The Brits Pig out on Anti-Zionism: How Europe Commits Suicide

I have argued repeatedly that Antizionism acts in the 21st century as a form of cultural auto-immune deficiency syndrome. By appealing to the moral Schadenfreude that anti-Zionism seems to offer (especially) to the Europeans, it makes it virtually impossible for the consumer of this discourse to identify and defend against their real enemy: global Jihad. It’s so much fun to see the Israelis as cruel colonizing oppressors of a plucky Palestinian national liberation movement (PCP2), that acknowledging the forces of global Jihad behind the secular (Marxist) facade, would just spoil the fun.

After all, if you admit that the Israelis are fighting a monstrous and implacable enemy that has genocidal intentions, how could you dump on them so vigorously for defending themselves? Definitely no fun.

So, like a fat man with a (bad) cholesterol count of over 300, Europeans, addicted to their anti-Zionist bacon cheeseburgers and their anti-American truffles, just keep wolfing down the poison cause it feels so good. In the meantime, they deligitimize the very discourse that could enable them to deal with the real threat they face.

Now, from Alan Dershowitz,we have evidence that, rather than “growing up” and learning to discipline themselves, the Oxford can’t stop. Indeed, (to paraphrase Richard Burton/Henry VIII’s line from Anne of a Thousand Days), “all the world is an anti-Zionist trough and we eat from one end to the other.” Alas poor Europe, I knew it well… or thought I did.

October 21 2007; 09:10AM
Double Standard Watch: Oxford Union is dead
Posted by Alan Dershowitz | Comments: 50

This is an obituary for the Oxford Union, which claims to be one of the most famous and distinguished debating societies in the world. The reality is that it is no longer a debating society at all; it has become a propaganda platform for extremist views, primarily of the hard-left. It has now stopped even pretending to present both sides of controversial issues. To be sure, it puts forward a façade of balance, by presenting speakers who purport to represent both sides of an issue. But the Oxford Union has become a Potemkin village where a façade of fairness serves as a cover for the reality of bias. Consider for example a debate that is scheduled to take place at the Oxford Union on October, 23 2007 at 8:30pm. The proposition before the house is as follows: “This house believes that One State is the Only Solution to the Israel-Palestine Conflict”

Every rational person knows that the so-called one-state solution is simply a way of achieving by demography what the Arab world has failed to achieve by military attacks: namely the destruction of Israel as a democratic, secular, Jewish state. A one-state solution would produce yet another Islamic fundamentalist state in place of the secular democracy that is now Israel. The resolution is simply another way of presenting an anti-Israel side (the one-state solution) and a pro-Israel side (the two-state solution). Not surprisingly, the three debaters on the anti-Israel side are three well-known anti-Israel extremists. No problem there, because the one state side is the anti-Israel side. As Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of the new republic put it: “A bi-national state is not the alternative for Israel. It is an alternative to Israel.”

Now let’s turn to the pro-Israel side. One of three speakers on the pro-Israel side is Peter Tatchell who is a member of the gay rights group called Out Rage! and of the extreme left-wing of the green party. He too is virulently anti-Israel and favors boycotts of the “the oppressive Israel state.” Yet the Oxford Union picked him to represent the pro Israel side, probably because he once opposed boycotting a gay rights march in Israel. I couldn’t find any record of Tatchell proposing boycotts of “oppressive” Muslim states, even those that execute gays. And he’s the pro-Israel advocate!

Yet compared to the next debater for the pro Israel side, Tatchell sounds like David Ben Gurion. Readers of this article will probably not believe it when I tell them who else was picked to represent the pro-Israel side by the benighted Oxford Union (after I turned down an invitation because of the “when did you stop beating your wife” terms of the debate and my proposed teammates). The pro-Israel debater is none other than the notorious Norman Finkelstein, an anti-Semitic bigot who has compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying “[I] can’t imagine why Israel’s apologists would be offended by a comparison with the Gestapo.” This failed academic, who was fired from several universities for sub-standard scholarship, emotional instability and abusing students who disagreed with his extreme anti-Israel views, was recently denied tenure and fired by DePaul University. Finkelstein is beloved by Neo-Nazis such as Ernst Zundel, who credits Finkelstein for helping to promote Holocaust denial. Finkelstein is also an open supporter of Hizbullah, which advocates the destruction of Israel. He has called Israeli supporters, including me, “war criminals”

Yet by the standards of the Oxford Union, Norman Finkelstein is regarded as a pro-Israel “scholar” – at least in this debate. Just last May, the same Finkelstein was selected to debate the anti-Israel side of the proposition: “This House believes the pro-Israeli lobby has successfully stifled Western debate about Israel’s action.” Considering the locus of the debate – and its sponsor (the Arab nation of Qatar) – it is not surprising that the proposition won overwhelmingly, despite its demonstrable falsehood. Truth plays little role in Oxford Union debates.

Will Oxford’s next debate be on whether the Holocaust occurred? And will they select as their debater in favor of the occurrence of the Holocaust the notorious Holocaust denier, David Irving? That would not be surprising since Norman Finkelstein and David Irving are cut from the same cloth and Finkelstein admires the Hitler-loving Irving. Wait! The Oxford Union just announced that David Irving has been invited to participate in a future debate. Recently Irving said that Jews were responsible for what happened to them during WWII (though he has denied that anything really bad happened to them) and that the “Jewish problem” was at the root of most of the wars of the last 100 years. That – plus his total dis-creditation as a scholar – would seem to qualify him, by Oxford standards, for defending the Holocaust. Perhaps his debate partner will be David Duke.

The Oxford Union: may it rest in peace, alongside Pravda and other departed purveyors of “truths,” Stalin-style.

It’s hard to figure out which plays more, whether they can’t stand another point of view, or whether they’re so addicted to hearing nasty things about the Zionists, that they just can’t gobble down enough? It’s like having the New England Patriots have the ball the whole game — who’s that insecure?

In either case, such indulgence spells catastrophe for a group of self-congratulating “intellectuals” who think this is just brilliant — and moral!

20 Responses to The Brits Pig out on Anti-Zionism: How Europe Commits Suicide

  1. fp says:

    If the latest Columbia debacles and now Oxford’s don’t prove the collapse of education in particular and the west in general, I don’t know what will.


  2. […] wrote an interesting post today on The Brits Pig out on Anti-zionism: How Europe Commits SuicideHere’s a quick […]

  3. […] wrote an interesting post today on The Brits Pig out on Anti-zionism: How Europe Commits SuicideHere’s a quick […]

  4. […] post by Richard Landes This was written by . Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2007, at 9:00 pm. Filed under Politics. […]

  5. […] wrote an interesting post today on The Brits Pig out on Anti-zionism: How Europe Commits SuicideHere’s a quick […]

  6. nachtwache says:

    Maybe you should have accepted the invitation, or was it a waste of time to talk to these people? Sort of like throwing pearls to swine. ?

  7. lgude says:

    I’ve been thinking about it too for years and I agree there is both denial and schadenfreude.Some Australian ‘friends’ here is Australia here clearly manifest enjoyment. Being that I am American but not Jewish I get the anti American side more, but of course they sent me those pictures of a mini mushroom cloud proving that the Bali bomb was an Israeli mininuke. When the Bushhitler caused the Tsunami (surely you remember THAT) I said in my best NY accent hoping to sound a bit Jewish, “Sure, Bush has got a big Stirling silver button under his desk and all he has to do is step on it when he wants to unleash and earthquake or a tsunami.” Interestingly, that worked. They shut up about the tsunami. I suspect because it disrupted their projection process. Norm Geras (Normblog Feb 9, 2006) quoted George Galloway and said he was assigning (I’d call it projecting) the role of the working classes in classical Marxist thought to the Islamic terrorists.

    “Islam is the last unconquered territory. The Soviet Union is defeated. Socialism is defeated. Nationalism is depressed. But, Islam is unconquered. And because Islam commands the believer to reject injustice and tyranny, this makes Islam automatically in a collision course with these tyrants, Bush and Blair. And, Islam has millions of soldiers. Millions of soldiers to resist this globalisation.”

  8. Richard Landes says:

    well, i would have accepted, but it was dershowitz who was invited and turned it down.

  9. Michael N says:

    “It’s hard to figure out which plays more, whether they can’t stand another point of view, or whether they’re so addicted to hearing nasty things about the Zionists, that they just can’t gobble down enough?” (RL)

    I think it’s simply part of an active and deliberate propaganda war. Why risk allowing a convincing pro-Israel voice to be heard, when the point of the debate is simply to denigrate, demonise, and delegitimise Israel?

    Islamist campus groups here are extremely active and highly energetic.

    It could be worse: imagine if Oxford graduates routinely achieved positions of political power and cultural prominence in the is country…

    (Superb, detailed account of the Irving trial, revealing exactly what a malevolent charlatan he is, and analysing his lies in detail: )

  10. Eliyahu says:

    Michael N, do you know whether Chris Patten has anything to do with the Oxford debating society?? As you know, Patten was an European Union official with authority in the EU foreign policy field. When the EU parliament was discussing whether to investigate how the Palestinian Authority was spending the big money it got from the EU, Patten was quoted as exclaiming: “I need an investigation like a hole in the head!!”

    I was amazed when tony Blair appointed him to be the top man or one of the top men at Oxford. I thought that it might mean a politicization of Oxford in the direction of the “politically correct,” what today is called “Left.” Since he is one of the top guns –or the top gun– at Oxford, I thought that he might be involved with the Oxford Union. Anyhow, the appointment of Patten is not likely to help Oxford preserve academic standards. Was tony blair trying to prove that our fp was totally correct?

  11. Michael N says:

    Eliyahu, haven’t you worked it out by now? – fp is an islamist agent, sent here to demoralise us and convince us that it’s already too late to fight against the jihad because we’ve already lost! (fp – apologies, I’m sure you can take a joke with that thick skin of yours).

    The Oxford Union website seems almost to revel in their own stupidity:

    “Unlike other student unions, the Oxford Union holds no political views. Instead, the Union is a forum for debate and the discussion of controversial issues. For example; in the 1960s, Malcolm X came to the Union and demanded black empowerment “by any means necessary”. In the 1970s, Richard Nixon in his first public speech after Watergate admitted, “I screwed up – and I paid the price. In the 1980s, Gerry Adams, still under his television ban, addressed the Union’s members. In Michaelmas 1996, O. J. Simpson made his only public speech in Britain after the controversial “not guilty” verdict in his criminal trial.”

    Hmm.. An advocate of racial violence, a discredited criminal President, a terrorist leader whose underlings killed hundreds of British civilians, and a wife beater and murderer. And they make a virtue of this?

    “The Oxford Union believes first and foremost in freedom of speech: nothing more, nothing less.”

    Yeah, we can see that. Freedom of speech, and nothing more – nothing like ethics, honesty, integrity, balance, impartiality… nothing but freedom of speech.

    Freedom of speech on its own (with “nothing more”) is as hollow and false a value as a democracy that gives people a vote but denies them a free press.

    This stuff is beyond satire. Look what else they proudly boast of:

    “Worldwide Impact
    The Oxford Union has been at the centre of controversial debate throughout its history. As the most prominent debating platform outside Westminster it is no surprise debates have been unrivalled in their quality and impact. One of the most famous motions, “This House will under no circumstances fight for King and Country”, was passed in 1933 by 275 votes to 153. The result sparked off a national outcry in the press, and Winston Churchill denounced it as “that abject, squalid, shameless avowal” and “this ever shameful motion”; some say that the result encouraged Hitler in his decision to invade Europe. In 1975, days before the referendum on EEC membership, the motion “This House would say ‘Yes’ to Europe” was carried by 493 votes to 92. This debate was arguably a considerable influence on the referendum result.”

    Fantastic: two votes that helped harm this country and went completely against our national interest. Well done Oxford! What was it Orwell said about intellectuals?

    Can’t find any reference to Patten though.

  12. […] Landes in The Brits Pig out on Anti-zionism: How Europe Commits Suicide at Augean Stables wonders what is behind the kind of one sided debate put on by the Oxford Union […]

  13. David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the – Web Reconnaissance for 10/26/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

  14. Sophia says:

    Why isn’t this just the same old Europe, with its apparently endless and irrational problem with Jews? It’s wearing a new face now, is all.

    And, how many problems in the Middle East are directly related to antisemitic European propaganda that began filtering into the East in 1920 at the latest?

    Mein Kampf is still a best seller there and so are “The Protocols.” That they’ve found a willing audience there is tragic but they did originate in Europe; how much of the strife between Arabs and Jews has been incited by interested parties in the West, parties who realize a calm, united Middle East might actually become a rich and powerful international group and therefore a threat?

    And how much of the conflict in the Middle East is driven by industrialist/nationalist desire to keep oil prices high? I’d bet a lot; Gary Kasparov, who is running against Putin in Russia, makes the same point in relation to Putin’s otherwise absurd defense of the indefensible – Ahmadijenad. Similarly the Soviets sought a Middle Eastern partner in Egypt, Libya, Syria and PLO and the people there got trapped in the middle. One of the biggest assets Russia has are its oil resources; combine that with a huge footprint in the Middle East and Central Asia and the global balance of power shifts dramatically; it’s the Great Game in Action, 2007 version, and Israel, with its futuristic, multicultural voice and independence, and its possibility of leading a modern Middle East, is obviously a challenge. Middle Eastern warfare and conflict, though, maintains the status quo.

    It’s maddening, in the fact of looming environmental disaster, that this should be so. One of the few countries in the world that has shown what can be done in a difficult environment is Israel; it’s cutting edge – yet one British politician blamed Israel for deflecting attention from global warming due to “the occupation!”

    And, have any of you read some of the English intellectuals from the 1930’s? Even brilliant artists like Lawrence Durrell were viciously antisemitic. It was usual; it was the voice of the British upper classes and her intelligentsia – when he and Henry Miller couldn’t find a publisher for their work, though, they turned to a Jew – whom they continued to denigrate for his identity even as he put them on the international map.

    The role of the British in the Middle East, the Palestine Mandate and during the 1947-1948 wars and the Wars of Attrition, up until the Suez Crisis, is abominable and little understood. We in America think of Britain in glowing, idealistic and almost patriotic terms but a closer reading of modern history, certainly vis a vis “The Great Game” in Central Asia, even WWI in Turkey and definitely in relation to the Jews both in the Yishuv and those trying to flee the Holocaust, and Europe in the wake of the Holocaust, will show a different face – the face of the Britain our national forefathers fought to escape.

    Britain didn’t even recognize Eretz Israel for nine months, drew the disastrous borders of the modern M.E. including the catastrophically divided Iraq, gave “Jordan” to a Hashemite prince and, as far as the Palestinians are concerned, recognized and endorsed the annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by Jordan in the wake of the war with Israel. This of course included the complete and deliberate expulsion of the Jewish people from those regions as it extinguished the hopes of Palestinian nationalists – and also placed the holiest sites in Jewish history beyond even the reach even of worshippers.

  15. Anat says:

    Your comment is truly excellent.
    It is correct and penetrating in every point.
    I wish Prof. Landes upgraded it to a blog entry.

  16. fp says:

    Sophia is obviously correct here. Except that on top of anti-semitism is now piled fear of islamism and appeasement, and failed marxism trying to bring down the western world via other means, of which israel is deemed a tool, if not the driving force. And the collapse of education leads to this sort of things.

    Consider: if Oxford thinks that its choice of subjects, how they are formulated and who is in the panel is NOT political, then they are dumber than a door post and, and Dershowitz is right.

  17. Michael B says:

    Something of a tangent, but Walter Russell Mead reviews W-M at Foreign Affairs. Best review i’ve read on W-M, bar none. h/t normblog

  18. […] requested by Anat, here is Sophia’s comment to my post on the Oxford Untion, turned into a post. Her comments in bold, mine in italics. Why isn’t this just the same old […]

  19. fp says:

    i read mead’s piece and it’s nowhere near the best one, although it does touch on the worst aspect of w&m’s work: the scholarship (lack thereof).

  20. […] response to a long exchange of thoughts commenting on two posts, one on the Oxford Union’s bizarre notion of serious debate, and one on the issues raised by that post by Sophia, Michael N. wrote the following set of […]

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