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Tuesday, 29 January 2008

An Open Letter to Indymedia

Antisemites and holocaust deniers promoted & protected on Indymedia UK


I am writing to you concerning the question of anti-Semitism and holocaust denial being tolerated and condoned within UK Indymedia. I write both as someone who is Jewish and anti-Zionist. When I make an accusation of anti-Semitism I mean exactly that. This should not be confused with support for the Palestinians or opposition to Zionism.

As a founder member of British Palestine Solidarity Campaign I understand only too well the difference between Zionist accusations of anti-Semitism and the real thing. Unfortunately the Moderators of UK Indymedia are unable to tell the difference. see http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/tony_greenstein/2007/02/greenstein.html

Instances of administrative support for racist material

In April 2007 a controversy developed over the question of anti-Semitism and holocaust denial on UK Indymedia. http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-uk-features/2007-April/date.html
Then in November 2007 almost the same controversy arose again, with a set of totally new actors, with one exception. The same Indymedia moderator, FTP/Roy Bard once again emerged to protect anti-Semites and holocaust deniers from their critics and to ensure they were allowed to continue posting.

The present controversy arose over someone called Gilad Atzmon, an ex-Israeli, ex-Jewish jazz player who actively works with and defends holocaust deniers. He is both anti-Semitic and a holocaust denier. Atzmon also openly distributed Paul Eisen's ‘Holocaust Wars’ a tribute to Ernst Zundel. http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-uk-features/2007-November/thread.html#start

The controversy started with one of the numerous articles that Atzmon has posted to UK Indymedia ‘Saying No to The Hunters of Goliath’, quote:
‘…the Jewish state and the sons of Israel are at least as unpopular in the Middle East as their grandparents were in Europe just six decades ago. Seemingly, it is the personification of WW2 and the Holocaust that blinded the Israelis and their supporters from internalising the real meaning of the conditions and the events that led towards their destruction in the first place.’ It also talks of the ‘Judaic world view’.

The idea that any form of racism can be explained by the ‘unpopularity’ of the victim is no more than a justification of racism. Was the extermination of gays and gypsies etc. also because of their ‘unpopularity’ as opposed to the Nazi terror regime? http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/08/378213.html?c=on

It is instructive that in his only response to the article below Atzmon doesn’t deny that he is anti-Semitic, far from it, he merely instructs people to ‘bounce back to your social Jewnity shetetle…’Gilad Atzmon | 01.15.08 - 1:50 am http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=1559#comment-35911

But although Atzmon is given free reign to post numerous articles, none of which are news and all of which are comment, the response to him was hidden because FTP disagrees with it!

None of the other UK Indymedia Moderators is prepared to stand up to him. In an e-mail of 25.1.08. (see below) he explains that his reasons for hiding a response to Atzmon were ‘breach of guidelines’ and the fact that he disagrees. Condemning anti-Semitism is now ‘obsessional zionist stylee character assassination’.


In the April 2007 controversy a Nim Chimpsky outlines the problem. One Nimmo describes the idea of gas chambers at Auschwitz as ‘discredited’. This is classic David Irving style holocaust denial. See http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-uk-features/2007-April/0424-k3.html

FTP leapt to the defence of Nimmo. ‘And I repeat, that is your interpretation - it is smear by innuendo, it is circumstantial evidence.’

We are asking you to show solidarity in opposing racism and the toleration of holocaust denial and anti-Semitism on Indymedia UK and to make your views known:

Thank you!

Tony Greenstein

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is totally unacceptable. There should be racism of any kind on Indymedia!

gehrig said...

UK Indymedia is struggling internally with this issue, and it's a tricky one, but -- as frustrating as it can be because it's so slow, and antisemitic posts are staying up because of it -- you've got to give them room to work things through with their internal processes.

It's definitely not the case that the entire collective ignores antisemitism. It's just that the consensus process, in this case, makes it *look* like they do because one or two editors are setting absurdly high double standards to defend Atzmon.

Yep, they've got a problem sorting through the fog banks Atzmon hides his antisemitism behind, and yes there are editors who get lost in that fog and conclude Atzmon must be okay (but can't explain why he sends Holocaust denial propaganda to his mailing list). But pounding the table isn't going make the process IMC-UK needs to go through any quicker.

@%<

azvsas said...

Well, personally I have no interests in their "Process" and only in the reality of the situation. Racist material is being disseminated and protected within that organisation.

I have been through "Process" with many bureaucrats before. It's a usually a euphemism for "we'll palm you off indefinitely and hope you get tired/sick of the matter and go away or die of old age".

Their internal problems are their own business (though I can't see why an internal dispute should leave the material visible during the "process") and tackling anti-Semitism is ours. Unlike them we aren't going to suspend sanity "pending an internal inquiry".

Thanks for dropping by anyway!

AZvsAS

gehrig said...

Well, that's really the critical thing, isn't it. Indymedia is essentially anarchist in organization. There are good and bad things about that decision structure, and one of the bad things is exemplified by IMC-UK's inability to get rid of stuff from the antisemite Gilad Atzmon as long as anyone there is willing to defend it.

And I'll admit that the appearance of antisemitic garbage on IMC-UK makes me plenty mad too. I spent years studying Holocaust denial horseshit when it was a threat from the brownshirt right, and it's absolutely freaking *appalling* that we should now have to spend any energy whatsoever to keep those same brownshirt lies from spreading on the left -- and even more appalling that there are IMC editors who seem to want to made the battle against these brownshirt lies as difficult as they can (by, for example, hiding this post).

And there are indeed members of the IMC-UK collective who are upset about it for all the right reasons. Unfortunately, there are others who've gotten so tired of fighting the good fight that they've stepped away from the collective in frustration.

I quite agree that something's gone terribly wrong when an IMC collective honors process over the hiding of racist posts, and I think there are members of the collective feel the same way.

But the core argument of those who defend Atzmon has two parts: the essentially untenable position that Atzmon isn't actual an antisemite, and the potentially tenable position that Some Great Zionist Conspiracy is trying to censor Indymedia UK. It makes a great story, and freethepeeps isn't ashamed to spread that story, even though in this case it's quite wrong.

After a certain point, pounding the table loudly in frustration ends up helping freethepeeps' feed that second lie, "look, it's all a big noisy campaign to censor Atzmon." You will also discover that he starts calling you a "crypto-Zionist" for opposing him.

There is quite a bit of discussion about this within the IMC-UK collective; they're quite aware that they've got a big problem on their hands. But they've also got a meeting coming in a little over a week that has this very issue on the agenda.

They now have plenty of information that Atzmon is an antisemite (just google "atzmon antisemitism indymedia"), and they have a time and venue in which the matter will be discussed. Afterward, one way or another, we'll know what they're made of, and whether IMC-UK is "anti-racist" in name only.

I maybe wrong, but I think they'll have the collective wisdom to save themselves from that fate.

@%<

azvsas said...

Well, I hope you are right that they get this fixed, but we aren't going sit around on our arses knitting till it happens.

Racism thrives on silence. Every second you let it be without addressing it is a second too long.

I couldn't care less if certain individuals think we are part of some insane conspiracy of world dominating Jews. I learned long ago that you can't usually teach a racist anything. And if they see "Jew" and can only think "Zionazi interloping conspirator!" what hope is there.

Let them hang their Jewish Conspiracy flag on their door so people know what they are walking into, or warn them to keep walking past it.

But again, their business is their business, ours is ours.

And if we are getting flack from Zionists, Neo-Nazis and racists, we are probably on the right track.

azvsas said...

Oh do you mind if we post your banned article?

gehrig said...

Sure, go ahead. You should know up front that I'm not an anti-Zionist, though.

I guess what I'm saying is that getting mad is inevitable -- after all, IMC-UK is hosting the antisemite Atzmon and fighting for the "privilege" to do so -- but it isn't going to be anger that makes the final decision but facts.

The folks at IMC-UK are not antisemites and not Holocaust deniers; they're just procedurally trapped into looking like they are, and they're not much happier about it than I am. I think that, given the facts, they'll generally do the right thing, even if it takes seemingly forever.

It is unquestionably a flaw in the Indymedia system that Jews are expected to cool their heels for months while the IMC-UK meetings thrash back and forth on whether or not to ban a clever antisemite.

azvsas said...

Cheers,

Well we'll pass your writing through a Torah Code parser to see if there are any hidden messages like "Buy Israeli Goods!"

The main reason for the "anti-Zionist" tag is, whilst being true, to side-step the predictable "Zionazi!" dismissal. Sadly, you have to jump through some big flaming hoops to be taken seriously when the racism is targetting Jews.

Oh this isn't anger. Anger would throwing together a botnet and DDOSing them, or hacking a vulnerable DNS server or writing a simple script to flood their newswire.

This is simply cool-headed, calm, calculated opposition. This is just grassroots direct action against racism.

I understand what you are saying. But again, we have seen nothing to suggest that we should have any faith in that process. Besides, as anti-racists do we really give them 'slack'?

gehrig said...

Your Torah Code analyzer will discover only one hidden message, which is "bacon double cheeseburger."

I've been an IMCista for almost six years, and it's been clear for a long time that IMC's track record on fighting antisemitism is at best uneven. I still thing the IMC has a lot going for it, but this is one of the weak spots.

Here's a piece I did on it almost half a decade ago: http://archive.ucimc.org/newswire/display_any/10810

In some ways, things are better, and in some ways things are worse. But I certainly wouldn't have expected things would get to the point where an IMC editor starts defending the distribution of Holocaust denial propaganda.

@%<

azvsas said...

Good bit of writing! Made me laugh out loud at a few places. The cattle bit the loudest.

White Power would make such great comedy if they were just pretending.

Yeah, sadly the article pretty much still speaks for today.

Surprisingly we got a quite an overall positive response on IMC Switzerland. Got savaged by Engage on Austria hahahaha!

The usual dross all anti-Zionists are anti-Semites...

Have you any clues as to why Engage activists are obsessed with Monty Python? I'm assuming they do teach ins on disarming put downs and the one deemed most effective is "You are like something out of Monty Python!"

Weird!

azvsas said...

Oh you got name checked with revernce on NYC:

http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/01/94396.shtml

azvsas said...

A translated the relvant part of a comment on IMC Switzerland:

Gilad Atzmon is a NeoNazi and should be rejected


And now to the case of the AKDH:



Since the case that "malfada" mentioned nothing more substantial than the ISraeli living conditions (the expulsion of teh PAlestinians by all possible phsyical, martial and

legal means) can be reported

When anti-Semitsm is charged in classic racist cases such as this one in th UK, it is just simply bare minmum one could expect. However if you argue that declaring the Jewry as

holy people and the Arabs as NAzi sympathisers as anti-Semitic, then we reach a barrier.

It's pointless adopting the Jewish definition of anti-Semitism, because it prevents such arguments being presented. Anti-semitism for the majority of people means the idelogy of

European fascists who declare the Jews to be the centre of capitalism and that they rule the world. Whilst at the same time being the lowest of all races.

That is ideological, racist anti-Semitism just like that of Gilad Atzmon. And not the comparison of the suffering of the Jews with that of the Palestinians. Which isn't

recommended as a means to clear the Germans conscience with the Jews.

[...]

to hell with usagbgermanyjapanisrael
Author: anti-mafalda / antiimp forever

azvsas said...

Well, it's not exactly encouraging to see that the internal process has hit the buffers again, with the block being thrown again at even the suggestion of hiding contentious material during discussion.

Tony Greenstein said...

Well I don't share Gehrig's optimism. UK IM have been grappling with this issue of anti-Semitism and Jewish conspiracy theories for nearly a year and ftp has run rings around the rest of the mods. Some have resigned and others have fallen silent and hidden behind this 'process' So I remain to be convinced.

One thing I am sure of and that is we shouldn't let up on the pressure until they take a principled anti-racist stance and ban Atzmon and get rid of ftp, the anti-semitic cuckoo on the nest.

Tony Greenstein

Tony Greenstein said...

Not surprisingly, FTP has hidden my article on why Indymedia UK tolerates anti-Semitism. I posted the following (which if the past is anything to go by will also be hidden!).

well naturally peeps has hidden an article criticising anti-Semitism on UK Indymedia. Especially since he is the main culprit! the only surprising thing is that he considers himself an opponent of censorship!



Tony Greenstein
>>imc-uk-features-request@lists.indymedia.org wrote:

Message: 2
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2008 18:02:33 +0000
From: freethepeeps@aktivix.org
Subject: [Imc-uk-features] Hidden - 390689
To: IMC UK Features
Message-ID: <1202234553.47a8a4b95cd9d@www.aktivix.org:443>
Content-Type: text/plain;

How Indymedia UK became a safe haven for Anti-Semitism (390689)
by Tony Greenstein - inaccurate/non news/complaint about moderation

ftp