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IsrAction: GRASS ROOTS ZIOS AND THE BOARD OF DEPUTIES IMPLOADS

by on December 30, 2014

IsrACTION day is not just the worst pun in the history of the world. It has been an incredibly powerful illustration of the relationship between the Jewish establishment and the “grass roots Zios“ and in particular, the implosion of the what was left of the Board of Deputies’ dignity.

It was a ”grass roots” initiative.  A so transparently sordid exercise in self promotion as to be embarrassing to the whole of the sensible community. The sight of a bunch of grass rooters jumping up and down screaming “Look at us! Look at us!” was not a pretty one. The “idea“ seems to have been dreamed up between the handful of misfits, fake Jews and swivel eyed Christian Zionists that marches under the banner of Sussex Friends of Israel, and the racist EDL consorting head bangers in Manchester known to us as North West Friends of Israel.

What essentially happened was that they looked around and noticed that the political party the “grass rooters” invariably support, had created a lot of hunger and homelessness in the country. Surely there must be something for Israel in this situation? After a great deal of thought, (the wheels turn very slowly among the “grass rooters” out on the streets) someone hit upon the idea that it would be a wonderful piece of Hasbara if Israel fed a few of these desperados for a day or two. Further, it would make them look good too and give them a higher profile when it came to the distribution of Mick Davis’ “grass rooter” handouts.

So the idea hit of buying up some Israeli foodstuffs from Manchester supermarkets and pretending to buy some from elsewhere in the country. The point being, that the hungry would come to understand that if it wasn’t for Israel and its apologists, they wouldn’t be eating. Also, following an intense orgy of self promotion, the rest of us would come to understand this too.

We immediately spotted a structural weakness in this idea, but to our amazement, the “grass rooters” were one step ahead of us on this point. The problem was that hunting down Israeli stuff in supermarkets would be hard work and many “grass rooters” would not be up to the job. This was deftly dealt with by expanding the options to include kosher food, wherever it came from. So, not only do the hungry not get to eat until they have taken on board the political point, they don’t get to eat without going along with Jewish religious observances. Pass the sick bag, Alice.

All of this prompted one horrified observer to ask….

Is this the new Jewish way of giving?”

Gabriel Webber, a Deputy and youth worker on behalf of LiberalJudaism, summed it up far better than we ever could here.

Before we proceed to the reaction of the Jewish establishment, and the implosion of the Board, the concept of the Jewish grass roots movement needs to be clarified.

While the overwhelming majority of “grass rooters” are low status neverwillbes, in the hierarchical “Jewish community,” being “grass roots” is not entirely about status. In this world, you can be of very high status and yet be a “grass rooter”. “Grass roots” is an expression that in the context of UK Jews, has come to have a very specific and clearly defined meaning. It has recently become very important, if you are not an out on the streets “grass rooter”, to demonstrate that you are in touch with the grass roots community and are supportive of the “grass roots” movement. Clearly understanding this, the Board of Deputies changed Steven Jaffe’s job title from “Community Engagement Adviser” to “Grass Roots Adviser“.

Being “grass roots” is as much a matter of attitude as it is of communal status. So for example, Stephen Pollard the editor of the Jewish Chronicle is very much “grass roots”, as are former JLC CEO and notorious perjurer, Jeremy Newmark, the current JLC CEO Simon Johnson and Board Vice President Jonathan Arkush.

So, are you “grass roots”? You may think so, but you may be out of touch and not realise that we are no longer speaking English, but a privatised language, and that “grass roots” has a highly technical meaning within a closed system. So how could you ever know if you are “grass roots” or not?

Well, it is not easy, especially since those that at any point in time, are clearly “grass roots” tend to fall out a lot among themselves, and splits in the “grass roots” are common. So, “grass roots” orthodoxy can be hard to determine. These shifting sands are largely a consequence of intense and bitter self promotion rivalries within the “grass roots”.

But, we should not be deterred; we can always refer to a rough and ready guide.

You will be “grass roots” if you can satisfy a weighted majority of a basket of conditions. You will get “grass roots” qualification points if, for example, you can answer yes to questions such as the following. This is not an exhaustive list and anyone can play. Feel free to add your own, once you’ve got the hang of it.

Are you a Deputy and plan to vote for Jonathan Arkush in next years Presidential election?

Are you a Board Vice President and you voted against Yachad representation?

Is your God The State of Israel?

Alternatively do you type G-D and think G-d is a friendly Real Estate Agent in the sky ?

Do you like to hang out on the streets of Brighton and hurl mysoginist abuse at middle aged women ?

Do you favour the eight state solution ?

Do you make exhaustive attempts to court the ultra extremist Jewish Defence League, that are largely credited with provoking the trouble outside a Paris synagogue in the summer?

Do you make exhaustive attempts to court off-shoots of the terrorist Victor Vancier’s Jewish task Force?

Do you think Liberal Judaism is a front for an invigorated National Socialist Party and that its adherents are a bunch of Kapos?

Do you think that Maimonides and Laura Marks simply got it wrong?

Did you call your first born Kahane and your second born Goldstein?

Have you had any successes in shutting down Jewish owned shops? Ahava and Ecostream score well, but any old Jewish shop is acceptable for this purpose.

Do you type “Pals“ when you feel you just have to refer to Palestinians, no matter how much it hurts?

Do you or have you ever used the expression “Pallywood“ ?

Do you have any dealings with the Diaspora extension of the Hill Top Youth, StandWithUs?

Do you say and type “The BDS”?

Did you share Adam Levick’s disappointment when the guy that beheaded a woman in London a while back turned out not to be Muslim?

Are you comfortable in the company of the racist rape advocate Modechai Kader? Extra points if you ever invited him to address a meeting.

Have you ever been a member of your local Girl Guide Troup’s Friends of Israel Group?

Have you ever been arrested for trying to film and disrupt a memorial meeting for an old woman that was sympathetic to the Palestinian cause?

Have you ever been or do you aspire to be a Zionist Federation Co-Vice Chair?

Do you ever comment at the racist cess-pit blog spots Harry’s Place, CifWatch or Richard Millett’s blog?

Have you ever had a twitter account cancelled for cyber stalking and issuing threats?

Have you ever invited Douglas “things have to made harder for Muslims all round“ Murray to keynote speak at your rally?

Have you ever invited a racist, expense fiddling and bung taking Scottish Labour MP to speak at a rally? Points will be deducted if you have ever been caught on camera welcoming the EDL. It’s the getting caught on camera that cost you.

Have you ever posted a racist tweet demanding that a brown skinned woman born and bred in Dewsbury pay more attention to events in “her native Pakistan“ and less attention to Israel?

Have you ever done time for fraud? Lots of points for this as the “grass roots” will be reassured as to your criminal mind, criminal minds being rampant among them. Aspiring “grass rooters” will find it useful to have a role model and here he is.

You have realised by now that if you have a nuanced and thoughtful approach to the Israel/Palestine thing you are not “grass roots”. Moshe and Rachel on the Clapham omnibus are not grass roots. They are too conflicted and uncertain and have too large a surplus of goodwill. They simply are not ugly enough.

So, how did the Jewish establishment react to the embarrassment of isrACTION day? Well, mostly they ignored it. LiberalJudaism, most of the shuls, United Synagogue, the Chief Rabbi, and Reform Judaism simply kept their heads down and just wanted it to go away. As did the Union of Jewish Students, who quickly grasped how badly exploiting the poor and hungry to make political points would go down on campus.

The Zionist Federation, of course, were enthusiastically behind the stunt. This is in no way interesting as the ZF are “grass rooters” from the very top to the very bottom. So, no surprises here. Equally enthusiastic was Stephen Pollard. Again no surprises. Pollard might be viewed as the Svengali of the “grass rooters”. He is an ultra right wing brawler who loves to provide racists of the very worst kind with all the column inches they can eat.

Pollard is a “grass rooter” to his core and cheerfully puts his sharp brain and finely honed journalistic skills at their service. In particular, he is very adroit at managing competing publicity so that the “grass rooters” have the last word.

Pollard’s charitable instincts and concern over food poverty is such that at 12:05 a.m. on 21st October 2013 he tweeted…

Can someone explain what’s wrong with Tesco throwing out food no one wants to buy? Assuming they’ve paid the suppliers for it.”

The real interest is in the reaction of the JLC and The Board of Deputies.

For the Board, it has been an agonising experience. Both the Board and the JLC were in a difficult position. The Board executive and the JLC grandees are smart and sophisticated people. They immediately spotted isrACTION day for the embarrassment that it was. But what to do?

“This is garbage“, the JLC reasoning went, “but we have to be seen to be in touch with the grass roots.” So, there was never any question of coming out against the stunt. The strategy was adopted of not EXPLICITLY endorsing the stunt but not knocking it either. “Grass roots” dues were paid in the form of a few desultory retweets, just enough for the “grass roots” to say that the JLC were onside but nothing explicit enough to embarrass them in their dealings with the high and mighties in government, etc. Their hearts were clearly not in it. The posture was highly successful and the JLC emerged unscathed.

For a time, the Board, taking their cue from the JLC, played it similarly, but their nerve didn’t hold.

The difference lay in the fact that the Board of Deputies is TERRIFIED of the “grass roots”. This is to be taken literally, it is not hyperbole. When we say terrified we mean just that. The Board is the Kosher meat in a highly uncomfortable sandwich. On one side, their traditional role as the community’s representatives to government and the UK establishment has been taken over by the JLC. On the other hand, they have become the objects of an unbroken stream of vitriolic abuse from the “grass roots” on the grounds that they don’t do enough. The watershed was President Wineman and Vice President Marks deciding they must do some rabble rousing and get some street cred. So they went out on the streets, specifically, a rally in London, only to find themselves booed and hissed at. The outcome was that Board’s self confidence was well and truly shattered. It has never recovered. Rather isrACTION day saw the implosion of the remnants of such confidence that still remained..

Board fear was well illustrated by a posting on the Board website by Steven Jaffe.

Jaffe’s post was about the council in Dudley tabling a BDS friendly motion. A combined assault by the JLC, the Board and a local MP put paid to that. Completely gratuitously, Jaffe slipped in, that Sussex Friends of Israel had coordinated opposition in Brighton. SFI played absolutely no role in the council reversal and their only success remains in getting Ecostream shut down. Similarly, there was, of course, no opposition in Brighton to coordinate. The good burghers of Brighton were going and are going serenely about their business, blissfully unaware of machinations at Dudley Council. The gratuitous insertion by Jaffe was simply there to head off the ” grass roots” having a tantrum and shouting at them. A gratuitous indulgence of the ” grass roots ” insatiable need for attention, a need bordering on the psychotic.

A day and a half before isrACTION day, the Board’s nerve cracked completely and there was a torrent of tweets eulogising the stunt and declaring the Board’s unwavering support. It was more than this. They started talking like they were one of the boys. At the earliest opportunity, on the day itself, they jumped in with a fanfare of confirmation of support and declaring that they were going to be having a “busy day“.

In the event, Board participation consisted of sending poor Phil Rosenberg along to the Zionist Federation offices to have his mug shot taken alongside some Tesco plastic bags.

So the Board humiliation is complete, and when the full horror of israCTION day sinks in and opposition to any repeat hardens, Board complicity will not be forgotten.

All this craven indulgence of the nut job “grass rooters” has, of course, got the Board nowhere. The “”grass rooters” simply pocketed the isrACTION day endorsement without so much as a thank you, and as soon as the day had come and gone immediately resumed the vitriolic assault on them.

#DaneGeld

Interestingly, the JLC CEO, Simon Johnson, had serious difficulty sticking to the JLC strategy. Johnson is a “grass rooter”. Using his personal Twitter account, he periodically slipped in some subtle and sometimes not so subtle explicit support. Johnson, of course was, prior to his appointment, part of a conspiracy to set up an organisation that would compete with and hopefully side line the JLC and the Board. Following his appointment we heard no more. Clearly, for Johnson, JLC billions trumped his revolutionary and subversive instincts.

Johnson’s appointment followed the departure of the notorious perjurer Jeremy Newmark. The JLC don’t seem to have a lot of luck with their CEO’s.

In the event, there seems to have been a bit of a do in Manchester, and a desultory effort in Brighton. Otherwise isrACTION day was something  of a flop all round.  It was ignored by the mainstream press both here and in Israel. The stunt was even too stupid for Naftalfi Bennett who ignored their pleadings for publicity and endorsement. It did, of course, attract a lot of interest from Israel National News the gutter organ of the illegal settler movement, and its “managing editor”, the fascist Ari Soffer. Soffer is a big buddy of the “grass rooters”. INN is most famous for the publishing of a photo of a handful of upper  middle aged Palestinian men posing on what looked like a lunar landscape, and looking like having their picture taken was the most exciting thing that had happened to them in years.

The caption read “Pals riot in Itamar”.

The flop was compensated for by typing “all around the country” anywhere and everywhere and producing a host of posed, contrived and fake photos. Claimed participation figures were seemingly arrived at by thinking of a number and multiplying it by several hundred. A wonderful example of grass rooter innumeracy was a blog in The Times of Israel. The ” grass rooters ” briefed the  blogger to the effect that SFI and NWFOI had 16,000 members. Since SFI  number eight maximum, ( boosted by some occasionals in their ” lets shut down Ecostream ” days ), NWFOI must have been going some.

For one of the more hilarious isrACTION  day photos see below.

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3 Comments
  1. Ryan Thomas permalink

    Yawn, Yawn. In Manchester alone via NWFOI over £10,000 of food was donated to Jewish and non Jewish charities. Knock it all you want, it’s a free country but thousands of people all over the country took part Merseyside, Manchester, Leeds, Scotland, Sussex, London, Nottingham, and individuals all over the country contacted the organisers- even Reform synagogues and Habonim Dror, the “left of centre” youth organisation. You don’t like it – so what. It IS here to stay – we have the date for next year and we have loads of organisations in Europe and the USA who are getting on board. Must really bug you 🙂 hey – 🙂

  2. richardarmbach2 permalink

    I knew the comment would be from you Ryan. Welcome back.

  3. watchfuliris permalink

    Bicker bicker bicker….congratulations.

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