When an antisemite is not an antisemite

A new ‘working definition’ promoted by Israel lobbyists seeks to confuse anti-semitism with anti-Zionism.

Arthur Neslen, a noted antisemite himself, The Guardian

[The proper spelling of “antisemite” is not “anti-Semite”]

What do Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi, Ehud Olmert and myself all have in common? We could each be censured for racism according to the European Union Monitoring Centre’s “working definition of anti-semitism” which was last week adopted by the National Union of Students as official policy.

This definition has lately been sweeping all before it, taking endorsements everywhere from the all-party parliamentary Report on anti-semitism to the US state department’s special envoy for combating anti-semitism. The British government has pledged to re-examine its own definition of anti-semitism if the EUMC’s successor body, the Fundamental Rights Agency, ratifies the new lingua franca.

So it’s actually a bit shocking to discover that the new definition was largely drafted by a pro-Israel advocate who gives talks on how to elide the distinction between anti-Zionism and hatred of Jews. Kenneth Stern is the American Jewish Committee’s expert on anti-semitism and in Defining Anti-Semitism, a paper published by Tel Aviv University’s Stephen Roth Institute, he explained how he developed the working definition “along with other experts” in the second half of 2004.

Significantly, it involved crunching religious and racial hatred of Jews with what he labelled “political” anti-semitism. This latter, he claimed, has been “otherwise known in recent years as anti-Zionism, which treats Israel as the classic Jew”. Political anti-semites could thus include, for example, those who “seek to disqualify Israel from equal membership in the community of nations”, presumably by means of boycott initiatives. Naturally, comparing Israel to apartheid-era South Africa is also, within Kenneth Stern’s framework, “an expression of anti-semitism”. CONTINUE

April 6, 2007 | 5 Comments »

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  1. I saw Neslen’s article on Comment is Free the Guardian blog, and it was very well received there. It is well known that the Guardian is virulently anti-Israel and the blog is no exception. I post regularly to put Israel’s side, but we are up against it – there are very few of us. I know this may seem “chutzpadik”, but I thought that as I receive Israpundit updates regularly and I am responsible for having quite a few people register for emails from you, can I please ask for help to even the score on Comment is Free? We are all working towards the same goal, to present the correct picture of Israel and Israelis. You would not believe the vitriol from bloggers which accompanied Neslen’s article. For those of you who would like to give it a go: http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/index.html. You have to register but one good thing is that the blog is not moderated so it represents one of the only ways pro-Israel opinions can be aired.

    Well thought out, factual, unemotional posts are the best, and actually it’s quite amusing to see that the more reasonable us pro-Israel bloggers seem, the more the opposition foams at the mouth.

    Israpundit – thanks for this, and keep your emails coming!

  2. Bottom line is Nelson forgets (or never knew) that Zionism (Jewish national identity) is one of the basic tenets of Judaism. He should return to shul.

  3. How often do those who promote a falsehood project on others the exact sin they are guilty of.

    Consider Arthur Nelson’s statement,

    “A new ‘working definition’ promoted by Israel lobbyists seeks to confuse anti-semitism with anti-Zionism.”

    It seems to me that Nelson is the one attempting to create confusion by disguising antisemitism with an anti-Zionist label.

    I attribute this type of antisemitism to the ideology of multiculturalism. Some Jews feel uncomfortable with their Jewish identity because they fear it will cause a schism the collective multicultural society which they work to build. They believe the ideology of multiculturalism is the answer to the persecution and oppression which minorities have suffered throughout history when in actuality multiculturalism does the opposite and promotes divisions.

    They despise the idea of Israel as a Zionist state because it strengthens a Jewish identity. Being then that it is the Jewish identity [Zionism] which they hate, doesn’t that qualify them for the title of antisemite?

    I would say that it does, regardless of how they try to spin it.

  4. If someone sought to ostracize all Arab academics for the human rights violations, misogyny, and religious persection that are pervasive in Arab states by refusing to allow these academics to participate in conferences or publish in journals, would this not be immediately seized upon as racist and illegal?

    By definition, “anti-Zionists” want to see the Jewish national homeland eradicated. Anyone with a pulse knows that if this were to ever come about, millions of Jews currently living in Israel would either be killed, exiled or forced into subjugation by the Arab majority — just as they have been in every other Arab country. Would the “anti-Zionist” advocate such a fate for any other religious community?

    Anti-Zionism is most assuredly antisemitism, whether the anti-Zionist is a Christian, Muslim, or — as in the case of the author — a Jew. The antisemite may attempt to camouflage their reflexive Jew-hatred by couching it in chic and facile criticism of Israel, but by any other name, it remains Jew-hatred.

  5. I found this commentary by Arthur Neslen in The Guardian among the worst excesses by a self proclaimed Jewish anti-Zionist. From reading Mr. Neslen’s profile we learn that he was the only Jewish correspondent in London for al Jazeera.net. Given the imprimatur of his book, “The Occupied Mind: A journey through the Israeli pysche” published by the left radical Pluto Press of London, he appears to be a “fellow traveler” of Noam Chomsky, a leading left radical self hating anti-Zionist who minted millions through books sold via the same publisher. Mr. Neslen endeavors to ‘spin’ a web of statements from the bible, historic and contemporary figures denying the links between ‘political” antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

    The occasion for Mr. Neslen’s diatribe was the adoption of the EU Monitoring Centre’s new definition of ‘antisemitism” seconded by the special envoy for combating antisemitism at our State Department and Kenneth Stern of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) who consulted in the development of the new definition..’

    This is a sinuous bit of sophistry that claims to link Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of Israel and the Jewish claims to the ancestral homeland to Fascism: Mahatma Gandhi claiming Palestine as Arab lands on the eve of the Shoah, the Einstein letter castigating the Irgun and contemporaneously the British National Party sic British Fascists spokesperson comments about support for Israel in its war with Jihadists in Hezbollah, probably Hamas, too. But then Mr. Neslen derogates his own Jewish heritage in the process.

    What did Humpty Dumpty say in Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland:

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean–neither more nor less.”

    I’m sure that the Kenneth Stern at the AJC in Manhattan and the special envoy on Global Antisemtism at our State Department would take exception to Mr. Nelsen’s commentary on the working definition of antisemitism.

    But then we have a U.S. House of Representatives that wants to eliminate from the official lexicon the term “War on Terrorism”. Fine, at least call it what it is: a War against Global Jihad.

    I guess Mr. Neslen, the British self-pro-claimed anti-Zionist Jew has something in common with Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. They both live in denial of the Global Jihad and are willing to pay the jizya-poll tax levied on dhimmis as ‘fourth class’ subjects under Muslim sharia law in Dar el Harb-the region to be conquered.

    It’s as if the destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center on 9/11 that I witnessed first hand after I left a meeting at the AJC’s headquarters that fateful morning nearly six years ago perpetrated by Saudi and Egyptian Jihadists didn’t really occur. That friends among the nearly 3,000 killed that day didn’t go violently to their deaths. That their surviving families and the nation didn’t grieve for them and that this country and allies didn’t strike back at much cost in terms of blood and treasure at the Jihadi perpetrators of this monstrous crime. I pinched myself to see if this wasn’t all a bad dream after reading both accounts-Mr. Neslen in the Guardian and the Washington Times piece on the House Armed Service lexicon euphemism.

    Yes, Mr. Neslen in the Guardian and Rep. Skelton have something in common. They are both despicable for denying the truth at theirs and our peril.

    These are indeed sad times.

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