Monday, 8 February 2010

“Death to the Jews” - at the Oxford Union

Earlier tonight Danny Ayalon, the Israeli deputy foreign minister, came to speak at the Oxford Union. I don’t like his politics, and went along half-expecting to leave frustrated and embarrassed, as an Israeli, by what he would say. And sure enough by the end of the evening that’s exactly how I felt – frustrated and embarrassed – but not so much by him as by the stupidity and racism of fellow students at Oxford.

Speaking to the Oxford Union on Twitpic

To begin with the heckling was nothing out of the ordinary: a student stood up and read something out – extracts from the Goldstone report, I think – but spoke too quickly and too quietly for me to follow. Shortly after another student jumped up, shouting that she was a Lebanese Palestinian, before shouting some more while holding her passport and some photos in the air. She stayed standing for the remainder of his talk. So far, so usual; in the world of anti-Israel campus activism, this was nothing.

But then things got more heated. One audience member rose waving a Palestinian flag and left the room shouting that Ayalon was a war criminal who would be tried in court for his role in the Gaza war last year. Since Ayalon was not yet in the government at that time, I couldn't help but wonder: what crime was he to be be tried for?

Another student then took it upon herself to stand up and, in a shrill and impassioned voice, speak too quickly and too emotionally to make any sense. She then refused to stop talking, apparently misunderstanding the instructions at the start of the night that there would be time for questions at the end. She continued despite a rising chorus of ‘sit down’ being levelled against her. One student put it nicely when he said ‘stop being selfish, this is not a tutorial. It's a lecture!.’ She didn’t seem to get the message though, and rambled on. Ayalon, to his credit, took her seriously and attempted to engage with her comments. She didn't return the favour, and left soon after, no doubt with a great deal of self-righteous satisfaction.

The worst, however, was still to come. ‘Death to the Jews’, one student shouted in Arabic as he stormed out. (disclaimer: I don't speak Arabic, but that's what Ayalon claimed he said - and nobody in the audience challenged the translation) I’m no lawyer, but I’m fairly sure that comment constitutes incitement to racial and religious hatred under UK legislation – it will be interesting to see if anything is followed up by the Union. At the very least, I expect them to remove the Union-membership of the student in question, for breaking the law and calling for the slaughter of fellow members while at a Union event.

Outside the debating chamber, all the while, protestors were shouting ‘free free Palestine from the river to the sea’. When Ayalon argued that this chant amounted to a call for Israel’s destruction, and asked where Israeli Jews would have to go for Palestine to be free 'from the river to the sea', the woman sitting next to me said ‘back to where they came from!’ I couldn’t resist and had to ask her where exactly it was that she expected Jews to go ‘back to’, to which she replied, ‘well you’re in England, you appear to be doing fine’. I didn't think it worthwhile to point out that actually my grandparents 'came from' Poland and Czechoslovakia, and that the reason I am in England today is that in the 1930s they were not 'doing fine' in the countries they 'came from'.

In any case, I’m tired, and am heading to bed with the following thoughts:

  1. What would happen if a student called out ‘death to the muslims’ in the Oxford Union? Would it get national publicity and receive widespread condemnation? I expect (and hope) it would. I’m waiting to see how the press deal with the ‘death to the Jews’ outburst, and how quickly the apologetic ‘yes but you have to understand...’ voices are to emerge.

  2. By attacking him in the way they did, the protestors today handed Ayalon an undeserved victory. His politics and approach to diplomacy are deplorable; they could and should have been intelligently exposed. Instead, by the end of the night he seemed to be the calm victim of the aggressive onslaught of idiots. To judge from the opinions of the few non-partisan audience members whom I overheard talking as they left the chamber, he left looking more reasonable than his critics.

  3. To the extent that we can generalize from the events at the Oxford Union tonight, it seems that no Israeli official can expect to receive a fair hearing or to give a speech freely at a British University anymore – even at Oxford’s self proclaimed ‘bastion of free speech’. That’s bad for debate but it’s also bad for the Palestinians; however much self-righteous satisfaction protestors may feel when they shout aggressively at Israeli officials, doing so only feeds the perception within Israel that foreign critics of Israel are unwilling to give Israel a fair hearing, that they’re simply Israel bashers, and that they are anti-Semitic - and that's never going to inspire Israel to change its policies.


  1. Much agreed. If the Union can't provide a forum for organised, if heated, discussion - who can? Very frustrating.

  2. A response to your thought number 3: "that's bad for debate" - what kind of debate is it when the Oxford Union invites an Israeli government official but no representative of the Palestinian Authority? As far as I'm aware, the definition of 'debate' is that it is an equally contested discussion from two opposing sides. Well, there certainly was no other side that had been invited and given the privilege to argue in an academic context next to his adversary last night, so that is precisely why there were pro-Palestinian protesters doing it on behalf of Palestine. The day a Palestinian official is invited to speak at the union, then you can talk fairly about 'debate'.

  3. Yasser Arfat has spoken at the Union, Livia. There was no Israeli speaker when he spoke. Am I to conclude that until Ayalon came to speak Israel had been denied 'debate' at the Union? Absolute idiocy, as far as the argument goes.

  4. No, but when Arafat came to speak, then protesters had every right to be there. That is all i am saying.

  5. People of all opinions have the right to be there and to listen to the speaker - afterwards, they can ask questions. This is the point of question time. To a heckle a speaker is not to engage in debate.

  6. Debate in the UK is somewhat a standard for debate all over the world.

    Well. It used to be.

  7. I can’t understand why you are surprised at the events of yesterday evening. There was never a partner for dialog on the Arab side, not even among students at Oxford University.

    There is nothing wrong with “Ayalon’s politics”. It was not created in a vacuum and you need to “read it” within the context of the “Death to the Jews” mentality of his neighbours and, as it appeared last night, our neighbours too.

  8. How can we respect Ayalon's right to freedom of speech when he doesn't respect the right of Palestinians to freedom of speech, or - for that matter - freedom of life? Ayalon's party in the Knesset - Yisrael Beiteinu - calls for the ethnic cleansing of the 1.5 million Palestinians currently inside Israel. His party also calls for the imprisonment of Palestinians in Israel who commemorate the Nakbah - the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians with the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. His party is also opposed to Arab parties participating in Israeli politics. So much for freedom of speech! This man has no right to talk about peace. He is an anti-Arab racist and a hypocrite through and through.

  9. I'm very glad I decided to stay clear of the Union last night - these talks are always trouble.

    Shadaab, much of what you say is (almost) correct and the Yisroel Beitenu party (which I abhore) are disgusting. HOWEVER, he was an invited guest at the Union and there was to be a Q&A session afterwards - that was the time to stand up and shout undecipherable drivel, not during.

    The problem, in the end, is not that people stood up and got upset/excited (this, really, is par for the course) it is the blatant anti-semitism of 'Itbah Al-Yahud' and 'Back where they came from' which somehow don't seem to be a big deal. Do you have anything to say about that Shadaab, Livia etc.?

  10. Oh, and btw 'MR Smith' this is a great blog - I've just had a cursory glance, and I find myself agreeing with much (if not all) of what you've said.

  11. Shadaab, with all due respect, you misrepresent Israel Beitenu and speak in half-truths. As Daniel S pointed out, there is much that is objectionable about the party but this is no justification for traducing their positions.
    Israel Beitenu does not advocate ethnic cleansing; it advocates the redrawing of Israel's borders so as to include as many Jews and exclude as many Arabs as possible. This does not entail 'cleansing' anyone.
    Israel Beitenu does not call for the imprisonment of those who commemorate the Naqba; it calls for the prohibition of such commemoration by bodies that recieve government funds.
    Israel Beitenu does not propose that Arab political parties in Israel be banned; it proposes that parties which do not accept Israel's Jewish character be prevented from contesting elections.
    All of this may be reprehensible and everyone can form their own opinion of Israel Beitenu, but pray let's form said opinions on the basis of the facts and not on distortions thereof.

  12. Shadaab, you are producing a lot of dribble.

    Ayalon is not stopping Palestinians from breathing or living. If anything, his primary aim is to stop them from sending missiles into Israel (though he is not connected to defence). If in the process of stopping these missiles launched towards Israel, the launchers, or their supporters stop breathing, then I doubt that anyone can seriously object to that.

    Ayalon’s party never called for removal of Arabs from the Knesset, it is calling for the dismissal of member of Knesset who supports the enemies of Israel and who do not accept the idea of a Jewish State. Can you seriously claim that this is wrong? Can you imagine an MP in Britain that would cooperate with Al-Qaida and remain in office?

    Ethnic cleansing is a term used to define violence perpetrated in order to cause the fleeing or the removal of a population from its land. Yisrael Beiteinu never called for any action of that kind, never suggested it, nor even wished it. One of the party’s ideas is calling for exchanges of land between Israel and the Palestinians (if and when peace will come), based on a similar idea that the UN partition was agreed upon; areas with a majority of Arab population will become Palestinian, and areas with an Israeli majority will be part of Israel. There is not one suggestion of moving people from their homes (not even in the way that Jews were removed out of the Gaza Strip). If anything, then you as an Arab supporter should welcome this suggestion, why shouldn’t Arabs who are at the moment a minority in Israel, be entitled to a Palestinian passport? Think of all the good educated Israeli Arabs could bring, to a fledgling Palestinian State. They could also help with establishing democracy.

    Lastly, the Nakbah was an attempt by Palestinians, supported by the armies of five Arab countries, to ethnically cleanse the Jews from Israel. It did not work, the consequence of which is paid for even today, 62 years later, by the poor Palestinians. Do you seriously suggest that it is right for people in Israel, to mark a day of sadness for the failure of the ethnic cleansing of the Jews?

    Well you probably will, but then when did you last look at something from both sides?

  13. Livia - the debate does not have to take place there and then on one night. It is a discussion that has been carrying on for years. It is important that different opinions are heard and challenged. But this needs to be civil and proper or the 'protesters' are made to look ridiculous while the speaker appears, as MR Smith points out, "more reasonable than his critics".

    Shadaab - harking back to 1948 does not deal with the realities of today. Chants like those heard outside the union to "free Palestine from the river to the sea" are not a solution. When a two-state solution is reached, it will surely be messy, bloody and with massive compromise on both sides. Why is any sort of political savvy or just plain old realism ignored by otherwise intelligent people when discussing the rights and wrongs of the issue?

    MR Smith - time to get out of Oxford, mate. The Israel-bashing not bored you yet?

  14. 1- The protester said that in Arabic which I know better than Ayalon, I guess (being Arabic, how surprising, we do exist in Oxford!!!)The guy didn’t say kill the Jews he said: Khybar khaybar ya yahod, and I will leave it to your common sense to search and find what it means

    2- Apart from that, the kind of dialogue being stressed is the kind Israel tries to show in the west, while we know that the only dialogue possible on the ground is missiles, settlements, blockade, and ethnic cleansing.

    3- Twisting facts (how typical Israeli!!!) and trying to portray this protester as the main thing that was wrong doesn't really sell. People have eyes and common sense. And, it is no more the 40s when our land was occupied and Zionist massacres were committed and the world didn’t know. There is TV, internet and growing conscious. This talk should not be pro _Israeli's worry. Worrying about how to hide blockade and starving 1.5 millions in Gaza should be a concern. Worrying about the forbidden weapons used in Gaza, Lebanon and God knows where next should be a concern.

    4- Serving in a government of an occupying state is a crime, agreeing to blockade and settlements is a crime as per law. Except of course for Israel, it is an apartheid and racist state against its own citizens (Palestinians and Eastern –Arabic Jews for example) state. Laws don’t apply to such a state!!!
    5_ I do recommend going back to history (by the way: I was not really sure what Ayalon really wanted us to do: go back to History or focus on the future?) . Maybe read UN resolutions, one of them is 194 that is always neglected by Israelis. It states that Palestine refugees have the right to return to their properties, that is from the river to the sea.

    6_ If there are enough Israelis who do read the situation as is in the time being and for the future, only a one state solution is possible. Jews were always a part of the east and were safe among the other sects and religions in the area until the state of Israel was established (On blood and skulls of our grandparents: search for Deir Yassin and Kafar Kassam, these names tell good enough about what happened in 1947 and 1948 when zinoist gangs attacked civilians in their houses). Temples in Baghdad and Damascus were bombed by the Mosad ( Is this a part of the History Ayalon wants us to read?I am not reallys ure about that)

    7- Israel is that Pathetic now that Danny Ayalon is its Deputy of foreign minster Affairs!!!! How cynical: he apologized to Turkey and KSA, just as his master "Lieberman" did to Syria and Egypt for foolish- but very sincere from Yisrael Beiteinu_ threats. And few students and protesters could prevent him from delivering more lies and whom to blame but the chants protestors repeated louder than the voice of lies.

  15. Michah, I didn't know that you are the author behind the "edge of where" blog until now. Now that I know this is the case, I am very offended that Adam's comment was quoted and not mine!! (haha).

    Although to be fair, I think Adam's line "this isn't a tutorial" got a bigger laugh than my attempt: "I know you go to Oxford, but how can you be so big-headed". Possibly I risked alienating most of the audience with that jibe, but it was the best I could come up with at the time!

    The proceedings were indeed completely farcical at times, so the best we can do is look back and laugh once the clouds of anger and frustration have passed.

    The broader point I would make is that the demonstrators' slogans and comments were indicative of a more sinister underlying sentiment. The fact that as you rightly mentioned in your piece, the protestors were quick to brand Ayalon a "war criminal" despite the fact that he wasn't even in government showed not only ignorance, but also an automatic predisposition to label all Israeli representatives in that way. The logical next step is to automatically consider all Israelis as war criminals simply because of their nationality. (In fact there are already cases of this happening - a case in point is here in Oxford when an Israeli Phd candidate's application to study chemistry was declined for political reasons solely on the basis of his Israeli citizenship.)

    Whether we agree with Ayalon's party platform or not, he was not attacked on objective grounds but on the hate-filled grounds of his affiliation with the State of Israel. Most of the protestors were not merely against the specific policies of Israel or Mr Ayalon but rather the whole idea of Israel itself. In other words, the very right of Israel to exist - as exemplified in the insensitive and ignorant views of the woman sitting next to you.

    Anyway, what was initially supposed to be a quick casual comment on facebook has gone on for far too long so I will sign off here,

    Kind regards,
    Daniel Easterman.

  16. It's good to see all the discussion going on.

    Ben Ami, Daniel S, notatextbook - the three of you have usefully provided answers to some of the challenges posed above, so thank you!

    As for the claim that the protestor shouting in Arabic didn’t say 'Itbah Al-Yahud' - 'kill the Jews' - but said 'Khybar khaybar ya yahod,' I'll make the following 2 points:

    (1) That nobody in the hall contested Ayalon's translation at the event; if it was wrong, then why did nobody - yourself included - say so? Given that that his translation was not contested by anyone in the chamber, I'm hardly 'Twisting facts' by faithfully reporting his translation.

    (2) In any case, I did as you said, and checked out what 'Khybar khaybar ya yahod' means. Well, according to wikipedia, that's the beginning of a chant that translates as the following:
    "Khaybar, Khaybar o Jews, the army of
    Muhammad will return"
    Khayber being an area near Medina the Jews lived in before being expelled by the Caliph Umar. I think that also comes undeer incitement I'm afraid.

  17. To my Arabic co-educationalist,

    The issue that this blog post dealt with was not Israel's crimes (real or imagined), nor the merits of a one-state vs. two-state vs. no-state solution to the Israel-Palestine/Israel-Arab conflict, nor even whether or not the jews should, could or would ever move back in with their old neighbours in the Arab/Eastern world. The issue was anti-semitism, which had clearly manifested in 2 ways outlined above.

    So before you start accusing the author of this blog of being a 'typical israeli!!!!' because he was 'twisting facts' you might be interested to know that he supported the Goldstone report and opposes the Occupation of the West Bank [from what I can gather from the rest of this blog].

  18. Well, I guess we could all tell that many times people among the audience asked Ayalon to raise his voice. I didn't hear him translating otherwise I would have directly corrected. As this is such a human fault from my side, we can refer to videotapes to make this matter clear.

    About the translation of khyabr khybar, good you know now what the guy said means now(as I heard him say). See what does using religion do? I am clearly against tagging every Jew to be a Zionist. Howver, I understand that when the speech by a right wing official is about a "Jewish state",I wouldn't expect from a Muslim or a Christian to be more tolerante as they both share beliefs that Palestine is their promised land!! One side becoming fanatic provokes the others to become the same. Don't you agree?

    I will be having more time in the coming few days to read your blog thoroughly to learn more about your views. I think people sick of the conflict can have a "potential" less bitter "dialogue" when figures like Ayalon are not imposing how dialogue should be taking place.

    @ Daniel: good guess I am a teacher in fact, so basically i tend to preach. I guess I of all people can't be accused by the anti- Semitism charges. I am an Arab and I don't deny that "Jews"-not Zionists- were a part of the region and have contributed in all times to feature the area and its history. Jews (many many of them are Arabs) are as Semitic as Arabs are, so, u r defeating your purpose here to say it is merely about anti-Semitism (Though I don’t agree that anyone opposing Israel is to be accused as an anti-Semitic, is opposing America anti- American? or Germany anti-European?) Come on, there are Jews around the world who oppose the state of Israel as much as Arabs and non Arabs do. What are these? anti- Semitic too? Please: a little bit of thinking doesn't really hurt sometimes,or does it?

    Twisting facts: UN centre in Qana village was targeted massively with missiles on April 18, 1996 during the "Grapes of Wrath" war, over 100 people -including UN officers- were killed. Israel claimed it was by mistake, what would you call this? On the other hand: I am suggesting a video tape to make sure what was said in that chamber, although it is not the core issue about Ayalon' visit. Rather: it is the practices and policies that lead to such anger and make people scream such words

    A true question to ask hear: who wants "dialogue"? Europeans? American? Israelis? Arabs? I really want to know if there is a sincere will to be engaged in such a thing. I have doubts that anyone is ready to "dialogue" while we all know that missles are ready to be firing out at any moment.Aren' they?

  19. *A true question to ask "here" not "hear"

  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  21. He was only doing what the Koran commands.. Allah has ordered Muslims to exterminate the Jews as a compulsory religious duty:

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Sorry @ my Arabic colleague (I don't know your name), the anti-semitic comments that I was referring to had NOTHING to do with opposition to Israeli policy or EVEN opposition to the state of Israel's existence.

    The anti-semitic comments were a) Death the jews and b) They should go back to where they came from. Do you not have any comments about that?

    [EDIT]: You say that even if 'Death to the Jews' was shouted out, that this is excused because he was merely expressing anger at Israel. This is rubbish. There is never an excuse for anti-semitism [which by definition means hatred of JEWS, not of the semitic people], and your justifications are rather telling.

  24. @ the Angelic Teacher,
    I sincerely hope that you do not attempt to teach history.

    You write “Jews were always a part of the east and were safe among the other sects and religions in the area until the state of Israel was established” I suggest you search for the massacre which took place in 23 and 24 August 1929 in Hebron.

    You write about “our land was occupied” who is “our”? Arab land?
    (Indeed I also heard claims that Europe is Arab land.)
    Or is it Palestinian land?
    Please show me reference in history to this nation of Palestine, when in history did it ever existed and owned land, flag or anything else?
    I am a Jew whose parents and great parents were born in Palestine. It makes me as much a Palestinian as any other person wishing to describe himself that way, an empathy slogan.

    You write about “Palestine refugees”. How come, 62 years and three generations later, there are still “Palestinian refugees”?
    800,000 Jews become refugees during and after the Israeli war of independence, they escaped Arab persecution and arrived -mostly- in Israel with nothing but the cloths that they were wearing. All of them are now Israeli citizens having lost their refugee status within 18 months of their escapee. Yet you are claiming refugee status three generation later? I suggest you read the real UN definition of a refugee, not the one that was stitched specifically to fit with Arab propaganda.

    It is the duty of every government to blockade an area, which is used to launch missiles from, against its citizens. Amazingly, while blockading Gaza to prevent it from being supplied with ammunition, Israel did, and still is, supplying Gaza with food, gas, electricity and medical aid. Never in the history of warfare has an enemy received as much aid as that which Israel is extending to the Arabs living in Gaza.

  25. A classic example of how discussion and debate on the Arab-Israeli conflict has been hijacked by anti-semites who claim to be pro-Palestine.

    Slogans such as " “Itbah al-Yahud”" and "from the river to the sea Palestine will be free " are not pro-Palestinian. These slogans are racist, promote the destruction of Israel and do a disservice to the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign state.

    With such rants, political issues that plague the ongoing conflict are directly put on the back-burner, making void all the legitimate grievances of the Palestinians.

    Yesterdays fiasco raised questions as to what are the objectives of the pro-Palestinian camp and whether those objectives fit into a peaceful and just solution to the conflict.

  26. Right, re. the Kaybar chant - Micah, the Jews were not just expelled, they were actually subjected to a "safety tax" - half their annual date harvest in exchange for not being massacred. Only later were they expelled when they were no longer needed.
    This event forms the basis for the jizya (a safety tax), which tolerated non-muslims (dhimmis) were obliged to pay when living in Muslim lands in exchange for their safety. I will not bore you with details of the humiliating ways this tax was collected, or the method's lack of efficacy for assuring safety. So, Milaak, it's not fair for you to be all high and mighty about the translation - the message is clear: Muslims will return to fight and kill the Jews, and to subjugate the survivors. Many thanks for your lesson in philo-semitism.

  27. I'm not going to lie, I haven't the time to read all the comments, but can I just say that this is a very astute blog post. The context in which you were quoted by many publications online suggested that I would find you biased but you are remarkably evenhanded. Some of the comments made were indefensible (not just "kill the jews" but the arguably equally genocidal "from river to sea..."). Shouting them out mid-speech was also unacceptable and rude in a situation where such statements might be made in the later q & a. All this disturbs me because my views on the process are usually largely sympathetic to the 'Palestinian cause', if tht is even possible in a situation as complex as this. But it is true in this case; AYALON SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN INVITED TO SPEAK UNOPPOSED AT THE UNION. In conjuction with others, perhaps, but alone it gives a platform to, as you draw attention to, some nasty politics. I think it's reasonable to describe some Yisrael Beiteinu policies as racist. Yet, again as you point out, the event has given thhe Israeli government the opportunity to point to a small extremist minority as evidence for widespread racism. This is an important point in a conflict where anti-semitism is often used falsely as a smear, sometimes against those with legitimate criticism of Israel. Overall, another sad example of a loud, extreme and ignorant minority hurting a (at least in many points) legitimate cause.

  28. @ Alexander,

    I am curious at your assertion of “loud, extreme and ignorant minority”. How small a minority is this? Does it include the attacks yesterday on the Italians and French embassies in Teheran, the riots against the Danish cartoonists, the Arabs dancing in the streets after 9/11, or on the roof tops during attacks on Israel?

    “Small minority” is an expression too easily used every time somebody is trying to excuse a behaviour that most of us find unacceptable. I doubt how you can quantify how small a minority is this. I find that it is in fact the majority who is actually ignorant. For example, which cause of the Palestinians is it that you are actually supporting?

    If it is not the killing or expulsion of Jews, and not the “river to the sea...”, and not terror against Israeli civilians, please explain which other cause is held by the majority of Palestinians, who have voted for Hamas?

  29. Hmm. Some fair points there. It probably isn't my place to speak for the Palestinian people, nor the Arabs that you reference supporting/approving 9/11, althoug I'd say that it's perhaps conflation of separate debates to link in Teheran, Danish cartoons and Israel-Palestine in one.

    I guess my main point is one that I've felt for a long time, that unspeakable actions or statements by some should not detract from an assessment of the point which they have attached themselves to(or more accurately are harming through their attachment). I also don't really like the phrase "most of us find unacceptable" in your post; I think it's clear that I find those two shouts abhorrent (to such an extent that I even looked up the word abhorrent in my dictionary!) and hope you're not suggesting otherwise. I may have misinterpreted. My point here is that one can disagree with such shouts AND also disagree with Ayalon's presence at the union unopposed.

    There isn't really much excusing to be done for voting for Hamas. As a way of explanation, NOT EXCUSING, I believe the main reason was a dissatisfaction with Fatah's corruption, and Hamas played on that unrest. Then again, this is the sort of excuse given in Britain for BNP votes ("they're not racist, they're just angry with the political 'establishment'"), and I think those excuses are generally fairly weak. On a nitpicking point, I think that the strict turnout for the 2006 election showed about 44% for Hamas - obviously a very significant proportion but not technically a majority. But that doesn't really detract from your point.

  30. Just to clarify, I do still think that most of us (and we can argue later on who is US if you want) find the call for killing of anybody, unacceptable. I also do think that you agree with me on that. :)

    I linked the different Arab protestors around the world to make a point, I except that it is a weak one. I should have probably brought in examples of Palestinians atrocities only; I hope that you understand that it is not due to shortage of these that I did not include them.

    Please forgive me for being persistant, I am still not clear on the question of which Palestinian cause you do support?

  31. What the Palestinians need is a clear stated agenda where their grievances, along with their objectives.

    I find it very difficult to be pro Palestinian when the Palestinian leadership is divided amongst itself on the issue concerning the existance of Israel.

    The Israeli leadership has accepted a two state solution, where as the Palestinian leaderhip (Hamas , Fatah?) have not come out with a clear position on a pro-peace solution to Palestinian statehood.

  32. You ask why Ayalon was branded a war criminal: enforced starvation, of the kind that Israel perpetuates in Gaza, is a war crime. For his role as Sharon's policy adviser in 2002, why not also add the following to the charge sheet: unlawful killings, the use of human shiels, disproportionate use of force, arbitrary arrests and torture, denial of medical treatment and access; to say nothing of his government's continuation of the breaches of the Geneva Conventions inherent in this the 43rd year of Israel's occupation of Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the (often forgotten) peripheral, aerial, and coastal territory of Gaza (with all that entails for generations of Palestinian civilians). But of course, getting angry about this and showing Ayalon our anger makes us 'racists' and 'aggressive idiots'. Well, if we are idiots, we are at least idiots moved by compassion and a horror of suffering and injustice.

  33. Anne: There are no starving victims in this conflict, be it in Israel, Gaza or the occupied West Bank. The illusions of starving Palestinians are figments of your imagination. The denial of medical treatment and access by Israel is another illusion and distortion. The Palestinians Authority is no longer interested in having Palestinian patients treated in Israel and have pulled the plug on access to Israeli hospitals. Despite this, thousands of Palestinians are being treated in Israel, along with hundreds of Palestinian children sponsored by the Peres Center for Peace.

    "Anan Dahmi, a salesman from the West Bank city of Tulkarm, said he had been told by the Palestinian Health Ministry last week that his 4-year-old son, Aous, had to stop going to Hadassah Hospital for follow-up treatments after a bone marrow transplant there a year ago, and should be taken instead to a Palestinian or Jordanian hospital."

  34. You have your grievances while Israel has its security concerns of which the Palestinians have demonstrated to be incapable of providing, leaving Israel to deal with its security concerns as it see's fit.

    You portray your arguement as if the Palestinians are victims to this conflict, not accomplices.

    The remainder of your comment focuses on half truths. Your drivel does not even warrant a response.

  35. @ Anne,

    As Nephtaly said, your nonsense is not worth a response, it is lies. However other people read here too and for their benefit, I will answer you.

    There is no starvation in Gaza, because Israel supplies it with food. There is a blockade on Gaza, because otherwise Hamas will have even longer range missiles to fire at Israel.

    Human shields you are referring to are being used by Hamas. Hamas needs human shields in order to survive. Without civilians living on top of ammunition dumps, Israel would have got rid of these very quickly. Without human shields Hamas would not have survived 24 hours.

    It is very convenient for you, in the comfort of Oxford, to talk about disproportionate use of force. You do not have missiles raining down on you while you hide in shelters. In fact, so long as there are missiles being launch at Israeli cities, it is obvious that there is not enough force being used. Hamas could have stopped Cast Lead any time it wished by declaring that it would stop firing. It has only stopped firing when the response became proportionate enough. Many in Israel feel that the proportionate response should have been a simple return of fire to the source of fire; they feel that Israel should not put the lives of its soldiers at risk in order to save Palestinians lives. However, this sort of response would have caused many more civilian casualties and Israel has chosen to risk the lives of its own soldiers to try and prevent these casualties.

    The Israeli legal system can rival any in the west, and can serve as a shining example to any regime in the Middle East. The arbitrary arrests and torture you are referring to are a figment of your imagination. There are indeed many arrests and these save many lives by preventing terrorists from committing atrocities. The Israeli security services have a task which thankfully was never experienced by any other country in the world. They are doing a terrific job even though they have to work under the constraints of a legal and democratic system.

    I am very curious if you can point out whom Jerusalem was occupied from?

    For too long, people like you have been allowed to apply double standards without being challenged. It is time we start to point out some real truths.

  36. An "instiute of higher learning," eh?

    End the funding and close the place, I say

  37. Superb blog! It is only a pity that the resident idiots and/or anti-semites seem to keep appearing.

    I find the ignorance of the "pro-Palestinians" astonishing. All the Palestinian parties are in favour of terrorism and war against Israel's existence. Their leaders may talk victimhood and peace negotiations to western audiences but to Arabic audiences they preach "resistance", genocide and war.
    Jordanian officers boasted of their plans in 1967 for genocide. How much has changed?

  38. The problem with us Jews and our supporters, is that we have become too financially successful and passively middle class. We have forgotten the anti semitic working classs milieu our parents and grandparents lived in, when Jews had to be boxers and scrappers to survive. At that time, if some anti semites showed up to attack our meetings , our fathers or grandfathers would have beaten them to a pulp. Do not forget, Jews are the best at playing by Chicago rules, lets make the assorted Jew haters learn, once and for all, that if they show up to attack us, they will be lucky to crawl away from the encounter. The police are not going to protect us, we have to protect ourselves !!! One thing about bullies is that they do not like a fight where they get hit and humiliated. It only takes a few punches and they run away.

  39. Never forget that it was PALESTINIANS and other ADJACENT JEW HATING MUSLIMS who danced in the streets and passed out candy after 9.11 The same ones that are now attacking Jews at Oxford, at the London School of Economics, at York University, and the U of Toronto, and Concordia in Canada, and at SFSU, UC Irvine, and the bottomless snakepit of UC Berkeley in the California.

  40. The definition of Chicago rules link just substitute Moslem Terrorists for Capone

  41. Kinky Friedman - They Aint Makin Jews Like Jesus Anymore

  42. The next American president, Ted Nugent
    Electing Ted Nugent will be the US reaction to the Obama aka quisling appeaser regime. Ted is coming, you terror sympathizers and fellow travelers are not going to have any place to hide.