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PROTEST at UEFA’s Annual Congress in London on May 24
SUPPORT Mahmoud Sarsak’s UK tour in May-June 2013
PARTICIPATE in the Goals for Peace tournament on May 19
BUILD the campaign to Red Card Israeli Racism
The Red Card Israeli Racism campaign is escalating its activities as the June 5-18 dates for UEFA’s under-21 men’s football final in Israel draw near.
The London-based campaign is now part of a European coalition of groups working to expose the folly of staging a major competition in a state which shows contempt for the rights of Palestinian football players and supporters. Beyond June, Red Card has the potential to develop into a long-term challenge to Israel ’s membership of UEFA – the overarching body for European football.
The June tournament will probably still go ahead, but the case against it has gained prominence over recent months. Frederic Kanoute and 51 other leading professional players issued a statement deploring Israel ’s attacks on Gaza in November, saying they called into question holding the games in Israel . In January, a well publicised action at the UEFA offices in Nyon , Switzerland , forced UEFA president Michel Platini to give pro-Palestinian protesters a hearing after two years of turning a deaf ear to the campaign.
In March, the congress of the French trade union CGT-INRA passed a resolution contesting UEFA’s decision to stage the competition in Israel and a former French minister of sport, Marie-George Buffet, wrote to Platini calling on him to hold it elsewhere.
In the UK , football media are opening up space for discussion of the issues, such as this piece on the FootyMatters website, written by members of the student group Football Beyond Borders. It prompted a reaction from the Jewish Chronicle, insisting that UEFA would “stand firm” against our campaign.
FBB has held two well-attended public meetings in London to mobilise support for the campaign.
The Red Card petition now has 6,500 signatures, and rising.
The UK will become the focus of intense campaigning action as UEFA holds its annual congress in London on Friday May 24. A major demonstration is planned for the occasion.
The men’s and women’s Champions League finals will be taking place around the same time and Friends of al-Aqsa are organising a 16-plus anti-racist tournament in east London – Goals for Peace – for up to 20 six-a-side teams.
Mahmoud Sarsak, the national Palestinian team player whose release from unlawful detention we campaigned for last Spring, plans to be in England at that time as part of an extended European tour. He aims to visit Norway , Spain , France , Italy , the UK and Ireland between April and June, meeting players, officials, fans, politicians, journalists and activists.
The intended dates for the English leg of his tour are May 16-26, visiting Scotland until June 8 and moving on to Ireland before returning to his home in Gaza later in the month.
The campaign is working to build support for the tour through mainstream organisations such as FARE (Footballers Against Racism in Europe), Kick It Out and Show Racism the Red Card, trade unions and faith groups, as well as pro-Palestinian and human rights bodies.
Red Card Israeli Racism was established in London in 2011 by members of PSC, Friends of al-Aqsa and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods. It currently (March 2013) has a steering group representing those organisations but is inviting much wider participation to build a sporting boycott campaign alongside other BDS groups around Europe .
“This week several families are mourning the recent murder of their children by Israeli Defence force soldiers. This week malnutrition among children in the West Bank and Gaza continues to rise. This week the Jerusalem Quartet plays music but remains silent. These issues of human, including cultural, rights will come with them into the concert hall”.
BRICUP (British Committee for the Universities of Palestine) letter to the Wigmore Hall on 9 February 2013 asking that Jerusalem Quartet dissociates itself from the Israeli government and “Brand Israel”.
Israeli cultural ambassadors the Jerusalem Quartet encountered lively protests in Birmingham, London and Rotterdam during the early stages of their latest European tour.
On February 13, students and pro-Palestinian campaigners gathered at the Barber Institute, Birmingham University, to leaflet concert goers, a number of whom decided not to enter after hearing about the Quartet’s role in whitewashing Israel’s crimes.
At London’s Wigmore Hall, a prestige concert venue favoured by the elite Israeli troupe, protesters also engaged with passers by and ticket holders on February 16. Many wanted to know more and asked for copies of the letter to the venue management, cited above, from the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine.
In the Netherlands, too, the Quartet encountered a protest choir and a demonstration in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails without charge.
“We have nothing against Israeli art or artists,” said campaigners at De Doelen in Rotterdam on February 12, “But we do oppose the Brand Israel campaign through which the Israeli government sends troupes such as the Jerusalem Quartet on tours of Europe and America, using culture and the arts to obscure its breaches of human rights and its apartheid polices.”
By accepting facilities and promotion from institutions associated with the Israeli state, and by its failure to distance itself from Israel’s contempt for human rights and international law, the Jerusalem Quartet marks itself out as a target for cultural boycott actions everywhere that it performs.
It it due to perform again in the Netherlands with dates in Groningen, Den Haag and Maastricht on April 22, 23 and 24, following performances in some other European venues as well as in Portland, Oregon and New York.
Palestine solidarity and Jewish opposition to Zionism
On Saturday 2 March 2013, dozens of supporters and friends of J-BIG, Jews and non-Jews, gathered for a conference to explore how the universalist, humanitarian philosophy central to much Jewish thinking has been marginalised by Zionism and how that universalism leads naturally to support for the Palestinian call for a non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions, targeting Israeli institutions as long as it denies Palestinians freedom, justice and equality.
A detailed report posted immediately after the conference appears on Tony Greenstein’s blog.
Listen here to audio recordings. Film of the main contributions will be added shortly.
The first session, on Jewish values in support of Palestinian rights , began with the screening of a short film, BUNDA’IM, introducing the last comrades of the Bund mass movement which was exterminated in Europe and ignored in Israel.
Then came a discussion led by David Rosenberg from the Editorial Committee of Jewish Socialist magazine and Antony Lerman, author of The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist and former director of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research.
They dealt with aspects of Zionism and Bundism in pre-WWII Poland and described how Zionist leaders have marginalised Bundism in the diaspora, Zionist attacks on proponents of Jewish universalism and the conflation of antisemitism with opposition to Zionism.
In a panel discussion, a range of speakers tackled issues facing the BDS movement.
Sue Blackwell from the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) outlined the Zionist resort to legal challenge against the Universities and Colleges Union (since gloriously vindicated by a tribunal) for its willingness to debate BDS and refusal to apply the so-called EUMC working definition of antisemitism which seeks to outlaw criticism of Israel.
Michael Deas, coordinator in Europe for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) was unable to attend due to illness. In his stead Ronnie Barkan, a leading member of Israeli organisations Anarchists against the Wall and Boycott from Within, discussed the centrality of BDS to the anti-racist, anti-colonialist Palestinian struggle.
Tony Greenstein, speaking for Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG), explained the rationale behind publication of the briefing document Zionism and Antisemitism: Racist Political Twins.
John Rose, author of The Myths of Zionism, unpicked the Zionist myths used to perpetuate the idea that Israeli Jews confront eternal Arab hatred and Israel therefore has the right to “defend itself” by any means.
Hours of discussion were rounded off with an evening of entertainment compered by Deborah Fink, “The Diva with a Difference”, and starred renowned Palestinian singer Reem Kelani with the up-and-coming musicians of the Raast collective, led by Kareem Taylor.
The conference was twinned with another event at the same venue on the following day, Sunday March 2, bringing together expert speakers on a range of subjects under the heading Reclaiming an Alternative Jewish Culture and Identity
Listen to audio recordings here.
Ilan Pappe: Jewish Culture In A Non-ZionistOneState In Palestine.
Moshe Machover: Hebrew v. Jewish Identity
Prof. Helen Beer: Jewish Identity Without Yiddish?
Yuval Evri: 19C. Palestinian Arab Judaism
Murray Glickman: BCE Judaism
Cloe Skinner: Gender & Zionism
Sai Englert: The Bund & The 1917 Russian Revolution
The suggestion by Zionist supporters that Gerald Scarfe’s cartoon in The Sunday Times was anti-Semitic is a classic example of the abuse of the term. It drains the term of all meaning and, like the boy who cried wolf, desensitises people to anti-Semitism when it does rear its head.
This was the opening paragraph of a letter in the Independent newspaper on February 4, submitted by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and carrying 28 names gathered at short notice. They included actress Miriam Margolyes, OBE and writer Alexei Sayle as well as a sprinkling of professors and other academics.
Read the whole letter here.
The letter has attracted several appreciative comments from readers of the Independent.
Here is one:
I am writing to say how pleased I am to see the letter in today’s Independent: Gerald Scarfe’s cartoon is not antisemitic. Your examples of Palestinian youths are shocking and they, alone, provide justification for Scarfe’s cartoon. I am ashamed to hear the ‘anti-semitic’ outcry: why do even Jews mix Israel with being Jewish?
As a Jew, I despair when the holocaust is emotively and perhaps even cynically high-jacked to obfuscate facts. Palestinians have lost land, their human rights and their lives due to the trifold expedience of Israeli internal politics, international support and military power.
I am certainly in favour of boycotting Israeli goods and will sign up right now.
RED CARD ISRAELI RACISM NEWS RELEASE
See also Ali Abunimah’s report on Electronic Intifada
(Pictures courtesy of Euro-Palestine)
PROTEST FORCES PLATINI TO DEFEND UEFA UNDER-21 FINALS IN ISRAEL
- Pro-Palestinian campaigners occupy entrance to UEFA’s Swiss HQ
- Platini says he will “think about” Israel hosting Euro 2013
- 6,000 signature petition handed over, more protests planned
Dozens of pro-Palestinian campaigners brought growing anger over Israel hosting this year’s European under-21 football finals right to UEFA’s door on Friday (January 25), forcing the organisation’s president Michel Platini to grant them a hearing at his headquarters in Nyon , Switzerland.
Platini had previously spurned calls from sources as diverse as the president of the Palestinian Football Association, internationally renowned film-maker Ken Loach and a list of more than 50 football stars including Frederic Kanoute and Didier Drogba, not to reward Israel for its flouting of Palestinian human rights.
On Friday he gave the first hint that he was listening to the protests, saying in a televised news conference after a meeting of UEFA’s Executive Committee that he would “think about it and take a decision in the current year”.
Olivia Zemor of French campaign group Euro-Palestine, leading the activists who crowded into UEFA’s reception area in Nyon, charged Platini with ignoring Israel ’s active discrimination against Palestinians – not only restrictions on movement but destruction of facilities, detention without trial of players and the killing of young boys playing football.
Campaigners also noted that of the grounds likely to be used for the men’s junior tournament on June 5-18, one is on land seized from two Palestinian villages, one is beside a largely destroyed village and a third is a stadium from which a Palestinian club was expelled in 1948.
The protests shamed Platini into pledging to “see what he could do” about the detention for almost a year of Palestinian Olympic squad goalkeeper Omar Abu Rois and Ramallah player Mohammed Nimr.
Last May, as a mounting international campaign forced Israel to release hunger striking Palestinian national team player Mahmoud Sarsak after three years in detention, Platini rebuffed calls to relocate Euro 2013 claiming Israel would host a “beautiful games”.
Since then support has grown around Europe for the Red Card Israeli Racism campaign which is calling on football enthusiasts who care about human rights to take the following actions in the months leading up to the June finals.
- Continue adding signatures to the almost 6000 names already on the Red Card petitiion
- Join protests at the next ExCom meeting in March (venue to be announced)
- Mobilise for protests at UEFA’s Congress in London on May 24
- Organise anti-racist football tournaments to draw attention to the plight of the game in Palestine
1. Full report of Nyon protests including still photos
2.Video from Nyon plus links to media reports.
3. Israel ’s U-21 championship venues:
a) Bloomfield – before Israeli forces occupied Jaffa in 1948, the ground was known as Basa (swamp) Stadium, home to local Jaffa team Shabab el-Arab. They were expelled and later formed Shabab el-Nassera in Nazareth . In January 1949 the Basa stadium was given to the Hapoel Tel Aviv team by the Israeli “custodian of absentee property”.
b) Teddy Stadium, named after former Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek, is beside an almost entirely destroyed village, al-Maliha.
c) Reserve stadium at Ramat Gan was built on land seized under the Absentee Property Owners Law of 1950 from the Palestinian villages of Jarisha and al-Jammasin al-Sharqi.
Zionism and antisemitism: racist political twins
The movement for freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians opposes Israel’s occupation, colonisation of Arab lands and its apartheid system. The campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) targets the Israeli state, institutions and companies complicit in Israel’s crimes.1 BDS has become an effective means for people of diverse backgrounds to express their humanitarian, anti-racist impulses in solidarity with Palestine.
Recognising the power of BDS, Israel’s defenders have regularly accused the movement of antisemitism. They use this favourite weapon to intimidate and silence critics of Israel, including Jewish anti-Zionists, who are dismissed as ‘self-hating Jews’.
This briefing has been written by and for BDS activists to explain how the charge of antisemitism applies to Zionism itself. Indeed, they are racist political twins. Understanding their mutual dependence will help strengthen the BDS movement and inform our strategy.
- Read the full briefing text below with numbered references and onward links
- Download the briefing as a printable pdf file here
- Read the briefing as a pdf with notes in an appendix here
Join in J-BIG’s conference: Palestine Solidarity and Jewish Opposition to Zionism in London on March 2. Details here.
Antisemitism portrayed as eternal
Zionism historically argued that antisemitism was inherent in non-Jews and thus would always persist. According to Leo Pinsker, founder of the 19th century Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion), ‘Judeophobia is a mental disease. As a mental disease it is hereditary, and as a disease transmitted for two thousand years it is incurable.’2 On this basis, antisemitism couldn’t be eliminated, so opposing it was futile.
Founder of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, wrote in his 1895 diary: ‘In Paris… I recognized the emptiness and futility of trying to “combat” anti-Semitism.’3 He also wrote that ‘the anti-Semites will be our most dependable friends, anti-Semitic countries our allies’4, i.e. by stimulating Jewish immigration to Palestine. According to Jacob Klatzkin, editor during 1909-1911 of Die Welt, the official Zionist newspaper: ‘We are… naturally foreigners. We are an alien nation in your midst and we want to remain one.’5
Early Zionists accepted stereotypes commonplace at the time: that Jews, especially Eastern European Jews, were backward. They were seen as having become degenerate because they lacked a homeland, so settling Palestine would uplift and cleanse them. For example Pinhas Rosenbluth, later Israel’s Justice Minister, wrote that Palestine was ‘an institute for the fumigation of Jewish vermin’.6 Seeing Jews as ‘human dust’, Zionists sought to redeem them through aliyah – i.e. ‘ascent’ to the ancient Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael).7
Zionists agreed with European antisemites that Jews didn’t belong and should be assisted or even pressurised to leave Europe. But most Jews rejected this notion. In 1897 the first Zionist Congress had to be moved to Basel in Switzerland from Munich, because Jews there regarded Zionism as antisemitic and feared it would undermine their civil rights in Germany.8
Antisemitic support for a Jewish State
Zionism has always depended on support from antisemitic elites. Even before Jewish Zionist organisations developed, political Zionism was promoted by 19th-century European imperialists such as Lords Palmerston and Shaftesbury, Benjamin Disraeli and Napoleon III’s Secretary Ernest Laharanne. Many Christians believed Jewish immigration to Palestine would bring about the Second Coming of Christ, as in Biblical prophecy. More pragmatically, they saw a future Jewish homeland as a British imperial outpost – ‘a “little loyal Jewish Ulster” in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism’, according to the first military governor of Jerusalem.9
Such political motives explain the famous ‘Balfour Declaration’ of 1917, when UK Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour (a Christian Zionist) favoured ‘the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people’. Everyone else was classified as belonging to ‘non-Jewish communities’.
The only opposition in Cabinet came from its sole Jewish member, Edwin Montagu, who warned that the plan would lead to discrimination against non-Jews in Palestine and against Jews elsewhere.10
As Prime Minister a decade earlier, Balfour had promoted the 1905 Aliens Act, designed to block immigration of Jewish refugees from Czarist pogroms in Russia. He wanted them to go to Palestine instead. He warned against ‘the undoubted evils that had fallen upon the country [Britain] from an immigration that was largely Jewish’.11
Undermining an anti-Nazi boycott
Zionists have often argued that only their own state can protect Jews from antisemitic attack. During the early stages of the Third Reich, moreover, the Nazis and Zionist organisations shared an outlook on Jewish separation.12 By attempting to separate Jews from the rest of humanity, the Zionists made destructive choices.
When Nazi Germany introduced antisemitic laws and promoted physical attacks on Jews, the Jewish diaspora in other countries organised an effective campaign for an international boycott. Mass rallies were held in many cities all over the world. In the USA and several European countries, large shops cancelled orders for German goods and found alternative sources.
The Nazi regime’s accomplice to beat the boycott was the World Zionist Organisation (WZO). Under the Transfer (Haavara) Agreement of March 1933, the WZO actively opposed the boycott in exchange for the Nazis permitting some well-off Jews and their wealth to be transported to Palestine. This transfer amounted to at least $30m worth of German goods, thus making Hitler a significant economic sponsor of the Zionist project. The Agreement would ‘pierce a stake through the heart of the Jewish-led anti-Nazi boycott’, according to historian Edwin Black.13 Members of the World Jewish Congress sought to continue the boycott, but the WJC leadership soon joined the WZO in undermining it.
Zionism gains from antisemitism in Poland
In the mid-1930s Poland’s government also moved against the country’s Jews by enacting laws modelled on the Nuremberg Race Laws of Nazi Germany. For example, new laws restricted the kosher slaughtering of cattle and excluded Jews from specific professions. The Polish regime also negotiated with France to establish a ‘Jewish colony’ in Madagascar where Polish Jews could be sent.14 These developments and the antisemitism of the Catholic Church strengthened the Polish Zionist movement.
Betar, a right-wing Revisionist Zionist movement opposed to trade unions, worked with antisemites in the Polish military from 1930 onwards. High-ranking army officers secretly trained Betar recruits, most of whom immigrated to Palestine by the end of the decade to join Zionist military forces there. Nevertheless Zionism in Poland faced strong opposition from the Bund, a Jewish-secular socialist party, which had a stronger following than any other Jewish party in Poland.
From the Holocaust to the ‘New Jew’
Zionism was a minority political force among European Jews until six million were killed by the Nazis. The Holocaust strengthened Zionist efforts to gain international support for a Jewish state in Palestine. Most Jewish refugees sought escape to Western Europe or the USA but were blocked by immigration controls – supported by Zionist organisations – and so migrated instead to Palestine.
Zionist colonisation depended on racist institutions which still operate today. The Jewish Agency promotes Jewish immigration to Israel. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) still allocates Israeli land only to Jews.15 The Histadrut – often mistakenly called a ‘trade union’ – has been in reality a business promoting ‘Hebrew-only labour’.16 The Israeli ‘Law of Return’ offered citizenship to all Jews, wherever they live in the world.
Zionist militias attacked Palestinian civilians during the 1940s until the 1948 declaration of independence for Israel. In 1947-48 this terror campaign led to the expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes. Several massacres panicked Palestinians to flee their homeland.
An official ‘state of emergency’ prevented refugees from exercising their right of return, thus violating international law to this day. Zionist settlement did not stop at taking over indigenous people’s land. Rather than exploit their labour, Zionism sought to expel or eliminate them, as earlier European settlers had done in the Americas, Australia and New Zealand.
Zionism sought to replace the indigenous population with colonial-settlers as the ‘New Jew’. This doubly racist project maligned the Bund’s working-class solidarity as backward and sought to replace immigrants’ Yiddish culture with a literally fabricated one. Israeli author Amos Oz explains: ‘Even new lullabies and new “ancient legends” were synthesised by eager writers’, e.g. glorifying the settlers’ land appropriation through agricultural labour.17
As the ideology underpinning Jewish settlement in Palestine, Zionism was embraced by many Jews as a route to a socialist Utopia based on collective labour and idealistic kibbutz communities. In practice they faced a choice: either break with Zionism or accept its racist, colonial nature.19
Racist Right-wing politics
As in the 1930s, Zionism and racist Right-wing politics have continued to converge. The US political scene features an alliance between Jewish Zionists and the far more numerous fundamentalist Christian Zionists. Today many of the 40 million Christian Evangelists there believe that a Jewish ‘return’ to Palestine will bring the Second Coming, Armageddon and then the Rapture, when the Righteous will be saved. Everyone who does not accept this prophecy, including Jews, will be sent to hell. Since 9/11 Christian Zionists have also seen Israel as a front-line defence against the so-called ‘Islamic threat’.
Jewish Zionists have exploited this support, even when combined with blatant antisemitism. According to Pastor John Hagee, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, ‘Adolph Hitler was a “hunter”, sent by God, who was tasked with expediting God’s will of having the Jews re-establish a state of Israel.’20 Nevertheless Hagee’s support for Israel has been welcomed by the Anti-Defamation League, which is meant to oppose antisemitism.21 Likewise Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, ‘The good news is that Israel is not alone – it has your support’, when addressing a rally of Hagee’s one million-strong Christians United for Israel.22
As in the USA, European racist groups combine antisemitism with support for Zionism.23 Throughout Europe most major racist parties are antisemitic, Islamophobic and pro-Zionist. English Defence League members express antisemitic views, while also flying the Israeli flag. Support for Israel also comes from Robert Zines, MEP of Latvia’s Freedom & Fatherland Party, who joins the annual march in memory of SS veterans who guarded extermination camps.24 Similarly in Poland, the Law and Justice Party is a home for pro-Israel antisemites.25 Michal Kaminski MEP strongly supports Israel while also defending ‘the good name of Jedwabne’ – a town where hundreds of Jews were burned alive in a synagogue in 1941.26
Racist equation: Zionist = Jewish
Western support for Israel is based on much more than collusion with antisemitism. Israel has demonstrated its utility in suppressing Arab nationalist aspirations for democratic control of the Middle East and its natural resources, especially since the 1967 war. Israeli counter- insurgency methods have been used widely by Western military forces, e.g. in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Israeli military has turned the Middle East into a laboratory for surveillance, control and armament systems to be extended globally.27 Imperialist domination closely links the Western powers to the Israeli colonial-settler state. Palestinians regularly face Western demands ‘to recognise Israel as a Jewish state’, thus conflating a people with a state. This conflation has been encouraged by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), whose supporters have described it as ‘the Jewish lobby’.28
A similar conflation was also promoted by the now-defunct EU Monitoring Centre (EUMC) on Racism and Xenophobia.29 According to its so-called ‘working definition of antisemitism’, it could be antisemitic to deny ‘the Jewish people their right to self-determination, for example by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour’.30 Since this definition was rejected by the UK’s Universities and Colleges Union (UCU), Zionists have campaigned for universities to de-recognise the union. This demonstrates once again that it is Zionists, not their critics, who continue to equate their colonial-settler project with all Jews. By claiming to be ‘the State of the Jews’, Israel implicates all Jews in Israel’s wars, occupation, land thefts, expulsions and other crimes.
Mirroring that equation, some misguided supporters of the Palestinians have attributed their oppression to an international Jewish conspiracy, to ‘Jewish power’, to ‘a Jewish spirit’, etc. The extreme-Right journalist Israel Shamir promotes those elements of traditional European antisemitism, ostensibly to support the Palestinians. These explanations obscure the source of Palestinian oppression. They perversely accept Zionist claims to represent all Jews and ‘Jewish values’.
Leading Palestinian commentators and activists reject such “support” as damaging the Palestinian cause. Ali Abunimah, Joseph Massad, Omar Barghouti and Rafeef Ziadeh were among dozens who denounced those who blame ‘Jewish’ characteristics for the oppression of Palestinians.31 As the Palestinian BDS National Committee has argued, ‘equating Israel and world Jewry… is itself antisemitic’. 32
The equation stereotypes Jews, threatens their civil rights and undermines their national identity in countries where they live. It originated from antisemites who saw Jews as an alien people not belonging in Europe and needing their own homeland. This equation is contradicted by the many people of Jewish origin who actively support Palestinian national rights and play central roles in the BDS campaign.
BDS – against Zionism and antisemitism
Understanding Zionism and antisemitism as racist political twins – sometimes even partners in crime – underpins the Palestinian call for BDS. Its anti-racist aims – freedom from occupation, justice for refugees denied their right of return and equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel – are best served by targeting Israel as a racist state aligned with the political-economic interests of the Western powers.
Published January 2013.
Printed version available from email@example.com
Further reading on Zionism and antisemitism
Gilbert Achcar, Arabs and the Holocaust, Saqi, 2010.
Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine, Macmillan, 1984.
Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, Croom Helm, 1983
Norman Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry, Verso, 2003.
David Landy, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights, Zed, 2011.
Antony Lerman, The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist, Pluto, 2011.
Francis Nicosia, The Third Reich and the Palestine Question, Taurus, 1985.
Aki Orr, The unJewish State: The Politics of Jewish Identity in Israel. London, Ithaca, 1983.
Yakov Rabkin, A Threat from Within: A History of Jewish Opposition to Zionism, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.
John Rose, The Myths of Zionism, Pluto, 2005.
Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People, Verso, 2010.
Nathan Weinstock, Zionism: The False Messiah, Inklinks, 1979.
 Leo Pinsker, Autoemanzipation: ein Mahnrufan seine Stammesgenossen, von einem russischen Juden, Berlin, 1882, pp.4-5; http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/pinsker.html; for bringing together many sources cited here, thanks to Tony Greenstein’s blog, asvas.blogspot.com
 The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, edited by Raphael Patai, translated by Harry Zohn, New York, 1960, page 19.
 Jacob Klatzkin, Krisis und Entscheidung im Judentum: Probleme des modernen Judentums, 2d ed., Berlin: Jüdischer Verlag, 1921, p.118; cited in Klaus Herrmann, ‘Historical perspectives on political Zionism and antisemitism’, in Zionism & Racism, 1977, p.204,
 Joachim Doron, ‘Classic Zionism and modern anti-semitism: parallels and influences’ (1883-1914), Studies in Zionism 8, Autumn 1983.
 Nathan Weinstock, Zionism – A False Messiah, Inklinks.
 Memoirs of Sir Ronald Storrs, 1937, p.364
 Jason Tomes, Balfour and Foreign Policy: The International Thought of a Conservative Statesman, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p.201; Michael Joseph Cohen, Churchill and the Jews, 1900-1948, Frank Cass, 2003, p.19.
 Francis R Nicosia, The Third Reich and the Palestinian Question, I.B Taurus and Co, London, 1985.
 Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement. Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators.
 Haim Bresheeth, Self and Other in Zionism: Palestine and Israel in recent Hebrew literature, in Khamsin, 14/15. Palestine: Profile of an Occupation, London, Zed Books, 1989, pp.120-52.
 Antony Lerman, The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist.
 Steve Graham, ‘Settler colonial securitism: Israeli surveillance and control regimes at airports and mega-events’, http://campacc.org.uk/uploads/images/Steve%20Graham.pdf
 Chuck Hagel and the Ghost of AIPAC Past, http://www.lobelog.com/chuck-hagel-and-the-ghost-of-aipac-past/
 http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5540#70, http://jfjfp.com/?p=23479, http://antonylerman.com/2011/06/02/the-farcical-attack-on-the-ucu-for-voting-against-use-of-the-eumc-working-definition-of-antisemitism/
SATURDAY MARCH 2
1 – 7 PM
VENUE - 24 Greencoat Place, London SW1P 1RD (Near Victoria station)
This is a half-day conference offering everyone working for Palestinian rights a chance to reinforce their knowledge of Zionism, its rejection of Jewish radical traditions, its conflation of antisemitism with criticism of Israel and its attempts to undermine Palestinian solidarity work – in particular the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).
Proceedings will start with BUNDA’IM, a short film introducing the last comrades of the Bund mass movement. Exterminated in Europe and ignored in Israel, its ideas live on.
Discussions will be lead by speakers including:
Sue Blackwell – British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP)
Michael Deas – Palestinian BDS National Committee coordinator in Europe
Antony Lerman – author of The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist
John Rose – author of The Myths of Zionism
David Rosenberg – Editorial Committee, Jewish Socialist magazine
Followed by entertainment from Deborah Fink (“The Diva with a Difference”), Leon Rosselson and others.
Book your place by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
£10 waged, £5 unwaged/concessions (includes refreshments)
The J-BIG conference is part of “A Weekend of Two Conferences” – events put together by two separate organisations which have cooperated due to a clash of dates and venue. You can book both days for £25/concessions £20 via either email address.
Sunday 3rd March 10.00am – 6.30pm
AN ALTERNATIVE JEWISH CULTURE & IDENTITY
Ilan Pappe: Jewish Culture in a non-Zionist One State in Palestine
Moshe Machover: Hebrew v. Jewish Identity;
Prof. Helen Beer: Jewish Identity Without Yiddish?
Yuval Evri: 19C.Palestinian Arab Judaism;
Murray Glickman: BCE Judaism
Cloe Skinner: Gender & Zionism:
Sai Englert: The Bund & The 1917 Russian Revolution
Leon Rosselson, Ivor Dembina
£20/concessions £15. Lunch & refreshments included.
Media reports from the US have confirmed what was briefly rumoured – legendary pop musician Stevie Wonder has cancelled his performance scheduled for December 6 at a gala in Los Angeles saluting IDF Soldiers.
The 25-time Grammy winner was to appear before an audience of more than 1,000, including dignitaries from the U.S. and Israel.
Credit is due to all the activists who mobilised via social media to persuade the great singer to realise his mistake. This eloquent Palestinian plea must have helped move him to change his mind about playing for the benefit of the Israeli war machine:
On a typical cold wintery night, on January 25th 1995, I hobbled on my crutches
with an inflamed and bandaged knee into the aisles of the famous Radio City
Music Hall in New York City. Here I was, a twenty three year old aspiring actor
from Palestine, who despite severely injuring my knee in a basketball game two
days before, was not about to miss what he will for the next eighteen years
claim as ”the best concert” he ever attended. This was a concert by Stevie
Wonder, the genius whose music had inspired me and whose cassettes, CDs, and now mp3, had kept me company many a time, and who not only sang beautiful melodies with an amazing voice but whose lyrics tackled the whole spectrum of life. From oppression to freedom, from infidelity to the purest love, and from sadness to euphoria, so many of your songs are attached to the milestones of my life.
On that day in 1995, I had waited till the concert had ended and the crowd had
cleared and hopped on my crutches down to the stage door. With a mix of pity for my injury and some persuasion, I had convinced the bodyguards to let me through to meet you. There you were, standing talking to other fans or your crew. Struck by the awe of the moment, I had no idea what to say to you. ”Stevie, my name is Bassem and I am from Palestine”. You had looked towards my direction. I have no idea if you had even heard what I said, but that was my cue to approach you and give you a hug. You hugged me back. That was enough for me: the affirmation that I had a “moment” with you that no one could ever take away from me. Following that moment, I took off my black and white Palestinian kaffiyah, the symbol of struggle, resistance, and freedom for Palestinians, and put it in your hands and said, “This is from the people of Palestine.” I have relived these moments, alone and with friends, with mostly joy, nostalgia, and sometimes humor. However, there was no doubt, in my mind that you were an artist who understood our world, who sided with the poor, the oppressed, the needy, and the heartbroken. Your music and words were your contribution to make the world a less little cruel.
Today I was horrified to hear about your intension to play at the annual gala of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) organization to be held on December 6 in Los Angeles. Today I am living in Palestine and have just lived through the same Israeli Defense Forces, the one you are supporting, killing more than one hundred and thirty of my people in Gaza, many of whom were civilians including children. This army, Stevie, is a tool of oppression and subjugation that has kept me, my family, and my people occupied for over forty five years. Every day, this army is protecting the seizure of more Palestinian land to build illegal Israeli settlement on further denying me my rights as a human being. As I read the news of your upcoming performance, I kept on wondering, how can Stevie even contemplate doing this? There must be a mistake somehow. I searched the internet whether this was a rumor or a hoax.
Unfortunately, my worst fears were confirmed. You are supporting occupation,
oppression, destruction, and apartheid.
I have no idea what has led you to this decision. I am writing this open letter
hoping it results in the restoration of the almost perfect image of you and your
art in my mind and my life.
I am urging you to cancel this performance and stand with the values of justice
and peace for all.
At the end of the concert in 1995, the band had stopped playing after over two
hours of music. You were sitting on your piano stool and people were shouting
out the names of songs they still wanted you to play. Then suddenly, for a brief
moment, there ensued an eerily beautiful silence that encompassed that glorious
concert hall. Taking advantage of that, I yelled the name of my favorite song at
that time “Lately”. Without flinching, you turned to the band and said, “You
heard the man!” and the beautiful music had started flowing.
Here’s to hoping you hear me again.
A statement signed by 52 European football players has dramatically raised the profile of the campaign challenging European football’s governing body UEFA for staging its 2013 under-21 finals in Israel.
News of the statement, published on Friday November 30 on the website of former Tottenham and Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute (pictured above), was picked up by the Guardian online and then by many other media worldwide (see references below).
The group of UK premier league footballers and players in other major European leagues said that holding Euro 2013 in Israel was tantamount to rewarding it for the assault on Gaza which killed 170 Palestinians in November, including boys playing football. Israeli aerial attacks also destroyed the Palestinian Paralympic Committee offices, along with a stadium and sports complex where the Palestine team prepared for the 2012 Olympics.
The signatories, who include Eden Hazard of Chelsea, Abou Diaby of Arsenal and five Newcastle players – Papiss Cissé, Cheick Tioté, Sylvain Marveaux, Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba – also criticised Israel’s continued detention without charge or trial of two Palestinian footballers.
Several former Premier League players have also signed the letter, including Didier Drogba and Frédéric Kanouté, both of whom now play in China. Players with QPR, Stoke, Blackburn and Ipswich are among the signatories along with footballers in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Turkey.
The statement roundly condemns the Israeli assault on Gaza, describing it as “yet another stain on the world’s conscience” and expresses “solidarity with the people of Gaza who are living under siege and denied basic human dignity and freedom”.
It then focuses on the destruction of a football stadium which the Israeli military said had previously been used by Hamas as a rocket launching site but which at the time of the bombing was not.
The statement had originally been signed by 62 players. Ten, including Drogba, dropped out, possibly due to Zionist pressure.
The statement was welcomed by the Red Card Israeli Racism campaign which has been working with activists around Europe to challenge the staging of the U-21 finals in Israel since UEFA announced its decision in early 2011.
Last Tuesday, ahead of the draw for the competition in Tel Aviv, the campaign circulated the text of a statement from a group of public figures including filmmaker Ken Loach saying: ”it is inappropriate for European football’s governing body to be staging international competitions in a country responsible for systematic discrimination against Palestinians.”
Twenty-two British Members of Parliament have signed a motion (EDM 640) in the House of Commons registering “with profound disapproval . . . that the FA is prepared to participate in the European Under-21 football tournament to be played in Israel in June 2013, even though Israel is geographically not in Europe and is a country which has policies of racial apartheid against Palestinians.”
Call on your MP to sign EDM 640
Sign the petition calling on UEFA to move the Euro 2013 final away from Israel
Links to some of the extensive media coverage:
As Israel prepares to announce the draw for UEFA’s under-21 football finals in June next year, the Red Card Israeli Racism campaign has put out the following news release.
FOOTBALL STARS RALLY IN SUPPORT OF PALESTINE
+ FREDERIC KANOUTE, MOUSSA SOW, DEMBA BA, JACQUES FATY SAY UEFA IS REWARDING ISRAEL FOR “ACTIONS CONTRARY TO SPORTING VALUES”
+ MPS AND OTHER EMINENT BRITS SAY ISRAEL MUST NOT HOST UEFA UNDER 21 FINALS
Nov 27 – On the eve of the announcement in Tel Aviv of the draw for the Euro 2013 under-21 finals next June, some of the biggest names in European football have condemned Israel ’s military attack on Gaza which killed 170 people, including Palestinian boys playing football, and destroyed vital sports infrastructure.
Former Tottenham and Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute is among those signing a statement referring to Israel’s hosting of the U-21 championship as rewarding it “for actions that are contrary to sporting values”. (See full statement below)
On November 8, 13-year-old Ahmed Younis Khader Abu Daqqa was shot in the abdomen by the Israeli military while playing football with his friends in ‘Abassan village, east of the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis . He died in hospital shortly afterwards. Four other boys were also killed.
The Palestinian Paralympic Committee offices, along with a stadium and sports complex where the Palestine team prepared for London 2012, were among facilities wiped out by Israeli bomb attacks in the days that followed.
A number of football fixtures and gatherings have been moved because of the violence.
Pressure on UEFA to change the venue for the 2013 u-21 finals is mounting as 20 British Members of Parliament have signed a motion (EDM 640) in the House of Commons stating:
” That this House congratulates the Football Association for its Kick It Out campaign against racism in football; registers with profound disapproval, however, that the FA is prepared to participate in the European Under-21 football tournament to be played in Israel in June 2013, even though Israel is geographically not in Europe and is a country which has policies of racial apartheid against Palestinians.”
Campaigners in a number of European centres are marking the draw in Israel on Wednesday.
Red Card Israeli Racism in Britain has handed in a petition of several thousand signatures. along with a statement from public figures including filmmaker Ken Loach, calling on the Football Association to support a change of venue for the 2013 tournament. (Text and signatures attached).
UK campaign coordinator Geoff Lee said, “ In addition to the increasing racist violence against Arabs in Israel which is well known to UEFA , the latest attacks by Israel on the besieged people of Gaza must make the UEFA delegates rethink this issue.”
In Italy, a letter has been delivered to the Italian Football Federation calling for withdrawal of the Italian national team from the competition unless there is a change of venue. On themorning of Wednesday, November 28 a protest will be held outside the nationalheadquarters in Rome during which activists have requested a meeting with management.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
1. ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF FRENCH LANGUAGE STATEMENT SIGNED BY :
Frederic Kanoute, Moussa Sow, Demba Ba, Jacques Faty and others
The horrific situation faced by Palestinian civilians in recent days is deeply concerning. We have learnt that on November 10 the Israeli army bombarded a sports stadium on Gaza . Four young people who were playing football were killed. Mohamed Harara and Ahmed Harara (16 and 17 years old), Matar Rahman and Ahmed Al Dirdissawi (18 years old).
We are also aware that since February 2012 two footballers with the Al Amari team, Omar Rowis (23) and Mohammed Nemer (22) are still imprisoned in Israel without trial or charge.
In the run-up to Israel hosting the UEFA Under-21 European Championship, which will reward Israel for actions that are contrary to sporting values, we as European sportspeople wish to express our regret the turmoil of recent days, the primary victim of which has been the Palestinian people.
We express our solidarity and our support for the civilian causalities. All people have the right to a life of dignity, freedom and security. The Palestinians must be protected by the rule of international law. We hope that a just peace will finally emerge – it is simply unacceptable that children are killed while they are peacefully playing football.
2. THE STATEMENT IN FRENCH
Palestine , le sport au pied du mur
La situation subie par les civils palestiniens ces derniers jours est plus que préoccupante. Nous avons appris que le 10 novembre, l’armée israélienne a bombardé un terrain de sport à Gaza . Quatre jeunes qui jouaient au football ont été tués : Mohamed Harara et Ahmed Harara (16 et 17 ans), Matar Rahman et Ahmed Al Dirdissawi (18 ans).
Nous savons en outre que depuis février 2012, les deux joueurs de football de l’équipe d’Al Amari, Omar Rowis (23 ans) Mohammed Nemer (22 ans) sont toujours emprisonnés en Israël sans procès et sans jugement.
À la veille où Israël doit accueillir l’Euro des moins de 21 ans, se voyant ainsi récompensé alors qu’il commet des actes qui restent contraires aux valeurs du Sport, nous, sportifs européens, regrettons la situation d’embrasement de ces derniers jours qui a pour première victime le peuple palestinien. Nous exprimons notre solidarité et notre soutien aux victimes civiles. Tout peuple a le droit de vivre dignement, dans la liberté et la sécurité. Les Palestiniens ne peuvent en ce sens être exclus du droit international. Nous espérons que le droit et la justice règneront enfin, parce qu’il est inadmissible que des enfants meurent alors qu’ils jouent paisiblement au football.
Premiers signataires: Kanoute, Moussa Sow, Demba Ba, Jacques Faty
3. Palestinian Committee for Human Rights reports children killed as Israel launched attacks on Gaza. http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8978:new-israeli-escalation-against-the-gaza-strip-7-palestinians-including-3-children-killed-and-52-others-including-6-women-and-12-children-wounded-&catid=145:in-focus
4. Events in Israel cancelled because of the violence:
5. England could host u-21 in 2013 instead of Israel
5. Statement from Ken Loach and other eminent figures calling for UEFA to move under-21 finals from Israel .
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF PALESTINIAN FOOTBALL
As football supporters we hear with concern an appeal from Mahmoud Sarsak,http://www.bdsmovement.net/2012/mahmoud-sarsak-uefa-appeal-9826 a young Palestinian national team player whose career was cut short by three years’ detention without trial in an Israeli jail.
We are aware that he regained his freedom last July 10, only after a three month hunger strike won him sympathy and support from influential voices in the football world.
Sarsak is asking us now to show our support for all Palestinians who love the beautiful game but who suffer the impact of discriminatory Israeli policies on Palestinian football and the life of the community in general.
We are disturbed by the myriad ways in which the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and the siege of Gaza prevent both the development of Palestinian sport at grass roots level and its representation in international competitions. These include:
- regulations and checkpoints that block the movement of players between Palestinian towns and villages and between Gaza and the West Bank ;
- official interference preventing the Palestinian national team from travelling abroad to train or compete and making it virtually impossible for foreign teams to attend fixtures in Palestine ;
- restrictions on the importation of equipment, even when donated by international footballing organisations;
- prevention of the construction of facilities.
In addition to these impediments, life under occupation entails the constant threat of detention or even death. Two West Bank footballers, Mohammed Saedy Ibrahim Nemer and goalkeeper Omar Khaled Omar Abu Rowis, were detained in February and have been incarcerated ever since.
Four footballers were among the 1,400 Palestinians killed during the Israeli assault on Gaza in December 2008 – January 2009. Even children are not exempt. On June 20 this year, twelve-year-old Mamoun Zuhdi al-Dam was killed by an Israeli warplane as he played football on land near his family home in Gaza .
Against this background, Sarsak has drawn our attention to Palestinian dismay at UEFA’s insistence on having Israel host next year’s under-21 finals.
He says that staging this, or any other UEFA competition, in Israel “is legitimising Israel ’s continued occupation, oppression and apartheid policies. There can be no place in football for segregation and oppression so prestigious tournaments cannot be allowed to take place in Israel .”
Taking into account the high profile given in European football to combating racism wherever it appears, we agree with Sarsak that it is inappropriate for European football’s governing body to be staging international competitions in a country responsible for systematic discrimination against Palestinians.
We therefore call upon UEFA to move the 2013 U21 finals away from Israel and to assure Palestinians that Israel will not be granted such an honour as long as its discriminatory practices continue.
Dr. Salman Abu Sitta
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Rev. Garth Hewitt
Prof. Steven Rose