“When I saw pictures of babies suffocating from a chemical attack in Syria, I was shocked and outraged.” — Benjamin Netanyahu, a man who is never shocked or outraged by Israel’s deliberate targeting and slaughter of Palestinian children.
Following the chemical attack in Syria which Western leaders and the mainstream media immediately blamed — without any significant evidence — on the government of President Bashar al-Assad, Israeli leaders jackbooted their way to the moral high ground and loudly pontificated about the need for the world to act “against the chemical massacre in Syria.” Such righteous condemnation, however, appeared somewhat hypocritical considering the fact that Israel has in its past attacks on Gaza had no qualms about using prohibited white phosphorus munitions (http://www.jmcc.org/fastfactspag.aspx?tname=71) and flechette shells that spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal metal darts which Human Rights Watch has described as indiscriminate and (evidence of war crimes.)
Meanwhile in the UK, Ken Livingstone — London’s former mayor who had in the past charged that for decades in the UK there had been a “well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticises Israel policy as anti-Semitic” — avoided expulsion from the Labour Party after a disciplinary panel suspended him for another year for bringing the party into disrepute over his comment that “Adolf Hitler was initially a supporter of Zionism, before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews.”
The disciplinary panel’s decision prompted a host of Jewish vigilante groups to express outrage with the UK’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis asserting that “this was a chance for the Labour Party to show that it would not tolerate wilful and unapologetic baiting of the Jewish community, by shamefully using the Holocaust as a tool with which to inflict the maximum amount of offence . . . Worryingly, the party has yet again failed to show that it is sufficiently serious about tackling the scourge of anti-Semitism . . . The Labour Party has failed the Jewish community, it has failed its members and it has failed all those who believe in zero tolerance of anti-Semitism.” All of which while sounding very noble, also raised the question of what about those of us who believe in zero tolerance of crimes against humanity such as those committed with arrogant impunity by Israel against the indigenous Palestinian population.
Perhaps the eminently virtuous Chief Rabbi should have considered the possibility that it was in fact he who had let down the Jewish community by failing to uphold the Core Ethical Teachings of Judaism which at least theoretically obliged him to unreservedly condemn the contemptuous Israeli disregard for international laws prohibiting the “transfers of the civilian population of the occupying power into the occupied territory, regardless whether forcible or voluntary”; the almost seven decades of barbaric Jewish state ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people; the Israeli Apartheid denial of basic human rights to the indigenous Palestinian population including restrictions on freedom of movement and the import of essential goods; the brazen theft of Palestinian land and natural resources such as water; the deliberate obliteration — both above and below ground — of any Palestinian Arab presence including holy sites and cultural heritage; the genocidal IDF offensives such as those perpetrated on the imprisoned people of Gaza; and last but not least, the avaricious embezzlement of most of the aid intended for the hapless Palestinians. (http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/09/how-most-aid-to-the-palestinians-ends-up-in-israels-coffers/)
People who share Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’ sentiments — Israel right or wrong — within diaspora Jewish communities unfortunately constitute the majority who while living in blinkered and biased denial of Israeli violations with impunity, are equally prepared to use the much dreaded accusation of “anti-Semitism” to silence, and if possible, to criminalise any criticism of Israel irrespective of how impartial or justified such criticism may be. Jews everywhere must therefore recognise that their undying commitment towards the protection of Israel’s tattered reputation not only serves to deny others the inalienable right to freedom of expression, but also undermines the Jewish desire for “zero tolerance of anti-Semitism.”
This fact was recognised by Yehoshafat Harkabi — Chief of Israeli Military Intelligence (1955-9) and subsequently a professor of International Relations and Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem — who in his book Israel’s Fateful Hour, called for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories and warned as follows:
“We Israelis must be careful lest we become not a source of pride for Jews but a distressing burden. Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world. In the struggle against anti-Semitism, the frontline begins in Israel.”