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The Witch Hunt At Westminster

The Witch Hunt At Westminster

Neve Gordon

When I received the message from Jewish Voice for Labour announcing that the screening of the documentary "Witch Hunt" in parliament and the scheduled panel to follow (which I had been invited to join) had been cancelled, I was nonplussed.

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First published at Al Jazeera

My, what a surprise!

Williamson isn’t judged as anti-Semitic and suspended from the Labour Party just for his booking a room in parliament for a screening of Witch Hunt, nor just for his comments that the Labour Party was too apologetic when dealing with anti-Semitism, both a bit provocative when 7 Labour MPs had just left the party days earlier because of inability to tackle anti-Semitism, but also his general history in this area, for example supporting Gilad Atzmon who is on record as saying, amongst other things, that ‘the day could come when some will be bold enough to argue that Hitler might have been right after all.’ Or Jackie Walker, the maker of Witch Hunt, who said ‘Jews were the “chief financiers” of the slave trade,’ a claim wholly debunked by specialist historians of the period.

And as for this terrible article, to critcise Israeli behaviour and policy is one thing, but to attack zionism generally is tantamount to saying the state of Israel has no right to exist, a view shared by the majority of Muslims, and is about as anti-semitic as it gets.

What is the point of arguing about states’ “right to exist”? That’s a serious question.

How does the state of Israel “have the right to exist”? What are your criteria for “the right to exist” for states?

i deny Israel has “a right” to exist as a state, since it was blatantly stolen land against the will of the people who already lived there. Israel has a wrong, a whole series of ongoing wrongs, to exist as a state.

Similarly, i don’t “believe” in a “right to exist” for the USA, since it was blatantly stolen land against the will of the people who already lived there. The USA has a wrong, a whole series of ongoing wrongs, to exist as a state.

In both cases, i support de-colonization work, seeking to fundamentally change the political structure imposed by the settler-colonialists, with accounting of crimes against humanity that have been carried out.

Turning the discussion to a discussion of the “right to exist” for states, is a blatant way to turn the discussion away from the crimes of states that must be addressed.

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Well, you’re the one whose just done that, my main point was just that this article is disingenous. But as you have expanded on that generalised point, I;d say to your comment you’re just playing at political semantics and are naive if you can;t see that notions of statehood are connected with notions of identity and racial identity and to attack one is to usually attack the other, that is to say is disguised racism, and you really show some ignorance on Jewish history to try and disassociate nationhood (zionism) from identity in the way you have. I’d suggest, if you’ve got the time, watch Simon Shama’s BBC 5 part series ‘The Story of the Jews’ and particularly the final 5th epsiode ‘The Return’. May change your point of view if you have an open, compassionate mind. You can find them here:

You can find that epsiode 5 here:

i’m not “expanding” anything. i’m responding to your statement “to attack zionism generally is tantamount to saying the state of Israel has no right to exist… about as anti-semitic as it gets.”

i don’t “disassociate” anything. Nothing “justifies” the settler-colonialism and theft of land. You are saying, “Yes it’s a great crime, but it’s justified by these other great historic crimes.”

No, it is not justified.

Yeh, you’re right, on a moral level, nothing justifies that, but it’s all a bit high-minded, ivory towerish in the context of how the world has evolved the last 10,000 years,most nations being based on that ibn one form or another, and I am acutely aware that when this seemingly moral argument is aimed at zionism and Israel (incidentally, there were already Jews living in that area prior to great 20th century ‘return’, (see the video)), over the hundreds of other places on the globe it has occured (for example the USA and Canada), it usually disguises a surreptitious anti-semitism, I’m sure anyone impartial would agree.

Does that apply to immigration generally, then? Some people would argue the immigrants have no right to be in their country and that they are stealing their housing, jobs, land etc? I mean, I’m sure native Americans could make a case for that, and so also any anti-immigration party around today. And also, in the context of Israel, the creation of it was based on an enormous flux of refugee immigrants post-WW2.

i think immigration is different from the settler-colonization i’m referring to. People are not coming to the USA to colonize the land, usurp the residents, and impose a new state.

Not sure if you’ve seen this book, but the author ends up concluding that we need a one-state solution, democratic, pluralistic, with right-of-return for all refugees from expulsions including Palestinians 70 years ago as well as Jews from diasporas ranging back 2000-plus years:

In what way is it different and how do you distinguish the two? You stated the USA as an example of a state which has no right to exist due to it being a colonial enterprise, yet at what point does it stop being that and become simply immigration which you apprently are okay with? From the experience of the Native American there is no distinction. Ditto for anywhere else on earth where ‘others’ are occupying their land. Citing the US again,or Canada, or Australia, or Israel, or anywhere, the vast numbers of immigrants who went there weren’t thinking 'oh lets go imperialise the US, create a state and steal the land off the natives, they were more likely just refugees escaping povery or persecution or just wanting a new life, including the very first settlers in Jamestown, yet that was unavoidably the consequence of their immigration. And a ‘state’ was the consequence of their presence. So does that make the Native Americans who complain about them no different than say some far right party in any given country saying they don;t want immigrants arriving, changing their culture, changing their communities, occupying their land, their housing, their jobs, their institutions? Over to you. I look forward to your thoughts.