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The Forum > Article Comments > Anti-Semitism on Radio National > Comments

Anti-Semitism on Radio National : Comments

By David Knoll, published 17/5/2005

David Knoll argues Radio National was airing anti-Semitic views when Jews were commemorating the 60th anniversary of the liberation from death camps.

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First of all, this talk about what radio national broadcast was just an excuse to get on your high horse Amanda Vanstone style.

"When one selects out a particular people as ineligible for the right of self-determination, one is engaging in active racism."

This is true, but Jews in Israel have been doing exactly the same thing against Palestinians.

"But distinguish these from the critics of Israeli policies who genuinely address harsh realities and suggest better ways to achieve Israelís goal of peaceful coexistence with her neighbours, including a new Palestinian state, without the overhanging threat of daily terrorism."

I see no distinction.

"Israel of course is the only operative democracy in the Middle East."

The fact that it is a democracy is what gives Israel the international legitimacy to commit terrorist attacks against their poor Palestinian Neighbours, It may be a democracy, but like Australia it isn't a liberal democracy.

You mention that Israel gives full rights to Arabs to live within her borders but by doing so you completely miss the point that zionists proclaim self-determination for jews but deny it for Palestians. So you have missed the mark.

In summary you are a hypocrite and the Israeli government are hypocrites and the Australian and U.S. governments and most of the international community are gutless cowardly hypocrites.
Posted by Penekiko, Tuesday, 17 May 2005 10:57:26 AM
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It is not unusual for a link to be asserted between antisemitism and criticism of Israel's Zionist policies. Sometimes it exists, but increasingly often it is missing. I'm reminded of the "Snow White" art exhibit that an Israeli minister attacked -- it was immediately assumed to be antisemitic, but was created by an anti-Zionist Jew. Claims such as these weaken the meaning and power of the word.

Heywood didn't say that Zionism "reeks" of inhuman "racism", he said that "[t]he Zionist catch-cry 'God gave us (the Chosen) the whole of this land', reeks with inherent racism."
There is quite a difference, and according to the transcript, Heywood then began talking about how Israel's policies implement that statement and the negative results. Racism isn't the best word for it though and Heywood is wrong to deny that Israel is a democracy.

"Zionism is no more than self-determination for the Jewish people."
The way it was accomplished did not involve mere self-determination, because the Jewish people did not create their state in a uninhabited or all Jewish area. I would have no problem with Israel's pro-Jewish policies in the latter situation, but the creation of Israel involved the rights and property of other people and it's actions continue to involve them. No doubt the creation of settlements on Palestinian land has nothing to do with self-determination.
Posted by Deuc, Tuesday, 17 May 2005 11:45:54 AM
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Some of this ground has been covered before, in the discussion following Philip Mendes' essay earlier in the year on Zionism and anti-Zionism.

Charges and counter-charges of anti-Semitism, or racism, of the type Mr. Lapkin and Mr Heywood-Smith have traded on "Perspective" have a tendency to devolve in to unwinnable "pissing contests." The claim that "Zionism is racism" is one that even the UN (aren't we all supposed to defer to this international body?) has dropped. Mr. Heywood-Smith perpetuates this position by his unequivocal statement "The real problem for apologists of Israel is that Israel is a racist state." He further says "Now supporters of Israel appear intent on using defamation themselves to counter legitimate criticism of their racist and expansionist State."

He can't wiggle out of these accusations. Whether Mr. Heywood-Smith is anti-Semitic or not I can't say. So the question is, do the decriptions of Israel as "racist" and "expansionist" qualify as "legitimate criticism?" Their "legitimacy" as statements therefore is fair game for debate.

For an "expansionist" state, Israel sure has been shrinking. Starting with the withdrawals from the Sinai and Lebanon, and now the planned withdrawal from Gaza, and proposed handover of security control to the Palestinian Authority in several West Bank towns, the only places Israel could be argued to be "expanding" is in some of the West Bank settlement blocs.

Is there racism in Israel? Yes - just as there is racism here in Australia against Asians and Aborigines. Could Israel do more to fully integrate its Arab citizens? Perhaps. But Arabs do have the vote, and the right to form political parties, and indeed they have representation in the Knesset (including an Arab woman MK) and on the Supreme Court. If the inequalities between Arabs and Jews in Israel make Israel a "racist state" as Mr Heywood-Smith claims, then the world is full of racist states, starting with our own Australia.
Posted by W_Howard, Tuesday, 17 May 2005 12:45:55 PM
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To read exactly what Heywood-Smith said on ABC's Radio National Perspectives program go to:
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/perspective/stories/s1360904.htm
Posted by Rainier, Tuesday, 17 May 2005 7:37:27 PM
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David Knoll makes some extraordinary claims:

“Each year the commemoration [of the Holocaust] is designed to educate, so that never again will any people be the victims of genocide”

Is that right? Perhaps Mr Knoll can tell us what the Jews did to save the Cambodians or Rwandans or Bosnians from genocide? There were over 20 million Russians killed in the Second World War but they don't have museums and commemorations in every major city in the world. If it wasn't for their sacrifice millions more Jews undoubtedly would have been killed. The fact is Holocaust commemorations have never saved anyone nor prevented anything.

“Jewish people continue to search for peace, despite existential threats far from abating”

Who's going to attack a country that has nuclear, chemical and biological weapons? Is building nuclear bombs the way Israel searches for peace? They may want to prevent another Holocaust but obviously not if it's a nuclear one and Arabs are doing the dying.

“Zionism is no more than self-determination for the Jewish people. Regrettably, opponents of Zionism suggest that of all people on this earth only Jews are not entitled to self-determination. They portray the Jewish nation as perpetrators of some ongoing evil. Their tune has its obvious historical forbears.”

The last sentence sums things up nicely. Lets see.. a state where citizenship is religiously and ethnically based. Which has attacked its neighbors numerous times and is illegally occupying their land. Which has herded a despised minority into ghettos and deprived them of rights. Which openly talks of population 'transfer' as a 'solution' to the 'problem'. Which openly talks of a “Greater Israel” I see his point about 'historical forbears'.

“When one selects out a particular people as ineligible for the right of self-determination, one is engaging in active racism.”

This will be music to every Palestinians' ear. By preventing Palestinian self-determination Mr Knoll admits that Israel has been engaging in active racism for the past 60 years.
Posted by Josh, Tuesday, 17 May 2005 9:47:26 PM
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continued...

“Israel of course is the only operative democracy in the Middle East. It is the only nation in the region whose very declaration of independence guarantees rights for Arab and Jew alike. Both Hebrew and Arabic are official languages. Both Jew and Arab can and do own property, operate businesses, enjoy healthcare and public education, and importantly exercise the right to vote.”

Israel has a two tiered society where there is a legal difference between citizenship and nationality rights. All citizens can vote but nationality rights are exclusively for Jews. These provide for better class health care, priority university education, jobs, low rate loans etc and the right to buy land. 93% of Israeli land is reserved for Jews only. See:

http://www.fromoccupiedpalestine.org/node.php?id=584

I'm sure Mr Knoll in his capacity as President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has already picked up the phone and spoken to relevant ABC Board members and probably notified the Premier's and Prime Minister's offices too. If only all persecuted minorities had such access....
Posted by Josh, Tuesday, 17 May 2005 9:48:49 PM
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