JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A BRITISH PAPER ACTUALLY RUNS A COLUMN DEFENDING JEREMY CORBYN (I CAN’T IMAGINE WHAT CAME OVER THEM) FROM THE CALUMNIES OF A SPECIAL INTEREST LOBBY – THE IMMENSELY IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRITICISM OF ISRAEL AND ANTI-SEMITISM – OUR WESTERN VALUES   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ASH SARKAR IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“Israel-Palestine is not an equal conflict – for that reason we can’t let people like Corbyn be tarnished as terrorist sympathisers”  

 “A clash between a nation-state with a defence budget of $18.6 billion and a politically, geographically and militarily fragmented people who’ve been under occupation for the past 70 years is in no way a battle between equivalent powers.”

 

Well said indeed.

And embedded in that thought is the indisputable reason why it is an absurdity to conflate criticism of Israel with “anti-Semitism,” even though Israel and Israel lobby groups in a number of countries constantly push for laws doing just that.

Israel is a state (and moreover, a highly militaristic state out of all proportion to its size) and it is right to criticize states when they abuse their power.

Israel has often abused its power and behaved in lawless fashion. Saying that has absolutely nothing to do with prejudice against the Jewish religion or Jewish people.

Indeed, the vast majority of Jews do not even live in Israel.

Where do we put ourselves in the West, with our traditions of human and democratic rights, if we are not allowed – whether by social pressure or unfair laws – to criticize abuse and lawlessness by a heavily-armed state?

In an absurd and dangerous position.

I think Israel only pushes for such things because its own situation is so confused and contradictory. It claims to be a democracy but only one kind of people can become citizens. It claims to want peace but it has attacked every neighbor that it has, some several times. It claims to embrace Western traditions of human rights but it holds something like five million people in subjugation with no rights and no hopes.

Anyone who is not willfully blind can see that the men running Israel are driven by the desire for aggressive expansion. And how do we speak of that kind of activity in our history texts when discussing the many empires and aggressors and conquerors and dictators of the past?

And of course, the same logic holds for displaying sympathy or understanding for the Palestinians, as Jeremy Corbyn has done. It has nothing to do with disliking Jewish people. It has everything to do with someone’s having a sense of social justice, or a conscience if you will, and being confronted by abuse and brutality. And in the case of Gaza especially, the abuse has been on a monumental scale, as bad or worse than that of the Rohingya people by Myanmar, behavior which is universally condemned.

And there are many more reasons for not allowing people to tarnish Corbyn.

One important one is not permitting foreign states to interfere in your country’s politics. Russia is accused of doing this regularly now, and without evidence. Lack of evidence doesn’t stop our newspapers from prattling on about it almost daily.

But Israel does do exactly that, interfere in your country’s politics, and on an ongoing basis, and you need no proof beyond events reported in the newspapers and on your television. But you won’t find a word of prattle about it.

Good God, Israel’s Prime Minister, without even understanding what he was talking about, publicly condemned a British national leader over a misrepresented picture. In the courts, that’s called slander, and it has no place in the relationships between countries.

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