British Jews and Christians fall out over bulldozer boycott.

There’s a bit of a tizz going on here in the UK between the Church of England, the largest Christian denomination in Britain, and the Jewish community, over the CofE’s recent decision to disinvest from Caterpillar, who make construction machinery. The decision was made due to the use of Caterpillar bulldozers by the Israeli army for clearing Palestinian homes in the West Bank and Gaza, which as far as I know is in contrevention of United Nations agreements.

This Guardian article explains the situaton, but essentially the chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, has accused the CofE of commiting anti-semitism as a result of this decision, and that it “set back Anglican-Jewish relations by 70 years”. This argument, in my mind, is a load of old bunkum. Here’s a Venn Diagram to illustrate my point:

Venn Diagram

Note that the diagram is almost certainly not to scale, but I think it does illustrate the point I’m trying to make here.

In other words, just because you’re Jewish, does not mean you believe that what Israel is doing in the West Bank and Gaza is right. I’m not taking sides with regard to the Middle East Conflict, but I think it’s a bit rich to assume all Jews support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. No sane person would say all Muslims are terrorists, so why bracket all Jews in the same way?

I’m sure some will be Jews who do think that this boycott is anti-semitic, and while Mr Sacks is entitled to his opinion he should not do so in a capacity whereby he claims to represent all British Jews. Because I’m pretty sure that he does not.

70 thoughts on “British Jews and Christians fall out over bulldozer boycott.

  1. In other words, just because you’re Jewish, does not mean you believe that what Israel is doing in the West Bank and Gaza is right…No sane person would say all Muslims are terrorists, so why bracket all Jews in the same way?

    You’re absolutely right. This is partly why I find the far-Right claims that Jews should really be voting Republican to be so slimy.

  2. I initially wrote several paragraphs on this subject, then realised I was only repeating myself, when I could sum up my feelings on the subject in one line.

    World war two was over 50 years ago, get over it now please and move on, Jews are not the victims anymore!

  3. I dislike Caterpillar myself, but for more serious reasons (so they are using caterpillar bulldozers for bulldozing Palestinian houses – so what, not Caterpillars fault).

    But Caterpillar is known to kick anyone out who is suspected of union activity. Like fucking Walmart. While I don’t think unions are the magic bullet to working poor, such behaviour is really below despicable. And it should be illegal. That is one of the lines where I stop being a libertarian, I guess.

  4. I think the argument is more that they are encouraging a boycott BECAUSE they don’t like Jews, and therefore they are not sympathetic to the Israeli issues, not the other way around.

    Serai, will you be booking your next vacation in Tel Aviv, then?  Or will you wait until its current inhabitants are “driven into the sea,” as is the stated goal of the current democratically elected Palestinian government (not to mention Iran and many of its other neighbors)?

  5. I don’t see how me booking a holiday in Tel Aviv would help me to find a sudden rush of sympathy for people who play the persecution card every time someone disagrees with something they say or do.

    As for Israel being driven into the sea etc, well if you build a nation and surround yourself with enemies, what else can you expect? It’s not like Israel has gone out of it’s way to get along and be a good neighbour.

    I daresay I will be labelled ‘anti semitic’ for my views, but I don’t have any issue with peoples racial background unless they use it as an excuse for special treatment.

    I am a pagan and a celt, do you think I go off crying about the witch burnings whenever someone gives me a hard time? Or perhaps I could drum up some sympathy by quietly whimpering about the way the English treated the Scots during William Wallace’s day?

    If I thought for an instant that Jewish people really were being persecuted I’d stand up for them like I would stand up for anyone else. But the incessant use of the ‘anti semitic’ card when people express a view that they don’t like has worn out it’s welcome with me.

    As I said before the holocaust was over 50 years ago, yes it was a terrible thing and should never ever happen again. However it does not mean we cannot disagree with, or oppose what we feel are wrongful actions of Jewish people or more specifically the nation of Israel.

  6. I daresay I will be labelled ‘anti semitic’ for my views, but I don’t have any issue with peoples racial background unless they use it as an excuse for special treatment.

    For the record, I do label you as anti-semitic.

    The question is, do you understand why you well deserve that label?

  7. I daresay I will be labelled ‘anti semitic’ for my views, but I don’t have any issue with peoples racial background unless they use it as an excuse for special treatment.

    On this point, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    It’s not like Israel has gone out of it’s way to get along and be a good neighbour.

    I’m not sure how to respond to this, mainly because I’m just so stunned.  Serai, how do you propose that a good neighbor respond when your neighbor does something that is just a bit annoying, like oh say, bombs the cafes that your children frequent?

    I don’t know, but I’d began to think that good fences make for good neighbors.  Just a dumb ol’ country bumbkin though.

    Course, if prior to the bombing of my cafes I was just scooby-doing on down the road goin’ bout’ my business, and then all my neighbors got together behind my back, and without so much as a howdy neighbor, came storming into my yard trying to kill me, I might have a wee bit of problem with that.  I suspect you would too, lass.  In fact, my displeasure over such unneighborly behavior might lead me to believe that it would be helpful for my survival if there was a bit of a buffer zone between myself and my neighbors.  So, after I kicked their ass for being unneighborly, I might just keep a bit of their property, not cuz I really wanted it, but just because I might be, oh a bit paranoid they might still want to kill me.

    That’s just crazy ol’ me though.

  8. The question is, do you understand why you well deserve that label?

    Nope no idea, as I said before I have nothing against jewish people at all, I treat anyone no matter what creed or race they are equally. I do however object to people of any race creed or religion who play the victim, and cry anti semitic anti christian anti whatever at anyone who disagrees with them.

    I don’t believe anyone deserves special treatment just because of their racial or religious background.

  9. World war two was over 50 years ago, get over it now please and move on, Jews are not the victims anymore!

    I personally don’t have enough knowledge concerning the Israel/Palestine conflicts, and therefore I have refrained from forming a strong opinion on the issue.

    It is true that, in America at least, Jewish people are enjoying a lot more freedom, more wealth, and less overt discrimination than was the case in the past. They certainly seem to have it better than a lot of African-Americans.

    However, there is speculation concerning the idea that anti-Semitism may be on the rise in Europe. This is a contested issue (like most such issues) and there is a page of   BBC interviews with people with diverse views on the topic that you may be interested in checking out. Many of those who give their opinions are Jewish or of Jewish descent.

    As far as “moving on” goes, I would think that moving on would sometimes be difficult as far as the systematic murder of six million people goes. Especially since the Holocaust only occurred sixty years ago.

  10. Nope no idea, as I said before I have nothing against jewish people at all, I treat anyone no matter what creed or race they are equally.

    Really? On the one hand, you indiscriminately condemn all Jewish people, on the other hand you state that you have nothing against Jewish people at all. How to reconcile these contradictory statements?

    Your claim that Jews aren’t persecuted today is stunning in its ignorance. Why does El Al have the most extreme security of all airlines? Why have there been metal detectors at D.C.‘s Holocaust Museum since the day it opened? And of course all the white surpremacist groups in the U.S. and elsewhere are completely incapable of more than hot words?

    You cannot even reasonably complain about the way Israel purports itself in the conflict with the Palestinians and neighboring nations unless you understand the history and cultures. You may start by answering why Palestinians are an issue in the first place. It’s cheap talk to lean back in an armchair and criticize others, so what about some workable ideas of how to defuse the Middle East? Billions of people would be in your debt if you can pull it off.

    The simple fact is that Jews have been victims ever since Christianity needed to whitewash the host nation of that religions infancy, the Roman Empire. There have been times and places when they could live largely unimpeded, but there are plenty of other examples, too. Seen the Fiddler on the Roof, say?

    There are African Americans that “play the race card.” Out of curiosity, do you apply the same yardstick to them and tell all African Americans that slavery was abolished quite some time ago and cut out whatever complaints they have?

  11. you indiscriminately condemn all Jewish people

    No I don’t, what I actually said was,

    I don’t see how me booking a holiday in Tel Aviv would help me to find a sudden rush of sympathy for people who play the persecution card every time someone disagrees with something they say or do.

    Notice how I qualify my remarks, ie people who play the persecution card, that’s my objection right there. It’s all the cries of ‘anti semitism!’ anytime someone says or does something that is against the interests of these ones. I have every sympathy for people who have lost family and friends on both sides of the conflict, I sit and cry when I watch the news and see more killings.

    I suppose the media in the US shows more of a bias towards Israel with its’ reporting, whereas here in the UK we see more footage of Israeli soldiers shooting our journalists and aid workers than we do of Israelies killed by suicide or car bombs. I personally think both sides are to blame in this conflict, they are both guilty of restarting hostilites, and both guilty of atrocities against innocents.

    If my remarks somehow came across as anti semitic or anything else, then I apologise as that truly isn’t my stance or my intent. I am sickened by the killing on both sides, and very saddened to see children and innocents suffer because of idiotic racial conflicts that really serve no purpose to man or beast.

    I have to say I was surprised by my own strong feelings on this issue, and after some thought realised it was down to a story I read not very long ago that upset me a great deal. I admit that perhaps this coloured my response here, and I realise I perhaps should sit and think a bit more before I post comments, but sometimes, well sometimes emotions get in the way, what else can I say?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1332219,00.html

  12. Notice how I qualify my remarks,

    Like in your first post in this thread:

    Jews are not the victims anymore!

    Or this one:

    If I thought for an instant that Jewish people really were being persecuted

    Or this border-line one:

    However it does not mean we cannot disagree with, or oppose what we feel are wrongful actions of Jewish people or more specifically the nation of Israel.

    It is difficult not to read an anti-semitic bias into your posts, particularly since you’re leading with your chin…

  13. SERAI, you are not anti-semitic. You have not attacked jews or their culture.

    If someone says ” I fucking Hate them ” well that’s an other story. As far as most people are concerned we do have the right to criticise other people’s actions.
    We have a responsability to denounce even your friends when they go overboard.

    I am a friend of the jewish community here where I live and I very often disagree with political and social moves they make here in canada and also in Israel.

    Sorry to disagree with anybody here but you’re going to find that many times a lot them play the victim’s card…either because of lack of knowledge or just because they feel they will insult some of their family members if they voice their opinions.

    I will expand if I get insulted.

  14. Well oddly enough I stand by my remarks Elwed, and I still say they are not anti semitic they are my opinions that I have formed from the information available to me. To be anti semitic I would have to be anti Jew on principle and I am not at all.

    For instance Jews are no longer the victims, I stand by that remark, I don’t see any gas chambers or concentration camps any longer do you? Also I don’t know how things are around the world, but seeing as the story was about the UK Jewish community and the church of England I based my posts on the situation here.

    I can tell you of all the racial abuse I have ever encountered or read about in the news here, I cannot recall more than a handfull of them being against Jews. There is hardly an epidemic of persecution here in the UK, if anything the Jewish community are doing very well for themselves thank you very much.

    I also stand by my right and anyones right to be critical of the state of Israel and it’s policies as much as we are of any other nation that shoots journalists and children. So no sorry Elwed I am not going to agree with your call on this, I do not hate Jewish people, or any other race of people, but I do reserve my right to criticise them and disagree with them.

  15. I can tell you of all the racial abuse I have ever encountered or read about in the news here, I cannot recall more than a handfull of them being against Jews. There is hardly an epidemic of persecution here in the UK, if anything the Jewish community are doing very well for themselves thank you very much.

    I would encourage you to expand your reading.  Although racist violence appears on the downward trend in the UK, violence against Jews appears to be on the upswing.  See British crime stats here http://www.axt.org.uk/

    Want to know how long it took for a foreigner with cable internet to find something that substantively counters what you are saying?  Less than 2 minutes. 

    I’m not saying your anti-semetic.  I am saying your opinion is just wrong. You need more information before posting that only a handful of incidents have ever happened in the UK.  You also need more information to inform your opinion regarding the victimization of Jews.  Not all Jews are victims of persecution, but the statment that Jews (all Jews is what you are saying) are not victims (presumably of persecution) is again just flat wrong.

  16. Umm the most recent reports they have on the UK are from 1998? Hardly current I’d say, I will see if I can find some unbiased and current crime statistics that show crimes with an anti semitic motive, as it’s no good just saying crimes against Jews in general have gone up, as that just means crime has gone up in general and it’s reflected throughout all areas of society.

    If you are going to call me wrong or Ignorant at least do so with some current and unbiased source please Consi.

    Again you are misreading what I say, perhaps it’s the tomato potato thing, but my point here is that Jewish people in general are not victims. You almost never hear about hate crimes against Jews on TV here, most recent one I can recall was 5 or 6 years ago when a Jewish cemetery got vandalised.

    I grew up in East London in the 80’s during the skinhead revival, and yes in those days you’d see swastika’s painted on walls, and gangs of aggressive young men with shaved heads giving nazi salutes, though I believe they spent more time fighting with Asians and Afro gangs than they did Jews.

    Seriously when I say I don’t see Jews as victims, I mean it in the sense of them as people in general, by the same token I don’t think women are victims either, even though we are also subjected to attacks because of our gender, even if it’s for a whole other reason.

    There are some ethnic groups in the UK who I would consider to be persecuted, but even then I think they would be insulted if I called them victims as a whole. I think we are verging on semantics here, but I think some of you are looking for a bias in my posts that just isn’t there.

    I am not anti semitic end of story, there is no fox to chase here so stop baying, honestly people really, you are being quite anti ( pagan, celt, feminist ) in your criticisms of me now.

  17. Well oddly enough I stand by my remarks Elwed, and I still say they are not anti semitic…

    It’s your prerogative to think what you will and to express yourself as you do. How your words are received, however, is not for you to decide.

    Oh, and what Consi said. I am happy to disagree with him on one point, though. Even if born out of (willful?) ignorance, in the context of this thread a opening statement like “World war two was over 50 years ago, get over it now please and move on, Jews are not the victims anymore!” meets the dictionary definition of anti-semitism, because it implies a prejudicial generalization.

    It’s not that I’m particularly happy about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. However, there is a fundamental difference – Israel wants security, the Palestinians by and large want the nation of Israel wiped off the face of the Earth.

    Now, I may be a politically left-leaning, morally permissive guy, but I’m not a lovey-dovey pacifist by any stretch of imagination. The Palestinians have been on my shit list since 1972 and will remain there until such time as they irrevocably commit in word and deed to a peaceful coexistence with Israel and forcefully distance themselves from those that don’t. When you think about it, Israelis and Palestinians have a lot to commiserate about; after all, even the Palestinian’s Arab brethren couldn’t care less about them other than a propaganda tool. It’s not like they started and badly lost a war with Israel and then welcomed the Palestinian refugees with open arms, eh.

    If you want to criticize the actions of the Israeli government, that’s your call. However, I’m still waiting for your remedial suggestions.

  18. I am not anti semitic end of story, there is no fox to chase here so stop baying, honestly people really, you are being quite anti ( pagan, celt, feminist ) in your criticisms of me now.

    And another hasty generalization. I am anti-Serai at most. Where did anti-paganism, anti-celtism, or anti-feminism enter the picture unless we were right on target with our criticism all along?

  19. “World war two was over 50 years ago, get over it now please and move on, Jews are not the victims anymore!” meets the dictionary definition of anti-semitism, because it implies a prejudicial generalization.

    No it doesn’t, I wasn’t going to bring this up but seeing as you keep on trying to paint me as anti semitic, my grandfather came to the UK during ww2 to escape persecution in Poland, because his parents were Jewish. No I don’t consider myself Jewish nor does my grandfather, but his parents certainly did.

    I am not anti semitic when I say that I disagree with Israeli soldiers shooting children, I am not anti semitic when I say I am sick and tired of hearing about the holocaust every time someone makes a valid criticism of Israel. Yes we know it happened and we hope it never happens again, but it does not excuse the aggressive acts committed against innocents by Israelis. Both sides see I am saying it again, both sides in the conflict have behaved absolutely diabolically, both sides have killed innocents and continue to do so.

    Remedial suggestions for the middle east conflict were not the topic as far as I was aware, and nor did I presume to have any solution. Not having a solution to a problem does not disqualify one from criticising the killing of children by soldiers, or suicide bombers for that matter, I equally condemn the actions of both sides in this conflict.

    Oh and just a side note, if historical suffering means you can claim special treatment, then I think the Arabs have a good case against the Jews. After all wasn’t it the original nation of Israel that invented ethnic cleansing? That is if the biblical account has any basis in truth.

  20. Serai, I have generally been very impressed with your comments in the past and, as an individual with Wiccan/Pagan leanings, I have something in common with you. I do not know enough about you to call you anti-Semitic, and I agree with Serge that there is not enough conclusive evidence from your posts to label you as such.

    However, I feel that your World War II comment was out of line, especially considering that there was nothing in either Neil T’s entry or in the original article that even touched upon World War II or the Holocaust. That was something that you pulled out of thin air; it is relevant to Jewish affairs, of course, but it still was something that you alone brought up in this thread. I would not label your comment as anti-Semetic so much as merely insensitive and uncalled-for.

  21. And another hasty generalization. I am anti-Serai at most. Where did anti-paganism, anti-celtism, or anti-feminism enter the picture unless we were right on target with our criticism all along?

    Sorry forgot to add the wink, I wasn’t seriously playing the victim card, I forget you upstart colonials have a different sense of humour to us Brits.

  22. Sadie if you read back, well ok I’ll quote myself but I did say on a previous post that I was a bit surprised how strongly I felt about things, my remarks may have been uncalled for agreed, I don’t dispute that.

    I have to say I was surprised by my own strong feelings on this issue, and after some thought realised it was down to a story I read not very long ago that upset me a great deal. I admit that perhaps this coloured my response here, and I realise I perhaps should sit and think a bit more before I post comments, but sometimes, well sometimes emotions get in the way, what else can I say?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1332219,00.html

    When I read about that bastard shooting that little girl I was incensed, and deeply upset to think that people can be so callous and sick as to do that to a child. I wanted to get a hold of that soldier and tear bits from him with my bare hands, I am very very sick and tired of hearing all this bullshit from people about why they need to go kill other people all the time. I get angry and upset too sometimes, and people who kill or hurt children I reserve a special kind of venom for, I think some of it spilled over and I admitted that in my post above.

    I am not taking sides in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, had the article been about Palestinian outrage over the church of england pulling funding from say the company that makes their rocket launchers I’d have given a similar response. I am just very bloody fed up with hearing people justify killing other people, that’s really the crux of it with me right now. I apologise again if I have given offense, I actually telephoned my grandfather and asked him what he thought, and he said it was probably an ill advised comment but he could see my point.

  23. I forget you upstart colonials have a different sense of humour to us Brits.

    That remark just exposes the depth of your ignorance. If you don’t know why, I’ll leave you guessing.

  24. It exposes your lack of perception too, if you don’t know why I’ll leave you guessing too hehe. You just seem determined to be pissed off at me so go ahead, be pissed off, I am done being concerned with your angst.

  25. Serai:

    I did so with current stats.  The stats are current to 2004.  Look under hate crimes at that site instead of country breakdown. You will see some differences if you study the charts.  There has been a rise. 

    As to why Elwed said the comment about the “upstart colonials” reflects your ignorance, it is because although he resides stateside, residence doesn’t necessitate being born here.

  26. As for Israel being driven into the sea etc, well if you build a nation and surround yourself with enemies, what else can you expect? It’s not like Israel has gone out of it’s way to get along and be a good neighbour.

    What if you belonged to a tribe that’s hasn’t been treated very nicely from the beginning of time (according to the flat earth society); your tribal psyche has been negatively programmed with so much crap from all the other tribes over eons – you’ve been blamed for every ill that’s befallen ALL other tribes in whose midst you have tried to live peacefully while working at jobs they’ve said you can work at and, forced to live in enclaves and ghettos, subject to the whim of your masters in whose midst you live, while they have made countless attempts at erasing you from existence.
    Then one day you buy some land in a country (where you believe your tribe was born) and stake your claim over more of it.

    Whether it was right or wrong I don’t know. What I do know is that most of the absentee Palestinian landlords were happy to sell their unproductive land.

    Anyway, you get some tribal pride and find the means to protect yourself for the first time in eons.
    Then, all your enemies (to the North, East & South of you) band together and try to drive you East, into the sea AND you beat the bastards back, more than once, AND you take some of their territory, and they hate you for it and try to get their territory back and you say to them: Fuck you! I’ll give some of it back if and when …

    And, no, I don’t agree with what we’ve been told is happening in the Middle East although I try to be as cynical as I can about what I see in the media
    Randolph Hearst said: News is something someone doesn’t want printed; all the rest is unpaid advertising.

    To put a blanket over any race of people and say: Fuck ’em is not, to my mind, a sample of critical thinking.

    World war two was over 50 years ago, get over it now please and move on, Jews are not the victims anymore!

    If that line of thinking were true one could say to anyone who was Physically &/or Psychologically abused as a child: Build a bridge and get over it you dumb fuck!

    When I see any child hurt in any way from any where, I hurt inside.
    I didn’t read the article about the Jewish soldier shooting the Palestinian child, just like I try to put my head in the sand when I hear of Jewish children being blown up by a suicide bomber looking forward to the 72 virgins (what do female suicide bombers have top look forward to? 72 studs?) he’s gonna get into in paradise. I’ve often wondered if they are compliant Moslem virgins over the age of consent.

    Now, of course, none of this may make sense to anyone but me, but that’s okay. red face

  27. Reading over this thread and seeing how fast it falls to accusations and explanations is just how it works on the larger stage.  There is nothing about the Arab/Israeli conflict that does not fill me with sadness.  MrsDoF once worked for an expatriate Palestinian; he was a good man and well remembered how a ranch that had been in his family for generations was taken away.  As a child they had to leave and wandered a long time before all scattering and he ended up in (of all places) Normal, Illinois running a restaurant. 

    Then there is the awful black hole of the holocaust and the well-intentioned and high-principled creation of Israel that followed, in such a fashion that it cannot fail to create enmity.  I know a Jewish woman – too young to remember the holocaust – for whom that crime is like a wound that others cannot see, but which will not stop bleeding.  The existence of Israel, which she has never visited, is a comfort to her.

    If there is any chasm in human society for which no bridge is possible, it is this one.  Unless an epidemic of forgiveness breaks out, with sharing of pain from both sides, and embracing and weeping and the letting go of many burdens, then perpetual fear and deadly hatred lie ahead for everyone involved, pulling other peoples into the vortex of suffering without end.

    As Elwed said, if anyone has a solution to that one, billions of people would be in their debt.  I stare in wonderment at politicians who are willing to even tackle the job.

  28. To get back the original post…

    This argument, in my mind, is a load of old bunkum.

    Ignoring how much confidence one should have in The Guardian, here’s a quote from the article:

    The synod vote was taken after a call supporting disinvestment from the Anglican bishop of Jerusalem, the Rt Rev Riah Hanna Abu El-Assal, who is Palestinian.

    If I were to venture a guess, I’d say this is a Palestinian who has some hostility issue to work through. And then there’s this:

    Caterpillar says it has not supplied vehicles or parts to Israel, which obtained the machinery from the US military.

    Talking of bunkum, here’s an example:

    In a letter to Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi, released on Friday, Dr Williams tried to play down the synod decision and offered reassurances. He expressed deep regret at the effect on “Jewish friends and neighbours” about how the decision had been perceived and insisted that the move did not initiate a more general boycott.

    Deep regret about the effect, my ass.

    It may be news to some people that for many Jews, Judaism as a religion and culture cannot be divorced from the nation of Israel. Not all Jews may agree with whatever government is in power at any given time, but it is difficult to view the Church of England’s decision to disinvest in Caterpillar because that company “makes giant bulldozers used by the Israeli army to demolish homes in Palestinian areas,” even though it doesn’t directly supply them to the IDF, as anything but anti-semitism, particularly given that the vote was sponsored by a Palestinian.

    Since the definition of anti-semitism doesn’t seem to be universally agreed upon by all readers, here’s what dictionary.com has to say:

    an·ti-Sem·i·tism n.

      1. Hostility toward or prejudice against Jews or Judaism.
      2. Discrimination against Jews.

    It’s not too hard to support such an accusation against the Church of England as represented by the synod that voted on that issue.

    It is worth pointing out that Neil T. has materially misrepresented the content of the article, something that apparently escaped the other poster’s attention. Nowhere does the article state the opinions of the chief rabbi; all the people whose criticism is quoted are Anglicans of some prominence. In particular:

    Simon McIlwaine, spokesman of the Anglicans for Israel group, told the BBC Sunday programme the decision had set back Anglican-Jewish relations by 70 years

    Neil T., I’ll reserve judgement whether you intentionally misattributed that quote.

    For the record, I am deeply unsympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians. They appear to desire the annihilation of Israel, where Isreal appears content to simply have peace. As such, the ball is squarely in the Palestinian’s court. Europeans seem to be more sympathetic to Palestinian interests than the security of Israel. I think they have it backwards.

  29. DOF, I’ll go along with you.

    The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is a vicious circle. While I am adamant that the Palestinians can end it at any time, the trillion dollar question is exactly how this could come to pass. It doesn’t help that Palestinians are the willing or unwitting tools of other Middle Eastern nations; countries that washed their hands of them as they were dispersed, but are more than happy to stoke the flames in Israel – more than likely to distract from the actions of their own regimes.

  30. For the record, I am deeply unsympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians. They appear to desire the annihilation of Israel, where Isreal appears content to simply have peace. As such, the ball is squarely in the Palestinian’s court. Europeans seem to be more sympathetic to Palestinian interests than the security of Israel. I think they have it backwards.

    That we agree almost completely on an issue is such a rarity that it is worth noting.  I’m anxious to see if the sun will actually rise tomorrow.

  31. As an Arab, I desire peace in the Middle East too. But peace will never come to Palestine until one fact is accepted. A people were dispossed to make a homeland for another people, who wanted to escape the scourge of prejudice.

    A people were dispossed. Simple as that.

    Palestine was inhabited by other people, LONG BEFORE the Jews arrived on the scene. The justication of Palestine belonging to the Jews is a religous one, and as I am not religious [very much anti-religious] then that argument is gonan fall on deaf ears. I don’t accept it.

    If it is true show me the title deeds.

    But funny enough, all this talk about victimisation, makes me think of one group of people that is even more victimised than the Jews. Yep. It’s true folk. It is indeed possible.

    Us Gays and Lesbians. Everywhere we go on this earth, we are not wanted. Not even by other victimsed groups. We don’t have nations fighting to create or preserve safe space for us. We don;t have Rabbi’s standing up for the dignity of Gay and Lesbians; We don’t have priests and monks doing the same… no they are all busy standing on their little podiums pontificating in the name of God and hurting the rest of us!

    In the end, the charge of anti-semitism by what’s his face, is muck raking in lieu of intelligent “debate” or astute criticism….

  32. and further more, some of my brothers and sisters were killed in the Holocaust too you know. But no one really gives a fuck. Our stories aren’t heard every time a holocaust movie is made. Our people aren’t honoured in memorials to the victims who died…. we were just poofs and dykes!

  33. Let me amend my above post, as I accidentally cut off a crucial part of your quote:

    Us Gays and Lesbians. Everywhere we go on this earth, we are not wanted.

    Well, if it’s any consolation, you have MY utmost respect and admiration.

  34. On the surface this conflict has always struck me as a sort of childish brawl – two siblings beating the crap out of each other and claiming the others started it first. And, like those children, neither will cede any blame, although they continue to shoulder brutal consequences of those actions every day.

    I got into a spat with robadams several months back on this and we exchanged emails on the matter. The bottom line to me is that fundamentalist attitude pervades the leaders and people on both sides. There are lots of rational people, good natured people, religious and not, trying to work towards a solution. But their cries seem to go completely unheeded, as it’s the irrational attitudes in particular that are causing the most grief. And they’re not going to go away, as has been stated, because (especially the religious) fundamentalist views, grossly oversimplified and shortsighted as they are, are inseperable from the national politics. It’s hard to remove belief X if nation Y was founded on it.

    But it does happen. Look at the USA. We need to be turning the cranks in the other direction, is all.

  35. I figured I’d toss one on – the victim card thing. It’s very real, it’s used fairly often (1 in 3?) whenever the conflict is brought up at the U, and people who disagree with that discourse experience some turmoil for it.

    But it’s been presented to me before that the Holocaust is still a young conflict, and the influence of the so-called “old guards” (who struggled to redeem themselves and Jews from the notions that Jews were weak and struggling, or that they were somehow ‘going extinct’) remains prevalent in the politics of modern Israel, and, based on the one talk I’ve attended, that influence is problematic.

    I wish I could pose a solution for that, but I can’t. It’s a dilemma on the use and abuse of history. It would do us all well to remember history and not to repeat it, but there are other times when it is a less useful, if not detrimental, tool. Where this stands is difficult for me to say.

  36. A freind of mine used to make a hobby of being thrown out of historical sites for correcting the tour guides history to the unbiased version.  One example of this came in Israel.  The tour guide said ‘This is where the British murdered Israeli freedom fighters (in 1946).  My mate pointed out that they had bombed a British army barracks, and killed British soldiers, and they were hanged for this act of terrorism. He was asked to leave.

    Palestine was a British protectorate.  The we quit because we were tired of having troops killed by terrorists in a far off land we didn’t particularly care about, given the fact we had just finished the most violent war history has ever known.  Some of these terrorist went on to become world statesmen.

    I would comment isn’t it odd that different branches of the same Abrahamic religeon hate each other, but given even within the sub-divisions they don’t get on (Catholic vs Protestant vs Fundie, Shi’ite Vs Sunni) the answer would be not really.

    What is ironic is if it is the promised land, how come it’s the bit WITHOUT the oil?

  37. Serai, you are betraying your prejudice with just about every word out of your mouth.  You’re pulling out ALL the classic arguments:

    I don’t see how me booking a holiday in Tel Aviv would help me to find a sudden rush of sympathy for people who play the persecution card every time someone disagrees with something they say or do.

    Translation:  if any Jew has the temerity to complain about anything, I will dismiss their complaints out of hand.  Jews can’t be reasonable; they complain about anything and play the victim whenever they get upset.

    As for Israel being driven into the sea etc, well if you build a nation and surround yourself with enemies, what else can you expect? It’s not like Israel has gone out of it’s way to get along and be a good neighbour.

    Translation:  and besides, even if they are victims, it’s their own fault.

    I daresay I will be labelled ‘anti semitic’ for my views, but I don’t have any issue with peoples racial background unless they use it as an excuse for special treatment.

    Another revealing slip here, Serai:  Judaism isn’t a race.  Unless, of course, you’re a N*** … well, let’s not go there.

    I can tell you of all the racial abuse I have ever encountered or read about in the news here, I cannot recall more than a handfull of them being against Jews. There is hardly an epidemic of persecution here in the UK, if anything the Jewish community are doing very well for themselves thank you very much.

    Oh yes, I forgot, they run the world, don’t they?  My mistake.

    No it doesn’t, I wasn’t going to bring this up but seeing as you keep on trying to paint me as anti semitic, my grandfather came to the UK during ww2 to escape persecution in Poland, because his parents were Jewish. No I don’t consider myself Jewish nor does my grandfather, but his parents certainly did.

    This is a nice variation on, “Why, some of my best friends are Jews.”  You never lived as a Jew, and neither did any family you know, so this means absolutely nothing in your claim that you’re not anti-semitic.

    Sorry forgot to add the wink, I wasn’t seriously playing the victim card, I forget you upstart colonials have a different sense of humour to us Brits.

    Ooo!  She’s getting backed into a corner, folks.  She tries another nationalistic swipe.  Is this the only tool in her toolbox?

    Well, it’s not a surprise to me that there are clueless Brits just as there are clueless Yanks, but it’s good to see confirmation every so often.

  38. And just because, the opening post is mistitled. Instead of

    British Jews and Christians fall out over bulldozer boycott.

    it should read

    British Anglicans fall out over bulldozer boycott.

    Given that the article doesn’t even mention their side of the story, it makes the outbursts against Jews even more telling… It’s obvious that Jews aren’t victims anymore, eh.

  39. Geekmom you are so wrong, but really go ahead call me what you want I know the truth, you clearly do not. Vent all you want you haven’t won any argument here with me, all you’ve done is show how you like to jump on people.

    The label of anti semite won’t stick to me I am afraid except in your little blinkered world, which is fine by me because your little world has nothing to do with or any effect on me or mine.

    Go on frothing and babbling nonsense if it makes you happy, just know that I know you are wrong about me, and nothing you can say or do will change that.

    Oh and your definition of judaism as a relgion may be correct, but semites are a race, so put that in your pipe and have a nice smoke on it.

  40. elwedriddsche…

    Please explain to me WHY jews are often hated.

    Also, while you are at it you could explain WHY some palestinians blow themselves up in Israel’s public places.

    I would also like to know how come there are a lot more deaths on the palestinian side.

    I’m a little shocked at your condescending answers.

    And finally, why is boycotting a product a hate crime.

    Ever heard of jewish food laws…I see it everyday.

    It’s a lot more complicated than we think. It ain’t black and white picture and you can’t say these guys are bastards and these guys are angels.

    The one thing that really upsets me is that there is an uproar every time someone criticises Israel…even a little.

    They are truly untouchable.

  41. I have to agree with Serge’s post. I don’t really take sides in the conflict because both sides have blood on their hands. The Israelis seem to be able to take the moral high ground but the Israeli army have done some thoroughly nasty things (do a Google search for ‘Rachel Corrie’). But it’s no excuse for extremist Palestinian groups to send in suicide bombers to terrorise innocent Israelis.

    What my post was originally about was the fact that the Jewish leaders in Britain were using the pulling of funding to a supplier of bulldozers to the Israeli army as a religious issue. To me that makes no sense – sure, Israel is mostly a Jewish country but just because someone doesn’t like the actions of a Jewish country doesn’t make the anti-semitic. I don’t particularly like some of the things going on in Iran and Saudi Arabia but that shouldn’t make me anti-Islam.

    Of course, if both sides could just get on and tolerate each other everything would be so much easier.

  42. Please explain to me WHY jews are often hated.

    How simplistic an answer do you want? They are members of a foreign tribe, have provoked the envy and greed of the non-Jewish locals, have been painted with a bull’s eye by Christianity, and are a too convenient all-purpose scapegoat.

    If you want to talk about a specific time and place, books can be written.

    If you wish to make the case that it’s the Jew’s fault, as your question insinuates, go right ahead.

    Also, while you are at it you could explain WHY some palestinians blow themselves up in Israel’s public places.

    It’s the ultimate terrorist weapon and their religion aids and abets its use.

    If you wish to make the case that the Palestinians are driven by despair to such self-sacrifice, go right ahead. You won’t find me a sympathetic audience, though, unless you can first demonstrate beyond a doubt that the Palestinians haven’t squandered opportunities to achieve solid goals without resorting to violence and terrorism.

    I would also like to know how come there are a lot more deaths on the palestinian side.

    If this claim holds true, it’s because the Palestinians don’t have more firepower at their disposal.

    I’m a little shocked at your condescending answers.

    Ask me if I care.

    And finally, why is boycotting a product a hate crime.

    I have not made such a claim, therefore I don’t see a need to answer that question.

    Ever heard of jewish food laws…I see it everyday.

    Care to explain the purpose of this question?

    The one thing that really upsets me is that there is an uproar every time someone criticises Israel…even a little.

    The problem isn’t the criticism of Israel. The problem are the armchair quarterbacks who are clueless about the actual facts on the ground and tell Israel what to do or not to do, without offering a workable alternative.

    So some people are upset that the IDF raizes buildings that are used as sniper posts, say. Don’t tell Israel that they can’t do this, tell Israel what will demonstrably keep the Palestinians from sniping in the first place. The world is all ear.

    What will you do to ensure that Israeli children can play without an adult armed with automatic weapons guarding them? Have another chat with the Palestinians? Commiserate with them how poorly Israel treats them? Tell the Jews it’s all their fault?

  43. Serai, I just love your embodiment of the pagan values of wisdom, tolerance and love there.  Nice job.  (How do you say “neener neener” in Gaelic?)

    Neil T., nobody here is defending all of Israel’s actions regarding the Palestinians.  However, we are taking issue with the fact that some people here are using the fact that an article stated that ANGLICANS were arguing about a boycott to start accusing Jews of universally playing victims.  Do you really not see the disconnect here?

    In other words, you’re clearly seeing something that is not there, and we’re speculating as to why that is.

    Now, if someone wanted to take issue with the leading members of the Israeli government and their decisions, that’s a different kettle of fish entirely.  But I don’t see anyone doing that.  I see a lot of banging on the Jews in general, regardless of which government they happen to be under.  Your Guardian article says nothing about Jewish leaders and their opinions, Neil.  ALL the quotes are attributed to Anglican groups and unspecified “conservative religious groups in the U.S.” Why are you generalising about Jewish leaders like this?

  44. Your Guardian article says nothing about Jewish leaders and their opinions, Neil.  ALL the quotes are attributed to Anglican groups and unspecified “conservative religious groups in the U.S.

  45. In that case, here’s an article quoting the chief rabbi in a magazine article.

    Okay.

    The primary source quoted by The Guardian is apparently available online at http://www.thejc.com, but not for free. Without the primary source for reference, I’m not willing to take what The Guardian writes as gospel.

    So what does The Guardian write?

    Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, has criticised the Church of England’s general synod as ill-judged in voting to remove its investment in a US company that makes bulldozers used by the Israelis to demolish Palestinian homes.

    Nothing offensive there.

    In unusually harsh language, Dr Sacks called into question the Jewish community’s links with the church. In today’s Jewish Chronicle, he says: “The church has chosen to take a stand on the politics of the Middle East over which it has no influence, knowing that it will have the most adverse repercussions on a situation over which it has enormous influence, Jewish-Christian relations in Britain.

    “Unusually harsh language” can mean a number of things. Assuming it refers to the immediately following quote, what do we have? The CoE has indeed taken a political stand. He’s probably right that the CoE has no influence over the Middle East politics on either side. Are there repercussions in the British Jewish community? Apparently so. Does the CoE has enourmous influence over the Jewish-Christian relations in Britain? Yes.

    The article also accuses the Guardian of increasing the British Jewish community’s sense of vulnerability after last week’s publication of two lengthy articles by its Jerusalem correspondent Chris McGreal that drew comparisons between Israel’s treatment of Palestinians with the apartheid policy in South Africa. A delegation from the Board of Deputies of British Jews met the editor Alan Rusbridger to express concern that the articles would increase anti-semitic attacks.

    Like it or not, that’s not an unreasonable concern. The crime statistics will bear out in hindsight if it was a valid concern.

    Dr Williams wrote to the Chief Rabbi to insist that the vote did not represent a boycott or question Israel’s right to exist or to self-defence. Earlier this week Dr Sacks replied that the archbishop’s clarification would aid mutual understanding.

    Bollocks to Dr. Williams. Clearly his idea of how Israel should handle the nation’s security differs from the Israel government. There’s nothing unreasonable about asking him elaborate on his position.

    But his Jewish Chronicle article states: “The vote of the synod … was ill-judged even on its own terms. The immediate result will be to reduce the church’s ability to act as a force for peace between Israel and the Palestinians for as long as the decision remains in force … The timing could not have been more inappropriate. [Israel] needs support not vilification.”

    The CoE has taken sides in this conflict, for the Palestinians (remember who sponsored the vote?) and against the Israeli government. It therefore is part of the problem and not part of the solution. Nu?

    Without access to the full text of what The Guardian quoted, your opening post still seems rather prejudicial.

    You have not acknowledged your misattribution of a quote to Rabbi Sacks, which sets the tone for the rest of your post. If you would stick to what appear to be his actual words, I read them very differently than you do.

    He calls the CoE of taking a stand in the Middle East conflict, riding a moral high horse while removing itself from the pool of potential unbiased mediators. He’s further calling the vote as damaging to the Jewish-Christian relations in Britain and he seems to have called it right, particularly as the vote and another one predating it appear to be controversial even within the Anglican Church. He asks a primary supporter of the vote to explain his intentions, which I can’t really fault.

    Judaism doesn’t have the equivalent of a Pope, therefore Rabbi Sacks is by definition not in a position to represent all British Jews. He represents a certain proportion of British Jews; how large a proportion anybody who cares to know can research on his or her own time.

    The fundamental question raised is whether an attack against the Israeli government is intrinsically anti-semitic. The answer is, of course, that it depends.

    The way I see it is that the CoE has taken an intrinsically contradictory position. They claim the moral high ground, divesting stock in a company whose equipment reaches the IDF indirectly, while refusing to make at least the symbolic gesture of saying “and if we had stock in a company that produces material used by Palestinian terrorists, we would divest it, too”. Other than vapors about being shocked, shocked! that at least a representative of British Jews took offense at the divestiture, the CoE has taken a one-sided political stand and recused itself from doing something useful to tone down the conflict.

    Now, is this one-sidedness anti-semitic? I wouldn’t call it grossly so, but it’s prejudicial enough to qualify as such.

  46. You have not acknowledged your misattribution of a quote to Rabbi Sacks, which sets the tone for the rest of your post. If you would stick to what appear to be his actual words, I read them very differently than you do.

    My apologies. Yes, it does appear that he did not say that.

    The way I see it is that the CoE has taken an intrinsically contradictory position. They claim the moral high ground, divesting stock in a company whose equipment reaches the IDF indirectly, while refusing to make at least the symbolic gesture of saying “and if we had stock in a company that produces material used by Palestinian terrorists, we would divest it, too

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