Zionist Bloggers Rush to Defend Ahava Staff Member in Anti-Semitic Comments Row

It would have been expected that the release of a video showing an Ahava staff member making anti-Semitic comments would have sparked a rare point of agreement between the anti-Ahava and pro-Ahava campaign, with both sides condemning the obvious anti-Semitism of someone who labels Jews “Christ Killers”. The reality has proved otherwise.

A row started when Zionist blogger Richard Millet posted a piece in the Jewish chronicle blogging pages, as well as his own blog, attacking not on the anti-semetic staff member, but Alex Seymour, who posted the video and Bruce Levy, the victim of the attack who he denounces as the “dregs and bullies” of the BDS Movement. Millet goes on to defend the staff members comments about Jews killing Jesus as simply an “off the cuff remark” and denounce the video, which features the staff member answering “because your Jewish” to Levy’s question “why did you say I killed Jesus?” as an “attempt to frame her look like a Christian fundamentalist”.

Millets piece received near-unanimous support from the Zionist commenters on the piece from his assertions.  On the Jewish Chronicle site, instead of addressing issues surrounding the video, Amber, Mattpryor, Yoni1 and joemills attack Zair, a pro-Palestinian commenter, after he made a comment about the why Richard Millet was attempting to defend the staff member.

Jonathan Hoffman of the Zionist Federation and the Board of Deputies of British Jews chose to ignore the anti-semetic comments in the video and instead attacked the “The Israel-bashing lefties”, who he accuses of “bullying the Ahava workers mercilessly” by mercilessly making themselves victims of anti-Semitic attacks. Harvey joined Jonathan attacks and suggests that during the next direct action against the shop the workers should “pour several buckets of ice cold water over them as they lay glued together on the floor”, an idea Jose disagrees with, adding that “tar and feathers” would be a more appropriate method of causing grievous bodily harm to people who are non-violently protesting against the illegal Israeli West Bank settlement company. Jose later does address the video itself, adding that you “can’t hear anything” during the clip, an issue that is presumably a problem with the soundcard on Jose’s computer rather than the video itself, which quite clearly features the staff member telling a Jewish man that she believe that the Jews killed Jesus.

On Richard millets blog itself a lively debate running to over 250 comments ensued. Roger defended the staff members comments as simply “out of context”, Silke thought she being “ironic” and Sharon Klaff attributed her deeply anti-Semitic attitudes to the “tremendous strain” she faces. David Guy said he“feels sorry for the lady”, who he describes as “under pressure” and who must surely “regret” her comments. Isca Steiglitz of Greens Engage, who describe themselves as “responding to the intersection of anti-zionism and anti-semitism”, said she would need to know more fact before passing judgment on the Staff members “angry retort”.

Jonathan Hoffman returned to making ad-hominem  attacks against anti-Ahava campaigners, describing Bruce Levy, the victim of the attack, as a “piece of dreck” and Alex Seymour, who posted the video, an “ ignorant arse” and a “sad grey little man of an indeterminate age”.

Empress Trudy, presumably inspired by Harvey and Jose’s attempts to come up with the best way to brutalise pro-Palestinian campaigners offered the idea that Ahava staff members should “close the shop, turn off the lights, turn off the heat, lock the doors and chain them from the outside” during the next protest inside the shop, presumably so the protestors can understand how it feel to live in Gaza and deepen their commitment to the Palestinian cause. Chipping in a few comments later, Windsor based celebrity biographer Chas Newkey-Burden, blogging under his pseudonym ‘Oy Va Goy’ pondered that the Ahava protests have
“nothing to do with Israel” and that he has “asked family and friends to buy me Ahava products for Christmas”. He later went on to attempt to teach some basic Israeli Hasbarra methods to Richard Millet, telling him that it would have been wiser to have got “an explanation/other-side-of-the-story” to put out alongside the video.

Yoni later responded to a demand for the racist shop members sacking by calling the poster a “sad, useless, inadequate, Jew-hating person”, whilst defending the staff member, who believes that “Christ Killer” is an acceptable insult to hurl at a Jewish person, as “under pressure” and her comments taken “out of context”.

Richard Millet himself joined in the conversation, possibly causing severe wear and tear to the H, M, A and S buttons on his computer whilst continually changing the subject from the “ironic comment” you “never hear (the Ahava staff member) say” to alleging support for Hamas from commenter’s with consideration for Palestinian human rights, mentioning the Palestinian group in just under 50% of his posts.
The only pro-Israel commenter to acknowledge that the video “ doesn’t look good”, was cba. Every single other Zionist commenting on the feed chose to defend the staff member.
When the original story broke an ISM member emailed the Jewish Chronicle alerting them to the video, believing that a video of a worker at a Jewish owned business in London making comments about Jews being Christ killers would be news to a paper whose role is to report any news of note in the Jewish community. The ISM London member was sadly mistaken, and has not heard anything back from the paper, nor noticed any report on the incident on the papers website.
So why all the ambivalence towards the attack? Perhaps the reasoning behind the JC and the Zionist blogger’s attitude is best explained by a posting from Silke on Richards blog;

“To evoke that image (of Jews as Christ killers) against a Jew who works for the destruction of Israel i.e. a person severly lacking in charity and compassion may be owed to a bit of roundabout logic but in the little we know of the context definitely not anti-semitic.”

The message seems to very firmly be that anti-Semitism is now ok, so long as the victim is a Jew who supports Palestinian human rights.
The orginal threads can be found here and here