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From Atzmon to Dreyfus: a reply to communalists and Stalinists

29 Oct
Israel Shamir and Julian Assange

Israel Shamir and Julian Assange

Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon

Tony Greenstein’s extended comment criticising my review of Gilad Atzmon’s new book The Wandering Who is indicative of a political method that can only lead to a ‘dialogue of the deaf’.  It is a characteristic flaw of the fragmented far left that in political disputes someone is quoted out of context in such a way as to distort the meaning of their views, and a whole extended narrative is concocted to attack the falsified or caricatured version. This is not a good method, it not only actually leaves one’s interlocutor’s real views untouched, but it also makes the exchange impossible to follow to the uninitiated layperson.

Such practices make the left a laughing stock. In this case, however, there is an additional element of communalism in that Atzmon is being ‘punished’ by left-wing members of his own Jewish community not merely for being right or wrong about something, but also for speaking ‘against’ his own people.  The peculiar ferocity of the attack not only on Atzmon, but also on anyone who disagrees with these people’s most extreme characterisations, is shown by the contribution of another Jewish leftist, Evildoer, who baldly admits he does not seek a rational discussion at all with leftists who disagree with him about Atzmon.

Be that as it may, this odd method is shown by Greenstein’s own initial comment that Atzmon’s alleged anti-semitism is ‘largely ignored’ in my review.  He must have been reading a completely different piece of writing, since the main subject of the review from beginning to end is the controversy about Atzmon’s alleged anti-semitism. But Tony Greenstein is not illiterate, this is rather communal-speak for ‘he does not think that Atzmon is a racist’. In other words, ‘largely ignored’ is a dishonest code for ‘I don’t agree with the way this has been addressed’. But instead of saying, as a normal discourse would, “ you have drawn this conclusion, but you are wrong  – here is why…” and proceeding to give some reasons,  he pretends that the question has been ignored and proceeds to give a long spiel on that basis. Which is simply like firing blanks.

Greenstein pretends that I did not address Atzmon’s putative holocaust denial, but of course I did and proceeded to the conclusion that while he undoubtedly has doubts about the truth of the holocaust or aspects of it, he has not taken a definitive position. I also gave reasons, taken from the Israeli context, why someone reacting against the racist crimes of their own state, not decades before their birth but right in front of their eyes, might mistakenly but comprehensibly develop such doubts or even disbelief when a narrative about historical crimes is used to justify racist crimes in the here and now.

Greenstein rattles off a list of Jews who have made this very error and pretends that I did not address this question (when actually I called it a ‘monumental blunder’).  Again what he really objects to is the conclusions I drew about those who have made this kind of error. That they are generally misguided opponents of Israel racism.  This is not the same as not addressing it.

And on one point of detail, outside the subject of my review, Greenstein accuses the Russian/Swedish/Israeli Jewish journalist Israel Shamir of being a fully paid-up fascist. In fact his views are an odious form of Stalinism; he certainly does favour alliances with racists and nationalists, with the Machiavellian and grossly unprincipled aim of manipulating the supporters of one form of far right politics to supposedly neutralise another form – the Western-backed free-market  form.  This is the Red-Brown block that many Stalinist nostalgics are involved in in Russia at the moment.

This is a reactionary fantasy;  the most degenerate form of popular frontism, quite in tune with previous examples of such alliances with one reactionary force against a ‘greater evil’ in the history of Stalinism like Stalin’s ‘rehabilitation’ of the anti-semitic Russian Orthodox Church during the ‘Great Patriotic War’ against Hitler. For ‘Hitler’ Shamir, embracing both Stalin and the church, substitutes the Zionists and West.  Stalin’s rehabilitation of the church led to such events as the post-war anti-semitic ‘Doctors Plot’ and anti-Jewish purges in Eastern Europe, so it is hardly surprising that someone who embraces a similar idea today would end up sounding pretty rancid.

On the other hand, he might well strike a chord with some Jews repelled by Israel’s repeated massacres of Palestinians,  justified repeatedly by reference to the need for Israeli ‘security’ against the threat of another holocaust.  Shamir is just one of many voices in the Middle East region who speak out against Israeli crimes using a discourse tinged with hostility to Jews – amalgamating Zionism, being Jewish and Judaism as a religion.  The only thing that makes him a bit different is that he is himself Jewish.

Shamir is undoubtedly a deeply alienated character who, however has a common origin with other Jewish/Israeli ‘self-haters’ and some authority because of his long-standing support for the Palestinians. Objectionable many of his views may be, but as a Stalinist, he still has one foot in the workers movement and his influence over some dissident Jewish circles arguably derives from that. He, and those influenced by him, still have to be dealt with by means of debate according to the norms of the labour movement.

Essentialist

Greenstein produces no evidence for his claim that Atzmon’s view of Jews is ‘an essentialist view based on a racist outlook’. None whatsoever – all he can do is misquote Atzmon in a particularly silly way.  On his own blog, Greenstein’s co-thinker Brian Robinson admitted misquoting Atzmon in this way, his clear statements that he did not consider Jews to be an ethnic group or ‘race’ at all being twisted to say the exact opposite. In Robinson’s case, he at least acknowledged that he had made a mistake, but Greenstein would hear nothing of it, saying “I have no doubt he [sees Jews as a race – RS] – however he defines it”. No evidence of this, but much to the contrary.

In one of the most amazing passages in his comment, Greenstein writes:

“ The description of himself as a ‘proud, self-hating Jew’ is in itself an inverted form of racism. Why? Because the term ‘self-hater’ which the Nazis used against German anti-fascists presupposes that all Jews (except for this psychologically crippled anti-national minority) is itself racist, a concept that Atzmon adopts, he doesn’t fight against it.”

This is tortured. Spokespeople for Israel, a virulently racist state, routinely abuse their Jewish critics as ‘self-haters’ in the manner that racists and neo-Nazis in the West abuse white anti-racists as ‘race-traitors’. When abused in this way, it is perfectly natural for a spirited anti-racist to give them the big up-yours and say, “yes, I am a race-traitor and proud of it”.  Do you take that literally, and start screaming about ‘inverted racism’?  That would be an incredibly foolish, sectarian response, as is this piece of nonsense from Tony Greenstein.

And then there is this strange and incoherent point:

“ You say that ‘If he were a racist/essentialist, he would not believe in the possibility of renouncing Jewishness.’ Not so. Take Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Black woman who has become one of the foremost racists in the Netherlands…”

It is complete nonsense to call Ayaan Hirsi Ali a racist or an essentialist. Greenstein does not even attempt to show what Hirsi Ali regards as the ‘essence’ of being black.  Incidentally, she now lives in the US, not the Netherlands, and works for the American Enterprise Institute – a reactionary neocon think tank. If she holds ‘essentialist’ views about blacks, I wonder what she thinks of such black American capitalist politicians such as Barack Obama, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, etc? Come to think of it, what does she think of herself, her skin is black after all?

Messianic Person Today

Ayyan Hirsi Ali

Ayyan Hirsi Ali is a reactionary figure, but not because she holds ‘essentialist’ views about blacks. She does not, and there is no need to resort to such absurdities to condemn people like her. It is because she is an Islamophobe, who has  thrown her lot in with a neo-con programme to ‘liberate’ the Muslim world, including particularly her own people, from Islam, that she is dangerous.

Her misguided views mean that she can be used by racists as a tool – as indeed she was by Theo Van Gogh –  but it is absurd to say that she holds ‘essentialist’ views about blacks or even Somalis. She wants the West to ‘liberate’ all her people so they can become ‘liberated’ like her.  That is a dangerous enough position, but there is no need to caricature her as “essentialist’ to condemn her for this.

While in the West, many white racists use Islamophobia as a cover for their racism, and their Islamophobia can therefore be regarded as a manifestation of racism, to brand a black female victim of reactionary practices who has been driven to a reactionary response as a racist or essentialist is just silly and undermines the real case against her by reducing it to absurdity.

One could make some limited parallel between Atzmon’s position and Hirsi Ali’s if Israeli Jews were an oppressed people and Atzmon were calling on some major anti-semitic world power to ‘liberate’ Jews from their Jewishness.  Who knows, if that were true, he might even have some humanly understandable reason for taking such a position (though in the real world it is the Palestinians who need to be liberated – fat chance of that!)

Hirsi Ali certainly does have such a reason, having been subjected to genital mutilation and other very unpleasant experiences in Somalia.  But unfortunately, her undoubted oppression has led her to act as an agency for very powerful forces that are far worse than the people who did that to her, and threaten the whole of humanity. Whereas Atzmon has done nothing of the sort.  The comparison between them is fatuous – Hirsi Ali is tragically an agent of imperialism, whereas Atzmon is an opponent of imperialism.

Greenstein’s points about ‘honourary whites’ in South Africa, or how a few part-Jewish functionaries were exempt from Nazi laws, merely prove that since race is a fiction, systems based on race distinctions do not work and therefore hypocrisy becomes necessary in practice. They show nothing about whether someone holding ‘essentialist’ views about ‘race’ can at the same time believe that people can change their ‘race’. To hold both views is not possible, they are opposites. This is another non-argument.

As indeed it is when he writes:

“You also don’t mention the very focus on identity because if you did you’d find it isn’t fixed, unchanging. This is an essentialist viewpoint consequence on a racist outlook. Jewish identity changed with Zionism and is changing again as increasing layers break from its stranglehold”

I’ve not read anything from Atzmon that implies that Jewish identity is fixed and unchanging. His focus seems to be, not on identity per se, but on the use of identity for political purposes, i.e. identity politics. He does not seem to have any problem with Jews whose identity is a religious one, only with those who claim a secular identity and still emphasise their Jewishness as a political category.

I don’t see how his theory about third category Jews (as opposed to the first and second category, i.e. religious Jews, and those Jews who generally regard their identity as Jewish but do not politicise that) is essentialist. It applies as I see it to those who make their communal identity a political issue. He may be wrong to say that Zionism and Tony Greenstein’s kind of political Jewishness are fundamentally the same thing, but how is that essentialist? It is a theory about the politicisation of identity, not identity itself.

Communalism

Greenstein’s point about the Jewish socialist-atheist couple who had their young son circumcised despite their atheism and publicised it in the Jewish press, in linked to this logic. Apparently to criticise this behaviour is ‘essentialist’, i.e. racist. Nonsense!  It is an example of how this kind of identity politics makes a mockery of professed socialism and secularism, not to mention atheism.

I guess I just don’t understand Greenstein’s reasoning here about how this was a “this was a brave attempt to raise a taboo amongst the organised Jewish community”.  Logic says that it would have been brave – but not wise – if they had done the opposite and publicised that. Wise would be to refrain from the practice and respect the privacy of their child.  But how is it ‘brave’ to publicly go along with such an established practice to prove your ‘legitimacy’ to the ‘community’? It’s a rank anomaly and indefensible.

Going back to the Hirsi Ali case for a moment.  If some atheist, socialist Somalis had done a similar but much more unpleasant procedure to their female child, and publicised the fact to show that they wanted to be seen as a ‘legitimate’ part of the ‘community’, would  Greenstein not have been very loud in his condemnation of them for  ‘communalism’? I suspect he would, and rightly so.  And not just because of the far more unpleasant and utterly harmful nature of the procedure involved (which would also attract police attention). But also because of the hypocrisy and communalist element of the point they were making by this action.

There is another strange aspect of Greenstein’s posting. His theoretical critique of Atzmon appears to imply that the only analysis of Israel and Zionism that is not essentialist and not anti-semitic is – his own particular take on a Marxist analysis.  The colonial-settler analysis and all the wide spectrum of disagreements with it on the Western left, let alone the spread of possible alternative analyses that might be formulated in the Middle East, represent only one strand. Good material for a debate, not so good for an excommunication.

On the US Zionist lobby, Tony Greenstein writes:

“I don’t doubt that Jews are over represented in the US Senate and British houses of parliament but only if one takes Jews as some form of collective, this mysterious ‘Jewish power’ that Atzmon is wedded to.”

This is so blasé, and effectively seems to dismiss the concerns of many decent people – not about the representation of Jews per se, but of rabid supporters of Israel with no regard for the democratic rights of Palestinians or anyone who sympathises with them. Dismissing the existence of the lobby as a question to raise and make a fuss about, denouncing anyone who raises concerns about it as anti-semitic, can only fuel conspiracy theories. Greenstein is vaguely on the right track in saying.  “There are quite rational explanations such as the use of Jews as an ideological cover for western imperialism “

But this is not an either-or situation. Either the lobby exists, or it is some kind of mysterious ideological mirage that acts as a cover for imperialism. The truth is that it is a like a guard dog in domestic politics, just as Israel acts somewhat like a guard dog for imperialism in the Middle East. It is composed of willing, highly committed political Zionists – mainly Jewish – with a loyalty ultimately to Israel, but it is allowed to operate with great latitude. Even to intimidate parts of the US bourgeoisie who are out of step with the mainstream – but ultimately under the control of the dominant wing of the US ruling class who support the US strategic alliance with Israel for their own interests, not that of Israel.

This attempt to twist obvious and elementary political reality continues when Greenstein writes:

“So now Atzmon is not a Jewish heretic, battling against an establishment as per Spinoza. He is a Jewish reactionary. Hence his embarrassingly laudatory comments re Obama and his illusions in Amir Peretz, the Israeli Labour Leader prior to his role in launching the invasion of Lebanon in 2006!”

I’m shocked! What a terrible reactionary-fascistic swine that Atzmon fellow must be. He had illusions that the first black President of the US might bring some improvement! And that Israeli Labour’s first leader from a Sephardic background might do something also! It is just crazy sectarianism to try to prove Atzmon’s ‘reactionary’ credentials on this basis. In reality, these kinds of illusions put him quite clearly on the liberal left.  As of course, Greenstein would be well aware if he were talking about the same illusions in anyone other than Atzmon.

He is really upset because of Atzmon’s flawed, but quite cutting criticism of his own bundist views from an assimilationist standpoint:

“ A Jewish secular identity is quite possible as the Bund demonstrated and which Atzmon hates. For many, opposition to Zionism also constitutes a major part of their Jewish identity, but we too are Zionists! I happen to think that a non-Zionist Jewish identity is quite possible, for a long period of time and would possibly flourish in the absence of a Zionist state but that is for the future. Atzmon’s conception though is totally racist and essentialist.”

Lots of things are ‘quite possible’, but that does make them rational or right? Atzmon’s remarks about the Bund planning to ‘rob’ the ruling class reflect his deep suspicion of Jewish ‘tribalism’ and his own liberal, anti-Marxist prejudices.

But here Greenstein is not acting as a disinterested forecaster of what ‘may’ happen. His political strategy centrally involves using Jewish identity as a weapon against Zionism: as in ‘Jews Against Zionism’, ‘Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, etc. He is not just defending the element of the Bund that is socialist, i.e. hostile to the ruling class, but he is also defending its separateness and hostility to voluntary assimilation.

The correct position for socialists to take in this a debate around these issues should be obvious: yes to ‘robbing the ruling class’ (i.e. expropriation of the expropriators) and yes to voluntary assimilation (while of course opposing all forced assimilation and oppression). Why on earth should socialists spend time trying to defend the separatist project of a defunct, failed movement of a century ago? Whether or not a Jewish identity should continue to exist is up to … history.

It is outside the parameters of what socialists should be doing to attack someone – however mistaken in their way of expressing them – who holds that the best thing that such an identity could do is to self-dissolve into the wider human community. Atzmon could just as easily come back and say … “Hitler was hostile to Jewish assimilation; Greenstein is also hostile to Jewish assimilation, therefore ….”

The point is obvious. This kind of branding of assimilationism as akin to exterminationism is actually a form of communalist politics in itself. Atzmon is mistaken in labelling this as Zionism, since Greenstein is obviously a committed opponent of Zionism and the whole project of a Jewish territorial state in the Levant.  But it is an understandable error, mistaking one form of communalism for another is not difficult, especially for someone who is being targeted by both at the same time!

Guilty liberalism

Greenstein flagrantly contradicts himself when he writes:

“I don’t accept the equivalence between Palestinians who deny the holocaust (and who are on the right of Palestinian/Arab politics) and this alleged ‘minority of alienated, radicalised Israeli Jews’. In fact its major proponents aren’t Israeli – Dan McGowan, Paul Eisen, Jeff Blankfort, Israel Shamir etc. If anything it is a section of diaspora Jews who have become so ashamed of being Jewish that they have given a free pass to Nazism.”

Actually, the two most prominent of whom Greenstein speaks, Atzmon and Shamir, are certainly Israeli to the extent that both have served In the Israeli armed forces. Given the whole ethos of aliyah, the prestige of Israel among diaspora Jews, the large number particularly in the US with family connections in Israel and who have spent time there, and the political expression of that in terms of the Israeli lobby etc., the division between diaspora Jews and Israelis is often quite thin.

Greenstein knows not what he says, in saying that they are ‘ashamed of being Jewish’, he is actually conceding the core of my case.  Although his phraseology is derogatory – he evidently disapproves very strongly of those who are ‘ashamed’ of their Jewishness, he does not even ask why this might be. Why should relatively young Jews, those too young to have any life experience of the earlier historical period when Jews actually suffered real oppression, feel so ‘ashamed’ to be Jewish that they would, in his words, give a ‘free pass’ to the Nazis (actually this is an exaggeration in most of these cases, apart from Eisen).  How on earth can this happen in the first place?

It’s perfectly obvious why. Those who are brought up with the idea that they are a superior people, chosen, born to rule over the Arabs, once they see through the racism and inhumanity that sustains that idea, are highly likely to dismiss the historical accounts of past oppression that are cynically and systematically used today to justify today’s crimes against Arabs. Greenstein, who has the good fortune to have been politicised at an early age in a left-wing environment and have assimilated elements of socialist Jewish and non-Jewish culture, shows an incredible lack of understanding for people with an entirely different experience.

If even a small minority of Jews feel so guilty about Israeli crimes that they are prepared to consider that maybe the history of Nazi atrocities is a pack of lies, that is a tragedy.  And it is 100% the fault of those who carry out those Israeli crimes and create the conditions for that.

Guilt about racist crimes is very familiar among anti-racist youth in imperialist countries. As in the UB40 lyric:

“There are murders that we must account for
Bloody deeds have been done in my name
Criminal acts I must pay for
And our children will shoulder the blame

`“I’m a British subject, not proud of it, and I carry the burden of shame”.

The difference is that this problem is very unlikely to arise because there is no significant history of oppression of, for instance, English people or white Americans to so deny.  Perhaps a white Afrikaner taking the position that his ancestors deserved what they got in the Boer War is nearest to this.

Someone motivated in this way is misguided but well-meaning. Socialists should be debating with such people to try to break them from guilty liberalism to something more profound and useful.  Not treating them as a Nazi-like threat.  The idea that a small number of Jewish ‘self-haters’ and holocaust sceptics constitute some incipient anti-semitic threat is totally hallucinatory.

Indeed, Greenstein comes close to conceding this when he claims that while these people are no danger to Jews, they are a danger to Palestinians because they supposedly discredit the Palestinian cause by associating it with anti-semitism. But this seems paternalistic, why cannot Palestinians decide these things without a bunch of Jewish political vigilantes deciding it for them? And again, there is this curious double standard since many Palestinians hold similar views. The only realistic conclusion that can be drawn about this is that again, this is communalism. Greenstein and co think they have the right to discipline ‘their’ community. But there is nothing socialist about this view.

The reason why socialists are unremittingly hostile to holocaust deniers is simply because in the post-war Western context such views have not been the result of misunderstanding of historical events.  This is stating the blindingly obvious.  Those like David Irving, Richard Verrall, etc. were worthy of hatred not because they were holocaust deniers per se, but because they were Hitlerites, who wanted another holocaust, hence the lies.

But what if some Jewish anti-racists come to mistakenly deny the holocaust, as part of an intense guilt reaction to contemporary Israeli-Jewish racism? Is that the same thing? Obviously not – and the paradoxical thing about reading even the most deluded of these writers – Paul Eisen, the author of the Holocaust Wars, is that his motive for saying the bizarre things he does is hostility to the racism of his own people, as he perceives it. This is very visible in his document.

There is no socialist principle that prevents fraternal debate with people who are honestly mistaken to the point of denying the holocaust, as Noam Chomsky once pointed out. Even though Chomsky was mistaken in applying this to the hypocritical racist conman Robert Faurisson, he was right in principle.

To say otherwise is endorse the Zionist view that the Nazi Judeocide was totally unique, and can never be spoken of alongside any other event. When in fact it stands alongside the Armenian genocide, which has been the subject of denial and obfuscation in Israel when Turkey was an Israeli ally, to give one of several events it can be legitimately compared with. It also stands alongside the estimated 10 million Congolese butchered by the Belgian king Leopold II’s ‘Congo Free State’ fiefdom at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Palestinians

And as for the assertion that Palestinians who deny the holocaust are ‘on the right of Palestinian politics’, I wonder how Greenstein measures that left-right spectrum. Does being subservient to Israel and making soothing noises about the past sufferings of the Jewish people, as for instance does the Palestinian Authority, put someone to the right of Hamas (a considerable number of whose militants might well be inclined towards denying the holocaust), or to the left?

How important does Tony Greenstein think the question of the holocaust is in locating Palestinians on a left-right axis? Is it paramount, does it override all other questions, such as one state/two states, whether one supports or opposes Oslo or the Road Map, secular or Islamist, or any other contentious issue of the Palestinian struggle?  Is it more important than any other consideration?

If so, is he not just as guilty as the Zionists in seeking to impose another agenda on the Palestinians, putting someone’s likely ignorant and jaundiced view of something that happened more than half a century ago on another continent above their view of the Palestine question in the here and now?

Or is it a secondary issue, overshadowed in importance by a Palestinian militant’s attitude to questions directly concerned with the struggle today? If this is TG’s view, is he therefore minimising the holocaust in importance and reducing it to a level approaching that of other historical events and political questions?

And if he does take this view, why is it wrong to privilege the views of Palestinians on the Palestinian struggle over their views on the holocaust, and not do the same for Jews? Particularly given the fact that Israel Jews, as a people, oppress the Palestinians in the here and now. Surely the attitude of a Jew, particularly an Israeli Jew, on the question of the Palestinians and their right to wage their struggle and expect solidarity now is of considerably more importance than the opinion of a Jew on the historical question of the holocaust? If not, why not? How can these rather important questions be answered?

One thing that these questions underline is this: that if you attempt to privilege a European view on what was essentially a European conflict in analysing questions concerning the Middle East, you will end up in a terrible muddle. It is a commonplace in the Palestinian solidarity movement to say that Arabs do not have the slightest reason to feel guilty about what happened in the Second World War. This was a conflict between imperialist powers whose main acts took place on another continent and whose common objective was to dominate and oppress the colonial world, of which the Arabs were victims, not oppressors.

But there is another group of people in the Middle East who also have no reason to feel guilty about the Second World War –  Jews, either Israeli or Israeli-connected!  That would seem like an odd thing to say, except that now there is a generation of Jews who have no experience or memory of being oppressed, but live every day with the racism of Israel and its supporters in Europe and America against the Arabs – whose main ideological justification is an evocation of the past sufferings of the Jews.

It is just as natural for liberal Jews to feel like this as it is for the liberal young generation of any other oppressor people. But put these two elements together, and you begin to get some rather unusual results. At least among a particularly alienated and radicalised minority of radical-liberals. This is not a right-wing trend, let alone incipient fascism or Nazism, but a very confused left-liberal development., that needs to be engaged with fraternally, not subjected to pointless and vindictive communalist attacks.

These people are hyper-sensitive towards what they see as ‘Jewish supremacism’ at large in the world. Thus Atzmon sees Zionists as responsible for the credit crunch, basically as far as I can see because the US bourgeoisie and its Israeli allies took major economic risks to prevent a normal, cyclical capitalist recession taking place in the early 2000s.

They used every lever they could find to create a boom and the illusion of prosperity to bolster popular support or acquiescence in the aims of the ‘Project for the New American Century’ –  the post 9/11 attack on Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, and hoped for attacks on Iran and Syria. This ‘Project’ was also stuffed with rabid Zionists and supported to the hilt by Israel. And then a few years later it all came crashing down with the worst financial crisis since 1929.

This is factually accurate of course, but also non-materialistic in assigning the primary role to Jewish neocons. In reality, these people’s power derives from being employed as guard dogs for the US ruling class domestically, just as Israel plays a similar role internationally.  Their wealth and power is dwarfed by that of the non-Jewish, mainly European-derived US ruling class, who are much more numerous. Wealth and social weight trumps ideology any time in determining who is really in charge. The guard-dog is not in charge of its owner, including in this case.

Atzmon’s reading back of Jewish supremacism into history is of the same ilk. Here he really does come close to echoing some unsavoury stuff with his points about the activities of a Jewish capitalist named Jacob Shiff in giving aid to the Bolsheviks. There may be some truth in this, this man hated the Tsarist regime for its anti-semitism and donated money to the Japanese war effort against the Tsar in 1904-05, apparently. Any enemy of the Tsar was his friend, seemingly.

Atzmon does not characterise the Bolsheviks as Jewish tribalists therefore, indeed he appears to counterpose the ‘tribalist’ Bund to the universalism of the Marxist left (including the Bolsheviks), but in making mischievous points like this against leftists who are persecuting him he is flirting with disaster. But yet again, the motivation for this intellectual endeavour of reading back into very different historical circumstances the undoubted racism and even supremacism (over Arabs anyway) of Israel and its supporters today, is again obvious: liberal guilt.

Guilt at being born into a people dealing out really quite monstrous oppression is a pretty complex matter in political-psychological terms, but it can also be the ante-chamber to a more profound radicalisation. The possibility exists that these people could break from this liberalism in a revolutionary direction. This should not be seen in a crude sense as looking for recruits to some Trotskyist sect or other – that sort of trite perspective will no doubt be greeted with much laughter. Rather, what we are talking about is the opportunity for an organic political development that might play an important role in revolutionary events in the Middle East.

A Jewish current

There are echoes of this also in the otherwise very puzzling development of the leftist magazine Counterpunch in the US, which regularly features material on the Israeli lobby and related questions that is perceived and denounced as anti-semitic by others on the left. Yet again, the authors of this material are almost invariably Jewish. This magazine, and these Jewish ‘anti-semitic’ writers, are certainly a trend on the left fringe of American politics. There is no way that they can be portrayed as on the racist or chauvinist right. This is another odd paradox, connected with the Atzmon issue.

Apart from Zionists, who regularly and mendaciously attack any serious criticism of Israel as ‘anti-semitic’, these phenomena have led to furious denunciations of so-called ‘left’ anti-semitism from others who are generally opposed to Zionism.

The Socialist Workers Party in Britain originally took a different position: in 2005 and since Gilad Atzmon has been featured at their events as a musician and sometimes as a speaker, generating much controversy. Recently, however, with a change of leadership, the SWP have capitulated to the outcry against Atzmon and denounced him in a fairly stupid manner.

The SWP, however, is merely following a rightward trajectory and being dragged along by vociferous critics who are to say the least not exactly honest or non-sectarian in their motivation. Apart from Tony Greenstein, whose views are extensively dealt with above, another vocal critic of the SWP is the ex-SWP and now soft-Stalinist blogger, Andy Newman of ‘Socialist Unity’.

Upon the publication of Gilad Atzmon’s book The Wandering Who?, Andy Newman had a rather poorly argued and bland article published in the Guardian denouncing ‘left anti-semitism’ and in particular Zero Books for allowing Atzmon’s book to be published.  Later, on his own blog, he was challenged to give some concrete examples of this ‘left anti-semitism’, when the revolutionary socialist left have generally been the most fervent opponents of racism, including anti-semitism.  All Newman could come up with is this:

“Perhaps [Newman’s critic] can explain how the ‘Doctors’ plot’ purge, the campaign in East Germany against ‘Cosmopolitanism’, or the Slansky Affair are examples of ‘taking a lead against anti-Semitism’ ???”

It is peculiar, to say the least, that Newman as someone who spent quite a few years in the SWP, should now believe that quoting the actions of Stalin and his various East European henchman can be used as typifying the attitude of the revolutionary socialist left. The relationship of Stalinism to the genuine left can be best summed up as being on the other end of the ice-pick.

Newman’s embrace of Stalinism and the Chinese Communist Party, and all that goes with these things, seems to have led him effortlessly to believe that his new heroes are suddenly sterling examples of ‘the left’, and where they go wrong, such as with Stalin’s anti-semitic purges, they should be given a jolly good ticking off.  Utter nonsense of course, and as trite an example of political and logical degeneration as you are likely to see.

But Newman’s examples do throw some small amount of light on this question.  For all the fulminating against ‘left’ anti-semitism that the likes of Newman indulge in, the only concrete examples of it they can find are examples from the history of Stalinism. But no genuine leftist regards Stalinism as a genuine left current. Stalinism is the mortal enemy of the revolutionary socialist left.

And the only other ‘left’ anti-semitism that Newman can find to attack is the work of – a bunch of Jewish ultra-liberals (and one Jewish Stalinist – Israel Shamir)! In other words, this particular form of ‘anti-semitism’ is a purely Jewish phenomenon. Indeed, the case that clarifies this is the case of Shamir, whose ‘anti-semitic’ evolution has led him to embrace – precisely the kind of Stalinist politics and nostalgia that Newman has also embraced.  Here is a nice example of this that should make Newman very uncomfortable – much of it could almost have been written by Andy Newman himself! There are many others.

Shamir is both a representative of this very Jewish, ultra-liberal current and a Stalinist. Which is why he paradoxically keeps cropping up on the left, despite his often fiery, Hizbullah-like anti-Jewish pronouncements, which understandably cause alarm to many.

Newman now retrospectively approves the Stalin-Hitler pact of 1939-41 as a necessary manoeuvre to defend the Soviet Union in those days. Shamir, however, applies this approach to the present day and wants ‘the left’ – his conception of this is roughly the same as Newman’s –  to engage in a similar ‘red-brown’ popular front with old fashioned white supremacists and Nazi remnants to oppose what he sees as the potent far right of today – the US, the Zionists and the Israel lobby.

It appears that these political contradictions have blown Newman’s mind somewhat, as he has started a cowardly, unannounced policy of excluding commenters that point out these facts from his blog, which he still claims is a public space for ‘Socialist Unity’!

Newman’s polemics are an example of manufacturing an allegation out of thin air. ‘Left anti-semitism’ is a myth. If you promote real anti-semitism, essentialist racial hatred of Jews simply for being of Jewish origin, you are an enemy of the left just as if you promote any other kind of racism.

In reality Newman’s nonsense about ‘left’ anti-semitism is a Stalinist-style smear against the far left, and a campaign so unprincipled it is prepared wilfully to give ammunition to supporters of the oppression of the Palestinians, and to witch-hunt those on the left who are entirely correctly prepared to engage fraternally in debate with a confused, persecuted, but in its thrust anti-racist current among Jews that solidarise with the Palestinians.

It would not be the first time that Stalinists have done things like that either, look at Stalin’s arming of the Zionist militias in 1948 through his Czech proxies, that played a major role in the tragedy of the Nakba in the first place. As an aside, it would also be quite interesting to know what Shamir thinks of that, Newman is not the only one with contradictions here.

“Not the same river twice”

Much is disturbing about this campaign about so-called ‘left’ anti-semitism.  A century or so, Jews in Europe were regarded as subversives and a revolutionary threat to ‘Christian civilisation’, supposedly being the sponsors of communism, democratic extremism, anarchist terrorism and other forms of subversion. Even Jewish bourgeois were under suspicion of being really opponents of the established order. And indeed, many of the best representatives of Jewish intellectuals were indeed opponents of the established order, and evidenced a genuinely internationalist, cosmopolitan outlook.

Today, that situation has been reversed. It was basically Hitler and Stalin who reversed it. Hitler played the major role in wiping out millions of Jews, preferentially the most radical, since they were targeted also for being communists and socialists as well as Jews.  Stalin played a complementary role, as his wiping out of an entire generation of genuine communists in Russia also coincidentally involved wiping out another crucially important layer of Jewish radicals. Between them they committed a genocide – of most of the Jewish revolutionary tradition. Leaving behind a surviving Jewish population that was pretty traumatised, deradicalised and susceptible to a reactionary nationalist outlook.

The decline of anti-semitism today is the product of the decline of a counterrevolutionary paranoia about Jews.  The reason for that is simple, the revolutionary movement in which Jews played an important role has ceased to exist, and Jews have ceased to play the revolutionary role they once did. Now Jews, as a result of the Zionist project, are an oppressor, colonial-type people in the Middle East and a key, if subordinate, part of the establishment of the most powerful imperialist nation, the United States, and to a lesser degree in other Western nations.

Thus the material and political basis for anti-semitism has completely disappeared. Now the dominant reactionary discourse is not about defending Christendom from the Jews and Bolsheviks, but of defending ‘Judeo-Christian civilisation’ from the Muslim hordes.

The only place of any significance where anti-semitism has any potency is the Middle East, and perhaps among the odd Muslim politician elsewhere in the world who may be influenced by events in the Middle East. It is a regrettable reaction to the Zionist colonisation and an expression of impotent rage at the unremitting nature of Zionist humiliation and oppression of Arabs. And a few deeply alienated Jewish radicals have come to echo some of that ‘anti-semitism’, which though it may appear unsavoury and echo the rhetoric of another age, is in fact an ideology of the oppressed.

Neo-Nazis today in the west are a dead-end fringe of cranks, doomed to disappear when the old ones die. Nazism may be on its last legs, but fascism is not. The two are not synonymous, not by a long chalk. Now there are fascist groups in Europe who carry the Israeli flag, who actively seek to recruit Jews, and who unremittingly incite hatred of immigrants, particularly Muslim immigrants, in Europe. In America, the Zionist lobby itself plays a key role in inciting hatred of Arabs and Muslims, along with Christian ultra-rightists. This is obviously a very changed situation from the interwar period when anti-semitism was the major reactionary discourse.

The ancient Greek Philosopher Heraclitus once said that “it is not possible to step into the same river twice”.  Meaning, of course, that if you do it again the actual water you will be wading through will be completely different.  This is of course a metaphor for life itself.

One of the reasons why neo-Nazism failed as a movement in the decades after World War II was that political conditions were changing. And of course, the Jewish question was a key component of that. It was more and more difficult to promote a counterrevolutionary paranoia of Jewish Bolshevism when mainstream Jewish politics, paralleling developments in Israel of course, was moving away from socialism through liberalism to a pretty conservative, right-wing position. In effect, by sticking to the cult of Hitler and denying the Nazi genocide, neo-Nazis were “trying to step into the same river twice”.

But conversely, one reason why new-style ultra-right and fascist movements – the likes of the EDL, Geert Wilders, etc., that do not look to Hitler, and who target Muslims instead of Jews, are so dangerous, is precisely because they are not trying to “step into the same river twice”. With the fear of immigrant radicalisation, particularly that of Muslims, and the impact of the ‘war on terror’, the ‘river’ that they are trying to step into is virgin territory. That does not mean they cannot be fought and defeated, but it does mean that they are a more potent threat than neo-Nazis ever were in the post war period.

It is difficult to imagine a replay of the Dreyfus case of more than a century ago, where a Jewish military officer of the French General Staff was framed up for treason on the basis of a racist hate campaign that polarised French – and indeed wider European, society into two camps. With the completely changed climate that exists today, such an event, an anti-semitic witchhunt against a prominent figure of major political significance, is very unlikely.

But there is one group of Jews who could easily fall victim of something similar in the modern context. That is, a group of Jews who might conceivably be branded as traitors to ‘Judeo-Christian civilisation’, and become the target of some kind of reactionary victimisation. And if that happens, watch those on the left who have not clarified this issue find all kinds of excuses to either support the victimisation, or to duck for cover. Such an event, if it were to take place, might appear very different to the Dreyfus case in form, but in content it would be very similar.

We have already seen elements of this kind of capitulation on the left with the refusal of many, most notably the SWP, to defend Julian Assange of Wikileaks. Part of this is as a result of the pressure of reactionary feminists in joining the outcry over the concocted sexual allegations against him. But another important element of this is the outcry over his association with the ‘Jewish traitor and anti-semite’, Israel Shamir.  There are certainly echoes of the Dreyfus case in the frameup of Assange, who like Dreyfus is no angel or proletarian militant, but nevertheless whose defence is a question of class principle.

This is an important issue. As the moral authority of Zionism breaks down, given the lack of authority of the genuine internationalist left, there are likely to be more Jews radicalised along these flawed channels. It is very likely such people will play an important role in the future.  Clarity on this now will help arm the genuine left for future political battles in which such people may well feature in some form.  As opposed to being misled by pathetic born-again Stalinists and Jewish bundist/communalists many of whom still seem to think they are fighting in a completely different, pre-WWII context.

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18 responses to “From Atzmon to Dreyfus: a reply to communalists and Stalinists

  1. Israel Shamir

    October 29, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    If you ask, my understanding of Stalin’s support for the Jews in Palestine in 1948-49 is explained here http://www.israelshamir.net/English/Prince_Charming.htm

     
  2. Tony Greenstein

    October 30, 2011 at 3:39 am

    This is a very long reply to my original piece. I am sure you will understand why I simply don’t have the time to respond to it. Just a few short points.

    i. Atzmon’s essentialism. If all Jews, including those who are opposed to Zionism, are nonetheless Zionist simply by affirmation as Jews politically, that seems to me to be an essentialist point of view. Being Jewish in anything other than a religious sense is Zionist. it incidentally confirms the Zionist thesis of being Jewish.

    ii. Shamir isn’t part of the left. He criticised the BNP for not being anti-Jewish enough. He openly organises with people like Mahler of the NDP (ex RAF) in Germany. I know from personal testimony that he has referred to Blacks as ‘nigger trash’ on a visit to the USA.

    iii. Nor is Atzmon, who is an altogether subtler character, of the left. He posits that Israel is not the creation of imperialism or a settler-colonial state (where is the mother country he repeatedly asks). For him it is Jewishness per se that explains Zionism, which for him hardly exists as a phenomenon.

    iv. I consider the Palestinian Authority the equivalent of a Judenrat. It is not sympathetic to any concept of the holocaust. It is instrumental in maintaining Israel’s occupation and in fact Abbas wrote a thesis explaining why there was no holocaust.

    v. I don’t ignore the Israel lobby. Clearly it is of major importance, not least in the intra-ruling class debate about where the US and Britain’s interests lie. It acts to increase the oppression of the Palestinians since it convinces the US ruling class that if they are serious about maintaining a settler base then forcing it to disgorge the West Bank would cause a serious loss of morale. But what I also say is that it is not responsible for the overall thrust of US Foreign Policy.

    vi. Yes saying you are a ‘self-hater’ means accepting the paradigm of the racist. You do indeed hate your race/nation. The obvious retort is either that no, I love myself or, the one I prefer, that it’s you I hate! To say that someone Jewish who opposes Zionism is a self-hater is to accept the basic premise of one’s accusers.

    vii. You write that:

    I don’t see how his theory about third category Jews (as opposed to the first and second category, i.e. religious Jews, and those Jews who generally regard their identity as Jewish but do not politicise that) is essentialist. It applies as I see it to those who make their communal identity a political issue. He may be wrong to say that Zionism and Tony Greenstein’s kind of political Jewishness are fundamentally the same thing, but how is that essentialist? It is a theory about the politicisation of identity, not identity itself.

    Because this 3rd category means any Jew who sees their being Jewish as leadin towards opposition to racism. Being Jewish means per se being racist and Zionist. Try reading ‘not in my name’ where Atzmon spells it all out. ANY Jewish political identity is Zionist, even those who disrupted the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra recently (‘Jewish Philharmony’ aka Atzmon).

    viii. In ‘Tribal Marxism for Dummies’ Atzmon informs us that there is Marxism and Jewish Marxism. He writes that

    ‘It is the Jewish Marxist rather than the ‘Zionist’ who exposes the Jewish political ugly attitude in its worst crude form. This is good enough reason to monitor the Jewish Left and to understand its philosophy. As we will see soon enough, Jewish Marxism is there to suppress any form of engagement with the Jewish question by means of spin. It is there to stop scrutiny of Jewish power and Jewish lobbying. The Judeo Marxist is an imposter prophet who claims to know the answers and yet, for some reason, his reading of historical events is no less than a total catastrophe. None of his predictions stand the reality test.’

    If this is not racist and anti-Semitic then words have lost all meaning. He goes on to attack Israel anti-Zionist Moshe Machover:

    ‘Machover’s reading of Zionism is pretty trivial.’ Unlike Atzmon’s of course.

    ‘Israel’, he says, is a ‘settler state’. For Machover this is a necessary point of departure because it sets Zionism as a colonialist expansionist project. The reasoning behind such a lame intellectual spin is obvious. As long as Zionism is conveyed as a colonial project, Jews, as a people, should be seen as ordinary people. They are no different from the French and the English, they just happen to run their deadly colonial project in a different time.
    However, as much as Machover is desperate to divert the attention away from the Jewish question, Jewish tribal politics and the Jewish identity, his entire premise can be demolished in a one simple move. If Israel is a ‘settler state’ as he says, one may wonder, what exactly is its ‘motherland? In British and French colonial eras, the settler states maintained a very apparent tie with their ‘motherland’. In some cases in history, the settler state broke from its motherland. Such an event is a rather noticeable one. The Boston Tea Party may ring a bell. However, as far as we are aware, there is no ‘Jewish motherland’ that is intrinsically linked to the alleged ‘Jewish settler state’. The ‘Jewish people’ are largely associated with the Jewish state, and yet the ‘Jewish people’ is not exactly a ‘material’ autonomous sovereign entity. The lack of material Jewish motherland leads to the immediate collapse of Machover’s colonial argument.

    An interesting take on settler-colonialism. Presumably after the Boston Tea Party the American settlers weren’t settlers according to this ‘logic’.

    And demonstrating just where he lies politically: ‘it is actually the Jewish Marxists, those who support Palestinians as long as they drop Islam, who are the ultimate exemplary exponents of Jewish tribal politics. It is the Jewish Marxist rather than the ‘Zionist’ who exposes the Jewish political ugly attitude in its worst crude form. This is good enough reason to monitor the Jewish Left and to understand its philosophy. As we will see soon enough, Jewish Marxism is there to suppress any form of engagement with the Jewish question by means of spin. It is there to stop scrutiny of Jewish power and Jewish lobbying. The Judeo Marxist is an imposter prophet who claims to know the answers and yet, for some reason, his reading of historical events is no less than a total catastrophe. None of his predictions stand the reality test.’ Unlike Atzmon on Peretz and Obama!

    In his aptly named ‘‘Swindler’s List’ Atzmon writes that “Bundists believe that instead of robbing Palestinians we should all get together and rob whoever is considered to be the rich, the wealthy and the strong in the name of working class revolution.’ Of course this isn’t true of non-Jewish socialists who are among the foremost protectors of capitalist property!

    Anti-semitic? Perish the thought.

    ix. There is no comparison between feeling shame at Israel’s actions on behalf of Jews and denying the holocaust. If that is the connection that has to be made then Zionism will consolidate its hold among world Jewry. Eisen as you know has become a Hitler lover and not just Eisen. others too of his ilk have demonstrated a fondness for Adolf’s political heirs.

    This is longer than I meant but I seriously don’t accept your criticisms or even your understanding of what essentialism is.

     
  3. Jon H

    October 30, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    @Tony Greenstein

    `i. Atzmon’s essentialism. If all Jews, including those who are opposed to Zionism, are nonetheless Zionist simply by affirmation as Jews politically, that seems to me to be an essentialist point of view. Being Jewish in anything other than a religious sense is Zionist. it incidentally confirms the Zionist thesis of being Jewish.’

    Does he say that or is he saying that Marxists from a Jewish background who wish to remain identified as Jewish are essentially Zionist because though they have broken with the religion they are somehow trying to identify with a `Jewish nation’. Jews who are opposed to Zionism but who remain Jewish in the religious sense would I think, in Atzmon’s thinking, still be properly anti-Zionist. Could we imagine a Catholic Marxist?

     
  4. Chris Moore

    October 30, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Keep in mind that there are two types of Jewish nationalism: Israeli Jewish nationalism, and Diaspora virtual Jewish nationalism. Both are equally racist, self-serving, and insidious; the only difference is that Jewish Zionist Israelis are more honest and open about their own chauvinistic character, whereas the Diaspora virtual Jewish nationalists often adopt affectations of liberalism or universal leftism as a smokescreen to cover over their chauvenism, and then, just as do Israeli Zionists, insist on smearing those who “out” their fascist essence as racists.

    Greenstein is upset because, thanks to people like Shamir and Atzmon, more and more on the left are seeing “left-wing” Diaspora virtual Jewish nationalists for the self-serving frauds and saboteurs they are.

    But the writing is on the wall: the crypto-Zionist, Diaspora virtual Jewish nationalists are finished on the left; they’re just having a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that their scam is up, yet again.

     
  5. redscribe

    October 30, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    In response to Jon H, I can think of at least two Catholic Marxists of some note: James Connolly and Terry Eagleton. Whether they are or were consistently Marxist is doubtful, because of their non-atheism, so I think Jon H’s question does not quite fit the point he is trying to make.

    Regarding the Chris Moore post, it is absurd and paranoid to say that Diaspora Jews who support the Palestinian struggle and devote much of their lives to that are ‘equally racist’ to Zionists. If you cannot see that the Palestinian question is the dividing line, then you have a serious problem.

    I’m afraid that conspiracy theories based on the demonisation of different trends who at bottom support the Palestinians, do not impress me. I am just as opposed to the demonisation of Tony Greenstein as to the demonisation of Gilad Atzmon. Even if, as Tony’s comment above shows reasoning with him over this issue is not an easy task, he and his comrades are still genuine partisans of the Palestinian struggle and worthy of respect as such.

    In fact, I have several times seen rabid Zionists make it abundantly clear that they hate TG and GA to the same extent and would like nothing better than to destroy both trends.

    I am aware that there are forces who, unlike both of those two individuals and the trends they both represent, are uninterested in the Palestinian struggle and really don’t like Arabs or Jews very much. So comments such as that of Chris Moore, that seek to deepen divisions and not overcome them in the interests of the Palestinians, are not really welcome here.

    And thank you to Israel Shamir for the link. I may comment on some of these issues later..

     
  6. jayn0t

    November 1, 2011 at 2:36 am

    I found a link to this article on Atzmon’s site. Brilliant. Best left-wing response to Atzmon yet. I disagree about a few things. More later.

     
  7. Jon H

    November 1, 2011 at 5:49 am

    `In response to Jon H, I can think of at least two Catholic Marxists of some note: James Connolly and Terry Eagleton.’

    They have Catholic heritage but I’d be very surprised if either described themselves as Catholics Red. There cannot be such a thing as a Catholic Marxist.

     
  8. jayn0t

    November 1, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Tony Greenstein cites of one of Atzmon’s articles ‘As we will see soon enough, Jewish Marxism is there to suppress any form of engagement with the Jewish question by means of spin. It is there to stop scrutiny of Jewish power and Jewish lobbying’ and comments “If this is not racist and anti-Semitic then words have lost all meaning”. I agree – words have kept their meaning, therefore it’s not racist and anti-Semitic. This passage is an exact description of Greenstein & co’s campaign against freedom of speech in the Palestine solidarity movement over the last few years. Tony’s comrade Andy Newman, given a special place in the Guardian, explicitly argues that we should not be concerned about “Jewish lobbies and Jewish power” because it’s anti-Semitic. Why do US politicians fall over each other in pledging more loyalty to Israel than to their own state? Why did the USA cut its funds to UNESCO within hours of the vote for Palestinian statehood? Because its imperialist? Because Israel is a strategic asset? No, ‘Jewish lobbies and Jewish power’ are the most economical explanation of this strange phenomenon, and Jewish Marxism is there to try to blackmail us into not seeing it. But times are changing, and the gatekeepers of apartheid are losing.

     
  9. redscribe

    November 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Jaynot:

    I think talking about ‘Jewish power’ is not necessarily racist, any more than talking about American power, or British power, or French power, or whatever. Israel claims to be the Jewish state, and there are indeed pro-Israel Jewish publications that boast about what they call ‘Jewish power’. Israel is a powerful state with even more powerful allies who are very indulgent to it. So there is no logical reason why you cannot use that phrase to describe the power of Israel’s supporters.

    I would not use it though, because it has other connotations. More of less for the same reason I would not use the phrase ‘Islamic terrorism’. When you are talking about al Qaeda, that is formally accurate but the use of the phrase appears to tar all Muslims with the brush of terrorism. And talking about Jewish power gives a similar appearance, that all Jews are responsible for the activities of the Israel lobby.

    Particularly as like ‘Islamic’, ‘Jewish’ is not the name of a particular state and its supporters. These are world-wide phenomenon and pretty heterogeneous. Many would describe themselves as ‘Islamic’ or ‘Jewish’ respectively without having any sympathy with the people who terms like ‘Jewish power’, ‘Islamic terrorism’, etc describe.

    Of course, there are plenty of people, including on the left, who talk in the vein of ‘Islamic terrorism’, and they get away with murder in this regard whereas even Jews who talk about ‘Jewish power’ get pilloried. To say the least that is a massive double standard. Maybe I will come back to this later.

    I think there is a distinction between the phenomena of the Israel lobby and the words used to describe it. That argument is slowly being won, that this group of people does exist and does exercise quite a lot of power. While it is not exclusively Jewish it does have rather a lot of Jews in it, and it does fight with great determination for the interests of the ‘Jewish state’.

    But there is a another argument about the terms used to describe it that at times generates even more heat than the substantive part itself. The problem is that once you accept the existence of the Israeli-Jewish lobby, which is probably the best term for it, then you have to analyse what it is and where its power comes from.

    It is something mystical, that gives a small minority of the American population such power apparently over others because of a mere ideology? How can that work anyway? Jews are only a three percent minority in the US. There is absolutely no way that a 3% minority can exercise power in an advanced country like the US without the leading circles of the other 97% actively wanting them to and granting them that power willingly. It is materially impossible for it to be otherwise. The question is: why? Whatever the answer is, it can only relate to felt strategic needs of the leading capitalist layers of the gentile majority. If the minority of the 3% minority who actually exercise this power were at odds with the interests of US gentile capital, they could easily slap them down or worse.

    I don’t think the term ‘gatekeepers’ to describe Tony Greenstein and co is accurate. This argument is as much about words as substance. More and more people accept the lobby exists and has power, but the dispute is about its nature. And there are fears that a major public debate about its nature will lead to Jews as a whole, not just the rabid Zionists who are actually involved with the lobby, being targeted.

    That’s one reason why this dispute is so bitter – one side thinks the other is at best reckless about trying to whip up hostility to all Jews in the process of targeting the lobby. The other thinks that their opponents are trying to protect the lobby from much needed exposure. But both sides, as I see it are dedicated supporters of the Palestinians and opponents of imperialism. Which in my view should be the basis for a cooling of the present rather strange war between two pro-Palestinian Jewish trends.

    Not that Andy Newman has anything to do with this. He just likes to be noticed.

     
  10. redscribe

    November 1, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Jon H

    “There cannot be such a thing as a Catholic Marxist.”

    It terms of consistency, you are probably right, but I am pretty sure James Connolly did regard himself in that way. and even died fighting for this, more or less. Sometimes people have more than one set of ideas in their head. A good argument for not being too dogmatic about the possibilities.

     
  11. David Ellis

    November 2, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Red: If Connolly did think of himself as a Catholic then he certainly wasn’t a Marxist but that is not to say that he wasn’t under its influence or that he wasn’t a serious revolutionary or that he was trying to abuse Marxism in the service of Catholicism.

    I like your blog and the contributions on this thread by Chris Moore and jayn0t and your replies to them.

     
  12. redscribe

    November 3, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    He was a product of a political environment where Catholicism was the religion of the oppressed, and his Marxism reflected that evolution. He did not break from every aspect of Catholicism and he was to my understanding not an atheist. But his Marxism was sufficiently developed for him to play a major role in the class struggle notwithstanding, and indeed to die as a martyr for an anti-colonial uprising alongside more mainstream Irish nationalists while leading what in effect was a workers militia in Dublin. He was not ‘pure’, but as Lenin said when commenting on the Easter Rising, “he who expects a ‘pure’ revolution will never live to see it”.

    That does not mean that it is not necessary to try to get full clarity on every question but it does underline that all is not lost if that cannot be easily achieved. Anyway, glad you like the blog.

     
  13. jayn0t

    November 4, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Thanks for you reply. In retrospect, I should not have referred to some of Atzmon’s critics as ‘gatekeepers’, because it sounds as if I know what motivates them, when I don’t. I’ve replied at length in a post at pacifica forum dot org, ‘Response to “Red Scribblings”‘.

     
  14. redscribe

    November 5, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I have read Jaynot’s reply on Pacifica, and will attempt to address some of his criticisms here, even though I will not be replying on or linking to Pacifica because of the nature of that website as one in which unambiguously racist material is featured. Incidentally now that I have read around that site and some of his interactions with Lenin’s tomb, among other things, I am not so keen on debating with Jaynot either.

    I also have my doubts whether Gilad Atzmon would be that keen to be associated with his comments on Lenin’s Tomb that I tracked down, particularly those about Muslim men in Bradford allegedly seeing white girls as ‘fair game’, allegations that feature in a campaign for the demonisation of Muslims in this country by the anti-Muslim far right. Or his comments about Muslims along the lines of “When a religious community contains a small minority who hate the host culture so much they are prepared to blow themselves up killing members of it, reaction occurs.” Or for that matter his remarks demonising Gypsies in an analogous manner.

    I somehow doubt also that a supporter of Palestinian rights like Gilad Atzmon would be so keen to be associated with this kind of sentiment, so similar to that of the English Defence League chanting ‘Allah is a terrorist, Allah is a paedo’ while stomping around Asian/Muslim areas attacking members of the public. Or for that matter Jaynot’s equally foul comments about gypsies in the same Lenin’s Tomb thread.

    One very straightforward point in reply to Jaynot is that, though I ‘draw the line’ at a different place from other leftists, I do still draw it. That is, I draw the line against ‘fascists’. This is true. And I regard it as a compliment. This is indicating that I know where to draw the class line.

    Israeli liberal ‘self-haters’, or Jewish Stalinsts like Shamir, are not class enemies. But such people by their very nature do not understand where to draw class lines, and may indeed advocate strategies that bring them into such unsavoury company at times. There is plenty of room to debate things like that.

    Fascists, though, are the ultimate weapon of the class enemy. Not in the sense that they are themselves usually that wealthy,but rather in the sense that in ideological terms they are in favour of smashing all working class organisations and organisations of the oppressed. So in a sense, questions involving ‘race’ are tactical for the true fascist, whose aim is to exploit all forms of bigotry, in order to mobilise whatever depraved elements can be mobilised by such means, into a reactionary fist to so crush the enemies and victims of capital.

    Is Jaynot a fascist? Not sure, but he seems to be obsessed with dislike for Jews, Muslims, gypsies, blacks and others, and with hanging around sites that people with similar views hang around. But there are serious grounds to suspect as much. This is of course the problem with Israel Shamir’s Stalinist perspective of the Red-Brown coalition, it leads to fraternising with the far right. It is suicidal for the left to do this, and sorry, that’s not my perspective. So no more postings from Jaynot will be published here.

    On the other hand, this exchange has its fruitful side also, and may slightly shock Gilad Atzmon and/or his sympathisers and raise some element of doubt about the usefulness of Israel Shamir’s advice on who is an ally and who is not. To put it simply, for supporters of Arab and Palestinian rights to ally with white supremacists because they don’t like Jews very much is pretty foolish, as you will very rapidly discover, they don’t like Arabs and Muslims any more than they like Jews.

     
  15. harry smith

    November 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Hi Red. Can you please imagine for a moment that Jewish interests dominate US foreign policy, business, media, and politics. (I’ll call that “the thesis”). I’m not asking that you accept that the thesis is true; I’m just asking you to imagine that the thesis true. Now please can you tell me what features you would expect to witness, were the thesis to be true, that you do NOT witness now.

    I would hope you could agree that there is no need to bring racism, or the possibility of being thought to be racist when one isn’t, into that discussion. But even if you don’t, what features that currently don’t exist would you expect to exist?

    Of course there is the second question, which is do you think people can accept the thesis who are intelligent and non-racist, and if not, why not.

    But let’s deal with the first question first.

    Harry

     
  16. redscribe

    November 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    The problem is with that question is I am unsure what you mean by ‘Jewish interests’.. It seems to me that many Jews do not have much in the way of common interests. If you mean Israeli state interests, then the question makes some sense in that the people you are talking about actually have some common ‘interests’. But if not, then they don’t.

    For a start, though speaking hypothetically, for ‘Jewish interests’ to be dominant in the United States, I would expect to see not one, but a whole string of Jewish heads of state. I would expect that at least some, if not all of the most important political dynasties in US politics, the likes of the Bushes, the Kennedys, the Clintons etc to be Jewish dynasties, and I would expect to see systematic attempts to dilute and marginalise the influence of non-Jewish cultural/religious manifestations such as the Christian religion. Given the preponderance of fundamentalist Christianity, particularly evangelicism, in the US, this is rather a tall order.

    It is perfect possible for cliques from a minority faith/ethnicity to rule over a majority in a way that is not ostentatious or obvious. I can think of two examples from the Middle East: Iraq under the mainly Sunni Ba’athist clique led by Saddam, and Syria led by the also Ba’athist Alawi clique around the Assad dynasty. Those are situations where a minority ruled/rules fairly discreetly in the name of secularlism over a majority with a different confessional tradition. But this is self-evidently not the situation in the US. It is also generally not possible in conditions of formal democracy in any case. It is a fact that none of the political dynasties that have dominated the US are Jewish, it is also a fact that there has never been a Jewish president.

    The one thing that Israeli interests (not Jewish) have a pretty firm grip on is foreign policy. Nothing else really. But all that is explicable by the simple thesis that the overwhelmingly gentile US ruling class likes it that way. Read my latest article responding to Israel Shamir for elaboration.

    There is nothing inherently racist about the belief that US politics are dominated by Israeli interests. Even if you want to extend that to ‘Jewish interests’ that is not necessarily racist, though I do think it misses the point about why the US genuflects to Israel in the Middle East. A strategic ally on that level, the only one in the possibly the most crucial strategic region in the world at that, has a lot of leverage in gettting what it wants.

    Where it does cross over into outright racism is when you find allegations of a Jewish programme to dilute the ‘white’ population of advanced Western nations with non-white immigrants. I hope you are not arguing that, and I am sure that Gilad Atzmon is not: he regards such concepts as disturbing – and rightly so.

    His thesis that ‘Jewishness’ is an ideology I also consider not to be racist, in fact it is a moot point how to characterise ‘Jewishness’ in the absence of religion if you do not consider Jews to be a nation. This seems to me to be a theoretical question that Tony Greenstein has not answered either.

    But what is problematic is the belief that this ideology confers some kind of extraordinary power to lead to the kind of ‘domination’ you speak of. Ideologies only have power by virtue of their ability to win converts to that ideology. If you can’t win converts to carry out the practical mission of an ideology, then the ideology is toothless. Of course, the other way an ideology can win influence is by convincing others that despite the lack of ideological agreement they have a common purpose and aims in practice. In my view, the influence of the Israel-Jewish lobby in US politics can be explained only in this way.

    The ‘thesis’ is tautological, because it still does not explain how such a small numerical minority can so ‘dominate’ over an overwhelming majority. Unless one strays into the realm of essentialist science-fiction of course. But that is really dangerous territory. Discounting this kind of nonsense, those who put forward this theses about the alleged power of ‘Jewish ideology’ have not thought this through.

    Logically, there are only two things they can do. Either admit that this is a false concept that does not explain anything. Or embrace a real essentialist position as sketched out above. However, for Jews to embrace an essentialist position about … Jews would be absurd and self-destructive in its logic, for reasons that are pretty obvious.

     
  17. Harry Smith

    November 8, 2011 at 1:53 am

    Hi Red and thanks for answering the question – and in particular, thanks for not throwing any accusations of racism in my direction!

    >The problem is with that question is I am unsure what you mean by
    >‘Jewish interests’..

    >It seems to me that many Jews do not have much in the way of common
    >interests. If you mean Israeli state interests, then the question
    >makes some sense in that the people you are talking about actually
    >have some common ‘interests’. But if not, then they don’t.

    ‘Jewish interests’ here means a milieu of rich Jews to whom solidarity with each other as Jews is of considerable importance. If I can switch to the declarative rather than the conditional (because one could hypothesise many different variants, and there’s no secret that I believe “the thesis” to be sound), the ‘Defence of Israel’ is important, even centrally important, in this solidarity, even if of course it is a manifestation of aspirations considered Jewish rather than the other way round. But that leads to a somewhat hackneyed debate.

    >For a start, though speaking hypothetically, for ‘Jewish interests’
    >to be dominant in the United States, I would expect to see not one,
    >but a whole string of Jewish heads of state. I would expect that at
    >least some, if not all of the most important political dynasties in
    >US politics, the likes of the Bushes, the Kennedys, the Clintons etc
    >to be Jewish dynasties,

    But you seem to contradict this below. Bourgeois democracy is mass-media-epoch bullshit, idiot-feed. Power is not subservient to it? In Russia today, practically all of the billionaire ‘oligarchs’ are Jewish, but they don’t have much in the way of ‘dynasties’, and back in the 1990s were happy with Yeltsin and his family, and they don’t have much trouble with Putin either.

    >and I would expect to see systematic attempts to dilute and
    >marginalise the influence of non-Jewish cultural/religious
    >manifestations such as the Christian religion.

    Why would that be a goal? It wouldn’t be necessary for self-protection. The role of Israel in US foreign policy (crudely, weapons and spooks) and the control by Jewish interests of the media (crudely, control over opinion and culture) would obviate what might otherwise be a necessity.

    >Given the preponderance of fundamentalist Christianity,
    >particularly evangelicism, in the US, this is rather a tall order.

    >It is perfect possible for cliques from a minority faith/ethnicity
    >to rule over a majority in a way that is not ostentatious or obvious.

    Yes indeed.

    >I can think of two examples from the Middle East: Iraq under the
    >mainly Sunni Ba’athist clique led by Saddam, and Syria led by the
    >also Ba’athist Alawi clique around the Assad dynasty. Those are
    >situations where a minority ruled/rules fairly discreetly in the
    >name of secularlism over a majority with a different confessional
    >tradition. But this is self-evidently not the situation in the US.

    You are just stating that, or at least, requiring more ‘visibility’ than might need to be required. Consider the example of Georgia. The Christian president declared in the 2008 war that “both war and peace” were in the hands of Israeli Jews – referring to the Israeli individuals who were the ‘Georgian’ ‘Defence’ Minister and the ‘Georgian’ ‘Minister for Negotiations over South Ossetia’. Another example is Kazakhstan, where the Muslim president Nazarbayev is formally the dictator but Mashkevitch (chairman of the Euroasian Jewish Congress, one of the five regional bodies of the WJC – i.e. he is in some sense the ‘main man’ of Zionism in the country) is an extremely powerful money guy who is powerful behind the throne. In the United States, Clinton was powerless with regard to Zionism – he told Lewinsky a foreign power had bugged the White House, meaning Israel. The real story isn’t that that’s so, or even that he believed it to be so, but that he believed it to be so and believed himself to be powerless to do anything about it. It’s also an open secret that the Hill is controlled through AIPAC. In France, Sarkozy is said to have been a sayan. I think you would be hard-pressed to think of one other head of government of a great power who while in office was widely rumoured to have been recruited by a foreign intelligence service but stayed in power, and clearly if any security officers thought that the person might possibly be a security risk, they weren’t in a position to do anything about it. Then in Britain you have the BBC Director-General Mark Thompson being publicised as going to Israel to discuss his organisation’s coverage of matters that concern Israel… What analogies are there to these things involving non-Jewish interest groups?

    >It is also generally not possible in conditions of formal democracy
    >in any case. It is a fact that none of the political dynasties that
    >have dominated the US are Jewish, it is also a fact that there has
    >never been a Jewish president.

    I think AIPAC could get one if they wanted one, don’t you?

    Formal democracy is a sham, pretty much everywhere.

    >The one thing that Israeli interests (not Jewish) have a pretty firm
    >grip on is foreign policy. Nothing else really.

    !!!

    Well for starters that relates directly to the military industrial complex, and an Israeli security company is involved in running security at US nuclear installations, both civil and military. Any parallels to that in any other country?

    >But all that is explicable by the simple thesis that the overwhelmingly
    >gentile US ruling class likes it that way.

    I don’t know what you mean by ‘overwhelmingly’. That a large majority of millionaires are not Jewish? Sure, but with billionaires it’s said to be half and half.

    >There is nothing inherently racist about the belief that US politics
    >are dominated by Israeli interests. Even if you want to extend that
    >to ‘Jewish interests’ that is not necessarily racist, though I do think
    >it misses the point about why the US genuflects to Israel in the Middle
    >East. A strategic ally on that level, the only one in the possibly the
    >most crucial strategic region in the world at that, has a lot of
    >leverage in gettting what it wants.

    This sounds as if you are saying that those who run the United States state can get together and decide “well we need Israel as an ally, so it makes sense to give them some of what they want”. I think the time has long gone where it is possible for influential top-level non-Jews who are not ‘sabbath goyim’ to get together outside of Israeli influence and out of Israeli earshot to formulate their own strategies independently.

    >Where it does cross over into outright racism is when you find
    >allegations of a Jewish programme to dilute the ‘white’ population
    >of advanced Western nations with non-white immigrants. I hope you are
    >not arguing that, and I am sure that Gilad Atzmon is not: he regards
    >such concepts as disturbing – and rightly so.

    I’m not arguing any such thing, and cannot see that Jewish racists would consider it in their interests to put resources into doing any such thing. (And anyway I’m a supporter of ethnic mixing!) In fact, quite the contrary seems to be true – there is, for example, some Jewish racist support (JDL links) for the English Defence League which (despite its denials) is unmistakeably white-racist. Anders Breivik in Norway is also pro-Zionist, and indeed as Gilad Atzmon noted, some Jewish racists were quick to praise Breivik or at least to say they didn’t give a damn about his victims. That kind of attitude is practically psychotic, and doubtless is bound up with the idea that is promoted among Zionists that Jews are under vicious threat and marrying out is tantamount to doing Hitler’s work for him, and crticis of Israel single out Israel because they’re anti-Jewish racists, etc. etc. Someone who on hearing of Breivik’s actions doesn’t think “how terrible”, but asks “is this good for the Jews?” and decides “well it isn’t bad, because some of the youths in Norway’s main social-democratic party were in favour of BDS, and now a lot of the youth leadership has ceased to exist, and you can’t expect us as Jews to cry any tears when our enemies get shot like that”…is truly f***ing mentally ill, with a psyche almost consumed by Nazi-style racist hatred. I don’t want to philosophise it – they don’t know right from wrong!

    >His thesis that ‘Jewishness’ is an ideology I also consider not to be
    >racist, in fact it is a moot point how to characterise ‘Jewishness’
    >in the absence of religion if you do not consider Jews to be a nation.
    >This seems to me to be a theoretical question that Tony Greenstein
    >has not answered either.

    Maybe. I’m not so interested in that side of the discussion. Jewishness is an ideology, but so is Britishness etc. I am content to classify as Jews only individuals who classify themselves as such, and all individuals who do.

    >But what is problematic is the belief that this ideology confers some
    >kind of extraordinary power to lead to the kind of ‘domination’ you speak of.

    I haven’t encountered that idea, but to believe it would certainly be crazy. Actually maybe I have encountered it – it sounds similar to a flavour of anti-Jewish racism that might appeal to some Russian Orthodox believers with a scent of sulphur in their nostrils.

    >Ideologies only have power by virtue of their ability to win converts
    >to that ideology.

    I don’t think ideologies have power at all. People do. Not so interested in essentialism either. Very interested in world-historical realities and in particular, the present historical dynamic.

     
  18. redscribe

    November 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Harry Smith:

    “’Jewish interests’ here means a milieu of rich Jews to whom solidarity with each other as Jews is of considerable importance. If I can switch to the declarative rather than the conditional (because one could hypothesise many different variants, and there’s no secret that I believe “the thesis” to be sound), the ‘Defence of Israel’ is important, even centrally important, in this solidarity, even if of course it is a manifestation of aspirations considered Jewish rather than the other way round. But that leads to a somewhat hackneyed debate.”

    I don’t think this is a hackneyed debate. Think of it this way: if Israel did not exist, what common interests would these people have? I suspect very little. Only a nationalist-type ideology based on Israel ties them together.

    “But you seem to contradict this below. Bourgeois democracy is mass-media-epoch bullshit, idiot-feed. Power is not subservient to it? In Russia today, practically all of the billionaire ‘oligarchs’ are Jewish, but they don’t have much in the way of ‘dynasties’, and back in the 1990s were happy with Yeltsin and his family, and they don’t have much trouble with Putin either.”

    Russia and the former Soviet bloc in general are quite different to the US and Western Europe. The ruling classes in the latter go back centuries, and are much more deeply entrenched and stable. In the former Soviet bloc the capitalists are oligarchs, parvenus, who have very little tradition or popular legitimacy.

    Actually it is not that surprising that Jews made headway there, as they do have a capitalist tradition to draw on as even Marx once pointed out in On the Jewish Question. There is precious little other bourgeois tradition in Russia, unlike the United States and Western Europe.

    24 hour media may be a potent weapon in terms of manipulating mass consciousness, though even this is overstated – the rise of other media such as the Internet etc. pushes in the other direction. And I don’t think this has changed the basic nature of society.

    “Why would that be a goal? [i.e. to attempt to dilute and marginalise the influence of non-Jewish religious/cultural manifestations such as Christianity] It wouldn’t be necessary for self-protection. The role of Israel in US foreign policy (crudely, weapons and spooks) and the control by Jewish interests of the media (crudely, control over opinion and culture) would obviate what might otherwise be a necessity.”

    Well if you are talking about ‘domination’ then it certainly would be necessary. If you are talking about something that has a much more limited objective, i.e. to safeguard the interests of another state by means of what amounts to a deal with the establishment of the larger ‘sponsor’ state, then it makes sense to keep in the background. Domination for me means domination. By all means point out that Israel has acquired quite disproportionate influence over US policy. But if you talk about ‘domination’ you are over-egging the point and discrediting the argument.

    “You are just stating that, or at least, requiring more ‘visibility’ than might need to be required. Consider the example of Georgia. The Christian president declared in the 2008 war that “both war and peace” were in the hands of Israeli Jews – referring to the Israeli individuals who were the ‘Georgian’ ‘Defence’ Minister and the ‘Georgian’ ‘Minister for Negotiations over South Ossetia’. Another example is Kazakhstan, where the Muslim president Nazarbayev is formally the dictator but Mashkevitch (chairman of the Euroasian Jewish Congress, one of the five regional bodies of the WJC – i.e. he is in some sense the ‘main man’ of Zionism in the country) is an extremely powerful money guy who is powerful behind the throne. In the United States, Clinton was powerless with regard to Zionism – he told Lewinsky a foreign power had bugged the White House, meaning Israel. The real story isn’t that that’s so, or even that he believed it to be so, but that he believed it to be so and believed himself to be powerless to do anything about it. It’s also an open secret that the Hill is controlled through AIPAC. In France, Sarkozy is said to have been a sayan. I think you would be hard-pressed to think of one other head of government of a great power who while in office was widely rumoured to have been recruited by a foreign intelligence service but stayed in power, and clearly if any security officers thought that the person might possibly be a security risk, they weren’t in a position to do anything about it. Then in Britain you have the BBC Director-General Mark Thompson being publicised as going to Israel to discuss his organisation’s coverage of matters that concern Israel… What analogies are there to these things involving non-Jewish interest groups?”

    Well there were ‘rumours’ when he was in office that Harold Wilson was a Soviet agent, widely believed by British intelligence officers. But much of the above, apart from the Thompson case which is proven and outrageous, is rumour, anecdote and cannot be proven. One other problem in this is that Israel, unlike many if not most nation states that tend to care to maintain some credit with foreign public opinion, has a vested interest in fuelling paranoia about Jews. It’s a peculiar thing to say, but if you look at the history of Zionist collaboration with the Jews’ worst enemies it is a fact.

    I actually believe there is a lot more influence-peddling and the like from a whole host of states within others than is generally known. The only difference about Israel is that they don’t care so much about presentation and hiding it, because a state of exiles needs hostility to ‘its’ diaspora population to maintain support and gain potential new citizens.

    “I think AIPAC could get [A Jewish president of the US] if they wanted one, don’t you?”

    If they sought domination over the US they undoubtedly would go for it. But since their aims are limited to safeguarding Israel’s interests, they have never tried, so it’s a moot point.

    “Well for starters that relates directly to the military industrial complex, and an Israeli security company is involved in running security at US nuclear installations, both civil and military. Any parallels to that in any other country?”

    Britain’s nuclear weapons systems are basically run by the US, and on many questions this country’s foreign policy is an extension of US policy, including incidentally areas that hardly impinge on anything at all to do with Israel.

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘overwhelmingly’. That a large majority of millionaires are not Jewish? Sure, but with billionaires it’s said to be half and half.”

    Somewhat less than that as I understand it. For example one list in circulation says that Rupert Murdoch is Jewish when he certainly is not! But the overrepresentation of Jews in business is a phenomenon pretty much wherever there are Jews. The reasons are a huge debate but I don’t see this as any more sinister in itself than the preponderance of South Asians running small shops in the UK. It’s a cultural peculiarity with complex historical causes. When this issue gets mixed up with the question of loyalty to Israel and aggressive Israeli tactics towards criticism, it becomes a minefield though. But are these Jewish bourgeois all Israeli agents of influence? I doubt it. Many are just as Yankee as any other American bourgeois.

    “I think the time has long gone where it is possible for influential top-level non-Jews who are not ‘sabbath goyim’ to get together outside of Israeli influence and out of Israeli earshot to formulate their own strategies independently.”

    ‘Sabbath goyim’ being American non-Jewish bourgeois who support the current status quo alliance with Israel. But you can call them ‘Sabbath goyim’ if you like, they obviously support this policy because they believe it corresponds with their interests as representative of US capital. It is just as credible to argue that the ‘Sabbath goyim’ are the very US ruling class interests I was referring to in my original argument.

    “… there is, for example, some Jewish racist support (JDL links) for the English Defence League which (despite its denials) is unmistakeably white-racist. Anders Breivik in Norway is also pro-Zionist, and indeed as Gilad Atzmon noted, some Jewish racists were quick to praise Breivik or at least to say they didn’t give a damn about his victims.”

    “That kind of attitude is practically psychotic, and doubtless is bound up with the idea that is promoted among Zionists that Jews are under vicious threat and marrying out is tantamount to doing Hitler’s work for him, and crticis of Israel single out Israel because they’re anti-Jewish racists, etc. etc. Someone who on hearing of Breivik’s actions doesn’t think “how terrible”, but asks “is this good for the Jews?” and decides “well it isn’t bad, because some of the youths in Norway’s main social-democratic party were in favour of BDS, and now a lot of the youth leadership has ceased to exist, and you can’t expect us as Jews to cry any tears when our enemies get shot like that”…is truly f***ing mentally ill, with a psyche almost consumed by Nazi-style racist hatred. I don’t want to philosophise it – they don’t know right from wrong!”

    I do largely agree with this, there are sick people whether Jew or non-Jew who think like this.

    I’ll come back and see if there is anything else I’ve failed to address another time.

     

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