Anti-semitism amongst the left and anarchists

235 posts / 0 new
Last post
miles's picture
miles
Offline
Joined: 21-09-08
Jan 3 2009 12:07
Quote:
I don't think that the reason for this are solely concerned with leftists though. The Turkish state would love to bring international attention and sympathy to its 'struggle against terrorism'. For whatever reasons it fails.

I think a key point was made above re: that Israel has succesfully managed to portray itself as the only democratic country in the middle east. Whereas Turkey has had a history of military coups and strongmen rulers - certainly in Britain much is constantly made of its "human rights" record.

The fact is that the massacres of the 'democratic' countries can always be more easily justified, that there is a whole democratic ideology which justifies war (Second world war, for example), which is a testament to the strength of democracy as a form of class rule. The whole of Israeli society is geared towards the war machine, but its for the 'legitimate' protection of the democratic state of Israel. That Robert Mugabe, on the other hand, is just a power mad dictator...

888's picture
888
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Jan 3 2009 13:02
Angelus Novus wrote:
Anyone referring to struggles of the "oppressed", as opposed to social mediation via state and commodity, has no business referring to his- or herself as a communist.

I think only members of the official Communist Parties of the world have the right to refer to themselves as communists.

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Jan 3 2009 13:25

I think Angelus Novus also has to bear in mind the usage of journalistic devices WRT the liberal left and Israel: it really serves the purposes of the little pen pusher fucks in their handwringing magazines to have one pariah state on which to focus all their hatred and energies. In the 80s, it was South Africa. Nowadays, it's pretty much Israel.

Moreover, the context, imagery, intensity, history and self-perpetuation of the Israel-Palestine conflict (which is horrific, let's be honest) just makes it such a perfect news story. There's no resolution in sight and it shows no sign of falling from the headline. It's just really excellent news.

These explanations make much more sense that claiming every liberal is a raving anti-Semite. I mean, that's just completely irrational...there's no argument for why anti-Semitism would be so popular in 2009.

888's picture
888
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Jan 3 2009 13:56
Django wrote:
Its also pretty inconceivable that you'd find anyone arguing that Turkey or Mexico effectively control US policy through powerful lobbies, to the detriment of the 'American people' and the national interest.

Well you do get weird racist arguments about Latinos taking over the SW US for the benefit of Mexico...

Speaking of dog-tail-wagging, I remember cringing when some stupid old man used exactly that phrase in reference to the US, Israel and the Iraq war when I went to a Chomsky lecture in London about 5 years ago. Chomsky didn't really respond satisfactorily.

yoshomon
Offline
Joined: 19-06-07
Jan 3 2009 14:20

The biggest difference is that Israelis - and in many articles all Jews around the world (see some articles on Counterpunch) - are seen as a homogeneous bloc with interests indistinguishable from the state of Israel. Yesterday I got in an argument with someone who went on about how Israelis "deserve" to be hit by rockets because they support "their" government.

Quote:
These explanations make much more sense that claiming every liberal is a raving anti-Semite. I mean, that's just completely irrational...there's no argument for why anti-Semitism would be so popular in 2009.

Who has claimed that every liberal is a "raving anti-semite"?

Quote:
I dont think you can include conspiracy theorists as part of the left. People who start believing in conspiracy theories usually move pretty quickly to the far right.

This is pretty selective. I think that conspiracy theories are very popular on the Left. One just needs to look at sites like indymedia, counterpunch, commondreams, infoshop, etc. Are you saying this because you find affinity with the Left and want to make it look better?

Oftentimes the far left and far right are indistinguishable from each other. I wonder if it's a coincidence that one of those times is discourse about Israel...

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Jan 3 2009 14:22
888 wrote:
Well you do get weird racist arguments about Latinos taking over the SW US for the benefit of Mexico...

Speaking of dog-tail-wagging, I remember cringing when some stupid old man used exactly that phrase in reference to the US, Israel and the Iraq war when I went to a Chomsky lecture in London about 5 years ago. Chomsky didn't really respond satisfactorily.

Are they a staple of leftist discourse though, and plastered all over Indymedia? Beause the 'Israel lobby' aguments certainly are, unfortunately. There was a James Patras article on UK Indymedia the other week calling Obama the 'first Jewish pesident' and claiming the 'lobby' has taken the white house.

Was this guy accusing Chomsky's arguments of dog/tail confusion? Because Chomsky's been pretty good on demolishing the argument that the 'Israel lobby' manipulates US foreign policy.

yoshomon
Offline
Joined: 19-06-07
Jan 3 2009 14:32

He was also pretty good at defending holocaust denier Robert Faurrison and calling him an "apolitical liberal".

888's picture
888
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Jan 3 2009 14:35

The man was spouting some lame conspiracy theory about how the tail in Israel was really wagging the dog in America. I think Chomsky just decided to ignore what he said and talk about something vaguely related.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Jan 3 2009 14:51
Yoshomon wrote:
The biggest difference is that Israelis - and in many articles all Jews around the world (see some articles on Counterpunch) - are seen as a homogeneous bloc with interests indistinguishable from the state of Israel.

isn't this what crude nationalism of any stripe is? (i say crude, because there's also the populist nationalism of affirming 'the people' against the government of the day which doesn't 'really represent' them). the same crude nationalism is visible from the same people with regard to 'freeing palestine' as a homogenous bloc i.e. administering it with islamist gangsters rather than zionist ones. so in this instance i think you're identifying crude nationalism rather than anti-semitism. the problem comes when there's a convergene of interest between these two currents, which coupled with a lack of critical faculties means the latter often goes unchallenged in leftist discourse.

Yoshomon wrote:
He was also pretty good at defending holocaust denier Robert Faurrison and calling him an "apolitical liberal".

my memory's rusty, but i'm pretty sure Chomksy was making a Voltariean free speach argument ('i disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it'), which however liberal it may be is not the same as a politcal defence of the ideas expressed.

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Jan 3 2009 15:00
yoshomon wrote:
He was also pretty good at defending holocaust denier Robert Faurrison and calling him an "apolitical liberal".

Yeah its not surprising given Chomsky's unfortunate attacks of liberal-leftism (which would also include defending Chavez, Lula and Moralez) that he'd make a free speech argument on behalf of a scumbag like Faurisson and describe him as, "as far as I can determine, ... a relatively apolitical liberal of some sort," as thats what Faurisson described himself as.

Still, this hardly detracts from the quality of his arguments about the "Israel lobby" and its lack of influence over US foreign policy. Its interesting that loads of "anti-zionist" leftists assume that he shares their dodgy views on the matter, when he's trashed them repeatedly in print.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 4 2009 13:23

Speaking of people on the left going on about the "Jewish lobby" controlling the American government, someone posted a link to this statement on anarkismo which I just cannot believe:

Quote:
As far as the USA is concerned, there is no doubt. Apart from the important strategic and territorial alliance that Israel represents for American imperialism in the Middle East, it also has to deal with the powerful US Jewish economic lobby, which is strong enough to bring about a stong influence on US foreign policy.

http://anarkismo.net/article/11133

It's a statement by the Italian FdCA, Zabalaza and after posting it was cosigned by common cause in Ontario. I know that today are all part of the platformist tendency, which has a strong nationalist streak running through it, but that is pretty unbelievable...

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Jan 4 2009 13:35

That is utterly repulsive. It's indistinguishable from something you'd see in neo-nazi propaganda about the 'zionist occupation government'.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 4 2009 13:44
Jack wrote:
Altho it wouldn't explain the signature, I'm still holding out that it was an appalling translation faux pas from Israeli to Jewish maybe?

edit - That's really clutching at straws, isn't it? neutral

yes. In Italian the words for both are completely different. And in South Africa most people speak English as a first language. Although it's nice that you're trying to give them the benefit of the doubt...

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 4 2009 13:46

How about I move this thread into the theory forum, and rename it as a general discussion on anti-semitism on the left/anarchists? Because we seem to be in this much more general ground now.

yoshomon
Offline
Joined: 19-06-07
Jan 4 2009 16:11
Joseph K. wrote:
Yoshomon wrote:
The biggest difference is that Israelis - and in many articles all Jews around the world (see some articles on Counterpunch) - are seen as a homogeneous bloc with interests indistinguishable from the state of Israel.

isn't this what crude nationalism of any stripe is? (i say crude, because there's also the populist nationalism of affirming 'the people' against the government of the day which doesn't 'really represent' them). the same crude nationalism is visible from the same people with regard to 'freeing palestine' as a homogenous bloc i.e. administering it with islamist gangsters rather than zionist ones. so in this instance i think you're identifying crude nationalism rather than anti-semitism. the problem comes when there's a convergene of interest between these two currents, which coupled with a lack of critical faculties means the latter often goes unchallenged in leftist discourse..

Except most of the time "the people" are seen as victims of "their" government, not legitimate military targets, and in the case of Israel, the Left (often) includes world Jewry in the equation. I think it goes well beyond anti-imperialism.

Another example - some on the Left (including the head of one of the european Green parties) "explained" the terrorist attacks in Mumbai - which included the anti-semitic murder of a Jewish family - as the result of Israel's policy in Gaza!

It all adds up...

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Jan 4 2009 16:16
Steven. wrote:
How about I move this thread into the theory forum, and rename it as a general discussion on anti-semitism on the left/anarchists? Because we seem to be in this much more general ground now.

Yeah, thats a good idea. I imagine (and hope) that this statement on Anarkismo will kick up a massive shitstorm. At a stretch it could be read as an idiotic failure of class analysis, but it looks quite plainly anti-semitic to me.

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Jan 4 2009 16:36

Incidentally critical comments aren't going down too well over on Anarkismo.

http://www.anarkismo.net/article/11133

no1
Offline
Joined: 3-12-07
Jan 4 2009 17:30
Jack wrote:
Altho it wouldn't explain the signature, I'm still holding out that it was an appalling translation faux pas from Israeli to Jewish maybe?

Does anyone speak Italian? They translated "la forte lobby economica degli ebrei d'oltre Oceano" to "the powerful US Jewish economic lobby". Ebrei means Jewish, not sure what the ocean's got to do with it.

Do the FdCA really subscribe to a 'tail waving the dog' view, and do they not distinguish between Jewish and Zionist? If that's the case then they are wandering into antisemitic territory, and I'll have to eat my words....

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Jan 4 2009 17:41
Django wrote:
Incidentally critical comments aren't going down too well over on Anarkismo.

http://www.anarkismo.net/article/11133

OH NO HE DIDN'T...

Quote:
...and the fact that it has been endorsed by Israeli members of Anarchists Against the Wall is proof of this supposed "anti-semitism"?

Jesus, the more I learn about the Anarkismo/ABC/Platformist set, the less I wanna have to do with them.

In all seriousness though, what exactly are people referring to with anti-Semitism? Do you explicitly mean to claim that the groups you're referring to just straight up hate Jews? (Obviously not, but this is the term's meaning in common parlance...)

I'm still unconvinced that this has anything to do with Judaism and more to do with the countless other factors already listed in this thread but ignored by Angelus "Crusader" Novus.

EDIT: If people were to talk of a powerful "Zionist lobby" in DC, would that be different? Are rich American Jews with access to Capitol Hill networks not overwhelmingly Zionist (honest question)?

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jan 4 2009 18:09
Quote:
It is well known that rich capitalists of the US Jewish community contribute much more than others to political candidates. There is a strong Jewish lobby EIPAC that succeeded to replace local and national members of congress - mainly when forces were near even.

In addition, it is not by chance the percentage of Jews in Bush but also in Clinton administration was high.

The socioeconomic position of Jews in US society is not the same as that of the afro-americans....

eek

.......if that isn't anti-semitism, then I don't know what is. Regardless of whether or not this person is just an idiot and has really shitty politics, that's clearly anti-semitic.

Ed's picture
Ed
Offline
Joined: 1-10-03
Jan 4 2009 18:38

I suppose the main thing, as Django pointed out a few times, is that Israel is important to the US govt not because Zionist lobbies have huge sway but because Israel is so important to American foreign policy in the Middle East. At the same time though, Israel is almost entirely dependent on US economic support (is it still the number one receiver of US aid?) so the 'tail wagging the dog' story is just dumb..

With regards to what people mean by anti-semitism, I think its more that the language used mirrors that of genuine anti-semites (nazis, Islamists etc) and as such, is problematic for distribution by communists. As knightrose pointed out on the anarkismo thread, what they've written certainly sounds anti-semitic and if you gave that out it would pander to anti-semitic ideas a lot of people have. That said, I don't think anyone thinks the statement was intentionally anti-semitic but that at some point a class analysis was dropped and replaced with a nationalist one (as is common on the left)...

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Jan 4 2009 18:43
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
EDIT: If people were to talk of a powerful "Zionist lobby" in DC, would that be different? Are rich American Jews with access to Capitol Hill networks not overwhelmingly Zionist (honest question)?

The problem is that though there may be a Zionist Lobby, the view that it has any power or control over US policy is false - it only appears powerful because its interests align with those of US imperialism, and the people claiming it controls the US obviously have nothing in the way of a proper analysis of capitalism. Whenever the interests of the US and Israel diverge, the "lobby" is powerless to stop Israel being reigned in - in fact, they don't bother trying, showing that they're are basically a US lobby rather than an Israel one.

Chomsky has written about this well. Some of his examples are summarised here.

edit - cross post with Ed

yoshomon
Offline
Joined: 19-06-07
Jan 4 2009 19:17
Ed wrote:
With regards to what people mean by anti-semitism, I think its more that the language used mirrors that of genuine anti-semites (nazis, Islamists etc) and as such, is problematic for distribution by communists.

Why is this waffling always the kneejerk response? Would it make sense in other contexts? "It isn't actually racist - it just mirrors the language of genuine racists" "It isn't actually sexist - it just mirrors the language of genuine sexists" etc...

Why is it so hard to say that maybe the authors of that article meant what they said? And that what they meant - that a "Jewish economic lobby" controls US foreign policy in the middle east - does more than merely mirror "genuine anti-semites" but is "genuine" anti-semitism in itself.

It just sounds stupid to say that a paragraph like that is an honest mistake by otherwise upstanding communists. The Left are just as much our class enemies as the Right. As hard as it may be for some people to stomach, anarchists can be anti-semitic! and racist! and nationalist! Really! Honestly, they can!

Ed's picture
Ed
Offline
Joined: 1-10-03
Jan 4 2009 19:44

Dunno mate, I think when you encounter open "I hate the Jews" anti-semitism you see a qualitative difference.. I mean, people I work with say racist stuff without thinking sometimes (even while trying to be nice!), its racist but its not the same as being a neo-nazi..

And I'm not denying that they meant that the 'Zionist lobby' has a huge influence on American foreign policy, just that they haven't properly thought through the implications of it, how it relates to class politics etc.. Admittedly, the same can be said about a lot of the left but its not the same as neo-nazi/islamist style anti-semitism.

Also, I feel your 'left are as bad as the right' comment is a bit silly.. the FdCA aren't class enemies but if they were, i'd love to have that kind of 'enemy' where i work...

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jan 4 2009 19:56

Ed, you're ruling out the possibility that yoshomon is a post-leftist. Therefore his comments aimed at leftists would make sense; to post-leftists that is. smile

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Jan 4 2009 20:18

Anti semitic lefty at a demo (presuming this isn't a photoshop): http://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/when-you-see-it-04012009#comment-312045

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jan 4 2009 20:27

I don't get it. The flag just says, "In my country there is problem". Where does it say, "That problem is the jew"?

yoshomon
Offline
Joined: 19-06-07
Jan 4 2009 20:45
Bisc wrote:
Ed, you're ruling out the possibility that yoshomon is a post-leftist. Therefore his comments aimed at leftists would make sense; to post-leftists that is. smile

Post-leftist? Rejection of the Left is just as much part of communist analysis as rejection of trade unions and nationalism (though they are all related).

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jan 4 2009 20:59

So you don't consider yourself a leftist? Forgive me for my ignorance, but I lean more towards anarchism than communism, as far as study goes. Although that's a little off topic so maybe you shouldn't answer that. neutral

tsi
Offline
Joined: 4-04-08
Jan 4 2009 21:14
Steven. wrote:
It's a statement by the Italian FdCA, Zabalaza and after posting it was cosigned by common cause in Ontario. I know that today are all part of the platformist tendency, which has a strong nationalist streak running through it, but that is pretty unbelievable...

Duval linked to it on the discussion following ToJ's post (presented favorably to boot) and the quote you've reproduced is the exact moment that my stomach literally wrenched, and I stopped reading.

Truly disgusting. I have half a mind to email its' cosigners and suggest that they seriously reconsider their politics.