The warped logic of pro-Israel bully Jonathan Hoffman

Should I feel flattered or afraid?

Each time I give a talk in London, there is a strong likelihood that the pro-Israel bully Jonathan Hoffman will attend.

Hoffman turned up at a recent event held to promote my new book Balfour’s Shadow.

Not content with heckling on the evening, he subsequently posted a review on the Amazon website accusing me of “glaring mistakes.”

Yet he failed to provide an example of even a minor error in the book.

Earlier this year, Hoffman was removed by police from a meeting at which I spoke in the British Parliament.

He followed that episode by complaining that I have written for Spinwatch – “that strange organization which seems obsessed with ‘Jewish power.’”

Hoffman failed to substantiate that smear for obvious reasons: there is no basis to it. Spinwatch has cogently rejected the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that Hoffman suggests it is peddling.

Brazenly offensive

Perversely, Hoffman has leapt to the defense of a journalist who made brazenly offensive comments about Jews.

Kevin Myers was recently fired by The Sunday Times over a column which implied there was a link between the Jewish religion of two presenters at the BBC and how they were among the best paid women working for the broadcaster.

Myers had recycled an age-old anti-Semitic trope. Yet Hoffman argued that Myers was really paying Jews a compliment.

A careful reading of Hoffman’s articles leads to the conclusion that he is not interested in fighting anti-Semitism per se. Instead, he sees allegations of anti-Semitism as a weapon to be used selectively. Myers – a right-wing pundit who has previously disparaged Africans and single mothers – is permitted to insult Jews for being Jews.

Hoffman’s indulgence of such anti-Jewish bigotry is undoubtedly related to Myers’ history of defending Israel and attacking supporters of Palestinian rights.

Critics of Israel are, by contrast, vilified by Hoffman.

He has, for example, alleged that Jackie Walker, a socialist Jew, is anti-Semitic because she has described Israel as a racist state.

No doubt inadvertently, Hoffman then proved her right by alluding to how Israel prohibits Palestinians from using what are effectively Jewish-only roads in the occupied West Bank.

By his own warped logic, he himself is an anti-Semite for acknowledging the existence of that state-sponsored racism.

Vitriolic

Hoffman has been even more vitriolic towards Hajo Meyer, an Auschwitz survivor who died three years ago.

Meyer poignantly spoke out against how Israel was dehumanizing the Palestinians as the Nazis tried to dehumanize Jews.

For drawing a parallel between his own suffering and that of the Palestinians, Meyer got labeled an “amazing dancing bear” by Hoffman.

It was by no means the only time Hoffman has displayed callousness. In March, he made fun of how a politician known to be sympathetic towards Palestinians suffered a heart attack.

And Hoffman has previously insinuated that a campaigner who uses a wheelchair had exaggerated his disability.

Hoffman’s penchant for disrupting Palestine solidarity events appears to be appreciated by the pro-Israel lobby. The Reut Institute, a “think tank” founded by a former adviser to the Israeli government, is known to have consulted him.

In 2011, Hoffman took part in a conference organized with that institute on countering Israel’s “delegitimization” – code for robust criticism of Israel and the state’s ideology Zionism.

That event took place more than a year after Hoffman had been photographed attending a demonstration to support Israel’s settlement activities in the West Bank organized by the far-right English Defence League.

He was again seen flanked by extreme right activists at an anti-Palestinian protest last month.

His willingness to embrace overt fascists may have lost Hoffman some friends. In 2012, he failed to secure re-election as a vice-president with the Zionist Federation, one of the oldest pro-Israel lobby groups in London.

That does not mean he has been shunned by fellow lobbyists. On the contrary, some of those who seek to cultivate a respectable image for Israel have remained happy to work with him.

Ahead of the 2016 referendum on Britain’s European Union membership he signed a joint article with Jeremy Newmark from the Jewish Labour Movement, a pro-Israel pressure group within Britain’s main opposition party.

Perhaps I should consider myself lucky. Though Hoffman has been rude towards me, I have not been subjected to his full boorishness.

During a presentation by Thomas Suárez, whose book State of Terror chronicles the role played by Zionist armed groups in the establishment of Israel, Hoffman shouted “answer my question, you bastards.”

Hoffman also tried to dismiss the book’s findings on the comically absurd basis that Suárez is a violinist, rather than a historian (in fact, Suárez is both).

Hoffman is undoubtedly a bully but nobody should allow themselves to be intimidated by him or by similar lobbyists. Their belligerence illustrates that Israel feels discomfited by Palestine solidarity activists.

They don’t like the message, so they slander the messengers.

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Comments

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Yes this article is spot on. Hoffman and his fellows are not in the least concerned by anti-Semitism. If you are anti-Semitic but also pro-Zionist Hoffman is for you. 'Anti-semitism' is merely a line of abuse reserved for those who are anti-Zionist.

If you see my latest post
EXCLUSIVE – Lifting the lid on Collaboration between the Far Right and Zionist Activists
Zionist Demonstration Outside Palestine Expo 2017 included neo Nazi group Britain First’s Intelligence Chief Paul Besser and Jonathan Hoffman

http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2...

you will find the irony that those who opposed Palestine Expo 2017, the largest Palestinian cultural-political festival in Europe this July, on the grounds that it was an anti-Semitic 'Jew hate' fest etc. have been caught staging a demonstration outside with the Intelligence Officer Paul Besser of the neo-Nazi Britain First group. He was not the only anti-Semite there either.

Of course what Hoffie is doing is nothing new. Historically Zionism never had any problem working with anti-Semites as long as the latter were pro-Zionist, which nearly all were

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David, your courage to stand up against trash like Hoffman is admirable. What many people don't seem to realise is that antisemites like Hoffman are only zionist/pro-israel because they want to get rid of the Jews from, in this case, the UK. It was the same with the infamous Arthur Balfour, or the Nazis who signed the Haavara agreement with the Zionists in 1933.

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The poisonous opinion columns of Kevin Myers were given a genial welcome for decades at the two main newspapers in Ireland. When objections were raised as to the gratuitous viciousness and bigotry of his rantings, the most common response in polite society was an indulgent sigh, a sly little smile, and a reminder that after all, he did sometimes have a point. As well, readers were reminded that Myers' views were delivered in the form of polemical entertainment and that offence should not be taken. He was particularly vituperative in his outbursts against immigrants, Irish Travelers, and poor people in general. He promoted a nostalgic attitude towards the British Empire and immersed himself and his readers in a species of bizarre eroticised sentimentality regarding the horrific slaughter of the First World War. During the long period of his public celebrity, Myers was also given featured status on the state television broadcaster as quiz master on a derivative contest show, and on numerous broadcasting venues- both radio and tv. No matter the degree of insult and provocation issuing from the man, he seemed to lead a blessed and certainly a cossetted existence. So it's a richly ironic comeuppance for Myers that he was finally given the bum's rush for insulting a group he thought he was praising- Jews. As an unswerving backer of Zionism, he must be wondering what went wrong.

As for Jonathan Hoffman's consorting with Nazis, I suggest that he contact Kevin Myers for advice on how to improve his public image. The man has plenty of free time just now.

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Face it fella, coming to a public anti-racist forum and acting like a raving demented Klansman is no way to get others to take one seriously, let alone a way to make friends and influence people... especially when you are wrong, wrong, wrong.

Hoffman, you owe them an apology.

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David Cronin

David Cronin's picture

David Cronin is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada. His new book is Balfour’s Shadow: A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel (Pluto, 2017).