Monday, May 02, 2016

How Jeremy Corbyn got Israel so wrong

The current scandal over anti-Semitism in the British Labour party throws  into sharp focus how misinformed, or just plain ignorant, its leader Jeremy Corbyn and some of its members can be. Dominic Lawson writing in the Daily Mail nails the widespread misconception of Israel as a nation of 'whites'. (With thanks: Michelle)

"Bizarrely, the likes of Ken Livingstone and his leader Jeremy Corbyn (who can’t even bring himself to say the word ‘Israel’) see the Israeli Arabs as the ‘blacks’ and the Jews as the ‘whites’. Yet after the state of Israel was created by UN resolution in 1948, the overwhelming majority of Jews who flooded into the new nation were those from Sephardi and Mizrahi backgrounds, in other words, from Arab and Muslim countries.

Their descendants, not those of European survivors of the Holocaust, still form the majority of Israeli Jews.

The reason for this much less well-known exodus was not just that Jews had faced institutionalised discrimination in Muslim lands. The very creation of the state of Israel had enraged the Arab nations, whose citizens began exercising savage reprisals against their Jewish populations, many of whom were expropriated and expelled."

Read article in full


Empress Trudy said...

He didn't 'get it wrong' he's a bigot a racist and an antisemite. This is what he believes.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Historically, the Arabs and Jews considered themselves white compared to the Black Africans, called Ethiopians [Kushites --כושים-- in Hebrew] in the Bible, as in the first lines of the Book of Amos. The skin color issue in Arab-Jewish and Israeli-Arab relations is a red herring. There is a range of skin colors among both Jews and Arabs, including Ashkenazim. If you go back in English literature, you see that before WW One, Jews generally were considered Oriental, including Ashkenazim. And in the late 19th century and up to WW 1, Jews were often seen as not quite white. Consider the character Svengali in the very popular English novel, Trilby. He is described as "sallow" in skin color. He is also a Polish Jew. There are plenty of Europeans of old stock in the more Mediterranean countries, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal who are sallow or swarthy in skin color. And nobody or almost nobody says that they are not Europeans. Rather, the traditional European prejudice against Jews [including or especially those in Europe, no matter how acculturated to European high culture] is that Jews are alien, alien wherever they are. So Kant and Hegel 200 years ago saw Jews as alien to Germany. Kant called the German Jews: "the palestinians who live among us." Hegel and Kant both saw Jews as Orientals or Asiatics, as did Voltaire and Baron d'Holbach. And the actual skin color of Jews doesn't matter. So, whereas Jews up to WW 1 or even up to WW2 were seen as Orientals [Victor Gollancz says this of himself, as I recall] and swarthy-skinned [which many Jews were, including Ashkenazim], the haters of Jews after the independence of Israel tended more and more to see Jews as quintessentially "white," as alien colonialists, whatever the real, empirical skin color of Jews or any particular Jewish individual.

People like Corbyn and Livingstone see the Jews as inherently alien wherever they are and as inherently evil. That many Jews in Israel are darker than many of the Arabs does not vitiate the Jews' alien nature. Arabs are "non-white" colonial victims of Jews whatever their skin color and whatever the Jews' skin color. We are not dealing with reasonable people when we deal with Corbyn, Livingstone, and so on. These people do not care about empirical facts or scientific conclusions about Jewish DNA for instance. We know that most of the DNA of the Ashkenazim too is Middle Eastern, although no large population in the 21st century is a pure race of course. Shlomo Sand insinuated in his most popular book, popular in Europe at any rate, that the DNA/genetic researchers were all Jews who were agents of the Israeli govt. As a matter of fact some of the genetic researchers were neither Israelis nor even Jews. But came to more or less the same conclusions as Jewish researchers. So if someone is a hate-ridden anti-Zionist and Judeophobe [Sand grew up in a Communist family], he will deny the science. Sand, as you may know, claimed that Ashkenazim were descendants of the Khazars and the North African Jews were descended from Berbers. Since the genetic researchers vitiated his theory, they had to be wrong and their science that found that all the geographically dispersed Jewish groups who had the Talmud were genetically related, also had to be wrong.

But anti-Zionism derives from an old European tradition that sees Jews as alien and evil. If Kant and Hegel 200 years ago saw the Jews as Oriental in Europe, and Corbyn et al. and Sand see Jews today as quintessential Europeans [who assume all the guilt for the Europeans' crimes as colonialists and imperialists], it is all one continuous tradition, albeit the locus of where the Jews are alien has shifted from Europe to the Middle East. Corbyn and Livingstone are not reasonable or rational persons.

bataween said...

Eliyahu, thanks for a very erudite post. May I post it as a stand- alone piece?

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Sure you can use it. You might want to add material from these posts on the same and related issues.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

re the anti-Zionism of the Brit Labor Party and Livingstone in particular:

The article at the link by Prof Herf also goes into the German/Hitlerite policy welcomed by Haj Amin el-Husseini of extending the Shoah to Arab lands and killing the Jews in those places. Herf is answering Livingstone's claim that hitler was "Zionist."

Anonymous said...

Corbyn gets not only the Israel / Palestine conflict wrong. He gets everything wrong because in the words of leftist writer Paul Anderson, Corbyn is a "boilerplate leftist with Chomskyite thicko reasoning".

He spent May 1 on a dais with the Communist Party of Great Britain Marxist Leninist, a cult with a few dozen followers who are notoriously antisemetic anti-Zionists, and mouthed words to the effect that antisemetism is wrong. I am sure that had great impact on the fermented mess in his party.

Anonymous said...

Just as an aside, racial and ethnic designations in the US result in government funding decisions and steps to balance populations with an eye towards compliance with non-discrimination laws. Race designation is in the eye of the beholder, tempered by society, and not absolute in pigment count: Depending on the census year, Indians are white or non-white and Middle Easterners/North Africans are now asking to be considered non-white. The US has a long-form census questionnaire that asks for more identity details. The census by law cannot ask about religion. Nevertheless, one group has found a work-around by obtaining an ethnic designation so its ancestral land does not imprint its members as Arab. (from India) (Assyrian)