Once again the ever whimsical Guardian trots out Jonathan Freedland to offer the final sensible word on the Naz Shah débâcle, and once again it’s all about race. His article opens with a parable about a hypothetical nation created by “black people” because this was the one place on earth they would be free from “periodic persecution and slaughter.” He’s really talking about Jews, and the problem with this is that Naz Shah’s social media posts were about the abominable behaviour of the State of Israel. This is because this is the new normal when it comes to the cultural defence of Israel; it has to be an attack of the political left, and it has to be twisted so as to become something about race.

He attempts to paint a picture of a world filled with anti-Semitic commies who have it in for Israel, challenging its very existence, and this must, by extension, apply to all Jews who have an “affinity” with the country. Jews are more than entitled to have an affinity with Israel, but that is not the problem. The problem is, and has always been, the racist and vindictive behaviour of the Israeli state towards the people of Palestine; the unwarranted arrests of children, the public execution of prisoners, the illegal bulldozing of people’s homes, the destruction of an occupied nation’s economy, and the illegal and barbaric occupation of its land. It’s not really about race – or Jews for that matter.

Yes, if this were a nation of “black people” carrying on like this we’d be annoyed, but that would have nothing whatsoever to do with their skin colour or their race. All of this stems from Israel’s fanatical preoccupation with race. As a state it has long legislated for racial segregation, it has a truly horrific record of treating African refugees, and has an even worse record of discrimination when it comes to the treatment of non-white Jews. It might also be useful to point out that Israel is the only country in the world that bans racially mixed marriages. Freedland really is on thin ice when it comes to lecturing the world on its racism when it comes to the most racist nation on earth.

Any ‘map’ of Israel that assumes the ownership of Palestine ought to be chiselled.

Considering that the posts that were shared by Shah on her social media page were about the State of Israel and its occupation and annexation of Palestine, as opposed to any comment on Jews or Jewishness, the image headlining Freedland’s whining response is interesting. In her artwork Eva Bee has depicted a rocky landmass being chiselled away at by a group of people in red overalls – no doubt the Reds from under Freedland’s bed. The landmass is of course meant to be the State of Israel, and it is fully covered with the Israeli flag to make this clear. Yet when one takes a closer look at this map it is Israel together with the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights; all counted as Israel. It looks to us that maybe Jonathan Freedland really doesn’t get it.

Freedland, Jonathan, “My plea to the left: treat Jews the same way you’d treat any other minority.” The Guardian, April 29, 2016, Opinion Section.

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