Sameh A Habeeb – Israel, Judaism and Anti-Semitism

6 May 2010 — Palestine Think Tank

habeeb.jpgUnlike children worldwide, Palestinians, including myself, growing up in Gaza, the West Bank or East Jerusalem never had a normal childhood. My friends and I would play with sand rather than toys. There are no playgrounds and amusement parks as there are in the west. Palestinian children growing up today inside Gaza and the West Bank also lack toys, amusement parks and playgrounds to exert their energies. The difference between my generation and those growing up now is the level of brutality and number massacred.

There are moments when I remember the Israeli soldiers storming my home in 1992; they hit my mother and beat my 10-year old cousin. Although I was only 7, I still remember every single detail as if happened yesterday. During the Second Intifada, Israel bombed my neighbourhood several times. Many of my friends were killed. Death, blood and violence fill the memories of all Palestinian children. Can you imagine what the children of Israel’s massacre of Gaza are going to remember? The memories they have will plague them until the day they depart this world.

Death, blood and violence does not make one turn to violence or even a hater of those who engage in violence. Violence is a means to an end that is chosen by some because they believe it is necessary. Many others choose nonviolence as a means to an end. It is the non-violent means that I chose. The end we all seek, however, is the same. We all seek the establishment of a Palestinian State along the 1967 borders, which encompasses Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The border recognized by the international community and in United Nations Resolutions; the same border that the United States recognizes as belonging to a Palestinian state.

It is for the creation of a Palestinian state and awareness of Palestinians due to the misconception many in the international community have that made me become a Peace Activist and later journalist. As a peace activist, I worked closely with the Israeli peace movement and Israeli peace organizations that advocate for the creation of a Palestinian state and want an end to the conflict.

Since coming to the UK, I have continued working as an activist to lobby and raise awareness for Palestine. It is through the Palestine Telegraph that I seek to bring awareness to the West about Palestinians and bringing the voice of them to a western audience. The purpose of the paper is not to be Anti-semitic or to spread hatred as some pro-Israeli personalities and outlets such as Harry’s Place accuse.

The website Harry’s place is based in London and has no contact details. Writers are masked behind their nicknames like Lucy lips, Habbi, Gene and others. Their task is to attack and describe anyone critical of Israel as being anti-Semitic. For them, anyone who criticizes Israel is perceived as being anti-Jewish. While they juxtapose the two, any informed readers know that the two are completely separate. Clearly, they have linked the two terms together.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and the free expression thereof, but the personal and vindictive attacks of outlets such as Harry’s Place is undemocratic. They have not only attacked the Palestine Telegraph and me personally, but also British politicians that show support for or sympathy toward Paletinians. For example, they attacked Martin Linton, Jeremy Corbyn, Bob Marshall-Andrews, George Galloway and many others. They also attacked Jenny Tonge for her support for Palestine and being a patron of the Palestine Telegraph.

Being critical of Israel is not anti-Semitic; criticism of Israel and its policies does not mean someone or even an outlet is anti-Jewish. Following the Gaza war, a Jewish journalist from New York, Janet Zimmerman, visited Gaza. She lived in my house for almost 2 weeks. Even Jews are critical of Israel and its policies. Are they too anti-Semitic? Are they too Jew haters?

They are not anti-Semitic or Jew haters. The Palestine Telegraph allows writers from all backgrounds and views to have their articles published. Our policy is freedom of expression for all and every viewpoint irrespective of race, ethnicity or religion. Articles and the viewpoints expressed therein are those of the writers and not those of the paper. Despite this, Harry’s Place is trying to make it as if the views expressed are those of my own and the paper. To properly quote the interview that Harry’s Place recently published and used as evidence of my so-called anti-semitism:

The interviewer asked Mr Habeeb: “Do you believe mainstream media organizations have a hidden agenda?”

Sameh Habeeb: “They are certainly pro-Israeli. I think you have to ask yourself who controls the media.

Despite claims made by Harry’s Place, Leeds University denied publishing the university magazine in which I said the above. There are some media outlets controlled by pro-Israeli individuals. This statement does not imply that ALL media outlets are or that one is anti-Jewish for stating the fact. Anti-semitism is being anti-Jewish and not anti-Israel policies. Shouldn’t the media be informative, critical and offer differing viewpoints and not the place for personal attacks against personalities?

Sadly, we found Jewish Chronicle (JC), one of the leading Newspapers speaking on behalf of Jews, sorting my words as anti Semitism. Not in this incident even, the paper believed in what Harry’s Place said many times. JC should be careful while dealing with such claims. A leading newspaper should deal with a source that has credibility and identity. With Harry’s Place certainly we can neither find credibility nor identity as in this photo. The photo could show you how those guys are hiding themselves. Every reader should wonder why?

By Sameh A. Habeeb

Founder of The Palestine Telegraph Newspaper

sameh.habeeb at gmail . com

harrys-place.jpg

Do you still think Harry’s place is honest?

source, Palestine Telegraph http://www.paltelegraph.com/columnists/sameh-a-habeeb/5844-israel-judaism-and-anti-semitism-by-sameh-a-habeeb

(PTT editor’s note: Harry’s Place is plain old obnoxious. No one except a handful of Pro-Israel “wannabe top managers but also wanna listen to the Smiths on my IPod” people even read it or consider it in any way reliable. We’ve been in their lens for a while and though they claim they do not censor anyone, someone reprinted a piece I wrote on Gilad Shalit… incredible guest post that was a pisstake that of course offended one and all of them, and after something like 30 minutes and 50 comments, they closed the comments down and someone asked Gene to take the post down! So, they preach what they do not practice. In addition, their arguments against Sameh hold no water, especially the ones about his English. I would love to see any one of them be as fluent in Arabic as he is in English. This is the article that tried to slam Sameh. http://hurryupharry.org/2010/05/06/sameh-habeeb-far-left-meets-far-right/

While PTT does not support the two state solution as Sameh does, we support Sameh and his right to think about what he believes the best way to liberate his people are, and to work towards achieving that liberation).

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