- Deborah Fink is a singer and music teacher living in
London. She is also Jewish. Last month, out of the blue, she received a
deluge of hateful emails - more than 150 in the space of a week.
- One came from a rabbi in New York, informing her: "Your
soul, my dear, is petrified and lost." Another said, menacingly: "Hitler
killed the wrong Jews."
- Yet another - ostensibly from a Jewish doctor of medicine
in the US - elaborated on the Holocaust theme. "Too bad Hitler didn't
get your family," it said. "With six million Jews dieing [sic]
60 year [sic] ago it's a shame scum like you somehow managed to survive."
- What, exactly, had Ms Fink done to deserve this vitriol?
The short answer is that she had been planning to sing.
- Ms Fink is a member of Just Peace UK, a mainly, but not
exclusively, Jewish group opposing the Israeli occupation and seeking "a
viable and sovereign Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel,
with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states".
- Just before Christmas, she helped to organise an alternative
carol concert in Trafalgar Square, at which traditional Christmas songs
were sung with new words. One of them went like this:
- Oh little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie.
A wall is laid where tourists stayed, And tanks go rolling by ...
- To publicise the event, organisers sent out several hundred
emails. One of them fell into the hands of a man named Tom Gross, who strongly
- The furious Mr Gross passed the email to his friend,
Naomi Ragen, together with a note saying that the carol singers would be
handing out songsheets "filled with hatred for Israel and digusting
calumnies" to passers-by.
- On receiving his message, Ms Ragen circulated an email
of her own, which began: "I suppose it's fitting that self-hating
Jews will be singing anti-Israel Christmas songs to curry favour with oh-so-genteel
- Her message concluded: "I hope this will give British
Jews a chance to organise a counter-campaign. If, after reading what the
hate-mongers are going to be saying, you'd like to contact them, here are
- Email addresses for four of the "hate-mongering"
carol singers followed, including that of Ms Fink.
- For good measure, Ms Ragen sent her own personal note
to Ms Fink, saying: "I hope you and your children suffer what we in
Israel have suffered. And then perhaps I will sing carols praising those
who blow you and yours up. Happy Holiday."
- Ms Ragen is a US-born novelist and dramatist who now
lives in Jerusalem, where she also writes freelance columns for the Jerusalem
- Among those who received her complaint about the carol
singers was an organisation called Isralert. Its exact purpose is unclear,
although it describes itself as a "Jewish advocacy network".
- It also operates a private, and rather secretive, emailing
list. The only way to join is by invitation from an existing member - and
even then, its organiser, Harv Weiner, "may refuse a subscription
to anyone for any reason".
- This was not the first time that a message from Ms Ragen
had appeared on Isralert. Last May, she attacked businessman-philanthropist
Edgar Bronfman and 13 other prominent US Jews for breaking with the "Jewish
- Their "offence" had been to write a letter
to Congress, supporting the road map for peace in the Middle East. The
peace plan is backed by the US, Europe, Russia and the UN.
- "I'd like to say this to dear Mr Bronfman,"
Ms Ragen wrote. "Take your money ... and shove it. You are betraying
us in Israel. Your recent statement makes me sick, and can in no way be
viewed as a friendly or helpful gesture to Israel or Israelis. However,
I'm sure Mr Arafat will send you a thankyou note."
- The day before the Trafalgar Square carol concert, Isralert
posted Ms Ragen's email about the carol singers - together with their email
addresses - on think-israel.org, a website based in Bethesda, Maryland.
- Among other things, think-israel.org claims that the
Palestinians "have no historical, national or cultural identity distinct
from other Arabs of the region", and that the whole of the West Bank
belongs to Israel.
- Ms Ragen's message, along with the note from Mr Gross,
also surfaced as a special "action alert" on a website called
ourenemies.org - undoubtedly one of the nastiest non-pornographic sites
on the internet.
- The site is registered in Bogota, Colombia, where its
owner is identified only by a Hotmail address. It is hosted by a company
in Florida called Aleph-Net.
- Besides making crude attempts at satire ("Arafat
is gay! Former paedophile outed"), ourenemies.org targets what it
calls "self-hating Jews" in a vicious and highly personalised
- Among those featured is a Jewish lawyer who defended
terrorism suspects in court, and "the Jew who broke bread with Arafat
on Passover ... currently married to a bug-eyed Michigan-born ARAB who
calls herself a 'Palestinian'. Was it a match made in Hell? Or simply a
Jew made in Hell! You be the Judge!"
- An Israeli teenager who refused to do military service
is pilloried as a supporter of "Arab terrorism", with the suggestion
that he should be shot for high treason.
- There is also a rabbi "who supports the murders
of Jewish children, and condemns Israeli action to protect its citizens",
and a list of "Other (Self-Hating) Jewish Freaks of Nature" -
mainly Israeli peace organisations.
- The name of one of the site's victims is shown in large
brown type with a note below saying: "Does the color of the above
text remind you of anything?"
- The site gives personal details of the people targeted,
including their email addresses, phone numbers and home addresses, together
with street maps in some cases ("so you won't get lost").
- In the case of organisations, details of their internet
servers are given - presumably to facilitate hacking. This is followed
by a disclaimer urging people not to harass or threaten the targets, hack
their computers, send them viruses, and so on.
- Ourenemies.org says it is affiliated to another website,
California-based Masada2000, which publishes a "SHIT List" of
more than 6,000 "Self-Hating, Israel-Threatening" Jews.
- Interestingly, most of the nastiness generated in the
name of defending Israel seems to come from the US rather than from Israel
- It may be the work of a lunatic fringe but, according
to Ms Fink, even Jewish activists in Britain who reject the Israeli government's
line can face various kinds of harassment.
- Earlier, Ms Fink had come under fire from the Union of
Jewish Students when she tried to set up a student branch of "Jews
for Justice for Palestinians".
- Last November, a Jewish protest in Golders Green - the
heart of the London Jewish community - against the construction of Israel's
West Bank wall was greeted by threatening phone calls, a counter-demonstration
and cries of "traitors".
- It ended with one of the peace activists - a former Israeli
soldier - being punched and knocked to the ground.
- Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited
From Hengist 1-22-4
- You use the term "JEWS OF CONSCIENCE". I believe
it would be more appropriate to use the term "Righteous Jew".
This would return the implicit slur (that gentiles are, by definition,
the very opposite of 'righteous') in their usage of the term "Righteous
Gentile". They will, of course, catch the implied insult on our part,
but what can they say? Are they going to bristle and snarl that such a
statement is 'anti-semitic'? After all, we are merely returning their very
own 'honorific,' used for their shabbas goy lackeys, and the implied scarcity
of such an almost unimaginable creature! ;-)