Britain’s largest Muslim TV channel, the Islam channel, last week hosted a debate on anti-Semitism and Zionism, with discussion centering on the idea that informed and honest debate on the Middle East is rendered impossible because critics are immediately accused of anti-Semitism.
The debate, “Zionism: The cancer at the heart of international affairs,” was filmed by the London-based Islamic TV station.
Alan Hart, a former ITN and BBC correspondent, chaired the debate. He said that “the anti-Semitism card is something the Zionists have exploited to suppress debate.”
Hart, author of the recently published “Zionism: The real enemy of the Jews,” blamed the mainstream media for complicity in the suppression
Expanding the debate, Hart added that the assumption is that “Zionism and Judaism are the same thing, therefore criticism of Zionism is anti-Semitism but Zionism is the nationalism for some Jews, a tiny minority.”
“The propaganda they use, the Melanie Phillips version (a Jewish journalist for the British newspaper The Daily Mail), is that Israel faces annihilation and fears being pushed into the sea,” Hart said, which he added was an unfounded myth.
Zionism vs. Judaism
On the panel were three Jewish anti-Zionists and Palestinian scholar Dr Ghada Karmi.
Dr. Ilan Pappe, the Haifa University historian at the forefront of a campaign calling for sanctions and an academic boycott of Israel, said that in order to divorce Zionism from Judaism we must not adopt their discourse.
Rabbi Ahron Cohen, who represented the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta Hasidic sect, said, “Zionists imposed a secular faith state on the Palestinians, this is immoral and the underlying cause of the strife. Zionism and Judaism are incompatible concepts. Many Jews do not approve of Zionism but they cannot say this publicly.”
Dr. Karmi, a research fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter University, said the tragedy of the Holocaust had been acted out in Europe and that it was therefore a European affair that had nothing to do with the Palestinians.
The former consultant to the Palestinian Authority offered her own interpretation: “The Europeans did it to atone for their sins and guilt, but the Jews who arrived in Palestine were not the Jews we knew, they were complicated and miserable and the problem is that they’re still there.”
“Israel has been a total disaster for the entire Arab world, nothing positive or beneficial has come from it,” she added.
Dr. Hajo Meyer, a German born scientist and Holocaust survivor, was another panel member. Now living in Holland, he is a board member of Another Jewish Voice, part of the European Jewish Alliance for a Just Peace. In his latest book, “The End of Judaism”, he has criticised Israel for “treating the Palestinian people in the same way the Nazis treated Jews during the Second World War”.
Dr. Meyer said that anti-Semitism is a form of xenophobia, but accusations are met with much swifter condemnation and reprimands.
Islam Channel plans to release a DVD of the debate later in the year.
Reprinted with permission of European Jewish Press