Since Israel and Egypt sealed the Gazan borders and besieged the Heights, an increasing number of people have started boycotting goods from Israel. And if you scrupulously sift your shopping for Israel-grown olives and Uzi machine pistols, British government members think you’re an anti-semite!
Warning of a “resurgent, mutating, lethal virus of antisemitism”, the Conservative chief whip Michael Gove also claimed those who compare Israel’s actions to Nazi war crimes are engaging in a form of Holocaust denial.
Gove made his intervention in a speech at the Holocaust Education Trust on Tuesday night, in response to findings that there had been a fivefold increase in antisemitic incidents in the wake of Israel’s latest conflict with Hamas.
Citing a historian, Professor Deborah Lipstadt, Gove said there appeared among some opponents of Israel’s actions to be a “deliberate attempt to devalue the unique significance of the Holocaust, and so remove the stigma from antisemitism”.
And even as this relativisation, trivialisation and perversion of the Holocaust goes on so prejudice towards the Jewish people grows.
The Tricycle theatre attempts to turn away donations which support the Jewish Film Festival because the money is Israeli and therefore tainted. In our supermarkets our citizens mount boycotts of Israeli produce, some going so far as to ransack the shelves, scatter goods and render them unsaleable. In some supermarkets the conflation of anti-Israeli agitation and straightforward antisemitism has resulted in kosher goods being withdrawn.
We need to speak out against this prejudice. We need to remind people that what began with a campaign against Jewish goods in the past ended with a campaign against Jewish lives. We need to spell out that this sort of prejudice starts with the Jews but never ends with the Jews. We need to stand united against hate. Now more than ever.
Gove referred to a number of antisemitic incidents that have occurred across Europe over the past few months, and complained that there had been been “insufficient indignation” about growing anti-Jewish prejudice.”
I understand where Gove’s saying, up to the point. If a bunch of anti-semites are inspired to have a go at Jewish communities around the world, that is of course anti-semitic hate crime and should be punished. But equating the movement to boycott Israeli goods with antisemitism is flawed and insulting. The fact is, Israel and its “defence force” are committing outrageous attacks on those trapped in Gaza, and a number of fair-minded citizens of other countries are joining in the boycott – not because they hate Jews, but because they are disgusted at the way the Israeli government is acting. If Israel stopped its surprisingly Nazi-like attitude towards Jews in general and Gazans in particular, the so-called “anti-semite” boycott would largely end. Of course there are some more hard-line protesters, just as there are prejudiced IDF members who kill young Palestinians because they would “otherwise become Hamas or Islamic Jihad members.” FFS.
If Gove wants the boycott to stop, he will get the government to harden its line against against current Israeli anti-Palestinian activity. But remember, this is the same Michael Gove who approved three schools run by creationists leading to concerns about whether Department for Education (DfE) requirements not to teach creationism or intelligent design as science would be met. The same Gove who claimed more than £7,000 on a house bought with his wife Sarah Vine in 2002; shortly afterwards he reportedly ‘flipped’ his designated second home, a property for which he claimed around £13,000 to cover stamp duty. Gove also claimed for a cot mattress, despite children’s items being banned under the Commons rule. Gove said he would repay the claim for the cot mattress, but maintained that his other claims were “below the acceptable threshold costs for furniture” and that moving house was necessary “to effectively discharge my parliamentary duties”. While he was moving between homes, on one occasion he stayed at the Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa following a constituency engagement, charging the taxpayer more than £500 per night’s stay. Gove’s second home was not in his constituency, but in Elstead, in the South West Surrey constituency. The same Gove who has been the subject of repeated criticism for alleged attempts to avoid the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. The criticism surrounds Gove’s use of various private email accounts to send emails that allegedly relate to his departmental responsibilities. The allegations suggest that Mr Gove and his advisers believed they could avoid their correspondence being subject to Freedom of Information requests, as they believed that their private email accounts were not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. In September 2011, the Financial Times reported that Gove had used an undisclosed private email account – called “Mrs Blurt” – to discuss government business with advisers. In March 2012 the Information Commissioner ruled that because emails the Financial Times had requested contained public information they could be the subject of a Freedom of Information request and ordered the information requested by the paper to be disclosed. Gove was also advised to cease the practice of using private email accounts to conduct government business. Gove disputed the Information Commissioner’s ruling, something that cost taxpayers £12,540, and proceeded to tribunal, but the appeal was subsequently withdrawn. The same Gove who, with his advisors, destroyed email correspondence in order to avoid Freedom of Information requests. The allegation was denied by Gove’s department who stated that deleting email was simply part of good computer housekeeping. Yeah right.
He has also used social netwoking websites to smear opponents anonymously. In February 2013 The Guardian launched investigations into connections between Gove’s ministerial advisers and what they described as “allegations that members of his department have used the social networking site Twitter to launch highly personal attacks on journalists and political opponents and to conduct a Tory propaganda campaign paid for by the taxpayer.” The article suggested that an anonymous Twitter account called @toryeducation was regularly used to attack critical stories about both Gove and his department and to launch highly personal attacks on opponents of Gove and his policies.
It was further suggested that the knowledge of imminent but unpublished government policy demonstrated by the Twitter account called @toryeducation indicated that it was very likely to come from within the Education Department, implying the involvement of special advisers paid for by taxpayers. Issuing party political material and indulging in personal attacks would both be clear breaches of the special advisers’ code and the civil service code
Check out the site – http://boycottisraeltoday.wordpress.com/boycott-israel/ – for more info on Israel’s products to boycott. And remember, it’s not antisemitic to oppose Israel’s “foreign policy” (basically bullying its enemies). Some Jews are good, some are bad. It’s just a shame that Israel is led politically by vicious, cruel people.