uploaded : Saturday 16th Dec 2006 at 03:38
by : Carol Gould
Nothing, but nothing in the social discourse is as abhorrent as denial of the atrocities of the Holocaust and the refusal to accept the right of Israel to exist.
In recent years in Great Britain, Jews and Americans ( connected in people’s minds to Israel because of what is perceived by the British public as a vast ’Zionist lobby’ in the USA) have put up with these two calumnies almost every day. Indeed for thirty-one years, from my innocent twenties to my now bitter latter-end-of-middle age, I have been at the receiving end of some brutal epithets about ‘the Holocaust being wheeled out every time a Jew has a grievance' and 'a band of Jewish terrorists backed by American Jews turning up in wartime Palestine and murdering everyone there..'
This week Americans of all faiths and none have been exposed to former President Jimmy Carter’s new book about Israeli apartheid practices, and to the news of the Holocaust Denial Conference in the Islamic Republic of Iran. I stress ‘Islamic Republic’ because in Britain the ubiquitous Muslim spokespeople are constantly on television, radio and in the papers complaining about every aspect of disfavour they claim hounds them in their daily life. One of the biggest complaints is denial of the true magnitude of the ‘Naqba’ or establishment of Israel. Conversely, many prominent liberal Anglo Jews and British rabbis show their generosity of spirit by attending an annual event in London commemorating Deir Yassin, the symbolic ‘Naqba’ remembrance event for British Muslims.
So, I stress ‘Islamic’ because it is a fact that a huge Muslim nation has perpetrated what the majority of decent human beings across the globe consider to be the most heinous obscenity of the past fifty years, the Conference on denial of the Holocaust.
As the British Muslim feminist commentator Yasmin Alibhai Brown commented earlier this year after Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the head of the Muslim Council of Britain, boycotted British Holocaust Memorial Day for the second year running, does the Muslim world really expect world Jewry to leap to their aid should a Holocaust on the scale of the Nazi genocide of the Jews someday be perpetrated against Muslims?
In the past three weeks I have been unable to put pen to paper. The conglomeration of the worldwide fuss over the killing of eighteen people in Beit Hanoun whilst no attention is paid to Israelis being attacked daily with ball-bearing-tipped rockets, the ‘let’s blame Israel’ Iraq Study Group, the publication of Jimmy Carter’s outrageously titled book, and now the Iranian Holocaust Denial Conference, has in its entirety rendered me beyond any ability to express myself. This has never happened to me.
However, in the past few hours the ‘Guardian’ has so enraged me that my writer’s block has lifted.
Britain is obsessed with Israel. One would think it is a huge continent hell-bent on destroying little Britain for all the venom and ire spewed by MPs and liberal activists in the media.
This week, however, the Guardian outdid itself with a piece by Reader Ombudsman Ian Mayes, who felt triumphant over a huge colour centrefold spread in the print edition showing the damage done by Israeli shells in Beit Hanoun. Mayes made the point that very few pro-Israel people telephone or wrote in to complain. My response to him is this: it is not, as he suggests, a 'calumny' for someone to complain that images only appear when victims are killed by Jews. The British media do have an obsessive interest in the deaths of Palestinians, but not of Israelis.
In the same fortnight of the Beit Hanoun event, thousands of Israelis were once again confined to bomb shelters, at the expense of their family life and professional obligations, and in that time 57 rockets, armed with tips full of ball bearings, were launched into Israel killing several people and permanently maiming scores of others. Israeli children are traumatised after a year of these relentless attacks. But, as the Guardian’s telephone caller would say, they are Jews, so who cares?
When thirty elderly Holocaust survivors were massacred at a hotel inside Israel by a Hamas bomber on the sacred night of the first Passover Seder several years ago, the British media promptly obsessed on the 'massacre' in Jenin ( Saeb Erekat's famous '3,000 dead' that eventually came down to 57 dead terrorists in Jenin) and spent reams of newsprint on the Israeli retaliatory raid.
This week, Palestinians 2, Jews nil. As usual.
In a Guardian blog filled with bilious rage at Israel, one person named ‘Chicago Paco’ put it succinctly:
'It's a crappy little country that does not deserve to exist and should be dissolved immediately.'
I was surprised the Guardian moderator did not excise it. When I tried to send a response my message was blocked by the Guardian. What is remarkable is that it appears the moderator allowed only outrageous attacks against Israel and Zionists to be published. So, my response to Chicago Paco is this:
‘You insult every Jewish, Christian and Muslim resident of Israel. Imagine if someone wrote the same about Bangla Desh or Kuwait? By the way, what is crappy about Israel? The scores of internationally-acclaimed scientific institutions like the Technion and Weizmann Institute? The endless streams of art galleries, concert venues, theatre, opera and ballet companies? The stunning agricultural institutions that people consult from all over the world? The wines from the Golan (a soggy wasteland for decades under Syrian rule until Israel brought it to life) that won top prizes at the prestigious Bordeaux Festival?
‘Read Pierre van Paassen's books 'Days of Our Years' and 'The Forgotten Ally' written in the 1920s and 30s ( now reprinted ) about the astonishing advancements being brought to the Holy Land by the Jews ( Sabras who had been there for centuries as well as Europeans emigrating there) and the many awestruck Arabs living in 'squalor' ( his word, not mine) who wanted so much to welcome them at that time as they brought 'enlightened European developments' to the region. Since 1947 the Jews have suffered unending attacks and hostility from their neighbours always tinged with the call to 'annihilate the Zionists.'
‘When Anwar Sadat made peace with Begin he was assassinated. It was a tragedy that Rabin was assassinated by a Jew for making peace with Arafat and King Hussein, but Israel tried to plough on with peace moves after his death only to be met with relentless suicide bombings across Israel and Katyusha rockets into the North, followed by an Intifadah. Your idea that Israel, the size of Wales, should be eliminated is a genocidal concept and you should be ashamed to say such a thing on this board.’
Now today , 15 December, amidst the fallout from the shameful Holocaust Conference and at a time when all decent cultures should be showing solidarity with world Jewry, the Guardian has embarked on a campaign at
to promote a comprehensive boycott of everything Israel produces, be it music, grapes, microchips or plastic garden furniture. The leader of the boycott, John Berger, even suggests boycotting Israeli jugglers! This campaign has received scores of responses throughout the day, many of which are refreshingly hostile to the boycott, including even one or two from Palestinians. One blogger, ‘EnoughSaid’ notes:
‘I assume your boycott will also include medical rescue missions. Israel was one of the very first nations to offer substantial aid and to send medical rescue missions to Islamic people in the stricken tsunami areas. Israel mobilised 150 doctors and relief teams as well as an 82-ton planeload of supplies for Sri Lanka..’
One blogger writes (and the Guardian onviosuly feels this can stay and not be excised) :
'Did the gay jews get gassed *twice*, then...? '
ans still another that the Guardian feels is appropriate to keep on its allowable messages:
'I am fast giving up on trying to rationalise any debate with Jewish people concerning their obsessive neurotic fear for survival. I have simply to be thankful that I was born a gentile, therefore guilty in some way for their murder and oppression, at some time in my genetic history. Will the messiah please stand up and help these poor sods and they bob their heads at that stupid wall.
'It must be so shit being jewish.'
This brings us back to the subject of the obscene Holocaust Denial Conference in Iran. During the week leading up to this event there was barely a minute of coverage in the British media, although considerable face time was given to the bearded anti-Zionist Naturei Karta ‘rabbis’ who attended the conference. To show the ignorance in the British media about what is what, the BBC News 24 anchor Martine Croxall asked American Jewish community leader Malcolm Hoenlein why it was so bad if ‘Jewish rabbis’ were attending.’ One hopes they will be excommunicated for making millions of naïve and uninformed non-Jews across the globe believe that a branch of Judaism sanctioned their attendance at this criminal event, this calumny.
In the UK, the Jewish community was silent and the Chief Rabbi nowhere to be seen. When Hugo Gryn and Lord Jacobovits died, the Jewish voice of Britain died. One Liberal rabbi, Alexandra Wright, was busy speaking at a London conference on ’Israeli Apartheid and Human Rights Violations’ hosted by news anchorman Jon Snow.
So , as the Festival of Lights begins for Jews around the world, we have the James Baker group declaring that the pesky Jews should be put in their place; Ahmadinejad hosting an event that should never have been allowed to take place, Desmond Tutu poking into Israel’s affairs when he ought to be sorting out the monumental problems besetting his benighted nation of South Africa -- long free of ‘Israeli-style apartheid’ but sinking into ruin just the same, as will, I predict, ‘Palestine,’ if it is established -- and the British Guardian newspaper now leading a boycott of the apartheid state Jimmy Carter hates so much.
What is so worrying is that here in Britain books by Jimmy Carter and reports by James Baker were never needed to inspire the unique rage that I have seen on the faces of Englishmen and women when the word ’Israel’ is uttered. Increasingly one sees the words ‘Jews’ and ‘Jewish’ also cause the hackles to rise. This is, after all the land of the Blood Libel, the York Massacre, the Expulsion, the Jew Riots not to mention the land of Mosley, the Dowager Lady Birdwood and David Irving.
What is so interesting too is that the British Muslim community, embodied by the Muslim Council and MPACUK, try to flame the fires of division with their obsessive hatred of ‘Zionazis’ and their boycotts of Holocaust Day, seem to be ripe for an unholy alliance with the likes of David Duke, the ex- Klansman who loves Ahmadinejad.
The alliance of the liberal Left, of anti-war activists who march in the ‘Death to Israel’ demonstrations, of the KKK and radical, genocidal Muslim leaders is a mix that every Jew in the world must sit up and notice. One gets enough invitations from American Jewish groups to ‘an evening of Bridge, Bagels and Borscht’ to know that much of world Jewry is in denial. But they need to know that here in the United Kingdom we are in a multi-faceted tsunami of Jew-hatred cleverly disguised in anti-Israel rhetoric.
The naivete of American Jewry manifests itself in the positive comments I receive about the Iraq Study Group’s suggestion the USA engage with Assad and Ahmadinejad. If you have lived, as I have, in that neighbourhood, you know that this is like engaging with Mussolini and Hitler in 1937.
Amongst the core issues that have marked Jewish aspirations in the post-Holocaust era are the concepts of Aliyah and of Jewish nationhood. What has surprised and at times shocked me in the past six years or so is the anger these concepts engender here in Britain. Perhaps I have lived out my life in Britain in the naïve belief that everyone on earth understands the calamity of the Nazi genocide and the desire of Jews thereafter to live only amongst each other after two-thousand years of persecution in the Diaspora. Is this such an outrageous thing to allow Jews to do? In three decades in Britain I have come to learn that the concept of the Jewish ‘Right of Return’ is regarded as an outrage by a large chunk of the population. Never mind that there are over one-hundred countries one would classify as Christian and over fifty now regarded as majority Muslim. Putting aside the fury of many who have confronted me about ‘stealing Palestinian land and the fifty-year genocide by Israel’ there is a genuine, old-fashioned ‘how dare they?’ discomfort about the concept of Jews being able to settle in Israel from anywhere in the world. It is painful and has made sustaining long-term friendships a less and less viable option in my adopted country, Britain.
Right now Britons are flocking to musicals in the West End of London. They are immune from polio and their children and grandchildren will be, too. Perhaps if the Guardian really wants to boycott things Jewish they should ban the polio vaccine and ban plays and musicals, 90% of which are written by Jews. As the Guardian blogger quoted above said, the world would have to sink into Third World levels of technology and scientific activity if Israeli work was to be boycotted. Israel is not perfect, but Sudan, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, China and other outrageous human rights violators are far, far worse. The amount of attention paid to Israel’s shortcomings by outsiders who should be attending to their own countries’ calumnies is out of proportion to anything in recent memory.
My last word is this: it is not true that virulent, unfair, biased, obsessive and often genocidal rhetoric about Israel is ‘just criticism.’ It is anti-Semitism. It is a particular hatred directed at a concentrated connubation of Jews. Six million Jews, to be precise. A chilling figure. A figure Ahamdinejad wishes to dispute as fiction. But please note he is very willing to eliminate six million real, living Jews next door. So are the liberal Guardian bloggers and the Muslim activists sitting in Luton and Birmingham and Glasgow writing in about ‘eliminating the Racist Apartheid Entity’ to their organisations. So is Muslim convert and rabid Israel-hating radical Yvonne Ridley, shouting about ‘that vile little country’ and calling the anti-terror police ‘jackboot Britain. ‘ So is David Duke. World Jewry, take note. You are a tiny speck in the world community of Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. James Baker, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Jimmy Carter would like to see a ‘technical correction’ that could result in that tiny speck being blown away.
Buy Israeli goods. Drink Israeli wine. Horde Israeli Chanukah candles. And buy a box of Yahrzeit candles.
Remember. Never again.