The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment & Analysis - David Aaronovitch

UN­PLEAS­ANT SERENDIP­ITY. On Mon­day evening, as I was think­ing about this ar­ti­cle, I re­ceived an email in my Times ac­count from the man­ag­ing edi­tor of a small book pub­lisher, which she runs from her farm­cum-or­ganic herb busi­ness in Wilt­shire. She wanted to know whether I would like to take part in a dis­cus­sion on “Jewish Iden­tity Pol­i­tics” with one of her au­thors.

I looked at the com­pany’s web­site. “A cretinous anti-in­tel­lec­tu­al­ism pre­sides,” it pro­claimed, “cheerled by hacks in the pay of multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions who re­as­sure their bored read­ers that there is no need to rouse them­selves from their stu­por.” Since I am a hack in the pay of a multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tion, I would have been sus­pi­cious of the in­vi­ta­tion, were it not for the fact that I had al­ready de­cided to turn it down. This was mainly be­cause my fel­low-pan­el­list was to be that mo­tor-mouthed sack of ego­ism, the Judeo­pho­bic jazzman, Gi­lad Atz­mon. It is hard to com­plain about cre­tinism and then pro­mote Atz­mon.

A sec­ondary rea­son was the de­scrip­tion of the forth­com­ing event as a “lively de­bate about Jewish po­lit­i­cal at­ti­tudes, the role of the holo­caust, anti-Gen­tile ide­olo­gies, Jewish pres­sure groups, Zion­ist lob­by­ing and much more.” Re­fus­ing, I emailed my un­host­ess and asked her what “an­tiGen­tile ide­olo­gies” were. Her re­ply: “Dear David, It’s my view that it means Is­raeli ex­cep­tion­al­ism, which of course is a bed fel­low of Zion­ism.”

Ah, bed­fel­lows! The serendip­ity, though, is that I sort of knew what they meant, since at the pre­cise mo­ment I re­ceived the email, I was watch­ing a video of Atz­mon hav­ing a “dis­cus­sion” back in May on the same sub­jects. His fel­low pan­elists were a me­dia man called Karl Sab­bagh and Alan Hart, the “for­mer ITN and BBC Panorama re­porter” whose books de­nounc­ing Zion­ism have made him some­thing of a hero to the less dis­crim­i­nat­ing part of the anti-Zion­ist move­ment. Which in­creas­ingly seems to be the larger part of the anti-Zion­ist move­ment.

Mr Hart was to have been my sub­ject, partly be­cause of his truly id­i­otic sug­ges­tion that An­ders Breivik had slaugh­tered so many Nor­we­gians un­der the in­flu­ence of Zion­ist dis­ap­proval of the Nor­we­gian Labour Party’s stance on Is­rael.

I was go­ing to note his be­lief in the pos­si­bil­ity of Is­raeli in­volve­ment in the at­tack on the World Trade Cen­tre, his cham­pi­oning of the con­spir­acy the­o­ries over Is­rael’s mis­taken bomb­ing of the USS Lib­erty in 1967, and his sug­ges­tion that the BBC’s Gaza cor­re­spon­dent, Alan John­ston, had been kid­napped and mur­dered by Is­raeli agents (a the­ory he amended only slightly when John­ston was re­leased, un­mur­dered, by a Gazan clan).

De­spite this his­tory of ma­li­cious stu­pid­ity Mr Hart has been praised by Lau­ren Booth and Clare Short, has been joined on his Press TV show by lu­mi­nar­ies such as John Pil­ger, Jenny Tonge, Ghada Karmi, Nor­man Finkel­stein, Ilan Pappe, Abd al-Bari At­wan, Alas­tair Crooke and Steven Rose, and ap­pears up and down the coun­try at re­spectable venues, com­plain­ing about his treat­ment at the hands of “Zion­ism”.

Cen­tral to his re­spectabil­ity is his con­stant dis­tinc­tion be­tween an­ti­semitism (per­ish the thought) and anti-Zion­ism. In­deed, in his dis­cus­sion with Atz­mon, Hart re­minds the au­di­ence that it is NOT the Jewish lobby, but the Zion­ist lobby, that is so pow­er­ful.

But try this from Hart. “In my ex­pe­ri­ence most Jews in the world, and I re­ally mean most Jews in the world, are be­yond rea­son on the sub­ject of Pales­tine. You can­not have a rea­soned, ra­tio­nal dis­cus­sion with most Jews.” Or his rep­e­ti­tion of an Atz­mon joke. “Gi­lad, you said, Alan, the Jews are more clever than that, they get other peo­ple to con­trol the world for them!” At which there is laugh­ter and some ap­plause. Then, “ I must make a com­ment to pro­tect my back­side, I al­ways say it is true that some Jews con­trol some of the me­dia, but there is a worse prob­lem…” which turns out to be self-cen­sor­ship. An even worse prob­lem? Oy ge­valt!

Then this. “There’s a case for say­ing that the real clev­er­ness of the Jews is in­vent­ing a God to prom­ise them some­one else’s land. That’s a tough thing to say in pub­lic, but now I’ve said it.” And this: “It’s also a fact that for sev­eral hun­dred years the Roth­schilds funded all the wars in Europe. They funded both sides. These are facts.”

And then he sits back as Atz­mon does an ob­scene par­ody of an old East Euro­pean Jew whin­ing that the Ger­mans just went meshugge, be­fore adding, “they never un­der­stand why is it that out of the blue peo­ple turn against them.”

It may be this that Lau­ren Booth is re­fer­ring to when she talks about the au­di­ence for this meet­ing “en­joy(ing) his trade­mark frip­pery”. Just anti-Zion­ists hav­ing fun, you un­der­stand.

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