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Monday, 2 January 2012

Holocaust Denial and anti-Semitism Have No Place in PSC






Opposition to ALL Forms of Racism is a Core Principle of Palestine Solidarity

When in the autumn the following statement appeared on PSC’s website I was surprised and knew nothing of the background to the events had given rise to it.

Any expression of racism or intolerance, or attempts to deny or minimise the Holocaust have no place in our movement. Such sentiments are abhorrent in their own right and can only detract from the building of a strong movement in support of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people. We welcome all those who share our aims to join PSC.
I was surprised, not because it doesn’t reflect the overwhelming feeling of PSC members, but as to why it had appeared now. My first thoughts were that maybe this was a direct response to those who might have been attracted by Gilad Atzmon’s new book ‘The Wandering Who?’. [for reviews see Tony Greenstein’s anti-Semitism in anti-Zionist Garb, Gabriel Ash’s review on Amazon and Elias Davidson’s review.

What had happened was that in a series of branches up and down the country, as reflected in the Liverpool Branch Forum, supporters of Gilad Atzmon had deliberately tried to refocus campaigning activity from support for the Palestinians and opposition to Zionism to ‘Jewish Identity’ and hostility to Jews in the movement. According to Atzmon’s thesis, a direct line can be traced between Moses and Joshua and Israel’s policies today and the Judaic god responsible for these policies. No matter that Moses and Joshua probably never even existed.

As Atzmon explained on p.19 of ‘The Wandering Jew’: in a sub-section entitled ‘‘Zionism, a Global Network’

Zionism is not a colonial movement with an interest in Palestine, as some scholars suggest. Zionism is actually a global movement that is fuelled by a unique tribal solidarity of third category members. To be a Zionist means to accept that, more than anything else, one is primarily a Jew.’
The reaction from Atzmon and his supporters to PSC’s statement was predictable and hysterical. Atzmon denounced the statement because, as he has repeatedly made clear, there is no such thing as holocaust denial. PSC Has Made It. Lauren Booth’s attack was both unhinged and venomous - Palestine Solidarity Campaign was in unholy alliance with Israeli mouthpiece and UK Zionist website Harry’s Place and Sarah Colborne, Director of PSC, who had been one of those aboard the Mavi Marmara, had ‘descended into the Zionist sewer.’

The Zionists have just loved the antics of Atzmon and the fact that a few members of PSC have given him their support. Indeed it is only because some of us have untiringly sought to expose the true nature of Atzmon’s policies (not only anti-Semitic, but according to a hint of his erstwhile collaborator Mary Rizzo, someone who keeps company with Israel’s Mossad).

The Jewish Chronicle has however been forced to admit that Atzmon’s anti-Semitism has been vigorously opposed within PSC, albeit wrongly attributing it solely to Jewish members of PSC and PSC Executive. Even Alan Dershowitz, whose justifications of everything that Israel does are notorious, was forced to concede that Atzmon has been opposed by those such as Sue Blackwell and myself.

In a quite remarkably fair minded article, (by Jewish Chronicle standards!) The Jews who can distinguish antisemitism from anti-Israel reprinted on Harry’s Place, Anthony Cooper concedes that:

‘very few anti-Israel Jews are self-hating. We should recognise this and make sure to keep them within the big tent against antisemitism rather than making them pariahs. They may be opponents of Israel but they can be our allies in the struggle against antisemitism.

An example are the Jews of the PSC. The PSC is a leading force in delegitimisation, using trade unions to advance its call to boycott all things related to Israel… Many believe the organisation is incapable of distinguishing between criticism of Israeli actions and antisemitism.

However, during the last 12 months there has been something of a mini-purge of the organisation. Some previously important members have been forced to resign because of their antisemitism. Those effectively expelled from the PSC include a former national chair, the chair of one branch, the secretary of another and the webmaster of a third.

Behind all these resignations appear to be rank and file Jewish members with support from a Jewish member of the executive committee. While the PSC itself may be unable to work out what antisemitism looks like, its Jewish members certainly can.

We have enough enemies already. We shouldn't be looking to create more. So long as anti-Israel Jews retain their sensitivity to antisemitism we can be sure that they are neither self-hating nor hate us. They remain allies in our struggle against antisemitism and in some ways are capable of achieving results in it that the rest of us cannot.

We should thank them for that. If we don't make enemies of them, we may find that we have more friends than we thought.’
To Gilad Atzmon this is proof that ‘The ultra Zionist, pro war, Neocon Harry’s Place decided today to thank its Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist “allies”. In an astonishing piece named A (small) Thank You to Anti-Israel Jews, Zionist Mouthpiece Anthony Cooper thanks his collaborators within our midst.’ This is a good example of why Atzmon is such a simpleton who tries to dress up as profound. If Jewish anti-Zionists were indeed in some sort of conspiracy with Harry's Place, then they would hardly thank us!! Life is just a little bit more complicated and contradictory.

If you look at the comments on the piece there is almost unanimous outrage. The normal HP contributors can’t understand why anti-Zionists (their main target) have been given qualified approval in the battle against Atzmon. Doesn’t Cooper understand that the main form of ‘anti-Semitism’ is not Gilad’s anti-Jewish racism but anti-Zionism? A few, very few Zionists, are genuine in their concern to tackle anti-Semitism, but by and large they are not to be found on Harry’s Place. Historically Zionism has always justified and indeed supported anti-Semitism. (see e.g. Unholy alliance).

At the PSC AGM on January 21st there is an ideal opportunity to bury, once and for all, this attempt to sow divisions and pit Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of the Palestinians against each other. Just as the picket of Atzmon’s book launch in London in October consisted of an equal number of Jews and non-Jews so it is important that as large a number of PSC members, regardless of religion if any, oppose Atzmon and his supporters racist diversions. Mention should be made of the fact that supporters of London ISM have been particularly vocal in criticising Atzmon’s divisive activities as have nearly all supporters of the Boycott Israel Network.

Boycott campaigners know full well that Atzmon doesn’t support BDS and that he even attacked the disruption of the Israeli Philarhmonic Orchestra on September 1st thus:

‘We loved your opposition and we also loved your Jewish campaign against the Jewish philharmony is never boring you :)’
and that the academic boycott is ‘book burning’.

Motion Number 2 from the Executive should be supported by all those who are sincere in opposing racism in all its manifestations.

Likewise Motion 9 from Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi and myself of J-Big should also be supported. It aims to complement the Executive motion by suggesting internal education as to the nature of Zionism, not least its colonial and non-Jewish origins.

Motion 10 is proposed by Gill Kaffash, ex-Secretary of Camden PSC. She wrote to me earlier this year asking for proof that Gilad Atzmon was anti-Semitic. When I provided it she became mysteriously quiet and tried to divert it onto issues of disability. The reason is that she is a died-in-the-wool anti-Semite and supporter of holocaust denier Paul Eisen.

In My Life as a holocaust denier Paul Eisen describes the torments he went through when he became a holocaust denier. Most people ‘simply remained silent but there were some who openly and repeatedly demonstrated their solidarity e.g. Dan McGowan, Henry Herskovitz, Gilad Atzmon, Sarah Gillespie, Israel Shamir, Francis Clark-Lowes, Gill Kaffash…’

Kaffash’s motion is, in the words of the Marquess of Salisbury when admonishing Ian McLeod ‘too clever by half’. She has devised a definition of racism that conveniently omits holocaust denial! According to her racism is something biological that results in practical discrimination. Unfortunately not only does this exclude Islamaphobia, which is primarily cultural not biological, but would exclude the ‘n’ word and other forms of racial abuse. Gill Kaffash’s ‘definition’ of racism makes about as much sense as the discredited Working Definition on anti-Semitism that the EUMC temporarily adopted before its successor the Fundamental Rights Agency dropped it. And it is about as useful!

January 21st is an opportunity to demonstrate once and for all that opposition to racism is a key component of support for the Palestinians. It is essential not merely that the motions are passed but that they are overwhelmingly passed.

Tony Greenstein

Motion 2: Combating Racism, Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism

This AGM believes that building opposition to the racist and apartheid policies carried out by Israel is a core value of the PSC, and reaffirms the anti-racist values of PSC’s constitution.

This AGM affirms that anti-racism is a core value of the PSC on which its work must be based.

This AGM recognises combating anti-Semitism and Islamophobia is critical in building alliances and support for a free Palestine – based on the principles of justice, human rights and international law.

This AGM also affirms that the code of conduct used at AGMs should be applied to all public meetings of PSC.

This AGM welcomes and endorses the statement put out by the Executive Committee that:

‘The Palestine Solidarity Campaign exists to build a mass solidarity movement on Palestine. It is founded on principles of justice, human rights, and opposition to all forms of racism. ‘Any expression of racism or intolerance, or attempts to deny or minimise the Holocaust have no place in our movement. Such sentiments are abhorrent in their own right and can only detract from the building of a strong movement in support of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people.’

This AGM believes that the attacks on the PSC vindicate the effectiveness of our campaigning work and reaffirms our determination that this pressure will not deflect the PSC from its campaigning aims and objectives.

This AGM instructs the EC to continue to provide training and support to branches to ensure that branches and members are able to operate effectively within the PSC’s aims and objectives, and with care and vigilance to ensure good practice in our campaigns and communications.

Proposed by the Executive Committee
Motion 9: Building an anti-racist, anti-colonialist, Palestine solidarity movement – anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial

One of the most potent weapons of Zionism is the accusation that those who support the Palestinians and oppose Israel’s settler-colonial, practices are antisemites who want to see a new Holocaust against Jews.

The Zionist movement deliberately blurs the distinction between the ‘Jewish’ state and Jewish people, in order to discredit Israel's critics and cause confusion among the growing number of people whose humanitarian and anti-racist instincts make them eager to support the Palestinian cause.

Both racism and antisemitism are features of Zionism. Virtually all far-right and neo-Nazi parties today in Europe are Islamophobic and support Zionism (while often remaining antisemitic).

The Palestine solidarity movement, by its very nature, is anti-racist. To allow antisemitism or any other form of racism to gain a foothold would be to undermine the very cause that we support.

PSC AGM therefore:

1. Welcomes the statement on the PSC website explicitly asserting its commitment to building a mass solidarity movement, in which expressions of racism or intolerance, or attempts to deny or minimise the Holocaust, have no place.

2. Confirms that support for the Palestinians and against Israel's policies is an anti-racist campaign

3. Calls on the EC to reinforce these principles by: a) organising a series of forums to build understanding of Israel as a settler-colonial, apartheid state. b) publishing educational material to develop understanding of:

-Israel’s status as a client state of US imperialism; -aspects of Zionist history, including the non-Jewish origins and Jewish opposition to Zionism, and Zionism's collusion with antisemitism -the growing alignment between the Israeli state and openly racist and fascist groups in Europe, including the English Defence League (EDL) and the British National Party (BNP).

Proposed by Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Seconded by Tony Greenstein

Motion 10

PSC has been under a great deal of pressure from accusations of antisemitism. Members have also been expelled for anti-Jewish prejudice and other members have been criticised on those grounds In the light of these events, which demonstrate the importance of agreement on the meaning of racism, anti-Jewish prejudice and Islamophobia as used in the Constitution. Conference resolves to adopt the following definition: Racism, anti-Jewish prejudice and Islamophobia shall be defined as the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups or Jews or Muslims respectively, both as individuals and collectively, justify discrimination. These terms apply especially to the practice or advocacy of discrimination of a pernicious nature ie which harms these groups.

Proposed by: Gill Kaffash, seconded by Ruth Tenne


Correspondence Between Gill Kaffash and Tony Greenstein

Date: Sat, 30 Apr 2011 00:46:47 +0100
From: tonygreenstein@yahoo.com Subject: Re: Gilad Atzmon: Drama in London CC: gillkaffash@hotmail.com

Gilad is without doubt anti-Semitic. People who know him personally confirm that he makes regular anti-Semitic comments on a personal level, which sometimes spill over publicly. His arguments, as I've tried to explain to Gill Kaffas are now overtly ones of holocaust denial. Look, the Zionists love holocaust deniers so they can justify what they do as a form of existentialism. Why prove them right? I don't know what hold Atzmon has on you, because apart from this you are a good activist, but you really need to rethink your support of Atzmon.

…. He is a parasite on solidarity with the Palestinians. His caricatures of me and others as part of the Learned Elders of Zion etc. don't hurt me but they delight those creatures on Harry's Place.

tony

From: gill kaffash To: tony greenstein ; Sent: Mon, 2 May, 2011 22:05:23
Subject: RE: Gilad Atzmon: Drama in London

Tony, I'm still awaiting an explanation. All I've received so far are assertions in the tone of Calm down dear, no discussion. I await a reasoned response.
gill

From: tony greenstein To: gill kaffash ; Sent: Mon, 2 May, 2011 22:39:14 Subject: Re: Gilad Atzmon: Drama in London

Gill

I haven’t told you to calm down, nor called you ‘dear’ ‘expensive’ or cheap for that matter. Your demeanour is a matter of no concern to me. You say you are awaiting an explanation.

I sent to you by attachment an article I had written ‘The Definitive Guide to Atzmon’. I’ll send it to you again in case you either didn’t receive it or understand it. But if you didn’t understand it then no amount of explanation will be of any help. And for someone who is not politically na├»ve, who is an activist, who has been through all the debates, not to be able to work it out for herself suggests that this is more a ploy.

However I will take you at your word and see whether you are still going to pretend you don’t understand or that the explanation has not been provided.

Firstly Atzmon in all his writings seeks to identify the cause of the Palestinian’s plight on a mysterious quality called ‘Jewishness’ which is a metaphysical substance that doesn’t and never has existed, any more than any identity is fixed. But in his case it is a metaphor for racism. Zionism in Atzmon’s eyes is the consequence of being Jewish. And in that respect the Zionists are right, hence his fulsome welcome for Anthony Julius’ attacks on Jewish anti-Zionists. They mirrored his own. Atzmon explicitly rejects, as do right-wing supporters of the Palestinians, the concept of colonialism or imperialism. In short it is the Jews who are to blame. If you find that an attractive analysis so be it. If you don’t then read the whole of his article ‘Not in my Name’ which I’ve given links to and isn’t hard to find. ‘Jewish’ is as elusive as the German Volk and the concept of what it mean to be an Aryan.

If you find the following attactive then fine. But then you are not an anti-Zionist. It is clear that for Atzmon being Jewish means automatically being a Zionist. He also therefore writes off Israeli anti-Zionists who dare to remain Jewish.

'While Zionism appointed itself from its early days to talk and to act on behalf of the Jewish people, it is actually the sporadic rebels who criticise Zionism in the name of their Jewish secular identity who affirm the Zionist ‘totalitarian’ agenda. Bizarrely enough, it is the Jewish Left which turns Zionism into the official voice of the Jewish people…. To demand that Jews disapprove of Zionism in the name of their Jewish identity is to accept the Zionist philosophy. To resist Zionism as a secular Jew involves an acceptance of basic Zionist terminology, that is to say, a surrendering to Jewish racist and nationalist philosophy. To talk as a Jew is to surrender to Weizman’s Zionist philosophy.
Bizarre yes, but also profoundly reactionary and Zionist.

Secondly, just on a personal level, whether it’s his little remarks like ‘Socialist Jewnity’ or his attack on ‘Jewish Marxism’ he is anti-Semitic. As I detail in the article, there was the little incident when Atzmon had to make a humiliating apology when he cited in his article ‘Credit Crunch or rather Zio Punch’, [the Jews are to blame for the financial crisis] John Reynolds, who wrote that "Above all we need more individuals to make a stand. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York should go further and call for more Christians to work in the city."

However Atzmon chose to put his own interpretation on Reynold’s words:

'One may wonder what Reynolds refers to when calling for more ‘Christians to work in the City’... By pleading the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to send more Christians to the City he may try to suggest to us that our financial world must be spiritually de-Judified. I must admit that it took me by complete surprise to read such a suggestion in the politically correct Guardian.’
His apology swiftly followed:

‘Clarification: In the course of an article entitled "Credit Crunch or rather Zio Punch?" I recently made a comment about Mr John Reynolds, the Chief Executive of Reynolds Partners and chairman of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group. I suggested that some people may think that his call in The Observer to send more Christians to the City was a plea for the financial world to be "spiritually de-Judified". I want to make it clear that I did not intend to suggest that Mr Reynolds was anti-Semitic or in any way hostile to Jewish people or those of the Jewish faith and I am sorry if my comment was understood by anybody in that way. Mr Reynolds has asked me to clarify the position and I am happy to do so. I would like to apologise for any distress caused.’
Date: Sat, 7 May 2011 01:46:31 +0100
Strange that Atzmon should have had to apologise for having suggested that Mr Reynolds was anti-Semitic. What connection is there between calling for a ‘spiritual de-Judification’ and anti-Semitism? Enlighten me Gill.

Thirdly he has gone from what one might call holocaust skepticism to acceptance that the holocaust is a myth. I assume you don’t subscribe to this but the quotes I have given, and again read the whole article, are quite explicit:

In ‘Truth, History, and Integrity’ Atzmon leaves no room for misunderstanding. ‘If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich…, or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war?’ …

‘If the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war?'
Do you really want an explanation of the above Gill? I would have thought a reasonably intelligent child would be able to decipher them. Certainly you will be able to understand them even if you purport not to do so.

Tony Greenstein

Date: Sat, 7 May 2011 01:46:31 +0100
From: tonygreenstein@yahoo.com
Subject: Re: Gilad Atzmon: Drama in London To: gillkaffash@hotmail.com Gill,

you said you were still waiting for an explanation. I sent it to you nearly a week ago. Since then, silence.

Do you find it difficult to understand or to accept that Atzmon's views are clearly racist and anti-Semitic?

I thought the explanation was quite simple. At least I made it as simple as possible for you. Clearly I failed.

And I am only as good as the information I get. If Alan Hart lied to Naomi then the fault lies elsewhere. In any other forum, the fact that 2 or one's 3 fellow speakers decided not to speak alongside and only an eccentric ex-BBC man did so might impinge upon your consciousness. Obviously not.

tony greenstein


From: gill kaffash To: tony greenstein Sent: Sat, 7 May, 2011 23:54:03 Subject: RE: Gilad Atzmon: Drama in London

Ah, Tony, I see I'll have to dumb down my insults to the level of yours. What I won't do is use any disability as an insult, which I find abhorrent. You assume correctly that I have adequate eyesight and literacy to read what you send. Therefore, you are using visual impairment and illliteracy as an insult.

In a previous constitution, PSC had discrimination against disability among the expellable crimes. At some point, the list was shortened to racism and anti-semitism; Islamophobia was not included until I put in an amendment, via Camden PSC. Is this not curious? In this grossly Islamophobic society with institutional Islamophobia rife, an organisation pledged to support a nation in which Muslims are the majority, did not think to require that its members oppose that discrimination.

I have devised a rule to help those like me who are puzzled about the use of Jew.
If a Zionist is a Jew, it is anti-semitic to mention it; if an anti-Zionist is a Jew, it is mandatory to point it out.
Gill

Date: Sun, 8 May 2011 01:16:24 +0100 From: tonygreenstein@yahoo.com Subject: Re: Gilad Atzmon: Drama in London To: gillkaffash@hotmail.com

Gill

I am not aware of having impugned your eyesight or ability to read. It's your ability to understand what is written i.e. stupidity that is the problem. Or should it be unconstitutional to mention such matters?

So I know it's therefore going to be impossible for you to understand this but it's quite simple. It's not anti-Semitic to mention that many Zionists are Jewish. That is a matter of fact. It's the purpose to which you put that fact.

Clearly you don't find the questioning of the existence of Auschwitz or the death camps anti-Semitic or you would have commented on the Atzmon quotes I sent you. Although tempting to say it is a product of your (lack of) intelligence it's probably fairer to say that it's a consequence of your reactionary and racist politics

Clear now?

Tony Greenstein


RE: Gilad Atzmon: Drama in London
FROM: gill kaffash TO: tony greenstein Sunday, 8 May 2011, 13:11
Tony, it is not my eyesight or literacy which I am writing about; it is your use of visual impairment or illiteracy as a sign of stupidity which I am objecting to. In response to my request for a reasoned reply, you wrote " ...are you visually impaired or can't you read? " Later, you wrote suggesting there was something wrong with my eyesight and pitying me for it. Of course you know I am able to read, so you were using it as an insult. The insult is not to me but to those people with visual impairment or literacy problems. You were using those phrases as a way of calling me stupid, ie you were calling the blind and illiterate stupid.
You have also misunderstood my witticism on the use of Jew. I was of course mocking the policing of the word by you and your fellow McCarthyite Jews.

However, delightful as this correspondence has been, we all have better uses for our time. So call me a Holcaust Denier and anti-semite. I'll accept the labels and get on with my work.
Gill

>>Tony, I'm still awaiting an explanation. All I've received so far are assertions in the tone of Calm down dear, no discussion. I await a reasoned response.
gill

68 comments:

Anthony said...

Tony I'm confused by the motion you've tabled (motion 9). The third point calls for education in order to reinforce the principles laid out in the first two points. However, the things you seek to make people understand seem completely irrelevant to ensuring that anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial have no place in the PSC.

Could you explain why you aren't seeking to educate the PSC members about the history of anti-Semitism and about the Holocaust if your desire is to ensure that PSC members don't slip into anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial?

Tony Greenstein said...

Anthony

The reason is that PSC is a solidarity organisation and it would no more have internal education about the holocaust or anti-Semitism than any other solidarity organisation.

To our mind there is little connection between Zionism, which was a political movement formed, if you take 1881 as the starting point, some 60 years before the holocaust.

Likewise the history of anti-Semitism is likely to be contentious given that Zionist historiography has come into sharp dispute with diaspora historians over this and it seeks to rewrite the past from a distorted view of the present.

As I wrote in my review of Gabriel Piterberg's superb 'The Returns of Zionism':

'Zionism rejected all the great Jewish historians of the Diaspora – Heinrich Graetz, Simon Dubnow, Salo Baron. They lived in ‘exile’ and therefore could not appreciate ‘real’ Jewish history as viewed from Mount Scopus and Palestine. As Raz-Krakotzkin, described it, Zionist history is the history of the victor. To the ‘Princess of Zionism’ Anita Shapira even the Nazi holocaust could only be understood on Jewish national soil even though it took placed in the accursed diaspora. As Piterberg notes, ‘Arendt committed what is for Zionist Israeli scholars, from Scholem to Shapira, the cardinal sin: she had a universalise perspective’

I suspect our take on the history of anti-Semitism would diverge because I don't accept the Zionist myth that there were 2,000 years of unbroken anti-Semitism. Jews were oppressors and oppressed. In general they lived far better lives than the peasants and serfs around them. This resulted from time to time in pogroms etc.

But the real point is that the history of anti-Semitism is in any case of very limited value. Anti-Semitism in medieval times cannot be compared with the Nazi genocide. Even in Latvia the Nazis found it hard, as the Situation Reports filed by the Einsatzgruppen testify, to initiate pogroms. In feudal times they tended to die out like brushwood and the state had no interest in such a conflagration.

That was why fascist anti-Semitism marked a sharp break from the past in many ways. I don't have time to deal with this, but there were Polish anti-Semitic leaders who, realising that anti-Semitism was being used to destroy Polish nationalism, moved to a position of opposition. Poland is another story so I'll leave it.

The reason we have proposed the things we have is to combat the idea that support for Israel, the Zionist lobby etc. is somehow the property of Jews and is in effect a Jewish lobby.

It is important to show that the main lobby for Israel in the US, whilst using Jews as cover, comes from the Christian Right, in particular Hagee's CUFI. Hagee, despite the defence of him by Foxman et al, is acknowledged to be a virulent anti-Semite who saw Hitler as fulfilling a divine mission. Likewise Glenn Beck, who was recently accorded an invitation to address the Knesset, waxes lyrical on Jewish financiers, the Rothschilds and other topics not a million miles form Atzmon.

It is, interestingly, in view of the HP discussion, one of the key arguments of Atzmon that Israel is NOT a colonial entity nor was it formed by colonialism. For him it was the Jews, again a mirror image of Zionism.

You will of course disagree with this, but in our view, an education about the origins of Zionism, not least to show how Jews were the main opponents of it and anti-Semites the main supporters (and there can be no dispute about this - from Class to Drumont to Rosenberg etc.)

It is the failure to understand Zionism which leads people to see being Jewish and Zionist as synonymous. That means your side ending once and for all the continual conflation of the two, but we know they won't, hence the problems that arise.

Anthony said...

I recognise your approach now. However, I find it troubling.

Your position is part of the continuum of Jewish opinion. This continuum stretches from one extreme (such as wanting all Arabs murdered), through slavish support of every Israel policy, via discomfort and opposition to some and to the other extreme of opposing every policy and wanting Israel to disappear.

This much ought to be obvious. More so, no anti-racist organisation should need education not to realise that an individual's opinion is not determined by his skin colour or the religion of his parents. As such, regardless of the comments of any Jewish organisation, anti-racists should realise that Jews do not speak with one voice on this issue. How could they be anti-racist if they didn't?

And so the question is whether you're approach is helpful. I don't see that it is, at least not without accepting that your colleagues in the PSC are currently not actually anti-racist.

Your motion and intended education material does not challenge their seemingly racist notion that all (or most) Jews share the same opinion. Educating them about Jewish opposition to Zionism doesn't tackle the underlying lack of anti-racism.

Moreover, I think your proposal and indeed the entire anti-Israel "as a Jew" phenomenon, may exacerbate the problem. The tendency is to imply a simple dichotomy in which those who oppose Israel publicly are "good Jews" and everyone else is a "bad Jew" who, by virtue of not opposing Israel, must support every policy and action.

In my article that you quoted in your post, I point to one example of this result. The opposition of Neturei Karta to Zionism did not lead to an understanding that there is a continuum of Jewish opinion. It simply led to the racist slightly amending his racism to include a special category for "good Jews".

I'd be very interested to hear whether you share my concerns and, in particular, whether you accept that an anti-racist organisation ought to understand without special education that no racial, ethnic or religious group speaks with one voice even if some members of that group claim that it does.

Paul Eisen said...

Tony,

Why, when so many of the injustices you complain about (often rightly) have nothing to do with 'race' do you insist on calling them 'racism'?

Surely you could be accurate and still make the same points.

Tony Greenstein said...

Paul

you ask why it is that when so many of the injustices I complain about have nothing to do with race do I insist on calling them racist.

I make a distinction between racism and racist. There is no such thing as 'race', it is a political construct. However racism certainly exists, based on this false construction. I.e. people are arbitrarily discriminated against on the grounds of their perceived 'race' or lower status. That is why I say their treatment is racist.

Not all injustices are of course racist and you won't find me describing the government attack on the low paid, pensions, claimants etc. as racist because of course they apply equally to those of all 'races'.

Tony Greenstein said...

Anthony, you say that 'no anti-racist organisation should need education not to realise that an individual's opinion is not determined by his skin colour or the religion of his parents.'

I agree. However it is not as simple as that. You say 'regardless of the comments of any Jewish organisation, anti-racists should realise that Jews do not speak with one voice on this issue.'

Therein lies the problem. There is a deafening cacophony of wall to wall noise that says, explicitly and insistently, backed up by the court papers of the establishment, that says to be Jewish is to support Israel. The BOD organises demonstrations 'Jews Stand by Israel' when there is an attack on Gaza. Not 'some Jews' but'Jews'. And those of us who dissent are 'self-haters' i.e. the bad Jews but worse, because they borrow the language and concepts of how Nazi Germany treated anti-fascist Germans.

In short you are trying to have your cake and eat it. Zionism can hardly proclaim to speak on behalf of all Jews as a 'national' movement, not individual Jews, and then complain when people take them at their word.

Therein lies the problem. Some supporters of the Palestinians do accept the Zionist claims and therefore all Jews are seen as the enemy. It is a situation entirely of Zionism's own making. And we have on the HP blog that has discussed, appallingly, your article and in the repeated proclamations of J Hoffman the insistence that 'aZ = aS'.
I believe that it is only through an understanding of the origins of Zionism, Jewish opposition to it, why Jews opposed it, how Zionism arose and the context, which of course is modern day anti-Semitism, that an understanding can be garnered that it is the growth of AS that led to a growth of Zionism.

In fact the majority of supporters of the Palestinians do understand this. It is a minority we are talking about but it is a minority I wish to see reduced to insignificance.

Well clearly there are some associated with Palestinian politics, including PSC, who are not confused at best, for the reasons I have given above. In fact I believe that nearly all of them, including Gill Kaffash, are primarily motivated by opposition to the primary racism of Israel and Zionism and when Jewish organisations say that Jews AS Jews are responsible, that there then begins a process of what Marxists call false consciousness. The co-existence of 2 contradictory trends inside one's head.

When I speak 'as a Jew' against Zionism I don't imply that all other Jews are bad. I speak for myself alone but I do so, because there are others, speaking 'as Jews' who attack things like Boycott because they are Jewish. That is the context in which I speak as someone who is Jewish.

But certainly, if someone proclaims that they are shackling children, confiscating homes, expelling refugees etc. in the name of all Jews I do think it is incumbent on Jews to speak out. Certainly morally but I've never criticised someone who remained silent.

But we could contextualise this. Was there an obligation on Germans to oppose Nazi policies, despite the terrible risks between 1933-41?
Neturei Karta's oosition is different as it stems primarily from their religious not political views, though religion and politics cannot be separated.

Tony Greenstein said...

So yes, of course PSC is an anti-racist organisation. But it is also a solidarity organisation and people come into it from varied backgrounds and opinions. That is a fact. There is so much any organisation can do and we have proposed a modest programme of education. Our activity is the best guarantor.
I should add that the most vociferous opponents of Atzmon, many of whose young activists were on the picket of Atzmon's book launch were the same people decried as 'Jew haters' by Geoffrey Alderman when he rejoiced in the death of an Italian activist, ie the ISM. It is often those who less active and older who seem attracted by Atzmon who in fact opposes solidarity actions.
So when you ask whether I accept that 'no racial, ethnic or religious group speaks with one voice even if some members of that group claim that it does' then of course the answer is yes. But the real problem, as I think u understand, is that there are many others who are insistent that Jews are a collective and do speak with one voice and, as you know, there is great pressure in the Jewish community not to rock the boat or criticise Israel.

Anthony said...

Tony, I'll try and keep this brief.

There is a continuum of Jewish opinion and anyone thinking otherwise is racist. No member of an anti-racist organisation should need educating on this point. Moreover, your education is not that the notion itself is racist but only that in this instance is it untrue.

It is impossible to claim that Zionists believe all Jews speak with one voice. How could they hold that belief when all major political parties in Israel are Zionist and yet they stand for election against each other?

So I'm left somewhat unconvinced by your defence of the PSC and your motion. If it truly were an anti-racist campaign it would not need your motion and if there were fringe elements that did need it, your motion should be educating them not to be racist not that in this instance their racism is wrong because in the past there was strong opposition to Zionism.

I just cannot understand an organisation calling itself anti-racist to its core and yet needing to educate its members against racism. The two just don't match up.

Tony Greenstein said...

Anthony,

you say 'There is a continuum of Jewish opinion and anyone thinking otherwise is racist.'

Agreed

'No member of an anti-racist organisation should need educating on this point.'

Also agree but unfortunately supporters of the Palestinians and anti-Zionists are faced with a continual of barrage of propaganda, from those who claim to speak on behalf of the Jewish community (e.g. the BOD) who claim otherwise.

You show me where and when the Zionist Federation or Board or indeed any similar organisation (Aipac etc.) have made such a distinction. On the contrary they have asserted, not least on the HP blog you posted, the complete opposite namely that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism.

'Moreover, your education is not that the notion itself is racist but only that in this instance is it untrue.'

It is clearly implicit in the motion we and PSC Executive have proposed that this is indeed the case. It is us, not the Zionists in all their varieties, who have asserted the difference between being Jewish and being Zionist.

'It is impossible to claim that Zionists believe all Jews speak with one voice. How could they hold that belief when all major political parties in Israel are Zionist and yet they stand for election against each other?'

Because Zionist parties themselves operate within the assumption that Zionism is a movement of Jewish national liberation or Jewish nationalism. All Zionist parties believe that Israel is a Jewish State or State of the Jews.
'If it truly were an anti-racist campaign it would not need your motion'

see above

'and if there were fringe elements that did need it, your motion should be educating them not to be racist'

which it does, though a motion is not the education in itself

'not that in this instance their racism is wrong because in the past there was strong opposition to Zionism.'

it is one of the ways of explaining it. Given the success of Zionism in persuading people that Zionism and being Jewish is one of the same, hence Atzmon, this is the reason why people need convincing since, apart from Jewish groups opposed to Zionism there is very little evidence.

'I just cannot understand an organisation calling itself anti-racist to its core and yet needing to educate its members against racism. The two just don't match up.'

The principles of PSC and ourselves, that there shouldn't be a state that defines itself racially, which is what the Law of Return does by its own admission.

Show me where ZIonists have asserted any difference between being Jewish and Zionist? This is Atzmon's whole point, that he accepts this Zionist contention. We don't, hence our dispute.

Anthony said...

It is logically fallacious to derive from "anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism" that "Zionism = Jewish". Is a Christian Zionist also a Jew?

Besides, your position on this is backwards and wrong. You acknowledge that it is racist to deny a continuum of Jewish opinion but instead of laying the blame at the feet of the racists you blame the victims of that racism.

When Islamists carry out terrorist attacks in the name of Islam and groups like the EDL become active; do you blame Muslims for not spending all their energy opposing Islamists? No. You rightly acknowledge that the EDL is racist and lay the blame at their door. Why do you not do the same when it comes to Jews? Why with Jews do you excuse the racists and blame the Jews?

If it is racist, as you acknowledge, to deny the continuum of Jewish opinion then the blame lies with the racists. Full stop.

Paul Eisen said...

Tony,

Thank you for your response. I'm trying to understand your position so could you say something about the following questions?

What precisely is the distinction between racism and racist and why is it so important to make the distinction?

I can see how someone can think that race is a political construct, but is the same true of class? If not, why not?

You could, just as easily, choose to describe these unpleasant acts as ‘intolerance’ or ‘aggression against the other’ but you definitely choose to describe them as ‘racist’. Why is that so important to you?

Anonymous said...

As a Zionist I'd like to emphasize the lack of truth in the phrase Jew=Zionist.

But your debate seems marginal or outdated. In the 50's it was common to criticize Israel for addressing Jewish issues in other countries, but today, it is more common to criticize Israel for NOT addressing these issues.

Sociologically, Jewish communities decline in numbers everywhere except Israel. (maybe France and Germany grow in numbers because of immigration).

In Israel itself, Zionism in no longer the "main dish" in the educational system, as more and more Israeli children go to Arab schools or Jewish orthodox schools.

This alone can revoke Zionism in Israel in the next 30-40 years.

As anti-Zionist as you are, I don't hope you'll accept the idea that all relevant (meaning, not just moral by it's definition, but has public political support)
alternatives are worse.

Zionism, though national, is basically democratic, where as political Islam, or reactionary orthodox Jewish, is not.

Yet, Jews, Zionists and others, all around the world, expect the state of Israel to represent them in some issues. It is a fact, not a conspiracy.

this does not at all conflicts with the fact that Zionists are a minority in the Jewish people, and in Israel itself (and in my opinion, even in Israeli politics).

It is also accompanied with a lot of Jewish pressure from the world towards internal Israeli issues.

The claim that AIPAC is a Jewish lobby is absurd as the claim that it is an Israeli lobby. It is an influential right-wing Jewish group, who tries to shape American and Israeli politics to its own accords, very much like Christian American right-wing groups. They "support" Israel just as much as they want to dictate what Israel is and should be, and most of the time, against the interests of the actual Israelis.

As for your organization, it is indeed respectful to suggest education about antisemitism and holocaust denial, in the case that there is support of such ideas in your group.

if not, a more universal approach is better suited.

Racism exists everywhere, and the common ground of it is bigger than the uniqueness of each separate case.

I admit that your fixation towards Israel and Zionism discredit your slogan "against all racism", and gives some credit to those you oppose, who (falsely) claim you are a Zionist in the closet.

Racism (among other factors) is enabling an ongoing genocide in Darfur since 2003.

Immigration to Europe is utilized to help fascists gather a lot of power in many European countries.

by reading your Blog, one can imagine that once You eliminate Israel, the messiah would emerge, pacifism would prevail.

I think it mirrors the freaks here in Israel who think that by deporting Arabs and building the third temple they'd save the world.

take in mind.

Craig said...

Tony Greenstein is not understood by Tony Greenstein anymore.
With all the Dialect games, he dose not understand himself anymore, so you expect someone else to understand...............

Tony Greenstein said...

Anthony, there is no false logic in saying that the equation of aS = aZ, which you don't comment on incidentally is like saying a Christian Zionist is a Jew. Anti-Semitism means being anti-Jewish in various ways. It is a form of racism. Anti-Zionism is opposition to a political creed. What people like J Hoffman are saying is that a particular political creed is synonymous with all Jews and, by your own admission, that is racist.

Your use of the Christian Zionist analogy is a non sequitor. I'm using the term anti-Jewish and therefore one would expect that anti-Zionist Christians would also be called anti-Semitic i.e. anti-Jewish, whereas Christian Zionists would be Jewish supporters.

That is exactly the case as people like John Hagee and Glenn Beck, prominent Christian Zionists are considered pro-Jewish in the wierd Zionist logic that pertains, even though both are explicitly anti-Semitic.

An example of this is the absurd situation of leading Zionists feuding over Vivian Wineman's mild letter to David Cameron concerning the Polish far-right leader and anti-Semite, Michal Kaminiski. Jewish leaders feud (15.10.09.) http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/21021/kaminski-jewish-leaders-feud

You say that since it is racist to deny a continuum of Jewish opinion, which Zionist supporters regularly do, 'instead of laying the blame at the feet of the racists you blame the victims of that racism.'

Not so. I haven't hesitated to excoriate Gilad Atzmon and his supporters. But in all honesty, how can I do so if I don't also criticise those Zionists who maintain the same stance? If Zionist leaders argue anti-Semitic positions, as historically they always did, I am certainly not going to keep silent.

I also don't accept the glib argument that Jews are victims of racism in this country. Anti-semitism is a marginal prejudice today and is as well to acknowledge it. Jews are not subject to state racism, immigration controls aimed specifically at them, racist attacks in the street, demonisation in the press, economic discrimination etc.

Anti-semitism is primarily ideological. The situation of the Jews in the 1930's in the East End, where they were under constant fascist attack simply does not hold. They are part of the white majority in this country. Anti-semitism exists primarily in the realm of ideology which is why there was no uproar at the remarks of the Jewish Leadership Council re Kaminiski.

Your comparison with Islamists is also way off beam. Leaders of the Muslim community themselves disavow the said Islamists. More to the point the EDL has gained the weight it has because of the almost open support of sections of the British media and establishment. In the case of the Daily Express, owned by a major funder of the Community Security Trust, Richard Desmond, there is virtuall total support of the EDL. It is a nonsense analogy.

If Islamists had the stranglehold that Zionists have over the Jewish community then the reaction to it would dwarf anything the EDL could hope to achieve.

If it is racist, as you acknowledge, to deny the continuum of Jewish opinion then the blame lies with the racists. Full stop.

If you are serious in this then you have to turn your attention to those within the Jewish community, the leaders and prominent spokespersons, like Mr Hoffman but also others, who maintain that to be anti-Zionist is to be anti-Semitic.

Tony Greenstein said...

Paul,

I don't make a distinction between racism (noun) and racist (adj). I distinguish between racism and race. The fact that the latter doesn't exist doesn't prevent racism existing.

No class is a verifiable social and economic phenomenon. In Marxist terms it is defined by one's relations to the means of production. It explains how this society work, why and how the wealthy control it and why social goals have been subordinated to those of blind accummulation of capital for its own sake and profit.

You refer to 'these unpleasant acts'. I'm not sure which acts.

Why is it important? Because as Albert Luthuli put it, you can change your politics but not the colour of your skin.

An Arab in Palestine experience, because they are not Jewish i.e. Arab, a multitude of discriminatory acts. They are not individual and random. It's not just people with blue eyes or a short stature. It is all those fitting into the term 'untermenschen'. They are considered by the majority of Israeli jews as less than human, to be tolerated. Whether or not you think that makes what happens any different I'll leave to you.

Likewise I oppose anti-Semitism, not because it is anything like as virulent today, it is not, but because once one accepts the racialising of the struggle against Zionism one concedes the argument. That is why I say that DYR, which had such potential, took a false turn when it decided that there was something intrinsic to being Jewish that led to Zionism and the massacres of 1948.

Anti-Semitism cannot but undermine the struggle against Zionism.

Anthony said...

Tony I think you missed my point, certainly you did not address it.

It may be wrong to argue that AZ=AS, but it may not be. When the only form of nationalism that one opposes is Jewish nationalism the probability that this is actually antisemitism is quite high.

Regardless, my point was simply that even if one argues that AZ=AS, the inverse is not being argued, namely that Zionism=Judaism. This is important because, unlike you, I don't see Zionists claiming that all Jews speak with one voice. Your evidence that they do is that they argue that AZ=AS. But that is no evidence at all because arguing that AZ=AS does not in any way imply a belief that all Jews agree with each other about Zionism.

With this in mind I find it difficult to accept your claim that you are not blaming the victims in this case. Of course antisemitism in the UK today is nothing compared to what it was but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. And certainly, to the extent that antisemitism exists, Jews are its victims. Therefore, if you blame the antisemitism of the PSC on Jews, you are blaming the victims.

The fact that you oppose Atzmon doesn't diminish the fact that you also lay the blame for his antisemitism at the feet of Jews. If only certain Jews would stop saying certain things, you argue, then the racists would stop hating Jews. That is the entirety of your argument and that is itself blaming the victims.

I hesitate to use this analogy but it is somewhat topical and serves a purpose here. When someone suggests that rape victims are partly to blame because they dress in a certain way they are rightly condemned. Those people do not completely ignore the rapists, but they apportion blame to the victims. This is what you are doing.

Your only saving grace would be if it is the case that the mainstream Jewish organisations did in fact state openly and without opposition that all Jews agree with all Israeli policies. But the only evidence you have provided of this doesn't hold at all. Indeed, I think the suggestion is laughable that anyone with standing in the Jewish community could be accused of ignoring the continuum of Jewish opinion.

As such, the final conclusion is this:
1) It is racist to ignore the continuum of Jewish opinion
2) No serious and authoritative Jewish representative ignores the continuum
3) The fault for that racism lies with the racists alone
4) You do not lay the blame for racism solely with the racists but also with the targets(victims) of that racism

Unless you can actually provide solid evidence that mainstream Jewish organisations are denying the continuum of Jewish opinion your position is untenable in my view.

ftp said...

Tony

You've publicly declared me to be an anti-semite (http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2011/07/indymedia-uk-three-years-on.html) and yet I am absolutely clear that people of Jewish origin are not a mono-thought clique, and that there is no common position shared by all Jews on any issue whatsoever.

So, what it is that makes me a racist?

Tony Greenstein said...

FTP,

Yes I probably did declare you were an anti-Semite on the basis of an unqualified support for Gilad Atzmon who certainly generalises about Jews. The context if you will remember was the Hunters of Goliath, which blamed the victims of the holocaust for their own demise equating their 'unpopularity' with that of Israel today.

Do you still agree with those positions because that is anti-Semitic? Atzmon not only generalises about a Jewish ideology he subdivides Jews into 3 absurd categories and terms Jewish anti-Zionists (his main target).

Do you also find Israel Shamir an inspiring figure, because he was/is a full blooded anti-Semite and fascist.

Racism is much more than simply people sharing a common belief/ideology. Conspiracy theories are only one aspect of certain forms of and racism.

Tony Greenstein said...

Anthony

very briefly as I have little time.

If you say that anti-Semitism equals anti-Zionism you are saying that all except a few 'self-hating' Jews agree with Zionism. There is no other interpretation.

I do oppose nationalism, all nationalisms, but I don't accept there is such a thing as Jewish nationalism because there is no Jewish nation. When Zionism was formed, if Jews formed a national minority or national cultural grouping it was in the old Pale of Settlement and the Jews arguing this position were of course the Bund, who Atzmon just happens to attack on the side of Zionism.

Your position is so abstract you get caught in your own contradictions. Let's make it practical and then you might see it more clearly. I don't know any rape victims you blame women for attacks on them. Quite the contrary. But Israel continually attributes its actions to Jews, all Jews, it acts as a Jewish state, it adorns its weapons with the star of david and so on.

Is it any surprise that people therefore accept what it says? It's not me blaming the victims (why are Jews victims in this situation?) it's the victims themselves who are doing the blaming, hence why your analogy falls at the first hurdle. If Jewish organisations in this country proudly proclaim that they stand behind the massacre in Gaza, when 1,400 people, including 400 children, were killed, is it any wonder that people target and blame Jews?

But I said I would use a practical example. I helped run the PSC stall throughout that terrible month of Israel's attack on a defenceless people. A complete war crime that has no justification whatsoever. We had people queuing to sign the petition and many of them, ordinary English people, blamed 'the Jews'. Why? Because Jews themselves or their Zionist spokespersons were keen to claim the 'credit'.

Half of our task was persuading them that it wasn't Jews but US power politics that were responsible and that Israel and Jews are not the same. To be blunt Zionism has always encouraged and welcomed anti-Semitism as a means of stimulating emigration to Israel. It did that from Pinsker to today. In the Nazi era it was much the same although it could be argued (though not in the case of Ben Gurion and his followers) that they didn't see the lethal nature of Nazism in 1933.

This is where you should be focussed. The welcome Zionism has historically given to anti-Semitism, from Kaminski to Le Pen, stopping off via the most disgusting racism imaginable in Israel, such as Torat HaMelech and the neo-Nazi rabbis that are increasingly dominating the Orthodox.

For me opposition to racism is a principle but I don't hear anything from you in respect of Israel's racism or Zionism's 'demographic fears' or its Judaification of the Negev etc. This is the real racism. What we see today in Britain is reflective racism for the most part. That is why the Harry's Place hoodlums are incapable of even dealing with the subject.

Gert said...

Anthony:

”Regardless, my point was simply that even if one argues that AZ=AS, the inverse is not being argued, namely that Zionism=Judaism. This is important because, unlike you, I don't see Zionists claiming that all Jews speak with one voice. Your evidence that they do is that they argue that AZ=AS. But that is no evidence at all because arguing that AZ=AS does not in any way imply a belief that all Jews agree with each other about Zionism.”

You really are denying the undeniable here. As a critic of Israel I get told ALL THE TIME that I’m racist (i.e. antisemitic, although they call me much, much worse beside that!) because every criticism of Israel is claimed to be an attack on the Jewish people. Zionists, Jewish or otherwise, loudly equate Israel with the Jewish people and thus conclude that there is a veritable tsunami of ‘Jew-hatred’ going on and it’s back to the 1930s again!

Take a hint and read the reactions to your rather lily-livered piece by the audience of the Brown Sauce! So not all Jews agree on Zionism (true!), so what? The point is that Zionists make us believe that Zionism and Judaism need to be equated and that non-Jews who disagree with Zionism must be anti-Jewish and Jewish critics must be self-haters. It’s one of the most absurd contentions I can think of but then Zionism isn’t endowed with great logic to begin with.

Hint 2: have you ever heard a critic of Britain, no matter how vociferously his criticism might be, being called ‘anti-British’?

I’m not quite sure why Tony wants to spend so much time trying to answer your sophistry.

ftp said...

Tony

So far, all I'm seeing is you flinging the accusation at me because I don't agree with your reading of Atzmon.

You say this about me:

"He blocked other members of the IM collective"

And yet the truth of the matter is that when the decision in Nottingham was taken I 'stood aside' so you're just plain wrong.

You also say:

"his real reasons for his defence of Atzmon viz. that he had become part of their circle when he met Atzmon’s mentor, Israel Shamir/Jermas and many other names in Palestine"

And again thats far from the truth. I never discussed Atzmon with Shamir (in fact I was unaware of Atzmon's very existence at the time) and nor did my discussion with Shamir touch on anything to do with Jews, Nazism or the holocaust. Shamir was invited by another ISMer and I had never read anything he wrote, or heard of him before that day. As far as I was aware I was talking to a sympathetic Israeli journalist in the home of a Palestinian family which was under threat of demolition. So, I am very aware that you often get it wrong when it comes to the interpretation of text.

Bearing in mind that Gill Kaffash is outed by you as "clearly a holocaust denier" apparently on the basis that Paul Eisen mentions her as someone who showed him solidarity, it does seem to me that you are happy to smear people purely on the basis that they are somehow associated with people you disagree with.


As such I find it disturbing that you think you have a role in educating members of the PSC in these matters.

If you can point me to something other than the fact that I read Atzmon differently to you, or once drank tea with a journalist as proof of my racism, then please let me know.

Thanks

Paul Eisen said...

You really are absurd, Tony.

Anthony Cooper is a rabid Zionist, but at least he's coherent.

You're an ethnic Jewish activist - you always have been and you always will be.

Why not come out? you'll feel ever so much better.

Anthony said...

Your entire argument turns on the claim that AZ=AS means that Zionism=Judaism. I think you might be right if it were the case that AZ=AS means that there are no valid reasons to be opposed to Zionism. If that were the meaning of the equation then it is obviously true that only antisemitic Jews could be anti-Zionist.

The problem you have is that you understand the equation in a way that it is not meant.

The claim, I think, is shorthand for one of two claims (perhaps more):
1) Criticism of Israel is often motivated by anti-Semitism
2) Opposition to Zionism is not matched by a similar opposition to other forms of nationalism.

Both of these versions can be found in this article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/nov/29/comment) for example.

Do you have evidence that the equation AZ=AS is being used to mean that any and all opposition to Zionism is racism?

Tony Greenstein said...

Anthony, you are being pedantic.

If you say that anti-Semitism is no different from anti-Semitism or indeed worse than anti-Semitism as Judea Pearl argued in the Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-pearl15-2009mar15,0,6323783.story

in an opinion piece 'Is anti-Zionism hate? Yes. It is more dangerous than anti-Semitism, threatening lives and peace in the Middle East.'

She argued that 'Anti-Semitism rejects Jews as equal members of the human race; anti-Zionism rejects Israel as an equal member in the family of nations.' the conclusion is obvious. Anti-Zionism is a species of anti-Semitism, indeed worse than anti-Semitism.

Thus you legitimise anti-Semitism and allow Atzmon his entry ticket.

The logic of my claim isn't that Zionism is Judaism (an arguable proposition as it takes over the mainstream religion) but that it is equivalent to being Jewish.

So as you accept, the logic is that 'antisemitic Jews could be anti-Zionist.'

You say the claim that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism can be understood as either that criticism of Israel is often motivated by anti-Semitism, although you give no reason why this should be so. Anti-semites seem to have no problem openly supporting Israel these days, just as the Nazi anti-Semites (Rosenberg et al.) loudly proclaimed that they were Zionist supporters. Try reading Lucy Dawidowicz's 'War Against the Jews' p.118 for Heydrich's order that Zionists were to be treated more favourably than 'assimilationists'.

Or alternatively you say that 'opposition to Zionism is not matched by a similar opposition to other forms of nationalism.'

Well if you accept, as ZIonists clearly do, that Zionism is just another form of nationalism then ipso facto all anti-Zionists are anti-Semitic.

I don't accept this because I see Zionism as having been a nationalist political current within Jewry. Just as Nazism was a political current within the German people, who of course were a nation.

When you ask whether I have evidence that 'the equation AZ=AS is being used to mean that any and all opposition to Zionism is racism?' you must be joking.

I doubt if there is any Palestine solidarity activist who hasn't been accused of anti-Semitism or in the case of Jews, 'self-hatred', the old Nazi description.

I can't believe you are being serious. The term 'anti-Semitism' is so bandied around so frivolously that Philip Green the owner of BHS accused fellow Jew, Stuart Rose of M&S of being an anti-Semite for opposing his business plans.

The use of the term 'anti-Semite' by Zionists is so frequent and common that it is barely worth mentioning. It is what is called 'trite law' in legal terms.

Instead of arguing that the sun goes round the earth, trying facing up to the fact that accusations of anti-Semitism have cheapened the discourse, have legitimised the real anti-Semites, i.e. Jew haters, so much so that we have all variety of anti-Semites whose sole defence (aka Glenn Back of the Rotschilds and other conspiracies) defending their anti-Semitism by saying they are good supporters of Israel!

And no, just because one supports Palestine solidarity rather than Tamil liberation that does not make one an anti-Semite. People have many and varied reasons for so doing. Some like me because they are Jewish. Others because they have/had a Palestinian partner. Why should any of this be anti-Semitic?

This little rule used to be the preserve of the supporters of (South African) Apartheid. They'd say that the Black African countries surrounding them had far worse human rights records and living standards (true) and therefore people who opposed Apartheid were being 'anti-White'.

No one paid any attention to that piece of nonsense and it is there are still a few people taken in by 'the only democracy in the Middle East's' apologia

Tony Greenstein said...

Paul,

I don't think it is for a holocaust denier to accuse others of being absurd.

In what way am I an ethnic Jewish activist. I am active on no Jewish activities that are unrelated to Palestine or opposition to Zionism. Thus, in this one remark, you reveal your racism in all its glory.

And not only am I an 'ethnic' activist (before my father's funeral I hadn't attended a Jewish religious ceremony for some 40 years or so) but 'you will always will be.'

And you are not a biological racist too?

Paul Eisen said...

Your comment about Holocaust revisionism simply underlines your deep ignorance of the subject.

Your Jewish activism is evident in your obsession with attacking those who make legitimate criticism of Jewish bad behaviour and your deep, deep adherence to the most negative aspects of Jewishness is evident in your disgusting methods and tactics.

Your penultimate and final sentences are so incoherent and absurd as to be beyond any response I could make. I'm sorry.

Tony Greenstein said...

Ah Roy Bard (aka FTP),

You blocked other members of the IM Collective seeing all the posts, at least 40, possibly much more, that you had hidden. That was Gehrig's accusation at the time, but I'm really not going to go back 3 years to look at all these things now. The issue was settled and Atzmon departed.

Fact is you defended someone who is a naked anti-Semite, racist and Zionist. That is 4 u to live with.

I never said that you discussed Atzmon with Shamir but you were clearly bowled over by Shamir so when you did hear of Atzmon, you made the connections and defended him. Do you still admire Shamir? Do you accept he is a racist who uses the 'n' word amongst others?

And yes I am 'smearing' poor Gill Kaffash now. It's what these crypto-Zionists (or according to Anthony Cooper's friends and maybe Anthony Cooper, I'm also an anti-Semite!) And why? Because I showed the mite a bit of solidarity.

Verily I am condemned. And what solidarity might that be? Just a small question of an article 'My Life as a Holocaust Denier' http://www.righteousjews.org/article27a.html

And what Paul Eisen wrote was:
'Of course the vast majority of people simply remained silent but there were some who openly and repeatedly demonstrated their solidarity e.g. Dan McGowan, Henry Herskovitz, Gilad Atzmon, Sarah Gillespie, Israel Shamir, Francis Clark-Lowes, Gill Kaffash...'

I fink u r bang to rights peeps old chap!


Bearing in mind that Gill Kaffash is outed by you as "clearly a holocaust denier" apparently on the basis that Paul Eisen mentions her as someone who showed him solidarity, it does seem to me that you are happy to smear people purely on the basis that they are somehow associated with people you disagree with.

And yes

ftp said...

Anyone including IMCistas can see the hidden posts. They're freely available both in the admin panel and through the 'view all posts' functions of the site. So theres you getting it wrong yet again.


So, no evidence whatsoever that I have acted in a racist manner or am a racist?

Just smearing me because I refuse to be bullied into denouncing Atzmon?

The future of the PSC looks pretty damn bleak to me.

Tony Greenstein said...

FTP

Well if anyone can see a hidden post (in fact they can't, they don't turn up in searches and I only knew because I was given the link by those who were on the collective) why hide them in the first place.

Individually I don't know if u r a racist and I'm quite prepared to accept that you are not. But politically you are a racist and that is demonstrated in the consistent support you gave to Atzmon's virulent anti-Semitism.

I know a great deal more about the holocaust, including the background to holocaust denial 'revisionism' than you would imagine. that is why I find attempts to deny what hundreds of thousands of survivors bore witness to is so laughable, especially since even the Nazis involved didn't attempt to deny it.

There you go again. 'Jewish bad behaviour'. You lump all Jews together and you aren't a racist. Is there German bad behaviour? I reject the argument of those Jews who see in the holocaust evidence of something cruel or rotten in German character (eg. Daniel Goldhagen because I don't believe in this racist attribution of social traits - Germans like jews have different opinions/classes etc.).

If you talked about Zionism then it would be different.

I'm not sure what 'the most negative aspects of Jewishness' consist of though I do have a taste for Jewish food. Up till now I've always considered that pretty innocuous. Or perhaps it was our disruption of the IPO, which may lead them to never coming back to Britain so outraged have they been!!!

My last 2 sentences are quite clear, given I wrote them very hurriedly. I'm sorry u find them too difficult to understand.

You repeat the accusation I am an 'ethnic Jewish activist' without saying how or why or what this means. Presumably attending religious services might be part of this ethnicity and I was just pointing out that no, I don't attend religious services and for me being Jewish primarily means opposition to racism, including Zionism.

So basically your racism is also of biological as well as incoherent.

Paul Eisen said...

"for me being Jewish primarily means opposition to racism, including Zionism."

Tony,
What is it about being Jewish that means opposition to racism etc?

Anthony said...

Tony, I must apologise. I had understood your position to be built around the equation AZ=AS as discussed during rational theorising. I see now that this was not what you meant. Your position was never anywhere near that strong.

That anti-Israel activists are often labelled incorrectly as anti-Semites by people is no different at all to the way that anyone questioning Palestinian terrorism is labelled an Islamophobe or neo-con or Nazi etc.

In the final reckoning we have the plain and simple fact that it is racist to deny the continuum of Jewish opinion. No proper representative of Jewish groups does this. Yet you absolve the racists who do, by trying to blame others for misleading them.

Your position is the equivalent of blaming Islamists for the racism of the EDL. Only you appear blinded to it by your massive investment in the anti-Israel campaign.

Tony Greenstein said...

Anthony, I accept your apology but you are apologising for the wrong things. The equation of anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism is one all anti-Zionists face. it is a part of the generalised barrage of propaganda made on Israel's behalf by those who deliberately use 'anti-Semitism' as a means to cow their opponents. This much is the tenor of Shulamit Aloni's remarks not so long ago, she being a former Israeli Minister of Education.

I treat this specifically and has nothing to do with the racist labelling of Palestinians as 'terrorists' or Jews as misers/swindlers etc. It is comprehensively different and you retreat behind false analogies. It is a description of a political position, a form of political terrorism which absolves anti-Semitism. It says nothing about inherent characteristics such as being prone to terror/swindling etc. It says Zionism and being Jewish are synonymous, that the former is almost a sine qua non of being Jewish.

Yes of course it is a 'plain and simple fact that it is racist to deny the continuum of Jewish opinion.' This is regularly done by Zionists for whom the continuum stops at and within Zionism. I don't know what a 'proper representative of Jewish groups' is. J Hoffman, co vice chair of the ZF? Israeli govt. ministers who labelled Richard Goldstone an anti-Semite (Y Steinitz).

You are now into denying the undeniable because you know full well that this is the staple of all Zionist currents, that Zionism is a movement of all Jews except 'self-haters'. I absolve no one.

There is therefore no equivalence of blaming Muslims for Al Quaeda etc. though one also has to recognise that one group is oppressed and the other is an oppressor, so although it is wrong to label all Germans as nazis it was understandable why people like my father would not set foot in Germany while they lived.

Your position is utterly theoretical and arid because it is not based on what actually happens.

Paul Eisen, having been hammered on everything else about 'Jewish ethnicity' asks what it is about being Jewish that makes anti-racism integral? it is or was their experiences!

Paul Eisen said...

So do you mean that because Jews have suffered so much from 'racism' they are (or should be) particularly sensitive to racism wherever it is found?

ftp said...

Ok - so now I'm a 'political racist' because I interpret text differently to you! Has it ever occurred to you that your hatred for Atzmon might cloud your judgement? And that its you thats obsessed with race, not me.....


The rest of your reply makes no sense because its addressed to me, but appears to be aimed at Paul Eisen.

Anthony said...

Please allow me to take one of your examples and use it show that you're wrong - Yuval Steinitz claiming that Richard Goldstone was anti-Semitic with his report.

Steinitz condemned the Goldstone report as anti-Semitic because:

"This is an anti-Semitic attempt to decide that what is allowed for the United States in Afghanistan, Russia in Chechnya and Turkey in north Iraq isn't allowed for Israel, a state that is trying to defend itself from the Gaza Strip"

http://www.haaretz.com/news/finance-minister-un-backing-of-goldstone-report-is-anti-semitic-1.5909

Far from saying that any and all forms of criticism of Israel are anti-Semitic, he is saying that when Jews are held to a different set of rules to non-Jews this is anti-Semitism.

His claim, therefore, cannot provide justification for racists believing that all Jews support all Israeli actions.

Gert said...

Anthony:

The difference between those who equate Islam with Islamist terrorism and those who equate anti-Zionism (or criticism of Israel) with anti-Semitism is a matter of very considerable degree and your analogy is deeply flawed.

Although since 9/11 anti-Muslim hatred has definitely been worryingly on the rise, it remains largely a fringe phenomenon: the vast majority of those who rightly criticise Islamist terrorism do NOT extend their criticism to all Muslims or to the Islamic faith.

By contrast the denunciation of anti-Zionists/critics of Israel as anti-Semitic by both Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of Israel is reflexive and almost unanimous. It clearly stems from equating Israel/Zionism with Jews/Judaism. That results in the illusion that anti-Semitism (the ‘New Anti-Semitism’) is once again spectacularly on the rise, an illusion which is in stark contrast with the actual and verifiable data compiled in several European countries but also in the US, on the incidence of anti-Semitism.

And of course it’s a nifty little device that serves the user fine for quenching debate (today that tactic doesn’t work so well anymore) or for rail-roading it into a ‘discussion’ of the critic’s alleged anti-Semitism (that still works fine: no one likes to be unjustly accused of racism), thereby deflecting away from the actual criticism by classic misdirection.

You claim rightly that there is a continuum of Jewish opinion on I/P but it clearly isn’t the majority of pro-Zionist Jews that are particularly tolerant of this continuum, as many who find themselves on the ‘wrong side’ of the argument would gladly testify. It goes even further: many in the Zionist majority seem to feel they have the right to decide who is ‘truly’ Jewish and who is not. See for instance the risible criteria once bandied around by the anti-Zionist hero (mole ;-) ) Jonafun Hoffman.

I’d have thought that all this would have been fairly obvious to someone who wrote the article quoted by TG but clearly this is not the case.

Evildoer said...

Tony, I don't understand why you agree that members of an anti racist organization should not need education about racism. From my experience, people who argue about how they know all they need about racism are actually protecting their own investment in racism. Everyone who enjoys white skin privilege needs constant education to unlearn racism, since it is foundational to our societies.

Also, making the issue about whether Jews are monolithic or not is really baby talk. Is there a single modern day racist arguing that his love object is monolithic? Even Anders Behring Breivik conceded in his manifesto that both Muslims and Jews are not monolithic. Isn't that nice!

Anthony is a representative of the new model media activist, who discovers some abstract moral truth, usually trite, and goes on hectoring people online under its banner. There is hope for him that one day he will join some real struggle against a real injustice. But until then, he has a ready made career in bloviating, and if he's good he might even get paid for it.

Anthony said...

Gert, the problem I have is with this statement of yours:

"By contrast the denunciation of anti-Zionists/critics of Israel as anti-Semitic by both Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of Israel is reflexive and almost unanimous. It clearly stems from equating Israel/Zionism with Jews/Judaism."

The last sentence is the interpretation you and Tony apply to the phenomenon. I think it is wrong.

The reason why so many Jews and supporters of Israel almost instinctively view criticisms of Israel as anti-Semitic is not because they equate Israel with Jews. The reason is that they feel that the kind of criticisms levelled at Israel, the language used and the intensity is not applied to other situations around the world.

They are not quick to label people anti-Semitic because they believe that the act of criticising Israel is itself inherently anti-Semitic. You claim that this is their motivation but it isn't true.

As I demonstrated with one of Tony's own examples, the motivation is a real and perceived difference in the way Israel is criticised.

Gert said...

Anthony:

”The reason is that they feel that the kind of criticisms levelled at Israel, the language used and the intensity is not applied to other situations around the world.”

That is only a part of the stated reasons. And it’s basically the demand that when we report a sand storm in Israel, a blizzard in Finland must also be scrutinised. Quite absurd, even more so when one considers just how little support you see from the Zionist side for any injustice in the world: as an ideology it’s extremely ethnocentric.

Zionism is under extreme scrutiny because it is mind-bogglingly obstinate in its refusal to deal with any criticism. The level of criticism of Israel is likely to increase strongly in coming years, even in the US the tide is slowly turning, follow Mondoweiss for a blow by blow account of this.

Eventually justice will be done: what will they say then; that ‘the antisemites have won’? I wouldn’t put it past them, considering the sort of cretins that still support Israel’s expansionism today.

FTP:

Why is it so difficult for you to at least distance yourself from Gilad Atzmon when a 12 year old could see he rolls out any old antisemitic trope going and clearly flirts with Holocaust denial? See also his support for the dunce in the room, Paul Eisen (how a grown up man who can string two decent sentences together can ignore the mountain of evidence for the mass murder of about half of European Jewry is frankly beyond comprehension).

Tony Greenstein said...

Paul Eisen asks:
'So do you mean that because Jews have suffered so much from 'racism' they are (or should be) particularly sensitive to racism wherever it is found?' Let us note the inverted commas around racism. Presumably this implies that the Jews of Europe were not the victims of racism. But remove the quotation remarks, and yes, you got it Paul.

But since you're so eager to ask questions, perhaps you might answer one? What do you mean by Jewish ethnicity?

As for FTP, not you’re not a 'political racist' because you interpret text differently from me. Nor is it anything to do with my alleged hatred for Atzmon. It is because someone who fails to see racism when it is front of their eyes, and defends the most appalling racist and medieval anti-Semitism cannot be other than a racist.

Or maybe Peeps has forgotten?

A few years ago in the midst of the Indymedia storm that Peeps apparently refrained from, he told us how ‘'A few years ago, Gilad Atzmon wrote an article about the demonisation of Israel Shamir (1). I met Shamir in a village outside Nablus, when he came to interview a family whose house was under threat of demolition, ... I had quite a long chat with Israel, and I was impressed by his passion for justice. This was before his banishment from the Palestinian solidarity movement by a group whose behaviour Atzmon claimed amounted to "modern Jewish secular intolerance…. And now the same group that went for Shamir are gunning for Atzmon. They are demanding that we kick him out. We're a minor site(for them), so we've had to wait our turn.... It worries the shit out of me that Indymedia might just give them their first taste of blood in this new kill.'
http://freethepeeps.wordpress.com/2007/11/19/lets-smear-it-for-the-boys-now/

Note how ‘the same group’ who went gunning for Shamir are doing the same with Atzmon. And having been impressed by Shamir’s ‘passion for justice’, naturally Peeps leapt to the defence of Atzmon. So what does this passion actually consist of? Well to Lee Barnes, Legal Advisor to the BNP he wrote that:

‘the far right of 1930s stood against what they considered 'Jewish onslaught', while you, Sir, join in it. Your joining forces with Zionism is a full betrayal of the English ideals whose best features were exemplified by Chesterton and Eliot. By your parroting of Jewish nonsense of "Islamic threat" you are supporting their drive on the Middle East though this step brings in the immigration you object to.
I do not feel at ease accusing you and your comrades of betraying the Britons and joining with the Jews, but if I'd keep mum, stones won't.
http://www.israelshamir.net/Contributors/Contributor48.htm

In other words Shamir is attacking Barnes for not being anti-Semitic enough!

Tony Greenstein said...

And just in case there is any doubt left as to the bona fides of Shamir, the man whose passion for justice won over the impressionable peeps, let us cite a debate he had with Atzmon, when the latter was wobbling!

‘Gilad reiterated: It was the RAF that repeatedly dismissed the necessity of bombing Auschwitz.

Another go of Zionist propaganda. The camp was an internment facility, attended by the Red Cross (as opposed to the US internment centre in Guantanamo). If it were bombed, the internees would die – or as a result of the bombing, or due to starvation for the supplies would not arrive. Indeed, would Gilad advise to bomb Guantanamo? This idea of “bombing Auschwitz” makes sense only if one accepts the vision of “industrial extermination factory”, and it was formed only well after the war.

Gilad: Roosevelt did very little to help European Jews during the war. The American administration didn’t change its immigration laws between 1933-45 in order to allow mass immigration of European Jews into the USA.

Another Zionist bite. Why should the US invite Jews, and not all other people who suffered under the German occupation? Again, no reason at all, for the “doomed” narrative of holocaust came into being much, much later.’
http://www.israelshamir.net/English/Who_Needs.htm

I assume that even Peeps isn’t going to deny now that Shamir is a holocaust denier? And that his passion for justice is, let us say, a little bit warped? Problem is that the positions he took and takes are those of Atzmon today. For Atzmon the Jews who died in the holocaust were ‘unpopular’ and hence they were murdered. In fact they behaved just like the Jews of Israel, because according to Paul Eisen it’s all a question of ethnicity.’

So stop blustering FTP and admit you got it badly wrong and that someone who rights that if the Jews ‘chose’ the death marches (which they didn’t) that proves there was no holocaust, is either certifiably mad, a racist or both.

Tony Greenstein said...

As for Anthony, however much you deny it, the fact is that the equation of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is a Zionist constant – only the excuse changes. E.g. Israeli Minister Yuli Edelstein declared that ‘Anti-Zionism is a new form of anti-Semitism that can be found in foreign media, Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) told Swedish Jews Tuesday. The comments were made during a videoconference held following the controversial publication in a Swedish paper of an article claiming Israeli soldiers stole organs from Palestinians.’ Ha'aretz 16.9.09.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israeli-minister-to-swedish-jews-anti-zionism-is-anti-semitism-1.7822

Anthony admits that Richard Goldstone, himself a Zionist, was accused of anti-Semitism. In Yediot Aharanot he declared that "Israel will not go like a lamb to the slaughter, it has a right to defend its citizens like the US and Russia. This is an attempt at anti-Semitism – what is permitted to the US in Afghanistan and Russia in Chechnya is prohibited for Israel, and we will not allow this to happen," he said.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai attacked the international community for adopting the Goldstone report.’
http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3791574,00.html

In other words because Israel was not allowed to slaughter at will those it had occupied for over 40 years, because it could emulate Russia in Chchnya or the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was being subject to ‘anti-Semitic’ criticism. Leave aside the small matter of how you can be racist to a state (you can’t), is it seriously suggested that because Israel is being attacked for its barbaric murder and siege of Gaza, that it is the victim, yes the victim, of anti-Semitism! Would that the Jews of Europe had been so lucky. Maybe Atzmon is right after all. Maybe they too were murdered because all they wanted to do was kill their neighbours. Clearly irony has lost all meaning Mr Cooper.

In fact the USA was subject to stinging criticism and a constant anti-war movement and Russia was also subject to criticism, albeit certainly not enough. But the idea that Israel is a victim of racism because it can’t do the same is, well, just stick.

If Goldstone was racist in his report then did he argue for discrimination against Jews, that they are inferior, that they are in some form of conspiracy? Not at all and that is as good an example as any of how Zionism has twisted opposition to racism, anti-Zionism, into anti-Semitism and thus legitimised the latter by associating it with opposition to genocide.

Tony Greenstein said...

To Evildoer I don’t think we disagree. Many people come into anti-racist/anti-imperialist groups with the baggage of racism. No one is suddenly born free of it and that is precisely why we are suggesting that in PSC there be a greater effort at education, not least in terms of Zionism itself and where it came from.

I agree with just about all the points you make.

But Anthony is merely engaged in a form of sophistry and tautology. He says it is wrong to say that the attacks on anti-Zionists as anti-Semitic is because Israel/Zionism is equated with Jews/Judaism.

Instead ‘The reason why so many Jews and supporters of Israel almost instinctively view criticisms of Israel as anti-Semitic is not because they equate Israel with Jews. The reason is that they feel that the kind of criticisms levelled at Israel, the language used and the intensity is not applied to other situations around the world.’ Just let us suppose that this is true. Let us just suppose that Israel is being singled out, maybe because it calls itself the only democracy in the Middle East. Just as European states are held to higher standards than those in the third world. Even if this were true, why should it be anti-Semitic? Only if Israel and Jews are synonymous!! So however much you play with words, the fact is that in the eyes of Zionism Israel and Jews are the same thing and therefore opposition to Israel is opposition to Jews (anti-Semitism) and no amount of wordplay will gainsay the fact that 99% of people understand that to criticise Israel is to risk being accused of anti-Semitism.

Anthony said...

Tony, it's difficult to decide whether you are being deliberately obtuse so as to defend your position or whether you are simply unable to comprehend simple things.

You say:
"Let us just suppose that Israel is being singled out, maybe because it calls itself the only democracy in the Middle East. Just as European states are held to higher standards than those in the third world. Even if this were true, why should it be anti-Semitic? Only if Israel and Jews are synonymous!!"

But why is it so hard for you to understand that if someone perceives that Israel is being singled out over and above all other countries, even democracies, in similar situations - then he might attribute the motivation behind those unique attacks as being anti-Semitism.

This is so blindingly simple a concept that it is amazing that you apparently find it hard to grasp.

Paul Eisen said...

I don't answer your questions Tony because they're not designed to seek information but simply to confuse and thereby trap your opponent. This is in itself a mark of your very unpleasant type of Jewish activism.

From your answers to my questions you seem to be motivated by much the same as the average ('anti-Zionist')member of JFJFP.

So Mazel-tov! Welcome home!

ftp said...

"So stop blustering FTP and admit you got it badly wrong and that someone who rights that if the Jews ‘chose’ the death marches (which they didn’t) that proves there was no holocaust, is either certifiably mad, a racist or both."

I presume 'rights' means 'writes'.

You'd have to show me the exact quote(s) where Atzmon says there was no holocaust - I am certain I have seen him say the exact opposite on numerous occasions. I don't believe that history is truth written in stone on any matter whatsoever, and therefore I don't find Atzmon's critiques of the narrative nearly as shocking as you do. How critiquing a narrative makes one racist also escapes me, but as you haven't been able to back up your claim of my racism, I certainly don't trust your claims about anyone else's racism either.

As to Shamir, you've quoted exactly what I said - it was an accurate statement based on what I knew at the time. I have no recollection of ever having spoken about him in any other context nor at any other other time. And I won't jump through your hoops any more than I'll jump through the cops hoops.

The thing is this Tony, I don't trust any claim you make - you misrepresent me all the time and if you can get me so wrong, why would I trust you to interpret any other matter?


You publicly branded me an anti-semite and you have nothing to back it up except for the fact that I find your interpretation of Atzmon to be implausible, biased and obtuse, and I read him differently, as do some others, even in the face of nasty vitriolic campaigns.

It is clear that any Palestine solidarity activist who refuses to be bullied and brow-beaten into seeing things your way is going to be smeared and attacked, and I reckon that makes you one of the most divisive and destructive people in the 'solidarity' movement.

Until you remove that claim about my 'anti-smeitism' and apologise I have nothing more to say to you

Tony Greenstein said...

Peeps wants the exact quote of Atzmon. Well here it is and it led to anti-Zionist activist and holocaust survivor, Hajo Meyer pulling out of the Freiburg conference. It's from 'Truth, History & Integrity'

'If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein - free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war?...

if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war? Why didn’t the Jews wait for their Red liberators?'

Pretty clear Peeps. Sure u didn't know Shamir when you met him, but what you did do was to later support him and Atzmon and indeed compare the criticisms of atzmon to the 'demonisation' of Shamir.

Yes anti-fascists 'demonise' fascists if you like. So what you really came here for was latter day absolution but I cannot forgive you your support for an out and out racist if you continue to defend him. In so far as you hang around the direct action movement/IM then you sully it by your association.

If you support a racist, chances are you are one and in your case you went to extreme lengths to support him and Shamir.

Eisen is likewise a disturbed soul. He accuses me of being a Jewish 'ethnic' activist. He asks me questions which I, having nothing to fear, answer. I then ask him one. What do u mean by Jewish ethnicity?

Simple reason since Eisen used the term, presumably he understands what he was saying? Or perhaps not or perhaps it is because it is a code word for race and much else. In any case I don't accept Jews are an ethnic minority.

But what does he say? He doesn't answer my questions 'because they're not designed to seek information but simply to confuse and thereby trap your opponent.'

Presumably Eisen finds the truth very confusing!! And in asking your opponent what he means why the language he uses, 'This is in itself a mark of your very unpleasant type of Jewish activism.'

So you see. Asking what someone means by the terms they use is itself an example of an unpleasant Jewish activism. Pity the poor professor trying to find out what his/her students mean by the language they use. What an absurd and pompous/self-righteous fool you are Paul. And worse, when push comes to shove, you actually have nothing to say to back up your assertions.'

Firstly since Israel is not synonymous with being Jewish, hence why anti-Zionism isn't equal to anti-Semitism, why should it be? There could be many reasons.

Secondly I don't know who these 'democracies' are. The USA which has the thinnest of skins over its very undemocratic state? I also pointed out that there was a massive anti-war campaign against US invasions of Iraq/Afghanistan. So it isn't even true.

This apologia Anthony was the excuse defenders of Apartheid (S Africa) used. It is the last defence of the indefensible. Why don't you target another criminal state and its actions. There may be many reasons, assuming what you say is true, which it isn't. WHy don't people attack China more over Tibet? Possibly because the campaign doesn't have such resonance.

People choose what they become involved in. But if you make assertions of 'anti-Semitism' then you need to prove them and you have entirely failed to do so.

The fact is that Israel has always professed that it acts to the highest democratic standards and is found wanting. Further the colonisation of Palestine is ongoing unlike the former colonisation of the USA. Hence why it is a live issue and when the holocaust is used to justify such actions then people become even more enraged at what is taking place.

That you don't apparently get it Anthony is, I think, a convenient ploy.

Anthony said...

Tony, I get it just fine. But your comments are tangential to the debate we are having. I have shown that the reason why some people are so quick to shout anti-Semitism when Israel is criticised is because they perceive that criticism to be unique to Israel and not warranted by Israel's actions. Whether they are right or not is completely irrelevant.

Your entire argument relies on the claim that when an anti-Israel activist is called anti-Semitic it is because the person doing the calling believes that Zionism=Judaism. I have shown that this is not true. That they are wrong to label anti-Israel people as anti-Semitic is of no consequence.

But let's leave that to one side for now. What do you say to the fact that your position is that previously anti-racists become anti-Semitic by being called anti-Semitic for their anti-Israel activism? How does someone start denying the Holocaust or believing in a world Jewish conspiracy because they are wrongly accused of anti-Semitism?

Your position is untenable.

Have a good Shabbos.

Gert said...

Paul:

”I don't answer your questions Tony because they're not designed to seek information but simply to confuse and thereby trap your opponent. This is in itself a mark of your very unpleasant type of Jewish activism.”

Childish too. And I don’t see in TG’s argumentation anything that can be described as ‘very unpleasant type of Jewish activism’, just commons sense, frankly. Not that it proves much but I agree with almost all of it and I’m not Jewish. So much for your ‘Jewish activism’ claim.

Holocaust deniers like you often praise themselves for their ‘critical thinking’ but what qualifies as such when it results in deeply anti-empirical positions, not far removed from the Flat Earth Society? Some historical events have been proved beyond reasonable doubt and certainly that motley crew of agenda driven ‘revisionists’ genre Irving, Faurisson, Zundel, CODOH, Friedrich Paul Berg, Bradley Smith et al aren’t going to unearth anything earth shattering re. the Holocaust.

You wrote elsewhere:

”Although I stopped short of coming out in definite agreement with them [the ‘holohoax’ nutters], I did (and do) acknowledge that I found their case compelling.”

If you found their case ‘compelling’ I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Bargain price, I promise!

Tony Greenstein said...

Gert

thanks. U put it better than me. What kind of person uses a term repeatedly and when asked to define his understanding of it replies it's an unpleasant manifestation of Jewish activism. And of course he's not anti-Semitic and I've just had my 21st birthday again!

Anthony, no the reason for people crying 'anti-Semite' when Israel is criticised is not because Israel is being singled out. There was a time when fascists used 'Jew' and 'Zionist' interchangeably, much like Zionists in fact, and they still do. So I accept some people reacted to that.

But it had nothing to do with Israel being singled out, that is usually in an instant response and as Hoffman and many others say, aZ=aS. The reason is more complicated which is that many Jews define their identity as Jews on the basis of Israel. Israel/Zionism is the new Jewish identity for many.

Problem is that this is not much of an identity which is why secular Jews are fleeing the nest as quickly as they can, which is one reason among others why the Orthodox are growing as a % of the Jewish population.

That is the reason why there is this cry and now the qualifications for being appointed Chief Rabbi include being an advocate for Israel.

In any case I would be hard put to it to find another western or indeed any state whose rabbis or priests issue injunctions forbidding the renting of flats or homes to non-Jews as per the Chief Rabbi of Safed. Or where non-Jews cannot board or ride buses for settlers. Was the campaign over Rosa Parks racist? Most sensible poeple would say that the segregationists were the racists but racists do indeed use that retort.

The BNP are always saying that what they are really about is defence of the poor beleagured white British. Your 'explanation' doesn't hold water

Gert said...

In any case where Anthony claims ‘excessive’, ‘singling out’ criticism of Israel is perceived as antisemitic, that perception stems from equating Israel/Zionism with Jews/Zionism too.

Criticism of Israel/Zionism can clearly be antisemitic and these cases are quite easy to spot: attributing Israel’s behaviour to innate ‘Jewishness’ (as does Atzmon and it seems to me also Eisen) is the most important tell tale.

Ironically the decent, non-racist, critic of Israel/Zionism who goes out of his way to not equate Jews/Judaism with Israel/Zionism gets told that 'in anti-Zionism, Zionism stands for Jews’! Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!

Tony Greenstein said...

The fallacy with Anthony and the Zionist assertion that aZ=aS is that they can only describe something as anti-Semitic by reference to something else, i.e. a comparison or alleged non-comparison with other oppressive regimes.

So what is deemed anti-Semitic is relative and not dependent on what is/isn't said/written but on account of an alleged concentration on Israe. I suspect that the Jews of Kishinev and Warsaw could only wish that what is termed 'new anti-Semitism' had visited them too rather than the genuine article.

Anthony said...

Tony, I think we must have reached the end of this discussion as you've returned to reiterating your original position and moving on to a side issue of whether it is correct or not to equate AZ with AS.

You also fail to explain how someone goes from being anti-racist to denying the Holocaust simply by being told they are anti-Semitic when they know they're not.

I think we've gone as far as we're likely to without going round in circles.

stephen marks said...

This reminds me of the old joke about the medieval peasant who was perplexed to be told by one priest that it was a sin for him to have sex with his wife during Lent - only to be told by another priest that it was a sin for him not to.

If you have a certain view of Israel as inherently a moral undertaking which you have wired into your sense of identity, then it is indeed distressing to hear people say 'nasty things' about Israel. There can only be two explanations for this distressing discovery.

Either these 'nasty things' are actually true, in which case the view of Israel on which you have been brought up is false. The implications of this are too awful to contemplate.

But if these 'nasty things' are untrue, then people are going around telling lies about Israel. Why ever should they want to do that?

Well is it a concidence that Israel is the world's only Jewish state...?

The 'antisemitism' smear is thus often not so much a deliberate stratagem to discredit Israel's critics, but a defensive reaction against the awful sinking feeling you get when you realise that the myths you have been raised on are just so much bullshit. Much easier to retreat into the comfort zone by assuming people must be saying these awful things about Israel because they hate Jews.

Much 'Hasbara' though not necessarily most of it, is aimed at keeping up the spirits of fearful Zionists, and warding off the awful doubts they must get in the middle of the night, or when they read newspaper accounts of the latest Israeli atrocities.

'Don't worry dear, they're only saying it because they're antisemites'.

Hence also the nasty Zionist tactic of 'monstering' critics by personal hatchet jobs rather than answer their arguments. Victims have ranged from Norman Finkelstein [most recently in a bizarre post on Harry’s Place by someone who actually boasted that he had never read any of NF’s work] to Avi Shlaim [smeared by Michael Ezra as ‘keeping company with Holocaust deniers’].

Another classic example is Ben White, who is routinely smeared in Zionist blogs as an ‘antisemite’ for saying that he is not himself antisemitic but he can understand why some people are. Anyone who sees the remark in comtext [here: http://www.counterpunch.org/2002/06/18/is-it-possible-to-understand-the-rise-in-anti-semitism/]
will see what a disgusting and unprincipled smear it is. But Ben White is one of those who have documented in irrefutable detail the apartheid-like nature of Israeli society. How much easier to smear than to confront his case - and how much more reassuring.

[and of course Tony you have had a good share of monstering yourself].

Tony Greenstein said...

Stephen, I agree that much of the 'anti-Semitism' allegations derive from the insecurity of Israel's defenders. It is the only other explanation for what is being said, other than accepting all those myths you were brought up with were exactly that - myths.

So yes, some of us are 'monstered'. I recently had a quick chat with an (unnamed) ex-editor of Searchlight who remarked how ironic it was that I was one of the leading lights in the fight against Atzmon given the Union of Jewish Students attempts to get me banned for anti-Semitism some years ago. But of course it is not at all strange. The campaign of zionists against 'anti-Semitism' has nothing to do with what most people understand by the term - it is the 'new anti-Semitism' designed to confuse those with little understanding of the original variety.

As for Anthony, he is again wrong. I haven't returned to my original position! I simply continue to hold to it. If something is anti-Semitic it stands or falls on its own merits. You cannot say it is 'anti-Semitic' to oppose the colonisation of land in Israel or the torture and imprisonment of Palestinian children because one hasn't taken up other issues of human rights and other abuses in other areas of the world. This is the Apartheid (SA) justification and is merely a pretext.

The equation of aZ as aS is not a side issue. It is fundamental to the smearing of people as anti-Semites who are no such thing. Anthony fails to understand or even recognise that this is a problem. And then he asks how people who are anti-racist can become holocaust deniers as a result.

I don't think there is any doubt that the small minority who have become holocaust deniers have done so primarily because they believe that if Israel's actions are legitimised by the holocaust, then all one has to do is to deny the holocaust. This is certainly the Ahmedinajad position. It is crass and stupid for reasons that I need not go into now, but it is a consequence of Zionist libels in the first place.

So yes, one should make a distinction. There are those whose HD arose from their wish to rehabilitate the Nazi era, i.e. today's fascists. Hence HD arose from neo-Nazi groups. There are those who, often at an ideological level linking to these groups through the Institute of Historical Review, use their so-called research for their own purposes which are not fascist.

E.g. although I have no doubt that the person expelled from Brighton PSC, Frances Clarke Lowes came to believe in HD and was anti-Semitic, I have no reason to believe he is a fascist.

Likewise the reaction of many Arabs and those in the third world to such use of the holocaust is to deny it rather than to look further. In fact Palestinians used to be very good in delving into the subject and Lenni Brenner's book and things I wrote were well received, i.e. that the Zionist record during the holocaust was one of collaboration and prioritisation of the state over and above rescue. There is less of that today.

But if Anthony doesn't think that the association of Israel's crimes with all Jews has anything to do with helping create anti-Semitism, or that labelling as racists people who are anti-racist doesn't have any effect then he really is living in cloud cuckoo land.

Evildoer said...

Tony, I think one of your best points in this discussion was reminding Anthony that exploring the causal link between Zionist action and HD/antisemitism is not "blaming the victims" because the Zionists ideologues who do the damage, almost all well heeled aparatchiks and professionals, are not the victims. They are the aiders and abetters of heinous crimes.

Some people ARE victims of antisemitism. Ilan Halimi, for example, was a victim of antisemitism. Nobody sane blamed Halimi for contributing to the rise of antisemitism. On the other hand, reading three lines of Dershowitz can cause anybody to fantasize about graphic violence.

Gert said...

”I don't think there is any doubt that the small minority who have become holocaust deniers have done so primarily because they believe that if Israel's actions are legitimised by the holocaust, then all one has to do is to deny the holocaust. This is certainly the Ahmedinajad position. It is crass and stupid for reasons that I need not go into now, but it is a consequence of Zionist libels in the first place.”

I think that is certainly true of a good dollop of Arab/Muslim deniers. I’ve also known HD being promulgated by a few Catholics (not necessarily committed anti-Zionists) too: the Holocoast as a fictional invention to justify Jooooos haggling their way back into the Holy Land.

‘Fascinatingly’ this tactic is mirrored by Zionists, of which there are many who deny Palestinian rights to resistance, on the basis of the ludicrous claim that there was never a Palestinian presence in Palestine. No pre-Yishuv Palestinians? No ethnic cleansing and no justified Palestinian resistance and no justifiable claim to right of return... simples! Spirit away the nasty Arabs and all becomes clear! See twits al la Alderman or Richard ‘I’m not a Zionist’ Millett and their court attendants.

Tony Greenstein said...

Evildoer, I've never liked this idea that exploring why there is racism means justifying it or blaming the victims of racism.

Racism itself is irrational, being based on a the myth of race, but the reasons for racism are anything but irrational. They stem from e.g. economic crisis, nationalism that is defined by a racial belonging, scapegoatism etc.

Coupled with this is of course the fact that Jews today are not an oppressed group. They are a fairly affluent section of the white population, professionals etc. Of courses that is not true of all Jews but a distinct Jewish section of the working class has disappeared. The old Jewish labour movement is no more.

So when Dershowitz and his more stupid supporters like Hoffman accuse Palestinians of holocaust denial, one thing they don't do it as is as victims. Their use of the holocaust is totally cynical.

I advise if anyone hasn't read it, that they should read Shabtai Zvi's 'Post Ugandan Zionism on Trial' which details how the Zionist Organisation, consistently and without fail, not only prioritised Zionist tasks over the rescue of Jewish refugees and deliberately counterposed building their satanic state ('redemption' they called it) to rescuing live Jews.

Gert, I don't of course know who the Catholics are that you refer to, but if they are European one suspects that their reasons for denying the holocaust are because they are of the far-right, like the supporters of Monsieur Lefebre in France.

But yes the point to make is that in principle there is no difference between holocaust and nakba denial with its rewriting of history to suggest that the colonists came first (in fact the South African Whites built a similar myth that Black tribes migrated downwards into an empty South Africa as a result of colonisation.

What goes around comes around!

udi adiv said...

Tony Hi,
I fully and whole heartedly agree with everything you said about Atzmon. Truth to tell, there nothing new in his anti-Semetic arguments against Zionism and Israel. Shahak has already done it well before him. That being so, if Shahak, as a holocaust survivor, was a tragedy, Azmon is no more than farce. Unfortunetly some the British suppoter of the Palestinians seemed to embrace Azmon and even see him as the "the only truly anti-Zionist Jew around". On these kind of supporters I would say to the Palestinians that with such a friends tha don't need and enemies. As ex colleague of Azmon at Birkbeck college at the time I can assure you that intellecually, his book is nothing but a collection of nonsesns that hardly deserve an answer.
Udi Adiv

Tony Greenstein said...

Hi Udi

Interesting to know you were at Birkbeck with Atzmon. It was where I did my MA too!

Don't agree, and you provide no substantiation, to the assertion that he is similar to Shahak. Although I had certain political disagreements with Shahak, he was no anti-Semite nor would he have bought Atzmon's nonsense for a moment.

But do explain why u disagree

Hamudi said...

UHHHHH Udi Adiv, well I bet there is a mental personality definition for spy's.......
looks like all the hyaena's are gathering around competing in the a rally race "who is the biggest Palestinian supporter" meaning, that's the issue.
Low stupid infantile competition...... "the only truly anti-Zionist Jew around"
Udi at list was a Spy......

what the hell are you.......

have some moral..... said...

Fact: Dr. Udi Adiv is a lecturer at the Israeli "Open University" a distinguished university, which receives almost its entire budget from the Zionist state, the very existence of which the traitor, Udi Adiv, worked to sabotage.
Same as you , Low Hypocrite personalities, that look for the $$$ and spit into the well....
You are making me sick.

Gert said...

The Catholics I'm referring to was a small group of British 'religious antisemites' of the Far Right. Not sure whether they were followers of Monsignor Lefebvre though...

Tony Greenstein said...

I was going to delete 'have some moral' but what he said cheered me up so much that I relented .....

'Fact: Dr. Udi Adiv is a lecturer at the Israeli "Open University" a distinguished university'

I know

'which receives almost its entire budget from the Zionist state'

good

'the very existence of which the traitor, Udi Adiv, worked to sabotage.'

I don't think Udi Adiv worked to sabotage the Open University! He was an anti-Zionist and took the side of the opponents of the Israeli state. Seems some kinda hero to me, unlike all the Zionist sheep who come here.

'Same as you , Low Hypocrite personalities, that look for the $$$'

Nope. Not interested in dollars. Money is not my goal either. It's called justice, a word that has no meaning in Israel today.

'You are making me sick.'

It is always pleasing to know that one has caused a Zionist to be sick of his crimes.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Udi Adiv worked to sabotage the Open University! ...........

Give me a break, even if I thought you are stupid......

Tony Greenstein said...

Can't see y I should give u a break. Either way I wasn't aware that the charges against Udi mentioned the Open University. Perhaps I'm missing something here?

Either way the guy was a hero.

Anonymous said...

A Hero ????..... you are joking, getting his salary from the government of the state he was convicted as a spy.....
Same as the mother of Atzmon, getting paid from the government, that she wants to be destroyed.....
same as Udi..... if he was a "hero" and had some basic personality morals, he would leave the country he hates so much and wanted to destroy.
Getting paid from the goverment today makes him the lowest persona, that's your view of a hero...... I an not surprised at all.

Tony Greenstein said...

You are an idiot anonymous. Of course Udi is a hero. He doesn't hate the country just the racists that you defend so avidly and the Zionist racism inherent in the state.

It's quite reasonable to stay and fight and therefore he needs to work. You seem to have a little bit of a police state mentality, not surprising given you are a Zionist.