The Spanish Inquisition, claiming to combat heresy, was a brutal political device for consolidating the power of the monarchy, leading up to and following the Christian reconquest of Andalucia. Previously, the region’s Jewish population had been among the largest in Europe, growing both in numbers and professional status.
In 1492, the Christian rulers expelled more than 160,000 Jews from Spain and, in 1507, the persecution of Muslims gathered apace. Many Moors were forced to convert to Christianity, and Islam was eventually banned altogether. In the end, humanist Christians were also being horribly persecuted. The pogroms, displacement and religious persecution were exercises in population- and thought- control, based upon extreme religious and ideological fanaticism. History records that such regimes necessarily exhibit fear of, and intolerance towards, freedom of thought and opinion.
Today, within the one-state reality that has established itself in Israel/Palestine, the Zionist regime discriminates against the native Palestinian population in various ways, depending upon the area. Protest and dissent in what are called the Occupied Territories are, almost daily, violently crushed by the Israeli military. These daily assaults frequently result in injury and even death. Abroad, the Zionist regime’s agents and supporters use techniques of intimidation to silence criticism and stifle debate. Unable to deny the truth of Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law, the Zionist movement seeks to misrepresent, quote out of context and smear anyone who draws attention to them.
Conflating criticism of Israel with ‘anti-Semitism’
Earlier this year, in an open letter, professors at dozens of UK universities deplored the UK Government’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. The IHRA definition is being used to smear support for Palestinian rights and criticism of Israel’s violations of international law as ‘anti-Semitic’. The Universities Minister, Jo Johnson, asked for the definition to be “disseminated” throughout the higher education system and, in a letter to Universities UK, referred to the annual Israeli Apartheid Week as “cause for concern”.
As a result of the irrational atmosphere created by the Government’s decision, the University of Central Lancashire went so far as to ban a planned meeting, ‘Debunking Misconceptions on Palestine’, making the baseless assertion that it “contravened the definition of anti-Semitism recently adopted by the government, and would therefore not be lawful”. In their open letter, the academics described the cancellation and the statement by the Campaign Against anti-Semitism as “outrageous interferences with free expression”, as well as a direct attack on academic freedom: “As academics with positions at UK universities, we wish to express our dismay at this attempt to silence campus discussion about Israel, including its violation of the rights of Palestinians for more than 50 years. It is with disbelief that we witness explicit political interference in university affairs in the interests of Israel under the thin disguise of concern about antisemitism.”
In March this year, the House of Lords heard legal opinion in the UK that found the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism was “badly drafted, confusing and not legally binding.” Hugh Tomlinson QC showed that any public body that imposed the IHRC definition would be at risk of “unlawfully restricting legitimate expressions of political opinion. It is clear, therefore, that campaigners cannot be described as anti-Semitic, because they describe Israel as a colonialist-settler state that practises apartheid, or because they call for boycott, divestment or sanctions against Israel.” The legal opinion was commissioned by four organisations that had joined forces: Free Speech on Israel, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP), the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Independent Jewish Voices.
Speaking on behalf of all four organisations, Naomi Wayne of JfJfP, drew attention to what she called the “disgraceful rush” to adopt the IHRA definition by public bodies, such as the London Assembly. There is ample evidence that the Zionist lobby is attempting to subvert freedom of speech, the cornerstone of democracy, everywhere. Sir Stephen Sedley, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, has spoken of his own family’s experience of anti-Jewish bias that was “both hurtful and shocking” but confronting that is clearly not the priority of those disseminating the IHRA definition. The Zionist claim to represent all of Jewry suits anti-Jewish racists because it necessarily smears all Jews as being somehow implicated in the Zionist regime’s racist inhumanities. PSC Director, Ben Jamal, notes that campaigners for Palestine face a global threat from what is known as Israel’s ‘lawfare’ weapon. He stressed the importance of challenging this directly and keeping discussion about Palestine centre stage. He affirmed that “our views are mainstream, not extreme or fringe, whatever our opponents claim.”
Defenders of Palestinian human rights are threatened with legal action in the West – but in Israel, racists enjoy impunity. Five examples:
1. Denial of Palestine: Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely, speaking at an event in Washington last March, said “I always say that the occupation is a myth, because we never occupied other people’s land. This is Jewish land. This should forever be a Jewish land under Israeli law.”
The Israeli Deputy Defence Minister, Eli Ben Dahan, a settler residing in the illegal settlement of Har Homa, responded to UNSC Resolution 2334 by stating: “From the eternal capital of Israel, we must say to the world, we did not conquer a foreign country, but returned to our country never to leave it again. Regardless of the other nations’ opinion, the Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. This is our home.’’
In practice, Israeli Government policy is consistent with such views and the Zionist regime has never refuted them. Israeli officials repeatedly affirm religious belief to justify colonisation and annexation and the Zionist vision of Jerusalem as an exclusively Jewish city. Benjamin Netanyahu put it uncompromisingly in a statement published last year on the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office website in May 2016: “We are in the land of the Bible, in the city of Jerusalem. Everything that happened there happened here. This is our land, our heritage, our book, our story, our faith and our hope. Everything is in the Bible.”
2. Racism: Here is video of a sermon (with English translation by Ronnie Barkan) by Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, arguing that Jewish Law justifies ethnic cleansing. Yosef holds that Jewish law (halacha) directs the State to expel all non-Jews from Israel. Those that accept the Noahide Laws, may remain, he says, because they will be useful as servants to Jews. Otherwise, they may be driven from the land. There is more that follows, much more. While this is not the Judaism that witnessed the formation of the secular Zionist movement at the end of the Nineteenth Century, it can be argued that it does reflect Zionist values today. Richard Silverstein of Tikun Olam comments that “there is absolutely no credible halachic validation for expelling the indigenous inhabitants of Israel. There are of course verses and portions of the Torah which he [Yitzhak Yosef] may refer to as justifying his stance (just as one may find such racist interpretations in most religious traditions).” Silverstein says this is “a distortion of the mainstream halachic tradition.” He writes that it is a “warped form of Judaism. But it is more akin to idolatry than the religion.”
So how did this version of Judaism become so corrupted and inhumane? Through repeated Zionist propaganda, backed by powerful international interests. It is the same propaganda that attempts to prevent action in defence of Palestinian human rights. The cost has been endless conflict, injustice and the undermining of the effectiveness of international law.
3. Population transfer: Israeli ‘Defence’ Minister Avigdor Lieberman calls for the transfer of Israel’s Arab citizens to a future Palestinian state, even though they form only 20% of Israel’s population. In 1948, after the expulsion of three-quarters of a million Palestinians, the Arab population was 150,000, and they lived in just 2.5% of the land. Today, that population has grown to 1.5 million but they are still confined to that mere 2.5% of the land. According to Tony Greenstein, “not one new Arab town has been established.” Israeli Arabs are almost always denied the right to construct new buildings or even to build extensions to their houses. Regularly. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz notes that some 97% of house demolitions in Israel are of Arab houses. Racial domination is revealed in Israel’s ethnocentric doctrine reflected in law and the design of the Zionist state’s institutions. Land policy, for instance, shows how Israeli law renders opposition to racial domination illegal.
4. Brainwashing children: Here is an online video, taken from Israeli television, of two male visitors and a teacher at an Israeli Jewish Orthodox religious school ‘testing’ the children’s general knowledge. The Israeli musician and writer, Jonathan Ofir, comments on the video. He tells us the children are asked what they think when the teacher says “Jerusalem”, they answer “sacred, temple,” etc. She asks who believes the (3rd) temple will be built in the coming years – everyone raises their hands. “And what is there now?”, she asks. “The mosque, Al-Aqsa” they answer. “And what will happen to the mosque?” she asks. “It will be broken, exploded, disappear” they answer. (The teacher makes no response and continues on, as tacit approval). One of the visitors asks “what happens when you see an Arab boy? What do you feel?” They answer “Anger, I want to kill him”. Teacher, apparently unconcerned, also asks what the children see when they think of Jerusalem in ten years’ time. One of them believes that “there will be a war, and all Arabs will die, and some of them will be slaves”. There is more – watch the video.
5. Teaching children, vividly, how helpless prisoners are executed: Earlier this month, the Israeli police performed a demonstration for hundreds of 5th-graders, showing how they make certain, the death of a suspected ‘terrorist’. Policemen appear on motor cycles, firing countless rounds of blank ammunition at the ‘terrorist’, continuing long after he has fallen and is motionless – to ‘confirm’ as they explain, ‘the kill’. This cold-blooded, staged operation is a reflection of the reality that Palestinians must face. It is, of course, also a giveaway because the demonstration reveals what really happens when Israeli forces kill Palestinians. As Joathan Ofir observes that the Azarya case was no aberration – “he just got caught on film.” A police spokeswoman thought the exhibition in front of so many children was entirely appropriate. She said: “The children clapped, they were happy”.
Thus speaks Zionism. What is it about the unfolding of the Zionist enterprise that its supporters wish the world to keep quiet about? Here are a few recent instances:
Israeli soldiers abduct wounded child from ambulance
On 4 May, Israeli soldiers abducted a Palestinian child who had been shot by an Israeli Army sniper, in al-Eisawiya, East Jerusalem, after pursuing the ambulance transporting him to hospital. Mos’ab Mahmoud Mheisin (14), was shot, with several live rounds in the lower body, including the groin. Mohammad Abu al-Hummus, a member of the Follow-Up Committee in al-Eisawiya, said Israeli soldiers frequently invade the town, firing live rounds as well as rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters and stun grenades. They also set up sniper posts on the roofs of villagers’ homes. It was one of these home-invading sharpshooters that wounded the child dragged from the ambulance.
“We live in constant danger and fear”
Two children, from a Bedouin community in the Negev, were killed on Tuesday, 25 April 2017, when ordnance left behind after an Israeli Army exercise in Zarnouk village was suddenly detonated, killing Omar Ismael Qweider (8) and his cousin Mohammad Mahmoud Qweider (10). Some Israeli news reports tried to suggest that the explosion was just an accident “when a power generator exploded near the children.” Mahmoud Abu Qwaider, the father of Mohammad, confirmed to Musawa TV Channel that the children were killed by an explosive object dropped by the Israeli Army. He added that the children had moved the device while playing near their homes. This is in the same area where the Israeli Army frequently conducts live-fire population-control exercises that include the use of explosives between and around the homes of villagers. The two children were pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. Mahmoud Abu Qwaider said: “We live in constant danger and fear.” The Israeli Army “invades and conducts trainings in our village on a nearly daily basis; they also frequently demolish homes, tents and barns.” He continued: “The Israeli Army, and the police, are fully responsible for this crime – the police are still trying to deny the truth – at first they claimed the explosion was caused by a cooking gas jar, and then they claimed it was an electricity generator that malfunctioned…” Only days after the tragedy, on Sunday, 30 April 2017, and with cold Zionist disregard for the feelings of the bereaved family and villagers, Israeli soldiers and police officers returned to the village and issued demolition orders against two more homes.
Child hospitalised by hit-and-run Israeli settler motorist
An Israeli settler ran his motor vehicle over a four-year-old Palestinian boy in the centre of Hebron and then simply drove off. Murad Samir al-Razam (4) was cared for by the Palestinian Red Crescent before being admitted to the Hebron government hospital for further treatment. The hit-and-run occurred near the illegal Israeli Ramat Yishai Occupation settlement near Tel Rumeida. More than 30,000 Old City residents now have to put up with the enforced presence of some 800 Israeli settlers and their Israeli Army allies. Every day, residents are forced to cope with at least 20 Israeli Army checkpoints set up at street entrances. While they are not allowed to drive in most areas of their Old City, and are not even permitted to walk on certain roads reserved for settlers, armed Occupation settlers drive freely around.
Video: Zionist military sprays sewage on Palestinian homes
Israeli Defence Minister refuses to recognise settler terrorism
Avigdor Lieberman says that Ahmed Dawabsheh, whose family was killed in an arson attack on their home two years ago, is not eligible for compensation. The six-year-old does not qualify to be considered a “terror victim” and will, therefore, not receive compensation. The cold dismissal came from Lieberman at the end of April in a written answer to a question. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, while visiting the injured family members in hospital after the attack, had publicly declared that they would be compensated. One of the settlers who was involved in the attack was released in June last year, after serving only ten months in detention.
Resisting the Inquisition
The Zionist regime, with the help of its agents and supporters around the world, is desperately attempting to shut down debate through disruption, threats to the security of legitimate gatherings and the smearing of speakers and writers who dare draw attention to Israel’s constant violations of human rights. Because they claim to represent all Jews, Zionist ideologues smear Jews who speak out against Zionist inhumanities as ‘self-hating’.
As well as targeting freedom of speech, the Israeli Government and its support groups are now set on undermining the authority and functioning ability of the United Nations. The fanatical Zionist regime would have the world believe that it has the God-given right to exemption from the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention whenever it wishes. Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, Richard Falk, who has also has been abused by the Zionists as a ‘self-loathing Jew’ observes: “The real institutional scandal is not that the UN is obsessed with Israel but rather that it is blocked from taking action that might exert sufficient pressure on Israel to induce the dismantling of apartheid structures relied upon to subjugate, displace, and dispossess the Palestinian people over the course of more than 70 years with no end in sight.” This poses a direct threat to global peace and security because we look to the increasingly fragile UN to uphold international law and the principles of justice. Too often have we allowed the unbridled power of irrational ideologies to turn people into refugees.
We must challenge any and every attempt to discredit support for the United Nations. The Israel Lobby is, everywhere, looking for opportunities to strengthen its voice and divert attention from its crimes against humanity. Whatever drove Gerry Brownlee to write his letter of apparent apology to Netanyahu over New Zealand’s role in promoting UNSC Resolution 2334, the Zionist camp was certainly overjoyed. Let them see that here in New Zealand, they will fail.