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Sunday, 17 December 2017

Palestinian Children are Caged like Animals with the support of Labour's Despicable MPs Louise Ellman and Joan Ryan

 Is it anti-Semitic to describe Ellman & Ryan as Israeli MPs? Zionism & Dual Loyalty

Palestinian children are caged like animals - Gary Lineker didn't understand the 'context' according to Israeli apologists like Louise Ellman and Joan Ryan
In a debate in Parliament over the treatment of Palestinian children in January 2016, the Zionist MP for Liverpool Riverside, Louise Ellman, intervened three times in order to defend Israel's military.

The pretext was that the children were throwing stones at the army.  Even were this true it would be no excuse.  Clearly Ellman hasn't heard of the story of David and Goliath.  Palestinian children live under a permanent military occupation.  They have the right to physically resist their occupiers.

According to the Jewish Chronicle’s Marcus Dysch, it was my ‘repeated attacks’ on Louise Ellman MP that “were the tipping point which prompted the party to suspend him.”  My offences included describing Ellman as ‘the MP for “Tel Aviv South” and a “racist supporter of the child abuse of Palestinian children”.   My response was published this week.
Letter to Jewish Chronicle 15.9.17.
 According to Dysch Tony Greenstein ‘now awaits his fate at the hands of Labour’s disciplinary team’.  Living up to the JC's reputation as an impartial reporter of the news, I am described as ‘a noxious Jewish anti-Zionist ‘.

Dysch states that I have racially abused’ Ellman.  What, you might ask, have I called her?  A poisonous witch?  An anti-Semitic term of abuse such as yid or kike or Jew boy (I assume the latter is used about women) for which I should rightly be condemned?  Not at all.  I called Ellman the MP for South Tel Aviv.  Perhaps I got the wrong constituency someone wrote to me?  It should have been North Tel Aviv.  If so I apologise.
Pity poor Louise Ellman under attack for her support for the Israeli military
The Delightful Louise Ellman
What, you might wonder is anti-Semitic about that?  Perhaps I am implying that Ellman has a dual loyalty to Britain and Israel?  Well the evidence suggests that Ms Ellman does indeed feel a deep loyalty to the ‘Jewish’ State.  Is stating that fact anti-Semitic?

Yes the concept of ‘dual loyalty’ is anti-Semitic.  Those who propagate the idea that Jews owe a ‘dual loyalty’ to the states they live in and the Israeli state are indeed propagating an anti-Semitic idea.  But I'm not making a generalisation but a specific criticism and who, in any case, is responsible for this accusation if not the Zionist movement and the Israeli state themselves?

At the moment there is wending its way through Israel’s Knesset a Jewish Nation State Bill. In an article What does the Jewish 'nation-state' bill mean for Israel?  the Jerusalem Post of 5.11.17. explained that ‘The basic idea behind the proposed Basic Law is to declare that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people.’ 
bravery unsurpassed
Indeed Israel already describes itself as a Jewish State and this means that it is the State of Jews everywhere, not just those living in Israel. That is why Israel does not have an Israeli nationality.
In the 1972 case of George Tamarin v The State of Israel in which Tamarin wanted his nationality to be changed from “Jewish” to “Israeli.” Chief Justice Agranat ruled that:

‘the desire to create an Israeli nation separate from the Jewish nation is not a legitimate aspiration. A division of the population into Israeli and Jewish nations would … negate the foundation on which the State of Israel was established.’ The court ruled that ‘There is no Israeli nation separate from the Jewish People. The Jewish People is composed not only of those residing in Israel but also of Diaspora Jewry.’
When taken to court children have their legs shackled
Israel declares itself to be the State of all Jews, not just those living in Israel.  In other words it is the Zionist movement and Israel which asserts that Jews have a dual loyalty.  In October 2013 the Israeli American Council, with the support of the Israeli Embassy distributed a Questionnaire to American Jews asking what they would do in the event of a clash of interests between Israel and the USA.  When a furore developed Netanyahu ordered the plug to be pulled.  Israel Asks U.S. Jews, Israelis: Where Do Your Loyalties Lie?
Another dangerous terrorist
The mere fact that Zionist organisations, including Ministries of the Israeli state distributed and sanctioned such a questionnaire demonstrates their way of thinking.  In fact what Zionist organisations really believe is that in the event of a conflict between the state they live in and Israel, Jews owe their first loyalty to Israel.

It is therefore quite reasonable to call Louise Ellman, who is a sincere and devoted Zionist, the MP for Tel Aviv.  In just the same way as people called John Carlisle & Julian Amery MPs for South Africa.  There is nothing racist about this, it is just an indication of where her political loyalty lies.
If anything I should be criticised for having gone easy on this despicable specimen of New Labour and the Jewish Labour Movement/Labour Friends of Israel, of which she is a Vice-President. 

Below we see Israeli and Zionist commentators attacking Gary Lineker.  Lineker, who has already attracted the wrath of the Scum and the Tory press over his support for asylum seekers has now incurred the wrath of Zionist bigots too!

Gary Lineker criticised for sharing video of Israeli soldiers abusing Palestinian children

The video that Gary Lineker found sickening

Commentator and ex-England footballer Gary Lineker has been roundly criticised by Israel supporters after sharing a harrowing video which shows Palestinian children being shouted at, dragged around and detained by Israeli soldiers.
Eighteen youths, most under the age of 18, were arrested in total for throwing stones at soldiers in the 13 October incident, the footage of which was recently released by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. 
They were blindfolded during interrogations and not allowed access to their families or lawyers until their release that night.
A banner on a Tel Aviv demonstration in support of Elor Azaria - a soldier who killed a wounded Palestinian in cold blood
Mr Lineker, who is vocal in his support for the Palestinian cause,  retweeted a clip of the incident posted by prominent pro-Palestinian activist Ben White with the word “sickening”.
While it was retweeted thousands of times by people sympathetic towards the detained children, many others were critical of Mr Lineker -  including the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) former spokesperson Peter Lerner replied to tell the footballer he had “completely missed the point”.

When kids throw stones they are a public menace. They need to be stopped. Yes, the video is unpleasant but it conveniently shares only a glimpse of what happened, the aftermath of their actions. You should be wiser than this,” he posted.

The argument continued after Mr Lineker replied, “They should be stuffed into a small cage? You should be wiser.”

In the back and forth Mr Lerner said the video “lacked context”. The former Leicester City player replied that the context was clear. 

Soldiers drag 8-year-old from house to house in Hebron for over an hour
“Sometimes detention is required,” the ex IDF official responded.
Lineker was also embroiled in a Twitter row in 2015 after posting a video which showed Israeli soldiers shooting at a Palestinian who had been throwing stones.
B’Tselem themselves replied to Mr Lineker: “Unfortunately, this is routine all through the West Bank. Palestinian minors' rights are violated systematically by Israeli authorities.”

The IDF and Cogat, the Israeli military administration in the West Bank, did not immediately respond to The Independent’s requests for comment.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Brighton Argus Fake News Story About Palestinian Threat to Jewish Festival

Zionist Dirty Tricks Brigade Hard at Work Creating ‘Anti-Semitism’ Where it Doesn’t Exist

I was phoned at about 1.00 yesterday by Joel Adams, a reporter with the Brighton Argus, just as I was about to go out to lunch.  Had I heard, he asked, about a Palestinian demonstration later than afternoon at Hove town hall.  No I hadn’t but of course it was possible I simply hadn’t heard of it.  I promised to get someone to ring him back but as far as I was aware there was no such demonstration.

Fake News Article from Argus
I immediately contacted the Chair of Brighton PSC to confirm that there was nothing planned that afternoon.  At the same time Greg Hadfield, the suspended and elected Secretary of the disbanded Brighton and Hove District Labour Party also confirmed to Joel Adams that there was no demonstration.

Although Joel did not tell me what it was that was happening at Hove Town Hall that afternoon I soon learnt that it was the lighting of the candelabrum (menorah) ceremony on the Jewish festival of Chanukah. 

Now why should a Palestinian organisation wish to protest at such a ceremony?  What has a Jewish religious ceremony got to do with Israel’s murder and dispossession of the Palestinians and the demolition of their homes and villages?  Absolutely nothing of course.   The Palestinians quarrel is not with Judaism but with Zionist settler colonialism.  
Joel Adams - the Argus reporter who fell for a hoax
I realise  that Joel isn’t the most clued up of reporters but anyone with a minimal political awareness could have worked out that this story was fishy.

Having attended a Planning Committee meeting of Brighton PSC the previous night I was pretty certain nothing was happening on Thursday afternoon.  I didn’t know that there was a menorah lighting ceremony and nor did Joel Adams tell me.  If he had been honest and told me what it was that was planned then I would have definitively confirmed nothing was planned rather than being simply puzzled and scratching their head.
Hove Town Hall
What was the Argus’ reaction?  Not to ignore the whole matter but to run an ‘Exclusive’ ‘Jewish candle-lighting held behind closed doors over security concerns’.  What was the exclusive?  That bogus security concerns and a hoax had led to a Jewish festival ceremony being held away from the public and out of sight?

The real story was that some malicious person, probably Simon Cobbs from Sussex Friends of Israel or perhaps Ivor Caplin, the Jewish Labour Movement’s Southern organiser, former MP and war criminal (he was a junior Defence Minister at the time of the Iraq War) had decided that the best way to heighten Jewish fears of Palestinians was to invent ‘anti-Semitism’ and plant a false story that a demonstration was planned at the menorah lighting event.

Because the Zionists have no concrete evidence to back up their ritual assertions that anti-Zionist = anti-Semitism, they are now resorting to fake stories about Palestine threats to demonstrate at Jewish religious events.  This kind of behaviour has a long pedigree.  In Iraq in the early 1950’s, Zionist agents in Haganah, despairing of the Iraqi Jewish community emigrating to Israel planted bombs in Jewish cafes and a synagogue thus simulating the anti-Semitism that was lacking.

The real villain of the story is the Brighton Argus.  There was a time when it was a good local paper.  It used to have such things as investigative reporters, court reporters and the like.  Today it relies primarily on press releases for its stories.

I am though surprised that even The Argus relied on a totally made-up story as a headline ‘Exclusive’ when the only story was who was behind this malicious hoax. The other question is who in the Council fed the Argus with this non-story.

Suffice to say when I put these questions to Joel Adams he first said I should ring him up at home and when I persisted, he dissembled, stuttered and then in frustration told me to ‘fuck off’ and put the phone down.  Clearly Joel isn’t in the running for Reporter of the Year!

I have sent a letter to the Argus but I don’t hold out any great hope that its editor Arron Hendy will print it as newspapers rarely admit to their mistakes in public.

The moral of the story is how desperate the Zionists are that they have to invent false rumours of anti-Semitic demonstrations and simulate ‘anti-Semitism’ in order to be able to defend the world’s only Apartheid state.

Later in the day the Argus updated its story.

Tony Greenstein

Brighton Palestine Solidarity Campaign Statement

False rumours of ‘pro-Palestine protest’ trigger security alert at Hove Town Hall

The Argus ran a story this afternoon about a security crisis at Hove Town Hall. The Argus reported that the City Council and local police were concerned about the threat posed by ‘a planned pro-Palestine protest’ to the lighting of the Chanukah Menorah – so concerned in fact that the ceremony had to be held ‘behind closed doors’ rather than at its usual outdoor site. 

The Argus also reported that ‘two sources close to the city’s pro-Palestinian movement told The Argus no demonstration was ever planned’. In later online updates the Argus reported that ‘there was no demonstration’.

Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign wishes to state clearly that no such protest was ever planned by local campaigners for Palestinian rights. Religious ceremonies would never be targeted by pro-Palestine groups. BHPSC is naturally sorry to learn that concerns over security disrupted the Menorah-lighting ceremony. 

Questions must be asked about the source of this unfounded rumour, as they appear to be using religious sensitivities to discredit legitimate political protest. The Argus judged that the security alert was newsworthy: what was newsworthy was that rumours about a non-existent protest were spread in order to create a security crisis. The important questions for the press to ask are: who spread them? and why?

Letter sent to Argus

Friday, 15 December 2017

Open Letter to Joan Ryan Chair of Labour Friends of Israel - MP for Enfield North & Jerusalem Central

Your Attack on Kate Osamor for supporting BDS against Israel is no different from Thatcher’s 
Opposition to Sanctions on South Africa

Kate Osamor comes out in support of BDS

Dear Ms Ryan,

You recently wrote an Open Letter to Kate Osamor MP.  You objected to Kate retweeting a tweet from BDS South Africa.  You claimed that BDS is ‘morally wrong’ because it seeks to ‘demonise and delegitimize the world’s only Jewish state.’  There is a lot to unpack there.

Firstly the idea that religious states are a good thing disappeared with the French Revolution and Emancipation.  A state should embrace all its citizens not just those of one religion.  Although Britain for example is still nominally a Protestant state this does not privilege the rights of citizens of a particular religion over another. In Israel being Jewish entitles you to far greater privileges than non-Jews. A Jewish state cannot help but be a racist state, since it was established via settler colonialism.
The tweet that Joan Ryan took exception to
The tactic of Boycott – from Captain Boycott in Ireland, the Boycott of Slave grown sugar in the West Indies, the Jewish Boycott of Nazi Germany (which the Zionists opposed) and the Boycott of Apartheid South Africa - has always been a weapon in the hands of the oppressed. 

Israel has not only maintained a military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza for 50 years (and today incidentally enforces a Boycott of Gaza) but it has treated the Arabs of Israel as a fifth column, guests in someone else’s country. Only this week Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for a boycott of the Wadi Ara area of Israel's Arab citizens:
“don't go in there—don't enter their restaurants or their businesses, don't get your cars fixed there. The residents of Wadi Ara must understand that they're unwanted and that they're not part of us.”
I don’t recall you writing an open letter to Benjamin Netanyahu demanding Lieberman’s dismissal or the Israeli Labour Party protesting, as would have happened in any democratic country.
Joan Ryan claimed the most expenses of any MP in 2006-7 having been runner up in 2005-6.  During the expenses scandal she was forced to disgorge over £5,000

As you will be aware it is those in the ANC who fought Apartheid who have been the greatest supporters of BDS. On November 28th Mandla Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela, after visiting the West Bank was reported as saying that “Israel is the worst apartheid regime... Palestinians are being subjected to the worst version of apartheid.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the heroes of the anti-apartheid struggle and a Nobel Peace Prize winner was quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying:
"I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces, their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government."

Only this week a video captured Israeli soldiers attempting to kidnap three 5 year old Palestinian children.  This wasn't an isolated incident.  We had the Btselem video of a child of 8 being dragged from his home in Hebron earlier this year. In response to this and other criticisms, Btselem has been demonised in Israel and its funding threatened.

Instead of LFI criticising these examples of child abuse, which are in themselves war crimes, we had the disgusting spectacle of Louise Ellman, an LFI Vice-Chair intervening in the House of Commons debate on 16th January 2016 in support of the Israeli military's actions.
You refer to the support of your ‘sister party, the Israeli Labour Party’ [ILP]for a 2 State Solution [2SS].  This is disingenuous.  Only this week Avi Gabbay, the new leader of the ILP came out in support of Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This is the final death blow to the 2SS.  Gabbay also made it clear that under an Israeli Labour government all the main settlement blocks will remain in place.  You cannot have a Palestinian state alongside the settlements.

The ILP’s support for a Palestinian state is the political equivalent of the 3 card trick.  At least, when Tsipi Hotoveli, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister says that “This land is ours. All of it is ours’ she is being honest. Labour Zionism has always been dishonest - talking peace whilst waging war.

The ILP is a far-Right party. There is nothing left-wing about it. It supports the forcible deportation of African refugees from Eritrea solely because they are not Jewish. They are termed ‘infiltrators’ the same racist term that is applied to Palestinian refugees.  The 2015 Freedom House report classified Eritrea as one of the 12 “Worst of the Worst” countries in the world.

What members of the Labour Party find disturbing is that LFI acts as the arm of the Israeli state within the Labour Party.  No other state in the world has such influence inside our party. 
You say you support a 2SS yet not once have you ever condemned Israel’s military occupation, its theft of Palestinian water and land resources, its administrative detention, checkpoints, abuse and torture of Palestinian children.  As the Al Jazeera programme The Lobby showed earlier this year, the LFI is a well-funded group with a £1m slush fund.
If you were in the slightest bit sincere in your call for a 2SS, you would call for an end to the Occupation. Instead you put the blame on the quisling Palestinian Authority, which acts as Israel’s security arm, for ‘anti-Semitic incitement’ ignoring the racist statements of Israeli Ministers like Deputy Defence Minister Eli Dahan about the Palestinians: “To me, they are like animals, they aren’t human.”  Dahan went on to explain that “A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual,”

Even the right-wing Jerusalem Post called for Dahan to go, but LFI and the ILP remained silent.  Like all supporters of colonialism you put the blame onto the oppressed.
Your support for a 2 State Solution is deceitful and dishonest. You are fully aware that the real purpose of the 2SS slogan is to provide a pretext for the continual denial of democratic rights to Palestinians living under military occupation. To grant equality to these 5 million Palestinians would mean an end to Israel as a Jewish supremacist state.  To annex the Territories outright would mean an open declaration that Israel is an Apartheid State.  It is far better to maintain the present status quo and with it the fiction of a 2SS.  You are therefore deliberately complicit in the present occupation.

The time has come for the Labour Party to abandon its support for the world’s only apartheid state.  It is Israel’s colonisatory project not Palestinian resistance that is at the heart of the problem today.  Support for Israel is part and parcel of support for US imperialism in the Middle East.  That is why Israel is the largest recipient of US aid in the world.
Jean Fitzpatrick was the victim of an attempt by Ryan at the 2016 Labour Party conference to paint her as antisemitic
For too long Labour’s Zionists have used the bogey of ‘anti-Semitism’ as a weapon against supporters of the Palestinians, including Jewish anti-Zionists such as myself and Jackie Walker. You yourself were captured by Al Jazeera faking an incident of anti-Semitism at Labour’s 2016 Conference. 

In the General Election you sent letters to your constituents attacking Jeremy Corbyn and saying that people had more trust in Theresa May.  Such is your loyalty to Labour’s elected leadership.

The time has come for the Labour Party in Britain to break its links with LFI and the apologists for Israeli Apartheid, yourself included.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Greenstein
Vice Chair – Labour Against the Witchhunt
Joan Ryan's Open Letter to Kate Osamor

Background to Joan Ryan - Israel's Devoted Servant

Joan Ryan is a devoted servant of the Israeli state.  She is also, by any measure, one of the most self-seeking and greedy MPs.  

In October 2007, the Evening Standard reported that Joan Ryan claimed £173,691 in expenses for the 2006/2007 tax year the highest for any MP.  In 2005/6 she had only managed second place in the competition to see who could claim the most parliamentary expenses.  Ryan was by all accounts delighted to have won the coveted ‘Snout in the Trough Award of the Year.’

In February 2010, as a result of the Parliamentary expenses scandal, Ryan had to repay £5,121 mortgage interest.  However this all pales into comparison compared to the £1 million slush fund that the Israeli Embassy agent Shai Masot arranged to be paid for her and which was captured in the Al Jazeera programme The Lobby.

Wikipedia reports that:

In 2012, The Independent reported that "[a]t least 10 attempts have been made from computers in Parliament to remove information about [Ryan's] expenses claims and a further 20 efforts to delete the information, some from her constituency of Enfield North, have also been recorded in Wikipedia's logs."[15]

During the 2015 general election, The Daily Telegraph returned to this issue. In Ryan's case, the entire expenses section was deleted, including information on repairs and decorations on her home paid for out of her MP's expenses; the edits were made while Ryan was not an MP, and she denied involvement.[16]

Ryan was also caught on camera making a false allegation of anti-Semitism against a Labour Party member, Jean Fitzpatrick, at the 2016 Labour Party Conference.  When put under pressure to explain exactly what Labour Friends of Israel were doing to achieve their supposed objective of a 2 state solution [2SS] Ryan preferred to concoct an allegation of anti-Semitism.

In August 2016 Richard Burgon MP, the Shadow Justice Minister, described Zionism as an enemy of peace.  Joan Ryan leapt into action to defend the world’s only apartheid state.  In response I penned an Open Letter.  In the past week Kate Osamor MP, who is both a member of the Shadow Cabinet and a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee has tweeted her support for the campaign for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions.  Once again Ryan has issued an Open Letter.  I have therefore decided to write once again to Ryan, not in the hope that she will enter into a dialogue – Zionists rarely like to exchange views – but because Ryan’s poisonous and racist views should not go unchallenged.

See Letter here

Asa Winstanley 13 December 2017
Electronic Intifada

Labour’s shadow development minister Kate Osamor has endorsed BDS. (ODI/Flickr)

Activists expressed support for the UK Labour Party’s shadow development minister Kate Osamor on Wednesday, after she tweeted approval of BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

The movement aims to hold Israel to account for its violations of Palestinians rights.

Osamor over the weekend tweeted “BDS movement #Freedom #Justice #Equality” – the hashtags standing for the three demands of the Palestinian-led BDS movement.

“We welcome Kate Osamor’s statement of support for the employment of BDS towards Israel until it recognizes the equal rights of Palestinians and ends its violation of their human rights and of international law,” the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s director Ben Jamal told The Electronic Intifada.

Osamor also retweeted a tweet by BDS South Africa which stated that similar tactics had helped the struggle against apartheid in their country:

Osamor’s public support for BDS highlights an apparent split in the party’s shadow cabinet. A left-winger who represents a constituency in North London, Osamor is a strong ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Her endorsement runs counter to shadow foreign minister Emily Thornberry, who last month gave a speech to Labour Friends of Israel in which she claimed – echoing common Israeli propaganda – that BDS is “bigotry.”

In a 2015 interview with The Electronic Intifada when he was running for the leadership, Corbyn expressed support for key parts of the BDS movement, including an arms embargo and a boycott of Israeli universities involved in arms research.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Corbyn told The Electronic Intifada that the “quotes stand.” Meanwhile, The Guardian quoted a spokesperson saying Corbyn “doesn’t support BDS,” only “targeted action aimed at illegal settlements and occupied territories” – but standing by Osamor’s right to support BDS.

Asked to clarify, the spokesperson said that Corbyn still “supports targeted boycotts of those Israeli academic institutions involved in arms research and surveillance of the Palestinian population.” The spokesperson last month also told The Electronic Intifada that Corbyn stood by the 2015 interview.
Labour Friends of Israel’s chair Joan Ryan condemned Osamor on Wednesday, calling on her to withdraw her support for BDS, claiming it “seeks to demonize” Israel' – another common Israeli government talking point.

Labour Friends of Israel is a lobby group within the UK’s main opposition party that coordinates closely with the Israeli embassy.

In an undercover Al Jazeera documentary in January, Ryan was caught on camera faking an incident of anti-Semitism against a Palestine Solidarity Campaign activist at the 2016 Labour conference.

Updated with further Corbyn spokesperson quote.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Austria’s neo-Nazis find friends in Israel

Is there any Far-Right or Anti-Semitic Regime or Party that Israel is not friends with?

neo-Nazi Heinz Christian Strache pays a vist to Israel's holocaust propaganda museum Yad Vashem
In this article on Electronic Intifada Ali Abunimah details the friendly relations between the Austrian state and Israel.  Austria has just elected a new Right-wing parliament with the Austrian Peoples Party the gaining the largest number of seats, 62, with the far-Right Freedom Party third with 51 seats, just behind the social democrats with 52 seats.  It is possible that Herr Strache’s Freedom Party will  become part of the governing coalition.

Strache was invited earlier in the year as a guest of the Likud party in Israel.  It is a party which is vehemently anti-Muslim but also ardently pro-Zionist.  It is hard to think of a serious far-Right party in Europe, apart from the Greek Golden Dawn and the Hungarian Jobbik who aren’t pro-Zionist.

Tony Greenstein

Ali Abunimah Power Suits 16 October 2017

Austria’s ambassador in Tel Aviv sees nothing wrong with Arab parties being excluded from Israel’s government.

As his own country looks set to put neo-Nazis in power in Vienna, this is yet another remarkable demonstration of the racist values shared by European and Israeli elites.

Just as in Germany, there are clear indications of ties between Austria’s neo-Nazi far right and Israel’s right wing.
Israel's new friends - the Austrian Freedom Party (FPO)
Ambassador backs exclusion

Last week Avi Gabbay, the leader of Israel’s ostensibly dovish Labor Party, declared that he would not join a coalition along with members of the Joint List, a grouping of parties made up predominantly of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

“We will not share a government with the Joint List, period,” Gabbay said. “Let that be clear.”

Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Joint List, condemned Gabbay’s racism. “Someone who doesn’t view Arab citizens and their elected representatives as a legitimate group, doesn’t present a real alternative to the right,” Odeh said.

At the same time, Gabbay indicated he could team up with Yisrael Beiteinu, the far-right party led by Israel’s notoriously anti-Arab defense minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Lieberman believes Palestinians like Odeh should eventually be stripped of their Israeli citizenship altogether.

Gabbay’s racism is unremarkable in the Israeli context. It has long been a consensus among Zionist parties that the fifth of the country’s citizens who are Palestinians should have no real role in decision-making.
Austria's neo-Nazi Freedom Party - a solid supporter of Israel
Gabbay followed up with more belligerent comments on Sunday, declaring that “the Arabs have to be afraid of us” and that Israel need never evacuate any of its settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law.

But what has also sadly become unsurprising is to see European diplomats, who frequently pretend to represent an enlightened “human rights” perspective, rationalizing this racism.

On Friday, Martin Weiss, the Austrian ambassador in Tel Aviv had lunch with Gabbay, and appeared to offer a warm endorsement of the Israeli Labor leader on Twitter:

Weiss and Gabbay were joined for lunch by several other European diplomats.
I asked on Twitter if the Europeans had raised the issue of Gabbay’s open anti-Arab racism during the lunch.

Weiss responded, pointing out fairly enough that the lunch had taken place the day before Gabbay’s remarks refusing to let Arab parties join a coalition were reported.

Weiss added, “But do you think members of the Joint List would really want to join a Labor government?”

The Austrian ambassador appeared to be deflecting attention from Gabbay’s racism by pointing out that citizens who are discriminated against might not want inclusion in the first place.

I wanted to give Weiss an opportunity to back away from this, so I challenged him to publicly condemn Gabbay’s racism.

“Thanks but no thanks,” the ambassador replied. “Seems to me that every political party has the right to declare with which other party they would cooperate – or not.”

This could not be a clearer endorsement of the longstanding racist exclusion of Palestinian citizens of Israel on the grounds of their ethnicity.
Apartheid politics

It’s worth recalling that the landmark UN report on Israeli apartheid, suppressed last March by the UN secretary-general on American orders, found that while Israel’s political system gives nominal rights to the roughly 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, these add up to little in practice.

Voting rights lose their significance in terms of equal rights when a racial group is legally banned from challenging laws that perpetuate inequality,” the report states. “Israeli law bans organized Palestinian opposition to Jewish domination, rendering it illegal and even seditious.”

These formal restrictions on advocating for an end to state-sponsored racism are supplemented by the informal consensus among party leaders – from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that Arabs were voting “in droves” to Gabbay vowing not to include the Joint List in a coalition – that government is an exclusively Jewish matter.

Neo-Nazis embrace Israeli right

Ambassador Weiss’ defense of Israeli racism was perhaps a warm-up for the work he’ll have to do defending his own country’s government in coming months.

Following Sunday’s Austrian general election, a new right-wing government led by the youthful foreign minister Sebastian Kurz is set to take power.

It’s widely expected that Kurz’s conservative People’s Party will form a coalition with the far-right, anti-Muslim Freedom Party, headed by neo-Nazi Heinz-Christian Strache.

The Freedom Party’s success comes just weeks after the neo-Nazi Alternative for Germany – known by its initials AfD – took about 100 seats in the Bundestag.

And just like AfD, Austria’s Freedom Party has discovered a recent affinity for Israel.

Last year, Strache, who used to march with a group imitating the Hitler Youth, visited Israel at the invitation of lawmakers from Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party.

Just like other assorted anti-Semites and far-right extremists, Strache apparently saw Israel providing a laundering service. As media reports in Austria put it, the intention of Strache’s visit – complete with a pilgrimage to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial – was “to make himself kosher in Israel” in the hope that this would give him respectability elsewhere.

Europe’s new fascists and Israel’s right have also found an alliance in their common hatred of Muslims.

In June, Strache welcomed to Vienna Likud lawmaker Yehuda Glick, a leader in the so-called Temple Movement, which aims to destroy Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque and replace it with a Jewish temple.
A photo posted on Strache’s Facebook page shows the pair in a friendly meeting.

European Jewish organizations have condemned Israeli outreach to Europe’s far right, including the Freedom Party. Last November, the leader of the Vienna Jewish community published a letter calling on Israeli politicians to shun such meetings and “to draw a very clear red line between us and those who represent hate, neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism.”

Recall that while Germany’s Jewish community expressed horror at AfD’s recent electoral success, Yehuda Glick defended the party.

There’s no mystery why: AfD leaders have given strong backing to Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Austria’s Strache is following a similar line, supporting the settlements and becoming a champion of Israel’s claims to Jerusalem that are rejected by the rest of the world.

Strache handed Glick a letter to be delivered to Netanyahu vowing to do all he could to push for Austria’s embassy in Tel Aviv to be moved to Jerusalem.

With his party set to join the government, Strache will have his chance.

Once again, Israel is showing that its closest allies in Europe are the worst enemies of Jewish people.

see also

Growing Far-Right Nationalistic Movements Are Dangerously Anti-Muslim — and Pro-Israel