How could I have been so stupid?

I’m so grateful to the brave Peter Oborne for standing up against the wicked Jewish lobby and telling it like it is.

His documentary on Channel Four last night – made by “Hardcash” productions, ironically – was so insightful; now I’ve seen the light.

Now I know that traitorous Zionists are secretly funding a massive campaign on behalf of a foreign government, and they’re officially “the most powerful lobby in Britain”.

Having worked in Parliament, I always thought it was the advertising lobby that had the most reach – endlessly sending me gifts while I was there (always returned); always offering nights out and tickets for whatever was on.

But it’s obvious now you think about it. It’s the nasty Zionist influence that makes our government back Israel to the hilt. That’s why we joined America, Canada, Australia and 15 other countries in firmly rejecting the Goldstone report (we didn’t), and why our Foreign Secretary didn’t speak out against Israel’s actions in Gaza (he did).

It’s why BBC News journalists have to be so pro-Israel all the time (haha), and why someone like Jeremy Bowen could never be accused of partiality against Israel (the BBC Trust found he was). It’s why Jon Snow from Channel Four News may have great ties but he’d never deny with disdain the deaths of so many Israeli civilians.

It’s why The Independent and especially The Guardian cower in fear and never conflate news and anti-Israel opinion, and of course never censor the debate (yeah right).

Of course, it’s all obvious now. Those big-noses are running the country and they’re controlling everything!

I’m so glad Peter showed us his bloody montage: dead children – Jews eating dinner – more blood – Israel flag – dead bodies – Jews eating dinner… money, Israel flag, dead bodies, Israel flag… because it showed he had no agenda, obviously. It showed that he wasn’t pandering to sick stereotypes either.

Did I dream this bizarre program or was it really on last night?

Oborne’s essential message was that since he couldn’t find any evidence of a conspiracy, that proves it is a very deep conspiracy. Because nobody could tell him about it, that proves it exists. A typical example of his special brand of logic was when he said the Honest Reporting news agency isn’t based in Britain (it is) but in Israel (it isn’t). So off he went to Jerusalem, probably with his crucifix at the ready, where he was politely told that the office isn’t there. This seemed to prove something sinister to him: it’s a virtual organisation, he told us knowingly, as if that’s odd for a website. Nudge nudge, wink wink. (I happen to know that the head of Honest Reporting, Simon Plosker, was in London the whole time this was going on… and I am pretty sure Oborne knew this too.)

The message most people will remember is that Oborne went over to Israel to track down a group of evasive Jews who remote-control our politicians and media. It’s shitty journalism. It panders to the worst kind of prejudice.

At a time when anti-semitic violence is on the rise, Oborne’s crass conspiracy theory will make money for him and Hardcash – and it will put more Jewish lives at risk.

Related post: The Middle East: What would you do?

38 Comments on “How could I have been so stupid?”

  1. Doogie

    Completely agree about the programme Chris – dreadful, distorted garbage from a man who prides himself on his prejudices and shouldn’t be given airtime without a great big warning broadcast before and afterwards.

    Perhaps I think I am cleverer than I ever could be, but I continue to flatly disagree with you about criticising Israel the nation being anti-Semitism. Israel is not a collection of Jews – as you have said before there are more than a million Arab Israeli citizens. Israel is a multi-cultural nation, and equating criticism of it to criticism of the religion which some of its citizens share is frankly ridiculous. That’s not a straw man argument.

    In fact I would go so far as to say the problems of the Middle East will never be resolved until the difference between religion and statehood is recognised by Muslims and Jews.

  2. Alan L

    “A typical example […] was when he said the Honest Reporting news agency isn’t based in Britain (it is) but in Israel (it isn’t). So off he went to Jerusalem […] where he was politely told that the office isn’t there. […] (I happen to know that the head of Honest Reporting, Simon Plosker, was in London the whole time this was going on… and I am pretty sure Oborne knew this too.)”

    Good stuff, Chris. More of this, please.

  3. Matt Wingett

    Hi Chris, not disagreeing with the thrust of this, but your argument:

    “It’s why BBC News journalists have to be so pro-Israel all the time (haha), and why someone like Jeremy Bowen could never be accused of partiality against Israel (the BBC Trust found he was)”

    does seem to turn in on itself. Obviously, from a paranoid perspective, JB getting a slap on the wrists from the BBC Trust “proves” the power of the Jewish Lobby in controlling maverick pro-Arab journalists… Could you clarify? Cheers!

  4. Tara L

    Chris, I totally agree with your post. I was stunned watching Dispatches last night. I actually thought it was a take off of a serious piece of investigatory journalism. I’m embarrassed for Channel 4.

  5. Steve McN

    Unfortunately this is part of a trend for Channel Four.

    If it wasn’t for institutional bias how could Jon Snow have kept his job after lying so obviously about the Kassam rockets? Come to think of it, how come the all-powerful Israel lobby let him get away unscathed?

    Did you see him with the Israeli ambassador is terrifying too? It’s not just that he is hugely unprofessional, his anger whenever he discusses Israel also suggests a deep-seated hatred.

    Hat’s off for your post.

  6. Simon

    Not for the first time I am worried about my family and I’s future in this country, but this programme made me scared.

  7. Matt Wingett

    Also thought Shlomo Sand’s very interesting work on the myth of Judaism would help solve a lot of the problems of the Middle East. A powerful and persuasive deconstruction of Judaism as a religion-race, it points out how Judaism was actually a proselytising religion until about the 4th Century, if not later.

    Sand rather takes the wind out of the Zionist sails, with his thesis.

    “Judaism is not racially pure” is part of the point – blurring the boundaries of what is meant by a “chosen people” and a promised land. All such blurrings would be useful in bringing some flexibility to the Middle East situation, on both sides.

    I think at the heart of it, something similar to what Sand points at is what is needed: a reconceptualisation of the 19th Century myth that the Jews are a “nation” in any meaningful modern sense. Israel is a nation, that’s for sure. But the Jews, at least according to Sand, are not. If people were willing to accept this line, then it would make it okay to criticise Israeli policy fairly and squarely, without knee-jerk claims of “anti-semitism” on the one side, and lunacy of “Zionist conspiracy” on the other.

    Aah, I’ve used that word. “Anti-semitism”. I find it quite difficult in itself, since Abraham was a descendant of Shem (from which the etymology “semitic”), and he was a father of that other semitic people: the Arabs.

    Don’t you ever think it seems odd to call pro-Arabs anti-semitic? They are all semitic people! But hey, all’s fair in love and war!

    Keep up the passion. I could never write something like you’ve written, because I always believe that it’s possible that I could get it wrong. But the piece is eloquent, and I like it for the fire that burns in the belly of its progenitor.

  8. Chris Morris

    It’s quite disturbing that your response to a slur on Jews is to say there shouldn’t be a Jewish nation. And your reason? “It would make it okay to criticise Israeli policy fairly and squarely.”

    I’m glad you realise it’s possible you’re wrong. You are wrong. Very very wrong, on so many levels.

  9. Jonathan

    Chris, thank you for this. At times like this it can be quite scary to see a mainstream channel once again engaging in out and out old school antisemitism. You remind us that there are those out there still who see through that.

  10. Alan L

    Matt Wingett: “Israel is a nation, that’s for sure.”

    No, Israel is not a nation. Israel is a state.

    The Israelis, however, are a nation. They are a civic nation. Other examples of civic nations are the Malaysians and the British. Many Israelis are Jewish Jews, many Brits are Christian English, many Malaysians are Muslim Malays.

    But ‘the Malaysians’ does not mean ‘the Muslim Malays’, ‘the British’ does not mean ‘the Christian English’ and ‘the Israelis’ does not mean ‘the Jewish Jews’. (This is not tautology: ethnic Jews may be Christian, Buddhist, Atheist etc.)

    Jews are an ethnic nation. This is not at all the same as the Israeli civic nation. Not all citizens of Israel are Jewish and not all Jews are citizens of Israel. So they cannot possibly be the same.

    Chris Morris: “Please don’t tell me that criticising Israel doesn’t make you anti-semitic.”

    Correct. Not only does criticising Israel not make you anti-semitic, it doesn’t even make you anti-Israeli. Criticising Israel’s right to exist makes you anti-Israeli – but there is a wide gulf between that and supporting Israel’s right to exist and criticising present-day Israeli policy.

    It is right to criticise the policy of any state . In fact, if we don’t then we no longer have democracy. That doesn’t make you against the existence of that state, still less against the ethnic group from which the majority of that state’s population is comprised.

    Israel is not East Germany. It will not cease to exist if it changes political direction. Given that, why should it be so unacceptable to criticise Israeli policy, just as we might criticise French policy or Russian policy or Slovak policy? Is Israel exceptional?

    P.S. I didn’t see Matt Wingett write anywhere that “there shouldn’t be a Jewish nation.”

    It is incumbent upon all of us to realise in the 21st century that while ethnic nations exist on one level as useful conceptual categories for communities of people, ethnic nations don’t actually exist in any definable sense. They are arbitrary, shifiting, fluid communities which nationalist administrations seek to make less arbitrary, shifting and fluid by attempting to establish definitive boundaries around language, territory and ethnic traits.

    We might much more usefully focus on state citizenries – ie. civic nations.

  11. Caroline Gardner

    This is in danger of becoming like the other post you did about Israel, the people who don’t know are going to lecture those who do. Don’t people understand that Arabs attack Jews on principle, they declared the war in 1948 on the day Israel was founded, it was nothing Israel did but only because it existed as a country, a Jewish country? You cannot divide Jewishness from Israel since that is what the issue is.

  12. Doogie

    Chris, it’s quite disturbing that you read Matt’s comment as saying that there shouldn’t be a Jewish nation, when in fact what he said was that Jews do not constitute a nation, that latter point being self-evident since Judaism is a religion not a state.

    Rather more apposite than whether a Jewish nation should be allowed is the question of whether it exists today, and I think the answer to that is no, because Israel is a multicultural state which numbers Muslims, Christians, atheists and Jews in its citizenry.

    Of course it is possible to say that Israel is a Jewish country in much the same way as people say that the UK is a Christian country. I don’t think it helps though.

  13. Caroline Gardner

    Here we go. Judaism is a religion, Jews are a people. Israel is the Jewish State. Learn something before you lecture others!

    Chris even warned about the synaptically challenged. lol

  14. Doogie

    Caroline, I can only assume that you place yourself on the side of the people who “know”, but frankly anyone who makes the statement “Arabs attack Jews on principle” is guilty of the most grotesque generalisation. To my knowledge none of the Arabs I have ever met have ever attacked any Jews, and none of the Jews I have ever met have ever attacked any Arabs.

    And the generalisation would be just as grotesque if you replaced “Arabs” with “Muslims”.

  15. Avi from Jerusalem

    Chris, you are a great writer and friend of Israel.

    I didn’t see the programme but unfortunately these kind of things are not rare.

    Doogie and Alan L, you are still here with your puffed up chests? Last time I visited the blog it was you two as well.

  16. Alan L

    I do not have a puffed up chest, Avi. Where in my writing do you see a puffed up chest? I have never been to Israel but I hope very much that the people of Israel would regard me as a friend too, just as they might regard Chris as a friend. Last week I criticised a close friend for driving after consuming alcohol when he should know better. Does it mean I am not his friend. Would it have been better if I had kept my opinions to myself?

  17. Matt

    Thanks everyone, that was great.

    Looks like the can of worms got truly opened with that post. And yes, you’re right everyone, I need to be a little bit more careful with my terminology when talking about states and nations. However, look through the clumsiness (for which I prostrate myself before you).

    What I was getting at was that if there was some flexibility on the part of that section of Israeli Jewish society that is currently stuck in tradition as to whether or not the land they inhabit actually might not have been given to them by God 5,000 years ago (or however long ago it was) then, hurrah, there might be a bit of movement here and a chance for people to live together. I mean, that is a truism, isn’t it? Nothing particularly radical in that suggestion. Is there? Really? Obviously, the Arabs would need to do the same. Both would need to bend.

    I mean, it is a truism to say that flexibility leads to compromise, isn’t it?

    But offer a means of reinterpreting the national myth of Israeli Jewishness (Shlomo Sand really does appear to offer a way out of the cleft stick by offering an alternative and benign self interpretation for Jewish Israelis) and suddenly it’s back to the same old boring arguments about whose God is bigger than whose, and who’s got a secret pair of Jackboots in their closet, and manifest destiny, and all that stuff. That is soooo tedious. Being traduced is sooooo tedious. Yaw-w-n.

    Plenty of nations have reinvented themselves. My great grandfather came from a generation in which black people were considered the missing link. Now, thanks to the collapse of empire, this view is magically gone, and replaced by a new middle class intention. Black runners win our Olympic medals, black comedians make us laugh, black musicians make us rock. As time goes by, the mingling gets better and better. Black businessmen and politicians – there will be more and more, over time. What about a black / Chinese / Slavic head of the Royal Family. That would be fun! And you know what? This change is great! Countries really can pragmatically change under the pressure of necessity… why not Israel and her neighbours? Don’t bother answering, I know the answer: rigid, stuck thinking. (Please note: I didn’t say whose.)

    Shame on this type of rigidness – whatever the religion or the politics. I have made a note to myself not to bring this up with you again. I know how you’ll answer, now. Shall overlook it when Israel comes up on your facebook page again.

    I do feel I have been fooled. I thought there was a discussion available, not a barracking. Nope, I yield, well and truly. This is really not my scene. I’m off. Byeee!

  18. Chris Morris

    My post wasn’t about Israel’s right to exist. If it had been, it still wouldn’t be about whether God really gave them some land 5,000 years ago. Come on Matt! That’s a naive way to think about the issue, and no wonder if it’s “informed by” reading Shlomo Sand’s silly book (he’s a complete dickhead!).

    The real question is this: when a journalist goes on television and tells lies about Jews in Britain, why is your response to discuss whether Israel is a legitimate nation or a legitimate state? Why is that your focus here?

    Israel was democratically created in 1948 under UN Resolution. Its fearful and hateful neighbours declared war on it the very next day and that wasn’t because of land or border disputes but because they didn’t want a Jewish state in the Middle East region. It’s about identity, and ultimately power. Your argument essentially boils down to the idea that if Israel recants on its identity then the problem will be over. That’s like saying black people should act white, gay people should act straight and we should all do what the men with bombs tell us to do.

    You bang the drum for flexibility, but you don’t use the word in any way I recognise. Flexibility isn’t about being weak and scared. Flexibility is about finding the resources to be free.

    So keep providing the straw men, as many as you like; I’m happy to keep burning them, because I don’t just talk about freedom… I actually believe in it.

  19. T. Rowlin

    Hey, lets just forget the important issues of the Dispatches programme shall we ??
    Frankly, it seems you lot either did not see it or are suffering from selective memory loss.
    Lets go over the main issues :

    We were told that the lobby “aims to shape the debate about Britain’s relationship with Israel and future foreign policies relating to it”. So the programme would be looking at “who they are, how they are funded, how they work and what influence they have, from the key groups to the wealthy individuals who help bankroll the lobbying”.

    1) It reported that a large majority of Conservative MPs and half the shadow cabinet are signed-up Friends of Israel, and millions of pounds flow into the bank accounts of MPs and parties although only a fraction of these “contributions” is visibly accounted for. Sir Richard Dalton, a former British diplomat who served as consul-general in Jerusalem, observed: “I don’t believe, and I don’t think anybody else believes these contributions come with no strings attached.”

    2) It showed how Labour and Conservative Friends of Israel take dozens of MPs on free trips to Israel, where they are guests of the Israeli government.

    3) It showed how one of the Conservative Party’s biggest donors (Poju Zabludowicz) has vested interests in illegal settlement development in the West Bank and in BICOM, a shadowy Israeli public affairs outfit. It showed how the party’s leadership is pressured to give a pro-israel view to issues like the Gaza invasion by israel.

    4) Assuming the Conservatives win next year’s election, Israel can rest easy in the knowledge that it continues to have the unquestioned support of the UK government, WITHOUT consent of the UK electorate.

    5) According to Mr Oborne, “the pro-Israel lobby, in common with other lobbies, has every right to operate and indeed to flourish in Britain. But… the present obscurity surrounding it can, paradoxically, give rise to conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact”. The programme proceeded to clear up the obscurities and prove that there IS a very large and well organised group of zionists committed to ensure that the British media and government stifle any and all legitimate criticism of the israeli state.

  20. laura spicer

    Thank you Chris. I really really mean thank you. It is not often that someone who is not Jewish stands up against the anti-Israeli/anti Jewish lobby in Britain. And it is rife and everywhere. You would be openly torn to shreds for critisizing almost any other race, religion or nation. But in Britain today is has become so normal to be anti-Semitic that most people (and see above for examples) think it is ok to be anti-Israel. Thank you

  21. Doogie

    Laura, I find your comment very interesting. You group together the following positions:


    You also describe the subject of your post as a “race, religion or nation”, which reflects some of the different positions above.

    We all know that Jewish identity can cross all of these boundaries, but that does not make them all the same thing.

    You undermine the consensus which says that anti-Semitisim is a bad thing by deliberately trying to link it to anti-Israel sentiment. It is categorically not the same thing.

    As for your assertion that “you would be openly torn to shreds for critisizing almost any other race, religion or nation”, that simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Anti-US feeling is far more widespread in this country than anti-Israel feeling. People criticise Islam constantly – while indulging in nonsense allegations that such criticism is somehow rare because of the “PC lobby”. People with dark skin encounter far more harassment and violence on the streets than those with pale skin.

    Anti Jewish feeling simply isn’t rife or everywhere. But if you think that attacking Israeli policy demonstrates anti-Jewish feeling then I’m not surprised you’re paranoid. It doesn’t.

    By the way, I don’t think there’s a single comment above that could be considered anti-Semitic by any reasonable person.

  22. Alan L

    Laura Spicer: “You would be openly torn to shreds for critisizing almost any other race, religion or nation. [sic]”

    That’s simply not true.

    Has no-one has ever criticised the Russian administration for the injustices it has committed against the Chechens?

    How about…

    Ankara versus the Kurds
    Colombo versus the Tamils
    Tokyo versus the Koreans / Ainu
    Kyiv versus the Carpatho-Rusyns
    Kuala Lumpur versus the Chinese
    Rabat versus the Berbers
    Sofia versus the Shop
    Belgrade versus… well pretty much everyone
    Tallinn versus the Russians
    Beijing versus the Uigur

    and so on (and on and on…)

    Do you really think that Tel Aviv should be excepted when it treats its minority peoples badly, Laura? If so, why do you think so? You may think that Israel is exceptional because it is the only ethnic conflict you pay attention to. But I can assure you it is just one example of a paradigm which can be witnessed across the planet. Please tell me under which circumstances the oppression of an ethnic minority by an ethnic majority is excusable?

    “But in Britain today is has become so normal to be anti-Semitic that most people (and see above for examples) think it is ok to be anti-Israel.”

    The first part of your assertion is an outrageous sweeping statement and I’m afraid that you will find little evidence for it. Across Europe, I suggest you will find few societies which are less anti-semitic than the UK. You want to find anti-semitism? Try the countries of the Former Soviet Union.

    The response to the second part of your assertion needs to be underlined: criticising a democratic state administration is not tantamount to criticising the existence of that state and certainly not equivalent to voicing prejudice against the ethnic group which forms the majority of that state’s population.

  23. Calvin McIlroy

    A disgraceful program.
    I was totally shocked by this ridiculous conspiracy theory and from a so-called respected journalist.
    Utterly ridiculous.

  24. A Jew With A View

    Nicely done :)

    By the way – you’re probably aware of it but in case not, when you get a minute, head over to my blog and read about how ED HUSAIN, the poster boy for ‘moderate’ Islam, has been busy gunning for MELANIE PHILLIPS. Husain never misses a chance to bash Israel.

  25. Samantha Edwards

    Alan’s logic only makes sense if you think Israel is an opressive country. What does the evidence say? Well for one thing Israeli Arabs have more rights than Arabs in any surrounding country, there are Arabs in the parliament and the majority of Israeli Arabs want to live under Israeli rule. Has Alan been to Israel? He admits no. He has conclusions based on faulty logic but as said above he is too puffed up to learn, just prefers to repeat lies and smears against a country that’s been under attack every day of it’s existence. If you want to talk of opression, talk about that Alan. Talk about the real world not your fantasyland.

  26. Samantha Edwards

    It is really good to read your post Chris, you seem to know how to counter spin really well. It’s a shame you have to but good you do.

  27. Amy

    Alan L writes: “The first part of your assertion is an outrageous sweeping statement and I’m afraid that you will find little evidence for it.”

    Telling language, Alan. Why “I’m afraid”? Because you secretly wish it were the case?

    Well, Alan, it is the case. As a non-Jew you can lecture us all you like about our experiences, but we deal with reality. Try speaking to the CST and other groups about your strange view – they too deal with reality. By any statistical, factual and anecdotal criteria, Britain is a highly and definitely increasingly antisemitic country. Deny it all you like if that suits your agenda, that’s no use to us.

    Your assessment of the situation here is as deluded and ill-informed as your view of Israel. You don’t understand the situation at all, and by the way Tel Aviv is not the capital of Israel – Jerusalem is. Try to listen and empathise rather than just spout and preen.

    Chris, I enjoy your posts about Israel and antisemitism. The subsequent discussions show how your courage, sanity and wisdom is needed.

  28. Doogie

    Amy, would you support the statement that in Britain today it is so normal to be homophobic that most people think it is okay to be anti-gay?

    I ask because as a gay man who has experience of institutional, societal and individual homophobia in Britain, I still don’t think that’s an accurate statement, because most people aren’t anti-gay.

    And I think it’s a decent analogy for the statement you did defend, as a Jew.

  29. The Other Matt

    Excellent article, and you’re spot on. The problem with the pro-Israel lobby in the UK is that there isn’t one. Just lots of unaffiliated groups with a common belief – i.e. that Israel is a democratic, pluralist country and deserves Britain’s support through these difficult times. One good thing about this show was that it reminded me to fill out my CFI membership form 😉

    PS @Laura – I’m not Jewish either.

  30. Jonathan

    Well said, Amy. I for one think Alan L is something of a preening bore. There’s nothing worse than that type of lecturing idiot. They know very little, but think they know a lot, and consider it their duty to go on and on at everyone else about it. And that is the real danger of shitty programmes like Oborne’s: they help bolster the opinions and over inflated self opinion of people like Alan L, who see their mostly baseless prejudices represented on the telly, and figure they must in fact be right after all. Never mind that neither they nor Oborne actually have facts behind what they say to build their arguments upon.

    Alan, hear this: I’m Jewish. I know I’ve experienced more antisemitism as I have got older, living here in the UK. I also read the news, see the attacks, and feel the pain. You clearly do not. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Furthermore, the MET Police and the CST have on record details of the number of attacks made on Jews, motivated by hate. And they show a rise too.

    Could you please give an example of what you are talking about regarding Tel Aviv treating minorities badly? I was there twice over the summer, and saw quite the opposite: a wonderful city full of life, with many peoples living side by side and thriving. I saw Arabs, Jews, Christians, and more, all existing and enjoying their lives there; gay people, straight people, religious people, you name it. All in Tel Aviv. Have you even been there to make this assertion that there is persecution of minorities in that wonderful city? I doubt it.

    As for Oborne, one only needs to look at the comments section of the C4 page about his show to see the vile antisemitism it provoked in viewers who made a beeline there to abuse Jews whilst hiding behind the comfortable anonymity of the Internet.

    Shame on them. Shame on Oborne. Shame on C4. And shame on you, Alan L.

  31. Alan L

    Amy – “Telling language, Alan. Why “I’m afraid”? Because you secretly wish it were the case?”

    Unhelpful. In this case the construction ‘I’m afraid’ was short for ‘I’m afraid to disappoint you’. I could very well have written: “The assertion ‘But in Britain today is has become so normal to be anti-Semitic’ is an outrageous sweeping statement and I’m sorry to disappoint you Laura but you will find little evidence for it.”

    In Britain today, it is not normal to hate Jewish people. It is not normal to embark upon pogroms. It is not normal to ostracise Jewish people and call them “Jesus killers”. It is not normal to speak in hushed tones about Jewish practices in which the blood of innocents is used – and that for this Jewish people kidnap and kill Christian babies. This is anti-semitism. You want to see anti-semitism? Try Vienna in the late 19th century. Try Prague in the 16th century. But if you look around you in 21st century UK society you will find little evidence of the hatred and persecution of Jewish people.

    “By any statistical, factual and anecdotal criteria, Britain is a highly and definitely increasingly antisemitic country.”

    And we see this where? In the membership of associations being closed to those of Jewish descent? In the barring of political office from the same? In hate-filled propaganda broadcast across the airwaves warning God-fearing folk to be wary of the crafty Shylock and the thieving Fagin? I expect hearing of such developments would be a surprise to any number of my Jewish friends and associates. If it helps, I will go and ask them: “Do you feel that Britain is a ‘highly and definitely increasingly antisemitic country’?” and see what they come back with. Do you want me to?

    “Your […] deluded and ill-informed […] view of Israel. You don’t understand the situation at all”

    That much, at least, is entirely possible. Though my deluded and ill-informed view of Israel comes from, amongst other sources B’Tselem ( and you would perhaps concede that they do understand the situation.

    “Tel Aviv is not the capital of Israel – Jerusalem is.”

    That matter will be undecided as long as the territorial dispute continues. I want to ask you if your standpoint is consistent on this. Do you recognise Sukhumi as the capital of Abkhazia? Is Tiraspol the capital of Pridnestrovie? Is Lefkosa the capital of North Cyprus?

    For now I refer to the Foreign and Commonwealth office which states: “Capital City: Israel maintains that Jerusalem is its capital city, a claim not recognised by the UK and the international community. The UK locates it embassy in Tel Aviv.” (See:

    If Tel Aviv is not the internationally recognised capital then Israel has no internationally recognised capital at present. Yes, I understand that most Israelis recognise Jerusalem as their state capital. I’m sure most Pridnestrovians feel the same way about Tiraspol and most Abkhaz feel the same way about Sukhumi.

    “Try to listen and empathise rather than just spout and preen.”

    Yes, I would like very much to listen to perspectives other than my own. I hope very much that all others would like to do the same. That is why we are here. Not necessarily to change each others minds but certainly to listen and learn from each other and to accept that there are other perspectives out there which may not tally with our own.

    The Other Matt- “Israel is a democratic, pluralist country and deserves Britain’s support through these difficult times.”

    Well said and this is something I thoroughly agree with.

    Jonathan – “I for one think Alan L is something of a preening bore.”

    It may be so, Jonathan, but at least I don’t stoop to personal slurs in a public discussion about matters which are considerably more important.

    “They know very little, but think they know a lot and consider it their duty to go on and on at everyone else about it.”

    I go on very little about the Levant. I can assure you I am far more interested and involved in geopolitical questions in Central and Eastern Europe and in East Asia.

    “inflated self opinion of people like Alan L”

    I see a lot of critical adjectives being thrown around here. Can we focus on the discussion? Attempting to rubbish a participant’s views by slinging mud at them just makes the mud-slinger look like they have less to say. I respect your views even if I don’t agree with them and I want to discuss your views and test them against mine, so that I may better understand your views. I would hope that you would want to do the same (unless you’ve already made up your mind that your mind is made up?) and so there is no need to resort to name-calling.

    “Could you please give an example of what you are talking about regarding Tel Aviv treating minorities badly?”

    I didn’t mean the Tel Aviv municpal authorities treating minorities badly and I apologise for lack of clarity. As Amy correctly points out, when I referred to the Tel Aviv administration above, I probably should I have said the ‘Jerusalem administration’.

    That notwithstanding, here is just one example of persecution of the Palestinian minority in Israel by the Israeli administration, in which checkpoints hinder the movements of Palestinian Israeli civilians in order to protect the Jewish Israeli inhabitants of illegal settlements. See:

    “As for Oborne, one only needs to look at the comments section of the C4 page about his show to see the vile antisemitism it provoked in viewers who made a beeline there to abuse Jews whilst hiding behind the comfortable anonymity of the Internet.”

    You know I looked at those comments just now and I didn’t see any examples of anti-semitism. Not one. It’s possible that there may have been some before which have subsequently been edited out. I hope, no matter how we feel about some of the Israeli administration’s policies at present, we can all agree that racist comments, no matter who the target people are unpleasant, insecure, ill-educated, irrational and moronic.

    “And shame on you, Alan L.”

    Why shame on me? It is not shameful to want peace.

  32. Tabatha

    This is relatively simple to resolve, folks:

    Criticising Israeli policy is not ‘anti semitism’.

    Criticising/expressing dislike for Israeli politicians is not ‘anti semitism’.

    Criticising Israel’s weather/restaurants/beaches/airline etc is not ‘anti semitism’.

    Criticising various actions taken by Israel is not ‘anti semitism’.


    *Stating that Israel ‘has no right to exist’ IS anti semitism:

    By doing this, you are singling out the Jewish state, in a manner that is unfair, irrational, and arrogant.

    *Stating that ‘zionists’ are to blame for the problems in the Middle East IS anti semitism.

    You are placing the blame for the centuries-old problems squarely upon those who live in and support the right to exist of the Jewish state.

    Applying a tougher moral standard to Israel than to her Arab neighbours, or indeed any other nation IS anti semitism. You are demanding things of Israel that you do not demand of any other nation.

    *MISrepresenting verifiable history about Israel IS anti semitism:

    It means you are spreading lies about the Jewish state.

    So for example:

    If you state: ‘Jews don’t have any right to be in Palestine’ – then that IS anti semitism:

    You are misrepresenting history, and ignoring the fact that Palestinian Jews have been living in the region for the past 3500 years, non stop.

    You are also denying the existence OF the Jewish state, by referring to it as ‘Palestine’. Palestine was a region, and it was divided up by the British. Roughly 80% went to the Arabs. We know it as Jordan.

    Over 50% of Israelis are natives OF the Middle East, going back countless generations.

    It was the Arab rejection of the two state plan that caused the 1948 war between Israel and the six Arab nations that attacked her.

    The very term ‘Palestinian’ originally referred TO Jews. The Palestinian Philharmonic Orchestra: totally Jewish.

    The Palestinian Post newspaper: totally staffed by Jews – it went on to become today’s Jerusalem Post.

    The Palestinian Brigade that fought WITH the allies AGAINST the Nazis: was 100% JEWISH.

    Finally – to correct someone here. Jews ARE a nation. We were a nation before we had a physical state, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that Jews are and have always been a people and a nation.

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