The enemies of free speech on Palestine want to criminalise the term ‘Zionist’, shortened or not. A Westminster Parliament Home Affairs Committee allowed the term ‘Zionism’ to be used but claimed that “The word ‘Zionist’ (or worse, ‘Zio’) as a term of abuse has no place in a civilised society”...The Westminster Parliament Home Affairs Committee recommends that “use of the words ‘Zionist’ or ‘Zio’ in an accusatory context should be considered inflammatory and potentially anti-Semitic in criminal investigations.” We may be be allowed to condemn someone’s support for Israel’s mass murder but not with appropriate feeling, i.e. a natural human revulsion will not be allowed.
8th April 2018
Today's Sunday Herald carries a story about the use of the term ‘Zio’, a shortened form of the word ‘Zionist’. A Labour Party body considers the term ‘Zio’ to be derogatory, the Chakrabarti Inquiry considers it to be “a term of abuse, pure and simple” and the Home Affairs Committee report on antisemitism says “The word ‘Zionist’ (or worse, ‘Zio’) as a term of abuse has no place in a civilised society”.
Whether Britain is a civilised society is a discussion for another day but we are currently witnessing an orchestrated effort to control how we discuss the accelerating crimes of the State of Israel and the Zionist settler-colonialist ideology which birthed the state that is widely seen around the world as guilty of apartheid and genocide.
If the enemies of free speech prevail we will be allowed to use the word Zionist or Zio only on condition that we do not express anger at the snipers crumpling Palestinian men, women, children and journalists to the ground in an orgy of mass murder ignored by those who are running our ‘civilised society’.
During and since the recent referendum in Scotland, many who are opposed to independence used the shortened form ‘Nat’ when talking about Scottish nationalists. The reduced form conveys opposition to nationalism but nobody sought recourse to the courts to categorise the term as a racist epithet. The use of the shortened form ‘commie’ applied to communists also expressed a hostile attitude but only the most benighted fools considered it a racist epithet towards Russians. On the left, many are familar with the terms ‘Stalinist/Stal’ and ‘Trotskyist/Trot’ to refer disparagingly to socialists of a competing tradition. The shortened forms convey a derogatory, hostile attitude but they are clearly political terms.
In exactly the same manner, ‘Zio’ is a shortened form of ‘Zionist’, and conveys hostility to that political ideology, its state and the behaviour of that state. 'Zio' is a useful word that adds anger and indignation to a criticism of the Zionist movement, a healthy anger and indignation that is widely and deeply felt. Not to feel that anger is pathological.
The enemies of free speech on Palestine, however, want to criminalise the term ‘Zionist’, shortened or not. A Westminster Parliament Home Affairs Committee allowed the term ‘Zionism’ to be used but claimed that “The word ‘Zionist’ (or worse, ‘Zio’) as a term of abuse has no place in a civilised society”.
The Home Affairs Committee notes, correctly, that the term ‘Zionist’ has been used by some antisemites to signify Jews but the Committee is silent on the unremitting effort by the State of Israel and its supporters to claim that Jews worldwide support its crimes and to implicate them in its violations of Palestinian human rights. Unsurprisingly, this orchestrated effort to conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism succeeds with some naïve individuals. The Home Affairs Committee calls, however, for criminalisation of the term Zionist when it is used in any “aggressive contexts”. The use here of the term ‘Zionist’ in “aggressive contexts “ is Newspeak for condemnation of the crimes of the State of Israel and opposition to those who campaign in support of the snipers on the Gaza border.
The Westminster Parliament Home Affairs Committee recommends that “use of the words ‘Zionist’ or ‘Zio’ in an accusatory context should be considered inflammatory and potentially anti-Semitic in criminal investigations.” We may be be allowed to condemn someone’s support for Israel’s mass murder but not with appropriate feeling, i.e. a natural human revulsion and anger at the crimes.
It couldn’t be clearer that what is intended is the silencing of opinion hostile to Israeli Sate crimes.
A Zionist is broadly, and is taken to mean, someone who supports the State of Israel, an apartheid and genocidal state despised and condemned by millions. In Scotland, Britain and around the world are we to be free to express our feelings towards the Zionist political tradition or can we only use the word Zionist in an approving or neutral manner, shorn of condemnation?
Are we not to be allowed to express our emotions concerning the murder of Palestinians who are imprisoned in walled ghettos, to express anger at their continuous dispossession and oppression by the Zionist movement and its state, aided and abetted by our governments?
Ahed Tamimi is now in an Israeli prison for slapping a heavily armed Israeli soldier whose army smashed her cousin's skull, critically injuring him; the Sunday Herald gives over space to this silly, albeit sinister, attempt to ban a term of hostility to political Zionism and its never-ending crimes.
Palestinians are forced off Jewish-only roads, in a state that is the poisoned fruit of the Zionist movement, while the media and politicians are silent, preferring to discuss whether a shortened form of Zionist or even the term ‘Zionist’ itself is to be permitted.
The idea of ‘Zio’ as a racist epithet can only be seriously discussed by a fool or a rascal. Tony Blair is a Zio, as is Mohammed Bin Salman, General Sisi, Sheldon Adelson, Donald Trump. Theresa May is also a Zionist, as is the sinister Christian fundamentalist Nigel Goodrich who runs the Confederation of Friends of Israel, and his collaborator, the pro-Israel antisemite, US Pastor John Hagee. While they talk of ‘euthanising’ Palestinian rioters are we to be silent unless we agree to follow the rules of a university debating society?
The Board of Deputies of British Jews is led by Zionists; Rabbi Dovid Weiss is anti-zionist, as was Marek Edelman and millions of Jews worldwide. So, the term Zionist/Zio includes Tony Blair, Theresa May, John Hagee, and excludes Dovid Weiss and Marek Edelman. It’s simple, really, if you think about it as fools cannot and rascals well understand but claim otherwise.
Full Disclosure: I was one of five SPSC members dragged through the Edinburgh courts (2008-10), accused of racism for saying the words in public “End the Siege of Gaza! Genocide in Gaza!” I was one of two SPSC members dragged through the Glasgow court for a further three years (2014-17), charged with ‘racism’ for carrying this placard and denouncing Israel’s mass murder of 2,200 Palestinians including 550 children, in a murder rampage that used weapons parts supplied from Scotland and the rest of Britain.
This poster was the basis for the racism charges. A highly paid Glasgow prosecutor alleged that when we denounced the mass murder of Palestinians, even while children's corpses in Gaza were still stored in ice cream refrigerators because the morgue had run out of fridge capacity, we were actually alluding in some hidden manner to the mediaeval murder of Jews by John Hagee’s predecessors following charges that Jews murdered Christian children for their religious rituals. Can this official madness become any crazier? It seems so.
Both charges of racism were thrown out as baseless but the pro-Israel Gang never stop trying. A recent ‘racism’ conviction in Aberdeen Sheriff Court for saying the words “Viva Palestina” within earshot of an Israeli was overturned on appeal in Edinburgh.
Support for Palestinian freedom is a campaign against the racist state which oppresses and dispossesses them. Those who are leading Scottish PSC are lifelong anti-racists.
We will continue to denounce the full spectrum criminality of the state of Israel and the role of its Christian fundamentalist, New Labour, Tory, and Jewish supporters – without fear or favour.
The pejorative use of the short-form ‘Zio’ may seem a trivial matter but it is part of a much wider and coordinated effort to silence and smear Palestinian voices, much of it directed from the Israeli Embassy.
Some may attempt to take a middle ground between Israeli apartheid and its victims but SPSC will not be silenced or intimidated. Our opponents have deep pockets and allies in the media, corporate Britain, and governments in both Westminster and Holyrood.
We appeal to all those who support freedom for Palestine, who are inspired by the heroism of those Palestinians on the Gaza border to join us for the fight for the freedom of the Palestinian people. That duty is now joined with our fight for free speech and free expression.
If we cannot express our anger and contempt towards the murder of peaceful demonstrators on the Gaza border then our hard-won rights to free speech are significantly diminished.