Leeds University Union is unhappy with Israel Independence Day

I see the termites have dined well, and have finally reached Leeds University. Yes, the student union of that school saw fit to issue this tweet today on its Facebook Page (click on screenshot to go there and see replies):

The anti-Semitism here is clear. This is just a celebration of the anniversary of Israel’s founding, not a celebration of Israel’s politics. Nevertheless, the Leeds University Union saw fit to remind students that “some of our members will be unhappy that this event is taking place.” What does that mean? Well, the unhappiness is apparently a reason to “let students know in advance.” If the Union were the Mafia, this would read, “Nice celebration you want to have there. Too bad if something were to happen to it—or you.”

And, of course, there’s the requisite offer of help and therapy to those tender Jew haters students triggered by an Israel Independence Day celebration. I wonder if they’d issue the same statement for a celebration of Palestine? You know what the answer would be.

This—and the Leeds University Union—is reprehensible.

38 Comments

  1. Jonathan Dore
    Posted May 10, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Glad to see this weaselly post getting the kicking it deserves in the comments on the LUU facebook page.

  2. StardustyPsyche
    Posted May 10, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    OP
    “The anti-Semitism here is clear. This is just a celebration of the anniversary of Israel’s founding, not a celebration of Israel’s politics. ”
    The founding of a nation is a political act. Why do you assume that being opposed to that political act indicates a racial/ethnic/religious prejudice against Jews?

    Here in the USA most of us celebrate our independence day on the 4th of July with much fanfare, joyous cookouts, and solemn remembrances or the wisdom of the founding fathers and the sacrifices of our revolutionary warriors.

    For many the indigenous people of North America, however, the 4th of July brings up emotions of deep anger, regret, and sorrow. The birth of our nation marked the decimation of theirs.

    Do you suppose Native Americans who feel negatively toward the American Independence Day do so out of racism toward white people?

    A large population of people indigenous to land now within the borders of the modern state of Israel fled for fear of their lives when their homeland became a war zone, fully intending to return when the fighting subsided. But to this day they have been barred by the government of Israel, a political act, from returning, their family homes confiscated (stolen) by the government of Israel in what is know to this population of human beings as “the catastrophe”, the founding of the modern state of Israel, which marked the decimation of their lives in their homeland.

    “The catastrophe” is often symbolized with a set of keys, keys to the homes these indigenous people lost at the hands of the government of Israel, with a great many people who to this day hold and keep those literal metal keys in bitter remembrance of the crime of theft perpetrated against them by the government of Israel, a political act many if not most others in the world find deplorable in solidarity with those wronged.

    Do you suppose one must harbor hatred toward Jews to lament the decimation of indigenous culture, property, and lives that is marked by the founding of the modern state of Israel?

    “This—and the Leeds University Union—is reprehensible.”
    I find the lack of empathy for the losses suffered, and the accusation of Jew hating for being opposed to those losses, reprehensible.

    • Malgorzata Koraszews
      Posted May 10, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      You write: “fled for fear of their lives when their homeland became a war zone, fully intending to return when the fighting subsided.”

      Well, not really. They were encouraged to leave to let the armies from surrounding Arab states massacre all Jews. They were promised that they will get part of the spoils after Jews are gone. They were prepared to continue this noble endeavour after returning. Here you can read what Arab leaders had to say about it: https://pl.scribd.com/document/21367168/Arab-leaders-tell-Palestinians-to-Flee-in-1948

    • Posted May 10, 2019 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      You have NO idea what you’re talking about. The Arabs fled because they were TOLD by the invading Arab countries to leave so that all the Jews could be killed without interference.

      Not to mention that after Israel was founded, it was immediately attacked by the surrounding countries. Those who fled assumed all the Jews would be killed and they could then come back. Too bad for them; had they stayed, they could have been citizens.

      And, since you said your host was reprehensible (a Roolz violation), you should go. Perhaps you’ll find a Hamas site more amenable to your politics.

      • Alex Zukerman
        Posted May 10, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        “You have NO idea what you’re talking about. The Arabs fled because they were TOLD by the invading Arab countries to leave so that all the Jews could be killed without interference.” I disagree. Indeed, many Arabs fled because the Arab leaders promised them to reconquer their lands (and failed to do so), but there are numerous historical documents that describe the systematic expulsion of the local Arabs from their lands by the IDF and Etzel. This whole discussion strikes me as too polarized: StardustyPsyche dogmatically sticks to the pro-Palestinian narrative, while you, in my humble opinion, stick to a somewhat outdated Israeli narrative (the so-called “willing flight narrative”). That narrative is superseded by the more balanced and nuanced historical research created, for example, by T. Segev, Sh. Teveth, and B. Morris. Their approaches differe in many details, but all of them give a due weight to the phenomenon of forced expulsions during the War of Independence. Needless to say, the average Israeli or Palestinian are completely unaware of the current research, which is sad.

        • Malgorzata Koraszews
          Posted May 10, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

          Of course, there were situation of forcible removal of hostile Arab populations. This was however in minority (both cases and numbers). That’s exactly what Benny Morris documented. And it was a war – a war for survival – not a discussion in civilized surroundings. Horrible things happens in wars. But Israel didn’t start this war – Arabs did.

          • Alex Zukerman
            Posted May 10, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

            Dear Malgorzata. 60 thousand Arabs were expelled from Ramleh (and nearby Lod) by the explicit order of Rabin (which is ironic). Not all of them were hostile. There are many other examples like that. And the killings and expulsions made by Etzel were just pure acts of extremism.
            As for who started and who is right, it’s just not the way I see human history. I cannot blame the Israelis, I cannot blame the Palestinians, it’s just one tragic story of two desperate people stuck in an impossible situation.

            • Malgorzata Koraszews
              Posted May 10, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

              Dear Alex, I agree with your last sentence that the situation is tragic. Like it was tragic in Lod, when the town was taken by Israelis and they came to agreement with the local Arab leaders that they accept the truce. There were very few Jewish soldiers and they were badly needed elsewhere, so they left even smaller, token force in Lod and went fighting. As soon as they went Arabs broke the agreement and suddenly Israeli forces had fighting enemy both in front of them and at the back where they hoped they had an agreement. Yes, they expelled all inhabitants from Lod, guilty and innocent alike. But I cannot agree that it doesn’t matter who started the fight. Without the war 1948 Arabs would have their state side by side with a Jewish state. But they wanted everything. Without King of Jordan giving his army the order to attack, Arabs would have eastern Jerusalem and West Bank until today, Without constant attacks from Gaza, Gaza could be a Singapoure on the Mediterranean Sea. Their tragic (really tragic) situation is of their own making. I do not see any reason for Jews to commit a collective suicide so the situation of Palestinian Arabs would stop be tragic. Until Palestinian Arabs understand that Jews are not going to commit suicide and neither are they going to allow themselves to be slaughtered, Arabs will suffer.

              • Alex Zukerman
                Posted May 10, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

                I didn’t say that it doesn’t matter HISTORICALLY who started. Of course both sides had made certain decisions that led to the present situation. But I separate between historical analysis and moral issues of blame and moral responsibility. If the Palestinian leaders had adopted a different policy the whole course of history would have been different. BUT I DON’T BELIEVE IN FREE WILL. The course of history could not have been different from what it actually was. It was Jerry who made me for the first time to consider this issue in a systematic way, and his position had a crucial influence on me (thank you, Jerry!). The non-existence of free will has, for me, a lot of practical implications, the moral evaluation of past events is one of them. Maybe this explains to you why I don’t blame anybody. But your approach is evidently different, and the same, incidentally, can be said about all those who argue that the present-day Israelis should bear the responsibility for the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem.

        • Roger Lambert
          Posted May 10, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          ” That narrative is superseded by the more balanced and nuanced historical research created, for example, by T. Segev, Sh. Teveth, and B. Morris. Their approaches differe in many details, but all of them give a due weight to the phenomenon of forced expulsions during the War of Independence.”

          Don’t know about the first two scholars you mention, but I would not advise hitching your wagon to Benny Morriss’ star. He lied about his access to new archives and evidently made quite a mess of things:

          https://www.meforum.org/711/benny-morriss-reign-of-error-revisited

          • Alex Zukerman
            Posted May 10, 2019 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

            Indeed, Morris is very controversial, and there is a huge literature attacking and defending the various specific points he made. But I am talking about the main facts relevant to the issue of expulsion of Arabs. Most authorities agree on their general scope (but not on their moral evaluation). As far as I can judge, Morris got his main facts right because other writers corroborate them. By the way, the book review you referred me to was written by E. Karsh is at least as controversial as Morris. He is a conservative thinker who has been for decades fighting against the “New Historians”, especially Benny Morris, and their interpretation of the history of Israel.

            • Roger Lambert
              Posted May 11, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

              It’s a murky swamp all right. Myself, after seeing 100’s of fiskings dismantling the individual accusations that put forward the inhumanity of Israel, I am inclined to be very very skeptical of Palestinian claims.

              And, like you, I would propose that the responsibility for ending this whole mess lies more heavily not on Israel, but rightfully on the other actors in this tragic drama.

    • Posted May 10, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      I hope that most Native Americans eventually will (if they have not already) overcome their anger and sorrow over centuries-old events. To succumb to such feelings means to make yourself captive of the past, and this brings no good to anyone, least of all to the person who harbors the hard feelings. And yes, it goes hand by hand with hatred to whites, which for mysterious reasons is considered acceptable.

      • max blancke
        Posted May 10, 2019 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        A great deal of the emotion generated by the histories of both North America and Israel are based on a poor understanding of those histories, as well as broad and inaccurate generalizations about the populations involved.

        Both my wife’s and my own families established rural western homesteads in the early 19th century. Both families settles in areas (700 miles from each other) that had once been the home of settled, primarily agricultural tribes. In both cases, those tribes were long gone when our ancestors arrived to build their respective homesteads. One might easily assume that those agricultural tribes were displaced by Whites, or succumbed to drought. But that is not the case. In both instances, the previous occupants had been utterly genocided by nomadic horse-culture tribes who swept in from the north.
        And they swept back in regularly after our families had established themselves. Much earlier ancestors of ours faced similar threats from waves of other nomadic horse-borne peoples, like the Huns. In both ancient and relatively modern cases, those invaders did not arrive to trade or negotiate. They sought slaves, plunder, and tried to destroy whatever remained.
        But that is how human history has always worked.

        I think the basic question we should ask about Israel, is whether the Jews, like nearly all other people, have a right to exist beyond living at the fringes of other societies, waiting for the next pogrom or train to the camps. I think yes, and believe that there is really only one place for that to happen. The Romans called it Judea for a very good reason. The Jewish claim to Israel is based on thousands of years of history, which synches pretty well with the archaeological record.
        The Islamic claim is based on the belief that Mohammed visited for a single night, by means of flying on the back of a white Pegasus (who many believed had a human head) in 620 ce, accompanied by the angel Gabriel.

        If you were to excavate the grounds of any of the houses that the Palestinians demand the right to return to, you will almost certainly find remnants of Jewish communities and temples.

        If my wife wished to return her ranch to the (Jumano, I think) people who farmed the land for millennia, she could not really do so. They are completely gone. And her family has now lived there for longer than the Comanche controlled the territory. But the Jews still exist, despite everyone’s best efforts.

        And I don’t think they are going to be persuaded to get into those railcars again.

        Long rant concluded.

        • rickflick
          Posted May 10, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

          Well said. I’m sure the Palestinian general population as well as many Arab peoples do not learn this historical perspective in grade school.

        • Posted May 11, 2019 at 2:45 am | Permalink

          I think the basic question we should ask about Israel, is whether the Jews, like nearly all other people, have a right to exist beyond living at the fringes of other societies,

          No we shouldn’t. Maybe we should have in first half of the twentieth century, but the nation state of Israel exists now and asking the question of whether it should continue to exist is a moot point. If you tried to dismantle it now, millions of people would die.

          The Romans called it Judea for a very good reason. The Jewish claim to Israel is based on thousands of years of history, which synches pretty well with the archaeological record.

          Israel and Judea are not the same and the Jews have only had political control over either for a few relatively short periods over the last three thousand years (i.e. a few hundred years). The archaeological evidence doesn’t accord nearly as well with Biblical history as you might think.

          There are many peoples throughout the World whose ancestors were deprived of land by invaders, only in the case of the Jews have we acceded to their demands. Whether we were right to do so is a question only of academic interest because Israel exists, is a nation state recognised by the UN and is home for a lot of people who would be murdered if Israel ceased to exist.

          • max blancke
            Posted May 11, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

            “There are many peoples throughout the World whose ancestors were deprived of land by invaders”

            Nearly all, I would say. I might further say that even right now, nearly every human group is either currently being displaced, displacing another group, or actively resisting displacement. Often more than one of those applies.

            “Maybe we should have in first half of the twentieth century, but the nation state of Israel exists”

            Indeed. But the question is being asked these days. I am among those who try to answer back, when I can. “because we live here” is an important statement. The same goes to our western lands here. for more than five generations, we have been going out to those fields, and picking up rocks. (picking up rocks is one of the keys to making it look untouched by man) We would ourselves resist displacement.

            Thanks for pointing out that Judea and modern Israel do not share the exact same borders. I was being a little ambiguous, and it is reasonable to call that out. However, Judea was a Jewish land, administered by Rome, with Jerusalem as it’s Jewish spiritual capital, with the Roman capital being Caesarea Maritima, near modern Haifa.

            It is also true that the Jews have been getting expelled from Israel for thousands of years. But they always come back. A few centuries of residence here and there does add up.

      • Posted May 13, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        The problem that this unfortunately misses is that the events are *not* merely centuries old. They *continue*.

  3. Roger Lambert
    Posted May 10, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    “I find the lack of empathy for the losses suffered, and the accusation of Jew hating for being opposed to those losses, reprehensible.”

    Of course you do. Because you recite the narrative of only one side of the tale, a narrative chock full of omissions, partial truths, and some deliberate deceptions.

    You recite the narrative repeated thousands of times, while the other narrative becomes almost impossible to hear.You might want to listen carefully for this other narrative – it is much closer to the truth of the matter, imho.

  4. Kevin
    Posted May 10, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    “The anti-Semitism here is clear. This is just a celebration of the anniversary of Israel’s founding, not a celebration of Israel’s politics.”

    So what? Someone who protests against “celebration of the anniversary of Israel’s founding” is not necessarilly an anti-Semitic.

    The IHRA definition of anti-semitism is anti-constitutional in the US and is against the UK Equality Act (which allows for free speech).
    I would love to see the IHRA definition in Court because it will be mauled, chewed up and spat out.

    Even the discussion of Israel’s right to exist is allowable by the constitution since it is a political issue and has NOTHING to do with the “hatred of Jews”, Juden Haas or anti-Semitism.
    Disagreeing with the existence of Israel is not Jew hate, its a disagreement of political opinion for heaven’s sake.

    • Posted May 10, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Questioning Israel’s right to exist is anti-Semitism. And yes, I’d claim that a good portion of those who want to threaten these students are indeed anti-Semitic. If you haven’t heard the calls of people like Maajid Nawaz and Nick Cohen (one a Muslim, the other a Jew) about the rise of anti-Semitism in Britain, then open your ears “for heaven’s sake.”

    • Malgorzata
      Posted May 10, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      If from all countries in the world (and many of them were established either around the same time as Israel or later) you question the existence of only one – and this one happens to be a Jewish state – with clear knowledge that dismantling of this state would mean either total massacre of millions of Jews or only a massacre of a few millions of them and ethnic cleansing of the rest – you surely are an antisemite according to any definition.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 10, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Even the discussion of Israel’s right to exist is allowable by the constitution since it is a political issue and has NOTHING to do with the “hatred of Jews” …

      Even if it constitutes “hatred of the Jews” simpliciter, and not a political issue, it would still be constitutionally protected in the US.

      Vile as it is, you can (subject to reasonable “time, place, and manner” restrictions) declaim it from a street corner in Skokie, Illinois, or anywhere else in the US of A under the free-speech clause of the First Amendment.

  5. Posted May 10, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    This is not in my bailiwick but I see a different interpretation. The LUU is acknowledging that the celebration is controversial but telling those students that might object that it is going to happen anyway and, if they have a problem with it, their only real choice is to seek counseling which is provided.

    • Jonathan Dore
      Posted May 10, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      That interpretation seems naive to me, Paul. The post positively invites people to be unhappy about the event, and seems designed to encourage its disruption.

      • Posted May 10, 2019 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        I don’t read anything in this Facebook post to support your interpretation. Are you thinking they should have just kept quiet about the event, hoping those who would be angry might not even notice? I suppose they could have said, “Please don’t try to disrupt the event but take advantage of our free counseling instead.”

        • Jonathan Dore
          Posted May 11, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          It’s the 4th para that does it:
          “We understand that some of our members will be unhappy that this event is taking place, which is why we are letting students know in advance.”

          The clear implication of that is: “we’re unhappy about it too, which is why we’re letting all you other likeminded people know in advance so you can go along to the event and disrupt it [but we’re not saying so explicitly, because that would get us in trouble.”

          There’s a chance my interpretation could be wrong. Given the student-union context, however, I’d maintain it’s not a very large chance.

  6. Christopher
    Posted May 10, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    The response to this post shows us that anti-semitism is not only rampant within the Labour Party in the U.K. , the Liberal Far Left in the US, in the Middle East, and in universities, but apparently it has been lurking around in the darker corners of this site. Never mind violating “da roolz”, some commenters are violating human decency.

    I am disgusted that the one thing the left and right, the educated and uneducated can agree on is their hatred of the Jewish people and of Israel’s right to exist. Just what the f*ck is going on?

  7. potaman
    Posted May 10, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    No matter, how despicable the people and their ideology- one should refrain from calling people “termites”.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 10, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      I believe “termites” as used in the OP serves as metaphor for ideas that have eaten their way into society, not for any particular person or people.

      It’s a play on a trope used often by the late Christopher Hitchens to express disapprobation of bad ideas.

    • Posted May 10, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I wasn’t referring to people, I was using Hitchens’s trope as the reader above said.

      So don’t tell me what and what not to say.

  8. max blancke
    Posted May 10, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I will likely weigh in later on the political aspects of this. For now, I just want to mention that Yom Ha’atzmaut is a super fun holiday. You get to hit strangers over the head with giant inflatable hammers.
    It is like living in a shared Chuck Jones cartoon.
    My kids look forward to it every year.

  9. Posted May 10, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Imagine it was this way:

    “…LUU has given permission for the African American Society to run an event on… celebrating the beginning of the Black History Month.

    We understand that some of our members will be unhappy that this event is taking place, which is why we are letting students know in advance.

    If any students are concerned by this event, as always we would encourage you to speak to our LUU Help & Support Team in the Union foyer…”

    • Jonathan Dore
      Posted May 11, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Precisely.

  10. rickflick
    Posted May 10, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Disgusting! 🤢


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