Independent

Indy op-ed on UK position that ‘Opposing Israel’s existence = antisemitism’ penned by guy opposed to Israel’s existence


Yesterday, we posted about a positive development in the fight against anti-Jewish racism in the UK: Downing Street’s announcement that the government was going to adopt a version of the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism – the most widely respected and recognized official definition of antisemitism. The decision, which Theresa May reiterated in a speech at a Conservative Friends of Israel event yesterday, goes a long way to codifying the view we’ve long advocated concerning where legitimate criticism of Israel crosses the line to antisemitism.

Whilst you can read the entire definition here, here are WD’s examples of antisemitism as it relates to Israel:

  1. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  2. Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  3. Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  4. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  5. Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Among those who aren’t pleased by the government’s adoption of the WD, per the first example cited above, are of course those who deny Israel’s right to exist – and, presumably, those news outlets which sanction voices advancing anti-Zionism.

So, it wouldn’t surprise anyone who follows our coverage of the British media to learn that The Independent – one of the most consistent disseminators of delegitimisation – decided that Ben White was the most qualified commentator to address May’s decision.  White’s Indy op-ed, titled ‘By limiting criticism of Israel, Theresa May’s new definition of anti-Semitism will do more harm than good’ was published on Dec. 12th.

Whilst there’s nothing especially noteworthy in his op-ed to those of us who’ve fisked his propaganda over the years, let’s briefly touch on the sentence which inspired the headline.

This definition is not new, however, and it poses a familiar threat to legitimate criticism of the State of Israel.

White fails to acknowledge that the WD clearly states that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic“.  

Indeed, this is the most important point: criticism of the Jewish state only becomes antisemitic when it holds the state to a moral standard no other state is held to, and when it evokes historic antisemitic tropes and narratives – such as the view that Jews (individually or collectively) represent a uniquely malevolent force in the world, what the late historian Robert S. Wistrich characterized as an ‘organic obstacle to peace and progress’.

To those anti-Zionist activists who claim they have no problem with Jews qua Jews, and that their obsessive vilification of the only Jewish state on the planet is a mere coincidence, we ask that you consider following:  Even if there is no antisemitic intent, when you live in a country in which 93% of Jews feels that Zionism informs at least part of their Jewish identity, your demonisation of Israel – at the very least – necessarily has an antisemitic impact.  When you say that Zionism is beyond the pale, you’re effectively ‘no-platforming’ the expression of their Jewish identity.

The British government’s bold decision to adopt the WD doesn’t just narrowly assert the illegitimacy of anti-Zionism, but in fact sends a signal that it’s serious about protecting the future of Jewish life in the UK.

61 replies »

  1. Ben White: I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are. There are, in fact, a number of reasons
    The perfect match to The Independent.

  2. Yesterday must have been a day of extreme gloom for Ben White, Jeremy Corbyn, Ken Livingstone. And all the Guardian employees. I can just imagine the Guardian offices. Huddled groups speaking softly about 15 years of extreme effort all gone ‘down the drain’. It started with the surprise election of Donald Trump. And now ‘this’. I can imagine somebody crying out loudly. Then, sobbing and running off for the loo. (If there is room there).

    And more. (Gasp!) Trump is seriously considering moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    The delusional Guardian parallel world is nearly falling into the fiery abyss.

    I don’t dwell on Ben White too much. Such a deplorable (little) person.

    • “It started with the surprise election of Donald Trump.”

      If you haven’t been paying attention, all 17 US security agencies agree that Drumpf won because of outside, Russian influence. To go even further, the Donald ended up with the largest deficit of a winning Presidential candidate ever. That means, of the 5 instances where the Electoral College beat the Popular Vote, DJT had the least amount of support of them all.

      It’s a big mistake to hang your hat on this guy.

      • Considering these are the exact same agencies that proclaimed that Hillary’s illegal servers could never have been hacked and the other fact that NONE of the election servers where hacked at all and there is absolutely no such evidence of such.

        In fact the SOLE hacking attempt was of the State of Georgia election counting servers and it was in fact by the Department of Homeland Security.

        Mere facts.

        • “Considering these are the exact same agencies that proclaimed that Hillary’s illegal servers could never have been hacked and the other fact that NONE of the election servers where hacked at all and there is absolutely no such evidence of such.”

          Golly, Gee, that’s a total lie.

          “In fact the SOLE hacking attempt was of the State of Georgia election counting servers and it was in fact by the Department of Homeland Security.”

          Nope

          http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/12/politics/florida-election-hack/

          Talking out the tuchus isn’t a good thing to do.

    • No, it started with Brexit.
      The stupid snowflakes have been asking for counselling on both sides of the pond.

  3. “White fails to acknowledge that the WD clearly states that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic“.

    Not only that – his piece doesn’t even link to the WD. I’m sure that was just an oversight on Ben’s part.

  4. “White fails to acknowledge that the WD clearly states that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic“.

    Because White’s “criticism” of Israel is never based on a similar level of criticism directed against any other country on the planet.

    • If you try to Google Ben White, you will see that he doesn’t write about anything else except the IP conflict. He is obsessed negatively with Israel and obsessed positively with The Palestinians. What was also deplorable was that the BBC introduced him as a writer without mentioning that he only writes about one thing.

      • The revolting BBC always does that. BBC Watch has hundreds of examples. BBC is a Stalinist propaganda outlet financed by a Stalinist tax.

        • Strange then that the BBC is consistently rated as by far the most trusted and impartial news source by its British licence payers. Moreover despite the licence fee being in effect a rather expensive poll tax, bearing hardest on the poor, over 40% of poll samples regularly judge it to be the best means of funding the BBC.

          • Not strange at all. It’s quite simple that their sheeple readers are willingly gullible. If that weren’t the case, then BBCWatch wouldn’t have those myriad examples.

          • IOW 60% do NOT find taxing the people for the still experimental radio and teley BBC broadcasts justified.

  5. Ben White trying to redefine a definition is an anti-intellectual as it gets.

    The anti-Israel crowd live in their own reality. No reason for anyone to pander to them. Adios, Ben Whitesheet. You’re now as credible as Richard Spencer.

  6. I am not a fan of Ben White. I think he is more interested in Ben White than ” the cause”. I agree with him on thing here. This is a mega own goal.

    And as for the “…..levelled at any other country ” bit. Well I have been out and about a bit today but when I left Luxembourg hadn’t been the perpetrators of innumerable war crimes in the ME

  7. And you know this light is great. It has even shone on the joke known as ” Liberal Judaism” . Like, Rich and Gabriel Webber are all for this McCarthyite BS. Like they whine they want dialogue and then go with shutting it down. No need to listen to THEM anymore.