John Chalcraft Part 3 (John Chalcraft disproved)

He replied;

This is turning into abuse again, so I’ll check out if you don’t mind.
To which I point out;
I wasn’t going to email you again but I feel I have to take you up on your statement that Israel’s is the only project of colonisation in the modern world (in their settlement of the West Bank by Israelis). Besides those I listed off the top of my head before, what about Turkey.

I literally cannot believe you cannot be aware of Turkey’s occupation of Northern Cyprus, stationing of 40,000 troops there to maintain it and colonisation of 200,000 Turkish settlers on the Island? It has been going on since 1974.

As mentioned before Turkey occupied Kurdistan too, in fact last year Turkey used poison gas against the Kurds;,1518,711536,00.htm

Do you really teach your students that «the only project of settler colonisation in the modern world» is Israels? Again, you are either ignorant, lying, or holding Muslims to a different standard than you do Jews?

Another example of a Muslim occupation and colonisation of a non-Muslim people is Irian Jaya where Indonesia has literally sent millions of settlers since it began its occupation after the Dutch left in 1945.

Are you really this ignorant? Again, I cannot believe it so I return to my original explanation that you hold Jews to a different standard as (you do) Muslims.

He replies;

Dear Steve,
I admit that you have provoked my academic curiosity as to how the analogy you draw between Northern Cyprus / Turkey on the one hand, and Israel on the other, can reasonably be made. I’m also intrigued by the fact that you do not dispute the idea that Israel is carrying on a project of settler colonisation. Alas, however, prudence and experience insists that I must cease this correspondence because of the doubt that now hovers over your good faith and your motives as you took the decision to place the contents of a private discussion in the public domain without consulting me first. 
And I conclude;
I’ll happily admit there is a policy to settle Jews in the West Bank, or Judea as the land was known before Europeans kicked us out originally.

You said that it was the only case of colonisation in the modern world and I easily proved you wrong. Its not even the only case in the region. Period (as Americans say).

I know notice my blog is now one of the first references if one «google’s» your name. I will let the public decide as to the validity of your arguments, or mine, but I have exposed your ignorance and predudice very easily. You have failed to disprove my contention that you hold Arabs and Muslims to a different standard than you do Jews/Israel.

Once again you will notice he doesn’t actually address the fact I’ve proved many of his contentions to be worthless. He doesn’t mangage to disprove my contention that he holds Arabs/Muslims to a lower standard of rules than he applies to Jews/Israel. I lost all respect for someone that, based only upon the initial LSE debate, I actually thought may be a man of principle however misguided. Many of the alleged crimes he blames Israel for eg White Phoshorus use being some sort of warcrime, I disproved very easily. More troubling is that he just cannot seem to accept that there are many similar instances of territorial disputes in the world, most of which result in a far greater rate of casulties than the Israel-Palestinian dispute. I didn’t even mention Sri Lanka but the fact he ignores Indonesia’s colonisation of the Papuan people in Irian Jaya means he is living in a fantasy land. Remember that this man is teaching students. It’s pure propaganda.

Another point is that this man, and his ilk, have never protested the Arab economic boycott of Israel but he protests Israel’s (far more justified) boycott of Gaza all the while ignoring Egypt is doing the same thing. I simply cannot take his views seriously if he cannot admit that there are equal or greater disputes taking place elsewhere eg Kashmir, Irian Jaya, Cyprus, Kosovo, Chechnya, Tibet, Western Sahara and many other places. Chalcroft loses all credibility because he proves not to be impartial. For him the only crime in the world is commited by Jews against helpless Palestinians. If a boycott against Israel is justified then why not against his own country (the UK) for their occupation of the Fawklands and  Gibraltar and the British colonisation of Australia, New Zealand and North America, and far less justified wars (than any of Israel’s self-defense against neighbouring States) in Iraq and Afganistan. Why not Turkey which occupies at least 2 countries (Kurdistan and Cyprus), why not Russia for it’s attack on Georgia and brutal occupation of Chechyna. Why not Morocco for it’s colonisation of Western Sahara where 50% of people are now literally slaves. Why not Ethiopia for it’s attacks on Somalia? The list is endless. Simply put only Israel deserves to be boycotted according to Chalcraft’s twisted logic. He fails to answer my question of why Israel should be held to a higher standard than others? He is just an ideologue with an axe to grind against Israel. Why? I say it’s a form of reverse-racism whereby Jews must be some-how more civilised than Muslims and others, but his complete ignorance or unacceptance  of any of the Israeli perspective (Anti-Jewish laws in the PA and Jordan) leads me to conclude he is not even interested in impartiality he is only interested in Israel-bashing for the sake of bashing the Jewish-State. It reminds me of the argument of lefties that they are against Israel because it is a «Jewish» state and therefore cannot be a state for all it’s people while ignoring the fact almost every single Arab and Muslim country is officially «The Islamic republic of….» or «The Islamic Arab Kingdom of….». Hypocrisy. The same argument was used by the Red Cross movement to deny entry to the Israeli Ambulance service because it’s emblem is a Star of David and they said can’t be used because it’s a religious symbol while both the Red Cross themselves and the Red Cresent use the Christian cross and the Muslim cresent as their emblems replectively. Typical leftist doubletalk.

John Chalcraft part 2

He must have slept on it because he wrote a more detailed response (I do appreciate the bloke’s time even if he is very ill-informed and misguided and his arguments have more holes than swiss cheese);


You sound like you really want to know, so I’ll tell you. I’m greatly exercised by violations of human rights and international law in any context, and I add to that a kind of postcolonial social democratic outlook. I try to apply these standards universally. This applies to the UK and the US. And to every Arab regime. (E.g. if Jews can’t own property in Jordan, of course that’s discrimination). It applies to my relations to LSE, and any other institution I’ve worked for. I’m celebrating the collapse of the corrupt, kleptocratic, violent dictatorship in Tunisia. I’m wishing for a revolution in Egypt. If you attended my lectures, you’d hear far more criticism of the Arab regimes than of Israel. I would love for activists to have made a stink about certain military programmes that were established at the University of Edinburgh when I was there — a boycott might have been interesting indeed. I am an activist on a great variety of issues — from the living wage campaign at LSE, to unionisation at NYU (in the US) to issues of freedom and democracy in the Arab world and beyond (e.g. I work with Amnesty on Syria and Lebanon — and this includes the issue of Kurdistan). I was married into a family who suffered terribly from the Islamic Republic of Iran, and so I have a view on that too, and what’s effective there. Although one cannot fight every battle. The trouble is, when you do go to bat in regards to Israel-Palestine, it takes up a lot of time. So if you decide to keep going, and not give up, you have to make choices about what causes to pursue. But the real question re the boycott is largely (but not exclusively) one of tactics. Which tactics are appropriate in which situation? You will have noticed I devoted much of my proposition to explaining the rationale / effectiveness of the tactic. That emphasis is no accident. I happen to believe that a boycott is effective in this case. But I don’t believe so whatsoever in regard to, say, Egypt or Syria. Boycotting Syrian universities will not move things forward one whit. It might even encourage the US or Israel to start bombing there. The model is BDS re South Africa. Imagine you supported BDS re South Africa, and then ask yourself, honestly, if you would have been impressed by white South Africans who said, why don’t you talk about Chile or China or Russia? This is special pleading and it won’t wash. It’s not OK to say, because others commit atrocities, we can commit atrocities. That’s the double-standard — special pleading for one country, in the belief that all criticism is motivated by a largely defunct European anti-Semitism. Israel — this army with a state attached — does commit atrocities — the disproportionate use of force, the indiscriminate use of violence, the use of banned weapons (such as white phosphorous) — and it almost thinks its normal that its running the longest occupation of modern times, is pursuing the only project of settler colonisation in the modern world, is building a wall to pen people in that violates international law, and is banning children’s toys from entering Gaza in a crippling siege which has created the largest open-air prison in the contemporary world — a siege imposed following democratic elections in which Palestinians chose the ‘wrong people’. I’m very comfortable with those who want to say the tactic of boycott is counter-productive and so on and respect their views. But don’t try to tell me that there’s no reason to be active — no reason to worry — and no atrocities going on. 
All good wishes,


To which I responded;

Thanks, I appreciate your time. The fact that you didn’t even know Jews can’t own property in Jordan or be citizens (there)  is troubling if you claim to be an scholar of the Near East.

The first half of this explanation seems reasonable until you start either lying or making factual inaccuracies;

Israel’s use of White Phosphorus in the Gaza war was completely legal. America and your own country routinely use it as in the battle of Fallujah in Iraq.

The Palestinians possibly even fired White Phosphorus bombs at Israel;,7340,L-3955296,00.html

Can you really compare a country that is «free» according to Freedom House with Syria and Iran and Aparteid South Africa?

An Arab Judge only last month convicted the former Israeli president of rape (in a trial in the Israeli High Court. The fact there are Arab judges at all especially preciding over a case involving the former President of Israel shows exactly how calling Israel an Aparteid state is inaccurate). Until I pointed it out you didn’t even know Jews are banned from living or owning land in Jordan (whereas) in Israel Arabs/Muslims may of course live and work and own land (even if some elements of the ultra-religious don’t like it).

You brush off anti-semitism in Europe as «largely defunct» when in fact anti-semitic incidents are at their highest since the war though mainly because of Muslim attacks on Jews and Jewish properties. Again you are either ignorant or holding Muslims to a different standard than non-Muslim European citizens.

During no other war in (modern) history has the proportion of civilian deaths to soldiers been so low as in (Israel’s war with Hamas in) Gaza at 1 to 1 (Civilian casulty to militant death). Hamas recently admitted that the Israels’ figures of about 700 Hamas fighters killed were true (which they denied during the Goldstone investigation and Goldstone believed without proper investigation);

(This represents) About half of those killed (during the war) despite their (Hamas’) earlier lies to Goldstone etc. I believe the figure for civilians compared to combatants killed in Afganistan is about 10:1 (10 times the civilians killed proportionally than by Israel in Gaza) so I’m not sure how this is disproportional (in the case of Israel).

Israel left Gaza and was met with 8,000 missiles in return. Gaza is 71kms away from Tel Aviv. This isn’t some abstract case on the other side of the world.

(Israel) «is pursuing the only project of settler colonisation in the modern world»

This is such a stupid statement it beggars believe. China has turned  the Tibetans (and Uighurs) into ethnic minorities. Kosovo achieved independence because of illegal Albanian settlement since the war. Kurdish areas of Northern Iraq were (eg Mosul) were colonised by ethnic Arabs to reduce Kurdish power. Ethnic Russians colonised the Baltic states leaving 50% ethnic russian populations (and Kazakstan). Not to mention the Arab colonisations of Berber areas and ban on Berber language. Arab speakers are colonising southern Sudan as we speak.

(Israel is) «building a wall to pen people in that violates international law»
Other countries building similar walls; S’audi Arabia on its border with Yemen (which is also disputed if you don’t already know), The EU with Russia and Turkey.

You describe the Israeli seige of Gaza as creating a prison. Are you not aware Egypt enforces the same seige with Gaza? Again a double standard. The Arabs have had a similar economic boycott of Israel since 1948 why is this not also a «seige»? Again, a double standard. (Surely it is only because of Israeli «ingenuity, endurance and passion» that Israel is not the «biggest prison in the world» because of the Arab economic boycott?)

You’re really just showing your ignorance and that according to you one rule applies to Arabs and another to Israel.

John Chalcraft might be a racist?

I don’t use this term «racist» lightly. The term «racist» in this case is a misnomer as generally ethnic Arabs, Jews, Iranians etc are all of the same «race» as Europeans e.g. Caucasians. Chalcraft, like the British Press often does, accuses Israel of war crimes which although often later proved false nevertheless do damage to Israel because in a culture of soundbites the public only hears the accusations and never the corrections to incorrect news stories. Likewise althought my accusation of racist is designed to offend Chalcraft this case is different from cheap accusations because I prove that Chalcraft really is guilty of a form of discrimination against Arabs and Muslims if he doesn’t expect them to be as civilised as he does Jews (or by extension «Europeans)». Are Muslims and Arabs less capable of living up to decent expectations of human rights? Is the fact that every Muslim country in the world is deemed «less-than-free» or «not-free» by Freedom House an indication that they are incapable of modernity? I think not, but Chalcraft seems to think so. John Chalcraft is very typical of the British elite. It is not entirely that Brit’s like Chalcraft don’t hold Muslims to the same standards as they hold Jews because they expect less from Muslims; it is also often because of cynical reasons involving self-promotion and for Real Politik gain. The pro-Arab lobby with their billions of Arab oil dollars is very effective with (according to the Guardian); «Edinburgh and Cambridge received £8m each from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia last year to set up Islamic studies centres,» contrasting with tiny Israel, despite the infamous accusations of a «Jewish-lobby,» unable to compete. Various Academics make their living (Norman Finklestein, Anthony Loewanstein etc) from Israel-bashing, bashing Arabs simply doesn’t pay in the same way. The proponents of boycott’s against Israel admit themselves that this would not be effective against bigger and more powerful countries, thus, unwittingly acknowledging how small and vulnerable Israel really is. Pick on the little guy; that’s right and in doing so expose the greatest myth of the entire conflict «that an Israeli Goliath is up against a Palestinian David» when the opposite is true with tiny Israel (7 million people and geographically very very small) is surrounded by 300 million Arabs and 1 billion Muslims mainly dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

John Chalcraft does not come from a cultural vacuum he come’s from a British political, academic and media elite infamous for a pro-Arab slant. The British Ambassador’s to both Egypt and Lebanon have both recently used their personal blogs to bash Israel with no repercussions to their careers. Imagine the controversy if the British Amabassdor to Germany were to bash Poland, how long would he remain a diplomat?

Israel-bashing has become not only acceptable but de rigueur within the British media and academic establishment whch is systematically anti-Israel. Much has been written about the BBC’s anti-Israel bias (with the BBC refusing to release the Balen report into this topic) the same is true for British universities, trade unions and political elites. The infamous Arabist Foreign Office is so anti-Israel that the British historian Andrew Roberts believes that the Foreign Office has placed a ban on royal visits to Israel, he says;

«As an act of delegitimization of Israel, this effective boycott is quite as serious as other similar acts, such as the academic boycott, and is the direct fault of the FO Arabists.”

«Her Majesty the Queen has been on the throne for 57 years and in that time has undertaken 250 official visits to 129 countries, yet has not yet set foot in Israel. She has visited 14 Arab countries, so it cannot have been that she wasn’t in the region.»

«The tragic truth is that it suits Arab states very well to have the Palestinians endure permanent refugee status; whenever Israel puts forward workable solutions they are stymied by those whose interests put the destruction of Israel before the genuine well-being of the Palestinians. Both King Abdullah I of Jordan and Anwar Sadat of Egypt were assassinated when they attempted to come to some kind of accommodation with a country that most sane people now accept is not going away.»

Shimon Peres recently caused controversy by describing the English (with good reason given the policies of the UK towards Israel as, “anti-semites”, saying

«There are several million Muslim voters, and for many members of parliament, that’s the difference between getting elected and not getting elected, and in England there has always been something deeply pro-Arab, of course, not among all Englishmen, and anti-Israeli, in the establishment.

They abstained in the [pro-Zionist] 1947 UN partition resolution … They maintained an arms embargo against us in the 1950s … They always worked against us. They think the Arabs are the underdogs.»

John Chalcraft recently lost a debate with Daniel Hochhauser arguing his belief that there should be a British boycott of Israeli academia. The debate can be seen here. I took issue with one of his comments and the following email exchange took place;


I listened to your debate regarding boycotting Universities in Israel and noticed one very glaring error in your evidence amongst many double standards. Your very last comment you say that Palestinian Universities had been «crushed» by Israel. 

This is factually incorrect. Every single Palestinian University has been founded or achieved University status since 1967;

Allowing and encouraging education in the Palestinian communities has actually been an Israeli policy because Israel, falsly, believed a more educated Palestinian population would lead to peace and prosperity.

If Israel is crushing Palestinian Universities please name which Palestinian Universities were founded prior to 1967 Israel has closed?
The only thing stopping peace between Palestine and Israel is the Palestinian’s rejection of Israel as a Jewish State (even within the 1967 borders) and their rejection (like Jordan) of Jews having citizenship in Palestine. Only a few months ago the Palestinian Ambassador to the US said no Jew can be a Palestinian citizen in a future Palestinian state and they should all be transfered. ;

The Palestinians have rejected a 2 state solution in 1947, 1970, 2001, 2010.  

Your whole logic is flipped upside down. It should be you proposing boycotting Arab Universities considering not only their almost universal hostility to Israel but their governments repression of their own people, gays, women etc. The only growing Christian community in the Middle East is Israels. Freedom House lists Israel as the only «free» country in the Middle East;

It seems strange that the only country you consider boycotting is Israel? What about the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara or the Arab-Iranian occupation of Kurdistan? Two wrongs don’t make a right but 25 wrongs to 1 certainly do say something about your particular bias.

S. Bronfman.


Thank you for your email. I believe I gave a strong rationale for the boycott and why it is appropriate and legitimate in this case. Allow me to recommend that you take a look at Gabi Baramki’s book Peaceful Resistance (Pluto 2010) which offers plenty of compelling evidence about the many ways in which Israel tries to strangle Palestinian universities. This book is only one example of a mountain of citable evidence in this regard. That the Palestinians have managed to found and run these universities in spite of the brutal, choking and illegal occupation they face is a real testament to their ingenuity, endurance and passion for education. It is this that I salute — and it motivates me to listen and respond when they call en masse for my academic solidarity. I’m afraid the way that your side of the debate ignores or dismisses the evidence on violations of international law, grave human rights abuses, and the complicity of Israeli academic institutions only increases my conviction that boycott is the way to go.
All good wishes,


Prior to 1967 there were precisely 0 Palestinian universities today there are at least 20. This means every single Palestinian University was founded with Israel’s blessing no matter how you spin it. When Jordan and Egypt ruled the West Bank and Gaza they founded precisely 0 Univeristies.

Thanks for the reply. Could you answer the following questions? Yes or No is fine where appropriate eg question 2, 3;

1. If Israel is crushing Palestinian Universities please name which Palestinian Universities were closed by Israel? Since Israel left Gaza which Universities has Hamas founded (surely, according to your thesis the Palestinians should have embarked on a University building spree)
2. Should Jews be allowed citizenship of Palestine?

3. Is the fact that no Jew may be a citizen of Jordan (79% of the mandate of Palestine 1917-21) discrimination?

3a. Is the fact Jews can’t own land in Jordan (or the PA) discrimination?

3b. If Israel simiarly banned the sale of land to Arabs how would this differ from the present ban of land ownership by Jews in Jordan/Palestine?

4. Why do you ignore the occupations by Arabs, Turks, and Iranians of Kurdistan, Western Sahara (and the Berbers and Northern Cyprus)? If you don’t ignore them what have you done to protest them?
5. Is your view of «peace» a Palestine within the 1967 boundaries?
6. Does Israel have a right to exist?
7. How does the case of Israel differ from, say, Pakistan which was also carved out of a British mandated territory at the same time as Israel to be a religious homeland (for Muslims) and in which there were population exchanges (with India), at least 2 wars and the similar ongoing territorial dispute over Kashmir that has lead to the deaths of 10 times as many people as the Israel-Arab dispute?



P.S. No one ignores Israeli human rights abuses. Infact, something like 70% of all UN human rights council resolutions and enquiries concern Israel as do a disproportionate amount of NGO (eg HRW, Amnesty) writings. The point that Israelis and their supporters make is that Israel is focused on at the expense of far more pressing human rights concerns in, for instance, Congo (5 million dead in the last 20 years), Sudan (2 million dead in the last 10), Algeria (150,000 dead in the 1990s), Yemen (civil war with 150,000 refugees in 2010 alone) as well as the plight of minorities throughout the Muslim world eg Kurds, Berbers etc. There is a double standard when Israel is held to the highest human rights standards in the world but the Arabs (and others) are allowed free reign to abuse their own and other citizens. I believe ultimately people like you subconsciously don’t hold Arabs and Muslims to the same standard because you’re racist and don’t expect them to be «civilised,» but that’s my opinion.


You’re welcome for my reply! I could reply to all your points but the accusation of racism leads me to think it’s more appropriate to request that this correspondence ceases.




I finally replied;

Then please provide me with another reason for your double standard. Why do you not require the Arabs to have the same respect for human rights you expect from Israel. If you say that you do please prove it by demonstrating why you have not called for a boycott of Arab, Turkish or Iranian Universities because of their various «occupations» (Western Sahara, Kurdistan, Northern Cyprus).


Notice how Chalcraft refused to answer my simple questions twice. If you can think of an better reason for his double standards than «racism» (in this case a belief that Arabs/Muslims can’t be held to civilised standards) please feel free to comment.