Shock horror – LSE students protest against injustice!

JVL Introduction

So students protested at Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s ambassador, an unabashed Islamophobe on the far right of Israeli politics, when she was invited to speak at the London School of Economics.

It would have been a scandal had they not done so.

Below Phil, (“a very public sociologist”) reflects on the event and how it has been reported.

As is now routine, protest against Israel’s oppressive and discriminatory policies has been transformed by British politicians and our ever-obedient media into yet another manifestation of antisemitism.

It’s not just Priti Patel using the occasion to talk of doing everything possible “to keep the Jewish community safe from intimidation, harassment and abuse”.

Lisa Nandy rushed to get in on the act condemning the “appalling treatment of Israeli Ambassador @TzipiHotovely.”

The Jewish Chronicle, never a paper to turn to for a reflective judgment, was clear that a protest in favour of justice and human rights should be characterised in these terms: “On the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a Jew hunting mob on the streets of London”.

Just remember what Hotovely stands for – see here, here and here – before, all around us, media commentators and politicians choke on their own self-righteousness.

Nov 12: see Owen Jones’s video where he argues that “this whole discussion is defined by anti-Palestinian racism”.

This article was originally published by All that is solid... on Wed 10 Nov 2021. Read the original here.

Cynically Exploiting Antisemitism

Another day, another cynical display. Tuesday night’s visit to the LSE’s debating society by Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s ambassador to the UK, drew the sorts of crowds she’d probably rather not have. A modest groups of student protestors descended to express their solidarity with Palestinians, and challenge the grotesqueries of Hotovely herself, a woman whose extremism finds no parallel in British politics except on the furthest reaches of the far right.

According to Anshel Pfeffer, writing in Haaretz on the occasion of her appointment, she was groomed for high office by Benjamin Nethanyahu precisely because she’s a far right fanatic. He says, “Hotovely is an unabashed Islamophobe and religious fundamentalist who denies the existence of the Palestinian people and supports annexation of the entire West Bank and Jewish control of the Temple Mount.” She even criticised the British Board of Deputies for “working against the Israeli interest” because it backs a neutered form of Palestinian statehood. Anshel concluded that her ambassadorial appointment should be welcomed because she will show British Jews the rot eating up the Israeli state.

Unsurprisingly, and not for the first time, choosing between an oppressed people and a shameless oppressor, Priti Patel threw her lot in with the powerful. She’s backing a police investigation of the protest, saying antisemitism has no place in Britain. The Israeli embassy itself condemned the non-existent violence that supposedly greeted Hotovely as she left the building. Which is exactly what you’d expect the Tories and Israel’s official channels to do. For their own reasons, both are happy to inflate the sense of peril British Jewish communities feel. For the Tories, it’s electoral reasons. Having won disproportionate support among Jewish voters since at least 2015 they’d quite like that to continue, and by presenting as the community’s best defenders is they way they’re going to do it. Even if it means amplifying threats and dubbing events antisemitic when they clearly are not. And Israel, particularly the wing of the Likud establishment Hotovely embodies, want more of the diaspora to “come home” to power its expansionism further.

The usual cynical rubbish, in other words. And then the Labour leadership got involved. Lyin’ Lisa Nandy condemned “the appalling treatment of the Israeli ambassador”, adding “any attempt to silence or intimidate those we disagree with should never be tolerated.” A reminder, if it was needed, that Nandy is to honesty what Geoffrey Cox is to probity. Apologists for murder, Labour Friends of Israel tweeted a string of drivel from the shadow cabinet. Keir Starmer wibbled that intimidation is not acceptable. The usually invisible Nick Thomas-Symonds wrote that “antisemitism has no place in our society“, while the LFI’s vice chair, Diana Johnson, tweeted “I hope arrests are made.” For what? Booing too loudly?

It’s all so synthetic and see-through, but they’ve allowed Labour’s official positioning on matters Israel/Palestine be hijacked entirely by the same extremism that fuels Hotovely’s far right politics, a position now determined by the foaming bullshit of Jewish Chronicle editorials. It’s a story of cowardice and factional convenience. We know the story about Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the Parliamentary Labour Party, and how Starmer reneged on the deal done to readmit him after Margaret Hodge and her mates threw their toys out of the proverbial. Rather than challenge her small and unrepresentative clique, and how she might torpedo his efforts at undoing the damage the inflated and exaggerated antisemitism crisis did the Labour Party, Starmer caved in. But, happily for his leadership, having Hodge, the JLM, and self-appointed gentile guardians of what can and can’t be said about the occupation of Palestine onside meant the party would no longer be vulnerable to dishonest Tory and press attacks. Yet this meant only one position was tenable – an ever-increasing philosemitism. As friendly visits to synagogues are unlikely to make headlines in the Jewish or the national press, ostentatiously eliding penance with apologism for and the white washing of Israel could be the only outcome. Their condemnations of antisemitism are neither genuine nor heartfelt, they’re a ritual, a must-do to try and secure the Labour right’s grip on a diminishing and increasingly cash-strapped party.

Starmer will be happy with today’s posturing. No press attacks, not even the smidgen of a suggestion that he’s soft on the critics of Israel. His comfort zone is the space of non-punishment the Tory papers reserve for the establishment’s most loyal lackeys, and the shadcab’s lying about the LSE protest is good for a few more warm baths yet. And, bonus, the right people on the left are upset, with a few thousand more tearing up their membership cards up in disgust. So what if Israel is emboldened to imprison, shoot, bomb more Palestinians because politicians from both UK parties flatter its brutality and ethnic cleansing efforts? It’s not their business, and they’ve made it clear they’re happy for it not to be.

See also Asa Winstanley, UK government attacks Palestine student protesters, Elecronic Intifada, 10 November 2010

   LSE for Palestine  @LSEforPalestine

Official LSE for Palestine Statement on the Protest 09/11/21 There has been a lot of misinformation and misreporting. We hope this clears it up.

If the text below is difficult to read, you can find the original here.


Comments (11)

  • Nick Jenkins says:

    Bizarrely, the Labour shadow Home Secretary wished the ambassador well.
    If someone declared the Holocaust a “Jewish lie”, he would quite rightly condemn them.
    So why the double standards for someone who called the Nakba an “Arab lie”?

  • James Cohen says:

    What a nasty, vicious and dangerous game the Labour Right are engaged in. But the Labour Membership at Conference overwhelmingly passed a Young Labour Motion calling for BDS and the stopping of Arms Trade with Israel. Not surprising that Nandi should rush in to ignore and condemn it. If they could they’d place Conference under investigation. But what a dangerous game they are playing allowing the actual racists off the hook whilst using Jewish people for voting fodder. How dare they.

  • Allan Howard says:

    Whilst doing some research earlier today re >ruth smeeth 25,000< I came across an article in the Sun from April 2017 in which it said the following:

    Hardworking, locally based MPs have always put themselves in the firing line to stand up for their constituents…..

    Ian Austin, in Dudley, who challenges extremists every single day of his life, and Ruth Smeeth, who over the past two years has received 300 abusive attacks on social media every day from the extremist left and neo-Nazis.

    I won't bother getting my calculator out, but at 2,000 a week for two years, that comes to about 200,000. I assume she reported them all to the police! Needless to say, the bright sparks at the Sun thought they'd throw that falsehood in – in passing – for good measure.

    And then there was this Sun article from June 2017 in which it said the following:

    And Mr Corbyn has also been criticised for failing to kick out Ken Livingstone, who has repeatedly claimed that Hitler was a Zionist.

    Ken said no such thing of course, and had repeatedly said as much in interviews since his infamous radio interview, and the folks at the Sun know it of course, but it amuses them no end to enlarge on the fabrication AND deceive their readers.

    As for the abusive tweets quoted in the article, I completely agree with what Len McCluskey said – ie 'that many of the trolls were in fact MI5 agents seeking to undermine the leader'.

    And in the following article headlined: 'Labour MP Ruth Smeeth leaves anti-Semitism event in tears after being attacked for being Jewish', the Sun includes a video clip of Smeeth leaving the event completely tear free!

    And so it goes on….. and on and on and on!

  • Let us not forget that Lehava was asked to testify before the Committee on the State of Women and Gender Equality by its Chair, Tzipi Hotoveli, because it was ‘the most suitable’ for preventing mixed marriages.

    Lehava, for those is an anti-miscegenation group which can best be characterised as fascist. She channelled funding to them via their ‘charity’ Hemla.

    Lehava’s boss Benzi Gopstein has justified burning down Christian churches, 3 of its members were convicted for setting fire to the mixed Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem and it organises vigilantes to physically attack lone Arab men in Jerusalem who stray out of East Jerusalem.

    Miscegenation, inter-racial sex was the bete noir of Jim Crow America. It is the accepted consensus among most Israeli Jews.

    Hotoveli represents as the article says the far right of the Israeli far right. It says everything that Lisa Nandy and Starmer can embrace her without a seconds thought.

    What we are really seeing is the use of ‘antisemitism’ to attack the right to protest.

  • Dave Postles says:

    Condoning the representative of a state which exports surveillance equipment to the most oppressive regimes in the world.

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    Shout out again and again Anshel Pfeffer’s characterisation of Hotovely. Why? Because Pfeffer is no lefty – indeed, at regular intervals his Haaretz column promotes never-substantiated rubbish about Corbyn and alleged left-Labour antisemitism. He’s a middle of the road liberal Zionist with a weak writing style, but a visceral loathing of the extreme right wing like Hotovely. When he can describe her as “an unabashed Islamophobe and religious fundamentalist who denies the existence of the Palestinian people and supports annexation of the entire West Bank and Jewish control of the Temple Mount,” we have to ask – what is Lisa Nandy (not to mention Starmer himself) for?

  • George Peel says:

    Lisa Nandy tweeted her support for the Israeli Ambassador.

    The first paragraph is, of course, nonsense.

    Suspended Members of The Labour Party, may be interested in what she says in her second paragraph :

  • Allan Howard says:

    So on September 2nd, just three weeks before the leadership election concluded and the LP conference began, Ruth Smeeth revealed that she’d received 20,000 abusive/A/S comments in a twelve hour period after the meeting in which the incident with Marc Wadsworth happened (at the end of June), and five thousand more in the following couple of months. And it was obviously just a coincidence that she did so when she did, and ditto her doing an interview with the Evening Standard that was published on the 20th, just four days before the leadership election concluded, and five days before the LP conference kicked off, which reiterated the whole 25,000 thing.

    As far as I can ascertain, only the Mail ‘covered’ the interview, but with a circulation of 2.5 million between them at the time (plus visitors to their respective websites), the so-called interview was probably read by about five million people.

    Anyway, I assume that Smeeth did the interview a couple of days before it was published – ie on the 18th – some sixteen days after the ‘story’ first broke, and presumably she was still receiving an abundance of abuse every day, anti-semitic or otherwise. And at a rate of around 80 a day, that would amount to well over a thousand more since September 2nd, but oddly enough she doesn’t mention anything about having received an additional thousand plus abusive comments in the interview, let alone the almost five thousand the Sun had it at, in effect!

  • Barrie Lambert says:

    Can anyone still be surprised at the response of those who run the Labour Party to a small student demonstration against a fanatical Zionist whose extremist bent appears to have taken her beyond any known, let alone recognisable, moral limits? At the next election, the Labour Party will be pictured as the party which cares more about Israel than England and it will work. Keir Starmer’s crazy/cunning as a fox pro-Remain intervention in the 2019 election shows the real lack of respect for the English democratic decision to leave Europe, and the two combined reveal his obvious lack of patriotism and, implicitly, of the Labour Party’s lack of patriotism, Neither of these factors wil play well in the seats Labour needs to win if it is to maintain any degree of credibility as a political force.

  • SB says:

    I noticed a press release by the CST on this event. To be fair to them, they completely debunked the idea that Hotovely was threatened, silenced or had to “flee”, as was reported by some media outlets. They said she came, delivered her speech and then left, albeit to the sounds of booing and some verbals that they inevitably characterised, without giving any specifics, as antisemitic.

    However, it did seem to be far more balanced and level-headed than any pronouncements from Nandy and co..

    It’s really come to something when official Labour Party statements are putting a far more dramatic spin on events than the CST.

  • Emma says:

    Yes i was worried at the time i heard about this that the reporting didn’t seem clear and detailed.All i saw was a very short news clip.It is very worrying.

Comments are now closed.