1 December 2011
Controversy has broken out in the UK over alleged anti-Semitic comments made by Labour MP Paul Flynn about the British Ambassador in Tel Aviv.
According to The Jewish Chronicle (a publication whose record demonstrates that its accuracy can never been taken for granted) Flynn questioned whether Gould could be properly loyal to the UK because he is Jewish and has declared himself a Zionist:
A Labour MP has caused outrage by suggesting that Britain’s first Jewish ambassador to Israel has divided loyalties because he has “proclaimed himself to be a Zionist.”
Challenged by the JC to clarify his comments about Matthew Gould, who took up the post last year, Paul Flynn, the Labour MP for Newport West, said ambassadors to Israel had not previously been Jewish “to avoid the accusation that they have gone native.”
Britain needed, he said, “someone with roots in the UK [who] can’t be accused of having Jewish loyalty.”
In a post at The New Statesman, Owen Jones wrote that if Flynn’s comments were accurately reported, “then Paul Flynn has discredited himself.” Jones argues that raising Gould’s self-declared Zionism is legitimate because, “Zionism is a political movement, after all, and an MP is well within his rights to query whether there is a conflict of interest.” But, he continues “there is no justification whatsoever for his subsequent comments” questioning Gould’s loyalty because he is Jewish. Jones adds:
Of even greater concern is Flynn’s clear suggestion that a Jewish person has no “roots in the UK”. This echoes classic anti-semitism, which is based on the slur that Jews outside Israel are aliens in whichever country they live (a myth that, unfortunately, is these days also promoted by the Israeli government.) Perhaps Flynn’s words simply were ill-chosen but he certainly should clarify what he meant by this.
Jones sums up his concern that Flynn’s comments could discredit support for the Palestinian cause, which he correctly notes has also come from many prominent Jewish people:
But Flynn’s comments will now be used by ultra-Zionists as evidence that their critics are motivated by bigotry.
Zionism is anti-Semitism
I agree fully with Jones’ reading of Flynn’s reported comments. If accurate it is indeed outrageous to suggest that a British person cannot be loyal to the UK just because he or she is also Jewish. And it’s even more outrageous to suggest that a Jewish person has no “roots” in the UK, just as it would be to suggest the same of a British Muslim or any other person.
But what Jones – and perhaps other critics of Flynn’s comments – have missed, is that the claims Flynn reportedly made have always been at the very heart of Zionism.
Joseph Massad has noted this in his crucial book The Persistence of the Palestinian Question as has international law expert Victor Kattan.
The basic idea is simple enough: Zionists, just like anti-Semites, believed that Jews were inherently alien and rootless in Europe and needed to be expelled physically. The “father” of Zionism, Theodor Herzl in his seminal tract, Der Judenstaat, wrote this nauseatingly anti-Semitic passage:
The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live in perceptible numbers. Where it does not exist, it is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations. We naturally move to those places where we are not persecuted, and there our presence produces persecution. This is the case in every country, and will remain so, even in those highly civilized—for instance, France—until the Jewish question finds a solution on a political basis. The unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of Anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America.
Of course the “political solution” of which Herzl spoke was – Zionism – the removal of Jews from Europe and America so that they could not carry with them the “seeds” of their own persecution.
Greatest British Zionist hero a vile anti-Semite
It is no coincidence then that the greatest British hero of Zionists to this day is Lord Arthur Balfour whose eponymous Balfour Declaration promised the Zionist movement that to which it had no right: the land of Palestine.
As Kattan points out in his book From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1891-1949, Balfour’s anti-Semitism was well documented and expressed in his writings. From Kattan:
Zionism actually provided Balfour and those who thought like him with the perfect pretext to reduce Jewish immigration into Britain whilst portraying themselves, falsely, as ‘humanitarians’ concerned about their welfare. This is what Balfour wrote in the conclusion to his introduction to Nahum Sokolow’s epic book, the History of Zionism, 1600–1918 (1919):
If [Zionism] succeeds, it will do a great spiritual and material work for the Jews, but not for them alone. For as I read its meaning it is, among other things, a serious endeavour to mitigate the age-long miseries created for western civilisation by the presence in its midst of a Body which it too long regarded as alien and even hostile, but which it was equally unable to expel or absorb. Surely, for this if for no other reason, it should receive our support.
That Balfour had the gall to write this in a book on Zionism was foreboding. One can only imagine what he wrote about the Jews in private or in correspondence that was destroyed or lost.
Indeed. And, as Kattan documents, such sentiments were shared by German anti-Semites who in the same period became enthusiastic supporters of Zionism.
Can anyone see the difference between the views allegedly expressed by Flynn and those of his British Zionist forerunners such as Balfour? Flynn, it should be pointed out, has asserted: “I have been a lifelong friend of Israel and Jewish causes.”
Given the lengthy tradition of anti-Semitic support for Zionism and Israel in the UK, there’s no reason to doubt that.
Zionism’s hatred of diaspora Jews alive and well
Zionism’s hatred of diaspora Jews and its desire to see them removed from Europe and other places they live persists to this day.
In 2004, for example, then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told France’s 700,000 Jews they don’t belong there and should leave.
Israel funds organizations, such as Nefesh b’Nefesh dedicated to reducing the number of Jews living around the world, and encouraging them – including with cash payments – to leave their homes and go into exile on stolen Palestinian land. The goal of various “Birthright Israel” programs is the same – to instil nationalist loyalty to Israel in young Jews from around the world – in the hope that they will leave their native lands and move to Israel. Zionists – allegedly like Flynn – believe that the true “roots” of Jews are not in the countries of their birth, but in Israel.
It’s a positive sign that most Jews in the world remain resistant to these efforts, and despite the exhortations of Zionists, Jewish communities in the UK, France and Germany among other countries, are thriving while Israel struggles to entice all but a handful each year to abandon their homes.
- Joseph Massad
- Victor Kattan
- Paul Flynn
- Owen Jones
- Theodor Herzl
- Der Judenstaat
- The Jewish Chronicle
- Zionist anti-Semitism
Permalink d0nttr3ad0nme replied on
One government-funded organization offered money to Iranian Jews to move to Israel and their community leaders released statement after statement flatly refusing to abandon their Persian home and culture for Israel. Yet Israel still claims that Iran is the most antisemitic place on earth and they are stockpiling nukes to exterminate the Jews...I think they would have started with their own if that was the plan? It's almost cute to see the Zionists scramble around playing whack-a-mole with the truth. Hopefully they'll tire themselves out soon.
It is not even remotely anti
Permalink Jaffer replied on
It is not even remotely anti-Semitic to say that a self-declared Zionist has an inherent conflict of interest...unless one is ready to state that Zionist interests and UK interests are one and the same. It is not "Jewishness" that is relevant, but Zionism.
Row over UK lawmaker’s “Jewish” comments a reminder that Zionism
Permalink liz burbank replied on
The crucial political point your article misrepresents is that Zionism is not 'jewish'. It is an integral part of western imperialism which created 'israel'. Bipartisan US imperialism is zionist, its rulers by no means nor necessarily 'jewish', its zionist proxy serves its geostrategic global agenda. See "Ensuring Israel's Qualitative Military Edge"
Andrew J. Shapiro, Asst. Sec'y, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, 11/4/11 www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/rm/1766...
Zionism is is absolutely separable from religious judaism and people claiming a jewish ‘cultural’ identity.. [see Israeli professor Shlomo Sands' book "The Invention of the Jewish People"].
Confounding jewish and zionist serves the imperialist-zionist enemy in critical ways - including absolving U.S./ U.K. from the the 'final solution' of genocidal Palestinian holocaust.
BTW, “anti-semitism” includes Arabs/Palestinians, who are also semites.
Permalink Rowan Berkeley replied on
It's obscurantism to claim that zionism is not 'Jewish' but 'Western imperialist'. Simple as that.
zionism is not 'jewish'
Permalink liz burbank replied on
The u.s. imperialist ruling class, its strategists, think-tanks and politicians will be surprised to learn they are all 'jewish'.
It depends what you mean by 'ruling class', Liz
Permalink Rowan Berkeley replied on
Marx, who I hope you would agree produced the most detailed definitions, does in fact discuss the financial sector in some depth in the course of <i>Kapital</i>, though I admit he regards it as epiphenomenal. Hilferding's <i>Finanzkapital</i> gets a bit further into the sector, though not really into finance proper, i.e. banking. Hobson has a fascinating chapter in his <i>Imperialism</i>, a book admired by Lenin, in which he argues that the specifically Jewish finance houses in London played a leading role in promoting the Boer War. Ferdinand Lundberg in his <i>The Rich and the Super-Rich</i> distinguished between what he called 'pubpols' and 'finpols', these being public politicians and financial politicians respectively. Therefore, it is not necessary to be some sort of right-wing money crank to recognise that those who pay the piper call the tune.
Not all Zionists are Jews and not all Jews are Zionsits - right.
Permalink lidia replied on
But it does not mean that Zionism has nothing to do with Jewish (and Judaic) anti-goy racism. It has. See the book by I.Shahak "Jewish history, Jewish religion".
Who said what about Gould
Permalink Greg Dropkin replied on
I support Ali Abunimah's views but let's get the facts straight. Paul Flynn did not say the words attributed to him by the Jewish Chronicle. First, his encounter with Gus O'Donnell on 23 Nov 2011 is online from the Parliamentary Archives here:
It is alleged, e.g. here (http://www.walesonline.co.uk/n...) that Flynn elaborated on his blog where he uttered the quote. I've searched his blog. I can't find him saying that.
But on 26 Nov the blog reproduced an article by Jonathan Cook:
which includes reference to what Craig Murray said on this issue. Murray's original is here
and it includes the passage
"Ever since the creation of the state of Israel, the UK had a policy of not appointing a jewish Briton as Ambassador, for fear of conflict of interest. As a similar policy of not appointing a catholic Ambassador to the Vatican. New Labour overturned both longstanding policies as discriminatory. Matthew Gould is therefore the first jewish British Ambassador to Israel."
Cook's article, as reproduced by Murray, says
"Murray has noted that, in appointing Gould, a British Jew, to the ambassadorship in Israel in September last year, the foreign office broke with long-standing policy. No Jewish diplomat has held the post before because of concerns that it might lead to a conflict of interest, or at the very least create the impression of dual loyalty. Similar restrictions have been in place to avoid Catholics holding the post of ambassador to the Vatican."
So Flynn is being pummelled for reproducing an article by Cook which accurately reports what Craig Murray said.
hope that helps
You have been trolled
Permalink eGuard replied on
This red herring thrown at us was worth its price: it's all about marginal anti-Semitism again. Origin of the discussion, now left behind, is, as Craig Murray describes: What were DefSecr Liam Fox, Werritty, Gould and the high ranking Israelis talking about? Why was it not reported by investigator Gus O'Donnell that they met so often? Why was no MoD official present? And why are MSM and UK Parliament hiding these details? What does Iran have to do with it?
It is unfortunate that the UK
Permalink Philippa Burton replied on
It is unfortunate that the UK has changed its policy and sent a Jewish ambassador to Israel. There is no comparison between this and a Catholic ambassador to the Vatican. The Vatican is not at war, whereas Israel is. It would have been unthinkable to nominate someone with a Serbian mother or father as ambassador to Serbia while Serbia was at war with Bosnia and Herzegovina, for instance.
The problem is not a divided loyalty between the UK and a foreign country, but a vested interested in painting a favorable image of one of the combatant parties WITHIN the foreign country. This is by defintion contrary to the role of an ambassador which is to report facts in an unbiased manner.