I have already addressed on these pages the article by Abe Hayeem from March 11th but it is worth returning to in light of the comments to the article which were not all in at the time.
First, it is interesting to see the photograph chosen to illustrate this article. As we have previously noticed several times here at CiF Watch, the Guardian’s choice of illustrative photograph often subconsciously prompts the reader to approach the subject in a certain manner. Here a photograph of new immigrants to Israel from 2003 was used, but despite the fact that Haredim (Ultra-Orthodox) make up a mere 18.8% of Israel’s population, the Guardian only managed to find this photograph.
An ultra-orthodox Jewish family making aliyah arrive at Ben Gurion airport, 2003. Photograph: Yoav Lemmer/AFP/Getty Images
For example, an alternative would have been to use this picture of new immigrants from January 2010.
This may seem like a minor point, but many of the subsequent comments related to the subject of Jewish immigration to Israel as though all immigrants are some kind of white-skinned extremist religious zealots.
11 Mar 2010, 2:26PM
Only religious fanatics with strong nationalistic feelings would make a decision to move into a police state. This will definitely throw more fuel into the fire and before you know, another 60 years will lapse without progress.
Others dismiss any kind of Jewish immigration to –or indeed presence in – Israel as ‘racist’.
11 Mar 2010, 2:40PM
Israel invites foreigners to settle in Israel and its illegally occupied territories merely on account of their religion/ethnic background.
Israel denies the right of return to those born (and their descendants) in Israel and the occupied territories merely on account of their religion/ethnic background.
Not only is this manifestly cruel and unjust, such racism flies in the face of everything the West says it stands for. Yet Israel is backed to the hilt by the US and EU. For this reason the comment section under this article will fill up with indignant comments and has to be closed to be overnight to stop the barrage of anger getting out of control.
11 Mar 2010, 3:32PM
Is anybody surprised?. The political force that is Zionism recognises only two sorts of people, Zionist Jews and the rest, and the rest are really of no consequence. And before I’m accused of anti semitism let us remember that not all Jews are Zionists and that not all Zionists are Jews, just as not all semites are jews and not all jews are semites.
Zionism is travelling a dangerous and dark road, and peace becomes a more distant prospect with every mile it travels.
11 Mar 2010, 4:43PM
“The Law of Return is the quintessence of what the State of Israel stands for.”
Yes – racism. Glad we finally agree on something.
11 Mar 2010, 5:24PM
“20% of Israels current population ARE NOT JEWISH THEY ARE MUSLIM”
So? The law of return is still racist.
Keeping some arabs around to do your gardening doesn’t mean you’re not racist.
11 Mar 2010, 5:45PM
Yet another threat that highlights how, in one thread, defenders of Israel state they oppose annexation, expansion, and disenfranchisement of Palestinians, yet in another thread, this one, shout down any criticism of all these things.
I think it’s becoming very apparent that Israel’s defenders don’t oppose discrimination, openly endorse racism and embrace extremism, if the extremists and racists are the right kind of people…
Here’s someone who goes to even more extremes. I guess the only upside is that at least he’s honest about his intentions.
11 Mar 2010, 3:24PM
Israels mere existance is a crime against humanity.
The claim that Israel’s creation was authorised by the UN is a lie. The resolution never even made it to the security council, let alone voted on by the security council members. It was simply a draft resolution that was never passed.
Israel is an illegally created state. There will never be peace in the region until we return Palestinine to the Palestinians. We must return to the pre1947 borders. Anything else will simply be unacceptable to the Arab and Muslim world. We will never surrender Al-Aqsa. Palestine is for the Palestinians. The Jews can live their but under Palestinian rule.
Until Israel is dismantled and given back to the Palestinians, there will never be justice or peace, under any circumstance.
No justice, no peace.
Al-Aqsa is ours. We will never surrender it. under ANY circumstance.
And from a ‘crime against humanity’ to a ‘disease’:
11 Mar 2010, 5:05PM
Imagine a foreign power – let’s say Israel – invaded Britain now and brutally crushed any resistance. Then they systematically cleared people from wide swathes of land, and built towns all over our most beautiful mountains and countryside, and imported millions of immigrants to fill them. A complete ecological disaster, let alone a human one.
Then they built a 30-foot concrete wall splitting the country in half, and confining many of us to our home towns. And when, after suffering decades of this occupation, we started throwing rocks and home-made missiles back at them; and they came back at us with brutal (US-backed) military force, and killed 100 of us for every one of them we had killed.
And the world was still sympathetic towards THEM because they “have the right to protect themselves from terrorists”? And the world sees us as the terrorists? Not Israel, but us, the illegally-occupied nation! And the UN is powerless to help us, despite it issuing more resolutions against Israel than it did against Saddam.
….Well that is exactly the situation in Palestine. Since Israel invaded Palestine in 1967 and continued its illegal occupation, the Palestinians have resisted in a David and Goliath struggle, and still the US-dominated world has consistently seen this as a struggle where both sides are as bad as each other, and both are equally to blame. BULLSHIT.
Israel had already partitioned large areas of land before it invaded Palestine in 1967. Since then, like a disease, it has sought to obliterate Palestine from the map by building ?Greater Israel? all over it. Gaza and the West Bank have shrunk to a fraction of their former size, and millions of Palestinians have been forced to flee abroad. There is almost nothing left of Palestine, and Israel still won’t let the Palestinians have it!
Write to your MP asking them to express their outrage at the continued building of Israeli ?settlements? in SOMEONE ELSE’S COUNTRY! Do not buy Israeli fruit, vegetables or any other products that prop up this despicable regime. A lot of Israeli goods in our shops are grown illegally in Palestine, on land stolen from Palestinians, by Israelis who have no right to be there. Join the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and help boycott Israel’s brutal occupation.
There were even some ‘concerned citizens’ out on this thread, eager to stop those wayward Jews from getting into trouble:
11 Mar 2010, 2:11PM
Arguably, British citizens who settle in Israel may be accessories to a crime if they move to these illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank
My exact thoughts when I began to read this article. The colonisation of the part of Palestine known as the Occupied Territories is internationally recognised as criminal.
So why is the Jewish Agency allowed to incite people to commit a crime? What are the police and government doing about it?
Not to mention those so worried about our welfare that they wish to stop Jews moving to Israel on the grounds that it’s too dangerous.
11 Mar 2010, 3:08PM
So every group in the world should operate a racist safe haven for itself rather than ever current state seeking to not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity or religion? A somewhat racial view of humanity.
Or do you think only oen group should get a safe haven and if so why are you treating this one group differently to the others?
The idea that British Jews will need to flee to a safe haven is preposterous and is a ridiculous argument. Jews outside Israel are safer than the ones within it.
11 Mar 2010, 3:22PM
If Israel has existed in 1938 and not 1948 how many millions of innocent lives might have been saved?
An old canard. It is the dispersal of the Jewish population that kept it from liquidation in 1939-45; had the Nazis not been stopped at El-Alamein, they would have over-ran Palestine and liquidated the Yeshuv just as they liquidated Vilnius, etc. etc.
Generally speaking, Jews are in greater danger in Palestine today than they are anywhere else. Quite apart from possibly becoming accessories to war crimes and sundry breaches of the Geneva Conventions, they are placing themselves and their families at great risk.
For, if the Zionists continue to push Israel towards the abyss, using these olim as the bulldozer, if no substantial hand is outstretched to the Arab East then even the most humble request to be left in peace after the Arab people are done with the Mubareks, Hashemites, Assads and Al-Sauds of this world will not be answered kindly.
And who could blame them? Hubris is never rewarded.
11 Mar 2010, 6:19PM
“Jewish people throughout the world have an automatic right to Israeli citizenship under Israel’s “law of return”, though many in the US, UK and Australia now are rejecting this right.” Petition against the Right of Return to Israel on behalf of Australian Jews Mar 2010 March 3, 2010
Several years ago I signed a document renouncing my so-called Right of Return. Even if there were such an increase in antisemitism as some claim, and I don’t believe for a moment that there is, emigration by British Jews to Israel would not be the right answer to it. And even if there were no Palestinians, no occupation, no continuing siege on Gaza, no settlements, no humiliation of Palestinians at checkpoints or house demolitions (none of which are required by national security considerations) aliyah would still be the wrong answer.
As Prof Moshe Machover once said, if you hear someone say, “Jews should not be living in this country, they should go and live amongst their own kind”, is this person a Zionist or an antisemite? It could be either.
Yes, I know the arguments, I’ve read about the Evian Conference, read Raul Hilberg, several other historians – but I also know the quotations from Ben Gurion while the Holocaust in Europe was taking place and I know about the scandal concerning Israel-Argentinian relations during the junta, with tragic consequences for Argentinian Jews. It is by no means clear that the state for the Jews makes Jews safer. In fact, some would argue – do argue – that Israeli policies towards the Palestinians is making life more difficult for Jews everywhere.
In any case, there simply is not – certainly not in this country – anything remotely like the sort of institutionalised, state-sponsored antisemitism one saw in Europe in the 1930s and 40s (nor what occurred in earlier times).
But when fellow Jews of a Zionist persuasion argue with me about this, I say OK, let’s keep our eyes open, along with British Muslims and all other ethnic minority groups, be vigilant, scan the horizon not simply for antisemitism but for any and all outbreaks of racist hatred, and stand united and fight it.
It’s not that long ago since someone famous said (apologies for not recalling who for the moment), There has never been a time in history when it was safer to be a Jew. To which someone else added, “except in Israel”.
? Dr Brian Robinson
How very strange that none of the above commentators seems to want to expand on the subject of why Israel is such a dangerous place for Jews in their opinion and the rather obvious fact that it is support from people like themselves for the exterminatory policies of groups such as Hizbollah or Hamas which actually cause that danger to exist in the first place. With ‘protectors’ like these it is little wonder that many are seeing a better future for themselves in the Jewish state and taking up their rights, which contrary to what is stated in the above comment, are not automatic, to Israeli citizenship.
Of course neither the author of the original article nor the commentators appear to be interested in the fact that the statistics show that the future existence of Jews at all is to a large extent dependent upon Israel. With the worldwide Jewish population growth standing at only 0.3%, compared to a general worldwide population growth of 1.4%, Israel’s population growth of 1.8% in 2008 is vital for the future of the Jewish nation. A Total Fertility Rate of 2.88 for Jewish women in Israel as a whole, 8.51 for Ashkenazi Orthodox women and 6.57 for Sephardi Orthodox women indicates that the Orthodox contribution to sustaining Jewish birth rates is of considerable importance. Half of the world’s Jews now live in Israel and the other half lives mainly in developed countries where birth rates are generally low. A 2002 study indicated that the world is losing some 50,000 Jews a year, or 150 a day.
As anyone who has worked with the British Jewish community for example knows, communities are ageing and disappearing at a rate which , were we sequoia trees or polar bears, I can’t help thinking would alarm the average Guardian reader considerably and be the subject of fashionably worried chat over organic hummus and ethically sourced bean terrine at dinner tables. Contrary to all the above protestations about Israel being ‘dangerous’ for Jews, the statistics actually show the complete opposite and fortunately, the majority of world Jewry recognizes that fact and knows much better than people like Abe Hayeem or the average CiF commentator where our own good lies.