Mark Pickles

‘Vaccine Apartheid’ – blatant blood libel, but too good to resist

Jews and the Jewish nation have been subject to libels throughout the history of the People Israel.  The latest ominous libel meme – ‘Israel is Apartheid’ – has been gaining ground since the international Israel-bashing conference in Durban in 2001:  the so-called UN Conference against Racism. As I wrote in a piece for Times of Israel Blog last week, which challenged my own Anglican faith community: “In 2001, the World Council of Churches and the Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu decided to poke a stick in the apple of God’s eye.  These churchmen convinced the United Nations to accept the 57 Islamic-bloc narrative, first introduced to the UN by President Idi Amin, that Israel – a tiny nation home to half the world’s Jews – is the most racist nation in the world. Tutu continues to push this absurd and perverse Israel-is-apartheid narrative to this day”.

Today, there is such an appetite for ‘Israel is apartheid’ narratives that influencers in the legacy media, mainstream political parties, governments, and NGOs seem unable to help themselves in combining it with a high-tech version of oldest antisemitic libel of all:  the Blood Libel.

The latest mutation of the Blood Libel – ‘vaccine apartheid’ – is so obviously a libel, that all parties now uniformly involved in the conspiracy will come to realise they have fallen into a trap of their own making that could have so easily avoided by seeking the truth – the facts on the ground. At a time in which legacy media and politicians are losing the trust of their public, you might expect that such institutions would start to take more care with information gathering and distribution. Instead, we are witnessing influential groups and individuals broadcasting and publishing narratives that are not based on facts, but are based on supposedly credible supporting authorities that are now all appealing to one another to support the same libel.  Especially popular sources of authority are Israel-bashing figures with a Jewish background who support vaccine-apartheid or medical-apartheid narratives, such as Noam Chomsky, Ariel Gold, Kenneth Roth (executive director of Human Rights Watch), and, here in the UK, prominent members of the Corbynite and anti-Israelist group Jewish Voice for Labour, some of whose Jewish members have been expelled from the Labour Party on account of their antisemitism.

(I recommend listening to this debate of 14th January, in which the brilliant Malkah Fleisher of the small Jewish community in Hebron faces up to Ariel Gold and patiently takes apart Gold’s apartheid narrative.)

The adage ‘a lie can travel halfway around the world while truth is lacing up its boots’ is certainly appropriate for the ‘vaccine apartheid’.  And I think that we are also witnessing a globalised example of the fallacy of argument from authority, or even what the psychologist R.D. Laing, in Politics of Experience, coined ‘the Gaderene Swine Fallacy’, in which each member of the formation is convinced he or she is heading in the right direction because the senior leaders heading the group are trusted navigators.

This article in The Algemeiner a few days ago reports on recent claims by the influential Democrat Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, using the vaccine-apartheid libel to prove that Israel is ‘a racist state’.  Tlaib, who denies Israel’s right to exist and promotes BDS, said in an interview reported in the The Algemeiner article:

They have the power to distribute that vaccine to the Palestinian people, their own neighbours, again, feet away from where they live, many of which, again, could expose them and their family… If anything, it just reiterates what the Palestinian people and even human rights groups have been telling us, is that this is an apartheid state.

You see here that Tlaib is supplementing her own considerable authority as a high-profile congresswoman with an appeal to the authority of ‘human rights groups’, and well she might, because the usual antisemitic and Israel-bashing human rights groups have lazily adopted the vaccine-apartheid narrative, oblivious to the truth. 

Appeals to ‘human rights’ are generally difficult to deconstruct, because, in the largely-secularised West, it is an appeal to the highest authority of our times.  Year-in-year-out, the UN Human Right Council (UNHRC) condemns Israel for racism and other human rights abuses more times than it condemns all the other nations of the world combined.

As Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, reports frequently from Geneva, UNHCR is actually a parody and perversity of Human Rights in which some of the world’s worst human-rights abusing regimes (including Pakistan, China, Russia, Venezuela, Indonesia, Cuba… all incumbent members of the Human Rights Council) gang up against Israel, the Jewish nation.  Jews, as always, are the most convenient scapegoat through whom every nation can deflect attention away from itself.  This is true today even for nations that do not historically have a tradition of antisemitism.  I cannot imagine there is an antisemite anywhere who does not appeal to the UN Human Rights Council, and uses it in Israel-bashing arguments from authority:

Screenshot of Hilel Neuer’s post on Twitter, 13 October 2020

Here in the UK, Labour MP Nadia Whittome tabled a motion in Parliament last week, in which she said: “The Israeli government is shirking its legal and moral obligations to 4.5 million people. While it has already vaccinated more than a fifth of its population, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have not even begun to receive their jabs. Israeli settlements are being vaccinated yet Palestinians living metres away are not… The British government cannot be neutral in the face of such injustice and must make clear to the Israeli government that it is obligated to vaccinate all those living under its occupation without discrimination”.

Whittome, at age 24, is the UK’s youngest Member of Parliament, but she has every right to feel secure in her anti-Israel vaccination libel because all the grown-up authorities who should know better are heading up the ‘Gaderene Swine’.

The legacy media, left and right, have conspired in the libel, as have human rights groups and NGOs.  Whittome’s motion correctly says that, ‘human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and UNHR [sic], have raised concerns about the Israeli government’s lack of action in vaccinating Palestinians who live there’.  But the problem is that Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and UNHRC are organisations that are notoriously antisemitic/anti-Israelist, up at the top of the Israel-bashing list with Christian Aid and the World Council of Churches.  (You can search catalogues of the antisemitic and obsessively anti-Israelist history of these organisations on the websites for UN Watch and NGO Monitor.)

Few British journalists (or at least their editors) seem willing to challenge the ‘vaccine apartheid’ libel against Israel.  I’m sorry to say it, but, in England, antisemitism sells.  It seems to be written into our DNA.  Just as in the original English Blood Libel (see below) Lincoln and Norwich cathedrals were partly funded by the pilgrims amassing to pay homage to children whose blood, they believed, had been consumed by Jews, today our ‘Fleet Street’, or legacy media, left and right, and the BBC, seem unable to resist any temptation to demonise Israel.  Perhaps they think it would not make commercial sense to tell the truth, or to avoid sellable anti-Israel narratives based on a highly selective subset of facts.

But thankfully there are some highly-regarded non-Jewish English journalists whose overriding concern is the truth, notably the journalist Colonel (Retired) Richard Kemp CBE, some of whose articles are syndicated into the legacy media.  Here is Richard’s recent piece for the Gatestone Institute debunking the vaccine apartheid libel.

England’s sorry and extant antisemitic history of Blood Libel

One of England’s most notorious Israel bashers today is the seasoned politician Baroness Jenny Tonge, former patron of Christian Aid.  Only last week, whilst Nadia Whittome MP tabled her motion in the House of Commons, Baroness Tonge was active in the House of Lords, blaming Israel for the deeply troubling rise of antisemitism on the UK’s university campuses.

One of Baroness Tonge’s most notorious blood libel motions in the House of Lords dates back to 2010, when she called for an “independent inquiry” into her claim – that she learned from Palestinian media – that the soldiers of the Israel Defence Forces who were deployed to Haiti in 2010 to help with the earthquake relief were there to “harvest the organs” of the victims.  The Haiti blood libel was published in the English-language online newspaper Palestine Telegraph, of which Tonge was a patron, but it seems that it was first reported on the Lebanese Hezbollah TV channel Al-Manar.

Here in England, the first-known Blood Libel – superstitious belief that Jews stole Christian children to use their blood in the manufacture of unleavened bread – dates to 1144, and the city of Norwich.  The idea soon spread to many English cities and towns:  missing or dead children were attributed to Jewish malevolence.  Some of these children became “martyrs” or even “saints”, leading to their cults – such as, famously, Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln – encouraged by the Church, which came to realise there was a reliable revenue from the flow of pilgrims visiting the shrines of child martyr-saints.

The Blood Libel led to persecution of Jews throughout England, such as murder, prosecution in law (leading to execution) and pogroms.  Church and Crown were equally convinced by the Blood Libel. In 1218, the Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton persuaded Henry III to proclaim the Edict of the Badge, a yellow badge of shame to identify the Jew. In 1289, King Edward I issued the royal Edict of Expulsion of all Jews from England (not overturned until the English Civil War, and Oliver Cromwell’s re-admission of Jews to England in the 1650s).

Today, England’s Blood Libel is preached verbatim throughout the Middle East. Media-watch groups such as MEMRI and CAMERA have catalogued many of these in sermons, newspapers and TV broadcasts.  To take just one of countless examples, MEMRI have recorded the Jordanian MP Hamza Mansour (of the Muslim Brotherhood) preaching that “the Jews make matza out of innocent children’s blood”.  The preacher Ra’ad Salah, head of the Islamic Movement in Israel’s Northern Branch, to whom Jeremy Corbyn “looks forward” to “giving tea on the terrace [of the Houses of Parliament]” because “his voice must be heard”, also preaches the English Blood Libel, saying, and quoting from European authority:

We have never allowed ourselves to knead the bread that breaks the fast in the holy month of Ramadan with children’s blood. Whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the [Jewish] holy bread.  Great God, is this a religion?… Is this what God would want? God will deal with you yet for what you are doing”.

It is ironic that Israel-bashers in the West, including supporters of BDS, want Israel to compel the Palestinian regime to inject medicines that Israel has imported, and are partly the products of Jewish intellect, such as Albert Bourla who heads Pfizer, and Moderna’s chief medical officer, Dr. Tal Zaks, an Israeli who received his doctorate from Ben-Gurion University and speaks to the Israeli media in Hebrew.  (Israel has deployed both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines.)  In fact, as Colonel Kemp says in his article on the subject: “Under the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians in the 1990s, which created the Palestinian Authority (PA), it alone and not Israel, is responsible for their health care, including vaccinations”.  The Palestinian health ministry has approved and ordered the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. Of course the Palestinian medical authority is lagging behind Israel in its vaccination program. Every medical authority in every nation of the world is presently lagging behind Israel in its vaccination program.

For a millennium, at every onset of pestilence, the Jewish Diaspora in Christendom has been accused by their Christian host nations of poisoning the rest of us, not least here in England.  Today, somehow, this lethal untruth has become a bizarre upside-down untruth.  The West, not least England, has suddenly become consumed by the virulent fake news that Israel’s national vaccination programme amounts to “vaccine apartheid”.

About the Author
Mark Pickles is a Scientific Technical Writer with a deep interest in understanding theology in the light of modern knowledge. He was an atheist from ages 10 to 30, and since then has been an active and practicing adherent in the Church of England. In recent years he has been actively engaged in the battle against antisemitism and anti-Israelism within and without the Church.
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