Guardian

Its Just Anti-Zionism


Antony Lerman wrote in “Comment is Free” today “[a]n extremely counterproductive development has been the touting of the working definition of antisemitism drawn up by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (now the Federal Rights Agency) as a document carrying virtually legal force. This has wrongly branded antisemitism as certain comment about Israel that is extremely critical, but in itself does not display any kind of antisemitic tropes.”

So I guess in Lerman’s book, the following two comments  that were posted in the comment thread were just extreme critiques of Israel.

(Notice the similarity to Mearsheimer’s little list in the above posts)

Remember Antony Lerman is the man who thinks that the following cartoon is not antisemitic (despite the obviously antisemitic Nazi trope):

And the man who openly endorsed Peter Oborne’s documentary on the so-called pro-Israel lobby in Britain (despite  the obviously antisemitic Jewish conspiracy trope):


As Omri Ceren over at MereRhetoric puts it:

This nudge-wink “it’s just anti-Zionism” game has always been a little surreal. No newspaper would ever publish an article accusing a black politician of “publicly lynching his opponent in the press.” The unseemliness of inverting the history of anti-black violence would border on bigotry. And no newspaper would ever print a cartoon that depicted cascading Sub-Saharan instability as a black male “Africa” assaulting a white female “Europe.” Invoking racist tropes to incite public outrage is, well, racist.

But Israeli Jews as baby-killing Nazis? That just sophisticated and brave anti-Zionism.

The truth is Antony Lerman’s attack on the EUMC Working Definition is nothing but a thinly disguised attempt to promote the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish state euphemistically known as the one-state solution.

A modern day Theobald is our Tony.

41 replies »

  1. This is the same Antony Lerman a man who is bald,who writes about the joys of “My hair clipper heaven”

    He writes and criticizes Israel from the safety of his lounge room in London.If he had lived in Sderot and made money out of writing anti-Israeli articles for the Guardian,then we could possibly have given him a little more respect.

    He wants a one state solution for Israel,but will keep living in London.If he thinks that a one state is such a great idea.Let him move to Israel to live his dream.

    He is getting worse in his old-age.
    No fool like an old fool.Trite but well deserved.

  2. If Lerman is criticising the EUMC Definition of Antisemitism then it must be right.

    Students have the right not to be intimidated for their lawful beliefs, including the belief in Zionism. I have seen the misery caused to Jewish students by the attempt by some to divide them into what Mearsheimer calls “righteous” and “Afrikaaner”. I have seen Jewish students at Oxford fall way behind with their studies because they are organising protests against speakers (David Irving and Nick Griffin) who should never have been invited. I was there and was jeered when the racist Bongani Matsuku spoke at SOAS which is part of the University of London.

    http://www.thejc.com/videos/news-videos/jonathan-hoffman-jeered-soas-meeting

    Lerman is plain wrong. Antisemitism on campus is the responsibility of each and every one of us, Jew and non-Jew, student and non-student. What starts with Jews never ends with Jews.

    British universities have become incubators of antisemitism and the Vice Chancellors have done nothing about it. Only when Abdulmatallab tried to bomb a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day did they begin to wake up to their obligations. But even then they have not faced them properly. The committee they have set up is called “Academic Freedom” and seems more about resisting the pressure to confront extremism than confronting it!

    http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/Newsroom/Media-Releases/Pages/Update1workinggroup.aspx

    There are universities in the UK to which the vast majority of Jewish students will not apply. Exeter is one. Manchester is becoming another. Is that what Lerman wants?

    Like Birmingham recently, every University student union should adopt the EUMC Definition of Antisemitism and speakers who are known to violate it should be “no-platformed”. Racism is racism.

  3. Jonathan Hoffman “Lerman is plain wrong. Antisemitism on campus is the responsibility of each and every one of us, Jew and non-Jew, student and non-student. What starts with Jews never ends with Jews.”

    Why is it important to identify anti-semitism? Why is it that people like Lerman brush it away or attempt to hide it under a million excuses or with an embarrassed giggle, implying that less developed Jews are ‘like that’.
    As Christopher Hitchens said, memorably,
    “– Antisemitism is not the sign that something bad is going to happen to the Jews. It is a sign that something bad is going to happen to that society….Antisemitism is the common enemy of civilisation” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nBci_J86Fk&NR=1

  4. If Lerman is criticising the EUMC Definition of Antisemitism then it must be right.

    Indeed.

    Such is my feeling.

    Perhaps Goldstone will agree with Lerman.

    That would double my instinctive feelings.

    Add Porgina, Berchmans, LaRit and other social rejects and my case is proven beyond any reasonable doubt.

  5. We’re still waiting for Sue Blackwell’s hatchet job on the EUMC Definition.

    I’m itching to fisk it … and I’m not the only one

  6. Lerman’s “thing” before he “left” IJPR was an attempt to blame anti-Semitism on Israel.

    http://cifwatch.com/cif-contributors/antony-lerman/

    “Yet by 1999 – according to Ha’aretz – Lerman (then Director of the IJPR) played a major role in persuading Prime Minister Tony Blair to abandon his initiative to legislate a law against Holocaust denial. In the same Ha’aretz article, it goes on to state that in 2003, the IJPR sparked a public debate following publication of the book A New Anti-Semitism?, an anthology of articles about the hypothesis that a ‘new’ type of antisemitism – the attribution to the Jewish state of stereotypes that were in the past attributed to Jews as individuals –had spread among the “liberal elites” in Britain. According to Ha’aretz, Lerman, who wrote one of the articles, dismissed this phenomenon out of hand, and claimed that there was nothing new in antisemitism.

    And here is Lerman in 2009 blaming Israel for antisemitism in the rest of the world “by provoking outrage, which is then used to target Jews, Israel bears responsibility for that anti-Jewish hostility.”

    Such statements have made him into a self-imposed pariah. Lerman’s appointment in early 2006 as Director (for the second time) of the IJPR precipitated the resignation of four IJPR directors and of one of its honorary patrons, the Conservative peer Lord Kalms. This was because Lerman had questioned the viability of Israel as a Jewish State and had advocated the one secular state. After a controversial tenure lasting less than three years, Lerman “left” his position in late 2008, leaving him in the wilderness.”

  7. Please take a close look at JRDKidd’s post. He states, “JEWISH students who support ISRAELI government policies, however, are anathema to all decent folk.” When I read this I gasped. I gasped because I thought to myself that if pro-Israeli Jewish students are anathema to everyone else, what’s next for them? Does JRDKidd believe that they no longer belong in the family of man? And if so, what does he have in store for them?

  8. terry- just part of the list which also comprises ‘all decent people’, ‘all intelligent people’, ‘anyone with half a brain’, ‘anyone who knows what they’re talking about’ etc.

    just part of the ongoing pressure to change the realities of the discussion by suggesting that anyone who suports israel is not a ‘decent person’ etc…which is, oof course, to use the vernacular, a load of old bollocks

  9. “Phosphorus throwing fascists ”

    … is unacceptable because it is so simplistic, provocative and easy to counter . None the less the use of such weaponry was a disgrace . What a shame people could not have condemned it more here . It would have given the site balance. However to call the IDF ” fascist” is an own goal.

    .

    ” JEWISH students who support ISRAELI government policies, however, are anathema to all decent folk”

    .

    I assume this was deleted …as terry malloy points out this looks threatening .

    The cartoon would be anti Semitic but for the fact that there is a Star of David on the flag… hence it clearly is meant to be Israel. The Jack Boots signifying fascism…. tired , predictable and give pro Israelis cause to shout “exaggeration.”

  10. Terry – read the Mearsheimer link in Hawkeye’s piece – as Jonathan says above, Mearsheimer divides Jews into “righteous and “Afrkaaner” ccording to whether they are prepared to denounce Israel.

    When the trains arrived at the camps the Nazis divided the Jews into those who would live and those who would die.

    The parallel is stomach churning.

  11. Good post, and it highlights a wider problem.

    We’re often told “what is antisemitism and how do you define it?” and when a cogent answer is put forward, the EUMC definition, then the question is changed.

    You will notice that critics of the EUMC definition do not put forward one of their own.

  12. modernity

    When Lerman says:

    “This has wrongly branded antisemitism as certain comment about Israel that is extremely critical, but in itself does not display any kind of antisemitic trope”

    isn’t he doing a “some are more equal than others” and hence parasitically writing his own?

    It must be the last refuge of something.

  13. @louis

    When the trains arrived at the camps the Nazis divided the Jews into those who would live and those who would die.

    This is low .

  14. here’s to davy-

    ‘The cartoon would be anti Semitic but for the fact that there is a Star of David on the flag… hence it clearly is meant to be Israel.’

    eh? surely the star was in use waaaaaaaays before the state of israel came into being? this means that there can be only one interpretation of the cartoon…

    or that’s the way i read it (but i would wouldn’t i?)

    modernity-

    i did ask the guardian mods for a definition of anti-semitism but was told to email someone else and directed to a webpage of generic guardian contacts….which of course i couldn’t be arsed to write to.

    they seem loath to commit themselves which might make them nail their colours to the mast and, in turn, leave them open to a referral to the press complaints commission.

  15. Louise

    “Mearsheimer divides Jews into “righteous and “Afrkaaner”..When the trains arrived at the camps the Nazis divided the Jews ”

    A bridge too far. Mearsheimer should have been able to express his point without using the term ” “Afrkaaner”….guaranteed to cause offence…but you have taken it to ” ludicrous speed ” by this comparison.

    He has simply divided people up…admittedly carelessly…but he isn’t a Nazi for goodness sake.

  16. smtx01

    .

    “just out of interest, what would you define as antisemitism”

    I find the definition here on CIFWatch irritating …although mainly correct ..but a mixture of old style Christian anti Semitism and what I think are added-on-extras to ensure that criticism of Israel can be branded as such. For example

    ” Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination ”

    This is a classic trap..looks fine… how could anyone take exception…unless this is taken to mean they express their self determination by building settlements on illegally held land. But if you even think this you are an anti Semite and have Peter shouting rude things at you! 🙂

  17. berch (so much easier to type)-

    the right to self determination thing means that its wrong to deny the right of israeli jews (and others in the diaspora) to a state where they won’t be a minority and thereby be subject to persecution again. frankly, i can’t see anything wrong with that. there are plenty of states where arabs or muslims are in the majority, but there is only one which is ethnically jewish and where hebrew is the lingua franca.

    whilst you may not like the eumc definition, the body itself is an eu body and, therefore, about as democratic and impartial as an eu body can be…

    in a way, i would take this as being far more reliable than any defintion the un may come up with, as, with the eu, no one can be accused of having a vested interest in its contents, whilst there is a significant power bloc within the un which is not well disposed towards israel.

  18. @’davy. Do you not find that the ‘double standards, the hyper criticisim, the unwillingness to find anything decent in Israel, begins to blur the lines between criticisim of Israel, the state, and criticisim of Israel, the Jew among the states’.? The UK and the US have been at war for a decade, many many more people have been killed during their occupations,than during Cast Lead, which saw the deaths of 1,200. What do you have to say about the Hundreds of |Thousands of Muslims who have been killed by brute paranoid Arab dictatorships,, and more to the point what do you do about it? That people on cif silence any mention of violations of human rights abuses in the Arab world or of the US/UK occupations, or of Africa, and the true horrific reality of their Millions of dead, as ‘what aboutery’, to me is obscene
    I mean I have grown up with people desecrating Jewish cemetries, daubing swastikas on someones parents or grandparents headstones, i am used to being frisked by Jewish Security during the High Holidays, iam used to jewish cemetries being fenced off(because of the grafitti and vandalisim) But to me today, the boundaries seem very blurred, the one sided condemnation, the clucking junkie obssesion with Israel, to the exclusion of anyone and everywhere (Inc palestinians in arab lands) inc the anti semeitic/racist literature prevelant throughout so many Muslim countires, the silence of western leftys to all this, does amount to me to be double standards and anti semitisim

  19. terrymalloy it’s typical of the ignoramus antisemite to conflate “Jewish” with “Israeli.” Hamas does and so does most of the Arab world and some of the more vociferous “anti-zionist” posters at the other place.

    And of course the idiot Berchmans trivialises antisemitism in general. According to him we are taking it far too seriously and seeing it where it isn’t. He must be a bit challenged – he’s one of the main perpetrators of the snide antisemitism which dare not speak its name.

    And who cares whether Lerman, (who used to be a youth leader in a left wing Zionist organisation when I knew him,) agrees with the definition or not? Given his record and his twisted take in print then the saying of the Mandy Rice Davis certainly applies to him – “Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?” and anyone who believes that Berchmans knows what antisemitism is, much less how it should be defined by someone as confused as he is (and that’s the polite term) is definitely wide of the mark.

  20. Those two posts are simply stunning (yes, in a negative sense).

    No time now to really go into detail. But the first one has me thinking: unlike the BNP they genuinely think they’re not racist.

    Kids today, eh.

  21. SarahLeah

    And who cares whether Lerman, (who used to be a youth leader in a left wing Zionist organisation when I knew him) agrees with the definition or not?

    Interesting. So he wasn’t always a bad guy for you – or was he?

    I’ve always said that CiF would immediately profit in my eyes from the absence Lerman and Richard Silverstein.

    But why such hatred against these two?

  22. smstx01

    ” the hyper criticisim, ”

    I wrote a long post last night but had to run out and lost it. Basically I never criticise Israel more than the UK you guys are amateurs at killing Muslims compared to us.

    SarahLeah

    ” it’s typical of the ignoramus antisemite to conflate “Jewish” with “Israeli. ”

    This happens on both sides.Quite deliberately. The very term the “Jewish state” is used like a weapon …how can you criticise a “Jewish state” without sounding like an anti Semite? I have many times seen “Hamas wants to kill Jews ” …but I have never seen members of the IDF described as “Jews” …they are ” Israelis” …

  23. Pretzel

    But why such hatred against these two?

    You should ask instead: why such hatred against Israel by these two?

    After stepping on a piece of dog droppings on the sidewalk should I have hate the dogs? The cleaning staff of the city council? I don’t think so. I have to clean my shoes with anything available and keep going. But hate? Maybe disgust is a better word in the case of these two.

  24. Here’s to “but I have never seen members of the IDF described as “Jews” …they are ” Israelis

    That’s because they aren’t necessarily Jews – lots of admixtures in the IDF – local Bedouin, Druze, etc. People from abroad too. I’ve known of Christians from the UK who have served in the IDF.

  25. Gerald Kreeve

    “That’s because they aren’t necessarily Jews –”

    Yet it is a ” Jewish State” despite a minority of others living there….In fact if you even slightly question this you get the Peters of this world saying “you are denying the Jews a homeland ” and saying rude things about you .

    The point I was attempting to make is that the dichotomy Jew / Israeli is misused by both sides..Sarah was suggesting it is the province of the Pro Palies only.

  26. If you object to Peter saying that you are denying the Jews a homeland then stop discussing the matter. He has a right to describe his home as he wishes. Just as you describe Scotland as a paradise of harmony and tolerance.

  27. Berchmans don’t take my name in vain…

    Yet it is a ” Jewish State” despite a minority of others living there….In fact if you even slightly question this you get the Peters of this world saying “you are denying the Jews a homeland ” and saying rude things about you .

    You can slightly or not slightly question anything but who gives a whatever? There is a French state, a German state, an Italian state, an Iraki state, a Romanian state and a lot of other states, all of them with many minorities. Have you ever questioned (slightly or not) their self determined definition as French, German, Italian etc?

    If you think that I’m rude with you then you are mistaken. Taking into account your character I consider my relation to you extremely light and gentle. But I understand that truth hurts….

    BTW Berchmans do your wife and family know about your pretty unusual sexual affinity to 14 years old Jewish girls murdered by the Nazis?
    If you were a real man and not a bad joke as you are you should come out of the closet and tell them.

  28. peterthehungarian

    “unusual sexual affinity to 14 years old Jewish girls ”

    Peter you are astonishing…I just posted ” the Peters of this world saying saying rude things about you .” and you outdo yourself with another obscenity.

    Gerald Kreeve

    “Just as you describe Scotland as a paradise of harmony and tolerance.”

    Scotland is the most violent place in Western Europe…has the worst prisons.. the worst health ..the highest teenage pregnancy ( Peter take note ..much opportunity to use that razor wit ) ..

    However rather surprisingly it has the worlds best ?? record on anti Semitism. 1 recorded assault ??? and a spattering of incidents..in our entire history?? ..this is a country that has had many Muslim murders already this century.

  29. ‘Basically I never criticise Israel more than the UK you guys are amateurs at killing Muslims compared to us.’

    interesting….elsewhere you highlight a poster using examples about islam beyond the i/p conflict and criticise him for it, yet here you’re perfectly happy to do so for your own ends…

  30. berch- again, if alba is so wonderful, why did fullerton start a chapter of those notorious jew-lovers the kkk there (after of course being a part of the british union of fascsists)?

    and i would again suggest that the anti-semitism record was apparently so good based on a) a very small jewish community and b) those nice people in the (presbyterian*…) kirk were too busy persecuting irish and catholics to notice the jewish community.

    and the kirk has, of course, always been open about its links to the supremacist orange order, which in turn has links to the more violent and poisonous strands of loyalism.

    scotland has a long and persistent history of intolerance.

    *seems they always have to have a ‘demon’ to persecute.

  31. Berchmans

    Peter you are astonishing…I just posted ” the Peters of this world saying saying rude things about you .” and you outdo yourself with another obscenity.

    You advertised on CIF your obscene and disgusting desire to “bonk” Anne Frank a 14 old Jewish girl gassed by the Nazis in Auschwitz and a symbol of the fate of European Jewry in the Holocaust. This is a documented fact even you didn’t deny it.

    And you are whining about my rudeness…
    You couldn’t make it up.

    Anyway you didn’t answer my question: Do your wife and family know about your sexual desires? What about your employer and collegues?
    Did you brag with your manliness before them too? Don’t be afraid, tell them…
    They won’t be rude with you like me I’m sure…

  32. peterthehungarian

    ” your obscene and disgusting desire to “bonk” Anne Frank ”

    Peter you have lost what few marbles you ever had. I promise I will never again address a post to you…but kindly keep your thought ! 🙂 to yourself .

  33. Berchmans

    I’m waiting to your answer.
    Do the members of your environment know about your abominable sexual desires or not?
    Or do you deny that you wrote the post stating your desire “to bonk” Anne Frank?

  34. Berchmans please don’t lie.

    I saw the same declaration that you wanted to bonk Anne Frank. It was of course deleted quite soon so there is no record but you cannot deny that you typed it.

  35. Peter, Anne Frank died of typhus in Bergen Belsen, but other Frank family members were murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

  36. Hi Jonny,

    Yes you are correct Anne Frank died in Bergen-Belsen. This fact won’t change an other fact: Berchmans is a coward, ignorant anti-semite who found some perverse lust to write down his obscene insult.

  37. Arabella Meller

    I saw the same declaration that you wanted to bonk Anne Frank

    Liar . Pervert.

  38. berchmans you are lucky that Hawkeye is a gentleman (or lady) and behaves like Israel, allowing free expression, otherwise you would long have been out.

  39. Arabella
    This piece of dung called Berchmans (I’m not a gentleman as you can see)
    knows very well that he really said what he said about Anne Frank and this fact can be proved very easily. This is the reason of his shrieking and whining.