Wednesday, 7 September 2011
SPSC & the Jewish People
Paul Donnachie, the St. Andrews University student convicted of the racially aggravated harassment of a Jewish student because that student had an Israeli flag on his wall, told the court that he is a member of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC).
SPSC, as noted before on this blog, has a history of using language, imagery and information sources of antisemitic provenance. They inhabit the more extreme end of the anti-Zionist activist world in Britain: where every Zionist is a Nazi, everything Israeli must be boycotted and Israel itself is a unique evil to be eradicated.
All of this, SPSC assures anyone who asks, is merely political campaigning that is fully justified by Israel’s actions, and has nothing to do with their attitude towards Jews, Judaism or the Jewish people. They even have anti-Zionist Jewish friends who will guarantee this fact.
SPSC currently has a special offer for anybody who wishes to join their organisation, in the form of a book to help them understand the issues that motivate them. Presumably, then, this book might be something about the history of Palestine, or the current political situation, or strategies to help create a Palestinian state?
No. The book on offer from SPSC to new members is Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People; a book whose central argument is that the Jewish people, as a single collectivity, doesn’t really exist in an authentic way, but was invented as a concept by nineteenth century Zionists; and that today’s Jews are in reality nothing more than disparate religious communities, mostly formed through past conversion to Judaism in the diaspora and with no connection to the land of Israel.
It is beside the point whether or not Sand’s thesis is correct, although his book has been severely criticised by Israeli historians who actually specialise in the subject at hand (Sand is a Professor of History of Tel Aviv University, but specialises in French history, not Israeli or Jewish history). The point, though, is that this is another example of how SPSC’s campaigning is often more focused on what they want to destroy, than on what they want to create.