Issue #3 - Listen to racists

Behind the attempted purge at Bristol; Why Zionism is anti-Semitism; and me on the Richard Medhurst show.

For my readers in the UK, I hope you all had a good long Easter bank holiday weekend and got some much-needed time off. I certainly did.

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Who wants to purge Bristol university?

My big story last week was an investigation into the rogues’ gallery of anti-Palestinian activists, Tories and pro-Zionist students who want to get Professor David Miller fired from his job at Bristol university. As I make clear in the piece: “what is at stake is more than one person’s job, but the right of anyone to criticize Israel at all.” As I’ve argued, the campaign to purge Miller is a test case. If it succeeds, British academia will be increasingly purged of anti-Zionists and anyone else who has a record of criticising Israel.

Get an insight into the forces behind this campaign against free speech in my full article.

Why Zionism is anti-Semitism

In my MEMO column this week I argue:

It is illogical to suppose – as Zionists do – that the ancestral “homeland” of all Jewish people in the world is Palestine. Such a view is actually anti-Semitic.

A frequent theme in the history of European anti-Jewish racism was that the Jews of Europe were not really European Jews, but Jews who somehow happened to find themselves lost abroad as an accident of history. British Jews were not “really” British, and German Jews were not “really” German at all, but simply “Jews in Germany”. Anti-Semites and Zionists alike actually agree on this point.

Read more in the full article.

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Israel blocking vaccines for Palestinians

I appeared on Richard Medhurst’s TV show The Communique to talk about Israel’s vaccine apartheid. Richard’s been doing great things on his YouTube channel for the past year, so it was brilliant to be invited onto his new show.

Click here to watch our discussion.

What I’ve been reading

  • My EI colleague Nora Barrows-Friedman reporting on Palestinian reservations about the new “Jerusalem Declaration” on anti-Semitism. While the goal of pushing back against the IHRA’s entirely bogus “working definition” of anti-Semitism is laudable, I question all these long-winded definitions of different “racisms,” as if they are discreet and unrelated. In my view, these documents are — at best — superfluous. As Tony Greenstein has pointed out for years, the Oxford English Dictionary definition of anti-Semitism is much clearer, and takes up only six words: “hostility to or prejudice against Jews.

  • Not so much a “what I’ve been reading” as a “what I’ve been viewing”: this new video about Soliman Hijjy, an aerial photographer in the Gaza Strip. His videos and photos, taken from a drone, are stunning and provide wonderful insights into the reality of life in Gaza. And not only into the truth about Israel’s wars, but also the beauty of everyday life for people there.

  • Palestine in Pictures, EI’s monthly round-up of events on the ground. It’s a great way to stay up to date with what’s happening, as well as see some of the most brilliant Palestinian photography.

  • Joseph Massad’s latest essay for Middle East Eye: “Who are the real anti-imperialists?” This is a really important piece about the “battle of narratives” over Syria, which pits “those who support western intervention against those who oppose it.” Professor Massad takes apart a recent “open letter”1 which falsely accused anti-imperialists of being pro-Assad. Joseph Massad has been absolutely correct about the war in Syria right from the start a decade ago. This new piece is an absolute must-read, as ever with Massad:

    … the letter’s authors reveal that the real culprit in what transpired in Syria since 2011 was, as opposed to US or western imperialism, “the imperialist interventionism of Russia, Iran, and China”. That Turkey, France, the UK, the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel and the EU were among a huge western coalition that invested billions of dollars and armed and trained militias to bring down the Syrian regime, seems to be not based on fact, but is “a by-product of a provincial political culture”.

    And when did China intervene in Syria? In an increasingly common - and comical - move, the letter accuses anyone who insists on discussing the glaring facts about massive imperial intervention of denying the “agency” of the Syrian people.

    Read the whole piece.

    (Interestingly, some of this identity-politics guff about “agency” and “listening to Syrians”2 has been quite consciously copied in the last few years by Zionists. They are trying to re-brand Zionism from a — racist, colonial — ideology and spin it as an immutable personal “identity.” Listen to racists!)

Tweet of the Week

Tweet of the Week is this from the activist group Palestine Action. The photo was taken after a hearing for six activists over alleged criminal damage — “with no lawful excuse” — for targetting an arms factory and offices with direct action earlier this year.

Campaigners could be facing a trial later this year, after they protested against British subsidiaries of Israel’s largest private arms firm Elbit Systems.

See you all next week.

1

Addressed to who? It is unclear.

2

Listen to which Syrians? I don’t remember the anti-war movement giving a hoot about the “agency” of Ahmed Chalabi in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq — and rightly so.