This morning's BBC Radio 4 Start the Week programme gave a good slot of its time to Eva Figes, who volubly claimed that the Israelis are like the Nazis. Yes, she said during the broadcast, I know they're not running extermination camps, but that's only because they know people would find out. She went on to complain that all Israelis are filled with hate, and that they hated Holocaust survivors who came to Israel and only put up with them because they had to in order to start the state.
She also claims that the only reason Israel came into existence as a state is because America caused it to be created so that they wouldn't have to take the Holocaust refugees as survivor refugees. How does she know? Well, she researched it, she says. President Truman wrote it in a letter (she didn't say where). Oh, it must surely be true, then.
So what's all this based on? Well, she's written a book, based mainly on her discussions with a fellow Jewish woman, Edith, who was her family's maid in Berlin, before the latter emigrated to former Palestine. Edith subsequently left the kibbutz she'd settled on and came to the family in London, claiming she'd been treated very badly by the kibbutzniks because she was a German Jew, a Yekke, not an Eastern European Jew like them. It's astounding enough to have based the main theme of her book on the reported experience of one woman.It's even more astounding to realise (and this was not made clear in the programme) that this analysis was based on her memories of her conversations with Edith as a teenager, some fifty years ago. As an insight into how accurate or perceptive her memories might be, she can't even recall the woman's surname, and didn't have that close a relationship with her anyway. It doesn't seem to have occurred to Eva Figes that she might have heard a somewhat one sided account from Edith.
Israel, according to her teenage memories of Edith, is a country where everybody hates everybody else.
Not a surprising conclusion, perhaps, because Eva does not seem to be someone given to critical self awareness or looking beyond her own perceptions. Here, in the Camden Book Review, we can see how she has used her own experiences of a few visits to Israel to confirm her view of Israel and the Israelis
Edith was cold-shouldered, says Figes, because “Israelis are never welcoming to newcomers”. Figes herself has only had unfortunate experiences in Israel. She has been to “male chauvinist” kibbutzim and when she went on an international women’s conference she met hostility, aggression and rudeness. “We were not treated like honoured guests or respected authors,” she says. Imagine, then, what it was like for weary survivors like Edith. “Zionists were only interested in human material – young, fit and ready for anything.” In her book she goes further: “Zionists and Nazis had more in common than is generally acknowledged” she writes.
You can get some sense of the quality and accuracy of her information from the information she confidently gives about the origins of the mocking nickname "Yekkes" (jackets) given to German Jews. According to Figes on this morning's broadcasts, that's an insulting term invented by the Israelis because they regarded the German Jews as so posh, they would go out to plough the fields in suit jackets. Well, no. The Camden Review article tells us Figes was brought up with virtually no Jewish knowledge, and here's one of the places it shows. Yekkes is the Yiddish for jackets-- but it originated with the traditional Orthodox Jews of Eastern Europe, long before the time of the modern Jewish return to Israel, at a time when the latter wore long robes and caftans, and they saw the wearing of short jackets as symptomatic of the secularising and assimilationist tendencies of the German Jews, who at that time styled themselves as "Germans of Mosaic persuasion". The German Jews responded in kind, calling the Jews of Eastern Europe "Ostjuden", a term whose insulting connotations are difficult to appreciate today. In pre-war Germany, many German Jews saw the Ostjuden as the source of all their problems with Hitler and the Nazis. To be called an "Ostjude" bore something of the opprobrium that casual British racists of today would attach to calling Asian Britons "Pakis".
She also claims the term "sabon", an insult term based on the Hebrew word for "soap" was used against Edith to associate her as a German Jew with the extermination practices of the Nazis. Again, another piece of Figes' etymological ignorance and fakery. The term "sabon" in Hebrew is routinely used as a slang for a drip or a nerd, unrelated to any connotations of the Holocaust. I first learnt the term in Tel Aviv in 1962 when my glamorous Israeli cousin applied it to my then rather nerdy and boring English cousin, and to accountants as a group. My family was not one which would ever have countenanced using any term which mocked the extermination of Jews of any ethnic background, given the very large numbers of our closest relatives who were murdered in the camps.
Figes' extraordinary outpourings were mildly challenged by the presenter, Andrew Marr, and one of the guests, Kenan Malik. Her view is rather extreme, said Marr. In that case, what was Start the Week doing offering it a national platform in prime broadcasting time? Would Start the Week countenance let alone invite a member of the British National Party to speak on the programme about the supposed universally negative characteristics of British Asians or Palestinian Muslims?
And when Figes went on to rant on further about the history of Israel (the Zionists always intended to take the whole of Palestine; there are letters by Ben Gurion that prove it, she said), Israelis (I am totally appalled by Israeli behaviour, said Figes), she was challenged by fellow guest Kenan Malik who asked her on what basis she could draw conclusions about Israel and zionism as a whole from such limited evidence. She quickly sidestepped that one by saying that the real issue wasn't about what Israel did in 1948, it's about what's happening now. The murders in Gaza, she said (but of course not the murders committed by Hamas and its fellow Islamist terror groups).
Malik called her on what she'd written in her book: 9/11 was "the Muslims finally striking back". Nothing of the sort, he roundly said. And pointed out what a reactionary and atavistic group the perpetrators were.
Figes ended declaring that the whole purpose of her book was to attack the current action of the USA and Israel in the Middle East. Not so much a self-hating Jew; I always think that appellation is mistaken. People like Figes are in fact profoundly self-obsessed and self-important Jews, utterly convinced of their competence to make selective grand judgements which fly in the face of whatever facts are there. As she said of her book in the Camden Book Review, she ends up with a tale of "good Germans and bad Jews".
So here we have a flagship BBC programme, choosing to give huge national publicity to a woman whose wilful ignorance, self-importance and pernicious use of discredited source material have enabled her to foist a quite fantastic and mendacious view of Jews and Israel on a largely unaware wider public.
If you want to get a sense of how utterly off the wall any comparison of Israeli action against Palestinian terrorism is--or Israeli rule of the Palestinian areas it controls is-- you could begin by listening to some holocaust survivor accounts, like the one in the clip at the head of the table. And then you could get a more reliably evidenced sense of what Israel has been for its 250,000 Holocaust survivors here, here and here.
Interestingly, the evening repeat broadcast of "Start the Week" had edited out Figes' most outrageous comments, including the one where she directly compared Israel to the Nazis and said the only reason they weren't running extermination camps was because people would notice, plus her wilder anti-American comments.
Cutting edge political humour, says the BBC website of its new Radio 4 comedy series, "Political Animal"
Featuring cutting-edge satire from an exciting mix of new and more established acts, Political Animal is an incisive, unpredictable, and richly entertaining show, offering political comedy which reaches far beyond the bounds of Westminster into the broader issues which shape the world today.
Here's some samples of that cutting edge humour from guest star Frankie Boyle.
Can you guess the targets?
D'you think George Bush actually knows who Gordon Brown is? He probably thinks Tony Blair has put on weight, had a mild stroke......
Hamas has now admitted that Thursday's explosion at a house in Beit Lahiya in Gaza which killed a baby and five adults, as well as wounding 50 others, 15 of whom were children, was the result of a "work accident". In other words, the terrorists in the house blew themselves, the baby and the other innocent women, children and men up. Hamas proudly explains this achievement
"Members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades were trying to prepare for a Jihad operation," the Hamas movement's armed wing said in a statement
The BBC reports all this--but it doesn't begin to tell us half the story. Ha'aretz gives us the full text of the official Hamas statement, which makes it clearer that this was no sideshow by an offshoot:
An announcement Friday on the official Web site of Hamas' military wing says the group's martyrs died while putting the final touches on a plan to carry out a special holy war mission.
But then, here, from the Jerusalem Post is an explanation of exactly who some of the terrorists who died were:
Also killed in the explosion were the finance director in the Hamas Interior Ministry - who was also a member of Izzadin Kassam - a commander of the Hamas anti-aircraft unit and a commander of the group's rocket manufacturing unit, Israel Radio reported.
Let's just reflect on that for a moment. It's as if Britain's Financial Secretary to the Treasury and the Chief of Air Defence were suddenly revealed as members of an Ulster Loyalist hit squad who had blown themselves to pieces in the course of preparing a car bomb. None of this is revealed in the BBC report; the Guardian doesn't even report the admission at all, though it has a whole web page devoted to "Israel and the Palestinians"
Now consider the original Hamas commentary on the Thursday news reports, which you can hear on the video clip above, from Hamas spokesman, Mushir al-Musri, blaming the explosion on Israel:
The Zionist enemy is carrying out crimes and acts stupidly by destroying a home over the heads of inhabitants, innocent people, children, the elderly and women. We stress that it is not the place to talk about a tahidya (calm) at the time when the Palestinians are massacred and the enemy should know that for every stupid act there is a price to pay, and the resistance won't sit with folded arms, and with God's help, they won't even dream of quiet and tahdiya as long as crimes are committed against our people.
Al-Musri is at least absolutely correct in one respect. It is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions to prepare and conduct military operations in civilian areas, let alone in a house where babies and children are, and which is deeply populated with other innocents. It is also a war crime to store and prepare military explosives and weapons in a civilian house.
So was Hamas prepared to announce the criminality and stupidity of the acts by its own organization, initially announced as the responsibility of the "Zionist enemy"? Or to condemn the involvement of its own senior civil servants in carrying them out?
This is what Ismail Haniyeh had to say about the attack on the day it happened, when they surely knew that their own men had blown themselves, their families and their neighbours up:
the armed Palestinian organizations, headed by Hamas' military wing, are protecting the rights of the Palestinian people and allowing the Palestinian leadership to uphold its principles.
For those UK and European Parlimentarians who insist that the only way to achieve peace is to talk to Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh had an equally clear message:
We will not recognize Israel even if the siege on Gaza persists
Instead, with a cynicism one can only wonder at, Hamas used the excuse of the supposed Israeli attack to launch a bombardment on southern Israel of over 50 mortars and rockets.
No doubt none of this will dent the position of the politicians like Peter Hain who argue that "we must talk to Hamas", because they see the Hamas stance as analogous to that of the IRA in the Northern Ireland dispute, namely based on local political grievances, and unlike that of Al Qaeda. Hain differentiates Al Qaeda and excludes it from being an organization to be talked to on the grounds that:
It is not rooted in political objectives capable of negotiation, but rather in a reactionary, totalitarian ideology completely opposed to democracy, freedom and human rights. Negotiation with al-Qaida and its foreign jihadists is, therefore, politically and morally out of the question.
It's unclear quite how Hamas' objective of the destruction of Israel and its substitution of an Islamist theocracy is to be seen as a set of political objectives capable of negotiation. And this report from Khaled Abu Toameh on Sunday shows exactly how committed Hamas is to democracy, freedom and human rights:
"We urge you to move quickly to end the criminal and terrorist actions of the Hamas militias against the sons of Fatah," the Fatah representatives wrote. "These militias are continuing to kidnap and torture our members in the Gaza Strip despite your initiative."
The letter pointed out that scores of Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip had been summoned for questioning by Hamas security forces over the past few weeks, including top Fatah officials Issam Najjar, Abdel Rahim Najjar and Abdel Rauf Abdeen.
"Do these black [Hamas] militias have the right to do whatever they want to Fatah while you are sitting in the West Bank doing nothing?" the Fatah activists asked. "Are you aware of the fact that the Hamas militias have even banned people from sitting in public places and are beating them? Why are you sitting in the West Bank doing nothing? Are you waiting until Hamas kills all of us?"
The Fatah members urged Abbas to "completely wipe out" Hamas in the West Bank before it's too late, warning that otherwise he and his followers would be overthrown by the movement.
The letter also complained that the Fatah-controlled media had stopped reporting about Hamas's practices against Fatah members in the Gaza Strip in an apparent attempt to avoid escalating tensions between the two sides. "Why has Palestine TV stopped reporting about the abduction of Fatah members in the Gaza Strip?" it asked. "Why are you sitting on the side while those who fought for you are being targeted by these militias?"
Fatah activists claimed that Hamas banned families of slain Fatah members from visiting cemeteries on Saturday. They said that dozens of Hamas policemen sealed off the main cemetery in Khan Yunis.
Hamas also banned Fatah supporters and relatives of Fatah men who were killed in the fighting with Hamas from marching in the streets or holding public rallies to protest against the Islamic movement's "coup," they said.
The families of some 450 Palestinians who were killed in the Hamas-Fatah fighting on Saturday called on Abbas to work toward bringing the "murderous" Hamas militias to trial for their role in the "atrocities." They said that some of the victims, especially those belonging to the Fatah-dominated security forces, were killed in cold blood after being taken prisoners by Hamas.
The Iranian film critical tradition comes up with another stunning insight into the machinations and subliminal messages behind Hollywood's movies-- and particularly animation movies: Chicken Run is not just an affectionate pastiche of The Great Escape. No, it's nothing less than a tool of zionist propaganda.
"Traces of Zionism in World Cinema"
"Movies into which huge amounts of money are poured, in an effort to turn Zionist themes into entertainment, include movies created for children and youth. Animated films produced since the 1990s have joined other film genres in becoming a tool for Zionist propaganda. Sometimes this is achieved using falsified biblical narratives, like in the case of 'Prince of Egypt.' Other times, it is achieved in a very subtle, crafty, and indirect manner, like in 'Chicken Run.'"
Iranian film critic Dr. Majid Shah-Hosseini:
"Many films from the 1960s and 1970s indirectly convey the notion that the Jews were oppressed. This is conveyed through the themes of distance from the motherland, and the search for one's mother, who symbolizes the motherland. These messages were gradually introduced into animation and children's films."
Iranian film critic Sayyid Abu-Alhassan Allawi Tabatabai:
"These people never make a film without a premeditated motive.
"Two emotional themes can be identified in children's films, especially animation. One is the lost mother, and the other is the lost land. There is also the lost dog... These three themes frequently appear in animation produced since the 1970s."
"Even though 'Chicken Run' is a sort of fantasy about an animal farm, on a deeper level it depicts the Zionists' favorite themes, which appear in many of the visual dramas of the 20th century. The recreation of a kind of genocide, using visual elements reminiscent of Nazi Germany death camps – an idea linked to the religious themes of a savior and immigration to a promised land – serves a propaganda machine, whose goal is to depict itself as a symbol for the oppressed and for those who suffer."
Dr. Majid Shah-Hosseini:
"In 'Chicken Run,' for example, you find allusions to the Holocaust, to concentration camps, and to the concept of awaiting a hero or a savior. It portrays efforts to escape a predetermined fate – the death of all those who lived in that camp, who are depicted as chickens. Eventually, a kind of Noah's Ark is built – in this case, a flying ship – which is used for their escape."
"Unfortunately, Zionist notions can be detected in children's movies, from the days of Walt Disney and TV animation films. The Zionists' exclusive investment in groups specializing in children's films – such as DreamWorks in the 1990s – and the appearance of various works like 'Chicken Run,' which employed magnificent techniques, were part of their premeditated plan to cover the bloodstains soiling the clothes of the occupiers of the lands of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip."
"Produced by the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Science, Culture, and Arts Group"
Now the even more dastardly truth behind Chicken Run--not yet disclosed by Dr Majid Shah-Hosseini and his fellow presenters at the Islamic Republic of Iran New Network Science, Culture and Arts Group-- is that it is actually a British film, produced by the Bristol-based Aardman Animation group, directed by Nick Park. So it seems zionist influence down there in Bristol is even more extensive than most of us had guessed. I wonder if the UCU knows about this? Will it ban re-runs of Chicken Run at British Universities? And then there's Mel Gibson, one of the stars of the film. His role in a zionist propaganda movie surely deserves more credit, given the fuss there was over the tenor of his more recent film and road traffic involvements.
Hours after securing the Democratic candidacy for the US Elections, the Chicago senator spoke to a powerful lobby of Jews
The Times acquired some notoriety back in 1920 when it published an article and a related leader, suggesting that The Protocols of the Elders of ZIon was not only for real, but that there was a danger that "the Jews" were imposing their own terms for peace post World War I.
Within a year, it had redeemed itself by publishing three articles which were the first detailed systematic proof that The Protocols were a forgery, plagiarized by the Tzarist Russian Okhrana, to support their own anti-semitic agenda.
The Times is these days owned by Rupert Murdoch, who is not merely a political supporter of Israel, but has a substantial business investment there--the vital encryption systems which protect his Sky satellite boxes are created in Israel.
The article that tonight's subhead and splash headline points to avoids this terminology, and tells it as it is--Obama addressed the AIPAC conference, AIPAC being an Israel-supporting lobby, which includes both Jews and non-Jews.
But the subhead is something else. It suggests Obama rushed to speak to this supposed "powerful lobby of Jews" as a consequence of securing the Democratic candidacy, almost as a necessary consequence, like facing a Senate confirmation hearing.
In fact, the AIPAC conference is an annual event at which senior politicians of all parties traditionally speak-- and as they do at other major lobby groups' annual conferences. It is purely coincidence that he happened to clinch his nomination hours previously.