The tragically misunderstood Israel Shamir

One of the most worn out tropes advanced by the Guardian hard left is that they indeed oppose “actual” anti-Semitism but are frustrated that Israel’s supporters casually employ the term to stifle its critics.

Occasionally, the insincerity of such charges are in full view – especially when such critics fail to condemn those who engage in explicit and undeniable Jew hatred.

The response by many commenters to Andrew Brown’s CiF post, WikiLeaks and Israel Shamir, represents such an example.

Though Brown makes the case that Shamir is an unrepentent anti-Semite quite well, it should also be noted that Shamir has stated that “It’s every Muslim and Christian’s duty to deny the Holocaust;” described the Jews as “virus in human form;” and endorsed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Yet, for some CiF commenters, Shamir is not a hater at all but, rather, a “renegade Jew” who’s tragically misunderstood (presumably in the tradition of renegade Muslims such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali).

While such a comment by itself wouldn’t necessarily be worth discussing, please note that his comment received 204 “Recommends”.

47 replies »

  1. So CiF claims Shamir “a Jew who has converted to Orthodox Christianity”?

    Where is the evidence of his being or having been a Jew? Or is CiF simply parroting Shamir’s own claim?

    Why no mention of Lord Ahmed’s love for the vile Shamir? Or of the hypocrisy of allowing into Lords a man like Shamir, while banning from the country Wilders and Savage?

  2. The reference to the Indonesian lady in Holland is presumably a conflation of Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma with Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Somalia, once resident in Holland …

    These ignoramuses are priceless. And they walk among us, and vote.

  3. Only a Cif commenter could fail to spot the difference between the vicious racism of Israel Shamir and the principled integrity of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

  4. RaymundoAnonymouse, words are imperfect and, thus, there’s no precise term or phrase to accurately characterize the Guardian’s politics. But, I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to distinguish their anti-Zionist brand of leftist thought from those on the left who haven’t betrayed their progressive values and still possess the wisdom and courage to defend a democracy under siege while also refusing to make apologies for reactionary Islamist movements. If you can think of a better term than “Guardian Hard Left”, I’m open to your suggestions.

  5. I have had on the Guardian’s CIF section a discussion about Israel Shamir who is usually misrepresented. There is a number of allegedly “incriminating” sentences from him floating around the internet and these are the usual basis for often quite vicious personal attacks.

    On this particular thread the focus of these attacks was his alleged views on “blood libel” and the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. As far as the former is concerned: S’s remarks on these were made in the context of his review of two Israeli scholars, Israel Yuval and Ariel Toaff. Wikipedia has quite an interesting entry on the latter. His views, published in italian (he is the son of a chief rabbi of Rome and apparently a rabbi himself) caused a storm in his own community and led to threats of his dismissal from Bar Ilan University and even death threats. So he caved in (though he originally said that he would stand by his views even if he were “crucified” for it), took the first edition out of circulation and came up with a “purged” second edition.

    My particular battle was with a character who calls himself “Sids Kitchen”. I composed an answer to him in the early morning hours. When I started to write the thread was still open. When I had finished the Guardian had closed it. So now I want to publish my last letter here. It will probably never come under the eyes of its addressee but will at any case be on the internet.


    You have the mind of an inquisitor. When you have been shown that Shamir’s remarks about ‘blood libel’ did not originate in his alleged anti-semitism but had a lot to do with the views of two respectable Israeli scholars (they were in fact made in discussing the views of these scholars) you are still determined “to have him” (or me).

    Now you have retreated to this line:

    “That is not comparable with Yuval, or even with Toaff. Shamir’s argument it is not about Jewish mass suicide, or even a Jewish Ashkenazi cult, it’s about “the Jews” as a people “

    Here again you are quite mistaken. It is about Jews as ordinary human beings, instead of exceptional ones incapable of wrongdoing. He says so quite explicitly and you would have found this yourself if you took the trouble to read him instead of stopping at the first “incriminating” passage you can find and then rushing into print to denounce him. Here is what he says in his review of Professor Toaff’s book about the attacks on this scholar in his own community:

    “A renown (sic) Jewish historian, rabbi and a son of a rabbi, wrote about 500-year old events – why should they bestir themselves? In the Middle ages, use of blood, necromancy, black magic were not an exclusively Jewish realm. Witches and wizards of gentile background did it too. So just join the human race, warts and all!. “

    You went off half cock about the blood libel matter and now you do so about the “protocols”. If you want to know what S. thinks about these I suggest you read him with some other idea in mind than finding “incriminating” sentences.

    Let me, however, assure you of one thing. S. does not hold that there is a world wide Jewish conspiracy, as you seem to think he does. He says quite explicitly about this supposed plot:

    “ … I doubt human beings, Jews or English, Russians or Chinese are able to form long-standing plans spanning centuries and continents. Nobody was able to prove such a plot exists. “

    And again:

    “We can reach similar results rejecting the conspiracy line altogether, by applying the concept of self-interest to the real Jewish community …”

    I doubt that this will deter you from further attacks on Shamir but you then will have to indulge in these without my company. I now take leave of you as I would of a troublesome customer in the local pub who shows too clearly that his main opinions were obtained in that very place.

    Post Scriptum: I offer this “a prendre ou a laisser” and am not prepared to fight futile battles with people whose mind is made up.

  6. help, I am at a loss
    can anybody explain to me what Arie Brand is talking about?

    is he defending or incriminating Shamir

    in case it’s unimportant no answer is required. If it is important i.e. if he/she actually says something meant for humans to understand I’d be grateful

  7. Silke

    Arie Brand should read the archive I’ve linked to above where people who are most certainly not friends of Israel find “Israel Shamir” too awful even for them.

  8. I think Professor Michael Neumann, another courageous Jewish critic of Israel, got it pretty right, when he said:

    “I do not know Shamir personally, but I suspect he likes to break taboos. He insists on going after truth wherever he can find it, whether it is in the most respectable journalistic sources or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Many are understandably appalled as this practice; they see Shamir as a renegade, taking his place among the ‘holocaust revisionists’ and the traditional anti-semites. What they do not see is that, while traditional anti-semites use stories such as the Protocols to condemn an entire people, Shamir uses them to condemn a Jewish Р№lite, in whom he sees a moneyed clique as dangerous to other Jews as to gentiles. More important, they do not see, or forget, how joyously, even lovingly Shamir takes pride in the courageous Jews who resist Israeli crimes. Even among his opponents, Shamir sees humanity as well as guilt, in Jew and gentile alike. His real enemy is no race or creed, but mean-spiritedness. Thus Shamir has said that, while Barak is “arrogant and unpleasant man”, Sharon is a soldier, far more likely to sit down and share a plate of hummus with his Palestinian foes.

    Of Shamir it can be truly said, as it is falsely said of so many, that he hates the crime, not the criminal. It is in this ability to prize humanity, though all the twists and turns of bitter experience and sharp dispute, that Shamir teaches by example his most valuable lesson.”

    And, coming to think of it, I found the Abunimah/Ibish essay pretty mean spirited.

  9. I thought we were talking about Shamir.

    But as far as your remark is concerned: what about the families of all those murdered Palestinian children?

    Back to Abunimah/Ibish: there are some intriguing questions here. According to Shamir they had, before they came up with this mean spirited piece (quoting the Jerusalem Post against him for heavens sake), already suggested that he might be a Mossad agent, that he was after Arab money, that he falsely claimed to be a Russian/Israeli journalist etc.

    What motivated them? As far as Ibish is concerned this now seems pretty clear. He apparently has made such a habit of calling out supposed ‘anti-Semites’ that, for a man of his supposed convictions about the Palestinian cause, he now seems to be in pretty dubious company.


  10. Toko I don’t bother to read further when I see bs things like ” another courageous Jewish critic of Israel,” as if they think that the Pesach shop won’t sell them any more matzos if they’re rude about Israel.

    We’re all rude about Israel, especially Israelis. That’s what freedom is all about. It’s slugs like this so-called shamir character who exploit it and to whom nothing happens that show the truly open and transparent nature of the country: uncomfortable as it sometimes is.

  11. Arie Brand

    I think Professor Michael Neumann, another courageous Jewish critic of Israel, got it pretty right, when he said:

    Haven’t actually seen anything reliable that ‘Israel’ Shamir is either Jewish or Israeli. (Apart from what he has said about himself which is obviously, extremely suspect)

    By his writing, he is obviously a rank antisemite. Whether Jewish. Or Israeli or perhaps a dung beatle. (recommended)

  12. Arie
    murdered Palestinian children?

    since you seem to imply that you know all about Palestinian children, could you please be a bit more specific and define who qualifies as a child?

    Thank you!

  13. JerusalemMite
    I must protest on behalf of the dung beatle

    I distinctly remember that several sources convinced me that it is a lovely creature, diligently, efficiently doing a perfectly necessary and valuable job …

  14. Silke

    Dung beetles are lovely. They come into the room, crash around into things, pick themselves up and go crashing around again. Like Bruce’s spider. Kind of.

    I’d never kill one.

  15. arie brand, you ask about the families of “palestinian children”. You must be referring to those “palestinian families” who sit next to their children in their farewell videos, right before they go out to die a “shaheed” and the mother after the martyrdom yodels in celebration of the death of her son and states she wishes she had more to sacrifice.

  16. Ariadne, the only thing that can be said in favour of Ropschitz’s article is that, at any case, he had the guts to publish it under his own name, which is much more than can be said for you. By the same token he owes his Google fame, such as it is, to this performance. It beats me why – because when he came with it it was already old “news” – “Searchlight” having come up with this stuff the year before.

    Anyway, enough about Ropschitz. Now to the claims. Let us for the moment assume they are true. So Shamir was registered in Sweden in 1984 and acquired Swedish nationality in 1994. For Ropschitz that makes him a Swede falsely claiming to be an Israeli. I don’t see the logic. Isn’t he aware that many Israelis have double nationality? What nationality R. thinks Shamir was before he acquired the Swedish one (when he was already 44)? The census story also doesn’t make sense to me. Firstly, I am not aware that Shamir has claimed to be at that precise moment in Israel but also because it is common practice among census takers to inquire who else is living in the house and would accept such information from cohabitants. Shamir has never denied that he spends longish periods in Sweden (where he has a son living).

    Also, the fact that he has an Israeli name that differs from his original one hardly counts against him.The same holds for such pro-Palestinian activists as Uri Avnery and Gideon Levy.

    Shamir claims to have arrived in Israel in 1969 and to have participated in the 1973 war. He has actually given concrete details about the activities he was involved in then. Now Ariadne, you who spend so much time in gathering materials for your anti-Shamir campaign, are you aware of any official denial by the Israeli government, supported by documents, of these particular biographical details?

    Shamir himself has hardly found it worth his while to enter into this talk
    about his Swedish alter ego because he obviously believes that it has no bearing on the truth, or otherwise, of what he writes – and right he is. He recently referred to his son, a Swedish journalist, because Magnes Ljunggren (that old Professor of Russian who doesn’t seem to be aware that the cold war is over) and the Guardian’s Andrew Brown saw fit to involve him as well in their smear campaign against Shamir.

    Here is how S. himself reacted to Ropschitz’s performance. Writing about the swarm of gadflies that attacked Carter for daring to say what most people who are not wilfully blind already know he continued:

    “I also had a personal taste of this swarm attack. During the Tsunami disaster in Thailand I discovered that the Jewish undertakers, Zaka, forced the Thais to delay mass burial of victims for a day or two, despite the real and immediate danger of epidemic diseases, in order to avoid a real calamity: that holy Jewish bodies might be inadvertently buried together with the goyim. I was told so by the members of Zaka team who were quite proud of their feat. I wrote about it (Tsunami in Gaza). It was republished by a few sites. Then, a British Jew named Manfred Ropschitz began an ad hominem campaign against me. Other Jews joined the fray, discussing whether I am a Jew, or a “Swedish-Russian Nazi antisemite”, as if this had any bearing on the tsunami story. Instead of shrugging it off, other supporters of Palestine switched to this piquant subject. They carried their discussion from The Times to their email lists, until eventually, another Jewish “antizionist” commented with deep satisfaction: “Shamir is marginalised and brought into disrepute”.

    Ropschitz did not try to disprove the story, for the story was true. He wrote: “With an army of journalists crawling over the Tsunami story I’d expect to have heard such shocking news by now – if it’s true. I am a journalist and I don’t believe it.” No, gentlemen, you won’t hear a true story if it is not acceptable to Ropschitzes of this world. They will hunt you to the far-away corner of the world, and there are not many people who care to risk their well-planned attacks. Indeed, one ought to be a real kamikaze to enter this fight. The Ropschitzes, these quite ordinary Jews who fully identify with their community, are the key to the swarm attack. There are many Jewish media-lords, even more Jewish editors, but it is the Ropschitzes that clinch the party line. These willing executioners of our freedom, these foot-soldiers of the media lords, automatically defend “the Jews” (i.e., the organised Jewish community) at any price. Ordinary human beings of Jewish origin can be of any opinion. Likewise, ordinary Americans do not decide whether their country will attack Iran or not. But Bush and Cheney alone can’t fight the Iraqi war, and the Jewish media lords would be powerless without their willing executioners of freedom.”

    And now, Ariadne, I take my leave of you as I did earlier of “SidsKitchen”- and for the same reason. I wish you a Merry Christmas. Give your computer a rest during these days.

  17. P.S. Oh yes, you also provided a link to one of my own posts. Why don’t you give a few more? There are some quite instructive ones among these.

  18. Let me add

    Typo: the year of Shamir’s alleged obtaining of Swedish citizenship is either 1991 or 1992. I had to laugh,however, about those confident assertions starting “Swedish authorities confirm …”as if those official folk are at the beck and call of these hasbara foot soldiers and Sweden has no privacy laws. Whom do they think they are kidding?

  19. Swedish law was significantly amended with effect from 1 July 2001 and from that date, dual citizenship is permitted without restriction.

    hasn’t our darling Arie implied earlier that Shamir may have retained dual citizenship ?????????

    Citizenship law tends to be notoriously difficult and full of loopholes but the above suggests at least to me that retaining Israeli citizenship as Arie wants him to have done presented a difficulty or two and maybe at least if one wanted things to be perfectly legal.

    seems he is an especially smart guy our Arie, presumably one of those who pontificate about international law at length without any knowledge of it whatsoever.

  20. “and the Jewish media lords…” hehehehe

    I guess we’d have to invent AB if he didn’t already exist.

  21. Yes Silke I could presumably do or be many things – so presume a few more if it makes you happy.

    For the rest: I salute you as one of those real experts who manage to get their knowledge from such recondite sources as Wikipedia.

    And now basta. I have spent enough time on you guys.

  22. Arie

    chickening out of discussing the intricacies of Swedish citizen laws?

    how wise of you and what a lovely proof that you are nothing but a top notch coward

  23. Silke, you force me to make an inroad on our beautifully radiant Christmas day to answer your silly post. When you claimed regarding my first post here that you could not make out whether I was defending or incriminating Shamir I decided that you were either seriously challenged as far as your literacy or as your truthfulness is concerned. Your present performance makes me incline to the former hypothesis.

    Firstly you seem to think that citizenship laws are part of ‘international law’ – a howler which shows your level of legal sophistication.

    Second you obviously haven’t read carefully the Wiki you cite yourself which says:

    “Prior to 1 July 2001, Swedish citizens were still able to legally hold dual citizenship in certain circumstances, for example, if the other citizenship was acquired automatically at birth.”

    Now read this in conjunction with:

    “Israel provides Jews around the world with the “right of return,” which means that they can come to Israel and assume Israeli citizenship without going through a naturalization process.”


    Now it could well be that Jews ranked for Swedish law as those who had acquired Israeli citizenship by birth and therefore were allowed, even before 2001, to have dual nationality.

    Alternatively, even if Shamir had to renounce his Israeli citizenship to gain the Swedish one (which I doubt) he would regain it in returning to Israel. More recently this right has been restricted for apostate Jews but I assume that that didn’t affect Shamir’s earlier case.

    Since you manage to be at one and the same time the silliest contributor and the most abusive one I really can’t be bothered to enter into any further discussion with you. I have said here what I wanted to say and that is it.

  24. Arie
    thanks for having conclusively proved that everything is possible.

    and no, having once made a living from getting residence and work permits for foreigners through German bureaucracy I’d be the last in the world to mix individual state’s citizenship granting habits which are part of its Hoheitsrecht (rights as a sovereign) with international law, the whole purpose of which is to infringe on said Hoheitsrecht.

    therefore I suggest you have your specs checked and while you are at it a visit at the shrink might be advisable, maybe whatever impedes your reading abilities is mental, progressive and growing.

    BTW I am greatly amused that you pick out of the info Wikipedia provides the one sentence that in its ambiguity and such meaninglessness seems to prove your judgement of their offerings.

    that one got ROFLAO

  25. You wrote:

    “CITIZENSHIP LAW tends to be notoriously difficult and full of loopholes but the above suggests at least to me that retaining Israeli citizenship as Arie wants him to have done presented a difficulty or two and maybe at least if one wanted things to be perfectly legal.

    seems he is an especially smart guy our Arie, presumably one of those who pontificate about INTERNATIONAL LAW at length without any knowledge of it whatsoever.” (emphasis added AB)

  26. presumably one of those

    replace “pontificate about International Law” by “yelling obscenities in front of the London Ahava shop” or by “promoting Press TV as a reliable news outlet” or by “stating that 9/11 was an inside job”

    You get the idea or you want more examples?
    BTW in my area there are evening schools that offer cheap courses where reading skills are taught. This just in case a psycho should be beyond your budget’s possibilities.

    The only reason I chose International Law is, because those idiots are my personal favourite nutters.