George Galloway in anti-Israel walk out


George Galloway sensationally stormed out of a debate in Christ Church tonight after discovering his opponent was an Israeli.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2j_2wVepwc

George Galloway sensationally stormed out of a debate in Christ Church tonight after discovering his opponent was an Israeli.

He was meant to be debating the motion ‘Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank’ with Brasenose finalist Eylon Aslan-Levy.

But when his opponent used ‘we’ in reference to Israel, the Respect MP demanded to know whether the undergrad was a citizen of the country.

After the PPEist replied in the affirmative, Galloway, claiming to have been misled by organisers, grabbed his coat and left.

Galloway prior to his dramatic exit (Photo: John Hintze)

Mr Aslan-Levy told the Tab

“I am appalled that someone would storm out of a debate with me for no other reason than my heritage.

“To refuse to talk to someone just because of their nationality is pure racism, and totally unacceptable for a member of parliament”

Galloway has previously refused to debate with anyone connected to the country.

After this abrupt departure, Aslan-Levy recalled his previous confrontation with Galloway.  Six years ago as a pupil at north London’s University College School, he claimed to have confronted him over his supposed ‘no-platform’ stance towards debating Israelis.

Opponent Eylon Aslan-Levy (Photo: Twitter)

But the then MP for Bethnal Green denied taking such a position, allegedly branding the student an “L-I-A-R liar”.

Tonight’s events would seem to prove otherwise.

A second year Christ Church student in the audience told the Tab:

“It was a shocking moment.  Galloway’s meant to be a Respect MP, but tonight he respected no-one.  He turned up late, and left after his opening speech.  Maybe he had run out of things to say”.

 UPDATE

Galloway was defiant on Twitter tonight, blaming Christ Church for not being clear about the nature of the debate:

  • Henry

    Walking out on discovering someone’s nationality?! Textbook racism. That this man is an MP is disgusting: racism should not be tolerated.

    • Chutzpah

      So if I refused to talk with a North Korean general as a demonstration of my opposition to his country’s belligerent insistence on expanding its nuclear arsenal and carrying out nuclear explosion tests that would be racism? Pathetic!

      • Sebastian

        You haven’t got it.

        Walking out on a North Korean general is not targetting an individual because of their nationality, it’s targetting somebody who is directly connected to the government. That’s okay. But refusing to talk with a North Korean citizen who has nothing to do with the government, military etc and is simply, say, a plumber, would be clear racism.

        The general is the correct “address” of your protest. A North Korean citizen not connected to the government is not.

        • Chutzpah

          Who knows? The general might be totally unsympathetic to N. Korea’s nuclear programme. Whether it’s a general or a plumber is a matter of total indifference since the plumber might have served in the military and be more fanatically communist and pro nuclear than the general. It is beside the point because the very idea of such a demonstration, is precisely NOT to target an individual but a country and that country’s policies and deeds. Albeit the individual will likely bear the pain of the rejection on his country’s behalf and that may not be fair and he might take it personally, but nevertheless if the demonstrator deems it so then it is the country and not the person which is targetted. If the demonstrator tells the Korean (hmm how would he do that?) that he won’t speak with him because he belongs to a subhuman race of animals then of course that’s something else. But if the cause of the demonstration is N. Koreas weapons program then that has nothing to do with racism however hurtful it might be for the poor man at the centre of the demonstration. General or no general. You might as well say that closing my account at Barclays in protest against the Libor scandal is racist because the poor bank assistent at the counter who has to process the closure for me feels aggrieved and personally under attck since she loves her job and thinks the bank is a great thing which she identifies personally with.

      • Andrew

        I have to disagree with you here, this Israeli student was obvious in support of Israel or he would not have been Galloway’s opponent in the debate. Although I don’t agree with what he did I can understand his reasons for doing it.

  • El Bearo

    Absolutely shocking conduct from an MP. It is a real shame he couldn’t show any Respect to the student, or indeed to the issue at hand. Galloway is probably glad he didn’t have to face the eloquent speech of the Israeli he rudely dismissed.

  • Barnet Bugle

    Let George Galloway make it clear that it is just about ‘nationality’. Let him confirm that if were an Israeli Arab that would have been on the ‘platform’ that he’d have walked off in the same way.

  • Zack

    Yeah I’m sorry but fucking oxford students should know the difference between racism/anti-semitism and boycotting someone because of their nationality (a completely separate category to race based on citizenship). He is taking a hardline position because he believes it is a political act to hold Israeli citizenship, what you think of this merely reflects your position on the Israel-Palestine issue.

    • Simple

      Holding Israeli citizenship is not a political act if you were born there, live there for family/economic reasons and do not have other citizenships. All of which are the case for a large number of Israeli citizens, both Jews and Arabs.

      And “analysis” saying its analogous to refusing to debate a German in the 1930s because you disagreed with Nazism is a very poor analogy. And anyway, imagine how much worse the world would have been if we had refused to engage with all German and Austrian citizens on the basis of their citizenship (Einstein, Hayek, Mannheim, Popper to name a few)

      • Zack

        Look ‘Simple’ (befitting name), George Galloway DOES think its a political Act, that is the point of his walkout. This is clearly a position that you can disagree on!

        Its funny because of course if you challenge the Jewish nature of the State of Israel, the Jewish nature itself being a highly bigoted concept (racist if we take some of the retarded uses of the word on this site, imagine a purely Christina/Hindu/Muslim state were other religions were second class citizens) then you can’t be represented in Parliament and debate.

        Those Palestinians who want to be equal citizens under the law and not have to recognise that the land they live on is the ‘Home for the Jewish’ people are totally excluded. It is in the constitution. This is very similar to the Galloway position, just look at the recent Nakba laws.

        People on this site are also making reference to the Holocaust in completely inappropriate ways. Galloway walking out of a debate is different from ‘gas you in gas chambers because of disaproval of your government’s actions?’ as Sebastian wrote. This is a clear sign of total ignorance. We are talking about citizenship, would Galloway talk with a Druze military officer? Of course fucking not, the fact he would have been Arab makes no difference, the fact that he represents violence, oppression and apartheid to palestinians does!!

        • Sebastian

          “Jewish State = highly bigoted concept” that means the other religions are “second class” is another attempt to demonise an entire people by outright lies based on half truths.

          The half truth is that like every country, there is a dominant ethnicity with an established religion. England is a “church of England” state. Italy is a “Catholic” state. Egypt is a “Muslim” state. Etc. It’s only when Israel describes itself as “Jewish” that people twist that expression to have some racial connetations that are patently false.

          Israel’s requirement to be a “Jewish” state is nothing more than a statement that it will not under accept Israel being a “Muslim Palestinian controlled” state. All of Israel’s citizens and relgions are equal under the law in the same way they are in any other western state. All this talk of “second class citizens” is quite simply nonsense.

          People who made up that argument are trying to encourage hatred of Israelis. People who believe it tend to also be racists. Notice the one to one correspondence with people saying racially inflamatory stuff like Zack and the belief that Galloway’s racist actions are acceptable.

        • Simple

          Yes I do disagree with Galloway on that point. I also disagree with you because you are trying to make out that discriminating against people on the basis of citizenship is a valid viewpoint to have: it is not. Citizenship is far more likely to be the result of accidents of birth than any real choice.

          Similarly, lumping all Israeli citizens together as people ‘representing ‘violence, oppression and apartheid’ is clearly stupid, just as how saying all Germans were Nazis, or all white South Africans were pro-apartheid. I don’t deny that a ‘religious state’ is an inherently bigoted concept, but I do not discriminate against people for simply being born in one. If one was to do that you would also have to extend such discrimination to people from Iran, Pakistan, or, dare I say given we still have an ‘established Church’, Britain.

        • honest

          Ever hear of Saudi, or Iran or the Maldives or Sudan, or Somalia, or Mali, or Egypt or any one of dozens of islamic states Zack? Think old George would have walked out on their citizens even though they view non muslims with far greater bigotry than muslims are viewed in Israel… I think not. Galloway is not fit to hold office… the man can’t even admit to what he is.

    • Henry

      Discrimination on the basis of someone’s nationality is racism. It’s the law. Nationality and race are so closely interlinked that to speak of one is to speak of the other.

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/9

      Learn the law before lecturing, you nasty apologist for racism.

      • Boba

        Galloway’s behaviour is unjustifiable – but the Equality Act has nothing to say about an individual, acting on his or her own behalf, refusing to have a public discussion with someone on the basis of their nationality.

        • Sebastian

          I think the point is that discrimination on the basis of nationality is racism as much as discrimination on the basis of ethnic identity or religion. Your statement re “public discussion” is simply pointing out that racism is not in itself illegal and its only illegal when exercised in certain circumstances. However, even if Galloway did not breach the law, it doesn’t change the fact that his actions were still racist.

    • titch

      gimme sammour!!! just gimme sammour!!!

  • Analysis

    I find this loose use of the term ‘racism’ so puzzling. I mean this isn’t racism. If someone refused to speak or debate with me because of my nationality or even race, it isn’t always racist, even if a lot of the time it is. I’m Indian. If someone refused to debate with me because of their disapproval of torture in Kashmire, I wouldn’t feel offended, because I know it isn’t personal. He doesn’t hate me because I am Indian nor attribute negative characteristics to me purely on the basis of my nationality or race; he is rather boycotting interactions with me to express a disaproval of my government’s actions. However, if someone refused to debate with me because he believes Indians are not worth bothering with, or he feels that Indians are vile and he hates us, then he is being a racist. He has made a value judgement of me on the basis of my group membership.

    Regarding George Galloway, he openly has refused to speak with Israelis because of the actions of the Israeli government. It doesn’t seem to be a personal condemnation of individual on the basis of group membership.

    However saying that, in this case George Galloway was boycotting an interaction with a pro-government Israeli. He is boycotting it because he doesn’t debate with Israelis, which isn’t racism. He also very likely dislikes the individual and has made a value judgement on the individual’s character, but on the basis of the individual’s view points rather his nationality.

    In short from a principled viewpoint, would it be racist to refuse to debate say during 1930s a German who supported the Nazi government?

    • Sebastian

      What if someone wanted to gas you in gas chambers because of disaproval of your government’s actions? Or just punch you in the face? Or ban you from a club? Or refuse to contribtute to any academic forum on which you are on?

      Racism is punishing an individual for acts associated with prejudice of that person’s background. The Universal declaration of human rights, for example, makes no distinction between religion, ethnicity and nationality.

      I think you clearly need training in identifying racism when you see it. But it is not a surprise. The whole BDS movement is largely aimed at fostering racism and encouraging racist actions against Israelis. It doesn’t call it racism, but that’s hatred for you. Hate makes you think you are acting in a principled way when actually you are carrying out the actions of a racist biggot. You should NEVER think that those germans planning and implementing the final solution believed they were racists. They felt they were acting on sound intellectual principals. So if anybody thinks clearly racist acts are not that wrong, then perhaps they should question whether they have allowed somebody to partially corrupt their own mind with hatred. Because if you don’t deal with it now, it will increasingly corrupt you for the rest of your life.

      “Re principled viewpoint”, that is also racist. To act on principal, nobody who supports a Nazi government should be debated with regardless of nationality. But Galloway clearly indicated by turning up he was happy to debate the issue with those that supported Israel. So it was purely a principal of race that made him walk out.

      • Analysis

        If I were killed or gassed because of my nationality, I wouldn’t necessarily be a victim of racism. The value judgement counts. If I were killed or gassed because I was deemed not as important as another group of individuals because of my race, or because I was disliked because of my race/nationality then yes that is racism (the preference of one race over another). However, suppose a terrorist targeted and killed Israeli civilians in bomb attack, is that racism because the civilians were chosen purely because of their nationality?I don’t think it is so necessarily. If the terrorist targeted the Israelis civilians because they disliked them for being Israeli, then yes it is a hate crime. However had the terrorist targeted Israeli nationals as a means to influence or react to the Israeli government’s actions, then it may be absurd to call it racism, depending on the scale of violence.

        In the same way, when Mr Galloway causes an Israeli national some sort of, if you could call it that, inconvenience, not to denigrate or harmfully devalue the individual, but as a more or less a harmless means to express his protest against the Israeli government, I don’t think it should be branded as racist, let alone strikingly immoral. Whatever he did, it was far less than an academic boycott of Israeli research would entail, which many have proposed.

        Further, with racism one expects denigration, material deprivation, physical violence, or some sort of stereotyping, i.e. a meaningful harm. None of this happened here. Calling this boycott racism is devaluing the term.

        • Sebastian

          Your arguement seems largely theoretical. Ie, if I kill Jews but not because I hate jews but because I hate somebody else and they will care if I kill Jews them I’m not racist.

          I think this argument is false. Any attempt to discriminate between nationality and race for special negative treatment is racism and is illegal. In that context, I would say the terrorists are being racists.

          The mental element of racism I agree makes a difference in some situations but it is not essential. Ultimately, most people brainwashed into racism are not doing it because they genuinely believe superiority.

          Take the Ruandan genocide. Most Tutsis killed the Hutus because they falsely believed the Hutus were planning to kill Tutsis or do other bad things to Tutsi communities. The fact that they didn’t necessarily have anything specifically negative against Hutus doesn’t stop the fact that their actions were fundamentally racist. The belief that Hutus were dangerous to them was a racist belief.

          Similarly, here, the belief that anybody with an Israeli passport is the correct “return to sender” address for any political disagreements you have with that country’s government is still a fundamentally racist belief.

          Both these racist beliefs have one thing in common. They provide an emotive excuse that the mind can hold onto to prevent the conscience from being able to intervene in preventing the person from carrying out the racist act (or a ‘conscience blocker’). “Before looking at this innocent young Israeli kid going about his studies who is talking politics with me, remember the Israeli government; remember the Palestinians; remember all these bad things Israel has done; now look at the kid; he is not a kid anymore but an ambasader of Netanyahu and Sharon; now I can punish him and publically humiliate him without my conscience making me feel bad because he is not an innocent kid but an extension of Sharon and Netanyahu.” And so racist actions are taken.

          This is how the racist mind works and it seems that you have adopted a few beliefs that are taking you down this dark path. I implore you to change path ASAP because its much easier to turn back now than when you are 20 years older.

          And re your “terrorists target Israelis for political points not racism” I think the line here is very very thin if it exists at all. The terrorists you speak of need to believe all Israelis are responsible and “complicit” in their “grevences” and are legitimate targets. Their propaganda teaches this. So in practice, they need racism to carry out such racist acts. So yes, separating Jews from non-Jews and Israelis from others and killing the Jews and Israelis are racist acts performed by racists who needed genuine hatred to act as ‘conscience blockers’ in order to permit them to carry out the acts they do.

          • James Taylor

            You’ve really muddled up the Rwandan genocide here…

          • Analysis

            Maybe you are right. My head hurts really, trying to think this out.

            I would like to point out, if your analysis is correct, and maybe even if it’s isn’t correct, a lot of things are racist. Immigration policies are obviously racist, because it targets certain individuals based on their nationality, which is a proxy for race. War is nearly always racist, because it targets a particular group of individuals, again because of their nationality.

            Economic and other sanctions are racist because it targets individuals because of their connection with a particular regime.

            All these things are I suppose are even racist with my original analysis given in most cases they are done under the principle of giving preference to one group of people’s welfare over another because of their nationality or race.

            • Sebastian

              You are absolutely right to say “My head hurts really, trying to think this out”.

              The distinction between racist acts and proper behavior is not always obvious expecially when one tries going deeper than the “racism is bad mkay” catch phrases we learn at school. I too went through this head hurting period and I think after about 2 months of thinking about the issue, clarity arose and it all mde sense.

              However, it is worth trying to make sense of this because, even if it is not always obvious to see (and if one is infected by hate, racism appears if anything correct and principled in ones own mind and can only be detected by the actions the hate is making us carry out), it is always evil and can result in discrimination, boycotts, beatings, murder and eventually genocides.

              The answer to most of your questions is that war, economic sanctions etc are not targetted at people because of their nationality. They are targetted at the government and the government’s military infrastructure.

              In war, there is always innocent people caught in the middle. This has been true since the days of Alexander the Great and before. But as long as the civilian population is not deliberately targetted and only military objectives are deliberately targetted (even one knows this may affect civilian life) its not racism, its combat.

              The principal of international law that makes this true is called “military necessity” and is fundemental to everything that regulates conduct. Also fundamental is the concept of distinction (where no targets that have no military value can be deliberately targetted) and proportionality (where if you are attacking a military target and one has various different means available to take out the military target, one must select the means that causes the least damage to civilians and other non-military objects).

              So the key distinction in your examples is separating actions at a government for its policies in which their nationals suffer and actions aimed at those nationals themselves.

              Re sanctions, most sanctions nowadays are targetted (eg at particular officials, Oil and banking and Iranian Guard companies for Iran). Very few target the citizens themselves. But even full economic sanctions that target the trade in the whole country are usually only employed as an alternative to war, where the consequences would be much more severe. And even then, there is no distinction between nationals. The rules are nobody in that geographical area can trade. So if America puts full economic sanctions on Iran, Americans living in Iran will be included in the Iranian sanctions, while Iranians living in the US are not (as long as they are not trading directly with the Iranian companies or the Iranian government). Hence its not racism.

              We should also remember that no government has an automatic right to trade rights through any country or the international community. Such rights, which bring benefits to their peoples, must be negotiated via diplomatic agreements and if a government (even if democratic) takes a course of action that is confrontational towards the international community (or single nations) then that is not always the best way of ensuring trade routes through other international countries (or that single nation you are picking fights with).

              The line is therefore that actions targetted at governments are okay even if that causes indirect harm to the people they represent. However, actions directly targetting the people themselves are racism. A good test that shows this is correct is that if everybody followed this advice, Britain would have still fought WW2 and engaged in the humanitarian interventions it has. But the holocaust and all other acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide in history would not have happened.

            • Sebastian

              The other issue you raised, re “immigration” raises another very important line than needs to be drawn.

              Lets say to help stop what I see as the disproportionately poor academic performance of the black community and the knock on effect on their life chances, I set up an educational trust in the UK to help black pupils succeed that provides educational resources to the black community.

              The question is, why is this not racist? Clearly, I have identified a community that is finding it hard to obtain equality within the society, but by targetting money and resources at the community to help improve their situation, my criteria appears racist. Why am I not funding white pupils, or Asian pupils etc? Surely the fact that the colour of somebody’s skin determines who does and does not get my resources is a racist act? But if I didn’t do this, then indirect discrimination and other such difficulties that society agrees need to be solved can never be solved. Theoretically, this means we can never actually stop racism, for any effort to tackle racism must be targetted at a particular race (or nationality, gender, ethnicity etc) and if that “targetting” is in itself racism, then society can never intervene with that society being described as a “racist” society.

              This is what I call the anti-racism = racism paradox, where any action taken to stop racism must be racism, which is clearly nonsense. But this paradox is not easy to resolve, but it is very important to resolve it as this paradox makes it very easy for forces of hate and racism to brand those on the other side of that battle as being the racists.

              The paradox is resolved by remembering that “racism” is the discrimination of one person to something they would otherwise be entitled to on the basis of race. It’s not helping one person on the basis of race. The concept of indirect discrimination resolves the attempts to be clever. Eg, if one gives to all races but Jews (as opposed to only Jews), that would be racism. Alternatively, if the “benefit” is such a basic benefit that not giving it is actually equivalent to denying a right, it would also be racism.

              Thus, Muslim charities are not racist, and neither are Christian or Jewish or any other such charities. No Jew is going to be harmed because some Muslim gives money to feed muslim communities with many people below the poverty line.

              Thus, the paradox is resolved as follows: racism is discrimination against a race. Anti-racism is positive discrimination for a race.

              The final key element of positive discrimination is that it must be being done to protect a particular race from a genuine and legitimate issue facing that community, which is usually discrimination or structural inequality, but can also be assistance affecting any issue within that society as long as that issue is genuine and not a sham.

              The easiest way to distinguish between racism and anti-racism is 1) identify the victim; 2) ask oneself has the ‘victim’ ended up in a worse position because of the discrimination or has the ‘victim’ merely failed to not improved their position because of the descrimination?

              Thus, having immigration policy (which owing to limited resources always requires some selection criteria) is not racist. If a country wishes to favour some nations where they feel they have greater responsibility, they can. Proof is, before the alien asylum seeker was a homeless person in need. After, the alien asylum seeker was a homeless person in need. Total loss = 0. Compare this with Ruandan genocide. Before a Hutu girl had both her arms and a mother. After, she had lost an arm and her mother. So it’s discrimination.

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  • Dan Ivtsan

    I wonder if he would have debated an Israeli Arab…

    (To all those suggesting this isn’t racism)

    • Nope

      Probably not since they both probably will be on the same side, unless it is an Israeli arab in favour of the Israeli jewish supremacy policies, in which case he probably wouldn’t as well.

      My guess is he would have debated with the said person had he been a British Jew, etc. Further there are Jews who are against Israeli government, such as Chomsky, with whom he would have interacted imho.

      Talking about racism, is it true Israeli govt forcibly sterilized Ethiopian Jews in Israel? If it’s true frankly I feel like boycotting Israel as well.

      • Sebastian

        No, that’s false. Worse than false its entirely fabricated for reasons of racial hatred. Like all such statements, this one is probably based on a half truth that a disproportionately high number of Ethoiopan Jews in Israel ask their doctors to give them drugs that reduce their fertility.

        That alligation is typical of those made that are aimed at spreading racial hatred. Notice, you felt like being a racist after you heard that demonising statement of racial hatred. Hate is powerful indeed and that is how it works and manipulates people into evil.

        You need to be more careful of where you get your information from and the sources you trust because otherwise you too could be a racist like Galoway.

  • Davina McCall

    First Galloway was a cat, now he’s just a pussy.

  • matt

    That Israeli looked and sounded English to me…

  • El Bearo

    He probably holds British citizenship.

  • El Bearo

    Just wondering if Mr. Galloway would advocate armed invasion if the victim is asleep? Such a shame it never got to Q & A.

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  • Ivor-Peter Freeleigh

    Is it true Oscar Pistrious has no legs?

  • Penny

    Instead of letting yourselves be brainwashed into all the negative stuff that goes on about Israel. Why don’t you people see the place for yourselves. You will find that it is totally different, from what the Galloways of this world are putting out there. Or perhaps you like being lied too.

  • Nick White

    Give me a White Russian bride and some vodka, it’s going to be a long night in the bunker

  • Paul W.E. Ingham

    Everyone knows “anti-Zionism” is just Jew- Baiting for lefties. Galloway is just more honest than most about it.

  • Idan

    This discussion board is full of reason and sense, except few morons.
    I’m Israeli, going over people’s posts here, and quite encouraged, nontheless even surprised. BIGTIME surprised.
    Brits, French, Belgians and Swedes are so largely dispised by most Israelis, condeming, weakening, boycotting Israel – your soldier in the forefront against Islam.
    Showing the honest and intelligent posters here, got me to carry the messge back home to Israelis, that more Europeans in fact understand well Israel is their ally too, and George GoAway is just a random jocker.
    Keep up the good work Euros / Brits / Nords. I just wish you could team up against your journalists and accademists kicking them out of your societies

  • Pino

    Je ziet maar weer gestolen goed (Israël) gedijt niet !
    Galloway heeft het wel goed gezien ,die praat niet met zionistische Katharen die net zo joods zijn als de Chinezen.Zet al die zogenaamde G,den maar voor de 2 e keer Engeland uit met de Rothschilds voorop,kunnen ze een nieuwe dierentuin aan de zwarte zee beginnen.

  • Sebastian

    “Therefore, giving preferential treatment to a segment of humanity based on a perceived need to compensate for the disadvantages suffered by that group BECAUSE of racism is anything but racism.”

    Of course. Hence the paradox. Most people when thinking about it end up with a definition that suggests that is racism when it is obviously not.

    As said in my reply to Jay, I think you are very wrong to assume racism must be born out of some form of superiority though I agree it often (but not always) accompanies racist acts.

  • Chutzpah

    There’s no question in my mind that Nazism was concsciously, cynically and brutally racist. Did it have anything to do with hatred? Well I think it had more to do with power. If you have a great ambition for power but as a person you are more of the creepy reptile than a naturally talented beacon of human greatness, then you have to be inordinately cunning and iniquitous to realise your ambition.

    So Hitler used the time honoured technique of finding a defenceless scapegoat and persecuted them mercilessly. The advantage of this method is that other societal members, as individual onlookers are forced to take a stand as individuals with an individual conscience. They no longer have institutionalised ethics and standards of decency and morality to lean against.

    Most people in this situation choose to try find anonymity among the great majority and hope they won’t be called upon to demonstrate their apparent belief in the flag they have conformed to. They realise only too well that to take a stand with the isolated and persecuted minority, most likely means sharing their fate.

    I don’t think Hitler cared one way or the other which race he persecuted. It was just a tool for him. Had he been in action today he would no doubt have chosen Muslims in the very manner we actually can witness many other right wing reptiles doing right this minute.

    It all sounds so innocuously forthright to begin with, like the child in H.C. Andersens fable who declares against the common wisdom that the Emporer actually isn’t wearing any clothes. The statistics show this and that. The newcomers are worse educated, because of course they’re lazy, they show higher unemployment rates, they have disproprtionately high crime rates and so on and so on. It must be because they are ‘different’ have different backgrounds, culture religion. They’ll never really fit in but are more likely to try to adapt ‘us’ to ‘their’ ways. It ends with the scientific ‘facts’ that the other race(s) are inferior and thereby unworthy, subhuman and, in the long run, disposable.

    This is true racism because it deliberately builds on an ideology of superiority and distorts science to back itself up.

    And yes I could easily cite examples of people who don’t at all believe in this ideology yet nevertheless would prefer their offspring to find one of like ethnic background, in order to secure a smoother less complicated future saving themselves and their families from difficult cultural transitions or adjustments. This to my mind is only prejudice kept within the private sphere, perhaps with experience or perhaps only with ignorance to back it up, but either way quite far from racism. But it is these almost innocent forms of prejudice which the racists can exploit and bend to their own disgusting purposes.

    In a similar way, if you really believed the Mediaeval tosh about Jews baking with the blood of Christian babies you would (apart from probably being declared insane) be horrendously ignorant, and possibly a dangerous tool in the hands of racists, yet not necessarily a racist yourself. But admittedly it is getting close because it does involve an unfounded generalised belief about the ‘other’ which in some measure implies a belief in the superiority of your own kind. In any case it is a far cry from ‘storming’ out of a debate with an Israeli, which need not involve any such beliefs.

    • Sebastian

      You seem to be confusing the reasons why people manufacture racial hatred and the racial hatred itself. Whether Hitler genuinely hated Jews is not relevant. I think the evidence says he did. But there is no question he did it for political purposes (power, skapegoat or whatever). Similar, the hatred against Israelis is also being manufactured for similar political purposes. The communists are desparate to make people hate Western Society itself and Israel is a good target to getting people to despise the West. The leaders in the Middle East use Israel as a bogey man to scare their people so they don’t revolt (accusing everybody who does of being a “zionist spy”).

      But the reasons why the evil of racism is unleashed on an entire society doesn’t change what racism is. Racism is a physical act of discrimination usually caused by a mindset of racial hatred for that people. The racially inflamatory propaganda unleashed by Goeballs for whatever political reason was very successful in creating a very large number of genuine racists who were all filled to the brim of racial hate.

      Yes, some people only complied out of fear, but a much larger minority (or even a majority) complied because they thought it was right owing to being successfully corrupted into racial hatred. Genocides are always like that.

      But racism starts by forming unfounded opinions about an entire people that slowly build up to the point of racial hatred. Accepting too many racially inflamatory libels is the way racism forces itself into sombody’s mind. Even accepting even one is dangerous, but the more the mind accepts, the more the hatred takes over how they react to the “hated people”.

      The blood libel is probably one of the most notoriously anti-semitic argument ever invented in this planet. It is universally considered highly anti-semitic. But the point about the blood libel is that those racists (and they are clear racists) that believe it and spread it do not necessarily have a feeling of superiority, but they are no less dangerous, evil and wrong.

      You acknowledged it yourself in your last paragraph that it doesn’t quite fit with your narrow definition. You know it’s racist, but if your definition seems excludes it. And because of that, you know it is your definition that is wrong, not the conclusion that the the blood libel is antisemitic.

      The key that you have come up with by considering the blood libel is the “unfounded generalised belief about the ‘other’”. But you then suggested this “implies a belief in the superiority of your own kind”, which you know is wrong. I think you only made it to try to fit a square peg into a round hole. But going back to your quite correct idea re unfounded generalisations. It’s not just any generalised belief. The beliefs have to be particularly nasty in their nature to the point of being racially inflamatory. They also have to appeal to raw human emotions and vulnerablities. And one can see that the more such “libels” you believe (often for no more sinister reason than you not being intelligent enough to look things up yourself and you trusted the wrong person as they seemed to understand you and express sympathy with your vulnerablities) the more racist you become. Once all that hatred against “the other” is stored up, it doesn’t take much for that racial hatred to materialise into clear acts of terrible racism.

      Racists are normal people like you and me who just trusted the wrong source of information and that information turned out to be racial hatred. The “political correct” system that you seemed to put scorn on is very good at ensuring people reach 16 without having been corrupted by that hate. After 16 and at university, we then mix with people like BDS and Galloway and society just has to hope that the political correct conditioning is enough to stop them from corrupting our own minds with their idiologies of racial hatred. But at this point, it is down to us to keep our minds free of hate, because racists NEVER say “I’m a racist” and arguments of hate NEVER say “this is an argument of hate”. You have to learn to spot them yourselves regardless of the disguise they choose to wear.

      I really would encourage you to do what I did many years ago and browse the websites of the far right so that you understand excatly what we are up against and the techniques such racists employ and that you learn what arguments of pure hate look like and feel like. You will understand racism a vaste amount better for doing it.

  • Chutzpah

    “Of course. Hence the paradox. Most people when thinking about it end up with a definition that suggests that is racism when it is obviously not”

    Yes – because instead of confining themselves to the very essential defining element of racism they try to build long-winded exhaustive lists of what is and what is not politically correct behaviour and therefore inevitably lose the thread and end up tying themselves in knots.

  • Chutzpah

    “Many of those that butchered the Hutus in the Ruandan genocide acted out of feelings that were no different to what you hypothosised Galloway felt during his act of racial discrimination.”

    Well, it was only a hypothesis. I don’t suppose in reality GG has a fear that the Jews are a superior race. We are in agreement but for different reasons. I’d call it racism because it invokes the idea that there are worthy/superior races and less worthy/inferior races. For you racism seems to be more a question of feelings and actions, and as a result you can dream up endless paradoxes and you’ll always be able to find situations which aren’t clearly covered by the proscribing guidelines in the UN laws about racism.

    As I wrote elsewhere in this thread if I refused to talk with a North Korean general as a demonstration of my opposition to his country’s belligerent insistence on expanding its nuclear arsenal and carrying out nuclear explosion tests that would have to be counted as racism according to your viewpoint. Surely you can see how absurd that is?

    “In particular, you have particular problem explaining how “blood libels” fit into your narrow racism picture.”

    I wouldn’t have said so. You speak of blood libels as they were commonplace where I know only of the one variation you’ve already mentioned and which hasn’t occurred anywhere in the world for many hundreds of years. As I wrote before it is something quite close to racism, but as it occurred in a time where people had no clear idea of race, and certainly no biological / genetic idea of race it isn’t really racism as we know it. The motivation for these abominations was religious rather than racial hatred. That may be the same thing for you but it isn’t for me.

    “Is “following orders” a legitimate excuse for a racist act?”

    Certainly not. I should hope that much is clear if you’ve read and understood what I’ve been saying. What I am saying is that if you neglect the essential element of racism and focus solely on the act then you’re going to end up indiscriminately pointing the finger of accusation at all kinds of people for all kinds of nonsensical reasons, which is precisely what has occurred in this absurd debacle surrounding the exit of GG from an Oxford University debate. I’m not in any way condoning his action although I don’t especially condemn it either, it must be the man’s prerogative to decide for himself when and where and to whom he speaks, but I’d be much less likely another time to turn up for a debate where he was billed as a speaker. But whatever I think of him and his behaviour I’m never going to call him a racist for it because that is plain stupid.

    Thanks but no thanks for the invite to spend some time on the far right. I have to admit to a real hatred of people who associate themselves with that sort of filth. I daresay that makes me a racist too. Then so be it.

  • Chutzpah

    “The key that you have come up with by considering the blood libel is the “unfounded generalised belief about the ‘other’”. But you then suggested this “implies a belief in the superiority of your own kind”, which you know is wrong.”

    Obviously I wouldn’t have written it if I thought it was wrong. Blood libels? Communists? Really Sebastian, which century is it you are living in? There’s only one communist society left worth speaking of and it has never shown itself to be anti-semitic as far as I know. Perhaps it has used racism in its wars with Japan and Indo-China. That would be a very common use of racism.

    You may think I am confusing the reasons why people manufacture racial hatred and the racial hatred itself but that is because you insist on identifying the quality of racism with the concrete manifestations of it, and keep on repeating the formula as if you believe that I’m going to buy it just because you repeat it often enough. From my point of view it is you who is confusing the abstract property of something with its (possible) substance. What happens when you keep on insisting that “racism is a physical act of discrimination ” is that you gradually forget to ask if you truly have any insight into the motivation behind the act, and what once was just a possibility becomes for you an indisputable fact. But of course it’s not fact – it’s just dogma. The truth is you don’t know any more than I do why GG doesn’t speak with Israelis. It might be racistically motivated and then again it might not. But you’re not interested in such fine distinctions. For you the act smells of racism because an Israeli is the point of departure for the act, and you obviously have a special sensitivity in that area, but in a free country a man is free to leave a room when it pleases him, and free to declare that he doesn’t speak with Israelis, Gypsies, Conservatives, homosexuals or grandmothers. Rude, stupid, uncivilized, pathetic or hateful it may be but not a priori racist.

  • Sebastian

    Ruandan genocide: Minor correction, the Hutus killed the Tutsis (and not the other way round). This doesn’t affect the point or quesiton though, so now addressing the issue.

    The Hutu Power ideology is largely responsible for the genocide. Accurding to wikipedia, “Hutu Power asserted that the Tutsi intended to enslave the Hutu and must be resisted at all costs.” Assuming this is true and this is the main reason the Hutus on mass to committ the genocide, they did so out of a “blood libel” type belief that the Tutsis wanted to enslave the Hutu. They didn’t do so out of a sense of superiority. So according to your arguments (no sense of superiority means not racist means not criticisable), this genocide is not racism and thererfore, because it is not, should not be criticised.

    As I said, it’s a similar gap in reasoning which is why no respectable panel on racism has ever limited the mental element to a sense of superiority in the way you are trying to do.

    Racism = feelings and actions: Everything is “feelings” and “actions”. Murder is the act of unlawfully killing somebody (action) with intention to commit GBH (feelings). Racism is the discrimination against an individual from a race (or nationality etc.) with intention to discriminate on the basis of a race.

    Racism is always motivated by underlying racial hatred and it’s that underlying racial hatred that makes it so dangerous even in small doses.

    North Korean general: I’ve already responded to that. You are not boycotting him because he holds a North Korean passport (which would be racist). You are boycotting him because he is part of the North Korean regime, so its not racist. No dilemma at all there at all.

    “Blood libels” are not limited to history. Racially inflamatory libels similar to the blood libel are used in almost every form of racism since history began to this day. “Jews control media / America / world ” (from the protocols of the elders of Zion). “Israel is infecting Palestinian children with aids”. “Tutsis are trying to enslave the Hutu” to name but a few.

    Far right websights: Can you not read? My suggestion is for you to see and understand hatred to help you fight them and others like them, not for you to join them. For example, you would see how they use inflamatory “blood libel” type statements of racial hatred very frequently. And your last sentence “I daresay that makes me a racist too. Then so be it.” was about one of the most rediculous strawmen I’ve ever heard in my life.

    Communists: I’m talking about the socialists workers party and other Communist parties around the world in every nation.

    I also note that you have seriously underestimated the amount of knowledge I have on this area. Until you stop making up excuses not to do even small amounts of research on racism (instead preferring to make things up out of thin air), I don’t see how you can claim your opinion is equal to mine on this.

    The real tragedy is now that by having such a narrow minded view of what racism is combined with no actual experience of real life racists, you have legitimised a number of forms of racial hate in your mind and are in grave danger of being a racist yourself. You are certainly incapable of fighting the far right and other racist groups as you will not be able to distinguish between their hatred and legitimate points of view.

    • Chutzpah

      Were the Tutsis out to enslave the Hutu? I don’t know the answer to that question. And I can’t understand why any ordinary libel should be called a ‘blood’ libel. If they were out to enslave the Hutu . . . . . .what then? Weren’t the Hutu just legitimately defending themselves? Like Israel was legitimately defending itself when it slaughtered hundreds in the Gaza . . .? Or was Israel in fact acting racistically? Killing people out of hatred for what they were . . . Palestinians? You know so much. You probably know better than me.

      Jay’s point about the Hutu Tutsi conflict being about tribalism not racism. Did you consider that?

      But – my dear Sebastian – whilst mocking me for not being able to read, please take care yourself to read and understand what I have written. Spending time on the far right is shorthand for surfing far right Websites. You couldn’t have deduced that of course. But this blithe misinterpretation :

      So according to your arguments (no sense of superiority means not racist means not criticisable), this genocide is not racism and thererfore, because it is not, should not be criticised

      . . .is simply inexcusable mumbo jumbo. Of course I’m not saying – and nowhere have said -that genocide should not be criticised, my goodness go and take some coffee boy, if you can’t concentrate, and then come back and enlighten me with your erudition on the subject of . . yeah what was it again, I didn’t quite catch it I’m afraid? What I have tried to say, clearly enough I thought, was that all such deplorable acts should be criticised for what they really are and not what they might appear to be through the lens of your dogma.

      And much as I’m sure it would be a delight to know you, fact is I don’t know you at all, so how the heep can I underestimate your considerable knowledge? I haven’t the faintest idea of what you know and don’t know.

      However I might as well come clean and tell you I’ve seen plenty of right wing web sites and have absolutely neither need nor desire to see more. They all bored me to tears and with some variations on the theme all more or less said the same things.

      Anyway a couple more things have just struck me. Mass murderer Anders Breivik. Was what he did racist and why or why not? And what if a Jew criticises Israel in the same way the Goyim sometimes do and then get lambasted for being racist is the Jew then also racist even though it’s his own race he’s criticising?

  • Chutzpah

    “The real tragedy is now that by having such a narrow minded view of what racism is combined with no actual experience of real life racists, you have legitimised a number of forms of racial hate in your mind and are in grave danger of being a racist yourself.”

    Well now you may know a lot, but what the deuce do you know about me and my actual experience of real life racists? You really are a bombastic person and full of not a little hot air. I’m in no doubt I have always been a racist according to your definition, but that does not bother me in the slightest so long as I am not racist by my definition, which I’m quite sure there is no danger of.

  • James Taylor

    Seriously, none of you seem to understand the Rwandan Genocide beyond wikipedia articles and possibly the film “Hotel Rwanda”. It’s really quite different and I wouldn’t bring it into this argument. At all.

    • Chutzpah

      Couldn’t you direct us to a site where a true understanding can be gleaned? I’m the first to admit I know nothing worth speaking of about it, but the possibility of learning is always welcome.

    • Sebastian

      Yes you are right that the Rwandan Genocide, as with all genocides, is much more complex than presented, but I don’t think anything was lost in this simplification that was substantively relevant to the discussion. I used it as an example because some (though not all) of the propaganda of racial hate from that conflict was not directly implying superiority with the point being that as motivations for genocide are not restricted to feelings of superiority, neither is the definition of racism.

  • Susan

    Whether or not you view GG actions as racist is missing a major point here. Surely the point of ‘debating’ is to discuss and argue against opposing views? So even though GG disagreed and doesn’t recognise Israel as a state surely he should have stood his ground and made his point? You wouldn’t get Richard Dawkins walking out on a debate with say the Archbishop of Canterbury because he doesn’t recognise ‘God’ and vice versa. How on earth can you ever debate if you never face your opponents?

    • Jay

      You’re not quite right, Richard Dawkins has a very strict criteria about who he debates. For instance, Dawkins debated Dr Rowan Williams, because not only did he respect him as a learned man but he also respected the institution that Williams was running. He would never have debated the Archbishop of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Church because that would give him/her (and their church) credibility. So GG’s rationale is not that unusual.

    • Chutzpah

      Susan – yep that’s a major point. GG more than anything makes himself look foolish, and hardly wins any credibility for the campaign against Israel’s excesses by his boycott, yet still he doesn’t automatically earn for himself the epithet ‘racist’ by it. The only little difference between him walking out on the Israeli and Dawkins walking out on the Archbishop of Canterbury would be that whilst some little hope might be cherished that Israel can be influenced if the boycott becomes tidal, changing God’s mind might prove a somewhat mightier task!

  • concerned

    It should be noted that if any other nationality in the world received this treatment, nobody would even be debating that it’s racism. Are Israel’s standards of civility reallly so different from everyone else’s? Or is the problem more that the Israelis are (mostly) Jewish? I wonder.

    • Sebastian

      As I understand it, the problem is that too many interest require Israelis to be inhuman monsters for their idiology to work.

      The Arab politicians need Israelis to be monsters to act as scape goats for the political failings of their own leaders.

      The communists need to find an example of Western civilisation that is a manifestation of evil so that they can use that to forment hatred about Western civilisation generally with the hope that it will bring communist revolutions in their own host countries a step closer.

      And the soft left need to feel guilty about their own societies about something so they make Israel out to be evil because they badly need a cause to give themselves purpose.

      And then you have the standard anti-semites who have seen themselves get respect for their racism as long as they slip the world “Israel” or “Zionist” into their sentences occassionally.

      The Israeli people are an easy target because their people are in the minority, they are thousands of miles away from the West (geographically) and the Arab world (politically) and so total fabrications can get away unchallenged in a way that could not happen with France or UK (as people can go there and irrefutably varify for themselves that such fabrications are nonsense, which can’t happen for Israel).

      So too many people need an evil Israel and they will do everything they possibly can to brand Israel as such to as many people who will listen. And Israel is a comparitively weak target that cannot properly defend itself against such demonisations in the way other countries can owing to lack of numbers and geographical distance.

  • Chutzpah

    concerned – astute. But take care! Such rhetoric can get you into a lot of trouble. Jews of course really are an unusually persecuted race so it’s not paranoid of them to be vigilant. The problem is that they have founded a state under rather controversial circumstances. Many opposed the founding of this state, and many more today are critical of the way this state behaves towards members of the the other people or peoples which also laid claim to the territory Israel built its state on. The Israel supporting critics of these critics rely on a collective historical sense of guilt about all the anti semitism of the past, as a tool to try to silence critics of Israel. There is of course a real danger that some people will get so sick of having this accusation of racism flung in their faces every time they try to voice an opinion about Israel, that they really will turn anti-semitic, and so the accusers will have been ‘proved’ right. However most intelligent observers are quite capable of discriminating between the obligation and right to criticise the policies of a state which abuses its military superiority to maintain a total blockade of one and a half million people, denying them basics of living and holding them in abject poverty and underdevelopment, (among other things) and holding the view that Jews are an inferior sub-species of human being, which therefore ought not be allowed to have a state.
    So yes, ultimately we’re having this dicussion because Israel is the Jewish state and because most Israelis are by design Jewish.

  • Sebastian

    “The problem is that [the Jews] have founded a state under rather controversial circumstances. …

    However most intelligent observers are quite capable of discriminating between the obligation and right to criticise the policies of a state which [diatripe of abuse aimed at Israeli and its citizens] and holding the view that Jews are an inferior sub-species of human being …

    So yes, ultimately we’re having this dicussion because Israel is the Jewish state and because most Israelis are by design Jewish.”.

    My fear was that the purpose of your artificial distinction between racism based on a sense of superiority and racism based on other motivations was not for academic curiosity but instead was solely to legitimise your own [at that time undisclosed] racist views. This post shows my fears were well founded.

    Your racist statements are 1) Attempting to blur the boundaries between criticism of Jews and criticism of Israel as per first sentence of this post (antisemitism); 2) demonising those Jewish Palestinians who founded a state in 1948 and expanding that demonisation to all the living decendants of those Jews without making any attempt at providing a balanced historical judgement or providing measured criticisms aimed only at those that actually committed the alleged wrong (racism against Israelis). 2) Acknowledging that a significant motivation for your decision to single out Israel’s policies for particularly viciously criticism lies not in Israel’s actual politicies vs the policies of other nation states but in its Jewish nature (antisemitism).

    This explains why you appeared completely unable to understand the difference between boycotting a North Korea army general and boycotting anybody with North Korean passport. It’s not that you were unable to answer such obvious questions for yourself, it’s that you were unwilling.

    I therefore strongly suspect you also have links to the BDS movement that encourages racist actions such as Galloways.

    But feel free to rebrand and justify your racism all you like. The attempt to devalue the term “racist” by 1) deliberately using the term in absurd and idiotic circumstances and 2) by saying that accusations of racism are so frequently used by “the Jews” that it’s okay and meaningless to be described as such. Both of these correlate with strategies aimed at making racism acceptable again.

    Note many people have posted with different viewpoints on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but you are the only person who I think is at least partially motivated by genuinely racist views whether it be against Jews generally or (equally wrong) against Israelis. It’s still not too late in your life to change path but the longer you leave it, the harder it will be.

  • Ruth Tenne

    George Galloway might have overreacted when refusing to debate the motion of Apartheid Israel with an Israeli citizen, but he most certainly should be admired for his courageous stance against the Iraq war and his dedication to the Palestine Solidarity Movement . George always debated and defended most convincingly the Palestinian cause on LBC radio where Jews and pro-zionists exacted a strong pressure on the proprietors of the station to sack him – with eventual success .

    As an Israeli-born citizen and human rights activist (who resides now in London), I am only too aware of the pressure Israelis and pro-Zionists could extract on those who take a stance against Israel’s policies . A number of Israeli ex-friends of mine, including close family relations ,cut off any contacts with me for supporting the Palestine Solidarity Movement and BDS. I, along with Jewish colleagues in Britain , have been suffering a continued verbal abuse and smearing campaign , constant interfering and hacking of our e-mail accounts and ,on occasions , attempts of physical violence. I , therefore , could understand ,and have some sympathy for, George’s refusal to debate Israel’s policies with a young ex-soldier, Israeli citizen. Nevertheless, I regret that George did not take the opportunity to win over the audience with his unbeatable debating and rhetoric skills which have been so apparent in public rallies against Israel’s onslaught on Gaza , and various other protest campaigns undertaken by the Palestine Solidarity Movement and the coalition against the Iraq war .

    Moreover,Galloway has been leading ,and taking part, in six convoys to Gaza for which he was pronounced as “terrorist” by the Israeli intelligence. http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/18025 .
    His behaviour may have been seen by the public as controversial due to the support Israel’s policies receive from most of the establishment and main-stream media. Yet, he is fully committed to expose the inhumanity of the Israeli military siege on Gaza which brings the 1.5 million residents of the Strip (half of them children and minors) to the brink of starvation and deprive them access to medical care , social services, decent housing (having their homes demolished by the constant bombardment and shelling of the Israeli forces ), clean water and sewage treatment facilities as well as an adequate electricity, gas and oil supply which is prevented by Israel’s main control of public utilities, and of the movement of goods and material into Gaza .

    The world seems to keep its damning silence about the inhuman conditions which Israel imposes with impunity on the residents of Gaza Strip , but George Galloway courageously takes a stance against those brutalities and is not prepared to let Western leaders to have abandoned the people of Gaza and the West Bank.

    Ruth Tenne

    • Ant

      Thank you for the excellent comment. There are over 150 UN Resolutions, as well as the ruling of the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Please see one UN Security Council Resolution – which is binding and law.

      *** UN Security Council Resolution 478 (1980) of 20 August
      1980 – BINDING

      The Security Council, recalling its resolution 476 (1980);
      reaffirming again that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible;
      deeply concerned over the enactment of a “basic law” in the Israeli
      Knesset proclaiming a change in the character and status of the Holy City of
      Jerusalem, with its implications for peace and security; noting that Israel has
      not complied with resolution 476 (1980); reaffirming its determination to
      examine practical ways and means, in accordance with the relevant provisions of
      the Charter of the United Nations, to secure the full implementation of its
      resolution 476 (1980), in the event of non-compliance by Israel ; Censures in
      the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the “basic law” on
      Jerusalem and the refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions;

      http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL….

  • Sebastian

    “Jews and pro-zionists exacted a strong pressure on the proprietors of the station to sack him – with eventual success.” – You speak as if only Jewish and zionist lobby groups take part in such activities. The Palestinian, communist and Arab groups apply equally if not more pressure on such people often with much greater success. But the Jewish and Zionist groups don’t use such examples to promote the “Muslim’s control the media” conspirarcy theories in the same way your side does against Jews.

    Your sob story about being strongly disagreed with and boycotted by people on your family for deciding to join “the enemy”, while emotive, proves nothing about Jewish or Israeli nature. Infact you should count yourself lucky as Muslim people from Muslim families who decide to be pro-Israel often end up physically attacked and sometimes killed. So compared to the way many of your new friends treat relations who support “the enemy”, you actually have it very easy.

    I also note you describe yourself as a “human rights activist”. Persumably this is so you can give your self an apparently neutral title to describe what is in reality a completely one sided viewpoint. The great thing about calling yourself a “human rights activist” is that you don’t actually require any knowledge at all on human rights or international law to describe yourself as such. So I hope you don’t mind me asking but, what legal credentials do you have that gives you the moral right to claim you know anything at all about human rights?

    I would also like to question whether you have views created by generally hating Israel or by impartial investigation. You hurl many insults at Israeli including the following: “Gaza which brings the 1.5 million residents of the Strip (half of them children and minors) to the brink of starvation …”

    I know ISM and BDS train activists and members to describe the blockade in that way. But what evidence have you personally seen that suggests that this is even remotely true?

  • Chutzpah

    “So I hope you don’t mind me asking but, what legal credentials do you have that gives you the moral right to claim you know anything at all about human rights? .”

    How utterly ridiculous. There would be no such thing as human rights if not precisely everybody had the moral right to claim they know something about it and express their opinions about it. It’s not some elitist project which you need some higher education and special training to have permission to practice in. The very idea that only some select group is qualified to voice an opinion on the matter would itself be a breach of human rights.

  • Chutzpah

    “The problem is that [the Jews] have founded a state under rather controversial circumstances. …

    Yeah . . . it must be a sign of desperation when you find it necessary to be so pedantic to score any points. Obviously by “they” [the Jews] I don’t mean every Jew in the world to a man as one body, but okay it was a bit lazy to write “they” instead of those particular Zionists in and outside of the area now known as Israel who planned and realised the establishment of the Jewish state. (I assume it’s not racist to call it the Jewish state since that is how Israel officially describes itself). And I can see that for an hysterical, hair splitting pedant that slip could be seen linguistically as a crack in the door, a miniscule opportunity to scream “racist”. But really, Sebastian, if that’s the best you can do then perhaps it is time for you to pack in and find something more real to spend your time on.

    And where on earth was it you saw this ‘demonisation’? Was it “founded a state under rather controversial circumstances.” or “Many opposed the founding of this state, “ or any other such easily verifiable and absolutely demonisation free statement I have made? You mystify me. Anyhow should you wish to continue I have way back put several questions which I’d still be interested in hearing your response to. To save you the trouble of seeking they were:

    1.) Was Israel’s war on Gaza in 2008/9 racist in inception and execution?
    2.) If not then was not the Hutu war against the Tutsi not conceivably a legitimate war of self defence?
    3.) Was the atrocity committed by mass-murderer Anders Breivik racist?
    4.) If a Jew or Israeli criticises Israel (as Ruth Tenne has just done) in the same way a non Jew/Israeli might do, is that person racist, going by your own definition of racism?

  • Chutzpah

    Too many “nots” in no. 2.) but I think you get the meaning . . .

  • Chutzpah

    Just in case anyone should be lacking insight into the daily hell it is to live under Israeli occupation This Film should by the look of it give a better understanding.

  • Chutzpah

    When it comes to the question as to what gave the (Zionist, Israel building – [we must get it technically correct for the Sebastians of this world] – ) Jews the moral right to sequester this particular piece of the land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean, then the argument from the supporters of Israel side is always that there is an historical connection between the Jews and this land. This argument, of course, assumes that Jews of today are true biological descendants of the Jews of yore who, thousands of years ago built a Jewish state there. (otherwise there would be no real historical connection, but still of course a cultural and religious connection which, however, is something else. Because you’re a Christian doesn’t give you some eternal right to inhabit Rome and move someone there out of their house if there isn’t room for you.)

    The assumption that contemporary Jews are direct biological descendants of the Jews of ancient Israel has of course been challenged on numerous occasions (see for example this article ) but, assuming biological descendance is a fact, is this argument then not the very essence of a racist argument? (according to Sebastians ‘paradox’). Were not the Zionist, Israel building Jews positively discriminating in their own favour (and thereby inevitably against the indigenous non-Jewish population) on the basis of their racial identity, arguing that it was precisely because they were Jews that they ought to have some special precedence in relation to this land, even though they, as individuals had no immediate familial ancestral connection with the land – i.e. their grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents came from lands far from Palestine?

    Personally I think very many of these original Zionists were not racists at all, since I know that most of them were ardent socialists who truly hoped ( perhaps naively ) to build a new and all inclusive society where both they and the indigenous peoples would live side by side in peaceful, co-operative and mutual respect as equals. To understand how complex the whole issue is, and how misunderstandings so easily arise, consider the early Kibbutz movement. These were farming collectives run in the majority of cases on radically Communist lines. As an individual Kibbutz member you owned virtually nothing personally more than the clothes you went to work in the fields every day in. In return the collective assumed responibility for your welfare on absolutely equal terms with all the other members, and provided you with housing, food and medical help when necessary. It has to be said that if ever there has been an example of Communism really successfully working in practice then the Kibbutz was it. But as a result of this fierce idealism one thing the Kibbutz would not do was employ local persons to labour in their fields because this was seen as an outmoded colonialist practice which they wanted to abolish. The local people however could not understand this, and just felt they were being discriminated against.

    I’m sure many pro Israel readers have already, like Sebastian, tagged me as an anti-semitic Israel hater. But I know enough of the history to see that by 1947 the original idealism of the Zionists for many, many reasons had lost its way, and the situation was so deadlocked that no other alternative to an international mandate to split the land between the two peoples, could have offered any hope of allaying war.

    As is known this was still not enough. But the UN as the one true representative international body we have, gave both Israel and Palestine the right to exist and decreed a partition plan to determine where they would exist. This for me is the principal basis for Israel’s right to exist, and not the wispy idea of eternal rights of Return.

    I am inasmuch therefore, also pro-Israel, since what is the point of having a United Nations if you are not going to respect and abide by its decisions? What has happened since is that Israel has got stronger and stronger while Palestine has got weaker and weaker. Israel is not alone to blame for this, and can hardly be expected to positively discriminate in favour of Palestine but . . . Nearly 50 years has gone by since the Six Day War, and the signs of any willingness to trade land for peace (as originally proclaimed and enshrined in various UN resolutions) have all but evapourated. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Israelis or the Palestinians who, for the time, are stalling because all stalling works in favour of the occupier.

    The political focus in Israel is now completely shifted from land for peace to combatting terrorism, so that if there are two kids with homemade petrol bombs who can be construed as terrorists left in the territories, then there is no need to discuss land for peace. The truth is that Palestine today has never been further from having the capacity to wage war on Israel, so the excuses for Israel not exerting itself to overcome real or perceived obstacles to serious negotiations on the old land for peace idea are flimsy to say the least.

    The truth is, surely and sadly, that the faction which never believed in trading land for peace, because it realised the real threats that Palestine could muster could easily be contained, whilst the claim that no peace had been achieved would then give them an excuse to keep the land, now has a stranglehold on Israeli politics. I’m sure the old Zionists would be horrified if they could see what they laid the foundation for has mutated into.

    Now to make quite sure we don’t give Sebastian a precedent to start screaming again let me again make it quite clear that by “Israelis” I DON’T mean every person in this world with an Israeli passport, just as when I talk about the N. Koreans and their deplorable human rights record, I’m not talking about every individual N. Korean. Got it Sebastian? There are plenty of Israelis like Ruth who are aware of what is going on and are not afraid to tell the truth about it. Or like these soldiers from “Breaking the Silence.”

    This is about the length and breadth of my (IMHO) not at all racist/anti-semitic criticism of Israel. Indeed there could be cause for saying that ignoring the Palestinian side of the story amounts to a kind of racism by omission, since in so doing one would be disregarding the sufferings and struggle of a whole people as being of lesser importance than the sufferings and struggles of the Jewish people.

  • Chutzpah

    When it comes to the question as to what gave the (Zionist, Israel building – [we must get it technically correct for the Sebastians of this world] – ) Jews the moral right to sequester this particular piece of the land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean, then the argument from the supporters of Israel side is always that there is an historical connection between the Jews and this land. This argument, of course, assumes that Jews of today are true biological descendants of the Jews of yore who, thousands of years ago built a Jewish state there. (otherwise there would be no real historical connection, but still of course a cultural and religious connection which, however, is something else. Because you’re a Christian doesn’t give you some eternal right to inhabit Rome and move someone there out of their house if there isn’t room for you.)

    The assumption that contemporary Jews are direct biological descendants of the Jews of ancient Israel has of course been challenged on numerous occasions (see for example this article ) but, assuming biological descendance is a fact, is this argument then not the very essence of a racist argument? (according to Sebastians ‘paradox’). Were not the Zionist, Israel building Jews positively discriminating in their own favour (and thereby inevitably against the indigenous non-Jewish population) on the basis of their racial identity, arguing that it was precisely because they were Jews that they ought to have some special precedence in relation to this land, even though they, as individuals had no immediate familial ancestral connection with the land – i.e. their grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents came from lands far from Palestine?

    Personally I think very many of these original Zionists were not racists at all, since I know that most of them were ardent socialists who truly hoped ( perhaps naively ) to build a new and all inclusive society where both they and the indigenous peoples would live side by side in peaceful, co-operative and mutual respect as equals. To understand how complex the whole issue is, and how misunderstandings so easily arise, consider the early Kibbutz movement. These were farming collectives run in the majority of cases on radically Communist lines. As an individual Kibbutz member you owned virtually nothing personally more than the clothes you went to work in the fields every day in. In return the collective assumed responibility for your welfare on absolutely equal terms with all the other members, and provided you with housing, food and medical help when necessary. It has to be said that if ever there has been an example of Communism really successfully working in practice then the Kibbutz was it. But as a result of this fierce idealism one thing the Kibbutz would not do was employ local persons to labour in their fields because this was seen as an outmoded colonialist practice which they wanted to abolish. The local people however could not understand this, and just felt they were being discriminated against.

    I’m sure many pro Israel readers have already, like Sebastian, tagged me as an anti-semitic Israel hater. But I know enough of the history to see that by 1947 the original idealism of the Zionists for many, many reasons had lost its way, and the situation was so deadlocked that no other alternative to an international mandate to split the land between the two peoples, could have offered any hope of allaying war.

    As is known this was still not enough. But the UN as the one true representative international body we have, gave both Israel and Palestine the right to exist and decreed a partition plan to determine where they would exist. This for me is the principal basis for Israel’s right to exist, and not the wispy idea of eternal rights of Return.

    I am inasmuch therefore, also pro-Israel, since what is the point of having a United Nations if you are not going to respect and abide by its decisions? What has happened since is that Israel has got stronger and stronger while Palestine has got weaker and weaker. Israel is not alone to blame for this, and can hardly be expected to positively discriminate in favour of Palestine but . . . Nearly 50 years has gone by since the Six Day War, and the signs of any willingness to trade land for peace (as originally proclaimed and enshrined in various UN resolutions) have all but evapourated. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Israelis or the Palestinians who, for the time, are stalling because all stalling works in favour of the occupier.

    The political focus in Israel is now completely shifted from land for peace to combatting terrorism, so that if there are two kids with homemade petrol bombs who can be construed as terrorists left in the territories, then there is no need to discuss land for peace. The truth is that Palestine today has never been further from having the capacity to wage war on Israel, so the excuses for Israel not exerting itself to overcome real or perceived obstacles to serious negotiations on the old land for peace idea are flimsy to say the least.

    The truth is, surely and sadly, that the faction which never believed in trading land for peace, because it realised the real threats that Palestine could muster could easily be contained, whilst the claim that no peace had been achieved would then give them an excuse to keep the land, now has a stranglehold on Israeli politics. I’m sure the old Zionists would be horrified if they could see what they laid the foundation for has mutated into.

    Now to make quite sure we don’t give Sebastian a precedent to start screaming again let me again make it quite clear that by “Israelis” I DON’T mean every person in this world with an Israeli passport, just as when I talk about the N. Koreans and their deplorable human rights record, I’m not talking about every individual N. Korean. Got it Sebastian? There are plenty of Israelis like Ruth who are aware of what is going on and are not afraid to tell the truth about it. Or like these soldiers from “Breaking the Silence.”

    This is about the length and breadth of my (IMHO) not at all racist/anti-semitic criticism of Israel. Indeed there could be cause for saying that ignoring the Palestinian side of the story amounts to a kind of racism by omission, since in so doing one would be disregarding the sufferings and struggle of a whole people as being of lesser importance than the sufferings and struggles of the Jewish people.

    • Jay

      Where did you read about these pioneer ‘Zionists’ (who shared the utopian vision you described)?

      I don’t understand why you hold the UN in so high regard. The UN (in reality) is only run by a few countries; America obviously being one of them. As I’m sure you know, it has the second highest Jewish population in the world.

      The Jews, through a remarkable culture of learning and entrepreneurism, have been and are successful in business, thus allowing them to form strong Jewish lobbies. Here in, lies the problem because Israel can do what it wants. Therefore they have too much leverage in negotiations and can play politics as you mentioned.

      So I agree with you that Israel has a right to exist for the ‘real Jews’ but for different reasons — i.e. on historical grounds and because of the despicable anti-semitism Jews have endured around the world.

  • Chutzpah

    Jay – you may be right that the reality of the UN is far from the ideal, but it’s what we’ve got, the only forum of its kind, and what every nation wishes to be a member of. If it’s ever going to become a truly representative democracy of nations then I think we have to try to hold it in high regard, and respect the decisions it arrives at.

    Conversely I find the notion that Israel’s right to exist should be based “on historical grounds and because of the despicable anti-semitism Jews have endured around the world” to be fraught with problems. If anti-semitism is a reason for the Jews having a Jewish state of their own then one is tempted to say ‘so be it – let those peoples and nations who have been the worst culprits pay for it by forfeiting some of their own land.’ That is definitely not the Palestinians, they are after all themselves Semitic. Because there has been anti-semitism in Europe seems to me a strange reason for arguing that Palestinians should give way to a Jewish state. When it comes to historical grounds then surely a history of settlement over the most recent millenium must at least be equal in weight to a history of settlement over a millenium placed between 3 to 2 millenia ago? These seem to me very shaky moral grounds on which found a claim to a disputed piece of land.

    Something of the idealism of the early ZIonists (in particular that of Yitzhak Epstein) can be found here and Noam Chomsky refers to it in some of his articles and interviews. Otherwise I can only say I have read of it in many books articles and magazines without being able to give precise references.

    What strikes me is that not only does Israeli policy perpetuate gross injustice against Palestinians, but that ultimately it must be, from Israel’s point of view, a suicidal policy. And not ‘just’ morally/ethically. The longer the prevarication and stalling goes on, the further the encroachment and stealthy theft of land in the West Bank extends, the more impossible a return to a two state solution will become. What solution is then left? Either more or less permanent occupation trying to ‘persuade’ the Palestinians to leave by systematic strategy of oppression and harassment, which gradually will alienate Israel’s remaining friends, or forcing a ‘one-state solution’ by annexing the West Bank. And where would that lead? Either they would have to enfranchise the inhabitants of the West Bank and risk becoming, in a short time, a Jewish minority in a Jewish state, or openly declare themselves an apartheid state by non- enfranchisement of the Palestinians. Which would make them unpopular everywhere in the world even the USA.

    • Jay

      That was a good answer. I will read up on Yitzhak Epstein.

      To elaborate on my point:
      The region’s history is complicated and it has swapped hands via many different civilizations. The Holy Temple (the Jews most revered holy place) signifies the pinnacle of Jewish civilization and religious tradition. Any proud people, would stake a claim to such a place (particularly, if they had experienced something similar to antisemitism). So like the American Indians (and other indigenous peoples) that have had the option to be repatriated to some of their lands, it follows that the Jews should too. However, like you mentioned, the term ‘Jew’ is a social construct and many present day Jews in Israel, might have very weak ancestral roots.

  • Sebastian

    These comments seem to have decended into a one sided anti-Israeli hate fest.

    Barely one word of truth has been mentioned since I last made a comment.

    Not a single person here knows the slightest thing about international law. Glaring errors are being made that even a simple wikipedia check could show is rediculous, let alone aquiring a law degree with at least some further training in internaitonal law.

    Just like the history, every statement about law made so far has not been aimed at accurately reporting the law, but is instead solely aimed at deligitimising and ultimitately dehumanising Israel and its people.

    As with the historical aspect, the legal aspect of the debate also has two sides both with their comparitive strengths and weaknesses. But what the people here are doing is quoting a one sided and often rediculous narrative while both ignoring the (often far more significant) parts of genuine international law that support Israel and whitewashing the parts of international law that are highely critical of the Palestinian side.

    If anybody is genuinely interested in the very interesting field of international law, I am happy to discuss it with them, but I am not going to discuss complex issues with largely ignorant hate spreaders who cannot distinguish between valid and invalid legal arguments and sources for whom such a discussion is a waste of time. Therefore, if anybody wishes to discuss international further, please demonstrate enough knowledge about the topic to make a constructive discussion possible by answering the following question. What are the legal consequences of bias in rulings made by an international court? Hint: you cannot get the answer to this from google or wikipedia.

    Whether it be the legal, political, historical or any other aspect of this conflict, there are two sides to this conflict and dishonest one sided accounts are not going to make the world a better place for anybody, Palestinians, Israelis or yourselves.

    • Jay

      A person with any credible legal background would know how to spell ridiculous (it’s not ‘rediculous’). I recommend that you surf to some law blogs if you can’t find anyone to match your ‘superior’ intellect, in this discussion.

      Genuinely smart people like to share their knowledge, not blowhard about how dumb everybody else is and really smart people can explain the knowledge of their disciplines to a ‘layman’.

      • Sebastian

        It’s not a matter of “how dumb everybody else” is, only how one sided. If those posting about law had any interest at all in the impartial truth (found looking at the points made by both sides not one before making up ones mind) rather than being solely interested in finding more rhetoric to attack Israel and its people, most of the glaring errors would not have been made.

        I am happy also to explain the errors made here with people who have an honest two sided mindset rather than people who will dishonestly interpret everything they see through a “pro-Palestinian / anti-Israel” lense. In my experience, discussing the intricacies of something as complex as international law with such people is a waste of time as they will only attempt to ‘understand’ what is in their narrow political interests and we end up in a situation where a scientist is discussing the composition of rock on the moon with somebody who insists the moon is made out of cheese.

  • Chutzpah

    I’m afraid if there’s anyone in this debate who has opened themselves to the charge of being utterly one-sided and virtually totally ignorant of the existence of a Palestinian people, not to even begin to talk of what rights they might be entitled to, then it must be Sebastian. They hardly even exist for him and he certainly doesn’t care a monkey’s about them. The best that could happen for him would be that they all would fall into a dark deep hole and never be heard of again.
    I have been conspicuously two- sided in this debate, (just try re-reading my postings), but ít’s not good enough for Sebastian. Just mentioning that there is a Palestinian people who are suffering ignominy and real brutality at the hands of an occupational force which is a thousand times stronger militarily than they are, makes me an Israel-hating anti-semitic racist in his totally bigoted view.
    It’s sad he thinks that by branding me as ignorant, stupid and dishonest he excuses himself from speaking to me anymore, or answering any of the questions I have put to him, and hopes thereby to have done enough to shut me up.
    Anyway one last chance for Sebastian – we can sort out what’s true and false by making a trip to Israel, donning arab apparel and touring around both in Israel proper, the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and keeping a log of how we get treated. What do you say Sebastian?

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