Paul Eisen

Paul Eisen

Sunday, 25 March 2012

We're all anti-Semites now!

On deLiberation, Solar, one of the commentators asks me to name one living anti-Semite. I'm happy enough to do this but before I do, I ask him what he means by the term.

Solar is reluctant to commit himself so, to help him along,  I say what the term means to me.

For me, there seems two possible meanings. The first is someone who opposes all Jews simply because they're Jews. The second is someone who opposes 'Semitism' - some kind of Jewish ideology, mindset or spirit.

The first is of course absurd. In all my life I've never come across anyone who opposed Jews just because they were Jews. Oh, I'm always running into  people (more and more these days) who don't seem to like Jews very much, but that's always because of the way Jews think and behave, - more recently the way Jews behave towards Palestinians and the way other Jews behave to defend the way Jews behave towards Palestinians.

Anyway, the notion is implicitly absurd. I don't like cauliflower, but not just because it's cauliflower, but because it's white, looks funny and smells of sick.

Trouble is, the situation becomes so much more complicated with the possibility that a Jew is a Jew only because he/she thinks and behaves like a Jew (I suppose a cauliflower is also only a cauliflower because it's white, looks funny and smells of sick).

Still, anyway you look at it people don't like the way Jews think and behave and my feeling is they won't put up with it forever.

So what to do?

Well, one way is that Jews simply stop being Jews  - just as Jesus, St Paul, Karl Marx, Israel Shamir and Gilad Atzmon have done. It is a solution but, for me, not a satisfactory one. A few years ago I went to observe Jewish Book Week in London. During one of the sessions, someone from the audience asked the distinguished panel whether they agreed that if our Royal Family were Jewish they would be slightly more amusing. The panel thought they would and so did I. It would be a pity if there were no Jews and for me, it would be a tragedy.

No, there's a better solution. Jews should be Jews but they should try and contain themselves a bit more. Sure, there'll be peaks and troughs in their behaviour just as there always has been, but perhaps the peaks could be a little less peakier and the troughs a little less troughier.

Because if they don't, the day will surely come when you'll all say, "We're all anti-Semites now!"



Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Jew of Conscience - update




In what must be the most disgusting hasbara-style personal attack I have ever read  http://frontpagemag.com/2012/02/29/sex-marxism-and-fraud/   I learn that they’re trying to get rid of Marc Ellis.

This real Jew of conscience, is facing dismissal from his post as Professor and Director of Jewish Studies at Baylor University.

Though outstandingly qualified to teach at Oxbridge, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, the Sorbonne or anywhere else you'd care to mention, because of his stand on Palestine, Marc Ellis was exiled from Jewish and academic life.

For fifteen years Marc found sanctuary at Baylor University and from there was able to think, speak and write.
 
Then in 2010, Kenneth Starr - Christian Zionist and Clinton nemesis - assumed the presidency of the university and began to move against Marc. The charge? Well, it's something about fooling about with a female colleague but we all know that the real crime is that Marc Ellis stood up to an abusive Jewish power. 

I first heard of Marc from my friend Karen Abi-Ezzi and then from Dan McGowan, founder and Executive Director of Deir Yassin Remembered. In an interview given to me in 1998, he described Marc and how he met him. :
“He’s very brave. He’s suffered not being able to get a job for many years because he wasn’t seen to teach the right kind of Judaism. He’s written nine books, been a visiting scholar at Harvard twice, a brave person, an intelligent person, and I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet him, and to co-edit a book with him. That to me is exhilarating. But more than that, here’s a guy who, for several years couldn’t get a job, who goes around and works hard writing books, giving lectures. Marc Ellis donated a thousand dollars to Deir Yassin Remembered. Now of course we need the money, but the idea that somebody who didn’t even have a job, would somehow get together a thousand dollars and give it to the organisation, and put that money behind what he believes in, I can’t tell you how high I felt that day.”
Then I heard him speak. It was at Twickenham College to a group of Michael Prior’s theology students.  He’d just got off a flight from Canada, he was clearly exhausted and the audience were somewhat hostile. I recorded the address but anyway, I remember pretty much all of it. .
 
After reviewing the current state of ‘Post-Holocaust theology’ (Where was God in Auschwitz? And after Auschwitz all that mattered for Jews was power - the power to obey Emil Fackenheim’s famous 614th commandment Thou shall survive!) But now, Ellis was asking more questions: Could we Jews survive simply through power, and could we accept using our new found power to oppress others? For Ellis it was simple: Jews who have suffered must cross over into solidarity with Palestinians. Only thus can they heal their own trauma.
 
But for me, with my leanings and obsessions, searching as I was for some meaning to the jumbled mass of my Jewish childhood and to the Holocaust, Israel and Palestine, it was all I needed to know. Now the close proximity of Yad Vashem to Deir Yassin took on its full meaning. It was now “Deir Yassin, in clear sight of Yad Vashem’.
 
After the talk I went up to him and introduced myself. He just looked at me and mumbled. The truth was, he was exhausted beyond belief

Next time was again in England at All-Hallows in the Wall, Garth Hewitt’s quaint mediaeval city church. By that time I had gained some attention for work with Deir Yassin Remembered and, since Marc was on the Board of Advisers it was easy enough to get chatting.
 
Next he came to an agonised meeting I presided over with a couple of rabbis, some church-folk and a couple of Palestinians to try to set up the 2001 Deir Yassin Day commemoration.
 
I became his driver and something of a friend to this man whose work left so little room for friendship. We went all over the country – him, giving his talks in this university town and that cathedral - and me, doing the driving and, as far as I could, providing the light entertainment.

Over those months I encountered a lot of those mind-blowing Ellis visions
  • The map of Israel from Tel-Aviv to the Jordan River – the true ‘map’ of Jewish life.

  • A Revolutionary Forgiveness - that most un-Jewish yet Jewish of concepts - a   forgiveness which not only forgives but also restores.

  • Jerusalem as the broken middle – surely the place where revolutionary forgiveness can take place.

  • Jewish history, now the Book of Auschwitz followed only by the Book of  Palestine.

  • The replacing in every Holy Ark, in every synagogue and temple - of the Torah scrolls with a helicopter gunship – after all, what we do, we worship.

  •  Finally, that long, sad procession of Jews of conscience walking into exile –  but carrying with them the Covenant.

It ended for me in a service station on the M1.

We were driving from Bradford, where Marc had given a series of talks, to London where he was scheduled to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury. While filling the car I mentioned that I’d been reading Holocaust revisionist literature. “Don’t go there!” He snapped. Not, ‘You’re out of your mind’ and certainly not ‘You’re right!’ but “Don’t go there!””

And I think it was as I dropped him off near Lambeth Palace when it just popped into my head: “You know Marc, the problem you face is that where you need to go, you can’t go.” 

Again, he didn’t disagree and I never saw him again.

That was it. I wrote “Jewish Power” which he might have quite liked and then ‘The Holocaust Wars” which I’m sure he didn’t.
 
Over the next few months he distanced himself. He resigned from the DYR board “to let younger people take over” but I know that though repeatedly asked, he declined to denounce me or the organisation. 
Marc is a man of extraordinary courage and I hope that the whole solidarity movement – Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Jews, Zionists, anti-Zionists, American, Brits - the whole lot of them – I hope they support Marc in defending himself against this outrage

I certainly wish him well.

Before it's too late... #2


Jews marching into exile - From reverse of the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial
I can't vouch for the absolute accuracy of the list below, but I'm confident it gives a truthful picture of Jewish expulsions over the last 1700 years.

I also don't know how many of my fellow-Jews with their supremacist inclinations visit this blog and deLiberation.  But if any do, I hope they'll run their eyes down this list and ask themselves why.

Perhaps they'll also glance at the image above and consider how their expulsions has been an historical motif which they themselves have celebrated.

I also hope that they'll take careful note of some of the entirely justified anger expressed on deLiberation and elsewhere against their own and other Jews' behaviour in Europe, America, Australasia, the Middle East and Palestine.

I hope they'll reflect on all of this and then do their absolute utmost to change - if not their feelings, then certainly their behaviour - before it's too late.
                         
                        YEAR . . . . . . . . . .PLACE

                         250 -- - - - - - - - - -Carthage
                         415 -- - - - - - - - - -Alexandria
                         554 -- - - - - - - - - -Diocèse of Clermont (France)
                         561 -- - - - - - - - - -Diocèse of Uzès (France)
                         612 -- - - - - - - - - -Visigoth Spain
                         642 -- - - - - - - - - -Visigoth Empire
                         855 -- - - - - - - - - -Italy
                         876 -- - - - - - - - - -Sens
                        1012 -- - - - - - - - - -Mainz
                        1182 -- - - - - - - - - -France
                        1182 -- - - - - - - - - -Germany
                        1276 -- - - - - - - - - -Upper Bavaria
                        1290 -- - - - - - - - - -England
                        1306 -- - - - - - - - - -France
                        1322 -- - - - - - - - - -France(again)
                        1348 -- - - - - - - - - -Switzerland
                        1349 -- - - - - - - - - -Hielbronn (Germany)
                        1349 -- - - - - - - - - -Saxony
                        1349 -- - - - - - - - - -Hungary
                        1360 -- - - - - - - - - -Hungary
                        1370 -- - - - - - - - - -Belgium
                        1380 -- - - - - - - - - -Slovakia
                        1388 -- - - - - - - - - -Strasbourg
                        1394 -- - - - - - - - - -Germany
                        1394 -- - - - - - - - - -France
                        1420 -- - - - - - - - - -Lyons
                        1421 -- - - - - - - - - -Austria
                        1424 -- - - - - - - - - -Fribourg
                        1424 -- - - - - - - - - -Zurich
                        1424 -- - - - - - - - - -Cologne
                        1432 -- - - - - - - - - -Savoy
                        1438 -- - - - - - - - - -Mainz
                        1439 -- - - - - - - - - -Augsburg
                        1442 -- - - - - - - - - -Netherlands
                        1444 -- - - - - - - - - -Netherlands
                        1446 -- - - - - - - - - -Bavaria
                        1453 -- - - - - - - - - -France
                        1453 -- - - - - - - - - -Breslau
                        1454 -- - - - - - - - - -Wurzburg
                        1462 -- - - - - - - - - -Mainz
                        1483 -- - - - - - - - - -Mainz
                        1484 -- - - - - - - - - -Warsaw
                        1485 -- - - - - - - - - -Vincenza (Italy)
                        1492 -- - - - - - - - - -Spain
                        1492 -- - - - - - - - - -Italy
                        1495 -- - - - - - - - - -Lithuania
                        1496 -- - - - - - - - - -Naples
                        1496 -- - - - - - - - - -Portugal
                        1498 -- - - - - - - - - -Nuremberg
                        1498 -- - - - - - - - - -Navarre
                        1510 -- - - - - - - - - -Brandenberg
                        1510 -- - - - - - - - - -Prussia
                        1514 -- - - - - - - - - -Strasbourg
                        1515 -- - - - - - - - - -Genoa
                        1519 -- - - - - - - - - -Regensburg
                        1533 -- - - - - - - - - -Naples
                        1541 -- - - - - - - - - -Naples
                        1542 -- - - - - - - - - -Prague & Bohemia
                        1550 -- - - - - - - - - -Genoa
                        1551 -- - - - - - - - - -Bavaria
                        1555 -- - - - - - - - - -Pesaro
                        1557 -- - - - - - - - - -Prague
                        1559 -- - - - - - - - - -Austria
                        1561 -- - - - - - - - - -Prague
                        1567 -- - - - - - - - - -Wurzburg
                        1569 -- - - - - - - - - -Papal States
                        1571 -- - - - - - - - - -Brandenburg
                        1582 -- - - - - - - - - -Netherlands
                        1582 -- - - - - - - - - -Hungary
                        1593 -- - - - - - - - - -Brandenburg,Austria
                        1597 -- - - - - - - - - -Cremona, Pavia & Lodi
                        1614 -- - - - - - - - - -Frankfort
                        1615 -- - - - - - - - - -Worms
                        1619 -- - - - - - - - - -Kiev
                        1648 -- - - - - - - - - -Ukraine
                        1648 -- - - - - - - - - -Poland
                        1649 -- - - - - - - - - -Hamburg
                        1654 -- - - - - - - - - -Little Russia(Beylorus)
                        1656 -- - - - - - - - - -Lithuania
                        1669 -- - - - - - - - - -Oran(North Africa)
                        1669 -- - - - - - - - - -Vienna
                        1670 -- - - - - - - - - -Vienna
                        1712 -- - - - - - - - - -Sandomir
                        1727 -- - - - - - - - - -Russia
                        1738 -- - - - - - - - - -Wurtemburg
                        1740 -- - - - - - - - - -Little Russia(Beylorus)
                        1744 -- - - - - - - - - -Prague,Bohemia
                        1744 -- - - - - - - - - -Slovakia
                        1744 -- - - - - - - - - -Livonia
                        1745 -- - - - - - - - - -Moravia
                        1753 -- - - - - - - - - -Kovad (Lithuania)
                        1761 -- - - - - - - - - -Bordeaux
                        1772 -- - - - - - - - - -Deported to the Pale of Settlement
                                                      (Poland/Russia)
                        1775 -- - - - - - - - - -Warsaw
                        1789 -- - - - - - - - - -Alsace
                        1804 -- - - - - - - - - -Villages in Russia
                        1808 -- - - - - - - - - -Villages & Countrysides (Russia)
                        1815 -- - - - - - - - - -Lbeck & Bremen
                        1815 -- - - - - - - - - -Franconia, Swabia & Bavaria
                        1820 -- - - - - - - - - -Bremen
                        1843 -- - - - - - - - - -Russian Border Austria & Prussia
                        1862 -- - - - - - - - - -Areas in the U.S.under General Grant's 
                                                             Jurisdiction
                        1866 -- - - - - - - - - -Galatz,Romania
                        1880s - - - - - - - - - -Russia
                        1891 -- - - - - - - - - -Moscow
                        1919 -- - - - - - - - - -Bavaria (foreign born Jews)
                        1938-45 - - - - - - - - -Nazi Controlled Areas
                        1948 -- - - - - - - - - -Arab Countries

"Chorus of Exiled Palestinians"

This is “Chorus of Palestinian Exiles” from the 2003 film of the opera “Death of Klinghoffer”. I got it from Harry’s Place whose Sarah AB (I think she’s some kind of Eng Lit academic) discusses at length whether the opera is anti-Semitic or not.

 I posted it because it’s one of the very few seemingly realistic depictions of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, in this case the brutal removal of some Palestinians from their village.

 I did see the film in 2003 and was actually pretty bored – except for this scene which always stuck in my mind. Anyway, see what you think.