Defend the Jewish anti-Zionists, Reject anti-Semitism by A J Byrne39
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.
The real point of Greenstein’s politics here is that he is living a contradiction. He admits one obvious fact: the ‘anti-semitism’ of the Palestinians, Hamas etc. is an ideology of the oppressed who are not in a position to oppress any Jews. Not being actually in a position to oppress anyone, the claim of racism is spurious against them. Hatred of the oppressed against their oppressor may take superficially ‘racist’ forms, but in real content, it is incapable of being racist as for Marxists, as opposed to liberals, racism is tied to oppression and the ability to oppress. This is the essence of his case over Hamas.
Yet on the question of the small Jewish trend that has basically gone over to the Palestinian standpoint on this: Atzmon, Shamir, etc., he takes the opposite view. He is all for hounding them, and those who support them or even engage with them politically in any way (even if they disagree with them on many things), out of the Palestine solidarity movement. His position is completely contradictory: he admits that Atzmon is no more capable of oppressing Jews than Hamas is:
“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!”
Since Atzmon is no more in a position to oppress Jews than Hamas is, if Greenstein were consistent, he would apply the same criteria to the Jewish defectors from ‘Jewishness’ that he does to Hamas, and dismiss their so-called ‘anti-semitism’ as a non-issue, completely dissimilar to the real anti-semitism of the Nazis in a previous historical era.
If people who agree with Atzmon’s views should be expelled from the Palestine Solidarity movement, then logically those who sympathise with Hamas, or perhaps even with Mahmood Abbas’ one time views on the Holocaust, or Gamal Abdul Nasser’s, or Hafeez al-Assad’s, views (both of these made statements or published material baldly denying the truth of the Holocaust), should be expelled from the Palestine solidarity movement. This will include many Arabs and Palestinians.
This argument that Atzmon’s views being given a hearing ‘discredits’ the Palestine Solidarity movement applies even more so to Hamas, as it has more authority, and also its charter explicitly contains positive references to the Protocols of Zion, and statements from Hadiths instructing Muslims “if you see a Jew behind a rock, kill him” attributed to Mohammad. Atzmon has never said anything of the sort.
Greenstein may be in his own mind a sterling anti-Zionist. But in reality he acts in a way analogous to a centrist over this. Trotsky called centrism: “revolutionary in words, reformist in deeds”. In an analogous sense, Greenstein’s contradictions are so acute that he can be said to be “anti-Zionist in words (and in his own mind), Zionist in deeds”.
That is the peculiar nature of Greenstein’s contradictory form of centrism and why he can both claim to be a sterling anti-Zionist and join in a witchhunt orchestrated from the top by David Cameron of the Tory Party and the Conservative Friends of Israel.
“The real point about Greenstein’s politics” is that, like so many other things involving Jews, Ian Donovan hasn’t clue number one about it, and in the stark and severe absence of any actual gut-level understanding of Jews or the Jewish people, he mechanically applies the most idiotically reductive Lego-blocking in a uncomprehending manner guaranteed to produce an ersatz, meaningless result.
It is appalling and dazzlingly wrong that Donovan describes the Holocaust denial of Atzmon and Shamir as having “basically gone over to the Palestinian standpoint.” It’s the remark of someone twenty thousand leagues over his head. Like so much of his robotic and ideational analysis, it’s an inadvertent admission of vast incomprehension.
“If people who agree with Atzmon’s views should be expelled from the Palestine Solidarity movement” – they increasingly are, at the behest of the Palestine Solidarity movement and to the betterment of the Palestine Solidarity movement. What do they understand that you don’t, Ian? What do they understand about Atzmon’s demonstrably anti-Jewish hocus-pocus that you fail to? What do they understand about the rhetoric of Jew-hating that flies past you? Why do you continue to imagine that you can combat Racism A by encouraging Racism B?
“It is appalling and dazzlingly wrong that Donovan describes the Holocaust denial of Atzmon and Shamir as having “basically gone over to the Palestinian standpoint.” It’s the remark of someone twenty thousand leagues over his head. Like so much of his robotic and ideational analysis, it’s an inadvertent admission of vast incomprehension.”
Pathetic. As I did not imply that Atzmon’s scepticism over the Shoah consituted ‘going over to the Palestinian standpoint’. What does constitute that is his self-description as a “Hebrew speaking Palestinian’. Or Shamir, as a once-religious Jew, being baptised into the Orthodox Christian faith by a Palestinian Christian cleric. Those are tangible manifestations of going over to a Palestinian standpoint.
If you can’t see that you are totally blind politically. And if you equate this kind of sentiment with racism then you might as well take up residence at Harry’s Place. There you can find consistent expressions of this shit applied to other fields also, like people who equate Malcolm X with the Ku Klux Klan.
A post on another blog back in 2008 has the politics we defend. It was not a progressive move that pressure from Zionists forced the retraction of that stance:
Syme on 10 March, 2008 at 7:40 pm said:
Actually I think Atzmon has shit politics on the question of Zionism/anti-Semitism, so do all the other SWP members with whom I’ve discussed the issue. His positions are confused and should be argued against, not least because there is no doubt a layer of activists (particularly people who have been on the receiving end of Israeli aggression)who to some extent make the same error in identifying Zionism and Judaism who need to follow the debate (such as when Atzmon was roundly criticised by the audience at Marxism a few years back). But the root of this confused stance is Atzmon’s anti-imperialism and anti-Zionism, not his desire for a “fascist anti-semitic hate campaign.”
What is people’s attitude to the visit of Ibrahim Mousawi to Britain as a guest of Stop the War? After all, Hizbollah has popularised the ridiculous ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zionism’ in two separate TV shows, as well as putting across the ludicrous rumour that Jews were warned to stay away from from the World Trade Centre on 9/11.
Just on this, it is pretty clear that it was Zionist social pressure that drove the SWP to abandon its engagement with Atzmon. Greenstein and his little group of identitarian anti-Zionists claim the credit, but they simply do not have the social weight to put pressure on the much bigger SWP to change its policy. And with regard to critics that come from some point within the left, the SWP is notoriously stubborn. Greenstein was just the shill for an anti-SWP campaign that centred on the foul Zionist/neocon blog Harry’s Place.
That the SWP capitulated to this by around 2010 is also shown by its parallel capitulation on the issue of Julian Assange. Whom the neocons have an axe to grind against, but not particularly what Atzmon calls the AZZs (Anti-Zionist Zionists) – i.e Greenstein and co. The fact that the SWP capitulated on this showed a real ideological regression from its high point in the Iraq anti-war movement and Respect, putting them despite their ‘revolutionary’ claims, to the right of George Galloway, the openly left-reformist main figure in Respect.
It wasn’t Tony who forced the SWP to ditch Atzmon. It was the strength of the argument Tony was making. Atzmon had caught himself in a feedback loop, where – like an addict needing a hit – he need to be more and more shocking on the Jewish issue, more daring, ever closer to overt anti-Semitism. That the SWP washed their hands of Atzmon shows that, whatever their serious flaws, they at least were able at last to look at Atzmon’s anti-Semitism for what it was. Yes, they were the last organization of national scope to support him, and yes, this was before Atzmon’s repellent book sealed the deal on his anti-Semitism, but in that quiet memory-hole way, suddenly one day SWP had never heard the man’s name.
This is what happens when you recognize anti-Semitism as an evil to be fought, rather than going out of your way, Socialist Fight style, to unearth obscure political excuses to hide it behind.
Ah, you’re correct, I left out a word. “Like so much of his robotic and ideational analysis, it’s an inadvertent admission of vast *and pathetic* incomprehension.”
What you winkingly call “scepticism over the Shoah” the left calls Holocaust denial, recognizes as the wares of the far right – NF, BNP, and such – and inescapably anti-Semitic in its nature. Your willingness to euphemise it away is one of your least endearing characteristics, and speaks to the widely discussed flaws of your character re anti-Semitism. It’s also so utterly unreal, so otherworldly and distanced from actual existence, one expects to run into elves and wizards at any moment.
Your “analysis” is an anti-Jewish fantasy, and your party has disowned you over it. You have removed all the gears of the human mind that are repelled by anti-Semitism and you have replaced them with an excuse-and-pretext generator. And until you take a good fresh look at yourself, you will never know just how it was that you earned the avalanche of opprobrium that has hit you like a well-earned ton of bricks.
“What you winkingly call ‘scepticism over the Shoah’ the left calls Holocaust denial”
“You have removed all the gears of the human mind that are repelled by anti-Semitism and you have replaced them with an excuse-and-pretext generator”
This is actually quite racist in its implications. It actually implies that the many Arabs, who have been on the receiving end of Israeli brutality and as a result have come to doubt the truth of the genocide of the Jews, being as it is blared out continually by hasbara as the reason why their murder and oppression are justified, are inhuman.
I suggest that if anything is inhuman, it is those who react to this obviously predictable error made by a great many Arabs and a small minority of Jews, by denouncing them as inhuman. Apparently those Zionists who burn Palestianian children with White Phophorus while (correctly) believing that the Nazi genocide did happen are more human than a Palestinian victim of such who doubts the truth of the Holocaust.
Apparently someone brainwashed from birth to believe that the Holocaust entitles them to kill Arabs, who rejects that but mistakenly comes to believe that the Holocaust was mendaciously exaggerated for the purposes of that brainwashing, is for you less human than a Jewish settler who massacres the worshippers at a Mosque like in Hebron, but fervently believes that the Holocaust is true and therefore entitles him to do that.
What shows that you are in practice a racist and a Zionist is that you elevate the Holocaust into a unique event that no doubts are even possible about, no matter what the provocation.
The message of that is very simple. It is a racist message: Jews matter more than Arabs.
Donovan on anti-Semitism: calling out Holocaust deniers like Atzmon for their Holocaust denial is “quite racist in its implication.”
Thus he demonstrates exactly what I say: he has removed all the gears of the human mind that are repelled by anti-Semitism and replaced them with an excuse-and-pretext generator. And that little engine powered Donovan’s craft quite out to sea.
Holocaust denial is the playground of the Jew-hating far right and has been for half a century. It is a froth-flecked bit of tinfoilery with no more credibility than those who say Paul McCartney was replaced or the moon landing was staged. Yet it also has, irremovably, at its core, a vast international Jewish conspiracy of a scope that beggars all imaginations but the unbridled anti-Semitic imagination. This is what you seek to find an ideological shelter for through your cod “analysis” – the product, toy, and tool of the NF, the BNP, and Jew-haters everywhere.
And make no mistake. You want to make a place for it in anti-Zionist discourse. Your need to defend the indefensible Atzmon has now spread to a need to defend Holocaust denial per se.
Atzmon has now been pimping for Holocaust denial for a decade, and has been rightly condemned for it for a decade. The evidence for the Holocaust is so categorical that one can only still be in doubt after a decade of “investigation” if one is either the stupidest person on the planet, or if – like Atzmon – you have spent an entire decade studiously refusing to look at it honestly. His “doubts” aren’t “doubts” but a refusal to learn, because learning the facts would interfere with his desire to winkingly spread an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.
Learn thing one about it, Ian. Learn your very first fact about it, Ian, and then I guarantee you will bathe the countryside in the rosy glow of your blushingly intense embarrassment that, rather than battling Holocaust denial, you had been finding excuses for it on behalf of Atzmon’s racism … and, by implication, your own. I believe there will come a day in which half the world will look up, see the unaccustomed redness of the sky, and say at once: why, Donovan’s penny must finally have dropped.
Speaking for myself – that is indeed the issue. To state it more clearly, you insist on no-platforming holocaust deniers. Holocaust deniers have every right to join the anti-Zionist movement and propogandize for their views. I’m curious: would you no-platform deniers of the Armenian genocide?
I have to agree that if Atzmon hasn’t resolved his doubts about the Jewish genocide for a decade, he’s not the smartest Jew in the shed. When has stupidity been a principled bar to membership in the left? Obviously, that bar hasn’t been applied to you.
“Holocaust deniers have every right to join the anti-Zionist movement and propogandize for their views.”
Then your view of the anti-Zionist movement is that it is not, at root, against racism. I aim a little higher than that.
You’re for purifying the anti-Zionist movement into nonexistence by expelling the holocaust deniers.
I would be entirely willing to bloc with truly anti-Semitic Arabs [such as ISIS] against Israel. Basic anti-imperialism, my Zionist friend.
Foolish and windy rhetoric that does not address the point I was making. You evidently do not care two hoots about Arabs who are being massacred and oppressed, you have no empathy with them, nor do you have any empathy with people who have sufficient empathy with the suffering of those their own group oppresses as to doubt the narrarative used to justify it.
I dont know why you are bothering to post your nonsense here. You seem obsessed with saving my soul, Not changing my mind on the Holocaust, by the way, since my views on it are pretty orthodox and there is nothing much to argue about. Not convincing me that Holocaust denial is wrong. But rather convincing me that anyone and everyone who has any doubts about it, for any reason, must be an anti-Jewish racist even if they are Jewish-born themselves.
I cannot help thinking that people who think like that are either corrupt, or lacking something in both empathy and intellect.
“You seem obsessed with saving my soul”
I see your twisted politics have led you to a very dark and dire place, away from your comrades and toward the blackshirts who created the movement you’re defending. Quite a few people have warned you of this for year upon year upon year, have told you of the path you were on. Yet as one human being to another I do not give up hope in you. The left needs your energy and enthusiasm. But not if it comes at the cost of tolerating your anti-Semitism.
Step one is admitting you have a problem, and on anti-Semitism you have not made this step.
Which movement is that? You really are seriously delusional if you think I have anything to do with ‘blackshirts’. I do appreciate your concern if you seriously believe that, but at the same time it is you who have the problem with a faulty perception of reality.
Actually, my purpose in doing what I am doing is to win Arabs (and Jewish renegades) away from dead ends like Holocaust scepticism and denial, and to a perspective of international socialism and world revolution. What you seem to be doing is targetting the very small minority (so far) of Marxists who are trying to solve the problem of addressing those people who are deeply alienated by the capitulation of the Western left to Zionism, and thus repelled from it. You will not succeed in convincing me of your correctness by insulting me, insulting Atzmon or anyone else, or telling me he is the worst bastard who ever existed. It just makes you sound like a religious maniac.
As a Marxist I actually am open-minded, and if I come across an argument that is superior to my own then I will consider it, and if it checks out properly, I will embrace it. I observe no ‘sect discipline’, nor do I seek to set up a sect around myself. Because I believe that method of organisation does not work – from bitter experience. If some sect excommunicates me merely for arguing my views and resorts to crude falsification to do so, I just write them off and carry on in whatever way is open to me. I have done this several times.
So if you have some serious arguments, let’s hear them.
I have not been impressed by the insults you have posted so far. Insults are not arguments. Where are your actual arguments?
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“Which movement is that?”
The Holocaust denial movement, which has been for half a century the playground of the Mosleyites and their progeny.
Atzmon did not suddenly, out of the blue, land on his “doubts.” He simply took a stroll down a lane the blackshirts spent half a century preparing for him. Atzmon knows this, as well. That is the difference between Atzmon and his few remaining followers: Atzmon knows the far-right origin of what he’s spewing, but is careful not to pass that along, careful not to add that exceptionally awkward fact to his discussion. And that is just one part of how he diddled, among others, one Ian Donovan.
“Actually, my purpose in doing what I am doing is to win Arabs (and Jewish renegades) away from dead ends like Holocaust scepticism and denial”
By continuing to champion the anti-Semite Atzmon and his “David Irving is a brave hero” dance? Really, you’ve got your head on backwards on that. Atzmon damages the anti-Zionist movement with his racism. The act wore through; not immediately, but soon enough. Greenstein was only the first to spot the gaping gulf between Atzmon’s leftist rhetoric and his stormtrooper attitude toward the Jews. Greenstein was only the first; I believe you see it as well, but some quite twisted politics means that you feel obligated to indulge and excuse Atzmon’s vomitous racism as a way to better the world. And this stance has resulted in your being abandoned by your party.
No person is permanently beyond the pale. But again, the first step is to admit you have a problem. Educate yourself on anti-Semitic rhetoric, and you will find that Greenstein was right all aling: Atzmon is a one-man dog-whistle band. You will understand, for the first time, why your inability to disassociate yourself from him is as damning – politically, ethically, morally – as if you refused to disassociate yourself from Farage (Galloway’s new best friend).
“I have to agree that if Atzmon hasn’t resolved his doubts about the Jewish genocide for a decade, he’s not the smartest Jew in the shed. When has stupidity been a principled bar to membership in the left?”
Oh, I dont think Atzmon is stupid at all. Emotion has a lot to do with this, and gut instinct, which is a element that goes to make up people’s intellectual understanding of events and history. Seeing Palestinian children terribly burned by Phophorus weapons, pictures of which are easily available, not to mention first hand accounts and seeing some of this stuff for yourself (Atzmon witnessed some pretty nasty stuff in the IDF in Lebanon), means that grainy pictures of emaciated Jews or even piles of corpses at the Nazi camps don’t cut the mustard. The Nazis also made a lot of effort to destroy direct forensic evidence of their worst crimes, which despite the eye-witness accounts which are legion, does give various ‘theorists’ the ability to cast doubt and influence those who are vulnerable to such suggestions. Those terribly upset and alienated by Israeli crimes and the misuse of the Holocaust to justify them are obviously vulnerable to this.
I just think in the light of that that it is wise to treat this as a historical question which can be debated, but in the end, cannot be definitively resolved. Its doubtful whether people can be convinced about this by lecturing. What really matters is what we do now to deliver real working class solidarity with the Palestinian people. If we wait until all concerned agree on something that actually finished over 70 years ago, before most activists were even born, nothing will be done in the here and now.
But these considerations are alien to so called ‘anti-Zionists’ like Kazort. For him the Holocaust is more important than the incremental genocide that is going on today. That is a racist position that really baldly says: “Jews are more important than Arabs”.
You could not have spelled out your internal contradiction, your logic error, more concisely. Holocaust denial is a historically indefensible conspiracy theory about The Jew, one with a long and solid history in the NF and BNF and white-power groups in the US – but, you say, despite acknowledging that, let’s just wave our hands around in a post-modernist fog, and incant “after all, who can really say what the truth is about such things? Not me, oh no, not me, not if it means rejecting Atzmon.”
Fortunately, very nearly the entire left is wiser on this.
Er, I did quite clearly say what i believe the truth is. However many people in the Middle East, many of them actual victims of Israeli terror, disagree. Presumably any Palestinian solidarity movement you would be willing to endorse should just tell them to fuck off?
Goody, lets have a Palestine solidarity movement where the only actual Arabs allowed are those who are sanitised and satisfy tests laid down by Western liberals, Jewish and non-Jewish. What makes you think i was talking purely of Atzmon here? Those Jews who think like that are fairly few compared to Arabs with the same views.
Actually, most of the left is pretty useless on imperialism generally. As are you.
You would prefer a Marxists Who Hate The Jews faction? To do so is to treat the Arabs as lesser beings, somehow unable to – and therefore to be considered immune from having to – make certain fine distinctions such as whether or not the International Jew Conspiracy is the greatest power on earth and Hitler’s biggest crime was that his Holocaust didn’t go far enough.
You have really talked yourself into quite the corner. Is this the part where you explode in faux rage? That’s what usually happens when you tie yourself in a knot like this.
One further development on this is that Tony Greenstein has given some important ground to defending Socialist Fight against the witchhunt, which is welcome, and lays the basis hopefully for a more rational and fraternal debate in the future: I am currently writing a substantial reply to comrade Greenstein’s recent material and other similar material, which hopefully will l finish soon. But here is comrade Greenstein’s welcome statement, part of a reply to a Zionist tirade by the Guardian’s inquisitor Jonathan Freedland, giving at least qualified support to our democratic rights within Labour:
“There was another Labour expulsion this week, of Gerry Downing. The obvious point to make is that the expulsion is a disgrace. Downing was expelled by post, with no notice, not told what the charges were, not invited to present a defence and told he had no right of appeal against the decision. A Kafkaesque affair. Freedland omits to mention all of that.”
“I don’t personally agree with Downing on the position he takes but I have no doubt, having met Downing, that he is not personally anti-Semitic. The problem is he is politically confused, a confusion caused by the Zionist insistent that support for Israel is bound up with being Jewish.
Indeed just this week I penned an article for the Weekly Worker criticising Downing’s political position, Confusing the question – Zionism, Jewish identity and the ‘socialism of fools’ http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1098/confusing-the-question/ and blogged on him too Gerry Downing, Anti-Semitism and the Socialism of Fools – Confusing the Jewish Question and Zionism http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/gerry-downing-anti-semitism-and.html
“Downing is wrong to think that there is a ‘Jewish Question’ or that it has any bearing on the issue of Israel. His belief that there is a separate Jewish component of western ruling classes is absurd and can lead in an anti-Semitic direction, but who is it who raises the question of Jews every time Israel is mentioned but Jonathan Freedland’s good friends in the Zionist movement? Does not Israel call itself the Jewish state? Does Israel not appropriate historic Jewish religious symbols like the Star of David as its own nationalist emblems?”
These remarks, which seem to presage at least the possibility of a rational debate on these questions, are a welcome development coming from Tony. Its a debate we are keen to pursue. Hopefully the likes of Kazort will take some notice of the more rational and political tone in this passage and also come up with some political argument.
I see nothing in Greenstein’s statement that echoes your position that Holocaust denial should be accepted in the anti-Zionist movement, and I think he would be first to note that.
Your position is, frankly, Donald Trump’s: what’s wrong with making room for racism, obvious and overt racism, in our platform if it helps us reach our political goals?
So you think that Arabs who doubt or deny the holocaust are racists?
Exactly. Got it on the first try.
To suggest otherwise is to condescend to them, to whisper sotto voce: they can’t help it, they can’t help their racism, you know, because they’re … Arab.
Good to clarify that you are a liberal Zionist then. I suppose you are big on denouncing ‘anti-white racism’ by black people as well. The reason why such a thing is not racist is because racism is not simply bad ideas, but the ideological reflection of racial oppression. The victims of racial oppression may well come to hate the people that oppress them, and may well even come to mistakenly see this in ‘racial’ terms, but this is not racism.
Black anti-white racism in the current world order cannot exist. It could exist if a society existed where a dominant black population systematically oppresses a white population, but no such society exists on this planet.
And the same is true in the Middle East. Arabs do not oppress Jews, its the other way round. Still less do a small minority of Jews who solidarise with Arabs (including adopting some of their common errors in this regard) oppress Jews.
Racism is the ideological reflection of a social relation between peoples.
“Anti-white racism” as a category in this society is the preserve of the white supremacist right.
And the allegation that Arab “anti-semitism” is actually racist is the hallmark of Jewish supremacism and Jewish chauvinism.
Actually, I am pretty certain that Greenstein agrees with that. His views on Atzmon are slightly inconsistent with his views on Arab ‘anti-semitism’.
“Good to clarify that you are a liberal Zionist then.”
Hilarious non sequitur. You really are very deep over your head, aren’t you. Your categorical analysis is failing you so horrifically you have to fling the kitchen sink. The narrowness of your robotic analysis is really sending you into some very stupid places.
You want to avoid the no-platforming of the anti-Semite Atzmon because you fear such a thing would lead to no-platforming similarly anti-Semitic Palestinians or Arabs. In this view, Atzmon’s embrace of Holocaust denial is actually somehow an act of solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Yet we know from the PSC AGM of 2012 that the Palestinian solidarity position on the Atzmon cadre and Holocaust denial is an unambiguous “fuck off.”
Unless you are going to argue that Palestinian solidarity *should not be* an anti-racist movement in a real-world, rather than Donovanian, sense. And by “going to argue” I mean “essentially already have.” Your position on Arab anti-Semitism boils down to “the poor dears can’t help it, you know. And therefore, in solidarity, we shouldn’t help it either.”
There is a much simpler answer. Atzmon is an anti-Semite; fuck off, racists, fuck off anti-Semites, and fuck off, Atzmon. The Marxist left has no problem saying this, and has said it unambiguously. Yet you’re dancing a dervish trying to assert that Atzmon’s Holocaust denial is a defensible thing – and you are knocking over quite a lot of important pottery as you whirl madly on.
You see logically that means also “Fuck off Hamas supporters from the Palestine Solidarity movement”
Since Hamas were elected to the Palestine government the last time there was actually a free election (which the Israelis and their stooges in the PA have stopped taking place since), that essentially means “Fuck off Palestinians” : or at least the ones who support the elected leadership of the Palestinians themselves.
You really don’t like Arabs very much, do you?
“You really don’t like Arabs very much, do you?”
And there, ding-ding-ding, is the sound of Donovan’s argument reaching a new level of desperation. The Donovanic mind is a wondrous thing: to say “Fuck off Atzmon” is, once it has bobbed around in there like the steel ball in the demonic pinball machine, actually the same as saying “I hate Arabs.” Apparently, if it weighs the same as a duck, then it’s made of wood, and therefore I am a witch.
I tried talking sense to you, but the pinball machine in your head couldn’t handle it, and simply spewed out frantic, disjointed hate in response.
This is how you became one of the more reviled figures in Marxist circles, and it’s hard not to conclude that you have absolutely earned it.
Any Leninist should say this. To refuse to bloc with racists is tantamount to refusing to bloc with bourgeois nationalists – the difference is only in degree.
What would you have said to the Black Panthers? Anathema because of anti-white tendencies? [Revealing that you are unconcerned with racism except when it’s directed against Jews. You refused to answer about the Armenian genocide.]
I’d like to see Ian’s response to this point. Is it true that Palestinian solidarity excludes “holocaust deniers,” implicitly excluding supporters of Hamas? (Kazort himself refuses to address whether he favors excluding supporters of Hamas, just like – believing the answer, Jewish uniqueness, is so obvious the question doesn’t require reply – he refuses to clarify his attitude toward other “holocausts.”)
If it does exclude “holocaust deniers,” Palestinian solidarity has been influenced by Zionism. Since Greenstein is a leading figure in Palestinian solidarity, this doesn’t seem unlikely.
[Looking recently at some of Greenstein’s writings, I notice his staunch gatekeeper mentality. He makes various arbitrary distinctions regarding what constitutes and doesn’t constitute anti-Semitism, and then seeks to enforce both sides of the boundary as law. Obviously, he enjoys the power of reading people in and out of the movement. The hysterical character of his rhetoric shouldn’t be ignored in evaluating his politics.]
Will you take the same position about elected leaders and their followers if Trump becomes President of the US?
I’m afraid I take the idea that you know what is going on in ‘Marxist circles’ with a very large pinch of salt. Whatever they are. I;ve seen no evidence of any Marxist insight on your part. Cannot take you seriously at all.
“Greenstein was only the first to spot the gaping gulf between Atzmon’s leftist rhetoric and his stormtrooper attitude toward the Jews. ”
Really? Greenstein says this:
You know nothing of this I’m afraid. You are just making it up as you go along. Has a ‘stormtrooper attitude” to Jews, but doesn’t hate them. Makes no sense.
Still no actual arguments. You are a waste of space.
Stephen is right on this. PSC does exclude, and has expelled ‘holocaust deniers’. I think obviously it should exclude racists. The two are no longer synonymous due to the decades-long abuse of the Holocaust to justify racism. I would be in favour of kicking out active racists, but scepticism or ‘denying’ the Holocaust today is no longer evidence of that on its own. And I have long opposed Greenstein’s activities on this. Most of the ‘anti-semites’ he targets are Jewish, the few that aren’t are influenced by those that are.
This is hardly anti-Jewish racism. It’s ideological/political confusion caused by the lack of a hegemonic, coherent left understanding of Zionism.
But then again, Greenstein is also one of the most outspoken anti-Zionists in the UK. He is a mess of contradictory consciousness in my view.
We agree on the last, but where we apparently disagree is that I think expelling holocaust deniers is pro-Jewish racism. So, the leadership should expel itself!
As a matter of practicality, “racism” is too subjective a criterion to be exclusionary. The criterion is a prefabricated excuse for witchhunts. As a matter of principle, excluding even overt racists serves to deprive the Palestinians of the broadest support. I would welcome even David Duke, and I wouldn’t exclude even Kazort. I would guess you agree on the second but not the first.
Why give exclusionary weight to racist sentiment? It is very likely that anti-Jewish racism will increase among anti-Zionists. It’s hard to hate Israel and not hate the Jews who overwhelmingly support it. You almost have to be a communist. The Zionists benefit from the false purism.
I certainly would not be welcoming any anti-black racists or genuine anti-Jewish racists into any movement in solidarity with the oppressed. That would be politically and possibly literally suicidal, as well as compromising the anti-racist credentials of the movement itself. You cannot ghettoise racism. It spreads and someone who invites bigotry against one group creates a climate where bigotry becomes endemic and will rapidly come to infect the organisation with bigotry against the people it is supposed to be supporting.
Concrete example. Apart from Duke being a racist bastard in his own right, he has also endorsed Trump. Trump has his people beat up ‘#blacklivesmatter’ advocates at his rallies, he openly endorses the use of torture, and he wants to close US borders to all Muslims. How could this not be targeted at Palestinians also?
Any support from Palestine Solidarity people to anyone like Trump let alone Duke is suicidal madness. We want the #blacklivesmatter movement among others as allies of the Palestine Solidarity movement, not Trump or the KKK. This should be elementary.
My difference with Greenstein is not over excluding real racists from Palestine Solidarity. It is rather with the element of Jewish identity politics in his political makeup that leads him to identify people of Jewish origin who are confused about the Holocaust with anti-Jewish racists. There is an implicit excusing of Zionism inherent in that, a playing down of the significance of the Ziomost holocaust cult.
And relatedly there is his refusal to address properly the international dimension of Zionism and his apologism for the ethnocentric bourgeois formations at its core.
There is a tendency among left-wing Jews to confusion about this, even in circles you would not expect to find it. For instance, look at this article on Trump from Phil Weiss on Mondoweiss:
What is interesting is its softness on Trump because of his earlier failure to salute the Israelis. Despite being a racist nut who obviously hates blacks and Muslims. But then he went to AIPAC and promised to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Predictable. One bigotry opens the door to others. Lamentable naivety from Weiss at one level. Though comprehensible at another.
So Greenstein’s error is not in wanting to exclude hardened racists. It is in including confused anti-Zionists in that category and thus acting as a de-facto apologist for the Zionist holocaust cult.
I also don’t believe it is necessary to exclude Kazort from the Palestinian Solidarity movement. As he has nothing to do with it anyway. He is just a mendacious camouflaged Zionist troll.
Expelling holocaust deniers is real pro-Jewish racism. Yet, you don’t advocate expelling Greenstein for the real racist crime of causing their expulsion. Ian, you merely provide left cover for Jewish hypocrisy.
As to Duke and Trump, I suppose you would also exclude their supporters from workers picket lines. Your “antiracism” strictures are politically correct hysteria.
Black Lives Matter initially played a progressive role against the cops, but its reformism long since came to dominate. Now its policing of campus speech has become utterly reactionary and a more serious threat to civil liberties and to the working class than Trump will ever be. I don’t support middle-class hooligans breaking up assemblies of misguided (and generally nonviolent) working people, even if the latter are momentarily under the spell of a demagogue who is subjectively fascist, as is the case with Trump.
You treat pro-Jewish racism as a disease, and any other form of racism as a crime. The intensity of your disagreement with Kazort masks your basic agreement with him.
Stephen sees the confusion in the anti-Zionist holocaust sceptics or deniers, but does not see the confusion in the response to them. I am not in favour of expelling confused anti-Zionists on either side of this issue from the Palestine Solidarity movement. That way lies madness. We are for united fronts against the main enemy – imperialism and Zionism, and dealing with these problems politically. Expelling anti-Zionists from either side from the movement only helps the Israelis.
How can #blacklivesmatter be a greater danger to civil liberties than Trump. How can they be any danger at all? They have no power. Particularly if he is ‘subjectively fascist’ which appears accurate. Why would we want to exclude Trump supporters from picket lines? That would be idiotic since these involve unions as basic organisations of the working class and the best opportunity to bring political consciousness to workers involved in struggle.
What has that to do with supporting protests against Trump’s racism?
I treat confusion as confusion, not a crime on both sides of this. Confusion is not a crime: whether it be on the holocaust or in responding to the tricky and new issue of Jewish scepticism about it!.
But they do have power – as a movement: they too have billionaire support. Without the support of a section of the ruling class, the blm wouldn’t be capable of leading the charge to suppress campus civil liberties. It’s this suppression ( as well as the fascist-like effort to shut Trump down that you avoid condemning) that makes him dangerous, whereas Trump’s supporters are content to attack protesters themselves intent on shutting Trump down.
I’m not scared of Trump because his base is in a section of the working class and thus is necessarily ephemeral. The blm is a crazed petty bourgeois movement that could be won to a variety of fascism. They are today the biggest immediate danger to the expressive civil liberties.