3 August 2016

Gary Spedding – the Self-Proclaimed Expert on ‘anti‑Semitism’

Spedding Attacks Black and Jewish anti-racist activist Jackie Walker

Apart from the fact that everything centres on him, Spedding gives no concrete example of anti-Semitism other than the fact that he was attacked - Spedding forgets he is not Jewish!
Spedding's sel f-serving egotistical attack on the Palestine solidarity movement in Ha'aretz

This blog was set up primarily because an anti-Semitic current was developing on the fringe of the Palestine solidarity movement.  Because Palestine Solidarity activists are routinely accused by Zionists of anti-Semitism, it was possible for genuine anti-Semites to hid behind the camouflage that the Zionists had given them, viz. that they were really only anti-Zionists.  Time and time again when I argued that people like Gilad Atzmon were anti-Semitic, people would say that that is what all Zioists say.   It is the 'boy cried wolf' syndrome.
I seem to have annoyed Spedding as he's blocked me!
These anti-Semitic fringe clustered around an organisation Deir Yassin Remembered and took it over.  Deir Yassin was the site of the most famous of the many massacres of Palestinians during Nakba, the expulsion of the Palestinians, in April 1948.

People like Dan MacGowan, Paul Eisen and Jeff Blankfort brought into the Board of Advisors Israel Shamir, a noted holocaust deniers and fascist who argued in Who Needs Holocaust that Auschwitz wasn’t a death camp but an internment camp.

Soon articles began appearing on DYR’s web site such as Eisen’s In Clear Sight of Yad Vashem pouring doubt on the holocaust:

The Holocaust too has come under assault. Over the last fifty years, revisionist scholars have amassed a formidable body of substantial evidence, which runs in direct opposition to the traditional Holocaust narrative. "Where is the evidence," they say, "for this alleged gargantuan mass-murder? Where are the documents? Where are the traces and remains? Where are the weapons of murder?" These revisionists all acknowledge of course, that there was a terrible assault on Jews on the part of the National Socialist government, but disagree as to the scale, motive, and methods cited in the typical narrative, a narrative that most of us choose or are obliged to accept. 

Eisen wrote a pamphlet, Holocaust Wars, which was a paen of praise to the notorious  holocaust denier, Ernst Zundel, a neo-Nazi gaoled in Germany for 5 years for incitement to racial hatred.  Indeed it was a fulsome tribute to the Nazi movement in Germany.   In Britain, Eisen was joined in his efforts by a well-known jazz player Gilad Atzmon, who obtained an audience on the fringes of the Palestine solidarity movement.

This led to an exodus of anti-racist anti-Zionists from the Board of Advisors of DYR, such as Lea Tsemel, Michel Warshawski and Geoff Halper, although people like Ilan Pappe and Lea Tsemel are still listed as being on their Board.  

The reason why Atzmon gained an audience was because of the incessant propaganda of the Zionist movement that support for the Palestinians was anti-Semitic.  As I wrote in an article for the Guardian’s Comment is Free The Seamy Side of Solidarity

Like the boy who cried wolf, the charge of "anti-semitism" has been made so often against critics of Zionism and the Israeli state that people now have difficulty recognising the genuine article.

The battle against Atzmon, who at the time was sponsored by the SWP [see Time to say goodbye] was a long and arduous one.  For example in 2006 Jews Against Zionism picketed a talk by Atzmon on Otto Weininger, an anti-Semitic Jewish philosopher about whom Hitler is reputed to have said, probably apocryphally, that he was the only good Jew and he is dead, at the SWP bookshop, Bookmarks.  In 2007 we brought a motion to Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s AGM calling for them to have nothing to do with and to dissociate themselves from DYR.  

Unfortunately the Executive at the time, led by the Secretary Betty Hunter, decided for nakedly sectarian reasons to oppose the motion and in the process did political damage to PSC.  This utterly stupid action led to the Zionists gloating that PSC had endorsed DYR.  [see Atzmon’s Triumph by David Taube on the Zionist pro-war Harry’s Place site.

By 2011 it was clear to all that the stupidity of people like Betty Hunter had only encouraged Atzmon and his followers.  In Brighton PSC a supporter of Atzmon, Frances Clarke-Lowes came out as a holocaust denier and was promptly expelled by the local group.  PSC nationally then suspended Clarke-Lowes, at my instigation, for holocaust denial and he was immediately suspended and at the 2012 AGM expelled. In September 2011 PSC had of its own volition issued a statement making clear its opposition to anti-Semitism and holocaust denial.  At the PSC AGM in 2012 Omar Barghouti of the Boycott National Committee was the guest speaker.  Omar spoke out strongly against anti-Semites and those who would tarnish the Palestine solidarity movement with anti-Semitism and holocaust denial.

Following this in America, the noted Palestinian activist and Director of the Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah, repeated what he had done a few years previously when he had issued a statement Serious Concerns about Israel Shamir which drove the nail into the coffin of this Swedish fascist who had masqueraded as a Palestinian supporter.  In 2012 the US Palestinian Community Network issued a statement  signed by Abunimah, Joseph Massad and Omar Barghouti amongst other notables, entitled Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon.  From here it was downhill all the way for the rag tag and bobtail of conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites who sought to harness their racism to the struggle of the Palestinians against racism.  There have been sporadic outburst such as the Jewish Voices for Peace refusal to work with Alison Weir of If Americans Knew, who has repeatedly appeared on platforms and been interviewed by white supremacists.  [see Jewish Voice for Peace Statement on our Relationship with Alison Weir]

I am giving all this background because at no time in the fight against a small anti-Semitic fringe that surrounded the Palestine solidarity movement did Gary Spedding play any part.  At no time did we ever come across Mr Spedding.  His claims today that he played any part are those of a rank opportunist.
Spedding finds solace with another opportunist - Owen Jones
Spedding, the self-proclaimed fighter against anti-Semitism in the Palestine solidarity movement, played no part whatever in opposing anti-Semitism.  The same goes for another self-publicist Owen Jones. [see my critique of Owen Jones’ opportunism Gaza Reveals the Empty and Vacuous Heart of Owen Jones’s writing and Owen Jones’ Obsession with ‘anti-Semitism’].  What both Jones and Spedding have done is to take advantage of the attack by the right-wing of the Labour Party - Progress, John Mann MP and the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement to paint the Left as anti-Semitic.  

Instead of Jones standing up to the ‘anti-Semitism’ witch hunt and calling it out for what it is, an attempt by the media to paint Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as ‘anti-Semitic, he has tried to ride the tiger.  Jones is a rank opportunist and someone who is mesmerised by identity politics.  Anyone can claim an identity of oppression even if they identify with oppressors.

Any objective analysis of the allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ shows that the evidence doesn’t stack up.  It consists of unearthing  years old tweets, written in specific circumstances and twisted out of all recognition.
An example was Vicky Kirby’s infamous tweet about  ‘big Jewish noses’ – clearly an anti-Semitic stereotype unearthed by the Tory blogger Paul Staines of the Guido Fawkes blog.  Except, as Asa Stanley has shown in How Israel lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisis what Kirby was doing was quoting the dialogue from a comedy play, ‘The Infidel’ as its author, the Jewish playwright David Baddiel confirmed:  The Infidel is described as An identity crisis comedy centred on Mahmud Nasir, successful business owner, and salt of the earth East End Muslim who discovers that he's adopted - and Jewish.’  As Badiel tweets, Vicky Kirby may well be an anti-Semite. But this is a quote from The Infidel, demonstrating Mahmud's ignorance.’ 

Instead of rebutting the use and abuse of anti-Semitism as a weapon against supporters of the Palestinians, Spedding & Jones both used the attacks of the Zionists to sanitise their own guilt-ridden consciences.  For Jones it is a way to find an exit door from left activism.  I have no doubt that this wonder boy of the Guardian, the bright new star of Chavs, is setting out on a road which will end up with him facing the same way as another erstwhile star of the left, Nick Cohen.
Those with short memories might forget the days when Cohen was the darling of the Tribune left.  No greater critic of New Labour and its policy on refugees was there than Cohen.  He notably opposed the institution of Holocaust Memorial Day when Blair announced it, for all the right reasons.  Then something happened and he jackknifed to the right after 9/11 and ended up one of the most vehement supporters of the Iraq war and one of the worst Islamaphobes.

Owen Jones, with his most recent attempt to sow doubt and disillusion in the Jeremy Corbyn for leadership camp, without at any stage pointing the way forward against the unremitting attack of the Establishment against Corbyn [see Questions all Jeremy Corbyn supporters need to answer] is performing much the same task.  Yes there are weaknesses in Corbyn’s campaign and record, yes there is a lack of a detailed strategy but what does Jones offer other than negative criticism.

The same is true of his and his admirer Spedding’s attitude to the anti-Semitism furore.  Instead of asking why it is that those who defend the apartheid State of Israel are so concerned about ‘anti-Semitism’ instead of analysing the actual examples of so-called anti-Semitism, they  give lectures about how terrible anti-semitism is without ever giving a specific example of this phenomenon
I think he's referring to me!  Libel writs are awaited with baited breath
Spedding has described himself to me as an advisor to the SNP group of MPs at Westminster, drafting their Early Day Motion on Palestine and anti-Semitism.  Three times he has managed to have Google and Wordpress take down an article I wrote on his smearing of Palestine solidarity activists as anti-Semitic.  In the article I described how he openly worked with and praised the right-wing Zionist organisation, the Community Security Trust, which has long been in the business of opposing Jewish anti-Zionists in particular and policing Zionist events whilst stirring fears of anti-Semitism.   Despite Spedding’s best efforts I am reposting the article a fourth time.   Please share widely and if possible put iton your own sites where possible.  This is the best antidote to his attempts to innoculate himself from criticism and attack free speech.

On 23 July Spedding wrote an article for Ha’aretz, We in the Palestinian Solidarity Movement Have a Problem With anti-Semitism which is subtitled ‘Toxic conspiracy theories, group-blame and stereotyping are becoming a serious problem in the Palestine solidarity movement – and it’s undermining our struggle.  In the article Spedding falsely describes himself as an activist in the Palestine solidarity movement and a fighter for 10 years against anti-Semitism.    
Spedding, who has never lifted a finger to fight racism, defames Jackie Walker

Spedding is 'deeply troubled' by a private conversation about Jackie Walker's ancestors, some of whom were involved in the slave trade
Spedding doesn't take kindly to criticism
Spedding is a fantasist and a narcissist.  It is no surprise that a Zionist paper should seek to both boost his credentials and use him as a stick with which to beat genuine Palestine solidarity activists. His only achievement to date is getting himself refused entry to Israel.  Not a difficult task which many people have managed to achieve. He even wrote his own entry in Wikipedia before the editors pulled it!
In the latest batch of tweets he attacks the Black-Jewish anti-racist activist Jackie Walker.  Whilst Jackie has been out on the streets opposing violent fascist thugs in Dover, toe rags like Spedding are attacking her on Twitter.

It is indeed ironical that Spedding accuses others of engaging in games of egos
Tony Greenstein
Spedding ignores comment that FB comment was discussion not a statement

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