Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Jerusalem Quartet Concert at London's Wigmore Hall is Disrupted & Radio 3's Live Broadcast is Terminated


I have a confession to make. I nearly didn’t make it. Yesterday I put my watch and car clock forward but forgot to do so for my mobile and radio alarm! Result was that I got up an hour later than intended! Fortunately I managed to get the next train to Victoria and despite further loss of time as I was (twice) misdirected, I got there only 10 minutes late.

There of course is London’s Wigmore Hall, home to the more discerning of nature’s liberals. Except that scratch a liberal and you will often find an angry conservative!


Jointly organised by members of Brighton PSC and J-Big (Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods) we ensured that the performance by the Jerusalem Quartet, the Israeli Army’s faithful musicians, didn’t go unchallenged.

Because in Scotland a similar protest in Edinburgh has resulted in 5 protestors being bizarrely charged with racism (it’s either anti-semitism or a non-existent Israeli nationality!) it was important that this protest included a Jewish contingent.

Along with an irate old lady who wanted to gain immediate entrance, despite being late, I was kept waiting for a pause in the proceedings. Fortunately our very own opera singer, Debbie Fink of J-Big, decided that she would try and enliven what was frankly a pretty dismal and boring performance by Israel’s finest. As her voice rose in harmony with the vultures on stage it seemed that at first people thought it was part of the show. However Debbie soon received a red card which quite fortunately enabled me to gain my entrance, apologising of course for my late arrival and any disruption that that might cause.

Having gained my seat, the Quartet quickly decided to resume playing. After rehearsing what I was going to say, I stood up after about 5 minutes later and proceeded to tell the JQ that they were the cultural ambassadors of Apartheid Israel and its Army whom they perform for.

Now I confess I don’t claim to understand those who pay to come and listen to musicians with blood on their hands. But then I don’t understand why Wagner was what he was. However I always thought that listening to classical music made you more not less peaceful. Instead as I began to contribute to the concert’s proceedings people began to get animated and started hitting me with their programmes! Not that I was hurt and nor did it distract me from the message I was getting across but it illustrates the Zionist mentality. Security however was quickly off the mark and I was, well not dragged but escorted off the premises, with one of the heavies shouting ‘fuck off’ at my back, to which I could but reply that that wasn’t very nice! The Police quickly entered but to my consternation and amazement did nothing. Given what had happened in Scotland I expected to be arrested. Instead I was merely thrown out into the street.

The next two to be evicted were members of Brighton PSC and the final evictee an activist in ISM. As we were gathering at a nearby caf√©, a member of the audience came over to us to congratulate us on our protest which made us even more pleased. And when we learnt that the live broadcast by Radio 3 (which included Debbie’s initial operatic rendition) had been terminated we were even more over the moon.

Music & Politics? The old Apartheid Conjuring Trick


The point of our protest was not primarily to engage either the audience or the JQ itself. Rather we wanted to make a clear statement that those who aid and abet the murderous activities of the Israeli Occupation Forces cannot then claim some form of musical diplomatic immunity.

As I was being thrown out a number of members of the audience had (predictably) shouted at me that this was a musical not a political event. To which I shouted that maybe they would have taken the same stance in the 1930’s when the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra had also toured European cities displaying their somewhat greater talents.

This is the old argument we used to face in the campaign against Apartheid in South Africa. We argued then that you couldn’t separate the culture of Apartheid from Apartheid itself and likewise you cannot separate Zionist culture from Zionism. It is, of course, a different matter, when Israeli artists or musicians come out clearly against racism in Israel and against the Occupation.

Tony Greenstein

Below is the Press Release as issued by Brighton Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

National PSC were informed as to what was happening but chose to do nothing despite requests that they organise a picket or protest outside. Despite its claims to be building a ‘mass anti-apartheid movement’ on Palestine and despite its resources and paper commitment to support BDS, they chose to do nothing - again. No one in the national office knew anything about the tour by the Jerusalem Quartet.

PRESS RELEASE FROM BRIGHTON AND HOVE PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN - MONDAY MARCH 29th 2010

Protesters disrupted a lunchtime performance by the Jerusalem Quartet in London today. The concert at the Wigmore Hall was being broadcast live by the BBC. They were protesting that the Quartet, who are cultural ambassadors for the State of Israel, are promoting the interests of Israel and all its policies against the Palestinians, to the British public. The protesters drew attention to the Quartet’s strong links to the Israeli Army, Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians, particularly its illegal occupation of Palestinian land, its ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem, the apartheid nature of the Israeli state, and its attempt to starve the people of Gaza into submission. In the words of one protester who interrupted the players with a sung objection to the tune of the well-known Christian anthem "The Holy City": 'Jerusalem is occupied: Settlers destroy her peace. We'll sing out, until apartheid And ethnic cleansing cease.'"

There were no fewer than five interruptions: some were quite lengthy, and the live broadcast by the BBC had to be abandoned. Demonstrators outside the hall included members of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods , and the audience were given leaflets explaining why the concert was being disrupted. No arrests were made, but the protesters were ejected from the hall, and the players made a statement attempting to distance themselves from the Israeli state and excuse their service with the IDF. This protest was part of the 2nd Global Day of Action on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel on 30th March 2010. A spokesperson for the group, said: ‘As long as the state of Israel maintains its illegal occupation of Palestinian land and commits crimes against civilians, it does not deserve to be invited to any kind of cultural event. Such events give support to Israel and approval of its brutal occupation.’

Mick Napier from Scottish PSC said: ‘Scottish PSC congratulates the protesters in London today, and would like to see all other supporters of Palestine do the same every time the Jerusalem Quartet appear as ambassadors of the apartheid state’ A Palestinian violinist is harassed by soldiers at an Israeli checkpoint

Notes for editors:

1. The members of this Quartet are ‘cultural ambassadors’ for Israel and the Israeli army. The Israeli Press Service says:

For the three immigrants [3 of the Quartet came from Russia], carrying a rifle in one hand and a violin in the other is the ultimate Zionist statement’.

Their record label hypes their status within the army:

They now enjoy the status of Distinguished IDF, playing for troops thrice weekly when the JQ is in Israel.’

2. For decades Israel has flouted international law, dozens of UN resolutions and the International Court by: stealing Palestinian land, building over 150 unlawful settlements (deemed illegal by the British and other governments) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and building its illegal Apartheid Wall. The Israeli army keeps a military stranglehold over every aspect of life in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, with repeated attacks on the Palestinian population ‘ the latest in Gaza, with over 1400 deaths and terrible injuries to civilians including many children, and war crimes attested to by the UN and many human rights organizations. Its latest ethnic cleansing activities in East Jerusalem flout international law and evict Palestinians from their homes while importing settlers in their place.

3. The Palestinians are calling urgently for an international consumer and cultural boycott after decades of failed talks. As with Apartheid South Africa, we must respond ‘ until Israel meets its obligations under international law and a just solution is agreed.

4. Aharon Shabtai, Israel’s greatest living poet, wrote recently:
‘I do not believe that a State that maintains an occupation, committing on a daily basis crimes against civilians, deserves to be invited to any kind of cultural event. That is, it is anti-cultural; it is a barbarian act masked as culture in the most cynical way. It manifests support for Israel, and that sustains the occupation.’
Here is a report on what happened in the Zionist Jewish Chronicle.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

To compare the citizens of Israel today to those of berlin in the
30s is insane.
The charter of hamas calls for the death of all jews, why can't you allow one tiny jewish country to exist amount the 50 some muslims ones.
There are only 13 million jews on earth, 1.2 billion muslims and 1.5 billion christians.
Thanks to the attempts at genocide buy people like you we are now only .02 percent of the world.
We are trying to survive and even that is too much...
A simple concert by Jewish musicians? They are 'vulchers' to you simply by being alive.
I suggest you read the blog Elder of Ziyon perhaps to see the human side of jews, we are only people.

Tony Greenstein said...

It is insane to compare citizens of Israel to those in Berlin in the 1930's. Why? Well actually our anonymous Zionist poster (why do Zionists never give names, even pseudonyms?) is probably right but for all the wrong reasons.

Berlin was known as Red Berlin. And it was only thanks to the KPD (Communists) that the Nazis gained any base there.

Berlin never voted for the Nazi Party. It was a bastion of the left. Compare Israel - mobs demonstrate shouting 'death to the Arabs' - which was not the case in Germany. The Nazis came to power over the bodies of the Left - aided and abetted by the Western powers - yes both Churchill and Lloyd George were effusive in their support of Hitler's anti-communism in 1933.

Every opinion poll in Israel calls for a restriction of the right of Arabs to vote, take part in government or indeed enjoy equal rights. There was never a time when anti-Semitism was supported by a majority of the German people. That was why Hitler barely made any speeches on anti-semitism from 1930-33. It wasn't popular.

Compare Israel. The more anti-Arab you are the better your chances. Hence why even the Israeli Labour Party - which has never been an anti-racist party being Zionist - is too moderate for Israel's growing fundamentalists.

Hamas doesn't call for the death of all Jews in their Charter. It does support the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which is an example of how reactionary Arab politicians borrow from the arsenal of those on the European Right, without understanding it.

In practice it means nothing since Jewish people who oppose the occupation have always been made welcome in Gaza by Hamas - from Amira Hass of Ha'aretz who lived their to Uri Avneri and Jewish people on the boats and Gaza Freedom March.

BUT if soldiers come to your house, and in the name of the JEWS, kill your mother, shoot your kids, trash your belongings, fire tank shells at your house, then is it any wonder that the victims hate 'the jews' who did this? This is quite logical. Is anonymous saying that anti-Semitism historically was also caused by Jewish war crimes? Because these are war crimes and the reactioin of the victims is understandable.

Given the anti-Muslim racism of Zionism it ill behoves Zionists to complain of Hamas being anti-Jewish.

Apparently there are more Christians and Muslims on the earth. So what? I don't divide humanity into religions. I don't care if there are 13 million Jews, 1.3 million or 130 million.

Christians don't have their own state nor do Muslims in the way Israel is a Jewish state. An Islamic regime like Iran uses the Quorran and religion to persecute its own Muslim citizens. Likewise did Christian regimes when they were powerful. By way of contrast being Jewish in Israel is like being Protestant in N Ireland. It gives privileges to those who are Jewish, over and above non-Jews.

It means you have access to 93% state/JNF land in Israel whereas Palestinians don't. This is real discrimination and that is what the objection is. If people freely choose to be Jewish fine. But to construct a state based on a mythical racial entity, as Zionism has done, is another thing entirely.

The concern in question wasn't a simple concert by jewish musicians but a performance by a group who are active members of the Israeli armed forces, who play for that army, who are treated as that army's special children. So when they play for the murderers in Gaza my attitude to them is the same as it was to those who gave the South African state succour.

And you don't need to read the Protocols to understand that!

dov neumann said...

brilliant! wonderful action tony, debbie et al!

Anonymous said...

You, my friend, are a hypocrite. Be very ashamed of yourself for being let by global press against Israel.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful that you did this!

Even if you had any support in the first place, nothing will lose you support faster than being perceived as cultural louts who have no respect for those who have paid to hear the Jerusalem Quartet.

Pro-Israel supporters would never dream of disrupting a Palestinian concert - for example the "Palestine Aloud" concert at Cadogan Hall.

Keep up the great work!

Jonathan Hoffman

Jane Allen said...

At the Wigmore Hall there were several protests: one from your group who were out to cripple a beautiful performance by the JQ (and get yourselves on air - failed),a terrific protest by the JQ by their wonderful playing despite the manic screams and yells from yourselves, the audience who cheered, encouraged and at the end of the concert brought the house down with their enthusiasm for the JQ,and the Wigmore Hall management team who removed you all so competently and allowed the JQ all the time it needed to perfect and complete their performance. In fact your protest did all of us a power of good - there never was such a spirit in the Hall - it's a pity you weren't able to stay and experience it. Incidentally we'll all be listening to the preconcert recording on Saturday -do join us!

Tony Greenstein said...

Jonathan Hoffman calling anyone a cultural lout is really taking the biscuit. This is the man who tried to disrupt a talk by an anti-Zionist survivor of Auschwitz, Hajo Meyer, in order to perpetuate the lie that the Holocaust led to Israel and that resistance to the Nazis had anything to do with Zionism.

Jane Allen's comments are interesting, despite the undoubted hubris. We know from the JC and the Guardian that the Manager of Wigmore was shaken by what happened and the audience members we talked to after the event were either supportive or angry at having their concert ruined!

But the plain truth is, and we had that debate with more liberal anti-Zionists beforehand, is that the protest was not aimed at the audience inside the concert hall.

As I've explained, although like most Zionists Jane is not terribly bright, when you engage in an action of this kind you don't do it with the immediate audience in mind.

When I first became politically active against Apartheid (the South African not Zionist version) we had to face down rugby fans who were extremely hostile and on occasion violent. But we did it because of the wider impact these protests had. We wouldn't expect plain Jane to be anything other than the prim and proper selfish little spoilt girl that she undoubtedly is.

After all, what does the eviction of Palestinians from their houses in Jerusalem to make way for Jewish settlers matter compared with the disruption of a concert.

No doubt when the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Wilhelm Furtwängler, which was entirely dependent on Nazi largesse, toured Britain in 1935, there were protests. No doubt Jane Allen, along with Hoffman and the rest of the Zionist gaggle, would have attended his concerts. After all the Zionists chose to collaborate with the Nazis for the benefit of Palestine, even at the expense of those who later died.

It was called Ha'avara (Transfer Agreement) and resulted in 60% of capital investment in the Yishuv (Jewish Palestine) between 1933 and 1939 coming from Nazi Germany.

Israel is literally Hitler's bastard child.

So I hope Jane and co. do enjoy the reprise, as we've achieved what we set out to achieve. I don't doubt she wishes her spirits to be raised but we will continue to target the JQ and similar groups whose culture is one of racism and chauvinism.

joe90 kane said...

Jonathan Hoffman says,
Even if you had any support in the first place, nothing will lose you support faster than being perceived as cultural louts who have no respect for those who have paid to hear the Jerusalem Quartet.

- By 'support' Mr Hoffman means Tony Greentsein, et al, don't have the support of the British Government.

It is true British-based Palestine solidarity does not have the support of its own government. It is also true that the British government supports zionism and the current Israeli government. Hence the reason for Palestine-BDS and protest, such as this one, in order to get the British government to change its foreign policy towards Israel.

This mirrors the history of anti-Apartheid South African protests which were designed to get the British government to change its foreign policy and stop supporting a vicious racist regime abroad.

However, is is also true that if British public opinion polls are anything to go by Tony Greenstein, et al, have the support of the majority of the British people who consider the currenet violent racist Israeli regime abhorrent. Hence the reason for the protests of this nature.

TG, et al, are merely carrying out sanctions and boycotts against Israel until such times as the British Government start to carry out the wishes of the majority of the British people and officially adopt a foreign policy towards Israel which includes international sanctions and an effective boycott.


Pro-Israel supporters would never dream of disrupting a Palestinian concert - for example the "Palestine Aloud" concert at Cadogan Hall.
- But zionists would dream of supporting an illegal boycott of a whole community of millions, such as Gaza and the West Bank - and you would dream of disrupting and destroying whole communities such as Mandate Palestine, Golan Heights and Lebanon.

Daniel Zinn said...

Tony,
why do you talk so much, are you angry? What are you what trying to prove?Are you saying that any of your facts are in any way linked to the truth?
The thing is with you anti-zionists is that your goal is to justify your hatred towards the Jews/Zionists ( like it matters to you). You will go picking out "facts", which ussauly have as much truth in them as mcdonalds hamburgers consist of meat, and use them in your, so called, arguments. Anything to justify this hatred, so instead of finding justification for it, take care of your soul that is so full of hatred towards a bunch of people that are not better nor worse than you.
Take care of your soul.

Maxim Reider said...

Tony, you are sick. "Musicians with blood on their hands". You probably have some mental problems, which have nothing to do with Israel. Or may be do, you probably are just to scared to admit your Jewishness.

Anyway, this is for your attention, dear:

From an interview with Kyril ZLotnikov last year:
'...Being an Israeli musician, especially as a member of a quartet whose name is so closely associated with the State of Israel, is not always simple, says Zlotnikov. "Various self-proclaimed pro-Palestinian support groups call for boycotting our concerts, especially in England. Characteristically enough, they do not bother to disturb us when we appear in small towns with almost no chance of press coverage, but they threaten to disrupt our performances at major venues, such as the BBC Proms festival. "On one such occasion, the widow of the late Edward Said, Barenboim's close friend and partner in peace activism, tried to intervene, explaining that two of the Quartet members participate in the East-Western Divan project - but it didn't stop them. I am not afraid for myself, but the very thought that these people are able to throw something onstage and ruin the instruments is really scary."(Jerusalem Post 26/08/2009)

Anonymous said...

"British public opinion polls [suggest that] the majority of the British people .. consider the current violent racist Israeli regime abhorrent."

Please supply evidence. If you can't then it's a lie and you should withdraw it.

Jonathan Hoffman

Jane Allen said...

Making offensive comments and being creative with the truth is evidently not something which, as you seem to believe,solely characterises the pro Israel commentators: your responses show an easy practised familiarity with such tactics.

It will clearly surprise you to learn that regardless of who you spoke to outside the Hall after the event, the mood of the audience as perceived by people who were there the whole time (ie., me and many others) was one of total exuberance and euphoria that your machinations failed to stop the Quartet, and a determination that they will fail similarly in the future.

Had you not been ejected, you would have been at the after concert party in the restaurant and seen the overwhelming expressions of love and support for the Quartet and delight that your intentions had been so convincingly THWARTED.
You may also wish to refer to Elisa Bray's article in today's Independent. It is quite something when an Independent columnist can't bring themselves to endorse what you were trying to do!

Jonny said...

"Against all racism!", you laughingly post at the bottom of your blog. Guess you can't see the irony.

Anonymous said...

Tony, good work you've pissed off Jonathan Hoffman
for that you deserve knighthood:)

Tony Greenstein said...

I see Jonathan Hoffman is getting worked up about Joe Kane's statement that opinion polls in Britain demonstrate support for the Palestinians rather than the Zionists. Joe will no doubt respond but in my experience ordinary people are increasingly hostile to Israel and its works but no doubt Joe will be happy to elaborate!

I note that JH didn't pick up on my statement that:

"Every opinion poll in Israel calls for a restriction of the right of Arabs to vote, take part in government or indeed enjoy equal rights. There was never a time when anti-Semitism was supported by a majority of the German people. That was why Hitler barely made any speeches on anti-semitism from 1930-33. It wasn't popular."

I therefore assume, given JH has seen fit not to challenge the statement that he accepts that it is true, which of course it is!

Tony Greenstein said...

Daniel Zinn, being untutored in these things says that our goal is to justify our hatred towards the Jews/Zionists ( like it matters to you).

Oh but it does matter. Zionism always collaborated with and sought to justify anti-Semitism (on the grounds that Jews were strangers in other peoples' lands) whereas most Jews didn't collaborate. Hence why in the 1938 Council elections in Poland out of 20 seats in Warsaw just one was won by the Zionists and 17 by the anti-Zionist Bund.

But of course DZ is probably unaware of the actual history of Zionism as is the case for 99.99% of those who call themselves Zionists. So let's see whether any Zionists can answer this simple question.

If someone were to describe Jews as 'vermin' would you say they were anti-Semitic? And no doubt Zinn, Allen and even Jonathan Hoffman would say 'of course' (at least I think they would!).

So perhaps someone could explain why Pinhas Rosenbluth's statement (he was Israel's first Minister of Justice) that Palestine was
"an institute for the fumigation of Jewish vermin." [Studies in Zionism (now the Journal of Israeli History) No. 8 Autumn 1983]

Or that of Jacob Klatzkin, editor of Die Welt, co-editor of the Encyclopedia Judaica that
'Galut can only drag out the disgrace of our people and sustain the existence of a people disfigured in both body and soul - in a word, of a horror. At the very worst it can maintain us in a state of national impurity and breed some sort of outlandish creature in an environment of disintegration of cultures and of darkening spiritual horizons. The result will be something neither Jewish nor Gentile - in any case, not a pure national type.... some sort of oddity among the peoples going by the name of Jew. [Arthur Herzberg, 'The Zionist Idea' pp. 322/323

And that's my response to Jonny who thinks anti-racism is an irony!

As for Jane Allen, who seems particularly unable to grasp a simple argument, let me reiterate. I don't give a flying fuck what the attitude of the audience was after. As I've already said if you boycott or disrupt something, as we used to against the South African version of Apartheid, of course those who came to see the said events won't support you. The whole point was that the protest wasn't aimed at them to begin with but the wider world. I've tried to keep it simple Jane so this time you might understand.

Likewise her silly little comment about Independent columnists opposing anti-Zionists being rate. Really? How about Howard Jacobson? I know, it's all a liberal, media conspiracy. Now where have I heard that before?

As for Maxim Reider, apart from the psycho-babble one has come to love and expect from Zionists - no my Jewishness comes from opposition to Zionisms' racial and anti-Semitic fantasies, he raises the East-Western Divan project.

My view is simply that such 'dialogue' groups operate to obscure the fundamentals of the conflict and therefore enable those like the Jerusalem Quartet on the one hand to support the main institution of Zionist Apartheid, the army, and on the other to support 'building bridges' etc.

The most recent article on the JQ makes it quite clear what their position is re the IOF.

michael said...

People, please stop talking with out knowing what you are talking about. it is making you very angry to see that people think they know better than you a thing you see, live, read, or do every day of your life.

Tony Greenstein said...

Michael,

it makes me very angry that you have mangled the English language so comprehensively!

Daniel Zinn said...

Leave the facts alone for a sec, I don't actually think that I have the capacity of knowledge to reconvince you in your opinions. I'm simply pointing out the fact that you are a very angry person, a very educated being in this subject, but a very angry one as well. There is some fundamentalist taste to your words. Like a parrot I repeat, in hope you will rethink your atitude towards human beings. For some reason you find your judgment of this situtation, a devine one. I find this quality of yours dangerous to yourself, but then again it's just my opinion.
Have a good night,
Daniel Zinn

Daniel Zinn said...

Btw, DZ is quite compotent in the history of Zionism and etc. and I know for myself that many of the "facts" are not entirely true, if at all. In no way what so ever are you going to drag me to argue "facts" with you, I have sufficeint experience in this field to know that it is quite useless.

Sincerely,
Daniel Zinn

Tony Greenstein said...

No Daniel you are wrong. I would say I have changed my mind about certain episodes in Zionist history having been persuaded of so doing. E.g. on socialist Zionism in the diaspora of the Pale of Settlement, which took a different turn to that in Palestine, especially groups like Left PZ.

And although you may not be aware of the debates over the Kastner Trial I have changed my view on certain aspects of this history, as will be clear when an article I am currently writing is published.

But I'm not talking just about 'facts' - which of course can be selected from a much greater sea of 'facts' but of one's analysis of the situation and there I agree. Nothing will persuade me that colonising another peoples' land and expelling them eventually from it, having convinced oneself that they refuse to make 'peace' i.e. accept surrender is a legitimate cause.

I cited 2 quotes of many but even that is not the point. It is rather that Zionism was a particular reaction to anti-semitism, but one which accepted the analysis anti-Semites viz. that Jews really were strangers, unassimilable, would always be subject to anti-Semitism and what was worst of all, that they had in fact developed anti-social tendencies which provided justification for the anti-Semites.

Although Zionists today do indeed call their opponents 'anti-Semitic' this is mere defamation since Zionism was seen at its inception and for the next 60 years as being a Jewish version of anti-Semitism.

You could read Herzl's Diaries, all 1,500+ pages or better still Desmond Stewart's excellent biography. How he not only welcomed but sought out Eduard Drumont, the leading anti-Semitic author of the day, to review his 'Der Judenstaat' (The Jewish State or State of the Jews) and was ecstatic when it was so favourable.

I could give many more examples but Zionism was a movement that accepted anti-Semitism and its racial doctrines. And it is now the Palestinians who are the subject to such doctrines.

Anonymous said...

The tone of this blog is very surprising to me. I can accept that you feel so strongly about this issue that you want to make a strong public statement. But if you are surprised that people were seriously pissed off, hit you with programmes, and told you to fuck off, then you must be living in a fantasy world. Your remark that their actions demonstrates their 'Zionist mentality' is further evidence of your removal from reality. The world is not divided into pro and anti-Zionists. Some people just don't like having an event ruined for which they have paid good money.

As for the quartet having 'blood on their hands', do you know what conscription is?

One sign of a zealot is that they can't put themselves into the mind of the person they disagree with. On the basis of this blog that seems to apply to you. Maybe it's a badge you wear with pride, I don't know, but as far as I can see, it's zealots on both sides of this conflict which makes it so difficult to resolve.

Anonymous said...

Greenstein
I was at the Portcullis House event on Holocaust Memorial Day when you and your friends paraded a deluded and frail survivor to make your case for you.

I attended with a friend, a Holocaust survivor who was promised time at the end to make his case.

Predictably he was refused the opportunity, with one of your delightful colleagues hissing, "Get him away from me - get him out of my sight!" when he approached the speaker's chair at the end.

A person is known by the friends they keep. In your case, Fink and the International Jewish AntiZionist Network define you very well.

I really do think that it is time for Israel to revise the Law of Return to prevent those Jews who hate the Israeli state from being granted citizenship.

In years to come, you may find out who you can trust - it won't be your current mates.

cityca

joe90 kane said...

TG says,
I see Jonathan Hoffman is getting worked up about Joe Kane's statement that opinion polls in Britain demonstrate support for the Palestinians rather than the Zionists.
- Thanks TG,
and thank you for providing me with the opportunity to do so.

Can I also thank Mr Hoffman and his goon-squad of obnoxious intolerant bigots whose efforts are such a help in the pursuit of justice and equality for all in former Mandate Palestine. I mean, bullying and trying to humiliate Holocuast survivors in front of a public audience (Hajo Meyer) is the kind of publicity stunt you just can't buy these days. I hate to bring it up, but the last time this sort of thing happened to Jewish people in public space was in Nazi Vienna when they were forced to scrub the street cobbles etc

Anyway, despite all the free western corporate pr and publicity-puffs and the never-ending negative reporting of Palestinians by the likes of the BBC, Israel is considered by Europeans to be the greatest threat to the survival of the planet -
Israeli anger over EU 'threat' poll
BBC
03 Nov 2003


Despite all the free positive publicity, Israel can't even beat North Korea in a World popularity poll, despite all the negative publicity North Korea is subjected to by the corporate media -
Israel, Iran top 'negative list'
BBC
06 Mar 2007


Here is that same poll again, which was carried out on behalf of the BBC World Service which shows 17% of British people have positive views of Israel and 65% have negative views -
Israel and Iran Share Most Negative Ratings in Global PollM
WorldPublicOpinion.org
PIPA
22 Mar 2007


Without the untiring efforts of mindless brainwashed statist Israeli fanatics I don't know where we'd be in trying to change the British Government's foreign policy of its unceasing support for the ugly racist violent regime that currently rules over Israel and its illegally occupied Peoples.

ps
I notice the standard argument (indeed the only one they have left) is being deployed by Israeli statist fanatics against TG in just about every single comment on the thread.
This same argument used over and over again by supposedly different individuals with supposedly different points of view as well -
ie TG is angry, he's emotional, he's crazy, he's full of hatred etc etc

joe90 kane said...

Anonymous at 2 April 2010 08:41 asks,
As for the quartet having 'blood on their hands', do you know what conscription is?
- I do.

It's when individuals choose to follow their orders.

Yotam Haran said...

Dearest Tony Greenstein,
Are you aware of the fact that army service is mandatory in Israel? That you have no choice but to serve in the army? And if so, are you also aware of the fact that the only choice for musicians is to get into a special program that let's them keep on playing? That program is very hard to get into, which is why the Jerusalem Quartet takes pride in being part of it. In fact, it is probably worth mentioning that the only time they've ever held a weapon was during a two week period in the beginning of their service. Otherwise, they spent most of their service in an army base in Tel-Aviv.

So, none of the Jerusalem Quartet members really had anything to do with the army other than wearing it's uniform and coming in to move around paperwork for a few hours every day. Nor are they, as far as I know, currently endorsed in any way by the Israeli government. It's time for you to get your facts straight: the Jerusalem Quartet represents the Israeli government, or the Zionism for that matter, no more than mice represent Alaska. As for their political views, I have never bothered to ask them, nor are they relevant in the concert hall.

Concerning the historical facts you've been throwing around, did you ever stop to notice that they're all from at least a century back? How are the relevant for the year 2010?

And for conclusion: if you like history so much, maybe you should learn from it - fanaticism has always brought more damage than good...

Anonymous said...

Seems to me your stunt at the Wigmore Hall backfired on you. The audience were appalled by the louts who interrupted the rendition.

If any had been sympathetic to your cause, you did a good job of alienating them. Well done. Do please keep it up.

cityca

Tony Greenstein said...

Anonymous tells me that the audience were appalled out of their minds. Possibly they were outraged at the fact that their genteel pursuits had been ruined by those who insisted that small matters like the torture of Palestinians or the demolition of homes of Arabs i.e. non-Jews matters more than the airs and graces of the lesser bourgeois of London.

Maybe he's right but for the umpteenth time let me say it again. The audience were not our target, we did not aim to win them over. Our audience was out there in the world and in reaching out to them we succeeded.

Yotam Haran makes altogether more serious points but s/he is still wrong! (actually I assume it is a woman because most men don't address me as 'dearest'!). Unless he's being particularly sarcastic.

Yes I am aware that army service in Israel is mandatory though about 1/2 women gain exemption. I am also aware of the Shministim and Yesh Gvul and others who don't merely accept the draft.

HOWEVER our protest was NOT about the fact that the JQ were conscripted. We accept that not everyone is brave enough or prepared to put up with military gaol and all the consequent traumas.

But as my new post shows, http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2010/04/jerusalem-quartet-liars-and-ambassadors.html beyond all doubt, the JQ showed their support and allegiance to the Israeli military beyond the call of duty. Playing for Ambassadors, flying the flag, performing at Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations when even the Daniel Barenboim whom they quote to prove how liberal they are, refused to participate.

They clearly signed a contract agreeing to 'promote the policy interests of the State of Israel via culture and art, including contributing to creating a positive image for Israel."

They perform regularly and happily at Israeli army bases without a thought in the world as to what that army is doing. I'm sorry but this doesn't wash and you know it.

They collaborate with the Israeli state and have never criticised the actions of that state.

As for the mice and Alaska, what do you think Sara palin is?

Their political views are apparently irrelevant in a concert hall. In other words although the Israeli government/state clearly sees art as an important means of portraying Israel as a 'normal' society, in just the same way that 'culture' was seen as an important method of gaining respectability for the Third Reich, from which of course Israel claims to derive its formation.

Nothing is politically neutral and the Israeli state recognises this, hence the conditions it puts on its sponsorship of artists. Or maybe Yotam thinks such practices normal? Even the British state doesn't require political allegiance to its policy interests as a condition of receiving grant aid. So, wriggle as you might Yotam, you really aren't able to slither off the hook of Israel's existentialist paranoia.

I don't know which historical facts Yotam thinks I've 'been throwing around.' If it is to do with Zionism and anti-Semitism it is extremely relevant, especially when the first resort of a Zionist demagogue is to accuse their opponents of 'anti-semitism.'

Tony Greenstein said...

Secondly it is not irrelevant because to this day Israel claims to be a refuge for Jews against persecution whereas of course it creates danger for Jews and is itself the most dangerous place on earth for Jews.

Thirdly, as Argentina under the Junta demonstrated (less than 30 years in fact!) Israel is likely to be in alliance with any pro-Nazi or anti-Semitic regimes, because it too is a racist and imperialist state whose primary god is the military. Hence Jews who were persecuted in Argentina were the 'wrong sort of Jew' i.e. on the left.

The problem with Israeli 'liberals' like Yotam is that they resort in the end to the politics of last year's cliche because they have no analysis worthy of the name. Not because of their individual fallibility but because socialist ideas have almost died in Jewish Israel.

Hence the trite observation that 'fanaticism has always brought more damage than good'. Utter meaningless pap. Is Yotam referring to the 60% of Israelis who won't have Arabs in their home and the 75% who don't want them living in the same apartments as jews or the majority who declare in favour of transfer or even the 40% who would like to remove the vote from Arabs (not that it does them much good since they are in a permanent minority).

Or is this type of racism so mainstream in Israel that you can't call it fanaticism? We are not told. Indeed Yotam tells us nothing except that s/he is a typical product of empiricism, bereft of meaningful thought.

Yotam Haran said...

Tony, sweetheart, I was indeed being very sarcastic, as I am now. Yotam is a male name. But that's beside my point, isn't it?...

You're a real piece of work. You assume that because I am against such madness in the concert hall, I think that Israel is the purest of countries, and that everything it does is right. WRONG! I am, probably surprisingly to you, a leftist, and as such, think that the occupation in Gaza and the West Bank is indeed wrong, and should be terminated ASAP. I must admit, sadly, that I do nothing about it. The Israeli left has lost all it's teeth a few years back. All we've got left is four weaklings in the Knesset... But again, that's beside my point.

What you fail to understand, it seems, is that Israel is not the incarnation of the Devil on earth. Many countries do wrong. That's not new. Israel specifically has a very problematic matter on it's hands. But you see, people like you make the whole matter over simplistic. Do you really believe we can just "give the keys" to the Palestinian authorities and sit back as they build up their country? In the current situation, doing so will only strengthen the Hamas, and do more damage than good.

You might, as a reply to the above, go on crying out about how we Israeli Jews took over Israel unjustly, and that the country wasn't ours to take. Well, tough luck - you can't change history. Facts are, the Israeli Arabs refused a settlement with the Jews and preferred to wage war on them instead. The situation they are in these days is as much on their hands as on ours. Not that that exempts Israel in any way from removing the occupation, but that's just a point for thought...

And finally, I stand by what I said about fanaticism. The polls you've mentioned are hardly relevant, because they are nothing more than a display of frustration at the current state of affairs. However, a good example for fanaticism doing damage would be the settlers in the West Bank, who keep on attacking Palestinians and deepening the hatred towards Israel worldwide. And another good example is probably the Hamas. That, in fact, goes without saying...

Anonymous said...

@Kane

None of those links is evidence for your statement:

"British public opinion polls [suggest that] the majority of the British people .. consider the current violent racist Israeli regime abhorrent."

Your credibility is shot to pieces but then it never existed in the first place.

Jonathan Hoffman

Daniel Zinn said...

Dear Tony,
As I predicted, it's useless to talk to you, so G-d willing this will be my last post here.
I honestly think that you should work for a commercial agency, I have never met a human being that has such accurate and numerous polls and such absolute facts. You honestly think that have figured it all out; The opinion of all the Israeli nation on every subject, the way they follow them in to action and of course you know everything that is going on in the region on a secondly basis.
Tony the all-knowing, it's no wonder you're so bored. I'd be bored too. Nothing else, besides your boredom, can explain this kind of behavior, considering all the obstacles you had to come by just to get to the concert.

Good day, Good luck and Goodbye

Jonathan said...

You People don't really know what the peolpe of israel really pass every single day, Hamas launchs missiles on the city if 'Sderot' for over 9 years (did you heard about it in your newspapers?) and ones israel act and started a war against Hamas to finish this terror.

The international newspapers only talked about that israel started a war in Gaza strip (let's see what would happen if even one missile will hit London, the goverment will deal with this don't you think?)

The citizens of Israel want peace!, they only want to live in thier own country like any other nation!

and don't quote me a rabbi 30 years ago that said "death to Arabs"- he is sitting in jail. 99% of the citizens of israel respects the Arabs and wants them to be a part of the country like equals.(most of the international newspapers sees only part of the big picture, to see whats happens in Israel for real look at Ynetnews.com wich is a newspaper in israel)

Every nation wants a country and so are the Jews!

Jonathan said...

Sorry about the bad English...
I'll work on it!

M said...

South Africa doesn't have official "Apartheid" now, but the situation now may be probably worse than it used to be (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Africa#Social_issues).

Do you still protest about the issues there or did you stop protesting because the government is not "officially" racist (just plainly corrupt and would be happy to abuse any person regardless of their color)?

I respect people who fight for human rights and even dare to put themselves in personal danger.

But I really think that your target is wrong. Those musicians are far from being racists and you going against them is making you less popular among people who may have listened to you otherwise.

So yes, officially they served in the army, but they don't have blood on their hands. Maybe they even contributed to more moderate views within the army. Maybe their playing causes the soldiers to be more humane when they are stationed in barriers. Their actions are actions of love, their level of playing cannot come from racism, their passion for music comes from love and respect to culture, to music, to Mozart and what music can cause. Yes, music can also cause racism, but almost always it is a universal message of peace.

It just seems to me that you are climbing the wrong tree and clenching to official "rules" (they were soldiers = they are "bad guys") instead of seeing the full picture of what they are, what they have done. Those are the people who could have served your own agenda if you were smart enough not to turn them against you. I am still not sure what your agenda is; if it's really to change the state of Israel or to find a reason to protest and get your adrenaline levels high when you and your friends risk yourself and get a lot of media coverage. I am sorry, but it sounds a bit like an act of a teenager...

Tony Greenstein said...

Yotam,

sorry about getting your sex wrong! But yes it is besides the point.

No I don't assume that you think that Israel is the purest place on earth etc. What I know is that when the chips are down you support Israel, right or wrong, and worse you don't see the direction it is heading, which is as an overtly nationalist and chauvinist state which is constantly seeking to 'purify' its ethnic composition. Hence the obsession with 'who is a Jew' which has bedevilled it since its formation.

I have no difficulty accepting you think the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is wrong. But what you don't do is tie it to the nature of the Israeli state as a Jewish state, i.e. a settler colonial state which defines its national collectivity in a way that excludes non-Jews.

You should ask yourself why the left has no teeth. Indeed why even 'left' Zionism has virtually disappeared. From the second strongest party in the Knesset in 1949 Mapam has all but disappeared. Maybe socialism, even of the Zionist variety, has no relevance in a state which is the servant of imperialism.

Not sure who the weaklings in the Knesset are that you refer to. Khadash has 4 members I believe and Balad has a similar number. I assume you are referring to Meretz, though I thought it had 3, but I can't be bothered to look it up now.

Well the Zionist colonisation did take over another country and expel or oppress another people living there but, and you may be surprised to hear this, I agree that this is a situation that cannot and should not be reversed. Palestine, in its Mandate borders, is now a single country but one where 4 million Arabs are denied even the most basic democratic rights. Since the 2 State option is not on the cards now, indeed it is impossible, and I opposed it anyway, the only future is a democratic, secular state.

No you can't change history but you can learn from it!

It is not a fact that the Arabs refused a settlement with Israel. There was no settlement on offer and if you think about it, how else could you create a Jewish state in the part allocated by the UN to Israel if 50% of the population already was non-Jewish? There was only one option, expulsion and that began as soon as the UN Partition Resolution in November 1947 was passed.

Get out of the hasbara mode and read someone who was no anti-Zionist, the veteran Mapamnik the late Simha Flapan's book Myths & Realities. The Arab states attacked primarily because they were competing against each other and under enormous pressure from their own peoples at the expulsion. Over 1/3 of the Palestinians had already been expelled by May 15 1948. Deir Yassin had already taken place.

I don't accept that the opinion polls I quoted are a result of frustration but an inevitable consequence of the idea of a Jewish State and the need to have a pure ethnic Jewish state. That is why the 'demographic question' reared its head long ago, before any of the current troubles. See for example the memorandum of Israel Koenig, District Commissioner for the Galilee on the Judaification of Galilee (which is only the mirror image of Nazi Dejewification.). see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koenig_Memorandum

I don't accept its fanaticism that is to blame. The question is where it comes from and why it operates at state level in Israel. Hamas I'm afraid was more of an Israeli creation, the need to have a counter-weight to secular Palestinian nationalism at a time when the west was sponsoring Islamic Fundamentalist groups in Afghanistan.

You see this obsession with Hamas is dishonest. Shin Bet did more to help them on their way than anyone!

joe90 kane said...

Is it just me
or has the quality of commenteer on TGB just nose-dived?

Amongst other observations,
I thought the followers and imbibers of classical music were supposed to be deep-thinkers, some kind of off-world intellectual-types, privy to empyrean spheres of platonic harmony in congress with the divine, which us plebs by our very materialist nature were excluded from.

Apparantly not.

Tony Greenstein said...

Daniel

It's not boredom that motivates me but a passion for justice. There was a time when that was a venerable tradition within the Jewish religion e.g. Rabbi Hillel. But now the tradition to be followed is that of Shamai!

No I'm not all knowing about any area of the world but when I see opinion polls which even the German people would not have replicated in 1933 then I ask questions, unlike you, as to why that situation is as it is.

And why we have the most rabid rabbis instilling ethics in the Israeli armed forces eg. http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2009/11/yet-more-nazi-rabbis-but-you-wont-hear.html

Tony Greenstein said...

Jonathan

the rabbis I'm referring to didn't say what they did 30 years ago. They are the current military rabbinate in Israel.

Take one such example, Manis Friedman, who recently said:

"The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle)"

Friedman argued that if Israel followed this wisdom, there would be "no civilian casualties, no children in the line of fire, no false sense of righteousness, in fact, no war."

"I don't believe in Western morality," he wrote. "Living by Torah values will make us a light unto the nations who suffer defeat because of a disastrous morality of human invention."
http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2009/06/lubavitch-rabbi-urges-extermination-of.html

Or Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro:
'"It is permissable to kill the Righteous among Nations even if they are not responsible for the threatening situation," he wrote, adding: "If we kill a Gentile who has sinned or has violated one of the seven commandments - because we care about the commandments - there is nothing wrong with the murder."
http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2009/11/even-non-jewish-children-must-be-killed.html

You can explain this away with all the sophistry you want but this is the type of person who is responsible for instilling the right moral spirit into Israeli soldiers.

As for Hamas rockets, whcih have killed 20 people in 7 years, they are a response to the lethal ordinance of Israel which has been repeatedly poured into Gaza. It happened yesterday. I don't care what the excuse it, the reason is to intimidate and make clear that Palestinians have no right to live in the area.

In fact there was a ceasefire in 2008 and the military planned to end it because it was inconvenient, so they staged a raid on November 4 2008, on the basis of 'intelligence' that Hamas planned an attack and killed 6 members of Hamas. That is what brought the ceasefire to an end and caused rockets to be fired.

Israel always has an excuse to bombard a civilian population. There is always some 'terrorist' somewhere who is the cause. In fact Hamas would accept a state alongside Israel in a flash but that of course is not to Israeli leaders' liking, hence the siege, which of course is another form of violence.

Elisheva said...

Dear Tony,
I'm sorry to spoil your theories with facts,but here are just a few:
1) Israel evacuated the Gaza strip , dismantling all iuts settlements there(which shouldn't have been built, in the first place) in 2005. The Palestinian response by Hammas & its allies: a continuous bombardment of rockets and missiles on towns and villages in south western Israel, which continues until today.
2)second fact: Hammas, which controls the Gaza strip, proclaims still today that it opposed the very notion of Israel as a Jewish state, and calls for its destruction as well as for establishing on its ruins an Islamic state ruled according to Shari'a (Islamic religious law). Would such a state be less racist than a secular, democratic Jewish state, or any less violent? Hardly. Take a look at Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia - are these Islamic countries your models of human rights and democratic values? Are these these countries, or, closer to home, Hammastan in Gaza or Assad's Syria your models of ther ideal political culture? One example: after Israel's withdrawal , Hammas in Gaza rounded up its Palestinian opponents (from Fatah)and massacred them. In one case, we saw them on TV throwing a political opponent from Fatah off the roof of a 17-storey building.In comparison, in Israel Arab citizens enjoy civil rights, including their own anti-Zionist political parties which are represented in parliament (Knesset). And since reality is never as perfect as the letter of the law, Israel's Arab citizens often make use of their full civil right to sue the government in the Supreme COurt for alleged discrimination, with a large percentage of success.
So excuse us for not rushing to join in with the Hammas vision of the greater Palestine.
I used to support a one-state vision about 30 years ago, but in view of the above-mentioned political culture of our Palestinian neighbours and its unmistakable tribal undetones, I realize now that such one big democratic Palestine-Israel is not a realistic proposition for the forseeable future, so that 2 separate states for the two separate peoples is the only remaining solution. I became a Zionist as one of life's necessities, not as an ideal, and guess who helped me arrive at that position.
Which brings me to fact no.3( see part 2 of comment):

Elisheva said...

Part 2 od Elisheva's comment:

3)third fact: all polls in Israel show that an overwhelming majority of the population supports a 2-state solution , i.e. giving up the occupied territories in the West Bank (in Gaza we already did that), with some territory exchanges, and establishing there a Palestinian State alongside Israel. However, that Palestine would have to accept the rightful existence of Israel and refrain from aggresion towards it.
True, there are fanatics on both sides who want to hog the entire land for themselves, but why accept that this is the choice.
This is, dear Tony, exactly what you're doing by calling for the boycott on Israel and for a blanket solidarity with "the Palestinians". The family who had been forced by Hammas to store explosives and a missile launcher in its basement, which then got bombed by Israel surely deserves all our support and sympathy. SO does the alleged Fatah member who walked into an interrogation by Hammas, and came out a paraplegic, and his friend who was thrown off the roof by Hammas. But a wholesale attack on Israel in the name of Palestinian solidarity doesn't help them. It only helps the Hammas and other brutal, fundamentalist-Islamist and anti-democratic forces.
Therefore, dear Tony, I suggest that if you want to really help the Palestininans, help them rid themself of religious fanaticism and a culture of violence, despotism and corruption, and help them strengthen the moderate, constructive, life-affirming voices. And leave it to us Israelis to deal with our own fanatics, such as the violent settlers.
There are lots of us in the Israeli "peace camp", who are active for this purpose.. Your boycott activity weakens us as it weakens the moderate Palestinians, while giving a big boost to Hammas, Islamic Jihad, and the like..
You may not have intended this, but that is the inevitable result.
In other words: you and your Palestinian friends clean up your act before you complain about us, albeit there is plenty to complain about.
I write all this as a long-time Israeli anti-occupation activist, who has opposed Jewish settlements in the occupied territories ever since they started, who boycotts any goods produced in them and who even refuses to visit family members who live in them.
The Palestinians have suffered a tragedy, part of which, BUT ONLY PART, is the responsibility of Zionism.
Let us deal with our part.
You deal with yours.

Tony Greenstein said...

Elisheva

I will be blunt and honest with you because you would expect no other.

I accept you are an opponent of occupation and a member of the (dwindling) Israeli peace movement.

Your problem is that you are not a Marxist or socialist. Therefore you have no material analysis of events and simply tell me what is there.

E.g. Saudi Arabia is a fundamentalist Moslem regime. Fine. I agree. Next question. How did a rag bag tribal sheikh in the Hejaz come to rule over most of Arabia? Answer the Arab American Oil Company. US Imperialism in other words sponsored not only Saudi fundamentalism, but that of the Taliban and Mojaheddin in Afghanistan and Israel did likewise in Gaza.

Let me quote to you Avi Shlaim, a Professor of International Relations at Oxford and himself an Israeli:

'Ironically the Israeli authorities at first encouraged Hamas in the hope of weakening the secular nationalism of the PLO'. [The Iron Wall, p. 459.]

If you read the book of another Israeli regarding Israel's Arab population, Ian Lustick, you will learn with much greater detail that it was a consistent policy of Shin Bet to encourage the old, traditional, Muslim tribal fathers to reign in the hot headed nationalist youth.

This is not of course just true of Israel. Everywhere there was an empire there was divide and rule (because the imperialists were relatively few in number) and religion was the key division, in Palestine too.

Having established that the rest of what you say falls away. You do not ask yourself about Zionism, which proclaims its war crimes in the name of Jews, not the US, not Israelis, but Jews wherever they live. That is the meaning of a Jewish State. Hence why even today there is no nationality called 'Israeli' [though the Foreign Ministry lie and deceive on this, the record of the Supreme Court is quite clear and consistent].

The problem is and always has been that as a settler colonial movement, Zionism was inherently expansionist and its mode of colonisation was both dispossession and expulsion.

As Israel moves rightwards so its 'peace' camp does likewise. Hence why you are parrotting propaganda.

Sharon withdrew from Gaza in order to cement colonisation in the West bank. that is what he said at the time. Gaza wasn't freed but surrounded on all sides. There was an embargo from day one and legally it was still under occupation (in fact the Israeli state in legal submissions to the International Court accepted this fact).

When Hamas was elected the US and Israel immediately set about subverting the result and in Gaza they launched a coup d'etat with Mohammed Dahlan the Fatah thug in charge. Yes it's not nice to throw someone from the top of a building. You and me wouldn't do it, but we are talking about a firefight and that death is no more unpleasant, indeed probably much more pleasant than say a child burning to death with white phosphorous which is extremely agonising.

I accept that you are genuine in your opposition to Occupation. But as long as you consider yourself a Zionist then you have to accept that the occupation is but a logical consequence. As the early settlers like Tabenkin used to say, 'our right to Kiryat Arba is no different from our right to Tel Aviv'. And he was right then and I'm right now!

Matthew Coniam said...

An account which will prompt despair in all but the morally and emotionally bankrupt, delivered in the sniggering tone that is the first hallmark of the brutalist.

We can only wonder if these musicians still entertained any outdated delusions about London as the cradle of the Western liberal tradition before setting off, and were unprepared for this now typical barbarian display. Bad enough, if they knew what to expect, to have the reality shown to them in so vile a manner - heartbreaking if they did not.

Tony Greenstein said...

Strange how these Zionists put on their airs and graces when it suits them. Of course disrupting a meeting addressed by a survivor of Auschwitz, shouting 'seig heil' as Jonathan Hoffman's acquaintance did and delivering a Hitler salute to the same is of course the height of good manners.

Likewise shooting 400 children dead (think what would be said if they had been Jewish children - a new Holocaust no less). Making women go into labour because they cannot cross a checkpoint or cancer victims in Gaza who cannot obtain basic morphine.

Keep your 'culture' Matthew. You are like that character in Hanns Johst's Schlageter - when I hear the word culture I reach for my gun. That sums up you Zionists to a tee.

Bearing in mind the attack on a Palestinian film festival last year in East Jerusalem, we don't really need to take advice from savages whose idea of culture is the same as the nazis - a sugared coating to hide the smell of ethnic cleansing and butchery.

But maybe the sight of white phosphorous burning its way into the flesh is more your idea of what constitutes 'culture' than barbarian London?

Matthew Coniam said...

What an extraordinary reply! Normally when comment moderation is in operation it means that one will either not be published at all, or at the very least should be prepared for a humdinger of a well-considered riposte... or at least a coherent one.
Did you stop and think for a second before disgorging any of that?

First I am excluded from your terms of address entirely ("Strange how these Zionists put on their airs and graces when it suits them"); it seems I am one of "these Zionists" (news to me).
Then we have something about how "disrupting a meeting addressed by a survivor of Auschwitz, shouting 'seig heil' as Jonathan Hoffman's acquaintance did and delivering a Hitler salute to the same is of course the height of good manners", despite the fact that, to the best of my knowledge I have not performed or advocated any of those actions, am not an acquaintance of Jonathan Hoffman, or said anything to which that makes any pertinent connection.
Then, some slobbery stuff about "a new Holocaust no less" (creepy, creepy, creepy).
A little later I am at least addressed personally, though still as part of a collective ("you Zionists": a slight improvement over "these Zionists", I suppose), then, when I am addressed by name it is as part of the bizarre instruction "Keep your 'culture' Matthew", with 'culture' in quotes, as if I used the word, or made any reference to the concept, which I didn't.
The rest is the usual juvenile hyperbole (shooting 400 children, etc), of the sort it is hard to believe is coming from a grown man.
I liked "we don't really need to take advice from savages whose idea of culture is the same as the nazis": well, I've been likened to Hitler before for the crime of being an atheist, and I've been likened to Hitler for the crime of being a vegetarian... I thank you for the first time I've ever been called a Nazi (or a nazi) because I like music.
(Incidentally, it wasn't relevant before, but as we're on the subject, let me say how amused I was by your earlier point that not only are an Israeli and a Nazi orchestra morally equivalent, the latter were also better musicians! Is this really the best you can do?)

Your grand finale (oh, did it really sound impressive to you as it spilled from head to keyboard?): "maybe the sight of white phosphorous burning its way into the flesh is more your idea of what constitutes 'culture' than barbarian London?" of course deserves no comment, other than to point out that foxy little pair of quotes around culture again, and, perhaps, in case you really are as straightforward as you seem, to assure you that no, the sight of white phosphorous burning its way into the flesh is not more my idea of what constitutes 'culture' than barbarian London.
Hope this puts your mind at rest.

I do realise that, with comment moderation and all, the only chance I have of getting you to publish this is if I dare you to by implying you are too chicken to do so, so consider that done. Otherwise I will expect to be ignored, and apologise for wasting your time.
See, the enemies of civilisation come in two forms: the leaders, who know exactly what they are doing and what they stand to achieve, and the lickspittles who trot behind, repeat their lies in all ignorance and truly have no idea that they are being used by the cynical and wicked.
Judging by that last showing, it would seem I paid you too great a compliment in addressing you as one of the former contingent.

Tony Greenstein said...

Matthew

You can't expect brilliance all of the time. Just be glad I had any time!

I can't recall being included in your terms of address so what's your beef?

Your whole post consisted of assertion and taken for granted assumptions. In particular:

i. You said the account would provoke despair without saying why

ii. You then accused me of being a 'brutalist' whatever that is (something to do with brute or brut?)

iii. And then you pondered why the IDF's Distinguished Musicians were still entertaining illusions about London being the home of liberalism (was it ever?). As if those who are the pet performers for one of the most ruthless of western armies are now the arbiters of good taste.

iv. And you assert there was a barbarian display, again without saying why and why the JQ should be shocked at barbarism given their preferred audience.

I did not say that you had participated in the actions of the Zionist co-chair but it is clear that certain actions offend you more than others. That was the point which you entirely missed in this puffed up display of outrage.

I said that if 400 children had been shot, OTHERS would have said it was a new holocaust. Indeed Matan Vilnai (heard of him?) promised about 6 months before Gaza that there would be a 'little Shoah'.

I just contrasted your outrage over the disruption of the JQ concert and 'barbarianism' with a total lack of concern at the actions of the army that the JQ perform for. That's all, but you're right. I know nothing of you or where you stand in so far as you have said nothing. But it is clear that you have some sympathy from what you have written.

There was no question of not publishing you as long as you are civil, which you are. Daring me is a bit silly since if I hadn't published you no one would have known of the dare!

The enemies of civilisation [and how do u define it?] come in more than 2 shapes. But accepting your schema then it would seem you fall into the latter.

The description of 'the lickspittles who trot behind, repeat their lies in all ignorance and truly have no idea that they are being used by the cynical and wicked.' fits u perfectly.

You have intruded on a debate about the disruption of a concert, which is hardly the end of the world. You have said nothing other than trying to put imagined thoughts in the heads of said performers. Everything you said could have been said of those disrupting Apartheid and yes Nazi events.

There has been predictable moral outrage from the liberal British press (Guardian/Independent) to the right-wing Sunday Telegraph. So yes, you are one of the clones or lickspittles who follows behind mouthing slogans you don't understand and of course 'feeling the pain' of the JQ but surprisingly oblivious to those who have been calling for such actions, i.e. the Palestinians.

Matthew Coniam said...

I'll try to keep this brief, though fear I will as usual fail.

First, the parts you didn't understand.

I wasn't offended that you didn't greet me heartily by name (how sweet of me, if I had been), I was merely pointing out that your rhetorical tactic of explicitly excluding me from your opening sentence and instead talking mockingly ABOUT me to your pals, as if I 'wasn't there' so to speak, says something interesting about you personally. (Just as in your last reply you say that I 'intruded on a debate' rather than entered it or contributed to it.) It wasn't a 'beef', it was an observation.
And brutalism is an architectural term that I was importing metaphorically into the sphere of moral values, in that it implies not merely the violation of received standards but a kind of proud and knowing violation of them.

Now to my 'assertion and taken for granted assumptions':
I speculated, not asserted, that it would provoke despair, on the grounds that it did in me and could well in others like me. I'm not a neuro-scientist. It's a colloquial convention.
On my reflecting on how prepared or not the quartet may have been for how far public discourse in Britain has regressed to playground level, you're right: I 'pondered', not, therefore asserted or assumed.
The bit about not "saying why" there was a barbarian display, or why the musicians would be shocked "given there preferred audience" is just silly.

I know you didn't say I had participated in any of the actions you described, and I understood perfectly that you meant "OTHERS would see it as a new holocaust".
In the first instance I merely meant that your comment's complete and total irrelevance to what I was saying, plus my personal lack of involvement with any of it, qualified it as obfuscation, a lazy tactic here deployed in a strikingly bald and undistinguished manner.
In the second instance I was merely drawing attention to the creepiness and insensitivity of your quasi-mocking tone.

The bit about daring you to publish was a joke. Often the only way to get zealots to publish replies they don't agree with is to say something like "I know you won't have the balls to publish this..." knowing that they will, because it gives them a sense of one-upmanship, even though all the rest of the comment gets through as well. I was jokingly referring to this phenomenon...
Never mind.

And again, I was not upbraiding you for not knowing how hopelessly wide of the mark your attempt to pigeonhole me or my views was but rather for your perceived need to make the attempt in the first place, and to do so in ways so revealing of your character rather than mine.
And here, at last, we get to the heart of the thing.

Matthew Coniam said...

(continued -)

You were right about one thing: this is an argument about assumptions. It's very simple and it comes to this:

a) I do not share your conclusions because I deny your premisses, and
b) I think you know your premisses to be dubious, that is to say ideological rather than rational.

You are, of course, free to disagree with me, and as that's basically a fancy way of calling you a despicable liar who would not? But it is senseless to try and pretend that this is not where our disagreement lies, and infantile in the extreme to try and reconfigure it as a dispute over the moral interpretation of undisputed facts, ie: whether it is a good thing or a bad thing for children to be killed, or phosophorous 'burning away the flesh' and all the rest of it. This is a game on your part, an attempt to deflect the true argument with bombast, and it is all too easy for both sides to let their passion draw them into playing it. I do not.

I dispute your propaganda and I question your motives. (I see you are still calling Hitler 'right wing', and antithetical in his programme and ideas to Communism. I don't have time for you to catch up on that one.)
The key question is: why single Israel out and ignore the atrocities committed by other countries? What's so special about Israel?
This is the point that leaves you open to charges of anti-semitism, charges that, disagreeably, you seem to court, by crudely goading those who charge you with it and implying that it is self-evidently untrue. (Your listing of "annoying pompous Zionists" as chief among your 'interests' on your profile says it all.)

For the record, I do not think your views are self-evidently anti-semitic. They are far more likely to be motivated by a much broader contempt for 'the west' generally, though I accept you may be happy to fan these particular flames, safe in the knowledge that you can retreat with clean hands when they get too near your balls.
Further, it would not bother me in the least - or have any bearing on my argument with you - if you were an anti-semite. I don't give a damn about people's private opinions, and consider the criminalisation of opinion and dissent from ideological orthodoxy to be one of the most chilling of all Britain's present signs of slide into Progressivist tyranny. I doubt, however, you feel the same.

And since you pose it as if it were an obviously rhetorical question demanding no actual answer: no, I would not have yobbishly disrupted a performance of the Berlin symphony orchestra in the thirties, though I may well have advocated that they not be invited in the first place. In placing a moral value on the distinction between those two gestures we see the yawning ethical chasm that we confront each other from opposite sides of.

One last point: I enjoyed the occasional faux-matey, exclamation-marky tone you adopted in your last reply even less than I liked being called "you Zionists".
I called you a despicable enemy of civilisation and I meant it.

Tony Greenstein said...

I fear Matthew has balls on his brain and precious little else.

Ok, I’m a brute in architectural terms because I refuse to accept conventional assumptions as per Mr Coniam. However ‘brute’ has a less specific meaning and people usually try to ensure that people properly understand their language, brains scientists or not.

Apparently my premises are not only dubious ‘that is to say ideological rather than rational’ but I know them to be so. Which ones? Ideological is not the opposite of rational in any case and it would seem this is a case of spraying words onto a computer without taking the trouble to understand one’s own argument. Unless what is being said that ideology is inherently irrational and dubious to boot. Certainly scientific theories, which are in the realm of ideas initially, have to be tested against observation and so with social sciences and ideological premises.

But I stand by my own premises, first and foremost that if this is civilisation then it comes at a heavy price, which is lack of civilisation in most of the world. If Matthew could come down from his pedestal he might ask why there can be a war against Iraq but not against hunger or why the US has a heavy military presence in the Middle East to begin with. But being a typical petit-bourgeois pedant he misses all the big questions and confines himself to nitpicking posts instead.

Matthew doesn’t like things being reduced to such trivial things as the video some of us have recently seen of US helicopter pilots murdering 8 people just like it was a computer game. Using chemical weapons against schools is ‘infantile’ unlike our grown-up nitpicker.

He doesn’t even like Hitler being called right-wing, yet that is how he was seen, not least by the industrialists who transferred support from the DNVP to the NSDAP. Or maybe the disbandment of trade unions or the persecution of racial/ethnic minorities is a socialist demand. Anyone with any understanding of history will know that it was the right-wing parties in Europe who were anti-semitic and the Left who opposed it. It is simple as that. But the ‘socialist’ bit in ‘national socialism’ still fools the more supine of critics who, not understanding socialism believe that it is compatible with socialism. Even Moses Hess, a good Zionist, understood that fallacy in his ‘Rome & Jerusalem’ as did Ben Gurion and Yitzhak Ben Zvi, of the ‘left’ Zionist Poale Zion.

But facts are inconvenient for our pedant. So he avoids them like the biblical plague.

For all his attempts at originality, Mr Coniam believes that ‘the key question’ is not war, hunger, poverty, imperialism, racism, sexual violence etc. but ‘why single Israel out and ignore the atrocities committed by other countries? What's so special about Israel?’

Tony Greenstein said...

Indeed. So despite resisting being pigeonholed as a lousy Zionist, god forbid, he comes out with the key ‘defence’ employed by Zionist propagandists whilst still fooling himself that he is above the fray and unaligned. It assumes, as Matthew always does, that I or anyone else ignore atrocities elsewhere. Given Israel’s alliance with a whole host of world dictatorships, past and present, including the anti-semitic Argentinian Junta, that is a dubious argument at the best of times. I started off opposing South African Apartheid, graduated to opposing fascism in Chile and the US’s murderous client regimes in South and Central America and at the same time began to oppose Zionism.

But it’s a dishonest argument at the best of times, and coming from some who accuses me of being a ‘despicable liar’ [as opposed to an undespicable liar?] without saying what the lie is, other than ruffling his precious feathers, this takes the biscuit. Because what the argument amounts to is ‘Yes, we know we are war criminals but why do you concentrate on us rather than the other war criminals.’ A pretty pathetic argument which Matthew Coniam finds suitably appealing to his intellectual faculties. So be it.

Perhaps one reason might be that Burmese generals don’t call their country ‘the only democracy in Asia’ unlike Israel’s claim to be the only democracy in the Middle East. Perhaps another is that Burma doesn’t talk of a Burmese state which excludes the indigenous population. They are a repressive and brutal (in the normal meaning of the word) regime but the Burmese state is not founded on racism in the same way as an apartheid state is. Possibly another reason is that Israel is the largest recipient of US aid and is the armed watch dog of Israel.

I don’t retreat from causes I support, regardless of how hot the fire is. From an armchair critic like Coniam who gives no evidence of ever having actually done anything, as opposed to rebranding others’ opinions as his own, I suspect his obsession with gonads displays deeper problems. Because as he says, it would have been ‘yobbish’ to disrupt the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Well quite. One must always remember one’s manners when faced with the jackboot. Because what is being said is that it is better to dredge up any old excuse rather than challenge those who own and control wealth and power in this society.

The only ethical gap I can see is some people were prepared to do anything to challenge and isolate the Nazi regime and some weren’t prepared to do anything because, when push came to shove, they preferred Hitler to what they perceived as Communism. I don’t think it takes much guessing to know which side Mr Coniam would have been on.

As for being a despicable enemy of your ‘civilisation’ well I’ll take it a compliment in the circumstances!

Anonymous said...

What a disgrace you are to your own people! I live in Jerusalem and your actions put my life at risk. A self hating Jew is a heartbreak to us all. You are the racist...not Israel. Jews and Arabs live side by side in harmony, and yet you would prefer that the land of Israel be given over to the Arabs and we Jews who have a three thousand year history here, should be sacrificed for your liberal illusions. Wake up.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony,
I won't bother about your selective way with facts and evidence, since the important issue is how to improve the situation for the people of Gaza and the West Bank, not who is to blame. Who cares what was the original motivation for Israel's withdrawal from Gaza? That is irrelevant in terms of political action. What is relevant is the actions themselves and how the Palestinians choose to respond to them. DO they sieze that opportunity to start building the Palestinian State, or do they devote all their energies to attacking Israel?
To quote a well known joke: How many Palestinians does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: none. Let's just sit in the dark and blame Israel for it.
Hammas' choice was clear: they chose to continue trying to destroy Israel, resulting in more suffering for the Gaza population. This is when they could have done something really worthwhile for the Palestinians.
To paraphrase Abba Eban, a former Israeli foreign minister and a moderate, the Palestinians have rarely missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. I hope that this it true only of Hammas-dominated Gaza, less of the West Bank, at least as far as Fayad's
government policies, and the more liberal, open atmosphere.
Blaming the other side, gets you nowhere, albeit in many cases the blame is well deserved.
DO the Palestinians want to get on with their lives, or just blame ISrael?
I believe that most of them want to get on with their lives, but Hammas won't let them. Won't let them extricate themselves from the classic victim's position.
As I suggested before, If you really want to help the Palestinians, help them rid themselves of Hammas and other such violent, corrupt, anti-democratic and death-mongering fundamentalists.
You'd be helping yourself, too, unless you want another Islamist bomb attack on the London Underground.
To conclude: The important issue is how to improve the situation, not who's to blame.I don't say to the Palestinians: stop fighting Israeli occupation, but stop fighting Israel as such, and stop using violent means. There are other- political, legal and and cultural ways, which will not bring upon you such destruction. And I say to them: Israel has its share of responsibility for the Palestinian tragedy, but only a share. What about the Arab share? Do you see anybody dealing with it in Gaza? I don't. Yes, I read Rashid Khalidi and other Palestinian intellectuals. It is no coincidence that they're not in Gaza. They couldn't be - Hammas fundamentalism does not allow intellectual and/or critical discourse. On peril of life.
Finally, I say to the Palestinians and to you, Tony: Yes, Israel has a lot to answer for. But Yes, the Palestinian (and generally Arab) political culture is anti-democratic, and Yes, the Hammas has repeatedly confirmed its aspiration to annihilate the entire State of Israel as such. Don't ask us to commit suicide.

Tony Greenstein said...

To take the last anonymous comment first, since is at least makes out an intelligible argument.

The reason why Israel 'withdrew' from Gaza is extremely important. Because it helps one understand what is happening today.

It wasn't the Palestinians of Gaza who devoted their energies to attacking Israel (what with? pea shooters?) but the other way around.

Israel of course didn't withdraw anything except the prison guards from outside to inside the wall. It laid siege as soon as the results of the Palestinian elections were known, in a deliberately concerted policy with the US to overturn those results.

When they tried to stage a coup d'etat with Fateh then Hamas seized control.

Whatever one says about Hamas, and politically they are reactionary and illiterate, having no social program and wanting to be like their idols in Iran, oppressors of their own people in the name of Islam, they are supported by the people because they are not willing to lay prostrate at the feet of Israel's colonial masters.

And however many times one quotes Abba Eban, the cultured Zionist who was left high and dry, the fact is that the Palestinians have no opportunities to miss.

If Hamas are so terrible then Israelis should ask themselves why their security police Shin Bet did their best in the 1980's to help create them, at one stage Netanyahu released their leader Sheikh Yassin and other Muslim Brotherhood members, as a counterweight to secular Palestinian nationalism. Israel stirs the confessional pot then sits back, like all imperialists.

Tony Greenstein said...

As for the second anonymous comment, I usually block abusive comments but this one is such an idiot I had to let him in. He says:

"What a disgrace you are to your own people!"

Why does he think he is my people? My people, if I have any such, live in Britain not Israel. My people are members of the trade union movement, fellow socialists and campaigners, my family and friends.

I can only quote Hannah Arendt in her reply to Gershom Scholem, the first Professor of Jewish Mysticism. Scholem wrote to Arendt in the wake of the publication of 'Eichmann In Jerusalem' which the Zionists didn't like because it told too much of the truth of what the Zionist record during the Holocaust actually was. Scholem wrote:

‘In the Jewish tradition there is a concept ‘Ahabath Israel’: ‘Love of the Jewish people . . . ”. In you, dear Hannah, as in so many intellectuals who came from the German Left, I find little trace
of this . . . ’.

In one of the most devastating put-downs I have read Arendt responded thus:

'let me begin... with what you call “love of the Jewish people... (Incidentally, I would be very grateful if you could tell me since when this concept has played a role in Judaism).... You are quite right – I am not moved by any “love” of this sort, and for two reasons. I have never in my life “loved” any people or collective... I indeed love “only” my friends and the only kind of love I know of and believe in is the love of persons. Secondly, this “love of the Jews” would appear to me, since I am myself Jewish, as something rather
suspect... I do not “love” the Jews, nor do I “believe” in them; I merely belong to them as a matter of course, beyond dispute or argument.... But I can admit to you something beyond that, namely, that wrong done by my own people naturally grieves me more than wrong done by other peoples."

Tony Greenstein said...

So, by telling the truth, I am a disgrace to 'my own people'. Presumably if I lied instead on their behalf I would be a hero! Such are the values that Zionism brings to the world.

And apparently by telling the truth 'your actions put my life at risk.' Well apart from the nonsense in this statement, it begs a question. Why should I value the life of an anonymous racist over those of the Palestinians of Jerusalem? Because the racist is part of the same 'people' as me?

And although Zionists tend to be thick let's see if this particular Zionist from Jerusalem, understands the following. I am not a member of the same people as you, I have no identification with settlers or the 'kith and kin' argument we used to hear of in Rhodesia. And further, far from hating myself it's fuckers like you I hate!

And the idea of 'self-hating' Jews, a concept the Nazis used against anti-fascist Germans presupposes that all Jews are members of the same race/nation.

Our racist tells us that 'Jews and Arabs live side by side in harmony' - presumably not those in Sheik Jarrah and all the other Jerusalem neighbourhoods being cleansed of Arabs. But racists have developed a unique skill of not noticing the afflictions of the indigenous population.

Our racist writes that 'you would prefer that the land of Israel be given over to the Arabs'

well they have lived there a long time! In harmony with Jews until the ZIonist settlers arrived!

But however I racist informs me that 'we Jews who have a three thousand year history here,'

Interesting. Is this a political continuity because Palestine had few Jews, except the orthodox who came to Jerusalem to die, until the 19th century. And the most vigorous opponents of Zionist colonisation were what was called the Jewish Yishuv. So whether or not Jews (in fact Hebrews) lived in Palestine for 3,000 years is rather a moot question. In any event, as Shlomo Sands has demonstrated, if in fact this is true then it is the Palestinians who were their descendants not European settlers like Mr Anonymous.

But apparently our anonymous windbag complains about being
'sacrificed for your liberal illusions.'

No you take the risk when you settle someone else's country. If you are forced to make the ultimate sacrifice it will be because of your own ingrained racism just like your Afrikaaner counterpart Eugene Terreblanche.

Elisheva said...

Dear Tony,
As the last 'Anonymous' (about Hammas keeping the Palestinians in a classic victim position),
I agree with you not only that Hammas is the oppressor of its own people, but also that Israel has made stupid and fatal mistakes in the past by giving Hammas enough rope to oppose the secular Palestinian organizations, thereby keeping it going when it may have collapsed .
I also agree with your diagnosis that this method of divide and rule is a common imperialist strategy (viz. the Taliban in Afghanistan).
My question: Does this not-inaccurate analysis of the past help us solve present problems? Does it mean that now we should be supporting the Hammas monster, albeit we may have helped create it in the first place?
Answer: NO. supporting Hammas today, and that is what your activity amounts to (intentionally or otherwise), is repeating and perpetuating the very mistake you complain about Israel making.
Therefore I suggest, again, that you devote your energies to helping CONSTRUCTIVE Palestinian forces instead of attacking Israel to the benefit of Hammas.

Tony Greenstein said...

Dear Elisheva,

The problem is that as long as Israel tries to determine the destiny and political rule over the Palestinians they are going to turn to those who provide unpalatable options.

That Israel, from its foundation, encouraged fundamentalist, patriarchal and religious currents, not least amongst its own Arab population, is indisputable. Ian Lustick's book 'Arabs in the Jewish State' provides the details.

Hamas which is the latest bogeyman, it used to be the PLO, Nasser etc. is really a smokescreen. Being fundamentalist they are politically illiterate but there is no doubt that Hamas would accept a 2 State solution. But Israel has no intention of such a solution. At best a cut-down version of South Africa's bantustans.

Palestinians supported Hamas primarily because they were seen as a resistance movement, which they are. The other alternative was Abbas and Fateh, mired in corruption and brutality and effectively now controlled by Israel. That is the choice that Israel has placed before the Palestinians.

Israel has no right to interfere in Palestinian politics but of course if you want to gain control of the land of the Palestinians without the people, then you have to sponsor a client regime, which Abbas represents and every so often you humiliate and kick them just to remind them of that relationship.

My activity and that of others in the Palestine solidarity movement does not support Hamas but Palestinians. I have never hesitated to criticise Hamas. BUT if Hamas and Israel come into conflict then I support Hamas, as representatives of an oppressed people.

Just as if Zionist forces had clashed with the Nazis in the second world war I would have supported the former, despite our obvious political differences. That was the position of Trotsky when Mussolini attacked Ethiopia. He supported the feudal regime of Haile Selassie.

I support the left of the Palestinian movement in so far as it exists today, the PFLP, but the Palestinians are much weaker than the Black South African working class and are not proletarianised to the same extent.

What you have to face is that a Jewish state, i.e. a state which uses a particular religion to justify all that it does, its confiscations and killings, inevitably polarises those it comes into conflict with on religious, sectarian lines.

Despite this I have never experienced anti-Semitism from Palestinians because for most of them they realise that racism is an enemy of their cause. Hamas, despite the absurdities of their Charter, regularly welcome Jews who are in solidarity with the Palestinians.

You Elisheva have to put yourself in the place of the Palestinians and then you will understand why Hamas has received the support it has and why, despite its public protestations, Israeli leaders are not unhappy about this situation.

Dear Tony,
As the last 'Anonymous' (about Hammas keeping the Palestinians in a classic victim position),
I agree with you not only that Hammas is the oppressor of its own people, but also that Israel has made stupid and fatal mistakes in the past by giving Hammas enough rope to oppose the secular Palestinian organizations, thereby keeping it going when it may have collapsed .
I also agree with your diagnosis that this method of divide and rule is a common imperialist strategy (viz. the Taliban in Afghanistan).
My question: Does this not-inaccurate analysis of the past help us solve present problems? Does it mean that now we should be supporting the Hammas monster, albeit we may have helped create it in the first place?
Answer: NO. supporting Hammas today, and that is what your activity amounts to (intentionally or otherwise), is repeating and perpetuating the very mistake you complain about Israel making.
Therefore I suggest, again, that you devote your energies to helping CONSTRUCTIVE Palestinian forces instead of attacking Israel to the benefit of Hammas.

Matthew Coniam said...

Good to see you took my comments about obfuscation and irrelevance so soundly on board!
Having said that the only argument worth having is about fact and interpretation - since I would agree entirely with your conclusions if I agreed with your premisses and you (I'm doing you the honour of presuming) would agree likewise with mine under the same preconditions - you respond with yet more non-sequiturs, histrionics and observations about my choice of words.
I shall attempt to deal with them in one big breath.
Here goes (sound of your correspondent inhaling deeply follows):

You're still opening your replies by talking to the gallery about me rather than to me; this is as weird as it unlikeable and I hereby request that you desist, the two references to my supposed obsession with balls are witless obfuscation - I used the word twice in a double-length reply in two entirely different and legitimate contexts, the first as a universally acknowledged synonym for courage, so stop being silly, I didn't say you were "a brute in architectural terms" for "refusing to accept conventional assumptions" but co-opted an architectural term to describe your particular brand of proud and knowing violation of received standards - standards are not assumptions but something close to the opposite, you are correct that "brute has a less specific meaning" - as opposed to the word I actually used, which does not, 'ideological' need not be "the opposite of rational" any more than any other two concepts need be antitheses in order for them to be usefully contrasted; in this case I was contrasting rationalism's openness to evidential modification with the equivalent imperviousness of an ideolgy that adapts its conclusions to suit its preferences and resists alternative interpretation, your ensuing comment about scientific method doesn't mean anything, 'petit-bourgeois' is merely your latest inaccurate description of me based on prejudice alone but by no means one I resent (how cute that there are still people about using it as an insult; the occasional tone of resentment towards classical music itself that creeps into your prose and the comments of your supporters is similarly quaint), the bit about the argument "being reduced to such trivial things as the video some of us have recently seen of US helicopter pilots murdering 8 people just like it was a computer game" addresses no claim or point I made whatsoever but is thrown in for gratuitous effect only, the ensuing bit about "using chemical weapons against schools is ‘infantile’ unlike our grown-up nitpicker" articulates exactly the misconstruction of the debate I so laboured to correct, again, please, try saying "for all your attempts at originality" rather than "for all Matthew's attempts at originality": it's not so creepy to read (and incidentally I was aware of making no such attempts; your left-handed acknowledgement that some of what I said struck you that way is therefore most gratifying), the phrase 'despicable liar' is not tautological in the least; your implication that it is lands heavily among the words of one who claims to dislike nit-picking.

(Correspondent breathes out.)

Matthew Coniam said...

On Zionism and ' the key question':

I said I so happened not to be a Zionist, not that they were "lousy" or that "God forbid" I should be taken for one. In the present company I'm happy to be so taken, so I'm happy to share my 'key question' with those who do term themselves thus.
And it remains unanswered.
What you opposed in the past is not relevant. The question is why the selectivity of outrage and partiality of focus TODAY; the never addressed matter of what makes Israel extra special, your opposition to it not merely a component of your moral self but an over-riding passion, by which you feel justified in insulting your opponents and applying mob tactics in making your (already deafening) point of view heard in inappropriate contexts. I don't suppose for one minute you approve of human rights violations, mass-murders of innocents, public executions for homosexuality or female independence in the region's many fascist theocratic tyrannies; I'm just not sure why all this seems to pale next to your feelings about the one nation in the region that has the mechanisms in place to alter its course democratically. Either you really do think that Israel is the most brutal, oppressive and worthy of opposition state in the world, or you do not. If you do not, why is it top of the pops on your hate list? If you do... well, that's where the armchair psychiatry comes in. As I said, if I had a fraction of your confidence for assessing the characters of others, I would guess a half-articulated anti-Americanism-by-proxy to be at the root of it, since this is the only of the three answers you did proffer that make sense (since Israel is the only democracy in the region rather than 'claims to be', and it is not an apartheid state as you claim, explanations 1 and 2 merely open a window on your own pathology.) Neither of us is a mental incompetent or (I trust) a monster, so let us merely acknowledge that this debate is about worldview. I think yours is disgraceful; you seem genuinely to think the same of mine. The rest is dancing and tongue-poking and I have little time for a prolonged bout of either. Your talk of people who "when push came to shove preferred Hitler to what they perceived as Communism", and that "it doesn't take much guessing" which side I would have been on is puerile. It clearly does take much guessing if you suggest I would have supported Hitler in any way whatsoever. (It's also an insult that I acknowledge with contempt.) It is as pointless as it is desperate to try to portray me as one who excuses or revels in barbarism when I am manifestly nothing of the sort. What I am is somebody whose position you cannot shake without recourse to any more respectable method than crass demonisation. Ah, well.
And that you don't want to be a part of "my" (!) civilisation is something I never doubted.

Matthew Coniam said...

On Hitler:
Hitler's disbanding of the trades unions was essential to the establishment of a Fascist state which simply cannot operate without a single centralist authority. You seem to be implying that he targeted them because they were leftist rather than because they represented power other than his own. The persecution of racial and ethnic minorities was certainly "a socialist demand" as far as Stalin was concerned, unless of course he was a 'right-winger' too. The evidence of abundant support for Hitler from the left is manifold and incontrivertible. The 'Socialist' bit of 'National Socialist' is not an accident but of the essence: think of Nazism's hatred for Communism like Irish Protestantism's hatred for Catholicism, or Sunni Islam's for Shi'ite, or Leninists for Trotskyists. It's a kind of political land war, where two massively similar ideologies fight it out for the same political space and constituency - it is the similarities that spawn the murderous rivalry, not the differences. Fascism, properly understood as a mechanics of government rather than a programme, is a big enough umbrella to include Stalinism, unless you want to strip all these terms of anything approaching a useful definition.

Tony Greenstein said...

It's not an excuse when I say I have little time to respond Matthew. But two points in particular I will reply to, having just come back from court, being prosecuted for the 'crime' of collecting on a PSC stall without a license!

1. Is Israel the worst violator of human rights in the world? Clearly no. So the next question would be, why then devote my time and energies to this rather than say Burma and, which is the implied point behind the question, isn't it 'anti-semitic' to so do?

First of all this is not a new question and shows the lineage of Zionism. regardless of your protests Matthew this is a classic indeed one of the main Zionist arguments against criticism. Sure we are war criminals, but we're not the worst! Hardly a convincing argument.

This argument was used repeatedly by defenders of Apartheid in South Africa. Sure they said, we are not perfect but there were historical reasons etc. for apartheid and any way, people from the rest of Africa come to us for work. And not only that, but the human rights record of surrounding Black African states is far worse than ours (true).

So by your logic we were being 'anti-white' or 'anti-Afrikaaner/White South African' to raise the issue of Apartheid? By your logic anyway. The reason of course was two fold:
a. Apartheid stood apart from simple repression because it instituted a detestable and institutionalised system of racial discrimination in which the colour of someone's skin determined their rights and obligations.

b. Because the existence of Apartheid South Africa was itself a cause of the repressive nature of surrounding states.

This is all even more true of Israel. It is undoubtedly an apartheid state, in terms of its policy towards its own Arab citizens and it is also a lynchpin of Western imperialism and is actively involved and has always been in encouraging and supporting the most reactionary Arab regimes. So it is political the reasons for choosing Israel.

And thirdly, since Zionism claims to speak on behalf of all Jews, including moi, I resent that and will combat that.

Tony Greenstein said...

But where you really go off the wall Matthew is in your absurd attempt to paint Hitler as some kind of leftist!

i. Nazism didn't just destroy the trade unions because they were an organised centre of opposition but because he saw them as symbolic of the Jewish-Marxist cancer. Nazism above all came to power, with the support of the Junker and industrialists because it promised to smash communist influence in Germany.

Certainly the Nazis didn't brook opposition and didn't like any other centre of power to themselves, but they didn't therefore eliminate our outlaw these. They came into conflict with the church for the same reason but didn't make it illegal.

ii. Am I implying Stalin was a right-winger? Well yes, Stalinism was a counter-revolutionary movement that came to power on the back of the defeated revolutionaries in Russia. But it wasn't fascist, and therefore didn't embark on a racial war against the Jews. Certainly Stalin was no lover of the Jews and indeed anti-Semitic, but that is not the point.

Many Stalinists were of Jewish origin and they were promoted or left in place. What is important is that DESPITE Stalinism, the Soviet people gave support and succour to Jews in their time of need.

When Hitler invaded Soviet-occupied Poland and the Ukraine in particular his Einsatzgruppen and various other Police forces, embarked on the beginning of the final solution. At least 1 million, possibly more Jews perished in these killing actions (before the setting up of the extermination camps).

According to Reitlinger's Final Solution up to 1.5 million Jews escaped into the Soviet heartland and thus escaped the itler's noose. Even Menachem Begin, who was imprisoned in a gulag when he escaped from Poland, estimates in The Revolt that some 3/4 million Jews survived. Contrast this with Zionism and the fraction it saved in comparison (leaving aside both their record in Hungary, Ha'varah and its opposition to any rescue that didn't involve Palestine.

You seem to be implying that Hitler targeted the trade unions because they were leftist rather than because they represented power other than his own. The persecution of racial and ethnic minorities was certainly "a socialist demand" as far as Stalin was concerned, unless of course he was a 'right-winger' too.

You are correct when you say that 'The 'Socialist' bit of 'National Socialist' is not an accident but of the essence:'

One of the prime purposes of fascism is to appeal to the working class and divide it on ethnic/racial lines. So it deliberately, like the BNP today, makes a 'radical' appeal to the working class. The BNP stand for renationalisation etc. and deliberately calls its policies 'old Labour'. And the Nazi Party supported strikes including the 1932 Berlin Transport strike, picketing alonside the KPD.

But when in power there were no more strikes!

Tony Greenstein said...

But you are dead wrong when you say that 'The evidence of abundant support for Hitler from the left is manifold and incontrivertible.' I'd like to see that evidence.

In 1920 the SPD and KPD got some 12 million votes. In the November 1932 General Election, when Hitler obtained 2 million less than in the July 32 elections, the 2 left-wing parties increased their votes to over 12 million and gained more votes together than the Nazis (11 million). It was the division of the working class that allowed the Nazis to gain power, its disunity, not merely electorally but politically and organisationally.

But there is no evidence at all of working class support for Hitler, quite the opposite. Their support came from the petit-bourgeoisie and middle class, the peasants and Junkers and associated layers. It was the working class and unemployed who stood apart from this. Even in the white collar sections of unions the Nazis' NSBO gained derisory votes in elections as late as 1932. Your thesis, so beloved of bourgeois historians, simply doesn't stack up.

Militant organisation of the working class and class struggle are pretty effective antidotes to the poison of racism.

joe90 kane said...

Matthew Coniam said,
The evidence of abundant support for Hitler from the left is manifold and incontrivertible. The 'Socialist' bit of 'National Socialist' is not an accident but of the essence:

Sorry for butting in
but just to add TG, that The Night of the Long Knives was when Hitler definitively dealt with the 'socialist...workers' element in his party, in the guise of Rohm and the radical Brownshirts, who were disappointed and discontented about the actual lack of socialism by Hitler once the Nazis were in power.

Any votes that did come from the working class for the Nazis came from its dis-organised elements who had no previous affinities with organised left (as represented by the KPD and the SPD). The organised left vote remained solid as a rock. As TG says, it actually increased with the Nazi threat.

Tony Greenstein said...

Yes Joe you're absolutely right. Matthew doesn't understand the nature of fascism as a counter-revolutionary movement which seeks to emulate the left in organising at the grassroots, unlike the conservative and reactionary ruling parties for whom such activity was beneath them or not accessible to them.

So the Nazi Party contained both the traditional reactionaries, racist of course but willing to jetisson this if the need arose, Goering being the prime example, and the 'radical' elements around the SA who every bit as anti-Semitic, if not more so (since Jews=Capitalism) but also don't particularly like capitalism either (at least until they used terror and intimidation to elbow their way into becoming capitalists themselves - but this is another story).

Yes Hitler in the Night of the Long Knives eliminated the leadership of the SA and Roehm, using their homosexuality as the pretext.

The fact that Krupps and Thyssen and Kirdorf and the other heavy steel and coal barons supported Hitler, these the most reactionary of all the sections of capital, at one and the same time the SA were talking about hanging capitalists, demonstrates that they understood exactly where the Nazi party was heading. It's nationalism gave the clue to its anti-socialism.

Goebbels was one of the prime exponents of 'left' Nazism before making his peace with Hitler. The Strasser brothers weren't so lucky.