activism Jonathan Cook

Over 500 Scholars Launch Fightback Against Israel Lobby’s Antisemitism Smear of UK Academics

The question, raised by the petition and letter of complaint, is whether universities like Glasgow will continue to submit to such attacks on academic life under the cover of false or evidence-free claims of anti-Semitism.
Activist from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign protest Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights outside the Glasgow Sheriff Court, Scotland on July 10, 2017. (Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign/Facebook)

By Jonathan Cook / MintPress News

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND — Hundreds of international scholars have begun a fightback against pro-Israel lobbyists who have been scoring increasingly high-profile victories on UK campuses as they seek to curb academic freedoms under the guise of stamping out antisemitism. 

Glasgow university officials have found themselves in the eye of a storm this week, accused of “capitulating” in two separate cases that have undermined academic research into the activities of Israel and its supporters.

More than 500 scholars from around the world, including a Nobel prize winner, Royal Society fellows, and former and current presidents of major academic bodies, signed a petition delivered to the university this week in protest. 

They called it “extraordinary” that Glasgow had recently apologised and labeled as “hate speech” a peer-reviewed article on the Israel lobby in the university’s postgraduate magazine. The scholars warned that Glasgow’s actions could have “potentially very damaging” consequences for research on Israel. 

They pointed out that the university’s stance “implies that other groups, states and corporations can all be the subject of critical academic analysis, but commentary on pro-Israel advocacy must be limited”.

Separately, the main body representing Middle East academics in Britain wrote to the Scottish university last week after its politics department took the unprecedented step of demanding the right to vet a talk on Israeli and Palestinian politics. 

The university had invited a Danish professor to speak about his latest book but then insisted on new conditions – apparently after caving into pressure from a Jewish student body. 

Concerns have also been raised that the university appears to have intended to seek the Jewish students’ approval before agreeing to the talk going ahead.

Antisemitism redefined

Both incidents follow Glasgow’s adoption last November of a controversial new definition of antisemitism that has been aggressively promoted by pro-Israel lobbyists. 

Most UK universities have now adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition following threats from the rightwing government of Boris Johnson last year to inflict financial penalties on any that demurred.

There were early warnings, including from the main author of the IHRA definition, that it would be weaponised and critical research on Israel curtailed. The IHRA’s definition turns the focus away from hatred or fear of Jews. Instead most of its 11 illustrative examples of antisemitism relate to Israel. 

The severe threat to academic freedom posed by pro-Israel lobbyists and the IHRA definition were highlighted earlier this month when an expert scholar on propaganda and Islamophobia, David Millerwas sacked by Bristol university. 

David Miller Watchdog Feature photo

The lobby had accused him of antisemitic “harassment” after he highlighted its role as one of “five pillars” supporting the promotion of Islamophobia – or hatred towards Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians. 

Bristol university dismissed Miller, even though documents leaked last week showed that the senior lawyer it appointed to investigate the case found there was no misconduct by Miller and that there was “no basis for any disciplinary action”. 

Twists and turns

Glasgow university has become a key battleground in the fight to protect academic freedom after its public twists and turns over an academic paper published in its peer-reviewed online journal, eSharp, in 2017. 

Jane Jackman, who was then a scholar at Exeter University, published the paper, titled Advocating Occupation, examining the evolution and role of Israel lobby groups in the UK, in the immediate wake of a 2017 documentary aired by Al-Jazeera on the lobby’s interference in British politics. 

Footage filmed by an undercover reporter showed an Israeli embassy official, Shai Masot, covertly colluding with Zionist groups to undermine senior UK politicians – especially the then head of the opposition Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn – who were seen as too critical of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

To pre-empt a diplomatic incident, Israel hurriedly recalled Masot. 

The hundreds of scholars supporting Jackman’s research have described it as an “account of public relations, lobbying, advocacy and information management” in what “is a well-established area of academic study”.

Nonetheless, in an observation that would become all too prescient for Jackman herself, she concluded in her paper that “critics of Israeli policy expose themselves to the possibility, indeed the probability, of being smeared as anti-Semites”. 

However, the university dismissed initial complaints against Jackman’s paper shortly after it was published.

‘Moot’ point

But last December, a month after the university formally adopted the IHRA definition, a prominent pro-Israel blogger revived the pressure campaign. David Collier marshalled fellow activists to write to Sir Anton Muscatelli, Glasgow’s principal, complaining that Jackman’s paper was “laden with conspiracy, antisemitism and errors”. 

He accused Glasgow staff of demonstrating “heavy antisemitism” in clearing it for publication.

Jackman’s paper, he claimed, was a “poison spreading through our universities. With malignant cells in place such as Exeter, [London’s] SOAS and Warwick – it acts as a cancer – with new academics, freshly dosed with antisemitic ideology, leaving the nests to spread the sickness elsewhere.” 

Paradoxically, Collier had been identified by Jackman as particularly adept at characterising critics of Israel as “haters” and antisemites. Collier, she had noted, was a favourite of the Israeli embassy. Officials there had invited him the previous year to help train more than 100 representatives from British pro-Israel groups on advocacy tactics to burnish Israel’s image. 

But this time, the university reversed course, apparently fearing that it might fall foul of the illustrative examples of the IHRA definition it had signed up to. 

The journal’s editors subverted their own peer review processes – four years after the fact – and issued an apology in May in a lengthy online preface to the article. 

They claimed the paper failed to meet academic standards and caused “considerable offense”, concluding that it promoted “an unfounded antisemitic theory regarding the State of Israel and its activity in the United Kingdom”. 

In a response to inquiries from the Jewish Chronicle weekly newspaper, Glasgow university suggested that action had been taken against Jackman’s paper in accordance with the IHRA definition of antisemitism. It also implied that her research was an example of “hate speech”.

The Chronicle was at the forefront of a years-long, evidence-free campaign to tar the British Labour party under its previous leader, Jeremy Corbyn, as beset by antisemitism. Corbyn was a well-known champion of Palestinian rights. 

Astonishingly, when Jackman demanded to know what “antisemitic theory” she had promoted, the university backed off. In an email sent to her last month and seen by MintPress, the university’s complaints resolution office called her paper “thought-provoking” and added that whether her argument could be “described as antisemitic is also a moot point”. 

According to the dictionary, “moot” means either “subject to debate, dispute or uncertainty”, or of “little or no practical relevance”. 

In other words, the university appears to have conceded that casually and without evidence it defamed the work of an academic, with potentially catastrophic consequences for her personal and professional life. 

Jackman told MintPress: “It’s not so much the personal offence these allegations caused me, bad as that was, it’s the chilling effect this will have on early career academics, and the consequent silencing of debate.”

Ideological zeal

Jackman’s case neatly illustrates the use to which the lobby has been able to put the IHRA definition, both as a way to stifle criticism of Israel and, more recently, as a way to cover its own tracks as it does so.

There have been very obvious problems with many of the IHRA’s 11 examples. 

Two of them, in particular, have been regularly cited by the lobby. They claim it is antisemitic to describe Israel as “a racist endeavor” or require of it “behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation”. 

But even Israeli scholars have long defined Israel as a non-democracy, terming it instead an “ethnocracy”. They note that Israel mimics a democratic state while actually according rights and privileges to one ethnic group, Jews, that it denies to another, Palestinians. 

And the New York-based Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem, Israel’s most respected human rights organisation, have both recently issued reports characterising Israel as an apartheid state. 

Nonetheless, Israel’s lobbyists have doubled down on another IHRA example, which suggests it may in certain contexts be antisemitic to accuse “Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations”. 

Indeed it would be antisemitic, if such an accusation were made collectively about Jews or solely because activists were Jewish. 

As Jackman and others have pointed out, many non-Jews are also Zionists and actively lobby to shield Israel from criticism.

But ardent pro-Israel activists appear to have found in this IHRA example the perfect cover for concealing their own activism on behalf of Israel – activism that is determined not by their Jewishness but by their ideological zeal in promoting Israel and Zionism as political causes.  

Apartheid Week

Jewish activists in the Israel lobby, in particular, are not shy to say that Israel is at the core of their identity – and that they view a self-declared Jewish state as a vital safe haven for them in the face of a supposedly rising tide of antisemitism on the left. Tangible antisemitism on the right, which is much less critical of Israel, appears to be of much less concern.

These activists also belong to groups that declare themselves committed to lobbying for Israel. 

In her paper, Jackman documents parts of the network of pro-Israel groups in the UK that advertise their commitment to Israel and their collaboration with it in organising advocacy, such as the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (Bicom). 

And she sets out Israel’s own efforts to mobilise these groups to better serve its interests, such as against the international boycott (BDS) movement. At major Israeli establishment forums, such as the annual Herzliya Conference on Israel’s security priorities, discussions centre on ways to recruit Jewish and Christian supporters abroad to “win the battle of the narrative”. 

Jackman further highlights that Bicom has established a satellite organization, We Believe in Israel, “with the explicit purpose of mobilizing and resourcing an army of loyalists to challenge detractors, promote Israel and defend its actions”. 

Its director, Luke Akehurst, is also a senior figure in Labour First, a right-wing section of the Labour party that worked to undermine Corbyn for supposedly indulging antisemitism in the party.

We Believe has subsequently made private a Youtube video in which, according to Jackman, Akehurst says many thousands of supporters, nearly half of them non-Jews, have been recruited to serve as “allies in the battle for Israel’s reputation”. 

Replicating the situation in the US, Jackman notes, British Christian fundamentalists – who view Israel as part of divine prophecy to bring nearer a supposed end times – have become a particularly vocal part of the lobby. 

‘Hate crimes

She also points out that, well before the IHRA redefined antisemitism to focus on Israel, university campuses were being targeted by the lobby in a bid to silence activism in support of Palestinian rights. 

A popular public figure, comedienne Maureen Lipman, became the face of claims that British universities were failing in a duty of care to Jewish students by allowing other students to mark Israel Apartheid Week.

The argument glossed over the question of what duty of care the universities owed to Palestinian and Muslim students who wished to draw attention to Israeli policies that oppress Palestinians.

Friends of Israel groups picked up Lipman’s theme in letter-writing campaigns to universities, calling Israel Apartheid Week “hate crimes” and evidence of antisemitism.  

As a result, a number of universities hurriedly closed down Palestinian solidarity activism, including the University of Central Lancashire, Exeter, and Central London.  

Immune to criticism

And yet, despite all these highly visible pressure campaigns to stop criticism of Israel, the lobby groups behind them have decried as antisemitism any effort, such as Jackman’s, to analyse or record how such lobbying works in practice. 

With the assistance of the IHRA definition, they are not only making it even harder to criticise Israel but also ever harder to criticise themselves for making it so difficult to criticise Israel.

As occurred in the Labour party under Corbyn, any attempt to analyse how antisemitism is being weaponised by the lobby is itself ascribed to antisemitism. The lobby has thereby made itself immune to all criticism.

As Jackman noted in her paper, the lobby used precisely these tactics to avert the normal fallout from the revelations of Israeli interference in UK politics made by the Al-Jazeera documentary. That, she pointed out, would have been unavoidable “had Russia, Iran or indeed any other state been caught behaving in a like manner”.

In backing Collier’s description of Jackman’s paper as “hate speech”, Glasgow University has sent a chilling message to academics: examine Israel and its lobbyists at your peril.

In response, the petition – signed so far by more than 500 academics from 28 countries – was sent to Prof Muscatelli and made public on Monday. One of the organisers, Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned linguist, stated: “The capitulation by the University of Glasgow is a serious blow to academic freedom that should not be allowed to stand.” 

The signatories warn:

“Others [states, corporations or groups] may be described as organising, planning or seeking influence, and even disseminating propaganda or misleading accounts. But it is falsely asserted that description of such behaviour by Israel or its advocates cannot be neutral observation or analysis; a racist meaning and intent is imputed and assumed without evidence.”

The petition organisers also point out that “it is unusual for a case to attract so much international attention from academics across such a wide range of disciplines.” 

They include a Nobel laureate, George Smith, two fellows of the Royal Society – physicist Malcolm Levitt and the mathematician David Epstein – and the acclaimed historian Sheila Rowbotham. 

Two former presidents of the British Sociological Association, and the current president of the International Sociological Association, have also signed, as well as the president of the Latin American Studies Association. There are 20 signatories from major universities in Israel, as well as Salman Abu Sitta, President of the Palestine Land Society.

The petition notes that making false claims of antisemitism “weakens the struggle against actual racism”.

Self-censorship

Where this is likely to lead is highlighted by another incident at Glasgow that has similarly disturbed leading academics. 

Last week, the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (Brismes) wrote to Glasgow university expressing concern that its politics department had sought to vet a talk by Somdeep Sen, a professor at Roskilde University in Denmark. The department had invited Sen to speak on his new book, Decolonising Palestine, published by Cornell University Press.

Brismes is the largest national academic association in Europe focused on the study of the Middle East and North Africa. 

According to the letter, Sen was contacted by the department to say it had received “a message of concern from the University’s Jewish Society” about his forthcoming talk and that he would need to “provide information” on the main points and any slides he intended to use.

According to Brismes, it was also intimated that the information would be shared with the Jewish Society to assess whether it would have “negative repercussions” for Jewish students.   

The letter – sent by Brismes’s president, Baroness Afshar – warned that Glasgow’s treatment of Sen was illustrative of “the pernicious effect of the IHRA definition of antisemitism” and “its conflation of criticisms of Israel and Zionism with antisemitism”. 

Additionally citing the university’s apology over Jackman’s paper, Brismes warned that Glasgow’s decisions were having “a chilling effect when it comes to public debate and research on Israeli government policies, pro-Israel advocacy and Palestinian groups” and would lead to “self-censorship on the part of individual scholars and students”. 

A spokesman for the university told MintPress that Glasgow had “not prohibited any academic from speaking at the University… nor do we intend to prevent Dr Sen from doing so”.

He added that the university was separately “considering [the petition] fully” and would “respond to the signatories in due course”. 

#MeToo moment

Self-censorship by academics appears to be very much the goal of the lobby. The Community Security Trust – yet another pro-Israel lobby group –published a report into what it claimed was “widespread antisemitism at British universities” last December – just as Collier and the Jewish Chronicle began their campaign to pressure Glasgow university to disown Jackman’s scholarship. 

The Trust was also central to the pressure campaign to get Bristol university to sack David Miller, a sociologist and expert on Islamophobia. Leaked documents revealed by Electronic Intifada last week show not only that Bristol university’s investigation concluded that there was no misconduct from Miller but that its findings suggest that the Community Security Trust and two unnamed Jewish students colluded to smear Miller. 

The pair described Jewish students as “terrified” of Miller, but the investigation showed neither had attended his classes and they had not spoken to students who had. 

The only complaint about his teaching related to an optional essay question set by Miller on lobbying that made no mention of Israel, Zionism or Jews. One of the two students, however, claimed that answers to it might lead to “antisemitic tropes”.

Nonetheless, despite the findings of its own investigation, Bristol dismissed Miller – apparently to avoid the increasingly loud noise the lobby had whipped up over the case, including a letter harshly criticising the university for “inaction” from more than 100 British parliamentarians.

The Community Security Trust’s report highlights as an example of “widespread antisemitism” at British universities an incident in which a lecturer at Warwick university made a complaint against a Jewish student who accused her of making an antisemitic comment. 

Exploiting the #MeToo moment, both the Trust and the Union of Jewish Students have pushed for Jewish students “to be believed” – whatever allegations they make. 

James Harris, until recently the president of the Union of Jewish students, observed at the time of the Trust’s survey: 

“It is evident that certain universities have woefully disregarded their duty of care to Jewish students. … When antisemitism does arise, Jewish students rightly expect that it will be taken seriously and dealt with effectively.”

Lord Mann, the government’s antisemitism czar, stated of the Trust’s report: “All students should have the right to be who they want to be on campus. That is as true for Jewish students as anyone else. Those rights must not be dictated by fellow students, academic staff, students’ union officials.”

But, of course, Jewish students and organisations that want criticism of Israel off-limits, or their own pro-Israel activism immune from scrutiny, are denying “the right to be who they want to be on campus” to many Arab, Muslim, Palestinian and leftwing students. 

The question, raised by the petition and letter of complaint, is whether universities like Glasgow will continue to submit to such attacks on academic life under the cover of false or evidence-free claims of antisemitism. 

The signs so far are not promising.


Author | Jonathan Cook is an award-winning journalist and MintPress contributor. Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

21 comments

  1. We’ve been in a toxic era of anti-Jewish racism. Proclaiming that racism isn’t really racism, is absurd. Israel, the sole Jewish nation, is roughly 1% of the Mideast region. Jews are indigenous to that land, restored (in part) via the UN in 1948, renamed Israel. 99% of region consists of the Arab countries, all armed to the teeth by China, Russia, the US. Yet, the racists portray Israel (sole semi-socialist Mideastern country) as a military mega-power trampling over the “impoverished” Arab oil world.

    1. I am 100% Jewish. One quarter of my family was killed by the Nazis in WW II. I strongly object to Zionists and other defenders of the apartheid state of Israel calling those of us who tell the truth about Israel’s war- and human-rights crimes “anti-Semitic” or “self-hating Jews.” This is as absurd as it is immoral. It’s not Jews who are the problem, it’s Israel. My Jewish friends and I all oppose Israel and its behavior.

      Stating the fact that Israel is only 1% of the Middle East is propaganda. Sure, that fact is true, but it’s totally out of context if you don’t also state that because of military and economic aid from the U.S. and to a lesser extent western Europe, is the greatest military power in that part of the world and has nuclear weapons. The Arab countries may be “armed to the teeth,” but that’s nothing compared to the Israeli military.

      1. If Israel is the problem that the Jews that represent 80% of its population ( and a majority of the world jewish population) are 80% of the problem!
        So how do you suggest as a solution? Hamas for instance have inscribed in their basic credo throwing them into the sea.
        Is this also your opinion? Or do you think that the Jews in Israel should emigrate en masse to Europe/US/Canada /Australia etc etc?

      2. This has become a very complicated problem because it has festered for so long. What I’d really like to do is to go back to 1948, undo the illegitimate theft of Palestinian land & the creation of Israel, and give European Jews a piece of Germany, which after all was the cause of the problem. Stealing the Palestinians’ land and kicking them off of it was not at all a legitimate solution to the German Nazi problem.

        That said, it’s 2021 and too late for undoing the creation of Israel. What I support and propose now is a return to the pre-1967 borders, which would include removal of all subsequent settlers who are also living on stolen land. I also advocate removal of all Israeli troops outside of Israel’s borders, starting with the Golan Heights. There would be a lot of details that need to be worked out, but that’s my realpolitik solution at this time.

    2. Israel acts with near impunity in its military persecution of Palestinians. The attack Lebanon and Iran at will. They used their political power to convince the US to topple regimes in Iraq and Libya. What level of evidence do you require to accept that Israel is an out-of-control belligerent and that Likud is a near-terrorist entity.

      1. You should try to keep to date with your facts.
        The Likud is now in opposition and a government that includes also an Arab Islamic party is now in power.

    3. I forgot to mention: Funny how I haven’t experienced any of the “anti-Jewish racism” that you claim we’re in a “toxic era” of. Neither have any of my family or Jewish friends. Wanna explain how we could be “in a toxic era of anti-Jewish racism” yet none of these people have experienced it? To be clear, I’m not saying that antisemitism doesn’t exist. But at this point it’s mostly a reaction to people with positions like yours who are fed up with Israel, and in the U.S., with Israel having massive undue influence over the U.S. government and its policies.

  2. Note that when racists call for the eradication of the sole Jewish nation, it’s an absurdity to claim that it’s not about racism.

    1. “Note” — without argumentation, this is just a claim, not a note. Also, Jews are not a race. It is a religion and ethnicity.

  3. Arguments can be made that any group of humans that walked over any portion of the earth have some right to the property they set foot on once upon a time.. Forget about religion, as there is no true Religion. Only doctrine interpreted and cooked up by people for the purpose of controlling others. That being said, Maybe we owe it to ourselves to dispense with all religious affiliations, and for once recognize that we are all human beings, of the same DNA, we have the same blood, and we are all brothers and sisters first and foremost. It was not until the concept of Religion raised its ugly head that humanity started to separate and war with one another. This is very sad. Some day if we survive total destruction we will realize this fact. Maybe then we will have peace.

    1. There is no evidence that divisions among human groups started with religion. This only conjecture.

  4. The narrative is now fortunately changing as the world sees that Israel is an Apartheid state as acknowledged by B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch. Bishop Desmond Tutu and a delegation of South Africans who lived under that nations Apartheid have acknowledged that conditions for Palestinians are far worse than even those suffered by Black South Africans. The stealing of Palestinian land, violations of international law, bull dozing of homes, erasure of Palestinian villages, the arbitrary arrest of children, constant harassment by illegal settlers, checkpoints that prevent or inhibit Palestinian children from going to school or medical appointments, sniper attacks on peaceful protestors, a separation wall, limiting of electricity to Gaza, the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza in May 2021 by Israeli forces, deliberate destruction of facilities used by the world’s press to cover these events. Gaza has been described as the largest open air prison on the planet. Jews of conscience know this people like Noam Chomsky, Norman Finklestein, Max Blumenthal, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Peter Beinart et al. Zionism cannot be conflated with authentic Judaism which is a religion of peace, nonviolence and the universal values of humanity. Zionism remains a tribal/nationalist movement based upon white and Jewish supremacy. Israel is a settler/colonial state founded by Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian Jews sadly deeply traumatized by the Shoah. The Shoah is over and is not a license to oppress another innocent population (Palestinians) who are the indigenous people of Palestine. Martin Buber and many of the rabbis recognized Israel for what it would become the new “Golden Calf”. Israel is now the new Egypt with Naphatli Bennett the new Pharaoh. Sadly, the United States and Canada arm and back this violent venture but no surprise there with the long history of white supremacy and colonialism as the backbone of these two countries.

    1. Using buzz words as “white supremacy”, “colonialism”, “apartheid” reminds me of Cold War communist propaganda which had about the same relationship with the facts on the ground as your comment.
      Just a few remarks:
      – The Jewish people rights to the Land of Israel are no less than that of the Arabs living there (there was no Palestine until the British Mandate post WW 1).Jewish presence in Israel and the wish to return there has been a constant of Jewish life through history and did not begin with Theodor Herzl.
      – separation wall, Gaza bombing and blockade did not came from Israel’s whim but were responses to indiscriminate acts of terror against the civilian population and rocket firing from Gaza.
      – While historic Zionism as a political movement was mainly an European endeavor, the state of Israel from its inception has been open and inclusive of Jews from Arab countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Iraq etc), Iran, India, Ethiopia and everywhere else!

      1. Those are not “buzzwords.” They are clearly defined terms that are totally relevant to Jeremiah’s comments.

        When the British created Palestine out of the remains of the Ottoman Empire, only 10% of the population there was Jewish. How do you justify giving 10% of the population all of the land? That would be like saying that despite them now being only a small percentage of the population, the U.S. should give all the land back to the Natives. (In fact that would be far more legitimate and I’d fully support it!)

        Your comments in support of Israeli actions against Arabs are ludicrous. Militarily, this is people throwing rocks (Arabs) against people with machine guns and nuclear weapons (Israel). Are you kidding?

        Middle eastern Jews are treated as second class citizens in Israel. Israel is a European Jewish country, let’s get real here.

      2. So you agree that the State of Israel has the right to exist and that “free Palestine” slogan which de facto negates that , can be taken to be anti Jewish !
        However I agree in principle with your solution, of course in the framework of comprehensive and sincere peace negotiations and treatises ( as the ones between Israel, Egypt, Jordan and other Arab states)

      3. Jeff Hello
        There are buzz words:
        – white supremacy – The last time I looked most Arabs were also white so they enjoy the same “colour” supremacy as most Jews
        – colonialism – the term is generally used to describe the conquest/acquisition of a territory by another state ( the colonial power ) . Tghis has never been the case for Israel which came into being after a conflict with the colonial power ( The British Empire)
        – apartheid – implies a system of laws enshrining different treatment based on race. This does not exist in Israel

        I don’t wish for you to be on the receiving side of the “rocks ” thrown by Hamas and Hezbollah which in fact are rockets with warheads of up to hundreds of kilos of TNT, or of various IED. And for your knowledge, rocks also kill.
        The remark that ME Jews are second class citizens is ludicrous : in today Israel they are in the highest positions in government, business, army, police, academia, the media – everywhere, and not only in tokenized positions but in all the ranks.
        But all this is less important once we agreed ( see your and mine previous comments) that the State of Israel has the right to exist . Of course this does not mean that one has to agree to its governments’ acts and policies which can always be the target of legitimate criticism!

  5. Several things here…

    1) As the article correctly points out, shouting fire at every turn becomes exhausting for the average observer and will ultimately lead to support being removed and/or genuine claims being ignored.

    2) Authoritarians do what authoritarians do the world over. Faith or the absence of faith, is of no consequence.

    3) Some individuals/populations/governments are completely identified with oppression, take it away from them, and their identity ceases to exist. To guard against this, they ‘see’ oppression under every stone and behind every leaf, and in so doing, reinforce their egoic mind. Because egos fight for survival, the negative behavior exhibited will likely increase until ultimately thwarted by its own self-induced downward spiral.

    4) It is our role to continue to act with honor and integrity, and to consistently demonstrate clarity of being. It is impossible to persuade oppressed individuals, so instead, we offer them kindness and compassion while forgiving their transgressions and sidestepping their self-limiting behavior.

    1. I understand that in 3 you refer to Hamas, PLO, other Palestinian organizations and their supporters that prefer prioritizing the narrative of oppression, based at least partially on undeniable realities, to the exclusion of any even tentative seeking of a way out from the existing impasse

  6. It bothers me that many people in the U.S. and abroad see the threat to freedom as always coming from the left. This reminds me of a historical incident that occurred in the UCLA college system 71 years ago.

    In 1950 a professor named John Walton Caughey had just published a description of the treatment of California Indians compiled earlier by B. D. Wilson in 1852. The UCLA board of regents apparently got suspicious of a work that told much of the truth about the ill treatment of a minority like Native Americans. The board demanded that all the staff submit to signing loyalty oaths which stated that they were not a member of the communist party. Caughey and 30 other teachers refused to sign the loyalty oath. They were all dismissed by the board of regents.

    The teachers were smeared by many of the news papers of the time as being “commi dupes”. Caughey argued that since it was not actually illegal to join the communist party (he was a civil libertarian by the way) that the UCLA board had violated the constitution by requiring a loyalty oath.

    Caughey and the other professors had their day in court (April 1951) and won in the Calif 3rd District court of appeals . The board of regents appealed to the Supreme Court and lost. These brave 31 teachers stood up for academic freedom and civil liberties against the foaming at the mouth anti-communist movement. We owe them our gratitude.

    Do we have the same spirit in our educational institutions today? If the bonni Scots will not stand up then who will?

    ” Dictators seek to control men’s thoughts and so they attempt to dictate science, education and religion. But dictated education is usually propaganda, dictated history is often mythology and dictated science is pseudo-science.” E.G. Conklin

    Any nation state that blows up little kids and cuts off a whole peoples water supply deserves all the criticism it gets.

  7. I object to calling the Zionist State an Apartheid State (photo on the
    top). This is unfair to the former white supremacy regime of South
    Africa – as amazing as this may seem.

    Hear me out.

    In South Africa, the oppressed people were necessary for the functioning
    of the economy and, therefore, the regime. Their disappearance would
    have been a disaster for both. So, the excessive killing of them would have
    been a very bad idea. If the Zionists could wave a magic wand and have all
    the Palestinians disappear, does anybody doubt that they would do so?

    The Zionists are trapped in a problem of their own making. The Palestinians
    have no place to go. Expelling them, exterminating them, or a combination
    of the two won’t go unnoticed. Paying them to leave would be an admission
    of guilt, and would require finding a country that would take them. Lotsa luck.

    Black people in South Africa couldn’t be killed in significant numbers because
    they were necessary to the Apartheid State. Living Palestinians have no value
    to the Zionist State of Israel. Indeed, they are a continuing problem that doesn’t
    go away.

    That’s why I think It’s an insult to the late white supremacy regime of South
    Africa to call the Zionist State an Apartheid State. Israel is far worse than that.
    I leave it to you to find a better descriptor.

    Eventually, this problem that doesn’t go away will have extreme measures
    applied to it. This has been done before. Bet on it.

    1. The Jewish population of Israel ( or the Zionists as you call them) also have no place to go.
      So what do you suggest?

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