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What is Greek for Political and Economic Chaos III?

As the Scottish referendum hoves from view of the world stage and the Scottish Nose Pickers become increasingly bitter together at their being denied the opportunity to pole-ax a modern economy, Greece continues to deal with similar effects.

One of those arrested following the September 2013 murder of Pavlos Fyssas in a politicized football attack was Nikolaos Michaloliakos, thug-in-chief of the neo Nazi, Golden Dawn Party.  As much of a ridiculous buffoon he looks in the accompanying intensely amusing image of his arrest, it should not be forgotten that his Party are extremely nasty pieces of work with the willingness and means to reveal a darkness on the Greek streets not seen since Northern European Nazis conducted massacres in some of their electoral strongholds.

Now, after a year of investigations, public prosecutor, Isidoros Doyiakos has accused the entire Party structure of intimate involvement with decades-long murder and intimidation against pretty much any ethnic/social minority in Greece and a few more aside; and order the arrest of dozens of members, including all MPs.

The 700-page Greek-language report is here. Although I cannot claim to have read it myself, I am told that amongst other horribles, the following are discussed:

  • Page 365, co-ordination by mobile phone in Fyssas’ murder;
  • Page 413, the beating of Egyptian workers at Attica (presumably this leading to one having a kidney removed in surgery);
  • Page 684, an attack by senior Golden Dawn members on Pakistani workers at an olive oil farm in Crete (presumably this).

I cannot recall if the much missed Mr. Eugenides reads Greek, but any readers who can, plucking-out other snippets would be gratefully received.

To my eye, there is a Jewish-theme to the name Isidoros which I am quite sure the knuckle-scraping antisemites in Golden Dawn shall make hay from.

If anyone feels moves to donate to the needy in Greece, I would not recommend this unofficial charity run by Golden Dawn’s Australian branch.



Shepard Smith: again the Voice of Sanity at Fox News

No, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin: The possibility of Islamic State agents infecting themselves with the Ebola virus and traveling to the US is not a “real and present danger.”

No, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona: We were not told there would never be a case of Ebola in the United States.

No, Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas (him again): The Obama administration is not conducting a war against “women nurses” (or male nurses, for that matter). And yes, I am sure neither you nor I have Ebola.

Once again, all praise to Shepard Smith of Fox News for keeping his head when all around him are losing theirs. His eloquent, informed statement about the minimal risk of Ebola in the US (as opposed to the real and terrible impact of the disease in west Africa) deserves the widest possible circulation:

Talk radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh and the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer didn’t like Smith’s suggestion that some Republicans are scaremongering on Ebola for political gain. So they reacted in typical fashion– by gay-baiting.

Of course it’s legitimate to criticize the federal government’s less-than-ideal response to the original case of Ebola in Dallas. But in order to do that, it helps to believe that the government needs to have a crucial role in the health care system– not the minimal-to-non-existent role advocated by the Right.


Kobani Crisis: Western Muslims United in Support of Gaza, So Why Aren’t they Rallying Behind the Kurds Fighting Isis?

This is s cross post by Haras Rafiq of the Quilliam Foundation

Original article can be viewed here

Over the last decade the world has witnessed the emergence of a plethora of Islamist Jihadi organisations with the most recent reincarnation being known as ISIS, Isis, Daesh or Islamic State (IS). The US and UK have taken the lead in forming a coalition that lists more than 60 nations as members, and purports to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the group.

But the bar for appearing on that list is fairly low. While many countries have gone as far as pledging military or humanitarian support, the State Department has said that simply “exposing Isis’ true nature” can qualify a nation for inclusion in the coalition.

On the whole, the Muslim reaction against Isis has been fairly strong in opposition to it – in fact we have even had someone who supports the notion that Jews are the enemies of God and descendants of apes and pigs circulate a video appealing for the release of the late Alan Henning (RIP).

Shockingly, this same person has also justified the killing of apostates and the worldwide implementation of Sharia law. So what exactly is the difference between him and Isis? Could it be that our enemy’s enemy is our friend? Do mainstream Muslims around the world want people like him speaking for us?

During the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, Muslims around the western world were involved in organising large protests to condemn Israel and to show the rest of the world their dissatisfaction at the death of Gazans. To be fair, there has been a unified response from the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the west.

Campaigns such as the Fatwa by Shaykh Usama Hasan and the videos by clerics such as Abu Muntasir have condemned Isis, and both initiatives have been extremely helpful. Furthermore, the#notinmyname campaign has been good at highlighting to non-Muslims that Isis do not represent us (Muslims) but things tend to be left there.

That’s all well and good, but where are the Muslims who took to the street because of Israel’s attack on Gaza now? Why are they not taking to the streets to support the Kurds, many of whom are Muslims too, when they have been suffering from potential genocides at the hands of Isis in towns such as Kobane?

When innocent Kurds are being beheaded and their heads displayed as ornaments impaled on spikes, or held aloft for maximum terror, why has there not been hundreds of thousands of western Muslims taking to the streets? If they’re taking the lead from organisations such as the National Union of Students who seem to feel that Ukip poses a greater threat to society than Isis by condemning the former and refusing to do condemn the latter, there probably won’t be any such protests.

It is well known that Isis wants to expand its territories so that its flag is raised across the whole world. Its militants have been killing fellow Muslims for years now, and the threat that they pose to the world, while it has only been recognised recently, is clear and present. It can thus be argued that the Kurds are on the front line taking the battle to these monsters not only for their own existence but for the rest of the world, too; Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

We must therefore give those Kurdish fighters all the support that we can muster, not only from a military perspective but moral, too, by letting them know that we are on their side and that we understand that they are fighting for all of us.

Mainstream Muslims must raise their voices and show support for the Kurds but also be careful that the microphone is not hijacked by other Islamist extremists who may wish to cash in on the current climate, which they will invariably attempt to do.

The stakes are too high – now is the chance for moderate Muslims to reclaim their voice.

Haras Rafiq is outreach officer at the Quilliam Foundation, an organisation which exists to challenge extremism, promote pluralism and inspire change.

For more about Haras, go to his Twitter page @harasrafiq or visit the Quilliam website.


Are Kurds turning the tide against IS in Kobane with US help?

If true, this is encouraging news:

The Islamic State militant group has been driven out of most of the northern Syrian town of Kobane, a Kurdish commander tells the BBC.

Baharin Kandal said Islamic State (IS) fighters had retreated from all areas of the border town, except for two pockets of resistance in the east.

US-led air strikes had helped push back the militants, she added.

It comes as the new UN commissioner for human rights described IS as a “potentially genocidal” movement.

Baharin Kandal, who commands Kurds fighting in east Kobane, said in a phone interview with the BBC’s Kasra Naji that she hoped the city would be liberated soon.

Aside from the hopeful news that the Islamic State is losing control of Kobane, the best part about this is the “she.” Let’s hope that the IS fighters who think women are subordinate creatures and theirs for the taking are made fully aware that they are being beaten back in large part by a female commander and female soldiers.

So how will the likes of John Rees and others on the Left– who have proclaimed their solidarity with the Kurds while denouncing the airstrikes that are helping them– square this particular circle?

And will the Obama-bashers on the Right– who reflexively accuse the president of wimping out in the battle against Islamist extremism– acknowledge that the airstrikes he approved are making a real difference?

And once again, the Turkish government has thoroughly discredited itself by refusing to allow Kurdish fighters across the border into Syria and instead choosing this of all moments to bomb the PKK.


Some notes on the Palestine statehood vote

It seems widely agreed that the recent vote in the Commons to recognize Palestine will have little influence on Israel/Palestine itself.  Like most such activity it seems likely to have (had) most impact on people in the UK, although the Israeli media have certainly been covering the story.

The polarisation of views generated by the motion is somewhat complex, and in part apparently affected by how people interpret the motion’s precise rhetorical force. Because, obviously,  it goes against the position of the Israeli government and was not welcomed by mainstream Israel advocacy groups, it has perhaps taken on a significance not immediately apparent in the fairly measured wording.  Many supporting the motion seem to have focused (with some glee) far more on the way it challenged Israel’s position and discomfited its supporters than on its endorsement of a two state solution.

However this aspect of the motion did encourage some left/liberal supporters of Israel to approve the motion. Conversely, for some Israel haters, its unambiguous recognition of Israel’s right to exist far outweighed any possible help it might provide for the Palestinians. 5Pillarz was on unedifying form. Here Roshan Salih first reports that most Palestinians, Manuel Hassassian for example, approve the motion. But for Salih, attending to the wishes of Palestinians is much less important than wiping Israel off the map.

Clearly some well intentioned and moderate people supported this motion, and Labour Friends of Israel (unlike some I could mention) offered a temperate critique which acknowledged this, while stil opposing the move.

I am a strong supporter of Palestinian statehood. However complex the issues involved, it is a simple matter of justice that the Palestinian people should have their own homeland, one that lives in peace and security with its neighbour, Israel.

I can understand, therefore, why MPs will be tempted to vote on Monday for the motion proposed by Grahame Morris, Jeremy Corbyn, and Caroline Lucas, which appears to propose just that.

A few observations on the debate itself.

Richard Burden claimed that some used support for a two-state solution as a ‘theoretical mantra’ – but another ‘theoretical mantra’ might be the assertion that Israel has a right to defend herself.

Sir Richard Ottaway’s intervention was interesting.

The annexation of the 950 acres of the west bank just a few months ago has outraged me more than anything else in my political life, mainly because it makes me look a fool, and that is something that I resent.

Although it may be fully appropriate to deplore both this annexation and the settlement policy more generally, it seems very strange to single out this move as the most outrageous thing one has ever experienced in politics, particularly given what has been happening in Iraq and Syria. Alan Duncan’s point that ‘a lot of people feel intimidated when it comes to standing up for this issue’ seemed similarly questionable.

I’m sure readers will already have noted Andrew Bridgen’s reference to the ‘power of the Jewish lobby in America’ and Gerald Kaufman’s implication that antisemitism would be eradicated by the creation of a Palestinian state, and that Israel, rather than antisemites, is the main problem in that regard.

They are harming the image of Judaism, and terrible outbreaks of anti-Semitism are taking place. I want to see an end to anti-Semitism, and I want to see a Palestinian state.

And Mike Wood said that the situation in Palestine is much worse than apartheid.

However Anas Sarwar struck a rather different note by reminding listeners that with rights come responsibilities.

Statehood obliges the Palestinian Government to respect, protect and fulfil human rights for their people. It requires Palestinian forces to abide by international rules on armed conflict, and it requires the Palestinian people to accept and learn to co-exist with all their neighbours. The recognition of a state is not an endorsement of any political party or any group within Gaza or the west bank—far from it.

I found some of the arguments on both sides (both in the Commons and elsewhere) a bit boilerplate. However Sir Hugh Robertson’s contributions seemed judicious and urgent.

“Sir Alan Duncan: Was my right hon. Friend’s experience that Mahmoud Abbas was a genuine partner for peace?

Sir Hugh Robertson: It absolutely was. By the same token, I believe that many people on the Israeli side are genuine partners for peace. I am afraid, however, that the ability to make the crucial decisions and the really tough compromises necessary to deliver a peace process was in the end absent, as they have been in the past.

Thirdly, the international community needs to look at an appropriate and calibrated programme of incentives and disincentives at key points in a peace process, and recognition of a Palestinian state is one key component. It will be extraordinarily difficult, but the process must be done in such a way that it is in neither side’s interest to derail it.

I firmly believe that the principle of a Palestinian state is right and fair. I am delighted to be a signatory to the former Foreign Secretary’s amendment to that effect. However, I feel that declaring it unilaterally at this time could well be the catalyst for a further period of instability. The international community needs to re-engage on this issue as never before, led by the USA with the Arab world and Egypt alongside it. It must lay out a road map, including incentives and disincentives, to a final agreement in which the recognition of a Palestinian state is a key milestone. There is no doubt that that will be extraordinarily difficult, as many of our predecessors have found, but the alternative is unacceptably grim. This House can play a part in that process tonight.”

On the other side I appreciated some of the points made by Mike Gapes:

A power struggle is going on not just in the whole Arab world but within Palestinian society, between those who believe in a democratic and secular way forward and those who believe in political Islam that will wipe out not just moderate, secular Arabs but the Christians and the other religious minorities in Palestine. This motion is about not just the question of recognition but what kind of Palestinian state will be created—whether it will be a state that is in the hands of Hamas or, even worse, al-Qaeda elements within Gaza. It is about whether we, at this time, as an international community, recognise the momentous challenges that are facing the whole region.

We as an international community—the United States must also heed this message—must help the moderate forces in Fatah by getting their strategy, which is to take the issue internationally, to provide the way forward. Otherwise, the people who believe in the rocket attacks, the suicide bombs, the destruction of civilian communities and the killing of children—not just Israeli children but their own children, who are used as human shields—will gain the ascendency.

This is not a position that Hamas wants brought to the UN, and Hamas opposed the previous attempts by the Palestinian Authority. The leader of my party was quite right when he said that Hamas is a vile terrorist organisation. We need to support Fatah and the democratic and secular voices in Palestinian society. This is the chance for us to do so and for that reason I will vote for the motion and support the amendment. I hope that all other friends of Israel in this country will understand that this is the right thing to do.

Writing in Conservative Home a few days ago Paul Goodman expressed uncertainty as to whether a positive vote would help promote peace – or embolden Israel’s enemies:

Given the law of unintended consequences, it is impossible to be sure either way.  None the less, the choice for MPs is straightforward.  If they believe that recognition would help to bring about a settlement, and that a settlement itself is indispensable to peace in the region, then they should vote for it.  If, however, they believe that it wouldn’t and isn’t, then they shouldn’t.

Goodman is unsure whether the effects of this vote will be positive or not.  Although I share his uncertainty about possible outcomes – it’s easier to work out which people, on both sides of the motion, had sincere and positive motives for their decision.


Israeli film disrupted in France

Anti-Israel protesters disrupted the screening of a film at an Israeli film festival in Carpentras, France, last week.

Just as [director Hilla] Medalia and Israeli Consul General in Marseille Barnea Hassid finished making introductory remarks, some twenty audience members stood up and began shouting anti-Israel slogans. Then they threw stink bombs.

The screening of the film was moved to another auditorium.

In the meantime, the protesters, joined by approximately 80 additional people, continued to vocally denounce Israel outside. Because the street was blocked off for security measures, the protesters were made to stand some distance from the building.
…..
Worried about her personal safety, Medalia had the police escort her back to her hotel.

And what was this shocking work of racist Zionist filth that the protesters were so intent on blocking?

See for yourself– if you dare:


I didn’t know they cared

When an Iranian official expresses concern for the safety and security of Israel, it’s time to count the diplomatic and political silverware– or something.

[Deputy Foreign Minister] Hossein Amir Abdollahian was quoted by Iranian media, in what would be a rare confirmation of Iran-US discussions over Isis, as saying Iran had warned Washington that Israel would be at risk should the US and its allies seek to topple the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, while fighting the extremist group.

Iran has backed Assad in Syria’s three-year civil war. The US has called for Assad to resign and rules out co-operating with his government.

That would be the same Bashar al-Assad who aided Hezbollah in its 2006 war against Israel and whose regime is being propped up with the help of Hezbollah fighters.


Update: A young Iranian expresses genuine concern and friendship for Israel. He writes:

Believe me, those [Iranians] who demand Israel’s destruction are not the majority, but a handful of associates and mercenaries of the tyrannical and anti-human regime, and they do not represent the Iranian people.

I’m reminded of the brave Iranians who chanted during the 2009 uprising:

“Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, but our life is for Iran”


Secular Conference London 2014: The Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights

This is a cross-post by John Sargeant at homo economicus

Imagine a conference where over two thirds of the speakers are women. From across the world. Artists, professors, authors, journalists, human rights activists. One who feared having children because of the threat to their lives.

You are told in no uncertain terms the consequence of colonialism, and how the war on terror has deliberately strengthened extremists. It happened during the Cold War. History repeats itself, with insanity expecting a different result.

That while attending the conference, you do not just deal with what hits the media. You hear about projects such as in Afghanistan, where women had to make their own centre (as no men would come near them to help work), yet their improvised skills were so good they were then asked if they would paint the mosque.

Moved when another recounts being abducted and held hostage the last time she attended such a conference as this; the fear from her voice pulling on your heart strings. Tears dripping onto your iPad as you blatantly tweet in your own name what is being said without a second thought of your own safety. That the song from a band in Indonesia called “Sister In Danger” is not lyrical invention. When protestors of a movie in Tunisia move their hand across their Adam’s apple in a slicing motion it is not just bravado.

A professor recounts hearing shots ring out on campus one evening. He rushed out to a former student who had become a faculty member. Bleeding to death, no other staff came to aid one of their own. There is no one else from the university either to join the professor at the mourning prayers. The assassinated man is Ahmadi, and even in death his blood can not wash away his heresy in a Pakistan State that declares them non muslims. He never was one of them after all, in life or death.

did not have to imagine these voices – because Maryam Namazie gave them a platform. The conference was filmed and you can read my live tweets clicking on the tweet above, and following my timeline.

Please let me make this appeal. Regardless of what you think of God, how that manifests in your devotion or derision, humanity suffers too much in a brief time on earth. This is not an academic debate with timed responses. Celebrities on talk shows making points for applause or laughs.

The oppression done by extremists and religious nationalists is the concern of all humanity. It is by no means a complete solution to the hell on earth that exists. Only a beginning, and it starts with the idea that humanity is one and equal to each other.

Sarah adds: Do visit John’s blog for some additional tweets and images.  Here are my own thoughts about the first day of the conference.

The progressive Guardian singled out Dawkins and Grayling as the speakers most worthy of note at this conference.  However, as John Sargeant points out, well over half the speakers were women, and very many were from non-Western countries – from Tunisia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Turkey, for example.  Here are a few reflections on the first day of this memorable conference.

Marieme Helie Lucas spoke passionately against the notion that secularism was a Western ideal and that non-white/Muslim secularists were somehow ’sellouts’.  Kenan Malik echoed this point by pointing out that political multiculturalism fails to acknowledge the diversity of minority communities.  Aliytah Saleem described the way her free expression was chilled in an Islamic boarding school in Britain – ironically she experienced a more liberal atmosphere when she then went to school in Pakistan.  She expressed her frustration at the way in which discussion of the Trojan Horse affair focused so strongly on the fact these were state schools, when children at private schools are equally disadvantaged by a narrow religious ethos.  We should attend more to the rights of the child, not just the parents, difficult though it is to find the the right balance. I think it was Kenan Malik who pointed out that encouraging faith schools in the name of ‘diversity’ does not facilitate a ‘diverse’ experience for the individual, but may instead close off experiences and opportunities. Chris Moos spoke eloquently about the way the NUS and student feminist groups have been shamefully soft on extremism when the perpetrators are Muslims rather than the traditional far right. Pragna Patel, of the excellent Southall Black Sisters, also talked about problems on campus, singling out the deplorable UUK guidelines on segregation.

Many speakers told us of the advances made by theocratic forces.  Safak Pavey gave a very forceful talk on the way in which Erdogan, albeit more subtly than some other rulers, is furthering an Islamist agenda, through the education system and the use of clerical schools, for example. Another very powerful presentation was made by Nadia El Fani, a Tunisian film-maker who cannot now return to her country because of the violent reactions to her film ‘Neither Allah nor Master’.  We saw footage of angry protests by those determined to stop her voice being heard, as well as evidence of the death threats she received.

There were a few tensions in the air.  One related to the relationship between secularism and the left/right divide.  The conference’s full title identified the problem as the ‘religious-right’, and the choice of speakers was decidedly left-leaning – when one speaker did acknowledge the faint possibility of allies on the ‘centre-right’, the hesitance and reluctance in her voice were very apparent.  Surely there isn’t the slightest reason to expect people on the centre-right to be any less supportive of secular values that leftists and liberals? In fact

However other speakers, no less on the left, did acknowledge the problem.  Peter Tatchell pointed out that ’some on the left are now the new right’. Gita Sahgal criticised Guardianista ‘progressives’, and Caroline Fourest expressed her anger at liberal journalists who criticised those who published the Danish cartoons rather than those who carried out, or threatened, acts of violence.

Another fault line emerged between religious secularists and ‘faitheists’, on the one hand,  and newer atheist types/laicists on the other.  Karima Bennoune offered a moving tribute to those who have died because of their brave support for secular values, and chose, partly in reaction, she explained, to some recent comments by Bill Maher, to focus on Muslim campaigners – people like Salman Taseer, Samira Salih al-Nuaimi and Mohamed Brahmi. By contrast, A. C. Grayling, in a highly entertaining presentation, spoke slightingly of religion.  He explained that he was bringing up his daughter as an atheist and said he hoped we were seeing the final ‘thrashings of that monster’, referring, not to extremism, but (if I understood him correctly) to religion in general. Perhaps Elham Manea had his speech in mind when she reminded us, later in the afternoon, that you don’t have to be an atheist to be a secularist.  I was sorry she didn’t receive more applause for making that point.

But, as John reports (and I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for the second day), this was an inspiring conference, and an unparalleled opportunity to hear first hand about the challenges facing secularists around the world.


Choudary dodges the law while indoctrinating for IS

The Washington Post reports on how Anjem Choudary manages to avoid prosecution while indirectly recruiting young British Muslims to fight for the Islamic State.

[E]ven as a coalition that includes Britain and the United States wages war on the Islamic State, Choudary and other enablers remain free to spread their seductively messianic ideology on the streets of the United Kingdom and globally, through the Internet. They do so by taking advantage of the very rights they condemn as un-Islamic and by using their considerable charisma to lure lost souls.

In an accompanying video, Nick Lowles of Hope Not Hate does a good job of explaining the danger posed by the likes of Choudary:


Lynne Segal on Shlomo Sand

This post is by Former Corr and Sarah AB

The Israeli academic Shlomo Sand has just published the third of a trilogy* dedicated to declaring the “myth” not only of the Jewish state, but of Jewishness itself.

Sand present his argument as a historical one, picking up the old “Khazar” theory that modern Jews sprung from central Asia in recent memory, but his work is questioned (to put it politely) on almost every point by those with expertise in the field. In particular, the Israeli historian Anita Shapira has explored the arguments in great detail in  ‘The Jewish-people Deniers’, a review of Sand’s earlier work.

The latest book, How I Stopped Being a Jew, has received extensive media coverage, including this op-ed by Sand in The Guardian and a number of lengthy reviews which do not share the scepticism of historians.

One of the most enthusiastic reviews appeared recently in Times Higher Education, the trade magazine for UK academics. Lynne Segal, professor of psychology and gender studies at Birkbeck, declares Sand’s book to be “persuasive”. So it may be a useful exercise to see whether Segal can demonstrate this, or whether this remains mere assertion. She begins:

Watching the recent toll of civilian deaths in Gaza rise ever higher, it is a hideously apt time to review the latest text from the controversial Israeli scholar Shlomo Sand. In How I Stopped Being a Jew, Sand turns his historical gaze to exploring issues of Jewish identity: who or what is a Jew? Is there any coherence to contemporary Jewish identity, and can one stop being a Jew?

Whatever one thinks of Gaza, should it really make one think about Jewish identity and whether one can stop being Jewish?

In his arguments against the idea of a Jewish people, Sand uses the fact that Jews are ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse as evidence that the grounds for a coherent Jewish identity are therefore suspect. However in other circumstances, we routinely give credence to the notion of ‘a people’ on grounds other than race or religion – most people wouldn’t talk about race or religion when asked about Britishness.

Sand also casts doubt on the religious basis for Zionism, and Segal on an alleged inflation of Zionist claims on the land.

Furthermore, God’s promises to these secular Zionists kept growing, suggesting that he offered Abraham and his descendants not only what is now northern Israel but also land rights extending from “the river of Egypt unto the Euphrates”, thereby including parts of Turkey, Syria and Iraq. These “promises”, Sand concluded, are the product of Zionist mythology. What else could they be?

However, many Zionists don’t invoke promises in the Bible to justify their stance, nor do they support the idea of a Greater Israel.

Segal reports that Sand has become more sceptical about Jewish anxieties in the face of a long history of terrible persecution:

However, Sand now questions his earlier response, suggesting that, except in marginal pockets, the horrific Judaeophobia of the past no longer exists in Western cultures. No longer do Jews in most parts of the world display what he recalls his father describing as “that fleeting and sad look, the sign of fear and apprehension” that marked the face of the European Jew in the late 1940s. Sand’s critics today would point to the rise of anti-Semitism once again in Europe, although this increase itself certainly reflects the rise and fall of conflict in the Middle East, and is far from orchestrated by Western elites.

Of course antisemitism changes. The fact ‘Western elites’ don’t tend to orchestrate it doesn’t help its victims and some Western elites do lend a hand by ignoring the issue, by glossing over it – even perhaps by suggesting that the war in Gaza is the right time for some tendentious reflections on Jewish identity.  And the reference to antisemitism no longer being a serious problem in *Western* cultures sidesteps the high levels of of antisemitism in some non-Western cultures, in part officially sanctioned, and with influence in the West.

When Sands is questioned in public, he is known for sidestepping challenges on accuracy and going on the political attack. Richard Millett gives account of talk at SOAS where Sands was not happy about answering questions. Further critique of Sand’s work can be found in the commentary of historian Petra Marquardt-Bigman. She points out that Sand’s work is popular on Stormfront and Iranian Press TV, and she notes that Amazon UK customers who buy David Duke’s insights on “Jewish Supremacism” also tend to buy Sand’s first book “The Invention of the Jewish People”. He is also positively reviewed on The Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss.

* THe first two were “The Invention of the Jewish People” and “Invention of the Land of Israel”