Debate: Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism

Debate: Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism

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00:08
good evening everybody and welcome to all and echoing hannah's apologies for a slightly late start it is great to see such a full house for this debate and the motion of our debate tonight anti-zionism is anti-semitism anti-zionism is anti-semitism there is so much meaning packed into those words meaning which stretches down the
00:37
centuries and meaning which reaches into the lives of millions of people today anti-zionism anti-semitism these terms are very fraught anti-zionism often defined as opposition to the existence of a state of a jewish state in the territory defined as the historic land of israel or palestine i'll repeat that often defined as opposition to the existence of a jewish
01:11
state in the territory defined as the historic land of israel or palestine anti-semitism most often defined as hostility prejudice or discrimination against jews now surveys suggest that israel is one of the most disliked nations in the world along with iran and north korea but how much of this is driven by policies of the israeli state and how much is a cover for age old hatred of the jews these are the questions we will examine this evening
01:42
so let's go to our first speaker for the motion melanie phillips who is a journalist broadcaster and author she has a weekly column in the times newspaper she writes for the jerusalem post and jewish chronicle melanie the floor is yours ladies and gentlemen i never visited israel at all until the year 2000 and i never wanted to go there it didn't sound the kind of place which had anything to offer me so when in the year 2000 i objected as a matter of sheer rationality and justice that while
02:22
israelis were being blown to bits in buses and cafes during what was called the second intifada they were being called nazis for dealing with the perpetrators i was astounded to be immediately attacked as a jew i was accused immediately of dual loyalty of being too jewish and of waving the shroud of the holocaust to sanitize the crimes of israel well i think you can see the same pattern in today's labour party crisis over anti-semitism in which anti-semitic
02:53
motifs about jewish global conspiracies are conflated with attacks on israel at one meeting jeremy corbyn noted of two zionist opponents in the audience that despite quote having lived in this country for a very long time they don't understand english irony using the smear that as british jews they didn't actually belong in britain the palestine solidarity campaign is riddled with anti-semitic comments such as that the paris bataclan massacre was a false flag
03:24
operation to increase support for israel or that kristallnacht was instigated by communist and freemason jews to promote war against germany today a german neo-nazi group has linked to the bds movement noting with approval its efforts to isolate the zionist aggressive state in defense of the rights of palestinian people the language of bds and the far right is interchangeable those who say anti-zionism is not anti-semitism would have us believe that all this is simply a coincidence
03:54
i say it is not and that anti-zionism is weaponizing anti-semitism and this is why let's define first of all what we're talking about what is zionism nothing more or less than the self-determination of the jewish people in their ancient homeland of israel what is anti-semitism a delusional hatred and fear of jews judaism or the jewish people but anti-semitism is not like other prejudices it has unique characteristics applied to no other group people or cause such as an
04:26
obsessional and unhinged narrative based entirely on lies accusing jews of crimes in which they are not only innocent but the victims holding them to standards expected of no one else depicting them as global conspiracy of unique malice and power amazing anti-zionism has exactly the same characteristics don't get me wrong criticism of israel's policies robust criticism is entirely legitimate but anti-zionism is different anti-zionism demonizes dehumanizes and
04:59
delegitimizes israel in order to bring about its destruction you may hear some of this slander this evening the lie for example that israel is an apartheid state when israeli arabs have equal civil and religious rights the lie of ethnic cleansing when the arab population in the disputed territories is more than quadrupled since israel's rebirth in 1948 the lie that the israelis are willful child killers when they in fact go to unique lengths to avoid killing civilians in their always defensive wars and when
05:31
the ratio of civilians to fighters that the israelis kill is at least three or four times better than any other country including britain the lie of israel's human rights violations when it's the only country in the middle east where arab muslims and christians women and gays can live in freedom and safety fundamentally anti-zionism is based on the big lie that the jews seized and occupied in other people's land but history and law show that's completely untrue the jews are the only extant indigenous
06:03
people of the land israel was their kingdom more than three thousand years ago driven out when it was occupied they maintained a continuous presence in the land under the waves of colonialism a syrian roman abbasid mamluk ottoman the british they fought off arab colonialists to re-establish their state in 1948 and are still fighting off arab colonialism the palestine mandate of 1922 which parceled out the former ottoman empire enshrined their right to settle
06:34
throughout that land a right that endures unaltered in international law the law also entitles israel to hold on to land seized from its attackers while that land remains the launch pad for attacks demonstrably true the jews are therefore fully entitled to live in both israel and the disputed territories even though they have always agreed to share it with those arabs who lay a claim to it but the palestinians have refused to share it and have responded
07:04
to repeated offers of a state of their own with terrorism and war israel is the only place where jewish peoplehood makes sense but anti-zionism singles out the jewish people alone as having no right to their homeland of course many groups aspire to our home now but israel is not an inspiration israel is a country no other actual country is singled out for destruction and the mass murder that would inescapably follow no one tells the kurds for example their aspiration to our homeland is illegitimate and racist
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people say zionism is racism because of the big lie the jews stole the land anti-zionism thus writes the jews uniquely out of their own history it is an anti-jewish calumny now people say anti-zionism can't be anti-semitism because some jews are anti-zionist very true but in fact they have always been jewish anti-semites karl marx to name but one who wrote quote the emancipation of the jews is the emancipation of mankind from judaism yes a small fringe of
08:06
ultra-orthodox jews campaigns against the state of israel but they nevertheless pray every day that the jews should return to live in zion free of foreign rule their beef is they think the return in israel is premature and should happen under different conditions so their problem is a matter of timing what they do not believe is the core doctrine of anti-semitism that the jews have no right to the land of israel now there's a vital distinction to be made between anti-semites and anti-semitism many many decent people believe these lies about israel
08:38
out of ignorance or ideology that does not make them necessarily anti-semites but the discourse they endorse is still anti-semitism's current mutation moreover by supporting palestinianism they are supporting not just anti-zionism but anti-semitism too the palestinians real agenda not two states but exterminating israel and replacing it by palestine as they repeatedly have told us over the years is based on an anti-jewish animus the evidence of this
09:09
is all around mahmoud abbas doctorate in holocaust denial his hero worship of the 1930s grand mufti in jerusalem al-husseini who made a pact with hitler to exterminate every jew in the middle east the grotesque nazi-style imagery of palestinian propaganda such as sermons claiming the jews are the fabricators of history who dance and live on the body parts of others there is no global corruption their rabbis did not allow palestinian claims that the jews are
09:40
behind 911 and that they control the world's media finance and u.s foreign policy this unhinged murderous anti-semitism drives the palestinian cause does anyone therefore seriously suggest that people in this country who support this cause and who say that the jews were behind 911 and controlled the world's media finance and u.s foreign policy that this really is just a coincidence and if our opponents this evening really do believe anti-zionism is free from anti-semitism
10:10
will they denounce this palestinian agenda of genocidal nazi-style jew hatred this is not an academic debate when i grew up in london anti-semitism was confined to a few nutters on the fringes who were treated as pariahs and now it's been legitimized not surprisingly anti-semitic attacks are running at record levels and what's so distressing is to hear our right as jews to our own peoplehood being singled out as illegitimate and to hear the unhinged and obsessional lies and
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distortions about israel become the default position of fashionable conversation and then into on top of that then to be told that the claim that people like myself make that these are anti-semitic conspiracy theories is itself a conspiracy got up by the israel embassy and it's supposed to be we jews who have no sense of english irony anti-semitism in conclusion ladies and gentlemen always attacks jews as a collective
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first it attacked us as a religion then it attacked us as a race of people now it attacks us as a people as the collective jew in israel with exactly the same characteristics as jew hatred through the centuries the aim to be free of jews now takes the form of the aim to be free of the jewish state anti-zionists treat israel as a jew among nations to be uniquely vilified slandered and exterminated that ladies and gentlemen is why anti-zionism
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is the new anti-semitism thank you melanie so now our first speaker against the motion ilan pape is an israeli historian an anti-zionist activist a professor at the university of exeter he has challenged traditional versions of israeli history elaine pappa you have the floor for 10 minutes [Applause]
12:28
the equation that is being put in front of you tonight is both outrageous and ridiculous if only because it makes every palestinian in the world almost everyone who lives in the arab and muslim world anyone who regards themselves as liberal or on the left it turns all these people into anti-semites whereas quite a few people who regard themselves as zionists like the christian zionists are actually anti-semites themselves but it is important to challenge it because it was used with some effect
12:59
to stifle the debate on palestine in the west this allegation is used in order to prevent the promotion for positions of power of politicians known for the long-term support for palestine by defaming these politicians as anti-semitic official israel and his supporters worldwide hope to bring down them down as in the case of jeremy corbyn or delegitimize them as in the case of ilhan omar in the american congress so this is a good opportunity in an appropriate venue
13:30
to say loud and clear that if you are against zionism or if you define yourself as i do and anti-zionist you are not anti-semite or in my case a self-hating jew which my doctors told me is an incurable disease and i would have to live with for the rest of my life i will make five points one long one and four or five short ones anti-semitism is an old ugly attitude that demonizes jews because of who they are and led in the past to horrendous
14:00
policies of discrimination and genocide it still prevails today and despite the passing of years it's basically not changed much its origins are deeply rooted in the christian faith and were adopted by more in more recent years by right-wing supremacists and some extreme islamic groups anti-zionism on the other hand is a new phenomenon as a zionism and dates back to the 1820s when as you know zionism began as a christian project before it was a jewish project and then it was part of an
14:31
internal debate within evangelical christianity anti-zionism then was a moral position against romantic nationalism and christian fundamentalism that today we call christian zionism christian zionism is an evangelical belief that the return of the jews to palestine would precipitate the second coming of the messiah the resurrection of the dead and the conversion of the jews to christianity or their barbecuing in hell now these barbecuing christians who are very important are anti-semites
15:04
who want to get rid of all the jews they don't like and get in return the only jew they want jesus christ it's a double bill they are today the most important base of president trump and his ilk and there are the most important zionists in the u.s providing immunity for israeli policies on the ground when jewish activists and intellectuals adopted zionism in response to anti-semitism in the late 19th century their antagonists were mainly other jews they were either orthodox you who saw a
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premature return to palestine as tempering with the will of god and regarded as a heresy the substitution of rich monotheistic religion with the ideologically poor modern idea of romantic nationalism so there were definitely not anti-semites other jews believe that supporting universal ideologies such as liberalism or socialism would be the answer and if they had to move geographically from anti-semitic environment environments they preferred to go somewhere else
16:04
mainly to the u.s but not only to the u.s they were also not anti-semites when zionism became a settler colonial movement on the ground with the building of jewish colonies in late ottoman palestine and during the british mandate the palestinian national movement perceived zionism as existential threat to the indigenous people of palestine a fear returned to be valid as transpired with the 198 1948 ethnic cleansing of the people of palestine during the nakba opposing the jewish settlers
16:36
and their plans for the palestinians homeland was not anti-semitic but anti-colonialist very much as the algerians objected to the colonization of algeria a small group of the jewish settlers became anti-zionists themselves when they consented to live within arab palestine as guests but not as colonizer as was advocated to them by mahatma gandhi in the 1930s and because of that position there is not he was never honored with a street named after him in israel
17:05
not even a small pathway or a staircase after the creation of the state of israel in 1948 anti-zionism as an anti-colonialist ideology continued to inform the palestinian national movement's vision and strategy as is manifested in the plo national charter that calls for the establishment of a democratic secular state in palestine that would respect all three religions in israel itself the communist party supported almost exclusively by the palestinian minority inside israel not because of
17:36
the communist ideology but because it was the only anti-zionist party israel allowed to exist they regarded zionism as an ideology of discrimination in apartheid most scholars today look again israel then and today agree that this is a valid point which again has nothing to do with anti-semitism two in our century our anti-zionism is a moral position against the israeli structural violence directed at the palestinians which is attributed by anti-zionists such as myself to an
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ideology that is not only endangering the very existence of the palestinians but is also very bad for the jews who live outside or inside israel this ideology generates anti-semitism opposing it might bring it down in our century anti-zionism is a scholarly position a moral stance and a vision for the future as a scholarly position it frames zionism as settler colonialism similar to european settlers movement who went to the americas south africa and australia encountering indigenous people and
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removing them in order to create new homelands for themselves it's a moral stance that rejects an ideology that imposes an apartheid system inside israel a military occupation in the west bank and siege on the gaza ghetto it's a vision for the future of a democratic state for all by restoring justice to the land by respecting united nation resolution 194 calling for the unconditional return of the palestinian refugees expelled in 1948 and since then akbar this may be a utopian view
19:08
but it's not an anti-zionist one anti-semitic one three for those who claim that anti-zionism is a refusal to recognize the right of israel to exist we should say that states do not exist by right they are they are founded by historical processes and they become a feta complete the debate is about the nature of the state and the regime we are all entitled to wish for and work for a better more just and egalitarian state for everyone who lives in israel in palestine and for those who were expelled from there four in 1975
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a vast majority of the united nations member states defied zion defined zionism as a form of racism and racial discrimination it was passed with the same majority that passed the 1947 resolution recognizing israel the difference was that in 1947 the colonized world was not represented in the united nation in 1975 it was when he was still trying to find its way in the postcolonial world the third world's discourse equated zionism with continued colonialism alas neoliberalism corruption and
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postcolonial politically and postcolonial political system corruption in the post-colonial political system and aggressive american imperialism have cast it to the sideways of history this impulse and energy but at its height and within it anti-zionism was part of the wish of the colonized people to build a better and more just world again nothing to do with anti-zionist with anti-semitism when the 1975 resolution was revoked in 1991
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the debate on zionism entered a new face its present phase after the horrific events in 911 and the so-called war and terror the israeli hasbro invented the threat of a new anti-semitism this was the only way to repel the moral outrage people around the world fell towards the policies of incremental genocide in the gaza strip and the brutal oppression of the west bank if you voice criticism against this policy you were depicted as a new anti-semite and israeli academia was recruited to provide scholarly
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scaffolding for such an accusation the western elites bought or were intimidated into buying this false allegation but the civil society and in particular the younger generation reject with disgust this attempt to silence them they know enough to call the bluff and understand the full meaning of solidarity with the palestinians they demonstrate in the streets in their campuses enjoy the palestinians on the ground at the personal cost to show how outrageous it is to call the pure struggle for justice anti-semitic if you are an anti-zionist today
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you are not only standing firmly on a sound moral base in condemning this ideology that generates all these crimes you are also expressing your disgust at the hypocrisy of your government mainstream media and academia we will not be silenced by false accusation of anti-semitism and neither should the british labor party be intimidated by cynical media without a moral backbone or sinister legislation efforts utilizing a justified struggle against terror in order to provide immunity to
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palestine's colonizers and oppressors finally the labour party is responsible in many ways for the debate we have today we all know that the so-called revelation of institutional racism institutional anti-semitism in the labour party began not on the day that corbyn was elected as a leader but after two attempts to depose him and failed then suddenly the campaign emerged i know the force of this campaign of intimidation i faced it myself it is ugly unfair and destabilizing but the proud party with the historical role of
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defeating fascism in this country the 1930s should not so easily succumb to false allegations of anti-semitism finally we should retake let us five five sentences let us retake the conversation and prioritize it let us discuss how to stop the destruction of palestine and the palestinian which the trump's deal of the century wants to do let us fight violent fanaticism wherever we encounter it
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approved racism of all kind without building a hierarchy of victims and removes silly and outrageous equations like the one titling the event tonight thank you thank you elaine so on to our second speaker for the motion inet wealth and energy has been a member of the israeli knesset for first labor and then the
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independence party between 2010 and 2013 and she has written extensively on zionism anat the floor is yours for 10 minutes thank you so we seem to all agree that anti-semitism is bad of course educated knowledgeable people are unlikely to be seduced by it because we know where it leads nazism auschwitz and the gas chambers
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but anti-zionism does not appear to be in the same category it appears to be good we heard here that it is about supporting palestinians about fighting for human rights educated knowledgeable well-meaning people might support it but the anti-semitism we all acknowledge as bad when it started looked nothing like where it led in fact
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when you compare the beginnings of anti-semitism with anti-zionism the similarities are striking anti-semitism began by creating a new collective designation for the same people which rendered them different in secular 19th century europe it was no longer jews but semites and it never was intended to meet anything but jews in the soviet union who claimed
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to not notice different religions and peoples jews were designated as zionists and today in the west in the uk zionists zios the designation is then described as having essential immutable loathsome qualities in christian europe we were christ killers to the nazis we were an impure race to the soviets we
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were capitalists and imperialists and today the state of israel is the ultimate violator of human rights it is described as born in sin it is guilty by its very nature of the crimes of racism apartheid ethnic cleansing nazism genocide the designation of the group and ascribing of essential evil qualities is always given the aura of rationality
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and respectability by relying on the greatest source of authority of a given era religion in pre-modern times science in the modern era human rights in our own the aura of the greatest authority is necessary because the collective transformation of the jews into a loathsome other requires that one be willing to twist reality if not outright ignore it it is only by
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appealing to the authority of religious doctrine that all jews living in the 12th century could be collectively designated as the killers of christ over a thousand years earlier it is only by appealing to the authority of a perverted science that the very jews who contributed to european society could suddenly be considered as endangering its racial purity and it is only by appealing to perverted
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version of human rights that zionism in israel could be designated as its greatest violators it is only by perverting the idea of human rights that those who were actually ethnically cleansed from every part of the arab world could be accused of ethnic cleansing it is only through the sort of perversion that the people who repeatedly said yes to partitioning the land into a jewish state in a palestinian state
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could be described as those who stand in the way of a two-state solution and it is only through this perversion that in an age when the idea of the nation is still tied for almost all states to the idea of a common history language ethnicity and remnants of religion israel is singled out as uniquely deviant but why go to all that effort to single out a group and distort reality
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because we humans have a primal need for scapegoats and for whatever reason my people have been the designated scapegoats for so many and for so long for medieval christianity we stood between a brutish and nasty world and salvation for germany for europe we stood between them and glory for stalling we stood in the way of communist utopia
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and today why bother fighting colonialism in its aftermath easier to designate zionists as colonialists and blame them why do the hard work of fighting racism and its many manifestations across all societies easier to designate zionism as racism and apartheid and blame it why acknowledge the tremendous difficulties of living up to the ideals of human rights designate zionism in israel as its
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greatest violators and blame them but the problem with human scapegoats is that unlike ancient animal ones humans might resist their sacrifice a bit more and we can't have that happen can we so action must be taken to reduce their resistance how strip them of their defenses push them to the margins step by step take away that which protects them but
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it must be done gradually anti-semitism did not start by stripping jews over their citizenship confiscating their assets and pushing them into ghettos it started by slowly pushing jews out of the positions they were able to attain after several decades of european emancipation it operated by making it more and more difficult for jews to feel comfortable in european society
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anti-semitism also lured jews into dropping their defenses preventing them from organizing against the coming danger telling them that if they were the good kind of jew for example in germany those who fought for germany in world war one they would be spared they were not note how anti-zionism operates now its main targets are the two places where jews have organized most effectively for their
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defense the state of israel and the pro-israel lobby in the u.s the legitimacy of both is relentlessly and uniquely questioned jews now designated as zionists are increasingly pushed out of certain spaces jewish students in the u.s are slowly pulling out of universities known for their virulent anti-zionism liberal activist jews are finding they are increasingly unwelcome in
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progressive circles jews here in britain are finding they can no longer be in the labour party their traditional political home wondering if they might one day have to leave the country altogether anti-zionism also lures jews to give up their defenses we heard it here why don't we all live together in a single state yes we know that nowhere in the arab world have jews ever
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been treated as equals and were violently ethnically cleansed when their dared raise their heads yes we know that binational states certainly in this region but not only descend into bloody mayhem but we assure you this one will work just forgo your insistence on having your own state where you control your defense anti-zionists also insist on their respectability they will try to convince you that the
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fact that the targets of this new form of virulent hatred bear a striking resemblance to those who were targets in previous times is sheer coincidence they will insist that the fact that the charges against this group appear like variations on the ancient themes of anti-semitism is sheer coincidence they might even convince you they are fighting anti-semitism but the old easy to identify kind which we already know is bad
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and this is where it all comes together in the past waves of jew hatred and anti-semitism did not arise from something that those who were hated actually did it arose from a crisis in the society of those doing the hating and in an age of crisis especially a crisis of identity when we no longer sure who we are what we stand for we desperately need certainties and
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there are few greater certainties in this world than that the jews did it and so the zionists are designated as a collective group which happens to coincide with the group previously known as semites and jews they are then ascribed the most loathsome qualities of our time by appealing to the great authority of our era and then they are slowly subject to a process designed to strip them of the means of resisting their ultimate role
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escape vote for the crisis of the era and when that process would be complete the scapegoat could finally be sacrificed in the vain hope that in doing so a better world with a marriage it never does and this is why the topic of this debate is not just another topic it raises the very specter that we might be a society on the precipice which is why we are here today in the hope that some of you will see the deep insidious undercurrents
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so that this time we will not have to wait to see where anti-zionism leads and only then look back in hindsight and say ah yes that rising wave of anti-zionism was indeed the new form of anti-semitism ana thank you and to our final speaker
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who is our second speaker against the motion media hassan media is a journalist a broadcaster a prominent critic of israel he's a host on al jazeera english and he's a columnist on the u.s online magazine the intercept maybe the floor is yours for 10. ladies and gentlemen we have been witnessing tonight a deeply cynical proposition uh deliver a farago of straw men distortions deflections false accusations
35:57
and of course straight up pro-israel propaganda then again hearing melanie phillips come here and champion the rights of gays in israel in order to defend zionism was well worth the entry ticket in and of itself so let's be clear about what this motion is tonight because it's the motion you all have to vote on in good conscience the motion says quote anti-zionism is anti-semitism it doesn't say some anti-zionists are anti-semites which is true it doesn't say anti-zionism can
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sometimes turn into anti-semitism which is true it doesn't say that anti-semites often use anti-zionism as cover as an excuse for their bigotry and racism which is true i wouldn't oppose any of that but that's not what the motion says the motion says ridiculously sweepingly offensively a historically that anti-zionism is anti-semitism that merely being opposed to zionism a political ideology remember is
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inherently by definition ipso facto anti-semitic which is absurd think about the implications of voting for that tonight you'd be saying every anti-zionist every anti-zionist is a bigot a racist and an anti-semite by definition even the many jewish and israeli anti-zionists so elam jewish historian born and raised in israel served in the israeli military he's an anti-semite that's what they want you to believe that's what they
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want you to vote for tonight so is the former speaker of israel's own parliament the knesset avraham berg melody would say he's a self-hating jew so is my intercept colleague naomi klein the acclaimed author and climate change activist so is noam chomsky he's an anti-semite as well they want you to vote for them and say that the thousands of haredi ultra orthodox anti-zionist jews who oppose zionism for religious theological reasons they're anti-semites too that's what they want that is what they are asking you to vote for
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tonight it's absurd and it's a historical don't take my word for it listen to the 35 top israeli jewish scholars and academics historians of the holocaust who came together just a few months ago and published an open letter in which they wrote and i quote many victims of the holocaust opposed zionism on the other hand many anti-semites supported zionism it is nonsensical and inappropriate to identify anti-zionism with anti-semitism end quote are they anti-semites too
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really all 35 of them by the way in terms of the history they refer to in their letter it is an undeniable indisputable fact that many many european anti-semites as ilan alluded did support zionism at the outset they did embrace the founder of zionism theodore herzl because for their own selfish racist reasons they shared his goal of treating jews as a foreign separate nation and getting them out of europe take british foreign secretary arthur balfour author of the 1917
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balfour declaration in favor of zionism balfour dismissed jews as quote an alien and hostile people he sponsored legislation to keep jewish refugees out of the uk the only jewish member of the cabinet at that time said edwin samuel montague opposed the balfour declaration and called zionism a mischievous political creed yet apparently according to the proposition tonight montague's the anti-semite and balfour isn't that's the madness that you're going to vote for tonight
39:35
this motion is not just a historical not just absurd not just offensive it's a distraction it's a dangerous distraction from the very real and murderous anti-semitism that is on the rise and that comes not from the left not from anti-zionist not from the bds movement as melanie would have you believe but from a resurgent far right in germany according to official figures in 2017 nine out of ten anti-semitic hate crimes were carried out by far-right or neo-nazi groups i live in the u.s two synagogue attacks in the space of six months twelve innocent jewish worshipers
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murdered in cold blood by far right white nationalists and yet the proposition tonight like the netanyahu government like the trump administration want you to ludicrously believe that the threat to jews right now the real rise in the new anti-semitism comes from the anti-zionists from the bds movement from the palestinians and not from the murderous far right when the irony is that netanyahu prime minister of the world's only jewish state has been cozying up to some of the worst anti-semites on the right who also happen to be
40:38
proud zionists let's be clear about that many of the most prominent influential right-wing anti-semites today donald trump victor orban steve bannon they're not anti-zionists they're hard right hardcore zionists and powers of netanyahu let's also just deal with some of the canards we've heard tonight from the proposition adapt mentioned that it's anti-semitic to suggest israel is born in sin every black american i know says to me and says to everyone else that the united states was born in sin
41:10
slavery was a sin at the start of the united states no one accuses them of being anti-white racist or anti-american racist it's just a statement of historical fact they say the proposition that when you oppose zionism you're denying jews and no one else a right to self-determination which is just flat false not every nation or ethnic group wants a state gets a state has a state asked to kurds ask the catalans ask the scots there are more than 5 000 ethnic groups in the world today but only 193 member states at the united nations
41:41
take the druze an arab ethnic minority group 100 000 or so live in israel do they have a right self-determination if they create a drew state inside of israel is anat okay with that if anat says no you can't have a drew state is she racist towards the druze national self-determination doesn't always correspond with statehood melanie says it's not racist for the kurds to aspire to statehood she's right it's not but the flip side of that is true as well the british government the american government most of the eu governments do not support kurdish statehood does that mean the british government
42:12
all of us are racist towards the kurds people have legitimate debates about where state line should be drawn which states should be created how those states exist it's not racism or bigotry to have that legitimate day it can be but it's not by definition the issue is not whether jews deserve a homeland or have a historic connection to the land of palestine of course they do the issue is whether those historic and religious claims justify creating and expanding a jewish majority state in which one ethnic group is privileged over another while another group is permanently disenfranchised dispossessed
42:43
and subjected to endless military occupation that's what we're here to oppose tonight nothing more nothing less and has the proposition even stopped to ask what it means to say to that oppressed group the palestinian people to say to them that you're either a zionist you either subscribe to the ideology of your oppressor or you're a racist what kind of choice is that melanie says tonight that denying jewish
43:14
nationhood is racist it's anti-semitic and yet she has no issue erasing the palestinian people from the face of the planet she said in her speech that only the jews have a unique right to nation and state to and in that part of the world not the palestinians what is that is that not bigotry is that not racism is that not wiping the people off the face of the planet but this is what you'll be voting for tonight if you vote for the proposition this is what the israeli pro-israeli argument has always been to silence the palestinians to silence
43:45
their opposition to occupation to silence their resistance as palestinian citizens living inside of israel to a nationalistic ideology which treats them like second-class citizens which denies the many of the rights and privileges of the majority and one thing i want to make clear to you tonight you don't have to be an anti-zionist to vote with me and elaine tonight you don't even have to be a critic of israel you can be the biggest supporter of israel in the world and vote with the opposition all you have to be is someone who recognizes that it is an egregious smear
44:16
a naked slur to claim to label those of us jews and non-jews alike who oppose a political ideology in good faith because we think it's unjust iniquitous oppressive to label us as anti-semites for holding that political view all you have to be is someone who recognizes that the claim that we hate or are opposed to jews simply because we don't agree with the idea of a state that privileges one group over another makes us racists so let me repeat to be clear tonight's
44:48
debate is not about israel per se it's not about whether you support or oppose israel or the occupation it's about whether you believe the proposition have made the case that those of us who oppose israel in its current form who oppose the political ideology underpinning it that we're racists that's the bar that has to be crossed tonight it's that simple and i'll tell you this for free those of us who value our free speech who don't want to see anti-semitism cynically weaponized by
45:20
supporters of israel who oppose that ideology of zionism in good faith with good reason we will not go quietly into the night we will not be silenced we will not be bullied we will not be cowed we will not be smeared so ladies and gentlemen stand with us against this unjust inaccurate irresponsible dishonest ludicrous simplistic sweeping motion which conflates judaism a great and ancient religion with zionism a very modern political ideology and in doing so risks emptying anti-semitism of all meaning ladies and gentlemen
45:51
stand with us tonight oppose this awful motion thank you thanks all for listening and thank you to all four of our panelists for absolutely brilliant opening speeches now it is time to announce the result of the vote taken as you were coming in and before you'd heard a word of those speeches this is the picture of how you felt when you walked into the room
46:37
tonight for the motion 15 against the motion 59 undecided 26 so i'll repeat that the motion obviously anti-zionism is anti-semitism for that motion 15 against 59 percent undecided 26 now we're going to move on and have um some discussion with the panelists i'm going to
47:08
sit back a fraction so that they can actually see each other and engage a bit and i want to come back to um to melanie because we haven't heard from her for a while just put we'll just do a couple of questions up here and then we're going to throw it open to all of you on the floor um so melanie why don't you deal with this charge from the other side um that you're attempting to silence a moral position well um mahdi says that we produced straw men i'm i i find it a
47:40
surreal experience having listened to him because he misrepresented uh everything that i had said he went on and on about how you have to vote with him because we iei have said that anyone on that side is an anti-semite and racist i'm sure you ladies and gentlemen heard me say very explicitly that i was certainly not saying that i draw an extremely important distinction between anti-semitism and anti-semites i said explicitly
48:12
that by no means everybody who supports anti-zionism is an anti-semite by no means everybody who supports anti-semitism is an anti-semite people support stuff that they believe to be true because they are ignorant they're ill-informed they're ideological for a variety of reasons i can't see into people's souls i'm sure that methi hassan and ilan pepe are both deeply honorable men i would not presume to say what is in their minds or what their motivation is
48:44
i do not presume to say that people who support anti-zionism and who would wish to deprive the jewish people of their rights to live in their own homeland are anti-semites i am saying something different i am saying that the discourse is at fundamentally anti-jew why not because israel the jews alone are entitled to a state in the land of israel again mehti says i said that i certainly did not say that you ladies
49:17
and gentlemen will have heard me say explicitly and in terms that the israelis have always always agreed to share the land with the palestinians right so they have been offered they have been offered a state of their own in 1936 in 1947 and on repeated occasions in the 2000s and their response has been to the offer of a state of their own
49:48
living in peace and harmony alongside the jews of israel their response has been terrorism and war i would dearly love to see that happen a state of the palestinian arabs living side by side i don't think it's going to happen but that's another story but it is simply a wicked lie to sit here and grotesquely reverse what i have said melanie okay we we we've heard that now ilan coming to
50:19
you you talked about ethnic cleansing of the palestinians we heard anet say jews have not been equal in the arab world anywhere so who's doing the ethnic cleansing and do you accept that point oh i accept the point that after the creation of state of israel the jews of iraq were expelled from iraq under an agreement between the israeli government and the nuri said government because zionism didn't want the jews of
50:49
iraq to stay in iraq and neither did the nationalist iraqi government want them there but this has nothing to do with what we are talking about we are talking about the fact that half of palestine's population within nine months was ethnically cleansed by the jewish and israeli forces 500 out of 1 000 villages were demolished wiped out upon the earth 11 palestinian towns were depopulated
51:20
by force this was not immigration this was not a call as in the case of jews in north africa by a new jewish state to jews and come and be with us it's better for you to be a jew a moroccan jew in israel than a moroccan jew in morocco this is a different story here we are talking about a crime against humanity that was committed within nine months in 1948 that there is no other definition for this otherwise why would half of palestine's population
51:53
become refugees if they were not expelled by force by a settler colonial movement so you've made these points already deal with the point about the inequality of jews in the arab world i can deal with first of all the jews were treated in the arab world much better than the word that they were in the christian world far better far better and and it and especially especially in countries such as ir can we just here to speak please especially in countries such as
52:23
iraq in egypt in morocco until the rise of zionism jews were holding positions of power jews led secular rich and religious life and all this fabric that was holding on for centuries was broken down first by the zionist ideology that all jews in the arab world that they do not belong to the arab world and by a reaction by fanatic arab nationalism saying okay so you have to decide whether you
52:55
are zionists or you are jews okay thanks this history right we're moving on um can you deal with media's point please that um that you and melanie is suggesting that every anti-zionist is a bigger than a racist that this is a naked slur that is such a simple rhetorical trick make things sound so extreme so outrageous and then people say oh that's not what we meant that's not where we thought the motion is very clear and again this
53:26
is not an academic debate the topic here tonight is not just anything any policy this is about people's lives here and today in effect in the uk in the west anti-zionism has become the respectable shiny way of being anti-semitic because we already have
53:56
and the reason that people want to separate the two is because they need the cover of respectability to continue to gain adherence if you knew it was anti-zionism you would reject it because anti-semitism you would reject it because you would know where it leads but as long as it's presented to you as something rational and remember anti-semitism in the beginning also appeared rational it was also supported by elites
54:27
it thrived on universities nobody thought it would lead where it led because that's how it gained adherence by people thinking that it was different that it was new and this is what we're seeing we're seeing a concerted effort to maintain the respectability of that position so that the process of dropping our defenses can continue thanks for that um and and maybe one for you can you just deal with melanie's point the distinction between anti-semite
54:58
and anti-semitism the suggestion that there's a discourse that was fundamentally entered you know i can't deal with it you'd have to ask me with it because it makes no sense to me the idea that you can say the idea i'm sorry when we talk about academics in real life let's get away from universals with respect to elan the idea that you say let's all vote tonight the anti-zionism is anti-semitism and then i say i'm an anti-zionist and you said but you're not an anti-semite that makes no sense capitalism is something you say you're a capitalist i mean this is this is pedantry to try and pretend
55:28
that you can go after the ideology but not the people who identify with that ideology it's absurd to say that by the way anat mentioned that it's a rhetorical trick uh to do that which is a nice line but then she literally in the next sentence went on and said unless my ears are deceiving me anti-zionism has become a respectable shiny way of being an anti-semite so i'm an anti-semite who's using anti-feminism in a respectable shiny way why not just come out and say it i don't know why you're hiding it call me an anti-semite are you oh my god am i an anti-semite because i say
55:59
i'm an anti-semite i know you're not melanie are all the palestinians anti-semites because they're all anti-zionists just say it be brave be brave say it right we're going to open this to the floor now unless you want to answer in it absolutely people who think that the jews alone have no right to be masters of their fate who want us yet again to be powerless to go back to how we used to be there is only
56:31
one name for that i'm not making it personal but yes i am here today precisely to fight the veneer of respectability that anti-zionism has because i don't want to wait to see where it leads people waited too long thinking that anti-semitism in europe was scientific was respectable we know where that led i don't plan to wait we've heard that right it is time
57:02
to hear from um all of you now um so there are ushers with mike's i should say do please raise your hands go for it and then and then in a moment we'll take the second vote so uh let's have number one and number two and let's just go in that order one first thank you thank you and my question is for melanie i think you're great as well so thank you for everything and well we know where your loyalties lie as you ask your question um long story short i'm 19 um i go to
57:33
kings and i study religion philosophy and ethics and i studied judaism i'm a muslim but i chose to study judaism and i read arthur crystal's the 13th tribe of israel and he says um ashkenazi jews they were um european race that converted two days can we have the questions yeah so my question is um do you think that there are some jews living in israel who are originally of european descent not like you say they were historically the most historical people that's ever lived in
58:05
the land in israel or do you think that's just another lie as well hold that thought we'll have question number two please um a question for mehdi and melanie the newly elected mp for peterborough lisa forbes has been branded in some quarters an anti-semite because she partly because she signed a letter um objecting to certain examples in the ihra
58:34
definition of anti-semitism what do you think about this thanks for that okay let's deal with those questions first then um so melanie do you if you can deal briefly with the first question the history um so i didn't actually understand the question i'm so sorry um i didn't quite understand what you were talking about were you saying that some jews are not jews is that your point that they're not converting europeans it's you were saying that jews they're the most like they are the longest people who have
59:05
lived there for the longest time historically but some jews have converted from european christians to jews so actually they weren't the longest people that lived there because they used to live in europe okay so maybe palestinians were the longest people that have lived there because they were living in europe okay can we just have a we need to get through quality quick answer um uh the the the simple answer to your question is that the jewish people are the only people for whom the land of israel was
59:36
ever their national kingdom several hundred years before islam was invented and the arabs invaded and that is the point i was making they are the only people for whom israel is their national kingdom the fact that some jews for the fact that many jews haven't lived there is self-evidently true but that is not the point the jews are entitled to the land of israel because that is their ancient historic homeland with from which they were dispossessed by waves of colonial
01:00:06
uh invaders and which they have got back from colonialism and which some people think is actually that they should not be able to do that that's the point i was making okay thanks for that um we're not going to um spend more time on the deep history right now coming to the peterborough question made he did with that we are we were asked for um views on the um on the letter yeah i don't know about the letter i do know that she i mean i don't live here so i don't follow labour politics as much as i used to but i do know that lisa forbes
01:00:37
uh liked a facebook post which referred to theresa may's uh zionist slave agenda or some such formula in my view that's clearly anti-semitic she has her excuses she says that she didn't read the text she was trying to support a video that was in solidarity with new zealand victims you know each to their own whether they believe or not i don't know the lisa ford's i don't know anything about her all i can say is that statement saying theresa may has a zionist uh slave agenda it's clearly anti-semitic it's where quote-unquote anti-zionism does go into anti-semitism i think i opened my speech
01:01:07
by considering i've never denied you've answered that question um number four please can we stand up sorry now thank you can we have can we have some questions to our other two speakers now speakers uh for the motion i'd like to ask you uh to comment on nagba and how do you think palestinians should be dealing with um the consequences of naga thank you thank you and um down at number one i'm going to take a couple all together
01:01:38
to get through some more we're running out of time hi um well to paraphrase brett stevens and and peter beinert anti-semitism is anti-zionism is not anti-semitism but it might as well be practically speaking but we're dealing with a lot of semantics here and my question is uh i'm having a little identity crisis i'm jewish i'm a zionist i'm deeply troubled by 1948. i wouldn't call it
01:02:09
ethnic cleansing mr pape it was a strategic choice we need to do okay it was a strategy because it is a time of work my question is why are we this is almost masturbatory you should pardon the expression what is the solution we're all thinking kind people what is the solution who's your question to all of them okay i'm going to ask that one so that one can be for ilan um what's the solution and we had i was
01:02:40
up i think up someone up here yeah we were going for yeah number three please hi just wanna this is a question for uh the opposition why is uh israel singled out as a human rights violator in the united nations by the labor party by many other entities as compared to so many egregious violators of human rights including in the middle east why is it consistently
01:03:12
singled out is that not a form of anti-semitism thank you for thank you for asking question that's great so um ayna i want to hear from you first on on the question of nagwa which is um who would like to just define nakba the best for us you're the historian give us the historical definition in the sentence yeah is an operation of ethnic cleansing which was a systematic expulsion of the palestinians in order to de-arabize palestine and
01:03:54
create on its ruins a jewish state in 1948 but okay thank you no no no it's important to say the nagba continues because only 50 of the people were expelled and only 80 percent of the land was taken the nakba continues every day in gaza in nablus in the galilee in the nakab and we should have a discussion about the destruction of palestine and not about the nonsense that we're hearing here tonight obviously this is
01:04:25
the palestinian term for what happened in 1948 it means catastrophe anat i i'm not sure if you accept that definition we just heard from milan but anyway deal with that that's not a definition okay but uh the story is very simple the arabs of the land the palestinians could have had again and again and again a state of their own they could have had it in half of the land in 80 percent of the land but every time when they were told you
01:04:57
can be masters of your fate in part of the land but in another part the jews will be masters of their faith no longer inferior to you no longer submitting to you their choice again and again and again to the present has been to fight for all they have again said if we have to live next to sovereign jews better to fight until they are not there at all
01:05:26
and i will say this again when you fight us we three years after a genocide and you wage a genocidal war telling us that we have no right to defend yourself then we will fight you back we will defend ourselves sometimes have nothing um maybe why is israel singled out yeah i don't accept the premise of the question obviously it's interesting you should
01:06:02
say that israel's singled out there's a little r going out well if you're watching this on youtube go back on youtube and see that the first intelligent square debate i did was not about israel i came here a few months ago to talk about the kingdom of saudi arabia and its human rights abuses so before i even turned up for israel i came to condemn saudi arabia and on and this i get it i get it there are lots of u.n resolutions uh condemning so i get that but if you look at actual practical sanctions there are no sanctions on israel from western countries for human rights abuses there are against syria there are against russia there are
01:06:32
against iran there are against north korea so no i don't think israel is being singled out i'd actually like to see sanctions put on israel so it's treated like other human rights abusers consistency single standards right right i we we have i i want to give everyone on the panel an opportunity to answer the question that we had from down here which was what is the solution so a moment for optimism but but literally only a moment each melanie can you go first two sentences please uh what is the
01:07:03
solution it depends what the problem is if you define the problem in the middle east as a contest between two people with the rights to the land over the boundaries of that land then you end up precisely where we are but in my view that's not the situation at all the real situation is different if you want a solution to the real problem you have to stop the 100 year attempt to exterminate israel as a nation-state of the jewish people and to exterminate the right of the jews to live in israel as their own sovereign
01:07:34
country that is what the situation is in the middle east however you would like to reframe it that is what the problem is if you want a solution you have to stop people trying to commit a a genocidal assault upon the right of the jews to live in their own country once again you got the solution thank you elan what is the solution if you could just give me two sentences i'd be grateful the only viable solution is to change a reality where with between the river jordan and the mediterranean you have now
01:08:05
12 million people 6 million palestinians without any human rights and civil rights and six million jews with all the privileges in the world only one state that ensures equal rights for everyone regardless of their nationality religion race or gender is the only solution and the return of the refugees that have been expelled yes because the region is known for having so many of those states
01:08:37
the only response is for the arab world to finally say something very simple welcome home to accept us as an indigenous people who are in their land to accept us as equal claimants to the land not exclusive not superior but people have an equal right to finally be masters of our fate in the land of our own in part of the land
01:09:07
next to arabs who will be masters of their fate in part of the land that's the only way to live together okay and and i'm always amused ain't made a crack in her speech and now again that we know what binational states are like in the middle east i'm always amused when israelis say this because last time i checked 20 of the israeli population is palestinian so it's already a bi-national state we just want to give the palestinian part of that state equal right every year arab mps palestinian citizens of israel in the knesset almost every year put a bill forward to turn israel into
01:09:38
quote a state for all its citizens and every year the president of knesset last year who did it will not allow it to even reach the floor for deliberation so tonight i ask aina melanie do you support an israel for all its citizens because i do we can call it israel call it whatever you want but just give it a state for all its citizens state of all its no it's not in fact they literally blocked a bill the supreme the supreme court blocked the bill to make it a state of all its citizens you know that you're a former member of the court okay you've both had your
01:10:11
you've both had your say on that um right now we're going to go for our um final statements from our speakers on the panel summing up speeches to be made seated and to last no longer than two minutes in fact do you know what all four of you if you could just kind of keep them really tight if you can get them down to less than two minutes i would be grateful we're going to go in reverse order so maybe you first ladies and gentlemen if you still haven't voted i want you to think of two groups of people when you are voting uh for whom opposing this crude cynical motion is so important so crucial so personal
01:10:42
the first group of course are the palestinians because if you vote for the motion tonight uh you're saying despite melanie and anat's best attempts to try and play this uh you know oh it's ideology versus adherence you're saying we all have to be zionists otherwise we're racist we're bigots we're anti-semites which look wouldn't be the end of the world for me fine i'll be a zionist if you want me to be a zionist i mean i once almost voted lib dem i'm okay with labels but to ask the palestinians to just not just accept their dispossession their ethnic cleansing their ongoing occupation
01:11:13
but to also call themselves zionists or else is outrageous you can't ask palestinians to be zionists you just can't and by the way if they say it's racist to oppose zionism well it's racist to ask palestinians not to oppose their own occupiers and look if you don't care about the palestinians still vote against emotion tonight because there's another group of people you'll be throwing under the bus if you vote for this motion anti-zionist jews people like elan like my colleague naomi like noam chomsky likely haredi and in a single sweeping move you risk
01:11:45
throwing all these people under the bus jews who oppose zionism in good faith we haven't talked about that today not once did the proposition acknowledge that we might have good reasons for our views that we're not all trying to hide behind what was it and said the shiny respectability of the new anti-semitism don't tar all those people who are fighting for human rights who are fighting in good faith as racists as self-hating jews as anti-semites for the sake of a political ideology don't do it don't do it whatever your views on israel-palestine vote with the opposition tonight against
01:12:14
this ludicrous dishonest offensive motion a nat now your closing statement for the motion i doubt there's a lot of good faith here and i have to say if zionists such as myself can support palestinian self-determination i see no reason why the reverse should not be also asked but i want to take us and use this opportunity to go back to the fundamentals into the big picture a reminder about what is actually going on in the mechanism
01:12:49
remember step one is the zionists are designated as a collective group which happens to coincide with the group previously known as semites and jews step two they are then ascribed the most loathsome qualities of our time step three it is done by appealing to the greatest authority of the era step four and this is where we are now they are slowly subject to a process designed to strip them of their defenses
01:13:20
but we were told today and are asked to believe that this time the jews are sorry the zionists are truly to blame germans and europeans too sincerely believe that jews the semites were truly to blame but we now know that anti-semitism arose from a deep crisis in the society doing the blaming after all these templates and ways of thinking about my people have been around for millennia yet they become particularly useful in
01:13:51
times of crisis and we are indeed again a species in crisis technology questions our very intelligence in humanity extreme weather undermines our confidence in our control inequality undermines our ideal progress our leaders or lack thereof leave us feeling bereft of a sense there's a steady hand at the helm and at times of crisis we desperately crave certainty and there are few greater certainties in this world to grab on
01:14:21
than that the jews are to blame as a society we can emerge from our crisis but only if we ask ourselves how can we all do better rather than who is to blame and i believe we can all indeed do better thank you we heard a lot about the zionist ideology and the idea that the land of palestine is the land of israel always when you hear it think about someone coming to you the dead of night
01:14:58
in london and tells you i used to live in your house two thousand years ago and because of that the house belongs to me and the next day they come with the police and the next and the next day they come with the police who says they have a right you have to give them half of their house zionism was a settler colonialist movement that was running away from persecution but it wanted as much of palestine as possible with as few palestinians in it as possible this was
01:15:33
the aim of zionism in the late 19th century this is the aim of zionism today we are all entitled to go through the same process that happened in south africa we are entitled as jews and as palestinians to live in one democratic state where everyone is equal and stop and reject an ideology that claims that some people are equal and some people are not
01:16:04
i'm asking you for the sake even for jewish communities around the world because settler colonialism in israel will become worse as the century will continue for the sake of the people who live here and the sake of the people who live there we are entitled to have the same kind of democracy that everybody everyone else has without boris johnson thank you thank you elaine and melanie well i'm truly sorry that mehdi can't understand my distinction
01:16:40
it's very simple my point is simply this that people of good faith sometimes swallow outright lies because they believe them to be true and we've heard this evening some of those lies come from the other side falsehoods about israel which are believed to be true for example suggests that israel is not a state of all its citizens that the arabs somehow don't have full equal rights he calls them palestinians perhaps mexi doesn't also understand
01:17:12
that 20 or so of israel's population are israeli arabs israeli arabs have full equal rights you can see them in the israeli parliament you can see them in the israeli courts you can see them in the israeli universities what meshti says what when he says that this that that he wants a state of all its citizens he wants a state of israel which is not israel anymore which is not a jewish state so the britons can have britain the french can have france
01:17:43
the americans can have america but the jews cannot have israel i would say that is outright discrimination ilan says it's their house whose house there were dozens and dozens of different nationalities in mandate palestine the arabs came in in large number because the jews were returning and rightly they thought that they would bring prosperity in conclusion let me return you to this the the proposition under under consideration
01:18:13
is anti-zionism uh anti-semitism mehti says not everyone can have a state that is absolutely correct but why this is a form of anti-semitism is the unique nature of the animus against zionism jews are the only people living in their own historic homeland who are deemed to have no right to that homeland and whose claim to self-determination in that homeland which is theirs by right is illegitimate and racist
01:18:45
that vile bigoted malicious animus is unique against israel and it is why anti-zionism is the unique calumny against the jewish people and it has exactly the same unique characteristics as anti-semitism thank you all for your summing up speeches and um that concludes our debate so it is time now to announce the final vote uh count
01:19:18
and a reminder that our motion this evening was anti-zionism is anti-semitism a reminder also that we began the evening with 15 for the motion 59 against the motion and 26 undecided after 90 minutes of debate we end as follows 19 for the motion 76 against the motion and 5 undecided so the motion
01:19:51
this evening has been defeated this house does not believe that anti-zionism is anti-semitism you

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