“Hamas seeks to massacre innocent men, women, and children.’ Israeli army statement, 13 May 2018. One day later, over 50 killed and thousands injured by the Israeli army.
‘This is not a post about Gaza or the number of Palestinians killed. If it was, it would surely be an example of unwarranted focus on Israel in which case it would be an antisemitic post. So this is not a post about Gaza or the number of Palestinians killed. Michael Rosen
The Oxford Dictionary definition of terrorism is, “The use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims”.
The Israeli government definition of terrorism would be, “The use of peaceable words and actions, especially by civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”
It has now reached the level of absurdity when, before criticising Israel, we must prove that we are not anti-semitic. But let’s do it.
My father was one of the first Allied doctors to enter Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The photos he made there, and later showed me of the skeletal prisoners, scarred my young mind. It was those haunting pictures that led me to a lifetime of anti-fascism.
At 16 I had my first contact with anti-semites. One Saturday morning, thugs from the British Movement, forerunners of the National Front, and shouting “You bloody Yids” beat me up in Bromley High Street for selling Peace News. I discovered the headquarters of the Zionist Federation, told them what had happened and they gave me Star of David badges. The following Saturday I, and a fellow pacifist wore these badges proudly and were beaten up again.
As a member of the Anti-Nazi League in the 70s, I helped set up a support and defence group in North West London for Asian shopkeepers attacked by the National Front. Need I go on?
To anyone who would accuse me of being anti-semitic, I bring as my defence witnesses three prominent Jews. The first is Albert Einstein who said, “The (Israeli) state idea is not according to my heart. I cannot understand why it is needed … I believe it is bad.”
Primo Levi was a survivor of Auschwitz. He said, “Everyone has their Jews and for the Israelis they are the Palestinians”.
My third witness would be Marek Edelman, last surviving leader of the 1943 Warsaw uprising. He wrote a letter in support of the Palestine resistance, comparing them to ZOB, the Jewish fighters in Warsaw. He opened that letter of support with, “Commanders of the Palestine military, paramilitary and partisan operations – to all the soldiers of the Palestine fighting organisations.”
Myself and my three distinguished witnesses would today be defined as anti-semitic by those who continue with their blind faith in Israel, right or wrong.
For a definition of ‘terrorism’, I will stick with the Oxford Dictionary.