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Israeli Checkpoint

My local Labour controlled council has just voted, like other councils, as well as universities and the UK government, to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. This consists of a rather loose basic definition, followed by a rambling discourse around the subject that twice mentions Israel and then 11 examples, 7 of which refer to the state of Israel. Anyone with a functioning brain might suspect that this definition has less to do with protecting Jews from antisemitism than with shielding Israel from criticism.

When the European Parliament were due to vote on whether to adopt this definition, I wrote to my MEPs urging them to reject it. Two replied in identical terms, pointing out that the definition makes it clear that criticism of Israel cannot be regarded as antisemitic’. Except that it doesn’t. They lied. Why would they do that? What it actually says is that ‘criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic’.

The italicised phrase changes everything. Why is it there? Obviously to muddy the waters. Who is to decide whether criticism of Israel goes beyond that levelled against any other country? In any case, Israel is not like any other country. It is a settler colonial state, founded on massacres and ethnic cleansing. It is, by any definition, a criminal state. Transferring Israeli settlers into the occupied territory is illegal, as is transferring Palestinian prisoners into Israeli jails. The Wall, built largely on Palestinian land was judged illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. The collective punishment inflicted on the people of Gaza is a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel itself is a racist state where ‘Arabs’ are viewed as a demographic threat. Unlike other countries (Myanmar is an exception), it is not a state for all its citizens but for all the Jews in the world, who are given the ‘Right of Return’, a right denied to the indigenous people.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 October 2017 13:34

The Wall that Stands Between

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Last Updated on Thursday, 01 June 2017 02:23

NEW: Musings on Medium.com

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There's lots to comment on in these turbulent times so Leon has launched a new blog on Medium.com. There you'll find provocative musings on songwriting, politics and life's little ironies. Leon's first musing asks if Zionism is inherently antisemitic and comes after the suspension of Ken Livingstone and the furore over supposed antisemitism in the Labour Party. 

Visit the blog >>

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 April 2017 15:02

That Precious Strand of Jewishness that Challenges Authority

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Book Cover - That Precious Strand of Jewishness that Challenges Authority


Now available from Five Leaves Bookshop Occasional Papers

Singer-songwriter Leon Rosselson questions what it means to be Jewish.
"For my parents and grandparents, Jewish identity, in religion, culture and language, was a given. Not so for me. I'm not religious, not a Zionist, so in what consists my Jewishness? Is a love of chopped liver and a belief that chicken soup cures all ills enough? And does it matter? This is the story of my search for answers. It is an argument with myself, with song lyrics to embellish the argument."
28 pages £4.00
ISBN 978-1-910170-33-5
Order from Five Leaves (UK P&P free)
Send your name, address and a cheque for £4 payable to Five Leaves, 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH
or call 0115 837 3097, 10–5 Mon–Sat, with your address and credit card details
or pay via PayPal to bookshop@fiveleaves.co.uk 
This essay was originally presented as the 2015 Yerushah Lecture at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge at the invitation of Dr Daniel Weiss 
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 March 2016 21:35

Records Available for Download

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Leon Rosselson’s early vinyl recordings are now available as downloads on all major digital retail outlets, including iTunesAmazonGoogle Play and Napster.

You can see a list of early vinyl records on the records page.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 August 2016 23:27
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