General Antisemitism

The ‘Elders of Zion’ reborn at the University of Kent (Video)


Cross posted from the blog of David Collier

Yesterday, 28/01/2016, I was at the University of Kent to hear a talk by Amira Hass titled ‘Israel and the Palestinians: Colonialism and Prospects for Justice’. The event itself was a collaboration between The Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at Kent University and the Palestine Centre at SOAS, University of London. One of these universities, SOAS, is already a notorious hotbed for extremism, the other, Kent, seems to be desperately trying to catch-up.

Dr Bashir Abu-Manneh is the head of the centre for Postcolonial studies at Kent, like other academics of his type, it can be seen from his own activity that he has long-lost sight of what academia and critical thinking is about. This event, following one just the evening before attempting to create BDS activists on campus, is simply a sign of a deteriorating environment.

Amira Hass is an Israeli columnist at the Haaretz newspaper. For the last 20 years she has lived in the Palestinian areas, originally in Gaza, but more recently moving to Ramallah in the West Bank. Amira is an example of one of those Israelis nobody should have heard of. Standing for politics that receive no support in Israel, Amira’s opinions reflect none but a handful of oddballs. Every nation has people like Hass hidden in the shadows. What makes her ‘special’, what makes her a marketable commodity, are hundreds of millions of people outside of Israel that simply want Israel gone. The audience of Amira Hass are not peacemakers, but warmonger.

There were around 200 people in the hall to hear her talk. Perhaps 60 of them students from the university. The rest,activists from the local Palestinian support groups. The talk itself was relatively predictable and in 45 minutes, she did not mention Arab violence once. The intifada’s, both of which apparently were ‘benign’, were mentioned in name twice but never detailed. Rather, the violence, all of it, was Jewish.

In usual fashion, events in Israel were taken out of context, exaggerated, misrepresented, and as one would expect from an activist who long ago forgot how to actually ‘report’ a news item, important details were either deliberately sidestepped or completely forgotten. Sleight of hand in her description of events with the Bedouin of the Negev, allowed Hass to suggest that it didn’t matter which side of the 1967 border was being discussed, the end result for an Arab is always the same. Gross distortion of a deliberately sinister kind, and a unforgiveable misrepresentation of the simple fact that Arab Israelis are *factually* living as equal citizens in a liberal democracy.

At events like this I always feel sorry for the uninformed in the audience. They are vulnerable to a propaganda exercise that is designed to spread lies and hatred. Although that, I suppose, is the sole purpose of the talk in the first place. I also resent the idea that a university in the UK can give a platform to such distortion without feeling the need to provide an alternative voice.

The argument that a university is there to hear all voices is an acceptable theory, but is simply not one that holds up to inspection. As we have seen recently elsewhere, these anti-Israeli activists disrupt and silence pro-Israeli speakers wherever they are due to speak, and one campus event in the past few weeks, even saw violence.

Free speech only works when it works for everyone. If you hide behind free speech when it suits you, but employ the heckler’s veto when it doesn’t, you simply engage in a form of ‘red fascism’, which is precisely the tactic currently being used by anti-Israeli activists. The university, any university, should make permission for these one-sided events conditional on a free speech for all platform. If they do not respect free speech for others, they shouldn’t have any themselves.

So the evening went on, and Amira Hass had been discussing Israeli ‘war crimes’ for 40 minutes, and the majority of the audience were hanging on her every faltering word. When suddenly, without warning, I heard mention of the ‘Elders of Zion’. As had occurred with me at a different event when Gerald Kaufman had mentioned ‘Jewish money’, I got lost between the sentences as I tried to make sense of what I was hearing. Hass was discussing a hidden agenda, a secret group of Jews, plotting and planning beyond the reach of Israeli democracy – by extension, this secret group were to blame for the ‘war crimes’, for the death of innocent Palestinian children. Hass was spinning tales of a Jewish cabal, of shady secretive control, of unworldly plots and sinister deeds. A road that leads to dead children. Hass was resurrecting a classic historic antisemitic blood libel in a British university.

Hass had stepped back in time to explain the perpetual occupation, to present a reason why after 49 years, no movement had been made towards peace. Without Palestinian violence, Israeli actions become irrational, with Israeli democracy, they become inexplicable, and someway, somehow, this illogical unreasonable position needed to be explained away. All that is left is conspiracy. This is what she said:

“And I ask myself did the Elders of Zion really sit together at the beginning of the Seventies and then during the nineties, and plan, and have all these military orders, all these changes? I believe that they knew for sure that they don’t want to give back the land and in the Nineties, my conclusion is that they wanted to do everything possible to stop the two state solution.”

Beyond Israeli democracy, beyond the will of the voters, beyond the desires of peacemakers like Rabin and Peres, there are invisible Jewish decision makers. They planned from the early 1970’s, never to let the territories go, they manipulated, they connived, they controlled as puppet masters do. A conspiracy of a Jewish cabal that places the profit to be won from the occupation above the will of the electorate and the lives of innocent children. And it is called the ‘Elders of Zion’.

I missed many of the following comments as I tried to come to terms with what I had just heard, as a Jew in the UK in 2016. In a university. Hass continued about freedom of the press, about how she came to live in Gaza and then I began to find my bearings again as she turned to a question on BDS.

This too was informative. Amira Hass began to promote BDS but with a clear failure to understand its central ideas. She told the crowd that BDS makes Israelis nervous, but suggested identifying strategic targets rather than a strategy of ‘random fire in all directions’. Hass suggested petitioning European governments to remove the visa waiver for Israelis, so they would need to apply to travel. She reinforced this by mentioning this is what she already tells foreign diplomats when she gets the chance. And then another stroke of strategic brilliance. She put forward that attacks against Israel as a whole can be seen as antisemitic, so it is far more productive just to target settlements.

This instruction tells you everything you need to know about BDS. As a movement BDS is not about the 1967 occupation, but what they see as the occupation of 1948. The enemy of BDS is the entire state of Israel. But to state this out loud is to invite criticism, to expose the antisemitic underbelly of the entire boycott movement, so it is best to try to hide this goal. Here was Amira Hass in public admitting she is actively promoting BDS, actively petitioning foreign governments and winking and nodding at other activists, showing them the way to avoid the antisemitic label.

I didn’t stay for the reception. I didn’t like the company. And the University of Kent? Are they sliding down the slippery slope to ethical and academic oblivion? One thing is for sure, some of the people at the event on their campus yesterday took a solid step towards extremism, the rest, well they are all just a little bit less intelligent than they were the day before.

(Update: Here’s a video of Hass’s comments)

 

27 replies »

  1. Time for somebody to report this event to the University of Kent authorities for racist hate-speech? if the quote is accurate they might need to take action against the organisers.

    • I seem to remember in Bertold Brecht’s Caucasian Circle that Azdak, the rather cynical peasant who becomes judge, is asked to deal with a case of blackmail. So the accused explained that he merely asked his accuser whether it was true that he slept with his niece, and the accuser said it wasn’t true, which the accused accepted, and then the accuser gave the accused some money as a present. “But it never was blackmail!”

      Amira doesn’t accuse Israel of being run by the Elders of Zion – she merely speculates. Of course, if her audience nods and draws its own conclusions, that’s not Amira’s responsibility, is it? So let’s not accuse her of being anti-semitic – she’s merely speculating. Isn’t it the business of people at a university to speculate?

      • No, it’s not the business of people at a university to speculate, it’s the businesses of people at a university to educate and to be educate, with evidence borne of observations.

    • First it is a Professor at Kent University in the USA now it is the University of Kent in GB and ‘hate Eretz Yisrael and the Jews worldwide. To all my Jewish ‘brothers and sisters’ in Israel and the diaspora, Chazak, Chazak, Chazak. Am Yisrael Chai.

    • When it comes to Anti-Semitism any where in the World I don’t see that glass 1/2 Full. If the University of Kent is anything like North American Universities the Administration will hide behind their model concept of pure Academia, Free Flow of Ideas and so forth. If they want to appease you they’ll form a committee to study it. All this said, I’m reasonable sure that if you substitute Black for Jew, racial slurs/exclusion and replace the groups meeting from BDS to =the New Nazi Party and Klu Klux Klan; you would witness, swift, decisive action. As Jews are =are =usually left =hanging. I am not familiar with the British University system, however if a portion of their funding comes from the largess of Jewish Donors, run interference interference until they take acceptable action.

  2. Hah! The trush hurts, doesn’t it?

    The elders of Ziocons are a FACT, just like the illuminati, the fake moon landing, and Shimon Peres’ biological birth year (1666). Don’t shoot the messenger Emira Hess (granddaughter of Rudolph) for telling the truth!

    These are all the workings of a cabal of wealthy colonialist Neocon and Ziocon imperialists determined to enslave the world in order to achieve their diabolical master plan. This includes global warming, Palestinian enslavement, the invasion of Iraq, 9-11, the Baal-Beck genocide, the Zoglobeck genocide, axe body spray, talking mice, my mother in law, and lunar intra-mind transmissions. Bazoinq. the voices.

    The truth is out there! Mulder and Scully knew it, and so does Emira Hess. (see episode 7, Mulder visits Haaretz HQ)

  3. @David Collier –

    Your criticism of Amira Hass’s remark may, or may not, be valid (hard to tell from one context-free quote), but your sweeping statement that “SOAS is … a notorious hotbed for extremism” suggests to me that you’ve done little or no research into what universities ACTUALLY provide by way of platform opportunities for pro-Israel speakers and audiences.

    A visit to the SOAS Centre for Jewish Studies website @ https://www.soas.ac.uk/jewishstudies/ would have been a good starting point….

    There you would have found that the Centre “is committed to the promotion of Jewish and Israeli Studies through scholarship, teaching, book launches, workshops, public events, conferences and symposia, debate and discussion” and that “past participants … have included Nicholas de Lange, Fred Halliday, Hussein Agha, Anthony Julius, Norman Geras, Shlomo Arieli, Michael Walzer, Martin Goodman and David Cesarani”.

    Even if you don’t personally agree with some of some of these speakers’ positions, it’s quite beyond belief that audience members would have been denied every chance to challenge them during those conferences, debates and discussions. (I’m also sure that if these events had all been “silenced” by noisy, violent activists, we would have heard about it on this site, yours, and elsewhere!)

    You might then have spotted the Centre’s programme of evening lectures @ https://www.soas.ac.uk/jewishstudies/eveninglectures/?showprevious=1 – “Everyone … welcome, no reservation needed, no entrance fees” – featuring a variety of speakers, including some from Israel universities. Again, this hardly supports your “denial of free speech” assertion.

    One important name you might have noticed along the way, incidentally, was that of Colin Shindler, emeritus professor in Israel Studies at SOAS … which would almost certainly have led you to a 2015 Jerusalem Post article @ http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/BDSs-victory-at-London-Universitys-SOAS-393415, in which he wrote:

    “Some British Jews believe that London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies is a den of anti-Semitic iniquity. Some British Trotskyites believe that it is the center of the Zionist conspiracy. Both caricatures exist at one and the same time. Both are false.

    “SOAS, however, is unusual in London colleges in that its first-class academic programs rightly attract many students from the Arab, Islamic and developing worlds who are often more predisposed towards the cause of the Palestinians on arrival in the UK. Yet this built-in structural situation has also instigated an interest in the EXPANDING FIELD of Israel Studies. SOAS is one of the leaders in Israel Studies in the UK and is the headquarters of the European Association of Israel Studies …” (My caps for emphasis.)

    Final point: Among the names of visiting speakers mentioned on the SOAS website are lecturers and researchers based in several other Jewish/Hebrew/Israel Studies departments at British Universities. What this should tell you is that discussion and debate on I/P issues, far from being “one-sided events”, are actually alive and kicking all over the UK map.

    • Miranda. Thank you for your concern. The audio of the quote is now available on youtube, though quite how anyone can talk up the ‘EOZ’ in context is beyond me. As for my not researching ‘SOAS’, I have been there many times, spoken to many Zionists studying and seen Israeli speakers stopped from speaking. All my academic research is into the connection between antizionism and antisemitism on campus. That you are a signature on the jfjfp site means you already know that there can be no open debate when one side speaks freely and the other is boycotted or heckled into silence. Red rascism is alive and well on campus, SOAS is a hotbed of extremism. I know, I’ve case studies from several students there.

  4. @David Collier –

    Your criticism of Amira Hass’s remark may, or may not, be valid (hard to tell from one context-free quote), but your sweeping statement that “SOAS is … a notorious hotbed for extremism” suggests to me that you’ve done little or no research into what universities ACTUALLY provide by way of platform opportunities for pro-Israel speakers and audiences.

    A visit to the SOAS Centre for Jewish Studies website @ https://www.soas.ac.uk/jewishstudies/ would have been a good starting point….

    There you would have found that the Centre “is committed to the promotion of Jewish and Israeli Studies through scholarship, teaching, book launches, workshops, public events, conferences and symposia, debate and discussion” and that “past participants … have included Nicholas de Lange, Fred Halliday, Hussein Agha, Anthony Julius, Norman Geras, Shlomo Arieli, Michael Walzer, Martin Goodman and David Cesarani”.

    Even if you don’t personally agree with some of some of these speakers’ positions, it’s quite beyond belief that audience members would have been denied every chance to challenge them during those conferences, debates and discussions. (I’m also sure that if all these events had been “silenced” by noisy, violent activists, we would have heard about it on this site, yours, and elsewhere!)

    You might then have spotted the Centre’s programme of evening lectures @ https://www.soas.ac.uk/jewishstudies/eveninglectures/?showprevious=1 – “Everyone … welcome, no reservation needed, no entrance fees” – featuring a variety of speakers, including some from Israel universities. Again, this hardly supports your “denial of free speech” assertion.

    One important name you might have noticed along the way, incidentally, was that of Colin Shindler, emeritus professor in Israel Studies at SOAS … which would almost certainly have led you to a 2015 Jerusalem Post article @ http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/BDSs-victory-at-London-Universitys-SOAS-393415, in which he wrote:

    “Some British Jews believe that London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies is a den of anti-Semitic iniquity. Some British Trotskyites believe that it is the center of the Zionist conspiracy. Both caricatures exist at one and the same time. Both are false.

    “SOAS, however, is unusual in London colleges in that its first-class academic programs rightly attract many students from the Arab, Islamic and developing worlds who are often more predisposed towards the cause of the Palestinians on arrival in the UK. Yet this built-in structural situation has also instigated an interest in the EXPANDING FIELD of Israel Studies. SOAS is one of the leaders in Israel Studies in the UK and is the headquarters of the European Association of Israel Studies …” {My caps for emphasis.)

    Final point: Among the names of visiting speakers mentioned on the SOAS website are lecturers and researchers based in several other Jewish/Hebrew/Israel Studies departments at British Universities. What this should tell you is that discussion and debate on I/P issues, far from being “one-sided events”, are actually alive and kicking all over the UK map.

    • “your sweeping statement that “SOAS is … a notorious hotbed for extremism” suggests to me that you’ve done little or no research into what universities ACTUALLY provide by way of platform opportunities for pro-Israel speakers and audiences” – unhinged, ignorant, bigotted crap, as usual.

        • @PDW –

          I don’t subscribe to Haaretz, so can’t see more than the headline, but did read the Tablet piece you linked with interest. Thanks.

          While I don’t doubt for a moment that some Jewish students have experienced antisemitism at SOAS and other universities, giving rise to perfectly legitimate complaints, I think both the extent and frequency of this problem need to be examined a lot more carefully than most posters here are doing.

          At around the time of the – very heated and widely-reported – BDS campaign that sparked Moselle Paz Solis’s complaint, for example, the Union of Jewish Students’ campaigns director, Maggie Suissa, had this to say in a Jewish Chronicle article (@ http://www.thejc.com/campus/campus-comment/135096/look-past-boycott-motions-%E2%80%93-situation-campus-hopeful ):

          “…it is … important that we avoid sensationalising political posturing by those opposed to peace, and instead focus on the vast majority of students who are keen to engage in thoughtful activity on Israel and Palestine. The overwhelming majority of the UK’s 120 plus higher education institutions have no BDS policy and there are no active academic boycotts of Israel in the UK.

          “Plenty of these institutions have active partnerships with Israeli universities. Just a few weeks ago, over 4,000 students demonstrated the sentiment of most mainstream UK students, with their participation in the pro-Israel Piece 2 Peace campaign…”

          Yet this perspective was almost entirely eclipsed by papers and websites which DID allow the “sensational” to gather steam. And even now – nearly a year later – that SOAS episode is constantly recycled to give the impression not only of an “ongoing” problem, but a “widespread” one too.

          The Tablet piece is a good example. Its central claim (extrapolated, it would seem, almost entirely from a few anecdotal accounts and Moselle Paz Solis once again re-visited) is that that owing to “the NUS’ rabid and bizarre fascination over the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, unis and unions across the country time and again show themselves to be divisive, unwelcoming and even prejudiced towards their Jewish students”.

          But how reliable a picture is this? Try taking a look at the UJS websites of those universities said by the Tablet to be “scary” places for Jews (eg, Durham @ http://www.ujscampusguide.co.uk/durham-j-soc.html and Cardiff @ http://www.ujscampusguide.co.uk/cardiff-j-soc.html ) and a very different impression emerges …

          • “While I don’t doubt for a moment that some Jewish students have experienced antisemitism at SOAS and other universities, giving rise to perfectly legitimate complaints, I think both the extent and frequency of this problem need to be examined a lot more carefully than most posters here are doing.”

            But it’s Hasbara to ask questions of Batshit Israel Bashers as to who the last Leader of Greater Arab Palestine was?

            Maybe you don’t understand us because (wait for it) you’re too fucking stupid to do so.

            Just a thought.

    • Miranda baby, who was the last Arab leader of a Free Palestine? What newspaper did they read? What industry did they base their economy?

      Every country has stuff like this, Miranda baby, except the formerly Jew-free Land of Palestine.

      You’re good with links, Miranda. Serve your purpose and provide us with this knowledge. After all, if you can prove that Israel may very well use vultures for spy purposes because of something you found on Google (even though vultures are pretty bad at avoiding the decomposing rat 6 miles from the tartet…. Oh, and including how there was a band on the vulture that said, you know, Property of Israel… Awkward spy situation no doubt!) then you can find us the name of the fellow who led the Arab Palestinian people for the hundreds of years before the White Jews came from New York and Poland to kick out this peaceful, loving, Earth serving folk.

      /sparkles, rainbows, and unicorns!

      • Miranda baby, please explain Post Colonialism for me. Does this mean I can kick the shit out of any Limey prick I find on these shores because they are no longer my Oppressive Occupiers? Do I get to do this with the Spaniards and French as well, or only when in particular parts of my country?

    • @Koufaxmitzvah –

      RE: “Miranda baby, how did the occupiers build their 3000 year old temple underneath the 700 year old indigenous mosque?”

      Koufi baby, I’m sure I’d be able to find a stunning way to answer this – and all your other questions – in the blink of an eye if only Palestinians had the equivalent of these two amazing documents to help me out:

      http://www.sott.net/signs/hasbara.pdf (Hasbara Handbook) and http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newsweek.com%2Fmedia%2F70%2Ftip_report.pdf&date=2009-08-06%3Cbr%3E (The Israel Project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary) .

      In them is Absolutely Everything You Need to Know about how to paint Israel in the best possible light and deflect attention when the going gets rough – including, of course, “Agenda Setting” (page 7 of the Handbook), otherwise known as “Changing the Subject”, which is one of your favourites, and “Name Calling” (p. 22, under the headline SEVEN BASIC PROPAGANDA DEVICES), which is your miles-ahead favourite, though you do tend to overstep the mark a tad too often. (NB:The Global Language Dictionary solves this problem nicely by not only telling you exactly what to ask and how to answer, but precisely what words to use!)

      There are quite a few other hasbara sites I could recommend to reassure you that most of the posts you write already stick faithfully to script and could only do with a bit of polishing, but perhaps this collection of “model answers” will suffice for now: http://www.hasbara.com/v2pages/presentations.html#

      /sprinkles, etc, to you too!

  5. Ah Miranda for all your bluff and bluster and deflection to hasbara (when we all know Israel’s attempts to put over its case pales into insignificance when compared to the Arab Goebbels Publicity machine – bi-line for “the bigger the lie the better”) you didn’t answer the question – please name a single ruler of the Arab nation of Palestine. I’ll save you the trouble there never was one and no Arab website can tell you how to answer otherwise. So what do they do they lie and lie and lie in their despicable attempts to try to de-legitimize Israel and people like you soak up these stories. SOAS is not the subject here it’s plain and simple Jew hatred because deep down admit it you simply hate Jews otherwise why try to defend the indefensible?

  6. Shocking to a degree, surprising not at all since Barack Hussein Obama became ‘Leader of the Free World’ and the Muslim Brotherhood has gained ground. Georgetown grinds out it’s cadre of indoctrinated ‘Orientalists’ who who leave the hallowed Halls of Georgetown’s elite Arabist Professors to like minded Arabist Bureaucrats at the State Department. You would think educated men and women would recognize the falsehoods put forth in this classic of Lies proven to be fiction many years ago. It is believed to have been authored in Czarist Russia by the Chief of State Security Beria. It doesn’t matter common logic defeats the construct of this book. If we were all controlling, manipulating economies, news media, Industry, and Politicians, then why would Israel always =seem to be in a precarious situation. Two elements make the BDS’rs tick. The American sponsors, how much they donated and recognition for it. European BDS’td recognition and ideology are the motivators. Defeat one or both of the motivators with creativity, you will crush them.

  7. World History = Hasbara. Kind of like how God believes in Climate Change.

    When it has to be said so simply for the dumbest people on the planet…. Who happen to equal the biggest hate mongers you can ever meet…. THAT’S gonna bring the Palies a state.

    That and stickers on Sabra humus. Can’t expect peace in the region without intimidating folks about their choice of bean dip.

  8. Amira you aren’t alone. There is a huge Vat of self-hating Jews& Jewess’, usually pseudo-intellectuals but highly educated. At some point in your lives you projected that self-hate, insecurity or whatever else it is that causes you to believe that we are the Evil Incarnate, you would discover that if Heaven Forbid there was no Israel tomorrow you would blame all of us in the Diaspora or at first just the religious. Finally, Amira Hass you would only come full circle to understand it is yourself that you hate when you would be the last Jewess standing