Sunday, October 06, 2019

The depressing state of Britain’s Jewish students.

Harry Markham, the dynamic and brilliant young National Director of Herut UK and self-declared 'unapologetic Zionist' has offered several times to speak to Bristol University’s Jewish Society (one of the country’s biggest). They have never even responded to his requests and it appears they have a policy of disassociating themselves with Israel.

To gain some insights into this Yachadization of Britain's Jewish students, Harry alerted me to this public post on the Facebook page of Bristol University student Sabrina Miller.
Sabrina is an active Jewish student at Bristol who has been “elected as an NUS delegate to represent the entire Bristol student body”. Despite the article title (“Being a Zionist on Campus”) and the promising beginning in which she says that campus Israel hatred she feared never materialized, it is clear that, whatever her thoughts about Israel before entering the University, her thoughts must have changed since she got there as she says:
After being forced to digest some really uncomfortable truths about Israel I am so grateful that I've been able to discuss the conflict with many people who don't preach that the IDF “is the most moral army in the world” or that “Israeli settlements aren’t a barrier to peace”
I invite people to read the comments on the article. For those who cannot access FaceBook, I reproduce the most relevant parts of the discussion between Sabrina and Harry Markham below. It is depressing to know that Sabrina, rather than Harry, may represent the future of British Jews (I have highlighted some of Sabrina's text).
Harry Markham: What are the "uncomfortable truths about Israel" you are talking about? Why are Israelis living in Judea and Samaria an obstacle to peace? If it was such an obstacle, why wasn't there peace from 1949 till 1967 when Jordanian Islamism made that region Judenrein?! This kind of appeasement doesn't work, Sabrina.

You write beautifully, but you now believe these false narratives.

Jews not in the Bristol Jsoc exec should be thoroughly outraged by your Jsoc and its sheer cowardice.

Sabrina Miller: Firstly, why do you keep attacking the JSOC committee because we don't agree with you on Israel. JSOC is so much more than Israel, we do so much for the jewish community here and calling us cowards because we're not right wing is neither true or helpful. Secondly we were all democratically voted in so whether or not you like it, Jews at Bristol support us and this committee..  So onto your first question of 'uncomfortable truths'. Uncomfortable truths include the racism that exists and pervades Israeli society. Those truths include listening to the impact that occupation has on the lives of Palestinians. Uncomfortable truths is learning about the terror attacks committed by Jewish settlers to name a few. Truths like 750 000 Palestinains were displaced during the independence war and many of them still live in refugee camps in Lebanon, Gaza, WB + other places * I believe in a 2 state solution. Like jews have a right to self determination so do Palestinians. Thus in my opinion settlements prevent the establishment of a future autonomous Palestinian state - hope that answers your questions xx

Harry Markham: 1. Your Jsoc and its refusal to do Israel/Zionist activity only contributes to antisemitism in Bristol. It is quite extraordinary that the voice of Jewish students at Bristol rather than taking a lead in the fight against antisemitism, it has become part of the problem.

2. I wholeheartedly agree that Jsoc should be more than Israel. But your Jsoc represents different parts of Jewish identity - and Zionism is part of it. I can think of no other reason than cowardice for your Jsoc not doing Zionist activity. And if those in your Jsoc don't like it, then just like how some don't like the religious part, they don't need to come to those events. But don't make Zionist students feel they have no representation.

3. Why is racism in Israel an uncomfortable truth? Like me, you strive to normalise Zionism and Israel, so why shouldn't Israel have societal issues like racism? Every nation in the world suffers from this cancer, Israel is no different. We have our problems, which country in the world doesn't have problems?

4. How can Israel occupy something which under international law belongs to them? The Mandate for Palestine 1922, later reaffirmed by Article 80 of UN law, means an Israeli presence is legal. Which law makes our presence illegal? Which law states our presence is that of "occupation"?

5. Which terror attacks?

6. Firstly, 750,000 is an overly inflated figure. The real number is around 550,000 - 600,000.

And let's look at this idea of "displacement" -
In 1937 and in 1947, a two state solution was proposed. The Arabs rejected this, Israel agreed to it. Arab leaders such as Azzam Pashra said on the day of Israeli independence, where Israel stated its commitment to live with all people in harmony, "This will be a war of extermination and to a momentous massacre which will be remembered like the Mongolian Massacres and the Crusades." Inspite of Israel's efforts at peace, Islamic intolerance meant this is what Israel was up against. And Israel had a duty to defend itself. There was no surgical effort to remove Arabs residing in Israel. This was a lie that arose from the myth of Deir Yassin "Massacre", which was used as a tool of fear by the Arab leaders to get the Arab population out of Israel, and return when Israel is destroyed. Just look at Haifa, in 1947 it had the second largest Arab population in the land. The Hagannah insisted the Arab population will stay, they even broke the festival of Passover in order to bake bread for the local Arab inhabitants. Sir Alan Cunningham, the British Commissionor of Palestine said, "British authorities in Haifa have formed the impression that totllal evacuation is being urged on the Haifa Arab quarters and that the townsfolk themselves are against it." The local British Police Commander noted in a letter "Every effort is being made by the Jews to persuade the Arab populace to stay and carry on with their normal lives."

And yes, they are living in nasty refugee camps. Israel has offered opportunities at resolving this such as the Lausanne proposal, however everytime the Arab leaders reject these proposals. Why?
Yassar Arafat's side, Sakhwe Abesh said, "To us, the refugee issue is the winning card toneuich means the end of the Israeli state." Or even Lt Geb Galloway, former director of UNRWA said, "It is perfectly clear that Arab nations do not want to solve the Arab refugee problem. They want to keep it ae an open score, as an affront against the UN and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don't give a damm whether refugees live or die."

The real injustice is your failure to speak about what happened in Hebron 1929 (67 Jews massacred), Arab Riots 1936 -1939 (over 400 Jews massacred). These are just two of many anti Jewish massacres in pre state Israel. These were real injustices - what you have given me is unsubstantiated and this historical revisionism has become the new Blood Libel.

You have the privilege of living in the diaspora. You are not living in Sderot facing regular rocket attacks. If you want to change Israel, move there. Don't be part of the problem and put Jews on the backfoot here in the UK by endorsing antisemitic narratives. Debunk them. Israelis don't want your North West London diaspora privilege, they want your support.

The ball is in your court...

See also:


batnarnie said...

last para -agree with the beginning
move to Israel and stop attacking -or defending from afar
Otherwise both sides should absorb the history since the first Aliya and understand mistakes and faults do lie on both sides

Nok said...

What some Jews living outside of Israel don't understand is, that no matter how are they try to fit in their local society, no matter how good they think they fit in - they will always be a minority to others.
From my experience as a Jewish Israeli living in a UK city, even after 10 years people still saw me as "the Jewish girl". I never saw my Muslim colleagues being "The Muslims", they were simply Brits.
Jews in Europe and the UK are the scapegoat. They are only accepted if they are against Israel and if they support it, they are being set apart.
Before you talk about Israel and it being so racist how about living there and see for yourself?
Israel is the only country around, even though all the other countries around are Muslim and Arab, who actually helps.
I don't remember people from Gaza going to get medical treatment in Egypt. I don't remember Syrians getting urgent medical help in Lebanon.
The Palestinians barely have jobs thanks to Hamas but they surely do come and work in Israel, earning Israeli money.
The water, the electricity...everything they do have, comes from Israel and Israel only, why?
Also, as a Jew, you must know how many Jews had land, house, and belongings in their home countries before WW2, etc. Is there anything left? Nope. Can they or their families claim it back? Nope. Why? Because wars are unfair. So I am sorry for those Palestinians who ran away during the war (what you called "displaced"), but they are no different than anyone else in the same situation.
And what is this joke about them still being refugees?
How naive.
Why don't you ask yourself how come it is the only time ever in history where generations and generations are being refugees?
Why don't you ask how come there are 65.6 million refugees in the world as for 2017, but only the Palestinians got themselves a special UN organization (UNRWA)?
What about the refugees in other places around the world? Are they not important enough? Or maybe it is just someone's aim to keep a situation like that, maybe like Hamas, who's members work for UNWRA and get great salaries they don't wanna lose?

I know you think you understand the situation, but you don't. And this is why YOU were chosen for this role, because you help this local agenda of blaming the Jews for everything. Wake up, you're someone's puppet.