19/03/2016 by socialistfight
This is from Socialist Fight No.4, Spring 2010, in the list of publications below. We published a letter from Tony Greenstein, who has now outrageously accused Socialist Fight, me and Ian Donovan of being anti-Semites, who correctly takes me to task for saying the anti-Semitism is on the increase. He also correctly says anti-Semitism “is primarily the result of Israeli’s actions. In Gaza etc. it is reflective of the oppressor and is a product of the reactionary politics of Hamas and Hezbollah, who cannot think outside their own narrow confessional box” and so I was presumably somewhat politically naive on the question. Of course this is untrue as can be seen in the lines below:
Of course anti-Semitism is rife among those who have suffered constant bombings and have lost family and friends to the Zionist murder machine. It has to be politically fought, not accommodated if we are to ever make the revolution that will unite Arab and Jewish workers and peasants against Imperialism, Zionism and the Arab bourgeoisie themselves. And of course it is not to be equated with the ideology of the Nazis as it is a reactive and defensive form of anti-Semitism but its conscious propagation in a political manner by leaders and the Arab media in general it makes common cause of Jewish and Arab workers against capitalism in general impossible. It is the crudest form of anti-imperialism which demands unquestioning allegiance to the reactionary Arab bourgeoisie.
Greenstein “dosen’t oppose his (Atzmon’s) anti-Semitism because of what it will do to the Jews. It’s because of the damaging effect it will have on support for the Palestinians!” and then has no problem joining in with a Guidio Fawkes, David Cameron, John Mann, Zionist-led campaign against me and Socialist Fight as publicly as possible to prove his own “reasonableness”. Zionists will immediately identify that remark as anti-Semitic because of its reference to “the Jews”. We have no intention of playing this kind of puerile game.
Tony Greenstein on Atzmon and anti-Semitism
I don’t accept the opening statement viz. ‘The growing influence of anti-Semitism in the opposition movements to Zionism in the West is doing big damage to the fight to defend Palestinians against Zionist imperialism.’
The Atzmonites are politically much weaker now than they were three years ago. Indeed the victory of five Scottish PSC members in the Edinburgh Sherriff’s Court last week, when they were acquitted of racially aggravated abuse, for disrupting a concert of the Jerusalem Quartet, is yet another nail in their coffin. Scottish PSC have always been clear as to their position on PSC.
The David Rosenberg statement is really out of date. Redress carries little influence and Mary Rizzo and Atzmon have parted company. The real issues are the attack on the Boycott campaign from PSC Executive and their bourgeois politics.
To me, anti-Semitism is not a big issue in so far as it barely exists in Britain. It is an ideological weapon at best or worst. Today there is not the social or economic basis for it and much of the ‘anti-Semitism’ that one hears of is no more than the Idiot’s Solidarity with Palestine. It is primarily the result of Israeli’s actions. In Gaza etc. it is reflective of the oppressor and is a product of the reactionary politics of Hamas and Hezbollah, who cannot think outside their own narrow confessional box.
As I have repeatedly said to Atzmon, I don’t oppose his anti-Semitism because of what it will do to the Jews. It’s because of the damaging effect it will have on support for the Palestinians!
Best Tony Greenstein
Anti-Semitic White Army propaganda poster from the Russian Civil War era (1919), depicting a caricature Leon Trotsky as a large demon like figure with bright red skin wearing the Star of David.
Defend the Jewish anti-Zionists, Reject anti-Semitism
by A J Byrne
The growing influence of anti-Semitism in the opposition movements to Zionism in the West is doing big damage to the fight to defend Palestinians against Zionist imperialism. If the struggle is reduced to this abysmal level then it is lost. Because bourgeois nationalism of any hue is a dagger at the throat of working class solidarity, the only force on the planet which can defeat both Zionism and Arab nationalism. David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group was quoted as saying a few years ago:
“During the summer of 2006 there were two big demonstrations over the Lebanon war in London…. On the second one there was due to be a speaker from Jews for Justice for Palestinians (jfjfp). The proposal to have a speaker from jfjfp was strongly supported by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. But this proposal was blocked within the Stop the War committee. I have been told, on very good authority, who blocked it – a leading member of the SWP.”
And he went on to claim, “western anti-Semitism is increasingly infecting anti-Zionist movements in the Arab and Muslim world. Left unchallenged it will grow and become hegemonic within this discourse over the next generation.”
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign AGM in March 2007 saw two motions opposing anti-Semitism voted down, although the compromise Executive amendment was accepted by Jews Against Zionism (JAZ) because it “accommodated our two resolutions” and made clear that the PSC did not have any links with the Holocaust denying Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR) group. A number of leading anti-Zionist Jews. Including Lea Tsemel, Michael Warschawski and Jeff Halper, resigned from that organisation because it included the anti-Semite Israel Shamir. In his resignation letter Jeff Halper made the following comment:
“…Shamir is a “problem” in two senses. First, he deflects the discussion from the essentials of Deir Yassin onto the supposed characteristics of the perpetrators. To cast all “Jews” as perpetrators of such heinous crimes, which is exactly how the discussion has been going for the past number of months, is racist, absolutely unacceptable — and deflects entirely from the issue of Deir Yassin itself. Just look at his response to Uri Davis: “a Jew is called upon by his religious law to do utmost damage to one who accepted Christ…” Anyone who knows Uri Davis would know that such a statement is beyond absurd, but the bigger question is: Who in the hell is “a Jew”?
Others who resigned reported that on March 30, the Jerusalem Post published an op-ed, “Two weeks ago, Russian-language journalist Israel Shamir told a largely Jewish audience: ‘Jews only exist to drip the blood of Palestinian children into their matzas.'”
The JAZ statement said in part, “At the PSC AGM on 10th March, after debate on our two resolutions, the conference passed an Executive amendment, which began:
Conference reaffirms its opposition to all forms of racism, including anti-Jewish prejudice and that the expression of or support for anti-semitic viewpoints are incompatible with membership of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Conference rejects any attempt by supporters of the State of Israel to try to label those who criticise or condemn actions and policies of that state as guilty of anti-Semitism.”
But the near-unanimous rejection of the two detailed motions gave encouragement to opponents of Tony Greenstein and Roland Rance, two of the principle representatives of Jewish anti-Zionism in Britain. The reasons are wholly political and closely related to the state of the class consciousness of the international working class. The failure of the leadership of the PSC, mainly Socialist Action and the Communist League (related to the US SWP of Jack Barnes) to fight this advance is because their political tendencies have capitulated to every substitute for the revolutionary working class since the early 50s when Pablo abandoned Trotskyism and bowdlerised the theory of Permanent Revolution so that Stalinists and the national bourgeoisie could substitute for the working class and revolutionary Trotskyism to overthrow capitalism. They capitulated to Yasser Arafat but now they were beginning to lean towards the anti-semitic Hamas and Hezbollah.
We stress “lean towards”, Betty Hunter, Bernard Regan and Sarah Colbourne and their followers in the leadership of the PSC have not become anti-Semites as the Zionists charge in attempting to portray the motions by comrades Greenstein and Rance as a struggle against anti-Semites. It was a struggle that did force the PSC leadership to take stock of their positions and apparently forced them to delete a link to DYR from their website. As there is an undoubted swing to the right in Israel, including its working class, this lends credence to those who wish to write it off entirely. For instance Gilad Atzmon, in an article on 17 December 2009 (http://www.redress.cc/global/gatzmon20091217#bio), said:
“In response to the warrant, Livni, deflecting personal guilt, said on 15 December that “she would not accept any accusation that compared Israel Defence Forces soldiers to terrorists”. She is actually correct. The so-called “terrorists” are in fact freedom fighters. Israel on the other hand is a racist, expansionist state. Its military forces are engaged in a continuous crime against humanity. Israel is as vicious as Nazi Germany but, in practice, it is far worse for it is a “democracy”. Its murderous practices are a direct reflection of its people’s wishes as expressed in a democratic vote. At the peak of the IDF’s brutal Gaza campaign 94 per cent of the Israelis supported the lethal measures against the Palestinian population. Israelis are not terrorists, they are actually the embodiment of terror.” (our emphasis—ed.)
This also includes some pseudo-Trotskyists, like Nahuel Moreno, the Argentinean “father” of Latin American Trotskyism who made the following anti-Semitic comments in 1982;
“You are dissolving the concrete, which is the Muslim and Palestinian struggle for the destruction of the fascist state (… ) If you want to insinuate that a Constituent Assembly will appear with non Zionist Jewish people, we respond: those imaginary inhabitants do not exist (…). We do not recognize any democratic right to enclave people sent by metropolitan states (…) If one no clarifies correctly, the destruction of the Israeli state is dissolved in an abstract formula. It necessarily implies the removal of the present inhabitants. Otherwise, it would mean accepting the accomplished fact of the Jewish occupation of Israel”. (Correo Internacional N° 8, Sept 1982)
The first blast that brought out this development clearly was an attack on Robert Fisk in The Palestine Telegraph, tiny.cc/ bernard-lewis-syndro entitled Is Robert Fisk suffering from the Bernard Lewis syndrome? 16 December 2009 by PT Editor Maysaa Jarour. Hezbollah had objected to the teaching of Anne Frank’s Diary in the schools of South Lebanon and Fisk accused them of anti-Semitism. Hamas, for instance, support the anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Tsarist forgery proved as such the best part of a century ago.
Churchill’s infamous 1920 article, full of anti-Semitic prejudices, setting out British imperialism project for the Zionist state. The US had only to follow his lead when it became the dominant world power after WWII.
This is a political question, not a moral one. Of course anti-Semitism is rife among those who have suffered constant bombings and have lost family and friends to the Zionist murder machine. It has to be politically fought, not accommodated if we are to ever make the revolution that will unite Arab and Jewish workers and peasants against Imperialism, Zionism and the Arab bourgeoisie themselves. And of course it is not to be equated with the ideology of the Nazis as it is a reactive and defensive form of anti-Semitism but its conscious propagation in a political manner by leaders and the Arab media in general it makes common cause of Jewish and Arab workers against capitalism in general impossible. It is the crudest form of anti-imperialism which demands unquestioning allegiance to the reactionary Arab bourgeoisie. But Jarour argues wholly on a moral plain against one of the best known, principled and even-handed anti-Zionist journalist in the world who does not give an inch to the reactionary Arab bourgeoisie:
“Robert Fisk… suffers from the Bernard Lewis syndrome -the neo-conservative orientalist whose scholarly outputs credibility deteriorated with his age- that the Arabs have an own history; rich and varied. And this history does not only entail the scholarly outputs of an Ibn Khaldun or Ibn Sina, but Arabs have their own tragedies and sufferings. The pogroms of Lebanon and Palestine are-Qana, Shatila, Deyr Yassin, Sabra, Jabalya, Jenin-, their Anne Franks – Huda Ghaliya- their Auswitch -Khiam-, their Dresden -Quneitra in the Syrian Golan-, and their Warsaw Ghetto -Gaza-. The Arabs have their own ethnic cleansing, and the Palestinians are living it.
Now what did Robert Fisk really mean when he said that Hezbollah is anti-Semite? Did he forget that Nasrallah had a meeting with Noam Chomsky: a Jew! And with Neturei Karta: a Jewish organization. How anti-Semitic? Norman Finkelstein, another Jew met representatives of the anti-Semitic Hezbollah, Mr. Fisk! And only two weeks ago did Nasrallah present Hezbollah the new political document, and in the speech in which he presented the new politics of Hezbollah, Nasrallah reiterated that his strife was with Zionism and the Zionist state, not with the Jews. Does Fisk not know Arabic? Cannot he decipher the simple truth that in all speeches Nasrallah refers to Zionism and not Judaism or Jewry?”
Such rhetoric does not hide the true situation. But worse was to follow. On 1 January 2010 Salaheddin Ahmad, the editor of Redress Information & Analysis, blogged the following story.
Israel’s hidden friends, Troubled misfits in our midst and he claimed he “highlights the problem of false friends in Britain’s Palestine solidarity movement and urges genuine activists to steer clear of them” This is some of it:
“A far more insidious genre of fellow travellers consists of some self-proclaimed anti-Zionist Jews. These are potentially far more damaging to the cause than the more transparent right-wing extremists. There are at least a dozen of them in Britain and they include such people as Tony Greenstein and Mark Elf. We can name more but will not for the time being…
It would be easy to label the likes of Greenstein and Elf as Israeli agents because in effect their seditious behaviour can serve only Israel but that would be too easy. Judging by their activities and utterances, these are people who believe that being Jewish and claiming to be anti-Zionist entitles them to hijack the Palestine solidarity movement and set its agenda. This was evident, for example, in motions submitted to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in 2007 in which Greenstein and others tried but failed to make anti-Semitism and the Holocaust among the criteria for membership of the PSC.
It would also be easy to dismiss them as childish and ignorant nincompoops. That is precisely what we have done over a number of years. Our observation of the behaviour of Greenstein, Elf and their ilk led us to conclude that another of their motives, in addition to hijacking the Palestinian solidarity movement, was to distract genuine supporters of the Palestinian cause with ceaseless, tedious and time-wasting arguments that have nothing to do whatsoever with the Israeli occupation, land theft, colonization, Zionism or apartheid. Our position and our advice to others was, and remains: “Do not engage with these Judaeo-centric, narcissistic misfits.”
It is clear from this diatribe that Salaheddin Ahmad regards Jews and all those who fight anti-Semitism as “childish and ignorant nincompoops” and he wrongly concluded that the defeat of the two motions meant that it was now OK to proceed with anti-Semitism, not knowing or ignoring the fact that the compromise motion from the PSC Executive specifically did make anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial criteria for (non) membership of the PSC.
In a further post on 3 January , Israel’s hidden friends ramp up campaign to distract Palestine activists from core issues , again by Salaheddin Ahmad said: “as for our true friends in the struggle, Jewish and non-Jewish, those who will not tolerate any deviation from the urgent need to stay focused on the struggle for justice for the Palestinian people, our advise remains this: steer clear of time-wasting pretenders like Greenstein, Elf, Downing and their ilk. Do not engage with them or else they will drag you down to the subterranean hovel they inhabit.”
Democratic principled Jewish anti-Zionists are not needed here, is the message, let alone principled revolutionary socialists. Confessional states is the logic of this nightmare scenario, which would make the socialist revolution and human liberation an even more distant prospect.