Out of the anti-Zionists I’ve know or known of, there’s only one I like (Bob). Bob is my idea of a Good Anti-Zionist (this is a joke, but I switched off smilies because they were turning some of my 8s into sunglasses). Steve Cohen is another I’ve not met who faces up to antisemitism and puts clear political distance between him and it. Oh maybe there’s one more – I don’t know him well enough to say and he’s also an Israel boycotter. I couldn’t really claim that some of my best friends are anti-Zionists but I don’t have a problem with anti-Zionists per se.
Trouble is all the others I’ve had to do with have had it in common that they are prepared to cover up, ignore or otherwise neglect antisemitism in order to undermine the basis for a state of Israel. Some of them are worse than that. There’s an anti-Zionist at my institution known for shouldering political opponents into walls in corridors. A good example of an anti-Zionist of this ilk is Tony Greenstein. On Friday evening he attended the launch of the latest Jewish Anti-Zionist front organisation, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. Almost before it got off the ground it became tainted with the ignominy which always does for these organisations sooner or later – Mikey (follower of anti-Zionist business, public-spirited enough to turn up to these things, observe and write about them for those of us who can’t quite face them) tells how he was kicked in the shins by Tony Greenstein without provocation and subsequently subjected to his deranged accusations that he was a Zionist spy.
TG and Mikey go back some way. For decades TG has been wasting his life trying to get rid of Israel using the written and spoken word, frequently resorting to extreme historical contortions to further this. Mikey is a conscientious (and for the record unthreatening) historian who exposes TG’s ideologically-motivated inaccuracies fairly regularly and relatively effortlessly. So TG writes reams of poorly-substantiated tripe about Zionists being like Nazis and Mikey corrects him – in recent weeks on a new blog. Mikey is satirical, something that is enhanced by TG’s utter lack of humour. Mikey invariably makes mincemeat of TG – with meticulously sourced references. Good thing too.
To clarify – the main thing standing between anti-Zionists and their goal is the vast majority of Jews who think that Israel’s existence (leaving aside its policies) is a good idea. And this is why TG would have kicked and screamed at Mikey. What is so confusing is that last year TG managed to extract an apology and donation out of The Times after a comment – one I can’t safely reproduce because TG is definitely litigious – was posted on David Aaronovitch’s blog. This victory was a source of great pleasure to TG. And of course, nobody could think ill of him after that. I’d been thinking of him very rosily ever since in fact. Friday’s behaviour drew a line under this, however.
I’m not going to cover IJAN – what’s the point? The websites of these things may be improving but that’s all that’s changing. Read Mikey on Harry’s Place (including on the kicking).