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« The Smoking Socks Award: CSO compared to Jewish Kapos | Main | The mysterious case of the missing Broederbond conspiracy »

February 17, 2009

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Empress Trudy

In Spain the conversos were subject to the same persecutions as the Jews who maintained their dignity. As my grandmother used to say "Never forget you're a Jew, *they* won't".

Joel Pollak

In Iran, Jews are forced by the fanatical regime to march against Israel, lest they face imprisonment. In Venezuela, the Chavez regime threatens Jews, telling them that if they don't denounce Israel their synagogues will continue to be vandalized.

Doron Isaacs is effectively asking Jews in a free South Africa to live like Jews in fascist Iran and autocratic Venezuela, bargaining for their very existence. Though he denies it, Jewish life in South Africa has, in fact, become contingent on defending for Israel, not only because anti-Israel protest in South Africa is now indistinguishable from antisemitism (thanks in part to the encouragement of certain "dissident" Jews who have blamed Jewish communities worldwide for Israel's perceived misdeeds), but also because if the community yields to intimidation on this core element of its identity, no other aspect of South African Jewish life will remain safe. What is at stake here is also larger than the fate of Jews: the fate of South African democracy itself is at risk.

That's what Doron refuses to understand. He creates a false dichotomy in which he casts himself and other dissidents as the saviours of the community. In doing so he replicates the polarisation he claims to be a victim of--and, what's more, reinforces the idea that Jews are in some way legitimate targets of anti-Israel fanaticism. I assume Doron's reference to "semi-independent watchdogs" is a reference to bloggers such as those he has debated here and elsewhere. To quote a good friend: "Get a life--an internal, intellectual life." And get real.

The Blacklisted Dictator

Mike,

I think that the Isaacs/ Geffen approach, whether sincerely heartfelt or cynically naive, has hit a dead-end. They failed to get support for their Fatima Fax from Prof Farid Esack ("Muslims Against Racism") and secured only circa 320 signatures for their Gaza petition (less than 0.5% of SA Jewry).

Geffen and Isaacs will always be side-lined by Kasrils and Friedman. Is it a sad fact of life that the former are the second rate duo. They have, moreover, remained silent about "Ronno Einstein in Raedene" and the associated anti-semitic outbursts from Cosatu's Bongani Masuku.

As one of the "semi-independent watchdogs" I have barked at Geffen and Isaacs but I am rapidly concluding that their is nothing to fear.

They have had their lime-light and if they have any self-respect, they should just take one more curtain call and go home.

The SAJR is, of course, at liberty to give Isaacs space to spout but I have to conclude that it is.... a waste of space.

Sam

Some of what Doron Isaacs says makes some sense. However, most people I speak to refuse to abide him for a number of reasons:

1. His manner of expression is extremely sanctimonious - a self-styled communal leader clambering to easy moral high ground, presuming to speak for the Jewish community on the Hajaig affair and many more examples that I am sure are well known on this site.
2. His cohort Nathan Geffen's silly reactive pronouncements, condemning anyone who disagrees with him as antisemitic, denouncing the Chief Rabbi as "fundamentalist", (and not seeing the humour in this), quoting the Talmud liberally and sarcastically and generally making himself objectionable and an easy figure to dislike
3. Many of his SAHRD delegates have been the source of much antisemitic vitriol of late, and many in the community hold him responsible for lighting the fuse.
4. The common cause that he has made with certain individuals almost universally abhorred among the Jewish population, such as Kasrils and Zapiro (who, for the record, does not make me "proud in spite of myself").
5. The obvious isolating of himself from orthodoxy and affiliation to reform which by definition falls prey to the very fault lines he acknowledges exist - indeed he has conflated the two usages of the term "progressive Jews".

I do believe that there should be a number of credible voices other than the SAJBD working in amicable opposition, perhaps mirroring the swirling potpourri that is SA Jewish Opinion. And some of these voices should certainly come from the "progressive" camp, like Isaacs'. But for him to suggest that there are only two voices, and that one of them is his own, is a fantastic Chutzpah - an insult to those of us who are as concerned about morality and justice as he professes to be, but who will have no truck with his arrogance and willingness to find the fault lines in our community and exploit them for his own ends.

JoeTalin

I feel sorry in a way for Doron. Less sympathy than pity though.
I have found that criticism leveled at him is done so based on excerpts from his opinions without looking at the legitimacy of all the things that he has to say.

For example, I don't think that he was advocating a black and white choice necessarily. I'm sure that he realizes that there is a distinct gray area in every facet of life. I found his main point to be that negotiation can be a better alternative to siege and blockades which are an obstacle to peace.

Now before we get the usual attacks directed towards me, I am not saying that these blockades are not necessary. They are very necessary. I am very much in favor of measures that ensure peaceful and prosperous lives of Israelis before Palestinians since Israelis would actually allow Palestinians to live in peace if given the same in reciprocation.

What I am saying is try and be fair in your criticisms of what people have to say. I do not personally believe that Doron (and other members of the just-less than extreme left) would wish any harm to Israel unlike 'Jews' like Kasrils and Zapiro.

Steve

Joe,
Yours in an important voice. Don't be put off by the "usual attacks" etc.

I agree with you in general, and perhaps I too, on this blog, have stepped into the category of unfairly criticising him based on excerpts.

But Mike certainly doesn't. He has read and considered very seriously much of what Doron has to say.

Danherm

We must be careful to be above demonising Doron Isaacs et al as the "enemy" of the mainstream Jewish Community.

Put into context what he did, What he did is rally 300 people with similar viewpoints to condemn israel's actions as disproportionate and unlawful. What he did was give a voice to a minority of people, who are legitimately entitled to their views.

What is not conducive to Jewish unity is prominent and public voices in the Jewish community calling the 300 people who signed the petition anti-semites, and hamas supporters. However, this is typical of our "illiberal" community, where more effort is made to be defensive about the primacy of our mainstream beliefs and to call the people are not aligned "anti semites" rather than to take the time to advocate the cause of Israel among different factions of the Jewish community and create a meaningful and lasting pro-israel consensus.

The Jewish community leadership simply does not acknowledge plurality in the community, and therefore, I find it particular unsurprising that we now find ourselves in a position where our most promising, young leaders are now adopting anti-mainstream community viewpoints. Doron Isaacs and the "300" have been marginalised for years by jewish leadership for having different religious, cultural, political opinions. Maybe, the approach of the community leadership does need to change, to become more inclusive of reform, habonim, secular jewry etc etc, and then to take this atmosphere of acceptance and inclusiveness, and use it to promote israel advocacy and pro-israel sentiment rather than allow anti-zionist views to grow in these alienated spaces.

The Blacklisted Dictator

Mike,
As the various daily shenanigans proceed, particularly in the South African context with regard to Israel, her detractors and the wider Middle East, I reflect on the following...
In 1990, a year after the fatwa, Salman Rushdie wrote: ‘I feel as if I have been plunged, like Alice, into a world beyond the looking glass, where nonsense is the only available sense. And I wonder if I’ll ever be able to climb back through.’

Albert Cilliers

My Jewish mate Paul Harmel asked me to upload this for him, he couldn't do it all day, it was blocking him out. Albert Cilliers, London
------------------------------------------

You guys seem to have misread what Doron Isaacs wrote quite badly.

1. Mike claims: "The crux of Doron's argument is that the Jewish community's unwavering public support for Israel is augmenting anti-Jewish feelings among civil society in South Africa."
He didn't say that. He did say that the support of Jewish institutions, in the name of entire community, reduces their ability to respond to anti-Semitism. He didn't say it causes anti-Semitism. So on what you call "the crux" you've got it wrong.

2. Mike calls his suggestions "appeasement policies" but that also seems wrong. He seems to be arguing that taking a more honest approach to Israeli wrongs would (i) be the right thing to do, and (ii) would help in fighting anti-Semitism (as he himself did against Hajaig), not appeasing it.

3. Mike rehashes the Freedland piece "Sowing anti-Semitism". You quote Freedland as warning against "Jews' place in society contingent on their distance from their fellow Jews, in this case, Israelis'". Joel Pollak frets that Isaacs suggests that the Jewish community "yields to intimidation on this core element of its identity"... But in his high-road idea Isaacs says:
"The Jewish leadership insists that the close personal and family ties we have to Israel, the place it has come to occupy in many peoples' identities and the need for every Israeli to have peace and security, be accepted."
Anyway, as I've already pointed out that if anything, Freedland was endorsing the approach taken by Geffen, Isaacs etc and not the one taken by Pollak, Saks etc. http://supernatural.blogs.com/weblog/2009/02/the-guardian-on-the-increasing-pressure-being-placed-on-jews.html#comments

4. Mike says: "I do not try to impose my opinion on the rest of the community with threats that if they don't follow my approach they will suffer increased anti-Semitism." But it seems to me that is exactly Pollak is doing when he says:
"...anti-Israel protest in South Africa is now indistinguishable from antisemitism (thanks in part to the encouragement of certain "dissident" Jews who have blamed Jewish communities worldwide for Israel's perceived misdeeds)"
It the same as Sam saying: "Many in the community hold him responsible for lighting the fuse."
Isn't that Pollak and Sam saying that Jews had better behave in a certain way otherwise they will get antisemitism in the neck? Would you differ Mike?

5. Mike says Isaacs has been "publicly demonising the 70 000 odd other Jews who did not sign the petition as bad, racist and illiberal". You seem to be out on a limb here. I can't find any examples of him saying this, certainly not in the article you're referring to.

6. The best manipulation, as usually is from Pollak. He says: "Doron Isaacs is effectively asking Jews in a free South Africa to live like Jews in fascist Iran and autocratic Venezuela, bargaining for their very existence." On the contrary, he seems to be suggesting Jews in SA act like full and equal citizens, "reaching out to all sectors of society" and acting "as an opponent of all racism in South Africa". Isaacs seems to think that Jews in SA should behave as people generally do in a democracy, by promoting basic liberties for all people. It seems like Pollak, Mike etc who think we must go into a bunker mentality like Jews in Iran and Venezuela.

7. I also find it confusing that two guys sitting in America should find it weird that there are Jews in SA saying harsh stuff about Israel. This links to a worldwide increase in Jewish frank words about Israel. Check out www.jstreet.org – it is a coming force. And also:
US: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/10/MNGU156LEQ.DTL
UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/11/gaza-israel-letter-british-jews
AUS: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2009/01/05/1231003936981.html

Religious Fundamentalist 1

Danherm,

There is no reason for the Jewish community to necessarily acknowledge pluralism as an absolute value, in particular where it conflicts with other more important values.

If, as you suggest, habonim, reform and anybody else you mention are so fickle and mentally infirm as to take out their unrelated frustrations with Jewry on Israel by becoming apologists for terrorists then indeed these might not be people one wants to associate with to start with.

It is excessive liberalism, permissiveness and pluralism (and above all ignorance) that allowed many of these fashionable ideas to sprout. I can't see how more pluralism is likely to reduce the idiocy.

Moreover, why should minority groups with ideas anti-thetical to the majority presume to dictate the main stream discussion?

Maybe, if we all have a group hug, then Hamas won't hate us so much. Maybe, if we put a black man in the white house we can be forgiven for slavery ... oh... wait...

Gary

It's abit rich of the Kasrils/Friedman/Geffen/Isaacs cult to claim they are being victimized by the 'mainstream' community when the 'burn Israel' Jews are the ones who have the full weight of the ANC/SACP regime and COSATU behind them and control NGOs, universiites and the media.
The fact is that 5 million fellow Jews have faced genocide for a long time and for these 'progressive' Jews to show their fellow Jews in Israel such animosity for struggling to survvie, is sick and evil.
I mean who are these 'alternative' leftwing Jews to judge Israelis, from their plush homes in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
As Hillel points out, a lot of Jews in the diaspora use Israel as a scapegoat for their issues with their own local Jewish communities. Israelis have enoguh to deal with, they are facing genocide and are surrounded by 100 million Arabs who want them dead.
The phenomenon of Jews who side with Israel's genocidal enemies has been with us for decades, but these characters have become particularly brazen and vicious since Arafat launched the simultaneous propaganda and terror war against Israel in September, 2000.

Writer Edward Alexander points out: ' Jews who sympathize with the aims of the PLO are few in number, but exercise a tyranny over the majority in the prominence they command in public discourse and in their influence on public decisions.
The ease with which such "display Jews" vault to international prominence is not hard to explain. They are like the proverbial dog dancing on hind legs. It is not done well, but people are surprised to find it done at all. Surprise guarantees attention.'
Observing that these so-called critics aim to play the role of Biblical prophets "it is the aim of this book to strip away these long robes and reveal the naked hatred and self-love they often feel".
In the introduction the editor refers to the story by the Yiddish writer IL Peretz called "The Shabbos Goy". The story concerns a Chelm Rabbi adept at explaining away the brutality of a non-Jewish servant towards a Jew named Yankele. The Rabbi eventually concludes that Yankele's very existance and preference of living over dying is a provocation to murder. He banishes Yankele from the town and increases the pay and liquor rations of the gentile servant.
Referring to diaspora Jews who say that Israel must dissapear because it is an embarassment to them in their own circles Alexander concludes with reference to "The Shabbos Goy": "We will not consent that Yankele should be asked to leave Zion just so that his co-religionists should be at ease in exile."

Paul Nick Harmel

You guys seem to have misread what Doron Isaacs wrote quite badly.

1. Mike claims: "The crux of Doron's argument is that the Jewish community's unwavering public support for Israel is augmenting anti-Jewish feelings among civil society in South Africa."

He didn't say that. He did say that the support of Jewish institutions, in the name of entire community, reduces their ability to respond to anti-Semitism. He didn't say it causes anti-Semitism. So on what you call "the crux" you've got it wrong.

2. Mike calls his suggestions "appeasement policies" but that also seems wrong. He seems to be arguing that taking a more honest approach to Israeli wrongs would (i) be the right thing to do, and (ii) would help in fighting anti-Semitism (as he himself did against Hajaig), not appeasing it.

3. Mike rehashes the Freedland piece "Sowing anti-Semitism". You quote Freedland as warning against "Jews' place in society contingent on their distance from their fellow Jews, in this case, Israelis'". Joel Pollak frets that Isaacs suggests that the Jewish community "yields to intimidation on this core element of its identity"... But in his high-road idea Isaacs says:

"The Jewish leadership insists that the close personal and family ties we have to Israel, the place it has come to occupy in many peoples' identities and the need for every Israeli to have peace and security, be accepted."

Anyway, as I've already pointed out that if anything, Freedland was endorsing the approach taken by Geffen, Isaacs etc and not the one taken by Pollak, Saks etc. http://supernatural.blogs.com/weblog/2009/02/the-guardian-on-the-increasing-pressure-being-placed-on-jews.html#comments

4. Mike says: "I do not try to impose my opinion on the rest of the community with threats that if they don't follow my approach they will suffer increased anti-Semitism." But it seems to me that is exactly Pollak is doing when he says:

"...anti-Israel protest in South Africa is now indistinguishable from antisemitism (thanks in part to the encouragement of certain "dissident" Jews who have blamed Jewish communities worldwide for Israel's perceived misdeeds)"

It the same as Sam saying: "Many in the community hold him responsible for lighting the fuse."

Isn't that Pollak and Sam saying that Jews had better behave in a certain way otherwise they will get antisemitism in the neck? Would you differ Mike?

5. Mike says Isaacs has been "publicly demonising the 70 000 odd other Jews who did not sign the petition as bad, racist and illiberal". You seem to be out on a limb here. I can't find any examples of him saying this, certainly not in the article you're referring to.

6. The best manipulation, as usually is from Pollak. He says: "Doron Isaacs is effectively asking Jews in a free South Africa to live like Jews in fascist Iran and autocratic Venezuela, bargaining for their very existence." On the contrary, he seems to be suggesting Jews in SA act like full and equal citizens, "reaching out to all sectors of society" and acting "as an opponent of all racism in South Africa". Isaacs seems to think that Jews in SA should behave as people generally do in a democracy, by promoting basic liberties for all people. It seems like Pollak, Mike etc who think we must go into a bunker mentality like Jews in Iran and Venezuela.

7. I also find it confusing that two guys sitting in America should find it weird that there are Jews in SA saying harsh stuff about Israel. This links to a worldwide increase in Jewish frank words about Israel. Check out www.jstreet.org – it is a coming force. And also:

US: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/10/MNGU156LEQ.DTL

UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/11/gaza-israel-letter-british-jews

AUS: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2009/01/05/1231003936981.html

The Blacklisted Dictator

Doron Isaacs writes in his SAJR piece... "Together with this, the community articulates a nuanced pro-Israel pro-peace message which speaks to Jewish and Arab freedom and humanity alike, recognises explicitly that Israeli settlement and military control on the West Bank, as it is presently carried out, is an enormous barrier to peace, and that negotiation - rather than war and siege - holds out the only hope."

What is the give away sign that all is not well in the Isaac's lexicon?
It is the word... "nuanced". It is the most over-used word in the PC/ human rights/anti-racist lexicon. And it immediately forewarns the reader that what is about to be expressed will be nauseating, self-righteous, pretentious nonsense.

Mike

Danherm, I agree with your general narrative. I think that it is important to open up the community to more points of view. I think our fear for non mainstream views has done us damage. But I don’t know if that narrative fits the case here. Doron was very involved in Habonim and the Cape Town Jewish community. I guess it would be interesting to ask him but I don’t think he was marginalized. Also his tour got a lot of support for the leadership. They met with him on many occasions and at least in the beginning seemed somewhat supportive. I actually think it is the other way round. Doron moved too far to the left too quickly for the community. He left them behind ideologically and became angry that they have not adopted his view. I actually was quite hopeful hat some good could come out of Doron’s SAHRD initiative. But give the animosity that has been created between his group and the mainstream, I think it is now impossible.
Steve and I a fiercely pro-Israel and we spend lots of our time defending the Jewish state. But another major objective of this blog is to promote debate in the community. I think voice like Doron’s are positive. I just think it’s the way the mainstream and Doron have began to speak to each other that is the problem. And I think he bears some responsibility for that.

Mike

Paul, I don’t think I have misrepresented Doron’s position. I hope not. It was based not only on the article but also what he has written before and on his website. If I have I am happy to give him the opportunity to correct it. Here is my response to some of your points.

1) Doron writes under the low road scenario that because of the Jewish communities support for Israel there will be ‘Increasing antagonism with Palestine supporting groups in labour and civil society’ which will be ‘interpreted by loud voices in the community as a threat to Jewish life in this country’. I understood this to mean that there would be increases in the number and intensity of the marches on Beyachad by COSATU and the PSC. The local Jewish community would increasingly be singled out and boycotted for its defense of Israel. Something I also expect will happen as the situation in the Middle East worsens. Now I believe targeting local Jews and holding them responsible for Israel’s actions is anti-Semitism as Jonathan Freedland in that brilliant article clearly explained.
2) I do not disagree that Doron cares about combating anti-Semitism. I am pleased that he spoke out about the Deputy Foreign Minister. But he always does it as the good Jew. The one who condemns Israel. We have a fundamental difference about what you call Israel’s wrongs. I would think that the majority of the community too shares my view that the Gaza war was in principle justifiable and justified. So by defending Israel I don’t think we are being dishonest. But nevertheless my point is that we should not have to condemn Israel even if it does wrong. Are Hindu South Africa’s held responsible for the acts of their co-religionist in India? Are local Muslims for the actions of hamas? So why should Jews? Accepting this immoral ultimatum that we can only be secure in South Africa if we condemn Israel is appeasement to me.
3) Your quote is selective. He also writes that the Jewish community must recognize ‘explicitly that Israeli settlement and military control on the West Bank, as it is presently carried out, is an enormous barrier to peace …’ why? Why should we adopt his political position? There are many Jews possibly the major in South Africa who do not believe this.

I think the major problem with your comments and Doron’s article is that you assume that there is only one moral position on the conflict. Your own. If we are to be a united community we need to be tolerant of all positions.


Joel Pollak

Instead of the sanctimonious high road/low road nonsense, what the Jewish community simply needs to do is stand up for the rights of Jews as equal citizens in a free and democratic country, irrespective of their individual or collective beliefs about Israel, and likewise respect the rights of members of the Jewish community to express and advocate their views on Israel or anything else, honoring the preferences of the majority without denigrating those of the minority. Doing so means standing up to the hegemonic pretenses of the post-colonial elite and the demagoguery of the populist mob. It's basic stuff but it requires courage.

JoeTalin

Joel, I agree with you there.
We should be showing a united front against any discrimination against Jews for merely being Jewish.

The Blacklisted Dictator

Even if The Gaza Petition is one day appended to The Torah, the following will have to be stated: "And in Africa, a dark place, only 0.5% of the Jews were willing to sign. Sometimes wives refused and sometimes husbands. Families could not agree if Nathaniel and Doronnah were really leading the chosen people to the Promised Land."

The Blacklisted Dictator

Mike,
I think that you are being extremely naive.
You write: "I do not disagree that Doron cares about combating anti-Semitism. I am pleased that he spoke out about the Deputy Foreign Minister."
If that is the case, why didn't Doron speak out when his"wonderfully interesting" friend, Prof Esack ("Muslims Against Racism" ) refused to sign the Fatima Fax and went on to condone her anti-semitism ?
And has Doron written anything about Bongani Masuku's antisemitic outbursts? As far as I am aware he hasn't.
I have to publicly state...The Isacss/Geffen approach to antisemitism in South Africa is extremely "NUANCED"!
It is a sham.

The Blacklisted Dictator

NUANCED

Bush, the last Republican President, wasn't eloquent.
His vocabulary evidently needed improvement.
Unlike Obama, he wasn't nuanced, far too simplistic
For American academics who voted Democratic.
Post 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan,
The terrorists were dubbed evil and inhuman
"Best to kill them" said the Neo Conservatives
We must attack those Islamic fundamentalists.
Barack does not see things quite so black and white.
His views are sophisticated, not nearly so trite.
We must not balk at talking to Mullahs in Iran
Diplomatic intervention is the road to Tehran.
So.. "nuanced" policy, without the Texan's idiocy
Will soon bring this fractured world to sanity?

Lawrence

Yes I agree with Posner, and I think Mike is contradicting himself somewhat when he rightly criticises Isaacs, eloquently stating "publically demonising the 70 000 odd other Jews who did not sign the petition as bad, racist and illiberal is not the way to secure the future of South African Jewry" and then later on Mike writes "I think voices like Doron are positive".

You can't have it both ways, unless you want to bend yourself into a pretzel Mike.

Mike Berger has rightly pointed out that Isaacs, Geffen and his gang are "a fifth column of Jewry", and like him I consider Isaacs et al beneath contempt. Of the most recent anti-Israel petition that Isaacs, Geffen and others signed, once again I defer to the always eloquent Mike Berger (from his blog)
-----------------------------------
"...the petition is being widely disseminated in the context of a situation which has been deliberately engineered by Hamas and its allies as part of a long-term strategy for reversing the creation of a Jewish state in the Middle East. This strategy includes a global campaign of demonisation and condemnation based on manipulated, selective and often downright false information. The result is a global outpouring of hatred and anti-Zionist rhetoric - and antisemitic sentiment last seen in the 1930s.

"The petition lends ammunition to those whose deepest desire is to see Israel destroyed and even to those who have bought into the notion of Jewish evil, a necessary prelude to genocide the world over."
-------------------------------------------

It's as if the recent shenanigans on this blog with Geffen, Isaacs and Jonathan Berger (and they are all of piece) never took place. You know - the baseless bullying threats of litigation made against Mike and/or Steve, the accusations of anti-Semitism and defamation directed at Steve by Geffen!, the endless anti-Israel animus from this gang of lying bully boys.

The charges of none-too-subtle fascism directed at Mike, Steve and Joel Pollak as well by Jonathan Berger and Geffen respectively were pathetic, mendacious and almost laughable if not for the fact that it was just so sad. (have you forgotten Mike and Steve or don't you think it matters at all?). Isaacs is joined to the hip to these two, he is cut from the same cloth. They all prop one another up. And Steve and Mike with their soft and concilliatory tone to Isaacs after all that - on this thread! Give me a break.

Is a voice like Doron "positive" Mike when he and Geffen co-invited/approved of the inclusion of anti-Semites like Farid Esack, Drew Forest and Mondli Makhanya to be a part of the SAHRD, or is Isaacs's voice "positive" when he merely parrots unfair anti-Israel propoganda and whitewashes and/or engages in justification/apologetics of Islamic jihadist terror?

This naivite or softness of Mike's re Isaacs and his fellow drones is not really suprising. IAS is at least consistent in this regard, for example:

Relating to Deputy Minister Hajaig's Jew-hate conspiracy rant at the COSATU rally in Lenasia earlier this year,
http://supernatural.blogs.com/weblog/2009/01/fatima-hajaigs-antijewish-comments-on-youtube.html

I had this to say re IAS and for that matter Joel Pollak's commendations of Geffen and Achmat respectively, for condemning her anti-Semitism:

"So when Mike or Steve (I forget who) commends Geffen for criticising Hajaig, and Pollak does likewise re Achmat's remarks on e-tv over the Hajaig affair (over at his blog), well this is absurd and misplaced, naive even. They are commending closet anti-Semites for speaking out against honest anti-Semitism! even as both IAS and Pollak then proceed straightaway to rightly criticise Geffen and Achmat respectively. Yet the point is missed, it's as if dishonest anti-Semitism is ok (to IAS and Pollak), so long as our opponents employ all the cover terms and cover language of anti-Israelism, then we will go along with their anti-Semitic disguises (even though we vehemently disagree with what they have to say on Israel), since our opponents insist on it! Why else "commend" Geffen and Achmat at all?"

And then again Mike comments above on this very thread, continuing in the same vein really:

"Jonathan Freedland, the not exactly pro-Israel journalist from the not exactly pro-Israel Guardian newspaper, has recently written a brilliant piece, entitled “Sowing anti-Semitism”, challenging the hypocrisy of those who seek to force local Jewish communities into condemning the actions of Israel."

When Mike writes the "not exactly pro-Israel" Freedland and Guardian, this is extremely euphemistic for anti-Israel. And how to explain their respective anti-Israelism other than anti-Semitism? I mean if somebody is say anti-Denmark, anti-Canada, anti-Australia, would one not be seen as prejudiced against Danes, Canadians and Australians respectively? Sherlock Holmes's intellect is not needed here. So Mike recommends the "brilliant piece" by an anti-Israel and arguably anti-Semitic journalist Freedland who has no problem writing for the anti-Semitic Guardian!

The thing is I responded to Freedland's piece on the Freedland thread where Mike or Steve first mentioned it,
http://supernatural.blogs.com/weblog/2009/02/the-guardian-on-the-increasing-pressure-being-placed-on-jews.html
pointing out Freedland's hypocrisy and contradictions here. Mike never even acknowledged nor addressed the substance of my critique, and just continues to express admiration for a consistently anti-Israel journalist Freedland (and therefore one who fuels the fires of anti-Semitic ignorance as Isaacs and Geffen do in SA) for hypocritically condemning open (and at least honest for all that) anti-Semitic venom and violence in the UK!

Would one commend a Robert Fisk or a Noam Chomsky for speaking out against anti-Semitic violence when they actively promote it in the form of dishonest anti-Israel agitprop, just like Freedland in the UK?

So Mike is at least consistent here, but I think maybe some deeper reflection....

Mike

Lawrence,

You are right. I was not precise enough. What I meant to say was that having people with different views about Israel in the Jewish community is positive. I think its important to engage and debate issues. I obviously dont agree with the way Doron has attacked us.

I think the major difference between our positions is that I dont think criticism of Israel is necessarily anti-Semitic. I do envision a situation where one can be anti-Zionist and pro-Jewish. I dont believe Doron is anti-Semitic.

Ra5cal

Demonising Israel in a bid to curb antisemitism abroad is not the solution.

Freedland's comment, "It's perfectly possible to condemn Israel's conduct and to stand firmly against anti-Jewish prejudice." is both selfish and narrow minded. We need to look beyond this.

IMHO the only way for us to halt the spiral of violence is to strengthen the moderates on both sides and create a dynamic whereby Israelis and Palestinians can eventually vote in separate referendums on a final peace agreement. To do this we (here in Israel) need the help of the Left. In Israel and abroad.

It's time to abandon the call of Freedman, of Kasrils, of Geffen. It's time to say, "No" to those who say, "Not in my name"; it's time to say "Yes. In my name."

In my name I will do what it takes to understand the issues on the ground, the geopolitical stakes, and work to secure freedom, peace and justice for the citizens of Israel, and a state that will one day - for the first time ever in history - be called Palestine.

As a Zionist Leftist I think that's a pretty noble cause.

The Blacklisted Dictator

(1) It is fair game to demonize Israel and Jews as long as it isn't hate speech.

(2) Doron is at liberty to hang out with whoever he wants to. There is no reason that he can't be mates with Farid and Drew.

(3) SAHRD freebies to Israel are v.nice. I hope to be invited on the next one.

(4) The main-stream press is virulently anti-zionist and there is no reason that The SAHRD should not take full advantage of it.

(5) Doron might be the messiah. Many Jews dissed Jesus so these things aren't always evident.

(6) The SAHRD/ SASHRIP etc are now politically irrelevant.

(7) Sanctions against Israel will probably not be introduced prior to 2010. It is impractical especially if SA is drawn against Israel in the World Cup.

(8) If sanctions are introduced against Israel it will be the end of SA. Not the end of Israel.

(9) The SAJBD should not do any more "Zuma" book launches. It really isn't worth going to such trouble.

(10) I am available for after dinner speeches at barmitzvahs and weddings.

The Blacklisted Dictator

Doron,

I have just been alerted to the VOC radio interview with Farid Esack. I was not previously aware of Steve's update on Supernatural. However as you are well aware, I did send Prof Esack a copy of the quote on Feb 4th and I am extremely surprised that he did not try and immediately set the record straight. Perhaps he could not remember what he had said?

To be perfectly honest, I find Prof Esack's VOC radio interview to be quite chilling. He seems to suggest that it is inevitable that the war between Israelis and Palestinians will inevitably spill over onto the streets in South Africa. He does not, at any time, counsel caution or good sense and I have to conclude that Cosatu's demo in Raedene was a crude attempt to ignite such a conflagration. It is a great pity that you and Nathan have not publicly distanced yourselves from it (if you have distanced yourselves, please supply me witth the quote)

Of course, there is still no explanation why Prof Esack refused to sign your Fatima Fax. One has to conclude that he did not find her antisemitism offensive.

Please understand, that I think that you are quite within your rights to promulgate the Gaza Petition. I certainly wouldn't have signed The SAJBD's Gaza letter. My views, of course, are more "nuanced"!

I do not bear you or Nathan any ill-will whatsoever, although I obviously disagree with what you have been doing. I believe that you are both extremely misguided but quite within your constitutional rights to be so.

Gary

Mike writes "I do envision a situation where one can be anti-Zionist and pro-Jewish"
I dont know if I should bother because I have written so much explaining why anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism on this blog, but to no avail.
So you saying mike, you can be against the world's largest Jewish community, i.e Israel's five million Jews and be pro-Jewish?
Fiamma Niresnstein in her article "How I became an nuncoscious fascist" of her return to Italy after volunteering in Israel during the SixDay War: ". But I soon noticed that I had lost the innocence of the good Jew, of the very special Jewish friend, their Jew: I was now connected with the Jews of the State of Israel, and slowly I was put out of the dodecaphonic, psychoanalytic, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Philip Roth, Freud shtetl, the coterie that sanctified my Judaism in left wing eyes".
So thats what this 'we are not anti-Semitic but merely anti-Zionist' nay we 'are pro-Jewish but anti-zionist' is about, as long as you the right type of Jew we will like you, as long as you are not connected with those backward 'fascist' Israelis.
Mike, are you so intent on making all Jews in SA, no matter what their intentions to Israel, feel welcomne that you are prepared to sell out Israel?

Lawrence

Gary I don't think Mike means what you say, but I agree that he certainly didn't think through what he wrote when he wrote that one can be both anti-Zionist and pro-Jewish! It is as you point out Gary, a total contradiction. One can certainly be a non-Zionist and pro-Jewish, that is for definite and I think this is what Mike should have written.

But being anti-Zionist and pro-Jewish is like saying one can be obese and an Olympic athletic track star at the same time. It is like saying one supports both gay and women's rights and the Taliban and Hamas! Actually there are people on the Left (gays and feminists) who engage in this kind of double-think, but I digress....

I have certainly written things up without thinking them through (both here and elsewhere), several times, and I think Mike made the same mistake here.

One can be neutral to Zionism as say many Hindus and Buddhists (and even as Jews) are and be pro-Jewish (some of them from India, Japan and Thailand for example are my personal friends) but to be as it were pro-Jewish and anti-Zionist is like being a thoughtful, compassionate and considerate Taliban terrorist!

I have also explained why anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism Gary, on this very blog as you know. It is anti-Semitism by definition and in principle. Every anti-Zionist I have ever met or encountered in any way only proved the truth of this, that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. In fact that is how I personally knew that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, from all the anti-Zionists I met! It is only later that I realised, when researching on Zionism, Herzl etc that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism by definition and on principle.

Below is the url link to the most relevant thread from this blog re anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. In my 2 posts I explain why this is so, and very briefly the psychological dynamics of Leftwing anti-Zionism (not my own original ideas of course, I have taken it from Jewish scholars and academics)
Gary also makes some comments on this same thread re anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism
http://supernatural.blogs.com/weblog/2008/12/friedman-of-speech.html

Danherm

I love this South African Jewish community...there is an awesome diversity of views, reflective of our multicultural nature, and our background as a Jewish community in the melting pot of South Africa.

But I really do find that there is a sense of constant antagonism between left and right, and an unnecessary denial by the mainstream orthodox hegemony of plurality in our community.

Religious Fundamentalist stated in his reply to me that "There is no reason for the Jewish community to necessarily acknowledge pluralism as an absolute value,..". I suppose whether there is a reason or not, depends on how narrowly you define "jewish community" - if jewish community is defined as only orthodox, zionist jews - then i suppose there is no need to acknowledge other groupings. However, if " jewish community" includes reform jews and secular jews and liberal jews etc etc... then there is a VERY GOOD reason to acknowledge pluralism - because our community at its core is pluralistic! In any event, your username is "religious fundamentalist", so i suppose you do construct the community as narrowly as that.

My belief is that this question of plurality is at the centre of this Doron Isaacs debate. David Sak's unfounded dissing of habonim proves the antagonism and polarisation that has been created within our community for liberal, left leaning jews, and this is seriously something that needs to stop.

Mike, I agree with you that maybe Doron Isaac's is demanding too much from the community if he expects them to agree with him...on the other hand, i don't think he's expecting too much if he expects them to listen to him - in fact, i think they should, and then engage with him in a civil manner without namecalling and slandering him and the people who agree with him.

My final point is, this community needs to wake up to the fact that it needs to become more inclusive and tolerant of alternative views. I believe that this blog is a great space for this sort of engagement and i commend Mike and Steve on this blog. But, the mudslinging and namecalling of liberal, left leaning jewry is a sickness in our community, and needs to be addressed by the community leadership in a meaningful way.

Steve

What about some Haredi (not talking about Neturei Karta) Jews who believe that Zionism has harmed Judaism? They don't believe in the legitimacy of the secular Jewish state of Israel and Tel aviv with drugs and prostitutes is an abhorrence to them.

They take anti-Zionist positions but are pro-Jewish.

Ohr Someyach, whilst not extreme, are definitely not Zionists. Though I agree we need to make a distinction between non and anti Zionist.

Steve

How about anti-Nationalists who are against all forms of nationalism and dont just single out Zionism. They are still anti-Zionists. Are they then antisemitic. (They probably are, but do they have to be?)

Lawrence

Mike thank you for responding to my first post. I do want to address some points though.

You write above in reference to my comments (from my first post):
"I think the major difference between our positions is that I dont think criticism of Israel is necessarily anti-Semitic. I do envision a situation where one can be anti-Zionist and pro-Jewish. I dont believe Doron is anti-Semitic. "

I have never said criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. This is a straw-man really. Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic, however anti-Semitic criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. There is a difference.

Valid and fair criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic, but unfair and dishonest criticism of Israel (of which for example Freedland is guilty and I wrote on the relevant thread just why he is) is anti-Semitic, as is the whitewashing and/or justification/apologetics for Islamic jihadist terror directed against Israel (and others) which goes hand in hand with the former. Isaacs and Geffen for that matter are guilty of this (and more) and thus it is reasonable to argue are anti-Semitic. One could say they are merely misinformed and misinform others, and are not anti-Semitic. However the fact is that they deliberately and wilfully choose to parrot insidious agitprop against Israel, they cater to the expectations, as Mike Berger has pointed out, of every viscious anti-Semite in South Africa, and they choose to downplay and reduce to mere nuisance levels the nature, the dynamics and depth of Islamic fascism that threaten Israel's very survival.

Doron Isaacs (and Geffen and others of course) himself signed the anti-Israel Hezbollah apologist petition during the 2006 Lebanon War, as did Ronnie Kasrils and Zapiro. My point is that Isaacs by giving his explicit endorsement of the same anti-Israel petition as a Hamas and Iranian regime supporter as Kasrils, unambigously makes clear that much of his opinion of that Israel-Hezbollah conflict is identical to a viscious Hamas supporting anti-Semite as Kasrils. That has its obvious implications....
I am not saying Isaacs is as bad as Kasrils, he isn't of course (it's difficult even for skinheads to be as anti-Semitic as Kasrils! and I'm only half-joking), however sometimes he can be - like endorsing (as did Geffen and others of course) the identical petition that Kasrils did in 2006. So I would say Isaacs is anti-Semitic, and that he differs only in degree to many other anti-Semites, Jewish or not.

Isaacs's criticisms of Israel are exactly what you would expect anti-Semites to make against Israel, and do make against Israel ie they are anti-Semitic criticisms, they are dishonest and misrepresentative critiques of the Middle-East conflicts and its dynamics. The SAHRD broohaha alone damns Isaacs and Geffen for the reasons I write in my post above and for the reasons plenty others have pointed out at this blog alone over the course of the SAHRD affair...

Nobody is saying Jews cannot disagree and argue with one another about Israel or that it isn't healthy and a positive thing to have different opinions, for example of the regular posters here like Pollak, Posner, Gary, Hillel and myself - we do not always see eye to eye and often disagree with one another, and often vehemently so (there have even been near-flame wars); but none of us would accuse each other of anti-Semitism.

Yet so-called Jews whose position is of a Zapiro variety, if not in degree than at least in kind, are simply beyond the pale, they are a fifth column. Giving them legitimacy, a place at the table, gives legitimacy to anti-Semitism, since the anti-Israel agitprop of Geffen's and Isaacs's is used by very real anti-Semites across the political spectrum as animus against both Jews and Israel. Given what is at stake - our very survival, this is simply not on. Isaacs and Geffen are free to say what they say, I am not advocating censorship of free speech here, I am saying don't give them any legitimacy, don't give them the time of day and let us call them what they are, and pull no punches - they are propogandists whether they realise it or not, for anybody anywhere in the world who wishes to see Jews and Israel suffer and yes even die. This is what being a useful idiot for the Muslim Jihad actually means. Actually.

I think we mustn't make the mistake of setting the bar for anti-Semitism too low - that one has to practically be a Holocaust Denier or believe in Jewish conspiracies before one is to be considered anti-Semitic at this IAS blog (yes I admit I am exaggerating, exaggerating to make a point). Being charitable to anti-Semites, giving them the benefit of the doubt when all the evidence points elsewhere, commending hypocritical anti-Israel journalists and the like who engage in double-think, namely unfair anti-Israelism and then condemning anti-Semitism practically in the same breath - is not the way to go. Offending anti-Semites (and that includes anti-Zionists) and calling them what they are, is. What are these anti-Semites going to do? Hate us? Uh they do already - that's the point. If they are not going to be honest about it, well that's their fucking problem, not mine. Not ours.

Reminds me of the joke of the two Jewish partisans caught by the Gestapo during the war. They are sentenced to death by firing squad, the Gestapo commander asks the Jews if they have any last words before they are shot. The one Jew says yes and yells into a rant about how evil and stupid the Nazis are, how they are devils in human form and he hopes they burn in hell. His friend says to him, "no don't say that, the Nazi Gestapo officer will hate you then."

You tell lies about Israel, you wilfully swallow and parrot the lies of an anti-Semitic media, I will call you anti-Semitic. You endorse and share in the opinions on the Israel/Arab Muslim conflict of anti-Semitic journalists, politicians, academics etc I will call you anti-Semitic. You hold Israel's enemies to very low standards, if any standards at all - you whitewash and/or engage in apologetics regarding their terror and barbarity while holding Israel to the impossible to meet standards of saints and demi-gods, I will call such blatant double standards anti-Semitism. You are an anti-Zionist (which is anti-Semitic by definition), fine you are an anti-Semite then.

Give me that ol' time honest anti-Semitism any day.

Gary

Steve, The Neturei Karta support groups that kill fellow Jews, they support Hamas and Hizbullah and suicide bombings, they support Iran's nuclear programme.
As regards people who are against any form of nationalism, well I have yet to meet one of these internationlist leftists against nationalism who are as much against Palestinian nationalism, including that of Hamas, or pan-Arab nationalism. If they are as vehement in their attacks on Arab, Palestinian and Islamic nationalists, including Hamas, Hizbullah, the Iranian regime, then I would concede you may have a point but they never are, are they?

Gary

There is also something those who call for tolerance, debate, acceptance and unity in the South African Jewish community (even if the extends to making Jews with an open and murderous hate to Israel feel welcome) are missing.
South African Jewry are not a self-contained community, we are a part of the world Jewish community, which, whether one is Zionist or not, includes the five million Jews of Israel.

Now that all Jews are our people, not just South African Jews. South African Jews per se are not more our brothers and sister as Israeli Jews, we are one Jewish people.

Now when certain South African (or American or Canadian or British) Jews go far beyond criticizing Israeli policy or a speciific Israeli government, and get to the point oif demonizing, denigrating and delegitimizng Israeli Jews, they are setting their own people apart and dehumanizing their own people.
When they stand together with Hamas and Hizbullah which muder Jewish children, they are surely setting their own people apart and therefore are setting themselves apart from the world Jewish community.
Zackie Achmat for example said that 95% of Israeli Jews are racists. These are our brothers and sisters, no less than leftwing SA Jews.
Geffen and Isaacs, Achmat's good friends and close allies did not distance themselves from that that statement, and by implication may agree.
Now if you demonize, dehumanize and denigrate a very large protion of the world's Jewish community i.e Jews of Israel, can you really campaign when the Jewish community in the country you reside in then make you feel unwelcome.
It surely go's beyond South African Jewish unity, and it is those who distance themselves from the largest and most vulnerable Jewish community in the world (face it , the Jews of Israel are threatened with genocide) who are breaking Jewish unity and cannot moan when Jews at home attack them.

Lawrence

Steve, if these Haredi Jews are anti-Zionist but don't have a problem, nor oppose any other form of nationalism and national sovereignty (like you know of every other country in the world) - then in a sense they can be construed as anti-Semitic. However this misses the point, the Haredi Jews are a complex case. The thing is - are we talking about Haredi Jews here Steve when we talk about anti-Zionism in the contemporary political context of anti-Israel animus? I think not.

As for anti-nationalists Steve, if one were anti-nationalist and not anti-Semitic one would not SINGLE out Zionism, unless one were anti-Semitic in the first place. After all if one were merely anti-nationalist, one would not SINGLE OUT say anti-Spanish nationalism, nor anti-Canadian nationalism for example unless one were prejudiced against Spaniards and Canadians.

Anti-nationalists that explicitly single out Zionism/Israel (ie are anti-Zionist) are anti-Semitic, there is no reason to express opposition to Jewish nationalism if one is anti-nationalist. Any more than there is reason to express opposition against South African or Brazilian nationalism if one is anti-nationalist, unless one is prejudiced against these respective peoples in the first place. If one is anti-nationalist one does not single out any particular nationalism unless one is prejudiced against that particular nationality. This is addressed in the scholarly literature on anti-Zionism as a cover for anti-Semitism btw.

As for the prostitutes and drugs in Tel Aviv, this is a straw-man, what on earth does that have to do with Zionism? If I express my contempt for prostitution and drug abuse and for that matter rampant greed and materialism in London, New York and Rio does that translate to not accepting the sovereign rights and national identity of the UK, America and Brazil respectively and if so how?

Steve

But Gary, I said ignore NK.

There are many Haredi groups that are not Zionist but are also not antisemitic. They want the Jewish nation to become stronger; not weaker and assimilated.

This is a tangent (and arbitrary) to this discussion, but its just to say that its true that you can be antizionist, and not be antisemitic.

I do concede that I may be confusing antizionist with non-zionist.

Gary

Perhaps you could be anti-zionist and not anti-semitic BEFORE the state of Israel was proclaimed in 1948, bu the reality of being anti-zionist today means you want the state of Israel to be dissapear and therefore the world's largest Jewish community of five million to be expelled, massacred or reduced to dhimmni status.

Mo

so what you actually mean is to prevent another massacre of jews as occured in WW2, you would murder and kill all in the name of protection. Civilised ????

Mo

oh yes, and why not inform your readers that you block comments that you do not approve, FREEDOM OF SPEACH ?????

Lawrence

Mo proves Gary's and my point - that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Otherwise don't feed the mad troll, but I think his comments should be kept up here, to show what we are up against. And what anti-Zionism in the real world actually is...not just irrational anti-Semitism but bark raving insanity.

And Steve I do think you confuse anti-Zionism with non-Zionism.

Lawrence

Thanks Mo for proving mine and Gary's point - that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Otherwise don't feed the mad troll. But I think Mo's comments should be kept up here to prove what we are up against, and what anti-Zionism actually means in the real world - not just irrational anti-Semitism but bark raving insanity.

Lawrence

oops sorry for the double post, didn't think my first post went through.
I still think that one of the best articles that expose anti-Zionism as a cover for anti-Semitism is the Steve Plaut article, that has been put up before.

And here is something worth reading that has been doing the rounds among the twenty four Jews in the Diaspora and Israel who actually care about anti-Semitism (this is a poor joke, you know poking fun at the apathy but sometimes I feel that way..) On the viscious anti-Semitism in the UK and how it is inseperable from the anti-Israel animus and where it could lead..

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/howard-jacobson/howard-jacobson-let8217s-see-the-8216criticism8217-of-israel-for-what-it-really-is-1624827.html

Strangely it was put up at the Independent, an anti-Israel paper if ever there was one, Fiskie's home. The responses in the comments to that article make for horrific reading, viscious Jew-hatred, like Mo above, that only prove the truth of what Howard Jacobson wrote. Anyway it applies to SA as well.

Also I guarantee you the viscious Jew-haters who posted up in response to the article of Jacobson's are every one an anti-Zionist without exception, just like Mo. All anti-Semites are anti-Zionists, but I'm sure it's just one of those incredible amazing coincidences, don't you know?

Mo

damn Israel

Shaun

I’d like to turn this around…

Perhaps the IAS readers and other members of the SA Jewish community should pay more attention to the words of the local Muslim community. Where does their leadership stand with regards to violent acts against Israeli civilians?
How much dissention is the SA Muslim community willing to take from with in its own ranks?
Where are those members of the SA Muslim community who disagree with the most aspects of the Palestinian cause and are vocal about their dissatisfaction with SA Muslim leadership?
Muslim places of prayer are growing at a rapid rate in South Africa but I wonder how much pluralism there is within their close knit community.

Mo, freedom of speech, even in South Africa, is a limited right based on certain parameters. This is made very clear in the SA constitution.
While I am yet to cross the line on this blog, I have had a number of my post blocked from the aljazeera.com forum and aljazeera.net (English and Arabic)
Apparently Freedom of speech on those sights does not include the questioning some of the actions of the prophet or writing a defense of Danish cartoonists.

Steve

No comments of Mo have been deleted. I don't know what the whinger is on about.

There was a comment by Paul which was blocked because the system was picking it up as spam. After Paul emailed me, I saw the problem and removed it from the spam filter.

Mo must be smoking something.

By the way Mo...on Feb 7 Mohammed Desai sent an email to psc-core@yahoo showboating a racist comment posted on this blog. It was on Shabbat so I hadn't noticed the comment yet and had not yet deleted it. On that same Saturday I received an email from a Mohammed. The same Mohammed later called for the ethnic cleansing of South African Jews (70000-300 was how he put it).

The same comment was then posted on this blog by you "Mo" on Sunday Feb 8.

Were you just on the mailing list that Desai sent the email to?


The Blacklisted Dictator

So now the anti-zionism/ anti-semitism relationship has once again been debated! Wow. Wow again.
To keep the anti-semites happy, how about a world Jewish state under strict religious Jewish fundamentalist law? I could be put in charge of poetry.

A SERMON ON THE TABLE MOUNTAIN FROM THE CAPE MESSIAH....
MESSIANIC IN THE CAPE
It was inevitable that on the Cape Beaches a Jew would walk. And it was inevitable that he would look yonder towards Prof Farid Esack and His People. and it was inevitable that The Jew would go home and look into the mirror and say...
" Verily, I am The Messiah. Those living in the City of Mammon (Joburg) may not recognize me as such but Judge Dennis does. And he is wise and judicious. And when I once met Ronno Einstein, did he not anoint me? And he sang Phil Spector's "Doron Ron Ron"! All this is true.
But surely, there is more to life than Table Mountain? Yonder, something must await me. It is, after all, Unpromising Times in The Promised Land. My people need me. Farid's people need me. I am truly needed. I cannot just build sandcastles in Muizenberg, although that is also important work. No, I must look yonder."


"And yes, Farid Esack is "wonderfully interesting". I even stated this in writing on "It's Almost Supernatural" blog a while back. He is also a righteous man and leads His People as I hope to lead mine. Farid is courageous and deplores hatred of My People. And to prove it he even set up "Muslims Against Racism". There is a fantastic internet petition for Muslims with e-mail.
And so, when I faxed Fatima I assumed that Farid would also agree to sign as he had pledged his hatred of anti-semitism.
But he didn't. And I burst into tears. He said "Doron, please don't go on and on and on and on and on about anti-Jewish Muslims. My people and Ronno Einstein and His Professor like her. She is a valiant woman. Well trained in anti-zionism. Please give her a break and stop getting on our bloody nerves."

The Blacklisted Dictator

THE CAPE MESSIAH SPEAKS...

"Verily, I say unto The SAJBD...The Gaza War doth no good. If some rockets stray into Sederot, doth that meaneth that the Israelites can bomb Gaza to smithereens??

If a boy in the King David playground gives your son a bloody nose doth it meaneth that he can bring Jacob Zuma's AK 47 to school the next day and shoot him to pieces??

If your girlfriend smacks you around the face because you say that she looks fat in skinny jeans, doth it meaneth that you can abuse her in bed the very same evening??

Verily, these are questions that you and The Chief Rabbi and The SAZF and David Saks must answer.

I say this unto The Jews in Johannesburg... there are two types of war. One is Proportionate War. For every rocket that lands on Israel, the Israelites may send another back onto Gaza which must not kill anybody even if they are top brass in Hamas. It is tit for tat. And the other is Disproportionate War, which is bombing to smithereens.

Verily, I say... if your son is given a bloody nose he should not use an AK 47, even if he is a member of The ANC and is a good friend of Jacob Zuma, like The SAJBD which launched the marvellous biographical book.

If your enemies launch rockets, I say unto you it is best to launch books. That is emotionally intelligent and much more intellectual.

Here endeth my sermon on war."

Steve
I am not saying Isaacs is as bad as Kasrils, he isn't of course (it's difficult even for skinheads to be as anti-Semitic as Kasrils! and I'm only half-joking), however sometimes he can be - like endorsing (as did Geffen and others of course) the identical petition that Kasrils did in 2006. So I would say Isaacs is anti-Semitic, and that he differs only in degree to many other anti-Semites, Jewish or not.

Lawrence, I just checked with Doron and he did not sign any 2006 petition with Kasrils. If you have any evidence to the contrary, I'm sure you will share it with us.

Notwithstanding the arguments already made about anti-Zionism and antisemitism, I agree with Mike - Doron Isaacs is not antisemitic. Really, it's a silly accusation.

Bigben

I for one would like to know what is so great about Isaacs's approach. According to him if the Jewish community quite nicely and intellectually criticize's Israel then we will be okay. We will be protected from the rest of South Africa because they will do the same and we will all be one happy rainbow nation.

Lets look his track record on this issue.

Mondli Makanya's critism of Israel has been anything but intellectual ever since he went away with Isaacs.

It is because of Doron that our universities have seen some of thier most violent anti-zionist demonstrations in years.

Both Farid Essack and Zackie Achmat came back from his tour more anti-zionist (if thats possible) than when they left.

Those three are just a start.

It seems that in reaction to Issac's "measured" critisim that his supporters have just become more aggressive with their attacks.

I dont see why the rest of community should adopt a position that has not even worked for the guy who is proposing it.

It seems to be that Isaac's problem is that he is trying to find the solution of '67 with a group of people for whom '48 is still a question. No amount of criticize is going to solve that dichotomy. We are better off sticking to our guns.

Religious Fundamentalist 1

Danherm, you're free to define the Jewish community as you see fit and include or not include Jews for Jesus and anybody else.

Don't expect everyone to agree with your definition and don't impose your definition. You're tyrannically trying to impose your definition on a community that fundamentally rejects it. Can't you see that?

Shaun. I also had comments deleted from Al Jazeera, and they weren't even close to inflammatory.

"so what you actually mean is to prevent another massacre of jews as occured in WW2, you would murder and kill all in the name of protection. Civilised ????"
Can someone please post this off to the SA Police so they know not to hurt anybody next time Mo get's hijacked.

Lawrence

Isaacs is anti-Semitic Steve, it is not a silly accusation, for the reasons I have stated above in plain English. You do not address the substance of my critique on Isaacs at all. He, like Geffen, did co-invite/approve of anti-Semites such as Esack, Forrest, Makhanya to be a part of the SAHRD, why invite anti-Semites to be a part of the SAHRD and at the same time take seriously their opinions on the Israel/Palestinian conflict? Taking seriously, as valid the opinions of anti-Semites on Israel is itself anti-Semitic. How is it not?

I stated that Isaac's political opinions on Israel are dishonest and misrepresentative, he likewise engages in whitewashing and apologetics of Islamic fascist terror directed at Israel (and others) - ie this is anti-Semitic criticism of Israel, and for that matter it is anti-Semitic criticism of Israel that honest anti-Semites engage in. Is this a coincidence Steve?

I cannot write up a ten thousand word post on Isaacs to show why and how in so many ways just over the last year, his comments and behaviour and ranting on Israel are anti-Semitic. I don't have the time and this is just a blog, not the place for massive essays to be posted. Also if you are not going to address the actual substance of what I write re Isaacs, I don't see how anything I add would make any difference to you.

As for the 2006 petition, here it is with the signatories http://ratbaggy.blogspot.com/2006/07/call-by-concerned-south-african-jews.html, and yes I was wrong. Doron Isaacs's name is not there, I obviously got him confused with Nathan Geffen whose name is there, along with Kasrils and Zapiro and others. I misremembered. So my apogolies to Isaacs in this regard, I should have double-checked and not relied on my memory which is not what it used to be. So let me reiterate, I retract that - Isaacs's name is not on the petition, my apology. However his good friend Nathan Geffen's is, and Isaacs shares the same views on Israel as Geffen. So what I wrote about Isaacs above re the petition applies to Geffen, not Isaacs. So all the worse for Geffen then (at least in part he endorsed the same opinions re the 2006 conflict as a viscious anti-Semitic Hamas supporter and Iranian regime supporter - Kasrils), rather than Isaacs in this regard. However still my mistake, hence my apology to Isaacs here. Although one has to ask why he didn't sign the petition back then? Did he disagree with it, was he not consulted? anyhow...

However that doesn't change the facts re Isaacs's consistently unfair anti-Israel agitprop and what this implies.. Everything else I write about him is true, and you do not address this Steve and Mike. Even Isaacs's 'my way or the highway' that got this thread going, is itself anti-Semitic. Telling Jews in SA that they better get with and sanction the totally unfair and untrue demonisation of Israel (ie anti-Semitic criticisms of Israel) programme propagated by the anti-Semitic SA and world media, and endorsed by large segments of South African society and at governmental level as well, as Isaacs does; in order to reduce the anti-Semitic tensions in SA! is not only galling (as IAS points out of course) but illogical and nonsensical. Worse than that, telling SA Jews to distance themselves from the non-fascist Jew nation in its struggle for survival against it's fascist enemies, is also anti-Semitic. If you do not get that calling for SA Jews to approve and rubber-stamp (or at least stay silent) on anti-Semitic animus in SA disguised as anti-Israel 'criticism', is itself anti-Semitic Steve and Mike, well that is not my problem.

There is so much that Isaacs wrote in his 'crossing swords' debate with Pollak at this blog that can easily be construed as anti-Semitic. Not least is his endorsement of journalist Tom Segev's 1967, a book that blames the 1967 Six-Day War on Israel. This is not simply a Big Lie, it is the nature of this disgraceful lie that needs to be examined. I mean blaming that war on Israel, when the only reason it happened was that Israel's Arab neighbours did not only refuse to accept Israel's existence, but openly swore to destroy Israel and put tactical and strategic plans to effect in that regard. Consult a real historian who actually comes up with primary source material like Michael Oren's recent 'Six days of War' for the real facts here. I do not want to hear the straw man of Israel launched a pre-emptive strike. Yes it did, and what does pre-emptive mean? My God this is 1967, historically speaking this was yesterday, within living memory of many, just before I was born. It is so easy to get the real facts here, it is not a war from the Middle-Ages.

I wrote above that "Valid and fair criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic, but unfair and dishonest criticism of Israel ... is anti-Semitic, as is the whitewashing and/or justification/apologetics for Islamic jihadist terror directed against Israel (and others) which goes hand in hand with the former. Isaacs and Geffen for that matter are guilty of this (and more) and thus it is reasonable to argue are anti-Semitic. One could say they are merely misinformed and misinform others, and are not anti-Semitic. However the fact is that they deliberately and wilfully choose to parrot insidious agitprop against Israel, they cater to the expectations, as Mike Berger has pointed out, of every viscious anti-Semite in South Africa, and they choose to downplay and reduce to mere nuisance levels the nature, the dynamics and depth of Islamic fascism that threaten Israel's very survival."

Steve and Mike have not, and continue to not address the IMPLICATIONS of the above. Nor the other pertinent points I raise about Isaacs and Geffen in my relevant post above, not at all. I asked on this blog several questions of Isaacs and Geffen that they refused to address, in Geffen's case he just nonsensically accused me of racism (which was pure transference) - that is because to even acknowledge the uncomfortable questions I asked, would mean having to acknowledge things about themselves they rather would not..

When we had the recent clash with COSATU in Joburg, when COSATU dockworkers refuse to offload Israeli goods from our docks, their anti-Semitism is shored up by the fifth column of Jewry that Isaacs and Geffen represent. Isaacs, Geffen and the rest of them do give ammunition to COSATU's and their kind's viscious Jew-hatred. Whilst the anti-Israel propoganda of Isaacs and Geffen may well be a very small addition to the fuel that burns COSATU's Jew-hate fires (I do think it is a very small part), nevertheless Geffen and Isaacs do still add fuel and justify the fires of COSATU's Judenhass. This has implications re Isaacs and Geffen viz a viz Jewry, which Mike and Steve do not address.

Sam

This has been a very interesting discussion.
I would like to say that I do rely on this blog to ferret out anti-Israel bias in SA media (as per their avowed mission), and I check it every day. However, despite coming across several such biased articles lately (a notable example is the last "Weekender" newspaper), all I have found at IAS in the last two weeks are discussions around articles published in the Jewish Report! This is not altogether helpful to me, since I read this every week and I wish there was more material appearing here on the blog. I ralise this is blogging, not mainstream media, but still. Am I being unreasonable?
I would also like thank whoever referred to Howard Jacobson's Independent article in the comments. One of the best and most incisive pieces of writing I have seen come out of the UK press of late. Makes one realise the power of the written word as opposed to mere invective.

Religious Fundamentalist 1

Sam has a good point. Indeed, there are a good number of reasons not to read the Jewish Report at all. Ever.

Lawrence

Sam in defence of Mike and Steve though they cannot respond to every or even most of the anti-Israel articles in the SA media. This would simply be impossible and as it is, they both have full-time jobs and family lives outside of this blog. They do not earn an income from this and I'm sure it distracts from other important things that they need to do. It's important I think for them to focus on what is unique and particular to SA Jewry viz a viz Israel.

Also much of the anti-Israel and frankly anti-Semitic animus that appears in the SA media is simply repitition of what one can read and hear in much of the media of the Western World as a whole, from the Guardian, Independent, SF Chronicle, Le Monde, Toronto Globe & Mail, LA Times, even the NY Times etc, and of course BBC, CNN etc. In fact much of what you read in SA comes from these sources. So there are bloggers, websites etc from around the world that respond and expose much of the unfair and untrue anti-Israel bias in the world media from these and other sources. There are quite a lot in fact as you would expect.

I give you and others some of the most notable:

honestreporting.com is one of the best for exposing bias in the M-E by the media, broken down into different national categories, honestreporting Canada, honestreporting Australia etc. this is perhaps the best website for exposing anti-Israel bias in the Western media as a whole.
Read this special report they put up on the worst lies told about Israel by the media from the recent Gaza war
http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/critiques/new/The_Gaza_War_in_Review.asp

CAMERA - Committee for Accuracy of Middle-East Reporting in America - ditto, very good.

bbcwatch
biased-bbc.blogspot.com ....enough said

MEMRI.org which translates much of the Arab Muslim media TV and newspaper stuff into English - exposes all the out and out Nazi anti-Semitism in the Arab Middle-East. Scary stuff...a critical institute

also I recommend the Jerusalem Post online, which is also critical of Israel when it deserves to be, some good editorials on-line, nothing you will read about it in South Africa, all self-censored out back in sA.

here for a page listing so many Jewish bloggers from around the world, not all political http://www.jrants.com/

Also there are so many academics, historians and scholars who cover not just Israel from a far fairer perspective than you get in SA or wherever, but also the extent of atrocities, oppression and human rights abuses propogated by radical Islam, that is simply censored out of existence in SA and CNN and the NY Times etc.

one of the best in this regard is www.jihadwatch.org, a site of Islamic scholar not beholden to PC lies on Islamic doctrine and jihad, one Robert Spencer - covers the Islamic Jihad around the world and related, not anything you will read about in the Star, or the Cape Argus. Andrew Bostom and Serge Trifkovic have also written very scholary stuff on Islamic jihad and doctrine.

Other academics and journalists etc one should read (just google 'em) - Bat Ye'Or (one of the best Jewish historians out there), Walter Laqueur, Tom Gross, Martin Kramer, Paul Bogdanor, Alan Dershowitz, Nick Cohen, Bruce Bawar (very good about Europe) Melanie Phillips, Dennis Prager, Nidra Poller in France, Phyllis Chesler, so many others.

In South Africa or related to SA and Jewry/Israel, there is Mike Berger's blog http://froggyfarm.blogspot.com/
and Joel Pollak's http://guidetotheperplexed.blogspot.com/

Some on-line International Affairs and Current Affairs magazines along the same lines, that cover stuff you are not going to hear from CNN and the rest of the unfunny joke that is the Western media, from around the world, include:
http://www.standpointmag.co.uk (very good British mag, new)
frontpagemag.com (in the US)
http://www.democratiya.com/default.asp (very scholarly)
Pajamas Media

There are so many others, this just from memory, follow the links. Obviously they differ in quality and the like and run the gamut of political opinion.

Some of the best books written in the last decade or so on the "new" anti-Semitism disguised and revealed as dishonest anti-Israel animus and the destructiveness, hypocrisy, dishonesty of the Political Left in this regard and their denial and apologetics re the Muslim Jihad have been written by Phyllis Chesler, Abraham Foxman, Gabriel Schonfeld, Alan Dershowitz, Nick Cohen, Walter Laqueur, Bernard Henry-Levy, Paul Berman, Robert Wistrich, Bruce Bawer, Ken Levin (on Jewish self-loathing and denial - simply the best), Jacques Givet, Bat Ye'Or, Robert Spencer and so many others really...I have left out so much. But this list should be enough to get started!

Shmuel ben David

Why is your site sending a message "We are sorry, we cannot accept this data"?

Shmuel ben David

Whilst the debate at times went off in tangents, the issue still is Isaacs, in particular, and Geffen. Well done to Bigben and Lawrence for sticking to the issue and highlighting his (their) behaviour.

It was as an employee of the ANC in the area of "Equal Education", that Isaacs put the extremely limited tour of "Palestine" and even more limited tour of Israel together. He pulled in all the people who went along including ANC/SACP members Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and Barbara Hogan, newly appointed Deputy-speaker of Parliament and Minister of Health respectively, as well as those already mentioned and others plus the TAC, wrapping them in a veneer of "respectability" by including two judges, the ever and overly ambitious Dennis Davis and Edward Cameron and also other "human rights" types.

Isaacs took this whole issue into the public media immediately and initially and didn't limit the debate to the Jewish media or community, which he only brought in once the public exposure and damage had been done. So do not discount Isaacs' ambitions within the body politic. He clearly has contributed to the invective and growth of anti-Semitism in South Africa and stoked the fires. The "good Jew" analogy is appropriate and correct.

So look at his actions, assess his psychology, wonder whether his standing up to Hajaig was strategic, consider what his agenda has been and why. Look at what he has done, what he writes and his aggression, and how this dove-tails with the Muslim actions and attacks on the South African Jewish Community, their taking the fight into Jewish residential areas. There has been a clear strategy with regard to this for some time to drive a wedge into the South African Jewish Community.

In the end we may be grateful to Isaacs as he drives home to the South African Jewish Community that it is no longer safe to stay in this country and that it is time to make Aliyah or leave these beautiful shores as this country rapidly reverse into Africa and it is no longer safe to live here, both physically and intellectually.

We also have to thank him for his contribution to anti-Semitism in a people, black South Africans, who have no idea what a Jew is, what he stands for and what Israel is all about and have no idea of the history and truth about Israel and the countries that surround her and to whom, not so long ago, anti-Semitism was a foreign concept. How they are being used is a war that has not ended since long before 1948 and continues by other means once the shooting has stopped.

As for the irrelevant Mo's comments, particularly his comment "Damn Israel", the reply is Damn MO!, and as Lawrence uses humour, I am reminded of the famous bit of graffiti that went as follows:

"God is dead - Nietzsche"
"Nietzsche is dead - God"

I think that whilst we show our great liberal streaks, I can see how under pressure some of us bend. Sorry Mike and Steve, but you started off so well, and as already stated, you started to bend, explain yourselves and became on certain issues wishy-washy. This is not to say that we should not be open to having our opinions changed by logic, but let us differentiate between logic and pressure to appear nice, to appear reasonable, to appear to be finer menschen. Know that this is the "weakness" that the likes of Isaacs and Geffen mean to exploit and have done so with the co-opting of some of the lesser "thinking" members of our so-called communal leadership.

What is Isaacs' and Geffen's agenda? Apart from personal ambition as already alluded to above, and know notoriety and publicity is addictive, it is an attempt to influence and apply communal reinforcement. It is in the same category as Agitprop, so ably used and applied by Kasrils, who we must not discount as a mentor to these two, particularly Isaacs.

Communal reinforcement is a social phenomenon in which a concept or idea is repeatedly asserted in a community, regardless of whether sufficient empirical evidence has been presented to support it. Over time, the concept or idea is reinforced to become a strong belief in many people's minds, and may be regarded by the members of the community as fact. Often, the concept or idea may be further reinforced by publications in the mass media, books, or other means of communication. The phrase "millions of people can't all be wrong" is indicative of the common tendency to accept a communally reinforced idea without question, which often aids in the widespread acceptance of urban legends, myths, and rumours.

Communal reinforcement works both for true and false concepts or ideas, making the communal reinforcement of an idea independent of its truth value. Therefore, the fact that many people in a given community believe a certain thing is not indicative of its truth or falsehood, for just as a false concept or idea can be accepted as fact in a community via communal reinforcement, so can a true concept or idea.

Communal reinforcement can be seen as a positive force in society if it reinforces a concept or idea which is true or beneficial to society, such as the discouragement of driving under the influence. Conversely, it can be seen as a negative force if it reinforces a concept or idea which is untrue or harmful to society, such as the avoidance of bathing in Medieval Europe.

Throughout the debate, much mentions Israel's alleged "wrongs", but very little disputing the assertion. Much maligning of the community's loyalty and very little condemnation of what should be called by the name no one dares to mention, treason.

So, once more, consider seriously Isaacs' agenda and try and sweep aside his obfuscation and gobbledygook. See him for what he is and don't look kindly upon him, he doesn't think kindly of you and his actions endanger us all.
_________________________________________________
Steve and Mike, you have been accused in this debate of removing or censoring contributions, which I know you have done at times. Whilst you may not necessarily like what I have written and even get nervous at some of my descriptions of individuals, which you might find defamatory, I hope this contribution will not be removed or edited and should be covered by your site's caveat that the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Blog Owners. I hereby absolve you of this and state that the above views are my own.

Steve

Shmuel,
I don't know why it said that the data could not be accepted. The system may have thought it was spam. If it was a long comment, try breaking it down into separate smaller comments.


Shmuel ben David

Dear Steve

As you can see, I eventually got it through. I did this by submitting it on the first page of comments. The error message came from trying to post it from the third. I suggest you look here as the spam issue does not exist on the first page submission.

Steve

Thanks for that.

Isaac Derman

I see "Religious Fundamentalist" makes reference above about the Jewish Report.

He is absolutely correct. Its is a bit of a rag and boring to boot. Are there no other social functions in Johannesburg than the Haredi dominated ones? Every week we have endles photographs of black-attired Rabbis. As Orthodoxy moves to extremes, all that will be left for South African Jews is piety?

There is so much to draw on and the Israeli English papers set such a high editorial, analysis and opinion standard that can be drawn on and should be with particular emphasis on balancing the left and right of the political devide and not allowing the likes of the left to hijack the paper, even if the editor is extremely left inclined.

Furthermore, witness the recent Habonim debate and the obvious stream of organised letters written against David Saks, who was 100% correct in what he wrote. I have no doubt that his apology was force upon him by his employers, the ever weak and gutless SAJBD. Then, after publishing the obviously engineered letters from Habonimniks, the editor, Geoff Sifrin, closes the "debate" without so much as allowing letters from the other side. How disgusting! How appalling! How cowardly! How ridiculous! How stupid!

This all proves exactly what Shmuel ben David says above about Communal Reinforcement.

Yet, what choice do we have? We are a small community and the likes of the Jewish Herald and Zionist Record and their substantial editors do not exist anymore. We do have a choice. Let the editor know and let him know until he is more balanced and we see more substance.

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