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Denis MacShane: What Dispatches didn't say about the Israel lobby

Posted by Eagle Eye
  • Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 05:06 pm

Last night’s Channel 4 Dispatches Programme on Jews and their influence in Britain failed to ask or answer one question. (So, too, did the fuller report by James Jones and Peter Oborne). Why, if Jews are held to have such occult lobbying power, are they so spectacularly unsuccessful?

Israel has the worst press of any UN member state in the British media. The Commons is far more likely to hear a denunciation of Israel than any criticism of a neighbouring Arab country, let alone the openly anti-Semitic Hamas. This summer a rigorous, accurate report showed a doubling of anti-Semitic attacks in Britain – cemeteries desecrated, rabbis punched, Jewish kids jostled or spat at. Not a single national paper, let alone the BBC, covered it.

Other British citizens with links to Kashmir or Kurds or Sikhs or Cyprus are allowed to promote their cause. But British Jews cannot express support or affinity for Israel without being accused of forming a secret, money-rich cabal. This is 1930s style prejudice dressed up as modern TV journalism.

But it is part of a European-wide trend to lower the old barriers against depicting Jews negatively. Take Hungary. The main opposition party there is Fidesz, whose MP Oszkar Molnar had this to say about Jews recently: “I give primacy to Hungarian interests over those of global capital, Jewish capital, if you like – which wants to devour the entire world, especially Hungary.” This age-old image of Jewish capital attacking national interests comes straight for the pre-war politics of Nazism.

This willingness to excuse language that only yesterday would have been considered as anti-Semitic is now normal. In Poland, Felip Stanilko works for the policy think tank of Poland’s PiS Party, whose controversial alliance with Britain’s Conservative Party has stirred up passions. Mr Stanilko thinks that Jews control the main left-liberal Polish daily, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s equivalent of the Independent or Guardian. In an interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail recently, the PiS analyst, speaking English, linked communism and Jews. “The faction of this society were predominately Jew, from Jew origins. You’ve got a Zionist path, you know, the people who created Israel, and you’ve got a communist path, because of the influential model of Marxism as a model of Talmudic thinking. And these people emigrated to the Soviet Union, they returned, they were very well educated by postwar standards, and biographically they are the crucial part of Gazeta Wyborcza.”

Far from being a creature of Moscow, Gazeta Wyborcza was created by anti-Soviet journalists from the Catholic Solidarity union. But the PiS statement is further evidence of the re-entry into European politics of anti-Semitic tropes.

On the eve of the 71st anniversary of Kristallnacht, last week, swastikas were sprayed on a Jewish cemetery in Dresden. Last month the Jewish cemetery in Ottawa was similarly daubed. We should not be surprised. As anti-Jewish remarks and discourses make their re-entry into European politics we can expect a gradual lowering of our guard. Far from “Never Again” the time has come to admit that anti-Semitic politics is back.

Denis MacShane MP is a former Europe Minister. His book, Globalising Hatred: The New Anti-Semitism, is out in paperback (Phoenix, £8.99)


Straw Men
bob_idle wrote:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 07:16 pm (UTC)
The first paragraph of the above seems to be the typical message the Israeli Lobby is using in rebuttal of the Dispatches documentary. The theme is that, contrary to what was revealed by Dispatches, the Israeli lobby is not very successful in Britain.

This article by Denis MacShane MP is an extreme example of the genre as it uses the phrase "Why, if Jews are held to have such occult lobbying power, are they so spectacularly unsuccessful? "

Notice that instead of using "the Israeli lobby" he has morphed it into using "Jews". and instead of saying something like "a powerful lobby" he has morphed it into "occult lobbying power". Thus setting up two straw men.

Luckily I saw the programme. It wasn't about a "Jewish" lobby, it was about an "Israeli lobby". In fact many of the people featured at some length on the programme objecting to the Israeli lobby were self-described Jews.

There wasn't any mention of "occult power". On the contrary, the programme concentrated on the large sums of money given to MPs, the free trips to Israel paid for by the lobby groups, and the money given to political parties, particularly the Conservative party, by Israeli lobby groups. It also described how one very rich man part-owns a large commercial building in Israel which is illegal as it's on an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank, and this same rich man is a key figure in the funding of the Israel lobby group BICOM which tries to influence British media.

Dispatches showed clearly how our foreign policy is very strongly influenced by the pro-Israeli lobby. Dispatches gave examples. 80% of conservative MPs are members of the pro-Israeli lobby group Conservative Friends of Israel. I find that quite worrying and the efforts here and elsewhere of the pro-Israeli lobby to deny they have any influence in Britain just adds to my concern.

Anti-Semitism is indeed rampant in Britain
stop_hypocrisy wrote:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 09:09 pm (UTC)
Denis MacShane is absolutely right. Anti-Semitic remarks and other forms of racism against British Jews that are rampant today in parts of British society would never have been tolerated a decade ago.

To say that the Channel 4 Dispatches program was a disgusting example of journalism at it's lowest, would be an understatement. The deterioration of British society, especially on the radical left, must end.

Racial sensitivity and equality should be a mandatory subject in all British schools.

In short, if you don't understand why the Channel 4 Dispatches program was anti-Semitic then you need to attend an anti-racism educational program. And if you cannot tell the difference between legitimate criticism of Jews and of Israel and racist slurs then you also need to attend that program (hopefully you'll meet Peter Oborne there).

We need more Denis MacShanes to fight against rising racism in Britain.
Re: Anti-Semitism is indeed rampant in Britain
freedon4sale wrote:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 09:17 pm (UTC)
fight against rising racism in "Israel" that calling it for jews only.
killing children in Palestine.
In addition all the so-called ‘peace plans’ between Israel and PLO – were destroyed by Zionist-regime, even before the ink got dried.

British historian John Rose (a Jewish academic, author and politician) in his book The Myths of Zionism. Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, was an Austrian Jewish journalist. He was not particularly interested in Palestine as a ‘Jewish homeland’. He, originally, considered Argentina, but later realized that the Jewish biblical myths were a potent source of inspiration for developing an exclusivist and highly nationalistic identity. However, he was aware of the fact that without the backing of a European colonial power, Zionists’ plan would not materialize. Herzle is quoted in Our Roots: “England with her possessions in Asia should be most interested in Zionism, for the shortest route to India is by way of Palestine. England’s great politicians were first to recognize the need for colonial expansion. And so I believe in England the idea of Zionism, which is a colonial idea, should be easily understood.”

5. “Every religious community has its homeland. Why not Jews.”

Rabbi Julian Morgenstern, president of Hebrew Union College of New York (1922-1947) viewed Zionism as an ideology of identity by negation. The Zionist reaction to assimilation, including retreat to the Middle East, seemed to him an admission of defeat and acceptance of anti-Semitic values. To him this way Zionism was escaping Judeophobia instead of repairing Judeophobic societies (a similar advice was given to Chaim Wiezmann, president of WJC by Mahtama Gandhi in 1937) – a treason and dereliction of duty, in violation of the universal tenets of Jewish values of identity and inclusion.

“The great majority of world Jewry opposed Zionism and creation of a Jewish state well into WW II. This opposition came from all sorts of Jews, Reform, Ultra-Orthodox, Communists, Bundists, and plain ordinary Jews,” – Avaraham Berg, former speaker of Knesset, in his book ‘The Holocaust is Over: We Must Rise From its Ashes’.

6. “Judaism is not based on racism.”

Historically, Israelite or Jewishness has always based on tribalism or nationalism. In the old days, Israelites were only those people, who were children of the 12 sons (tribes) of prophet Israel (Jacob). After the establisment of King Solomon’s empire of “Judea and Samara” – its citizens following the Torah used to be known as ‘Jews’. Even the Bible confirm it by quoting Jesus that “he came to preach only to the House of Israel”.

Theodor Herzl in his book Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), wrote: “Our community of race is peculiar and unique, for we are bound together only by the faith of our fathers.”
Re: Anti-Semitism is indeed rampant in Britain
freedon4sale wrote:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 09:37 pm (UTC)
What was the history of Palestine between Biblical times and the modern era?
Destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70AD (by Roberts)

Destruction of the Jewish Temple
70AD (by Roberts)

In 539 B.C. the Persians conquered the Babylonians. The Jewish Temple, destroyed by the Babylonians, was rebuilt (516 BC). Under Persian rule the Jewish state enjoyed considerable autonomy. Alexander the Great of Macedon, conquered the area in 333 BC His successors, the Ptolemies and Seleucids, contested for control. The attempt of the Seleucid Antiochus IV (Antiochus Epiphanes) to impose Hellenism brought a Jewish revolt under the Maccabees, who set up a new Jewish state in 142 BC The state lasted until 63 BC, when Pompey conquered the region for Rome.

At the time of Christ the Jewish state was ruled by puppet kings of the Romans, the Herods. When the Jews revolted in 66 AD, the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem (70 AD). The Bar Kokba revolt between 132 and 135 AD was also suppressed, Jericho and Bethlehem were destroyed, and the Jews were barred from Jerusalem. The Roman Emperor Hadrian determined to wipe out the identity of Israel-Judah-Judea. Therefore, he took the name Palastina and imposed it on all the Land of Israel. At the same time, he changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina. The Romans killed many Jews and sold many more in slavery. Some of those who survived left the devastated country (and established Jewish communities throughout the Middle East) but there was never a complete abandonment of the Land of Israel. That is, there were always Jews and Jewish communities in Palestine, though the size and conditions of those communities fluctuated greatly.

Re: Anti-Semitism is indeed rampant in Britain
freedon4sale wrote:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 09:40 pm (UTC)
When Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity (312), he took steps to elevate the status of Jerusalem and the city became a center of Christian pilgrimage. Constantine relaxed some restrictions on Jews, but renewed the prohibition on the residence of Jews in Jerusalem, permitting them to mourn for its destruction once a year, on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av.

Palestine over the next few centuries generally enjoyed peace and prosperity until it was conquered in 614 AD by the Persians. It was recovered briefly by the Byzantine Romans, but fell to the Muslim Arabs under caliph Umar by the year 640. During the Umayyad rule, the importance of Palestine as a holy place for Muslims was emphasized, but little was done to develop the region economically. Few Arabs came to Palestine; the Muslim rulers ruled Christians and Jews.

In 691 the Dome of the Rock was erected on the site of the Temple of Solomon, which is claimed by Muslims to have been the halting station of Muhammad on his journey to heaven. Close to the Dome, the al Aqsa mosque was built. In 750, Palestine passed to the Abbasid caliphate, and this period was marked by unrest between factions that favored the Umayyads and those who preferred the new rulers.

In the 9th century, Palestine was conquered by the Fatimid dynasty, which had risen to power in North Africa. The Fatimids had many enemies - the Seljuks, Karmatians, Byzantines, and Bedouins - and Palestine became a battlefield. Under the Fatimid caliph al Hakim (996-1021), the Christians and Jews were harshly suppressed, and many churches were destroyed. In 1099, Palestine was captured by the Crusaders, establishing the Latin Kingdom. Jews were seen by the Crusaders as infidels, as bad as the Muslim occupiers of Jerusalem, and were slaughtered by Christian soldiers along their way to liberate Jerusalem and then thousands in the city when they got there. Following the first Crusade, a Papal Bull was issued in 1119 AD to reinforce St. Augustine's earlier plea, in 427 AD, not to kill the Jews, but to allow them to wander the earth as evidence of their rejection by God.

By the time the Crusaders were defeated by Saladin at the battle of Hittin (1187), and the Latin Kingdom was ended, Palestine had become a wasteland. Mongol invaders who arrived in 1260 destroyed many of the villages. The Mamluks ended the Crusader period in 1291, but under Mamluk rule Palestine declined further. Mamluks burned and sacked towns and villages, uprooted orchards, and destroyed wells. In 1351, the Black Death was reported in Palestine and by 1500 the population had declined to barely 200,000 people. For comparison, the state of New Jersey, roughly comparable to Israel in size, had a 2001 population of about 8.5 million people and still had rural, undeveloped areas.

Click for larger image.
Map courtesy of Azanne Research.

In 1516 the Mamluks were defeated by the Ottoman Turks. The first three centuries of Ottoman rule isolated Palestine from outside influence. The discovery of sea routes to the East began to erode the importance of the Middle East to commerce. In 1831, Muhammad Ali, the Egyptian viceroy nominally subject to the Ottoman sultan, occupied Palestine. Under him and his son the region was opened to European influence. Ottoman control was reasserted in 1840, but Western influence continued. The Ottoman tax system was ruinous and did much to keep the land underdeveloped and the population small. When Alexander W. Kinglake crossed the Jordan in 1834-35, he used the Jordan's only bridge, a survival from Roman antiquity. Among the many European settlements established, the most significant in the long run were those of Jews, Russian Jews being the first to come (1882).

It is important to note that there was a Jewish population in Palestine continuously. Even after the Jewish state was ended by the Romans, Jewish communities continued to exist. All of the successor governments tried to eliminate the Jews at one time or another, but none succeeded as numerous accounts testify over the centuries. When the Zionists started the modern "return" to Eretz Yisrael in the 19th Century, they were joining Jews who never left.

Re: Anti-Semitism is indeed rampant in Britain
freedon4sale wrote:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 09:41 pm (UTC)
In 1918, a Yiddish book by David BenGurion and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Eretz Yisrael in the Past and Present, was published in New York by the Poale Zion Palestine Committee. The authors note that long after the destruction of the Second Temple — and even after the defeat of Shimon Bar Kokhba, leader of the Jewish revolt against the Romans in the second century C.E. — large masses of Jews still tilled the soil of Eretz Yisrael.

In the wars and uprisings, many cities were ruined and many communities destroyed, but the farm population could not be wiped out so easily. Under foreign oppression, city dwellers — the propertied and educated classes — chose to leave their homes and migrate to freer countries such as Babylonia. The Jewish peasant, however, like peasants the world over, would not leave his land so quickly, for it was land developed by his sweat and that of his parents.
freedon4sale wrote:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 09:22 pm (UTC)
Jewish people have God given right to the land known as Canaan,” – Bible.

First of all, Bible is not known for scientific or historical facts – as stated by Encyclopaedia Biblica (Vol. IV, p.4980) – “The New Testament was written by Christians for Christians….”. As a matter of fact, European Zionist leaders were not practicing Jews, but used the so-called Biblical Promise of Zion in order to exploit fellow Jews and fool the Christian world. Theodor Herzl and his Zionist culprits were aiming for a secular-social Jewish society in a new homeland. Canannite civilization existed on that land as early as 3,500 BC. According to Jewish scholar, Erich Fromm: “If all nations would suddenly claim territory on which their forefathers lived two thousand years ago, this world would be a madhouse.”

2. “Jews were expelled from Arab lands for Arabs’ hatred of Jews.”

History, in fact, paints Arabs as liberators of Jewish communities in Jerusalem (638), Spain (711), Palestine (1186), and Germany (1940s). The discovery of the Cairo ‘Geniza’, a treasure trove of documents found in the 11th century Cairo Synagogue, prove that Jewish communities were an integral part of Islamic culture. After WW I, it were Zionist leaders and Zionist agents and British officials who created fear among Jewish communities living Arab countries – to relocate them into British mandated Palestine as part of Zionist strategy to increase the Jewish population in Palestine.

3. “Land without people for a people without land,” – Zionist motto.

At the time of Balfour Declaration (1917), there were 65,000 Jews living in Palestine, as compared to 700,000 Arab Muslims and Christians. This was confirmed by the mid-wife of Balfour Declaration, British Zionist foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour by saying: “Zionism is of far profounder import that the desires of 700,000 Arabs who inhabit the land.”

United Nations’ 1947 Partition Plan, influenced by Europe’s guilty conscience of Holocaust – awarded 56% of Palestine to Jews, who owned only 6.5% of land at that time. Now the Israeli Occupied Territories (PA) comprises less than 22% of Palestine.

4. “PLO and Israel’s neighbour don’t accept Israel’s right to exist.”

The reality is – It’s Zionist-regime, which is based on a Jewish demographic (Jewish only) state, which having successfully wiped-off the map, centuries-old country (Palestine) – have been confiscating more and more Arab lands and invading its Arab neighbour under cooked-up excuses with the help of powerful Jewish lobbying groups in the US and EU countries. In 1988, PNC accepted a ‘two-state’ solution. According to Israeli historian Benny Morris: “In 1948, only five Arab countries sent their ill-equipped armies to help Palestinia to defend the part of land (44%) awarded to them under the partition plan….where Jewish forces were conducting massacres to promote panic among the Palestinians. Those who did not flee in terror were loaded on to trucks or marched off under armed escort into exile, their property and homes subsequently confiscated.”

geeboy wrote:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 09:28 pm (UTC)
This article could have been written by Melanie Phillips - the Why question is always a neat trick - why not us? why can't we do that?
while asking this question, they continue to deny others the same
bob_idle wrote:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 09:54 pm (UTC)
Jewish people featured in the Dispatches documentary complained about the pro-Israeli lobby.

Any attacks on Jewish icons or symbols, or on Jews themselves, in Britain today, is more than likely to be due to political events in the middle east . The Israeli lobby contributes to a warlike ambience in the middle east and elsewhere by it's aggressive policies. It's the equivalent of the extreme Islamist sects which whip up trouble there causing grief for ordinary peace-loving Muslims living here.

This was a point made on Dispatches.
Two cities - Jedwabne and Kielce.
ron_broxted wrote:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 10:15 pm (UTC)
The Poles Mr McShane have a dark side. Jedwabne (along with Estonia) was declared "Judenfrei" before any Geramn troops arrived. First pogrom after the Shoah? Kielce, 1946. But why all the fuss? According to S. Sand's book the "Jews" are merely some Georgians who wandered about Europe for a bit. Now with DNA testing it is Adolfs wildest dream - proof of who IS a Jew and who isn't.
Re: Two cities - Jedwabne and Kielce.
bob_idle wrote:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 10:33 pm (UTC)
It seems that the Israeli lobby contains a large proportion of people who aren't Jewish, and don't even claim to be Jewish. Some of these might be described as the religious right (i.e. evangelist Christian), neoconservatives and pro-US-republican Brits, and even a few Islamophobes. And some of them are undoubtedly being paid for their services. Bloggers for example.

I don't think the pro-Israeli lobby has anything to do with Jewishness per se. But that's just a personal opinion. As I may have already pointed out, on Dispatches there were quite a few Jewish people complaining about the Israeli Lobby,

The Israeli lobby is a political thing not a religious and ethnic thing. Like America wanted to take over Iraq for it's oil and strategic position. It wasn't interested in Iraq's ethnic or religious or cultural aspects. They use the word "anti-semitism" as a weapon and have divorced it from it's true meaning. That was also a point made on Dispatches.

Re: Two cities - Jedwabne and Kielce.
ron_broxted wrote:
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 10:26 am (UTC)
Firstly who is a Jew? Halatic law? Second I wish someone would pay me Jewish or otherwise. I can do a good Free palestine routine as well. Finally sure a "real" Jew would be pro-Zionist? The ones who call for decent treatment of Palestinians are labelled "traitors".
Re: Two cities - Jedwabne and Kielce.
bob_idle wrote:
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 06:41 pm (UTC)
Why do you want to know who is a Jew? I guess it's anyone who says they are. Or it could be that Israel itself has some way of distinguishing who is and who is not. I suggest asking their government.

When I gave the opinion that some bloggers get paid by the pro-Israeli lobby I was thinking of certain well-known right wing bloggers (guido fawkes etc) not including yourself. Because, without disrespect, I wouldn't put you the category of well-known right-wing bloggers. But if you don't get paid for blogging then why is it that your "live journal" appears on the list along with the Independent staff commentators. This doesn't happen with the "live journals" of other members of the public who comment here.

Re: Two cities - Jedwabne and Kielce.
ron_broxted wrote:
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 09:02 pm (UTC)
Dear Bob, Self ascription as a mark of Jewishness? The Law of return states who is an is not Jewish...basically a Jewish mother (or granny) or full Orthodox conversion. No disrespect as to my fame of lack of it. I am described (elsewhere) as "Left of centre" and "English" by which I guess they mean I'd blog more on Westminster than Stormont. Finally, I have spent half an hour looking for this mythical list. Do you mean Independent Minds? That is open to all L.J account holders. I'll be blogging on this later. The Ukraine? The flu? Jews are suspected...wells have been poisoned near Zhitomir and Lviv.
Re: Two cities - Jedwabne and Kielce.
bob_idle wrote:
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 09:40 pm (UTC)
Dear Ron
Yes the list of Independent Minds on the front page of independent.co.uk (middle column about half way down page)

Jewishness: you know as well as I do that lots of people in the pro-Israel lobby (described on Dispatches) are not Jewish and we don't need a test of maternity, because many of them freely admit they aren't Jewish. There are also many people who freely admit they are Jewish (religious people, rabbis, and lawyers among them) who disagree with the pro-Israel lobby. As I might have already pointed out, quite a few people featured on the programme speaking out against the pro-Israel lobby were self-described Jews. One of them I remember was a Mr Goldberg who said that the Israelis "practice apartheid in the West Bank". There were several others. If you haven't watched the programme it's being shown again at the end of the week please look at the channel 4 schedule for details.

Re: Two cities - Jedwabne and Kielce.
ron_broxted wrote:
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 09:47 pm (UTC)
Yes Rebbe Goldberg was on there along with others, Judaism has a plurality, so one can be vehemently anti-Zionist and still go on aliyah. What Airport Security will do with you is another matter. That column? It is the running thread for Independent Minds. I'd say more than 50% of the bloggers on it are non journalists and not paid. Like myself.
The man who hides behind his mother's maiden name
philipshahak wrote:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 10:23 pm (UTC)
Globalising Hatred: The New Anti-Semitism, is out in paperback (Phoenix, £8.99)
Blimey, what an extortionate price for toilet paper!
eleos1437 wrote:
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 11:25 am (UTC)
Some clinics in Tel Aviv are offering politicians discounts on lingual extensions, ....or perhaps Mr Matyjaszek you have already had one.