Signatory Tony Greenstein was amongst dispruptors of Habima's Merchant of Venice at The Globe in 2012.
Signatory Tony Greenstein was amongst dispruptors of Habima’s Merchant of Venice at The Globe in 2012.

Posted by Richard Millett

Today’s Guardian has published seven letters about Jeremy Corbyn’s connections to Holocaust deniers and terrorists most of which are signed by Jews and which jump to Corbyn’s defence.

Six of the seven letters are from the usual suspects who seem to express their Judaism through their contempt for Israel. The Independent’s Yasmin Alibhai-Brown describes these as “conscientious and ethical British Jews”.

The Samuels “write as members of a Jewish family” and Ruth Tenne as someone “whose grandparents perished in the Holocaust”.

That they write “as Jews” is of course totally irrelevant. It adds nothing to what they are trying to explain and only emphasises the overall weakness of the point they are trying to make.

Incidentally, being Jewish is not a defence to being an antisemite. Antisemitism is a state of mind; it isn’t dependent on not being Jewish.

It’s natural that these Jewish signatories would jump to Corbyn’s defence seeing that Corbyn’s end game is the destruction of the Jewish state either via the so-called “Palestinian right of return” or by imposing an arms ban on Israel so leaving Israel defenceless against a Hamas, Hezbollah or ISIS attack.

But, sadly, the Guardian and other ignorant commentators are happy to allow them to inflate their Jewishness as THE all important factor.

Meanwhile, four of those letters jump to Corbyn’s defence against accusations of “antisemitism”, accusations which have never actually been made against Corbyn. Witness the letters’ signatories inability to cite even one specific example of such an accusation.

Valid questions about Corbyn’s support for anti-Jewish terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah, for self-confessed Holocaust denier Paul Eisen and his Deir Yassin Remembered group and for alleged blood-libeler Raed Salah have been raised though.

And Naomi Wayne, of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, raises the completely false accusation that “opponents of Israeli policy” are deemed to be antisemites. Ruth Tenne raises the assumption that there was a “massacre in Deir Yassin” when historians disagree on what took place.

As for the personal behaviour of some of the Jewish signatories Andrew Samuels has been trying to use his psychiatry professional body to impose a racist boycott on Israeli psychiatrists. Tony Greenstein and Deborah Fink are serial interrupters of Israeli performers who come to the UK. Here’s Fink filmed by me after she had interrupted Batsheva at Sadler’s Wells in 2013.

A far longer version of the Greenstein/Fink/et al letter appears in this week’s Jewish Chronicle. The difference in morality can be seen by the way the Jewish Chronicle, which they claim does not represent them, allows their letter to be published while the likes of Greenstain and Fink attempt to stifle the free speech of innocent Israeli performers.

For all the words in these letters though, apart from that of Paul Miller’s which succinctly expresses the concerns of British Jews in relation to Corbyn, the six hostile letters can be reduced down to one sentence: We are Jews who love Corbyn because he, just like us, does not want Israel to exist.

Now why can’t they just admit that? The words of Norman Finkelstein come to mind. Finkelstein has described those involved in the boycott movement against Israel (BDS) as “a cult”. And he continued:

“There’s no Israel. That’s what it’s really about. And you (BDS) think you’re fooling anybody? You think you’re so clever?…Are you going to reach a broad public which is going to hear the Israeli side ‘They want to destroy us’? No, you’re not. And frankly, you know what, you shouldn’t. You shouldn’t reach a broad public because you’re dishonest…It’s dishonesty.”

He’s right. It’s dishonesty.

So if the Guardian wants to have a proper debate in future about Israel and its supposed treatment of the Palestinians let it not pretend that their correspondents have made a valid point just because they declare they’re Jewish. Neither should the assumption that there was a “massacre at Deir Yassin” go unchallenged. And neither should the lie that criticism of Israeli policy is deemed to be antisemitic be allowed to stand.

However, wanting the only Jewish state destroyed IS antisemitic.

And, anyway, as Sarah AB at Harry’s Place points out “Some of the questions raised about Corbyn’s links relate to problems which have nothing do with Israel – the blood libel and, of course, Holocaust denial…”

As darkness is about to descend on the UK UKMediaWatch wishes shabbat shalom to both Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s “conscientious and ethical British Jews” and to those British Jews, the 99%, who support Israel.