Is anti-Zionism anti-Semitic?

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laborbund
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May 7 2016 22:38

Point taken, Schmoopie. It would have been more precise of me to say that Israelis and Palestinians have an unequal relationship to the Israeli state and capital, and that this inequality favors Israelis, exploitation of Israeli workers notwithstanding, and is oppressive to Palestinians. I'm not surprised you were kept separate from Palestinian workers. I wonder if they were paid the same wage, though.

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Schmoopie
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May 8 2016 08:23
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Wrong never lies in unequal rights; it lies in the assertion of “equal” rights...

You are right to say that there is unequal recompense between domestic Israeli workers and migrant labour (foreign and Palestinian). This is applicable to all countries. It is one way in which capital divides and rules, if we allow it to.

S. Artesian
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May 8 2016 13:15
laborbund wrote:
I don't think pointing out the irrelevance of competing nationalist claims lends any sympathy to Israel where the Arab-Israeli wars are concerned. Or the other side for that matter. Rather, I think it points out the absurdity of nationalism and the cynical game of international relations which produces such wars.

I think "competing nationalist claims" are indeed irrelevant, but pointing out that the Zionist state required, and requires, expulsion and dispossession of people resident in a territory, and resident prior to Zionist incursion is not making a competing nationalist claim.

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I said that "every nation-state is founded on the basis of ethnic cleansing at least in concept, and most also in fact," and I'll stand by that.

Different argument for a different thread, but offhand, that's just not accurate. Not all "nation-states" are based on "ethnic cleansing."
Sometimes the nation state itself is founded on an end to ethnic cleansing, and the break up of that state is based on ethnic cleansing.

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We agree then? I thought this was my point? Saying the Palestinians were living in the territory prior to or at the time of a political transformation that led to their expulsion is historically accurate and helps us understand the present situation. However, the word "indigenous" has always been connected to legitimating claims of "prior rights" the way I've heard it used in political discussions - especially discussions about Israel.

Well, okay. Indigenous means "pertaining to the native inhabitants of a region" or "born in or native to" a territory. That some of the people expelled and dispossessed were immigrants doesn't change the fact that the indigenous population expelled. But yeah, non-indigenous Moslems were also expelled, and their property aggrandized.

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Equating the oppression of Jews in Europe and the Middle East to the conflict between the Boers and the British Empire is a gross distortion. I very much doubt Zionism ever would have become a viable project without the massive population increase of Jews fleeing from Nazism and the post-WWII European pogroms, or without the addition of so many Arab Jews who were forcibly expelled from their resident countries (whose descendants make up the majority of Israeli Jews today). I also doubt Zionism would have received so much support from the Jewish population if not for the holocaust and its aftermath - after all, before the holocaust the vast majority preferred immigration to the US.

First off, while there certainly was discrimination against Jews in the Middle East, and Persia, and the former Ottoman Empire, it hardly measures up to that practiced in Europe. Zionism is a European project, first and foremost, or Anglo-European or Anglo-American-European. Jews living in Arab countries, and in portions of the former Ottoman empire were not expelled until after the formation of Israel.

The growth of the Sephardic Jewish population in Israel takes place over the last 40 years. Zionism was, and remains, a European product.

I don't know what post-WW2 European pogroms you are talking about? Did you mean WW1?

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, but trivializing antisemitism and its role in the creation of Israel only obfuscates

Nobody's trivializing anti-semitism, but explaining Zionism by anti-semitism misses the point. The oppressed people aren't the Zionists,the oppressed people are those expelled, dispossessed, and subjugated by the Zionists-- those who experience Zionism as in fact the indigenous African people experience the Boers.

As for this:

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Do Israelis have an oppressive relationship with Palestinians? When I worked in Israel/Palestine alongside Israelis and foreigners like myself, we had NO relationship with Palestinian workers at all. A good example was when I was working the tomato picking machines in the fields. The machine I worked on would work the same field as a machine manned by Palestinian workers but there was never any opportunity for fraternisation and we were certainly not oppressing anyone. We were all equally oppressed by the heat, the grime and the monotony.

Well, Schmoop, those Israelis you worked beside are subject to and participate in the IDF, and the IDF most assuredly has an oppressive relationship with the Palestinians, I'd say yeah, just like the white South Africans had an oppressive relationship with black Africans.

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May 8 2016 17:21

Again, if all of the people expelled were immigrants would it be a fundamentally different matter? I really think we should take the position that ethnic cleansing is unjustifiable, regardless of the circumstances under which it takes place. And just for clarity, it wasn't just Palestinian Muslims who were expelled in '48. There was also a sizable population of Palestinian Christians and a few minority religions.

Here are the pogroms I was talking about, some of which occurred in the Arab world as well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogrom#After_World_War_II

You have been trivializing antisemitism throughout this thread by claiming its irrelevant to the discussion, comparing Jews to Boers, and engaging in semantic gymnastics to redefine the word itself. I'm not trying to attack your character or good faith, but I really do feel that many of your comments on this thread have been trivializing and I hope you'll give that some honest consideration.

I think trying to explain Zionism without reference to antisemitism is fundamentally intellectually dishonest, and its probably an important reason why contemporary anti-Zionist discourse is saturated with antisemitic stereotypes, conspiracy theories, imagery, etc. The antisemitism of the 19th century created the Zionist movement and the antisemitism of the 20th century made Zionist ambitions a practical possibility. Antisemitism has also sustained Zionism by furnishing Israel with new waves of Jewish immigrants over the decades. When Zionism is explained in this way it becomes a teachable moment: you can't get nationally liberated; nationalism isn't liberating. Especially when one considers that a huge part of early Zionism was labor Zionism, and that it entertained various fantasies of building a socialist (using the word very loosely) state without expulsion (including ideas about integrating with Arab culture), it becomes all the more instructive that the Israel we ultimately ended up with is an oppressive capitalist nation-state, forcing the Palestinians to live under military occupation, and increasingly authoritarian and theocratic internally.

I'm going to take a break from this thread, at least for a couple of days.

S. Artesian
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May 8 2016 22:00
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Again, if all of the people expelled were immigrants would it be a fundamentally different matter? I really think we should take the position that ethnic cleansing is unjustifiable, regardless of the circumstances under which it takes place. And just for clarity, it wasn't just Palestinian Muslims who were expelled in '48. There was also a sizable population of Palestinian Christians and a few minority religions.

Again, what's your point? I'm not making any claims for a "competing" nationalism. I'm stating that the Zionist project was based on the expulsion and dispossession of a population that was resident prior to 1948, and 1917; and that Zionism required that expulsion, and preserves itself through continued dispossession against Arab and Moslem populations in the occupied territories.

Is that an "antisemitic" statement? Is that trivializing anti-semitism? Or is it historically accurate?

The wiki-article refers to 1, a single, incident in the Arab world post WW2; like I said that while discrimination certainly existed against Jews in the former Ottoman empire, it was nothing like what was experienced in Europe. Other attacks certainly occurred during the 1947-1948 violence against the Palestinians, and was stoked further by continued Israeli aggression, including its attack with the UK and France on Egypt in 1956.

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You have been trivializing antisemitism throughout this thread by claiming its irrelevant to the discussion, comparing Jews to Boers, and engaging in semantic gymnastics to redefine the word itself. I'm not trying to attack your character or good faith, but I really do feel that many of your comments on this thread have been trivializing and I hope you'll give that some honest consideration.

Ah, I've been "trivializing" anti-semitism... how? Not by claiming it's irrelevant. I have argued solely that there is such a thing as anti-Zionism without anti-semitism, and that I don't know very many people who think Israel is singularly evil, or is responsible for all the bad things in the world (I'm still blaming Nixon for all those things). That's all I've argued.

Nice attempt to fog the issues, laborbund, and equate Zionism with Judaism by stating that I've been "trivializing anti-semitism by comparing Jews to Boers"... but where have I ever compared Jews to Boers? Nowhere. I guess only those whose reading comprehension is a bit better than yours will realize I compared Zionists to Boers, and that's more than a technical distinction.

The fact that you deliberately ignore that distinction, that class distinction, makes it clear that besides being the one engaging in semantic gymnastics, you're willing to go to some length to distort and obscure the real issues.

Your claims that anti-Zionist discourse is "saturated" with anti-semitism requires, as the other and previous claims have required, a bit of qualification and quantification. Saturated? Not fucking hardly. There are significant anti-Zionist sources which are not the least bit anti-semitic-- Ilan Pappe and Finkelstein come to mind first. Others have mentioned Chomsky, but I haven't read his stuff so I don't know.

I do question the good faith and character of those who so deliberately obscure and distort arguments so that they can claim "anti Zionism is saturated with anti-semitism." I do question the good faith and character of those who conflate Jews with Zionists.

Oh sure, the heart of Zionism was "labor zionism." Right, that was the ideological cover. In the 19th century, Boers had their fundamentalist Christianity serving their particular form of settler-capitalism; in the 20th century, when social democracy was the "cover" for capitalist recuperation, "kibbutz socialism" is the ideological equivalent of the Boers ultra-Christianity. Sure thing, and like "labor Zionism" and "kibbutz socialism" Israel is a "democracy."

Did anti-semitism feed Zionism? Of course. I said nothing to indicate I don't think anti-semitism stoked Zionism, just as white racism in the US stoked the NOI, and various black nationalist movements. Doesn't change anything about the social relations between white racists and African-Americans; or the Zionists and the Palestinians.

The question was if anti-Zionist is inherently anti-semitic. I presume you think it is, since you also believe, without being able to quantify or qualify it that "anti-Zionist discourse is "saturated" with antisemitism.

BTW, exactly WTF does that mean? "Saturated"?

Yeah, take a fucking break, and when you come back try and keep in mind that you probably should avoid conflating Jews with Zionists.

Spikymike
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May 9 2016 09:52

Anti-Zionism cannot logically be considered inherently anti-Semitic but I took 'aborbunds' claim that ''contemporary anti-Zionist discourse is saturated with anti-Semitism' even if 'saturated' might be exaggerated terminology, to refer to the broader experience of anti-Zionism across the full Left/Right political spectrum and I don't think quoting the admireable Finkelstein or Chomsky is much evidence in itself against that claim. Additionally it strikes me that if 'labour Zionism and kibutz socialism' ended up as 'ideological cover' (and moreover a practical means of the Israel states territorial expansion) then they were not intentionally perceived that way by their proponents and are not a direct comparison with the Boars Christian ideology. Is the anti-Semitism of many anti-Zionists not perhaps also related to the connections drawn by Moishe Postone in Malvas post No44? Clearly there are some 'overlapping arguments' being played out in this discussion and I'm still trying to untangle these.

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May 9 2016 10:34

Spikymike #67

That's a good post.

S. Artesian
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May 9 2016 12:28
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Is the anti-Semitism of many anti-Zionists not perhaps also related to the connections drawn by Moishe Postone in Malvas post No44?

That (^) requires empirical analysis not theoretical speculation. Claiming that "anti-Zionist discourse is saturated with anti-semitism" assumes as fact precisely what has yet to be established.

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then they were not intentionally perceived that way by their proponents and are not a direct comparison with the Boars Christian ideology.

It does not matter how the proponents of Zionism perceived, rationalized, explained, justified, Zionism. It matters what Zionism actually is; and that "is" that existence is made manifest in the expulsion and dispossession of the population, indigenous/non-indigenous that does not "fit into" the needs of Zionism.

Mis-perception, so to speak, is the bread and butter of capitalist ideology-- history abounds with examples-- "white man's burden" "civilizing missions" "war to preseve democracy" "laissez-faire." Ignorance, and bullshit, are fundamental to property.

The fact that laborbund claims (more than once) that I've asserted "Jews are Boers" rather than "Zionists are Boers" really says all we need to know about "saturation." He presumes anti-Zionism is in fact anti-Jew.

Short version: deal with the fucking facts.

S. Artesian
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May 9 2016 12:35

Meanwhile, of course, it would be nice if Ed could provide some development, clarification, and examples that could further our understanding of this:

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there are issues within anti-Zionism that need to be confronted and doing so is also a class issue..

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May 9 2016 13:23

I don't know how relevant this is but the older generation of Jews that I knew always refered to the State of Israel (and the Occupied Territories) as "Palestine" wisely giving no recognition to the newly founded divisive entity. It was viewed as a country to be avoided like the plague as a place of residence. What Jew would willingly join the armed forces of any nation? Only a mashuganah.

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May 9 2016 17:17
S. Artesian wrote:
Meanwhile, of course, it would be nice if Ed could provide some development, clarification, and examples that could further our understanding of this:

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there are issues within anti-Zionism that need to be confronted and doing so is also a class issue..

Yeah, I've been meaning to come back to it but have had no time basically.. short version is that I agree with laborbund's view that you're trivialising anti-semitism within the anti-Zionist movement by saying it's just down to a few cranks that you get anywhere.. this isn't true, for instace, it's really common to see people arguing that it's Israel and 'the powerful Israel lobby' in America that forces the US to support it. That is a classic anti-semitic trope that the Jews are bending world powers to do their bidding (as if America has no interest in having a powerful ally in the Middle-East!), the only thing that's changed is that 'Jews' is replaced by 'Zionists' or 'Israel'.

Similarly, George Galloway's comments that they "don't even want Israeli tourists in Bradford" is a blatantly racist comment, not by some fringe figure but by arguably one of the most central figures of anti-Zionism in Britain.

Equally, the slogans "We are all Hamas" and "We are all Hezbollah", which again were mainstream on British pro-Palestine demos, support anti-semitic organisations. Zeronowhere says it's support for a group with regards to its position in a world system of international relations rather than support for anti-semitism but that's little solace to any Jews or Israelis on those demos. I mean, fuck sake, 'We are all Palestinian' gets the same point across without any suggestion of support for batshit Islamist anti-semites! So why specifically single out Hamas for support? It can only be because you don't think their anti-semitism is particularly important.

So when Zeronowhere (who is probably NOT an anti-semite) says 'well, it's not really anti-semitism', he's still trivialising anti-semitism by saying it's not as important as support for groups opposing Israel. And personally, I think that kind of equivocation is dangerous as while it has basically fuck all effect whether Westerners sloganeer "We are all Hamas" on what happens in Israel/Palestine it does have an effect on how acceptable people think anti-semitism generally and so opens the door for anti-semitic acts towards Jews in the West (and I'm thinking of how many anti-semitic incidents are motivated by pro-Palestine sympathy).

I 100% agree with you that anti-Zionism is a class issue, that Israel must be opposed as a settler state etc. But fighting anti-semitism is also a class issue. And it doesn't help the fight against anti-semitism to pretend that it's not an all-too prevalent presence in the anti-zionist movement. I'm all for a class position on Zionism but support for anti-semitic groups surely isn't it?

S. Artesian
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May 9 2016 21:55
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I agree with laborbund's view that you're trivialising anti-semitism within the anti-Zionist movement by saying it's just down to a few cranks that you get anywhere..

Of course, that's not what I said; I never said it was down to a few cranks that you get anywhere. What I said was "hang out anywhere long enough and you'll run into an anti-semite;" and that there are wacko anti-Zionists that are anti-semites, just as there are wackos anywhere. I said both as a challenge to those who state, without qualifying and/or quantifying, that anti-semitism is prevalent, all too prevalent, in, or anti-semitism saturates the anti-Zionist movement.

What you've produced is a "guilt by association" that claims that those who identify with Hamas' or Hezbollah's resistance to Israeli military attacks are somehow associating themselves with anti-semitism, and doing so, if not consciously, at least sub-consciously.

I think that's bullshit. If I defend the Watts rebellion against the attacks of the LAPD; if I defend the Nation of Islam from the military-style assault on its mosque conducted by the LAPD and other state forces during the Watts rebellion, I am not supporting or endorsing anti-semitism; despite the NOI's own anti-Jewish statements; despite the fact that the Watts rebels made no bones about their antipathy for the Jewish merchants in the neighborhood.

Moreover, if your criticism of support for Hamas or Hezbollah is based on their anti-Jewish pronouncements-- well you might want to reexamine that as the criticism itself misses the class issues-- namely that Hamas supports Palestinian capitalism, as stunted as it is in Gaza, that Hamas wants to usurp Abbas' PLA role as the wannabe Palestinian Kuomintang; that Hezbollah is quite at home with Mullah capitalism and the suppression of workers' struggles. That's what the criticism of Hezbollah and Hamas should focus on-- their pro-capitalist actions. The conflating by each/both of anti-Zionism with anti-semitism is to obscure that orientation; and muzzle those who would raise a criticism.

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it's really common to see people arguing that it's Israel and 'the powerful Israel lobby' in America that forces the US to support it. That is a classic anti-semitic trope that the Jews are bending world powers to do their bidding

Made a bit more complicated by the fact, of course, that there really is a powerful Israeli lobby. It really exists. I does not make the US do anything it doesn't want to do, wouldn't do on its own, but it certainly exists, certainly organizes drives against those who oppose Zionism; is active in suppressing anti-Zionist academics, politicians, etc.

A powerful pro-Israel lobby exists. Acknowledging its existence is not anti-semitism. It's a fact. Even arguing that it exerts strong influence isn't anti-semitism. It's a fact. Arguing that it mobilizes against those who criticize Zionism isn't anti-semitism. It's a fact. And pointing out that it smears those who oppose Israel and its policies as anti-semitic, isn't anti-semitism. It's a recognition of reality.

So you want to criticize those who say there is a powerful pro-Israel lobby as anti-semitic? And the people against whom you are making such an accusation, they're supposed to think that YOU are not supporting exactly that pro-Israel lobby? YOU are not subconsciously feeding into the pro-Israel lobby's conflation of anti-zionism with anti-semitism?

So Cynthia McKinney who is quite explicit in her claim that AIPAC pretty much owns the US Congress, she's anti-semitic? And she can't be judged on her record regarding African-American struggles, labor struggles, opposition to the war in Iraq, opposition to threats against Iran, etc? Because she's supposedly using her hostility to AIPAC as a coded message of anti-semitism? So we judge her on that, rather than what she has done and how it relates to class struggle, right?

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I 100% agree with you that anti-Zionism is a class issue, that Israel must be opposed as a settler state etc. But fighting anti-semitism is also a class issue. And it doesn't help the fight against anti-semitism to pretend that it's not an all-too prevalent presence in the anti-zionist movement. I'm all for a class position on Zionism but support for anti-semitic groups surely isn't it?

Yes, I agree fighting anti-semitism is a class issue. You have yet to establish that anti-semitism is "all-too prevalent" in anti-Zionism. .

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May 10 2016 10:44

I agree with much of what ed has written in his last couple of posts. I am not clear about the implications of what Artesian is saying. The Trotskyists and other leftists generally use this notion of a "settler state" to reinforce the argument that Israel - as opposed to other states - is not legitimate, that it has "no right to exist", and needs to be replaced with something that is legitimate even if not yet a "workers' state", such as a "democratic secular state of Palestine" or "two state solution". This is a perspective that communists who recognise that all bourgeois states need to be dismantled cannot identify with. I am not ascribing this view to Artesian, but it would help if he spelled out more clearly what the political implications of his analysis are.

For me, communists are obviously opposed to fascism but they are not anti-fascists, because the latter term has become inseparable from the formation of fronts with the bourgeoisie. I think the notion of anti-Zionism has come to have a very similar significance.

S. Artesian
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May 10 2016 12:34
Alf wrote:
I agree with much of what ed has written in his last couple of posts. I am not clear about the implications of what Artesian is saying. The Trotskyists and other leftists generally use this notion of a "settler state" to reinforce the argument that Israel - as opposed to other states - is not legitimate, that it has "no right to exist", and needs to be replaced with something that is legitimate even if not yet a "workers' state", such as a "democratic secular state of Palestine" or "two state solution". This is a perspective that communists who recognise that all bourgeois states need to be dismantled cannot identify with. I am not ascribing this view to Artesian, but it would help if he spelled out more clearly what the political implications of his analysis are.

For me, communists are obviously opposed to fascism but they are not anti-fascists, because the latter term has become inseparable from the formation of fronts with the bourgeoisie. I think the notion of anti-Zionism has come to have a very similar significance.

Exactly what do you agree with? It would be helpful if you spell it out.

As for "settler state," I don't know how or why Trotskyists use the term. Nor do I think it matters whether or not Israel is "legitimate." I'm not talking legal-ism. "Settler state" means quite simply a capitalist state founded, like the US for example, by settlers-- requiring the expulsion, dispossession and/or elimination, extermination, suppression, subjugation, repression etc etc etc-- of an already existing population.

The abolition of the settler state, requires the abolition of its capitalism, which requires a workers revolution, an anti-capitalist, working class based, socialist opposition to Zionism, and to Hamas, Hezbollah, and their sponsors. That's not the "implication" of my position. It's the explication.

I have no interest in a "two state solution," nor do I advocate single-issue "anti-Zionism." Such single issue-ism is, as I've pointed out, a cul-de-sac. You can go back and read where I've said that.

What I object to is the notion that somehow the "left" because of, or through its opposition to Zionism, is somehow tainted by, saturated with, compromised by anti-semitism.

As this discussion has rolled out, it has, IMO, become very clear that despite the statements by some that anti-Zionism is not anti-Jewish, that same some regards the necessity to oppose and combat anti-semitism as a "greater" priority, than recognizing Zionism for what it truly is-- a settler-capitalist formation.

Hence we get the "criticism" of Hamas and Hezbollah as "anti-semitic" rather than as class-collaborationist, pro-capitalist amalgams.

I have spelled this out explicitly in previous posts.

So it would be great if you or Ed or anybody spelled out the implications of your "concerns." Let me use an example from history:

Do you think that somehow the revolt in Watts, and the defense of that revolt, is somehow compromised, is less rooted in exploitation and racism, because of the explicit anti-semitic statements and actions of some of those in revolt? Do you think that defense of the NOI mosque in Watts from the military assault was any less obligatory for all socialists because of the explicit anti-semitism of the NOI?

I think the revolt is not compromised, that the anti-semitism is indicative of a movement, revolt, struggle that has not yet recognized the class basis of its origin, and the class basis for its advancement, and is also a result, in major part, of a retreat on the part of the working class as a whole; a retreat based on repression of class-wide organization. The revolt in Watts quite clearly developed the way it did because of the suppression and breaking up of interracial class based organizations during the McCarthy and post-McCarthy era.

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May 10 2016 15:37
S. Artesian wrote:
I never said it was down to a few cranks that you get anywhere. What I said was "hang out anywhere long enough and you'll run into an anti-semite;" and that there are wacko anti-Zionists that are anti-semites, just as there are wackos anywhere. I said both as a challenge to those who state, without qualifying and/or quantifying, that anti-semitism is prevalent, all too prevalent, in, or anti-semitism saturates the anti-Zionist movement.

Ok, I suppose I don't know of any other political movements where centuries-old anti-semitic tropes form such a significant ("saturate" is your word btw, I wouldn't use it and don't think anyone's claimed it on this thread) part of it's discourse, where some of the central narratives used by mainstream figures within it utilise anti-semitic imagery (Adbusters putting stars next to the names of Jewish neocons, anyone?). Maybe you could give us some examples of other movements where it was so central?

S. Artesian wrote:
What you've produced is a "guilt by association" that claims that those who identify with Hamas' or Hezbollah's resistance to Israeli military attacks are somehow associating themselves with anti-semitism, and doing so, if not consciously, at least sub-consciously.

Well, that wasn't really the point I was making but while we're here I don't how saying 'We are all Hamas' can be anything but associating yourself with anti-semitism as you're associating yourself with a group whose anti-semitism is fairly central to their ideology. But really my point was that it trivialises anti-semitism as the group's anti-semitism is less important than the fact that they oppose Israel. I think that's fucked and certainly opens the door to anti-semitism at home.

Your Watts rebellion comparison is interesting but possibly draws out our differences. Obviously the rioters might have had all kinds of reactionary ideas as individuals but the point is you back the revolt not the politics of every individual who took part. The fact is sometimes people express legitimate grievances in reactionary ways (I'm thinking also of the 2009 UK oil strikes and 'British jobs for British workers') and that has to be confronted, even if you support the underlying sentiment of the revolt. I'm not sure you can do that while backing the reactionary capitalist rackets that propagate those ideas (of which Hamas and NOI are two examples, tho fairly different). So I don't know what you mean by "defend" NOI but I def wouldn't give out leaflets that say 'We are all Nation of Islam', and I understand even less how you would "defend" Hamas (assuming you continue the analogy back on the group you originally intended to explain with it).

The rest of your analysis of Hamas etc a capitalist gangs is basically right imo and obv I don't just oppose them for their anti-semitism.. but this is a thread specifically about anti-semitism so I think that's basically just preaching to the choir..

S. Artesian wrote:
Ed wrote:
it's really common to see people arguing that it's Israel and 'the powerful Israel lobby' in America that forces the US to support it. That is a classic anti-semitic trope that the Jews are bending world powers to do their bidding

Made a bit more complicated by the fact, of course, that there really is a powerful Israeli lobby. It really exists. I does not make the US do anything it doesn't want to do, wouldn't do on its own, but it certainly exists, certainly organizes drives against those who oppose Zionism; is active in suppressing anti-Zionist academics, politicians, etc.

Well, no, it's not made more complicated by the real existence of a Zionist lobby that does all that other shit for the simple reason that you point out: it doesn't make America do shit that it wouldn't do anyway. I think it's fine to talk about the shit the Zionist lobby actually does (like when Dershowitz basically got Finklestein sacked for exposing him as a hack) but the prevalence of this idea that somehow America is Israel's puppet is just a warmed up Protocols of the Elders of Zion..

S. Artesian wrote:
So Cynthia McKinney who is quite explicit in her claim that AIPAC pretty much owns the US Congress, she's anti-semitic? And she can't be judged on her record regarding African-American struggles, labor struggles, opposition to the war in Iraq, opposition to threats against Iran, etc?

I don't know who she is but I don't think it matters. She's definitely using anti-semitic tropes. She might not hate the Jews she meets in the street but she 100% uses anti-semitic thinking in her argumentation. Why would her record on a bunch of other shit change that? Was Stokely Carmichael not a misogynist? When Tony Benn defended Julian Assange saying "if that was rape then I'm many of us here are rapists", was he not propagating rape culture? If anything, you've just proven how ingrained anti-semitism is in society, that otherwise decent people still think using these classic tropes. If I say some racist shit, it should be expected that people say 'what the fuck?' not 'well, he's involved in libcom so you can't judge him on one comment'..

S. Artesian wrote:
Yes, I agree fighting anti-semitism is a class issue. You have yet to establish that anti-semitism is "all-too prevalent" in anti-Zionism.

Well then maybe we'll just have to agree to disagree. I think the fact that anti-semitic tropes and narratives are so mainstream (think Galloway, think Adbusters' 'Why won't anyone say they're Jewish?' article, now your mate Cynthia McKinney) in such a way comparable to no other movement (apart from maybe neo-nazism) means that anti-semitism is prevalent. I think sloganeering identification and support for anti-semitic groups trivialises anti-semitism, if not outright promoting it. You obviously don't. But then all your arguments look like equivocations and excuses for anti-semites and people who use anti-semitic arguments ('that's guilt by association', 'well, there really is a zionist lobby', 'look at her wider record'). It doesn't look like a class position on anti-semitism (and by extension, neither can it be one on anti-zionism)..

None of this means I'm not an anti-Zionist. I am and always will be. But I think there needs to be 'Anti-Zionists against anti-semitism' as much as 'Jews against Zionism'. The latter without the former is just ideological cover for people who don't want to address problems internal to a movement they identify with..

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May 10 2016 16:25

Ed #76

Quote:
Ok, I suppose I don't know of any other political movements where centuries-old anti-semitic tropes form such a significant ("saturate" is your word btw, I wouldn't use it and don't think anyone's claimed it on this thread)

As is the case with laborbund, reading comprehension and attention to detail don't seem to be your strong suits. "Saturate" is not my word, it's laborbund's. See his post #65.

Quote:
(Adbusters putting stars next to the names of Jewish neocons, anyone?)

Adbusters, which started out precisely as a NON-left movement-- "Get the money out of politics" is your evidence for the anti-semitism of the left? Adbusters has never been to the left of the Democratic Party.

Quote:
We are all Hamas' can be anything but associating yourself with anti-semitism as you're associating yourself with a group whose anti-semitism is fairly central to their ideology

I sincerely doubt that those at a demonstration in response to Israel's attacks on the Gaza, its targeting of UN "refuge" areas, its murderous assault on people onboard a ship bringing supplies to Gaza, its use of collective punishment, its use of white phosphorus are expressing their anti-semitism, or supporting Hamas' anti-semitism, when chanting "we are all Hamas." The fact that you think that's clearly the meaning of the chant shows just how oblivious you are to what actually motivates the demonstration.

So along with a lack of reading comprehension, we can now clearly identify a real blind spot to your estimate of the scope, the "all-too-prevalent" anti-semitism.

Quote:
I don't know who she is but I don't think it matters. She's definitely using anti-semitic tropes. She might not hate the Jews she meets in the street but she 100% uses anti-semitic thinking in her argumentation. Why would her record on a bunch of other shit change that? Was Stokely Carmichael not a misogynist? When Tony Benn defended Julian Assange saying "if that was rape then I'm many of us here are rapists", was he not propagating rape culture? If anything, you've just proven how ingrained anti-semitism is in society, that otherwise decent people still think using these classic tropes. If I say some racist shit, it should be expected that people say 'what the fuck?' not 'well, he's involved in libcom so you can't judge him on one comment'..

You don't know who she is? But you don't know how that matters? But despite your lack of knowledge and interest you she 100% uses anti-semitic thinking? If you don't know who she is, and what her history is, how do you know she uses anti-semitic tropes? By saying AIPAC owns the US Congress? Do you know how much AIPAC spends on lobbying the Congress? Or does that not matter either, simply because anybody who says AIPAC conflates Zionism with Judaism to raise money from many Jewish people and then uses that money to solidify support for the US govt's pro Israel policies MUST necessarily be anti-semitic? Is that what you mean by anti-semitic tropes?

For the record, AIPAC spent over 3 million in 2014 lobbying the Congress-- and AIPAC does NOT contribute directly to the campaigns of those running for Congress. In the 2014 election cycle, Democrats received $6.5 million from pro-Israel groups; Republicans $5 million. Does pointing out that massive monetary impact make me anti-semitic? Is that an anti-semitic trope-- that the pro-Israel lobby contributes millions to election campaigns, and spends millions more lobbying elected representatives?

The examples of Stokely Carmichael actually does make my point-- do we reject Stokely's legacy with SNCC-- his courage, and organizational ability in Alabama, organizing against the Klan, the white terrorists, because he was a misogynist, or became an admirer of Toure, or whatever? Do we say the struggle in Lowndes county was "compromised" "saturated" by SNCC's association with Stokely? Bollocks.

Quote:
Obviously the rioters might have had all kinds of reactionary ideas as individuals but the point is you back the revolt not the politics of every individual who took part. The fact is sometimes people express legitimate grievances in reactionary ways (I'm thinking also of the 2009 UK oil strikes and 'British jobs for British workers') and that has to be confronted, even if you support the underlying sentiment of the revolt. I'm not sure you can do that while backing the reactionary capitalist rackets that propagate those ideas (of which Hamas and NOI are two examples, tho fairly different).

Exactly. We back the struggle. The struggle is against Israel's expulsion, dispossession, brutalization, aggression against Palestinian people, against the people Arabic, whether Moslem or Christian in the occupied areas. The struggle is against Israel as integral to the capitalist order.

Quote:
But then all your arguments look like equivocations and excuses for anti-semites and people who use anti-semitic arguments ('that's guilt by association', 'well, there really is a zionist lobby', 'look at her wider record'). It doesn't look like a class position on anti-semitism (and by extension, neither can it be one on anti-zionism)..

You've just made a complete circle jerk and mistaken that for actually getting laid. I've made no excuses for anyone's anti-semitism. I said that those chanting "We are all Hamas" are not anti-semites, not supporting anti-semitism, and most probably are not even aware of Hamas' anti-Jewish statements, but are reacting to Israel's assaults on Gaza, etc. I didn't say Cynthia McKinney's record excused anti-semitism. I claimed the pro-Israel lobby launched an attack on her, of withering proportions when she came out against Israel, and that YOU in all your lack of comprehension are right in line with that attack, ignoring exactly who she is and what she stands for, WARTS and ALL.

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May 10 2016 16:47

I am yet to hear anyone mention the crucial factor in the region that we are ultimately discussing. The uprising of the working class in Palestine. For me, the three months from September to December, 2000, were of enormous impact that I can only compare to Russia, 1917, which I have only read about. The resilience and militancy of our class was astounding. I make the demarcation between December and after because around that time the energy of our class struggle appeared to diminish (not surprisingly bearing in mind the isolation our class combatants faced) and because around that time the Palestinian nationalist organisations began to retrench and subvert the class struggle into a nationalist war (through the use of suicide bombers and a propaganda war).

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May 10 2016 20:41

Ed

Quote:
So I don't know what you mean by "defend" NOI but I def wouldn't give out leaflets that say 'We are all Nation of Islam',

Here's what I mean: If somebody did pass out leaflets,after the military assault on the NOI mosque in Watts, stating "We are all Black Muslims"-- you would be offended (your word) because, according to your logic, the anti-semitism of the NOI outweighs the need to oppose the assault.

I would not be offended. I wouldn't pass out that leaflet. That-- "We are all Black Muslims" isn't my position, given the totality of the NOI positions (back then, it was buy land in the South and build a black nation); but I would certainly oppose the assaults on the NOI mosque, going so far as to advocate organizing defense guards of "the left" to protect the NOI mosques from the LAPD and National Guard assaults.

Simple question: Would you participate in such a defense guard organization?

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May 10 2016 21:22

Oh dear, it looks like the grumpy S. Artesian is back, making up for his refusal to address any of the points being made with increasingly outlandish claims padded out with insults (which he recycles from one argument to the next.. usually "reading comprehension"). Like an angry magician with no trick, just patter..

S. Artesian wrote:
As is the case with laborbund, reading comprehension and attention to detail don't seem to be your strong suits. "Saturate" is not my word, it's laborbund's.

Case in point. This is also one of very few (possibly the only?) accurate response to one of my statements that S. Artesian musters in his entire post, both with regards who said 'saturate' and attention to details not being one of my strengths. Well done.

S. Artesian wrote:
Adbusters, which started out precisely as a NON-left movement-- "Get the money out of politics" is your evidence for the anti-semitism of the left? Adbusters has never been to the left of the Democratic Party.

I'm sorry but this just isn't true. As much as we might both think they're shite, Adbusters is a left-wing publication. Zizek, Graeber, Hardt and Negri have all written for it; again, we might think they're all shite but they're undoubtedly part of the left. Fuck, I might think you're shite but even that doesn't stop you still being part of the left!

S. Artesian wrote:
Ed wrote:
We are all Hamas' can be anything but associating yourself with anti-semitism as you're associating yourself with a group whose anti-semitism is fairly central to their ideology

I sincerely doubt that those at a demonstration in response to Israel's attacks on the Gaza, its targeting of UN "refuge" areas, its murderous assault on people onboard a ship bringing supplies to Gaza, its use of collective punishment, its use of white phosphorus are expressing their anti-semitism, or supporting Hamas' anti-semitism, when chanting "we are all Hamas." The fact that you think that's clearly the meaning of the chant shows just how oblivious you are to what actually motivates the demonstration.

So in this section, you're a) just making things up about my opinions, and b) selectively quoting me, cutting out my more substantive point and replying to a side-issue, which I only mentioned because you'd earlier misunderstood a point I was making.

I don't believe people protest Israeli aggression because they're anti-semites or support Hamas' anti-semitism: I believe identification with and support for Hamas can only be justified because you think their opposition to Israel is more important than the fact they are mental anti-semites. That, imo, trivialises anti-semitism and trivialising anti-semitism is, historically and presently, really fucking dangerous. Anti-Zionism needs to express itself in a way that doesn't trivialise anti-semitism.

S. Artesian wrote:
You don't know who she is? But you don't know how that matters? But despite your lack of knowledge and interest you she 100% uses anti-semitic thinking? If you don't know who she is, and what her history is, how do you know she uses anti-semitic tropes?

Well, like I said, I don't know her so I was going off what you said, in the context you said it in, which was about the pro-Israel lobby 'owning' congress and whether the Zionist lobby makes the US support Israel against its interests. In that context, with that info, yeah, she's using anti-semitic tropes. Maybe you didn't give me the full quote, maybe there's a bunch of other contextual shit that changes the sentiment drastically, but this thing that America is Israel's puppet is the exact same anti-semitic argument that Jews are pulling the strings behind all the world powers. All that's changed is the word 'Jews', substituted for 'Zionists'.

At the same time, a very quick Google search on her reveals some dodgy shit and she's at least very willing to faternise with/promote anti-semites. One blog mentions her going on a far-right internet radio show while on twitter she recently promoted famous anti-semitic comedian Dieudonné:

Again, I don't know much about her so she herself might not be a Jew hater, it might not really be her on that radio show and it might not even be her actual twitter account, but at first glance she certainly seems able to tolerate a fair amount of hatred towards Jews. Maybe this is "right in line" with the attack on her by the pro-Israel lobby but, tbh, it does look really bad and if she is genuinely anti-semitic I don't think you can just wave it away by saying 'the more important thing' is that it's an attack by the pro-Israel lobby. In fact, I think this actually does illustrate how quickly these tropes and the trivialisation of anti-semitism can turn into (or at least open the door to) genuine anti-semitism.

S. Artesian wrote:
The examples of Stokely Carmichael actually does make my point-- do we reject Stokely's legacy with SNCC-- his courage, and organizational ability in Alabama, organizing against the Klan, the white terrorists, because he was a misogynist, or became an admirer of Toure, or whatever? Do we say the struggle in Lowndes county was "compromised" "saturated" by SNCC's association with Stokely? Bollocks.

Again, that's actually the opposite of what I was saying. My point was that no matter how "decent" someone is, there is always fallibility that needs confronting. Perhaps non-binary thinking isn't your strong point, as attention to detail isn't mine, but it's perfectly possible (in fact, probably inevitable) for people who are great or inspiring organisers to completely fuck up in one aspect or another. Do we reject Stokely Carmichael outright coz he was a misogynist? Of course not. Do we pretend it doesn't matter coz of his record? Not that either.

Quote:
We back the struggle. The struggle is against Israel's expulsion, dispossession, brutalization, aggression against Palestinian people, against the people Arabic, whether Moslem or Christian in the occupied areas. The struggle is against Israel as integral to the capitalist order.

Ok but if you don't deal with anti-semitism then your struggle will just descend even further into the ethnic struggle that it is currently locked into being. And I personally don't see how that could be anything but good for the capitalist order.

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May 10 2016 21:31

Cross-posted with this:

S. Artesian wrote:
Simple question: Would you participate in such a defense guard organization?

I probably wouldn't be welcome as I'm Jewish.

Anyway, I don't think your analogy works travelling between supporting the spuriously Muslim NOI attacked by police in the Watts riots during the civil rights movement and an Islamic fundamentalist organisation which murders both Palestinian and Israeli civilians.

Would you participate in a defense guard for Hamas?

Edit to add: The more I think about it, the more I think this shit about the NOI is just more magician's patter: "And now, for my next trick, I'll make you travel back in time to form hypothetical defense guards for a completely different type of organisation in a completely different context!"

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May 10 2016 22:36

Sorry to interject into your private discussion Ed and Art but let's summarise this matter. If we understand anti-Zionism to be the full frontal attack by the working class of Palestine on the Zionist State of Israel, the answer to the original question is no, it is not anti-Semitic (ie anti-Jewish). If, however, we understand anti-Zionism in the sense of a liberal campaign group then, more than likely, an element of anti-Semitism is at play.

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May 10 2016 23:40

Now Ed, I don't know what your definition of "left" is, but Adbusters, an anti-consumerist venture, flogging vegan shoes, doesn't make it in my definition. Digital detox, one flag, culture jamming, hardly counts as "left," and it's demand, initiative for Occupy-- Form a presidential commission to "separate money from politics" and "set the agenda for a New America." That's left? Not where I've been. My use of the term left is pretty much restricted to Marxists, or socialists, or radicals. I don't think anyone would confuse Adbusters with any of the three.

As for the article on the neocons-- it's about as benign an article as I've read, questioning the role of neocons, and Jewish neocons in particular, in the Bush administration.

The article says this:

Quote:
A lot of ink has been spilled chronicling the pro-Israel leanings of American neocons and fact that a the disproportionate percentage of them are Jewish. Some commentators are worried that these individuals – labeled ‘Likudniks’ for their links to Israel’s right wing Likud party – do not distinguish enough between American and Israeli interests. For example, whose interests were they protecting in pushing for war in Iraq?

That's anti-semitism? No, it's not anti-semitism. It just happens to be wrong. Whose interest were the neocons protecting in pushing for war in Iraq? It doesn't matter whose interests the neocons thought they were protecting, whether Israel's or the US's, because they clearly thought both. And, the real protection being provided was to capital-- to the oil majors, whose rate of profit was languishing (again), who were suffering from overproduction (again), and who were thumping for driving Iraq's production off the markets ever since 1998, and who raked in the money between 2003 and 2007.

When AIPAC arranges for John Boehner to invite Netanyahu to address the US Congress in an election year in Israel, when by protocol, the US head of state does not give the appearance of favoring a candidate by providing a candidate with the pomp of a state visit; and when the pro-Israel lobby arranges this in order to muster opposition to the "detente" with Iran favored by a wing of the bourgeoisie, you think bringing up the pro-Israel lobby's role in this is reverting to an anti-semitic trope?

You don't think there's a powerful pro-Israel lobby at work? Or do you think identifying it as pro-Israel; identifying its role is just too dangerous, too be spoken about?

I don't think there's a single thing for the "left" to fear in the questions raised by Adbusters about the neocons; I don't think there's a bit of anti-semitism in questioning AIPAC's role in getting Boehner and the morons in the US Congress (a repository of anti-semitism if ever there was one) to host Netanyahu.

I think we would welcome that, welcome the questions, so that we could answer them.

I love how you keep referring to "trivializing anti-semitism," especially since that is exactly the charge raised against Adbusters when it compared Israel's blockade of Gaza to the Nazi's treatment of the Warsaw ghetto. Then the Canadian Jewish Congress was up in arms because that "trivialized the Holocaust." The CJC ought to tell that to the survivors, and the descendants of the survivors of the death camps who spoke out against Israel's attacks on Gaza and in fact likened Israel's attacks and actions as reminiscent of the Nazis.

So is it trivializing anti-semitism to compare Zionists to Boers; the use of white-phosphorus to Zyklon B; the demands of certain member of the Knesset for the transportation of Palestinians to someplace in the desert where they can be confined until they die to the transport of Jews to
death camps (that was a real proposal by an actual member of the Knesset. All he left out was having "Arbeit Macht Frei" inscribed in Hebrew above the camp, and provisions for tattooing the Palestinians)?

I never said anti-semitism "doesn't matter" or should be ignored. I said it does not saturate the left, and certainly your lame use of Adbusters points out exactly how unsaturated things are.

Do I think Hamas' "anti-semitism" is trivial or unimportant? Of course not. It's part and parcel of its anti-communist, anti-socialist organization. But the issue is the struggle. The struggle is against the settler-capitalism that expelled the Arabic population of Palestine. The struggle is against the settler-capitalism that has occupied the West Bank and restricted the Arab population to less fertile areas; with less access to water; while expropriating the entire area for "Greater Israel."

Re the question of defense, here's what I would, and did defend: At a demonstration against the Israeli assault on Gaza, a Zionist counter-demonstrator tried to go after a kid with a pro-Hamas placard. I defended that kid with that placard from that Zionist. What about you, smiley? Would you defend that kid, or in your attempt to not trivialize anti-semitism, would you let that Zionist, who, by the way, was screaming "I hope all you fucking Arabs die" have at him?

Tell you what, Mr. Chuckles, I'd also defend Cynthia McKinney from AIPAC's attacks, her use of tropes, her bad taste in comics, and all. That's not trivializing anti-semitism. It's a recognition that the allegations of anti-semitism are trivial to the reason she was, and is, being attacked. Too subtle a point for you to grasp? No doubt.

And just to make it more clear, and not too historical, for you: If that young person's placard had read "Jews Out of Palestine"-- I still would have defended him against the Zionist-- just as I would defend an avowed anti-Jewish Black Muslim from an attack by a white-supremacist (a white suprematist requires a whole different thread), or from a Zionist.

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May 10 2016 23:26
Schmoopie wrote:
Sorry to interject into your private discussion Ed and Art but let's summarise this matter. If we understand anti-Zionism to be the full frontal attack by the working class of Palestine on the Zionist State of Israel, the answer to the original question is no, it is not anti-Semitic (ie anti-Jewish). If, however, we understand anti-Zionism in the sense of a liberal campaign group then, more than likely, an element of anti-Semitism is at play.

I think that's a fine summation.

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May 11 2016 21:54
S. Artesian wrote:
it's not anti-semitism. It just happens to be wrong.

Yeah, wrong in a way that draws on centuries of anti-semitic tropes. I mean, ffs, the article uses the horrendous imagery of a list of names with Jews marked with black dots as 'proof' of a shadowy cabal of Jewish neocons who control American foreign policy in the Middle East.

At the same time, I'm starting to see the pointlessness in arguing this point with you. I mean, take this 'anecdote'..

S. Artesian wrote:
here's what I would, and did defend: At a demonstration against the Israeli assault on Gaza, a Zionist counter-demonstrator tried to go after a kid with a pro-Hamas placard. I defended that kid with that placard from that Zionist. What about you, smiley? Would you defend that kid, or in your attempt to not trivialize anti-semitism, would you let that Zionist, who, by the way, was screaming "I hope all you fucking Arabs die" have at him?

Even though this stinks of the kind of tall-story that self-aggrandising old lefties make up/exaggerate ('the Zionist was ten-feet tall with arms like tree trunks'), I'll answer it as if it was true: of course I'd defend the kid with the pro-Hamas placard as a) he's probably not a Jew hater himself, just trivialising hatred against Jews; and b) the Zionist isn't attacking him because he's holding a pro-Hamas placard but because he's protesting Israel.. that is, any of us could have been victim to that attack and you oppose it on that basis not whether the person has 'the perfect line'.. that's fucking obvious..

S. Artesian wrote:
I'd also defend Cynthia McKinney from AIPAC's attacks, her use of tropes, her bad taste in comics, and all. That's not trivializing anti-semitism.

By "and all" do you include going on far-right internet radio shows? Coz it's interesting you left that inconvenient detail off your list.. and btw, saying that promoting Dieudonné is just "bad taste in comics" really is trivialising anti-semitism: this is a guy who said a Jewish journo made him think of gas chambers, whose fans do his 'inverted seig heil' outside synagogues and Jewish cemeteries. Calling it "bad taste in comics" literally is you trivialising anti-semitism..

S. Artesian wrote:
It's a recognition that the allegations of anti-semitism are trivial to the reason she was, and is, being attacked. Too subtle a point for you to grasp? No doubt.

Ok so while AIPAC is not primarily concerned with anti-semitism but supporting Israel and opposing anti-semitism is just a tactic to that end (to be dropped when inconvenient) rather than a principle, I thought opposing anti-semitism (like all racism) was a principle for socialists. So if AIPAC expose her as an anti-semite, and she actually is an anti-semite, then while we have to recognise that anti-semitism is trivial as to why AIPAC exposed her, she still has to be treated like our movement would treat any racists. We would have to denounce her anti-semitism while still denouncing AIPAC's opportunism in using it to further their political ends. Though maybe that's a little too subtle for you..

S. Artesian wrote:
And just to make it more clear, and not too historical, for you: If that young person's placard had read "Jews Out of Palestine"-- I still would have defended him against the Zionist-- just as I would defend an avowed anti-Jewish Black Muslim from an attack by a white-supremacist (a white suprematist requires a whole different thread), or from a Zionist.

So here's the thing with your posts: on the one hand, you say there isn't a problem with anti-semitism within the anti-Zionist movement but, on the other, with every example (real or hypothetical) of it you're determined to minimise and excuse anti-semitic anti-Zionists so as to keep them within the movement. So you'll defend Cynthia McKinney, even if she did appear on a far-right radio show and promotes anti-semitic comedians; you'd defend some hypothetical anti-semite with a 'Jews Out of Palestine' placard; you'd defend an anti-semitic NOI member. Because there's always something more important than the fact these people are mental racists..

Yet in your list of anti-semites you'd defend, you never qualify whether you would also defend a Jew being abused, shouted at or attacked by anti-semitic anti-Zionists. Like, would you have stepped in for the author of this article? Or is the important thing to keep the focus on Israel's crimes and so he should never have confronted the guy promoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion? Would you have marched alongside him the same way you would march alongside someone declaring 'Jews Out of Palestine'?

I mean, in my ideal anti-Zionist demo, I hope your hypothetical guy with the 'Jews Out of Palestine' placard would have been battered senseless by other pro-Palestine protesters and kicked the fuck out of the demonstration (along with the Protocols guy.. who I assume S. Artesian would also defend?) before the Zionists had even seen him. They can fight the rest of us principled anti-Zionists.

So yeah, I'll take your estimation of the levels of anti-semitism within anti-Zionism with a pinch of salt as it seems you don't really care very much about it even where you would/do see it..

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May 11 2016 21:55
Schmoopie wrote:
If we understand anti-Zionism to be the full frontal attack by the working class of Palestine on the Zionist State of Israel, the answer to the original question is no, it is not anti-Semitic (ie anti-Jewish). If, however, we understand anti-Zionism in the sense of a liberal campaign group then, more than likely, an element of anti-Semitism is at play.

Well, I think there are issues with how you formulate your division (can we really describe anti-Zionism as purely a working-class movement? Is it just 'the working class of Palestine' who are attacking Israel? Aren't capitalist rackets such as Hamas and Fatah also part of anti-Zionism? Are they unproblematically 'the working class'? Do these groups promote anti-semitism? etc etc).

I don't think this division is really necessary. Really, your point (and mine and S. Artesian's) is that anti-Zionism is not necessarily anti-semitic. My point, however, is that anti-semitism is nonetheless prevalent in anti-Zionism, both in the West and in Palestine, even if it doesn't need to be.

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May 11 2016 23:21

Someone earlier posted on how 'racism' is often used interchangeably with other types of discrimination, as in my own place of origin Northern Ireland [one of the other gifts imperialism bequeathed to the modern world] where 'sectarianism' is the most prevalent way of referring to the local variety of intercommunity hatred. Do the words we use to discuss this matter? As a Jew, do you feel that 'racism' best describes the subject under discussion Ed? What do you think of Shlomo Sand?

A few years ago when his rag first came out, a mate of mine asked me to interview Gilad Atzmon for a video he was making. Atzmon's wee effort, a ludicrous pot boiler of conspiracy wankadoodle which at one point claims the 2008 financial crash was engineered by the Israel lobby, was peppered with references to the Nazi 'philosopher' Heidegger, and every time I circled closer to try to get at why he had chosen this person as his intellectual mascot, being an excellent jazz improviser, he'd change key multiple times in the space of a few bars and start speaking about Kant or whether Jupiter was there when you weren't looking at it, etc... After the gig and a few drinks, outside on the street as we were saying goodbye, completely unprompted he said quietly to me 'I'd rather have died on the Russian front than end up like fucking Walter Benjamin.' It's been my experience that my enemy's enemy is not my friend and that there's a fuck of a lot of leftist anti-semites representing themselves as anti-Zionists, certainly in London.

EDIT: Just to say that the interview took place as part of an evening of jazz music, so my reference to 'gig' earlier was to jazz and not just an escaped glob of jizz.

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May 11 2016 23:42

I'd just like to express my appreciation of Ed's comments in this thread, particularly #85. You're pretty much bang on every time fella. That link to the Workers' Liberty article was interesting too - even if generally I think AWL are a bunch of mutts.

S. Artesian, some of your comments sound as if you're in denial about anti-semitism within anti-zionism... especially when you go on to say which anti-semites within anti-zionism (which now apparently does contain anti-semites) are worth defending. I find that quite troubling. Have you ever been connected to Respect, the SWP or one of their breakaway outfits? I ask this not to have a dig but because that's exactly the kind of reasoning you tend to hear in such political circles.

I don't think there's anything particularly controversial to say the wider Palestine solidarity scene and anti-zionism in general has a fair few anti-semites in the mix. What would be controversial in communist/anarchist circles is to downplay or possibly even collude with such anti-semitism in the name of siding with those people currently oppressed by the Israeli state (aside from the Israeli working class), its military and political backers. But I'm sure that's not what you're doing and I've probably just misread your comments.

Factvalue, just seen your quote from Gilad Atzmon. What a fucking maggot.

factvalue
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May 11 2016 23:44

I found him spooky, you know when someone's nursing a secret they are aching to spew out kind of way?

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May 12 2016 01:00

Adbusters printed one article 12 years ago, that pointed out that half of the neocons (a group known for its belligerent defense of Israel; its advocacy of regime change in the Mideast) were Jewish, outspoken in their support for Israel and against Palestinians, and you think that one article represents a saturation with anti-semitism?

There's no need to engage in conspiracy theories here, and the article itself doesn't engage in conspiracy theories. It's a question of class. Jews in the United States have higher median incomes than many other minorities. Higher median incomes, higher wealth, translates into easier access to higher education, and entry into politics. According to the Pew Research Center 25% of Jews report household incomes of $150,000 or more, compared to 8% of the public as a whole. Is that an anti-semitic trope, that Jews have higher median incomes and more money means more influence in politics in the US?

Money talks, and bullshit is a marathon jogger. And you know what else, that higher level of wealth generally accounts of a more conservative political view. So what's the big fucking issue here? You have a group with a higher income represented in government at levels disproportionate to its total numbers in the general population. No shit, Sherlock.

The article doesn't say that Jews conspired to get higher incomes so they could place their children in government so they could create wars to protect Israel. That would be anti-semitic. But pointing out that half the neocons in the Bush Admin are Jewish is a fact that is explained by social economic analysis, not conspiracy.

Adbusters then compared the assault on Gaza to the Nazi's treatment of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, and that's supposed to be trivializing anti-semitism?

Are those your examples of "saturation"?

Galloway says something that Israel tourists aren't wanted in some town and that's supposedly the evidence for the left being saturated with anti-semitism?

Of course anti-semitism exists within anti-Zionist groups, but where on the left-- among the Marxist organizations, the socialist organizations is it? I thought we were talking about the left.

I asked for a quantification and a qualification of the claim that anti-semitism is "prevalent" "all too prevalent" "saturates" the anti-Zionist left. And indeed, what is provided are trivial incidents. Demonstrators chanting "We are all Hamas" in response to Israel's military assault on Gaza. That's supposed indicated significant anti-semitism and/or "trivializing" anti-semitism?

What bullshit. Actually you're the one who has pretty much established that the anti-semitism that is supposedly prevalent is pretty much trivial.

Quote:
So if AIPAC expose her as an anti-semite,

AIPAC did no such thing. AIPAC attacked her because of her anti-Zionism. They could care less about anti-semitism. They claimed she was anti-Zionist because she is anti-Jewish. That's just horseshit. They conflate anti-Zionism with anti-semitism. She's anti-Zionist because of what Israel is and does.

They attacked her because she opposed defending Israel; she opposed the response to 9/11; because she denounced AIPAC's lobbying activities on behalf of Israel.

Now I don't know if you've been able to find any statements by her that are explicitly anti-semitic, but I haven't. But I do know that she was gerry-mandered out of her congressional district once due to her opposition to the US govt policies, that this was done clearly to deny her a seat.

I don't think there's any evidence to support a claim that she's anti-semitic. You're going to have to come up with something more than her endorsement of a jerk-off comedian in France, otherwise you, again, are grasping at trivialities. I think McKinney's record is pretty clear. She's not a Marxist but vehemently anti US military; anti-racist; anti-Zionist. You're going to need to come up with something that offsets those open public record of her actions, otherwise you're just engaging in conspiracy theories yourself-- you are in fact buying into the trivialization of the real reason for the drive against her by use of "anti-semitism."

Serge-- never been associated with Respect, or the SWP, or the IS on this side.

Quote:
I don't think there's anything particularly controversial to say the wider Palestine solidarity scene and anti-zionism in general has a fair few anti-semites in the mix

This all started because I suggested that when you make a statement like that, or you claim "anti-semitism" is all too prevalent, or the left is saturated with anti-semitism, you need to qualify and quantify it.

And all that's been offered, truly, is trivial occurrences.

Reddebrek's picture
Reddebrek
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May 12 2016 05:38

You know it might be wroth sticking this pdf in the op of every thread that deals with anti-Semitism, or Zionism, or Jews or a Jewish person in particular. I also recommend everyone interested in this subject give it a read because I definitely see some of the attitudes and arguments it tackles in this very thread.