By Jonathan Hoffman
October 24, 2011
Astonishing scenes at SOAS last night where a small group of Israel advocates managed to dominate a hostile meeting of BDS supporters, called by the RMT Trade Union (the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers - many of the staff on the London Underground are members).
The Israel advocates had the PSC and RMT apparatchiks completely flummoxed with questions such as "why was Israel singled out by the RMT?" and "was the RMT's obsession with Israel not just a smokescreen to mask the Union's ineffectiveness at delivering jobs and pay for its members?"
PSC Chair Hugh Lanning was left squirming after being brought to task for making that tired old claim that all criticism of Israel is labelled 'antisemitic'. Hugh, you really must change your shtick, along with that hoary old one about taking pride that the Reut Institute calls London the hub of Israel hate. You need to get yourself a decent scriptwriter Hugh - surely the TUC can afford to get you one?
Moshe Machover - a tired old Israeli-born Commie whose lawyer son Daniel consistently abused the Universal Jurisdiction law against Israelis, until the Government recently close the loophole he exploited - resorted to obscenities:
The wet dream of all major Zionist parties is ethnic cleansing
Very astute, Moshe - we can see why you were a Professor.
Ilan Pappe is another Professor. Here is what fellow historian Benny Morris thinks of him:
At best, Ilan Pappe must be one of the world’s sloppiest historians; at worst, one of the most dishonest. In truth, he probably merits a place somewhere between the two.
Pappe last night demonstrated astonishing ignorance about the economy of Judea and Samaria. Growth rates in recent years have averaged 6-9% but Pappe insisted on referring to the 'impoverished people' of the West Bank.
Adam Hanieh is a lecturer in development at SOAS. We got from him the tired old dog-whistle words of the haters: "Bantustans" .. "apartheid" ... Does he not know that (for example) Arab women in Israel get the best education in the Middle East?
How can someone so biased against Israel hold a responsible academic position at a British University?
Things really heated up however when Steve Hedley (Bob Crow's right-hand man in the RMT; the RMT's London regional organiser, arrested for alleged assault last year) let rip at one of the Israel advocates (me). First he called me "one of the Chosen People" (this phrase used in an abusive manner is a favourite of antisemites: of course the phrase "Chosen People" in the Bible clearly means chosen for responsibilities and not chosen for privilege). Then he referred to "your friends in the media" (the trope that Jews "control the media" is beloved of antisemites - it appears of course in that well known antisemitic forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion").
More - with audio and video - will be available soon on Richard Millett's blog
"Engage" has a timely piece by Eve Garrard about the 'Chosen People' trope:
Things are different now, and this trope has been resurrected for the same old use: to denigrate Jews and stir up dislike, or worse, against them. In fact it’s very effective for that purpose: most people (very understandably) dislike anyone who claims to be inherently superior to everyone else; and so to attribute such a claim to Jews is a very economical way of making people dislike and distrust them. By referring to the Chosen People you can, without saying another word, tell your listener that Jews are an arrogant supercilious bunch who despise the rest of the human race, and that you yourself don’t much like that kind of thing; and indeed your listener (or reader, as the case may be) probably doesn’t much like that kind of thing either, being a decent honest person; and so you and she together can enjoyably agree that there’s something pretty obnoxious about Jews, or they wouldn’t be claiming to be ‘chosen’, would they, or insisting that one Jew is worth 1,000 other people, which of course they must believe, since Gilad Shalit was exchanged for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, and there’s no other possible explanation of that ratio, is there, eh?
All that hostile implication from just two well-chosen (so to speak) words, or even in Orr’s case one word alone – she writes with casual familiarity about ‘the chosen’, apparently assuming that her Guardian readers use the term so readily that no misunderstanding can arise from the informal contraction. This is indeed real economy of effort in the business of producing Jew-hatred. Orr herself may not, of course, have intended to stir up dislike of Jews; but the language which she chose to use did all the work that was needed for that unlovely task.
What’s worrying about this use of the Chosen People trope is not so much its appearance in a little piece by Deborah Orr: a minor journalist making derogatory insinuations about Jews isn’t anything so very special. But with Orr as with Mearsheimer it’s the silence of the others, of those in the wider context – the colleagues, the editors, the readers at large – that’s the really chilling thing.
Here's Richard's account, with audio and video