These ha­treds must not be al­lowed out of the shad­ows

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DAVID COLLIER

I AT­TENDED all three days at the con­fer­ence in Cork. I went to ev­ery one of the 12 ses­sions, and paid close at­ten­tion to the words of each of the 39 speak­ers.

There were some who de­serve credit. Ge­of­frey Al­der­man for ex­am­ple, who was Is­rael’s lone flag-wa­ver. He stood his ground in a well-de­liv­ered speech, and in han­dling the hos­tile ques­tions that fol­lowed. Dr Ca­tri­ona Drew from Soas and Pro­fes­sor Ugo Mat­tei from the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, both gave clin­i­cal, pro­fes­sional pre­sen­ta­tions.

But, for the most part, I felt I was watching a highly ed­u­cated lynch mob, with the par­tic­i­pants stir­ring each other up, and the au­di­ence, too, with ever-in­creas­ing tales of ab­sur­dity.

The Pales­tini­ans were called the real Jews, He­brew was de­scribed as a Pales­tinian lan­guage, and it was claimed that Is­rael should com­pen­sate the Arab na­tions, for hav­ing “taken” the Arab Jews away from them.

It doesn’t mat­ter which aca­demic said what, each of these com­ments re­ceived loud ap­plause from most of the 160-180 peo­ple in the au­di­ence.

Is­rael’s charge-sheet was read out with an al­most never-end­ing list of pe­jo­ra­tives. Zion­ism is guilty of ev­ery­thing, of imag­in­ing an­ti­semitism, of cre­at­ing Is­lam­o­pho­bia, of apartheid, geno­cide, eth­nic cleans­ing. One speaker claimed Is­rael is at the heart of the global en­vi­ron­men­tal cri­sis.

The ac­tual lines be­tween patho­log­i­cal ob­ses­sions, ex­ag­ger­ated ac­tivism and raw an­ti­semitism can be­come dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish, but the Is­raeli state was stripped en­tirely of all hu­man­ity. There were con­stant com­par­isons with Nazi ac­tions, and ref­er­ences to Nazi ter­mi­nol­ogy, that came from al­most ev­ery sin­gle panel.

There were clas­sic an­ti­semitic slurs, too. One au­di­ence mem­ber asked the panel “if Zion­ist moth­ers de­lib­er­ately starve their chil­dren of af­fec­tion to cre­ate the cal­lous­ness nec­es­sary for them to be­come killers”. The re­sponse was “yes”, later to be changed by a dec­la­ra­tion that the ques­tion had been mis­un­der­stood.

An­other of the an­ti­semites’ favourite global Jewish con­spir­a­cies ap­peared with the ac­cu­sa­tion about the “danc­ing Is­raelis” — al­legedly Mos­sad agents —who cel­e­brated the 9/11 at­tacks.

Free speech is a bedrock of our so­ci­ety. Yet we must also recog­nise this ha­tred is a ma­lig­nant force, that mu­tates, spreads and in­fects. We must stay united, and en­sure these ide­olo­gies are never per­mit­ted to come out of the shad­ows.

David Collier is a re­searcher and blog­ger

Ge­of­frey Al­der­man

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.