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Monday, 31 July 2017

More Fake News – Zionist Claims that Anti-Semitism has increased by 30% in one year

Despite the headlines - Anti-Semitism in Britain is DECLINING not increasing

A decline in anti-Semitism doesn't serve Zionist interests
Update
A very useful comment by Alan Maddison below.  The salient points are:
  1. Anti-Semitism represents around 1.5% of reported Hate Crimes in the UK.
  2. Evidence of the inflated and tendetious nature of the CST report is that only 8% of claimed incidents are violent compared to the normal ratio for hate crimes of one-third.
  3. One in four hate crime assaults lead to injury compared to none, either this year or last year, in the CST reports.  It clearly suggests that what is counted as an assault is trivial.
This suggests that in comparison with other hate crime incidents, the actual level of incidents in the CST Report are about one-quarter of those claimed.  To include social media posts is absurd, as the CST itself recognises when it counts as a single incident multiple broadcasts by the same outlet.  Social media attacks if actually counted would simply swamp any meaningful statistics given the level of racist tweets and FB comments and posts.  They are on a completely different level from actual verbal abuse or assault.

Anti-semitism is a marginal prejudice compared to racism against Muslims and Roma in most countries
More fake news from Stephen Pollard's Jewish Chronicle

Pollard replies to Jonathan Freedland defending Michal Kaminski
The Community Security Trust, an overtly Zionist organisation, that works closely with Mossad, Israel’s MI6, compiles annual and 6 monthly reports of the incidence of anti-Semitism.  Its figures often differ widely from those of the Police and are subjective.  They are based to a large extent on self-reporting, social media posts and an ingrained Zionist political assumptions that opposition to Israel is inherently anti-Semitic.
The Zionist Communist Security Trust's latest bogus offerings - complete with two helpfully placed display boards
Their latest Report  ANTISEMITIC INCIDENTS - January–June 2017, comes with a photo in some junkyard in Suffolk with a Star of David and the word ‘Die’ underneath side by side with a swastika.  Presumably the purpose behind this photo is to persuade us that this is a common phenomenon in most junkyards and industrial wasteyards in Britain!

We are breathlessly told that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain from January to June 2016 compared to the previous period has leapt from 589 to 767.  Anti-Semitism, like all forms of racism, should be condemned.  But the deliberate inflating of anti-Semitism, the political use of false accusations of anti-Semitism in order to deflect criticism of Israel, are equally appalling.  Zionism redefines anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism at the same time as ignoring genuine anti-Semitism.
A government poster in Hungary attacking George Soros - graffiti says 'stinking Jew'
We are told in the 2017 report that CST recorded 425 antisemitic incidents in Greater London, a rise of 10 per cent from the 387 incidents recorded in Greater London during the same period in 2016.  There are no comparisons with Police statistics but given the wide disparity between recorded crime incidents and the CST figures in previous years we should take the CST statistics with a hefty pinch of salt. 
An example of Zionist anti-Semitism directed at anti-Zionist Jews - CST won't record any such incidents
In the Independent of 29.12.15. we learn that Anti-Semitic attacks in London soar by 60 per cent in 2015.  ‘Between November 2014 and November 2015, a total of 483 such crimes were committed, up from 299 during the same period in the previous year.’  Although they say crimes were committed we are not told what the number of convictions are.

Compare this to the 2014 CST Incident Report the CST recorded 583 antisemitic incidents in Greater London in 2014.  Compare this to the Police figures of 299, almost double.
The Independent goes from bad to worse as it accepts the CST Report uncritically
According to the 2015 CST Incidents Report there were 472 incidents compared to 483 police recorded crimes so it would appear that the 2015 figures bore some relationship to the facts.  (in the 2016 CST Incidents Report the figure jumps from 472 to 494).

In 2016 the CST record the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Greater London as 813, a significant increase but how reliable are they?  The comparable Police figures are not available but I suggest that they are a mixed bag consisting of some anti-Semitic incidents coupled with a lot of padding to make the figures look good (in Zionist parlance an increase in anti-Semitism is always good because it demonstrates that the only place Jews aren’t under attack is Israel). 
The true face of  Zionist anti-Semitism
However let us pretend that the CST figures are true.  Then the question is how many of the incidents arise from the actions of Israel?  After all Zionist and Jewish organisations in Britain go out of their way to say that British Jews support the actions of Israel against the Palestinians.  They spend their time defending the indefensible in the name of British Jews.  Is it any wonder that some people take them at their word? 

It is ironic that the main cause of what is termed anti-Semitism in Britain today is the so-called Jewish state.  This is not anti-Semitism, it consists is mainly of stupid reactions to the claims of Zionist organisations that British Jews fully supports Israel’s criminal  actions.  Since the CST fully supports the idea that British Jews are fully behind Israel’s crimes what they are effectively measuring is the efficacy of their and their fellow Zionists actions.  Israel claims it represents all Jews, not just its own Jewish citizens but all Jews worldwide.  Netanyahu describes himself as the Prime Minister of all Jews.  Why shouldn’t some people take what the Zionists say to be true?  Israel is, after all a Jewish State.

To the Zionists, the CST including, anything to do with support of the Palestinians or opposition to Zionism is automatically ‘anti-Semitic’.  The attacks on Palestine Expo 2017 this month described it as a ‘Jewish hate fest’ – a massive gathering of some 17,000 people that included numerous Jewish speakers as well as people like John Pilger. 
The Community Security Organisation, which changed its name to the CST, also sees as one of its tasks the removal of anti-Zionist Jews from communal functions - in this case they went to far removing members of Mapam, the fake Zionist leftists
Dave Rich, the CST’s Deputy Director of Communications, brought out a book last year entitled ‘The Left’s Jewish Problem’.  As Wikpedia describes it ‘Rich traces the origin of contemporary left-wing anti-Semitic anti-Israel rhetoric to the early 1970s, when Peter Hain and Louis Eakes of the Young Liberals wing of the British Liberal Party reconceptualized the national liberation movement of the Jewish people as an imperialist project imposing apartheid on an indigenous people.

The fact that a senior officer of the CST can seriously describe a settler colonial movement (which is how historically Zionism described itself) as a ‘national liberation movement of the Jewish people’ (when did change of description occur) is illustrative of the CST’s political problems.  Historically anti-fascist and socialists Jews always rejected the Zionist alliance with British imperialism.

To the Zionists anything smacking of the term Palestine is automatically anti-Semitic.  The fact is that most ‘anti-Semitism’ in Britain is a reaction to solidarity with the victims of Zionist settler colonialism and that is the main purpose of these fake news figures.

Those who cry ‘anti-Semitism’ at the drop of a hat are not only legitimising genuine anti-Semitism (because people find it difficult to distinguish between genuine anti-Semitism and the false Zionist variety) but they display their contempt for Jews who were the real victims of anti-Semitism. 

If you want to know what anti-Semitism really was like you could do worse than read ‘The Crime and the Silence’ by Anna Bikont.  This was a book about what happened in the town of Jedwabne on July 10 1941 in a town made up of 40% Jews.  Some of their Polish neighbours herded up to 1600 Jews into a barn which was then set ablaze.  It wasn’t even done at the instigation of the Nazis but by their own neighbours and activists in the Polish Nationalist Party (Endeks).
The Polish anti-Semite Michal Kaminski speaking at Israel's security conference in Herzliya
Nor was this the only such crime of this nature.  In nearby Radzilow, three days before Jedwabne, the whole population was rounded up and burned.  In 2001, a book by Jan Tomasz Gross, Neighbours, revealed what had happened in Jedwabne.  The Polish government under President Aleksander Kwasniewski reacted by apologising and under much criticism held a memorial meeting in Jedwabne and erected a monument to those murdered on the 60th anniversary of the massacre. 

At the same time, in Jedwabne itself, led by its Catholic priest Father Orlowski and Bishop Stefanek, there was formed a Committee to Defend the Good Name of Jedwabne.  Its purpose being to defend those who took part in the murder of its Jews.  They pretended that it was the Nazis who carried out the massacre and also claimed that in any event the Jews had brought it on themselves by collaborating with the Russian troops when they invaded Western Poland and Jedwabne between 1939 and 1941.

To cite on typical incident from the book:

‘In August 1937, 65 violent anti-Jewish incidents were noted in the Bialystock region.... on August 19 during a market in the hamlet of Sniadowo a crowd shouting ‘Jews to Palestine’ and ‘There’s no room for you in Poland’ drove away tradesmen.  The fleeing Jews were thrashed with whips and one of them was hit on the head with a post.’ (p.44) 

Marek Edelman ‘the last living leader off the Warsaw Ghetto uprising’ and a leader of the socialist  and anti-Zionist Bund described how ‘Jedwabne was not the first case nor was it an isolated one.  In Poland at that time the mood was ripe for killing Jews.’ (p.9)   It wasn’t all Poles by any means, even in the Endek dominated Jedwabne.  Many Poles were horrified by what happened.  Edelman describes how in Warsaw maybe 100,000 Poles were involved in hiding and protecting the Jews, but nonetheless there was real murderous anti-Semitism even before the Nazi invasion, driven by the anti-communism of the Nationalist Right.
Polish anti-Semite Michal Kaminski having a friendly chat with Israel's Ambassador to the UK Ron Prossor
In 2001 the far-Right Law and Justice Party, a racist and often anti-Semitic party, which is now in government in Poland opposed a national apology for Jedwabne.  Dr Rafal Pankowski, a member of the Never Again Association and author of The Populist Radical Right in Poland described the role played by Law and Justice Party MP for  the area of Jedwabne, Michal Kaminski

"As a local MP, Kaminski played a key role in the campaign questioning the Polish responsibility for the Jedwabne massacre. The campaign had strongly antisemitic overtones,"

In an interview with the nationalist Nasza Polska newspaper in March 2001 Kaminski argued that, ‘while the massacre could not be defended, Poles should not apologise for what they did until Jews apologised to them for their actions which had included "murdering Poles".’  Is Michal Kaminski fit to lead the Tories in Europe?  Can you imagine?  Kaminski said that those Polish Jews, the perhaps 5% out of 3.3 million who survived the Holocaust should apologise to those who had acted as their executioners?

Not only did Kaminski chair the European Conservative Reform group in the European parliament, which the Tories had just joined, he was defended by people such as the current Chair of Conservative Friends of Israel, Eric Pickles.  He was also defended by leading Zionists in the Jewish Leadership Council and not least by Stephen Pollard, the racist who editor of the Jewish Chronicle.  Pollard is another who is very hot on ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party.

Pollard, penned an article for the Guardian (9.10.09.) titled ‘Poland’s Kaminski is not an anti-Semite – he’s a friend to Jews.’  Even Pollard had to admit that Kaminski as a 15 year old joined The National Rebirth of Poland which was ‘virulently anti-Semitic and neofascist’.  Nonetheless Kaminski was a ‘friend to the Jews’.  why?  Because he was a supporter of Israel in Brussels where ‘visceral loathing of Israel are rife.’  In other words his support of Israel and Zionism excused his virulent anti-Semitism.  In the same article Pollard defended the Latvian MEP Robert Zile who every goesMarch on a march with the veterans of the Latvian Waffen SS.

None of this should be of any surprise.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has just returned from a visit to Hungary to greet his friend Viktor Orban, who when not demonising Muslim immigrants is busy rehabilitating the pro-Nazi leader of war-time Hungary who presided over the deportation of 437,000 Jews to Auschwitz.  See Israel’s love-in with Hungary’s anti-Semites exposes the ugly core of Zionism.  Indeed Netanyahu and the Zionists joined in with Orban’s anti-Semitic attacks on George Soros, who is held by the fascist and racist Right to be the archetypal figure of the International Jewish Financier. 

Even some liberal Zionists began to find out with the ascent to power of Donald Trump and his chief aide, Steve Bannon, ex-CEO of Breitbart News, that being an anti-Semite and a Zionist are quite compatible.  Naomi Zeveloff in Forward 15.11.16 How Steve Bannon and Breitbart News Can Be Pro-Israel — and Anti-Semitic at the Same Time described how ‘Breitbart News, ‘is widely known as a platform for white nationalism and anti-Semitism. It is also brazenly Zionist…’

This is the context in which the CST’s Report on Anti-Semitism should be treated.  23% of the anti-Semitic incidents were held to be politically motivated of which 49, some 28% were ‘anti-Zionist’.  This in itself is proof of where the CST is coming from.  Anti-Zionism is a form of anti-racism.  It opposes the Jewish Supremacist State of Israel.  If someone is anti-Semitic then they are not anti-Zionist.   It is Zionism which is happy to work with and co-exist with anti-Semitism. 

I get from time to time virulent anti-Semitic tweets from Zionists, like ‘shame your family survived world can do without cunts line (sic!) you.’  It is a common insult to use the Nazi term of ‘self hater’ against Jews with a conscience.  It is also logical.  Zionism holds that the only way to avoid anti-Semitism is to go to Israel.  Those Jews who don’t do this and even worse oppose Israel and Zionism deserve everything they get.  So anti-Zionist Jews are often told that it was a pity that Hitler didn’t get them.  Far from having a section for anti-Zionism if the CST were honest they would have a section reserved for Zionist anti-Semitism.  But here is the catch.  According to the spokesman for the CST Mark Gardener ‘CST does not classify clashes between Jews as antisemitic incidents.’  Zionist attacks on Jews, even if they are virulently anti-Semitic, don’t count as anti-Semitism! 

In a message sent to my blog, a Zionist posted ‘Greenstein, you traitorous bastard, you leftist liberal Jew.’  (in Israel these days there is no greater insult than being a ‘leftist’) went on to explain how ‘It's a shame that either Hitler or the Angel of Death, missed your family's house. Or Neturei Karta's.’  finishing up with ‘Don't even call yourself a Jew,traitor.’  According to the CST this is a ‘conflict’ between Jews rather than Zionist anti-Semitism!

It would be easy to take apart CST’s 2017 Report on Anti-Semitism.  19% of it consists of social media posts, which may be anti-Semitic but hardly constitute a threat to someone’s life and limb. They document 80 physical attacks but we have no way of knowing what these consist of. What we do know is that none of them were what they describe as ‘Extreme Violence’ i.e. GBH.  Of course any attack should be taken seriously, but when Muslims have to put up with arson attacks on Mosques and at Finsbury Park Mosque a racist driving a van onto the pavement killing one worshipper and injuring several others, we can put this into context. The attacks on Muslims are much more serious, much of the CST’s incidents consist of twitter posts and anti-Israel chants.  Yet the government has spent millions of pounds defending Jewish institutions from a non-existent threat but has done nothing similar to protect mosques and Muslim institutions.  Why?  Because the Government’s anti-terrorist strategy Prevent is based on a racist perception of Muslims as a problem.  Defending Jewish property is a way of defending support for Israel and Zionism – an essential requirement of British foreign policy.


We are told that there were 51 incidents of Damage & Desecration of Jewish property’ but we are not told exactly what these consist of.  Almost certainly they are trivial and minor instances of criminal damage, if that.  Indeed the CST doesn’t bother to outline what ‘Jewish property’ consists of.  There is no means of independently verifying the CST’s incidents except to say that there is a marked disparity, as I’ve noted before, between their reports and those of the Police.  For example how many of the assaults resulted in Police prosecutions?  What was the context?  At the Ecostream demonstrations in British four years ago I defended myself against an extremely racist Israeli AShaike Rozanski who attacked me. Yet I was the one who was charged with assault.  But perhaps this was too was recorded as an anti-Semitic incident?  Who knows except that the Police dropped charges.  Indeed there were a whole number of wholly bogus allegations made at the demonstrations against Palestine supporters, all of which led to acquittals in the courts.  Were they anti-Semitic incidents?

Until there is proper verification and independent oversight of how the CST works and records incidents everything they say and report should be treated sceptically.

Of course there are anti-Semitic attacks, in particular on ultra-orthodox Jews in Stamford Hill who are easily recognised as Jews by their garb.  Such attacks were completely ignored by the Home Affairs Select Committee Report on Anti-Semitism of October 2016 which recommended adoption of the bogus IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.
Like South Africa's Apartheid Prime Minister John Vorster before him, Kaminski is happy to pay homage to Zionism at the Yad Vashem propaganda museum

What we are seeing with the CST Report on Anti-Semitism, which has been taken up avidly by a press determined to defend and support the Israeli state, is the political weaponisation of anti-Semitism.  For the Zionists the encouragement of the belief that the British Jewish community is facing a tsunami of anti-Semitism is useful, not least in order to encourage the emigration of British Jews to Israel.


In the Pew Research Centre’s Global Attitudes Survey 2016 just 7% of British people are shown as having unfavourable attitudes to Jews compared to 45% for Roma and 28% for Muslims.  In other words racism against Muslims is measured as 4 times higher than anti-Semitism and anti-Roma hatred is over 6 times worse in Britain.  In Hungary which Netanyahu praises so highly a third of respondents (32%) harbour anti-Jewish feelings, again less than the 72% hostility to Muslims.  In other words, despite the best efforts of Zionism to create fake news about anti-Semitism, hatred of Jews in most countries, especially in Western Europe is all but non-existent.   To even attempt to compare it with the Nazi era, as the misnamed Campaign Against Anti-Semitism does, is to belittle and diminish the very real anti-Semitism that Jews in the 1930s experienced.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Supreme Court Abolishes Employment Tribunal Fees - Thank the Lib Dems, Jo Swinson & Vince Cable for introducing them

Grenfell Inquiry Judge Moore-Bick Rejected UNISON’s Application at the Court of Appeal 


I must confess that I have a personal interest in the historic judgment of the Supreme Court to overturn the introduction of penalty fees aimed at deterring applications to Employment Tribunals.  Before illness forced me into retirement in 2013 I had spent over a decade representing clients in Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal on behalf of Brighton Unemployed Workers Centre.  Far from most workers submitting vexatious claims my experience was that most people were loath to go through a tribunal hearing if they could avoid it.  It puts a great strain on most people.  Vexatious claimants can be easily barred but my experience was that rogue employers would and did everything to cheat employees out of their rights.  The Tory Government, with the active collusion of the Lib Dems, sought to prevent people exercising their lawful rights.

The Lib Dems and Jo Swinson now claim that they were taken by surprise at the drop in employment cases.  Only an idiot or a fool could have thought that the level at which fees were set would have no effect on tribunal applications.
If fees had been in existence I would have been unable to have brought a  whistleblowing case concerning corruption in a charity, the Deans Youth Project in Brighton.  Corruption which was covered up by Tory councillor Dee Simson and New Labour's Linda Newman
Although most of my cases succeeded in general it is only a minority of workers who succeed in Employment Tribunal cases.  Most cases are settled out of court.  In discrimination cases in particular, levels of success are as low as 20%.  It is very difficult proving that an employer sacked you because you are a woman or  disabled or pregnant or because you were a member of a trade union.  The employer's argument would be that the person wasn’t good at their job or that they were no longer needed.  Very few people admit to discriminating.  Employers have always had the cards stacked in their favour as very few employees are willing to give evidence against an employer if they are still working for them.  British judges are notorious for twisting the law in favour of the employer.  E.g. the Reverse Burden of Proof Regulations which were intended to make it easier for victims of discrimination have had almost no effect because of the way the judiciary has interpreted them.
A whistleblowing case I won at the EAT - it would have cost £2800 to bring the case if fees had existed
I specialised in Whistleblowing and my last major case involved a woman who was an office manager in a local Brighton charity, the Deans Youth Project, who revealed that the organisation was being systematically defrauded.  When she told the trustees, one of whom Dee Simson was a local Conservative councillor, they decided to sack the whistleblower and protect the person who had raked in thousands of pounds through false invoicing!  It took a 3 day tribunal with 3 other Conservative councillors giving evidence for us before the Tribunal unanimously finding in our favour.  
If an employer had sacked you unfairly or because you were pregnant or failed to pay you holiday pay then before July 2013 you could make an immediate application to an Employment Tribunal and if you failed there you could appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.  In a discrimination cae you could also submit a Questionnaire to the employer asking why they discriminated against you.  The Tories and the Lib Dems abolished this, extended the period before you could claim unfair dismissal to two years and introduced a raft of other provisions that reduced compensation and put other hurdles in employees place.  However the introduction of Tribunal fees by the Business Secretary Vince Cable and Jo Swinson meant that for most people it wasn't worth paying a small fortune to a Tribunal that was likely to find against you on procedural or other grounds.    
The Daily Mail warns of a 'tide of employment tribunal claims' a change from a 'tide' of immigrants
The most simple unfair deduction of wages claims would cost £390 to get into tribunal which meant that the lowest paid simply couldn’t afford to issue a claim especially as they would often be claiming less than that amount.  You therefore had the right to things like 28 days holiday pay, maternity pay etc. but if you can't enforce your rights then they are nugatory.
The reduction in claims since the introduction of fees - it took some effort to say nothing of hostility to  workers rights to ignore the evidence
For most other claims it cost £1,200 pounds to have a Tribunal hearing, a figure which deterred some 80% of people from even putting in claims.  If you didn’t have a trade union backing you or you didn’t get a high salary the chances were you had to forego your rights.  It cost even more, £1600, to put in an appeal to the EAT.  I won five cases at the EAT, which was the High Court for employment cases, but I doubt if any of my clients could have afforded £1,600.
Lib Dems Vince Cable Introduced Tribunal Fees
The Lib Dems are and always have been a right-wing pro-austerity  business party.  It was therefore natural that they should go into coalition with the Tories in 2010.  Whether it was the Bedroom Tax, the Privatisation of the NHS, Student Fees or Austerity, the Lib Dems played the part of the Tories loyal partners from 2010-2015. 
Jo Swinson, Lib-Dem Deputy Leader - introduced fees and now opposes them!
Jo Swinson, who is now the Lib Dems Deputy Leader, issued a press release in 2013 supporting the introduction of tribunal fees and as Under Secretary of State for Employment Relations she spoke in the House of Commons in favour of them!  Ed Davey was another Lib Dem Minister who played his part in the introduction of these fees.

Yet what would you expect from these opportunistic hypocrites after UNISON’s victory in the Supreme Court after four years litigation?  In the Daily Mail we have Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem’s deputy leader quoted as saying that ‘This is a landmark victory for workers and for access to justice.’  Yes it is indeed a landmark victory and a judgment that will be remembered for years for the way in which it embraced broad principles of the right to justice for those without means.  But it was also a judgment against the decisions that she made when she was an employment minister.
Grenfell Tower Judge Moore-Bick headed the Court of Appeal decision to ignore the evidence in favour of their class interests
No doubt if the courts were to strike down the bedroom tax the Lib Dems would welcome that too as a victory!  Only a party without a shred of principle could welcome a judgment which overturns their own previous policies in government.

The fact is that when you scratch a Lib Dem you find a Tory underneath.  Historically the Liberals were as reactionary as the Tories.  It was the Liberals under Asquith who led the opposition to womens’ suffrage and introduced the Cat and Mouse Act.  It was Lloyd George who introduced the Black and Tans into Ireland and threatened a carnival of violence if the Partition of Ireland wasn’t accepted.
Whistleblowing case which unearthed naked corruption in New Labour  inner city regeneration scheme
The victory by UNISON is very welcome especially given that three times in the past four years the High Court and the Court of Appeal have rejected the attempt by UNISON to have the fees declared unlawful.  I have to confess that when I first read the Court of Appeal judgment in the case in 2015 I was quite amazed by the quality of the arguments used in justification of the decision to reject UNISON’s application.  The Judges, including Sir Martin Moor-Bick went out of their way not to have to find in favour of UNISON.  

On the face of it it was clear that with a reduction of the order of 80% in the number of people making claims then the introduction of fees quite clearly were deterring people from putting in claims.  Not only was this an obstacle to obtaining justice but it breached the European legal principle of Effectiveness, that is they made it impossible to enforce one’s legal rights.

Yet the Court of Appeal adopted a miserable nitpicking approach that is typical of the lead judge Lord Underhill, a former President of the EAT and a judicial pedant.  In Para 67 it ruled that:


What they were saying was that yes, the introduction of fees had deterred people from making claims but it can be put down to the fact that it is inevitable that people will not exercise their rights when it costs them to get into tribunal!  That was precisely the point that UNISON were making, that when a tribunal is not free people don't apply yet the Judges, Moor-Bick among them were happy to find the slightest pretext to avoid the obvious.  In their Poor Law approach they cite the decision of the High Court that:

The mere fact that fees impose a burden on families with limited means and that they may have to use hard-earned savings is not enough. But it is not possible to identify any test for judging when a fee regime is excessive. It will be easier to judge actual examples of those who assert they have been or will be deterred by the level of fees imposed."

When UNISON’s counsel suggested that there was an ‘irresistible inference’ that the tribunal fees were deterring claimants, the Court of Appeal was determined to make it impossible to prove such a case.  Instead of looking at broad overarching principles

Para 68:  I have found this part of the case troubling. Like both Divisional Courts, I have a strong suspicion that so large a decline is unlikely to be accounted for entirely by cases of "won't pay" and that it must also reflect at least some cases of "can't pay"; and I have accordingly been tempted by Ms Monaghan's submission that the figures speak for themselves. But in the end I do not think that that is legitimate. The truth is that, looked at coolly, there is simply no safe basis for an untutored intuition about claimant behaviour or therefore for an inference that the decline cannot consist entirely of cases where potential claimants could realistically have afforded to bring proceedings but have made a choice not to.

What is most interesting about this tortured logic is the almost painful way the Court of Appeal struggled to find a way of avoiding the obvious inference from an 80% drop in claimants.  In essence what they were saying is that claimants chose not to pay tribunal fees because they spent their money on clothes, going out or heaven forbid drinking alcohol.  Working class people are expected to be abstemious and save up for months at a time (despite there being a 3 month limit on making most claims!).

Suffice to say that one of the three judges who were quite happy with this anti-working class clap trap was one Lord Justice Moore-Bick, who happens to be the judge who has been chosen to chair the Inquiry into Grenfell Tower.  Yet again it would appear that when given the choice, Moore-Bick demonstrates no sympathy at all with the poor.  It is yet another reason to campaign to remove this upper class reptile from the Grenfell Tower inquiry.

Tony Greenstein 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Why Israel and Zionism's Leaders Supports Viktor Orban's Anti-Semitic Campaign Against George Soros

Zionism has no objection to Orban Rehabilitating Hungary’s War-time pro-Nazi leader Miklos Horthy

The Main Enemy is Israel's human rights groups
Admiral Horthy and Hitler
In March 1989, in an article ‘Zionism and anti-Semitism’ [Return 1] I wrote, in respect of Israel’s warm relations with the neo-Nazi Junta in Argentina, which had tortured and murdered up to 3,000 left-wing Jews (as well as up to 30,000 non-Jewish socialists) between 1976 and 1983 that:

What Argentina demonstrates is that an anti-Semitic regime will also be authoritarian, semi-fascist and a creature of US imperialism. In short, one which the Israeli state is only too willing to do business with, politically, militarily and economically, its own Jews notwithstanding.’

The same could be said for Hungary today, which, with its 100,000 Jews is the largest such community in Eastern Europe.  Indeed the idea of helping stimulate a little anti-Semitism in Hungary order to ‘encourage’ its Jews to move to Israel must be almost irresistible to Zionism’s leaders.

Once again, given the choice between anti-Semites and those supporting universal values of human rights like B’tselem and Breaking the Silence, Zionism’s leaders prefer the former.
George Soros
Last week Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to Hungary to meet his good friend Prime Minister Viktor Orban.  Orban it was who was responsible for the erection of a barbed wire fence against Syrian refugees entering Hungary.  Netanyahu boasts of constructing a fence against African refugees trying to enter Israel from the Sinai desert.  Israel too refused to accept any Syrian refugees.  Clearly these two racists had a lot to talk about.

Just before Netanyahu set out on his travels, the Israeli Ambassador in Hungary, Yossi Amrani, in response to pressure from the Hungarian Jewish community, criticised Orban for an anti-Semitic campaign against the US billionaire and philanthropist, George Soros.  Soros grew up in Hungary as a child and he survived the Nazi dragnet and deportation to Auschwitz.  As a result of his experiences, which include the notorious collaboration between the Hungarian Zionists led by Rudolf Kasztner and the Nazi butchers under Eichmann, Soros became a non-Zionist.

Protesters demonstrate against Orbán’s education changes, outside the Central European University, founded by Soros. Photograph: Zoltan Balogh/AP
Soros’s major crime in the eyes of Zionism and Israel’s Right (which comprises some 90% of Israeli society), is that he has helped fund the liberal New Israel Fund and various human rights groups.  Soros has also funded various Open Society and anti-communist groups in Eastern European.  Viktor Orban also hates Soros.  His liberal Free University in Budapest has been the subject of a concerted campaign by Orban to close it down.  Budapest has seen a massive government funded poster campaign vilifying Soros.  The poster tells Hungarians that Soros  must not have the ‘last laugh’.  This is a thinly disguised reference to Hitler’s notorious ‘prophecy speech of January 30 1939, which he repeated on numerous occasions.
Campaign posters against George Soros at a subway station in Budapest, Hungary (Credit Pablo Gorondi/AP)
In his speech Hitler announced that he would
“once more be a prophet. If the international Jewish financiers inside and outside Europe should again succeed in plunging the nations into a world war, the result will not be the Bolshevisation of the earth and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation (vernichtung) of the Jewish race throughout Europe.” 

Hitler continued:
… I have often been a prophet in my life and was generally laughed at. During my struggle for power, the Jews primarily received with laughter my prophecies that I would someday assume the leadership of the state and ... then, among many other things, achieve a solution of the Jewish problem. I suppose that meanwhile the then surrounding laughter of Jewry in Germany is now choking in their throats.’
An anti-Soros billboard with a swastika and Soros’s name replaced by Viktor Orban’s, seen in Budapest, on July 17, 2017. (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)
Soros, is well known in Britain for his role in Black Wednesday when the pound was forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992, but not before Soros had made over $1 Billion at the Bank of England’s expense by selling sterling short.  Since then Soros has occupied the position of the demonic, all-powerful international Jewish financier, a figure much loved by anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.

One of the main purveyors of this image of Soros is Glenn Beck, formerly of Fox TV.  I say formerly because even Fox TV was forced to fire Beck when his anti-Semitic conspiracy theories became too much.  You get a flavour of the type of politics I am referring to from the following interview with John Cardillo who is described as an ‘investigative blogger at JohnCardillo.com, President of PsyID’. 
Burnt out gas station in Fergusson Missouri
You may remember the riots at Fergusson, Missouri nearly 3 years ago.  You might think that the cause of those riots was the Police murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18 year old Black teenager.  You would however be wrong.  It was all down to George Soros pulling the financial strings as the Jewish head of an ‘anti-American’ communist conspiracy. 

Glenn: Okay, so my question was radical Islamists, anti-Israel people, Communists, Socialists, will work together to destabilize Europe and the Western world, so now we’re looking at Ferguson. That fits into the Western world, and I wanted to know where is this push coming from, this anti-police push? Because I don’t believe that it’s actually ground, grassroots. So, I asked you to go in and look, who is starting the fire, and boy—

John: It’s interesting, isn’t it?

Glenn: It is. John: Well, you’re right. It’s the Islamists. It’s the Communists. It’s the anti-Americans, and it’s funded by a guy we all know, George Soros.

Glenn: What a surprise.

John: To the tune of $33 million that we can find.

Beck’s two-part “exposé” of George Soros, whom he called “The Puppet Master,” is held to have finally pushed Fox TV into firing him.  As Michelle Goldberg wrote in the Daily Beast, it was ‘a symphony of anti-Semitic dog-whistles.’ 

Of course none of this stopped Beck being awarded the Zionist Organization of America's 2011 Defender of Israel Award or being invited to address Israel’s Knesset. Beck’s reception was akin to a “rock concert.” MK Michael ben-Ari, an ex-Kahanist (who had previously torn up a copy of the New Testament) said “I think Glenn Beck should take my seat in the Knesset.”

During the course of his two year stint at Fox, Beck had openly recommended the work of Nazi sympathiser Elizabeth Dilling, who had spoken of “Ike the kike” and Kennedy’s New Frontier as the “Jew Frontier.” Beck devoted an entire show to a conspiracy theory on bankers such as the Rothschilds, interviewing the conspiracy theorist G. Edward Griffin, who described the Czarist anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion “as accurately describing much of what is happening in our world today.” The Protocols, which were the basis of much of the Nazis’ anti-Semitism, were described by Norman Cohn as a Warrant for Genocide.  Beck accused Soros of being a “puppet master notorious for collapsing economies and regimes all around the world”  Beck has however a defence against the charge of anti-Semitism.  He also attacks Soros as an atheist and for being a critic of Israel.

It is often said that anti-Semites hide their anti-Semitism behind criticism of Israel and Zionism whereas the opposite is far more common.  Most anti-Semites today, of which Beck is a good example, hide their anti-Semitism behind support of Israel. 

Viktor Orban therefore was in very good company when he launched his campaign against Soros.  Far from Netanyahu criticising him for his anti-Semitism, quite the opposite took place and Israel’s Ambassador in Hungary Yossi Amrani was forced to withdraw his mild criticisms of Orban.

The attack on Soros was the least of Orban’s sins though.  His real crime has been the campaign by Orban and his Fidesz party to rehabilitate Admiral Horthy, Hungary’s ruler between 1920 and 1944 and the author of Hungary’s war-time alliance with Nazi Germany.  Horthy was quite open about the fact that he was an anti-Semite:

As regards the Jewish problem, I have been an anti-Semite throughout my life. I have never had contact with Jews. I have considered it intolerable that here in Hungary everything, every factory, bank, large fortune, business, theatre, press, commerce, etc. should be in Jewish hands, and that the Jew should be the image reflected of Hungary, especially abroad. Since, however, one of the most important tasks of the government is to raise the standard of living, i.e., we have to acquire wealth, it is impossible, in a year or two, to replace the Jews, who have everything in their hands, and to replace them with incompetent, unworthy, mostly big-mouthed elements, for we should become bankrupt. This requires a generation at least. [R Patai, the Jews of Hungary, p. 546]

Instead from 1938 onwards Horthy introduced three successive anti-Jewish acts, the last one of which in August 1941 outlawed sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews and defined as Jewish anyone with 2 or more Jewish grandparents.

In March 1944, after learning of Hungarian peace overtures to the Allies, German troops invaded its ally and set up a pro-Nazi government under Döme Sztójay, the Hungarian Ambassador to Germany.  
On May 15th the deportation of 437,000 Jews to Auschwitz began and it was not until July 7th that Horthy finally put an end to the deportations.  Virtually all Jews in the provinces had been deported but those in Budapest had largely escaped (although around 50,000 were to die at the hands of the Iron Cross government that the Nazis installed from October 23rd onwards).  Historians will argue over the actual responsibility of Horthy for the extermination of the bulk of Hungarian Jewry however it is indisputable that if Horthy was able to put an end to the deportations in early July he could have done so far sooner.  It was only with  a massive US bombardment of Budapest on July 2nd and what amounted to a ‘bombardment of Horthy’s conscience’ by the Pope, King Gustav of Sweden and many other world leaders, that the deportations were brought to an end.

The fact that Benjamin Netanyahu can not only sup with Viktor Orban but actually join in with the attack on George Soros shows the depth to which Zionism will go.  The fake condemnation of ‘anti-Semitism’ by Zionism in the West should not blind us to the fact that Zionism has no problems with genuine anti-Semitism, indeed it welcomes anti-Semitism in many cases.  It is only opposition to Israel and Zionism, to the racism and apartheid that Palestinians experience, that is deemed ‘anti-Semitism’.  Genuine Jew hatred can always be forgiven if the anti-Semite in question supports Israel.

Below are a number of articles from Ha’aretz, Israel’s only liberal daily, decrying the alliance between Netanyahu and the Israeli government and the Hungarian anti-Semites of Fidesz and Orban.
Tony Greenstein

The more nationalistic Israel becomes, the more its affection will grow for those who promote nationalism and xenophobia, even if they are anti-Semites, as seen in Netanyahu's dealings with Hungary's government

Haaretz Editorial Jul 13, 2017 3:04 AM

The Hungarian government’s announcement that it will remove posters denouncing Hungarian-born Jewish tycoon George Soros before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrival in the country does not in any way mitigate the premier’s scandalous behavior in this matter.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his party, Fidesz, are conducting a nationalist, racist and Islamophobic election campaign. With rhetoric that is most familiar to the Israeli ear, they claim that Soros is funding civil society organizations and liberal nonprofits in Hungary. The Jewish community in Hungary has expressed concern that the campaign is encouraging anti-Semitism, and the Israeli ambassador in Hungary issued a condemnation and demanded the posters be removed. But the Hungarian right’s ideological partners among the Israeli right wing were infuriated by the ambassador’s announcement, as it ostensibly defended Soros, whom they see as assisting the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against Israel.

Netanyahu, as usual, succumbed to the pressure, and his office ordered the Foreign Ministry to issue a clarification, stating that the earlier condemnation “in no way was meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.”

Ultra-nationalism is and has always been inherently linked to anti-Semitism, including hatred of the “universal Jew,” whose very existence is seen as a threat to subvert the world’s division into nations. The behavior of the Netanyahu government shows that even Israel, the Jewish state, is not immune to this hatred.

Israelis don’t need Soros to know that Jews can be declared subversives in their own country. Those who advance universalist agendas and fight for human rights, including the rights of minorities and foreigners, are denounced in Israel as enemies. Their Jewishness is irrelevant to this loyalty test. Moreover, the more Israelis view the occupation not as a problem to resolve but as the flagship of Jewish nationalism, the more its opponents are perceived as enemies of the people.

It seems loyalty to Israel is being evaluated by new parameters in keeping with the spirit of the times. Two weeks ago Orban praised the Holocaust-era Hungarian ruler Miklos Horthy, who collaborated with the Nazis and under whom half a million Hungarian Jews were sent to the death camps. Israel protested Orban’s comments, but so as not to affect Netanyahu’s planned meeting with him next week, made do with the weak clarification offered by the Hungarian foreign minister.

The more nationalistic Israel becomes, the more the hatred of those carrying the banner of moral values and a universalist identity will grow, and they will be perceived as enemies even if they are Jews. At the same time, Israel’s affection will grow for those who promote nationalism and xenophobia, even if they are anti-Semites.


PM Netanyahu endorsed a campaign whose intent was clear: Soros, the Jew, and Orban's hate-figure, is Hungary's Enemy Number One. Hitler would have been gratified

Shimon Stein and Moshe Zimmerman Jul 13, 2017 3:24 PM
Adolf Hitler often referred to the trope of the 'Laughing Jew', the Nazi backstory to Hungary's anti-Soros poster campaign: Anti-Semitic Nazi poster auctioned in Munich, Germany. April 24, 2017. Matthias Schrader/AP

Adolf Hitler, November 8, 1942: 

"Today, countless [Jews] who laughed at that time, laugh no longer. Those who are still laughing now, also will perhaps laugh no longer soon... International Jewry will be recognized in all its demoniac peril." 

Hitler repeated this 'prophecy' many times from January 1939 onwards: that the 'laughing Jew' would be exterminated. By November 1942, the Holocaust was already no laughing matter. Nearly four million Jews had already been murdered.

Every literate person acquainted with the history of the Shoah is familiar with Hitler's repeated outbursts concerning the "laughing Jew." All the more, we should assume, must an Israeli, educated to remember the Shoah, be sensitive and alert when it comes to the anti-Semitic archetype of the laughing Jew.

With that historical context  and moral commitment in mind, Israel's Ambassador to Hungary Yossi Amrani, in coordination with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, reacted immediately to the posters blanketing the country in a campaign instigated by the ruling  Fidesz party, calling on the Hungarian people not to let George Soros "be the one who laughs last". Amrani stated: "The campaign not only evokes sad memories but also sows hatred and fear."

The intent behind the posters is clear: Soros, the Jew, and Prime Minister Viktor Orban's hate-figure, is Hungary's Enemy Number One. The allusion to Hitler's speech, conscious or not, is unambiguous and Amrani's protest against the men behind this poster was only natural. The Jewish community of Hungary is appalled and the ambassador of the country that claims to be the representative of the Jewish people reacted accordingly. 

How do we therefore explain the response of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, usually extremely sensitive to supposedly anti-Semitic expressions, who openly criticized his ambassador's justified protest?

He did it by "reinterpreting" Amrani's statement: First of all: Amrani's intent was not to delegitimize those who criticize Soros, i.e. Orban and the Fidesz party. Moreover: Soros is a person "who continuously undermines Israel's democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state", and for that, he deserves this reprimand.


The anti-Soros posters blanketing Budapest metro stations. The government-led ad campaign included billboards, posters and TV ads Pablo Gorondi/AP

Here we are: The Israeli government exculpates the Hungarian government, and turns the victim of an anti-Semitic attack, Soros, into the perpetrator, the common enemy.

In pursuing its national interest, Israel has struck a balance between realpolitik and moral politics, that is to say, a value-based policy. Not always an easy task, but an essential one, especially for the state that has taken upon itself to speak and fight for the Jewish people when it comes to combating anti-Semitism.

And so in the case of Hungary, while preserving Israeli national interests, there is absolutely no need to embrace politicians (and parties) who are nationalists, racists or anti-Semites, who disguise themselves as supporters of Israel, just because both parties fight against a "common enemy" – the Left (in this case, Soros). This explains the absurd alliance between Orban's Hungary and Netanyahu's Israel and the slap in the face of Hungarian Jewry, or better – in face of diaspora Jews wherever they live.

Only a year ago Netanyahu went so far as to put the blame on the Mufti of Jerusalem for generating the Final Solution. The same Netanyahu is not going to cancel his upcoming visit to "friendly" Hungary in spite of the fact that Prime Minister Orban recently praised another of  Hitler's collaborators, Admiral Miklos Horthy, who made a far more decisive contribution to Hitler's Final Solution than the Mufti.

Activists from the Egyutt (Together) party tear down an ad by the Hungarian government against George Soros in Budapest. July 12, 2017 Pablo Gorondi/AP
When the Hungarian government, under pressure, announced Wednesday that it would remove the posters from the public sphere, it did not apologize for their anti-Semitic character, but declared that their aim had already been achieved.  

Israel, usually quick at suggesting anti-Semitic motives from people who dare criticize its policies, be it the foreign ministers of Sweden or Germany, or even Israeli human rights NGOs, seems to turn a blind eye to anti-Semitism stemming from dubious "friends".

Fighting anti-Semitism is a fundamental plank of Israeli politics, but anti-Semitism should not be confused with legitimate criticism against Israeli policies; the fears of diaspora Jewry must be taken seriously; and last but not least, any Israeli  legitimization for populist right-wing parties in Europe, not least when they undermine the historical record of the Holocaust and the fight against contemporary anti-Semitism, must be avoided at all price.

Shimon Stein served as Israel's Ambassador to Germany 2000-7 and is research fellow at the INSS, Tel Aviv University

Moshe Zimmermann is a historian and Professor Emeritus at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Shimon Stein

Attacking Soros: Israel’s Unholy Covenant With Europe’s anti-Semitic Ultra-right

To crush ‘the ‘enemy within’, its leftist critics, Israel’s government will go all the way – complicity with Hungary’s anti-Soros campaign and spitting in the face of the Jewish diaspora included

Hillel Ben-Sasson Jul 12, 2017 2:18 PM

For more than a decade now, right wing NGOs such as Im Tirtzu and My Israel have been leading vehement campaigns against progressive philanthropies. They are enthusiastically assisted by politicians in the Likud and HaBayit HaYehudi parties.

For the right, such attacks kill two birds with one stone.

First, in the absence of a functioning center-left parliamentary opposition in Israel, attacks seek to delegitimize the most vocal opposition against government policies  - those that tend to originate in civil society.

Secondly, by shifting the focus to "the enemies within", Israel’s right-wing leadership – de facto in power for four consecutive decades – manages to evade wide public criticism against its stagnant governance and policies. Attacking the New Israel Fund or European governments who support human rights work in Israel served as an Archimedean inflection point to discredit many dozens of their grantees, rendering all as traitors in a wholesale manner.

The success of the right’s strategy has been so overwhelming that in public debates in Israel and the Diaspora today, right wingers have largely abandoned the practice of providing arguments and simply respond to challenges by arguing that their interlocutor is funded by the aforementioned ‘evil’ anti-Israeli forces and therefore not worthy of stating any claim.

You’d expect that, bearing in mind this ever-expanding attack on progressive foreign aid, George Soros’ global philanthropic Open Society Foundations, which embodies the kind of support the right demonizes, would become an obvious major target.

Yet, until last week, little to no attention was paid by the usual Israeli right-wing attackers to Soros or to OSF. In all probability, the reason for “sparing” Soros’ philanthropy thus far lay in the nature of their giving. Spending many millions on humanitarian causes and democracy-building around the wider Middle East, OSF’s activity in Israel specifically and in relation to it has always been limited.
Mass protest against the Hungarian government’s campaign against civil society organizations, Heroes Square, Budapest. April 12, 2017.Zoltan Balogh/AP
If Soros and the OSF were never prominent enough to merit a direct negative campaign for Israel’s diligent right wing, why now? The answer is not to be found in any of Soros’ recent actions, but rather in the shifting interests of Israel’s hard right.

Underlying the official assault on Soros and his alleged support of BDS against Israel is the growing alliance of Israeli right-wingers with Europe’s radical right.

It began with the disturbing welcome given by members of the Likud governing party to Austrian radical right politicians. Later on, similar ties were forged between more members of Israel’s right wing, mostly its national religious faction, and new partners in Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, the American alt-right and of course, Hungary. 

United around a shared hate of Arabs and Muslims, radical European right-wingers provided for certain Israeli politicians and activists a way out of their isolation in the international arena. In return, Israeli counterparts provided kosher certificates attesting that the foreign hardliners are not the anti-Semites they seem to be.

United by a shared hatred of Arabs and Muslims, radical European right-wingers offer the Israeli right legitimization: Hungarian PM Viktor Orban at the Fidesz Party congress, Budapest. Dec 13, 2015
United by a shared hatred of Arabs and Muslims, radical European right-wingers offer the Israeli right legitimization: Hungarian PM Viktor Orban at the Fidesz Party congress, Budapest. Dec 13, 2015Bloomberg

The naked truth regarding this unholy covenant was exposed when only two days after condemning the Hungarian prime minister’s vicious and openly anti-Semitic campaign against Soros, the Israeli government partly retracted and joined the choir against the Jewish billionaire and his progressive operations. It took no more than a handful of angry tweets from right-wing pundits to remind PM Netanyahu that his electoral base is not against the new anti-Semites, but rather consider them their next-of-kin. The fight against anti-Semitism could be discarded in order to make room for a shared negative portrait of Soros.

This move ought to be highly disturbing for anyone who believes in Israel and the Jewish project of national self-determination. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, one of Israel’s fundamental commitments was, and still is, the fight against anti-Semitism in all its guises and forms.

This is not only a way of protecting Israel and its international status from quasi-diplomatic forms of hidden anti-Semitism. It is also a core element of Israeli solidarity with Diaspora Jews. Abandoning this most basic tenet of Israel’s foundational core values and mission marks a dangerous slippery slope, that adds to the escalating rift between most U.S. Jews and the Israeli governing elites.  

To crush ‘the enemy within’, its leftist critics, Israel’s government will go all the way, anti-Semitism included: Im Tirtzu campaign targeted left-wing artists as fifth columnists
To crush ‘the enemy within’, its leftist critics, Israel’s right-wing will go all the way, anti-Semitism included: Im Tirtzu campaign targeted left-wing artists as fifth columnists

An even more concerning aspect of these new and critically near-sighted alliances between the Israeli right and ultra-nationalist powers in Europe and the U.S. touches on the Holocaust itself. European ultra-nationalists don’t only rely on the Israeli support in rewriting their countries’ role in implementing the Final Solution; they also contribute directly to the recent upsurge in anti-Semitic incidents against Jews in the Diaspora.

Can it be that in order to secure support for the settlement project, Israel is turning its back to the Jewish people and their safety? Can it be that unwittingly, Israeli leaders are promoting a new and sophisticated form of Holocaust denial? These are the important questions to be asked, and not the irresponsible diversions of the nuances of George Soros’ position on Zionism.

Hillel Ben-Sasson is a visiting assistant professor of Israel Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York. In the past he worked as Director of Programs for Molad, a think tank that received partial support from the Open Society Foundations.

On Netanyahu’s Orders: Israel's Foreign Ministry Retracts Criticism of anti-Semitism in Hungary and Strongly Attacks Soros


On Saturday, Israel’s ambassador to Hungary issued harsh statement calling on Hungarian PM and his party to remove posters against the Jewish billionaire ■ Foreign Ministry spokesperson: Soros is constantly undermining Israeli government by financing organizations that defame Jewish state

Barak Ravid Jul 09, 2017 10:26 PM

At the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry on Sunday retracted a statement issued the previous day by the Israeli ambassador to Hungary, which had called on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his party to halt a poster campaign against Jewish-American financier George Soros on the grounds that it was fueling anti-Semitism.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon issued a clarification that refrained from criticizing Orbán but also sharply criticized Soros himself, using claims similar to the ones being made against him by the Hungarian government.

“Israel deplores any expression of anti-Semitism in any country and stands with Jewish communities everywhere in confronting this hatred. This was the sole purpose of the statement issued by Israel’s ambassador to Hungary,” the statement said. “In no way was the statement meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.”

The tension comes at a particularly sensitive time, since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Orbán in Budapest on July 18, during what will be the first visit of an Israeli premier to Hungary in 30 years. The day after their meeting, Netanyahu and Orbán are scheduled to meet with the leaders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.

On Saturday, Israeli Ambassador to Hungary Yossi Amrani issued an extraordinarily sharp statement in which he called on Orbán and his party, Fidesz, to remove posters hung throughout the country that criticized Soros.

The posters appearing all over Hungary over the past few days feature a picture of Soros laughing and are captioned, “Let’s not let Soros have the last laugh.”

Some of the posters were glued to the floor of train cars in Budapest and other cities, so that anyone boarding the train would have to step on them. 

Orbán and Fidesz are attacking Soros – who was born in Budapest and survived Nazi-occupied Hungary – because of the latter’s supposed activity against Hungary’s harsh policies toward the entry of Muslim refugees.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Budapest, July 4, 2017.ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP
Orbán and Fidesz have taken what many see as a nationalist, racist and Islamophobic line ahead of the 2018 election. They claim Soros funds civil society groups and liberal associations in Hungary with the purpose of “settling a million migrants” in the country.

The Jewish community in Hungary, numbering over 100,000, is extremely concerned by the messages in Orbán’s election campaign – particularly the ones against Soros. Since the launch of the campaign, the Hungarian media has reported a number of incidents in which anti-Semitic graffiti has been spray-painted on the posters.

Senior figures in the Jewish community have conveyed very worried messages to the Israeli Embassy in Budapest about the posters, which they say have anti-Semitic connotations and encourage an atmosphere of aggression against Jews, especially because many Hungarians consider Soros as first and foremost Jewish.

Following the messages conveyed by the local Jewish communities, there were consultations between Amrani and Foreign Ministry staffers in Jerusalem, after which it was decided to issue a statement critical of the poster campaign.

The wording of the statement was approved by the ministry’s deputy director general for diplomacy, Alon Ushpiz, and Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem.

“The campaign not only evokes sad memories but also sows hatred and fear,” the statement said. “It’s our moral responsibility to raise a voice and call on the relevant authorities to exert their power and put an end to this cycle.”

Although Netanyahu holds the foreign ministry portfolio, the senior Foreign Ministry officials that approved the wording of the statement did not coordinate its release with the Prime Minister’s Office, which learned of it from the media.

After the statement was issued, there was also pushback from right-wing politicians and media outlets, which condemned the Foreign Ministry for issuing a statement that seemed to defend Soros, whom the Israeli right sees as leading the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

As a result of this pressure, the Prime Minister’s Office ordered the Foreign Ministry to issue a clarification that included a general denunciation of anti-Semitism without specifically mentioning Hungary, while also criticizing Soros.

This is the second recent clash between Israel and Hungary over messages with anti-Semitic connotations promulgated by Orbán and his party.

At an election rally two weeks ago, Orbán praised Hungary’s leader during World War II, Miklós Horthy, who collaborated with the Nazis and under whose rule 500,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to extermination camps, where most were murdered.

Israel protested the statements to the government in Budapest. However, in order not to compromise the upcoming summit, it agreed to restraint itself and made do with a weakly worded clarification by the Hungarian foreign minister.

see also With Netanyahu in town, Hungary’s Jews lament Israel ‘deserting’ them