Who I am
Most of my followers on twitter and youtube will know me because of the probability and statistics work I have done challenging the official narrative on covid (and more recently net zero). You could say I am part of what is known as the “Freedom movement”. While many people within the Freedom movement regularly comment on political issues outside of those directly relevant to it, I tried to avoid doing this.
So, many of you will have been surprised by the fact that, since 7 October 2023 when Hamas launched its murderous attack against Israel, I have been regularly commenting on the situation in Israel. I want to explain why, unlike many others who have waded in with their opinions, I have special interest and insights to provide.
First of all, my background: I was born Norman Finkelstein (not the anti-Israel activist of the same name!) the son of Ben Finkelstein a Holocaust survivor from Poland – the sole survivor from his large family after he escaped the Lodz ghetto in 1940. His story can be found here in the Museum of the Jewish Soldier (you need to click on the little UK flag at the top to get the English version).
My mother was born in the UK, but her father was born in Jerusalem in 1891 in what was then part of “Palestine” which meant his nationality was Turkish as you can see from his certificate of naturalisation when he became a British citizen in 1947.
Note that there was no Palestinian national identity because when he was born it was simply a province of the Turkish Ottoman empire. Because of the nonsense propaganda now widely believed (that Jews only arrived in Palestine after World War 2), many are surprised when they find out my grandfather was from Jerusalem. But Palestine was then a sparsely populated region and there was a Jewish majority in Jerusalem even then. My wife’s maternal grandfather was also from Jerusalem. However, my grandfather’s family were forced to leave Palestine after one of the many Arab riots and pogroms against Jews several years before Israel’s independence in 1948. Another poorly known fact is that many of these Arabs had themselves only arrived in Palestine from Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt when Jewish immigration there in the early 1900’s led to the creation of a flourishing economy which created some prosperity and jobs.
So, my own family’s history disproves the widely believed lie that there was an independent Arab state called Palestine in the years leading up to 1948 in which Jews and Arabs lived together in harmony. Indeed, the only people in the land who referred to themselves as ‘Palestinians’ prior to 1948 were the Jews. That is why all the ‘evidence’ of a vibrant “State of Palestine” pre-1948 that gets churned out on social media every so often (whether it be the national football team or the national currency) turns out to be entirely Jewish.
Unsurprisingly, both my wife and I have extensive family living in Israel (my wife’s entire family including her two sisters live there as does my brother and his family). Like almost all Jews in the world I am a Zionist – which is simply the belief in the right of the Jewish people to their own state in their indigenous homeland of Israel. We have our own small apartment there and, prior to covid, would go there every few weeks. Sadly my wife, who was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2019, was so desperate to go back to see her family when Israel finally opened its borders for ‘fully vaccinated’ people in spring 2021 that she had two doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine (as I reported here).
Shortly after her second dose her condition deteriorated rapidly to the point where she no longer knows who her family are, and her condition is such that it is now too difficult for me to take her to Israel. We otherwise would have been in Israel on the day of the Hamas attack as it happened on the Jewish festival of Simchat Torah.
I believe this gives me a right to have an opinion about what happens in Israel. It also means I know more about the Israeli mentality and Israeli politics than most of those promoting themselves as ‘experts’ on twitter and elsewhere (many of whom have never been to Israel).
Antisemitism in the ‘Freedom movement’
As a member of the ‘Freedom movement’, even before the Hamas attacks, I became concerned about the increasing antisemitism, under the guise of obsessive Israel hatred of many within the movement. Note that I do not use the accusation of antisemitism against anybody lightly. Indeed, I abhor the tactic used by leftists and establishment figures to slur anybody using the word ‘globalist’ or criticising people like George Soros as antisemites. I have even been called an antisemite myself for challenging the globalist agenda and criticising Soros’s role in it. I made a public defence of Andrew Bridgen MP when he was accused of being an antisemite, in one of many examples where this accusation is used to shut down debate about issues like vaccine harms. I also believe that influential left-wing Jews and ‘Jewish’ organisations like the ADL in America and the Board of Deputies in the UK have done enormous harm to the Jewish community by aligning themselves with the woke agenda and campaigns to silence those opposed to the globalist narrative and the Great Reset, including with many false accusations of antisemitism.
Nor do I believe that valid criticism of the Israeli Government is antisemitic. Indeed, I was especially critical of the Israeli Government’s appalling covid strategy ranging from the lockdowns, the ludicrous “green pass”, and its role as “Pfizer’s laboratory”. I also wrote extensively about the corruption of the Israeli Ministry of Health role in exaggerating vaccine efficacy and covering up safety issues.
But the obsessive hatred of Israel among many in the Freedom movement has nothing to do with Israel’s covid policy. Rather, it is focused on the lies about the modern history of Israel and on the antisemitic trope that ‘Zionists’ are at the heart of the globalist tyranny and are also behind most of the evil events that have taken place in the last 70 years. This was all brought into sharp focus in June 2023 when I attended the Better Way Conference in Bath. Every speaker and sponsor was given a beautifully wrapped copy of Feargus O’Connor Greenwood’s book, “180 Degrees: Unlearn the Lies You’ve Been Taught to Believe”. Written in an engaging style, the book is being praised for exposing sinister conspiracies. But a recurring theme in the book are conspiracies about Zionists and Israel, most of which are easily debunked by anybody prepared to do real research. This prompted me, along with the journalist Karen Harradine, to write a series of articles that challenged the assumptions and narratives in the book and argued that such ‘anti-Zionism’ would gravely discredit the Freedom movement.
The 7 Oct Hamas attacks exposes more extensive antisemitism in the Freedom movement
As concerned as I already was about the latent antisemitism masquerading as anti-Zionism, nothing prepared me for the shock of discovering how widespread this antisemitism was within the freedom movement following the devasting Hamas attack against Israel on 7 October. In one day alone Hamas massacred over 1300 civilians and took over 200 hostage – mostly women and children. The Hamas terrorists live-streamed much of the slaughter, which included the sadistic murder of many children and babies, and even a 90-year old Holocaust survivor Gina Smiatich, who was dragged out of a shelter in her own home in Kibbutz Kissufim, taken to her living room, forced to kneel and then shot in the back of her head. The level of barbarity exceeded that of the Nazis. The scale and nature of this atrocity for a country like Israel is beyond comprehension. Based on population size this would be the equivalent of 13,000 killed in the UK (250 times bigger than the 7/7 London attacks which was the largest terrorist atrocity in the UK) and over 60,000 in the USA (20 times bigger than the 9/11 attacks). There is not a single family in Israel who does not know somebody who was murdered or kidnapped. The evidence of the massacres that took place is being documented here.
My brother’s daughter (like all youngsters conscripted to the IDF) was at the scene of the aftermath of one of the villages destroyed by the Hamas terrorists. She says that even the most graphic images and videos that have been circulating do not convey a fraction of the horrors that were committed. The dead included entire families with children and babies and many of the bodies were mutilated. Many were burnt alive with their hands bound behind their back. The terrorists were not content just to kill people - they clearly tortured them first, cutting off body parts including heads. These were completely defenceless people young and old. Because there are not enough medical staff to deal with the dead bodies, she had to help carry the bodies away. She is traumatised. Her brother (now called up like all my other nieces and nephews) had several of his friends murdered.
Yet, even before Israel responded to the attack and the continued barrage of rockets from Gaza (over 9,000 fired in 14 days), many of those in the ‘Freedom movement’ who have absolutely no connection to Israel or knowledge of the conflict were already proclaiming either that a) the attacks did not actually happen; b) the attacks were a ‘false flag’ inside job (victim blaming); or c) the attacks were justified because of Israel’s ‘oppression’ of the Palestinians. Leading the anti-Israel narrative were inevitably prominent anti-Zionist ‘Jews’ (who act as shield for antisemites to quote). Some, like Max Blumenthal immediately justified the attacks:
Others, like Rivkah Brown openly celebrated the massacre:
Many accused me of lying when I recited my niece’s experience. Almost nobody expressed sympathy:
Of course, when Israel responded by targeting Hamas infrastructure in Gaza and sites from which rockets continue to be fired, the anti-Israel hysteria went into overdrive. As usual there was no recognition of the fact that, in contrast to Hamas actively targeting civilians in this and previous attacks, Israel warns civilians in Gaza of impending danger, going to extraordinary lengths to avoid non-combatant casualties. And whereas Israel ensures its civilians are in shelters from the Hamas rockets, Hamas makes no attempt to protect civilians and places its infrastructure and weapons in hospitals and schools. This guarantees an asymmetric civilian casualty rate whatever is done.
People who I had previously respected were filling their twitter feeds with the usual lazy narrative of lies about Israel that Karen and I wrote about in our articles. The very people who previously said that no mainstream news media could be trusted to tell the truth were happy to accept without question every ludicrous claim coming from the Hamas media centre in Gaza and other Arab and anti-Israel news agencies.
Leading the barrage of anti-Israel and antisemitic abuse from the Freedom movement was this prominent doctor who has almost 1 million followers on twitter (see here for a detailed account of her antisemitism):
Here are more examples of hate-filled anti-Israel rhetoric by those who have been prominent in the Freedom movement:
Here are some of themany examples of obsessive and ignorant Israel hatred from the popular Jake Shields (note the tweet implying that 'the Israelis' were entirely made up of German holocaust survivors given refuge by the Arabs of Palestine and also the one where he directly uses Hamas as his source):
Interestingly, many were using as a ‘source’ of information a guy called Keith Woods who in 2019 made clear his hatred of Jews:
For example, here is Patrick Hennigsen who has been relentless in pushing the pro-Hamas narrative, reporting Woods.:
They also regularly use Lucas Gage as a source:
And, of course, members of the Freedom movement were keen to repost the usual useful idiots of the hard left like the British Labour MP Chris Williamson:
Many of those trumpeting the anti-Israel narrative on twitter use the same tactics as Greenwood in his book: they cite anti-Zionist Jews and anti-Zionist Israeli activists as their sources, assuming that this can protect them from accusations of antisemitism.
They are particularly fond of citing this guy Dan Cohen (probably because the name is a especially helpful protection):
Cohen still has not removed these posts about the bombing of the Ah-Ahli hospital (the bomb came from a failed rocket of Islamic Jihad):
The views of this small number of anti-Zionist Jews are amplified to such an extent that many are led to believe they represent a consensus, whereas, in reality, they are a tiny fringe minority among Jews worldwide. The same people who use the fringe in this way would at the same time deny that Hamas represents the average Palestinian citizen.
Where we are now
The Israeli nation is traumatised and now fears that more young men and women will die in trying to rescue the hostages and get rid of Hamas. Meanwhile hundreds of rockets a day continue to be fired from Gaza and now also from Lebanon and Syria so that everybody has to continually rush to shelters. Yet many of the ‘Freedom movement’ voices refuse to recognise any of this reality while continuing to push Hamas propaganda.
Since speaking out against the official covid narrative I was ostracised, censored, and vilified. I lost my academic career, as well as people who I previously regarded as friends and colleagues. But set against that was the perception that I had found a far more valued community of like-minded people, committed to freedom and justice. To discover that many of these people proudly sided with genocidal antisemitic terrorists is a bitter pill to swallow. And, many of my previous followers have denounced me:
I will end with a quote by Rosa Koire in her brilliant 2011 book “Behind the Green Mask: U.N. Agenda 21” (a book which predicts and explains everything that the globalists, with their Great Reset and Net Zero policies, have executed in the last few years). Early in the book Koire warns:
Another reason why you may not have heard of UN Agenda 21 before is because opposition to it is often conflated with anti-Semitism. Calling it a “Zionist plot” is absurd considering that Zionism is an ultra-nationalistic movement that is completely opposed to the dissolution of national boundaries. (Israel is about the size of Vancouver Island and slightly larger than New Jersey). If you’re approaching it from that angle I urge you to drop those attitudes. It is not productive, not realistic (you could say it’s a Protestant plot, would that make sense?), and feeds right into the dialectic that pits us against one another. The mainstream media can then refer to it as “fringe” and that justifies their lack of reportage. Demonizing all liberals is foolish and wrong’. She tells us not to ‘play the alienation game’ and that ‘we need to work together’.
Koire’s warning, that anti-Semitism in all its forms discredits any movement indulging in it, is as apposite today as it was 12 years ago. But sadly, such antisemitism is present within today’s Freedom movement.