I have made a discovery. Informed and honest debate with Zionists and other supporters of Israel right or wrong is impossible. I have long suspected this to be the case but a recent experience gave me the irrefutable proof.
On Friday 12 June, I presented and chaired, for recording and first television transmission by Iran’s PressTV, two programmes with the title ANTI-SEMITISM RISING. WHY? The format for both programmes was an all-Jewish panel discussion followed by debate with an invited audience of all faiths and none.
As I explained in my studio introduction, the headline title I gave to the discussion and debate (and also the invitation) was provoked by three statements made in the wake of Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip and the almost universal condemnation of it.
“Anti-Semitism is back.” That was the statement of Richard Prasquier, the head of the Council of the Jewish Representatives of France. He was speaking at a dinner for French politicians.
“Hatred of Jews has reached new heights in Europe and many points south and east of the old continent.” That was Denis MacShane, a British MP and former minister, writing in the Washington Post.
“Europe is poisoned by anti-Semitism we thought had been dispatched to history’s dustbin.” That was Rupert Murdoch addressing a gathering of Jewish Americans.
Something, I went on to say, is obviously “rising”. But what, really, I asked, is it?
Is it anti-Semitism – prejudice against and even hatred of Jews as Jews, wherever they are; or is it something else, what could be described as anti-Israelism, or, more accurately, anti-Zionism (opposition to Zionism’s colonial enterprise, ethnic cleansing and all) and therefore NOT a manifestation of anti-Semitism?
That was the question to be explored in the first part of the first programme. I gave it context by quoting the warning words of Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving Director of Military Intelligence. In his seminal book, Israel’s Fateful Hour, he wrote the following (my emphasis added):
“Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.”
That warning was published in 1986. More than two decades on, my own view is that the Zionist state’s “misconduct” – its contempt for international law and its criminal behaviour, including from time to time demonstrations of state terrorism – has become the prime factor in the rise of anti-Semitism.
Harkabi’s warning was, in fact, an echo of earlier Jewish fears. Prior to the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust, very many of the most informed and thoughtful Jews of the world were opposed to Zionism’s colonial enterprise. They believed it to be morally wrong. They believed it would lead to unending conflict. And they feared that Zionism’s child would one day provoke anti-Semitism. (It’s my view that after the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust, and because of it, the giant most likely would have gone back to sleep, remained asleep and might have died in its sleep – IF Zionism had not been allowed by the major powers, first Britain, then America, to have its way, as Balfour put it, “right or wrong”. There is a case for saying – honest historians of the future might say it – that with British and American politicians as “friends”, the Jews did not need enemies).
When the idea for the panel discussion and debate came to me, I was by no means certain that it could be made to happen because, by default rather than design, the broadcasting regulations give Zionism a power of veto. I’ll explain what I mean with an example.
A while after the publication of the UK hardback edition of Volume One of my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, a producer for BBC Radio 4′s World Tonight called me to ask if I would participate in that evening’s programme, to discuss, among other things, the thesis of my book. I was more than surprised because I was fully aware that Zionism had red-flagged me with all broadcasting institutions and newspapers as well as the publishing world. At this point some background is essential.
As I have explained in the past, I had to publish the book myself because no publisher wanted to invite Zionism’s wrath. This despite the fact that my literary agent had letters of rare praise for my manuscript from the CEO’s of some of the major publishing houses. One letter, from which I quote in Volume One, described my work as “awesome… driven by passion, commitment and profound learning.” This letter added, “There is no question it deserves to be published.” I was not supposed to be able to get the book into the retail trade but I did.
Professor Ilan Pappe, Israel’s leading “revisionist” (which means honest) historian told me that Zionism was more frightened of my book than any other. Why? Because its title, Ilan said, is “the truth in seven words.” Truth that Zionism doesn’t want the world to know.
Zionism has only two non-lethal options for dealing with me.
One is to seek to discredit me and my work by accusing me of anti-Semitism. But Zionism’s professional propagandists know they can’t play this game with me because I would sue them if they did. I made a little bit of history three years ago when a report in the Manchester-based Jewish Telegraph defamed me. As an alternative to suing the paper, I demanded and obtained an apology, equal space for a rebuttal article and my legal costs. (Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about the anonymous and mostly moronic supporters of Israel right or wrong who make use of the internet to accuse me, falsely and maliciously, of anti-Semitism).
Zionism’s only other non-lethal option is to pretend that I and my book do not exist. This Zionist policy is out of the same stable as Nakba denial. In practice it came to mean that Zionism used its awesome influence to see to it that Zionists and other supporters of Israel right or wrong did not engage in debate with me, and that I was denied by the media even a sniff of the oxygen of publicity. Out of fear of offending Zionism too much or at all, not one UK media institution had the courage to review my book or talk to me about it.
Hence my surprise when a BBC producer called to invite me to be on the World Tonight. The proposition was that the programme could give me air time if I was prepared to debate with the Jewish American Alan Dershowitz, one of Zionism’s biggest guns (firing wounding words not bullets). He was in Europe and, later in the day, was coming London. I said to the producer that unless there had been a change of Zionist policy, Dershowitz would not debate with me because to do so would give me some oxygen of publicity. The producer said Dershowitz had already agreed. I said, “Call him back and re-confirm.” When I got the re-confirmation, I gave thought to how I would engage with Dershowitz. Then, about an hour before the World Tonight’s on-air time, the producer called to tell me the item had been cancelled because Dershowitz would not debate with me.
Though it’s speculation on my part, I think the following is what most probably happened. On arrival in London Dershowitz was asked by a Zionist lobby friend what his engagements for the evening were. He said something like, “At ten o’clock I’m debating with Alan Hart on the BBC’s World Tonight.” The friend said: “Oh no, you’re not! We don’t engage with that man and his book. So far as we’re concerned, he and it do not exist.”
In any event it was a demonstration of how Zionism can cause the views of those able to unmask its propaganda lies to be suppressed by broadcasting institutions. On this particular occasion the power of veto was available to Zionism because of the BBC’s slavish and not-always-appropriate commitment to balance and impartiality – the notion that both sides of an argument must be presented. Indeed, they must, but not necessarily at the same programme moment in time. If BBC executives had had sufficient integrity and courage (less fear of offending Zionism), the World Tonight item, no doubt shortened, could have gone ahead with only me being questioned and challenged by the presenter, with an introductory statement to the effect that Alan Dershowitz had pulled out, and an end statement to the effect that a pro-Zionist response to the case I had made would be obtained and broadcast the following night (or whenever). If Zionism had then refused to provide somebody to rebut and rubbish the case I had made, the BBC could have said to Zionism: “Don’t accuse us of bias and impartiality. We tried our best but we were not prepared to give you the power of veto over content.” But that’s not the way the broadcasting game is played. If Zionism says to the broadcasters, “We won’t debate with A or B or C”, the broadcasters say “Okay, we won’t give A or B or C air time.”
It was against the background outlined above that I found myself wondering if the debate I was proposing (ANTI-SEMITISM RISING.WHY?) could be made to happen for television. As I have done with other programme ideas, I approached PressTV because it is the only network in the world with an international reach that is prepared to give air time to those who can expose Zionism’s version of history for the propaganda nonsense it mainly is. PressTV’s London bureau liked the idea very much and was prepared to provide the recording and production facilities on condition that it, my programme idea, could be executed in accordance with Ofcom’s rules. (Ofcom is the independent regulator for the UK communications industry). Those rules insist on “due impartiality”, a fair hearing for both sides of an argument. In theory that’s how it should and must be. In practice it’s a hell of a challenge if one side refuses to engage – opts to exercise its power of veto in the hope of suppressing debate. Unless I could persuade two Zionists to be on my panel of four, and unless my invited audience of 70 (the maximum number the recording studio could accommodate) included at least some Zionists or other supporters of Israel right or wrong, there would be no recording.
To cut a long story short, I did succeed in putting together a “balanced”, all-Jewish panel of four, two anti-Zionists and two Zionists. They were:
Professor Ilan Pappe, Israel’s leading “revisionist” historian, whose books include The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. He is much in demand around the world for lectures and debates. All of which explains why he is at the very top of Zionist’s official “S.H.I.T” List – S H I T standing for Self Hating Israeli Traitor.
Dr. Hajo Meyer, a Nazi holocaust survivor. He was born in Germany in 1924. At the age of 14 he fled on his own to the Netherlands to escape the Nazis. When they occupied the Netherlands, he served in the Jewish underground, was captured by the Gestapo and transported to Auschwitz. As I told the audience, I know of nobody else who can speak with more authority on the subject of anti-Semitism than Hajo. His books include An Ethical Tradition Betrayed, The End of Judaism.
Carol Gould, an American who has lived in the UK for many years. She’s worked in television on both network dramas and documentaries. She’s also an author. Her latest book is Don’t Tread On Me – Anti-Americanism Abroad. When I was trying to find two Zionists or other supporters of Israel right or wrong who would participate, Carol’s starting position was that she would not be seen alive or dead in the same room as Ilan Pappe. But she is her own person, not a Zionist lobby stooge, and she allowed me to persuade her to change her mind. She also suggested the fourth member of my panel.
Jonathan Hoffman, co-vice chair of the Zionist Federation of the UK and Ireland. It was established in 1899 and played a significant role in securing the Balfour Declaration. In my e-mail invitation to him I said that I didn’t want a “ranting Zionist” on the panel because the key question being addressed was much too important for anything but serious and reasoned conversation and debate. Jonathan’s initial response, three words, was, “What’s the fee?”
The task of trying to put together a “balanced” audience of all faiths and none was both exhausting and exasperating. It led me to the conclusion that very many if not most Jews cannot be engaged by the truth of history because they don’t want to know it. Because it’s too uncomfortable for them. Even many members of “progressive” Jewish groups – those which campaign for a genuine and viable two-state solution and are critical of Israel’s present policies – don’t want to come to terms with the fact that Israel was created, mainly, by Zionist terrorism and ethnic cleansing.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews, which claims to be “the voice of British Jewry”, didn’t even have the courtesy to acknowledge my invitation to participate in the debate. The Chief Rabbi, who had spoken of a “tsunami of anti-Semitism”, apparently had “prior diary commitments”. I e-mailed my invitation to him on 18 May. On 2 June, when I had had no response, I e-mailed, “Does no response = no interest?” I sent a similar follow-up message to the Jewish Chronicle but again there was no response from it. Foreign Secretary David Miliband was the only MP not to respond. Perhaps Melanie Phillips (some of her Jewish critics have described her to me as “mad”) was speaking for them all when she replied: “Thank you for this invitation. However, since it appears to be inviting me to discuss the ancient canard of whether the Jews are responsible for their own persecution – and on an Iranian-backed TV station – I will most certainly decline.”
I did get a response from the Community Services Trust (CST), which, in its own words, “represents British Jewry to the police, government and media on anti-Semitism and security.” In other words, it’s the principal Jewish body in the UK for monitoring anti-Semitism and advising on how to counter it. Some might think that if there was one Jewish organisation above all others which ought to have welcomed the debate and been pleased to participate, CST was surely it. CST thanked me for the invitation, which it declined, and its response included the following. “The title of your book, as disturbing as it is, is nowhere near as problematic as the contents. The answer to anti-Semitism is not for people to tell Jews how to alter their behaviour… That your work is based in part on the books of Lenni Brenner and Alfred Lilienthal only compounds the offence. (I do quote both Jewish writers in Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews. Brenner exposed Zionist collaboration with the Nazis. Lilienthal exposed, among other things, the development of the Zionist lobby’s controlling grip on Congress and the White House)… Perhaps your panel could consider the fact that, had Zionism succeeded in its aim ten years earlier, 6 million Jews would have been saved from the Nazis. This is a strange enemy for Jews to have.” (I resisted the temptation to respond with a comment to the effect that without the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust, Zionism would have remained a Jewish nationalist fringe movement without the support needed to colonise and ethnically cleanse Palestine)
Both Carol Gould and Jonathan Hoffman made suggestions about who should be invited from their side and, for the record, I did invite each and every one of the people they wanted to be there to cheer them on. Some came and some could not make it. I consider that I did everything humanly possible to see to it that Jews of all views were represented in the audience of all faiths and none. As it happened there were more anti-Zionists in the audience (of all faiths and none and including Jews) than Zionists and other supporters of Israel right or wrong, but that was not due to a lack of invitations from me.
And so to the panel discussions and debates.
In my introduction I said I was going to do my best to see that the debate generated more light than heat, but that how successful I could be would depend to a great extent on the passions of the panel and the studio audience. My hope, I added, was that I would be assisted to get far beyond propaganda and give reality and reason a fair hearing. That did not happen. More to the point, I now know, is that it could not have happened, and in my view never will happen, because informed and honest debate with those who have been brainwashed by Zionist propaganda is impossible. They are beyond reason.
That, of course, is only my opinion, but others can judge for themselves when both programmes are transmitted by PressTV (the first half of the first part is viewable here)
One of the supporters of Israel right or wrong who was in the audience subsequently blogged the comment that “an overriding stench of pitiful hatred was choking up the room.” He is either deluded or one of those who need to feel persecuted. There was no hatred in the recording studio. What there was from time to time, as viewers will be able to see for themselves, were outbursts of laughter and derision, provoked by the nonsense the defenders of Israel right or wrong were spouting.