By Richard Millett.
There are times when something is so obviously wrong that it shouldn’t even need pointing out. That the Guardian thinks there is no problem promoting someone who wants to “resign” from Judaism shows how little respect its editors have for Judaism.
Last Saturday the Guardian allowed Shlomo Sand, a Tel Aviv university professor, to write a lengthy piece in its pages about how he has had enough of being Jewish (see above).
Sand is relatively unknown in the UK. This might be a news story in Israel, but in the UK? In the UK it isn’t news, but will only incite anti-Semitism. The Guardian wouldn’t dare treat another religious minority in such a demeaning manner.
Sand writes in his article:
“I am often even ashamed of Israel, particularly when I witness evidence of its cruel military colonisation, with its weak and defenceless victims who are not part of the “chosen people”.”
How can this often repeated “chosen people” mantra be anything but anti-Semitism? I have personally been on the receiving end of it. The RMT’s Steve Hedley, disliking my questioning of his violent rhetoric at an anti-Israel event, told me in a derogatory manner that I was one of the “chosen people”. He meant Jewish.
When, in the Guardian article, Sand complains of Israel’s “ethnocentrism” he is really complaining about Israel’s Jewishness. Would the Guardian allow another country to be attacked because it is Islamic, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist?
For the Guardian it is par for the course to have articles containing unsubstantiated attacks on Israel. It has become so blase about this that the Guardian’s editors are now unable, or unwilling, to notice when their newspaper steps over the line into promoting racist diatribe that attacks Jews and Judaism.
Meanwhile, Sand’s crackpot theory is simple: He believes that today’s Jews have no connection to Israel because the Romans never evicted the Jews from the Holy Land and, therefore, the Jews have no right to return there. It was early Zionist thinkers who twisted the facts to argue that Jews be allowed to return to Israel. Sand claims that today’s Jews are merely descended from a north African tribe that converted to Judaism.
Last year at SOAS Sand described Israel, among other things, as “a shitty nation”.
Sand’s overall rhetoric is poisonous and racist and could cause a backlash against Britain’s small Jewish community with its strong affiliation to Israel and obvious adherence to Judaism.
On reading the headline to Sand’s piece in the Guardian Shlomo Sand: ‘I wish to resign from being a Jew’ I thought of those times a Jew might have wished to resign from being Jewish. As Jews were being herded by the Nazis onto trains headed for Auschwitz-Birkenau some may have liked to declare “I wish to resign from being a Jew” to try and save their own and their family’s lives.
Had Sand been around back then and submitted his resignation to the Nazi in charge of the Jew-herding he would have been mocked before being sent on his way to Auschwitz.
This may be a game to the Guardian and Sand but publishing this article was crass and on a par with writings at the extreme ends of the political spectrum.