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The Myths of Liberal Zionism

One of Israel's most independent writers demystifies the "peace camp" liberals.

Yitzhak Laor is one of Israel's most prominent dissidents and poets, a latter-day Spinoza who helps keep alive the critical tradition within Jewish culture. In this work he fearlessly dissects the complex attitudes of Western European liberal Left intellectuals toward Israel, Zionism and the "Israeli peace camp." He argues that through a prism of famous writers like Amos Oz, David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, the peace camp has now adopted the European vision of "new Zionism," promoting the fierce Israeli desire to be accepted as part of the West and taking advantage of growing Islamophobia across Europe.

The backdrop to this uneasy relationship is the ever-present shadow of the Holocaust. Laor is merciless as he strips bare the hypocrisies and unarticulated fantasies that lie beneath the love-affair between "liberal Zionists" and their European supporters.

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  • On Israel and Anti-Semitism: A Reading List



    The storm over Labour's alleged "culture of anti-semitism" rolls on, with daily news of further suspensions and resignations - the latest of which is the suspension of anti-Zionist activist and Momentum member Jackie Walker because of a contrived controversy over a months old facebook comment.  

    The more allegations  emerge, the more the gap between anti-semitism and legitimate criticisms of Israel seems to be closing for the commentariat. As acclaimed scholar Norman G. Finklestein recently stated in a interview for OpenDemocracy, the scandal "has nothing whatsoever to do with the factual situation; instead, a few suspect cases of antisemitism – some real, some contrived – are being exploited for an ulterior political motive." While real anti-semitism undoubtably exists, the string of warnings about "new anti-semitism" must not act as a cover for Israeli state actions. As the powerful statement released on behalf of the Jewish Socialist Group states "criticism of Israeli government policy and Israeli state actions against the Palestinians is not antisemitism," - the two must be clearly seperated.

    For more on Israel and Palestine below is a Verso reading list on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of anti-Zionism.

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  • Anti-Semitism Real and Imagined

    As the British Labour Party leadership is once again the subject of a crisis over its alleged tolerance of anti-semitism, we present an extract from Alain BadiouEric Hazan, and Ivan Segré's Reflections on Anti-Semitism. The book dissects the various ways false accusations of anti-Semitism are used to stifle opposition to the Israeli state and to facilitate the subjugation of the Palestinian people. In this extract the authors consider the role of anti-Semitism in contemporary France. 


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  • Explaining the Israel-Palestine Conflict

    The latest Israeli military attacks in Gaza, dubbed 'Operation Protective Edge', is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years. Before the July 2014 offensive, the last large-scale escalation was in November 2012, when the Israeli military bombarded the Gaza Strip with air strikes for eight days. Those strikes killed 171 Palestinians, including more than 100 civilians. In 2008-2009, Israeli soldiers launched a 22-day military operation in Gaza, dubbed Operation Cast Lead. About 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. [source: Aljazeera]


    Tens of thousands of Palestinians have left their houses to seek shelter from an Israeli ground invasion, July 2o014. Photo: Emad Nassar/Al Jazeera

    As the latest attacks intensify, and the number of civilian deaths continue to rise, it seems more pertinent than ever to understand the political motivations behind these assaults and, more importantly, how Israel have been able to carry out such atrocities without intervention. Here, we present a list of books from Israeli and Palestinian authors, to explain the conflict and consider what the future might hold. All books on this list are available for direct purchase, at discounts of 30% for hardcovers, 40% for paperbacks, and 50% for ebooks. Additionally, for a limited time, you can download the ebook of the trenchant anthology The Case for Sanctions Against Israel for free. 

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