There are many novel ways of responding to the U.S. President’s announcement stating Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and Pippa Bartolotti certainly found one. In Pippa Bartolotti’s world, Jerusalem has nothing to do with the Jewish people, the fact that every synagogue worldwide has had its congregations facing Jerusalem means nothing to her, the Wailing Wall, Mount Herzl, that of course has nothing to do with Judaism. Now this may not have mattered if Pippa was a person of little consequence, but she is the Deputy Green Party Leader in Wales who had this to say:
“I think it’s important to explain that Jerusalem is not a Jewish city – any more than Israel is a Jewish country. Israel is in fact a Western state, taken by force in 1948, in bloodshed and massacres of the unarmed and innocent indigenous population.”
A casual glance at history shows her claim to hold no basis in reality. As highlighted in this New York Times piece , a papyrus fragment dating back to 7 B.C. is the earliest known biblical source to mention Jerusalem in the Hebrew language. This highlights the ancient connection of the Jewish people, which try as she might, Ms Bartolotti cannot erase from history.
Now, to the second of Ms Bartolotti’s claims, which has as much factual standing as your average Disney fairy tale. The idea that Israel is some Western European state with no connection to the Middle East is simply untrue. My grandparents, both Iraqi Jews one from Baghdad and one from Basra who have both lived in Israel (my Grandma still does) is proof of that. The 850,000 Jews expelled from Arab lands in the last six decades, many of whom have found a sanctuary in Israel, as highlighted by Israel’s former Ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor here is more proof of this. Moreover, around ½ of all Israeli Jews are Mizrachi, meaning they are Jews descended from Jews in the Middle East or Central Asia.
Then there’s the assumption that the War of Independence was just an excuse to kill as many Palestinians as possible. The War of Independence was started when 7 Arab nations and Palestinian Irregulars attacked the new state of Israel. This suggests that they were not lambs to the slaughter, but rather tried to destroy Israel and failed. Or how about the crux of the matter, Israel accepted the UN Partition plan of 1947 which would have divided the land in to two states, whilst the Arab nations on behalf of the Palestinian did not.
Sadly, Ms Bartolotti did not stop there. Her comments turned antisemitic in the final part of her Facebook status when she said:
“The government of Israel is only interested in the final solution, i.e. a total Jewish State and the expulsion of all non-Jewish inhabitants. It is towards this end that Trumps cruel decision is aimed.”
Comparing Israel to the Nazis and using phrases like “the final solution” is a clear case of Holocaust inversion, claiming the world’s only Jewish and democratic state is acting like the Nazis who murdered 6 million Jews. There are legitimate criticisms of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, but comparing Israel to Nazis is not only inaccurate, but a dagger in the heart of every Jew.
The Green Party have done their best to pretend there is nothing to see with the following meek statement “
This post does not represent the views of the Green Party and we have asked Pippa to delete it and apologise.”
Note not a hint of disciplinary action, no chance of her losing her membership of the Green Party, just asking pretty please if she’ll delete the post and apologise -which she won’t.
Pippa’s history of what many would deem to be antisemitic statements have also been ignored. Adam Ramsay, in a post for Bright Green. When Pippa was arrested for her involvement in the Flotilla protesting against the Gaza Blockade she said:
“I questioned the wisdom of having a Jewish Zionist ambassador in Israel and stated that their loyalty was a matter for the FCO to investigate. She added: “The vice -consul was called Levi. From the university of life I have learned that Jews often have a conflict of interest in matters relating to Palestine.”
Blogger Adam Ramsay, in a post for Bright Greenhit the nail on the head when he said the following
I would add that her comments buy into the antisemitic trope that Jews hold dual loyalty and cannot be trusted.
I’ve seen where this antisemitic hatred can lead when I’ve visited Al Aida Refugee camp. I’ve sat through a talk given to me by a young, articulate Palestinian women on how Jews/Zionists (the terms were used interchangeably) were all colonial usurpers from Europe who have no connections to the land. With a mindset like that, aided and abetted by those in the UK like Ms Bartolotti, what hope of peace do we have, when Palestinians are only taught to hate by those claiming to have their best interests at heart?
Stephen Hoffman tweets at @thehoff102 and runs his own consultancy called Stephen Hoffman Consulting Ltd. He is writing here in a personal capacity.