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“Western-Centred Arrogance” and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign – a comment

24 Jan

Harpal Brar

The following extended comment was put on the Socialist Unity blog in response to their cross-posting an article by Tony Greenstein about the recent Palestine Solidarity Campaign conference, where a number of supporters of some of the kind of views expounded by Gilad Atzmon, were thrown out. Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with this subject matter, others who may not are encouraged to read earlier articles on this question, particularly my review of Gilad Atzmon’s book ‘The Wandering Who’ from last year.

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The problem is with this is that these people are not Nazis at all.

In fact most of them are Jewish themselves. And even when they are not, the people they look to for inspiration, are.

They actually represent an important non-European, Middle Eastern, view on the Jewish question. These kind of views, even if false, are widely held in the Middle East and just hammering them at a conference in the UK won’t do you much good.

The victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian elections, and the high vote the Salafists got also, mean such people are going to be anything but isolated.

It is particularly symptomatic that Harpal Brar and his organisation, who can hardly be accused of being soft on or sympathetic to Nazism (!!!), can see this. They are not often right, indeed they are often wacky third-worldists, but on this position their insights from a non-Eurocentric position stood them in good stead. Even a stopped clock is sometimes correct.

From a non-European perspective this looks like Western-centred arrogance. European Jews and Brits lecturing non-European Jews about not being soft on the Arabs and their terrible anti-Jewish prejudices.

The Atzmonites are not entirely wrong either. Insofar as they are sceptical about the Holocaust, which some are more than others, they are of course wrong as the Brarites also noted.

But some of the other things they say about the Israel lobby in the West are much closer to reality. Atzmon’s division of Jews into different categories based on the embrace or otherwise of identity politics is not ‘anti-semitic’ at all, but almost exactly analogous to a pretty mainstream understanding of the (in some ways) similar phenonemon of political Islam. (See my article on Political Islam and ‘Jewish Identity Politics’)

Another point, being as these people are not fascists or Nazis, but mainly Jews and other sincere Palestinian supporters.

Is it only being badly wrong on the Jewish Holocaust that is grounds for chucking people out of the Palestine movement, or is it the same for other similar events as well? Like the Armenian genocide? Note that the French bourgeoisie is just in the process of banning denial of this event also.

Is anyone who supports the Turkish government’s views on this to be chucked out and shunned? Or is the Jewish genocide ‘special’, despite the disclaimers?

Because if people take this to its logical conclusion, they are going to have rather a hard time not just with many Palestinians – particularly Hamas supporters – and some of their Jewish supporters. But a big problem with many other Arabs, not to mention Turks as well. Given as the Turkish government has quite a lot of authority among those oppressed by Israel at the moment, this is not smart.

Don’t kid yourself that these people are ‘isolated’. The Brarities are not stupid when it comes to non-European politics, their stance says otherwise. This is another example of the British left shooting itself in the foot.

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