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Saturday, 24 June 2017

John Mann Attempts to Rekindle Labour’s False Anti-Semitism Campaign

Early Day Motion Supporting IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism Means Supporting Israeli Apartheid

Write to your MP asking them not to sign it 

Model Letter Below

This is what Joan Ryan MP's idea of loyalty to the Labour Party amounted to 
It was only a few days ago that I wrote about the disappointment of Labour Friends of Israel and Labour’s Zionist lobby at the fact that Jeremy Corbyn did so well in the election. [Labour Friends of Israel & the Zionists are Set to Relaunch False ‘Anti-Semitism’ Campaign].  Joan Ryan, Chair of Labour Friends of Israel and one of the most corrupt MPs, issued a letter to her constituents in which she compared Corbyn unfavourably to Theresa May:
John Mann - the leader of the false 'anti-Semitism' witch hunt
“I know from speaking to people around here that many who have previously voted Labour are thinking hard this time because, they tell me, they have more confidence in Theresa May as prime minister than they would have in Jeremy Corbyn.

“The polls are all saying that the Conservative party will win a large majority, possibly with more MPs than they have ever had before. Realistically, no one thinks Theresa May will not be prime minister or that she will not have the majority she needs to negotiate Brexit.”
This blog forced John Mann to delete the above FB page

The latest effort to restart the false 'anti-Semitism' campaign is an Early Day Motion, in essence a parliamentary petition which MPs sign, as an indication for the support a topic has.  John Mann has put a second EDM down this year supporting the International Holocaust Definition of anti-Semitism.  The IHRA, which is essentially the same as the old Working Definition on Anti-Semitism that the European Union's Fundamental Rights Agency junked 4 years, has just been rejected by the University Colleges Union (UCU).

Fraser -v- UCU Employment Tribunal was scathing about the quality of Mann's evidence

Whereas some on the Right, like Owen Smith, have accepted that they were wrong and are apparently reformed sinners, others such as John Mann, Ryan, Streeting and Woodcock are determined to continue the fight against Corbyn and the Left. For them, the main enemy is Corbyn not the Conservatives.

Ken Livingstone being harangued by a bore

Ryan and Mann’s priorities are stopping Corbyn not achieving a Labour government.  After all no one is more supportive of Israel than Theresa May. She is the lesser evil. Mann campaigned furiously in the summer of 2015 to have the ballot called off when it appeared that Corbyn would win the leadership. A rekindling of the false ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign is seen by Mann, Ryan and co. as the best way of undermining Corbyn.

Joan Ryan MP for Tel Aviv North attack on Corbyn is exploited by Daily Mail to attack Corbyn in election

Mann last year stage managed an attack on Ken Livingstone in conjunction with the Murdoch media for speaking the truth when he said that the Nazis had supported Zionism.  Mann as Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Anti-Semitism has fought a long- campaign alleging that the Labour Party is overrun with ‘anti-Semitism’ and pillorying Corbyn for not rooting out fake ‘anti-Semitism’.  He has called for both myself and Jackie Walker to be expelled.

Mann has fought tirelessly to conflate criticism of the Israeli state with ‘anti-Semitism’.  That is why he supports the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.  It contains a short, confusing and ambiguous definition of anti-Semitism and then 11 examples which might be anti-Semitic, 7 of which relate to Israel. Despite stating explicitly that it is a ‘non-legal definition’ the IHRA has been used to attack free speech, Israel Apartheid week and Palestine events up and down the country.

Letter from Joan Ryan to her constituents attacking Jeremy Corbyn - 

A legal opinion from Hugh Tomlinson QC was recently obtained which holds that the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is vague and unclear.  He concludes that ‘A public authority which sought to apply the IHRA Definition to prohibit or sanction such activities [e.g. calling Israel a racist endeavour or an Apartheid state] would be acting unlawfully.’

Sir Stephen Sedley, the most radical civil liberties minded Judge to have sat on the Court of Appeal, who is himself Jewish, was even more coruscating.  He spoke of:

The only thing Joan Ryan didn't claim for was her toilet paper (wait - I'll check!)
‘a protean definition of anti-semitism which is open to manipulation and capture by the background interests I have mentioned. In this regard I would go rather further than Hugh Tomlinson does in his careful and well-reasoned Opinion. The governing proposition that antisemitism is “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews” carries the clear implication that it may equally be expressed in other, unspecified, ways.

As Hugh Tomlinson says, this passage is vague and confusing; but I am not sure that the critique should stop there. It seems to me that its open-ended formulation has a thought-out purpose: to bring within the pale of antisemitism perceptions of Jews — possibly but not necessarily of all Jews — which fall short of hatred. While this may legitimately cover familiar antisemitic slanders about greed, clannishness and so forth, it is also capable of embracing perceptions of Zionism which are the subject of legitimate debate and disagreement.

That this is part of the intended reach is now becoming evident. One of the adopted examples is “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavour.” This passage bristles with controversial assumptions. Is there a single entity capable of being characterised as “the Jewish people”? Am I obliged to regard myself as bound by ethnicity to people like Benjamin Netanyahu? Then, assuming that there is such an ethnic entity, from where does it derive a collective right to self-determination capable of defeating the right to self-determination of other peoples, above all the Palestinian people? There have been many Jews — my father was one — who long before 1947 opposed the Zionist project on the ground that Jewish exceptionalism was exactly what antisemitism needed.

.... why are people, including many Jews, not entitled, without being branded anti-Semitic, to regard it [Israel] in its present form as both a colonialist and an apartheid state? The demand that criticism, to be legitimate, must be ‘similar to that levelled against any other country’ assumes that there are other countries which behave like Israel. There may well be, but how can this properly be a precondition of any criticism?’[my emphasis]

The IHRA definition has but one purpose.  By defining anti-Semitism as loosely and vaguely as possible, it can brand virtually all opposition to Zionism and Israel as ‘anti-Semitic’.  The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is over 420 words because it needs to be lengthy in order to conflate anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.  There is a much shorter, 21 word definition drawn up by Brian Klug in his lecture to the Jewish Museum in Berlin 'What Do We Mean When We Say ‘Antisemitsm’?  Echoes of shattering glass' in November 2014. Klug is a lecturer at Oxford University and an academic expert in anti-Semitism. The problem for the Zionists is that it doesn't mention Israel.  

antisemitism is a form of hostility to Jews as Jews, where Jews are perceived as something other than what they are.’

The IHRA is a group of 31 countries who have adopted a definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ which accords with western support for Israel. It is an imperialist definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ and has nothing whatsoever to do with hatred of Jewish people.

Amongst these 31 countries is Hungary, whose Prime Minister Victor Orban is a racist whose attitude to refugees needs no elaborating.  Orban is set on rehabilitating Admiral Horthy who presided over the deportation of nearly ½m Jews to Auschwitz from March 19th to July 9th 1944.  [The Reinterment and Political Rehabilitation of Miklós Horthy, Randolph Braham].  Like the anti-Semites in Trump’s administration, Orban is ardently pro-Zionist.  Another member state of the IHRA is Poland whose Law & Justice party government is sympathetic to anti-Semitism. 

Theresa May’s government has warmly welcomed the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, yet the Tory Party is part of the European Conservative and Reform group in the European parliament.  This group includes Poland’s Law & Justice Party as well as Latvia’s Robert Zile of the Fatherland & Freedom/LNNK. Zile spends every March going on a demonstration with the veterans of the Latvian Waffen SS who participated in the extermination of Latvia’s Jews.

The IHRA is an inter-governmental definition of anti-Semitism whose purpose is to brand opponents of Israel as ‘anti-Semitic’.  It has nothing to do with the traditional understanding of anti-Semitism as hatred or hostility to Jews.

In January John Mann, who I exposed on this blog as a liar for denigrating a 90 year old Jewish doctor who had criticised him, put down an EDM supporting the IHRA definition of ‘anti-Semitism’.  Mann is now up to his old tricks again and has proposed the following EDM. I suggest that people write to their MP and also those MPs who signed the EDM last time, urging them not to sign it this time.  It would be a waste of time emailing the DUP MPs as they are all Christian Zionist bigots. Caroline Lucas has already stated that she no longer supports the IHRA.


The MPs who signed the last EDM and who were re-elected recently are:

Conservative Party
Harrow East
19.01.2017
Conservative Party
Worthing West
24.01.2017
Liberal Democrats
Carshalton and Wallington
02.02.2017
Scottish National Party
Kilmarnock and Loudoun
23.01.2017
Scottish National Party
East Kilbride Strathaven and Lesmahagow
02.02.2017
Labour Party
West Lancashire
25.01.2017
Labour Party
Bolton North East
31.01.2017
Scottish National Party
Linlithgow and East Falkirk
25.01.2017
Democratic Unionist Party
Belfast North
02.02.2017
Labour Party
Liverpool Riverside
03.02.2017
Scottish National Party
Motherwell and Wishaw
20.01.2017
Labour Party
Don Valley
03.02.2017
Labour Party
Ilford South
24.01.2017
Scottish National Party
North East Fife
02.03.2017
Scottish National Party
North Ayrshire and Arran
25.01.2017
Labour Party
Stretford and Urmston
03.02.2017
Scottish National Party
Inverness Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey
20.01.2017
INDEPENDENT
North Down
30.01.2017
Labour Party
Barking
20.01.2017
Labour Party
Luton North
19.01.2017
Labour Party
Knowsley
25.01.2017
Scottish National Party
Dundee West
24.01.2017
Conservative Party
New Forest East
30.01.2017
Green Party
Brighton Pavilion
26.01.2017
Labour Party
Bassetlaw
18.01.2017
Labour Party
York Central
30.03.2017
Labour Party
City of Chester
20.01.2017
Labour Party
St Helens North
30.01.2017
Scottish National Party
Falkirk
25.01.2017
Labour Party
Wigan
02.02.2017
Democratic Unionist Party
North Antrim
25.01.2017
Labour Party
St Helens South and Whiston
02.02.2017
Democratic Unionist Party
Belfast East
23.01.2017
Labour Party
Coventry North West
02.02.2017
Labour Party
Enfield North
02.02.2017
Plaid Cymru
Dwyfor Meirionnydd
24.01.2017
Democratic Unionist Party
Strangford
19.01.2017
Democratic Unionist Party
Upper Bann
25.01.2017
Labour Party
Stoke-on-Trent North
02.02.2017
Scottish National Party
Glasgow South West
23.01.2017
Labour Party
Ilford North
02.02.2017
Labour Party
Blackley and Broughton
22.02.2017
Labour Party
Liverpool West Derby
03.02.2017
Labour Party
Leicester East
27.01.2017

 The e-contacts for the above are:

bob.blackman.mp@parliament.uk, alan.brown.mp@parliament.uk, lisa.cameron.mp@parliament.uk, rosie@rosiecooper.net, crausbyd@parliament.uk, martyn.day.mp@parliament.uk, louise.ellman.mp@parliament.uk, marion.fellows.mp@parliament.uk, caroline.flint.mp@parliament.uk, mike.gapes.mp@parliament.uk, stephen.gethins.mp@parliament.uk, patricia.gibson.mp@parliament.uk, kate.green.mp@parliament.uk, drew.hendry.mp@parliament.uk, sylvia.hermon.mp@parliament.uk, hodgem@parliament.uk, hopkinsk@parliament.uk

george.howarth.mp@parliament.uk, chris.law.mp@parliament.uk, caroline.lucas.mp@parliament.uk, john.mann.mp@parliament.uk, rachael.maskell.mp@parliament.uk, chris.matheson.mp@parliament.uk, chris.matheson.mp@parliament.uk, john.mcnally.mp@parliament.uk, lisa.nandy.mp@parliament.uk, marie.rimmer.mp@parliament.uk, robinsong@parliament.uk, joan.ryan.mp@parliament.uk, liz.savilleroberts.mp@parliament.uk, ruth.smeeth.mp@parliament.uk, chris.stephens.mp@parliament.uk, wes.streeting.mp@parliament.uk, graham.stringer.mp@parliament.uk, stephen.twigg.mp@parliament.uk, vazk@parliament.uk


This is the EDM that Mann put down on 21st June.  So far it has one signatory.

EDM 7: IHRA DEFINITION - Session: 2017-19 Date tabled: 21.06.2017 Primary sponsor: Mann, John   
That this House welcomes the adoption of a formal definition of anti-Semitism by the Government in response to the work of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA); further welcomes the agreed cross-party support for the definition, including from the Leader of the Opposition and hon. members of all political parties represented in the House in the previous Parliament; congratulates the IHRA and its 31 member countries for adopting the definition; notes that the definition has been officially adopted by the Government, the Labour Party, the UK Police College, the Crown Prosecution Service, the National Union of Students, Universities UK, the London Assembly, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and a number of local councils; welcomes the Government's update report on anti-Semitism, including progress made in ensuring wider adoption of the definition; and calls on all other political parties, universities, councils and other public bodies and organisations to continue to adopt the definition and use it to better understand and act against anti-Jewish hatred.

Below is a model letter to your MP, which you might like to amend according to circumstances and send them:

Dear Member of Parliament,

I am writing to you because you were one of 59 MPs who supported an Early Day Motion, sponsored by John Mann, in January 2017 welcoming the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. Mann has put down a new EDM on the same topic.  The IHRA conflates anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.  If you are genuinely opposed to anti-Semitism then accusing people who are not racists of anti-Semitism is the best way of giving succour and support to genuine anti-Semites.  That is one reason why the Christian bigots of the DUP have all signed up to it.

The accusation that opposition to Zionism, the movement that led to the creation of a ‘Jewish’ state, is anti-Semitic has a long pedigree. This is unsurprising since it is easier to question the motives of Israel’s critics than to defend its policies. 

The IHRA suggests that it is anti-Semitic to describe Israel as a racist endeavour.  How else is one to describe a situation in which Israel rules over 5 million people, who have no civil or political rights and has done so for 50 years?  A situation in which those living under occupation co-exist with settlers who have stolen their land and who are subject to an entirely different legal system? 

Nothing demonstrates the apartheid nature of Israel’s military occupation better than the disparity of treatment between Jewish and Palestinian children.  Israeli children cannot be detained under the age of 14.  In just one month (March/April) five Palestinian children were killed by Israel’s army. Palestinian children as young as 12 can be detained. There are repeated reports of the use of solitary confinement, shackling and torture of (Palestinian) children.  Yet according to the IHRA describing this as apartheid is being ‘anti-Semitic’.
The IHRA is being pushed by Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement, the ‘sister’ party of the Israeli Labour Party which, in 1948, expelled nearly a million Palestinians in order to create a ‘Jewish’ state.  It has not changed. Isaac Herzog, its present leader, recently declared that his nightmare was waking up to find that Israel had a Palestinian Prime Minister and 61 Palestinian Members of the Knesset.  Herzog also declared that he wanted to dispel the false impression that the ILP were ‘Arab Lovers’ 
Herzog slammed for remark about ‘Arab lovers’ If you doubt that these remarks are racist then what would your reaction be if someone said their nightmare was to wake up and find Britain had a Jewish Prime Minister or that the Labour Party should not be a ‘Jew lovers’ party?

Ever since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party there has been a false ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign, waged by LFI and the JLM.  In May 2017 Sir Stephen Sedley, the most radical Judge to have sat on the Court of Appeal, and himself Jewish, wrote an article, Defining Anti-Semitism for London Review of Books.

Shorn of philosophical and political refinements, anti-Semitism is hostility towards Jews as Jews.... By contrast, criticism (and equally defence) of Israel or of Zionism is not only generally lawful: it is affirmatively protected by law. Endeavours to conflate the two by characterising everything other than anodyne criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic are not new. What is new is the adoption by the UK government (and the Labour Party) of a definition of anti-Semitism which endorses the conflation.

The IHRA definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ is over 420 words.  By way of contrast there is a much shorter, 21 word definition drawn up by Brian Klug of Oxford University, in his lecture to the Jewish Museum in Berlin 'What Do We Mean When We Say ‘Antisemitsm’?  Echoes of shattering glass'

antisemitism is a form of hostility to Jews as Jews, where Jews are perceived as something other than what they are.’

The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism gives 11 examples of ‘anti-Semitism’, 7 of which relate to Israel.  It is clear that the IHRA’s main concern is with using ‘anti-Semitism’ as a weapon against supporters of the Palestinians not in opposing anti-Semitism per se.  It is an attempt to stifle and curb free speech on Israel and Palestine.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is an alliance of 31 countries.  It includes for example Hungary, whose Prime Minister is Viktor Orban.  Orban is not only an open racist he is seeking to rehabilitate Admiral Horthy who presided over the deportation of nearly ½ million Jews to Auschwitz between March 19th and July 9th 1944.  [The Reinterment and Political Rehabilitation of Miklós Horthy, Randolph Braham].  Orban has no difficulty signing up to the IHRA because, like many anti-Semites, he is ardently pro-Zionist.  The Law & Justice government of Poland is also riddled with anti-Semitism and it too has no problems with the IHRA. 

The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism holds (Point 7) that one example of anti-Semitism is ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.’
Joan Ryan's Wiki entry on her expenses and attempts to cover her claims up
The idea that there is a single Jewish people or nation has always been an anti-Semitic idea.  It is the basis of the world Jewish conspiracy theory. The fact that Zionism adopted this belief merely proves that Zionism and anti-Semitism are two sides of the same racist coin.  Sir Edwin Montagu, who became Secretary of State for India, was the only Jewish member of the Lloyd George War Cabinet and the only member to oppose the 1917 Balfour Declaration.  In ‘Memorandum of Edwin Montagu on the Anti-Semitism of the Present (British) Government of August 1917.  He wrote:

I assert that there is not a Jewish nation. The members of my family, for instance, who have been in this country for generations, have no sort or kind of community of view or of desire with any Jewish family in any other country beyond the fact that they profess to a greater or less degree the same religion. It is no more true to say that a Jewish Englishman and a Jewish Moor are of the same nation than it is to say that a Christian Englishman and a Christian Frenchman are of the same nation:...

When the Jews are told that Palestine is their national home, every country will immediately desire to get rid of its Jewish citizens, and you will find a population in Palestine driving out its present inhabitants, ...’

According to the IHRA definition, the above passage is anti-Semitic.
Other examples of the pernicious nature of the IHRA include equating anti-Semitism with ‘Applying double standards by requiring of it [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.’  This assumes that Israel is like any other democratic nation. 

In which other democratic nation would the village of a minority group be demolished to make way for the majority?  In January the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev was demolished in order to make way for a Jewish town, Hiran. [Opinion Umm al-Hiran: A Cautionary Tale of an Israeli Government Emboldened by Trump]. Umm al Hiran is one of a number of Bedouin villages under threat of demolition because of a policy of Judification of the Negev. Half of Israel’s Arab villages are ‘unrecognised’ which means they are liable to demolition at any time. No Jewish settlement has ever been demolished to make way for an Arab village.  Criticism of this is, according to the IHRA, ‘anti-Semitic’.

Despite the Negev being a thinly populated desert area, Israel refused to build a Jewish town alongside Umm al-Hiran. Like good colonialists, Israel sought to remove the indigenous population entirely.  It is practices such as this which the IHRA is seeking to protect under the rubric of ‘anti-Semitism’.

The State of Israel defines itself as a Jewish state.  In Europe religious states went out of fashion with the French Revolution in 1789.  It is inevitable that those who are not Jewish in Israel are seen as strangers and interlopers.  The idea that religion and nationality are coterminous is a backward and reactionary idea.  According to the Pew Research Centre’s Report Israel’s Religiously Divided Society a plurality, 48% of Israeli Jews, want the physical expulsion of Israeli Arabs. 

Israel today is a society which is rapidly moving to the Right.  In the past year legislation has been passed allowing for the expulsion of Arab members of the Knesset, a Jewish State Bill which removes Arabic as an official language, a bill barring anyone who supports BDS from Israel and the Muezzin Bill restricting the use of outside speakers by Muslim (but not Jewish) religious institutions.  The latest legislative proposals include the banning of all foreign funding of human rights NGO’s such as B’tselem and Breaking the Silence. 
Those who sign John Mann’s EDM conflating anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are aligning themselves with Israel’s far Right and its attacks on Israel’s remaining democratic rights.  You will be supporting a state where demonstrations chanting ‘Death to the Arabs’ are now commonplace.

I hope that you will think seriously about whether or not you wish to add your name to an EDM whose sole purpose is to legitimise Israeli racism under the banner of fighting ‘anti-Semitism’.

Yours sincerely

Thursday, 22 June 2017

What a surprise – Jewish kids in America don’t go a bundle on racism, murder and torture!

It’s an ill wind that blows no good.  Despite the adoption of the new fake definition of anti-Semitism and the attempt to depict anti-Zionism as anti-Semitic, the truth has a way of getting through.  The American Jewish community is the most valuable to Israel, since it does its diplomatic bidding as well as helping to fund the pariah state.

 What a surprise it must therefore be to Israel’s veteran propagandists, the Hasbarists who cry ‘anti-Semitism’ at the drop of a hat, that young American Jews no longer feel an affinity with Zionism and Israel’s racial nationalism.  Settling other people’s land, seeing the vast disparity between poor Palestinian peasants and the rich and lush settlements isn’t a winner amongst progressive young
Jews.  The far-Right messianism that believes in a racially pure Israel and building a 3rd temple as the way to encourage the return of the Messiah doesn’t hold too much attraction to secular Jewish kids.
The alliance with the anti-Semitic Christian fundamentalists like Pastor John Hagee of Christian United for Israel isn’t a vote winner either.

It seems to have finally dawned on Brand Israel that being high tech savvy when you treat Palestinians as the untermenschen isn’t necessarily a winner.  The author
Instead of stating dry facts, professionals must highlight Israel’s decency, morality and the diversity of the Israeli society in general'.   This is an act of self-deception.  Israel is a society where a plurality of Jews support the physical expulsion of Israel's Palestinians and where 'Death to the Arabs' is the favourite chant of the Right.

Brand Israel Group raises the alarm on a widening gap in the US between older supporters and the increasingly pro-Palestinian next generation

More than a decade ago, a diverse focus group of Americans was asked to describe a typical Italian house. Words like “lush, food, cooking, maternal, welcoming” quickly rolled of the tongue. The same group was asked about an Israeli home and a very different vibe was described: “concrete, strict, ultra-religious, middle-aged ultra-Orthodox men.”

This 2005 focus group was commissioned to explore the underlying image of Israel in the American psyche. The unanimous perception was a conflict-driven country filled with religious fundamentalists.

Not exactly a country they were keen on visiting — or supporting.

The loose consortium of volunteer marketing and advertising executives who commissioned the study now falls under the Brand Israel Group (BIG) rubric. While each member of this heterogeneous Mad Men coalition had his or her own reasons for wishing to change Americans’ innate view of Israel, for Fern Oppenheim, co-founder of Brand Israel Group, her tipping point came after the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks.

The child of Holocaust survivors, Oppenheim said she awoke from her sense of Jewish security that day. “I never thought I’d smell smoke living in New York,” she said in Jerusalem this week.

In this September 11, 2001, file photo, thick smoke billows into the sky from the area behind the Statue of Liberty, lower left, where the World Trade Center towers stood. (AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer)
Her safety bubble popped, Oppenheim decided to throw her support — and skills — behind Israel. With her extensive marketing and management background at such companies as Kraft/General Foods, Oppenheim began to use her professional prowess to help the Jewish state, which she calls “the canary in the coal mine.”

The team had a revolutionary approach: Instead of the Jewish community’s typical “shooting from the hip,” said Oppenheim, the high-level marketing execs “rolled up their sleeves to get a research-based understanding” of mainstream Americans’ perceptions of Israel, and only then to create a strategy based on their research.

Since its initial coalescence in 2002, Brand Israel has commissioned a large-scale segmentation study in 2010 and a followup in 2016. For anyone with the slightest Zionist impulse, the downward slope of Israel support is disturbing.

While in Israel to present the recent 2016 BIG segmentation study, “Sounding the Alarm: The American-Israeli Relationship,” Oppenheim repeatedly used the word “devastating” — each time without hyperbole.
At UOIT outside Toronto, Students for Justice in Palestine activists staff their information table, 2016 (UOIT’s SJP chapter Facebook page)
In sum, the gap between Israel-supporters and detractors is widening. The current Israel advocacy programs are not working, and Jewish college students are the leading defectors from Israel support.
‘The future of America no longer believe that Israel shares their values’

Mainstream Americans are not starting from a neutral perspective on Israel; rather, they begin with misperceptions and negative assumptions. This creates “fertile ground” for delegitimization, said Oppenheim, who also spoke this week at the prestigious annual Herzliya Conference.

The 2016 segmentation study’s data shows that the current campaign of depicting the Israel beyond the conflict — specifically, highlighting high-tech achievements — is not effective. In fact, the more the study participants knew about Israel, the less favorably they felt about the country.

According to the report’s executive summary, since 2010, claimed knowledge of Israel has increased 14 percentage points nationally (from 23% to 37%) and is up among every demographic group (except for college students, where it is down 16 percentage points, from 50% to 34%). These increases, however, have not translated into increased favorability, which is down 14 percentage points (from 76% to 62%) nationally and by large margins across the board.
Fern Oppenheim, the co-founder of Brand Israel Group, ‘The paradigm of Israel beyond the conflict is not the right paradigm for capturing hearts and souls.’ (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)
“The paradigm of Israel beyond the conflict is not the right paradigm for capturing hearts and souls,” she said.

The key is to emphasize common values. To change an attitude about Israel, the camera needs to be pulled back to show the full face of the country and its people, she said. When Israel is an issue, and not a country filled with an incredibly diverse population, the field is open for boycott campaigns and other delegitimizing efforts.

Shared values have been the bedrock of the American-Israeli relationship. Without this connection, the future of the alliance is in jeopardy,” claims the BIG group. And the biggest value gap is between core Israel supporters — basically older, wealthier, more conservative, whiter Americans — and those who are labeled as “at-risk” — younger, minorities, liberals.

The picture is even more dire when looking at the next generation of potential Jewish leadership. Between the 2010 and the 2016 surveys, Jewish college students dropped 27 percentage points on the question of whether they lean towards the Israeli side.

This is explained, said Oppenheim, by a perceived lack of shared values between the ultra-liberal Jewish college student and Israel.
On December 15, 2015, more than 300 Jewish activists in Boston marched for the Black Lives Matter movement, including members of Jewish Voice for Peace (photo credit: Ignacio Laguarda/Wicked Local)

“The future of America no longer believe that Israel shares their values. This is huge! Devastating,” she said.

According to the survey, 31% of Jewish students reported experiencing anti-Semitism; of that bunch, 59% say it was related to anti-Israel attitudes. But these experiences generally do not sway their opinions of Israel.

“The Jewish college student is the only group more favorable to Palestinians” now, rising 18 percentage points between 2010 and 2016, she said.

Much of this change she blamed on the rise of “intersectionality” on campuses. There is no longer nuance in campus conversations about Israel, she said. Instead, the “atmosphere is oppressor versus victim. Israel is just another symbol of this.”

Despite the plethora of organizations, campus advocacy does not appear to reach these students’ hearts. Using a morbid example, she said, “No one didn’t think that [Nazi “Angel of Death” Josef] Mengele wasn’t a brilliant scientist. But he was a monster. We need to drill down that Israelis are people” — not just high-tech geniuses.

We are allowing Israel to be defined by its detractors,” she emphasized.
Israeli military medics assist wounded Syrians on April 6, 2017. Seven wounded Syrians who crossed into Israel on Thursday night received immediate treatment and were hospitalized. They are the latest group of Syrians receiving free medical care through an Israeli military program operating since 2013. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)
Instead of stating dry facts, professionals must highlight Israel’s decency, morality and the diversity of the Israeli society in general — and in the context of the conflict — to be heard.

To give one example, former head of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh sent his granddaughter to Israel “because Israel is too decent to turn her away. People need to know this,” said Oppenheim.
In terms of practical solutions, Oppenheim suggested increasing the number of people who visit Israel at a younger age, and even starting prophylactic Birthright-Taglit trips before university.


“The sands under our feet are shifting,” said Oppenheim. “It is clear that the divide in our community is here for the next generation.”