Tamils this January, about which Sussex students were all but silent?

    And as to Arab or Islamic states, anyone recall Algeria? And Western Sahara? Or the 2700 km “apartheid barrier” built by Saudi, and umpteen, longer, far longer barriers built by states around the world.

    No. Just that built by the one Jewish state in the world, AFTER a war launched by Fatah in which over a thousand Israeli men, women and children were killed.

    Israel’s actions are hardly worse than the those of the US, UK or NATO in Iraq or Afghanistan (100s of 1000s dead), and arguably considerably more justified (how many Iraqi or Afghani missiles landed on American or British towns or villages? How many states border the US or UK whose governments are dedicated to eternal jihad until their extinction?).

    Any boycotts of the US or NATO countries? No? Just the one Jewish state in the world, then? Surrounded by existential enemies, including a Palestinian national movement that has, at best, been ambivalent about accepting (at least 40 years belatedly) her existence?

    No ambivolence about ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’

    What a sub-undergraduate farce.

  • What rank hypocrisy. Hezbollah is ok despite its stated intention to kill every Jew alive, but the Israeli government isn’t allowed to defend its citizens against clannish thugs who chuck each other off roof tops, let alone what they want to do to the Jews. Can someone from the pro-boycott faction explain to me how the boycott deals with Iran’s militias (Hamas and Hezbollah) and its stated desire to wipe Israel from the map?

    As for the article – quoting ‘AsAJews’ to justify a boycott is bull – how about quoting any one of the thousands of Israelis, Jews, non-Jews, Palestinians etc. who are against the boycott (and not because they want to destroy Palestinians, but because it is both ineffectual and racist)? How about a name for the spokesperson from BBNB?

  • “From the river to the sea” is not the innocent chant Tom seems to think it is, as it is simply a way of saying that Israel should not exist at all. A single state is a perfectly respectable political position to hold, but a)speak honestly and b) imagine how it feels for a Jewish student to hear such a chant.

    As a former student of Sussex – and a former occupier of Sussex House (Class of Jan ’87) I’m heartened to see students there continuing to fight for justice. But you might also ask yourselves why Israel – rather than the illegal occupation of the west Bank, Gaza (still occupied under any definition in international law) and the annexed East Jerusalem where fundamentalist settlers hold increasing, and increasingly violent, sway is the target of your action.

  • There is a definitely a large amount of hypocrisy in this decision. The British army is currently engaged in Afghanistan and if the British media would devote the equal resources to covering that conflict the British public would be aware of the large number of civilian deaths there. Perhaps the Union feels that the British invasion is justified by the thousands of rockets that the Taliban fired into the south of England? No doubt my comment will be followed by many stating that they vehemently oppose the occupation in Iraq but I doubt if we will see the Union voting to boycott British goods. The ‘big’ STWC rally in London last month drew about 5,000 participants which reflects the interest that groups like this Union have in the plight of the Afghanis living under a British occupation. And have they ever discussed the ever-expanding “Peace walls” in Belfast ? It’s so much easier to point the fingers at others rather than face and deal with the crimes and injustices perpetrated by yourselves.

  • I appreciate your comments, Adam, however, I beg to differ that this article is more appropriate for the comments section. I did not vote in favour of the boycott.

    I also believe that providing ‘a sort of summary of Israeli/Palestinian history and of the UN fact-finding mission into Gaza’ is more than ‘loosely’ relevant.

    A general discussion of ‘the background of boycotts’ in this article would have been tedious. I have outlined previous action taken by Sussex students (the boycott of Carmel Agrexco? The Sussex Occupation?) How parochial to suggest that the main focus should have simply been on previous boycotts at Sussex University.

    I do concede that the comment from ‘Build Bridges Not Boycotts’ appears far too late in the article. Nevertheless, I think it is unfair to call the article ‘grossly unbalanced’.

    As for not naming the spokesperson, Greg, I’m afraid this was not my choice. The person in question wished to remain anonymous. I might add that many members of the opposition campaign and the Jewish Society at the University declined to comment on the situation.

    Christian Wiese, a Professor of Jewish History, was unable to comment in time for the publication of this article. However, I suggest that you consult his comment piece condemning the boycott, which will be published in next week’s edition of The Badger (16th Nov).

    Unfortunately, a couple of gin and tonics down in Flamer Bar, I missed the alleged ‘Hezbollah’ chanting. I consider this behaviour utterly unacceptable.

    As for quoting George Galloway, Tom, I’m afraid this depresses me greatly!

  • Any claims that critisism of israel is anti-semitic (Zak, PhD student, Cardiff) is ridiculous.

    I think most of the people who voted for the boycot are objecting to the policies of israel and not all the people in it. There has been no mention of judaism in any of the debate apart from the claim that people critisising israel are anti-semitic.

    Its very difficult to work out what has or hasnt happened between israel/palestine. Both side have done some very bad things. Yes there are many other bad states but i rekon that israel is one that is most supported by the west and one of the worst.

    Yes many of the surrounding arab states have some pretty horrific policies but israel is the one who has killed the most people. How many war crimes was it that the UN found israel had committed?

    We have to do something to show our outrage!

  • “israel is the one who has killed the most people”. Really? 300,000 dead in darfur, 16,000 dead in somalia, 20,000 dead in sri lanka. all are conflicts that have claimed far more lives and yet theres silence on the far left?? what about the trade union leaders that are imprisoned in iran, the dozens of gays sentenced to death or the fact that women don’t have the same rights as men in countries in the middle east. why is that these oil rich states (saudi araba/egypt and jordan are all given large amounts of american aid) have royal families lining their own pockets whilst there is great poverty for the ordinary citizen? hating israel because it is supported by the west isn’t an excuse. the reason we see so much of israel in the news is because it has totally free press that routinely criticises their own government. This isn’t the case for her neigbours

  • Hi Alie,

    where does the term “antisemitic” appear in my post?

    Also, surely “Any claims that critisism of israel is anti-semitic (Zak, PhD student, Cardiff) is ridiculous” is logically incorrect? Surely some criticism of Israel can be antisemitic? Or are you saying it is logically impossible for any criticism of Israel to be antisemitic?

    “israel is one that is most supported by the west and one of the worst.”

    “israel is the one who has killed the most people.”

    The Arab-Israel conflict ranks 49th in the world since 1945, with a total of about 35 000 Arab fatalities for 16 000 Israeli. And that is measuring the WHOLE conflict OVER 60 YEARS.

    Hugely disproportionate, isn’t it? Not.

    As of 2005

    “In a different perspective, some 11,000,000 Muslims have been violently killed since 1948, of which 35,000, or 0.3 percent, died during the sixty years of fighting Israel, or just 1 out of every 315 Muslim fatalities. In contrast, over 90 percent of the 11 million who perished were killed by fellow Muslims.”

    http://www.danielpipes.org/4990/arab-israeli-fatalities-rank-49th

    Now, take a look at that list dear, and see just how many are “western” backed or affiliated.

    150 000 died in the Lebanese civil war alone.

    100 000 North Yemen (against Egypt) 1962-70

    25 000 (Palestinians) killed by Jordan in 1970.

    And those are just SOME of the conflicts in the middle east alone.

    In 2009, the UN estimates the Sri Lanka government forces killed 7000 civilians (The Times estimated 20 000):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008%E2%80%932009_SLA_Northern_offensive#Casualties

    Where was your outrage then, dear?

    “How many war crimes was it that the UN found israel had committed?”

    How many war crimes investigations committees has the UN ever set up against any Arab country? (clue: the majority of states calling for investigations of war crimes in the middle east were or are Arab or Islamic).

    Ever since the United Nations Human Rights Council (which includes some very repressive Arab or Islamic regimes) was founded in 2006, it has had almost exclusive interest in only one state.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Human_Rights_Council#Accusations_of_bias_against_Israel

    Doesn’t that strike you as odd?

    The second intifada, from 2001-the present killed 1000 Israelis to 6000 Palestinians. Is that supposed to be an outrageously disproportionate figure in the scheme of world conflicts? Is that supposed to make Israel an archetypal demon of national killers?

    Are you serious?

    Have you ever stopped to consider just why it is that a tiny nation of 7 000 000 is slapped by the UN with the most resolutions in the world, whose conflicts hardly rate with the greatest in the world, and hardly has escaped fatalities in the equivalent range? Has it ever occured to you that there is something anomalous about that?

    Logically, if Israel has received the most resolutions, it must be the worst state in the world, no?

    But, seriously.

    Hamas is a government dedicated to jihad until the extinction of any kind of Israel. It runs a de facto state, Gaza, dedicated to that jihad. What is Israel supposed to do? Have free and open borders? Let whatever arms, materiel and personnel Hamas needs or wants flow freely into the Gaza for it to achieve that purpose?

    If you think that the answer to that question is, Yes, it kind of makes you a white, western affiliate of Hamas in its jihad, doesn’t it?

    But, then, Sussex students seem dedicated to the dissolution of the one Jewish state in the world.

    How many thousands of missiles fell on US, UK or NATO country towns and villages? How many civilians have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002?

    And that’s just Western countries (whatever that means), not “Western backed” countries, whatever that means.

  • Well, I don’t think I have a problem with most of what JVP wants. My idea of a settlement is broadly that found in the Geneva Accords.

    All Hamas had to do was sign up, like the P.A., to the principles of the Quartet and the Road Map. It prefers to reserve the right to jihad until the extinction of any kind of Israel.

  • The criticism of Israel is not anti semitic, if that was the case then it would mean that esteemed and honourable men such as Hajo Meyer, a holocaust survivor, Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein are also anti semites? That would be a resoundingly pathetic argument. All three men are highly educated and have direct experience of the horrors of the holocaust.

    The argument that any and all criticism of Israel and its racist, inhumane and imperial policies, is actually anti semitic, ALWAYS falls completely flat the moment that it emerges that there are several Jewish academics who themselves abhor the Israeli government’s practises. The problem is zionism. Always was, always will be.

    Have a read of Gideon Levy’s work. He’s Jewish, lives in Israel and himself despises the barbarism of the Israeli government. He is the editor of Haaretz newspaper.

    Zak’s statement: That means no more Israel, and is tantamount to a declaration of war. – that was a joke, surely? A declaration of war? According to whom?

    Your arguments are flawed and really lacking in any concrete validity. You’re passing off your opinions as fact, emotion and generally speaking with the voice of supreme authority or something.

    You protest the activities of Hamas or Hezbollah, Zak. Don’t you remember Haganah, the Irgun and the Stern Gang? Militant zionism…. the bombings(most notable the bombing of the King David Hotel where 91 were killed, of which 28 were British), assassinations, arms smuggling and many other despicable acts. More recently we had the Gaza massacre and just before that the barbaric attack against Lebanon.

    Shouldn’t you remember to criticise and rightly criticise the way in which Israel came into being? The terrorism and brutality that eventually gave the zionists what they wanted?

    Trying to substitute the word zionism for the word Jew/Jewish/Judaism is a common tactic in encouraging the erroneous belief, myth in fact, that criticising zionism or Israel and its policies is the same as hating Jewish people. Go out to a protest anywhere in the world and see for yourselves the Jewish men and women who themselves criticise Israel. Anti semitic Jews, are they? No, didn’t think so.

  • “The criticism of Israel is not anti semitic,”

    No, it is not necessarily antisemitic. But it certainly can be.

    “if that was the case then it would mean that esteemed and honourable men such as Hajo Meyer, a holocaust survivor, Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein are also anti semites?”

    Not necessarily. It depends on the type of criticism. And it is certainly possible for Jews, even holocaust survivors, to be antisemitic, from time to time.

    “That would be a resoundingly pathetic argument.”

    It wasn’t my argument. It rather sounds as though it is your argument.

    “All three men are highly educated and have direct experience of the horrors of the holocaust.”

    Neither Finkeslstein nor Chomsky are Holocaust survivors. They do not have direct experience of the holocaust. You clearly have no idea whereof you speak.

    “The argument that any and all criticism of Israel and its racist, inhumane and imperial policies, is actually anti semitic,”

    And, had you actually read any of my posts above, you would see that it manifestly is not my argument. Again, it would appear to be yours.

    “ALWAYS falls completely flat the moment that it emerges”

    Then why is it emerging from you?

    “ that there are several Jewish academics who themselves abhor the Israeli government’s practises.”

    Indeed, “several” i.e. not necessarily very many, and depending on which practises you mean.

    “The problem is zionism. Always was, always will be.”

    In which case you are the racist, for you are the racist againsts the Jewish people in denying them of all peoples, including Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians, the right to national self-determination and liberation in their historical homeland.

    “Have a read of Gideon Levy’s work. He’s Jewish, lives in Israel and himself despises the barbarism of the Israeli government. He is the editor of Haaretz newspaper.”

    No he isn’t. He is a sometime editor, and chiefly a colunist, and he certainly does not classify himself as an anti-Zionist, nor does he call for a boycott of Israel.

    “Zak’s statement: That means no more Israel, and is tantamount to a declaration of war. – that was a joke, surely?”A declaration of war? According to whom?”

    Those who cry “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’

    “Your arguments are flawed and really lacking in any concrete validity.”

    a) You have have been doing nothing except inventing my alleged arguments, so far.
    b) How about some concrete arguments demonstrating their specific flaws, or, indeed, why they are invalid, concretely or otherwise?

    “You’re passing off your opinions as fact, emotion and generally speaking with the voice of supreme authority or something.”

    That’s funny, because this precisely what I thought what you have been doing for the past few paragraphs.

    “You protest the activities of Hamas or Hezbollah, Zak. Don’t you remember Haganah, the Irgun and the Stern Gang?”

    Sure. The Hagannah was the army of the Yishuv, whose leadership accepted partition, while the Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian leadership rejected it, as do Hamas today. The Irgun was disbanded by that same leadership.

    “Militant zionism”

    You mean accepting partition in 1947 constituted “militant Zionism”? And since you have a problem with any kind of Zionism i.e. Jewish nationalism, what do you care whether it is militant or not? Surely you want to eliminate it all?

    “…. the bombings(most notable the bombing of the King David Hotel where 91 were killed, of which 28 were British),”

    Sure. Palestinian Jewish leaders condemned that act by the Irgun as terrorism, and in 1948 it was formally disbanded.

    “assassinations, arms smuggling and many other despicable acts.”

    Sure, but these do not amount to a rejection of partition, and two states, which is the professed position of Hamas, now and forever.

    “ More recently we had the Gaza massacre and just before that the barbaric attack against Lebanon.”

    You mean the unprecentedly careful incursion into Gaza (according to the former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX6vyT8RzMo)

    after 10 years and 8000 missiles on Israeli towns, an operation which nowhere near matched the destruction meted out in, say, Falujah:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/8470100.stm

    “Shouldn’t you remember to criticise and rightly criticise the way in which Israel came into being?”

    It depends on whether the criticism is merited or not.

    “ The terrorism and brutality that eventually gave the zionists what they wanted?”

    I am not sure what you mean. I think you allude to acts of Zionist Jewish ethnic cleansing committed in a war in which Palestinian and other Arab Muslims or Christians threatened the same against Palestinian Jews, or worse.

    What’s your point?

    “Trying to substitute the word zionism for the word Jew/Jewish/Judaism is a common tactic in encouraging the erroneous belief,”

    i.e. exactly what you do, here: “that there are several Jewish academics who themselves abhor the Israeli government’s practises.”

    Where exactly have I effected such a substitution?

    “ myth in fact, that criticising zionism or Israel and its policies is the same as hating Jewish people.”

    It isn’t necessarily. But it often is hating the second or largest Jewish community in the world, and state which comprises what most survivors of European and Arab Jewry became from 1914. And it often is a denial of national liberation and determination to Jews alone of all people, in conspicuous contrast to Palestinian Arab Muslims and Chritsians. Which is hypocrisy, as well as discrimination.

    “ Go out to a protest anywhere in the world and see for yourselves the Jewish men and women who themselves criticise Israel.”

    Some. Not many, and hardly representative of Jews as a whole.

    “ Anti semitic Jews, are they?”

    Not necessarily. Ignorant, prejudiced and sometimes plain silly. But not necessarily antisemitic.

    “ No, didn’t think so.”

    However, from you I sense rather more malice.

  • Thanks for the amazing picture and quality of the flag of Israel, just used it to print it big and hang it in support of IDF soldiers. Israel forever!

  • I used the flag too – as a watermark on my Doctoral Thesis that proves Israel to be in the right and Palestine in the wrong! Thanks for a GREAT pic – a pity you had to waste so much space on the Internet with your pointless drivel and meanlingless rhetoric – I used that word out of respect for you – if I’d used the word I wanted to use you might have taken offence…