Saturday, November 26, 2016

Suddenly It’s Okay to Be pro-Israel and anti-Semitic

Dear friends,
no doubt you will be aware that Donald Trump is now the President-Elect of America. Over the past week or two we have seen citizens from across the USA take to the streets to protest against Trump's elections promises. Although he may walk back some of the promises, others he will continue to seek to implement in some form or another.  

Trump has further shocked many with his appointment of Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist/Advisor in the White House. Bannon, who came on board as his chief political advisor in the last few months of his campaign, is a champion of the hard right. Bannon is a hard right warrior and white nationalist who aims to actively "wants to destroy the Left", as the The Altantic noted in their article on him when he was appointed to Trump's campaign staff. Bannon up until recently served as the editor of the hard right news outlet, Breitbart News, which Bannon has bragged is "the platform for the alt-right".

The "alt-right" for those who may not be aware, is a name coined by white supremacist Richard Spencer in order to rebrand the various assortment of white supremacists, fascists, KKK members, anti-semites, Islamophobes and other racists that he pals around with. Bannon's appointment has been widely celebrated by not only Spencer but other  fascists, white supremacists, KKK members (both present day and former) an assorted racists, as a victory for their politics.

Bannon, like Breitbart, is a strong supporter of Israel. He is also been widely accused of being an anti-semite. In the past week or two we have seen the spectacle of Alan Dershowitz cautioning people that "we have to be very careful before we accuse any particular individual of being an anti-Semite ... And I think one has be be very careful about using the term anti-Semtic", along with AIPAC and other key US Zionist organisations actively avoiding condemning Bannon's appointment, Bannon or Trump. Both Dershowitzs and these same Zionist organisations have for years actively and wantonly sought to label pro-Palestine activism, particular BDS activism and activists, as anti-semitic (see: in particular Mondoweiss's rejoinder regarding Dershowitz's hypocrisy)

As a result, there have been numerous articles in both the Zionist and non-Zionist media over the last two weeks discussing whether it was possible to be both pro-Israel and anti-semitic. While this may seem to be a contradiction, it isn't. Since it's inception, Zionism has had a very distorted relationship with anti-semites with Herzl actively courting them in order to achieve his goal of a Jewish state.

I have included below Tel Aviv based writer, Naomi Zevelof's article which appeared in the Jewish online magazine, Foward, which is pro-Zionist/pro-Israel publication.  In addition, I have also included veteran Israeli reporter, Gideon Levy calling out they hypocrisy Zionists and Israel's apologists.

In solidarity, Kim 


How Steve Bannon and Breitbart News Can Be Pro-Israel — and Anti-Semitic at the Same Time

Breitbart News, the site chaired by Donald Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon, is widely known as a platform for white nationalism and anti-Semitism. It is also brazenly Zionist, albeit peddling an exclusively right wing perspective on Israel.

Trump’s Jewish supporters have pointed to Breitbart’s Zionist stance to defend the president-elect’s choice of Bannon, who was painted as an anti-Semite by his ex-wife in court documents. Bannon denied making the anti-Semitic comments.

“He was and is and remains staunchly pro-Israel,” said Abe Katsman, the chief counsel for Republicans Overseas Israel, who has written for Breitbart News.

Yet though it would seem impossible to hate Jews but love the Jewish state, these two viewpoints are not as contradictory as they appear.
There is actually “little correlation” between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, according Steven M. Cohen, a sociologist at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. To be sure, anti-Semitism is found among the anti-Zionist left. But it is also found among the Zionist right.

“Many people who dislike Jews like Israel and many people who are critical toward Israel are affectionate toward Jews,” said Cohen.

Breitbart News isn’t the only place where anti-Semitism and Zionism go hand in hand. Anti-Semitic attitudes abound in Poland, for example, even as Poland has a strong diplomatic relationship with Israel.

This duality is a central component of “Trumpism,” said Yael Sternhell, a Tel Aviv University professor of history and American studies. Though Trump has flip-flopped on the Middle East, he has professed an ultra-right view of Israel that would seem to outflank even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He also has a Jewish son-in-law, and a daughter who converted to Judaism. At the same time, many of Trump’s followers spout anti-Semitism.
“As long as Jews are in Israel fighting the ‘good fight’ with the Arab world as a bastion of American ideals and values in the Middle East, then they are very useful and admirable allies,” said Sternhell. “Once they are home demanding a multi-cultural democracy, demanding that the country accommodate their religion, their belief and their custom that is a different story.”

Some on the alt-right, the emerging group of racist activists who support Trump, oppose the close U.S.-Israel relationship as part of a broader critique of U.S. interventionism abroad. Yet they admire Israel as a “model for white nationalism and/or Christianism,” according to the right-wing online encyclopedia Conservapedia. Some also see Jewish immigration to Israel as helping their cause of a Jew-free white America.

The coexistence of anti-Semitism and right-Wing Zionism “in Trump’s world make sense,” said Todd Gitlin, the Columbia University sociologist and cultural commentator in an email to the Forward.

“Anti-Semitism and right-wing Zionism are varieties of ultra nationalism, or, to put it more pejoratively (as it deserves to be put) tribalism. They both presume that the embattled righteous ones need to bristle at, wall off, and punish the damned outsiders. They hate and fear cosmopolitan mixtures. They make a fetish of purity. They have the same soul. They rhyme.”

Breitbart News, which became a mouthpiece for the Trump campaign, was actually started by a Jewish lawyer and businessman, Larry Solov. In addition to reporters in London and the United States, the site has a small Jerusalem bureau, which is helmed by journalist Aaron Klein. Attempts to reach Klein and two journalists who write for Breitbart Jerusalem were unsuccessful.

In a 2015 post announcing the opening of the Jerusalem bureau, Solov wrote that Breitbart News itself was conceived of in Israel, when Solov traveled to the Holy Land with Andrew Breitbart, now deceased.

“One thing we specifically discussed that night was our desire to start a site that would be unapologetically pro-freedom and pro-Israel. We were sick of the anti- Israel bias of the mainstream media and J-Street,” he wrote.

At the same time, the site trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes. One article called Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum a “political revisionist,” noting “hell hath no fury like a Polish, Jewish, American elitist scorned.” Another called The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol a “renegade Jew.”

Bannon’s ex-wife branded him as an anti-Semite in 2007 court documents, in which she describes Bannon complaining about “whiny brat” Jews at their daughters’ school, according to the New York Daily News. Bannon denied that he made the comments, through a spokeswoman.

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at or on Twitter @naomizeveloff
The Forward's independent journalism depends on donations from readers like you.

When friendship for Israel is judged solely on the basis of support for the occupation, Israel has no friends other than racists and nationalists.

Gideon Levy, Haaretz, Nov 21, 2016
An anti-Trump sign at the Florida Capitol, Tallahassee, November 16, 2016Phil Sears / Reuters
All of a sudden it’s not so terrible to be anti-Semitic. Suddenly it’s excusable as long as you hate Muslims and Arabs and “love Israel.” The Jewish and Israeli right has issued a sweeping amnesty to anti-Semitic lovers of Israel – yes, there is such a thing, and they’re en route to taking power in the United States.

So now we know: Not just pornography but also anti-Semitism is a matter of geography and price. Right-wing American anti-Semites are no longer considered anti-Semites.

The definition has been updated: From now on, anti-Semites are only found on the left. Roger Waters, a courageous man of conscience without stain, is an anti-Semite. Steve Bannon, a declared racist and closet anti-Semite who has been appointed chief strategist in the Trump White House, is a friend of Israel.

Jewish and Israeli activists who left no stone unturned in their effort to discover signs of anti-Semitism, who viewed every parking ticket for an American Jew as an act of hate, who moved heaven and earth every time a Jew was robbed or a Jewish gravestone was cracked, are now whitewashing an anti-Semite. Suddenly they’re not convinced we’re talking about that particular disease.

Alan Dershowitz, one of the biggest propagandists in this field, has already come out in defense of the racist Bannon. In a Haaretz piece late last week, Dershowitz wrote that the man whose wife said he didn’t want their children to go to school with Jews isn’t anti-Semitic. “The claim was simply made by his former wife in a judicial proceeding, thus giving it no special weight,” Dershowitz wrote, with specious logic.

After all, Dershowitz’s former research assistant, an Orthodox Jew who later worked with Bannon, assured him that he had seen no signs of anti-Semitism in Bannon. And suddenly that’s enough for Dershowitz. Suddenly it’s possible to separate racism from anti-Semitism.

Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, naturally hastened to join the party. Over the weekend, he said he expects to work with Bannon. And boy, does he expect to work with that racist. After all, they’ll agree about everything: that there’s no Palestinian people, that there’s no occupation, that the settlement of Yitzhar should remain forever, that leftists are traitors.

For Dermer – ambassador of the illegal outpost of Amona, friend of the Tea Party and boycotter of J Street; a man who if the bilateral relationship had been normal would have been declared persona non grata by the United States – the new appointments are like the dawn of a new day.

He’ll feel so at home with Frank Gaffney, another hater of Muslims who’s likely to receive a senior appointment in the new administration; he’ll be so happy working with Bannon. And Mike Huckabee is exactly his cup of tea. Dermer, after all, was given the Freedom Flame Award by the Center for Security Policy, a hate group that proudly flies the flag of Islamophobia.

These racists and their ilk are Israel’s best friends in the United States. They’re joined by the racists of the European right. If you discount the guilt feelings over the Holocaust, they’re the only friends Israel has left. When friendship for Israel is judged solely on the basis of support for the occupation, Israel has no friends other than racists and nationalists. That ought to have aroused great shame here: Tell us who your friends are and we’ll tell you who you are.

These racists love Israel because it’s carrying out their dreams: to oppress Arabs, to abuse Muslims, to dispossess them, expel them, kill them, demolish their houses, trample their honor. This bunch of trash would so dearly love to behave as we do.

But for now this is only possible in Israel, so it’s the light unto the nations in this field. What happened to the days when Jews in South Africa went to prison with Nelson Mandela? Nowadays Jewish activists in America support the new rulers – the racists and anti-Semites.

The Palestinian-American author Susan Abulhawa wrote on Facebook over the weekend: Palestinians are calling white nationalist Bannon an anti-Semite, while AIPAC and Dershowitz think he’s not such a bad guy. What more proof do you need that Zionism is a face of white supremacy, and ultimately antithetical to Judaism?

Last summer, Abulhawa was deported via the Allenby Bridge. And she’s right. The United States and Israel now share the same values – and woe to that sense of shame.

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