Birds of a Feather

Daniel Machover’s CiF article of December 16th was addressed at the time on these pages. Since then additional information has come to light such as the Times report  in which Hamas claim to be directly involved in seeking arrest warrants against Israeli nationals, and the report in the Muslim News  that earlier this month Mr. Machover attended a seminar organised by MEMO on the subject of ‘Universal Jurisdiction Against Israeli War Criminals’. Apparently, this section of British law need only be applied to nationals of one nation. That, of course, is hardly surprising seeing as the Chair of MEMO is none other than Dr. Daud Abdullah, signatory of the Istanbul declaration and leader of the Muslim Council of Britain’s boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day. Birds of a feather do indeed flock together.

Machover’s article had the many lovers of conspiracy theories regarding the mythical Jewish lobby out in force.


16 Dec 2009, 1:54PM

i was wondering what the editor of the jewish chronicle was doing on the c4-news, discussing the issue. any ideas?


16 Dec 2009, 3:23PM

David Milliband? Son of a famous father who was opposed to Zionism?

Where does Milliband stand with respect to Jewish Zionism?

Does he perhaps have a vested interest here?

Perhaps, if so, he should declare his interest?


16 Dec 2009, 5:39PM

How the f*ck has the recommended tally for ThevoiceofIsrael doubled in the 15 minutes?


16 Dec 2009, 5:45PM

I agree 100% with the author of the article. AS it is it seems more difficult to prosecute an Israeli for war crimes in the UK than it would be in Israel, and easier to change laws to prevent this happening in the UK at request from Israel than to change laws in Israel in order to allow the prosecution of those accused of war crimes.

Some people keep complaining about the different treatment of Israel. Now Israel , or Israeli leaders, are being treated exactly like the leader of Sudan, like Milosevitch, like war criminals from West Africa, from Ruanda, like Hamas, and those same people apparently don’t like that Israel gets the same treatment than others.


16 Dec 2009, 6:04PM

What Ms Livni is finding out, is that the world is becoming a less tolerant place for those who indiscriminately allow the murder of women and children. Even those supported by the Americans are now just coming under a little pressure. This pressure will grow and Ms Livni and her likes will find their foreign travel restricted to a handful of locations. The world is slowly changing in this regard. Get used to it Ms Livni. And if you manage to avoid justice in this world, you certainly will not in the next.


16 Dec 2009, 6:11PM

Sorry, Tzipi, no tea and sympathy for you here.

Better visit the USA if you want that. Pretty soon, it’s the only country you’ll be able to visit.

Besides, we’re still mighty annoyed over Irgun and Stern Gang terror activities in the British Mandate for Palestine. Or did you think that we’d forgotten?


16 Dec 2009, 10:28PM

Sorcey: I’l tell you how ties with Israel will be damaged if EU and UK withdraw their support for Israel’s policies. — Israel will withdraw their financial support of political parties. – Check out the extent of that support (if you can!). What other power (apart from a USA supported military/nuclear force) does Israel have? But it’s a good question. Ask it of the politicians. Maybe they are afraid of Israel taking unilateral nuclear action against Iran with a pre-emptive strike. Israel is not above doing that. And they won’t give her political ‘partners’ any notice before they do it. In fact, Israel is a rogue state – liable to take military action at any time. This is what USA, UK and EU are really afraid of. Did Israel give any warning of their Gaza offensive? Did they warn Gaza Palestinians – “Stop what you are doing or face shock and awe; and we will shower unlimited force down upon you, with no consideration given to civilian casualties.” Of course not. Correct me if I am wrong.


17 Dec 2009, 12:31PM

Single issue groups who have neither the national interest of the UK or indeed the furtherance of justice

Some people say this about the Israel lobby.

Of course many regulars at CiF have, in true Alice-in-Wonderland-style, appointed themselves both judge and jury and are now doing an excellent impression of the Red Queen.


16 Dec 2009, 1:49PM

This is a classic and shining example of how British politicians are so totally at odds with general public opinion. As indeed are the apologetic nonsense spouted about this in the right wing media.

The foreign office and politicians continue to describe Israel as our ‘strategic partner’, a very high number of MPs are members of their friends of Israel groups.

Yet people are sick and tired of the way Israel treats Palestinians, land grabbing, blockages, humiliating treatment, settlement building, the bullying IDF and the way it describes anyone who opposes such as ‘terrorists’, ‘anti semitic’, or ‘self-hating jews’.

There is a prima facie case for calling operation cast lead a war crime and putting the leaders of this on trial for war crimes.

Just as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not in my name, Israel as a strategic partner is very definitely also not in my name.

Shame on British politicians, can they sink any further into the mud?


16 Dec 2009, 3:47PM


That said I can never understand exactly why Israel gets singled out for this sort of invective.

Maybe you should read the article again that lists the war crimes committed by Israel and then maybe you will understand.


16 Dec 2009, 4:06PM


Arrest Hamas when they come to London? are you so ignorant of the facts on the ground? You don’t even know that Israel has created a prison where it’s Palestinans cannot travel through land, air or sea. The PM of Palestine even has to seek permission from the Israeli Authorities to travel abroad.

Palestinians die on the way to hospitals because of check-points, they are denied entrance to foreign universities and even wishing to carry out a holy pilgirmage is met with huge obstacles and denials.

But I assume you are another ill-informed creature who wants to make an intelligent argument in an area of politics where you cannot be bothered – or simply lack the intellectual means to make sense out of things.

Some are not above equating Israel’s actions of self-defence with Nazi policy.


16 Dec 2009, 2:35PM

You know, I suspect that if Hamas leaders did come to Britain (which of course assumes that Israel would let them out of the Occupied Territories and Britain would let them in) the courts would certainly issue an arrest warrant if the appropriate evidence were presented. There are plenty of Islamist terrorists in British jails already, after all, but as yet no Israeli politicians.

Pinochet had a similar spot of bother here a few years back, for similar reasons.

And Israel doesn’t appear to have a problem with the state-sanctioned perpetrators of war crimes in WW2 being arrested and tried in Britain or other countries.

Nusadua, there is no “outpouring of support” for Israel in the UK. Most people don’t give a damn about Israel. The ones that do (aside from Jews and Muslims, who tend to have an axe to grind) are becoming increasingly disillusioned that a country which at one point seemed to represent something positive has become such a nasty, racist, expansionist, warmongering disaster area. This Livni business will further reinforce the notion that Israeli violence is at least no better than Palestinian violence, and I suspect in that respect Machover et al will have been quite successful.

Others equate Israeli politicians with convicted terrorists and mass murderers.


16 Dec 2009, 3:03PM

Negotiations with Israeli politicians and soldiers can still be conducted; in Holloway and Brixton prisons.

It works for Marwan Baghouti, not to mention the Hamas victors in the recent elections.

On every CiF thread it seems that there has to be the obligatory BDS advocate.


17 Dec 2009, 11:06AM

ONeill70 – I agree that the US and it allies, including the UK , should be held to account for the devastation that they have caused in Afganistan and Iraq. At some stage boycotts might be an considered an appropriate way to acheive this.

Meanwhile the boycott of Israeli goods is a response to the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), supported by 180 Palestinian organisations and unions.

There are also those claiming that Israel’s elected government is racist, and those making some rather strange comparisons of Zionism to various totalitarian regimes.


17 Dec 2009, 10:50AM

Any country should arrest Livni and her disgraceful pals. This is what prisons were built for.. to hold the violent scum of society. Olmert could have the cell next door while the ghost of Sharon staggers about the corridors.

Rather than apologize to the criminals we should concentrate on hiding the key.

To those who say Britain is so bad it couldn’t possibly pass judgment on Israel, you should try speaking out of your mouths. Following this argument we’d never get anywhere because our own darkness would surely make any attempt at progress pointless. How could we have abandoned slavery and persuaded others to do so, when we were once slavers ourselves? How could we speak out against anything, ever, because we did something very much like it in 1876. We invaded Iraq but we didn’t want to, it’s a cronic shortfall of democracy and eventually we’ll get to the bottom of it. The Israeli’s voted for racists who advocate war. It just suits their cheerleaders to tar everyone with the same shit.

Let’s not talk about it until we’re all perfect, that’s their plan. Long before we gain perfection they’ll have finished stealing all the land.


17 Dec 2009, 11:11AM


In particular, I will suggest that Machover – as an Israeli whose own family has been on the end of the particularly uncouth methods employed by the Zionist state,


Why not just say “his country” or “the government” or (shock horror!) “Israel” at the end there?

Zionism is a political movement and Israel is its state. That is a simple statement of political fact. Calling Israel “the Zionist state” is not qualitatively different from calling, say, the USSR “the Stalinist state” in its day. You wouldn’t think a sentence such as

In particular, I will suggest that Machover – as a Soviet citizen whose own family has been on the end of the particularly uncouth methods employed by the Stalinist state

Controversial would you? Ditto “the Hashemite state”, “the Al-Saud dictatorship”, “the Ba’athist state”, etc. etc.

Same for Israel – the Zionist state.

Now this one made me laugh – you see, it’s all about the oil!


16 Dec 2009, 1:30PM

The “rule of law” and “human rights” are subject to political dictates.

The zionist entity is a loyal ally of the West.

The USA and EU give it unconditional economic, military and diplomatic support in spite of its crimes for geopolitical and geostrategic reasons in the region of the world which contains the largest energy reserves.

And this one quite simply had me puzzled – Jewish self-determination in the region, without Zionism?


17 Dec 2009, 11:19AM


Matzpen can speak for himself but I think he would probably say that Israel doesn’t have to be a Zionist state any more than Iran has to be an Islamic Republic. None of the three synonyms you offer is an exact one by any means.

Very, very, true.

For me the “Zionist state” label goes hand in hand with:

1. Splitting Israeli Jews from Zionism, its state, its actions and its policies; and

2. Refounding their self-determination in the region on a democratic basis through the de-Zionisation of the Israeli state.

Then there are those who still have a problem with understanding anti-semitism.


16 Dec 2009, 3:10PM

Anti-Semitic is repeatedly, sometimes deliberately, applied incorrectly to mean exclusively anti-Jewish. The Arabs are also part of the Semitic peoples and they too have suffered anti-Semitism and continue to do so. If prejudice is discussed it would be more honest, informed and rational to be accurate and describe a person or group as ‘anti-Jewish’, anti-Israel’, ‘anti-Arab’ or anti-Palestinian unless one is intending to describe blanket opposition to, or action against all Semitic peoples precisely because they are Semitic.


16 Dec 2009, 4:44PM


…often it is based on anti-semetism….

Ah yes, so anyone who is apposed to Israel’s behavior; annexing land illegally from its neighbors, the ghettoization of a minority group living within its boarders, war crimes, illegal munitions etc etc… yes anyone who dislikes a country’s behavior automatically hates Jews. Of course, how stupid of me, except of course Israel ? Judaism.

By far the most sycophantic (and frankly ridiculous) comment I have seen for a long time appeared on this thread too.


16 Dec 2009, 2:06PM


Thank you for that very clear and brave article, Daniel, and for all your important work on that crucial subject. There?s another aspect to that, which is the way it works at the home front, in Israel. The whole ?impunity? campaign of pressing charges against Israeli politicians and military personnel is a designed to bring it home to the Israelis that their country is seen by others as a pariah state; that the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is no longer acceptable, and that constant human right violations and war crimes will not be ignored.

To the readers who thing that the Israelis ?don?t care anyway? what people in Europe think ? this is not the case. It is true that the Baraks, Netanyahus and Liebermans are only interested in the answer to the question ?is the White House ever going to stop us? (the answer to which, by the way, is ?no?, Obama or no Obama). However, the Israeli educated middle classes ? the people who shape the nation?s public opinion and common mood, are growingly worried. They realize that accusing the whole world of being ?anti-Semitic? is no longer going to cut it. They do not want to feel isolated and scorned. And they are beginning to suspect that Israel?s current behavior is leading it towards becoming an outcast among the nations. Self image and its importance in politics should not be underrated. It is a crucial motive in political behavior of nations and individuals. Many Israelis are beginning to feel that they can not render themselves enlightened liberals while allying themselves with war crimes committed by their governments. It is not going to make them cheer for the idea that Israelis should face international courts for war crimes, but it may well make them reconsider their own stances.

The readers who commented that Blair and Brown should be ready to face similar dangers of being charged for war crimes in Iraq while traveling, are absolutely right. There are more than enough people in the UK who could do with a little wake-up call to their own political self image; too many people who talk on behalf of some imagined collective ?we?, and who are convinced that ?we? have done something completely benign and necessary in Iraq, and that the Iraqis, and the world in general, should be eternally grateful to ?us?.

Indeed, Israelis are not the only ones who suffer from false consciousness, and Israel is not the only instigator of war crimes. This does not mean that Israeli leaders should get away with murder. It only means that nobody else should.

And just who is Daphna Baram? Well as you can see, she is a Guardian contributor who has also written a book commissioned by the Guardian  and sometimes writes for the New Statesman, but also finds time to attend debates and ‘cultural’ events at Oxford University.

I imagine that she and Daniel (they seem to be on first name terms) get on like the proverbial house on fire. Yet another case of ‘birds of a feather’. In her comment Ms. Baram makes some rather sweeping generalisations about the Israeli people and their attitudes. As an Israeli myself, I would like to say this to Ms. Baram and Mr. Machover: at this very moment there are thousands of Israeli soldiers of all religions, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Druze and others who are suffering the cold and the mud to protect our country from the very people with whom you and others of your ilk collaborate. At this very moment there is one Israeli who has been held captive for 3 ½ years, with no respect for his human rights whatsoever and in breach of every known convention, by the very terrorists you work for and with. Gilad Shalit and all those thousands of cold, wet soldiers are the type of people who have a right to call themselves Israeli. Those who willingly and knowingly co-operate with Israel’s enemies do not deserve to be included in that category.

11 replies »

  1. In most other countries these two would be accused of treason and tried in absentia. What prevents the Israeli government from initiating proceedings against them and the likes of pathetic Freedman and others of their ilk?

    One stumbling block might be psychological – however low into the gutter these may sink,to the Israeli government they are still Jews. Another psychological block might be Israeli denial that the Machovers and the Barams present a very real problem to perception of Israel in the world at large.

    What do people suggest can be done about this? I am not advocating violence against them, but that they be put on trial in Israel – in absentia if necessary – for traitorous behaviour and providing aid and emotional succour to Israel’s enemies but only because they blacken Israel’s name from abroad.

    I would not ask for them to be charged or silenced if they wrote and ranted inside Israel itself.

    I’d be interested in others’ views.

  2. A PS: Israelinurse, to the best of your knowledge what constitutes treasonous behaviour against Israel? I know about Mordechai Vanunu, but surely these two qualify?

  3. I honestly don’t know, Mitnaged. I think there has to be direct evidence of passing sensitive information to the enemy which endangers the country’s security. I don’t think we’ve even begun to think about this sort of treachery, which is something relatively new and completely incomprehensible to the majority of Israelis. I guess we might have to start thinking about it though…

  4. Mitnaged

    As much as I respect your opinion, I say no to charges of treason against Daphna Baram for speaking against Israel even with language that is meant to injure the state of Israel (as she has clearly done). This would give a couple of nobody’s a probably well advertised international stage from which to attack Israel. Below is a case where an Israeli citizen was convicted of treason:


    “………..Nachum Manbar, an Israeli businessman, was convicted on Wednesday of
    treason for illegally selling chemical weapons components and know-how to
    Iran for $16 million, HA’ARETZ reported. Manbar could receive life in
    prison when he is sentenced on July 15.
    “Nachum Manbar… sacrificed the security and well-being of the state on
    the altar of his unchecked avarice,” wrote Tel Aviv District Court Judge
    Amnon Strasnov in the verdict.
    Manbar was found guilty of three offenses: aiding the enemy in its war
    against Israel, attempting to aid the enemy in its war against Israel, and
    passing know-how to the enemy in order to harm state security. The maximum
    sentence for each of these crimes is life imprisonment.
    The prosecution claimed that between 1990 and 1994, Manbar supplied the
    Iranians with tons of raw materials and equipment for the production of
    mustard gas and nerve gas. These materials were transported from Europe to
    Iran in 24 truckloads.
    Israel and Iran have been in a technical state of war since Iran’s Islamic
    revolution in 1979. In recent years, Israel has expressed increasing alarm
    at Iran’s drive for both nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching

    Passing sensitive information, as Israelinurse suggested, would seem to be a good basis to charge someone with Treason.

  5. Uuhhhh! I read Daphna Baram’s book when I was collecting material for my M.A. What a dreadful book!

    Indeed, it was commissioned by the Guardian and it was a complete apology for the anti-Zionism of that newspaper. Her disingenuous conclusion? “The Guardian may have dispaired of Israel”.

    Well, we are way past dispairing from the Pablo Christiani kind of Jews, Baram represents.

    Bye bye, and don’t come back to Israel, Daphna!

  6. Daphna Baram is another Israeli living out her relationship with her family by attacking Israel in the foreign press. I have always wondered if Neve Gordan is a distant relative of A.D. Gordan, for example (e.g., a grandson).

    Over-educated to sensitivity to everyone on the planet except their own people, they spend their lives working our their Freudian problems through the English language press.

  7. I debated Daniel Machover on PressTV. He claimed to be concerned about Human Rights. I asked him about Gilad Shalit’s Human Rights.

    His response was “I have not been instructed by Gilad Shalit.”

    Seems his concern about ‘human rights’ extends only to those who instruct him.

  8. Jonathan: I imagine Machover’s concern extends only to those who pay him as well.

    WorshipmyDog – don’t you ever give up Berchmans?

    I thought you weren’t going to continue to waste your time

    Or ours….

  9. HairShirt, its dotty/leonwells. Flashes “Ignore” in neon flashing lights. He’s obsessional, psychologically deformed, often taking on different fe/male personas. On at least one occasion he used the female persona he took on {hilarious if icky} to try to engage in a flirtation with another male commenter. Only his obsession remains constant. Better to keep this one at a long, long distance.

  10. Actually, I take your point, TomWonacott, about treasonous acts rather than treasonous speech being a good enough reason to jail people..

    I gather that in the UK in the last war people could be slung into jail in the UK for engaging in the sort of talk we hear regularly from this lot because of its effect on people’s morale.