Guardian

You Write from Ignorance


This is a guest post from Leonard B.L.

The first impression I had of this piece by A. Lerman was the impact of his aggressive tone. The whole of the first paragraph is couched in extremes. He uses adjectives like “vicious McCarthyite” ”falsely” and words like ‘vilification’ and ‘exploiting’. This is the expression of an angry man.

I have read his writings on other occasions and it is mild and ameliorative generally. Was he aware of how weak his case was and that he was actually contradicting himself? Was he arm twisted into writing it? Is he another Labourite bully? We can’t know. However his point is that Im Tirtzu claimed that groups that don’t have the good of the country at heart supplied information that the notorious Goldstone Report used to the detriment of Israel and that these groups are funded by the Nif.

The issue of the funding of the kind of NGOs that Goldstone accepted information from is central to the security and the future of the state. Israel is under constant attack by parties interested in delegitimising the country. It seems obvious that these parties which seek to contribute to the breakdown of the state are not to the benefit of its citizens. It is in addition not a democratic way in which to behave since the future of the state should be determined by its citizens and not by its enemies. A bill to this effect is being discussed in the Knesset at present.

As is usual in “Comment is Free” there were numerous responses to the article. Here is one by Jubilation1, a frequent poster.

Jubilation1

26 Feb 2010, 11:19AM

Considering that almost no information in the Goldstone report came from actual Israelis targeted by the rocket barrages – and those who did report did so while Goldstone took a nap – any involvement at all by the foreign funded NGOs is too much.

These NGOs are busy attempting to dismantle the state and would be counted enemy sympathisers in any country you can think of – giving aid and comfort to the enemy is a crime in most countries. Naturally those involved are not impressed by being cut off from their charity benefits, but hey! you can’t batten on the country you are attempting to demolish and expect it to smile forever.

Of course it is a democratic right to examine all functions of the state, but it is not a democratic right to exaggerate, to make convenient mistakes in reporting and to use enemy agents as officials of the NGO.

To this Mr Lerman replied:

TonyLerman

26 Feb 2010, 2:24PM
Contributor

Jubilation1

These NGOs are busy attempting to dismantle the state

You write from ignorance. I don’t know the opinions of every single person who works for Israeli ngos, but this is a travesty of the ones I do know. Many of them are passionate Zionists who serve loyally in the army, but are appalled at what is happening to their country. Address their concerns, don’t demonise the organizations on the basis of your personal fantasies.

And Jubilation1 responded:

Jubilation1

26 Feb 2010, 2:42PM

These NGOs are busy attempting to dismantle the state

You write from ignorance. I don’t know the opinions of every single person who works for Israeli ngos, but this is a travesty of the ones I do know. Many of them are passionate Zionists who serve loyally in the army, but are appalled at what is happening to their country. Address their concerns, don’t demonise the organizations on the basis of your personal fantasies.

Mr Lerman. Among these NGOs is the BDS movement

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions NGO has as its goal the weakening and the eventual end of the State of Israel as it is presently constituted. You indeed are not acquainted with this body if you deny its aims. The members of BDS are far from being passionate Zionists. Please do not make generalised statements about a country that you don’t live in and don’t represent.

I would also like to ask you not to make ad hominem comments about my ‘personal fantasies’

( I do hope that the moderators will fairly allow me this latter expression of my opinion for as long as that of Mr Lerman is permitted too.)

To which Mr Lerman responded rather brusquely,

TonyLerman

26 Feb 2010, 5:18PM
Contributor

Jubilation1

Mr Lerman. Among these NGOs is the BDS movement

I think not. As far as I know, there is no registered Israeli BDS NGO. End of story. So whatever its aims are has nothing to do with my argument.

With Jubilation1’s final retort:

Jubilation1

27 Feb 2010, 9:57AM

TonyLerman

26 Feb 2010, 5:18PM
Jubilation1

Mr Lerman. Among these NGOs is the BDS movement

I think not. As far as I know, there is no registered Israeli BDS NGO. End of story. So whatever its aims are has nothing to do with my argument.

Apparently you are not aware that NGOs that support the BDS movement most explicitly are registered in Jerusalem, for instance the Alternative Information Centre. This is extremely worrying in that money that is given in good faith for the benefit of Israel is being dedicated to the destruction of our country as we know it.

I quite agree with Jubilation1 that it is extremely worrying that money given in good faith for the benefit of Israel is being dedicated to the destruction of our country as we know it.

It is also worrying that as Jubilation1 said at 11.19AM that “any involvement at all by the foreign funded NGOs is too much” especially when it gives information to an investigation such as that which wrote the Goldstone Report.

Mr Lerman is of course right that there is no NGO called BDS. The rot spreads much further and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement has infected many of the NGOs that are funded by the Nif and by foreign governments, not all of them having Israel’s best interests at heart, many of them explicitly having voted for the acceptance of the very flawed Goldstone Report. I do not wish to presume on my readers by giving long lists of the NGOs involved but I will quote a passage from a letter written by NGO Monitor to Martin Indyk as an example of the kind of actions discussed:

C) Officials from Adalah and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I $503,537 in 2006-8) spoke at a conference held by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (Geneva, July 22-24). The focus of this conference was to formulate strategies for imposing boycotts and sanctions on Israel, as well as promoting “lawfare”.


A) Adalah’s ($1,045,292 in 2006-8) 2007 proposed constitution for Israel called for replacing the Jewish foundation with a “democratic, bilingual and multicultural” framework. This “Democratic Constitution” – based on the “a one-state solution” – would permit Jewish immigration only for “humanitarian reasons.” In other words, the Jewish state would cease to exist.

B) Mossawa’s November 2006 position paper proposing a constitution for Israel, called for the eradication of the Israeli flag and national anthem, the right of the Arab minority to have a veto over matters of national import, and the immediate implementation of the Palestinian “Right of Return.”

C) Mada al-Carmel ($450,000 in 2006-8) helped compose and publish the “Haifa Declaration,” a document that calls for a “change in the definition of the State of Israel from a Jewish state” and accuses Israel of “exploiting” the Holocaust “at the expense of the Palestinian people.”

In my opening paragraph I hinted that Mr Lerner might have been uneasy about writing this piece since his case was so weak and that he was in effect contradicting himself. It is interesting to note that not so long ago there was an article written by the same A Lerman reviewing a television programme on Dispatches on Channel 4 discussing the Israeli lobby and its influence on the UK and its political scene and concluded as follows: “[the pro-Israel lobby] needs to be far more open about how it’s funded and what it does.” I find it interesting that he does not make the same recommendations as to the operation of NGOs in Israel. He admitted that the ‘Israel lobby’ in the UK works in the interests of Jewish British citizens. He neglected in this article to say in whose interests the NGOs in question are working.

Categories: Guardian

6 replies »

  1. Is thi the same Lerman who was dismissed by a major British Jewish organisation?

    Is he, like so many others throughout history, attempting to harm the Jewish people soley to satisfy his own personal, vindictive ends?

  2. Toko – two major British Jewish organisations appear to have relieved themselves of Mr. Lerman’s services – Rothschild Foundation Europe – known as HaNadiv at the time – and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

  3. Annika

    and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

    Strange that they took so long to notice his agenda driven demeanor. (Or perhaps mis-demeanor),

  4. Having been unceremoniously kicked to the sidelines of British Jewry, lerman and his fellow Israel-hating Jews have set up their own blog, JNews, apparently well enough funded to provide some with employment.

    He is a one sick puppy.

  5. Leonard BL

    “money .. dedicated to the destruction of our country as we know it.”

    .

    This is so ridiculous.How can such a hugely powerful, heavily armed country..with a sugar daddy for endless munitions and whose esprit de corps is second to no country… possible be destroyed? This use of such alarmist, risible verbiage doesnt seem silly to most folk here.Is it me?

    AKUS

    “He is a one sick puppy.”

    Having praised you on a few occasions ( much to your embarrassment no doubt ) I get to mention that this is unacceptable . Implying people are mentally ill for disagreeing with you ??? A little last centuryish!