General Antisemitism

Is it possible to “understand” Ben White’s antisemitism? CiF again sanctions opposition to peace with Israel


Just today, the Guardian responded to questions by the Jerusalem Post about a Just Journalism Report demonstrating that the paper maintains an editorial line often critical of any recognition of Israel as a Jewish state – and which noted that three Palestinians who contributed op-eds during the first 6 months of 2011 were either members of Hamas or strongly affiliated with it – by stating:

“[The Guardian is] committed to publishing a wide range of viewpoints in a fair and consistent manner. “We were not approached by Just Journalism and remain unaware of their terms of reference and methodology. The Guardian is committed to publishing a wide range of voices, and covers any matter, including conflict, in a way which is fair and consistent.”

I’ll leave aside, for the moment, the comical suggestion that, perhaps, what only appears to be the Guardian’s sanctioning of voices opposed to Israel’s existence may be merely a “methodological” snafu, and focus on today’s CiF piece by Ben White

Indeed, in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, it’s difficult to find many, outside of Islamist terrorist circles, more hostile to Israel’s existence, and opposed to a peaceful two-state solution than White.

For those unaware, White is author of the book “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide”, an obsessive anti-Zionist and supporter of the one-state solution. He also routinely accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing and has used language suggesting parallels between Nazi Germany and Zionism.

White has even gone so far as to flirt with Holocaust revisionism.

Further, in an article entitled Is It ‘Possible’ to Understand the Rise in ‘Anti-Semitism’?, White stated that “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are”, after linking the rise of antisemitism with “the widespread bias and subservience to the Israeli cause in the Western media”.

So, consistent with the Guardian’s propensity to legitimize such antisemitic voices, White again has been given an opportunity to share his unique anti-Zionist insights with CiF readers, in “The problem with Palestinian Leadership“, Sept. 1.

The piece is classic White, who, clearly enamored by his own routine demonizing rhetoric about Jewish state, repeats, as if by rote, what he describes as “Israeli colonisation”, and again evokes South African Apartheid by describing Palestinian towns as “Bantustans”.

But the thrust of White’s piece, about what he maintains should be the correct course of action by Palestinian leadership, is that that negotiations with Israel are futile, describes as irrelevant the “debate” within the pro-Palestinian community regarding “violent” versus “nonviolent” resistance, and mocks PA security cooperation with the IDF meant to address violence and terrorism.

In short, White’s piece is yet another example of CiF legitimizing voices who frame negotiation or cooperation with Israel as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.

In White’s final passage he approvingly links to a piece at Electronic Intifada by another one-state solution proponent, Ali Abunimah, who repeats the now familiar refrain warning of the dangers of a Palestinian Declaration of Independence (UDI) – namely, that any such act would deny an unlimited Palestinian right of return, and, worse, would legitimize the existence of Israel.

For Abunimah, White, and dozens of CiF contributors, a peaceful solution with the Jewish state is inconsistent with their political “values” and represents nothing short of a shameful moral betrayal.

14 replies »

  1. “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are”

    Fair enough, but could we not substitute “Islamophobic” for “an anti-Semite?” After all, Britain has been directly attacked by Islamists and considerable resources are being tied up countering more threats from the same kinds of people, both in the UK and the world over. What Israel does to the Palestinians, is not directly affecting the U.K. or anyone else. If her actions make antisemitism understandable, then surely Islamophobia is even more understandable.

    Yet White while “understanding” antisemitism is actively fighting Islamophobia, even in places where many would argue it does not exist. E.g.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=281244392023

    He really needs to explain why he takes sides in fighting hatred.

    • I doubt that White’s hatred is amenable to explanation, coming as it does from the gut. There’s also a danger that, if called upon to explain himself he would attempt to explain and rationalise what is essentially irrational, as all hatreds are.

      I doubt that he lacks the insight to confront this honestly and to acknowledge where it comes from. He and other haters are psychologically split, and I believe that White’s early upbringing and the influence on him of the church are culpable here.

      Splitting arises from the inability of a person to “hold” the bad and good aspects of his personality and, as he matures, to acknowledge the bad and allow the good to work to undermine it. I would be willing to bet that White’s “bad” so terrifies him that he refuses to acknowledge that it exists AT ALL – rather he splits it off from his consciousness and projects it onto (perceives it only to be in) others, ie Jews/Israelis. This is the only way in which he can feel virtuous and “clean” but that is a mirage, because he has to try harder and harder in order to remain balanced.

      The more I read of him the more I am reminded that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, in this case his unswerving belief in his own rectitude and that he is actually helping the Palestinians by spewing his hatred.

      I am reminded of Sarah Elshazly’s excellent article in which she wrote of the experiences of growing up as an Israeli Arab woman, in the aftermath of the 1948 war, and in particular of:

      “…I am not writing this to say merely to say that the Arab world had not done enough or done nothing nor am I suggesting that they do anything now. I am merely pointing out the truth and basically, as a Palestinian, I would like to ask the entire world to stop exploiting our issue. If you want a do a good deed find your own. To the singers who are romanticizing the Palestinian suffering, it is not romantic. There is nothing dreamy about it. There is no heroism in a small child throwing rocks at a tank. Either warn the child to stay away or Please shut up! How dare you do this to our children? Our suffering gives you good video materials and a good rating? Not to mention fame and the good old all mighty Dollar? (emphasis added)

      Ben White, she means YOU. You exploit the Palestinian issue whenever you put fingers to keyboard.

  2. “For those unaware, White is author of the book “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide”, an obsessive anti-Zionist and supporter of the one-state solution.”

    No. I saw it once in a bookstore bin. It is no more a book than a ‘size-zero model’ is a fully-fed rhino.

    No doubt he is obsessive, though. Poor lost lamb.

    • They deleted most of the pro Israeli posts that made mince meat of Ben White…….

      At the top of that article The Guardian posted a picture of a palestinian sniper aiming at Israeli civilians men women and children……The Rustbucket and his goons need to be hauled off to the Hague.

  3. That’s sad to see Bonkers White back on CiF. The man is a waste of space.

    But where does he “flirt with Holocaust revisionism”??

      • I saw that link beforehand. Where does White – as that article’s headline suggests – say or imply that “the Holocaust is a myth”??

        • Pretzel, here is a quote from the pertinent article. I don’t think White explicitly says the Holocaust is a myth. He just messes close to the border of the antisemitic discourse of one sharper, and more honest, observers knew to be a Holocaust denier, even then. Ben White has a documented blind spot with regard to antisemites and antisemitic discourse, which I think a more accurate depiction.

          ‘“If the Europeans are telling the truth in their claim that they have killed six million Jews in the Holocaust during the World War II – which seems they are right in their claim because they insist on it and arrest and imprison those who oppose it, why the Palestinian nation should pay for the crime. Why have they come to the very heart of the Islamic world and are committing crimes against the dear Palestine using their bombs, rockets, missiles and sanctions.”

          This is not a particularly controversial argument – the Jews were persecuted in Europe, but the guilt of the Western powers was salved at the expense of the Palestinians. The news agency goes on though to report that the President described how “some have created a myth on holocaust and hold it even higher than the very belief in religion and prophets because when a person expresses disbelief in God, religion and prophets they do not object to him but they will protest to anyone who would reject the Holocaust”. Again, Ahmadinejad is drawing attention to the extent to which European nations prosecute Holocaust deniers, yet are by and large post-Christian societies with little regard for religion. For a devout believer like the Iranian President, this must seem like a strange situation.

          Note also that the President said that “some have created a myth on holocaust”. While most people immediately equate a ‘myth’ with a fabricated fairy-tale, this is not necessarily the case. A quick consultation of dictionary definitions confirms that “many historians consider that myths can also be accounts of actual events that have become highly imbued with symbolic meaning” [my italics], this from Wikipedia. The entry continues, “This process occurs in part because the events described become detached from their original context and new context is substituted, often through analogy with current or recent events”.

          Even more relevantly, given the use of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism as a propaganda tool of Zionist apologists, historian Richard Slotkin has described the process whereby historical events become ‘myth’ thus:
          stories drawn from a society’s history that have acquired through persistent usage the power of symbolizing that society’s ideology and of dramatizing its moral consciousness–with all the complexities and contradictions that consciousness may contain.

          http://www.benwhite.org.uk/2006/01/10/history-myths-and-all-the-news-thats-fit-to-print/

        • In Ben White’s eyes, the fundamental justice for Israel, such as it is, is that it “powerfully symbolises the Jewish people’s ability to defy the power of hatred so destructively embodied in the Nazi Holocaust”.

          http://justpeace60.blogspot.com/

          So he wrote in his JustPeace60 statement.

          For Ben White, the “myth of the Holocaust” is the fundamental abuse of the Holocaust to justify the creation of Israel. Paradoxically, perhaps.