Combating antisemitism and defending Israel: a potentially explosive mix (article by Antony Lerman)

Antony Lerman
Antony Lerman

Antony Lerman (born 11 March 1946) is a British writer who specialises in the study of antisemitism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, multiculturalism, and the place of religion in society. From 2006 to early 2009, he was Director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, a think tank on issues affecting Jewish communities in Europe. From December 1999 to 2006, he was Chief Executive of the Hanadiv Charitable Foundation, renamed the Rothschild Foundation Europe in 2007. He is a founding member of the Jewish Forum for Justice and Human Rights, and a former editor of Patterns of Prejudice, a quarterly academic journal focusing on the sociology of race and ethnicity.[1]


Antony Lerman

If any more evidence were required to demonstrate that the Community Security Trust (CST), the private charity that describes its mission as monitoring and combating antisemitism on behalf of the British Jewish Community, is abusing its mandate by providing political support for Israel, look no further than its response to reports of anti-Jewish hostility arising out of the Gaza crisis.

The UK’s Jewish News quotes from a statement by Mark Gardner, Communications Director of the CST, on the rise in reported antisemitic incidents since the beginning of the most recent conflict with Hamas:

“Anti-Semitic incidents will subside along with the images on people’s television screens, but the long term damage to Jews of anti-Israel boycotts will persist. 

“One consequence of this war will be a lot more boycotts, either through choice or intimidation. Just as Israel is being singled out for scrutiny and boycott, so many Jews are going to feel the…

Δείτε την αρχική δημοσίευση 600 επιπλέον λέξεις


  1. Για όσους έχουν ισχυρές φιλο-ισραηλινές εμμονές, ένα «φάρμακο» ίσως είναι ο Αντονυ Λέρμαν.

    The End of Liberal Zionism
    Israel’s Move to the Right Challenges Diaspora Jews
    By ANTONY LERMAN (AUG. 22, 2014)

    Liberal Zionists are at a crossroads. The original tradition of combining Zionism and liberalism — which meant ending the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, supporting a Palestinian state as well as a Jewish state with a permanent Jewish majority, and standing behind Israel when it was threatened — was well intentioned. But everything liberal Zionists stand for is now in doubt.


    But it’s not just Gaza, and the latest episode of “shock and awe” militarism. The romantic Zionist ideal, to which Jewish liberals — and I was one, once — subscribed for so many decades, has been tarnished by the reality of modern Israel. The attacks on freedom of speech and human rights organizations in Israel, the land-grabbing settler movement, a growing strain of anti-Arab and anti-immigrant racism, extremist politics, and a powerful, intolerant religious right — this mixture has pushed liberal Zionism to the brink.


    In the past, liberal Zionists in the Diaspora found natural allies among the left-wing and secular-liberal parties in Israel, like Labor, Meretz and Shinui. But Israel’s political left is now comatose. Beaten by Menachem Begin in the 1977 national elections, it briefly revived with Yitzhak Rabin and the hopes engendered by the 1993 Oslo Accords. But having clung to the Oslo process long past its sell-by date, the parliamentary left in Israel has become insignificant.


    Today, the dominant Diaspora organizations, like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League, as well as a raft of largely self-appointed community leaders, have swung to the right, making unquestioning solidarity with Israel the touchstone of Jewish identity — even though majority Jewish opinion is by no means hawkish.


    I became an Israeli citizen in 1970, and I am still one today. I worked in the Jewish community in research and philanthropic capacities for 30 years, serving the interests of Jews worldwide. But in the 1980s, I began to rethink my relationship with Israel and Zionism. As recently as 2007, while directing the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research, an independent think tank, I still thought that liberal Zionism had a role to play. I believed that by encouraging Diaspora Jews to express reservations about Israeli policy in public, liberal Zionism could influence the Israeli government to change its policies toward the Palestinians.

    I still understood its dream of Israel as a moral and just cause, but I judged it anachronistic. The only Zionism of any consequence today is xenophobic and exclusionary, a Jewish ethno-nationalism inspired by religious messianism. It is carrying out an open-ended project of national self-realization to be achieved through colonization and purification of the tribe.

    This mind-set blocks any chance Israel might have to become a full-fledged liberal-democratic state, and offers the Palestinians no path to national self-determination, no justice for their expulsion in 1948, nor for the occupation and the denial of their rights. I came to see the notion that liberal Zionism might reverse, or even just restrain, this nationalist juggernaut as fanciful.

    I used my position at the think tank to raise questions about Israel’s political path and to initiate a community-wide debate about these issues. Naïve? Probably. I was vilified by the right-wing Jewish establishment, labeled a “self-hating Jew” and faced public calls for me to be sacked. This just confirmed what I already knew about the myopia of Jewish leadership and the intolerance of many British Zionist activists.


    Along with many experts, most dissenting groups have long thought that the two-state solution was dead. The collapse of the peace talks being brokered by the American secretary of state, John Kerry, came as no surprise. Then, on July 11, Mr. Netanyahu definitively rejected any possibility of establishing an independent Palestinian state. The Gaza conflict meant, he said, that “there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan” (meaning the West Bank).

    Liberal Zionists must now face the reality that the dissenters have recognized for years: A de facto single state already exists; in it, rights for Jews are guaranteed while rights for Palestinians are curtailed. Since liberal Zionists can’t countenance anything but two states, this situation leaves them high and dry.

    Liberal Zionists believe that Jewish criticism of Israeli policies is unacceptable without love of Israel. They embrace Israel as the Jewish state. For it to remain so, they insist it must have a Jewish majority in perpetuity. Yet to achieve this inevitably implies policies of exclusion and discrimination.

    They’re convinced that Israel can be both Jewish and democratic, but they fail to explain how to reconcile God’s supreme authority with the sovereign power of the people. Meanwhile, the self-appointed arbiters of what’s Jewish in the Jewish state — the extreme religious Zionists and the strictly Orthodox, aided and abetted by Jewish racists in the Knesset like Ayelet Shaked, a Jewish Home Party member who recently called for the mothers of Palestinian “snakes” to be killed — are trashing democracy more and more each day. Particularly shocking are the mass arrests — nearly 500 since the beginning of July — of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel for peacefully protesting, and the sanctions against Arab students at universities for posting pro-Gaza messages on social media.

    Pushed to the political margins in Israel and increasingly irrelevant in the Diaspora, liberal Zionism not only lacks agency; worse, it provides cover for the supremacist Zionism dominant in Israel today. Liberal Zionists have become an obstacle to the emergence of a Diaspora Jewish movement that could actually be an agent of change.

    The dissenting left doesn’t have all the answers, but it has the principles upon which solutions must be based. Both liberal Zionism and the left accept the established historical record: Jews forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes to make way for the establishment of a Jewish state. But the liberals have concluded that it was an acceptable price others had to pay for the state. The left accepts that an egregious injustice was done. The indivisibility of human, civil and political rights has to take precedence over the dictates of religion and political ideology, in order not to deny either Palestinians or Jews the right to national self-determination. The result, otherwise, will be perpetual conflict.

    In the repressive one-state reality of today’s Israel, which Mr. Netanyahu clearly wishes to make permanent, we need a joint Israeli-Palestinian movement to attain those rights and the full equality they imply. Only such a movement can lay the groundwork for the necessary compromises that will allow the two peoples’ national cultures to flourish.

    This aspiration is incompatible with liberal Zionism, and some liberal Zionists appear close to this conclusion, too. As Mr. Freedland put it, liberal Zionists “will have to decide which of their political identities matters more, whether they are first a liberal or first a Zionist.”

    They should know that Israel is not Judaism. Jewish history did not culminate in the creation of the state of Israel.

  2. […] Δυστυχώς, πολλοί φιλο-ισραηλινοί (συνήθως Εβραίοι) επικριτές του αντισημιτισμού σήμερα, τείνουν να αδικούν ορισμένους ανθρώπους που δεν είναι αντισημίτες, παρουσιάζοντάς τους σαν αντισημίτες και περιπλέκοντας την κατάσταση. Μετά από πολλά κρούσματα τέτοιων αδικιών, δεν είναι δυνατόν να ασχοληθούμε σοβαρά με… μπουρδολογίες προπαγανδιστών του Ισραήλ, όπως η κατα-συκοφάντηση του Εβραίου διανοητή Norman Finkelstein σαν δήθεν “Αρνητή Ολοκαυτώματος” και “αντισημίτη” (από την δήθεν “έγκυρη” ADL) . Στο μεταξύ, η “κριτική του αντισημιτισμού” που εκφράζουν πολλά φιλ0-ισραηλινά (συνήθως εβραϊκά) sites και blogs, πολύ συχνά πέφτει σε σοβαρά σφάλματα και λαθροχειρίες που την (αυτο-)ακυρώνουν. Όλα μαζί αυτά τα φαινόμενα, αποτελούν “εκρηκτικό μείγμα“, όπως διαπίστωσε και ο επιφανής Εβραίος διανοούμενος Antony Lerman στο άρθρο του (που αναδημοσίευσα) “Combating antisemitism and defending Israel: a potentially explosive mix”. […]

    Max Blumenthal – David Sheen – Gysi – Pau – the whole story (German/English)

    15 Νοεμβρίου 2014 στις 2:27 μ.μ.

    Dear Friends,

    American journalist and author Max Blumenthal was in Gaza during the massive Israeli assault this summer. He spoke as a witness before the Russell Tribunal in Brussels this September, describing his experience, and to help clarify what took place.

    During his tour in Europe, he spoke in Norway, Denmark, and Germany, where he came to Stuttgart and then to Berlin. Germany is, with the US, Israel’s closest military partner, and supplied weapons, even during the war on Gaza this summer. Although a discussion about the absolute, military support for Israel was discussed in the United States, this did not happen among leading German politicians.

    You probably know already that Benjamin Weinthal, a Jerusalem Post correspondent in Berlin, who is an Israel lobbyist and advocate of war against Iran, has initiated a defamation campaign against Max and his colleague David Sheen, smearing them as antisemites. David Sheen has cooperated on several events in Berlin with Max.

    Unfortunately some politicians of the party Die Linke (Petra Pau and Gregor Gysi) joined in the defamation and censorship campaign of the Israel lobby and both events in Berlin had to be moved at the last minute to other venues.

    But Max and David have not caved in, instead they demanded and continue to demand answers from their opponents and want an open discussion of the issues. The mainstream press has reacted cravenly – joining the Weinthal-campaign and presenting censored videos, which have been clipped together in a biased and unprofessional manner. Max and David have not been contacted. They just recycle Weinthal’s claims.

    Background of the Weinthal campaign see

    Let’s shame those hacks who have turned themselves into mouthpieces!

    Let’s support politicians of Die Linke, who want to publicize the conclusions of the Russell Tribunal and of numerous human rights organisations (among them Amnesty International) about the Gaza war.

    Pau and Gysi must be criticised for their censorship within the party since they are turning themselves into accomplices of Israeli war criminals.

    What really happened and what was discussed can be followed thanks to video documentation under:

    Max Blumenthal in Stuttgart:

    Max Blumenthal and David Sheen in Berlin:

    In Berlin parliament (Paul-Löbel-Haus)

    Video which shows the absurd refusal of Gysi to talk to David and Max:

    Please forward this email and publish the links on your website and facebook.

    With best regards

    Attia und Verena Rajab

    Palestine Solidarity Committee, Stuttgart (Germany)


Εισάγετε τα παρακάτω στοιχεία ή επιλέξτε ένα εικονίδιο για να συνδεθείτε:


Σχολιάζετε χρησιμοποιώντας τον λογαριασμό Αποσύνδεση /  Αλλαγή )

Φωτογραφία Google

Σχολιάζετε χρησιμοποιώντας τον λογαριασμό Google. Αποσύνδεση /  Αλλαγή )

Φωτογραφία Twitter

Σχολιάζετε χρησιμοποιώντας τον λογαριασμό Twitter. Αποσύνδεση /  Αλλαγή )

Φωτογραφία Facebook

Σχολιάζετε χρησιμοποιώντας τον λογαριασμό Facebook. Αποσύνδεση /  Αλλαγή )

Σύνδεση με %s