Walnuts and Other Kinds

I haven’t yet got round to reading Anthony Julius’ new book ‘Trials of the Diaspora’ , but from what I have heard and seen so far, I am sure that it is going to be fascinating. Keith Kahn-Harris’ recent article about the book on CiF does not detract from the anticipation, but knowing CiF as we do and reading the comments on his piece, one has to conclude that Kahn-Harris was more than a little naive to think that this was the right place for a serious discussion about Anthony Julius’ book.

Less sympathy can be accredited to whoever commissioned this article because, given the hothouse of antisemitic bigotry which CiF is cultivating, it must have been crystal clear what the reactions of the CiF regulars would be. True to form and predictable as ever, on an article about a history of antisemitism, some of the comments (far too many to reproduce here in their entirety) were antisemitic. In fact, should Mr. Julius ever wish to write a post script to his work, he need look no further for suitable subject matter.

Some try to re-define antisemitism in order to suit their political motives.


23 Feb 2010, 11:30AM

what makes zionists more semite than palestinians?


23 Feb 2010, 12:51PM

all of those people banging on about pro palestineans being anti semitic should maybe be made aware that palestineans are also semite


23 Feb 2010, 11:47AM

Keith Kahn-Harris –

“A real debate needs to happen about antisemitism.”

I agree, perhaps we should start by defining what we are talking about, because I for one cannot see any justification for applying the term antisemitism to anti-Zionism, criticism of the religion of Judaeism, or criticism of Israel, unless there is also a blatantly racist slur against Jews as a race included in that criticism.


23 Feb 2010, 2:35PM


A big thank you for engaging with the commentary here.

I still disagree. You said :

Read what I wrote: I rejected the argument that anti-Zionism is always antisemitic.

Well you didn’t exactly argue that case very hard. It is lost in the anti-semitism trope. This article reads like so many others, bigging up anti-semitism into a much more prevalent and virulent thing than it really is. It is done to divert attention from the wrongs committed by Israel and smear those who speak out. Yes it is out there, and yes it is a bad thing, but it just isn’t that common. Most racism is directed at asians, blacks and arabs, and I’m not convinced that that racism comes from any more than minority (perhaps I’m wrong about that – it might be harder to get on in business if you are black or asian in the UK).

The blood-libel trope – come on, get real ! The only reason it isn’t consigned to previous centuries is because people who want to complain about anti-semitism keep raising it here. It is a manufactured thing. I’ll be totally gobsmacked if you can show otherwise.


23 Feb 2010, 2:53PM


The blood-libel trope – come on, get real ! The only reason it isn’t consigned to previous centuries is because people who want to complain about anti-semitism keep raising it here. It is a manufactured thing. I’ll be totally gobsmacked if you can show otherwise.

Yes indeed — blood-libel tripe, more like. One only has to read shameless Israeli propagandist, Uri Dromi’s last offering on CiF — ‘A Lib Dem and a blood libel’. Now there’s an example of absolute “blood libel” tripe.


23 Feb 2010, 3:07PM

Israel frequently uses the concept that anti zionism equates to anti semitism.

Any legitimate critique of Israel and its policies are interpreted as anti semitic.

Zionism is a political creed and must be treated like any other. One can be anti-Communist without being anti-Chinese, anti- Capitalist without being anti American, anti-Globalist, anti-Anything.

Like i posted before, Congressman Ron Paul got called anti semitic just for stating that US troops in Afhganistan were occupying forces.


23 Feb 2010, 5:47PM

Some people here are having one good laugh.

Israel gets to much exposure? Give us a break.

The exposure Iran gets is crazy. Iran this Iran that. All u read is about Iran.

Any legitimate critique of Israel is not condoned. People are immediately branded anti semitic.

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were called anti semitic for outlining in there book ” The Israel lobby —” how some jewish groups in America had immense influence over US policies in the middle east.

There are those who claim that Zionism is a form of racism – an antisemitic statement in itself, of course.


23 Feb 2010, 11:44AM

What a pity Zionist racism is a no-go area.

We can’t mention the 30s; we mustn’t mention South African apartheid.

We mustn’t describe the cleansing of Palestinians in Jerusalem as “ethnic cleansing.”

We mustn’t allude to the number of dead children in Gaza.

Or hungry survivors.

It is risible that comfortable, well-educated Britons think only of their own needs while the most vicious racism is practised in Occupied Palestine by those whom they support..

And then they wonder why the Free Palestine movements have won the moral arguments so comprehensively.


23 Feb 2010, 12:43PM

Keith Kahn Harris

“Nationalism is, after all, a recent phenomenon and eminently open to criticism.”

But zionism is a primordial racist form of nationalism and so internally can never accept that it is a recent phoenomenon.

A modern day Jew claiming direct descent from, and arguing he is one of the same “people” as an ancient Hebrew as opposed to the ancient Hebrew merely being an ancient ancestor, a topic from history, is ridiculous but that is the common Zionist position.

Interestingly, this was a very common set of beliefs in the 19th and 20th C when nationalism grew (Victoria being a new Boudica, Italians wanting to “re-build” Rome, German nationalists looking at the battle of Teutinberg forest as a “German” victory) and such thinking is directly tied to a conception of a community and a conception of morality based on descent and hence ethnicity.

The western world has largely left this sort of thinking behind but I just don’t see how zionists can or will.


23 Feb 2010, 1:06PM

“A state of all its citizens is also a euphemism for the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state”

so? States should not be Jewish, catholic or muslim but rather should be secular and protect the interests of the people living in those states irrespective of their religion, race or aspirations.

saying that you want to protect israel’s “jewishness” is just as racist as saying I want my country to be “white” or “aryan” or any other discriminatory category


23 Feb 2010, 2:22PM

Interesting. Anti-zionism and antisemitism, one and the same? It’s really impossible to criticize Israel without risking someone calling you an antisemite because Israel is a Jewish state, run by Jews – primarily for Jews, and antisemitism is being anti Jewish, so if you’re anti Israeli you are to some extent, by definition, anti Jewish. If Israel were secular then you could get away with it, but it’s not, despite what anyone says. Judasim would merely be the Sate religion. Is criticism of England criticism of Anglicanism? Of-course not, because England is secular.

I think the Israeli State is poison to world relations in general, inhumane, violent, ignorant and racist, but have some Jewish friends and years ago, even a Jewish girlfriend. I don’t see and reason to dislike Jews because of what Israel does, but Jews seem to feel disliked because of what Israel does supposedly in their name – which is understandable if regrettable. But then, you can’t have it both ways. Supporting Israel is tacit support for violence as a first resort and two levels of humanity, Israeli’s, and everyone else.

It’s a bloody nightmare of definitions, so in the end, call a murderer a murderer no matter what their religion or creed and condemn Israeli violence and witless excuses for it.


This however is entirely different from

posting and promoting revisionist histories,

exagerated and false claims of

genocide & ethnic cleansing re the Palestinians.

As opposed to revisionist versions of the present where slaughter of civilians is routinely explained away as “fighting terrorism”, where apartheid isn’t apartheid if Israel does it, and where no IDF soldier who shoots someone is ever responsible for killing the person he just shot? He always had no choice. Your idea of revisionism is revisionist. You and Israel have to face the fact that killing 1400 civilians trapped in a refugee camp you’ve laid siege to is plain wrong. Pure and simple. Wrong.

How do you exlpain the Dead Sea scrolls?

Works of fiction.


Accusation of dual-loyalty based conspiracy theory appeared:


23 Feb 2010, 11:21AM

The gullibilty of some continues to astound me.

Two phrases grabbed my attention in particular.

Firstly, “the decent left”. I assume this means LFI and those who justified the Gaza massacres, such as Ivan Lewis who is now Minister of State for the Middle East (but in reality for Israel, as his website made clear before his appointment).

The second is “Palestinian triumphalism”. Now, unlike the writer, I’ve spent a lot of time in Palestine over the past decade and the suggestion that an abused, victimised nation manifests “triumphalism” as it loses its land and its children strikes me as….well, rather racist.

But then Zionists have neither understood nor empathised with the suffering of a dispossessed people.

And plain old dehumanisation of Israelis and advocacy of the destruction of Israel:


23 Feb 2010, 11:45AM


I strongly believe that heads of state and their ministers who commit war crimes should face justice. I include Blair, Brown and Bush.

And I include a reasonable number of Israelis.

thats where the being held to different standards argument pro-israelis make. whenever there are consequences they refuse to be held responsible. people in this country would fight tooth and nail to see Blair in a real courtroom rather than some sham of an inquiry.

i feel that a lot of the pro-israeli posters seem to have lost some of their humanity. this is of course understandable in the circumstances when you are living with an enemy so close by. but you have to strive to get back to having a more balanced view no matter what because just as we are talking about a legacy of anti-semitism the actions of the israeli government that you are supporting are having a legacy of their own.


23 Feb 2010, 12:15PM

There is a certain dishonesty in those who accuse their opponents of wishing for

the destruction of the Jewish state

I worked and campaigned for the destruction of the apartheid state of South Africa. That destruction did not imply the killing of all the whites in South Africa

Wanting to see the destruction of the State of Isreal as it is presently constituted does not imply the murder of all the jews in the present state of Isreal

Do imply otherwise is deeply dishonest.


23 Feb 2010, 4:24PM


I can’t see how this one-state solution differs from the previous ones you have mentioned. A state of all its citizens is also a euphemism for the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.

Indeed. And the disestablishment of the Anglican church is also a euphemism for the elimination of the UK as a Christian state. Yet plenty of British people would be intensely relaxed about the possibility.

To entertain the possibility of the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state is not necessarily to be anti-Semitic.

And then there was this; Papalgi promoting the virulent anti-Zionist,pro-bo ycott, ex-Israeli, Gilad Atzmon fan (nothing to do with music) Oren Ben Dor – a man who is too extreme even for Tony Greenstein! Now that must take some doing.


23 Feb 2010, 12:04PM

Here the article I mentioned above (I haven’t read it against, I hope it’s the right article). If Harris thinks that this is so outlandish, why doesn’t he try to answer the author? And contrary to what Harris thinks, this is not written by any antisemitc, but by a respectable professor, who is a specialist on such matters at a British University. There is a reason why he writes this and it has to do with the history of Zionism and with very strong argumentation. I’m sorry, but it wasn’t any antisemitc that invented this history. It was the result of the actions of the ZIonists themselves :

Thus Spoke Equality

Why Israel Has No “Right to Exist” as a Jewish State


There’s a saying, apparently of North African origin, along the lines of ‘God gives walnuts to those who have no teeth’. The subject of the growing antisemitism in Britain today is of prime concern to any right-thinking person and Anthony Julius’ book no doubt contributes a great deal to the understanding of this worrying phenomenon. However, one of the last places where a reasonable or informative discussion on this subject can be had is CiF because too many of the commentators there have allowed their bigotry to render them toothless when it comes to cracking the walnut which is rising anti-Jewish racism and the atmosphere deliberately cultivated on that site encourages such intolerance. All this article has done is to provide a platform for yet more disgusting antisemitic lies and flame-fanning of hatred which, whilst most certainly not the author’s intention, after so much experience of writing on CiF, he could have realistically anticipated.

10 replies »

  1. The above commentary encases the reasons why I get my nickers in a twist whenever a Jew, Israeli or not, publishes his gripes about Israel on CiF.

    CiF has become a magnet for anti-Semites and other riff raff hiding under the camouflage of anti Zionism. It comes out in so many commenters all or most of whom appear on your CiF Commenters list.

    And most of whom seem to have a charmed life of CiF.

    Not really strange at all.

  2. CiF would have to be one of the most boring lop sided web sites,that you could ever come across,it’s grey and dull,the same posters, though they keep changing their names,the same meaningless posts.

    You have this cretin who who goes by Papalagi that posts long boring idiotic posts,this is the type of poster that personifies the Guardian.

    If the Guardian banned these posters,it would have to ban the bloody lot of them,then there would be the same type of cretins that would replace them.

    The Guardian has an endless supply of these cretins.

    Poor bitter miserable sods,just like their weather.

  3. I’d certainly agree that there was little point throwing open the Julius book to the CiF arena. And that’s without even seeing all those horrible posts above.

    Papalgi appears to have a very select library at his disposal.

  4. Julius’ book is erudite, and a masterful example of rigorous scholarship where almost every sentence contains a difficult concept made understandable by language and reason:

    “Secondarily, though the enmity of both kinds of rational enemy can be infected by irrationality, the risk of infection is greater for the voluntary enemy. He is detached from the conflict, his sources of information about it may be unreliable, and he may be predisposed to favour one side for reasons unrelated to the merits of the conflict. He may not understand what is truly at stake.……….Some voluntary enemies can become so infected with irrationality that they cease to be rationale at all. They become irrational enemies in relation to which (of course) the involuntary/voluntary distinction does not apply.”

  5. Kahn-Harris’ last paragraph reads thus:

    “A real debate needs to happen about antisemitism. At the moment positions are so immobile and passions so inflamed that productive dialogue is difficult. Trials of the Diaspora could provide an important resource in opening up conversation if there is the will to do so. Pro-Palestinian campaigners and anti-Zionists who do not see themselves as antisemites need to look seriously at the arguments Julius makes. Zionists and those concerned about antisemitism need to look critically at the book and take on board the more subtle elements of Julius’s book, rather than simply see it as further ammunition in an endless verbal war. Above all, Trials of the Diaspora should be read as a work of scholarship designed to stimulate serious thought, rather than fuel for a new round of polemics.”

    I added it here as a sort of postscript to Hawkeye’s article and a contrast to the shameful comments of the CiF mob which effectively spit in Kahn-Harris’ face and reject his plea for serious consideration of the subject matter. I can only wonder what Matt Seaton had to say to Kahn-Harris after the thread was closed. I would hope he had the decency to render an apology.

  6. Trying to get through to CIF below the line commenters is futile, but the Guardian (unfortunately) is a news source read around the world. I suspect the author never had any illusions that he could alter the viewpoints of these bigots, but may have hoped to reach wider audience in GB and elsewhere.

    Good article, Hawkeye.

  7. “Good article, Hawkeye.”

    My apologies to Israelinurse – the author to this article should have been Israelinurse and not myself.

  8. Amazed in particular by the commenter who wrote: “What a pity Zionist racism is a no-go area.”

    This is amazing firstly for the inherent hideousness of the ‘Zionist racism’ concept, but also for the delusion that these sorts of topics are “no-go areas”. Israel-bashers astound me when they claim they are censored or marginalised. They’re the toast of the media and not just on CiF!

    In other news I’ve been working my way through Anthony Julius’s book and it really is very well written. It’s very dense and rich so I don’t expect to finish it anytime soon.

  9. Hawkeye

    Oh no. I knew it was one of Israeli nurses right from the word go. . Im spending more time here than on CIF !


    “You have this cretin ..idiotic post.. same type of cretins .. these cretins.
    Poor bitter miserable sods ”

    I have , perhaps unfairly.. shortened your post. I do this as I am hoping to put pressure on CIF to treat the murderous Brit foreign policy seriously. They underplay it whilst microscopically studying Israel’s.I am hoping to occasionally refer to CIFWatch on CIF without it causing smirks.

    They can safely ignore CIFWatch if it seems extremist and so long as this shouting of discriminatory terms gets the better of you they will be untroubled.

    This is not a bad article.. my only complaint is ” the hothouse of antisemitic bigotry which CiF is cultivating,” ” but what the hell.. apart from that measured and moderate.